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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: The Iraqi Horror Picture Show

“It's torture
But I'm almost there
It's torture
But I'm almost there”
-The Cure, Torture

“A federal judge ruled today that graphic pictures of detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison must be released over government claims that they could damage America's image. Last year a Republican senator conceded that they contained scenes of ‘rape and murder’ and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said they included acts that were ‘blatantly sadistic.’ U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein ordered the release of certain pictures in a 50-page decision that said terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan have proven they ‘do not need pretexts for their barbarism.’
The ACLU has sought the release of 87 photographs and four videotapes taken at the prison as part of an October 2003 lawsuit demanding information on the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody and the transfer of prisoners to countries known to use torture.”
-Editor & Publisher, September 29, 2005

“You see, the lawsuit was needed because the government wasn’t going to voluntarily release the images. It seems that images of this kind of abuse violate the Geneva Convention (not that the Geneva Conventions seem to be stopping the kind of things shown in the pictures and video). The ACLU had to go to court in order to show the public some of the things that are happening in their name. That being said… If these images are so bad, why aren’t they doing more about this?”

“The Army is investigating complaints that soldiers posted photographs of Iraqi corpses on an Internet site in exchange for access to pornographic images on the site, officials said Tuesday.”
-Associated Press, September 27, 2005

“Originally created as a site for men to share images of their sexual partners, this site has taken the concept of user-created content to a grim new low: US troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan are invited to display graphic battlefield photos apparently taken with their personal digital cameras. And thousands of people are logging on to take a look.
The website has become a stomach-churning showcase for the pornography of war--close-up shots of Iraqi insurgents and civilians with heads blown off, or with intestines spilling from open wounds. Sometimes photographs of mangled body parts are displayed: Part of the game is for users to guess what appendage or organ is on display.”
-The Nation, September 22, 2005

“The Army doesn’t seem to have a lot on interest in the whole thing.”

“An Army spokesman, Paul Boyce, later told AP that the preliminary criminal inquiry determined, based on available evidence, that felony charges could not be pursued. But the matter, including the possibility of disciplinary action, was being handled in coordination with other military services, he said.”
-Editor and Publisher, September 27, 2005

“Well, the Geneva Conventions say this..”

“Article 34.-Remains of deceased

1. The remains of persons who have died for reasons related to occupation or in detention resulting from occupation or hostilities and those of persons not nationals of the country in which they have died as a result of hostilities shall be respected”
-The Geneva Conventions

“And this certainly seems appropriate..”


Any commissioned officer, cadet, or midshipman who is convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”
-Uniform Code of Military Justice

“They’ll probably do that though. I’m sure that they’ll get to it. They just don’t want to have this kind of thing too public at the moment.”

“Three former members of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division say soldiers in their battalion in Iraq routinely beat and abused prisoners in 2003 and 2004 to help gather intelligence on the insurgency and to amuse themselves....

The abuses reportedly took place between September 2003 and April 2004, before and during the investigations into the notorious misconduct at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. Senior Pentagon officials initially sought to characterize the scandal there as the work of a rogue group of military police soldiers on the prison's night shift. Since then, the Army has opened more than 400 inquiries into detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan, and punished 230 enlisted soldiers and officers.”
-New York Times, September 24, 2005

“I mean, they’ll fix the problems. They won’t just brush this kind of thing under the rug..”

“An Army captain who reported new allegations of detainee abuse in Iraq said Tuesday that Army investigators seemed more concerned about tracking down young soldiers who reported misconduct than in following up the accusations and investigating whether higher-ranking officers knew of the abuses.
The officer, Capt. Ian Fishback, said investigators from the Criminal Investigation Command and the 18th Airborne Corps inspector general had pressed him to divulge the names of two sergeants from his former battalion who also gave accounts of abuse, which were made public in a report last Friday by the group Human Rights Watch.
Captain Fishback, speaking publicly on the matter for first time, said the investigators who have questioned him in the past 10 days seemed to be less interested in individuals he identified in his chain of command who allegedly committed the abuses.
‘I'm convinced this is going in a direction that's not consistent with why we came forward,’ Captain Fishback said in a telephone interview from Fort Bragg, N.C., where he is going through Army Special Forces training. ‘We came forward because of the larger issue that prisoner abuse is systemic in the Army. I'm concerned this will take a new twist, and they'll try to scapegoat some of the younger soldiers. This is a leadership problem.’"
-New York Times, September 28, 2005

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: DeLay of Presecution

“A Texas grand jury on Wednesday indicted Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates on charges of conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, forcing the House majority leader to temporarily relinquish his post. A defiant DeLay insisted he was innocent and called the prosecutor [Ronnie Earle] a ‘partisan fanatic.’”
-Associated Press, September 28, 2005

“While Earle is an elected Democrat, as Media Matters for America has previously noted, a June 17 editorial in the Houston Chronicle commended his work: ‘During his long tenure, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle has prosecuted many more Democratic officials than Republicans. The record does not support allegations that Earle is prone to partisan witch hunts.’ This assertion supports Earle's own claim about his record; a March 6 article in the El Paso Times reported: ‘Earle says local prosecution is fundamental and points out that 11 of the 15 politicians he has prosecuted over the years were Democrats.’"
-Media Matters for America, November 18, 2004

“The indictment puts the Republicans — who control the White House, Senate and House — on the defensive. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., also is fending off questions of ethical improprieties. And less than a week ago, a former White House official was arrested in the investigation of Jack Abramoff, a high-powered lobbyist and fundraiser.”
-Associated Press, September 28, 2005

“A former Bush administration official was arrested Monday on charges he made false statements and obstructed a federal investigation into his dealings with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to court documents and government officials.
David Safavian, then-chief of staff of the General Services Administration and a former Abramoff lobbying associate, concealed from federal investigators that Abramoff was seeking to do business with GSA when Safavian joined him on a golf trip to Scotland in 2002, according to an FBI affidavit and the officials.
Safavian moved to the Office of Management and Budget last year, becoming the administration's top procurement official. He resigned that post, effective Friday, OMB spokesman Alex Conant said.”
-New York Times, September 20, 2005

“You may remember that last one.. Here are some of the connections for the dots. Pass the popcorn. This is starting to get interesting.”

“On Wednesday, DeLay was indicted with two aides by a Texas grand jury, accused of flouting campaign finance laws by illegally sending corporate funds to GOP candidates in the state. Two months ago, Abramoff was arrested and charged with fraud in connection with a casino deal in Florida. On Tuesday, two employees of a company owned by Abramoff were charged with murdering the casino's former owner. Last week, the feds arrested David Safavian, who has been working in the White House, on charges of lying to investigators about a trip to Scotland with DeLay and Abramoff. Scanlon, the former DeLay aide who worked with Abramoff, is said to be cooperating with investigators, who are likely to file even more charges.”
-Salon, September 29, 2005

“In recent weeks, for instance, Timothy Flanigan, a former attorney in the Bush White House, has been answering questions from Congress about his relationship to Abramoff. Flanigan, who has been nominated as deputy attorney general, went to work for the Bermuda-based corporation Tyco after he left the White House. Once there, he hired Abramoff as a lobbyist to reach out to Karl Rove on a tax issue. According to a report in the Washington Post, Abramoff boasted to Flanigan that ‘he had contact with Mr. Karl Rove’ and that Rove could help fight a legislative proposal that would penalize U.S. companies that had moved offshore. Flanigan oversaw a $2 million payment to Abramoff for a related letter-writing campaign that never materialized. Flanigan says the money was diverted into other ‘entities controlled by Mr. Abramoff.’"
-Salon, September 29, 2005

“Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff bragged two years ago that he was in contact with White House political aide Karl Rove on behalf of a large, Bermuda-based corporation that wanted to avoid incurring some taxes and continue receiving federal contracts, according to a written statement by President Bush's nominee to be deputy attorney general.
Timothy E. Flanigan, general counsel for conglomerate Tyco International Ltd., said in a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that Abramoff's lobbying firm initially boasted that Abramoff could help Tyco fend off a special liability tax because he ‘had good relationships with members of Congress,’ including House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.).”
-Washington Post, September 23, 2005

“Safavian once worked with Abramoff at one lobbying firm and was a partner of Grover Norquist, a national Republican strategist with close ties to the White House, at another. Safavian traveled to Scotland in 2002 with Abramoff, Representative Robert Ney of Ohio and another top Republican organizer, Ralph Reed, southeast regional head of President George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign.
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who once called Abramoff ‘one of my closest and dearest friends,’ already figures prominently in the investigation of the lobbyist's links to Republicans. The probe may singe other lawmakers with ties to Abramoff, such as Republican Senator Conrad Burns of Montana, as well as Ney. “
-Bloomberg, September 22, 2005

“Abramoff's links to the party go beyond lawmakers. He worked with Reed, a former director of the Republican-oriented Christian Coalition, and Norquist to kill an effort to bring legalized gambling to Alabama.
At Abramoff's behest, one of his tribal clients, whose casino could have been hurt by the competition, sent money to Norquist's anti-tax group, Americans for Tax Reform, which in turn wrote a check to help Reed's effort.
One of Norquist's former partners in another venture was Safavian. The two men worked at Janus-Merritt Strategies LLC, a Washington lobbying firm that was later sold to a Richmond, Virginia-based law firm, Williams Mullen.
‘Safavian is a small fish, but in combination with Abramoff and his ties to Norquist and DeLay, it presents a very inviting target to Democrats,' said Ross Baker, a political scientist who studies congressional politics at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Safavian was one of three former Abramoff associates who joined the Bush administration. Another was Patrick Pizzella, assistant secretary of labor for administration and management. The third was Susan Ralston, special assistant to White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove.”
-Bloomberg, September 22, 2005

“Tyco -- whose executive L. Dennis Kozlowski had just departed under an ethics cloud -- was worried that the Bush administration might embrace legislation promoted by Democrats that would impose higher taxes on domestic-centered companies that had moved offshore to cut their tax bills. The legislation was motivated by popular anger over such offshore moves, and carried the additional penalty of barring such firms from receiving federal contracts.
Lobbying disclosure statements filed by Abramoff listing his work for Tyco cite the "Executive Office of the President" as one of his lobbying targets on the tax and contracts issues. Others were the Department of Commerce, the General Services Administration and Congress. Greenberg Traurig records submitted to Tyco describe specific contacts with the White House legislative office, a source familiar with the matter said yesterday.
Rove's personal assistant at the time, Susan Ralston, formerly worked as Abramoff's secretary.”
-Washington Post, September 23, 2005

‘Don’t worry.. Nothing will change though.”

“The political committee of Rep. Roy Blunt who is temporarily replacing Rep. Tom DeLay as House majority leader, has paid roughly $88,000 in fees since 2003 to a consultant under indictment in Texas with DeLay, according to federal records.

Records on file with the Federal Election Commission show the fund linked to Blunt retains Ellis' firm, J.W. Ellis Co., and has made periodic payments for services. Political Money Line, a nonpartisan Internet tracking service, places the total at about $88,000.
Ellis is one of three political associates of DeLay, R-Texas, who have been indicted in an alleged scheme to use corporate political donations illegally to support candidates in state elections. Ellis also runs DeLay's national political action committee, Americans for a Republican Majority.”
-Associated Press, September 28, 2005

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Quotes of the Morning

“Now that Rita has come and gone with luckily much less pain than originally feared (though still devastating, we still have Houston), here is the lighter side of disaster. Enjoy.”

"But Hurricane Rita, I mean, that doesn't sound powerful. Even Katrina, you see what I'm saying? We need hurricane names that let you know how unpredictable and dangerous they are. Like Hurricane Courtney Love."
-Jay Leno

"In a speech today about Hurricane Rita, President Bush declared, quote, 'This is a big storm.' In related news, the White House announced earlier today that the president is writing his own speeches."
-Conan O'Brien

"Bush is keeping track of Hurricane Rita as it hits his home state of Texas. That's Bush's worst nightmare: an electric chair with no power."

-Jay Leno

"Hurricane Rita is supposed to make landfall in Texas, which is good for Barbara Bush because she can insult survivors closer to home."

-Bill Maher

"Yesterday President Bush made his fifth visit to the area that received the most damage from Hurricane Katrina. In other words, the White House."

-Conan O'Brien

"The president believes the government should be limited not in size, Jon, but in effectiveness. In terms of effectiveness, this is the most limited government we've ever had."

-Daily Show correspondent Rob Corddry

"Now here's some sad information coming out of Washington. According to reports, President Bush may be drinking again. And I thought, `Well, why not? He's got everybody else drinking.'"

-David Letterman

"Yesterday the Texas Air National Guard was recalled from Louisiana. President Bush said these brave men and women should be commended for all the work they do. Of course, Bush didn't know firsthand knowledge of what it was the Air National Guard actually does, but he heard it was important."
-Jay Leno

"We begin with Hurricane Rita, which proved the old rule that no matter how anticipated, sequels are always less compelling than the original. ... Rita, I feel, was the Ghostbusters II of hurricanes."
-Jon Stewart

“And now for one that isn’t so much a joke as it is just sadly funny.”

“US forces have fired so many bullets in Iraq and Afghanistan - an estimated 250,000 for every insurgent killed - that American ammunition-makers cannot keep up with demand. As a result the US is having to import supplies from Israel.
A government report says that US forces are now using 1.8 billion rounds of small-arms ammunition a year. The total has more than doubled in five years, largely as a result of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as changes in military doctrine.”
-The Independent (UK), September 25, 2005

“You know, I used to think that it was funny that the storm troopers in Star Wars were such bad shots. They were, apparently, marksmen compared to our military. If a bullet weighs 5 grams (a lightweight bullet.. higher caliber bullets of course weigh more), then 250,000 bullets would weigh 1,250 kg, or 2,756 pounds (heck lets just round it up to 1.38 tons). I’m trying to figure out how the troops actually manage to carry enough ammo to kill someone. Oh, and to keep this in perspective, 1.8 billion rounds is 19.84 million pounds of ammunition (9,920 tons), and that is just small-arms ammunition. Are we winning yet?”

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Killer Dolphins... Seriously

“It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Experts who have studied the US navy’s cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying ‘toxic dart’ guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet’s smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.”
-The Observer (UK), September 25, 2005

“Kent: Um... did I say killer dolphins, I meant... killer... Italians! Grey, bottlenosed, intelligent Italians.

Homer: Intelligent Italians? Something's wrong.”
-Simpsons, Treehouse of Horror XI

“Chief Wiggum: Hmm, Bottlenose bruises. Blowhole burns. Flipper prints. This looks like the work of rowdy teens.”
-Simpsons, Treehouse of Horror XI

“My God! We armed dolphins to kill! (Kudos on adding a whole new market for arms dealing throughout the world). How can we save ourselves from their flippers of wrath?”

“You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads! Now evidently my cycloptic colleague informs me that that cannot be done. Ah, would you remind me what I pay you people for, honestly? Throw me a bone here! What do we have?”
-Dr. Evil

“You see.. That’s funny. I mean, come on, we’re arming dolphins with weapons. That’s just a silly thing. Almost as silly as this.”

“CBS News correspondent Gloria Borger reports that Michael Brown, who recently resigned as the head of the FEMA, has been rehired by the agency as a consultant to evaluate its response following Hurricane Katrina.”
-CBS News, September 26, 2005

"Brown is continuing to work at the Federal Emergency Management Agency at full pay, with his Sept. 12 resignation not taking effect for two more weeks, said Homeland Security Department spokesman Russ Knocke."
-Associated Press, September 26, 2005

“We’ve continued to pay (and actually rehired) the guy who padded his resume and screwed up the response to Katrina. We rehired him to evaluate the response to Katrina. The thing that he helped screw up. If you hear a loud popping noise, that’s just my brain exploding.”

“President Bush, noting that lots of people want to talk to the president and ‘it's also important for me to go on with my life,’ on Saturday defended his decision not to meet with the grieving mom of a soldier killed in Iraq.”
-Cox News Service, August 14, 2005

“Quimby: People, please! We're all frightened and horny. But we can't let can't let some killer dolphins keep us from living and scoring.”
-Simpsons, Treehouse of Horror XI

Monday, September 26, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: The Bush Boom

“The president didn't look all that relieved or happy, however. His eyes were puffy from lack of sleep (he had been awakened all through the night with bulletins), and he seemed cranky and fidgety. A group of reporters and photographers had been summoned by White House handlers to capture a photo op of the commander in chief at his post. Bush stared at them balefully. He rocked back and forth in his chair, furiously at times, asked no questions and took no notes. It almost seemed as though he resented having to strike a pose for the press.”
-Newsweek, October 3, 2005 issue

“Uh oh.. Fearless Leader isn’t getting his sleep. I wonder what’s keeping him up?”

“Bitter disagreements over global economic policy broke out into the open yesterday as the French Finance Minister claimed that Alan Greenspan had admitted America had ‘lost control’ of its budget while China warned the US to drop demands for radical economic policy changes.
In an extraordinary revelation after a meeting between Thierry Breton and Mr Greenspan, M. Breton told reporters: ‘We have lost control,' that was his [Mr Greenspan's] expression.
‘The US has lost control of their budget at a time when racking up deficits has been authorised without any control [from Congress],’ M. Breton said.
‘We were both disappointed that the management of debt is not a political priority today. The situation that is creating tension today on the currency market ... is clearly the American deficit.’"
-Independent (UK), September 26, 2005

“The economy? Heck, he hasn’t actually been concerned with that in years. It must be something else.”

“That’s not a good way to determine how good or bad things are going – by (counting) how many things are exploding.”
-Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita, September 19, 2005

“Iraq? I thought that things exploding was a good sign of how desperate the insurgency is. It must be something else.”

“The president's recent schedule of nonstop disaster-scene photo-ops is reminiscent of the principal of a failing school who believes he's doing a great job because he makes it a point to drop in on every class play and teacher retirement party. And if there ever was an exhibit of the misguided conviction that for some people very little is good enough, it's the current administration spin that the proposed Iraqi constitution is fine because the founding fathers didn't give women equal rights either.”
-New York Times, September 25, 2005

“The Press? It must be the press. The press is going, for the first time in five years, on the offense. It has to be the press. The puffy eyes and irritability. The press.”

“Faced with the biggest crisis of his political life, President Bush has hit the bottle again, The National Enquirer can reveal.

Bush, who said he quit drinking the morning after his 40th birthday, has started boozing amid the Katrina catastrophe.
Family sources have told how the 59-year-old president was caught by First Lady Laura downing a shot of booze at their family ranch in Crawford, Texas, when he learned of the hurricane disaster.
His worried wife yelled at him: ‘Stop, George.’
Following the shocking incident, disclosed here for the first time, Laura privately warned her husband against ‘falling off the wagon’ and vowed to travel with him more often so that she can keep an eye on Dubya, the sources add.
‘When the levees broke in New Orleans, it apparently made him reach for a shot,’ said one insider. ‘He poured himself a Texas-sized shot of straight whiskey and tossed it back. The First Lady was shocked and shouted: ‘Stop George!’’
'Laura gave him an ultimatum before, 'It's Jim Beam or me.' She doesn't want to replay that nightmare — especially now when it's such tough going for her husband.’
Bush is under the worst pressure of his two terms in office and his popularity is near an all-time low. The handling of the Katrina crisis and troop losses in Iraq have fueled public discontent and pushed Bush back to drink.
A Washington source said: ‘The sad fact is that he has been sneaking drinks for weeks now. Laura may have only just caught him — but the word is his drinking has been going on for a while in the capital. He's been in a pressure cooker for months.’”
-The National Enquirer, September 21, 2005

“Hey, it’s the Enquirer. No one believes the Enquirer.”

Friday, September 23, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Inside Information

“Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has maintained for years that his stock holdings in the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain posed no conflict of interest for a policymaker deeply involved in health care matters. He even received two rulings in the 1990s from the Senate ethics committee that blessed the holding of the stock in blind trusts.
So when Frist decided in June to dump all the stock, and later cited as the reason his desire to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, eyebrows went up among ethics experts and congressional watchdogs. Why did he do it at that time?
Precisely a month later, after the stock was sold, its price tumbled 9 percent when executives in the company -- HCA Inc., which was founded by Frist's father and on whose board Frist's brother serves -- disclosed that hospital admissions of insured patients were lower than expected, depressing profits in the second quarter.
Several ethics experts and watchdogs said they found it odd that Frist could intervene to order such a sale when the HCA stock was ostensibly out of his reach in blind trusts. Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, said, ‘The notion that you have a blind trust but you can tell your trustee when to sell stock in it just doesn't make any sense. It means you have a seeing eye trust and not a blind trust. It's ridiculous.’
Larry Noble, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, agreed that the arrangement ‘seems to defeat the purpose of a blind trust. Somebody else is supposed to have control over it to avoid potential conflicts of interest. If you can just reach in and sell stock, it seems it defeats the whole purpose.’
A sample agreement for blind trusts published by the Senate ethics committee staff on its Web site states that there should be no ‘direct or indirect communication’ between senators and trustees unless the senator is directing the trustee ‘to sell all of an asset . . . [which] creates a conflict of interest or the appearance thereof due to the subsequent assumption of duties’ by the senator.
Jan W. Baran, a Republican ethics expert at Wiley Rein & Fielding LLP, said, ‘That's the question, 'What changed?' ‘ to compel Frist to sell his stock when he did.
According to Senate ethics rules, Baran said, Frist ‘can tell somebody to dispose of all of an asset that was initially placed into the blind trust. As a matter of Senate ethics rules, he is in compliance. The question that remains is, why did he sell the stock at that time? What conflicts arose in June that did not exist beforehand?’"
-Washington Post, September 22, 2005

“Maybe he can have Martha Stewart’s old cell. She isn’t using it any more. And now for the President’s version of ‘Where’s Waldo?’”

“THE PRESIDENT: Bianca. Nobody named Bianca? Well, sorry Bianca's not here. I'll be glad to answer her question.
Q I'll follow up.
THE PRESIDENT: No, that's fine. (Laughter.) Thank you though, appreciate it. Just trying to spread around the joy of asking a question.
Q Mr. President, could we talk more about --
THE PRESIDENT: Are you Bianca?
Q No, I'm not. Anita -- Fox News.
Q Just a quick question --
THE PRESIDENT: Okay. I was looking for Bianca. I'm sorry.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush at the Pentagon, September 22, 2005

“Q Who makes up the list of reporters that he is allowed to call on?
Q Yes, where's Bianca? (Laughter.)
MR. McCLELLAN: Who makes up the list? It depends on the reporters that show up. I don't think she had a question. But the President --
Q Who is Bianca, anyway?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think the President had his most recent press conference this afternoon just a short time before I was out here, took questions from I think everyone who was there.
Q -- you count that as a press conference?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think it was a 30-minute briefing and several questions taken. I think I would call it a press conference.
Q Does anyone know who she is?”
-Press Gaggle with Scott McClellan, September 22, 2005

“So if anyone sees Jeff Gannon, male prostitute, in a dress… Well, I think we just figured out what his drag name is. America needs… JEFF GANNON. The only man who can save us (or at least the president) from what could possibly be crippling questioning. Apparently his new ‘secret agent’ name s going to be Bianca.”

"Thank you. Senate Democratic leaders have painted a very bleak picture of the U.S. economy. Harry Reid was talking about soup lines. And Hillary Clinton was talking about the economy being on the verge of collapse. Yet in the same breath they say that Social Security is rock solid and there's no crisis there. How are you going to work -- you've said you are going to reach out to these people -- how are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?"
-“Jeff Gannon” at White House Press Gaggle, January 26, 2005

“Fred Garvin: [entering] Mrs. Potter?

Mrs. Potter: Yes.. that's me.
Fred Garvin: The same Mrs. Potter who's Vice-President, in charge of loans for the Franklin National Bank in Chicago.
Mrs. Potter: Yeah, that's me.
Fred Garvin: Here, this is for you.
Mrs. Potter: Oh, thank you. Thank you very much.
Fred Garvin: May I come in?
Mrs. Potter: What for?
Fred Garvin: Well, ma'am, you see, when a VP like yourself comes to Milain to do business, it's customary for the company to send a gal up to the room, compliments of Great Lakes Feed & Grain. And, well.. since you're a gal, the company sent me - Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute.
[Fred stares at the camera as the title card appears ]
Mrs. Potter: Uh.. I don't, I don't think you understand, Fred. I'm not that kind of girl..
Fred Garvin: Oh, let me reassure you, ma'am. I can assure you professional hygiene, discretion and animal gratification.
Mrs. Potter: I have never had to pay for that in my whole life.
Fred Garvin: Well, don't worry about it. Great Lakes Feed & Grain is picking up the tab. You get me for the whole night!
Mrs. Potter: Hey, uh..
Fred Garvin: Hey is for horses, young lady. No ifs, ands or buts about it - you're spending the night with Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute.
[Fred stares at the camera as the title card appears]
Well, now, I have a work order here which specifies that I am to roger you roundly 'til 6:15 tomorrow morning.
Mrs. Potter: Now, wait a minute.. wait a minute. Don't I get dome say in this? I mean, maybe I want some sleep. Maybe I don't want to be rogered roundly.
Fred Garvin: Ma'am, you're dealing here with a fully qualified male strumpet. I service the entire quad cities area - Moline, Rock Island, Davenport and Bettendorf. Why don't you give it a whirl? What have you got to lose?
Mrs. Potter: [walks aside to think to herself] What do I have to lose? No one's ever gonna know.. and I'm not gonna see Paul for another couple of weeks. Sure, Fred's not the most attractive guy in the world.. but if he makes a living at this, he must be doing something right. [finished thinking] Okay, Mr. Garvin. I'll try it.”
-Saturday Night Live

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: I Did It Don Young's Way

“As we all know.. Hurricane Katrina was a massive disaster that has devastated the people and the economy of several southern states. The government is helping out to fix that using massive spending bills that are to be used to rebuild the region, but that money has to come from somewhere, right?”

“Pressure is growing to help pay for Hurricane Katrina’s costs by getting members of Congress to give up the pet spending projects they inserted into legislation for their districts.
Some top lawmakers are decidedly unenthusiastic.
‘Kiss my ear!’ Rep. Don Young, an Alaska Republican, told a Fairbanks newspaper reporter when asked whether he would return the $223 million he ‘earmarked’ for a bridge so that residents of Ketchikan won’t have to pay $6 to ride a ferry to get to the airport. Young is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Earmarks are projects that have neither been requested by the administration nor deemed worthy by a congressional committee. This year’s transportation bill had 4,373. Last year’s catchall appropriations bill, which wrapped together seven of the 13 annual spending bills, contained 8,000 earmarks totaling $10 billion.
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican, scoffed at the suggestion that he give up his earmarks, saying that highway projects in his district contributed to economic growth.
Still, as pressure grows to reduce Katrina’s bite from the federal budget, many lawmakers are being forced to take a second look at their appetites for federal money.”
-Knight-Ridder News Service, September 21, 2005

“Hey, that bridge is important to literally thousands of people. A worthy use of a quarter of a billion dollars (and hey, the Gravina Island project only comes to about $28,000 each for every person in the two cities involved).”

“Millions for bridges, not a penny for defense: President Bush signed the $286.5 billion transportation bill this week and critics were horrified by the number of pork-laden local road projects. The two most notable bacon-soaked items are $223 million for the Gravina Island bridge and another $229 million for the Knik Arm Bridge. Both projects are in the Alaska district of Don Young, the chairman of the House Transportation Infrastructure Committee. The Gravina Island project will link the 8,000 residents of the city of Ketchikan with the 50 people on Gravina Island. Also on Gravina Island: Ketchikan Airport, which offers a dozen scheduled flights a day and is currently linked to the city by a 7-minute ferry ride. As currently planned, the 2-mile-long Gravina span will be nearly as long as the Golden Gate Bridge and higher than the Brooklyn Bridge. The Knik Arm Bridge would link Anchorage with Port MacKenzie, which has just one tenant. In contrast to Young's $452 million bridges, the nation has spent a total of $115 million on mass-transit security since 9/11. Mass-transit systems in the United States carry an estimated 14 million riders a day.”
-USA Today, August 22, 2005

“But our Commander in Chief swore that he’d stop this kind of thing. He promised he’d veto if Congress spent too much.”

“Fast-forward to 2005. Republicans control the White House and both houses of Congress. Early on a Saturday morning in August — the day of the week, and the month of the year, least likely to attract media attention — President Bush signed into law a highway bill passed by his own party with more than 6,000 earmarked projects.
Bush signed the bill after sternly telling his party he'd veto any highway bill that spent more than $256 billion. He promptly "adjusted" that figure to $284 billion after complaints from party leaders. The bill Bush ultimately signed came at a price of $286 billion, $295 billion if you count a few provisions disguised to make the bill look cheaper than it actually is. Not exactly holding the line.
What continues to amaze, however, is the sheer arrogance and hubris with which the Republicans have chosen to govern. As Congressman Jeff Flake — one of the few principled Republicans in Washington — told the Washington Post, ‘Republicans don't even pretend anymore.’”
-FOX News, August 25, 2005

“Please notice, that report came from FOX News. When FOX thinks that the Republicans are filled with ‘sheer arrogance and hubris’ they are in deep sh*t.”

“Meanwhile, the country's worst natural disaster has forced Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress to think about the unthinkable: raising taxes.
Democrats have pushed to let Republican tax cuts expire. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is among those who favor saving $70 billion by repealing the capital gains and dividends tax cuts, which expire in 2008. Democrats also say money could be found by closing corporate tax loopholes and cracking down on waste and fraud.
Although Senate Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg, R-N.H., has said he won't rule out raising taxes, most Republicans reject that approach.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said Wednesday, ‘Everything is on the table.’
Well, not quite.
Hastert didn't match House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi's offer to give up $70 million in transportation projects in her California district — but he said the offer was ‘very gracious.’"
-USA Today, September 21, 2005

“That isn’t to say that some Republicans haven’t been great about doing what they can to help. They honestly have, and I’ve been very glad to see it. I just hope that all of this generosity is used wisely.”

“A division of Fluor, a California firm awarded a housing contract worth up to $100 million, has paid millions of dollars to settle federal government lawsuits — including one that accused it of overbilling for 1989 hurricane cleanup work.

The Shaw Group, a Louisiana firm that won housing and engineering contracts worth up to $200 million, has disclosed that it is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm is also a defendant in federal securities class-action cases.”
-USA Today, September 14, 2005

“FEMA spokesman Widomski said his agency had been unaware of both the SEC matter and the securities class-action lawsuits involving the Shaw Group.

‘Right now, there isn't a place for the federal government to get a history of a company's business background,’ she said. ‘There should be one place where they can look.’"
-USA Today, September 14, 2005

“There isn’t a questionnaire? No form that asks whether or not the company is under investigation before we give them hundreds of millions of dollars? Sweet Jeebus, the South is going to fall again.”

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Beating on the Tom Tom

“House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said yesterday that Republicans have done so well in cutting spending that he declared an ‘ongoing victory,’ and said there is simply no fat left to cut in the federal budget.

Mr. DeLay was defending Republicans' choice to borrow money and add to this year's expected $331 billion deficit to pay for Hurricane Katrina relief. Some Republicans have said Congress should make cuts in other areas, but Mr. DeLay said that doesn't seem possible.
‘My answer to those that want to offset the spending is sure, bring me the offsets, I'll be glad to do it. But nobody has been able to come up with any yet,’ the Texas Republican told reporters at his weekly briefing.
Asked if that meant the government was running at peak efficiency, Mr. DeLay said, ‘Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority we've pared it down pretty good.’"
-Washington Times, September 14, 2005

“DOBBS: Wait a minute. Senator, you can't say that. Congressman Tom DeLay says that this is the most efficient government he can imagine, that there's no fat in this government.

COBURN: Well, I talked with him today about that quote and that was not his quote. And you know ...
DOBBS: Whose was it? Whose was it, Senator?
COBURN: I'm worried -- I'm very -- well, I think -- it might have been manufactured. I'm not sure. The fact is, is we -- I know of $100 billion in cuts that we could make tomorrow that nobody would feel. Nobody would feel. And ...”
-Senator Tom Coburn on Lou Dobbs Tonight, September 20, 2005

“I love it.. We get to hear from Tom DeLay AND Tom Coburn. I really think Tom is trying to get my ‘most recommended wingnut’ award. Pat Robertson is going to have to work hard to keep the title. I expect him to say something really, really stupid soon.
While we’re waiting for that though.. Here are some signs that the whole house of cards is currently looking a little shaky.”

“A former Bush administration official was arrested Monday on charges he made false statements and obstructed a federal investigation into his dealings with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to court documents and government officials.
David Safavian, then-chief of staff of the General Services Administration and a former Abramoff lobbying associate, concealed from federal investigators that Abramoff was seeking to do business with GSA when Safavian joined him on a golf trip to Scotland in 2002, according to an FBI affidavit and the officials.
Safavian moved to the Office of Management and Budget last year, becoming the administration's top procurement official. He resigned that post, effective Friday, OMB spokesman Alex Conant said.”
-New York Times, September 20, 2005

“You know, since that ‘resigning’ is effective Friday, he is actually a CURRENT Bush administration official. Just saying. And I’m sure that the investigation (that I’m pretty sure he was aware of) had nothing to do with his resigning. Nope, no pressure there. (Thanks to TBogg for spotting the story.)
You might also be interested to know that an Ohio state politician, Bob Ney (R, OH) is involved in the Abramoff scandal..”

“An email sent by Safavian appears to indicate that the powerful Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) lied when he said he was ‘duped’ by Abramoff and lied again on financial disclosure forms when he said that a nonprofit had paid for the trip, Raw Story has found.
‘I (along with [two] members of Congress and a few Congressional staff) have been invited by a friend and former colleague on a trip to Scotland to play golf for four days,’ Safavian wrote in an email to his government employer, seeking permission to go on the trip.
‘The host of the trip is chartering a private jet to take the eight of us from BWI to Scottland [sic] and back. He is paying the cost of the aircraft regardless whether I go or not. In fact, none of the other guest [sic] will be paying a proportional share of the aircraft costs.’
‘The host is a lawyer and a lobbyist… he does all his work on Capitol Hill.’
Nowhere in Safavian's email does he reference the National Center, which those involved said had paid for the trip. The email states that Abramoff personally extended invitations.
Ney, however, made up another patron.
His filings assert that the six-day $3,200 junket from Washington, to Scotland, and then on to London, was paid for by the Center. The visit was described on travel forms as “Speech to Scottish parliamentarian; attend Edinburgh Military tattoo; visit British Parliament.”
His office told the New York Times that Abramoff had assured him the Center had footed the bill. He did not return a Raw Story call seeking comment.
-Raw Story, September 20, 2005

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: A Cup of Coffee

“Katrina roared through South Mississippi knocking out electricity and communication systems, the White House ordered power restored to a pipeline that sends fuel to the Northeast.
That order - to restart two power substations in Collins that serve Colonial Pipeline Co. - delayed efforts by at least 24 hours to restore power to two rural hospitals and a number of water systems in the Pine Belt.
‘We were led to believe a national emergency was created when the pipelines were shut down,’ Compton said.
Compton said workers who were trying to restore substations that power two rural hospitals - Stone County Hospital in Wiggins and George County Hospital in Lucedale - worked instead on the Colonial Pipeline project.
The move caused power to be restored at least 24 hours later than planned.”
-Hattiesburg American (Newspaper), September 11, 2005

“Getting power to those that need it is what this administration does best.”

“I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. […] The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.”
-Brian Williams, September 16, 2005

“It’s enough to make people distrust the government. It happens to our allies too.”

“A British armored vehicle escorted by a tank crashed into a detention center Monday in Basra and rescued two undercover troops held by police, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official told CNN.

In a statement released in London, Reid did not say why the two had been taken into custody. But the Iraqi official, who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity, said their arrests stemmed from an incident earlier in the day.
The official said two unknown gunmen in full Arabic dress began firing on civilians in central Basra, wounding several, including a traffic police officer. There were no fatalities, the official said.
The two gunmen fled the scene but were captured and taken in for questioning, admitting they were British marines carrying out a ‘special security task,’ the official said.”
-CNN, September 19, 2005

“Oooo… Our allies in Iraq are disguising themselves as Arabs and shooting civilians. Kind of sounds bad. I hope that this one is proven untrue. We’re the good guys, right?”

“A U.S. inquiry into alleged abuse at Guantanamo uncovered a climate of deep distrust between military police and interrogators, who were accused during the probe of giving terror suspects personal information about their guards.
The investigation began in March 2004, when the same interrogator claimed military police had abused detainees at the high-security camp in eastern Cuba, where the United States holds about 500 men captured in its war on terror.
The interrogator claimed that guards mistreated a suspected al-Qaida member by not allowing him to use the bathroom immediately after a five-hour interrogation and that at other times withheld food and turned the temperature down on a cell to 52 degrees as punishment.
An investigating officer, however, found no evidence of abuse by the guards.
The investigator faulted the interrogator instead — recommending he be relieved of his duties for reasons that included a ‘failure to know his enemy,’ the ‘unfounded’ allegations against the guards and ‘the noted possibility that he suffers from Reverse Stockholm Syndrome.’”
-Associated Press, September 13, 2005

“Stockholm Syndrome is, of course, the famous psychological syndrome in which an abductee begins to relate and sympathize with their abductors and/or tormentor. Patty Hearst is the best known example of the condition. Reverse Stockholm Syndrome would be when an abductor and/or tormentor begins to see those that they have abducted or physically abused as sympathetic human beings. You see immediately why they’d worry about that..
Reverse Stockholm Syndrome is considered a really bad thing in Guantanamo.”

“O’Reilly: The truth of the matter is our correspondents at Fox News can’t go out for a cup of coffee in Baghdad....
Rice: Bill, that’s tough. It’s tough. But what — would they have wanted to have gone out for a cup of coffee when Saddam Hussein was in power?
Bill: No, no-but after three years you expect a little security in the country...
Condi: ...there is security...
Bill: They can't get coffee...”
-The O’Reilly Factor, interview with Condoleeza Rice, September 14, 2005

Monday, September 19, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Rove Where You Want To

“Remember how this went out a few weeks ago?”

“Will you help bring tax relief to more hard-working Americans? Call Senator George V. Voinovich at 202-224-3353 today and ask them to eliminate the death tax.
Our party's opportunity agenda means allowing families to keep more of the money they earn. The historic tax relief in the President's first term was only the beginning. Americans deserve a tax code that is simple and fair. The Senate needs to do its part by making tax relief permanent and burying the death tax forever.
Call Senator George V. Voinovich at 202-224-3353 today and ask them to vote to eliminate the death tax!
Make your voice heard on this important issue. Call Senator George V. Voinovich. Express your support for tax relief and economic opportunity.”
-Email from Ken Mehlman, RNC Chairman, sent September 1, 2005

“Remember how it seemed a little tacky, coming as it did in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane that left hundreds of thousands people homeless? Well, now they’re going to try to show that some of those homeless need help (if they can just find a good example).”

“Federal troops aren't the only ones looking for bodies on the Gulf Coast. On Sept. 9, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions called his old law professor Harold Apolinsky, co-author of Sessions' legislation repealing the federal estate tax, which was encountering sudden resistance on the Hill. Sessions had an idea to revitalize their cause, which he left on Apolinsky's voice mail: ‘[Arizona Sen.] Jon Kyl and I were talking about the estate tax. If we knew anybody that owned a business that lost life in the storm, that would be something we could push back with.’
For now, getting repeal back on the agenda may depend on Apolinsky and his team of estate-sniffing sleuths, who are searching Internet obituaries among other places. Has he found any victims of both the hurricane and the estate tax? ‘Not yet,’ Apolinsky says. ‘But I'm still looking.’"
-Time Magazine, September 17, 2005

“Shameless politicizing of a disaster. What they should be focusing on is the aid, which is having some snafus of its own.”

“Nearly three weeks after Hurricane Katrina cut its devastating path, FEMA - the same federal agency that botched the rescue mission - is faltering in its effort to aid hundreds of thousands of storm victims, local officials, evacuees and top federal relief officials say. The federal aid hot line mentioned by President Bush in his address to the nation on Thursday cannot handle the flood of calls, leaving thousands of people unable to get through for help, day after day.
Federal officials are often unable to give local governments permission to proceed with fundamental tasks to get their towns running again. Most areas in the region still lack federal help centers, the one-stop shopping sites for residents in need of aid for their homes or families. Officials say that they are uncertain whether they can meet the president's goal of providing housing for 100,000 people who are now in shelters by the middle of next month.”
-New York Times, September 17, 2005

“Wow.. Things still seem critical down south. We need someone in charge of reconstruction who knows how to get work done. Someone with enough experience in this kind of thing to understand how to get resources and labor in place to handle the devastation in a timely manner. Someone who can focus on the rebuilding without worrying about the politics. If the people get what they need as quickly as possible, then there shouldn’t be a political concern. We just need a hands-on, get it done kind of guy.”

“Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort, which reaches across many agencies of government and includes the direct involvement of Alphonso R. Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development.”
-New York Times, September 15, 2005

“Please tell me you speak English. I'm Detective Carter. Do you speaka any English? DO-YOU-UNDERSTAND-THE-WORDS-THAT-ARE-COMING-OUT-OF-MY-MOUTH?”
-Detective James Carter, Rush Hour

“And now, for the final word today on the devastation in the south, I give you my third favorite idiot to quote (Dubya and Robertson still are in the lead), Senator Tom ‘I like them implants’ Coburn, and his convenient memory when it comes to the amount of state and local aid already provided.”

“I don't believe that everything that should happen in Louisiana should be paid for by the rest of the country. I believe there are certain responsibilities that are due the people of Louisiana."
-Senator Tom Coburn, September 15, 2005

“Love, Republican Style”

Friday, September 16, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Duck and Cover

“The survey found that 76 percent of the public favors an investigation of federal storm response efforts by an independent commission similar to the one that probed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The proposal drew strong bipartisan support: 64 percent of all Republicans and 83 percent of Democrats favored creating the independent panel.”
-Washington Post, September 12, 2005

“Three out of four Americans polled prefer an independent panel. How do our elected officials react?”

“Senate Republicans on Wednesday scuttled an attempt by Sen. Hillary Clinton to establish an independent, bipartisan panel patterned after the 9/11 Commission to investigate what went wrong with federal, state and local governments' response to Hurricane Katrina.”
-Associated Press, September 14, 2005

“Huh, Why wouldn’t they want an independent investigator to look into this?”

“I as president am responsible for the problem, and for the solution.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, September 16, 2005

“Not the first time they’ve gone out of their way to protect the Administration either..”

“Two U.S. congressional committees on Wednesday rejected Democrat-backed resolutions that would have compelled the Bush administration to turn over records relating to the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee and International Relations Committee, who opposed the resolution, said Congress should await the outcome of a federal investigation by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald.
Democrats countered that Republicans were trying to protect President George W. Bush and his top political adviser, Karl Rove. ‘We know that this is a political decision because there is potential embarrassment to the administration,’ said Massachusetts Democratic Rep. William Delahunt.
The resolutions, rejected in committee votes along party lines, sought to force the departments of Justice and State to turn over all documents related to Plame.”
-Washington Post, September 14, 2005

“You may think that such blatant politics couldn’t possibly be real. You may think they it’s just a bad joke. But it isn’t. The following Quote is a bad joke.”

“Mr. Brown acknowledged that he had been criticized for not ordering a complete evacuation or calling in federal troops sooner. But he said the storm made it hard to communicate and assess the situation.

‘Until you have been there,’ he said, ‘you don't realize it is the middle of a hurricane.’"
-New York Times, September 15, 2005

“My emphasis. Except of course that Brown was being serious. The fact that he was in charge of FEMA is the joke.”

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Body Language

“Its good to see that John Roberts is dealing with some tough grilling in his nomination to the Supreme Court.”

“I just have one other comment. As you have been before our committee, I’ve tried to use my medical skills of observation of body language to ascertain your uncomfortableness and ill at ease with questions and responses.
And I’ve honed that over about 23, 24 years. And the other thing that I believe is integrity is at the basis of what we want in judges .
And I will tell you that I am very pleased, both in my observational capabilities as a physician to know that your answers have been honest and forthright as I watch the rest of your body respond to the stress that you’re under. But I’m also pleased with our president that he’s had the wisdom to pick somebody of such stature and such integrity.”
-Senator Tom Coburn, September 14, 2005

“I wonder if Senator Coburn’s medical power of observation is as good as that of his co-workers? (And how exactly do ‘medical skills of observation’ work? Is it anything like Superman’s x-ray vision?)”

“Some Democrats and doctors criticized [Senator Bill] Frist's March 17 Senate speech in which he said he was commenting on Schiavo's highly publicized case ‘more as a physician than as a United States senator.’
In that speech, Frist said he had reviewed videotapes of Schiavo and noted that her brother ‘said that she responds to her parents and to him. That is not somebody in persistent vegetative state. . . . There just seems to be insufficient information to conclude that Terri Schiavo is [in a] persistent vegetative state.’
‘I question it based on a review of the video footage, which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office here in the Capitol,’ Frist said in the speech. He said his comments were also partly based on a conversation with one of several neurologists who had evaluated Schiavo.”
-Washington Post, June 15, 2005

“Of course, this is the same Tom Coburn whose medical experience also apparently gives him a finer appreciation of women’s breasts.”

“Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), a new member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was at last week's meeting on a bill restricting class-action suits. ‘You know,’ he said, ‘I immediately thought about slicone breast implants and the legal wrangling and the class-action suits off that. And I thought I would just share with you what science says today about silicone breast implants. If you have them, you're healthier than if you don't. That is what the ultimate science shows...In fact, there's no science that shows that silicone breast implants are detrimental and, in fact, they make you healthier.’"
-Washington Post, February 7, 2004

“Of course, Coburn’s thoughts on those Americans who aren’t interested in breasts quite so much is slightly different..”

"The gay community has infiltrated the very centers of power in every area across this country, and they wield extreme power. ... That agenda is the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today. Why do you think we see the rationalization for abortion and multiple sexual partners? That's a gay agenda.'"
–Dr. Tom Coburn, 2004

“There’s a lot of that kind of thinking going around his office though.”

““Michael Schwartz must have thought I was just another attendee of the ‘Confronting the Judicial War on Faith’ conference. I approached the chief of staff of Oklahoma's GOP Senator Tom Coburn outside the conference in downtown Washington last Thursday afternoon after he spoke there. Before I could introduce myself, he turned to me and another observer with a crooked smile and exclaimed, ‘I'm a radical! I'm a real extremist. I don't want to impeach judges. I want to impale them!’"
-Max Blumenthal, The Nation, April 11, 2005

“Yep, just the kind of guy to help ensure a moderate, well balanced Supreme Court.”

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: What, Me Worry?

“What happened was, I said to the president, Mr. President, we can begin to help these victims of Katrina become whole again. First thing you can do is to replace Michael Brown as the head of FEMA. To which the president said, ‘Why would I do that?’ And I said, ‘Because of what happened last week and the failure of FEMA to be the real link between the federal government and the people in need in our country, the social compact’. To which the president said, ‘What didn't go right last week?’”
-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, September 8, 2005

“President Bush, under fire about whether he acted aggressively to help tens of thousands of desperate people left homeless, destitute, and starving by Hurricane Katrina, promised yesterday that he would lead an investigation into ‘what went wrong’ with the government's response and will dispatch Vice President Dick Cheney to 'assess our recovery efforts’ in the region.
But two hours later, Scott McClellan, Bush's press secretary, told reporters the president would simply ‘lead an effort’ in the escalating catastrophe. McClellan was unclear about whether Bush would look into his own actions and vague about when and how the investigation would start, and rejected questions about whether the president should fire anyone responsible for the problems.”
-Boston Globe, September 7, 2005

"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government, and to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility."
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, September 13, 2005

“Now, to tie it all together, let’s look at the picture. He doesn’t think that anything really went wrong, but is willing to investigate himself to find out if he’s to blame, and, should he find out that he did something wrong, he’ll take responsibility for it. This is an odd kind of responsibility though, as it comes with no consequences. I somehow don’t think that Bush will step down from the Presidency if he finds profound failure at the federal level. And since he accepts responsibility, no one under him should, and thus no one needs to be worried about being fired for all of this..”

"I understand there are 10,000 people dead. It's terrible. It's tragic. But in a democracy of 300 million people, over years and years and years, these things happen."
-Jack Burkman, Republican Strategist, on ‘Connected’, MSNBC, September 6, 2005

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: A Culture of Life

"Those who live at the mercy of others deserve our special care and concern. It should be our goal as a nation to build a culture of life, where all Americans are valued, welcomed, and protected..."
-President’s Statement on Terri Schiavo, March 17, 2005

“You know, when the courts made a ruling that took Terri Schiavo off of life support, George Bush flew back from his vacation (the previous one, not his most recent 5-week jaunt) that night to handle the ‘problem’. He reacted quicker to save the ‘life’ of one brain-damaged woman faster than he did to handle an entire city drowning. Some culture. And here is some of the compassion..”

“What I'm hearing which is sort of scary is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them."
-Barbara Bush, September 5, 2005

“U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's visit to Reliant Park this morning offered him a glimpse of what it's like to be living in shelter.

While on the tour with top administration officials from Washington, including U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao and U.S. Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, DeLay stopped to chat with three young boys resting on cots. T
he congressman likened their stay to being at camp and asked, ‘Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?’
They nodded yes, but looked perplexed.”
-Houston Chronicle, September 9, 2005

"We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."
-Rep. Richard Baker, per the Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire, September 8, 2005

“The power elite of New Orleans -- whether they are still in the city or have moved temporarily to enclaves such as Destin, Fla., and Vail, Colo. -- insist the remade city won't simply restore the old order. New Orleans before the flood was burdened by a teeming underclass, substandard schools and a high crime rate. The city has few corporate headquarters.
The new city must be something very different, Mr. Reiss says, with better services and fewer poor people. ‘Those who want to see this city rebuilt want to see it done in a completely different way: demographically, geographically and politically,’ he says. ‘I'm not just speaking for myself here. The way we've been living is not going to happen again, or we're out.’"
-Wall Street Journal, September 8, 2005

“So if all of you poor people would be so nice as to move on, we’d like to change, ‘demographically’ the people in the region. Get rid of that ‘teeming underclass’. If they just happen to be poor and black, well, those are the breaks.”

“Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job."
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, September 2, 2005

“Federal Emergency Management Agency director Mike Brown said Monday he has resigned ‘in the best interest of the agency and best interest of the president,’ three days after losing his onsite command of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.”
-Associated Press, September 12, 2005

“The announcement seemingly came as a surprise to President Bush, who was touring hurricane-ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi.
‘Maybe you know something I don't know. I've been working,’ Bush said when asked by reporters about the news. Bush said he planned to talk with Brown's boss, Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff, from Air Force One on the flight back to Washington.”
-FOX News, September 12, 2005

“President George W. Bush on Monday named David Paulison, a top official in the Homeland Security Department, to replace Michael Brown on an acting basis as head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.”
-Reuters, September 12, 2005

“Wow, Bush was able to find out about a situation, devise a response, prepare it, implement it, and stand up to announce it before the country within hours. If he’d done that a few weeks ago maybe Brown wouldn’t have needed to ‘step down’. That being said, I’m glad he’s gone. He was incompetent. Lets’s meet his replacement..”

“On Tuesday, less than 24 hours after U.S. Fire Administrator David Paulison described a list of useful items, stores in the greater Washington, D.C. area reported a surge in sales of plastic sheeting, duct tape, and other emergency items.
These items, Paulison said, can be helpful after a biological, chemical or radiological attack.”
-CNN, February 11, 2003

“Oh, Duct Tape Guy. The worst part is that he is honestly better than Brown. At least Paulison thinks about what to do in case of a disaster ahead of time. He just thinks that plastic sheeting and duct tape are an appropriate response to a radiological attack. Oh, and caused a mild panic when he said so..”

Monday, September 12, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Full Press Press

“Apparently the media is waking up from their long hibernation.”

“President Bush knew the storm and its consequences had been bad; but he didn't quite realize how bad.

The reality, say several aides who did not wish to be quoted because it might displease the president, did not really sink in until Thursday night. Some White House staffers were watching the evening news and thought the president needed to see the horrific reports coming out of New Orleans. Counselor Bartlett made up a DVD of the newscasts so Bush could see them in their entirety as he flew down to the Gulf Coast the next morning on Air Force One.”
-Newsweek, September 19, 2005 issue

“Um.. the levees broke Monday. No one wanted to break the bad news until Thursday? He really does live in his own little world, doesn’t he?”

“When Hurricane Katrina struck, it appears there was no one to tell President Bush the plain truth: that the state and local governments had been overwhelmed, that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was not up to the job and that the military, the only institution with the resources to cope, couldn't act without a declaration from the president overriding all other authority.”
-Newsweek, September 19, 2005 issue

“A NEWSWEEK reconstruction of the government's response to the storm shows how Bush's leadership style and the bureaucratic culture combined to produce a disaster within a disaster.”
-Newsweek, September 19, 2005 issue

“..here are a number of steps Bush could have taken, short of a full-scale federal takeover, like ordering the military to take over the pitiful and (by now) largely broken emergency communications system throughout the region. But the president, who was in San Diego preparing to give a speech the next day on the war in Iraq, went to bed.”
-Newsweek, September 19, 2005 issue

"... I went to Florida a few days after President Bush did to observe the damage from Hurricane Andrew. I had dealt with a lot of natural disasters as governor, including floods, droughts, and tornadoes, but I had never seen anything like this. I was surprised to hear complaints from both local officials and residents about how the Federal Emergency Management Agency was handling the aftermath of the hurricane. Traditionally, the job of FEMA director was given to a political supporter of the President who wanted some plum position but who had no experience with emergencies. I made a mental note to avoid that mistake if I won. Voters don't chose a President based on how he'll handle disasters, but if they're faced with one themselves, it quickly becomes the most important issue in their lives."
-Bill Clinton, My Life (p. 428)

“Once a kind of petty-cash drawer for congressmen to quickly hand out aid after floods and storms, FEMA had improved in the 1990s in the Clinton administration. But it became a victim of the Iron Law of Unintended Consequences. After 9/11 raised the profile of disaster response, FEMA was folded into the sprawling Department of Homeland Security and effectively weakened. FEMA's boss, Bush's close friend Joe Allbaugh, quit when he lost his cabinet seat.”
-Newsweek, September 19, 2005 issue

“In 2002, a pair of FBI agents showed up at a small, well-known law firm near Oklahoma City, asking questions about Mike Brown, a former employee being considered for a job at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
There, Stephen Jones, a lawyer best known for defending bomber Timothy McVeigh, recalled how he hired Brown fresh from law school two decades earlier. He'd been impressed by Brown's stint on a nearby city council.
But just a few years later, Jones and the other four partners decided to split the firm. To minimize job loss, they unanimously agreed to keep 35 of their 37 employees. Brown was not one of them.
‘He did not develop the way we wanted,’ Jones said this week. ‘He was average. Maybe that's the best way to put it.’
Brown was pleasant enough, if a bit opportunistic, Jones said, but he did not put enough time and energy into his job. ‘He would have been better suited to be a small city or county lawyer,’ he said. Jones was surprised Brown was being considered for job at FEMA but figured it wasn't impossible he could have risen high enough in local and state government to be considered for a job directing FEMA operations in Oklahoma.
The agents quickly corrected him. This was a national post in Washington, deputy director of FEMA, the arm of the federal government that prepares for and responds to disasters around the United States.
Jones looked at the agents, ‘You're surely kidding?’"
-St. Petersburg Times, September 10, 2005

“The denial and the frustration finally collided aboard Air Force One on Friday. As the president's plane sat on the tarmac at New Orleans airport, a confrontation occurred that was described by one participant as ‘as blunt as you can get without the Secret Service getting involved.’ Governor Blanco was there, along with various congressmen and senators and Mayor Nagin.”
-Newsweek, September 19, 2005 issue

“Yep.. Heck of a job you’re doing there Brownie. By the way, in case you missed the nuance of the moment, Brown is still the head of FEMA. The fact that he cannot do his job and has been taken off of the rescue and emergency response efforts in NOLA doesn’t change that. Heck, he’ll probably get a bonus for his hard work. There is nothing that you can do in this administration to make you lose a top position (except, of course, disagreeing with Dubya, but they all know better than that.)”

“Gov. Rick Perry spoke at two private events this week where a Texas minister wondered if God sent Hurricane Katrina to purify the nation of sins, including homosexuality.

The GOP leader didn't object at the gatherings in San Antonio and Houston on Thursday.
Gubernatorial spokesman Robert Black, contacted Friday, said: ‘The governor does not agree with that. But far be it for the governor to try to divine the will of the Almighty.’”
-Austin American Statesman, September 11, 2005

“Someone apparently forgot that Texas just gained about a 100,000 new voters from Louisianna. I hope he realizes it at the next election..”

Friday, September 09, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Irony is Undead

“Because the question is if people know year after year after year a natural disaster occurs in a particular place and people continue to build there and want to live there, should they bear the responsibility of buying insurance or should everyone else bear the responsibility? Good question.”
-Senator Jon Kyl, August 31, 2005

“U.S. Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) today hailed the decision by President Bush to declare the Aspen fire near Mt. Lemmon a disaster area, making the area eligible for federal disaster assistance. Senator Kyl also today contacted the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior to urge them to exempt from time-consuming federal regulations forest treatment projects on more than 15,000 acres of Arizona forests to deter similar catastrophic wildfires.
‘I’m very pleased that federal disaster assistance will be made available to help Mt. Lemmon area residents recover from this horrific fire,’ said Kyl. ‘To help prevent similar catastrophes in the future, an unnecessary legal hurdle should be immediately removed so that the Forest Service can begin immediate treatments on other areas of our state that are at severe risk of fire.’”
-Press Release by Senator John Kyl, July 11, 2003

“Well, unless people don’t realize that forests tend to burn in the dry Arizona environment occasionally, I think that I’ll have to call Senator Kyl a terrible hypocrite. Amazing how help is only expected when the disaster happens in your own backyard.”

"You have people who don't heed those warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings. There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving."
-Senator Rick Santorum, September 5, 2005

“Bigger consequences than losing everything you’ve spent your entire life working for? What, you want to hit them in the forehead with a hammer too? Can’t think of much else other than physically harming them that you could do. The poor people of New Orleans trusted the government to take care of them if they couldn’t get out (20% of the households of NO had no cars, twice the national average, and the poverty rate in the region is high). You’re right.. Trusting the government to take care of its citizens was a problem, and now they have to deal with the consequences. We can’t just go wasting money on people who insist on staying in flood zones.”

"The $10 million we have secured is critical to ensure that the people of northeastern Pennsylvania will never lose their homes again due to devastating floods. The floods in 1996 and Hurricane Agnes in 1972 have forced the people of the Wyoming Valley to rebuild their lives, homes and families not once but twice. The funding to build new levees and floodwalls, modify closure structures and relocate utilities offers reassurance to the people of the Wyoming Valley that they will never again have to endure the hardship of flood devastation."
-Senator Rick Santorum, Press Release, July 17, 2003

“Meanwhile, in Washington D.C., the Pentagon is spending a little dough this weekend on a short hike and country music concert that they’d like to tell you about..”

“The march, sponsored by the Department of Defense, will wend its way from the Pentagon to the Mall along a route that has not been specified but will be lined with four-foot-high snow fencing to keep it closed and ‘sterile,’ said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense. The U.S. Park Police will have its entire Washington force of several hundred on duty and along the route, on foot, horseback and motorcycles and monitoring from above by helicopter. Officers are prepared to arrest anyone who joins the march or concert without a credential and refuses to leave, said Park Police Chief Dwight E. Pettiford. What's unusual for an event on the Mall is the combination of fences, required preregistration and the threat of arrest.
One restricted group will be the media, whose members will not be allowed to walk along the march route. Reporters and cameras are restricted to three enclosed areas along the route but are not permitted to walk alongside participants walking from the Pentagon, across the Memorial Bridge to the Mall.
-Washington Post, September 9, 2005

“And what is the name of this march you might ask? Why, the Freedom Walk of course! I occasionally get the feeling that Karl Rove is using 1984 as a guidebook.”

"The age of irony is dead. "
-Graydon Carter, after 9/11

“Perhaps, but if so its corpse has risen from the dead with an unquenchable hunger for brains and is currently terrorizing the village down the street.”

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: The Full Press

“Bush cut short his vacation by two days last week to return to Washington.”
-Associated Press, September 7, 2005

“Yep. He had to quit his vacation a mere 3 days after the disaster after only 4 ½ weeks of time off. Poor bastich. We should do something nice for him. How about eliminating the death tax? That way when Poppy dies he won’t be left with only one of the smaller mansions. Oh, and let’s not allow those pesky reporters in to New Orleans. They’ll probably want to talk about the thousands upon thousands dead and the devastation and stuff like that. That would look bad. I mean, don’t these people realize that the wealthy have suffered too?”

''The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house, and I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch."
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, September 2, 2005

“So let’s all just agree to not show the devastation and ruined lives. This war.. oops, I mean disaster.. will play better at home if we can avoid all showing what happened because of the bad planning. I mean, that idea has worked for us swimmingly in Iraq. This is the same thing, right? Dang, where’s a missing white woman when you need one?”

“When U.S. officials asked the media not to take pictures of those killed by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, they were censoring a key part of the disaster story, free speech watchdogs said on Wednesday.
The move by the Federal Emergency Management Agency is in line with the Bush administration's ban on images of flag-draped U.S. military coffins returning from the Iraq war, media monitors said in separate telephone interviews.
‘It's impossible for me to imagine how you report a story whose subject is death without allowing the public to see images of the subject of the story,’ said Larry Siems of the PEN American Center, an authors' group that defends free expression.”
-Reuters, September 7, 2005

“At first the evidence was scattered and anecdotal. But now it's pretty clear that a key aim of the Bush administration's takeover of the NOLA situation is to cut off press access to report the story.
First, there were the FEMA orders barring members of the press from photographing anything to do with the recovery of the bodies of the dead.
Perhaps there could be guidelines about photographs which in any way clearly identified the deceased. No one wants to get first confirmation of the death of a loved one by seeing their body on the nightly news. But a blanket ban serves only to prevent the public from knowing what really happened last week. And the right of FEMA or any branch of the federal government for that matter to issue such a ban on American soil seems highly dubious to me. It's one thing with military casualties: the military operates under its own legal code and not under normal civilian rules. But this is happening on American soil. This isn't a war zone. Nor is it any longer a situation where police or National Guard troops are in the midst of retaking control from mobs or looters. This is a recovery from a natural disaster.”
-Joshua Marshall, September 7, 2005

“While we were attempting to take pictures of the National Guard (a unit from Oklahoma) taking up positions outside a Brooks Brothers on the edge of the Quarter, the sergeant ordered us to the other side of the boulevard. The short version is: there won't be any pictures of this particular group of guard soldiers on our newscast tonight. Rules (or I suspect in this case an order on a whim) like those do not HELP the palpable feeling that this area is somehow separate from the United States.
At that same fire scene, a police officer from out of town raised the muzzle of her weapon and aimed it at members of the media... obvious members of the media... armed only with notepads. Her actions (apparently because she thought reporters were encroaching on the scene) were over the top and she was told. There are automatic weapons and shotguns everywhere you look. It's a stance that perhaps would have been appropriate during the open lawlessness that has long since ended on most of these streets. Someone else points out on television as I post this: the fact that the National Guard now bars entry (by journalists) to the very places where people last week were barred from LEAVING (The Convention Center and Superdome) is a kind of perverse and perfectly backward postscript to this awful chapter in American history.”
-Brian Williams, NBC Nightly News: The Daily Nightly, September 7, 2005

“And now, the suitably ironic ending.”

“We love our freedoms, we hold them dear, and we're willing to defend them. We love freedom to speak, we love freedom to assemble, we love freedom of the press. We love those freedoms.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, September 5, 2002

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