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Four Color Politics

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

Friday, June 29, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Executive Privileges

“White House counsel Fred F. Fielding said in a letter to the chairmen of the Senate and House judiciary committees that President Bush will not make available the requested documents or permit testimony by two former senior aides about White House and Justice Department calculations in the firing of nine federal prosecutors.”
-Washington Post, June 28, 2007

“But, but, but.. There is nothing to hide. It was all legal and above-board. Executive privilege regarding the testimony of former employees? Has that ever been done before?”


“Q I take it the President's assertion of executive privilege does not cover Miers and Taylor testifying? Or is he saying that it does -- since they've left the executive branch?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Oh, thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify that. The position stated in this letter and in this exercise of executive privilege is only with regard and in regard to documents; that's the only thing at instant issue.
However, the President has advised that he would exercise executive privilege in regard to the testimony of both of those individuals if it gets to that point and the subpoenas are not withdrawn and they're still (inaudible) at the time they're due. The fact that they are no longer present employees has nothing to do with the principle of executive privilege and the information protection that that affords.
Q Can you give us some background on precedent on that? Have there been other examples where people who have left government have complied with a presidential order not to testify because of executive privilege?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I'm sure we could provide that for you. I'm searching right now, I'm looking across the table. Does anybody have one -- yes.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: In, I believe, the early 1950s, material was sought from the Eisenhower administration pertaining to conduct at State in the Truman administration. And former -- then former President Truman, himself, wrote a letter objecting to the attempt to obtain such material, and it was resolved, I believe, without turning anything over.
Q That's documents, not people, right?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Don't know the answer to that, I think that's right.”
-Press Gaggle with a ‘Senior Administration Official’, June 28, 2007

“So the President is claiming that anything having to do with information that he may have heard people tell him is covered by executive privilege, correct?”

“Q For any of you, I have a question about -- as a non-legal scholar. My understanding is the evolution of the law, the executive privilege, that there are basically two forms of privilege that a president can claim. And I wanted to clarify: Is the President saying, by doing this, that he himself personally was in receipt of advice about the U.S. Attorney firings, and that's why he's invoking the privilege? The documents went to him; that his staff provided him with advice, and that's what he's protecting.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Oh no, no, that would be a misconstruction of the breadth of the executive privilege. What is related -- deliberations, formulation of advice, performance of executive branch duties consistent with the President's constitutional obligations.
Q So he is still maintaining that he had nothing to do with the actual discussions between White House staff, meaning Ms. Miers and Sara Taylor and the Justice Department related to the Attorney firings; that he had no direct involvement.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, there's no change in our prior position at all.

Q But that is -- the way I've stated it is correct?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, state it again. I'm going to make sure -- I don't have a transcript.
Q Maybe you should get one. That would help. No -- in this case, the President is saying that he had nothing to do, directly himself, with receiving advice about the firing of the U.S. Attorneys and approving the list or adjusting the list. Just because Ms. Miers or Ms. Taylor or Scott Jennings appeared in emails with DOJ discussing that, he is asserting that there is no involvement; his personal involvement did not engage in those discussions.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: He has no personal involvement. Our position has never been any different than that.”
-Press Gaggle with a ‘Senior Administration Official’, June 28, 2007

“Oh.. So really he is saying that any intelligence that may have been used in the executive branch, whether or not he had anything to do with it, is covered by executive privilege. Luckily there is very little intelligence used by the executive branch in this administration.
You know, some of this stuff sounds kind of familiar.”

“The statements from all sides yesterday called to mind the harsh rhetoric in Washington heard at the height of the Watergate scandal.
‘This is a further shift by the Bush administration into Nixonian stonewalling and more evidence of their disdain for our system of checks and balances,’ said Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. ‘Increasingly, the president and vice president feel they are above the law.’"
-Washington Post, June 28, 2007

“Nixon? Really? Nah, can’t be. I mean Bush has said that he would allow people to speak, just as long as they respect his reasonable suggestions.”

“Bush has offered to make Rove and other senior aides, including former White House counsel Harriet E. Miers, available for private interviews, but he has refused to allow a transcript to be made of those sessions and said they could not be conducted under oath.”
-Washington Post, June 28, 2007

“See? As long as they can lie without any chance of evidence proving it they can testify. And believe me.. Fearless Leader wants some of what Harriet Miers knows to make it out to the general public..”

"’You are the best governor ever - deserving of great respect,’ Harriet E. Miers wrote to George W. Bush days after his 51st birthday in July 1997. She also found him ‘cool,’ said he and his wife, Laura, were ‘the greatest!’ and told him: ‘Keep up the great work. Texas is blessed.’"
-New York Times, October 10, 2005

“So trust me, this is nothing at all like Watergate.”

“A key question, Sunstein said, is whether executive privilege covers only a president, as the Supreme Court ruled in a 1974 case that required President Richard M. Nixon to turn over private tape recordings during the Watergate investigation.”
-Washington Post, June 28, 2007

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Getting Ahead in Iraq

“Bad news in Iraq. Apparently the three month death toll of U.S. troops is at an all time high.”

“The violence is also causing American deaths. U.S. military officials said a soldier was killed during combat operations Wednesday when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle in eastern Baghdad. Four soldiers were injured. On Tuesday, a Marine was killed in combat in al-Anbar Province west of the capital, the military reported Wednesday.
Those deaths brought to 92 the number of U.S. troops killed so far in June. There have been 322 U.S. casualties in Iraq since the beginning of April, making the last three months the most deadly period for U.S. forces since the war began in March 2003.”
-Washington Post, June 28, 2007

“Our allies aren’t feeling that good about things either.”

“Three British soldiers have been killed and another seriously injured by a roadside bomb after they dismounted from their armoured patrol in southern Iraq.”
-Guardian Unlimited (UK), June 28, 2007

“And the Iraqis caught in the middle of the fighting are getting a little beaten up.”

“A massive car bomb exploded at a street-side bus depot during Baghdad's Thursday morning rush hour, killing at least 22 people and wounding more than 40 others in a tremendous explosion that set fire to scores of vehicles, Iraqi police said.
Arabia TV showed a huge crater in the street where the car bomb exploded. The Associated Press reported that as many as 40 empty minibuses were incinerated in the blast and subsequent fires.
The attack followed a late-night car bombing on Wednesday that killed at least 14 people near a major Shiite shrine in the Kadhimiya neighborhood in northern Baghdad, police reported.”
-Washington Post, June 28, 2007

“But we need to look on the bright side. Sure there are problems with the Shiites and the Sunni, but the Kurds are much, much better off than they were under Saddam.”

“The head of Turkey’s powerful armed forces reaffirmed on Wednesday his view that a cross-border operation into northern Iraq was needed to crush Kurdish rebels based there.”
-Daily Times (Pakistan), June 28, 2007

“Um.. For now.
Despite all of this, America sees progress…”

“America's second-ranking diplomat in Iraq predicted progress by fall on bringing together Iraq's feuding factions as violence claimed more lives yesterday, including 14 people killed in a late-night car bombing near a Shi'ite shrine in the capital.
In all, at least 60 Iraqis were killed or found dead across the country, most of them in the Baghdad area, according to police reports. Also yesterday, one American soldier was killed and four were wounded in a roadside bombing in east Baghdad, the US command said.”
-Associated Press, June 28, 2007

“…and you should never forget that we are working hard there to re-build the country and create new infrastructure.”

“One of Baqouba's main thoroughfares is so packed with IEDs that the U.S. military is considering declaring it ‘irrevocably mined,’ said Col. Steve Townsend, commander of the Army's 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.
U.S. forces would then build their own road - right alongside the mined one - and guard it 24 hours a day, said Townsend, 47, from Griffin, Ga.
On May 6, a deep-buried IED killed six U.S. soldiers from Townsend's brigade serving in Baqouba, along with a Russian photographer embedded with them. The blast flipped their Stryker vehicle -- an eight-wheeled, 37,000-pound troop carrier -- upside down and tore out the interior, killing everyone inside except the driver.”
-Associated Press, June 27, 2007

“Just remember that rebuilding a country takes time. We definitely shouldn’t lose our heads about all of this.”

“Twenty beheaded bodies were discovered Thursday on the banks of the Tigris River southeast of Baghdad, while a parked car bomb killed another 20 people in one of the capital’s busy outdoor bus stations, police said.”
-Associated Press, June 28, 2007

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Fighting On Both Fronts

“Ok.. I was wrong. I admit it. I thought that this strategy…”

“The US military has embarked on a new and risky strategy in Iraq by arming Sunni insurgents in the hope that they will tackle the extremist al-Qaida in Iraq.
The US high command this month gave permission to its officers on the ground to negotiate arms deals with local leaders. Arms, ammunition, body armour and other equipment, as well as cash, pick-up trucks and fuel, have already been handed over in return for promises to turn on al-Qaida and not attack US troops.”
-Guardian (UK), June 12, 2007

“Ali Hatem Ali Suleiman, a leader of the Sunni Dulaimi tribe who works in Anbar and Baghdad, said many of the fighters in Amiriyah belong to the Islamic Army, which includes former officers from Saddam Hussein's military and is more secular than other insurgent groups. The fighters have been organized and encouraged by local imams.”
-Washington Post, June 9, 2007

“…was going to be dangerous to the U.S. troops since we are basically, you know, arming the enemy. It turns out that it was more dangerous for the Sunni insurgents.”

“More than two years ago, Sheik Fasal al Gaood approached the U.S. military with what was then an unprecedented offer: His tribesmen were prepared to help American troops rout insurgents linked to al Qaida from Anbar province in western Iraq.

But the Sunni Muslim tribal leader and former provincial governor met one rebuff after another from American officers, he told McClatchy Newspapers at the time. Discouraged and angry, he warned that U.S. officers risked losing him as an ally.
The Americans eventually came around, and al Gaood renewed his offer. He helped turn some of Anbar's most prominent Sunni tribes into a force in the war against al Qaida's followers. That high-stakes partnership may have cost him his life: Al Gaood and 11 other Iraqis were killed Monday in a bombing at a Baghdad hotel where tribal sheiks who've joined forces with the U.S. were scheduled to meet.”
-McClatchy Newspapers, June 25, 2007

“So I think that that strategy is probably now ‘non-operable’. Meanwhile, back on the homefront..”

“A federal judge chastised the Interior Department's former No. 2 official and doubled his proposed prison term to 10 months Tuesday for lying to senators in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal and making excuses about it in court.
J. Steven Griles was the department's deputy secretary and is the highest administration official sentenced in the probe. He pleaded guilty to obstructing a congressional investigation, but on Tuesday his lawyers tried to deflect blame for his faulty testimony.”
-New York Times, June 26, 2007

“Obstruction again.. So strange. Let’s see.. That gives us criminals in the Interior Department (Griles) and the Office of the Vice President (Libby) with a major scandal still underway in the Justice Department (Gonzales). It just goes to prove that while Fearless Leader’s Administration seems criminal and incompetent in it’s waging of the Iraq war and in international relations, it is also criminal and incompetent in dealing with internal matters. Good to know.
And now for something completely different.”

“Human-animal hybrid embryos conceived in the laboratory - so-called ‘chimeras’ - should be regarded as human and their mothers should be allowed to give birth to them, the Roman Catholic Church said yesterday.

Under draft Government legislation to be debated by Parliament later this year, scientists will be given permission for the first time to create such embryos for research as long as they destroy them within two weeks.
But the Catholic bishops of England and Wales, in a submission to the Parliamentary joint committee scrutinising the draft legislation, said that the genetic mothers of ‘chimeras’ should be able to raise them as their own children if they wished.
The bishops said that they did not see why these ‘interspecies’ embryos should be treated any differently than others.”
-Telegraph (UK), June 27, 2007

“Rosemary Woodhouse: What have you done to him? What have you done to his eyes, you maniacs!

Roman Castevet: He has his father's eyes.”
-Rosemary’s Baby

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Beaten With the Executive Branch

“Alright.. The peace, love and joy brought of Comfest is now over (though we remain in the Festivus season until after the DooDah parade), so how is the rest of the world been doing in my absence? Surprisingly, it turns out that all of those social studies and civics classes I took in school were wrong..”

“Q Dana, as long as we're talking about branches of government, can you go back to Vice President Cheney again, the argument that he's not part of the executive branch. Does the President believe he's part of the executive branch?
MS. PERINO: I think that that is an interesting constitutional question, and I think that lots of people can debate it. I think when we were talking about the EO from last week, we've gone over that several times. You probably don't want me to go over it again. But the Vice President -- any Vice President has legislative and executive functions. “
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesperson Dana Perino, June 25, 2007

“Huh? What the heck? Since when was there any question about whether the Vice President was a part of the executive branch? We only have three branches.. It should be pretty easy to figure out where he fits..”

“The Oversight Committee has learned that over the objections of the National Archives, Vice President Cheney exempted his office from the presidential order that establishes government-wide procedures for safeguarding classified national security information. The Vice President asserts that his office is not an ‘entity within the executive branch.’
As described in a letter from Chairman Waxman to the Vice President, the National Archives protested the Vice President’s position in letters written in June 2006 and August 2006. When these letters were ignored, the National Archives wrote to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in January 2007 to seek a resolution of the impasse. The Vice President’s staff responded by seeking to abolish the agency within the Archives that is responsible for implementing the President’s executive order.”
-House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, June 21, 2007

“Ah.. so Cheney claims that he was exempted from the requirement to allow the National Archives to keep track of all of the classified, etc, information in his office because he really isn’t in the executive branch of the government after all. I can’t think of why that would cause any concern.”

"Today's resignation by his chief of staff does not take the heat off the attorney general. It raises it," Schumer said. ‘Kyle Sampson will not become the next Scooter Libby, the next fall guy.’
Libby is Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, convicted of misleading the grand jury investigating the leak of the identity of a CIA agent.
And Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said senators plan to look into how language ended up in the Patriot Act that allowed the Attorney General to replace the federal prosecutors.
The provision was added to the Patriot Act renewal while staffers were working out differences in the versions of the bills that had passed the House and the Senate. Brett Tolman, now the U.S. Attorney for Utah, was then Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter's staffer handling the issue and added it at the request of the Justice Department, Specter said at a hearing last month.”
-Salt Lake Tribune, March 13, 2007

“But how can they argue this one with a straight face? After so many arguments that they have ‘executive privilege’ doesn’t it seem a little.. insane.. to now claim that he isn’t a part of the executive branch?”

“Q But, Dana, how could the Vice President, earlier in the administration, argue he didn't have to turn over records about the energy task force, for example, because he was a member of the executive branch? He clearly stated that.
MS. PERINO: You could ask the Supreme Court who ruled in his favor.
Q But he did not say, I'm a member of the legislative branch, as well, so I don't have to -- I mean, he clearly stated that there was strong executive power and he didn't have to turn over these records. Now, when it suits his interest, he seems to be saying a different legal argument.
MS. PERINO: Look, I'm not a legal scholar and there's plenty of them that you can find in Washington, D.C. But just that very point that you're making there shows that he has functions in both the executive branch and the legislative branch.
Q But he didn't mention those functions -- dual functions in the early legal arguments at the beginning of the administration. He only used the executive branch arguments.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesperson Dana Perino, June 25, 2007

“Apparently no, they cannot argue this with a straight face, and it looks like this could be something for the press to have some fun with..”

“Q Can you send someone out here who can? You're stonewalling. Is the President a member of the executive branch? Is he answerable to any law, to any executive order? I mean, what is this? What's going on here?
MS. PERINO: Helen, the President, of course, is head of the executive branch.
Q Any accountability to the American people?
MS. PERINO: Absolutely.
Q Does the Vice President see top secrets in this administration as a member of the executive branch? Does he attend NSC meetings?
MS. PERINO: In his executive duties, as discharged by the President, he does see classified materials, yes.
Q And he is allowed to?
MS. PERINO: Victoria, go ahead.
Q We should get someone out here who can answer our questions.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesperson Dana Perino, June 25, 2007

“I get the feeling we may see some more of this story..”

Quotes of the Morning: Ooo Baby.. Welcome to Comfest

Sorry this wasn't actually posted Friday.. Comfest started Friday, and I sent the Quotes out early. Didn't want to give it away to those who read the blog (all 3 of you)

“Comfest is here, and with it a little news from the Quotes of the Morning…
Tremble ye heavens and quake with fear all ye gods of Valhalla. The divine and somewhat exhausted Mrs. Skippy doth be officially knocked up. We have rounded the first trimester and are now heading into the long (and ever expanding) run towards a roughly New Year’s baby.
Despite numerous medical issues (and my having given up all hope of having one the old fashioned way), it happened. That sound you hear in the distance is the seventh seal being opened.
Unless something goes wrong.. I’m going to be a father!”

“Bethany: Well, I am the last Scion.

Metatron: Actually, you WERE the last Scion. Now this
[puts his hand on Bethany's stomach]
Metatron: is the last Scion.
Bethany: You mean, I'm pregnant?”

“Havin' my baby

What a lovely way of sayin'
How much you love me
Havin' my baby
What a lovely way of sayin'
What you're thinkin' of me
I can see it, face is glowin'
I can see in your eyes
I'm happy you know it”
-Paul Anka, Having My Baby

“Happy ComFest everyone. It is shaping up to be a wonderful year. The Quotes of the Morning will return next Tuesday once I have a chance to sober up.”

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Comfest is at T-1. Comfest Eve!

“Tonight is Comfest Eve. The tie-dye stockings have been hung and bowls of beer have been left for St. Jerry when he visits all of the good hippies’ houses tonight leaving Comfest love and empty bowls. Six stages of free live music in the largest all-volunteer festival in the country. It is beautiful. It is wonderful. It is Comfest.”

“Homer : Hey who invited the hippy?

Lisa : I did. You owe them for the eco fraud.
Homer : Alright, but I am NOT saving the rain forest.”

“This is more important than the ideals that our Hippy forefathers refused to go to war and die for.”
-Homer Simpson

“If I'm gonna be a real hippy, I have to learn from the master. Mr. Bob Flower-Child Hope.”
-Homer Simpson

“Homer: I don't have the discipline to be a hippie.

Marge : Does this mean you are going to shower again?
Homer : ... perhaps ... in time.”

"Ah, beer, my one weakness. My Achilles’ heel, if you will."
-Homer Simpson

"Ah, good ol' trustworthy beer. My love for you will never die."
-Homer Simpson

"Now, son, you don't want to drink beer. That's for daddies and kids with fake IDs."
-Homer Simpson

"Me lose brain? Uh, oh! Ha ha ha! Why I laugh?"
-Homer Simpson

“Also, this weekend (and frequently overlapping with Comfest) is Columbus’ Pride celebration, with the second best parade in the city taking place Saturday afternoon..”

“I like my beer cold, my TV loud and my homosexuals flaming.”
-Homer Simpson

“God bless us.. Every one. Please stay tuned to this space tomorrow for an important announcement..”

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Comfest is at T-2

“It is nearly there. Tomorrow is Comfest Eve, when people leave bowls of beer on their porches in hopes that St. Jerry will come and tie dye their shirts in the night. Love and music are in the air, and I feel the peace and harmony that only comes from knowing that soon I will be surrounded by my once-a-year friends and family.
Goddess bless us, every one.”

“I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me.”
-Hunter Thompson

“Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas ... with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether.”
-Hunter S. Thompson

"Alcohol and marijuana, if used in moderation, plus loud, usually low-class music, make stress and boredom infinitely more bearable."
-Kurt Vonnegut

“At this point I would like to emphasize that the Quotes of the Morning do not endorse, condone, approve or anything similar the use of illicit narcotics. I just don’t feel that it is right for me to edit Hunter Thompson or Vonnegut. I’m arrogant, but not that arrogant. Please remember what our hippie forefathers said…”

“Stay away from needle drugs. Richard Nixon is the only dope worth shooting.”
-Abbie Hoffman

“Words to live by (though you might want to update it somewhat). No, I believe in a simpler way..”

"Here's to alcohol: The source of, and answer to, all of life's problems."
-Homer Simpson

“And as a great man once said..”

“Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
-Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Comfest is at T-3

“I can hear it far off in the distance… A beautiful music I remember from my youth with melodies that draw me back to a purer, simpler time when the troubles of existence were not mine to bear and the pain and suffering caused by this weary world seemed so far away.. Wait a minute.. Is that Freebird? Aw heck, just Comfest again!
Come out, come out you long haired hippy people. The holidays are upon us. Comfest is at T-3.”

“My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.”
-Martin Luther

"Without music life would be a mistake."
-Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

“My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.”
-Vladamir Nabokov

“I like ideas about the breaking away or overthrowing of established order. I am interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos, especially activity that seems to have no meaning. It seems to me to be the road towards freedom - external freedom is a way to bring about internal freedom.”
-Jim Morrison

“One thing I can tell you is you’ve got to be free..”
-John Lennon, Come Together

"God bless those pagans."
-Homer Simpson

Monday, June 18, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Comfest at T-4

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
-Hunter Thompson

“I think I should have no other mortal wants, if I could always have plenty of music. It seems to infuse strength into my limbs and ideas into my brain. Life seems to go on without effort, when I am filled with music.”
-George Eliot

“Hell is full of musical amateurs: music is the brandy of the damned.”
-George Bernard Shaw

“Everybody should be able to make some music...That's the cosmic dance!”
-Maude, Harold & Maude

“There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when he was an old man, to learn music and dancing, and thought it time well spent.”
-Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)

“That’s right people. Comfest is a mere four days away. As you read this somewhere the official Comfest mugs are already made and ready to be filled with sweet, sweet beer. Three days of free live music and fascinating people. Be there or your soul may die a slow and lingering death. You have been warned.
Now I just need to figure out how to make it all the way to Friday…”

"All right, brain. You don't like me and I don't like you, but let's just do this and I can get back to killing you with beer."
-Homer Simpson

Friday, June 15, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: A Win Win Situation

“U.S. officials tell ABC News that the troop levels in Iraq cannot be maintained at the present level, either politically or practically, with the military stretched so thin.
But that does not imply an immediate drawdown. Officials tell ABC's Martha Raddatz the senior commanders in Iraq -- Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno and Gen. David Petraeus -- want the surge to continue until at least December, and expect to report enough progress by September to justify the extension.”
-ABC News, June 1, 2007

“There is going to be progress by September! The surge is working! Even three or four months before the report General Petraeus can already tell that this is going to be a success.”

“Violence increased throughout much of Iraq in recent months, despite a security crackdown in Baghdad that at least temporarily reduced sectarian killings there, according to a quarterly assessment of security conditions issued Wednesday by the Pentagon.
The report, which analyzed data from February through early May, said it was too early to say whether the security effort in Baghdad would achieve lasting security gains. And it described in more detail than officials had until now how security conditions in other parts of the country had worsened when American and Iraqi forces shifted in large numbers into the capital.
Although precise data are not included in the report, attacks on civilians and Iraqi and American troops increased by 2 percent from the previous quarter, the report said. The average number of attacks has exceeded 1,000 per week since the beginning of this year through early May, the highest level since the American invasion in 2003, it said.
Even the decrease in violence in Baghdad may be temporary, the report noted. Gen. David H. Petraeus and other American commanders have recently confirmed that the number of sectarian killings in Baghdad, while still below levels seen last year, has begun climbing again.”
-New York Times, June 14, 2007

“Um.. Violence is on the upswing again in Baghdad despite the new troops and has never really reduced overall in Iraq. How can that be a success?”

“Q Let me follow on that, because I think some American officials have called this an act of desperation. And I’m wondering how this is seen as an act of desperation. Does that mean that the terrorists are so concerned that they’re sort of being shut down, and that the surge is so effective that they’re now desperate to make a statement?
MR. SNOW: Well, I think, again — a couple of things. It does fit a pattern that we see throughout the region, which is that when you see things moving towards success, or when you see signs of success, that there are acts of violence. We saw that, certainly — we’ve seen that in Lebanon, once again, today, tragically. We also saw it earlier in Lebanon. We have seen it on a number of occasions where, when Israel and the Palestinians seem to be getting close to a deal, there are kidnapings and acts of violence.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Tony Snow, June 13, 2007

“Ah. Now I understand. If violence goes down, that means that we are winning and the surge is successful. If violence goes up, that means that the insurgents are desperate, and so the surge is successful. Hey, this is easy. Now I see how General Petraeus can be so sure of what his report will be!
And now onto happier news.. ComFest is now at T minus one week. It begins next Friday. Break out your tie-dye. Find your bongo drums. The holiday season is rapidly approaching. You have been warned.”

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: The Enemy of My Enemy

“Hey, guess what? We have a new strategy again!”

“The US military has embarked on a new and risky strategy in Iraq by arming Sunni insurgents in the hope that they will tackle the extremist al-Qaida in Iraq.
The US high command this month gave permission to its officers on the ground to negotiate arms deals with local leaders. Arms, ammunition, body armour and other equipment, as well as cash, pick-up trucks and fuel, have already been handed over in return for promises to turn on al-Qaida and not attack US troops.”
-Guardian (UK), June 12, 2007

“We’re going to arm the Sunni insurgents and hope that they attack al-Qaida instead of us.. Brilliant!”

"’This is a defining moment for us,’ said Kuehl, who commands the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, attached to the 1st Infantry Division.
But aligning Americans with fighters whose long-term agenda remains unclear -- with regard to either Americans or the Shiite-led government -- is also a strategy born of desperation. It contradicts repeated declarations by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that no groups besides the Iraqi and American security forces are allowed to bear arms. And some American soldiers worry that standing up a Sunni militia could have dire consequences if the group turns on its U.S. partners.
‘We have made a deal with the devil,’ said an intelligence officer in the battalion.
-Washington Post, June 9, 2007

“Sure, it may not seem too bright, but the people that we are arming are all highly trained military professionals.”

“Ali Hatem Ali Suleiman, a leader of the Sunni Dulaimi tribe who works in Anbar and Baghdad, said many of the fighters in Amiriyah belong to the Islamic Army, which includes former officers from Saddam Hussein's military and is more secular than other insurgent groups. The fighters have been organized and encouraged by local imams.”
-Washington Post, June 9, 2007

“See? They’re more secular than the other insurgent groups. They’re cut from the same cloth as our old friend Saddam Hussein (the guy that we armed during his war with Iran), so we have a good history with these guys and know what to expect. Plus, they promise that they won’t come after us..”

“Let’s be honest, the enemy now is not the Americans, for the time being.”
-Ali Hatem Ali Suleiman, Sunni militia leader

“…yet. Still, I’m sure that this will work out better than Saddam did when we armed him to fight against Iran, or Osama when we armed him to fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan.”

“What, me worry?”
-Alfred E. Newman

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: No Respect

“Poor Fearless Leader. These days, with his record of failures in Iraq, Afghanistan, New Orleans, and just about everywhere he’s ever been.. Well, he’s not getting a lot of respect.”

“IF YOU believe the old adage that you are what you eat, it is not surprising America's current president seems artificial, bland, insipid and rather unsubstantial. The man who cooked President George W Bush's breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the first four years of his presidency reveals in a new book that the most powerful man in the world likes no more than a cheap processed cheese sandwich for lunch.
‘Kraft singles on white bread was one of this President's most requested lunch items,’ says Walter Scheib, who, from 1994 until he was sacked by Laura Bush in early 2005, was Executive Chef at the White House.”
-Sunday Herald, May 21, 2007

“Last week I told my psychiatrist, ‘I keep thinking about suicide.’ He told me from now on I have to pay in advance.”
-Rodney Dangerfield

“I come from a stupid family. During the Civil War my great uncle fought for the west!”
-Rodney Dangerfield

“Nature apparently isn’t too fond of him either..”

“President Bush found himself the unintentional target of a bird on Thursday, during a press conference at the White House Rose Garden.

The president was participating in a question and answer session with members of the media when he was hit by some droppings from a bird flying overhead. The president was listening to a question when the droppings landed on his left arm.
Moments later, President Bush noticed the droppings and tried to wipe it off – with limited success.”
-KUTV, May 25, 2007

“I could tell that my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio.”
-Rodney Dangerfield

“I met the surgeon general. He offered me a cigarette.”
-Rodney Dangerfield

“And other countries?”

“One moment President George W. Bush was glad-handing Albanians on Sunday, proudly sporting a watch with a dark strap on his left wrist. Moments later, it was gone.
Did it fall off? Did one of his bodyguards remove it? Or did one of the crowd artfully slip it off his wrist and pocket it?
The United States Embassy in Albania on Tuesday emphatically denied that Bush's watch was stolen during his visit to the country, where he was acclaimed as a hero.
The Albanian media — and international Web sites — is buzzing with video showing Bush's wrist watch apparently disappearing while he was shaking hands with people in Fushe Kruje, 15 miles north of Tirana.
‘What the local media is saying is absolutely not true,’ an embassy official, who declined to be named, said.
People waiting on the sidewalks Sunday gave Bush a rapturous welcome, shaking hands with him, grabbing him by the arms and wrists, reaching out to embrace him and even ruffling his hair.
Bush was clearly delighted by the attention and plunged back into the crowd for more hand shaking and to be kissed on the cheek.”
-Associated Press, June 12, 2007

“I'll tell ya, my wife and I, we don't think alike. She donates money to the homeless, and I donate money to the topless!”
-Rodney Dangerfield

My marriage is on the rocks again. Yeah, my wife just broke up with her boyfriend.
-Rodney Dangerfield

“Having watched the video.. They stole his watch. Right off of his arm. Apparently the Administration can’t tell the truth about anything.
As a second point… Can you imagine Fearless Leader doing this in any public event in the United States? Letting people grab him? Embrace him? Ruffle his hair? Maybe there is a reason or two why he doesn’t get any respect.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: He Hit the Trifecta!

“Yesterday was another bad day for Fearless Leader. First, the courts told him that he apparently he NOT king after all.”

“The Bush administration cannot use new anti-terrorism laws to keep U.S. residents locked up indefinitely without charging them, a divided federal appeals court said Monday.
The ruling was a harsh rebuke of one of the central tools the administration believes it has to combat terror.
‘To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, even if the president calls them ‘enemy combatants,’ would have disastrous consequences for the Constitution — and the country,’ the court panel said.”
-Associated Press, June 11, 2007

“Then his first war had a bad day.”

“U.S. forces mistakenly killed seven Afghan police and wounded four in an apparent friendly fire incident early Tuesday in eastern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said.
“Police manning a remote checkpoint in Nangarhar province said an American convoy backed by helicopters approached and opened fire despite their protests and calls for them to stop.”
-Associated Press, June 12, 2007

“And finally, the insurgents in Iraq seem to be doing an increasingly good job of using their bombings for maximum effect..”

“With a thunderous rumble and cloud of dust and smoke, a suicide car bomb brought down a section of highway bridge south of Baghdad on Sunday, killing three U.S. soldiers and wounding six from a checkpoint guarding the crossing and blocking traffic on Iraq's main north-south artery.”
-CBS/AP, June 11, 2007

“Imagine that.. Someone committed suicide to blow up a bridge. Scary. And this is in spite of the ‘surge’ that was going to stop, or at least slow, the violence in Baghdad.”

“Three months after additional U.S. troops began pouring into Baghdad in the most recent effort to stanch violence in Iraq's capital, military observers are fretting that the same problems that torpedoed last summer's Baghdad security plan are cropping up again.
Violence is on the rise, Iraqi troops aren't showing up to secure neighborhoods, U.S. troops are having to revisit neighborhoods they'd already cleared, and Iraq's politicians haven't met any of their benchmarks.
With expectations high in Washington for a September assessment from new Iraq commander Army Gen. David Petraeus, military officials in Iraq already are saying they'll need more time.
One thing is already clear, however: The additional U.S. troops haven't yet had a major impact on reducing violence.”
“The number of bodies found on Baghdad's streets declined in March and April after the surge began on Feb. 15, but it shot back up to an even higher level in May. So far this month, 206 unidentified corpses have been found in the capital, compared with 176 in the first eight days of May.”
-McClatchy Newspapers, June 8, 2007

“This is just because the insurgents are desperate. They know that the ‘surge’ will create peace and harmony and bunnies and squirrels will we be everywhere. Let’s let the military say it..”

“In other news from Iraq, Multinational Force Iraq officials today condemned yesterday’s bombing at the Transportation Department in Tikrit.

‘These attacks were directed against Iraqi people and their infrastructure, and clearly show the desperate nature of these attackers intent on disrupting the Iraqi economy and intimidating innocent civilians,’ the statement read.”
-American Forces Press Service, June 11, 2007

“See? Desperate.”

“Sheriff Bart: Folks, can’t you see that this is the last act of a desperate man? Howard Johnson: We don’t care if it’s the first act of Henry V. We’re leaving!”
-Blazing Saddles

Friday, June 08, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Fixing the Problems

“It has been a long time since the Katrina disaster. A long time for Fearless Leader to think about his mistakes and to solve them. Little mistakes like this..”

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

“Some of these problems kind of found their own solutions..”

“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

“While others don’t seem to have changed much at all…”

“Mississippi Reps. Bennie Thompson, D-Bolton, and Gene Taylor, D-Bay St. Louis, sat on a panel during a Monday afternoon hearing on the current state of disaster preparedness along the Gulf Coast. They and other House members questioned four expert witnesses offering testimony on hurricane preparedness.
Thompson grilled a FEMA official particularly hard about a rewritten disaster response plan he said the agency promised Congress would be ready by last week.
But Phil May, FEMA's Region IV administrator, admitted under questioning that the plan was not yet ready. He also offered no firm date when it may be finished.”
-Sun Herald (Mississippi), June 5, 2007

“..but fortunately we know who to talk to look to to fix the problems...”

"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

“..even if they are problems that he created.”

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

“Now Fearless Leader is going to turn his fiery unblinking eye to medical issues, showing the same sensitivity and tack that he has become so well known for.”

“President Bush's nominee for surgeon general, Dr. James W. Holsinger Jr., wrote a paper in 1991 that purported to make the medical argument that homosexuality is unnatural and unhealthy. Doctors who reviewed the paper derided it as prioritizing political ideology over science, and Democratic aides on Capitol Hill say the paper will make his confirmation hearings problematic.
Noting that Holsinger also belongs to a church that offers a ministry to ‘cure’ gays of the sexual orientation, gay and lesbian rights advocates immediately protested Holsinger's nomination. ‘His writings suggest a scientific view rooted in anti-gay beliefs that are incompatible with the job of serving the medical health of all Americans,’ said the Human Rights Campaign in a statement. ‘It is essential that America's top doctor value sound science over anti-gay ideology.’"
-ABC News, June 6, 2007

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: The Administration that Cried Wolf

“Federal authorities announced Saturday they had broken up a suspected Muslim terrorist cell planning a ‘chilling’ attack to destroy John F. Kennedy International Airport, kill thousands of people and trigger an economic catastrophe by blowing up a jet fuel artery that runs through populous residential neighborhoods.
Three men, one of them a former member of Guyana's parliament, were arrested and one was being sought in Trinidad as part of a plot that authorities said they had been tracked for more than a year and was foiled in the planning stages.”
-Associated Press, June 2, 2007

“Aaaaaahh! Terrorists! Be afraid! Panic! We should let the Administration do whatever they want to do as part of the War on Terra, otherwise these steely-eyed killers will destroy us all!”

“When U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf described the alleged terror plot to blow up Kennedy Airport as ‘one of the most chilling plots imaginable,’ which might have caused ‘unthinkable’ devastation, one law enforcement official said he cringed.

The plot, he knew, was never operational. The public had never been at risk. And the notion of blowing up the airport, let alone the borough of Queens, by exploding a fuel tank was in all likelihood a technical impossibility.
And now, with a portrait emerging of alleged mastermind Russell Defreitas as hapless and episodically homeless, and of co-conspirator Abdel Nur as a drug addict, Mauskopf's initial characterizations seem more questionable -- some go so far as to say hyped.”
-Newsday, June 6, 2007

“At its heart was a retired airport cargo worker, Russell Defreitas, 63, who the complaint says talked of his dreams of inflicting massive harm, but who appeared to possess little money or training and no known background in conceptualizing or planning a terror attack.
‘Capability low, intent very high,’ a law enforcement official said of the plotters. Other law enforcement officials and engineers also dismissed the notion that the planned attack could have resulted in a catastrophic chain reaction; system safeguards, they said, would have stopped explosions from spreading.”
-International Herald Tribune, June 4, 2007

“What? Again? Don’t these people remember all of the earlier terrorist arrests we’ve made?”

“A federal judge denied bond Wednesday for six men accused of plotting to blow up Chicago's Sears Tower and other federal buildings.

The six, who have pleaded not guilty, were arrested June 22 in Miami as part of an undercover FBI sting. They are accused of seeking to support what they thought was an al Qaeda operative's effort to bomb FBI buildings in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Washington.”
-CBS News, July 5, 2006

“From the indictment it is clear that the men had no shortage of ambition, asking for al-Qaeda training to wage a ‘full ground war’ to ‘kill all the devils we can.’ To his end, the group asked the undercover agent for a wish-list of equipment that included boots, uniforms, machine guns, bullet-proof vests, radios and vehicles — as well as $50,000 in cash. The group's leader also provided the government agent with ‘a list of shoe sizes for the purchase of military boots for his 'soldiers'.”
-Time.com, June 23, 2006

“…like the ‘Men Without Boots’ plot? Or maybe you remember this one..”

“A terrorist plot to set off explosives in the PATH railway tunnels under the Hudson River in October or November was disrupted in its planning stages, and several suspects in the plot have been apprehended, law enforcement officials said today.”
-New York Times, July 7, 2006

“One U.S. official called the plot ‘largely aspirational’ and described the Internet conversations as mostly extremists discussing and conceptualizing the plot. The official said no money had been transferred, nor had other similar operational steps been taken. […]
[CBS News correspondent Jim] Stewart reports his sources say that no one in the United States ever took part in the Internet conversations and that no one ever purchased any explosives or scouted the transit system.”
-CBS/AP, July 7, 2006

“..the dreaded ‘Railway Tunnel’ plot. Before that we had the guy trying to blow up his shoes, and, finally, Public Enemy #1, Jose Padilla.”

“After five years in prison, most of it in solitary in a grim navy brig where he was held as an enemy combatant, Jose Padilla went on trial yesterday in a case that spotlights the Bush administration's legal tactics in the so-called war on terror.
Instead of representing America's worst nightmare - the homegrown Islamic extremist poised to turn a booming city centre into a deadly wasteland with nuclear debris - the trial of the onetime Chicago gang member and U.S. citizen has become a cautionary tale in prosecutorial hype.
‘In apprehending al-Muhajir [Mr. Padilla's Muslim name] as he sought entry into the United States, we have disrupted an unfolding terrorist plot to attack the United States by exploding a radioactive dirty bomb,’ was the apocalyptic pronouncement by then-attorney-general John Ashcroft. At the time, fear gripped the country in the aftermath of the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center.
The actual threat posed by Mr. Padilla, 36, seems to have steadily receded ever since.
Yesterday, in a Miami courtroom, the real case against him was revealed: He was accused of filling out an application form to become a jihadi, or holy warrior. ‘Joining an al-Qaeda training camp was an incredibly rare thing for an American to do,’ said assistant U.S. attorney Brian Frazier, claiming that Mr. Padilla and two co-defendants, Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi, also provided money and support to Muslims fighting in Kosovo, Chechnya and Lebanon in the 1990s.
Its not clear if the government intends to attempt to link any of the three to any actual terrorist attacks. The indictment no longer makes any mention of the dirty-bomb plot.”
-Globe and Mail, May 15, 2007

“Apparently our anti-terror programs are so good that they work retroactively now. Dangerous terrorists are made nearly harmless from the start. Works fine until a real threat comes out..”

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Fuck Yeah!

“If President Bush and Vice President Cheney can blurt out vulgar language, then the government cannot punish broadcast television stations for broadcasting the same words in similarly fleeting contexts.
That, in essence, was the decision on Monday, when a federal appeals panel struck down the government policy that allows stations and networks to be fined if they broadcast shows containing obscene language.
Adopting an argument made by lawyers for NBC, the judges then cited examples in which Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney had used the same language that would be penalized under the policy. Mr. Bush was caught on videotape last July using a common vulgarity that the commission finds objectionable in a conversation with Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain. Three years ago, Mr. Cheney was widely reported to have muttered an angry obscene version of ‘get lost’ to Senator Patrick Leahy on the floor of the United States Senate.”
-New York Times, June 4, 2007

“This is fantastic news, and thank you Fearless Leader and Deputy Fearless Leader for making it possible. Now when I read things like this..”

“The Bush administration made it harder Tuesday for non-permanent streams and nearby wetlands to be protected under the federal Clean Water Act.

The new guidance issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers requires that for such waters to be protected there must be a ‘significant nexus’ shown between the intermittent stream or wetland and a traditional waterway.
And the guidance says a determination will be made on a case-by-case basis, analyzing flow and other issues. Environmentalist argued that would negate the broader regional importance of many such waterways in the aggregate on water bodies downstream.”
-Associated Press, June 5, 2007

“The Bush administration is drastically scaling back efforts to measure global warming from space, just as the president tries to convince the world the U.S. is ready to take the lead in reducing greenhouse gases.”
-Associated Press, June 4, 2007

“..I can say ‘Fuck!’, and when I read this bit about Bush claiming that the missile defense system he wants to build is in order to save us from the guys who used box-cutters to make their one successful set of attacks on American soil I can ask, ‘What the fuck?’”

"As I've told President Putin, Russia is not our enemy. The enemy of a free society such as ours would be a radical, or extremists, or a rogue regime trying to blackmail the free world in order to promote its ideological objectives. And so my attitude on missile defense is, is that this is a purely — it's not my attitude, it's the truth — it's a purely defensive measure, aimed not at Russia, but at true threats."
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, June 5, 2007

“But I need to remember that when I read things like this..”

“Sixteen American troops died in Iraq in the first three days of June, marking a bloody start to the month as the US military presses on with its crackdown on sectarian violence in Baghdad.
A total of 127 American troops died in May, the third worst total for US forces since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Fourteen of the latest deaths were reported on Sunday alone by the US military.
North of the capital, a suicide car bomber attacked a police convoy in volatile Diyala province, killing 10 people in a busy market area and wounding 30 others, the local police chief said.
Gunmen at a fake checkpoint near Diyala's provincial capital of Baquba sprayed two minibuses with bullets, killing five people, police said.
-Reuters, June 4, 2007

“…is that the ruling by the court was based on the idea that most of the uses of ‘fuck’ were unintentional and not truly obscene, as they were not meant in a sexual manner. So telling Fearless Leader to go fuck himself would still not be allowed.
Something to remember.”

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Grading on a Curve

“I know that I go on too much about Iraq. I mean, sure the hypocrisy and deceit are fun to point out, but it isn’t like it’s a matter of life and… um.. Well, it isn’t everything. Sometimes other things come up that are almost a much fun to talk about. Things like Alberto ‘Thumbscrews’ Gonzales.”

“Now, you asked about Alberto Gonzales. He has got my confidence.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, May 21, 2007

“That’s nice sir, but I wasn’t asking.
It seems that Mr. Gonzales is proud of the hard work that he is doing and intends to stay on the job.”

“Beleaguered Attorney General Alberto Gonzales vowed Friday to remain in his post through the end of President Bush’s second term, in a ‘sprint to the finish line.’

In his most definitive statement on the issue to date, Gonzales made clear to his critics during a speech on crime that he would continue to reject their calls for his resignation. ‘I know that I only have 18 months left in my term as attorney general, and that really does not feel like a lot of time to accomplish all of the goals that are important to me. So often Washington seems to run at a marathon pace, but I intend to spend the next year and a half in a sprint to the finish line,’ Gonzales said.
The attorney general volunteered the comments near the end of a speech announcing anti-crime initiatives at the headquarters of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in Washington. ATF employees, whose agency is part of the Justice Department, gave their boss a strong round of applause when he was introduced and when he completed his speech.
News reporters were carefully kept away from the attorney general so he could not be questioned.”
-CNN, June 1, 2007

“Why should he leave? He was the support of Fearless Leader. Fearless Leader absolutely LOVES him. Gonzales is the kind of hands-on leader who is willing to jump in and get things done.”

“Attorney General John Ashcroft lay in an intensive care unit after emergency surgery on the night of March 10, 2004, when then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales made a surprise visit.
It was not a get-well call, according to a former top Justice Department official.
James Comey, then the department's No. 2 man under Ashcroft, said Gonzales and then-White House chief of staff Andrew Card went there to pressure the ailing attorney general to reauthorize a disputed surveillance program that Ashcroft already believed had no legal basis.”
-Copley News Service, May 16, 2007

“And why shouldn’t he stay on? It isn’t like what he tried to do with Ashcroft why the man was still recovering on pain killers was wrong. Or the illegal wiretaps, or firing those attorneys, or approving of torture, or any of that other stuff.. None of that was wrong.”

"’He has done nothing wrong,’ Bush said in an impassioned defense of his longtime friend and adviser during a news conference at his Texas ranch.

Despite Bush's comments, support for Gonzales is eroding, even in the president's own party. The Senate is prepared to hold a no-confidence vote, possibly by week's end, and five Republican senators have joined many Democrats in calling for Gonzales' resignation.
The attorney general is under investigation by Congress in last year's firing of eight federal prosecutors.
The president told the Democrats to get back to more pressing matters.
‘I stand by Al Gonzales, and I would hope that people would be more sober in how they address these important issues,’ Bush said. ‘And they ought to get the job done of passing legislation, as opposed to figuring out how to be actors on the political theater stage.’"
-Associated Press, May 21, 2007

“Dang straight! Judging Gonzo Gonzales on his politics is just wrong. If you are going to judge him you should base it on his law enforcement record, not his love of Fearless Leader (which is only natural after all.. Have you seen that man in a flight suit.. sigh).”

“The nation’s murder rate rose slightly last year but the number of robberies skyrocketed by 6 percent, preliminary FBI data released Monday show.
The statistics were part of an overall 1.3 percent rise in violent crime across the country in 2006 — the second straight annual increase.
The spike in robberies marked the highest increase in any category of crime surveyed in the FBI report, which was compiled with data from more than 11,700 law enforcement agencies nationwide.
Violent crime rose in every region of the country except for the Northeast, the FBI reported. Western states saw the largest jump in violent crime, by 2.8 percent, the data show.”
-Associated Press, June 4, 2007

“See? Violent crime is only up 1.3% thanks to the hard efforts of Gonzo Gonzales. Alberto is only responsible for law enforcement in the United States (except for those laws that Fearless Leader says don’t apply). Compare his work to what has been done in Iraq and I think that you will see that comparatively speaking he is doing a heck of a job.”

Monday, June 04, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: The Surge'n General

“U.S. officials tell ABC News that the troop levels in Iraq cannot be maintained at the present level, either politically or practically, with the military stretched so thin.
But that does not imply an immediate drawdown. Officials tell ABC's Martha Raddatz the senior commanders in Iraq -- Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno and Gen. David Petraeus -- want the surge to continue until at least December, and expect to report enough progress by September to justify the extension.
The drawdown would begin in February 2008, although each of the two generals supports a slightly different plan.
Plan one, which officials say is being pushed by Odierno, calls for a reduction in troops from roughly 150,000 today to 100,000 by December of 2008.
Petraeus champions a slightly different approach that would be to cut the troops down to roughly 130,000 by the end of 2008, with further reductions the following year.”
-ABC News, June 1, 2007

“Interesting. Gen. Petraeus wants to reduce troop counts by 20,000 by the end of 2008. Hmm.. How big was that surge after all?”

“The top US commander in Iraq has requested another Army brigade, on top of five already on the way, as part of the controversial ‘surge’ of American troops designed to clamp down on sectarian violence and insurgent groups, senior Pentagon officials said today. The appeal -- not yet made public -- by Gen. David Petraeus for a combat aviation unit would involve between 2,500 and 3,000 more soldiers and dozens of transport helicopters and powerful gunships, said the Pentagon sources. That would bring the planned expansion of US forces so far to close to 30,000 troops.

News of the additional deployment comes about a week after President Bush announced that about 4,700 support troops will join the initial 21,500 he ordered in January. They are in addition to the estimated 130,000 troops already in Iraq.
‘This is the next shoe to drop,’ said one senior Pentagon official closely involved in the war planning. ‘But you cannot put five combat brigades in there and not have more aviation guys, military police, and intelligence units.’"
-Boston Globe, March 15, 2007

“Let me see.. carry the two.. Um, aw heck. How many more troops is that roughly?”

“President Bush asked Congress on Saturday for $3.2 billion to pay for 8,200 more U.S. troops needed in Afghanistan and Iraq on top of the 21,500-troop buildup he announced in January.”
-Associated Press, March 11, 2007

“So it looks like there were at least about 30,000 troops added to the war zones as part of the surge. So Gen. Petraeus is saying that he is not expecting full draw-down from the surge until at least a year and a half from now. So much for that September report.”

“The Bush administration will not try to assess whether the troop increase in Iraq is producing signs of political progress or greater security until September, and many of Mr. Bush’s top advisers now anticipate that any gains by then will be limited, according to senior administration officials.
In interviews over the past week, the officials made clear that the White House is gradually scaling back its expectations for the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. The timelines they are now discussing suggest that the White House may maintain the increased numbers of American troops in Iraq well into next year. ”
-New York Times, April 27, 2007

"I have tried to discourage my Republican colleagues from saying that September is some kind of seminal moment. I am aware the American people are frustrated. I share that frustration. I don't think the American people are aware of the consequences of failure."
-Sen. John McCain, May 27, 2007

“Thanks to Tim Juchter for today’s headline.. I’ve been waiting to use that one for a while.”

Friday, June 01, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Religious Extremism

“Good news everyone! We can leave Iraq now!”

“Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Thursday that his country's forces would be able to assume security command by June 2007 — which could allow the United States to start withdrawing its troops.
‘I cannot answer on behalf of the U.S. administration but I can tell you that from our side our forces will be ready by June 2007,’ Maliki told ABC television after meeting President Bush on Thursday in Jordan.’”
-MSNBC, November 30, 2006

“See? The Iraqi forces are ready to take over.”

"’The evidence does not suggest that the surge is actually working,’ said Alastair Campbell, the outgoing defense attache at the British Embassy in Baghdad May 20. According to Britain's Sunday Telegraph, Campbell also disclosed that U.S. commanders had decided that the criteria for ‘success’ would be only a reduction in violence to the level prior to last year's bombing of the al-Askari Mosque in Samarra. That means 800 dead Iraqis a month - a figure that the Telegraph admits ‘few would regard as anything remotely approaching peace.’"
-Max Ebaum, May 29, 2007

“Shhh.. Shut up about that. We can all go home now, and now that the situation in Iraq is all cleared up we can turn our focus on more immediate issues, like immigration.”

“But do you understand what the New York Times wants, and the far-left want? They want to break down the white, Christian, male power structure, which you're a part, and so am I, and they want to bring in millions of foreign nationals to basically break down the structure that we have. In that regard, Pat Buchanan is right. So I say you've got to cap with a number.”
-Bill O’Reilly, May 30, 2007

“I was unaware of wanting to tear down the white, Christian, male power structure, but I guess I must. Here I thought that I was just looking to the Declaration of Independence which says that, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..’ I guess I forgot that white Christian males are more equal than others. My mistake. I can never keep up with these rules. I wish I could figure out once and for all who the superior, more righteous people are so that I don’t make these mistakes again.”

“[B]y all reports, President Bush is more convinced than ever of his righteousness.
Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated ‘I am the president!’ He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of ‘our country's destiny.’"
-Dallas Daily News, Opinion, May 31, 2007

“Oh.. Well, I guess that explains that. All praise and honor upon Fearless Leader. May he personally enjoy the benefits of the same American Freedom™ that he has brought to Iraq. Amen.”

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