Sid's Fishbowl
A proud member of the reality-based community (aquatic division)
Friday, November 25, 2005

Fafnir explains how to win in Iraq:
Counter-Counterpoint: The Key To Victory Is This Great Big Rock

Well I know we can win the Iraq War, an I even know how we can do it. It's a pretty complicated multi-step process an I'm simplifyin it a little bit for everybody here but I got it all spelled out an ready to go an believe you me it's gonna work. The key thing is this real big rock.
It just gets better and better. I won't spoil the great read for you, except to say I'm buying stock in Acme Corporation.

Oh, and I'm outta here for about 10 days. See you in December.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

This video clip from The Drudge Retort is hilarious:
In a story impacting hard across the conservative blogosphere, Matt Drudge reported Tuesday on a "large black 'X' repeatedly flashed over the vice president's face!"

The X, which appeared for two frames displayed over one-fifteenth of a second, turns out to be a small part of a series of extremely hard-to-detect subliminal messages lasting more than 10 minutes during the speech.

If you watch the 11-minute, 8-second video closely, you'll see that Michelle Malkin and other seasoned observers of politics were right to suspect that someone at the Communist News Network was attempting to subconsciously sway the public against the vice president.
You might be tempted to stop watching after just a few minutes. Don't. The video hits its stride around the 7:00 mark and has some great zingers towards the end.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Bush spirit trickles down to many of his top advisers, who hardly go out of their way to sample the local offerings either. A number of the most senior White House officials on the trip, perhaps seeking the comforts of their Texas homes, chose to skip the kimchi in South Korea to go to dinner at Outback Steakhouse – twice. (Via Atrios)

An oldie but goodie that's starting to make the rounds again. It's especially apt in light of the current crop of chickenhawks:

Service in the Armed Forces


* Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.
* David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72.
* Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.
* Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan. 1971 as an army journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade.
* Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
* Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
* John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V,Purple Hearts.
* Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
* Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star, Vietnam. Paraplegic from war injuries. Served in Congress.
* Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53.
* Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
* Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91.
* Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII; Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons.
* Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars,and Soldier's Medal.
* Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and Legion of Merit.
* Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart.
* Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine in Vietnam; Bronze Star with Combat V.
* Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star.
* Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57
* Chuck Robb: Vietnam
* Howell Heflin: Silver Star
* George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.
* Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but received #311.
* Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
* Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
* John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and AirMedal with 18 Clusters.
* Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul Wallenberg.


* Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage.
* Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
* Tom Delay: did not serve.
* Roy Blunt: did not serve.
* Bill Frist: did not serve.
* Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
* Rick Santorum: did not serve.
* Trent Lott: did not serve.
* John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business.
* Jeb Bush: did not serve.
* Karl Rove: did not serve.
* Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. "Bad knee." (The man who attacked Max Cleland's patriotism.)
* Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
* Vin Weber: did not serve.
* Richard Perle: did not serve.
* Douglas Feith: did not serve.
* Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
* Richard Shelby: did not serve.
* Jon! Kyl: did not serve.
* Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
* Christopher Cox: did not serve.
* Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
* Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor.
* George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard; failed to show up
* B-1 Bob Dornan: enlisted after fighting was over in Korea.
* Phil Gramm: did not serve.
* John McCain: Vietnam POW, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
* Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.
* John M. McHugh: did not serve.
* JC Watts: did not serve.
* Jack Kemp: did not serve. "Knee problem, " although continued in NFL for 8 years as quarterback.
* Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard.
* Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
* George Pataki: did not serve.
* Spencer Abraham: did not serve.
* John Engler: did not serve.
* Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.
* Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base.

Pundits & Preachers

* Sean Hannity: did not serve.
* Rush Limbaugh: did not serve
* Bill O'Reilly: did not serve.
* Michael Savage: did not serve.
* George Will: did not serve.
* Chris Matthews: did not serve.
* Paul Gigot: did not serve.
* Bill Bennett: did not serve.
* Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
* John Wayne: did not serve.
* Bill Kristol: did not serve.
* Kenneth Starr: did not serve.
* Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
* Clarence Thomas: did not serve.
* Ralph Reed: did not serve.
* Michael Medved: did not serve.

Source: Daily Kos: Military Service Records: Us vs. Them (via Steve Gilliard)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Keith Olbermann's show is now the highest rated show on MSNBC. If you don't watch it already, give it a try. He's found the sweet spot between The Daily Show's fake news and the absurdity of the Real News. He tells the stories that need to be told --- and he understands the difference between humor and Rovian character assassination.
I remember Keith Olberman from my younger days in L.A. Smart, funny, great sense of news. Watch and learn.

The fedora-wearing half of the Pajamas Media brain trust whines:
Of course, we at OSM are making all kinds of mistakes. This is something brand new and we're going to be flopping around for some time, much like a kid learning to ride a bicycle. And even when we learn to ride, we're going to run into plenty of brick walls.
Show of hands from everyone out there who ran into a brick wall then they learned to ride a bike. No one? Me neither. As metaphors go, this one is just weird.

Sorry, but I can't stop watching this. It's like The Gong Show with venture capital.

(Thanks to the General for the image.)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The New York Times has this transcript of a Republican press conference in which a half-dozen certifiably insane Congresspersons attacked Rep.John Muthra for daring to question Dear Leader's Glorious Iraqi Adventure. This bit from Rep. Duncan Hunter was classic. Yes, he says, the Iraq war was worth it:
That's why Americans today are able to go to parks, go to schools, go to the grocery store, live life without fear of having a second 9/11 attacks, and that's why four years have expired without a second attack on our homeland: because we've aggressively projected America's fighting forces in the theaters in Afghanistan and Iraq, and they are doing a superb job.
So, we were in danger of being attacked in parks and at the grocery store, and that's why we invaded Iraq? Holy shit, who writes this stuff?

Open Source Media is all exercised about "Mike Schmitt" of The Decembrist.

Please alert the global fact-checking network: The name is Mark Schmitt. Mike Schmidt played for the Phillies.

One Open Source Media, whiz with.

God, Jonah Goldberg is a fucking idiot.

Thank you, Hunter for pointing out the shocking collapse.

Taegan Goddard's Political Wire reports:
Businessman Steven Gavi (R) announced that he will run for Senate in 2006 against Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), according to the Santa Fe New Mexican. Gavi, who works as an assistant manager at Wal-Mart, will face state Sen. Tom Benavides (R) and Santa Fe City Councilor David Pfeffer (R) -- both former Democrats -- in the Republican primary. [emphasis added]
Since when does being an assistant manager at Wal-Mart make you a "businessman"? Isn't that like someone who flips burgers at McDonald's calling himself an "executive chef"?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Pajamas Media Open Source Media has its official launch today. After reading the first effort, I can only say, "Holy clusterfuck!"

On the front page, I read the "Best of the Blogs" section, which points to Stewart Peterson's Nuclear Is Our Future:
Amory Lovins contributed an article to September's Scientific American I have some serious disputes with. The basic issue is how to spend money to lower carbon dioxide emissions. The most effective way to do this, as Lovins suggests, is to issue a blanket ban (or as close as reasonably achievable) on the production of electricity and gasoline. This misses the point in that it would force people to go back to a pre-industrial society, where the fortunate own farms and the unfortunate try to seize farms by force (the 17-word summary of world history before the Renaissance). With today's population, we would have to convert almost the whole surface of the Earth to farms. Even with that, there would be widespread starvation. Thus, we need cities, industry, and electricity. I can't believe I'm writing this.
I can't believe I'm reading this.

Especially after I went and read Lovins' article in Scientific American. Go ahead, read it for yourself (PDF copy).

Finished? OK, where was the part about "issu[ing] a blanket ban on the production of energy and gasoline"? It wasn't in this paragraph:
If energy efficiency has so much potential, why isn’t everyone pursuing it? One obstacle is that many people have confused efficiency (doing more with less) with curtailment, discomfort or privation (doing less, worse or without). Another obstacle is that energy users do not recognize how much they can benefit from improving efficiency, because saved energy comes in millions of invisibly small pieces, not in obvious big chunks.
In fact, there's even a handy box on the second page that summarizes Lovins' proposal. It's even labeled, in big capital letters, THE PLAN:
  • Improving end-use efficiency is the fastest and most lucrative way to save energy. Many energy-efficient products cost no more than inefficient ones. Homes and factories that use less power can be cheaper to build than conventional structures. Reducing the weight of vehicles can double their fuel economy without compromising safety or raising sticker prices.
  • With the help of efficiency improvements and competitive renewable energy sources, the U.S. can phase out oil use by 2050. Profit-seeking businesses can lead the way.
Best of the blogs? Heh. Indeed.

Update: Hilarity in the comments at Peterson's blog. I asked:
"Can you please explain where in the Scientific American article Lovins proposes "issuing a ban on the production of electricity or gasoline"?

I read the article cover to cover and don't see it.
The prompt reply from Peterson:
He intends to chip away at electricity and oil use until it is zero or as close as he can get. I specifically said "as close as reasonably achievable." His basic premise is to keep cutting use indefinitely--that's the entire point of the article, that consumption can be cut and we don't need any new capacity.
Hooooo-kay! So, in this, the Best of the Blogs, cutting consumption is the same as banning production. Which of course will lead to the end of civilization as we know it. Amazing. Where do they come up with these ideas?

Oh, and one more thing. Peterson's bio is priceless:Chicago-area pro-nuclear activist. As a day job, he works in the equally dead-end field of fusion rockets. He has no special expertise in nuclear power plants, however. At least he's honest.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The reporters from TIME couldn't say that the President was utterly shit-faced, so they let Republican candidate Jerry Kilgore do the honors:
Kilgore told TIME what a thrill it had been to greet Bush at the foot of the Air Force One stairs, then ride to the hangar in the limo with the President and the first lady. "He was in the most fantastic mood when he got off that plane," Kilgore recalled.
Oh yes, a most fantastic mood. Watch the video for yourself at Crooks and Liars.


Saturday, November 12, 2005

Markos says talk of impeachment is silly:
We have bigger fish to fry than getting even against Bush for his misdeeds. Bush has three years of radioactive lame duck-ness left in his term. The key isn't to replace him with another Republican. The key is to use his every day in office to drive him to the American public the cost we pay as a nation for electing Republicans to office.

And as far as legacies go, what would be worst -- destroying his own presidency or destroying his entire party? Let's make sure it's the latter.
Well, OK. In my mind the major advantage of impeachment trials would be to keep steady pressure on the corrupt administration and, indirectly, on their henchmen in Congress, which would, one hopes, ultimately lead to realignment.

But ultimately, any talk of impeachment is fantasy with a Republican majority in both houses of Congress. The goal should be to win back control of the Congress and start cleaning up the mess.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Ooooooh, Jody Rosen gives David Brooks a good ol' fashioned ass-whoopin'.

The short version: For Brooks' latest column, he reads two articles from wingnut idiots about French rap music and then tries to act like he knows something about it. In the process, he makes a complete fool of himself.

Isn't the Times embarrassed to print this crap?

Thursday, November 10, 2005 - FOX News Polls - FNC Poll - 11/10/05 FOX Poll: President Bush's Ratings Continue to Suffer:
As investigations and accusations surround the White House, the latest FOX News poll finds President George W. Bush's approval rating at a record low for the second time in as many months.

Today, 36 percent of Americans approve and 53 percent disapprove of the job Bush is doing as president. For comparison, two weeks ago 41 percent said they approved and 51 percent disapproved, and at the beginning of his second term 50 percent approved and 40 percent disapproved (January 25-26).

Until this week, Bush's approval rating had been at 40 percent or above — buoyed in large part by consistent strong support among Republicans; however, in mid-October approval among Republicans fell below 80 percent for the first time of his presidency and now sits at 72 percent.
When can we start talking seriously about impeachment?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

You know it's a sad world when The Medium Lobster makes way more sense than anyone in the administration:
Q. Why am I being not-tortured in this non-prison?
A. Because you're a dangerous terrorist and an enemy of the United States.
Q. Ah! How'd you find that out?
A. You told us, right after we started torturing you.
Q. You also got me to say I was a duck.
A. Ducks are dangerous terrorists and enemies of the United States.
Q. And to think I never knew! Who told you that?
A. Some duck we tortured.
The whol thing is darkly funny. Until you think about it.

Orange chicken and rice pilaf, anyone?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

PZ Myers has great news:
The system works! Today, the clever plan of the electronic voting system fans successfully blocked an evil foreign alien android from casting a vote.
Due to a problem with Electronic Voting Machines in Los Angeles County, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was told he had already voted when he showed up at the polls today to cast his ballot in the Special Election that he himself declared for California today!
Next challenge: recognizing Dick Cheney as an overweight Grey with a probe jammed up his butt, George W. Bush as the sad victim of a brain-sucking parasite, and Republicans everywhere as zombies. All we have to do is get them to work out a few more kinks to recognize the true un-American bloodsuckers, and we'll be well on our way to getting the country back on track.

And here everyone thought they couldn't trust Diebold…
Now to watch the real election results.

Monday, November 07, 2005

a reporter covering the Bush Latin America visit caught this magic moment:
At one point, da Silva even exhibited a map of his country, which is larger than the continental United States. "Wow! Brazil is big," Amorim quoted the U.S. president as responding.

After their appearance together, the two presidents and their wives headed off to da Silva's residence for an outdoor Brazilian-style barbecue that Bush later pronounced "unbelievably good."
A commenter reminded us of the possibly apocryphal quote from the last time the Dauphin talked with the President of Brazil:

“Do you have blacks, too?”
—To Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso, Washington, D.C., Nov. 8, 2001

And while we're at it...

Bush in Panama, earlier today:
I look forward to going to the Panama Canal. I am most impressed by the management of the canal. Those who are responsible for the Panama Canal have done an excellent job. And this is beneficial to the world.

And I congratulate you for that. And I'm really looking forward to seeing it.

I'm also looking forward to paying our respects by laying a wreath.

And I'm also looking forward to seeing some of the Panamanian baseball stars. People around here know how to play baseball.
(Via Think Progress, Atrios)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The FBI's Secret Scrutiny:
The FBI now issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year, according to government sources, a hundredfold increase over historic norms. The letters -- one of which can be used to sweep up the records of many people -- are extending the bureau's reach as never before into the telephone calls, correspondence and financial lives of ordinary Americans.

Issued by FBI field supervisors, national security letters do not need the imprimatur of a prosecutor, grand jury or judge. They receive no review after the fact by the Justice Department or Congress. The executive branch maintains only statistics, which are incomplete and confined to classified reports. The Bush administration defeated legislation and a lawsuit to require a public accounting, and has offered no example in which the use of a national security letter helped disrupt a terrorist plot.
Police states grow one small step at a time.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Thanks to Angry Bear for this chart:

This chart is good too.

Shit, I saw Jimmmy Carter on TV yesterday and he was breathing fire.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Think Progress reports:
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has filed an amendment to change the official name of the “Deficit Reduction Omnibus Reconciliation Act 2005″ to the “Moral Disaster of Monumental Proportion Reconciliation Act.” (It’s a fitting title.)
At least for today, I wish I was from New Jersey.

From The Mess That Greenspan Made comes this tale of trouble in Paradise. Too many homeless Hummers in the OC: "The reason that the story of rapidly rising Hummer inventory is so interesting and so amusing, is that America's most ostentatious Sport Utility Vehicle, the Hummer SUV, is a metaphor for America in the world today - overweight, overpriced, inefficient, and unloved."

I've said for some time that America should reinstitute the draft, and that Hummer owners and their cars should be the first ones called up.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

This would be funny if it weren't so fucking sick.

DoD News: News Briefing with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Peter Pace
Q Mr. Secretary, was --


Q -- was this department involved in, aware of, in any way, in the alleged efforts by the Vice President's Office to learn about Mr. Wilson's trip to Africa?

SEC. RUMSFELD: Not to my knowledge, but how could one answer that? I mean, you've got a department of hundreds and thousands of people, millions of people, and you say, "Was this department in any way involved in some allegation?" My goodness gracious. Only a --

Q You never spoke about it with the vice president?

SEC. RUMSFELD: I -- how would I know if I ever spoke about it with the vice president over five years? I don't recall speaking it -- with him about it, and I don't recall the department being involved. Is it possible? I mean, my goodness, that's -- that question is such a -- it's -- what is that game? Fish. Give me all your sevens or something. I mean, that's not for me.

Q Mr. Secretary, one of the implications of the --

SEC. RUMSFELD: I think he thinks I just fell off a turnip truck.
Give me all your sevens? Jesus.

Thanks to Olaf at for the pointer.

Knight-Ridder says nothing has changed:
Vice President Dick Cheney replaced I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby as his national security adviser on Monday with an aide identified by a former Iraqi exile group as the White House official to whom it fed information on Iraq that turned out to be erroneous.

The Bush administration relied on some of the information from the Iraqi National Congress to argue that Saddam Hussein had to be ousted before he could give banned biological or chemical weapons to al-Qaida for strikes on the United States.