Sid's Fishbowl
A proud member of the reality-based community (aquatic division)
Sunday, January 29, 2006

Fafblog explains civics:

Q. How does a War Bill become a War Law?
A. It all begins with the president, who submits a bill to the president. If a majority of both the president and the president approve the bill, then it passes on to the president, who may veto it or sign it into law. And even then the president can override himself with a two-thirds vote.
And on the unitary executive:
Q. How many non-terrorist babies would it be acceptible for the president to accidentally eat in the course of enforcing a rigorous terrorist baby-eating program?
A. First of all, the president would never ever eat a baby unless it was reasonably suspected to be affiliated with possible terroresque program activities. Second of all, do we really wanna start tyin the president's hands when he's tryin to protect everybody from jihadist babies? They could be Islamifying our country's drool supply as we speak!
It's funny because it's true.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Funniest cartoon of the year. (Click the picture to see the whole thing.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Think Progress calls bullshit on little Scotty. Here's a quote from the gaggle:
Q: Who was in the staff meetings [with Abramoff]?

McCLELLAN: I don’t get into discussing staff-level meetings.

Q: Why not?

McCLELLAN: Well, if you got something to bring to my attention, Elisabeth, I’ll be glad to look into it. If you’ve got something specific, I’ll be glad to take a look into it.

Q: Did [Abramoff] meet with Karl Rove, for example?

McCLELLAN: We don’t - we don’t ever tend to get into those staff-level meetings.
The good folks at TP find some good examples from the past six months. Here are a few more:

Press Gaggle by Trent Duffy, August 8, 2005:
Q Is the President going to meet with the mother who lost a son in Iraq, that's been camped out in front of his ranch?

MR. DUFFY: The President has met with Ms. Sheehan last summer, and as we've said, the National Security Advisor, as well as the Deputy Chief of Staff met with her and other mothers for 45 minutes.
Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan, October 28, 2005:
Q Were Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby in senior staff this morning?

MR. McCLELLAN: They were both at the White House this morning and participating in meetings.

Q But specifically in senior staff?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think Karl left his house a little bit later than normal, so he was in a little bit later. And Scooter did come to senior staff.
Press Briefing with Scott McClellan and Dan Bartlett on the President's Supreme Court Justice Nominee, July 19, 2005:
Q What did Judge Roberts say when the President offered him the job? And also, to what extent did the President go back and read decisions?

MR. BARTLETT: Obviously, he was -- he accepted. I don't have the exact verbatim of what he said. We can --

Q Was he surprised?

MR. BARTLETT: Was he surprised? I think -- I can't speak on behalf of him. I'll try to find out. But this process was not -- I mean, he had been through -- he had met with members of the staff weeks ago.
Press Briefing by Scott McClellan, April 27, 2004:
Q Just quickly, the Italian Vice Premiere was at the stakeout and he said -- who did he meet with, first of all? And he said that he came to say that the Italian government will keep the troops in Iraq, but within a new U.N. resolution. Are they threatening to pull out if there is no new U.N. resolution?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, in fact, the statements I've heard from many countries in the coalition is one of reaffirming their resolve to finish the important work in Iraq, to help the Iraqi people realize a free and peaceful future. This is central to winning the war on terrorism. A free and peaceful Iraq will help bring about greater stability in a very dangerous region in the world.

We can get you more details in terms of the staff meetings; we'll get back to you on that. I don't have those details at this point, but we'll get you more details on that.
Wow, this is fun. It's, like, pin the lie on the jackass.

In all fairness, it's unusual for the White House senior staff to be meeting with confessed felons. Most of them haven't confessed yet.

The next time your Republican friends tell you that everyone supports Bush in his frenzy to crush civil rights in the name of anti-terrorism, show them this new poll:
The poll was conducted by Zogby International, the highly-regarded non-partisan polling company. The poll interviewed 1,216 U.S. adults from January 9-12.

The poll found that 52% agreed with the statement:

'If President Bush wiretapped American citizens without the approval of a judge, do you agree or disagree that Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment.'

43% disagreed, and 6% said they didn't know or declined to answer. The poll has a +/- 2.9% margin of error.
Just as a point of comparison, in 10 polls during the Clinton impeachment fiasco, an everage of 26% of Americans supported the idea of impeachment. At the height of the frenzy, only 51% of Republicans supported Clinton's impeachment.

If only Jack Abramoff had worn a blue dress.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Good news, bad news. Supreme Court Upholds Oregon Suicide Law:
Justices, on a 6-3 vote, said that federal authority to regulate doctors does not override the 1997 Oregon law used to end the lives of more than 200 seriously ill people. New Chief Justice John Roberts backed the Bush administration, dissenting for the first time.
The bad news: Roberts showed his far-right-wing colors, siding with extremists Scalia and Thomas. When Alito joins the Court, he'll add a fourth vote to this block.

Sigh. It's going to be a long century.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Boy, the wingnuts at who edit The Best of Late Nite Jokes must be squirming over these zingers from Jay Leno:

  • That’s the big scandal in Washington, lobbyist Jack Abramoff who has close ties to a lot of top Republicans, pled guilty to corruption and fraud charges. In fact, when they booked him, they told him to empty his pockets and Tom Delay fell out.

  • To get a better deal he is going to testify against some of the other weasels in congress. A lobbyist testifying against congressmen? How many Bibles are going to burst into flames during those in that courtroom?

  • Jack Abramoff and Monica Lewinsky both went to Beverly Hills High School. What are the odds of that — both wanted access to the president. The difference is, Jack just wanted the president’s ear.

  • A lot of people still returning gifts this week. And that's just congressmen. These white people are going down.

  • President Bush returned $6000 given to him by super lobbyist Jack Abramoff. He said he hadn't done anything with the money. In fact, it still had the original strings attached.

  • Hey Kev, you know the difference between a bribe and a gift? Neither does congress.

  • Things are so bad now Iraqis say they are going to help us try and restore democracy in Washington.

Remember, most Americans form their opinions from soundbites like these. When Leno is hammering on the culture of corruption, it's bad news for The Hammer.

(Via The J-Walk Blog)

Monday, January 09, 2006

Think Progress » DeLay Takes Over Cunningham’s Spot On Appropriations Committee:
When DeLay announced his official resignation on Saturday, he also announced he was “reclaiming” his seat on the powerful Appropriations Committee.

Why is there a seat available? From the San Diego Union Tribune, 12/10/05:

A vacancy on the panel occurred earlier this week when Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, R-Rancho Santa Fe, formally resigned from Congress after pleading guilty to charges that he accepted bribes from defense contractors.
Should be a smooth transition.
I wonder if there are still any big bundles of cash taped under that seat?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

After the Rapture, can I have your car?

Monday, January 02, 2006

The United States Constitution, Article Three, Section 2:
The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority... [emphasis added]
Seems pretty clear to me. The Supreme Court is the final authority when it comes to any dispute over what the Constitution means.

But according to Republican tool conservative blogger John Hinderaker, who happens to be a lawyer, this doesn't apply to our Dear Leader:
The final question, of course, is what would happen if the President and the Supreme Court should disagree about the constitutional scope of the President's national security powers. The President has the right and duty to interpret and apply the Constitution to the same degree as the Supreme Court. In a situation like this one, where the President is not asking the federal courts to enforce his view of his constitutional authority through, e.g., a criminal prosecution, it may be that the President could, and should, disregard an opinion of the Supreme Court that he regards as erroneous, as Lincoln did with regard to Chief Justice Taney's habeas corpus order during the Civil War. But for now, at least, that is an academic discussion. [emphasis added]
Why do people take this moron seriously?

Kevin at finds a remarkable comparison in the latest Harper's. Don't just look at Vietnam; get out your dusty history books and read about the American occupation of the Philippines. The phony justifications for war, the hypocritical religious wrapper around President McKinley's speeches, the senseless loss of civilian life and the destruction of a country. It's all there.

This snippet from more than 100 years ago was revealing:
Some of this territory we have occupied; the rest we have returned to the insurgents in a more or less mutilated condition, depending on whether the policy of the hour was to carry on a bitter war against a barbarous enemy, or to bring enlightenment to an ignorant people, deceived as to our motives.
The more things change...