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QUOTE  I give credit where credit is due. Finally, someone from the Bush family has enlisted. George Prescott Bush, the president's nephew, has enlisted in the Navy. The Navy is a tradition in the Bush family. The first president Bush was a Navy pilot. The current President Bush spends money like a drunken sailor.
- Bill Maher, via All Hat No Cattle
 QUOTE
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I'm a Yellow Dog Democrat! Steve Bates,
The Yellow Doggerel Democrat
POLITICAL GRAVITY -- POLITICAL LEVITY -- VERSE AND WORSE
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for March 2007

 


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The Wisdom Of Bush 2000-2007 (Unabridged Edition)

 

Steve
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Saturday Signs



I stood within sight of this store for several minutes today while I waited for Stella. I can assure you: the store did not take one single step, and it most certainly never left this continent.

Steve
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More Cats Dead From Bad Food

This time it is dry food, Prescription Diet m/d Feline Dry Food, manufactured by Hills. There are two new points in this article: one, this is the only dry food to appear on the list of contaminated foods, and it has been voluntarily recalled; two, the contaminant is not rat poison after all, but melamine:

The FDA also said it has identified a contaminant found in wheat gluten in the recalled food as melamine, a chemical used to make plastics.

Melamine? Don't we eat off of plastic dishes made of that stuff? In the past I've accidentally overheated a melamine dish in a microwave oven; you don't want to think about the chemical fumes it emitted. How, exactly, does melamine find its way into wheat gluten? I want to know, because we eat a lot of wheat gluten.

Apart from my love of cats, I am posting this on a political blog for a reason:

The FDA says it never inspected the plant in Emporia, Kan., source of the contaminated food, until after animals began dying.

They never inspected it? not even when it opened? I don't know the reason... lack of FDA resources, necessary priority given to manufacturers of human food, whatever... but this seems to me strong evidence that yet another federal regulatory agency is broken. I wonder how that happened.

Steve
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Close Gitmo

Even Robert Gates says we should shut it down.

Guantanamo is in every respect a burden on the United States. It is a blot on our record of administration of justice in the international arena. It is questionably constitutional. And it is an outrage to anyone who cares about human rights.

There was no good, legitimate reason in the first place to open Guantanamo as a prison outside the duly constituted military and civilian systems of justice in the U.S. And there is no good reason to keep Gitmo open. Gates speaks of the "hard core detainees," of whom he says, "I know that there are some people down there who if we release them have made very clear they will come back and attack this country." If so, bring them here, bring charges, and present evidence to a court, military or civilian as is appropriate, of the threats these prisoners have made. Would any court free them? I don't think so. In the matter of "hard core detainees" as in every other matter, there is no legitimate reason to continue holding them at Guantanamo.

And it is ever so important that we bring them before a legitimate court, for the sake of who we are. The rights in the Bill of Rights are said to be held by "persons" or "people," not just "citizens." In this matter, we may treat prisoners in an American fashion or an un-American fashion: which will it be?

Steve
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I See Dead People

Well, the people aren't dead, but their public careers are: Bush just doesn't get it. Gonzo doesn't either. Gonzo is walking around, even talking, apparently not realizing his role in history begins almost immediately:

BOSTON — Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, amid a growing clamor for his resignation, acknowledged Friday confusion about of his role in firing eight U.S. attorneys but said he doesn't "recall being involved in deliberations" over which prosecutors were to be ousted.

"I believe in truth and accountability and every step that I've taken is consistent with that principle," Gonzales said when asked why he is not heeding calls to resign. "I am fighting for the truth as well."

Gonzales said he had his former chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, coordinated performance evaluations for the 93 U.S. attorneys "to see where changes might be appropriate."

"I signed off on the recommendations and signed off on the implementation plan, and that's the extent of my involvement," he told reporters after a holding a round-table discussion in the U.S. attorney's office here with state and federal law enforcement officials about a Justice Department initiative to thwart online predators.

     ...

Not quite. Gonzo signed off on the recommendations, signed off on the implementation plan... and then lied like crazy about having done so.

I don't know the measure of the desperation that has led Bush to continue to express confidence in perhaps the only AG in history who has a shot at the title "worse than Ashcroft." But unless someone in the GOP manages to get it through Bush's thick skull just how much damage he is doing by keeping on public officials who are already known to have lied to Congress and the American people, we may see even the bitter-enders among Bush supporters looking for the life rafts.

If I have to play the morbid game of political career deathwatch, I'll place my bets on our seeing Gonzales "resign" next Friday... only because it's too late today.

Steve
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Three From The Muck

TPM and TPMMuckraker offer several items of interest on the US Attorney business and the presidential race:

If you have the stomach for it, there's also a video of talking heads discussing a poll about Bill Clinton and his possible rehabilitation. (Sorry; I refuse to link to that.) It's lots of laughs for conservative pundits, but somehow they never get around to discussing Newt Gingrich's peccadilloes, and whether he has reformed himself. Here's a clue for the on-air babblers: Newt Gingrich is running for president. Bill Clinton is not. The Clenis™ can be brought up anytime, but it can't fill your base desires forever.

Steve
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Friday Mutual Bath Blogging



When these two are friendly, there's nothing they won't do for each other.

Steve
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Voter Fraud Fraud

Sic. Sick, actually. Brennan Center for Justice (NYU) executive director Michael Waldman and attorney Justin Levitt have emphatically reminded us in a Washington Post article of what most honest people already knew: the concept of widespread individual voter fraud is itself a fraud. Before presenting the basic evidence of absence of evidence (thanks, Rummy; we can laugh at you now) for widespread fraud, Waldman and Levitt offer this assertion:

Firing a prosecutor for failing to find wide voter fraud is like firing a park ranger for failing to find Sasquatch.

(That's not quite as funny when you consider the changes made by Bush administration political appointees to the conclusions of government-sponsored scientific research. Next week's Fox News headline: "Sasquatch Attempts to Vote in Alaska!!!")

Waldman and Levitt discuss evidence that all the various voter ID laws such as proof-of-citizenship requirements are sufficiently financially burdensome on lower-income citizens to prevent their voting at all. After all, that is the point, right? Probable Democratic votes must be squelched at all costs.

But if true voter fraud were to be committed, where would it come from?

Congress should use this controversy as an opportunity to address true issues of voter protection. Experts have concluded that the most significant threat of fraud comes from electronic voting systems, now used by 80 percent of voters. Legislation introduced by Reps. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.) and Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) would require a voter-verified record along with random audits to double-check against tampering. It would also bar wireless components from machines that could allow a hacker using a PDA to stage an attack. Lawmakers should also immediately stop pushing ID measures that would turn away legitimate voters.

(Emphasis mine.)

Remind me... which party's supporters own all of the electronic voting system companies? and to which party do they make substantial contributions?

Steve
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More On NYPD In 2004

If you haven't already read my earlier post on the subject, please read it, so I won't have to repeat myself.

Whatever you may think of TalkLeft's Big Tent Democrat... formerly Armando on Kos... please read his post on the subject of NYPD's spying on protesters at the 2004 GOP convention, and, according to Big Tent Democrat, Bloomberg's involvement in that spying. While you're there, read the first comment, by one conchita, who discusses the matter from the perspective of a NYC resident near the area most dramatically impacted by police behavior during the convention:

     ...

i live on 30th street a block away from madison square garden. during the convention my block and the surrounding neighborhood became a police state. i couldn't even walk my dog down some blocks. i was told to move on and physically shoved because i stood for too long in front of the korean market at 29th and 8th one evening. the people and the businesses in the neighborhood were completely disrepected. in a nutshell we were occupied. you couldn't enter my block without showing an id to prove you lived there.      ...

the nypd hasn't stopped since. it has become routine to see 20 police cars careening down a busy avenue with sirens blasting - and not just squad cars, but suvs,etc., all purchased around the time of the convention. the nypd is out of control.      ...

     ...

I, for one, could not live like that. I'd move. For the record: Houston hosted the GOP convention in 1992. As unpleasant as I found the whole business, I remember nothing at all like this happening. In this case, it is NYC we're talking about, and people there are often stronger than I could ever be in the face of indignities I'd never put up with.

But they shouldn't have to put up with this. Some things are outside the pale in America. This is such a thing. If any or all of this is true, there must be an investigation, and if appropriate, there must be charges, and consequences. An American's right to question the validity, veracity and goodwill of the current government in charge is time-honored, and must never be infringed. This is not, or at least should not be, a partisan issue; the venerable Theodore Roosevelt had something to say about it:

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.

Whether or not T. Roosevelt really believed that... one wonders... I believe that. My thanks to all the New Yorkers who challenged this crap in 2004, and who apparently put up with the consequences to this day.

Steve
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Bill Moyers Inspires Us Again

Need I say more? In a speech titled A Time For Anger, A Call To Action, delivered last week at Occidental College in Los Angeles, Moyers does what he does best... inspires us to pursue right action through whatever religious or philosophical tradition suits us. He points to a half dozen times in history at which deeply, essentially people-driven movements have deflected America from its headlong rush toward submission to wealthy, powerful, antidemocratic forces. He reminds us that we live in another such perilous time... and that we can do what needs to be done. As Moyers emphasizes, repeating three times with different emphasis,

The only answer to organized money
is organized people.

Word. Speaking of "word," actually, Moyers spends much of his speech discussing his own response, couched in his own Christian tradition, encouraging people of faith... their own faith, not necessarily his... to pursue that organization as a matter of right action. I have a few problems with the term "faith": often as not, it means "belief in the absence of evidence," and my position on that is not far different from that of Bertrand Russell in Why I Am Not a Christian. But I do not think Moyers uses the term only in that way, and if he is willing to accommodate a usage of "faith" that means "an abiding sense in the core of one's being that even truly horrible wrongs can be righted," I'll go along with him on that choice of word.

As you may have noticed, I am not posting as often these days. There are many reasons for that, not least among them my ongoing feelings of physical exhaustion, as if after a long, hard run. We have all engaged in a hell of a run over the past six or seven years, and I am unsurprised at the toll it has taken on my sense of physical wellbeing. The emotional reaction I experience in response to this exhaustion... I'm sure many of you have felt the same... is, "It's too much. I can't do this alone."

Moyers reminds me... reminds us... so what? You don't have to. There are many of us who share essential values, many of us who think that it does make a difference whether the people of America and the world are absorbed into the belly of the great, impersonal, imperial beast, or are given the opportunity to live as free women and men, free not only of totalitarian government but of the onus of grinding poverty and persistent, deliberately or uncaringly imposed inequality of opportunity, free of the inevitable human consequences of environmental depredations committed in the interest of short-term wealth, and most especially, free of that greatest weapon that can be wielded against us, as FDR noted: fear itself.

"Fear not." "No fear." "Fear is the mind-killer." Express it however you wish... then live it. We have a world to save.

Steve
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Game On

Via FDL... the Senate is on board with an Iraq timetable. WaPo:

The Senate today narrowly endorsed a Democratic-led effort to set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq a year from now, voting down a Republican amendment that would have stripped the provision from a $122 emergency spending bill.

Senators voted 50 to 48 to reject the amendment, which was introduced by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

     ...

Democrats (and a few GOPers) to Bush: VETO THIS!

Steve
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In Your Face



(H/T The Countess, who found it at Boing Boing. I believe you can now get a T-shirt or a sticker, though I doubt I'll do that.)

Steve
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Did Justice Tamper In Phone-Jamming Case?

Via Huffington Post, from NPR, we learn that the Justice Department may have interfered in the New Hampshire phone-jamming case, and Democrats want Congress to investigate. Follow the NPR link and listen to the segment by Peter Overby for background on the case and details of the allegations that Justice slow-walked some charges until after the 2004 elections. It certainly appears as if eight fired US Attorneys are by no means the full extent of Justice's involvement in partisan politics.


(Minor change made after initial posting, to clarify a point.)

Steve
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I Want To Be A Part Of It - UPDATED

... New York, New York:

City Asks Court Not to Unseal Police Spy Files
By JIM DWYER
Published: March 26, 2007

Lawyers for the city, responding to a request to unseal records of police surveillance leading up to the 2004 Republican convention in New York, say that the documents should remain secret because the news media will “fixate upon and sensationalize them,” hurting the city’s ability to defend itself in lawsuits over mass arrests.

In papers filed in federal court last week, the city’s lawyers also say that the documents could be “misinterpreted” because they were not intended for the public.

“The documents were not written for consumption by the general public,” wrote Peter Farrell, senior counsel in the city’s Law Department. “The documents contain information filtered and distilled for analysis by intelligence officers accustomed to reading intelligence information.”

Because the materials have not yet been used to decide or argue any issues in the civil lawsuits, Mr. Farrell said, “there is no right of public access.”

     ...

The documents are not used to decide or argue any issues? Really? I'd have thought that, if nothing else, these documents might address the city's, or at least the NYPD's, intent in possibly illegal surveillance of groups for which there was no a priori evidence of illegal action. Considering what was done in the name of New Yorkers, I'd think a lot of them would be singing "I want to be a part of it." After all, they'll be footing the bill if the city loses those lawsuits.

The Big Apple would be better off revealing its rotten spots right now. The longer they cover this, the more likely it is that the information will become public anyway, rendering their stonewalling even more of a liability when the lawsuits start rolling in. Even today's court system will cast an unfriendly eye on a governmental entity that answers the classic question "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" with a blunt "Nobody... ever!"

At least one group mentioned in the linked article displayed a better sense of humor about being investigated than I would have:

One group that learned it had been the subject of an intelligence report, Billionaires for Bush, offered a lighthearted response to the news. The group, a satirical troupe, dresses in tuxedos and gowns to provide faux endorsements of the administration.

Marco Ceglie, a national co-chairman who performs as Monet Oliver DePlace, said a member of the group known as Meg A. Buck had issued a statement: “We suspect they were looking for stock tips.”

Monet Oliver DePlace. Right. That's part of the problem. The other part is Georges-Ruth LesPower.


UPDATE: It gets worse: a federal judge rules the documents stay secret; the city accuses the NYCLU of leaking the documents to the NYT, etc. etc.

Steve
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Web Host Outage

My web host went down sometime this morning (I don't know the exact time) when a routine database restart failed. Apologies to any of you who came by intending to determine just how long the YDD can go without posting new material; you were prevented from discovering that I haven't posted anything new since Saturday. I think everything is working again.

Steve
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Saturday Signs - Late Night Edition



What sort of emergency do you get when you call that number? Fire? flood? attack by unknown alien forces?

Steve
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It's Enough To Gag You

A recipient of an FBI national security letter speaks out anonymously because of the associated gag order. Read the whole thing; it's short, but quite enough to make you gag.

(H/T War and Piece, whose essay on the subject is well worth reading.)

Steve
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Big Surprise: Gonzo Lied

AP:

Documents Show Gonzales Approved Firings
Mar 24, 9:43 AM (ET)
By LARA JAKES JORDAN

WASHINGTON (AP) - Last week, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he was not involved in any discussions about the impending dismissals of U.S. attorneys.

On Friday night, however, the Justice Department revealed Gonzales' participation in a Nov. 27 meeting where such plans were discussed.

The firings of eight prosecutors has since led to a political firestorm and calls for his ouster.

At that meeting, the attorney general and at least five top Justice Department officials discussed a five-step plan for carrying out the firings of the prosecutors, Gonzales' aides said late Friday.

There, Gonzales signed off on the plan, which was drafted by his chief of staff, Kyle Sampson. Sampson resigned last week.

     ...

I'm shocked. I never thought that such a partisan hack high-minded public servant would resort to prevarication to achieve mere political ends. I'm shocked, I tell you. Aren't you?

Steve
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Friday Cheesecake Blogging

Every blog needs to put up a bit of cheesecake from time to time, just to crank up the hit counter a bit. I can't help it if some of us are so literal-minded that the cheesecake is... well... cheesecake:



Stella defends her cheesecake against imminent capture by Tabitha and Samantha, simultaneously providing a scene of cat-on-human that FORMER Sen. Ricky Santorum could appreciate.

Steve
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Selected Links To Recent Posts

 
Click any permalink below to go to the original article on a previous page. Click a comment link below to add a comment to the original article. Your comment will be noticed, by the YDD at least: HaloScan has a page allowing me to view recent comments, no matter which post they refer to.

Astonishing Even For 'Them'

Steve
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Two Kinds Of Bad News - UPDATED

Steve
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Why Was David Iglesias Fired?

Steve
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John Backus 1924-2007

Steve
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Brief Involuntary Blog Break

Steve
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True Believers

Steve
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When Irish Signs Are Tiling

Steve
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Did Sen. Clinton Lie?

Steve
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Friday Chat Blogging

Steve
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Revels In The Cheerful Spring

Steve
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Hillary Clinton: Stay In Iraq

Steve
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Bonin On Campaign Reform And Blogs

Steve
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Gonzo Is Dismayed?

Steve
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Red-Handed: White House Did It - UPDATED

Steve
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New Victory In War On Poor

Steve
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Whose Subpoena's Longer?

Steve
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Microsoft Malware

Steve
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Saturday Signs

Steve
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Friday Crowded Cat Blogging - UPDATED

Steve
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Tenth Anniversary

Steve
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Four Out Of Five

Steve
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Anniversary Trip

Steve
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Cheney's Blood Clot

Steve
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Trial-Size Snack

Steve
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Potty-Mouthed Incivility

Steve
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Saturday Signs

Steve
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Muck, Rakes, And Fired Prosecutors

Steve
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Against Bipartisanship

Steve
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Break-In Breakdown

Steve
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Friday Mat Blogging

Steve
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Our Great Adventure Wednesday

Steve
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Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the constant omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.
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