It’s a Kid’s Life in the Royal Army

Today’s news that Price Harry is being pulled from front-line duty in Afghanistan was hardly a surprise; once it was disclosed — by Drudge, of course — that he was there he became a dangerous target.
No, what was surprising to me was how desperate they must be for front-line troops. Take a look at the photo that the San Jose Mercury News decided to run with this story:

I guess it’s hard to find a current photo of Harry, him being so reclusive and avoiding photographers.


Kirk sez:

Looking at the old pic of Prince Henry reminded me of this-

They should have been blocking information 7 years ago, too late now

From Salon’s Machinist:

[In this week's 60 Minutes] a Republican lawyer charged Bush operative Karl Rove with planning a campaign to ruin Don Siegelman, the former Democratic governor of Alabama, who was convicted in 2006 of federal bribery charges, and is now serving a seven-year sentence.

Among other nefarious things, the lawyer, Jill Simpson, says Rove asked her to try to get pictures of Siegelman cheating on his wife.

Grant Woods, another Republican attorney — he’s Arizona’s former attorney general and a co-chair of the John McCain campaign — tells “60 Minutes,” “I personally believe that what happened here is that they targeted Don Siegelman because they could not beat him fair and square. This was a Republican state and he was the one Democrat they could never get rid of.”

It’s a damning charge, one that must have folks in Alabama wondering if their former governor was given a fair shake. Except for one thing: As Scott Horton of Harper’s reports, WHNT, the CBS affiliate that broadcasts “60 Minutes” to Northern Alabama, did not run the segment.

Instead of the airing the report, the station ran, instead, this notice:

We apologize that you missed the first segment of “60 Minutes” tonight featuring “The Prosecution of Don Siegelman.” It was a technical problem with CBS out of New York.

Really? Well, not quite. WHNT, which Horton notes has harbored a long hostility to Siegelman, is owned by Oak Hill Capital Partners, which is run by the Bass brothers, who have been major funders of George W. Bush.

When Horton called CBS to ask if there really was a “technical problem out of New York,” the network told him:

There were no transmission difficulties. The problems were peculiar to Channel 19, which had the signal and had functioning transmitters.

Oh really? Faced with this denial from CBS, WHNT put out another explanation:

Sunday night at approximately 6pm, WHNT lost the network feed of “60 Minutes” for twelve minutes at the beginning of a segment on former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. Upon investigation, WHNT learned that our station’s CBS receiver that allows us to receive programming from the CBS network’s feed failed. WHNT engineers responded as quickly as possible to diagnose the problem and were able to restore the feed at 6:12pm. WHNT aired the segment in its entirety last night at 10:15pm during our late news and it is currently posted on WHNT.com as well.
We apologize to all of our Tennessee Valley viewers for the interruption and we can assure you there was no intent whatsoever to keep anyone from seeing the broadcast.

Today has been censorship day at Machinist — first we discussed Pakistan’s attack on YouTube, then Comcast’s attack on BitTorrent.

Here again we’ve got the same story: A “technical problem” separates people from content they want to see. Northern Alabamans can still watch the show on the Web — at least until some kind of technical problem shuts that door too.

Pointless ramble on a Sunday morning

There was once a concept — the 500 Channel television universe. I suppose it began with the cable and satellite revolution, when people started to get their television in bulk rather than over the air with rabbit ears. The idea of the 500 channel universe was that there would be room for specialization in television, that niche audiences would be served and that there would always be something to watch. Guess what? It didn’t work out that way. Big surprise.

Person equals something to be sold

I admit to not liking Oprah.
Scary but true: I’m more afraid of posting an anti-Oprah post than an anti-Bush post. In other words, I still believe enough in the inherent goodness/incompetence of our government as opposed to the reach of Oprah’s empire.
But I have to say that I really have the hots for her Nate Berkus automaton — another guy that she glommed onto and decided to make into an Oprahifed commodity.
He’s cute — adorable, hot, really — and has suffered a horrific tragedy in the form of losing his lover in the tsunami, something I can’t imagine. But tonight I discovered something about him that makes me sick to my stomach. Yes, if you visit his website you’ll see it too: General Annoyances Shortlink

Anyone keeping count?

I know that Democrats in power also get indicted and do stupid things, but the schadenfreude surrounding news stories with a little (R) is so delicious because it’s the Republicans who are always telling us how moral they are.

Rep. Rick Renzi (R) was indicted today on multiple charges by a federal grand jury looking into a controversial land deal in his home state of Arizona.

Under heavy pressure from House GOP leaders, Renzi had already announced that he would not run for re-election, as news of the Justice Department’s probe had crippled him politically.

Renzi is one of roughly two-dozen Arizona “co-chairs” of Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign. So far, McCain has not put out a statement today on Renzi’s indictment, though he did say on the campaign trail that he was “disappointed.” [Washington Post]

As always, I’m endlessly amused by the lackluster and timid comment at the end of these stories.

Transactivist judges

Is there anything funnier than the unmasking of the true identities of members of a failing, fascist government? Of course, you know the subject of the following is a Republican as soon as you read “in drag.”

A 63-year-old Massachusetts federal bankruptcy judge has resigned a week after he was arrested for driving under the influence in New Hampshire while reportedly wearing a woman’s dress, heels and stockings, and carrying a purse.

Judge Robert Somma, a Newbury resident, pleaded no contest to the drunken driving charge in New Hampshire and agreed to have his license suspended for 12 months, the Manchester Union Leader reported.

“He decided with the media coverage the way it had been, it was best to put this behind him,” Gary Wenta, circuit executive for Boston’s First Federal Circuit, told the Herald.

Wenta said Somma worked in private practice for years in Boston before he was appointed to the bench by President Bush in December 2004. He will remain on leave until he resigns on April 1, after roughly three years on the job.

“He’s a highly respected member of the bar and remains so,” Wenta said. “He was serving a 14-year appointment. This will leave him without a pension.”

The Union Leader reported yesteday that Somma crashed his Mercedes into the rear of a car stopped on Elm Street after leaving a bar in the city last week.

When cops arrived, the paper reported, Somma was wearing a cocktail dress, fishnet stockings, women’s heels and fumbled through a purse for his driver’s license. [Boston Herald]

We’ve endured the ultra-right, uber-moral, holier-than-thou conservativism of the Bush world and now that it is all falling apart, it makes such an amusing spectacle. Still, I wish we hadn’t had to go through it at all, but at least we can laugh at them — and I’m sure they’re happy to be under arrest or humiliated instead of swinging from a rope.

50 is the new 30

Carrie Fisher is one of those women who was gorgeous when young but reached a phase in her 40s when she wasn’t quite as glamorous. But then after a certain age, she suddenly became beautiful again: take a look at this photo of Fisher from the Chronicle. Now in her 50s, she has entered a new phase of beauty. Gorgeous!

End of the same old-same old?

I tell you, watching NewsHour just now and seeing George HW Bush and John McCain… boy. On one side we have really old, rich, white men accompanied by their harsh looking society matron wives. On the other side we have a woman with a womanizing good old boy husband and a black man with a Claire Huxtable-esque glamorous wife.
Which side sounds like it would produce a more entertaining eight years? If nothing else, this election is at least not asking us to choose between one rich white man and another rich white man.

How will he pay for the 100 years in Iraq?

(02-17) 13:04 PST WASHINGTON, (AP) –
Republican John McCain says there will be no new taxes during his administration if he is elected president.

Read his lips.

McCain told ABC’s “This Week” that under no circumstances would he increase taxes, and added that he could “see an argument, if our economy continues to deteriorate, for lower interest rates, lower tax rates, and certainly decreasing corporate tax rates.”

No surprise: he emphasizes as a certainty a cut in taxes for corporations. Don’t see him being as emphatic when it comes to cutting taxes for, say, middle class citizens like myself who are always passed over for tax cuts.
Funny, isn’t it? This upside down, bizarro world we’re living in where Republicans stand for both huge increases in federal spending and large revenue cuts benefitting the richest corporations; resulting in a sea of red ink. Gosh, I thought that Democrats were the ones who spent like drunken sailors…

A West Wing Christmastime

The President, First Lady, and Chief of Staff (Martin Sheen, Stockard Channing, John Spencer) from NBC’s “The West Wing” do a little bit of damage to their credibility on this ill-advised selection from a 2001 NBC Christmas CD.

Republican Roundup

You know, I feel rather guilty that I’m not filling up my blog with diatribes about the right wing, as I used to do. It might be because moving to California helped me shake the political world of DC; but it is more likely that I am just burned out from seven years of insanity, that feeling that I’m living in bizarro world.

Call it what it is
The right wing is successful because they reframe every question, usually coming up with buzz words and phrases that sell well and divert attention from reality. We’ve seen this in action constantly since the Gingrich era, and it just exploded once Karl Rove occupied the White House.
Every time I hear one of these dubious phrases, I want to scream. Especially since the media has begun to parrot them, reading right off Republican press releases. From “death tax” to “PATRIOT Act” to the pejorative use of “Democrat”, the media just picks up these manufactured marketing phrases and sprinkles them through their “journalism.”
Just this week, I was startled and not a little pissed to hear NPR of all places parroting a patently ridiculous new right wing euphemism: “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques.”
Because, of course, they can’t defend “torture.”

Tap this, pal
I couldn’t believe my ears: On “News Hour” last night, the topic was the stalled legislation allowing wiretapping. When the right winger opened his mouth, he sounded like he was against illegal wiretapping, talking about the chilling effect on corporations cooperating with the government in spying, etc… but he was actually defending them. His argument, believe it or not, was that lawsuits against communications companies which voluntarily turned over wiretaps to the government without warrants could actually make them — get this — not want to do it.
I looked at the screen askance, like a confused dog. Huh? Here was a guy who was defending the indefensible by using the same arguments that would be used to argue against it.
Again, it all seems like it can’t be real. America uses torture. America illegally spies on its citizens. America is in grave danger if we don’t suspend our rights, if you’re not with us you’re against us, you are going to be a target of terrorism any moment now and if we can’t monitor your communications America will crumble under the might of terrorists any moment now.
Gah.

When you read a story like this, you automatically think, “He must be a Republican.”
The best part of this blurb is the quote at the end. Trust me.

GOP’s McKee Resigns After Home Is Searched

By Philip Rucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 16, 2008; Page B05

Robert A. McKee, a long-serving Republican delegate from Western Maryland, announced his resignation yesterday after authorities, who say they are conducting a child pornography investigation, seized two computers, videotapes and printed materials from his Hagerstown home.

First elected to the House of Delegates in 1994, McKee was chairman of the Western Maryland delegation and sponsored legislation to protect minors from sexual predators. McKee, 58, also resigned yesterday from his post as executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County, a child mentorship program where he has worked for 29 years.

“For me, this is deeply embarrassing,” McKee said in a statement. “It reflects poorly on my service to the community.”

Welcome to 2004
I assume I don’t need to point out the sudden and politically expedient revival of 9/11. After all, there’s an election this year, so this week’s rhetoric about how insecure we are, how we should expect a terrorist attack any moment, how we must surrender our rights to ensure our safety… well, it’s to be expected.
Love this sentence from a Washington Post story:

Bush left the country for Africa on Friday after declaring that “our country is more in danger of an attack.”

Fraidy cat.
Still, I can’t help wonder how many Americans still believe all of this and how it will play out in November. The Republicans realize that they can’t run on the economy, on health care, on excellent foreign policy, on education, on fighting child pornography (obviously); so they must turn to the only thing that gets them elected: fear. Fear of terrorists lurking around every corner; fear of gay people who might want to get married; fear of cheap gas.
Will it work? I hope not.

His own man
John McCain? Really? Isn’t he the guy who ran against George Bush only to be flattened into the ground by the Bush campaign machine with personal smears and horrific lies?
Who, despite everything thinks that we should keep fighting in Iraq for a hundred years? Who, despite this reprehensible treatment by the Bush cabal still allowed this obsequious photo to be taken?

You really want to vote for this guy?

A little prediction
How much you want to bet that sometime this week, President Bush will refer to the continent of Africa as a country?