Secret White House recordings

December 20th, 2005

Here’s a curious snippet from a speech Bush gave on April 20, 2004:

Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so. It’s important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.

(thanks to Atrios reader k for the quote)

That would seem to conflict with Bush’s recent adamant admission that the United States government does not, in fact, get court orders.

By the way, that admission, according to former White House counsel John Dean, makes Bush “the first President to admit to an impeachable offense.”

Update: Bush’s quote is making the rounds thanks to those pesky kids and their internets. A couple sightings: DNC blog, Hotline Blog and Brendan Nyhan. Pass this one on.

Sherwood writes a check

November 11th, 2005

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words (and no, I’m not referring to this picture) — looks like Jesus’ General got his hands on a copy of the check Rep. Don Sherwood used to pay off his special friend Cynthia Ore:

Dig that mudflap check

Nobody said it was easy being the “family values” candidate. On the plus side, Sherwood’s probably locked up the mudflap aficionado vote with those checks — Chris Carney is gonna have a hard time beating that. (via: Crooks and Liars.)

Winning books in unreaderly times

October 27th, 2005

A few months ago I had the opportunity to read a book put together by my friend Kevin Smokler called “Bookmark Now”. The book is subtitled “Writing in Unreaderly Times” and is a collection of essays by young authors about how they fell in love with reading and writing and decided to make a living doing it — despite competing media like television and the internet, and our increasingly short attention spans.

I really enjoyed the book, and reading the stories made me want to start reading a lot more — now, thanks to Kevin and his publisher, there’s a way to win a collection of great books chosen by the authors of “Bookmark Now.” It’s a cool idea: 15 of the authors have recommended their own favorite books, and they are holding a contest to give away copies of all 15 of those books.

All you have to do to win the contest is to recommend your own favorite book(s). If your entry is chosen at random, you win a library of books that come highly recommended. So what are you waiting for — click this link now!

Enter to win

Seriously, in an earlier blog post about the book I called Kevin a modern-day ambassador for the written word, and this is just one more thing he’s doing to earn that title. He’s doing some really cool stuff and I couldn’t be more excited for him. I’m definitely looking forward to reading some of the books on this list, and I hope you’ll check it out, too.

DNC math

October 13th, 2005

Separate but equal

I just received an email from Tom McMahon at the DNC about a matching gift campaign they are currently running.

According to the graphic included in the email, though, apparently there is also another component to this program — for a limited time only, one white person is the same as a white person and a brown person!

Given the shifting demographics of the American electorate, this could mean big things for the midterm elections. Stay tuned.

Sell the Ranch

September 7th, 2005

Sell the Ranch

Clicking a link on Boing Boing, I found, a site which features an open letter to George W. Bush encouraging him to sell his famous Crawford, Tx., ranch to help the displaced residents of New Orleans. Here’s the basic idea:

That’s right, sell your ranch in Texas, and donate the money to the victims of this horrible tragedy. I realize you love your ranch; you’ve spent almost a year of your presidency there, doing important things like clearing brush, eating pretzels, and taking naps. But that’s exactly why you need to sell it. So many people have lost their homes; the least you can do is give up ownership of one of your many residences for their benefit to show that you have some trace of compassion. Think of it as a symbolic gesture that you’re finally ready to stop running away from the responsibilities of the Oval office, and you’re ready to meet head-on the full duties of the highest office in the land.

My favorite part, though, is the suggestion posted on the news page that the recent Supreme Court decision on eminent domain be used to file paperwork and seize Bush’s ranch for use as housing for evacuees. I wonder how Chief Justice Roberts would rule on that one?

This is politics

September 3rd, 2005

Earlier this week, I sat in my air-conditioned office and objected to anyone trying to politicize this tragedy. I didn’t think any distinction should be made between fundraising efforts from conservative or liberal blogs. This is a national tragedy, after all, and there is no room for political ideology at a time like this.

I was wrong. You can’t stop a hurricane, but you can plan for it. You can spend the money on building up the levees instead of spending it on tax cuts for the wealthy. You can have the National Guard troops ready to help their neighbors instead of fighting a bogus war in Iraq. You can make sure that the directors of agencies like FEMA and Homeland Security are competent and prepared instead of political hacks who are more interested in ass-covering than saving lives.

This is what politics is for. This is what government is for. This is why we choose leaders. And anyone who has defended Bush and his administration, his lies to send us to war, his gutting of domestic budgets, his disinterest in the plight of working-class people in this country even before a disaster like this hit, anyone who apologizes for his inability to act and his cavalier attitude even in the middle of this catastrophe, this is one more failure you share responsibility for. After all of this, is there really anyone who can still defend this man?

Steve Gilliard calls out the conservative bloggers in no uncertain terms over on his blog. He’s doing a good job cataloging the incompetence, too.

This story was posted at CNN on Friday, titled “The big disconnect on New Orleans”:

Diverging views of a crumbling New Orleans emerged Thursday, with statements by some federal officials in contradiction with grittier, more desperate views from the streets. By late Friday response to those stranded in the city was more visible.

But the conflicting views on Thursday came accutane within hours, sometimes minutes of each of each other, as reflected in CNN’s transcripts. The speakers include Michael Brown, chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, evacuee Raymond Cooper, CNN correspondents and others. Here’s what they had to say:

read more »

The Associated Press moved a very critical story with the very telling slug “katrina_happy_talk”:

The Iraqi insurgency is in its last throes. The economy is booming. Anybody who leaks a CIA agent’s identity will be fired. Add another piece of White House rhetoric that doesn’t match the public’s view of reality: Help is on the way, Gulf Coast.

As New Orleans descended into anarchy, top Bush administration officials congratulated each other for jobs well done and spoke of water, food and troops pouring into the ravaged city. Television pictures told a different story.

read more »

Slate’s Jack Shafer posted a story with the headline “The Rebellion of the Talking Heads”:

In the last couple of days, many of the broadcasters reporting from the bowl-shaped toxic waste dump that was once the city of New Orleans have stopped playing the role of wind-swept wet men facing down a big storm to become public advocates for the poor, the displaced, the starving, the dying, and the dead.

read more »

Then, last night during the feel-good fundraising concert televised on NBC — no doubt being watched in a comfortable hotel room somewhere by those 700 guests who’d been evacuated from the New Orleans Hyatt in front of the thousands of city residents still trapped in the convention center and Superdome — Kanye West broke from the script:

George Bush doesn’t care about black people.

The cameras quickly cut away and his statement was edited out for viewers seeing the program on tape delay. But you can’t edit this stuff out. They don’t care about black people, they don’t care about anyone.

Best trivia team name

August 15th, 2005

The team sitting next to us at this week’s Wonderland trivia night came up with this gem for their team name:

“Judge Roberts’ view on the right to privacy in the case of Smelt It v. Dealt It.”

While the legal scholars study the issue (we feel he would side with Smelt It), we’re enjoying our free Scotch — and our team (Your Ad Here) is in third place.

Update: Smelt It officially won the best name for the night and walked away with a sweet set of Amstel glassware. Oh, and our team won the trivia contest — and our bar tab is covered! Free Scotch, free booze, and the respect and admiration (or at least the jealous sideward glances) of our peers. We’re actually good at something! If only our team name were better — maybe next week.

All BORF, all the time

July 15th, 2005

Update: Turns out the main Borf gave a series of interviews to the Washington Post under the condition that the information about him could be released if he was arrested. So within 24 hours of his arrest, a detailed story titled “The Mark of Borf” topped the Style section of Thursday’s paper. The Raleigh News & Observer piled on today. So the journalists are in the house. More at DCist and MetaFilter.

I found out about this arrest because I’ve been obsessively reading my neighborhood’s police Yahoo! group ever since my house was burglarized a few weeks ago. As you can imagine, it’s not full of good news — so when the steady parade of burglaries, muggings and car thefts was interrupted by the gleeful “We got ‘im!” message from Inspector Groomes, it stood out like a sore thumb.

I can’t even say I’ve got mixed feelings about it, because I don’t. Considering all the other stuff the police have to be concerned with, nailing the guy responsible for the creative, literate and whimsical BORF graffiti isn’t high on my list of priorities. I’ve even got my own set of BORF photos up on Flickr, and I’d put up even more — except, oh yeah, someone just broke into my house and stole my digital camera.

BORF arrested?

July 13th, 2005

This from the D.C. Police Dept. via the 3DSubstation Yahoo! Group:

MIDNITE UNITS ARRESTED “BORF” – the infamous graffiti artist that has plagued Parkview, Columbia Heights, Pleasant Plains, Ledroit Park, etc etc

At 0315 hours – officers who were on routine patrol were flagged down at V Street/Georgia Avenue when a citizen reported that there were a group of guys spraypainting buildings on 7th STreet — the officers pulled up and observed three subjects spraypainting and the subjects took off running when officers approached — the officers chased down all three subjects and caught them in the 2100 blk of 9th Street:


Richard Lee – A/male from Great Falls, VA
John Tsombikos – W/male from Great Falls, VA (the main “borf”)
John Doe – w/male WHO REFUSED ALL INFO

All were charged with Defacing private property

Note that this report identifies “the main ‘borf’” — not sure if that means the police recognized him. And since I’m a blogger and not a journalist, I have no additional information but will post any updates as I run across them.

Bush’s plan for Iraq

June 28th, 2005

AmericaSupportsYou Sports BottleI have to admit, I had my doubts about President Bush’s speech to the nation this evening — after all, Donald Rumsfeld said this weekend that American troops will need up to 12 years to defeat the insurgents in Iraq, and violence is escalating throughout the country with Iraqi security forces, U.S. troops and government officials bearing the brunt.

So I was anxious to see Bush’s address tonight. Would he offer specifics, the type of detailed plan the American public need to hear to reassure us that the situation is under control? Well, I needn’t have worried:

The America Supports You logo consists of the type unit, “America Supports You,” and a heart-and-ribbon mark to form a complete lockup. It may be used with or without the tagline, “Our Military Men & Women.”

This is a bold and unprecedented plan, and the full details are being presented on a new Department of Defense website located at I admit I’m no military strategist, but has a strategy like this ever been so well documented — right down to a logo standards manual?

The logo is available in a horizontal and a vertical configuration.

Hear that, al-Zarqawi? I bet the insurgency doesn’t have a logo at all, let alone multiple versions. Seriously, the choice of PMS 1795 caught me off-guard — and you’ve gotta see the one-color options on this baby. Need to reverse it on a solid, dark colored background? DOD’s got you covered.

I’m waiting for further analysis, so by no means should this coverage be considered comprehensive, but I’m impressed by the variety of options available on the official program materials page, and I suspect we’re only scratching the surface. Patriotic marketers are given design ideas ranging from mugs and lapel pins to shopping bags and sports bottles — and be sure to add your company’s logo for that special cross-promotional touch!
% Total % Received % Xferd Average Speed Time Time Time Current Dload Upload Total Spent Left Speed 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:-- 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:-- 0 100 68 100 68 0 0 561 0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:-- 557