Friday, March 31, 2006

Former DeLay aide pleads guilty in lobbyist fraud probe
By MARK SHERMAN
AP

WASHINGTON — A former top aide to Rep. Tom DeLay pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy and promised to cooperate with a federal investigation of bribery and lobbying fraud that has so far netted three convictions and prompted calls for ethics reform in Congress.

Tony Rudy, DeLay's former deputy chief of staff, admitted to conspiring with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff both while Rudy worked for DeLay and after he left the lawmaker's staff to become a lobbyist himself.

He faces up to five years in prison, but could receive much less based on the extent of his help with the investigation, U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle told Rudy at a court hearing in Washington.

As a top aide to DeLay in his role as House majority leader, Rudy took payments from Abramoff in 2000, then helped stop an Internet gambling bill opposed by Abramoff's clients, according to court papers.

Later, while working as a lobbyist, Rudy also was extensively involved in arranging a golf trip to Scotland for Rep. Bob Ney, described as Representative 1, and congressional staffers, the court papers said.

Rudy, who resigned as DeLay's deputy chief of staff in 2001, is the first person to plead guilty in the case since Abramoff pleaded guilty to fraud charges in January. Michael Scanlon, a former DeLay press secretary who later became a lobbying partner with Abramoff, pleaded guilty in November to conspiring to bribe public officials...

get the rest of the story at http://www.statesman.com/news/content/gen/ap/Lobbyist_Fraud_Rudy.html
It's Just Blogging.

Man, I hate it when good bloggers start to take themselves too seriously and end up thinking they are Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite or other members of the media glitteratti.
Recently, a very popular gay left-wing political blogger caught hell from a good portion of his readers by posting a photo of himself at a political gala standing next to one of the GOP's most loathsome female members.
He said it was "campy," then got defensive when challenged about saying, "what a nice person she was."
All politicians are nice to people in public. That's part of the game. As a former MSM reporter, I've met and interviewed my share of politicians, and they've all been very charming on the surface. Big deal.
Many of us come into close proximity with famous people just by leaving our homes and going to ordinary events like political rallies, good restaurants or parties.
If I met George W. Bush, however, I would not smile and pose for a photo with him as if I cared about being seen with him.
I would not do a grip n' grin photo with any GOP politician, any more than I'd pose with Ted Nugent, Osama bin Laden, O.J. Simpson or Fred Phelps of the "God Hates Fags" ministry.
And if I did sacrifice my political principles and make breezy chitchat with a neo-con political celebrity at an event, I sure as hell wouldn't blog about it.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Top Chef

I am now glued to Bravo's "Top Chef" the way I was glued to "Project Runway."
Last night, their challenge was to make a gourmet meal from $20 worth of groceries they purchased at a gas station MiniMart.
I can't believe they missed the obvious culinary delicacy: a can of chili, a bag of Fritos and some yellow cheese makes for a superb Frito Pie. Add some sour cream to the mix and you have haute cuisine.
Best of all, you can microwave the spicy melange in about three minutes. And it goes perfectly with most MiniMart wines and beers.

What would you create with $20 worth of MiniMart groceries?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

From LiveJournal.com

New Attack Meme: It's Not Just Incompetence, It's a Disease

What if you had someone like this in your family?

He's a drunk. Doesn't matter what his particular poison is, it's how he lives his life.

He's always broke. He has to borrow money to finance his nights out on the town. He tells the people he borrows from that he'll get them back sometime in the future.

He spends money he doesn't have on shit he doesn't need. And then tells his kids that he can't afford to send them to a good school or a good doctor because times are tough.

He's been known to get drunk and attack people who haven't done anything to him. Invariably, this gets him in fights that he can't win.

He goes off on benders and no one can find him for days. Once, while he was on one of these, part of his house flooded and his family had to go stay with relatives. He hasn't bothered to clean up that part of the house yet. It has been seven months now.

When any of his friends question his choices he loudly declares that either they are "with him or against him" and calls them cowards. When someone in the family questions him, he tells them that they are ungrateful and obviously don't care as much about the family as he does.

Ironically, he's the first guy to stand up in church on Sunday. He sings the loudest, even as his breath stinks of booze.

So now if you were his wife, would you stay with this guy?

If you were his kid, would you take fatherly advice from him?

If he was your brother-in-law, would you lend him money?

If you were his friend, would you even let him drive home?

So why would you vote for him and his kind to run this country?

This administration is full of drunks. The Republican party is the party of drunks. And anyone who votes for them is an enabler.

It's time to take away the keys before someone really gets hurt.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Just Another Tired Old Card Trick

The news of Bush's Chief of Staff Andrew Card "resigning" is about as lackluster as any political shake-up can be.
Bush may think that getting rid of Card will satisfy nervous GOP legislators who urged Bush to shake things up in his administration in time for the November elections, but it's too little, too late.
Bush needed to fire Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rove and Rice for their combined dishonesty and incompetence. Now THAT would have made an impact.
Changing Card for some old schmuck recycled from Bush 41's disastrous administration is a nothing move.
Bush has fallen and he can't get up.
His cabinet full of slime is his anchor.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Kinky in San Antonio:This Isn't Just About Texas

I went to hear Kinky Friedman speak on Saturday morning here in San Antonio. Nice crowd, including Brian Williams and his crew from NBC Nightly News.
Kinky's pretty damn amazing, and I love his platform.
Sitting right in front of us in the audience was a big guy wearing a black cowboy hat and a Kinky T-shirt. Turned out to be Jerry Jeff Walker.
Willie Nelson is on board as Kinky's energy secretary.
As you may know, Willie is actively touting biodiesel fuel as an alternative to petroleum based fuels. Basically, the fuel is made of vegetable oil or animal fats--meaning an average McDonald's or Burger King could be the source of fuel in your tank without much effort.
Go to http://www.wnbiodiesel.com/products.html to learn more.
Get a load of some of Kinky's plans (from his website):

Education:
Texas has the second-largest population of any state in the country and two of the ten largest cities. That's an awfully big cart to pull with the horsepower we're currently giving our kids in Texas schools. An educated workforce and top-notch schools are essential to keeping our state attractive to new business, but we're failing the test.
Texas has the 8th largest economy in the world, but we're 1st in dropout rates and 49th in education spending in the country.

Teachers' salaries in Texas are over $6,000 below the national average. This lack of respect for the people who do our state's most important job must stop. As governor, Kinky will work to make sure that teachers are paid what they're worth. Period.
The TAKS test and its predecessor, TAAS, were invented essentially to make legislators look good on education. But studies show that rigid enforcement of standardized test scores doesn't help kids learn or make teachers more effective. Teach to the test and kids will learn the test—but not much else.

Healthcare
Texas ranks rock-bottom in providing for the basic needs of its youngest and poorest residents. More than one-fifth of Texas children have no health insurance at all.
In 2003, Texas legislators slashed the Children's Health Insurance Program, pulling the rug out from under 170,000 kids. Not only did this put more of our children at risk, it ended up costing the state tens of thousands of health care jobs and $16 billion in lost productivity. Kinky believes this is reckless and short-sighted—no way to invest in the future of Texas.

We're a state that prides itself on friendliness and responsibility, but the message we're sending our kids is that if you're going to be born poor, you'd better not be born in Texas.

Renewable Energy
It's time for Texas to reclaim bragging rights as an energy icon. As governor, Kinky will accomplish that by encouraging investment and innovation in new methods of electricity generation and new fuels like biodiesel.

Think these are fringe technologies? Think again. Wind power plants, solar power arrays and landfill gas capture systems are already in operation across Texas in cities from Fort Stockton to Fort Worth.

Texas has been called "the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy," and firms from TXU to Kyocera are already clamoring for a piece of the action.

Despite our staggering potential, only 0.7% of Texas' energy needs come from renewable sources. That puts us 51st in the nation, behind even Washington D.C.
Biodiesel—it's good enough for Willie Nelson's tour bus, and the city of Denton is using it to fuel their entire fleet of diesel trucks. Biodiesel is fuel you can grow. That's good for farmers, good for the air, good for the Texas energy industry and good for Texans. With biodiesel, everybody wins but OPEC..."


Best of all, he plans to pay for it by stopping the insanity of making Texans go to neighboring states to legally gamble. He's for casinos in Texas, with a large slice of the proceeds going back into the state's coffers so we can reduce property taxes by 15% and pay for the programs mentioned above.

All states need to shake things up, get politicians away from the grasping talons of lobbyists and start electing representatives who represent us- the people.

If the Democrats don't have the balls to do it, we need to support independents who do...like Kinky.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Battle Ax Babs

Barbara Bush contributed to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, but she earmarked the donation specifically to purchase "educational software" from her son Neil Bush's company, "Ignite!"
You may remember Neil Bush from the Silverado Savings and Loan scandal and the Asian hooker controversy.
Neil Bush's funding to start his company Ignite! came from the United Arab Emirates, the same crooks whom Dubya wanted to hire to control some of our major ports.
As I've said many times before, when the bitch is defective, the pups come out goofy.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Reporting "the Good News" from Iraq
A Pulp Friction Rant

The neo-con Bushistas are constantly complaining that the media fails to report the good news happening in Iraq.
Perhaps it's because if Bush hadn't started a war with a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, any good news in Iraq would be totally irrelevant to the American public.
Let me give you some examples:

Consider if America was not at war with Iraq...

-If the Iraqis were without electricity for an extended period of time and they somehow restored it, would Joe Sixpack of America give a shit?
-If an elementary school was built in Falluja, would that make the news in America? Hell, if a new elementary school was built in San Antonio, it wouldn't make the news in Austin!
-If there was no insurgent violence in Karbala for three days, would anyone in Rochester, New York care?
-If, before the war, the Sunni and Shia representatives went on a picnic and toasted each other with pomegranate juice, would anyone in Florida feel a need to know that?

The fact is, before Bush attacked Iraq, nobody in America could even name a city in Iraq besides maybe Baghdad.
Like the rest of those God-forsaken hellholes in the region, Americans didn't consider Iraq a tourist destination, or a region they'd ever have any cause to visit. In short, Americans didn't have one iota of interest in Iraq.
Before Bush made Saddam Hussein a target of his hatred and venom, most Americans thought he was just another average Middle Eastern dictator, a savage whose ass George H.W. Bush kicked soundly during The Gulf War.
The fact is, Bush would love for the media to spread messages of sunshine, lollipops and rainbows about ordinary things happening in Iraq so the American people would believe that Bush's invasion made sense.

If you could decide whether a new elementary school in Falluja was worth the lives of more than 2,000 American soldiers and more than $500 billion American dollars, would you say we should go for it?
Hell, no.

Iraq is and has always been a state filled with violent extremists, held together only by a dictator more rabid than the average street fighter. Removing the only stabilizing force in Iraq has shown us that Iraq is a region best left to its own insanity.

There is no good news in Iraq, and there won't be until the last American soldier is pulled out of that shithole.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

You Think Your Mate is a Jerk?

I was perusing The Smoking Gun.com and found this ludicrous marriage contract.
Check it out: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/0217062contract1.html
Give Him Hell, Helen

For the first time in three years, cowardly warmonger George W. Bush called on venerable journalist Helen Thomas during a White House press conference, who asked him why he wanted to go to war with Iraq from the moment he took office.
He said he didn't want to go to war, that no president wants war.
When she tried to challenge that claim, he kept rudely interrupting her until he managed to elude her and move on.
Thomas has been a member of the White House press corps since 1961.
She has skewered every president since John F. Kennedy, and rightfully so, because as a journalist she has always represented the rights of the American people to know what their president is doing, and why.
If anyone wanted to see a demonstration of a highly competent journalism veteran going after a weak, thin-skinned politician, the recent exchange between Thomas and Bush fit the bill.
Bush can't take the heat from serious journalists.
He cannot justify his ridiculous actions.
The emperor has no clothes, and Helen Thomas exposed him in just a scant few moments.
Helen Thomas has questioned the last eight presidents during White House Press Conferences, so she's in a position to rate their performances.
She rates George W. Bush as the worst president in modern history.
And she oughtta know.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Mourning Mileah

To send Mileah's family a condolence e-mail, her aunt Jerry's e-mail address is
jnichols@bowie-cass.com.
Mileah's beloved father Bob will be staying with Jerry for the next few days and she's promised to share any messages with him.
Mileah's funeral will be on Wednesday in Quitman Texas, east of Dallas, but on Thursday, March 23 from 1- 3 p.m., there will be an Austin memorial at Stubb's Restaurant in downtown Austin, 801 Red River Street.
If anyone would like to speak with Jerry or Mileah's best friend Rob, please e-mail me at KarenZipdrive@aol.com and I will share their numbers with you.
Getting Kinky in San Antonio

NBC News anchor Brian Williams and Gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman will be in San Antonio on Saturday at 10 a.m. in the Coronado Room of the El Tropicano Hotel, 310 Lexington Avenue.
Everyone in the vicinity is invited to come and meet Kinky and appear in the crowd for Williams' national newscast that evening.
Afterwards, volunteers will canvas various neighborhoods seeking signatures on the petition to get Kinky on the ballot for the November election.
Even non-Texans can get involved...
Blog about Kinky's unique and all-American campaign!
To learn more about this outstanding candidate, go to KinkyFriedman.com.
We need a change in America, and that change should start in Texas.
As Kinky Friedman says of his campaign for Governor, "Why the Hell Not?"
Indeed.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Very Sad News

My friend Mileah Jordan from Austin passed away yesterday.
The owner of the blog Literally Liberal, Mileah was a kind soul with great passion for the underdog, great political insight and a lovely way with words.
She touched many lives with her writing, and she will be missed.
Godspeed, my friend.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I'm exactly zero percent Irish, but I do plan to have corned beef and cabbage with some friends tonight. I just hope the party breaks up before the cabbage breaks down.
Alas, no Irish whisky or Bailey's Irish cream for me tonight. With diabetes, I dare not risk the side effects of a belly full of either.
Speaking of saints and guys named Patrick, I just read a news article that soon-to-be Rove prosecutor, St. Patrick Fitzgerald, was instrumental in handing down indictments for more than 25 online pedophiles.
In the photo that accompanied the story, Fitzgerald announced the indictments as Bush's dumpy attorney general, Tio Tomas Gonzales, stood behind him and stared a hole through his back.
Methinks the Justice Department handed St. Patrick the kiddie porn cases as a means to deter him from concentrating on his ongoing quest to bring down the Plame leakers.
I hate pedophiles, and would personally be glad to Cheney them all in the face with shotguns, but prosecuting those who would out a CIA agent and compromise all who worked with her is a treasonous crime that risks national security during wartime.
Pedophiles are like sacks of flour. They'll keep.
St. Patrick's more urgent task at hand should be prosecuting the scoundrels in the White House who knowingly and intentionally outed Valerie Plame in a personal vendetta against her husband.
Kiddy-diddling is horrendous, but treason is a national outrage that should be prosecuted with sure and swift diligence.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

These Boots Were Made for Dissin'

Kindly add 50 points to Jessica Simpson's approval ratings.
Seems she's in Washington, DC to lobby Congress on behalf of Operation Smile, a charity that gives facially disfigured children overseas free plastic surgery.
The 50 points come from her refusal to meet with Bush and the other GOP criminals for a swanky fund-raiser tonight.
Simpson's flacks said she declined a request to appear at the fund-raiser of the National Republican Congressional Committee – even after she was offered some private face time with Bush – because Operation Smile is a non-partisan group, they said.
NRCC spokesman Carl Forti said he was surprised by her behavior.
"It's never been a problem for Bono," he said, referring to the U2 star who has met regularly with leaders of all political leanings to promote such causes as Third World debt relief. "I find it hard to believe she would pass up an opportunity to lobby the president on behalf of Operation Smile."
Jessica may think Chicken of the Sea is actually chicken, but she seems to know chickenshits when she sees them.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Arghhhhh!

TGI Friday's has an ad out where this guy drinks his buddy's Kung Pao sauce because it's in a shot glass and he thinks it's a drink.
Then the other guy says, "That was my kung pao sauce for my SRIMP."
Why do people say 'srimp' instead of shrimp?
Are they intentionally trying to drive me crazy? Are they really that stupid?
If you say srimp instead of sHrimp, we may have trouble continuing to be friends. Please don't admit it if you do.
Thank you.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Eat Your Oreos, See How Our Money Is Being Spent

http://www.truemajority.org/oreos/
W.'s Mixed Messagesby Maureen Dowd
The New York Times
March 11, 2006

WASHINGTON

The good news is the Arabs aren't going to run our ports.

The bad news is the Americans are going to run our ports.

Homeland Security's protection of the ports is a joke. The goof-off Michael Chertoff is remarkably still in charge. The swaggering of the president and vice president on national security has been exposed as a sham, with millions spent shoring up our defenses wasted, with the Iraq war aggravating our danger, and with anti-Muslim feeling swelling among Americans and anti-American feeling swelling among Muslims.

A Washington Post-ABC News Poll this week found that a growing percentage of Americans have unfavorable opinions of Islam. A majority now think Muslims are disproportionately prone to violence.

The creepy John Grisham-style Washington firm called the Carlyle Group, suffused with Arab connections and money, and seeded with Saudi money (including bin Laden family money until after 9/11), even gave some thought to investing in the ports, before backing off.

The nakedness of the ports is so obvious it was a "Sopranos" plot point. A source called Deep Water, who helped check out new hires for the New Jersey port before and after 9/11, told the F.B.I. a couple of years ago about what he saw as gaps in security practices on the waterfront and a "suspicious" flow of recent Arab immigrants, some speaking little English, being hired as port watchmen. Deep Water said he'd recently been interviewed by New York detectives.

President Bush does not seem to understand that it was his bumbling -- rather than our bigotry -- that led Americans to gulp and yelp at the idea of an Arab government running our ports. When the president said yesterday that "my administration was satisfied that port security would not have been undermined by the agreement," he seemed oblivious to the fact that -- after W.M.D., Katrina and Iraq -- many Americans no longer trust this administration to protect them.

Still shaken by his first rebellion by Republicans fed up with White House hubris and hamhandedness, W. chastised lawmakers about xenophobia. "I'm concerned about a broader message this issue could send to our friends and allies around the world, particularly in the Middle East," he said. He said that we had to cultivate moderate Arabs, but that moderate Muslims were shrinking back as violent Islamists pushed ahead.

American skepticism about the Dubai government running our ports is not prejudice. As Denny Hastert put it, "It's counterintuitive." There is nothing wrong with wanting Americans to be responsible for American security. That's not nativism or jingoism or bigotry. It's self-reliance and prudence. Of course, such an attitude can be exploited by bigots. And some bigotry is being fed by scenes on the news every day of Arab fighters blowing things up, leading to the same stereotype of Arabs that existed in the 70's, a caricature limned from terrorism, oil and the petrodollar.

The president also does not seem to understand that he spurred the dissonance that led to this vote of no-confidence. Since Sept. 11, he has been anti-terror but pro-Mideast, a position that has left Americans confused. His enemy is a tactic that's too vague to pinpoint, too vast to ever defeat. In some ways, the country seems more alive to the true origins of the fiends who attacked us than the president.

His nuclear deals have so jumbled up the carrots and sticks that American threats on nuclear proliferation have lost all meaning.

W. and General Rove present the war on terror as Armageddon and World War VIII, yet in every other aspect of foreign policy, it's business as usual. One minute they're scaring Americans into supporting their power grabs by essentially yelling, "They're coming to kill us!" The next minute, the Persian Gulf is still the great nexus for capitalist deals by the likes of Treasury Secretary John Snow, Dick Cheney, Halliburton and the Carlyle Group.

The president preaches that we are seriously threatened by autocratic Arab societies that won't modernize and become free markets, but then his cozy relationship with autocratic Arab regimes, including the Saudis, continues basically unchanged.

As Michael Hirsh of Newsweek summed up in a recent column: "How then did we arrive at this day, with anti-American Islamist governments rising in the Mideast, bin Laden sneering at us, Qaeda lieutenants escaping from prison, Iran brazenly enriching uranium, and America as hated and mistrusted as it ever has been? The answer, in a word, is incompetence."
Last Night's HBO Premiers

The Sopranos:
I can't believe Uncle Junior shot Tony in the belly. WTF?

Big Love:
I'd hate living in a situation like that.
I can't seem to handle one full-time girlfriend, much less three wives, three houses and seven kids.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Another Crook in the Bush Woodpile

Former Top Bush Aide Accused of Md. Thefts
Refund Scam Netted $5,000, Police Say

By Ernesto LondoƱo and Michael A. Fletcher
Washington Post Staff Writers

Claude A. Allen, who resigned last month as President Bush's top domestic policy adviser, was arrested this week in Montgomery County for allegedly swindling Target and Hecht's stores out of more than $5,000 in a refund scheme, police said.

Allen, 45, of Gaithersburg, has been released on his own recognizance and is awaiting trial on two charges, felony theft scheme and theft over $500, said Lt. Eric Burnett, a police spokesman. Each charge is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Allen could not be reached for comment last night.

His attorney, Mallon Snyder, said last night that his client denies wrongdoing. The lawyer disputed the police account of Allen's actions. "It's his reputation. Obviously, he's very concerned about it," Snyder said.

Snyder said he feels confident that Allen will be able to prove that the incidents were "a series of misunderstandings."

Allen, a former deputy secretary in the Department of Health and Human Services, was nominated in 2003 to a federal appeals court seat. He was appointed the president's top domestic policy adviser last year at the start of Bush's second term. That made him the highest-ranking African American on the White House staff.

Working out of a small office on the second floor of the West Wing, Allen shaped administration policy on such issues as health care, space exploration, housing and education.

He came to the attention of Montgomery police after a manager at a Gaithersburg Target store called the department about an incident Jan. 2. Montgomery detectives were able to document other alleged crimes from Oct. 29 to Jan. 2, some of which were captured on camera, Burnett said.

Allen resigned from the White House on Feb. 9, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family

In a statement that day, Bush said: "Claude is a good and compassionate man, and he has my deep respect and gratitude. I thank him for his many years of principled and dedicated service to our country."

Burnett said Montgomery police contacted the White House to verify Allen's identity after the Jan. 2 incident. He said that was the extent of their communication with the administration. He said he could not immediately determine the date of that contact, or whether police informed the White House that Allen had been charged Jan. 2 and was still under investigation.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said last night that if the allegation is true, "no one would be more disappointed, shocked and outraged" than the president. McClellan said Allen had told White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. and White House counsel Harriet Miers that the matter was a misunderstanding.

This is what police said happened Jan. 2:

Employees at the Target store at 25 Grand Corner Ave. in Gaithersburg spotted Allen putting merchandise in a shopping bag. He then walked over to the guest services desk, produced a receipt and received a refund for the items.

After getting the refund, Allen left the store without paying for additional merchandise in his shopping cart.

A store employee stopped him, and police were called to the store. Officers issued a citation charging him with theft under $500 but did not arrest him. Court records show prosecutors dropped the misdemeanor charge, which is not unusual in cases in which detectives are considering filing more serious charges.

Detectives from the county's retail crime unit soon learned that the incident was not an isolated event, Burnett said.

He said investigators were able to document 25 fraudulent refunds for items including a Bose home theater system, stereo equipment, clothes, a photo printer and items worth as little as $2.50.

Allen would purchase an item, take it to his car, return to the store, select the same item, take it to the counter and get a refund based on the receipt for the merchandise in his car, Burnett said. "He would get the money back or the credit" on his credit cards.

Allen's arrest was first reported yesterday afternoon by the online magazine Slate.

At the time of his resignation, Allen denied reports that he was leaving to protest military guidelines that required chaplains to perform only nondenominational services.

As Bush's top domestic policy aide, he frequently briefed the president and traveled with him on Air Force One, and he sat in first lady Laura Bush's box during the president's State of the Union address Jan. 31. Two days, later he traveled with the president to Minnesota, briefing reporters about Bush's education and alternative energy proposals.

At the Department of Health and Human Services, where he became a strong advocate for abstinence-only AIDS prevention programs, Allen focused on homeless issues and racial health disparities.

Democrats in Congress blocked his nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in 2003, citing his relative lack of legal experience. The court, based in Richmond, covers Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Allen, a native of Philadelphia, spent much of his childhood in a working-class section of Northwest Washington, attending Archbishop Carroll High School. He later attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke Law School.

Allen is a self-described born-again Christian who got his start in politics working for Jesse Helms (R), the conservative former North Carolina senator.

Allen stirred controversy as Helms's campaign spokesman in 1984 by telling a reporter that then-Gov. James B. Hunt Jr. -- Helms's opponent -- was politically vulnerable because of his links to the "queers." He later explained that he used the word not to denigrate anyone but as a synonym for "odd and unusual."

Before that, Allen worked for the Virginia state attorney general's office and as state health and human resources secretary. In that job, he earned a reputation as a staunch conservative; once he kept Medicaid funds from an impoverished rape victim who wanted an abortion.

Staff writer Martin Weil contributed to this report.
Removing Any Doubts that McCain is Bush's Puppet

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/12/politics/12repubs.html?th&emc=th

Friday, March 10, 2006

Polls: Bush Hits New Low of 37 Percent

Here are some other people and things at that level of popularity:

O.J. Simpson
Harriet Miers
Michael Jackson
Tonya Harding
Helena on The L Word
Ben n' Jerry's Pumpkin/Licorice ice cream
Lady Epilator hair remover for women
High colonics
Draco Malfoy
Birdshit on windshield
Feminine nipple hair
Creosote-scented soap
Corsets
Branson, Missouri
Dodge Neon
Ask Jeeves
Tony Soprano's sister
Carrot Top
Kathy Griffin
Fried balogna sandwiches
Katherine Harris
Shitting on the sidewalk
Mince pie
Shane on Survivor
The GEICO Cavemen
Paper cuts
Solamente en San Antonio

My city is very clean and the people here are very laid back, as a rule.
My friend Elaine is very funny, yet she's always had sort of a grand sense of dignity and very nice manners.
So, one recent Saturday afternoon, she and my other friend Susan were driving south on San Pedro Avenue, a main thoroughfare that runs into the downtown area.
At a red light just about a mile from the center of downtown, Elaine looked over to see a man in his 40's getting out of a nice white pickup truck with his pants down around his knees.
In shock, she yelled out her window, "Hey!"
The man looked straight into her eyes, then turned around and took a shit right on the sidewalk.
That's all there is to the story, I just had to write about it to get the image out of my head.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Project Runway

Chloe won and she deserved it.
Daniel will do fine- since Michael Kors offered him a job right on the spot.
As for Santino, who knew he was the son of a nice looking black woman?
I wish more of you would watch it with me.
My big sister is such a fanatic about the show, she actually drove from Austin to Houston last weekend to check out Chloe's store Lot8-- which was suspiciously "closed for renovations."
Hmmm.
Is anyone watching Bravo's new cooking competition, "Top Chef"?
I sure as hell am.
Even the Conservatives Can't Stand Him

Finally, right-wing conservatives are starting to publicly feast on the decaying remains of Bush and his crooked administration.
They call Bush a Christian fundamentalist/socialist. I love it!
Enjoy:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/07/AR2006030701403.html?sub=AR
Liar Liar, Pants On Fire
Vanity Fair: Bush Had Ties to Abramoff

WASHINGTON (AP) --

Convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff says President Bush knew him well enough to joke with him about weightlifting. "What are you benching, buff guy?" Abramoff said Bush asked him. The president has said he doesn't know Abramoff.

Abramoff said he finds it hard to believe Bush doesn't remember the 10 or so photos he and members of his family had snapped with the president and first lady.

"He (Bush) has one of the best memories of any politician I have ever met," Abramoff wrote in an e-mail, according to Vanity Fair's April issue being released this week. "Perhaps he has forgotten everything. Who knows?"..."

Look for the full interview in the next issue of Vanity Fair.
Anyone who thinks Bush was not in on the Abramoff cash bonanza probably believes Lyndee English was the only culprit torturing detainees at Abu Ghraib.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

DeLay Again?

I simply cannot believe Tom DeLay won the Texas GOP primary.
Those damn fools who voted for him deserve him.
I'm embarrassed to be a Texan today, and on behalf of my bird-brained state, I apologize.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

It's Just Not Right

JC Penney has a new TV ad campaign highlighting its clothing.
The background music they selected is a cover of the song, "Bang a Gong: Get It On" made famous by the band T Rex.
When I think JC Penney, I do not think about getting it on, nor banging any gongs.
If I was directing their TV ad campaign, I'd select as background music, "People Are Strange" by the Doors:

People are strange when you're a stranger
Faces look ugly when you're alone
Women seem wicked when you're unwanted
Streets are uneven when you're down
When you're strange
Faces come out of the rain
When you're strange
No one remembers your name
When you're strange
People are strange when you're a stranger
Faces look ugly when you're alone
Women seem wicked when you're unwanted
Streets are uneven when you're down
When you're strange
Faces come out of the rain
When you're strange
No one remembers your name
When you're strange
When you're strange
Faces come out of the rain
When you're strange
No one remembers your name
When you're strange

Now, that song screams JC Penney.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

My Oscar Picks

Best Motion Picture
Brokeback Mountain

Best Actor
Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain

Best Actress
Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line

Best Supporting Actor
George Clooney, Syriana

Best Supporting Actress
Catherine Keener, Capote

Best Director
Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain

Best Adapted Screenplay
Dan Futterman, Capote

Best Original Screenplay
Clooney and Heslov, Good Night and Good Luck

Who do you pick?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Has Anyone Been Noticing?

The Bush administration and their allies are coming unglued.
Polls across the board say Bush and Deadeye Dick are at an all time low.
Katrina tapes show Bush lied.
The Vice President shot a man in the face and heart.
Brownie is saying aloud he thinks Chertoff should be fired.
The GOP is threatening to kill the Dubai ports deal.
Bush's hair has turned completely gray.
Impeachment, anyone?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

From MoveOn.com
Bush Knew and He Didn't Care.

This evening, the Associated Press released secret transcripts and video footage showing President Bush being personally briefed the day before Hurricane Katrina hit land. The predictions he heard were shockingly precise and accurate—including the failure of the levees. He knew exactly what was coming.

The article is a smoking gun on Bush's unpardonable failure to keep us safe. In just a few hours, the White House will be filling the airwaves with spin, so it's important to reach out right now to pass on the straight story to family and friends. If each of us acts, we can directly reach millions of people before morning.

The full AP article is attached below. Can you help get the word out to at least 5 friends? You can forward on this note or follow the link below:

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=1508_video

At the August 28th briefing, the president was told exactly what to expect:

The chief scientist of the National Hurricane Center warned that a major levee breach was "obviously a very, very grave concern." Bush lied to the entire nation about this point just 5 days later.
Michael Brown told the president that if New Orleans flooded the Superdome emergency shelter would likely be under water and short on supplies, creating a "catastrophe within a catastrophe."
Experts and officials implored the President to prepare for, as the AP described it, "devastation of historic proportions."
President Bush didn't ask a single question during the briefing. In the next two days he campaigned, attended birthday parties and played guitar while the worst natural disaster in American history killed over 1,300 people and displaced hundreds of thousands.

There can now be no mistake: President Bush had a chance to lead, and he failed to keep us safe.

In the next few days, we'll be tracking this story carefully and coordinating our response with partners in New Orleans and around the nation.

The survivors of Katrina deserve to know why the president left them to suffer the storm. And the people of the United States deserve leadership we can trust to keep our families safe. We'll work hard together until we have both.

Tonight, let's start by spreading the word:

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=1508_video

Thanks for all that you do,

—Ben, Nita, Tom, Jen, Adam R, Justin, Adam G, Eli and the whole MoveOn.org Political Action Team
Wednesday, March 01, 2006


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here's the full article from the Associated Press. You can also read it here:

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=1506

March 1, 2006

Video Shows Bush Was Warned Before Katrina
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (AP)—In dramatic and sometimes agonizing terms, federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees, put lives at risk in New Orleans' Superdome and overwhelm rescuers, according to confidential video footage.

Bush didn't ask a single question during the final briefing before Katrina struck on Aug. 29, but he assured soon-to-be-battered state officials: "We are fully prepared."

The footage—along with seven days of transcripts of briefings obtained by The Associated Press—show in excruciating detail that while federal officials anticipated the tragedy that unfolded in New Orleans and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, they were fatally slow to realize they had not mustered enough resources to deal with the unprecedented disaster.

Linked by secure video, Bush's confidence on Aug. 28 starkly contrasts with the dire warnings his disaster chief and a cacophony of federal, state and local officials provided during the four days before the storm.

A top hurricane expert voiced "grave concerns" about the levees and then-Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown told the president and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff that he feared there weren't enough disaster teams to help evacuees at the Superdome.

"I'm concerned about ... their ability to respond to a catastrophe within a catastrophe," Brown told his bosses the afternoon before Katrina made landfall.

Some of the footage and transcripts from briefings Aug. 25-31 conflicts with the defenses that federal, state and local officials have made in trying to deflect blame and minimize the political fallout from the failed Katrina response:

—Homeland Security officials have said the "fog of war" blinded them early on to the magnitude of the disaster. But the video and transcripts show federal and local officials discussed threats clearly, reviewed long-made plans and understood Katrina would wreak devastation of historic proportions. "I'm sure it will be the top 10 or 15 when all is said and done," National Hurricane Center's Max Mayfield warned the day Katrina lashed the Gulf Coast.

"I don't buy the `fog of war' defense," Brown told the AP in an interview Wednesday. "It was a fog of bureaucracy."

—Bush declared four days after the storm, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees" that gushed deadly flood waters into New Orleans. But the transcripts and video show there was plenty of talk about that possibility—and Bush was worried too.

White House deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Brown discussed fears of a levee breach the day the storm hit.

"I talked to the president twice today, once in Crawford and then again on Air Force One," Brown said. "He's obviously watching the television a lot, and he had some questions about the Dome, he's asking questions about reports of breaches."

—Louisiana officials angrily blamed the federal government for not being prepared but the transcripts shows they were still praising FEMA as the storm roared toward the Gulf Coast and even two days afterward. "I think a lot of the planning FEMA has done with us the past year has really paid off," Col. Jeff Smith, Louisiana's emergency preparedness deputy director, said during the Aug. 28 briefing.

It wasn't long before Smith and other state officials sounded overwhelmed.

"We appreciate everything that you all are doing for us, and all I would ask is that you realize that what's going on and the sense of urgency needs to be ratcheted up," Smith said Aug. 30.

Mississippi begged for more attention in that same briefing.

"We know that there are tens or hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana that need to be rescued, but we would just ask you, we desperately need to get our share of assets because we'll have people dying—not because of water coming up, but because we can't get them medical treatment in our affected counties," said a Mississippi state official whose name was not mentioned on the tape.

Video footage of the Aug. 28 briefing, the final one before Katrina struck, showed an intense Brown voicing concerns from the government's disaster operation center and imploring colleagues to do whatever was necessary to help victims.

"We're going to need everything that we can possibly muster, not only in this state and in the region, but the nation, to respond to this event," Brown warned. He called the storm "a bad one, a big one" and implored federal agencies to cut through red tape to help people, bending rules if necessary.

"Go ahead and do it," Brown said. "I'll figure out some way to justify it. ... Just let them yell at me."

Bush appeared from a narrow, windowless room at his vacation ranch in Texas, with his elbows on a table. Hagin was sitting alongside him. Neither asked questions in the Aug. 28 briefing.

"I want to assure the folks at the state level that we are fully prepared to not only help you during the storm, but we will move in whatever resources and assets we have at our disposal after the storm," the president said.

A relaxed Chertoff, sporting a polo shirt, weighed in from Washington at Homeland Security's operations center. He would later fly to Atlanta, outside of Katrina's reach, for a bird flu event.

One snippet captures a missed opportunity on Aug. 28 for the government to have dispatched active-duty military troops to the region to augment the National Guard.

Chertoff: "Are there any DOD assets that might be available? Have we reached out to them?"

Brown: "We have DOD assets over here at EOC (emergency operations center). They are fully engaged. And we are having those discussions with them now."

Chertoff: "Good job."

In fact, active duty troops weren't dispatched until days after the storm. And many states' National Guards had yet to be deployed to the region despite offers of assistance, and it took days before the Pentagon deployed active-duty personnel to help overwhelmed Guardsmen.

The National Hurricane Center's Mayfield told the final briefing before Katrina struck that storm models predicted minimal flooding inside New Orleans during the hurricane but he expressed concerns that counterclockwise winds and storm surges afterward could cause the levees at Lake Pontchartrain to be overrun.

"I don't think any model can tell you with any confidence right now whether the levees will be topped or not but that is obviously a very, very grave concern," Mayfield told the briefing.

Other officials expressed concerns about the large number of New Orleans residents who had not evacuated.

"They're not taking patients out of hospitals, taking prisoners out of prisons and they're leaving hotels open in downtown New Orleans. So I'm very concerned about that," Brown said.

Despite the concerns, it ultimately took days for search and rescue teams to reach some hospitals and nursing homes.

Brown also told colleagues one of his top concerns was whether evacuees who went to the New Orleans Superdome—which became a symbol of the failed Katrina response—would be safe and have adequate medical care.

"The Superdome is about 12 feet below sea level.... I don't know whether the roof is designed to stand, withstand a Category Five hurricane," he said.

Brown also wanted to know whether there were enough federal medical teams in place to treat evacuees and the dead in the Superdome.

"Not to be (missing) kind of gross here," Brown interjected, "but I'm concerned" about the medical and mortuary resources "and their ability to respond to a catastrophe within a catastrophe."