Friday, April 23, 2004

playing TAPS for the first time in public

It looks like someone finally got through the Pentagon/Bush Administration ban on photos of coffins coming home from Iraq. While this picture made it into the Seattle Times and the web several days ago, it wasn't until today that the big newspapers and media stations started airing the photos.

The New York Times has an article about the website ( that filed a Freedom of Information Act request what was granted "mistakenly." I would show you those pictures but the site has crashed from so much traffic, but here is the mirror site. Here are some 361 pictures on the site, three of which were part of "all the news that is fit to print":

Meanwhile the brave photographers who took the Seattle Times picture (see below) were canned per request of the DoD, lest any press start growing balls.

Godspeed to our fallen countrymen. I hope we can do more for these young (most are in their late teens to early thirties) men and women than hide their deaths and let them tap into their savings. We should let all servicemen and -women become citizens of the US automatically, and we pay them more. That way, they won't be so damned poor that they have to tap into their retirement savings.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Good Neighbor Day?

Wanda Baucus, the wife of Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), "has been charged with assaulting another woman" after a 4/20 dispute over mulch at a DC garden center. On 4/21, a DC Superior Court Judge "released" Wanda Baucus "on her own recognizance and ordered her to stay away from the victim and the garden center." DC Metro's Joe Gentile: "It's not exactly clear what happened, but at some point it appears Ms. Baucus was loading bags of mulch in her vehicle." Gentile "added that in the process of loading the mulch at Johnson's Garden Center," Wanda "placed a bag of mulch in the path of another woman's car. The other woman's car was then blocked and she was unable to back out." Gentile "said words were exchanged, and then Wanda Baucus allegedly assaulted the other woman." The woman "suffered bruises to the face and scratches on her shoulder, Gentile said."

Wanda's atty "said she did not hit the other woman." Atty David Schertler: "I can't tell you about the incident in detail, but I do feel it is much ado about nothing. ... There is no basis for a criminal charge. I don't believe a crime was committed" (Monoson/Farrell, Billings Gazette, 4/22).

"Reliable Source" reports that prior to "obtaining an arrest warrant, a police officer" talked to alleged victim Tierney Barron "and three people who saw the incident in the parking lot" (Leiby, Washington Post, 4/22). Sources said Wanda "was upset because another customer was getting help with mulch ahead of her." It was reported that she "drove from the scene, and returned a while later with her husband. That is when she talked to police about the incident" (, 4/21).

Sen. Baucus, in a statement: "We are trying to sort it out, going through the proper channels. ... I stand by her 110 percent" (AP, 4/22).

Meanwhile, "Heard on the Hill" reports that Baucus' office issued a press release 4/19 noting he and Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) "had introduced a resolution that would designate" 9/26 as "National Good Neighbor Day" (Bresnahan, Roll Call, 4/22).

On a side note: I got GMail and so can you if you have a blogger account! No it is not a myth or joke.
You got served

Swaziland's King Mswati reportedly fired ex-PM Sibusiso Dlamini last year "via a text message on his cellphone"

Just in case he fails to protect us again, Pres. Bush said "Americans who expect another terror attack in this country have reason for such fears." Bush: "This is a hard country to defend." He added: "Our intelligence is good. It's just never perfect, is the problem"

Who's gonna play Bush and Clarke in the "Against all Enemies" Movie? Here are my nominees:

Guess which one is supposed to be Pinky.

Ex-NYC Police Commis. Bernard Kerik, who is very Republican --the Bush White House put in charge of training the Iraqi army (you know, the one with a 10% of its members working against the coalition?) said of "another terrorist attack": "If you put Sen. Kerry in the White House, I think you are going to see that happen ... and I don't want to see another Sept. 11" according to the NY Post. Congratulations, you have officially stooped to a new low! Threatening a 9/11-level attack if Kerry wins. AKA If Bush loses, the terrorist win. Bush and his cronies are looking more Nixonian every day: using the power of the White House to lie, cheat, scare, and smear. Shame on them

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Third Time's the Charm?

After Paul O'Neill's, Dick Clarke's and now Bob Woodward's book, will any of them have a lasting effect on this president?

Along with the traditional 60 Minutes sneak preview, Woodward has been leaking tidbits of the book in some small newspaper he works for (I think it's called the Washington Post) almost daily with fun filled facts like the date Bush decided to go to War with Iraq, or a Saudi Oil Price agreement, or this week's juicy nugget: Cheney and Powell hate each other. It seems all that butt-kissing in the first GWB book really paid off with some 75 interviews with top people. Combined with his charm offensive, Woodward gets folks to spill the beans.

What emerges is several facts gleaned from the Horse's mouth and 2 other previous insiders:

  1. Bush and his foreign policy team (save Powell) was focused on Iraq since before they got in office and it was priority number one

  2. Their obsession with Iraq (and China and Russia thanks to Condi) might have helped along a culture of marginalizing of Al-Qaida and all the pre-9/11 warnings.

  3. Powell has been fighting for control of diplomacy since day 1. He has lost many battles to Rumsfeld and Cheney and Wolfowitz, but won a temporary victory in September of 2002 only to lost the overall stance to the UN.

  4. Bush is not a details man. He doesn't like to work hard or look back and think deeply about himself or history

  5. Bush is overly dependent on Cheney, who has more power than any VP in the history of the office, as far as I can tell.

All this Woodward stuff goes towards damaging the Bush White House's credibility with the media. They won't get any more free passes. So why is Bush leading by 5 points (Margin of Error is 4) in most polls?

The American people don't care about the past; they care about the future. Bush may have lied to us to get us into a war, but we are there now, and we can't pull out like Spain did this weekend. Kerry needs to focus on the future and a positive vision of what he will do differently. Voters see Bush as a decisive leader, even if he makes bad decisions, that to them is better than Kerry who has been (semi-) accurately portrayed by all of Bush's $50 million in advertising as some one lacking such convictions.

Howard Dean was the Democratic Party's backbone transplant surgeon. Now he still needs to perform another operation on Senator Kerry. Seems John's body is rejecting the implant.

If Kerry can say how we can get out of Iraq with honor, how we can fix our alliances, our economy, our health care, and all that without simply saying "George Bush is wrong" repeatedly, then he would be on to something.