Thursday, January 31, 2008

What Is George Afraid Of San Francisco For?

I know the title is grammatically challenged, but hey, I'm just reflecting the language of our fair president.
President Bush paid an unusual visit to the Bay Area on Wednesday, ending a day in California that was all economics, all the time. Bush kept intact his record of never visiting San Francisco during his presidency
Already there are over 200 comments to this article, some of which are quite fun over at SF Gate.

George Bush, over the last seven years has visited numerous locations about the globe, including Iraq and Afghanistan a number of times. What is it about San Francisco that scares this man to such a degree that he wouldn't set foot in this town? I have my theories. Any guesses?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Pell Grants For Kids = Vouchers In Disquise

This is the first I've heard of this, and so I've not had a chance to review the President's proposal. However, it seems like he's got another plan to divert public funds to parochial and private education. Watch as the separation of church and state shrinks again.

The fact is, parents who can afford to send their children to private schools don't need the assistance. Moreover, there are a tremendous number of things broken with our public educational system. Can't Bush find something in the system that needs a remedy and fix that instead of creating a new welfare system for the rich?
White House counselor Ed Gillespie, describing Bush's plans for a new school initiative, said Monday afternoon that Bush "has some concerns about the declining number of faith-based and parochial schools in inner cities around the country and low-income neighborhoods." Because of this, Gillespie said, Bush is ready to "urge Congress to enact a program he calls `Pell Grants for Kids.' "

The money would "provide alternatives for children now trapped in struggling public schools," Gillespie told reporters.
Right. Ask any educator currently working as a teacher in a public school if No Child Left Behind has been good for America's school children and you will discover how good Bush is at fixing what's wrong with our public schools.

Incidentally, does any one else wonder why didn't the Education Secretary make this announcement? Does the president always trot out lawyers because he has something to hide?

If you want to take a look at some more detail about my views on how to fix education, have a gander at this post, that post,,this other post, and how about searching my whole blog for the term education and see what comes up.

Just as an aside,do you think Bush would be in favor having a serious chunk of his "pell grants for kids" money going to some Islamic Private Education Organizations that start up? They would be faith-based, wouldn't they?

The State Of Our Union Reality Check

Given that the Presidential Propaganda Catapult will be on full tilt this evening (and if you need proof of this just have a look at Laura Bush's Guest roster for her box this evening), I thought I would post a question for us to consider today. This will follow below.
Q How long are we looking at? How long?

MS. PERINO: It's still running at about 40 minutes, without any interruptions.

Q Without interruption. So it's probably being closer to like 50 minutes.

MS. PERINO: Forty-five, 46 -- I don't know, it depends on how long the applause is.
Applause? Really, can anyone stomach the President and tune in live? I don't think I'll be able to endure with out a vomit bag at the ready. Admit it, are you going to watch live or click on something else? The upside of tonight's address: This is George Bush's last one. We will not have to endure another; ever! And for that, I'll grant you is a whole other reason to issue some applause.

Remember some of the famous slogans that W proclaimed as he prognosticated about the future in years past?
I'm a uniter, not a divider
True state of the Union seems divided to me.
OBL, Dead or Alive?
No result either way there.
The State of our Economy is Strong.
Any one else lose value on their stock portfolios? Have their home foreclosed on them? How about that rate cut by the Fed? Is that an indicator that our economy is headed in the right direction? How about that continuous hemorrhaging of funds to the freedom spreading experiment in Iraq? Is that good for America?

The list goes on.

It's your turn. Let's call this....drum roll please...

Windspike's State Of The Union Reality Check

How do you characterize the State of Our Union? Explain.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Steal This Post: Alan Greyson

One of the things that ticks me off about the one sided war in Iraq is the non-stop “No Bid” contract awards. With those awarded contracts comes a lot of corruption and waste. The waste is called double billing, triple billing or just plain outright billing without doing a damn thing. The money that pays for all of this abuse and neglect is our tax dollars. Wouldn’t you think that all of them pesky Conservative Republican’s would want to clean this mess up right away? That isn’t even close to the facts of the matter. Looking the other way is the mantra of the Bush 2 dynasty.

What it takes to clean this mess up and prosecute the bastards stealing all of our children’s future is to put people in the Congress that will aggressively go after anyone that steals from the American people. One of the most feared terms of any company that does business with any state or federal agency is called Disbarment. If any company is found guilty of thievery then they face disbarment. Over at Down With Tyranny they have this great piece on Alan Grayson that will go after war profiteers in the next Congress.

There's probably no one who knows more about war profiteers in Iraq-- outside of Cheney and the folks at Halliburton and KBR-- than Alan Grayson, an attorney prosecuting numerous war profiteering cases. We came across him because he is running for Congress against corrupt Republican rubber stamp Ric Keller in central Florida's 8th CD (Orlando area). Next weekend Alan will be our guest at Blue America sessions at Firedoglake and Crooks and Liars. But I called him today and asked him this tough question-- the one about Republican voters. Do these Americans actually support this kind of behavior?Before we take a look at what Alan told me take a look at this CBS News clip I found on his website:

"I think that the Republicans, from top to bottom, are genuinely trying to change America into Amerika with a 'k.' They want America to be a place where ordinary workers cannot organize, where everybody tries to undercut everybody else in the labor market, and where the people in charge are the people who can best tap into war profiteering profits... These people want to change America and change it to make it something that Eisenhower warned us about half a century ago. They want everything in America to be under the control-- and in the teeth-- of the military-industrial complex."When I talk to Republicans in general these days, they're very unhappy about the war. The problem is, they're unhappy about the war because they don't like to lose-- and that's just the wrong way of looking at it. They have become willing participants in a war that at this point is approaching imperialism. If they read in newspapers everyday that we were winning the war, they would be just as happy with the war as the characters in Orwell's 1984 are happy with their endless war against some unnamed enemy that they can never clearly understand the purpose of. Republican voters have, in effect, collaborated in this effort despite their misgivings about the war and the primary reason why they're not happy right now isn't because the war is wrong or unjustifiable but because we're not not winning." - Down With Tyranny

Over the last two terms of President Bush we have witnessed our nation being hijacked by so called leaders of the people that were stuffing their friends pockets with millions of dollars. Washington has become the city to steal money from our nations treasury and that is simply wrong. One Congressional seat in Florida may not seem big news but it is.

Alan Grayson isn’t running to bring the bacon home and fatten his own wallet. His progressive liberal thoughts are what conservatives used to be in the Barry Goldwater days. Changing our government and the practices of corruption, bribes and outright lies to the people can change from one voice on Capitol Hill and it just might start with Alan Grayson. One squeaky wheel just might get the oil special interest out of politics.

Good luck to you Mr. Grayson on your up and coming election.

Interesting reads on what Alan Grayson is all about…

Vanity Fair

Rolling Stone

CBS News

And of course Alan Grayson Campaign site

You be the judge and the voter and decide if this guy deserves to go to Washington and kick some ass! If you care to contribute to the campaign by all means do so. Click on Act Blue to vote with your wallet.

On Friday 1/25 Crooks and Liars will have an exclusive interview with Alan Grayson so feel free to check that out when it comes on the site.


Originally posted at Papamoka Straight Talk

Feel free to link to this post or borrow it...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Which Is More Dangerous To Your Health: Al Queda or The Department of Homeland Secuirty?

Good question. Here's an article that can unpack the answer for you:
An intriguing new study suggests the answer is not so clear-cut. Although it’s impossible to calculate the pain that terrorist attacks inflict on victims and society, when statisticians look at cold numbers, they have variously estimated the chances of the average person dying in America at the hands of international terrorists to be comparable to the risk of dying from eating peanuts, being struck by an asteroid or drowning in a toilet.

But worrying about terrorism could be taking a toll on the hearts of millions of Americans. The evidence, published last week in the Archives of General Psychiatry, comes from researchers who began tracking the health of a representative sample of more than 2,700 Americans before September 2001. After the attacks of Sept. 11, the scientists monitored people’s fears of terrorism over the next several years and found that the most fearful people were three to five times more likely than the rest to receive diagnoses of new cardiovascular ailments.
Could it be that all of the W, Rove and Co fear mongering to push their War Machine forward has done more damage to the People of America than Al Queda could have done or dreamed of? I think the answer to that is a "You bethcya." How do we hold the President accountable for that?

Are We Responsible For This?

I don't know about you, but prior to our invasion of Iraq, I didn't consider the casual suicide bombing incident. Moreover, it was clear to me that we had no cause to feel remotely responsible for this nutty behavior.

This all changed when George Bush pulled the trigger and decided that invading Iraq was good for our national security (and worth doing over say spending more money on public schools or homes for the homeless in the USA, but that's another post). These days, I feel like crying when I read reports such as this:
For the second time in two days, a suicide bomber struck outside a Shiite mosque in Diyala Province north of Baghdad on Thursday, as worshipers prepared for one of the most important days in the Shiite calendar. The police and witnesses said at least 11 people were killed.
Sure, no American casualties occurred in this instance, but the bigger question is to what degree are we responsible for this event? If we had not gone into Iraq would there be an environment there that would prevent such attacks? Do we bear some burden of responsibility for the deaths?

I know some would say "no, it's the bombers own." On the flip side, if we were not there, perhaps there would have been no cause for this bomber to execute these people. Thus, the causal relationship could be drawn that indicates we own some sliver of responsibility for it. What say you?

On another front, I can't imagine what it would be like to live in a place where suicide bombers were a fact of life, but this quote sheds some light on it:
People go to the bazaar and make jokes: ‘Is this going to be my last trip?’HUMAIR BILOUR, on violence by militants in Peshawar, Pakistan.
I still think that if we had, instead of launching a massive and massively expensive operation in Iraq and directed our resources toward thousands of surgical operations executed by expertly trained special forces units, we could and would have produced a much better climate in the Middle East at this point in time. More importantly, we would have perhaps captured or killed those who would do us harm rather than the massive amounts of civilians that are the collateral damage justified by the Bush Administration in their glorious "freedom spreading" experiment.

Unfortunately, that's not the way our "leaders" directed the operations. And in the end, I do believe, that we bear the burden of some responsibility for these types of events, which is most certainly not an improvement over the way things were before we invaded Iraq.

What say you blogosphere?

Blog on friends, blog on all.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Fun for Monday

For some reason, the ebbed function wasn't working, so trust me, you will enjoy this video link. Have a wonderful Monday.

Blog on friends, blog on all.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


As you may or may not know, the President and his posse, the entourage surrounding Air Force One is gallivanting about the Middle East in his Ten Gallon Hat, at great taxpayer expense. Meanwhile, things are glum:
Nine American soldiers were killed in the first two days of a new offensive to root out al Qaeda in Iraq fighters holed up in districts north of the capital, the U.S. military reported Wednesday.

The toll marked some of the deadliest days for U.S. forces in Iraq since the fall. For all of December, 23 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq.
Nine less voters for candidates to be concerned about this fall. And there are more:
A booby-trapped home exploded Wednesday, killing six American soldiers and injuring four others. The U.S. military also reported that three service members were killed by small-arms fire the day before. The two-day toll makes the latest effort to flush out the militant group Al Qaeda in Iraq the deadliest military operation in months.
Of course, we have less to gripe about because the largest number of deaths caused by Iraq Democracy Spreading Experiment is substantially larger than the number of people killed on Nine Eleven:
About 151,000 Iraqis died from violence in the three years after the United States invaded, concludes the best effort yet to count deaths - one that still may not settle the fierce debate over the war's true toll on civilians and others.
I'm sure that's a conservative estimate.

And, just for fun, we do allow Blackwater to do it's business in Iraq too, some of whom are funded by US Taxpayer dollars (well that is after China calls in all our markers):
Suddenly, on that May day in 2005, the copter dropped CS gas, a riot-control substance the American military in Iraq can use only under the strictest conditions and with the approval of top military commanders. An armored vehicle on the ground also released the gas, temporarily blinding drivers, passers-by and at least 10 American soldiers operating the checkpoint.

“This was decidedly uncool and very, very dangerous,” Capt. Kincy Clark of the Army, the senior officer at the scene, wrote later that day. “It’s not a good thing to cause soldiers who are standing guard against car bombs, snipers and suicide bombers to cover their faces, choke, cough and otherwise degrade our awareness.”

Both the helicopter and the vehicle involved in the incident at the Assassins’ Gate checkpoint were not from the United States military, but were part of a convoy operated by Blackwater Worldwide, the private security contractor that is under scrutiny for its role in a series of violent episodes in Iraq, including a September shooting in downtown Baghdad that left 17 Iraqis dead.
Sure, that was a 2005 incident, but why is it coming out just now? Who's been held accountable for it?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Wanted...Dead Or Alive

Incidentally, in the odd chance you were wondering:
Q Do we think that bin Laden is alive or dead?

MS. PERINO: I don't think we have a reason to believe that he's dead.

Q Pardon?

MS. PERINO: I don't believe we have a reason to think that he's dead.
Ah, that clears it up for us today. Whew. I feel safer for knowing that.

For Better or Worse, The Whitehouse PR Trumpet Is Going To Start Blogging

That's right. In the odd chance that you were paying attention to what was happening in New Hampshire instead of what the Whitehouse is doing. Get this:
One note. As we leave for the Middle East trip today, we will begin posting periodic updates from the senior staff that's traveling with the President on a website -- on our website, It will be called "Trip Notes from the Middle East." This is new to us. We encourage you to log on and to check back often to read some of the updates that the staff will be posting throughout the trip. So it will be just a little bit of a blog.
Those of us who have been blogging for a long while (dinosaurs I might qualify us as) can see through the veneer of what this really is.

So, for fun, I thought I'd have a little game. Let's call this....drum roll please...

Windspike's Musings On Whitehouse Blogging

You know that when the Whitehouse Press Secretary starts to blog, it's...

I'll start...

...a lot like RJ Reynolds starting to blog about the pleasures of smoking...
....a peak opportunity to sharpen your snarkiness for the comments, if they allow them
...another venue for the NSA to secretly surveil US citizens without a warrant.
....your turn...

Two Videos For Today

We already knew that there are three types of lies: Lies, damn lies, and then statistics. Penn and Teller actually catch a couple of fraud related items perpetrated by...well, you guessed it Fox News. Have a look:

Let's contrast this with some of the genuine article - some one with some high quality speaking skills who does not have to rest on misleading numbers and hiring actors to demonstrate believability. Barak Obama's Iowa victory speech. He's got some great speech writers to be sure, but the delivery is amazing as well. Enjoy:

Funny, in thinking about the differences between these two videos aside from the obvious, it may be that it points to the contrast between the ethical values that under gird the people that comprise the republican and democratic parties. Which one has the most ethically challenge value set? Perhaps it is time to dredge up the "culture of corruption" slogan one more time as it appears to apply to the GOP modus operandi.

Friday, January 04, 2008

"We Don't Haveta Splain Ourselves Ta Youse"

The president never ceases to amaze does he? He has all manner of chutzpah to deliver. Unscripted, we find his true self exposed. While everyone else is sidetracked by the outcome of the Iowa Caucuses, you may have missed the following quote:
Our beef is not with the Iranian people. Our beef is with a government that has hidden the program -- and by the way, back to the NIE very quickly. The international response ought to be that, okay, whether or not you agree with the NIE or not, at least recognize that they had a program at one point in time, and demand that Iran explain it. We shouldn't be trying to explain why we know what we know. We ought to be focusing on the Iranians to say, you tell us why you had a program; you tell us about the -- if you want to be an international player, it's up to you to explain.
I see. Isn't this what got us into trouble with Iraq? We went in thinking one thing because at one time there was a program for WMD, but the result is what? There's no program. Might this not also be the case with Iran? Who is playing whom here?

Let's dig a little deeper and see if you can find the places where George Bush is playing us for fools:
And so I trust Olmert. His --

Q Do you?

THE PRESIDENT: I do trust him.

Q You trust Olmert, period?

THE PRESIDENT: I trust him. I hope -- hopefully he'll say the same about me. Hopefully -- you see, one of the things in politics that happens often is people sometimes won't tell you really what's on their mind. It happens here in America, for example. You'll have politicians walk in the Oval Office and say, hey, President, I'm with you. And then all of a sudden the heat gets on -- (laughter) -- and it turns out they're not with you.

Q You feel it at your back.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Well, I feel -- and I've had enough conversations, heart-to-heart conversations with the Prime Minister. I understand Israeli politics is very complicated. It's tough. It is full-contact karate. (Laughter.) And --

Q Not unlike American --

THE PRESIDENT: Not really. Not really. Because the President is -- even though we've got our politics, and even though I've got tough relations at times with Congress, the President sets foreign policy. He is constantly worried about a coalition. And I understand that. I understand the difficulty he faces. But in spite of those difficulties, I'm interested in strategic visions based upon peace.
The man is very good at shoveling it:
Q But still, Mr. President, do you see a chance to sign a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the --

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I do, before I leave.

Q Before you leave?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I do. I do. I'm an optimistic guy.

Q -- by initials, or by full execution?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all -- no. First of all, the -- I envision Israel and Palestine sitting down at a table, signing, this is what a state would look like, subject to the road map. There's work to be done.

Q And concluding an agreement?

THE PRESIDENT: On what the state would look like, absolutely. Yes, I do. I think it can happen.
Are you buying it? Frankly, I don't think that Bush nor his crack team of senior level diplomats (read Condi) have proven themselves capable in the category of bringing much peace to anywhere at this point.

Yet, here is where the president goes rhetorically astray. Have a gander at this and see if you can actually tell what his plan is:
As I said, realities on the ground will help define the border -- the eventual border of what the Palestinian state will look like. And the state will come into being subject to the conditions set out in the road map, which means we've got a lot of work to do. One of the things I'll be doing is visiting with Tony Blair there in order to make -- to catch up on what he is doing to help the Palestinians -- look, developing a state out of -- is difficult. There's got to be institutions that provide stability, and it's hard to do.
Duh, really. Wow, that's a fascinating position on how you are going to broker the peace in the Israel and Palistinian situation. Let's see. That has to be a lot like...well...a lot like...
That's what happening in Iraq. It's hard to go from dictatorship, like they had in Iraq, to one in which there is solid institutions that will enable a democracy to survive. I have come to the conclusion that it's absolutely necessary work for the sake of peace because if we're in an ideological struggle, the only way to defeat the ideology that preys upon fear and hate is through the development of societies that respond to the will of the people. And democracies, it turns out, democracies throughout our history tend not to fight each other, because democracies respond to the will of the people and most people do not want war and bloodshed and violence. Most people just want to live a normal, peaceful life.
Oh, yes. Iraq. I think he is forgetting the bulk of human history. Has he not read the Bible? There is a great deal of violence and bloodshed therein as well. Most people are not Osama bin Laden, of course. But, I'm still not getting any clue as to what his solution might be. What's your plan, Mr. Bush?
I tell the American people all the time that Iraqi mothers want the same thing for their children that American mothers want for theirs: a place for their child to grow up and get a good education and be able to realize dreams. Same thing for the Palestinian mothers and the Israeli mothers. There's a commonality there and yet, unfortunately, in the world in which we live today, there are people who simply do not like the idea of societies based upon the will of the people and will use violence to stop the advance of freedom. And it's not just in the Palestinian Territories that you find the violence; you find it in Lebanon, you find it in Iraq, you find it in Afghanistan, you find it in Pakistan.

Q You find it in Gaza.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. You find people who will kill innocent life to stop the advance of freedom, which should call the world to -- should cause the world to rally. If killers want to stop liberty, it should be a clear signal to all of us that we must do everything we can to advance liberty. And one of the things I find very hopeful about a Palestinian state is that many in the world want to help the Palestinians develop institutions and stability. And I -- President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad are committed to the development of a state. They need a lot of help. And one of the things we can provide help for -- besides some practical help on organizing their security forces and obviously to encourage investment -- is to -- there's got to be a vision, see. People have got to be for something. And that's where we're trying to take the process over the next year.
Wow...I'm drowning in so much illogical rhetorical argument here that it's hard to pick apart because the president can't sustain a quality argument or thread without reverting back to his typical message of this being an ideological struggle. What's the plan, dude? Where is this vision of which you speak? I see it not.

But Because you brought it up, Mr. President. What about Iraq?
Q Mr. President, you just mentioned Iraq. Can you clarify to us whether there was any Israeli involvement in your decision to invade Iraq?

THE PRESIDENT: No, not at all. None whatsoever. My decision was based upon U.S. intelligence, based upon the desire to provide security for our peoples and others. It was based upon my willingness to work with the international community on this issue. Remember, if you look back at the history, there was a unanimous vote in the Security Council: disclose, disarm, or face serious consequences. And when he defied, when he refused to allow the inspectors in, when he made a statement by his actions that he didn't really care what the international community said, that I decided to make sure words meant something.

And so I acted based upon our own security interests. And -- but it also fit into this notion of -- and remember, Zarqawi, there was some terrorist connections -- not with the 9/11 attacks, but terrorist connections; Abu Nadal; he had been using -- he'd been funding families of suicide bombers. In other words, as far as we were concerned, he had weapons of mass destruction which could have been used in a deadly way. It turns out he didn't have the weapons, but he had the know-how on how to make weapons, which could easily have been reconstituted. The sanctions regime turns out to have been corrupt and wasn't working. In other words, there's a variety of aspects to my decision, all of which were aimed at making sure that U.S. security, first and foremost, was enhanced.
"The Sanctions regime turns out to have been corrupt and wasn't working?" What the hell does that mean? Is any one following what the president is tying to convey or am I just stupid here?

If we engage any country based on the potential capacity to develop weapons, we would be at war with just about every nation. I've typed this before, but any one with an internet connection can find out how to build IEDs and weapons of mass destruction for that matter. When every possible enemy is your target, you end up with too many enemies and not many friends. And, I've typed this before, might we have not been better to have shifted the ideology from the outset? Wouldn't it have been better if it wasn't "if you are not with us, your against us," but "if you are not against us, you are with us?"

Here's where the President sticks the nail in his own rhetorical coffin. Note, before you get to the last sentence quoted here that, if you think about it, what he is saying that what the Whitehouse's message is cannot believed. I explain at the end:
Q When you are talking about vision, Mr. President -- and this will be our last question -- how do you wish to be remembered in world history?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I'll be dead before the true history of the Bush administration is written. Here in the Oval Office, there are portraits of two Presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. In the past couple of years, I have read extensive analyses of both of those men's presidencies. My attitude is that it's going to take a while for objective historians to realize the contributions that this administration has made to peace.

Q Like Harry Truman's legacy, which developed.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, each President has his own set of circumstances with which to deal. I would hope that people, when they look back at this administration, would say that President Bush and his administration worked diligently to protect the American people from harm; that he recognized the threats of the 21st century; that he acted in a -- when he needed to be tough, he acted strong, and when he needed to have vision he understood the power of freedom to be transformative.

Our foreign policy is more than just confronting terrorists. Our foreign policy is to confront the conditions that enable these ideologues to recruit, such as HIV/AIDS on the continent of Africa, or feeding the hungry, or dealing with malaria. Our foreign policy is based upon our great trust in the capacity of the common person to dictate a peaceful course for government. But just so you know, I fully understand, I'll be long gone before the accurate history of this administration is reflected in the history books.
If you need be dead for us to know the truth, then how can we believe what you say today?

It's the "Wimpy" argument. If you say you would gladly pay me Tuesday for a hamburger today, why should I believe that you will pay me Tuesday when you won't pay me today? If the truth be not known from what you tell us today, how can we trust you to tell us the truth altogether?

Any one else out their sick of this "history will be the judge of me" argument?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year All

This shot I took at the Japanese Tea Garden in our local Park. I loved the contrasting outline of the leaves. It looked good in color, but really popped in sepia. Let me know if you like it.