Thursday, December 22, 2005

Stolen high explosives. This time in the US.

Fuck a duck. Can President Bunnypants do more to fuck up?

Via AmericaBlog,

"Officials are investigating the theft of 400 pounds of high-powered plastic explosives in New Mexico. The material was stolen from a bunker owned by a bomb expert who works at a national research lab outside Albuquerque, N.M.

...

The missing material included 150 pounds of the plastic explosive compound C-4 and 250 pounds of undetectable "sheet explosives" - a DuPont flexible explosive material that can be hidden in books and letters - as well as blasting caps, the news report said."

Good God. This is fucking scary as hell. Heckuva job, Bush.

by Robster @ 12/22/2005 01:53:00 PM PERMALink
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FISA court wants details on warrantless wiretaps

First a FISA judge resigns in protest, then this. Not looking good for the Bush crime family.

Judges on Surveillance Court To Be Briefed on Spy Program

By Carol D. Leonnig and Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, December 22, 2005; A01

The presiding judge of a secret court that oversees government surveillance in espionage and terrorism cases is arranging a classified briefing for her fellow judges to address their concerns about the legality of President Bush's domestic spying program, according to several intelligence and government sources.

Several members of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said in interviews that they want to know why the administration believed secretly listening in on telephone calls and reading e-mails of U.S. citizens without court authorization was legal. Some of the judges said they are particularly concerned that information gleaned from the president's eavesdropping program may have been improperly used to gain authorized wiretaps from their court.

"The questions are obvious," said U.S. District Judge Dee Benson of Utah. "What have you been doing, and how might it affect the reliability and credibility of the information we're getting in our court?"

Such comments underscored the continuing questions among judges about the program, which most of them learned about when it was disclosed last week by the New York Times. On Monday, one of 10 FISA judges, federal Judge James Robertson, submitted his resignation -- in protest of the president's action, according to two sources familiar with his decision. He will maintain his position on the U.S. District Court here.

More at the link, and if the FISA judges say Bush broke the law (kinda obvious Constitutional violation) then Bush apologists will have some real problems defending him. What am I saying, Bush apologists will either admit that they were wrong or ignore this and still act like he is without sin.

by Robster @ 12/22/2005 10:48:00 AM PERMALink
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Monday, December 19, 2005

Impeachment rumblings

From the Access North Georgia.com, an AP story on a US representative saying that if Bush broke the law with unwarranted domestic spying then he should be impeached.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis said Monday in a radio interview that President Bush should be impeached if he broke the law in authorizing spying on Americans.

The Democratic senator from Georgia told WAOK-AM he would sign a bill of impeachment if one was drawn up and that the House of Representatives should consider such a move.

And from RawStory, Sen Boxer (she rocks!) has discussed this very issue with four congressional scholars.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has become the first in the Senate to raise consideration of impeachment of President George W. Bush for authorizing spying on Americans without warrants, RAW STORY has learned.

In a release issued this evening, Boxer said she's asked "four presidential scholars" for their opinion on impeachment after former White Housel counsel John Dean -- made famous by his role in revealing the Watergate tapes -- asserted that President Bush had 'admitted' to an 'impeachable offense.'

Bush is gonna have trouble with this one. He admitted to 30+ counts of wrongdoing, a crime for which there is a 5 year prison sentence if found guilty. 150+ years of prison For King George. Of course, he'd be pardoned, but this would be the end of the Bush dynasty. Every one of his excuses has come up empty, and warrantless spying will freak out liberals, moderates, and real conservatives (but not the fake Bushco ones).

More from Rawstory, with Harry Reid blowing holes in Bush's "I told Congress," defense.
“The President asserted in his December 17th radio address that “leaders in Congress have been briefed more than a dozen times on this authorization and the activities conducted under it.” This statement gives the American public a very misleading impression that the President fully consulted with Congress.

“First, it is quite likely that 96 Senators of 100 Senators, including 13 of 15 on the Senate Intelligence Committee first learned about this program in the New York Times, not from any Administration briefing.

Bush is gonna be in some deep shit. I wonder how many journalists and liberal activists got spied on by Bushco...

by Robster @ 12/19/2005 06:41:00 PM PERMALink
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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Bush spys on you

What John at AmericaBlog said on Activist Presidents, and on FISA.

And from the FISA link, what Josh Marshall said.

And here is the scary part, from Pam's House Blend, WHAT BOB BARR SAID!

Don't miss her "Actual Freeper Quotes," always good for a WTF?

by Robster @ 12/18/2005 12:31:00 PM PERMALink
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Thursday, December 15, 2005

ZARQAWI CAUGHT! then released. oops.

Catch and release policy on our most wanted?

Official: Al-Zarqawi caught, released
Authorities didn't realize prisoner was terrorist mastermind

Thursday, December 15, 2005; Posted: 5:44 p.m. EST (22:44 GMT)

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi security forces caught the most wanted man in the country last year, but released him because they didn't know who he was, the Iraqi deputy minister of interior said Thursday.

Hussain Kamal confirmed that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- the al Qaeda in Iraq leader who has a $25 million bounty on his head -- was in custody at some point last year, but he wouldn't provide further details.

A U.S. official couldn't confirm the report, but said he wouldn't dismiss it.

"It is plausible," he said.

Thursday's news tops a list of reports of missed opportunities to capture the 39-year-old terrorist mastermind. An official said the military receives frequent reports of al-Zarqawi sightings, all of which are investigated.


I'm not even sure what to say about this. I'm so disappointed by this. We could have had him, but like an evil Robin Hood...

by Robster @ 12/15/2005 07:43:00 PM PERMALink
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Iraq war vet running for US Congress in Ky

Props to AmericaBlog. Looking forward to seeing this guy run. I think Northrup is probably vulnerable, and hope he can take her down.

Iraq War Vet to Challenge Northrup in Ky.

Wed Dec 14,11:15 PM ET

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - An
Iraq war veteran on Wednesday announced that he will run against U.S. Rep. Anne Northup, saying he's unhappy with President Bush's handling of the conflict.

Andrew Horne, 44, said Northup has been a staunch supporter of Bush's Iraq policy and has "become nothing but a rubber stamp" for her fellow Republican.

Horne, a Louisville attorney who returned home from Iraq last spring after a seven-month stint, said he didn't see any progress in making Iraq more secure.

"It became a realization that we are less safe than we were, not more safe," said Horne, who as a Marine Reserve officer spent months working with Iraqi security forces and helping with reconstruction and humanitarian efforts.

If he gains his party's nomination, the political newcomer will face a well-financed GOP incumbent who defeated her last challenger by 22 percentage points in 2004.

Northup, a prolific fundraiser in her fifth term in the Louisville-area district, "seems to be more interested in supporting the agendas of people who gave her money," Horne said.

Northup aide Terry Carmack sidestepped any direct mention of Horne, saying: "Whoever the Democrats nominate, we look forward to a spirited campaign on the issues."


Good luck, Mr. Horne, and thank you for your service. Hope you can shake things up a bit and make people think.

by Robster @ 12/15/2005 11:39:00 AM PERMALink
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Another episode of Cheese or Cocaine!

OK, so I don't know if anything like this has happened before, but... (hat tip to a reader of Schlock Mercenary)

From the Washington Post,
Woman Allegedly Hires Hit Man for Cheese

The Associated Press
Tuesday, December 6, 2005; 7:01 PM

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- In an unusual case of mistaken identity, a woman who thought a block of white cheese was cocaine is charged with trying to hire a hit man to rob and kill four men. The woman also was mistaken about the hit man. He turned out to be an undercover police officer.

Jessica Sandy Booth, 18, was arrested over the weekend and remains in jail with bond set at $1 million on four charges of attempted murder and four counts of soliciting a murder.

According to police, Booth was in the Memphis home of the four intended victims last week when she mistook a block of queso fresco cheese for cocaine _ inspiring the idea to hire someone to break into the home, take the drugs, and kill the men.

An informant described the plot to police, who arranged a meeting between Booth and the undercover officer.

The undercover officer gave Booth some nonfunctioning handguns, bought ammunition for her because she was too young, and the two proceeded to the home under police surveillance.

Booth told the officer that any children inside the house old enough to testify would have to be killed, police said.

A search of the home with the permission of the occupants revealed no drugs _ only the white, crumbly cheese common in Mexican cuisine.

"Four men were going to lose their lives over some cheese," said Lt. Jeff Clark, who heads Project Safe Neighborhoods.


Behold the power of cheese... To drive dumbasses to hire hitmen! I'm going out to find this cheese. Gotta find out if it is good enough to kill for.

by Robster @ 12/15/2005 09:41:00 AM PERMALink
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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Right wing War on Truth - another Christmas fraud

If you saw Sam Seder of Majority Report hand republicultist Bob Knight his ass on CNN, you remember Knight claiming that a school changed the words of Silent Night to Cold Night?

It was bullshit.

From Think Progress,

War on Christmas Fraud Exposed: The Silent Night “Rewrite” That Wasn’t

On Friday, Bill O’Reilly took to the airwaves to share the latest “War on Christmas” outrage:

In Dodgeville, Wisconsin, the Ridgewood Elementary School has changed the song Silent Night to Cold in the Night and forced the kids to sing the lyrics, “Cold in the night, No one in sight, Winter winds whirl and bite,” to the tune of the original Silent Night.


O’Reilly was by no means the only conservative to repeat this story. During a Dec. 10 appearance on Fox News, Mathew Staver of the Liberty Counsel said the presentation at Ridgewood Elementary had “no balance here. They have no Christian Christmas carols.” He even threatened to sue the school:

People are outraged. We sent a demand letter asking them to immediately change the song and allow the actual lyrics of “Silent Night,” and if they do not, if they insist on this ridiculous course of action, we’ll file a federal lawsuit.


As it turns out, the entire story is a fraud.


The song is from a Christmas play by a Choir director about a scrawny Christmas tree that brings everyone together. More details at the link.

And it has nothing to do with Charlie Brown...


And I agree with Cal Thomas... It doesn't happen often, but he thinks the War on Christmas is crap.
I do not care if a mall employee wishes me a "Merry Christmas," or not, or if mall managers favor snowpersons over manger scenes, or erect trees they call "holiday" and not "Christmas." It isn't about their observing this event, giving us a "religious rush" and creating a false sense of security that culture is better than it is. It is about people who believe in this historic event observing it in a way that recalls the birth of the Savior of the world (not the savior of the bottom line): silently, wondrously and worshipfully.

It's rare, but sometimes, Cal isn't a complete assclown.

by Robster @ 12/14/2005 11:05:00 PM PERMALink
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It's long, hard, and sensitive. (and it's not that!)

From Majikthise, a little science for you. That pointy thing on the front end of Narwhals? It's a sense organ.

NYTIMES

It's Sensitive. Really.
By WILLIAM J. BROAD

For centuries, the tusk of the narwhal has fascinated and baffled.

Narwhal tusks, up to nine feet long, were sold as unicorn horns in ages past, often for many times their weight in gold since they were said to possess magic powers. In the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth received a tusk valued at £10,000 - the cost of a castle. Austrian lore holds that Kaiser Karl the Fifth paid off a large national debt with two tusks. In Vienna, the Hapsburgs had one made into a scepter heavy with diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds.

Scientists have long tried to explain why a stocky whale that lives in arctic waters, feeding on cod and other creatures that flourish amid the pack ice, should wield such a long tusk. The theories about how the narwhal uses the tusk have included breaking ice, spearing fish, piercing ships, transmitting sound, shedding excess body heat, poking the seabed for food, wooing females, defending baby narwhals and establishing dominance in social hierarchies.

But a team of scientists from Harvard and the National Institute of Standards and Technology has now made a startling discovery: the tusk, it turns out, forms a sensory organ of exceptional size and sensitivity, making the living appendage one of the planet's most remarkable, and one that in some ways outdoes its own mythology.

The find came when the team turned an electron microscope on the tusk's material and found new subtleties of dental anatomy. The close-ups showed that 10 million nerve endings tunnel from the tusk's core toward its outer surface, communicating with the outside world. The scientists say the nerves can detect subtle changes of temperature, pressure, particle gradients and probably much else, giving the animal unique insights.

Nothing like a little discovery to surpise and delight!

by Robster @ 12/14/2005 10:55:00 PM PERMALink
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Great Jesus General spoofs

Update, More GOP MART goodness.

The General also reccomends Japan Window for best photo blog to beat some ultraconservative "I hate libruls," site. Today is the last day of voting, so get to it.
--------
Bill O'Reilly Distance Dating Kit and
Anotomically correct Ann Coulter Action Figure

Don't forget to vote for the General at The Weblog Awards 2005 contest in the Best Humor/Comics Blog catagory.

My picks...
Best Blog = Eschaton
Best Group Blog = Think Progress
Best Liberal Blog = AmericaBlog
Best Media/Journalist Blog = Raw Story
Best LGBT Blog = Pam's House Blend
Best Military Blog = Intel Dump
Best Video Blog = Crooks and Liars
Best Law Blog = Law Dork

And for the most part, I'm pickin winners.

by Robster @ 12/14/2005 10:18:00 PM PERMALink
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HAGGIS!

Pureblooded Scott
You are 83% Scottish!

As Scottish as they come, you occaisionaly strip naked, paint yourself
blue, and run around the neighborhood scaring people. This may have
gotten you into trouble in the past, but fear not. Scottsmen allways
overthrow their oppressors in the end.



My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 81% on scottpoints
Link: The how Scottish are you Test written by jackthegerbil on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

by Robster @ 12/14/2005 10:07:00 PM PERMALink
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Sunday, December 11, 2005

New York Magazine: Bushco threatened UN over Clinton climate speech

Saw this at Talking Points Memo

New York Magazine brings this story to us.
Bush-administration officials privately threatened organizers of the U.N. Climate Change Conference, telling them that any chance there might’ve been for the United States to sign on to the Kyoto global-warming protocol would be scuttled if they allowed Bill Clinton to speak at the gathering today in Montreal, according to a source involved with the negotiations who spoke to New York Magazine on condition of anonymity.

Bush officials informed organizers of their intention to pull out of the new Kyoto deal late Thursday afternoon, soon after news leaked that Clinton was scheduled to speak, the source said.

The threat set in motion a flurry of frantic back-channel negotiations between conference organizers and aides to Bush and Clinton that lasted into the night on Thursday, and at one point Clinton flatly told his advisers that he was going to pull out and not deliver the speech, the source said.
As if Bushco had any intention of doing something that might help the environment, or suggest that global warming might be a problem! But they know that Clinton would get attention, and that he is far more popular than Bush.

by Robster @ 12/11/2005 08:17:00 PM PERMALink
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Saturday, December 10, 2005

More Lieberman goodness.

I gotta say, Joe Lieberman isn't making any friends on the Democratic side of the aisle lately. Maybe it is because he is having some real problems with figuring out if he thinks Bush should be honest or not.

From Atrios, a nice little piece from WaPo
In the day's sharpest attack, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) accused Bush of deceiving Americans over everything from national security to helping the poor. "There has been one value repeatedly missing from this presidency, and that value is integrity," Lieberman said. "By deception and disarray, this White House has betrayed the just cause of fighting terrorism and tyranny around the world." Leaking the CIA employee's name "was the politics of personal destruction at its worst," he said.


Then from Think Progress, Lieberman just can't figure which side of the fence he is on.

Lieberman, 12/7/05:

It’s time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be the commander in chief for three more critical years and that in matters of war we undermine presidential credibility at our nation’s peril.

...
Lieberman, 7/28/03:

In our democracy, a president does not rule, he governs. He remains always answerable to us, the people. And right now, the president’s conduct of our foreign policy is giving the country too many reasons to question his leadership. It’s not just about 16 words in a speech, it is about distorting intelligence and diminishing credibility. It’s not about searching for scapegoats; it’s about seeing, as President Kennedy did after the Bay of Pigs, that presidents stand tall when they willingly accept responsibility for mistakes made while they are in charge. [Press Conference with Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) Re: War in Iraq, 7/28/03]


And an excelent post by Rober Ailes on Joementum's. I think this is the gem of the whole post.
It was Lieberman who signed his name to the Wall Street Journal opinion piece asserting his "disappoint[ment] with Democrats" for criticizing Bush and insinuating that dissent was demoralizing the troops. Were the Dems he disparaged supposed to stay silent about that libel just to create a false image of party unity? Lieberman chose to pick a fight; he and his anthropomorphic apologists shouldn't whine when he got one.
Poor Joe. He simple has some real problems with being regarded as sincere when he sides with Bush.

by Robster @ 12/10/2005 10:52:00 PM PERMALink
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Changes afoot

I've been contemplating the evolution of Wonkabout, and am preparing to relaunch this blog. I spend much of my time online with the Off Topic (OT) community over at News Hounds. Because of this, I have been neglecting this blog. Fot this reason, I am changing how I post here.

I will be cross posting much of what I put up on my blog to the OT, except for some OT specific items. Also, Bobbie, June and Cleo will be back for Friday Catblogging Goodness.

I won't officially relaunch the blog until January, but will be testing out this new format, reworking my links, and some non-blog related things, like getting ready for the holidays and writing a couple papers.

In the mean time, check out this response to the GOP's smear video of Dean's comments regarding whether Iraq is winnable.

Also, Daedelus has a great writup of the wag the reindeer war on Christmas. More on it from Wonkette.

Wonkette also tells us about the speculation on the appearance of a brand of dog toy called Kong in Butterstick the Panda's enclosure. You can count on Wonkette to have her head in the gutter.

Also, fellow Ky blogger BlueGrassRoots points us to a Times Online article about some very large jellyfish causing trouble for Japan.

by Robster @ 12/10/2005 12:28:00 PM PERMALink
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