Sunday, July 31, 2005

Punk of the Week Award

Time once again for the Punk of the Week Award, where we single out the biggest Punk and expose their Punkery for all the non-Punk world to see.

And the coveted Golden Buttock goes to ...

Senator and Doctor (or is that Doctor and Senator? Which pays more?) William Frist, Republican of Tennessee. Take a bow, Billy Boy.

But what Punkness has Billy done that warrants him the prized Palm de Butt?

Let's start with his stand on AIDS. He made several public statements and was left wallowing and gasping like a landed carp when a reporter finally cornered him and asked him to verify that - to him, at least - you can catch HIV from tears and sweat (it was found in a sexual education curriculum that he extolled).

Let's move on to Terri Schiavo. Hoo boy. He stood on the floor of the Senate, with the C-SPAN cameras rolling, and averred that based on his careful viewing of less than a minute of an hour-long video that Ms. Schiavo was NOT in a "persistent vegetative state." Then, after the poor woman finally died and he got called on it, he tried to weasel out, saying that he'd never made a diagnosis about her condition. Guess he forgot to have C-SPAN's tapes confiscated before the networks got hold of them, huh?

And finally we have this week's comedic moment from Fristie. After drinking the Kool-Aid and accepting his leash humbly from El Presidente, he suddenly Saw the Light and now endorses stem cell research. It was such an obviously shabby change of mind that I can only guess he did it to distract from Karl Rove.

Billy, making a mad dash to the center is something you expect a Democrat to do. All you've done is piss off the shit-for-brains assholes who own you body and soul. Now who do you think will support you for Prez in 08?

Yes, Billy was a true Punk this week.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Butcher's Bill

Let's check out what's going on in Operation Bleeding Wound.

Oops, I meant Operation Iraq Liberation.

Oops, I meant Operation Iraqi Freedom, yeah, that's it ...

From CNN:

"BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A suicide bomber killed at least 26 people on Friday in an attack on an army recruiting center in the northern Iraqi town of Rubia, police told CNN.
The bomber blew himself up among a group of recruits, police said.
At least 30 people were wounded, police said."

- snip -

Yep, signs of progress all around. Kind of hard to recruit people who keep being blown into hamburger, but people keep lining up because it's the only job in town. You think we planned it that way?

- snip -

"On Thursday, two Marines were killed when insurgents fired small arms and rocket-propelled grenades at their unit during combat operations in Cykla, the U.S. military said in a statement issued on Friday.
Cykla -- located in Anbar province about 120 miles west of Baghdad -- is the same village where Marines launched an airstrike Thursday against insurgents after they and Iraqi forces were ambushed while on patrol.
Nine insurgents, including five identified as Syrians, were killed in the clash.
The military did not say whether the two Marines were killed in the same incident.
Also, a Task Force Baghdad soldier died about 11:30 p.m. Thursday when the vehicle he was driving was involved in a single-vehicle accident off base in central Baghdad.
He was pronounced dead at an Iraqi hospital.
The deaths bring the number of U.S. service members killed in Iraq to 1,786."

- snip -

And it just keeps on coming. Bush won't go to any of these funerals either, the dumb bastard.

- snip -

"U.S.: Terror leader captured
U.S. and Iraqi forces on Friday announced the capture of a suspected al Qaeda terror cell leader for the Mosul area in northern Iraq.
A military statement said that Ammar Abu Bara, aka Amar Hussein Hasan, was captured Wednesday in a northern Mosul neighborhood, during a cordon and search operation conducted by U.S. and Iraqi soldiers, a military statement said.
No coalition or Iraqi injuries were reported during the operation, the statement said."

- snip -

Hurrah, we caught another one! Is he another in the long line of '#3 men?'

- snip -

"Meanwhile, Iraqi transitional assembly members were working to cobble together a new constitution by the August 15 deadline so the legal framework can be put before voters in a referendum later this year.
Assembly members have said they expect to have the document done in time. They plan to announce by Monday if they will seek a six-month delay.
Earlier this week, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, visiting Baghdad, urged Iraqis to finish the constitution on schedule.
A Human Rights Watch official Thursday urged the drafters of Iraq's new constitution to honor "the full range of women's human rights consistent with Iraq's international obligations."
Janet Walsh, the group's acting women's rights director, detailed her concerns in a letter dated Thursday to Humam Hamoudi, chairman of the constitution-writing committee."

How nice! As if the Iraqi government didn't have enough evil shit cascading down on their heads, they have to suffer through a visit from Crazy Mad Donny who urges them to finish on schedule.

I wonder how he'd react to hearing them say, 'Sorry, Rummy, but we'll take our time so we get a good product, okay?'

And you may as well hang up the idea of women's rights in Iraq. Say what you like about Saddam, at least he ran a secular state that had women's rights.

George W Bush, ... Genius?

John Hinderaker at seems to think so, however hyperbolic his imagery might be:

"It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile."

Gee, a "man of extraordinary vision and brilliance," huh?

Let's recap: A tissue of lies leading us into a real shitburger of a war, 'compassionate conservatism' that actually leaves a wider gap between poor and rich while savaging the middle class, funneling Federal money to support religious groups, taking liberties away from the American people in exchange for the illusion of security.

Shall I go on? Not much room for brilliance or vision there, is there?

Ah, but Hinderaker was talking about a global warming protocol that won't actually DO anything to stop global warming. Yep, that's sheer genius there.

George W Bush. Genius? No, more like an idiot savant.

Minus the savant.

Ouch ...

I had my first-ever trip to a chiropractor today. It seemed that I managed to misalign two vertebrae while going about my usual activities (gardening, housework, etc.). So after spending a rather painful night, I arranged an appointment.

Hoo boy, that hurt! After first eliminating the possibility that I had any neurological problems, the guy said, "Okay, hold still ..." And SNAP!

I believe I said, "Oh, shit" when I heard my backbone pop. And I believe I said it again when he cracked my spine again, this time eliciting two snaps.

Rather painful indeed.

But I feel better now.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Why Does the United States Senate Hate Our Troops?

Senate Moves to Shield Gun Industry
By Laurie Kellman
The Associated PressTuesday, July 26, 2005; 6:14 PM

WASHINGTON -- Senate Republicans on Tuesday moved the National Rifle Association's top priority ahead of a $491 billion defense bill, setting up a vote on legislation to shield firearms manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits over gun crimes.
Completion of the defense bill, which the Senate had been debating for a week, will now be delayed until fall. Democrats were incensed.
"What's happening on this gun liability bill is really despicable," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. "To put that ahead of the defense bill, I think, is the most distorted priorities I can possibly conceive of."
On a 66-32 test vote, sponsors of the gun bill showed they have more than enough support to prevent opponents from defeating it with a filibuster.
Supporters said it was high time the measure received consideration in an environment of lawsuits that would devastate the gun industry. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., complained that gun control advocates are abusing the courts "to steer public policy through litigation."
With strong support from the White House, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., used a technical maneuver to halt debate on the defense bill and move to the contentious gun legislation sponsored by Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho.
- snip -
The bill could eat up much of the Senate schedule before lawmakers leave at week's end for a monthlong vacation. The House passed a similar bill last year but has taken no action on it this year.
Congress was on the verge of passing the bill a year ago when the NRA abruptly asked Craig, a member of the association's board of directors, to withdraw it after gun opponents amended it to extend an expiring ban on assault weapons. A pickup of four GOP Senate seats in last November's election emboldened gun rights supporters to try again, confident they can block Democratic attempts to attach an assault weapons ban.
The bill would prohibit lawsuits against the firearms industry for damages resulting form the unlawful use of a firearm or ammunition. Craig said such lawsuits are "predatory and aimed at bankrupting the firearms industry," unfairly blaming dealers and manufacturers for the crimes of gun users.
- snip -
Gun opponents say the bill effectively exempts gun manufacturers from liability. They also say dealers sometimes allow the weapons to get into the hands of people the law says shouldn't have them.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the gun industry gave 88 percent of its campaign contributions, or $1.2 million, to Republicans in the 2004 election cycle. Gun control advocates funneled 98 percent of their contributions, or $93,700, to Democrats.


These bloodless whores who take the NRA's money in order to continue flooding our country with more and more deadly weapons have sunk to a new low. Like drug addicts willing to do anything, anything for their next hit of smack or Black Acid, they have willingly sold their souls to a group of Complete and Total Assholes. At their urging (and probably for a consideration), these "Senators" - these men and women who ARE SUPPOSED to act in our best interests - have taken the Low Road and have deferred action on a DEFENSE APPROPRIATION BILL.

This is money that will supply our troops and defend our fucking country, folks!

The title of this post is not a joke.

It's the godsdamned stone fucking truth.

And, since the test vote was 66-32, it's not only the Republicans who are backing this piece of shit masquerading as legislation - Democrats are in on it too.

Once again, it's been proven that we have the best government Money Can Buy.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Really? We Had No Idea ...

From CNN:

U.S. study: Insurgents infiltrate Iraq police
Report suggests turning over recruiting to Iraq government

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Insurgents and other criminals have infiltrated Iraqi police ranks due to poor screening procedures by U.S. forces, according to a joint report released Monday by the U.S. Defense Department and State Department.
"Recruitment and vetting procedures are faulty," said the report from the inspectors general of both departments.
"Despite recent improvements, too many recruits are marginally literate; some show up for training with criminal records or physical handicaps."
The 100-page report went on to say there was "sufficient evidence to conclude" that insurgents were "among the ranks of the Iraq police service."

- snip -

"There is a perception that training programs have produced 'cannon fodder' -- numbers of nominal policemen incapable of defending themselves, let alone the Iraqi public."

- snip -

The report comes after a recent Pentagon assessment on the status of Iraq reported that half of Iraqi police battalions were capable of carrying out operations against insurgents. (Full story)
Pentagon officials said the joint report was a snapshot from two to three months ago and some said recently that police recruiting has been improving.

- snip -

Find this article at:


Hmm, the Iraqi police are subject to infiltration by insurgents?

Three words:

No. Shit. Sherlock.

It's Going to Take a Lot of Good Karma ...

... to recover from this.

From Editor and Publisher

[Emphases are mine, btw.]

Pentagon Blocks Release of Abu Ghraib Images: Here's Why
By Greg Mitchell
Published: July 23, 2005 6:00 PM ET

NEW YORK So what is shown on the 87 photographs and four videos from Abu Ghraib prison that the Pentagon, in an eleventh hour move, blocked from release this weekend? One clue: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress last year, after viewing a large cache of unreleased images: "I mean, I looked at them last night, and they're hard to believe.” They show acts "that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhumane," he added.
A Republican Senator suggested the same day they contained scenes of “rape and murder.” No wonder Rumsfeld commented then, "If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse."
Yesterday, news emerged that lawyers for the Pentagon had refused to cooperate with a federal judge's order to release dozens of unseen photographs and videos from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq by Saturday. The photos were among thousands turned over by the key “whistleblower” in the scandal, Specialist Joseph M. Darby.
Just a few that were released to the press sparked the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal last year, and the video images are said to be even more shocking. The Pentagon lawyers said in a letter sent to the federal court in Manhattan that they would file a sealed brief explaining their reasons for not turning over the material. They had been ordered to do so by a federal judge in response to a FOIA lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU accused the government Friday of putting another legal roadblock in the way of its bid to allow the public to see the images of the prisoner abuse scandal. One Pentagon lawyer has argued that they should not be released because they would only add to the humiliation of the prisoners. But the ACLU has said the faces of the victims can easily be "redacted."
To get a sense of what may be shown in these images, one has to go back to press reports from when the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal was still front page news. This is how CNN reported it on May 8, 2004, in a typical account that day: “U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld revealed Friday that videos and ‘a lot more pictures’ exist of the abuse of Iraqis held at Abu Ghraib prison."
’If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse,’ Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee. ‘I mean, I looked at them last night, and they're hard to believe.’
“The embattled defense secretary fielded sharp and skeptical questions from lawmakers as he testified about the growing prisoner abuse scandal. A military report about that abuse describes detainees being threatened, sodomized with a chemical light and forced into sexually humiliating poses. “Charges have been brought against seven service members, and investigations into events at the prison continue.
“Military investigators have looked into -- or are continuing to investigate -- 35 cases of alleged abuse or deaths of prisoners in detention facilities in the Central Command theater, according to Army Secretary Les Brownlee. Two of those cases were deemed homicides, he said."
’The American public needs to understand we're talking about rape and murder here. We're not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience,’ Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told reporters after Rumsfeld testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. ’We're talking about rape and murder -- and some very serious charges.’
“A report by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba on the abuse at the prison outside Baghdad says videotapes and photographs show naked detainees, and that groups of men were forced to masturbate while being photographed and videotaped. Taguba also found evidence of a ‘male MP guard having sex with a female detainee.’
“Rumsfeld told Congress the unrevealed photos and videos contain acts 'that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhuman.’”
The military later screened some of the images for lawmakers, who said they showed, among other things, attack dogs snarling at cowed prisoners, Iraqi women forced to expose their breasts, and naked prisoners forced to have sex with each other.
In the same period, reporter Seymour Hersh, who helped uncover the scandal, said in a speech before an ACLU convention: “Some of the worse that happened that you don't know about, ok? Videos, there are women there. Some of you may have read they were passing letters, communications out to their men….The women were passing messages saying ‘Please come and kill me, because of what's happened.’
“Basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys/children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. The worst about all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror it's going to come out.”


Total terror indeed. We have lost any whiff of moral ascendancy in this conflict, and our own military has given aid and comfort to the enemy.

All we can do is get the hell out of the mess we have created for ourselves. There is no honor to be preserved here, for we have lost it; there is no glory and never will be.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


You have to hand it to the United States military. When they find an articulate witness who can give reporters a good quote, they try to have him stick around. For example, here's a quote from a press release dated July 13, after a suicide bomber killed several children as well as US soldiers:

"'The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the children and all of Iraq,' said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified. 'They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists.'"

Now here's the text of a press release from the 24th of July:

"'The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the ISF and all of Iraq. They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists,' said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified."

Notice the odd similarity? Naturally the Pentagon is investigating this, because if Mister Preferrednotto be-Identified can't be found, it raises an interesting point.

Could the military be falsifying its press releases from Iraq to show the American people (you know, the largely sheeplike mob who think Fox News is fair and balanced) that the Iraqis support us being there?

Seven by 7

So far we've seen the following storms of the Atlantic season:

Dennis (Category 4 hurricane)
Emily (Category 4 hurricane)

And it isn't even the end of godsdamned JULY yet! At this rate we'll run out of names long before we reach the end of the season in November.

Only one thing for it - more names on the list.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Punk(s) of the Week Award(s)

Yes, dear readers, the Punk of the Week Award is not only on time, but we have multiple winners! We shall now expose the Punkness of these Punks for all the non-Punk world to see.

And the winners are ....

Joshua Palin and Tammy Sue Warren!

Who the fuck are they, you might ask? Some twisted duo involved in the evolving Karl Rove scandal? Terrorist supporters? Good sweet Jesus in Bike Shorts, they're not FRENCH are they?!?

Nope, nope, and are you kidding? Mr. Palin's the son of a church pastor and the director of the Kid's Palace day care centers in the Jacksonville, Florida area. Ms. Warren's one of the employees. And the Punkness for which they so richly deserve the coveted Golden Buttock?

"JACKSONVILLE -- The state suspended the licenses of two church-affiliated day care centers where children allegedly were sexually molested, forced to eat worms and pick each other's noses during employee-led games of "Truth or Dare."

"The former director of the Kid's Palace centers and one employee have been charged, and the investigation is continuing." - Lakeland Ledger, 7/23/05.

Palin's charged with molesting two girls, 12 and 13, and encouraging other kids to fondle him or simulate oral sex on him during a one-year span ending last month with criminal charges. He's the son of a pastor at one affiliated church. Warren's charges are for lewd exhibition (she bared her breasts to the kiddies).

And - surprise! - they're not Catholics. I can hardly wait for Senator "Look at Me, Dammit!" Santorum to blame this monumental Punkery on Florida's liberal and permissive culture, and lay all the responsibility for it upon our colleges and universities (hey, he did it to Harvard up in Massachusetts).

By the way, Senator Santorum gets Honorable Mention. Anyone who parades a dead fetus (his miscarried son) before his children (who'll need Heap Big Therapy later on) and keeps a picture of it on his desk in DC deserves to be bent over said desk and rogered like the true Punk he is.

Minding the Nieces

I was given the joyous task of minding my three nieces today (my brother had something to do, and the sister-in-law was out of town). So, after trying to walk them into the ground, I took them to the local mall.

Lunch at the food court, then I turned them loose in the games arcade. $26 in tokens later I called a halt to the hemorrhage and we went window shopping. Now, the oldest niece is 12, the youngest 10. Oy, as they say, flipping vey.

One of the places they insisted on going through was an entire store dedicated to Hello Kitty, that noisome and long-lived horror imported from Japan. I suppose Japan still hasn't forgiven us for Hiroshima, so they gave us Hello Kitty. I'm glad that I had a burger at the food court, since I would have needed an insulin shot from the extremely high level of sugary Cuteness in the place.

They settled down after returning home.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Back in Ye Olden Times (okay, the 15th to 18th Centuries), women were not allowed to perform on stage or sing to audiences. It was considered unseemly (at least until the creation of divas). So men had to fill the roles that nowadays we expect women to fill.

It was the practice of the times, back then, to use a small knife or scalpel to cut the testicles off of small boys (one treatise recommended crushing said testes with pliers while the boy was immersed in a warm bath). Once a promising voice was discovered (and castration was no guarantee), vocal training was then administered.

Now, you might be asking "Why is he telling us this? Is he trying to make us wince?"

Ahh, gentle readers, this is what happened to a large number of the people in our mainstream media. Many men have drunk the Kool-aid, and been led unresisting to the small room in the White House to have their balls crushed. Then they are trained to avoid any subject that might cast aspersions upon Dear Leader and His Inspired Staff.

Women? Well, the current branch of the Republican Party that is in charge doesn't consider women as anything but brood mares, providing cheap laborers and soldiers for The State. So they've been content to share the Kool-aid only with women who think like they do.

(That brings up George Carlin's question - why is it that women who are against abortion are women you wouldn't want to fuck in the first place?)

But some have not drunk the Kool-aid, or have and yet missed getting the pliers treatment. And these are the people we have to rely upon to spread the word through the mainstream media. The word about the 'outing' of Valerie Plame as a way to get back at John Wilson, the word about the lies that led us into Iraq, the word about the disgusting lies and abject stupidity that seems to be part and parcel with this Administration.

The Progress of the War

In a few words, dear readers, the War goes badly. We have lost 1,769 soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen for what was ground of no value, based on a tissue of lies. This started with Bush's assertion that he would take out Saddam if he got elected (this was in 1999, people). Right after Black Tuesday, he demanded to know if Saddam had anything to do with it. According to sources, Tony Blair had to talk Bush into going after al-Qaida first.

One of the buttresses to the argument that Saddam had a nuclear program was that he had tried to buy uranium yellowcake from Niger. Unfortunately, the supporting document was a forgery - and a flimsy one at that. When ex-Ambassador Wilson went public with the news that the Nigerian Yellowcake Deal was a lie, his wife was revealed to be a covert CIA officer. Bad joss, people.

So we went to war, and here we are. Two years after Bush declared that major hostilities were over and some asshole hung a "Mission Accomplished" banner, we are holding onto the tiger's ears with all our might, unwilling to hold on but afraid to let go.

And now the story starts to unravel, and the public - and to an increasing extent the castrati in the media - aren't buying the increasingly feeble attempts to divert attention away from the truth.

I will close this post with the following:

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it ..."
- Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 4 Scene 1

MCF in Iraq

Yes, I mean a Mongolian Cluster Fuck.

A Pentagon report acquired by the New York Times reveals a rather startling (but not unexpected) revelation - that only about a third of the nascent Iraqi Army is fit to do anything on its own. The rest either need 'support' or are still in training. Two years after the Dear Leader strutted across a carrier flight deck in his best GI Joe uniform.

This stinks, folks. Our former Viceroy in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, should be strung up by his testicles and dragged howling through the streets over broken glass for his stupidity, then locked in a bamboo cage and poked with sharp sticks. His abrupt firing of the entire Iraqi Army in 2003 left thousands unemployed and resentful. Bingo! Instant insurgent fodder.

I suppose we should get used to watching people die in Iraq - at the rate we're going, the Iraqi Army and police forces will be fully trained by, oh, about 2009. Just in time for the GOP to blame the next President over "Who lost Iraq?"

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

How Do You Say "Sumo" In Arabic?

Al-Jazeera's English-language mirror is a wealth of information at times, and today's site is no exception. Wedged within the articles (many of them taken from wire services such as the AP and Reuters) is an engaging article about Egyptian sumo wrestlers.

Excuse me? EGYPTIAN sumo wrestlers?

Yep. Sumo is a growing sport in Egypt (although I doubt it'll beat out America-bashing in popularity), with numerous clubs catering to the huge and overweight who want to put on diapers and ram into each other like drunken Texans. They even sent a team to the Junior Sumo matches in Japan. They didn't do too well, apparently, but one Japanese pundit said that they showed a great deal of spirit.

Actually, it might not be a bad idea to use sports like sumo, with its stylized violence, to help some of the world's more intransigent assholes to work out their differences. Of course, the mental image of George Bush and Kim Jong Il putting on the diapers and grappling in the ring is enough to make me want to gouge out my eyes with plastic picnic forks.

But it's a thought.

Terrorist Moose and the Killer Hamster

The Associated Press has moved a couple interesting stories lately that have me wondering if maybe the rest of the planet is getting fed up with us shaved monkeys. Let's follow along, shall we?

Three transplant patients died of viral infections in Ohio recently. As part of their recovery therapy or some damn thing, they were exposed to a hamster who infected them with the virus. The hamster was traced to a pet distributor on the East Coast. Hmm. Since hamsters hail from Syria, could there be an al Qaeda connection?

A policeman north of Toronto was driving along and became the victim of a suicide attack. A moose threw itself at the car, killing itself and the officer.

Weirdness, people. Complete weirdness.

Knowing Your Ground

Anyone with an elementary grasp of basic tactics knows that choosing the ground for a battle is of critical importance. You choose the ground carefully, in order to deny your enemy any advantage. But the ground must also be of value to you, in order to make it worth defending.

I bring this up because now there are two things facing the Democrats right now: The ongoing investigation and increasingly mind-boggling scandal that leads from Karl Rove and Bob Novak to the Downing Street Documents (I'll get to that later), and the nomination of John Roberts to replace Justice O'Connor on the Supreme Court.

Now, these two have the ability to hopelessly mire the Democratic leadership like Buridan's Ass and let the Christofascist wing run roughshod all over them (again). However, I have a solution.

Let Roberts go.

Concentrate on Rove.

Roberts has excellent credentials and a solid work record. Give him a thorough investigation, of course, but when his nomination comes to the Senate floor, let him have a fair vote. Damaging your position by filibustering him or dragging the process out longer than it needs to will only hurt you.

Rove, on the other hand, is a huge target and you should keep digging and plugging away until you get enough material to link his efforts at silencing Wilson over the bogus Nigerian yellowcake deal to the 'fixed' intelligence that led us into a hideous quagmire of a war.

Roberts is ground of no value. Rove is the best target.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Let the Nightmare Continue!

The White House has announced (gee, that sounds an awful lot like the old "TASS is authorized to announce ..." crap from the Cold War) that Prez. Bush will announce his nominee to replace Sandra O'Connor at 9 PM Eastern time tonight.

Oh caloo callay! We finally find out who each side will fight for or against, guaranteeing Big Fun, Overheated Rhetoric and Complete Bugnuts Craziness for the rest of the summer. Hoo-hah!

Stay tuned, and get your helmets on. This will be messier than a Gallagher concert.

Punk of the Week

Time again for the Punk of the Week Award, where we select only the choicest Punks and expose their Punkery for all the non-Punk world to see.

(This should have been done on Sunday, but I was busy.)

And this week's Award goes to .... envelope, please ...

President and Illustrious Leader George W Bush, for backtracking on his earlier principled stand to fire anyone connected with the 'outing' of CIA officer Valerie Plame. Over the weekend, that stand changed to read that he'd fire anyone connected to it only if a crime had been committed.

Well, Georgie, get the pink slips out. You'll need one for Karl "Big Pants" Rove, as well as for "Scooter" Libby and "Doughboy" McClellan. Oh, and take one for yourself while you're at it.

By now, we should be used to seeing Presidents take a stand, and then start backing away from it. But it's still strange to see, especially in a President who, in his first term, was so crazed about ethics and dignity returning to the White House.

But that was before, you see.

Before the War on Terror.

Before the Patriot Act.

Before having his cronies and disciples telling the Congress and all who'd listen that Iraq can pay for the cost of its reconstruction.

Before Operation Bleeding Wound, based on lies and fixed intelligence, as pointed out in the Downing Street Documents.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Going Wild

This little piece comes to us courtesy of the Times. No, not the New York Times, the real Times - the one from London:

Many people have noticed that the population of Europe has started to drop, the result of many different causes (family limitation, economic pressures, urbanization, etc.). Now, the creatures that once owned Europe up until the 18th Century have started to drift westward, reclaiming what humans have abandoned.

Wolves, bears and other wild animals have started sneaking into deserted villages and former agricultural lands left fallow by the flight of people to the cities. And these new arrivals have made no bones about the fact that they're here.

Boars have been spotted savoring Berliners' table scraps, Austrian schoolchildren and bears have had mutually surprising encounters, and at least two wolf packs have started up in eastern Germany. The wolves have been hunting deer, thankfully.

This is the opposite of what we've seen in America, where encroachment on former wild spaces have resulted in animals adapting to life in towns and cities.

It could be a harbinger of Things to Come.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

A Hot Day in Iraq

A suicide bomber in Iraq today caused a fuel tanker to blow up, killing about 56 people and setting neighboring houses on fire. How he did it depends on if you read the New York Times (who say he drove it) or the BBC (who say that he snuck up on the truck, then ran toward it before pulling the thunder cord).

Earlier, three British soldiers were killed in southern Iraq by a group calling itself the Imam al-Hussein (the grandson of the Prophet - pboh - who was the founder of the Shia sect in Islam).

And an entire company - a company, mind you - of US soldiers was pulled off the active duty roster after foiling an attack on a power plant. It seems that one soldier blew the whistle on the others, who were allegedly abusing the seven insurgents detained after the attack.

'Nuff said.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Unzipping Uncle Sam's Trousers

Yeah, that's a mental image you don't want.

But, apparently, the GOP leadership in the Senate want to see it. They want to see poor Uncle Sam unzip his striped britches and pull them down, exposing his bony ass for all to see as they invite every Tom, Dick, and Achmed imaginable to come and kick that flabby tuchis.

In the wake of the bombings in London last week, the Democrats tried to reinsert funding increases for port and rail transit security. It didn't get past the eagle eyes and feral weasel squints of the Bombs-and-Jesus wing, who promptly grabbed Uncle Sam by the belt loops and pulled down harshly.

We don't check people getting on and off buses. We hardly check people getting on trains. We miss a lot of stuff getting through our ports of entry (you'll notice that drug smugglers have no problem at all getting their little gift packages into the country). Any hint of a pervasive London-style surveillance setup sends people frothing at the mouth.

So who will tell the Senate GOP leadership "I told you so" when we have some silly little hooter walks onto a bus with ten pounds of ersatz gelignite strapped to his back?

Why does the Senate GOP hate America?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Imagination As Proof Of Humanity

"But what disgusts me even more are people with no imagination. The kind T.S. Eliot calls hollow men. People who fill up that lack of imagination with heartless bits of straw, not even aware of what they're doing. Callous people who throw a lot of empty words at you, trying to force you to do what you don't want to. ...

"Narrow minds devoid of imagination. Intolerance, theories cut off from reality, empty terminology, usurped ideals, inflexible systems. Those are the things that really frighten me. What I absolutely fear and loathe. Of course it's important to know what's right and what's wrong. Individual errors in judgment can usually be corrected. As long as you have the courage to admit mistakes, things can be turned around. But intolerant, narrow minds with no imagination are like parasites that transform the host, change form, and continue to thrive."

- Murakami Haruki, Kafka on the Shore. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. pp. 167-168.

Does this passage remind you of anyone?


The CIA has a delightful euphemism to describe what happens when you get unintended results from various actions.

They call it "blowback," as in you should've checked to make sure the barrel of your rifle wasn't plugged, because when the bolt blows back in your face you might want to look into finding a good medical plan.

The US should know a great deal about blowback by now. After all, we trained Manuel Noriega, then acted all surprised and shocked when he became the #1 Drug Bagman of Central America. We trained Osama bin Laden, and were probably shocked when he and his Merry Wanderers Polka and High Explosives Team started getting medieval on our asses.

And so we come to Iraq. This is blowback writ large; the formation of a terrorist training ground so vast and comprehensive as to give the 'War on Terror' plenty of play for the next twenty years or so. And all the deaths - the US soldiers who gave their lives based on lies and 'fixed' intelligence, all the civilians who died suffering, and all the future lives who will be lost in train stations, bus stops, police stations and shopping centers - can be laid at the feet of the man who established Iraq as the "central front in the War on Terror."

It's called blowback, George. Take a good strong steamy whiff of it.

Monday, July 11, 2005

A Quotable Quote

"Silence would be complicity. I am not prepared to be complicit when people in Iraq and London are paying a blood price for Blair's bizarre special relationship with Bush."
- British MP George Galloway

The War Continues

Occasionally the news dredges up something that is really bizarre, and between fits of insane giggling I just have to talk about it.

CNN reports that the long-lost ice axe that was used to kill expatriate Soviet revolutionary Lev Bronstein (better known, perhaps, as Leon Trotsky) may have been found in Mexico. Trotsky escaped from the Soviet Union in 1937 and eventually settled down South of the Border in order to evade Stalin's death squads and to continue writing and spreading the gospel of Worldwide Socialist Revolution.

That is, until someone drove an ice axe into the back of his head in 1940.

The only way to prove that the axe is a murder weapon is to test the dried blood stains on it against a DNA sample from Trotsky's descendant Esteban Volkov. However, there is a pissing match ongoing between Volkov and the owner. And here's where it gets fun.

The owner is researching whether to put the axe up on e-Bay.

Volkov wants it donated to his museum dedicated to the spread of socialism.

Fourteen years after the fall of the Soviet Union, the war between capitalism and communism marches on.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Punk of the Week Award

It's time for the Punk of the Week Award, where we identify the biggest Punk of the past seven days and expose his or her Punkery for all the non-Punk world to see.

And this week's Punk Award goes to - the assholes who planned and executed the bombings in London.

This one was a no-brainer, people. Only the biggest, assholest, completely-out-of-their-fucking-tiny-mindsiest people would do this kind of shit. And such Punkery is enough to make people stand in awe, and weep for the future of non-Punks everywhere.

Friday, July 08, 2005

London is not Washington

Here's a short, hideously subjective study in contrasts:

Washington, several weeks ago - a small plane wanders into restricted airspace over the capitol and suddenly the police and security forces start screaming at people to "Run! Get out! Flee! Head for the hills!" etc. People bail out of their offices and run through the streets with no rhyme or reason, like panicked lemmings on crank. The Leaders of the Free World Already either go into hiding or remain blissfully unaware of what's going on.

London, last Thursday - four bombs go off, three on subway trains, one on a crowded bus. The police, fire, and EMS units respond and handle things in a calm, businesslike and orderly fashion. While some people run, most seem to move calmly away and stay beyond the barricades. The lightly injured even stop to give interviews before seeking medical attention. The Leader of What Used to be The Empire Thank You Very Much immediately drops what he's doing, issues a statement of condolence and heads straight to his capitol to meet with his cabinet and advisers.

Interesting contrast, huh?

Here We Go Again ...

Last August 13 (a day that I wish to make a national holiday, called Outrage Day), I was at work watching a hurricane called Charley moving up the west coast of Florida. Nearly all of the forecasts had it moving up the Hillsborough River estuary and coming ashore near Tampa, which meant that I might get some wind and rain at my house, but not much else. However, a few meteorologists were predicting that it might come ashore sooner - which, in fact, it did.

Hurricane Charley's eye passed almost directly over my house that night. I lost some shingles from my roof, my privacy fence was cracked, and my entire neighborhood was without power for three days. I consider myself very fortunate, even (dare I say it?) blessed. Some people lost everything, or were without power for weeks (no air conditioning - in Florida - in August).

One thing I'll say for hurricanes - they make you rethink what's important. You enjoy cable TV, air conditioning and ice machines in your fridge, but when the power goes down and you're traveling all over the county just to find a bag of ice you have a greater understanding of the power those "conveniences" have over you.

Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne went over my house as well, causing far less damage than Charley did (which was good - parts of the county to the east and south of me still haven't recovered completely), and Ivan missed entirely. A friend of mine who lives in Pensacola told me that the damage caused there by Ivan was "beyond [her] capacity to describe" - and she's an extremely literate teacher.

So now we come to this year. We've already seen Arlene, Brett and Cindy, and now here comes Dennis, packing winds up to 150 mph and sure to savagely beat Cuba (but will we send any aid to them? Hell no - we might accidentally give some to Castro!) before emerging into the Gulf, getting stronger and, according to the projections, lay another dose of the Stomp and Whipsong on the Pensacola area.

Of course, I've got supplies laid in, including a generator. I'm not just taking the forecasts with a grain of salt - I'm using the whole shaker now.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


To the people of the United Kingdom:

Be assured that the heartfelt condolences and support of the American people are with you in this tragic time for your loved ones and your country. We stand beside you to help you mourn your dead, succor your living and seek to bring swift justice to those responsible.

To paraphrase Shakespeare:

"Cursed be the hands that let this blood from hence!
Cursed be the hearts that had the heart to do it!"

Attentat on the Underground

From London word has been received, and again the images fill our TV screens: Terrorists have struck at London's transportation system. Six bombs exploded aboard trains and buses in the City, the financial heart of the capitol, in what appears to be a well-coordinated attack. PM Blair went on TV at about 7 AM Eastern to declare the attack "barbaric" and that it was obviously "a terrorist attack."

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Suffer the Little Children

"But before the flag-waving children were allowed to meet Mrs. Bush, they were body-searched by Danish police and the [day care] center was swept by bomb-sniffing dogs." - CNN, 7/6/05

This is the kind of news item that makes me stop and say, "What the fuck?" It seems that the Danes take their security very seriously, considering that Our Dear Leader is visiting on his way to Scotland and decided to drop by and thank them for their contributions to the Iraq War and oh, by the way, when the sea level rises and you have to evacuate your country, fuck you.

So, rather than watch the wife of President Sociopath get capped by a three-year old wearing a bomb harness, the Danish security forces decided to be cautious. After all, Mrs. Bush is such a high-value target - goodness knows what might transpire if anything were to happen to her.

What's the line of succession for First Ladies? Does Lynne Cheney step in as First Lady pro tempore until a new one can be appointed? Or should either Jenna or not-Jenna fill in? Now that would be an interesting setup, and certainly very Biblical.

Or haven't you heard the story about Lot and his two daughters?

Narcissist or Sociopath?

No, we're not talking about me, fer Chrissakes.

"Mom, Who Lost Son In Iraq, Talks About 'Disgusting' White House Private Meeting With Bush" Posted on: 7/5/2005 9:21:00 AM - Columnist
By Greg Szymanski (

Based on this article (which I strongly urge you to read), is Our Dear Leader being overly narcissistic, dissociated, or just plain sociopathic? Well, let's crank out the Merriam-Webster and define our terms:

Narcissist (see egoist): excessive concern for oneself with or without exaggerated feelings of self-importance

Hmm. Could describe any politician.

Dissociated: the separation of whole segments of the personality (as in multiple personality) or of discrete mental processes (as in the schizophrenias) from the mainstream of consciousness or of behavior

Uh-uh. While that may explain some things, that ain't it.

Sociopath: Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others' feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.

Bingo. Especially when you take into consideration other aspects of sociopathy in the DSM-IV.

Now, this should come as no great surprise. Politicians as a general rule have to be successful salespeople, advertising themselves to prospective voters. I can see where narcissism and sociopathy could go hand in hand (in which case every state capitol and DC should be fenced off to provide security from these mentally ill knuckledraggers).

I seriously wonder if any psychiatrist has analyzed the President's personality based on his behavior in public? It could explain a great many things.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Remember ...

Beware of the cute things.

Happy 4th of July!

Since it seems to be a bit of a meme out there, here's a list of movies and music that I think are appropriate for this 4th of July:

Favorite 4th of July movie: "Yankee Doodle Dandy," starring the immortal James Cagney (yeah, I'm a sentimental old bastard, so sue me.)
Second favorite 4th of July movie: "Duck Soup," starring the Marx Brothers (far and away the best antiwar and antigovernment film ever, imo.)

Music that means "America" to me on this 4th:
Appalachian Spring - Copeland
Little Pink Houses - Mellencamp
American Pie - McLean
God Bless America - Berlin
Fanfare for the Common Man - Copeland
Born in the USA - Springsteen
This Land is Your Land - Guthrie
1812 Overture - Tchaikovsky (a great accompaniment to fireworks)
Stars and Stripes Forever - Sousa
War Pigs - Black Sabbath


Our President has asked us to show our support for the troops on this 4th of July. Pity he won't show his own level of support by comforting a grieving widow or attending even one soldier's funeral. He did the photo op thing earlier in the week by visiting the wounded results of his dandy little war, though.

I have served (albeit briefly) in the military forces of this nation. I come from a military family, and my taxes pay for the support and upkeep of our troops in the field, in the air and on the seas. The Bleating Sheep of the Ignorant Right screech constantly that everyone should support the troops, and gauge a person's patriotism by their level of support for the War.

Then why don't they support our troops? Many of these bleaters are the right age to enlist, and the military is experiencing a falloff in enlistments. Ah, they say, well, it's like this ... I can do so much more here by going into politics ... I have an old football injury ... I'd love to, but my cotillion is next week ... and so on.

They are cowards, unwilling to fight the war that they themselves root for like famished hogs going after warm slop.

I am flying my flag today, as I do every day. Old Glory looks a bit tattered and frayed, so I might retire (burn) it later this year. As it is right now, it looks ... strangely appropriate, as our freedoms here are being eroded and our military is stuck in a bad situation based on deceit and "fixed" intelligence.

Impeaching George Bush will not be an answer to this travesty, as he will be replaced by Dick Cheney. Imprisoning Karl Rove and changing the party balance in the Congress is a far better course of action. Having the Democrats in power in the Senate or the House would act as a valuable check on the increasingly paranoid Administration.

Jesus creeping shit, I'm sorry - I wanted to talk about the 4th of July, and went off on a political rant.

Enjoy the fireworks.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Punk of the Week Award

Yes, it's time for the Punk of the Week Award, where we grab some Punk and expose his or her Punkery for all the non-Punk world to see.

And this week's award goes to ....

White House Eminence Grise and Chief Bush Advisor Karl Rove, for his eminent display of Punkery by being named as the person who 'outed' a CIA officer (a Federal crime, by the way), then lawyering up and sending his mouthpiece out to deny everything.

Karl, aka the Blivet*, is an oleaginous and insidious tub of lard who, if you set a match to him, would burn so brightly as to be seen from low orbit. He has been behind Bush every step of the way, leaving slime trails like some misbegotten Hell-slug until Bush has to get the carpets replaced. Karl prefers to remain in the shadows, oozing buttery emollients from every pore as he deftly pulls strings and drops hints designed to keep him fat and happy while his Trilby pisses the leadership of the free world down his trouser leg.

It's not an easy job being the brains of the President. Sometimes it seems Bush can't stop drooling long enough to scream "9/11! Freedom on the march! Saddam and Osama!" But Karl the Blivet* seems to manage, accompanied by an army of janitors to wipe up the gelatinous slick he invariably leaves behind him.

I was going to select the President as Punk of the Week for his retread speech on Tuesday, but that's too easy.

*A Blivet is two pounds of shit in a half-pound bag. Do the math ...

Anti-Drug Announcement, Addendum

So, after three hours in the Restraint Chair, we let Laughing Boy up so we could give him lunch. He drank the glass of juice, threw the food back at us, then started kicking the door again.


I went to his cell and arrived in time to see him launch a flying kick at the door, stop when his foot made contact, and fall flat on his back.

>double sigh<

A deputy and I entered the cell and when we tried to restrain him he wanted to try fighting. Not smart.
Now, in the time between his lunch and this point he had thrown some water out of the toilet onto the walls and floor, and he himself was sweating rather profusely. Which made for a slippery and rather nasty scrimmage as he was restrained. Handcuffs were used, then shackles, and finally the Restraint Chair was reintroduced. And we finally got another bit of lucidity out of him - seems that the "purple pill" was Ecstasy. Yummy, speed and Ecstasy. Two great things that go great together.
Then the nurse announces that she's just gotten authorization from the doctor to give him a shot. Hurrah! Maybe now we can settle down and get the reports written (hey, this ain't "Cops," after all).

Anti-Drug Message

Yes, it is a public service announcement. NO, it does not feature a frying pan.

I'm a supervisor at the jail in my county, and I've just finished spending three hours (out of a twelve-hour shift) with a very engaging young man who has taken drugs. When I first saw him, he was stark naked, screaming at the top of his lungs, and was convinced he was on Delta Airlines. We had removed him from the cell he'd been in (on suicide watch, hence his nudity), and he asked me when the flight left.

"It doesn't," I said. "You're in jail."

"So I'm detained?" he asked.


"By whose order?" he demanded.

"Mine," I replied. I left the building after he started yelling that he wanted to know what he was charged with (he was told when he was booked in, and it's public record, but I've been working here 19 years and know that he wasn't the type to let anything sink in).

So we moved him into a cell by himself, but he started kicking the door. Bad idea; the doors are steel, and his skin has far less durability. Sure enough, he got a cut on his foot. Realizing that he was being uncontrollably violent toward himself, I and the other supervisor called for the Restraint Chair.

>insert spooky music here<

Ah, the Restraint Chair, first seen in woodcut illustrations almost two hundred years ago, the modern chair is angled back so that one's own weight serves to help hold you down. There are padded straps to make certain you stay down, and a nurse in constant attendance. So we strapped him down, had him checked by the nurse, and started a log.

In a briefly coherent moment, he admitted that he took "a little speed" and a "purple pill" (I can only assume he didn't mean Nexium) that he acquired from a dealer. Meanwhile he started sweating profusely and yelling to "his Dad" (i.e., the other supervisor) to cut his hands off.

Kids, drugs are bad. Don't do drugs, mm'kay?

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Biting the Hand

From the BBC:

"Iraq envoy accuses US of killing

"Iraq's ambassador to the UN has demanded an inquiry into what he said was the "cold-blooded murder" of his young unarmed relative by US marines.
Samir Sumaidaie said his 21-year-old cousin was shot as he helped marines who were carrying out searches at his village in the restive Anbar province.
Mr Sumaidaie said the ramifications of such a "serious crime" were enormous for both the US and Iraq.
US officials said the allegations would be thoroughly investigated."

According to the family, it would appear that the young man was happy to practice his English when the American troops came knocking at the door.

Of course, I'm certain that some of the conservative media pundits (for which read "propaganda catspaws") will castigate the Ambassador to the UN from Iraq for being so ungrateful as to call for an investigation of the US troops who have liberated his country.

"An Appalling Abuse of Government Power"

When you hear a lawyer say that, you have a pretty good idea that the investigation is getting close to striking paydirt.

Rep. Randy 'Duke' Cunningham, R-CA, is an eight-term Congressman and former Navy "Top Gun" fighter pilot who is believed to have a slightly more than professional relationship with defense contracting firm MZM. Despite statements that there will be full cooperation with the investigation, the Washington Post has reported that there was document shredding going on.

Shredding the paper trail is a tried and true tactic, most famously performed by that Great American Douchebag Traitor and Treat Williams Lookalike, Ollie North. You remember him, of course; violated Federal law and sold weapons to the contras in Nicaragua, then gave the money to Iran in hopes of freeing hostages in Lebanon (are you keeping up?). Of course, Iran turned around and gave the money to terrorist groups in Lebanon, which resulted in a truckload of high explosive blowing up the Marine barracks in Beirut. And Ollie was a Marine.

Semper fi.

Excuse Me, But ...

I thought Bush and Rumsfeld said that things were improving in Afghanistan?

" increase in street crime, gang violence, kidnappings of foreign aid workers, murders of Afghans who support the U.S.-backed government and continued high levels of drug crop cultivation and trafficking have added to a sense of insecurity in the country. Afghan officials have been struggling to rebuild their country since the Taliban militia was ousted by a U.S.-led military campaign at the end of 2001.
"In the past three months, there have been dozens of attacks and clashes in several provinces. More than 400 suspected insurgents have been killed, along with several hundred Afghan civilians and soldiers. The U.S. military has suffered 45 deaths, including the 16 killed in the helicopter crash." - The Washington Post

CNN reported last month (off the wire, either AP or Reuters) that the World Health Organization was reporting 2,000 cases of cholera in Kabul, with the danger of a countrywide epidemic.

And this is improvement?

Friday, July 01, 2005

Let the Nightmare Begin!

Sandra Day O'Connor, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, has announced her retirement effective upon the confirmation of her successor.

"The retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor from the United States Supreme Court opens a battle for the legal soul of the nation." - BBC

Here we go, folks. The Court has been largely centrist for nearly twenty years, and this is Dubya's big chance to recast the highest echelon of the Judiciary Branch in his own ideological mold. If he succeeds and the Court shifts to the right, we can see a rollback of many of the legal standards we've grown accustomed to - and, let's face it, a lot of the decisions in recent years will likely be reversed or modified.

Roe v Wade? This landmark bit of abortion legislation will likely be the first victim of a rightist Court. Another victim could be Lawrence v Texas, which decriminalized sodomy. Residents of Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut can also expect the Court to stomp on civil union laws as well as same-sex marriage. A lot of 5-4 decisions will become 4-5 decisions, and the legal landscape will start to shift.

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! Step right up and see the Greatest Three-ring Circus this year! We've got bears and bulls, reds and blues, liberals and conservatives! We've even got George the Monkey Boy, now on limited engagement till 2006! Come one! Come all! And see the show!

I laugh to keep from screaming.

"Go for Launch..."

Even after all these years, those three words still send chills up my spine.

I was a child in the 60s, but can still recall the day human beings finally broke away from their planetary cradle and took their first tentative steps out there. I can close my eyes and still see the grainy black-and-white pictures captioned "Live from the Moon," and see Neil Armstrong taking that single step that marked a new chapter in Humanity's rise from barbarism.

So the news that the shuttle Discovery is certified ready for launch on July 13th fills me with hope; hope that we can resume manned space flight on our own, hope that we can shake off the malaise brought on by the two accidents and rebuild the shuttle fleet, hope that we can return to the Moon.

It's been a fat time for space exploration, even with the shuttles grounded. The two Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have lived far past their expected lifetimes and have given us our best views of Mars to date. They've even proven that water, actual liquid water, once flowed on that now-dessicated planet.

The Cassini-Huygens probe has performed like a champion. The Huygens probe has given us our first look at a cloudy moon called Titan, and Cassini still enthralls us with pictures and data from saturn and its many moons.

And now, just for the Fourth of July, we will have the Deep Impact probe in its historic encounter with Comet Tempel-1. Fireworks in space, to mirror the fireworks here as we celebrate our country's 229th birthday.