Friday, October 14, 2005

I think this one has to count as a *SNARK*

Courtesy of

CALLER: I just wanted to make a comment that you really, really, really have to watch what you are watching on TV. I have come upon evidence of homosexuality and lesbian people on programs like HGTV and Animal Planet, where you really don't expect this to be an issue.

WILDMON: Right. You're very perceptive, [caller], because that does happen, even in the most innocent of places. You have to watch out for children's programs today as well because they'll slip it in there as well.

Now, I've watched HGTV quite a bit (always looking for tips for fixing up and gardening around my home), and yea, there are a few programs that seem to have a number of "domestic partner" situations of the same sex.

So what? Gays and lesbians can't own homes together? They don't decorate? Suddenly we're going to assume that any design solution for them involves something that will infect the rest of Americans with some "gay virus" and we'll all end up non-breeding?

And ANIMAL PLANET? Ohmygod, a gay dog! I've always had suspicions about those damn Yorkies with their fluffy little pink bows, and my god, but that Chinese Crested! How, um, effeminate is that bitch?

Who the fuck ARE these idiots on the right?

I added a new favorite link to my blog....

Miss Poppy's Catalog

Gort42 Has More On Santorum

As a resident of Pennsylvania, his knowledge of Senator Caninophiliac is far better than mine.

I did not know about the whole "Terry Schiavo crisis" (scroll down the article) that Santorum concocted to get out of meeting with constituents. Didn't seem to damage his fundraising efforts tho...

The Election That WILL Change America Forever.

From the Newark-Star Ledger's John Farmer:

Bush credibility on line in Iraq vote

If the constitution is defeated, the president's claims of progress will look ridiculous

Friday, October 14, 2005

Wonder how we're really doing in Iraq? You'll know better after this weekend when Iraqis vote yes or no on their new draft constitution.

For months now, we've been asked to take on faith the Bush administration claim that things in Iraq are going according to plan, right on schedule. Never mind the accumulating American casualties and the inability to quell the suicide bombings or secure Iraq borders against the inflow of foreign jihadists. Even as U.S. troops and Iraqi security battalions suppress the insurgency in one place it erupts somewhere else.

Patience with the American effort is wearing thin in Iraq, with electricity and oil production still not back to where they were under Saddam Hussein and reconstruction efforts lagging. Patience here at home is fading as well, which may be even more important.

It seems likely that the Iraqi constitution will pass, the real question is how legitimately will the election prove out to be. The election for a new government back in January, while an indisputable victory for Bush (the master of low expectations, and of course, that's precisely what he set ahead of those elections), proved to be fleeting, as Iraqis still see daily bombings and insurgent attacks not on Americans, but on fellow Iraqis.

Add to that the insurmountable problems involved in the rebuilding and reconstruction efforts that Walker notes, and you can see that this election has a lot of hidden meaning to both the Iraqis and the administration.

For it's not just that the election will determine a constitution, but whether the rule of law will ultimately set roots in Iraq. No constitution can be upheld unless the basic laws that govern men can be respected.

I don't see that happening here, and so I suspect the strategy going forward will be to pass the constitution, declare our work done after a modest period of "adjustment", and get the hell out in time for the midterm elections.

I suspect the insurgents see this the same way. I suspect we'll see more blood after the constitution is passed than before.

Bush has wasted the political capital he earned in the legtimizing of his re-selection. He wasted the goodwill of the entire planet after 9-11. He wasted our budget surplus.

One day he will be gone. Sadly, the tragic legacy of American hegemony will not, and we will pay a dear price for it, as all empires have.
tags technorati :

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Your Media In Action

UPDATE: Newsmax very quietly amended their original story from U2 "teaming up" with Santorum to a much more innocuous tale, still implying a connection between U2 and the Senator. FlipFlop!

Yesterday, Rick Santorum's office issued a press release disguised as a story in, a thoroughly odious and disreputable organ (literally, a dick) for the right wing of this country, stating that Senator Santorum was going to throw a fundraising concert starring U2.

Fundraiser for Senator Rick Santorum at U2 Concert

On Sunday, October 16, a unique political event will take place.

At a concert of the legendary rock group U2, Senator Rick Santorum will hold a fund-raising event for one night only.
(emphasis added)

The thousand-dollar-a-seat fund-raiser has been put together by Sean and Ana Wolfington, and it will take place at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia in support of Santorum's reelection.

U2 front man Bono is no stranger to Washington, D.C. He has come often to the nation's capital to network with politicians on behalf of his many causes.

Santorum met Bono earlier this year, having been introduced by John Kasich, the former congressman from Ohio and host of Fox News Channel's "Heartland."

At least, that's the conclusion one can draw from their article, if one is a thick-headed, dumb Republican hick who's education is limited to memorizing the NASCAR slate for the Talladega 500.

Cleverly worded to understand that the audience it's intended to reach has the IQ of a tree stump, and therefore won't read past the third graf of any article, Newsmax makes it appear that Bono is endorsing Santorum, a notorious caninophiliac.

Which includes Kyra Phillips of CNN, I should add, who was sucking at the teat of her dogfucking master, cooing about how cool it is that he got Bono to appear at his concert, only to have to swallow a load when it turned out, it wasn't a fundraiser.

Naturally, Bono and the organization this tour is supporting, DATA, were quick to issue an ambarassing response...
"It is not uncommon for politicians, from both parties, to organize events at all kinds of music concerts and other entertainment events. If any political fundraising events take place at a U2 concert, it is without the involvement or knowledge of Data, U2 or Bono. U2 concerts are categorically not fundraisers for any politician - they are rock concerts for U2 fans."

Flash ahead now to this morning's New York Post...

October 12, 2005 -- WASHINGTON — Forget the money tree. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is banking on the "Joshua Tree" being even better than the real thing.

Clinton is offering her closest fat-cat friends a chance to boogie down with her and Bono during U2's "Vertigo 2005" tour stop at Washington's MCI Center next Wednesday.

It doesn't cost all the riches, just $2,500 per person, according to an invitation obtained by The Post.

Seats are limited — there's room for only 18 high rollers to sit with the former first lady during the show, the invite says...

Once again, the right wing media trumps truth. has a great article on the Santorum stuff which includes this comparison of the Newsmax article and on-air comments at CNN...

Teaming up with the legendary rock group U2 for a one-night only appearance will be Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.).

The thousand-dollar-a-seat concert has been put together by Sean and Ana Wolfington and will take place at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia in support of Santoum's re-election, reports NewsMax's James Hirsen.

PHILLIPS: Plus, why is U2's Bono teaming up with a conservative Republican senator?


VELSHI: He [Bono] and his legendary group U2 are set to perform in Philadelphia on Sunday at a $1,000-a-seat fund-raiser for Senator Rick Santorum's re-election campaign.

So what does the Irish rocker have in common with the conservative senator?

VELSHI: Now, you might ask what Bono has in common with the proudly conservative senator.

As in the case of Santorum, Bono's religious convictions inform his activities.

VELSHI: The organizer of the fund-raiser says both have strong religious convictions and are passionate in their beliefs.
tags technorati :

Evian Flu (thanks, Mudkitty!)

Referencing a story further down the blog, it appears this virus has reached Europe. Europe has quite a few pigs running around on farms. Pigs are the vehicle for the mutation of avian flu viruses into mammalian forms...
Deadly Asian bird flu reaches fringes of Europe
By Jeremy Smith

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A strain of bird flu that can be deadly for humans has spread from Asia to the fringes of Europe, the European Commission said on Thursday, warning countries to prepare for a potential pandemic.

EU Health and Consumer Protection chief Markos Kyprianou said a strain of bird flu found in Turkey had been identified as the same H5N1 virus that killed more than 60 people in Asia since 2003 and forced the slaughter of millions of birds.

The European Union's executive was also assuming that bird flu found in Romania was the same virulent strain, he said, though further tests are needed to confirm this.

"The virus found in Turkey is avian flu H5N1 high pathogenic virus," he told a news conference. "It's true that scientists caution us and warn us that there will be a pandemic."

Experts fear H5N1 could mutate into a virus which spreads easily among humans, possibly killing millions of people.

Most frightening quote of this piece...
But scientists say the H5N1 strain is mutating toward a form that could pass between humans.

Now, the good news: it's possible that Tamiflu, while not a preventative, might alleviate and ameliorate the symptoms of this bug enough that people might not die.

See, this flu basically liquifies the tissues of the lungs, which obviously is what kills you, and while prevention and avoidance would be the key to remaining alive in a pandemic, stopping the effects of the bug once it's hit, while not as effective, should lower the death and lasting effects of the virus significantly.


Well, two fold: one, Tamiflu is in short supply, although not as desperately short as any vaccine would be at this point, and two, avian flus are quite chimeric, and able to adapt and mutate very quickly.

They already have adapted and become immune to Amantadine (which is not a liqueur) as Asian farmers had long used Amandatine to inject birds in order to maintain agricultural production.

So Tamiflu for that reason alone is available only by prescription in most countries and is in short supply everywhere. Naturally, as the lone line of defense against the avian flu, governments are reluctant to let it be freely distributed (since the Amantadine fiasco would just happen all over again. Have to love free market capitalism!).

But here's the really eerie statistic on the avian flu, that sort of shoot major holes in the free market system:
Confirmed human cases of avian influenza from the H5N1 virus totaled 117 as Oct. 10, including the 60 deaths from the disease, according to the Geneva-based World Health Organization. Included were 91 cases and 41 deaths in Vietnam, the country hit hardest by avian flu. The remaining cases were in Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia.

Lemme see...60 divided by 117...that's a mortality rate of 51.28%, in a reasonably small sample in a country where, although medical treatment is not nearly as advanced as most of the developed world, has been battling this disease now for two years, and the word has spread around quite a bit. We can presume that percentage is actually a bit down since the first deaths were reported.

So let's say a 40% mortality rate. The CDC reports that a typical flu outbreak infects anywhere from 5 to 20 percent of Americans (or 15 to 60 million Americans) each year. Of those, roughly 200,000 are sick enough to go to the hospital and 15% of them die.

But these are strains that have, or are mutations of strains that have been around for hundreds of years. Clearly, we're looking, on a conservative basis, at an infection rate of 40% (120,000,000), and at a 40% mortality rate, 48,000,000 deaths.


And this during an administration that couldn't stop a few levees from killing thousands AND couldn't produce enough flu vaccine last year and had to outsource to England and Canda. We may be looking at 75,000,000 Americans dead this flu season.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Watch Out, John McCain!

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (also know as "Can we get away with a bigger lie?") has changed its name to something ominous for your Presidential run...

Write Your Own Caption!

A tip o' the captain's hat to Miss Cellania for finding this!

A Few Links With Your Eggs?

Miss Cellania is quickly becoming a must-see stop on my daily trips around the Internet.

Today, she has some wonderfully funny links that poke fun at our Fearless Leader, George Dumbya Bush...including this one:

And she's a fox, too...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Dateline 2009: After 8 years of Bush environmental policies...

....hunting becomes an acceptable sport in the United States.

Avian Flu

"It could kill a billion people worldwide, make ghost towns out of parts of major cities, and there is not enough medicine to fight it," ABC News reports. It is the avian flu, and if it were to reach U.S. shores, the nation's top health experts say it "would make the scenes of Katrina pale in comparison." According to Shelley Hearne, director of the nonprofit Trust for America's Health, it "would be like having a Category 5 viral hurricane hit every single state simultaneously." Moreover, say U.S. and United Nations health experts, it is no longer a question of whether the avian flu pandemic will hit, but when, and how severely. "On behalf of the [World Health Organization], I can tell you that there will be" such an outbreak, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Michael Leavitt said last week. "The only question is the virulence and rapidity of transmission from human to human." Unfortunately, notwithstanding the potential catastrophic impact of such a pandemic, nor the high likelihood of its spread, the Bush administration has left Americans dangerously unprepared for a deadly outbreak.

A DANGEROUS NEW STRAIN: Sixty-five people have been killed by the avian flu thus far. All were infected directly by birds, scientists say, though "every infected person represents one step closer to the tipping point," when the disease can be spread efficiently from human to human. "Right now in human beings, it kills 55 percent of the people it infects," says Laurie Garrett, a senior fellow on global health policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. "That makes it the most lethal flu we know of that has ever been on planet Earth affecting human beings." Each year, Garrett says, "different flus come, but your immune system says, 'Ah, I've seen that guy before. No problem. Crank out some antibodies, and I might not feel great for a couple of days, but I'll recover.'" Yet the current constellation has apparently never been seen in our species, so "absolutely nobody watching this has any natural immunity to this form of flu." Alarmingly, scientists announced on Thursday that the last massive flu pandemic in 1918 was "also a bird flu that jumped directly to humans." That strain of "Spanish flu" killed 50 million people worldwide.

KATRINA FAILURES DWARFED BY LACK OF PANDEMIC FLU PREPARATION: Last week, the New York Times published details of the Bush administration's draft plan to deal with a domestic pandemic flu outbreak. It shows "that the United States is woefully unprepared for what could become the worst disaster in the nation's history." The plan details how a large outbreak originating in Asia would likely reach U.S. shores within "a few months or even weeks," and that if such an outbreak occurred, "hospitals would become overwhelmed, riots would engulf vaccination clinics, and even power and food would be in short supply." The draft's "conservative estimate" predicts as many as 200,000 Americans will die within a few months, and that a vaccine will not be available until half a year after the first outbreak, and then only in limited supply. "I imagine that not a lot of poor people will get vaccinated," Laurie Garrett of the Council on Foreign Relations says. "If you think about New Orleans, this is a similar situation."

YET AGAIN, BUSH HAS LET U.S. FALL BEHIND REST OF WORLD: There is currently no vaccine to prevent the spread of avian flu, though there is one medicine to treat it. "Called Tamiflu, it is made by the Roche pharmaceutical company in Switzerland," and is now under huge demand. According to Secretary Leavitt, the objective is to stockpile 20 million doses of Tamiflu, though health experts believe the United States should optimally have enough doses for at least half the population, approximately 150 million people. Only 2 million are currently on hand. And though Leavitt claims that "no other country is in a better position," officials in Australia have 3.5 million doses, while Great Britain will soon have enough to cover a quarter of their population. The medicine is being made available on a first-come, first-served waiting list, and the United States is "nowhere near the top." When asked why the United States did not place its orders for Tamiflu sooner, Leavitt replied, "I can't answer that. I don't know the answer to that." Even Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) says the current Tamiflu stockpile could spell disaster. "That's totally inadequate. Totally inadequate today."

I may as well jump on this bandwagon, since I just got my (non-avian) flu shot this morning.

Well, *if* (and it's likely) this virus does make a pandemic leap to humans, it will be about as devastating on a global scale as the tsunami was in Southeast Asia.


Avian flus are usually far more devastating once they've made the leap over, as mammals (including humans) have not built up tolerances to the various mutations these viruses undergo.
The Council on Foreign Relations devoted its most recent issue of the prestigious journal, Foreign Affairs, to what it called the coming global epidemic, a pandemic.

"Each year different flus come, but your immune system says, 'Ah, I've seen that guy before. No problem. Crank out some antibodies, and I might not feel great for a couple of days, but I'll recover,'" Garrett says. "Now what's scaring us is that this constellation of H number 5 and N number 1, to our knowledge, has never in history been in our species. So absolutely nobody watching this has any natural immunity to this form of flu."

Or, to quote Robert Webster of St. Jude's Children's Hospital, "'This virus right from scratch is probably the worst influenza virus, in terms of being highly pathogenic, that I've ever seen or worked with,' Webster says. Not only is it frighteningly lethal to chickens, which can die within hours of exposure, swollen and hemorrhaging, but it kills mammals from lab mice to tigers with similar efficiency. Here and there people have come down with it too, catching it from infected poultry. Half the known cases have died."

How does it make the leap from birds to humans?

Believe it or not: pigs. Pigs can carry both the type A virus (most avian flus) and type B virus (mammalian). Once the two strains meet, they can actually exchange DNA with each other (yes, this is called "sex").

And of course, in Southeast Asia, pigs and birds mingle with a frequency that would alarm any antimiscegenist!

So what's America's first line of defense? Is it as bad as former FEMA director, Michael Brown?

Uh huh.

POINT MAN FOR PANDEMIC FLU FEARED TO BE ANOTHER MICHAEL BROWN: If the avian flu does reach the United States, the HHS official overseeing the response will be Stewart Simonson, Michael Leavitt's assistant secretary for public health emergency preparedness. Simonson's resume is "disturbingly reminiscent" of that of disgraced former FEMA chief Michael Brown. Though Simonson is "now the point man for just about every health emergency that may hit our shores, ranging from anthrax attacks to an avian flu pandemic," he has no background in medicine, public health, or bioterrorism preparedness. His chief accomplishment seems to be his position from 1995-1999 as legal counsel to former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who was tapped as President Bush's first Health and Human Services secretary. (Simonson reportedly specialized in "crime and prison policy" under Thompson.) A fact sheet released by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) notes that at a House Government Reform hearing on July 14, 2005, Simonson "claimed he had sufficient funds to purchase influenza vaccine and antiviral medication for the nation. The next day, his office submitted a funding request to Congress seeking an additional $150 million for flu vaccine and antiviral medication."
(emphasis added)

Or closing the barn door after the chickens have made the pig sick.

Why does Bush hate Americans so?
tags technorati :

Whining Little Bastards

Snow Urges China Action on Yuan
Associated Press Writer

TOKYO - U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow on Tuesday urged China to adopt a more flexible, market-driven currency while applauding the recent upswing in Japan's economy.
Snow wrapped up a visit to Japan Tuesday before heading on to Shanghai. The trip comes amid ballooning American trade deficits and increased trade tensions with the two Asian export powers.

Chinese officials said the currency issue would be discussed during a visit to Beijing this week by Snow and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan - but they gave no sign Beijing would move faster in loosening its controls on the yuan.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan, speaking in a regular press briefing, urged the U.S. side to "heed fully the Chinese position on exchange-rate reform."

While in Tokyo, Snow applauded China's step to cut the yuan's link to the U.S. dollar but said more action is needed.

"We are anxious to see the Chinese fulfill the commitment they made to allow market forces to play a larger role in setting their currency's value over time," Snow said during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy. "They've gotten on the path that allows them to do so and we'd like to see China continue on that path."

In July, China halted its decade-long practice of pegging the yuan's value to the U.S. dollar, choosing instead to let the yuan trade in a narrow band against a basket of currencies of its major trading partners. At the same time, China raised the value of the yuan by 2.1 percent against the dollar.

But since then, the yuan has gained only about 0.3 percent against the dollar.

American manufacturers contend the yuan is now undervalued by as much as 40 percent, making Chinese goods cheaper in the United States and American products more expensive in China. U.S. manufacturers contend that is a major reason for the huge trade gap between the two nations.

So free trade is fine so long as it advantages us, but for another country to take advantage of its resources, not so good, huh?

The Poll Results

Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Pox News wins. Avery Davis, come claim your prize! Email me at the link in my Blogger Profile, and I'll arrange delivery.

You too, Nonny Mouse.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Coyote Ugly

ZURICH (Reuters) - The United States proposed on Monday deep cuts in farm subsidies and the future elimination of agricultural tariffs in a bid to unblock world trade talks and meet an end-year deadline for a deal.

When I was a bachelor hanging out in lockerrooms after playing football or basketball or hockey or baseball or darts, we had a saying where, if we woke up next to someone we met in a bar the night before that we had to do a double take on, we wouldn't say she was a fox, but a coyote.

Meaning she was so repulsive (could be physically, but usually it was personality-wise), we'd chew our arm off rather than wake her up and so have to talk to her.

I'm beginning to get the impression that the Bush administration is undergoing precisely the same "chew my foot off rather than stay shackled to these guys" feeling with the red state voters who they counted on to elect them twice.

First came the Roberts nomination. Next, Harriett Miers.

In both of those cases, Bush had yeoman work to soothe and assuage the red-meat conservatives who backed him. With Roberts, he could dangle the O'Connor seat. He does not have that option with Miers.

He's overspent his political capital, and now he intends to screw farmers, particularly larger corporate farmers, by taking away their pricing floor. Farmers in red states, mostly.

Writing in the Financial Times on Monday, (US Trade Representative Rob) Portman said the United States wanted steep tariff cuts during the next five years, starting from 55 percent up to 90 percent in the highest tariffs in rich countries.

In a second stage, tariffs should be reduced to zero, he said in an article.

Canada's international trade minister, Jim Peterson, welcomed the U.S. move as a potential way to break the WTO deadlock.

"The initiative by Mr. Portman is just what we needed," he told reporters in Zurich. We are encouraged by what we see, but we will wait to see the details," he said.

And for what?

Apparently, for the *promise* that other tariffs would come under negotiation.

Now, what industries is the US so lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of trade that it needs help getting its goods to market?

Although China is a WTO member, it already enjoys Most Favored Nation status, which means its markets are about as open as they're going to get. India, while not MFN, has been a WTO member since 1995. (Yea. World trade is even more mind-numbing than understanding the tax code.)

Look, I'm all for more trade with more countries, but something smells really fishy here when the Bushies are willing to dismantle farm subsidies, one of the few consistent pork barrell items that Senators and Congressmen can reliably bring home in small agricultural states.

The German Election Wraps Up

Merkel to be Germany's next chancellor

The question of who will lead Germany's next government appears to have been resolved. Sources from current Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's Social Democrats and Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats say an agreement has been reached that will make Merkel Germany's first woman chancellor. The deal is said to have been reached during Sunday evening's meeting between Schröder and Merkel in Berlin. They're meeting again this hour, along with SPD leader Franz Müntefering and Edmund Stoiber of the CDU's Bavarian sister party, the CSU. Both Schröder and Merkel claimed to have won a mandate to lead the country after last month's inconclusive election, in which the CDU won four more seats than the SPD.

Now, if you recall the 2000 US elections, the Democrat graciously conceded defeat to the fasc-- er, I mean, right winger and look what we have six years later.

Normally, in a situation such as this in Germany, one presumes that some tit-for-tat occurs, and that Schroeder would have gotten some concrete concessions (perhaps just a cover-all pardon? There's been some hanky panky in his government, probably no worse than any other government and CERTAINLY no worse than the corrupt crooks running the US now). Those concessions usually have to do with some power that the new Chancellor sets aside in the agreement. Think of it as a pork barrel agreement.

My instincts say, however, that Schroeder folded.

I wonder where Karl Rove has been these past few weeks?