A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


My Daemon. Let me show you it.

Does anyone really think of me as soft-spoken or passive? And how can a solitary individual be a leader? Especially one with a sucky sense of direction? Or perhaps my life is meant to be spent leading myself around in circles ...

Go gitcher own.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Animal Tales - More Awww!

I'm sure all the other cats make fun of him, but he doesn't care - he's got his mousy pal to come home to!

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Animal Stories - Schlock and Awww!

It's so cute I could DIE! Seriously, man, ain't there some kinda law against this much cute in a single plastic bucket? Bucket o' cute and an extra-large fries, pleez.

On the other hand, it's nice to see interspecies comity in action, innit? You'd think a dog would attack newborn lambs, seeing them only as prey, or a food source, but this one's actually protecting them from other animals and spending her own precious energy ensuring that they live. If only I could bottle that and put it in the human water supply!

Alternative caption: They're Always After Me Lucky Charms!

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Entertainment - Happy Cows

give more milk. So say the Swiss, and I'm sure they're going by the evidence, so bag yer complaints. Man, I'd like to get my hands on some of that cheese! Reminds me of the lyrics to an Asylum Street Spankers number:

"got the best damn beer I ever had
Make me bellow like a cello
All the cows there must be high
'Cos they're all so goddamn mellow

Hot damn, here I am in Amsterdam ..."

Okay, that's not Switzerland, but hey. Pass the cheez.

So why is the gummint trying to stop this enlightened and happymaking process? Killjoys.

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Entertainment - Mr. Deity!

I love Mr. Deity.

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Entertainment - Cat's Head Theatre

Okay, enough already with the ranting misery. The sun is out, it's a beautiful day, I'm going out in the garden with my iPod (2,400 toonz!) and The Funny Times, and enjoy my day. But first a few nuggets o'entertainment.

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Politics - Why Democrats Capitulated

The Rude Pundit, who I really like but who might be a little rude for your tastes, has a very interesting theory on why the Democrats bent over yet again for Bush:

That's right. Apparently the Lieberwhore threatened to switch parties (why would he need to? He's already giving republicans cover for every fuckup and every immoral or criminal act they've commited over the past six years!).

There's an ugly stinking mess of a story hidden behind this one. It sounds as if the Democratic Party, while half-heartedly supporting Ned Lamont, the candidate who won the primary, was secretly negotiating with this sanctimonious cobag Holy Joe, Bush's favorite lapdog. They refused to strip him of his committee assignments, so now he gets to play footsie with the republicans while screwing over the Dems time and time again. Just look at how much his committee has managed to do with Congressional oversight, and compare it to House Rep. Henry Waxman, who's producing an endless stream of results.

I almost want to gloat that they deserve what they got, except that what they got is a bill giving Boy George everything he wanted, including the certain death and dismemberment of who knows how many hundreds of men and women, Iraqi and American alike.


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Health - Put Down That Soda NOW!

Argh. I am just so sick and tired of the continual din of food and other consumer products contamination/danger scares. Did anyone ever test this shit when they first developed it? Is there more stuff we don't know?

On the plus side, I almost never drink soda. A couple of times a year, I'll have a sip from someone else's. I prefer water, wine, tea, and fruit or vegetable juices. But almost everyone I know and love consumes the stuff, and now I'm worrying about them all.

the latest:
A new health scare erupted over soft drinks last night amid evidence they may cause serious cell damage. Research from a British university suggests a common preservative found in drinks such as Fanta and Pepsi Max has the ability to switch off vital parts of DNA.

The problem - more usually associated with ageing and alcohol abuse - can eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver and degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's.

The findings could have serious consequences for the hundreds of millions of people worldwide who consume fizzy drinks. They will also intensify the controversy about food additives, which have been linked to hyperactivity in children.

Concerns centre on the safety of E211, known as sodium benzoate, a preservative used for decades by the £74bn global carbonated drinks industry. Sodium benzoate derives from benzoic acid. It occurs naturally in berries, but is used in large quantities to prevent mould in soft drinks such as Sprite, Oasis and Dr Pepper. It is also added to pickles and sauces.
Please check everything you buy and plan to consume for evidence of added sodium benzoate - especially if it also contains vitamin C, which combination has been implicated in cancer research as a carcinogen.


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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Iraq - Talking Points and Memes

Apparently, there is a meme polluting the InnerTubes right now, a collection of right-wing talking points about how the Preznitwit Shrubya has created a world of good in Iraq, practically lifting it out of savagery and granting it the blessings of Civilization and Progress and Democracy, or whatever bullshit excuse is being bruited about this week for the invasion of Iraq.

Following up on the story (which has been extensively blogged), I found Voices in the Wilderness, an Iraqi blog. Although the blogger appears to have ceased blogging as of early last year, a post there comments on the talking points. I have edited the post to reduce some of the extraneous length. To see the post in its entirety, click the word "post," above. Talking points in purple. The other blogger's comments in default black on white. My comments below in this color.

Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1st… The first battalion of the new Iraqi Army has graduated and is on active duty. Over 60,000 Iraqis now provide security to their fellow citizens. nearly all of Iraq’s 400 courts are functioning.

But yet, we’ve never felt more insecure. Though the security is improving by time (regardless of bombing and terrorists attacks. I am only referring to robbery and kidnapping), but still Baghdad is still far from being considered a safe city. I started using my (relatively new) car few weeks ago after having kept it in my garage for about 6 month. I still never go out alone though, and I know of many who have not returned to using their new cars yet. What counts is: it has been over 8 months now and it’s still far from being safe enough.

The Iraqi judiciary is fully independent.

We certainly hope so, but no one is sure about that yet. Only time can prove whether our Judiciary system is really independent and just or not. And even then, one must wait till Iraqis say that their judiciary system is independent or not and definitely not the Americans.
Based on the kangaroo trial of Saddam Hussein, I'd say the courts have proved themselves somewhat less than independent.

On Monday, October 6 power generation hit 4,518 megawatts-exceeding the pre-war average.

Unfortunately I am not sure of the number for the pre-war average but let me give you some facts.

- Iraq’s power generation was about 10,000 MW before the first gulf war in 91.
- Now, Iraq’s power need is about 20,000 MW, and the 4,518 MW is only about a quarter of what we need. So at best we’ll have is about 6 hours a day during peak seasons.
- Before the war, Baghdad used to have an average of 18-24 hours a day in mid-summer and mid-winter. And it was almost full time during autumn and spring. Now, as an average, we have electricity of about 8 hours a day, and the best we had (for very short periods) is 12 hours a day, and that probably occurs when the weather is good or when some places have problems in the power distribution system, so their share will go to others. We have a saying in Arabic, "the mishaps of some, are the fortunes of others".
- The construction of any major power generation plant (in the range of a thousand Megawatt) takes from 3 to 5 years. And till this moment, no such action is taken or even considered. So we are not to expect any noticeable improvement for some years to come.

All 22 universities and 43 technical institutes and colleges are open, as are nearly all primary and secondary schools.

That’s true. But every now and then, a school gets a warning about a bomb, so many parents are afraid to send their kids to schools, and when they do so, they will be deeply worried. The laboratories of most of the universities were looted and new ones have not been prepared yet.
This was written in 2004, and things have deteriorated considerably since then.

By October 1, Coalition forces had rehabbed over 1,500 schools - 500 more than their target.

As for schools, well Kathy replied to that very accurately in her reply and I quote

"Several articles have already been written about the poor quality of school rehabs. Loads of paint has been applied so that buildings look better from the outside, but inside there hasn’t been adequate rehab of plumbing systems, water systems, and insulation from rain."

Money were given to contractors without any form of monitoring. The contractors did some fixing, specially painting and stole the rest of the money. End of the story.
And who can forget the uncovering of the "reconstruction" mismanagement, waste, and fraud?

Teachers earn from 12 to 25 times their former salaries.

True, but the extra money is being spent in ways that did not exist before. People are spending money to subscribe for few ampers to get some electricity from the large generators that can be found in many neighborhoods now. An Amper is sold for about $2-3 a month, so for the minimum useful amount of 5 Ampers, one will have to pay an amount of $10-15 a month (A teachers salary now ranges from $60-120 a month, maybe a little bit more). Those who are not willing to stand in the fuel queue will have to buy fuel in the black market for about 20 times its official price. The same for Kerosene. Many things like meat and vegetables are almost double their previous prices.

Only electrical equipment and cars got cheaper everything else got more expensive, eating the few extra bucks that were given.

All 240 hospitals and more than 1200 clinics are open. Doctors’ salaries are at least eight times what they were under Saddam.

Doctors used to get very very very very low salaries. Now they get very low salaries. My sister in law, who is a doctor, gets about as much as the cleaning man working in the same hospital and that’s about $120. There is a rumur that the salaries will be recalculated soon. Lets wait and see.
Three years later, doctors are fleeing Iraq in droves.

Pharmaceutical distribution has gone from essentially nothing to 700 tons in May to a current total of 12,000 tons. The Coalition has helped administer over 22 million vaccination doses to Iraq’s children.

I don’t know about that. So I will not comment.

A Coalition program has cleared over 14,000 kilometers of Iraq’s 27,000 kilometers of weed-choked canals. They now irrigate tens of thousands of farms. This project has created jobs for more than 100,000 Iraqi men and women.

Same comment as above, that is, no comment.
In a country with a population of 26 million, 100,000 jobs is a painful drop in the bucket - especially when you remember that Bremer's first act, as head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, was to dismiss from their job anyone who had Ba'ath party affiliations - "firing of thousands of school teachers and removing Ba'ath party members from top government positions," according to an article in Wikipedia. The Lancet study concluded that 655,000 Iraqis lost their lives between 2003 and 2006, as a result of the war. Which means that for every person who got a job, nearly seven died. Not very impressive results.

We have restored over three-quarters of pre-war telephone services and over two-thirds of the potable water production. There are 4,900 full-service connections. We expect 50,000 by January first.

The telephone lines that are working now, are basically those that have not been damaged in the first place. From those damaged, and after about 8 months, only about 15% has been restored. No one expected fixing the telephone service to take that long.

As for water, well its too vital. You didn’t expect the US to leave us without water? Or did you?

The wheels of commerce are turning. From bicycles to satellite dishes to cars and trucks, businesses are coming to life in all major cities and towns.

That’s something I’ve always wanted to comment on.

- Allowing tens of thousands of air-conditioners to come into the country (tax-free) when we have an extreme shortage in power generation is not a smart thing to do. (I don’t know if you know this or not, but a single air-conditioning unit consumes about 15 Ampers, while all our house consumes about 10 Ampers).
- Allowing about 500,000 cars to enter the country (tax free), when we have an extreme shortage of fuel is also not a smart thing to do. Picture this, - Shortage of fuel, - many main roads being blocked by the CPA for security reasons,
- Allowing about 500,000 cars to enter the country, 200,000 in Baghdad alone.

Is that something to be proud of? What happened is more shortage in fuel, more traffic jams because of the blocked roads, extra cars, and absence of electricity which means no traffic lights. I used to drive to work in about 20 minutes, now its takes from 40 to 90 minutes!

95 percent of all pre-war bank customers have service and first-time customers are opening accounts daily. Iraqi banks are making loans to finance businesses. The central bank is fully independent. Iraq has one of the world’s most growth-oriented investment and banking laws. Iraq (has) a single, unified currency for the first time in 15 years.

Well we are definitely happy to finally have a decently printed currency.

Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1st… satellite dishes are legal.

Thank God, we needed something to spend our time with because no one dares to leave home after 9 PM.

Foreign journalists aren’t on 10-day visas paying mandatory and extortionate fees to the Ministry of Information for "minders" and other government spies. There is no Ministry of Information.

That’s something we are really grateful for. Really.

There are more than 170 newspapers.

Many newspapers, but not 170. Anyway, Iraqis are finally back to reading newspapers, because the majority of Iraqis had stopped doing so for a long time.

You can buy satellite dishes on what seems like every street corner.

For the first few months after the occupation, all Iraqis were either selling satellite reception systems, or buying them. That was the only thing going.

Foreign journalists and everyone else are free to come and go.

But they are afraid to come. Baghdad is no more a safe place for foreigners.

A nation that had not one single element-legislative, judicial or executive–of a representative government, does. In Baghdad alone residents have selected 88 advisory councils. Baghdad’s first democratic transfer of power in 35 years happened when the city council elected its new chairman. Today in Iraq chambers of commerce, business, school and professional organizations are electing their leaders all over the country. 25 ministers, selected by the most representative governing body in Iraq’s history, run the day-to-day business of government.

Did it ever happen anywhere in the world, that the religion of the minister of each ministry, is determined before selecting the minister. Regardless of the ministers ability, the way they were chosen, arouse many question marks, let alone the exclamation marks. But something is definitely better than nothing.

The problem of each minister promoting those having the same religion as his or in his party over others, is a different story, and I don’t believe that the Americans are to be blamed for this.

The Iraqi government regularly participates in international events. Since July the Iraqi government has been represented in over two dozen international meetings, including those of the UN General Assembly, the Arab League, the World Bank and IMF and, today, the Islamic Conference Summit. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs today announced that it is reopening over 30 Iraqi embassies around the world.

Thanks for giving us our very basic rights. Should we be grateful for that?

Shia religious festivals that were all but banned, aren’t. For the first time in 35 years, in Karbala thousands of Shiites celebrate the pilgrimage of the 12th Imam. The Coalition has completed over 13,000 reconstruction projects, large and small as part of (a) strategic plan for the reconstruction of Iraq. Uday and Queasy are dead - and no longer feeding innocent Iraqis to his zoo lions, raping the young daughters of local leaders to force cooperation, torturing Iraq’s soccer players for losing games…murdering critics. Children aren’t imprisoned or murdered when their parents disagree with the government.

It's hardly something to brag about that you have reinforced godbaggery among people given to violent celebrations of their deity and violent opposition to any other faction worshipping the same deity in a slightly different way. And after the scandal of Abu Ghraib and the rapes and sexual degradation that took place there, the rape and murder of Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi, and so forth, I think one might prefer not to boast too loudly about how the occupying army differs from the former strongarmers in power.

We are definitely happy that Uday and Quesay are gone, but now the possibility of being blown up or getting caught in cross fire is much higher than getting into trouble with Uday and Quesay. Two terrorists are gone, but replaced by hundreds (note that I am not referring to the US army, but to those who kill innocent Iraqis and then claim to be the resistance)

Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1st… political opponents aren’t imprisoned, tortured, executed, maimed, or are forced to watch their families die for disagreeing with Saddam. Millions of longsuffering Iraqis no longer live in perpetual terror.

That’s one of the reasons that is easing our pain.
Which Abu Ghraib, Fallujah, and the like are no doubt reinflaming.

Saudis will hold municipal elections. Qatar is reforming education to give more choices to parents. Jordan is accelerating market economic reforms.

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded for the first time to an Iranian — a Muslim woman who speaks out with courage for human rights, for democracy and for peace.



To summarize:

Yes things are getting better, but very slowly. In fact it is so slow that we are not expecting things to get back to normal in months to come. We modified our hopes from few months, to few years and we are very sad to have reached this conclusion.

Till this moment, we are not even close to pre-war situation. Yes we can have satellite dishes, and we have many newspapers, but put all such stuff in on one side of a balance, and absence of electricity, security, and fuel on the other, and you tell me which side will go down.

The Coalition did a very lousy job. We are not asking them to admit it, but at least let them keep quite and not go bragging about it.

Some Iraqi said, and I quote “The Americans took the cotton out of our mouths and put it in their ears”. This is exactly what happened here.

I hope I’ve answered some of your questions, and excuse me if I sounded too sarcastic, but this is the way things are.

Oh, sir, you are much too mild. Much too good and patient and mild.

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Memorial Day 2007

Image from Auntie Beeb

I don't know how anyone can blithely wish another person a "Happy Memorial Day." There is nothing happy in commemorating the untimely death and suffering of the victims of war. Unlike George and Laura, I don't suffer more than those of you who may have lost a loved one to the evil war machine. I don't know how much you suffer, but I remember how much I suffered when I lost a loved one. Even though it was expected, and came at the end of a life filled with peace and happiness, losing someone I loved made me wish they'd taken me with them. And the suffering went on for years. Even now, many years after the deaths, I still miss the ones who are gone. I'm deeply sorry and sad that over 3,000 Americans and three-quarters of a million Iraqis have died because one little pissant has an oversized ego.

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Health - More Contamination Scare From China

Holy shit. This is starting to drive me crazy. What new contaminated substance lies waiting around the corner?

The CDC has called for consumers to stop using a contact lens solution manufactured by AMO.
The warning was announced after an ongoing government investigation found a potential association between use of the contact lens solution and an increased risk of Acanthamoeba keratitis.

Acanthamoeba keratitis is a painful eye infection that can cause permanent vision loss or blindness. The CDC estimated 85 percent of U.S. cases of the disease occur in contact lens users. The solution of concern is manufactured by the Advanced Medical Optics Inc. based out of Santa Ana, California.

The possible connection between the use of AMO Complete Moisture Plus Multi-Purpose Solution and Acanthamoeba kertitis was first suspected in 2004 by a University of Illinois-Chicago ophthalmologist, Dr. Elmer Tu, who noticed more than a dozen cases of the eye infection. Normally, Dr. Tu sees no more than two cases in a year.
According to a diarist at Daily Kos, the solution was apparently contaminated during the manufacturing process at the company's plant in China. However, the package owned by the diarist is marked "Made in Spain."

So which is it? Is contamination occurring at several different plants, during the manufacturing process? Or is the product being manufactured in one place and packaged/stamped in another? Is our greed and desire for cheap goods going to kill us all?

Yeah, I think so.


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Smokey's Corner - A Welcome-Home Prezzy

Now I want the book!

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Saturday, May 26, 2007


Gustav reads using his belly

I confess, dammit!


Disciplining Zingiber


My little hooligans. The garden's calling my name quite loudly, so I'm off to rip out some weeds. Yesterday's haul was three gigantic trashbags. Hopefully they'll all still be alive when I return.

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Friday is Memorial Maxx Day

and yesterday, his dearest friend and companion, 4LG posted a beautiful tribute to him. And a photograph of the famous France Nguyen eyes.

Lion Kitty Maxx made many people very happy during his short stardom on the InnerTubes. He had many, many fans. These days, his understudies La Princesse Madeleine and Ripley Chainsaw Bonnes-Jambes are scrambling to fill his oversized pawshoes. Madeleine is a love, but with a fondness for head-jumping, and Ripley is a very naughty and stunningly cute little thing with a penchant for biting The Hand That Feeds (and pets) her.

Check 'em out. It might be Too Much Cuteness To Be Borne, given that 4LG is a very talented photographer.

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Politics - Welcome To My World, Lott

Laughing Buddy from WillPower Inc.

How the shoe pinches when it's on the other foot!
By Brian Faler

May 21 (Bloomberg) -- ``Are you kidding me?'' says Senator Trent Lott, a Mississippi Republican, when asked why he's so critical of insurance companies.

Lott, 65, launches into a critique of the industry, peppering it with words such as ``arrogant'' and ``mean- spirited,'' statistics about company profits and executive pay and angry questions about why its lobbyists are fighting a clutch of bills he is pushing -- including one that would strip companies such as State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. and Allstate Corp. of their 62-year-old exemption from federal antitrust laws.
Give 'em hell, Trent. Do it for me, you obnoxious old panderer, if not for yourself and all the others who lost so much in the Katrina hurricane season.

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Human Rights - Transgender Issues

Picture of Begum Nawazish Ali from this site

Now, I've read that the mullahs in Iran take a fairly tolerant view towards transgender identity (as opposed to homosexuality, which they do, oppose, that is, quite vigorously). However, this story seems to indicate that that may only be the case for male-to-female transgender identity.

At any rate, a court in Pakistan has ordered the arrest of a female-to-male transgender person and his wife. According to the arrestees, he married his wife to save her from being sold to pay her uncle's gambling debts. What kind of fucked-up world is this where a woman may be sold like chattel, but is arrested if she finds a way out of such bondage? This is ridiculous. Pakistan is quite backwards, compared to other Muslim nations, even. Please consider dropping a line to the Pakistani embassy here. I hate to think of the degradation to which they've subjected this young couple. It's fairly obvious that the transgender person has been subjected to a bodily examination, doubtless unwillingly.

An interesting site which discusses gender identity issues in the Islamic world.

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Iraq - Supporting Our Troops

I wonder if that bilious squash-faced crybaby John Boner cried quite so hard when he, like other Republican congresscritters, decided that the troops should not get a pay increase?

Guest blogger Arlen Parsa over at BradBlog maintains that Bush's refusal to give the troops the pay raise suggested by the Democrats is illegal. Includes attractive graphic comparing military and civilian salaries.

Yeah, yeah, I should try for less snark. In my next life, I promise.

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More Deryk Schlessinger

Credit: Emma Tocci/Collegian

Okay, I did say I wasn't going to post any more about this little wretch, but I found a link to this story on Republic of T. I think T's analysis of this whole kerfuffle is quite interesting, given "Doctor" Laura's shrill anti-gay stance.

From The Collegian:
Former student Deryk Schlessinger will try to make that experience a bit more personal by opening Hillsdale's first hookah bar. The bar is scheduled to open soon after Spring Break in downtown Hillsdale near the old Democratic Party offices.

"We're trying to bring the Middle Eastern culture to Hillsdale," Schlessinger said, from an easy chair beside a 5-foot gold-plated hookah in his Park Place apartment. "Even though that sounds like a big task, we think we can do it through hookahs, a couple tapestries and a fountain."
There's something very, very bizarre about these statements, given the stuff posted on his MySpace Page - stick figures depicting rape, torture, child molestation, and a bound and blindfolded prisoner, captioned "My Sweet Little Habib." (Habibi means "darling," or "beloved," it's an Arab term of endearment used just as much between persons of the same gender as the opposite gender.)

Incidentally, I linked the Photo Credits to the article, so if you want to see it in all its glory, simply click the photog's name.

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Health Alert - Tainted Toothpaste From China

Lovely. When I first heard about this, I didn't bother writing it up because it did not, I thought, affect U.S. brands. How wrong I was!
US health inspectors are testing all imports of toothpaste from China following reports that some tainted with a toxin had been found in Panama and the Dominican Republic, a US official said Thursday.
The US imported some 3.3-million-dollars worth of toothpaste from China in 2006, according to government figures.
The Republican Rubberstamps have allowed Bush to gut all consumer protection, and because of this endless war in Iraq we are now hugely in debt to China. So hugely in debt that we can neither negotiate better currency exchange rates, nor force them to meet consumer health and safety standards mandated ages ago. Isn't it ironic, that for six long years we've heard these asses braying endlessly about terrorists poisoning our food and water supply, and in the end we find out our own fellow-citizens are doing it, all in the name of the Almighty Dollar.

Go ahead, click it, you know you want to be depressed.

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Politics - Whose Side Did You Think They Were On?

'Tain't ours, that's fersure.

By William L. Watts

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones) -- President Bush is likely to veto legislation that would create hefty fines and criminal penalties for gasoline price-gouging, the White House said Wednesday.

The threat came as the House prepared to vote on a Democratic plan aimed at battling rising gasoline prices by requiring the Federal Trade Commission to define "price gouging." The bill would create fines and criminal penalties, including jail time, for industry executives found guilty of gouging.
So Georgie doesn't think his buddies in the oil industry should be fined or jailed for ripping consumers off? I guess I'm not so much surprised as disgusted. Bear in mind that the oil companies are not being penalized for making a profit, but for illegal acts.

More here, from The Raw Story.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Health - Exercise, Dammit

As I informed my GP recently, my idea of exercise is carrying a heavy book to bed. He was not amused.

Now Auntie Beeb informs us that exercise actually reverses the aging process. Well, doodah. Guess I'll have to pick up something heavier than a book, occasionally.


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Palate Cleanser

Holy Jeebus, I can't stand to see the Schlessinger brat's visage every time I look at my own fucking blog, and I bet everyone (except the hardcore ghouls) are pretty sick of it, too, so here's a little something better.

The Cootest Child

Annoyed because the fave purple sweater fails to adequately demonstrate his fluffitude. But always the best possible fursmoochable. What a good boy he is!

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Deryk Schlessinger, Part 2X

Jeebus, this kid is ... disturbed, to say the least. GrannyGeek has some information.

The Daily Breeze sez:
The MySpace page, publicly available until Friday when it disappeared from the Internet, included cartoon depictions of rape, murder, torture and child molestation; photographs of soldiers with guns in their mouths; a photograph of a bound and blindfolded detainee captioned "My Sweet Little Habib"; accounts of illicit drug use; and a blog entry headlined by a series of obscenities and racial epithets.
Of course, the Army has managed to pull the site, so we can't tell much, but let's face it. If it contained a bunch of pictures of young Deryk like the above, chances are slim, at best, that the site was created by anyone other than aforesaid Li'l Psychopath. For those who are interested, young Deryk is the schmuck on the left.

Oy, gevalt, oy vey is mir.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Politics - Anything Left Unbroken?

The destruction of New Orleans. The devastating National Debt. The war in Iraq. The war in Afghanistan. The attack on the Twin Towers. The Army, broken almost beyond repair. The National Guard, shipped to the Iraq meatgrinder instead of being allowed to do their jobs right here, to help the citizens cope with disasters. The prisons, privatized into a profitable industry at the expense of the permanent underclass of poor and minority people. The immigration scandals. Imprisoning little children who are U.S. citizens under the current definitions of law, because their parents came here illegally. ICE, sweeping neighbourhoods with guns and arresting whoever they can find, separating nursing mothers from babies, leaving schoolchildren stranded and uncertain of their parents' location. Practically giving North Korea improved nuclear weapons capability because Stoopie McPoopyhead was too obsessed with Iraq to keep his eye on the foreign policy ball. Appointing a rabid idiot like John Bolton as our Ambassador to the U.N., where he showed off his expertise in making enemies and arrogant bullying. Appointing entitlement whore Paul Wolfowitz to the World Bank, where he promptly mired the Bank in the most heinous example of corporate corruption, then proceeded to blame everyone but himself for the outcome. Diebold. Purging voter rolls. Alberto Gonzales and the midnight raid on John Ashcroft's hospital bed to implement an illegal warrantless wiretapping program. Nominating Harriet Miers as a potential supreme court justice. Nominating PlasticRobot Roberts and lying weasel Alito to the Supremes. Airdropping billions of dollars in taxpayer money into a war zone. Which money is now being channeled to Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. How Osama bin Laden must be laughing his ass off. Is there anything these sons of whores in the Bush misadministration can't turn to shit with just one touch of their fingers? I mean, this isn't even the whole list of their misdeeds. The lying, the corruption, the scandals, the coverups. Outing a CIA agent. Jack Abramoff. Duke Cunningham.

And now, this. From the McClatchy bureau, a report on the disastrous overhaul of the Coast Guard's equipment.
The 13-foot section added to lengthen the ships ended up causing the hull to buckle under the stress of rough waters. In addition, whistleblowers alerted congressional investigators that small search-and-rescue boats that the 123-foot vessel carried had radios that were not waterproof - a finding an incredulous Taylor said was "bizarre."

However, the company vigorously defends its performance.

"Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, along with more than 600 suppliers from over 41 states and many best-of-breed manufacturers from around the world, form the industry team that is committed to supporting the Coast Guard's Deepwater program," Margaret Mitchell-Jones, ICGS communications director, said in a statement.

"ICGS and its suppliers are meeting the terms contracted by the Coast Guard. While costs and capabilities have expanded due to post 9/11 requirements, these are not cost overruns to the baseline contract, but rather reflect changes necessitated by new mission requirements." The program, she said, "has achieved significant progress."
Where they find these mealy-mouthed motherfuckers is just beyond me. " ... meeting the terms contracted by the Coast Guard"? You lying sacks of shit, you're putting radios on those boats that are NOT WATERPROOF!!!

Jesus Christ, I'm about to have a fucking aneurysm. These people are nothing but swindlers, liars, and profiteers, and if they do not go to jail, it will be a sad day indeed. Incidentally, they got the job in a no-bid contract. What the fuck is it with the Bushies and their no-bid contracts?

I swear to deity, it's nothing short of a miracle that the entire population is not on a strict regimen of nausea-combating drugs as well as reality-altering drugs. Where's the wine, goddammit?

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Iraq War - Support The Troops Part CLLV

Oy. Why did we send a mentally ill young person to Iraq? How many more are we sending? Has the situation improved yet? As recently as May of last year, it had not. Is this how we "support the troops"?

Incidentally, as others, including myself, have blogged before, military benefits are pretty fucking crappy. Bush wants to veto a Democratic proposed pay raise for the troops. He is also opposed to increased survivor benefits for families who lose their relative in his war. Just what is wrong with the guy? He successfully dodged the draft, spent his National Guard service powdering his nose, and was never wounded by anything sharper than a tongue. Has he no compassion at all for the soldiers he is throwing into the meatgrinder?

Oh, wait. I forgot we were talking about Bush.

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Politics - Gonezales*

The stinkeye. Let me give you it.

Is it just me, or is Preznitwit Pissypants giving Alberto meaner and meaner glances as the days go by? With his limited attention span, his notoriously slacker work ethic, and his dislike of details, Bush is not the kind of guy to relish ongoing confrontation. He is easily bored, and tends to walk away from disasters. The sort of "Why should I bother my beautiful mind" attitude as voiced by his Mumsy.

At any rate, it looks as if the Abu G. show is winding down. Or as Dick "The Dick" Cheney might say, it's "in its last throes, if you will." Well, that is noted flipflopper and tough-talk no boom-boom Arlen Specter talking there. Me, I don't think Gonzales will quit. He has no shame and does what Bush tells him to without regard for self-respect, ethics, morals, country, or anything else. Bush might throw him under the bus, though.

And Abu, just in case you thought you were safe because you know where ALL the bodies are buried? Don't forget that Prince Petulant's daddy was head of the CIA once. He knows how to get bodies buried. Like bodies of potential blabbermouths and blackmailers. Just a hint.

* - Abu's improved surname courtesy of Maru the Crankpot

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Iraq War - Supporting The Troops

From DailyKos diarist Mike Hickerson comes a post alleging that the U.S. (and also the U.K.) military is using the troops as guinea pigs for large-scale drug testing. I followed some of the links the writer posted. How's this for supporting the troops?
In addition, the syndrome appears to be contagious. Many veterans, their spouses, and scientists believe it can be passed through sex or sweat, or through the air. Apparently, veterans' wives and their unborn babies are being damaged as well. According to Michigan Senator Donald Riegel, Jr., of the 600 vets his office surveyed, 77 percent say their spouses have the symptoms, 65 percent say their postwar babies are damaged, and 25 percent report that their children born before the war have new debilitating illnesses as well. According to one medical researcher, "This is an epidemic. This is absolutely comparable to AIDS."(108)

Many Gulf War couples also report that they are no longer able to make love. Intercourse causes the women to experience immediate abdominal cramping and intense burning sensations, as though their genitals were being torched. For many, their labias crack and bleed. Also, the semen burns both husband and wife within minutes of contact with skin. It causes open sores -- blisters that bleed.(109)

Many Gulf War families are being advised against pregnancy. Babies are being born with extra toes and fingers, undeveloped lungs, and missing body parts. One child was born with an oversized umbilical cord that wrapped around his body six times, nearly strangling him. This child appears to be developmentally delayed and exhibits other debilitating symptoms similar to his father's. Another child was born without a thyroid gland. She also has dozens of tumors all over her body and inside her mouth. Still another child has intermittent vaginal bleeding.(110)
Holy Quacking DUCKSHIT!! What are they using on these people???

Anybody out there see Jacob's Ladder? Interesting movie. Same topic:

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Politics - The House Built Upon Sand Is Crumbling

Sydney Blumenthal has a fine, fine article in Salon explaining how Emperor Chimpy's Praetorian Guard is slipping into the shadows.

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War On Terra - Deryk Schlessinger

Practicing martial skills on protesters

Karma has a hilarious tendency to bite us all in the ass. Hilarious to everyone other than the current victim, anyway. In any event, this morning's Daily Kerfuffle was the news that "Doctor" Laura's son Deryk, a brave volunteer in the War On Terra (or, more aptly, the war to control oil that We Need That Is Currently Controlled By Brown People Far Away) is nothing more nor less than a psycho hosebeast. Young Deryk has, apparently, had previous, ahem, encounters with the law.

BradBlog originally identified the little thug, and Jesus' General has more.

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Women's Rights - Women Are From Yer Neighborhood, Men Are From Uranus

I have long been opposed to the simplistic bullshit of "Doctor" John Gray, American "self-help" guru, uncredentialed and unqualified to offer relationship advice in light of his own failed first marriage to fellow self-help guru Barbara DeAngelis. It seems a horde of qualification-free "Doctors" abides among us, whose primary talent appears to be the ability to transfer large amounts of our hard-earned income towards the funding of their lifestyles.

Another, slightly more qualified denizen of that particular swamp is Louann Brizendine, who at least has a medical degree, which gives her the right to call herself "Doctor," even if her book, The Female Brain, is marked by passages such as this:
Common sense tells us that boys and girls behave differently. We see it every day at home, on the playground, and in classrooms. But what the culture hasn't told us is that the brain dictates these divergent behaviors. The impulses of children are so innate that they kick in even if we adults try to nudge them in another direction. One of my patients gave her three-and-a-half-year-old daughter many unisex toys, including a bright red fire truck instead of a doll. She walked into her daughter's room one afternoon to find her cuddling the truck in a baby blanket, rocking it back and forth saying, "Don't worry, little truckie, everything will be all right."

This isn't socialization. This little girl didn't cuddle her "truckie" because her environment molded her unisex brain. There is no unisex brain. She was born with a female brain, which came complete with its own impulses. Girls arrive already wired as girls, and boys arrive already wired as boys. Their brains are different by the time they're born, and their brains are what drive their impulses, values, and their very reality.
So, it gives me great pleasure to announce that Forbes is actually carrying a report of a study that shows up all these gobshites. Very great pleasure indeed. It's bad enough that rank idiots like "Doctor" Laura, whose degree was, I believe, in Nude Modelling For The InterTubes, feel the urge to foist their advice upon the public despite raising psychopaths, which sort of tends to negate their claim to relationship expertise. But when a multi-degreed medical professional steps into the same rank swamp, it's time to smack them down quick before they become established as pundits. Thank you, NIH, for doing the public a favour.

And a mighty thwack with the Bat of Clue for each offender.


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Saturday, May 19, 2007


but scary, kinda.

I just hope pork is NOT part of their meaty new diet.

Now, Bert, how many times have I told you NOT to bite your brother?

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It's such a beautiful day, but I couldn't leave without a coupla feelgood items. Here's a story about Petra the rare black Australian swan who fell in love with a boat. Bit daft, in a touching sort of way. Hope she finds a better girl-or-boyfriend soon, or her kind will be even rarer for the nonce.

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I wonder how the fabulous Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the world, were tended. Why do I wonder this? Because my garden is so fucking steep, it's a miracle I'm still alive today. I've ripped muscles and tendons in my shoulders, back, and neck, from hanging on to trees, bushes, rocks, posts, and plants in an effort to weed, or plant, or unplant. Incidentally, Dietes vegeta has incredible earth-gripping power - although if it's a young plant, the leaves might come off in your hand. Which is not too bad, if you're trying to unplant the incivil little fucker because it spreads by underground roots as well as seeds, making it a royal pain in the tuchus to eradicate, once established.

I plan to give it another bash later today. But first, the painkillers. I once lost my grip on a high part of the hill, and rolled all the way down to the road, saved only by the fact that the neighbours had filled their "green trash" can with an enormous, soft pile of various plant remains, on which I landed. On my arse. If I'd landed on my head, my neck would have snapped. As it is, I escaped unscathed, except for losing a pair of glasses, which I haven't found yet, despite scouring the garden regularly. The garden could certainly stand a more aggressive scouring, but there's a limit to what I can do these days.

The weather's unseasonably strange. Two weeks ago, temperatures were in the 90s and as soon as you watered the soil was a-thirsting again. Much of the native speedwell (veronica) simply crumbled like dried herbs, dropping seeds here and there, and the shasta daisies turned brown almost at the point of bloom. Even the calendula and rudbeckia were doing poorly, the flowers and foliage looking dry and burned, sometimes apetalous - just a dark heart, with a fringe of yellow, or a single spear. The only things that didn't mind the heat were the lantana and bougainvillea. The bougainvillea's going crazy. 18-foot spikes, reaching up two levels and creeping under the deck. I must attempt to prune it without losing my life or skin in the process. It's blooming, though, which is pretty.

Last week it was so fucking cold, I was wearing sweaters to work. Forget gardening! It was gray and dreary, and although I did go down and sit on the hill for form's sake, the flowers looked drab and unlovely against the cheerless sky. This week, we started out in the 60s, and today the temperature is expected to rise into the 80s.

The Cecile Brunner bloomed way too early - normally it starts in late May and stays till early July, but it bloomed in April, when we were still getting rain, so much of the bloom was bruised or beaten down, and now it's mostly gone because of the heat.

Meanwhile, the white-flowered oleander is requiring more water to bloom than it ever did before. I wonder why?

The bees are so few in number this year! We seem to have an abundance of spiders, damselflies, skippers, and moths. Not so many butterflies, although an anise swallowtail has clearly laid eggs. And birds we have aplenty. The buddleia is setting buds, which is good. I must clip back the invasive blackberry and nettle and try to strip off the dead anise from the very top of the hill (I really need mountainclimbing gear to do this!).

I'll try to take pleasure in the still-blooming blue flax (most of the scarlet variety died), the calendula, rudbeckia, yellow cosmos, Shasta daisies, corn poppy, bougainvillea, toadflax, and the glorious, glorious California poppies!

I come, Grimalkin! I mean, garden!


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Friday is Maxx Day

And this makes the second week that I failed to commemorate it. I did have a nice conversation with The Boy last night as I was watering my luculia. When Maxx fell ill I used to go stand under the enormous ancient pine and sing the White Witches' Song for him, hoping he would return to health. Alas, it was not to be. But here's JP's tribute to The Darling Barleycorn Toes:

Forgive me, darling. I do think of you all the time, every day. I just don't always pay my tribute timely.

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And, for all you nonbelievers, a rare photo of Domino munching Casa de Los Gatos-supplied kibble on the neighbour's deck while Bandicoot watches lazily and Boca glowers in the background. Boca is the neighbours' cat, a rescue Manx found at a garbage dump up North. The owner of the dump had a big ol' Alsatian who was planning a Bocaite snack, when the guy snatched the little kitten from the jaws of certain death and handed her to the neighbours, saying, "If you don't take her, mah dawg's gonna eat her, fershure." She rode home in the truck and has since taken many road trips, sitting on A's lap while I drives. Never knew a cat who enjoyed car trips before.

Domino's a sweetheart, with three white spots on his belly, which is how he got his name. Tried to turn him into an indoor cat, but he's just too feral. He would sit in the window, staring out, and cry for hours, very softly (he squeaks, rather than meowing), and if any human came close, he would put his head down, shut his eyes, and shiver all over. So he lives outside, and is very happy with that arrangement, visiting various houses for a nibble. We try to keep him supplied with whatever he needs, including the (very) occasional visit to the vet.

Don't feel bad if you can't see Boca. She's exceedingly well-camouflaged!!

And to make up for the lack of Caturday posts, here's another:

This is Gojira's "Whadefuck you lookin' at, Willis?" expression. Such a pretty little princess! And I do love holding her black-purple cold little pawpads.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Health - Exercise While You Work?

Image from Auntie Beeb

I'm not sure what to think of this. I mean, few things could possibly be less interesting than trying to work and exercise at the same time. Still, I'll bet that corporations try to put these things into service soon, given the Fattening of America that proceedeth apace.


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Follow-up to Chris Albrecht

The fortunately ex-CEO of HBO who beat on his girlfriend in a parking lot. From Kung-fu Monkey, this gem:
There was a moment as he described his previous heinous behavior where I realized: "Oh, hey. You're not an alcoholic. You're just an asshole who happens to drink."
Disclaimer: The quote was not in reference to Albrecht, but to Glenn Beck, an asshole if there ever was one.


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Politics - Gonezales Has Got To Go!

Picture from The Raw Story
This man is without shame. I understand that Bush wants him to provide a firewall for Karl Rove, but his continuing to lie and weasel and bob and weave is simply bad for the country at this point. He's a nasty, spineless, unethical little specimen and he must go. Nothing is his fault. He takes responsibility for nothing. He just continues to lie and whine and twist and turn. Just listen to this:
Gonzales appeared to suggest that McNulty was the key player in deciding which US Attorneys were fired, an assertion he repeated on several occasions.

"In this particular case, Mr. McNulty was a former colleague of all of these United States attorneys, and so he would probably know better than anyone else about the performance and the qualifications of these -- of our United States attorney community," he said. "My understanding was was that Mr. Sampson's recommendations reflected a consensus view of the senior leadership of the department, in particular the deputy attorney general."
Well, I sincerely hope McNulty sees this as an opportunity to defend himself, and take the Abu G show down with him.

You might want to watch Jon Stewart skewer the miserable feculent little hypocrite, just for larfs.

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Politics - Wolfowitz

Image from The Guardian
Just what is wrong with these people, anyway? Pissy, prissy, self-indulgent, entitlement-minded dickwads, one and all. The rules are for lesser beings like, oh, I dunno, 95% of the rest of the world. Not for them. From Stupie McPoopyhead to Dick Cheney's dyke daughter to, finally, CombLicker von TailChaser:
The report slates Mr Wolfowitz for his "questionable judgment and a preoccupation with self-interest", saying: "Mr Wolfowitz saw himself as the outsider to whom the established rules and standards did not apply."

The report brushed off Mr Wolfowitz's defence that he thought he had been asked to arrange Ms Riza's pay package, observing that "the interpretation given by Mr Wolfowitz ... simply turns logic on its head".
To which, of course, our eminent Representative of America and Western Civilization responded with:
'If they fuck me or Shaha, I have enough on them to fuck them too'," naming several senior bank staff he felt were vulnerable.
Oy, what a schmuck.

Details here.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Politics - A Candidate Who Makes Sense

Of all the candidates on the Republican side, there is not one that I think would make a good leader of the nation. Not a nation that has been so deeply and systematically corrupted and destroyed after six years of misadministration.

The candidates on the Democratic side are a little more appealing. However, I don't trust Hillary Clinton, and find her too weaselly to lead a nation. I like Barack Obama but I think he needs to spend more time learning the ropes before he can aim at such a high office. I did not find Richardson impressive. Like Hillary Clinton, he seems too mainstream. But I'll keep an open mind about him. I have nothing but contempt for Biden, Senator CreditCard, the gasbag in love with the sound of his own voice. I like John Edwards a lot. He's smart and savvy and seems to be the most progressive of the lot. But he too has a lot to learn.

Then I saw this video. I have no idea what Gravel's chances are. But he is the most progressive of the voices at the Democratic debate.

What do you think? Give him a listen, and then let me know.

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Iraq - Missing GIs

Abeer Qasim al-Janabi

I seem to remember Riverbend stating when fourteen-year-old Abeer Qasim al-Janabi was gang-raped and murdered by U.S. servicemen that the al-Janabi clan was large and would definitely avenge their murdered clanswoman. Previously, several U.S. troops had been tortured and killed and the murders were claimed as the revenge of the al-Janabis for the rape, murder, and mutilation of the child and her entire family.

Now, another group of servicemen has been captured, some murdered, and once again, the perpetrators are claiming it is vengeance for Abeer Qasim Hamza.
"You should remember what you have done to our sister Abeer in the same area."
statement from the Islamic State of Iraq

I can understand that this case would inspire this kind of passion in Iraqis. A young child in a country groaning under foreign occupation, seized and gang-raped by the very forces of that occupation. In a country where, traditionally, women have been secluded and a family's "honour" rests on the chastity of its women. I don't believe al-Qaeda has anything to do with the capture of the servicemen.

I suppose we shall see. But the blood of Abeer Qasim, her family, her kinsmen, even her murderers, is on the hands of this pathetic bunch of hacks who started this war under false pretenses.

The captors have threatened their prisoners:
"What you are doing in searching for your soldiers will lead to nothing but exhaustion and headaches. Your soldiers are in our hands. If you want their safety, do not look for them," the Islamic State of Iraq said on a militant Web site.
Not that the Bushite military gives a damn about the lives and well-being of the servicemen. They're conducting a massive search for them.

Now if you were a guerilla fighter with three prisoners in danger of being discovered, what would you do with your prisoners? That's right. Kill them and dispose of them quickly. I fear their bodies will be found soon.

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Politics - Maybe Insanity Is Part Of The Republican Condition

Because John McCain sure is rapidly losing touch with anything resembling reality, if his interview with Tim Russert is anything to go by.
"But the duly elected people's bodies, the U.S. Congress and the Iraqi parliament, say they want a troop withdrawal," pressed Russert. "That's more than a poll. Isn't that the voice of the people?"

"Well, the--as far as the Iraqi parliament is concerned, the Iraqi government obviously doesn't feel that way, their--the representatives in their government," replied McCain, seemingly dismissing the Iraqi parliament's ability to govern its own country.
It's bad enough the fool looks demented, he seems to want to sound it too.

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