Something for a lazy Saturday.
Here's one that I found really funny.
And this may be the best collection of Iraq photos I've ever seen. Unfortunately it's Flash so I can't lift them, but it's amazing, so take a look.
RAMADI, Iraq -- A U.S. Navy construction battalion fresh from Hurricane Katrina relief duty is battling the elements and daily insurgent attacks to build permanent bases in the dangerous Anbar province. (Wash Times - So customary Moonie advisory applies)
KBR would build the centers for the Homeland Security Department for an unexpected influx of immigrants, to house people in the event of a natural disaster or for new programs that require additional detention space, company executives said.
"Any argument that Iraq might have been a trigger (for terrorism) is inconsistent with the facts," he said.....(AP)
He described Iran, ..... as the worst sponsor of terrorism on the planet.
"The Iranian regime is today the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism," he said in prepared remarks. "The world does not want, and must work together to prevent, a nuclear Iran." ....
"They(terrorists) seek to take over governments from North Africa to Southeast Asia and to re-establish a caliphate they hope, one day, will include every continent," he said. "They have designed and distributed a map where national borders are erased and replaced by a global extremist Islamic empire."
"could be a generational conflict akin to the Cold War, the kind of struggle that might last decades as allies work to root out terrorists across the globe and battle extremists who want to rule the world." 20 years, he said. Then he "likened al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin" (SF Chronicle for both)At the same appearance, he also said, (Fox News)
(by the way, do you see what he did there? He used the commutative property from my fifth grade math class. If Osama Bin Laden= Hitler, and Hugo Chavez=Hitler, then Hugo Chavez= Osama Bin Laden. Cute, huh?)
"I mean, we've got Chavez in Venezuela with a lot of oil money," Rumsfeld added. "He's a person who was elected legally — just as Adolf Hitler was elected legally — and then consolidated power and now is, of course, working closely with Fidel Castro and Mr. Morales and others."
WASHINGTON — America has made progress in the War on Terror, but the threat today may be greater than ever before because the available weapons are far more dangerous (FoxNews, National Press Club)Do you see that connection? We've failed to make you more safe, but it's the fault of the media for "constraining" the Pentagon by reporting illegal activities. Sweet, Don.
And: WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Wednesday the Pentagon had not done a good job in the information war against enemies like al Qaeda, saying U.S. personnel felt constrained partly due to fear of criticism in the media....
"And they (defense personnel) say, oh my goodness, if you do anything in that area, you get penalized because there's bad press, there's bad news, someone doesn't like it, there's a congressional hearing, the newspaper has it on the front page because it's about the media and the media likes to write about the media," Rumsfeld said.
I don't know, I just kept running across a bunch of weird headlines on Rumsfeld, and I thought I ought to put them all in one place.
(Boehner) who represents change — even if his track record has not always embodied it.
Easygoing and well liked, with a perpetual tan, a low golf handicap and an ever-present Barclay cigarette between his fingers, Mr. Boehner, 56, looks like a throwback to the 1950's — Dean Martin comes to Congress.
WASHINGTON — Rep. John A. Boehner, with his ever-present cigarette, seems like a throwback to the days of Capitol Hill's smoke-filled rooms.
He is hip-deep in political contributions from an industry he oversees. He was once scolded for passing out campaign checks from tobacco interests on the House floor. He was booted from a leadership post eight years ago.
But Boehner has had his share of taint. He handed out checks from tobacco lobbyists on the House floor in 1995 while lawmakers were weighing tobacco subsidies. In 2004, he allowed Sallie Mae to throw him a fundraiser while the student lending outfit was lobbying his committee. And he is a frequent flier on trips paid for by special interests.
Despite statements by senior al Qaeda leaders, U.S. intelligence agencies do not have information indicating the group is ready to conduct a major attack, U.S. counterterrorism officials said.
"We also advise you that we understand that reporter John Dickerson of Time Magazine discussed the trip by Mr. Wilson with government officials at some time on July 11 or after, subsequent to Mr. Cooper learning about Mr. Wilson's wife. Any conversations involving Mr. Dickerson likely took place in Africa and occurred after July 11." (PDF link because that's the only one I can find to the letter.)
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The House of Representatives has narrowly approved a budget bill slashing some 39 billion dollars over five years from federal pay-outs to the elderly, indigent and students.......
"I'm proud that House Republicans have delivered our constituents a bill that not only has important savings, but will also make the federal government more efficient and effective," he said. (Denny Hastert)
Washington -- The House approved an energy bill Thursday that will provide billions of dollars in tax breaks to boost domestic energy production, over the objections of lawmakers who called the measure a costly giveaway to the energy industry.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - President Bush defended the huge profits of Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) Wednesday, saying they are simply the result of the marketplace and that consumers socked with soaring energy costs should not expect price breaks.
WASHINGTON - One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Wednesday warned that President George W. Bush’s proposal to reduce US dependence on Middle Eastern oil could badly jeopardise needed investment in Gulf oil production and refining capacity.
Fitzgerald, who is fighting Libby's request, said in a letter to Libby's lawyers that many e-mails from Cheney's office at the time of the Plame leak in 2003 have been deleted contrary to White House policy.Don't really know what this means, but it's the first official(?) mention of electronic shredding of documents. And, as we all know, the shredder doesn't hide innocence.
"we have learned that not all email of the Office of Vice President and the Executive Office of President for certain time periods in 2003 was preserved through the normal archiving process on the White House computer system."
Who was the requestor for the NSA eavesdropping?
In other words, what person or agency submitted a prospective target to the NSA and under what circumstances and methods did they come to determine that that individual should be tapped? And then, how did that information get back to them? For instance, was the NSA used as a cutout for the Department of Defense who is legally precluded from this sort of information collection?
"Not only that, military intelligence agencies are permitted to “receive” domestic intelligence information, even though they cannot legally “collect” it.” ....
“Remember, merely receiving information does not constitute ‘collection’ under AR [Army Regulation] 381-10; collection entails receiving ‘for use,’ ” he added.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. troops in Iraq fired warning shots at the Canadian envoy's car on Tuesday after his convoy failed to slow down while approaching an American military convoy, the U.S. military said on Wednesday. ......
"The Canadian ambassador's vehicle did sustain damage yesterday from U.S. military gunfire," said the statement.
The lack of Iraqi troops has complicated not only the operation in Bidimnah early Sunday, but also the broader mission here in Anbar province.
American commanders said an entire Iraqi brigade, about 2,500 troops, has taken over parts of the nearby city of Khaldiyah and an adjacent agrarian area from U.S. troops. But U.S. military advisers who mentor the Iraqi unit said just over half those assigned Iraqi soldiers were actually present.
The Iraqi brigade already was short several hundred soldiers before they deployed to Anbar province from the northern city of Mosul, the advisers said, and about 500 more deserted when they arrived in late August and faced their first insurgent attacks.
But... But.... Last night, Bush said "we are winning" to thunderous applause from the Republicans.
John Kerry: "President Bush tonight described a very different state of our union than the one most Americans live with every day. In fact, he described a fantasyland....
President Bush uses national security as a political weapon while day by day we become less secure. We’re bogged down in Iraq where there were no weapons of mass destruction while Osama bin Laden is still on the loose, North Korea has quadrupled its nuclear weapons, Iran is closer to nuclear weapons, and Hamas has come to power. Our brave men and women in uniform deserve presidential leadership equal to their sacrifice. Americans deserve the truth. President Bush needs to stop retreating from reality. We can’t afford leadership that still cuts and runs from the truth."
Harry Reid: "As Americans, we are hopeful about our future, but the reality is our future is threatened by leadership that puts special interests, not families, first.....
Finally, there’s no honor in going around the law. The President has the authority to wiretap any calls from al Qaeda....."
Without applause, practice runs have taken about 36 minutes. The speech will likely extend to an hour as members of the joint session of Congress, the Supreme Court justices, the Cabinet and the Joint Chiefs of Staff applaud their favorite proposals and rhetorical flourishes.
According to the poll's findings, 47 percent of Iraqis approve of attacks on American forces, but there were large differences among ethnic and religious groups. Among Sunni Muslims, 88 percent said they approved of the attacks. That approval was found among 41 percent of Shiite Muslims and 16 percent of Kurds.
FUN-loving First Twins Barbara and Jenna Bush were spotted dancing on tables at a boozy "Broken Resolutions"-themed soiree at D.C. hot spot Play the other night. The Grey Goose vodka-sponsored blowout featured "cigarette girls passing out smokes, chocolates and even condoms," reports the Hill newspaper. "There were fishnet-clad dancers, sporting handcuffs and police hats, gyrating on a pole."
That study found that supporters of President Bush and other conservatives had stronger self-admitted and implicit biases against blacks than liberals did.....The Republican appeals to the base on immigration and gay marriage are nothing new. They are just the latest outgrowth of the underlying bigotry the Republican party utilizes to get the "base" to vote against its own economic and social interests.
The analysis found that substantial majorities of Americans, liberals and conservatives, found it more difficult to associate black faces with positive concepts than white faces -- evidence of implicit bias. But districts that registered higher levels of bias systematically produced more votes for Bush.
"Obviously, such research does not speak at all to the question of the prejudice level of the president," said Banaji, "but it does show that George W. Bush is appealing as a leader to those Americans who harbor greater anti-black prejudice."
OIL companies on both sides of the Atlantic will gush record profits this week, with America’s Exxon Mobil posting the world’s biggest-ever profit, and Shell setting a new record for British companies. ....
BP is expected to continue the trend on February 7 by revealing full-year profits estimated at $21.7 billion. This contrasts with earnings of $16.4 billion in 2004.
Millions of low-income people would have to pay more for health care under a bill worked out by Congress, and some of them would forgo care or drop out of Medicaid because of the higher co-payments and premiums, the Congressional Budget Office says in a new report.....
In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Mr. Bush plans to recommend a variety of steps to help people obtain health insurance and cope with rising health costs. But the bill, the Deficit Reduction Act, written by Congress over the last year with support from the White House, could reduce coverage and increase the number of uninsured, the budget office said.
Over all, the bill is estimated to save $38.8 billion in the next five years and $99.3 billion from 2006 to 2015, with cuts in student loans, crop subsidies and many other programs, the budget office said. Medicaid and Medicare account for half of the savings, 27 percent and 23 percent over 10 years......
(By the way, the projected deficit this year is $337 billion according to the CBO, and this measure will save $8 billion a year. This legislation which will harm so many, is about the ideology of the right, not reducing the deficit.)
Little is known about the targeted-killing program. The Bush administration has refused to discuss how many strikes it has made, how many people have died, or how it chooses targets. No U.S. officials were willing to speak about it on the record because the program is classified.
Several U.S. officials confirmed at least 19 occasions since Sept. 11 on which Predators successfully fired Hellfire missiles on terrorist suspects overseas, including 10 in Iraq in one month last year. The Predator strikes have killed at least four senior Al Qaeda leaders, but also many civilians, and it is not known how many times they missed their targets. ......
The CIA does not even acknowledge that such a targeted-killing program exists, and some attacks have been explained away as car bombings or other incidents. It is not known how many militants or bystanders have been killed by Predator strikes, but anecdotal evidence suggests the number is significant......
Although presidents Ford and Reagan issued executive orders in 1976 and 1981 prohibiting U.S. intelligence agents from engaging in assassinations, the Bush administration claimed the right to kill suspected terrorists under war powers given to the president by Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks.
It is the same justification Bush has used for a recently disclosed domestic spying program that has the National Security Agency eavesdropping on American citizens without warrants, and a CIA "extraordinary rendition" program to seize suspected terrorists overseas and transport them to other countries with reputations for torture.
Although Israel has reserved the option of military force, Pollack said the United States would be the only country with the air power to carry out the "hundreds of sorties a day" required, possibly for weeks, to knock out Iran's air defenses and destroy anywhere between several dozen and several hundred facilities linked to its nuclear program."If you think it's bad now (in Iraq), imagine 6,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards and intelligence agents joining in the insurgency."