Friday, July 14, 2006

Bonus plushy!!

Lion kitty Maxx finds wanker republicans rather irritating.


Only a fool wouldn't connect this incident today with all the wingnuttian charges of treason directed at the NY Times. Suspicious Package Sent to The Times
Police and environmental workers responded to The New York Times offices today after an employee in the postal services department opened a letter addressed to the newspaper and saw a powdery substance he believed to be suspicious, the police said.

The incident unfolded at about 12:35 p.m. on the eighth floor of the newspaper’s West 43rd Street offices as the mailroom worker opened the white, business-sized envelope with no return address and saw what he later described as a white powder, the police said.

The letter had a postmark from Philadelphia, the police said, and contained an editorial published by The New York Times on June 28 titled "Patriotism and the Press," with a red "X" written across it, said Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman.

How long until some deranged wingnut actually perpetrates a real act of violence on a reporter or editor? Just a reminder, the horrors of Rwanda started with radio talk show hosts urging their followers to take care of the opposition. They went to jail for their part in the genocide that followed.

And yet, in this country, such outrageous speech is met with :: crickets :: Wingnuttians, please look in the mirror - you have become the very people you profess to hate and fear. I have nothing but contempt for the lot of you.

Retro lion kitty

Just for a change of pace.

friday plush

I have lots to say today, and no time to say it. In the meantime, let Mr. Plushy soothe your frazzled psyches.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Thursday evening plush

The news is all bad tonight, but Mr. Plushy always cheers me up. I hope he cheers you up too.

Beirut Bombed

Reuters/Adnan Hajj

Israel has bombed the Beirut Airport and a hezbollah television station. Israel intensifies attacks against Lebanon
BEIRUT, Lebanon - Israel blasted Beirut's airport and other Lebanese targets Thursday, bringing its air and naval campaign to the doorsteps of the capital and threatening massive retaliation after guerrilla rockets for the first time reached Israel's third-largest city, Haifa.

The fighting, which killed 57 people, was a dramatic escalation in the battle between Israel and Hezbollah, an Islamic militant group which has a free hand in southern Lebanon and holds seats in parliament. The Lebanese government, caught in the middle, pleaded for a cease-fire.

But Israel said it was determined to beat Hezbollah back and deny the militant fighters positions they traditionally held along the northern border.

"If the government of Lebanon fails to deploy its forces, as is expected of a sovereign government, we shall not allow Hezbollah forces to remain any further on the borders of the state of Israel," Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz said.

Israel's offensive was its heaviest in Lebanon in 24 years, launched after Hezbollah guerrillas snatched two Israeli soldiers in a brazen cross-border raid Wednesday. Two days of Israeli bombings killed 45 Lebanese and two Kuwaitis and wounded 103. Two Israeli civilians and eight Israeli soldiers have also been killed, the military's highest death toll in four years.

I lay this all at Bush's door. Afterall, he's the one who, against State Department warnings, unleashed Sharon 5 years ago, signalling that the US would no longer be an honest broker in the middle east. Israel has known they could act with impunity ever since.

Kidnapping soldiers is horrible. But the revenge bombings and collective punishment Israel is imposing on civilians in both Gaza and Lebanon is worse.

And frankly, chimpy's statement today that al-Assad, "needs to provide leadership to promote peace" is plain irresponsible. A pox on him, cheney and Bolton too.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Daily beauty

The riotously, ridiculously gorgeous hibiscus growing on my patio.

Your evening Plush

I think he's looking particularly handsome tonight, don't you?


Baffle and his crocodilian leetle friend. I blame Watertiger.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Here's today's carnage report from Iraq, via the NY Times. Another Violent Day Kills at Least 50 in Baghdad.
BAGHDAD, July 11 — At least 50 people were killed in Baghdad today in a stunning array of violence that included a double suicide attack near busy entrances to the fortified Green Zone, beheadings, shootings, a series of car bombs, mortar attacks and the ambush of a bus carrying Shiite mourners returning from a burial.

The day’s killings, many of them clearly carried out as sectarian vengeance, raised the three-day death toll in the capital alone to well over 100, and deepened the sense among residents that the violence was not going to ebb anytime soon — and that Iraqi and American security forces were powerless to stop it.

While responsibility was claimed for only one of today’s attacks, many bore the hallmarks of sectarian militias, both Sunni Arab and Shiite, which now appear to be dictating the ebb and flow of life in Iraq and that have left the new government of Nuri Kamal al-Maliki and his American counterparts scrambling to come up with a military and political strategy to combat them.

Let's review a few of the day's events (from the NY Times article) :
• In today’s most deadly attack, two pedestrians wearing vests fashioned with explosives blew themselves up near a restaurant outside the walls of the Green Zone yet within a few hundred yards of three busy entrances, Iraqi and American officials said. Soon after the initial blasts, a hidden bomb was detonated nearby, adding to the carnage, officials said. At least 15 Iraqi civilians and one Iraqi police officer were killed in the blasts.

• In a predominantly Sunni area of the Dora district in southern Baghdad, gunmen ambushed a bus carrying Shiites mourners from the Shiite holy city of Najaf, where they had buried a relative, government officials and relatives said. The gunmen pulled 10 people from the bus and executed them, according to an Interior Ministry official who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

• An hour earlier, in Taji, north of Baghdad, gunmen ambushed another bus, killing one person and wounding five, the ministry official said.

• Two mortar grenades hit a Shiite mosque in Dora, killing 9 and wounding 11 civilians, the Interior Mnistry official said.

• In other violence, a family of five — a father and mother and their grown daughter and two teenage sons — were found beheaded in the predominantly Sunni neighborhood of Mahdiya in Dora, according to an official at Yarmouk Hospital, the main medical facility in western Baghdad.

• The police and hospital officials also reported that four car bombs around Baghdad killed at least 7 people and wounded at least 18.

• Gunmen raided a company’s offices in the upper middle class Mansour neighborhood, killing three employees and wounding another three, officials said.

• According to the official at Yarmouk Hospital, five bodies were discovered early today in Jihad, the neighborhood where dozens of people were reportedly executed by marauding gunmen on Sunday.

• Wisam Jabir Abdullah, Iraq’s envoy to Iran, who was on vacation in Baghdad, was kidnapped by gunmen from his home today, the Interior Ministry official said.

• In Baquba, north of Baghdad, the mayor of the Um Al Nawa district was assassinated by gunmen, the ministry official said. In the Shiite holy city of Karbala, a drive-by shooting killed two workers in the central market, according to the Interior Ministry official.

• An engineer and his bodyguard were assassinated on their way to work in Kirkuk this morning, according to Col. Adel Zain Alabdin of the Iraqi Police.

I'm trying to imagine living in the middle of that horror and failing utterly.

Conservatives Without Conscience

John Dean's new book is out today, Conservatives Without Conscience. And if you missed his riveting (and somewhat disturbing) interview with Keith Olbermann last night, Crooks and Liars has the video here.

Dean explores the authoritarian culture of the modern right wing and tells a chilling tale of G. Gordon Liddy from the Watergate years. At one point Liddy says to Dean (paraphrased), "I have all this knowledge in my head that could hurt the president. You need to shoot me- but not in my home, not in front of my kids. Take me out of a street corner and shoot me there."

Absolutely chilling.

If Dean is right, a good 30% of the american public are beyond help or reason. And we're in real trouble.

Pot, Meet Kettle

Via the AP, a group in Iraq has posted a video claiming the abduction and killing of two american soldiers was in retaliation for the rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza in the Youssifiyah area and the killing of her parents and a younger sister. Group: Soldiers killed over rape-slaying:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - An al-Qaida-linked group posted a Web video Tuesday purporting to show the mutilated bodies of two U.S. soldiers, claiming it killed them in revenge for the rape-slaying of a young Iraqi woman by American troops from the same unit.

The Mujahedeen Shura Council previously claimed responsibility for killing the two soldiers, who were seized in a June 16 attack near the town of Youssifiyah, southwest of Baghdad. A third soldier was killed in the attack.

But the statement was the first time the group linked the slaying to the rape case.

A statement by the group said the video was released as "revenge for our sister who was dishonored by a soldier of the same brigade."

It said that as soon as fighters heard of the rape-slaying, "they kept their anger to themselves and didn't spread the news, but were determined to avenge their sister's honor."

"God Almighty enabled them to capture two soldiers of the same brigade as this dirty crusader," said the written statement posted along with the video.

The U.S military has charged five soldiers, including two sergeants, in connection to the March 12 alleged rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza in the Youssifiyah area and the killing of her parents and a younger sister. The U.S. military released the identities of the suspects Monday.

This is dreadful, but is it really so surprising? From the same article:
The U.S. military said Tuesday it condemns "in the strongest of terms" the release of the video showing the two mutilated American soldiers. "It demonstrates the barbaric and brutal nature of the terrorists and their complete disregard for human life," it said in a statement. "Coalition Forces remain resolute in our in commitment to catch the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice."

Ahem. I think at this point the Iraqis think we're just as bad. To them, we are the ravening hordes from Mordor, who have invaded their land on false pretenses and destroyed their society. We've made it clear that we do not value Iraqi life.

On Sunday, Andrew J. Bacevich had an important piece in the Washington Post about this very issue. What's an Iraqi Life Worth?, which is well worth your time. The fact is that we've never valued Iraqi lives. The whole calculus "we must fight them there so we don't have to fight them there" proclaims that. We've said, "sorry if we blow up your country and kill a bunch of you, it's justified to keep us safe."

Actually, I'm pretty sure we're not very sorry. Just look at the hideous rhetoric coming out of the neo-con camp the past few days. This post from Lawrence Kaplan, "A Hideous Truth" paints the whole ugly picture:
How can you win over the heart and mind of someone who sews a dog's head on a girl? Would more U.S. troops alter Iraq's homicidal dynamic? Not really, given that, on the question of sectarian rage, America is now largely beside the point. True, U.S. troops can be--and have been--a vital buffer between Iraq's warring sects. But they cannot reprogram their coarsened and brittle cultures.

Just a thought, but perhaps not breaking that culture in the first place might have made the difference. And perhaps a "kill them all, let god sort them out" approach isn't helpful either.

Actions have consequences. We see it everyday in the endless parade of horrors that is Baghdad. Scores of civilians have died in the past month, and scores more will probably die in the months to come. All of it unneccessary.

This whole fiasco is the stuff of nightmares. It keeps me up at night. I only wish it were keeping someone in the White House up as well. Something tells me those sociopaths are sleeping just fine.

The incomparable Billmon has more.

Lunch time cat blogging


Monday, July 10, 2006

Monday night lion kitty

We have lapage!!

He's actually sitting in my lap- I had to lean way back to get the shot. The things I do for you plushyfiends.

Bio Diversity!!

Here's something cool, via National Geographic News, tales of biodiversity in the urban jungle. Species Diversity High in U.S. "Urban Jungle," Event Reveals:
BioBlitz happening just miles from the White House might sound alarming, but have no fear.

The Potomac Gorge BioBlitz held last month was a 30-hour safari for seldom seen and underappreciated wildlife.

The blitz revealed more than a thousand species living in the suburban and urban environments of the Potomac River Gorge.

A globally rare species of snail, a beetle new to Virginia, and a species of fly never before found east of Iowa were among the surprises revealed by the blitz.

"A BioBlitz is part contest, part festival, part educational event, and part scientific endeavor," explained U.S. National Park Service (NPS) educator Giselle Mora-Bourgeois.

NPS cosponsored the species hunt with the Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit The Nature Conservancy.

The goal of the event was to provide a quick snapshot of species diversity in and around the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

It's nice to know that the republicans infesting Washington, D.C. haven't killed off all the wildlife yet.

BTW, The Nature Conservancy is an excellent organization. Check them out and throw them a couple bucks if you can.

Shocked and crushed

Oh, woe is me! My hero, the god of snark, James Wolcott has wounded me to the core. Pure Listening Pleasure:
Via Crooks and Liars (bless them, bless them), take a listen as Adam Carolla lays down the radio law to Ann Coulter: "Listen, you bitch, don't call in an hour and a half late and tell me you're 'tight on time.'"

I of course gallantly disapprove of the 'b' word being used against so gentle a centaur as Coulter. But it's hard to quarrel with Carolla's parting shot: "Just take your crappy book and pitch it to your cable outlets."

A gentle centaur? centaur? is that what James thinks of us? As funny as the linked clip was, I find my self unable to staunch my tears. Manimalphobia is still alive and well.

Sob. One hopes that Mr. Plushy will be able to comfort me.

And hey!! what's with withholding the kitten photos? We know you have a 4 month old kitten in that apartment!!! WE WANT PICTURES!!

Monday plush

Okay, so it's a rerun. Mr. Plushy wasn't being cooperative this weekend and I can't stand the whining. I can't take it, I tells you!!

Take your recycled Plush and be happy about it.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Something lovely

AP/Lech Muszynski

Since Vicki said that my blog has inspired her to change her life, I feel compelled to post something lovely each and everyday. Just in case it inspires someone else.

The pressure, the pressure!!

Photographed in Poland, during a recent heat snap.

Oh, Bobo. Stop displaying your stupidity

I sincerely wish Bobo would stop pulling crap out of his ass and labeling it sociology. In today's column:
What's happening to Lieberman can only be described as a liberal inquisition. Whether you agree with him or not, he is transparently the most kind-hearted and well-intentioned of men. But over the past few years he has been subjected to a vituperation campaign that only experts in moral manias and mob psychology are really fit to explain. I can't reproduce the typical assaults that have been directed at him over the Internet, because they are so laced with profanity and ugliness, but they are ginned up by ideological masseurs who salve their followers' psychic wounds by arousing their rage at objects of mutual hate.

But a lifetime's record is deemed not to matter any longer. For in the midst of the inquisition all of American liberalism has been reduced to one issue, the war. Just as some edges of the pro-life movement reduce all of conservatism to abortion, the upscale revivalists on the left reduce everything to Iraq, and all who are deemed impure must be cleansed away.

Wrong, wrong, and wrong.
But that is not the point, for the opposition to Lieberman is not about future actions or even politics as it is normally understood. It is about impurity, the scarlet letter, and the need to expunge those who have transgressed.

No Bobo. It's about replacing a senator who has consistantly backs the Bush administration on issues that matter to us. Issues that we consider vital. It's about his cloture vote on Alito, it's about his support for the bankruptcy bill, it's about his outrageous comment that catholic hospitals shouldn't be forced to provide emergency contraception to rape victims because other hospitals were probably just "a short ride away." It's about him opening for the oposition on the Kerry resolution. It's about his arrogance, his belief that his senate seat is his by divine right. It's about his contempt for the voters in his state, and his belief that his judgement is better than theirs. It's about principles. Our principles.

As Atrios notes, Brooks is nothing more than a concern troll. He closes his column with the hope that the netroots will so offend mainstream democrats that republicans will "scoop them up."

Why Bobo has a column in a major newspaper is baffling to me. Worse, why is he held up as a serious commentator on democratic issues? He is always dead wrong.

The only function bobo serves is to point out the path that dems shouldn't take. And why he thinks that his endorsement of Lieberman will be helpful is a mystery. Oh, wait. No it's not. Bobo is as delusional as Lieberman is.