The Angry Cyclist

A fleeting grasp of civil, well reasoned discourse.
This blog will comment on topics of interest like politics, business, taxation, the War with Islam / Islamofascists, road cycling, football, and others.

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Opinion of The Angry Cyclist:

"Irrelevant...macho ravings"-
Marc Herold,
Grand Seigneur, University of New Hampshire

An idiot relative from Canada

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Roger Bournival

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Friday, February 28, 2003
Bullshit Meter Is Redlining

"Iraq to Destroy Missiles Within 24 Hours"


I'm Shocked!

The Dallas Cowboys trade for former New England Patriot wide receiver Terry Glenn.

This is very strange, as new Cowboys coach Bill 'Tuna' Parcells once derided the head case / injury plagued Glenn by referring to him as 'she'. I wonder if this is Jerry Jones' doing or not? If so, Parcells won't be in Dallas past two, not three, seasons.


It looks like Augusta National's going to be a hip place to protest.

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The leader of a Ku Klux Klan splinter group plans to demonstrate in support of Augusta National Golf Club's all-male membership during the Masters, whether the club likes it or not.

My guess is that they would not.

"This equal rights stuff has gotten out of hand,'' Joseph J. Harper, imperial wizard of the American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, said Friday. "We're not concerned with whether they want us there or not. We're concerned with their right to choose who they want to choose'' as members.

At least his heart's in the right place.

Harper wrote the Richmond County Sheriff's Department on Thursday, requesting a permit to protest during the Masters in April.

"Sheriff, can you put this request in the circular file for me? Thanks."

Augusta National, a private club that hosts the Masters each year, issued a statement disavowing any group that seeks to use the tournament as a three-ring circus political soapbox.

It's way too late for that.

"Anyone who knows anything about Augusta National Golf Club or its members knows this is not something that the club would welcome or encourage,'' club spokesman Glenn Greenspan said.

Will they be parading around in white sheets?

Martha Burk, the lead busybody advocate in pressing Augusta National to admit women members, said the club and the Klan deserve one another.

A white sheet over Martha's head would do wonders to improve her looks.

"It is not a surprise that the KKK supports Augusta National Golf Club, since the club embraces and flaunts discrimination,'' said Burk, chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations. "It must expect support of a like-minded group.''

"The windup... here's the pitch... it's a home run!"

Told about the KKK's plans, Tiger Woods shook his head.

"If it's not one thing, it's another,'' he said.

He knows it's circus time.

Some say Harper's Klan group is nothing but a one-man show.

Minus the cameras, of course.

Harper says he formed his own Klan offshoot after a falling out with national Klan organizers in January. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, says Harper appears to be the only member.

You must be a real freakazoid to have the Klan disown you.

"He's the only member we're aware of,'' said Joe Roy, intelligence director for the law center. "He's a very small fish in a big sea of hatred.''

"All you need is hate..."

Harper declined to discuss how many members his group has, though his request to the sheriff for a protest application said he plans to bring up to 25 people for the Masters.

Friends and relatives. Nice family.

But Harper said people expecting his Klansmen to wear white hoods and robes have the wrong idea.

"We'll probably be in either blue jeans or suits,'' Harper said. "We're tired of poor, white trash calling themselves the Ku Klux Klan and the negative image the Ku Klux Klan is getting.''

There goes all the laundry jokes...

Col. Gary Powell of the Augusta-Richmond County Sheriff's Department said five groups have requested demonstration permits for Masters week, beginning April 7. They include the Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. Burk said her group plans to seek its permit application soon.

"Sheriff, can you put this request next to the KKK application? Thanks."

Thursday, February 27, 2003
Vin Baker Update

He'll be suspended from the team for a drinking problem.

Uh, Tommy? Mickey just told me you knew about this last week. Where were you with this scoop, brother?

UPDATE - TNT reports that Vin Baker has 'left the team'. I don't know right now if this means the two week suspension or not.

I Think He's Pissed!

Phil Donahue answers his critics.

Damn, my sympathy meter's still broken...

What A Complete Fucking Cunt

I do not use that word lightly. Joan Vennochi has reached a new low:

Romney's UMass pyro show

By Joan Vennochi, 2/27/2003

CHANGING THE status quo is welcome. Blowing it up for the sake of blowing it up is dangerous, cynical entertainment - not unlike setting off pyrotechnics in a low-ceilinged nightclub.

Can you believe that this woman hates Mitt Romney so much that she resorts to comparing his state budget cuts to the pyrotechnics that led to the death of about one hundred people? Where were the editors on this clusterfuck?

I seriously hope she gets fired for this. Someone should, that's for god damned sure.

Road Rage

Three men and a woman connected to a New York-based rap group were arraigned yesterday on gun and drug charges after one of the men allegedly fired at a car carrying three women on the Southeast Expressway in Dorchester.

Rappers with guns? Where's Puff Daddy and J. Lo?

Police said another member of the entourage, Keith Blacknell, 25, was arrested inside a Ford Excursion that had been following the bus also. Blacknell was carrying .38-caliber pistol in a rear pocket, a .40-caliber Glock in an inside jacket pocket and a .45-caliber Ruger in the center console of the Excursion, police said.

This sharpshooter ought to be in the Marine Corps, if he wasn't busy shooting at women.

Rappers with guns and SUV's? You can't make this stuff up, folks.

Frog's Panties In A Bunch

Managers of French cycling teams are bitching about the tour organizers of the Vuelta (Tour of Spain) for not inviting French teams. That's rich, coming from a bunch of Division II teams who got in by the good graces of Jean Marie LeBlanc.

Every major tour does this. The Giro (Tour of Italy) stacks their teams with Italian teams, le Tour with French teams, and la Vuelta with Spanish teams. Eurosport expects this pattern to more or less repeat itself this year. It's like betting on when the sun will rise.

Predictions - As much as I'd love to see him in it, Mario Cipollini's team, Domina Vacanze, won't get an invite to le Tour. Neither will Pantani or his team; he's finished as a serious rider (he was last year, but his team will get an invite to the Giro anyway because the fans love him). Raimondo Rumsas, third overall in the 2002 Tour de France, whose wife was jailed for three months for trying to smuggle a bunch of illegal doping products out of France (nope, not my husband's), won't get an invite (he's still with Lampre). He'll be pissing in cups every other day. And everyone else will be bitching about not getting an invite to the Big Show.

In case anyone's wondering how all this Tour stuff got started, it was because of a pissing contest between two French newspapers. Really.

Stupid Fuckin' Headlines

Job security is No. 1 concern, survey finds

Yep, all these people would agree with that...

Karl Marx Says

History repeats itself. The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

'Tis The Season

For more tax tips...

Boom Town

So much for all those predictions of quagmire.

Do you think Marc Herold will write about this? Naaaah, me, neither.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003
Now Everyone's Bashing The French

I'm almost glad I'm not going over there to check out 'le Tour' with Chris and Terry this year (it's their annual pilgrimage). Judging from the likes of these letters, Americans might not make it out alive (assist to: Tom Hackleman).


So Bob McKinney's got a problem with the French?

It sure seems that way...

Apparently McKinney knows how to jump on a good trend when he sees one. As a French guy living in the U.S., I don't mind reading and hearing the moronic clichés that some Americans love to rehash (Jerry Lewis, berets, eating frogs) about the French, which they believe as gospel, no matter how used-up and grossly stereo-typical. But I fail to see Mc Kinney's point about " just being French is insult enough." (see McKinney's letter "Cherchez les Frogs" in Tuesday's mail).

Sometimes simplisme cowboy humor is lost on the French...

What the hell is your problem with us, McKinney? Did you go to Paris, too lazy and dumb to learn a word of French and got snubbed by the waiter at the café? Is that you don't like the fact the French question the U.S. position on the Iraq business? So does a large part of the U.S. population, let alone the rest of the world.

"Got snubbed by the waiter at the café?" Nope, no cheap ethnic stereotyping here!

Perhaps you, too, banned the word "French" from your vocabulary? Are you enjoying your "freedom fries," "freedom toast," and dousing your hotdog in "Freedom's Mustard?" Are you then planning on watching Lance win his fifth Tour de "Freedom" this summer?

Actually, the process of cutting potatoes in that manner is what's called frenching, which is how they got that name. It has nothing to do with being French, so yes, one of these guys is an idiot.

What a great way to show your political awareness and critical thinking. Anyway, the French would love to know more about you and your hangups with us, McKinney. How about being a little more specific? Wee woood lohve too heer your moteeves. That would be truly hilarious.

Sounds like McKinney's going to be wearing this dunce cap.

Oh, is there anyone else you think should feel sufficiently insulted by who they are and where they're from? (Mexicans, Germans, Australians, Belgians, etc., or Jews, Blacks, don't be shy, McKinney, you're on the right track!).

Franck Abate

Sorry, I can't find the original letter that set Franck off, but I think this one's much funnier.

Interesting Site

Clandestine Radio, with a Real Player link or two, puts an ear to the 'unofficial' radio stations throughout the world.

Massachusetts Budget Update

Mitt Romney, as part of his plan to balance the state's budget, wants to reform the state university system. William Bulger is going to be pissed!

Howie Carr helpfully points him to the Dartmouth campus as a good place to start.

Column Without A Thought

Once again, Robert Kuttner's weekly contribution to what passes as deep, liberal thoughts.

Victory without a war

By Robert Kuttner, 2/26/2003

AS AMERICA'S Vietnam expedition was becoming a quagmire in 1966, Vermont Senator George Aiken famously said that we should ''declare victory and go home.'' The war, of course, dragged on for several more years, and North Vietnam won. A third of a century later, Vietnam is a quasi-capitalist country, cultivating US investment, consumer markets, and tourism. If only we had declared victory and gone home in 1966, we might have spared countless American and Vietnamese lives. History's ultimate shape would not have been different.

Comparing Iraq to Vietnam. That's original.

At the time, ''staying the course'' in Vietnam, however foolishly, was posed as a test of American credibility. Who would follow the lead of a superpower who tucked tail and ran, as Lyndon Johnson liked to put it?

With over 200,000 troops currently in the region, that is a good question, Bob. Why would we want to do that?

Who indeed? Less than two decades after Washington finally decided to cut American losses in Vietnam, communism was a shambles and and the United States was the sole superpower standing.

Something of the same choice faces us in Iraq. Only, unlike our situation in Vietnam circa 1966, we really have already won something substantial -- if we don't worsen our situation with a needless war.

What did we win? Lots of free oil? That's what this war's all about, isn't it?

Saddam Hussein is now bottled up, unable to threaten his neighbors, unable to pursue a serious program of nuclear or chemical or biological weapons. America's policy of threatening war while working through the UN has been vindicated. So why not declare victory and go home?

Because what you're describing is really a stalemate?

Better yet, why not empower a UN multilateral force to back up the inspections? Jessica Matthews of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has been promoting such an approach since last fall. If Bush needs an additional fig leaf to shift policy, here it is.

Yeah, UN troops, now that's a winning formula.

If Bush were shrewd, he would allow the Europeans to negotiate a compromise along these lines -- and bring the US troops home. He would be hailed globally as tough, prudent, and statesmanlike. His popularity ratings at home would rebound.

Absolutely. We could even make a movie out of it!

Is this conceivable? Not to the Pentagon, but perhaps to the ultimate Bush inner circle -- Karl Rove and Poppy Bush.

Do tell, O Wise One...

The president may insist that he is not basing his foreign policy on public opinion, but Rove and Bush the Elder know better. Anything other than an easy, costless victory and a clean aftermath will be a political nightmare. As reports from Korea make clear, the Iraq war has not even commenced and the ancillary damage is mounting. While the administration keeps obsessively focused on Iraq and alienating key allies, more serious dangers loom.

Oh, you mean North Korea's endless saber rattling? They've been doing that longer than I've been alive.

If Iraq were not dominating the news, the incipient debacle in Korea would be on the front pages. In case you missed it, Colin Powell was rebuffed on Monday in Seoul, when the Chinese, Australians, and South Koreans flatly rejected administration entreaties to bring multilateral pressure on North Korea to disarm.

Yes, indeed. It had nothing to do with this 'planned' missile test, did it?

Multilaterialism is a two-way street. Bush should appreciate that he can't blow off the Chinese in the UN and then expect them to do his bidding when the United States finds a multilateral cloak convenient.

Who says the Chinese want to do anything about North Korea?

Instead, Powell was urged to reverse US policy and begin direct talks with the North Koreans. In the meantime, the South Koreans, longtime US allies, are so disgusted with US policy that they are proceeding, over Bush's objections, with their own bilateral entente with the North, weapons of mass destruction of no.

You mean there will be more payoffs coming from the Hyundai Corporation? That's worked so far, hasn't it?

The other day, US Representative Barney Frank invited an audience at the University of Massachusetts to consider what a victory Bush would be trumpeting if the North Koreans were behaving like the Iraqis -- allowing in UN weapons inspectors and renouncing weapons of mass destruction. He'd declare the crisis over.

Yup. Then the North Koreans restart their nuclear reactor anyway. Got any more bright ideas, Bob?

The Bush administration imagines that once Saddam fell, one regime after another in the Middle East would conclude that they had to come to terms with US power. But the region has its own schisms and tensions, which would be exacerbated by a war.

Yes, let's leave the Middle East alone, it's so stable now...

The administration also believes that once a war started, the world would follow Bush's lead. More likely, other nations would work to constrain the reckless use of US power.

France and Germany are certainly trying their best.

Bush insists that war, even if ill-conceived, is a test of America's credibility. By that test, bringing the troops home is unthinkable.

That's it.

But we have already achieved our foreign policy goal of neutralizing Saddam as a regional threat. Which kind of America will win more respect in the world -- one that uses its power recklessly, against the advice of key allies, or one that shapes a broad consensus, builds international institutions, and contains threats without needless and destabilizing wars?

I'm so glad you're not President, Bob. We'd be speaking Arabic by now...

Robert Kuttner's is co-editor of The American Prospect. His column appears regularly in the Globe.

This story ran on page A19 of the Boston Globe on 2/26/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

Boom Boys

Check out what happened in Iraq today.

A work 'accident'? Sammy yanking our chain again?

I report. You decide.

Battleax Update

Professional agitator Martha Burk, not satisfied with umpteen New York Times articles detailing her crusade plight with the all-male membership in the Augusta National Country Club, will now resort to other, more nefarious means.

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Martha Burk will seek a permit to demonstrate at the Masters about Augusta National's all-male membership, and she won't rule out an illegal protest if the site isn't close enough to the club's main gate.

Fight the power! Fight the police!

''I have no interest in lying down on the first green,'' she said

Whatever you do, Martha, please keep your clothes on.

I Think I'm Gonna Hurl

That's right, folks. Professor Marc Herold, he of the half-assed research Afghanistan casualty count, has a book coming out.

This looks like more bullshit. The book blurb from above mentions "more than 5,000 civilian dead", yet his own web site, where he allegedly keeps an updated Excel spreadsheet tallying the civilian casualties, 3,657 deaths are mentioned. Of his last eight entries in the spreadsheet, only one contains a casualty number, leading me to believe that he's finally dropped the pretense of due diligence in his 'research'.

I wonder how Mr. Herold will respond to this 'discrepancy'.

By the way, Marc, thanks for stopping by last night. You really ought to upgrade that Windows '95 machine.

UPDATE - Henry Hanks sends this transcript from Fox News Sunday quoting the loathsome Janeane Garofalo, a leader of Win Without War, repeating this crap ad nauseam, and stretching it a bit further:

And to say that there's been no uprising since the Afghanistan, with about 6,000 or 7,000 Afghani civilians dead, that is ridiculous. There are 2 million pilgrims at the hajj who have no love for the American idea of going into the heart of the Arabian world in Iraq (emphasis mine).

SNOW: You know this for a fact? You're...

GAROFALO: What are you -- I know as much for a fact as you guys know for a fact. I know as much as anybody who has access to information on the Internet, a library, satellite dish, international news.

Let me assure you, Janeane, you don't know shit...

How Evil Are You?

According to this site, I'm almost pure fuckin' EVIL. I mean, come on, just because I eat red meat?

How evil are you?

See you in Hell, Sammy.

UCI Rankings

Lance is still the second best rider, after Telekom rider Erik Zabel.

Ground Control To...

Pioneer 10, launched almost 31 years ago, has stopped transmitting data.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003
Bookmark This Site

It has a catchy name, too - Hollywood Halfwits.

The site's updated daily, too - what a surprise. Like Tim Blair says, they will never lack for material.

Fat Cats

No, not Al Hunt's pet name for Republicans, but a real fat cat, at fifty pounds, is probably the largest domesticated cat ever recorded.

"She has a couple of fish in the morning and about 200 grams of meat in the evening.

That's all? Glad I don't have to feed that one.

Faster, Please

Elected in a landslide, the ever-popular Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, says he'll leave the oil fields alone this time.

I wonder what the odds of that happening are.

Tax Man

Joan Vennochi has never seen a tax hike she didn't like.

The tough truth on taxes

By Joan Vennochi, 2/25/2003

WASHINGTON - BUDGETS ARE always about making choices. They should also be about telling the truth.

The truth? From a politician?

Dirk Kempthorne, the Republican governor of Idaho, did both when he recently and reluctantly proposed increases for his state's cigarette and sales taxes. New revenue is absolutely necessary, he explained in his January State of the State address, to maintain - not expand - ''core services to our citizens.''

There seems to be some disagreement on whether that's necessary or not.

Clarity and honesty like that stand out as governors from across the nation gather in the nation's capital to lobby for more federal money in the face of serious state budget crises. Kempthorne's choice stands out in another way, too. While his colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, fight over the Bush administration's responsibility for the states' growing fiscal crisis, this governor took responsibility and action on his own.

So did this one. Let me guess what's different here...

Like other governors, Kempthorne, who is vice chairman of the National Governors Association, hopes Washington will provide some relief, specifically in the form of Medicaid reimbursement. But at a press conference on Saturday to mark the opening of the National Governors Association winter meeting, Kempthorne said he couldn't wait for handouts from the federal government, which seem unlikely anyway. Idaho's fiscal problems are too severe.

"You got yourself into this mess, you can get yourself out of it."

To those who look at his tax proposal and ask, ''How can a Republican governor do that?'' Kempthorne has a simple answer: ''We do not have a printing press in the state.''

But aren't the problems of government too nuanced and complex to be explained by such simplisme?

He slashed the Idaho state budget once and slashed it again. Now, Kempthorne, who previously cut taxes 48 times, is holding town hall meetings across his very Republican, fiscally conservative state to explain why he is promoting new taxes.

This must have been a recent revelation.

Voters are telling him they don't want cuts in education and they don't want new taxes, In response this governor is opting to tell them the tough truth: They can't have one without the other.

"How much you wanna pay?"

The New York Times a politically neutral, nonpartisan publication recently reported that at least 24 states, 13 with Republican governors, are considering ways to raise taxes. It is unclear whether the proposals will make it into law. In California, for example, which faces a $35 billion budget gap, Governor Gray Davis is seeking $8.3 billion in tax increases; Republican legislators are vowing to resist them.

That happens when you fuck up deregulation of the electric companies.

Such knee-jerk resistance defies the reality of budget cuts and the often dramatic truth they represent. In Idaho, Kempthorne says his moment of truth came when a disabled citizen in an electric wheelchair approached him after he took action to reduce the budget of every state agency by 10 percent.

Communicating through a message board on his wheelchair, the man told the governor that the last round of budget cutbacks took away services essential to his ability to maintain an independent lifestyle.

I wonder what 'essential services' they're talking about. Maybe she's blowing smoke again? Thanks for the specifics, Joan.

Kempthorne went back to his office, checked the information, and realized it was correct. He restored the money for those programs but was forced to acknowledge a larger truth. He could not continue to cut the state budget without hurting more and more people. And even if he continued cutting, Idaho would still face a budget shortfall. As he told Idaho citizens in his January address: ''I believe in limited government. I believe in lean government. But I also believe in providing essential functions of government.''

You're not the man in Idaho sitting in the electric wheelchair, so why should you care? Perhaps you do not even believe helping him maintain an independent lifestyle is one of government's essential functions.

To propose a tax increase based on the interests of one man? I believe that's a new low for Joan.

But listen to governors, Democrats and Republicans, discuss their state budget situations at the Governors Association opening press conference and it is clear that they believe that essential government services are at risk.

But Joan, what happened to 'everyone must share the pain'? Isn't that what you said about Mitt Romney's budget cuts a few weeks ago?

When it comes to providing services, ''we all do the same things,'' noted Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns. ''We incarcerate people, we educate people, we provide health and human services.'' To cut spending, you have to ''go where the money is spent. It affects real people.''

Can't you just get rid of some hacks instead?

''You can emasculate state government. The debate is, what price will people pay?'' concluded Governor Paul E. Patton of Kentucky, chairman of the Governors Association.

I like that word, emasculate. So apocalyptic.

In Washington this week, most governors will be clear in laying out the choices. But here is the truth that many are afraid to admit: As revenue sources continue to shrivel, they need what Kempthorne said he needed. To maintain essential services, they need more money from taxpayers.

And votes. Don't forget the votes.

Joan Vennochi's e-mail address is

This story ran on page A21 of the Boston Globe on 2/25/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.


I think PETA's new Web site is, well, a little over the top.

Do the PETA people really expect to win converts with this?

Ten Easy Ways

To screw up your tax return.

This public service announcement clusterfuck courtesy of your government.

Darwin Award Nominees - Impoverished Arab Country Division

I went to a wedding and a gunfight broke out!

Maybe they've learned a lesson - do not do this with anti-aircraft guns in a war zone.

Captain Hairdo Update

Well, not the distinguished Senator himself, but his terribly honest spokesman:

"The country is clearly ambivalent about Iraq," (Chris) Lehane says. "Kerry has been exactly where the country is.

That's clarity for you.

Interesting Perspective

It's more like pretentious European bullshit.

Arts in the United States have never enjoyed the kind of government support seen in most European countries. The prospect of state governments abandoning their responsibilities towards culture altogether is something new, however.

There you have it. Government exists to establish culture, and we should be 'more like Europe'.

Making matters worse, private donations to the arts are also drying up as the squeeze on the economy tightens.

Life sucks when you have to compete, doesn't it?


Donahue is outta there.

I still love the 'deer in headlights' look with that picture. Kills me every time.

UPDATE - There's a new name for the show - Gonahue!

Darwin Award Nominee - Palestinian Division

I believe all people should develop good hand-eye coordination.

Palestinian sources said that Abu Ali Baghdadi, a former bodyguard of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, was "playing" with the grenade at his home when it exploded.

Cashin' In

The inventor of the Kalashnikov discovers capitalist marketing techniques.

This week, it was confirmed that Mr Kalashnikov has struck a deal with a German company allowing it to use his name on a range of "manly" products — from snowboards and umbrellas to shaving foam, watches and penknives.

Watch for a snowboard craze in Pakistan any day now...

I'd Say Charlestown where these boys are from.

News Flash

U.S. jets bomb Iraqi missile systems in northern Iraq

Get used to it, Saddam. You asked for it.

Monday, February 24, 2003
Captain Hairdo Update - Moratorium Lifted

I made do on my pledge. Now I can pick up where I left off.

To understand why Democrats lack credibility in the war against terror, consider the under-reported comments of current Presidential front-runner John Kerry.

Asked after a February 9 Boston speech (televised later on C-SPAN) about the U.S. war on drugs, Senator Kerry referred to the recent bombing at Club Nogal in Bogotá, Colombia. "It seems to be a renewal of a kind of chaos fueled partly by guerrillas who have legitimate complaints and the combination of drugs and war and the drug lords," he said (our emphasis).

Apply this logic to al-Queda and its offshoots, and you should get the picture.

Win Some, Lose Some

The asshats who sued the federal government last week to stop the war with Iraq last week in their quest.

Tauro said given the Congressional resolution approved in October, he could not find evidence of any conflict between the will of the executive and legislative branches.

''Case law makes clear that the Congress does not have the exclusive right to determine whether or not the United States engages in war,'' he said.

The judge denied the plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction and dismissed their lawsuit.

The lawsuit was brought by U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit, five other Democratic members of Congress and a group of U.S. service members and their parents.

Better luck next time, losers.

Saddam Talking Smack

He might as well, since his army can't fight.

"Bush Lacks Manhood and Chivalry". That's rich, coming from someone who takes Viagra.

Lance Armstrong Update

Lance and soon to be former wife Kristin are separating, for reasons unknown at this time.

Deep Thoughts

By Jennifer Lopez.

"It's sort of like you know how women are like with their bags and purses? You have all your stuff in there. Everyone knows it's your purse and no one looks in it. And it's like someone comes along and your bag gets dumped out in front of everyone, and everyone sees what's in there.

"Except they misinterpret everything in there. No, it's not lipstick, it's a gun! Or it's a secret spy weapon!"

Oh boy, is Ben Affleck going to get tired of this real quick.

Earth To Europe

Who fuckin' asked you?

Their arrogance knows no bounds...

Friday, February 21, 2003
Rethink This Headline

I got sick when I read this one:

Nation's heart goes out to transplant victim

The irony is lost on them, apparently. Especially in light of the aftereffects of the transplant error. For the first time since I've been blogging, I'm at a loss for words.

Where Do They Find These People?

PETA complains about the use of the phrase 'Axis of Weasels'.

Look at Ingrid's face, real close. Methinks she's a bit defensive, non?

One More Last Chance?

Is anyone else getting sick of all these last chances we're giving to the Butcher of Baghdad?

Cyclist Fined - For Speeding!

Mario Cipollini was on a training ride and was probably in the 53 x 11 tooth when he was pulled over by The Man and given a speeding ticket. Really!

I'm sorry, you need guys like this in the Tour de France. What he has going for him is breaking the Tour of Italy's career stage win record set by Alfredo Binda. He needs one more stage win to tie it and two to break it. If he rides like that, it's a done deal. Go, Super Mario!

State House Patronage?

Say it isn't so, Tommy!

Four days before he left office, with the state facing a fiscal crisis, Senate President Thomas F. Birmingham quietly handed out payments totaling about $214,000 to four top Senate staffers who helped out on his gubernatorial campaign.

The payments were recorded by the state as compensation for unused vacation time. One Birmingham staff member, fiscal director John McGinn, received $88,700 - equivalent to 53 weeks of pay, according to state records. Birmingham's chief of staff, Ted Constan, received $50,163 for 30 weeks of unused vacation time, and Constan's wife, press secretary Alison Franklin, was paid $29,898 for 18 weeks.

Christine Carroll, Birmingham's executive assistant, was paid $44,848, the equivalent of 27 weeks of pay. All of the payments were processed on Dec. 28; Birmingham's term ended Jan. 1, and all four left state government with Birmingham.

You mean this son of a bitch didn't crawl up your ass like he told me he would? I'm so disappointed...

Trash Talkin'

Molly Ivins isn't happy with the anti-Saddam crowd.

Trashing the war critics doesn't help

Doesn't help what, exactly? It helps me to expose what passes for your thought process.

By Molly Ivins, 2/21/2003

AUSTIN, Texas - BEFORE WE ALL work ourselves into such righteous snits we can't even talk to one another anymore, let's see what we can agree on. Wanting to get rid of Saddam Hussein does not make anyone a bloodthirsty monster or a tool of the oil companies. Being worried to death about the consequences of invading Iraq does not make anyone unpatriotic or in favor of Saddam Hussein.

Does this mean you want to get rid of Saddam Hussein? Clarity helps.

Whether 'tis better to kill the snake or leave the snake alone, that is one question. But the question we're stuck on now is whether there's a better choice. Some of us think containment can work, and the reason we think so is because it already has. More Iraqi weapons were destroyed by United Nations inspectors in the '90s than were destroyed by the Gulf War. Why not see if it will work this time? What about a UN resolution saying, ''Any place Saddam Hussein doesn't let the inspectors go into gets bombed immediately''?

Containment has been going on for 12 years, in which time Saddam has been inching ever so closer to having a nuclear bomb. Would you like to see a finished product by 'containing' him for another 12 years? How much of the 'destroyed' Iraqi weapons were rebuilt during this time? We don't know, because we can't verify anything since Iraq is playing games with us.

The reason we don't have that resolution, Molly, is because of countries like the Axis of Weasels France and Germany. When there's 18 resolutions that declare everything short of the 'or else we start bombing', I think that one would be unnecessary. Like you'd actually agree with such a 'warmongering' declaration.

The president did an unfortunate disservice to the cause of reasonable debate Tuesday when he said of the worldwide demonstration against the impending war: ''Some in the world don't view Saddam Hussein as a risk to peace. I respectfully disagree.'' Painting the antiwar movement as pro-Hussein gets us nowhere.

The Human Shield Brigade and others of that mindset effectively agree with Hussein. Peace In Our Time, indeed.

What the Europeans are trying to say is not that they think Saddam Hussein is harmless - we've got near-universal agreement that the man is a miserable SOB, including, as near as one can tell, from most Iraqis. The difference is over how to handle him, and the United States has put itself in the unfortunate position of looking as though we'd rather go to war, unprovoked, than work at a way to defang Hussein peacefully. It is this bellicosity that is so unbecoming to us and so troubling to many of our allies. Why this disdainful dismissal of a peaceful alternative?

Once again, Einstein, we've been dealing with him 'peacefully' for 12 long years. This has not worked. There's only one truly effective course of action left.

It seems to me quite reasonable that friends might differ over whether Hussein is better handled by invasion or by containment. Why this should lead directly to our throwing around names likes ''Euroweenies'' and ''EUnuchs'' is beyond me.

Because those names are accurate?

Timothy Garton Ash, a British writer, put his finger on an important aspect of American anti-Europeanism: ''The most outspoken American Euro-bashers are neoconservatives using the same sort of combative rhetoric they have habitually deployed against American liberals,'' he wrote. Precisely.

Us regular conservatives might take issue with that. Why is it that backing up Iraqi disarmament with military force is characterized as 'combative', like it's a bad thing? It is only the threat of using such force that makes the UN resolutions effective. Since a threat no longer deters Hussein, guess what option is left? By not complying with these 18 UN resolutions, Saddam's calling our bluff.

Richard Perle, chair of the Pentagon's Defense Advisory Board, goes around Europe behaving as though he thought he were on ''Crossfire,'' and Donald Rumsfeld is just as bad. ''Crossfire'' combatants are not noted for their diplomacy. Using the language of right-wing radio talk show hosts, complete with macho posturing, is reassuring to no one.

And this is bad, because...?

Bush once described something as ''the language of diplomatic nuanced circles.'' One could wish he were rather more practiced in it. It is not reassuring to be told we are going to war because he ''has already seen this movie'' and is bored by it. Far be it from me to discourage blunt speaking, but issues of war and peace are not aided by displays of petty impatience. There is something deeply unserious about it.

I'd say a 12 year stretch exhibits remarkable patience, unless I'm watching a glacier melt.

It is this cavalier streak in our foreign policy, the contemptuous dismissal of peaceful alternatives, that makes some Europeans conclude this administration is dangerous. What your mama told you about flies and honey is still true. Why not try persuasion instead of bullying? For that matter, why not see if the inspections work before racing into this ''preventive war''?

One question, Molly - how long is enough?

The diplomatic situation continues to deteriorate.

Because Iraq is impeding the inspections.

Not to use the language of ''diplomatic nuanced circles,'' Turkey is now holding us up for a bigger bribe. The Clinton Bush administration has made a complete hash of North Korean policy. On Feb. 5, the deputy director of the North Korean Foreign Ministry, Ri Pyong gap, told the Guardian: ''The US says that after Iraq, we are next. But we have our own countermeasures. Preemptive attacks are not the exclusive right of the US.'' Great, just what we worried about when Bush first announced this preemptive war doctrine - it's catching.

This explains everything - Molly Ivins will accept at face value any utterance by a Stalinist dictatorship, but reflexively disagrees with anything said by any member of a Republican administration.

In Africa, they think the United States is trying to sabotage the UN because it is now headed by Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian. Even Nelson Mandela said, ''Both Bush as well as Tony Blair are trying to undermine an idea'' - the United Nations - ''that was supported by their predecessors. Is this because the secretary general is now a black man? They never did that when secretary generals were white.''

Typical liberal tactic here - playing the race card, dealt from the bottom of the deck.

Look, the rest of the world is deeply worried about the possibility that this war could set off a holocaust. That is not a concern that should be treated with contemptuous dismissal.

Worried about enraging the Arab StreetTM? Real Americans don't, and shouldn't, be cowed by such threats, or else we should just start bowing towards Mecca five times a day. 'Tis better to die on my feet than to live on my knees.

Molly Ivins is a certified moron syndicated columnist.

Here's a drink I suggest idiots like Molly ought to swill down in large quantities:

You Tell 'Em Joe!

This story ran on page A19 of the Boston Globe on 2/21/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

Thursday, February 20, 2003
Maybe It's A Full Moon

...and everyone around us has gone hopping mad. I don't have a problem with Bono being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize (which is remarkable for a musician, I think), but I do with one of the Founding Fathers of the Axis of Weasels.

Once In A Blue Moon

Joan Vennochi makes sense.

Yes, I'm as shocked as you are. However, I don't think she quite demonstrates on what level(s) President Bush is supposedly miscommunicating. Maybe she missed the two States of The Union addresses?

Other than that, I'll give her a 9 (out of 10) for that article.

It's Official

Richard Gephardt, consummate political hack former House Minority Leader, is officially in the race for the Democratic nominee for President in 2004.

There's a bunch of people in the race already. How does Dick plan on separating himself from the pack?

"My economic plan begins at the beginning. We have to scrap the vast majority of the Bush tax cuts for wealthier Americans and corporations. And I'll tell you why: They're unaffordable, unsustainable and patently unfair," the Missouri native said.

Gephardt also said he would create:

— A trust fund for homeland security costs.

— A Teacher Corps in which the government would help pay tuition for students who agreed to teach for five years after college.

— An international minimum wage, different for every nation, that would be established through the World Trade Organization.

"My economic plan begins at the beginning." That's fucking brilliant. Where else would it start, master of the obvious?

The Great French Dope Hope

No, not Jacques Chiraq, but professional cyclist Florent Brard. He's currently suspended from cycling for taking corticoids, a banned substance. Let's find out why:

Brard tested positive for corticoid use on August 15 2002, but claims he took the medication for the injuries he suffered from crashing at the GP Midi Libre three months earlier – and forgot to declare the prescription on his medical record.

He 'forgot to declare the prescription'. Well, you can forget about cycling for another few months.

Good luck in the Tour de France - You'll need it.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003
It's Not Over Yet

If people wonder when the recession's going to end, check out this article to assess how the second mortgage industry hinders personal spending.

Near the center of this degeneration is the transformation of the home mortgage from a means of savings to a means of spending. The American mortgage enabled our parents to move from property renters to homeowners. After thirty years, “burning the mortgage” was a rite of passage to true financial independence.

Today, extracting cash from homes has become a great hidden slush fund supporting current levels of consumer spending and, therefore, the American economy generally. Mortgage pushers offer cash-out refinancing and home equity loans. One new type of mortgage automatically increases the home equity credit line based on monthly mortgage repayments and quarterly increases in the appraised value of the house.

Read the whole thing, especially if you have a large second mortgage.

There He Goes Again

The great geopolitical strategist Bob Kuttner has a problem with the way President Bush is conducting the war on terrorism.

Grasping Bush's overreach

Bob has trouble grasping concepts...

By Robert Kuttner, 2/19/2003

PRESIDENT BUSH'S Iraq policy is frightening in its own right, but it is even more ominous as the first step in a new global grand design. The emerging Bush Doctrine goes something like this: The 9/11 attacks signaled a new kind of threat to America and all open societies. Unlike ''mutually assured destruction,'' in which the United States and USSR essentially held each other's civilian population hostage, nuclear deterrence can't work against terrorists, since terrorists are both stateless and suicidal.

Jesus Christ, Bob, you're ignorance is what's frightening. How do you think al-Queda was able to run out of Afghanistan and Pakistan without the help of the Taliban and the ISI? I've shown what public knowledge exists of ties between Iraq and al-Queda. Terrorism is not easily sustained without states that support them, like Iran to Hezbollah. Get it yet?

While it is necessary to increase border security, civil defense, and intelligence efforts drastically, these are not sufficient. For terrorism is so far-flung, and so easily concealed, that a free society can never fully protect itself. What, then, to do?

We've started with Afghanistan, then onto Iraq, then we see where the evidence goes from there.

Bush's strategists have an answer as audacious as it is grandiose: Just get rid of hostile regimes and societies. As Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith told The New Yorker's Nicholas Lemann, a war to establish democracy in Iraq ''might be inspirational for people throughout the Middle East.'' And what the administration can't achieve via inspiration, it will do by force.

So what's the real problem with that? I didn't hear you complain when Clinton lobbed cruise missiles into Iraq, Sudan and Afghanistan. I can guess what the common thread is.

This strategy is one part Woodrow Wilson (''make the world safe for democracy'') and one part Winston Churchill -- not the aging bulldog who stood up to Hitler in 1939, but the Churchill, who as colonies minister in 1921, redrew the map of the Middle East and installed friendly monarchs. These were the regimes overthrown half a century later by Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the Shiite mullahs in Iran -- very different tyrannies with an abiding hatred of each other and a common hatred of the United States. The trouble is that Wilson and Churchill don't mix. But Bush's grand strategists would combine the idealistic expansion of liberal democracy with the realpolitik of American dominion and imagine a blend that produces regional stability and global trust.

"and a common hatred of the United States". That says it all, doesn't it?

A related false premise is that most of the world, given the choice, really wants to be just like us. Isn't that why they all want to migrate here? But much of the Middle East -- particularly our closest Arab allies -- are far from Western-style democracies. How will these friendly, authoritarian regimes react to an American grand design that essentially plans their demise? Saudi Arabia has already reacted by deciding to speed up eviction of US troops.

I never recalled Bush saying other countries want to be 'just like us'. Maybe not living under the boot of fascist dictators, maybe, but the premise of the War On Terrorism is not to establish a bunch of 'Mini-Me's', but wipe out the threat against us. Did you forget about this declaration, Bob?

There is also a wishful analogy to Western Europe after World War II or Eastern Europe after the Cold War, when America was a role model and liberating hero. But many decent Muslims, even those who want press freedoms, free elections, and civil rights for women, view Western commercial culture as decadent and America as a bully. After an Iraq war, with civilian casualties, will we be welcomed as liberators or resented as occupying puppetmasters?

I think the Iraqi people would welcome the chance to live as free people. Remember Saddam's recent election, where he got 100 percent of the vote? You think that was done by their own free will? Please.

The Middle East has too many distant memories of Christian crusades and too many recent memories of American alliances with dictators. In free, democratic elections, much of the region would elect radical Islamists.

Yes, let's bring up the Crusades, which happened centuries ago. That's justification enough to fly planes into the World Trade Center, isn't it?

Finally, military adventures in unfriendly territory seldom work out as planned. An Iraq war would lead to greater regional instability and unforeseen complications long before it led, if ever, to a Muslim Switzerland. The saber-rattling on Iraq has already inflamed a more serious threat in Korea. What's next? Will Muslim, nuclear Pakistan, nominally a US ally, use the distraction to settle scores with secular, nuclear India?

A few questions, Bob. Do you think the Middle East is stable now? Do you mean we'll have a tougher time in Iraq this time around? Would you care to guess the defection rate of Iraqi soldiers? Oh, and India seems to have a certain technological advantage over Pakistan. You blame Bush worry too much, Bob.

Still, the Bush people win reluctant converts because they at least have an over-arching conception, however excessive, of American leadership in a new, terrorized world.

As opposed to doing nothing? Sit back and enjoy it? That's not our style. Maybe yours, Bob, but not America's.

As skeptical an analyst as The New York Times's Thomas Friedman recently wrote that the new global division is between the forces of order and of disorder. The former includes the United States, European Union, Russia, China, India, and smaller orderly nations. The ''disorderly'' include ''rogue states'' (like Iraq), ''failed states'' (like Liberia), ''messy states'' (Pakistan, Columbia), and terrorists. According to Friedman, the orderly must bring order to the rest. Only the United States can lead, and the others should get with the program. ''Too little American power will only lead to the World of Disorder expanding.''

So, a major liberal columnist agrees with Bush. Maybe he's smarter than you are, Bob.

But this conclusion lets Bush off the hook far too easily. For it is Bush's grandiose unilateralism that frightens allies and fragments the alliance of the orderly. Here is the paradox of American power: Unlike a pure occupying force, our authority must be earned.

"And goddamn it, I'm not going to let Bush off the hook at all!"

Yes, we do need to expand the realm of democratic liberty, just as we need to constrain rogue regimes and terrorists. But for that to succeed, America more than anything needs international collaboration and respect. Bush's overreach is squandering both.

So, you admit we're a force for good, it's just that we can't do it with force or with a Republican as President. We'll just ask France, then.

Robert Kuttner is co-editor of The American Prospect. His column appears regularly in the Globe.

This story ran on page A19 of the Boston Globe on 2/19/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

He's Dreaming

...of a white Christmas...

Saddam Hussein Takes Viagra

I have the proof right here (another Mark L. production).

It's The End Of The World As We Know It

Bill Clinton, U.N. Secretary General.

I'd like to help with that next "major international move". The time to kick the U.N. out of New York City has long since passed.

Survivor, Texas Style

I'd pay to see this contest (assist to: Mark L.):

You gonna participate?
Subject: Survivor Texas-Style

Due to the popularity of the Survivor shows, Texas is planning to do its own, entitled Survivor - Texas Style.

The contestants will start in Dallas, travel to Waco, Austin, San Antonio, over to Houston and down to Brownsville. They will then proceed up to Del Rio, on to El Paso, then to Midland, Odessa, Lubbock and Amarillo.From there, they'll proceed to Abilene, Ft. Worth and finally back to Dallas.

Each will be driving a pink Volvo with a bumper sticker that reads:
"I'm gay, I'm a vegetarian, I voted for Al Gore, George Bush Sucks, Hillary in 2004, and I'm here to confiscate your guns!"

The first one to make it back to Dallas alive wins.

Snow Rage

All that shoveling got to this schmuck in Framingham.

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. - A Framingham man was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon after he allegedly attacked a plow driver with a shovel after the driver blocked his driveway with snow.

This guy deserves to be arrested. Snowplows are under no obligation to make sure any driveway is clear of plowed snow, they're paid to clear the streets, and that's it.

The thing is, this guy's going to get abused every single time it snows. I'd make it a point of burying his driveway, and the cops, knowing about his arrest, will think he's crying wolf. Heh heh heh.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003
That Didn't Take Long

The birth of a new web site - The Axis Of Weasels.

Of course, country specific sites France Stinks and Germany Stinks are more of the obligatory pilling on.

The Big Tent?

Precisely what Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi is hoping for.

Maybe Hillary should jump in, too

By Joan Vennochi, 2/18/2003

WHO'S NEXT? Mario Cuomo?

It sure would be fitting.

The field of Democrats thinking about getting into the 2004 presidential race is thick with potential candidates who are either dreaming about reversing a prior bad campaign experience or seeking one last blast of political glory - or maybe just craving a little attention.

How about candidates who have good ideas about running the country?

Those supposedly flirting with a presidential run include US Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, who dropped out of a presidential run 15 years ago following accusations of plagiarism, and former Senator Gary Hart of Colorado, who was forced out of his run after revelations about an extra-marital affair.

Seems to me that Joe Biden committed plagiarism, Joan, not merely 'was accused of' it. So he and Hart are damaged goods. Who's Next?

Other Democrats also said to be interested race include Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, Florida Senator Bob Graham, and former Illinois Senator Carol Moseley Braun.

Ah, what fine choices we have from the Democratic menu. Christopher Dodd, who likes a different kind of sandwich and Moseley-Braun, who 'forgot' to pay her fair share. That leaves Graham as your one good candidate.

These mullers - and there are more - seek to join a Democratic primary field that is already fairly flush with declared candidates. It includes three US senators: John Edwards of North Carolina, John Kerry of Massachusetts, and Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut. Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean and the Rev. Al Sharpton are in the race. Missouri congressman Richard Gephardt, who also sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988, is set to announce his candidacy this week.

Edwards seems too young (maybe in 2008, unless St. Hillary runs then), Kerry can't make big decisions without the endless, painful Hamlet routine, Dean's probably too liberal for the rest of America outside of Vermont, and Al Sharpton is a fraud. In this bunch, you're left with Lieberman.

Why are so many Democrats suddenly so anxious to take on an incumbent Republican president?

I don't know, you're the freakin' opinion columnist...

The self-flattering analysis of their own presidential prospects appears to cover the following thinking points:

George W. Bush won. Why can't I?

As backhanded a compliment as you can give to a President.

Someone has to catch fire. If Jimmy Carter or John McCain could do it, what about me?

What about Richard Pryor?

After the Clinton presidency, serial womanizing is no longer an obstacle.

Don't be too sure about that. The Lewinsky incident happened in his second term, so even with the Flowers incident, that was only one (at that time). The electorate never got to judge him after Monica.

They are somewhere between decades and want to do something really special to celebrate their next birthday; the same is true for the political consultants who are advising them.

What on earth are you talking about?

A healthy political ego explains some, but not all, of the analysis.

That's a given, Joan. Some people might read your column for actual insight. How about some?

When George Bush the elder held office, Democrats with presidential aspirations were more timid about acting on their fantasies. That was a mistake, allowing the governor of Arkansas to become president of the United States.

It's more likely that Bush was a better choice then the tank commander, Dukakis.

As they contemplate 2004, Democrats are looking at a different Bush, engaging in another conflict in the Middle East, and facing another period of unsettled economic times. Those who hang back this time just might have to watch a former governor of Vermont take up residence in the White House.

What happens when we hang Saddam Hussein by a lamppost and (not as likely) the economy comes back?

A recent CBS-New York Times poll shows that only 35 percent of Americans think the country is headed in the right direction, while 56 percent say it is going the wrong way. If you are a Democratic presidential hopeful, you are heartened by that trend. It would seem to be a good springboard for the next Democratic presidential nominee.

A poll by the New York Times. Nope, no bias there.

Headlines about war and a weak economy also seem to put the incumbent in a more vulnerable political position - at least if you are a Democrat. As the bad news flushes out Democratic candidates from all over the country, it also raises speculation about the one Democrat who would instantly redefine the field: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

Gadzooks! It's the Doomsday Device!

The conventional wisdom is that 2008 will be Hillary's year. But 2004 is tempting everyone else - why not the Clintons?

Tempting - is this setting up for a good intern joke, or what?

The media's attention would instantly lock onto a Clinton candidacy. All the old controversies would resurface. The Hillary-lovers and the Hillary-haters would have a fabulous, fun-filled face-off. And once that happened, it would probably ensure George W. Bush's return to the White House.

Yup, that works for me. Lots of fun blogging opportunities then.

Hillary Clinton is too polarizing a personality to win the presidency in 2004. But given the retreads and overachievers looking at the race to be the Democratic presidential nominee, she has every right to think really hard about it.

Speaking of 'really hard', how's the ex-President doing nowadays?

Joan Vennochi's e-mail address is

This story ran on page A11 of the Boston Globe on 2/18/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

Darwin Award Nominee

It's painful to see perfectly preventable deaths because teenagers insist on performing stunts from movies. I fail to understand why they cannot separate reality from fantasy.

I give 50-50 odds that the parents will sue the producers of 'Blue Crush', the movie where this stunt originally took place.

Dead On Arrival

Unhappy with the success of Rush Limbaugh, Neal Boortz and other conservative radio talk-show hosts, the DemocRATS plan to send the likes of Al Franken to lead the liberal charge against them.

"We believe this is a tremendous business opportunity," Atlanta radio executive Jon Sinton said Monday. Sinton, who would be the network's chief executive, added, "There are so many right-wing talk shows, we think it's created a hole in the market you could drive a truck through."

Keep on truckin' good buddy! But let's talk about markets for a minute. I believe that liberals, in general, are statists / Big Government types precisely because they either do not understand markets or are afraid of markets and competition. After all, this is why liberal radio talk shows have failed so miserably in the past.

How's Donahue's show doing, by the way?

It's Circus Time!

With the recent additions of Moseley-Braun and this asshat, there are now eight Democratic candidates for President in 2004.

The esteemed Congressman, very popular in certain political circles, is one of the group of congressmen (and women) who sued the White House last week in order to prevent us from kicking Saddam's ass going to war against Iraq, even though there's already such a congressional declaration.

It's interesting how Kucinich is against this war but was for the war in Kosovo. Here's a bit more on his background. I'm sure we'll see more in the upcoming months.

A Whiter Shade Of Gray

There's a petition initiative going around in California to remove Governor Gray Davis from office.

I think he's a dick, too, but didn't you guys have an election a few months ago?

"This petition being circulated calls for a brand new election this summer at the cost of $25 million to the taxpayers, according to the secretary of state," he said.

This is one of the few times Governor Davis seems to be concerned about how much a particular government activity will cost. Maybe he could ask his old pal for the cash? After all, he is worth millions.

If Ted Roosevelt Were President

"...he would make George Bush look like Jane Fonda and the left would be doing the funky chicken regarding his views about US foreign policy."

Yeah, I'm disgusted with the 'popular support' the protestors seem to be garnering, but I sleep well at night knowing history is on our side.

I wonder if my old male fisk doll 'friend' Michael Safrin has any comment on that?

Monday, February 17, 2003
State Mottos

There's something to be said about truth in advertising. I do agree with the New Hampster Hampshire and Massachusetts ones. They're wicked pisser...

Feelin' Like John Holmes

Uh, not exactly, but I just measured 12 inches (of snow) here in the driveway in Quincy.

I can't wait to shovel it tomorrow morning...

The Boston Globe - Always Accurate

Globe Ombudsman Christine Chinlund responds to upset readers.


Fetus or baby?

By Christine Chinlund, 2/17/2003

THE GLOBE WAS technically correct when it referred to the youngest shooting victim in the Feb. 5 MBTA Orange Line tragedy as a ''fetus.'' But sometimes you can be technically correct and wrong at the same time. This was one of those times.

It seems you're wrong a lot of the time. Hire any new editors lately?

The facts like we'll see them: On the night of Feb. 5, Hawa Adama Barry, in the ninth month of pregnancy, was shot in the abdomen during a stand-off between two groups of young men on the T.

This should be a case where the Globe people actually support the death penalty.

Early reports from authorities suggested that the baby died in the womb. Thus, the Globe's headline the next day read: ''Passenger shot, her fetus dies as men clash on T.'' Other media outlets had similar accounts but used ''unborn baby'' rather than ''fetus.''

Yes, technically, the Globe is correct. What did the liberals pro-choice crowd say about this?

Readers were quick to object to ''fetus.'' A few echoed the abortion-related debate about when life begins, but most argued that the use of such a clinical word to describe an almost full-term baby made the Globe look silly and insensitive.


''I thought it truly dehumanized the tragic murder, especially for the mother but also for those who have children and recognize that a parent refers to a baby weeks from birth as just that -- a baby,'' wrote one reader who, with his wife, had suffered lost pregnancies. ''This has nothing to do with the abortion debate -- though I can hear the `prolife' people now. It has everything to do with the death of a child.''

So you're both right. Why are you bitching about it?

Kerri Bean from Milton called to say the Globe's word choice so ''horrified'' several of her friends that they wanted to cancel the paper. ''This is not a matter of being prochoice or not,'' she said. ''It's a matter of being a mother.''

Milton's an affluent town, Christine. Can't lose all those readers. Have you mastered the Art of Spin yet?

Wrote another subscriber: ''Those criminals on the train committed murder, not abortion'' -- and indeed several readers pointed out that police hope to bring murder charges against the shooter. Yet another reader, noting that ''Every other news channel, TV, and newspaper called it a baby,'' demanded to know how the Globe came to use ''fetus.'' He added: ''I'm sure there's some sort of angle here.''

I bet he's right. I'm wondering if the liberals here appreciate the irony of the debate, where certain conservatives equate aborting a 'fetus' as an act of murder.

Several readers suggested what that angle might be. Wasn't this, they asked, a not-so-subtle attempt by the liberal Globe (whose editorial page supports abortion rights) to make the point that life doesn't begin until birth?


While I agree with critics who say ''fetus'' was not the best word choice for this story, I don't agree its use had anything to do with political correctness or the abortion debate. Some pretty impartial sources, from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to Webster's Dictionary, say that any unborn child is considered a fetus. The US Supreme Court has said so, too. The Globe had plenty of reason to use the word other than to please abortion rights activists or make a political statement on behalf of abortion rights.

That's it. In the eyes of the Supreme Court, they're not persons and not subject to protection by the Fourteenth Amendment. Naturally, there is a bit of disagreement with this interpretation.

So how was the decision to use ''fetus'' made?

Bureaucratic snafu?

The night of the shooting, night desk staffers -- who didn't receive the story until after midnight -- debated the word choice question. There were clear arguments on both sides, says Night Editor David Jrolf. Finally, as third edition deadline loomed, he telephoned Michael Larkin, deputy managing editor for news operations, at home. Larkin ruled in favor of ''fetus,'' and the paper went to press.

He'll be unemployed shortly.

The next day -- as newsroom discussion continued -- the issue was made moot by new information: The baby had been delivered in the hospital and had lived a short time. Thus, he died as a newborn. Globe stories thereafter switched from ''fetus'' to ''baby'' (further confusing some readers).

Now I'm sure he'll be fired, er, 'reassigned' shortly.

Larkin says be believed ''fetus'' was the correct word for the first-day story because Webster's definition clearly fit: ''An unborn offspring, especially in its later stages and specifically in humans, from about the eighth week after conception until birth.''

Dude, you work for the Boston Globe, remember?

Case closed? Maybe not. The Globe's editor thinks the matter merits more discussion.

Yes. Like the size of Michael Larkin's severance package.

''I think we should discuss this internally when editors are not forced to make snap judgments on deadline,'' says Editor Martin Baron. ''The terms `fetus' and `unborn child' have become highly charged elements in the abortion debate. I suspect we can convey the same facts without wading into that debate. Language like `the child the woman was bearing,' for example, might have achieved that.''

Maybe Larkin's now on life support instead, given the proverbial 'one last chance'?

Such a phrase would have worked well. So, too, would ''unborn baby'' -- a phrase that has been appropriated by the abortion debate but that can and should be reclaimed for use when it best describes the reality. This story qualifies.

More like 'equivocates', but what's in a word?

The T shooting story was about a life that ended just as it was to begin, and a mother's pain. It was not a legal brief, nor an article about Roe v. Wade -- stories where legally and medically precise language is essential.

You're just trying not to piss off your core constituency, why not admit it?

It was the kind of story where the usual rules, however well-intentioned, just didn't fit. License with the language was not only allowed, but required.

We'll see what happens with Larkin, then we can judge for sure.

One more thing, Christine - isn't the road to hell paved with good intentions?

So nice of you to respond to my inquiry, by the way. Thanks for being the consummate professional.

The ombudsman represents the readers. Her opinions and conclusions are her own. Phone 617-929-3020 or, to leave a message, 929-3022. Our e-mail address is

This story ran on page A13 of the Boston Globe on 2/17/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

Beatin' Around The Bush

The Globe editorial staff doesn't like one aspect of President Bush's federal budget. What a surprise.


Head start backward

Do I sense a funding cut somewhere?


TAX BREAKS for millionaires. No breaks for kids. That's the bad news in President Bush's proposed 2004 budget: Poor children get stuck with ill-conceived changes.

Since it's for The ChildrenTM, it's not to be questioned.

One victim is Head Start. Established in 1965, the federal program has helped build educational and social skills for more than 20 million low-income preschool children.

On paper, Bush's plans for Head Start sound great: He wants to give states more control over the federal program so they can set standards for content and teachers, run more all-day Head Start programs, and better link Head Start with local curriculums.

Local control is always good, since it tends to be more responsive to local needs. What's the real problem?

But this could be like hiring a starving man to be a waiter.

No, the North Korea column's tomorrow, guys...

Cash-starved states may make early-education cuts, then use Head Start money to fill the holes. There would be no net gain for children. And in some states there may be even fewer opportunities for early education.

New slogan: It's All About The FundingTM.

Bush also wants Head Start to focus more on literacy. He calls for moving the program out of the Department of Health and Human Services and into the Department of Education. Again this sounds like a fine idea. But part of what makes Head Start work is that it addresses many needs, including social services and parenting. Giving children educational and social capital -- such as nutritious food and good health care -- helps them become good students. And Head Start's focus on parents is invaluable. Informed, connected parents can provide daily confirmation of the importance of learning.

Never saw a federal handout you guys didn't like, did you? That's so liberal.

One thing Bush isn't saying is that national expectations matter. Since children don't vote or contribute to political campaigns, one way to protect their interests is by asking states to meet a federal standard of care. This includes Early Head Start, which reaches infants and toddlers, since many live in states without early education programs or with programs that only serve older children.

Forgive me for being rude, but where are the parents in all this? It's always bothered me that this newspaper has time and again treated such parents as hapless dolts, unable to function without direction or a check from Uncle Sam.

If Bush wants to improve Head Start, he should substantially increase funding. The Children's Defense Fund estimates that Head Start reaches only three of five eligible children. And Early Head Start reaches fewer than 3 percent of eligible children.

Yup, it's All About The FundingTM.

More money could also finance other improvements, such as helping current teachers improve their training and qualifications in early childhood education. With more money, Head Start could build better links to local school curriculums without compromising its national integrity.

Help current teachers improve their training. Somehow that doesn't sound like the intent of the Head Start program.

Head Start operates on a principle that all Americans can respect: Education triumphs over disadvantage. The program doesn't need experimental or harmful tinkering. It does need a continued and improving national commitment to give the poorest children solid educational advantages.

I'll be the first to argue that education should provide an opportunity to have disadvantaged children overcome their lot in life, although I've never personally derived any benefit from the Head Start program. The Bush plan proposes no increase in funding and a devolution of responsibility to the state and local levels. The Boston Globe editors may wish to consider the limitations of the federal government as a solution to all of our problems instead of pulling a Bob Kuttner laying all the blame at the President's feet.

This story ran on page A12 of the Boston Globe on 2/17/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

Sunday, February 16, 2003
Fan Mail - From Another Fan!

Oh, wait a minute, he's a poseur:

-----Original Message-----
From: Marc Brando []
Sent: Sunday, February 16, 2003 12:13 PM
Subject: Angry Cyclist

Dear Mr. Bournival;
As they say 'no good deed goes unpunished'.

This whole thing started when I politely and good-naturedly sent a well-
intentioned post to you that for some
bizarre reason known only to your shrink
made you react in the abhorrent psycho manner in which you did.

I would now have to admit that you're
absolutely correct about calling me a loser for finding myself at your blog.


Methinks Marc Brando Michael Safrin has a huge problem, among others, with the concept of cause and effect:


Sent: Sun 2/16/2003 1:24 PM

...and then you decide to throw some more gas onto the fire by insinuating I'm gay / infected with HIV, etc. with an e-mail nearly three months after the fact. How infantile is that, Michael / Marc Brando / Nom de jour? Why can't you let it go?

If you bother to honestly read your response to me on Thursday, November 28, 2002 10:20 PM, you're the one who starts with the argumentative tone and the insults, not me (check it here: ).

Since you can't let it go, now you decide to create yet another e-mail account to hide behind and throw more shit in my direction.

Really, who's the psycho here? I suggest a long look into the mirror.

You, sir, are pathetic.

And a loser.


If anyone's interested about this new domain, take a wild guess where it resolves to. Complete with the obligatory runtime errors. Way to code, pal.

Did you forget your meds this morning, Michael?

Truth In Advertising?

French President Jacques Chirac is not very convincing:

"France Is Not a Pacifist Country"

Did the reporter laugh in your face when you said that, Jacques?

Packing The House

Former Senator Carol Moseley-Braun was playing to a sellout crowd yesterday.

I believe they sold one ticket.

Go get 'em, former Senator...

Fan Mail - Civil, Well Reasoned Discourse

Well, that didn't take long, now did it?


-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Safrin []
Sent: Sunday, February 16, 2003 10:55 AM
To: Roger Bournival
Cc: 1
Subject: Re: Man, you're dumb...

I may very well be a loser but you're still a 'bendover buddy' and I'll
certainly never have to hear from you again now that you're address is blocked.


Well, Mike, admitting you have a problem is part of solving it. Ever hear of e-mail spoofing, Einstein? How would you like a few copies of my pagefile.sys? You want a bandwith war or something?


Being that HIV is a "virus" I really should be worried about getting e-mail
from a butt-fucker as yourself (or is it butt-fuckee?)

Why don't you post this at LGF,
you freak of nature?

--- Roger Bournival wrote:
You're Busted!



I'm no psychologist, but is Mike displaying projection or denial? Help me out here, folks.

OK, Mike, you asked for it.

Fan Mail - Mystery Solved

Man, this guy's pretty stupid. Look at the domain name from the e-mail sender below. You can type in in your browser, or click on this link. This URL resolves to my old 'friend's' home page, Michael Safrin, resident psychopath. The right hand side of his lame web page (nice runtime errors, Mike! Can you show me how to do that?) describes how to use Yahoo Services to create URL's and e-mail addresses to make it easier to harass people your own Web presence.

Yeah, Mike, you're real fuckin' clever. Now piss off, troll boy. Don't make me come looking for you.

You can send The Michael Safrin Fan Club some fan mail like I'm about to now. Can't wait for a response.

Saturday, February 15, 2003
Fan Mail

It seems my readership is becoming a bit more, uh, diverse.


-----Original Message-----
From: R Bournival Is HIV+ []
Sent: Saturday, February 15, 2003 6:51 PM
Subject: You're Angry Because..?

...Your favorite two-headed dildo got lost somewhere up your ass, you
cum-swallowing hemmorhoid-inflamed (sic),
HIV+ fruity pebble,you??


My brave, literate friend must be a pitcher, because he can't catch:


A message (from ) was received at 16 Feb 2003 2:35:49 +0000.

The following addresses had delivery problems:

Permanent Failure: Other address status
Delivery last attempted at Sun, 16 Feb 2003 02:35:49 -0000


How about a real address, tough guy?