Monday, October 31, 2005


Dear GWB,

This is the country that we should have attacked. You wouldn't have had to lie to us. They really do support terrorism, and are openly pursuing WMD, which they can use to threaten ours, and our allies' destruction.




Jersey Devil 

As someone who grew up in South Jersey, I was always somewhat scared of the legendary Jersey Devil. I once even thought I spotted the devil itself, in the Pine Barrens. However, today their are reports that the Jersey Devil MAY have come from the great imagination of Ben Franklin:
Two hundred and seventy-five years ago, Franklin likely wrote the fictitious story of a Burlington County witch trial conducted after neighbors saw sheep dance and sing.

Soon after, colonists concocted a story of a witch who gave birth to a devil child. In some versions the witch is from Burlington County.

Some historians theorize that the Pennsylvania Gazette story was taken as fact and set the stage for the myth's creation. The story appeared Oct. 22, 1730, and is as plausible an explanation as any for why colonists conceived the terrifying tale of the Jersey Devil, a horse-headed, winged, cloven-footed creature that devoured livestock and caused mayhem.

The Gazette story was not signed, but historians are almost certain Franklin wrote it. He ran the paper, after all. He enjoyed ghostwriting and once asked the Pennsylvania Assembly to scrap a law against witchcraft.

The witch-trial story, which takes place in Mount Holly, the seat of Burlington County, was a hoax. It may have been rooted in fact, but records are lost to history.

Franklin's satire of a group of 300 who "were gathered together to see an Experiment or two tried on some Persons accused of Witchcraft" pokes fun at supernatural beliefs. Some readers may not have gotten the joke.

Gentleman's Magazine, an influential English general-interest magazine circulating in the colonies, picked up the story in 1731. It printed an account of the trial as fact, according to historian John Bach McMaster

Honestly, if it was created by Franklin or not, I wouldn't want to wander around the Pine Barrens at night. A lot of bad things happen there.

Happy Halloween!


Rising Sun? 

Looks like the U.S. military might have a little help keeping China in place:
The ruling party on Friday approved its final draft of a proposed revision of Japan's pacifist constitution that would drop a clause outlawing war and give the military a greater role in international security, officials said.

Article 9 of Japan's current constitution — drafted by U.S. occupation forces and unchanged since 1947 — bars the use of military force in settling international disputes.

It also prohibits maintaining a military for warfare, though the Japanese government has interpreted that to mean the nation can have armed troops to protect itself, allowing the existence of its 240,000-strong Self-Defense Forces.

The Liberal Democratic Party's final draft cuts the "no war" clause from Article 9, and outlines an expanded role for the military.

In the approved draft, released on the party's Web site, the section currently titled "Renouncing War" will be renamed "National Security."

The change is part of a general push by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's government to give Japan a larger military and diplomatic profile in the world. Koizumi's party has also long campaigned for replacing the U.S.-drafted constitution with Japan's own.

On Friday, Koizumi said he hoped the draft would draw public attention and promote debate on a Constitutional revision.

"The constitution is an important issue, and we need to get support and understanding from other parties and the public," Koizumi told a group of reporters. "We'll never wage a war, but we should clearly state a possession of troops for self-defense so they're not misunderstood as unconstitutional."


Friday, October 28, 2005

Feel Good Friday 

Strong, Sweet Smell Reported in Manhattan
New York City has many odors, but when the city began to smell a little too good, New Yorkers became alarmed.

Residents from the southern tip of Manhattan to the Upper West Side nearly 10 miles north called a city hot line to report a strong odor Thursday night that most compared to maple syrup, The New York Times reported Friday.

There were so many calls that the city's Office of Emergency Management coordinated efforts with the Police and Fire Departments, the Coast Guard and the City Department of Environmental Protection to find the source of the mysterious smell.

Air tests haven't turned up anything harmful, but the source was still a mystery.

"We are continuing to sample the air throughout the affected area to make sure there's nothing hazardous," said Jarrod Bernstein, an emergency management spokesman. "What the actual cause of the smell is, we really don't know."

Although many compared the smell to maple syrup, others said it reminded them of vanilla coffee or freshly-baked cake. All seemed to agree that it was a welcome change from the usual city smells.

"It's like maple syrup. With Eggos (waffles). Or pancakes," Arturo Padilla told The Times as he walked in Lower Manhattan. "It's pleasant."
Have terrorists resorted to using breakfast odors, to destroy New Yorkers way of life?


Thursday, October 27, 2005

America's Secret War 

Is a great book by Stratfor founder George Friedman. I'm not quite finished it, but it's chock full of some interesting nuggets. Among them:


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

VP McCain? 

This rumor brought to you by The Washington Note:
Steve, just heard from trusted friend that McCain was approached about serving as VP if Cheney has "health problems" or otherwise steps down.

Beyond that, speculation that Miers will step down to be replaced by a Bork-like sub (even better, Bork himself...). In other words, Cheney takes a bullet, a titanic battle over SCOTUS ensued to change the subject. You didn't hear this from me, but feel free to pass on such unsubstantiated rumors.

Steve is right: Bush's ship is sinking. Now's not the time for McCain to jump aboard and go down with it. Bush may be hoping that a VP McCain may bring him back up. Perhaps, Democrats should hope that McCain goes down with Bush, thus knocking the President McCain threat off the table. Moreover, maybe that's exactly why Bush Co. wants McCain onboard.

Update 10/27 12:11 PM EST: McCain says No


Monday, October 24, 2005

Fuel Prices 

Fuel prices got you down? Use AAA's fuel price finder to locate the cheapest price near you (or which stations are gouging you) .


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 

A terrible price of war:
Army Spc. Joseph Dwyer angled a mirror out the back window of his apartment in El Paso, Texas, trying to make out the Iraqis in the evening gloom. He couldn't see them, but he felt that they were out there somewhere, ready to attack.

Holding his 9-mm handgun tight, the 29-year-old medic from Mount Sinai phoned in an air strike using military code. He directed the fighter jets to his own street address.

Then he heard a noise from the roof -- maybe an Iraqi trying to get in? -- and that's when Dwyer began firing.

Nobody was hurt in the three-hour standoff Oct. 6 in which Dwyer, deep in a post-traumatic stress-induced delusion, barricaded himself into his apartment, fighting off an imaginary Iraqi attack.

So much has changed for Joseph Dwyer. Only two and a half years earlier, in March 2003, a startling battlefield photograph of him cradling an injured Iraqi child showed America a hopeful image of the new war.

Dwyer, who is still in the service, is being treated by psychiatrists on the Army base in Fort Bliss, Texas. He was released on bail and faces a misdemeanor charge of discharging a firearm in a municipality.


Friday, October 21, 2005

Feel Good Friday 


(wanted to keep "Feel Good Friday" non-political, but couldn't resist ;-) )


Thursday, October 20, 2005

Nothing to See Here 

Atrios is right when he asks:
"when did Pamela Vitale and Daniel Horowitz become America's most well known and well loved couple?"
I keep seeing this terrible story on cable news, and I keep asking myself "who??". Can we even call Daniel Horowitz a celebrity?

Update 10/10 3:56EST: Sadly, CNN asks this on its front page:
NEW YORK (AP) -- Does Vinnifer have the same ring to it as Brangelina?


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Missing Intelligence Report 

Check out Laura Rozen's excellent piece on who's investigating the Ingelligence debacle:
Earlier this week, as the piece was already at the printer, I was calling someone up for a quick question, and we got to talking about the latest Fitzgerald news from over the weekend. And I was told something that really stands out: that Roberts has literally been coordinating with Senate majority leader Frist and Cheney's office very closely on many aspects of the Senate Intelligence committee's supposed investigation of the intelligence, and in particular, working closely with Cheney's office on crafting the language defining the terms for the as-yet unfinished Phase II report. It hardly is surprising that Cheney took a big interest in what the Senate Select Intelligence committee might turn up in its investigation. But think about it. Here's the Congressional committee constitutionally mandated to provide oversight of all intelligence activities happening by the US government. And yet, here we have the Intelligence committee head coordinating to some degree with the Vice President's office, who we now know to be deeply involved in some of the most dubious of pre-war intelligence pronouncements, tasking, unconventional intel channels, and cherry picking, and at the forefront of a post-war campaign to slime Wilson and his CIA officer wife. When Congress is in cahoots with the administration in stifling oversight, who can investigate the investigators? Unfortunately, it's not in Fitzgerald's mandate.


Last Throes 

It appears the Cheney Administration is in its last throes, and only a few dead-enders will remain. I Just heard from a friend who's pretty high ranking on the Hill, who confirmed the rumors, and said it's a lock that Cheney's out VERY soon.

FPN prediction-This Friday becomes known as "Black Friday" for Republicans.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Random Sports Thought 

With the elimination of the Red Sox and the Angels from the playoffs, MLB is now guaranteed to have it's sixth different World Series winner in a row. However, over in the NFL, there's been the same Super Bowl winner three of the last four years. So much for the salary cap bringing parity to the NFL...


Monday, October 17, 2005

Hell Hath No Fury 

Watch your back, Pat:
We will soon learn the fate of Mr. Rove. But what we already know is what his reaction will be if he or anyone else in the White House are indicted - he will unleash the dogs of war against Mr. Fitzgerald. Rove undoubtedly has his operatives in place and prepared to respond if the indictment comes down. The plan of attack has been signed, sealed and ready for delivery at a Fox News outlet in your neighborhood.

No, if he indicts, nothing else will matter to the GOP smear team than sullying the reputation of the special counsel. Hopefully, he has no unpaid parking tickets, has never jaywalked or removed a label from a mattress. If he has committed these misdeeds, we will see them advertised as a screaming headline on Drudge. They will do a "South Carolina" number on Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald will become the anti-Ken Starr to the right. He will be characterized as a zealous out of control prosecutor. The ACLU will be enlisted by the Norquist crowd to defend their brave persecuted leader, Mr. Rove. The right will wail that they are the victims of modern Palmer Raids with innocent leaders such as DeLay and Rove being swept out of power by a Vast Left Wing Conspiracy. Wasn't Fitzgerald seen at Blockbuster furtively renting a Michael Moore video and surfing Moveon.org?

All of the pack that relentlessly pursued Clinton will kvetch about the "criminalization of politics." They will see no irony or hypocrisy in their complaint because this is a fight about preserving power not maintaining consistency. The conservative standard is clear - when a Democratic President is the target it is about the "rule of law" and when the "victim" is a Republican it is about the "criminalization of politics." It is particularly rich that Tom DeLay, the relentless pursuer of Clinton, is making this claim. One wonders whether he agonized over this injustice with Casino Jack Abramoff and Righteous Ralph Reed as they jetted over the Atlantic on the way to their golfing outing in Scotland.



Who ordered the Code Red?
A senior British military police officer in Iraq involved in the investigation of alleged abuse of Iraqi civilians by soldiers has been found dead at a camp in Basra.

The body of Captain Ken Masters, the commander of 61 Section of the Special Investigations Branch (SIB), was found in his bed at the airport at the weekend. The death is being investigated by the SIB.

Defence sources said the death was "not due to hostile action and also not due to natural causes".

However, it is believed that investigators have not found a suicide note, nor firearms related to the incident. Capt Masters was not receiving any medical or psychological treatment


Friday, October 14, 2005

Bono gets Limbaughed 

Maybe his drug dealer told him this:
October 12, 2005 -- RUSH Limbaugh seemed a little irked yesterday he wasn't named to a list of "ubersexuals" put out by an ad agency that decided "metrosexuals" are passé. The radio motormouth doesn't generally engage in scurrilous gossip (that's our purview). But yesterday, Limbaugh cited Pierce Brosnan, Jon Stewart, Ewan McGregor, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and Bono as making the list — and then declared out of the blue that Bono has a mistress. The U2 frontman has been married for 23 years to high school sweetheart Ali Hewson, the mother of their four children. When a caller demanded to know what basis Limbaugh had in making his accusation, he replied cryptically: "You people are just going to have to trust me on this." U2's publicist told us: "This is so absurd it doesn't deserve a response. However, Bono and Edge have been spending a lot of time together in New York lately .


Feel Good Friday 

Sorry, I missed last week's installment-I was attending a funeral, so wasn't exactly feeling good. Anyway, this week installment could be called: "I see London, I see France, No, it's your underpants". It involves a pre-Ironman Contest fun run, in which the participants run through a part of Hawaii clad only in their underwear. (Sorry, Europeans, Speedos aren't allowed.)
Some of the international athletes who come to Hawaii to train in and around the village for the race in the week before the event sparked the idea for the fun run, which began with three people in 1997.

"It was a reaction to the abhorrent and unbelievable practice of wearing Speedos around town, in the post office, the grocery store, even restaurants," Huddle said. "It's just a clash of the cultures, between the more conservative Americans and the whole European and Mediterranean resort vacation thing."

After taking a pledge not to wear racing Speedos for anything other than swimming, the runners took off to Kailua Pier for a quick round of calisthenics and then continued along Alii Drive.

Some runners sported their best Calvin Klein or Banana Republic undies. Others were more creative - grass skirts, coconut bras, black and yellow Joe Boxers, even the layered look with bright white Hanes peeking out from under a colorful thong.

Huddle and co-founder Roch Frey drafted their wives to sell T-shirts printed with the phrase "I see London, I see France, No, it's your underpants," for $20 each, with the proceeds benefiting West Hawaii Special Olympics.

Huddle's wife, Paula Newby-Fraser, is an eight-time Ironman winner and Frey's wife, Heather Fuhr, won the race in 1997 and is considered a favorite this year.

As the runners went through their warm-ups at the pier, several Speedo-clad triathletes looked on, fully aware that their attire was the butt of the day's joke.

"We just got out of the water from our swim and haven't had time to change yet," Oliver Gallob of Germany said in his own defense.
Last time I ran in my underpants, I got arrested...


Fake Al Qaeda Letter? 

I have no problem with the CIA (or another Intelligence Agency) using Psy-Ops to help win a war, but if the Psy-Ops are used against the American people, I have a problem. In this case, the intercepted "Al Qaeda" letter talks about how the US may leave Iraq the same way it left Vietnam, and what Al Qaeda should do from there. Is Zawahiri on the White House payroll? As much as I despise Al Qaeda, PR is something they take too seriously, to play into Bush's hands. If it is a fake, perhaps our Government should have planned the aftermath of the invasion with better detail than this letter.
Ken Katzman, a terrorism expert with the Congressional Research Service -- the in-house think-tank of the U.S. Congress -- said the letter contained elements that raised doubts about its authenticity.

"The purported letter has Zawahri admitting to certain things that it's not realistic for him to admit, because he would know there's a potential this letter might be intercepted," Katzman said.

He said they included a request for money from Zarqawi, an admission that Pakistan's army is hunting for al Qaeda and how the arrest of a top operative affected the network.

I always hoped some of those Bin Laden videos were CIA black-ops designed to mess with Al Qaeda, but apparently, messing with the
average American is more important.


Thursday, October 13, 2005


Check out this Washington Monthly piece on one of DeLay's new Congressional henchmen, and his lies..I mean rise, to power.

Interesting note: the article mentions McHenry dating Karl Rove's Executive Assistant:
Soon after moving to Congress, McHenry hired Grover Norquist's press secretary as his own. More recently, he's been dating Karl Rove's executive assistant.
Would that be Abramoff scandal star, Susan Ralston?
In all the Abramoff business I'm surprised there has not been more mention of Susan Ralston. In Jack Abramoff's heyday at Preston Gates and then later at Greenberg-Traurig, Ralston was Abramoff's executive assistant, the one who helped dole out the skyboxes, basically administratively ran his whole shop as near as I can figure.

Then when Karl Rove came to town, she took pretty much the same job with him, becoming his gatekeeper at the White House. She was of course one of many Team Abramoff players who got seconded into the administration. Given the close relationship between Abramoff and Grover Norquist, it's probably not surprising that she also had an arrangement with Norquist in which he gave her direction on who to let through to Rove.
Funny how the same names seem to appear in every article/report/investigation of Washington conservatives.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Conservative Anger 

This letter to Andrew Sullivan, is one reason why I think Miers will not be sitting on the Supreme Court.
I think the odds that she will overturn Roe or Affirmative Action are zero-to-way-the-fuck-less-than-zero. And I stand by my prediction that this will be near-catastrophic for the Republican Party. As you have pointed out they have lost the fiscal high ground. They have governed ineffectively. Democrats, OTOH, balanced the budget and cut welfare. They are looking pretty good right about now, aren’t they?
I grew up with, was marinated in, and for some reason continue to live deeply among, the 'Southern conservative base'. I've been to the conservative churches, parties, PTA meetings, gatherings, etc. They will ABSOLUTELY sit on their hands in '06 and '08. I think that aspect of this has been way under-explored. If Harry turns out to be a centrist or left-of-center, Republicans are dead meat.
REMEMBER: we only need about 4% of conservatives to sit out, much less vote Democratic, to totally screw up the party. And I think it’ll be more like 20% here in the South. Over the Supreme Court alone.
This is a ticking time bomb, and anyone, including Bush, including Miss Laura, that thinks otherwise, is living in a dream world
It may already be too late, Miers may just be the final nail in the coffin for conservatives. There's no way that this letter-writer is the only conservative that is feeling angry. And when conservatives are angry at Republicans, they don't vote.


Where's Dick? 

Gossip on our VP.
Sometime this summer, the vice president all but disappeared off the face of the earth. This time, not to his undisclosed location, but mainly to his retreat in Wyomng. You may recall that even when Hurricane Katrina caused the biggest crisis in Washington since the start of the invasion of Iraq, Cheney was not seen for days.

At first, there was just speculation. Earlier in September, Nora Ephron wondered aloud on the Huffington Post why Cheney had been absent from the initial days of the Katrina fiasco. She speculated there was lingering resentment from the incident in May of this year when a private plane strayed too close to the White House: Cheney was rushed to a bunker while a bicycling Bush wasn't informed, even though his wife was in the White House at the time, Ephron compared Cheney to "the dog that did not bark" and wrote:

So I can only suppose that something has gone wrong. Could the President be irritated that Cheney helped con him into Iraq? Oh, all right, probably not. Could Cheney – and not just his aides -- possibly be involved in the Valerie Plame episode? Is Cheney not speaking to Karl Rove? Does the airplane/bicycle incident figure into this in any way?

A few days later, Jeralyn Merritt over at TalkLeft moved the story from the land of speculation into the arena of gossip. Cheney had told a friend that he was tired of Bush's screw-ups:

A few months ago, I heard of a lunch conversation that Cheney had with a political type in Wyoming. I have no idea if it's true or not, but it makes some sense. Here's the tale:

Cheney has been getting tired of being called upon to fix Bush's mistakes. Cheney said Bush is almost incapable of making any decision. He waffles and waffles. Then, once he makes a decision, he refuses to change it. Because of his born-again faith, he says "It's in the hands of G-d now" and washes his hands of it. Then Cheney is called in to repair the damage.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005


What took so long?
Montgomery fired Wade as the Phillies' general manager eight days after the team finished one game behind the Houston Astros in the National League wild-card race.

The Phils never made the playoffs in Wade's eight seasons as GM, despite the growth of the payroll from $27 million to $96 million. Their overall record with Wade on the job was 643-652.

"This was a very difficult decision," Montgomery said. "I believe he's done a good job. We're a better club today than we were when he took over eight years ago. However, we set goals for ourselves. We haven't achieved those goals, and I think it's appropriate at this time that we find a new GM."

FPN prediction: Phillies will oust the Braves from 1st place in the NL East in '06.


More on Gore 

From USNews:
They See Al Gore by a Nose in 2008
Is Al Gore coming back? If allies we talked to have their way, the former veep will be the next president. "It's Gore Time," says a political strategist and fundraiser who is opening a bid to get Gore into the race. Gore friends see his recent political and business moves as proof he's preparing to run. Allies say that in speeches, Gore has found his voice to address domestic and world issues. And in raising money for his Current TV network, which targets the critical youth market, Big Al has built an issue base and donor network that's competitive with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton 's. Our source--a top aide in the previous Bush administration--is planning meetings with Gore's team to push an early entry while Clinton runs for re-election in New York. It doesn't end there: The Gorebots want him to pick Sen. Barack Obama, the youthful Illinois African-American, as his No. 2.

Update 10/13 12:23PM EST: Gore says no:
Former Vice President Al Gore said Wednesday he had no intention of ever running for president again, but he said the United States would be "a different country" if he had won the 2000 election, launching into a scathing attack of the Bush administration.

"I have absolutely no plans and no expectations of ever being a candidate again," Gore told reporters after giving a speech at an economic forum in Sweden.


Friday, October 07, 2005

Blowback Part 2 

An attack on the NYC subway system imminent?
The New York Police Department and FBI are investigating a "credible" tip that 19 operatives have been deployed to the city to place bombs in the subway, and security in the subways has been increased. Department of Homeland Security sources told ABC News they were very doubtful the threat information is credible, however.

The city's police department said it was taking the threat seriously and believed the source was reliable, but also urged the public not to be alarmed because the information had not been verified.

According to sources in intelligence, emergency services and police headquarters, the intelligence community developed information that the threat may have involved pharmacists from Iraq coming to New York for some kind of chemical attack targeting the subways.

Three insurgents, one or more of whom are pharmacists, were arrested during a raid by a U.S. military and intelligence community team, sources said, and one of those caught disclosed the threat. Because it slipped out during the arrest, the plot was deemed credible.

After several days of work, sources said, the NYPD became increasingly concerned because it was unable to discredit the initial source and additional information from the source.

Well, probably not. Bush's terrible poll numbers + terror related speech= evil brown men are attacking!!


Wednesday, October 05, 2005


IED's in American streets?
Bergen said the Iraq war marked a training ground for Islamic insurgencies throughout the world. Widespread use of improvised explosive devices would serve as a model for future conflicts. "We have to prepare ourselves for blowback from the Iraq war," Bergen said.

Bergen, author of "Holy War Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama Bin Laden," said Bin Laden continues to lead Al Qaida and has grown in stature since 2001. Bin Laden's video messages have been extremely popular among Islamic insurgents, he said.
Well, he didn't say "American streets" exactly, but it is something to worry about. Bergen's not one to make shit up. He's one of the only Westerner's to actually have interviewed Osama Bin Forgotten.



On the decline of the media.

(He's running for President, i'm telling you.)


Carter for Senate 

Jimmy Carter's son to run for Senate in Nevada.
Jack Carter, the son of former President Carter, said Tuesday he plans to run against John Ensign for the U.S. Senate next year.

Carter, 58, and his wife, Elizabeth, have lived in Las Vegas since 2003, operating the investment consulting firm Carter Global.

Carter described himself as "a pragmatist."

"I think the federal government does some things better than the private sector," Carter said.

He said he is a social liberal with conservative Southern roots and a business background that taught him "you pay for what you spend."



The struggle to infiltrate Al Qaeda.


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Syrian Deal? 

Could Assad get the Qaddafi treatment, in order to save himself from the UN investigation of the Hariri assassination?
The scheme as put before Bush is embryonic. Neither side has accepted it. The Saudi ruler proposes to permit the Syrian president to tread the same path as Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi in 2003, when he scrapped his weapons of mass destruction in return for admittance to Washington’s good graces.

The Assad deal, if accepted, would consist of severing the links between the Damascus political and military elite and Iraqi Baathist insurgents and al Qaeda terrorists in Syria and Iraq. Top Saudi and Egyptian intelligence counter-terror experts would help the Damascus regime get rid of the terrorist elements which have struck root in Syria.

The banking systems of Syria and Lebanon will halt the flow of moneys from Saddam Hussein’s Baathists and al Qaeda accounts to bankroll the Iraqi insurgency. Like Libya, Syria would dismantle its chemical and biological weapons and its nuclear program, as well as its WMD-capable missiles.

Damascus would help America disband the Lebanese Hizballah terrorist organization, mainly by blocking Syrian arms supplies and providing Washington with intelligence on Hizballah’s arms caches. Damascus would also shut down the command centers, offices and the training facilities serving Palestinian terror groups in Syria for decades. This would entail the jihadist Hamas and Jihad Islami and the radical Palestinian “Fronts” losing their sanctuaries.
The National Security Council did just meet to discuss Syria, however, I'd assume there have been many meetings regarding Syria.


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