Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Weekly Rewind

It’s the last week of June already, the year is half-way through and that means we are one-half year closer to the end of clueless, sometimes autocratic rule in this country. Maybe in 2008 we can work on rebuilding our status in the world. Ok enough of my soap boxing, it’s time to see who screwed up and who tried to do something admirable, in other words, it’s time for The Weekly Rewind.

Heckle: to scratching the palm. White House staffers have accepted $135,000 in free trips since November of 2004. Among those picking up the tab are some of the President’s top business supporters and dozens of conservative and religious groups. I’m shocked and appalled at this revelation. (as my esteemed colleague would say, it’s so hard to express sarcasm in the written form)

Applaud: to another insider smack down. Former CIA officer Tyler Drumheller said he personally crossed out a reference to Iraq’s supposed mobile bioweapons labs from a classified draft of Colin Powell’s Feb. 2002 U.N. speech because he recognized the source (known as “Curveball”) as someone who was mentally unstable and a liar. Powell still claimed to “have firsthand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and rails.” (I like Gen. Powell but stuff like this just doesn’t sit right with his standing as the only decent guy to serve at the ‘pleasure of the president’)

Heckle: to making things better. As the summer heat soars to over 120 degrees in Iraq, “power supply still falls about 33% short of demand.” Power in Baghdad comes on for approximately 90 minutes once every six hours. Here’s a friendly tip, remember to not open the fridge when the power is out…

Heckle: to ‘Crude-a-palooza‘. Top executives at oil giant Shell have begun a 50-city tour across the United States this summer in hopes of persuading angry consumers that Big Oil is not ripping them off. Who’s the opening act going to be Carrot Top? …. I wonder if they will sell t-shirts?

Applaud: to seeing stupidity for what it is. Reports are that Web traffic is dropping at,, and, but it’s rising at many progressives sites, including Raw Story, Crooks and Liars, and ThinkProgress. We can only hope that this trend continues and gains momentum.

Applaud: to little surprises from the SCOTUS. Unlike Justices Scalia and Thomas, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito actually “believe that a great many of the country’s campaign contribution laws are constitutional. This is a very big deal and good news for those of us who support such limits.” These types of decisions/opinions are what makes the political and judicial process worth watching. You never know what these Justices will do next.

Heckle: to running around yelling, waiving your hands and then wondering why everyone looks at you like you’re an idiot. The Pentagon is speeding up “plans to deploy advanced Patriot interceptor missiles on U.S. bases in Japan,” in response to last week’s report that North Korea finished fueling a long-range ballistic missile. But Slate throws doubt on that report: “the missile could stay ready for only a few days since the fuel is corrosive stuff and eats through things like metal. It’s now been a week.” (Hey Bob, I think we are going to need more missiles….well they are only good for 3 days so I think about 100 will be good to start with…oh yeah can you bring a big dumpster for the bad ones…thanks…)

Applaud: to the ultimate capitalist/average Joe. Warren Buffett reiterated his support for the estate tax yesterday, saying he favored equality over “giving incredible head starts to certain people who were very selective about the womb from which they emerged.” Very funny and well said Mr. Buffett, well said indeed…

Heckle: to repeating the same mistakes over again. A Gallup poll shows that 50 percent of Americans support redeploying U.S. forces out of Iraq “immediately or within 12 months.” A Washington Post survey shows 47 percent backing a timeline, up 8 points since December. We here at TBWA support our troops, and we also support bringing them home as quickly as possible. However, we are in so deep in Iraq that just bringing them home for no other reason than to bring them home will undo everything that our 2500 + men and women died for. Our troops need to come home, but they need to come home victorious. It’s time for Washington and the administration to come up with a game plan for winning, then withdrawl.

Heckle: to having your incompetence thrown in your face. Romania announced they will withdraw their troops from Iraq by the end of the year. “The announcement regarding Romania’s 890 troops follows a similar move by Italy, while Japan began withdrawing its troops from the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq last week.” Again, if the administration would have developed a winning game plan, our allies would stay the course.

Applaud: to getting a warm feeling all over. Ratings for Fox News, particularly among the most important age demographic, are “dropping precipitously.” Probably from the same people who are not looking at conservative web sites. Maybe they can poll this and get an idea of how ‘fair and balanced’ viewers think they are not.

Applaud: to a responsible stance. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has promised “to block a congressional pay hike” until the minimum wage is raised. Since 1996 the minimum wage has not been raised, however congressional salaries have gone up $31,600.

Heckle: you just don’t get it do you? Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) announced the Senate will not vote on a bill reducing the Paris Hilton Tax this week. (Can we at least do something about that damn dog..)

Heckle: to a Distraction Congress: The House was expected to vote on a conservative-backed resolution “today or Thursday” that is expected to attack The New York Times for its recent disclosure of the government’s secret monitoring of Americans’ bank transactions. When you can’t do anything of substance, bang the pots and make a big scene over nothing.

Applaud: to a guy that we continue to like on the other side of the aisle. Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) lambasts a Justice Department official for the administration’s use of “signing statements” to get around laws the President doesn’t like. Keep at it Senator people are paying attention!

Heckle: to not being a surprise at all. “We have never ever seen a case like this,” said Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense: The lobbying firm at the center of the House Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA)/Duke Cunningham scandal failed to report fully $2 million in lobbying fees. Once again I find myself shocked and appauled at this revelation. (Insert sarcastic tone…)

Heckle: to an impotent congress. Prospects for a swift renewal of the Voting Rights Act faded on Thursday as lawmakers called for new congressional hearings. If not renewed, provision of the landmark 1965 civil rights legislation will expire at the end of 2007. Ok, this is not a difficult issue, agree to agree and move forward, with enhancements. Something like this should be a no-brainer, but then we are talking about our congress….

Heckle: to President Bush, normally on principles alone, but also for once again expanding the membership of the Washington “Back Watching Club“. The ‘President’ has nominated Peter D. Keisler for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Seems that Keisler is currently a senior Justice Department official and defended the administration’s policy of military tribunals, which was overturned yesterday by the Supreme Court.

Once again, noticing more Heckles than Applauds, welcome to George W Bush’s America, aka: The U.S. Twilight Zone.

Be good, stay informed, later….

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