Burning Bush

Bush's neglect of California is far worse than even I could have imagined:
The Bush administration took six months to evaluate Gov. Gray Davis' emergency request last spring for $430 million to clear dead trees from fire-prone areas of Southern California. The request was finally denied Oct. 24, only hours before wildfires roared out of control in what has become the largest fire disaster in California history.
Republicans Mary Bono and David Dreier and Darrell Issa think so, too:
"This [fire hazard] situation is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state,'' Davis said in April, a month after he declared three counties in a state of emergency because of the infestation and the potential for major wildfires fueled by Santa Ana winds.

Eight days later, a bipartisan group of California lawmakers pleaded with federal authorities to approve Davis' request, saying "this infestation has created a tinder box of such magnitude that loss of life and resources would be incomprehensible should fire break out." The letter was signed by Boxer, and Republican Reps. Mary Bono of Palm Springs, Jerry Lewis of Redlands (San Bernardino County), Darrell Issa of Vista (San Diego County), David Dreier of San Dimas (Los Angeles County) and Duncan Hunter of Alpine (San Diego County), among others. Hunter's home was destroyed in the recent fire. [...]

State Senate Republican leader Jim Brulte, R-Ranch Cucamonga, said the fire in his district most likely would have raged even without the beetle infestation's killing trees. But he said the four-year drought, the beetles and the lack of forest- thinning work in mountain communities nevertheless made the problem worse. He likened the situation to pneumonia -- survivable in the young but deadly to the old.

"That said, if we had gotten more money quicker,'' Brulte said, "we could have taken out a lot more trees.''
Energy crisis, FEMA debacle -- it's going to take more than a couple of high-fives to Arnie for folks to forget the cold shoulder we've received from Bush and the Cheney Gang. Hey, maybe things will get better -- could they really get worse?


Bush Frightens Me

Really, and I am not just being facetious. Bush scares the hell out of me. From his assault on women's rights, to his declaration that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, to his lies to get us into Iraq, to his terrorizing of the environment, to his loosening of environmental protections, to his allowing 9/11 to happen on his watch, to his administration's outing of Valerie Plame, to his wanting to give money to religous groups, to the USA "Patriot" Act, to his associations with "Kenny Boy" Lay, to having wounded soldiers pay for their own meals, to not paying his respects to the wounded and dead coming back from Iraq, to his ultra-conservatice judicial nominees, to his obstruction of any investigation into 9/11, to his enormous tax cuts for the top 1% of wage-earners, to his proposal to eliminate overtime for 8 million hard-working Americans ... and on and on and on. Now, more than ever, we need a man like Howard Dean. Outside of the Washington Beltway. Democrat. Outspoken. Smart. Pragmatic.
Bush scares the hell out of me. Give what you can.




DDrazen writes on The McLaughlin Group message board regarding Dubya's increasingly ill-fated aircraft carrier landing:
My favorite image from the Abe Lincoln deck: Bush taking salutes from the guys in the rainbow-colored jumpsuits. It made him look like the Commander-in-Chief of the Teletubbies. It looked totally gay.
I would have been offended if I hadn't been howling. So I dug around online and came across this photo. I'm sure it's not new, and I may have even seen it before, but if so I don't remember. The rest of Drazen's convo is worth a read, he scraps it up with some total homophobe. What can I say, it's a super gay day here at Points West -- thanks for asking!


le Resistance

fascism: An extreme form of nationalism that rejects individual freedom, liberal individualism, democracy, and limitations on state.
fascist: An adherent of fascism or other right-wing authoritarian views

The long, slow crawl toward fascism in the United States continues. I've been meaning to post my thoughts on the proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, but found it hard to translate my thoughts into any sort of coherent essay.

Then I picked up the latest issue of the Advocate. There, on page 72, is Andrew Sullivan's call to arms. He nails it.

Fifty-one words could make discrimination Constitutional. Fifty-one words could deem us "un-citizens." It's scary, it's wrong, and as Mr. Sullivan argues, we must resist.

"If the boy had been blessed he'd have been arrested
on a charge of wearing red shoes
But if your pants are blue you've got nothing to lose
It'll make you a patriot through and through

'Cause I've seen your fascist faces
on the cover of the national papers
staring out in black and white
from the tall gray walls on the other side"

-"Fascist Faces" (Lyrics by Bernie Taupin. Music by Elton John. From the 1981 album The Fox)

UPDATE FROM SCOTT: Andrew Sullivan responds to Wayne's post, he writes "Glad to enthuse and infuriate. It's what a writer hopes for." Hear, hear! And hey Sully, sorry for badmouthing you yesterday on Atrios -- you poop diamonds, dude.



Diary of a Stalker

Step right up! Get your tickets NOW to see Luskin The Stalker!

here, here, here, here, and here.


Open Range

Rather than the typical open threads that ya'll see around the blogs, I figured we could occasionally explore the Open Range here at Points West -- but with a little touch of that old technology, the radio. So, with a special Get Fuzzy comic, this one is going out to Shirl -- my all-about-town gal-pal with a heart of gold, a tongue like a Gila Monster -- hey sickos! I mean her sharp-tongued wit! -- and an uncanny resemblance to the Free-Roaming GOP -- close relative, I think.

Cheers, Shirl! The rest a ya'lls have at it -- what's on your minds? Clue us in!



Good News!

Jesse at Pandagon has this to say about Bush's assertion that a number of recent violent bombings and attacks in Iraq are a sign of progress because it speaks to -- umm, ahem! -- the desperation of -- you got it! -- those pesky terrorists:
If it's good when they bomb the U.N. building, it's gonna be great when they blow up Baghdad!

That'll really help all those Iraqis get settled in their new, burning country!
Hey, by Bush metrics, all these fires in California actually signal that Davis is finally really getting desperate. With just a little more brilliant leadership like this, Bush can gloat about all his "success" by the fire in Crawford, Texas.


Not a word

I don't believe anything Bush says. Bush lies and our troops die. The latest bit of propoganda is this: "Bush Says Americans Not Misled on Iraq Campaign". If they have to say it, the opposite must be true.


Sticky, Icky, Eeeww

During a question and answer period in the White House Rose Garden today, a reporter asked the President this question: "...You recently put Condoleeza Rice, your National Security Advisor, in charge of the managment of the administration's Iraq policy. What has effectively changed since she's been in charge? And the second question, can you promise a year from now that you will have reduced the number of troops in Iraq?"

Dubya's answer (and it's a beaut!): "The second question is a trick question, so I won't answer it."

WHATEVER!! (That's not the quote I want to bring to your attention but I just HAD to editorialize!!)

Mr. Bush continued: .... "The first question was Condoleeza Rice. Her job is to coordinate interagency. She's doin' a fine job of coordinating interagency. She's doing - the role of National Security Advisor is to not only provide good advice to the President, which she does on a regular basis - I value her judgment and her intelligence - but her job is also to deal interagency and to help unstick things that may get stuck, is the best way to put it. She's an unsticker. And she - is she listening? Okay, well, she's doin' a fine job."

"She's an UNSTICKER??!!" Uh, excuse me Mr. President...I think the term is UNSTICKERER!

Texas ebonics at its best my friends!

For another Bush goody, head over and read Kos' take on the whole "G.I. George" debacle!


Action Heroes! - or - Abbott and Costello?

Ron Brownstein writing in today's Los Angeles Times predicts slapstick ahead for Ah-Nold and Dub-ya. In fact, as I've been saying, Ah-nold seems to have more in common with the Dems -- and if you add in campaign themes and styles -- particularly Howard Dean:
But, inevitably, Schwarzenegger's top priority in Washington has to be federal help to close the state's budget deficit. Bush has consistently resisted large-scale federal assistance to the states.

This year, Bush reluctantly accepted a temporary $20-billion state aid package as the price of winning the last two Senate votes for his tax cut plan. But Bush has shown no interest in expanding or extending that aid. Meanwhile, Democratic presidential contenders such as retired Gen. Wesley K. Clark and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean are promoting plans to funnel $40 billion or more to the cash-starved states over the next two years.

On health care there's a similar convergence. Schwarzenegger said he wanted to reduce the state's huge number of uninsured by expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, a state-federal partnership. Bush hasn't proposed any funding increase for the program. But Democratic contenders such as Dean and Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina want to provide enough federal money to significantly broaden eligibility for CHIP without requiring states to contribute any more dollars.

One of Schwarzenegger's top educational priorities is expanding after-school programs, an idea Democrats favor too. Bush, though, this year proposed cutting federal assistance for such programs by 40%. [...]
Right out of the gate, Arnold may very well become a liability for Bush, and vice-versa. Such stark differences on these issues -- and note in the main article there is another section on immigration that is key -- present a number of lion-training opportunities for the Democratic nominee -- with Bush and Arnold playing the clowns. I can see the thirty-second spots already, but first, this one is a biggie, too:
On energy and the environment, the pattern is even more dramatic. Schwarzenegger says he wants to require utilities to produce 20% of California's electricity from renewable sources like solar energy by 2010, and 33% by 2020.

Meeting that goal would be easier if Washington required utilities nationwide to increase their reliance on renewable energy. That would enlarge the market for renewables, accelerating technological breakthroughs. Democratic presidential hopefuls such as [Howard] Dean, Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri and Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts support such a federal standard; Bush opposes it.

Schwarzenegger also said he would defend in court the law Davis signed last year requiring cars to reduce the emissions associated with global warming -- a mandate automakers could probably meet only by significantly improving mileage. In a related case, the Bush administration has already signaled it might challenge that law as an infringement on Washington's authority to set fuel economy standards.

Similarly, Schwarzenegger indicated he wanted to renegotiate the expensive long-term electricity contracts Davis signed with utilities during the state's energy crisis. But last June, two Bush appointees on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said the contracts could stand.

On all of those fronts, the Democratic candidates would seem likely to appoint officials more open to the state's arguments. [...]

These potential conflicts with Bush -- not to mention Schwarzenegger's support for renewing the federal ban on assault weapons, which the administration appears willing to let die in Congress -- will test the new governor's political skills. He clearly wants to remain close to Bush, a hero to California Republicans. But Schwarzenegger has committed himself to a program much more centrist than Bush's. If Schwarzenegger truly means to advance the agenda he ran on, he may have no choice but to regularly bang heads with his buddy in the Oval Office.
So, just when you thought the circus was over -- not yet! Bush has the most to lose, and is the one most likely to lose from these differences of opinion.

However, Bush will try to drape himself in Ah-nold's "cloak" where it's handy, and then make a sharp turn right when he's out of sight. Adding to the hilarity, Arnold's conservative GOP team will almost certainly be butting heads with the Dems on his team, and even worse in California, their moderate-GOP rivals. We can't let Bush have it both ways -- yet another reason to support Dean. In crisp, clear language Dean can explain this disconnect directly to voters. And if Ah-nold is smart, he may find that is no more fun for him to stump for Bush than it was for Dean to stump Davis. Who said irony was dead? Not with these two "action heroes" buttin' heads! Send in the clowns!


Idiot Son of an Asshole

Via my good buddy Anna of Dean Nation and Annatopia fame, check out this excellent and hilarious music and animation from the files of Eric Ulmbrich -- "Idiot Son of An Asshole."

By the way, remember Rush Limbaugh's "I'm A Nazi!" Westerners? Well Eric has done an awesome animation of that one, too! Check out "He's A Nazi!"

WARNING: Don't play these at work without a private office/cubicle and/or headphones! Keck-ash, Eric!



Just Let Her Finish!

Holy shit, I love the The McLaughlin Group -- did I just write that? Below is a sampling from last Friday's show -- and the hilarious thing? An exchange like this happens every single week, especially the whole section with John McLaughlin, Tony Blankley and Eleanor Clift. Forever battling testosterone in this crowd, lo these many years, she always holds her own. I simply adore her, she's a kick ass babe -- bet she's fun to go drinkin' with! I don't know what came over me, but the absolute inanity of this weekly "let her/him/me finish" ritual they go through just had me in stitches this episode -- it's perhaps the penultimate example that I've seen. By the way, it's one of the finest political talkin' head shows on television, though you may not get that from the portion of the transcript below. It's also probably the most entertaining of the breed -- now that you may pick up:
PAT BUCHANAN: John, [Rumsfeld] has completely undercut this whole PR campaign we've had for a month; all these codicils going over....

TONY BLANKLEY: No, he hasn't.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Let him finish.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible) -- going over; they're all coming back positive: We're doing this, we're doing that. And he's saying, in effect, this is a long slog; we don't even have the metrics, which sounds like Robert McNamara.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why did he -- (Cross talk.)

ELEANOR CLIFT: He's undercutting the president....

MR. BLANKLEY: (Interrupting) No, he's not!

MS. CLIFT: Excuse me! Let me finish!

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Just let her finish!

MS. CLIFT: He's undercutting the president, who says that the news media has imposed a filter.

MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.

MS. CLIFT: And here he comes, he's Mr. Filter himself, with a very sour --

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me -- let me --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish!

MS. CLIFT: -- with a very sour assessment of the way this war is going and of the way we have diverted our resources --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why did he do it? Why did he do it, Eleanor?

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me -- let me --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why did he do it?

MS. CLIFT: One, it could be a savvy bureaucratic play, but I don't think even Donald Rumsfeld is that petty. I think maybe he's trying to get everybody --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can we -- just a moment!

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I want to get --

MS. CLIFT: Maybe he's really scared about where we're headed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can we take it -- well, let me finish, and then you can take it on.

MS. CLIFT: It's like a peanut gallery over here! (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Always a back row challenge!

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. BLANKLEY: Macadamia nut, please. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me get back on my train of thought here.....
So, how much of this routine is simply part of their campy, dysfunctional schtick? Who knows, but I've got a hunch there must be some real history. For ages, Clift was typically the only women on the show, and she often still is. Go, Eleanor! By the way, they also have video of every show online, though this episode is not yet available. And as John McLaughlin would say...Bye-Bye!



This is ridiculous

No one should stand for this. Enough is enough. You only look like you have something to hide with this continual stonewalling. We all deserve to know what happened on 9/11 and it's a shame the administration seems so intent on covering up whatever it was. I've said it before and I will say it again: if we can spend $70 million looking into a consensual blow-job then we should be able to spend $70 million looking into the greatest modern security failure this country has seen.

Sure doesn't look good for BushCo. Sure makes them look guilty. A lie is a lie is a lie, right?


Coming to one's senses

I apologize for voting for Bush.
I was wrong. I apologize. Bush is the worst president America has had -- ever.
At least he's man enough to admit it.

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