Mr Greenwald would like to remind you what it means to be “American” under George Bush

We are now a nation who openly assert that the government has the right to arrest and detain without charge any person, citizen or not, interesting to the President with no counsel, no recourse, and with no protections from inhumane treatment.

The Bush administration’s May, 2002 lawless detention of U.S. citizen Jose Padilla — on U.S. soil — was, as I recounted in my book, the first incident which really prompted me to begin concluding that things were going terribly awry in our country. The administration declared Padilla an “enemy combatant,” put him in a military prison, and refused to charge him with any crime or even allow him access to a lawyer or anyone else. He stayed in a black hole, kept by his own government, for the next three-a-half-years with no charges of any kind ever asserted against him and with the administration insisting on the right to detain him (and any other American citizen) indefinitely — all based solely on the secret, unchallengeable say-so of the President that he was an “enemy combatant.”

Fuck you, Big Chief

Cursive writing is disappearing, in part because most schools no longer even do handwriting instruction beyond “write legibly.” Only 15 percent of the handwritten essays from the 2006 SAT were in cursive

We’d like to take this opportunity to stick our tongue out at our elementary teachers who for some reason found handwriting far more interesting and important than, say, reading, or science. We always saw it as a waste of our time, and treated it accordingly.

Ignorance Out West

Out in Montana, a GOP lawmaker (Roger Koopman; of course he’s Republican) is upset with Governor Brian Schweitzer for correctly suggesting it was ignorant to believe the earth isn’t millions of years old.

Rep. Roger Koopman, R-Bozeman, called Schweitzer’s statement “incredibly bigoted.”

Speaking to a crowd of school children, parents and teachers in Bozeman on Friday about global warming, Schweitzer asked how many in the crowd thought the Earth was hundreds of millions of years old. Most of the children in the audience raised their hands.

He then asked how many believed the planet was less than a million years old. At least two people, including Koopman, who was in the crowd, raised their hands.

During an interview later with the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Schweitzer noted Koopman’s response. He said some people believe the planet is only 4,000 to 6,000 years old, despite geological evidence to the contrary.

Schweitzer said he needs support from a state Legislature that will help move Montana’s agenda forward, “not people who think the Earth is 4,000 years old.””

Koopman called the comments insulting.

“He insulted many Christian people and other people of faith that arrived at that position other than the way I arrived at it,” he said.

Schweitzer did not immediately return telephone calls seeking comment Sunday or Monday.

Koopman said his belief in the Earth’s age is not based on his faith, but on his scientific investigations.

Koopman, clearly, is both an idiot and a jackass of the first order. We’re sure he enjoys the complete support of the Republican party.

Yet another thing Bush has screwed up

So, the DPRK may or may not have a real, functional nuke now. Many analysts are now saying that the perceived yield of yesterday’s explosion is far below that which Pyongyang was widely believed to be capable, strongly suggesting a failed test rather than a successful nuclear debut. That hardly matters, though, as their contempt for the international community on this point is now a matter of no dispute.

How’d this happen? It’s pretty obvious that Bush’s “get tough with the Axis of Evil” approach had more than a little to do with Kim Jong Il’s bellicosity since 2000. See Josh Marshall’s analysis:

North Korea’s nuclear program has been a problem for US presidents going back to Reagan, and the conflict between North and South has been a key issue for US presidents going back to Truman. As recently as 1994, the US came far closer to war with North Korea than most Americans realize.

President Clinton eventually concluded a complicated and multipart agreement in which the North Koreans would suspend their production of plutonium in exchange for fuel oil, help building light water nuclear reactors (the kind that don’t help making bombs) and a vague promise of diplomatic normalization.

President Bush came to office believing that Clinton’s policy amounted to appeasement. Force and strength were the way to deal with North Korea, not a mix of force, diplomacy and aide. And with that premise, President Bush went about scuttling the 1994 agreement, using evidence that the North Koreans were pursuing uranium enrichment (another path to the bomb) as the final straw.

Remember the guiding policy of the early Bush years: Clinton did it=Bad, Bush=Not whatever Clinton did.

All diplomatic niceties aside, President Bush’s idea was that the North Koreans would respond better to threats than Clinton’s mix of carrots and sticks.

Then in the winter of 2002-3, as the US was preparing to invade Iraq, the North called Bush’s bluff. And the president folded. Abjectly, utterly, even hilariously if the consequences weren’t so grave and vast.

Threats are a potent force if you’re willing to follow through on them. But he wasn’t. The plutonium production plant, which had been shuttered since 1994, got unshuttered. And the bomb that exploded tonight was, if I understand this correctly, almost certainly the product of that plutonium uncorked almost four years ago.

So the President talked a good game, the North Koreans called his bluff and he folded. And since then, for all intents and purposes, and all the atmospherics to the contrary, he and his administration have done essentially nothing.

Of course, Marshall is no fan of the President, so some of you may not find this all that convincing. However, Marshall is by no means alone, and even some Republicans view this development as a significant Bush failure.

Cheney’s thugs think “speech” equals “assault”

Steve Howards walked by an area where Dick Cheney was holding court, so he spoke his mind: “Your policies in Iraq are reprehensible.”

Ten minutes later, the SS arrested him and charged him with assault. Those charges were dropped, but Howards is still suing, and we’re glad he is. We here at Heathen believe that Cheney and his entourage should be held personally liable for the damages. “The VP told me to” should not shield this Secret Service jackass — Virgil D. “Gus” Reichle Jr, — from liability, and the VP himself should share that liability. This is obscene, and MUST be answered for.

“Why have you chosen to go down in history as the president who made things up?”

Keith takes George to the woodshed. Again.

Our president does an awful lot of lying. Keith noticed. Hang out long enough to hear what Tommy Franks had to say, just a few years ago.

Our greatest threats remain internal and political, not external and Islamic.

Mr. President, these new lies go to the heart of what it is that you truly wish to preserve.

It is not our freedom, nor our country — your actions against the Constitution give irrefutable proof of that.

You want to preserve a political party’s power. And obviously you’ll sell this country out, to do it.

We don’t know much about football, but this sounds pretty awesome to us

Apparently, the final play of last weekends Jets-Colts game was, um, interesting; as context, the Colts were up 31-28, and the Jets were out of field goal range:

(:08) (Shotgun) 10-C.Pennington pass short middle to 29-L.Washington to NYJ 40 for 8 yards [93-D.Freeney]. Lateral to 16-B.Smith to NYJ 37 for minus-3 yards. Lateral to 87-L.Coles to IND 44 for 19 yards. Lateral to 10-C.Pennington to IND 37 for 7 yards. Lateral to 81-J.McCareins to IND 35 for 2 yards. FUMBLES, recovered by NYJ-16-B.Smith at IND 33. 16-B.Smith to IND 37 for minus -4 yards. FUMBLES, recovered by NYJ-87-L.Coles at IND 40. 87-L.Coles to IND 27 for 13 yards. Lateral to 74-N.Mangold to IND 27 for no gain. FUMBLES, RECOVERED by IND-42- J.David at IND 34. 42-J.David to IND 39 for 5 yards (29-L.Washington).

YouTube has the video, natch. No idea how long that will last, but it’s an amazing thing. Would’ve been better if it had worked, of course.

Dept. of Taunting the Afflicted

The Killers believes it is bringing good music back. Does this sidebar copy bother anyone else?

We know that some collective nouns are treated singularly in American English (as opposed to British English, which would turn our “Enron is a bunch of jackasses” into “Enron are a bunch of jackasses”), but when a band name itself is plural, we’re pretty sure the verb needs to be plural, too. Of course, we’re not professional journalists or anything.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong

When we saw the link, we were sure it was a joke; who in their right mind would make chocolate chip pancake wrapped sausage on a stick?

The answer? Jimmy Dean, of course.

Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have to go eat a 1-pound hamburger with some goats.

George Bush Hates The Rule of Law

From TalkingPointMemo, this excerpt from AP:

President Bush, again defying Congress, says he has the power to edit the Homeland Security Department’s reports about whether it obeys privacy rules while handling background checks, ID cards and watchlists.

In the law Bush signed Wednesday, Congress stated no one but the privacy officer could alter, delay or prohibit the mandatory annual report on Homeland Security department activities that affect privacy, including complaints.

But Bush, in a signing statement attached to the agency’s 2007 spending bill, said he will interpret that section “in a manner consistent with the President’s constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch.”

Basically, this means he gets to decide whether to report on DHS’s law-abiding or -breaking behavior. Or so he asserts in his extraconstitutional signing statement. More via Yahoo.

More Military Callups

But this time, The Onion is there:

Retired S1Ws Recalled to Active Duty

STRONG ISLAND, NY — With recruitment down sharply, and the prospect of being held back by the nation of millions appearing once again likely, top-ranking Public Enemy officials issued an order Monday for all retired Security Of The First World personnel to return to active duty.

“In order to come to the aid of the hip-hop nation, we must regrettably ask those men who heroically served the Black Planet to once again don their fatigues and take up their plastic arms,” S1W Chief and Public Enemy Minister Of Information Professor Griff said. “We have no more options. It’s not as though we can simply call 911. That would be a joke.”


That “No-Fly” list? Still bullshit.

After 9/11, the Feds hastily assembled a “no-fly” list, which seemed like a reasonable thing at the time — but then some idiots got in control of it. Now, 5 years on, it’s clearly a bad joke. Anybody with a name on the list (i.e., who shares a name with someone on the list) is going to get hassled like crazy every single time they fly, and the list contains such unusual names as “Robert Johnson,” “Gary Smith,” and “John Williams.” Also on the list? The president of Bolivia, as well as 14 of the 9/11 hijackers who are, presumably, unlikely to be a problem again.

Guess who’s not on the list? The 11 supposed British terrorists who were under surveillance for months prior to their (impossible, can’t-possibly-work) plot’s disclosure.

The Feds, of course, don’t care:

“Well, Robert Johnson will never get off the list,” says Donna Bucella, who oversaw the creation of the list and has headed up the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center since 2003. She regrets the trouble they experience, but chalks it up to the price of security in the post-9/11 world. “They’re going to be inconvenienced every time . . . because they do have the name of a person who’s a known or suspected terrorist,” says Bucella.

That’s like something out of Brazil, honestly. This Bucella woman clearly needs some time alone with a CIA interrogator and a clue-by-four. Idiot bureaucrats can relate anything to security, so it’s highly unsurprising this dufus mentioned 9/11 in explaining why every Robert Johnson who tries to fly in the U.S. gets the third degree. How, exactly, does this serve security, Bucella? Dollars to donuts you’ve never given it any thought.

There’s more, if you have the stomach for additional evidence of our government’s malignant ignorance, here. We found the story at Metafilter.

And people wonder why we say this country is doomed

Some Bible-thumping jackass out in Conroe is trying to get Fahrenheit 451 banned from his daughter’s high school. The request came during “Banned Books Week,” to add insult to injury.

Update Looks like the Houston Community Newspaper site pulled the story, or at least let the link rot. BoingBoing also covered it, though, and included the money quote:

“It’s just all kinds of filth,” said [complaining father] Alton Verm, adding that he had not read Fahrenheit 451.

GOP flack gets pwned on MSNBC

Well done, Cliff Schecter. Some GOP talking head tried to spin the Foley situation as an isolated incident when compared to the Democrats’ corruption problems, which is just the wrong angle, and gets a serious smackdown for her trouble.

We can’t imagine what she was thinking. The whole trope of “the Dems are just as bad!” just won’t hunt when the GOP is losing seats to indictments and jail terms, with more likely to come as the Abramoff and Foley coverup investigations expand.

You have no idea how smart this motherfucker is

The Daily Show’s John Hodgman, interviewed in RadarOnline. In addition to his TDS gig and being the PC guy in the Apple spots, he’s also the author of a hilarious book, a former literary agent, and a writer for the New York Times magazine. On being a purveyor of both “truth and truthiness:”

Of course, comedy always tells the truth. That is why it’s funny. So in this way the missions are the same. Comedy may be an exaggeration of the truth, but it always resonates, sometimes painfully, in the body’s truth-recognizing mechanism (a small chamber-and-membrane structure in the skull) or else it does not produce laughter. Often, it is a truth that we do not wish to hear, or that we have been trained to be embarrassed by-comedy breaks taboos. What is unique about our life today is that The Daily Show is breaking a taboo simply by making plain, truthful, obvious observations about our existing government, its bankruptcy of competence and vision when faced with the basic jobs with which it is tasked.