Signs O’ The Apocalypse

Borrowing a phrase from Michael Stickings, some stories indicate serious trouble ahead.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia told Arab leaders on Wednesday that the American occupation of Iraq is “illegal,” and he warned that unless Arab governments settle their differences, foreign powers like the United States would continue to dictate the region’s politics.

The king’s speech, at the opening of the Arab League summit meeting here, underscored growing differences between Saudi Arabia and the Bush administration as the Saudis take on a greater regional leadership role, partly at American urging. The Saudis seem to be emphasizing that they will not be beholden to the policies of their longtime ally.

Oy. Less than six months ago the Saudi King read Dick Cheney the riot act when word got around that we might leave Iraq. King Abdullah was understandably concerned that our pullout would leave Saudi Arabia’s Sunni leadership with a hell of a job supporting Iraq’s Sunni minority and managing the inevitable rise of Iran as the dominant regional power. Better from their perspective to have Americans spending our lives on a peace rather than whatever bloody mess the alternative might be. Then there’s the oil relationship.

Maybe the Sauds want some cheap Arab street cred. Sadly, now more than ever that specifically means trashing America and Israel. Neocons should be especially proud of that factoid since legitimizing the US and Israel through intimidation and naked force sat at the vital center of the neoconservatives’ demented strategy. Now, thanks entirely to our own addled leadership, the faintest sign of aligning with the US or Israel is more toxic than ever.

Worse, the idea that the Sauds meant to burnish their street cred by trashing us might be the least troubling interpretation. Think about the significance if King Abdullah meant what he said.

Let The Smears Begin!

Looks like it is time to start smearing David Iglesias and other USA’s for speaking out. Via the Carpetbagger and Digby, a new attack ad running on radio stations in New Mexico:

Former US Attorney David Iglesias wonders why he was fired. He says it was politics. Well, let’s look at the facts.

Iglesias brags he won a huge corruption case but he cut sweetheart deals with those involved and then lost 23 of 24 counts at trial (voices: NOT GUILTY!)

In 2004, 3000 suspect voter registration forms turned up. But Iglesias did nothing even when a crack dealer was busted with them and even when political operatives took the fifth and refused to testify about their fraud. David Iglesias just looked the other way. No wonder a criminal defense lawyer just praised him. He let her client walk.

While he looked the other way on fraud, Iglesias did prosecute a girl for putting bubble gum on a speeding ticket and he did find time to take dozens of taxpayer funded junkets around the world.

Meanwhile his own prosecutors criticized him and a former state supreme court judge publicly called him an ingrate. Now Iglesias is even trying to play the race card. David Iglesias. He still can’t figure out why he was fired.

C’mon David, isn’t it obvious?

A couple questions are in line. First, you might ask what office Iglesias is in the running for in 08.

Well, he isn’t.

In other words, this is nothing more than a flat out attempt to smear and bully anyone who dared deviate from the company line.

A second question- who are these New Mexicans for and Honest Court? Who knows- all we can find on the name listed on the wesbite, Linda Chavez Krumland, is that she was a Republican Delegate and a donor to Heather Wilson.

Yes. That Heather Wilson.

They aren’t even trying to be subtle anymore. They just don’t care. This is clearly nothing more than payback, punishment, and a message to others. Der Commisar gets it, though:

I’m trying to put this in some words that are not way, way over the top. They pressured this guy Iglesias (a Republican) to harass opponents baselessly. He demurred and they sacked him. And now, public attacks on his integrity and honesty?

What the Hell kind of a country am I living in? This is beyond bullshit.

But hey- the Democrats are worse!

Arlen Specter Shows Why He Became A Verb

Read this account of Specter doing his principled best to rally his demoralized GOP caucus behind the china syndrome at DOJ, and try not to throw up in your mouth a little.

via Steve Benen.

ETA on the ERA?

Here is a blast from the past:

Federal and state lawmakers have launched a new drive to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, reviving a feminist goal that faltered a quarter-century ago when the measure did not gain the approval of three-quarters of the state legislatures.

The amendment, which came three states short of enactment in 1982, has been introduced in five state legislatures since January. Yesterday, House and Senate Democrats reintroduced the measure under a new name — the Women’s Equality Amendment — and vowed to bring it to a vote in both chambers by the end of the session.

The renewed push to pass the ERA, which passed the House and Senate overwhelmingly in 1972 and was ratified by 35 states before skidding to a halt, highlights liberals’ renewed sense of power since November’s midterm elections. From Capitol Hill to Arkansas, legislators said they are seizing a political opportunity to enshrine women’s rights in the Constitution.

“Elections have consequences, and isn’t it true those consequences are good right now?” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) asked a mostly female crowd yesterday at a news conference, as the audience cheered. “We are turning this country around, bit by bit, to put it in a more progressive direction.”

The amendment consists of 52 words and has one key line: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” That sentence would subject legal claims of gender discrimination to the same strict scrutiny given by courts to allegations of racial discrimination.

I am not saying this to be a total wise-ass, but it really has been so long since I even thought about this issue that I am having a hard time remembering what exactly the arguments for and against this Amendment are and why it is important to support/oppose the issue. I am sure I had a really strong opinion once on the issue, but I will be damned if I can remember what it was.

*** Update ***

I guess the only real argument (and I had to try, because this just seems so innocuous) I can come up with against the ERA right now is that it is unnecessary. Considering the Republicans have introduced a number of frivolous amendments in the past few years, to include Gay Marriage Amendments and Flag Burning (to name just a few), they are not on very solid ground for opposing the ERA for that reason.

And that assumes that people will even bother to oppose it at all.

Open Thread

Some helpful discussion points:

* Democrats are the party of crazy people like Ward Churchill and Cindy Sheehan.
* Nazis: sort of like Republicans but less evil.
* The Wire – possibly the dumbest waste of electrons since the superbowl commercial.
* I invented COBOL and it eats whatever crappy language you’re using for lunch. In fact, why are you here? You should be debugging.
* You’re obviously suffering from some derangement syndrome.
* Your favorite sport sucks.
* It annoys me how easy it is for trolls and spoofs to draw people into stupid arguments.

Have at it.

Maybe Hansen Had A Point

The Bushies have gamed climate science to suit their political agenda.

Bush administration officials throughout the government have engaged in White House-directed efforts to stifle, delay or dampen the release of climate change research that casts the White House or its policies in a bad light, says a new report that purports to be the most comprehensive assessment to date of the subject.

Researchers for the non-profit watchdog Government Accountability Project reviewed thousands of e-mails, memos and other documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests and from government whistle-blowers and conducted dozens of interviews with public affairs staff, scientists, reporters and others.

The group says it has identified hundreds of instances where White House-appointed officials interfered with government scientists’ efforts to convey their research findings to the public, at the behest of top administration officials.

Surprise! To be fair, Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man could see the direction this story was headed whens Bush, an old petroleum hand backed by petrodollars, tapped petroleum exec Dick Cheney as veep and filled the administration with old petroleum hands. Nobody expected America to lead the pack on carbon efficiency.

The only surprise, for me anyway, is exactly how far America can travel towards real-deal Lysenkoism before anybody throws up the red flag.

Things I Learn At RawStory

Nearly 20% of Texans claim to have been victimized by a stalker (via, if that wasn’t already clear).

The 18 percent who reported being stalked reported an overall 453 stalking incidents over the 24 months covered by the survey. The most frequent instance was repeated telephone calls, reported by 35 percent of victims, followed closely by 34 percent of victims who said their stalker stole items from their house, car or workplace.

[…] Only 43 percent of the victims reported their experience to police, and just 20 percent of those said their stalker had been arrested.

Doing some quick math, that means that about 1.5% of people in Texas have had a stalker arrested. WTF? Here in Pennsylvania I know maybe one person who can claim to have been stalked and that’s stretching the definition. Sometimes an ex needs a firm reminder that it’s time to move on.

Leaving College aside, where weird behavior is pretty much the norm, I can’t think of anywhere I have lived (Connecticut, Colorado, PA) where stalking felt like the kind of pandemic that it apparently is in Texas. If anybody feels like correcting me or explaining, have at it in the comments.