Friday, August 31, 2007

Meanwhile, back in the men's lavatory with Senator Craig and Officer Karsnia...

The GOP said Craig is resigning. The AP posted transcripted excerpts from the police interview with Senator Craig after his lewd conduct bust.

It's very sad. The dialogue is as if Samuel Beckett had written an ABC Afterschool Special especially targeted at closeted gay Senators.

Craig insisted then, as he insists now, that he is not gay. Sergeant Karsnia, on the other hand, insists that Senator Craig is lying to him about his behavior in the stalls.

KARSNIA: Have you been successful in these bathrooms here before?

CRAIG: I go to that bathroom regularly.

KARSNIA: I mean for any type of other activities.

(You see here? This is the "Theater of the Absurd" aspect of the interview. Karsnia is asking Craig if he has had "success" in these bathrooms before--in the sense of "success in picking up guys for assignations." But Craig chooses to interpret Karsnia's use of the word "success" as signifying "success in taking a dump"--the "Borat" sense of the word "success." ("Great success!") Here we see again the poverty of words as a means of communicating truths, the near impossibility of real communication between two alienated human beings. Very "Godot", very Ionesco. Let's go on.)

CRAIG: No. Absolutely not. I don't seek activity in bathrooms.

KARSNIA: It's embarrassing.

CRAIG: Well it's embarrassing for both. I'm not gonna fight you.

KARSNIA: I know you're not going to fight me. But that's not the point. I would respect you and I still respect you. I don't disrespect you but I'm disrespected right now, and I'm not trying to act like I have all kinds of power or anything, but you're sitting here lying to a police officer.

CRAIG: I, I, I ...


(Another "Beckett" type moment--Craig, an articulate man, reduced momentarily to incoherence by "l'absurd.")

KARSNIA: I am trained in this, and I know what I am doing. And I say you put your hand under there and you're going to sit there and ...

CRAIG: I admit I put my hand down.

KARSNIA: You put your hand and rubbed it on the bottom of the stall with your left hand.

CRAIG: No. Wait a moment.

KARSNIA: And I, I'm not dumb, you can say I don't recall ...

CRAIG: If I had turned sideways, that was the only way I could get my left hand over there.

KARSNIA: It's not that hard for me to reach. (inaudible) it's not that hard. I see it happen everyday out here now.

CRAIG: (inaudible) you do. All right.

KARSNIA: I just, I just, I guess, I guess I'm gonna say I'm just disappointed in you, sir. I'm just really am. I expect this from the guy that we get out of the hood.

(Why doe Sergeant Karsnia expect "this" from "the guy that we get out of the hood?" Why does he expect "more" in the way of "truth", from a US Senator, from an Idahoan, than "the guy that we get out of the hood?" Once again we see the poverty of human communication...)

KARSNIA: I mean, people vote for you.

CRAIG: Yes, they do. (inaudible)

KARSNIA: Unbelievable. Unbelievable.

(Now it is Karsnia who has been reduced to "a dead end." Zis is l'alienation...ze policeman who has seen ze meaninglessness of ze social order, where ze high official is ze same as ze guy from ze hood...)

CRAIG: I'm a respectable person, and I don't do these kinds of ..

KARSNIA: And (inaudible) respect right now though.

CRAIG: But I didn't use my left hand.

KARSNIA: I thought that you ...

CRAIG: I reached down with my right hand like this to pick up a piece of paper.

(And now we are at ze "single bullet theory" diagram phase of zis interaction. Les sujets attempt to confer meaning on their isolation in ze stalls, which eez of course alzo ze isolation of all l'humanite. We, ze audience, are placed liked birds above ze stalls, watching ze occupants beneath us. Like gods who see all but are powerless to intervene, we are asked to interpret ze scene below, where ze hand of ze Senator reach out beneath ze stall--in ze hope of human contact? For uzzer, more profane purposes? Which hand does ze Senator use? Ze right hand, to signal loneliness, ze lack of papier de lavatoire? Or ze left hand, to signal the willingness for ze assignacion?)

KARSNIA: Was your gold ring on your right hand at anytime today?

CRAIG: Of course not. Try to get it off. Look at it.

KARSNIA: OK. Then it was your left hand. I saw it with my own eyes.

CRAIG: All right, you saw something that didn't happen.

KARSNIA: Embarrassing, embarrassing. No wonder why we're going down the tubes.

(Ze gendarme's final statement is one of la resignacion, of hopelessness. He wants to laugh; at the same time he feels ze tears welling up in his eyes, ze ache in his soul.

C'est l'asbsurde.)

NO KIDDING! We have RAY GUNS we can use on Iraqis, if we want!

So, I like figured out how to work the On Demand thing on my cable TV, and it's like really cool because you can watch like movies or tv shows "on demand", like whenever you want--it's kind of like TIVO but it's not as cool as TIVO, because it's only the shit that they want to give you for free plus some "premium" movies that you would never pay to see in the first place anyway like some shit with David Spade or something.

Anyway, I got into the "On Demand" thing and all I could get on the fucking channel was this olden days pilgrim movie bullshit, it's called "The Constable" or something like that and I left it on cause it said in the Maltin Movie Guide it had teenage witches--but get this: it had Winona Ryder in it and at the beginning of the movie she goes out into the woods in the middle of the night with her olden days pilgrim girlfriends and they RIP open a CHICKEN and smear its BLOOD, and then one of them takes off her dress and GETS NAKED but it was too dark in the woods for me to see whether it was Winona or not, and it was too dark in my living room too, so I got up to see closer on the TV and then Winona's father the olden days minister showed up and broke up the whole girl-girl thing because he was the minister and that was the last "witchy-naked" kind of thing they did in the movie!

No more naked witches, no more special effects, nothing. Just Winona and Daniel Day fucking Lewis yelling at each other in Thanksgiving costumes. The rest of the movie was just some kind of heavy talky bullshit pilgrim metaphor for the political climate in the McCarthy era.

Big fucking deal. So I turned off the TV and started to "surf the net,"--and look what I found! We've got fucking ray guns we can use in Iraq now, if we want to! Do you believe this shit? I shit you not!

Aug 29, 5:03 PM EDT
Pentagon Nixes Ray Gun Weapon in Iraq

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- (In 2003) U.S. commanders were telling Washington that many civilian casualties could be avoided by using a new non-lethal weapon developed over the past decade.

Military leaders repeatedly and urgently requested - and were denied - the device, which uses energy beams instead of bullets and lets soldiers break up unruly crowds without firing a shot.

It's a ray gun that neither kills nor maims, but the Pentagon has refused to deploy it out of concern that the weapon itself might be seen as a torture device.

Perched on a Humvee or a flatbed truck, the Active Denial System gives people hit by the invisible beam the sense that their skin is on fire. They move out of the way quickly and without injury.

(HO. LEE. SHIT. Do you be-leeeeeeve this shit?)

On April 30, 2003, two days after the first Fallujah incident, Gene McCall, then the top scientist at Air Force Space Command in Colorado, typed out a two-sentence e-mail to Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"I am convinced that the tragedy at Fallujah would not have occurred if an Active Denial System had been there," McCall told Myers, according to the e-mail obtained by AP. The system should become "an immediate priority," McCall said.

...McCall, who retired from government in November 2003, remains convinced the system would have saved lives in Iraq.

"How this has been handled is kind of a national scandal," McCall said by telephone from his home in Florida.

(You bet your sweet ass it is, Professor McCall. We have ray guns and we're NOT using them? WHAT KIND OF FUCKING BULLSHIT IS THAT!?)

A few months after McCall's message, in August 2003, Richard Natonski, a Marine Corps brigadier general who had just returned from Iraq, filed an "urgent" request with officials in Washington for the energy-beam device.

The device would minimize what Natonski described as the "CNN Effect" - the instantaneous relay of images depicting U.S. troops as aggressors.

(YOU BET YOUR SWEET ASS IT WOULD, General Natonski! We would look like friggin' starshoop trippers or something, getting out of our Humvees with our ray guns firing invisible fucking rays to convince Shi'ites and Sunnis they were on fire, it would be like WAR OF THE FUCKING WORLDS, and the only thing that could stop us would be the tiny common cold, which Good God, in his wisdom, put here on the earth--but until we all catch cold we could be ray-gunning their asses over there, with a cool sound effect like on Space 1999, like "nihnihnihnihnihnin--" or "eeeeeeeeeeee"--you're telling me that CNN wouldn't be all over THAT?)

The main reason the tool has been missing in action is public perception. With memories of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal still fresh, the Pentagon is reluctant to give troops a space-age device that could be misconstrued as a torture machine.

(WHAT? Has the United States of America become so impossibly pussed out that we cannot use our own RAY GUNS, now that we have finally got them? How is this worse than anything we are already using over there? This will save lives, Goddammit, the lives of everyone of the 437 crew members on this ship! It will save the lives of insurgents! When they hear we have ray guns now, they will SHIT themselves and be to embarrassed to come out and fight!)


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Poverty, income, and footsie in the men's restroom

Well, it’s official. I have officially lost my sense of humor. I laughed when the Ted Haggard story came out; he was a top political evangelical with access to the White House. When they caught McCain’s Florida campaign chair offering that undercover cop a twenty to let him blow him, I did a very funny piece on it. When they caught the newly elected chair of the GOP trying to blow a guest while he slept on the couch, I did a funny piece on that.

But now they caught Senator Larry Craig trying to blow an undercover cop in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. Okay, guys. Once, it’s funny. Twice, it’s still funny. Three times, it still gets a laugh. But now they’re beating this thing to death. Is this “secretly gay Republican leader” thing going to become some kind of ‘running gag’ in the Republican Party? If so, count me out. I’m washing my hands of the whole thing, right now, and wiping my hands on my pants because those little air dryers in the airport restrooms never work, and I’m stalking out of the men’s room to a good hard look at the substantive issues:

The AP posted the results of seven years of Bush/GOP stewardship of the economy. They posted Census Bureau data here (poverty by state), and here (household income by state). And the news is not good.

Yes, between last year and this year: a small increase in median income. But compare the figures for 1999-2000 with those for 2006, and you’ve got a financial horror story instead of the American dream.

Bush is the only president I know who could turn a foreign war into a loss of income for the American people. And that’s not counting the debt that he and the GOP ran up on behalf of Americans, when they dominated Washington. That debt is a tax; Americans owe it and it will have to be paid back.

And when you look over the figures in the Census poverty and income reports, note that some of the hardest hit states are centers of conservatism.

Colorado—median income in 1999: $57,118. In 2006: $52,015. Change : minus 8.9% in income in the past six years. (Colorado is the “Focus on the Family” state, the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights (TABOR) state.)

Georgia—median income in 1999: $51,346. In 2006: $46,832. Change: minus 8.8%

Larry Craig’s Idaho---median income in 1999: $45,464. In 2006: $42,865. Change: minus 5.7%. (And this man’s solution is to fly to Minnesota to blow a cop in a public restroom?)

Look at the figures for your own state, for your own cities. Poverty up, median income down. (And yes, I know that “median income” is not even the most accurate way of tracking “how we all did.” It’s very likely that we did even worse than these figures suggest, if you break the income groups into five different tiers instead of one “averaged” tier.) It’s not just the red states that are down, it’s down across the boards.

But it’s the red state numbers and voters that bug me. What have the rank-and-file Republicans been voting *for,* all these years? Higher poverty and a cut in their own incomes? Why are some of these districts still “safe” for the Republicans, after the rise in income during the nineties and the fall in income in the last seven years?

They’re nuts, but maybe if we rub their noses in this they’ll get back on their medication and stop voting for corrupt hypocrites who cut their financial throats. Personally, I don’t mind if a guy wants to play footsie in the men’s room, so long as my income doesn’t get slashed by five per cent while he’s doing it.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Washington Post asks: Why Isn't Jenna Bush Serving In Iraq?

Just kidding. The WaPost piece highlighted below does not ask why Jenna is not serving in Iraq. But the title of the diary is not a cheap attempt to draw readers, it is rather a cheap attempt to highlight what a crappy job the media is doing on holding war supporters’ feet to the fire on “why their kids aren’t going.”

The following column about Jenna Bush is by Robin Givhan, the Washington Post fashion reporter who gave the world an update on Hillary Clinton’s sexy neckline. This time Givhan is sharing her “deep thoughts” about “what Jenna means to us all.” Apparently Givhan shares a gene for “spiritual depth” with Lindsay Lohan.

Jenna Bush, Engaged in A Tricky Role

By Robin Givhan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 26, 2007; Page M01

Do not be fooled by Jenna Bush.

She has wrapped herself in the golden glow of celebrity. But she is something else entirely.

For almost seven years, the blond Bush twin has reveled in the trappings associated with Hollywood starlets -- from wearing made-to-order designer clothes to smiling brightly from the glossy pages of a Vogue photo spread. She has walked red carpets and swanned past velvet ropes. Like so many celebrities, she has taken on a cause -- education -- and is using her fame to stir interest and attract media attention to an upcoming book tour. She has indulged in the kind of naughty behavior that paints her as human but not necessarily in need of an intervention. As she said onstage at the 2004 Republican convention, in a scripted introduction of her mother that had all the awkward, self-deprecating humor of an Oscar segue: She and her twin, Barbara, had misbehaved when they were "young and irresponsible." Who couldn't relate to that?

(Really, who couldn’t? Even a combat veteran in Walter Reed because one of his legs got blown off could probably manage a sly, empathetic chuckle at the hi-jinx of these young beautiful impetuous twins...if he was on the right medication...)

Jenna even had a moment of public exasperation with the media -- her own version of a modest paparazzi meltdown. She stuck her tongue out at the press corps from behind the gray windows of the presidential limousine while campaigning with her father. It was the non-gustatory equivalent of Hugh Grant hurling baked beans at a photographer.

(Well, how about that? That is news. The Hugh Grant reference made me keep on reading:)

Like a lot of celebrities, 25-year-old Jenna likes to have her fame when it's convenient and advantageous. And mostly she has. Celebrities have their double-wide bodyguards and fierce mama-bear publicists to manage their image. The president's daughter has the Secret Service and the impenetrable silence of the first lady's press office. Unless bad behavior turned up on the police blotter, it was not likely to be featured on "Access Hollywood."

The role of "celebrity" is easy to play. Selflessness and hard work are not requirements. The rules are simple. Dress well, smile for the cameras, and occasionally make an appearance at an artfully managed photo op.

(Meanwhile, here are the updated casualty figures from the latest suicide bombing—whoops, too late for that, back to Jenna:)

In some ways, the glare of fame has distracted us from the truth. As the president's daughter, Jenna isn't a celebrity. She's a symbol, and that's a far more cumbersome role.

(Yup. Being a symbol is as cumbersome as wearing seventy pounds of body armor and Kevlar helmet and carrying a machine gun through the streets of Baghdad. Britney Spears will tell you the same thing—the pressure, the pressure—the kids who volunteered for combat don’t how lucky they are compared to Jenna and Barb...)

...But the engagement is different. It is weighted with the baggage of family, tradition and America's misty-eyed habit of trying to cast the first family as a narrowly defined version of the Ideal Family -- that deeply ingrained fantasy of well-behaved kids, nurturing mother and God-fearing father.

The White House feeds that desire when it releases the president's menu for Thanksgiving dinner, for instance. (Consider the controversy if the president shunned good ol' turkey and opted for Tofurkey.) ...

(Christ, yes, that would set off a shit-storm of controversy among the soldiers who patrol Sadr City every night. Well, maybe not there, but you’d get miles of ink out of that Tofurkey thing from deep thinkers in the print media...)

...The wedding -- and everyone presumes one will follow the engagement -- would be much less complicated if Jenna could just have a celebrity blowout instead of symbolic nuptials. Celebrity weddings can be overwrought, overpriced and tacky. But just how indulgent a bride can Jenna be in wartime? Celebrity wedding dresses are assumed to be couture, not made in America. The wedding favors can be Chinese imports and no one will care...

Now this kind of coverage might seem fatuous to you, if you’re aware that there’s a war on. But Givhan’s reporting does raise a very important issue: Why does the WaPost allow Givhan regular space for this, the most stupid-ass sort of news commentary?

I mean, what we’ve got here is some kind of news analysis through the prism of “People” or “Us” magazine—politicians and their kin as pop celebrities, with focus on what they’re wearing and where they’ve been seen and how they’ve been handling the paparazzi and “what that all MEANS and why that is so very, very important to all of us.” A WaPost experiment in making politics more “fun”, more “dishy”? Won’t we get a positive response if we treat the politicians the way we treat the entertainment/fashionista people?

Well, vapidity does draw attention. And Givhans does touch on a salient, newsworthy point regarding candidates’ children, further on down the piece:

...During the campaign, if the children are old enough, they can become surrogates for the candidate. The five fresh-faced Romney boys blog for father Mitt. But they have also become Exhibit A for those who want to make an issue of whose children are serving in Iraq and whose are not...

Well, yeah, there are a lot of Americans who would want to make an issue of that—so why doesn’t the WaPost write about that, instead of this “paparazzi” crap? Why not do a regular series of eight hundred word pieces on all the candidates’ children who are of age to do military service, and have them explain why they’re not going?

Now *that* would be *dishy*; deep-dish indeed. If you want to get really *dishy.*


Thursday, August 23, 2007

You won't want to miss... "The Bridges of Hennepin County"

Tonight's illustration comes to us from the lovely and talented Jason Gorksi, a commercial artist who lives and works in Minnesota:


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Duh: Liberals Read More Books Than Conservatives

You see these books by Coulter and O'Reilly and Hannity at the top of bestseller lists sometimes and you get disgusted and scared, right? Well, it turns out that that's really all these conservatives are reading.

Which is kind of scary, I guess. But I'm willing to bet that the sales are due to the heavy promotion on conservative talk radio--free advertising that's the conservative equivalent of the Oprah Book Club...

Book Chief: Conservatives Want Slogans

Aug 21, 2:40 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Liberals read more books than conservatives. The head of the book publishing industry's trade group says she knows why - and there's little flattering about conservative readers in her explanation.

"The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: 'No, don't raise my taxes, no new taxes,'" Pat Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers, said in a recent interview. "It's pretty hard to write a book saying, 'No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes' on every page."

(No it isn’t. A book with “no new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes” on every page would be dead easy to write. Even Gertrude Stein could do it.

And it would sell pretty well; better than anything else I ever wrote. You could market it at local GOP events as a kind of novelty gift. Give it some fancy title like “The Way Things Oughta Be,” or “The Secret Of Good Government.” They’d buy it. Anyway:)

Schroeder, who as a Colorado Democrat was once one of Congress' most liberal House members, was responding to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll that found people who consider themselves liberals are more prodigious book readers than conservatives...

(Now there’s another shocker for you. Conservative books regularly appear at the top of the bestseller lists, but the conservatives who buy them hardly read anything else. Who could have predicted that?)

...The book publishing industry is predominantly liberal, though conservative books by authors like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and pundit Ann Coulter have been best sellers in recent years...

(Well, that’s because Gingrich and Coulter’s track record on giving out political, military, economic, and foreign and domestic policy advice is so good. There’s always a market for thinkers with a track record like that.)

...White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Schroeder was "confusing volume with quality" with her remarks.

(Yeah. That’s right. I pity the liberals who read some thick piece of wordy junk like “Moby Dick” or “Anna Karenina” instead of Sean Hannity’s pithy latest. You can learn more about the human condition from Bill O’Reilly’s bumper sticker hatred than all of Tolstoy, and that’s the sad truth. Of course, to learn anything from the O’Reilly and Hannity stuff you have to read it critically, and the people who buy those books flat-out refuse to do that...)

"As head of a book publishing association, she probably shouldn't malign any readers," said Mary Matalin, a GOP strategist...

(Why not? It’s not like the conservatives will ever read it.)

...Matalin (who oversees a line of books by conservative authors) said conservatives and others aren't necessarily reading less, but are getting more information online and from magazines...

(True, true...the “Why liberals hate America” Website, the “Country Club Economics on a Cocktail Napkin Update,”the “Rush O’Hannity Home Page,” the “Evolution is a Lie” Interactive Online Video Game Page, the “Official “END TIMES ARE HERE” newsletter...)

Among those who had read at least one book, liberals typically read nine books in the year, with half reading more than that and half less. Conservatives typically read eight...

(But four of those eight books were pop-up books, another three were by Anne Coulter, and the remaining one came with a package of crayons included. And all of the authors read by conservatives last year supported a surge in Iraq. So maybe they should stop reading altogether. Garbage in, garbage out, as Tolstoy used to say.)


House Democrat Does Mean Thing

I always write nasty stuff about Republicans and conservatives here, so I'm putting up this diary to show I'm broad-minded:
Lawmaker Is Accused Of Assault At Dulles

Calif. Congressman Faces Charge in Baggage Dispute

By Jonathan Mummolo
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 21, 2007; Page B01

U.S. Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.) has been charged with misdemeanor assault and battery for allegedly pushing an airline employee at Dulles International Airport on Sunday during a dispute over baggage, authorities said.

Filner, who represents the San Diego area, "attempted to enter an area authorized for airline employees only" while in the United Airlines baggage claim office and "pushed aside the employee's outstretched arm and refused to leave the area when asked by an airline employee," according to a Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police statement.

(I put up Filner's picture below, which ran with the news story. He looks real mean in the picture:) (continued)

(Doesn't he look mean, in that picture? "Let me by, you low-rent security flunky, I'm a damn Congressman! Here, I'll give you a good shove, that'll teach you--ooo--Ha! Gotcha. Right in the arm, too.")

The female airline employee, whom police did not identify, appeared before a Loudoun County magistrate that evening, and Filner was charged with assault and battery. If convicted, Filner faces up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine under Virginia law.

Police said the employee did not require medical attention.

(Yeah, well...)

Filner disputed the account in a brief statement issued by his office. "Congressman Bob Filner is on his way to Iraq, visiting our troops, and will have a full statement when he returns. Suffice it to say now, that the story that has appeared in the press is factually incorrect -- and the charges are ridiculous," the statement says.

(I don't care. He still looks mean, to me. Stop picking on women, Congressman Filner.)

United Airlines also released a statement, saying: "United regrets that the customer experienced a delay in claiming his bag..."

(If only we *were* allowed to give airline employees a good hard shot in the arm when they took too long to get us our luggage. But at least the guy carries his own bags. And he's sixty-four years old. Seems like a pretty responsible guy, otherwise:)

Filner, 64, was first elected to the House in 1992 and is the chairman of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs. He has advocated for veterans' benefits for Filipinos who fought with U.S. forces in World War II. He also has introduced the Military Environmental Responsibility Act, which would require all U.S. defense-related agencies to fully comply with federal and state environmental laws.

(But he looks mean, and he was mean to an airline employee, so I guess that other stuff doesn't count now.)

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Pentagon paid $1 million to ship two 19 cent washers

HA! I'm back. We had a lot of stuff to do on Congresswoman Bachmann last week. But I'm back and have I got a story for YOU!:

Pentagon Paid $998,798 to Ship Two 19-Cent Washers
Tony Capaccio
Thu Aug 16, 3:16 PM ET

Aug. 16 (Bloomberg) -- A small South Carolina parts supplier collected about $20.5 million over six years from the Pentagon for fraudulent shipping costs, including $998,798 for sending two 19-cent washers to an Army base in Texas, U.S. officials said.

The company also billed and was paid $455,009 to ship three machine screws costing $1.31 each to Marines in Habbaniyah, Iraq, and $293,451 to ship an 89-cent split washer to Patrick Air Force Base in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Pentagon records show.

The owners of C&D Distributors in Lexington, South Carolina -- twin sisters -- exploited a flaw in an automated Defense Department purchasing system: bills for shipping to combat areas or U.S. bases that were labeled ``priority'' were usually paid automatically, said Cynthia Stroot, a Pentagon investigator.

(For sheer, unadulterated BALLS, I have to give this private sector contractor the prize.

C&D and two of its officials were barred in December from receiving federal contracts. Today, a federal judge in Columbia, South Carolina, accepted the guilty plea of the company and one sister, Charlene Corley, to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to launder money, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin McDonald said.

Corley, 46, was fined $750,000. She faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years on each count and will be sentenced soon, McDonald said in a telephone interview from Columbia. (The Pentagon investigator) said (Corley's) sibling died last year.

(My condolences.)

Corley didn't immediately return a phone message left on her answering machine at her office in Lexington...

(She's still counting her money. "Let the damn phone ring... eighteen million and one, eighteen million and two (hums "God Bless A-mericaaaa...")

`Got More Aggressive'

C&D's fraudulent billing started in 2000, Stroot, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service's chief agent in Raleigh, North Carolina, said in an interview. ``As time went on they got more aggressive in the amounts they put in.''

(Wow! And it took 'em seven years to catch 'em. Why rob banks, when you can do this?)

The price the military paid for each item shipped rarely reached $100 and totaled just $68,000 over the six years in contrast to the $20.5 million paid for shipping, she said

(Twenty million dollars for shipping? That's the first thing they tell you when you bid on Ebay, "you gotta watch those shipping charges, that's how the sellers get ya." How do they rationalize shipping charges like that? "Let's see...They want this humvee evergreen air-freshener shipped "Next Day Priority Air"...Okay, that'll run ya...oh, what the hell, it Christmas, let's call it $293,000..." Where are those guys who talk up the virtues of the private sector when you need 'em?)

``The majority, if not all of these parts, were going to high-priority, conflict areas -- that's why they got paid,'' Stroot said. If the item was earmarked ``priority,'' destined for the military in Iraq, Afghanistan or certain other locations, ``there was no oversight.''

Scheme Detected

The scheme unraveled in September after a purchasing agent noticed a bill for shipping two more 19-cent washers: $969,000.

(I'd have liked to have been a fly on the wall for that moment. "Hey, what's this--$998,798? For two little metal washers? That can't be right. Must be something special about 'em...")

That order was rejected and a review turned up the $998,798 payment earlier that month for shipping two 19-cent washers to Fort Bliss, Texas, Stroot said.

("Nope, that's's the exact same order from two weeks ago...and we paid it...hmmm...and it doesn't include the price of the washers themselves... which comes to (hits adding machine) thirty-eight cents, for both... Jeez, I only make thirty thou a year auditing these bills for the government...maybe I should get into this 'metal washer shipping' business thing, it must be some kind of frikkin' gold mine...")

...``C&D was a rogue contractor,'' (Pentagon investigator) Stroot said. While other questionable billing has been uncovered, nothing came close to C&D's, she said. The next-highest billing for questionable costs totaled $2 million, she said.

(That was for FedEx'ing that "Bush/Cheney" bumpersticker to Kabul.)

Stroot said the Pentagon hopes to recoup most of the $20.5 million by auctioning homes, beach property, jewelry and ``high- end automobiles'' that the sisters spent the money on.

``They took a lot of vacations,'' she said.

(Yeah, but in their defense--some of those parts are hard to get these days. I mean, $998,000 to ship two 19 cent metal washers to Texas--sure, that sounds like a lot, but the alternative is, you send some guy off the base to go out and get the part in town, and he's got carfare, you've got to buy him lunch, and then you get down to Ace Hardware and maybe they've got the washer and maybe they don't, the kid forgot to bring the cracked old washers with him and the old guy in the hardware store has to guess, kind of "eye-ball it..." And then if it's wrong, you got to send the kid back, two or three times. It's a royal pain in the ass.)


Monday, August 13, 2007

Iowa: Romney spends millions, beats a bunch of daffodils

Wow! The non-binding Iowa straw poll is over. National news! And what a pressure cooker that was, ladies and gentlemen! Mitt Romney, spending like hell to beat a bunch of competitors who had absolutely no chance of defeating him. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather the media covered a real “nail biter” like *that*, than some boring old story about America’s decaying infrastructure.

Romney Wins Iowa's GOP Poll

Victory Highlights Strategy Difference With Giuliani

By Dan Balz and Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, August 12, 2007; Page A01

AMES, Iowa, Aug. 11 -- With a convincing victory in the Republican straw poll here Saturday, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney vaulted himself into the next phase of a presidential nomination battle pitting his traditional early-state strategy against a more unorthodox approach by national front-runner Rudolph W. Giuliani...

... Romney's victory came against a relatively weak field that did not include Giuliani, Sen. John McCain of Arizona or former senator Fred D. Thompson of Tennessee, and after he heavily outspent those who did compete. Still, the result, with Romney easily outpacing his rivals with 32 percent of the vote, helps elevate him from relative obscurity six months ago to the top tier of the GOP field -- despite his relatively low standing in national polls.

Gee: it’s the Iowa straw primary and Romney’s the *only* major GOP candidate to show up, he spends a jillion everywhere in the state, and all to beat a bunch of daisies and daffodil competitors with elfin-sounding names like “Brownback” and “Huckabee.”

And he does beat them! Corking good story, there, press corps! I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. That’s the stuff to give the troops; “Romney spends millions to cut down a field of daisy opponents who never stood a chance of winning the GOP nomination; McCain, Giuliani and Thompson don’t bother to show up.”

Are there any pictures of Romney beating the hell out of a daffodil? Boy, I’d like to see that. When I think of all the money the press spent to send correspondents out to Iowa to watch this contest between Romney and this dandelion opposition...Well, it’s not a complete waste of money; there’s always the “glam” factor that a visit to Iowa represents to these young reporters and news is, after all, Iowa; they’ll always be able to say they “were there, when it happened...when no serious contender except Romney showed up, and Romney armed only with tens of millions of dollars, took on a field of daffodils, dandelions and daisies with elfin names like Brownback and Huckabee and Bilbo and Samwise—and did Romney chop those little muthafuckahs down! You should have seen him, spending that money to beat that dandelion! He was merciless! He strapped that daisy to the roof of his car and took off, top speed!”

They’ll always have their memories. So it’s not a complete waste of the public attention span.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Young Republican leader will BJ you while you sleep

Dateline: Indiana

The Clark County Sheriff’s Department on Friday began investigating (Glenn Murphy, chairman of the Clark County Republican Party) for alleged criminal deviate conduct — potentially a class B felony — after speaking with a 22-year-old man who claimed that on July 31, Murphy performed an unwanted sex act on him while the man slept in a relative’s Jeffersonville home.

He was allegedly caught blowing a man in his sleep! And it's not the first time he's been accused of this!

UPDATE: Murphy resigns political posts; cooperating with police in apparent criminal investigation

Party chair says in letter resignation was for business reasons

The chairman of the Clark County Republican Party — who last month was elected president of the Young Republican National Federation — has resigned both posts, apparently in the wake of a criminal investigation.

On Tuesday afternoon, Glenn Murphy Jr. e-mailed media outlets a letter announcing his resignation from both positions, citing an unexpected business opportunity that would prohibit him from holding a partisan political office.

(An unexpected BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY? He's gonna start doing this FOR MONEY?)

However, the Clark County Sheriff’s Department on Friday began investigating Murphy for alleged criminal deviate conduct — potentially a class B felony — after speaking with a 22-year-old man who claimed that on July 31, Murphy performed an unwanted sex act on him while the man slept in a relative’s Jeffersonville home.

Murphy, a 33-year-old Utica resident, has not been arrested nor has he been charged with a crime. A copy of the police report has been posted on an politically focused Internet site and another was provided to a reporter with The Evening News and The Tribune on Tuesday evening.

Larry Wilder, Murphy’s attorney, said Murphy is cooperating with police and Prosecutor Steve Stewart. Wilder said Murphy contends the sex act was consensual.

A reporter was unable to reach Stewart on Tuesday evening.

In 1998, a 21-year-old male filed a similar report with Clarksville police claiming Murphy attempted to perform a sex act on him while he was sleeping. Charges were never filed in that case.

(OH-HO, so this was NO ACCIDENT, eh? This is some kind of POLICY in the GOP these days, eh? "Join the GOP, the political party that blows you while you sleep." ANYTHING to rebuild the party after last year's Dem tsunami.)

My God, can you imagine waking up to that? You're over a friend's house, you're talking politics with the new president of the Young Republicans, he's talking to about some boring policy thing, making you feel all sleepy--you crash out on the couch as he sings you a lullaby...

You're dreaming about Fred Thompson beating Hillary Clinton-- "Oooo, something feels good...JESUS CHRIST! What are you DOING!" "No, no, it wasn't me, it, it was the dog! Don't call the media! This is all a part of your dream, you're getting sleepy again, verrrry sleeeepy..." "HELP! POLICE!"

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

GOP partisan reaction to Minneapolis bridge tragedy

The national GOP’s “first response” in Congress to the Minneapolis bridge tragedy was horrible.

I looked at the roll call votes in Congress on Friday, August 3rd. I write for a local Minnesota blog; Dump Michele Bachmann. Bachmann's a conservative GOP congresswoman; we were tracking her votes on the bridge emergency. Two Minnesota GOP Congressmen—John Kline and Michele Bachmann—voted to adjourn Congress on Friday before emergency funds could be voted to their state. But Bachmann’s vote aside, I was disgusted by what I found out. It turns out that this isn’t just a local partisan problem, it’s a national partisan problem.

A bridge collapses on a busy highway in Minnesota; people are dead and missing, divers are feeling their way through the murky waters of the Mississippi looking for bodies and vehicles—and almost *all* Republicans voted to adjourn without voting on emergency funds; funds that the President had already promised.

One hundred and seventy-nine Republicans voted to adjourn. Fifteen Republicans voted not to adjourn. Eight Republicans did not vote.

Two hundred and twenty two Democrats had voted not to adjourn. One Democrat did vote to adjourn. Seven Democrats did not vote.

Here is a link to that vote, if you want to see it:

The Democrats won, and the motion to adjourn at that time failed. Congress stayed in session the rest of the day and MN Rep. Oberstar (a Democrat) saw his proposal to fund the bridge recovery was finally voted on and approved.

Local Minnesota GOP bloggers were outraged—not because not because the GOP led a partisan effort to adjourn without a vote on the funds, not because local GOP congressional representatives Michele Bachmann and John Kline joined in the motion to adjourn—but because the St. Cloud Times *reported* those facts in their story on the emergency funds. (To his credit, GOP congressman Jim Ramstad did not join in his party’s vote to adjourn.)

It’s not that the GOP and our local Republicans voted against the emergency funds. They all supported the emergency funds.

The problem was that the GOP did their partisan vote to adjourn on Friday without a vote on the bridge emergency funding. The message the GOP congressmen sent to Minnesota with that vote is: “We don’t care that it’s an emergency, we don’t care that they’re still searching the river for bodies—it’s Friday, and we really hate the fact that Nancy Pelosi is making us work five days a week instead of three now, and we always have this partisan vote to adjourn. That’s what we Republicans do, American tragedy or no American tragedy. We simply must play our brainless partisan games; we don’t want to be here, emergency or no.”

And this during a week when other state politicians in both parties were doing their damnedest not to be partisan. We even had conservative “no new taxes” Governor Tim Pawlenty cooperating to Mayor Ryback. And we even see conservative “no new taxes” Governor Pawlenty supporting a Dem proposal for tax hike on gas to repair state infrastructure.

And the response of one hundred and seventy-nine Republicans in Congress are doing this pointless partisan roll call vote, mindlessly voting to adjourn without emergency funding--while the recovery and rescue effort is still under way?


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Gonzales: "Duh--I guess I lied again..."

Gonzales Now Says Top Aides Got Political Briefings

By Dan Eggen and Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writer and Staff Writer
Saturday, August 4, 2007; Page A05

Justice Department officials attended at least a dozen political briefings at the White House since 2001, including some meetings led by Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser, and others that were focused on election trends prior to the 2006 midterm contest, according to documents released yesterday.

(So what. Big deal. Karl Rove was telling the nation’s chief law enforcement officials that they should prosecute Democrats and not Republicans. So what, who cares. There’s no scandal here, come on...)

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that he did not believe that senior Justice Department officials had attended such briefings. But he clarified his testimony yesterday in a letter to Congress, emphasizing that the briefings were not held at the agency's offices...
(That’s right. They weren’t held at the Justice Department offices—they were held in the WHITE HOUSE—*very* important distinction they’re making there, very important.)

...A list of briefings for Justice officials was included with a letter sent yesterday from Gonzales to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which sought to clarify and correct parts of his testimony before the panel on July 24...

At the July 24 hearing, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) asked Gonzales whether any of "the leadership of the Department of Justice" had participated in political briefings, pointing to examples involving employees from the State Department, Peace Corps and U.S. Agency for International Development.

"Not that I'm aware of. . . . I don't believe so, sir," Gonzales said.

(Well, then that’s that, then. If Gonzales says there were no political briefings, then we know that there were no political briefings. If Al Gonzales, being investigated month after month after month for lying to Congress, says that there were no political briefings for the Justice Department by the White House, we can be sure there weren’t—because Al and everybody in his office have been going over the records of the Justice Department’s political activism for months now—so we can be sure that if Al says there were no political briefings by Rove or the White House for Justice Department officials, he’s telling the truth this time, because he doesn’t want to get caught lying again if it later comes out that there were in fact a bunch of political briefing for Justice Department officials, we know he’s telling the--)

Justice officials attended 12 political briefings at the White House, and another held at the Department of Agriculture, from 2001 to 2006, according to the list sent to Waxman. At least five were led by Rove or included presentations by him.

(Oh, SHIT! God damn. How about that. He lied again. Who would have thought? And WTF is this, a political briefing for Justice Department officials at the Department of AGRICULTURE? WTF is THAT all about? “Well, we’re not allowed to receive political briefings at the Justice Department.” “So you took the Justice officials over to the Department of *Agriculture* to get a political briefing?” “Yeah. What—is that wrong?” “You think that’s observing the law, do you?” “Well...I mean...We hopped in a car, they took us over to Agriculture...we had some fresh milk, and Rove told us that we ought to disenfranchise more voters. It’s a very nice place to have a political briefing. What are you looking at me like that for?”

The list compiled by Justice did not include many details about the kind of information presented at those briefings...

(Rove:“Okay, now, fellers, now pay attention. Now how many of you are NOT willing to help us criminalize the Democratic Party? Okay, that’s a good show of hands, good, good...And many of you want to KEEP your jobs?”)

One March 2001 meeting included a "political update" from Rove and a discussion on "how we can work together to advance the President's agenda."

(“How We Can Work Together To Advance The President’s Agenda”--That’s a much better name for the briefing than the original choice: “How We Can Use Our Office to Terrorize the Democratic Party and Disenfranchise More American Voters.”)

Political briefings by White House aides have become a political flashpoint on Capitol Hill in recent months. Waxman is investigating whether the meetings violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity on federal government property.

(Boy, that guy Waxman sure has a bug up his ass, doesn’t he? (mimicking) “I’m gonna investigate whether you were engaging in partisan political activity on federal property, I’m gonna get you for violating the Hatch Act, nyeh-nyeh-nyeh, I’m gonna tell your mommies...” Why don’t you be a man, Waxman. Go fix a traffic ticket or something.)

The White House has denied that the briefings were improper, saying they were merely informational meetings for political appointees.

(Rove: “This is strictly an informational meeting, folks. So I’d like to *inform* you that any one of you who won’t play ball, is gonna be out on his or her ass. Comprendo?”)

Sara M. Taylor, the former White House political director, and J. Scott Jennings, the current deputy political director, have testified that the briefings were designed to thank such appointees for their service to the president.

(Well who could possibly object to that—all that Taylor and Jennings were doing was thanking these wonderful attorneys for--)

Other briefings given by Taylor and Jennings have included detailed PowerPoint presentations, including district-by-district analyses of critical House races.

(OH, SHIT! “Now you see, US attorneys, this race, right here, where I’m pointing with this laser pointer, is VERY important to us. What we want you to do is get some dirt on the Democrat in this election, because it’s gonna be close. So take a couple of guys off the Mafia, drug-dealing thing and put them on the Dem contender in this race here—“ “Excuse me, but isn’t that political?” “Who let that ya-hoo in here? Call security.”)

...Meanwhile, Congress has questioned the role that political considerations played inside Gonzales's Justice Department in both the firing of nine U.S. attorneys last year and in the hiring of career employees, the latter an apparent violation of civil-service laws.

(“Do you promise to support George W. Bush, the Republican Party and all its works?” “Yes, I do.” “Congratulation. Job for life, there you go.” “Great! Hey, is this legal?” “Of course it’s legal, dumbass! Why do you think they call us the JUSTICE Department. Duh!”)


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Minnesota Bridge Disaster: White House denounces finger-pointing while pointing finger

The White House on the Minneapolis bridge disaster: "This is not the time for finger-pointing, but if it was, we'd point the finger straight at the Minnesota state government."

Aug 3, 5:07 PM EDT
Analysis: New Try for Bush As Comforter


WASHINGTON (AP) -- In times of disaster, presidents are expected to be comforters-in-chief, yet since Hurricane Katrina President Bush has a blemished record in that role.

He reacted quickly to the Minnesota bridge collapse by scheduling a visit, but only after an awkward initial reaction in which the White House emphasized that fixing structural deficiencies was the state's responsibility...

What in the world is the AP writer talking about here? What was the White House’s initial response to the Minneapolis disaster? To learn the answer to that, we have to go to this article, published the day after news of the disaster was broadcast on television:

Aug 2, 5:07 PM EDT
Bush Offers Help Restoring Fallen Bridge

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration said Thursday that structural deficiencies were found two years ago in the highway bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis and it was the state's responsibility to fix them. ("Finger!" "Yes, sir?" "Point!" "Yes, sir! Right away, sir!")

...The Interstate 35W span rated 50 on a scale of 100 for structural stability and was classified as "structurally deficient," which means that there were features of the bridge that needed to be repaired or replaced.

"It doesn't mean that the bridge is unsafe," Transportation Secretary Mary Peters told The Associated Press after touring the site. (Wow! I was looking at the same bridge she was, I saw it on TV, and it looked pretty unsafe to me! I'm not the Transportation Secretary, but I think that a bridge that has cars and trucks plunging off of it into the Mississippi means the bridge is unsafe, no matter what fucking rating they gave it--so, agree to disagree, I guess.)"It could carry a rating of 50 for a number of years without getting substantially worse." (I see. So what you're saying is--we shouldn't focus so much on "that one bad day"...)

...Earlier, at the White House, press secretary Tony Snow said while the inspection didn't indicate the bridge was at risk of failing, "if an inspection report identifies deficiencies, the state is responsible for taking corrective actions..."

(See how the spin reflex at the White House kicks in instantly, even when allowing the spin reflex to engage makes them look like politicized assholes? They’re not even done pulling the bodies out and the White House sends out its first response team--and its first response is to tell the public “it’s not our fault, it’s their fault.” At the same time, media and bloggers here in Minnesota are getting yelled at for “politicizing” the disaster—as if no one in the Democratic Party had proposed significant repairs to infrastructure BEFORE that bridge collapsed.)

Ronald Reagan, king of photo ops, comes to mind. He knew how to spin a disaster; he could turn someone else’s tragedy into political gold, for his own benefit. Remember how he and Nancy comforted the families of the Challenger disaster in 1986? Just imagine if Reagan had handled that tragedy the same way the Bush White House is handling this one:

Aide: Mr. President, these are the surviving family members of the Challenger crew.
Reagan: Thank you. (to families) First—and let’s make this crystal clear from the get-go-It’s not my fault.
Widow: Mr. President—
Reagan: Are you trying to say that it IS my fault? That’s really low, you know that? Now is not the time for finger-pointing. Are you really so insensitive to this tragedy that you’re jumping right into “the blame game”?
Widow: Why, no, Mr. President, I was just going to say that—
Reagan: It was NASA's fault! NOT MINE! I don’t have anything to do with the day-to-day operations of NASA, you know as well as I do that that’s not our responsibility at the White House—
Widow: I know that—
Reagan: You better know it! We just sign the checks, I think it’s ridiculous for you to insinuate that I should have been down there on the launch platform, checking the seals on O-rings or whatever—
Widow: (crying) Please, Mr. President—I know that you don’t bear any responsibility for this awful tragedy—
Reagan: (pretending to be deaf) Come again?
Widow: I said “I know you don’t bear any responsibility for this awful disaster—“
Reagan: (to cameraman) Did you get that? Good, we’ll edit out the rest, later. (moves on, sees a young boy) Well, young man, you look awfully upset about something.
Boy: M-m-y father just died—
Reagan: And that’s my fault? That’s NASA’s department, son. It’s not a White House responsibility.
Boy: But they said you might come to the cemetery and—
Reagan: Cemetery? What are you trying to pull here, kid? Are you trying to trying to make some bizarre connection between this and my visit to Bitburg to lay a wreath on the grave of those Nazis?
Widow: You’re scaring him!
Nancy: Take it down a notch, Ronnie—
Reagan: Get off my goddam back, Mommy! I’m not gonna let some punk drag Nazis into this incident. That’s a cheap shot, saying I’m pro-Nazi. (to rest of the families) What is wrong with you people? Don’t you have any feelings? You’ve just lost your husbands and fathers and I don’t know what else, and here you are trying to spin this into some kind of anti-White House, “down with conservatives” thing!
(The families burst into sobs and uncontrollable tears.)
Reagan: That’s right, be ashamed of yourselves! You should be. I was gonna give each and every one of you a hug and say some comforting words, but these two (points to Widow and Boy) have ruined it for everyone. C’mon, Nancy, let’s go. I don’t have to stay here and take this shit. (to Aide) And you—tell the Press Secretary to announce that our official response to this disaster is “this was not our fault, it’s someone else’s fault but not ours.”


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Medical Breakthrough Offers Hope For Rotten Bush Approval Ratings

A new breakthrough in medical science offers a solution to the President’s “below dogshit” poll numbers:

Boston hospital offers face transplants

Mon Jul 30, 5:15 AM ET

BOSTON - Brigham and Women's Hospital has given a surgical team permission to perform partial face transplants to certain disfigured patients, a newspaper reported.

(A meeting at the White House:)

Karl: Okay, Dick. It's like this. It's a new procedure. We have limited choices. What I'm showing you today is what we can get, today.
Dick: Are you sure this is necessary, Karl?
Karl: Dick--have you seen our numbers this week? We're even starting see some Republicans saying they don't believe Saddam did 9/11 anymore. Our backs are against the wall.
Dick: It's just that I don't know if we can sell him on this--surgery...
Karl: I'll sell him on it, don't worry. I'll tell him the doctors want to look for more polyps or something. When he wakes up he'll never know what hit him.
Dick: (sighs) Okay then, let's see what the options are.
Karl: Okay. Now what I got here are a bunch of before and after shots. Before...

Dick: Oh, God, put that away, I see that every day--
Karl: I know I know, but look-- here's the "after" shot:

Dick: mmm... I don't think so...
Karl: Oh come on, how can you not like that? She's one of the most beautiful women in the world! Everybody loves her! And she's crazy about kids...
Dick: Karl--I just told him to veto health care for poor children. That's not the way we want to go. What else have you got?
Karl: Okay, okay. Here's "Before":

Dick: Yeah, I remember that one. Praying. He's saying "I am the "Pray-er," so what?
Karl: But here's "After:"

Dick: Hmm. Isn't she dead?
Karl: I don't know. Does it matter? Everybody's crazy about her. How can you get more "compassionate conservative" than this?
Dick: I don't know... the "do-rag" thing she's got on...that's kind of "Palestinian"-looking, isn't it?
Karl: Naah! It's Catholic. This one would go over real big with east coast Catholics, Dick, and we'd love to get them back--
Dick: My God, don't remind me, we're even losing pro-lifers these days. Okay, look we'll come back to that one, what else have you got?
Karl: Now this one, I'll guarantee you're gonna love. Here's the "Before" shot--

Dick: Looks like he's describing his brain.
Karl: But get this, here's the "After:"

Karl: Now come on, Dick, you're not gonna tell me you don't like this one. James Bond, the Sean Connery James Bond, inspires incredible confidence, "this is the man who can get the job done." And it's the Connery Bond--not this Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan shit--
Dick: Wouldn't this be expensive? I mean, we don't want trouble with the James Bond franchise, they got money, we already have everybody else in the world pissed at us--
Karl: It's not cheap but it's do-able. We could get him looking like Timothy Dalton or George Lazenby for peanuts, if you want to go that route--
Dick: I don't think this one will work. We get him looking like that, people are gonna start asking us to send HIM to Baghdad to fix things up--and if we do that, BINGO! We got World War III on our hands.
Karl: I guess you got a point. Too bad; Laura loved it.
Dick: I bet she did. What else...
Karl: Okay. This is our last shot. If you don't like this one, I don't know what to tell you. The "Before" picture:

Dick: Okay...
Karl: And here's "After:"

Dick: Oh my God...
Karl: Now give it a chance, Dick, don't just shoot everything down, I'm just showing you what's available.
Dick: A big white beard?
Karl: The doctors say the beard's the easiest part to do. Look, Dick--the polls show that more Americans believe in THIS guy, than believe in Bush.
Dick: That's all the choices there are?
Karl: Well--they can do him up as "Clifford the Big Red Dog," but I knew you wouldn't go for that.
Dick: Jesus H. Christ...this's killing me...alright...let's see the Mother Theresa shot again...