Thursday, March 22, 2007

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Gonzales, not Rove, will be next

So, it's probably wishful thinking on my part to think that Rove would be next on the cut list. There's buzz that "Abu" Gonzales (thanks for the nickname, Jacabrooke) will be next to be thrown into the tank, and a list of possible replacements is being assembled, even as the White House continues to stand by him. Bush will try to keep Rove from testifying about the firing scandal, and may have to sacrifice Gonzales in the process.

Republican officials operating at the behest of the White House have begun seeking a possible successor to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, whose support among GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill has collapsed, according to party sources familiar with the discussions . . . "Democrats smell blood in the water, and (Gonzales') resignation won't stop them," said a well-connected Republican Senate aide. "And on our side, no one's going to defend him. All we can do is warn Democrats against overreaching."

But I still hold out hope for Rove's downfall.

With the scandal clearly not going away, Sampson then urged others at the department to try to get Cummins not to join other fired prosecutors in testifying on March 6. Cummins had warned officials that if called to Washington, he "would tell the truth about his circumstances" of being fired so Rove's operative, Timothy Griffin, could take over in Little Rock.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I opened my email this morning to find this note from my friend Pacho, whom I met up with Mexico City recently, and who knows well my great appreciation for this particular actor's talent, as well as my lust for his pulchritude:

"ken n joy were thrilled to recive your amores perroes by the way, talking of which i supose you recognise the guy with me in the foto...... love peter"

Afterwhich followed a photo of my friend with Gael Garcia Bernal at the Habana airport. Since he didn't send it in a format for me to share it with you here, I went online to find other pictures for us to dream over.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

This is such a fantastic report from NPR this morning I just decided to copy the whole thing here - I've bolded the good stuff (to listen to it - and hear our commander-in-chief speaking Spanish - go to the NPR website):

By David Greene

Latin America Trip Not Entirely Business as Usual

March 14, 2007 · President Bush is wrapping up a week-long tour of five Latin American countries with his last stop in Mexico. NPR White House Correspondent David Greene has been following the president, and covering the news of the trip. Greene has also been taking note of some of the stranger moments along the way — and he wanted to offer a few observations.

Covering the commander in chief is not always the sexiest job. Except, apparently, when you're in Brazil. That country's president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, said that when it comes to intense, ongoing trade talks, he just wants to find that spot where everyone's satisfied.

"We're moving on solid ground to find a chance for the so-called G-point," Silva said.

That was the English translation for Brazil's leader, who has been known to spice up a news conference. Brazil was President Bush's first stop. And evidently, he was pretty hungry after the trip down.

"So, Mr. President, it has been a great first meeting here," Bush said. "I appreciate the fact that you're about to buy me lunch. I'm kind of hungry. Looking forward to eating some of that good Brazilian food."

But he may not have been quite satisfied with the Brazilian fare, because when he got to Uruguay, and met up with the president there, Mr. Bush still seemed a little peckish.

"I appreciate your willingness to cook some Uruguayan beef," he said. "You've told me all along how good it is, and after we answer a few questions, we're about to find out."

Uruguay, get ready. The White House chef might be calling soon to get some of your food on the menu.

"It turns out Uruguay produces a fantastic blueberry," Mr. Bush said later.

But nothing seemed to excite the president as much as the lettuce in Guatemala. Mr. Bush spent time in a small village, loading crates of lettuce onto a truck. He proclaimed this stop one of the special moments of his entire presidency.

"It was really, really fun," he said.

Maybe the president was day-dreaming about the lettuce when he came to talk to reporters. Surely, he didn't mean to say this.

"The American people would have been incredibly proud of watching our military folks dispense with basic health care needs to people who needed help," Bush said.

Clearly he meant that the U.S. military is offering health care. Because he said if Guatemalans, for example, needed eye glasses, they might be able to turn to U.S. military personnel.

"Or you have a perpetual tooth ache and somebody shows up, in this case in military uniforms, and says, how can I help," he said.

But there were times on this trip when Mr. Bush seemed a little cranky. At another stop, he was talking about Iraq, and a regional conference on how to stabilize it. And he didn't exactly praise the U.S. officials who were there. He said for the next conference, he's sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

"In other words, it's a step up in — I'm not dissing anybody, but it's a step up in the pay grade, let's put it that way," he said.

Mr. Bush was also able to turn to his usual punching bag — the press. All week, reporters kept asking him about Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's leader, who was trying to upstage Mr. Bush during his visit. The president refused to answer. He wouldn't once say Chavez's name in public. White House officials kept telling reporters they were making too big a deal out of Chavez, and should be focusing on Mr. Bush's agenda. And at one point Mr. Bush declared: "We welcome a free press — most of the time."

In fact, in a session with reporters in Guatemala, Mr. Bush tried to bring things to an abrupt close. But maybe that's because something else was on his mind.

"This will be your last question, Mr. President, and then we can start thinking about dinner, la cena," Bush said. "Que vamos a comer?"

A television reporter was ready to ask that last question. But she was forced to just stand there. The president of Guatemala, Oscar Berger, took Mr. Bush's comment about dinner to mean he wanted to hear about the menu, right there, in the middle of the press conference.

"Tortillas," Berger said.

"Tortillas? Que bueno," Bush replied.

Even the translator jumped in to help.

"We have tortillas with guacamole and beans," the translator said.

"Con el muerso, hoy," Bush said.

(I think that last bit should have been transcribed, "con almuerzo hoy.")

Throwing Rove to the Sharks?

With the latest revelations about White House involvement in the political firings of those eight U.S. attorneys comes more proof of the authortarian ambitions of the President. We've seen Libby get thrown to the sharks in an effort to protect Rove. Back in January, Jason Leopold and Marc Ash wrote in a Truth Out report:

Thus, Cheney's notes would have read "not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy this Pres. asked to stick his head in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others." The words "this Pres." were crossed out and replaced with "that was," but are still clearly legible in the document.

The reference to "the meat grinder" was understood to be the Washington press corps, Wells said. The "protect one staffer" reference, Wells said, was White House Political Adviser Karl Rove, whose own role in the leak and the attacks on Wilson are well documented.

Furthermore, Cheney, in his directive to McClellan that day in September 2003, wrote that the White House spokesman needed to immediately "call out to key press saying the same thing about Scooter as Karl."

Cheney was pissed about his having to sacrifice Libby for Karl, but went along with it to protect the President. Since the sharks continue to circle, they seem to be willing to throw another piece of food into the drink to forestall their own inevitable demise.

The White House acknowledged on Sunday that presidential adviser Karl Rove served as a conduit for complaints to the Justice Department about federal prosecutors who were later fired for what critics charge were partisan political reasons.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Rove had relayed complaints from Republican officials and others to the Justice Department and the White House counsel's office. She said Rove, the chief White House political operative, specifically recalled passing along complaints about former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias and may have mentioned the grumblings about Iglesias to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

100 Worst Movies

I just went through the list of the 100 worst-reviewed movies of all time on Rotten Tomatoes, what they call the "worst of the worst." I have to believe there are plenty missing from that list, especially since most (if not all) on the list have been released in the past five or so years. "A Walk in the Clouds" is not listed, for example, nor is "Far and Away," which is far and away one of the worst movies I've ever seen. The first time I saw "Con Air" I thought it was at least in the top 10 worst films, but on second viewing I realized it is fabulously over the top campy.

I have been known to enjoy a bad movie. My rock 'n roll lifestyle requires a certain amount of couch time. It's hard for me to define what makes a bad movie good. But I once watched - and got a kick out of - a movie about skate board gangs. You know the kind of 80s movie in which there is at least one guy who dresses in wild pants (think zubbas) and wears a pork pie hat. I can tell you that in our movie collection we have "Big Trouble in Little China," "Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey," "Point Break" and "All The Right Moves" (that one I watched again last weekend, and they are so proud of the really bad 80s music that at the end they role the music credits first, before the acting credits).

So I went through this list of movies to see if any of my favorite bad movies were listed. Like just about any Keanu Reeves movies, or "Robin Hood," the Kevin Costner version (Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Notingham is not to be missed!). They were not. But there were a few listed that I have seen at least partially. They were indeed bad, and not good bad.

"A Night at the Roxbury" I know I have seen some of. "Kangaroo Jack" I think I saw on t.v. or maybe on a plane. I know I saw "I Know What You Did Last Summer," which is not on this list, but I can't remember if I saw the sequel, "I Still Know . . . ." Freddie Prinze, Jr. is in that one, and he appears in at least four on this "worst" list, to prove that looks and provenance only get you so far.

My girlfriend, Kate, rented Madonna's version of "Swept Away" for us to watch together on a sleepover night, which surprised me because she has such great taste. It was pretty bad but we laughed a lot. And I think I rented "Mod Squad" with Giovanni Rabisi, who kills me as Ralph on "My Name is Earl." It was bad in a formulatic kind of way, but not one of the worst I've subjected myself to.

I didn't recognize many of the others, and the ones I did you couldn't have paid me to see, like "Baby Geniuses" and "Baby Geniuses 2" and "Norbit" and just about any of the horror flicks listed. So, yes, the "worst of the worst" list covers some pretty bad movies, in my opinion.

On another note, we got through about an hour of "The Departed" last night before bedtime. I am still pissed off that "Goodfellas" didn't win best picture, and since then I put no stock in the Oscar picks. But I was happy for Scorsese to finally get the recognition he deserves. Still, I can't believe the Martin Sheen or Markie Mark characters haven't figured out that Matt Damon is the rat - he was the only one to use his cell phone during that video stakeout, and Sheen was standing right there! These guys call themselves detectives? And how in the hell did Leo get so close to Nicholson to become one of his right-hand guys in less than a year? Defies logic. I was just starting to appreciate Matt Damon's acting chops but his performance here is nothing special. We'll finish watching it tonight; I can't wait to see how it gets wrapped up.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Big Balls in Cowtown

Deb and Paul, Pat and I had a drink at the VFW bar and then drove to another bar where we were told we could get some food. The four of us had just seen Ricky Skaggs in concert at Grand Casino in Mille Lacs. Ricky's band is the tightest in blue grass, and they gave a high energy performance, from which we were still buzzing with booze and conversation.

The second spot was in Isle, a few miles off, aptly called Buzzy's. Inside the door stood three or four giant men, at least 6 feet 4 inches and 300 pounds each. Bulging arms hanging from beer barrel chest and shoulders. We headed toward some seats at the bar when I heard one of them say something about shots to the bartender. I asked what kind of shots, thinking we'd be included in the round. The guy turned around and says something like hey, how's it going, but didn't offer any info about the shots. I started to walk away when he grabbed my arm and said "hey, my buddy's got the biggest pair of balls, would you like to see them?"

I tried to keep my expression as bland as possible, trying not to smile. My companions were standing around me, us and the giants. The guy says to his friend, "show her your balls." He must have remembered his manners at this point and turned to Pat to ask him if it was OK for his friend to show me his balls, to which Pat said something to the effect that I was free to see them if I wanted to. Deb, who wasn't planning to engage in conversation with these guys, mumbled something like, "I've gotta see this."

His friend then reached into his jeans and rummaged around, kind of like the scene in "Zoolander" when Owen Wilson prepares to remove his underwear without removing his pants. I thought this was all for show and figured he expected us to stop him. What he was doing was wrapping his balls around his penis such that when he pulled them out, his penis would stay hidden, shy guy that he was.

Keep in mind, this guy was so tall that his crotch was almost eye level to me, and when he pulled out those balls, I had a pretty up-close and personal vantage point. They were huge, at least the size of tennis balls. As if this presentation were not enough, he proceeded to lick his middle finger and wipe it on one of those taught sacks.

We waited until we were out of range to double over laughing. We asked the bartender if this was standard entertainment, and he said "more often than we'd like." Just when you think you've seen it all . . . .

Scooter Review

Here's some world reaction, in a audio clip from NPR program "The World"'s Lisa Mullins.

And the New York Times reported today about the buzz about a possible pardon, including how Wall Street is handling the news:

Some legal experts believe that any appeals will take so long that the issue of a pardon may outlast the 2008 campaign, minimizing the political risks to Republicans and President Bush.

Meanwhile, the online futures exchange has offered Libby pardon futures.

“There’s good interest in the market already,” John Delaney, the Intrade chief executive, said by telephone from Dublin. He said traders so far had collectively predicted a 23 percent chance of a pardon by the end of 2007 and 63 percent by the end of President Bush’s term.

(Once you go to the Intrade link, look toward the right under "Scooter Libby Pardon Contract."