Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My Evening, in Style

A good portion of my evening consisted of me lying on the couch, covered with a warm blanket, sipping some hot tea and watching the second disc of the first season of the dearly-beloved, recently prematurely-cancelled, critically-acclaimed Arrested Development. And I loved every minute of it.

Integrity

It seems that the Bush administration still doesn't understand why paying off "journalists" and/or writing its own news in lieu of real, dual-sided news is a bad idea. Relying on Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh for so long has warped their sense of journalism beyond repair.

UPDATE: The White House is shocked, shocked that this sort of thing was done without their knowledge. Wink wink.

German Karaoke Wednesday

The object of the game is to translate the following song titles into English from the German translation and guess what song it once was. Some are easy. Some provide more of a challenge. Using Altavista's Babelfish, let the games begin.

1. Roter, Rotwein
2. Unter der Brücke
3. Orange Zerstampfung
4. Auf Wiedersehen Gelbe Ziegelstein-Straße
5. Hell Als Gelb
6. Nicht Ist Kein Sonnenschein, Wenn Sie Gegangen Wird
7. Wecken Sie Mich Oben Auf, Wenn September Beendet
8. Frühstück bei Tiffanys
9 Blaues Weihnachten
10. Purpurroter Regen
11. Rauch auf dem Wasser
12. Weißes Weihnachten
13. Meine Ersten, Mein Dauern, Mein Alles
14. Wo ist die Liebe?
15. Mann im Schwarzen

*This Week's Hint: There is a general theme running among each of these songs. Find that connection between the first two and see if it fits throughout. I'm sure you'll use your vivid imagination on this one.

Sleepy Time

The president gave a speech today. Can't you tell?

The Hit List

Watch your backs, all you far-left, liberal news publications. O'Reilly's got his eye on you. He'll expose each and every one of you, he will. Just don't ask him to give examples.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Play on Words

The Nation this week presents a Dictionary of Republicanisms. Here are a few of my favorites.

alternative energy sources n. New locations to drill for gas and oil.

faith n. The stubborn belief that God approves of Republican moral values despite the preponderance of textual evidence to the contrary.

girly men n. Males who do not grope women inappropriately.

Miller, Zell n. The man who shot and killed Alexander Hamilton after a particularly tough interview on Hardball.

Patriot Act n. 1. The pre-emptive strike on American freedoms to prevent the terrorists from destroying them first. 2. The elimination of one of the reasons why they hate us.

staying the course interj. Slang. Saying and doing the same stupid thing over and over, regardless of the result.

woman n. Person who must have all decisions regarding her reproductive functions made by men with whom she wouldn't want to have sex in the first place.

A Little Funny

The Worth of a Man

One step forward, two steps back.

"It's like a Jew wearing a Nazi uniform," said Rev. Leonard Walker, 58, who as pastor was chief executive of Queen of Peace church, and who became the first priest in the Phoenix Diocese to resign over church treatment of gay men, specifically a new Vatican document aimed at keeping gay men out of the priesthood. "I could no longer stay in that institution with any amount of integrity."

Shrill Award

That McCain broke under torture doesn't make him any less of an American hero. But it does prove he's wrong to claim that harsh interrogation techniques simply don't work.

-- Newsmax, November 29, 2005

There is no low too low.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Percentages

Did you know that sex sites account for 40 percent of all web traffic?

A Christmas Sound-Off

Prepare yourself for the onslaught. The White House, spitting in the face of this country's Judeo-Christian heritage, received today an 18 1/2-foot pagan horror.

The Christmas tree, as it is known today, originated among early Germanic tribes when, during the Yule tradition, men would sacrifice male animals, and slaves, by suspending them on the branches of trees.

Christmas itself comes from the pagan holiday Yule, which was the winter solstice celebration of the Germanic pagans. When the first missionaries began converting the Germanic peoples to Christianity, they found it easier to simply provide a Christian reinterpretation for popular feasts such as Yule and allow the celebrations themselves to go on largely unchanged, rather than trying to suppress them. The Scandinavian tradition of slaughtering a pig at Christmas (see Christmas ham), and not in the autumn, is probably the most salient evidence for this. The tradition derives from the sacrifice to the god Freyr at the Yule celebrations. Halloween and Easter are theorized to have been likewise assimilated from northern European pagan festivals.

No where in the Bible do the writers document the birth of Christ as being in December, or anywhere near the winter solstice. And on the topic of weird, biblical trivia, Matthew is the only gospel to say that Mary was a virgin. Look it up.

It's written in Matthew 1:23 -- "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son..." This is obviously a reference to Isaiah 7:14, which says, "...Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son..." But the Herbrew word Isaiah uses, 'almâh, means "young woman" and can apply equally well to one who is not a virgin. In fact, 'almâh is the feminine form of 'elem, which means "young man." If a virgin birth was so pertinent to the Christmas story, why do the other three gospel writers simply omit this fact?

It Ain't a Deterrent

A Typo? I Think Not

Wha-what right-wing media bias?

After a break of 13 months, President Bush returns this week to frank partisan politicking with a trio of GOP fund-raising stops. Aides say those events are simply a prelude to a heavy schedule in support of Republican candidates for next year's midterm congressional elections. And Bush advisers point proudly to his campaign schedule as proof that PLENTY of Republicans are happy to be seen with the President...

The capitalization of plenty is Time magazine's, not mine.

Spooky

Ian speaks of conservative corruption, and it is so. He must be a god.

Moyers Brings It

Q. You are the exemplar of liberal PBS bias, according to Ken Tomlinson. Was your show liberally biased?

A. Right-wing partisans like Tomlinson have always attacked aggressive reporting as liberal.

We were biased, all right—in favor of uncovering the news that powerful people wanted to keep hidden: conflicts of interest at the Department of Interior, secret meetings between Vice President Cheney and the oil industry, backdoor shenanigans by lobbyists at the FCC, corruption in Congress, neglect of wounded veterans returning from Iraq, Pentagon cost overruns, the manipulation of intelligence leading to the invasion of Iraq.

We were way ahead of the news curve on these stories, and the administration turned its hit men loose on us.

Tomlinson actually told The Washington Post that he was irate over one of our documentary reports from a small town in Pennsylvania hard-hit by outsourcing.

If reporting on what's happening to ordinary people thrown overboard by circumstances beyond their control and betrayed by Washington officials is liberalism, I stand convicted.

It is an old canard of right-wing ideologues like Tomlinson to equate tough journalism with liberalism. They hope to distract people from the message by trying to discredit the messenger.

Now threw the fear of God into Tomlinson's crowd because they couldn't dispute the accuracy of our reporting.

And when we weren't reporting the truth behind the news, we were interviewing a wide variety of people: Ralph Reed and Ralph Nader; Cal Thomas and Molly Ivins; Robert Bartley, editor of the Wall Street Journal; Katrina Vandenheuval, editor of The Nation; The Conservative Union's David Keene; Dorothy Rabinowitz (also of the Wall Street Journal); Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity; the Club for Growth's Stephen Moore; historian Howard Zinn; and Indian activist Arundhati Roy. And on and on.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Ruh-Roh Rove

And He's Our Ally

Human rights abuses in Iraq are now as bad as they were under Saddam Hussein and are even in danger of eclipsing his record, according to the country's first Prime Minister after the fall of Saddam's regime.

'People are doing the same as [in] Saddam's time and worse,' Ayad Allawi told The Observer. 'It is an appropriate comparison. People are remembering the days of Saddam. These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam and now we are seeing the same things.'


-- The Observer, November 27, 2005

Lady Boys

The U.S. military admitted on Saturday that its soldiers in Afghanistan had burned the bodies of two dead Taliban guerrillas and taunted insurgents about it, but had not meant it as a desecration. It was a revolting thing when insurgents burned American bodies both in Somalia and in Iraq earlier this year. It jarred sensibilities and put an even more disgusting face on the insurgency.

This, too, was unfortunate. And while I reserved judgment before, the guilty admitted their wrong. But their admission is tainted by a laughable assertion that it wasn't an act of "desecration."

You don't burn bodies for "hygenic reasons" and then taunt over a loudspeaker: "You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing west and burned. You are too scared to retrieve their bodies. This just proves you are the lady boys we always believed you to be." I don't think anyone's buying it.

Sunday Morning Cartoons


I couldn't decide which one I liked better. This one is prettier, and this one is just freaking hillarious.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

I Thought This Was Cancun

"Fewer than 100 war protesters" and "about a dozen" warmongers descended on Crawford, Texas again this week. I must ask, does no one have a job?

Money Quote

"I don't see an end to [the Iraq War]; it just seems relentless. I feel like our country is just staying afloat, just treading water instead of swimming toward somewhere," said Dave Panici, 45, a railroad conductor from Bradley, Ill.

-- New York Times, November 26, 2005

Friday, November 25, 2005

Heckuva Job Brown

Like Rush Limbaugh talking about drug-use prevention, Joan Rivers discussing the evils of plastic surgery, or Dick Cheney arguing for human rights, former FEMA Director Michael Brown is starting a disaster preparedness consulting firm. Wonders never cease.

Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving. (Okay, I'm a day late. So sue me.) And a la Ian, I should probably type up a list of the things that I'm thankful for. Yes, I'm a copy-cat like that. And yes, I get off on people reading the intricate details of my life.

1. I'm thankful that not all Democrats are like Ted Kennedy.
2. I'm thankful that some Republicans are like John McCain.
3. I'm thankful for friends -- even the blogging ones.
4. I'm thankful for my iPod.
5. I'm thankful for MediaMatters.org.
6. I'm thankful that there can be an intellectual distinction between supporting the president and supporting the country.
7. I'm thankful that people still believe in universal healthcare.
8. I'm thankful for lively debate.
9. I'm thankful my car is blessedly meager with gas.
10. And I'm thankful that blogger hasn't been a bitch lately.

Friday Random 10

It's Friday. (Hey, what can I say, I'm on the ball this afternoon.) You know what that means. The rules: Take out your iPod or other musical device. Put it in "random" mode. Hit "play." Write down the first ten tracks that come up -- and no fair putting in ones you think will make you look cool, or omitting ones that make you look like a total dork.

1. Look What You've Done (Jet, Get Born)
2. April Fools (Rufus Wainwright, Rufus Wainwright)
3. Bridge Over Troubled Waters (Johnny Cash, American IV)
4. Rain (Rusted Root, When I Woke)
5. Our House* (CSNY, So Far)
6. Left Coast (Phil, MixCD)
7. St. Elmo's Fire (John Parr, Sounds of the Eighties)
8. Aberdeen (David Goodrich, Accidentals of the West)
9. What I Got (Sublime, MixCD)
10. Unwell (Matchbox 20, MixCD)

*Has been in the running to be the song I dance to at my wedding since I was in 7th grade, if you're interested in random, extemporaneous personal trivia.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

German Karaoke Wednesday

The object of the game is to translate the following song titles into English from the German translation and guess what song it once was. Some are easy. Some provide more of a challenge. Using Altavista's Babelfish, let the games begin.

1. Feiertag
2. Glücklicher Stern
3. Grenzlinie
4. Wie Eine Jungfrau
5. Materielles Mädchen
6. Verrückt Für Sie
7. In die Nut
8. Leben Sie, Um Zu sagen
9. Papa Predigen Nicht
10. Öffnen Sie Ihr Herz
11. Die Hübsche Insel
12. Wie Ein Gebet
13. Drücken Sie Sich Aus
14. Schätzen Sie
15. Mode
16. Rechtfertigen Sie Meine Liebe
17. Retten Sie Mich

*This Week's Hint: All these songs make up the entire greatest hits album of a singer who has made a living singing well and acting badly both on and off the silver screen.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Stop that Gay!

The Vatican is toughening its stand against gay candidates for the priesthood, specifying in a new document that even men with "transitory" homosexual tendencies must overcome their urges for at least three years before entering the clergy.

Hmm, this is odd. How would you describe a 78 year old bachelor who wears red Prada shoes? Mmmm hmmmmm, fabulous.

Season One, Ahoy

Guess what's coming out on DVD, December 26, 2005! Do you think it's as good as I remember? Oh I hope.

Don't Quote Me

Three days after Rep. Jean Schmidt was booed off the House floor for saying that "cowards cut and run, Marines never do," the Ohioan she quoted disputed the comments.

Danny Bubp, a freshman state representative who is a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, told The Enquirer that he never mentioned Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., by name when talking with Schmidt, and he would never call a fellow Marine a coward.


-- Cincinatti Enquirer, November 22, 2005

Not What Rumsfeld Says

According to two sources with knowledge of the meeting, the Army and Marine officers were blunt. In contrast to the Pentagon's stock answer that there are enough troops on the ground in Iraq, the commanders said that they not only needed more manpower but also had repeatedly asked for it. Indeed, military sources told TIME that as recently as August 2005, a senior military official requested more troops but got turned down flat.

-- Time magazine, November 21, 2005

Monday, November 21, 2005

Avada Kedavra

(Translation)

Some have wrongly speculated that a certain lack of morality in Hollywood and the movies it produces are to blame for the recent lag in ticket sales. The rise of competitive movie-rental companies such as Netflix and Blockbuster, kids spending weekend nights playing high-tech video games with friends and a lackluster economy leaving many without extra cash to burn are more likely reasons.

This past weekend sort of puts the morality excuse to bed. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire -- grossing $101.4 million -- had the fourth-best, three-day opening weekend ever, behind "Spider-Man" at $114.8 million in 2002 and "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith" and "Shrek 2," at $108 million apiece. This is the same movie that one reviewer describes, "Without magic and the occult there is no story. Supernatural goings-on inhabit every corner of the film. Harry and others fly on brooms, wield magic wands and utter incantations. Humans are transformed into animals and "hybrids." Words recited skyward cause clouds to form dark, foreboding symbols. Objects are endowed with the ability to transport anyone touching them from one place to another."

Witchcraft. The occult. Sexuality.
It rocks.

Monday Moment of Mocking

Irked by a reporter who told him he seemed to be "off his game" at a Beijing public appearance, President George W. Bush sought to make a hasty exit from a news conference but was thwarted by locked doors.... "I was trying to escape. Obviously, it didn't work," Bush quipped, facing reporters again until an aide rescued him by pointing to him toward the correct door.

-- Reuters, November 20, 2005

We Do Not Torture

6. Water Boarding: The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.

According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda's toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess.

"The person believes they are being killed, and as such, it really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law," said John Sifton of Human Rights Watch.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Friday Random 10

It's Friday. (No, it's Sunday. I've been busy!) You know what that means. The rules: Take out your iPod or other musical device. Put it in "random" mode. Hit "play." Write down the first ten tracks that come up -- and no fair putting in ones you think will make you look cool, or omitting ones that make you look like a total dork.

1. Wonders Never Cease (Morcheeba, The Antidote)
2. Panic (Pete Yorn, Music for the Morning After)
3. Little Red Corvette (Prince, The Hits)
4. Mary Jane (Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill)
5. Such Great Heights (Iron & Wine, Garden State soundtrack)
6. Tiny Dancer (Elton John, Greatest Hits)
7. Not Much Left (Jay Nash, Some Kind of Comfort)
8. Our House (CSNY, So Far)
9. Tusk (Fleetwood Mac, The Dance)
10. Thank You (Dido, No Angel)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Tremendous Defeat

Legislation to fund many of the nation's health, education and social programs went down to "a tremendous defeat" in the House Thursday, led by Democrats who said cuts in the bill hurt some of America's neediest people. Democrats provided a long list of programs that will be cut or face little or no increase, including President Bush's landmark No Child Left Behind education program, rural health care, Pell grants for higher education and heating assistance for low-income families.

"[The defeated legislation] betrays our nation's values and its future," said House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland. "It is neither compassionate, conservative nor wise."

Laughable Credibility

Is press secretary Scott McClellan on his way out? Some are starting to wonder.

Christmas Cards

I bought Christmas cards Tuesday. It's now Thursday and I still have yet to fill a single one of them out; I don't even have a list made up yet. It's all very frustrating and kind of depressing because even though it's snowing right now, there is no snow accumulating on the ground. Yesterday, it was unseasonably warm and in the 40s. Today, it's ungodly frigid.

I'm going to do what anyone in my place would do and take a nap. Maybe that will help. If anything, I'll just wake up with bed-head and that can be fun.

Musicians, Look Smug

Thank God the Right Brothers are around to show everyone that you can "rock" and "be cool" while mindlessly praising Bush. RightMarch.com:
This is what the youth in America need. They're already bombarded with songs on the radio and videos on MTV that trash our President, conservative beliefs, and traditional American values. From Mosh by Eminem, to Idiot Son of an A**hole by NOFX... all of these songs serve to fill young people's minds with LIES.

And of course, everywhere they turn, the mainstream media is lying to them about the FACTS -- like the FACT that WMDs were found in Iraq, including enriched uranium, chemical weapons agents, chemical warheads containing cyclosarin, radioactive materials in powdered form, roadside bombs loaded with mustard and "conventional" sarin gas, etc.; or the FACT of clear, uncontested, proven links between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Al Qaeda; or the FACTS of all of the GOOD news that's happening in Iraq, which the media refuses to report!

...WILL YOU HELP US? We're putting together a "kickin'" music video right now, and we're preparing a HUGE grassroots campaign to get hundreds of thousands of people to request Bush Was Right! on MTV's "Total Request Live" show... leading to our demands for it to be played in regular rotation!

If they DON'T -- then we'll hit the media in a BIG way, showing how MTV plays left-wing videos while CENSORING conservative videos!
Yeah, this isn't a joke. Well, I mean, they're a joke, but they're not joking around. TheAgitator has some fun with it, as does Crooks and Liars. Watch Keith Olbermann's hilarious video. Classic idiotic jingoism.

The Green Machine

From the BBC:
The laptops are powered with a wind-up crank, have very low power consumption and will let children interact with each other while learning.

...The foldable lime laptop made its debut at the World Summit on the Information Society, which is looking at ways of narrowing the technology gap between rich and poor.

Nicknamed the green machine, it can be used as a conventional computer, or an electronic book. A child can control it using a cursor at the back of the machine or a touchpad on the front.

It can also be held and used like a handheld games console and can function as a TV.

"The idea is that it fulfils many roles. It is the whole theory that learning is seamless," said Professor Negroponte, who set up the non-profit One Laptop Per Child group to sell the laptops to developing nation governments.
It's pretty impressive that they managed to get a functioning laptop, boosted its durability, and streamlined the processes for $100. It's an interesting initiative. I have a hard time believing that the potential millions pumped into this program couldn't be better spent purchasing vaccines or improving sanitation. I suppose it's possible that it will lay the foundation for a more skilled workforce, but I guess we'll have to see.

Another interesting aspect:
There has already been firm interest in the machines from governments, though no laptops have yet been manufactured.

Professor Negroponte said he had asked the most enthusiastic countries, Thailand and Brazil, not to give written commitments to buy the machines until they had seen the working model, likely to be produced in February.
Wow.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

German Karaoke Wednesday

Wednesday nights are the shit. And I don't mean shit in the good, "Yay!" kind of way either. There's really nothing on television and I couldn't watch it right now anyway because my satellite is temporarily (I hope) knocked out. I'm watching the first two seasons of Friends on DVD as I write this. Ugh. How many times can I watch Rachel lose Ross's monkey and Phoebe getting a tranquilizer dart in the ass? Okay, it's still amusing.

Anyway, in my infinite boredom I spent a good part of my afternoon after work searching through random blogs, where I came across an interesting concept for a recurring post. The idea is to use Altavista's Babelfish to translate a song into German. Readers of the blog translate the German translation back into English using Babelfish and can then attempt to identify the song. Sounds interesting, eh? I thought so.

The blogger calls it German Karaoke Wednesday. I will be unoriginal and call it the same. But instead of translating the whole song, I'm just going to do the title. Without further ado, I give you German Karaoke Wednesday!

1. Nicht Mich Kaufen Kann Liebe
2. Die lange und Wicklung Straße
3. Gelbes Unterseeboot
4. Hallo Auf Wiedersehen
5. Alle, die Sie Benötigen, Ist Liebe

*This Week's Hint: All five songs were number one hits for one of my all-time favorite bands.

Verbatim

"Schwarzenegger's approval rating is down to 30 percent. After he heard this, he said, 'I'm not going to act all upset and hurt because I don't have that kind of range.'"
-- Conan O'Brien

Political Cartoons

Numbers

83,000: the number of foreigners the United States has detained in the four years of the war on terror, enough to nearly fill the NFL's largest stadium.
14,500: the number of detainees that remain in U.S. custody, primarily in Iraq.
68,000: roughly the number of presumably innocent foreign detainees ultimately released by the United States.
108: the number of detainees who are known to have died in U.S. military and CIA custody, including 22 who died when insurgents attacked Abu Ghraib and others who died of natural causes.
26: the number of deaths, at least, that have been investigated as criminal homicides.
95: the number of military personnel who have been charged with misconduct.
75: the number of military personnel who have been convicted.

112,000, 100,000: the number of Iraqi police and Iraqi troops, respectively, who have been trained and equipped so far.
160,000: the number of American troops in Iraq.
One: the number of battalions -- about 700 Iraqi troops per -- that have reached level one, meaning the soldiers can operate independently.
31: the number of months since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
22: the number of Iraqi soldiers trained to operate independently, per month.
2592: the year in which enough Iraqi troops that have reached level one will have been trained to replace the US force, at the current rate.

Four: the number of people with whom President Bush keeps daily contact, according to Insight magazine, a sister publication of the skewed-right The Washington Times. The four are all women: first lady Laura Bush, his mother, Barbara Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes.

173: the number of malnourished and tortured detainees found by American forces in Iraq this weekend. Two appeared paralyzed and others had some of the skin peeled off their bodies by their Shia abusers.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The State We're In

What is the state of the Union when the majority is following the lead of the Minority Leader?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Silly Canadians

cowboyThe new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll has the president's approval rating at an almost frigid thirty-seven percent, with sixty percent disapproving. About fifty percent of people polled said they disliked Bush as opposed to the six percent who "hate" him.

The latest Newsweek poll has Bush's approval rating at thirty-six percent. Sixty-eight percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the direction of the country. And sixty-five percent disapprove of the president's handling of Iraq.

And amazingly, thirty-eight percent of Canadians think George W is more dangerous to world security than Osama bin Laden. Sillies. Haven't they ever seen an Ashton Kutcher movie? *Shudder*

Even PETA Can Be Funny

"When we first heard that Dick Cheney was hunting pheasants, we thought that it might be a misspelling of 'peasants.'" -- Jen McClure, a PETA representative, on the vice president's hunting trip to South Dakota.

Eat This Sound Byte

"We do not torture."
-- President Bush, November 7, 2005

Well, actually...

Their lack of a grasp on truth is astounding.

SUPPLEMENTARY READING:
"'We Do Not Torture' and Other Funny Stories," by Frank Rich
"George W. Bush: We Do Not Torture! (Yeah, Right)," by Robert Paul Reyes
"'We do not torture,' Bush says," by Leonard Pitts Jr.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

It's all George W. Bush's fault.

Baptismal Thoughts

This morning in church my friend's adopted eight-month old son was baptized into the Episcopalian Church. It had been a while since the last time I witnessed the baptism of a child I would actually see grow up, a small human whose baptism actually meant somthing to me. I, therefore, paid attention as to the best of my ability to the charges of righteousness given by the pastor to his mother, his godparents and to the congregation.

At a point after the pouring of the water over the top of the baby's head, the pastor asks questions of the godparents and of the congregation. He asked us today simple questions like, "Do you believe in God the Father?" and "Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?"

Pretty straight forward stuff. I didn't really pay much attention to these no-brainer qustions. I was along for the ride. And really, the service was starting to take too long for my attention span.

But then a question was asked that caught my attention. It's normal baptism stuff, but it struck me. "Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?" to which you respond, "I will with God's help." How many of us have heard that charge and forgot it as soon as we left church property? "...loving your neighbor as yourself..." It's so hard to do, but following God isn't always easy.

And the next question: "Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?" I almost fell over. Of course my answer is, "I will with God's help." But what a crazy notion. I'm not going to get into it much more and go into the political ramifications of pseudo-Christians, but it's something to think about on this lazy Sunday afternoon before the Steelers game. Will we, all Christians, all human beings, respect the dignity of every human being? Not just those with whom we agree, not just those with whom we deem worthy. Every human being. What a truly gracious concept.

The things you realize at a baptism.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

DeLay Dirges?

Very interesting.

Lawyers for Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) tried unsuccessfully in late September to head off felony criminal indictments against the then-majority leader on charges of violating Texas campaign law by signaling that DeLay might plead guilty to a misdemeanor, according to four sources familiar with the events.

...The last-minute negotiations between the lawyers and Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle were arranged after DeLay made what Earle considered a seriously damaging admission about his fundraising activities during an Aug. 17 meeting with the prosecutor in Austin.

At that session, DeLay acknowledged that in 2002 he was informed about and expressed his support for transfers of $190,000 in mostly corporate funds from his Texas political action committee to an arm of the Republican National Committee in Washington and then back to Texas, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition that they not be named.

Those transfers are at the heart of the prosecutor's investigation of the alleged use of corporate funds in the 2002 Texas elections, in violation of state law. In the prosecutor's view, DeLay's admission put him in the middle of a conspiracy not only to violate that law but also to launder money.


-- Washington Post, November 11, 2005

Cardiac Arrested

Money Quote

White House officials disputed suggestions that Bush could prematurely become a lame-duck political liability for Republicans on next year's ballot. But GOP national chairman Ken Mehlman conceded that, while Bush loves to help congressional candidates, in some cases the candidates themselves "believe it's better if he didn't."

And is it any wonder, what with almost six in 10 now saying President Bush is not honest, and a similar number saying his administration does not have high ethical standards? How about the eighty-two percent of those polled who describe Bush as "stubborn," with seven of every 10 Republicans agreeing with that description? This is funny shit.

Friday Random 10

It's Friday. (No, it's Saturday.) You know what that means. The rules: Take out your iPod or other musical device. Put it in "random" mode. Hit "play." Write down the first ten tracks that come up -- and no fair putting in ones you think will make you look cool, or omitting ones that make you look like a total dork.

1. Tubthumping (Chumbawamba, Tubthumper)
2. A Woman Like You (Stephen Clair, Under the Bed)
3. Chump (Green Day, Dookie)
4. Werewolves of London (Magnolia Electric Co., Hard to Love a Man)
5. Heya (Outkast, Speakerboxxx)
6. New Slang (The Shins, Garden State soundtrack)
7. Sally Ann (Rufus Wainwright, Rufus Wainwright)
8. Midnight Show (The Killers, Hot Fuss)
9. The Longest Time (Billy Joel, Greatest Hits, Vol. 2)
10. Float On (Modest Mouse, Mix CD)

Most Listened to This Week:
Toxic (Nickel Creek, Live @ House of Blues, Cleveland)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Great News Round-Up

-- House Republican leaders scuttled a vote Thursday on a $51 billion budget-cut package in the face of a revolt by lawmakers over scaling back Medicaid, food stamp and student loan programs. The development was a major setback for the GOP on Capitol Hill and for President Bush, who has made cuts to benefit programs a central pillar in his budget plan.

-- The alleged Rev. Pat Robertson issued a stern finger-wagging to the citizens of Dover, Pennsylvania when he pretended to speak for the Almighty and said, "Don't turn to God if you need help."

-- We're gonna party like it's 1999. Well, sorta. Bush v. McCain: Round Two. It's a fight over treatment of prisoners by U.S. interrogators that pits torture provider George W. Bush with the sane people of the world, including Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a former POW, and the evilest of liberals in Congress.

-- Showing his compassionate side, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said today he is more concerned about the leak of information regarding secret CIA detention centers than activity in the prisons themselves. No word yet if he'll change his tune should a severely handicapped, nearly comatose prisoner be found wanting to die.

-- Scientists reported on Thursday that they have recovered the fossil remains of a 13-foot oceanic crocodile with a short snout and a mouthful of deadly teeth who hunted large creatures in the sea. Scientists have yet to determine whether the creature was created on the fifth day of creation or slightly after Adam and Eve.

-- And finally, Jessica Simpson's little sister Ashlee isn't looking for the same celebrity romance Jessica revels in. Ashlee recently explained that she's looking for an average joe. Can I suggest either Adam or Theo?

Feeling Ill

I'm a little under the weather today, so posting will be light. That is unless I get really bored and have nothing to do but post. In which case posting will be rather heavy. Anyway, I have updated my "So This is Christmas" post for the second time. Do enjoy. I know I do.

You're Crazy

[President] Bush, who appeared almost playful, fastened the heavy medal around Muhammad Ali's neck and whispered something in the heavyweight champion's ear. Then, as if to say "bring it on," the president put up his dukes in a mock challenge. Ali, 63, who has Parkinson's disease and moves slowly, looked the president in the eye -- and, finger to head, did the "crazy" twirl for a couple of seconds.

The room of about 200, including Cabinet secretaries, tittered with laughter. Ali, who was then escorted back to his chair, made the twirl again while sitting down. And the president looked visibly taken aback, laughing nervously.


-- Washington Post, November 10, 2005

Congress

This article from The Hill does a very good job explaining the bungling behaviors of the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader's offices when it comes to a leak investigation and the possibility of the leaker being one of their own. After reading it, I'm not sure how anything gets accomplished in Congress.

As the adage goes: If pro and con are antonyms, what's the opposite of progress?

Cheery Thursday

No drilling in ANWR for the time being. Not all news is bad news around here.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Money Quote

"A new poll shows 66 percent of Americans think President Bush is doing a poor job handling the war in Iraq. The remaining 34 percent think Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs to church." -- Tina Fey, co-anchor on Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update"

So This is Christmas

"May I have your attention please. May I have your attention please. Will the winners of last night's elections please stand up. I repeat, will the winners of last night's elections please stand up. We're gonna have a problem here."

Democrat Corzine Wins New Jersey. -- Democrat Kaine Wins Virginia. -- Democrat Kilpatrick Wins Detroit. -- Democrat Mallory Wins Cincinnati. -- Democrat Frank Jackson Wins Cleveland. -- Democrat R.T. Rybak Wins Minneapolis. -- Democrat Chris Coleman Wins St. Paul. -- All Eight Intelligent Design Proponents On Dover, Pa. School Board Swept Out Of Office. -- And All Four Of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Ballot Measures Were Defeated.

Ya'll act like you never seen a Democrat win before / jaws all on the floor / like Pam and Tommy just burst in the door / and started whoopin her ass worse than before.

UPDATE: Maine Voters Keep Gay Anti-Discrimination Law.

UPDATE II: In the 94th District legislative race in Missouri, Democrat Jane Bogetto stunned locals with a 58 percent victory, becoming the first Democrat to win the seat in 58 years. -- In Erie County, New York, Mark Poloncarz, a young Kerry ’04 activist, became the first Democrat to capture the county comptroller’s race in 30 years, winning easily by 18 percentage points. -- On Long Island, New York, Democrat Kathleen Rice defeated 30 year incumbent Dennis Dillon for Nassau County DA. -- Brian Foley got elected town supervisor of Brookhaven, Suffolk County’s largest township, after (again) a 30 year reign. -- In St. Paul, Minnesota, Democratic mayor Randy Kelly lost 2-1 to Democrat Chris Coleman because Kelly had crossed party lines to endorse President Bush in 2004. -- In Corning, New York, Democrat Frank Coccho, a self-employed plumber, became the first Democratic mayor in 45 years.

Interesting

Very interesting. Andrew Sullivan gets an email.

I am a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and an increasingly liberal defector from the GOP, and like you I have been confused by the GOP's simultaneous promotion of a 'culture of life' and of torture.

I was in Iraq in 03-04 and was really disheartened when Abu Ghraib broke in the media; I didn’t think the war was justified, ex ante, and the revelations of what was happening at the prison really made me feel like a Nazi. I employed a number of Iraqi laborers, and after the Arab media showed the photographs it was very difficult to look those guys in the eye.

As to balancing the seeming contradiction between torture and life, the only conclusion I can reach is that the pro-torture lobby has taken the rhetorical construction of 'The Terrorists' that was the centerpiece of administration pronouncements from 2001-2003 to its logical extreme – 'They' (that is, 'The Terrorists') are unworthy of life because 'They' don’t respect life. 'They' behead people, while all we do is beat them to death. 'They' hate us for 'what we are,' while we hate them for – well, I guess because of 'what They are.' But because we are a Benign Force, it's different.

In class, I compared the construction of The Terrorists to the construction of Japanese identity during World War II, assigning the John Dower book, "War Without Mercy." The enemy is so alien that he has abandoned any consideration as a human being. Consequently, exterminating him is appropriate.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Slap!

Vote... or Die!

It's Election Day! I voted this afternoon during my lunch break, and I have to admit that I voted for no fewer than five Republicans. Shock/Horror, I know. But straight-ticket voting is just stupid, and some of them actually are good at their job as County Coroner -- no joke.

I'm very busy today until this evening, so I'll just write a quick post here of an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette I picked up while waiting in line to vote. It puts into words everything I've been thinking before and says them, of course, better.

***************

The United States is a country challenged by many real problems afflicting real people -- a divisive war in Iraq, ever-mounting federal deficits, educational underachievement, threatened pensions and the higher cost of energy, to name just a few. But why worry about real problems when imaginary ones exist?

Conservative politicians across the country seem oblivious to that question, so busy are they trying to ban marriage for gays. Eighteen states have approved constitutional bans on the marriage of same-sex couples -- something that has zero effect on the sanctity of anyone else's marriage -- and the latest attempt will be Proposition 2, which is up for a vote in Texas today.

All this continues despite the fact that Massachusetts is the only state to have legalized such unions (Vermont and Connecticut allow civil unions) and the likelihood of other states being forced to recognize the same is virtually nil. For one thing, the federal Defense of Marriage Act was passed in 1996 to block such a development. For another, so-called activist liberal judges aren't the ones President Bush is nominating to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the face of this unclear and un-present danger, yet another attempt is being made to amend the U.S. Constitution, no less, which in other respects exists to protect the rights of the people, not make one group the pariahs and scapegoats of other Americans' prejudices, even when they masquerade as morality.

On Wednesday, a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to consider a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution that stipulates marriage in the United States "shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman." Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, ever quick to tell people how they should live, is a sponsor and a hopeless case on this issue.

But his colleague, Sen. Arlen Specter, ought to know better, both as a moderate Republican and a constitutional scholar. To amend the Constitution in this frivolous way would be a travesty, and we call on Sen. Specter to be a voice of reason in the subcommittee (of which he is a member) and in the full Judiciary Committee (which he chairs).

For conservatives pushing this resolution and a companion effort in the House, the effort may not be about addressing a real problem but it is about the political benefits of symbolism. Their hypocrisy is stunning. Of course, the real threat to the sanctity of marriage is divorce, but you will not read of any amendment seeking to ban that -- and for good reason.

Unfortunately, the real symbolism at work here is about picking on the few to appease the many while neglecting the nation's real problems.

Monday, November 07, 2005

What a Joke

"We do not torture." -- President Bush, November 7, 2005

"Vice President Dick Cheney made an unusual personal appeal to Republican senators this week to allow CIA exemptions to a proposed ban on the torture of terror suspects in U.S. custody, according to participants in a closed-door session." -- MSNBC, November 4, 2005

If that's the case, why threaten to veto a law that would simply codify what Bush alleges is already the current policy?

The press must now ask the president: does he regard the repeated, forcible near-drowning of detainees to be torture? Does he believe that tying naked detainees up and leaving them outside all night to die of hypothermia is "torture"? Does he believe that beating the legs of a detainee until they are pulp and he dies is torture? Does he believe that beating detainees till they die is torture? Does he believe that using someone's religious faith against them in interrogations is "cruel, inhumane and degrading" treatment and thereby illegal? What is his definition of torture?

Money Quote

"The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgement of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist."

What a pansy-ass liberal jackass, eh? Doesn't he know we're at war? Doesn't he know that we're fighting evil itself? Oh, it was Winston Churchill on November 21, 1943? Huh.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

'Tis the Movie Season

Brokeback Mountain. Winner of the Golden Lion at the 2005 Venice Film Festival, and, according to the Drudge Report, a high contender for an Academy Award. I can't wait to see it. Jake Gyllenhaal is reason enough to watch this movie -- but as a gay cowboy with Heath Ledger? Overload. And it's directed by Ang Lee. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, anyone? Oooooh yeah.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Enough said. No big name actors in this adaptation, except for the voices of the animals. I can deal with that. Rupert Everett as the voice of the Fox? Swoon. And Liam Neeson as Aslan? Double sweetness.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I really can't say how happy I am. Really.

Last but certainly not least, Rent. Who can say no? If it's anything, and I do mean anything, like it is on the stage, I'll be a happy boy. But there's one thing that could possibly hold the movie back. It's directed by Chris Columbus. Blah. To balance out his suckiness though, Benny Coffin III is being played by Taye Diggs. Oh yeah.

So we have a movie about gay cowboys, a movie with a gay actor providing the voice of a Fox, a movie based on a play by a gay playwright, and Harry Potter. 'Tis the season for gayness.

Sock It to You

Speaking of Senator McCain: Girding for a potential fight with the Bush administration, supporters of a ban on torturing prisoners of war by U.S. interrogators threatened Friday to include the prohibition in nearly every bill the Senate considers until it becomes law.

The no-torture wording, which proponents say is supported by majorities in both houses of Congress, was included last month in the Senate's version of a defense spending bill. The measure's final form is being negotiated with the House, and the White House is pushing for either a rewording or deletion of the torture ban.

On Friday, at the urging of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, the Senate by a voice vote added the ban to a related defense bill as a backup.

Draft Dodgers for Torture

We live in a democracy. Well, more of a republic, but you know what I'm saying. In a democracy, politics is done out in the open, where everyone can see what's going on. Nothing ought to be done in back-room deals associated with other, lesser forms of government. It's all pretty common sense. Then, why my dear friends, is dick cheney holding closed-door meetings with Republican Senators practically begging them to allow exceptions to the ban on torture?

Where does Vietnam-dodger cheney get off taking on Vietnam POW John McCain? cheney has absolutely no idea what war is like -- McCain does.

And why is any "American" urging exceptions to a torture ban in the first place?

Coulter/Malkin Award

No, it's not an award for anorexic men dressed as women. It's for the man or woman who created the wackiest, far-fetched comment of the week. Hands down, we have a winner.

"I don't understand it, and neither does Bill Kristol. The Democrats are mounting the most scurrilous political campaign that has been seen in American politics since the Civil War." -- Powerline blogger, John Hinderaker.

I mean, really: Can you get any stupider? I take that back.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Patrick Park

This is Patrick Park. He's a singer. He's a good singer. True, I only ever heard one song by him, but I like it a lot and I think you'd like it too if you only gave it a chance. It's kinda slow, but some good songs are.

Park’s songs, wrote David Simutis in New Times Los Angeles, "come straight from the heart -- without stopping to check in the mirror for blemishes."

His music may be deep and evocative, but Park acknowledges no conscious responsibility for that—he’s only the conduit. "Saying that I write songs is a little inaccurate, because they just sort of come," he clarifies. "If you try and force a song in any direction, it’s not going to cooperate. I don’t want to be aware of the process."

I don't care where the music comes from, as long as he continues to write good stuff like this one. Download it, listen to it. Enjoy it.

Patrick Park -- Life is a Song [MP3]

The Evil They've Become

Hundreds of threatening e-mails have been sent to Sacramento City Council members since Tuesday, when the council passed a highly controversial, anti-war resolution....

Comments that are made in the e-mails include: "you should be hanged" and "hope your children are beheaded."

"They talk about cutting our heads off, my head off. They say some very vile, dirty things," [council member Ray] Tretheway [said].

The e-mails were sparked by a resolution -- passed by the council -- that calls on President George W. Bush to withdraw troops from Iraq.


-- KCRA

I don't want the president to withdraw troops from Iraq. I think, and have always thought, that would be the absolute worse option now that he's gotten us into this horrific mess. But talk about unhinged convies. "Hope your children are beheaded"? Who else thinks like that? Oh yeah. Them.

Ethics? What are They?!

President Bush has ordered White House staff to attend mandatory briefings beginning next week on ethical behavior and the handling of classified material after the indictment last week of a senior administration official in the CIA leak probe.

Teehee.

Don't Be a Fundie

Cardinal Paul Poupard, who heads the Pontifical Council for Culture, said Thursday the faithful should listen to what secular modern science has to offer, warning that religion risks turning into "fundamentalism" if it ignores scientific reason.

Someone has a guilty conscience.

Friday, November 04, 2005

More Bad News

Thirty-nine percent of Americans approve of the job George W. is doing as president, while 60 percent disapprove of his performance in office -- the highest level of disapproval ever recorded for Bush in Washington Post-ABC News polls. Nearly 6 in 10 -- 58 percent -- said they have doubts about Bush's honesty, the first time in his presidency that more than half the country has questioned his personal integrity.

Half believe White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, the president's top political hand, also did something wrong in the Plamegate scandal -- about 6 in 10 say Rove should resign.

Friday Random 10

It's Friday. (For real this time!) You know what that means. The rules: Take out your iPod or other musical device. Put it in "random" mode. Hit "play." Write down the first ten tracks that come up -- and no fair putting in ones you think will make you look cool, or omitting ones that make you look like a total dork.

1. Sweet Dream (Jethro Tull, Golden Masters)
2. Dream On (Aerosmith, MixCD)
3. Fantasie, Impromptu in C Sharp Minor Op. 66 (Bianca Sitzius)
4. You & Me (Lifehouse, MixCD)
5. Where Did You Sleep Last Night (Nirvana, MTV Unplugged)
6. Grace (U2, All That You Can't Leave Behind)
7. Martyr (Rusted Root, When I Woke)
8. No Rain (Blind Melon, Blind Melon)
9. Cherish (Madonna, Immaculate Collection)
10. Baby On More Time (Britney Spears, ...Baby One More Time)

Most Listened to This Week:
Besides Fall in Love (OK Jones, Push/Pull)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Thirty-Five Percent

That's the approval rating for el Presidente according to the new CBS News poll. Congress is at thirty-four percent. Dick Cheney is at a hillarious nineteen percent, down nine points from the beginning of the year.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Verbatim

"Tonight, [President] Bush appoints a new Federal Reserve chairman. If you don't care, you're probably poor." -- Stephen Colbert

"[Game 3 of the World Series] lasted 5 hours and 41 minutes. As it dragged on and on, I started to think it was something George Bush got us into." -- David Letterman

Oh My God It's Back Again

The Bush administration on Tuesday named Donald E. Powell, the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission and a former Texas banker with long ties to President Bush, to coordinate the federal role in rebuilding the parts of the Gulf Coast devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita....

...In the 1990's, as governor of Texas, Mr. Bush named Mr. Powell to be chairman of the Board of Regents at Texas A&M University. Mr. Powell was one of Mr. Bush's leading fund-raisers in the 2000 presidential campaign.

...he has no direct experience overseeing large-scale rebuilding efforts of the sort being undertaken by officials in Louisiana and Mississippi.


-- New York Times, November 11, 2005

Who said cronyism is dead? But it's kinda sad that after it didn't work here, and it didn't work here, and he still hasn't given up.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Secret Session Whoop Ass

The [Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter"] Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really all about, how this administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions.

-- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, November 1, 2005

The man wants answers. His party wants answers. A majority of the people of the United State wants answers. Instead of giving the people what they want and having a thorough investigation into what information was used in the run-up to the war and how it was mangled in order to fit their need, Republicans have insulated the White House and made sure that no such investigation took place in any effective way. Sure, we're moving into the "second phase," but what does that really entail? It's a joke and everyone knows it.

I have to give Reid props and snaps for his guts, but it was genius. And if you think it was politics, go count how many secret sessions the Senate was pulled into to amass the went-nowhere impeachment of President Clinton. President Bush tried to take the spotlight off of his myriad problems by nominating a judge only his momma could love. The press cycle immediately went to an ultra-conservative who would surely bring the Senate to an all-out war. What better way to keep Democrats from compiling a plan of action now that they struck blood at the throat of the White House? But the Democrats snatched the spotlight out from the president's smoke screen and brought it back to where it ought to be: national security. Just think of it. Democrats talking about national security. Neocons are going ballistic.

I can almost imagine the smoke billowing from their ears. Democrats aren't talking about national security the way Republicans talk about national security. No. Democrats actually want to get to the bottom of the lies and distortions told by the Bush administration in its drive to invade Iraq. Iraq by all accounts has made the United States less safe. Not safer. The head of the CIA (Republican-appointed) has even admitted as much.

But enough with the cheering. Let's get down to what ought to be asked and what ought to be answered.

Why did President Bush say in 2002 that "Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program" when two critical reports –- an IAEA one from 1997 and a CIA one from 2001 -– made clear that there was absolutely no evidence of that claim? And why in 2003, did both Condoleezza Rice ignore these intelligence documents and insist that Bush's nuclear claim was "absolutely supportable" when in fact it was not?

Why in his 2003 State of the Union address did President Bush claim that aluminum tubes Iraq purchased were for uranium enrichment, when the White House received intelligence in 2002 that such a claim was untrue? And why did Condoleezza Rice in July of 2003 claim that the intelligence community's "consensus view" was that the tubes were being used for nuclear weapons, when in fact a March 2003 IAEA report specifically said that wasn't true?

Why in late 2002 did President Bush say definitively that Iraq "could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes" and that Iraq definitely "possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons" when, in fact, Bush's own Defense Intelligence Agency said it had no proof to support these claims?

Why did President Bush and Vice President Cheney repeatedly claim that Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda had an operational relationship, and why did Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claim there was "bulletproof" evidence of such a relationship, when intelligence and foreign government sources repeatedly told the White House that wasn't true?

Instead of calling for the accountability they so crave for others, his party trips over themselves to make excuses. They refuse to see that they, too, were duped. To admit that you have a problem is the first step to conquering that problem. Repeat after me, "I shouldn't have voted for the baboon."

The Rich Get Richer

And somehow, inexplicably, that's okay with 59,834,866 Americans.

The prospect of a bird flu outbreak may be panicking people around the globe, but it's proving to be very good news for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other politically connected investors in Gilead Sciences, the California biotech company that owns the rights to Tamiflu, the influenza remedy that's now the most-sought after drug in the world.

In the past six months fears of a pandemic and the ensuing scramble for Tamiflu have sent Gilead's stock from $35 to $47. That's made the Pentagon chief, already one of the wealthiest members of the Bush cabinet, at least $1 million richer.