Hey, I Know This Guy!

Keith Gattis

A few years ago, I worked at Old Natchez Country Club and so did Keith. He'd done a couple of albums in Nashville, and they loved him so much that he was doing grounds work to get by. So he left Nashville - their loss. Because last year he did a tour with Dwight Yoakam, and rocked the house.

If you see this, Keith, the old morning guy in the Tap Room says Hey. Keep up the good work.

Secret Website to Raise Funds for SD Congress Race!!!

Herseth for Congress

Don't tell anybody.

First Ten Random Songs from My iTunes Library

Republic of T

Terrance over at The Republic of T suggests that we turn on our MP3 players, hit "random", and list the first ten songs that play. Here's mine:

  1. King Porter Stomp - Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

  2. To You - The Manhattan Transfer

  3. Everybody Have Fun Tonight - Wang Chung

  4. Dream - Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Soundtrack

  5. Candy - The Manhattan Transfer

  6. Lost in Thought - Gretle

  7. All Cried Out - Dusty Springfield

  8. Don't Ask Me Why - Eurythmics

  9. Thorn In My Side - Eurythmics

  10. Everybody Wants To Rule The World - Tears For Fears

Terrance thinks his lists reveal a retro taste in music. Mine's just an embarassing eighties free-for-all.

Texas Voting Machine Inspectors Caught in the Act

Texas Safe Voting

...of inspecting the machines, sorta. Basically, what they did was watch a demo by the Diebold guy. Evidently, actually testing the machines would have interfered with their golf time.

Go to the link to find actual video footage of the inspection. Your tax dollars at work. (Well, not mine. I live in Tennessee. My mom and dad's tax dollars at work.)

Clarke's Book Disputes Whereabouts, Actions of Key White House Officials on 9/11

DU Thread: Mr. Rumsfeld and His Timeline

I'm a frequent poster at two message boards: the Smirking Chimp and the Democratic Underground. I post just about anything at the Chimp, but at the DU I stick mostly to the 9/11 Forum. There are some posters there that are still peddling the Flight 77 denial story, along with other fantasies about what happened that day. So we bat around their latest theories, and try our best to remain civil and polite to each other. It's good practice for debating rightwingers, I think.

But I've developed a lot of respect for a particular poster there - Paul Thompson. Paul's done an incredible job putting together a Complete 9/11 Timeline. It caters to the 9/11 CT crowd, but Paul's very clear about separating fact from speculation. He uses only mainstream news sources to document his information, and any speculation or theorizing is contained in italics, to set it off from the hardcore information. I consider the sheer bulk of collected information there one of the wonders of the Internet, and said as much when I recommended the site as a link at the Smirking Chimp.

As Paul was reading the recent Richard Clarke book, he realized that the information about the whereabouts and actions of many Bush Adminstration officials conflicted with the information we'd been given previously. Here's part of Paul's post from DU:

I've just started reading the Clarke book, and already I'm finding some remarkable things in the first chapter.

Basically, we're finding out that what many of the key officials say they were doing on 9/11 is a lie.

Dick Cheney:

In the Clarke book on page 2, he is about to be evacuated from his office to the White House basement as Clarke finishes talking to him. The timing isn't exact, but it appears to be about 9:05 to 9:10. Yet Cheney himself says he was evacuated after 9:30. Here's my timeline entry. Note that even Cheney's official photographer disputes his account:

(After 9:03 a.m.) Secret Service agents burst into Vice President Cheney's White House office. They carry him under his arms - nearly lifting him off the ground - and propel him down the steps into the White House basement and through a long tunnel toward an underground bunker. ("Just after 9:00," ABC, 9/14/02 (B), around 9:06 when Bush is being told of the second WTC hit, New York Times, 9/16/01 (B), same time Bush is being told, Telegraph, 12/16/01, shortly after Bush's speech at 9:30, CBS, 9/11/02, 9:32, Washington Post, 1/27/02) At about the same time, National Security Adviser Rice is told to go to the bunker as well. (ABC News, 9/11/02) Accounts of when this happens vary widely, from around 9:03 to 9:32. But since ABC News claims Cheney is in the bunker when he is told Flight 77 is 50 miles away from Washington, accounts of this taking place after 9:27 appear to be incorrect (see (9:27 a.m.)). The one eyewitness account, David Bohrer, a White House photographer, says it takes place just after 9:00. (ABC, 9/14/02 (B)) Why doesn't this happen to Bush at the same time? Are reports of this happening to Cheney later spin meant to make Bush remaining in public seem less strange?

Richard Myers, acting Joint Chief of Staff:

In the Clarke book, page 5, Myers is talking to Clarke and others at 9:28 for sure, and possibly earlier. Yet according to his own testimony in front of congress two days after 9/11, he says he didn't even know there was an emergency until after the Pentagon crash at about 9:38.

(After 8:48 a.m.) Air Force General Richard Myers, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sees the first WTC crash on television. Myers will be acting Chairman of the US military during the 9/11 crisis because Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Henry Shelton is flying in a plane across the Atlantic. He sees the TV in an outer office of Senator Max Cleland, but he says, "They thought it was a small plane or something like that," so he goes ahead and meets with Cleland. He says "nobody informed us" about the second WTC crash, and remains oblivious that there is an emergency, only leaving the meeting with Cleland right as the Pentagon explosion takes place at 9:38. (AFPS, 10/23/01, ABC News, 9/11/02) Yet, in testimony on September 13, 2001, he states, "after the second tower was hit, I spoke to the commander of NORAD, General Eberhart. And at that point, I think the decision was at that point to start launching aircraft." (Myers Confirmation Testimony, 9/13/01) NORAD claims the first fighters are scrambled even before the first WTC hit. (NORAD, 9/18/01) Which of Myers' statements is the lie, or are both of them lies?

Note Myers even contradicted himself in that testimony. I assume Myers was under oath for his confirmation hearing. Can he be convicted of perjury for his lie then?

Donald Rumsfeld:

Minutes after the Pentagon is hit, and someone tells Clarke, "A plane just hit the Pentagon," Clarke replies, "I can still see Rumsfeld on the screen, so the whole building didn't get hit." A short time later, Rumsfeld says that smoke is getting into the Pentagon secure teleconferencing studio. Pages 7 and 8.

Yet Rumsfeld has always maintained that he went outside and helped load wounded into ambulances for the next hour! Timeline entry

(9:38 a.m.) Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld is in the Pentagon meeting with Representative Cox (R), and is apparently completely oblivious of the approaching Flight 77. As he watches TV coverage of the WTC, he says, "Believe me, this isn't over yet. There's going to be another attack, and it could be us." Supposedly, "moments later, the plane hit." (Telegraph, 12/16/01) Rumsfeld is apparently psychic, because two minutes before the first WTC crash and supposedly completely ignorant of the hijackings, he predicted a terrorist attack upon the US (see 8:44 a.m.). Rumsfeld's office is on the fourth floor of the Pentagon, relatively near the impact. He later says that just after the explosion, "I went downstairs and went outside. And around the corner and of course, there it was." He claims he immediately began helping the wounded: "There was a, a young woman bleeding, sitting on the ground, and I think she said to me, she didn't know who I was, she said, she could see people holding, drips going into people, IV of some kind, and she said, something to the effect, if people would, if someone could bring that person over, I could hold it." (ABC News, 9/11/02) He helps load the wounded into ambulances until 10:30 (see 10:30 a.m.). (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 9/12/01)

From Clarke's wording, it seems likely Rumsfeld was already teleconferencing BEFORE the Pentagon was hit.
The Clarke revelations are already bombshells for showing how lackadaisical the Bush Administration was about protecting us from attacks by al-Qaeda. Is this more fuel for the fire?

New Blogroll Additions: The Panda's Thumb and the American Street

Kevin Drum > The Panda's Thumb

The Panda's Thumb is dedicated to explaining the theory of evolution, critiquing the claims of the anti-evolution movement, and defending the integrity of science and science education in America and around the world.
A very timely blog that you should check out right now.

Also, a group blog from a great bunch of leftie bloggers, the American Street.

DeLay May Have To Resign as Majority Leader

Smirking Chimp > Roll Call

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) has begun quiet discussions with a handful of colleagues about the possibility that he will have to step down from his leadership post temporarily if he is indicted by a Texas grand jury investigating alleged campaign finance abuses.
The problem is with DeLay's PAC, Texans for a Republican Majority (TRM). Last year, a group called Texans for Public Justice filed a complaint that the PAC had not reported hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Texas Ethics Committee (TEC). They furthermore allege that TRM raised at least $602,000 from corporations and used that money for some or all of its non-reported political expenditures, which is against Texas law. Here's a listing of the itemized corporate contributions, contributors to TRM of at least $10,000, and expenses not reported to the TEC.

Fred Lewis explains what Tom's PAC did wrong:
Texans for a Republican Majority raised funds in large chunks from corporations that had important legislation in Austin and Washington – companies such as El Paso Energy ($50,000), Reliant Energy ($25,000), Philip Morris ($25,000) and AT&T ($20,000). The group contends that its corporate fund raising simply exploited a loophole allowing political action committees to use corporate money for administrative expenses.

It is true that Texas allows political action committees to use corporate money for administrative expenses that, in the words of the Texas Ethics Commission, "would be incurred in the normal course of business by any active organization, whether or not it engaged in political activity."

But according to Internal Revenue Service records, Texans for a Republican Majority spent corporate funds on phone banks, political consulting, political fund raising and polling. Most of us wouldn't think of those as normal overhead expenses incurred by any business.

The group also may have laundered corporate funds. It sent $190,000 in corporate money to the Republican National State Elections Committee on Sept. 20. Several weeks later, the committee sent seven checks totaling $190,000 to seven legislative candidates supported by Texans for a Republican Majority.

The group's possible motivation would be that it couldn't contribute the money directly to candidates, so it tried to make an indirect transfer through the committee. But an indirect transfer, if that is what happened, is a contribution under Texas law.
It's not looking so good for Tommie Boy. Boy, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy, you know?

Fred Kaplan: Dick Clarke Is Telling The Truth


First, his basic accusations are consistent with tales told by other officials, including some who had no significant dealings with Clarke.

Second, the White House's attempts at rebuttal have been extremely weak and contradictory. If Clarke were wrong, one would expect the comebacks—especially from Bush's aides, who excel at the counterstrike—to be stronger and more substantive.

Third, I went to graduate school with Clarke in the late 1970s, at MIT's political science department, and called him as an occasional source in the mid-'80s when he was in the State Department and I was a newspaper reporter. There were good things and dubious things about Clarke, traits that inspired both admiration and leeriness. The former: He was very smart, a highly skilled (and utterly nonpartisan) analyst, and he knew how to get things done in a calcified bureaucracy. The latter: He was arrogant, made no effort to disguise his contempt for those who disagreed with him, and blatantly maneuvered around all obstacles to make sure his views got through.

The key thing, though, is this: Both sets of traits tell me he's too shrewd to write or say anything in public that might be decisively refuted. As Daniel Benjamin, another terrorism specialist who worked alongside Clarke in the Clinton White House, put it in a phone conversation today, "Dick did not survive and flourish in the bureaucracy all those years by leaving himself open to attack."
Bush Adminstration officials are all getting their resumes polished up. The hits just keep on coming.

Check out the new design over at War Liberal> Mac made a great blog even better.

If He Had Had Information

MSNBC - Bush responds to terror criticism

“The facts are these,” Bush said: CIA Director “George Tenet briefed me on a regular basis about the terrorist threat to the United States of America, and had my administration had any information that terrorists were going to attack New York City on Sept. 11, we would have acted."
Please keep in mind the various actions that ensured Bush never got that information.

The suspension of Predator drone flights over Afghanistan.

The blocking of investigations into Saudi funding of terrorism.

The roadblocks into investigating Zacarias Moussaoui.

The shelving of the Phoenix Memo.

The shelving of the Clinton plan to elimanate al-Qaeda.

The shelving of the Hart-Rudman report, and the ankling of the Congressional attempt to do something about Hart-Rudman.

The pooh-poohing of the August 6th Presidential Daily Briefing.

The waving off of the constant stream of warnings from other countries about an impending attack.

It was quite a job to remain ignorant of the incoming 9/11 attacks, but the Bush Adminstration managed to do so. When plausible deniability is Job #1, there's no lengths to which the Republicans in Charge won't go.

Bill Scher: What Europe is truly doing

M-SP Star-Tribune

Bill Scher is the executive editor of LiberalOasis.com, one of the best blogs out there. His opinion piece in the Star-Tribune is reflective of his common-sense, informed take on the news:

Therein lies the tough nut: We have to do more than defeat a group of people, we have to defeat an idea. That's tricky business, but you surely can't defeat an idea unless you understand what that idea is.

Tenet's testimony leaves the impression that he thinks Al-Qaida's interest in attacking the United States is an end to itself. And Bush, of course, never spent any time educating the voters on what is driving them. He simply told us they "hate freedom" and left it at that.

But it's not that simple. As terror expert Jason Burke explained in the book "Al Qaeda: Casting a Shadow of Terror," the attacks are not an end, but a means. They are propaganda tools to "radicalize and mobilize those Muslims who have shunned [Bin Laden's] call to action [by] proving that there is a cosmic battle between good and evil underway and that Islam ... is in peril." In turn, Bin Laden believes the world's Muslim's will "rise up," earn "the blessing of God [and] cast off the shackles that have been laid upon them by what he sees as centuries of 'humiliation and contempt.' "

If that's the case, then it's easy to see how a war with Iraq could be counterproductive to the war on terror. If Bin Laden wanted a "cosmic battle," he got what he wanted. Tenet's analysis that Bin Laden's message is spreading beyond his immediate organization bolsters that notion.

It appears that Europe wants to get out of this trap. Recently, both the German chancellor and the European Union foreign policy chief spoke of addressing "root causes" of terror in addition to combating the "symptoms."

That's the sort of liberal talk that American conservatives deride as "decadence." But if Europe concludes that Bush made a strategic error with Iraq and tries a new strategy, that's not "decadence," that's pragmatism. And if radical Islamic terror continues to display strength, Bush supporters may increasingly worry that come November, American voters will be pragmatic too.
Nice going, Bill.

The Problem is Richard Cheney

WSJ.com - Government Accounts of 9/11
Reveal Gaps, Inconsistencies

Several quotes from this Page One article are making this clear.

As Air Force One left Sarasota, the president intended to return directly to Washington, Mr. Bartlett said. Mr. Bush initially had ignored advice from Vice President Dick Cheney, calling while en route to a White House basement command center, that Washington appeared to be under attack and the president for his own safety should remain away, according to an official in the vice president's office. Once airborne, Mr. Bush spoke again on a secure phone with Mr. Cheney, who relayed a new message that changed the president's mind, White House officials later said. The vice president urged Mr. Bush to postpone his return because, Mr. Cheney said, the government had received a specific threat that Air Force One itself had been targeted by terrorists. Mr. Cheney emphasized that the threat included a reference to what he called the secret code word for the presidential jet, "Angel," Mr. Bartlett said in an interview.

...Although in the days after Sept. 11, Mr. Cheney and other administration officials recounted that a threat had been received against Air Force One, Mr. Bartlett said in a recent interview that there hadn't been any actual threat. Word of a threat had resulted from confusion in the White House bunker, as multiple conversations went on simultaneously, he said. Many of these exchanges, he added, related to rumors that turned out to be false, such as reports of attacks on the president's ranch in Texas and the State Department. As for the Air Force One code name, Mr. Bartlett said, "Somebody was using the word 'angel,' " and "that got interpreted as a threat based on the word 'angel.' " (Former Secret Service officials said the code wasn't an official secret, but a radio shorthand designation that had been made public well before 2001.)

The vice president's office gave an account differing from Mr. Bartlett's, saying it still couldn't rule out that a threat to Air Force One actually had been made.

Days after the attacks, Mr. Cheney had said word of the threat had been passed to him by Secret Service agents. But in interviews, two former senior Secret Service agents on duty that day denied that their agency played any role in receiving or passing on a threat to the presidential jet.

An official in Mr. Cheney's office said in an interview that Mr. Cheney had been mistaken in saying the threat came to him via the Secret Service. The official said that instead, Mr. Cheney had received word of the threat from "a uniformed military person" manning the underground bunker. The official said the vice president and his staff don't know who the individual was. And the official said that he couldn't say definitively whether or not a threat had been made. "I'm not in a position to know the answer to that question," the official in the vice president's office said.
Okay. Bush is coming back against Cheney's wishes. Cheney then tells him about a threat to Air Force One. When asked to back up this story of a threat, Cheney first pins it on the Secret Service, but when that falls through, we learn of the uniformed military person who shall forever remain anonymous.

This is not the vice president lying to the president to keep him out of Washington. Why? Because the vice president says so.
Brig. Gen. David F. Wherley Jr., who was in charge that day of the 113th Fighter Wing of the D.C. Air National Guard, stationed near the capital at Andrews Air Force Base, said in an interview that minutes after the Pentagon was hit, the Secret Service phoned the fighter wing's operations center. Gen. Wherley said Becky Ediger, a senior Secret Service agent on duty at the White House, told him the president had authorized the vice president to pass along orders to shoot down hijacked civilian jets, if that was necessary to keep them from hitting any building near the White House.

Two White House officials involved in responding to the crisis that day said in interviews that the Secret Service acted on its own. But the Secret Service denied that in a written statement responding to questions. "The Secret Service is not authorized to, nor did it, direct the activation or launch of Department of Defense aviation assets," the statement said. Current senior Secret Service officials said that the agents' actions on Sept. 11 had been ordered by the vice president. The official speaking for Mr. Cheney said he didn't know whether the vice president had directed the agents to call the fighter wing and wouldn't be able to find out.
The Secret Service called General Wherley to relay orders from the president via the vice president to shoot down any hijacked planes that approached Washington. The White House first tried to pin this on the Secret Service, but when that fell through, the trail back to the vice president's office goes cold.

This is not the vice president acting as the president after he lied to the president to keep him out of Washington. Why? Because the vice president says so.

This is, however, the vice president that lied continually and consistently about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. This is the vice president whose office used a stovepipe of intelligence information to build a case for war. This is the vice president whose office committed a felony by exposing the identity of a CIA agent whose husband had publicly revealed part of that intelligence to be false.

This is the vice president who was formerly the CEO of Halliburton, a company that is profitting tremendously from the war in Iraq. This is the vice president who was in charge of the selection committee that eventually approved himself alone to be George Bush's running mate.

This vice president is the problem.

Found The Healthcare Book

Grace Budrys' Our Unsystematic Health Care System

Okay, so it's seventy bucks - it's a textbook. I'm reading it for free because my library has it.

Have you ever checked out a bunch of books on one subject, then found you didn't have the time to get to them all? If you have, then you know that sometimes you go on the weirdest tangents to decide which one to read first. I've been banging my head against a weighty tome that promises to examine procedural justice in policymaking for healthcare issues, and left the Budrys book on the nightstand for two weeks. Why? Because the weighty tome has big words, and the Budrys book has one of the worst designed covers I've ever seen. Finally, one night I picked up the book to see if it would send me off to a Cabaret-haunted sleep, and found that the book I needed all along, the perfect introduction to healthcare issues in America, was right there.

Don't judge a book by its cover.

It's timely and user-friendly, but it isn't simplistic either. It's meant to fill any gaps in knowledge for college students. The Amazon link has prices starting at $15, but maybe you can talk your local library into buying a copy or two.

TruVote To Continue Despite Owner's Death

Recently, the founder of TruVote, Athan Gibbs died in a terrible automobile accident here in Nashville. Mr. Gibbs was an accountant who was so horrified by the Florida 2000 debacle that he designed an electronic voting system that was completely verifiable. Election reform advocates lost an articulate spokesman for their cause when he died.

There are some "Silkwoodesque" rumors floating around the Net about his death, but from what I can gather here in Nashville, it was simply an accident. Whereas Karen Silkwood's death occured at night along a deserted road, Mr. Gibbs' occured on a busy interstate in broad daylight. He apparently shifted lanes in front of an eighteen wheeler that couldn't stop. The truck struck his SUV, which became uncontrollable. It flipped several times, and then flew over the middle retaining wall into the northbound lanes, ejecting Mr. Gibbs in the process. It's a tragic death to be sure, but there's no cause to start darkweaving rumors about his death.

I went to the TruVote website to see if there was a press release about Mr. Gibbs' death. There wasn't, and I was afraid that meant the company might fade away. I found an email address on the site and sent in my concerns. This was the reply:

Thank you. The Company's management plan to make Athan's vision a reality.

Adrienne H. Brandon
TruVote International, Inc.
315 10th Ave North
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 780-9902 Phone
(615) 496-1622 Cell
(615) 780-2611 Fax
That's great news to hear. Why don't you send these folks a card or email them your support? This voting system sounds like a clear winner for everyone involved.

I'm An Uncle Again

Niece Abigail Elizabeth was born on Saturday, right in the middle of tech weekend for Cabaret. Everyone is fine, and baby makes three out in California. Whooo-hoooo!

Today's Homily: I Have No Title For This

Long story; short pier > Real Live Preacher

So you want to talk about homosexuality? YOU want to talk about homosexuality? You want to talk about homosexuALITY?

Sit down CHRIStian. Give me that bible you’re waving before you hurt yourself. I’m going to resist the temptation to snatch it from your hands and beat you with it. I am your worst nightmare, a Texas preacher who knows The Book better than you do.

You cannot wave your unread bible and scare me. I know its larger story and I will tear you a new biblical asshole.

Show me your scriptures. Show me how you justify condemning homosexual people.

Show me what you got, Christian. The Sodom story? That story is about people who wanted to commit a brutal rape. Let’s all say it together, “God doesn’t like rape”. You could have listened to your heart and learned that, Christian. Move on. What else you got?

A weak-ass little passage from Leviticus? Are you kidding me? Are you prepared to adhere to the whole Levitical code of behavior? No? Then why would you expect others to? What else?

Two little passages - two verses from Romans and one from I Corinthians. There you stand, your justification for a worldwide campaign of hatred is written on two limp pieces of paper. I know these passages, both their greater context and the original language. I could show you why you have nothing, but there is something more important you need to see.

Come with me to the church cellar. Come now and don’t delay. I am shaking with anger and fighting the urge to grab you by the collar and drag you down these steps.

You didn’t know the church had a cellar? Oh yes, every church does. Down, down we go into the darkness. Don’t slip on the flagstone and never mind the heat.

There, do you see the iron furnace door, gaping open? Do you see the roaring flames? Do you see the huge man with glistening muscles, covered with soot? Do you see him feeding the fire as fast as can with his massive, scooped shovel?

He feeds these flames with the bible, with every book, chapter, and verse that American Christians must burn to support our bloated lifestyles, our selfishness, our materialism, our love of power, our neglect of the poor, our support of injustice, our nationalism, and our pride.

See how frantically he works? Time is short, and he has much to burn. The prophets, the Shema, whole sections of Matthew, most of Luke, the entire book of James. Your blessed 10 commandments? Why would you want to post them on courtroom walls when you’ve burned them in your own cellar?

Do you see? DO YOU SEE? Do you see how we rip, tear, and burn scripture to justify our lives?

The heat from this cursed furnace rises up and warms the complacent worshippers in the pews above. The soot from the fire blackens our stained glass so that we may not see out and no one wants to see in.

Do you smell the reek of this injustice? It is a stink in the nostrils of the very living God. We are dressed in beautiful clothes and we wear pretty smiles, but we stink of this blasphemous holocaust.

Every church in America has a cellar like this. We must shovel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, because every chapter and book we ignore must be burned to warm our comfy pews.

And you come to me with two little scraps of scripture to justify your persecution of God’s children?

Sit down Christian. Sit down and be you silent.

How long has it been since you forgot that we were called to walk the earth as pilgrims? Do you not remember when HE told us to give our coats to those in need and sell our possessions to help the poor? Did you forget how the first church had all things in common so that none would lack.

Did you forget the day He told us that whatever we did for the oppressed we did for Him, and whatever we withheld from them was kept from Him as well? 

Sit down Christian. You have not earned the right to speak to this generation. The right to speak is earned with love.

Take back your bible. Take it back and start reading it. Fall in love again with Jesus. Sell what you must and walk the earth. Let your love be astonishing and people may one day listen to your words.

Even now you might be saved. Our God is merciful and forgiveness awaits.