Bill Frist, Friend of the Friendless Pharmecuetical Companies

Frist won't bring drug import legislation up for vote - Tennessean

What a whore. What a whore.

But I digress. The legislation concerns drug reimportation. Drugs are made in America, shipped to Canadian companies, who could then concievably ship the drugs back into America and still sell them for less than the same drugs simply being sold in America.

Does anybody not see how screwed up this is??

Frist cites "safety" concerns, cites he. There is no way to verify that these drugs are actually coming from Canada and that they haven't been tampered with, says he. He counsels us to remember the Tylenol scare in 1982, counsels he.

So if there were some way to verify that the drugs are actually being driven over the border and back without being tampered with, we might could have the legislation and get cheaper prices on prescription drugs? Sounds like a plan to me...

Hey! Here's a bright idea. Why don't we just sell the drugs here for less money in the first place? I mean, if the pharms are cutting Canada such a deal that they can afford to ship our own exports back to us and make a profit underselling the big pharms, why can't the pharms just cut Americans the same break?


Blumenthal: Retired General Calls Iraq "Far Graver Than Vietnam"

Don't mean to be hawking's day pass all the time, but here's another mustread.

1. In Vietnam, we didn't have as much at stake.

2. Iraq is far more volatile.

3. We're in much worse shape with our allies.

Oh, yes. According to one source in this story (General Joseph Hoar), all signs point to an attack on Fallujah after Election Day.

Is that going to be win or lose, Mr. President?

Run The Debates Whether Bush Shows Or Not

The Talent Show > American Prospect

Excellent idea from the Prospect. Since Bush is dragging his feet on the issue, run the debates anyway. What's Bush going to do - not show up? Leave Kerry next to an empty podium answering questions for a prime-time audience? Hell, no. Of course, this is the president who's held twelve press conferences during his entire term so far. Maybe Rove knows that a empty podium would be better than President Bush bumbling out answers to questions he hasn't had a chance to rehearse.

Where Do They Get These Guys?

Okay, so I'm listening to CNN coverage of Ivan. The reporter is in Gulf Shores, talking about some animals that zookeepers were unable to evacuate - 20 deer and 12 alligators.

The reporter then spends 3 minutes telling us how they're going after the deer. "Oh, yeah, there was one deer, looking really frightened, here just a minute ago. He's running down the street thataway. The keepers are using tranquilizer guns to bring the deer down. Hopefully, they'll be able to get all the deer..."

Dude. 20 deer loose in Alabama isn't a problem. Lay out a salt lick. What about the FREAKING ALLIGATORS!!!!!

Wanna know why that deer was looking frightened? 'Cause there's alligators loose! Jeez Louise.

Oh, so he gets to the alligators, which the keepers are shooting to kill, he assures us. There are six unaccounted for, including Chuckie. Chuckie is twelve feet long and weighs over half a ton. Reporter Guy tells us that the tourists love Chuckie.

Not as much as Chuckie loves them...

Dan Rather Interviews Marian Knox

Tonight on 60 Minutes.

You must watch this interview. Record it if you have to.

Bad Press! No Toilet For You!

Washington Post

Only those with big bladders need apply for the White House beat. For the past year, the 20 or so correspondents toiling in the basement of the press room in the West Wing have been fighting to keep their toilet. "We've been using that toilet since Jimmy Carter was president," said Associated Press Radio correspondent Mark Smith. But after some trouble with the commode last year, the General Services Administration announced it was flushing the troublesome fixture.

Correspondents took their case to White House press secretary Scott McClellan, threatening: "We could also hold it -- but I think you'll agree we're cranky enough as it is." The GSA said it would cost $500,000 to fix the toilet -- earning it a place alongside the $400 hammer and the $600 toilet seat. McClellan would not dirty his hands in this plumbing dispute. The GSA then announced it had poured concrete into the "sewer ejectors," making the WC permanently unusable. As of yesterday, the toilet and sink were gone, replaced with a chair and a mirror.
Jimmy Carter giveth, but Bush taketh away.

How could Bush make such a colossal blunder during an election year? Not even a Porta-Potty? Maybe Bush misspoke when he was yelling at people to stop all this press leaking.

Hey, Senator Kerry? Since the press can't be bothered about anything else, can you promise a bathroom for every press gaggle in your adminstration?

Cat Killer Crashes Protest

No, Bill Frist didn't get into a tangle with Bush protestors. Some ignorant jackass skinned a live cat on camera and called it art. He then showed up at a showing of a documentary that covered the ensuing infamy and court case, causing a lot of flack and getting himself arrested.

Bill Frist isn't even mentioned in this article. I guess we should give the man credit for not filming his own extracurricular cat dissections as a study aid...

Killian's Secretary Speaks: Forged Memos Telling the Truth (free registration)

1. Marian Carr Knox was Killian's secretary. She would have typed the memos.

2. The CBS memos are fake. The typefaces are wrong for what was in the office. There are stylistic differences in how Knox would type the memos. Terminology like "billets" and "administrative officer" are Army terms, not ANG terms.

3. The CBS memos reflect real documents that once existed. Knox remembers very vividly "when Bush was there and all the yak-yak that was going on about it." They accurately reflect Killian's viewpoint and memos that were in a "cover your back" file that Knox maintained for Killian. There may not have been a memo-for-memo connection, but there were real memos once.

So the story is: The memos are forged, but they're telling the truth.

UPDATE: I left a dangling "but" up there - the italics finished the sentence. Sorry about that.

This is a bluff of epic proportions. The forger wanted people talking about the Bush Guard record, s/he had a lot of information about Bush, and s/he knew about the CYA file. There couldn't be too many people who knew that - Killian's widow and son didn't even know that.

I'm not convinced that the forger gave a damn about being discovered, either. Whether the memos were written on Word, or the forger located a Selectric Executive D to do it right seems to be irrelevant. Being discovered would just be more publicity about the contents. But if enough of the right people thought the gig was up and started talking about what they knew, the bluff would have worked.

And it did. Hodges may be backpedalling for all he's worth, but he's confirmed the details of the memos' content. And Mrs. Knox may discover that she knows the identity of the forger, if as I suspect the forger has interviewed her in the past. Only time will tell...

Why Bush Left Texas

The Nation

When you read this article, please remember one thing. Bush was making $900 a month working for the Blount campaign. $900 a month.

Bush, Schwarzeneggar Raise Taxes on Teachers


According to Republican logic, any tax cut that's less than an Republican tax cut is a tax increase. Bush is busy flogging a permanent enacting of his tax cuts, saying that the sunsetting of those cuts is a tax increase.

So why is Bush and Schwarzeneggar raising taxes on teachers?

This elimination of tax credits for teachers who buy basic supplies for their students is pretty low, too. These teacher reach into their own salaries to get pencils and paper into the hands of their students, and now they're going to be paying more taxes.

It's disgraceful. I wonder if there are any similar tax increases that Bush isn't advertising out there?

Bill Hobbs on Kerry Memo - Short on Specifics

US Military Weapon Systems

Military spending in the United States is massive. The 2004 budget for military spending asked for $399.1 billion. It takes the military budgets of the next sixteen highest spending nations to equal ours.

Is there no room for budgetary cuts in this long list? Of course there is. Weapons become obsolete, pork is too prevalent, and redundancy can become too unwieldy.

So let's not pretend, as Bill Hobbs does, that suggesting budgetary cuts in the military is working to disarm it. An efficient and focused military will only strengthen our security, not endanger it.

We've seen laundry lists of John Kerry's vote against weapons systems before. If you look at them, you'll see that only a few of John Kerry's votes are being blown out of proportion. When John Kerry voted against a defense appropriation bill that included the entire military budget, is it fair to isolate a few systems and say he opposed them? Why not say that John Kerry voted to completely disband the United States military?

Because that would be ludicrous. So too are these laundry lists. Expanding one vote into ten separate votes against specific systems is just propaganda.

However, Mr. Hobbs has discovered a memo from a 1984 Kerry campaign that does list specific weapons systems for cuts. The context for these cuts, however, isn't provided. On January 16 of that year, Reagan had begun to propose a nuclear-free world. This was because the US military buildup of the early '80s had had an opposite effect on the Soviet military - they went lean and mean. It was not Reagan's hard line that won the Cold War at all - it was his retreat from the hard line that allowed the Gorbachev revolution to take root and flourish.

So John Kerry's memo was in a context of the Reagan Administration signalling a back off from earlier rhetoric and a wild increase in military spending. The Congress was giving Reagan everything he had asked for over the years. Something had to give, somewhere.

None of these proposed cuts would have left America defenseless. Cutting five aircraft and one helicopter with associated missile systems would hardly have decimated our air arsenal and firepower. And plugging the hole of Reagan's feel-good sinkhole of Star Wars could only have released money for more useful and attainable goals.

What Mr. Hobbs needs to address is how would America's military been deficient had these weapons systems been cut. He quotes Vodkapundit's Will Collier:

Just taking the last section, as somebody who's been working on fighter jets and air-to-air weapons for the last decade, I can't even imagine how our armed forces would be able to operate today if Kerry's advice had been heeded.
Vodkapundit: long on rhetoric, short on specifics. There are and were dozens of aircraft systems and missile programs in the military - none of them could have filled the gap left by these few cuts?

And perhaps Kerry's Vietnam service helped guide his thinking. For example, the Sparrow missile performed poorly in Vietnam, yielding less that 10% kill per shot.

Give us some specifics, folks. Otherwise, we can dismiss the use of this memo as more chicanery.

Molly Ivins: Ben Barnes Partisan? Well, Yeah...

The Free Press

Fantastic piece from Molly.

Two Questions That Aren't Being Asked

This summary of the memo authenticity debate is rather good, but it highlights quite well the questions that aren't being asked, the questions that no one in the media apparently can conceive of asking.

Number one, Bobby Hodges. When first we heard of Hodges' connection to this story, he was saying that the memos contained "the things that Killian had expressed to me at the time." Now he's saying he thought the documents were handwritten and he believes them to be fake.

But believing the documents to be fake doesn't negate his first statement. Fake or not, they reflected Killian's stated opinion at the time. No one is pressing Hodges on this point.

The question to be asked, oh ye with access, is this: Mr. Hodges, fake or not, you confirmed the contents of the article as Killian's expressed opinion to you at the time. Does that confirmation still stand?

Number two, Killian's family. Marjorie Connell, Killian's widow, says the records are a farce, because he didn't keep files and considered Bush an excellent pilot. "He was not a paper person," says Mrs. Connell.

Yet there is a signature and several initials of Killian on these memos. Has anyone ever asked Mrs. Connnell or Gary Killian, Killian's son, to look at the signature and verify whether it's Killian's? She must be able to recognize the signature one way or the other.

The question to be asked is: Mrs. Connell, you've had a chance to look at the signature on these documents. Is that your late husband's signature?

Come on, mainstream media. These questions aren't hard.

BTW: Marjorie's current husband, Ed, is quoted in the USAToday article:

He said his wife has told him that Killian "pretty well kept work separate from home" and did not bring home paperwork or talk much about what went on at the base.
Meaning that she isn't in a position to deny or confirm what Killian may have done on the base.

Update To Killian Memo Timeline Below

I've added two new memos to the timeline. They were just released in a masterstroke "eat it" move from Rather and CBS News.

More Fun With Typewriters

PC magazine

Ad copy typed by a IBM Selectic Composer is put side by side with the same copy typed in Word. View the results for yourself.

Darn That Liberal Media!

US News and World Report has determined that the White House used an inappropriate standard in determining that Bush fulfilled his duty.