It is a time of freedom and fear, of Gaia and of borders, of many paths and the widening of a universal toll road, emptying country and swelling cities, of the public bought into privacy and the privacy of the public sold into invisible data banks and knowing algorithms. It is the time of the warrior's peace and the miser's charity, when the planting of a seed is an act of conscientious objection.

These are the times when maps fade and direction is lost. Forwards is backwards now, so we glance sideways at the strange lands through which we are all passing, knowing for certain only that our destination has disappeared. We are unready to meet these times, but we proceed nonetheless, adapting as we wander, reshaping the Earth with every tread.

Behind us we have left the old times, the standard times, the high times. Welcome to the irregular times.

Virgil Goode
Saturday, January 31, 2004
In the entire first quarter of 2003, Virginia Republican Congressman Virgil Goode's campaign contributions came from only one source.

Wouldn't you like to know what that source was? Stay tuned.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 9:11 AM# (permalink)

In the past, Michael E. Toner has served as legal counsel for the Republican National Committee and the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign. Thanks to George W. Bush, what's his current title? Federal Elections Commissioner. Talk about foxes guarding the chicken coop... (Source: Washington Post January 31, 2004)

Posted by Matthew Cook at 12:26 AM# (permalink)

NOW he tells us the truth?

NOW he tells us the truth?

President Moonbeam's Medicare boondoggle, the White House acknowledges after the bill is passed, will cost 34% more than they told the U.S. Congress and the American people it would cost. Is the Bush Administration clueless when it comes to the basics of health care economics, or practiced in deception?

Well, on that note, whoopsie! Now it turns out that the Bush Administration knew well before its Medicare boondoggle passed the U.S. Congress that the cost estimates it had supplied to legislators and the American people were wildly inaccurate. (Source: Washington Post January 31, 2004)

It is becoming clear that George W. Bush has decided the American people only deserve the truth when it is too late to do anything about it.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 12:25 AM# (permalink)

NOW he wants to know the truth?

NOW he wants to know the truth?

"I want the American people to know that I, too, want to know the facts."

So said George W. Bush yesterday about the lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The problem is, the Bush Administration said they had the facts a year ago, and they took us to war based on those supposed facts. Where did those facts go, Mr. Bush? If you didn't have them, what in the name of sanity were you doing dragging a nation to war?

Posted by Matthew Cook at 12:22 AM. # (permalink)

War Dead
Friday, January 30, 2004 has a great site for keeping track of the war dead in Iraq. The number of coalition casualties is up to 616. I want to hear from Bush supporters: are these deaths worth it to you? And another thing: what's Bush's excuse for attending NO military funerals? What is George Bush afraid of?

Posted by Bob S-K at 5:31 PM# (permalink)

Blackspot Sneaker: The Plot Thickens

On the Blackspot Sneaker: The Plot Thickens

Two weeks ago, we published an interview with Adbusters' Kalle Lasn in which he affirmed his intention to manufacture a fair-trade, brand-free knockoff of the Converse Chuck Taylor sneaker -- with pre-orders to be gathered now for production in the spring of this year.

Now it comes to our attention that an organization called No Sweat is offering its own pre-sales of a "union-made," "fair trade" sneaker. Guess what the shoe looks like. Yep, that's right.

We'll be trying to snag an interview with the folks at No Sweat in the next few days to ask them about their sneaker, the Blackspot, and where in the heck the twain have met or shall meet. Down the rabbit hole we go... check this spot for more soon.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 4:38 PM. # (permalink)

Two Wars Unwon
Thursday, January 29, 2004
The headline today is of something that's getting to be old news, sort of.

Seven American soldiers killed ... ... ... in Afghanistan.

Yeah, you read that right - Afghanistan, where American soldiers are still trying to defeat the Taliban for good, and where nobody has any idea where the heck Osama Bin Laden is, still, or the former leader of Afghanistan either. The American military is still struggling to control the country, and soldiers are being shot at, wounded and killed all the time.

So here's the simple math for George W. Bush: Four years, two wars, zero victories.

I'll add in a free qualitative item as well: These two quagmires are getting more mirey every minute.

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 8:29 PM# (permalink)

President Clueless
Dude, Where's my Intelligence?

Take a look what Bush said in July, 2003. This was in response to a question about the claim he made in the 2003 State of the Union speech, that Iraq was attempting to buy uranium from Africa:

"Well, let me first say that -- I think the intelligence I get is darn good intelligence. And the speeches I have given were backed by good intelligence.... And it's the same intelligence, by the way, that my predecessor used to make the decision he made in 1998." --George W. Bush, July 14, 2003

Wow! This is some seriously fuzzy thinking. This guy has no idea what's going on.

Listen, Bush:

First of all, as just about everyone agrees, the intelligence in question was bogus.

Second, it follows that the speech you gave was based on bogus (i.e. not "good") intelligence.

Third, Clinton did not have this intelligence when he decided to bomb Iraq in 1998.

Fourth, if your decision to go to war was based on the same intelligence Clinton used in 1998, that intelligence was at least five years old at the time. It's one helluva stretch to say that five-year-old intelligence about an "imminent threat" is "darn good intelligence."

Wha' happen'?

Posted by Doctor Theopolis at 4:21 AM. # (permalink)

What the Fuck?
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

What the Fuck?

It is a rare gift to find a piece of legislation that is a hoot to read. Witness HR 3687:

To amend section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, to provide for the punishment of certain profane broadcasts, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, is amended--

(1) by inserting `(a)' before `Whoever'; and

(2) by adding at the end the following:

`(b) As used in this section, the term `profane', used with respect to language, includes the words `shit', `piss', `fuck', `cunt', `asshole', and the phrases `cock sucker', `mother fucker', and `ass hole', compound use (including hyphenated compounds) of such words and phrases with each other or with other words or phrases, and other grammatical forms of such words and phrases (including verb, adjective, gerund, participle, and infinitive forms).'.

This vitally important bill now before the House of Representatives has been sponsored by the following paragons of civic virtue:

Todd Akin (MO)
Cass Ballenger (NC)
Roscoe Bartlett (MD)
John Boozman (AR)
Henry Brown (SC)
Richard Burr (NC)
Mac Collins (GA)
Harold Ford (TN)
Thaddeus McCotter (MI)
Charlie Norwood (GA)
Doug Ose (CA)
Tom Osborn (NE)
Stevan Pearce (NM)
Lamar Smith (TX)
Gene Taylor (MS)
James Walsh (NY)
Roger Wicker (MS)

To find out how to get in touch with these epitomes of holy uprightedness and let them know what you think of their bill, take a trip over to the House of Representatives website. But what to write?

I'd like to propose a fun little contest. Who can express their opinion of this bill using the greatest volume of these prohibitively nasty words? Click on the comment link below and scribe away. Extra points for style!

Posted by Matthew Cook at 3:37 PM# (permalink)

Our Ignorant President

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

Thanks to Joe Conason at for blowing the lid on this one:

On July 14, 2003 George W. Bush said "The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region. I firmly believe the decisions we made will make America more secure and the world more peaceful."

Read that again, slowly. I know, there are lots of errors in that one paragraph, but can you pick the whopper?

Yes, George W. Bush said that the reason we went to war was that Saddam Hussein wouldn't let weapons inspectors in.

You and I and the New York Times and the Washington Post and the Associated Press and every other big and small newspaper, newsmagazine and TV anchorman -- know that not only did Saddam Hussein agree to let weapons inspectors in the country, but they actually went in and were doing their job!

No, the reason we went to war was that George W. Bush said the weapons inspectors weren't finding the missing WMDs that were really there and didn't know what they were doing.

George W. Bush's historical ignorance apparently extends to major events involving him during his own presidency.

Lest you think we're making too much of this, George W. Bush said it again January 26, 2004: "He chose defiance. It was his choice to make, and he did not let us in." No, no, no: again, the historical record shows that inspectors were let in.

George W. Bush made these bizarre counterfactual statements in question-and-answer sessions with the White House Press Corps. Do you think the White House Press Corps questioned him on it during the sessions? Oh, no, of course not. Do you think these statements became major news stories the next day? What do you think? The "liberal" New York Times didn't mention them at all in their newspaper reports the next day in either case.

When the press abdicates its duty to report completely and objectively on a sitting American President, democracy has lost one of its great protectors. It is up to us to protect democracy in November 2004.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 7:48 AM. # (permalink)

Patience, Please
Monday, January 26, 2004

Virtue or not, Patience is a Necessity

Alas. I really don't like being patient, to tell you the truth. But, virtue or not, sometimes it's a necessity.

This is one of those times. You may notice this Irregular Blog (and Irregular Times) acting somewhat irregularly over the next day or two. We're getting more visitors than we used to, and in order to handle the load we've had to switch over to a new server. That switch is in progress. We'll make it work, but things may be squidgy for a bit.

I like using words like squidgy: I think (I hope?) you know what I mean by it even though the word doesn't mean anything.

Funny how that is. It reminds me of a article in this month's Discover Magazine which demonstrated quite convincingly that we can read sense into nonsense. Follow the link to see exactly what I mean, or try the following:

Gorege Bsuh cunoldt lcoate the turth if it sleppad him wtih a salmai.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 8:12 PM. # (permalink)

Political and Sports Writing Clash in a Primary Battle!
Sunday, January 25, 2004
This morning, it occurred to me how much mainstream political journalists have become like the worst sports commentators.

You know how it goes: You turn on the ESPN pre-game show and these thick-necked, balding ex-jocks are sitting in their suits and ties giving essentially empty blabber about the teams that will play against each other that afternoon.

We're told that one of the coaches "really wants to limit the ability of the other team to play effectively". The team with the losing record is advised that "They're going to have to get some points up on the scoreboard today". Another commentator reveals the startling secret that "the name of the game is really to move down the field".

This kind of babble is meant to entertain the kind of sports fanatic who will listen to any sentence that includes the word "ball", "goal", or "stadium". Could it be that the same kind of babble-filler journalism has been developed for political junkies as well? Too true, too true!

Just think about what we've heard from political reporters during the last couple of days. "John Kerry is still in New Hampshire, campaigning hard to win as many votes as he can." No kidding! "Howard Dean is hoping to reverse his slide in the polls." What a mystery! "The Democrats are going to vote for someone who can win." Holy circular reasoning, Batman!

Here are the headlines I find on this morning's Google News:

  • New Hampshire Vote Hinges on Undecided
  • The candidates make their final pitches in New Hampshire
  • It's about beating Bush, Dems say
  • A horserace in New Hampshire
  • Candidates reach out across New Hampshire

    I admit it. I'm a political junkie. I love to read news about political campaigns. I'm not so far addicted to political news, however, that I'm going to settle for this kind of filler material. There are real issues, and points of difference, that need to be examined by intelligent voters. I'll skim over the political reporters who give 110 percent in search of something more substantial, thank you.

    Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 7:10 AM# (permalink)

    Guess who wants to decriminalize drugs now?
    Hey, check out this little chunk of bleeding heart pablum some liberal spewed:

    "The public is better served by treating addicts as patients rather than criminals."

    Oh, so we should stop criminally punishing people whose only offense is ingesting a toxic substance, and help them stop doing it? We'd have to let over a million nonviolent drug abusers out of jail, and thousands of prison guards would lose their jobs. What are we going to do with all those people and all that extra money? Start cranking out wind turbines and solar panels to end our dependence on foreign oil?

    So what ranting leftist said this? None other than Roy Black, the attorney who's trying to get Rush Limbaugh off the hook for drug violations (Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 1/23/04).

    Well now I'm confused. Isn't Rush one of those "get tough on drugs" conservatives? Why's he paying a lawyer to spout such naive silliness?

    Time to put your cards on the table, Rush. If you believe that drug abusers should be treated as criminals, stand up and confess, do your time like a man and be done with it. If this experience has convinced you that drug offenses should be decriminalized and addicts should receive treatment instead, stand up and say it your damn self.

    Oh, wait, I almost forgot. There's a third choice: the double-standard option. Rich guys like you who can afford slick lawyers should get away with it, while everybody else should go to jail. Yes, yes. That's more like it. That's the conservative way.

    Posted by Doctor Theopolis at 3:50 AM. # (permalink)

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