No Heros: Landis Had Synthetic Testosterone

I’™m not a cycling enthusiast, but Floyd Landis’™ Tour de France victory was a thing of sports legend – guy with a bad hip, in constant pain, comes back from certain defeat and wins the most prestigious cycling event in the world. A true feel-good story. Well, at least it would have been, [...]

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I’™m not a cycling enthusiast, but Floyd Landis’™ Tour de France victory was a thing of sports legend – guy with a bad hip, in constant pain, comes back from certain defeat and wins the most prestigious cycling event in the world. A true feel-good story. Well, at least it would have been, except for one eensey little thing.

Let me be clear that I gave up on sports heros quite awhile ago. They’™re all juiced in one manner or another. But as I listened last week to an NPR interview with Landis, it was obvious that he was trying, in a most unconvincing manner, to explain his positive doping result. His story (‘œhey, I got liquored up after that bad stage, and it threw off the results’ ) just didn’™t pass the smell test.

Tonight comes word that Landis was, indeed, apparently taking some performance enhancing pharmaceuticals:

Tests show that some of the testosterone in Floyd Landis’™ system at the Tour de France was synthetic and not naturally produced by his body as he claimed, according to a newspaper report.

The French antidoping lab testing the American cyclist’™s samples determined that some of the hormone came from an external source, The New York Times reported on its Web site Monday night, citing a person at the International Cycling Union with knowledge of the result’¦

File this under the tab: ‘œWhy I’™m such a fucking cynic about everything.’

Monday, July 31st, 2006 by Richard Blair |
Category: General

Florida GOP Tosses Kate Harris an Anchor

This is actually quite humorous. Katherine Harris got a ‘œpayback’ for her role in the 2000 Florida election theft by being given a seat in congress. But that wasn’™t good enough. Noooooo. She took the opportunity to fill up her bank account in the process, and got nabbed.

There are crooks in [...]

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This is actually quite humorous. Katherine Harris got a ‘œpayback’ for her role in the 2000 Florida election theft by being given a seat in congress. But that wasn’™t good enough. Noooooo. She took the opportunity to fill up her bank account in the process, and got nabbed.

There are crooks in the GOP, and then there are crooks in the GOP who are just ass stupid by association. Guess which category Kate falls into?

The state Republican Party bluntly told Rep. Katherine Harris that she couldn’™t win this fall’™s Senate election and that the party wouldn’™t support her campaign, a letter obtained Monday by The Associated Press shows.

Party Chairman Carole Jean Jordan made a last-ditch attempt in the confidential May 7 letter to force Harris out of the race for the nomination to challenge Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson’¦

The letter said: “Katherine, though it causes us much anguish, we have determined that your campaign faces irreparable damage. We feel that we have no other choice but to revoke our support.

“The polls tell us that no matter how you run this race, you will not be successful in beating Bill Nelson, who would otherwise be a vulnerable incumbent if forced to face a stronger candidate,” it said.

See ya, Kate!

Monday, July 31st, 2006 by Richard Blair |

The Flying Spaghetti Monster Gets Hatemail

I can’™t believe how some folks in this country are so anti-religion that they’™ll type up their misspelled screeds against the Flying Spaghetti Monster . . . well. I CAN believe it, and reading all the Flying Spaghetti Monster Hatemail is a lot of fun.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

I can’™t believe how some folks in this country are so anti-religion that they’™ll type up their misspelled screeds against the Flying Spaghetti Monster . . . well. I CAN believe it, and reading all the Flying Spaghetti Monster Hatemail is a lot of fun.

Monday, July 31st, 2006 by Richard Blair |
Category: Holy War

Lamont / Lieberman: 8 Days to the Start of Sanity?

I’™ve stayed away from commenting on the Lieberman / Lamont race in Connecticut, not because I don’™t have interest, but because there’™s so much information already out there to digest. Most of the ‘œbig dog’ lefty blogs are onboard the Ned Lamont Express, and polling is certainly looking good for his campaign. The [...]

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I’™ve stayed away from commenting on the Lieberman / Lamont race in Connecticut, not because I don’™t have interest, but because there’™s so much information already out there to digest. Most of the ‘œbig dog’ lefty blogs are onboard the Ned Lamont Express, and polling is certainly looking good for his campaign. The thing about primary races, though, is that they’™re notoriously difficult to call, particularly when the race is close. It all comes down to turnout, and who can sufficiently engage their supporters to slog to the polls on a Tuesday in mid-August.

There was a time when I knew a lot of folks in Connecticut – but not anymore. There’™s not one person there that I’™ve stayed in touch with over the years, so my picking up a phone and calling people from out of the blue isn’™t going to make much difference. From everything I’™m reading, in the last 8 days, it all comes down to a GOTV effort. Lieberman’™s campaign has brought in the big guns from around the country; Lamont’™s effort is more locally based with a young cadre of volunteers walking and talking their butts off.

Again, I really don’™t have a dog in this fight, other than the fact that Joe Lieberman has been a good, moderate Republican senator. Oh, wait. This is a primary for the Democratic Party nomination. So, I guess that’™s my ‘œdog’, as it were.

Under normal circumstances, I’™d be the last person on the planet to endorse another millionaire businessman for political office. I figure we have quite enough of them fucking up the country as is. But these ain’™t normal circumstances’¦

(more’¦)

Monday, July 31st, 2006 by Richard Blair |
Category: Politics - U.S.

The Forgotten War

It’™s like the war in Iraq has disappeared from your TV screen. Granted, there’™s some action happening in Lebanon, but (in case anyone’™s missed it) there’™s 10 Beruit’™s happening in Baghdad and its environs every single day.

Yesterday, it was reported that 4 more American GI’™s were killed somewhere around Fallujah, in addition [...]

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It’™s like the war in Iraq has disappeared from your TV screen. Granted, there’™s some action happening in Lebanon, but (in case anyone’™s missed it) there’™s 10 Beruit’™s happening in Baghdad and its environs every single day.

Yesterday, it was reported that 4 more American GI’™s were killed somewhere around Fallujah, in addition to the usual mirth and mayhem in the emerging theocracy of Iraq. Death squads continue roaming the country unabated. Commitment of U.S. troops, already stretched to the breaking point, is increasing again. And America’™s unwavering, uncritical support of Israel continues to cause U.S. stature in the region to plummet even lower (as if it really could, anyway).

The bottom line is that the Bush administration, despite their proclaimations of ‘œmoral imperative’ in the region, no longer has any such standing.

I remember right after American tanks rolled into Baghdad that one of the parameters being ballyhoo’™d was the skyrocketing use of cell phones. It was supposedly an entrepreneur’™s dream. Unsaid was the fact that the regular telecommunications infrastructure in Iraq had been destroyed by the initial ‘œshock and awe’. It still hasn’™t been rebuilt 3-1/2 years later. That’™s why cell phone use skyrocketed – it’™s relatively easy and cheap to throw up a tower and start pulling in captive customers when there’™s no other way to communicate.

So, why am I focused on cell phones in Iraq today? ‘¦

(more’¦)

Monday, July 31st, 2006 by Richard Blair |
Category: Iraq

Mexico City: 2.5 Million Protest Election

Calls for a recount in the Mexican presidential election continue to grow. It’™s looking like the IFE is going to agree to at least a partial recount of votes. A largely peaceful crowd of 2.5 million people converged on the Zacalo in Mexico City today, in support of Lopez Obrador ‘” but more [...]

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Calls for a recount in the Mexican presidential election continue to grow. It’™s looking like the IFE is going to agree to at least a partial recount of votes. A largely peaceful crowd of 2.5 million people converged on the Zacalo in Mexico City today, in support of Lopez Obrador ‘” but more importantly, in support of ensuring the election was properly accounted for. Charles at Mercury Rising is covering the day’™s events.

Can you imagine what would have happened in 2000 if 2.5% of the U.S. population had shown up in Washington, DC. in support of Al Gore? 10 million people on the mall? It would have been much harder to ignore the election theft’¦and the country would likely not be in the mess we currently find ourselves.

Update: Lots of good information in this Daily Kos diary.

Sunday, July 30th, 2006 by Richard Blair |
Category: Latin America

34 Children Among 56 Dead in Israeli Strike

So much for the neocon’™s ‘œculture of life’ schtick:

QANA, Lebanon – Israeli missiles hit several buildings in a southern Lebanon village as people slept Sunday, killing at least 56, most of them children, in the deadliest attack in 19 days of fighting.

‘¦The Lebanese Red Cross said the airstrike in Qana, in which at least 34 [...]

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So much for the neocon’™s ‘œculture of life’ schtick:

QANA, Lebanon – Israeli missiles hit several buildings in a southern Lebanon village as people slept Sunday, killing at least 56, most of them children, in the deadliest attack in 19 days of fighting.

‘¦The Lebanese Red Cross said the airstrike in Qana, in which at least 34 children were killed, pushed the overall Lebanese death toll to more than 500. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice postponed a visit to Lebanon in a setback for diplomatic efforts to end hostilities.

Postponed? Hardly. Rice was ‘œdisinvited‘. She (and the Bush administration in general) is now persona non grata in Beruit.

I was begining to think that perhaps this conflict was starting to wind down under its own weight, and that a cease-fire might be imminent. It’™s kind of hard to envision that happening after this event. The stakes have been raised.

Sunday, July 30th, 2006 by Richard Blair |
Category: Terrorism

The Sleaziest GOP Campaign Tactic?

That’™s what The Nation is saying the Ohio Republican Party is doing implying Democratic candidate for Governor, ordained and married Methodist Minister Ted Strickland is gay. (Strickland deserves your support in his attempt to topple the vote rigging Ken Blackwell.) Oh, they may be right that this is the sleaziest Republican campaign trash, [...]

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

That’™s what The Nation is saying the Ohio Republican Party is doing implying Democratic candidate for Governor, ordained and married Methodist Minister Ted Strickland is gay. (Strickland deserves your support in his attempt to topple the vote rigging Ken Blackwell.) Oh, they may be right that this is the sleaziest Republican campaign trash, but I just don’™t know how they figure it out given all the sleazy stuff that has come out of the Republican Party over the last ten years or so. That’™s like picking the sleaziest porn star, the wackiest Republican talking head, the best Lieberman kiss or hug. . . all futile and worthless attempts.

Andrew Sullivan says this is par for the course for the Rovian Republicans, and he is right for once. Sleaziest, though? Come on. . . we’™ll find something just as sleazy coming from the Republicans next week is my bet.

Saturday, July 29th, 2006 by Richard Blair |

GOP Plays Games With the Working Poor

Washington, DC doesn’™t operate on a regular, Gregorian calendar, rather, works in terms of ‘œlegislative days’. The month of August is typically vacation time – congress recesses and George Bush goes to Crawford to clear brush and ignore PDB’™s. When it’™s coming down to crunch time, and there’™s only a few legislative [...]

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Washington, DC doesn’™t operate on a regular, Gregorian calendar, rather, works in terms of ‘œlegislative days’. The month of August is typically vacation time – congress recesses and George Bush goes to Crawford to clear brush and ignore PDB’™s. When it’™s coming down to crunch time, and there’™s only a few legislative days until a month’™s vacation comes rolling down the pike, congress tends to work late into the evening.

Some think that’™s a good thing. Others say it just provides the cover of night to do crap that would otherwise get roasted in the light and heat of the day. Let’™s look at one example – the minimum wage bill that passed the House in the early hours this morning. Well, it’™s being touted as a ‘œminimum wage bill’, anyway – even if that’™s not really the GOP’™s intent:

Republicans muscled the first minimum wage increase in a decade through the House early Saturday after pairing it with a cut in inheritance taxes on multimillion-dollar estates.

Combining the two issues provoked protests from Democrats and was sure to cause problems in the Senate, where the minimum wage initiative was likely to die at the hands of Democrats opposed to the costly estate tax cuts. The Senate is expected to take up the legislation next week’¦

The GOP leadership’™s intent is for the bill to die in the Senate. They no more want an increase to the national minimum wage than do their business partners who would have to pay the increase. So, they play a game with the bill to make the Democrats look like the bad guys. They pass a bill that raises the minimum wage to $7.25, but not before they insert a poison pill – a back door amendment to the bill that would eliminate the estate tax on those inheriting more that $1 Million. So, passing the bill becomes a non-starter.

Democrats have repeatedly said they would muster the support to kill any bill that gave rich folks another tax break. And there is no one on the GOP side of the aisle who, in a midterm election year, wants to be seen as a sugar daddy for the well-heeled. The bottom line is that they know this bill will die in the Senate, so it was easy to vote ‘œyes’ in the House.

Essentially, the GOP is playing games with the working poor. They have no intent of raising the minimum wage, yet now GOP congresscritters up for election this fall can say, ‘œI voted to increase the minimum wage, and my opponent was against it.’ It’™s all crap, and I don’™t know how the Democrats go about educating a non-educatamable (sic) public that this just isn’™t the case.

The only good news is that it might not make any difference anyway. Not much of anyone in the country is paying attention to politics at this time of the year. I’™m sure the issue will be re-visited again after Labor Day. I just think it’™s wrong for the GOP to be playing games on the back of the people who can least afford the games.

Saturday, July 29th, 2006 by Richard Blair |
Category: Politics - U.S.

1964, 2006, 5000: When Exit Strategeries Fail

July 27, 1964:

On July 27, 1964 5,000 additional U.S. military advisors were ordered to South Vietnam, bringing the total U.S. troop commitment to 21,000. The massive escalation of the war from 1964 to 1968 was justified on the basis of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident on August 2-4, 1964′¦

July 27, 2006:

WASHINGTON – Military commanders [...]

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July 27, 1964:

On July 27, 1964 5,000 additional U.S. military advisors were ordered to South Vietnam, bringing the total U.S. troop commitment to 21,000. The massive escalation of the war from 1964 to 1968 was justified on the basis of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident on August 2-4, 1964′¦

July 27, 2006:

WASHINGTON – Military commanders in Iraq are developing a plan to move as many as 5,000 U.S. troops with armored vehicles and tanks into Baghdad in an effort to quell escalating violence, defense officials said Thursday’¦

5000 – just another one of Tony Snow’™s ‘œnumbers’, I suppose.

When it comes to the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, it’™s pretty clear that maintaining 130,000+ pairs of boots on the ground just isn’™t sustainable for much longer. – It’™s not political: it’™s pure, pragmatic math. – Current recruitment levels, force rotations, readiness, other commitments around the world, and troops leaving the service at the end of their obligation, just don’™t add up to ‘œforever in Iraq’’¦

(more’¦)

Friday, July 28th, 2006 by Richard Blair |
Category: Iraq
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