Archive for September 11th, 2007

Thumb, Meet Eye.

Great Moments In Bipartisanship, Episode 348:

The White House is closing in on a nominee to replace Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, with former Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson considered one of the leading candidates, administration and Congressional officials said Tuesday.

Reports of Mr. Olson’s candidacy suggested that President Bush, in choosing the third attorney general of his presidency, might defy calls from Democrats and choose another Republican who is considered a staunch partisan to lead the Justice Department. Mr. Gonzales is departing after being repeatedly accused of allowing political loyalties to blind him to independently enforcing the law.

“Clearly if you made a list of consensus nominees, Olson wouldn’t appear on that list,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, the New York Democrat who led the Judiciary Committee effort to remove Mr. Gonzales. “My hope is that the White House would seek some kind of candidate who would be broadly acceptable.”

The choice of Mr. Olson, or almost any other candidate on the list, would almost certainly draw opposition from some Senate Democrats. Democratic leaders had called on the White House to find a respected, moderate nominee to restore calm to the Justice Department.

And I was so positive it was going to be Gingrich. Sure, he’s apparently not a lawyer, but when has a manifest lack of qualifications for a pivotal position ever stopped Dubya from nominating a partisan hack?

September 11th, 2007 at 11:47pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Death And The Maiden

(Photo: Museo de Arqueologia de Alta Montana)

This is just amazing:

SALTA, Argentina – The maiden, the boy, the girl of lightning: they were three Inca children, entombed on a bleak and frigid mountaintop 500 years ago as a religious sacrifice.

Unearthed in 1999 from the 22,000-foot summit of Mount Llullaillaco, a volcano 300 miles west of here near the Chilean border, their frozen bodies were among the best preserved mummies ever found, with internal organs intact, blood still present in the heart and lungs, and skin and facial features mostly unscathed. No special effort had been made to preserve them. The cold and the dry, thin air did all the work. They froze to death as they slept, and 500 years later still looked like sleeping children, not mummies.

In the eight years since their discovery, the mummies, known here simply as Los Niños or “the children,” have been photographed, X-rayed, CT scanned and biopsied for DNA. The cloth, pottery and figurines buried with them have been meticulously thawed and preserved. But the bodies themselves were kept in freezers and never shown to the public — until last week, when La Doncella, the maiden, a 15-year-old girl, was exhibited for the first time, at the Museum of High Altitude Archaeology, which was created in Salta expressly to display them.


The two other mummies have not yet been shown, but will be put on display within the next six months or so.

The children were sacrificed as part of a religious ritual, known as capacocha. They walked hundreds of miles to and from ceremonies in Cuzco and were then taken to the summit of Llullaillaco (yoo-yeye-YAH-co), given chicha (maize beer), and, once they were asleep, placed in underground niches, where they froze to death. Only beautiful, healthy, physically perfect children were sacrificed, and it was an honor to be chosen. According to Inca beliefs, the children did not die, but joined their ancestors and watched over their villages from the mountaintops like angels.

…[I]t took an enormous amount of research to figure out how to show them yet still make sure they did not deteriorate.

The solution turned out to be a case within a case — an acrylic cylinder inside a box made of triple-paned glass. A computerized climate control system replicates mountaintop conditions inside the case — low oxygen, humidity and pressure, and a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit. In part because Salta is in an earthquake zone, the museum has three backup generators and freezers, in case of power failures or equipment breakdowns, and the provincial governor’s airplane will fly the mummies out in an emergency, Dr. Miremont said.

Asked where they would be taken, he replied, “Anywhere we can plug them in.”

Wow. Be sure to check out the slideshow, unless you’re squeamish – the girl who was hit by lightning is pretty… alarming.

September 11th, 2007 at 11:22pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Science

Most Telling Observation Of The Day

From the LA Times, by way of The All-Seeing Eye Of Froomkin:

Nothing new was said, for example, on how the administration intends to try to break apart the governmental gridlock in Baghdad, which has obstructed the administration’s plan to bring about national reconciliation through agreements by the national government.

Wasn’t that the ENTIRE OBJECTIVE of The Surge??? Months of Surge achieves zero progress towards its whole raison d’etre, and no-one has any idea how to fix this, but we’re supposed to continue The Surge in hopes that it fixes itself?

If I didn’t know any better, I might think that the Bushies don’t actually give a shit about whether Iraq ever gets sorted, just so long as they don’t have to leave.

September 11th, 2007 at 10:32pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,Media,Politics,Quotes,Republicans,Wankers

An Exit Plan Plan

WaPo’s Dan Balz points out that since the Democrats are showing neither aptitude nor inclination for ending the Iraqupation, that if one of them gets into the White House they’ll be stuck with the hopeless task of trying to come up with an exit plan to get our troops out with minimal casualties.

Here’s my modest proposal: The Democrats resurrect that bill that would require Dubya to write a withdrawal plan (but not to actually use it), and assuming that they can get it passed, and possibly veto-overridden, and assuming they win the presidency next year…

They can then proceed to do the exact opposite of Dubya’s plan. Smoothest. Withdrawal. Ever.

Oh, and I’m also assuming that they completely fail to get us out before 2009, but I don’t think I’m going out on a limb there…

September 11th, 2007 at 05:52pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Iraq

They’re Winning

The final paragraph of Ari Melber’s excellent essay on how BushCo. used 9/11 to overmphasize “security” at the expense of liberty:

In an asymmetric battle with terrorists, our enemies are not seeking a traditional military victory, like occupying American cities. Instead, they aim to erode our power abroad, terrorize our society at home, advance Islamism and destroy the American way of life. No US government would ever accede to those objectives. But suppose, as a thought experiment, that Americans could prevent all terrorist attacks by converting to Islam, as Osama bin Laden urges in his new video. Would we willingly trade our faith and freedom for security? Of course not. Now suppose that Bush’s extremist advisers are right, and we could actually end terrorism by aborting the rule of law. Would we trade our laws and freedom for security? After touting Muslim conversion in his new video, Bin Laden’s other stated goal was to “do away with the American democratic system of government,” as ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reported. If we let our leaders pursue security by destroying the democratic rule of law in this country, then yes, the terrorists will already have won.

Bin Laden doesn’t need to destroy America; the Republican Party is doing it for him.

I also want to emphasize that the Bush administration has not, in fact, traded liberty for security. They have traded our liberty for their power. Security was never an objective; merely a rationale.

September 11th, 2007 at 11:46am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Republicans,Terrorism

The Timeless Wisdom Of David Brooks

The first sentence of today’s column:

Zealots don’t laugh when elevators break.

He then goes on to explain that our new purpose in Iraq should be to provide a soft landing as Iraq moves inexorably towards partition.

I hope those goalposts have frequent flyer miles.

September 11th, 2007 at 11:14am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Iraq,Media,Republicans,Wankers

Air & Space American Airlines Photoblogging

Yes, there’s a bit of a theme here…

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American Airlines mailplane.

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American Airlines jumbo jet.

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Absolutely nothing to do with American Airlines.

September 11th, 2007 at 07:31am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Washington DC

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