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A Retrospective of the Bush Presidency in Haiku

did Bush “beat” Al Gore?

or did Jeb fudge the numbers?

Florida screwed us

Bush must stay healthy

or we go from bad to worse:

President Cheney

Bin Laden still free

while we flounder in Iraq

that’s Bush-league justice

the Katrina storm

was too much for Brownie

heck of a job?  pffffft!

Cheney went hunting

and shot his friend in the face

that’s how he treats friends

Midwest Earthquake Strikes in Illinois

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake shook Illinois and surrounding states at 4:37 AM CDT on Friday.  The epicenter was near West Salem in southeastern Illinois, near the border with Indiana.  There were no immediate reports of injuries.

From the ABC affiliate (WLS) in Chicago:

Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said no injuries had been reported in Chicago and said most calls were simply people wondering what happened. Langford said calls came in from across the city. He said no structural damage has been reported. Langford himself said he slept through it.

Damage was reported in Louisville, Ky. The quake could also be felt strongly in Evansville, Ind., 66 miles from the epicenter, and as far away as Cincinnati.


The quake shook skyscrapers in Chicago’s Loop and in downtown Indianapolis, about 160 miles northeast of the epicenter.

West Salem lies on the New Madrid Fault Line, which runs from Arkansas through Indiana.  In 1968 a quake also measured at 5.4 on the Richter scale had an epicenter near West Salem.  The fault line is capable of quakes with magnitudes of 7.0 or higher.  In 1812 an earthquake with an epicenter near New Madrid, MO was estimated as a 7.9.  

I have family in Peoria, IL (about 200 miles away) that say it shook the house enough to wake everyone.  I’m in Des Moines, IA where it was also felt some 450 miles away:

Bonnie Lucas, a morning co-host at WHO-AM in Des Moines, said she was sitting in her office when she felt her chair move. She grabbed her desk, and then heard the ceiling panels start to creak. The shaking lasted about 5 seconds, she said.


Still No Oil Revenue-Sharing Deal in Iraq

I was reminded of something during Senator Carl Levin’s opening statement at the Armed Services committee hearing on Tuesday:

“During my recent trip to Iraq, just before the latest outbreak of violence, a senior U.S. military officer told me that when he asked an Iraqi official, “Why is it that we’re using our U.S. dollars to pay your people to clean up your towns, instead of you using your funds?” that the Iraqi replied, “As long as you are willing to pay for the cleanup, why should we do it?”

This story crystallizes the fundamental problem of our policy in Iraq. It highlights the need to change our current course in order to shift responsibility from our troops and our taxpayers to the Iraqi government, to force that government to take responsibility for their own future, politically, economically and militarily.


But the major political steps that they need to take have not yet been taken by the Iraqis, including establishment of a framework for controlling and sharing oil revenue…”

What ever happened to the “big breakthrough” on Iraq’s oil-revenue sharing that was announced last year?

Congratulations to Undercovercalico!

WARNING — The following essay contains information about sports, which apparently does not have much of a following at Docudharma, so I’ll keep it brief.

All hail the winner of the DDMMTTPP (Docudharma March Madness Tournament Time Private Pool):  Undercovercalico!!!

Even with the championship game still to be played Monday night, Undercovercalico has already clinched victory by having correctly picked all of the Final Four teams (Memphis, UCLA, North Carolina, and Kansas) and correctly picking Memphis and Kansas to advance to the championship game.

The Memphis Tigers defeated UCLA 78-63 in the first semifinal game Saturday.  This was the 38th win of the season for Memphis, which sets a new NCAA record for most wins in a single season.  Their only loss of the season was by 4 points to Tennessee.  In the other semifinal game, Kansas beat North Carolina 84-66.  North Carolina coach Roy Williams had previously coached for 15 years at Kansas before leaving to coach North Carolina.  Kansas fans have been cranky ever since, so beating Williams’ team was sweet revenge.  The winners of Saturday’s semifinal games play for the championship on Monday.

Who will win Monday night’s championship game between Memphis and Kansas?  UCC picked Memphis to win it all, and only an idiot would disagree with her record of success thus far.

I predict Kansas will win.  

My Arch-Enemy (Rep. Steve King) Strikes Again

(I apologize in advance for writing about a different King on the anniversary of Dr. King’s death)

Everyone should have an arch-enemy, right?  Someone who is the very antithesis of everything you stand for and believe in?  I’ve been looking for just the right candidate in an arch-enemy and a clear frontrunner has emerged:  Rep. Steve King of Iowa’s 5th congressional district.

King, a Republican (duh!), was recently in the news for his remarks about Barack Obama.  He said if Obama was elected president that al-Qaida “would be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they would declare victory in this war on terror.”  King also said of terrorists’ reaction to a potential Obama victory that “he will certainly be viewed as a savior for them.”  A savior for terrorists, Congressman?  Remarks like this are, sadly, just another day at the office for King.

Five Former Secretaries of State: “Shut Down Gitmo”

Five former secretaries of state, three Republicans and two Democrats,  announced their recommendation that the next presidential administration should close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba.

America’s collective response?  “No shit.”

Note that the recommendation is for the next administration.  No one has any illusions that the Bush administration will pay any attention to mere secretaries of state.  

A Catholic Church and it’s Mexican Immigrant Community

I visited my parents this weekend in Marshalltown, IA for the Easter holiday.  You probably think you’ve never heard of Marshalltown, but it was in the national news in December of 2006 when the Swift meatpacking plant was raided to deport illegal immigrants found working there.  Marshalltown used to be a typical example of what pundits like to call “lily-white” Iowa.  I heard that phrase so many times around the Iowa caucuses that I thought it was our official state name.  But in recent years Marshalltown has attracted large numbers of Mexican immigrants, drawn mostly to work in the meatpacking industry.  Some are here legally; some are not.  Reliable statistics are hard to find so I prefer not to speculate on how many of these immigrants are here legally.  Besides, I’m more interested in how Marshalltown has been affected by this immigrant community.

Oct 26, 2014 — Economic Woes Continue Under President McCain

Wednesday, October 26, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC:  President John McCain held yet another news conference on Tuesday trying to reassure a weary public about their economic fears.  “My friends,” said the President, “as I have said many, many, many, many times before, we have the most resilient economy in the world.  Everything will take care of itself somehow.”  Vice-President Joe Lieberman then whispered something in the President’s ear, and McCain then corrected himself:  “Actually we have the fourth-most resilient economy behind China, India, and Canada.  That’s still pretty (expletive deleted) good.”  But the McCain administration has continually struggled with economic issues since taking office in 2009.    

GBCW (?)

Although I have thoroughly enjoyed my 9 days at Docudharma, the cruel realities of capitalism are beckoning me toward greener pastures.  The blogging world is a cut-throat competition filled with endless choices.  And I have heard the siren song of . . .

Paris Hilton.

She needs a new best friend.  And will stop at nothing to get one.  Her new web site is soliciting new soulmates as we speak.  Applicants need to submit a 90-second video and write a blog entry that appeals to Paris’ short attention span.  Then the concerned public can vote on Paris’ web site to narrow the field to 20 finalists.  We will then all be treated to a new reality show where Paris will choose her BFF from those 20 lucky candidates.

Election Day in Iran

Iran holds its parliamentary elections today, March 14th, to fill the 290 seats of the Islamic Consultative Council.  It is also expected to be a referendum on Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is in the third year of a four-year term.  Currently the Iranian Parliament seats consist of 190 conservatives, 50 reformists, 43 independents (or centrists), 5 seats reserved for religous minorities, and 2 other seats.  Voting will conclude at 2:30 PM EDT today, and preliminary results can be expected Saturday and Sunday.  Official results will probably not be announced for a few days after that.  

Right Wing Haiku

You know what’s missing on the Intertubes?  (well, if you read my title the cat is already out of the bag)  

Haiku written for the right wing!  

For some inexplicable reason the right has not yet embraced this literary form.  Maybe that’s because right-wingers can’t use the left half of their brains.  Or is it the right half?  OK, they generally don’t use either half.  So being a generous soul, I’m offering some haiku written from a right-wing perspective to get them started.

Democrats in Iowa’s State Legislature Thwart Constitutional Ban on Gay Marriage

An effort by Republicans in the Iowa state legislature to debate a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage failed last week.  The amendment will likely not be debated at all this year since it could not advance through the House Judiciary Committee by March 7th, the deadline for getting on the current session’s calendar.  The Republicans attempted a seldom-used maneuver to hold a floor vote to move the stalled proposal out of committee, but the Democratic majority in the Iowa House  blocked the attempt by a 50-46 party line vote.

Before the vote, the leading Republican in the Iowa congress warned:

“We have to do it now, or this issue is done,” House Minority Leader Christopher Rants, a Sioux City Republican, said Monday. “We’re going to see gay marriages take place in Iowa. Iowa’s going to be sort of the Las Vegas of America, because we have no residency requirement and we’ll have people from all across the country coming to Iowa to get married.”

As Iowans we are used to being the butt of “country hick” jokes and have developed a pretty thick skin.  But to be compared to Las Vegas?  Mr. Rants was playing Republican hardball with that.  But the Democrats in the house weren’t as insulted as Rants hoped they would be.

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