By Arianna Huffington
While so many year-end publications focus on what we should remember about the year now grinding to a close, I'd like to continue this column's contrarian tradition of pointing out the things we'd all be better off never having cross our minds again.
Here then is a list of all the things I'd like to forget, circa 2004:
Bernard Kerik's nanny. Bernard Kerik's Ground Zero love nest. Bernard Kerik.
That the woman who dismissed a presidential briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." as a "historical" document is going to be our next secretary of state.
That a man who finds the Geneva Conventions "quaint" is going to be our next attorney general.
Janet Jackson's briefly exposed right boob.
That it took 14 months and public protests from the victims' families before the president OK'd the 9/11 Commission, but only two weeks before the first hearings were held on Janet Jackson's boob.
That the media thought "Don't be economic girlie men" was a great line.
Scott Peterson's love of golf. And that his lawyers thought it was a reason he shouldn't be sentenced to death.
Paris Hilton's new perfume. Paris Hilton's new album. Paris Hilton's new book. Paris Hilton.
"Surviving Christmas," "Jersey Girl," J-Lo: Ben Affleck goes 0-for-2004.
Madrid, Spain, March 11, 2004.
Beslan, Russia, Sept. 3, 2004.
That the Federal budget deficit hit $413 billion this year, and two-thirds of it is the result of Bush's tax cuts.
That Dick Cheney is talking about another round of tax cuts.
What Colin Powell did to his credibility. "You break it, you live with it for the rest of your life."
"I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it."
That picture of Lynndie England holding the leash.
The way the administration tried to sweep Abu Ghraib under the rug.
William Hung, recording artist.
Ashlee Simpson, lip synch artist.
Bob Dylan, lingerie salesman.
That George Tenet, who knew that the intel on Iraqi WMD was thinner than Lara Flynn Boyle on Dexatrim, turned into the Dick Vitale of WMD: "It's a slam dunk, baby!"
That George Tenet was subsequently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.
That a 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich allegedly bearing the likeness of the Virgin Mary sold for $28,000 on eBay.
The 10,000 Web remixes incorporating The Dean Scream.
That of the roughly 550 enemy combatants held captive in Guantanamo Bay, only four have been formally charged.
The Pistons/Pacers basketbrawl.
The looks on George and Laura Bush's faces when Dr. Phil asked them about the "epidemic levels of oral sex" in America's middle schools.
That Osama is still on the loose — and releasing tapes.
That the Kyoto Protocol was ratified — and we aren't part of it.
That Ken Lay has still not gone to trial or served a minute in jail.
That 35.9 million Americans live below the poverty line — 12.9 million of them children.
That 42 percent of Americans still think Saddam Hussein was "directly involved in planning, financing or carrying out" the 9/11 attacks.
That, thanks to presidential cutbacks, we actually have fewer police and first responders on the streets today than we had on 9/11.
Star Jones' wedding.
The Movie Multiplex from Hell: "Alexander," "My Baby's Daddy," "Thunderbirds," "Sleepover," "Around the World in 80 Days."
The iPod Party Mix from Hell: Jessica Simpson's "Take My Breath Away," William Hung's "She Bangs," Britney Spears' "Toxic," Britney Spears' "My Prerogative," Britney Spears' "I've Just Begun Having My Fun."
That Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld couldn't find time to personally sign letters of condolence to the families of troops killed in Iraq.
That Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz couldn't remember the number of soldiers who'd lost their lives in Iraq.
Drilling for oil in ANWR (I've been desperately trying to forget this one since 2001, but the White House just won't let me!).


Odd Stories of 2004
ZHENGZHOU, China: A Chinese couple raised their only child for 13 years in the belief it was a girl, until a visit to the local hospital alerted them to the fact that he was really a boy with underdeveloped sexual organs. They did not realize anything was wrong until they were baffled by a "reaction in the lower half of his body" whenever he watched pretty women on TV. Doctors concluded he was suffering from a rare disease causing sexual organs to be somewhat hidden from view and performed a successful three-hour operation to correct the problem.
RATCHABURI, Thailand: A group of Thai Buddhist monks were arrested and defrocked after holding a spate of rowdy drug and alcohol parties. Villagers complained about their wild behaviour and drug-taking at the local temple. Five of the saffron-robed monks tested positive for amphetamine pills and a sixth was blind drunk.
COSENZA, Italy: A driverless railway engine thundered nearly 200 kilometres (120 miles) through southern Italy at 80 kilometres (50 miles) an hour before staff managed to derail it. The driver had set the locomotive in motion, leaned out to see if the line ahead was clear, then slipped and fell from his cabin. Another railway worker tried to jump aboard and stop it but failed and the train gathered speed until it was finally switched to a track with a long incline and it smashed through buffers at a disused station before finally coming to a halt.
ZAGREB: A South African who fell in love with a Croatian beauty he has never even spoken to, travelled halfway round the world in search of the woman of his dreams. Keith van der Spuy saw the woman only twice, on a boat and in a nightclub, while on holiday in the former Yugoslav republic but could not get her out of his head and returned to Croatia weeks later, with two diamonds in his pocket, to track down the haunting blonde -- but, sadly, to no avail.
JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities seized a consignment of 80,000 cans of dog food disguised as gourmet goose liver pate. The Bulgarian product was originally marked as "Chicken for dogs" but was relabelled "Domestic birds' liver pate" and "Pate de foie gras". The importer had also forged a kosher certificate to fulfill the requirements of Jewish dietary law.
LONDON: An aide to Britain's royal family lost his job after attempting to sell one of Queen Elizabeth's traditional Christmas puddings on Internet auction site eBay. Ben Church, a 25-year-old office administrator, was sacked and marched out of Buckingham Palace after he tried to sell the pudding for 20 pounds (39 dollars, 29 euros). An unnamed colleague told the Daily Mirror: "It's really mean and petty to sack him so close to Christmas, all for the sake of a pudding."
SEOUL: Three South Korean dogmeat lovers face a 70,000-dollar lawsuit after cooking and eating their employer's pedigree dog. The men, employees at a car-hire firm, killed and served up the expensve Jindo dog in the traditional Korean soup dish, Boshintang, while their boss was away.
CLUJ, Romania: A dog owner was forced to leave his apartment after a court ordered his mastiff to be removed from the building because its snoring kept the neighbours awake. Whenever Attila Varga's Neapolitan mastiff Sumo snored, the walls of the neighbouring flats shook and burglar alarms went off. A disappointed Varga said: "We share the same bed and I've got so used to it that I don't even hear it any more."
ALDERSHOT, England: A drunken soldier sparked a major security alert after leaving a regimental party dressed as an Arab suicide bomber. Fifteen police cars, along with dog handlers were called out after a passer-by spotted someone near an army base wearing an Arab-style robe, a turban and false beard, as well as orange paper, wires and candles stuffed into a jacket to make it look like he was carrying explosives. The soldier, who was drunk, was ordered to pay a small on-the-spot fine.
HASTINGS, New Zealand: A mother has been breastfeeding her Staffordshire terrier puppy, saying she did not want to waste the milk after her own daughter switched to being bottle-fed. Kura Tumanako, said she saw nothing wrong with breastfeeding the dog as she wants it to protect her baby girl as the pair grow up. "He drinks more than the baby. It doesn't hurt, but it's a little bit ticklish," she said.
SLUNJ, Croatia: A Roman Catholic priest beat up a member of his parish, threatened others with a rifle and crashed his car in a night of drunken rage after a quarrel in a restaurant. Josip Stefancic punched a guest in the face, took a rifle and waved it other guests before fleeing in his car and crashing into a tree, refusing a breath test when police arrived at the scene. His bishop, Mile Bogovic, was surprisingly understanding. "Stefancic did not act alone. The wine was with him," he said.
LONDON: A number of wealthy clients of the smart London restaurant Zafferano clubbed together to buy one of the most expensive truffles in the world for 40,000 euros (53,000 dollars), but it ended up spoiling in a refrigerator. The 850-gram (30-ounce) delicacy from Tuscany was put on display at the restaurant but then the chef went on holiday after locking the truffle in the fridge and taking the keys with him. When he returned after four days, he found it had rotted, forcing the owner to throw the whole thing out.
CORDOBA, Argentina: Macho Argentine types received a slap in the face when a hair salon put an advert in a local newspaper for a stylist -- but said only gay men need apply. "I have nothing against heterosexuals, but women feel more comfortable if the person taking care of them is gay," the salon owner said. "I have had a lot of complaints in the past. Most male hair stylists are trying to pick up the women."
CHISINAU, Moldova: The president of first division football club Roso saw red when the referee awarded a penalty against his team, so he leaped into his jeep, drove it on to the pitch and tried to run the hapless official down. Mikhail Makayev chased the astonished referee around the ground for several minutes until he escaped by clambering up into the stands. The match was abandoned and Roso's opponents Poitekhnik were awarded the game 3-0.

GUWAHATI, India: An army officer was dismissed and another suspended after a court martial found they splashed tomato ketchup on civilians to make them look like dead Assam separatist rebels in a bid for a gallantry medal. Colonel H.S. Kohli took photos of civilians posing as corpses and gave them to his senior officers as proof of the killings, but records later showed no deaths had been reported.
PALEMBANG, Indonesia: A landmark bridge in Sumatra is in danger of collapse because too many men are urinating on one of its steel pillars. Surveyors have found that the Ampera bridge in Palembang has begun to lean at an angle and rocks slightly when traffic is heavy. Council spokesman Azmi Lakonisaid: "We are concerned that one of its main support piers has been weakened by urine, as it is a popular spot for locals to relieve themselves." He added that the acidic fluid's corrosive forces could lead to the eventual collapse of the bridge.
LONDON: British television watchdogs ruled that a pig which was sexually pleasured on camera by a minor celebrity did not feel degraded by the experience. Dozens of viewers had complained about an episode of a reality television show in which the audience were treated to the sight of Rebecca Loos, the self-proclaimed ex-lover of England football captain David Beckham, stimulating the boar for 10 minutes to produce a flask of semen. An animal charity condemned the scenes as "morbid and sordid" but the broadcasting standards body said the procedure was perfectly normal on a farm. "We don't believe that the scene was degrading or harmful to the boar," they ruled.
SHENYANG, China: A Chinese safari park decided to celebrate the New Year and the start of the Year of the Monkey by dying its primates bright red and yellow. But painting the monkeys was no easy matter job as they refused to cooperate. "We had to anaesthetize them first", a park spokesman said. "They seemed to be surprised at their new strange coats when they woke up. But after a while, they indulged themselves in pleasure."
OSLO: Until the divorce papers dropped into her letter box, a 22-year-old woman was unaware that she had been married to a complete stranger for a year. The woman's wallet was snatched some years ago and her identification cards were used in an Islamic ceremony to unite her and a Pakistani man in holy matrimony. She hopes to have the marriage annulled, but investigators have closed the case as they cannot find the man, believed to be operating under several different aliases.
HONG KONG: A five-year-old's innocent call to his mother landed his father in hot water. "Mummy, daddy brought a woman home and they are on the bed," the boy said and the mother rushed home to find her husband and his 20 year-old mistress canoodling and a vicious catfight broke out, which ended with the mother being arrested for possession of an offensive weapon, a kitchen knife she had allegedly tried to use and the mistress giving herself up to police shortly afterwards.
If only.... Posted by Hello




from the Onion Posted by Hello
For a real look at the election:
Report from Voters- 2004 Election Irregularities(from Common Cause)



MILTARY – THE FLAWED PRODUCTION MYTH: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Monday that the Army's shortage of armor was not a "matter or money," but "a matter of production and capability of doing it." But Armor Holdings Inc., the sole supplier of protective plates for the Humvee military vehicles used in Iraq, said it could increase output by as much as 22 percent per month with no investment and is awaiting an order from the Army. The president of the company said he told the Army a month ago that Armor Holdings "could add armor to as many as 550 of the trucks a month, up from 450 vehicles now." Making the armor has to be coordinated with output of the actual trucks by AM General LLC, whose spokesman said the manufacturer was not "not close to capacity." Rep Martin Meehan (D-MA), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, cited the findings as evidence Rumsfeld "misled our troops about the reasons for their equipment shortages."


Democracy in Action: Count the vote rally Columbus, OH 12/4/04 Posted by Hello


Ohio Election Fraud
Saturday, December 4th, Rally, Columbus, OH.
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
High & Broad Sts., Ohio Statehouse.
Volunteers are urgently needed for signs, flyers, and other things. Theme: "Investigate, Coordinate, Litigate, Re-Count, Recuse "Investigate all 88"(counties)". Greg Palast (journalist, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy) Lynn Landes (journalist, EcoTalk.org) David Lytel (organizer of BeAmerica) Reverend Bill Moss (former Columbus school board member) Bob Fitrakis (Columbus Free Press) Reuben Herrera (Latino Activist) Anita Rios (Green Party) Cliff Arnebeck (lead litigant in the Contest of Election suit) Jad Hummeidan (Council on American Islamic Relations) Ohio State Senator Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) Sean Grayson (AFSME) John Bonifaz (National Voting Rights Institute) Ian Solomon (Associate Dean & Professor, Yale School of Law) (invited) Petey Tallie (Ohio AFL-CIO) (invited) Bill Burga (Ohio AFL-CIO) (invited) Reverend Mylian Waite (Antioch Baptist Church, Cleveland, Ohio) (invited) Charleta Tavares (Columbus City Council member) (invited) Thom Hartman (activist, author) (invited) The soul/gospel/bluegrass band The Carpenter Ants from Charleston, West Virginia, will perform at the rally stsrting at 12:30 and ending at 1:00 or a few minutes before. Emcee: Susan Truitt (founding member of Citizens’ Alliance for Secure Elections) (Contact : susan_truitt@yahoo.com 614-487-1759)
Some Things to Do Before the Inaugural:

1. Get that abortion you've always wanted.
2. Drink a nice clean glass of water.
3. Cash your social security check.
4. See a doctor of your own choosing.
5. Spend quality time with your draft age child/grandchild.
6. Visit Syria, or any foreign country for that matter.
7. Get that gas mask you've been putting off buying.
8. Hoard gasoline.
9. Borrow books from library before they're banned - Constitutional law books, Catcher in the Rye, Harry Potter, Tropic of Cancer, etc.
10. If you have an idea for an art piece involving a crucifix - do it now.
11. Come out - then go back in - HURRY!
12. Jam in all the Alzheimer's stem cell research you can.
13. Stay out late before the curfews start.
14. Go see Bruce Springsteen before he has his "accident".
15. Go see Mount Rushmore before the Reagan addition.
16. Use the phrase - "you can't do that - this is America".
17. If you're white - marry a black person, if you're black - marry a white person.
18. Take a walk in Yosemite, without being hit by a snowmobile or a base-jumper.
19. Enroll your kid in an accelerated art or music class.
20. Start your school day without a prayer.
21. Pass on the secrets of evolution to future generations.
22. Learn French.
23. Attend a commitment ceremony with your gay friends.
24. Take a factory tour anywhere in the US.
25. Try to take photographs of animals on the endangered species list.
26. Visit Florida before the polar ice caps melt.
27. Visit Nevada before it becomes radioactive.
28. Visit Alaska before "The Big Spill".
29. Visit Massachusetts while it is still a State.


From the Columbus Freepress Posted by Hello
DeLay's Dirty Donor

Reports yesterday confirmed House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) "took a $100,000 check from a private prison company" – the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) – at a fund-raiser in August for his children's charity, the DeLay Foundation for Kids. CCA, whose 20-year history has been "fraught with malfeasance, mismanagement, and abuse," said it expected "no favors in return" for the contribution, but remains part of an ongoing lobby for a bill that would privatize up to half of Texas's jails. DeLay is known for wielding influence – especially during his push for redistricting – on the Republican-led legislature that will decide on the matter. The transaction demonstrates what's at stake in DeLay's shady behind-closed-doors fundraising, which blurs the line between political and charitable giving and shields powerful interest groups from public scrutiny.

DELAY'S TEXAS DEALINGS: DeLay's fundraising methods came under scrutiny late last year, when CBS reported the House Majority Leader was using a children's charity as cover for collecting soft money from anonymous interest groups, some of which would be used for "dinners, a golf tournament, a rock concert, Broadway tickets and other fundraising events" DeLay planned to host at the Republican convention in New York. Because the money was supposedly for charity, companies wishing to curry favor with DeLay were able to do so without revealing themselves as campaign donors.

DELAY'S REPEATED REBUKES FROM ETHICS COMMITTEE: In one of its three rebukes for DeLay's fundraising practices, the bipartisan House Ethics Committee cited the belief on the part of executives at an energy company, Westar Energy Inc., that a $56,500 contribution to a political action committee associated with DeLay would get them a "seat at the table" where key legislation was being drafted. DeLay's fundraising practices are now the subject of a Texas Grand Jury investigation. In order to protect DeLay, House Republicans repealed a party rule requiring a "member of their leadership to step aside temporarily if indicted."

CCA AND TEXAS, FAMILIAR BEDFELLOWS: CCA certainly has a "seat at the table" where legislation to privatize prisons in Texas is concerned. In November 2003, Texas awarded the company a lucrative contract for the management of more than 8,300 beds in seven state prisons. Texas currently has the largest number of privately managed inmates in the country and CCA is the state's largest private provider. The company's ongoing lobby to repeal laws limiting the share of state prison beds that can be privatized was thwarted last year only because of aggressive last-minute opposition from Texas's prison guards, who stood to absorb pay cuts of up to 40 percent.

THE CASE FOR CLEAN GOVERNMENT: Campaign finance reform groups have called on DeLay to disclose the name of his donors, but so far the Congressman has refused. The CCA case argues for a more transparent system. "If politicians insist on operating charities, then, as public figures, they should open all financial records to public inspection," said Fred Wertheimer, president of the campaign finance reform group, Democracy 21. So far, the list that has trickled out has included "lobbyists and corporations with a direct interest in legislation and government contracts." A philanthropy expert, Rick Cohen, added that corrupt politician-linked charities can "tarnish the credibility of other charities and hamper their fund-raising efforts."
"I take personal responsibility for everything I say." -- George W.
Bush, July 30, 2003

"We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological
laboratories. They're illegal. They're against the United Nations
resolutions, and we've so far discovered two. And we'll find more
weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the
banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found
them." -- George W. Bush, May 31, 2003

"Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof --
the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud." --
George W. Bush, October 7, 2002

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought
significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources
tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes
suitable for nuclear weapons production. Saddam Hussein has not credibly
explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide." -- George W.
Bush, January 28, 2003

"And there's no doubt in my mind, when it's all said and done, the facts
will show the world the truth." -- George W. Bush, July 9, 2003

"I think the intelligence I get is darn good intelligence." -- George W.
Bush, July 14, 2003

"There's an old saying in Tennessee -- I know it's in Texas, probably in
Tennessee -- that says, fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me
-- you can't get fooled again." -- George W. Bush

"It's hard work. I see it on the TV screens."
-- GW Bush on the Iraq war 9/30/2004.

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop
thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do
--George Bush. Aug. 5th., 2004

"...a political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts
is not a person you want as your Commander in Chief."
--George Bush, Oct. 27, 2004

"I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it." --George Bush, November 5, 2004

"No matter how you try to blame it on the president, the actual
responsibility for it really would be for the troops that were there.
Did they search carefully enough — didn't they search carefully
enough?" Giuliani said on NBC's "Today" program.

"I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and I really don't
care. It's not that important. It's not our priority."
-- George W. Bush, March 13, 2002

LIE: On September 12, 2002, George W. Bush, the President of the United
States of America told the United Nations General Assembly...

"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for
the production of biological weapons."

TRUTH: Charles Duelfer testified before Congress that there was no direct
evidence suggesting Iraq had plans for biological warfare programs beyond

LIE: On October 5, 2002, George W. Bush, the President of the United States
told the nation in a radio address...

"We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi
field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator
tells us he does not have."

TRUTH: Charles Duelfer testified before Congress that Baghdad destroyed its
hidden chemical weapons stockpile in 1991, and there are no indications that
resumed afterward.

LIE: On October 7, 2002, George W. Bush, the President of the United States
in a Cincinnati, Ohio speech said...

"The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons
program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear
scientists, a group he calls his "nuclear mujahideen" - his nuclear holy
warriors. Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at
sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has
attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment
needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear

TRUTH: Charles Duelfer testified before Congress that Saddam Hussein ended
Iraq's nuclear weapons program in 1991 following the Gulf War, and no
evidence was found to suggest that an attempt had been made to restart it.

TRUTH: George W. Bush is untruthful.
Moral Values from the Red States:

As thirteen states passed amendments banning gay marriage on Election Day, Alabamans also jumped on the discriminatory bandwagon, voting to uphold racist segregation-era language in their state's constitution.


United Church of Christ ad highlighting Jesus' extravagant welcome called 'too controversial'
For immediate release: Nov. 30, 2004
CLEVELAND -- The CBS and NBC television networks are refusing to run a 30-second television ad from the United Church of Christ because its all-inclusive welcome has been deemed "too controversial."
For those of you who feel our country is founded on the Christian religion:
this is from the treay of tripoli, signed by John Adams on June 10, 1797
As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.