Friday, March 31, 2006

Absent the Care and Concern

Previous to this snippet is a goodly post on the merits of Feingold and Leahy, so the following snippet is aimed at those Senators who, well, just read on...

Firedoglake - Firedoglake weblog » Thoughts on the Censure Hearing:

"I’m just feeling a bit digusted at the lack of participation by Senators on both sides of the aisle on this, who have decided to put short-term political considerations above concerns for the long-term welfare of our Constitutional Republic. And I can’t help but sit here and hum that 'We the People…' song about the Preamble to the Constitution from those old Schoolhouse Rock cartoons I used to watch as a kid. And wonder how anyone in a position such as this, who has taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, can then sit back and not do so in this very situation.

As I said, I’m waiting to hear the excuses. But at the moment, I’m all about the simmering disgust."

Another Immigration Angle

Apparently, I'm not the only one with this viewpoint:

Today's Immigration Battle - Corporatists vs. Racists (and Labor is Left Behind)

by Thom Hartmann

The corporatist Republicans ('amnesty!') are fighting with the racist Republicans ('fence!'), and it provides an opportunity for progressives to step forward with a clear solution to the immigration problem facing America.

Both the corporatists and the racists are fond of the mantra, 'There are some jobs Americans won't do.' It's a lie.

Americans will do virtually any job if they're paid a decent wage. This isn't about immigration - it's about economics. Industry and agriculture won't collapse without illegal labor, but the middle class is being crushed by it.

The reason why thirty years ago United Farm Workers' Union (UFW) founder Caesar Chávez fought against illegal immigration, and the UFW turned in illegals during his tenure as president, was because Chávez, like progressives since the 1870s, understood the simple reality that labor rises and falls in price as a function of availability."

(My bold above.)
Supply/demand. Remember.

With (Economic) Justice For All...

The Left Needs More Socialism:

"The reigning economic system will continue to generate opposition as long as it speaks of equality (which it must) yet continues to be unequal and undemocratic (which it must); as long as it incites dreams of a better life (which it must) but deforms social, cultural and political life according to its bottom line (which it must); as long as its rampant abuse of the environment and pillage of natural resources continue (also inevitable).

Living in a capitalist world, we can't get far thinking and talking about alternatives and new directions without acknowledging that many of our key values and starting points are drawn from a common historical source: the socialist tradition. We have not reached the end of history as long as the spirit of solidarity animates antisweatshop movements, as long as a root sense of fairness motivates our efforts for a living wage, as long as the belief in equality nourishes our demand for a national healthcare system, as long as we embrace the democratic social provisioning embodied in Social Security."

Not in The South

The Free Press -- Independent News Media - Bob Fitrakis:

"The new face of apartheid: J. Kenneth Hackwell
March 30, 2006

The most unprincipled and opportunistic man in the history of Ohio, Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, stands poised to claim the Republican primary for governor. Blackwell and his far-right theocratic “rapture-ready” Christian dominionists will doom the Buckeye State to further despair.

It should come as no surprise that the Free Press is the only newspaper in Ohio willing to out Blackwell for appearing before white supremacists in the secretive Council on National Policy. Blackwell understands power; he understands that thereÂ’s plenty of money in putting a black face on the new politics of high-tech Jim Crow. Blackwell also understands that in order for his strategy to succeed, he must convince a significant number of black ministers to join him in his open bigotry against gays and lesbians.

This is simply the old apartheid politics of divide and conquer. Blackwell wants to rule the new Buckeye State Bantustan.

Blackwell’s recent trip to Cleveland to appear before members of the United Pastors Mission at the Antioch Baptist Church seemed to be scripted by Karl Rove. Blackwell – the notorious co-chair of the Bush-Cheney Re-election Committee, who was shameless and blatant in his partisan suppression of minority and poor voters while mugging for the camera and claiming he was just like “Gandhi and King” – told the big lie. He blamed the suppression on black voters in Columbus on the likeable but lame William Anthony, Chair of the Franklin County Democratic Party and the County Board of Elections. "

Note: Ohio was in the Union. Ohio is not in The South. Will we now have a plethora of nasty posts from pseudo-liberals deriding the intelligence, education, and genetic background of the great residents of the Buckeye State? Well, I won't be making one. Being deluded by Rightist racism is not exclusive to any one region of this country.

Impeachment Now

A Declaration of Impeachment (March 30, 2006):

"A Declaration of Impeachment

by Mark Taylor-Canfield

At this time in American history, we must effect a profound awakening in our nation. All citizens must take the reigns of power and demand that our elected representatives in Congress vote to hold the President and his administrators accountable for their many offenses committed in the name of the people of the United States of America. We must avoid another three years of corruption and ineptitude by the administration of George W. Bush. Impeachment proceedings should begin immediately, for both criminal and civil violations that have caused harm to the people of this country and the people of other sovereign nations.

In the face of current and pending federal indictments for the possible treasonous act of outing an intelligence operative for political purposes, along with an unending quagmire in the Middle East based on false information, continued suppression of civil liberties at home, and revelations concerning secret detention camps and torture, the Bush presidency has reached a low point in US history and the government must be held accountable for these violations of the United States Constitution and international law. Bush's terms in office have resulted in an isolated, arrogant regime which has little respect for the American people, our soldiers, or the thousands of civilians living in Afgha"

Much more here.

Follow the Money

The Smirking Chimp:

"There has never been an investigation into Cheney's involvement in awarding Halliburton no-bid contracts making the company the number one war profiteerer in Iraq. Apparently people have forgotten about the March 5, 2003 e-mail between the Army Corps of Engineers and a Pentagon employee that stated the contract 'has been coordinated w VP's office.'

People also seem to have forgotten that Cheney continues to own stock in Halliburton. Stock that has risen in leaps and bounds since its former CEO moved into the White House and developed the most prolific war profiteering scheme of all time.

A study released in June 2005, originating from the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), revealed that overall, Halliburton had received roughly 52% of the $25.4 billion that has been paid out to private contractors since the war in Iraq began. "

Mexicans Subverting Government


"Full disclosure: Most of the third paragraph of this column is lifted from the words of Michelle Malkin, a syndicated columnist, Fox News contributor and blogger. But Malkin wasn’t using those words to talk about Jews; she was talking about Mexicans, and the notions of Aztlan and reconquista.

“Aztlan is a long-held notion among Mexico's intellectual elite and political class,” Malkin wrote in her column Wednesday, “which asserts that the American southwest rightly belongs to Mexico. Advocates believe the reclamation (or reconquista) of Aztlan will occur through sheer demographic force. If the rallies across the country are any indication, reconquista is already complete.”

You might expect Malkin to give her readers some evidence that Aztlan really is “a long-held notion among Mexico’s intellectual elite and political class,” but she never does.

Why? Because Aztlan and reconquista these days aren’t, for the most part, ideas held by Mexicans: they’re ideas held by white supremacists and neo-Nazis. The myth of reconquista stems from a misreading of one of the founding documents of the Chicano movement, “El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan.”

Interesting read. Reminds me of the old Communist Manifesto line about "conquering from within."

DeLay Aide Goes Down

Former DeLay Aide Pleads Guilty - Yahoo! News:

"WASHINGTON - A former top aide to Rep.Tom DeLay pleads guilty Friday to one count of conspiracy and agreed to cooperate in a widening federal investigation into lobby fraud on Capitol Hill.

The aide, Tony Rudy, was accused by prosecutors of conspiring with lobbyist Jack Abramoff to block legislation in exchange for money and later sought to illegally influence other public official.

Rudy plead guilty to fraud charges and violating the one-year lobbying ban faced by former government workers at a court hearing Friday."

A 9/11 Conspiracy Theory Primer

The Ground Zero Grassy Knoll - A New Generation of Conspiracy Theorists are at Work on the Secret History of 9/11 -- New York Magazine:

"In his paper “What Is Your ‘HOP’ Level?” Nick Levis, who co-coordinates the N.Y. 9/11 Truth meetings with Father Morales and Les Jamieson, categorizes the basic narrative theories about September 11. The options essentially boil down to four.

(A) The Official Story (a.k.a. “The Official Conspiracy Theory”). The received Bushian line: Osama, nineteen freedom-haters with box cutters, etc. As White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said, there was “no warning.”

(B) The Incompetence Theory (also the Stupidity, Arrogance, “Reno Wall” Theory). Accepts the Official Story, adds failure by the White House, FBI, CIA, NSA, etc. to heed ample warnings. This line was advanced, with much ass-covering compensation, in The 9/11 Commission Report.

(C) LIHOP (or “Let It Happen on Purpose”). Many variations, but primarily that elements of the U.S. government and the private sector were aware of the hijackers’ plans and, recognizing that 9/11 suited their policy goals, did nothing to stop it.

(D) MIHOP (“Made It Happen on Purpose”). The U.S. government or private forces planned and executed the attacks."

Much more here

Rummy on the Outs

War and Piece:: "... Republican friends say do not expect to see any major moves, including asking Treasury’s John Snow to retire, before Bolten is in place. But when that happens, it will shock few. The “Big One” is Rummy...has President Bush finally gotten to the point where he sees Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld as a liability, not an asset? You can see evidence for this, if you want.

Specifically, note who has been run out for TV recently defending and explaining Iraq...Bush, not Rumsfeld. The President has been forced to put himself irrevocably on the line, both in public, and with the press, because Rumsfeld has lost all credibility...that’s what our Republican friends say is the “inside word”.

Sources also confirm that the President has absorbed the fact that the professional military has completely given up on Rumsfeld...admittedly a process which began for some “uniforms” even before 9/11, but which has continued to affect...or infect...virtually the whole military establishment today. (Rumsfeld’s contemptuous treatment of the senior brass...including the Joint Chiefs...has become legend, if somewhat under-reported, since these folks are loyal to the institution, if not the man, despite the provocations.)

Some insiders had been hoping that Rumsfeld would take the opportunity of the third-anniversary of the war to step down. But he eit"

Not Good News - Afghans believe the US is in league with...the Taliban: "The steadily worsening situation in southern Afghanistan is not the work of some ineffable Al Qaeda nebula. It is the result of the real depredations of the corrupt and predatory government officials whom the United States ushered into power in 2001, supposedly to help fight Al Qaeda, and has assiduously maintained in power since, along with an 'insurgency' manufactured whole cloth across the border in Pakistan--a U.S. ally. The evidence of this connection is abundant: Taliban leaders strut openly around Quetta, Pakistan, where they are provided with offices and government-issued weapons authorization cards; Pakistani army officers are detailed to Taliban training camps; and Pakistani border guards constantly wave self-proclaimed Taliban through checkpoints into Afghanistan."

Ghost from the Past

Crooks and Liars: "NSA Hearings: John Dean

Among the witnesses testifying at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today on Sen. Feingold's Censure Resolution is former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean. Dean has frequently compared the abuses of the Bush Administration generally to those of the Nixon Administration, and has specifically compared the illegal eavesdropping activities of the two Administrations.

Pray Anyway...

... it can't hurt. Can it?

The Seattle Times: Health: Study: Prayer didn't help sick: "Study: Prayer didn't help sick

By Jeremy Manier

Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO --- Praying for a sick heart patient may feel right to people of faith, but it doesn't appear to improve the patient's health, according to a new study that is the largest ever done on the healing powers of prayer.

Indeed, researchers at the Harvard Medical School and five other U.S. medical centers found, to their bewilderment, that coronary-bypass patients who knew strangers were praying for them fared significantly worse than people who got no prayers. The team speculated that telling patients about the prayers may have caused 'performance anxiety,' or perhaps a fear that doctors expected the worst.

Obviously, my colleagues were surprised by the unexpected and counterintuitive outcome,' said the Rev. Dean Marek, director of chaplain services at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester,Minn., and a study co-investigator.

It was a strange end for the mammoth prayer study, which cost $2.4 million and enrolled 1,802 patients who had bypass surgery. Most of the funding came from the British-based John Templeton Foundation, which supports research at the intersection of science and religion."

Uh-oh. Get ready for a barrage of self-righteousness.

No Private Armor

Army Bans Use of Privately Bought Armor:

"Just six months after the Pentagon agreed to reimburse soldiers who bought their own protective gear, the Army has banned the use of any body armor that is not issued by the military.

In a new directive, effective immediately, the Army said it cannot guarantee the quality of commercially bought armor, and any soldier wearing it will have to turn it in and have it replaced with authorized gear.

Army officials told The Associated Press on Thursday the order was prompted by concerns that soldiers or their families were buying inadequate or untested commercial armor from private companies — including the popular Dragon Skin gear made by California-based Pinnacle Armor.

'We're very concerned that people are spending their hard-earned money on something that doesn't provide the level of protection that the Army requires people to wear. So they're, frankly, wasting their money on substandard stuff,' said Col. Thomas Spoehr, director of materiel for the Army."

Substandard does beat not-at-all, doesn't it?

Mistakes Were Made... really.

Rice Concedes Errors in Iraq, Elsewhere - "Rice Concedes Errors in Iraq, Elsewhere
By ANNE GEARAN , 03.31.2006, 08:47 AM
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice conceded Friday that the United States probably has made thousands of 'tactical errors' in Iraq and elsewhere, but said it will be judged by its larger aims of peace and democracy in the Middle East.

The U.S. diplomat met loud anti-war protests in the streets and skeptical questions about U.S. involvement in Iraq at a foreign policy salon Friday, including one about whether Washington had learned from its 'mistakes over the past three years.'

Rice replied that leaders would be 'brain-dead' if they did not absorb the lessons of their times.

'I know we've made tactical errors, thousands of them I'm sure,' Rice told an audience gathered by the British foreign policy think tank Chatham House. 'But when you look back in history, what will be judged will be, did you make the right strategic decisions.' "

Who made those mistakes? Should they be fired? Should they be re-elected? What lessons have you learned, oh grand lady? And exactly what was that strategy?

Let's see. Over in Reality 9090-A24c, Lincoln uses the Bush strategy. He assembles an overwhelming force, invades, say Wilmington or Charleston. Burns it to the ground and tells the Rebels they are now free to sign-up to fight for the Union. All the other Rebels, impressed by Lincoln's ravaging of North and South Carolina, immediately surrender, welcoming the Yankee hordes into Mississippi with flowers and swooning Southern belles...

Right? Right? Right...

Religion Dooms Us

"...So if you think that John McCain is going to hold back the religious nuts running the government, think again. Same goes for Hillary; she voted for this war, after all. We've already birthed a million jihadists by screwing around in Iraq, and now that Hamas has landed a parliamentary vote of confidence, that particular pissing match over a patch of land smaller than Haiti could escalate into a serious conflagration. Meanwhile, the rest of us who could give a **** about our ancestors' obsolete squabbles and worldviews will be dealing with a planet that's going to Hell in a hurry. From another Dust-Bowl drought to melting polar caps to a killer asteroid named Apophis and onward into oblivion, we've got a lot to work to do. It'd be great if you lazy religious bastards would get up off your antiquated a***s and start helping us out rather than making our jobs not just dangerous, but impossible."

Don't hold back. Give it me straight. No sugarcoating. Tell us how you really feel.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Blogger trouble, again.

Deceiving the Public and Elections and Aluminum

NATIONAL JOURNAL: Insulating Bush (03/30/2006): "
Insulating Bush

By Murray Waas, National Journal
© National Journal Group Inc.
Thursday, March 30, 2006

Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser, cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush's 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged if it was publicly disclosed that he had been personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration. Rove expressed his concerns shortly after an informal review of classified government records by then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley determined that Bush had been specifically advised that claims he later made in his 2003 State of the Union address -- that Iraq was procuring high-strength aluminum tubes to build a nuclear weapon -- might not be true, according to government records and interviews.

As the 2004 election loomed, the White House was determined to keep the wraps on a potentially damaging memo about Iraq.

Hadley was particularly concerned that the public might learn of a classified one-page summary of a National Intelligence Estimate, specifically written for Bush in October 2002. The summary said that although "most agencies judge" that the aluminum tubes were "related to a uranium enrichment effort," the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research and the Energy Department's intelligence branch "believe that the tubes more likely are intended for conventional weapons.

Supreme Nasty


"Despite ScaliaÂ’s insistence that the Sicilian gesture was not offensive and had been incorrectly characterized by the Herald as obscene, the photographer said the newspaper "“got the story right."

Click on the link to get a more explicit explanation. (I try to avoid using profanity in this blog. Hint: It's a word Dick Cheney knows.)

Kurdish Journalist Jailed

Informed Comment:

"The proto-fascist mini-state of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Arbil [Irbil], northern Iraq, has sentenced an Austrian-Kurdish journalist to 18 months in prison for criticizing Massoud Barzani.

Barzani last allied with Saddam Hussein against fellow Kurds as late as 1996, only a decade ago. And you can't criticize him?

If Syria or Iran had done this (not that they don't), there would have been a huge squeal of outrage from the American right. I challenge Instapundit, Andrew Sullivan, and Christopher Hitchens to intervene effectively to get Kamal Sayid Qadir out of Barzani's jail. Here is something all of us, left and right, can agree on, and I hope the Left blogs the hell out of it, too. Will someone please start a blog to count the days Qadir is not free?"

Thou Shalt Not Steal

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: "...My point in pressing this issue last night wasn't to hassle the occasional oversight or misunderstanding, both of which happen with some frequency between conventional news outlets. My point is to call out the assumption among too many reporters that original reporting on the web amounts to free pickings, a separate class of journalism they can snag and call their own. That's gotta stop."

Carroll Attacked on Day of Release

Think Progress » John Podhoretz Attacks Jill Carroll: "John Podhoretz Attacks Jill Carroll

Today, Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll released after three months of being held in captivity in Iraq by kidnappers. The National Review’s John Podhoretz responded by attacking her mental state:

It’s wonderful that she’s free, but after watching someone who was a hostage for three months say on television she was well-treated because she wasn’t beaten or killed — while being dressed in the garb of a modest Muslim woman rather than the non-Muslim woman she actually is — I expect there will be some Stockholm Syndrome talk in the coming days.

This is a day that we should celebrate Jill Carroll’s courage. She put herself in danger to try to give the world a more accurate picture of Iraq. It is totally inappropriate to assume that her description of how she was treated is motivated by anything other than a desire to tell the truth.

Podhoretz owes Jill Carroll an apology."

I've never swiped an entire post before, so I beg for forgiveness. But, Jeez, people, can't she even have a Big Mac before the screech monkeys come out? Podhoretz does owe her an apology.

Scalia: Gays Have No Constitutional Rights

The Smirking Chimp - Scalia: Gays Have No Constitutional Rights - - March 29, 2006: "Scalia: Gays Have No Constitutional Rights
by Doreen Brandt, Washington Bureau
March 29, 2006 - 5:00 pm ET

(Washington) A tape of a speech given earlier this month by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has drawn the ire of LGBT civil rights activists who worry the landmark high court ruling on sodomy could be revisited.

Scalia rarely speaks to the media and seldom allows the press into speeches he gives but a recording of a March 8 address at the University of Freiberg in Switzerland was obtained by CNN.

In one portion of the speech to law students at the university Scalia brings up the issue of homosexuality.

'Question comes up: is there a constitutional right to homosexual conduct? Not a hard question for me. It's absolutely clear that nobody ever thought when the Bill of Rights was adopted that it gave a right to homosexual conduct. Homosexual conduct was criminal for 200 years in every state. Easy question.'"

In the Scalito Universe, apparently the only people who have rights are hetrowhitemales-- good for me, for everyone else, not so much. Can we start adding names to that impeachment list?

The Real Right Agenda

Contraception in the Crosshairs -- In These Times: "Contraception in the Crosshairs
By Phoebe Connelly

In March, Wal-Mart announced that it would carry Emergency Contraception (EC)—commercially sold as Plan B—for the first time in the seven years that the drug has been on the market. Reproductive rights activists around the nation lauded the decision both as a step forward for women’s access to reproductive technology and a victory for activists fighting Wal-Mart’s retrograde social policies. However, the victory is only partial, because while Wal-Mart now stocks EC, it, along with many other companies, does not require its pharmacists to dispense it.

Across the nation, pharmacists have come out as “conscientious objectors,” refusing to dispense EC, and in some cases, any contraception, to women who come in with a prescription. “If you really understand what the science of emergency contraception is,” says Destiny Lopez, head of the Institute for Reproductive Health Access’ “Back up Your Birth Control” campaign, which works to promote awareness of and access to EC, “you’re essentially opposing birth control.”"

"It is the winter of our discontent..."

The dismay of our elders sums up U.S. |
Published on: 03/30/06

"An eerie sense of calm has settled over the nation's affairs — a dead calm.

It's not merely that the Bush administration has run aground on its own illusions. The real problem runs deeper, much deeper, and at its core, I think, lies the fact that out of fear and laziness we insist on trying to address new problems with old ideologies, rhetoric and mind-sets.

To put it bluntly, we don't know what to do, and so we do nothing.

Run through the list: We have no real idea how to address global warming, the draining of jobs overseas, the influx of illegal immigrants, our growing indebtedness to foreign lenders, our addiction to petroleum, the rise of Islamic terror . . .

Those are very big problems, and if you listen to the debate in Congress and on the airwaves, you can't help but be struck by the smallness of the ideas proposed to address them. We have become timid and overly protective of a status quo that cannot be preserved and in fact must be altered significantly."

We would take to the streets but...

KO KO's BO TVNewser: "MSNBC's Olbermann Beats CNN's Zahn & HLN's Grace In The Demo
Publish Post
In the first quarter of 2006, MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann beat CNN's Paula Zahn Now in the 25-54 demographic. 'This marks MSNBC's first quarterly primetime victory over CNN in the demo in almost five years (2Q01 MSNBC Investigates beat CNN at 8 p.m. ET),' MSNBC's press release said today."

Coulter on Road to Convict

Elections officials to query GOP pundit: "Elections officials to query GOP pundit

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

This time, claiming she doesn't even live here — as GOP pundit Ann Coulter has been doing on this spring's college speaking tour when she's questioned about her February election meltdown on Palm Beach — isn't going to cut it.

Palm Beach County's elections supervisor has given the right wing's unofficial mouthpiece 30 days to explain why she voted in the wrong precinct."

That would be a crime.

Baldwin/Levin Update

You may not remember my typo in that post (about Baldwin being ambushed by Sean Hannity), but I do. (Especially, since I coudn't get Blogger to work and it stayed for an entire day...cringe.)


"Alec Baldwin may not remember Mark Levin, but I sure do.

Levin was one of the Republican right's chief talking heads during the Clinton impeachment, especially on MSNBC, where I was working at the time. One of my jobs at the Web site entailed downloading video from our cable shows and putting them up on the site. Levin was on. A lot.

Levin is George Costanza with an endless vicious streak. He's the embodiment of shrillness. He scowls, he sneers, he yells, he bugs his eyes out, his face turns red, he interrupts incessantly, and he makes the nastiest comments imaginable. Most of all, he exudes a simmering but deep-seated hatefulness. If he were a dog, he'd be an ugly poodle-chihuahua mix in a perpetual roid rage. It's hard to imagine anyone more repellent."

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Happy Jack Gets A Little Time

News Story - Verizon Online: "Abramoff Gets Almost 6 Years in Prison
Associated Press Writer

MIAMI - Disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and a business partner were sentenced Wednesday to five years and 10 months in federal prison, the minimum they faced for fraud related to their 2000 purchase of the SunCruz Casinos gambling fleet.

Abramoff and Adam Kidan both pleaded guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud, but they won't have to report to prison immediately.

The judge postponed their reporting date for at least 90 days so the two can continue cooperating in a Washington corruption investigation and a Florida probe into the killing of former SunCruz owner Konstantinos Boulis. Both deny roles in the killing. Abramoff pleaded guilty in connection with the corruption probe but has yet to be sentenced."

Turner on War, News, Self - Ted Turner blasts the media, Bush -- and himself - Mar 29, 2006:

"ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) -- Ted Turner took shots Tuesday at the media for its coverage of sex and violence, at himself for losing control of the news network he founded, and at the Bush administration for going to war in Iraq."

Fund Stem Cell Research! News - Sci-Tech - Scientists discover stem cells can repair spine tissue:

"Scientists discover stem cells can repair spine tissue

STEM cells can be used to repair damaged spinal tissue in rats and help them move again, researchers said yesterday.

The latest research, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, could offer new hope to paralysed patients.

The team said the technique appeared to work best in the two weeks after the spinal cord was injured."

No More Big Stick

Left In The Beltway: "But now America, the same nation that defeated the Axis, defeated the Communist, and is the sole remaining superpower… has lost the big stick. Because our President and the conservative movement that supports him has the temperament of an ill mannered infant, we no longer have the power to threaten and cajole other countries into working with us for mutual benefit. North Korea can now threaten us with pre-emption simply because we’ve shown the world that we don’t have a clue what to do in Iraq. Kim Jong Il has to be just laughing it up.

Thanks, Republicans. Thanks for losing the big stick."

A Post for Believers

I would steal this entire post, but then I'd probably go someplace unpleasant...

from The Charleston Gazette:

"The faith given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ is not a religion of the political right. It does not endorse the policies of the Republican Party. In addition to the personal and private meaning for its adherents, the Christian faith is a call for social justice, a system of beliefs that sides with those on the painful side of poverty and oppression. Jesus does not bless the rich. He says, 'Blessed are the poor.' Jesus does not tell us to dismantle our welfare system. He tells Peter, 'Feed my sheep.' Jesus does not support the oppressor. He says, 'I have come to set at liberty those who are oppressed.' Jesus does not tell us that God hates fags."

If you claim to be a Christian, a real one, not one that subverts Jesus in favor of Leviticus, then you need to read this entire post. For all you Leviticans, you won't agree at all, but maybe you should read the post and perhaps the scales will fall from your eyes.

Doctors, Pain, and the DEA

No, this isn't about Rush.

The Smirking Chimp:

"Dr. Alexander DeLuca, MPH, a member of the American Academy of Preventive Health and a Policy Analyst and Board Member of the Pain Relief Network, told us, ”Relations between physicians and the DEA have probably never been worse in modern times.”

He added, “Law enforcement does not deserve a place at the table where physicians, social workers, and politicians of good will need to meet to deal with drug use and pain problems as public health, not criminal, matters.”

Bumper Stickers Can't Defame Bush in Georgia

A police officer stops a woman and tells her he is going to write her a ticket for having a "lewd bumpersticker:"

Woman Gets $100 Ticket for BUSHIT Bumpersticker | The Progressive:

"Grier says she immediately thought that one of her kids had put something nasty on her bumper as a joke.

“But then he mentioned the Bush sticker,” she says. That one says: “I’m tired of all the BUSHIT.” (This story was first reported by Joe Johnson of the Athens Banner-Herald.)

Grier says she told the officer it wasn’t lewd, and that it was clearly a political statement. When he insisted it was lewd, she said, “I’m not going to discuss this any further. Just give me the ticket.” Which he did.

Under “offense,” it says: “Lewd decals.”

The ticket is for $100.

Grier has no intention of paying it.

“I am so appalled at the officer’s attempt to squash my freedom of speech,” she told the Banner-Herald."

She is planning to sue. Read more here.

GOP: You're Stuck With Bush

Hotline On Call: RNC Memo Warns GOPers Not To Distance Themselves From Bush: "RNC Memo Warns GOPers Not To Distance Themselves From Bush

Republican pollster Jan van Lohuizen, in a memo written for RNC chairman Ken Mehlman, warns that if members of Congress try to drive a wedge between themselves and Pres. Bush, it'd be akin to adding weight to an anchor. GOpers are 'W Brand Republicans' whether they like it or not. And van Louhizen, who has polled (often secretly) for the Bush White House under the RNC aegis for years, is worried about low turnout."

Click the link to read the memo.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Baldwin Flogs Hannity

On Hannity's hijacking Baldwin's guest hosting of a radio show:

The Blog | Alec Baldwin: Hannity Makes Political Pornography | The Huffington Post:

"Hannity did what he does best: to artificially cast himself as the friend of the working man, and to attempt to frame me as the snobbish, distant limousine liberal who emanates all of his public-mindedness from his checkbook, while never knowing the business end of level, a hammer or a drill. Shame on you, Sean Hannity, you poor, ignorant fool. Everyone who knows me, and a wealth of people who actually don't, would never believe that characterization.

Pornography is the lurid and detached exploitation of something that is essentially good, even necessary, in order to make money, while simultaneously shaming and disgracing all of those who are involved. Instead of the basic force of sex, 'political pornographers' exploit the good and necessary love of country that men and women seek to express and exercise on both sides of the aisle. Hannity is such a pornographer. He taunts and goads his listenership to express their political views in lurid, yet detached, ways. They do it in anonymity. They stress themselves to reach out and touch people in their lurid and detached way who they do not even know. Like pornography, they exert themselves to reach a state that gives them the release that they consciously avoid through a healthier, more personal involvement. Like pornography."

Where Would Jesus Mine?

This is one is really beyond the pale. For a real load of hypocrisy and disgust. Click the following link. For a moderate stink, read the following post.


Thursday, June 3, 1999


Liberian President Charles Taylor is known for many things: accused embezzler, jail escapee, human rights abuser and rebel leader responsible for starting a bloody civil war. Taylor can now add a new title to his resume: Pat Robertson business partner.

According to a report published yesterday in The Virginian Pilot, the TV preacher reached a deal with Taylor that allows a Robertson-owned company, Freedom Gold Ltd., to mine for gold in the Bukon Jedeh region of Liberia. The company, which lists Robertson as its president and sole director, was reportedly formed offshore in the Cayman Islands last December.

'Clearly, Robertson's greed knows no bounds,' said Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a Religious Right watchdog group. 'This gold-mining deal with a vicious tyrant is shocking even by his standards.

'If there's profit to be made, it seems Robertson doesn't care who he has to deal with,' Lynn added. 'Despite all the rhetoric and grandstanding, this deal shows Robertson is more interested in money than morality.'"

More Revisionist History

Memos reveal Bush war bound - Hardball with Chris Matthews -

"Well, I mean, this is a president who seems to have a rather selective memory and a rather selective relationship with issues of competence. One of the most striking things I discovered in the memorandum was that when asked by the British prime minister what his plans were for once the real war was over, the U.S. President Mr. Bush replied, that he didn’t think there was going to be any strife, there wasn’t going to be any sort of insurgency.

So what we’re having here, and I listened to what Scott McClellan said, is a rewriting of history. When all of the material emerges, it will I fear not show either the U.S. president or the British prime minister in a very good light. "

The same transcript lays out Darth's determination to invade Iraq.

Who's Yo Daddy?

The Raw Story | Associated Press says they based article on Raw Story report but refuses to credit or correct:

"The Associated Press has confirmed using a Raw Story report as the basis for a Mar. 14 article detailing a change to national security clearance policies but has refused to issue credit for the piece.

Their article, 'Security Clearance Rules May Impede Gays,' signaled an apparent Bush Administration attempt to tighten security clearances with regard to gay Americans. It attributed the discovery of the clearance changes to gay rights groups – a factually inaccurate statement which the agency has refused to correct. The discovery was made by Larisa Alexandrovna, Raw Story's Managing News Editor, and John Byrne, Raw Story's Executive Editor.

Raw Story picked the wording out of an extended document released in December. AP ran a story the following day, highlighting the same item and using similar language."

Mrs. Clinton Directs Men In Black

Will Smith sighting, anyone? This has been going on for several Galactic Standard Eons, which explains how Bill Clinton managed to get elected.

Swing State Project: NY-Sen: Hillary's Newest Opponent: Stark Raving Nuts: " A Republican challenger to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is bizarrely claiming that the former first lady has been spying in her bedroom window and flying helicopters over her house in the Hamptons, witnesses told The Post yesterday.

Former Reagan-era Pentagon official Kathleen 'KT' McFarland stunned a crowd of Suffolk County Republicans on Thursday by saying:

'Hillary Clinton is really worried about me, and is so worried, in fact, that she had helicopters flying over my house in Southampton today taking pictures,' according to a prominent GOP activist who was at the event.

'She wasn't joking, she was very, very serious, and she also claimed that Clinton's people were taking pictures across the street from her house in Manhattan, taking pictures from an apartment across the street from her bedroom,' added the eyewitness, who is not involved in the Senate race.

Wow. This is just too, too good. (And, in case you don't click the link, several non-anonymous sources also confirmed McFarland's remarks.) At this point, I'm actually feeling sorry for McFarland and the Republicans, so I thought I might offer them some helpful information, in the form of this chart:" Here.

I didn't want to steal any more of the post, but you do owe to yourself to click on the link and check-out the anatomy of the MIB helicopter (forward peno tube actually causes spontaneous human combustion, etc. Who woulda thunk it?)

Card and Dirty Bombs

actor212 has a good post up detailing the story, which leads to his bottom line:

Simply Left Behind: Hm. Think This Story Might Be Why Card's Resignation Was Announced This Morning?: "Think about it: no way to check whether someone with enough radioactive material for two dirty bombs, that could potentially kill thousands if not tens of thousands of people not from detonation, but from panic, and all the DHS can say is 'Well, it wouldn't kill that many people...'

Thumbsucking is an art raised to the highest level in the Bush administration. I can almost picture Vayl Oxford sitting on the floor, rocking back and forth, saying 'Kmart sucks.'"

As always, clever writing; frightening material. Check it out.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Downing Street Memos Redux

NewsHog: Saddam's Documents, Downing St. Memos and "Ancient History":

"Last time this document hit the blogs, as with every other one of the Downing Street documents, the Right cried out that it was 'ancient history' and was no longer relevant as the invasion of Iraq happened as it happened and we should now move on to deal with the present...

I fully expect that will be the spin this time too.

Well, they've shot their own argument down with all the sound and fury they've been making over the recently released documents from Saddam-era Iraq. Those documents are even older 'ancient history' yet that hasn't slowed them down one jot. Their argument is as bankrupt as it is illogical. Notice that progressives haven't used the same argument against their glee over their shoddy conspiracy theories and poor translations."

Chemical Plants Still Not Safe

Newsie8200's Penndit: Bush & GOP talk the talk, but don't walk the walk:
"After the 9/11 attacks, both Republicans and Democrats reacted with horror at the prospect of a terrorist chemical attack. Then-Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) sponsored a bill to require tough security measures at vulnerable chemical plants, and the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works passed it by a vote of 19 to 1. But lobbyists for the chemical industry went to work and persuaded Republicans to kill the bill, which they did.

The Republican position since then is that we can rely on voluntary action by the chemical industry. Newspaper exposes have shown that many plants have remained appallingly vulnerable. Domestic security experts have shouted from the rooftops that something has to be done. Nothing has."

Powers Not Granted...

slacktivist: Coronation: "Coronation

It's hard to imagine a lead sentence more perversely undemocratic than this, from Gina Holland of the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON -- His wartime powers undercut once before by the Supreme Court, President Bush could take a second hit in a case in which Osama bin Laden's former driver is seeking to head off a trial before military officers.

Oh, that meddlesome Supreme Court, always going about undercutting the wartime powers of our wartime president. Those whiny justices, always worrying about whether or not the executive branch's claims of unchecked, absolute power are constitutional. It's always 'blah, blah, blah, rule of law, blah, blah, blah' with them."

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Gone For A Few Days

I'll be out of pocket for a while at place called "Kanuga." (I understand that is Cherokee for "scratching place," giving new meaning to the nighty-nite "Don't let the bed bugs bite.")

Maintain mental health.

Skippy is the AntiChrist

From the Jane Smiley comments thread at Huffington Post:

"One might think Bush's confusion at the question of "apocalypse" was just his usual inept, foolish self, but then when one visits a web site that has been on the internet since his election in 2000, saying Bush is the "Anti-Christ", one might wonder! The web site is

A little foot note too it, is it a coincidence that Bush announced his intentions for running for presidency in 1999? Reverse those 9's and one gets 666...! He was born July 6th, 1946, another coincidence he has some 6's in his birth date, also his name George(6) Walker(6) BushJr(6), of course all coincidence, and then he was the 46th governor of Texas...served 6 years in that position...! Calls himself a born again christian but in a televised interview about a Texas female death row inmate who was asking for clemency/mercy from him as governor of Texas, he laughed and mocked her "coming too god" and denied her mercy/clemency! But he did commute a death sentence a fellow named Lucas, a serial killer, unrepentent, allegedly a devil worshiper! One might find that curious considering he had no mercy for a lady who claimed repentence and finding god...! Yes I am sure he was confused at the reference too "Apocalypse" he very well may be part of a key main player..!

By: leatherneck on March 22, 2006 at 01:06am"

It was only a matter of time... remember Nostradamus...

Soldier In Hell

This is dialog between a soldier and his parents. There's more, of course, at the link.

AlterNet: Blogs: PEEK: Soldiers in PropagandaLand:
" Parents: 'Oh, I was saying with gas prices over two bucks a gallon, are you sure you want to get a truck?'

Me: 'No, the civil war part.'

That was the first I’d heard about the mosque getting blown up and this was two or three days after it happened. I’m IN Iraq and have no idea what’s going on.... the way our media talks about the war it sounds like a stroll through Candy Land. A hot, dusty, ghetto Candy Land. The muffin man lives in downtown Baghdad in a mud house that has a plastic tarp for a door and in his spare time watches bakery porn on satellite television.


I can tell you that this place isn’t Candy Land. Car bombs are going off killing civilians, people are blowing up mosques, the kidnapping and subsequently beheading of people, these fuckers don’t wear identifiable uniforms, and friends of friends are getting killed over here. I personally find it insulting that what little amount of news I’m given isn’t realistic. I feel like the main character in 'Clockwork Orange' with his eyelids held open while being brainwashed."

GOP Defeats Corruption Measure

Bring it On! » Blog Archive » House Republicans Offer Stirring Defense… Of Halliburton:

"Fear, fear, fear. Notice the little part about no committee in Congress has the ability to enforce or not enforce contracts. Funny, but two weeks ago when they were “protecting American ports” from evil Muslim’s they sure thought they could interfere with contracts. Interesting. Even worse is his insistence that Halliburton would cease honoring their current contracts because we don’t want to keep awarding them new ones unless they can pass an audit. Fear, fear, fear.

Think about what an extra 100,000,000.00 dollars would have done for our military? Think about the body armor, the armor plating for the vehicles, and medical care for veterans that 100,000,000.00 would have purchased. Think about Rep. Duncan Hunter’s shameful defense of Halliburton instead of defending the troops or the taxpayers. Which party cares about law and order? Which party cares about security? Fiscal responsibility? When you think about how Rep. Hunter defended corporate interests instead of the publics, you have your answer.

Oh and for the record, the amendment was defeated. Go G.O.P."

Check the link for some fancy rhetoric defending Halliburton

Sex and Sin Table

Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Do they really believe that abortion is murder?: "In contrast, the leaders of the abortion criminalization movement have consistently put their political weight behind policies which make little or no sense if they genuinely think that abortion is identical to child murder."

At the link is a nice table that summarizes various position involving contraception and abortion. "Pro-life" actually means "punish women for having sex." if you follow the arguments.

Duckworth Wins Primary - Disabled Iraq war veteran wins Illinois primary - Mar 22, 2006: "CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- A former Army helicopter pilot who lost both legs in a 2004 grenade attack in Iraq narrowly won the Illinois Democratic nomination for the House seat occupied by retiring GOP Rep. Henry Hyde."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Murderous Profs

from Crooks and Liars:

"ROBERTSON: They gamed it, these guys are out and out communists, they are radicals, you know some of them killers, and they are propagandists of the first order and they don't want anybody else except them. That's why Regent University for example is so terrifically important and why we're setting up an undergraduate program that hopefully will see shortly 10,000 students, and then from there 250,000 because you don't want your child to be brainwashed by these radicals, you just don't want it to happen. Not only brainwashed but beat up, they beat these people up, cower them into submission. Ahhh! 'The Professors', read it."

Well, I haven't killed anybody...lately... but Pat, I'm thinking...

Bush Wanted War in 1999

Two Years Before 9/11, Bush was Already Talking About Attacking Iraq:

HOUSTON -- Two years before the September 11 attacks, presidential candidate George W. Bush was already talking privately about the political benefits of attacking Iraq, according to his former ghost writer, who held many conversations with then-Texas Governor Bush in preparation for a planned autobiography.

"He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999," said author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz. "It was on his mind. He said to me: 'One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.' And he said, 'My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.' He said, 'If I have a chance to invade·.if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency." Herskowitz said that Bush expressed frustration at a lifetime as an underachiever in the shadow of an accomplished father. In aggressive military action, he saw the opportunity to emerge from his father's shadow. The moment, Herskowitz said, came in the wake of the September 11 attacks. "Suddenly, he's at 91 percent in the polls, and he'd barely crawled out of the bunker."

That President Bush and his advisers had Iraq on their minds long before weapons inspectors had finished their work - and long before alleged Iraqi ties with terrorists became a central rationale for war - has been raised elsewhere, including in a book based on recollections of former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. However, Herskowitz was in a unique position to hear Bush's unguarded and unfiltered views on Iraq, war and other matters - well before he became president.

Cancer Shot Blocked By Fanatics

Dave Zweifel: Religious fanaticism out of control
The Capital Times: " of the most egregious has been to block a vaccine designed to thwart cervical cancer.

Two of the country's bigger pharmaceutical companies Merck and GlaxoSmithKline have developed and proven the safety of a vaccine that prevents a common sexually transmitted disease called human papillomavirus (HPV). Strains of HPV are known to cause cervical cancer in early adulthood. The vaccine needs to be administered to girls before they become sexually active, which is an average age of 17.

And therein lies the rub for the religious base of the Republican Party that George Bush and company have installed in crucial posts in the health department. That base and George W. Bush himself steadfastly adheres to the proposition that kids need to practice abstinence. In their eyes, anything from promoting the use of condoms to giving young girls vaccinations against sexually transmitted diseases only encourages promiscuity among young people..."


Fear and Laziness

America’s Blinders | The Progressive: "Now that most Americans no longer believe in the war, now that they no longer trust Bush and his Administration, now that the evidence of deception has become overwhelming (so overwhelming that even the major media, always late, have begun to register indignation), we might ask: How come so many people were so easily fooled?"

Some day I'll have time to expand the title. But for now that's my bottom line...

Monday, March 20, 2006

When It Was "The Information Superhighway"

American Prospect Online - The New New Gore:

"But it wasn’t. In fact, little could’ve been more natural for Gore, one of Congress’ earliest and most committed computer nerds. Though his misreported comments on the Internet’s lineage were unfortunate for his campaign, Gore, in fact, was a prime mover in its early days -- if not its father, then definitely the rich uncle who sent it to college, using his seat on the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee to ensure the fledgling technology had the financial wherewithal to make something of itself. Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn, the two men most often given credit for birthing the Web (due to their development of the crucial TCP/IP protocols), were so appalled by the media’s distortion of Gore’s comments that they jointly penned a defense, writing that “no other elected official … has made a greater contribution over a longer period of time” than Gore."

All about Al. Good article.

Voter Fraud and Errors Stop the Election Day Cheating:

"I'll go one further and say that there also needs to be even more extensive recounts between elections to look for discrepencies, along with a system in place to hold the voting machine companies accountable for any widespread problems. Any voting machine company that fails to provide a secure and reliable system should be fined heavily and possibly banned from the industry altogether. The least we can do is hold voting machines to the same standards we already do slot machines or ATMs."

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Screwing NOLA Again

The Next Left: Bush has yet another way to undercut Katrina recovery efforts:

"Bush has yet another way to undercut Katrina recovery efforts

Here's a shocker: The NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps), the AmeriCorps program that focuses on environmental and disaster relief projects operates on a budget of only $25 million a year.

Here's a non-shocker: Bush wants to cut all of it."

On Creating Problems

Raven's View: The Psychology of Bush's First Strike Doctrine: "Bush wants to short-circuit Iran's efforts to build a bomb--and rightly so. However, Iran would not feel such a strong need to build a bomb if Bush hadn't put it on warning that it might be next. He created the problem he is now trying to solve. As Einstein correctly pointed out, the intelligence that creates a problem is generally insufficient to resolve the problem."

Gore Vote Buster Busted? | 03/19/2006 | 'Flake factor' plagues Harris Senate campaign:

"Harris has struggled to raise money, and her campaign staff has been riddled by high turnover -- two seasoned GOP advisors bailed out last week. Some polls have her trailing Nelson by as much as 20 points.

Her fitful style has frustrated a few top Republicans. In what can hardly be called a ringing endorsement, Mac Stipanovich, Harris' handler during the 2000 recount, told The St. Petersburg Times that she ``moves in ways so mysterious that the designs of the Creator seem transparent by comparison.''"

There's a heckuva a lot more here. Corruption? Yep.

Simpson Fallout

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Sky falls in on Bush the outcast:

"Bush's misfortunes had returned by the end of last week in the sort of spectacular snub late-night comics dream of. The villain was not a rogue Republican but Jessica Simpson, a reality TV star. She declined to appear next to the President at a charity event for fear of 'politicising' the cause of the disabled. It dismayed Republicans.

'It's never been a problem for Bono,' said Republican spokesman Carl Forti. But the message was clear: when even Jessica Simpson does not want to be seen with you, you know you are in trouble."

Feingold's Responsible for No Wars

JS Online:Huh? Feingold's the careless, reckless one?:

"In Washington, crazy is normal, and normal is crazy.

President Bush and his people adopt a lunatic theory about preventive war, conjure out of Saddam Hussein's non-existent nuclear arsenal a paranoid vision of an imminent mushroom cloud over an American city, start a real war with make-believe planning (and disastrous consequences), keep giving the war rosy prognoses unhinged from the grim reality and suffer delusions of monarchism in which King George has inalienable rights to torture prisoners and wiretap citizens without court oversight, despite laws to the contrary.

A lone lawmaker has put forth a modest proposal to counter this last excess. Sen. Russ Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat, has asked his colleagues to censure Bush - that is, to pass a resolution rebuking him for illegally spying on Americans.

Now, guess who's drawn the verbal brickbats, such as 'out of line,' 'overreaching,' 'irresponsible,' 'outrageous,' 'crazy.' Amazingly, Feingold has.

Were the administration a car, it would be careening through city streets at high speed, getting into crashes, often fatal, as it went. But the authorities would treat this crazy driving as normal and the sane lawman who wants to issue the motorist a ticket as crazy."


Saturday, March 18, 2006

More Disgusting Jokes from BushCo

Hughes for America: Lives vs. breasts:

"We learned Wednesday that the Federal Communications Commission has proposed a $3.6 million fine against numerous CBS stations and affiliates concerning a 2004 episode of 'Without a Trace' that included 'teenage boys and girls participating in a sexual orgy.' The FCC also upheld its historic $550,000 fine against CBS for the Janet Jackson incident during the Super Bowl two years ago.

Meanwhile, the Sago mine - where 12 people died in January - was cited 208 times in 2005. The largest single fine, by comparison, was a mere $440. Not only that, but it was also reported that federal inspectors had repeatedly determined that the violations at Sago affected only one person, doing so to avoid the larger fines that come when more miners are involved.

Under the Bush administration, the winner of the battle between lives and breasts has been breasts. Every time."

Another one of those read-the-post if-you-can-stand-it's. (There outta be a noun...)

The Liberal Bush

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall March 17, 2006:

"In yesterday's online WSJ Peggy Noonan asks readers whether they understood George W. Bush 'to be a liberal in terms of spending' when he first came on the political scene in 2000.
On the part of Noonan and others, this is just an attempt to unload on the other guys the disaster they've allowed to happen on their watch.

Noonan actually tries to argue that President Bush has been a big spender on social programs and that this is somehow tied to his 'compassionate conservatism.' But that claptrap won't survive first contact with the budget numbers. President Bush has trashed the country's finances with three things -- big tax cuts, big defense hikes and whatever pork is necessary to win the next election.

Mr. Bush's mammoth deficit spending isn't some weird sort of ideological inversion. It's a character problem -- like spending money you don't have always is. And it's one Noonan and her ideological fellow-travellers are utterly on the line for."

Holy Broke

TPM Muckraker: "Another Abramoff Pal Falls on Hard Times
By Paul Kiel - March 17, 2006, 11:00 AM

Life after Jack...

Holy man and right-wing talk show host Rabbi Daniel Lapin is having financial difficulties now that Jack Abramoff isn't funneling money through his organization anymore. Oh, those were the days..."

Remember This Old DIrty Trick?

TPM Muckraker:
"Despite Plea, NH Phone Jamming Case Continues
By Justin Rood - March 18, 2006, 6:36 PM

Some days it's hard to catch a break.

Just ask former GOP operative James Tobin, recently convicted on charges stemming from a scheme to jam the NH Democratic party's phones in 2004. On Friday, Tobin's lawyers argued to have his harrassment conviction thrown out -- but the judge has so far declined to do so.

As you recall, on the eve of the 2004 election Tobin and other New Hampshire GOP campaign workers jammed the state Democratic party and the local firemen's union get-out-the-vote phones."

Early April Fool's

The Coffee House | TPMCafe:
"Fine, Then Let's Get Rid of the 'Liberals'
By Mark Schmitt | bio

From Dana Milbank this morning:

'The Republican Party is now principally moderate, if not liberal!' exulted Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), after the Senate -- including a majority of Republicans -- approved his budget-busting amendment to spend an extra $7 billion on domestic programs."

Har-har, indeed.

Bush's Rhetorical Devices

Bush Using Straw-Man Arguments in Speeches - Yahoo! News: "When the president starts a sentence with 'some say' or offers up what 'some in Washington' believe, as he is doing more often these days, a rhetorical retort almost assuredly follows.

The device usually is code for Democrats or other White House opponents. In describing what they advocate, Bush often omits an important nuance or substitutes an extreme stance that bears little resemblance to their actual position"

Good dissection of technique here. Check it out.

Morons Are Us

Remember the "Target Shopper"; following is a snip from Russ Baker's article discussing the Bush team's propensity for using tokens.

Bush's Incompetent Criminals
"…Behind this sad incident lurk two interrelated calamities of the Bush years: the continuing placement of the dubiously-qualified in high positions, and the use of people of color as window dressing for policies that harm communities of color.

Before Allen’s unique shopping habits were revealed, it was already becoming apparent that departments and agencies throughout the administration were jammed with incompetents and unfortunates who, based on relevant experience or temperament or values, shouldn’t be there at all…"

Who Cares What the Felon Junkie Thinks?

Sylvester Brown Jr., St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"If you're among those who believe that President George W. Bush's approval ratings are at an all-time low, well . . . you've been led astray by an evil, liberal, "drive-by" media.

At least, that's the story Rush Limbaugh pushed Tuesday during his afternoon radio program: "We had CBS and their rigged poll two or three weeks ago showing the president at 34 percent. Then some other outfit came out with a poll that showed 39 percent and yet they said, 'In his lowest performance numbers ever . . .'"

Evangelicals Say US Not Right Enough

Prominent Leaders From The Christian Right Have Warned Republicans They Must Do More To Advance Conservative Values Ahead Of The US Mid-Term Elections.

By Jamie Coomarasamy, BBC News, Washington

At a news conference in Washington, some of America's most influential conservative leaders said the current perception among evangelical Christians was that the Republican majority was not doing enough for them.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said that apart from confirming two conservative judges to the Supreme Court, "core values voters" did not feel that Congress was advancing their interests.

Spying on Protesters

Pentagon Hired Contractor To Advise On Collecting Information On Churches, Mosques, Other U.S. Sites

By Jonathan S. Landay, Knight Ridder Newspapers

"WASHINGTON - A Pentagon intelligence agency that kept files on American anti-war activists hired one of the contractors who bribed former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., to help it collect data on houses of worship, schools, power plants and other locations in the United States.

MZM Inc., headed by Mitchell Wade, also received three contracts totaling more than $250,000 to provide unspecified "intelligence services" to the White House, according to documents obtained by Knight Ridder. The White House didn't respond to an inquiry about what those intelligence services entailed.

MZM's Pentagon and White House deals were part of tens of millions of dollars in federal government business that Wade's company attracted beginning in 2002.

MZM and Wade, who pleaded guilty last month to bribing Cunningham and unnamed Defense Department officials to steer work to his firm, are the focus of ongoing probes by Pentagon and Department of Justice investigators.

In a March 8 letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., a senior Pentagon official said that a review of the Cornerstone database had identified 186 "protest-related reports" containing the names of 43 people that were mistakenly retained in the database.

"These reports have since been removed from the Cornerstone database and refresher training on intelligence oversight and database management is being given to all CI (counter-intelligence) and intelligence personnel," said the letter from Robert W. Rogalski, an acting deputy undersecretary of defense.

The disclosure that CIFA was storing information on anti-war activities added to concerns that the Bush administration may have used its war on terrorism to give government agencies expanded power to monitor Americans' finances, associations, travel and other activities."

No Real Men Here

The Star-Spangled Fantasyland Of The Fake And Home Of The Bogus

"US politicians aim for rugged, macho images because insecure voters want to feel that real men are in charge.

Linda Colley, Saturday March 18, 2006, The Guardian

In America, the excitement about Dick Cheney's shooting accident is over. There are no more talkshow debates about why he took so long to make a statement, and no more news reports about his 78-year-old victim. Even the delicious contrast between the vicepresident's bravery in the face of small birds and the deferments he took to keep from going to Vietnam no longer raises eyebrows. Yet the shrewdest comment I heard on the incident was rarely touched on. What did the vice-president think he was doing, inquired a serious hunter? Real men got up early and went into the countryside hunting wild quail alone with their dog. Going in groups to a farm to shoot specially bred birds was for sissies. It wasn't Cheney's involvement in masculine pursuits that was noteworthy; it was that the mode of masculinity on show was bogus."

Debt Enhancement Prevention

Think Progress: "One of the biggest culprits in this looming fiscal train wreck: permanent repeal of the estate tax. According to the latest estimates, repealing the estate tax will cost over three quarters of a trillion dollars in the next decade (2012-2021) even without additional interest costs.

Knowing it’s an enormous price tag for something that will only benefit the wealthiest 0.5% of estates, some Senators have started shopping alleged “compromises.” Unfortunately, these compromises are about as bad as repeal. One discussed by Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley would cost nearly 85% as much as eliminating the tax altogether.

It will take a lot of work to get the country back the right fiscal track, but ensuring responsible reform of the estate tax wins out over a reckless giveaway to our wealthiest estates is a good start."

Friday, March 17, 2006

GOP Hypocrisy, Again

from Crooks and Liars

In the comment thread on Mary Carey and Drunk Republicans:

"Just as there was no outrage about a gay, male prostitute roaming the White House, where's the outrage about having a porn star on MSRNC or attending a GOP function? What will we tell the children, damn it? This in the same week that a major network was fined 3.5 million dollars by the FCC for indecency for showing simulated sex acts without nudity. Talk about your mexed missages.

"God's Elite Squad" to Confer

The Revealer: America Won't Be Happy!:
"America Won't Be Happy!
16 March 2006

'The War on Christians' conference is coming to D.C., featuring a modified-A-list of conservative heavyweights organized by Vision America, including Alan Keyes, Gary Bauer, Sen. John Cornyn, Phyllis Schlafly, Sen. Sam Brownback and Rep. Tom DeLay, as well as some Jews -- the latter apparently such a newsworthy addition that it warranted its own press release: 'Jews Confront the War on Christians.' Other target-specific panels will include 'The News Media: Megaphone For Anti-Faith Values,' 'The Judiciary: Overruling God,' and 'The Gay Agenda: America Won't Be Happy.'"

For fun, videos of active rendention will be available, as will a come-as-you-are demonstration of Medieval Inquisition Instruments, hosted by our special friend, Haliburton.

MoveOnDotOrg Origins

Eschaton: "A Brief Reminder

The crazy extreme left wing organization, Move On, was founded to push the notion that President Bill Clinton should be censured."

Civil War Wisdom

from The Smirking Chimp: "
'I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me, and causes me to tremble for the safety of our country. Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people, until wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic is destroyed.' That from the greatest Republican president, Abraham Lincoln."

Bush Likes Cancer

The Smirking Chimp - Bush slashes funding for cancer research:

"If Congress approves the President's proposed 2007 budget, lawmakers will effectively turn their backs on our national commitment to defeating one of our leading killers and turn back the clock on progress against the disease Americans fear most. As proposed, the 2007 budget cuts the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) budget by $179 million and carves $40 million from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Far from arbitrary figures, these funding cuts translate directly into diminished research discovery, treatments and programs that help people with cancer live life on their own terms. "

Oh, great. Sigh. Gasp. Wheeze.

C&L Murrow Contest Finalists

C&LContest finalists: "The C&L 'EDWARD R. MURROW for a MINUTE' Finalists

What an amazing set of entries for John's 'Good Night, and Good Luck' contest. Even fellow commenters were reduced to exclamations of 'Wow.'"

I'll concur: "Wow." These snippets are marvelous. If you like good writing-- of any kind-- you need to go to the link (here) and read the entries.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

ECON 090

BBC NEWS | Americas | Washington diary: The other face of Bush:

"He understands that the mountainous desert border is porous, but that the United States cannot do without millions of illegal Mexican workers who toss burgers, change hotel sheets and tend suburban lawns. All jobs that ordinary Americans won't touch!"

I know any number of people who would be willing to do those jobs IF THEY PAID ENOUGH TO LIVE ON!

Tweety Chirps Shrilly on a Brittle Limb

Media Matters - Matthews still "amazed" Bush is unpopular:
"On the March 15 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews was incredulous and 'amazed' when confronted with a March 10-13 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showing that just 39 percent of respondents expressed 'positive' feelings toward President Bush, compared with 50 percent who expressed 'negative' feelings. In a discussion of the poll, Mathews admitted, 'I'm amazed when 50 percent of the people don't like him -- just don't like this guy.'"

Maybe some people are more perceptive than high-priced faux journalists.

Good Work If You Can Get It

The Swamp - Chicago Tribune - Blogs.: "Former top U.S. general gets $200,000-a-year board gig

Posted by Steve Hedges at 5:34 pm CST

Recently retired Gen. Richard Myers, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who led the Pentagon into war with Iraq, hasn't stayed out of work long. Better_myers

Northrop Grumman, one of the nation's largest and best-known defense firms, announced Wednesday that Myers, an Air Force veteran and former fighter pilot, has joined its board of directors.

As one of 11 'non-employee' directors, Myers will earn $200,000 a year, according to a company spokesman. Half of that sum is paid to the company's 12 directors in stock.

The company will hold eight scheduled board meetings this year, two of which are conducted by phone. The Pentagon's former top general will also serve on the Northrop Grumman board's Compliance, Public Issues and Policy committee, a job that will undoubtedly make good use of his Washington experience."

Wonder how much that works out to per hour? Read the whole post here if you can stand it.

More Bucks for the Rich

Think Progress:

"Moments ago, the House of Representatives narrowly defeated an amendment proposed by Rep. Martin Sabo (D-MN) that would have provided $1.25 billion in desperately needed funding for port security and disaster preparedness. The Sabo amendment included:

– $300 million to enable U.S. customs agents to inspect high-risk containers at all 140 overseas ports that ship directly to the United States. Current funding only allows U.S. customs agents to operate at 43 of these ports.

– $400 million to place radiation monitors at all U.S. ports of entry. Currently, less than half of U.S. ports have radiation monitors.

– $300 million to provide backup emergency communications equipment for the Gulf Coast.

Meanwhile, the Bush budget – which most of the members who voted against this bill will likely support – contains an increase of $1.7 billion for missile defense, a program that doesn’t even work."

We could peep in quite a few cargo containers for that kind of money, but, then again, not as much of that funding would end up lining the pockets of wealthy war investors.

Censure Error?

Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish:

"Feingold's call for censuring the president is the best thing to happen to Bush for a long time. Hillary will help, whatever she actually does. The question is merely whether the anti-left card will work any more. It barely did the trick last time - in a buoyant economy, in wartime, against a candidate as pathetic as Kerry, Bush could have lost if a few thousand votes in Ohio hadn't been beaten out of the anti-gay scrub. My gut predicts a huge swing against the GOP this fall. So watch out for the anti-left hate and hysteria from Republicans. It's coming. It's all they've got left."

I do hope Mr. Sullivan's gut is accurate.

Ripped-off Again

Facing South: Contracts going to tax cheats:
"Government contractors who owe millions of dollars in back taxes bought luxury cars, boats and multimillion-dollar properties. Some failed to pay taxes but gambled company money.

One in 10 companies contracting with the General Services Administration from October 2003 through June 2005 owed back taxes, [Sen. Norm] Coleman's [R-MN] panel, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, learned Tuesday. Their debts total $1.4 billion.

'In an age of increasingly tight fiscal discipline, that $1.4 billion could be put towards our homeland security, our children's education or job-training programs,' Coleman said. 'It adds insult to injury that these tax deadbeats are actually paid enormous amounts of money every year from American tax coffers.'"

No Contras in Big Mo

House GOP Bans County Health Clinics From Providing Birth Control | Fired Up! Missouri: "Yesterday, during debate on HB1010, the budget for the Departments of Health and Mental Health, House Republicans voted to ban county health clinics from providing family planning services.

So the GOP has finally come clean that they are opposed to contraception. They used to argue that they opposed family planning because Planned Parenthood played a role. But now the GOP has targeted family planning provided by the county health clinics. Their action is a direct attack on women's access to traditional family planning services.

The amendment, offered by Rep. Susan Phillips (R-Kansas City) removed 'voluntary choice of contraception, including natural family planning' as one of the permissible services that county health clinics could provide with state funding."

First Amendment Takes Another Hit Bashing Bush costs Mars Hill student his computer:

"Bashing Bush costs Mars Hill student his computer
Secret Service punishes freshman after ‘threatening’ post
by Clarke Morrison, STAFF WRITER
published March 16, 2006 6:00 am

MARS HILL — The U.S. Secret Service seized a computer from the dorm room of a Mars Hill College student after he posted a message on a Web site apparently deemed threatening to President Bush.

Freshman Tim Willis said he meant no real harm in using modified song lyrics describing the violent death of the president on, a site popular with millions of young people as a place for personal expression."

Back during the salad days of the Clinton presidency, when it seemed the nation had very little to worry about, our Senator, the righteous Jesse Helms, advised Clinton that it would not be safe for him to come to North Carolina. Let's see-- is that threatening the President? Around that same time I wandered into an Army surplus type store and there on the wall were targets superimposed on Clinton's picture. Among the musty old gun belts and dented canteens I noted a fresh rack of camo t-shirts emblazoned with "Kill Bill." (Long before the movie, of course.) I asked who Bill was and the owner nodded toward the targets. He assured me the shirts were "NRA," though in all honesty I couldn't find anything on them to indicate that.

The store has long since vanished but I wonder if they would still carry merchandise advocating the murder of our president? Did the Secret Service ever investigate any of the threats against Clinton by the average citizen or did they reserve their time for serious threats?

This latest ploy by the Secret Service seems to be aimed more at intimidating the citizenry than in protecting the president. Someone needs to remind them who pays their salaries and who they are actually working for. Song parodies do not rise to the level of a serious threat and contrary to what they think-- the United States is a free speech zone.

In the Great Housecleaning Upcoming, another little corner that needs to be attended to is apparently lurking within the Secret Service.

More details here.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

New Member for East Waynesville Baptist Cchurch?

The Smirking Chimp - Dad Tells Son Switch to GOP or Else-Dallas Morning News-3/11/06: "Dallas Morning News March 11, 2006
by Kristen Holland _staff writer

Blood may be thicker than water, but does it trump political allegiance?

Not for the father and son duo of Ted and Teddy Gambordella.

Ted Gambordella dislikes the idea that his only son, a Highland Park High junior, is a Democrat. He loathes it so much that he has flat-out refused to pay for his son's college education unless he becomes a Republican.

'Yeah, I'm serious,' said Mr. Gambordella, a 57-year-old martial arts expert. 'He's got to earn his own way.' "

Maybe the G.I. bill?

More on the Media Hog Pen

AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth:
"...That's why liberal blogs are constantly berating the traditional media. Because the traditional media is made up of a growing number of increasingly sloppy children. And their sloppiness is now jeopardizing our democracy. It's gotten us into a war that's a disaster, and it's helped re-elect a president who isn't capable of managing our country. All because the traditional media let themselves be emasculated and lobotomized rather than simply doing their job.

To wit, this lead sentence from tomorrow's front-page Washington Post story on Senator Feingold's censure resolution:

For months the Democrats have resisted calls from their liberal base to more aggressively challenge President Bush.

Calls from their 'liberal base?' Really? Where did you get that from? Seriously. I want facts. How did the Washington Post determine that it was the 'liberal base' of the Democratic party that has been the driving force calling for Dems to challenge President Bush?

Actual real-life surveys show that most Democrats, and most Independents, have had it with Bush. Not just liberal Democrats, but all Democrats, and even most Independents.

So, seriously, where did the Washington Post get the facts to justify the very first line of its front page story about Senator Feingold? Nowhere, that's where.

They just made it up..."

Read the whole post. It is excellent, and it also helps get at Huffington's primary problem with Miller.

Take It Back

Daily Kos: State of the Nation:
"This November 50 Veterans Will Fight to Take America Back
by DarkSyde
Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 05:12:38 AM PDT

This November, fifty veterans of the United States Armed Forces would like to run as democrats in their respective races. They're soldiers, sailors, flyers, and marines. Mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. These are the fighting Dems, the Band of Brothers.

You might be able to help them, but not in the way you think. They're not asking Kossacks for money, they're not asking you to volunteer for their campaigns. All they're asking for is a chance to be on the ballot, and to do that, some need more signatures from their constituents. Here's just one example:.."

Pllamegate Redux

In a long post, Huffington dissects an attempted defense of Judy Miller. One point that keeps slipping by just about everyone (well, in the MSM) is the following:

The Blog | Arianna Huffington: Vanity Fair's Judy Miller Rehab: Blame the Bloggers | The Huffington Post:

"'Traditionally,' she writes, 'there have been two generally recognized exceptions to journalistic privilege: matters of life and death and imminent actual threat to national security.' But there is a third exception that Brenner conveniently leaves out, an exception spelled out in the ethical guidelines of the New York Times: 'We do not grant anonymity to people who use it as cover for a personal or partisan attack.' This was unequivocally the case with Plamegate. And, as the Times' ethical guidelines make clear, there is a world of difference between sources using confidentiality to blow the whistle on government or corporate misconduct, and sources using it to promote a war -- or to smear a critic of that war."

And that is the fundamental difference betwixt legit and phony whistleblowers.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Congress Sucks

FindLaw's Writ - Dean: The Broken Branch An Unusual Lawsuit Takes Congress to Task For Shoddy and Partisan Lawmaking, In Which A Bill Is Unconstitutionally Being Treated as Law: "Republicans promised reform in 1994, when they won control of the House for the first time in four decades. But rather than deliver it, GOP leadership has - according to Mann and Ornstein - undermined the institution through 'the demise of regular order, the decline of deliberation and the weakening of our system of checks and balances.'

Speaker Dennis Hastert is described in the pre-publication material, based on his own words, as more of 'a lieutenant of the president than a steward of the House.' Accordingly, Mann and Ornstein's book suggests, 'the legislative process has been bent to serve immediate presidential interests and have often resulted in poorly crafted and stealthily passed laws.'"

Read more here.

Love the Fetus... The Love Ends When You're Born in South Dakota: "Yes, you read that correctly: Half of the 10 poorest counties in America are in South Dakota.

And thus the people who are anti-choice, but typically do the least to support families and help young children once they’re actually born, continue to live their real creed: Love the fetus, hate the child."

The Chair(wo)man of the Corp Speaks

Vox Verax: Helen Thomas on lap dogs of the press:
"Reporters and editors like to think of themselves as watchdogs for the public good. But in recent years both individual reporters and their ever-growing corporate ownership have defaulted on that role. Ted Stannard, an academic and former UPI correspondent, put it this way: 'When watchdogs, bird dogs, and bull dogs morph into lap dogs, lazy dogs, or yellow dogs, the nation is in trouble.'

The naïve complicity of the press and the government was never more pronounced than in the prelude to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The media became an echo chamber for White House pronouncements. One example: At President Bush's March 6, 2003, news conference, in which he made it eminently clear that the United States was going to war, one reporter pleased the 'born again' Bush when she asked him if he prayed about going to war. And so it went."

Remember Bill

The Blog | Cenk Uygur: Note to Moronic Democratic Senators: Americans Can't Stand George Bush | The Huffington Post:

"President Clinton was a wildly popular president. His approval numbers doubled this President's. That's right -- DOUBLED! On the day of his impeachment, President Clinton had an approval rating of 72%. That is exactly twice as high as Bush's approval rating today.

The Republicans went after a stunningly popular president at a time when the economy and the budget could not have been in better shape. And they went after him based on a sex scandal. Republicans could talk until they're blue in the face about how it was about perjury and the 'rule of law,' but voters understood then that Ken Starr had just spent millions of dollars on a fishing expedition and found a sex act.

They were on extremely weak ground against a very strong president. Right now, the situation is the exact opposite. Breaking a federal law by going around the court system and Congress is a matter that goes to the heart of our constitutional system. It is a challenge to the very core of our system of government."