Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Dixie Chicks #1

Crooks and Liars: "'As Taking The Long Way debuts at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 best-selling albums chart this week, with first week's sales of 525,829, the Dixie Chicks have become the first female group in chart history to have three albums debut at #1, breaking the record the Chicks established in 2002 when the group's last studio album, Home, debuted at #1 and made them the first female group ever to have two albums debut at #1.With the #1 debut of Taking The Long Way, the Dixie Chicks have also become the first female group in chart history to have three studio albums occupy the #1 slot on the Top 200...'"

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bushman Slams Reporters

Top Bush Aide Admits Altering Article: ". . .With the deaths of two CBS media workers on Monday, more journalists have died in covering the Iraq war, 71, than in all of World War II.

In that 2003 article, Zinsmeister wrote that reporters considered soldiers 'from another species. Typical reporters know little about a fighting life. They show scant respect for the fighter’s virtues. Precious few could ever be referred to as fighting men themselves. The journalists embedded among U.S. forces that I’ve crossed paths with are fish out of water here, and show their discomfort clearly as they hide together in the press tents, fantasizing about expensive restaurants at home and plush hotels in Kuwait City, fondling keyboards and satellite phones with pale fingers, clinging to their world of offices and tattle and chatter where they feel less ineffective, less testosterone deficient, more influential. . ."

Sane South Dakotans Fight Back

South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families - Against HB 1215: "SIOUX FALLS, SD – Today, the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families announced the filing of nearly 38,000 signatures on petitions to repeal the extreme abortion ban passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Mike Rounds on March 6. Petitions will be filed with the Secretary of State at 2 pm today.

At press events in seven South Dakota communities, supporters of the repeal announced the tremendous support they received circulating petitions across the state. . ."

Bush Strategy Questioned By Neocons / Home US - Neo-cons question Bush’s democratisation strategy : "Neo-conservative commentators at the American Enterprise Institute wrote last week what amounted to an obituary of the Bush freedom doctrine.

“Bush killed his own doctrine,” they said, describing the final blow as the resumption of diplomatic relations with Libya. This betrayal of Libyan democracy activists, they said, came after the US watched Egypt abrogate elections, ignored the collapse of the “Cedar Revolution” in Lebanon, abandoned imprisoned Chinese dissidents and started considering a peace treaty with Stalinist North Korea.

The neo-conservatives offered no explanation for desertion of the doctrine, other than a desire to make quick but transitory short-term gains. “The president continues to believe his own preaching, but his administration has become incapable of making the hard choices those beliefs require,” they wrote."

Monday, May 29, 2006

More Problems For NYC's Ex-Top Cop

"Former Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik Still Facing Corruption Probe

(AP) Bernard Kerik once enjoyed a national reputation as a brash, self-made law enforcer. As New York's police commissioner, he was at Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's side during the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. By late 2004, President Bush wanted him for homeland security chief.

Kerik's fame faded after allegations of ethical lapses doomed his nomination. His troubles, however, have endured.

A grand jury in the Bronx has been hearing testimony about a possible corruption case against Kerik involving reputed mob associates, alleged influence peddling and a questionable home-renovation project. . ."

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Marsh on Veterans

". . .My uncle suffered from PTSD after the Korean War. My brother was a Marine waiting for word from President Kennedy during the Cuban crisis. But nobody in my family had to face what Iraqi war veterans are facing. I cover the military all the time, but the reality of the wounded and maimed is hard to fathom. Because of battlefield medical miracles, soldiers are living with wounds never before imagined. Just watch "Baghdad ER" from HBO to get the message.

But something people forget are the marriages left in shambles from this war. Not just because of injuries, but because of Bush's backdoor draft, which taxes people's commitments beyond breaking. It's a horrendous breach of faith of the commander in chief to not have properly prepared for preemption. What this Administration owes to our soldiers can never be repaid. . ."

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Franks Says Congress Not Special

Democrat Taylor Marsh Blogs Politics: "This was emailed to me yesterday, though I can't find the link. Rep. Barney Frank gets it right and it took him about a minute.

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Madam Speaker, I disagree with the bipartisan House leadership criticism of the FBI's search of a Member's office. I know nothing specifically about the case, except that the uncontroverted public evidence did seem to justify the issuance of a warrant.

What we now have is a Congressional leadership, the Republican part of which has said it is okay for law enforcement to engage in warrantless searches of the average citizen, now objecting when a search, pursuant to a validly issued warrant, is conducted of a Member of Congress.

I understand that the speech and debate clause is in the Constitution. It is there because Queen Elizabeth I and King James I were disrespectful of Parliament. It ought to be, in my judgment, construed narrowly. It should not be in any way interpreted as meaning that we as Members of Congress have legal protections superior to those of the average citizen.

So I think it was a grave error to have criticized the FBI. I think what they did, they ought to be able to do in every case where they can get a warrant from a judge. I think, in particular, for the leadership of this House, which has stood idly by while this administration has ignored the rights of citizens, to then say we have special rights as Members of Congress is wholly inappropriate. . ."

Catholic Guilt and the D.V. Code

Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish: "27 May 2006 01:11 pm

The National Catholic Reporter reflects on its long and ultimately successful campaign to hold Legion of Christ founder, Father Marcial Maciel, responsible for a long history of sexual abuse. Others were responsible as well:

For all of the commendable achievements of Pope John Paul II, his blindness to this cancer within the church and his unwillingness until the last years of his long reign to understand the urgency of the problem will be seen as serious flaws of his tenure. His inaction sent signals that he both tolerated and encouraged the debilitating culture of deceit. . ."

So, in the face of all this-- why does the DaVinci Code even merit a ripple on the controversy pond?

Winning Votes In Rural Areas

Firedoglake - Firedoglake weblog » 2006 election: ". . .You are probably sitting there thinking 'what the hell kind of political analysis post is this?' but bear with me. Digby hits some notes that I want to expand on the whole cultural connection issue, expanding some thoughts from Chris Bowers at MyDD on American tribalism. Living, as I do, in the heart of the 'hills and hollers' crowd, I see this sort of discussion is a necessary one at a national political level — because too often this part of the country has either been written off or taken for granted.

The Democratic party used to pretty much own this area. And they still do in local and statewide elections for the most part. But because the party infrastructure was taken for granted here for so long, and because national campaigns just took for granted that the votes would be here when they wanted them instead of working to maintain a connection — the well has gone dry the last couple of elections, and we need to do a lot more priming to get the votes flowing again. . ."

Ok. I'll get back to that one soon. I've written about it before and I'll do it again-- but right now I'm stewing over Lost and its ethnic insults.

Ralph Reed Corrupt?

Ney, Reed Listed in Lobbying Trial Files

"WASHINGTON (AP) -- The names of Rep. Bob Ney and former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed spilled onto the public record in a federal criminal trial Friday, highlighting the peril politicians face in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

In the first case arising from the Abramoff influence-peddling probe, an FBI agent read out the names of the participants on a weeklong golf excursion to Scotland and London that Ney, R-Ohio, Reed and two of Ney's congressional staffers went on with Abramoff in August 2002.

Ney, who is under criminal investigation in the Abramoff scandal, is seeking re-election. Reed is running for Georgia lieutenant governor.

Reed's Republican opponent pounced on the development, challenging the former Christian Coalition leader to prove his assertion that he paid his own expenses on the trip. . ."

More Immigration Heat

AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth: "
'Especially cantankerous conservative' Sensenbrenner ready to battle White House over immigration
by Joe in DC - 5/27/2006 09:22:00 AM

The Republican immigrant bashers, led by Tex Sensenbrenner (described by the Washington Post as an 'especially cantankerous conservative'), are girding for battle with their Republican counterparts led by Bush. This will be a very ugly and divisive intra-GOP battle. Tex even did a little Rove bashing at his press conference yesterday too:

The immigration issue threatened to cleave the Republican Party yesterday, as a key GOP House member chided President Bush's top political adviser and labeled a central element of the Senate's hard-fought immigration bill a 'non-starter.'

House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., a prominent player in the approaching House-Senate negotiations over immigration legislation, told reporters that the two chambers are '180 degrees apart' and that compromise is possible only if the Senate jettisons some of its bill's most prized provisions. The Senate proposal to allow millions of illegal immigrants to pursue citizenship, he said, amounts to amnesty, and 'amnesty is wrong, because amnesty rewards someone for illegal behavior. . .'"

Now The DOJ Is Mad!

from the Reality-Based Community

"Bush and the House GOP
against the Justice Department and the FBI

Posted by Mark Kleiman

Can you say "Watergate"? The latest on the Jefferson raid gets us into Saturday Night Massacre territory.

Not only are the AG, the Deputy AG, and the FBI Director prepared to resign in protest if Bush orders them to return the materials seized in the Jefferson raid, they're almost openly on the warpath against the Republican majority in the House. Here's the money paragraph from Saturday's blockbuster NYT story by David Johnston and Carl Hulse, vaguely sourced to "government officials" but obviously from the DoJ:

Tensions were especially high because officials at the Justice Department and the F.B.I. viewed the Congressional protest, led by Speaker J. Dennis Hastert and House Republicans, as largely a proxy fight for battles likely to come over criminal investigations into other Republicans in Congress.
(Those would be, presumably, the Abramoff and MZM investigations.)

Now who other than the DoJ could have been familiar with the thinking of "officials at the Justice Department and FBI"? It will be interesting to see whether Gonzales, McNulty, and Mueller, the three officials mentioned by name, come forward to contradict the story. This is a case where silence gives consent. . ."

Rewarding Heckuva Jobs


"Posted by John Kerry
May 26th, 2006 @ 1:41 pm

Remember Brownie? This morning Senate Republicans might as well have given him a federal judgeship.

If there’s anything the last five years have proven — from Iraq to Katrina – it’s that competence matters.

Federal judgeships cannot be political gifts to political cronies.

But that’s what happened this morning – Brett Kavanaugh is now a judge on the D.C. Circuit. And Washington barely seemed to notice – in spite of the noise we Democrats made about his outrageous nomination.

Am I overstating the case? You tell me. . ."

Friday, May 26, 2006

Tweety Gets Mad!

Democrat Taylor Marsh Blogs Politics: "Let's get down to it. What happened this week is that Matthews got angry that Atrios and other the big bad liberal bloggers took after him for his 'Pornball' smutfest saga that went on ad nauseam, day after day. But if 'glass menagerie liberalism' is the best he's got, good luck, pal. Bottom line is that we got to him with the gossip mongering angle, because pious political pundit that he is, Matthews just cannot stand to be called out. It's all so humiliating when he is invited to water hour with Russert. Or maybe Matthews is just miffed that Timmeh had Tom Brokaw interview him for his new book, on Russert's CNBC show, dissing the 'Pornball' host."

Wonder if we'll start seeing more of these Globe-like covers?

Why Dems Are Irked At Joe

AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth:
". . .The fact of the matter is, that Joe Lieberman, a senator from one of the bluest states in the nation, spends most of his time playing hide the salami with Hannity, writing op-eds to the right-wing Wall Street Journal criticizing his own party and basically reinforcing whichever false stereotype of Democrats he can fit into a fifteen minute television appearance before the rouge starts to fade (the weak on security and values comments are always especially helpful).

Lieberman was the first Democrat, and one of the few, to engage in the histrionics about President Clinton’s downright awful behavior with that intern. President Bush’s trashing the constitution, however, well we best not question a president during wartime according to Joemania (I guess Al Qaeda’s bombing our embassies in Africa and our having troops in the former Yugoslavia doesn’t register on Joe’s “criticize” the president scale). . ."

Pot Be Good?

Study Finds No Cancer-Marijuana Connection: "Study Finds No Cancer-Marijuana Connection

By Marc Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 26, 2006; A03

The largest study of its kind has unexpectedly concluded that smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer.

The new findings 'were against our expectations,' said Donald Tashkin of the University of California at Los Angeles, a pulmonologist who has studied marijuana for 30 years.

'We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use,' he said. 'What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect.'

Federal health and drug enforcement officials have widely used Tashkin's previous work on marijuana to make the case that the drug is dangerous. Tashkin said that while he still believes marijuana is potentially harmful, its cancer-causing effects appear to be of less concern than previously thought.

Earlier work established that marijuana does contain cancer-causing chemicals as potentially harmful as those in tobacco, he said. However, marijuana also contains the chemical THC, which he said may kill aging cells and keep them from becoming cancerous.

Tashkin's study, funded by the National Instit"

More On McCain Conversion

Think Again: Straight Talk Distress - Center for American Progress: "Think Again: Straight Talk Distress

by Eric Alterman
May 25, 2006

Back in 2000, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) called the Christian fundamentalist Jerry Falwell ''an evil influence'' on the Republican Party and an “agent of intolerance” in the American political discourse. These quotes have recently made a reappearance in history owing to McCain’s decision to give the commencement address at Falwell’s Liberty University in early May and the now-infamous appearance McCain made on “Meet the Press” a month earlier, when he disavowed those previous comments made six years ago.

Recall this is the same Jerry Falwell who not only hawked a video on television accusing then-President Clinton of murder and drug-running but two days after 9/11 explained, “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'”
This, from a man who the “straight-talking” John McCain now thinks is no longer intolerant or destructive. But the bigger flap occurred last week when McCain gave essentially the same address at the New School in New York, in what some mainstream media pundits — who have been acted as unpaid publicity agents for McCain for more than a decade now — praised as a balanced approach, proving that McCain willingly takes on all comers. . ."

ACLU Leading States Charge Against Bells


By William Fisher

Anticipating that the U.S. federal government would invoke the so-called 'state secrets' privilege to block any lawsuit calling for the disclosure of details about allegations that phone companies shared customer records with the government's biggest spy agency, a major civil rights group has embarked on an alternate course.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed complaints in more than 20 individual states demanding that their utility commissions and attorneys general convene public hearings and call phone company executives to testify.

The ACLU action in Massachusetts is typical of the approach being taken by the civil rights group. Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU in Massachusetts, said four mayors had complained to the state's utility regulatory board, where. State law requires the board to conduct public hearings when a mayor complains. . ."

Bush Not Contrite

White House Briefing -- News on President George W Bush and the Bush Administration: "No New Contrition

By Dan Froomkin
Special to
Friday, May 26, 2006; 12:51 PM

Reading and watching the coverage of President Bush's joint news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair last night, you could be forgiven for concluding that Bush had suddenly started acknowledging the error of his ways.

But you would be wrong. . ."

Apparently Mr. Bush was grinning and winking to the press while delivering his somber remarks.

Leave Jimmy Alone!

Crooks and Liars: "The Jimmy Carter attacks continue

I highlighted MAF's idiotic ad campaign to censure Jimmy Carter the other day. We have big problems in this country and Melanie Morgan handles it by going after Carter. R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is the founder of the American Spectator magazine, just wrote a piece called Jimmy Carter pens the worst book of 2005. It seems that there is a concerted effort to attack him. I guess we can call them the 'Blame Carter Coalition.'"

Fake News Gets Investigated

CMD Report "Fake TV News" Triggers FCC Investigation - Center for Media and Democracy: "Contact:Diane Farsetta, Center for Media and Democracy, 608-260-9713
Craig Aaron, Free Press, 202-265-1490

FCC Investigates TV Stations for Airing Fake News

Investigation into Video News Releases and Activist Pressure May Lead to Fines, Better Disclosure

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Communications Commission has launched an investigation of dozens of television stations, for airing corporate-sponsored and -scripted segments on news programs, without disclosing their sources.

The investigation comes in response to an investigative report by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) and an online activist campaign spearheaded by Free Press. The official probe by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin was reported today by Bloomberg News.

The report, titled 'Fake TV News: Widespread and Undisclosed,' identified 77 television stations across the country that aired corporate PR as news over a 10-month period. Not one station disclosed the clients behind these segments to its viewers.

'We commend the FCC for taking the issue of fake news seriously,' said Diane Farsetta, the Center for Media and Democracy's senior researcher and the co-author of the report. 'With the FCC's enforcement bureau getting involved, hopefully TV stations will finally practice full disclosure.'

Although CMD tracked just 36 of the thousands of video news releases, or VNRs, distributed each year, it identified 69 TV stations that aired at least one VNR. Eight other stations aired satellite media tours, which are live but highly scripted interviews often scheduled and aired in conjunction with VNRs. The list of TV stations, along with footage of the VNRs and the newscasts that showed them, can be found at . ."

About time.

Into Grad School With No Degree

Political Wire: Bush Aide Gets Exception at Harvard: "May 25, 2006
Bush Aide Gets Exception at Harvard

The Harvard Crimson: 'A 26-year-old college dropout who carries President Bush’s breath mints and makes him peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches will follow in his boss’s footsteps this fall when he enrolls at Harvard Business School (HBS).'

'Though it is rare for HBS -- or any other professional or graduate school -- to admit a student who does not have an undergraduate degree, admissions officers made an exception for Blake Gottesman, who for four years has served as special assistant and personal aide to Bush. . .'"

Prince of Darkness Covers Scooter

NATIONAL JOURNAL: Rove-Novak Call Was Concern To Leak Investigators (05/25/2006):
Rove-Novak Call Was Concern To Leak Investigators

By Murray Waas, National Journal
© National Journal Group Inc.
Thursday, May 25, 2006

On September 29, 2003, three days after it became known that the CIA had asked the Justice Department to investigate who leaked the name of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame, columnist Robert Novak telephoned White House senior adviser Karl Rove to assure Rove that he would protect him from being harmed by the investigation, according to people with firsthand knowledge of the federal grand jury testimony of both men. . ."

Another R With Problems

Scrutiny Hooligans:
"Embattled Congressman Charles Taylor (R,NC) is behind in a pair of polls just under six months before the election. Previous to these polls, Taylor hadn't trailed in a poll since he became a Congressman in 1990.

The constituents of NC-11 don't trust Charles Taylor anymore. They've seen the good jobs leave the region. They've heard Taylor's doubletalk on CAFTA, the Forest Selloff, Jack Abramoff, and underfunding the Blue Ridge Parkway. Taylor's days are numbered.

Like a wounded animal, Taylor will soon attack Shuler viciously. He has used lying attack ads in every campaign, and there's no reason to expect he'll suddenly evolve into a clean campaigner. Soon you'll hear Taylor's attack machine growling with poorly produced television ads and misleading radio spots. Watch for it.

Heath Shuler, on the other hand, is keeping his powder dry while shoe-leather campaigning in the rural western counties. His integrity and energy serve to emphasize Taylor's corruption and desperation. . ."

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Report News, Not Gossip

from Peter Daou at HuffPo

". . .Boy, they're coming fast and furious lately. You swat one down, two more take their place. I'm referring to 'elite' reporters of course, specifically those who've decided that Bush's poll numbers aren't incentive enough to stop belittling and berating Democrats.

Joe Klein, Mark Halperin & co., Elisabeth Bumiller, Patrick Healy, Tim Russert, the list goes on. Joining the crowd is David Broder, who isn't content with Healy's puerile peek into the Clinton bedroom. Broder wants more:

"The article, by Patrick Healy, was anything but unsympathetic. It touched only lightly on the former president's friendship with Canadian politician Belinda Stronach. It documented that despite their busy separate schedules, the Clintons had managed to spend two-thirds of their weekends together during the past 18 months.

The closing anecdote concerned a December fundraiser where Clinton praised his wife and bestowed a kiss on her forehead, after which she recalled their 30 years together and said, "I'm so grateful to you, Bill."

But for all the delicacy of the treatment, the very fact that the Times had sent a reporter out to interview 50 people about the state of the Clintons' marriage and placed the story on the top of Page One was a clear signal -- if any was needed -- that the drama of the Clintons' personal life would be a hot topic if she runs for president."

Mr. Broder, here's an easy question: who determines what is and isn't a hot topic? When cable news nets spend countless hours discussing a missing girl in Aruba, is it a hot topic because the viewers want it or because it's been shoved down their gullets? When Swift Boat liars are given an unlimited forum to smear a decorated vet, was it a hot topic to begin with or does it become one after the fact? And when Patrick Healy decides to dissect the Clinton marriage, was it a hot topic before he wrote it or is it a hot topic now that people like you amplify his filth? . . "

Oil Is Plentiful!

The Blog | Raymond J. Learsy: Oil is Not Scarce -- The Oil Industry Continues to Play Us For Fools | The Huffington Post: ". . .Most ominously, in sotto voce, as though delivering bad news to a concerned family member, the industry argues that the world is running out of oil and that shortages are imminent. Industry spokesmen also imply, without saying so directly, that mile long lines could form at your filling station any day now. That, they try to make us understand, is why the market is so jittery, with oil prices jumping every time a pipeline leaks. The only trouble is that it isn't true. Oil, and permit me to underline this, is not scarce!

That is one of the most important facts in our world, and hardly anyone you meet will believe it. Most people have been bamboozled by the oil industry led by its flacks, by compliant analysts (read Daniel Yergin et al), by peak oil spinmeisters, a snoozing press, and the heavy artillery brought to bear by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which works overtime and spends big to make us believe in the myth of scarcity. That keeps prices high and oilmen rich, while the rest of us pay and pay and pay. . ."

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Speaker Hastert Under Investigation By the FBI

Think Progress » Breaking: Speaker Hastert Under Investigation By the FBI Over Abramoff Ties: "Speaker Hastert Under Investigation By the FBI Over Abramoff Ties

ABC News reports:

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert, is under investigation by the FBI, which is seeking to determine his role in an ongoing public corruption probe into members of Congress, ABC News has learned from high level official sources.

Federal officials say the information implicating Hastert was developed from convicted lobbyists who are now cooperating with the government.

Part of the investigation involves a letter Hastert wrote three years ago, urging the Secretary of the Interior to block a casino on an Indian reservation that would have competed with other tribes. . ."

Some Have More Rights Than Others

from AMERICAblog
Funny. GOP House Speaker Denny Hastert and GOP Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist don't give a damn about the privacy of their constituents. Law and order is what comes first, to hell with your privacy, let the NSA eavesdrop on your phone calls, it's all for the good of America. And after all, if you have nothing to hide, then what's the problem?

Well, it seems that standard doesn't apply
when it comes to THEIR OWN LIVES. It seems they're very upset that criminal congressman William Jefferson got his office searched by the feds. Which again raises the question, why are THEIR offices more sacrosanct than OUR homes?"

Moore Chicks

"May 23rd, 2006 1:00 am
Don't Mess With Texas ... a note from Michael Moore

Today, the Dixie Chicks release their first album since the Right Wing and country radio tried to destroy their career. Three years ago, on March 10, 2003, Natalie Maines, lead singer for the Dixie Chicks, uttered this one sentence from the concert stage: "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." It was just 10 days before the start of the Iraq War and, although millions of people throughout America and the world had taken to the streets to protest the potential war, few in positions of notoriety were willing to take a stand. The Dixie Chicks did -- and the Right began a concerted effort to ruin their lives. They were banished from most radio stations, even though they had the number one song on country radio that week ("Travelin' Soldier"). Death threats followed. There were public burnings of their CDs. Bush's backers knew one thing: these three moms from Texas -- the perfect Republican demographic -- had to be stopped. If Bush lost the core support of country music lovers, well, that would be curtains for him. So an organized campaign to silence their voices began. And it almost worked.

Today, May 23, 2006, the Dixie Chicks have returned. They have made a beautiful album. They are pulling no punches and they bravely have remained true to themselves. Pundits are predicting that the damage the Right did to them may be too great for them to recover. Let's prove them wrong.

Let's never let the forces who seek to punish those who speak the truth win out.

Goodbye, Earl .. and goodbye, George!

Michael Moore"

McCain Wows Audience

NYO - News Story 1: ". . .[McCain]He cautioned against ghettoizing immigrants, which he noted has brought about disastrous results in France, and criticized elements in his own party as “nativist” before lambasting the punditry of Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs and Michael Savage for helping to “fuel the problem,” according to two of the sources.

And Mr. McCain, a Vietnam War hero and strong supporter of the invasion of Iraq, criticized the Bush administration’s lack of candor about the current situation there.

Mr. McCain’s 90 minutes of casual, off-the-cuff remarks about a broad range of issues, from foreign policy and economics to corruption and immigration, seemed to have the desired effect.

“He was fantastic,” said Ms. DioGuardi, the wife of former Republican U.S. Representative Joseph DioGuardi, who was also in attendance. “His appeal is that he is definitely a man of integrity. He has a vision for what should happen to this country. . .”"

Public School Nazis?

School District to Monitor Student Blogs - Yahoo! News: "LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. - High school students are going to be held accountable for what they post on blogs and on social-networking Web sites such as

The board of Community High School District 128 voted unanimously on Monday to require that all students participating in extracurricular activities sign a pledge agreeing that evidence of 'illegal or inappropriate' behavior posted on the Internet could be grounds for disciplinary action.

The rule will take effect at the start of the next school year, officials said.

District officials won't regularly search students' sites, but will monitor them if they get a worrisome tip from another student, a parent or a community member.

Mary Greenberg of Lake Bluff, who has a son at Libertyville High School, argued the district is overstepping its bounds.

'I don't think they need to police what students are doing online,' she said. 'That's my job. . .'"

About that First Amendment...

Wired Publishes NSA Docs

The Blog | Shayana Kadidal: "Klein-mas" in the NSA Litigation: the AT&T Whistleblower's Secret Documents Are Published | The Huffington Post: "Like Klein, Wired deserves a lot of credit for doing what they did. They did so just a day after the administration announced a new offensive against journalists who reveal embarrassing secrets about the NSA's illegal surveillance program. Just this Sunday, Alberto Gonzales announced that he believes journalists can be criminally prosecuted under federal law for publishing classified information. (The Klein documents weren't classified, but the document filed under seal in the Oregon case against the NSA program is.) In a move designed to chill sources more than reporters, Gonzales added that he would not hesitate to look at records of calls to reporters' telephone lines to track down the source of leaks. (Glenn Greenwald, back from his book-induced sabbatical from blogging, has a nice post on this. . .)"

Whose Land Is It?

Orcinus: quoting Gloria Ramirez Vargas
"-- . . .Malkin presents us with the usual parade of fringe signs from the marches, ignoring of course the prevalence of American flags and pro-American signs. None of the signs are about Mexico retaking U.S. lands -- though there are many that advocate the notion that the Southwest is part of Latinos' indigenous homeland . . ."

While pummeling Malkin, a little slip crept in-- Latinos' indigenous homeland-- methinks the Hopi, Navajo, Commanche, Apache, might have a different take on the idea of whose is actually indigenous to the land; the Aztecs and other Mexican tribes might also have a different talke on how great Mexico is.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Real Scandal

Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish: "23 May 2006 09:15 am

'The Da Vinci Code is fiction. In real life, a multi-year cover-up at the highest levels of the Roman Catholic Church of horrible crimes by the leader of a major religious order affiliated with reactionary politics simply couldn't happen. Could it?' - Mark Kleiman, yesterday.

I notice that, like many pieces of news that help expose the rotten core of theoconservatism, National Review has yet to mention that one of its favorite Catholic prelates, Father Maciel, protected by their favorite pope, John Paul II, has just been acknowledged as a sexual abuser - by the Vatican. At least Neuhaus felt the need to say something."

Clinton Containment Comes Back

Democrat Taylor Marsh Blogs Politics: "Bill Clinton must be cackling over this one.

The president once pilloried for his containment philosophy on Iraq had to watch while spineless Democrats, eager to distance themselves from bad boy Bill, voted me too(!) for a preemptive war in Iraq. Now former President Clinton seems prescient in his patience, having adopted a philosophy from the Cold War for the new world to come, while demanding regime change well short of preemption.

The reality of the carnage playing out day after bloody day has finally made the neocon colonialists capitulate to President Clinton's containment policy. But, shhhhh, don't tell anyone about the new watch word for George W. Maybe no one will notice. While the neocons slowly slip into the lame duck twilight of the first nitwit presidency of the 21st century, as the rest of us make our way to a saner world.

I'd like a big glass of bubbly with lunch, please. Read it and pass the presidential crow. . ."


Scrutiny Hooligans: "Info Clearinghouse via Swatch It: On March 17, 2003 'the former head of the KGB (the secret police of the former Soviet Union), General Yevgeni Primakov, has been hired as a consultant by the US Department of Homeland Security'
'When the NICA (National Identity Card Act) gets passed, the Posse Comitatus Act gets overturned, a few other pieces of legislation yet to be proffered get passed, the White House will have more control over the American people than the Kremlin had over the Russian people when Stalin was alive. He said that and then he laughed.

What Primakov finds funny are what he calls these 'right wing flag wavers' that were so anti-communist and now they're supporting a state policy of internal passports.'"

How To Fight The Terror War

Truthdig - Reports - Molly Ivins: 'Yes, I Am Actually Calling Them Racist': ". . .There is every expectation that the fight against global terrorism and the most extreme forms of Islamic fundamentalism will last for many years. This is a war that will not necessarily require aircraft carriers, strategic bombers, fighter jets or heavily armored tanks. It will certainly not enable the United States to exploit its advantages in nuclear weapons. It is a war, indeed, that favors the highly mobile and adaptive fighting skills of the former Special Forces soldiers and other ex-commandos ....”

“Will”? Hell! Did and does. This is a war that is being fought with the wrong tools—and, in Iraq, at the wrong time, in the wrong place and against the wrong enemy.

It never did call for tanks, jets or carriers—just a combination of good detectives and good intelligence. In other words, smart, clever people with language skills. All of which we have fully available to us because of ... immigration. Lebanese, Iraqis, Iranians, Syrians, Pakistanis and Indonesians have all become Americans, and in so many cases we got the bravest of the brave—those who fought Saddam, the ayatollah and Assad, Lebanese who saw their country torn apart by religious factions. These are Americans who know the culture and language of the Middle East and other Islamic countries, and who care deeply about how it all comes out.

By all means, reform immigration with this deep obeisance to the Republican right-wing nut faction and their open contempt for “foreigners.” But do not pretend for one minute that it is not a craven political bow to racism (yes, racism—I am actually calling them racists, although they pretend it hurts their feelings. Try reading their websites and see for yourself), and to nativism, to xenophobia and to Know-Nothingism. Just don’t forget what you are throwing away in the process. . ."

More Tax Breaks

Tom Blackburn: Goldilocks wants her tax break: "Getting a politician to vote for a tax cut is about as hard as getting one to say a few words to the audience. Congress extended for another two years the 15 percent tax rate on dividends and capital gains. That is less than most wage earners are taxed on wages. That same Congress nearly came to blows over immigration, designed a drug benefit for seniors that only drug and insurance companies could love and - most germane to this discussion - still hasn't devised a clear, clean way to pay for the nation-building it supinely applauds.

The intermittent holy-cow-it-still-costs-money special appropriations for Iraq are not serious bookkeeping. They are cookouts for well-connected members of Congress to roast up more pork for favored constituents.

Displaying alarm but no panic, Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation noted that such fun and games increased federal spending by 45 percent in the Republican Era. In an essay in the D.C. Examiner, he computed that within 10 years it will take a $7,000-per-household tax increase to balance the budget.

Get control of spending, Mr. Riedl urges. Put a lid on entitlement spending like Social Security. And, finally, he says, make the Bush tax cuts permanent.

That last point is odd. To avoid having to raise taxes in the future, they should keep taxes low now? See, I told you they make things complicated. . ."

If your head isn't hurting too badly, you can find the rest here.

Harris: Before and After Crook

The Blog | Alan Dershowitz: Katherine Harris – Still a Crook | The Huffington Post: "For pointing out Harris's seedy past I was subject to a barrage of abuse from the likes of The Washington Times ('When This is All Over, We Spray for Lawyers'), The Weekly Standard ('The Politics of Personal Destruction'), National Review ('Alan Dershowitz, Goofball'), and of course, various FoxNews shows.

Then, last Friday, the Boston Globe reported that Harris, now a congresswoman, faces the exact same charges and has offered up the same feeble defense as she did back in the '90s. Prosecutors are accusing Harris, among others, of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions from defense contractor Mitchell Wade. 'Wade then discussed getting specific defense appropriations with Harris and Goode or their staffs, according to court documents.' The story goes on to relate an incident in which Wade and Harris met for a dinner costing $2,800, which Wade paid for, in violation of House ethics rules. Harris's excuse is that 'she didn't eat or drink much at the dinner and that she thought her staff had paid for her share.'

Katherine Harris, apparently, is the same crooked politician that she was in 1994 and 2000. The only difference is that back then, she was a state-level crook. Today she's a federal crook. . ."

Godly Thighs Pulse With Heavenly Power

ClayNation: Pat Robertson's magical protein shake - CBS "Here's the text from his Web site:

'Did you know that Pat Robertson can leg press 2,000 pounds? How does he do it? Where does Pat find the time and energy to host a daily, national TV show, head a world-wide ministry, develop visionary scholars, while traveling the globe as a statesman?

One of Pat's secrets to keeping his energy high and his vitality soaring is his age-defying protein shake. Pat developed a delicious, refreshing shake, filled with energy-producing nutrients. Discover what kinds of natural ingredients make up Pat's protein shake by registering for your FREE booklet today. . .'"

It's hard to know where to begin with this nonsense. I haven't tried it lately, but I think I'd probably be pleased with pressing 250 pounds. This claim is preposterous. Note the most important element here-- the media's insistence on trotting this snake-oil salesman out as spokesman for religion. If I were a member of his Levitican cult, I would be ashamed to have such bald-faced lies erupting from the pus of my leader. But the media can't get enough of this charlatan and apparently neither can Republicans, who must buy his shakes in enormous quantities-- no clear thinking person would. But then again 30 something percent of Americans still Bush is just swell so that does leave Pat with a good population of unsold customers.

But remember, after drinking one of these shakes, to contact your doctor if your erection lasts longer than four hours.

Fox Thinks Global Warming Is Good For Economy

Think Progress » Fox News: ‘Al Gore’s Global Warming Movie: Could It Destroy Our Economy?’:

"This weekend on Fox News, host David Asman asked his guests to discuss the following question: “If people buy into [Al Gore’s] global warming hysteria, will it put him in the White House and our economy on the skids?” Steve Forbes answered yes, and called Gore’s new movie “a real recipe for more socialist regulation.”

For what it’s worth, the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of labor and environmental groups, has developed a plan to “develop alternative fuels, increase energy efficiency, rebuild and expand public transportation networks and come up with other initiatives to reduce fossil fuel use” that would create more than three million jobs in the process. . ."

Gore Metamorphic

The Blog | Richard Greene: The Transformation of Al Gore | The Huffington Post:
". . . The transformation of Al Gore . . . starting with his surprisingly relaxed concession speech in 2000 and more recently seen in his fire and brimstone speeches on the stump, his masterful appearance on Saturday Night Live and now, as the shockingly warm, intimate, passionate and soulful man and his slide show in this superb film . . . is a thrilling case study of what is so terribly wrong in politics and what can be so terribly right.

Every politician should see 'An Inconvenient Truth', but not only for the scientific wisdom. They should see it because Al Gore, genuinely the professor here, shows us the true potential power of politics . . the simple yet awesome power of being one's self. . ."

Osama Sez

Bin Laden: Moussaoui Not Linked to 9/11 - Yahoo! News: "CAIRO, Egypt -
Osama bin Laden purportedly said in an audio tape Tuesday that Zacarias Moussaoui — the only person convicted in the U.S. for the Sept. 11 attacks — had nothing to do with the operation.

'He had no connection at all with Sept. 11,' the speaker, claiming to be bin Laden, said in the tape posted on the Internet.

'I am the one in charge of the 19 brothers and I never assigned brother Zacarias to be with them in that mission,' he said, referring to the 19 hijackers. . ."

Times Obsessing on Clinton Sex Again

Ms. Smith comments on the New York Times story about the Clinton's sex life:

Firedoglake - Firedoglake weblog: "I do not know if Hillary is running for president and I’m not making a case for her candidacy. I do, however, think she has the right to try to earn the nomination without this gossip-at-the-hair salon coverage by the NY Times. And believe me, it won’t just be her. Look at the spooky picture of Mark Warner on the cover of New York Times Magazine. He looked like something out of a David Lynch movie. I have no doubt that we are going to be reading many derisive accounts of Al Gore the bearded, earth toned circus freak. It’s quite clear that if the Democrats are are coming into power, the Times is going to pick up right where it left off when it was last obsessed with Clinton’s crotch and Hillary’s cold, cold heart. Or perhaps, more to the point, this piece is just a first notice that they plan to.

Democrats be advised: the press is a bunch of braindead robots who are uninterested in changing their puerile Democratic storyline even in the face of the most disasterous administration in American history.It’s shocking. You can love Hillary or hate her, I don’t care. But goddamit the intimate state of her marriage to Bill Clinton is nobody’s business and it NEVER HAS BEEN. If the gossip rags want to play this game, there’s nothing anyone can do. But it is just shameful that the New York Times would go back to their cheap, tabloid coverage of politics when the world is on fire. I'm honestly stunned this is happening again. . ."

Lying Rice Cooking

Eric Umansky: Rice Cooking the Numbers: "May 22, 2006
Rice Cooking the Numbers

Secretary of State Rice explaining yesterday on Fox News why Gitmo can't be closed:

If we do close down Guantanamo, what becomes of the hundreds of dangerous people who were picked up on battlefields in Afghanistan, who were picked up because of their associations with Al Qaeda? We do have an obligation, the president has an obligation, to also keep America and, by the way, many of our allies safe by making certain that people don't return to the battlefield.

Men picked up on the 'battlefields in Afghanistan' and men connected to al-Qaida, eh Condi? According to a Seton Hall study that relied on the Pentagon's own data, just 11 percent of the detainees were captured 'on the battlefield' by coalition forces. Also, the majority of detainees--about 66 percent--were 'captured' in Pakistan. Just eight percent of the prisoners have been classified as 'Al-Qaida fighters. . .'"



Atrios calls for an article:

"Saving It!

A genuinely relevant political article in the New York Times would involve a detailed examination of the sex lives of all non-married members of the Bush administration. Abstinence-only education is a key policy feature of the Bush administration, and it would certainly be legitimate to ask if they are, in fact, saving it."

Left Will Fight Terrorists

Democrat Taylor Marsh Blogs Politics: ". . .'We doubt all of this will help Democrats with the larger electorate, which whatever its doubts about Iraq does not want a precipitous surrender. Americans haven't trusted a liberal Democrat with the White House during wartime since Vietnam, which is when the seeds of the current antiwar rage were planted. The great mistake that leading Democrats and anti-Communist liberals made during Vietnam was not speaking up against a left that was demanding retreat and sneering at our war heroes. Will any Democrat speak up now?'
The left is against the 'war on terror'? 'Sneering at war heroes'? 'Precipitous surrender'?

We have waited through 3 votes, months of dithering and disaster in Iraq, so it's true, we don't exactly want to turn that incompetence on Iran. Oh, and it would be nice, I mean if you're going to talk about the 'war on terror,' to actually catch the man who hit us on 9/11.

And what about the Republican swiftboating of the generals against Bush, Rumsfeld and the Iraq war? What about the Republican operatives spewing venom at the veterans against this war?

Democrats have 55 Fighting Dems running for office. Where is the Republican contingent of that magnitude?. . ."

Monday, May 22, 2006

PA Is Number One!

Attytood: Lobbyist money...he's No. 1, he's No. 1!: "The folks over at the Congress Watch of Public Citizen have put out a report on the lobbyists who bankroll Congress. It features a list of the 20 biggest givers among lobbyists -- an interesting read, to be sure -- but they've also compiled a tally of the biggest 'getters,' the members of Congress who've pulled in the most money from K Street during the 1998-2004 election cycles.

Among current members of the U.S. Senate, guess who's No. 1.

That's right, the man who helped found the very K Street Project and then tried to deny its existence, our own junior senator from right here in Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum. Looking at those four election cycles from 1998 through 2004, Public Citizen found that the Pa. Republican had raked in $1,163,560 from registered lobbyists -- $838,133 from individuals, and $325,427 from their political action committees.

That puts Santorum in an elite club. Only four members have raised more than $1 million from lobbyists during that period -- the one who raked in the most, former Democratic Senate Leader Tom Daschle, with $1,687,721, was booted out of office by South Dakota voters in 2004.

The one current member of Congress who's taken in more lobbyist cash won't be around for much longer. That would be former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who raised $1,322,906, but is resigning early next month to deal with his criminal indictment in his home state of Texas and is also under investigation for his ties to a disgraced lobbyist (what a coincidence), admitted felon Jack Abramoff.

(In the Wouldn't-You-Just-Know-It Department, the other member of this dubious $1 million club is Pennsylvania's other senator, Arlen Specter, at $1,019,317. Is this state "corrupt and contented" or what?). . .

Drudge Dredges Lies

The Raw Story | Drudge 'retracts' story on Howard Dean after receiving letter from DNC lawyer: "Drudge story includes Raw Story quote

Conservative heavyweight Matt Drudge has all but retracted a story about Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean after receiving a letter from the DNC's lawyers, RAW STORY can report.

Saying he took the DNC at their word -- and declining to mention the fact he had received a letter from a DNC lawyer asking him to take the story down -- Drudge posted an update to a story claiming that Chairman Dean had intervened in the New Orleans mayoral race. His update noted that the DNC had vehemently denied the report.

'The DRUDGE REPORT takes chairman Dean and his spokesman at their word,' Drudge wrote. He did not offer an explicit retraction.

DNC communications director Karen Finney said the move came only after the Committee's lawyer had penned a note to Drudge asking him to take the story down.

'Because of the seriousness of the inaccuracy and the reckless disregard of the facts I did ask our lawyer to send a note to Drudge asking him to take the story down,' Finney told RAW STORY. . ."

More Echoes In The Paranoia Room

Rox Populi: ALL NSA Whistle-Blower's Evidence Now on Wired: "22 May 2006
ALL NSA Whistle-Blower's Evidence Now on Wired

Lovely, this bit:

In 2003 AT&T built 'secret rooms' hidden deep in the bowels of its central offices in various cities, housing computer gear for a government spy operation which taps into the company's popular WorldNet service and the entire internet. These installations enable the government to look at every individual message on the internet and analyze exactly what people are doing. Documents showing the hardwire installation in San Francisco suggest that there are similar locations being installed in numerous other cities."

Appoint Bill President

Scripps Howard News Service: ". . .It follows that anyone who could devise some legal way to return Clinton to the presidency would be performing a service of such magnitude that he would deserve to have his statue adorn every public square of this great nation.

I therefore submit the following proposal: When Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., makes her long-expected announcement that she is running for president, she should also announce that her husband will be her running mate, and that, if elected, she will resign from office, effective Jan. 21, 2009.

The meaning of the text of the 22nd Amendment could not be plainer. It reads, in relevant part, 'No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice.' And, as legal scholars such as Justice Antonin Scalia have pointed out many times in recent years, when the meaning of a legal text is plain, it is both unnecessary and illegitimate to enforce anything other than that meaning.

Thus, while Bill Clinton cannot be re-elected, nothing bars him from becoming president again. Indeed, one suspects that much of Hillary Clinton's status as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination is a product of the hope that, by electing her, the people would be re-electing her husband in all but name. . ."

From the This Is Not Good Department

Personal data on millions of US veterans stolen - "By Will Dunham | May 22, 2006

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Personal information on 26.5 million U.S. veterans was stolen from an employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs who took the data home without authorization, exposing them to possible identity theft, the department said on Monday.

The computer records included names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth for the military veterans and some spouses, the department said. The electronic data related to everyone discharged from the military since 1975, Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson said. . ."

Why Is The Man Who Was Right Insane?

Daily Howler: Al Gore was right all along. But to Matthews and Klein, he's still crazy: "Al Gore was right about global warming—way back in the 1980s. He was also right on internal combustion. And oh yes, he was right on Iraq, in a prophetic speech in September 02—a speech Joe Klein praised at the time. In a rational world, this would make Gore a reigning star—but we live in the world of a millionaire press corps, and we suffer, every day, from its judgments. On Friday morning, Michael Kinsley heaped torrents of praise on McCain, who was wrong. But how does the pundit corps treat Gore, the man was actually right on Iraq? On this weekend’s Chris Matthews Show, one empty scribe turned to another (Joe Klein), who then said what they’ve said all along:

KLEIN (5/21/06): You know, there’s a big question here. If you read Al Gore’s speech just before the war in Iraq where he came out against it, it’s a brilliant speech. If you saw Al Gore delivering it, he looked like a madman.

Al Gore can be right as much as he likes—but in these strange regions, he’s always a madman. Moments earlier, Matthews had started the hunt. He teed up the vacuous Kathleen Parker by quoting one of her columns:

MATTHEWS: Kathleen, you wrote a column recently—I like the phraseology—you said Al Gore is “one slice short of a loaf.” (Group laughter) I mean, that’s like they say up in Massachusetts, they say things like, “He’s got a few shingles missing from the roof.” What’s your point? Is he a little nutty, are you saying?". . .

On PC For the Enhanced...

and the leftblogosphere's tendency to wax too often with the fat slurs about the corpurlent Right.

Creek Running North: ". . .Holly mentioned in comments to the FAQ post that she’d like to see me in a moment of sheer incivility. She almost got her wish in this post. There is part of me that wants to react with outrage at the insinuations that obesity necessarily means weakness, most of them surely leveled by people who have never once flung a 60-pound jackhammer around for two and a half days. In fact, I will go so far as to invite any of the fat-bashing “Sadly, No” commenters to accompany me on a Diablo climb. It’s only 3700 feet or so total climb, and 13 miles. And it takes me five and a half, six hours to do it. Counting the usual half hour or so of resting that includes, that means an average speed of just over two miles an hour. Surely they can match that pace up all those switchbacks. And then back down. And then again the next weekend. With six or so miles run during the intervening week. That’s not much exercise at all. They couldn’t possibly have as much trouble keeping up with me physically as they would intellectually. Could they?" . . .

It's been a while since anyone actually made fun of my rotundness (at least to my face), but the self-conscious guilt of childhood will always be there. So why don't those fat people just quit eating? some may ask. I'll tell you why-- we're hungry. 24/7, 365. Hungry. Starved. For whatever reason. I've quit many bad habits; I excerise sometimes like a berserk tasmanian devil. I starve. It matters not. The weight piles on. So why I don't just quit eating altogether? Uh, well, why don't you just quit breathing? It's that easy.

Confined Space

Confined Space: "Bush Should Withdraw Mine Safety Nominee

I'm not sure if anyone is reading this who matters, but after the deaths yesterday of five more coal miners, bringing this year's total to 31, it is clear to me that Richard Stickler's name should be withdrawn as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health.

I'm not saying that Richard Stickler is a bad person, or even that he doesn't care about the health and safety of mineworkers. In fact, let's assume that Richard Stickler is sincerely interested in improving the safety of American miners and has every intention of turning MSHA around. The fact is that he is clearly unsuited for this job, and I'm not basing this only on the fact that Stickler is yet another in a long line of Bush administration industry foxes that have been appointed to guard this country's henhouses.

The job of leading one of this country's workplace safety and health agencies is much more than just having good intentions and some safety experience in the industry. Moving the health and safety agenda forward requires fighting tough political battles on several fronts. The most obvious is the battle against those companies who seek to shortcut safety in order to maximize production, particularly when coal prices are at their highest level in 20 years. . ."

Thomas Praying for Bush

New York Daily News - Daily Dish & Gossip - Lloyd Grove's Lowdown: Justice prays for a Prez in 'real trouble':

"Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (above with President Bush) told W's sister, Doro Bush Koch, that he was praying for him.

Just how bad are things for President Bush?

Pretty bad, I'd say, if even Clarence Thomas is worried about him.

The other night at a Washington book party for the President's sister, Doro Bush Koch, the Supreme Court justice arrived with his wife, Ginny, on the tented roof of the Hay Adams Hotel, overlooking the White House, and made a beeline for the author.

'We have to pray for your brother. He's in real trouble,' Thomas told a wide-eyed Koch, whose older brother is, indeed, suffering from near-catastrophic public-opinion ratings. . ."

Ex-White House Official Goes To Trial

NBC: Trial for ex-White House official - Politics - "Former top White House official goes to trial

Jury to decide fate of Abramoff associate Safavian in criminal case

WASHINGTON - After five guilty pleas in the influence-peddling investigation of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the first criminal trial is set to begin Monday.

David Safavian, the former chief of staff of the General Services Administration, then the top White House procurement officer, and a longtime friend and associate of Abramoff, is charged with five counts of making false statements and obstructing investigations into a golfing trip to Scotland he took with Abramoff and U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, in August 2002. If convicted, Safavian faces up to 25 years in jail and more than $1 million in fines. . ."

War Heores Treated Badly

Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: Various items:
"(2) National Review Editor Rich Lowry can't believe that John McCain, whom Lowry notes is a 'war hero,' was treated so disrespectfully when he spoke last night at the New School in Manhattan. Lowry finds it 'incredible' and 'amazing' that a war heo would be subjected to heckling when giving a highly controversial speech praising a highly unpopular war.

Apparently, heckling a war hero during a speech is a despicable act. But it's perfectly OK to waive purple band-aids at decorated, wounded war veterans; and it's fine to accuse them of being soft on Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein even after they voted for the Iraq invasion and co-sponsored creation of the Homeland Security Department; and there is nothing wrong with going to the floor of the House and labeling a war hero a 'coward' and then following it up with a year's worth of accusations that they are also a traitor. Calling into question a war hero's patriotism, their courage, the seriousness of their war wounds, and their allegiance to the United States is all perfectly fine. Just don't boo them at a speech. . ."

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Crooked Democrat

Lawmaker Accused of Hiding $90G in Freezer - Yahoo! News: "By MATTHEW BARAKAT, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 46 minutes ago

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A congressman under investigation for bribery was caught on videotape accepting $100,000 in $100 bills from an FBI informant whose conversations with the lawmaker also were recorded, according to a court document released Sunday. Agents later found the cash hidden in his freezer.

At one audiotaped meeting, Rep. William Jefferson (news, bio, voting record), D-La., chuckles about writing in code to keep secret what the government contends was his corrupt role in getting his children a cut of a communications company's deal for work in Africa. . ."

Domestic Spying Success

To General Hayden on his little spying program from
Larry Beinhart: With All This Horse**** at The Huffington Post:

"Line ‘em up and show us the results. Let’s have the perp walk of all the al Qaedas, all the al Qaeda caller uppers you’ve located, investigated, caught, apprehended and brought to trial! With all this horseshit there must be a whole herd of ponies.

Get on the stand and regale with tales of success. Of plots thwarted. Of desperate measures intercepted. Of terrorists captured or killed.

Tell us how you’ve located Osama bin Laden.

It’s been over four and a half years. Unlimited budget. Unlimited military might. No visible moral constraints. Tell us how you’ve tracked him down, hung him high and busted up his ring!

Don’t tell merely that there have been no terrorists incidents since 9/11. It’s a lot tougher action to pull off since then, with every eye of every American, with all the airlines and airports and security companies, the local and state police, immigration and customs, all on alert. We don’t have to hear about all kinds of secret stuff you did to stop the next 9/11. . ."

Progressive Hope - Dems: Shed corporate cash:
"By John Aloysius Farrell
Post Washington Bureau Chief


The Democrats may win the November election. They might even take back the White House in 2008.

But unless Democratic office-holders shuck their reliance on corporate cash and return to fighting for working families, says David Sirota, his party will be better off losing.

The nation's capital is steeped in corruption, the progressive polemist says, and replacing corrupted Republicans with corrupted Democrats is no solution at all.

'There is always going to be a big-business party in this country. There always has been,' says Sirota. 'But we have had equilibrium in the past because there has always been a party of the little guy.'

Then, 'big business realized the way to really maximize its agenda was to water down and weaken the counterweight,' Sirota says. Now, he adds, 'about a third to a half of the Democratic Party is complicit' in Republican policies on taxes, energy, job losses, trade and the war in Iraq.

'What we have now is a government working on behalf of the big- moneyed interests who finance political campaigns,' he says. . ."

There is a way to bring the balance. Think of tens of millions of Americans targeting their spending to specific corporations whose policies are progressive. Of course, this is already being done on a small scale by squallers like me. Leadership from someone with a national stage on this issue could balance the corporate greed that is overwhelming both parties.

Bush Taxes Kids

AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth: "Forget about the Dick Cheney's of the world, the GOP is taxing the teenagers of America to pick up some of the slack in the latest round of reckless tax breaks for those at the top of the food chain. I know that the GOP likes to think that only Democrats raise taxes (except in Ohio) but isn't this a tax increase? Where's the veto George? Notice how the WH quietly altered their story about tax savings for everyone who pays taxes? The world needs ditch-diggers too according to the GOP. What a proud moment this must be for everyone who voted to tax Americas youth.

Under the new law, teenagers age 14 to 17 with investment income will now be taxed at the same rate as their parents, not at their own rates. Long-term capital gains and dividends that had been taxed at 5 percent will now be taxed at 15 percent. Interest that had been taxed at 10 percent will now be taxed at as much as 35 percent.

The increases, which are retroactive to the first day of the year, are expected to generate nearly $2.2 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, which issues the official estimates. . ."

CEI Lies About Global Warming

Think Progress: "Climate Scientist To CEI: Stop Misrepresenting My Research

On Wednesday, the Competitive Enterprise Institute – a front group funded by ExxonMobil and other big oil companies – launched two advertisements in response to Al Gore’s new movie about global warming, An Inconvenient Truth.

One of the advertisements attempts to show that the scientific evidence for global warming is in dispute, claiming a study found the “Antarctic ice sheet is getting thicker, not thinner.”

The primary author of that study, Curt Davis, has issued statement blasting CEI’s use of his study. Here’s an excerpt:

These television ads are a deliberate effort to confuse and mislead the public about the global warming debate. They are selectively using only parts of my previous research to support their claims. They are not telling the entire story to the public. . ."

Right On Bush Honesty

Jonathan Chait:
The right discovers Bush's 'honesty' - Los Angeles Times:

". . .It's funny. I remember when Bush insisted that he wanted to bring the parties together to pass a patients' bill of rights, even as he arm-twisted Republicans who favored such a bill into renouncing it. I remember when he insisted that lower-income workers reaped the biggest share of his tax cuts. I remember when he presented his stem cell position as a way to dramatically expand research opportunities. One could say that misleading rhetoric was the hallmark of Bush's political style. But if you said that two years ago, you were a rabid Bush-hater.

Now the immigration debate, which has turned the right against itself, has provoked a kind of right-wing glasnost. Former Bush loyalists are discovering all sorts of unpleasant things about him, and each other.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal, which favors more open immigration, sadly noted that the party's 'restrictionists still aren't satisfied' with Bush's compromise plan.

'Bush attempted to meet his own party's restrictionists halfway,' the editors fumed, 'and they are saying it still isn't enough.'

Conservative Republicans refusing to compromise! Can you imagine? . . ."

No Rush To Impeach

The Anniston Star » There’s no rush to impeach Bush: Conyers says he seeks proper congressional oversight:
"By John Conyers Jr.
Special to The Washington Post
As Republicans have become increasingly nervous about whether they will be able to maintain control of the House in the midterm elections, they have resorted to the straw-man strategy of identifying a parade of horrors to come if Democrats gain the majority. Among these is the assertion that I, as the new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, would immediately begin impeachment proceedings against President Bush.

I will not do that. I readily admit that I have been quite vigorous, if not relentless, in questioning the administration. The allegations I have raised are grave, serious, well known and based on reliable media reports and the accounts of former administration officials.

But none of these allegations can be proved or disproved until the administration answers questions. For example, to know whether intelligence was mistaken or manipulated in the run-up to the Iraq war, we need to know what information was made available to — and actually read by — decision makers and how views contradicting the case for war were treated. . ."

Psyching Bush

Awaken In The Dream

. . .Inflated by the power of the underlying archetype, Bush is suffering from delusions of grandeur, and has become megalomaniacal. He is unconsciously identified with the archetype of the Messiah. Bush told an Amish group in 2004 that “God speaks through me.” Bush imagines that God actually speaks to him as well; in 2003 he told Palestinian ministers that God told him to invade Iraq. Jung commented, “One should listen to the inner voice attentively, intelligently and critically, (Probate spiritus!) [test the spirits], because the voice one hears is the influxus divinus consisting, as the Acts of John aptly state, of “right” and “left” streams, i.e., of opposites. They have to be clearly separated so that their positive and negative aspects become visible.” John 4:1 says, “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God.” Just because one hears an inner voice doesn’t necessarily mean it is the voice of God. Listened to uncritically, we could just as easily be seduced by the Devil.

Bush has become inflated with an archetype of the collective unconscious, which is an expression of madness. He has become identified with one side, the light, of an inherently two-sided polarity, and projects out the other, dark side, which he then tries to destroy. By shadow projecting in this manner, Bush has become possessed by the very evil he is projecting outside of himself. This is to fall under the spell of the Devil, who is rightly called “the deceiver.”

A clearer case of madness is hard to imagine. Jung describes such a situation by saying it is an “…overwhelming manifestation of the “blond beast” [of prey, a figure popularized by Nietzsche], which seizes the unsuspecting soul with nameless shudderings. The seizure transforms him into a hero or godlike being, a superhuman entity. He rightly feels himself “six thousand feet beyond good and evil.” Because of his inflation, Bush literally feels himself above human morality, as he is under the self-generating delusion that he is the supreme moral arbiter, not realizing in the slightest that he has fallen into his unconscious, whose dark side he is acting out. Because of his pathological condition, he is the last person who should be the judge of morality, the very last person on earth choosing justices for the Supreme Court. . ."

Wow. And I just thought he was crazy.

Chilling the First

Crooks and Liars: "(CNN transcipt)

[Brian]ROSS: Other than Esposito and Ross, no. But I'm assuming your colleague, Dana Priest, and Risen and others at the 'Times,' who have done a lot of important work that involved information that the CIA, I assume, presumes to be classified and they see that as a violation of the law. And that starts the process by which they essentially can use provisions of the Patriot Act if they chose, or just a grand jury, to pursue it.

And it makes me feel, in a way -- and this is, I think, the disturbing part -- as if we are drug dealers or terrorists trying to traffic in information, and should we be using bags full of quarters like old Mafia capos to avoid having our phone calls traced? I don't think I'm doing anything wrong; I don't think any other reporter is, either. We're trying to cover these stories, which are difficult, but which are very important. . ."

On The Levitican Takeover. . .

Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party: "How did this happen?

. . .Voter apathy is key to the phenomenal ascent of the theocratic right in the U.S. government.

With the apathy that exists today, a small, well-organized minority can influence the selection of candidates to an astonishing degree. (Pat Robertson, The Millennium, 1990)

Robertson tells us who makes up that 'well-organized minority.' It includes only Christians who share his point of view. As he said on his television program, the 700 Club:

'You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists, and this and that and the other thing. Nonsense! I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist.' (Rob Boston, Pat Robertson, the Most Dangerous Man in America?, Prometheus Books, 1996, p. 149.)

'The apathy of other Americans can become a blessing and advantage to Christians,' wrote Mark Beliles and Stephen McDowell in 1989 in America's Providential History, a popular textbook for Christian schools and the Christian homeschool movement.

If just 10% of all Christians in America today woke up and realized how easy it is, got involved consistently for the long haul, it would not take long to reform America completely. (p.266) . . ."

People Manipulation

What People Believe - by Charley Reese: ". . .And what exists right at this moment is a corrupt federal government with a foolish man in the White House. What exists at this moment is a military-industrial complex with a vested interest in war and conflict. What exists at this moment are unnecessary wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. What exists at this moment is a government solicitous of corporate welfare, but one that doesn't give a hoot about the individual American.

Rudyard Kipling said it so well when in a poem he wrote: 'If any question why we died / Tell them, because our fathers lied.' Be alert when you hear politicians talk about abstractions like patriotism, national security and international stability. They are trying to control you by controlling your mind."

The post explores the idea of where our attitudes and national identity come from. Well done and certainly worth a look.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Common Sense In A Court Ruling

Judge Strikes Down Okla. Gay Adoption Law - Yahoo! News: "TIM TALLEY, Associated Press Writer Sat May 20, 7:21 AM ET

OKLAHOMA CITY - A federal judge struck down a 2-year-old law that prohibits Oklahoma from recognizing adoptions by same-sex couples from other states and countries.

U.S. District Judge Robin Cauthron ruled Friday the measure violated due process rights under the U.S. Constitution because it attempted to break up families without considering the parents' fitness or the children's best interests.

Gay-rights organization Lambda Legal had challenged the law on behalf of three same-sex couples. . ."

A Post From The Darkside

Uh, I'm not responsible for the grammar. . .

Blogs for Bush: The White House Of The Blogosphere: "Illegals Granted Social Security
By Paul Lewis at 02:12 AM

What in the heck was the Democrats thinking

'Instead of protecting the retirement security of Americans who are earning an honest living and abiding by the laws of our country, Debbie Stabenow sided with people who are here illegally and abuse our Social Security system,' Oakland County, Mich., Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a press release. 'Allowing illegal immigrants to use their illegal work history as credit towards receiving Social Security benefits shows that Debbie Stabenow has forgotten who she is supposed to be working for in the U.S. Senate.'

Up to $345 billion, or even more could be siphoned from the Social Security trust fund over the next couple of decades, mostly to pay benefits to Mexican citizens who worked illegally in the United States.

I check my Social Security reports often, to make sure nothing has been added. Like unexpected income from a job in Texas, while I am in working Ohio. I would advise that you do the same."

Interesting assertion but no links to back-up numbers. So how much does Social Security get paid by illegals? I don't think you can draw anything out without paying something in, but I'm not anywhere near an authority in that area. Feedback? Help.

Listen-Up, Liberals!

Being liberal (or moderate in some cases) does not mean you are automatically anti-military, though the Frothing Foamers of the Far Right try to make that argument constantly. We need the military. The military needs us. We all need good leadership and stewardship from our elected officals.

Operation Yellow Elephant: "Liberal School Hosts ROTC Commissioning Ceremony

Attention Liberals:

Columbia University (New York) hosted the first ROTC commissioning ceremony since 1972, when ROTC was kicked off campus. Granted, it was the Air Force, but nevertheless welcome.

If you want the U.S. to intervene militarily in places like Darfur to stop genocide, you have a responsibility to support (or, at minimum, not to oppose) our military which actually accomplishes the mission you support. Otherwise, conservatives will charge you with hypocrisy.

Of course, here's the best quote from the article (unfortunately hidden behind a pay-to-read firewall):

Conservative students not in the ROTC charged the university with hypocrisy. 'It's ridiculous that people who promote tolerance and diversity are the same people who try to keep out the alternative lifestyle - that is, ROTC - from our school,' an active member of the College Republicans, Peter Law, said. Well, Mr. Law, if you really want to Support President Bush, have you considered volunteering for military service yourself?"

Dissing McCain Commencement Speech

Democrat Taylor Marsh Blogs Politics: ". . .What did Senator Suck Up have to say after it was all over? 'I feel sorry for people living in a dull world where they can't listen to the views of others,' was his retort. Talk about clueless.

A 'dull world' has nothing to do with it, senator. You are an embarrassment, a punch line, a sell out, because nobody can see through political positioning faster than young people or others who have nothing to lose by calling people out for their political opportunism.

Senators Lieberman and McCain are not gone from the political landscape, but their kind is waning. They are just another fact of W.'s lame duck disaster that has become the laughing stock of the world and lost all credibility in this country. They're not gone and they will never be forgotten, but they are all certainly sad, silly men and women who have lost any meaning to most of us. This page of history cannot be turned fast enough, so let us trudge on . . ."

Joe's Bad Show

Firedoglake - Firedoglake weblog: ". . .Colin McEnroe has this to say in the Hartford Courant today:

There were stories circulating on the floor about Lamont voters who stayed home rather than show up and be squeezed by the rest of their delegations. And several Democratic elected officials admitted to me they were voting for Lieberman in the public forum of a convention while fully determined to vote for Lamont in the privacy of a booth.

I think 33 percent is a pretty bad number for an incumbent senator to give up to a challenger nobody ever heard of. Certainly, the Lamont team members were staggering around like dazed lottery winners. 'Pinch me,' Lamont campaign manager Tom Swan told a comrade. The Lieberman team was acting like they knew it all along. 'Can we count or can we count?' Lieberman manager Sean Smith languidly told a reporter. He was unpersuasive. It may have been a number that tumbled out of their worst-case game theory, but it certainly was not a number they wanted.

The real number is lot worse for Lieberman than 33 percent. I don’t know how big the Lamont vote would get if you could tabulate the no-shows and the sleeper cells of delegates who plan to vote differently in the primary, but I do know it’s a bigger number. And the convention is full of party regulars, usually the easiest people to keep in line. Wisdom of the ages would suggest that the "amateur" voters are potentially much more rebellious."

Phone Jam Scam Still Alive

TPMmuckraker May 18, 2006 12:19 PM: ". . .The Democrats are continuing their lawsuit against New Hampshire Republicans and are still awaiting a judge's ruling as to whether they can question GOP higher-ups in the White House about whether they spoke to anyone about the jamming. Yesterday added another detail to make Dems suspicious that those in the White House knew more than they've let on. According to yesterday's Washington Post, the White House was 'informed' about former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie's decision to cover Tobin's legal bills. Gillespie was careful to say that this wasn't 'formal approval,' but clearly he got the go-ahead from someone there. Democrats will want to know who."

Coulter Makes Ugly

From Cooks and Liars: "Coulter was really out there last night on H&C. Reader 'accord' sent in this edited video clip of her vaudevillian talking head act. These kinds of statements are laughable and people say we should just ignore Coulter, but obviously some conservatives do take her seriously. She was the 'rock star' speaker at the big CPAC convention back in Feb. Talking about serial killers, maybe Ann should ask James Dobson why he loves David 'Son of Sam' Berkowitz so much. "

Where Freedom Lies

The Blog | Geoffrey R. Stone: Freedom and Responsibility | The Huffington Post: ". . .Throughout our history, Americans have silently approved serious, sometimes grievous abuses of civil liberties, only later to bemoan their failure to act responsibly. During the Cold War, the public failed to challenge the witch-hunts of Joseph McCarthy and the House Committee on Un-American Activities; during World War II, most Americans sanctioned the mass internment of Japanese-Americans; during the post-World War I Red Scare, the public cheered on the deportation of thousands of innocent aliens; and during World War I, most Americans approved the criminal prosecution of thousands of individuals for criticizing the war or the draft. After every one of these episodes, the public came to acknowledge its error and promised not to repeat the mistake again.

It is quite natural, of course, for us to want to defer to presidential assertions of authority in times of danger. We want to be safe, and presidents promise to protect us. But as citizens of a self-governing society, we bear the responsibility to think seriously about our freedoms. It is our responsibility to learn from the blunders of the past. If we are careless about our freedoms, we risk losing them not only for ourselves, but for our children. As the great judge Learned Hand once warned, "Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it."

Dark Clouds on GOP Horizon

Growing Number of GOP Seats In Doubt: "Growing Number of GOP Seats In Doubt
Vulnerability Seen In Unusual Places

By Michael D. Shear and Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, May 20, 2006; A01

VIRGINIA BEACH, May 19 -- When some of the country's top political handicappers drew up their charts of vulnerable House incumbents at the beginning of this year, Rep. Thelma D. Drake (R-Va.) was not among them. Now she is.

President Bush carried her district with 58 percent of the vote in 2004, but strategists say his travails are part of the reason the freshman lawmaker now has a fight on her hands. He swooped into town briefly Friday for a closed-door fundraiser for Drake but made no public appearances.

Drake, who won with ease two years ago, is not alone. With approval ratings for Bush and congressional Republicans at a low ebb, GOP strategists see signs of weakness where they least expected it -- including a conservative, military-dominated suburb such as Virginia Beach -- and fear that their problems could grow worse unless the national mood brightens.

Some veterans of the 1994 GOP takeover of Congress see worrisome parallels between then and now, in the way once-safe districts are turning into potential problems. Incumbents' poll numbers have softened. Margins against their Democratic opponents have narrowed. . ."

Democrats should run like they're behind. Diebold is the GOP Joker in the deck.