Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Go Other Al, Go!

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 01/31/2007 | Comedian Al Franken to run for Senate in Minnesota: "By Rob Hotakainen
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON -- Comedian and radio talk show host Al Franken has begun calling Democratic members of Congress and prominent Minnesota Democrats to tell them he will definitely challenge Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in 2008, McClatchy Newspapers has learned..."

Passing Of A Great One

Syndicated columnist Molly Ivins dies - Politics - "AUSTIN, Texas - Best-selling author and columnist Molly Ivins, the sharp-witted liberal who skewered the political establishment and referred to President Bush as “Shrub,” died Wednesday after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 62..."

Getting SWATed

True Blue Liberal » Your Local Police Force Has Been Militarized: "In recent years American police forces have called out SWAT teams 40,000 or more times annually. Last year did you read in your newspaper or hear on TV news of 110 hostage or terrorist events each day? No. What then were the SWAT teams doing? They were serving routine warrants to people who posed no danger to the police or to the public.

Occasionally Washington think tanks produce reports that are not special pleading for donors. One such report is Radley Balko’s “Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America” (Cato Institute, 2006)..."

Remember the bombing of MOVE?

Silence Would Be Golden

Memo to Republicans: Shut Up, Shut Up, Shut Up! - The Smirking Chimp: "NEW YORK--Attention right-wing neoconservative Republicans: We Americans have done things your way since 1981, when an actor named Reagan convinced us that we weren't entitled to anything from the government other than a canceled check for our taxes. We supported dictators against democratic movements. We started wars against tiny weak countries like Grenada and Panama and
Afghanistan just because we could. Even when we had a Democratic president, he bought into Reagan Republicanism; Clinton cut rich people's taxes, signed NAFTA and got rid of social welfare programs.

Twenty-six years into the NeoCon nightmare, everybody hates the United States. We're broke. Here's how screwed up we are: we can't even get out of a war that 91 percent of Americans are against. Republicans got us into this mess.

I say: Enough is enough. Three thousand dead soldiers and $2 trillion say it's time for anyone who ever argued in favor of invading Iraq to shut the eff up..."

Marine Dies-- VA Little Help

I'm going to excerpt a small piece of this terrible story. We can't continue to allow this to happen-- this is far too 'Nam-like and as a country, we swore we would never do that to our warriors again. Please. Please. Take care of our troops. Young Marine Dies Of PTSD - And Neglect: "...On January 16, Schulze called his family and told them that he was going to do it -- he was going to kill himself. His family called the local police, who raced to his house, kicked in his door and found him hanging from an electrical cord.

Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

Having read about Schulze while on a trip to Minnesota, Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) brought the story to the floor of the Senate and read it into the record on Monday.

'The story is nearly unbelievable to me,' said Dorgan in a speech on the Senate floor. 'The newspaper description of the flag-draped coffin of this young marine who earned two Purple Hearts fighting for his country in Iraq contains a sad, sad story of a young marine who should have gotten medical help for serious psychological problems that were the result of his wartime experience.'

The Marine's family says that he couldn't sleep, would have nightmares reliving the combat he had experienced and suffered from vivid flashbacks when awake.

“He was a delayed casualty of the Iraq war,” his father, Jim Schulze, a Vietnam Veteran, said of Jonathan..."

Tears. Please, no more. Never again. Go to the link if you can take reading the entire post.

Unpopular Publicans

Taylor Marsh weighs in on some prospects for 2008.

The '08 Republican Lemons: "...They quote a Red State post that is just too deliciously negative not to pick up.

They all suck. Let's just admit it. Every one of the thus far announced Republican candidates for President sucks. From the lecherous adulterer to the egomaniacal nut job to the flip-flopping opportunist with the perfect hair to the guy who hates brown people to the guy we've never heard of to the guy who has a better chance of getting hit by a meteor while being consumed by a blue whale being struck by lightening(sic).

They all suck. (Well, okay, Brownback doesn't suck at all, but I perceive no viability for his candidacy.) ...

They All Suck

With the field this bad, can Newt be far from their minds? Evidently not, says 'They All Suck.' Oh, please. Oh, please. Oh, please. Bring back Newt, by all means. His Fox 'News' candidacy would be a hoot to watch unravel, er, I mean unveil..."

Fox Flogs Weather Channel

Eat The Press | Fox Takes Fair And Balanced Look At Weather "War"...With One Side | The Huffington Post: "...Incidentally, Inhofe and Doocey are referring to the Weather Channel's new show called 'The Climate Code' about global warming. On Sunday night, host Heidi Cullen responded to what was apparently a large volume of complaints about how the weather channel, with the defense that global warming was actually not up for debate, since it was, you know, happening. This is what Doocey wondered was a 'political agenda.' Inhofe agreed, disgusted with the irresponsibility of this climatologist, wondering if perhaps more base motivations were at play: 'What would happen to the Weather Channel's ratings if all the sudden people weren't scared anymore?' Indeed. That wouldn't happen to apply to any other network, now, would it?"

Kerry Shafted Again

Media Matters - The press manufactures John Kerry's tears: "The Barack Obama madrassa hoax isn't the only recent, dishonest campaign story that deserves close scrutiny. Another, perhaps even more disturbing, press deception revolved around Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and the announcement he made from the floor of the Senate on January 24 that he would not run for president in 2008. Disturbing, because the fraud did not involve Fox News or the right-wing but instead was driven by mainstream media outlets.

Kerry's speech, which was mocked in the press for being poorly stage managed (it was too wordy, pundits complained), was also badly mangled by scores of major news players who concocted the phony storyline that Kerry had shed tears of regret while announcing his plans to sit out the 2008 race.

Kerry did no such thing, but reporters and pundits went ahead and manufactured the narrative that the 'emotional' and 'choked up' senator became 'tearful' as he publicly 'let go of his White House dreams.' None of that was accurate. Kerry did become temporarily emotional, but not while he was discussing his political ambitions."

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Reagan Remembered

Consortiumblog: Reagan & the Salvadoran Baby Skulls: "Ronald Reagan’s many admirers may find this idea offensive, but – given a new report by the Washington Post – it might be fitting to have a display at Reagan National Airport to show how Salvadoran baby skulls were used as candle holders and good luck charms. Perhaps the presentation could contain skeletal remains of Guatemalans and Nicaraguans, too..."

Who's The Decider?

Specter: Bush not sole 'decision-maker' - Yahoo! News: "By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer Tue Jan 30, 1:32 PM ET

WASHINGTON - A Senate Republican on Tuesday directly challenged President Bush's declaration that 'I am the decision-maker' on issues of war.

'I would suggest respectfully to the president that he is not the sole decider,' Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record), R-Pa., said during a hearing on Congress' war powers amid an increasingly harsh debate over Iraq war policy. 'The decider is a shared and joint responsibility,' Specter said..."

Monday, January 29, 2007

Howard Dean: McCain is the New Nixon

Minimum Wage Years Past

Don't Fear a Filibuster - The Smirking Chimp: "With the federal minimum wage now 28 percent lower, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than it was fifty years ago, Senate Republicans are nonetheless threatening to filibuster its increase..." Click on the "fifty years" link to see a chart. Very informative.

Who's Your Boss?

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall January 29, 2007 12:13 AM: "Laura Rozen has a piece in the current Washington Monthly titled 'Cheney's Dead-Enders' that is worth a read. But I wanted to home in on this parenthetical:

(When I inquired about a staffer’s rumored move to the Veep’s office, a Cheney press officer answered sweetly, “If we have a personnel announcement we’d like you to know about, we’ll tell you.”)

This is not the first time I've seen a reporter denied information about who even works in the Office of the Vice President (I can't find where I've seen this refusal reported before, although I think it was about the time Cheney shot that Texas lawyer in the face; if anyone recalls, please forward me the link).

Think about that. The Vice President of the United States refuses to divulge who works in his office. Rozen's article provides an estimate of 88 persons on the VP's staff, which I take to mean that the OVP won't even say how many people are on staff. These are people on the public payroll. Wouldn't you say the public is entitled to know?..."

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Lieberweaseling, Part III

AMERICAblog: A blog for a great nation that deserves the truth: "...Joe Lieberman isn't a moderate Democrat. He isn't even a moderate Republican. On the issues that count, Joe Lieberman is a George Bush Republican, a conservative Republican. A McCain Republican. And while that might have been nice immediately following September 11 when we were all scared to death and didn't know any better, now it just comes across as delusional.

And now he's talking of supporting a Republican for president because - what? - we haven't had enough Republican control of our country the past six years? Delusional."

Voodoo Econ and The Minimum

Out of My Head: "...I also bought into trickle down theory at the time. All my book learnin’ told me it made sense. Of course, I forgot to pay attention to the word “trickle” - which I now see plainly warns that it will be really slow and by the time the stuff gets to the bottom, the effects will most likely be watered down.

But wait…I hear some of you screaming “a rising tide carries all ships!” Yeah…but the bigger ships get more of the fish. The smaller ones get the minimum wage...

After 10 years with no increase, can’t we at least catch people up to inflation? This is a wealthy nation filled with good-hearted people. Why should 13 million people (the estimated number on minimum wage) be denied a simple increase that just aims to adjust their wages for inflation? And contrary to what we hear, they are not all young students or workers in their first jobs. Many of them are your neighbors trying desperately to just live a decent life, maybe working two or three jobs to do it..."

Bush Health Proposal

The tax movement plan has some critics:

Experts See Peril in Bush Health Proposal - New York Times: "...Paul Fronstin, director of health research at the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a nonpartisan organization, said: “The president’s proposal would mean the end of employer-based benefits as we know them. It gives employers a way out of providing the benefits because their employees could get the same tax break on their own...”"

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Obama and The Media

Newsweek on the Obama Smear:

Behind the 'Madrassa Hoax'

What a bogus report on Barack Obama reveals about the media food chain

By Jonathan Alter

...The pathetic little saga begins on the Web site of Insight Magazine, a scandal sheet connected to the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Washington Times. On Jan. 17, Insight reported that "Hillary Rodham Clinton's camp" had conducted a background check that found Obama attended a madrassa (religious seminary) when he moved with his mother and stepfather to Jakarta in the late 1960s. The idea, according to Insight, was to show that Obama was deceptive about his "Muslim past." Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson says flatly: "They made it up."

True or not, this bit of grade-school innuendo proved irresistible to Steve Doocy, know-it-all host of "Fox and Friends," Roger Ailes' idea for a right-wing morning chat show. Doocy garbled the story into a reference to Obama "spending the first decade of his life raised by a Muslim father." After John Gibson of Fox repeated this yarn, which managed to slime two campaigns simultaneously, CNN dispatched a reporter to Obama's old school in Jakarta, where he revealed it to be a normal public school with religion classes only once a week and no indication of Wahhabism, the Saudi-inspired extremist philosophy. (Indonesian schools were even more secular 40 years ago than they are today.) The whole underlying tale was untrue...

Credit Cards Shafting Consumers

Credit-card firms endanger consumers, lawmakers told: "Credit-card firms endanger consumers, lawmakers told

By Faith Bremner
Gannett News Service

WASHINGTON -- It's time the federal government began protecting Americans from unsafe credit cards, like it does from unsafe toasters and cars, consumer advocates contend.

Credit-card companies routinely offer cards that have been loaded with tricks and traps that consumers don't know about or understand, causing millions of Americans to become hopelessly mired in debt, Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren told the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee during an oversight hearing Thursday on the industry.

Those tricks and traps, Warren said, include hiking interest rates when a cardholder falls behind in payments to other creditors, charging fees for payment by telephone and a practice called double-cycle billing. That's when a cardholder, for example, pays $90 of a $100 charge but then next month the consumer is charged interest on the entire amount rather than just the $10 balance..."

Friday, January 26, 2007

Ruralites Paying The Price

The Forgotten American Dead: Rural America Pays the President's Price in Iraq - The Smirking Chimp: "...As it happens, though, we don't have to rely on the anecdotal or the look of the names of the places from which the American dead have come. Demographer William O'Hare and journalist Bill Bishop, working with the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute, which specializes in the overlooked rural areas of our country, have actually crunched the numbers in an important study that has gotten too little attention. Matching a data set from the Department of Defense listing the dead and their hometowns against information from the White House Office of Management and Budget on which counties in this country are metropolitan, they found that the American dead of the Iraq and Afghan Wars do indeed come disproportionately from rural America. Quite startlingly so.

According to their study, the death rate 'for rural soldiers (24 per million adults aged 18 to 59) is 60% higher than the death rate for those soldiers from cities and suburbs (15 deaths per million).' Of rural areas, Vermont has the highest rate of casualties, followed by Delaware, South Dakota, and Arizona. Only 8 of our states have higher urban than rural death rates..."

They're Over Here

Talk To Action | Reclaiming Citizenship, History, and Faith: "James Kopp, the Catholic antiabortion militant convicted of the sniper assasination of Dr. Barnett Slepian, was also convicted today on furtherl federal charges of having violated the Federal Access to Clinic Entrances Act, (FACE). Kopp has also been charged in Canada with the in the 1995 shooting of Dr. Hugh Short -- one of a series of shootings of abortion providers in their homes on or near Canada's Remembrance Day, in which Kopp remains a suspect.

Among those a attending his trial were two people who aided Kopp while he was on the lam in Europe -- and on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list: Dennis Malvesi, himself a convicted clinic arsonist and his wife Loretta Marra. The Catholic couple served two and a half years of what could have been a long sentence, but they cut a deal with prosecutors. Marra was asked by The Buffalo News if she had any regrets in the role that she played in helping Kopp's run from the law, she replied: 'Only that I got caught...'"

Ted Erupts Over Miniumum Wage Kennedy to Republicans: "What is it about working men and women that you find so offensive?": "...After listing many of the unrelated and pricey amendments for business that the GOP has tried to join to a minimum wage hike, Kennedy blasted Republicans and demanded to know how they can be as cruel as they are to the working poor in America.

'We have now had amendments that have been worth over 200 billion dollars… Amendments that have been offered. We've had amendments on education of 35 billion dollars. We've had health-savings amendments that will benefit people with average incomes of $112,000… We've had those kinds of amendments and we're looking at the Kyl amendment at 3 billion dollars. But we still cannot get two dollars and fifteen cents -- over two years. Over two years!

'What is the price, we ask the other side? What is the price that you want from these working men and women? What cost? How much more do we have to give to the private sector and to business? How many billion dollars more, are you asking, are you requiring?

'When does the greed stop, we ask the other side? That's the question and that's the issue.'

Kennedy, upset about the noises Republicans made just three weeks ago about their renewed bipartisan spirit and seeing them already blocking simple legislation that is favored by the vast majority of Americans, angrily chided them for the ridiculous number of amendments they have offered on a bill that went untouched through the House..."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Andy Griffith vs. Patriot Act

The President needs to hear this...

Fghting Back Over "Firings"

TPMmuckraker January 25, 2007 01:26 PM: "Senators to Press Bush Admin on U.S. Attorney Firings
By Justin Rood - January 25, 2007, 1:26 PM

Senate Democrats aren't dropping the issue of whether the administration is pushing out federal prosecutors in order to replace them with handpicked successors.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is slated to lead a hearing before the Judiciary Committee on Feb. 7 on the topic of 'Preserving Prosecutorial Independence: Is the Department of Justice Politicizing the Hiring and Firing of U.S. Attorneys?' No witnesses have been announced.

Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-CA) bill to fix the loophole allowing administration appointees to U.S. attorney spots to serve indefinitely could see some action. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee panel, expressed 'qualified support' for the measure and asked to work with Feinstein on it, according to his spokeswoman, Courtney Boone..."

To Slur Or Not To Slur

AMERICAblog: A blog for a great nation that deserves the truth: "
CNN defends host's use of the word 'faggot' - network slammed by lead gay anti-defamation group
by John in DC - 1/24/2007 09:18:00 PM

Apparently, no one at CNN has heard of Isaiah Washington, and what happens to TV networks that think the word 'faggot' is nothing more than a 'naughty name.'

So CNN is now defending its host, Glenn Beck, and his use of the word 'faggot' on the air, AND his suggestion that the word isn't very derogatory. Way to step in it even further, CNN. Faggot is the n-word to gays, and you think it's appropriate? Does CNN permit the n-word on the air? And would they permit their hosts to suggest that it's simply a 'naughty name'? CNN has a host who is a loose cannon and who has already slurred Muslims, gays, and more. (Though, interestingly, I doubt CNN would let a host slur blacks or Jews, so apparently free speech has its limits even at CNN.) But rather than apologize, CNN defends their host who thinks the word 'faggot' is appropriate for CNN, and who thinks the word 'faggot' is simply a 'naughty name.'

I think CNN is about to see just how the gay community feels about TV networks who think the bigoted slurs are no big deal. Why? Because now GLAAD is involved..."

Rude Dems?

The Prince of Darkness is a tad upset that Congress rejected his "Be A Patsy On Iraq" invitation, as explains. Here's a snip from the post:

Novak: Democrats "rude" to Bush | CorrenteWire: "I mean, the Republicans had every opportunity to be all Bipartisan ‘n’ stuff when they had total power, so why should we believe them now, when they say “Honey, I’ve changed”?

But now Novak lets the cat out of the bag entirely:

Courtesy aside, it shows that the self-confident Democratic leadership is uninterested in being cut into potentially disastrous outcomes in Iraq. It wants to function as a coordinate branch of government, not as friendly colleagues in the spirit of bipartisanship.

Imagine. The Democrats want Congress to function as a “coordinate branch of government.

What is Bob Novak’s world coming to?”"

Min Wage Nayers

AFL-CIO Weblog | 28 Senators Vote to Repeal Minimum Wage. 2008 Elections, Anyone?: "Maybe in 1938, the idea of a federal minimum wage was controversial. But not so much so that a majority of the House and Senate couldn’t approve the Fair Labor Standards Act that set the federal minimum wage at 25 cents an hour.

So in 2007, how can anyone with a shred of common sense, let alone an ounce of empathy for men and women who bust their tails day in and day out for $5.15 an hour, say it’s time to scrap the federal minimum wage?

Yesterday, 69 years after the minimum wage was first established, 28 U.S. senators did just that when they voted “yes” on an amendment from Colorado Republican Wayne Allard that would have scrapped the federal minimum wage. (Click here to see the 28 senators who voted for the Allard amendment. They should be ashamed of themselves and if they are your lawmakers, let them know how wrong they were...)"

Hagel Chastises Colleagues

Smokin' ...and right on the money!

Riggers To Be Racked?

The BRAD BLOG : TWO OHIO ELECTION OFFICIALS CONVICTED FOR RIGGING 2004 PRESIDENTIAL RECOUNT!: "...By way of reminder, the recount --- the one that was rigged by Ohio Elections Officials --- came by way of the Green and Libertarian Party candidates, not by way of the Democrats or John Kerry. As well, the money to pay for the gamed recount was raised by folks on the Internet, not paid for out of the $15 million or so that Kerry reportedly had left in his campaign war chest after the 'Election' in Ohio.

All of that, despite Kerry's continued and then broken promise to 'Count Every Vote' in 2004.

These convictions occurred in Cuyahoga County, a Democratic stronghold of some 600,000 voters. Kerry 'lost' the state of Ohio, according to the history books anyway, by just 118,000 out of some 5.5 million votes cast in the Buckeye State.

In related news, today Kerry decided to quit the 2008 Election, mercifully this time before it instead of afterwards."

Bush Outnixons Nixon

Carl Bernstein: Bush Administraton Has Done 'Far Greater Damage' Than Nixon:

"NEW YORK In an online chat at on Wednesday afternoon, Carl Bernstein, the famed Watergate reporter at that paper and now writing articles for Vanity Fair, took several hard shots at the current Bush administration -- almost every time he was asked about the Nixon era. It came just as news of the death of former Watergate ringleader E. Howard Hunt was circulating widely.

After a long explanation of how the American system 'worked,' eventually, with Watergate, Bernstein said:

'In the case George W. Bush, the American system has obviously failed -- tragically -- about which we can talk more in a minute. But imagine the difference in our worldview today, had the institutions -- particularly of government -- done their job to ensure that a mendacious and dangerous president (as has since been proven many times over, beyond mere assertion) be restrained in a war that has killed thousands of American soldiers, brought turmoil to the lives of millions, and constrained the goodwill towards the United States in much of the world...'"

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Spocko Covered In USA Today

Crooks and Liars » Spocko makes it to the pages of USA Today: "Spocko makes it to the pages of USA Today
By: Nicole Belle on Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 at 6:44 PM - PST Submit or Digg this Post

Let no one doubt that the blogosphere–even just a lone blogger–has the power to frame and shape the national debate. This story still has legs in the traditional media because the blogosphere has continued to push back after ABC/Disney's strong-arm tactics. Go Spocko.

USA Today:

In a dispute between the 'new media' of the Internet and the 'old media' of broadcasting, liberal bloggers and conservative talk-radio hosts are accusing each other of trampling the First Amendment's guarantees of free speech.

[..]Some advertisers, including Bank of America and MasterCard, have deserted KSFO since an anonymous media critic identifying himself online as Spocko began posting recordings of the station's 'Hot Talk' hosts. Spocko and some of his readers have been e-mailing the audio to KSFO advertisers since 2005, asking the companies whether they want to be associated with the controversial rhetoric..."

Go 'Bama Go!

Horses Mouth January 24, 2007 12:41 PM: "OBAMA TAKES ON FOX NEWS. If this is a sign of how Barack Obama intends to deal with the right-wing media during his Presidential campaign, then I'm all for it.

Obama is aggressively going after Fox News today for pushing that smear-job report claiming that he went to an Islamic “madrassa” school as a child. The report has already been completely debunked by CNN, but Obama isn't letting up. The Senator's office has just emailed out a blistering memo targeting Fox that says the following:..."

It really is quite the napalm retort, click here for the rest.

Joke Jilts Kerry

Top Kerry Supporter: Botched Joke Helped Trigger Decision Not To Run | TPMCafe: "Top Kerry Supporter: Botched Joke Helped Trigger Decision Not To Run
By Greg Sargent | bio

So I just got off the phone with a prominent supporter of John Kerry with whom the Senator recently discussed the question of whether he should run for President again. And this person said that the reaction to Kerry's botched joke -- combined with the fact that top donors and organizers were rapidly committing to other candidates -- was key in tipping the scales against running again for the White House.

'It was too steep a hill to climb,' this supporter tells me. 'Too many major figures are in this race. Too many major donors had signed on with other candidates.'

The key for Kerry, however, according to this backer, was that the reaction to the botched joke triggered memories of the 2004 loss and made him doubt that Dems would take another chance on him..."

You're doing the right thing, John. Though I would love to see you go after the Swiftboaters, it would be a major distraction in the race. And we all need to keep our eyes on the prize.

State of the Union 2007 - Bush Impression

A chuckle or two...

Vets Missing From SOTU

The Blog | Paul Rieckhoff: Bush Fails to Mention America's 1.6 Million New Veterans in SOTU | The Huffington Post: "Tonight President Bush once again failed to demonstrate a real commitment to the 1.6 million new American veterans who have been created under his watch. For the second year in a row, the President in his State of the Union address chose to mention the troops only as a prop for his failing policies and ignored the nation's new veterans entirely.

Over the past four years, this country has watched its men and women in uniform answer the call to duty over and over again, yet somehow today these new veterans are still faced with a drastically under-funded Veterans' Administration and an outdated GI Bill. It's time to reward our troops' sacrifices with more than just bureaucratic hassles and token gestures..."

Everyone who is surprised Bush forgot the troops, raise your hands.

Hawky Jimmy

Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish: Carter The Hawk: "A reader writes:

Carter was a hawk, but he wasn't a traditional one because realists and other practitioners of realpolitick don’t sufficiently appreciate the importance of political legitimacy. Playing the 'freedom' card, if you will, undermined the raison d'etre of the Soviet Union by stating the simple truth – that a system that can only survive through massive applications of violence against its own people is a system destined for the dustbin of history. Human rights was a way to highlight the fear and moral cowardice of the communist dictatorships and so destroy the implicit public support that underpinned and propped up communism in a way that no gun, bomb, or army could ever defend against. The Soviet Union and its empire collapsed not because we pushed it over, but because no one wanted to keep it propped up..."

It's The Democratic Party

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall January 23, 2007 09:19 PM: "What a strange man. After disarmingly gracious opening remarks about Nancy Pelosi's speakership, the president congratulates the 'Democrat majority' -- words most every Democrat takes as a calculated insult. The prepared remarks say 'Democratic majority'. But apparently he couldn't help himself."

Congressional Crooks No Longer Pensioned

Hill Pensions for the Convicted May End - "Hill Pensions for the Convicted May End
House Passes Bill to Deny Payments in Future Cases

By Lyndsey Layton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 24, 2007; Page A04

With the rhetoric of reformers bent on sweeping corruption from the Capitol, the House voted unanimously yesterday to deny federal pensions to lawmakers convicted of bribery, perjury and other related felonies.

'Corrupt politicians deserve prison sentences, not taxpayer-funded pensions,' said freshman Rep. Nancy Boyda (D-Kan.), chief sponsor of the bill."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Past Prez Polls One Graphic To Give Republicans Heartburn

One Graphic To Give Republicans Heartburn

"For those of you who still maintain healthy relationships with Republicans and want to throw a good-natured jab in their direction, I have the prefect graphic for you. This is from a CBS News poll released yesterday and it compares George W. Bush's latest, dismal approval rating with those of a couple of other presidents at the same time in their terms.


On The State Of The Union

Crooks and Liars » Sen. Webb’s Democratic Response to the SoTU: The war’s costs to our nation have been staggering: "Jim Webb of Virginia was selected to give the Democratic response to Bush's SoTU, and boy, did they make the right choice. Webb hit all the right notes, his points impressive and unassailable. Rather than even dignify the fearmongering and drawing of parallels of 9/11 to aggression in the Middle East, Webb just pointed out that the Democrats are representing the will of the people in their desire to see an end to the quagmire and that if Bush didn't want to listen to the people that put him in office, the Democrats would lead him to the will of the people.

'If he does, we will join him. If he does not, we will be showing him the way.'

Now THAT's leadership... "

The Best, The Worst

The worst of the best is better than the best of the worst:

AMERICAblog: A blog for a great nation that deserves the truth: "
No matter which is your favorite, I absolutely believe that every single major Democratic candidate is fully capable of effecting an effective and progressive foreign policy. While I might not agree with all the positions that will be floated over the course of the campaign, I don't think there are currently any disqualifying factors. A huge lesson from this administration is that logic and intellectual curiosity are the vital qualities for sane foreign policy -- remember when this administration had the greatest collection of foreign policy talent evah(sic), and the brilliant grownup coalition of Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, and especially Cheney were going to guide the new president? -- and the current Democratic crop has those qualities in abundance..."

McCain & Kennedy

James Wolcott's Blog: A Tale of Two Pale Males: Wolcott's Blog: "A Tale of Two Pale Males

What a contrast on this Sunday's Press the Meat.* First, John McCain, that maverick twinkle in his nowhere to be spied as he monotoned through the interview as if depressed, defeated, and sedated; he seemed to round the answers off of every he answer he gave, as if not wanting to be too emphatic or specific--at this he succeeded and, in succeeding, failed. Even I, no McCain fan, was shocked at how droney he looked and sounded. If I were a McCain supporter, I would have been even more taken aback, and worried about how much gas he has left in his engine. (Although he wasn't too fatigued that he couldn't trot out that if-Americans-were-truly-against-the-war-Lieberman-wouldn't-have-been-reelected sophism again with full frontal aplomb. He and Lieberman seem to be on the verge of forming their own lonely hearts club.)

Then, after this zombie seance, Ted Kennedy, looking and sounding clear, vigorous, and vibrant with conviction. Barely a day goes by on Imus and the right blogosphere where Ted Kennedy isn't mocked as a boozed-out, unkempt buffoon with his shirt-tails untucked and his hands fumbling for a bottle or a babe, or both; but the caricature is out of date and dumb. In the last few years Kennedy has mustered a passion and dignity that have breathed second wind into his senatorial life and done himself and his party honor. He also had the conscience and prescience to vote against the Iraq war, voting the courage of his convictions rather than the political calculus. Discussing the "surge" and related issues, Kennedy was fully engaged, where McCain seemed mummified. Kennedy also asked the most salient question: Why should we give Bush, whose administration has made blunder after blunder after blunder in Iraq, the benefit of the doubt this time?..."

Oscar Likes Gore

AMERICAblog: A blog for a great nation that deserves the truth: "
Al Gore environment documentary gets two Oscar nominations
by John in DC - 1/23/2007 03:41:00 PM

From ABC:

'An Inconvenient Truth,' Al Gore's film on the perils of global warming, scored two Oscar nominations Tuesday for best documentary feature and best original song. While he is not technically a nominee the film's director, Davis Guggenheim, won the nod, as did singer Melissa Etheridge for the song 'I Need to Wake Up' Gore said he was 'thrilled' that his movie was honored.

'The film … has brought awareness of the climate crisis to people in the United States and all over the world,' Gore said in an e-mail statement. 'I am so grateful to the entire team and pleased that the Academy has recognized their work. This film proves that movies really can make a difference...'"

Plumber Passes

Watergate figure E. Howard Hunt dies - Yahoo! News: "MIAMI - E. Howard Hunt, who helped organize the Watergate break-in, leading to the greatest scandal in American political history and the downfall of Richard Nixon's presidency, died Tuesday. He was 88.

Hunt died after a lengthy bout with pneumonia, according to his son, Austin Hunt..."

Allies In Action

ITV News - Dramatic rescue pictures released: "The first images of a daring rescue mission in which four Royal Marines strapped themselves to the wings of helicopter gunships in a bid to rescue a colleague have been published.

The four commandos flew into a fierce gunfight in southern Afghanistan on Monday clinging to the stabiliser wings of two Apache helicopters in a bid to recover the body of 30-year-old Lance Corporal Matthew Ford.

L/Cpl Ford, of 45 Commando Royal Marines, had been killed instantly by Taliban fire as he participated in a 200-soldier assault on a fort in Helmand province.

When the marines fell back to regroup they realised the section commander was missing and hatched the dramatic rescue bid.

Military photographers captured a series of images in which the four soldiers strapped themselves to the small side 'wings' of two Apaches - which have no room for passengers - while a third provided covering fire.

The marines found and retrieved the body of L/Cpl Ford..."

Video here.

Darth Out?

Hullabaloo: "Norah O'Donnell is asking Andy Card and Leon Panetta if the president is going to have to ask Dick Cheney to resign as a result of what's being alleged at the Libby Trial. (They both punted.)

If that's the beltway chatter, look for the Republican noise machine to go into high gear. I'll be expecting to hear rumors of Patrick Fitzgerald's affinity for bestiality starting tomorrow --- mostly from Mary matalin, Dick Cheney's most vicious attack dog, who will be snarling like a caged beast over this (and thus will show herself an expert on the subject...)"

Monday, January 22, 2007

Clinton Not Connected To Obama Smear

CNN debunks false report about Obama - "...Insight attributed the information in its article to an unnamed source, who said it was discovered by 'researchers connected to Senator Clinton.' A spokesman for Clinton, who is also weighing a White House bid, denied that the campaign was the source of the Obama claim.

He called the story 'an obvious right-wing hit job.'

Insight stood by its story in a response posted on its Web site Monday afternoon.

The Insight article was cited several times Friday on Fox News and was also referenced by the New York Post, The Glenn Beck program on CNN Headline News and a number of political blogs..."
C&L has a post up on this subject.

Angels Sing: Media Fairness

The Raw Story | Rep. believes Democratic media
reform bill may prevent possible 'fascist' takeover of US media

Rep. believes Democratic media reform bill may prevent possible 'fascist' takeover of US media

Miriam Raftery
Published: Sunday January 21, 2007

Print This Email This

Rep. Hinchey: New bill would break up media monopolies and restore fairness doctrine

Warns media reform critical to prevent 'end of democratic republic'

Concerns about monopolies and fears of a possible "fascist" takeover of the US media have prompted a Democratic congressman to push to restore the Fairness Doctrine, RAW STORY has learned.

"Media reform is the most important issue confronting our democratic republic and the people of our country," Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) said at the Free Press National Media Reform Conference held in Memphis, Tennessee last weekend. "This is a critical moment in history that may determine the future of our country…maybe forever."

Hinchey told RAW STORY he plans to reintroduce the Media Ownership Reform Act (MORA) that would break up media monopolies and restore the Fairness Doctrine, which was eliminated by the Federal Communications Commission under the Reagan administration..."

The angels are indeed singing. I've been harping on this since the first of forever; it is great to see the idea gaining some more traction. Maybe now we stand a chance of getting some legislation through Congress.

Bush Phones

An oldie but a goodie...

Media LeftRight Wrong On Iraq

The Blog | Arianna Huffington: The Mainstream Media's Take on Iraq: Right, Left... And Dead Wrong | The Huffington Post: "Divorced from the reality of what's going on in Iraq. Wedded to a deluded perception of the war. Unwilling to acknowledge widespread and irrefutable evidence to the contrary. Sound like anyone you know? No, I'm not talking about President Bush -- though it's certainly true of him as well. I'm talking about the mainstream media, and their relentless depiction of the Iraq war as a left/right issue, even as the facts give lie to this hoary framing.

According to a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll, 60 percent of Americans oppose Bush's escalation of the war, and 65 percent want to 'withdraw right away' or 'withdraw within a year.' Other polls reach the same conclusion: Iraq is simply not a right vs. left issue.

But you'd never know it from watching the pundits on television..."

FBI Foley Error

The Blotter: "The FBI should have done more to investigate the Mark Foley e-mails or, alternatively, notified House authorities in charge of the congressional page program, the FBI's inspector general, Glenn A. Fine, said in a report today.

In effect, the report finds the FBI's inaction contributed to the failure of officials to detect Foley's inappropriate behavior, which eventually led to his resignation when ABC News revealed more sexually explicit e-mails and instant messages to current and former pages..."

Congress--Be Quiet!

Think Progress » Kristol On War Critics: ‘It’s So Irresponsible That They Can’t Be Quiet For Six Or Nine Months’: "This morning on Fox News, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol said that opponents of escalation in Congress are “leap-frogging each other in the degrees of irresponsibility they’re willing to advocate.” Kristol said, “It’s just unbelievable. … It’s so irresponsible that they can’t be quiet for six or nine months,” adding, “You really wonder, do they want it to work or not? I really wonder that.”

NPR’s Juan Williams told Kristol his analysis was “totally ahistorical,” and pointed out that yesterday was the deadliest day for U.S forces in Iraq in two years. “There’s something going on here you might pay attention to as opposed to just the politics of, ‘If you don’t support this president, you don’t really want us to win..."

Think Progress has video and a transcript here.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Fox accuses Clinton camp of exposing Obama's Muslim past

Carter Trashing Blowback

The First Post : Middle East: gulf widens between peace and apartheid: "...Carter has been stigmatised as an anti-Semite, a Holocaust denier, a patron of former concentration camp killers, a Christian madman, a pawn of the Arabs, an advocate of terror.

But the assault on Carter is all to no avail. With each gust of abuse, Carter's book soars higher and higher on the bestseller lists, now at number three on Amazon itself. This doesn't prove the lobby has no power. It proves the lobby can be dumb. Once a book by a former President with weighty humanitarian credentials has actually made it into the bookstores, it's a hard job to shoot it down with volleys of wild abuse..."

How Low Can Approval Go?

AMERICAblog: A blog for a great nation that deserves the truth: "
Bush's approval ratings reach even new lows
by Joe in DC - 1/20/2007 08:05:00 PM

The steady stream of horrible news from Iraq is a big part of the reason Bush's approval ratings continue to tank -- and we see that again in the latest Newsweek poll. Joe Lieberman and John McCain may still love Bush, but they are among the few. Americans have had enough of Bush's war:

When President George W. Bush declared earlier this month that the only way to quell sectarian violence in Iraq was to send more than 20,000 additional American troops, he probably knew the move would be unpopular. Indeed, the latest NEWSWEEK poll finds that Bush’s call for a “surge” in troops is opposed by two-thirds (68 percent) of Americans and supported by only a quarter (26 percent). Almost half of all respondents (46 percent) want to see American troops pulled out “as soon as possible.”

Bush’s Iraq plan isn’t doing anything for his personal approval rating either; it’s again stuck at its lowest point in the history of the poll (31 percent). Meanwhile, the new Democratic-controlled Congress is getting relatively high marks. And 55 percent actually trust Congressional Dems on U.S. policy in Iraq, far more than the 32 percent who trust their co"

Single Issue Candidate

Brownback: Goal To "Try To Get The Supreme Court To Be One...That Would Be Willing To Overturn Roe V. Wade"... | The Huffington Post

"Kansas Senator Sam Brownback appeared on This Week with George Stephanopoulos to discuss his candidacy for president. On the subject of the judiciary, Brownback said, "I think really the track one right now is to try to get the Supreme Court to be one that's limited in its perspective, that it remains a strict constructionist Constitution group that's on the Supreme Court, that would be willing to overturn Roe v. Wade."

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Katrina "Do-Tell"

Brown: Party politics played role in Katrina response - "NEW YORK (AP) -- Party politics played a role in decisions over whether to take federal control of Louisiana and other areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, former FEMA director Michael Brown said Friday.

Some in the White House suggested only Louisiana should be federalized because it was run by a Democrat, Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Brown told a group of graduate students at a lecture on politics and emergency management at Metropolitan College of New York.

Brown said he had recommended to President Bush that all 90,000 square miles along the Gulf Coast affected by the hurricane be federalized, making the federal government in charge of all agencies responding to the disaster.

'Unbeknownst to me, certain people in the White House were thinking we had to federalize Louisiana because she's a white, female Democratic governor and we have a chance to rub her nose in it,' he said..."

The Worst of the Worst

The BEAST lists the 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2006

There are names on the list you will recognize (and agree with).

Name This Gathering

Michelle Malkin: "Hot time in D.C.
By Michelle Malkin · January 19, 2007 07:27 PM

National Review is holding a big conservative summit next week. I'll be joining a 'night owl session' on Friday with Kate O'Beirne, Kathryn Lopez,Laura Ingraham, and Mona Charen...""

Friday, January 19, 2007

Media Bias In A Name

Eat The Press | Michelle Pilecki: More Media Adopt Repubspeak | The Huffington Post

Hertzberg says that Sen. Joe McCarthy "made it [the 'Democrat' party] a regular part of his arsenal of insults," but the usage was pushed in the 1990s by Newt Gingrich and Frank Luntz, whom he quotes:
"Those two letters actually do matter," Luntz said the other day. He added that he recently finished writing a book--it's entitled Words That Work--and has been diligently going through the galley proofs taking out the hundreds of "ic"s that his copy editor, one of those partisan Dems, had stuck in.

President George W. Bush, unlike his GOP predecessors GHW Bush and Ronald Reagan, uses the party slur exclusively. And while some MSM journos follow suit, a few such as Washington Post blogger Dan Froomkin, object, pointing out that "Bush's alleged commitment to bipartisanship would probably be easier to swallow if he referred to the opposition party by its proper name."

Another Immigrant Issue

BBC NEWS | Europe | Anger in Spain at migrant models: "A designer has caused a stir in Spain by using illegal immigrants as catwalk models in a Barcelona fashion show.

Antonio Miro's show also featured a battered boat similar to the ones that transport thousands of poverty-stricken Africans to Spanish shores each year.

Mr Miro, who has featured prisoners in past shows, said he wanted to draw attention to the migrants' plight..."

Ney Gets Time

Judge Sends Corrupt Congressman To Prison - Politics: "WASHINGTON -- Republican Bob Ney of Ohio was sentenced Friday to 30 months in prison.

The sentence came after he pleaded guilty to charges that he traded official favors for golf trips, tickets, meals and campaign donations from lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

He was the first congressman to be ensnared in the case.

A judge in Washington ordered Ney to serve the time at a federal prison in West Virginia.

When he's released, Ney will serve another two years on probation. He'll also pay a $6,000 fine.

The sentence is harsher than the one recommended by prosecutors. The judge said that's because Ney violated the trust placed in him as a public official."

Spocko Summary

Balls and Walnuts - more than you ever wanted to know » Spocko hits the big time: "By Walnut

Remember Spocko, the blogger who decided to go after Bay Area hate radio station KSFO for their racist demagoguery? He published the audio clips of the offending DJs’ hate speech on his blog, and he contacted KSFO’s advertisers to inform them that their brands were being associated with this kind of language. To date, Bank of America, Mastercard, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation have pulled their ads. ABC/Disney, the parent corporation which owns KSFO, was not amused. They got Spocko’s ISP to shut down his blog (which has since reopened, hosted by a new ISP: Spocko’s Brain), and soon after, the story hit Daily Kos.

Now, Spocko’s story has been picked up by the New York Times. Last Friday, KSFO preempted their usual programming for three hours to address the controversy. From the sound of it, their apologies were lukewarm at best. “Unrepentant” is, I think, an apt adjective. As for their call-in program, they handpicked their wingnut backers in order to bask in an almost uninterrupted flow of fascist lurve..."

Get an excellent update of what's happening now back at the link by clicking here.

Dems Score On 100 Hour Agenda - CNN Political Ticker: "House Democrats finish '100 hours' agenda by passing oil revenue bill

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- House Democrats brought their '100-hour' legislative agenda to a successful close Thursday evening with passage of legislation designed to force oil and gas companies to pay more royalties on some offshore leases and end subsidies and tax deductions they have been receiving amid record prices for crude.

The final vote on the bill -- the sixth of six items Democrats had vowed to pass in 100 hours of legislative action -- was 264 to 163, with 36 Republicans crossing the aisle to support the Democrat-sponsored bill.

The House finished work on all six measures in about 42 hours of floor time, less than half the limit set on their self-imposed clock. However, the legislation must still navigate the Senate, which tends to operate at a more leisurely pace, and could also face President Bush's veto pen."

Look for ethics reform to go down first in the Senate. The minimum wage will probably survive. The rest...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Craven of Chickenhawks

Jesus' General: "The Ballad of the Yellow Beret
(to the tune of 'The Ballad of the Green Berets')

We are tough, young Republicans
We fight with words (but never guns)
We show support by drinking beer.
But since we’re rich we’ll stay right here.

Chicken wings suit me just fine
They go so well with my yellow spine
I’ll ply my trade while you’re overseas
When you return, your job will speak Chinese..."

Click here for the rest.

Preachers Not For Bush

ABC News: Methodists: No Bush Library at SMU:
DALLAS Jan 18, 2007 (AP)— A group of Methodist ministers from across the nation launched an online petition drive Thursday urging Southern Methodist University to stop trying to land George W. Bush's presidential library.

The petition, on a new Web site,, says that 'as United Methodists, we believe that the linking of his presidency with a university bearing the Methodist name is utterly inappropriate...'"

Darth Beats Emperor!

Fox Poll: More Americans Dislike Bush Than ... Cheney! | TPMCafe: "By Eric Kleefeld

This has to be a milestone: A new poll has found that the American people dislike President Bush more than they dislike ... Dick Cheney. The poll — by Fox News, of all people — finds that President Bush's unfavorable rating is 58%, while Cheney's unpopularity rating is five points lower at 53%. Bush can, however, still take some small solace from the fact that his approval rating is one point higher than Cheney's; the President's is 38%, while the VP's is 37%.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of other numbers that are striking for a Fox poll: Only 39% of Americans view the GOP favorably, and 49% view them unfavorably. Meanwhile, a majority of respondents — 51% — have a favorable view of Dems, compared to only 35% who have an unfavorable view of what Fox likes to call the 'Democrat Party...'"

Shrub, God, and Pope

George McGovern has some questions for Our Leader. Following is a sample from McGovern's terrific article/post.

An Impartial Interrogation of George W. Bush - Yahoo! News: "Well, Mr. Bush, Jr. I have some impertinent questions for you.

Mr. President, Sir, when reporter Bob Woodward asked you if you had consulted with your father before ordering our army into
Iraq you said, 'No, he's not the father you call on a decision like this. I talked to my heavenly Father above.' My question, Mr. President: If God asked you to bombard, invade and occupy Iraq for four years, why did he send an opposite message to the Pope? Did you not know that your father, George Bush, Sr., his Secretary of State James Baker and his National Security Advisor General Scowcroft were all opposed to your invasion? Wouldn't you, our troops, the American people and the Iraqis all be much better off if you had listened to your more experienced elders including your earthly father? Instead of blaming God for the awful catastrophe you have unleashed in Iraq, wouldn't it have been less self-righteous if you had fallen back on the oft-quoted explanation of wrongdoing, 'The devil made me do it?'"

Leahy vs. Gonzo

Compelling video back at C&L Sen. Leahy expresses every thinking person's opinion of rendtion and its many sinful offspring.

Crooks and Liars » Sen. Leahy Slams Gonzalez Over Torture:
"Leahy: 'We knew damn well if he went to Canada he wouldn't be tortured. He'd be held and he'd be investigated. We also knew damn well if he went to Syria, he'd be tortured. And it's beneath the dignity of this country, a country that has always been a beacon of human rights, to send somebody to another country to be tortured.'

It's really nice to have a true American patriot like Senator Leahy, rather than the spineless Arlen Specter, chairing the crucial Senate Judiciary Committee..."

Lansing Witch Trials Next?

AMERICAblog: A blog for a great nation that deserves the truth:

"Michigan court says adulterers can get life in prison
by John in DC - 1/17/2007 09:47:00 PM

This is the America that the religious right and the Republican party have given you. You wanted conservatives judges, America? You got conservative judges. You wanted 'family values' and laws protecting the sanctity of marriage, you got it.

And you thought they were only coming for the gays. They're trying to outlaw divorce and throw adulterers in prison for life. Is this what you voted for?"

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Rally For Media Reform

The Blog | Josh Silver: More than 3,500 Rally in Memphis for Media Reform: Why It Matters | The Huffington Post: "If you're frustrated with the mainstream media's failure to provide critical journalism that informs democracy and holds government accountable, then you need pay attention to what happened in Memphis last weekend. Opening the National Conference for Media Reform, legendary journalist Bill Moyers proclaimed:

As we saw in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, the plantation mentality that governs Washington turned the press corps into sitting ducks for the war party, for government, and neoconservative propaganda and manipulation.
There were notable exceptions ... but on the whole, all high-ranking officials had to do was say it, and the press repeated it until it became gospel. The height of myopia came with the admission (or was it bragging?) by one of the Beltway's most prominent anchors that his responsibility is to provide officials a forum to be heard, that what they say is more newsworthy than what they do.

Thousands came to Memphis because they understand that we must create an alternative to the dysfunction that Moyers describes. His words resonated at an event that was part conference and part rallying cry. An event in which the disparate players were more unified than ever before; coming together in one of the fastest-growing movements in a generation..."

The Kidnapping Expert

Bill O is wondering why the 15 year-old didn't run away from his captor. He blames the victim, of course.

The True Crime Blog: Bill O'Reilly on the Ben Ownby/Shawn Hornbeck Disappearance: "..It takes a lot to nauseate me. To render me speechless, at least for a moment. But reading the exchange above did both. Reading what the loudest mouth in cable news said about the biggest crime story of the first half of the year, in reference to a 15-year-old boy... I was stunned, and deeply disgusted.

Bill O'Reilly has been in the news business for what, more than 30 years?

Forget the crap about Patti Hearst -- the comparison isn't just invalid -- it's insane. Not to mention that the only valid comparison to this case (most likely) was Steven Stayner.

But O'Reilly has been in the news for 30 years or more, covering all sorts of stories, and he's never heard of preferential pedophiles? He's never heard of brainwashing or complete intimidation? He can't do the math where a 6'4', 300-lb pedophile with a violent temper against a slightly-built boy from rural Missouri equals one having complete control of the other?

This broadcast by Bill O'Reilly stands alone. Bill O'Reilly's statements above make Rush Limbaugh ridiculing Michael J. Fox's Parkinsons Disease symptoms during the last elections look like a mild jab from Limbaugh to Fox, a joke that was just a little tasteless.

O'Reilly has outed himself, once and for all, as the bully and blowhard... "

More Fairness

Conservatives Freak Out Over Fairness

"...But the Fairness Doctrine is back or at least being talked about again, with Congress set to challenge the FCC. The thought is already driving conservatives nuts, with more here, here, here, here, here, with Jeff Goldstein his usual obtuse self. QandO offers more. One blogger calls it Free Speech’s Abu Ghraib. They're all nuts. They're also very happy with controlling the radio waves.

But frankly, I'll believe it when it's law and not before.

The short version of the Fairness Doctrine is that in 1987 Reagan had it scuttled. Shortly after that Rush Limbaugh began his journey and right-wing radio was created and gradually took over the airwaves, with the help of their corporate friends, while the Democrats were still trying to figure out direct mail. I'm exaggerating, but Democrats were so dense about radio for so long it's amazing there are still any progressive hosts out here working every day to get back on radio. As I've written many times, the Republicans have used radio to pump up emotion and GOTV. In case you haven't noticed, radio works. Just ask Karl Rove, who has worked and worked and worked it. It's about getting control of all the little stations in all the little towns so that you can influence all those people. The host gets to know his/her audience, they trust him/her, so when this host tells them to vote for Right Wing Randy/Roxanne, they likely will. After all, they've built up a trust. Republicans will do anything to get ratings, which includes leaving the facts out and plying their audience with daily doses of emotion instead. Democrats are still behind in radio, trying to reinvent the wheel instead of using their donor base to help hosts who could hold their own. Creating Democratic business consortiums that help hosts get on the air, with the best of us staying on and eventually catapulting to syndication. The Fairness Doctrine could really make a difference. Why do you think conservatives are screaming like crazy?"

I still think this is the highest priority. Here what I said before: here, (I had three more posts but Blogger won't link to them for some reason, though they are viewable by doing a blog search on "fairness doctrine.")

Beck (More) Exposed

AMERICAblog: A blog for a great nation that deserves the truth: "
CNN/ABC Glenn Beck scandal grows
by John in DC - 1/17/2007 02:51:00 PM

Eric Boehlert does a large write-up for Media Matters on ABC's troubling, and increasing, pandering to the far extremist right. This is a must-read. Among the tidbits Boehlert reveals about the CNN host and ABC new morning guy:

Glenn Beck can thank another corporate media giant, Time Warner, for getting him his new ABC gig. In January 2006, Time Warner's CNN Headline News signed Beck to produce a nightly hour-long talk show. Announcing the new hire, Headline News president Ken Jautz, trying to take the edge off Beck's fringe past, described the host as 'cordial' and 'not confrontational.' Yet the previous year, when not fantasizing about killing film maker Michael Moore ('I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it'), Beck told his listeners that Hurricane Katrina survivors trapped in New Orleans were 'scumbags,' and that he 'hate[d]' '9-11 victims' families.' He also labeled Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) the 'Antichrist,' accused Al Gore of being like 'Hitler,' and congratulated a caller to his program who claimed to have tortured prisoners in U.S. custody by saying, 'I've got to tell you, I appreciate your service. ... Good for you."

Bad Judge Judging

Gonzales: Judges unfit to rule on anti-terror policy - International Herald Tribune: "WASHINGTON: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says federal judges are unqualified to make rulings affecting national security policy, ramping up his criticism of how they handle terrorism cases.

In remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday, Gonzales says judges generally should defer to the will of the president and Congress when deciding national security cases. He also raps jurists who 'apply an activist philosophy that stretches the law to suit policy preferences.'

The text of the speech, scheduled for the American Enterprise Institute, was obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. It outlines, in part, what qualities the Bush administration looks for when selecting candidates for the federal bench..."

I think everyone can see where this is heading.

Virus Blogging

Ok, so I sorta get my computer working, though I still can't install Norton, and then last Friday I get hit with this screaming crud. (Not the flu, had the shot.) Now, I've been exposed to the "stomach flu" to top this other virus off. If I don't post for awhile, well, you get the pitiful picture.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Reminder Time

Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish: "Stupefied By Relativism": "Norm Geras notes this priceless interview with Martin Amis in the Guardian:

What is the most depressing thing about Britain you have observed since your return? And the best?...

Martin Amis: The most depressing thing was the sight of middle-class white demonstrators, last August, waddling around under placards saying, We Are All Hizbollah Now. Well, make the most of being Hizbollah while you can. As its leader, Hasan Nasrallah, famously advised the West: 'We don't want anything from you. We just want to eliminate you...'"

Lieberweaseling, Part II

Crooks and Liars » Action Alert on Katrina: Lieberman and Landrieu need to know: "We are all aware of Holy Joe's Iraq war stance, but this latest flip/flop is really deplorable.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, the only Democrat to endorse President Bush’s new plan for Iraq, has quietly backed away from his pre-election demands that the White House turn over potentially embarrassing documents relating to its handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans. Senator Joe Lieberman has just taken the very surprising step of revealing to Newsweek that he will not use his chairmanship on the Homeland Security committee to aggressively probe the government's catastrophic failings in the wake of Hurricane Katrina..."

Com'on, Joe. This stance is just immoral.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Vetoing Medicare

AMERICAblog: A blog for a great nation that deserves the truth: "
Bush to veto Medicare legislation
by Chris in Paris - 1/15/2007 09:13:00 AM

What is with the GOP and their hatred of all things related to competition? Their Soviet style attacks on competition are un-American and shameful. Why do they always insist on blocking all attempts to introduce competition into the American market? I know that Bush owes his position to Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Banking, etc, but is it really that difficult to support good old fashioned competition? With all of the money that Bush and the GOP wasted over the last six years, why is it wrong to try and reign in costs that benefit the average tax payer? Does the GOP have to be so obvious with their handouts to their corporate friends over regular people? Why does Bush and the GOP hate the American way?"

More Spocko Battles

Media Matters - "Dave, baby, stick it!" -- Morgan & Co. accuse Media Matters of "extortion"

"On a January 12 special "no-holds-barred" discussion on the ABC-owned Bay Area radio station KSFO, conservative radio host Melanie Morgan read portions of a letter from Media Matters for America President and CEO David Brock, in which Brock implored ABC to stop airing violent rhetoric and racist fearmongering. Morgan then attacked "the hate from David Brock at Media Matters" and warned that she and her co-hosts "would not be intimidated by your thuggish tactics." One of Morgan's co-hosts, known as Officer Vic, also accused Media Matters of extortion: "[H]ere we have people using the First Amendment ... as a tool or a club. ... [W]hen you start taking financial action, you start going after people's jobs, taking money away from them, using, ostensibly, the First Amendment as the excuse and a tool, then you get into what could be called extortion." Later, when Morgan asserted that Media Matters was "clearly monitoring and taping us right now and will be regurgitating in a slanted and biased manner," co-host Lee Rodgers replied, "Dave, baby, stick it!" -- presumably referring to David Brock. Rodgers also claimed that Brock's letter was part of an "orchestrated ... left-wing-financed campaign to try to silence any opposing voices" and promised that "this will be taken out of context too, you know.

During the same segment, Rodgers claimed: "I don't believe we've tried to silence anybody." But earlier in the program, Morgan had read from an email that called her "pathetic" because of a protest Morgan led in 2004 against Michael Moore's documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. At the time, Morgan said on CNN: "We're not asking anybody to boycott. We're asking them to communicate with the theater owners to tell them that it's not appreciated." Additionally, a June 16, 2004, San Francisco Chronicle article noted that Move Forward America, which Morgan chairs, "announc[ed] ... the start of a campaign urging movie theaters to reject the film" before Fahrenheit 9/11 opened.."

So it's ok to boycott Democrats but it's evil to boycott Publicans? I'm sure the Dixie Chicks and Michael Moore might beg to differ.

On Bush's 60 Minutes Interview

The Blog | Sherman Yellen: The Educator in Grief | The Huffington Post: "...What struck me as most telling in this interview was Bush's claim that he was unable to sit through the execution of Saddam as seen on that notorious videotape. Perhaps this explains why he has been unable to visit our many wounded, burned, and maimed soldiers in the military hospitals. Our Educator in Grief is a sensitive, soft hearted man who does not like to look upon unpleasant sights to which we can now add capital punishment, particularly when dispatched in Iraq without the precision tooled efficiency that they practiced in Texas when he was Governor. Thus he will not look at the body bags of soldiers returning from this escalation because it would cause him too much pain. As Bush comes apart each level of that human onion that tries to pass for a leader is exposed. And sadly it can only bring more tears to America"(my italics).

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Herr Bush, Herr Cheney

Hullabaloo: "..So the Iranians are after our troops. Condi said so last week. Cheney and Hadley are saying it today. Sounds like CB (cassus belli) talk to me. We can't wait for the Iranians to shoot the American troops with smoking mushrooms. Or something.

I have long said that the Republicans are undemocratic, but now they're just coming right out and saying it: democracy is all well and good until the people and their representatives object to what the president is doing at which point the people and their representatives become a superfluous 'committee.' They have interpreted the words 'commander in chief' to mean that the constitution gives the president dictatorial powers during 'wartime' (which the president defines.)

These are two dangerous and selfish men who aren't running for office and so have no political constraints. Not even a 30% approval rating or 12% support for this decision has made them think twice. They are completely confident that history will vindicate them.

They are what impeachment was designed for..."

Carter Trashed By CNN

Rising Hegemon: Interesting: "CNN which for the last couple days could also be called the 'Carter Negative Network' has this headline regarding Jerry Ford's interviews:

Ford grades presidents: Carter a 'disaster'

Yet reading the article it is clear that this is hardly the actual case, and that Ford's opinion of Carter changed as the bitterness of the latter's election faded into the background with time...

...That's the headline, but look further:

But two years later, he praised Carter's performance on the Panama Canal treaty, China and the Middle East. And in 1998, he said Carter "will be looked on as a better president than some comments we hear today."

"He was a very decent, fine individual," Ford told the paper. "There were no major mistakes. There just weren't a lot of exciting results."

It should be noted, as is reflected by Carter speaking at Ford's funeral (the final and most intimate one) that the two of them, unknown to many of us had become close personal friends over the years. Hardly an uncommon occurrence, Truman and Eisenhower were close post-World War II, then very distant and peeved at each other in the 1950s as they went separate political paths, only to reconcile in the wake of the Kennedy Assassination and the funeral of Herbert Hoover.

Yet the most negative possible headline about Carter is chosen for this story. Nice. "

Typical. If we had just listened to Carter's pleas and followed his energy path, we wouldn't be stuck in the Middle East today.

Nerves In DC

AMERICAblog: A blog for a great nation that deserves the truth: "
GOP 'scared spitless' over war politics. Not the war. The politics of the war. So spineless.
by Joe in DC - 1/14/2007 10:17:00 AM

According to South Dakota Republican Senator John Thune (who was elected in 2004 with help from a gay male prostitute), Republicans on Capitol Hill are 'scared spitless':

And leaving Republican leaders confronting the reality that nervous party members, uncertain of Mr. Bush’s handling of the war and their own party’s legislative appeal, are no longer so tightly bound to the cause.

“Everybody is scared spitless,” Mr. Thune, the South Dakota senator, said.

Scared spitless because they might lose their seats. What a bunch of wimps. Here's an idea for Thune and his fellow Republicans: Spend some time in Bush's war in Baghdad. Not in the protected Green Zone, but on the front line. If you're (sic) lives -- not your political careers -- were on the line, then, you might be legitimately scared spitless.

Instead, you're all scared spitless because you've all been spineless -- supporting Bush's war without question. Pathetic."

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The New Gropeanater

Crooks and Liars » The Liberalization of Ahnuld
The Liberalization of Ahnuld

arnold.jpg It's been interesting to observe the metamorphosis of Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor of California. After the circus of the recall election that placed him in Sacramento, Arnold was full of the swagger and arrogance that embodied most of the Republican majority. Then he pressed on with his ill-fated Special Election (that had he considered polls beforehand, he would have realized he had little chance of prevailing). Despite running with a significant lead over his opponents for his second term, there's no question that Arnold felt the sea change away from the Republican arrogance of the last ten years. Duly chastened, Arnold started his second term embracing centrism and calling for true bipartisanship.

Rather than empty rhetoric, it really does look like Arnold means it. He's demanding a raise in the emissions standards. This week, he introduced a proposal that is near and dear to many liberals: Universal Health Care. While neither proposal is perfect, it's certainly more concession towards bipartisanship than we have seen in a long, long time.

Does Arnold bode a change nationally? Certainly, as the WaPo article suggests, the timing of his health care bill in combination with what's happening in Massachusetts couldn't be better to bring forward a national dialogue on Universal Health Care. And while Massachussets and California have well-earned reputations as being liberal states, these changes are being made by Republican Governors.

Do you think that what's happening in California signals the pendulum moving back towards the left?"

Let's hope Nicole is right.

Israeli Arab Minister

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Israel names first Arab minister: "srael's Labour party leader has appointed Raleb Majadele as science and technology minister - making him the first Arab Muslim in Israel's cabinet.

Amir Peretz said the 'historic' appointment would improve relationships among different groups in Israel.

Mr Majadele replaces Ophir Pines-Paz who quit last October in protest at the addition of ultra-nationalist party Yisrael Beitenu to the coalition..."

Friday, January 12, 2007

Doomsday Clock Ticking

Scientists prepare to move Doomsday Clock forward - Yahoo! Reuter via Yahoo News: " WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The keepers of the "Doomsday Clock" plan to move its hands forward next Wednesday to reflect what they call worsening nuclear and climate threats to the world.

The symbolic clock, maintained by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, currently is set at seven minutes to midnight, with midnight marking global catastrophe.

The group did not say in which direction the hands would move. But in a news release previewing an event next Wednesday, they said the change was based on 'worsening nuclear, climate threats' to the world..."


Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall January 11, 2007 10:36 PM: "Shocking, right?

From Newsweek ...

Sen. Joe Lieberman, the only Democrat to endorse President Bush’s new plan for Iraq, has quietly backed away from his pre-election demands that the White House turn over potentially embarrassing documents relating to its handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans.

Lieberman’s reversal underscores the new role that he is seeking to play in the Senate as the leading apostle of bipartisanship, especially on national-security issues. On Wednesday night, Bush conspicuously cited Lieberman’s advice as being the inspiration for creating a new “bipartisan working group” on Capitol Hill that he said will “help us come together across party lines to win the war on terror.”"

Airwoman In Trouble

Sergeant in trouble for Playboy spread - Yahoo! News: "

SAN ANTONIO - An Air Force staff sergeant who posed nude for Playboy magazine has been relieved of her duties while the military investigates, officials said Thursday.

In February's issue, hitting newsstands this week, Michelle Manhart is photographed in uniform yelling and holding weapons under the headline 'Tough Love.' The following pages show her partially clothed, wearing her dog tags while working out, as well as completely nude.

'This staff sergeant's alleged action does not meet the high standards we expect of our airmen, nor does it comply with the Air Force's core values of integrity, service before self, and excellence in all we do,' Oscar Balladares, spokesman for Lackland Air Force Base, said in a statement..."

Thursday, January 11, 2007

What! No Halo?

NOT THEIR HERO - New York Post Online Edition: Seven: "January 11, 2007 -- THE cover of disgraced ex-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's upcoming book, 'No Retreat, No Surrender,' has set off a firestorm at Penguin-owned Sentinel Publishing. reports editor Bernadette Malone had pushed for an image of DeLay alongside a flag and a cross, but was overruled. Instead, the cover will show a smiling DeLay against a black backdrop. 'Everybody is fed up with this editor,' said one source. 'They view this book in the same way they view the O.J. book. This is an indicted man, driven to resign . . by his own questionable actions and hubris.' Sentinel publisher Adrian Zackheim called reports of dissension in the ranks 'groundless and slimy.'"

Of Wingnuts and Free Phones

Ace of Spades HQ: "...Now imagine, even better, if some of those buzz-makers knew about a previous product give-away for those writing about tech stuff, and you didn't even have to bribe them in advance to write about your product; they knew, or at least suspected, if they pimped the Ronco Miracle Phone they might just be contacted about getting a freebie.

Now how much would you pay?

Apologies to Allah for this. Collateral damage and all that. I know he's above this. Or at least I think he is. Or at least I guess I don't know and don't care if he's above this or not. I just know that only the lefties get the goodies, like all-expenses-paid trips to Amsterdam, so it doesn't really matter if he pimps the iPhone or not, and I think he knows that too.

Anyway, as I'm on the right wing and am definitely not getting any free swag from Apple, as I have no opinions to influence besides a bunch of drooling imbeciles whose idea of a really hot new invention is a 'fidjo' (which is just a fiddle with a banjo glued to its back), I can, clean of all mercenary motives, declare emphatically that I could give a rat's ass about Steve Jobs or his darling little techsessories and fashion-forward widgets..."

I'm with the Ace here. I wonder if he thinks Apple is a liberal organization-- what with Jobs sitting on the Board of the Rat Empire and owning oooodddlles of Disney stock and all.

Great Headline

Daily Kos: Lame duck president sends sitting ducks to Iraq:

"Lame duck president sends sitting ducks to Iraq
by Kagro X
Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 10:49:25 AM PST

If it's in the Sun, it's so:

Better armor lacking for new troops in Iraq

By David Wood
Sun reporter

January 10, 2007

WASHINGTON -- The thousands of troops that President Bush is expected to order to Iraq will join the fight largely without the protection of the latest armored vehicles that withstand bomb blasts far better than the Humvees in wide use, military officers said.

11% and falling.

Did the officers who allegedly told Joe Lieberman they wanted more troops tell him to send them without armor?..."

Joe Goes Iraq Flaky

AMERICAblog: A blog for a great nation that deserves the truth:
"Senator Lieberman says Americans concerned about the Iraq war have a 'dangerous' opinion and are too 'partisan'
by John in DC - 1/11/2007 12:55:00 PM

The charge of excessive partisanship will come as a surprise to all the Republicans and independents who are seriously concerned about Bush's plan to escalate the war in Iraq. We've been saying for a while that Lieberman isn't a moderate Democrat, he's a conservative Republican. He agrees with John McCain and George Bush that the 'solution' to the Iraq debacle is for the 'courageous' George Bush to escalate the war and send more than 20,000 more Americans to this growing quagmire.

That doesn't make Lieberman a moderate. It makes him a minority even among conservative Republicans."

Stem Cell Passes: Veto Certain

House passes bill for stem cell research - Yahoo! News:

"WASHINGTON - The Democratic-controlled House Thursday passed a bill bolstering embryonic stem cell research that advocates say shows promise for numerous medical cures.

But the 253-174 vote fell short of the two-thirds margin required to overturn President Bush's promised veto, despite gains made by supporters in the November elections. Bush vetoed identical legislation last year and the White House on Thursday promised he would veto it again..."