September 2007 Archives

New York Times: The Caucus

A revolt of Christian conservative leaders could be a significant setback to the Giuliani campaign because white evangelical Protestants make up a major portion of Republican primary voters. But the threat is risky for the credibility of the Christian conservative movement as well. Some of its usual grass-roots supporters could still choose to support even a pro-choice Republican like Mr. Giuliani, either because they dislike the Democratic nominee even more or because they are worried about war, terrorism and other issues.
Is anyone really surprised at this? I never expected the Christian conservatives to stick with the Republican party. It was an uneasy alliance from the start. My parents, both of whom were Republican, conservative, and Christian (dad has moved more towards the middle, with my mom never actually approving of divisive talk), never approved of the narrow focus of that particular segment of the party.

In terms of the Republican party, they pretty much charted a path towards destruction when deciding to take advantage of the political power of the conservative Christians. It was in direct conflict with the corporate arm of the Republican party.

In many ways, It seemed an act of desperation. The major political players in the Republican party could not attract a majority with their policies and stances. Co-opting the divisive and destructive policies of the conservative Christians was a quick fix, towards a quick grab of power.

But it was bound to burn them in the end. Hatred always creates a wall, resulting in isolation. Eventually the hatred, having no target, turns inward and creates self-loathing. This is what we are witnessing with the Republican party -- and the conservative movement. The policies of the last 6 years has caused the once powerful Republican minority to become isolated, with the country moving away from them. All they have left to focus their hate on is each other.

It's one thing to have a combative, competitive discussion, as we see happening in the Democratic party. It's quite another to be actively engaged hate, as we are witnessing with the Republican party. When the Democratic party is done with it's primary, it will pull together and support the nominee. Not so for the Republicans, as can be clearly seen with this threat by the Christian conservatives.
Washington Post

The Environmental Protection Agency's pursuit of criminal cases against polluters has dropped off sharply during the Bush administration, with the number of prosecutions, new investigations and total convictions all down by more than a third, according to Justice Department and EPA data.

The number of civil lawsuits filed against defendants who refuse to settle environmental cases was down nearly 70 percent between fiscal years 2002 and 2006, compared with a four-year period in the late 1990s, according to those same statistics.

Gee, another government agency not doing it's job? Under the Bush administration? Who'd a thunk! Oh, and while doing so, failing to follow the rule of law?

"You don't get cleanup, and you don't get deterrence," said Eric Schaeffer, who resigned as director of the EPA's Office of Civil Enforcement in 2002 to protest the administration's approach to enforcement and now heads the Environmental Integrity Project, a watchdog group. "I don't think this is a problem with agents in the field. They're capable of doing the work. They lack the political support they used to be able to count on, especially in the White House."

The slower pace of enforcement mirrors a decline in resources for pursuing environmental wrongdoing. The EPA now employs 172 investigators in its Criminal Investigation Division, below the minimum of 200 agents required by the 1990 Pollution Prosecution Act, signed by President George H.W. Bush.

Imagine that, failing to follow a law signed by his father, no less. Color me surprised.

Not buying that last statement, are you?

Ya, I find it a stretch too.

Army of Dude: The Real Deal

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The Army of Dude has an answer to Rush Limbaugh's accusation of "phony soldiers."

memeorandum link

Oh, and this cracked my shit up!

This blog is not sanctioned by the US Army or Department of Defense and therefore does not reflect their opinion or doctrine. Duh.

Finally, Friday's Stolen Code

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Here it is, Mustang Bobby's Friday Liberal Coalition Blog-a-round.

- A Blog Around The Clock: oxytocin and childbirth. (Corrected typo now that I have my contacts in...)
- archy: fun with right-wing crybabies.
- Bark Bark Woof Woof: God's law vs. UCMJ.
- Bloggg: Autism what?
- Collective Sigh: not your everyday war memorial.
- Dohiyi Mir on voting while you can.
- Echidne Of The Snakes on Chris Matthews and debating a woman.
- Grateful Dread Radio needs a hand.
- Iddybud Journal on native American peacemaking.
- Left Is Right: where's the ice?
- Lefty Side of the Dial: short shots.
- Liberty Street
- Make me a Commentator!!! with yet another Rush doozy.
- Musing's musings on the passing of Bill Wirtz. (Hockey fans remember him.)
- Pen-Elayne on the Web celebrates Google's ninth birthday and finds out what it thinks of her.
- Rook's Rant on the smuggling of cigarettes. (Can you bong tobacco?)
- rubber hose with thoughts on Blackwater.
- Scrutiny Hooligans: remember Daniel Ellsberg?
- SoonerThought on a different kind of Joementum.
- Speedkill on pun-ditry.
- Steve Bates: The site is having issues. Check back later.
- T. Rex's Guide to Life catches up with Florida politics.
- The Fulcrum on the Ken Burns affect.
- The Invisible Library on the perils of being a beliver.
- WTF Is It Now?? with Bill Clinton and MoveOn.org.
- ...You Are A Tree with photos from space.
Now, if anyone is interested, MB needs help stuffing 200 envelopes.

That's right, I'm not interested.
From the weekly email sent out by Completely Free Software.

Introducing the new Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge device, trade-named 'BOOK'. BOOK is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It's so easy to use, even a child can operate it.

Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere -- even sitting in an armchair by the fire -- yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disk. Here's how it works:

BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. The pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder, which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence.

Opaque Paper Technology [OPT] allows manufactures to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density and cutting costs. Experts are divided on the prospects for further increases in information density; for now, BOOKs with more information simply use more pages.

Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly into your brain. A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet. BOOK may be taken up at any time and used merely by opening it.

Unlike other display devices, BOOK never crashes or requires rebooting, and it can even be dropped on the floor or stepped on with little damage. However, it can become unusable if immersed in water for a significant period of time.

The browse feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet and move forward or backward as you wish. Many even come with an 'index' feature, which pinpoints the exact location of selected information for instant retrieval.

An optional 'BOOKmark' accessory allows you to open the BOOK to the exact place you left it in a previous session -- even if the BOOK has been closed. BOOKmarks fit universal design standards; thus, a single BOOKmark can be used in BOOKs by various manufacturers. Conversely, numerous BOOKmarks can be used in a single BOOK if the user wants to store many views at once. The number is only limited to the number of pages in the BOOK.

You can also make personal notes next to BOOK text entries with an optional programming tool, the Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Stylus [PENCILS].

Portable, durable, and affordable, BOOK is being hailed as a precursor of a new entertainment wave. Also, BOOK's appeal seems so certain that thousands of content creators have committed to the platform and investors are reportedly flocking.

Look for a flood of new titles soon.
Blue Girl, Red State

Four and a half years into Iraq, and six years into Afghanistan, they have decided it’s time to determine what, exactly, to do with mercenaries who attack and murder civilians without provocation, or otherwise commit actions that undermine the efforts of the United States to salvage something – anything – from this clusterfuck so we can claim some sort of semblance of a shadow of a specter of a pale imitation of victory™ and get the hell out of there.
Sometimes, you just need to duck when she gets her grove on.
Knoxville News Sentinel

NASHVILLE -- Starting today, state Department of Revenue agents will begin stopping Tennessee motorists spotted buying large quantities of cigarettes in border states, then charging them with a crime and, in some cases, seizing their cars.

Critics say the new "cigarette surveillance program" amounts to the use of "police state" tactics and wrongfully interferes with interstate commerce. But state Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr says his department is simply doing its job, enforcing a valid state law while protecting Tennessee retailers who properly pay state taxes.

Here we go, making cigarette smokers criminals. We've already got an overloaded prison system full of non-violent drug offenders. Where are we going to fit these latests additions into the mix?

Look, I understand smoking is unhealthy, and a leading cause of death. But to make such draconian laws against smoking will only result in an added cost to society, not eliminate the problem.

To top it all off, the war on drugs has gone from poor to bad these last 3 decades, and now the states want to add another drug to the battle. What successes can be sited in justifying this new direction for our law enforcement agencies? I've certainly not seen any successful reduction in overall drug use.

All this is doing is making otherwise average people into outlaws.

Bark Bark Woof Woof

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New York Times

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 — Hoping to ease the strain of two wars, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Thursday that he was likely to approve a $3 billion plan by the Army to accelerate by a full year the expansion of its active-duty force that President Bush approved in January.

And how, exactly, is the Army going to expand it's active-duty force?

Mr. Geren said that expediting the growth of the force would be achieved by increasing recruiting and re-enlistment. The Army has had to resort to large cash bonuses, up to $20,000 for recruits who agree to report quickly for basic training, and far higher amounts to keep soldiers in the service who do specialized jobs.

Though the Army is on track to meet its recruiting goal this year, it has had to accept modest increases in the number of recruits without high school diplomas, take more soldiers who scored low on an aptitude test and expand the use of moral waivers to recruit people with low-level criminal convictions.

All things said and done, it really is a good idea to expand the active-duty force. Now that Bush has made the United States a pariah internationally, and generated even more reasons for terrorists to hate us, we are going to need more troops to deal with the increased terrorist attacks we will no doubt experience for the foreseeable future. And with our troops now stretched out so thin, our ability to respond at the moment is rather questionable.

The Agonist

Republican Presidential Candidate Tom Tancredo told a Danish journalist that Europe Should Deport its 20 Million Muslims. This was last night on the first episode of a mini-documentary series on America, Clement in America.
He's as stupid as Bush. What person in their right mind makes an idiotic statement like that? Well, obviously, someone, such as Tom Tancredo, who does not have a mind. What the hell do you say to such stupidity? I can't even imagine his brain has the capacity to keep him breathing. True, he's alive. But what kind of life can you live with a brain that has an apparent maniacal desire to commit political seppuku?

To be honest, I don't want to know the answer.
He must have developed an immunity to the kool-aid.

Washington Post

The spectacle Tuesday of 151 House Republicans voting in lock step with the White House against expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was one of the more remarkable sights of the year. Rarely do you see so many politicians putting their careers in jeopardy.

[snip]

But Bush insists that SCHIP is "an incremental step toward the goal of government-run health care for every American" -- an eventuality he is determined to prevent.

Bush's adamant stand may be peculiar to him, but the willingness of Republican legislators to line up with him is more significant. Bush does not have to face the voters again, but these men and women will be on the ballot in just over a year -- and their Democratic opponents will undoubtedly remind them of their votes.

Two of their smartest colleagues -- Heather Wilson of New Mexico and Ray LaHood of Illinois -- tried to steer House Republicans away from this political self-immolation, but they had minimal success. The combined influence of White House and congressional leadership -- and what I would have to call herd instinct -- prevailed.

[snip]

In his new book, former Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan wrote that his fellow Republicans deserved to lose their congressional majority in 2006 because they let spending run out of control and turned a blind eye toward misbehavior by their own members. Now, those Republicans have given voters a fresh reason to question their priorities -- or their common sense.

[snip]

This promised veto is a real poison pill for the GOP.
Okay. Who the hell wrote this, and what did they do with David S. Broder?

Think Progress

On September 20, 72 Senators voted for the highly politicized, “bait and switch” resolution that condemned a newspaper ad by MoveOn.org. The amendment, offered by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), expressly stated that the Senate would condemn “any effort to attack the honor and integrity” of “all members of the United States Armed Forces“:

(b) Sense of Senate.–It is the sense of the Senate–

(1) to reaffirm its support for all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, including General David H. Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq;

(2) to strongly condemn any effort to attack the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all the members of the United States Armed Forces; and

(3) to specifically repudiate the unwarranted personal attack on General Petraeus by the liberal activist group Moveon.org.

On his radio show yesterday, right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh attacked the “honor and integrity” of some members of the Armed Forces. Limbaugh attacked troops who hold a different viewpoint than his own as “phony soldiers.” Iraq war vet Jon Soltz writes that Limbaugh’s comments are directed at “the majority of troops on the ground in Iraq” because they “do not back the President’s failed policy.”

For all the Senators who rushed to make political hay over an empty resolution, the spotlight is on them. Will they now enforce their “sense of the Senate” and condemn Rush Limbaugh?

Yesterday, 341 members of the House voted to pass a companion resolution to that of Cornyn’s. They, too, face the same question.

I ain't holding my breath.


Craig Remains in Office, for Now

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ABC News

Though Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, had previously pledged to resign by Sunday, amid allegations he cruised for gay sex in a public bathroom, he now says he will stay in office. "Sen. Larry Craig denies that he went into that restroom for anything other than to go to the restroom," said Craig's attorney Billy Martin, arguing Wednesday that his client's only mistake was pleading guilty to a crime he did not commit in the hopes of making it go away.
The Republicans must be getting ready to pull their hair out. This guy just is not going to leave.
The Boston Globe

WASHINGTON - The Army's top officer, General George Casey, told Congress yesterday that his branch of the military has been stretched so thin by the war in Iraq that it can not adequately respond to another conflict - one of the strongest warnings yet from a military leader that repeated deployments to war zones in the Middle East have hamstrung the military's ability to deter future aggression.
And yet Cheney's pipe dream is still on the table.

It's fucking insane.
Huffington Post

As Media Matters reported today, Rush Limbaugh, on his show said that those troops who come home and want to get America out of the middle of the religious civil war in Iraq are "phony soldiers." I'd love for you, Rush, to have me on your show and tell that to me to my face.
What in God's name is Rush smelling? You don't start calling people who've been in combat in one of the hottest places in the world "phony soldiers." He's got to be popping oxycontin again. And, if he's going to support the troops, then he needs to support their right as American citizens to exercise freedom of speech. Up to, and including, calling for the troops to come home.

Anyway, Jon Soltz has more to say:

First, in what universe is a guy who never served even close to being qualified to judge those who have worn the uniform? Rush Limbaugh has never worn a uniform in his life -- not even one at Mickey D's -- and somehow he's got the moral standing to pass judgment on the men and women who risked their lives for this nation, and his right to blather smears on the airwaves?

Second, maybe Rush doesn't much care, but the majority of troops on the ground in Iraq, and those who have returned, do not back the President's failed policy. If you go to our "Did You Get the Memo" page at VoteVets.org, there's a good collection of stories, polls, and surveys, which all show American's troops believe we are on the wrong track, not the right one, in Iraq.

Okay, it's official. He's back to using. Otherwise, he'd understand that pissing off a member of the Armed Forces is a really, really bad idea.

Talking About History

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All my old posts can be seen here!

Today's History Lesson

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From The New York Times: Today in history:

1779 John Adams was named to negotiate the Revolutionary War's peace terms with Britain.

1825 The first locomotive to haul a passenger train was operated by George Stephenson in England.

1928 The United States said it was recognizing the Nationalist Chinese government.

1939 Warsaw, Poland, surrendered after weeks of resistance to invading forces from Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during World War II.

1954 "Tonight!" hosted by Steve Allen, made its debut on NBC-TV.

1959 A typhoon battered the main Japanese island of Honshu, killing nearly 5,000 people.

1964 The Warren Commission issued a report concluding that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in assassinating President John F. Kennedy.

1990 The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Supreme Court nomination of David H. Souter.

1991 The Senate Judiciary Committee deadlocked, 7-7, on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court.

1994 More than 350 Republican congressional candidates signed the "Contract with America," a 10-point platform they pledged to enact if voters sent a GOP majority to the U.S. House.

1995 The government unveiled its redesigned $100 bill.

1996 The Taliban, a band of former seminary students, drove the government of Afghani President Burhanuddin Rabbani out of Kabul, captured the capital and executed former leader Najibullah.

1998 Social Democrat Gerhard Schroeder was elected chancellor of Germany, ending 16 years of conservative rule.

1998 Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals hit his record-setting 69th and 70th home runs during the last game of the season.

1999 Tiger Stadium closed after 87 years as home of baseball's Detroit Tigers.

2001 An armed man went on a shooting rampage in the local parliament in Zug, Switzerland, killing 14 people before taking his own life.

2001 President George W. Bush announced plans to bolster airline security in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

2005 Army reservist Lynndie England was sentenced to three years behind bars for her role in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

2006 A gunman took six girls hostage at a high school in Bailey, Colo.; he molested them and killed one girl before committing suicide.
New York Times

.....The administration is also requesting $1 billion to train Iraqi security forces, bringing the total 2008 request for training funds to $5.7 billion.
$5.7 billion just for 2008? How much longer are we going to keep throwing money into this pit? We've seen no progress for all the tax payer's hard earned wages spent on Iraq. Instead, we've been witness to graft, corruption and incompetence.

I'm not the only person fed up with this mess:

“The president and his supporters claim that we’re now finally on the cusp of progress and that we must continue to stay the course,” Mr. Byrd said. “I’ve heard that before. Call me a skeptic, but we have heard this tune before. Yes, haven’t we?”

Antiwar protesters in the hearing room responded with cries of “Yes! Yes!”

Mr. Byrd later had the room cleared of protesters after they disrupted an answer by Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Look, I'm not saying that absolutely no money should be approved for the Iraq Invasion. There are necessary items needed by the troops right now. Things no person should be questioning.

Mr. Gates said $11 billion of the requested money was for building 15,000 heavily armored vehicles designed to better withstand the roadside bombs that cause the majority of American casualties in Iraq.

The Pentagon also seeks $9 billion to repair and refit American equipment stocks......
Bottom line: This administration has screwed the pooch in regards to just about everything it's put it's hands on, internationally and domestically. I am not trusting any policy it wishes to pursue. Especially in Iraq. I figure, fund just enough to more than adequately supply our troops so they can be kept safe, and once a competent, ethical, and moral, administration is in office, let's then look at what policies to pursue.
New York Times

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 — The American security contractor Blackwater USA has been involved in a far higher rate of shootings while guarding American diplomats in Iraq than other security firms providing similar services to the State Department, according to Bush administration officials and industry officials.

Blackwater is now the focus of investigations in both Baghdad and Washington over a Sept. 16 shooting in which at least 11 Iraqis were killed. Beyond that episode, the company has been involved in cases in which its personnel fired weapons while guarding State Department officials in Iraq at least twice as often per convoy mission as security guards working for other American security firms, the officials said.
Well, what do you expect when Blacwater USA has super secret decoder ring protection.

The State Department keeps reports on each case in which weapons were fired by security personnel guarding American diplomats in Iraq. Officials familiar with the internal State Department reports would not provide the actual statistics, but they indicated that the records showed that Blackwater personnel were involved in dozens of episodes in which they had resorted to force.
[snip]
The State Department’s incident reports have not been made public, and Blackwater refused to provide its own data on cases in which its personnel used their weapons while guarding American diplomats. The State Department is in the process of providing at least some of the data to Congress. The administration and industry officials who agreed to discuss the broad rate of Blackwater’s involvement in violent events would not disclose the specific numbers.
[snip]
A Blackwater spokeswoman declined to comment.
Damn, I really have to get me one of those rings.
So, not only is he a lying piece of shit, but he's a coward as well. This man has no business being our President if he can't face a journalist because of fear over the hard questions.

Think Progress

Today, the Spanish newspaper El Pais published a transcript of a discussion between President Bush and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar in February 2003 in which Bush told Aznar that the U.S. would go to war with Iraq to disarm Saddam Hussein with or without a UN resolution:

“We must take him right now. We have shown an incredible degree of patience until now. There are two weeks left. In two weeks we will be militarily ready.”

Though Aznar asked Bush to “have a little patience” and urged, “It is very important to have a [UN] resolution,” Bush pushed for war throughout the meeting, telling the Spanish Prime Minister, “We will be in Baghdad by the end of March.”

Just a few days later, Bush insisted to the American public that war with Iraq was not a certainty:

BUSH: “I’ve not made up our mind about military action. Hopefully, this can be done peacefully.” [3/6/03]

BUSH: “We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force.” [3/8/03]

That lying piece of shit. Impeach him. Impeach him now.

Reuters

NCLB.jpg

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Offering a grammar lesson guaranteed to make any English teacher cringe, President George W. Bush told a group of New York school kids on Wednesday: "Childrens do learn."

Bush made his latest grammatical slip-up at a made-for-TV event where he urged Congress to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act, the centerpiece of his education policy, as he touted a new national report card on improved test scores.

This is suppose to be the role model for millions of American students? No Child may be left behind, but our president sure as hell was.
CNN

PORTLAND, Oregon (AP) -- Two provisions of the USA Patriot Act are unconstitutional because they allow search warrants to be issued without a showing of probable cause, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken ruled that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as amended by the Patriot Act, "now permits the executive branch of government to conduct surveillance and searches of American citizens without satisfying the probable cause requirements of the Fourth Amendment."

Portland attorney Brandon Mayfield sought the ruling in a lawsuit against the federal government after he was mistakenly linked by the FBI to the Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people in 2004.

The federal government apologized and settled part of the lawsuit for $2 million after admitting a fingerprint was misread. But as part of the settlement, Mayfield retained the right to challenge parts of the Patriot Act.

Finally! Some constitutional sanity after nearly 6 years of dictatorial madness. Now, if some Democrats in congress can suddenly remember they swore to uphold the constitution, and move to impeach that chimp emperor at 1600 Pensylvania Ave., I'd be a happy man.

Outrage Fatigue.

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Fuck it. I've had enough for today. All I do when I scan the headlines is get mad as hell. I'm going to read a book, play computer games, and generally ignore the world today.

Quick Post

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I've got 5 minutes before I have to get to a managers' meeting. Quite a bit caught my eye in the news today, I just didn't feel the energy to write any posts about them. Hopefully, during the day I can get away and write one or two up. Until then, try not to wreck the place.
Think Progress

On the Senate floor today, Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) made an impassioned appeal to his fellow senators, declaring that the Lieberman-Kyl amendment on Iran should be “withdrawn” because the “proposal is Dick Cheney’s fondest pipe dream.” Webb cautioned that the “cleverly-worded sense of the Congress” could be “interpreted” to “declare war” on Iran.

There are so many good quotes in the article that you've just got to go read it for yourself. Quite frankly, Jim Webb kicks ass.

Norm’s Not Looking So Good

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MNPublius.com

Survey USA just released new approval ratings for Minnesota’s Senators and Norm Coleman isn’t looking so hot. Only 46% of Minnesotans approve of his job performance, compared to 45% who disapprove.
Zack, over a MNPublius, has a suggesting; a sex and personality change operation.

All I can say is: eww.

I-35W work may stall Wakota Bridge

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Seriously, our state is starting to show it's own signs of incompetence.

Star Tribune

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The long-troubled east metro project might lose another construction season, officials say.

Last update: September 24, 2007 - 11:01 PM

Plagued by a history of delays, design flaws and cost overruns, the Wakota Bridge has now been placed on a possible hit list of projects that may be temporarily shelved to free up funds for reconstruction of the collapsed Interstate 35W bridge.

The opening of the east-bound Wakota Bridge, which spans the Mississippi River between South St. Paul and Newport, already had been delayed until 2009 while the project was being rebid.

Washington County Commissioner Myra Peterson, who represents the district around the bridge, said the result of further delay might be the loss "of a whole construction season."

By way of C&R

all_saints_church.thumbnail.jpgThe Carpetbagger Report

I'm glad the matter was resolved, but there are still lingering questions about whether the IRS investigation was driven by partisan motivations. It seems scary to think administration officials targeted All Saints because it's a progressive church, but there's reason to raise the question.

From the outset, the IRS seemed to deal with All Saints in an unusual way. For example, when a ministry is suspected of intervening in a political campaign, ordinarily the first step is a warning letter from the IRS. In this case, the agency skipped that step and went right to a threatening letter, stating that "a reasonable belief exists that you may not be tax-exempt as a church."

Moreover, usually a house of worship is reminded of legal limits, the institution promises to play nice, and unless there's a pattern of repeated abuse, the matter is final. The IRS seems to have taken a far more aggressive position towards All Saints Episcopal. The church provided the IRS with a copy of all literature given out before the election; the IRS said it wasn't satisfied. The church said it never endorses candidates; the IRS told church officials to either admit wrongdoing or face more intense scrutiny.

Looks to be another shiny example of BushCo™ politicizing government, by taking a page out of Tricky Dick's play book.

Given the circumstances, it's not unreasonable to wonder if, perhaps, Bush-appointed staffers at the IRS targeted All Saints because they didn't like the sermon's criticism of their president. It would be an outrageous abuse of power for the IRS to go after a house of worship based on partisan political concerns, but given what we've seen of the Bush gang, it's hard to offer the administration much in the way of benefit of the doubt.

During Watergate, we learned that Nixon used the IRS to harass and intimidate political opponents. Let's hope this isn't a repeat of the same abuse.

Another story to send to Dan Froomkin.

The Agonist

664bdc4ed869bcddc05f.jpegThe "Brains" Thomas Nast Political Cartoon

March 20, 2003 Through the Present

Michael Collins
Scoop Independent News
Washington, D.C.

1. Well, to start, Congress gave Alaska Senator Ted Stevens (R) $1.5 billion dollars to build two bridges to absolutely nowhere. After two years, the citizens of Alaska stopped one of them and Sen. Stevens is now subject of an FBI investigation targeting public corruption. (1) (2)

2. Right in the middle of this major war, Congress decided to give away hundreds of billions in tax cuts to major corporations. Isn't war supposed to be a time of sacrifice? Guess the big guys are too busy making money to sacrifice. (1) (2)

3. Speaking of sacrifice, Congress continued its special retirement system where just five years of service gets you full retirement with benefits at age 62. Sweet! Where can we get that deal? (1)

4. One day Congress was feeling so powerful it decided to trash the great protection against unlawful imprisonment, the writ of habeas corpus. This dates back 800 years to the Magna Carta. You can now be arrested without a charge, denied a lawyer, and held indefinitely. They said it's just for terrorists but they lied. As a special bonus, those torture techniques for terrorists can also be used on U.S. citizens. More of that globalism business. Taser alert! (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

5. But let's be fair, the U.S. Senate did take a firm stand on Iraq just recently. They took the time to vote 72 to 25 to condemn an anti war group for criticizing the testimony of one of the few generals who actually supports the war. At the same time they gave billions more to continue in Iraq. Attack an ad, fund a war. It's Congress in action. (1) (2)

6. As if nuking a newspaper ad wasn't enough, Congress gave recently embarrassed Sen. Vitter, (R-LA), a big fat check for his pet project - "a Louisiana Christian group that has challenged the teaching of Darwinian evolution in the public school system and to which he has political ties." (1) (2)

7. Meanwhile, Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) got a 56 vote Senate majority to guarantee U.S. troops sufficient rest and leave to recover from the hardships of the Iraq war. But it needed 60 votes to pass! "It's a congressional thing, we wouldn't understand." (1) (2) (3)

8. Congress made sure that seniors continue to pay top dollar for their medicine by refusing, that's right, refusing to let Medicare officials negotiate bulk discounts from big drug companies (Big Pharma). Why wouldn't they want seniors to get up to 60% off for vital medicines? Got me. (1) (2)

9. Congress might be getting a little worried about us, the citizens. They passed a bill allowing the government to spy on our phone conversations and emails without a warrant "just because they say so." All it takes is the Attorney General and one intelligence official to say so and you're bugged. You'll never know it. They wouldn't want to upset us, would they? (1) (2) (3) (4)

10. Not satisfied with screwing the seniors, the soldiers, and just about all U.S. citizens, Congress is now out to get the world by blocking any real action on global warming. Congress must be smarter than just about every scientist in the world. They're the "Brains." (1) (2) (3) (4)
Permission to reprint in whole or part with a link the this article in Scoop and attribution of authorship

What He Said, Part Duex

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Bark Bark Woof Woof

What I have trouble getting past is that all this hue and cry does is prove that in spite of our tough talk about wiping out terrorism, "bring 'em on," and the Nuke Iran lobby making noise in the administration, we're really afraid of him to the point that some were willing to deny him the right to speak and answer questions. We've really lost something when we're that fearful of someone else's point of view, no matter how disgusting it may be. The best thing we can do to prove he's a petty and cruel dictator is let him talk.
Just another addition of "Ya, What He Said."

Fixer Says It Right

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Alternate Brain

I'll give you something to think about before I split. Do you think, if Iran developed a nuke, they would allow it to get into the hands of terrorists? (We have more to worry about from an already-nuclear Pakistan in that regard.) Don't you think a nuclear attack (suitcase bomb, dirty bomb), were it traced to Iran, would be met with an all-out nuclear response? The Minuteman IIIs and B-52s would be launched within minutes. The Soviets knew it for 60 years and they had just as many missiles pointed at us.
Ya, what he said.
Paul Krugman

Since I've just published an op-ed about the enduring influence of race on Southern voting, I'm sure to be accused of being a typical Northeastern snob talking about poor white trash who don't know what's good for them. So I thought I'd mention an important point about Southern white voting that didn't fit in 800 words: namely, the poor whites are not the issue.

In fact, if you look at voting behavior, low-income whites in the South are not very different from low-income whites in the rest of the country. You can see this both in Larry Bartels's "What's the matter with What's the Matter With Kansas?" (pdf), Figure 3, and in a comprehensive study of red state-blue state differences by Gelman et al (pdf). It's relatively high-income Southern whites who are very, very Republican. Can I get away with saying that rich white trash are the problem? Probably not.

Oh hell, Paul, I think you can. At least, I'd agree. I'd also suspect high-income Southern whites are residual plantation stock, carrying on the tradition of pappy in the finest of efforts.

Podhoretz To Bush, Bomb Iran!

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The Politico

President Bush and Karl Rove sat listening to Norman Podhoretz for roughly 45 minutes at the White House as the patriarch of neoconservatism argued that the United States should bomb Iran's nuclear facilities.

The meeting was not on the president's public schedule.
So, the neoconservatives get super secret, double code ring access to the President, while 60% of the country is getting ignored. I'd ask how this qualifies as working for the people, but it would be the rhetorical equivalence of an oxymoron.

Post-9/11 Cases Fuel Criticism for Nominee

New York Times

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 -- The 21-year-old Jordanian immigrant was in shackles when he was brought into the courtroom of Judge Michael B. Mukasey in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

It was Oct. 2, 2001, and the prisoner, Osama Awadallah, then a college student in San Diego with no criminal record, was one of dozens of Arab men detained around the country in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks as potential witnesses in the terrorism investigation.

Before the hearing, Mr. Awadallah told his lawyer that he had been beaten in the federal detention center in Manhattan, producing bruises that were hidden beneath his orange prison jumpsuit. But when his lawyer told this to Judge Mukasey, the judge seemed little concerned.

"As far as the claim that he was beaten, I will tell you that he looks fine to me," said Judge Mukasey, who was nominated by President Bush last week to be his third attorney general and is now facing Senate confirmation hearings. "You want to have him examined, you can make an application. If you want to file a lawsuit, you can file a civil lawsuit."

Even though Mr. Awadallah was not charged at the time with any crime and had friends and family in San Diego who would vouch that he had no terrorist ties, Judge Mukasey ordered that he be held indefinitely, a ruling he made in the cases of several other so-called material witnesses in the Sept. 11 investigations. A prison medical examination later identified the bruises across his body.

I'll admit, I am concerned about this account. However, I also am willing to give benefit of the doubt, considering just how soon after 9/11 this particular incident occurred. Hopefully, he will answer the questions asked him at his hearing. If they are asked.

Update: Good point. Ah, okay, very good point. (scroll down a bit)
Washington Post

MoveOn, saying it had no reason to believe it was paying "anything other than the normal and usual charge," said yesterday that it would send the Times $77,000 to make up the difference.

The Times also violated its own advertising policy, which bars "attacks of a personal nature," Hoyt reported. He wrote that the episode "gave fresh ammunition to a cottage industry that loves to bash The Times as a bastion of the 'liberal media.' "

Many Republicans have seemed to prefer talking about MoveOn's ad rather than the war itself.

Even the Washington Post notes it's nothing more than a diversion from the war itself.

Pathetic.
Washington Post

A Pentagon group has encouraged some U.S. military snipers in Iraq to target suspected insurgents by scattering pieces of "bait," such as detonation cords, plastic explosives and ammunition, and then killing Iraqis who pick up the items, according to military court documents. The classified program was described in investigative documents related to recently filed murder charges against three snipers who are accused of planting evidence on Iraqis they killed.
This is stupid on so many levels, it's unbelievable. How, exactly, do you guarantee that the person picking up the "bait" is truly an insurgent? You can't. And that's the problem. Humans are an inquisitive bunch, and sometimes things that stand out catch our attention. We want a closer look. And I am not alone in this thought:

Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, said such a baiting program should be examined "quite meticulously" because it raises troubling possibilities, such as what happens when civilians pick up the items.

"In a country that is awash in armaments and magazines and implements of war, if every time somebody picked up something that was potentially useful as a weapon, you might as well ask every Iraqi to walk around with a target on his back," Fidell said.

But, I guess in the world of this Pentagon group, all Iraqis must be insurgents. No doubt they see inquisitive humans as insurgents.

And obviously some snipers realized they killed innocent people, or people that obviously could not easily be identified as insurgents. So, they tried to cover their asses.

Jesus H. Christ, what an all around bad idea. How the hell do we win hearts and souls if we are killing indiscriminately in this manner. Well, obviously we don't.

Seriously, this is fucked up. If, that is, it's actually a program in place:

"We don't discuss specific methods targeting enemy combatants," said Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman. "The accused are charged with murder and wrongfully placing weapons on the remains of Iraqi nationals. There are no classified programs that authorize the murder of local nationals and the use of 'drop weapons' to make killings appear legally justified." [highlighting mine]

Regarding Comments

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Well, I guess I had my comment settings at a severe range, which limited the ease of commenting. Hopefully, with the change of settings, commenting will be easier.
New York Daily News

The old gray lady has some explaining to do.

Officials at the New York Times have admitted a liberal activist group was permitted to pay half the rate it should have for a provocative ad condemning U.S. Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus.

The MoveOn ad, which cast Petraeus as "General Betray Us" and attacked his truthfulness, ran on the same day the commander made a highly anticipated appearance before Congress.

But since the liberal group paid the standby rate of $64,575 for the full-page ad, it should not have been guaranteed to run on Sept. 10, the day Petraeus warned Congress against a rapid withdrawal of troops from Iraq, Times personnel said.

"We made a mistake," Catherine Mathis, vice president of corporate communications for The Times, told the newspaper's public editor.


I swear, if there was ever a case of hitting your head against the brick wall because it feels good when you stop, the orcosphere and it's legacy media cohorts are prime examples. This well was dry from the beginning and yet they continue to go back to it time and again.

General Petraeus' testimony had zero affect on the opinion of the American populous. Yet, here they go again, attempting to score some kind of political resurrection by attacking the New York Times' selling of ad space. In truth, all they are doing is making their voices become background noise to be filtered out with the rest.

But what the hell. Go ahead fellas and fillies, keep beating that particular wall. However, I recommend some Ibuprofen, a strong cup of coffee, and maybe a few minute break in between bashes. Oh, and I suggest you don't add cream and sugar to the coffee, it ruins the ability of caffeine to reduce the pain.

Iraq war budget jumps for 2008

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LA Times

WASHINGTON -- -- After smothering efforts by war critics in Congress to drastically cut U.S. troop levels in Iraq, President Bush plans to ask lawmakers next week to approve another massive spending measure -- totaling nearly $200 billion -- to fund the war through next year, Pentagon officials said. If Bush's spending request is approved, 2008 will be the most expensive year of the Iraq war.
Okay, so if we're seeing improvements, does it make sense that after almost 5 years, we are increasing our funding of the war? Isn't the successful outcome of a short war, you know, a short period of time for the war to be wrapped up?

But then, do I really need to hear answers to those questions?

Yes, I know. I am a traitor and yada, yada, yada......

Still, I'd like to know why we are now spending more money on a war that was initially sold to us a quick and easy exercise in military expertise and efficiency.

Missteps in the Bunker

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Washington Post

Some Air Force veterans say the base's officers made an egregious mistake in allowing nuclear-warhead-equipped missiles and unarmed missiles to be stored in the same bunker, a practice that a spokesman last week confirmed is routine. Charles Curtis, a former deputy energy secretary in the Clinton administration, said, "We always relied on segregation of nuclear weapons from conventional ones." [highlighting mine]

Former nuclear weapons officials have noted that the weapons transfer at the heart of the incident coincides with deep cuts in deployed nuclear forces that will bring the total number of warheads to as few as 1,700 by the year 2012 -- a reduction of more than 50 percent from 2001 levels. But the downsizing has created new accounting and logistical challenges, since U.S. policy is to keep thousands more warheads in storage, some as a strategic reserve and others awaiting dismantling.

First of all, mixing nuclear equipped missiles with unarmed missiles is a bad call. Second of all, misplacing nuclear warheads is never "harmless."

While Air Force officials see the Minot event as serious, they also note that it was harmless, since the six nuclear warheads never left the military's control. Even if the bomber had crashed, or if someone had stolen the warheads, fail-safe devices would have prevented a nuclear detonation.

Saying the misplacement of nuclear warheads as harmless presents a military that is no longer focused on the important task of guarding said nuclear warheads. And it seems I am not the only one who feels that way:

A secret 1998 history of the Air Combat Command warned of "diminished attention for even 'the minimum standards' of nuclear weapons' maintenance, support and security" once such arms became less vital, according to a declassified copy obtained by Hans Kristensen, director of the Federation of American Scientists' nuclear information project.

Yet, the Air Force would have us believe otherwise:

Last year, the Air Force eliminated a separate nuclear-operations directorate known informally as the N Staff, which closely tracked the maintenance and security of nuclear weapons in the United States and other NATO countries. Currently, nuclear and space operations are combined in a single directorate. Air Force officials say the change was part of a service-wide reorganization and did not reflect diminished importance of nuclear operations.

One of the main components of success for the Nuclear Powered Navy (at least when I was in the Navy) is the fact that it is maintained as a separate component of the Navy, with a separate chain of command. Obviosly, the Air Force, in this incident, reinforces that need for separation.

However, the point I really want to make is that this is just a further reflection of leadership failure. The decision to combine storage is a reflection of the attitude of the top leadership in the Air Force. Unfortunately, it is filtering down to the lower levels. Even more unfortunate is that enlisted men will be used as scapegoats while leadership is given a cursory review, and the results tossed in the chit can.

But if you really want to get to the root cause, look no further than here. Is it really all that surprising that under the command of a man who's commitment to his own military service is questionable that military command would start to diminish?

Side By Side Comparison

Stolen from Batux the Snarky Penguin:
RomneyHillaryCareMedicare For All
Enrollment method Requires individuals to purchase health insurance either from current insurance programs or from a new government-run insurance program Automatic -- all individuals residing in America are automatically covered by Medicare For All.
Method of Funding Billing of individuals by insurance companies, combined the existing Medicaid tax for subsidizing lower-income insurance purchasers Already-existing Medicare payroll deduction, increased to cover full cost of program and with employer matching of the employee portion, combined with a deduction from Social Security recipients' Social Security checks
Enforcement costs Requires significant enforcement costs, up to and including imprisonment, in order to obtain compliance with the mandatory insurance purchase requirement. Enforcement is against 120,000,000 households, rather than 10,000,000 businesses. No additional enforcement costs -- current already-existing Medicare tax enforcement against the 10,000,000 businesses in America suffices, which is much less expensive than enforcing a new mandate against 120,000,000 individual households.
Additional government bureaucracies created 5 - a new government-provided health plan distinct from Medicare with its own bureaucracies for enrollments, billing, and payments, a new government bureaucracy to handle computing and distributing health insurance subsidies to lower-income Americans, and a new enforcement bureaucracy to enforce the purchase of insurance -2 - eliminates current Medicare enrollment and billing bureaucracies (everybody is automatically enrolled thus no need for a new enrollment bureaucracy, and the funding method eliminates the need to bill anybody unlike Medicare which is required to bill people who are receiving Medicare but not Social Security because they're still working)
Savings in insurance marketing costs Increases marketing costs, since now marketing must be directed at 120,000,000 households rather than 10,000,000 businesses 100 percent savings. No marketing costs -- everybody is automatically enrolled
Savings in billing costs Increases billing costs, since now 120,000,000 individuals must be billed rather than 10,000,000 businesses. Over 100% savings -- total cost of plan piggy-backs on already-existing Medicare payroll tax already taken out of your paycheck and eliminates the current Medicare billing bureaucracy (for working Medicare recipients not yet receiving Social Security)
Savings in insurance claims processing costs slight increase, due to new government bureaucracy Drastic decrease -- dealing with only one program (Medicare For All) rather than with thousands of plans provided by hundreds of insurance companies will result in at least 15% average reduction in costs for the typical physician practice, and probably more.
Savings to businesses 100 percent -- now individuals, not businesses, pay for health insurance. Increases costs for businesses that currently do not provide health insurance because the amount taken out of paycheck as Medicare tax is matched by the employer in the same way as the current Social Security tax. Decreases by at least 50% costs for employers who currently provide health insurance.
Savings in individual insurance premiums Most people will see higher premiums than under their old employer-provided plans, due to higher billing and marketing costs. Inability to enforce the insurance mandate means little savings due to no longer having to bear cost of care for uninsured. Dependent on income, if you count the Medicare payroll tax as a premium. Lower income people will see a drastic savings, upper income people will see a drastic increase, most will pay less than today because total cost of the program is less.
Coverage for pre-existing conditions Mandated Everybody in America is automatically covered
Percentage of individuals uninsured Roughly 10%, consisting of people who do not file income tax statements (and thus are not tracked by RomneyHillaryCare), are here illegally and thus do not qualify for subsidies for low-income households, or simply cannot afford health insurance even with the subsidies provided under RomneyHillaryCare for low-income households. None -- everybody in America will be automatically covered, regardless of income status or immigration status.
Overall savings Increases overall costs of health care in America, due to the cost of the additional federal bureaucracies and cost of billing and enforcement Decreases overall costs of health care in America by at least 25% due to elimination of all billing, marketing, and sales costs and drastic reduction of claims processing costs due to economies of scale.
Consumer choice of physician Limited As is currently the case, you will be required to "choose" a physician who is part of your particular PPO or HMO. Drastically improved. With Medicare for All, you can go to any physician, anywhere, and receive care.
Consumer choice of health care coverage Moderate increase in consumer choice. Right now you are limited to what your employer provides. You will be able to choose any plan you can afford under RomneyHillaryCare. Moderate increase in consumer choice. While everybody's base level of health care coverage will be the same, you can choose to purchase MediGap insurance from private providers at extra cost to provide additional coverages beyond those provided by Medicare under Medicare For All.
Ability of states to create their own health plans different and distinct from the national plan Eliminated. Eliminated
I have to admit, Hillary's health care reform does not seem to really address the problem of health care. All it does is continue to feed the insurance industry while failing to give adequate, affordable health coverage.
Submitted without comment.

Yea, I know, I'm surprised too.

The New Republic

Of course, the Democrats have not threatened to take many incremental steps that would pose any real political risks to themselves. One, for example, would be to hold real hearings on whether there is any way to avoid reinstatement of the draft and maintain our national security if we continue an indefinite presence in Iraq, so that the American people begin to connect voting Republican with realistic anxiety about the lives and well-being of their teenage children. (The question Democrats have never asked Republicans since the war began is the only one that really matters: Would you send your own child to die in Iraq? And if so, have you done everything you can to convince your children that, if this is truly the war you say it is--for our freedom, for our very way of life, to keep the terrorists "over there" so that we don't fight them "over here"--they should drop their lucrative investment banking careers and be all they can be in Baghdad? Surely, with American freedom at stake, Jenna Bush could wait a few months to don her wedding gown and spend some time in army fatigues.) And while we're on our children, as Congress considers yet another supplemental appropriations bill for the war, the least Democrats can do this time around for our children, grandchildren, and generations yet unborn is to stop taxing them for this war (which is what deficit-spending for a war is), and to require that Bush and the Republicans put their money where their mouth is: Tell us whose taxes they're going to raise to pay not only for the next hundred billion dollars but for the half a trillion they have already spent from the piggy-banks of the innocent.

Is This the Wile E. Coyote Moment?

Paul Krugman

So, according to the story, one of these days there will be a Wile E. Coyote moment for the dollar: the moment when the cartoon character, who has run off a cliff, looks down and realizes that he's standing on thin air - and plunges. In this case, investors suddenly realize that Stein's Law applies -- "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop" - and they realize they need to get out of dollars, causing the currency to plunge. Maybe the dollar's Wile E. Coyote moment has arrived - although, again, I've been wrong about this so far.
You know the scary thing is, I actually understand what he's saying.

<voice style="whimper">Mommy!</voice>
Washington Post

Yesterday, an organization so small its 17 employees don't even have a central office, found itself under attack by not only President Bush, who said the ad was "disgusting," but also by the Democratic-controlled Senate, which passed a resolution 72 to 25 expressing its own outrage. Many Democrats blamed the group for giving moderate Republicans a ready excuse for staying with Bush and for giving Bush and his supporters a way to divert attention away from the war.

In an e-mail to its members last night, the group acknowledged that the content of the ad might have angered its allies but argued that a larger issue is at stake. "Maybe you liked our General Petraeus ad. Maybe you thought the language went too far," they wrote. "But make no mistake: this is much bigger than one ad."

And it turned its criticism squarely back on the Senate, accusing it of "spending time cracking down on a newspaper ad" after failing on Wednesday to pass a bill lengthening the home leaves of U.S. troops fighting in Iraq, a bipartisan measure that some regarded as pressuring Bush into limiting the redeployment of U.S. forces.


Quite frankly, the whole brouhaha over the ad is just giving MoveOn that much more free publicity. It was a stroke of genius. And the more the Republican's rail against it, the more awareness it gains throughout the country. Indeed, a claim could be made it fits into the old adage The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend.

For MoveOn's supporters, the special notice from Bush may only serve to validate its confrontational style. "I think he just raised MoveOn several million more dollars," said Erik Smith, a Democratic media consultant.
I think the Republican's have forgotten their own play book.

Health Care Hopes

Paul Krugman has a good op-ed about the Democratic party health care/insurance reform plan. But that's really not the point of this post. What caught my eye was this statement at the end of the article:

David Brooks is off today.

And this is different from any other day...., how?
Ah yes. It's Friday and Mustang Bobby has taken the time to create his usual Liberal Coalition Blog-a-round. And that means this lazy ass blogger is going to steal his hard work, and post it on this blog.

MWAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

The shear power of evil.

EVIL.

PURE.

EVIL.

MWAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

- A Blog Around The Clock on Facebook and breast-feeding.
- archy: want to buy a country?
- Bark Bark Woof Woof pokes a stick.
- Bloggg: Moi goes to Bug's first parade.
- Collective Sigh: Andante doesn't think much of HillaryCare 2.0.
- Dohiyi Mir: NTodd is not happy with the Senate.
- Echidne Of The Snakes on the MoveOn.org ad.
- Grateful Dread Radio on the Jena 6 rally.
- Happy Furry Puppy Story Time takes a break. Come back soon, Norbizness.
- Iddybud Journal with a picture of an Edwards supporter.
- Left Is Right: Friday fun.
- Lefty Side of the Dial: in light of "Talk Like a Pirate Day," Lefty has some suggestions for some other days.
- Liberty Street is having page-loading issues.
- Make me a Commentator!!! takes on Cal Thomas.
- Musing's musings on meaningless resolutions.
- Pen-Elayne on the Web does a great blogaround.
- Rook's Rant on who the Democrats should go after.
- rubber hose: Hey, Rudy, what does NATO stand for?
- Scrutiny Hooligans likes Sally Field.
- SoonerThought: lost weight now; ask him how.
- Speedkill: oh, the horror.
- Steve Bates welcomes a switch hitter.
- T. Rex's Guide to Life catches up on Florida news.
- WTF Is It Now?? on the threat by Bush to veto health care for children.
- ...You Are A Tree with Pet Peeve #26.

It feels so good to be evil.
Minnesota Monitor

The social conservatives' buzz over the Iowa court decision striking down that state's Defense of Marriage Act continues in Minnesota as right-wing types ratchet up the push for a constitutional amendment in the next legislative session. The common denominator among them seems to be Star Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten.
Oh, for Christ's sake. We've got bridges to build, bridges to repair, roads to repair, schools to fund, and an economy to manage. But no, instead, our Republican congress critters in the Minnesota State government deem that failed amendment more important.

When are they going to pull their collective heads out of their asses and see the people of this state have bigger concerns? Ya, I know, never.

Still, enough already. How about our elected officials start doing the business of the people, not sticking their collective noses into the business of the people.

Another Poor Soul Afflicted.

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I avoid Talk Like A Pirate Day like I avoid bars, crack houses, and Sally Fields acceptance speeches. I've found most of these things cause severe damage to one's life. It is amazing what happens to one's emotional well being, creativity, and rational thought. Case in point:

arrrr.jpgYes, it's Wil Wheaton. As you can see, he's succumbed to the vile disease that is Talk Like A Pirate Day. I fear it may be too late for him. But if we work together, maybe someday, someone just like Wil can be saved. But, until that day, let us keep Wil in our hearts, and pray for a miracle.
The Huffington Post

Before a single Democrat condemns MoveOn's ad, they should insist that George W. Bush and the Republican Party repudiate the anti-military smears on war heroes that have been the hallmark of Mr. Bush's political career.

Too many Democrats still think Mr. Bush's presidency is on the level. Let's be clear. Mr. Bush is not leading a serious, sober discussion about public discourse during a war. He wants to divide progressives and score political points. We should not let him. Throughout his career he's been willing to tolerate and benefit from vicious lies about military men. We should not concede that he is legitimately angry now.
Damn right! It's about time someone pointed out the hypocrisy of the Vastly Corrupt Conspiratorial Right Wing Political Machine (VCCRWPM!)

  • In the 2000 South Carolina primary, George W. Bush stood next to a man described as a "fringe" figure - a man who had attacked Bush's own father - at a Bush rally. With Bush applauding him, the man said John McCain "abandoned" veterans. McCain, who was tortured in a North Vietnamese POW camp, was incensed. Five U.S. Senators who fought in Vietnam, including Democrats John Kerry, Max Cleland and Bob Kerrey, condemned the attack and called on Bush to repudiate it. When pressed on it at a debate hosted by CNN's Larry King, Bush meekly muttered that he shouldn't be held responsible for what others say. Even when he's standing next to them at a Bush rally.
  • In the 2002 campaign, draft dodger Saxby Chambliss ran an ad with pictures of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, then said Sen. Max Cleland lacked courage. Max Cleland left three limbs in Vietnam as an Army captain. Mr. Bush's political aide, Karl Rove, later refused to disavow the ad, saying, "President Bush and the White House don't write the ads for Senate candidates."
  • Also in the 2002 campaign, the PAC for the Family Research Council, a close Bush ally, ran an ad in South Dakota that pictured Sen. Tom Daschle and Saddam Hussein. "What do Saddam Hussein and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle have in common?" the ad asked. Apparently, they both opposed drilling in the Arctic wilderness. First, I had no idea that supporting drilling in the wilderness is a family values issue. Second, I have seen no reporting on the late Iraqi dictator's position on Alaska drilling. But I do know Tom Daschle is an Air Force veteran. Mr. Bush never disavowed the smear.
  • But perhaps the worst was what was done to John Kerry. Kerry earned five major medals in combat: the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. And yet supporters of Bush and Cheney decided to smear his war record. The despicable, dishonest Swift Boat attacks alleged that Kerry fabricated reports that earned him the Bronze Star. The Swifties also suggested that Kerry's wounds were insignificant - and that one was even self-inflicted. Kerry's wounds were certainly more serious than Mr. Bush's, who suffered a cut on his finger from popping a beer can while avoiding his duty in the Alabama National Guard. At the 2000 GOP convention, rich, white Republicans were photographed gleefully putting Band-Aids with purple hearts on their chubby cheeks. Mr. Bush refused to condemn the attack - blandly noting he didn't like 527 groups generally - and later nominated one of the men who financed the smear to be Ambassador to Belgium.
Now, granted, maybe the 23 Democrats voting to censure MoveOn felt it was not proper for a progressive group to engage in the same low-brow, divisive behavior as the Republican party. However, censuring MoveOn was even more a waste of congressional time then impeaching Clinton. You see, I'd rather they be working on getting us out of Iraq, improve the economy for the other 98% of the population, restore habeas corpus, the very cornerstone of democracies around the world, and restore competence and integrity back to government.

Unfortunately, the only way to accomplish any of those goals is to remove George W. Bush from the Oval Office. So, what say you start those impeachment proceedings?

Ya, right.
Eric Black Inc.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minneapolis and House Judiciary Chair John Conyers have moments ago sent a letter to the acting U.S. attorney general demanding all communications from the staff of the Minnesota U.S. attorneys office to the Justice Department about Rachel Paulose's management of the office, documents relating to the evaluations of her predecessor, Tom Heffelfinger that might shed light on why he was on a list of U.S. attorneys to be fired, and all documents reflecting the search for Heffelfinger's replacement, which led to the appointment of Paulose.
Eric continues to be out in front on this local portion of the Prosecutor Purge affair.

One thought I've had is the likely demise of Paulose before her term is up. Indeed, Eric's piece touches on that very issue:

Insiders have speculated the change from Gonzalez to Mukasey could undermine Paulose's chances of lasting that long. The thinking is that if Mukasey wanted to make a statement that the controversies of the Gonzalez era are over, he might try to clear out some of the less-popular, more controversial holdovers.
I really do think Mukasey is going to be the person to finally bring all of the Bush administrations corruption and abuse out into the open.

However, I have also made claims in the past that failed to come to fruition, so take my proclamation with a grain of suga....err salt.

Paul Krugman Takes To Blogging!

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Paul Krugman

What I found striking about the whole thing was the contempt the pundit consensus showed for the public - it was, more or less, "Oh, people just can't resist a man in uniform." But it turns out that they can; it's the punditocracy that can't.
Oh, it looks like Paul is going to take to blogging just fine.

Effort to Shift Course in Iraq Fails in Senate

New York Times

With other war initiatives seemingly headed for the same fate, Senate Democrats, who only two weeks ago proclaimed September to be the month for shifting course in Iraq, conceded that they had little chance of success.

They said their strategy would now focus on portraying Republicans as opposing any change and on trying to chip away support for the White House as the war continued.

The proposal that failed Wednesday fell 4 votes short of the 60 needed to prevent a filibuster and would have required that troops be given as much time at home as they had spent overseas before being redeployed.

There were 56 votes in favor, including 6 Republicans -- one fewer than the 7 Republicans who joined the Democrats in July, when the measure, by Senator Jim Webb, Democrat of Virginia, also fell 4 votes short.

What else is there to say, other then it's obvious the Republicans in congress have no intentions of listening to the will of the people.

Obstructionists.

Debate No-Shows Worry GOP Leaders

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Washington Post

Key Republican leaders are encouraging the party's presidential candidates to rethink their decision to skip presidential debates focusing on issues important to minorities, fearing a backlash that could further erode the party's standing with black and Latino voters.
I really can't believe the moderate Republicans actually think their party stands a chance with minorities. Considering that the last 6 years has seen nothing but race baiting and the use of divisive issues to secure their base; that any token legislation towards minorities presented by the Republicans when in the majority was either removed in negotiations between the two chambers, or simply watered down; that their main drive for votes was to scare the populace with tales of brown skinned boogie men.

"We sound like we don't want immigration; we sound like we don't want black people to vote for us," said former congressman Jack Kemp (N.Y.), who was the GOP vice presidential nominee in 1996. "What are we going to do -- meet in a country club in the suburbs one day? If we're going to be competitive with people of color, we've got to ask them for their vote."
I'm sorry Jack, but what party have you belonged to all these years? Obviously you have not noticed it's been over run with Minute Men, the John Birch society, and other isolationist groups.

Besides, in the end, the pattern of the current crop of Republican politicians points out the obvious......

Giuliani, Romney and McCain also declined to appear at events sponsored by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and the National Urban League, which Smiley said suggests a pattern of ignoring minority voters. He said debate organizers will set up lecterns showing the names of the absent candidates.

"When you reject every black invitation and every brown invitation you receive, is that a scheduling issue or is it a pattern?" he asked. "I don't believe anybody should be elected president of the United States if they think along the way they can ignore people of color. That's just not the America we live in."

They are a racist party.

I Made Salon Again

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It's always cool to be recognized by other bloggers. Thanks for the link Salon.

Kerry Condemns Heckler Arrest

ABC News Blog: Political Radar

For politicians, hecklers come with the territory. But the arrest and detention of Meyer at Kerry speech on Monday stood out in at least two respects: Police acted aggressively in trying to silence Meyer, and the entire incident was captures on video -- making it an immediate Internet and TV sensation.
I've been refraining from commenting on this story because, well--the kid was an idiot. And it would appear that Meyer was looking for a conflict. Indeed, I find it somewhat convenient that a video camera was on him from beginning to end.

Not that I am suggesting the Campus Police handled the situation correctly. From all appearances, they were fools duped into looking like fascist henchmen. There were definitely better ways to have handled the situation. Now, though, the rest of the nation sees the police as thugs quick to use weapons simply because a person is struggling.

Struggling does not justify the use of a Taser. I suspect these officers lacked the training to adequately defuse a situation. It would appear they also lack the training to handle a struggling person.

On the other hand, Andrew Meyer appeared to be looking for a conflict. From Will Bunch of Attytood:

Every piece written by Meyer, mostly intended for the Alligator student newspaper and one or two published in a daily newspaper, the Sun-Sentinel, is an angry diatribe against someone, no matter what the subject matter -- Republicans, his fellow students, Florida quarterback Chris Leak, even a fraternity Dance Marathon for charity.

Of course, not everything got published.

"Not printed in the Alligator...whatever, f--- my editor," it reads atop one of the articles reprinted online, a strange rant against Valdosta, Georgia. We can't imagine why they didn't, with gems like this paragraph:

We stopped at the local Chinese buffet, which my friend John would later describe as "terrible" and "horrific," which said fast sounds like "terrific," which is what I'm sure he meant to say. After dinner, we picked up some supplies at the dollar store (torch fluid, bleach, aluminum foil, orange soda, three lighters, and four plastic Barbie dolls: $15), and drew strange looks from the cashier. In Georgia, you have to make your own fun.

Frankly, Meyer's writings are often hysterical, although I don't think intentionally so. He's determined not to allow facts get in the way of a strong opinion -- creating this classic lede in the process:

Admittedly, I know very little about Student Government. But I think I got the gist of it from the Alligator -- bickering between parties blah blah blah, corrupt candidates blah blah blah, nothing ever gets done, etc. -- and, from what I can tell, the entire system needs to be completely revamped.

Of course, the problem with having such strong, instant opinions is that sometime you change them, as apparently evidenced by this note he placed atop a column/review of the movie "Sin City":

Oops. Everyone is allowed to screw up once, and this is mine. In retrospect, I should have used the movie to point out how good comic books are, not the other way around. I was low on time when the idea came to me, so I didn't really think about what angle I should use.Oh well.

In the meantime, Meyer made a lot of people really, really angry. His column attacking Leak, who would eventually bring Florida a national championship in football, as a "bad player" was especially unpopular, as you might expect. One email that he reprinted:

Find a new major, you waste of flesh! Journalist is not the career that you are cut out for, especially sports journalism. You see, to write about sports, you need to have some hint of knowledge about the sport which you are writing about. And as far as I can tell, the only thing you are qualified to to write about is smoking out in a VW wagon. You are clearly a liberal hippie who has destroyed every braincell in your head. People like you do not deserve to be at a school as great as the University of Florida.

There's so much more, but I simply suggest you read through his body of work. I'm sure there are some gems here that I missed. The one thing I rarely saw in any of his large, rant-filled body of printed work is actual reporting (unless you count getting drunk in rural south Georgia). Do they not teach that in the telecommunications program at the University of Florida?

Looks like Mr Meyer is attempting to create the next sensation in journalism. Makes sense, what with Gonzo Journalism mostly on the decline. However, I believe making yourself the story is not really the intent of Gonzo Journalism.

Well, this story from CNN confirms my suspicions that it was a set-up:

"You will take my question because I have been listening to your crap for two hours," Meyer told Kerry, according to the police report of the incident.

He then turned to a woman and said "Are you taping this? Do you have this? You ready?" the report said.

Clarissa Jessup, who contributed I-Report video of the incident to CNN, said Meyer gave her his camera and asked her to shoot video of him posing his questions to Kerry.

[snip]

Meyer responded, "What did I do? Get off me ... get the f--- off me, man, I didn't do anything. Don't Tase me, bro, I didn't do anything."

Police noted that his demeanor "completely changed once the cameras were not in sight" and described him as laughing and being lighthearted as he was being driven to the Alachua County Detention Center.

"I am not mad at you guys, you didn't do anything wrong. You were just trying to do your job," Meyer said, according to the police report.

At one point, he asked whether there were going to be cameras at the jail, according to the report.

Yup, idiots all the way around.




Paul Krugman

On the political side, you might have expected rising inequality to produce a populist backlash. Instead, however, the era of rising inequality has also been the era of "movement conservatism," the term both supporters and opponents use for the highly cohesive set of interlocking institutions that brought Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich to power, and reached its culmination, taking control of all three branches of the federal government, under George W. Bush. (Yes, Virginia, there is a vast right-wing conspiracy.)
The New York Times stops charging for their Op-Ed columnists, and Paul Krugman starts writing a blog. Two miracles in one day.

Capitol Briefing

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Washington Post

Not since the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, two years ago next month, has such a pivotal position to the conservative movement been filled with someone so unfamiliar to the right-wing base. Several hours after Mukasey was officially nominated today to be the next attorney general, the conservative caucus of the Senate still didn't know much about the man. Carefully read this statement from Cornyn this afternoon and note how little outward praise there is for Mukasey, with the Texan spending most of his five sentences bashing Democrats:

"In recent months, my Democratic colleagues have loudly voiced their belief that partisan politics has no place at the Department of Justice. With today's nomination and forthcoming confirmation process of Judge Mukasey, they will have an opportunity to demonstrate that. I am examining Judge Mukasey's record and will continue to do so in the days ahead. But early indications are that he is a respected, experienced jurist who has a strong reputation for honesty and integrity. He deserves a fair and prompt hearing by the Senate."
Okay, I am liking this man more and more. Not because he's a progressive, or liberal (whatever) but because he appears to be something rare these days; a true conservative. Why do I say that? Because the pretend conservatives in Congress don't know much about him.

Reid and Schumer, acting preemptively last week, issued declarations that another possible selection, former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, would not get through the confirmation process because of his partisan background. Whether Bush was ever set on Olson is unclear, but his pick of Mukasey in the face of blank stares from conservatives was a clear victory for Schumer.

"The nomination of Judge Mukasey certainly shows a new attitude in the White House," Schumer told reporters today.

And John Cornyn's relative silence on the nomination is all the proof that's needed to back up Schumer's claim.

That means he's probably ethical and competent. From what little I've read of his decisions, and what I read over a Glenn's blog, it makes me believe he is a true rule of law man.

Okay, I'm going to look out the window, there has to be an asteroid streaking towards Earth as I type. Bush picks a truly honorable and ethical man for a Cabinet position? In deference to the Democrats? It has to be the end of the world.

Paulose Under Investigation by Feds

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Eric Black Inc.

The federal Office of Special Counsel is investigating allegations that Rachel Paulose, U.S. attorney for Minnesota, mishandled classified information, decided to fire the subordinate who called it to her attention, retaliated against others in the office who crossed her, and made racist remarks about one employee.
With Michael B. Mukasey on the fast track for confirmation, and his apparent lack of partisanship, I suspect Rachel would do herself a world of good and resign. Something tells me Mukasey is not going to put up with this kind of bullshit.

Color me surprised, but I seriously see change coming to a local Federal government near you.

Honestly. I think this is the start of a backlash purge.

Iraq Bans Security Contractor

Washington Post

BAGHDAD, Sept. 17 -- The Iraqi government on Monday said it had revoked the license of Blackwater USA, an American security company involved in a shootout in Baghdad that killed at least nine people, raising questions over which nation should regulate tens of thousands of civilian hired guns operating in Iraq.
I am not one to get all ridged and stern, and so am not going to immediately jump on the whole "Puppet Government" parade right now. The fact of the matter is, if they are a government based on the Rule of Law, and if they failed to repeal an order that they left standing in place, then they do not have the authority to just revoke the license of Blackwater USA.

New York Times

The deaths struck a nerve with Iraqis, who say that private security firms are often quick to shoot and are rarely held responsible for their actions. A law issued by the American authority in Iraq before the United States handed over sovereignty to Iraqis, Order No. 17, gives the companies immunity from Iraqi law. A security expert based in Baghdad said Monday night that the order, issued in 2004, had never been overturned. Like others, he spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter remains under official inquiry.

Now, that doesn't mean I think they should or shouldn't revoke the license. What I am saying is they have a frame work of laws and orders that they have to work with. It sounds as if they didn't do that in this situation, and jumped the gun.

If the Iraqi government manages to somehow overturns Order No. 17, and stand by their decision to revoke Blackwater USA's license to operate in Iraq, well then a whole can of worms opens up for the United States. Because if the United States defies this action by the Iraqi government, it's a flat out admission of Iraq being nothing more than a territory of our Empire.

On top of that, it leaves the military without support services, which then brings into question the idea of contracting out those services to civilian contractors.

If nothing else, it's definitely shown that the whole neo-con idea of war is for the birds.
Washington Post

President Bush opted to try to avoid a confirmation fight by nominating Michael B. Mukasey to be attorney general, concluding that the retired federal judge shares his approach to national security issues, but without the appearance of partisanship, administration officials and others close to the White House said yesterday.
So, is this because of Rove no longer being in the White House? Or is President Bush actually aware of his lame ass presidency? After all these years of playing hardball, I can't imagine it's a coincidence that Bush starts showing deference to the Democrats in regards to the nomination of the Chief Justice after Rove has resigned and left. Especially with Rove having been intimately tied to the whole debacle that was Gonzales in the first place.

Work's Done

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So, I am at the motel, looking through my emails, all that stuff. I see a long-time Republican congressman has called it quits. Too be honest, I would rather see him stay on a few more terms. He's helped my field more than most liberal Democrats. I also see Bush had a love-in at the White House with some "cough" war bloggers "cough.'"

I'd really like to say more about that last sentence, but Froomkin did such a good job, why make the effort at duplication.

Now, I am going to go for a bike ride. You all try not to wreck the place while I am out. You know, do the opposite of Bush.

Back To Work

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Well, that was quick. My weekends go way to fast. And to top it off, I slept in just a bit too long. So, now I have to hurry my shower and get my ass off to work. So, until I get time later today, you all just behave yourself.

Wait.....

Look who I am typing too: a bunch of bloggers.

Never mind. Misbehave as is your want.

Bush's appalling Iraq speech

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Slate

President Bush's TV address tonight was the worst speech he's ever given on the war in Iraq, and that's saying a lot. Every premise, every proposal, nearly every substantive point was sheer fiction. The only question is whether he was being deceptive or delusional.
At this point, it does not really matter whether Bush is lying or simply lost in denial. Either way, he's hurt our country, and the world, with his invasion into Iraq. Intent is inconsequential. His legacy is set: Worse President Ever.

CIA Bans Water-Boarding

The Blotter

The controversial interrogation technique known as water-boarding, in which a suspect has water poured over his mouth and nose to stimulate a drowning reflex, has been banned by CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden, current and former CIA officials tell ABCNews.com.
Well, it's about damn time. So, can we now start to see some movement away from the other "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques?"

Normally, I'd insert some snide quip, full of sarcasm. But I'm going to actually hold out some hope that we might see other EIT's banned.

Ya, to be honest I surprised myself on this flash of optimism. I've scheduled an appointments to up my meds.

Slow Friday

Nothing. I perused the alert emails I receive every morning, and saw nothing but rehashed news from the rest of the week.

Of course, that doesn't mean it will remain rehashed old news. It is, after all, Friday. That means at some point today, probably later in the afternoon, there will be some press conferences held to dump some embarrassing information about Iraq, or some Republican corruption, or about Dick Cheney's latest shooting victim.

I wait in anticipation.

But, while you all wait, you could peruse the following Liberal Coalition blogs (the following having been stolen from BBWW):

- A Blog Around The Clock: a dose of science for the week.
- archy is over being outraged.
- Bark Bark Woof Woof on the Democrats' ineffectiveness.
- Bloggg: your money's worth.
- Collective Sigh shares good news.
- Dohiyi Mir: NTodd on his Vermont senators.
- Echidne Of The Snakes: a primer on how to interview Laura Ingraham.
- First Draft: let them have it.
- Grateful Dread Radio: tree hugging.
- Happy Furry Puppy Story Time: some good movies to watch.
- Iddybud Journal: John Edwards's response to the president's speech on Iraq.
- Left Is Right on a brave soldier.
- Lefty Side of the Dial: Lefty's guilty pleasure music list (including Neil Diamond...)
- Liberty Street on pushing the veto.
- Make me a Commentator!!! on Cal Thomas's standard of faith.
- Musing's musings on landmarks in Washington and landmark ideas to live by.
- Pen-Elayne on the Web shares the joy of her husband's artistic success.
- Rick's Cafe Americain: an observation on disasters being the new mission.
- Rook's Rant on New York Times ad rates and the free market.
- rubber hose on another rightie blogger who can't read.
- Scrutiny Hooligans: Drama Queen has the lowdown on Patrick McHenry's posse.
- SoonerThought has moved to Blogger. Please update your links.
- Speedkill on the war.
- Steve Bates made it through Hurricane Humberto.
- T. Rex's Guide to Life: get your fill of Florida politics. It's fun in the sun!
- The Fulcrum on the anniversary of September 11, 2001.
- The Invisible Library and the Endless Library.
- WTF Is It Now?? Oops...
- ...You Are A Tree: don't read this!

What Slogan Will We Hear Tonight?

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The Gavel

Great comparison between the Slogans of BushCo™ and the truth in Iraq.

The Ignorance Of The Masses

Blue Girl, Red State

  • Only 15% of Americans can identify the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (John Roberts). To contrast: 66% know at least one of the judges on American Idol.
  • Only 30% realize that the Supreme Court is the last stop on the litigation train. 32% believe that Supreme Court decisions can be appealed, and 38% either "didn't know" or "weren't sure."
  • 55% do not know that when the Supreme Court rules 5-4 on a case, that decision is the law of the land and must be followed.
  • 14% believe that 5-4 decisions are sent back to congress for further consideration, 7% believe it goes back to the lower courts, and 34% simply "don't know."
I'm siding with BG, RS on this. The ignorance of the American populous scares me as much as any overt attempt by BushCo™ to overthrow the constitution. If you do not understand the makeup and duties of the Judicial Branch, then of course you are not going to notice the erosion of your civil rights. All things said and done, it's the Judicial Branch that is responsible for upholding the law of the land. And that law originates with the Constitution.

Know the Constitution, understand the rights it gives us citizens, then you can recognize when Congress passes laws that infringe upon those rights. That allows you to be able to better enter a court room, where your rights are ultimately upheld, or taken away.

But many public schools boards across the country have been overrun with religious zealots intent on gutting the Constitution and establishing a theocracy. They don't give a damn about civil rights. The look for a return to the days of intolerance and religious persecution. So, as a result, they have weaken the teaching of important subjects, such as the Constitution and "unalienable" rights, and instead are mired in controversies involving separation of Church and State, or worse, wasting time teaching students how to pass a NCLB test.

The Other Iraq Surge

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capitaleye.org

September 13, 2007 | Assessed favorably this week by the war's lead general, the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq appears to be causing a surge of another sort--and one that's not positive for President Bush or the Republican Party. Since the start of the Iraq war in 2003, members of the U.S. military have dramatically increased their political contributions to Democrats, marching sharply away from the party they've long supported. In the 2002 election cycle, the last full cycle before the war began, Democrats received a mere 23 percent of military members' contributions.* So far this year, 40 percent of military money has gone to Democrats for Congress and president, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Anti-war presidential candidates Barack Obama and Ron Paul are the top recipients of military money.

"People are saying now enough is enough," said Lt. Col. Joyce Griggs, an intelligence officer who said she spent two months in Baghdad earlier this year, speaking for herself and not the Army. "If you're a soldier, you're going to do your job, do what you're commanded to do. But that sentiment is wide and deep."

Well, what did you expect would happen? Send people into harm's way, then leave them hanging with no body armor, no clear mission, and a civilian run support system that fails to feed adequate food to our service members, and of course you're going to see a switch in support to the other political party.

nypost.com

According to Abbe Serphos, director of public relations for the Times, "the open rate for an ad of that size and type is $181,692." A spokesman for MoveOn.org confirmed to The Post that the liberal activist group had paid only $65,000 for the ad - a reduction of more than $116,000 from the stated rate.
So, a free market economy can only be free when it's for the benefit of the rabid right wing blogsphere. But Lordy, Lordy, look out when suddenly a business exercises it's freedom to set it's rates that benefit a left wing group. Then the whole concept of free market economy ain't looking so good.

My God, get a mop. There's blood all over the floors at the various rabid right wing blogs. It's all those exploding heads.
washingtonpost.com

Because of new ethics rules forbidding gifts to senators, the Air Transport Association ruled that it would be a violation of the Senate's gift ban to allow senators to continue their usual practice of double- and, sometimes, triple-booking flights.
Hold on. I think...., almost, almost..... Damn! Nothing.

Nope, can't seem to find a tear.

Yup, dry as a bone.

Now, let me check around my heart......

Nope, no blood. My heart ain't broken.

Sorry fellas (and gals) just ain't no sympathy for you today.


Deutsche Welle

Austria became the latest European country to grapple with the threat of terrorism as it arrested three people with links to al Qaeda who posted an online video threatening attacks against Austria and Germany.
You'd think, with the above graph, that European nations didn't struggle with terrorism until after 9/11. Obviously, by the very fact these people were arrested prior to even forming a cell, Austria, and Germany, are way a head of the curve when it comes to dealing with terrorists. That's because they have been dealing with terrorism since before I was born.

Meanwhile, back in America, our FBI agents are entrapping idiots who couldn't find their way out of the city they lived in, let alone actually plan and carry out any terrorists plots.

Compromise on Oil Law Collapsing

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Hey, look! It's another corner!

nytimes.com

BAGHDAD, Sept. 12 -- A carefully constructed compromise on a draft law governing Iraq's rich oil fields, agreed to in February after months of arduous talks among Iraqi political groups, appears to have collapsed. The apparent breakdown comes just as Congress and the White House are struggling to find evidence that there is progress toward reconciliation and a functioning government here.
Damn, that Bush sure knows how to get things done quick and efficient.

Reid: Iraq plan 'unacceptable'

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msnbc.com

WASHINGTON - A day before Bush was to deliver a major address on the war, Senate Democrats rejected a four-star general's recommendation to keep some 130,000 troops in Iraq through next summer and called for legislation that would sharply limit the mission of U.S. forces. Their proposal was not expected to set a deadline to end the war, as many Democrats want, but instead restrict troops to a narrow set of objectives: training the Iraqi military and police, protecting U.S. assets and fighting terrorists, party officials told the Associated Press.
Look, this is not what the electorate had in mind when they put the Democrats into the majority. Now, stop with the flaccid proposals and start putting troop withdrawal on the damn table.
washingtonpost.com

Every investigation has shown that Iraq did not, in fact, have anything to do with the Sept. 11 attacks. But the ad, part of a new $15 million media blitz launched by an advocacy group allied with the White House, may be the most overt attempt during the current debate in Congress over the war to link the attacks with Iraq.
Did you see that? In the third graph. "Every investigation has shown that Iraq did not, in fact, have anything to do with the Sept. 11 attacks."

Dear God, I think I need smelling salts. The Washington Post is stating that Iraq had nothing to do with the September 11th attacks of 2001! I must be in bizzaro world. It just can't be possible that a Legacy media organization has actually stated Iraq was not a part of 9/11.

I'm feeling faint.

Selma's Ice Cream Parlour to be sold

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startribune.com

What's believed to be the oldest ice cream parlor in Minnesota will be sold in the aftermath of a public dispute over its renovation and the subsequent death of owner Joe Farrington.

Selma's Ice Cream Parlour in the southern Washington County city of Afton closed abruptly in early August when Farrington committed suicide after protracted negotiations with the City Council and the state Department of Natural Resources over his development plans for the building, which dates to the Civil War.

"I'm looking for a buyer or buyers with the same love for this wonderful community and passion for this business that Joe embraced," his widow, Dawn Farrington, said today.


I have fond memories of Selma's Ice Cream Parlour. As a kid growing up in Southern Washington County, my 4-H Club often played softball in the park across from Selma's. At least twice a year, when going to my God Parent's Island cabin on Balsam Lake, our family stopped for ice cream. As recently as this summer, while biking, I stopped for a scoop of Raspberry ice cream in a waffle cone.

To me, Selma's is a Minnesota Institution.

Selma's is right on the St. Croix river, and has survived many floods, and other natural disasters. It would be a shame to have it shut down because of government bureaucracy.
washingtonpost.com

Justice Department attorneys made the highly unusual request that Hayden's and Alexander's full arguments be stored in courthouse safes, be viewed only by judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and be kept out of sight of any other court personnel, including the judges' law clerks, because of the highly classified information the documents contain. Versions that do not convey classified information were also provided to the court.

"These declarations generally explain . . . the risks to national security imposed by the panel's decision," the Justice Department attorneys wrote.

The July 20 ruling centered on how much information detainees should be able to see about the Defense Department's decision to imprison them indefinitely as "enemy combatants." The appeals court ruled that the government must provide to judges and opposing counsel all information, including classified information, used by Combatant Status Review Tribunals in making such determinations. Courts need that information, the judges wrote, to properly determine whether the tribunals were fair to the detainees and whether the individuals should in fact be considered enemy combatants.

You know what? Enough already. To hell with the Justice Department's request for super secret decoder ring court proceedings. These people are being held without any type of human decency or respect. Civil Rights are more a cornerstone of our freedom, our way of life, and our security than CIA dirty tricks. Upholding the rights of any human being over the so called security measures of government is inherently more powerful then Extraordinary Rendition, secret prisons or Enhanced Interrogation Techniques.

But then, this is not about security for the country. This is about little boys in big boy bodies running around playing spy games.

It's also about making sure we keep the darkies in their place.
washingtonpost.com

Larry Craig will have his day in court - Sept. 26 -- and it has been scheduled quickly enough that he might meet his self-imposed deadline for resolving his criminal fight so he can return to the Senate and complete his term. And just to add to the drama of this political scandal, the hearing has been slated before a judge who last week was accused of bias toward a murder suspect by the top Twin Cities prosecutor.
This whole case just gets more and more sensational. Biased judge? Who'd a thunk?

Ya, rhetorical, whatever.

Bush to Endorse Petraeus Plan

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washingtonpost.com

White House aides said they are working on a 20-minute prime-time speech that Bush will give tomorrow night, in which he will endorse the main elements of the strategy outlined by Petraeus and Crocker on Capitol Hill this week.
Oh. My. God! This is such a shock. I would never, in a million years, ever expect President Bush to endorse the Petraeus' plan.

Which, if I am not mistaken, is really Bush's plan to begin with.

So, okay, not so surprised.

It's just more of the same.

Craig to Return to Minnesota

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Look, coming back to Minnesota and getting the plea withdrawn does not constitute clearing his name. It just means having to go through another trial, and this time pleading not guilty.

So, not only does Senator Craig step on the General David H. Petraeus show, he draws attention to the corruption (or perceived corruption, for those still drinking the kool-aid) for an even longer period of time.

Maybe the problem isn't that he's a gay man in denial, it's that he's a Democrat in denial. Because he sure is doing the Democrats running for office a huge favor with his ongoing effort to clear his good name.

Okay, so I am pushing it a bit with that last part. The good name part, that is.

Today Is Not A Holiday

Just in case anyone thought otherwise, today is not a holiday. Yes, a horrible attack occurred 6 years ago. Many people were killed. It was a tragedy of human suffering, and a travesty of administration inaction.

But my life goes on.

I've lost many people in my life. Two years after that tragedy, I lost six people important to my life in 6 months. Their deaths are not celebrated with a day off each year. Instead, we held funerals. We held each other and supported each other in continuing on with life. We grieved, we cried, we questioned why, and we moved on with living our lives.

Some in this nation need to get over their grief and move on with their lives.

Today, 6 years later, I continue to live, to work, to carry on in my best capacity as a human being. Of course it's not easy, And yes, there are no guaranties that life will be safe. Every day I drive to work, or return home to my family, I face the possibility of death.

By accident. By a twist of fate. By the simple failure of my oh-to-human body. Maybe even at the hands of terrorist, be they foreign or homegrown. In the end, I am going to die. And most likely, actually very likely, in a manner not of my choosing. I have to accept that inevitable fact.

That's why I choose not to give in to fear. Why fear the inevitable?

So, today, I choose not to fear the inevitable.


MoveOn.org Calls Petraeus a Traitor

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weeklystandard.com

Tomorrow--as General David Petraeus provides his Iraq assessment to Congress--the antiwar group MoveOn.org is running a full-page advertisement in the New York Times under the headline: "General Petraeus or General Betray us? Cooking the books for the White House."

Let's be clear: MoveOn.org is suggesting that General Petraeus has 'betrayed' his country. This is disgusting. To attack as a traitor an American general commanding forces in war because his 'on the ground' experience does not align with MoveOn.org's political objectives is utterly shameful. It shows contempt for America's military leadership, as well as for the troops who have confidence in him, as our fellow soldiers in Iraq certainly do.
For Christ's Sake, could you be just a little more shrill? You'd think they saw a mouse at their feet.

Let's not get into just how desperate they are, morphing betray into traitor.

Idiots.
Once again I lower myself by linking to Kevin, who notes the average American is smarting than the average bea... err president. Careful, because this link goes to a pdf file, something Kevin failed to mention in his post. Again, proof of Kevin's need to be part of the "blogs that suck" list.

Who links to a pdf file without a warning? Well, Kevin, of course.
By way of C&L:

democrats-spot-a-backbone.jpg


talkingpointsmemo.com

A few days ago we flagged Karen DeYoung's piece in the Washington Post about critics questioning the alleged decline in violence in Iraq. And one key point she focused in on is the methodology that the folks in Baghdad are using to derive their numbers. Is it really true that it matters how a person is shot (in the front of the head or the back) for whether or not they get counted? Is it true that we're not counting Sunni-on-Sunni or Shia-on-Shia deaths? Or even killings by the folks we're now allied with in al Anbar province?

The best we can tell the methodology Petraeus's staff is using to tabulate the numbers also remains classified.

In other words, it's not just a matter of getting the numbers from Petraeus and his staff and deciding whether you believe them or not. They won't even tell us what the numbers are -- let alone how they came up with them. All they'll say is that they're very good. Or in some cases that there's X percentage drop over the course of the surge. Or an isolated number here or there.

But actual hard numbers? Going back over the last couple years? For some reason we're not allowed to see those.

TPM notes that we are just going to have to trust the lying bastards.

Hey, it's not like they lied us into an illegal invasion.

Oh, wait......
allspinzone.com

Breath a sigh of relief, everyone. World peace is on its way. We may have to put up with some torture along the way, but it is assured now that Donald Rumsfeld has joined the Hoover Institute to work on their task force examining national security and world peace. Now that Rummy is on the job, we're all going to rest easier, right? From the San Francisco Chronicle.

President Bush's former defense secretary, who resigned in 2006 amid escalating criticism over the war in Iraq, has been appointed to a one-year stint as a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, joining fellow conservatives George Shultz and Newt Gingrich.
How appropriate. A member of the worse administration ever joining a Think Tank named after another incompetent president, who oversaw the start of the Great Depression, and did nothing.

Oh, and George Shultz is still alive? Color me surprised!

thinkprogress.org

On Fox News Sunday this morning, host Chris Wallace announced the interview:

WALLACE: Now a special program note. Tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. eastern on the Fox News Channel, Brit will have an exclusive interview with General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker about the state of the Iraq war and their testimony to Congress. Please be sure to watch.

What the hell is this bullshit? An exclusive interview? Who the hell does he work for?

Ya, I know, the military. Ultimately, though, he works for you and me. That means he has no business being a propaganda puppet for BushCo™.
nytimes.com

Police and court files indicate that Mr. Craig's case may have been handled more harshly than some of the others. For instance, he alone among the 40 men arrested was charged with both disorderly conduct and interference with privacy. The other men were charged with one or the other, or with indecent exposure or loitering.
Pass the popcorn.
nytimes.com

Traci Billingsley, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Prisons, said the agency was acting in response to a 2004 report by the Office of the Inspector General in the Justice Department. The report recommended steps that prisons should take, in light of the Sept. 11 attacks, to avoid becoming recruiting grounds for militant Islamic and other religious groups. The bureau, an agency of the Justice Department, defended its effort, which it calls the Standardized Chapel Library Project, as a way of barring access to materials that could, in its words, "discriminate, disparage, advocate violence or radicalize."
And just who made up the list of "approved" religious text? And does this imply an "approved religion" for the United States?

Like I am going to trust anyone in the current administration with making a list. Probably the same damn idiot who makes up the "No Fly List."
nytimes.com

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 -- The top American commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, has recommended that decisions on the contentious issue of reducing the main body of the American troops in Iraq be put off for six months, American officials said Sunday.
Can you say "Stall?"

Ya, I thought you could.

Back At The Falls

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International Falls, that is. Back to work another week at the new job.

Going to bed now.

PSoTD Looks To Need An Intervention, Again!

PSoTD is really, really, scaring me. The first close up of a chin with stubble, I pass off as a quirk. But two close ups of chin stubble signals a decent into madness.

Update: Damn it, this was suppose to be published on Friday. I didn't pay attention, and it sat all weekend unpublished. Well, I've published it now.

washingtonpost.com

For two hours, President Bush listened to contrasting visions of the U.S. future in Iraq. Gen. David H. Petraeus dominated the conversation by video link from Baghdad, making the case to keep as many troops as long as possible to cement any security progress. Adm. William J. Fallon, his superior, argued instead for accepting more risks in Iraq, officials said, in order to have enough forces available to confront other potential threats in the region.

The polite discussion in the White House Situation Room a week ago masked a sharper clash over the U.S. venture in Iraq, one that has been building since Fallon, chief of the U.S. Central Command, which oversees Middle East operations, sent a rear admiral to Baghdad this summer to gather information. Soon afterward, officials said, Fallon began developing plans to redefine the U.S. mission and radically draw down troops.
It's nice to hear that some military personnel are actually standing up to Bush, and speaking more pragmatically. I am not particularly in agreement with accepting more risks. It would depend on what exactly is meant by risks, and whom to. If we are talking about more risks to military personnel, then I am not for any move that results in more deaths to our men and women in the field.

However, considering the die is cast, we are going to have to accept that the Iraqis will be dealing with the sectarian violence for decades. The disbanding of the Iraqi regular army ensured that particular situation. It's obvious, after 5 years, that there will be no amount of US military intervention to correct that mistake. Indeed, it's apparent our presence in Iraq is inflaming the violence.

So, if Adm. William J. Fallon is talking about allowing the Iraqis to accept more risks, I am in agreement. If nothing else, it will require the Iraqis to take more responsibility to work out solutions. But with the presence of the military, I suspect they are more apt to wait for them to fix the problems.

Unfortunately, it's time for them to start doing for themselves. That they have a nearly untenable situation due to the incompetence and avarice of BushCo™ is something that just has to be accepted. By them, and by us.

Bush Urges Unity

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cnn.com

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- President Bush, facing a critical juncture in the war, urged Democrats and Republicans on Saturday to unite and back the war strategy he'll lay out shortly for the next chapter of U.S. involvement in Iraq.
Okay, so maybe the Congress is not united. However, the country is united. 69% are united in their disapproval of Bush.

So, what the hell more does he want? 69% of the country is united, and he's not happy. Demanding bastard, ain't he?

The Washington Monthly

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Forgive me this sin, but I am going to actually link to Kevin Drum over at Washington Monthly. Yes, that's right. I am linking to the site #1 on my "Blogs That Suck" list. For Christ's sake, he has "Ruminate This" on his blogroll, a blog long dead and buried, yet no link to me. How disgusting is that? But then, what should I expect from a man who appears to have more than a passing resemblance to Kevin McHale.

Anyway, he has a post up about the dis-banding of the Iraqi army, and who's possibly responsible for the decision:

Slate

On March 10, 2003, a week before the invasion, the National Security Council held a principals' meeting, attended by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, CIA Director George Tenet, the Joints Chiefs of Staff, and the top aides to all these officials. They decided that after the war, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission would be set up -- similar to such panels in post-apartheid South Africa and post-Communist Eastern Europe -- to ferret out the undesirable Baathists from those who could reliably work for a post-Saddam regime. Most Baathists were ordinary, even apolitical, people whose jobs required them to join the party. A rough calculation by NSC staffers and intelligence analysts was that only about 5 percent of the party -- the leaders -- would have to be removed, and even they would have the right to appeal.

On March 12, at another principals' meeting, on what to do about the Iraqi military, these same top U.S. officials decided to disband the Republican Guard -- Saddam's elite corps and bodyguards -- but to call the regular army's soldiers back to duty and to reconstitute their units after a proper vetting of their loyalties.

Both of these decisions were unanimous. NSC staff members had briefed officials on these plans before the meetings, up and down the chain of command, and they encountered no substantive dissent.
Though loathed to admit it, I have to agree with Kevin (I am really going to need a shower), Cheney as the idea man makes perfect sense.

In a way, this is almost comforting. Cheney has been making disastrous decisions ever since he entered the West Wing, and it only makes sense that he'd be responsible for the ur-disaster of disbanding the Iraqi army too.
It also explains Bush's sudden loss of memory over the whole affair. He was probably too busy day dreaming about his next vacation clearing brush at his ranch in Texas and completely missed the change of orders.

By the way, is anyone else besides me really weired out by the fact our President takes vacation at a ranch located in a place called Waco? To clean out brush. Which is made up of saplings and bushes.

Truly bizarre. It's as if subconsciously he's attempting to clean himself out of the ranch.

"Traditional" -vs- "Legacy" Media?

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Richard Blair over at ASZ has come up with a term that really makes sense to me. While Kos and company have settled on "Traditional Media" (Fox is traditional?) Richard has coined a term that just seems to fit the bill. Legacy Media.

Deprecating legacy systems as new technology became available. In the information systems world, the word "legacy" implies outdated and inefficient hardware and processes to deliver data. And that's the place where I think the U.S. media resides.

In describing the media, I don't think that anyone wants to imply that the information points they provide us (the data, if you will) is, by default, incorrect or faulty. Taking in news in the information age that we're in is like drinking from a fire hose. There's just so much information, and too little time for reporters and editors to properly distill and analyze the raw information (for the most part). By the time that a true commentator or analyst has actually looked at the data points and drawn some supportable conclusions, everyone else in the world has moved on, because information continues to flow in a torrent.

So, if I use the term "legacy media", it's not really a derogatory or dismissive term. It's describing a media that, by it's own admission and financial results, is losing ground rapidly to our own ability to distill and interpret raw information (such as we do daily, here on Kos and other internet venues). But "legacy" also implies that there was (and is) value in both the methodologies and processes that bring us the information.

Honestly, it just fits.



startribune.com

Five weeks after a major bridge collapsed and three weeks after floods ravaged southeastern Minnesota, a special session of the Legislature to deal with the dual tragedies remained just out of reach Friday.
I hold no illusions about politics moving fast. Yet, in this situation, there are immediate needs, that require immediate attention, where revenue and funding are something to be dealt with after the fact.

The flooding in Southeastern Minnesota needs to be addressed now, without concern for revenue or bonding. It takes precedence over infrastructure for the moment.

I understand the need to rebuild the I35W bridge over the Mississippi is pressing, with an economic cost due to re-routed traffic, it's effect on business, and the extra strain on the environment due to gas consumption. But people in Southeastern Minnesota are without homes, without businesses, without basic supplies. Get them help, and let's not haggle over the costs.
Oh. My. God!

It's an outbreak of dogs biting men!

Oh, wait......

washingtonpost.com

Addressing his message to "the people of America," bin Laden predicted failure for U.S. forces in Iraq and warned against what he described as the continued oppression and humiliation of Muslims by the West.
You know, I'd rather read long, intricately detailed analysis of the weather hour by hour, then to have to be subjected to this non-story.

The only worthy point of this whole story is the fact that Osama bin Laden's freedom is glaring proof of failure on the part of BushCo™.

Petraeus Disappointed At Political State of Iraq

washingtonpost.com

In a preview of his report to Congress next week, Gen. David H. Petraeus yesterday expressed disappointment in the lack of progress toward political reconciliation in Iraq. Administration officials said he wants to return to Washington for another assessment in six months to allow more time for Iraqi politics to catch up with what Petraeus regards as rapidly improving security conditions.
In other words, the surge failed. There has been no progress. While we may have created some security, the Iraqi's have not been able to do for themselves. That is not success.

And all we've seen and heard for the last two weeks has been stage crafted lowering of expectations. Which still means no progress.

Which was BushCo™'s intent from the beginning. Think about the timing of the surge, to coincide with the summer break of the Iraqi government. It was either an act of stunning incompetence, or a knowingly planned occurrence to create more delay. I have to lean more towards incompetence.

What we are seeing here is the old adage of self-fulfilling prophecy. They believe the occupation of Iraq is a long-term endeavor, and so unconsciously make decisions that result in conditions supporting their belief. This also means they ignore any real opportunities to speed up progress. Again, probably not knowingly, but simply because they believe quick progress is not feasible. Therefore, no reason exists to attempt success quickly. Pragmatism is not part of their ideology.

Gen. David H. Petraeus' job in front of congress is simply to delay. Nothing more, nothing less. He is a tool of BushCo™, because he is the definitive, stereotypical, soldier following orders. He is Colin Powell, part duex.
washingtonpost.com

A federal judge struck down controversial portions of the USA Patriot Act in a ruling that declared them unconstitutional yesterday, ordering the FBI to stop its wide use of a warrantless tactic for obtaining e-mail and telephone data from private companies for counterterrorism investigations.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in New York said the FBI's use of secret "national security letters" to demand such data violates the First Amendment and constitutional provisions on the separation of powers, because the FBI can impose indefinite gag orders on the companies and the courts have little opportunity to review the letters.
What business does this activist judge have siting the Constitution and First Amendment rights? Has he forgotten that 9/11 changed everything? That the Constitution and First Amendment is moot? If the Constitution was any damn good, it would have prevented the terrorists from attacking in the first place. Just like it was instrumental in stopping the Japanese from bombing Peril Harbor.......

Oh, wait.

Shit. The Japanese did bomb Peril Harbor.

I hate when the truth inserts itself into reality. I much prefer the reality of denial and magical thinking.

But I digress.

So, the Constitution, which was considered just fine back in the 1930's, was unable to prevent a pivotal incident that caused our entry into WWII. Yet, today, because of it's failure to prevent a terrorist attack 5 years ago, it no longer is relevant.

I don't get it.  But then, I am not a wing nut. I am just one of those "people" mentioned in the Constitution in conjunction with "of," 'by", and "for." But, with the Constitution no longer relevant, I guess government of the people, by the people, for the people, is just old fashioned thinking.

So, that damn activist judge is just engaging in old fashioned thinking. How dare he. Next thing you know, he'll declare members of Congress and the occupant of the Presidency serve at the pleasure of the people.

What a quaint idea.

This Is News?

Ladies and Gentlemen, the latest White Girl saga to distract the masses.

yahoo.com

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. employers cut 4,000 jobs in August, the first time in four years that monthly hiring contracted, the government said on Friday in a report certain to boost pressure on Federal Reserve policy makers to cut interest rates.
And let's keep in mind this is a drop of 4,000 jobs as defined by BushCo™, which dropped from the statistics people not working and no longer receiving unemployment benefits. You know, most of the homeless in the country. Just imagine the state of unemployment statistics should they be included.
By way of Alternate Brain:

Blue Girl

Europe has been dealing with terrorism, and doing so effectively, for many years now, and they have done so with common-sense security measures and with good, old-fashioned police work. Today, they led the way once again, showing us once more that the way to effectively fight terrorism is law enforcement, not blowing shit up, invading countries that didn't attack us, and terrorizing the citizens of said country.
What more needs to be said? Nothing.

It has always been amazing to me that we've totally ignored the fact Europe has been dealing with terrorism for decades, and without once invading a country in the process. We should have been working with them, learning their techniques for combating terrorist activity.

Instead, we get some dry drunk with a fake Texas draw and stage crafted swagger that may be more related to brain damage then to an actual attitude, that thinks blowing shit up and torturing a lot of innocent people effectively stops terrorism.

On a side note: I've been remiss in not having Blue Girl in my RSS reader. That's been fixed. What really sucks is I am unable to follow through on the tag she illegally hit me with due to the loss of my achieves. But that's alright, because I'm sure she'll come up with some fiendish, dastardly tag in the future that will challenge me to rise up to the title of magnificent bastard she once bestowed me.

Seven U.S. Troops Killed in Iraq

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cnn.com

Four Marines assigned to Multi National Force-West were killed "while conducting combat operations" in Anbar province, the Sunni-dominated territory west of Baghdad. Three U.S. soldiers assigned to Task Force Lightning were killed by an explosion near their vehicle in Nineveh province in northern Iraq. The number of U.S. military deaths is the Iraq war stands at 3,760. The number in September alone is 18.
7 more giving their all so BushCo™ can continue to claim "We're Kicking Ass."
washingtonpost.com

Iraq's army, despite measurable progress, will be unable to take over internal security from U.S. forces in the next 12 to 18 months and "cannot yet meaningfully contribute to denying terrorists safe haven," according to a report on the Iraqi security forces published today.
I am so sick and tired of hearing this same damn report year after year. 5 years, and it's still 12 to 18 months away. Nothing has changed since the invasion. Nothing is going to change. The people who created this mess are still using the same damn thinking they used when they decided invading was a good idea.

Can we please get some people into Congress and the White House who can actually, you know, THINK! Is that really asking too damn much?

I'm serious. I want to fucking know. Is it asking too much?

Bin Laden Plans Video on 9/11

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Oh. My. God!

Again!

By way of BBWW

Dog bites man again!

Oh, wait........

yahoo.com

CAIRO, Egypt - Osama bin Laden will release a new video in the coming days ahead of the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks in what would be the first new images of the terror mastermind in nearly three years, al-Qaida's media arm announced Thursday.
Well, it's still the same damn thing.

Mayor Coleman Op-Ed

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mnpublius.com has posted the op-ed piece by St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman that is very well written. How can I tell? Because the usual suspect trolls are screeching their displeasure. And the more shrill their screech, what better indicator of just how effective the words.

Tenor Luciano Pavarotti Dead at 71

cnn.com

(CNN) -- Famed opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti, who appeared on stage with singers as varied as opera star Dame Joan Sutherland, U2's Bono and Liza Minnelli, died Thursday in Italy after suffering from pancreatic cancer, manager Terri Robson said in a statement. He was 71.
I am not much of an Opera fan. But the fact I know of this man says much about his fame and his appeal. No doubt the world has lost a great signer, a great artist, and a great man.
nytimes.com

WASHINGTON, Sept. 5 -- With a mixed picture emerging about progress in Iraq, Senate Democratic leaders are showing a new openness to compromise as they try to attract Republican support for forcing at least modest troop withdrawals in the coming months.
Nothing like a little spin to improve the image of the Democrats in the Senate.

Pathetic wimps.
huffingtonpost.com

I chaired a hearing on the GAO Report yesterday, the report that stated that Iraqi civilians overall aren't any safer, that the political benchmarks aren't being met in Iraq, that, in short, none of the rationales for the escalation in Iraq have come to pass. It unfolds with maddening, enraging regularity: the Administration claims goals for their policy, they gradually back off of those goals and substitute smaller, less easily measured goals, and then muddy the waters hopelessly on whether even those modest new goals have been met. Time and again we've been through this.
John Kerry nails it perfectly. This has been BushCo™ MO since the start of his presidency. As far back as the spy plane incident with China pre-9/11 they've displayed this very pattern. And after this many years, I don't expect to see any change in their approach to any policy.
Oh. My. God!

Dog bites man!

No, wait.......

msnbc.com

WASHINGTON - Fred Thompson -- veteran actor, former Republican senator -- launched his bid for the presidency Hollywood style. "I'm running for president of the United States," Thompson told Jay Leno in a taped appearance on NBC's "Tonight Show" airing Wednesday night.
Well, same damn thing.

Itching For The Road

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Damn. I am not sitting well. Since the 55 mile bike ride on Saturday, I've been taking it easy, resting. But today I'd planned on getting out on the bike. Unfortunately, it was 90 degrees with high winds and humidity, so I didn't want to push myself. Now, though, my body is screaming for me to get my heart pumping and my skin sweating. Hopefully, I'll get to sleep easily tonight. Maybe, in the morning, I can get out on the road before getting ready for work.

I've been meaning to all summer. It hasn't happened yet. But there's a first time for everything. Right?

Ya, what ever. I'm going back to Battlestar Galactica.

The Bridges Of Hennepin County

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Yes, I know that, several post back, I blogged I was going to kick it tonight. But somehow, I sucked myself back into blogging. And in the process, came across the following by way of cursed thing.

Blunt Object

TheBridgesOfHennepinCounty.jpg

Just a few of those who are "Kicking ass" according to Bush.

nytimes.com

MIAMI (AP) -- The Rev. D. James Kennedy, a pioneering Christian broadcaster and megachurch pastor whose fiercely conservative worldview helped fuel the rise of the religious right in American politics, died Wednesday. He was 76.
As always, if I've got nothing good to say about the dead, I've got nothing to say.

USA Today

A B-52 bomber mistakenly loaded with at least five nuclear warheads flew from Minot Air Force Base, N.D, to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., on Aug. 30, resulting in an Air Force-wide investigation, according to three officers who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the incident.

The B-52 was loaded with Advanced Cruise Missiles, part of a Defense Department effort to decommission 400 of the ACMs. But the nuclear warheads should have been removed at Minot before being transported to Barksdale, the officers said. The missiles were mounted onto the pylons of the bomber's wings.
Okay, what I see here appears to be a standard cover story. Or, more specifically, the decommissioning of 400 ACMs is a cover, with the nukes secretly being transported to unspecified locations around the Middle East.

Now, imagine, if you will, a sudden, unexpected, nuclear explosion somewhere in Iraq, close to the Iranian border. Gee, just that one bomb away?

Of course, there are all sorts of holes in this conspiracy of mine. But when you look back at the various rationals for invading Iraq, there were far more holes. Besides, I can drift into lunacy considering I'm talking about BushCo™. And they are certainly not going to be able to use the same old song and dance from back in 2003.

No, it's going to take another, newer, 9/11 style calamity to justify a bombing campaign against Iran. The detonation of a nuclear weapon, apparently the work of Iranian sponsored terrorists, would be just the sort of incident these idiots could wrap their war-mongering fingers around.

Staging Nukes for Iran?

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No Quarter

Barksdale Air Force Base is being used as a jumping off point for Middle East operations. Gee, why would we want cruise missile nukes at Barksdale Air Force Base. Can't imagine we would need to use them in Iraq. Why would we want to preposition nuclear weapons at a base conducting Middle East operations?

His final point was to observe that someone on the inside obviously leaked the info that the planes were carrying nukes. A B-52 landing at Barksdale is a non-event. A B-52 landing with nukes. That is something else.
So, it looks like Jr. is planning on nuking Iran.

That idiot's going to turn the entire world against us. We use nuclear weapons against a country that has not one iota of capability of attacking us, and we are the next Nazi Germany.

Intent

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I had intended on writing a post this morning before work, but could not connect to my server. I also discovered that Omnis was down. So, no post before work. Of course, work itself was busy, so no time to post then. Now I am back at the motel, and I am about to go out the door to get groceries. Then I am going to settle in and watch a few more episodes off of my season 2 DVD series of Battlestar Galactica.

Then, if I feel up to it, I might blog some posts. Or not. I really don't know at this point. I am feeling rather lazy, to be truthful.
Crooks & Liars has Keith Olbermann's Special Comment up for viewing.

Craig May Not Resign

msnbc.com

BOISE, Idaho - Sen. Larry Craig is reconsidering his decision to resign after his arrest in a Minnesota airport sex sting and may still fight for his Senate seat, his spokesman said Tuesday evening. "It's not such a foregone conclusion anymore, that the only thing he could do was resign," Sidney Smith, Craig's spokesman in Idaho's capital, told The Associated Press.
Craig is really going to mess things up for the GOP. The last thing they need is for one of their own to fight against them. And at a critical time like this. KB over at TPM is right, if Craig follows through on his refusal to step down, all the propaganda by Gen. Petraeus is going to be for naught.

Clowns KKKick KKK ass!

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She's Still The GirlFriend™

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Yup, that she is. This morning she had the temerity of telling me I look like Frank Zappa. I'm not quite sure how to take that. For the moment, I'll consider it a compliment.
nytimes.com

Alfred H. Peet, the son of a Dutch coffee merchant who pioneered a revolution in roasting exotic dark beans that led to America’s love affair with high-end coffee, died Wednesday at his home in Ashland, Ore. He was 87.

Corrupt And Wretched Behavior

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This is why there needs to be a special prosecutor for the torturing of inmates at Abu Ghraib.

Watching Act I of the faux-trial of Lt. Col. Steven Jordan last week at Fort Meade, Md., confirmed my worst suspicions. I know Jordan; I was in place for his entire tenure at Abu Ghraib, including when prisoners were being tortured. He was an immediate boss.

Enter from the wings reserve Maj. Gen. George Fay. MG Fay was handpicked to run interference for then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld by conducting the same kind of “full and thorough investigation” that former President Richard Nixon ordered for Watergate.

With Fay, too, I speak from personal experience. Shortly after photos of the torture at Abu Ghraib were published, I found myself being interviewed by Fay on May 1, 2004. It was a surreal performance, with Fay seeming to take his cue at times from Peter Seller’s Inspector Clouseau.

Except it wasn’t funny then, and it is not funny now. To me, Fay showed himself singularly uninterested in what really was going on at Abu Ghraib. I had to ask him repeatedly to listen to my account. Whereupon he said he would recommend action against me for not reporting what I knew sooner for, if I had done that, I could have prevented the scandal. Right.

In my view, it was clear that Fay’s job was to quiet any discordant notes from noncommissioned officers like me and help Rumsfeld push the responsibility down to “bad apples” at the bottom of the chain of command.

When Maj. Gen. Taguba’s Abu Ghraib investigation report was leaked to the press on May 4, 2004, I was very surprised to find myself listed as the only military intelligence soldier to witness to the truth. And for my conscientiousness, the Army imposed an exclusive gag order on me 10 days later; a week after that my top-secret clearance was suspended and eventually I was reduced in rank.

The horrors of Abu Ghraib are certainly not what Jesus would do.

This is a cover-up of enormous proportion, and of behavior more wretched and corrupt then anything Nixon ever committed. If there is no accounting for this atrocity, then we as a nation have failed to live up to our own values and beliefs.


Some Site Updates/News

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I've done some minor updating. Mostly, I've added a donation button to PayPal, just in case George Soros happens to drop by and takes pity on this poor, pathetic blog languishing in the back waters of Blogstonia (which I happen to believe I coined - take that skippy!).

I also hope to be doing some testing on MT-Blogroll, which is undergoing a complete rebuild, from the sounds of it. I am not the most technical of coders, but I think I can be of some help. If nothing else, Arvind will be able to design the new plugin with an understanding of how to make it idiot proof.

New Chess Game Viewer

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I am trying out a new chess game viewer. Unfortunately, it does not seem to fit into my center post column well. So, it's probably not going to be used.

The Past Is Dead

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I was looking through the MySQL database back up I saved prior to switching over to MT 4. It appears most of my past post were not exported in the file. Funny that, because all of the comments from the past were exported.

Anyway, it's official now; The past posts of Rook's Rant are dead. I've not a way to bring them back. It sucks, but that's life.

One simple bone-headed mistake, one that I knew better then to do, and I've lost my blog history.

Damn.

Update: Of course, on the bright side, I can start a new blog roll. My old one was so huge, it was not possible time wise to cull out the dead, or corrupted, links. But, not until Arvind gets his plugin MT-Blogroll up and running for MT4. And for my fellow Liberal Coalition cohorts, be patient. I will get the links to you guys back up.

Tour De Rook, Update

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Okay, I pulled into the homestead at 7:30 PM. Every muscle in my legs were threatening to cramp. Hell, even now, they still threaten to cramp. But, finally, on the third try, I was able to make the Hastings, Hudson, River Falls, Prescott, and back to Hastings loop.

Yes, I am bragging.

I am 45 years old, shortly to be 46. I am still 20 pounds overweight. I have not been able to work out as consistantly as I would have liked. So, to go 54.90 miles, at an average speed of 11.4 mph (I was thinking I'd be lucky to maintain over 10), in 4 hours, 48 minutes, and 1 second is damn well something worthy of pride.

Now, if you all don't mind, I am going to go die.

Tour De Rook

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I am currently sitting in a Dunn Bros. Coffee Shop in Hudson, WI. I didn't bother to check my odometer on the bike, but I figure I've gone over 30 miles. I am going to head to River Falls from here. From there, I then make my way to Prescott, WI, were the St. Croix River and the Mississippi River merge. Finally, I make my way back to Hastings. Round trip is probably about 55 or 60 miles.

Several months ago, I tried this trip. I ended up so exhausted I had to call for a pick up. I just didn't have the conditioning. So far, today, I feel good. I took it easy on the hills.

And there are quite a bit of hills. The river road on the Minnesota side of the St. Croix is quite hilly and curvy. To top it off, much of the road has no shoulder, so I am constantly feeling the wind of the cars as they pass.

Now, I am going to be heading down river, but into the wind. Again, I plan on taking it very easy. No trying to maintain a high average mile per hour speed. I am just going to listen to my body. In fact, I've no idea what my average is at the moment. Like with the distance, I didn't bother to check.

Anyway, I'll let you know how I fare later on today, when I get back home.

Hope the best for me, please.

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

August 2007 is the previous archive.

October 2007 is the next archive.

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The Big Roll