Friday, December 30, 2005

While we're worrying about the leakers...

Since the government seems so excited about learning who leaked the wiretapping info, I have to wonder why it is so unexcited about who leaked the name of Valerie Plame, a CIA agent.

This feels like a double standard to me. A convenient double standard I might point out. One investigation is designed to throw up a smoke screen having to do with Bush's actions. The other non-investigation is coincidently designed to do the very same thing.

What is the real shame is the fact that this administration seems to get away with it time and again. What there is to do about it, I have no idea. I leave that those smarter than me.

I see misdirect written all over this

I'm talking about the Justice Department launching an investigation into who leaked the information about the apparently illegal warrant less wiretapping. This is designed to take our eyes of the ball. Yes, someone surely illegally provided this information to the New York Times.

But NO, this is not the issue. The issue here is one of massive presidential overreach. It's not the first time, and sadly probably won't be the last. But it's one we know about, and can maybe through our legislators do something about. Knowing that the information may have come to us illegally doesn't detract from the factual matters addressed.

I think we should find out who leaked, but not at the expense of moving toward meaningful protection of our civil liberties.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Misinformed Americans

I like to think that on the whole Americans are a reasonably intelligent group of people. After all, this country has been in the forefront of most of the innovative ideas for many years.

My faith was shaken badly today by a poll out by the harris interactive polling assoc.
It asks a couple of basic questions that I thought most Americans knew the answer to:

"strong links to Al Qaeda."
-- Twenty-two percent (22%) of adults believe that Saddam Hussein "helped
plan and support the hijackers who attacked the United States on
September 11."
-- Twenty-six percent (26%) of adults believe that Iraq "had weapons of
mass destruction when the U.S. invaded."
-- Twenty-four percent (24%) of all adults believe that "several of the
hijackers who attacked the United States on September 11 were Iraqis."

Here's the link to the poll.

I don’t' really want to enter 2006 as depressed as I entered 2005, and I probably won't. These poll numbers however do give me pause. There has to be some turn around in the general populace if Democrats are to have a chance at retaking the house and winning more seats in the Senate. Don't you agree?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

So, a Shite Muslim Theocracy it is

Isn't that just peachy. It looks like the vote in Iraq will stand. That means that our latest favorite, Allawi is out. So is our former favorite Chalabi.

My memory of the event might be hazy, but didn't Chalabi, exiled from Iraq, swear that Hussein had WMD? That we would be greeted with roses? I guess it turns out that the Iraqi people had a better idea of who this guy was than Bush and his crowd. The same goes for Allawi.

I suppose the best we can hope for now is a benevolent Shite Muslim Theocracy. That would certainly be worth the thousands of US soldiers lives, wouldn't it?

Does Frist still believe this?

"I will have no part in the creation of a constitutional double-standard to benefit the President. He is not above the law. If an ordinary citizen committed these crimes, he would go to jail."

I think we can all agree that Senator Frist has proven himself to be probably the worst majority leader the Senate has seen in a while. The statement above was spoken by Frist in reference to Bill Clinton when he was about to be impeached. As it happens I agree with the statement, at least in part.

The President is not above the law. However, the President should only be impeached for crimes associated with his conduct in his role as the President. Naturally, I don't think Clinton should have been impeached. His crime, lying to a grand jury was not related to his job.

Our current president, however, does seem to be violating laws as part of his role as our President. That's the difference. When a president violates his oath/the law in his role as president, he hurts every citizen in this country. Bush should be impeached if he has in fact violated the oath of his office. It is looking more like that to me every day.

Abortion and Republicans

There is an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal that discusses what conservatism is and how Republicans today are not conservatives. That's not actually news to Democrats and liberals.

One specific area is especially interesting. It is surprisingly frank. Here's the quote:


This has been a focus of conservative, and national, attention since Roe v. Wade. Yet abortion as an issue, its availability indeed as a widespread demand, did not arrive from nowhere. Burke had a sense of the great power and complexity of forces driving important social processes and changes. Nevertheless, most conservatives defend the "right to life," even of a single-cell embryo, and call for a total ban on abortion. To put it flatly, this is not going to happen. Too many powerful social forces are aligned against it, and it is therefore a utopian notion.

Roe relocated decision-making about abortion from state governments to the individual woman, and was thus a libertarian, not a liberal, ruling. Planned Parenthood v. Casey supported Roe, but gave it a social dimension, making the woman's choice a derivative of the women's revolution. This has been the result of many accumulating social facts, and its results already have been largely assimilated. Roe reflected, and reflects, a relentlessly changing social actuality. Simply to pull an abstract "right to life" out of the Declaration of Independence is not conservative but Jacobinical. To be sure, the Roe decision was certainly an example of judicial overreach. Combined with Casey, however, it did address the reality of the American social process.

I don't suppose today's conservative Republicans will agree with Mr. Hart's definitions. But than today's Republicans don't seem particularly attached to reality anyway.

Bush is reading

Does anyone really believe that? I see that the White Houseis putting out the word that Bush is an a “history buff” and “avid reader.”? That is how White House spokesman Trent Duffy described him.

It is comments like these that are calculated to undo a perception people have of Bush - one I might add that was created by Bush's own statements - that lead me to be highly skeptical of most everything that comes out of the White House. These types of statements only reinforce the idea that most of what we know about Bush is staged.

Like the military outfits, the military backdrops, etc. The notion that Bush is an authentic person is pretty laughable in my opinion.

But hey, that’s' just me...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Highly Recommended

Go to Informed Comment. It's a must read. Professor Cole lists the top ten myths about Iraq in 2005.

If your not already upset about the war, you will be after reading this.

That's the reason...

It seems that the FISA court has been turning down Bush administration requests at a pretty good clip recently. Is that the reason they decided to simply stop going to the court? Is that why suddenly Bush had all the authority he needs as commander in chief to do pretty much whatever?

If this is accurate, than it would seem that the administration is going around the court because it KNOWS it is breaking the law. Now, can we hold Bush legally libel for not upholding his oath to follow the constitution and protect this country? He's rapidly becoming as big a threat to our way of life as any terrorist could hope to be.

That's really scary and really sad.

What is done in the name of the" War on Terror"

I read a conservative blogger pretty regularly. In fact we email back and forth and he's a good guy. All of which makes me wonder; how does an obviously intelligent fellow fall for the company line being pushed by the Bush administration?

He is convinced that having the American public become aware of the CIA prisons, the massive NSA eavesdropping, and the radioactivity program has made it harder to fight "the war on terror". As though it would never occur to terrorists that our government would be attempting to track them down by a variety of means. That they wouldn't ALREADY be doing everything they can to stay under the radar.

The last point he makes, that when you find yourself dead at the hand of the terrorists, you'll be dying a well informed citizen, is one really whinny "I told you so".

Are we, as Americans, willing to see the rights guaranteed us in the Constitution go away to protect ourselves? Is that even possible? I don't think so on either count. Let's not destroy this country in the name of saving it. Let's not end up becoming a government that looks even more like an autocratic theocracy than that envisioned by the terrorists. Is it really a choice of becoming a Christian theocracy or a seeing our country fall? Not hardly.

The false arguments by conservatives only weaken this country; they do nothing to actually prosecute a war against the terrorists who would attack us.

"King George"

That phrase is getting around these days. And, it's not just used by the Democrats. To their credit, some conservatives have noticed that these days President Bush is threatening the US Constitution as much as the terrorists.

This is from a column by Steve Chapman in the Chicago Tribune:

President Bush is a bundle of paradoxes. He thinks the scope of the federal government should be limited but the powers of the president should not. He wants judges to interpret the Constitution as the framers did, but doesn't think he should be constrained by their intentions.

Chapman is among conservatives with raising reservations about Bush. These reservations are appearing on many fronts. There are several now, both in and out of the government that have serious concerns about how we were led into the Iraq War as well as its prosecution. There are those who are concerned about the secret CIA prisons and the apparent widespread warrantless wiretapping. Others fret about the massive growth of our national debt. Now they have concerns about Bush's power grab.

Will they coalesce? Will they become a force that finds common ground with the Democrats to not only slap this president down, but possibly hold him legally libel for his wrongdoings? Is Bush's impeachment out of the question?

I always thought so, but I'm beginning to think it's not out of the realm of possibility.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Back from a mini-family crisis

What a strange Christmas this was. I worked 12 hour day shifts both Saturday and Sunday. I basically missed the event. It's never a great season for me - I find that there is as much stress as good times.

This season too has included problems with a wayward stepson. I'd describe him as a narcissistic, self-absorbed 18 year old, but that doesn't really do him justice. Anyway, we're trying to help him make better choices. Lot's of luck to us on that count. But, family is family, he's really is a good kid.

Hope the season was good for all. There's always next year for me.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Have I used the "I" word yet?

Intentionlly NO. I think we could have impeached Bush in 2002 based upon the fact that he didn't uphold his oath to protect this country. There was plenty of evidence that al Qaeda was a threat, yet his administration did essentially nothing to stop them.

Hey, but that's just me...

No More Terror in the US?

The following is from Wikopedia:

On a blanket, nationwide level, it has been raised to orange five times:

* September 10 - September 24, 2002, around the first anniversary of the September 11, 2001.
* February 7 - February 27, 2003, near the end of the Muslim religious holiday Hajj. Intelligence reports suggested the possibility of terrorist attacks against "apartment buildings, hotels, and other soft or lightly secured targets."
* March 17 - April 16, 2003, around the beginning of U.S. and Coalition military action in Iraq.
* May 20 - May 30, 2003, "The U.S. Intelligence Community believes that Al Qaida has entered an operational period worldwide, and this may include terrorist attacks in the United States." - Tom Ridge
* December 21, 2003 - January 9, 2004, citing intelligence information suggesting large-scale attacks around the holiday season.

In addition, the alert has been raised to orange on a select or partial basis twice:

* August 1 - November 10, 2004, for specific financial institutions in northern New Jersey, New York, and Washington, D.C., citing intelligence pointing to the possibility of a car or truck bomb attack, naming specific buildings as possible targets. [11][12]
* July 7, 2005 - August 12, 2005, for mass transit systems only. The DHS secretary announced the level after the 7 July 2005 London bombings despite the absence of "specific, credible information suggesting imminent attack" in the United States. [13].

Other official terrorism warnings issued without raising the threat level above yellow:

* May 28, 2004, citing "credible evidence" of terrorist intent to affect upcoming elections.
* July 8, 2004, again citing "credible evidence" of terrorist intent to affect upcoming elections.

I guess the threat to our country miraculously passed once George Bush won his second election (or did he?) as President. Praise the Lord. More likely, he no longer had to frighten the public into believing he was the only one who could protect them. Never mind that 9/11 actually happened while he was protecting us. Never mind that his entire premise for invading Iraq was a bunch of lies. Never mind that we are stuck in a morass in Iraq - I'll refrain from using the "Q" word for now.

Or, maybe the Bush Administration got word that their terror level system was known to be a farce by one and all. If he just stayed up late enough to watch the late night shows he would have figured that out a long time ago...but our boy needs his sleep.

Bush Administration is 0-2

I'm talking about their plans to install the Iraqi leader of their choice.

Remember Ahmed Chalabi? His political group got just 0.36 percent of the votes in Baghdad and just 0.34 percent of the vote in Basra. So, he's out.

But what of our more recent favorite Allawi? This is from a joint press conference in Sept. 2004 (Bush is speaking), " Thank you all for coming. I'm honored to stand with the Prime Minister of a free and sovereign Iraq. Welcome, Mr. Prime Minister. I applaud your leadership and your courage. It's my honor to welcome a friend to the White House."

According to early election results, "The secular coalition led by Ayad Allawi, the former prime minister, had won only meager support in crucial provinces where it had expected to do well, including Baghdad."

Is our government ready to accept the vote of the Iraqi people if it means they set up a Shite Muslim theocratic government? We don't actually have a choice do we? Or are we prepared to throw that government out of office too, hoping for the perfect western style democracy we planned on?

There's an old phrase around, "Be careful what you wish for." It seems pretty applicable to our current situation in Iraq. We've bled the blood of thousands of our citizen soldiers, lost the lives of thousands more - all for this moment. Did we get our money's worth? NO, NO, NO.

How many ways are there to say NO.? It is simply not possible to list the ways in which the Bush Administration has screwed up. Those behind this ridiculous failed scheme won't be held accountable, and won't lose a minutes sleep either. And that's really sad.

Alito Defended Officials From Wiretap Suits

There is a God in Heaven (or whatever spiritual belief you have). So Alito has defended the indefensible already. The fact that he has already done so in the past means it's definitely fair game during his nomination hearing.

And I think this may well turn out to be his Achilles Heel. Or maybe just the straw that breaks the Camels back. (I definitely have to get the use of these handy little ditties under control, don't I?)

I will be interested to see how Alito manages to try and turn his defense of wiretaps into something he was doing "just to get a job, as part of an interview, as it were". It's not going to fly this time either.

We are getting a pretty good picture of why Bush chose him. They come from the same mold. And, that isn't a good thing.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Bush and War Powers

I'm glad Tom Daschle is talking. Assuming he is accurate - and I think he is - right after 9/11 Bush actually attempted to in effect declare war on the citizens of the United States.

According to the Washington Post article:

"The Bush administration requested, and Congress rejected, war-making authority "in the United States" in negotiations over the joint resolution passed days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to an opinion article by former Senate majority leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.)"
see article here

Here' more:

Daschle's disclosure challenges a central legal argument offered by the White House in defense of the National Security Agency's warrant less wiretapping of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. It suggests that Congress refused explicitly to grant authority that the Bush administration now asserts is implicit in the resolution.

And this:

"Literally minutes before the Senate cast its vote, the administration sought to add the words 'in the United States and' after 'appropriate force' in the agreed-upon text," Daschle wrote. "This last-minute change would have given the president broad authority to exercise expansive powers not just overseas -- where we all understood he wanted authority to act -- but right here in the United States, potentially against American citizens. I could see no justification for Congress to accede to this extraordinary request for additional authority. I refused."

The main point to take from all of this is the fact that Bush sought and was rebuffed by congress in his attempts to make war on US citizens. The fact that he continued to use the NSA to spy on US citizens is the clearest example to date of his failure to protect and defend the constitution.

Where do we go from here? Is there really anything to be done? Or has King George, through deceit and lies become the autocratic leader of this country? Have we slipped into dictatorship, unaware, blind, carelessly ignoring the signs that our once great experiment in democracy is coming to an end?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

One More Thought about Hillary

I see that Jeanine Pirro is abandoning her campaign for Sen. Clinton's Senate seat. Is Hillary about to run essentially unopposed?

That leads to the obvious question; if the Republican's can't find anyone to fight the good fight against Hillary in 2006, why do we think they will have any more success in 2008 if Hillary becomes the Democratic Presidential candidate?

While New York isn't a microcosm of the country, there are plenty of Republicans in the state, and she is popular among them too.

Hillary Clinton and Abortion

Hillary says that the just passed benefits cuts in Medicaid will ultimately lead to more abortions. Her reasoning - Medicaid cuts to contraception will lead to increased numbers of unwanted pregnancies and from there to more abortions.

I agree with her. It's not just rhetoric to say we want abortions to be rare and safe. Those words mean something. Providing contraceptions through Medicaid does cut the abortion rate. This is a fact. Abortions are safe for now. But, efforts to make abortion illegal again will almost certainly lead to unsafe abortions.

All of this is just common sense. And Hillary saying it doesn't make it any less logical. As a Pragmatic Liberal, I don't have any problems with Hillary's stance on abortion. In fact, hold the very same position philosophically. I wonder what the more liberal wing of the Democratic Party will think? It seems they have trouble liking anything she has to say.

Cheney back to take from the poor...

I see Vice President Cheney made it back in time to cut the benefits of those who need it. The amount comes to about $40 billion. Coincidentally (there's that coincidence again) the Republicans passed tax cuts that will give those earning more than $1 million that same $40 billion. All over the same 5 years.

I have to wonder, how do the Republicans sleep at night? They can't hide behind the philosophy of small government. The new Republican philosophy (maybe it was always there, just better hidden) is make the rich richer and keep the poor people poor, or better yet, make them poorer.

I guess it's not really all that new either. Going back to Reagan, the Republican Party has morphed into something completely unrecognizable to those who believed in small government, individual liberty, and keeping the government out of people's lives.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What he said...

Here's what Gonzales thinks about the secret wiretapping:

Q If FISA didn't work, why didn't you seek a new statute that allowed something like this legally?

ATTORNEY GENERAL GONZALES: That question was asked earlier. We've had discussions with members of Congress, certain members of Congress, about whether or not we could get an amendment to FISA, and we were advised that that was not likely to be -- that was not something we could likely get, certainly not without jeopardizing the existence of the program, and therefore, killing the program. And that -- and so a decision was made that because we felt that the authorities were there, that we should continue moving forward with this program.

But, what if the questioning had instead gone like this:

Q If FMA didn't work, why didn't you seek a new statute before you started arresting gay couples?

ATTORNEY GENERAL GONZALES: That question was asked earlier. We've had discussions with members of Congress, certain members of Congress, about whether or not we could get an amendment to the US Constitution, and we were advised that that was not likely to be -- that was not something we could likely get, so we just went ahead and started prosecuting same-sex couples. And that -- and so a decision was made that because we felt that the authorities were there, that we would just start arresting them to protect the sanctity of marriage.

Don't think for a minute that the abuse of powers by the Bush administration is going to stop here. Bush will be president for three more years (baring an impeachment) and it's just a matter of time before he expands his list of people who are a threat to this country. If he is not slapped down hard on this issue, it's only going to get worse.

Super Thin Models

No, this isn’t' about politics - exactly. I just watched an interview on The View. They interviewed a "plus size" model. That is somehow who models clothes above size 10-12. But, according to most statistics, more than 60% of American women where a size greater than 10-12.

I'm not here to say it's OK to be overweight; by whatever criteria you want to use. What I find interesting and sad is the notion that to be a really famous model you have to literally be emaciated. That got me to thinking, why is it happening?

I think that this trend started with Twiggy back in the 1960's. I don't think it is a coincidence that the first generation she affected was also the first generation born after WWII. In fact, Twiggy is of that generation, as I am. We don' have a personal memory of seeing the emaciated survivors of Hitler’s concentration camps. The generations before us see very thin people and immediately relate it to the horrors of WWII. To them this is no look to emulate; it's just the opposite.

And, as we move further away from WWII, it becomes less real, just an historical event. It loses its power over us. That's too bad. I guess it does show how even the most horrific events fade in our memories and into the past; losing their power to effect us.

The President Broke the Law

No, that's not a surprise to most thinking people. The only question has been which law will he finally be held accountable for breaking?

The following code applies to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

The following is from the US criminal code:

§ 1809. Criminal sanctions
Release date: 2005-03-17

(a) Prohibited activities
A person is guilty of an offense if he intentionally—
(1) engages in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute; or
(2) discloses or uses information obtained under color of law by electronic surveillance, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through electronic surveillance not authorized by statute.
(b) Defense
Itis a defense to a prosecution under subsection (a) of this section that the defendant was a law enforcement or investigative officer engaged in the course of his official duties and the electronic surveillance was authorized by and conducted pursuant to a search warrant or court order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
(c) Penalties
An offense described in this section is punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both.
(d) Federal jurisdiction
There is Federal jurisdiction over an offense under this section if the person committing the offense was an officer or employee of the United States at the time the offense was committed

Do we think Bush might actually be held responsible for breaking this law? It's a much bigger deal than lying under oath about an extra-marital affair isn’t it? Didn't we impeach a president for that? Are there any honorable Republicans left in Washington? We're about to find out.

Monday, December 19, 2005

What Harry Reid Said

This is a statement from Harry Reid today:

“The President asserted in his December 17th radio address that “leaders in Congress have been briefed more than a dozen times on this authorization and the activities conducted under it.” This statement gives the American public a very misleading impression that the President fully consulted with Congress.

“First, it is quite likely that 96 Senators of 100 Senators, including 13 of 15 on the Senate Intelligence Committee first learned about this program in the New York Times, not from any Administration briefing.

“I personally received a single very short briefing on this program earlier this year prior to its public disclosure. That briefing occurred more than three years after the President said this program began.

“The Administration briefers did not seek my advice or consent about the program, and based on what I have heard publicly since, key details about the program apparently were not provided to me.

“Under current Administration briefing guidelines, members of Congress are informed after decisions are made, have virtually no ability to either approve or reject a program, and are prohibited from discussing these types of programs with nearly all of their fellow members and all of their staff.

“We need to investigate this program and the President’s legal authority to carry it out. We also need to review this flawed congressional consultation system. I will be asking the President to cooperate in both reviews.”

Will there be an investigation? One is certainly called for. But, as many have pointed out, the American public does not seem to care very much that their privacy rights have been trampled by this administration. Can the Democrats force this issue without the vocal public outcry and support? Time will tell.

We've known for a while that Bush is breaking the law.

The following is the text of a letter written to Vice President Cheney by Senator Rockefeller back in 2003:

July 17, 2003
Dear Mr. Vice President,

I am writing to reiterate my concern regarding the sensitive intelligence issues we discussed today with the DCI, DIRNSA, and Chairman Roberts and our House Intelligence Committee counterparts.

Clearly the activities we discussed raise profound oversight issues. As you know, I am neither a technician or an attorney. Given the security restrictions associated with this information, and my inability to consult staff or counsel on my own, I feel unable to fully evaluate, much less endorse these activities.

As I reflected on the meeting today, and the future we face, John Poindexter's TIA project sprung to mind, exacerbating my concern regarding the direction the Administration is moving with regard to security, technology, and surveiliance.

Without more information and the ability to draw on any independent legal or techical expertise, I simply cannot satisfy lingering concerns raised by the briefing we received.

I am retaining a copy of this letter in a sealed envelope in the secure spaces of the Senate Intelligence Committee to ensure that I have a record of this communication.

I appreciate your consideration of my views.

Most respectfully,

Jay Rockefeller

Here's a linkto the hand written note.

If this is correct, and it appears to be, it's way past time for the Democrats to stand up en masse and demand that Bush and Cheney either resign or be impeached. Personally, I like the idea of impeachment a whole lot better. I see Senator Lindsay Graham leading the prosecution - oh darn he's not in the house anymore. Can we find enough honorable Republicans left in the House of Representatives willing to do the right thing?

A Rock and a Hard Spot

So, Bush says he'll continue eavesdropping on Americans.

And Democrats have responded.

Such as this from Senator Levin, "Where does he find in the Constitution the authority to tap the wires and the phones of American citizens without any court oversight? That's not a check on the executive branch, notifying some members of Congress -- if he did -- that he's taken the law into his own hands."

And Senator Feingold's response, "The president does not have a leg to stand on legally with regard to this program. I think it's one of the weakest legal arguments I've heard that this [Afghanistan] war resolution somehow undid the basic laws of wiretapping in the United States."

Are we heading toward the momentous occasion? The one where a large number of Democrats stand up together and demand that President Bush be impeached? Will this ever happen? How many times does Bush get to go above/break the law before he is held accountable? Will it only happen that glorious day when he stands in front of St. Peter and has to explain his actions while President?

I won't be there for that particular event, so I want some action now. After all, hope springs eternal doesn't it?

Presidents and Wars

I don't suppose its news that Presidents try to expand powers during wartime. It happened during the Civil War and during WW II. The problem here gets back to the issue of the war itself.

I think most people would readily agree that those wars were both just and unavoidable. While I might not agree with Lincoln's and Roosevelt's attempts to expand the government’s powers against their own citizens, I can at least accept that these events happened in the context of just wars.

The Iraq war is neither just nor unavoidable. In fact it's just the opposite. And, there are specific laws on the books today (created in 1978) that were not available to Lincoln or Roosevelt to allow the government to obtain legal authority to spy on Americans. And yet Bush chose not to use the powers already available to him.

What are we to make of this? I think the only logical conclusion has to be this - President Bush believes he is personally (not the presidency) is above all laws in this country. How else do you explain willfully ignoring laws to gain an objective and instead going well beyond the law to gain the very same objective?

I believe Bush has cast himself as the Messianic figure needed to lead not just this country, but the world toward Christian religious states. If that sounds scary or hyperbolic or just plain silly OK. That's the way it looks to me. I don't doubt that those around him are only too happy to play up this vision Bush has of himself. It furthers their own goals of having power and in some cases trying to remake the world.

This president isn't Lincoln and he isn't Roosevelt. I've tried to find some similarities. Maybe the Eisenhower and his Eisenhouwer Doctrine that referenced the Middle East has somehow been perverted by Bush, and used in his quest (conquest) to bring democracy and Christianity to the region.

Like I said there are Presidents and Wars, but they're not all created equal.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Bush's Speech and Coincidences

It's late, and I know I wasn't impressed with President Bush's speech. It felt like more of the same to me. One entertaining little tidbit though is the coincidental visit by Cheney to Iraq.

Does anyone think his going there the very same day Bush gives his prime time speech is a coincidence? My only real question is this - when will the 35% of the population who seem to be brain dead Bush supporters wake up? It's almost like Bush and his crowd feels the need to out due themselves with ridiculous lies these days.

Is it just me?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Government Spying on Americans

I'm not really all that surprised. Not with Bush or the NY Times. As someone has put it so well, we are very close to becoming a government of people and not of laws. And that is just one step (maybe we are already there) from a dictatorship. I'm really beginning to fear for the future of our democracy. I'm probably late to the party in some people’s eyes.

Jack Cafferty on CNN today during Wolf Blitzer's show pretty much defined how I am feeling these days. To Bush laws mean absolutely nothing. The man was angry and disgusted. I know he hosts a show on the weekend - In the Money - it's a business show. I wouldn't call him a liberal by any means. Watching today it's clear his vomit meter was running pretty high.

TAPPED - if only Memo

Now, that's a memo that would actually give me hope that journalistic organizations in this country are intent on doing their job.

Here's a snippet from the post:

"Gentlemen, it is with grave concern that we point your attention to the report released yesterday by the CRS, which concluded that, contrary to numerous public statements by White House officials, the White House does in fact have access to far more intelligence than Congress."

"Thus, we feel we have no choice but to act jointly. Until you can pledge to us that White House officials will refrain from repeating these untruthful assertions in interviews on our programs or in speeches you ask us to air live, we regret that we can no longer extend invitations to White House officials to appear on our shows, and we will show far greater discretion in deciding whether to air presidential and vice-presidential addresses in the future."

If only....

A Compromise on the Patriot Act?

Well, it looks like the Democratic lead Senate plan to extend the Patriot Act for 3 months is going bye bye. Thank God for the Senate. Even under Republican control albeit with a really lousy leader, the fundamentalist right wing can't just ram any old thing they want through the chamber.

That said there are parts of the Patriot Act that are good and should be continued. It's a matter of will. Will the legislators actually use their brains to discern the parts that are helpful in fighting terrorism? I certainly hope so.

The Bush Administration so far has done a piss poor job from day one. Bush always likes to bring up 9/11 as a defining moment for the US. It was a defining moment for his administration too. It showed the American citizens that Bush and his crowd didn’t' care about fighting real international terrorism, and to this day they don't really care. Do they?

But, back to the Patriot Act. Let' hope there is a compromise that keeps the measures that are helpful and loses those that akin to a peeping Tom.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

There's Cigarettes, and then there's Light Cigarettes

"CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The Illinois Supreme Court handed the tobacco industry a huge victory Thursday by tossing out a $10.1 billion fraud judgment against Philip Morris USA over the marketing of its ''light'' cigarettes." New York Times

Apparently the FTC had authorized such characterizations. So, technically Phillip Morris didn't break the law. Now, we know from studies that smokers of light cigarette inhale deeper and smoke more cigarettes so they end up getting about the same nicotine into their systems as those who smoke the real thing. But, that's not what the case was about.

Can we sue the FTC for allowing this advertising in the first place?

What the story on Romney?

He's a one term governor from a northeast state. Never mind that he's a Republican. Does he actually think 4 years running Mass. is going to get him into the White House? And, though it shouldn't count that he's a Mormon, I tend to think it will.

I hope he lines up a new day job soon.

Taxing insanity

Let me get this straight. The Republican controlled House of Representatives has voted to cut $50 billion in spending "over five years from a range of social programs, including Medicaid, food stamps, and federal student loans".

At the same time they voted to cut taxes $95 billion over the same 5 years. Over a third of this is a capital gains cut and "Because wealthy taxpayers tend to earn more through investments, the tax package would disproportionately benefit them. About 40 percent of the total tax relief would go to those with annual incomes of $1 million or more". That works out to about $38 billion of the tax cut. This is basically making money off of money you already have.

So, $38 billion of the money was going to go to social programs will instead go into the pockets of people who are ALREADY millionaires. And who said Republicans only care about the rich?

This is so disgusting, really. Have they no sense of decency?

Clooney (yes, the actor) speaks, but not for me

George Clooney: "I hate it when smart men and women are saying, ‘Well, if I knew then what I know now.' The fact is: I knew it then and I don’t have national security clearance. . . Basically, the Democrat leadership was scared [of criticizing Bush] and it’s too bad, because it’s come back to haunt them."

I do think it's necessary to flesh out that thought. Did he know Bush wouldn't follow the congressional resolution he pushed through? Did he know Bush would cherry-pick evidence when citing reasons to invade Iraq? Did he know that Bush would have NO plan for Iraq after we threw Hussein out of power?

Looking back, I have to say that I bought the Colin Powell presentation to the UN. I thought that man had too much integrity to sit there and lie to the whole world.

I can honestly say "if I knew then what I know now" about the war I would have pushed my congressman and Senators to vote NO.

Should I have known better? Absolutely - I didn't vote for Bush in 2000 (or 2004). I think he's an idiot. But, I wanted to believe our government wasn't so inept, so thoughtless about human life, so careless with these countries citizens, its money, and our good standing in the world. I was foolish and I was fooled.

Can We Ban Torture?

It looks like Congress is on board the McCain Torture Ban train. And it's about time. If reports are correct, the president is about to cave on the issue. That's not so surprising. I never thought for a minute that Bush's first veto would be of a bill that said the US doesn’t' torture people.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

It's in the eyes

The idea that there are in fact similarities between the Nixon and Bush presidency isn’t new. In fact there are more than a few posts out there in the blog world talking about this subject.

Let’s focus for a minute at the facial features:

Note the close set eyes, the half pouting lips. You can even see they both have US Flag pins on their lapels. Need I say more?

Robert Novak - speaker of the truth?

I see that today Robert Novak did a little more talking about Plamegate. In a nut shell, he is convinced that Bush knows who the White House leaker is.

Now, isn't that grounds for impeachment? Did he not swear to uphold the law and defend this country? Certainly not coming forward with this information falls into one of those categories doesn’t' it?

And, now Bush has decided to accept responsibility for going to war on faulty intelligence. Isn't this just another way of actually avoiding responsibility? Bush has done nothing more than blame the CIA, etc. Not one word about the cherry picking of intelligence. Nothing about Cheney pressuring CIA employees. Nothing about Bolton pushing all the wrong buttons. Nothing about knowing that at least some of the claims he made were false.

Robert Novak may occasionally speak the truth, but I don't see Bush ever doing the same, unless it somehow helps him.

"I fully understand" that "I am not a crook"

Those old enough to remember (or maybe learned it in school) will recognize both statements. Our current president loves to use the phrase "I fully understand/recognize" blah blah blah. When that phrase slips out of his mouth I know I'm about to hear either a talking point or an untruth, and most of the time it's both.

Our former president - Nixon - famously told some 400 AP managing editors that "I am not a crook". Of course we know how accurate those words turned out to be.

My point? I see interesting and scary parallels between the two presidents. Both ended up with a bunker mentality. Some would argue that has always been Bush's state of being, but regardless, they both found themselves in that situation. Of course, Nixon went on to resign in the face of certain impeachment, and we can't hope for a repeat with Bush, though if there was ever a president who should be impeached and thrown out of office it's Bush.

It will be interesting to look for other signs of similarities. A really nice one would be the resignation in disgrace by the VP. Cheney is no Agnew though. In fact he's a lot worse. Let's hope Fitzgerald or someone gets the goods on him.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Our Secret Detainee Camps

It appears our government spirited away its prisoners fromcamps in Poland and Romania when word got out that they existed.

Now, the leaders of those two countries are left denying that we were ever there. I guess that how allies treat other allies.

The Comeback Kid?

No, I'm not talking about Bill Clinton as president, but I sure wish I was. I'm actually talking about our current president.

A couple of polls have him up a bit, and sadly the MSM have taken it upon themselves to starting throwing around the phrase "comeback". I knew this would happen. A new poll out today from Zogby today suggests that the media is premature. Let's see if they manage to report on the Zogby poll. After all, it will get in the way of the current "story".

Time to get the word out through the internet and blogs, and force the news corps to actually report on facts, even if they ruin a perfectly good "comeback kid" story.

DeLay on the Spit

Is he done yet? Can we stick a fork in him? Maybe it's just me, but I have this visceral dislike (maybe it's even hated) for the man. I can't think of a single positive thing to say about him. Is it because he was an exterminator in his other life? Oh wait, he is still one - it's humans he goes after now.

Reading the news these days does give me hope that the days of Tom DeLay are numbered. I'm not sure what the Supreme Court can do exactly about DeLay's illegal re-districting of Texas. I don't see how you undo those consequences now. But, just the have it undone in some manner would be good.

I also see that the prosecutor is subpoenaing bank records, etc. in the money laundering case against DeLay. Let's hope they find something.

As for my "hatred" of DeLay, I know it's not nice, it's not Christian, but it FEELS so right....

Monday, December 12, 2005

A New FAKE Journalist

I see that the Washinton Times has a new "journalist". Conservative lobbyist Chris Horne has morphed into journalist Chris Horne.

What so interesting (surprising? disgusting?) part of this is the fact that this is a well known guy. And, from what I read, not a very nice one either. Hats off to Think Progress for staying on top of the right wing games used to manipulate news coverage of Bush.

The Iraqi's and American's agree one Thing

A majority of citizens in both countries want the US military out of Iraq. So, what's the hang up? To me it doesn't even matter what reasons are given. A case can and has already been made by Rep. Murtha that our military was assigned the task of getting rid of WMD's and Hussein. Being as there were no WMD's and Hussein has been deposed, our military succeeded in their assigned task - brilliantly I think.

Our failures come from the fact the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/PNAC have attempted to assign the military a non-military task. Somehow our soldiers are now "soldiers for democracy and the American Way" Asking the military to perform tasks they are not intended nor trained for has set up an impossible situation. It's been so long since their military victory that we tend to forget what a good job they did in their assigned task.

Bush’s big mistake (in Iraq) was not pulling the troops out the day he stood on that air craft carrier with his "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" sign behind him. But, that time has come and gone now - our standing in the world is damaged badly, and our military is stuck in Iraq.

Let' get behind the politicians calling for a rapid phased withdrawal and get out of Iraq now.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Death Penalty

Living here in California, the death penalty has once again taken over the news. This time it's in the guise of Stanley "Tookie" Williams. And, as usual, it's not actually about the individual, it's about the death penalty itself.

Let's assume "Tookie" Williams has done lots to redeem himself, writing books, working against gangs. The thing is, that has nothing to do with the fact that he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death back in 1981. Being a "different person" today is irrelevant to the issue. And to my mind, if he has really become a more redeemed person, he himself should step forward and accept responsibility to his actions 26 years ago. Isn't that what "responsible" people do?

But, back to the death penalty. It's an ongoing issue in the state, and I have more than a passing interest. There is a man who has been sitting in San Quentin on death row since 1982 for the murder of my Aunt Vi. Personally I want him dead.

The death penalty is a farce in this state. I don't care who these murderers become in the intervening decades after their convictions. If the death penalty is to mean anything it has to come a lot quicker than after literally decades of appeals.

Rove's Memory

Looking at the emerging details from the new Fitzgerald grand jury inquiry, it feels like the noose is beginning to tighten again around Rove's neck. The way I am reading this, Rove's lawyer, Mr. Luskin apparently talked to Fitzgerald for the express purpose of loosening that noose.

Fitzgerald appears to be looking at the possibility that he was sold a bill of goods. Hence, the subpoena of Luskin before the grand jury. Novak (the other one) has called into question the truthfulness of Luskin's statements. That leaves us with a couple of possibilities.

Luskin himself might be caught in a lie; maybe not perjury, but I think a sworn officer of the court is held to a higher standard and he could be charged with something. Rove's behind the scenes efforts to save himself, i.e. throw his lawyer to the wolves doesn't appear to be working. That could place him back in jeopardy of an indictment for perjury.

As to the original source of this investigation, the Plame leak, who knows where that stands. The Bush administration may have told just enough lies to avoid a direct indictment there. And that's a real shame.

Friday, December 09, 2005

"My words to Howard Dean are simple - shut up."

These words come from North Dakota Democratic Rep. Earl Pomeroy. I guess he's not happy with Dean's words. He's probably not alone on that count. And, he's probably not happy with the many discordant Democratic voices speaking lately on the issue of Iraq.

The Republican's little web ad was pretty silly, but we gave them the ammunition. These wounds are self-inflicted. At some point, someone has to stand up and take the reins of the Democratic Party. I don't have a favorite actually, though I tend to like what Harry Reid says most.

What do most Democrats think?

Some deaths just hurt more than others

"I will give you an interesting statistic. The number of people who have been killed in action in Iraq is 1,664. It's a lot. The number of people who have died over there are another 446."

That comment was made by Donald Rumsfeld on PBS's The News Hour on Wednesday.

Interesting statistics? So, ONLY 1664 were killed in combat. Those other 446 dead soldiers don't really count - they would have died anyway. There mere fact that he is reduced to quantifying the value of those killed in Iraq is nauseating.

But, it tells the families of those 446 that their family member's death doesn't actually count in our "war on terror". How much more insulting can the Bush administration get? Is there nothing it won't do, won't say to try and save itself from taking one iota of responsibility for this mess?

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger - my governor

It's hard to know who going to show up for work each day. Is it the Arnold who is pro-choice, and supports environmental legislation? Or the Arnold who picks foolish fights with nurses and teachers? Does he lean left today, or turn right today?

I see he picked a former Davis staffer for his chief of staff. And, it ticked off the Republicans pretty badly. One conservative group is calling to withhold their endorsement of Arnold in the 2006 governor’s race.

Is it possible another Republican might run against him in the primary? Right now I would give the possibility long odds, but I hope someone does. That would pretty much guarantee a Democratic governor next year. Because, the only person who could beat Arnold in a primary would be pro-life, and that is a loser in this state.

So, my Christmas wish is for a challenger to beat out Arnold for the 2006 Republican nomination as governor.

Fretting over Polls

I love the polls that have Bush losing popularity - and I hate the ones that show him getting it back. So, the recent New York Times/CBS poll was not one to love. But, I follow Rasmussen Polls daily too. In my opinion, they lean pretty consistent right. Their polling on Bush has him dropping again after a short tick upward.
These are Bush's numbers as of today:

Updated Daily by Noon Eastern
RR Bush Job Approval
Approve Disapprove
Today 43 55
Dec 8 44 54
Dec 7 45 53
Dec 6 46 52
Dec 5 48 52
Dec 4 47 52
Dec 3 46 53
Dec 2 46 54
Dec 1 44 56
Nov 30 46 53
Nov 29 45 54
Dates are release dates. Surveys conducted on preceding three nights.

Earlier Results for

RR Premium Members

Rasmussen Reports

It's a good poll to watch, if only to see what a right leaning poll says about Bush. When he is down in this poll, I am confident that he is really down.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Is Dean on the way Out?

I know, the mere thought is sacrilege to many. Especially the Net Roots. But, is he doing the job we hired him to do? That is an important question. If he is a major spokesperson for the party, than he's not doing his job. The Democrats are speaking with too many voices. In other words too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

If he is a leader working to raise money? On that count he seems to be doing a pretty decent job. At least compared to past years. We never raise money the way the Republican's do, so that is a false comparison.

Is he a leader working to expand the party into all 50 states? On that count he seems to be having success.

But, back to being "the face of the party" - I think he does as much damage as he does good. That' my opinion.

Is Howard Dean good for the Democratic Party?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Cable News

I watch CNN's World News Hour pretty regularly, and I think it gives a balanced view of the news. Particularly when talking about US news it strives to discuss and report both the administration's as well as the European/world views on issues.

Today Bush spoke to the Council on Foreign Relations and made what seems to be a very poor attempt to somehow compare Japan's bombing of Pearl Harbor and Saddam Hussein. It did not appear to go over very well. Of course it wouldn't and shouldn’t because the two have absolutely nothing to do with one another. This silly comparison must have been thrown into the speech by Bush's new PR professor.

If the American people think we're fighting WW2 all over again maybe they will get behind the President, support him, and ignore all the bad news and deaths of US soldiers and Iraqi citizens. That's a big if - mostly because the Iraq war looks so much more like Vietnam than WW2

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Bush's "major speech on Iraq" and Iraq plans

Bush spoke about Iraq another major speech. He's trying to get control of the issue back. The problem is he can't quite bring himself to speak the truth. He quoted Lt. Col Todd Wood several times while talking about the Iraqi army. He didn't use whole quotes however. John Carlson of the Desmoines Register did the actual interview and any quotes that were not 100% favorable to the administration were conveniently left out.

For example, Wood is quoted, "They're pretty much ready to go it on their own" by Bush, but the rest of the quote is, "But until they are properly equipped, they'll need our help." That changes the whole tenor of the quote.

And, of course we have the news that the 35 page National Strategy for Victory in Iraq was written mostly by a professor who studies opinion polls. It's one big piece of propaganda. What a surprise.

Just when you think he can't possibly sink any lower as a human being (and I'm being pretty generous right now including him in Homo sapiens) he proves there actually is NO depths to which he won't sink.

It's time to say Good Bye Republican control of this country.

It looks like Tom DeLay will be going to trial next year. That's a good thing. Even better, he may lose in the 2006 election.

That's a lot of ifs, but things finally seem to be falling into place to get rid of the Bug Man. He is just the first of many I hope. Frist is already gone - a lame duck who couldn't ever run the Senate.

The swirling scandals of Abramoff look to be coming to a boil - who says a watched pot never boils? It's about time too. I think there' going to be lots of congressmen caught up in this little mess.

Then we have the Fitzgerald investigation. There's another pot that simmering at the moment, but seems about ready to boil over again.

Monday, December 05, 2005

What to do about rabid homophobic hate groups

I see that "American Family Association" and "Focus on the Family" are going after large companies that support equal rights for gays and lesbians. This is a full frontal attack on equal rights for gays. They use phrases such as:

Ford Motor Company Supports Homosexual Marriage Movement
You are probably unaware that Ford Motor Company is a major supporter of the homosexual movement, including homosexual marriage.
from AmericaBlog

And, things like this
“Focus on the Family has elected to end its banking relationship with Wells Fargo, motivated primarily by the bank’s ongoing efforts to advance the radical homosexual agenda. These efforts are in direct opposition to the underlying principles and purpose of Focus, and thus a decision of conscience had to be made, and a stand taken.

from the awful Focus on the Family

These groups have the least Godly behavior I have ever seen. They must be exposed for the haters they truly are. More than that, this behavior is becoming the excepted norm for the religious right, and the Democratic Party has to stand up as one and loudly proclaim, "Of course we support equal rights for gays and lesbians, just as we support equal rights for women and minorities of all kinds." Its way past time that the Democrats stood for something more than trying to protect themselves. They end up being not much better than the overt haters if they don't defend equal rights for ALL Americans.

Democrats and the Iraq War

My God - I see the Democratic answer to Iraq is still all over the place. And, I think I sort of agreed that it was OK for the Dems to be there. Well, I've thought some more....that's the beauty of the blog....and I think I'm wrong.

It seems American's listen to the loudest coordinated voice, and it doesn't really seem to matter if it's correct or not. Because of this, the Democrats have to get on the same page to at least get the ear of the American public. I want the public to be more discerning and thoughtful, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

Sadly, Bush is staying on topic - he's so wrong - but it doesn't matter. It's what's registering with the public, and I will predict with confidence that 1) his poll numbers will go up and 2) the MSM will re-do the "Bush is failing story" into the "Bush is on the comeback story". That will be one really nauseating event to say the least.

I'd force Democrats on to a single track on the Iraq if I could - but no one seems to be really stepping up to the plate on this issue. And anyone who tries is pretty much guaranteed to get booed by some faction of the party.

Can anyone say "The Republicans maintain control of the House and Senate in 2006." I think that's where we're headed. Damn

The Hussein Trial

It's sort of like watching a train wreck. You want to turn away in horror, but you can’t' take your eyes off the event. More seriously though, does the former dictator have a point? Is a special court set up in a country that at this point doesn't even have an official government a real court? Can it try this man?

And, if not, then what? I think he should have had a trial before an international war crimes tribunal. It makes a lot of sense doesn't it? These crimes are so horrible, they rise above nation states. That's where the Milosevic trial took place. Why do you think Bush pushed to have the trial in Iraq? Is it just his need to be in control of absolutely everything? That's my guess.

My other thought is that he doesn't think any international body has any real standing in relation to anything the US does. We're simply above it all - doing God's work and such. That's the scary part for me.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Bill Press, Karel, and me

I listened to KGO this evening. The host Karel, one very politically incorrect gay man interviewed Bill Press about his new book. What a good hour that was. Liberal talk at its best. Bill has a new book out. It titled "How The Republicans Stole Christmas".

The gist of the conversation revolved around the hypocritical conservative movement and the charlatans loudly claiming to bring forth the word of God. In a word, they both agreed as do I, the Falwells of this world spew forth nothing but crap.

To my delight, they even managed to discuss the "pragmatic" need for liberals to engage the country on the issue of religion. I happen to agree! But more than that, I happen to think its way more than pragmatic, it's the honest thing to do. Some 80% of all American's claim to be Christians - that would include the 80% of Democrats. Of course we will talk about our faith. It's as central to our lives as it is to anyone else. The horrible conservative lie that the Democratic Party is a godless party has to STOP.

Anyway, I'm climbing off my soapbox for a while now...I'm right though...even I who do not practice the Christian religion regularly know that Jesus simply would not recognize what the Christian fundamentalist right has done to Christianity. Anyone whose religion is important to them must engage in this conversation.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Did you know, we're the World Leader on Human Rights

I know, you're picking yourself up off the floor right now. Bush, he of the alternate universe, has proclaimed it so. Here's the story. You're thinking but what about abu gharib, or maybe the secret CIA prisons, or maybe even New Orleans.

I like to think I'm a rational being, and I think you are too. How is it that this administration continues to live on Fantasy Island? Will there ever be any call to finally hold them responsible? This has to come from the Republican's too. Even they must be viewing this with a rising sense of concern. One could only hope their collective vomit meters reach critical mass soon.

Friday, December 02, 2005

What's the Pragmatic way out of Iraq?

Now, there's a loaded question for you.

Let's make the following assumption:

The preponderance of the evidence suggests that a U.S. withdrawal before Iraq’s armed forces and police are ready to secure the country will result in terrorist-friendly anarchy and hurt American interests.

So, the question is, how do we move forward. It seems to me that the only real way to secure the country and prevent a terrorist-friendly anarchy – if it’s possible at all – is to put another 250,000 troops in the country and REALLY take control. They already think we’re occupiers – bad ones apparently – let’s do the job right. Squash the “rejectionists” – now there’s a ridiculous word – and give those who at least want some form of democratically governed country a chance. This should have happened 2 years and 9 months ago, but Rumsfeld/Cheney et al had their heads up their asses with PNAC mumbo-jumbo swirling in their tiny little minds.

Yes, I know we were lied to going in. Yes, the entire Bush administration is comprised of idiots - each and every one of them - and by the way wouldn’t the law of averages suggest at least a few would have a functional brain?

But, and it's really sad to be where we are, we're there now. Let's adjust the Murtha plan just a little. Bring in overwhelming force for 12 months - squash the rebels, whoever they are - get the election done properly, and phase ourselves out by June 2007. We can do that can't we? After all the rule is "you break it, you bought it". The mess on the floor is ours. Let's clean it up like grownups.

Now THIS is Politically Incorrect

You're An Extreme Redneck If...

* You let your 14-year-old daughter smoke at the dinner table in front of her kids.
* The Blue Book value of your truck goes up and down depending on how much gas is in it.
* You've been married three times and still have the same in-laws.
* You think a woman who is "out of your league" bowls on a different night.
* You wonder how service stations keep their restrooms so clean.
* You think Dom Perignon is a Mafia leader.
* Your wife's hairdo was once ruined by a ceiling fan.
* Your junior prom offered day care.
* You think the last words of the "Star-Spangled Banner" are "Gentlemen, start your
* You lit a match in the bathroom and your house exploded right off its wheels.
* The Halloween pumpkin on your porch has more teeth than your spouse.
* You have to go outside to get something from the fridge.
* You need one more hole punched in your card to get a freebie at the House of
* You can't get married to your sweetheart because there's a law against it.
* You think loading the dishwasher means getting your wife drunk.

No one has ever accused me of being politically correct (at least not the sober ones), so laugh, gag, recoil in disgust, but it least in my opinion they're funny, even if not all true!

Tom DeLay - apparetly no horrible thing about him is False

The Washington Post has a story up today that essentially says the US Justice Department stated DeLay's "redistricting plan" violated the Voting Rights Act, but he went ahead and did it anyway.

Now, can we censure this man and throw him out of office? Or does he need to drown a baby (Democratic of course) or two?

I'm pragmatic as hell on some things, but this guy belongs behind bars. My contempt for him has no bounds. Here's the link to the article. Hold your nose and have the vomit bag ready. It's going to be a bumpy ride

Will you be seeing KING KONG?

OK, so it's not about politics. I saw the preview of KONG last week - yes when I saw Harry Potter, which by the way was really fun - and the preview looks good. I didn't like either the original (I know, it's a classic, it's still chessy) or the remake with Jessica Lange (just stupid). This new one seems more entertaining, unless of course they put all of the good scenes in the trailer.

Anyway, politics is politics, and a lot of it really sucks right now, but there's always the movies for a little vacation from reality.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Is Barbara Bush getting ready to help sonny boy clean house?

Per The Washington Note, Babs is none too happy with Cheney, Rove, or Card and may be trying to find a way to get rid of them. Cheney is the hardest nut to crack, but surely the Bush's have something on him. They could force a "health related" retirement. The other two serve at the pleasure of the President so their jobs can be gone in a minute.

The question is, is this a good thing? My Liberal leanings tell me YES. Let Bush go down in flames with his cabal. But, my pragmatic side says NO, after all Bush is in office for another three years and I want the country to survive his presidency.

What are your thoughts?

Can the Democrats find their way on Iraq?

The War Room has an interesting post about Democrats and the Iraq War. They do make a point - the Democrats do seem to be all over the page on the issue of Iraq (that assumes we still claim Lieberman as a Democrat).

The point is, until recently the Republicans have moved in lockstep on the issue - backing everything Bush as done with regard to Iraq. And look where it's gotten them.

Do Democrats need to find some "big theme" everyone can follow on Iraq? I don't think it's possible, and I don't think it's necessary. The mess over there - and here - is SO BIG no one answer would seem to suffice.

The Pragmatic route (I like the sound of that) allows Democrats to acknowledge their YES votes - with the caveat that they did NOT have all the information Bush had; with the caveat that the resolution they voted for was in fact NOT what Bush ended up doing; with the caveat that of course they would NOT have voted for the resolution if they had known 1) what Bush knew and 2) that Bush would not even attempt to follow the resolution he himself pushed for.

Let's take this argument and move it back where it belongs. This is BUSH'S WAR, not the Democrats. Democrats can talk about more responsible ways to conduct it, but it's NOT their war, they aren't responsible for it, Bush is. That is the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story.

Unrelenting AIDS - and other DEATHS

Today is World AIDS Day - if only such a day could do more. Some 3 million people died from AIDS this year. As a comparison, in 2003 WHO stats show that 16.7 million people died from cardiovascular diseases. And, 7.1 million people died from cancer.

Aids is ranking up there among the top three - and it is a 100% preventable disease. Education is the key. Along with removing the ridiculous religious overtones attached to the illness.

Today is a sad day, very sad, but there is ONE statistic that's even worse, and more shocking. Every year - every year - 15 million children die from starvation on this planet. World Hunger. This is a tragedy on so many levels it's hard to even count them. Let's spend some time talking about this "killing of children".

Picking out a College - some Pragmatic Stuff

Picking a college for yourself or your kids these days is light years from how decisions were made in the past. Back in the "olden days" - my generation - it had a lot to do with location. You went to the college close to home.

Today, choices are wider, and the internet is an invaluable tool. There are several excellent sources out there, and I'll list just a few.

Ed-Data This site focuses on California
Just for the Kids Another mostly California site.

It's never too soon to think about college. You can set up Educational Savings Accounts if your kids are fairly young. Here's some information Tax Benefits for Education Savings Accounts - ESA

For those thinking about college either for themselves or their children (or grandchildren) it's an exiting time, but one that must be carefully researched.
Good Luck to all of you.