Monday, July 31, 2006

Huff Po Links to Details

Oh my God-----the Huffington Post has a link to MY blog!!!!!!!! Picked this up off of Technorati.

Recent Inbound Links

Recent links to Details.

If you click the title of the article - then go to the third paragraph. At the end of the first line it says "other sources" - click the link SOURCES and TA DA - brings you to this website. COOL!

Group ID's New Flaw in Diebold Evoting Machines

The Open Voting Foundation, a California-based nonprofit organization that works to promote the adoption of "open source" technology to the nation's voting machines, has announced it has found what it calls the "worst ever security flow found in Diebold RS voting machines."

The Foundation claims to have discovered a switch inside of the machine which, when flipped, can have the machine operate in "a completely different manner compared to the tested and certified version."


News From Iraq

-Gunmen in Iraq's capital today opened fire on municipal street sweepers, killing one and injuring two, while a senior intelligence official died in a drive-by shooting. DETAILS

-At least four Iraqis were shot dead and a car bomb exploded in Baghdad as insurgents and rival sectarian death squads pursued their campaigns to destabilise the strife-torn country. DETAILS

-A car bomb went off near an Iraqi police patrol in northern Baghdad on Monday, wounding a policeman and a civilian, a police source said. DETAILS

-At least four Iraqis were shot dead and a car bomb exploded in Baghdad as insurgents and rival sectarian death squads pursued their campaigns to destabilise the strife-torn country. DETAILS

-Gunmen wearing Iraqi police uniforms have kidnapped 26 people in a commercial district of central Baghdad, interior ministry officials have said. DETAILS

-The following are security and other developments in Iraq on Monday:

BAGHDAD - A civilian and a policeman were wounded when a car bomb went off near a police patrol in northern Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said.

BAGHDAD - Gunmen killed Fakhri Salman, a brigadier in the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS), in the Yarmouk district of Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said.

MOSUL - Two civilians were wounded when a roadside bomb went off near a joint Iraqi-U.S. military patrol in the northern city of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD - Gunmen killed Maad Jihad, an advisor to the health minister, in the Mansour district of Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said.

Number of Operations Iraq Freedom and Enduring Freedom casualties
as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 2602/303

Most Recent Casualties:

July 31, 2006

Army Sgt. Joshua A. Ford
, 20, of Wayne, Neb
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

CNN will surely remind us on Sunday that it is Day 19 of the Israel-Hezbollah war -- now branded as Crisis in the Middle East -- but you won't catch anyone saying it's Day 1,229 of the war in Iraq.
-Frank Rich, NY Times

Today's Details

-An Israeli air raid on the southern Lebanese town of Qana killed dozens of civilians on Sunday, many of them children, marking the bloodiest day of this conflict and putting enormous pressure on Israel and the United States to move rapidly toward a cease-fire. DETAILS

-A key section of a long-awaited congressional report on prewar intelligence in Iraq, that some Democrats have been counting on to use as a campaign issue, probably won't be released until after the November elections, according to an article in Sunday's edition of The Washington Post. DETAILS

-Newsweek editor Fareed Zakaria ripped into Donald Rumsfeld this morning on ABC’s This Week. [If I were running against conservatives,] I would make up a campaign commercial almost entirely of Donald Rumsfeld’s press conferences, because the man is looking — I mean, it’s not just that he seems like a bad Secretary of [Defense]. He seems literally in a parallel universe and slightly deranged. If you listen to what he said last week about Iraq, he’s living in a different world, not a different country. (Same words I used to describe the right wing here and here.) DETAILS/VIDEO

-Israeli missiles hit several buildings in a southern Lebanon village as people slept Sunday, killing at least 56, most of them children, in the deadliest attack in 19 days of fighting. DETAILS

-Presidential adviser Karl Rove said Saturday that journalists often criticize political professionals because they want to draw attention away from the "corrosive role" their own coverage plays in politics and government. (I would say that it has been the SILENCE of our neutered press during the tenure of this administration that has had a corrosive effect upon the rights of Americans and the well being of the country. I would argue that it is Karl Rove himself rather than journalists who has proven to be corrosive to the political process - and the way the 'game is played' . Who is he trying to kid other than the same group of people he is always able to kid?) DETAILS

-The controversy over the US-run detention centre at Guantanamo Bay is to erupt anew with confirmation by the Pentagon that a new, permanent prison will open in the Cuban enclave in the next few weeks. DETAILS

-The father of a slain serviceman whose funeral was disrupted is suing the Westboro Baptist Church in an attempt to fight back against what he views as the abuse of military families with a message of hate. DETAILS

Sunday, July 30, 2006

4 Marines Die as Iraq Violence Continues

Four U.S. Marines were killed in a Sunni Arab insurgent stronghold west of Baghdad, and pressure mounted in parliament Sunday to replace the interior minister because of the security crisis in the capital.


NY Times Endorses Ned Lamont

Earlier this year, Senator Joseph Lieberman’s seat seemed so secure that — legend has it — some people at the Republican nominating convention in Connecticut started making bleating noises when the party picked a presumed sacrificial lamb to run against the three-term senator, who has been a fixture in Connecticut politics for more than 35 years.

But Mr. Lieberman is now in a tough Democratic primary against a little-known challenger, Ned Lamont. The race has taken on a national character. Mr. Lieberman’s friends see it as an attempt by hysterical antiwar bloggers to oust a giant of the Senate for the crime of bipartisanship. Lamont backers — most of whom seem more passionate about being Lieberman opponents — say that as one of the staunchest supporters of the Iraq war, Mr. Lieberman has betrayed his party by cozying up to President Bush.

This primary would never have happened absent Iraq. It’s true that Mr. Lieberman has fallen in love with his image as the nation’s moral compass. But if pomposity were a disqualification, the Senate would never be able to call a quorum. He has voted with his party in opposing the destructive Bush tax cuts, and despite some unappealing rhetoric in the Terri Schiavo case, he has strongly supported a woman’s right to choose. He has been one of the Senate’s most creative thinkers about the environment and energy conservation.

But this race is not about résumés. The United States is at a critical point in its history, and Mr. Lieberman has chosen a controversial role to play. The voters in Connecticut will have to judge whether it is the right one.

As Mr. Lieberman sees it, this is a fight for the soul of the Democratic Party — his moderate fair-mindedness against a partisan radicalism that alienates most Americans. “What kind of Democratic Party are we going to have?” he asked in an interview with New York magazine. “You’ve got to agree 100 percent, or you’re not a good Democrat?”

That’s far from the issue. Mr. Lieberman is not just a senator who works well with members of the other party. And there is a reason that while other Democrats supported the war, he has become the only target. In his effort to appear above the partisan fray, he has become one of the Bush administration’s most useful allies as the president tries to turn the war on terror into an excuse for radical changes in how this country operates.

Citing national security, Mr. Bush continually tries to undermine restraints on the executive branch: the system of checks and balances, international accords on the treatment of prisoners, the nation’s longtime principles of justice. His administration has depicted any questions or criticism of his policies as giving aid and comfort to the terrorists. And Mr. Lieberman has helped that effort. He once denounced Democrats who were “more focused on how President Bush took America into the war in Iraq” than on supporting the war’s progress.

At this moment, with a Republican president intent on drastically expanding his powers with the support of the Republican House and Senate, it is critical that the minority party serve as a responsible, but vigorous, watchdog. That does not require shrillness or absolutism. But this is no time for a man with Mr. Lieberman’s ability to command Republicans’ attention to become their enabler, and embrace a role as the president’s defender.

On the Armed Services Committee, Mr. Lieberman has left it to Republicans like Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to investigate the administration’s actions. In 2004, Mr. Lieberman praised Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for expressing regret about Abu Ghraib, then added: “I cannot help but say, however, that those who were responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on September 11th, 2001, never apologized.” To suggest even rhetorically that the American military could be held to the same standard of behavior as terrorists is outrageous, and a good example of how avidly the senator has adopted the Bush spin and helped the administration avoid accounting for Abu Ghraib.

Mr. Lieberman prides himself on being a legal thinker and a champion of civil liberties. But he appointed himself defender of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the administration’s policy of holding hundreds of foreign citizens in prison without any due process. He seconded Mr. Gonzales’s sneering reference to the “quaint” provisions of the Geneva Conventions. He has shown no interest in prodding his Republican friends into investigating how the administration misled the nation about Iraq’s weapons. There is no use having a senator famous for getting along with Republicans if he never challenges them on issues of profound importance.

If Mr. Lieberman had once stood up and taken the lead in saying that there were some places a president had no right to take his country even during a time of war, neither he nor this page would be where we are today. But by suggesting that there is no principled space for that kind of opposition, he has forfeited his role as a conscience of his party, and has forfeited our support.

Mr. Lamont, a wealthy businessman from Greenwich, seems smart and moderate, and he showed spine in challenging the senator while other Democrats groused privately. He does not have his opponent’s grasp of policy yet. But this primary is not about Mr. Lieberman’s legislative record. Instead it has become a referendum on his warped version of bipartisanship, in which the never-ending war on terror becomes an excuse for silence and inaction. We endorse Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary for Senate in Connecticut.

Disowning Conservative Politics is Costly for an Evangelical Pastor

Like most pastors who lead thriving evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd was asked frequently to give his blessing — and the church’s — to conservative political candidates and causes.

The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute “voters’ guides” that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn’t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?

After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.

“When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,” Mr. Boyd preached. “When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.”

Mr. Boyd says he is no liberal. He is opposed to abortion and thinks homosexuality is not God’s ideal. The response from his congregation at Woodland Hills Church here in suburban St. Paul — packed mostly with politically and theologically conservative, middle-class evangelicals — was passionate. Some members walked out of a sermon and never returned. By the time the dust had settled, Woodland Hills, which Mr. Boyd
founded in 1992, had lost about 1,000 of its 5,000 members.

But there were also congregants who thanked Mr. Boyd, telling him they were moved to tears to hear him voice concerns they had been too afraid to share.


News From Iraq

The following are security and other developments in Iraq on Sunday.

BAGHDAD - The Iraqi army arrested 44 suspected insurgents on Saturday in different parts of the country, it said on Sunday.

BAGHDAD - Three suspected insurgents died and a fourth person was wounded in an explosion in a house that an interior ministry source said was being used as a factory for homemade bombs.

BAIJI - A policeman was shot dead by gunmen in the oil refinery city of Baiji, 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

NEAR TUZ KHURMATU - Kidnappers killed a policeman and a civilian after snatching seven people in an ambulance near Tuz Khurmatu, 70 km south of Kirkuk, on Saturday evening. The five others, including a second policeman, were released after being tortured, the police said.

BAGHDAD - Police said they found 15 bodies in different parts of the capital, all bearing signs of torture and shot in the head.

ISKANDARIYA - A roadside bomb killed four and wounded 11 people travelling together near the town of Iskandariya, 40 km south of Baghdad, police said.

FALLUJA - A policeman was killed and another wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle in Falluja, 50 km west of Baghdad, police said. Two suspects were arrested.

BAGHDAD - Two policemen were seriously hurt by a roadside bomb near their patrol in northern Baghdad, police said.

JURF AL-SAKHAR - A body bearing gunshot wounds was found in Jurf al-Sakhar, 80 km south of Baghdad, police said.

FALLUJA - Gunmen kidnapped a truck driver and set his vehicle on fire, police said.

MOSUL - Three policemen were seriously wounded by a suicide car bombing near their patrol in the northern city of Mosul, 390 km north of Baghdad, police said.

TAL AFAR - The Iraqi army said it had arrested three suspected militants in Tal Afar, west of Mosul.

"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."
-- Thomas Paine

America: Freedom to Fascism in theaters July 28th

The scariest film you'll see this year. It will leave you staggering out of the theatre, slack-jawed and trembling. Makes Fahrenheit 9/11 look like Bambi. After watching this movie, your comfy, secure notions about America -- and about what it means to be an American -- will be forever shattered. Producer/director Aaron Russo and the folks at Cinema Libre Studio deserve to be heralded as heroes of a post-modern New American Revolution. This is shocking stuff. You'll be angry, you'll be disgusted, but you may actually break out in a cold sweat and feel a sickness deep in your gut; I would advise movie theatre managers to hand out vomit bags. You may end up needing one. OFFICIAL SITE

Movie Trailer

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Today's Details

-Lebanon is facing an environmental crisis after an Israeli air strike on the Jiyeh power station, about 20km south of Beirut caused 10,000 tons of oil to spill into the Mediterranean sea. DETAILS

-U.S. citizens suspected of terror ties might be detained indefinitely and barred from access to civilian courts under legislation proposed by the Bush administration, say legal experts reviewing an early version of the bill. (READ IT AGAIN, FOLKS - "U.S. citizens SUSPECTED of terror ties might be DETAINED INDEFINITELY and BARRED FROM ACCESS TO CIVILIAN COURTS under LEGISLATION PROPOSED BY THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION." So, to recap - if you are SUSPECTED of terror ties you could be locked up without access to the legal system. We sat back and have remained mostly silent while they did this to people we don't particularly care for - and now they've decided to broaden the scope to include us. - see today's quote - HAD ENOUGH?) DETAILS

-The US administration has quietly reversed its goal from whittling down troop numbers in Iraq before the mid-term congressional elections in November. A Pentagon spokesman on Friday confirmed that US troop levels in Iraq rose to 132,000 during the past week – the highest since late May – from 127,000 at the start of the week. The spokesman said troop numbers often fluctuated and “there might be temporary spikes during periods of troop rotation”. DETAILS

-Sunday's edition of The New York Times is set to include an editorial endorsing challenger Ned Lamont over incumbent Joe Lieberman for Connecticut's Democratic primary race for the Senate. DETAILS

-The record-breaking heat wave that plagued California will pass this weekend to the U.S. Midwest and East Coast where high air conditioning use will strain electricity systems and increase the chance of outages, power officials and weather forecasters said. DETAILS

-The State Department agency in charge of $1.4 billion in reconstruction money in Iraq used an accounting shell game to hide ballooning cost overruns on its projects there and knowingly withheld information on schedule delays from Congress, a federal audit released late Friday has found. (Shocking!) DETAILS

-Israel on Saturday rejected a request by the U.N. for a three-day cease-fire in Lebanon to deliver humanitarian supplies and allow civilians to leave the war zone. DETAILS

- Tony Blair and George Bush defied the growing anger across the world yesterday by seeking a UN resolution that fell far short of a ceasefire to end the killing of Lebanese civilians. DETAILS

-Republicans muscled the first minimum wage increase in a decade through the House early Saturday after pairing it with a cut in inheritance taxes on multimillion-dollar estates. (These people are shameless.) DETAILS

-The media magnate Rupert Murdoch is expected to offer Tony Blair a senior role in his News Corporation empire when he stands down as Prime Minister. DETAILS

- Wal-Mart Stores, admitting defeat in Germany’s giant, cutthroat retail market, said today that it would sell its 85 stores here to a German retailer, the Metro Group, and incur a loss of $1 billion. The decision to sell out came two months after Wal-Mart sold its stores in South Korea, and amounts to a rare retreat by the world’s largest retailer from its breakneck global expansion. DETAILS

-Mel Gibson was arrested early Friday for investigation of driving under the influence of alcohol, authorities said. Mel Gibson "blurted out a barrage of anti-Semitic remarks" -- "fucking Jews" and "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world" and asking the arresting deputy "Are you a Jew?" -- during his DUI arrest early Friday morning. (Another self righteous, rhetoric spewing nut from the right is forced to show the world he's just a human being who makes mistakes like the rest of us. I guess the temptation was just too great for him to overcome. Hopefully, it will be his LAST TEMPTATION of this sort. This err in judgement on his part is no doubt the result of those Godless Jews who run Hollywood!!!! He should thank God he didn't kill someone.) DETAILS

-Once, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut seemed on the brink of the vice presidency, a principled moderate in a party that didn't always warm to them. Now, hewing to his support for the war in Iraq, he confronts a political abyss, abandoned by all groups but the poorer, older and less educated Democrats in his state he confronts a political abyss, abandoned by all groups but the poorer, older and less educated Democrats in his state. DETAILS

Remember Iraq?

From the ALWAYS excellent blog Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald:

One of the most bizarre and disturbing media phenomena in some time is the very sudden, and virtually complete, disappearance of the war in Iraq from the media radar. That country is literally falling apart, engulfed by what even war proponents are acknowledging increasingly appears to be an inevitable civil war and growing anarchy. And yet for the last week, Iraq was barely discussed, save for a completely inconsequential gossipy sideshow about whether the Democrats did something which the Republicans would never, ever do -- namely, exploit a national security matter (Prime Minister Maliki's condemnation of Israel) for political gain.

For the media, new wars are always more exciting than old wars, but the Israel-Lebanon war is not (yet) "our war," despite the zealous dreams of American warmongers. What is very much our war is the true disaster taking place in Iraq. What is going on there is not just devastating for Iraqis -- although it is very much that -- but for American national security as well. And yet the proponents of this war seem to be eager to simply forget the whole thing and just move on to their next little project, blithely accepting the fact that Iraq is going to be engulfed by civil war and anarchy and that there is not much we can do about it.


Better Get Used to Killer Heat Waves

In Fresno, the morgue is full of victims from a California heat wave. A combination of heat and power outages killed a dozen people in Missouri. And in parts of Europe, temperatures are hotter than in 2003 when a heat wave killed 35,000 people.

Get used to it.

--For the next week, much of the nation should expect more ''extreme heat,'' the National Weather Service predicts.

--In the month of August, most of the United States will see ''above normal temperatures,'' forecasters say.

--For the long-term future, the world will see more and worse killer heat waves because of global warming, scientists say.


3 Marines killed in action in western Iraq

Gunmen attacked two Sunni mosques early Saturday in the Iraqi capital, while the U.S. command said three U.S. Marines died in action in western Iraq.

The Marines died Thursday in Anbar, the western province that is a focal point of the Sunni-dominated insurgency. A U.S. statement said they were attached to the Army's 1st Armored Division, which operates in Ramadi, but gave no further details.

Their deaths brought the number of U.S. service members who have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003 to at least 2,573, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians.


Stephen Colbert on John Bolton

Condoleezza Rice: Midwife From Hell

By Matthew Rothschild

After being one of the most inept national security advisers in the nation’s history, Condoleezza Rice is now earning the same grade as secretary of state.

Her description of the conflagration in Lebanon as the “birthpangs of a new Middle East” was about as callous as it gets, matched only by Bush’s remark that the conflict represents “a moment of opportunity.”

The 400 Lebanese who have died, an overwhelming number of them civilian and many of them children, were not feeling any birthpangs. They were feeling deathpangs.

Nor were families of the Israeli victims (about 50 so far, and most of them soldiers) cheering the new day, either.

Rice’s cruel opposition to an immediate cease-fire has left the whole world outside of Israel (and Tony Blair’s kennel) aghast.

And U.N. Ambassador John Bolton’s sneering about a cease-fire not being “the alpha and omega” only reinforced the arrogance.

More than half a million people in Lebanon have been turned into refugees in just a matter of weeks.

Israelis are bunkered in bomb shelters.

And all Rice can do is issue hollow words of concern and then sabotage any immediate cease-fire?

The expediting of U.S. bombs to Israel at the same time sent an all too obvious message. Did they fly in carriage on the same plane that took Rice to the region? Is she bringing another load with her this time?

As Rice did in the lead up to the Iraq War, so she is doing now: She’s drinking her own propaganda.


News From Iraq

The following are security and other developments in Iraq on Saturday:

KIRKUK - A car bomb killed three people and wounded 15 when it blew up near a petrol station in central Kirkuk, city police chief Torhan Abdul-Rahman said.

BAGHDAD - Insurgents killed four U.S. Marines in action in Iraq's restive Anbar province on Thursday, the U.S. military said. They gave no further details.

SUWAYRA - Police said they pulled two headless corpses wearing military uniform from the Tigris river in the town of Suwayra, 60 km (38 miles) southeast of Baghdad.

NEAR TIKRIT - A woman was killed and two others wounded when a mortar hit a house in the small town of al-Alam, near Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

BAIJI - One policeman was killed and another wounded when gunmen opened fire in a drive-by shooting on their patrol in the oil refinery city of Baiji, 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL - A minibus driver was killed when three gunmen in a car opened fire on him in southeastern Mosul 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police colonel Karim Khalaf said.

NAJAF - An Iraqi soldier shot dead a policeman after an argument at a checkpoint in Najaf, 160 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, a security source said.

BAGHDAD - Iraqi security forces said they had arrested over 60 suspected insurgents in different parts of Iraq in the last 24 hours. One policeman was killed during the raids.

BAGHDAD - Iraqi forces captured a foreign fighter on Thursday in a raid on the Abu Ghraib district in western Baghdad, the U.S. military said. The statement did not say what nationality the fighter carried.

BAGHDAD - A grenade attack wounded 12 people as they queued for temporary labour work in central Baghdad, police said.

DIWANIYA - Seven police were wounded in a joint U.S. and Iraqi raid against members of the Mehdi Army, a powerful militia loyal to Shi'ite firebrand Moqtada al-Sadr. The incident took place in the town of Diwaniya, 180 km (112 miles) south of Baghdad, police and hospital sources said.

BAGHDAD - Six people, including three policemen, were wounded by a roadside bomb near a police patrol in the capital's northern Waziriya district, police said.

Number of Operations Iraq Freedom and Enduring Freedom casualties
as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 2604/301

Most Recent Casualties:

July 29, 2006

Marine Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus, 28, of Wolf Creek, Mont.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Lance Cpl. Anthony E. Butterfield, 19, of Clovis, Calif.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom
Marine Sgt. Christian B. Williams, 27, of Winter Haven, Fla.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom
Marine Pfc. Jason Hanson, 21, of Forks, Wash
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

I wouldn't call it fascism exactly, but a political system nominally controlled by an irresponsible, dumbed down electorate who are manipulated by dishonest, cynical, controlled mass media that dispense the propaganda of a corrupt political establishment can hardly be described as democracy either.
- Edward Zehr

Friday, July 28, 2006

Novak: Bush, Rice & Israel's Strategy a 'Failure'

This morning, on Fox, Bob Novak said was critical of the Bush Administration, Secretary Rice and Israel. He said that Israel had failed in it's military plan to diminish or destroy Hezbollah. He also said that the Bush Administration and especially Secretary Rice's diplomatic attempts had been a failure.

With the election a little more than 100 days away, we're organizing dessert potlucks on July 31st to kickoff our big program to win in November.

MoveOn members across the country are going to get together to share some delicious pie and launch our massive get-out-the-vote program. We'll link all the parties with a conference call featuring Senator Barack Obama and Al Franken, and we'll fill everyone in on how the program works and what you can do locally to help give Republicans their "just desserts" in November.

Sign-uo to attend a party in your neighborhood or host your own.


Republican Says We Need A Dem Congress

The following is a letter from former Republican Congressman and Presidential candidate Pete McCloskey.


I have found it difficult in the past several weeks to reach a conclusion as to what a citizen should do with respect to this fall’s forthcoming congressional elections. I am a Republican, intend to remain a Republican, and am descended from three generations of California Republicans, active in Merced and San Bernardino Counties as well as in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have just engaged in an unsuccessful effort to defeat the Republican Chairman of the House Resources Committee, Richard Pombo, in the 11th Congressional District Republican primary, obtaining just over 32% of the Republican vote against Pombo's 62%.

The observation of Mr. Pombo’s political consultant, Wayne Johnson, that I have been mired in the obsolete values of the 1970s, honesty, good ethics and balanced budgets, all rejected by today’s modern Republicans, is only too accurate.

It has been difficult, nevertheless, to conclude as I have, that the Republican House leadership has been so unalterably corrupted by power and money that reasonable Republicans should support Democrats against DeLay-type Republican incumbents in 2006. Let me try to explain why.


No accountability for Bush administration -- or media enablers

The nation's leading news organizations have all ignored a rather large elephant in the room when covering the Bush administration and the Iraq war. Namely: If President Bush and his aides misled the nation into war (and they did), and if the American people believe the administration did so (and they do) ... well, what does that mean? What are the consequences of those two things? Will the American people be less likely to trust the Bush administration if it again beats the drums for war?


Today's Details

-With congressional midterm elections less than four months away, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that candidates will be facing a public that has grown increasingly pessimistic, as nearly two-thirds don't believe life for their children's generation will be better than it has been for them, and nearly 60 percent are doubtful the Iraq war will come to a successful conclusion. And there's more pessimism: Among those who believe the nation is headed on the wrong track, more than 80 percent say it's part of a longer-term decline. DETAILS

-At the onset of the Lebanese crisis, Arab governments, starting with Saudi Arabia, slammed Hezbollah for recklessly provoking a war, providing what the United States and Israel took as a wink and a nod to continue the fight.Now, with hundreds of Lebanese dead and Hezbollah holding out against the vaunted Israeli military for more than two weeks, the tide of public opinion across the Arab world is surging behind the organization, transforming the Shiite group’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, into a folk hero and forcing a change in official statements. The Saudi royal family and King Abdullah II of Jordan, who were initially more worried about the rising power of Shiite Iran, Hezbollah’s main sponsor, are scrambling to distance themselves from Washington. DETAILS

-Senate Democrats unleashed a sharp volley of criticism of President Bush's foreign policy yesterday, arguing that John R. Bolton has done more harm than good as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and does not deserve an extended term. If Bolton's style were less divisive, they said, he might have achieved more reforms at the United Nations and tougher sanctions against Hezbollah and North Korea. DETAILS

-He didn’t support invading Iraq. He says national security decisions are too often made for political gain. And he maintains that Tom DeLay used “legal plunder” for the “immoral purpose of holding onto power.” A Democrat? No – His name is Richard Viguerie, a conservative icon and key architect of Ronald Reagan’s 1980 victory. Known to many as the godfather of direct-mail campaign fundraising, his four-decade career has succored scores of conservative candidates and grassroots causes. DETAILS

-Republican leaders are willing to allow the first minimum wage increase in a decade but only if it's coupled with a cut in inheritance taxes on multimillion-dollar estates, lawmakers said Friday. (Now isn't this just the picture of decency? The Republicans will give the little people some crumbs - if you cut taxes on the rich people. HAD ENOUGH?) DETAILS

-The Homeland Security Department spent $34 billion in its first two years on private contracts that were poorly managed or included significant waste or abuse, a congressional report concluded Thursday. DETAILS

-U.S. Congresswoman Katherine Harris demanded an apology from Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean, who during a speech this week likened the senatorial candidate to former Soviet ruler Josef Stalin. DETAILS

-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will return to the Middle East this weekend to work with others on trying to bring an end to the Israeli-Hezbollah fighting. DETAILS

-White House spokesman Tony Snow said the administration would "push back" against criticism of the United States. (Oh brother!) DETAILS

Sergeant Tells of Plot to Kill Iraqi Detainees

For more than a month after the killings, Sgt. Lemuel Lemus stuck to his story.

“Proper escalation of force was used,” he told an investigator, describing how members of his unit shot and killed three Iraqi prisoners who had lashed out at their captors and tried to escape after a raid northwest of Baghdad on May 9.

Then, on June 15, Sergeant Lemus offered a new and much darker account.

In a lengthy sworn statement, he said he had witnessed a deliberate plot by his fellow soldiers to kill the three handcuffed Iraqis and a cover-up in which one soldier cut another to bolster their story. The squad leader threatened to kill anyone who talked. Later, one guilt-stricken soldier complained of nightmares and “couldn’t stop talking” about what happened, Sergeant Lemus said.

As with similar cases being investigated in Iraq, Sergeant Lemus’s narrative has raised questions about the rules under which American troops operate and the possible culpability of commanders. Four soldiers have been charged with premeditated murder in the case. Lawyers for two of them, who dispute Sergeant Lemus’s account, say the soldiers were given an order by a decorated colonel on the day in question to “kill all military-age men” they encountered.

Many questions remain about the case, which is scheduled for an Article 32 hearing on Tuesday in Iraq. But whatever the truth about that day, Sergeant Lemus’s sworn statement — which was obtained by The New York Times — provides an extraordinary window into the pressures American soldiers face in Iraq, where wartime chaos and the imperative of loyalty often complicate questions of right and wrong.


News From Iraq

-One of Iraq's most influential Shiite leaders rejected the use of US forces to stabilize Iraq's security situation, as the Pentagon announced an increase in troop numbers. DETAILS

-But the day, which was planned for late September, would never come for the 21-year-old. Corporal Roos was killed in Ramadi earlier this week when a bomb exploded under his Humvee, his family told 9News on Friday. Delhi Marine Corporal Timothy Roos was waiting for the day he would get to come home from Iraq to see his newborn daughter. DETAILS

Insurgents have destroyed a small Shiite shrine in Diyala province while a total of 13 Iraqis were killed across the country. At dawn, attackers planted several bombs inside the shrine to a revered Shiite figure Imam Askar between the towns of Balad Ruz and Mandalay, 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of the provincial seat of Baquba, blowing it to pieces Friday. DETAILS

The following are security and other developments in Iraq on Thursday as of 1130 GMT.

BAQUBA - A roadside bomb exploded near a police patrol, wounding two policemen in Baquba 65km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD - Four mortar round hit a Sunni mosque in Zafaraniya on the southern edge of Baghdad, killing four worshippers and wounding six others, interior ministry sources said.

BAGHDAD - The Iraqi army killed nine insurgents and detained another 16 in different parts of Iraq during the last 24 hours, Iraqi army said in a statement.

BAGHDAD - Thirty three insurgents were killed in a daylong battle with Iraqi and U.S. military forces in Mussayab about 60 km (40 miles) south of Baghdad on July 23, a U.S. military statement said on Friday.

The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.
-Aldous Huxley

Today's Details

-Military commanders in Iraq are developing a plan to move as many as 5,000 U.S. troops with armored vehicles and tanks into the country's capital in an effort to quell escalating violence, defense officials said Thursday. DETAILS

-Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Europe's second-largest oil company, said Thursday its second-quarter earnings jumped 40 percent as high oil prices offset production difficulties in Nigeria and the Gulf of Mexico. Net profit rose to $7.32 billion from $5.24 billion a year earlier. Sales rose less than 1 percent to $83.1 billion from $82.6 billion. DETAILS

-Democratic senators renewed their opposition to extending the tenure of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations, saying today that he remained a prickly, divisive and ineffective figure. When Mr. Bolton was first nominated for the position last year, he had “evidenced great skepticism and disdain for the United Nations and multilateral diplomacy generally,” said Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut. “Nothing he has said or done since assuming his current position in New York suggests he has altered his views.” DETAILS

-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Thursday directed more than 2,500 U.S. troops who have spent the past year in Iraq to stay up to four months past their scheduled departure date, boosting the size of the U.S. force amid unrelenting violence in Baghdad, officials said. DETAILS

-Exxon Mobil Corp. said Thursday it earned $10.36 billion in the April-June period, the second largest quarterly profit ever recorded by a publicly traded U.S. company. The earnings figure was 36 percent above the profit it reported a year ago. High oil prices and the growing global appetite for fuel helped boost the company's revenue by 12 percent to a level just short of a quarterly record. Its shares briefly rose to a new high. DETAILS

-Former basketball star Charles Barkley says he's switched political teams from Republican to Democrat and is again talking about running for governor in his home state, possibly in 2010. DETAILS

Thursday, July 27, 2006

News From Iraq

- Family members said a soldier from southern Anne Arundel County, Maryland was killed Saturday in an ambush in Iraq. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Swanson, 25, of Rose Haven, was on his third tour of Iraq when he was killed. His uncle, Glenn Swanson, said his nephew was destined to be a career soldier and said he was a dedicated servant. DETAILS

-A pair of mortar rounds followed minutes later by a car bomb blasted Baghdad's Karradah district Thursday, killing 25 people and wounding 46, police said. DETAILS

-The following are security and other developments in Iraq on Thursday as of 1430 GMT.

KIRKUK - A policeman and an Iraqi soldier were killed after their patrols opened fire on each other near a petrol station in the town of Debes, 45 km (28 miles) northeast of Kirkuk, police sources said.

BAGHDAD - The toll from a car bombing and mortar attacks in central Baghdad climbed to at least 27 people killed and 101 wounded, Interior Ministry sources said.

BAGHDAD - Nineteen bodies with bullet holes and showing signs of torture were found in different areas of the capital, Interior Ministry sources said.

BAGHDAD - Gunmen opened fire on Georgian troops manning a checkpoint near Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, and hurt five, according to the U.S. military. An official from the office of the Georgian president said six had been injured.

BAGHDAD - Gunmen wearing military uniforms and using military vehicles attacked a cash-in-transit vehicle and stole two Iraqi billion dinars, worth around $1.3 million, police sources said.

NEAR TIKRIT - A roadside bomb killed two policemen and wounded two more near Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police sources said.

NEAR KIRKUK - A body was found with bullet wounds and signs of torture near the northern city of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad.

NEAR KUT - A translator working for U.S. troops was found killed in his car near Kut, 170 km (105 miles) southeast of Baghdad, police said.

KUT - A former member of Saddam Hussein's Baath party was killed in a drive by shooting in front of his house, police sources said.

ISHAQEE - A roadside bomb in the city of Ishaqee, 90 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad, killed one civilian and wounded four others, police sources said.

BAGHDAD - Two mortar shells hit the Dora district of southern Baghdad on Wednesday, wounding four civilians, Interior Ministry sources said on Thursday.

BAQUBA - A car bomb exploded in Baquba, wounding three people, police sources said.

BAQUBA - A roadside bomb exploded beside an ambulance as it headed to Baquba hospital, killing five people and wounding four others on Wednesday, police sources said.

MOSUL - A policeman was wounded when gunmen opened fire on him in the city of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police sources said.

KIRKUK - An army lieutenant was wounded and a soldier was killed when gunmen attacked their car in Kirkuk, police sources said.

Iran: The Next War

Even before the bombs fell on Baghdad, a group of senior Pentagon officials were plotting to invade another country. Their covert campaign once again relied on false intelligence and shady allies. But this time, the target was Iran.



Over the past six months, the administration has adopted almost all of the hard-line stance advocated by the war cabal in the Pentagon. In May, Bush's ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, appeared before AIPAC's annual conference and warned that Iran "must be made aware that if it continues down the path of international isolation, there will be tangible and painful consequences." To back up the tough talk, the State Department is spending $66 million to promote political change inside Iran—funding the same kind of dissident groups that helped drive the U.S. to war in Iraq. "We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declared.

In addition, the State Department recently beefed up its Iran Desk from two people to ten, hired more Farsi speakers and set up eight intelligence units in foreign countries to focus on Iran. The administration's National Security Strategy—the official policy document that sets out U.S. strategic priorities—now calls Iran the "single country" that most threatens U.S. interests.

The shift in official policy has thrilled former members of the cabal. To them, the war in Lebanon represents the final step in their plan to turn Iran into the next Iraq. Ledeen, writing in the National Review on July 13th, could hardly restrain himself. "Faster, please," he urged the White House, arguing that the war should now be taken over by the U.S. military and expanded across the entire region. "The only way we are going to win this war is to bring down those regimes in Tehran and Damascus, and they are not going to fall as a result of fighting between their terrorist proxies in Gaza and Lebanon on the one hand, and Israel on the other. Only the United States can accomplish it," he concluded. "There is no other way."


Legalizing Warentless Wiretapping

New legislation that would rewrite the rules governing foreign surveillance wiretaps is making its way through the Senate Judiciary Committee. The legislation's content is predictable: The GOP-controlled Congress is giving the President essentially what he wants, by approving his NSA wiretapping program.

What's surprising, however, is that it appears Committee Chairman Arlen Specter - previously a critic of warrantless wiretapping - is fully on board with the legislation. Based on his public statements, the key to Specter's support is his belief that the legislation sets up a meaningful judicial review of the whole wiretapping program, as well as of the President's authority in this area.

But the proposed legislation seems to do the opposite of what Specter says he intends. Far from ensuring meaningful judicial review of the President's power to engage in warrantless wiretapping, it seems the proposed legislation all but ensures judicial approval of the NSA wiretapping program -- even if the President continues to ignore the FISA court process that he now claims he is willing to honor.


Religious Left Gears Up to Face Right Counterpart

The religious right, which helped re-elect President Bush in 2004 by rallying opposition to abortion and gay marriage, is now facing a pushback from the religious left.

With a faith-based agenda of their own, liberal and progressive clergy from various denominations are lobbying lawmakers, holding rallies and publicizing their positions. They want to end the Iraq war, ease global warming, combat poverty, raise the minimum wage, revamp immigration laws, and prevent "immoral" cuts in federal social programs.

Some, like the Rev. Robin Meyers of the United Church of Christ in Oklahoma, marry gay couples and seek to reduce abortions while rejecting calls by the right to outlaw them.

I join the ranks of those who are angry because I have watched as the faith I love has been taken over by fundamentalists who claim to speak for Jesus but whose actions are anything but Christian," declared Meyers, who has written a new book, "Why the Christian Right is Wrong.


Clinton calls on western leaders to broker Lebanese ceasefire

The United States and other western countries should be pushing hard for a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah, along with the insertion of an international peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, former U.S. president Bill Clinton said Wednesday.

The Islamic group Hezbollah's tactics are at the root of the latest bloody conflict in the region, but Clinton also questioned the length to which Israel has gone to defend itself. "It's important for us to get some kind of ceasefire now," Clinton said.

"I think this idea of an international force needs to be fleshed out."

His position stands in contrast to the Bush administration and Israel, which have both rejected the idea of a quick truce.


Number of Operations Iraq Freedom and Enduring Freedom casualties
as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 2601/294
Most Recent Casualties:

July 27, 2006

Marine Lance Cpl. James W. Higgins
, 22, of Frederick, Md.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom
Marine Lance Cpl. Adam R. Murray, 21, of Cordova, Tenn.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom
Marine Cpl. Timothy D. Roos, 21, of Cincinnati, Ohio
-Operation Iraqi Freedom
Marine Pfc. Enrique C. Sanchez, 21, of Garner, N.C.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

"You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it."
--Malcolm X (1925-1965)

Today's Details

- Saying the security situation in Baghdad remained “terrible,” President Bush announced an agreement with Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki on Tuesday to significantly strengthen the United States military presence in the city. The announcement, presented at a joint news conference during Mr. Maliki’s first visit to the White House since taking office in May, was a tacit admission that the Iraqi government had not succeeded in bringing stability to the capital, and that any major withdrawal of American troops soon remained unlikely. DETAILS

-Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s address to a joint session of Congress was interrupted by a protestor, Medea Benjamin of Code Pink. DETAILS/VIDEO

-Israel on Wednesday suffered its heaviest losses in Lebanon in its offensive against Hezbollah, with militants killing eight soldiers in a battle for a key town. A top Israeli commander said he expected the campaign to last "several more weeks. DETAILS
Israel on Wednesday suffered its heaviest losses in Lebanon in its offensive against Hezbollah, with militants killing eight soldiers in a battle for a key town. A top Israeli commander said he expected the campaign to last "several more weeks."

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Colbert Responds to Wexler Cocaine Comment Uproar

Number of Operations Iraq Freedom and Enduring Freedom casualties
as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 2601/294

Most Recent Casualties:

July 26, 2006
Navy Electrician's Mate 2nd Class Edward A. Koth
, 30, of Towson, Md.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. -Aristotle

Today's Details

-Half of Americans now say Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the United States invaded the country in 2003 -- up from 36 percent last year, a Harris poll finds. Pollsters deemed the increase both "substantial" and "surprising" in light of persistent press reports to the contrary in recent years. (At least 50% of the people in this country are ill informed. What is there to be done about it?) DETAILS

-A powerful Republican committee chairman who has led the fight against President Bush's signing statements said Monday he would have a bill ready by the end of the week allowing Congress to sue him in federal court. DETAILS

- An Israeli airstrike hit a United Nations post in southern Lebanon late Tuesday, killing four of the agency's observers, according to the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon. DETAILS

-Gripped by a 10th straight day of 100-degree heat, California sweated out the possibility of more blackouts Tuesday as the number of suspected heat-related deaths climbed to at least 38 and the rotting carcasses of thousands of dairy cows and other livestock baked in the sun. DETAILS

-On March 16, conservative pundit Dick Morris told Sean Hannity things were going better than people thought in Iraq, arguing “what is going on is not a civil war.” Now, Morris believes that there is civil war in Iraq but argues that it’s a good thing. Appearing on the O’Reilly Factor last night, Morris said “a civil war is progress, because it means it’s no longer a war against us.” (OH - MY -GOD! That people would say such nonsense and that there's an audience who believes it is frightening. More proof that these people reside in some sort of parallel universe where they just make up the facts as they go along.) DETAILS/VIDEO

-Fox News Channel chairman and CEO Roger Ailes responded to Keith Olbermann's latest critical volley against Bill O'Reilly on Monday, saying the MSNBC host's behavior "is over the line." (Wonder if Mr Ailes has described O'Reilly's 'documented on video' lies as being over the line? Or his sexual harrassment settlement? Or his threats to listeners? Or his wishes of cities being hit by terrorists? Any of those things over the line Mr Ailes? ) DETAILS

-Israeli warplanes blasted Beirut and troops battled Hezbollah guerrillas as Israel effectively ruled out any chance of a rapid ceasefire to end the two-week-old Lebanon conflict, and warned it could set up its own border buffer zone. DETAILS

-President Bush said Tuesday that a U.S. military program to bolster Iraqi security forces in Baghdad will better address the violence there as he pledged to stand by Iraq's new democratic government. DETAILS

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

News From Iraq

-Gunmen set fire to food ration stores run by the Ministry of Trade in Mosul, police said. DETAILS

-After coming under sniper fire two times last weekend and engaging in a 25-minute firefight with Iraqi insurgents, U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Brian M. Henner walked away with just a dent in his helmet. DETAILS

- A Cedarburg, Wisc family is in mourning after learning their son was killed in Iraq. Stephen Castner says his son -- 27-year-old Steve Castner -- died only days after being sent to the Middle East. DETAILS

-Six police and eight civilians have been killed in a series of attacks in and around Baghdad, police said. DETAILS

-The bodies of five people were found shot dead and blindfolded on Monday night in a village near Baquba, after being abducted hours earlier, police said. DETAILS

-Gunmen killed a police officer while he headed to work in the town of Ishaqi, 100 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad, the Joint Iraqi-U.S. Coordination centre said. DETAILS

-Politics is a deadly business in Iraq, with public figures in constant fear of assassination or kidnap, but self-defence measures backfired on one member of parliament on Tuesday. Police reported a Sunni Arab lawmaker from northern Nineveh province had been wounded in an attack. DETAILS

For One Senate Candidate, the 'R' Is a 'Scarlet Letter'

The candidate, immersed in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country, sat down to lunch yesterday with reporters at a Capitol Hill steakhouse and shared his views about this year's political currents.

On the Iraq war: "It didn't work. . . . We didn't prepare for the peace." (News Flash! They didn't prepare for the war or the peace. Then again, we don't know what peace looks like in Iraq! They STILL don't have a plan.)

On the response to Hurricane Katrina: "A monumental failure of government."
(Now that's what I call understating the obvious.)

On the national mood: "There's a palpable frustration right now in the country."
(You think? Duhhhhh. Would it be 2500+ dead American soldiers? The cost of fuel? Your party's obsession with the politics of distraction? We obviously didn't fill up the Senate seats with rocket scientists and brain surgeons.)

It's all fairly standard Democratic boilerplate -- except the candidate is a Republican . And he's getting all kinds of cooperation from the White House, the Republican National Committee and GOP congressional leaders.

Not that he necessarily wants it. "Well, you know, I don't know," the candidate said when asked if he wanted President Bush to campaign for him. Noting Bush's low standing in his home state, he finally added: "To be honest with you, probably not."

The candidate gave the luncheon briefing to nine reporters from newspapers, magazines and networks under the condition that he be identified only as a GOP Senate candidate. When he was pressed to go on the record, his campaign toyed with the idea but got cold feet. He was anxious enough to air his gripes but cautious enough to avoid a public brawl with the White House. (Oh ye of little courage. These are the people who are supposed to oversee the administrative branch? No wonder no one has kept presidential power in check if this is a reflection of what we have serving.)

Still, his willingness to speak so critically, if anonymously, about the party he will represent on Election Day points to a growing sense among Republicans that if they are to retain their majorities in Congress, they may have to throw the president under the train in all but the safest, reddest states.


Number of Operations Iraq Freedom and Enduring Freedom casualties
as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 2588/298

Most Recent Casualties:

July 25, 2006

Army Spc. Joseph A. Graves, 21, of Discovery Bay, Calif.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Spc. Andrew Velez, 22, of Lubbock, Texas
-Operation Enduring Freedom

Complete Casualty List

There were, by my count, no less than twenty different moments in the last few days where George brought shame and disgrace upon this country. He did not do this by being too tough, or too soft, or too strident. He did this simply by being himself. His head is an echo chamber where very stupid bats roost. He has the intellect of a bag of rocks. Maybe it's impolite to say this, but it has to be said.
-William Rivers Pitt on George Bush's attendance at the G8 Conference

Today's Details

-BP, one of the world's largest oil companies, posted a net profit of $7.3 billion for the three months ended June 30, up from $5.6 billion a year earlier. Revenue rose 24 percent to $73.5 billion from $59.3 billion. DETAILS

-Scorching heat pushed California's electricity supply to the brink Monday and threatened another round of blackouts as utility crews across the state struggled to restore power to tens of thousands of people left in the dark over the weekend. (Running out of electricity? This sounds like the kind of stuff we used to read about in third world countries yet more and more routinely it happens right here. Why isn't there more outrage over this?) DETAILS

-White House press secretary Tony Snow apologized on Monday for suggesting that President Bush believed stem-cell research amounted to "murder," saying he was "overstating the president's position." (Well now - they've obviously noted the conflicting positions - between "murder" and all President Bush has done to advance stem cell research per the White House website.) DETAILS

-In a surprise visit to a battered Beirut, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice praised the beleaguered prime minister of Lebanon on Monday for his courage in struggling to contain the fighting between the Hezbollah militia and Israel. (Why does this administration do so many "SURPRISE" visits? The stealth arrivals are always more newsworthy than the substance of visits. A distraction. Never mind, I just answered my own question.) DETAILS

-Sen. Inhofe compares people who believe in global warming to 'The Third Reich'. DETAILS

-Vice President Dick Cheney on Friday pointed to the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah as fresh evidence of the ongoing battle against terrorism that underscores the need to keep President Bush's Republican allies in control of Congress. DETAILS

-Teens looking to hook up with a friend on the popular Web community MySpace may bump into an unexpected buddy: the U.S. Marine Corps. DETAILS

-Rather than being bashful, Democrats should openly talk about their religious beliefs and moral values, say moderates urging the party to court voters beyond the traditional Democratic base to win control of the GOP-run Congress this fall and the presidency in 2008. (Bashful? Being bashful has nothing to do with it. This is about a belief that one should not mix religion and politics. Other than acknowledging one has faith in a higher power - religious beliefs should not become political agendas. Calling Dems "bashful" about their religious beliefs shows moderates don't understand the church/state issue. They have an administration in the WH now pushing their ideology as an agenda - do they want more of the same?) DETAILS

NOBEL peace laureate Betty Williams displayed a flash of her feisty Irish spirit yesterday, lashing out at US President George W.Bush during a speech to hundreds of schoolchildren. DETAILS

Monday, July 24, 2006

More Evidence That Conservative Republicans Live in Some Parallel Universe in Their Head

It's no secret to anyone who's accidentally tuned into the Hannity & Colmes show on Fox News and thought they stumbled across an over-the-top Saturday Night Live sketch, that Sean Hannity doesn’t have a real firm grasp on reality. I mean, this is the same man who once offered a liberal guest the Hobson's choice of "Is it that you hate this president or that you hate America?"

Hannity's also been known to claim that the Constitution doesn't say anything about the separation of church and state and, in a May 2004 edition of his television show, asked a clergyman if they could "pray for the re-election of George Bush."

So it didn’t really surprise me today when I went to Hannity's web site and saw a poll on the front page that asked his erudite fans "What do you think about WMD's being found in Iraq?" This is on his main page right now, not four years ago.

Note to Sean: You may want to stop praying for Bush and give him a call with this news. I'm sure he'll be happy to hear it.


News From Iraq

-U-S military officials say an American soldier has died due to "enemy action" in western Iraq.They say the soldier was killed during combat operations yesterday. The soldier was assigned to the First Brigade, First Armored Division. DETAILS

-For the second time in as many weeks, a soldier suffered injuries from a roadside bomb blast in Iraq. Specialist Jason Kedzior from Pekin, Illinois says he's o.k., and still has his sense of humor after surviving a fourth roadside bomb explosion while on his tour of duty. DETAILS

A West Allis, Wisconsin man who worked for the energy company Halliburton was transferred to Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital in Wauwatosa during the weekend after being shot in Iraq, members of his family say. DETAILS

-A car bomb in front of a house Iraqi police had used as a command centre in Samarra exploded today, killing two and wounding another 17, police said. Police said the driver accelerated towards the house before detonating the explosives. Seven policemen were among those wounded in the attack. DETAILS

Fresh American troops are to be brought into Baghdad, US officers have said, even as Iraq's embattled government insisted it remains on course to gradually take full control of the country's security.A six-week-old security clampdown in the capital has failed to quell a surge in sectarian violence. DETAILS

Number of Operations Iraq Freedom and Enduring Freedom casualties
as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 2588/298

Most Recent Casualties

July 24, 2006

Army Spc. Stephen W. Castner, 27, of Cedarburg, Wis.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Spc. Dennis K. Samson Jr., 24, of Hesperia, Mich.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. David M. Hierholzer, 27, of Lewisburg, Tenn.
-Operation Enduring Freedom

Army Capt. Jason M. West
, 28, of Pittsburg, Pa.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List