Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

I find George Bush and Dick Cheney frightening, Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft frightening.

-Barbra Streisand

21 Reasons to Kick Out the Republicans

From "The Young Turks" radio program (click on the item to see a short video clip about the subject matter).

Reason #5 – Katrina: Failure of Government.

Reason #6 - Fiscal Irresponsibility: Republicans Run Enormous Budget Deficits.

Happy Halloween!

I searched high and low for frightening photo's to post for Halloween........there are soooooo many in the Bush Administration alone!

When the War Comes Home

Alone and in clusters, collars up to block the rain, thousands of people lined the streets on a gray October day in 2005 to welcome their warriors home. For 13 miles, they rose to wave, a few to salute, as the buses rolled slowly past. More than one tough Marine, homeward bound after a brutal tour in Iraq, shed a tear.

When they reached solid ground, still wearing their desert camouflage, the Marines embraced their families and embarked on the most jarring of transitions. They would discover in the following year that seven months in Iraq had changed them more than they could have imagined, guiding and afflicting them in ways they are still struggling to understand.

Marines who expected duty so light that boredom seemed probable instead saw almost daily combat and 23 men killed in action, more casualties than any U.S. company in Iraq. When it was over, they traded an edgy, exhausting regimen of forced alertness and sudden brutality for sheer ordinariness. Nothing at home felt as urgent or as meaningful, as thrilling or as awful.

The Torture Election

The stakes, as President Bush likes to say--and on this point he is correct--could scarcely be higher. But they include one stake he never mentions: the future of constitutional government in the United States, which his presidency and his party have put in serious jeopardy. The old (lower case) republican system of checks and balances and popular liberties, you might say, is in danger of replacement by a new (upper case) Republican system of arbitrary one-party rule organized around an all-powerful presidency. That many-sided danger, of course, is the subject of this series of articles. It is simply impossible to know in advance when, in a great constitutional crisis, the decisive turning point--the irrevocable capsizing--might come. We are left wondering whether we are witnessing just one more swing of the familiar old American political "pendulum," bound by its own weight to swing back in the opposite direction, or whether this time the pendulum is about to fly off its hinge and land us with a crash in territory that we have never visited before. There are strong arguments on both sides of the question. Yet there can be little doubt that the election on November 7 will be an event of the first importance in the story. If, by handing one or both houses of Congress to the Democrats--something that current polls say is likely--the public breaks the Republican Party's current monopoly on government power, an important beachhead of resistance will have been gained. But if the public assents to the status quo--confirming and deepening the ratification of Republican one-party rule already conferred in 2002 and 2004 (we cannot count the election of 2000, since Vice President Al Gore won the popular vote that year), it will be hard to see where the path away from the precipice lies.

NY Times Editorial: The Untracked Guns of Iraq

About the last thing the United States ought to be doing in Iraq is funneling weapons into black-market weapons bazaars, as sectarian militias arm themselves for civil war. Yet that is just what Washington may have been doing for the past several years, thanks to an inexplicable decision that standard Pentagon regulations for registering weapons transfers did not apply to the Iraq war.

Of more than 500,000 weapons turned over to the Iraqi Ministries of Defense and Interior since the American invasion — including rocket-propelled grenade launchers, assault rifles, machine guns and sniper rifles — the serial numbers of only 12,128 were properly recorded. Some 370,000 of these weapons, some of which are undoubtedly being used to kill American troops, were paid for by United States taxpayers, under the Orwellian-titled Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund.

This chilling information comes to us from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, which has distinguished itself as the most vigilant agency monitoring the money spent on the Iraq conflict. The agency, led by a Republican lawyer who once worked in the Bush White House, has previously reported on the contracting lapses and failures of supervision that allowed billions of taxpayer dollars to be wasted instead of being used to rebuild Iraq.

The latest special inspector general’s report came in response to a request from Senator John Warner, another conscientious Republican. As chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Senator Warner wanted to be sure that the Iraqi security ministries had the skills and resources necessary to make good use of the huge quantities of arms that Washington has been turning over to them.

It turns out that the Pentagon not only failed to register the weapons, but also failed to provide the spare parts, repair manuals and maintenance technicians needed to keep them in working order. The agency found that Iraqi security forces are still heavily dependent on Washington’s support for the most basic military functions. And with America planning to scale back much of that support over the next year, it is far from clear whether Baghdad is preparing to pick up the slack.

Separately, the inspector general’s office also found insecurity so rampant in six Iraqi provinces — five of them in the predominantly Shiite south — that America’s joint military and civil reconstruction teams could not operate there effectively.

These findings go a long way toward explaining why Iraq appears to be ever more violent, with no clear plans yet coming from Baghdad or Washington that seem likely to restore a semblance of order.

Senator Allen's Staff Tackles Blogger

A physical confrontation caught on tape broke out Tuesday morning in the lobby of the Omni Hotel in downtown Charlottesville between aides to Republican Senator George Allen and a person identified as Mike Stark, a man who has spent the past several months following Allen around the campaign trail and peppering him with some hard-hitting questions.

Stark, an ex-marine who is currently a law student at the University of Virginia, showed up at a campaign rally for Allen and was tackled and put into a choke hold by aides to the Republican senator for allegedly asking Allen what his staff claims were multiple inappropriate questions about Allen's wife.

In an interview Tuesday afternoon with a reporter for the website TalkingPoints Memo, Stark said he was "within four feet" of Allen when he started firing off questions.

"My question was, 'Senator Allen, Democrats are making this election about accountability. You can shut them up by telling us what was in your police records from the seventies,'" Stark told TalkingPoints Memo. "He kind of muttered to himself, kind of, 'I'm not gonna go there.' Immediately his campaign staff started pushing me around, shoving me around, trying to form a human wall between me and him. I continued to pace him out into the lobby. My next question was, 'Is it true that you spit on your wife?'"

"Then somebody said, 'Now you're getting personal,' and wrestled me to the ground,'" Stark said, adding that he intends to press charges against Allen's staff.

How to Stop the November Elections from Being Stolen

Emotions are running high as the mid-term election approaches, and polls show Democrats are ahead in many key Congressional races. Less than two weeks before the Nov. 7 election, the latest Associated Press-AOL News poll found that likely voters overwhelmingly prefer Democrats over Republicans.

Voters are angry with President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress, and say Iraq and the economy are their top issues. In the poll, 56 percent of likely voters said they would vote to send a Democrat to the House and 37 percent said they would vote Republican -- a 19-point difference. Only 12 percent of likely voters say they are enthusiastic about the administration. The percentage of those who say they are angry with it has grown to 40 percent from 32 percent in early October."

In the light of such overwhelming poll numbers, Democrats and progressives sense the opportunity to win back at least one of the Houses of Congress, perhaps both, ending the iron rule of the Republicans. But -- there is a big "but."

The hope of many Democrats for success on November 7th is sharply tempered by still-fresh memories of perceived Democratic victories turned into defeat in 2000 and 2004. Even more disconcerting is the fact that since 2004, there has been overwhelming documentation of voter repression and fraud. The result is that many believe that past elections have been stolen, and efforts to prevent people from voting -- especially minorities -- have been successful.

The Prescience of JFK

Religious and ethnic bigotry have long been at the root of the most heinous abuses of America's freedoms. For years, Jews were the targets: They controlled the banking system, the press, and all the other levers of power. Absurdly, they were also Bolsheviks and Communists.

Bolsheviks and Communists were, of course, the bull's-eyes in later episodes of government target practice. During the 1920s, American fears were whipped up by Attorney General Mitchell Palmer, who rounded up and deported hundreds of US citizens and legal residents. Thirty years later, the House Un-American Activities Committee and Senator Joe McCarthy famously dragged the nation into a scary and pathetic "Red Scare."

Then there was Papism. Espoused by many prominent Protestant clergymen and embraced by millions of their followers for more than a century, Papists equated the Roman Catholic Church with the absolute obedience of its adherents to the orders of the Pope.

It was against this background that, on September 12, 1960, presidential candidate John F. Kennedy decided to take the bull by the horns and deliver his now-famous speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association.

He told the group he believed in "an America where the separation of church and state is absolute - where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act ... For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew - or a Quaker - or a Unitarian - or a Baptist ... Today I may be the victim - but tomorrow it may be you - until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril."

I wonder if JFK realized how prescient he was. The Cold War is over. Anti-Catholicism and anti-Semitism are of course still with us, but have been largely marginalized to the lunatic fringes of our society. But today - post 9/11 - we have a new target of hate: Islam. And there is ample evidence that it is being embraced not only by the lunatic fringe of America, but by a majority of our people, including clergymen on the religious right, and by the US government.

In the hysterical days and weeks following 9/11, hundreds of Muslims, along with South Asians mistaken for Arabs, were rounded up and imprisoned by John Ashcroft's Justice Department, though not a single person was ever charged with any terror-related crime.

Bush Stoops on the Stump

By Matthew Rothschild

You know Bush is getting desperate when he whips out the tattered terrorist card.

But that’s what he is doing repeatedly on the campaign trail these days.

Take a look at the campaign speech which he gave in Georgia and in Texas on October 30, and you’ll see the sleazy distortions and the sly innuendos.

Calculatedly, he mischaracterizes the position of his opponents.

On the question of his illegal NSA spying policy, he says: “I believe that if Al Qaeda or an Al Qaeda associate is making a phone call from outside the United States to inside the United States, we need to know why in order to be able to protect you.”

False implication: Democrats don’t want to know why; Democrats don’t want to protect you.

Most Democrats in the House, he says, voted against allowing the NSA to “continue to monitor terrorist communications.”

But it’s not about continuing to monitor terrorist communications or not. It’s about following the law. The Democrats, and other opponents of the Bush’s illegal spying, want the government to monitor these calls, so long as it is done legally.

They simply want him to get a warrant, as required by law. And that law, by the way, allows him a 72-hour grace period to wiretap and then retroactively get a warrant. But Bush wants unilateral, unchecked power. Anyone who opposes that, he insinuates, doesn’t want to protect Americans.

Republican Kean and NRSC stir doubts, real and invented, about the incumbent

Two of the most recent ads being aired in New Jersey by Republican Tom Kean Jr. and the NRSC stick to the recipe the Republicans have been using all season against Sen. Robert Menendez: Show the Democratic incumbent as sleazy, corrupt and possibly a criminal. These are among the hardest-hitting campaign ads we’ve seen this election cycle.

But they’re a mixed bag when it comes to accuracy. The evidence available simply doesn't support the conclusion that Menendez “is under federal criminal investigation,” as one ad claims. Yes, a federal grand jury has subpoenaed records of a lease agreement between him and a nonprofit agency that is his tenant. But it’s not publicly known who the target of the investigation is.

Some of Kean’s other claims, such as that Menendez invited a convicted cocaine trafficker to his swearing-in, are correct.

Number of Operation Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom Casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 2890/314

Most Recent Casualties:

October 31, 2006

Army Maj. Douglas E. Sloan
, 40, of Evans Mills, N.Y.
-Operation Enduring Freedom

Army Sgt. Charles J. McClain, 26, of Fort Riley, Kan.
-Operation Enduring Freedom

Army Pfc. Alex Oceguera
, 19, of San Bernardino, Calif.
-Operation Enduring Freedom

Army Sgt. Michael R. Weidemann
, 23, of Newport, R.I.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Pfc. Jason Franco
, 18, of Corona, Calif.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Monday, October 30, 2006

"We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate."

- Thomas Jefferson

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 2890/314

Most Recent Casualties:

October 30. 2006

Army Spc. Isaiah Calloway,
23, of Jacksonville, Fla.
-Operation Enduring Freedom

Army Sgt. Kraig D. Foyteck, 26, of Skokie, Ill
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. Michael T. Seeley, 27, of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. Kenneth E. Bostic, 21, of Hawthorne, Nev.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Sunday, October 29, 2006

If the current Congress is incapable of having a real debate on issues that affect the lives of every citizen, it will be up to voters in November to replace them with representatives who can.

The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, Editorial 6/16/06

In Missouri - McCaskill and Talent deadlocked

After all their ads, attacks and debates, Missouri's two major candidates for the U.S. Senate are heading into the campaign homestretch in roughly the same spot as they were almost a year ago — deadlocked.

U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, a Republican, and his Democratic rival, state Auditor Claire McCaskill, also are finding their battle increasingly entwined with the fight over Amendment 2, the ballot proposal to protect all forms of stem cell research allowed under federal law.

Blogger Sucks

Brad, from Brad's Brain - finally got sick and damn tired of dealing with blogger and made the switch to Wordpress. Check out his new site - it looks amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!! After a weekend of problems with blogger - I'm tempted to make the switch myself. I just don't have the time to figure out the nuances right now and probably won't until spring - when I plan to take a break from school AND work at the same time :)

Ruining America

If President George Bush's hasty news conference on Iraq this week was the Republican October Surprise -- unveiling some sudden presidential flexibility after three and a half years of stubbornly staying a losing course -- it didn't work.

With the midterm elections now days away, it smacked more of a change in semantics than a serious change in the direction of a war that seems to be spiraling out of control.

"Benchmark" is the new White House buzzword. We're not setting a "timetable" for the withdrawal of America's 147,000 troops in Iraq. We're not putting any real heat on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. No cutting and running for us.

And, yes, the president has full faith and confidence in the chief architect of the war in Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. You're doing a heckuva job, Rummy. Never mind that your approval rating is at 12 percent among the American people, Don. The Decider puts you at 110 percent.

So we're going to stay put in Iraq; going, in fact, to stay the course all the way to victory. We aren't going to be drawing down our troops, who are square in the middle of a burgeoning Iraqi civil war. In fact, we might even send more troops over there if the president can find any to send from an Army and Marine Corps already stretched so thin that you can read your morning paper through them.

Say Farewell to NBA Legend

The NBA lost one of its true giants last night when Red Auerbach, the man who built and coached the Boston Celtics into one of America's greatest sports dynasties, died at the age of 89. He apparently suffered a heart attack.

Auerbach, who was born in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn on Sept. 20, 1917, had been in failing health for more than a year. He appeared frail when the Knicks opened the season in Boston last year, but was typically feisty in meeting with the media to discuss the return of Phil Jackson to the Lakers and the Knicks' hiring of Larry Brown.

With Auerbach coaching the team and serving as de facto GM, the Celtics reeled off eight straight titles, from 1959-66 - a stretch of success that has never been matched. In all, he lit his famous victory cigar nine times as a coach, always drawing the ire of his vanquished foe. During his tenure with the Celtics, which dated back to 1950, they won a record 16 titles. Eleven of his players were later named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, where Auerbach himself was inducted in 1969.

"The game of basketball has lost its greatest champion," said former Celtics player and coach Tom Heinsohn last night. When Jackson tied Auerbach's coaching mark with his third straight title, and ninth overall, with the Lakers in 2002, Auerbach reminded everyone that all Jackson did was coach, while he had to scout and draft the players.

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 2890/314

Most Recent Casualties:

October 29, 2006

Marine Lance Cpl. Troy D. Nealey, 24, of Eaton Rapids, Mich.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Republican Mudslinging On An Industrial Scale

Both political parties are functioning in the 2006 House races as factories for attack ads, but the National Republican Campaign Committee's work stands out this year for the sheer volume of assaults on the personal character of Democratic House challengers.

The ads being aired by both the NRCC and its rival, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, are overwhelmingly negative. However, the DCCC ads generally attack Republican candidates on policy issues or their performance in office – accusing them of casting votes favorable to drug or oil companies, or of supporting President Bush's unpopular policies in Iraq or on Social Security. We've recently criticized factual inaccuracies we've seen in some of those, and we'll have more to say in a later article. Here we focus on the NRCC's ads, which are much more likely to demean an opponent's character. That's the very definition of political mudslinging.

The Republican ads variously accuse Democratic candidates of such things as charging an "adult fantasy" phone call to taxpayers, of being a "hypocrite," of being a "greedy trial lawyer," of being a "millionaire know-it-all," or of failing to pay local business taxes on time. One ad describes a Democrat's "ethical judgments" as "bad to bizarre" and claims he favored use of 50,000-volt Taser weapons on seven-year-olds.

A derogatory ad can be accurate, and when supported by facts can give voters information about a candidate that they may well find relevant. For example, one NRCC ad correctly states that a Democratic candidate wrote a letter asking a judge to go easy when sentencing a felon convicted of bank fraud in a scandal that bilked hundreds of homeowners. However, several of the NRCC's ads are smears that twist facts or ignore them. A sheriff running for the House is accused of having "fixed" a speeding ticket for his daughter, for example, when in fact the ticket was paid and the daughter got no special treatment. We found repeated examples of this sort of thing, and we detail them here.

The End of "Stay the Course"

Olbermann addresses Limbaugh's attack of Fox's character

How Jesus Endorsed Bush's Invasion of Iraq

In the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, Bush needed the approval of religious leaders to shore up his religious base and a group of Catholic theoconservatives were happy to help him do just that.

For much of the past 25 years, a small group of Catholic intellectuals has worked to inject its radical religious ideas into the nation's politics. The leader of this theoconservative movement is Father Richard John Neuhaus. In the pages of his monthly magazine
First Things, Neuhaus and his ideological allies set the theocon agenda on a range of policies. Michael Novak of the American Enterprise Institute argues that the American founders were orthodox religious believers who thought of the United States as a Christian nation -- and that American-style capitalism perfectly conforms to Catholic social teaching. Robert P. George of Princeton University insists that abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, and same-sex marriage (and perhaps even contraception and masturbation) should be outlawed. And George Weigel of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center uses Catholic just-war reasoning to justify neoconservative foreign policy. As the U.S. began to prepare for war in Iraq in 2002, the theocons set out to provide theological justification for the coming conflagration.

We allow the most atrocious lies uttered by political and moral prostitutes to go unchallenged. These lies are endlessly recycled in the commercial media until they become ingrained in the public conscience as truth. Worse than burying our heads in the sand, we bury them up our collective ass. How do you like the view?

-Charles Sullivan

KT Tunstall - Black Horse And The Cherry Tree

KT Tunstall

If the art of the female singer-songwriter revolves around coffee-table soliloquies then Eye to the Telescope--the debut album from Edinburgh-born chanteuse/guitarist KT Tunstall--is a pleasing mediation between the traditional demands of brooding egocentricity (espresso) and frothy commerciality (cappuccino). KT Tunstall has star quality. "Suddenly I See" is an effortlessly liberating pop fillip while, conversely, "False Alarm" redresses ABBA's "The Winner Takes It All" for losers who had nothing to lose to begin with. However, Tunstall isn't entirely convinced by the compromise ("I'm struggling to cater for the space I'm meant to fill" she sings) and "Miniature Disasters"--one of several strong numbers showcasing her aptitude for wrapping up pop tunes in either folky bluesiness or ponderous jazz--catalogues her desires for unfettered self-expression. The opening cut "Other Side Of The World" might sound like Dido without the giftwrapped grief (she's none too flattered with the comparisons) but Eye to the Telescope is spiritually closer to Carole King and Elvis Costello than Katie Melua. And that's no bad thing. --Kevin Maidment

You can download the album at no charge HERE.

For those of you not adept at figuring out how to make different files play on your Windows Media Player you can find some help HERE.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Word of Blog

As you know, the midterm elections are coming up fast, and they're shaping up to be the most important in years. Both houses of Congress lie in the balance, as does control of many of the Governors' mansions.

Word of Blog (WordofBlog.net) has built a database of online political ads (or "badges") for all competitive congressional races and all gubernatorial elections. The database is available at http://www.wordofblog.net/elections2006.php.

Please show your support for your favorite candidate(s) by posting an Election 2006 badge on your site. All you have to do is use the US map to find the "badge" of the candidate you wish to support, copy the html snippet under the "badge", and paste it to your blog template. We track and display all clicks, so you can see how many click-throughs to your candidate's campaign website you and your fellow bloggers enabled.

This is a non-partisan effort, completely free for everyone involved.

Word of Blog is a pioneering free service in the world of viral blog advertising, with major successes in the worlds of grassroots political activism, non-profit outreach, and music promotion. You can learn more at http://wordofblog.net/about.php .

The Perpetually Ignorant Fox News Audience

From "Unclaimed Territory-by Glenn Greenwald"

The so-called Military Commissions Act of 2006, signed into law yesterday by President Bush, is replete with radical provisions, but the most dangerous and disturbing is that it vests in the President the power to detain people forever by declaring them an "unlawful enemy combatant," and they then have no ability to contest the validity of their detention in any tribunal. The President now possesses a defining authoritarian power -- to detain and imprison people for life based solely on his say-so, while denying the detainee any opportunity to prove his innocence.

But for those who rely on Fox News for their information about what the government is doing, not only do they not know that, they think the opposite is true. This is what Mort Kondracke said yesterday about the Military Commissions Act, while he sat next to Fox News anchor Brit Hume and Fred Barnes, neither of whom contested what he said:

MORT KONDRACKE: Well, as to that human rights watch spokesperson, it's just false that this is — you can lock them up and throw away the key is not correct. I mean, these detainees have a right to go to a military — they have been tried in a military tribunal. The case goes on appeal to the U.S. district — the Circuit Court of appeals for the District of Columbia, second highest court in the land, which reviews the evidence. And so there is judicial review of a conviction, at least, and so, you know, it's just flatly false.

What is "flatly false" is what Kondracke told Fox viewers about the Military Commissions Act. It is true that the Act creates military commissions and establishes rules for those commissions in the event that the President wants a certain detainee tried, convicted and punished (almost certainly execution). Not even the Bush-led U.S. will openly execute detainees without a finding that they are guilty of terrorism. The commissions exist so that the Executive branch can impose sentence (such as the death sentence) on detainees who are found guilty of engaging in terrorism (or some other war crime).

But there is no right for detainees to be tried before a commission, and there is no obligation for the President to bring any detainee before a military commission. If the President does not want to obtain a finding of guilt and impose punishment, he has no reason to bring them before a military commission. He can just keep them detained forever without any finding of guilt and without any punishment being imposed (just as many of the Guantanamo detainees, and even U.S. citizens, have been kept in cages for years with no finding of any kind of guilt).

Ethics Report on Foley Not Expected Before Elections

We wouldn't want the public to be equipped with the facts when they cast their votes would we?

The House ethics committee has all but wrapped up the investigative phase of its probe into the actions of former representative Mark Foley, informing key witnesses that they will not be summoned back for more questioning, lawyers in the case said yesterday.

But those lawyers indicated that the committee is unlikely to release its report on the Florida Republican -- or even an interim memo -- before the Nov. 7 elections.

Election Meltdowns Brewing in Maryland, Ohio, Colorado, Everywhere Else…

From "Brad Blog"

In Ohio, Cuyahoga County's attempts to change the way poll workers are trained in light of their Primary Election Day disaster, seems clear from the starting USA Today coverage to be a disaster in the making itself. Read it, be amazed at the unbelievably complex gyrations now occuring to address the 300+ recommendations made to the county after their Primary Day meltdown. It's amazing.

Too Little, Too Late?

From Raw Story:

As the race for Congress enters the homestretch, the Republicans find themselves limping to the finish line, according to the new NEWSWEEK Poll. President Bush’s approval rating continues a slow but steady climb—from an all-time NEWSWEEK-poll low of 33 percent three weeks ago to 37 percent today. But it may be too little, too late: if the midterm elections were held today, 53 percent of those likely to go to the polls would vote for the Democratic candidate in their Congressional district versus just 39 percent who would vote for the Republican.

A video report by MSNBC features Newsweek analyst Marcus Marby on a new poll by the magazine which shows a small bump in approval for President Bush. Marby described the lift as "too little, too late" in terms of how it might affect the midterm election.

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 2890/314

Most Recent Casualties:

October 28, 2006

Army Staff Sgt. Kyu H. Chay
, 34, of Fayetteville, N.C
-Operation Enduring Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Dave and Bill O'Reilly

Supporting the Troops

I heard an interview on the radio this week with a representative from group called the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America or the IAVA. This group has reviewed all of the legislation voted on in Congress since September 11, 2001. They looked at legislation which which impacted the military, their families or veterans and came up with a rating system which they then applied to our elected representatives. They have all the information on a website for you to look at so you can see for yourself who really supports the troops by going HERE.

Very interesting to see that Rick Santorum, Republican from PA gets a D- and Sen Clinton, Democrat from NY gets an A-. Mike DeWine, Republican from Ohio gets a D+ and Sen Boxer, Democrat from CA gets a B+. Jim Talent Republican from MO gets a D+ and Sen Schumer, Democrat from NY gets a B+. So it seems that those who talk the loudest about patriotisim and supporting the troops don't have voting records which match the rhetoric.

Iraq Contractor Is Hiding Data From U.S.

A Halliburton subsidiary that has been subjected to numerous investigations for billions of dollars in contracts it received for work in Iraq has systematically misused federal rules to withhold basic information on its practices from American officials, a federal oversight agency said yesterday.

The contracts awarded to the company, KBR, formerly named Kellogg Brown & Root, are for housing, food, fuel and other necessities for American troops and government officials in Iraq, and for restoring that country’s crucial oil infrastructure. The contracts total about $20 billion.

The oversight agency, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, said KBR had refused to disclose information as basic as how many people are fed each day in its dining facilities and how many gallons of fuel are delivered to foreign embassies in Iraq, claiming that the data was proprietary, meaning it would unfairly help its business competitors.

Although KBR has been subjected to a growing number of specific investigations and paid substantial penalties, this is the first time the federal government has weighed in and accused it of systematically engaging in a practice aimed at veiling its business practices in Iraq.

Racism in a Tennesee Political Ad?

21 Reasons to Kick out the Republicans

From "The Young Turks" radio program (click the item to see a video clip about the topic):

Reason #8 – K Street: Lobbyists Take Over Congress.

Reason #7 – Diebold: Failure to Address Voting Problems.

Investigators Say Speaker’s Aide Hindered Inquiry of Hill Security Contracts

Two former House committee investigators who were examining Capitol Hill security upgrades said a senior aide to Speaker J. Dennis Hastert hindered their efforts before they were abruptly ordered to stop their probe last year.

The former Appropriations Committee investigators said Ted Van Der Meid, Hastert’s chief counsel, resisted from the start the inquiry, which began with concerns about mismanagement of a secret security office and later probed allegations of bid-rigging and kickbacks from contractors to a Defense Department employee.

Ronald Garant and a second Appropriations Committee investigator who asked not to be identified said Van Der Meid engaged in “screaming matches” with investigators and told at least one aide not to talk to them. Van Der Meid also prohibited investigators from visiting certain sites to check up on the effectiveness of the work, the investigators said.

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless."

-U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864 - (letter to Col. William F. Elkins)

Happy Nuptials

My blogisphere boyfriend, thephoenixnyc, is getting married on Saturday. Please stop by his blog, "Skinny Legs and All" and wish him a happy life.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Trade

From my friend Tim at Dostoy's Contemplations (which was btw my very first LINK!):

As President Bush gets off the helicopter in front of the White House, he is carrying a baby pig under each arm.

The Marine guard salutes, and says: "Nice pigs, sir."

The President replies: "These aren't pigs, these are authentic Arkansas Razorback Hogs. I got one for Vice-president Cheney, and I got one for Defense Secretary Rumsfeld."

The Marine snaps to attention and says, "Nice trade, sir."

NBC Says No to Ad that Disparages Bush

From "Think Progress"

NBC is refusing to air an ad for the new Dixie Chicks documentary, “Shut Up & Sing.” Variety reports, “NBC’s commercial clearance department said in writing that it ‘cannot accept these spots as they are disparaging to President Bush.’” See the ad HERE.

EXCLUSIVE: Michael J. Fox Talks To Katie Couric re Rush L

He's got more class than Limbaugh ever thought about acquiring! I hope once and for all folks people get sick and damn tired of the right's politics of hatred - turn the bastard off and put him out of business.

Ex-Bush aide Safavian sentenced to 18 months

Former Bush administration official David Safavian wept as he asked for leniency in his obstruction of justice case Friday, telling a judge that his lobbyist friend Jack Abramoff manipulated him and drew him into the scandal.

Safavian, who was convicted in June of lying to investigators about his relationship with the lobbyist while Safavian was chief of staff in the General Services Administration. He helped provided Abramoff with details about GSA projects and offered advice on dealing with the agency.


Former Bush administration official David Safavian was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Friday for lying and obstructing justice in connection with the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling scandal that has ensnared Republicans.

Not Racist, Just "a little bit cute"

Of the Republican ad that "makes Willie Horton look tame," a smirking Tony Snow tells an incredulous Chris Matthews that "maybe I’m just quaint in this day and age. But no, I think there is always an attempt when you've got an African-American candidate to try to attribute something to the race card." In the clip to the right you can see Matthews' agape mouth replaced by the bowed head of disbelief...

Rush Limbaugh's attack on Michael J. Fox

Rush needs more rehab!

Negative Ads Get Positively Surreal

Rep. Ron Kind pays for sex!

Well, that's what the Republican challenger for his Wisconsin congressional seat, Paul R. Nelson, claims in new ads, the ones with "XXX" stamped across Kind's face.

It turns out that Kind -- along with more than 200 of his fellow hedonists in the House -- opposed an unsuccessful effort to stop the National Institutes of Health from pursuing peer-reviewed sex studies. According to Nelson's ads, the Democrat also wants to "let illegal aliens burn the American flag" and "allow convicted child molesters to enter this country."

To Nelson, that doesn't even qualify as negative campaigning.

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 2890/314

Most Recent Casualties:

October 27, 2006

Marine Sgt. Luke J. Zimmerman
, 24, of Luxemburg, Wis.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Pvt. Michael V. Bailey, 20, of Waldorf, Md.
-Operation Enduring Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.

- Bertrand Russell: English logician and philosopher 1872-1970

Thursday, October 26, 2006

21 Reasons to Kick Out the Republicans

From "The Young Turks" radio program (click the item to see a video clip about the topic):

Reason #9 – Iran: We Cannot Allow an Attack

DNC Ad on "Staying the Course"

The Democratic National Committee's web ad shows that two weeks before Election Day, the Bush Administration and Republicans in Congress have attempted to change their tune on their failed "Stay the Course" strategy.

Staying the Course

Harold Ford Response

From Dan Savage at "Stranger Blog"

Harold Ford should film a response to the GOP’s racist attack ad. He should look into the camera and say this.................

Home prices plunge by most in 35 years

The median price of a new home plunged in September by the largest amount in more than 35 years, even as the pace of sales rebounded for a second month.

The Commerce Department reported that the median price for a new home sold in September was $217,100, a drop of 9.7 percent from September 2005. It was the lowest median price for a new home since September 2004 and the sharpest year-over-year decline since December 1970. The weakness in new home prices was even sharper than a 2.5 percent fall in the price of existing homes last month, which had been the biggest drop on record.

U.S. generals call for Democratic takeover

Disgusted with the leadership of the Iraq war, two retired generals say the GOP must go. Plus: More than 100 current military personnel join a campaign to get the U.S. out of Iraq -- now.

Two retired senior Army generals, who served in Iraq and previously voted Republican, are now openly endorsing a Democratic takeover of Congress. The generals, and an active-duty senior military official, told Salon in separate interviews that they believe a Democratic victory will help reverse course from what they consider to be a disastrous Bush administration policy in Iraq. The two retired generals, Maj. Gen. John Batiste and Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, first openly criticized the handling of the war last spring, when they called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

"The best thing that can happen right now is for one or both of our houses to go Democratic so we can have some oversight," Batiste, who led the Army's 1st Infantry Division in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, told Salon. Batiste describes himself as a "lifelong Republican." But now, he said, "It is time for a change."

How would Jesus vote?

Tennessee Democrat Harold Ford Jr.
goes after the GOP's faithful base in the state with the most white evangelicals in the nation. Polls show his campaign is resonating in the pews.

U.S. death toll in Iraq worst in a year

The number of American troops killed in Iraq in October reached the highest monthly total in a year Thursday after four Marines and a sailor died of wounds suffered while fighting in the same Sunni insurgent stronghold.

The U.S. military said 96 U.S. troops have died so far in October, the most in one month since October 2005, when the same number was killed. The spike in deaths has been a major factor behind rising anti-war sentiment in the United States, fueling calls for President Bush to change tactics.

The deadliest month for U.S. forces in Iraq was November 2004, when military offenses primarily in the then-insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, left 137 troops dead, 126 of them in combat. In January 2005, 107 U.S. troops were killed.

Polls show a majority of Americans are opposed to Bush's handling of Iraq, and at a news conference in Washington on Wednesday, Bush indicated he shared the public's frustration even as he pushed back against calls for troop withdrawals.

Sen. Santorum calls Casey unqualified

Sen. Rick Santorum, who has been trailing his opponent for months, accused Democrat Bob Casey on Thursday of being unqualified for the Senate "at a very critical time in our nation's future."

In the first of a two-day series of speeches on national security, Santorum said Casey fails to recognize the growing number of worldwide threats.

"From everything I see, my opponent, Mr. Casey, is unready, unqualified for the office that he seeks at a very critical time in our nation's future," Santorum said in a speech at PRL Industries, a metal-castings supplier that counts the military among its customers.

Santorum said the U.S. must pay attention to escalating security threats from countries such as Iran, Venezuela and North Korea.

"We will have to face this threat because our enemies are fully committed to our destruction," Santorum said. "They will not stop until they destroy us or we destroy them."

Casey campaign spokesman Larry Smar called Santorum's comments "more fear-mongering from a politician who is desperately behind in the polls."

Cheney confirms that detainees were subjected to water-boarding

Vice President Dick Cheney has confirmed that U.S. interrogators subjected captured senior al-Qaida suspects to a controversial interrogation technique called "water-boarding," which creates a sensation of drowning.

Cheney indicated that the Bush administration doesn't regard water-boarding as torture and allows the CIA to use it. "It's a no-brainer for me," Cheney said at one point in an interview.

Cheney's comments, in a White House interview on Tuesday with a conservative radio talk show host, appeared to reflect the Bush administration's view that the president has the constitutional power to do whatever he deems necessary to fight terrorism.

Robert Kennedy Jr.: 'We Have A Negligent Press In This Country'

Robert Kennedy Jr. blasted everyone from polluters to politicians to the press today during a speech today at the American Magazine Conference in Phoenix that was, by his own admission, a long, rambling, passionate digression.

"We have a negligent press in this country," Kennedy Jr. said, one that has "let the American people down" by not covering what he called the "worst environmental White House we've ever had in history, bar none."

Kennedy Jr. spoke without notes and, it seemed, without taking a breath — his voice often cracking during a spirituality-tinged monologue you might hear on a subway platform waiting for the F train.

Kennedy Jr. said that media consolidation that began in the Reagan administration has devolved to a state where news divisions are "corporate profit centers." And he blamed the press for not getting the story of corrupt polluters out there, instead pandering to the "reptillian part of our brains."

Exxon posts $10.49B profit

Oil industry behemoth Exxon Mobil's earnings rose to $10.49 billion in the third quarter, the second-largest quarterly profit ever recorded by a publicly traded U.S. company. Its shares briefly rose to a 52-week high.

The report Thursday comes as high crude prices this year have fueled record profits in the oil industry, triggering an outcry from consumers who were being asked to pay about $3 a gallon for gasoline in early August.

G.O.P. Yanks Racist Ad

Ken Mehlman, still asserting that he does not see racial overtones or racism in a national Republican ad (then Ken Mehlman is an idiot.......) against Representative Harold Ford Jr. in the Tennessee Senate race, announced late this afternoon on CNN’s SitRoom that the ad had been taken off the airwaves.

The Caucus has been swamped, swamped, by readers talking about this ad, which includes a lot of to-and-fro about Mr. Ford receiving money from the pornography industry (which he returned) and ends with a blond (white) woman coyly urging him to call her.

Mr. Ford’s campaign and many other people have been outraged, saying the ad attempts to pander to prejudice.

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 2890/314

Most Recent Casualties:

October 26, 2006

Army First Sgt. Ricky L. McGinnis
, 42, of Hamilton, Ohio
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

- George Orwell

Olbermann: GOP is 'Leading Terrorist Group' in America

On Monday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann delivered his latest anti-Bush, anti-GOP "Special Comment," (also posted on Countdown's Web site) this time accusing President Bush and Republicans of committing the "dictionary definition" of terrorism in trying to scare Americans into voting for them, even contending that "the leading terrorist group in this country right now is the Republican Party." Olbermann laid blame for the delayed discovery of the remains of 9/11 victims at the feet of President Bush and Republicans. Olbermann: "And yet you can actually claim that you and you alone can protect us from terrorism? You can't even recover our dead from the battlefield, the battlefield in an American city, when we've given you five years and unlimited funds to do so!"

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

21 Reasons to Kick Out the Republicans

From "The Young Turks" radio program (click the item to see a video clip about the topic):

Reason #10 – Padilla, Hamdi and Habeus Corpus: Violation of Fundamental Principles of Law and Justice.

Party at the Polls

It's time to make voting fun again. Election Day is too often characterized by broken machines, long lines and exhausted poll workers.

It doesn't have to be that way. Hundreds of people, nationwide, have signed up to throw Election Day celebrations in their communities -- with free food, music, games and community pride. Energizing and effective, these Parties at the Polls will help increase voter turnout.

Will you put the Party back into Politics with a celebration at your neighborhood polling place?

Party at the Polls is a project to honor our democracy, build our communities and boost voter turnout. Across the country, volunteer hosts are organizing non-partisan neighborhood celebrations on Election Day at or near polling stations. Studies have shown these events to be effective and cost-efficient ways to bring new voters to the polls -- and the data suggests that this may be even cheaper and more effective than knocking on doors.

Will you increase your local turnout?

We need you to be the host -- you decide what type of party, where and when. Join a network of hundreds of parties around the country, celebrating Election Day this November 7th.

Please sign up today:

Pass this on to everyone you know -- friends, family, and colleagues -- who is interested in helping their community members exercise their fundamental right to vote.

Grass-Roots Group of Troops Petitions Congress for Pullout From Iraq

More than 100 U.S. service members have signed a rare appeal urging Congress to support the "prompt withdrawal" of all American troops and bases from Iraq, organizers said yesterday.

"Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home," reads the statement of a small grass-roots group of active-duty military personnel and reservists that says it aims to give U.S. military members a voice in Iraq war policy.

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A handful of 9/11 widows have started an online petition in hopes of gathering the public's support to force the White House to declassify documents related to a July 10, 2001, meeting between Condoleezza Rice and former CIA director George Tenet in which the two discussed a pending attack on US soil by al-Qaeda. Details of the meeting were first disclosed a month ago in the book State of Denial by Washington Post assistant managing editor and author Bob Woodward.

In a letter posted on petitononline.com, Patty Casazza, Monica Gabrielle, Mindy Kleinberg, and Lorie Van Auken said that details of the meeting have been confirmed by the State Department and the White House warrants declassification of documents related to the meeting. The widows take issue with Woodward's exclusive access to officials' knowledgeable about the Rice/Tenet meeting and the possibility that he may have been privy to classified documents and transcripts in order to craft a narrative for his book.

"If Bob Woodward can have access to this information, why can't we, as American citizens and victims' family members?" Van Auken wrote in an email to Truthout, adding that the families of the thousands of people who perished on 9/11 are entitled to know what Bush administration officials knew prior to the 9/11 attacks and when they knew it. "Given that much of the July 10, 2001, meeting has already been made public ... it is unacceptable to continue to keep these documents and transcripts hidden from the American public's view."

The widows, in their online petition addressed to the media and members of Congress, renewed their call for the declassification of the redacted 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry Into the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, and the CIA Inspector General's Report, "CIA Accountability With Respect to the 9/11 Attacks."

Last month we told you about GNN's new film American Blackout that uncovers the issue of voter disenfranchisement that occurred in the past presidential elections. Many of you expressed your outrage after watching the film. Now there is something you can do about it as a part of the End The Blackout Campaign for the '06 mid-term elections.

On November 7th, join us as we "Video the Vote"--a team of everyday Americans dispatched with cameras to capture problems with the vote as they happen, and pushing them through the media on Election Day. To participate, all you need is a video camera, a cell phone, and the ability to get to problematic places on Election Day, should something
happen. No camera? You can still volunteer to help dispatch videographers or with logistics. Join us as we enter a new stage for GNN, working together as an active community of citizen journalists. Watch the promo video and sign up today at:


Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 2890/314

Most Recent Casualties:

October 25, 2006

Marine Pfc. Daniel B. Chaires
, 20, of Tallahassee, Fla.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan B. Thornsberry, 22, of McDowell, Ky
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Navy Const Electrician 2nd Class Charles V. Komppa, 35, of Belgrade, Mont.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Pfc. Donald S. Brown, 19, of Succasunna, N.J.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Sgt. Thomas M. Gilbert, 24, of Downers Grove, Ill.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

A great wave of oppressive tyranny isn’t going to strike, but rather a slow seepage of oppressive laws and regulations from within will sink the American dream of liberty.

-George Baumler

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

"I'm often amazed at the way politicians, who spend hours poring over opinion poll results in a desperate attempt to discover what the public thinks, are certain they know precisely what God's views are on everything."

- Simon Hoggart

Monday, October 23, 2006

21 Reasons to Kick Out the Republicans

From "The Young Turks" radio program (click the item to see a video clip about the topic):

Reason #11 – Contempt for Science: Ideology Trumps Evidence and Facts.

George Bush on Social Security

George Bush discusses his plans to privatize Social Security. Doesn't matter what WE want - he plans to forge ahead with his plans to screw up social security like he's screwed up everything else he's touched.

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom Casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 2890/314

Most Recent Casualties:

October 23, 2006

Army 1st Lt. Amos C. R. Bock
, 24, of New Madrid, Mo.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Navy Hospital Corpsman Charles O. Sare, 23, of Hemet, Calif.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Lance Cpl. Richard A. Buerstetta, 20, of Franklin, Tenn.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Lance Cpl. Tyler R. Overstreet, 22, of Gallatin, Tenn.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Spc. Carl A. Eason, 29, of Lovelady, Texas
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

More than $500 Million in Funds to Fight Insurgency in Iraq - MISSING

More than half a billion dollars earmarked to fight the insurgency in Iraq was stolen by people the U.S. had entrusted to run the country's Ministry of Defense before the 2005 elections, according to Iraqi investigators.

Iraq's former minister of finance says coalition members like the U.S. and Britain are doing little to help recover the money or catch suspects, most of whom fled the country. The 60 Minutes investigation also turned up audio recordings of a suspect who seems to be discussing the transfer of $45 million to the account of a top political adviser to the interim defense minister. More than half a billion dollars earmarked to fight the insurgency in Iraq was stolen by people the U.S. had entrusted to run the country's Ministry of Defense before the 2005 elections, according to Iraqi investigators.

Iraq's former minister of finance says coalition members like the U.S. and Britain are doing little to help recover the money or catch suspects, most of whom fled the country. The 60 Minutes investigation also turned up audio recordings of a suspect who seems to be discussing the transfer of $45 million to the account of a top political adviser to the interim defense minister.