Sunday, December 31, 2006

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3017/325

Most Recent Casualties:

December 31, 2006

Army Pfc. Alan R. Blohm, 21, of Kenai, Alaska
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Cpl. Jonathan E. Schiller, 20, of Ottumwa, Iowa
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Spc. Richard A. Smith, 20, of Grand Prairie, Texas
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3017/325

Most Recent Casualties:

December 30, 2006

Army Sgt. John M. Sullivan, 22, of Hixon, Tenn
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Friday, December 29, 2006

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3017/325

Most Recent Casualties:

December 29, 2006

Army Pvt. David E. Dietrich, 21, of Marysville, Pa.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Pfc. William R. Newgard, 20, of Arlington Heights, Ill.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. Lawrence J. Carter, 25, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3017/325

Most Recent Casualties:

December 28, 2006

Marine Sgt. Aron C. Blum, 22, of Tucson, Ariz.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Spc. Luis G. Ayala 21, of South Gate, Calif.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Spc. Dustin R. Donica, 22, of Spring, Texas
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Cpl. Christopher E. Esckelson
, 22 of Vassar, Mich.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Lance Cpl. Nicholas A. Miller
, 20, of Silverwood, Mich.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Lance Cpl. William D. Spencer, 20, of Paris, Tenn.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3017/325

Most Recent Casualties:

December 27, 2006

Marine Lance Cpl. William C. Koprince Jr., 24, of Lenoir City, Tenn.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Pvt. Clinton T. McCormick, 20, of Jacksonville, Fla.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. Christopher P. Messer
, 28, of Petersburg, Fla.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Pfc. Nathaniel A. Given
, 21, of Dickinson, Texas
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. Edward W. Shaffer, 23, of Mont Alto, Pa
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3017/325

Most Recent Casualties:

December 26, 2006

Army Spc. Douglas L. Tinsley, 21, of Chester, S.C.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. John T. Bubeck, 25, of Collegeville, Pa.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Spc. Aaron L. Preston, 29, of Dallas
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Pfc. Andrew H. Nelson, 19, of Saint Johns, Mich.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Spc. Joseph A. Strong, 21, of Lebanon, Ind.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Cpl. Joshua M. Schmitz, 21, of Spencer, Wis.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Monday, December 25, 2006

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3017/325

Most Recent Casualties:

December 25, 200

Army Capt. Hayes Clayton, 29, of Georgia
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Pfc. Eric R. Wilkus, 20, of Hamilton, N.J.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. Jason C. Denfrund, 24, of Cattaraugus, N.Y.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. Jae S. Moon, 21, of Levittown, Pa.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. 1st Class Dexter E. Wheelous, 37, of Winder, Ga.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3017/325

Most Recent Casualties:

December 24, 2006

Army Pvt. Evan A. Bixler, 21, of Racine, Wis
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Lance Cpl. Stephen L. Morris, 21, of Lake Jackson, Texas
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Saturday, December 23, 2006

"I know of no civilized country, indeed, in which liberty is less esteemed than it is in the United States: certainly there is none in which more persistent efforts are made to limit it and put it down.

Liberty is not for these slaves; I do not advocate inflicting it against their conscience. On the contrary, I am strongly in favor of letting them crawl and grovel all they please before whatever fraud or combination of frauds they choose to venerate...Our whole practical government is grounded in mob psychology and.. the Boobus Americanus will follow any command that promises to make him safer."

H. L. Menchen -- 1956.

Universal Soldier - Donovan Leitch

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3017/325

Most Recent Casualties:

December 23, 2006

Army Sgt. Curtis L. Norris, 28, of Dansville, Mich.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Spc. John Barta, 25, of Corpus Christi, Texas
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Spc. Chad J. Vollmer, 24, of Grand Rapids, Mich.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Pfc. Wilson A. Algrim, 21, of Howell, Mich.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Pvt. Bobby Mejia II, Saginaw, Mich
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Spc. Elias Elias, 27, of Glendora, Calif.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Spc. Michael J. Crutchfield, 21, of Stockton, Calif.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Friday, December 22, 2006

War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.

-Thomas Mann

John Lennon - Happy Christmas (War is Over)

Found this thought provoking video over at bluegrrrrl's blog, "Out of the Blue"

Cafferty: "The Decider Has Decided Not to Decide"

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3004/323

Most Recent Casualties:

December 22, 2006

Army Spc. Joshua D. Sheppard, 22, of Quinton, Okla.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The American people have spoken, and voices inside and outside the national security apparatus . . . have all come to the conclusion: Doing more of the same and hoping for a different result is not going to be successful.

-Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3004/323

Most Recent Casualties:

December 21, 2006

Marine Lance Cpl. Ryan J. Burgess, 21, of Sanford, Mich.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Lance Cpl. Ryan L. Mayhan, 25, of Hawthorne, Calif.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Hospitalman Kyle A. Nolen, 21, of Ennis, Texas
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Lance Cpl. Fernando S. Tamayo, 19, of Fontana, Calif.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

In the democracy of the dead all men at last are equal. There is neither rank nor station nor prerogative in the republic of the grave.

-John James Ingalls


That's what Bush called a question this morning about the possibility that he may impose an Iraq troop surge against the wishes of military leaders. The mere fact that Bush used a loaded word like "dangerous" makes me queasy. When was the last time even the whiff of military insubordination was in the air during wartime? Truman-MacArthur? Seems we're flirting with some uncharted territory--and it's all a bit chilling.

--Michael Crowley

Talk Host Gallagher: ‘Round Up’ Olbermann, Damon, And ‘Put Them In A Detention Camp’

From Think Progress:

Yesterday on Fox News, talk radio host Mike Gallagher said the U.S. government should “round up” actor Matt Damon, “The View” host Joy Behar, and MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann and “put them in a detention camp until this war is over because they’re a bunch of traitors.”

Full Story/Video

U.S. Not Winning War in Iraq, Bush Says for 1st Time

Although this is news to the press --- the pubic has known for some time that the war in Iraq is lost - hence the November election results and Bush's disasterous approval ratings in his handling of the war.

What is surprising is that the press is calling this an acknowledgement. What the hell kind of acknowledgement is "we're not winning, we're not losing?" That's like the weather forecaster saying "It may rain, it may not." or your doctor saying "Maybe it's cancer, maybe it's not" or your pregnancy test saying "maybe you're pregnant, maybe not." His words mean absolutely NOTHING. What his words DO show us is that he has absolutely no idea of what's going on over there and even worse he has no idea how to fix it.

President Bush acknowledged for the first time yesterday that the United States is not winning the war in Iraq and said he plans to expand the overall size of the "stressed" U.S. armed forces to meet the challenges of a long-term global struggle against terrorists.

As he searches for a new strategy for Iraq, Bush has now adopted the formula advanced by his top military adviser to describe the situation. "We're not winning, we're not losing," Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post. The assessment was a striking reversal for a president who, days before the November elections, declared, "Absolutely, we're winning."

Joseph Barbera Dead at 95

Sad news.......Joe Barbera, half of the Hanna-Barbera animation team that produced such beloved cartoon characters as Tom and Jerry, Yogi Bear and the Flintstones, died Monday, a Warner Bros. spokesman said. He was 95. He was responsible for millions of smiles. Some of my fondest childhood memories revolve around this man's creations. Here's a couple of brief intro's from "The Huckleberry Hound Show".

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3004/323

Most Recent Casualties:

December 20, 2006

Army Spc. Robert J. Volker
, 21, of Big Spring, Texas
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. Scott D. Dykman, 27, of Helena, Mont.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Staff Sgt. Jacob G. McMillan, 25, of Lafayette, La.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Lance Cpl. Myles C. Sebastien, 21, of Opelousas, La.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

There are particular moments in public affairs when the people, stimulated by some irregular passion, or some illicit advantage, or misled by the artful misrepresentations of interested men, may call for measures which they themselves will afterwards be most ready to lament and condemn. In these critical moments, how salutary will be the interference of some temperate and respectable body of citizens, in order to check the misguided career and to suspend the blow meditated by the people against themselves, until reason, justice and truth can regain their authority over the public mind.

-James Madison. Federalist No. 63.

Newsweek Editor Speaks Out On Missing Hillary Poll Numbers

From TPM Cafe - Election Central:

So I just got off the phone with Newsweek editor Jon Meacham. As noted below, the mag's big cover story on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama this week is taking a beating in the liberal blogosphere because it failed to include poll numbers taken by the mag that showed Clinton beating John McCain and Rudy Giuliani in head-to-head matchups -- numbers which you'd think are relevant to the story.

Rather than include the numbers in the story, the mag released them on PR Newswire yesterday -- where they were likely to go unseen by the great majority of Newsweek readers. The Clinton camp is privately demanding an explanation from Meacham.


Support for President Bush's management of the Iraq war has dropped to an all-time low even as his overall approval remains tepid but steady, according to a CNN poll released Monday.

The survey, conducted Friday through Sunday by Opinion Research Corp., found support for Bush's handling of the Iraq conflict has decreased to 28 percent from 34 percent in a poll taken October 13-15.

And a record 70 percent of respondents said they disapproved of Bush's war management, up from 64 percent in the October poll. (Watch CNN's Bill Schneider's report on the poll Video)

Meanwhile, Bush's overall job approval was 36 percent -- down only 1 percentage point from the previous CNN poll to pose that question December 5-7.

Sixty-two percent said they disapproved of his performance in office, up from 57 percent in the early December poll.

Newt writes off Bush, blames Rove for failures, likely will not run in '08

I wish this guy would crawl back under a rock. He's very full of himself. Although I agree with much of what he says, I part ways with him when he blames Rove for Bush's mistakes. Bottom line is that through failure after failure Bush kept him on. Bush could have fired him and for whatever weird psychological reasons that he can't admit mistakes and take corrective action - he didn't. That Rove stayed in place all these years is no ones fault but Bush's. Even after calling the president weak - Gingrich still blames Rove. Why does no one hold Bush responsible for anything?

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has decided to break with President Bush.

Sources close to Mr. Gingrich said that, after having kept silent for more than a year, he has become openly critical of the administration, portraying the president as a weak man akin to Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. The former House speaker has warned conservatives not to expect anything from the White House over the remaining two years and instead focus on building a base for leadership for 2008.

"Newt bit his tongue for months and now feels he has to tell his base the truth: the White House does not have the will or the power to promote any agenda," a source close to Mr. Gingrich said.

The sources said Mr. Gingrich, who refuses to commit to a presidential bid in 2008, blames White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove for Mr. Bush's mistakes, including the loss of Congress in 2006. They said Mr. Gingrich's criticism of the top Bush political adviser has been considered by the president and this could lead to Mr. Rove's early departure.

Cheney to Testify in Libby Trial

Vice President Dick Cheney will be called to testify on behalf of his former chief of staff in the CIA leak case, defense attorneys said Tuesday, ending months of speculation over what would be historic testimony.

Bush to Expand Size of Military

Bet they'll be long lines at the recruitment stations!!!

President Bush said today that he plans to expand the size of the U.S. military to meet the challenges of a long-term global war against terrorists, a response to warnings that sustained deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched the armed forces to near the breaking point.

Run Gore Run

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3001/324

Most Recent Casualties:

December 19, 2006

Marine Cpl. Joshua D. Pickard, 20, of Merced, Calif.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Monday, December 18, 2006

The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience.

Albert Camus: French novelist, essayist, and playwright.1957 Nobel Prize for Literature. 1913-1960

Sen. Clinton opposes troop surge in Iraq

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday she would not support a short-term increase in U.S. troop presence in Iraq unless it was part of a more comprehensive plan to stabilize the country.

Clinton also offered the broadest indication yet that she was close to a decision on whether to enter the 2008 Democratic presidential field.

Powell, Baker, Hamilton -- Thanks for Nothing

The problem with the U.S. war effort is not strategy and management, as the ISG will have us believe, but lies and slaughter.

When Colin Powell endorsed the Iraq Study Group report during his Dec. 17 appearance on "Face the Nation," it was another curtain call for a tragic farce.

Four years ago, "moderates" like Powell were making the invasion of Iraq possible. Now, in the guise of speaking truth to power, Powell and ISG co-chairs James Baker and Lee Hamilton are refueling the U.S. war effort by depicting it as a problem of strategy and management.

But the U.S. war effort is a problem of lies and slaughter.

The Baker-Hamilton report stakes out a position for managerial changes that dodge the fundamental immorality of the war effort. And President Bush shows every sign of rejecting the report's call for scaling down that effort.


An Inconvenient Truth

If you haven't seen this movie you must run to the nearest store and purchase it or rent it. I know - the thought of seeing a movie of Al Gore giving a lecture makes you think you'd rather have your nails pulled out. HOWEVER, this is a topic he is very passionate about and has been since his college days. In addition, this subject matter will personally affect your life, the lives of your children and grandchildren in the not too distant future. You owe it to THEM to watch this movie and be moved into action! Our existence depends on it - and that is not being overly dramatic. Please see this move and urge others to as well. I am giving this movie for Christmas - 10 copies so far....I feel that strongly about it.

Objections to Bush library mount at Texas university

An article, written by Scott Jaschik and published in the journal Inside Higher Education, notes that SMU is considered the frontrunner among the three schools hoping to host the library. It also reports that the organizers of the letter and the critics of the library have been trying to make the debate on the library focus on academic standards instead of Bush bashing.

According to the article, Susanne Johnson, an associate professor of Christian education, said she "would understand the value of an archive of the Bush administration, and sees how many SMU scholars would benefit from having such a collection on campus. But she said that the campus has been left 'uninformed and naive' about President Bush’s plans to create a policy center to promote his view of the world."

Former U.S. Detainee in Iraq Recalls Torment - Sues Rumsfeld

It's bad enough that our military is torturing anyone at all - but I find it chilling that they are torturing U.S. Citizens.

One night in mid-April, the steel door clanked shut on detainee No. 200343 at Camp Cropper, the United States military’s maximum-security detention site in Baghdad.

American guards arrived at the man’s cell periodically over the next several days, shackled his hands and feet, blindfolded him and took him to a padded room for interrogation, the detainee said. After an hour or two, he was returned to his cell, fatigued but unable to sleep.

The fluorescent lights in his cell were never turned off, he said. At most hours, heavy metal or country music blared in the corridor. He said he was rousted at random times without explanation and made to stand in his cell. Even lying down, he said, he was kept from covering his face to block out the light, noise and cold. And when he was released after 97 days he was exhausted, depressed and scared.

Detainee 200343 was among thousands of people who have been held and released by the American military in Iraq, and his account of his ordeal has provided one of the few detailed views of the Pentagon’s detention operations since the abuse scandals at Abu Ghraib. Yet in many respects his case is unusual.

The detainee was Donald Vance, a 29-year-old Navy veteran from Chicago who went to Iraq as a security contractor. He wound up as a whistle-blower, passing information to the F.B.I. about suspicious activities at the Iraqi security firm where he worked, including what he said was possible illegal weapons trading.

WSJ's Pollock on why increasing troops "not a hard thing to do"

How arrogant! I suggest that Pollock take his fat ass over to Iraq and stay until the last soldier leaves since it's so damned easy. It's only easy when others are doing the sacrificing. These people talk about what the soldiers can do as though they were contemplating moving little green plastic men around that they just dumped out of a bag.

On the December 16 edition of Fox News'
Journal Editorial Report, after Wall Street Journal editorial board member Jason Riley claimed that it would be "very difficult," politically, for President Bush to increase troop levels in Iraq, fellow Journal board member Robert Pollock countered: "[A]ll that means is decreasing the length of some breaks from tours of duty and increasing the lengths of some tours of duty." Pollock added: "That's not a hard thing to do."

See video/story HERE.

The 'thirty years' war brewing in the Middle East

Andrew Sullivan has a great article in Time Magazine in which he ponders whether we are at the begining of a "Thirty Years" war in the Middle East.

Americans, by and large, are unfamiliar with much of history. Their passion is the future, not the past; and their focus is understandably on their own vast and varied continent, not on the minute details of distant foreign lands. The new chairman of the House intelligence committee cannot tell the difference between Sunni and Shi’ite, and his predecessor was not much better. And I’d wager that no one in the US Congress was forced in school, as I sadly was, to study Europe’s thirty years’ war. But they’d better start, because it may be already upon them. Not in Europe this time, but in the Middle East.
It’s now clear that the US invasion in 2003 took the last lid off the volcanic crater: Saddam Hussein. Worse, America disbanded the only trained force capable of restraining it — the Ba’athist military — and refused to provide enough US troops to maintain order. Al-Qaeda shrewdly saw the potential for chaos and tried desperately to foment a sectarian war.

In retrospect, it is amazing how restrained the Shi’ites were for so long. They had been massacred and brutalised for decades, but, under the guidance of the spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, they did not seek revenge for two years, despite constant attacks from a largely Sunni insurgency. But as the US dithered, as chaos mounted, and as self-defence through sectarian militias became the only way to stay alive, the divisions deepened.

The Sunni attack on the Shi’ite Samarra mosque earlier this year was the tipping point. From then on, a civil war grew and metastasised. And the forces of cohesion collapsed. Sistani is no longer the Shi’ite saviour. The street thug Moqtada al-Sadr is. The divisions are so deep, no national army is now possible, and the logic of sectarian violence and revenge, as in 17th-century Germany, is irresistible.

The pull of external powers is also unstoppable. Shi’ite Iran has long been involved in the Shi’ite sector of Iraq, financing the militias, funding the politicians, co-opting vast areas of the country. And quiet funding for the Sunni resistance has come from Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3001/324

Most Recent Casualties:

December 18, 2006

Marine Capt. Kevin M. Kryst, 27, of West Bend, Wis.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Staff Sgt. Brian L. Mintzlaff, 34, of Fort Worth, Texas
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Sunday, December 17, 2006

What an amazing bloody catastrophe. The Bush administration's policy towards the Middle East over the five years since 9/11 is culminating in a multiple train crash. Never in the field of human conflict was so little achieved by so great a country at such vast expense. In every vital area of the wider Middle East, American policy over the last five years has taken a bad situation and made it worse.

-Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian, Bush has created a comprehensive catastrophe across the Middle East, 12/14/06

John Lennon - Yer Blues

Because it's Sunday, because it's slow and because I was listening to the White Album today, I bring you John Lennon singing a song from the album. He really was something, wasn't he?

Arab attitudes toward U.S. more negative

One reaps, what one sows..........

A new survey shows Arab attitudes toward American people, products and culture grew increasingly negative last year, a finding that underscores the need for a change in U.S. Mideast policy, a leading expert on the region said on Thursday.

James Zogby, the head of the Arab American Institute, said the annual survey of opinion in five Arab countries found that U.S. policy toward Iraq and the Palestinian conflict were the main issues driving deteriorating Arab opinion.

Simple Question Gets Complicated, Empty Response

White House Correspondent Helen Thomas asks Tony Snow why, if the President knows the casualty numbers from the past two months, he doesn't know the overall number. If the prestigious Johns Hopkins is right, then the number is somewhere around 650,000 who have died as a result our our invasion/occupation.

Diplomat's suppressed document lays bare the lies behind Iraq war

From the British press....

The Government's case for going to war in Iraq has been torn apart by the publication of previously suppressed evidence that Tony Blair lied over Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

A devastating attack on Mr Blair's justification for military action by Carne Ross, Britain's key negotiator at the UN, has been kept under wraps until now because he was threatened with being charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act.

In the testimony revealed today Mr Ross, 40, who helped negotiate several UN security resolutions on Iraq, makes it clear that Mr Blair must have known Saddam Hussein possessed no weapons of mass destruction. He said that during his posting to the UN, "at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests."

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3001/324

Most Recent Casualties:

December 17, 2006

Army Pfc. Seth M. Stanton, 19, of Colorado Springs, Colo.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Saturday, December 16, 2006

He is too prideful, too headstrong, too macho, too ignorant, and too foolish to do the sensible thing, which happens to be what a majority of the American people want, and that’s to set a timetable for withdrawal and get out of there.

-Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive, Bush Dawdles for a Reason, 12/13/06

John Edwards to announce '08 run

Former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards intends to enter the 2008 race for the White House, two Democratic officials said Saturday.

Edwards, who represented North Carolina in the Senate for six years, plans to make the campaign announcement late this month from the New Orleans neighborhood hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina last year and slow to recover from the storm.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want to pre-empt Edwards’ announcement.

About Face: Soldiers Call for Iraq Withdrawal

For the first time since Vietnam, an organized, robust movement of active-duty US military personnel has publicly surfaced to oppose a war in which they are serving. Those involved plan to petition Congress to withdraw American troops from Iraq.

After appearing only seven weeks ago on the Internet, the Appeal for Redress, brainchild of 29-year-old Navy seaman Jonathan Hutto, has already been signed by nearly 1,000 US soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen, including dozens of officers--most of whom are on active duty. Not since 1969, when some 1,300 active-duty military personnel signed an open letter in the New York Times opposing the war in Vietnam, has there been such a dramatic barometer of rising military dissent.

Interviews with two dozen signers of the Appeal reveal a mix of motives for opposing the war: ideological, practical, strategic and moral. But all those interviewed agree that it is time to start withdrawing the troops. Coming from an all-volunteer military, the Appeal was called "unprecedented" by Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice.

Matt Damon on Draft

Can I get an AMEN?

Protest at SMU Targets Bush Library

The likelihood that the George W. Bush presidential library will be located at SMU has not been welcome news for at least one segment of the university community. A letter, dated December 16, from "Faculty, Administrators, & Staff" of the Perkins School of Theology to R. Gerald Turner, president of the Board of Trustees, is now circulating not only on the SMU campus but also among a wider academic community, urging the board to "reconsider and to rescind SMU's pursuit of the presidential library."

Texas Monthly has obtained a copy of this letter, which, as you might expect, focuses heavily on objections to Bush's policies: "We count ourselves among those who would regret to see SMU enshrine attitudes and actions widely deemed as ethically egregious: degradation of habeas corpus, outright denial of global warming, flagrant disregard for international treaties, alienation of long-term U.S. allies, environmental predation, shameful disrespect for gay persons and their rights, a pre-emptive war based on false and misleading premises, and a host of other erosions of respect for the global human community and for this good Earth on which our flourishing depends."

How the Liberals Stole Christmas (or) A Visit From St Dick

By Kevin Horrigan
St Louis Post Dispatch

Twas the month before Christmas
And as I lit candles,
Conservatives Stirred -
They were onto a scandal.

"They want to kill Christmas!"
Came the cry from the right:
"They want to axe Bethlehem
And O! Holy Night!

"They're after the Christ child
And Joseph and Mary
And shepherds and wise men;
These liberals are scary."

Who? I said. Who
Is behind these cruel plots?
"Well, we're not really sure,
But we heard it on Fox."

"Fox fair and balanced;
Esteemed, and most highly.
We're not really sure-
It was prob'ly O'Reilly."

So I grabbed the remote
And clicked over to Fox
And there snarled O'Reilly.
(Imagine my shock):

"The liberals, the commies,
The A.C.L.U.
They want to steal Christmas
From me and from you.

They say 'Happy Holidays'
And acknowledge the Jews
By throwing in Hannukah."
I was really confused.

"And what's this with Kwanzaa?"
The O'Reilly elf said.
"Some guy made it up,
Made it up from whole cloth.

And somewhere the pagans
Are worshipping trees
And Muslims turn eastward
On rugs on their knees."

"The Democrats did it,"
He said with a roar.
"It was Kerry and Biden
And Clinton and Gore."

And then with a smirk
He fired heavy artillery
"If you want my opinion,
I bet it was Hillary."

I sat there in silence,
Stunned in my jammies.
My pulse was just racing
My hands were all clammy.

Who can save Christmas
From plots so barbaric
That turn Jesus' birthday
To a season generic?

What will happen to Christmas?
Should I recycle my creche?
And toss out John's gospel
'Bout Word become flesh?

Should I toss out the angels?
They could get me arrested
I was, lo, sore afraid
And my sould greatly tested.

Who will save Christmas?
George W. Bush?
Who will save Christmas
When shove comes to push?

Who could call the Marines
But they've all been assigned.
This disaster needs FEMA.
Oh...never mind.

Then I heard a weird jingling
From somewhere in back
And grabbed for the pistol
I'm licensed to pack.

I pulled back the slide
And quick chambered a round
And yelled out "Freeze dirtbag"
Don't dare make a sound!"

The guy, he was balding
And wore a blue suit.
He was driving a pickup
That said "Brown & Root."

His eyes they were squinting,
His voice, slightly nervous
Said, "Richard B. Cheney.
I'm here, at your service."

I was stunned at the sight
Of the man who's the veep.
And I thought I was dreaming,
In some weird right-wing sleep.

I heard him cough softly
Then say, "It's not fiction.
"First Comet is venison.
"And next I'll shoot Vixen."

"I killed off the reindeer,"
He softly exhaled.
"And I sent Santa off
To a black CIA jail.

This secular nonsense,
We'll end it, right quick.
I've got other priorities
Or my name's not St. Dick."

He said, "Christmas's really
Just all about loot
You can stuff in your bag
And then dis-t'-ri-bute

To friends and to donors
And pals who are cronies,
It's not about children
Or Democrat phonies.

"The trick that I've learned,"
St. Dick said like a Scrooge,
"Is avoiding the blame.
Instead, get you a stooge,

So the stooge takes the heat
As you make dead certain
That the goodies pile up
Inside Halliburton."

"So we'll blame it on liberals,
And commies and gays.
We'll blame it on Democrats
And folks who don't pray."

We've got Bill O'Reilly
To stir up the base
While we haul all our loot
To an undisclosed place."

Then he turned with a wink,
Jumped back into his pickup.
He nodded his head
And then said with a hiccup:

"I'll tell you one thing
Gives me great satisfaction:
'The liberals stole Christmas'
Is a dandy distraction."