Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bush is a symptom of the problem, not the cause. The cause is conservatism. How can an ideology that holds as a truism that government can't work, work? If Republicans ran the country smoothly and ably, it would lay waste to their claims that government is the enemy and can't make people's lives better. In that regards, Bush hasn't been incompetent. He's been wildly successful.

So yes, what we have just witnessed is the logical conclusion of effective conservative governance, and things would look the same way today whether we had President McCain, President Lott, President Jeb, President Romney, President Thompson, or whichever other anti-government Republican we slotted in.

This is what conservatives want for America. We're seeing it in the most vivid of colors. Blaming Bush for doing exactly what conservatives wanted to the country would be like, well, blaming Gonzales for doing exactly what Bush ordered him to do.

Posted by kos at The Daily Kos

Ohio State downs Georgetown, advances to national title game

Take Greg Oden away from Ohio State and the Buckeyes still play for the national championship. Take Roy Hibbert away from Georgetown and ... the Buckeyes still play for the national championship.

With Hibbert and Oden both hampered by foul trouble, it was Mike Conley Jr. and the rest of the Buckeyes who carried Ohio State to its first national title game since 1962 with a 67-60 victory over Georgetown on Saturday night.

Conley finished with 15 points, six assists and five rebounds, while Oden added 13 points -- all in the second half -- and eight rebounds in 20 minutes.

"When he goes down with two fouls, our guys did a tremendous job stepping up," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "Michael was tremendous."

Hibbert was tremendous, too. He scored 19 points, had six rebounds and one blocked shot in 24 minutes for the Hoyas, and he more than held his own in the much-anticipated matchup with Oden.

Problem was, he spent too much time as a spectator.

So did the rest of the Hoyas.


Foul officiating robs us of chance to see real Oden, Hibbert

Forty minutes of basketball later, I still have no idea if Ohio State is better than Georgetown.

I know what the scoreboard says: Ohio State 67, Georgetown 60.

But I don't know that Ohio State is seven points better, or any better, than Georgetown. Neither do you. Nobody knows, because this game was taken from us by the people who were entrusted with controlling the action but instead reduced both teams -- and therefore this national semifinal -- to chaos.

The officials killed this Final Four game. Completely killed it.

Eighteen seconds in, a zebra called a touch foul on Georgetown center Roy Hibbert.

Fifty seconds in, another zebra called a bizarre illegal screen on Ohio State center Greg Oden. Less than two minutes later, the third zebra rang up Oden's second foul. This time Oden was deemed to have charged into Georgetown's Jeff Green, who flopped like a beached basking shark.

Zebras are stupid, stupid animals, you know.

Oden's not stupid. He's a smart, polite, humble kid who doesn't complain and afterward accepted blame for "being excited." But here's what he said as he walked past stunned OSU coach Thad Matta: "Bull----, man."

Couldn't have said it better myself.


Ex-Partner Of Giuliani May Face Charges

Federal prosecutors have told Bernard B. Kerik, whose nomination as homeland security secretary in 2004 ended in scandal, that he is likely to be charged with several felonies, including tax evasion and conspiracy to commit wiretapping.

Bush's long history of tilting Justice

LA Times OP-Ed

THE SCANDAL unfolding around the firing of eight U.S. attorneys compels the conclusion that the Bush administration has rewarded loyalty over all else. A destructive pattern of partisan political actions at the Justice Department started long before this incident, however, as those of us who worked in its civil rights division can attest.

I spent more than 35 years in the department enforcing federal civil rights laws — particularly voting rights. Before leaving in 2005, I worked for attorneys general with dramatically different political philosophies — from John Mitchell to Ed Meese to Janet Reno. Regardless of the administration, the political appointees had respect for the experience and judgment of longtime civil servants.

Under the Bush administration, however, all that changed. Over the last six years, this Justice Department has ignored the advice of its staff and skewed aspects of law enforcement in ways that clearly were intended to influence the outcome of elections.

It has notably shirked its legal responsibility to protect voting rights. From 2001 to 2006, no voting discrimination cases were brought on behalf of African American or Native American voters. U.S. attorneys were told instead to give priority to voter fraud cases, which, when coupled with the strong support for voter ID laws, indicated an intent to depress voter turnout in minority and poor communities.

At least two of the recently fired U.S. attorneys, John McKay in Seattle and David C. Iglesias in New Mexico, were targeted largely because they refused to prosecute voting fraud cases that implicated Democrats or voters likely to vote for Democrats.


Bill Maher: New Rules For Bush & Cheney

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3336/354

Most Recent Casualties:

March 31, 200

Army Spc. Wilfred Flores Jr., 20, of Lawton, Okla.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army 1st Lt. Neale M. Shank, 25, of Fort Wayne, Ind/
-Operation Enduring Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Friday, March 30, 2007

George W. Bush is alone. In half a century, I have not seen a president so isolated from his own party in Congress -- not Jimmy Carter, not even Richard Nixon as he faced impeachment.

-Robert Novak, A President All Alone

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Gen'ls to Bush: Soldiers not props

A trio of retired generals concerned that President Bush might use his scheduled appearance this afternoon at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center to try and score political points against Democrats, urged the president, via a teleconference with reporters, to focus strictly on the problems with military medical care.

The generals were spurred into action by news reports that suggested the president might use the event to take on Democrats as both sides clash over the Iraq and Afghanistan spending bills just passed by the Senate and House which include timelines Bush fiercely opposes for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

What We Call The News

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3336/354

Most Recent Casualties:

March 29, 200

Army Sgt. Joe Polo, 24, of Opalocka, Fla
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Spc. Christopher M. Wilson, 24, of Bangor, Maine
-Operation Enduring Freedom

Army Sgt. Edmund W. McDonald, 25, of Casco, Maine
-Operation Enduring Freedom

Army Spc. Agustin Gutierrez, 19, of San Jacinto, Calif.
-Operation Enduring Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

“Iraq belongs to the 25 million Iraqis who live there, it doesn’t belong to the United States.”

-Sen Chuck Hagel of Nebraska

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Counting the cost

Our collective failure has been to take our political leaders at their word. This week, the BBC reported that the government's own scientists advised ministers that the Johns Hopkins study on Iraq civilian mortality was accurate and reliable. This paper was published in the Lancet last October. It estimated that 650,000 Iraqi civilians had died since the American- and British-led invasion in March 2003.

Immediately after publication, the prime minister's official spokesman said that The Lancet's study "was not one we believe to be anywhere near accurate". The foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, said that the Lancet figures were "extrapolated" and a "leap". President Bush said: "I don't consider it a credible report".

Scientists at the UK's Department for International Development thought differently. They concluded that the study's methods were "tried and tested". Indeed, the Hopkins approach would likely lead to an "underestimation of mortality".



Tuesday, March 27, 2007

As bad a president as George W. Bush has been (and lets face it, not only is he the worst ever, he's actively lobbying to be considered worse than at least the next five, possibly six presidents…) he is a worse person and it shows whenever he is under pressure; he melts down into a greasy little puddle of glares and smirks and incipient panic. But tonight was special. Tonights performance lays to rest any notion other than the fact that he's not a very bright man who has nothing but contempt for a world that refuses to dumb down for him.

TBogg Firedoglake

A President All Alone

Read the Bob Novak article HERE.

White House Spokesman's Colon Cancer Has Returned

White House press secretary Tony Snow has often said he "felt that cancer was stalking me." Yesterday it caught up with him again.

Snow, 51, who beat colon cancer two years ago, disclosed that it has returned and spread to his liver, delivering a brutal blow to his family and friends and to a White House already reeling under a relentless barrage of bad news.

Report Charges Broad White House Efforts to Stifle Climate Research

Bush administration officials throughout the government have engaged in White House-directed efforts to stifle, delay or dampen the release of climate change research that casts the White House or its policies in a bad light, says a new report that purports to be the most comprehensive assessment to date of the subject.

Researchers for the non-profit watchdog Government Accountability Project reviewed thousands of e-mails, memos and other documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests and from government whistle-blowers and conducted dozens of interviews with public affairs staff, scientists, reporters and others.

The group says it has identified hundreds of instances where White House-appointed officials interfered with government scientists' efforts to convey their research findings to the public, at the behest of top administration officials.


Dems Allege Interference in Phone-Jamming Case

Questions about political pressure in the Justice Department are spilling over into the New Hampshire phone-jamming case.

Five years ago, New Hampshire Republicans jammed the phones of Democratic offices on Election Day, disrupting the Democrats' get-out-the-vote efforts and blocking phone calls from voters seeking rides to the polls. More than two years later, the New England coordinator for the Republican National Committee — who green-lighted the scheme — was charged with a felony and convicted.

But last week, a federal appeals court overturned the conviction.

You Can Run, But You Can Not Hide

Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales today cut short a press conference about Internet safety, leaving the room at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago when reporters questioned him about the firings of U.S. attorneys.

The questioning was to have lasted about 15 minutes, but it ended after less than three.

Senate Keeps Pullout Date in Iraq War Bill

The Senate defeated an attempt to erase an American troop withdrawal date from an Iraq spending bill this afternoon after an emotional debate about the powers of the presidency and Congress and the well-being of front-line soldiers.

By a vote of 50 to 48, the Senate allowed a withdrawal date of March 31, 2008, to remain in the $122 billion bill, which has yet to be acted upon. The majority defeated an amendment offered by Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi, the ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee, that would have removed the date.


Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3336/354

Most Recent Casualties:

March 27, 200

Marine Staff Sgt. Marcus A. Golczynski, 30, of Lewisburg, Tenn.

-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Master Sgt. Sean M. Thomas, 33, of Harrisburg, PA
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. Curtis J. Forshey, 22, of Hollidaysburg, PA
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Monday, March 26, 2007

"We have to have an attorney general who is candid and truthful. And if we find out he's not been candid and truthful, that's a very compelling reason for him not to stay on."

- Sen. Arlen Specter

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NYPD - Keeping The World Safe From Peace Organizations

For at least a year before the 2004 Republican National Convention, teams of undercover New York City police officers traveled to cities across the country, Canada and Europe to conduct covert observations of people who planned to protest at the convention, according to police records and interviews. continued

Gonzales Aide to Invoke Fifth Amendment

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' liaison with the White House will refuse to answer questions at upcoming Senate hearings about the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, citing her Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, her lawyer said Monday.

"I have decided to follow my lawyer's advice and respectfully invoke my constitutional right," Monica Goodling, Gonzales' counsel and White House liaison, said in a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The revelation complicated the outlook for Gonzales, who is traveling out of town this week even as he fights to keep his job.


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America's hidden war dead

Like thousands of other Americans who have served in Iraq since the U.S. intervention began four years ago, Walter Zbryski came home in a coffin. Only his coffin was not draped in an American flag or accompanied by a military honor guard.

Instead, the mangled body of the 56-year-old retired firefighter from New York City was shipped back to his family in June 2004 in the bloodied clothes in which he died, with half of his head blown away, according to Zbryski's brother Richard.

"I viewed the body," Richard Zbryski said. "What really upset me was that he was laying there floating in at least 6 inches of his own body fluids. They didn't even clean him up for us."

Zbryski's death was not counted among the official tally of more than 3,200 American military personnel who have been killed in Iraq, nor was it noted by the Defense Department in a news release. That's because Zbryski was not a soldier--he was a truck driver working in the private army of hundreds of thousands of contractors hired by the Pentagon to support the logistical side of the massive American war effort in Iraq.


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The U.S. Postal Services unveils the new design for the forever stamp on March 26. An image of the Liberty Bell, a symbol of American freedom and independence, will adorn the new stamp.

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Committee Directs RNC to Preserve White House Emails

Citing evidence that senior White House officials are using RNC and other political email accounts to avoid leaving a record of official communications, Chairman Waxman directs the Republican National Committee and the Bush-Cheney ’04 Campaign to preserve the emails of White House officials and to meet with Committee staff to explain how the accounts are managed and what steps are being taken to protect the emails from destruction and tampering.

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Probe into Pat Tillman's death finds no negligence

Investigators probing the friendly fire death in Afghanistan of former NFL star Pat Tillman found no criminal negligence, a government official said Monday.

The findings end a yearlong inquiry into the conduct of members of Tillman's platoon who opened fire on him in April 2004.

A separate investigation, also due to be released Monday, looked at everything that happened after Tillman's death, including allegations of a coverup.

That investigation will recommend that nine officers, including up to four generals, be held accountable for missteps in the aftermath of Tillman's April 2004 death, senior defense officials told The Associated Press, also on condition of anonymity.


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Ex-Prosecutor Says He Faced Partisan Questions Before Firing

One of the eight former U.S. attorneys fired by the Bush administration said yesterday that White House officials questioned his performance in highly partisan political terms at a meeting in Washington in September, three months before his dismissal.

John McKay of Washington state, who had decided two years earlier not to bring voter fraud charges that could have undermined a Democratic victory in a closely fought gubernatorial race, said White House counsel Harriet Miers and her deputy, William Kelley, "asked me why Republicans in the state of Washington would be angry with me."



Sunday, March 25, 2007

"The trouble with most folks isn't so much their ignorance, as knowing so many things that ain't so."

-Josh Billings - [Henry Wheeler Shaw] (1818-1885) American humorist and lecturer

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Gonzales should be impeached

THE HOUSE of Representatives should begin impeachment proceedings against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Gonzales, the nation's highest legal officer, has been point man for serial assaults against the rule of law, most recently in the crude attempt to politicize criminal prosecutions. Obstruction of a prosecution is a felony, even when committed by the attorney general.

The firings of US attorneys had multiple political motives, all contrary to longstanding practice. In some cases, Republican politicians and the White House were angry that prosecutors were not going after Democrats with sufficient zeal. In other cases, they wanted the prosecutors to lighten up on Republicans. In still others, exemplary prosecutors were shoved aside to make room for rising Republican politicians being groomed for higher office.

It's hard to imagine a more direct assault on the impartiality of the law or the professionalism of the criminal justice system. There are several other reasons to remove Gonzales, all involving his cavalier contempt for courts and liberties of citizens, most recently in the FBI's more than 3,000 cases of illegal snooping on Americans.


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John Bolton: Bush never said Saddam was 'imminent threat'

From the "Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmmmmm" file:

Former ambassador to the UN John Bolton on CNN's Late Edition today made the case that, over four years into the Iraq war, removing Saddam Hussein was "unquestionably" the right thing to do, even though he did not turn out to have the stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction that formed the basis for the Bush administration's case for going to war.

"[Saddam Hussein] and his regime were the threat to international peace and security. The president never made the argument that he constituted an imminent threat," Bolton said.

However, on more than one occasion, administration officials used the term "imminent threat" to describe Iraq in the run up to the war.

"This is about imminent threat," said then-White House spokesman Scott McClellan on February 10, 2003.

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Remains of 9-11 victims were used to fill potholes, contractor says

The pulverized remains of bodies from the World Trade Center disaster site were used by city workers to fill ruts and potholes, a city contractor says in a sworn affidavit filed Friday in Manhattan Federal Court.

Eric Beck says debris powders - known as fines - were put in a pothole-fill mixture by crews at the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island, N.Y., where more than 1.65 million tons of World Trade Center debris were deposited after the Sept. 11 attacks.

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On Monday, the official report on the 2004 killing in Afghanistan, and coverup, involving former NFL star Pat Tillman will finally be released.

By all accounts, the belated official military probe of the Pat Tillman killing and cover-up on Monday will call on the carpet nine officers, including up to four generals, for badly mishandling information. This is what The Associated Press reported yesterday, adding that the investigation found there was no "orchestrated cover-up."

But even if Tillman's outspoken family affirms that justice has finally been done -- don't count on it -- it is vital to look back two years at why the case stirs such anger and reveals so much about military deceit and (too often) media acceptance of it.

It was The Washington Post that really broke the case wide open in May 2005. Simply stated: the Pentagon lied about the friendly fire incident, even to Tillman's family. Still, there were few calls for apologies to the public and the firing of those responsible. Not many suggested that the Pentagon's word should never be trusted unless backed up by numerous credible sources.

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...and then there were FOUR

Defending champions Florida and Georgetown won their regional finals on Sunday to join Ohio State and UCLA into the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament that climaxes March Madness.


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Presidential candidate John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth will discuss her recent cancer diagnosis and his presidential bid in an interview with Katie Couric. The interview will be broadcast on 60 Minutes on Sunday, March 25 at 7:00 PM, ET/PT.

The Edwardses announced a recurrence of Elizabeth's breast cancer at a news conference on Thursday. John Edwards said a biopsy of his wife's rib showed that the cancer had returned.

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Olbermann Slams Limbaugh

No explaination is needed. Limbaugh is a pig.

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Right Wing Blogs Withdraw Support for Attorney General

From The Carpetbagger Report:

Despite the latest revelations that Alberto Gonzales lied about his involvement in the prosecutor purge, the President is standing by his Attorney General. I’m wondering if he’s the only one.

I was reading several conservative blogs yesterday to gauge their support for the embattled AG. I was surprised to see so many who have decided that Gonzales is no longer deserving of support.

Ed Morrissey:

Have we had enough yet? I understand the argument that if we allow the Democrats to bounce Gonzales, they’ll just aim for more, but Gonzales made himself the target here with what looks like blatant deception. I don’t think we do ourselves any good by defending the serially changing stories coming out of Gonzales’ inept administration at Justice. One cannot support an Attorney General who misleads Congress, allows his staffers to mislead Congress, and deceives the American people, regardless of whether an R or a D follows his name or the majority control of Congress.

Right Wing Nut House:

I will brook no excuses by commenters that Gonzalez “misspoke,” or “forgot,” or “got a note from his mother” that gave him permission to lie, or other excuses from the ever dwindling number of Bush diehards who visit this site . He is the frickin’ Attorney General of the United States fer crissakes! If there is anybody in government who needs to tell the truth, it is the guy responsible for enforcing the laws of land.

Jonah Goldberg:

Some readers are cross with me for using the word “lied” in reference to Gonzales. Okay, he may simply have been deeply, deeply, confused, out of touch and unprepared to give a press conference which was supposed to put an end to the “scandal” and instead poured gasoline on it at a time when his boss, the President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief, had vastly more important things to deal with.

Credit - Think Progress

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Feinstein calls for Attorney General Gonzales to resign

Sen. Dianne Feinstein called Sunday for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign over the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, saying he'd lost her confidence and hadn't told her the truth.

Feinstein, D-Calif. and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had held off on calling for Gonzales to step down even as many leading Democrats and some Republicans did so in recent weeks.

"I believe he should step down. And I don't like saying this. This is not my natural personality at all," Feinstein said on Fox News Sunday. "But I think the nation is not well served by this. I think we need to get at the bottom of why these resignations were made, who ordered them, and what the strategy was."

Justice Department documents released Friday show that despite contending he was not involved in any discussions about the impending dismissals of federal prosecutors, Gonzales participated in a meeting where such plans were discussed.

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GOP Support for Attorney General Erodes

Republican support for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales eroded Sunday as three key senators sharply questioned his truthfulness and a Democrat joined the list of lawmakers who want him to resign over the firing of eight federal prosecutors.

"We have to have an attorney general who is candid and truthful. And if we find out he's not been candid and truthful, that's a very compelling reason for him not to stay on," said Sen. Arlen Specter, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees the Justice Department.

Specter, R-Pa., said he would wait until Gonzales' scheduled April 17 testimony to the committee on the dismissals before deciding whether he could continue to support the attorney general. He called it a "make or break" appearance.

To Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., Gonzales "does have a credibility problem. ... We govern with one currency, and that's trust. And that trust is all important. And when you lose or debase that currency, then you can't govern. And I think he's going to have some difficulties."

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Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3336/354

Most Recent Casualties:

March 25, 200

Army Spc. Sean K. McDonald, 21, of Rosemount, Minn.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. Jason W. Swiger, 24, of South Portland, Maine
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Pfc. Orlando E. Gonzalez, 21 of New Freedom, Pa.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Pfc. Anthony J. White, 21, of Columbia S.C.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Cpl. Jason Nunez, 22, of Naranjito, Puerto Rico
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Rep. Murtha: Iraq Accountability Act, Equipment

The House debates the U.S. Troops Readiness, Veterans' Health and Iraq Accountability Act. The House of Representatives has a choice: either endorse the President's open-ended commitment to the war in Iraq or demand accountability, support our troops and set a timeline for the phased redeployment of our troops.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason"

-Thomas Paine - Common Sense -[January 10, 1776]

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Buckeyes going to Final Four

O - H - I - O!

Greg Oden wasn't going to let foul trouble stop him, not with a chance to take
Ohio State to the Final Four.

Frustrated by fouls for a third straight game, Oden made the most of his time on court during a key stretch of the second half, carrying the top-seeded Buckeyes past Memphis 92-76 Saturday in the South Regional finals.

Oden's numbers weren't huge: 17 points, nine rebounds.

The 7-footer's impact was.

The Buckeyes (34-3) went from up five points to down five deficit during the 4:42 the fabulous freshman was on the bench after getting his third foul early in the second half. The moment he returned, everything changed. His presence on offense and defense sparked a 20-8 run that ultimately sent Ohio State to Atlanta for a showdown next weekend with the winner of the North Carolina-Georgetown game Sunday.

The Buckeyes last made the Final Four in 1999, when a team led by Michael Redd and Scoonie Penn lost to eventual national champion Connecticut. That trip later was expunged from the records because of NCAA violations, making their last official appearance in 1968.

Second-seeded Memphis (33-4) fell a game shy of the Final Four for a second straight season. The Conference USA champs were riding a 25-game winning streak and were plenty confident they could handle the Big Ten champs -- and were doing just fine until

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Video of the week: Boxer Tells Inhofe Who the Boss is Now

During this weeks hearings on global warming, global warming denier James Inhofe was asking Al Gore questions, but didn't want to hear the answers because he thought the responses would take "too much time". Barbara Boxer then explained to Inhofe how things work in Senate now.

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3336/354

Most Recent Casualties:

March 24, 200

Marine Lance Cpl. Trevor A. Roberts, 21, of Oklahoma City, OK
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Friday, March 23, 2007

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3336/354

Most Recent Casualties:

March 23, 200

Army Spc. Lance C. Springer II, 23 , of Fort Worth, Texas
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. Greg N. Riewer, 30, of Frazee, Minn.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"After telling a bunch of different stories about why they fired the U.S. Attorneys, the Bush administration is not entitled to the benefit of the doubt. Congress and the American people deserve a straight answer. If Karl Rove plans to tell the truth, he has nothing to fear from being under oath like any other witness."

-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

The Bush administration on the U.S. Attorneys Case: Fact vs. Fiction

Time and again, members of the Bush administration have failed to level with the American people on the events surrounding the dismissal of eight U.S. Attorneys. Here are the facts.


FICTION: The Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General both claimed that the eight United States Attorneys were dismissed for "performance" related reasons.

Attorney General Gonzales made that claim under oath. "What we do is we make an evaluation about the performance of individuals, and I have a responsibility to the people in your district that we have the best possible people in these positions. And that's the reason why changes sometimes have to be made, although there are a number of reasons why changes get made and why people leave on their own." (Testimony of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to the Senate Judiciary Committee, 1/18/07)

Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty repeated that claim under oath. "As the attorney general said at his oversight hearing last month, the phone calls that were made back in December were performance related." (Testimony of Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty to the Senate Judiciary Committee, 2/6/07)

FACT: Justice Department performance evaluations of these U.S. Attorneys were overwhelmingly positive.


FICTION: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales claimed that no United States Attorney would be replaced for political reasons - or to stop a growing corruption probe. "I would never, ever make a change in a United States attorney for political reasons or if it would in any way jeopardize an ongoing serious investigation. I just would not do it." (Testimony of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to the Senate Judiciary Committee, 1/18/07)

FACT: The Justice Department graded prosecutors on whether they were "loyal bushies". "As an operational matter, we would like to replace 15-20 percent of the current US Attorneys ... The vast majority of US Attorneys, 80-85 percent, I would guess, are doing a great job, are loyal bushies, etc." (Email from Kyl Sampson, Dept. of Justice, to Deputy White House Counsel David Leitch, as reported by ABC News, 3/15/07)


FICTION: Attorney General Gonzales claimed the White House had no intention of subverting the Senate's constitutional "advice and consent" role. "Third, I believe fundamentally in the constitutional role of the Senate in advice and consent with respect to U.S. attorneys, and would in no way support an effort to circumvent that constitutional role." (Press Conference by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, 3/13/07)

FACT: Kyle Sampson, Attorney General Gonzales's Chief of Staff, and Chris Oprison, of the Office of White House Counsel, openly talked about using their new authority to go around the Senate on the nomination of J. Timothy Griffin in Arkansas.


Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3263/346

Most Recent Casualties:

March 21, 200

Army Sgt. Nicholas J. Lightner, 29, of Newport, Ore.

-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Cpl. Dustin J. Lee, 20, of Quitman, Miss.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Pfc. Joey T. Sams II, 22, of Spartanburg, S.C.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. Adrian J. Lewis, 30, of Mauldin, S.C.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Staff Sgt. Darrell R. Griffin Jr., 36, of Alhambra, Calif
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

“People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.”

- James Baldwin Biography - Fiction Writer, Essayist, Social Critic, 1924-1987

Soldier's dad tells Bush, `This war is wrong'

The two-page letter is signed from the “proud father of a fallen soldier.”

A little more than six weeks ago, his soul a cauldron of grief and rage, Richard Landeck, 56, of Wheaton addressed and mailed it to President Bush.

And since he’s yet to receive an acknowledgment or reply, he asked me if I’d help get his message out.

“My voice, and that of many other frustrated Americans is not being heard,” he said.

It’s the least I can do, I replied.

“My son was killed in Iraq on February 2, 2007,” says the letter. “His name is Captain Kevin Landeck….

“He was killed while riding in a Humvee by a roadside bomb just south of Baghdad. He has a loving mother, a loving father and loving sister. You took him away from us.”

The letter adds that Kevin Landeck (pictured here in a recent family photo), 26, a Wheaton Warrenville South High School and Purdue University graduate, had been married for 17 months and was very proud to be serving his country.

But “the message he continued to send to me was that of incompetence,” Landeck’s letter says. “Incompetence by you, (Vice President Richard) Cheney and (former defense secretary Donald) Rumsfeld. Incompetence by some of his commanders as well as the overall strategy of your decisions.

“When I asked him about what he thought about your decision to `surge’ more troops to Baghdad, he told me, `until the Iraqis pick up the ball we are going to get cut to shreds. It doesn’t matter how many troops Bush sends, nothing has been addressed to solve the problem he started,’” says Landeck’s letter (full text below) .

This is a reasonably close paraphrase of an e-mail Kevin Landeck sent to his parents on Jan. 19, a short note signed “live from the (excrement) show” that referred to the war strategy as “senseless.”

”Answer me this,” Richard Landeck’s letter demands of Bush. “How in the world can you justify invading Iraq when the problem began and continues to lie in Afghanistan? I don’t want your idiotic standard answer about keeping America safe. What did Sadaam Hussein have to do with 9/11?”

The letter says, “You have succeeded in taking down over 3,100 of our best young men, my son being one of them. Kevin told me many times we are not fighting terrorism in Iraq and they could not do their jobs as soldiers. He said they are trained to be on the offensive and to fight, but all they are doing is acting like policemen….

“He asked permission to take some of his men out at night with their night-vision glasses -- because as he said `we own the night’ -- and watch for the people who are setting roadside bombs and `take them out.’ He said, `I want them to be the ones that are scared.’ He was denied permission. Why?”

Richard Landeck and his wife Vicki have never been active in politics, they told me as I sat with them around their kitchen table Sunday night in the Stonehedge subdivision in the heart of DuPage County. He’s a sales rep. She’s a dental hygienist. Their other child, Jennifer, 23, is an actress (pictured below with her late brother) who also works part-time at the nearby golf course.

As the war in Iraq enters its 5th year, look for families like the Landecks to become the face of the anti-war movement: Archtypal middle Americans who can no longer respond with platitudinous faith in our leaders to the persistent waste –-- a word Richard Landeck does not shy from –- of the lives of our young men and women in Iraq.

Saturday, they went to nearby Bloomingdale to join in a peace rally, their first.

“This war is wrong,” says the last paragraph of Landeck’s letter to the president. “Because of your ineptness … I have lost my son, my pride and joy, my hero! (You) will never understand what the families of soldiers are going through and don’t try to tell me you do. My wife, my daughter and I cannot believe we have lost our only son and brother to a ridiculous political war.”


Kevin C. Landeck's guest book at

Here is the complete text of Richard Landeck's letter to President Bush:

Feb 4, 2007

Dear Mr. Bush:

This will be the only time I will refer to you with any type of respect.

My son was killed in Iraq on February 2, 2007. His name is Captain Kevin Landeck.

He served with the Tenth Mountain Division. He was killed while riding in a Humvee by a roadside bomb just south of Baghdad. He has a loving mother, a loving father and loving sister.

You took him away from us. He celebrated his 26th birthday January 30th and was married for 17 months. He graduated from Purdue University and went through the ROTC program. That is where he met his future wife. He was proud to be a part of the military and took exceptional pride in becoming a leader of men. He accepted his role as a platoon leader with exceptional enthusiasm and was proud to serve his country.

I had many conversations with Kevin before he left to serve as well as during his deployment. The message he continued to send to me was that of incompetence. Incompetence by you, (Vice President Richard) Cheney and (former Secretary of Defense Donald) Rumsfeld. Incompetence by some of his commanders as well as the overall strategy of your decisions.

When I asked him about what he thought about your decision to “surge” more troops to Baghdad, he told me, “until the Iraqis pick up the ball, we are going to get cut to shreds. It doesn’t matter how many troops Bush sends, nothing has been addressed to solve the problem he started.”

Answer me this: How in the world can you justify invading Iraq when the problem began and continues to lie in Afghanistan? I don’t want your idiotic standard answer about keeping America safe. What did Sadaam Hussein have to do with 9/11? We all know it had to do with the first Iraq war where your father failed to take Sadaam down.

Well George, you have succeeded in taking down over 3,100 of our best young men, my son being one of them. Kevin told me many times we are not fighting terrorism in Iraq and they could not do their jobs as soldiers. He said they are trained to be on the offensive and to fight but all they are doing is acting like policemen.

Well George, you or some “genius” like you who have never fought in a war but enjoy all the perks your positions afford you are making life and death decisions. In the case of my son, you made a death decision.

Let me explain a few other points he and I discussed. He said when he and his men were riding down the road in their Humvees, roadside bombs would explode and they would hear bullets bouncing off their vehicle. He said they were scared. He thought “why should we be the ones who are scared?” He asked permission to take some of his men out at night with their night vision glasses because as he said “we own the night” and watch for the people who are setting roadside bombs and “take them out.” He said, “I want them to be the ones that are scared.” He was denied permission. Why? It made perfect sense to me and other people who I told about this.

When he was at a checkpoint he was told that if a vehicle was coming at them even at a high rate of speed he could not arbitrarily use his weapon. He had to wave his arms and, if the vehicle did not stop, he could fire a warning shot over the vehicle. If the vehicle did not stop then, he could shoot at the tires. If the vehicle did not yet stop he could take a shot at the driver. Who in their right mind made that kind of decision?

How would you like to be at a check point with a vehicle coming at you that won’t stop and go through all those motions? You will never know!

You or Cheney or Rumsfeld will never know the anguish, the worry, the sleepless nights, the waiting for the loved one who may never return. If the soldiers were able to do their jobs and the ego’s of politicians like you, your “cronies” and some commanders had their heads on straight, we would be out of this mess which we should not be involved with in the first place.

My family and I deserve and explanation directly from you……not some assistant who will likely read this and toss it. This war is wrong.

I want you to look me and my wife and daughter directly in the eye and tell me why my son died. We should not be there, but because of your ineptness and lack of correct information I have lost my son, my pride and joy, my hero!

Again, you, Cheney and Rumsfeld will never understand what the families of soldiers are going through and don’t try to tell me you do. My wife, my daughter and I cannot believe we have lost our only son and brother to a ridiculous political war that you seem to want to maintain. I hope you and Cheney and Rumsfeld and all the other people on your band wagon sleep well at night….we certainly don’t.

Richard Landeck

Proud father of a fallen soldier

Bush Warns Dems to Take Offer in Firings

I just love that Bush is issuing 'warnings' to the Democrats.

A defiant President Bush warned Democrats Tuesday to accept his offer to have top aides speak about the firings of federal prosecutors only privately and not under oath, or risk a constitutional showdown from which he would not back down.

Democrats' response was swift and firm: They said they would start authorizing subpoenas as soon as Wednesday for the White House aides.

"Testimony should be on the record and under oath. That's the formula for true accountability," said Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Bush, in a late-afternoon statement at the White House, said he would fight any subpoena effort in court.

"We will not go along with a partisan fishing expedition aimed at honorable public servants," he said. "It will be regrettable if they choose to head down the partisan road of issuing subpoenas and demanding show trials when I have agreed to make key White House officials and documents available."

Overwhelming vote on U.S. attorneys

The U.S. Senate voted 94-2 Tuesday to strip U.S. President George Bush of the power to bypass the confirmation process for U.S. attorneys.

Only two Republicans, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Christopher Bond of Missouri, opposed the measure, The New York Times reported. The overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate suggests that the bill is likely to pass the U.S. House of Representatives by a veto-proof margin.

Do You Know Where Your Buddies Are?

AOL is offering users of its AIM instant messaging service new capabilities to see where people on their buddy lists are physically located.

The first phase of this push is with an unusual software plug-in developed by Skyhook Wireless, whose backers include Intel Corp. Skyhook tracks locations by using the continuous wireless pulses emitted by all Wi-Fi transmitters and Wi-Fi-enabled computers, rather than more common satellite-based approach.

Pet food scare panics owners

<== My own 'kids' - Taz n Zoey.

More than 60 million cans of dog and cat food were recalled Friday by Menu Foods of Streetsville, Ontario, which makes the store brands for companies such as Wal-Mart, Kroger and Safeway. The company also makes food for brand-name pet food companies, including Iams, PetCare and Science Diet.

The company recalled certain gravy-style foods sold in cans and pouches made from Dec. 3 to March 6 after hearing complaints that an unknown number of cats and dogs that ate the food had kidney failure, and about 10 died. On Monday, the government reported that a study conducted by Menu Foods found that as many as one in six animals died after eating the suspect foods. A federal investigation is now focusing on wheat gluten as the likely source of contamination that sparked the recall, said Stephen F. Sundlof, the Food and Drug Administration's top veterinarian. The ingredient, a protein source, is commonly used as filler.

Gonzales aide rated Fitzgerald mediocre

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of Chicago was ranked among prosecutors who had "not distinguished themselves" on a Justice Department chart sent to the White House in March 2005, when he was leading a CIA leak investigation that resulted in the perjury conviction of a former vice presidential aide, administration officials said Monday.

The ranking placed Fitzgerald below "strong U.S. Attorneys ... who exhibited loyalty" to the administration but above "weak U.S. Attorneys who ... chafed against Administration initiatives, etc.," according to Justice documents.

Pelosi calls for new attorney general

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi added her voice to the growing chorus of discontent over the Justice Department's firing of eight federal prosecutors, saying Monday, "I believe we need a new attorney general." In a meeting with the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune and in an interview with WGN-TV, Pelosi (D-Calif.) said there was a reason Republicans feared a Democratic victory last November.

"They knew that the era of no oversight was over and that they would have to be held accountable," she said, citing the scandal at Walter Reed Army Medical Center over the treatment of wounded soldiers, as well as questions about whether politics played a role in the dismissal of the U.S. attorneys. Pelosi spoke as the war in Iraq was entering its fifth year, detailing her party's efforts to curtail American involvement there and bring the troops home. She called the war "a grotesque mistake" that has weakened the armed forces and made it harder for the military to respond elsewhere to threats to the national interest. "This is a war without end and it is a commitment that is unlimited and we have to have a better alternative," she said. "It's a tragedy."

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3263/346

Most Recent Casualties:

March 20, 200

Army Pfc. Stephen K. Richardson, 22, Bridgeport, Conn
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. Wayne R. Cornell, 26, of Holstein, Neb.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Spc. Curtis E. Glawson Jr., 24, of Daleville, Ala
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List