Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Dems being afraid to take on Bush

The Democrats are handed poll ratings that show Bush in the gutter, and evidence the guy is at once incompetent and dishonest. Let's get on it!

Bush Was Set on Path to War, British Memo Says

LONDON — In the weeks before the United States-led invasion of Iraq, as the United States
and
Britain pressed for a second United Nations resolution condemning Iraq, President Bush's public ultimatum to Saddam Hussein was blunt: Disarm or face war.

But behind closed doors, the president was certain that war was inevitable. During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Mr. Blair's top foreign policy adviser and reviewed by The New York Times.


In Charge, Except They're Not
By E. J. Dionne Jr.

Is President Bush the leader of our government, or is he just a right-wing talk-show host?
The question comes to mind after Bush's news conference this week in which he sounded like someone who has no control over the government he is in charge of. His words were those of a pundit inveighing against the evils of bureaucrats.


"Obviously," said the critic in chief, "there are some times when government bureaucracies haven't responded the way we wanted them to, and like citizens, you know, I don't like that at all." Yes, and if you can't do something about it, who can?

[...]

"So I've asked Chertoff to find out," Bush said. "What are you going to do with them? I mean, the taxpayers aren't interested in 11,000 trailers just sitting there. Do something with them. And so I share that sense of frustration when a big government is unable to, you know -- sends wrong signals to taxpayers. But our people are good, hardworking people."

Hold on: The president of the United States runs the "big government" he's attacking. This is mysterious. If Bush's "good, hardworking people" aren't responsible for the problem, the villains of the
piece must be alien creatures created by some strange beast called Big Government.


[...]

This episode is important because it is representative of a corrosive style of politics. Bush and many of his fellow Republicans have done a good business over the years running against the ills of Big Government. They are so much in the habit of trashing government that even when they are in charge of things -- remember, Republicans have controlled the White House and both houses of Congress for all but 18 months since 2001 -- they pretend they are not.

And when their own government fails, they turn around and use their incompetence to argue that government can never work anyway, so you might as well keep electing conservatives to have less government. It's an ideological Catch-22. Even their failures prove they are right.


And check these poll numbers from Time.

His approval rating is below 40% and nearly half the country questions his competence.

In general, do you approve of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as President? Approve: 39% Disapprove: 56%

Would you describe President Bush as ... ... Competent? Total: 52% G.O.P.: 90% Dem.: 25% Ind.: 46% ... Incompetent? Total: 47% G.O.P.: 9% Dem.: 73% Ind.: 53%

CONGRESS Voters lean toward putting the Democrats back in control even though the party is seen as lacking a clear agenda. Voters prefer the Democrats on many domestic matters, but Republicans hold a notable edge on handling terrorism.

If the congressional elections were being held today, would you be more likely to vote for the Republican or Democratic candidate?* Democratic 50% Republican 41%

Regardless of which candidates you favor, would you rather see the Republicans or the Democrats control Congress? Democratic 49% Republican 38%

Do you think the Democrats have a clear set of policies for the country? Yes 36% No 56%

Do you think the Republicans have a clear set of policies for the country? Yes 43% No 50% *Asked of registered voters. Includes respondents who "lean" toward a particular party

Which party would do a better job of ... Democrats / Republicans

... rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf Coast?
Democrats ...48% Republicans ...21%

... standing up to special interests?
Democrats ...40% Republicans ...22%


... managing government spending?
Democrats ...46% Republicans ...31%


... dealing with corruption in government?
Democrats ...39% Republicans ...25%


... protecting the rights of Americans?
Democrats ...48% Republicans ...35%


... managing tax policies?
Democrats ...45% Republicans ...38%


... dealing with the war in Iraq?
Democrats ...40% Republicans ...41%


... dealing with terrorism?
Democrats ...33% Republicans ...44%


This TIME poll was conducted by telephone March 22-23 among 1,003 adult Americans by SRBI Public Affairs. The margin of error is +/-3 percentage points. "Don't know" responses omitted for some questions.

ITMFA!

Rolling Stone's political coverage has been on fire recently

I highly recommend Matt Taibbi's take on a Conrad Burns fundraiser.

My fact sheet was headlined crude oil in grand canyon national park. It had a nice picture of the Grand Canyon on it. I was going to be Matthew Taibbi, Government Relations adviser for Dosko, a fictional Russian firm representing various energy interests, including a fictional oil company called PerDuNefteGaz that wanted to drill for oil in the Grand Canyon.

[...]

The schmoozefest was on. There were about fifty people present, all in suits and all with name tags representing everyone from the NRA to Motorola to the White House; they all started furiously shaking one another's hands and gaping at one another's name tags, like dogs sniffing each other in a Central Park run. I accosted a young girl named Kristin, who was wearing a Burns name tag, and explained who I was and what I wanted, stammering out the phrase "seeking regulatory relief" and mentioning oil in the Grand Canyon.


And, if you want to be afraid, check out Jeff Sharlet's profile of Brownback. Oh my fucking God is this guy nuts.

He tells a story about a chaplain who challenged a group of senators to reconsider their conception of democracy. "How many constituents do you have?" the chaplain asked. The senators answered: 4 million, 9 million, 12 million. "May I suggest," the chaplain replied, "that you have only one constituent?"

Brownback pauses. That moment, he declares, changed his life. "This" -- being senator, running for president, waving the flag of a Christian nation -- "is about serving one constituent." He raises a hand and points above him.

[...]

He is running for president because murder is always on his mind: the abortion of what he considers fetal citizens. He speaks often and admiringly of John Brown, the abolitionist who massacred five pro-slavery settlers just north of the farm where Brownback grew up. Brown wanted to free the slaves; Brownback wants to free fetuses. He loves each and every one of them. "Just . . . sacred," he says.

[...]

He is running for president because murder is always on his mind: the abortion of what he considers fetal citizens. He speaks often and admiringly of John Brown, the abolitionist who massacred five pro-slavery settlers just north of the farm where Brownback grew up. Brown wanted to free the slaves; Brownback wants to free fetuses. He loves each and every one of them. "Just . . . sacred," he says.

[...]

Like most kids in Parker, Sam just wanted to be a farmer. But that life is gone now, destroyed by what the old farmers who sit around the town's single gas station sum up in one word -- "Reaganism." They mean the voodoo economics by which the government favored corporate interests over family farms, a "what's good for big business is good for America" philosophy that Brownback himself now champions.

In 1986, just a few years after finishing law school, Brownback landed one of the state's plum offices: agriculture secretary, a position of no small influence in Kansas. But in 1993, he was forced out when a federal court ruled his tenure unconstitutional. Not only had he not been elected, he'd been appointed by people who weren't elected -- the very same agribusiness giants he was in charge of regulating.

[...]

Brownback's wife, Mary, heiress to a Midwest newspaper fortune, married Sam during her final year of law school and boasts that she has never worked outside the home. "Basically," she says, "I live in the kitchen."

[...]

One of the little-known strengths of the Christian right lies in its adoption of the "cell" -- the building block historically used by small but determined groups to impose their will on the majority. Seventy years ago, an evangelist named Abraham Vereide founded a network of "God-led" cells comprising senators and generals, corporate executives and preachers. Vereide believed that the cells -- God's chosen, appointed to power -- could construct a Kingdom of God on earth with Washington as its capital. They would do so "behind the scenes," lest they be accused of pride or a hunger for power, and "beyond the din of vox populi," which is to say, outside the bounds of democracy. To insiders, the cells were known as the Family, or the Fellowship. To most outsiders, they were not known at all.

"Communists use cells as their basic structure," declares a confidential Fellowship document titled "Thoughts on a Core Group." "The mafia operates like this, and the basic unit of the Marine Corps is the four-man squad. Hitler, Lenin and many others understood the power of a small group of people." Under Reagan, Fellowship cells quietly arranged meetings between administration officials and leaders of Salvadoran death squads, and helped funnel military support to Siad Barre, the brutal dictator of Somalia, who belonged to a prayer cell of American senators and generals.

[...]

Brownback's chief of staff, Robert Wasinger, who clears attendees with his boss. Wasinger is from Hays, Kansas, but he speaks with a Harvard drawl, and he is still remembered in Cambridge twelve years after graduation for a fight he led to get gay faculty booted. He was particularly concerned about the welfare of gay men; or rather, as he wrote in a campus magazine funded by the Heritage Foundation, that of their innocent sperm, forced to "swim into feces."

[...]

Brownback is less concerned about the world being polluted by people. His biggest financial backer is Koch Industries, an oil company that ranks among America's largest privately held companies. "The Koch folks," as they're known around the senator's office, are among the nation's worst polluters. In 2000, the company was slapped with the largest environmental civil penalty in U.S. history for illegally discharging 3 million gallons of crude oil in six states. That same year Koch was indicted for lying about its emissions of benzene, a chemical linked to leukemia, and dodged criminal charges
in return for a $20 million settlement. Brownback has received nearly $100,000 from Koch and its employees, and during his neck-and-neck race in 1996, a mysterious shell company called Triad Management provided $410,000 for last-minute advertising on Brownback's behalf. A Senate investigative committee later determined that the money came from the two brothers who run Koch Industries.


Brownback has been a staunch opponent of environmental regulations that Koch finds annoying, fighting fuel-efficiency standards and the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. But for the senator, there's no real divide between the predatory economic interests of his corporate backers and his own moral passions.

[...]

Homosexuality may not be sanctioned by the Bible, but slavery is -- by Old and New Testaments alike. Brownback thinks slavery is wrong, of course, but the Bible never is. How does he square the two? "I've wondered on that very issue," he says. He tentatively suggests that the Bible views slavery as a "person-to-person relationship," something to be worked out beyond the intrusion of government. But he quickly abandons the argument; calling slavery a personal choice, after all, is awkward for a man who often compares slavery to abortion.

Yeah. This guy is a US Senator.

Good Night and Good Luck

I know I'm late to the bandwagon, but just saw this movie the other night, and damn. A must see.
















"No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices." Edward R. Murrow

Dan Boren, hero of the Democratic party

What's up with the Texas Observer celebrating the vicious win of Dan Boren over Kayln Free in OK in an article by Chris Bell-flack Jason Stanford?

We put up an ad asking, “Do you want a congressman who supports gun control, abortion on demand, and partial-birth abortion? Kalyn Free does.” And on the Sunday before the primary, some Boren field staffers leafleted church parking lots with her position in favor of gay marriage, not that there’s anything wrong with that.


The Boren campaign described Free's endorsement by NARAL as "supporting abortion on demand for girls as young as 13." The gay marriage thing is great too. Nothing like winning on bigotry. The 'ol Karl Rove South Carolina strategy.

Tom DeLay is Jesus

Jeeze this guy sucks on so many levels its hard to know where to begin. Apparently among swine like this guy and others of his ilk they believe that there is a "War on Christianity".

Yeah I know, one only has to venture to towns and cities like Waco, Dallas, hell, any small town in Texas or the South to see how wrong he really is in his delusional observations.

This DeLay quote alone is enough to seek higher power for some divine intervention.

From Houston Chronicle:

"But in a sense, there always has been and always will be," he said. "Our faith has always been in direct conflict with the values of the world. We are, after all, a society that provides abortion on demand, has killed millions of innocent children, degrades the institution of marriage and all but treats Christianity like some second-rate superstition."

"we have been chosen to live as Christians at a time when our culture is being poisoned. ... God made us specifically for it. ... Jesus Christ himself made us just so that we could live in this nation at this time."

How can one keep straight face when saying statements like these? First off "abortion on demand" sounds like a cable package and if that were really true would budgets for flamily planning centers be continued to be slashed? If he were so concerned about the killing of "millions of innocent children" then maybe he should stop supporting an illegal war in Iraq and Afghanistan and maybe channel that energy to support the U.S. military intervening in conflicts like these. As for Christianity being considered a "2nd rate superstition" well I don't how he could possibly think such a thought. It isn't like Christians celebrate the birth of their savior by retelling the tale of a jolly fat man who lives in the Artic region who tends to find much joy bouncing children on his knee every December. Who are we really kidding Christmas starts in November or at least that is what the malls want us to believe...
"only 271 more shopping days til Christmas".

That is only Christmas, to celebrate the resurrection of the Christian's savior they partake in the hunting of chocolate eggs that were hidden by a mysterious bunny who has some role that has yet to be explained to me or I have yet to find that chapter in the bible.

I could go on for awhile with this, obviously. Not to mention the whole Noah's Ark and Jonah and the Whale episodes. If anything Christianity is a first rate superstition. Because there seems to be no slow down in the regurgitation of these fables or "stories" and practices.

My favorite line in this whole article was from the organizer, Rick Scarborough, of this forum that DeLay was speaking at.

"This is a man, I believe, God has appointed ... to represent righteousness in government,"

I guess Mr. Scarborough was too engulfed in the Lord's spirit when saying this to even consider DeLay's looming trial for campaign money-laundering and his association with the now disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Or maybe my idea of representing "righeousness in goverment" has significantly changed.

What's even more disturbing is that he considers DeLay being Christ-like when he compares the press coverage of DeLay's as a crucifixion. Only a follower of Tom DeLay could say something like this,
"God does his best work after a crucifixion"

Armenian Republican Uses Turkey Photograph to Justify U.S. Occupation of Iraq













"We took this photo of dowtown Baghdad while we were in Iraq. Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and sta
ble than what many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it - in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism."

-------------------

Jesus, how much more irony can you fit into one headline? Armenians using Turkey in an attempt absolve the U.S. of any responsibility for the massacres in Iraq?

Howard Kaloogian, an Armenian Republican, is running for Congress to replace disgraced war profiteer Randy "Duke" Cunningham. To bolster his national security credentials, Kaloogian supposedly went to Iraq to see the so-called "good news" we hear the White House promising exists. His proof of the miracle in Baghdad?

A photo posted on his campaign website that purports to show a stable, calm, and downright pleasant Iraqi street corner in the heart of Baghdad.

There's only one slight problem. The photo was taken in Turkey! See if you can spot the plethora of clues that would lead any non-Republican automaton to question its authenticity.

Here's one to start you off: Cute young girls in revealing tight pink tank-tops don't hold hands with young boys on Baghdad street corners.

In any event, give money to Francine Busby, the Democrat running against this moron. I'd also tell you to visit Kaloogian's site and see the photo for yourself, but his server is overloaded with bloggers trying to do the same thing.

They're obviously totally qualified. . .

(. . . and up yours Howard Fineman).

Newsweek examines Josh Bolton's rise in the Bush White House.

Turns out, Bolton first sealed his career when he was in Austin one night and accidentally wandered into a bar and chatted with some bar regulars. Next thing you know, he's in charge of the nation's fiscal policy -- plunging the nation into massive debt.

I'll let Newsweek explain:

It was a late-night walk through the street of Austin, Texas, that secured the job. The night before his job interview, Bolten had dinner, and then, to get some air and his bearings, had gone out for a stroll -– and eventually found himself (as is easy to do in Austin) in a rough part of town [go to hell Fineman!]. He ended up having coffee at a diner with down-on-their-luck types, listening to their stories and encouraged them to try to get their personal acts together.

Bolten recounted his itinerary the next day to Bush, who was charmed by the Victorian earnestness -– and innocence -– of the story. Now here, Bush evidently thought, was the guy to devise the mechanics of the “compassionate conservative” principles around which he and Rove were building the campaign.


This is about par for the course for qualifications to get into this White House. Tell a bar story to Bush, become the head of the Office of Management and Budget.

Michael Brown [FEMA Director]: Fired from his job at the International Arabian Horse Association and put in charge of the federal government's crisis response agency. He's now consulting others on how to look good for the cameras as Category 5 hurricanes bear down upon them.

Michael Chertoff [Homeland Security Director]: Former lawyer at Latham & Watkins and volunteer Whitewater counsel is now in charge of protecting us from hurricanes and terrorists. Despite screwing almost everything up that he touches, his job remains safe (inexplicably).

Rod Paige [Education Dept. Head]: Former superintendent of Houston public schools -- renowned for their astronomical dropout rates for minorities left as many children behind as he possibly could before Margaret Spellings could pick up the baton.

George Deutsch [NASA Spokesman]: Campaign Bush/Cheney campaign volunteer and former Texas A&M Battalion columnist who lied about graduating from A&M and was eventually fired.

George W. Bush [President]: Former governor of a state with a weak governership and failed oil industry executive. Is currently about as popular as Nixon was before resigning.

[Please feel free to add in the "comments" section]

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Time to abuse our freedoms. . .

Victory! Now we can start speaking our mind (insert rolling of eyes here).

From the WashPost:

In a unanimous vote yesterday, the Federal Election Commission left unregulated almost all political activity on the Internet except for paid political advertisements. Campaigns buying such ads will have to use money raised under the limits of current federal campaign law. Perhaps most important, the commission effectively granted media exemptions to bloggers and other activists using the Web to allow them to praise and criticize politicians, just as newspapers can, without fear of federal interference.

Great, so it's time to start exercising our newfound powers:

1) The George Bushes are Saudi spies

2) Pat Robertson likes to be dominated in his sex dungeon

3) Condoleeza Rice likes to eat babies

4) Al Gonzales may just in fact be mildly retarded

5) Karl Rove is a hermaphrodite

Yay FEC!!

Zzzzzzzzz....

Bush's pathetic attempt this morning to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic is making big news inside the Beltway.

Outside?

Most Americans are wondering why a grown man named "Andy" was running the White House for 5 1/2 years and whether or not he's playground friends with "Brownie."

Monday, March 27, 2006

White House to sniff your toilets for cocaine

Jeeeeesus, they are getting weird.

From the WaPo:

The Bush administration, hoping to someday broaden the government's knowledge of illegal drug use, is probing the mysteries of Fairfax's sewage for a clearer picture. Earlier this month, the county agreed to participate in a White House pilot program to analyze wastewater from communities throughout the Potomac River Basin for the urinary byproducts of cocaine. . . "It's a very strange request," Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) said of the White House program.

It's not only the Republicans who reward failure

Stephanie Cutter, one of the army of failed press flacks on the Kerry campaign (see: "too many cooks in the kitchen"), keeps her streak going.

After helping tank the Kerry campaign, Cutter left Democratic Party politics to form her own consulting group (how loyal!).

But, doing as Democrats do, they party has trusted Cutter with organizing this Wednesday's BIG ROLLOUT of Democratic Party ideals when it comes to national security (apparently they're short of PR flacks).

Only problem is, she tipped off the GOP five days ahead of time -- with her boo boo landing on the front page of Roll Call today.

Nice going Democrats!

Memo to Future U.S. POWs: 'War is War'

Isn't this against some kind of judicial code?

Antonin "Torquemada" Scalia dismisses international law with a swipe of the hand during a speech in Switzerland this weekend (by the way, he's getting ready to hear an appeal from a Guantanamo Bay detainee).

Message to future U.S. armed forces recruits? Don't get caught:

"War is war, and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts," Newsweek quoted Scalia as saying. "Give me a break . . . If he was captured by my army on a battlefield, that is where he belongs. I had a son on that battlefield and they were shooting at my son, and I'm not about to give this man who was captured in a war a full jury trial. I mean it's crazy. . . "

Hey, at least he didn't give them the bird like he did to reporters inside a Boston church. No kidding.

Rare good news:

Pork That's Good for the Heart May Be Possible With Cloning


A group of university researchers said yesterday that they had created what sounds like a nutritional holy grail: cloned pigs that make their own omega-3 fatty acids, potentially leading to bacon and pork chops that might help your heart.

























One of the cloned pigs

Now, normally I'd be wary of genetically-modified food, but for healthy bacon I will make an exception.

Mmmmmmmmm....

Friday, March 24, 2006

Another right-wing fraud (I know, we're losing count)


Washington Post shirks its journalistic ethics by hiring a unabashed right-wing blogger to "counter" Dan Froomkin, a regular online contributer who is not listed as a "left-wing" opinion writer.

In fact Froomkin's news items have been fair and accurate. Maybe that's why he didn't get FIRED right after he was hired, like Ben Domenech -- said right-wing blogger hire.

The WashPost online has replaced his blog with an announcement that Domenech has resigned due to numerous plagiarism allegations:

In the past 24 hours, we learned of allegations that Ben Domenech plagiarized material that appeared under his byline in various publications prior to washingtonpost.com contracting with him to write a blog that launched Tuesday. . .

When we hired Domenech, we were not aware of any allegations that he had plagiarized any of his past writings. In any cases where allegations such as these are made, we will continue to investigate those charges thoroughly in order to maintain our journalistic integrity.

So, what does Domenech do after he's shamed into resigning for pilfering other people's work? He runs home to right-wing media to piss and moan about his treatment at the hands of the awful leftists who run the Post (news to us). Witness the pouty prodigy:

While I appreciated the opportunity to go and join the Washington Post,” Domenech said, “if they didn’t expect the leftists were going to come after me with their sharpened knives, then they were fools. . . The idea that the attack machine has gotten to the level where they dig back to your freshman year of college, when you’re 17, and say, ‘Hey, this guy should have been thinking about the authority of what he was writing the same way that people do at the New York Times,’ then, I mean, it’s idiotic...

In a TOTALLY UNRELATED story, a new study shows that whiny insecure kids are more likely to become Republicans. Hmmmm....

History will remember the Vichy Democrats. . .

From Scott Ritter's amazing editorial:

Looking back on the string of unfulfilled objectives, broken promises, squandered dreams, shattered bodies and eviscerated lives that was and is the war in Iraq, one thought emerges plain and clear. This isn't simply a result of bad governance. This is criminal. . .

While poll numbers on Iraq reflect a growing unease about the war, this unease has not manifested itself into any discernable reaction of consequence. The Democratic Party has remained largely mute, largely because of the culpability on the part of much of its membership in facilitating and sustaining the Iraqi war and its underlining doctrine of global domination by the United States.

But in the face of the near total subservience on the part of the Republican Party in supporting the policies of President Bush no matter how illegal and harmful they are to America and the world, the Democratic Party must shake itself free of the doldrums it currently finds itself stuck in. The time for passive recognition that the war in Iraq has gone bad is long past.

The time for concrete political action has arrived. The Democrats need to recognize that the political struggle in America today is not a trivial extension of the partisan Red State-Blue State nonsense the American media likes to bandy about, but rather a far more serious struggle of national survival, if one in fact defines the American nation as being reflective of the ideals and values set forth by the Constitution of the United States.

The Democratic Party must become laser-like in its rejection of the war in Iraq, resolute in condemning this war for what it is, an illegal war of aggression,and determined in fighting for the concept of a nation governed by the rule of law by holding President Bush accountable for his illegal actions.

In short, the rallying cry of the Democratic Party must become impeachment.

Diplomacy 101

After months of saber-rattling and hyper-heated rhetoric on Iran -- everything from its non-existent nuclear weapons program to its alleged patented bombs being used to stymie our occupation -- there was a break in the clouds.

The White House said that it would have discussions with Iran (LIMITED TO IRAQ). However, it was a mammoth turn of events (remember Frum's "axis of evil" crack?).

So, it was obviously only a matter of time before the Bushies fucked it up. Enter Zalmay Khalizad, former UNOCAL oil adviser (PNAC and Taliban apologist) conventiently turned ambassador to Iraq and his ill-timed tirade:

Iran is publicly professing its support for Iraq's stalemated political process while its military and intelligence services back outlawed militias and insurgent groups, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said Thursday.

Iranian agents train and arm Shiite Muslim militias such as the Mahdi Army, linked to one of Iraq's most powerful clerics, Khalilzad said, and also work closely with Sunni Arab-led insurgent forces including Ansar al-Sunna, blamed for dozens of deadly attacks on Iraqi and American soldiers and Shiite civilians.

OK, where to start:

1) The "ambassador" from an country illegally occupying Iraq says that its geographic neighbor (which has its own national security concerns) is "meddling" in Iraq. As if the US wouldn't "meddle" in Cuba if Russia decided to put some missiles there (oh wait, that happened and we almost blew up the world). In reality, he is just an oil risk expert and is in charge of carving up Iraq's oil fields.

2) Being a dubious "ambassador," Khalizad's use of the term "outlawed militias" is interesting. So, the illegal occupying army has "outlawed" these militias? That's a double-negative. So, if you are outlawed by an illegal entity, does that make you lawful?

3) Iran is working closely with Sunni Arabs? Since when? Iranians are PERSIAN, not Arab -- two completely different races. And Iran is overwhelmingly Shiite, not Sunni -- which is why the White House was scared shitless when the Shiites dominated the recent "elections." (Jesus, who couldn't have seen that coming?)

4) It was the "Sunni Arabs" in Iraq that took their marching orders from the Reagan and decided to start the ambitiously named "Whirlwind War" and invaded Iran, sparking the bloody 8-year Iran-Iraq war that killed over one million men, women, and children. So, it strains credibility to allege that Iran now wants to help Sunni militias kill sympathetic Shiites.

The hypocricy in these charges is just too much. Blaming Iran for destabilizing Iraq when it was your fucked up war the led to this mayhem? These charges don't even make historical sense.

Remember, it was OUR DEFENSE DEPARTMENT that openly admitted it was going to exercise "The Salvador Option" and start operating death squads to terrorize the population and foment sectarian violence. They actually admitted it!!!!

And, if death squads are what the White House wants, then death squads it shall receive (from Reuters):

Allegations that "death squads" operate in the country had grown stronger after the discovery by multinational forces and the Iraqi security forces in January of a suspicious group operating within the Interior Ministry, it said. Twenty-two men, dressed as special police commandos, were caught when driving with a man who was allegedly about to be executed, it said.

"So remember Iran, you better straighten up and stop backing those "outlawed militias," they're interfering with our lawful death squads. Don't you realize we're trying to impose a democracy here?? Why do you make us hurt you?"

Kickbacks, Halliburton, and Saudi oil. . .

A foreign friend once told me that the Bushes really were quite adept at foreign policy. When I expressed incredulity, he replied:

"They've been Saudi Arabia's best ambassadors to the United States."

If ever an article helped remind us of disgusting war profiteering and the sordid connection between the Bush/Cheney Empire and the Saudi Royal Family, here it is:

The director of operations for a Saudi company that operates numerous dining facilities for United States Army troops in Iraq and Kuwait was arrested Wednesday and accused of making false statements in connection with what is believed to be a kickback scheme involving a major base near the border of the two countries, a federal prosecutor's office in Illinois said yesterday.

The United States attorney's office also unsealed charges against a former employee of Kellogg Brown & Root, the Halliburton subsidiary, who is accused of receiving the kickbacks, which the office said totaled $124,000. . .

. . . because of the wide involvement that Mr. Khan has had with the American war effort in Iraq and Kuwait, the arrest raises the question of how much further the case could take the web of corruption charges that have riddled the expensive but seemingly indispensable roster of contractors that support the military effort in Iraq.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Curtain Call for Turd Blossom

Bush's Brain, Boy Genius, The Savior, Strategerist for a Permanent GOP Majority are but a few of the names given to Karl Rove -- the phone bank hack annointed a "wunderkind" by unoriginal journalists in the MSM.

What a difference a few years and a failed empire-expanding experiment make. Far from creating a permanent majority, Rove is hoping he can hold the House and Senate -- and his own job in the process.

From today's NYT:

President Bush's suggestion on Tuesday that he may add a new senior figure to his White House team raised questions about the future of two of his closest and most powerful aides, Andrew H. Card Jr. and Karl Rove, as they struggle to put Mr. Bush's White House back on course. . .

Republicans outside the White House said Wednesday that they had pushed Mr. Bush not to replace Mr. Rove, but rather to bring in someone at the same level or above, perhaps as minister without portfolio. One Republican said Mr. Bush should view it as replacing a top-notch pitcher struggling in the later innings of a baseball game, rather than as a vote of no-confidence in a friend.

Call it what you want, when the paper that ran the PR operation for the Iraq invasion says Republicans are calling for The Sandman to sweep Rove off stage, he's in deep shit.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

"Boston Legal" screenwriters more adept than DC consultants

A group called "Wings of Justice" gave an award this week to David E. Kelley, James Spader, and the Writers of "Boston Legal" for a closing statement in the fictional TV show:

Each time we watched James Spader's closing arguments in the "Boston Legal" episode titled "Stick It," we wondered: "Why don't Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi say this? Why aren't there Democratic Party advertisements on television with this message?"

We don't know.

We do know that it is a splendid experience to watch someone say what needs to be said. Spader was talking to a fictional jury, but he's really talking to every American. Never was the case for democracy so articulately and compellingly -- and entertainingly -- distilled into an argument that lasts just a few minutes.



The case involved a defendant who refused to pay war taxes. Go to the site and click on James Spader's picture. It's pretty damn good.

Wise words on Iraq

"[They have been] led into a trap from which it shall be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiqués are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told. Our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows ... We are today not far from a disaster."

-- Lawrence of Arabia, 1920

This comes from another amazing piece in the Independent from one of the world's best journalists, Robert Fisk.

Click here for the rest of the column.

And buy his book "The Great War for Civilisation" if you want to get your learn on about the Middle East.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I wouldn't worry about it...

H.W. Brands, professor of history at The University of Texas (Austin), has some cautionary words for Russ Feingold on the censure issue.

Please forgive the history buff if he's not paying attention to current trends in polling or, hell. . . even current events in general.

Here's the last line of Brands' well-researched but poorly argued column:

Russ Feingold is no Henry Clay, at least not yet. And if he hopes to discredit Mr. Bush, as he doubtless does, I'd suggest he find means other than censure. The last thing today's Democrats want to do is to make George W. Bush look like Old Hickory.

Like I said, I wouldn't worry about it -- even misguided historians like Brands won't be making that parallel in the years to come.

But here's where Brands proves himself an idiot. Some other means "other than censure"? Like what?

Should Feingold hold hearings (oh wait, he's in the minority and can't do shit...remember??).

Should Feingold ask for impeachment (oh wait, that's impossible and even worse than censure).

What, pray tell, would Mr. Brands have Sen. Feingold do? I suspect having Feingold sit on his hands and shut the f-up would be Brands' preferred method of dealing with this issue.

Ben Bentzin...

...is like a dog turd you just can't totally scrape off the bottom of your shoe.

The TX GOP never should have stepped in him.

Texas GOP investigated again
Travis prosecutor checking whether party should have reported activity for Bentzin campaign.
AAS

The Republican Party of Texas, which settled a criminal inquiry into its campaign finances just months ago, is back under investigation for not reporting its involvement in the Ben Bentzin campaign for the Texas House.

Bush v. LBJ

Since today's bash Bush day, I thought I'd drag up this old LBJ quote:

We Liked Ike. This exerpt from a letter by President Eisenhower to his brother on Nov. 8, 1954 seems to have a timely ring to it:

Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.

Bush and the Greeks

Friday, Bush will be participating in a Greek Independence Day celebration in DC.

Which is great and all, except that on every foreign policy issue of concern, Bush is fucking over the Greeks because he wants to make nice with Turkey so he can have help with Rummie's Project for a New American Century plot to create Syriana.

Check this analysis of Bush's record on issues affecting Greece, from Gene Rossides, President of the American Hellenic Institute:


[Q]uestions are being raised as to what his legacy will be as the 43rd President. Bush has three years remaining in his second term to turn things around in Iraq and to strengthen his democracy initiative in order to build a record for his legacy.

The thesis of this article is that unless President Bush alters his administration’s policy on Turkey and Cyprus, his democracy initiative will fail. The administration’s undemocratic position on the Cyprus problem and its double standard on the application of the rule of law to Turkey, the appeasement of Turkey and its failure to press for democratic reforms, make a mockery of Bush’s democracy initiative.

Historians and serious students of history will not overlook the glaring inconsistency in
Bush’s rhetoric and his policy and actions regarding Turkey and Cyprus regardless of what happens in Iraq.

[...]

Bush should also call on Turkey as part of his democracy initiative to remove promptly (1) the 35,000-40,000 illegal Turkish invasion and occupation troops from Cyprus, (2) the 120,000 illegal Turkish settlers and colonists brought from Turkey to Cyprus in violation of the Geneva Convention of 1949 and (3) to tear down the infamousTurkish barbed wire Green Line fence across the face of Cyprus.

Bush should also hold Turkey responsible for its invasion of Cyprus and its murders, rapes, the forcing 180,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes and property, destruction of churches and property and widespread looting.

To put meaning into his democracy initiative Bush also needs to address Turkey’s lack of full democracy. Freedom House in its annual survey calls Turkey only a partial democracy.

When is Bush going to publicly call for full human and political rights for Turkey’s 20% Kurdish minority?

When is Bush going to condemn the Turkish military’s brutal attacks on its Kurdish citizens?

[...]

Ataturk led the genocide against the Pontian Greeks in which 350,000 were killed and the burning of Smyrna. In 1955, the Turkish government under Prime Minister Menderes organized the infamous pogrom against the 100,000 Greeks of Istanbul and the Greek Orthodox Churches detailed by Professor Speros Vryonis, Jr. in his monumental book The Mechanism of Catastrophe: The Turkish Pogrom of September 6-7, 1955, and the Destruction of the Greek Community of Istanbul, published this year.

Turkey continues to this day its actions, some subtle, must overt, against the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Ecumenical Patriarch, the first among equals of the Eastern Orthodox Christian religion. In 1971, Turkey illegally closed the Halki Patriarchal School of Theology. For the past several years, Turkey has been illegally taking church property.

The Bush administration has been all talk and no action regarding religious freedom in Turkey. If Bush wants to put meaning into his democracy initiative he should act vigorously regarding Turkey’s violations of religious freedom which U.S. law requires him to do. Specifically, the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) was enacted into law in 1998 following a unanimous vote by Congress. IRFA provides for up to 15 actions which the President could take against Turkey.


In the White House proclamation about Greek Independence Day, Bush declared, "Greece is the birthplace of democratic principles."

So here, again, Bush's talk about "democratic principles" doesn't match his walk, or his "swagger" or his "incompetent bumbling" or whatever we want to call it.

Here's Amnesty International on Cyprus:


A Greek Cypriot civilian was beaten to death while a Turkish Cypriot police officer failed to intervene. Two unarmed Greek Cypriot civilians were shot dead by Turkish Cypriot soldiers. A journalist was shot dead in an alleged politically motivated killing in the Turkish Cypriot-administered part of the island.


So thanks, George, for recognizing Greek Independence Day. Now can we trade that proclamation in for some human rights?

Animated burgers, Jared the wierdo, and stupid marketing idiots. . .

"Engagement" is the topic of a New York Times feature today. This has nothing to do with impending nuptuals, rather a new buzzword in the marketing biz that describes, well. . . I'm not exactly sure what the hell it is.

Let a marketing guru attempt to explain:

Engagement, "from a research standpoint, is momentary and driven by emotion," said Joseph T. Plummer, chief research officer at the foundation, who is scheduled to speak to the convention today on efforts being made to define engagement to everyone's satisfaction.

"It's turning the mental model of the industry on its head," he added. . .

Another big difference is that engagement "happens inside the consumer, not inside the medium. . ."

Huh?

So, after about 600 words of inside-industry jargon, we finally get to the nuts and bolts of this new "engagement" strategy by marketing firms. And what we get is freakin' pathetic. Take for example these GROUNDBREAKING new forms of marketing described in the story:

Subway: For people interested in learning more about creepy Jared Fogle, an online bio exists that "allows [readers] to get the information at the speed and depth they want," according to Tony Pace, Subway's chief marketing guru.

Campbell Soup: If you download a recipe from Campbell's soup, they insert the "Mmmm mmmm good" song with your recipe, virtually guaranteeing your lifelong brand affiliation with Campbell.

Wendy's: David Cohen, a VP at mega-marketing firm Universal McCann Interactive, says his client Wendy's will prosper because they've created a mascot called Smart Square (resembling the burger patty you are about to eat) with its own Web site and MySpace.com profile (though, good luck finding it). Apparently befriending the cut of meat you are about to devour builds brand loyalty.

McDonald's: International Micky D's ad whiz Giovanni Fabris says that they intend to use ringtones and cell phones to send ads to consumers. Wow! Ringtones!


What I'm getting at is that once you splice through all the bullshit industry talk, "engagement" is nothing but a sorry bunch of ideas from old people attempting to piggyback on emerging media.

I mean, creating a Myspace profile for your animated burger patty? Sending "bada bah bah bah" ringtones to passers-by? Hyping an online bio of your socially awkward spokesman?

This is pathetic.

Basically, how do I get in on this???

Bush is so full of shit.

So CNN is on in the background in my office, and Bush is giving a press conference. I catch this snippet from the Leader of the Free World:

"You know I don't follow the polls."

Whaaaa?

Are they still pulling that line after Washington Monthly busted them on it 2002?

President Bush doesn't believe in polling---just ask his pollsters.

A Washington Monthly analysis of Republican National Committee disbursement filings revealed that Bush's principal pollsters received $346,000 in direct payments in 2001. Add to that the multiple boutique polling firms the administration regularly employs for specialized and targeted polls and the figure is closer to $1 million. That's about half the amount Clinton spent during his first year; but while Clinton used polling to craft popular policies, Bush uses polling to spin unpopular ones---arguably a much more cynical undertaking.

Media Matters has called bullshit on this as well.

Even some random message board called the GWB out on it:

On the news show Washington Week, David Sanger a White House correspondent the New York Times said , the White House publicly claims to be disinterested in polls but in private the Bush administration is the most poll obsessed presidency he's ever seen.

The entire attack on Hillary Clinton that's been going on the past month or so, has been orchestrated by Karl Rove to discredit her as a critic of the administration because she has high positive poll numbers on nearly every criticism she has of the current administration. Rove even used focus groups shape the "Hilliary is angry" talking point campaign but dropped the use of the "angry" angle when polls showed that the public saw the "angry" allegations as just another smear campaign and it resulted in a backlash that lowered Bush's positive performance numbers even more.


These fuckers even polled the war in Iraq:

Although White House officials said many federal departments had contributed to the document, its relentless focus on the theme of victory strongly reflected a new voice in the administration: Peter D. Feaver, a Duke University political scientist who joined the N.S.C. staff as a special adviser in June and has closely studied public opinion on the war.

Despite the president's oft-stated aversion to polls, Dr. Feaver was recruited after he and Duke colleagues presented the administration with an analysis of polls about the Iraq war in 2003 and 2004. They concluded that Americans would support a war with mounting casualties on one condition: that they believed it would ultimately succeed.


No polls eh?

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Dry Creek Nazi

This is a great column by the AAS's John Kelso on Sarah, the legendary hostile-yet-loveable bartender at The Dry Creek Saloon on Mount Bonnell road in Austin.

Sorry to report she's in a caregiver home right now, not barking at neophytes with the audacity to place their tips on the bar and not in her tip jar. I'm sure she's giving her caregivers hell right now too, just as we would expect.

Her reputation is even alluded to in this 2001 travel article in the London Guardian.

Fighting Shit with Art


"Superfund" sites -- the focus-group approved name for areas of massive pollution and toxic waste that is more fitting for a lottery -- are the focus of a great art new project by the Museum of Cultural Arts in Houston.

Houston kids living near Superfund sites portray their concerns and frustrations through art. Grist Magazine was nice enough to compile a slideshow.

Enjoy.

How a Dirty D.C. Cop Could Bail Out the GOP

Sigh, as is always the case... the Abramoff indictment was too good to be true.

Expecting a string of indictments once Canary Abramoff sings from his cage? Not likely. Why?

Blame DC cop Nelson Valdes.

In a then-little-noticed decision, a three-judge appeals court overruled the conviction of Valdes, who used the police's vehicle registration program to run license plate numbers for info to someone who paid him cash. He was convicted of taking illegal gratuities.

But the appeals court said that is wasn't clear that Valdes was operating in an "official manner" when he used his job's vehicle ID program to run favors for money (something I'm sure is frowned upon by the DCPD).

Basically, the appeals court drastically narrowed the definition of an "official act" -- making it near-impossible for prosecutors to draw the distinction.

From the Post:

"Now, virtually every time the government tries to bring an official-acts prosecution, the defense will cite the Valdes case," said George D. Brown, professor at Boston College Law School. "The decision raises a substantial element of doubt,"

Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, agreed. "I'd be very troubled if I were in the Justice Department pursuing these things," she said.


This three-judge panel has clearly lost its mind. God bless the one sane judge who voted in the dissent. Her words are better than anything I could write:

In dissent, Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson accused the majority of, in effect, making payoffs legal.

"In Mexico, they call it 'la mordida' (literally, 'the bite'); in Iran, 'bakhshish'; and in France, 'pot-de-vin.' Here in America, we call it a 'payoff' and, today, the majority calls it lawful," Henderson wrote.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

"You know what I'm sayin'...?"

This is a HILARIOUS must-see video with G-Dub's nephew (one of about 67) attempting to conduct a conversation with Campbell Brown. His reason for being on the show? He wrote a letter to the Houston Chronicle defending Unky Bush. He's a big boy now!

Stoned or just another idiot Bush? You decide...


He does have the trademark
Bush lost-in-the headlights
look down pat

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

"Post-Abramoff"

Do you think the Abramoff scandal is going to rattle Washington? Do you think the Democrats' "reform package" will cure the cancer of corporate cash in the Capitol?

Then you are an idiot.

Witness an email I received from "Emily Hughes of webworkshops.com" inviting me to a workshop being held by "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and presented by Rightclick Strategies."

It's nice to see that the Chamber has dropped all pretense of being bipartisan now that they're in bed with the rightwing (and appropriately named Rightclick Strategies). The firm gained infamy by pretending that it did work for high-profile Democrats (which it did not) in order to seem non-partisan (how pathetic is that?).

But here's where it get's good, the subheading on the email lets you know the reason for the gathering:

"Find out how to empower constituents and influence Capitol Hill in the post-Abramoff world at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's 'Winning in a Web World' workshop."

The email clearly implies the following: Prior to the "post-Abramoff world", all one had to do to "empower constituents and influence Capitol Hill" was give wads of cash to Abramoff or one of his plentiful ilk -- a strategy the Chamber has followed dutifully for the last 25 years. Then here's the kicker, the workshop panel includes (bios follow):

Ben Goddard: Famous for his 'Harry and Louise' anti-health care ads that helped bankrupt the country's health care system and left 60 million people in America, the richest nation in the world, without health care coverage.

John Leary: Political director for the American Medical Association, an outfit that seeks to shelter bad doctors while limiting their liability for gross negligence. With the AMA's help, millions of Americans have been subjected to bad medicine, had their lives ruined and have found little or no recourse.

Alex Treadway: National Journal's Director of Member Services. Is the National Journal coming out of the closet? Treadway also shows up frequently in right-wing columns too as a source.

Michael Cornfield: With the Pew Internet and American Life Project - a dubiously named operation. To hell with Pew for letting him be on the panel.

PS: Anyone with a Democratic office should BLACKLIST Congressional Management Foundation, cancel their National Journal subscriptions and switch to CQ, and tell the Pew Internet and American Life Project to go fuck itself for helping these jerks continue to buy off our democracy (excuse me, "influence Capitol Hill").

As for the Chamber, AMA, and Rightclick -- you already are a Republican if you're dealing with them.

Molly Don't Like Hillary (shhhh, neither do I)

As my momma said, "Molly is Mad":

I don’t know about you, but I have had it with the D.C. Democrats, had it with the DLC Democrats, had it with every calculating, equivocating, triangulating, straddling, hair-splitting son of a bitch up there, and that includes Hillary Rodham Clinton. . .

What happens now is not up to the has-beens in Washington who run this party. It is up to us. So let’s get off our butts and start building a progressive movement that can block the nomination of Hillary Clinton or any other candidate who supposedly has “all the money sewed up.”

I am tired of having the party nomination decided before the first primary vote is cast, tired of having the party beholden to the same old Establishment money.

We can raise our own money on the Internet, and we know it. Howard Dean raised $42 million, largely on the web, with a late start when he was running for President, and that ain’t chicken feed. If we double it, it gives us the lock on the nomination. So let’s go find a good candidate early and organize the shit out of our side.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Dems cowering in the corner (and me missing Wellstone)

Let's remember: 1) Bush clearly broke the law, and 2) his approval rating is hovering in the mid-30s.

So given this, when a Democrat steps up to say the obvious -- Bush shouldn't break the law -- the Dems:

Democratic leaders shy away from censure plan
Sen. Feingold's effort to condemn Bush over spy program fails to draw clear support


WASHINGTON - Democrats distanced themselves Monday from Wisconsin Sen. Russell Feingold's effort to censure President Bush over domestic spying, maneuvering to prevent a vote that could alienate swing voters.

Typical courage from Lieberman:

Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat who supports the Iraq war, said he does not buy the Bush administration's argument that it had the legal authority to enact the program.

But, he said, "I'd prefer to see us solve the problem."

In other words, Bush broke the law, but I'm not going to do anything about it.

Here's what Frist said:

Frist, a Tennessee Republican, called the measure "a political stunt that is addressed at attacking the president of the United States of America when we're at war."

Why doesn't Harry Reid fire back: "Yeah, we are at war, in Iraq, a war we shouldn't have started. You can wiretap there all you want. And we're at war with Al Queda, and you can wire tap them all you want. But last time I checked we are not at war with the American people, and you cannot wire tap them illegally."

"Oh and by the way, if you want to talk about the appropriateness of political stunts during wartime, that's a conversation I'm willing to ahve with you on Meet the Press or wherever you like, and we'll start with the "Mission Accomplished" banner and Top Gun playacting."

"Even many in your own party have said Bush broke the law here, so don't you dare chalk this up to partisanship."

Instead Reid said:

Asked at a news conference whether he would vote for the censure resolution, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada declined to endorse it and said he hadn't read it.

Fuck Joseph Schramm

Check out this letter to the editor in the local rag DC Examiner today:

Behavior led to police shooting

Media coverage of the unfortunate death of Aaron Brown has stopped for the moment, so I want to take this opportunity to focus the discussion in a different direction, and on the real cause. The kids involved instigated this tragic event. Officer Stowe, while performing his duty, tried to resolve it.

Everybody likes to place blame, so let’s start with the parents of the kids involved. The parents allowed them to stay out beyond 4 a.m. They raised them with no sense of right and wrong and little respect for others, for authority and for the law.

These kids were allegedly involved in theft, illegal drinking of alcohol and possessing and/or using illegal drugs. They were fleeing their crime scene and thought this was all a game or a joke.

If the kids had behaved responsibly, they would have stopped when confronted by a uniformed police officer. Had they done the right thing, the outcome of that night would have been quite different.

I am sure the investigation of Stowe will be decided based on the facts. I hope the parents and kids involved are also investigated and held responsible for their actions.

Joseph Schramm
Alexandria



So, four teenagers skip a tab, and cop shoots one of them to death, and this jackass says the responsibility lies with the parents for letting an 18-year-old stay out late? I bet this conservative piece of shit would have a far different opinion if a white kid were in SE DC late at night, and got shot by a private citizen who was Black in a questionable "self-defense" case outside a nightclub. Think he'd say the blame belonged with the parents for that one? Or think he's be hollering for justice?

You think he blames rape victims too for walking around late at night? And their parents for letting them out? If the "kids had behaved responsibly" this wouldn't have happened, huh? Is it "responsible" for an off-duty cop to shoot wildly at a moving car?

Does this man have no human empathy? Can he place himself in the mind of a kid who skipped a tab? Does he have sadness for the senseless loss of human life?

By defending this murder, Schramm hurts the credibility of all law enforcement.

The Post reports the use of force was questionable -- even if the officer's story was true.

Many public safety experts agree that policies allowing officers to shoot at moving cars are risky and antiquated.

"We put the emphasis on better training. Striking at a moving vehicle doesn't do you any good. If you think you had a problem before, try adding a corpse behind the wheel," D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said last night. "We feel better tactics, better approaches . . . is the way to go."

Geoffrey Alpert, a criminologist at the University of South Carolina and an expert on the use of lethal force, said officers can put themselves in a position to fear for their lives. "This is an issue that is well resolved at major departments for all the right reasons," he said. "You do not shoot at a moving vehicle when the only force being used against you is the moving vehicle."


But, even so, it appears the cop fired into the side of the car! See: Family, Witnesses Discuss Fatal IHOP Shooting

"I don't know why a cop would open fire on a vehicle full of kids, when, really, what should have been done was taken the tags down and called it in," Daughtrey said.

Sources told News4 that at least four shots were fired into the Jeep: one into the grill; one into the hood; one into the rear, side door behind the driver; and one into the rear quarter panel.

"Immediately after, we're yelling at the cop, telling him, 'He's not breathing. He's shot,'" Daughtrey said. "At that point, he told us to shut up."

Fuck you, Joseph Schramm, I hope you get arrested in a case of mistaken identity. Fuck the police. I hope this cop goes down for murder and gains a gain a new appreciation for Oz while in lockup

Don't get me wrong -- our society needs police, and most do a sacrificing, noble job, but if you can't discipline your own, if you can get shot 41 times for brandishing a wallet, fuck 'em.

Alright, I'm off to listen to some Springsteen.

Friday, March 10, 2006

And we're losing to them??

The GOP's new online commercial (if you're keeping track that makes about 150 GOP commercials to the Democrats 2) is attacking Democrats for not having any leadership.

Besides being somewhat accurate, I'm not sure why the Democrats wait until election years to run commercials. I guess the plan is to let the Repugs frame you and the issues for 3 1/2 years and then spend a lot of money in the last 6 months trying to convince voters what they've been hearing for the last 3 1/2 years from the other side is a lie.

But I digress!

Apparently the GOP has decided that the best funding pitch these days is to convince their donors how completely inept the Democratic Party is. Their new commercial "Find the Leader" is a Hollywood Squares spoof that ridicules all the Democratic Party leaders as out of touch and ineffective.

So, if I'm a rich Republican (which I obviously am), and the Democrats are so ineffectual and worthless, why would I give the GOP more money? Why not just sit back and light my cigar with a wad of Benjamins?

Strange strategy.

True to form, the Democrats are still trying to raise enough money to put up a billboard in Memphis (home to absolutely zero Democratic swing voters!!) -- for a gathering of 2008 candidates -- that knocks the Republicans for the port deal. Please note the incredibly small text that tells speeding motorists that the pretty picture of a boat was brought to you by "www.democrats.org"



Only problem is the billboard will be out of date by this weekend since DP World was told to take a hike. Sorry to bug you Memphis commuters!

On the other hand, the DNC could have made a great, cheap commercial and bought some media time in D.C. -- so that the national news agencies would rebroadcast it for free during the nightly news as part of a story on the ports deal.

I mean really, a fucking billboard!? What is this, like 1952?

How about rounding up ham radio operators to get the word out about the Democratic party?? The DNC could buy some ad space on steam engines and covered wagons, or even pay some guys to wear sandwich boards outside the local malt shops touting the Democrats' new tax plan.

Sigh...


DNC Communication Headquarters

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Texas Politics Roundup

Ciro lost to Henry in the primary Tuesday. That sucks.


In a bitter rematch, Cuellar defeated the man he replaced two years ago — former U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio — by capturing 53 percent of the vote, compared with Rodriguez's 41 percent. About 6 percent of the vote went to Victor Morales in the 11-county district that runs from the Mexican border to San Marcos.


Kos takes credit for the narrow margin:


The bottom line: we helped a campaign that was the walking dead and gave it new life, pumped in resources, and made it competitive. We did much to even the playing field even if ultimately we came up tantalizingly short.

Generally true. The bloggers raised a ton of money. As for Henry, how do call yourself a D when your spokesperson puts out this shit?


Colin Strother, general consultant to the Cuellar campaign, said Cuellar won by representing his district.

“It’s not every day that a Democrat in a primary goes up against labor, trial lawyers, environmentalists and bloggers and wins. You know, if you look at all the forces gathered against Henry, this is more than a victory. This is a really, really big victory.”

Cuellar was backed by the conservative Club for Growth.


In other primary news, DeLay got 62%. Would have been nice to force a runoff, but we still want DeLay as the opponent. Lampson is looking good:

Lampson readies $1.6M against DeLay

What the hell is wrong back home? Of course, it is Corpus Christi. But still, damn primary voters are stupid. A third of 'em voted for Gene Kelly again.

Reluctant winner ponders next step
Victor in Dist. 18 Texas Senate race thought he was out


By Sarah Viren Caller-Times
March 9, 2006

Dr. Henry Boehm Jr. has no choice. He's running for the District 18 Texas Senate seat in November, whether he wants to or not.

Boehm, 66, won the primary Tuesday night despite announcing his withdrawal the month before. Glenn Hegar, 35, took the Republican primary, beating out candidates Gary Gates, 46, and David Stall, 48.



First Molly Ivins, now Ann Richards. Cancer is a Republican and he doesn't like strong Democratic women.

To a swift recovery.

And the weekend is almost here. You know what that means:

A real newspaper

Waiting for the NYT or WashPost to follow suit (don't hold your breath). . .

On "Meddling"

No words necessary...

Rice: Iran is major challenge to peace

Agencies
Thursday March 9, 2006


The US may face "no greater" challenge from any country than Iran, US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said today.

Ms Rice made the comments at a congressional hearing in Washington shortly after Iran's president vowed that there would be no retreat over its nuclear ambitions.

Ms Rice, who is pushing the UN security council to start taking action against Iran that could lead to sanctions, also accused Tehran of meddling in Iraq.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Burnt Orange Report Sets Sights on Kinky

Ticked-0ff at the anti-Bell press coming out about his conservative proclivities, agents within the Burnt Orange Report are furiously regurgitating the Bell campaign talking points on Kinky's own questionable past.

Perhaps this whole campaign is linked to the Bell blog ads being bought on BOR's site (see post below "I want Chris Bell's money").

From BOR:

It's disconcerting to see so many smart people out there fall for Friedman as if he's the cool, progressive alternative to whoever the Democratic nominee will be. . .

You're right BOR, it is "disconcerting" that neither Democratic candidate has given young people a reason to get excited about their campaigns, other than the fact they allegedly read blogs and support public schools.

Just don't blame Kinky for that. It's not his fault that he doesn't have money to pay for ads on your blog.

The Dragon Lady's Going Down

Couldn't happen to a nicer reptile...though, she's got career options.

From the Lakeland Ledger:

Already trying to avoid the media, Longboat Key Republican Katherine Harris is now canceling campaign stops in Southwest Florida as questions swirl about her ties to a Washington, D.C., defense contractor at the center of an ongoing national bribery scandal. . . It's another sign that Harris' struggling campaign is now in full crisis mode. Political consultants say that shying away from the public right now is also a bad strategy.



Next Lead for TransAmerica 2?

A rare bright spot in Texas journalism

The Lone Star Iconoclast, the official paper for the town of Crawford, Texas was one of the few bright spots from the 2004 election. In a bold move sure to infuriate its readers and subscribers, the paper not only endorsed John Kerry, it went above and beyond by absolutely slamming Bush for his failed administration.

From the now infamous endorsement:

Few Americans would have voted for George W. Bush four years ago if he had promised that, as President, he would:

  • Empty the Social Security trust fund by $507 billion to help offset fiscal irresponsibility and at the same time slash Social Security benefits.
  • Cut Medicare by 17 percent and reduce veterans’ benefits and military pay.
  • Eliminate overtime pay for millions of Americans and raise oil prices by 50 percent.
  • Give tax cuts to businesses that sent American jobs overseas, and, in fact, by policy encourage their departure.
  • Give away billions of tax dollars in government contracts without competitive bids.
  • Involve this country in a deadly and highly questionable war, and
  • Take a budget surplus and turn it into the worst deficit in the history of the United States, creating a debt in just four years that will take generations to repay.

These were elements of a hidden agenda that surfaced only after he took office.

The publishers of The Iconoclast endorsed Bush four years ago, based on the things he promised, not on this smoke-screened agenda. Today, we are endorsing his opponent. . .


Now, the Iconoclast has a book out about the Cindy Sheehan vigil in Crawford (yes, I know her schtick is getting a little old but still). Please consider buying the cheap book ($10!) at Amazon and helping out the tiny little Texas paper that had the balls to stick it to G-Dub in his own backyard and put principle over profit.

Sales of this book will help offset the hit the paper took because advertisers in Crawford are still boycotting the paper.

Also, if you know of anyone with a sympathetic blog, please get the word out.