Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Norm Coleman

After Republican Senator Norm Coleman met with the Australian Ambassador, an investigation of an Australian wheat exporter was stopped. The Daily Telegraph has the story. I wonder what the Minnesota wheat farmers think of their senator lobbying for Australian wheat?


Exxon-Mobil's profit was $36 billion. Amazing. I don't own any of their stock, but I do have a suggestion for Exxon-Mobil. In order to improve their image, they should take $1 billion of their money and help to rebuild the 9th ward of New Orleans. They could rebuild a few schools, several thousand houses, a couple of libraries, and maybe throw in a community center. (They could call it the E-M Community Center, for Exxon Mobil). This type of philanthropy in the face of their obscene profits would really be a good deed that they could brag about in the news. If they had money left over from their $1 billion, they could work on another neighborhood in Louisiana, Mississippi, or Alabama. The Exxon-Mobil people would inspire other corporations to do similar good deeds. Do I really think Exxon-Mobil would do anything like this proposal? No. They are too greedy.

Coretta Scott King

It was sad to hear about the death of Coretta Scott King. Mrs. King, and her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King, made many sacrifices in order to work for civil rights for all Americans. Our thoughts and prayers are with the King family.
Articles about Mrs. King: NYT ABC MSNBC

Monday, January 30, 2006


Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina reminds me of a weasel. He is full of bravado because a member of the majority party. DeMint follows the Republican leadership without question. He says Democrats stand for nothing and have not proposed anything. The Republicans control both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Many times, Democrats have been locked out of committee meetings. When Democrats ask to have a bill brought to the floor, the Republican leadership will not put it on the agenda. Republicans only work on bills that favor their lobbyist friends, not their constituents.

Democrats stand for people. Do you think if Democrats were in power that we would have invaded Iraq? NO! Our young men and women would be alive, not injured and fighting for their veterans medical benefits. If a Democrat had been in the White House, we would not have had the catastrophe on the gulf coast following the hurricanes. Why? A Democratic President would have reacted immediately to the crisis and had a competent FEMA director in place (not someone like HECKUVA JOB, BROWNIE ) organizing help/rescue/recovery. If the Democrats were the majority party, we would not have our elderly confused and befuddled by the Medicare Drug Plan which rewards the large pharmaceutical companies. We also would not have teachers dealing with the unfunded No Child Left Behind federal mandate.

DeMint, you are ridiculous----but that is only my humble opinion.

Who knew?????

This morning, Rachel Maddow was talking about Toby Keith on her radio show. Toby Keith is a Democrat! Whoa! Here are some excerpts from an article about his political beliefs:

...I'll never be ashamed of that song ("Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue"). That song was written about 9-11 and the Taliban and al Qaeda. That had nothing to do with the Iraq war. I got lumped in with that. There's nothing I can do about that. I'm not gonna run around and try to put all those fires out. There are so many of those ignorant rants about that that you just have to...

This is my favorite one. I'm a lifetime registered Democrat. That completely freaks people out. I helped to campaign in Oklahoma (for Democratic Gov. Brad Henry)...

...I always vote for the guy who can get it done. And it ain't nobody's business who I vote for, but I voted for Clinton twice. And that just blows people's minds when they hear that. And here's the thing. Just because you're pro-troops doesn't mean you're pro-war. And just because you're anti-war don't mean you're anti-troops.

Just because you don't support the war people think you're anti-troops and you're a bad guy. And just because you go support the troops and rah-rah the troops up all of a sudden you're pro-war. Those are the two biggest misconceptions of the whole thing.

The lifetime card-carrying Democrat, that kills 'em. The guys who hammer me would give anything if I would just turn coat; they want me so bad to be a Republican that it just kills 'em. But I'm not. It would make it so much easier to hate me, you know what I mean. It just destroys their attack on me when they find out I voted for Clinton twice and that I'm a Democrat."

I suggest you read the entire article because it will enlighten you.

Nobody Saw It Coming

Because this administration has failed to do the homework, they've screwed up again. From the New York Times:
Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice acknowledged Sunday that the United States had failed to understand the depth of hostility among Palestinians toward their longtime leaders. The hostility led to an election victory by the militant group Hamas that has reduced to tatters crucial assumptions underlying American policies and hopes in the Middle East.
"I've asked why nobody saw it coming," Ms. Rice said, speaking of her own staff. "It does say something about us not having a good enough pulse..."

Paul Bremer said the same thing about the insurgency in Iraq. ABC News:
Paul Bremer, who led the U.S. civilian occupation authority in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, has admitted the United States did not anticipate the insurgency in the country, NBC Television said on Friday.
Bremer, interviewed by the network in connection with release of his book on Iraq, recounted the decision to disband the Iraqi army quickly after arriving in Baghdad, a move many experts consider a major miscalculation.

When asked who was to blame for the subsequent Iraqi rebellion, in which thousands of Iraqis and Americans have died, Bremer said "we really didn't see the insurgency coming," the network said in a news release...

This phrase, 'nobody saw it coming,' must be one that this Republican administration likes to use.
1. They said that the didn't see the attacks of 9/11 coming despite the August 2001 PDB (presidential daily briefing) that said: Bin Laden determined to attack U.S.
2. They used the phrase when the levees failed in New Orleans. They had been warned before, but did nothing. (Media Matters)

Why can't they do their homework? Why didn't they plan for problems? These people need to read, study the problems, research solutions, plan extensively, discuss, evaluate, and have strategies/resources available to respond. (They didn't do any of these things before, during, or after the gulf hurricanes.)

I like these two quotes (even though I don't know their origins.)
*******The failure to plan is a plan for failure.
*******Plan for success.

Even now, while our young men and women are in Iraq, they still have not planned an exit strategy.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Of Cars and Hurricanes

With the prospects of higher gas prices, Americans seem to be staying away from the SUV's. The hybrids are a great way to save gas and they're good for the environment. The Honda Civic Hybrids are available at most Honda dealers, and the Toyota Prius might be available in larger numbers soon. As a proud owner of a Honda Civic Hybrid, I can tell you that I am getting great gas mileage (45-51 mpg highway/35-44 city).

Another alternative to the current line up of cars, is the Smart Car. These cars are made by Daimler-Chrysler, and were expected to be available this year in the USA. The Smart Car is available in Europe.

Did you know that hundreds of thousands of cars were damaged during last year's hurricanes? Be very careful if you plan to buy a used car.

A New York Times article paints a confused, slow to respond White House just before and immediately after Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast. The article may leave us wondering if this administration has the ability to respond to any emergency. Some excerpts follow: The White House was beset by the "fog of war" in the crucial days immediately after Hurricane Katrina, leaving it unable to respond properly to the unfolding catastrophe, House investigators said Friday after getting the most detailed briefing yet on how President Bush's staff had handled the events....
...The White House, Mr. Rapuano said, finally received confirmation about the levee breach about 6 a.m. on Tuesday, the morning after it occurred. But even then, it does not appear that word got immediately to Mr. Bush, who was on vacation and who later said that he had had a "sense of relaxation" and had thought the city had "dodged a bullet."

"We are left with a picture of a White House that was plagued by the fog of war," said David Marin, the Republican staff director to the House committee investigating the government's response to the hurricane. "The committee is likely to find a disturbing inability by the White House to de-conflict and analyze information — and that had consequences..."

Friday, January 27, 2006

Bush Presidency is a Failure

Bloomberg is reporting this latest poll:

A majority of Americans said the presidency of George W. Bush has been a failure and that they would be more likely to vote for congressional candidates who oppose him, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.

Fifty-two percent of adults said Bush's administration since 2001 has been a failure, down from 55 percent in October. Fifty- eight percent described his second term as a failure. At the same point in former President Bill Clinton's presidency, 70 percent of those surveyed by Gallup said they considered it a success and 20 percent a failure.

In a poll conducted in January of 2002, after Bush was president for one year, 83 percent of those surveyed said his presidency was a success.

In the new poll, conducted Jan. 20-22, fifty-one percent of those surveyed said they would be more likely to vote for congressional candidates who do not support Bush's policies.....

Let me sum up the poll---
Bush = failure
Clinton Presidency = SUCCESS

Right wing writer and Republican anorexic, Ann Coulter, suggested today that a Supreme Court Justice should be poisoned. Now before you read the entire article, I want you to imagine what would happen if a regular American said the same thing. The article can be found HERE. Is there a penalty for this? Will there be domestic spying started on Ann Coulter? Will Sean Hannity, her puppy dog, rescue Coulter from the FBI and Homeland Security?????

Government Spying on Vegans

Why is our government wasting time and money doing domestic spying on VEGANS????? ( VEGANISM may be defined as a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practical, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.) According to Channel 11 News, in Atlanta, there are pictures (shown at the Channel 11 website) and documents available that show the extent of the government's misguided domestic spying:

The ACLU of Georgia released copies of government files on Wednesday that illustrate the extent to which the FBI, the DeKalb County Division of Homeland Security and other government agencies have gone to compile information on Georgians suspected of being threats simply for expressing controversial opinions....

...The government file lists anti-war protesters in Atlanta as threats, the ACLU said. The ACLU of Georgia accuses the Bush administration of labeling those who disagree with its policy as disloyal Americans.

"We believe that spying on American citizens for no good reason is fundamentally un-American, that it's not the place of the goverment or the best use of resources to spy on its own citizens and we want it to stop. We want the spies in our government to pack their bags, close up their notebooks, take their cameras home and not engage in the spying anymore," Gerald Weber of the ACLU of Georgia said during a news conference.

"We have heard of not a single, government surveillance of a pro-war group," Weber said. "And I doubt we will ever hear of a single surveillance of a pro-war group..."

Incredible! I guess a citizen's right of freedom of speech no longer exists.

Oprah Winfrey Rules the World!!!

Today I watched Oprah Winfrey sit on her tan-colored leather chair and keep her anger under control. Any regular viewer could notice that Oprah was not happy. James Frey, the author of a book titled, A Million Little Pieces, was on the hot seat about the authenticity of his book. The book was labeled as a non-fiction account of Frey's problems with substance abuse.

Frey's book had been on Oprah's "book club" selection. Initially, she had felt moved by the book. Unfortunately for Mr. Frey, Oprah discovered that Frey's account was exaggerated and fiction. Several sources (like The Smoking Gun) were able to track down the lies in the book. The hour was amazing. Oprah Winfrey took apart major events in the book and got Frey to admit his lack of accuracy.

Gawker has some good pictures and comments.
The New York Times has an article about the program.

MSNBC has article that says in the first few paragraphs:

In a stunning switch from dismissive to disgusted, Oprah Winfrey took on one of her chosen authors, James Frey, accusing him on live television of lying about “A Million Little Pieces” and letting down the many fans of his memoir of addiction and recovery.

“I feel duped,” she said Thursday on her syndicated talk show. “But more importantly, I feel that you betrayed millions of readers.”

Frey, who found himself booed in the same Chicago studio where he had been embraced not long ago, acknowledged that he had lied....

It was clearly the best show I've seen in a long, long time. I hope that every reporter who covers our government saw that and learned something from it.

If you have seen the Open Letter to Chris Matthews blog, you must visit. There are ways for you to participate. Today, Matthews insulted Latinos.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Thin Green Line and Domestic Spying

Domestic Spying
The President does not want people to call the domestic spying he is doing "domestic spying." Oh. Well, I don't agree.
I am against domestic spying.
I am against domestic spying. I am against domestic spying. I am against domestic spying. I am against domestic spying. I am against domestic spying. I am against domestic spying. I am against domestic spying.

How do they know the telephone numbers of terrorists? If you've made a phone call to a relative overseas, how are we sure that it wasn't wiretapped without a warrant? This administration has lied to us before (medicare drug plan, rebuilding the gulf coast after the hurricanes, war in Iraq would be short, the tax cuts would boost the economy, Plame leak case, protecting our troops with armor, they had no warning before 9/11, etc.) and why wouldn't they lie to us again?

>>The Thin Green Line
A new report indicates that the Army is stretched to the limit. MSNBC quotes the Associated Press. Here are some excerpts:
Stretched by frequent troop rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has become a “thin green line” that could snap unless relief comes soon, according to a study for the Pentagon.

Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer who wrote the report under a Pentagon contract, concluded that the Army cannot sustain the pace of troop deployments to Iraq long enough to break the back of the insurgency. He also suggested that the Pentagon’s decision, announced in December, to begin reducing the force in Iraq this year was driven in part by a realization that the Army was overextended....

...Rep. John Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat and Vietnam veteran, created a political storm last fall when he called for an early exit from Iraq, arguing that the Army was “broken, worn out” and fueling the insurgency by its mere presence. Administration officials have hotly contested that view....

Hmmmm. It appears that Democratic Rep. John Murtha was correct!

On the other hand, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, disagrees with the report. (Unfortunately, I caught part of Rumsfeld's news conference today. He was rude and he tap-danced around answers. All we want is the truth! Can't this administration tell us the truth?)

The Mercury News has the story:
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Wednesday rejected two new reports - including one ordered by his own office - warning that the Iraq war has strained the Army to the breaking point.

In an "interim assessment" of the Iraq war commissioned by the Office of the Secretary Defense, former Army officer Andrew Krepinevich said the strain of keeping large numbers of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan has reduced the Army to a "thin green line."

...Rumsfeld rejected their conclusions, saying the Army had met its goals for recruiting in each of the last seven months even though the goals were raised as part of a plan to boost the size of the force by 30,000.

He added that the Army exceeded its goal for retention - the number of soldiers re-enlisting and officers extending their commissions - in fiscal 2005, which ended Sept. 30.

"The force is not broken," Rumsfeld declared. Moreover, he said, "It's battle-hardened. It's not a peacetime force that has been in barracks or garrisons."

The Army fell 6,667 troops short of its fiscal 2005 recruiting goal of 80,000 and the Army Reserve missed its goal by 4,626....

http://icasualties.org/oif/: 2237 Americans have been killed in Iraq. Also, during this same news conference, Rumsfeld managed to blame the Clinton administration. Can't this administration take responsibility for anything?

>>New Orleans
It looks like that Orleans will not get any special help for rebuilding. Are you surprised? I'm not. The Times-Picayune has the sad news:
In a severe blow to state and local plans for rebuilding hurricane-devastated areas, the Bush administration Tuesday came out against a homeowner bailout proposal that many Louisianians say is the key to economic recovery and the rebirth of a redesigned New Orleans...

The administration's opposition to the Baker bill drew sharp criticism from Louisiana officials who say the Community Development Block Grant financing isn't enough to cover the state's critical housing needs.

"Clearly the $6 billion isn't enough," Baker said. "It ignores the vital recovery in the parishes of Orleans, St. Bernard, Cameron and parts of Plaquemines. That is unacceptable."

The Louisiana Recovery Authority, the panel established by Gov. Kathleen Blanco to oversee the state's recovery plans, estimated that 217,245 homes were destroyed during Katrina and Rita. Baker's bill would have drawn on federal financing to pay owners of flood-damaged property at least 60 percent of the equity in their homes and also would have paid off their mortgages....

This administration believes that rebuilding Iraq is more important. Overpaying Halliburton is more important than helping Americans.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Jean Schmidt: Out in Right Field

Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt (OH-2), the sweetheart of the Ohio Republican Party, is obviously not dealing with reality. She had a guest column in a little local newspaper and her comments were over the top, and wrong. Here are some excerpts:
...As the year draws to a close our economy is strong, and growing stronger. I was very encouraged by a recent report from the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics that pointed to the creation of 215,000 new jobs in the month of November alone. In fact, in the past 12 months, the economy has created nearly 2.2 million jobs...
Fact: Ohio's unemployment is 5.9% (up from 5.7%).

...I was pleased that my colleagues in the House could work together to support a bill, called the Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, that among other things, enhances Border Patrol operations, confronts the problem of alien gangs and promotes both international and domestic policies that will deter further illegal entry into the United States...
Fact: This bill is considered by many as anti-immigration, and anti-Latino.

...Other accomplishments include passing a comprehensive energy bill that helps ensure America's energy security, a class action fairness bill that curbs frivolous lawsuits and a bankruptcy reform bill that protects consumers and small businesses...
Fact: The Oil and Gas companies are making billions of dollars, and our gasoline and heating bills are going higher. The lawsuit and bankruptcy bills just help the corporations and banks squeeze every last dollar out of the American family.

Conclusion: Jean Schmidt has done nothing except to be the mouthpiece of the corrupt Republican leadership.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Bill, Harry, and Sam

From MSNBC: Newsweek indicates that Ford has gotten tax breaks while they've cut jobs. You'd think that someone at Ford with some morals would say, "We don't deserve this tax break because we aren't holding up our part of the requirements." Nooooooo. Once again I must say that I have sympathy for the workers but not for the directors, owners, and managers. We haven't owned a Ford since the 1970's. Sorry, Bill Ford, we will never buy a Ford again.

SENATOR HARRY REID sets the record straight with his speech about this administration. Raw Story has the speech. Give 'em hell, Harry! Some of that speech:

..Watching the video earlier, I was reminded of another lesson from college, this one taken from George Orwell and his book, 1984.
In that book, Orwell spoke of “doublespeak” - naming something just the opposite, in order to cover how unpleasant it is in reality.
As we saw in the video, the President has been giving us doublespeak for years. He utters platitudes about helping Americans, when he’s really helping his special interest friends.
When he wanted to let energy companies release more pollution into the air, he called it the “Clear Skies Initiative.”
When he wanted to give tax breaks to his special interest friends – even though it meant adding more than $50 billion to the deficit, he called it the “Deficit Reduction Act.”
His “Leave No Child Behind Act” is leaving children behind every day because he refuses to fund it. And his new Medicare drug benefit hardly resembles a “benefit” for seniors....

The Alito vote is coming soon. Will there be any Republicans who will vote no on his nomination? We can only hope. The Mercury News has an article that indicates that Alito on the court could bring significant changes. Here are some excerpts:

The Senate Judiciary Committee moved Samuel Alito one step closer to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court on Tuesday, where he could immediately shift the court's stance on high-profile issues such as abortion, the death penalty, religion and executive power.

Yet it is Alito's vision of judicial restraint and a limited role for courts - a vision he shares with new Chief Justice John G. Roberts - that could produce an even more fundamental change in the high court...

Alito won't likely see the partial-birth abortion ban the same way O'Connor did in 2000, when she cast the deciding vote to strike it down because it lacked a health exception...

As the court begins to consider challenges to the Bush administration's bold assertions of executive authority, Alito's record suggests strongly that he'll be more deferential than O'Connor was.

"I don't think there's any question that Alito, like Roberts, will be voting an awful lot with Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas," said Garrow, referring to the court's most conservative jurists....

Protesters at Gonzales Speech

A speech given by Attorney General Gonzales had some Georgetown Law students in a silent protest in front of the podium. Thank you, students, for your courageous act!

Sinclair Broadcasting, the right wing propaganda, swiftboat Republicans, broadcasters, may have trouble ahead. With the announcement of a new network created by Time Warner and CBS, Sinclair could have problems. Just recently, our local Sinclair channel pre-empted the movie Enemy of the State (starring Will Smith). In place of the movie, they ran 3 hours of infomericals and finally showed the movie after midnight. It is hard to believe that these nitwits own all these TV stations and they get to promote their weirdo, extreme right wing views.

From the BBC (posted at Iraq Coalition Casualties):
A British student received an e-mail from a US serviceman moments before the Gulf war veteran shot himself.

Doug Barber sent Craig Evans, 19, a message that read: "I have nothing to live for any more. I am going to be checking out of this world."

The 35-year-old former National Guardsman, from Lee County, Alabama, later shot himself in the head.

The journalism student at Bournemouth University had contacted Mr Barber while researching Gulf War Syndrome.

After sending the e-mail, Mr Barber called police, collected his shotgun and went on to his porch.

Armed police then spent 30 minutes trying to talk him out of it before he shot himself on Monday last week.

Mr Barber, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), had served with the National Guard, working as a lorry driver for nine months in Iraq before returning to America in January 2005.

He told Mr Evans that he had trouble coping with everyday life and that he had not received the help he needed to cope with his severe post traumatic stress...

This is so sad. Why was he denied help? How can we get our military the help they need to prevent future tragedies?

Polls: Job Rating and Spying Without Warrants

A poll by the American Research Group, Inc., shows President Bush's approval rating back in the basement again. Here are some excerpts from the poll:

George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has returned to its lowest point in Bush's presidency as Americans again turn less optimistic about the national economy according to the latest survey from the American Research Group. Among all Americans, 36% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 58% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 34% approve and 60% disapprove.

Among Americans registered to vote, 37% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 58% disapprove. When it comes to the way Bush is handling the economy, 35% of registered voters approve of the way Bush is handling the economy and 60% disapprove.

A total of 14% of Americans say the national economy is getting better, which is down from 30% in December and 52% say the national economy is getting worse, which is up from 40% in December. When asked about the national economy a year from now, 15% say it will be better, which is down from 28% in December, and 62% say it will be worse, which is up from 39% in December...

From USA Today:
...A new USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll shows public sentiment is against the program. Fifty-one percent of Americans said the administration was wrong to intercept conversations involving a party inside the USA without a warrant. In response to another question, 58% of Americans said they support the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the program. Both questions were asked of about 500 adults Friday through Sunday and have a margin of error of +/-5 percentage points....

Obviously, Americans just don't like domestic spying without a warrant. Can't this administration follow the law? As a big LAW AND ORDER fan, I have watched cases thrown out because there was no search warrant. One reason that our forefathers and foremothers broke off from the British was because they were tired of the forced search/seizures of their homes and properties. How can this administration say they have the right to do this? Would these cases be thrown out in a court of law?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Googling and the state of the Nation

Maureen Dowd made a good point in her recent column. Dowd said she did not know what was scarier--the latest Osama tape or the Justice Dept. seeking records from Google. Check here for the column at Village Soup. I hope that Google does not give in to the pressure. The other search engines caved in, but they didn't have as much to lose. Here is an article that describes the problems.

UPDATE: On Keith Olbermann's Countdown on MSNBC, a guest, Kate Martin, talked about this administration's surveillance of people without warrants. Martin, who is a national security expert, said that the administration knew that Al Quieda people were in the U.S. before 9/11, but they did nothing about it. According to Martin, this was confirmed by the 9/11 Commission. She said that the administration's claim that if their surveillance (without warrants) had been in use before 9/11 that it would have prevented the attack, does not hold water.

I really don't care who wins the Super Bowl. However, I am cheering both teams. Why? The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks are from blue states and the Super Bowl will be played in a blue state.

The White House used their spying activities to watch Democrats and peace activists. Big brother is watching!

Ford Motor Company will announce today that they are laying off approximately 25,000 workers. Once again they are blaming workers and their healthcare costs. Ford would not have these problems if they were able to sell their cars, but they have designed an inferior product. Ford's other problem is that it has not embraced the hybrid car program and has continued its love affair with the SUV.

Bloomberg reports that the Bank of America is having some problems:

Bank of America Corp., the second- largest U.S. bank, unexpectedly reported its first quarterly earnings decline in more than four years as bankruptcies surged and profit from trading bonds and currencies dropped.

Fourth-quarter net income fell 2 percent to $3.77 billion, or 93 cents a share, from $3.85 billion, or 94 cents, a year earlier, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company said today in a statement. Revenue increased 3 percent to $14.1 billion.

Bank of America underestimated the impact of a bankruptcy law that took effect in October, which swelled credit losses by $524 million. The 5.9 percent drop in trading profit was also a surprise, after analysts predicted an increase. Investment- banking earnings tumbled almost 80 percent as Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis spent more to hire bankers and salespeople...

I have a suggestion for the Democrats while President Bush gives his state of the union speech: Walk out to show that you do not support the war or the NSA spying. The Republicans would gets their panties in a "frist."

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Video You MUST See

"Why is George Bush awesome?" Watch the video to see responses to the question: http://rocketboom.com/vlog/archives/2006/01/rb_06_jan_20.html

Ralph Reed and Bob Ney: More Evidence

Ralph Reed has always been an interesting person to observe. I've often wondered if he was really as moral and religious as he appeared. I think there is finally evidence that proves his moral fiber. Raw Story found the article from The Texas Oberver and here are some excerpts:

Evidence is mounting that former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed Jr., along with a former leader of the Texas Christian Coalition, may have illegally lobbied Texas state officials on behalf of crooked federal lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his clients.

Three Austin-based reform groups—Common Cause Texas, Public Citizen Texas, and Texans For Public Justice, the latter of which employs the author of this article—urged Travis County prosecutors last December to investigate whether Reed violated Texas’ lobby-registration laws four years ago. Correspondence between Abramoff and Reed—the ex-Christian Coalition leader now running for lieutenant governor of Georgia—suggests that Reed lobbied Texas officials on behalf of Abramoff’s Indian gambling clients without registering as a Texas lobbyist. The $5 million in gambling money that Abramoff reportedly paid Reed for his services would make it one of the largest lobby contracts ever made public in Texas...

There is evidence that Ralph Reed contributed to this Channel One lobbying coup behind the scenes. A brief Austin American-Statesman article in September 2002 reported that Channel One postponed a vote on the resolution thanks to “an impromptu lobbying effort by Channel One Communications—including phone calls from Ralph Reed.” Indeed, Channel One critic Gary Ruskin, of Commercial Alert, continues to blame Reed’s lobbying for ensuring that, “Texas school children are still forced to watch ads for junk food, violent entertainment and movies that portray smoking.”

I'd suggest you read the entire article for a clear picture of how Reed and Abramoff operated.

Bob Ney has not been a stranger to lobbyists, according to an article originally published in the LA Times and now KTLA:

...Ney and his staff regularly enjoyed complimentary meals and drinks at Abramoff's upscale Pennsylvania Avenue restaurant and free tickets to local concerts and sporting events, according to Abramoff's Jan. 3 plea agreement.

The same court document cataloged numerous gifts from Abramoff to Ney or his aides beginning in 2000, including trips to the Marianas Islands in the South Pacific and the 2002 golfing trip to Scotland.

Also on the Scotland trip — which was valued in total at "well over $100,000," according to court documents — was a top procurement official for the Bush administration who in September was charged with making false statements about dealings with Abramoff. Former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed completed Ney's St. Andrews golf party.

In exchange for gifts, Abramoff said, Ney agreed to introduce legislation for at least one of the lobbyist's American Indian clients. Ney also placed statements in the congressional record supporting Abramoff's efforts to buy a Florida gambling company. And the congressman agreed to meet with an Abramoff client from Russia seeking help getting a U.S. visa for a relative.

Ney has repeatedly denied Abramoff's allegations, and his spokesman, Brian J. Walsh, said last week that "a number of things in the agreement are not true or never happened..."

Pictures Surfacing

Some pictures have surfaced of President Bush and Jack Abramoff. Aw, come on. You knew that sooner or later someone would find the pictures. Raw story found it at The Washingtonian: Here is an excerpt--

Abramoff was named a “pioneer” in the Bush presidential campaign, collecting more than $100,000, in $2,000 maximum increments, for his campaign in 2004. Bush has returned $6,000 of Abramoff’s contributions, the part that would represent the legal limit for Abramoff; his wife, Pam; and a client.

Sources say the photographs are being kept safe. Abramoff would tell prosecutors, if asked, that not only did he know the President, but the President knew the names of Abramoff’s children and asked about them during their meetings. At one such photo session, Bush discussed the fact that both he and Abramoff were fathers of twins.

How nice.

Interesting pictures: here here here .

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Problems with Medicare Drug Program

In the next weeks, members of the administration will be out in public relating good news about the Medicare Drug Program. Unfortunately, they won't be telling the truth. Problems are persisting with the program. Some seniors and disabled have been denied their medications. States and individual pharmacies will be left holding the bag, and eventually, the taxpayer. Here is a roundup of some of the articles regarding the screw-ups:

LA Times: Medicare Drug Plan Looks Like a Scam
PBS: Troubles With Medicare Prescription Drug Program
LD News: Drug-Benefit Mix-Up to Cost State $12 million
San Luis Obispo Tribune: Medicare Won't Reimburse States for Emergency Drug Costs
Today's THV: Botched Medicare Drug Program Costs Arkansas $1.5 million
Detroit News: Medicare Drug Program Launches to Host of Problems
Shreveport Times: Medicare Drug Program Causing Problems
MSNBC.com: Dealing with Medicare Drug Benefit Problems
NY Times: Medicare Woes Take High Toll on Mentally Ill

If you have an elderly parent, relative, neighbor, or friend, please check on them to make sure that they have been able to get their medication.

Update: Frist goofs----(Yahoo News)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told Republican Party activists on Friday night that
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito was the "worst nightmare of liberal Democrats.

Frist, a Tennessee Republican, made the remark to fellow Republicans during a private tour he gave them of the Senate chamber when the Senate was not in session.

Frist was not available for comment following his remarks....

Friday, January 20, 2006

Jack Abramoff Had More Access

Why did Chris Matthews compare Michael Moore to Osama? Want to give Matthews a piece of your mind? Visit http://openlettertochrismatthews.blogspot.com/ and leave your comments for the MSNBC commentator.

--------------------------------- And now the continuing story of Jack Abramoff.......
Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist who personally contributed to only Republicans, is still talking to prosecutors about his involvement with elected officials. It seems as though Jack Abramoff was a lot chummier with the White House than originally thought. Abramoff logged about 200 visits to the White House in the first 10 months of the Bush administration. Abramoff was also part of the transition team for the Interior Department. Wow!

There has even talk that Abramoff visited the Bush ranch!!! Here is an excerpt from Capital Hill Blue:

...A former DeLay staffer who is cooperating with the investigation into both Abramoff and the disgraced GOP leader’s activities, has told investigators that Abramoff and DeLay visited Bush at his ranch on at least four occasions in 2003 and 2004.

It is common for big money contributors to get personal meetings with the President. At the GOP’s annual Presidential Dinner in Washington, those who pony up at least $25,000 are hustled into a room before the dinner for time and photo ops with the President.

Abramoff kept a photo of himself with Bush, shot at the Crawford ranch, in his office in Washington. The autograph from Bush said “to my great friend Jack.”

Dale Knally, a campaign worker in the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, recalls a meeting between Bush and Abramoff during a campaign stop in Florida....

Don't you wish everyone would just come clean about their relationship with Abramoff? That won't happen. However, there is a good chance that all will be revealed because Abramoff is trying to reduce his jail time.

**The New York Times has a great opinion article called If You Give A Congressman Cookie. It is a must read for all those disgusted by the Republican corruption.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

DeLay and Frist: Insider Trading in their Offices?

If the following story is true, it would show that the Republican corruption is even worse than we thought and that DeLay and Frist are in deep.

From the Majority Report we have the following information:

Actually it was last night, but if you missed it, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter revealed that Bill Frist and Tom Delay both have had day-traders working inside their offices, profitting off inside information about pending bills or selling that information to undisclosed clients....

Here is that excerpt from Daily Kos:

In an exclusive last night on Air America Radio's The Majority Report, Rep. Louise Slaughter alleged that day-traders had been operating inside the offices of Senator Frist and Congressman Delay. Telling us that her source was "as good as gold," Rep. Slaughter promised to investigate further and get back to us. Audio available via AMERICAblog here.

"I'm going to track this down, I know it's true," Slaughter told us,"that Frist, DeLay and probably others had some day traders working out of their offices." Those working out of the Congressional offices "would find out there's a bill being written by lobbyists, that there would be no asbestos bill ... and when the market opened the next day, the cost of asbestos stock had doubled."

The context of this story, and the practice of spreading insider "political intelligence" is starting to unfold...developments on the other side...

The backstory of this involves what's called "political intelligence." The Hill did a story nearly a year ago on firms that harvest insider political info and feed it to Wall Street to get ahead of the news cycle; obviously much of what happens in DC affects the market....

Poor Trent Lott

Obviously Republican Sen. Trent Lott has been living a little too high on the hog. Lott has become very accustomed to the posh restaurants that his lobbyist friends take him to on a regular basis. Lott has been very, very, very upset with the proposed new restrictions involving lobbyists. The New York Times has the story:

Some lawmakers said they thought Congress was overreacting to the lobbying scandal with an excess of new rules and requirements.

"Now we're going to say you can't have a meal for more than 20 bucks," said Senator Trent Lott, Republican of Mississippi. "Where are you going, to McDonald's?"

Thank you, Trent Lott. You've just confirmed our original opinions we have of you: ARROGANT and SELF-CENTERED.

Trying to Make Sense of It

The face transplant patient is now endangering her recovery by smoking again. MSNBC has the story. Incredible!

How cozy was Abramoff with the White House? Apparently, Jack and those at the W.H. were on very friendly terms. The Mercury News is quoting the AP:
...The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Abramoff and his associates had nearly 200 contacts with the White House during Bush's first 10 months in office.

Senator Conrad Burns (Montana-Republican) is having difficulty giving away his Abramoff-tainted money to some groups in his home state. The gift was rejected. Burns should probably donate the $111,000 as soon as possible so that he can claim he donated it to charity. According to MSNBC, one of the senator's former staff members is also under investigation.

The Times Argus says the U.S. Army has set its new recruiting goals. Some of their requirements have changed:

...From June to September, the Army will try to recruit between 8,600 and 10,400 soldiers per month — well above the numbers achieved last year. To reach those goals, recruiters will be armed with more than catchy slogans and national pride.

A new law will allow the Army to give larger financial bonuses for enlistments and re-enlistments — doubling the maximum payment to new active duty recruits from $20,000 to $40,000, and from $10,000 to $20,000 for reservists. It also will let older recruits sign on by raising the top age from 35 to 42. And the top re-enlistment bonus for active duty soldiers would increase from $60,000 to $90,000...

2222 Americans have been killed in Iraq.

Yahoo News: Some former EPA chiefs blame Bush for global warming. We agree. Unfortunately, the president doesn't believe in global warming.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Got pictures?

If you have pictures of Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, or any other of the ethically challenged Republicans with the president or anyone else you should contact the Democrats, or MSNBC, or a national news magazine. I'm sure they'd love to publish them.

CNN has hired right wing nut, Glenn Beck. Media Matters has the background on Beck.

The Republicans revealed their plans on reforming their work with lobbyists. The New York Times has the story. Having the Republicans create a lobbyist reform rule is like giving a wolf the key to the hen house, as well as some salt and pepper. Do we allow criminals to create the laws? NO. We should not allow Republicans to create rules/laws about lobbying.

Filibuster Alito

It is time for the Senate Democrats to stand up before our country and filibuster Alito. Why? They should filibuster because they can. If Frist gets his panties in a frist, filibuster Alito. If Lott begins to get hot, filibuster Alito. If Santorum asks for decorum, filibuster Alito. Judge Alito would not answer the questions that were put before him. The justice he would replace, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, has been the voice of reason in many cases. Alito is not an appropriate replacement. There are many Americans who agree that the Democrats have to stand tough in the face of this executive branch power grab that we are witnessing. The only way to stand tall, and be heard is to filibuster Alito.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Today's Problems

Our senior citizens have been turned away by some pharmacists because there is no record of their membership in the new drug plan. Although the president said that they should be given their medicines, who knows how many pharmacists will follow through?

Ralph Reed is in a heap of trouble. His consulting "fees" and ties to Jack Abramoff have exposed his real life: greed at the expense of others. Washington Post

2220 Americans have been killed in Iraq. http://icasualties.org/oif/

With the crisis in Iran and their nuclear buildup, oil prices will certainly go up. Will we see gas prices near $3/gallon again? Bloomberg

has the story and video about the two central Ohio churches and questions about their tax-exempt status.

Al Gore accused the President of exceeding his executive powers. USA Today

From the Washington Post: Op-Ed Columnist, E.J. Dionne, Jr. has written about the swift-boating of Rep. Murtha:

I underestimated the viciousness of the right wing.

Last November, Rep. John Murtha, a Democrat and a decorated Marine combat veteran, came out for a rapid American withdrawal from Iraq. At the time, I wrote: "It will be difficult for Bush's acolytes to cast Murtha, who has regularly stood up for the military policies of Republican presidents during his 31 years in Congress, as some kind of extreme partisan or hippie protester."

No, the conservative hit squad didn't accuse Murtha of being a hippie. But a crowd that regularly defends President Bush for serving in the Texas Air National Guard instead of going to Vietnam has continued its war on actual Vietnam veterans. An outfit called the Cybercast News Service last week questioned the circumstances surrounding the awarding of two Purple Hearts to Murtha because of wounds he suffered in the Vietnam War.

John Kerry, as well as John McCain -- who faced scurrilous attacks on his war record when he was running against Bush in the 2000 South Carolina primary -- could have warned Murtha: If you're a Vietnam veteran, don't you dare get in the way of George W. Bush...

In other words, if Murtha had just shut up and gone along with Bush, nothing would have been said about his service.

As it is, the charges are remarkably flimsy. Former representative Don Bailey (D-Pa.), whom Murtha defeated in a 1982 congressional primary after a redistricting, said that Murtha had told him he did not deserve his Purple Hearts, Kurtz and Murray reported. Bailey, who won a Silver Star and three Bronze Stars in Vietnam, recalled Murtha saying: "Hey, I didn't do anything like you did. I got a little scratch on the cheek."

Authentic war heroes (including McCain) often play down their own heroism. In any event, what we know about Murtha, McCain, Kerry and, yes, Bailey, is that they served in combat in Vietnam. What we know about Bush and Vice President Cheney ("I had other priorities in the '60s than military service'') is that they didn't.

What's maddening here is the unblushing hypocrisy of the right wing and the way it circulates -- usually through Web sites or talk radio -- personal vilification to abort honest political debate. Murtha's views on withdrawing troops from Iraq are certainly the object of legitimate contention. Many in Murtha's party disagree with him. But Murtha's right-wing critics can't content themselves with going after his ideas. They have to try to discredit his service....

Do Republicans hate Marines? Do Republicans hate everyone who has served in the military?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Compare and Contrast

Man of Peace
Dr. Martin Luther King inspired millions to fight for civil rights in a non-violent peaceful manner. Today we honor the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, civil rights leader. Dr. King won the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 35. Biography The King Center

Right Wing Extremist
Rod Parsley lines his pockets while he promotes his right wing political agenda and enjoys his tax-exempt status for his church.

The Big News:

Akron Beacon Journal: ...The 31 religious leaders met Sunday night and signed a letter asking the IRS to determine if the churches should lose tax-exempt status over what they claim to be improper campaigning for Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican.

The Rev. Rod Parsley of World Harvest Church in Columbus and the Rev. Russell Johnson of Fairfield Christian Church in Lancaster improperly used their churches and affiliated entities for partisan politics, according to the complaint to be faxed to IRS Commissioner Mark Everson...

The complaint alleges that Blackwell was the only gubernatorial candidate showcased in church-sponsored events conducted by Parsley and Johnson. It also alleges that the evangelists' voter-registration campaign was done to support Blackwell and "biased" voter education materials were distributed by the churches for Blackwell's candidacy....

...and a few excerpts from The Columbus Dispatch:

More than 30 local pastors last night officially accused two evangelical megachurches of illegal political activities.

In a rare and potentially explosive action, the moderate ministers signed a complaint asking the Internal Revenue Service to investigate World Harvest Church of Columbus and Fairfield Christian Church of Lancaster and determine if their tax-exempt status should be revoked....

The complaint makes three main allegations:

• That church-sponsored events conducted by Parsley and Johnson have showcased a single gubernatorial candidate — Blackwell.

• That Parsley and Johnson have launched a "partisan-oriented" voter-registration campaign "with the goal of registering 400,000 voters to support Blackwell’s candidacy."

• That Parsley and Johnson have been behind efforts to distribute "biased voter education" materials aimed at solidifying voter support for Blackwell....

Rod Parsley, the minister who wears expensive suits, lives in an expensive family compound, and runs a huge political right wing church, has had this investigation coming for a long time. Most churches will have voter information nights to showcase all the candidates. Parsley pushes, and pushes his political agenda by inviting only candidates and speakers who support his extreme right wing point of view. It is about time that someone investigated Parsley and his church.



With Tom DeLay stepping down from his House leadership, three Republican Reps., Blunt, Boehner, and Shadegg, have been promoting themselves for DeLay's job. THE HILL is running a daily tally of voters pledged to each representative:

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Republicans Attacking War Hero

The Republican chickenhawks are attacking another war hero. This time it is Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania. All you have to do is see the Google news search I did on Murtha: Results. There is an organized attack on Murtha from conservative and Republican sources which are questioning Murtha's Purple Hearts. The Republicans did it to Senator John Kerry and now Murtha is being targeted with lies.

Do It Yourself: Armor Your Own Humvee
Our young men and women continue to die and sustain life altering wound in Iraq. Because of the Defense Department's lack of response in providing body armor and humvee armor, our brave service members have doing some extra work to protect themselves. According to the Arizona Daily Sun:

Soldiers exposed to Iraq's increasingly lethal roadside bombs, which can rip through armored Humvees, are drawing on wartime experience and stateside expertise to protect their vehicles with stronger armor and thermal detection cameras.

The upgrades are being done by individual soldiers and units as the Pentagon decides how Humvees should be changed, and follow public criticism of the Bush administration for not armoring all Humvees ahead of the war...

This is sad. How many more of our soldiers and Marines will die while the Pentagon decides about armor?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Right Wing Nuttery=Shadegg

With the Republican Party in disarray because of continuing announcements of scandals, bribes, corruption, and misuse of public trust, you'd think that their party would gravitate toward moderate normal human beings. No! Those coming forward to take Republican leadership roles are some of the most extreme

*****Arizona Republican Rep. John Shadegg:
(1) (source) Shadegg referred to "Fahrenheit 911" as a "crockumentary." He also said Kerry voters "have mental health problems," adding: "I'll probably get in trouble for that." (You did.)
(2) (source) Despite promises to help fund Interstate 17 and Happy Valley Road in Arizona, Shadegg and Rep. Flake, voted against it.
(Result: People in Arizona are upset because he broke a pledge to his constituents.)
(3) (source) Shadegg wrote a letter to Former Sec. of Interior Gale Norton on behalf of Jack Abramoff's clients.
(4) (source) Shadegg took money from Abramoff's clients and associates.
(5) (source) Shadegg had a questionable grasp of the facts regarding WMD's in Iraq and he tried to smear Scott Ritter.

Nice going Shadegg! Apparently, you are more concerned with repeating your party mantra and collecting campaign contributions than helping the people of Arizona.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Thought You'd Like to Know

Breaking News from 10tv channel 10, Columbus, Ohio: Republican Rep. Bob Ney is considering resigning his CHAIRMANSHIP. Ney is in talks with Hastert on what to do.

Republican Rep. Pombo says he has done nothing wrong. The Record has the story. According to Capital Eye, here is what Pombo got:
Contributions to Richard Pombo (R-Calif)

Rich PAC, Leadership PAC of Richard Pombo (R-Calif)
Abramoff, Jack A & Pamela
Richard Pombo (R-Calif)
Abramoff, Jack A & Pamela
Rich PAC, Leadership PAC of Richard Pombo (R-Calif)
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
Rich PAC, Leadership PAC of Richard Pombo (R-Calif)
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
Richard Pombo (R-Calif)
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
Rich PAC, Leadership PAC of Richard Pombo (R-Calif)
Pueblo of Santa Clara
Rich PAC, Leadership PAC of Richard Pombo (R-Calif)
Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe
Richard Pombo (R-Calif)
Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe
I've heard Pombo is anti-environment. How did the good people of California vote for a guy who is trying to ruin the beauty of our land, water, and air?
-------------- ---------------------- ------------------------- -----------------------
Did you know that....
$224 billion has be spent on the Iraq war as of December 7, 2005
$236 billion surplus President Clinton left George W. Bush
$8.1 trillion current deficit under George W. Bush
6 million people have lost their health insurance since Bush took office.

The Huffington Post has it: The Huffington Post has learned the Bush administration recently asked high ranking military leaders to denounce Congressman John Murtha. Congressman Murtha has called for the Bush Administration to withdraw US troops from Iraq...

I am tired of hearing about...
Lindsay Lohan, Jolie and Pitt, ND's Charlie Weis (He couldn't beat the Buckeyes!), Bill O'Reilly, tax breaks for the rich, Republicans and their family values (Is taking a bribe a family value?), golf (except Tiger Woods), American car companies blaming unions, Dr. Dobson (He doesn't speak for me!), Pat Robertson, Karl Rove (Isn't he in jail yet?), etc., etc., etc....

Everyday I try to read as much as possible. Here are some of my favorites:
The Huffington Post News and Analysis
Raw Story They have the scoop before anyone else.
Dependable Renegade Pictures and commentary
AMERICAblog.com Great stuff.
Democratic Underground
Assisi Online
The Toledo Blade
Give They rate charities.
Tom DeLay's House of Scandals
Ohio State Athletics

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Iraq, and a few words from Maureen Dowd

President Bush has been giving speeches about Iraq. He has spoken in front of veterans groups and other pre-screened groups. The pre-screening is necessary so that Bush will only meet with people who love him. Criticism is not allowed.

If you've seen or read the speeches, you'll notice that there is no discussion about when our soldiers and Marines are coming home. The President always talks in general terms such as "freedom" "victory" "democracy" etc. He never says that we've lost 2210 Americans in Iraq and how many more he expects to lose in the coming months and years. He talks of continued sacrifice. Why won't he discuss it? By placing numbers on our dead, it would force Americans to deal with the reality of war. The war goes on and there are still no firm plans to bring our troops home.

Just the other day, former President Bill Clinton greeted some returning U.S. troops. After a long flight back, having someone to greet them, even if wasn't planned, certainly warmed the spirits of the troops. From the Boston Globe:

Former President Bill Clinton surprised U.S. troops arriving from Iraq when a refueling stop at the Bangor International Airport coincided with the arrival of two chartered flights carrying soldiers.

Clinton was returning Monday night from Paris where he had met with French President Jacques Chirac to discuss plans for his charitable organization, the Clinton Foundation.
His plans for a quick departure were waylaid when a problem was discovered with the aircraft, allowing him to join a line of local troop greeters who meet each plane carrying soldiers returning from overseas or leaving for duty.
"Thank you for your service," Clinton said as he shook hands and hugged many of the soldiers as they passed by. He autographed hats, cards, paper and other items.

The soldiers, about 600 of them, were returning to bases in Oklahoma, Texas and Georgia. Their two chartered aircraft had landed for fuel.

"This is great," said Staff Sgt. Anthony Thompson of New York City, who stood next to Clinton.
Clinton's private jet, a Falcon 900, was scheduled to land for fuel, but there was a mechanical problem as well, said Rebecca Hupp, airport manager...
...Clinton had some fun when Army Spc. Joshua Ruschenberg used a cell phone provided by troop greeters to call to his sister-in-law, Shancy Garrison in North Carolina, and handed over the phone to the former commander in chief.
"Hi, Shancy, it's Bill Clinton," the former president said into the phone.

Democratic Rep. John Murtha was in Virginia recently. The Falls Church News-Press has an article. Here are excerpts:

Pennsylvania Rep. John T. Murtha commanded the stage and a live national television audience with unbowed resolve to defend his call for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq last Thursday, spellbinding an overflow crowd of 600 at a town meeting hosted by Rep. Jim Moran in the Ballston area of Arlington.

Murtha’s credentials as a respected, veteran member of Congress with a strong record of supporting national defense has given enormous credibility to his call, and he told the audience Thursday that he’s been frustrated by the Bush administration’s reaction.

“All they can respond with is rhetoric,” he charged. “We’re 6,600 short in our military recruitment goals this year, and now have the smallest military since 1941. Families are having to go out to buy their sons and daughters in Iraq their battle armor, because they’re not getting it from the Pentagon, and all this was going on before I started speaking out.”

“I am getting criticized personally, yet this is not about me,” he stated. “It’s about people thirsting for a policy that makes sense, instead of an open-ended policy with no exit strategy.”

“I want to save every single life I can, yet now we’ve lost just about as many Americans in Iraq as in the (World Trade Center) towers,” he added. “In addition, there are 7,500 wounded, many so disfigured their wives can’t look at them, and many more who suffer from battle fatigue. They call it by something different these days, but we knew it as battle fatigue.”

“Our efforts in Iraq have turned the Iraqi people against us. 150,000 were put out of their homes in the siege of Falluja and the only thing that is uniting the Iraqi population now is its opposition to the U.S. occupation.

He said an immediate complete withdrawal would not only save U.S. lives, but compel the Iraqis to get serious about self-governing. With the U.S. forces out, the basis for the existence of the real terrorists would evaporate, and the nation’s new leaders would root them out in their attempt to create a stable society based on the rule of law....

You might be able to see some highlights on C-SPAN.


Today's Columbus Dispatch has a great column by Maureen Dowd. Dowd writes about Judge Alito. Here are some excerpts:

You’ve got to like a man who knows how to juggle.

Judge Samuel Alito picked up the skill on a summer vacation a decade ago, and his juggling talent was on full display Tuesday as he tried to balance the old Sam, who was eager to impress Reagan revolutionaries with his zeal, with the new Sam, who is eager to impress a bipartisan Senate panel with his open-mindedness.

It was a tale of two Sams.

Is he the old Sam, who devised ways to upend Roe vs. Wade and crimp abortion rights? Or the new Sam, who has great respect for precedent and an "open mind" about abortion cases?

Is he the old Sam, who plotted ways to tip the balance of power to the executive branch? Or the new Sam, who states that "no person in this country is above the law, and that includes the president"?

Is he the old Sam, who said Robert Bork "was one of the most outstanding nominees of this century" and "a man of unequaled ability"? Or the new Sam, who shrugged off that statement as the dutiful support of one Reagan appointee for another?

Is he the old Sam, who cited membership in a Princeton University alumni club that resisted the admission of women and minorities when he was seeking a promotion in the very white Reagan old boys’ club? Or the new Sam, who has "no specific recollection of that organization," unless, of course, he innocently joined it to support ROTC on campus, and who says he’s been shaped partly by his hopes for his 17-year-old daughter, Laura, and by his sister’s experiences "as a trial lawyer in a profession that has traditionally been dominated by men"?

Like the president, the judge loves baseball. Alito once vacationed at a fantasy baseball camp (OK fielder, hopeless hitter), wearing the red and white Phillies uniform. W has spent five years in fantasyland on Iraq, on occasion donning military costumes.

His fingers in his ears, W didn’t want to hear that we had too few troops in Iraq, ignoring advice from L. Paul Bremer and Gen. Eric Shinseki, or that the troops didn’t have enough armor. But the president continues to fling blame outward. In a speech Tuesday before the Veterans of Foreign Wars, he warned the Democrats that they should take care not to bring "comfort to our adversaries."

Alito was evasive, disingenuous and deferential. He fits the Bush era like a baseball glove.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Arnold, Coburn, Pombo, Doolittle, Lewis

Gov. Arnold: MSNBC has the story:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was riding his motorcycle illegally over the weekend when he collided with a car in his Los Angeles neighborhood, police said Tuesday.

Los Angles Police Lt. Paul Vernon said Schwarzenegger does not have the proper endorsement on his California driver’s license to operate a motorcycle......
Incredible! Just because you do something in a movie doesn't mean you're licensed/allowed to do it in real life.

The Senate hearings on Judge Sam Alito's nomination have brought out some interesting comments and questions from the senate committee. It makes you wonder how these people got elected. Sen. Coburn (OK-R) has had some weird comments about abortion. I don't think his choice of words were appropriate for the hearing room and I won't repeat them here.

Notes to Coburn: Leave our uteruses alone. Aren't you the guy that sterilized a woman without her permission? Just to let you know---there has been an increase in abortions while Bush has been in office. What do you think of that?

There is another Republican corruption scandal and this time it involves Representatives Pombo and Doolittle, the FDIC, and, of course, Tom DeLay. Everyday brings a new corruption story involving the Republicans. An article in the Times-Standard lays out the sordid tale. Here is an excerpt:

A recent story in the Los Angeles Times reports that two members of Congress tried to stop an investigation of wealthy businessman Charles Hurwitz, of Maxxam Inc., Palco's parent company, who had given them both political contributions.

California Reps. John T. Doolittle and Richard W. Pombo worked with Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas to try to halt an investigation of Hurwitz, the Times reported. According to that newspaper, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. sought $300 million from the Texas businessman after the collapse of a Texas savings and loan cost taxpayers $1.6 billion.

The investigation was ultimately dropped...

This Republican culture of corruption story has developments every single day. Is there anyone clean in the Republican Party?

UPDATE: Republican Rep. Jerry Lewis has some problems----
From the San Bernardino Sun:

A federal watchdog group is asking the U.S. attorney general to open a corruption investigation of House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis because of the congressman's ties to a lobbyist who has legally donated thousands of dollars to Lewis' causes.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington wants the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice to investigate the California Republican's relationship with lobbyist and friend Bill Lowery.

In a faxed letter to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, the group argued that there appeared to be "a steady flow of financial influence."

The watchdog group compared Lewis' connections to Lowery to the influence-peddling scandals surrounding Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, the California Republican who gave up his seat last month after admitting he had accepted bribes from defense contractors.

A spokesman for Lewis said all of the congressman's actions were "legal and aboveboard."

Lewis's PAC has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to help Republicans maintain control of the House. In January, he was named head of the Appropriations Committee, which oversees about $900 billion in federal spending.......

Is someone keeping track of all these Republicans in trouble??????? At this rate, there won't be any Republicans without ethical problems.