Monday, January 31, 2005

On Vacation

I am on vacation for the week. I'll be back at you on the 7th. Everyone pray for good waves :)

Friday, January 28, 2005

Too Funny... But Yet Scary

Turns out we are all gay, but just don't know it. Childrens' entertainment is totally infiltrated by homosexuals trying to turn us all. The first to be noted as homoerotic was Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street. Most of us used to watch it as kids, so we must all be gay, right? Now the homo-conspirators, after getting Barney and Twinky Winky outed, created a new, even more sinister gender-bending cartoon... Sponge Bob Square Pants. No one knows how much of the little yellow sponge, holding hands with his ambiguously gay best friend, your children must watch before they turn into flamers, but chances are good that little Johnny will be playing with Barbie dolls within weeks of his first episode. But, look on the positive side - Since gay marriage is banned in most states, you will never have to pay for a Wedding.

Yellow and Porous and Outed

So SpongeBob SquarePants is gay. You think your small children, who may be glued to the TV set this morning, were just enthralled by a talking yellow sponge in suit pants. You'd be wrong. Actually, they are being brainwashed by a vast network of gay cartoon characters bent on destroying civilization as we know it.

SpongeBob isn't alone. Tinky Winky was the first to be "outed." Tinky may have seemed just like those other three fuzzy Teletubbies, harmless enough except for their uncanny power to send adults screaming from the room. Think again: Tinky is purple. His antenna is a triangle, the gay pride symbol, and he carries a purse-like bag. Get it?

Here's how we learned about SpongeBob.

"Does anyone here know SpongeBob?" Dr. James Dobson asked darkly, addressing a black-tie audience at one of Tuesday's inaugural events. Dobson is the founder of Focus on the Family, one of the nation's most outspoken conservative Christian groups. SpongeBob holds hands with his starfish pal Patrick, and likes to watch the imaginary television show "The Adventures of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy." Evidence enough, to Dobson at any rate, that the guy's a menace.

SpongeBob's rep is that he's a nice guy — a pushover even — who tries to get along with everyone, even Squidward, his gruff neighbor. The Sponge has indeed become something of a camp figure among gay men. But his nice-guy mien is what prompted an educational-film maker to star SpongeBob in a short video for young children about multiculturalism called "We Are Family." The video promotes a "tolerance pledge" for schoolkids that could extend to sexual identity.

One person's definition of tolerance is another's "pro-homosexual" agenda. "We see the video … as manipulating and potentially brainwashing kids," Dobson's spokesperson told the New York Times on Wednesday. "It's a classic bait and switch."

Chiming in, a homosexuality detection expert at the similarly conservative Family Research Council called words like "tolerance" and "diversity" part of a "coded language that is regularly used by the homosexual community."

Forget prime-time raunchiness — Janet Jackson's pixelated nipple or Nicollette Sheridan's towel drop on "Monday Night Football." The real threat lurks in the morning cartoons.

So don't get us started on Jimmy Neutron. Or Mr. Rogers, one of whose signature phrases was, suspiciously, "people can like you just because you're you."

Which of these things is not like the other ones?... which of these things is just not the same?... Posted by Hello

Bush Gots No Game

Now that Bush has had to put an end to using your tax money to sell you on his policies, he is now looking for private donations to use to propagandize his policies like privatizing Social Security. Gee, I wonder who will be making those donations? Mr. and Mrs. Jones who live next door or E.F. Hutton? Do you honestly think that whoever is going to be donating to this is not going to be expecting something in return? A good product will sell itself - but this product is a dud, so Bush has got to do media blitz to con us again. This is just another episode in the long line of his selling out our country.

RNC Seeks Donations to Push Bush Agenda

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Who's Playing the Race Card Now

WOW! This one is quite a doozie (I used "doozie" just for you Michele). The Christian Coalition is claiming Democrats who opposed Rice's nomination are racists. That is the farthest thing from the truth. She was opposed because she lied to us and misled us. I am a multi-racial person and I opposed her nomination also. Not because of her race - she could be black, white, or even magneto for all I care. I opposed her because I do not think she was very good at her last job, much less qualified for this one. And if Democrats are so racists and hate to see any minority from succeeding, why was there so much praise of Powell when he was nominated, and so much disappointment now that he has stepped down.

If you are going to complain about the race card, don't start pulling it yourself.

Prejudice Against Secretaryof State Condoleezza Rice (Link)

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Christian Coalition of America condemns left-wing Senators -- and a moderate running for President -- for their prejudice against successful American conservative minorities, as exemplified by their vote against the confirmation of Condoleezza Rice for Secretary of State. Senators who voted against Secretary Rice's confirmation were:

Yet Another Conservative Journalists Comes Clean

Bush is finally calling an end to his Administrations illegal use of tax payer money to pay journalists to propagandize policy initiatives. This comes a day after Maggie Gallagher, a syndicated columnist, admits that she "forgot" to tell her readers about her financial connections to the Bush White House. She had taken $21,500 from the Health and Human Services Department to help create materials promoting the agency's $300 million initiative to encourage marriage.

She said it never occurred to her to tell readers about her work for the government. "I should have disclosed a government contract when I later wrote about the Bush marriage initiative. I would have, if I had remembered it. My apologies to my readers."

At least I know, since Democrats do not control the White House or the Congress, that journalists speaking against proposed legislation are not getting payoffs to do it. Investigations are ongoing into several of these White House payoffs.

Bush Orders an End to Hiring Columnists

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Deconstructing the Constructionists

He is Strict, but He is No Constructionists

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Tuesday that judges should look to historical practices when ruling on religious issues. (Link)
So, does this mean we look to how our founding fathers viewed the separation of church and state? If so, the results do not support his positions. But wait, there is more...

Speaking at the University of Michigan, Scalia criticized judges for using what he called "abstractions" to interpret religious issues when they should be looking to the text of the Constitution itself.
"The Constitution says what it says and does not say what it does not say," he said.

Exactly, the Constitution says that, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." It does not say an establishment of a religion, but of religion. That clause is all inclusive, not singular. For a constructionist to do his/her job, they must look at what each word means.

Religion is defined by the Marriam-Webster dictionary as:

b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices

So, if you replace "religion" with the definition, you get, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of the service and worship of God or the supernatural." This does not mean Congress cannot establish a single religion, but must void itself of anything to do with the service and worship of God or the supernatural. This does not mean it is ok to acknowledge god as long as it is non-specific. This includes "In God We Trust" and "Under God."

So, textual construction does not work. If Scalia then wants to turn to "historical practices," he runs into a whole host of new problems.

First, there were many founding fathers. Just like Democrats or Republicans, there were not a homogeneous group. As with any group you have many divergent beliefs. There is no way to look at the group as a whole and come to one concensus conclusion about how they foresaw religion as part of our government.

Lets look at James Madison in his Remonstrance of proposed legislation for Christian teachers to be paid for with public funds. Madison said:

"Because Religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it [religion] be subject to that of the Legislative Body... The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment [mixing state and religion], exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants."

So, in Madison's own words, he considers anyone who would have the state cross the boundaries between church and state are tyrants.

Was Madison speaking only of Christianity when he talked about excluding religion, or did it go father?

Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us.

So, again, we see by Madison's own words, that he was not merely speaking of Christianity or a specific sect, but of all religion. His statement, "we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded," means atheists are equally to be protected from the mixing of church and state.

But Religion is good and teaches us morals and gives us guidance in order to live our lives. Should not the state foster the benefits of religion in order to build a better society? Madison did not think so:

Because the establishment proposed by the Bill is not requisite for the support of the Christian Religion...for it is known that this Religion both existed and flourished, not only without the support of human laws, but in spite of every opposition from them, and not only during the period of miraculous aid, but long after it had been left to its own evidence and the ordinary care of Providence. Nay, it is a contradiction in terms; for a Religion not invented by human policy, must have pre-existed and been supported, before it was established by human policy. It is moreover to weaken in those who profess this Religion a pious confidence in its innate excellence and the patronage of its Author; and to foster in those who still reject it, a suspicion that its friends are too conscious of its fallacies to trust it to its own merits.

What Madison is saying here is that the Christian faith is bigger than the state. It existed before the state and exists in spite of the state. If religion is indeed a product of God, then there is no need for the state to support it. By the state becoming involved in religion, it in fact weakens the premises of faith in God. For someone to say that there needs to be a support of religion by the state means that their religion is not strong enough to support itself.

Many who feel that Christianity holds a special place in America because it was founded mainly by Christians are also rejected by Madison's words. Madison envisioned America as a place for all religions to prosper equally, without deference to any particular religion or sect.

Because the proposed establishment is a departure from the generous policy, which, offering an Asylum to the persecuted and oppressed of every Nation and Religion, promised a lustre to our country, and an accession to the number of its citizens... Instead of holding forth an Asylum to the persecuted, it is itself a signal of persecution. It degrades from the equal rank of Citizens all those whose opinions in Religion do not bend to those of the Legislative authority. Distant as it may be in its present form from the [Spanish] Inquisition, it differs from it only in degree. The one is the first step, the other the last in the career of intolerance. The maganimous sufferer under this cruel scourge in foreign Regions, must view the Bill as a Beacon on our Coast, warning him to seek some other haven, where liberty and philanthrophy in their due extent, may offer a more certain respose from his Troubles.

There is nothing in the constitution that supports any connection with religion and the state. There is no consensus view of the founding fathers that there should be any connection between religion and the state. So, can Scalia be a strict constructionist and still find it ok for there to be any connection between religion and the state? Not a chance. If Scalia was really a strict constructionist, he would oppose any connection between religion and the state. Otherwise, Scalia is actually an "activist" judge.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Go Get 'Em Tiger

During the elections, I kept hearing, "your not voting for Kerry, you're voting against Bush." I would say over and over that was not true. I was voting for Kerry because I like his moral values. Today, he is shrugging of the disappointment of his loss and is getting back to work to continue to push the progressive agenda. Today, he plans to get back to his goal of ensuring all American children have basic health insurance. As I have always said, I could care less if two men or two women who are already living together anyway, get married or not (Bush's values). What I do care about is health insurance for the American people (Kerry's values). It is ridiculous that as wealthy and advanced we are, there are over 45 million Americans who have no access to affordable health care. At least Kerry is making a first step for kids while Bush is introducing ideas to cut Medicaid.

INTERVIEW: Kerry Resumes 'Great Job,' Pushes Health Care

And Now For Something a Little Different

Every once in a while I like to put something up that is non-political... This fits the bill. As any of the cops I know always tell me, it is only the stupid criminals they usually catch.

Cops: Alleged Robber Calls Victim for Date (Link to Full Story)

NEW CASTLE, Del. - Police say a man involved in the recent robbery of a Domino's Pizza delivery woman would be a good candidate for "World's Dumbest Criminal."

Police say that after two men robbed the woman, one of them called the victim on his cell phone to apologize — and to ask her out on a date...

Officers searched a residence and found the pizza boxes in the trash can with the original receipt still attached.

$368 Billion Deficit

The US deficit is expected to be a whopping $368 Billion next year. And before anyone posts a comment saying "well, this is down from $418 Billion last year," let me point out a few things.

First, This does not include the costs of the war. This is expected to be between $100 and $115 billion extra (and I think this is low). Bush is already asking for an additional $80 billion now.

Second, this deficit number assumes that the tax cut is not made permanent. If Bush gets his way, this number shoots way up again.

Third, the dollar continues to drop, making it even more difficult to repay our debts.

Fourth, Bush predicted a deficit of $331 billion last year... thus, it is higher than previously forecasted.

As an update - the national debt stands at $7,614,010,749,612... your share is $83,107

Monday, January 24, 2005

Welfare States

I have commented on this issue before on other blogs. While many conservatives talk so staunchly against the "welfare state" many red states benefit so much from that same system and are in fact "welfare states." On average, for ever dollar that a blue state send to DC, it gets back $.87. For every dollar sends to DC the average red state gets back $1.19. So, even though we gun-hating, god-hating, anti-American bleeding heart liberals are the mokery of many right leaning Americans, there doesn't seem to be any problem in taking our money.

I am not horribly distraught by this whole situation. We are one country and that means that we are all in this together. If an area of the country that has been hit hard by economic shifts needs a little help to get new jobs, or if the family farmer has been hurt by dropping food prices, I have no problems with helping out. After all, we are only as strong as our weakest link. But I would love to stop hearing how liberals are trying to destroy America through a "welfare state" when welfare comes in so many sizes and shapes.

Red States Make a Mockery Of Self-Reliance (Link)

By Steven Pearlstein
Wednesday, January 19, 2005; Page E01

In his inaugural address tomorrow, I'm guessing, George W. Bush will take a moment to reaffirm the "red state" values that returned him and the Republican congressional majority to power. You know, things like self-reliance, free markets, small government and fiscal rectitude.

Funny, that. I have in front of me the latest report from the Tax Foundation showing how much each state gets back in contracts, benefits and subsidies for every dollar of taxes paid. And it shows that, with a few exceptions, the anti-government red states are the net winners in the flow of funds while the pro-government blue states are almost all losers.

Among the biggest winners in 2003, for example, were New Mexico, at $1.99 for every tax dollar paid, followed closely by Alaska, Mississippi, North and South Dakota, Alabama and Montana -- the "red-ink states," as Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group calls them. The biggest loser was New Jersey, at 57 cents per dollar paid, followed by blue states Connecticut, New York, California, Massachusetts and Illinois.

(Happily for those of us in the Washington region, the dominating presence of the federal government makes us big winners.)

In other words, we now have a new red-state political majority comprising voters who, while professing distrust of government and disdain for the values of the blue-state minority, are only too happy to rely on Washington and blue-state wealth to keep them in the style to which they have become accustomed.

This rank hypocrisy might be laughable but for the fact that the fleecing of the blue states has increased markedly over the past decade as Republicans tightened their hold on Washington. And the early signs are that it's about to get worse.

Is it mere coincidence, for instance, that after voting 91 percent for his opponent, the District suddenly finds itself stuck with a $12 million tab for inauguration security? Or that Dick Cheney is still pushing tax cuts and royalty breaks for red-state drillers and miners, even after energy prices for blue-state consumers have rocketed to record highs? Or that the tax plan being cooked up by the Treasury will eliminate the deduction for state and local taxes, which just happen to be highest in blue states? Or that the administration plans to slash funding for urban-oriented community block grants, then bury the program in the Commerce Department?

And how can we square the Republicans' urgent desire to "privatize" Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with its continued support for Farmer Mac -- or, for that matter, the Rural Utilities Service, a New Deal agency that was supposed to bring electricity to family farms but now finances golf courses in North Texas?

Then again, you'd think those truly committed to free markets and smaller government would be raising hell over the big increase in farm subsidies over the past two years, even as farm incomes doubled.

How's that possible? You may remember that in the bad old days of Bill Clinton, Congress passed the "Freedom to Farm" Act, which was supposed to wean farmers from disaster aid and price supports by replacing those with a gradually diminishing annual subsidy, whether they planted a crop or not. But then the weather turned bad, world prices fell and the farm lobby was back on Capitol Hill with both hands out. When the legislative smoke had cleared, the "freedom" payments survived, only to be supplemented by another round of disaster relief and a brand-new price-support system.

Three years later, red-state farmers are now getting all the advantages of free markets with all the benefits of French-style subsidies. Yields are at record levels, driving prices low enough to trigger price-support payments while sending the price of farmland to new highs. Meanwhile, in blue-state supermarkets, food prices have risen faster than prices for nearly everything else.

George W. Bush says he wants to put aside this silly red-blue thing and be president of all the people. So far, however, his actions -- and those of his congressional allies -- suggest a different reality:

To the victor belong the spoils.

More Questions About Gonzales

First, it was the reinterpretation of torture that rose questions about Gonzales. then it was questions whether or not he left out vitally important mitigating factors from files to then governor Bush regarding clemency requests for prisoners on death row. Now come questions of if Gonzales pulled strings so Bush could skip out of jury duty and thus, skip disclosing his DUI conviction on court documents.

While I doubt that I would particularly like any person that Bush nominated to be Attorney General, I think Gonzales shows a history of playing a little too loose and free with the law. We cannot have a man who is the highest ranking government lawyer who is willing to re-interpret the law to his liking. While I would take Gonzales in a heart beat over the former Attorney General (who just ignored laws), we are in a period of our nations history where we are grappling with difficult questions regarding privacy, human rights, war on terror, etc. America deserves a person who will take the law seriously.

Gonzales: Did He Help Bush Keep His DUI Quiet? (Link)

Jan. 31 issue - Senate Democrats put off a vote on White House counsel Alberto Gonzales's nomination to be attorney general, complaining he had provided evasive answers to questions about torture and the mistreatment of prisoners. But Gonzales's most surprising answer may have come on a different subject: his role in helping President Bush escape jury duty in a drunken-driving case involving a dancer at an Austin strip club in 1996. The judge and other lawyers in the case last week disputed a written account of the matter provided by Gonzales to the Senate Judiciary Committee. "It's a complete misrepresentation," said David Wahlberg, lawyer for the dancer, about Gonzales's account.

Bush's summons to serve as a juror in the drunken-driving case was, in retrospect, a fateful moment in his political career: by getting excused from jury duty he was able to avoid questions that would have required him to disclose his own 1976 arrest and conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) in Kennebunkport, Maine—an incident that didn't become public until the closing days of the 2000 campaign. (Bush, who had publicly declared his willingness to serve, had left blank on his jury questionnaire whether he had ever been "accused" in a criminal case.) Asked by Sen. Patrick Leahy to describe "in detail" the only court appearance he ever made on behalf of Bush, Gonzales—who was then chief counsel to the Texas governor—wrote that he had accompanied Bush the day he went to court "prepared to serve on a jury." While there, Gonzales wrote, he "observed" the defense lawyer make a motion to strike Bush from the jury panel "to which the prosecutor did not object." Asked by the judge whether he had "any views on this," Gonzales recalled, he said he did not.

While Gonzales's account tracks with the official court transcript, it leaves out a key part of what happened that day, according to Travis County Judge David Crain. In separate interviews, Crain—along with Wahlberg and prosecutor John Lastovica—told NEWSWEEK that, before the case began, Gonzales asked to have an off-the-record conference in the judge's chambers. Gonzales then asked Crain to "consider" striking Bush from the jury, making the novel "conflict of interest" argument that the Texas governor might one day be asked to pardon the defendant (who worked at an Austin nightclub called Sugar's), the judge said. "He [Gonzales] raised the issue," Crain said. Crain said he found Gonzales's argument surprising, since it was "extremely unlikely" that a drunken-driving conviction would ever lead to a pardon petition to Bush. But "out of deference" to the governor, Crain said, the other lawyers went along. Wahlberg said he agreed to make the motion striking Bush because he didn't want the hard-line governor on his jury anyway. But there was little doubt among the participants as to what was going on. "In public, they were making a big show of how he was prepared to serve," said Crain. "In the back room, they were trying to get him off."

Gonzales last week refused to waver. "Judge Gonzales has no recollection of requesting a meeting in chambers," a senior White House official said, adding that while Gonzales did recall that Bush's potential conflict was "discussed," he never "requested" that Bush be excused. "His answer to the Senate's question is accurate," the official said.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Tick, Tick, Tick

I sit here, looking out my office window, overlooking 44th street and down into the heart of times square. I can see the tourists wander through a maze of vendors, bumping into one another since their heads are pointed upwards to see all the neon lights and billboards. But, what always catches my attention is the "national debt" clock that is constantly churning upwards at over $1000 per second. $7,613,776,328,906... in the time it took me to type that, it is now $7,613,776,360,121. Each persons share is currently $83,103. Each day that goes up as well... $7,613,776,462,833. Tick, tick, tick... it just keeps going up and up. Typing it out in words makes me even sadder... Seven trillion six hundred thirteen billion seven hundred seventy-six million four hundred sixty-two thousand eight hundred thirty-three... $7,613,776,690,307... your share is up another dollar.

Update - just for those of you who are curious. I am about to leave work soon. The debt is not $7,613,795,427,973. That's right, it has increased over $19 million while we all sat at work today.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


CNN Poll: Nation split on Bush as uniter or divider (CNN Link)

49% Think he is a uniter
49% Think he is a divider

By definition, doesn't that make him a divider? And who the hell thought up the headline?

This is the Right Wing Morality?

The wingnut conservative radio host Michael Savage represented the "moral values" of the right quite well on his daily radio broadcast.

"It is the Savage Nation out here on the West Coast. We've had rain for five days. We have another five days of it. I need some aid right now. International aid. Because I may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder if this keeps up. Maybe I should go to the U.N. [United Nations] and see if I can get some special psychotherapy and sun lamps."

"We shouldn't be sending as much [to Asia] as we're sending. Bush has a lot of gall writing a check for 135 million dollars. This is more a UNICEF deal, it's a U.N. deal, it's a Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, George Soros, Bill Clinton bleeding-heart-liberal deal. I don't want to send them any money. You know, a few airplanes with some medical supplies and a little lip service would have been fine for me."

"You could take the argument that it's God's will, it's too bad and let's move on. And then let others help them. They're not in our sphere of interest. Primarily, they hate our guts in plain English. All right, well, the argument is, well, if you send them money, they're gonna like us, show 'em we're not anti-Muslim. That is such rubbish. That is such rubbish. They're gonna hate you anyhow, no matter what we ever do."

"It's not a tragedy. I wouldn't call it a tragedy. It's a human disaster. It's not a tragedy in that sense. But, the issue is, theological questions suddenly arise. ... Now, for you atheists, you have no questions about this. It's a pure accident of nature. You don't ask yourself, 'Was it God's hand?'"

"If you are a God-believing, God-fearing person, I am sure at some point you ask yourself, wait a minute. The epicenter of this earthquake and the resulting tidal wave was adjacent to the sex trade island of Phuket, Thailand ... and then it knocked out many, many regions of Indonesia, some of which are the most vicious recruiting grounds for Islamic terrorists. That's a fact of reality. Then going the other way, it hit Sri Lanka, ex-Ceylon. And as you well know, Sri Lanka is a viciously anti-Western nation, the home of the Tamil Tigers, who are not only separatists but anti-Westerners, anti-Christians, etc. You could argue, maybe this is God's hand, because some of their brethren struck Christian America. Maybe God speaks the truth but waits. Seeks the truth and waits. I don't know. You could argue: God struck them. Now, I don't argue that because I'm not a theologian. Nor do I believe that God is omnipotent. I believe God is omnipresent. But I don't think God has control over every act because there would be no free will and I don't believe in that. ... But then again, who knows? I'm one man amongst billions of people, with one man's opinion. "

"Many of the countries and the areas in these countries that were hit by these tidal waves were hotbeds of radical Islam. Why should we be helping them destroy us? ... I think what we're doing is feeding our own demise. ... I truthfully don't believe in foreign aid"
"We shouldn't be spending a nickel on this, as far as I'm concerned. ... I don't want one nickel of my money going over there. ... I am sick of being bled to death by every damn incident on the earth."

If this is what the right wng stands for, then thank God I am a liberal...

A Very Poignant Quote

This is a quote from Barbra Boxer from today's questioning of Dr. Rice's conformation hearings.

And I think the way we should start is by trying to set the record straight on some of the things you said going into this war. Now, since 9/11 we've been engaged in a just fight against terror. And I, like Senator Feingold and everyone here who was in the Senate at the time, voted to go after Osama bin Laden and to go after the Taliban, and to defeat al Qaeda. And you say they have left territory -- that's not true. Your own documents show that al Qaeda has expanded from 45 countries in '01 to more than 60 countries today.

Well, with you in the lead role, Dr. Rice, we went into Iraq. I want to read you a paragraph that best expresses my views, and ask my staff if they would hold this up -- and I believe the views of millions of Californians and Americans. It was written by one of the world's experts on terrorism, Peter Bergen, five months ago. He wrote: "What we have done in Iraq is what bin Laden could not have hoped for in his wildest dreams: We invaded an oil-rich Muslim nation in the heart of the Middle East, the very type of imperial adventure bin Laden has long predicted was the U.S.'s long-term goal in the region. We deposed the secular socialist Saddam, whom bin Laden has long despised, ignited Sunni and Shi'a fundamentalist fervor in Iraq, and have now provoked a defensive jihad that has galvanized jihad- minded Muslims around the world. It's hard to imagine a set of policies better designed to sabotage the war on terror." This conclusion was reiterated last Thursday by the National Intelligence Council, the CIA director's think tank, which released a report saying that Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of professionalized terrorists.

That's your own administration's CIA. NIC chairman Robert Hutchings said Iraq is, quote, "a magnet for international terrorist activity."

Link to full transcript

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Other Shoe

I remember when Arafat died, I thought (among other things), "good, maybe someone with some sense can finally step forward and lead the Palestinians to a peaceful resolution of their problems." Many Americans thought the same things. We saw Arafat as a terrorist and an arrogant bastard who condemned his people to the same mistakes and tragedies they had suffered from their leaders for the past 60 years. I couldn't understand why the Palestinians would follow such a man.

Well, apparently, much of the rest of the world feels very similar about our President and Americans' love affair of him. Only 3 countries out of 21 polled saw the world as safer with George Bush in office. The majority of the world believes America is a danger with Bush in office. How can G.W. stand a chance at building alliances with the rest of the world when foreigners see him as a danger to their own security? The answer is - he can't. This is what happens when you thumb your nose to the rest of the world as Bush has done. We are driving away those allies that we need the most. We have lost the sympathy of the nations who could stop the terrorists before they ever get to our borders.

You cannot convince me that our leaders have not made humongous diplomatic blunders when we go from being seen as "defending ourselves," to being seen as "the danger." Is the feelings of the rest of the world completely justified? No. We have the right and obligating to defend ourselves. But Bush cannot escape blame for a good part of the Anti-American sentiment that abounds.

Global Poll Shows Negative Reaction to Bush Win
By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) - A majority of people surveyed in a global poll think the re-election of George Bush (news - web sites) has made the world more dangerous and many view Americans negatively as well, the BBC said Wednesday.

The survey by the British broadcaster showed that only three countries -- India, the Philippines and Poland -- out of 21 polled thought the world was safer following Bush's election win in November.

Bush will be inaugurated for his second term Thursday.

On average across all countries, 58 percent of the 22,000 surveyed said they believed Bush's re-election made the world more dangerous.

"This is quite a grim picture for the U.S.," said Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at America's University of Maryland.

The survey found that 56 percent of Americans thought Bush's win was good for the world with 39 percent disagreeing.

Traditional U.S. allies in western Europe, such as Britain (64 percent), France (75 percent), and Germany (77 percent), were among the most negative about Bush's re-election.

A majority in Italy (54 percent) and Australia (61 percent), which both have troops in Iraq (news - web sites), also thought his win had made the world more dangerous.

Anti-Bush sentiment was strongest in Turkey, with 82 percent thinking his win was bad for peace compared to just 6 percent in support. A large majority in Latin American countries, including 58 percent in close neighbor Mexico, were also negative.

Analysts said the poll had far-reaching implications, suggesting a serious rise in anti-U.S. feeling in general, with 42 percent saying it had made them feel worse about Americans compared to 25 percent who made it think more of them.


There was also overwhelming opposition to sending troops to Iraq, even among close allies such as Britain.

"Fully one in four British citizens say the Bush re-election has made them more opposed to sending troops to Iraq, resulting in a total of 63 per cent now opposed," said Doug Miller, president of GlobeScan which carried out the poll.

"Our research makes very clear that the re-election of President Bush (news - web sites) has further isolated America from the world."

The survey found that 47 percent of those questioned now see U.S. influence in the world as largely negative.

"Those saying the U.S. itself is having a clearly negative influence in the world still do not constitute a definitive world-wide majority, suggesting there may be some underlying openness to repairing relations with the U.S.," he said.

The survey was conducted between Nov. 15, 2004 and Jan. 5, 2005.

Still No Offer to Reimburse DC

The day before the largest inauguration bash the country has ever seen (especially during a time of war), the president is still refusing to reimburse the City of DC for the $12 million security price tag. It is unprecedented in our nations history that the President will stick the City with the costs associated with the party. But, as they say, it is good to be the king.

Republicans Continue to Break Ranks

The Republicans in Congress are beginning to break ranks with the President when it comes to privatizing social security. Now, the highest ranking Republican yet has spoken out against the Presidents proposal. Why? Well, because it really kind of sucks.

We can all agree that the system is in need of reform, but privatizing the program will not solve long term or short term financial shortfalls. Whether or not we privatize, we will be hit with the expense of the baby boomers retiring. Using their retirement expense as a reason to privatize the system is a moot point, so I really wish the President would stop making it. Once we get past the baby boomers, we hit more of an equilibrium, where the people entering the job market is no longer diminishing against the people retiring. Bush's plan does not compensate for the immediate short term deficit nor does it take into account long term reduction of retirees.

simpler and less risky options, like means testing and raising the retirement age can do so much more than privatizing the system.

New Doubts On Plan For Social Security (Link to Full Story)
House Republican Says Bush Plan Is Doomed, Seeks Review of System

By Mike Allen and Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, January 19, 2005; Page A01

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) predicted yesterday that partisan warfare over Social Security will quickly render President Bush's plan "a dead horse" and called on Congress to undertake a broader review of the problems of an aging nation.

Thomas, one of Capitol Hill's most powerful figures on tax policy, is the highest-ranking House Republican official to cast doubt on the president's plan for creating individual investment accounts. He said that as an alternative, he will consider changes such as replacing the payroll tax as Social Security's financing mechanism and adding a savings plan for long-term or chronic care as "an augmentation to Social Security payments."

"What I'm trying to get people to do is get out of the narrow moving around of the pieces inside the Social Security box," Thomas said at a forum on Bush's second term sponsored by the National Journal. "If we miss this opportunity . . . I think we will have missed an opportunity that may not present itself for another 20 years."

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Jib Jab

For anyone who loved the "this land is my land" parody put out before the elections, Jib Jab comes out with its tribute to the Bush inauguration tomorrow.

Visit them at

True That

This is a quote from Joe Biden during the Rice confirmation hearings. It reiterates what I have been saying for the past couple of months. When we try to go it alone, we make ourselves less safe against the scourge that we are fighting against.

"And the result is, despite our great military might, we are, in my view, more alone in the world than we have been in anytime in recent memory and the time for diplomacy, in my view, is long overdue. As a result, we're in, in my view, a less secure position than we should be in the world. That's because virtually all the threats we face, from terrorism to the spread of weapons of mass destruction, to rogue states flouting the rules, to the pandemic diseases that we face now and will face, none of them can be solved solely by American soldiers by themselves. America is much more secure working with and reaching out to others than it is walking alone. And I believe the heart of your mission must be to help rebuild America's power to persuade and to restore our nation to the respect it once enjoyed, quite frankly, for our own safety's sake." — Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., senior Democrat on the committee

Analysis: Accountable, Not Held to Account

This is a good analysis of Bush and the lack of people holding him accountable for his blunders. (Link to Story)

Monday, January 17, 2005


Today is always a good day to reflect on how our feelings and actions affect others lives. I think very few people today would argue that segregation is a good thing, but there were millions of Americans who fought against intergration 50 years ago because they believed that is the way it should be. They were wrong then and time proved them wrong. Take this time to reflect on your beliefs. Why do you believe what you believe? Is it out of fear? Out of ignorance? Because that is how your parents taught you? And I am not talking just about race relations, but for men's views of women and vice-versa, sexual orientation, religion, immigration status, wealth, education, and every other reason you may come up with.

Friday, January 14, 2005

He may be conservative, but he's not compassionate

The Bush Administration has officially become the real life version of Orwell's 1984. You know, the book where the government tuned everything around. Billboards were plastered with slogans like "war is peace" and "freedom is slavery." Well, I guess Cheney has read the book one too many times and has taken it to heart.

They started with things like the "clean skies initiative" which actually means "dirtier skies" according to a government panel's investigation. (Link)

Then there was "invading Iraq will make us safer by getting rid of the terrorists there" which actually meant "creating a new terrorist breeding ground in Iraq" (Link)

Now there is "values" which apparently means "no values." Yes, Bush is planning sharp cuts in HUD community development plans to ensure that everyone can at least have a roof over their head. Any claim by conservatives that Bush is a moral man with family values is now completely gone. There is no credibility left in that arguement. All you have left is a cowboy with bad grammer.

Bush Plans Sharp Cuts in HUD Community Efforts (Link)

By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 14, 2005; Page A01

The White House will seek to drastically shrink the Department of Housing and Urban Development's $8 billion community branch, purging dozens of economic development projects, scrapping a rural housing program and folding high-profile anti-poverty efforts into the Labor and Commerce departments, administration officials said yesterday.

The proposal in the upcoming 2006 budget would make good on President Bush's vow to eliminate or consolidate what he sees as duplicative or ineffective programs. Officials said yesterday that economic development programs are scattered too widely in the government and have proved particularly ineffectual at HUD.

Advocates for the poor, however, contended that the White House is trying to gut federal programs for the poorest Americans to make way for tax cuts, a mission to Mars and other presidential priorities. Administration officials would not say how much the consolidation would save, but it could lead to steep funding cuts. That is because the HUD programs would have to compete for resources in Commerce and Labor budgets that are not likely to expand to accommodate the shuffle.

"I'm always willing to look at consolidation, but clearly they're using consolidation as a shield for substantial budget reductions," said Rep. Barney Frank (Mass.), the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over housing and community development programs.

The plan was detailed in a December memo from the White House Office of Management and Budget to HUD. The document provides one of the first concrete examples of the types of cuts in the works as the administration comes to grips with a soaring deficit.

"The purpose of the exercise has nothing to do with achieving or not achieving savings," said one administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid preempting the Feb. 7 release of the president's fiscal 2006 budget request.

"What we are trying to accomplish is to meet our obligation to people living in distressed communities, to hold communities accountable for helping those people and to become more efficient in the process," another official said.

Ooops... My Bad

Bush finally admits he has made some mistakes (kind of) in his word usage(still not admitting the really big ones and obvious mistakes). Bush was interviewed by reporters yesterday (Link):

"Sometimes, words have consequences you don't intend them to mean," Bush said Thursday. "'Bring 'em on' is the classic example, when I was really trying to rally the troops and make it clear to them that I fully understood, you know, what a great job they were doing. And those words had an unintended consequence. It kind of, some interpreted it to be defiance in the face of danger. That certainly wasn't the case."

Ya-think? when you are trying to pacify a country, maybe the best thing is not to make a challenge to the people we are trying to pacify.

In the week after the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush was asked if he wanted bin Laden, the terrorist leader blamed for the attacks, dead.
"I want justice," Bush said. "And there's an old poster out West, that I recall, that said, 'Wanted, Dead or Alive.'"
Recalling that remark, Bush told the reporters: "I can remember getting back to the White House, and Laura said, 'Why did you do that for?' I said, 'Well, it was just an expression that came out. I didn't rehearse it.'

Yes... good idea... the world already thinks you are a maverick cowboy with no sense of rule of law... lets bring frontier justice into the picture, too.

"I don't know if you'd call it a regret, but it certainly is a lesson that a president must be mindful of, that the words that you sometimes say. ...

Well, I'll be... president has got be mindful of his words? Well no sh*t Sherlock. when did this great epiphany come to you... while you were on the can?

Seriously, how this man got 51% of the vote still baffles the hell out of me.

The White House - Armstrong Williams Scandal to be Investigated

The Bush Administration's use of a private PR firm will be investigated by congress for potential illegal activities stemming from the revelation that the Bush Administration was paying Williams to promote the No Child Left Behind bill. I don't know about you, but this is one thing I don't want my tax dollars being spent on. I don't want to pay for the government to advertise to me.

Paige Orders Probe Into Williams Deal (Link to Full Story)

By BEN FELLER, AP Education Writer

WASHINGTON - Investigations by the Education Department and Congress are forcing the Bush administration to defend its use of a public relations company to promote the president's schools agenda.

The department has committed at least $1.3 million to the company, including $240,000 that went to a business run by conservative commentator and columnist Armstrong Williams. He produced ads with Education Secretary Rod Paige that promoted the No Child Left Behind Act.

Williams was also hired to provide media time to Paige and to persuade other blacks in media to talk about the law, records show. Williams and Paige say the arrangement was legal; some lawmakers and media critics contend it amounted to propaganda.

On Thursday, less than a week after news of the deal became public, senators demanded department records, a Federal Communications Commission (news - web sites) member requested an investigation, and Paige began an internal review.

In an interview published Thursday night on USA Today's Web site, Bush said, "The Cabinet needs to take a good look and make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen again."

"I think there needs to be a clear distinction between journalism and advocacy," the president said. "And I appreciate the way Armstrong Williams has handled this, because he has made it very clear that he made a mistake."

Rep. George MillerD-Calif., said Paige's statement shows that the administration is not taking the matter seriously enough. The Bush approach is "never admit your mistake, never apologize," said Miller, the top Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

Also Thursday, the chairman and ranking member of the Senate panel that oversees education spending asked for three years of department records of public relations contracts.

Sens. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, reminded Paige in their letter that federal law bans the use of public money on propaganda.

They want a list of any grant, contract or arrangement of public money being used "for public relations or anything similar to the purpose of the Ketchum contract" from the 2002, 2003 and 2004 budget years.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


I didn't want to blog about this because I didn't want to do an "I told you so" piece and because regardless of the end of the search for WMDs we are there now and have to finish the job. But I hope that this will give pause to some people and make them reassess their belief that this president is somehow infallible.

White House: Iraq Weapons Search Is Over (Link to Full Story)

WASHINGTON - The White House acknowledged Wednesday that its hunt for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction — a two-year search costing millions of dollars — has closed down without finding the stockpiles that President Bush cited as a justification for overthrowing Saddam HusseinBush's spokesman said the president had no regrets about invading Iraq.

The Iraq Survey Group — made up of as many as 1,500 military and intelligence specialists and support staff — is ending its search of military installations, factories and laboratories where it was thought that equipment and products might be converted to making weapons.

McClellan said the active search had virtually ended. "There may be a couple, a few people that are focused on that," he said, adding that they would handle any future reports that might come in.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Former Lawmakers Find Lucrative Jobs

In one of my more lucid moments, I will take the time to attack both parties for what I perceive as a major problem in DC politics. This is the practice of leaving Congress to become lobbyists to the same government they recently served. Many legislators (both sides of the isle) are retiring from Congress to take much more lucrative private jobs. This is nothing new by any means, and nothing illegal as long as they don't lobby for at least one year. But, I do have issues with the practice of being responsible for creating the laws that affect an industry and then working for that industry (e.g. Billy Tauzin, R-La., the former chairman of the House committee that regulates drug makers, to become president and chief executive officer of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America).

We should not block a former Congressman from making a living after serving the American people. But, at the same time, we need to know that a Congressman goes to DC to serve us and not themselves. As in Eddie Murphy's 1992 movie "the Distinguished Gentleman" the reason for going to Congress should not be to pad your wallet, but to create a better America.

Former Lawmakers Find Lucrative Jobs (Link)

By LARRY MARGASAK, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The Republican congressman who helped regulate the drug industry now works for it. A maverick Democratic senator who derided special interests has signed on with a law firm representing many of them. A former House Republican is president of one of the nation's largest lobbying operations.

Recently retired lawmakers, who would have made $162,100 if they had returned to Congress, are signing on for more lucrative Washington jobs advising clients who crave government contracts or the largess of the annual spending bills, or are determined to ensure a bill's passage or defeat.

In the near term, retired lawmakers must keep their distance. Federal law bans former lawmakers from contacting any congressional office with the intent of influencing official action for one year.

After that, one-time members can get back into the business of Capitol Hill.

The job change that prompted the most chatter was the decision by Billy Tauzin, R-La., the former chairman of the House committee that regulates drug makers, to become president and chief executive officer of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

In the 2002 election cycle, Tauzin received $91,500 from drug companies, the fourth-highest total from the industry to a House member at that time, according to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The center, which tracks political donations, said Tauzin, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, raised $41,500 from pharmaceutical companies in the two-year election cycle that ended last year, even though he was not a candidate for re-election. Since 1997, he has collected $9,000 from his employer's political action committee.

In his new job, Tauzin said he wants to improve the image of drug companies. "They've got to re-earn the trust and confidence of the American public," he said recently.

Former Sen. Zell Miller, the Georgia Democrat turned fiery keynote speaker at last summer's Republican National Convention, has joined the international law firm of McKenna Long & Aldridge.

The firm, with 20 lobbyists, has legal and lobbying clients interested in virtually every issue before Congress: taxes, international trade, homeland security, defense, health policy, agriculture, education, insurance and energy.

During his one term in the Senate, Miller complained that "elected officials are beholden to these special interest groups." His new firm's clients include defense contractor Lockheed-Martin; Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals, maker of diabetes products; vaccine maker Aventis Pasteur Inc.; and insurer AFLAC.

The firm reported spending $820,000 for lobbying in the first half of 2004, according to lobbying disclosure records.

Retiring lawmakers are in greater demand than in past years as clients seek an edge in dealing with the congressional process in an era dominated by lobbyists and campaign donations. In return, former members know these employers are willing to pay top dollar.

"It's a match made in heaven, but one that citizens don't feel comfortable with," said Dr. John Hibbing, a political science professor at the University of Nebraska.

One of the busiest former members will be former Sen. John Breaux of Louisiana. The moderate Democrat will have at least four jobs, including senior counsel at Patton Boggs, the law-and-lobbying firm that was first in lobbying expenditures in the first half of 2004. Patton Boggs spent nearly $15 million, according to FECInfo, a company that tracks campaign finance and lobbying spending.

Breaux also will work for two investment firms and co-chair a presidential panel to recommend ways to simplify the tax code.

In the House, Pennsylvania Republican Jim Greenwood was a strong supporter of stem cell research and cloning of cells for medical research. He hopes to continue working on these issues in his new job: president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

Former Rep. Jack Quinn, R-N.Y., has assumed the presidency of Cassidy & Associates, a lobbying firm. FECInfo said the $13.2 million spent in the first half of 2004 ranked Cassidy, with 54 lobbyists, third among lobbying firms.

"I hope to help develop new business for them," said Quinn, who specialized in transportation issues in Congress. During the yearlong ban, Quinn said he will "spend most of the first year learning the business."

Don Nickles, R-Okla., former chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, struck out on his own, starting a firm that will provide advice to clients seeking to contact Congress or the executive branch.

"I love the private sector and I love public policy," Nickles said in announcing formation of "The Nickles Group." "This is the ideal fusion of the two."

Ben Nighthorse Campbell, the Colorado Republican who was the only American Indian in the Senate, has joined the Indian law practice group of Holland & Knight, a global law firm. But his post-congressional career goes beyond the legal life.

Campbell said he plans to help design a line of camping and outdoor gear, continue his jewelry design business and deliver motivational speeches at colleges and universities.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Question to My Fellow Bloggers

My question is this... what, as bloggers, do we owe to our readers and general public? After the Armstrong Williams scandal, I looked to see how prevalent journalists being paid to act as PR people was. I have found several journalists who have taken money from people and not disclosed the payments (not to be biased, but they all seem to be conservitive journalists so far). I also ran across something else that peaked my interest. Maybe the rest of you knew about this, but I did not. What I am referring to is two conservative bloggers taking money from the John Thune campaign to attack Tom Daschle and any journalists that might right positive articles about Daschle (or negative about Thune). (Link and Link)

most of us make no secret of our bias towards or against certain politicians or parties. But, what is the responsibility of the blogging world to disclose our personal financial interest in our blogging. This goes further than just political blogs, but to any kind of blog.

The problem I see is that credibility is of no importance in the blogging community. First, we are fairly anonymous. I could pass by any one of the other bloggers out there and never know the difference.

Second, even if we do get busted for being paid for something and not disclosing it, it is easy to shut up shop, change your handle and start all over again. Anywhere Armstrong Williams goes, his name follows and no one will trust him any longer. But I could easily change from the Barking Dingo to Howling Wolf, or any number of names.

So, I am curious as to what you think. What is our responsibility and how or should we even try to keep ourselves honest?

Adult Porn?

Some cooler heads prevailed in Mississippi yesterday. In a 5-2 decision, the library board has decided to reverse its decision to ban Jon Stewart's "America, the Book." (Link to Story)

Board members were quoted as saying:

"I've been a librarian for 40 years and this is the only book I've objected to so strongly that I wouldn't allow it to circulate," Robert Willits, director of the Jackson-George Regional Library System, said after the ban. "We're not an adult bookstore. Our entire collection is open to the entire public," he said... "I haven't heard anything but a good response by our decision to keep this material out of our libraries," Ogborn said. "Our libraries are not a trash bin for pornographic materials."

I have seen the picture of the naked justices. Porn, I can guarantee, it is not. If anyone could get sexually simulated by the picture of the plus years bodies, they have some serious issues.

If you have not yet had a chance to read "America," I highly recommend it as a great satirical book about the absurdity we Americans must endure from our political process on a daily basis. One of the better books I have read in a long time. But then again, if you haven't noticed, I tend to like sarcasim

"Look Mommy, there is white powder all over the Metro car..."

The Bush administration is refusing to reimburse the city of Washington, D.C. $11.7 Million in security costs for his big inauguration bash. The $11.7 million was earmarked for homeland security issues in out nations capital because it is one of the highest ranked targets in the country. In the first time in our nations history, the Administration is refusing to reimburse the city for the expense.

Side note - FDR in '45, during a time of war, did not have a inauguration bash in order to save money for more important issues.

U.S. Tells D.C. to Pay Inaugural Expenses (Link to Full Story)

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 11, 2005; Page A01

D.C. officials said yesterday that the Bush administration is refusing to reimburse the District for most of the costs associated with next week's inauguration, breaking with precedent and forcing the city to divert $11.9 million from homeland security projects.

Federal officials have told the District that it should cover the expenses by using some of the $240 million in federal homeland security grants it has received in the past three years -- money awarded to the city because it is among the places at highest risk of a terrorist attack.

But that grant money is earmarked for other security needs, Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) said in a Dec. 27 letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Joshua B. Bolten and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. Williams's office released the letter yesterday.

Williams estimated that the city's costs for the inauguration will total $17.3 million, most of it related to security. City officials said they can use an unspent $5.4 million from an annual federal fund that reimburses the District for costs incurred because of its status as the capital. But that leaves $11.9 million not covered, they said.

"We want to make this the best possible event, but not at the expense of D.C. taxpayers and other homeland security priorities," said Gregory M. McCarthy, the mayor's deputy chief of staff. "This is the first time there hasn't been a direct appropriation for the inauguration."

A spokesman for Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, which oversees the District, agreed with the mayor's stance. He called the Bush administration's position "simply not acceptable."

"It's an unfunded mandate of the most odious kind. How can the District be asked to take funds from important homeland security projects to pay for this instead?" said Davis spokesman David Marin.

Monday, January 10, 2005

All Hail Newt

God save us all. The king of hypocrisy is eyeing the White House. Newt, the man who brought down Democratic leader Wright (rightly so) and tried his best to bring down Bill Clinton (wrongly so), all the while being one of the biggest sleazes on Capital Hill, may decide to though his hat in the ring for 2008. His accomplishments include

* Several extra marital affairs, one with Callista Bisek, a 23 year younger congressional aid. His "indiscretions" have been traced back to a 1974 campaign.

* Pressed his wife for a divorce as she was recovering from cancer surgery in a hospital bed. He was quoted as saying, "She isn't young enough or pretty enough to be the President's wife," when presidential aspirations where still fresh in his mind.

* 22 bounced checks from the Congressional bank.

* $4.5 million by Harper Collins, a publishing company owned by Rupert Murdoch. A week after the initial offer, Newt met with Rupert Murdoch - and Murdoch's legislative lobbyist - to discuss politics of Murdoch's problems with the FCC. Gingrich's story kept changing through the controversy. First, Newt's spokesman said that Murdoch knew nothing about Gingrich and the book deal. On Friday January 13,Newt's spokesman admitted that Murdoch actually met Newt on a park bench the week before the deal was made, but didn't talk about it. He also said he knew nothing about Murdoch's lobbyist being at their meeting. The next day, he admitted the lobbyist was there, but claimed he didn't say so because no one asked.

* Illegally used tax-exempt charitable organizations to finance his and other conservative candidates' campaigns.

Source: just google the SOB (sorry, but I have about as much respect for him as I do DeLay)

With Islamists in mind, Gingrich mulls 2008 presidential run (Link to Full Story)

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Trailblazing ideologue Newt Gingrich, who engineered the 1994 Republican takeover of the US House of Representatives, said he may run for president in 2008, promising to fight what he calls "an Islamist insurgency against the modern world."

He also spoke about a need to center US society around religious values formulated by "our Creator."

Aspirations of the former House speaker have been an enigma in the US capital since his 1998 resignation from Congress following his party's losses in mid-tern elections.

But when asked on the "Fox News Sunday" television show if a presidential run was in his plans, Gingrich answered: "I'm not ruling that out."

The darling of US conservatives did not elaborate, but he already has something resembling an electoral platform: his book "Winning the Future," which goes on sale Monday.

The mid-sized tome promotes what is being described as Gingrich's vision of America's greatness in the 21st century, including his plan for winning the war on terror, re-establishing God in American public life, reforming the underfunded Social Security (news - web sites) pension system, restoring patriotism, and making US health care more accessible.

In a portion of the book made available to AFP, Gingrich argues the United States faces two immediate opponents: "the irreconcilable wing of Islam" and dictatorships that, in his words, empower radical Islamists.

Abbas Wins Palestinian Vote in Landslide

Just in case you have not yet heard...

Abbas Wins Palestinian Vote in Landslide (Link to Full Story)

RAMALLAH, West Bank - Mahmoud Abbas was elected Palestinian Authority president by a landslide, results showed Monday, giving the pragmatist a mandate to resume peace talks with Israel — but also leaving him with the tough task of reining in powerful armed groups.

Hopefully this will give everyone a fresh start so we can try this thing again.

Vikings Upset Packers 31-17, Move on to Philly


The Problem with Ohio... and Other States

Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican who co-chaired the Bush-Cheney election campaign in Ohio is also responsible for the election process in Ohio. Kathleen Harris, Republican who co-chaired the Bush-Cheney election campaign in Florida in 2000 was also responsible for the election process in Florida. The "problem" states in both elections had a person who was both a chair for a campaign and the person in charge of the election. Is there any wonder why some people have worries about the legitimacy of either of these elections? I am not sure how many states have Democrats in duel roles as well, but this is a problem that should be stopped. If a person wants to run an election, they should not be allowed to also run a campaign. The conflicts of interests are just to overwhelming.

Blackwell, a man who has had numerous issues over the past 2 years over how he ran Ohio elections has found himself in further hot water today by asking for illegal contributions for his 2006 Gubernatorial campaign.

Ohio Letter Seeks Illegal Contributions (Link to Full Story)

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The state's chief elections officer, accused of mishandling the presidential vote in Ohio, sent a fund-raising letter for his own 2006 gubernatorial campaign that was accompanied by a request for illegal contributions.

A pledge card with the letter from Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican who co-chaired the Bush-Cheney election campaign in Ohio, said "corporate & personal checks are welcome."

Corporate donations are illegal in Ohio.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Bush Administration Caught Bribing Journalists

Go figure... Bush Administration illegally using a quarter of a million dollars in public funds to propagandize the "No Child Left Behind" act (only to not fund it after it passed). This form of promotion has already been deemed unethical and illegal by the GAO twice before. But, as we know... laws have no influence on the Bush Administration.

Education Department Paid Journalist (Link)

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration paid a prominent black journalist to promote President Bush (news - web sites)'s education law and give Education Secretary Rod Paige media time, records show.

Armstrong Williams, a nationally syndicated radio, print and television personality, was paid $240,000 by the Education Department to promote the No Child Left Behind Act.

The contract required Williams' company, the Graham Williams Group, to produce radio and TV ads that promote the controversial law and feature one-minute "reads" by Paige. The deal also allowed Paige and other department officials to appear as studio guests with Williams.

Williams, one of the leading black conservative voices in the country, was also to use his influence with other black journalists to get them to talk about No Child Left Behind.

Overturn vs. Investigate

To all of the wingnuts out there... Does the challenge to the Ohio electoral votes in look like an effort to overturn the election or investigate the electoral process to ensure that it is the fairest possible democarcy we can have. Lets look at the quotes from the Democrat speakers yesterday:

Tubbs Jones, Dem- OH
"This objection does not have at its roots the hope or even the hint of overturning the victory of the president...I raise this objection because I am convinced that we as a body must conduct a formal and legitimate debate about the election irregularities."

Barbra Boxer, Dem-CA
"I hate inconveniencing my friends, but I think it's worth a couple of hours to shine some light on these issues," Boxer said during the Senate's debate. "Our people are dying all over the world, a lot from my state, for what reason? To bring democracy to the far corners of the world. Let's fix it here, and let's do it first thing."

Hmmmm... looks full of attempts to make Kerry the president, doesn't it?


Maybe they want to audit the system to make sure democracy works properly. How is this a bad idea? Please... anyone why is it bad to make sure everyone gets an equal voice in our country... Beuller?...Beuller? Or are you afraid that you might see something you may not like?

Political Capital

It looks like Bush's political capital may be a lot lower than he thought. He garners only 49% approval rating. This is the lowest of any re-elected president. The republican controlled congress only has a 41% approval rating. With much of his political capital spent on Iraq and much more needed, his ambitious domestic agenda may be shoved by the wayside. This is what happends when you area divider, not a uniter. (Link to Story)

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Who Wudda Thunk?...

Me and a Republican wingnut agree on some things (Link to Story). Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, who I staunchly oppose on most things, and I see eye to eye on some others. He is challenging Bush on:

Change the prescription drug benefit passed recently by Congress from a "one-size-fits-all entitlement" to a benefit for those who need federal help to buy prescription drugs.

I agree that it needs improvement. One way is a means testing measure as called for by the Congressman. The other is to take out the law that forbids Medicare from negotiating prices with the drug companies. *side note - I would just like to remind everyone it was the esteemed Congressman from Louisiana who added this provision, retired from Congress and is now being paid $2 million a year to lobby for the pharmaceutical companies.

"Reverse the expanding federal role in primary and secondary education, which conservatives believe is a state and local function."

"No Child Left Behind" bill was under funded and has been more of a burden than a benefit. I do believe that education is a local issue and should be left local... as long as they are educating... too many states don't do diddly squat to educate their kids. Only where the state or local government is failing should the federal government step in. Most other places do just a fine job.

"Begin to steer back to the goal of a balanced budget."

Amen brother

"Restore the First Amendment protection of freedom of speech by pursuing changes in new campaign finance laws."

I am not sure what he exactly means by this, but we both agree it needs reform. He would probably not like my ideas. But this is what I would like to see.

1) a cap on money you can give to 527s.
2) a cap on the amount of money you can give to a candidate during the primary system. Just because I make a lot more money than someone who works a minimum wage job should not mean I get to buy more access to my representatives. Making more money does not make me more of an American, nor should it mean I get to buy a seat next to my Senator at a fundraising dinner.
3) a total cap on the amount of money they can spend on a campaign during the general elections - no opt out rules. I don't give a hoot how much money you have. If your message is better than the other guy's, you will win. No more buying the elections.
4) NO DONATIONS BY CORPORATIONS - PERIOD. They don't get a vote and they don't get a voice. If the CEO is a Democrat, he can give his own money to the Democrats. If the CEO is a Republican he can give his own money to the Republicans. There is no reason that my sock shares should buy a corporations access. If the congressman is smart, he knows that attracting business to his district is good for the constituents. If he wants to help out a corporation, it should be because it will benefit his constituents, not his re-election war chess. This is a nation by the people and for the people. Not by the people and for the corporations.

Bush Continues Push for Jury Award Limits

I've said it once, and I will say it again. This is a baaaaaaad idea. Does something need to be done in areas where jury awards are getting way out of hand? Yes, but the majority of the country is responsible and awards are within norms.

First, limiting jury awards will not drive down the cost of insurance. This has already been shown in states that do limit jury awards, like Louisiana. While the very large awards will be reduced, smaller awards will increase. It is like the speed limit. If the limit is 55mph, We go 55. If it is 65mph, we go 65mph. There is no law that says we must drive 65 in a 65mph zone, but we do. Same things happen with awards. If the award limit is $250,000, the jury will award $250,000 even though before caps the award would have been $100,000. It is just human nature.

Second, do you really want to put this in the hands on legislatures who get lobbied by groups like the insurance industry. They spend millions of dollars each year lobbying congress. How much do you spend to make sure you get a fair shake? Do you want a congressman deciding how much your life is worth? Insurance companies will pay for that congressman's vacation... will you? Juries are one of the last elements of truly individual citizen participation. Don't let the federal government take this away from you.

Third, this has absolutely no bearing on frivolous law suits. Capping an award does nothing to stop the frivolous suits. It just reduces the amount awarded to legitimate suits.

Fourth, the main reason that premiums are rising is because of bad investing by insurance companies. Only 50% of an insurance companies income comes from premiums. The other 50% come from investments. Insurance companies lost a bundle with all of the recent corporate fraud. So, take you anger out on Ken Lay, not the poor woman who lost her husband because a doctor left a sponge inside his chest.

My solution is to have a panel made up of doctors and civilians who look at the merits of a case before it goes to trial to weed out the frivolous suits.

Link to Story

Dems Ask McAuliffe to Remain Party Chair

May I say that I believe this to be a bad idea. I will give McAuliffe kudos for doing a great job in improving the functionality and infrastructure of the Democratic party. He has done an absolute wonderful job at that. But I don't think he is a very good front man. He reminds too many people of a used car salesman that goes to the bar after work and use cheesy lines to pick up women. I think the Democratic party needs new blood at the top to be the PR spokesman.

Dems Ask McAuliffe to Remain Party Chair (Link to Full Story)

By WILL LESTER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Senior Democrats are trying to persuade national Chairman Terry McAuliffe to continue his service as party chairman, especially if none of the current candidates gains momentum in the race to replace him.

About a half-dozen candidates are in the race and a couple of others are considering a run for the position. It will be filled in February at the Democratic National Committee (news - web sites)'s winter meetings.

McAuliffe met privately Wednesday with several Democratic senators on Capitol Hill, and was asked again to consider serving for another year or two, Democrats say. McAuliffe's response was not immediately known, but he has been cool to such overtures in the past.

Democratic senators reportedly at the meeting included Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Charles Schumer of New York.

"Terry McAuliffe has been a great chair and he could continue that," Schumer said Wednesday. "The bottom line is that Democrats have a lot of good candidates to lead us."

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Maybe Not So Smart After All

Looks like the Republican leadership is not as smart as I gave them credit for yesterday. Even though they retreated from their earlier proposed rule changes to ethics standards, they still made changes that will make it much harder to hold Congressmen accountable. Now, over the objections of the Ethics Committee chair Republican Joel Hefley, the rules have been lessened.

Before, the Ethics Committee was made up of 10 representatives of both parties. When a charge was brought before the committee, if the committee was deadlocked on if an investigation should be opened or not, an investigation would automatically be opened. This makes sense because it stops partisanship from stopping an investigation. Now, if there is deadlock, the charge is automatically dropped. This means that no charge will make it to an investigation at any point in the near future. It does not matter if the charge is legitimate or not because the congress has become so partisan that no side will budge and this will only lead to more partisan political gamesmanship. Before, if a charge was baseless and the committee was deadlocked, the investigation was automatically open, but then quickly put to bed as baseless and the congressman's name was cleared.

Now... and mark my words, charges will be brought against a Congressmen - knowing full well that the committee will deadlock and the charge will automatically be dismissed - just so one party can claim the other party is hiding something. Republicans screwed themselves on this one. First, they are the ones who lowered the standard and did not consult the Democrats or even the Ethics Committee itself in doing so. Second, Democrats can blame the Republicans for any and all charges that don't get investigated, even the charges brought about against Democrats. After all, the Democrats opposed the rule change, Right? It's not their lil'ol fault the big bad GOP changed the rules... Silly Republicans.

Link to story

Worst Manager Award for 2004

Business week has named David Smith, CEO of Sinclair Broadcasting Group, as the worst manager of 2004. Smith's aggressive conservative agenda has landed his stewardship as the worst of the worst. It does not help when large companies like Staples pulls its ads due to its partisan agenda (Link). Sinclair's stock price has plummeted 39% over the past year... Hope our Social Security "private funds" don't get invested in Sinclair. We would never be able to retire.

Pat Robertson is Drinking His Own Kool-Aid

Keeping with the discussion of the judiciary and supreme court from my last post, I was just put onto this whopper coming from the Supreme Leader of Clinically Insane. Apparently, Pat continues to think that he is God's PR man. Pat is claiming that God told him that:

"I will remove judges from the Supreme Court quickly, and their successors will refuse to sanction the attacks on religious faith." Robertson also said that he "heard it from the Lord" that President Bush will have Social Security and tax reform passed and that Muslims will turn to Jesus Christ.

But this is not even the first time that the big guy upstairs has told Pat that three justices would soon be knocking on heavens gate. He also called for God to remove them in 2003.

God also told Pat

He loves America as much as we do, and He does not wish to destroy it.

Whew... Glad God doesn't hate us like he hate Argentina...

[on Gay Day at Disney World] "I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you, This is not a message of hate; this is a message of redemption. But a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It'll bring about terrorist bombs; it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor."
"The 700 Club" June 6, 1998

Oh... so that is why the hurricans hit Florida. And here I was, thinking it was just random chance... Silly me.

It is interesting, that termites don't build things, and the great builders of our nation almost to a man have been Christians, because Christians have the desire to build something. He is motivated by love of man and God, so he builds. The people who have come into (our) institutions (today) are primarily termites. They are into destroying institutions that have been built by Christians, whether it is universities, governments, our own traditions, that we have.... The termites are in charge now, and that is not the way it ought to be, and the time has arrived for a godly fumigation.
New York Magazine, August 18, 1986

So, is that why Tom DeLay, an ex-insect exterminator is in Congress?

Apperantly, God and Pat have gone out for a beer and chatted plenty of times

February 15, 1988, Washington Post article, Robertson said, "I heard the Lord saying 'I have something else for you to do. I want you to run for president of the United States.'" The same article noted that during one campaign stop during the 1988 presidential race, Robertson stated: "This is where God wanted me to be. ... Here I am in New Hampshire, before a major primary." He then said, "I assure you that I am going to be the next president of the United States,"

God can be such a kidder can't he... The truth is... none of his predictions ever seem to come true. Maybe, Pat is not really hearing the voice of God... Hmmmm, just a thought.

The really really scary thing is is that I took this quiz and could not tell the difference between Robertson, Falwell, and Bin Laden. See if you can do better...

H/T Funny Strange and Media Matters

Snaps to the Judge!

I have read many of Chief Justice William Rehnquist's legal opinions. I don't agree with his reasoning behind most of them, but this is something he and I agree on - Politicians need to back off the judicial system. There is a reason the founders made a system of checks and balances in the constitution.

Rehnquist lashes out against bashers of `judicial activists'
By David G. Savage Tribune Newspapers: Los Angeles Times (Link to Full Story)

Ailing Chief Justice William Rehnquist said in a report released Saturday that judges must be protected from political threats, including from conservative Republicans who maintain that "judicial activists" should be impeached and removed from office.

Yet despite Rehnquist's reputation for conservatism, he has been just as willing to fault Republicans as Democrats when their actions and ideas threaten the courts.

DeLay often has criticized judges when he thinks they have overstepped their authority.

"The Constitution protects judicial independence not to benefit judges, but to promote the rule of law: Judges are expected to administer the law fairly, without regard to public reaction," the chief justice, whose future on the bench is subject to wide speculation, said in his year-end report on the federal courts.

The public, the news media and politicians certainly are free to criticize judges, Rehnquist said, but politicians cross the line when they try to punish or impeach those making rulings they do not agree with.

In his report, the chief justice did not name names but instead spoke of his concern for the "mounting criticism of judges for engaging in what is often referred to as `judicial activism."'

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), for example, has repeatedly threatened to impeach liberal-leaning federal judges for their rulings, such as the ban on school-sponsored prayers.

"A judge's judicial acts may not serve as a basis for impeachment. Any other rule would destroy judicial independence," Rehnquist said. "Instead of trying to apply the law fairly, regardless of public opinion, judges would be concerned about inflaming any group that might be able to muster the votes in Congress to impeach and convict them."

"Many of these judges begin to grow drunk on their own power," " DeLay said in 1997. "Why shouldn't the people have a right to impeach these out-of-control judges?"

I just have to pipe up on the DeLay quote - Pot... Kettle... hello! If there is one man drunk on power in the Congress, it is Tom DeLay. If anyone should be impeached, it is he.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Smart Move... Finally

House Republican leaders abandoned their quest to make their ethical standards even lower than they already were (Link). After discussing making the House of Representatives ethical standards even looser then they already were, apparently some Republicans came to their senses and decided it would not be a smart move. After already lowering their own standards last month to allow Republican hit man, Tom Delay, keep his leadership position even if he is indicted on criminal charges, Republicans were toying with the idea of making it even harder for the House ethics committee to open an investigation into improper dealings (Link).

Monday, January 03, 2005

New Year Predictions

Welcome to the new year, everyone! I hope you had a safe and fun night. I, either being very clairvoyant or suffering from an odd chemical reaction of the combination of scotch, Champaign, and beer, had visions of the future. During a pseudo-epileptic seizure, I was able to read the news headlines from years to come. I have written them down in order to share them with you.

December 21st, 2006
Bush Declares "We are Really Close to Nabbing Bin Laden" - He is pretty sure Osama is still somewhere in the Tora Bora region. Blames delay on Clinton.

July 16th, 2007
Bush Dies in Tragic Cheeze Puff Choking Accident - Dick Cheney assumes control of our nations affairs. Hysterical Laura Bush found in the corner repeating over and over, "his head went back and to the left... Back and to the left!"

July 18th, 2007
Dow Hits Record 20,000 - Dow Jones is buoyed by huge jump in Oil company stock. Halliburton stock price raises 1000% as Cheney outsourcers the entire western half of the US to the company.

August 1st, 2007
Laura Claims Victory - In a wrongful death law suits against Grassy Knoll Snack Food Corp, the makers of the Cheezy Cheez'm Cheeze Puff that caused George Bush's untimely demise, the jury finds for the grieving widow, Laura. Due to earlier passage of tort reform by the Bush's administration, the jury awards Laura the total of $12. Clay Bertrand, president and CEO of G.K. Snack takes out his wallet and pays Laura on the spot.

November 4th, 2008
Jeb Bush Elected President! - Defeats Democratic star Barack Obama after a huge turn around in poll numbers. Credit given to Carl Rove running "al Queda Veterans for Truth" ads where several Muslims claimed that Obama secretly follows Islam.

January 29th, 2009
Terrorists Attack! - 452 people dead and wounded when a bomb went off in the "It's a small world" ride. The vicious attack occurred on Disney World's annual gay day, where the park is reserved for homosexual families. Evangelical Christians are confused about how they feel. Jeb Bush blames Clinton.

June 4th, 2009
1/29 Congressional Hearings Underway - Hearings into the tragedy started to day. PDB titled "al Queda Determined to Attack Somewhere Within Disney World on 1/29 - most likely a ride with lots of really annoying music" revealed to have been given to Jeb months before attack. Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz calls it a historical document. Jeb claims that there was not enough information to act on. If he would have known what ride and at what exact time, he would have done everything in this power to thwart the attack. He claims, "its hard work being the President."

June 23rd 2009
WAR! - U.S. Invades the Dominican Republic after Jeb Bush claims the tiny island nation is stockpiling WMDs and harboring terrorists. World is stunned as Jeb leads coalition of the willing (U.S., U.K and Tonga) to war. Michael Moore starts documentary claiming the real reason is to corner the rum markets.

September 13th, 2010
U.S. casualties hit 1000 in DR - Bush claims we are making steady progress towards the democratization of the DR and bringing stability to the Caribbean. Jeb chides a reporter who reminded him that the DR was already a democracy.

November 6th, 2012
Jeb Wins Again - Americans re-elect Jeb to a second term to show support for our troops fighting in the DR. Jeb claims political capital in his second term agenda to tax being poor. Claims, "that should motivate the lazy bastard to start being productive."

January 5th, 2013
Tom DeLay Outed! - Delay steps forward and admits he is a "Gay American" after his secret lover, Richard Simmons gets drunk at a party and admits affair to Jon Stamos. DeLay refuses to answer questions about who is the "Top."

April 1st, 2013
Bin Laden Caught? - Jeb announces the apprehension of Bin Laden... then yells, "psych!" Turns out to be April fool joke. But Bush claims they do have him cornered somewhere in the nations of Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iran.

July 4th, 2015
Terrorist Attack in Traverse City, MI - Terrorist hid a bomb in Traverse City's attempt at baking the world largest cherry pie during its annual Cherry Festival. No one killed, but hundreds of disappointed children go home empty handed. Jeb blames Clinton.

July 16th, 2015
U.S. Invades Quebec - Jeb claims they are building Bio-WMDs. Rest of Canada claims, "it's aboot time, eh!"

July 17th, 2015
War is Over - French Canadians put up no fight other than slinging insults at American troops. Uni-lingual American forces can't understand anything the frogs are saying anyway. WMDs turn out to be a bad batch of brie. Canada insists we pay for the reconstruction of Quebec. Jeb refuses since not a shot was fired.

November 8th, 2016
Surprising Upset in Presidential Election - In a stunner, presidential contender Arnold Schwarzenegger is defeated by rival third party candidate Mohammad-Hakim-Alam-Abu-Hussein. After passage of a constitutional amendment allowing foreign born citizens to run for president, Schwarzenegger was considered a shoe in. Polls turned quickly after Bin Laden tape endorsed both the Republican and Democratic nominees. Yemenise born Hussein is ecstatic.

November 9th, 2016
President Hussein Assassinated - President elect Mohammad-Hakim-Alam-Abu-Hussein held himself hostage for three hours yesterday before blowing himself up. He was quoted as yelling, "death to the Satan Pig American President." Stunned Americans have no idea how to react. Jeb decides to invade Quebec again just for the hell of it. Rest of Canada cheers.

November 16th, 2016
Special Elections held - Since President elect Hussein was tragically killed by suicide bombing before he was sworn in, new elections were held today. Jenna Bush wins in a landslide. Jesse Jackson calls for a recount of electronic voting machines since Jenna was not even on the ballot in any state and no exit polling shows anyone voting for her. Jeb just shrugs and claims Jenna has a mandate and blames Clinton.

March 20th, 2018
Terrorists Hit Prada Store in Manhattan! - Jenna is really pissed. U.S. forces invade Massachusetts. Claim Ted Kennedy is al Queda member stockpiling WMDs. Aging former Senator, now 450 lbs and hasn't been able to fit out of his house for years just drools on self. Jenna blames Clinton.

December 12th, 2019
Almost - Jenna Bush claims we are really, really, really close to getting Bin Laden. She claims that, "we are almost partially sure he is somewhere in Asia... or somewhere close to Asia."