Monday, July 31, 2006

Read the Writing On the Wall

The Republicans decided to release their campaign strategy today...

I thought that Democrats were doing enough to possibly kill there own chances of retaking the House and Senate this year, but then the Republicans decide to go and be idiots in their own right.

Campaign slogan #1: "Democrats in Congress will raise taxes"

Not exactly a winning slogan guys. A plurality of Americans see that the ballooning deficit is going to do us more damage than good. At this point, during a war, most Americans are willing to do their part to ensure that the troops are cared for... the elderly are cared for... kids are educated... and we don't pass along all of our debts to future generations. Republicans just sound like spoiled kids at this point. They want all of the benefits without any of the responsibility.

Campaign slogan #2; "Democrats are Cut and Run"

Hello... Wake up call to the GOP. The majority of Americans want a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops starting this year, ending with the majority of the troops out by the end of next year. "Stay the course" is about as far from popular demand as you can get. Iraq is not a mining issue... Hello!

Campaign slogan #3: "Democrats will proceed with impeachment proceedings against President Bush."

While the majority of Americans don't want Bush to be impeached, his approval rating is in the mid 30's. Again, not exactly a winner when it comes to a campaign slogan. First, every one knows that Cheney is the Vice President. Impeachment is not really an option. Additionally, while most Americans don't want Bush impeached, they are not going to be crying into their beers if he is. If you have to choose between affordable health care and a livable minimum wage, or the presidents neck, they are going with their own interest. Why are they going to be concerned about the presidents employment when they are more occupied about loosing their own job to India.

The GOP could have come up with a lot better things, but they decided to go with a lot of weak arguments...

Thanks guys.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Republicans Bow to Pressure to Raise the MInimum Wage

It is pretty sad actually that Republicans must bow to pressure to do the right thing (House to Vote on Increase in Minimum Wage). But, as usual with the GOP whenever they look like they are going to be doing something for the good of the majority of the American people, there is a catch.

The Republicans will support an increase in the minimum wage if, and only if, there is also a huge tax cut for the uber-wealthy. The GOP is demanding a tax cut in the estate tax for the estates of multimillionaires.

So, as usual, they can't do the right thing without demanding to put us in more debt with more handouts to the richest 0.5% of the population. As it stands now, the last tax cut on estate taxes will cost the U.S. Treasury trillions of dollars over the next decade. There is nothing like cutting taxes during a time of war and when we have the highest debt in our nations history. Not only can't these guys think about our long term future. They can't think past next Tuesday.

Republicans tie minimum wage to tax cut
By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Republican leaders are willing to allow the first minimum wage increase in a decade but only if it's coupled with a cut in future inheritance taxes on multimillion-dollar estates, congressional aides said Friday.

A package GOP leaders planned to bring to a vote Friday or Saturday in the House also would renew several popular tax breaks, including a research and development credit for businesses, and deductions for college tuition and state sales taxes, said a spokesman for House Majority Leader John Boehner.

The wage would increase from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour, phased in over the next three years, said Kevin Madden, the aide to Boehner, an Ohio Republican.

The maneuver is aimed at defusing the wage hike as a campaign issue for Democrats while using its popularity to spur enactment of the Republican Party's long-sought goal of permanently cutting taxes on millionaires' estates.

(Full Story)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Why Israel Cannot Win the War Against Hezbollah Like This

Israel has every right as a sovereign nation to defend its boarders and its people from the Hezbollah terrorist organization. I find no fault with Israel for taking military action against Hezbollah and its supporters. But, unfortunately, the current operation is doomed to failure unless a political solution is found. Additionally, the current crisis shows that democratization of the middle east does not necessarily bring stability and peace.

While the current plan for Israel to enter southern Lebanon and take Hezbollah head on is intended to decapitate and reduce the ability of Hezbollah, it is doomed to fail for several reasons.

First off, this sort of exercise will have the short term effect of greatly diminishing the ability of Hezbollah to attack Israel via missiles or other offensives. But, long term, it will do nothing to lessen the ability of Hezbollah to strike at Israel. The only way that Israel can have long term impact on Hezbollah is to take and hold southern Lebanon for the indefinite future. Israel had done this up until 2000 when it withdrew from southern Lebanon unilaterally. The expenditures of many and manpower it took to hold these areas was high and weighed heavily on the Israeli state. Unless Israel is willing and able to re-occupy the areas, Hezbollah will re-arm and re-man the area soon after an Israeli troop withdraw. Israel has made other incursions into Lebanon to destroy the Hezbollah forces, and each time, they have returned with equal or greater force. It has been proven over and over that an occupation force does not bring long term stability, nor does it stop Hezbollah from organizing and laying in wait for its next opportunity. We have seen from Israel's occupation of multiple areas that while it may make the interior of Israel safer, it does nothing to quell the greater conflict.

Second, due to the scope of the war, many innocent civilians have been killed or wounded. While Israel may be attempting to be as precise as possible in its offensive, it seems to be killing as many (if not more) civilians as militants. This is due to collateral damage, mistakes, and the fact that Hezbollah has no problem hiding behind civilian populations when attacked. this has the effect of making Israel look as sinister as Hezbollah, and wins the support of Muslims to the Hezbollah cause. Hezbollah, in its humanitarian efforts, comes out looking like the hero and not the villain to the people of the Arab middle east.

Third, the Israeli offensive does nothing to turn the tide of support that Hezbollah receives from Syria and Iran. Syria and Iran, each with their own political purposes for supporting Hezbollah, will come out of the crisis unscathed, and without real consequences for their support of Hezbollah. Syria and Iran will continue to support the terrorist activities of Hezbollah long after this conflict. Unless Israel was to take actions that would deter Syria and Iran from supporting Hezbollah, Hezbollah will be anything but diminished in capacity long term.

Unfortunately for the soldiers in the Israeli Defense Force, the only way to conduct this operation with minimal civilian casualties as well as doing a real clean sweep of Hezbollah is to conduct only ground offensives with air support. The current air strikes on targets in Beirut have had the effect of neither doing real damage to Hezbollah, or creating public support for Israel's self defense.

The only way that Israel will have a permanent effect on the situation is to drive a wedge between Hezbollah and its supporters internationally, as well as driving a wedge between Hezbollah and the local populace. This cannot be done with the current operations. This is a political operation, not a military operation. While Israel may achieve short term security through its current operations, it may set itself back in the goal of a long term peace.

Additionally, the current crisis shows that democracy, in and of itself, will not be a cure to the ongoing conflict. The two nations that have come out in condemnation, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are both authoritarian regimes. While the two fledgling democracies in the region, Lebanon and Iraq, have respectively done nothing to curb Hezbollah, or come out in condemnation of Israel without a condemnation of Hezbollah.

Unfortunately, there is no political solution to be found with Hezbollah itself. The only way for Israel to arrive are long term peace it to come to a political solution with Hezbollah's supporters. Syria is the most likely to come to some sort of political solution. But for a political solution to be reached with Syria, the US will probably have to compromise on its other policy and political agendas.

This situation, obviously, is a bad one with no easy solution. It will take some very strong politically will from many varied parties to end this, but the current situation will not be alleviated by military means alone.

Huge Waste in the Department of Homeland Security

It has been confirmed that billions of dollars have been wasted by the Department of Homeland Security over the last couple of years doe to a 739% increase in no-bid contracts handed out by the government.

Just like many of the sweetheart deals handed out to the politically connected in Iraq, no-bid contracts end up costing the taxpayers billions in waste and fraud. As we know, the president rewards his friends, and they are cashing in big time now.

Unlike FDR who made it a policy to deter war profiteering, Bush has done nothing to indicate that war profiteering is not a noble cause.

Homeland Security Contracts Abused
By Griff Witte and Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, July 27, 2006; Page A01

The multibillion-dollar surge in federal contracting to bolster the nation's domestic defenses in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has been marred by extensive waste and misspent funds, according to a new bipartisan congressional report.

Lawmakers say that since the Homeland Security Department's formation in 2003, an explosion of no-bid deals and a critical shortage of trained government contract managers have created a system prone to abuse. Based on a comprehensive survey of hundreds of government audits, 32 Homeland Security Department contracts worth a total of $34 billion have "experienced significant overcharges, wasteful spending, or mismanagement," according to the report, which is slated for release today and was obtained in advance by The Washington Post.

The value of contracts awarded without full competition increased 739 percent from 2003 to 2005, to $5.5 billion, more than half the $10 billion awarded by the department that year. By comparison, the agency awarded a total of $3.5 billion in contracts in 2003, the year it was created.

Among the contracts that went awry were deals for hiring airport screeners, inspecting airport luggage, detecting radiation at the nation's ports, securing the borders and housing Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Investigators looking into those contracts turned up whole security systems that needed to be scrapped, contractor bills for luxury hotel rooms and Homeland Security officials who bought personal items with government credit cards.

(Full Story)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Specter Wants to Sue Bush

Following up on yesterdays post on how the American Bar Association denounced Bush's unprecedented use of "signing Statements (Story), Republican Senator Specter is planning to introduce a bill that would allow Congress to sue the president for the use of the signing statements. The issue is that Bush attaches statements to bills that state that he will not follow, or will interpret the bills passed by congress to his own liking. The constitutionality of the signing statements is very suspect since the president is supposed to enforce the laws passed by congress, and not make up his own laws (as he seems to really like to do).

The bill to be introduced by Specter would allow congress to sue the president in federal court in order to determine the constitutionality of the signing statements. For example, the presidents statement that he will not adhere to a ban on torture would be examined as to if the signing statement was in conflict with the law. If it is in conflict, than the signing statement would be thrown out and Bush would be held to enforce the law without exception.

Sen. Specter readies bill to sue Bush

WASHINGTON (AP) — A powerful Republican committee chairman who has led the fight against President Bush's signing statements said Monday he would have a bill ready by the end of the week allowing Congress to sue him in federal court.

"We will submit legislation to the United States Senate which will...authorize the Congress to undertake judicial review of those signing statements with the view to having the president's acts declared unconstitutional," Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said on the Senate floor.

Specter's announcement came the same day that an American Bar Association task force concluded that by attaching conditions to legislation, the president has sidestepped his constitutional duty to either sign a bill, veto it, or take no action.

Bush has issued at least 750 signing statements during his presidency, reserving the right to revise, interpret or disregard laws on national security and constitutional grounds.

"That non-veto hamstrings Congress because Congress cannot respond to a signing statement," said ABA president Michael Greco. The practice, he added "is harming the separation of powers."

(Full Story)

Monday, July 24, 2006

American Bar Association Denounces Bush's Signing Statements

What I have said before about Bush's unprecedented use of "signing statements" that he attaches to bills when he signs them, has been denounced by the American Bar Association.

Bush's Tactic of Refusing Laws Is Probed
By Michael Abramowitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 24, 2006; Page A05

A panel of legal scholars and lawyers assembled by the American Bar Association is sharply criticizing the use of "signing statements" by President Bush that assert his right to ignore or not enforce laws passed by Congress.

In a report to be issued today, the ABA task force said that Bush has lodged more challenges to provisions of laws than all previous presidents combined.

The panel members described the development as a serious threat to the Constitution's system of checks and balances, and they urged Congress to pass legislation permitting court review of such statements.

"The president is indicating that he will not either enforce part or the entirety of congressional bills," said ABA president Michael S. Greco, a Massachusetts attorney. "We will be close to a constitutional crisis if this issue, the president's use of signing statements, is left unchecked."

The report seemed likely to fuel the controversy over signing statements, which Bush has used to challenge laws including a congressional ban on torture, a request for data on the USA Patriot Act, whistle-blower protections and the banning of U.S. troops in fighting rebels in Colombia.

(Full Story)

NYT's take - Legal Group Faults Bush for Ignoring Parts of Bills

Friday, July 21, 2006

Bush Logic

Ok, let me get this straight.

In regards to stem cell research, Bush thinks it is wrong to "kill innocent life" in order to potentially save the lives of millions more.

But, in regards to 30,000 plus Iraqi civilians killed in the Iraq war, is it ok to "kill innocent life" in order to bring democracy and the potential of peace.

In regards to homeland security, it is better to have security than freedom.

But, in regards to Iraq, it is better to have freedom than security.

It is good that we have the "snow flake babies" that were created from fertilized eggs as a bi-product of fertility treatments.

But, it is also ok to disregard the fact that without stem cell research and the destruction of many embryos, we would never had developed the technology that allows people to have test tube babies and the frozen embryos that eventually resulted in "snow flake babies."

It is ok to veto a bill that would allow researchers to develop cures for disease and disability.

But, it is not a problem that the embryos that he is stopping from being used in research will be destroyed anyway.

Am I getting this all right?

I think Jon Stewart said it best on the Daily Show. The way to change Bush's mind on this is to re-name stem cell research.

Instead, it shall forever be know as "The War on terrorible Diseases."

Rush Limbaugh: Hard Up

This one is almost too funny to be true. Rush Limbaugh, was busted when he brought back a prescription for Viagra from the Dominican Republic. Him using Viagra? That is really no surprise, nor is it something that he should be ashamed of (especially as a Republican). Overweight men who smoke (in Rush's case it is Cigars) and who have other medical problems (of which I am not at liberty to discuss) tend to have problems getting it up.

So, what is the problem than? Well, it turns out that he had the prescription written out in someone else's name. It is illegal to do this and could jeopardize his plea agreement from when he was busted for obtaining drugs illegally.

I really wish that Rush would do what he has been preaching for years and take responsibility for his illegal behavior. After all, it was Rush who claims that drug penalties are too lax and that the end user should get the maximum sentence for their addiction. He should march right up to the judge and demand that he be sent to prison. If he has no sympathy for criminals, should expect and demand no sympathy from others when he breaks the law.

Viagra threatens Limbaugh plea deal

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Middle East Play of the Year

It is without doubt that Iran and Syria have had a major role in the recent Middle East crisis. The rockets being fired into Israel are Iranian made. Other arms and monetary support are coming directly from both Damascus and Tehran.

I doubt that it was coincidence that Hezbollah decided to instigate conflict now.

The Israeli government is new. It was an opportune time for Hezbollah (and Syria/Iran) to test the reactions of the new government. If Hezbollah strikes and Israel does nothing, the Israelis as well as the rest of the Muslim world see Israel as being weak, thus giving Hezbollah/Hamas an easier time confronting and gaining an upper hand on Israel.

If Israel responds with a proportional response, it is business as usual. No harm, no foul.

If Israel responds in the way that it did, a disproportional response, than Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah come out a winner.

First, a disproportional response puts the sympathies on Lebanon and the people killed from Israeli strikes. Even if Hezbollah is weakened militarily, it will have no problem replacing its membership, or even adding to it.

Second, even though we all know that Iran and Syria are part of this, Israel can do nothing against them. Toppling the Syrian government would leave a vacuum that will only be filled with even more extremist elements. Israel can't move against Iran because that would only give it an additional excuse to carry on its nuclear program. It would easily claim that due to the aggression of its regional neighbor, not only does it have the right to conduct peaceful nuclear operations, but the imperative to build a deterrent nuclear arsenal to protect it from Israeli attack. The U.S. would be remiss in not stopping an attack on either one of the countries because it would most certainly lead to a spill over of the conflict into Iraq.

In the mean time, the worlds attention is turned away from the Iranian nuclear crisis, and/or allows them to use their support in halting the conflict as a bargaining chip in the nuclear negotiations. Iran has announce that it will reply to the U.S. demands and incentives on July 22nd. Don't be surprised if Iran uses the conflict in Lebanon as a rationale for some part of its reply.

Syria, having suffered a recent black eye from being kicked out of Lebanon, will have the impetus to re-enter Lebanon, if not even being outright asked to re-enter.

The U.S. is bogged down in Iraq, and has spent most of its political capital around the world. What little it has left, it needs to unite the major powers against the Iranian nuclear threat. If the U.S. uses up what it has left of political capital in trying to quell the Lebanon conflict, it will have less to use against Iran, and Iran knows this. While Israel has frim support in the U.S. it does not have the same support in the rest of the world. For Bush to get Europe to back Israel in this crisis may hurt our bility to get their support in other diplomatic fronts.

Annan Calls for Immediate Halt to Israel-Hezbollah Conflict, but this is a problem without a radiant political solution. Neither Iran or Syria have it in their best interest to cut off funding and support to Hezbollah in the near future. Hezbollah has no desire to come to a political solution at all. Its only objective is to destroy Israel and kill as many Jews as possible in the process.

Iran and Syria have played this very well so far. it will take some beautiful diplomatic work on the part of the U.S. to calm tensions and retain its position on the Iran nuclear issue. Unfortunately, diplomacy is not Bush's strong suit.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bush's First Veto

The bills that would expand federal funding for life saving research on embryonic stem cells passed the Senate yesterday and is expected to be vetoed by the president later today.

Of all the things that the president could have vetoed in the preceding five and a half years, he chooses one that the majority of the American people support, the majority of the Senate supports, and the majority of the House of Representatives support.

Instead of vetoing any of the explosion in earmarks, he is going to veto something that has the potential to help hundreds of thousands of Americans. He claims it is for moral reasons - the sanctity of human life.

These stem cells, of course, are marked for destruction anyway. They would never develop into babies. They will be destroyed, and along with them, the chance to cure disease and disability.

What about the sanctity of life for those who could benefit from this research? What about the quantity and quality of life for those who suffer from Parkinson's disease or paralysis? Bush's anti-intellectual and anti-science policies discount the value of our lives and places more value on something that will never be.

He is willing to sacrifice the lives of our soldiers to protect the many. He says this is justified. He is willing to sacrifice the lives of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan for a greater good, but he is not willing to do the same for research.

His policy is the betrayal of every American who suffers or will suffer from a curable disease. He betrays the families and loved ones of these people. Why are our lives less valuable than embryos that are to be destroyed regardless.

Senate Approves a Stem-Cell Bill; Veto Is Expected

Senate Passes Stem Cell Bill; Bush Vows Veto

Senate OKs Stem Cell Bill; Veto Expected

Senate defies veto threat, sends stem cell bill to Bush

Proponents celebrate after Senate passes embryonic stem cell bill

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Bush Personally Blocked Eavesdropping Probe

You gotta love Bush's Orwellian double speak. If he says he will cooperate, it means he will do the opposite. If he says he is going to fire someone for leaking information, it means he gives them a pay raise and promotion. If he says he is going to protect the environment, it means that he is going to allow the largest increase of toxins emitted into the air in the past 40 years.

Alberto Gonzalez, today, testified that Bush personally blocked the U.S. Justice departments probe into the illegal NSA eavesdropping program. The group of lawyers who were probing the way that the justice department and other government agencies developed and conducted the program was personally blocked by Bush when he refused to grant them clearance to see information on the program.

But, of course, Bush granted full access to another branch of the U.S. Justice department to probe into who leaked the information to the New York Times last year. Once again, Bush pulls out the "secret" stamp when it benefits him, even when he is allowing others to do the exact same thing when it would benefit him.

Gonzales, of course does whatever the president says. It used to be the job of the AG to be independent of the president. The Republicans spent years complaining about Janet Reno and how she was not independent from Clinton

PAUL GIGOT: ...if you’re a Republican, I think, to make the case that she’s [Janet Reno] not independent; that this Justice Department has not done a capable job of this investigation; you do have a politicized Justice Department, which isn’t doing the people’s business of making politicians accountable. - The News Hour, December 5, 1997

Bush claimed that he was going to run the presidency on a higher level than Clinton. He said that he was going to restore dignity and trust to the oval office. Instead, he has stripped the office of trust more than any president in the last 100 years besides Nixon.

Again, I guess that is just double speak. By "dignity and trust", he really meant "lies and deceit"

Bush Blocked Eavesdropping Program Probe
The Associated Press
Tuesday, July 18, 2006; 4:37 PM

WASHINGTON -- President Bush personally blocked a Justice Department investigation of the anti-terror eavesdropping program that intercepts Americans' international calls and e-mails, administration officials said Tuesday.

Bush refused to grant security clearances for department investigators who were looking into the role Justice lawyers played in crafting the program, under which the National Security Agency listens in on telephone calls and reads e-mail without court approval, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Without access to the sensitive program, the department's Office of Professional Responsibility closed its investigation in April.

"It was highly classified, very important and many other lawyers had access. Why not OPR?" Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the committee chairman, asked Gonzales.

"The president of the United States makes the decision," Gonzales replied.

Later, at the White House, spokesman Tony Snow said the eavesdropping program is reviewed every 45 days by senior officials, including Gonzales. The president did not consider the Justice unit that functions as a legal ethics watchdog to be the "proper venue," Snow said.

"What he was saying is that in the case of a highly classified program, you need to keep the number of people exposed to it tight for reasons of national security, and that's what he did," Snow said.

Yet, according to OPR chief Marshall Jarrett, "a large team" of prosecutors and FBI agents were granted security clearances to pursue an investigation into leaks of information that resulted in the program's disclosure in December. Justice Department inspector general Glenn A. Fine and two of his aides were among other department officials who were granted clearances, Jarrett said in an April memo explaining the end of his probe. That memo was released by the Justice Department Tuesday.

(Full Story)

Bush Thwarted Probe Into NSA Wiretapping

Monday, July 17, 2006


Or something like that...

So, the DNC is using the image of a flag draped casket (soldier) in one of its web ads.

The Republicans are all in a tizzy about it. I don't endorse that type of ad.


Why is it wrong to use the image of soldiers who died in war when;

a) Republicans constantly use images of 9/11 in their campaign ads. Bush himself even used a picture of a flag draped coffin coming out of ground zero in the last election. DeWine, running for re-election in Ohio is using footage of smoke billowing out of the World Trade Towers. Karl Rove can't go more than 3 sentences without saying "9/11." I was not aware that the 3000 Americans who died on 9/11 did so for Republican partisanship.

b) Republicans politicized the war in Iraq a long time ago. If they are going to use the images of soldiers in the field for their own political ads, than the opposition gets to use the results of sending our soldiers overseas to fight. If "cut and run" is going to be the GOP counterpoint to opposition to leaving Iraq, than the consequences of our men and women staying there are on the table.

I would never use these images for partisan reasons, but the Republicans stepped over that line a long time ago when they used the images of 9/11 for their own political gain. Either the deaths of Americans is off limits or it is not, and the GOP made that decision long ago. What is good for the goose, is good for the gander.

National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Tom Reynolds (R-NY): "It makes my stomach turn to see national Democrats so blatantly exploit the sacrifices made by the men and women of our armed forces." (Jonathan E. Kaplan, "Reynolds Calls On Dems To Apologize For Web Ad," The Hill, 7/13/06)

So, why wasn't your stomach turning when 9/11 was used over and over again? Ah, becasue it was the GOP who was using it... that makes it ok.

Rep. Davis: "First of all I'm not surprised at all that Rahm Emanuel would do this. I believe that he, Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer owe an apology to military families who paid that ultimate sacrifice by doing this." (Fox News' "Fox And Friends," 7/13/06)

How about an appology to all the 9/11 families. I am guessing a good chunk of them... Sorry, I know the vast majority of them didn't vote Republican.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX): "The families of the fallen heroes of the War on Terror deserve our utmost respect and compassion. They do not deserve to see the deaths of loved ones exploited by Rep. Emanuel and the DCCC." (Robert B. Bluey, "GOP Seeks To Capitalize On Democrats' Coffin Ad," Human Events, 7/12/06)

I reiterate my above statement.

Veto Threat Again

Bush is again threatening to pull out the veto pen. He seems to only think about pulling out for really bad political moves. This time it is for embryonic stem cell research. The proposed bills would allow researches to use embryos that are going to be flushed down the toilet anyway as the result of fertility treatments. The majority of Americans endorse this type of research.

You will notice that Bush doesn't veto spending bills, just bills that have the potential to save lives and lead to a better quality of life. I will never be able to figure this guy out.

This, like immigration, is certain to split the Republican party. The social conservative vs. the somewhat intelligent.

Stem-Cell Bills Top Senate Agenda
July 17, 2006; Page A4

WASHINGTON -- The Senate turns Monday to the sensitive issue of stem-cell research, with political concerns driving the topic and the timing.

Expanding federal aid to researchers who use stem cells derived from embryos, a popular idea but one opposed by some antiabortion lawmakers, gives Democrats the chance to make political hay before the November elections. It also gives Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who supports expanded funding, an opportunity to raise his standing with moderates and the medical and scientific communities as he considers a 2008 White House run.

Yet the Tennessee Republican is eager to dispatch the matter before the midterm elections, to minimize damage to Sen. Jim Talent of Missouri and other antiabortion Republicans in tight races.

(Full Story)

Friday, July 14, 2006

Things are Bad... Real Bad

Things are not looking good in the middle east right now... just incase you haven't... you know... been outside your cave in the past couple of days.

Palestinians Stream Into Gaza From Egypt after Palestinian gunmen blew a hole in the wall separating Gaza from Egypt. Not only will this allow in the Palistinians who have been stranded on the other side of the fence, but will also let in a whole host of foreign fighters waiting to take their shot at meeting Allah.

Israelis continues bombardment of Beirut after Israel Blockades, Bombs Lebanon While Hezbollah Rains Rocket Fire.

We are on he verge of something very big and very dangerous right now. If Israel is able to suppress the violence using its military, it will only give Iran additional fodder to continue its nuclear program, with will give Israel additional fodder to bomb Iranian facilities. Additionally, the fighting in Lebanon gives Syria a reason to re-enter Lebanon which could re-ignite secular tensions there. And to top it all off, it could drive the war in Iraq to new levels.

There really is no "insight" into this. It is just all screwed up. Contrary to Bush's assertions, removing Saddam has not brought stability to the Israel-Palestine conflict. We can only sit back and wait for the best because this is not going to solve itself anytime soon and Bush doesn't have any capital left to spend in foreign relations.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bill and Ann Up In a Tree...

In a spin on consrevative dating, BookLust, I think is on to something. Bill and Ann are both single... Bill and Ann both share something in common. One is a sadist, one is a masochist.

It is a match made in heaven

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Karl Rove Was One Of The Plame Leakers

No surprise here. Robert Novak disclosed today that Karl Rove was one of his sources in the White House that helped out Valerie Plame. Novak claims there were three leakers. He has named two, which there is still one more he has not told us about. Either the last one is still not releasing Novak to speak, or it is Scooter Libby, and Novak cannot comment on it because of the ongoing investigation.

But, of course, contrary to Bush's promise to fire anyone involved, Rove still holds his job at the White House. No surprise there either. So much for Bush being a straight shooter and a man of his word.

Novak: Rove was a source in outing Plame
By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer
Wed Jul 12, 5:24 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Now that Karl Rove won't be indicted, now that the president won't fire him, now that it really doesn't matter anymore, more details of the Valerie Plame leak investigation trickle out.

In his latest syndicated column released Wednesday, columnist Robert Novak revealed his side of the story in the Plame affair, saying Rove was a confirming source for Novak's story outing the CIA officer, underscoring Rove's role in a leak President Bush once promised to punish.

The columnist said he learned of Plame's CIA employment from a source he still refuses to publicly identify, and then confirmed with Rove and then-CIA spokesman Bill Harlow, whose roles in talking to Novak have been previously reported.

Novak said for the first time that prosecutors looking into the leaks already knew his sources when he agreed to disclose them.

Novak comes late to the Plame game, long after several other reporters talked publicly about the involvement of Rove and of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, in leaking the CIA identity of the wife of Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson. Novak says he kept his mouth shut so long because prosecutors asked him to.

(Full Story)

Novak Says He Named 3 Sources in Leak Case

Monday, July 10, 2006

Making the Jump

There seems to be a lot of Republicans these days who don't seem to want to stomach the GOP's lurch to the far right any longer. The Democrat running against George Allen in Virginia is a former Republican who switched parties because he felt that the GOP no longer tolerated moderates. Additionally, three Republicans in Kansas have switched parties for the same reason.

The Kansas City Star has their reasons behind the move to the Democratic party

Candidates explain why they switched
The Kansas City Star

Ending lifelong allegiances to the Republican Party in Kansas was no simple matter.

“I didn’t sleep well that night,” said Kent Goyen of Pratt, who’s running for the 114th District seat.

But each of the party jumpers had a common tonic — visits with Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, either in person or by telephone.

Those talks eased the way for several new Democrats.

“She said we are all Kansans,” said Judy Leyerzapf of Abilene. “I think that’s a great answer. We’re all about the same thing, really.”

Whether the state is seeing the beginning of a trend that features a more robust Democratic Party and a Kansas GOP shorn of its moderate base remains to be seen.

In other words, some of the new Democrats have to win in November if the party jumping is to continue.


Steve Lukert, Sabetha

Age: 58

Occupation: Farmer, retired government teacher

Running for: 62nd District House seat

Switched parties because: Two reasons. He ran for the state Senate two years ago in the GOP primary and lost, but said he was disillusioned by the tactics used to defeat him. “I was put off by the meanness of the campaign within the Republican Party and the intentional misrepresentations,” Lukert said.

For example, he says he was portrayed as a baby killer even though he considers himself anti-abortion and would bar abortions except when the mother’s health is at risk.

Any regrets? Nope. “The far right tends to have a no-way-or-the-highway type of mentality. They’d rather have nothing than to have to give in at all. That’s just not my mentality.

“I see the Democrats as more willing to compromise on issues in order to come up with more sensible solutions. I think about half of the Democratic Party is very conservative.”


Kent Goyen, Pratt

Age: 55

Occupation: Farmer and substitute teacher

Running for: 114th District House seat

Switched parties because: “The Republican Party has gotten a little far away from where it ought to be. It’s probably just a little too far right. Philosophically, they’re trying to control too many things in people’s lives that they shouldn’t be controlling.”


Cindy Neighbor, Shawnee

Age: 57

Occupation: Marketing, public relations, patient care and human relations for a dental practice

Running for: 18th District House seat

Switched parties because: “Several things in the (Republican) platform were not what I thought I could agree with. They’re supporting (school) vouchers and tax credits and the teaching of creationism over evolution.

“All of that just went against what I really had grown up with, I think, as being a moderate Republican. I said I thought the Republican Party left me. I didn’t leave it.”

Any regrets? “It was actually a feeling of relief. (The reaction) has been very positive. I haven’t had any negative comments.

“When I talk to them (Democrats), they don’t say if you disagree with us you don’t count.”

H/T Kos

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Ann Coulter Gets Caught Plagiarizing

Yes, the dark mistress, Ann Coulter, got caught plagiarizing in her latest book, taking passages almost verbatim from other sources without giving the slightest hint of credit to the true authors.

So, not only is she a nut extraordinaire, she is an un-original nut extraordinaire.

Ironically, while I have not, nor ever will read her book, I am told that she rails against Jason Blair for plagiarizing in her book. Go figure...

Expert Finds Proof of Plagiarism in Ann Coulter's Books


Mistress of the Dark, Ann Coulter Gets Caught

Yes, the dark mistress, Ann Coulter, got caught plagiarizing in her latest book, taking passages almost verbatim from other sources without giving the slightest hint of credit to the true authors.

So, not only is she a nut extraordinaire, she is an un-original nut extraordinaire.

Ironically, while I have not, nor ever will read her book, I am told that she rails against Jason Blair for plagiarizing in her book. Go figure...

Expert Finds Proof of Plagiarism in Ann Coulter's Books


North Korea.... Again

Things are not getting any better with North Korea... obviously. I have been saying for over a year now that the approach that we are taking towards NK was not going to work... and it is not. I am wondering how the GOP is going to spin this in order to make themselves the national security hawks on NK and Iran when it is they who have been in control for the past 6 years as things have gone down hill, but I am sure they will work it somehow.

Even though it was on Bush's watch that both have become the menace that they are...

Even though it is the war in Iraq that has sapped our resources...

Even though it is Bush's foreign policy that has but us in the hole in regards to public support around the world...

Even though it was Bush's choice of Bolton to head the NK envoy for 4 years that led to complete deadlock in negotiations (or lack thereof)...

I am sure they will somehow try to pin this on democrats and claim we will all die if you vote for a change in Congress.

And, any guesses on the number of "Orange Alerts" we will have in October leading up to the mid term elections? Notice we didn't have any after the 2004 elections?

A Driven President Faces a World of Crises

Six-Party Talks -- and Half a Dozen Doughnuts