Sunday, April 30, 2006
To The Republic
by Frank Bidart

I dreamt I saw a caravan of the dead
start out again from Gettysburg.

Close-packed upright in rows on railcars flat-
beds in the sun, they soon will stink.

Victor and vanquished shoved together, dirt
had bleached the blue and gray one color.

Risen again from Gettysburg, as if
the state were shelter crawled to through

blood, risen disconsolate that we
now ruin the great work of time,

they roll in outrage across American.

You betray us is blazoned across each chest.
To each eye as they pass: You betray us.

Assaulted by the impotent dead, I say it's
their misfortune and none of my own.

I dreamt I say a caravan of the dead
move on wheels touching rails without sound.

To each eye as they pass: You betray us.


That's right...MILLIONS...of people are expected to stay at home tomorrow in order to protest the rightwing crackdown on immigration. It's supposed to be a "Day Without An Immigrant" and people aren't going to school, they aren't going to work, and they aren't going to buy anything.

The organizers of the event say it will be one of the largest days of action in this country's history. We'll see how it turns out, if it's the same size as the last wave of protests then it won't be embarassing, and if it's as big as some think then it will be truly astonishing. The state of California has already said it's ok for kids to miss school, so I'm sure they will take them up on that offer.

But...none of this will matter unless these same people register to vote and vote these crazies out of office. The only thing more dismal than Hispanic voter registration is Hispanic voter turnout. This November Hispanic voters need to show the administration that these protests aren't just a bunch of guys without jobs and kids looking for an excuse to skip school. Latinos can completely change the face of Washington in one election if they come out in record numbers on Election Day.

The good news is that Latinos know that the Republicans are the ones behind this new immigration crackdown, and they aren't buying the Repug attempts to blame the Democrats for the whole debacle. If handled correctly the Democratic Party can grab the Latino vote for a generation or two (more so then they already have). What happens tomorrow will be a good indication of what's going to happen. But it's just the beginning.

C-SPAN Actually IS Good For Some Things

Ok, be honest, The Colbert Report is really not that great of a show. It's not quite as clever or as funny as The Daily Show and more often than not the show has moments of brilliance bogged down by about 26 minutes of other stuff you have to wait through.

But it seems that Colbert might have just given the performance of his lifetime, or at least one of the interesting performances of the week. The White House Correspondent's Dinner was a few nights ago.

The Dinner attracts lots of celebrities, lots of politicians, and lots of white house correspondents. Most of the night consists of a series of jokes and monologues given by everyone from Dick Cheney to Helen Thomas. It's tradition for the President to be there and make a funny speech and it's tradition for everyone to make fun of the President and the press corps. Everyone's laughing at each other and it's all ok.

Case in point: Dubya appeared on stage next to a remarkably good Dubya impersonator who was providing running commentary and giving alternate versions of what the President was saying. For example, Bush makes a fairly drab comment about cheney shooting a guy, and the impersonator next to him reveals that Cheney was "drunk as a skunk." Pretty funny I have to admit.

But Stephen Colbert's monologue didn't go over quite as well, and Crooks and Liars has the video. It's really really really funny.

Editor and Publisher has a nice rundown of his comments. Some of my favorite bits:

"Colbert urged Bush to ignore his low approval ratings, saying they were based on reality, 'and reality has a well-known liberal bias.'”

"[Colbert] attacked those in the press who claim that the shake-up at the White House was merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. 'This administration is soaring, not sinking,' he said. 'If anything, they are re-arranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg.'”

When Colbert walked off stage evidently the President, who had stopped laughing about halfway through, gave him a perfunctory handshake and then left really soon afterward.

Expect Comedy Central's license to be withdrawn any day now...

Oh, and this guy has set up a site where you can go and leave an encouraging note to Colbert. The goal is to get a million, and something with them.

It's Actually A Pretty Good Deal

Evidently a guy in China bought a Russian fighter plane from Ebay.

Globalization at its finest...

Shouldn't This Be Getting More Attention?
The BBC is reporting that "Iranian troops bombed border areas near the town of Hajj Umran before crossing into Iraq, the defence ministry in Baghdad said on Sunday."

Iran bombing Iraq? Could be the beginning of really bad news...Or the beginning of the excuse the administration will use to bomb Iran?

Friday, April 28, 2006
Republican Values
Yesterday I told you about the Wall Street Journal article that claimed that Duke Cunningham was probably getting prostitutes sent to him by MZM, Inc. Well Ken Silverstein over at Harper's Blog sheds some more light on the matter, and it's getting to be even more lurid then I thought.

It turns out that the Dukestir might not have been the only lawmaker receiving some special perks. Silverstein says he has "learned from a well-connected source that those under intense scrutiny by the FBI are current and former lawmakers on Defense and Intelligence comittees—including one person who now holds a powerful intelligence post."

Muckracker points out that Porter Goss was on the intelligence committee, and I would say he has a "powerful intelligence post" considering he is the current Director of the CIA.

It's possible that the current director of the CIA is being investigated by Federal Prosecutors.

And it gets even better than that....The San Diego Union Tribune (MZM is located in San Diego, and it was also Cunningham's district) is now reporting "People who were present at the games said one of the regular players was Kyle Dustin “Dusty” Foggo, who has been Wilkes' best friend since the two attended junior high school in Chula Vista in the late 1960s. In October, Foggo was named the CIA's executive director – the agency's third-highest position."

The number one guy at CIA and now the number three guy are being drawn into Cunnigham's corruption (what's up with the number two guy, do you think he feels left out?).

So it seems that the reason they haven't caught Osama yet is because they're too tired and sore in the morning.

But I here what you're saying: Where's the proof? How do we know this is true? If only there were pictures!!

Well...Silversteing at Harper's blog goes on to say "
Apparently photographs were taken, and investigators are anxiously procuring copies. "

I can't wait! I assure you that those pictures will be front and center right here once they are released. Keep your fingers crossed.

Last night on MSNBC's Scarborough Country Dean Calbreath (San Diego Union Tribune) claims that word on the street is that "as many as a half a dozen” Congressmen could be drawn into this prostitution scandal. ThinkProgress has the transcript and the video.

This could quickly become the biggest political story of the year.

Thursday, April 27, 2006
Good News and Bad News from New Jersey
A new Quinnipiac poll has Senator Menendez (D) leading Tom Kean Jr. by six points. Good news for a Senator who has only been in office for seven months. Kean Jr. is the son of one of New Jersey's most beloved politicians and it seems that most of his support comes from the fact that people like his daddy.

On a side note:

Bush's approval rating is 26%, that's so low it's funny. But what's strange is that Cheney's approval rating is 27%. Making New Jersey almost certainly the only state in the country where Cheney is more popular than Dubya. But what accounts for this small uptick for Cheney? Hmmm...maybe Bush should shoot a guy in the face with a shotgun...I'm just saying...

Read more at Blue Jersey

The Defining Issue of 2008
will be immigration. And whether or not we want to build a wall around the country.

At least that's what it's looking like now. Of course the election is far away and maybe immigration won't be quite the burning issue that is whipping millions of people into a frenzy, but chances are the debate will be just as intense, and will only be stirred up more by the '08 race.

Conservatives want to build a wall, liberals and moderates (Republican, Democrat and Independent) are either opposed or hesitant to support such an extreme measure. The symbolism alone is enough to scare off lots of people.

It's such a contentious issue that there is a very good chance a third party candidate, completely devoted to extreme immigration restrictions, can cause all sorts of havoc. 2008 might be ripe for a strong independent for a number of reason (to be explored more later) but this is clearly the issue most likely to spark someone to step up.

Buchannan did it in 2004, but he's not going to try it again. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) is very likely to run as an independent, but there are lots of other guys out there who could give it a shot. We might even see someone start off in the Republican primary and then split off once he or she realizes that he can.

But what happens then? Say we have Hillary and Warner battling it out on the Dem side. And on the GOP side we have Rudy and John getting most of the press and money, but then comes Tancredo or someone equally vociferous. What happens? Tancredo goes hard hard right on immigration. Rudy and John are stuck. If they go equally hard right then they lose a lot of the moderates and independents that both need to make up for their lack of support amongst the evangelicals. If they stay in the middle then they lose a lot of the conservatives who flock to Tancredo.

Fastforward a few weeks and McCain emerges as the GOP nominee, but Tancredo announces that he's still running but this time as an Independent/Some other Party. We'll also assume that Hillary has the nod on the Dem side. Clinton stays where she is and says a wall is not an answer, but blah blah blah, so she keeps all those moderates and liberals. McCain has the same problem he had during the primary (chances are many of those independents supporting him aren't going to have too much of a problem switching to Hillary), so he goes moderate right. He says that we should build a mini-wall along the few most porous parts.

Tancredo says that isn't enough and that anything less than a full wall isn't going to do anything. Why do anything half-assed right?

What happens on election day?

Well a new poll released by Rasmussen gives us a very early, but very interesting look.

In a generic match-up between a Dem and a Repub the numbers are:
D: 44%
R: 32%
Other: 7%

A clear win for the good guys.

But if there is a third party candidate who "promised to build a barrier along the Mexican border and make enforcement of immigration law his top priority." Then the whole thing goes to hell.

D: 31%
R: 21%
O: 30%

A tie between the Democrats and the Independent! And the Republicans in THIRD PLACE.

It's early, but this is a plausible scenario. All the Democrats have to do is hold the center and let the Repub and the Immigration candidate destroy each other. It will be scary, and it will be close, but that kind of ideological skirmish can only benefit the Democrats.

Maybe Now People Will Pay Attention

Remember Randy "Duke" Cunnigham, former Repub Representative from San Diego who was convicted of taking more than $600,000 in bribes from MZM Inc. a software firm who he gave lots of big contracts? He's also the guy who cried while resigning, and (btw) he was also the basis for Tom Cruise's character in Top Gun (it's true).

His story has fallen off the radar to a certain extent; although, Francine Busby is fighting hard to take his seat in the upcoming special election (see the lovely ActBlue bar to the left for more details). Although, if what the Wall Street Journal is reporting is true, then we might see a big surge of....ahem...interest in the case.

It seems that the Dukestir wasn't just interested in antique furntiture and yachts. He also seems to have had a prediliction for clear heels and frosted hair. The journal says it best:

"According to people with knowledge of the investigation, Mr. Wade told investigators that Mr. Cunningham periodically phoned him to request a prostitute, and that Mr. Wade then helped to arrange for one. A limousine driver then picked up the prostitute as well as Mr. Cunningham, and drove them to one of the hotel suites, originally at the Watergate Hotel, and subsequently at the Westin Grand."

How can the American people stay away from this story? We have a Congressman and a prostitute in a limo (it sounds like a bad joke, or an episode of Law and Order), and we have the Watergate Hotel. It's perfect.

This story confirms something that Josh Marshall had started to get into months ago, but didn't quite have any evidence to confirm it.

And...the prosecutors are considering widening the investigation to determine if other Congressmen also had a few prostitutes tossed their way by MZM.

This stuff just keeps getting better and better. Some say that the whole Lewinsky thing took up so much time because Americans love sex-scandals, and it would be hard to get people fired up about Congressional corruption (which everyone thinks always happens anyways). But once we have a few Congressmen in limos with "escorts" I think a few more people will pay attention.

Oh...and one more thing that I love from this article:

"In recent weeks, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents have fanned out across Washington, interviewing women from escort services, potential witnesses and others who may have been involved in the arrangement."

Those must have been awkward interviews...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006
More Bad News for Karl
Patrick Fitzgerald has met with his grand jury this morning, and Fox News and CNN both say that Karl Rove is going to testify in front of the grand jury this afternoon.

This is a big deal.

Rove is still a target of Fitzgerald's investigation, and Rove just barely escaped perjury charges last December. How great would it be if Fitz showed evidence implicating Rove to the grand jury this morning, and now calls Rove to testify knowing that he will perjure himself again. It will be a rock solid case and an easy indictment.

This case is picking up steam again, and it looks like Dougboy Rove should be getting more and more nervous.

(Picture courtesy of the deligtful

Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Well It's Better Than His Old Outfit
Imagine your Italian. Or an Italian marketing company to be precise. And you want a new way of selling your product (in this case Serengetti sunglasses, Prada loafers, and of course an iPod); sure you could get a billboard but those have been done, magazine ads are all the same, pop-ups get annoying....what are you to do? What is that untapped market? Where can your company go that's new and fresh. Who can your company use to sell stuff to a rapt audience of billions around the world? Who is that one person who is automatically worshipped by billions? Who is new on his job, and a little bit hip? And not unwilling to support product placement? I don't have the answer. But I think you could probably figure it out.

No Way This Can Come Back to Haunt Us.
The breaking news of the morning is that the President is going to stop depositing oil into our strategic petroleum reserves (which are held in caverns in the Gulf of Mexico, btw). This "extra" oil is instead going to the consumers...and their Hummers.

Monday, April 24, 2006
Imagine You're Dutch...
Or a Dutch advertising company to be precise. And you want a new way of selling your product (in this case a hotel web site); sure you could get a billboard but you can't place those along the highway, magazine ads are all the same, pop-ups get annoying....what are you to do. What is that untapped market? Where can your company go that's new and fresh and downy soft? I don't have the answer. But I think you could probably figure it out.

Less than a Third...
Less than one third. Less than 33 percent. Not even one out of three people in this country approve of the way the President is doing his job.

So says CNN.

I've always thought that there was no way that he could reach the twenties. But, I might be wrong.

Lies, Deception, Intimidation...
All in a normal day's work for the extremists. Planned Parenthood is trying to sound the alarm about fake "pregancy crisis" centers that lure women in, and then try to scare them into not getting an abortion.

There's one of these clinics near South Dakota's only abortion clinic, and they are spreading across the country. They look normal, they look neutral, they have nice names like "Pregnancy Crisis Center," but they are run by scary scary people.

In Indiana a young woman recently wandered into the clinic thinking it was part of Planned Parenthood. Why did she think this? Well, maybe it was because it shares a parking lot with Planned Parenthood (perhaps not a coincidence?). The "nurses" took down her address, phone number, name, etc. and then told her to come back later in the week. She was told to go to the "main" Planned Parenthood office (across the parking lot). So she shows up, and they haven't heard of her, but the cops are there waiting for her. The crazies at the fake clinic had called the police and told them that a minor was being forced into an abortion (not true, and isn't filing a fake police report illegal?). And it just goes from there.
Here's some more about it.

They called her house, they called her dad at work (yeah, how awkward must that have been?), they went to her high school and told her friends to talk her out of it.

Just one more example of how the far right is not afraid to resort to blatant lies, misinformation, and thug tactics.

A bill has been introduced in Congress to stop these places from misrepresenting themselves. PP is trying to start a letter writing campaign to support the bill. Something that I would recommend doing.

Oh...and one more thing...many of these "Crisis Centers" receive millions of dollars in government funding. Your tax dollars at work!

Saturday, April 22, 2006
Ben and Jerry's Pisses off a Lot of Drunks
That beloved Vermont ice cream giant has created a new flavor called "Black and Tan," which is meant to be a "celebration" of Irishness. I like to drink Black and Tans, it's a nice blend of Guiness flavor without all that icky stuff about Guiness. So it seems like a good idea right? turns out that "Black and Tan" is also the name of an old-angry-extremist-violent-bigoted-dangerous-psychotic militia that was tied to the British police in Ireland at the turn of the last century. They were basically a bunch of guys who were black and tan uniforms and kicked a lot of Irish Catholic ass. Beating...killing...raping...stealing...the whole bit. They were evidently really really scary. None of which I knew. And evidently neither did Ben or Jerry (or Unilever the conglomerate that bought the company a few years ago).

Here's Ben and Jerry's apology.

This has also created all sorts of craziness on Junk Food Blog.
Read some of the comments on that site and you'll be nicely reminded of why the internet is scary. My favorite is the suggestion by an angry Irishman for a "Twin Towers Cherry Explosion" ice cream.

All of which leads me to wonder...can I no longer drink Black and Tans in good consceince. Am I disrespecting my Irish great-great grandfather (it's true)? And what do they call those drink in Ireland? Although I guess they don't need to water down their Guiness over there, they can take it.

Friday, April 21, 2006
Sad Days...
"Andy?...Scooter?...Tommy?....Scotty?...Karl?...Hey, where is everyone?...This isn't funny anymore....Anyone?...........C'mon we have a country to run..........I don't even know where the key to Air Force One is......GUYS???????????"

Thursday, April 20, 2006
How Sweet It Is.
So all these crazy polls done by liberal organizations show the President with numbers that are way too low. There's no way that CNN and USA Today and CBS can possibly be reporting numbers that are real. It's just another example of the liberal media trying to slander the good name of our fair leader.

We know most of the country supports him, and thankfully FoxNews is here to set the rest of those bleeding hearts straight.

I'm so glad that Fox News does their own polls that reveal the truth....well...actually now that I look at it...

33% approval rating?


Well that just means that they oversampled the crazy liberals right? Oh...for the first time less than 70% of Repubs approve of the job the President is doing....hmmm....

This is an all time low for Shrub, he's truly approaching Nixonian levels of public approval, and you know things are going bad for Dubya when not even Fox News can call those few people left who like the guy.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006
My Kind of Representative
She looks like a nice woman doesn't she? Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO)

Discount the fact that she's a Republican, and she looks like a friendly, polite person. The kind of woman that will serve her constituents proudly, and will always look after their best interests.

Except for when she calls them "assholes."

One of her constituents wrote in to Rep. Emerson and asked a question about the testimony that oil executives gave to Congress last year. The response was a typical boilerplate response from a politician (thanks for writing...blah blah blah...I will take your views into account...blah blah blah...). Until the ending. The letter ends with:
"I think you're an asshole."

This is what happens when Capitol Hill staffers get crazy on a friday night. Emerson has apologized, but she should probably be congratulated for finally voicing what most of them think of the people they "represent."

One Big Cuddle-Fest (But Not in a Homosexual Way)

So let's say you were running for President. Let's say you were a Republican. Let's go out on a limb and say that you are a pro-choice, anti-gun, pro-gay Republican (that would make you a species that's dying faster than the polar bears, but that's not the point). And let's say that you know that there's no way that you can become President without the radical right coming out for you.

What would you do?

If you were Rudy G. you would run straight into the arms of the wingnuttiest and bigoted people you could find. In this case it's Senator Rick "Women are happiest in the home" Santorum, and Ralph "I want to feed all non-christians to lions" Reed.

It seems that Rudy is still smarting over Jerry Falwell's recent assertion that he could never endorse Giuliani. So it's the logical thing to do right?

Raise money for a man who thinks that the priest abuse scandal originated in Boston becuase it's a liberal city (Santorum...Priests, like all of us, are affected by culture, ... When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm.),

and the man who has equated homosexuality with bestiality (Santorum...If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery, ... You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does.)

And of course you have to spend time snuggling with Ralph Reed, the former head of the Chrisitan Coalition, and current candidate for Lt. Gov. in Georgia. A man who has made no secret about his belief that this country would be much better off if Christian extremists were running all of America's institutions.

These are the people to be scared of.

Rudy G. has joined John McCain in the sad group of scared politicians who stampede to extremists in order to keep their Presidential aspirations alive. Both these guys were once respected outside of their party because at one time they seemed different. They seemed like politicians with convictions and who weren't afraid to go against the fringes of their party. That time has passed.

I know a lot of liberals criticize Hillary, Mark Warner, and other candidates for being too in the "middle," but I'd rather have politicans on our side who rush to the center instead of politicians who rush to the far edges.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006
What Do These States Have In Common?
Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Nebraska?

They are the only states in the country in which Bush's approval rating is over 50%.

Survey USA just released it's latest 50 State Poll.

The best performers for Bush:
Utah 55% approval 40% disapproval
Idaho 53% 43%
Wyoming 54% 44%
Nebraska 51% 45%

Boy do these states love Bush. But it should be pointed out that Bush's numbers have been declining in these states; Bush has hit 60% approval at least once in each of these states in the past year.

And which states hate Bush the most???????

Vermont 27% approval 70% disapproval
Massachusetts 26% 70%
New York 24% 73 %
Rhode Island 24% 74%

Wow! Who are those 24% in Rhode Island? What must those people be like? Maybe they didn't understand the question...

This is It.

Many of us have felt for years that the President was as the very least exaggerating how much of a threat Iraq was. Sure Saddam might have wanted a nuclear bomb to drop on Tehran, or Tel Aviv or Toledo, but many of us simply did not believe that he had the weapons of mass destruction, or that he was on the verge of producing them.

So in order to quell us skeptics the President stood up in front of the world in his State of the Union address on January 28, 2003 and said that the CIA believed that Iraq was trying to obtain yellowcake uranium from Niger. It was a key claim that helped the American people support the war; the claim was reinforced by Dick Cheney and crew making the rounds of news shows saying, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud over an American city.”

For months, more and more information has come out that has confirmed that these original claims were based on forged documents that were passed on to the U.S. through an Italian intelligence agency. But it has never been completely known who forged the documents, why they were forged, or when the CIA/NSA/State Department knew that the documents were fakes. The claim has been that everyone thought the Iraq-Niger claim was legit when it made its way into the State of the Union.

Here is the memo that proves that the President was lying.

A recently declassified State Department memo, obtained by the New York Sun, and published by TruthOut plainly states:

“On January 12, 2003, INR [the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research] expressed concerns to the CIA that the documents pertaining to the Iraq-Niger deal were forgeries. The conclusion may, however, have been reached and communicated for the first time somewhat earlier…”

It’s simple:

January 12, 2003----The CIA is told the documents are fake and that Iraq is not trying to obtain Uranium from anyone.

January 28, 2003----Bush speaks it as truth in his State of the Union address.

Best case scenario: This is just another example of the dangerous incompetence of this administration. Even in a post-terror attack world it still takes months for vital memos to make their way from the CIA to the President (even though the President met with the CIA director every day).

Worst case scenario (and frankly most likely): This is definitive proof that they were not only manipulating intelligence, but were deliberately lying to us the whole time.

Monday, April 17, 2006
Need to Get Rid of Some Whales?
Do you have a backyard pond/pool/creek/bay/ocean that has developed a pesky whale infestation. It's more common than you think, and for years there was nothing you could do about it.

Until now.

The U.S. Navy has found an effective way of killing large numbers of whales at one time. Sonar.

Read on.

An Interesting "non"-step
Al Gore has done something interesting, he has hired Roy Keel to help coordinate and publicize his global warming campaign.

Who is Roy Keel? Only an important aide in his 2000 run, and Howard Dean's campaign manager in 2004.

Gore has a lot to publicize, he has a new movie about global warming and a book coming out soon, and he will continue making big angry anti-Bush speeches. So he has a lot to do and a lot to coordinate...but...he seems to be (re)assembling a political staff and I'm sure his anger will transform into a Presidential run.

I'm going to post a lot more about Gore soon, and how he can march into the White House without breaking a sweat. This is far from an announcement (something he can't do until late 2007 anyways) but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

Sunday, April 16, 2006
Ten Years Ago Today
The 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls won their 70th game of the season, breaking the old record held by the 1971-1972 Lakers. The Bulls went on to win 72 games. It's an impressive mark, but it won't stand forever; the Pistons, Spurs and Mavericks all came relatively close this season, and it's just a matter of time before it falls.

But what I would like to point out is that this happened a DECADE ago, ten years!! I remember them doing this, and have trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that it was TEN years ago. Lebron was what in 5th grade? Dubya was still a young governor. And no one knew who Monica Lewinsky or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was....the good old days.

Saturday, April 15, 2006
Who Says Comments Don't Matter?
It has been suggested that we have a caption contest (as in The New Yorker), and I wholeheartedly agree.

But there needs to be prizes. How about?
1. A Free Posting on this Blog!!!!
(ok, that's not really exciting is it? But it's there.)

2. The winner gets to choose the picture for the next contest.
(still kind of lame, but a better prize)
3. I will buy you a beer.
(I will transfer the money via PayPal in the off chance that the winner is not someone I see all the time.)'s the picture.

Please leave your suggestions in the comment section.
Good luck.

Friday, April 14, 2006
Here's Another One.

Hmm...Maybe This Strategy Won't Work After All
So we all knew John McCain was going to stampede to the right so that he could secure the conservative/evangelical/facist/crazy/xenophobic/homophobic/and just generally phobic vote.

What with the whole speaking at Jerry Falwell's university, and retracting his comment six years ago that Falwell was an "agent of intolerance." etc, etc.

But what has this gained him with the voters?

Not much according to a recent poll conducted by Charlie Cook. The Cook Political Report is one of the most respected political newsletters in Washington, and has been for years. I'd send you to the website but it's expensive and none of us can afford it.

But it's interesting to read excerpts that are published on other blogs. Like this one from .

In the most recent poll about the '08 race (still way too early I know, but this one is interesting) John McCain has lost some serious ground against Hills. In the last poll McCain had a ten point advantage (47% to 37%), but in the latest poll McCain's lead has been sliced in half--44% to 39%.

Hopefully McCain won't realize that people liked him because he seemed to be a moderate who was willing to challenge the President and be a little different from the other Republicans. So when he goes to the right, all those independents have trouble following.

He has to go farther to the right to sew up the nomination, and hopefully this trend will continue.

The first picture back from the new European Space Agency probe circling the planet.

Today's Word of the Day
"The Friday Afternoon News-Dump" (n.)--When an entity, person, organization, or government waits until late in the day Friday to release news that is damaging, embarrassing, or just plain-old bad news.

Today's Examples:

The fact that Dick Cheney made almost 9 million dollars last year.

And, this news which is just coming from Irag. Yesterday, that's right yesterday, in a fight in Anbar province two soldiers were killed, and TWENTY-TWO were wounded yesterday.


But don't worry, everything's fine over there. We won. Mission Accomplished.

When you're lost in the rain....
The Current, San Antonio's best alt-weekly has a great article about Dylan, Doug Sahm, the border, Texas music, and how great Austin is.

The article by Gilbert Garcia talks about how much Dylan loved Doug Sahm and the Sir Douglas Quintet (picture evidence is provided to the left). Doug Sahm is one of the legends of the Austin/San Antonio music scene, and there was a profound sense of loss across both cities when he died four years ago.

Sahm was the head of the Sir Douglas Quintet who produced some of the grittiest, loudest, and Texas-est, country-rock-conjunto fusion around. The music Sahm made with Sir Douglas, and with the Texas Tornadoes, feels like Texas. Dylan was a huge fan and you can see the similarities in any of Dylan's dessert-epic songs (Brownsville Girl, Tom Thumb's Blues, most of Time Out of Mind, and any song that mentions Mexico, trains, guns, and blood.).

Listen to songs like: (Is Anybody Goin' To) San Antone, Nuevo Laredo, She's About a Mover, Mendocino...etc. You'll hear the piano, the guitar, the atmosphere, and the gothic-pop sensibility that characterize much of Dylan's stuff. Dylan is obviously the more famous of the two, but they had a deep impact on each other, and it's good to see some recognition of it.

Here's the article.

Thanks to this guy for the tip.

Thursday, April 13, 2006
The News We've All Been Waiting For!!!!!
Word is that sometime next week a candidate will announce that they are running for President in 2008. It's a Democrat and they're going to be the first candidate to announce--other announcements won't come for probably almost another full year.

So who is it? I can feel your suspense....'s someone we've all had our eye on for awhile, it's someone who can change it's.......Former Senator Mike Gravel!!!!

hmmm....ok...not that exciting, but it is kind of strange.

I know absolutely knowthing about Mike Gravel other then the fact that he was Alaska's Senator from 1968 to 1980, and that would make him approximately 90 years old (just a guess).

Maybe this is just a weird rumor, or maybe not. Either way it does signal a very very early beginning to a Presidential campaign. More to come......


Just in case anyone wants to check it out, here's the info:

News Advisory:

WHO: Mike Gravel for President 2008

WHAT: Press Conference where former United States Senator Mike Gravel (D-Alaska, 1969-1980) will announce his Candidacy for the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States.

WHEN: Monday, April 17, 10 a.m.

WHERE: The National Press Club, Zenger Room, 13th Floor, 529 14th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20045, 202-662-7500, 202-662-7512 - Fax

Maybe People Will Watch It This Time
It seems that the Japanese release of The New World Colin Farrell's latest tepidly-reviewed, little-seen, historical epic will be screened in "SMELL-O-VISION."

I suppose this could be seen as an innovative way of involving new senses into the movie-watching experience. I'm sure it's "meta" in some way, and I bet it's really expensive.

But ultimately it sounds like a bad idea to replicate what British guys smell like after spending six months on a boat, but hey I'm not a studio executive. Maybe they're onto something.

Breathe it in here.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Turns Out Those Government Assurances
weren't to be trusted.

One of the first responders to the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001 has died of respiratory failure. Detective James Zadroga spent more than 500 hours in the rubble of the World Trade Center.

He died in January.

Det. Zadroga is the first person whose cause of death was ruled to be directly connected to the destruction of the World Trade Center. He died from breathing in the toxic environment of lower Manhattan in the weeks immediately following the terror attacks. The EPA repeatedly said the air was clean; this assertion obviously flies in the face of the reality of all the concrete and glass dust, mercury from computers, vaporized metal, and any of the strange things that were atomized and sent into the air.

It wasn't safe there, and I find it hard to believe that Zadroga is the only person to die from his or her exposure.

Just another thing to file in the category of government lies and evasions meant to falsely assure the public, and to make the Government seem more competent and powerful than they actually are.

Here's the story.

Scary News out of Cincinnati
More bad news for a city that always seems ready to boil over...

Black activist wounded near City Hall after addressing council

CINCINNATI - A black activist was shot several times and wounded Wednesday across the street from City Hall, shortly after addressing City Council in one of his frequent appearances.
Michael Bailey, a Cincinnati Metro bus driver who goes by the name Gen. Kabaka Oba, has claimed to represent groups called the Special Forces and the Black Fist.
It appeared Bailey was targeted, not a victim of a random shooting, Police Chief Thomas Streicher Jr. said. Bailey was undergoing surgery at University Hospital for multiple gunshot wounds, Streicher said.
Police had information on an assailant, the chief said, but he declined to discuss specifics.
Although Bailey's remarks to council often were very strident, Mayor Mark Mallory said Bailey did not say anything unusual during the public comment portion of Wednesday's meeting.

Who Better to Manage the Budget?

Than a man who took what seems like a bribe a day for twenty years?
So Andy Card retires as Chief of Staff (not because of any ongoing investigations or anything mind you) and Josh Bolten leaves the Office of Management and Budget.

And now that it's time to pick his replacement, it seems that some people are suggesting Tom Delay for the job.

This is so funny it doesn't even need commentary (but the picture is nice).

Busby 44%
Next closest challenger: 15%.

Ok, so we didn't win a Congressional seat yesterday, but Francine Busby did come within six percentage points of winning in an overwhelmingly Republican district.
A few things:
1. there were lots of candidates on the ballot, Busby was only one of four or five
2. Busby was at the very bottom of the ballot, after many of the other Democrats running
3. The RNC dumped $300,000 in attack ads into the district, which had no effect whatsover. This is good news because it's great when the Repubs spend their money and don't get a return, and because it shows that people are finally beginning to see through their lies.

Now there is going to be a run-off on June 7th against Brian Bilbray. Busby has to be the obvious favorite going into the race, and she'll have the benefit of less people clogging up the ballot. We will also have more time to alert people that there is in fact an election coming up; increasing turnout should be a priority.

Bilbray is not extraordinarily well-liked amongst the conservative circles in San Diego, and he's not a trillionaire like a couple other Repubs who ran last night. So he's going to have his work cut out for him: he can't bring out the crazies, and he can't self-finance.

So, go to her website, think about donating, and know that this is yet another presumably "safe" Republican district that the Democrats have put into play.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Dean's Letter to the White House
Here's a link to Howard Dean's letter to the White House demanding answers about what James Tobin was talking about when he called the White House while suppressing voters in New Hampshire (see post below).

And here's the letter.

April 11, 2006

Ken Mehlman Chairman Republican National Committee 310 First Street, SE Washington DC, 20003

Dear Ken,

Yesterday, the AP ran a story entitled "Phone Jamming Records Point to White House." This story provides new details about the role of the New Hampshire Republican Party in the phone-jamming scandal and raises serious questions as to whether the RNC and the White House were actively involved.

As you know, on Election Day, a telemarketer hired by the New Hampshire GOP jammed telephone lines at five state Democratic and one firefighters union get-out-the-vote phone banks. The AP noted yesterday that the "records show that Bush campaign operative James Tobin, who recently was convicted in the case, made two dozen calls to the White House within a three-day period around Election Day 2002 - as the phone jamming operation was finalized, carried out and then abruptly shut down."

The AP story also stated that virtually all the calls to the White House went to the same number (202-456-6173) which currently rings inside the political affairs office. Although the White House declined today to say which staffer was assigned that phone number in 2002, you may be able to shed some light on the subject, as you were the White House Political Director during that time.

You have often spoken of the importance of making sure that every vote counts. In that spirit, we hope that you will take the necessary steps to clear up the lingering confusion surrounding the RNC and the White House's role in this scandal by answering these questions:

James Tobin called the White House two dozen times in three days. Whom was he calling? With whom did he speak? Whom did he work with in the office of political affairs?

Tobin worked directly with Terry Nelson, who was then political director at the RNC. When will Mr. Nelson answer questions about his role in the scandal? Whom else at the RNC did Tobin work with?

Did the White House authorize this phone jamming scheme and, if so, who specifically did so? Or was the phone jamming authorized by the RNC?

Was anyone on the White House staff or at the RNC involved in concocting, authorizing, implementing or concealing this scheme?

The overt effort by the New Hampshire Republican Party to suppress the vote on Election Day in 2002 is unconscionable. The people of New Hampshire deserve an apology. And America deserves to know exactly how deeply the White House and the RNC were involved in the planning and execution of this scheme. We hope you will provide the answers we need so we can move forward together.


Governor Howard Dean, MD


Monday, April 10, 2006
Another Criminal Conspiracy in the White House?
James Tobin was the RNC's Regional Director for New England in 2002. He then went on to become the New England Campaign Chair for Bush/Cheney '04. A few weeks ago Tobin was found guilty of coordinating a phonejamming scheme that targeted five Democrat call centers, and a volunteer firefighter's station. The calls were meant to keep the groups from being able to contact voters that had requested rides to the polls in Manchester, NH. The goal was to limit Dem turnout out, and it might have had a small impact on John Sununu’s defeat of Jeanne Shaheen (D) for a Senate seat.

By the way, the RNC demonstrated its commitment to clean and fair elections by paying Tobin’s legal fees, which went well over a million dollars.

What’s interesting (other that the fact that this is one of the rare instances where the shadowy world of Republican intimidation and suppression of voters and rigging of elections actually came to light) is who Tobin was talking to.

Phone records released in court on Monday show that Tobin made around two dozen calls to the White House within three days of the election day—which is of course the three days that the plan was conceived, implemented and then halted. The RNC is claiming that these calls only represented “routine” election business (a statement that was supposed to be a defense, but could also be seen as an admission of what most of us already suspect).

Whether it was routine or not, the Democrats have filed a civil suit against Tobin and a few others and are now planning to “ask a federal judge Tuesday to order GOP and White House officials to answer questions about the phone jamming in a civil lawsuit alleging voter fraud.

Now maybe this was routine business, but the RNC and the Republican Senate Campaign Committee both have different phone numbers than the White House.

For some reason this news did not come out during the trial, but it’s not too late for it to develop into something really big over the next few months.

At worst it will just become another part of the steady drumbeat of criminal investigations circling around the Republican power structure in Washington.

Here’s the article.

(On a side note: Tobin’s boss who supposedly didn’t know anything about anything, has just been hired by everyone’s favorite fundamentalist: John McCain.)

Today's Word of the Day Is: PHONEJAMMING

When a person or group makes an organized effort to clog a person or groups telephone lines with calls designed to keep the targeted person or group from making any outside calls.

Later tonight I will explain: why this is important, who's going to jail because of it, who else might be going to jail because of it, and what political party they work for. (I'll bet you can figure out that last one for yourself.)

The election to fill Duke Cunnigham's Congressional seat occurs TOMORROW. This is a real eleciton for a real Congressional seat. This is probably going to be the only election between now and November; a win here will mean BIG momentum for Democrats across the country.

So please, go to MoveON and sign up to do some voter contact---it will only take an hour to reach 15 voters. Turnout in elections like this is always low, so whoever mobilizes the most people wins.

And consider giving Francine Busby some money. She can still use it.

The worst case scenario for tomorrow is that Busby gets under 50% of the vote and there has to be a run-off in June. She will need the money to keep campaigning until them. But there is a very good chance that Busby can win the whole damn thing tomorrow. A recent poll had her pulling 45%---help push her over fifty.

Would You Take a Check From This Man?
Turns out the Christian Coalition has fallen on hard times. They are more than two MILLION dollars in debt, and people are running from them like they finally realizing that Robertson's craziness is contagious.

The Washington Post has a great article in today's paper about the woes of the once might organization.

One of the most embarrasing tidbits is that in March the Iowa chapter of the CC decided that they can be crazy all by themselves, and they don't need Pat Robertson to help them out. The Iowa chapter cut ties and renamed itself the "Iowa Christian Alliance." The new group said that they "found it impossible to continue to carry a name that in any way associated us with this national organization." Ouch.

The Iowa people say the debt was too much for them; the new president Stephen Scheffler said " We believe, our board believes, any Christian organization has an obligation to pay its debts in a timely fashion." So they left.

The debts run from $70,000 to their lawyers, to $1,500 to their moving company.

The only Washington employee they have left works out of his home, in South Carolina.

Sad times for ole Crazy Pat.
Shed a tear for him.

Yeah, but do they have a crazy President?
Bob Brown, the head scientist on the Cassini-Huygens Probe (which is circling Saturn and its moons), has said that the itty bitty moon of Enceladus is more likely to have life than any other body in the solar system (with the obvious exception). The moon has simple molecules, water, and heat; put these things together and shake for two billion years or so, and you have life.

Here's the article.

I like this moon because it's name makes me think of Enchiladas.

Sunday, April 09, 2006
Leaker in Chief

The administration has refused to confirm Scooter's assertion that the President authorized leaking classified information in order to discredit Joe Wilson.

Until now.

The NYT is reporting tomorrow that a senior administration source has confirmed that Bush did in fact okay leaking part of the National Intelligence Estimate to Judy Miller. I guess this leak about a leak is meant to reinforce the claim that the President wasn’t breaking the law.

So…he wasn’t breaking the law, but he did say it was ok to leak part of a highly classified report that was already being disputed by every intelligence agency in Washington—even the one that wrote it in the first place. And then he lied repeatedly about knowing anything about any leaks, and then he lied about how much he hates leaks, and then he continued to repeat the information even though he knew it was false.

And now the President is admitting that he was trying to discredit Wilson--who was telling the truth!

This is awfully close to an admission that there was a senior level conspiracy to discredit Joseph Wilson through the use of classified sources (which Patrick Fitzgerald thought might have been happening all along). That might not be illegal. But...If the next revelation is that Bush and/or Cheney sought to discredit Wilson by not only leaking parts of the NIE, but also by leaking the idenity of an undercover CIA agent (Valerie Wilson, his wife) then that does turn into criminal conspiracy.

Not to be too much of a nerd (if that's possible, I do have a blog after all), but isn't this exactly what happened at the beginning of the X-Files movie?

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A man who screamed that he was "a victim of terrorism" jumped the fence surrounding the White House as President Bush was inside and was taken into custody Sunday by Secret Service agents. "I have intelligence information for the president; I'm not afraid of you," he yelled at uniformed Secret Service agents who confronted him on the grounds of the presidential mansion.

The man was not immediately identified. He wore a T-shirt with an American flag and the message "God Bless America," and yelled that he had been "a victim of terrorism" and that his family "is being poisoned in New Mexico."

Prisoners are Vanishing in Iraq
This news is as upsetting as it is unsurprising.

The British newspaper "The Observer" has printed comments by Blair's Personal Envoy on Human Rights Ann Clywd. It seems that coalition forces have been arresting lots of innocent people and then torturing them.

She's gives the story of an old woman who dissapeared and was found in an American-run jail months later. This woman was only found after Clywd personally talked to Steven Hadley, Bremer and Wolfowitz. Clywd's concern basically comes down to, "What about everyone else?"

There could be hundreds of people that were rounded up, sent to abusive prisons, had their lives ruined, are humiliated, and have now become the exact kind of person that would wrap themselves in explosives and walk into a marketplace.

How does this happen? Who's doing this? All good questions. Clywd's answer is that the Americans are not going around and arresting random people and torturing them out of cruelty or malice. Actually, the Americans are going around and arresting random people and torturing them out of sheer incompetence. Bad translators, no knowledge of Arabic phonetics, and general mismanagement are probably the real culprits.

Yet another example of the dangerous incompetnce that has become a trademark of our friends in the White House and the Pentagon.

From an article in the Observer

Blair envoy reveals plight of Iraqis lost in jail maze

Ann Clwyd links scandal of missing detainees to abuse in coalition prisons

Gaby Hinsliff, political editor
Sunday April 9, 2006

Iraqis arrested by coalition forces have disappeared into a 'black hole' with no records of where they are being held, Tony Blair's personal envoy on human rights has warned.

Ann Clwyd said if the scandal of the missing prisoners had been taken more seriously from the start by the US, it could have helped prevent the abuse of detainees in their jails.

In an interview with The Observer, the Labour MP said she was 'very unhappy' at the rising numbers still detained - and called on the Iraqi government to publish a report on claims that inmates were tortured by Iraqi jailers.


Clwyd's own files include two alarming cases highlighting the issue of the missing - and the scale of effort required to trace them.

The first involves an elderly woman arrested shortly after the war in the middle of the night by US soldiers. With her family unable to find her, relatives in Britain sought Clwyd's help.

'I spent days and weeks trying to trace where this woman was,' said Clwyd.

'Eventually it meant a visit to Washington, going into the White House and talking to people like [national security adviser] Steve Hadley, [former deputy defence secretary] Paul Wolfowitz and [former US envoy to Iraq] Paul Bremer.' Still, she drew a blank.

Finally Wolfowitz ordered an investigation in Iraq: the woman was traced to a US-run prison near Baghdad airport and freed. She had, according to Clwyd who interviewed her afterwards, been abused in custody: as a Muslim, the shame was such that she would not be identified. 'She was obviously very unsure of herself, emotional, confused: she was frightened. She wanted to put it all behind her.'


Clwyd admitted she did not know how many other similar cases there could be among those arrested on suspicion of being an insurgent or a security threat.

The 'tremendous effort' required to trace the missing worries her. 'You did feel that people were disappearing into black holes and it's very difficult.'


Clwyd appears to suspect incompetence, not malice, in the disappearances. Detainees' names were noted by US officials 'sometimes in Arabic, sometimes not, sometimes in bad Arabic', making matching them with the missing difficult.

This is one of the first images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is the most sophistaceted probe sent up there yet.


all tuckered out after a hard day of ruining the country....

Reach out and Touch Someone
(Some of you might have seen this news on Kos a few days ago, but I still thought it was worth mentioning.)

Mark Klein a former employee of AT&T has signed a sworn affidavit claiming he helped AT&T build a room in their San Francisco offices that ran all of their customer’s internet traffic through National Security Agency data-mining software. The affidavit also claims that AT&T gave the NSA “full access to its customers telephone calls.” One of Klein ‘s co-workers told him that similar rooms were being built in Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Klein says he is coming forward because he thinks the Government is lying about the extent of domestic surveillance program. The affidavit, mixed with AG Gonzalez’s comments recently that the President can tap any domestic call, is yet another reason to be angry and scared.

Here’s the article.

Here are some excerpts:

Whistle-Blower Outs NSA Spy Room

AT&T provided National Security Agency eavesdroppers with full access to its customers' phone calls, and shunted its customers' internet traffic to data-mining equipment installed in a secret room in its San Francisco switching center, according to a former AT&T worker cooperating in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's lawsuit against the company.

Mark Klein, a retired AT&T communications technician, submitted an affidavit in support of the EFF's lawsuit this week. That class action lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Francisco last January, alleges that AT&T violated federal and state laws by surreptitiously allowing the government to monitor phone and internet communications of AT&T customers without warrants.


Klein's job eventually included connecting internet circuits to a splitting cabinet that led to the secret room. During the course of that work, he learned from a co-worker that similar cabinets were being installed in other cities, including Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.

"While doing my job, I learned that fiber optic cables from the secret room were tapping into the Worldnet (AT&T's internet service) circuits by splitting off a portion of the light signal," Klein wrote.

The split circuits included traffic from peering links connecting to other internet backbone providers, meaning that AT&T was also diverting traffic routed from its network to or from other domestic and international providers, according to Klein's statement.

The secret room also included data-mining equipment called a Narus STA 6400, "known to be used particularly by government intelligence agencies because of its ability to sift through large amounts of data looking for preprogrammed targets," according to Klein's statement


"Despite what we are hearing, and considering the public track record of this administration, I simply do not believe their claims that the NSA's spying program is really limited to foreign communications or is otherwise consistent with the NSA's charter or with FISA," Klein's wrote. "And unlike the controversy over targeted wiretaps of individuals' phone calls, this potential spying appears to be applied wholesale to all sorts of internet communications of countless citizens."

Saturday, April 08, 2006
A found poem
Consisting of an excerpt of the songs on my computer alphabetized by title. I like it, if you can identify all the artists then you win a prize.

I want to tell you
I want you
I want you
I want you (she's so heavy)
I want you, I need you, I love you
I want your love
I wants to stay here
I was a landscape in your dream

We Can Win A Congressional Seat on Tuesday
April 11th is the special election to fill the vacant seat left by Duke Cunningham. There are about a dozen Repubs and a few Democrats running in this mostly Republican district. Before Cunningham resigned it would have been ludicrous to even think that the Democrats had a chance of picking this seat up. But all of the polling done on the race shows Democrat Francine Busby with a big lead. The first polls showed Busby with a big lead but with only 35% of the vote (you need more than 50% to not spark an automatic run-off on June 6th), but a recent Survey USA poll showed Busby pulling 45% of the vote. It's possible that she might win the seat outright this tuesday.

The Repubs are scared; they just dumped more than $300,000 of TV ads into the race.

If Busby wins, either Tuesday or in June, it will spark off a whole round of good publicity for the Dems and will get the press talking even more seriously about the Dem's chance to win big in November.

A Busby victory will be a huge rejection of the entire Republican party; this district is as reliably Republican as any other and it will be a phenomenal accomplishment.

So, go to her website.

And think about dropping her some money through the ActBlue link to the left, or through her website. It's not too late to give her something, and she'll still be able to use it.

MoveOn also has a website that will allow you to do some virtual phonebanking. You sign up, they give you 15 names and numbers, they give you a script, and you do direct voter contact for a district in California. Voter turnout will be key, and this is the kind of thing that can make all the difference in the race. It only takes an hour, and it will have an effect.

Click here to make the calls.

We're down to the wire, and let's hope on Wednesday morning there's one more Democrat in the House of Representatives.

Truly Terrifying---UPDATE
Sy Hersh has an article in the April 17th New Yorker that details a couple of the military options against Iran being weighed by the White House and the Joint Chiefs.

One of the options, which is being given serious consideration, is to use a "bunker-buster" bomb equipped with a small nuclear warhead.

That's right. A nuclear warhead.

Some paragraphs:

One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites. One target is Iran’s main centrifuge plant, at Natanz, nearly two hundred miles south of Tehran. Natanz, which is no longer under I.A.E.A. safeguards, reportedly has underground floor space to hold fifty thousand centrifuges, and laboratories and workspaces buried approximately seventy-five feet beneath the surface. That number of centrifuges could provide enough enriched uranium for about twenty nuclear warheads a year. (Iran has acknowledged that it initially kept the existence of its enrichment program hidden from I.A.E.A. inspectors, but claims that none of its current activity is barred by the Non-Proliferation Treaty.) The elimination of Natanz would be a major setback for Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but the conventional weapons in the American arsenal could not insure the destruction of facilities under seventy-five feet of earth and rock, especially if they are reinforced with concrete.


The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he added, and some officers have talked about resigning. Late this winter, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sought to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for Iran—without success, the former intelligence official said. “The White House said, ‘Why are you challenging this? The option came from you.’ ”

The New York Times is going to publish an article in tomorrow's paper that contains a denial of Hersh's account by "four Pentagon, military, and administration officials who participate in high-level deliberations on Iran." They're saying that the Government is not seriously considering using nuclear weapons against Iran.

It's going to be interesting to see how this develops. Did Hersh jump the gun? Can the Pentagon do anything other than deny it?...

In Sunday's Washington Post there is an above the fold article that supports Hersh's claims. It seems the Post talked to Hersh and also some other people. But it's not clear to me if they also talked to Hersh's sources, are just using Hersh's article, or have their own sources.

Democratic Candidates for President.

It is required that all political blogs post at least one entry every two weeks on the 2008 Presidential Race. I am simply fulfilling my requirements.

Ok My Turn. Now this list is my opinion of who has the best shot at the nomination; amongst those who have expressed interest.

1. Hillary is obviously at the head of the class until someone catches fire.

2. Mark Warner has been campaigning for months. He’s been all over the country (he’s in St Louis with Claire McCaskill this weekend), he’s young, he’s smart and he was a ridiculously popular Governor. One thing that Mark Warner has on his side that many people don’t realize is that he’s a techie. (He made his money because he had the notion that cell phones might be popular in Virginia.). Warner was recently at the SXSW interactive festival looking for new technology to help his campaign. Dean and Clark had Meet-Up; and Warner might have what’s next.

3. John Edwards has more negatives than positives; his biggest liability (in 2004 as well as currently) is his lack of real experience. But he is making waves online and his popularity is growing at a steady rate. His Southern charm might pay off and his anti-poverty crusade is something that people can definitely get behind.

4. Bill Richardson is not well known, but he is positioned to make a big run very soon. He’s a popular Governor in a purple state, he’s really smart, he has great experience in both domestic and international affairs, and he will be tough to beat if he can mobilize Latino voters.

5. John Kerry thinks everyone loves him and wants him to run again. This is obviously not true, and he will realize it eventually. The thing is that he has the campaign experience, the staff, the infrastructure, and the donor lists; it’s going to lead to a great primary campaign, that won’t get off the ground.

6. Russ Feingold is about to receive the 2008 Dean label, and it is both deserved and unfair. Feingold is probably too liberal to get the nomination, but when the time comes he will be able to mobilize the netroots in a way that is going to be bigger than what Dean did. I think he’s going to last deep into the primary season but he’ll be taken down the same way Dean was.

7. Wes Clark was a phenom in 2004 (he was my preferred candidate) and he has become a better speaker and campaigner. But ultimately I don’t think it will be enough.

These are the serious contenders in my mind. Daschle, Vilsach, Biden, etc are going to give it a shot but aren’t going to get anywhere.

The most glaring exception from my list is Al Gore. He has said he is not going to run, but I think he will and once he gives the word he jumps straight to number two. Gore can step in at the last minute and change everything. I’m going to post a lot more about him really soon.

It's Still Way too Early, but It's Getting Closer
So Political Derby just released an update of their rankings for the '08 nominations. It's obviously just one guy's opinion, but it's an interesting list. My own list follows soon.

1. Hills; 2. Mark Warner; 3. John Edwards; 4. Evan Bayh; 5. John Kerry; 6. Bill Richardson
7. Tom Vilsack; 8. Tom Daschle; 9. Wes Clark; 10. Russ Feingold

1. John McCain; 2.George Allen; 3.Mitt Romney; 4. Rudy G.; 5. Bill Frist; 6. Mike Huckabee;
7. Newt; 8. Condi; 9.Mike Pence; 10. Tom Tancredo

Friday, April 07, 2006
Let's All Spend A Little Time In Curt Weldon's Head
So I think Weldon is a bit nervous, something that seems to be spreading amongst the Repubs, and he recently said something really stupid and heartless.

This is my re-creation of the thought process behind his comments....

hmm....poll after poll shows voters fleeing the GOP like it was a rabid dog sitting on a landmine. Nothing is going right anywhere in the country: the war has gone to hell, and they're blaming us for it; the economy still isn't right, despite what we try to say; and more people are realizing that the guys in charge are actually pretty scary.

But how does this affect me? Good old reliable ever reelected Curt Weldon. Well, my Senator
(ed. note-the vile Santorum) is immensly unpopular and is almost certain to lose his seat. Dems across the state are going to come out in droves to drive him from office. And my own district has gone Democrat in the past few Presidential elections....let me put the pieces together.


What to do about it....oh I know. I'll attack my opponent on his record. No that won't work. I know I'll break with my party and support one of the pull out proposals sponsored by Democrats. No way to that either.....

I got it! I'm going to attack my opponents five year old daughter, who cares if she has a malignant brain tumor. Voters love that!!!

That's right folks. Weldon decided to attack his opponent (Sestak) because he owns a home in Virginia and is renting in PA. And evidently, the fact that his daughter's hospital is in Virginia is only further proof of how despicable Sestak is---she should be in one of PA's fine hospitals.

Now we all know that the voters love personal attacks, especially when they're against dying five year old girls. But I'm not sure this is going to work on Weldon's behalf.

Muckracker has some more delightful info on Weldon's own daughter: No cancer, just Lobbying.
Atrios has some more on Weldon's comments.

La Bonne Chanson
It was all he could do, someone shouted.
They leaned over and he was gone,
they body dissolved in spring filaments.
When they came faster, it was disaster, you
wouldn't believe how many supplicants defected.

and him all ready to rewrite history
if a chance footnote offered itself.
He even tried to laminate my horse,
said it would go better. O I tell you,
the things we had, too many

in our time, too many pebbles on the shore.
We came back later but most of them were gone.
A few shot back the light of the strict stars
and that was all I had to say to you. He'd get mad,
they'd banish us. We'd swim in steep delirium.

---John Ashbery
(A poem in this week's issue of The New Yorker)

Thursday, April 06, 2006
Don't hate Tom Delay yet?
Well this should just about do it.

You see Nick Lampson, the ex-congressman who's running in Delay's old district (I love saying that), wanted to have a little press conference to address his supporters and generally tell everyone that he's still running and that he's still going to win.

(By the way, Nick has his very own ActBlue donation box in the corner right over there...I'm just saying...)

It seemed like a nice event, until all the crazy (and I mean crazy) and mean and violent people showed up out of nowhere. They had signs slandering Lampson, they had an air horn that drove everyone crazy, and they encircled the Congressman and his supporters. If you follow this link you can see picutres of the crazed masses, and the parents holding their children close to them. At some point a 70 year old woman was knocked on her ass becuase she had the temerity to suggest that these lunatics go fuck themselves.

So was this just a random act of violence? The perils of being a Democrat in certain parts of the country?

No. This was something planned by.....(wait for it) Tom Delay's Campaign Manager.

(from Juanita's)

The following email went out from Chris Homan, Tom DeLay's campaign manager and Cress Ann Posten (State Republican Executive Committeewoman, District 18, last night at 6:00 p.m.

We would meet tomorrow morning at 9:45 am on the first floor of the parking garage attached to the Marriott. Please get folks to call our campaign office 281.343.1333 and let us know they can do it – or e-mail Leonard Cash (in the cc field above) so that we can get some head count. Let’s give Lampson a parting shot that wrecks his press conference.

Here's a link to the pics and some more detail

Is this what Repubs do when they decide they'd rather take their ball and go home instead of lose?

This makes me so angry I can't even type anymore.

Move over Ed Murrow

Katie is here!

and she has cheer

So, this is a big deal.
The New York Sun, granted not the most revered news institution in the country but hey everyone scores sometimes, has just posted an article on it's website.

Here's the link to the article.

And here's a link to the actual court papers.

The article quotes court documents drawn up by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald; the documents reveal what seems to be part of Scooter's defense.

What is that defense? You might ask.

Why is it "a big deal?"

Well the summary of what Libby is saying, and you should read the article yourself it's that good, is that Cheney asked him to release information from the highly highly highly classified National Intelligence Estimate. This info was supposed to counteract Joe Wilson's pesky claims that the President was lying about the whole "Iraq was getting Uranium from Niger so that they could destroy Des Moine" thing.

So, there you have the Vice President encouraging an underling to release info from something that's ridiculously classified.

And then...Libby seems to have said something along the lines of "Dick have you lost you're fucking mind? I could go to jail. That's treason."

At which point Cheney said, "Oh it's ok, THE PRESIDENT, wants you to do this."

That's right folks, the President and the Vice Presdient authorized leaking highly classified information (which was wrong) to Judy Miller in order to cover his ass.

Now this sounds illegal to me, the article says that Fitzgerald doesn't indicate that this is illegal, so I guess maybe it's still up in the air.

Either way, it puts Bush and Cheney right in the mix of a scandal that won't go away, and that keeps getting closer and closer to the Oval Office.

Here are bits from the article, with some commentary:

A former White House aide under indictment for obstructing a leak probe, I. Lewis Libby, testified to a grand jury that he gave information from a closely-guarded "National Intelligence Estimate" on Iraq to a New York Times reporter in 2003 with the specific permission of President Bush, according to a new court filing from the special prosecutor in the case. The court papers from the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, do not suggest that Mr. Bush violated any law or rule. However, the new disclosure could be awkward for the president because it places him, for the first time, directly in a chain of events that led to a meeting where prosecutors contend the identity of a CIA employee, Valerie Plame, was provided to a reporter.

Mr. Libby is said to have testified that "at first" he rebuffed Mr. Cheney's suggestion to release the information because the estimate was classified. However, according to the vice presidential aide, Mr. Cheney subsequently said he got permission for the release directly from Mr. Bush. "Defendant testified that the vice president later advised him that the president had authorized defendant to disclose the relevant portions of the NIE," the prosecution filing said.

(((The fact that Libby knew something was fishy about this should raise some red flags. He knew something was wrong, and he probably already knew he was going to be the one to hang for it.)))

Mr. Libby told the grand jury that he also sought the advice of the legal counsel to the vice president, David Addington, who indicated that Mr. Bush's permission to disclose the estimate "amounted to a declassification of the document," according to the new court papers.

(((I guess Addington probably knows what he's talking about, but this sounds a little too close to the Nixonian stance of "It's legal if the President does it."))))

Mr. Libby's note, as typed up by the prosecution, reads like a stanza of verse:

"People have made too much of the difference in
How I described Karl and Libby
I've talked to Libby.
I said it was ridiculous about Karl
And it is ridiculous about Libby.
Libby was not the source of the Novak story.
And he did not leak classified information."

((This is evidently a note that Scooter gave to Press Sec Scott McClellan. It's supposed to be tips on what to say. But it's more like a creepy Ginsberg poem)).

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