Friday, June 30, 2006

The SWIFT Leak

I promise this will be the last I write about the SWIFT leak. The Wall Street Journal has an opinion piece today on the leak in which they reveal the following:

[Treasury Department Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Tony] Fratto says he believed "[The NY Times] had about 80% of the story, but they had about 30% of it wrong." So the Administration decided that, in the interest of telling a more complete and accurate story, they would declassify a series of talking points about the program. They discussed those with the Times the next day, June 22. [emphasis mine]

If this leak was so damaging to national security, why did the administration go to the trouble of correcting the Times? Wouldn't an incorrect story throw the terrorists off balance? Obviously the answer to both of these questions is no. The story goes on to say that the Treasury Department knew for a week that the Times had this information for two months so they definitely had a game plan for when this came out.

The Treasury Department then leaked the same information the Times had to the WSJ and the LA Times because in the Journal's editor's opinion, "that Treasury also felt Mr. Simpson would write a straighter story than the Times, which was pushing a violation-of-privacy angle; on our reading of the two June 23 stories, he did." Surprising they would think that, isn't.

The bottom line is that if the administration really wanted to keep as much information secret as possible about SWIFT, they wouldn't have corrected the NY Times, and if they were truly interested in punishing the NY Times they could have let them print the story as is and then gave the WSJ the corrected facts leaving the Times with egg on it's face. In the real world, that's a much bigger punishment to a newspaper than a ridiculous Congressional condemnation. But that wasn't the case, they simply wanted to use the Times to feed the base.

Bush Visit

President Bush is dropping by our fair city today. I realize that this is a minor point of contention, but when this jackass comes to town, why does it always have to be during rush hour? And why is he driven? He has some pretty cool helicopters at his disposal. Stay off our streets during rush hour asshole!

Denial: A River In Eastern Ohio?

Bob Ney has released a statement in regards to most of his senior staff resigning. From the New Philadelphia Times Reporter:

"As with every office on Capitol Hill, where staffers work very long hours, there is inevitably turnover. In fact, according to a recent study by the Congressional Management Foundation, the average tenure for staff is a little over three years. What is notable however, is that all three of the staff members who will soon be leaving my office all worked for me for much longer than the average tenure and in fact my chief of staff, Will Heaton, has been with me for roughly five years. I wish them well as they pursue their individual career paths.

"That being, I am very proud to say that I have recently promoted another longtime staffer and Harrison County native to be my new Legislative Director in Washington and another longtime staffer to take-over media relations responsibilities. In addition, we also recently hired two new staff members to fully staff the legislative operations arm of my office. Again, this is exactly what every single office on Capitol Hill does and in fact, what many others often have to do with more regularity than myself.

"Therefore any suggestion or implication that the office of Ohio's 18th Congressional District is operating at anything less than full speed ahead is baseless and without merit."

Yes, there is a lot of turnover on Capital Hill, mainly among junior staffers because the pay really sucks. This is different however, these were Ney's top three staffers, they all left at the same time, and as far as I know only Brian Walsh left for a waiting job.
John Stossel

John Stossel thinks Al Gore and global warming are fakes. Nate over at Get In Their Face reminds us of what happened the last time Stossel thought something was fake, although at least that time he was right.

Ivy League Warrior

Ah, if only Justice Stevens could have stood beside Clarence Thomas in protecting the ivied walls of Yale from the Viet Cong. Thomas took the extraordinary step of reading his dissent of the Hamdan decision from the bench to explain to Stevens what it's like to see the horrors of war. From ACSBlog:

(Ironically, Justice Thomas refers to Justice Stevens’ “unfamiliarity with the realities of warfare”; but Stevens served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1945, during World War II. Thomas’s official bio, by contrast, contains no experience of military service.

Please, it was the Navy. You're on a ship. Thomas was busy storming the mean streets of New Haven, Connecticut.

Fleeing The Scene Of The Crime

With the exception of recently subpoenaed District Director Matt Parker, Bob Ney's senior staff has as they say, left the building. Communication Director Brian Walsh, Chief of Staff Will Heaton, and Legislative Director Chris Otillo have all resigned.

With all the rats jumping ship at the same time, I have to think that an indictment is imminent.

65% Solution

Conservatives and Democrats alike came out this week to blast Ken Blackwell's education plan, dubbed the 65% solution which dictates that schools spend 65% of their budget on classroom instruction. This idea comes from studies which shows schools spending that amount fare better than those who don't. No kidding.

The problem is that only the most affluent school districts can afford to realistically achieve that level of spending. Indeed, in Columbus only Bexley meets this level and that is one of the most economically advantaged school districts in the state.

It's just simple economics. When you have a poorer district things like heat and electricity are just a larger portion of your budget. Are we going to ask children in poorer districts to bring a candle and a jacket to class?

A lot of this type of thinking comes from the baffling belief conservatives have that there is this excessive amount of administrative overhead in public school systems. The facts just don't support that, most of this overhead is much needed, and I'm sure to conservatives dismay, more is going to be needed in an increasingly complex world. Think about it, did the school you attended need an IT department?

I think conservatives have watched a little too much Little House On The Prairie.

I'm Back

Yesterday, I had to step out of Left Blogistan and go to Realworldia. Truly a scary place, I suggest you avoid it.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Ask The Damn Question

I didn't notice this before, but apparently Bush's question and answer session on Monday when he blasted the New York Times lasted a little longer than usual. From Froomkin's Post Column:

Ron Hutcheson of Knight Ridder Newspapers noted in his pool report from yesterday's event: "The president seemed determined to keep [taking] questions until he got the one he wanted -- regarding the media disclosures about the government's efforts to monitor financial transactions. He became quite animated during his response, speaking forcefully, and leaning forward and gesturing with his hands for emphasis."

By the way, that was the last question he took. It would have been quite humorous if it didn't come up and the presser turned into a Monte Pythonesque never ending Q & A session. Yesterday's headlines could have read "Pres takes longest Q & A ever."

The Show

It looks like I'm the one of the very few, if not the only person out here in Left Blogistan that thinks the republican's response to the New York Times is a complete dog and pony show. I think it's pretty obvious that it is though, and I believe more than ever that the administration authorized the "leak" of information already in the public domain (the president himself has mentioned that we are tracking financial networks) so they could attack the New York Times for running it.

Lets face it, the three newspapers that ran this article got played by the administration so they could go on the attack and feed some red meat to the base during an election year. Note especially the over the top anger by the administration, yet the lack of action. Of course, it would be stupid to have an investigation that leads right back to you.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Bush's Response To Bank Scandal

President Bush has responded to the leaking of the SWIFT program to track terrorist's monies as they move through the international banking system. From the Washington Post:

President Bush offered an impassioned defense of his secret international banking surveillance program yesterday, calling it a legal and effective tool for hunting down terrorists and denouncing the media's disclosure of it as a "disgraceful" act that does "great harm" to the nation.

The Constitutional erosions this program creates set aside, this is a joke. Could it even be doubted before this revelation that this administration is spying on every single piece of electronically transmitted data? This administration still gets high marks for some reason on the war on terror, and this is just pandering to this base in an election year. I wouldn't be surprised if they leak it themselves.

Just look at the facts. First you have the immediate vilification of that dreaded right wing bogeyman, The New York Times. Never mind that the right wing shills at the Wall Street Journal ran the same story on the same day. But no, it had to those evil terrah sympathizers at the Times who took the lead on this leak. Dumbass David Frum even went as far to say it had to be the Times because, "The grammar of the story as I see it reported suggests that information came to the Times first." I guess the LA Times and the WSJ are just plagiarizers.

Of course, neither Bush or Cheney raised the possibility of investigating reporters to find out where the leak came from either.

You will see more of this as the election approaches. The administration has to push it hard, because as yesterday's ABC / Washington Post poll confirmed, terrorism is now considered the nation's top priority by only 8% of the population. So be on the lookout for more high profile terror arrests like the Roman Catholofascists buffoons in Miami, and God knows we'll shut the entire country down if another nasty note scribbled banana boat enters one of our ports.

Without another actual attack however, it's probably too late.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Bob's Buddies

Here is a picture of Bob Ney not meeting with the Tigua tribe, and certainly not discussing his golf trip they didn't pay for. It was opposite day.

Limbaugh Stopped At Airport

Rush Limbaugh has been stopped upon returning from the Dominican Republic for having prescription drugs not prescribed to him. Early reports say Limbaugh had Viagra that had been prescribed to his doctor, and possibly others. I wonder if Limbaugh is still a big fan of that zero tolerance policy.

Regardless, it seems he has at least violated the terms of the deal he cut after his last arrest.

Update: Rush claimed the Viagra was under his doctor's name for privacy reasons. That didn't work out so well for him, did it? Anyway the West Palm Sheriff's office will file a report with the State Attorney's Office. From the Bradenton Herald Today:

"We believe there may be a second degree misdemeanor violation, which is possession of certain drugs without a prescription, because the bottle does not have his name on it," [Paul] Miller said. (Spokesman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.)

What a dumbass.


Luckily, a couple of fast thinking port officials armed with Formula 409 saved the Western half of the United States from a particularly nasty note written on a banana boat.

The Michael Higbie Amendment

Today the Senate is poised to vote on a Federal Amendment to ban desecration of the American flag. It is an oh so important amendment to our hallowed Constitution for in the last year alone there has been three US flags desecrated. From the Columbus Dispatch:

The pro-amendment Citizens’ Flag Alliance lists three instances of flag desecration this year, including one involving a drunk [Michael Higbie] who tore two small flags from a sailor’s monument in West Haven, Conn.

Yes, we must stop Higbie, a one man flag wrecking machine and apparent racist who alone is responsible for two-thirds of all flag desecrations in this country.

There is something to be said of a country that put idolatry over citizenry, or in this case just one citizen, and it's not very pleasant.

Two Fools In The Journal

Never ones to tire making fools of themselves, Rick Santorum and Peter Hoekstra take their even Fox News rebuffed "we found the WMD in Iraq claim" to the great conservative dunces corner, otherwise known as the Wall Street Journal editorial page. Santorum and Hoekstra now question why the intelligence community won't unclassify this rock solid proof that Iraq had old unusable weapons from the 80's that were degraded and lost.

I especially like this paragraph:

The president is the ultimate classifier and declassifier of information, but the entire matter has now been so politicized that, in practice, he is often paralyzed. If he were to order the declassification of a document pointing to the existence of WMDs in Iraq, he would be instantly accused of "cherry picking" and "politicizing intelligence." He may therefore not be inclined to act.

No guys, it's just the president has a hell of a lot smarter people around him than you do, and they know not to touch this pig with a pole. Do Santorum and Hoekstra actually believe Bush would fail to declassify these documents if they did indeed boost the administration's claims? Do they think Bush likes his approval ratings languishing in the lower thirties? Do they wonder why no other republicans are grasping on to this?

I guess being behind in the polls does something strange to a man that has tasted the DC gravy train. Fiction becomes fact in the belly of the DC beast, and those so called regurgitated facts are then drooled on to the WSJ editorial pages in a desperate attempt to cling to office. Bye bye guys.

Losing Austria

I saw this last week and then got busy with other things, but I still want to touch on this even though it's old news. Obviously when President Bush visits others countries he is going to draw thousands of protesters, hell he gets that at home. I did find this paragraph from a article rather disturbing though. From

But it’s not just the American president feeling the brunt of unpopularity here in Vienna. When a group of reporters attempted to hail a cab outside the Hilton Vienna hotel (where the White House press corps is staying) on Tuesday night, one driver waved the group off with a string of anti-American expletives. Calling Bush a modern-day “Hitler,” the driver told the reporters they were “nasty Americans” and said he wouldn’t permit them to step foot into his car.

I've traveled to Austria in 1996, and the one thing that amazed me about the place is how congenial the people were to Americans. In fact, out of the many foreign countries I've traveled to, I've never been treated better as an American than in Austria. At the time I traveled there people had told me this, but once I got there it was unreal how much Austrians loved Americans. Just sitting in a sidewalk cafe would draw attention to me when people found out I was from the USA. It's probably the closest I've ever come to being able to experience what minor celebrities (very minor) go through when they travel.

If things like the taxi cab incident are starting to happen, and since the story mentioned this, it might not be isolated event, that's a really bad thing. It means the Austrian people are starting to hate the American people for the actions of the American government. Somewhat understandable I guess, as we did elect the jackass twice, supposedly. The bottom line is that if we have lost the Austrian people, we've lost the world, and that can take a very long time to rehabilitate.

How Radioactive Is Bush?

Just in case you were wondering how radioactive Bush still is after the media has been talking about his non-existent bounce following the death of al-Zarqari in Iraq. Joe Lieberman has now taken the position that the infamous Bush kiss after the 2005 State Of The Union address never happened. From Time:

Connecticut party officials were particularly incensed when President Bush kissed Lieberman on the cheek following his 2005 State of the Union address. In meetings with state Dems, Lieberman tried to assuage their concerns, but also kept reminding party officials he had a 70% approval rating. Even so, the attacks on the kiss became so vocal that an exasperated Lieberman told one group of Democrats "I didn't kiss him back," a response that didn't exactly hearten them. (The incident has become so radioactive that Lieberman now denies Bush actually kissed him, telling TIME last week "I don't think he kissed me, he leaned over and gave me a hug and said ?thank you for being a patriotic American.")

Umm, there's video of that Joe. I don't think it's going to help Lieberman much to plainly lie to the people of Connecticut about the kiss. There are lots of things politicians can bamboozle voters with, but this isn't one of them. I'd try another angle.

Found via Atrios

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Joe Hallett finally gets around to asking the question I've been wanting answered for a long time. How in the hell does George Voinovich keep his name out of the Coingate scandal? Remaking the Bureau of Worker's Comp was Voinovich's baby while he was in the Governor's office and he built the machine that has become the republican culture of corruption in Ohio.

Yet, despite his role in creating this mess, no one ever brings up his name. Hallett finally does today, it's about time.


Warren Buffet has just announced that he will give 85% of his wealth to charity. That's an estimated thirty-four billion dollars with the majority going to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Ney's Record

In an op-ed piece in today's New Philadelphia Times Reporter, Bob Ney's campaign manager writes, "First and foremost, our campaign is 100 percent committed to running on Congressman Ney’s record." One simple question, his voting record or his soon to be criminal record?

He then of course hypocritically uses the rest of his column to attack Ney's opponent Zack Space. It's always nice when you make and break a campaign pledge on the same page. What a dope.

David Brooks

David Brooks uses his column in today's NY Times to turn his particular brand of buffoonery into an attack on Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the founder of the Daily Kos. Brooks is laughably under the impression that Left Blogistan is fully under the control of Moulitsas and that he determines what we write and when we write it.

He can't be serious, oh wait, I forgot he's a moron. He has to be. To believe you could get a few hundred liberals to agree even on the time of day is just nonsensical. We're a ridiculously diverse bunch and everybody has their own pet issues that they consider the most vital thing to society. Hell, I had to go through Moulitsas' archives just to figure out what Brooks was even talking about.

The only thing that remains to be seen is if Brooks will follow up with the predictably lazy "liberals attacked me for my last column article" ala Richard Cohen.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Day two!! Yesterday kinda sucked, there was rain and the bands that I did see mostly blew, notably The Curch Of The Red Museum which was an Other Paper critic's pick. No one in that band can sing, and they pretty much all sing.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Comfest starts today! For a printable version of this schedule click on the image.

They Do Have Candidates, Don't They?

Just in case you didn't know, there are elections for all of the major statewide offices plus a Senate race in Ohio this year. Gotta pimp those candidates, so it kind of baffles me that the Ohio GOP's homepage doesn't mention a single GOP candidate with the exception of Mike DeWine's ice cream social in the upcoming events section. No pictures, no stories, nothing.

Maybe they consider them an embarrassment.

Not Under Oath, Doesn't Matter

The McCain report issued yesterday offers proof that Bob Ney lied to a Senate investigating committee. In response, Ney spokesman Brian Walsh, told the Washington Post that Ney's testimony, "was a voluntary meeting -- it was not conducted under oath." That doesn't matter, it's still a crime to lie to such a committee.

It looks like it is getting pretty close to indictment time for Ney. David Safavian was the last duck that the feds had to sew up before they cook Ney's goose, and indeed, during Safavian's trial at times it was difficult to determine who was on trial, Safavian or Ney, and keep in mind the fact that the government didn't even unleash their top witnesses against Safavian. They're saving them for Ney.

The real question is who is Ney going to give up for a lesser prison sentence if it comes to that. After Ohio GOP chairman Bob Bennett publicly asked Ney to drop out of his re-election race, Ney shot back, "I would say if he asked me to step down that he'd better look in the mirror because glass houses break easily."

Ney has been a player in the Ohio GOP long enough that I would bet that he has some pretty good dirt to throw around if backed into a corner, which he looks to be. Will he use the shovel to save his ass? I hope so.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Dead Man Talking

Perhaps you have seen those old mob movies where the elderly don of the family gives the soon to be executed the kiss of death. Last night, Rick Santorum got his big old smooch on the cheek. While appearing on Fox News, Santorum claimed that we have now found the WMD in Iraq. It went down like this. From Think Progress:

COLMES: Congressman, Senator, it’s Alan Colmes. Senator, the Iraq Survey Group — let me go to the Duelfer Report — says that Iraq did not have the weapons our intelligence believed were there. And Jim Angle reported this for Fox News quotes a defense official who says these were pre-1991 weapons that could not have been fired as designed because they already been degraded. And the official went on to say these are not the WMD’s this country and the rest of the world believed Iraq had and not the WMD’s for which this country went to war. So the chest beating at this Republicans are doing tonight thinking this is a justification is not confirmed by the defense department.

SANTORUM: I’d like to know who that is. The fact of the matter is, I’ll wait and see what the actual Defense Department formally says or more important what the administration formally says.

A republican fact checked by Fox News? They let those guys go on air and say pretty much ANYTHING uncontested. If you're a republican and they slap you down, your career is about to smell very fishy.

Umm, That Failed

Now President Bush says Iraq is like the failed uprising in Hungary in 1956. From the NY Times:

Fifty years after Hungarian partisans waged a bloody but unsuccessful uprising against Communist rule, President Bush came to this eastern European capital today to lay a bouquet at the Eternal Flame monument, but also to draw a comparison to the current war in Iraq.

I hope the Iraqis are looking forward to another few decades of tyrannical rule.

Today In History: Iraq vs WW II

I think it's important to compare what a competent war time president accomplished against two world powers versus what our current president has accomplished against a tin pot dictator and a few "deadenders."

Today is the 1188th day of the Iraq War. On the 1188th day of WWII what happened? From

On the Western Front... Bonn and Godesberg are captured by units of US 1st Army while others continue to expand the bridgehead over the Rhine River, at Remagen, where Erpel is captured. Farther south, toward Koblenz, US 3rd Army units reach the Rhine at Andernach.

And in the Pacific:

Over Japan... During the night (March 9-10), 279 low flying US B-29 Superfortress bombers drop 1667 tons of napalm and oil bombs on Tokyo. The resulting firestorm devastates 26 square kilometers of built-up area, killing some 84,000; injuring 102,000 and leaving roughly one million homeless. There are similar raids on Nagoya, Osaka and Kobe. Japanese civil defenses are unable to cope.

And today in Iraq...The Army has raised the age limit from 40 to 42 for recruits to battle decreasing enlistment. This isn't your father's Army, not yet at least, but tell him to stay by the phone.

New Zogby Polling

The new Zogby polling is out, and in Ohio Brand D is looking pretty good. Sherrod Brown leads Mike DeWine 46.7 - 34 and Ted Strickland leads Ken Blackwell 49.1 - 44.3. While the Brown poll may be somewhat of an outlier, the gubernatorial polling definitely seems to confirm what I have expected about Blackwell.

None of the polling that I have seen has had Blackwell topping 45%. Even though it is still relatively early in the cycle, I think Blackwell either has found, or is very close to finding his ceiling. The guy has been elected statewide three times so you almost have to consider him an incumbent, so not being able to top 45% doesn't look good for his chances.

Tout Away Boys

Apparently republicans have now decided that the Iraq War is a winning issue for them this election cycle. Well, tout away boys. Go to the voters and tout your failed policy. Go tell the majority of the American people who disapprove of George Bush's handling of the war that, hey it's my policy too. Tout the fuck out of your colossal mistake.

The Democrat's response should be fairly simple. If we win the House and Senate, we will force George Bush to exert the resolve to win this war or we will end it. Bush has refused to show the will to win by being stubborn about making the necessary changes in strategy that are needed to end the insurgency, and since the republicans in Congress have refused to provide much need oversight, then they also have refused to exert the will to win the war. If elected, we will provide that oversight and force Bush to win or pullback to a position where we can still assist the Iraqis, but at much less the costs in money and men.

Voting Rights Act

In a rather perverse sort of way, republican lawmakers in the House are correct about the Voting Rights Act. It does unfavorably single out southern states for federal oversight. Why not add Ohio? I mean, doesn't Ken Blackwell do at least as much to disenfranchise minority voters as anything that goes on in the south these days? For that matter, why not extend it to all states?

Here's a picture of George Bush issuing a signing statement that allows him and only him to desecrate the American flag.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Tony Snow's Enormous Sore Head

Today, Josh Marshall takes Tony's Snow's words and smashes them over Snow's unusually large head. Snow had previously said, "[Bush] understands that. If somebody had taken a poll in the Battle of the Bulge, I dare say people would have said, 'Wow, my goodness, what are we doing here?' But you cannot conduct a war based on polls."

Actually, FDR did have extensive polling of the American people, and guess what? Not only did FDR not lose support during that battle, his support remained high throughout the war. Why? He was a competent leader on a defined mission. Bush, on the other hand, is simply a tone deaf fuckwit who nobody respects.

Today In History: Iraq vs WW II

I think it's important to compare what a competent war time president accomplished against two world powers versus what our current president has accomplished against a tin pot dictator and a few "deadenders."

Today is the 1187th day of the Iraq War. On the 1187th day of WWII what happened? From

On the Western Front... American efforts to reinforce the Remagen bridgehead continue. German bombers, including some jets, begin attacks on the bridge but fail to destroy it. To the north, units of the Canadian 2nd Corps (part of Canadian 1st Army) capture Xanten.

and in the Pacific:

In the Volcano Islands... On Iwo Jima, the forces of US 5th Amphibious Corps continue pushing northward with heavy fire support. Japanese forces are now all within one mile of the north end of the island.

And today in Iraq... At least 100 Shia employees of a factory in Taji were abducted by masked gunmen, apparently headed for the butcher block.

Left Out In The Cold

ISI Books has now published American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. I'm sure it's a real page turner chock full of pompous gasbaggery of all sorts. Well, not all sorts. A lot of the pompous gasbaggery you see on TV and hear on the radio were worthy of nary a mention.

Among those left out include Ann Coulter, Tom Delay, Grover Norquist, Bill O'Reilly and Karl Rove. I would haved loved to see their reactions upon finding out they didn't make the cut in a comprehensive look at the conservative movement.


Well, according to the Washington Times, which I will not link to, we've activated our missile defense system in reaction to North Korea's proposed testing of a Taepodong-2 missile. Now, we're unlikely to try to shoot down the DPRK's missile if they decide to launch it because, well, it's pretty unlikely that we would be able to shoot it down and we would look pretty foolish having invested as much money as we have in the program to miss a second rate Korean missile.

That being said, we do have a fool in the White House, so for my left coast readers, you might want to duck. This thing might hit you. Happy Summer Solstice!

$ta¥ing The ¢our$e

We've often heard president Bush say we need to stay the course. That's a policy that has cost us $290 billion so far, where has the money went? Our labor costs, ie. the men and women that actually have to fight the war, is running somewhere between 7 - 10% of the total cost. That leaves about $260 some odd billion for fuel, defense contractors, and various other support contractors.

Halliburton's profits alone are up 600% since the war started, now do you really think we're going anywhere anytime soon?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Exciting New Feature

Since the republicans have lately been comparing Iraq to World War II, I'm now going to start a day by day comparison to the two wars in a feature I call Today In History: Iraq vs WWII. I think it's important to compare what a competent war time president accomplished against two world powers versus what our current president has accomplished against a tin pot dictator and a few "deadenders."

I should have started this earlier as we have already missed a lot of the milestones from WWII. Today is the 1186th day of the Iraq war, so what happened on the 1186th day of WWII? Normandy, that's long past. The battle of the Bulge, that's been over for three months, no today, we cross the Rhine!! From

On the Western Front... The leading tanks of US 3rd Corps (part of US 1st Army) reach the Rhine River opposite Remagen and find the Ludendorff Bridge there damaged but still standing. Troops are immediately rushed across and a bridgehead is firmly established during the day. Other elements of the US 1st Army complete the capture of Cologne. Units US 12th Corps from US 3rd Army continue to advance rapidly.

And in the Pacific:

Forces of the US 1st Corps are engaged south of San Fernando. South of Manila, the US 14th Corps is fighting near Balayan Bay and Batangas against the defense lines of the south Luzon Shimbu Group of the Japanese forces.

The famous flag raising on Iwo Jima happened a couple of weeks ago.

Meanwhile in Iraq...Some things blew up. Kinda like yesterday.

Rod Parsley: My Son's Autism Sure Is A Moneymaker

If you're not familiar with Rod Parsley, he's the senior pastor at the World Harvest Church. He is also a leader in both the Ohio Reformation Project, and a vocal proponent of Gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell.

Parsley loves money, he was once quoted in a 1993 issue of Columbus Monthly as saying, "'I just love to talk about money,' he told them. 'I just love to talk about your money. Let me be very clear — I want your money. I deserve it. This church deserves it.''' He is also the father of a son, Austin, who was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism at age three. Sometimes Parsley uses the latter to gain the former.

The March, 1998 issue of Charisma magazine ran an article on Parsley entitled "The Electric Evangelist" which detailed Austin's autism, and later that year on June 4th in a televised sermon Parsley announced to his parishioners that indeed his son had been diagnosed with the disorder. Parsley assured the crowd that, "we’re not all the way out of the woods but we’re on our way.”

And oh what a way it was. By 2001, Parsley was telling potential donors during tent revivals that he had, in fact, healed Austin. From the March 31, issue of the Pocono [PA] Record:

Parsley preached for about an hour-and-a-half before offering a healing service to the crowd.

"Some of you will be looking in the rear-view mirror on the way home and will be startled by who is looking at you," said Parsley.

Parsley then told a story about his son, who he said couldn't read and had trouble using the toilet in the past.

Parsley said that he then began to give his belongings away, including his alligator shoes, suit coat and belt. While in this phase of giving, Parsley said his son began "reading on a university level, while in third grade" and "didn't have to wear an adult diaper anymore."
That is an amazing recovery, indeed. After Parsley used his son as an example, he was ready to start his spiel for their money. Again from the Record:

"God wants us to give," said Parsley. "Who needs an envelope?" he asked. "The only reason you don't need an envelope is if you have a check."

Then Parsley brought out a man whom he said had been previously healed.

"This man spent 15 years in a wheelchair," said Parsley. "After hearing this, this is no time to say, 'here's five [dollars],' unless that's all you have."

Parsley then polled the audience to see how much they would give.

"Stand up if you've given $100 or more," he said. "Fifty dollars or more, stand up. I gotta know what kind of company I'm meeting with tonight."
Ah, a classic tactic. Stand up if you gave over $100. Still sitting down, here's another shot. You don't want to still be sitting after the fifty dollar pledge, do you? Cash in hand, Parsley then left without performing any healings.

So, how is Austin doing these days? It's been six years since Parsley's selflessness healed his son. From the July 2004 issue of Charisma:

[Joni] Parsley admits that ASD has placed limitations on her family but says she has learned to live one day at a time rather than trying to envision the big picture.

"If you look at five years from now and wonder if you'll still be dealing with this, it's overwhelming," she explains. "So we just say: 'Today, this is what's before us. And sufficient for today are the cares of today.'"

Parsley keeps her prayers for Austin simple, too.

"My prayer is that he is happy and he's healthy and he knows that he's loved and that he's uniquely gifted of God," she says. "I don't want him 'healed' in a way that would take that away. I'm embracing it. I don't believe God gave him autism, but I know God gave us Austin."
I guess it's a good thing Parsley's healing didn't take, as that isn't what his wife wants for their son, but who knows, maybe Parsley will heal him again if the price is right.

Notes: Much of this research was found in G. Richard Fisher's piece, "The Raging Prophet" for Personal Freedom Outreach.

I'd also like to thank a reader in American Samoa for pointing me in the right direction to find the Pocono Record article which is only available through Google cache.

Safavian Guilty

David Safavian has been found guilty in the first Abramoff related trial. Look for a Bob Ney indictment soon.

I'll have more on this later, but I'm working something really good right now.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Immigration: The Social Conservatives Are Going To Lose

Obviously, the debate is on immigration is going to rage on though the end of this election cycle. What will happen then? If the republicans win, the social conservatives are once again going to be tossed aside for the benefit of big business. If the social conservatives think otherwise they should consider this from the Washington Post:

Between 1999 and 2003, work-site enforcement operations were scaled back 95 percent by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which subsequently was merged into the Homeland Security Department. The number of employers prosecuted for unlawfully employing immigrants dropped from 182 in 1999 to four in 2003, and fines collected declined from $3.6 million to $212,000, according to federal statistics.

In 1999, the United States initiated fines against 417 companies. In 2004, it issued fine notices to three.
The Bush administration has no intention of standing up to the big business wing of the party on this issue, period. That is a fact that is clearly borne out by these statistics, and it is unlikely to change if the GOP wins. The administration defends itself by saying the following. Also from the Post:

The administration says it is learning from past failures, and switching to a strategy of building more criminal cases, instead of relying on ineffective administrative fines or pinprick raids against individual businesses by outnumbered agents.
Okay, this is just utter bullshit. That would be like saying the war on drugs isn't working, (which it isn't) so we are going to halt narcotics prosecutions until we come up with something that works better, check back with us in about ten years.

Only in this case, the dealers have lobbyists that throw a lot of money toward the GOP, so despite any public outcry, they are going to get their way. All I can say is that if you're a social conservative, get used to it or get out of the republican party.

State Of Iraq

I read this brief story yesterday in the Washington Post, but I missed the link to the actual cable from the US embassy in Iraq. Go read it here. It doesn't quite paint the rosy picture we hear from the administration. I guess it hasn't been Meghanized yet, which is how Bush receives his information. From the New York Times:

Ms. [Meghan] O'Sullivan, who was crisp and wary in a recent interview in her office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, would say little more about her conversations with Mr. Bush. But people who have seen her brief the president say she has been succinct, unpretentious, full of facts and cheerful — exactly what Mr. Bush likes.
Scary, huh?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

An Inconvenient Movie Review Statement

There is one problem with the Dispatch's movie review of An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore's new movie. I haven't seen Gore's movie yet as it just opens today at the Drexel Gateway, but you don't need to see it to realize Frank Gabrenya errors in his review when he writes this:

The time spent personalizing Gore would have been better spent interviewing credible authorities — not paid advocates — who dispute Gore’s findings. They wouldn’t harm the pitch because editing can always give the star the final word, but they would have erased the accusation that the filmmakers were afraid to give the opposition its say.
Where exactly does Gabrenya propose finding these credible authorities that dispute global warming? They aren't exactly overrunning the planet, in fact, they are in a very small minority of climate experts and they're almost certainly partisan.

Mike Huckabee

I'd like to add a little more on the claim by Mike Huckabee that the free travel he accepted was an in-kind gift to his PAC. The bottom line is that if you think Congress' free travel is out of control, imagine what it would be if practices like this become widely accepted. It would be a veritable orgy of graft written off as gifts to paper tigers.

We might as well just throw out all ethics laws and go ahead and give all politicians their own private slush funds. You see, these aren't the practices of a public servant, no, these are the practices of a public sycophant. Quite simply put, Huckabee is using his position of power in order to acquire freebies for him and his family. If that isn't unethical, what the hell is?
Joe Lieberman's 1988 Bear ad updated

I normally don't chime in on Democratic primaries, especially in other states, but if this is the best campaign ad Joe Lieberman can come up with, he's in trouble. A twenty year old ad redux? That's not skewing old, that's skewing dead. This ad sucks.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Lamest Excuse Ever

I really can't even believe somebody would have the audacity to claim this, but Mike Huckabee, Arkansas Governor and 2008 Presidential wannabe, proved me wrong. From The Boston Globe:

Gov. Mike Huckabee said Thursday a flight he took on a private plane that was provided by a state contract-holder did not pose a conflict of interest.

The plane was provided by the director of a youth ranch that has been paid at least $8.5 million through a contract with the state.

Huckabee said the flight was not a gift to him, but instead was an in-kind contribution to his political action committee.

You have got to be kidding me. Huckabee, his wife, and daughter catch a free flight and it's a gift to his PAC? Even DC republican, as corrupt as they are, wouldn't even think of making this assertion, although after seeing this article I sure some light bulbs lit up.

Look Mike, the contractor flew you and your family, that's a gift to you, not some committee that only exists on paper. This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of, and even worse, it makes you look cheap.

Oops! She Has A MySpace Site

What's the world coming to when top republican strategist Jack Burkman can't offer two young lesbians a thousand dollars to fuck him? I doubt this young lady had any idea what would happen once she posted this on her site.

Rage Fatigue

This is definitely bad news for republicans, it seems that a large portion of the religious right is suffering from rage fatigue which showed up in the Southern Baptist Convention's recent presidential election of Rev Frank Page. From EJ Dionne's column in the Washington Post:

Bill Leonard, the dean of the Wake Forest University Divinity School, largely agrees with Parham's analysis but argues that many Baptists are sensitive to "static or declining" membership numbers and the rising popularity of nondenominational churches such as Warren's.

The election, he said, indicates that "the leadership of the denomination that pushed it hard to the right on theological and social issues is aging or passing from the scene and is unable to rally the troops as they once did."

"Some people," Leonard added, "are tired of just fighting liberals. You need a reason to be a Southern Baptist other than just fighting liberals in the culture or in the church."
Now, I don't believe these people are going to start voting for Democrats, but it is probable that this will lead to lower turnouts by evangelicals in coming elections if true. Actually, this was somewhat inevitable, it's kind of hard to stay perpetually angry over issues that pretty much never affect you in your day to day life. I mean, it's not like your going to wake up one day and find yourself in a same-sex marriage, and you can decide if you want an abortion or not.

There is also a lesson in this for those of us on the left. The wheels of social progress grind awfully slow. You can't be upset over every setback. It's a long road to equality for all and while you might not get to see the return on your work, your children and their children probably will. It sucks, but it's true. Somebody has to lay the groundwork.

Beat To The Punch

Surely the neocons in the Bush administration must be disappointed about the aftermath of the killing of Abu al-Zaqawi. Everybody was probably pretty hyped up to find his computer with all of that intel, but I don't think the intel is quite what they expected. From Yahoo:

The way to do this, the document said, "is to try and inflame the situation between America and Iran" or between the U.S. and followers of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric.

It suggests carrying out a range of terrorist acts for which it will falsely implicate Iran, including bombings in the West and kidnappings. It also recommends declaring the existence of a relationship between Iran and terrorist groups, and disseminating bogus confessions showing that Iran has weapons of mass destruction.
Blaming Iran for things in which they weren't complicit? Fuck, that was the neocons plan.

Minced Fence

I can't even begin to describe the joy I'm feeling over the fact that somebody cut down 800 feet of the fence that the minuteman project put up at our southern border. It really doesn't have anything to do with my own views on immigration, but more of just a feeling of schadenfreude from the fact that these self righteous fuckwits had their fence cut down and now some of these idiots are going to have some more sleepless night trying to make sure it doesn't happen again. I say bravo, keep cutting.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Christian Right To Overthrow Government?

These people truly are nuts. Unable to get their bigoted marriage amendment, Christian right leaders are now considering installing the amendment themselves. I'm not kidding. Are you ready for this? They are considering using a rare Article V provision to attempt to call for an unprecedented Constitutional Convention. From the Evans-Novak Report via Think Progress:

Meeting after the big failure at the offices of the social-conservative Family Research Council, the top leaders of the marriage movement — Catholic, Protestant and Mormon leaders among others — discussed the possibility of an unprecedented Constitutional Convention. Two-thirds (34) of the state legislatures would have to call for such a convention — which could be done only with great difficulty. Even then, no one knows what such a convention would look like or what sort of amendments could result from it.
I hope they actually try this. Normal people simply aren't going to stand for it. It will simply put the religious right into the same room with the ones who claim our money has been illegal ever since we left the gold standard and the ones who claim the IRS is unconstitutional. I guess it was only a matter of time, after all, we gave 'em enough rope.

LaTourette Syndrome

Definition - A rare, yet persistent disorder characterized by the continuous co-sponsoring of legislation that only a complete jackass could deem sane.

You may recall the ChoicePoint debacle last year in which they lost information of 163,000 customers to identity thieves. Well, Ohio's own Steve LaTourette has come up with a solution to these problems. Companies that lose your personal information to ID thieves will no longer be compelled to tell you about it. Hey if you don't know about it, it can't cause you harm, right?

The only reason ChoicePoint had to disclose the loss was because they do business in California, which has very strict disclosure laws that virtually every credit company has to follow if they want to do business in that lucrative market. Not to worry, Latourette's bill (HR 3997) will strip the rights of states to enforce stricter legislation.

Latourette says that we need this legislation because, "Even the simplest process of buying groceries with your credit or debit card will break down if we allow a patchwork of competing and conflicting state laws," quite the states-righter, that republican. Apparently, LaTourette doesn't do the grocery shopping in his household. We currently have such a patchwork of state laws, but maybe he thinks his wife just steals their groceries as the market has turned into a free for all with nobody able to find a way to remit payment. I'd find another place to shop.

Anyway, you might just think the hell with it, I'm going to just go ahead and put a security freeze to stop anyone from opening any new lines of credit in my name. Whoa, slow down there. Latourette's bill will prevent you from doing that unless your identity has already been stolen. That's right, not until after your credit information has been compromised are you allowed to do anything to prevent it. Even then you will need to file a police report before you can do anything.

Since the ID theft is unlikely to occur within the state you live in, I guess this would be a matter for the FBI. Maybe LaTourette is thinking that if the feds are burdened down filling out these reports it's less time they have to investigate House republicans.

Sounds pretty dumb, right? Well, it gets worse. If your identity gets stolen, and you file a police report, and you manage to keep the theft from continuing, you have little recourse against the company that lost your information. The bill offers a safe harbor clause to credit reporters that shields them from punitive damages, allowing you to only recover "direct pecuniary loss or loss pursuant to agreement by the consumer reporter," or in other words, the amount of your loss. No money for your time or hassle involved in correcting the problem will be paid, credit reporting agencies just get off the hook.

I really hope Lewis Katz shows this jackass the door.

Found via RNinNC's diary on Kos

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Slipping The Noose

It looks like Karl Rove has slipped the noose, at least according to his attorney. Of course, with as much misinformation that has come out in this case he might be charged tomorrow, but I doubt it. I still think Rove managed to get his free pass by cooperating with Fitzgerald to cut Cheney's throat. It remains to be seen.

Whatever the case, it happens. Sometimes you get away with it. It doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. Even if Rove was the genius people claim he is, and I don't think he is, I don't see how anyone could rescue this failed presidency. They've simply dug themselves too deep a hole with Iraq, and today's photo-op isn't likely to help in any way either.

There was some potentially better news about Iraq today that I'll try to get to later.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Falling In

Earlier this year I jokingly referred to Medicare Part D as the springtime drug benefit. Well, Spring is well past sprung and Jose M Flores has fallen into the donut hole in Medicare Part D's coverage. From The NY Times:

Jose M. Flores, a Medicare beneficiary who lives outside McAllen, used the new drug benefit four times from January to April to purchase Byetta, an injectable medicine for diabetes. Each time he paid $40.

So when he went to the pharmacy on May 25, he was dismayed to be told that he owed $167.56 for the next month's supply. Mr. Flores had reached the notorious gap in Medicare's drug coverage. He had to pay the full price of Byetta. His Medicare drug plan paid nothing.

"It's almost useless," said Mr. Flores, a 66-year-old school bus mechanic who was interviewed at his home in La Joya, Tex. "I'm paying the premium, but not getting protection."

Naturally, Flores isn't happy about the situation and neither are many of the other senior citizens of this nation who are sitting in the same boat as Flores. I think this screw up by the republicans might be the one that comes back to haunt them the worst, although Democrats need to get out in front of the issue to make it work for them.

Every Democrat running this fall should be out there telling the elderly that if we take the House and Senate we are going to fix this ridiculous policy. This is one constituency that is definitely going to show up to vote in November.

The Gitmo Suicides

I think a lot of people are reading way too much into the suicides that happened over the weekend at Gitmo, especially the commander of the Guantanamo facility, Rear Admiral Harry Harris. From The Age:

"They are smart," [Harris] said. "They are creative, they are committed. They have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us."
Asymetrical warfare? Give me a break. I think Harris has been reading a little too much propaganda. Everything these guys do isn't meant to have some sort of hidden meaning. The more likely explanation for the three simultaneous suicides is that they did it to guarantee a greater likelihood of success.

The US military has actually done a pretty good job at thwarting suicides at the facility lately and by the three making their attempts at the same time, if one would have happened to get caught, it would have diverted attention away from the others. As it happened, all three were successful in their endeavor. There is probably little more to the story as far as the detainees go.

I'm sure some propagandists in the Arab world will try to use this for their advantage, but I seriously doubt this entered into the detainees minds. They were just trying to kill themselves and took a route that offered a higher success rate.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Monkey Chow Diaries: Day 5

One of the funniest videos I've ever seen

Sunday Snark

As I sit here watching the World Cup game between Mexico and Iran, I can't help but see an opportunity here for the republican party. Yes, of course, I'm talking about the FFA, or the Federal Football Amendment. This is an issue that clearly threatens our way of life. Even the fact that futbol is being broadcast into our family's home should bring us many reasons to worry.

Futbol is clearly played by nancy-boys who would probably marry each other if given half a chance where as our source of national pride, football is played with such savagery that other countries don't even consider playing it. Well, I guess they do play in Canada, but they use a weird shaped field and don't even get me started about that crappy European league.

No, it's right here in the good old USA that we play football, and this new "sport" where if you even touch somebody it's a foul is threatening our grand old game. Seriously, when did this even become a recognized sport, like last week?

If we allow futbol to gain hold in this country what will happen to football? It's likely to be seriously "gayed up." That's why we need a Constitution amendment to make football our national game that starts with an F and ends with a L.

I'm going to take a little time here to propose the necessary parts to the needed amendment. First of all, no government organization should be allowed to print any literature that spells football with a U. It's hard to calculate the untold billions this will save our country, but that's not the point. We have to protect FOOTBALL, and this the perfect place to start.

Secondly, while it's clear that it would impossible to ban futbol, we should demand, no, force people who want to play to use a properly shaped oblong ball. I mean seriously, you can't tuck that big round thing under your arm to run down the field. You'll fumble every time, and how do you throw it?

Thirdly, apparently they only play this futbol on natural grass. It must be some global warming thing. We need to mandate that at least 30% of these games be played on Astroturf. Well, maybe not that particular brand, but some sort of synthetic turf. It could all be settled later with earmarks. And what's with no domed stadiums? They have to play in some sort of dome with only superlative names. Not too superlative mind you, it is a "gay" game. Maybe the Swell Dome or something like that.

Also, as for our game of football, no more kicking, well, maybe good old fashioned straight on block toe kicking. No, no kicking at all. Nobody likes field goals, and have you seen the names on these guys. I bet a lot of them grew up playing futbol and this is how they are attempting to "cross the Rio" into our great game. Need to nip that in the bud, so no kicking.

I see this amendment as a win-win for republicans. Everybody (who can vote if you catch my drift) loves football and even if there are some "legals" here who play futbol, they'd never vote for your xenophobic party anyway, except in South Florida, but the Dolphins pretty much suck anyway so who cares. This amendment won't just energize football, or your party, but America herself.

The Niger Documents

Vanity Fair's long piece about the Niger forgeries doesn't touch a lot of new ground, but the new ground it does cover really has me scratching my head. Sure, these forgeries helped the Bush administration get the war they wanted, but they really screwed up by using them. They didn't have to, and they have payed quite the price in terms of approval ratings and political capital for using these lies to get their war.

You see, according to former CIA analysts interviewed by Vanity Fair, Iraq already had 550 tons of yellowcake uranium oxide in its possession. That is enough to produce 55 nuclear weapons and it was already in Saddam Hussein's hands, although I'm assuming it was under IAEA seal.

Still, if you combine that with the aluminum tube lie, you could make an even scarier claim that Iraq was trying to get the tubes to process the yellowcake that they possessed, and after the war you could produce actual evidence that you were right. I doubt the tube lie would have ever been looked into.

Of course, going that route presented the administration with a risk. If the administration would have chosen that path, what would they do if Iraq simply announced that they were going to turn over the yellowcake to the IEAE for removal? The administration wouldn't have got their war. Of course, given where we are today, it's obvious the administration took the wrong risk.

Now We Know Why Brownie Was Doing A Heck Of A Job

FEMA dope Mike Brown has released an e-mail sent to him by an unknown White House staffer. From Raw Story:

I did hear of one reference to you, at the Cabinet meeting yesterday. I wasn't there but I heard someone commented that the press was sure beating up on Mike Brown, to which the President replied, "I'd rather they beat up on him than me or Chertoff." Congratulations on doing a great job of diverting hostile fire away from the leader.

That's your leader of the party of "personal responsibility."

Thursday, June 08, 2006


The cardinal rule of blogging is that if someone wants to remain anonymous, that person should have the right to do so. Over at the National Review, their media blog has decided to out Dailykos blogger Armando based on a tip from someone who they only identify by that person's pseudonym. That's about the cuntiest thing you can do.

Even more ironic, the banner ad at these sorry bitches web site is for identity theft protection. I'm not sure that's the kind of ad placement is looking for.

Comfest Friday Band Line Up

Click the picture to enlarge.

Comfest Saturday Band Line Up

Click the picture to enlarge.

Comfest Sunday Band Line Up

Click the picture to enlarge.

Al-Zarqawi Dead

News organizations are reporting that US Special Forces called in helicopter gunships which have killed Abu al-Zarqawi near Baquba two days after nine severed heads were found there. I have to think the two are related. He must of cut off the wrong head.

Presser happening right now in Baghdad. General Casey just confirmed it.

Also, Blogger is working again. Coincidence, I think not.

Update: Initial reports, as almost always, were wrong. Apparently they dropped a 500 pound bomb on his ass, although his head seemed intact.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Garrrison Keillor On The Republican Party

While I can't stand to listen to his voice, I do enjoy the content that Garrison Keillor produces. In Salon, Keillor compares the republican party to your elderly father. From Salon:

It is painful to look at your father and realize the old man should not be allowed to manage his own money anymore. This is the discovery the country has made about the party in power. They are inept. The checkbook needs to be taken away. They will rant, they will screech, they will wave their canes at you and call you all sorts of names, but you have to do what you have to do.
That's the truth, in fact the republican party has been awful busy selling our inheritance to every snake oil salesman that comes down the pike. In less than scrupulous marketing, there a lot of shady lists you can buy, lists that contain the names of people known to have Alzheimer's and other diseases that take away your mental faculties. These are used to con the elderly out of their money.

These days those lists probably contains every republican member of Congress, and every one of them has their hearing aids turned up to full volume to make sure not one earmark goes unfulfilled. Let's see, bridge to nowhere, check. Panama Canal era document discombobulatron integrator (scanner), check. Rotating Turbine Falling Machine (V-22 Osprey) check.

Hell, just look at how often you see a televangelist standing near a republican member of Congress. We know these people know an easy mark when they see one. That's not piety, that's paydayity. I just hope the Nigerians don't get their e-mail addresses.

Found via Attaturk

California 50 Post Mortem

Brian Bilbray defeated Francis Busby last night 49% to 45% in a special election for the CA-50 US House seat. They'll do it again in November, though it would be highly unlikely that Busby could win a general election in this heavily republican district.

Both the Democrats and the republicans can see some hope in these results in what wasn't exactly a bellweather election as the Washington Post called it. This was an extremely convoluted race with numerous facets that makes it pretty hard to use to do much tea leave reading, but let's take a look.

This was a special election that was held on the same day as California's primary election. The conventional wisdom said this would be an advantage for Busby due to the "hotly" contested Democratic primary for Governor. This was probably untrue. I don't think a lot of Democrats in California are too damn excited about either candidate and Busby herself probably drew out most of the Democratic voter that participated. She would have probably won or at least made it even closer in an "off day" election. A primary is still a traditional election day and that is going to favor the party with the voter registration lead every time, and the republicans have a fourteen point registration advantage in this district.

Also, since this election was a primary, both candidates were also running to be on November's ballot. In the republican primary, Bilbray only amassed 32117 votes compared to the over 60,000 he received in the special election with very little voter drop off. Bilbray's primary opponent's constituencies obviously put him over the top.

That being said, a four point loss in a heavily republican leaning district by a candidate that made a major gaffe in the last week of the campaign does seem to bode well for the Democrats. This race was too close and the republicans spent too much money on it to claim the narrative of beating back a Democratic wave, especially since many independent voters, who's anger with Bush have been rising in leap and bounds, probably skipped the race since it was indeed held on a primary day. I'm sure some independents following the race closely enough to want to turnout for Busby were turned off by the incessant playing on the radio of Busby saying, "You don't need papers to vote." to a Spanish speaking attendee at a rally.

So what does this race tell us? Not much really. The real contest will be which side can spin the results to help shape the narrative for the coming months, although I think that die is already cast. Both sides will have to shout awfully loud to drown out the constant din of Iraq.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Blackwell Is At It Again

Ken Blackwell is back using weird interpretations of election laws to attempt to disenfranchise voters in the fall election. Under Blackwell's rules anyone collecting signatures could be guilty of a felony if they let a supervisor review the signatures before turning them in "directly" to either the Secretary of State's office or the local country board of election.

That's strange. Blackwell has now become a letter of the law guy. If you remember during his so called debate with Jim Petro at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, when Petro reminded Blackwell that his last failure the TEL literally said that school boards, etc. would not be able to pass levies, Blackwell replied something to the effect that it is not the intent of the law to do so.

Hmm, that sounds like Blackwell is more of an intent of the law man. Well, this is not the intent of the law. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

State Rep. Kevin DeWine, the legislator who sponsored the election-reform law, said he believes Blackwell's office faithfully drafted the rules to comply with the bill.

However, he said the law "might need a fix" because lawmakers didn't intend to subject registrars to criminal penalties if they turn their forms over to a supervisor for review instead of directly submitting them to the secretary of state.
If the drafter of the legislation says this isn't the intent of the law, perhaps Blackwell should follow the sponsors intention. Maybe Blackwell, like his very good buddy George Bush, is a decider. He decides when to follow the intent of the law, and when he's above it.

Do you want a governor that that will lead this state the way George Bush leads this country? I don't.

Side note: I got a kick out of Blackwell spokesman and former Boyz n Tha Hood extra Carlo Loparo quote in the article:

"before this campaign, [Strickland] his idea of diversity was opting for Neapolitan ice cream at the congressional buffet."
Yo Carlo, if you find yourself down in the Short Norf, holla, aight.

A Theme Song For The GOP This Fall

The Stale Buzzword Blues

Good governance, Hell no!
What we do, it's all for show.
But, somehow the voters like me no mo'.
November 7th, will they show?

I've got myself The Stale Buzzword Blues.

Remember when Fristy said up or down vote?
Yea, that sure did hit the right note.
Now it sounds like save the whale.
Man o man, that shit's got stale.

And don't you remember 9/11?
3000 good Christians went to Heaven.
And don't you know we gotta stay the course.
Why are you yawning while I flog that dead horse?

Stale buzzwords.
I got the stale buzzwords blues.
Why did these phrases just stop working.
Man, I got no clues.

Don't forget those activist judges.
What happened to your long standing grudges?
Don't you know they'll write new law.
Man, anymore this isn't a draw?

And if you don't watch out those gays will marry.
Bride and groom, both named Harry.
I know you want to hear about family values.
But now hatin' on the gays just gets me boos.

Stale buzzwords.
I got the stale buzzwords blues.
Why did these phrases just stop working?
Man, I got no clues.

Well, I know you care about immigration.
Millions of Mexicans storming the nation.
I'm gonna build us a big ole fence.
Stop, come back, I'm making sense.

And I'm gonna save all of the unborn.
Stop looking at me with all that scorn.
You know it's all about the culture of life.
Hey, look over here, it's Georgie's wife.

Stale buzzwords.
I got the stale buzzwords blues.
Why did these phrases just stop working?
Man, I got no clues.

Get the Ad-man, quick,quick,quick!
Death tax, death tax, make it stick!

Damn, the voters have just moved on.
Looks like my DC days are surely gone!

Monday, June 05, 2006


Does this thing ever work reliably anymore?


I'd like to take this time to congratulate my foes from across the aisle. Today is the culmination of all the hard work the Christian right has put in the last few years on the gay marriage issue, yes, today is the today the President of the United States will stand up and pay you lip service. Savor it, I would.

President Bush will come out today (not a pun) in favor of a federal ban on gay marriage in a speech that is no more than a back-handed slap to your face. So, have your wife dig out her old wedding dress and prepare yourself for that march on to the Senate where a sham vote will occur on Wednesday. You've earned it.

While you are basking in this glorious victory, I would like you to take some time out from your celebration to ask yourself, "Why exactly am I against gay marriage again?"

It's one of the few conservative arguments that I just don't even begin to understand. Virtually all of the arguments against gay marriage are spurious at best, yet there you are cheering the fact that you support this bigoted legislation. You have to be thinking to yourself that you're not bigoted, so why do you support it? Is it because somebody told you to?

I am for allowing homosexuals to marry each other. The reason? I believe that all Americans should be entitled to equal rights in this country, and this ban certainly disenfranchises a portion of our population from a set of distinct legal rights that you and I are free to enjoy. That's not right.

What I believe about marriage in general is that it is a religious rite. However, you can get married in the most opulent church in the country by the most pious of men and your marriage isn't worth squat in the eyes of our government unless you procure that little piece of paper from whatever local agency handles marriage licenses in your area, and that is the crux of the issue.

Gay marriage has absolutely nothing to do with whether your church will recognize them, or even perform the services, it's all about being able obtain that little piece of paper. It guarantees gays the same legal benefits that you and I get, and it doesn't have anything to do with religion. It's simply a legal writ that binds two people into one financial entity. One that in this country as often as not requires a judge to undo.

This is the part of the issue in this country we need to move past. A marriage is really just one form of what some states have passed called civil unions, and I certainly don't see any reason any two people shouldn't be allowed to enter into a civil union for financial reasons. In fact, you can. Most of the financial benefits enjoyed by married people can be attained though a lengthy series of legal documents, the IRS being one notable exception. Certainly a conservative can see the argument of simplifying the process by eliminating a lot of government bureaucracy, right?

So now I must ask you, "Why exactly are you against gay marriage again?"

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Busby's Misspeak

There's quite a lot being said about Francis Busby misspeaking at a recent rally. When asked a question about how someone was ineligible to vote could help the campaign Busby replied, "“Everybody can help, yeah, absolutely, you can all help. You don't need papers for voting, you don't need to be a registered voter to help.”

Someone in the minuteman project taped it, and republicans cut it down to "You don't need papers for voting" and played it on the radio thus the fuss.

First of all, it was a dumb thing to say, and that's why Busby has since issued a clarification about what she meant.

That being said, I have an issue with Brian Bilbray's response. From the San Diego Union Tribune:

Bilbray said at worst, Busby was encouraging someone to vote illegally. At best, she was encouraging someone who is illegally in the country to work on her campaign.

“She's soliciting illegal aliens to campaign for her and it's on tape – this isn't exactly what you call the pinnacle of ethical campaign strategy,” Bilbray said. “I don't know how she shows her face.”

Ok, does Bilbray think that everyone not eligible to vote is in this country is an illegal alien? There is no clear indication of that in the audio. It's possible, even probable, but Bilbray makes the immediate jump that if a Mexican is in the crowd that cannot vote, he must be in this country illegally. I have a lot of friends that are here on visas that can't vote, but are politically active.

As for the claim she is soliciting illegal aliens to work on her campaign, again we don't know if the volunteer was legal or not, but I'm guessing in Bilbray's eyes he was simply the wrong shade of brown. The wrong shade of brown you ask? You see, in the 2004 cycle, the RNC outsourced their fundraising phone banks to India. I wonder if Bilbray will pay all of the money the RNC has contributed to him back since he's so damn concerned about non-residents helping out with campaigns.

Doubt it. Typical republican hypocrite.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Mr Paulson, Welcome Aboard The Hindenburg

I'm not really sure why we have a jobs forecast. The consensus number CNN cited this morning figured we would add around 178,000 jobs in May. The actual number added was only 75,000. These forecasts are almost always wildly off the mark. What exactly do these guys do? It seems like one sticks a finger in the wind and says, "It feels like about 178,000 jobs this month," while another says, "I concur, lets get Chinese for lunch."

I'm sure their model for forecasting jobs created is much more complicated than that, but of course their model is stuck in a pre-9/11 Bush Presidency mode where the economy created 250,000 jobs a month almost without fail. Those damn Clinton years of peace and prosperity.

Right Wing Fantasy World

If you read enough right wing writers you'll find out that this fantasy inevitably comes up. From Instapundit, Peter Ingemi writes:

The real danger is that we who support the war will reach the point that we say "we might as well be taken as wolves then as sheep". At that point the left can celebrate that they have made our military and those who support it the people they claim we are. Once that happens however any compunction about respecting them will be gone, and remember one side is armed and one is not.
Why does the right always assume they have a monopoly on gun ownership? It has to come from some deep rooted fantasy about killing hippies unabated, and yet, if you took most of these idiots and dropped them off in a lot of the actual Democratic enclaves in this country they would simply piss their pants. Every place in the country isn't Berkeley.

I live in a city that has about 100 homicides a year. Do they actually think I would be scared of them? Please. If the "law and order crowd" ever broke down into violence most of them would never leave their homes.

I should note that I'm not trying to escalate the rhetoric Ingemi is using to save me from myself, I'm just pointing out how damn silly it is, and no, I don't believe Ingemi believes it either, but I sure it tingles the testicles of some of his readers.

Frist Gummed

That toothy FEC has determined that Bill Frist improperly disclosed a loan he took out in his 2000 campaign for Senate and promptly fined Frist a whopping $11,000. With those oh so still penalties, it's hard to believe anyone complies at all, isn't it?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Damned Beard And Other Idiots

As I watched Wolf Blitzer interview Condi Rice yesterday, I grew angrier and angrier. Of all the terrible policies this administration has foisted upon the American people, negotiating with Iran is not one of them, yet this is the time The Beard decides to get tough with the Secretary of State.

Over at MSNBC, retired CIA analyst Bob Baer was even more hawkish claiming that Iran would definitely use nuclear weapons on Israel if they acquired them. However, even Chris Mathews was skeptical of Baer's claims that Iran might use a dirty bomb on Israel even if they couldn't produce a full blown bomb. To this claim Mathews retorted, "what would that kill, like twenty people."

Whether the media likes it or not, the administration is right to reverse course on Iran and enter directly into negotiations, although I'm pretty sure this crew will screw it up. Iran is years away from producing nuclear weapons and even if they acquired them, they would never use them in a first strike capability.

What a lot of people, especially on the right, seem to be unable to understand is that domestic politics work pretty much the same in every country in the world, and if they would watch the Bush machine politic objectively they would see Ahmadinejad is using the same playbook with little editing. It's all just dog whistle politics with some scare tactics thrown in.

Iran's problem is that for whatever dumb reason, Iran, the second largest producer of oil in the world, never bothered to build any refining capacity. The result of which is that they must import 95% of their gasoline. Isolating themselves from the rest of the world would simply result in their society breaking down with people taking to the streets.

What this means to us is that we don't need to use military force to break their resolve. Hell, we can even let them sell their oil if we simply cut of other countries from delivering gasoline to them. Like us, they can't survive without it.

So, mainstream media, shut up and at least let the administration try to get at least one thing right.

Coming Together

The row between Ted Strickland and several prominent African-American Democratic leaders seems to be settled. Michael Coleman, Rhine McLin, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, and others will all endorse Strickland on a whirlwind tour today.

The riff had centered around the election of Chris Redfern as state party chair. I as well opposed Redfern's election, but you have to move on. It's good to see these leaders put this behind them as well, besides, we can defeat Redfern at a more convenient time.

Update: I should probably note that I actually don't have anything against Redfern personally, but if he is going to insist on doing this job part time I say find someone else.

Blogger Working!

Blogger seems to be working today! I guess I can't complain too much, it's not like I pay anything for the service, and besides, if I had anything that damned important to say I'd get off my ass and go set up my own server.