Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Leaving A Man Behind

In response to a request, really a demand, from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki the US military has discontinued the checkpoints they had set up in and around Sadr City in order to find a missing and presumed kidnapped soldier.

This will effectively end the search for that soldier, yet also brings up a bigger question. Who exactly is in control of our troops over there? If the Iraqi Prime Minister can dictate what exactly our troops do, then we don't really have full control of our own operations, do we?

This has always been a right-wing fear from back in the black helicopter militia days. Back then, they were afraid that US soldiers, under the leadership of the UN would come into America and, well I'm not exactly sure what they thought they would do, take their guns maybe? I don't know. Anyway, one of their tenets is that US troops should never, ever, ever be placed under the control of a foreign entity. That now seems to be, at least in some sense not to be the case in Iraq.

And so a US soldier gets left behind. Don't worry, just listen to Donald Rumsfeld and "relax."

Because All Your Vaginae Are Belong To Us

The latest Bush administration front in the culture war is a change in abstinence only programs to allow states to target people as old as twenty-nine years old. From USA Today:

"They've stepped over the line of common sense," said James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that supports sex education. "To be preaching abstinence when 90% of people are having sex is in essence to lose touch with reality. It's an ideological campaign. It has nothing to do with public health."

I fully expect that the Young Republicans will all sign pledges of abstinence and purge all members found to be violating that pledge.

Monday, October 30, 2006

We're Number 9

Columbus has remained in the top ten most dangerous large cities, coming in at number nine. The methodology takes six major crimes into consideration for the rankings, which are murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft.

Knock that shit off people.

Severe Delusions Of Grandeur

Duncan Hunter, California Congressman and noted food critic, is forming an exploratory committee to see about a 2008 run for the White House. Well, I guess there isn't anybody running yet to take advantage of the Not-Quite-Indicted wing of the republican party.

The funniest line in the article is, "Hunter's announcement comes as a surprise to leadership in the Republican Party in Washington." No kidding.

What the hell is this guy thinking?

Nicaragua

Robert Novak, yes that Robert Novak actually has a somewhat correct op-ed in today's Washington Post. It's about the state of Nicaraguan politics. Daniel Ortega, yes that Daniel Ortega, is about to be re-elected as the nation's President, largely due to the failures of the Bush administration's foreign policy misadventures.

While Novak does correctly pinpoint the exact reason Ortega will win, which is because the Bush administration inflexibly backed an unwinnable candidate instead of a much more moderate one that could of defeated Ortega, he fails to see the overlying theme of Bush's foreign policy that lead to such failures.

Instead, Novak uses the column to lament the butcher's blood lost in the 1980s when the Sandinistas were defeated in a bloody revolution to bring freedom to Nicaragua. He fails to note that the overall reckless policies of the Bush administration make people in other countries where there is freedom want to elect governments that are, in fact, opposition governments to the US.

This is what gives us the Chavezes, the Ortegas, the Ahmadinejads of the world. Bush has made us so hated in those countries that a Pro-American government simply is not possible. And that, my friends is really the core of Bushism, an inflexible willingness to lose time and time again over the issues to prove they are right, even when they are wrong. Staying the course is all they have.

I Believe The Word Is Cleansed

A few weeks ago, a woman claimed the US Rep Jim Gibbons had made unwanted sexual advances then physically assaulted her in a Las Vegas parking garage. Gibbons, who is currently running for Governor of Nevada, had been claiming that he was simply trying to help the woman to her car and that as she slipped and fell, he caught her by the arm.

That is what he had been claiming, but not now. You see, he wasn't even there. Security tapes have surfaced that show neither Gibbons nor the woman were in the parking garage during the time of the alleged attack so now the Nevada GOP is claiming that the incident that Gibbons had previously admitted to being in the proximity of, never happened at all. By the way, it took two weeks for the tapes to come up. Vegas has some great cleaners, huh?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

How To Lose An Election

I guess you can call the cops to deal with old people who don't have "real problems."

Friday, October 27, 2006

I'm Just Saying, They Might Be Crooks

Jane Harman is on this list, but the Washington Post noted the other day that she has been cleared of all charges.

Predictions

Well, I just ran through all the competitive US House and Senate races and I see us picking up 31 seats in the House and 6 in the Senate. To see my picks for these races, go here, and make your own picks as well. TPM Cafe has set up a site at Election Central and it's quite nice.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Hey Chris, Surprise!!

It looks like Chris Shays just got an October Surprise from the The New Republic. Oh, it's a good one. From Atrios (I don't subscribe to TNR):

But, while Shays may want his constituents to know about his first--and most daring--trip to Iraq, he apparently doesn't want them to know how he got there. Shays's moment of triumph in Iraq came about because he happened to already be in the Middle East--attending the third Qatar-American Conference on Free Markets and Democracy in the tiny oil-rich nation of Qatar. Shays's visit was paid for by The Islamic Free Market Institute, a nonprofit group founded by GOP ally Grover Norquist and run by a protégé of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff to help bring Muslims into the Republican fold. Days before he snuck across the border to cheer on Operation Iraqi Freedom, Shays was at the Doha Ritz Carlton, comparing Connecticut, a centuries-old, economically diverse democracy, to Qatar, a monarchy ruled by a single family since its independence in 1971. "This nation, like my small state, has always played a large role in advancing participatory democracy, civil discourse, and stable commerce," Shays told a well-heeled audience of Qatari politicians and businessmen over lunch.

Shays has been a strong advocate for public-disclosure rules over the years. "As public servants, we have a responsibility to uphold the ethics process, not weaken it," he told The Houston Chronicle in 2005, objecting to an effort to defang House ethics rules in the wake of revelations about Tom DeLay's overseas travels and ties to Abramoff. Those travel rules require members of Congress to file forms revealing all travel expenses paid by outside sources. But, despite his record of pushing for meticulous record-keeping, Shays's privately sponsored trip to Qatar was notably absent from his own annual federal financial disclosure form, filed in May 2004, in violation of House rules. Nor did he submit an amendment disclosing the sponsor of his Qatar trip until confronted in mid-October 2006 by The New Republic with internal Islamic Institute receipts for his plane tickets, which were provided by an Arab American source upset with Shays's foreign policy positions. Given his reputation and perennially contested district, it was a particularly foolhardy move.

The author of this piece, Garance Franke-Ruta, is quite the fan of the long paragraph, isn't he? Oh Well, surprise!

Mean Jean Fights Back

Jean Schmidt is fighting back against the good doctor's latest ad, which I put up yesterday. Wait till you hear this. From The Cincinnati Enquirer:

Her continued violation will land her in serious trouble with the House Ethics Committee," Schmidt's spokesman Matt Perin said in a release, referring to the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, which the release mistakenly referred to elsewhere as the "House Committee on Official Standards and Conduct."
Besides those errors, there's just one more tiny problem: Wulsin, who is challenging Schmidt in the 2nd District, is not a member of the House. Not yet anyway.

Let's face it, as dumb as Schmidt is, this wouldn't even be a race if she never gave that speech. The voters of this very republican district would just keep sending her back to the House as long as this district remains intact. Her main problem is that the more you hear from her, the more turned off you are by her. If she would have just went to Congress and did nothing, she'd be up in this race by a large margin.

But, she didn't, and as happens so often when dumb people decide to "get involved", well, let's just say it went downhill from there.

Bob Corker

Bob Corker On The Issue Of The Day:

“Today’s decision by the NJ Supreme Court is yet one more example of activist, liberal judges creating bad law from the bench. I voted on the first day of early voting to prohibit same sex marriage because it protects not just the sanctity of marriage between a man and women, but upholds the views and values of the vast majority of Tennesseans. Washington Congressman Harold Ford, however, voted in 2004 against allowing individual states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriage licenses issued in other states. Whether it’s taxes, the Patriot Act, partial birth abortion, Iraq or a host of other issues, Congressman Ford’s positions change with the political wind, and this lack of core beliefs on the issues is, to his detriment, becoming more and more apparent to Tennesseans."


Wow, Bob is such a homophobe that literally ran to the polls the first day of early voting to deny US citizens their rights.

Bob Corker On His Daughter Julia:

She's the best French-Kisser in the county!


Pop

Do you hear that sound of rushing air? It is the housing bubble which is now finally bursting. The median sale price for new homes dropped 9.7% in September, the largest recorded drop in the history of record keeping. Also setting a new record was the number of completed new homes available which rose to 157,000.

In a surprising move, housing sales increased 5.3% from August, but I guess if the builder is willing to knock 10% off the cost of the house, pay your closing costs, and throw in a free pool people are still willing to buy.

The claims made in this attack ad from Paul Nelson might be the most over the top this cycle. He actually claims that his opponent voted to let illegal aliens burn the American flag. It really looks like a parody of an attack ad, which is apropriate I guess, since his candidacy is a parody of an actual candidate.

OK, I was wrong, his other ad is worse.

I Smell A Rat


No, it's not a rat, it's a rout. A three point lead in absentee balloting is huge for us, especially with independents breaking 2-1 for us. That vastly over-hyped GOP GOTV machine doesn't work that well when you run a guy that even their own president says is a nut.

Of course though, these are only requests. Don't think for a moment that the Franklin County Board Of Elections can't fuck this up. Here is a hint, they will.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New Ad From The Good Doctor

Here is a new ad from Dr. Victoria Wulsin attacking Mean Jean Schmidt for a variety of things, but for some reason fails to mention that Schmidt wears a clown suit to the office every day. Oh well, you can see one of them in the video.

Meet The (Potential) Capital Kids

Meet the Corkers. Bob is running for the Senate in Tennessee. That's Julia on the far right. I wonder what she does for fun?



Dad, I think she's gonna cork her.
Calm down Russ, she's not gonna cork her.


Dad, I think she's gonna cork her.
She , she may cork her Russ.
It is pretty clear that if Bob Corker gets elected to the Senate, he will favor legislation to turn your little girl into a lesbian.


Race Baiting Ads Come To Columbus

First of all, I'll be honest. Until Bill Hayes starting running race baiting ads in the Ohio 91st State House race, I'd never heard of him or his opponent, Dan Dodd.

The ad, which depicts a African-American man who supposedly raped a kid or something like that, and then proclaims that Dodd did not want the man punished. If the ad being run against Harold Ford in Tennessee goes right up to the line of race baiting, and even former republican Bill Cohen says that it does, then this ad goes over that line in leaps and bounds. It should be pulled immediately.

As for Dodd, I really only know what I've read about him on his website. For some reason, he felt the need to sign the Americans For Tax Reform's pledge not to raise taxes. Yea, that's Grover Norquist's group. Jesus, is there even a real Democrat in this race.

So there are your choices in Hocking County. Somewhat of a Democrat who won't raise your taxes or racist skunk fucker Bill Hayes.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Closer

There probably isn't a more influential politician in Virginia politics than Mark Warner. He pushed Tim Kaine over the top to keep the Governor's office there in Democratic hands. Can he do the same for Jim Webb in the final weeks this year. Check out the new ad Warner is running for Webb.

Push Polling

Is this an admission from the Blackwell campaign in today's Columbus Dispatch that he is indeed push polling? From the Dispatch:

The Blackwell campaign this week is making "push poll" calls to Ohio voters, a deceptive method of using what appear to be legitimate surveys to spread a negative message about an opponent.

If recipients of such calls say they plan to vote for Strickland, a recorded voice is programmed to provide information about the former aide who "exposed himself" to children. A subsequent message details a vote Strickland cast in Congress on a resolution condemning sex between adults and children. Strickland, a psychologist, voted "present," saying he objected to a provision of the resolution that said sexually abused children could not have healthy relationships later in life.

I don't know that I have ever seen a candidate come right out and admit to using push polling. It's kind of bizarre. That is something you usually try to keep out of the press.

Monday, October 23, 2006

All Candidate Limit

I was just checking my E-Mail and in my in-box was one from the Club for Growth. I usually get a chuckle out of reading them, and this one was no exception. It did contain one thing that has me puzzled. From the Club For Growth:

Arizona Senator Jon Kyl earned the #1 ranking in the Club for Growth rating of the Senate and has taken a key leadership role time after time. Now he is being challenged by a former Democratic Party state chairman, a limousine liberal developer who has poured over $10 million into his campaign.

He triggered the "millionaire's amendment" in the election laws, so you can now donate up to $6,300 to Jon's campaign, and only $2,100 counts against your $40,000 all-candidate limit.

$40,000 all-candidate limit? I, in all my life have never heard of such a thing. Does anybody out there have any information about this?

Banner Ad



Either my computer has a virus, or MSNBC just made the largest blog banner ad purchase in the history of blogging. This thing is everywhere.

The Mounting Death Toll

There has been a lot of talk about the high death toll this month in Iraq, and a lot of facts about it have been distorted from those trying to spin the events. The plain and simple truth is that this is the meat grinder that urban warfare brings. When I say this, I'm not talking about the full scale level of urban warfare we saw in Naraf against the Madhi army or in the siege of Fallujah. It is more of a intermediate level of violence, one that will continue for a long time. It is also one that could have likely been avoided.

Think what you want about the idea of attacking Iraq, I though it was foolish then, I think it is foolish now, but no matter what you think, it is clear that a lot of the problems we have now are a clear manifestation of the lack of the adequate application of force at the beginning of the conflict, ie. using the Rumsfeld Doctrine of warfare instead of the Powell Doctrine.

Once we failed in that respect, we kind of went through the looking glass, that is, we set things in motion that we have the inability to curtail with the number of troops we have there. In essence, we created a self fulfilling prophesy.

Right now, we are trying to clear the single city of Baghdad. To accomplish this, we would likely need every combat brigade we currently have in country, roughly 60,000 soldiers. Obviously, we don't have all of our combat brigades in Baghdad so clearing the city is unlikely, especially given that the people we are fighting do not have to conform to the same rules of engagement or code of conduct that we do.

Instead, what we are doing is similar to what 1980's gang task force members referred to as "the self cleaning oven" approach to the problem. That is, if enough people kill each other or simply leave, the problem will get better through simple attrition. Unfortunately, like the drug trade those gang bangers were fighting for, these people are also fighting for control of America's other drug, oil. There is just way too much money for the winner to get their attrition rates to end the problem.

I guess I'm just saying that it is totally fucked up and there is little we can do to unfuck it up, and as long as this president is in charge, nothing will be done to unfuck it up.

Snow!!!

It's still fucking October and I had to drive through a snow shower on my way to work today. What the hell happened to Fall?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Denial, It's Not Just A River In Africa Anymore

In last night's Senatorial debate, Mike DeWine decided to defend the indefensible. Namely his attack ad that several TV stations are refusing to air now because it has been proved demonstratively false. It is no wonder he thinks things are peachy keen in Iraq.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Yacht Rock: Episode 7

You're probably wondering what happened to Episode 6. It sucks, I skipped it. This one, however, might be the funniest one of the bunch.

The Joy Of Giving

I believe this is the end for US Congressional candidate Joy Padgett. After her company declared bankruptcy, JP Morgan Chase Bank place a $129,250 lien on property that the Padgett's owned. So, what did they do?

Don and Joy Padgett turned around and sold the property to Graphic Enterprises Inc. claiming that it was lien free, and then they just pocketed the money. Now, JP Morgan Chase is trying to get the lien instated against Graphic Enterprises Inc because they have a rightful claim to the property.

The bottom line is that the Padgett's appear to have committed fraud when they misrepresented the status of the property when they sold it. They also failed to settle the lien so that means they pocketed the money. Will the GOP have to find a third candidate to run in this district?

Rolling Stone Gets Really Shrill

Wow, The new issue calls the current republican Congress the worst one ever. From Rolling Stone via Attaturk:

“These past six years were more than just the most shameful, corrupt and incompetent period in the history of the American legislative branch. These were the years when the U.S. parliament became a historical punch line, a political obscenity on par with the court of Nero or Caligula — a stable of thieves and perverts who committed crimes rolling out of bed in the morning and did their very best to turn the mighty American empire into a debt-laden, despotic backwater, a Burkina Faso with cable.”

The issue also goes on to name the Ten Worst Congressmen in this Congress which doesn't include those who didn't even make it the full term such as Duke Cunningham (Convicted, In Prison), Bob Ney (Convicted, Sentenced, Awaiting Prison, Yet to Resign), Tom Delay (Indicted, Awaiting Trial, Resigned), and Mark Foley (Resigned, Under Investigation).

Note: This post was stolen almost in its entirety from Attaturk, except that he actually took the time and effort to post the cover of this issue of Rolling Stone, something I'm too lazy to do. If you don't read Attaturk, do yourself a favor and read him.

We Have To Fight Them There

What did I tell you fools? Did you really think stingrays would be content ruling the seas? Well, don't you look silly because now the freaking stingrays are freaking attacking us outside the freaking water! From CNN:

A leaping stingray stabbed an 81-year-old Florida boater in the chest, authorities said Wednesday, leaving its poisonous stinger lodged close to his heart in an incident recalling the one that killed Australian TV naturalist Steve Irwin last month.

Fire Department officials in Lighthouse Point, about 30 miles north of Miami, said James Bertakis was in a small recreational boat with two grandchildren Tuesday when the spotted eagle ray leaped aboard and struck him.

Can inland attacks be far behind?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Virginia Senate Race

Four months ago, this race was dead in the water. George Allen had a significant lead over Jim Webb, both in polling and cash on hand. Then came Macaca, a rather slight gaffe that should have been a bump in the road for Allen except his subsequent handling of the matter made things worse at every turn.

Since then, Allen has repeated faced accusations of racism. There are simply so many of them that it is probable that at least a few of them are true. These accusation woke up the electorate to the race and Jim Webb started closing the gap. Recent polling has Webb still behind, but within the margin of error.

Webb should benefit from getting the Washington Post's endorsement which stated "Quite simply, he is a mediocre senator whose six years of undistinguished service do not justify rehiring."

This race is a tough one to call right now. Webb needs a big blue wave on election day to push him over the top. However, since I believe women are going to lead that wave in an overwhelming fashion nationwide, Webb has a problem. Allen has been running attack ads against Webb for some comments he made in the 70's about women, and they have had a degree of effect. Is it enough to stem the tide of Iraq and kitchen table economics that should hurt Allen among women? I don't know. Prediction: True toss up, winner will win by less than a full percentage point.

Yacht Rock: Episode 5

Yep, another episode.

Lapped

A new Quinnipiac University poll just out this morning shows that Ted Strickland has now lapped Ken Blackwell in the Ohio gubernatorial race. Strickland leads by a 2-1 margin, or at least pretty close to it at 59-32. This one is over, it's all about coattails now.

Leadership

Finally, a republican with a serious plan for Iraq. Rick Santorum had this to say about our continued fiasco. From Think Progress via Attaturk:

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) explains the Iraq war by citing Lord of the Rings: “As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else,” Santorum told a newspaper editorial board. “It’s being drawn to Iraq and it’s not being drawn to the U.S. You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don’t want the Eye to come back here to the United States.”

Clearly a serious thinker when it comes to solving sectarian violence. Really, what Rick is saying here is that the hobbits do not reflect the thinking of white anglo christians, or perhaps the Eye doesn't. Anyway, all of them should be killed, or perhaps brought back to the US, or left in Iraq.

Maybe he is just an idiot who sees clear foreign policy through the land of make believe.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Laughable

The tin foil hat demographic of the Kos kids certainly is getting good conductivity today. It's is all about a laughable Op-Ed in the New York Times that speculates that Ken Blackwell might just rule Ted Strickland ineligible to run for Governor.

I wouldn't spend to much time worrying about it. Even an attempt would probably result in Blackwell getting less than 20% in the Governor's race getting the republican party delisted as a major party in the state of Ohio. Trust me, none of the republicans want that.

Update: I corrected the percentage needed to maintain major party status as set forth in the Ohio Revised Code 3501.01 (F)

Hmm...

It appears Mike Rogers is going to out a gay republican US Senator on the Ed Shultz show today. I don't necessarily agree with this sort of thing, even if it will mean destroying one of the Senators on Rogers' short list of absolute dickwits, but if you want to know tune in.

Absentee Ballots


Just in case you're wondering, here is the partisan index of absentee ballot requests in Franklin County as of yesterday, October 16th. It's pretty tight between the two parties. We gotta do better.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Turn The Page

Curt Weldon now has to turn to page 2 of the GOP handbook concerning investigations. Weldon has been stuck on page 1 for a while now, which is denying there is a investigation at all. This morning however, the FBI executed a search warrant of his daughter's home so now he must proceed directly to denying he is a target of the investigation.

Karen Weldon is, of course, a lobbyist whose clients seem to do quite well from her relationship with her father. From The Philadelphia Inquirer via TPM Muckraker:

Federal agents raided the home of the daughter of U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon (R., Pa.) this morning.

The agents departed Karen Weldon's three-story brick home on Queen Street in Philadelphia with arms loaded with boxes.

A government car pulled into the alley to the back door of the house and loaded boxes into it. Three agents standing in an alley declined to identify themselves.

This could be the final nail in the coffin for Weldon's campaign. He hasn't been polling very well lately as he has the unfortunate characteristic of being bat-shit loony in a state where voters are sick and tired of bat-shit loony. (See Rick Santorum for further evidence)

Perhaps he thinks they were looking for WMD, which is what he personally wanted to go to Iraq and look for, I'm not kidding.

Admit it, when you saw the title of this post, you thought it was about Mark Foley, didn't you.

Update: The FBI in fact raided four locations today as a part of this investigation including Karen Weldon's home, close friend of Curt Weldon, Charlie Sexton's home, and two office locations. And no, it's not that Charlie Sexton.

Update II: Oops, I skipped a step. I completely forgot questioning the timing of the investigation, which Weldon has now done. From the Dispatch:

“What I find ironic, if there is an investigation, is that no one would tell me until three weeks before the election,” Weldon said at an appearance in Media. “This incident was 2 1/2 years ago.”

Now he can move on to denying he is a target.

It's The Chicks, Baby

I know I'm reading tea leaves here, but there does seem to be some evidence that women are going to power the Democratic Party to several victories next month. Take a look at this poll from Indiana's 8th Congressional District. From The Evansville Courier Press:

- Of the 626 likely voters polled, 60.5 percent are women and 39.5 percent are men. The margin among men was 51.4 percent for Ellsworth and 36 percent for Hostettler. Women went for Ellsworth by a margin of 56.3 percent to 29.6 percent.

60% of the female registered voters poll by Indiana St were deemed to be likely voters. That number is crazy high, especially when compared to men who clocked in around 40%. Now, one poll from Indiana is anecdotal evidence of a national trend at best, but when I put my finger in the wind it is the general feeling I get.

Here in Ohio, Sherrod Brown and Ted Strickland enjoy overwhelming leads among women, but I still haven't been able to put my finger on why. What is it ladies? Iraq? Kitchen Table Economics? Gas Prices? Let us know.

Gone Daddy Gone

Well, it looks like the GOP have given up on a member of the Foley scandal. Tom Reynolds has now been put on the dead man walking list. From the Chicago Sun Times:

A Republican campaign operative with a reputation for accuracy has put Rep. Tom Reynolds, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, on the list of incumbent Republicans who are ''gone'' -- that is, sure to lose their seats on Nov. 7.

Reynolds' prominence as a Republican leader who was responsible for handling Rep. Mark Foley of Florida has dropped him 15 points below his Democratic opponent in his supposedly safe upstate New York district, according to a poll taken by John Zogby after the scandal broke.


Reynolds was slumping even before the Foley affair made news. Republicans and Democrats alike try to pick their campaign chairmen from House members who do not have to defend their own seats in Congress. However, industrialist Jack Davis, a self-financed former Republican, is running a vigorous campaign against Reynolds in his second try at defeating him.



When the NRCC chairman is on the that list, well, let's just say election night is going to be a long sad night for the GOP. I've been through enough of those to know it sucks.

Yacht Rock: Episode 4

Thanks to an e-mail from Jeff, you can now read more about the guys in Yacht Rock here. Enjoy.

CBGB's Closes It's Doors

Last night was the last night for the legendary club CBGB's in New York. Patty Smith headlined the last show to play the location. Most of the bands I listened to in my youth and still to this day listen to played the joint and so it really brings me sorrow to see it close even though I've never visited the place. I guess I'm part of the reason it closed, although rents in the neighborhood have made it prohibitive from making money.

The club will reopen, but in a different venue,...in Vegas. *Sigh* What a shitty world we live in.

The Ohio Senate Race

A couple of good things have happened in this race in the last 72 hours. On Friday night, Sherrod Brown quite literally crushed Mike DeWine in a debate broadcast on PBS. Now, it is true that few impressionable voters that would be watching a debate on a Friday night. Only true political junkies do that. Hell, the only reason I watched it was because it was on at the bar I was at.

Anyway, while that wasn't a significant event in the race, this past weekend the NRSC decided to pull out of the race, meaning no mo dough for Mikey to run attack ads against Brown. They see the race as a sure loser, and while I'm not quite ready to say it is a done deal, republican voter apathy towards both DeWine and gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell seems to be trending that way.

Although recent polls have had this race all over the map from tight to blowout, I thinking Brown beats DeWine by a comfortable margin. Prediction: Brown 53, DeWine 47.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Delusional

Bob Ney plead guilty today to conspiracy and making false statements. Then, he released a statement with this curious disclaimer. From TPM Muckraker:

I never acted to enrich myself or to get things I shouldn’t, but over time, I allowed myself get too comfortable with the way things have been done in Washington, D.C. for too long.

Does Ney believe all Congressmen should get free trips to Scotland to play golf? Does he also believe all Congressmen should take bribes in order to pay off their credit card bills? He'll have twenty-seven months to think those things through.

Yacht Rock: Episode 3

God, I hope they keep making these.

NRCC Pulls The Plug On Two Ohio Races

Last week, I wrote about some NRCC money coming to town, this week I get to tell you about some NRCC money leaving town. The NRCC has pulled the plug on two races here in Ohio which means that Charlie Wilson should win Ted Strickland's old seat and Betty Sutton should win Sherrod Brown's old seat.

This is significant because when the NRCC is starting to throw in the towel on open seats, you really know they have problems.

In Ohio polling news, Constituency Dynamics (I have no clue who these people are) released three Ohio polls yesterday that show Zack Space leading Joy Padgett 51-42, Mary Jo Kilroy leading Deb Pryce 53-41, and Victoria Wulsin leading Mean Jean Schmidt 48-45.

Again, I have no idea who these pollsters are, but it is important to note that the poll was taken before the Mark Foley affair. (8/27-29 Likely Voters)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Yacht Rock: Episode 2

Let's try this again

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Stupidest President Ever

Today, George Bush actually said in response to a question about a report on the number of Iraqi casualties,"I am amazed that this is a society which so wants to be free that they’re willing to — you know, that there’s a level of violence that they tolerate."

I know, you're thinking that nobody would ever say anything that stupid, but watch it here.

Sherrod Brown Ad

Here is that Sherrod Brown campaign video I talked about yesterday. I still can't blog from You Tube so I have resorted to directly embedding the videos.

Blaming The Dog

This is going to be a rather vulgar rant, so if you have virgin eyes don't fucking read it.

The notion that Condi Rice is being sent out to the media to blame Clinton for Bush's failing on North Korea is the most absurd fucking thing I have ever seen. It reminds me of a story my parents have told me about when I was a child. I'm told I was like two-and-a-half years old, and I left the faucet running.

When confronted about it, I blamed Sparky the dog. It was the first time I had ever got into trouble and I didn't yet know how to react, but you know the bottom line is that I was fucking two. My argument then is the same one the Bush administration is using today, the argument of a fucking two-year old. These people refuse to take any responsibility for any of the fuck-up they create, and by failing to do so, fail to remedy any of them. Iraq certainly comes to mind.

At this point, I have to wonder how often Laura has to take it in the ass because George can't figure out sometimes which hole is the pussy. These people are that incompetent.

Let take a look at the facts. Josh Marshall puts it this way:

"Failure" =1994-2002 -- Era of Clinton 'Agreed Framework': No plutonium production. All existing plutonium under international inspection. No bomb.

"Success" = 2002-2006 -- Bush Policy Era: Active plutonium production. No international inspections of plutonium stocks. Nuclear warhead detonated.

Face it. They ditched an imperfect but working policy. They replaced it with nothing. Now North Korea is a nuclear state.

Facts hurt. So do nukes.

That's true. What is also true is that in April of 2002, after 9/11, after Bush declared North Korea a member of the "Axis of Evil," Bush agreed to send North Korea $95 million dollars to build two light water reactors which was part of the Agreed Framework that Condi is saying was a failure. What wasn't part of the Agreed Framework is that Bush nixed the part of the deal that mandated IAEA inspectors be given access to all North Korean sites to search for plutonium. From the BBC:

In releasing the funding, President George W Bush waived the Framework's requirement that North Korea allow inspectors to ensure it has not hidden away any weapons-grade plutonium from the original reactors.

President Bush argued that the decision was "vital to the national security interests of the United States".

As with nearly all of the Bush administration's foreign policy actions, this eventually failed, rather quickly actually. By August of that year, the light water reactors were off the table. Following that failure the North Koreans busted the IAEA locks off of existing stores of nuclear materials and went back to work on producing bomb grade plutonium.

What this shows is that it is clearly solely the failures of the Bush administration that culminated (hopefully) with the North Koreans testing a nuclear device last Sunday. The plutonium used in the device detonated early this week may have existed under the Agreed Framework, or it may not have.

But if they had existing plutonium the inspectors that Bush nixed would have found it. Through the incompetence of the administration, they never ever got to look. If they produced it after the April Bush agreement, that as well lies at Bush's feet. It is pretty hard to blame Clinton for it.

The bottom line is that six years of this administration's fuck-ups have led us to this point. Will they get it right finally? They don't seem to be poised to. Fuck it, just blame the dog.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Oh, Jesus Is This Funny

Found via The Poorman Institute

Devastating New Ad

Sherrod Brown has a new attack ad against Mike Dewine and it is pretty devastating. The gist is that Mike DeWine skipped almost half of the meetings of the Senate Intelligence Committee and that in the last two years he has only attended a third of the meetings.

The great thing about this ad though is that the general mood of the ad resembles the ones that are being ran here telling us about how much the terrorists want to kill us, an obvious ploy to get voters to vote republican. Brown's ad plays off that ad and lays it at the feet of an "AWOL" Mike DeWine. I hope this one makes it to TV, but there will have to be some editing, it runs a little long. You can check it out here, or here.

You Tube

Now that Google has bought You Tube, do you guys think that you can make it work with Beta Blogger?

The Downward Spiral

I wonder how long CBS is going to stick with Katie Couric, whose ratings have been lower every week than the previous week. CBS is now mired in third place with last week's viewership being 7.04 million (average) to NBC's 8.56 million and ABC's 7.97 million.

I have to think that the biggest reason for the drop off is their new Free Speech segment which is nothing more than having blowhard conservatives spout off something idiotic. This segment comes along at exactly the same time that viewer are tuning out such people.

It seems to me that the CBS Evening News is trying to become the Fox News of network news. That might have worked a few years ago, but now they are behind the curve, and behind in the ratings.

Allen's "Worthless" Stock Options

George Allen has said that the stock options he failed to report in his discloure forms were, in fact, worthless. Facts, however, are one thing Allen is very short on these days. From Bloomberg:

In March 2000, Allen held 60,000 options when Xybernaut shares closed at an all-time high of $23.75. That would have made the options worth $1.1 million, less commissions and fees, had Allen exercised them.

At that time, Allen could have paid $5.47 and $1.56 respectively for two groups of options, sold them and pocketed the difference. He was awarded another 50,000 options in October 2000.

Greg Walden, an attorney at Patton Boggs LLP in Washington who represents Allen, said the options with Xybernaut expired 90 days after Allen left the board in December 2000.

Walden said Allen never exercised the options. They became worthless as the share price fell. The company went bankrupt in 2005.

A filing by Allen, which Xybernaut forwarded to the SEC in February 2001, shows that he had the right to exercise all the options at the end of 2000. The options were to begin to expire in 2008. Allen also reported owning the options on his 2002 and 2003 Senate financial disclosures, long after Walden said they had expired.

Now, you might be thinking that Allen isn't corrupt, just dumb. (By the way, he isn't that bright) What you need to know about Xybernaut is that Allen was actively pimping the company for new contracts with the Army while he was holding. Allen knew that if he could get the Army to buy enough of Xybernaut's junk, his options would be worth far more than the $1.1 million that they topped out at. Why wouldn't he, nobody anywhere wastes more money than the Pentagon.

Also, thumbs up to Bloomberg for refuting the lies of Allen's attorney in the next paragraph after he states them.

Polling

Probably the best news to come out of the new ABC/Washington Post poll is that the Democrats now enjoy the biggest lead in party ID in the last eighteen months, and most likely longer but that is as far back as the trend lines go. Eleven percent more people identified themselves as Democrats than republicans. (38-27) That is up from 32-30 last month.

Did I mention Mark Foley yet today?

Tucker Carlson

This past weekend, Tucker Carlson echoed something I wrote a year ago. What did Tucker say? From Atrios:

CARLSON: It goes deeper than that though. The deep truth is that the elites in the Republican Party have pure contempt for the evangelicals who put their party in power. Everybody in...

MATTHEWS: How do you know that? How do you know that?

CARLSON: Because I know them. Because I grew up with them. Because I live with them. They live on my street. Because I live in Washington, and I know that everybody in our world has contempt for the evangelicals. And the evangelicals know that, and they're beginning to learn that their own leaders sort of look askance at them and don't share their values.

MATTHEWS: So this gay marriage issue and other issues related to the gay lifestyle are simply tools to get elected?

CARLSON: That's exactly right. It's pandering to the base in the most cynical way, and the base is beginning to figure it out


I was a little more crude when I wrote this:

Let me let any fundies that are reading this in on Washington's dirty little secret. You guys are considered to be backwoods snake-handling goat fuckers by the pro-business part of the republican party. As with the recent Supreme Court nominations, you get the table scraps the dog wouldn't eat.

I still think that is true. Do you believe me now?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Hmm

For some reason my time stamp seems to be all screwed up today.

Impressive

Behold the fundraising ability of Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi has raised this cycle $25,299,419 for DCCC. That's roughly 34% of all the money they have raised. In addition, Pelosi raised $7,874,500 for the Red To Blue fund or about 22% of the money that fund as received this cycle.

I'm pretty sure she will be keeping the top Democratic spot in the House whether it be Speaker or Minority Leader, and it is looking more and more like it will be Speaker.

North Korea

Well, it does appear that North Korea did in fact detonate a nuclear device as now the seismic signatures of such a device have been proven. I'm not going to get too much into the political failures that led to this development. Josh Marshall has all the pertinent facts laid out here, (Josh is doing some updating of his site and as of this writing his archives are down so try this link and scroll down) and anything I could write at this point would simply be derivative of what Josh lays out.

As important as knowing how we got here is what we do next. Arms Control Wonk is reporting that the test was likely a dud. I had come to a similar conclusion after looking at some of the numbers overnight, but just figured I most likely just didn't know what the hell I was talking about. From Arms Control Wonk:

I love the US Geological Survey.

They’ve published lat/long (41.294°N, 129.134°E) and Mb estimates (4.2) for the North Korean test.

There is lots of data floating around: The CTBTO called it 4.0; The South Koreans report 3.58-3.7.

You’re thinking, 3.6, 4.2, in that neighborhood. Seismic scales, like the Richter, are logarithmic, so that neighborhood can be pretty big.

But even at 4.2, the test was probably a dud.

Estimating the yield is tricky business, because it depends on the geology of the test site. The South Koreans called the yield half a kiloton (550 tons), which is more or less—a factor of two—consistent with the relationship for tests in that yield range at the Soviet Shagan test site:

Mb = 4.262 + .973LogW

Where Mb is the magnitude of the body wave, and W is the yield.

3.58-3.7 gives you a couple hundred tons (not kilotons), which is pretty close in this business unless you’re really math positive. The same equation, given the US estimate of 4.2, yields (pun intended) around a kiloton.

A plutonium device should produce a yield in the range of the 20 kilotons, like the one we dropped on Nagasaki. No one has ever dudded their first test of a simple fission device. North Korean nuclear scientists are now officially the worst ever.

That leaves us in a very powerful negotiating position. Kim Jong Il called our bluff, only he didn't make his hand. Now, he is out on a limb, and out of time with his own bluff and this time the whole world is calling. Hopefully he knows this and his scientists didn't just tell him it worked anyway.

Kim Jong Il, much like our own leader, suffers from an endless abundance of pride to a dangerous degree, and we can use that to our advantage again assuming that he knows he is up the creek without a paddle.

We should offer to enter with North Korea into bilateral talks, but within the six party talks framework. Once we confer with the other five we should then make Kim Jong Il an offer he can't refuse. The sticks? Go along with this, or you die, or you will be exposed as a fraud, and then you die. The carrots? Food, oil and a shot for North Korea to enter into the rest of the world.

Kim Jong Il would have to agree to abandoning his nuclear program, and relinquishing all plutonium and bomb grade uranium to the IAEA plus closing and sealing all research facilities. Furthermore, the IAEA would be granted admission to any site in the country they wished to ensure future compliance.

In return, we would agree to sign a non-aggression treaty. It's not like it is worth the paper it's written on anyway.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

North Korea Tests Nuclear Device

South Korean seismologists have now confirmed the North Korea has performed an underground nuclear test. A tremor with a magnitude of 3.6 was detected coming from the North earlier tonight. It is unclear at this time what size bomb would create that level of tremor. I'll be watching the overnights to find out.

I wonder if George Bush is even awake.

Strickland Lands Dispatch Endorsement

Ted Strickland has landed the Columbus Dispatch's endorsement for the Governor's race.

NRCC Cash Coming To Town

The NRCC has just released $7.8 million in expenditures for November's election and nearly a million of those dollars are going to be spent in Ohio. Steve Chabot will receive $201,262 for issue ads and phone banking, Deb Pryce will get $206,650 for issue ads, and Joy Padgett will be funded by a whopping $552,043 for ads, mailings, and phone banking.

You may recall that the NRCC has steadfastly refused to return the $100,000 that Mark Foley contributed to their coffers and are actively seeking to gain control of the $2.7 million that remains in his campaign account.

As for the head of the NRCC, it seems that we may not have Tom Reynolds to kick around much longer, a new poll out today shows him trailing Jack Davis 48-33. It is a Zogby poll, but no poll is ever off that much. Reynold had been considered a shoe-in prior to the Foley scandal.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Whale In The Water

Yesterday, Denny Hastert jumped the shark with his George Soros conspiracy theory. shortly thereafter the GOP pushed him back into the water and now the sharks are eyeing a Shamoo sandwich. From the Chicago Tribune:

Comments that Hastert made in a Tribune interview suggesting the scandal had been orchestrated by ABC News, Democratic political operatives aligned with the Clinton White House and liberal activist George Soros were considered a serious misstep in national Republican circles, an official said. Senior Republican officials contacted Hastert's office before his news conference Thursday to urge that he not repeat the charges, and he backed away from them in his news conference.

"The Chicago Tribune interview last night--the George Soros defense--was viewed as incredibly inept," a national Republican official said. "It could have been written by [comedian] Jon Stewart."

Democrats ridiculed assertions that party operatives arranged the scandal.

If Denny wasn't done, this would have never ended up in the paper. It's pure damage control not of the Foley scandal, but of the buffoonery of Hastert himself. What Hastert doesn't seem to understand is that an aging rock star who can no longer pack the big venues, he himself is done, and the GOP doesn't have the guts to cancel the rest of the tour. Luckily for us, Hastert won't be going anywhere before the election.

Oversight

In a signing statement for the Homeland security bill, President Bush said he would disregard the portion of the legislation that says the director of FEMA must have five years experience. His rationale? It "rules out a large portion of those persons best qualified by experience and knowledge to fill the office."

If that sounds stupid, it's because it is stupid. Here's the thing though. Why was this ever written into the bill to begin with? The FEMA director is a position that requires confirmation by the Senate so if Bush nominates an unqualified person for the job, the Senate could, you know, do something about it.

I guess the Senate's position on this matter is "O please spare us from the oversight, we cannot be trusted with it." Time to get a new Senate.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Polling

In the latest Rasmussen Poll of likely voters, Sherrod Brown leads Mike DeWine 49-41, but that isn't the real gem in this polling. By a margin of three to one, respondents said they believed the republican leadership has been protecting Mark Foley for years. Yes, that's right years.

That is about as bad as news as republicans have had lately, and while on NPR this morning several rural voters said the scandal will not change their votes, I have a feeling suburban voters don't feel the same. The NPR poll is due out sometime today.

Powerless

Behold the mythical power of the Democratic party. You see, even with its minority status in the House and the Senate, and despite the fact that they do not hold the White House, the republicans are powerless against them.

Why, it was just a few weeks ago in a Senate floor speech that Bill Frist declared that the blame for the "Do Nothing Congress" should not be laid at his feet. He was unable to hold the line against with his superior numbers against the power of being in the minority. Only having fifty-five of the Senate seats in his caucus, fifty-six if you count Lieberman, was no match for the power of having less.

These obstructionists, if you will, were the cause of no major legislation being passed despite the fact that the leaders of this motley band had steadfastly refused to block anything preferring to keep their powder dry.

It continues today, as now Denny Hastert proclaims from his fortress of solitude that blame for the Mark Foley scandal should, in fact, be placed on the Democrats. Yes, these wizards of archaic procedure summoned the ancient power of being out of the loop to know nothing of the impending scandal until it broke in the news. Hastert, with the full disadvantage of knowing fully what was going on for at least six months, never had a chance.

To make matters worse, Hastert's consigliere for this fall's elections had no choice but to keep the potential scandal alive by prodding the Democrat's victim into another term of service. But Hastert could do nothing to stop the irresistible force of being out of the loop. He might be the only true victim in this whole sordid mess.

What o what will these wilting flowers do next as they bear the burden holding power without actually governing? I'm sure they will be happier once they are out of power.

Hastert Goes To Ground

Denny Hastert seems to be trying to employ a new tactic to keep his Speaker position. It's the tried and true "If I don't go to work, they can't fire me" method. Hastert has holed up in his house for at least the last 24 hour according to TPM Muckraker. Apparently, there is a rather large press contingent waiting for him when he finally does emerge.

A hint for any reporters on the stakeout, if you see Denny's wife pull out of the garage and the rear bumper is dragging the ground with the springs looking like they're ready to give out, he's in the trunk.

Blame The Victim

Well, it wasn't long after the victim in question received threats which Rodney Alexander R-LA (The page in question's sponsor) described not as death threats, "but close to it," that the right wing blogosphere decided it was definitely appropriate to publish the young man's name. Some guy known as Wild Bill (Never heard of him) first published it with large right wing sites (large by right wing standards anyway) linking to it such as Pajamas Media and Glenn Reynolds.

I rarely write about what goes on in Right Blogistan because, quite frankly it bores me and I surely know that you don't care about it either. The only reason I bring this up is because it is so egregious. Clearly these people were in full knowledge of the previous threats when they chose to publish his name. The only possible motive of bringing the young man's name to light is to put more pressure on someone whose only crime is doing the right thing. It's pathetic behavior.

Oh well, I guess the really important thing to remember about this is that us here in Left Blogistan sometimes write mean thing about syndicated columnists. We're really bad people you know.

Note: None of the above links will take you to a site which reveals the victim's name.

Kirk Fordham Shown The Door

Well, it wasn't long after Kirk Fordham, the chief of staff for republican Congressman Tom Reynolds, went blabbing to the press that he was shown the door by Reynolds. The republican smear machine also started annoynomously telling ABC that Fordham in fact begged republican leaders not to tell the page board about Mark Foley's dalliances. Fordham's people told ABC that he is being used as a scapegoat.

There is something smelly about this chapter of the scandal and it is pretty difficult to get a read on it. One of two possibilities is probably the truth.

Perhaps the smearers are right. Kirk Fordham was a long time advisor to Foley and would have been in the perfect position to know of his former boss' predilections. Following his tenure with Foley's office, he left to take a chief of staff job for the head of the page board, Tom Reynolds. It is the perfect position to protect his former boss from, if he still held allegiance to Foley, which he apparently did as it has been reported that Fordham advised Foley over the last weekend.

On the other hand, Fordham is possibly telling the truth and would have been in the best position to get resolution to the matter and possibly told Reynolds and other republican leadership to do something about it which they did not.

It is however, irrelevant to the overall matter at hand, because whichever account is correct, both agree that Fordham told the republican leadership which did nothing about it. Whether Fordham pleaded or prodded does nothing to allow Denny Hastert to escape culpability on the matter as a whole. In fact, I'm not sure which version makes Hastert look worse.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Ohio State Treasurer Race

This race was pretty much over as soon as it got started. I really don't think current Treasurer Jennette Bradley wanted to continue on in politics, at least as State Treasurer, and campaigned as such in the primary. As a result of that, Bradley was defeated by a relative unknown in Sandra O'Brien whose primary issue is abortion.

I always like when candidates interject issues like abortion into candidacies for offices that have absolutely no power to do anything about those issues, but that is what O'Brien is doing which should give Democrat Rich Cordray an easy pass in this contest. Even republican business leaders started moving en mass to Cordray's side once the primary was over.

Cordray currently leads in the latest Plain Dealer poll 40-31 with 29% undecided which is easy to understand considering both candidates name recognition is in the thirties.

While 29% undecided leaves a lot of room for both candidates to maneuver to chase those votes, strong coat tails from an expected gubernatorial blowout should provide the means to push a lot of those undecided voters into Cordray's column. Prediction: Cordray 55, O'Brien 45.

Stay, Stay, Stay

So, what did Tom "I won't comment on this matter without my tiny tot human shields" Reynolds do when he first learned about Mark Foley's inappropriate contact with underage pages? Urge him to get counseling? Nope. Start an investigation? No way! Instead Reynolds urged Foley to run for another term. From the NY Post (Yea, I know):

In another stunning development, Robert Novak today reveals in his column - published in PostOpinion on Page 31 - that even after House GOP leaders knew that Foley had written an inappropriate e-mail to a 16-year-old former male page, they were still urging him to seek re-election.

Novak writes, "A member of the House leadership told me that Foley, under continuous political pressure because of his sexual orientation, was considering not seeking a seventh term this year but that Rep. Tom Reynolds, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), talked him into running."

So, the problem was going to go away and probably never come to the surface, but Reynolds talked Foley into coming back. I guess Reynold's eyes were just glazed over thinking about all that campaign cash Foley had on hand. Ain't that Karma a bitch!

Correcting The Post

Joseph A. Califano Jr., the special council from the previous page sex scandal pens an op-ed in today's Washington Post. It is pretty much on the mark although it contains one factual inaccuracy. From the Post:

When I reported our findings to O'Neill and Michel, the dishonor that these members had brought on the House infuriated the two leaders. "Get it out," they said, "and let the committee recommend disciplinary action," which its four Democratic and four Republican members did, unanimously, in July 1983. Crane and Studds were censured by the House. Crane resigned his seat. Studds chose to stay on and was retained in office by his constituents for 13 more years.

Dan Crane did not in fact resign his seat, he lost his bid for reelection in 1984. I know, nitpicking.

We Cannot Be Trusted With Them There Boys

Harold Meyerson writes today about republican Ray LaHood's intriguing proposal. From the Post:

It is a mark of the sheer panic sweeping the ranks of Republican congressmen that one of their most levelheaded members, Ray LaHood of Illinois, has suggested that Congress abolish its page program altogether in the wake of the Mark Foley scandal.

What conclusion are we supposed to draw from LaHood's proposal? That members of Congress cannot be trusted in the company of adolescents? If so, why punish the adolescents? Whatever happened in the Foley case surely wasn't the fault of the pages to whom Foley came on electronically, much less every teenager who has worked, or would like to work, as a page.

If LaHood believes that pages pose an irresistible temptation to his peers, there are surely solutions straight out of the Republican playbook that wouldn't punish the victims. How about building a 700-foot fence around all Republican members of Congress?

Can we also keep the nation's checkbook outside that fence? Otherwise, Don Young will just build a $231 million bridge over it. Perhaps he could name it Bring 'um Young Way.

Who Said This?

Who penned this quote in the Washington Times referring to the Foley scandal?

"If this evidence was withheld for political purposes, one can only speculate as to how many additional children may have been endangered before this information was finally revealed,"

Why, it was our good friend John Boehner talking about the timing of the scandal coming to the surface so close to midterm elections. Of course, if Boehner would not have withheld this evidence for political purposes back in April, it wouldn't have come out this close to the election, would it.

Note: Time magazine attributes this quote to a Washington Times op-ed by Boehner, but I was unable to find it on their web site. If anyone can find a link, e-mail it to me.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tom Reynolds

Tom Reynolds, one of the members of the House leadership who was in the know on the Foley dalliances held a press conference yesterday in which he used small children basically as human shields to keep reporters from asking questions that ought not be asked in front of children. Reporters asked Reynolds to send the children away to ask other questions, he refused, although that part isn't seen in this video. Watch it here.

This is beyond the pale even for this sordid matter. The tough talking republican party now just does not protect children, it actively uses them to hide behind for the sake of saving their own asses in the November election. This is truly the most pathetic thing I have ever seen in politics.

One Simple Question

Who told John Boehner about Mark Foley's dalliances? In everything I've seen Boehner say regarding this matter, Boehner gives the impression that he went to Denny Hastert to see about it. How did Boehner come to know about it? Someone should ask him the question.

Boehner Tries To Peddle Bullshit To The Hometown Radio Station

Apparently, John Boehner's position in the republican House leadership is to wonder aimlessly through life hoping that big brother Denny Hastert does all the "leading." Boehner appeared on WLW 700 AM today and ABC News reports that he had this to say. From ABC News:

ABC's Teddy Davis reports: In a radio interview with 700 WLW radio in Cincinnati, House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) placed responsibility for the Foley matter not being handled properly on House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL).

"I believe I talked to the Speaker and he told me it had been taken care of," said Boehner. "And, and, and my position is it's in his corner, it's his responsibility. The Clerk of the House who runs the page program, the Page Board—all report to the Speaker. And I believe it had been dealt with."

That is just utter bullshit, period. Boehner knew, and to even the most casual observer in the know it was plainly obvious that no investigation was taking place, and therefore nothing was being done. This is a nice CYA ploy by Boehner to try to go on the local radio in your district to place the blame on others for Boehner's own failures. That doesn't work anymore. Too many people are dialed into the system.

This is simply a bush league attempt to mollify voters in Boehner's district (And a couple of others in the area where republicans are in real trouble) to try to push this past the upcoming election, pure damage control. And although I don't know if Boehner is in any real trouble in his district, the voters there should see it for what it is, a snow job.

Of course, it also goes without saying that Hastert is at fault too, but Boehner as well did nothing.

Found via Atrios

The Tennessee Senate Race

This race between Harold Ford Jr. and Bob Corker is turning out to be one of the more pleasantly surprising Senate races of the season. When Corker won the republican nomination, I kind of figured that Ford was done. Initial polling showed Corker with a decent lead and after all, it is Tennessee.

But strong campaigning by Ford coupled with a land deal scandal now plaguing Corker has turned the tables in this race and Ford now leads in the latest Mason-Dixon poll with a lead among likely voter although, it is inside the margin of error. (Rasmussen shows Ford leading 48-43, and a Chattanooga Free Times poll shows a dead heat.)

This week, in an attempt to stem the tide, Corker canned his entire senior campaign staff, and I have to admit, the new crew did a pretty good job of spinning it with the local press. Consider this from the Chattanoogan:

The Corker for Senate campaign today announced the opening of an additional Nashville office and "the enhancement of staff for the final stretch of the race."

“In addition to the great team that was already in place, we have been fortunate to add some outstanding staff members who will be instrumental in communicating Bob’s record of success as a businessman, civic leader and elected official with the voters of Tennessee,” said Tom Ingram, newly named campaign chairman. “I am excited to go into the final weeks of this race with such an outstanding group of people working hard to make sure that Bob Corker brings his proven record of leadership to the United States Senate.”

That is good spin. You see, Corker didn't fire his entire campaign staff, he simply gave all their jobs to other people. They will remain with the campaign in a diminished capacity until they fade off into that good night. It is also smart to put the new team into a new office to avoid conflict with the old team.

Now, Corker still has some more damaging news to come out over the land deal before the election, so that will definitely hurt him. If Ford continues his strong campaigning, especially reaching out to moderates as he has so far, he can win this thing. And of course, there is now an 800 pound child predator in the room of every campaign which will hurt republicans everywhere regardless of culpability. Prediction: Ford 51, Corker 49.

And You Wonder Why The War In Iraq Is Going Badly

George Will writes today of an episode that is mentioned in the new Bob Woodward book State of Denial. I think this passage more than ably demonstrates the total level of incompetence on the part of the administration in prosecuting the war. From the Post:

While leading the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in the summer of 2003, David Kay received a phone call from "Scooter" Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, who wanted a particular place searched: "The vice president wants to know if you've looked at this area. We have indications -- and here are the geocoordinates -- that something's buried there." Kay and his experts located the area on the map. It was in the middle of Lebanon.

This story from Bob Woodward's "State of Denial" would be hilarious were it not about war. The vignette is dismaying because it seems symptomatic of a blinkering monomania that may have prevented obsessed persons from facing facts.

Damn that Saddam Hussein and his geocoordinate scrambling machine!

Translating Denny

I'd like to translate Denny Hastert's answer to this question into plain English. From TPM:

Q Mr. Speaker, on that question, I mean is it sufficient that they just went and asked Foley, hey, we have this e-mail that has set off some worries with the parents, is this a problem or not? And he says no. So should it have stopped there?

Mr. Hastert. Well, let me say this, and again I want to refer you to the report, but what I want to say is that the parents didn't want to -- I mean, first of all, there was nothing explicit in this e-mail that I understood. And the parents didn't even want -- I don't even know if they showed the e-mail -- actual e-mail to Mr. Shimkus. I don't know. But his parents were protective of this thing, and what they wanted was Mr. Foley, and my understanding was, Mr. Foley to stop contacting their son. I think that is what the purpose of it was and I think the reports that I got back recently is that is what happened.

Look, the kid and his parents were willing to play ball and shut up. As for protecting the rest of the pages from Mark Foley's dalliances, Foley pushes a lot of coin into GOP coffers. In fact, Foley has given $100,000 to the NRCC just this cycle. Do you think the rest of the page corps could have raised that kind of money?

By the way the NRCC is still trying to get its grimy hands on the last $2.7 million of perv money in Foley's now dead campaign account.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Robot Concedes The Republican Nomination In 2008

Bill Frist has really pissed off the conservative blogosphere today and I'm seeing a lot of "I'm leaving the GOP" type statements there today. What did Frist Say? From the Nitpicker:

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Monday that the Afghan war against Taliban guerrillas can never be won militarily and called for efforts to bring the Islamic militia and its supporters into the Afghan government.

The Tennessee Republican said he learned from briefings that Taliban fighters were too numerous and had too much popular support to be defeated on the battlefield.

"You need to bring them into a more transparent type of government," Frist said during a brief visit to a U.S. and Romanian military base in the southern Taliban stronghold of Qalat. "And if that's accomplished, we'll be successful."

Afghanistan is suffering its heaviest insurgent attacks since a U.S.-led military force toppled the Taliban in late 2001 for harboring al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Now, even in Afghanistan where Frist in currently visiting US troops in the region, he caught wind of the backlash from his statement and tried to mollify the crowd with this statement on his VOLPAC website. From Hot Air:

I’m currently overseas visiting our troops in Afghanistan, but I wanted to take a moment to address an Associated Press story titled, “Frist: Taliban Should Be in Afghan Gov’t.” The story badly distorts my remarks and takes them out of context.

First of all, let me make something clear: The Taliban is a murderous band of terrorists who’ve oppressed the people of Afghanistan with their hateful ideology long enough. America’s overthrow of the Taliban and support for responsible, democratic governance in Afghanistan is a great accomplishment that should not and will not be reversed.

Having discussed the situation with commanders on the ground, I believe that we cannot stabilize Afghanistan purely through military means. Our counter-insurgency strategy must win hearts and minds and persuade moderate Islamists potentially sympathetic to the Taliban to accept the legitimacy of the Afghan national government and democratic political processes.

National reconciliation is a necessary and an urgent priority … but America will never negotiate with terrorists or support their entry into Afghanistan’s government.

The right-wingers seem unimpressed.

Now, Frist is correct that national reconciliation is necessary to bring peace to the region, but that just isn't going to happen anytime soon. Especially now that the Taliban is flush with heroin money. They produced 98% of the poppy crop for the entire world this year and they are going to use that money to keep on fighting. Why did we let our enemy reap that kind of money through the drug trade? I don't know. We should have napalmed it to choke off some of their funding. Having not done so, hostilities will continue at increased levels in the near term.

I hope we don't compound the issue by letting them do the same thing next year.

Bye John, Bye Denny

ABC news has just put up this exchange between Mark Foley and one of the teenage House pages that he had inappropriate contact with. From ABC News:

Maf54: I miss you lots since san diego.
Teen: ya I cant wait til dc
Maf54: :)
Teen: did you pick a night for dinner
Maf54: not yet…but likely Friday
Teen: ok…ill plan for Friday then
Maf54: that will be fun

The messages also show the teen is, at times, uncomfortable with Foley's aggressive approach.

Maf54: I want to see you
Teen: Like I said not til feb…then we will go to dinner
Maf54: and then what happens
Teen: we eat…we drink…who knows…hang out…late into the night
Maf54: and
Teen: I dunno
Maf54: dunno what
Teen: hmmm I have the feeling that you are fishing here…im not sure what I would be comfortable with…well see

I don't know about you, but that sounds exactly like a man soliciting sex from a minor to me, and Hastert and Boehner covered up for this guy. They might not have known the depths of his depravity at that time, although I'm guessing that they did given the very short amount of time it took Boehner to try to throw Hastert under the bus.

It doesn't matter, they are both toast. They may stumble through re-election, but they have no shot whatsoever of returning to the republican leadership and as I wrote about Tom Delay, once you're on top, nobody goes back to being a lowly member of Congress. Only chumps do that.

The New Jersey Senate Race

I'd like to take some time here and preview the New Jersey Senate race between Bob Menendez and Tom Kean Jr. In recent polling Kean has had a slight edge on Menendez but a Mason-Dixon poll out today shows Menendez leading 44-41. This is where Kean's problem lies. Republicans poll very well in New Jersey -- in September.

In the past few cycles all the NJ statewide races I have followed tightened up in September, only to have Democratic voter return to the roost in October. In 2004, there was even talk of Bush winning New Jersey as that race tightened. Bush eventually lost by 7%, and that was when he was somewhat popular. His current approval rating in NJ is 37%.

Both candidates are still in the low forties however, and with the amount of mud being slung in this race anything can still happen, but if I was a betting man I would say Menendez pulls this one out by a very slim margin, no more than 52-48.

What?

In today's Washington Post, Shankar Vedantam writes this crap. From The Post:


Antiwar liberals last week got to savor the four most satisfying words in the English language: "I told you so."

This was after a declassified National Intelligence Estimate asserted that the war in Iraq was creating more terrorists than it was eliminating. For millions of people who opposed President Bush's mission in Iraq from the start, this was proof positive that they had been right all along. Yes, they told themselves, we saw this disaster coming.

Only . . . that isn't quite true.

One of the most systematic errors in human perception is what psychologists call hindsight bias -- the feeling, after an event happens, that we knew all along it was going to happen. Across a wide spectrum of issues, from politics to the vagaries of the stock market, experiments show that once people know something, they readily believe they knew it all along.

This is not to say that no one predicted the war in Iraq would go badly, or that the insurgency would last so long. Many did. But where people might once have called such scenarios possible, or even likely, many will now be certain that they had known for sure that this was the only possible outcome.

"Liberals' assertion that they 'knew all along' that the war in Iraq would go badly are guilty of the hindsight bias," agreed Hal Arkes, a psychologist at Ohio State University, who has studied the hindsight bias and how to overcome it. "This is not to say that they didn't always think that the war was a bad idea."

He added: "It is to say that after it was apparent that the war was going badly, they assert that they would have assigned a higher probability to that outcome than they really would have assigned beforehand."


Now, you can believe what you want about hindsight bias, I actually believe it exists although not in the manner that these passages suggest. This seems to suggest that the only people who were right about the Iraq War were in fact, wrong. that is not what has happened in this country. The "liberals" who were right about the outcome of the War are still right today.

While I myself was not writing online prior to the Iraq War, enough of the readers here actually know me and can vouch for the fact that I predicted most of this with the exception that Iraq has not yet partitioned, and the fact that the Hakims and Sadrs haven't had a final showdown for the oil in the South, but hey, the administration likes to tell us that the war is still young, or started in 1982 depending on which idea helps them dispel the bad news of the day.

It is that now, moderates and some conservatives have adopted this view and they are the ones who were initially wrong about the War and have now moved toward the reality of the War and thus adopted these views through hindsight bias. That is why the war is widely unpopular now.

There is one other thing in this article I find interesting. From the Post:


In yet another experiment, Baruch Fischhoff, a psychologist at Carnegie Mellon University and a pioneer in the field of hindsight bias, found that Americans who made estimates about their danger after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks recalled having made much lower estimates of risk a year later, after their fears failed to materialize.

Fischhoff testified about psychological factors in judgment at a meeting of the House intelligence committee last week.

While hindsight bias in the context of the Iraq war was real, the psychologist cautioned in an interview against misuse of the idea -- the argument by many supporters of the Bush administration that it was impossible to know ahead of time how the war would turn out.

"It's wrong for people who should be held accountable to hide behind hindsight bias and say this was totally unpredictable," Fischhoff said.

I'm not really sure why this guy would be testifying before the House Intelligence Committee about hindsight bias and accountability. These people don't hold anybody accountable for anything.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

What Are You Wearing

Well, well, well. It looks like the republican House leadership has been covering up for a known predator of children for over a year. US Rep Mark Foley resigned on Friday after it was reveled that he had sent sexually explicit IMs to several underage male pages. Not content with fucking this country's youth thirty years in the future with massive deficit spending, Foley decided to amp up the process.

There is no doubt in my mind that the entire republican House leadership knew about this. John Boehner basically admitted as much when he said that he had talked to Denny Hastert about it in April and Hastert was taking care of it probably in an attempt to throw Hastert under the bus to move up in the leadership in the next Congress, a statement he later retracted.

Well Mr Boehner, whether you talked to Hastert himself or just his office as you now state, after six months it was plainly obvious that it wasn't being "taken care of" and yet you were silent on the issue. You knew, you did nothing. That makes you complicit in covering this matter up. A leaders job is to, in fact lead, and with regards to this matter you showed none of the qualities one is to expect of a leader. Instead, like an ostrich, you shoved your head in the sand, most likely to try to hold seats in this election. You sir, should also resign.

This is what the republican party has become, partisanship above even protecting children from predators. Never again should these people be allowed to rule us.