Saturday, January 13, 2007

Song of the Day (The Clash, 'London Calling')

The Clash is one of the greatest bands ever. They, in my opinion, are one of the most underrated influences in rock history. London Calling is a seminal album.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Four, Four, Four-Wars-In-One!

Robert Gates, denying there is a civil war in Iraq during today's testimony before the Senate Armed Forces Committee:

"There are four wars going on in Iraq right now, simultaneously: Shia on Shia conflict in the south; sectarian violence, particularly in Baghdad, but also in Diyala and a couple of other provinces; an insurgency; and Al Qaeda."
Apparently, when it walks like a duck and talks like a duck - it's now classified as "some sort of acquatic fowl."

Civil War: "A war between factions or regions of the same country."

Connecticut Democrats: Screwed Again By Lieberman

Earlier in 2006, the blogosphere was patting itself on the back for the Democratic primary victory of Ned Lamont against Ole Holy Joe. A primary victory for Lamont was unexpected, and interjected a whole new sense of vigor to both the campaign, and the blogosphere's efforts to see Lamont elected in the general election.

Lamont's eventual defeat didn't come as a surprise, as many Democrats in Connecticut opted to vote for the candidate they knew for decades and trusted. A weak Republican candidate who, in the end, pushed conservative voters to Holy Joe didn't hurt either.

But Lieberman, who was given the political fight of his life during the election season, promised his constituents, that he would stay true to his values and caucus with the Democrats. He also made a few other promises while on the campaign trail as well.

During an interview with CNN in January 2006, Lieberman said, "Look, the committee, as you said, Soledad, released some documents that our investigation has uncovered that showed specific e- mail warnings of the overwhelming nature of Katrina, the expectation that the levees would be busted and the city would be flooded and remain submerged under water for weeks and months. They went to the White House Situation Room.

We want to know who got it. And look, we all know three days later the president made a comment on television that nobody expected the levees in New Orleans would be broken. How was it possible that the president was not informed of the information that came to the White House earlier? And I think not only the American people deserve that information, the president deserves that information.

So that's -- we need White House cooperation that we aren't getting to be able to tell the story and answer those questions."

Later, Lieberman made a promise to voters to go after the Bush Administration and investigate the grossly mismanaged response to Katrina. Turns out, Lieberman wasn't so much "telling the truth."

From Newsweek:

"Sen. Joe Lieberman, the only Democrat to endorse President Bush’s new plan for Iraq, has quietly backed away from his pre-election demands that the White House turn over potentially embarrassing documents relating to its handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans."

Holy Joe, who seems to believe he's the Most Important Person in the Senate, particularly because he's now best buddies with the President, doesn't seem to understand why he was elected by the people of Connecticut: to maintain his Democratic principles while working with the Administration, not for them.

Active Duty Time Limits Cast Aside by Pentagon

Via Yahoo News:

"The Pentagon has abandoned its limit on the time a citizen-soldier can be required to serve on active duty, officials said Thursday, a major change that reflects an Army stretched thin by longer-than-expected combat in Iraq."
But according to General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, this has absolutely nothing to do with Bush's plan for a troop surge announced just one day before this decision was released to the public.

"Gen. Peter Pace...told reporters the change in reserve policy would have been made anyway because active-duty troops already were getting too little time between their combat tours."
Suuuuuuure.. and I'm the Queen of England.

In November 2005 Representative John Murtha (D-PA) issued a press release that was absolutely skewered by the radical-right, who went on to refer to Murtha as a defeatist and anti-American.

"The future of our military is at risk. Our military and their families are stretched thin. Many say that the Army is broken. Some of our troops are on their third deployment. Recruitment is down, even as our military has lowered its standards. Defense budgets are being cut. Personnel costs are skyrocketing, particularly in health care. Choices will have to be made."
Murtha was right - and the choices being made include ending active duty time limits. Our military must be extremely well off to take such steps, right? ...Right?

Stupid People Say Stupid Things

I am "no expert on military matters." - Defense Secretary Robert Gates yesterday before the House Armed Services Committee.

What? Another expert in Arabian Horses?

Let the Children Lead the Way...

My three year-old niece Cierra last night, voicing her opinion of Bush's plan to escalate the war.

Do you really care?



Eggman Drudge has featured dubyah's crying eyes since yesterday. Yes, I know Drudge is a propagandist, a hack, a two-bit wanna-be pundit, etc. But, does ANYONE really care that dubyah is crying over a Marine that lost his life over the very facade of a war that dubyah started and demands to prolong? Why doesn't Drudge feature the mother's crying eyes? Why doesn't Drudge put a picture of the Marine that died for dubyah's unnecessary war? Shills like Drudge always put party ahead of country. This is more proof.

Breaking News: Blast rips through U.S. embassy compound in Athens

From Yahoo!

An explosion ripped through the U.S. embassy compound in central Athens on Friday, police said.

It was not clear what caused the blast and there was no immediate word on whether there were any casualties.

"We are investigating the cause of the explosion. We are not ruling anything out," a senior police official told Reuters.

Dozens of police cars surrounded the embassy and police cordoned off all roads in the area, including a major boulevard in front of the mission. The senior police official did not say whether the explosion was set off inside the compound or whether something might have been thrown into the embassy grounds.

Police officials at the scene said that whatever caused the explosion damaged the official embassy sign outside the mission, but there was little other indication of the extent of damage inside.

The tightly guarded building is surrounded by a 3-meter (9-feet)-high steel fence. Guards are posted at every entrance and at street corners around it.

Embassy officials could not immediately be reached for comment. Local residents called in to state television saying they had felt the explosion, which shattered some windows.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Best. News. Ever.

Melissa Lafsky over at Huffington Post is reporting that The Daily Show's Jon Stewart (*sigh*) is in talks with The Washington Post to join their website as a correspondent during the 2008 election season.

Seriously. Stewart will bring honesty, integrity, truth and entertainment to The Washington Post, which it is sorely lacking.

Bush's Speech Has Opposite Effect of What Was Intended

President Bush's speech aired throughout the world last night, as in desperation he attempted to build support for a plan that faced a 61% disapproval rate before it was even publicly announced.

The intended effect of the speech, to gain the popular support of the American people, failed miserably.

MSNBC is reporting that a new AP-Ipsos poll has been released, which finds a full 70% of Americans are opposed to sending further troops into Iraq, 9% more than before his speech aired.

"Fully 70 percent of Americans oppose sending more troops, and a like number don't think such an increase would help stabilize the situation there."
Other findings in this poll?

Only 35% feel it was right to go to war with Iraq in the first place, the lowest rating AP has seen when asking this question, and a complete 180 from two years ago when 2/3 of Americans felt it was the right decision.

And in one of the saddest commentaries on the war, a full 60% of Americans "think it is unlikely that a stable, democratic Iraqi government will be established."

A poll conducted by The Washington Post/ABC News found similar numbers, although they were closer to the original numbers indicated before the speech.

"The findings of the survey, conducted after Bush's primetime speech, represent an initial rebuke to the White House goal of generating additional public support for the mission in Iraq. The poll found that 61 percent of Americans oppose sending more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq, with 52 percent saying they strongly oppose the plan. Just 36 percent said they back the president's new proposal."
Heck of a job Bushie!

GOP "Flip Flop" on the Filibuster

In 2005, Senate Republicans caused a raucus when Democrats attempted to filibuster several of President Bush's judicial nominees. Shortly after Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, William Rehenquist, passed away, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, assuming Democrats would filibuster any appointment made by President Bush, labeled the use of the filibuster as a "formula for tyranny by the minority."

During the debacle, many Republicans agreed with Frist's decision to invoke the "nuclear option", including former Senators Rick Santorum and George Allen, as well current Senators Lamar Alexander, Thad Cochran, along with many others.

But how quickly things change when the Republicans are voted into the minority.

From The Washington Post:

"President Bush's decision to deploy 21,500 additional troops to Iraq drew fierce opposition Thursday from congressional Democrats, but the Senate's top Republican threatened a filibuster to block any legislation expressing disapproval of the plan."

Back when the debate to end the filibuster was raging, Democrats (including Harry Reid) made the point that this "nuclear option" would one day come back to bite them in the foot, had they gone through with it. Apparently, the entire debate was nothing more than rhetoric, since one of the first action's of the minority Republicans is to revert to using the filibuster to achieve their own agenda. Does this qualify as "tyranny by the minority?"

UPDATE: According to right-wing bloggers, McConnell has stated he fully expects the support of Holy Joe in the filibuster. So much for caucusing with the Democrats.

US Storms Iranian Embassy in Abril, Iraq

During last night's "speech of speeches", President Bush laid out his "new way forward" in Iraq, which in a disturbing turn of events, included threatening the nations of Iran and Syria.

"Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity – and stabilizing the region in the face of the extremist challenge. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.

We are also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. We will expand intelligence sharing – and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies. We will work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to help them resolve problems along their border. And we will work with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating the region."
These direct threats fall in line with a Power Point presentation released by the US government yesterday as a companion piece to Bush's speech.

In the presentation, the White House explains the "new way forward", and includes "Key strategy shifts." These "shifts" include "increas[ing] operations against Iranian actors" and "Deployment of security assets to the Gulf region." Conspicuously missing from these "shifts" is any sort of diplomatic plan to work with Iran and Syria (as the Iraq Study Group suggested), which according to senior administration officials, "was not accidental."

With the revelation that diplomacy with Iran seems to be on the brink of coming to an end, arrives the news that United States forces raided the Iranian Embassy (considered to be Iranian soil) in Iraq last night.

"US forces accompanied by military helicopters on Thursday stormed the Iranian consulate in the Kurdish city of Arbil, arresting five Iranian employees, a Kurdish security source said. In addition to the arrests, US troops confiscated documents and computers, while Kurdish security authorities cordoned off all roads leading to the building."
The whereabouts of the 5 arrested are currently unknown.

President Bush, in less than 8 hours, has positioned the United States on the brink of war with Iran without any Congressional or popular support, the necessary troops to engage in such action, nor the resources necessary to fight a nation with a conventional army that would surely respond with force.

If Bush is on national television admitting mistakes, and attempting to find a way in which we can win the war we're already in - what makes him, or anyone else for that matter, believe the United States can handle another front.

If Bush really wants to make amends for mistakes already made, the first step is to not repeat them all over again.

Condi Rice Loves Her Guys On Fox "News"!



It is no surprise to anyone that Fox "News" is a right-wing propaganda outfit. They clearly side with and defend the GOP [failing] agenda. Their right-wing bias is as obvious as the sky is blue.

We already know that Dead-Eye Dick demands that all TVs in his presence must be tuned to Fox. So it seems that Condi is also a Kool-Aide drinking Fox wing-nut as well. She let her expected media preference be known via an open microphone between morning television interviews. Condi was heard saying, "My Fox guys, I love every single one of them."

I bet Hannity, Bill-O, Gibby et al. are filled with a fuzzy feeling this morning.


Update (2:30 PM ET): Wing-nut paranoia alert (I need a Drudge-like siren)!

The irrelevant, discredited, and anchor baby Michelle Malkin weighs in with her feeble attempt at comedy but with a rather successful paranoid rant:
Spruiell thinks it’s funny how mics keep “accidentally” getting left on around Bush and Condi, followed by the recordings “accidentally” making their way into the media. Not ha-ha funny, like a clown. The other kind of funny.
Michelle's intended "liberal media conspiracy" of “accidentally” leaving Condi's mic *is* ha-ha funny like a clown. Thanks Chuckles!

Olbermann: A Look Back At Bush's Missteps and Credibility



Olbermann: President Bush makes no secret of his distaste for looking backward, for assessing past results. But in our third story on the Countdown tonight… too bad. Any meaningful assessment of the president's next step in Iraq must consider his steps and missteps so far.

So, let's look at the record:


Before Mr. Bush was elected, he said he was no nation-builder; nation-building was wrong for America. Now, he says it is vital for America.

He said he would never put U.S. troops under foreign control. Today, U.S. troops observe Iraqi restrictions. He told us about WMDs. Mobile labs. Secret sources. Aluminum tubing. Yellow-cake.

He has told us the war is necessary…Because Saddam was a threat; Because of 9/11; Osama bin Laden; al Qaeda; Because of terrorism in general; To liberate Iraq; To spread freedom; To spread democracy; To keep the oil out of the hands of terrorist-controlled states; Because this was a guy who tried to kill his dad.

In pushing for and prosecuting this war, he passed on chances to get Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Muqtada al-Sadr, Osama bin Laden.

He sent in fewer troops than recommended. He disbanded the Iraqi Army, and "de-Baathified" the government. He short-changed Iraqi training.

He did not plan for widespread looting, nor the explosion of sectarian violence.

He sent in troops without life-saving equipment.

Gave jobs to foreign contractors, not the Iraqis.

Staffed U.S positions there, based on partisanship, not professionalism.

We learned that "America had prevailed", "Mission Accomplished", the resistance was in its "last throes".

He has said more troops were not necessary, and more troops are necessary, and that it's up to the generals, and removed some of the generals who said more troops would be necessary.

He told us of turning points: The fall of Baghdad, the death of Uday and Qusay, the capture of Saddam, a provisional government,the trial of Saddam, a charter, a constitution, an Iraqi government, ¤elections, purple fingers, a new government, the death of Saddam.

We would be greeted as liberators, with flowers.

As they stood up–we would stand down, we would stay the course, we were never 'stay the course',

The enemy was al Qaeda, was foreigners, terrorists, Baathists.

The war would pay for itself, it would cost 1-point-7 billion dollars, 100 billion, 400 billion, half a trillion dollars.

And after all of that, today it is his credibility versus that of generals, diplomats, allies, Republicans, Democrats, the Iraq Study Group, past presidents, voters last November, and the majority of the American people.

h/t to C&L

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bush Speak: Subtly Threatening War With Iran and Syria

In what was hailed as one of the most important speeches of his presidency, George Bush almost declared he'd be sending more troops to Iraq, announced a new bipartisan commission led by Senator Joe Lieberman, and almost declared war on Iran and Syria.

As was predicted, Bush did commit a further 21,500 troops to Iraq, while basically giving away his play book to the insurgents, detailing where these troops will be used, and the new command structure.

"The vast majority of them – five brigades – will be deployed to Baghdad. These troops will work alongside Iraqi units and be embedded in their formations. Our troops will have a well-defined mission: to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods, to help them protect the local population, and to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security that Baghdad needs."
Bush also announced a new bipartisan panel that will advise the administration, and act as a channel to the Congress. The most prominent Democrat on this panel? Holy Joe:

"Acting on the good advice of Senator Joe Lieberman and other key members of Congress, we will form a new, bipartisan working group that will help us come together across party lines to win the war on terror. This group will meet regularly with me and my Administration, and it will help strengthen our relationship with Congress."
Also, Bush continued to show that he is "The Decider", and backtracked on his promise to actually work with the new Congress:

"In the days ahead, my national security team will fully brief Congress on our new strategy. If Members have improvements that can be made, we will make them. If circumstances change, we will adjust. Honorable people have different views, and they will voice their criticisms. It is fair to hold our views up to scrutiny. And all involved have a responsibility to explain how the path they propose would be more likely to succeed."
In what may have been the most odd moment of the speech, it appeared Bush virtually declared war on Iran and Syria:

"Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity – and stabilizing the region in the face of the extremist challenge. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.

We are also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. We will expand intelligence sharing – and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies. We will work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to help them resolve problems along their border. And we will work with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating the region."
The speech was mostly a rehashing of the same rhetoric we've heard for the past 4 years, with only a few slight differences.

There will be no bounce for Dubyah tomorrow, and this speech may have solidified his "lame duck" status.

Reminder: Bush to Speak at 9 pm EST

Just a reminder that Bush will be speaking tonight at 9 pm, and I should be posting during his speech.

We all know he'll be talking about the "troop surge" and escalating the war, but remember, this is what he's really saying to the American people:

Our Brave Troops: Where They Came From



Other graphics:
Age
Deaths in a day
Families
Frequency
Gender
Home of record
Race
Service and component
Type and cause of death
Where they came from
Where they died
Paygrade

H/T to C&L

Yale barbershop group beaten up in San Francisco

So, members of a cappella group from Yale University were ambushed and beat up following their performance at a party in San Francisco. Apparently their rendition of the 'Star Spangled Banner' sparked taunts and threats from fellow party goers. When the group left the party they were attacked by dozens of assailants which resulted in scrapes, black eyes and concussions.

Oh hell, here it comes....the storm is the horizon. It will only be a matter of time before the right-wing nuts pick up this story and run like rabid sheep. I can already hear the "San Fransisco Values" rhetoric coming from the wing-nuts. I'm sure for good measure they will claim "San Fransisco hates America" because the 'Star Spangled Banner' supposedly sparked taunts and the eventual attack.

My question is, "Was it an insulting rendition that caused such a response"?

Nonetheless, set your egg-timers for the fake outrage from the right. Anyone taking bets?

Update (4:00 PM ET):
So, it appears that the attack was thug-like and homophobic in nature and had nothing to do with some trumped up "leftist Anti-Americanism". Will the right wing-nuts claim the Yale kids (Comment: code word for "liberal") had it coming for wearing "unmanly" clothing and singly in an "unmanly" manner? From SFGate.com

The attack happens outside the home of two prominent San Francisco police officers, Reno Rapagnani and his wife, Leanna Dawydiak. Rapagnani's 19-year-old daughter was hosting a New Year's Eve party at the family's Richmond District home for the Baker's Dozen, who were in town as part of a West Coast tour.

The 16 singers showed up late to the party wearing preppy sport jackets and ties, and launched into "The Star-Spangled Banner." A couple of uninvited guests started mocking them, and allegedly the words "faggot" and "homo" were tossed -- and so were a couple of punches.

The loud noise drew relatives from next door, who promptly ordered the house cleared. The Yale kids, most of whom were staying with a family a block away, began heading home.

Witnesses said one of the uninvited guests pulled out his cell phone and said, "I'm 20 deep. My boys are coming." As the Yale kids heading home, they barely made it around the corner when they were intercepted by a van full of young men.

"They were surrounded, then tripped -- and when they were on the ground, they were kicked," Rapagnani said.
Photos of the injuries.


Update (4:15 PM ET):
I love being right!
  1. Comment by Blackiswhite
    Nice to know the hate America first crowd is alive and well in the People’s Republic of Kaliforniweird.

  2. Comment by J Nihart
    I wonder how many lib-posters can even sing the “Star Spangled Banner” or even recite the “Pledge of allegiance” without losing it??????


And again!!!!!
Tolerant Lefties Beat “Homos” And “Faggots” In San Francisco.

The ever-tolerant left of Pelosiville attacked a group of college students for singing the Star-Spangled Banner.

Liberalism at its best, San Francisco style. Show any patriotism and suffer the consequences. Of course the Left will disavow the culprits and say that since the leader is from a prominient family they must be conservatives all the while ignoring that the prominent family tag applies to Nancy Pelosi and every other limosine liberal in the U.S.

MSNBC Headline: Bush To Admit Iraq Mistakes

"President Bush will tell the nation Wednesday night he will send more than 21,500 additional American forces to Iraq, acknowledging that it was a mistake earlier not to have more American and Iraqi troops fighting the war."
Another example of Bush fixing a mistake, by making another.

The article continues by showing us Bush's other line of defense, blame the Iraqis:

"Seeking support for a retooled strategy to win support for the unpopular war, the president will acknowledge that the rules of engagement were flawed because certain neighborhoods in Baghdad were put off limits by the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, White House counselor Dan Bartlett said. 'Military operations sometimes were handcuffed by political interference by the Iraqi leadership,' he said.

Bartlett also said the Iraqis had failed to deliver on earlier pledges to commit more of their troops. 'They (the Iraqis) are going to have more boots on the ground,' he said. 'They’re going to be the ones doing the knocking on the door.'"
So to sum up, Bush's plan tonight is to put another 21,500 of our troops into harms way, blame the Iraqis for all of our problems (rather than his own incompetent leadership), and basically admit to America and the rest of the world that we don't care what the Iraqi puppet regime has to say because, "Whateva, I do what I want!"

Ladies and Gentlemen, our President of the United States:

Richard Cohen: Bush Remains in Iraq Because No One Can Prove We Can't Win

Richard Cohen, who has a murky (at best) history within the liberal blogosphere, has an excellent Op-ed in today's Washington Post discussing Bush's "troop surge." Cohen, in an attempt to explain why Bush won't listen to anyone but himself, hits the nail on the head.

"In Iowa, during the 2000 presidential campaign, Bush answered a question about why he so ardently supported capital punishment. He offered a number of reasons, but one -- deterrence -- prompted me to raise my hand and ask a follow-up: But, sir, there is absolutely no evidence that capital punishment is a deterrent. To my astonishment, Bush conceded my point: 'You're right. I can't prove it. But neither can the other side prove it's not.'

Ponder that answer for a while. What it means is not just that Bush embraced a famously irrational way of thinking -- the logical fallacy often called 'proving a negative' -- but in this case he used it to overwhelm all evidence to the contrary. Once you know this, you can appreciate what Bush means when he calls himself The Decider. It means that evidence, arguments, proof and logic cannot be conclusive when, as is often the case, the president proceeds on what can be called a matter of faith. I am not referring here just to religion -- although surely that is paramount to Bush -- but to supremely secular matters of state: when to go to war, why go to war and when to remain at war. In Bush's mind, the bad guys will lose and the good guys will win and Iraq will become a democracy. This will happen not because Bush can prove that it will but because nobody can prove it won't.

This is why we are in Iraq today and why we are going to stay there. All this time, it did not matter that Iraq was going to hell, or that the terrorists were never there in the first place, or that weapons of mass destruction were never present, or that Saddam Hussein had no role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, or that democracy for Iraq was never really in the cards -- none of that mattered, because nobody could prove otherwise. All the things Bush believed were true because you, rational fool that you are, could not prove them false."

This is precisely why we're in Iraq, and why we're going to continue being there until some other President in years to come decides enough is enough and brings our men and women home.

Bravo to Richard Cohen for so succinctly explaining Bush and all of his failed policies.

Democrats Forcing Republicans to Go On Record Concerning Troop Surge

As we reported yesterday, only 36% of Americans support a troop surge in Iraq, while 61% are against it.

Now the Senate Democrats have a plan to make sure the American people know where their Representatives, particularly Republicans, stand on the issue too. From The New York Times:

"Democratic leaders said Tuesday that they intended to hold symbolic votes in the House and Senate on President Bush’s plan to send more troops to Baghdad, forcing Republicans to take a stand on the proposal and seeking to isolate the president politically over his handling of the war."
The vote will be held early next week.

This is politics at its best. Finally, the Democrats have the opportunity to put Republicans on the spot and make voters understand just where their Representative stands on important issues. This same tactic was used during last night's vote on the National Security bill (HR1) implementing 9/11 Commission recommendations. Imagine in 2008 Democrats being able to tell constituents that their Republican representative was against tighter screening at our ports.

The tables have turned, and thus far, Democrats are playing the game just right, while actually doing something that puts the American people first.

News Roundup

*Dems ready to push Medicare negotiations

*U.S. strike kills suspect in '98 embassy bombings

*Va. school board fires ‘butt-printing’ art teacher

*Big 3 Automakers bet on comeback of their midsize sedans

*Univ of Mich will no longer consider affirmative action for admitting students

* Pelosi kicks butts near House floor: No smoking

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Song of the Day (ZZ Top, 'La Grange')

ZZ Top, there's at least one great thing that came out of Texas.

House of Representatives Passes Comprehensive Security Bill Implementing 9/11 Commission Recommendations

The House of Representatives has just passed a comprehensive national security bill implementing 9/11 Commission recommendations, by a vote of 299-128.

"Patterned on recommendations of the commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks, the far-reaching measure includes commitments for inspection of all cargo carried aboard passenger aircraft and on ships bound for the United States."

68 Republicans crossed party lines and voted with Democrats to pass the bill, with 8 Representatives not voting. You can see how your Representative voted here.

In-depth List of Positions on Iraq Troop Surge

The "liberal media" has been discussing the Bush/McCain doctrine of increasing troop levels much of this week, with Fox specifically claiming the support for said doctrine falls along party lines.

Unfortunately, this claim turns out to be false. Below, find a comprehensive list of positions the top politicians have staked out on escalation.

For
the Bush Administration
John McCain
Joe Lieberman
Mitch McConnell
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC)
Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO)
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ)
Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX)


Against
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki
Oliver North
“Nearly All” troops on the ground
61% of Americans
No. 2 Gen in Iraq: Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno
Tony Blair
Democratic House/Senate Leadership (Pelosi, Reid, Hoyer)
Chuck Hagel (R – NE)
John Ensign – (R – NV)
Specter
Heather Wilson (R – NM)
Norm Coleman (R – MN)
Kit Bond (R – MO)
Sen. Gordon Smith (R – OR)
Susan Collins (R – ME)
Olympia Snowe (R – ME)
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO)
Rep. John Murtha (D-PA)
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT)
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)
Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA)
Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)
Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA)
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE)
Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) *
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Gen. Abizaid
Gen. Casey
John Edwards
Wesley Clark
Ted Kennedy
Dennis Kucinich
Colin Powell
John Kerry
Russ Feingold
Tom Vilsack
Bill Richardson
Sen. John Warner (R-VA)
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)

Reserving Judgment
John Ensign – (R – NV)
Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN)
Trent Lott (R – MS)
Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL)
Sen. Saxby Chamblis (R-GA)
Sen. John Sununu (R-NH)
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Rep. Bill Young (R-FL)
Rep. John McHugh (R-NY)
Rep. Peter King (R-NY)
Sen. John Tester (D-MT)
Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL)
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO)
Chuck Grassley (R – IA)
John A. Boehner (R – OH)

* Levin is in favor of sending more troops as long as Bush agrees to begin withdrawing in 6 months.

Would You Like Some Hate with That Cup of Coffee?

Vicious, racist, anti-American pundit Glenn Beck will be joining "Good Morning America" as a regular commentator:

"'Glenn is a leading cultural commentator with a distinct voice,' said Jim Murphy, senior executive producer of 'Good Morning America.' 'At times, he is the perfect guest for many of the talk topics we cover on morning news programs.'"

Perfect guest? Sure, if "Good Morning America" has bought a time machine and plans on airing during Hitler's Nazi Germany.

Make sure you spiff up that brown shirt, Beck!

61% of Americans Oppose "Surge"

In line with the good doctor's post just moments ago, it's important to note where American sentiment lies on the Bush/McCain/Lieberman strategy of escalation.

Democrats are not merely acting as obstructionists when they work to deny Bush the opportunity to sacrifice upwards of another 20,000 American soldiers lives. According to a USA Today/Gallup poll released today, only 36% of Americans are in favor of escalation, while a staggering 61% majority oppose this action.

This coincides closely with the sentiment of our troops on the ground. Right-wing commentator and usual Bush supporter, Oliver North noted just yesterday that "nearly all" US troops are opposed to the escalation as well.

Bush may not listen to the voice of the American people, but it is finally being heard loud and clear on the Capital.

Four Bush court nominees pull out

Conceding to the Senate's new Democratic majority, four of Bush's appeals court appointees have asked to have their nominations withdrawn. William Haynes, William Myers and Terrence Boyle had all decided to abandon their quest for confirmation. Last month Michael Wallace also asked Bush to withdraw his nomination.

It's a shame Bush has been allowed to fill the courts with wing-nut extremist judges for the last 6 years. At least now the Democratic majority can put a stop to this madness.

Ted Kennedy (D-Mass) Introduces Bill Requiring Congressional Approval for President's Troop 'Surge'

From ABC News:

U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., laid down the gauntlet today, making the first formal effort to block President Bush's expected plan for a surge of American troops in Iraq with a bill that would block funding for the additional soldiers and offering clear comparisons to Vietnam.

Kennedy called Iraq a "quagmire" and drew repeated comparisons to Vietnam, a tactic that Democrats are likely to repeat in the coming months.
This is a brilliant maneuver coming 24 hours before Bush attempts to sell his latest Iraq "plan" to the American people. Democrats need to stay on the offensive and continue to out flank Bush and the GOP minority.

Updated (4:45 PM ET )
H/T to C&L for video:



Santorum Joins Think Tank

Former Senator Rick Santorum has joined the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think tank based in Washington, DC. where he will direct a program called "America's Enemies."

The new job will work well for Santorum, until of course, he realizes he's #4 on the list.

Bush Administration Ready to Start Answering Questions?

Tony Snow during yesterday's press conference on what the American people are thinking about President Bush's impending announcement on "the way forward" in Iraq:

"I think what you have to do is to take a look at the whole package and how it fits together, because I think Americans are concerned -- they want to know questions that are often asked: What does it mean -- what is your military objective, precisely what is it? How do the Iraqis fit in? How does the international community fit in? How does it fit in with the war on terror?

So a lot of those key questions I think are worth laying out for the American people. And, furthermore, even within the speech to the nation, there are going to be a lot of details that you're going to be interested in that we're not going to have time -- we're going to spend a lot of time, whatever time you need briefing you on background on that, as well."

So, after 4 years in Iraq, the Administration might actually begin answering these questions?

HaloScan Installed

I just installed HaloScan. However, after it was installed all existing comments were deleted. I apologize for this. I didn't expect this to happen. We may be able to recover the old comments and import them.

Stupid People Say Stupid Things

Peter King on implementing the 9/11 Commission recommendations:

"To make it part of a 100-hour show shamefully trivializes an issue of life or death."

And to ignore the "issue of life or death" for the past 5 years is really something to be proud of, huh?

Reagan Aide Compares Bush to Hitler; Blasts Iraq War

Paul Craig Roberts, an economist and former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during the Reagan Administration, eviscerates President Bush's war policy while comparing him to Hitler in an article published on Antiwar.com today.

Roberts opens the piece by exquisitely outlining what Americans voted for in the November mid-term elections.

"The new year began on the hopeful note that Bush’s illegal war in Iraq would soon be ended. The repudiation of Bush and the Republicans in the November congressional election, the Iraq Study Group’s unanimous conclusion that the US needs to remove its troops from the sectarian strife Bush set in motion by invading Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld’s removal as defense secretary and his replacement by Iraqi Study Group member Robert Gates, the thumbs down given by America’s top military commanders to the neoconservatives’ plan to send more US troops to Iraq, and new polls of the US military that reveal that only a minority supports Bush’s Iraq policy, thus giving new meaning to 'support the troops,' are all indications that Americans have shed the stupor that has given carte blanche to George W. Bush."

Roberts uses this lead to explain that Bush is planning on doing the exact opposite of what the American people demanded in the election - downgrading the number of troops in Iraq, rather than escalating the conflict. He continues to explain that not only do the American people not support this option, but neither do the commanders and experts.

"If Bush ignores US military commanders and expert opinion and accepts the surge option advanced by the delusional neocon allies of Israel’s right-wing Likud Party, US troops will be engulfed in general insurgency. This is why General John Abizaid resigned on January 5. He wants no part of the Republican Party’s sacrifice of US soldiers to sectarian conflict."

Later in the article, Roberts outright compares Bush to Hitler for his delusional tactics and for blaming his defeats on military commanders, rather than taking responsibility for a failed policy.

"Bush is like Hitler. He blames defeats on his military commanders, not on his own insane policy. Like Hitler, he protects himself from reality with delusion. In his last hours, Hitler was ordering non-existent German armies to drive the Russians from Berlin."
It will be interesting to see if the rabid right attempts to spin Robert's words and tie him in with the far-left, of which he is certainly not a part.

The article not only attacks the Bush policy in Iraq, but explains exactly what "the war on terror" is really about, and its roots in neo-conservatism. The full article can be read here.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Priceless

Gators dominate the buckeyes. 2007 just gets better and better....

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Looks Like Bush is REALLY "Lawyering Up"

With the resignation of Supreme Court Just...er, White House Counsel Harriet Meyers, White House advsiors told President Bush he needed to "lawyer up" to face the newly elected Democractic Congress.

Looks like he took those words to heart. According to Time:

"In a signal that he could be open to working more closely with congressional Democrats rather than stonewalling, President Bush plans to name the widely respected Republican lawyer Fred F. Fielding as White House counsel this week..."
Hiring Fred F. Fielding really is the equivalent of bringing in the "big guns."

Also from the Time article:

"Fielding was Counsel to President Reagan from 1981 to 1986, deputy White House counsel from 1972 to 1974 and associate White House counsel from 1970 to 1972."

Sooooo, basically Bush is expecting the worst, and has brought in a lawyer that was involved in representing Ronald Reagan during the Iran Contra Affair, and Richard Nixon during Watergate. Sounds like "The Decider" is shaking in his Gucci cowboy boots.

Outside of Fielding's experience in other corrupt administrations, Fielding is a partner in Wiley Rein & Fielding, a law firm based in Washington DC that has had it's hand in helping the spread of fake news.

According to Sourcewatch:

"In October 2006, Wiley Rein & Fielding law and lobby firm filed an appeal with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), on behalf of the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA), asking the agency to halt its investigation of 77 television stations found to have aired video news releases (VNRs) without disclosure."

Sounds like Mr. Fielding will fit nicely into the current criminal administration. Welcome aboard.

Breaking News: U.S. Air strikes in Somalia

MSNBC TV is reporting USAF AC-130 Air strikes against suspected Al-Qaeda operations in Somalia. A naval carrier group is heading to the region for support.

Updates as they come...

Updated (11:03 pm ET):
From the AP

The U.S. military launched a strike against several suspected members of al-Qaida in Somalia, a government official said Monday night.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the operation's sensitivity, said at least one AC-130 gunship was used in the attack.

CNN, NBC and CBS first reported the military action. Citing Pentagon officials, CBS said the targets included the senior al-Qaida leader in East Africa and an al-Qaida operative wanted for his involvement in the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

U.S. Navy vessels have been deployed off the coast of Somalia to make sure al-Qaida or allied jihadists don't escape the country, the State Department said last Wednesday.

A weird day: A series of coincidences?

To recap, we had the NYC odor, dead birds shut down Austin, explosives detected in the Port of Miami, and now a large plume of white smoke billowing from a tanker-truck in Sugar Land, Texas. hmmmmmmm.

Developing....[my ode to Drudge]

Update (6:15 pm ET):
*Port of Miami bomb scare was false alarm

*Warnings in Sugar Land, Texas lifted after plant incident

*Streets in Texas' Austin reopen after dead bird scare

*NYC Odor Not Dangerous

Cargo Tests Positive for Explosives in Port of Miami

CNN is currently reporting that cargo in the Port of Miami has tested positive for C-4 Plastique. This comes just one day after 3 suspicious individuals were detained shortly at the very same port:

"Officials initially said that the three men were caught trying to slip past a security checkpoint in a cargo truck on Sunday and that the driver had said he was alone. Federal investigators and a bomb squad were called in, and authorities eventually determined the freight was harmless.

Even though Miami-Dade Police said the problem was a miscommunication, driver Amar Al Hadad, 28, was still charged with resisting an officer without violence, and his passengers, Hussain Al Hadad, 24, and Hassan El Sayed, 20, were charged with trespassing."

Most charges were subsequentlly dropped against the three.

One of the 9/11 Commission's largest suggestions was to increase funding for port security, which the GOP has consistently refused to do.

Thank god for the Democratically-controlled Congress:

"We'll go them one better on port security, where we have even tougher proposals to screen 100 percent of the containers long before they reach U.S. shores" - Nancy Pelosi, 12/2006.

Just one more check in the "Democrats were right" column.

Spreading Rumors...

Michael Crowley reporting for TNR this weekend that John Negroponte might be moving to the State Department to replace Condi Rice, who may be replacing the "ailing" Dick Cheney.

"...here's a new rumor straight from an insidious 'Washington cocktail party': John Negroponte is becoming deputy secretary of state as preparation to replace Condi Rice when she leaves her job. Why would she do that? To take over for an 'ailing' Dick Cheney as vice president."

"Ailing"? Sounds like someone has a case of Investigatus Democrattitis.

Downtown Austin closed after dead birds found

So, we have the gas odor news in New York and now this bizarre event in Austin where 10 blocks in downtown Austin were shut down today after officials found dozens of dead birds in the area.

Could Pat Robertson actually be correct with his wing-nut extraordinaire prediction of Armageddon for 2007?

/sarcasm


Developing Story: Gas Odor Spreading Throughout Manhattan

CNN and New York news outlets are reporting a strong natural gas smell throughout Manhattan and northern New Jersey. At this time, the source of the smell has yet to be found:

"Con Edison, the Fire Department and multiple city agencies are investigating the source of a natural gas odor throughout Manhattan this morning.

Hundreds of reports of the smell began flooding the 911 system around 9 a.m. in parts of Manhattan and New Jersey."


Some buildings throughout the city have being evacuated, and "PATH train service has been suspended between Hoboken and 33rd Street and service between Journal Square and 33rd Street."

Updates to come.

Patrick Leahy to Introduce War Profiteering Prevention Act

I spent much of this year working with Brave New Films providing research assistance for "Iraq for Sale", and excellent film that shows exactly what the Bush Administration is allowing corporations and contactors to get away with in Iraq.

Throughout the research stage, one name continuously popped up - someone that was striving to make sure these contractors were held accountable for putting our soldiers in harm's way: Senator Patrick Leahy (D - VT). During the 109th Congress, Leahy attempted to introduce legislation to provide oversight and strict penalties for contractors in Iraq that are ripping off the American people, while hurting the troops. The Republican controlled Congress shot him down more than once.

With the Democratic majority taking over Congress last week, Patrick Leahy, now head of the Senate Judiciary Committee introduced the "War Profiteering Prevention Act of 2007":

"Many Democratic Senators joined Leahy in reintroducing a bill creating criminal penalties for war profiteers and cheats who would exploit taxpayer-funded efforts in Iraq and elsewhere around the world. The War Profiteering Prevention Act of 2007 builds on earlier efforts by Leahy, who is also a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, to crack down on this type of rampant fraud and abuse. It is similar to legislation Leahy introduced in 2003, that was subsequently passed by the Senate as part of an appropriations bill but later torpedoed by the White House and the House Republican leadership, which stripped out the Leahy provision."

According to a press release issued by Leahy, the bill will include the following provisions:

"§ Criminalizes war profiteering, which is defined as materially overvaluing any good or service with the specific intent to excessively profit from the war and relief or reconstruction activities

§ Statute would strengthen the tools available to federal prosecutors to combat war profiteering by providing clear authority for the Government to seek criminal penalties and to recover excessive profits for war profiteering overseas.

§ Prohibits any fraud against the United States, Iraq, or any other foreign country involving a contract for the provision of any goods or services in connection with a war, military action, or relief or reconstruction activities.

§ Subjects violators to up to 20 years imprisonment and a fine not to exceed the greater of $1,000,000 or twice the amount of any illegal gross profits, or both.

§ Prohibits making a false statement in any matter involving a contract for the provision of any goods or services in connection with a war, military action, or relief or reconstruction activities.

§ Subjects violators of this provision to up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine not to exceed the greater of $1,000,000, or twice the amount of any illegal gross profits, or both.

§ Creates extraterritorial jurisdiction over offenses committed overseas, and covers any person in the United States or abroad who violates its provisions."


After a year of reading stories about what these contractors did to our troops and our nation, it's an amazing feeling to finally see something done about it. Director Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films are owed a huge debt for getting this story out to the American people, and making it an issue everyone can understand and relate to.

As for Leahy, after his 2004 dust up with Vice President and Halliburton lover, Dick Cheney, he can finally respond back with the same phrase used by Cheney, "go fuck yourself!"

Song of The Day (NIN, 'The Becoming')

Sunday, January 7, 2007

News Roundup

*Dems look at tax cuts for middle class

*47-year library late fee: $171

*USC Kicker Found Dead: No Evidence of Suicide

*FBI arrests three at Port of Miami: Possible terrorism link

*13-year-old graffiti artist killed by train

What America Is Thinking

H/T to Jesus' General:


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Sources:
CBS News Poll 1/4/07
AP/AOL Poll 12/31/06


U.S. Building New Nukes

From the NYT

The Bush administration is expected to announce next week a major step forward in the building of the country’s first new nuclear warhead in nearly two decades. It will propose combining elements of competing designs from two weapons laboratories in an approach that some experts argue is untested and risky.

The new weapon would not add to but replace the nation’s existing arsenal of aging warheads, with a new generation meant to be sturdier, more reliable, safer from accidental detonation and more secure from theft by terrorists.
I'm sure the wing-nuts on Fox and AM hate radio are dancing with joy and drooling with lust over the thought of the U.S. building new nukes.

Greast Playoff Ending Ever?

As a Redskins fan, the ending of last night's playoff game may be one of the greatest ever. Here's to Tony Romo!