Prosecute the torture.

February 25, 2005

Opening Shot In The Campaign Against Santorum

The race against Lil Ricky "Man on Dog Action" Santorum is on with a vengeance with Chuck Pennacchio's "rather large blog ad buy" yesterday which claims to provide "more than 3 million impressions a day."

If you went to "Daily Kos, The Raw Story, AmericaBlog, Atrios (and other blogs) yesterday, you couldn't help but notice the following ad:

Notice the ad uses the red "X" found in
USA Next's anti AARP web ad which was
widely spoofed all over the Internet.


The ad links to Chuck Pennacchio's website where you'll find a contest to create a social security BlogAd that will run in place of the above ad on the same sites mentioned above. Pennacchio provides the video clips to create the ad including the clueless young Repugs chanting:

“Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Social Security has got to go.”

The website also features its own blog as well as a special section for bloggers to link up their blog to Pennacchio's campaign.

Either Pennacchio's campaign is the most web savvy campaign since Howard Dean's run for president, or the bloggers have truly arrived. (or maybe it's a little of both).

What say any of you bloggers and blog readers about this development?

By the way, Pittsburgh's own Fester's Place received a nice link in the Daily KOS diary announcing the BlogAd contest.

February 24, 2005

Are you an FOB?

FOB (Friends of Bill) was a nickname for close insider supporters of Bill Clinton. If you're a FOBP (Friend of Bill Peduto) or a POP (People for Peduto) you should vote in today's KQV listener poll (The question is: if the mayoral primary election was today, who would you vote for?).

Call or click today to vote:
Call 412-333-9190
Click here for the KQV online poll

And just in case you hadn't heard, Bill Peduto officially anounced this morning on the roof of the Terminal Properties where the old Pittsburgh meets the new Pittsburgh that he's a mayoral candidate.


You can go HERE to sign up for the people for Peduto meetup.

You can go to www.billpeduto.com for more information on Bill Peduto.

You like me, you really, really like me!

Well, it's no Koufax Award, but I'll take whatever I can get:


We Have A Winner In our first Caption Contest!!

February 23, 2005

Lil Ricky "Man on Dog Action" Santorum's & Young Repugs' Stupid Human Tricks

Daily Kos has a report on Lil Ricky "Man on Dog Action" Santorum's Social Security event in Philly that took place this week. It includes this bit:

[B]efore the event, Philly DFA began chanting "Hey-hey, ho-ho, Rick Santorum has got to go!" Local college Republicans, who are just about the only Republicans in West Philly, responded with a chant that beautifully was captured live by CNN: "hey-hey, ho-ho, Social Security has got to go!" I love it when the other side does your campaigning for you!

Inside the hall, the biggest applause line of the event was generated early on when Santorum asked a rhetorical question about demographics and funding: "what happens in 2008?" Before he could answer his own question, someone shouted "Bush leaves office," and the room went wild.
And, you can go HERE to actually see and hear the callow Young Repugs screwing up their talking points by actually telling the truth about the GOP's agenda for Social Security ("Hey-hey, ho-ho, Social Security has got to go!")

The Dems should make a commercial out of that clip ASAP!

Something random and fun

From Scooter Blue

"Try this and pass it on:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don’t search around and look for the “coolest” book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you."

So I tried it and here's what I got:

From Howard Dean's "You Have The Power" (Yes, this was the closest book to where I was sitting):
"We can build a society where we acknowledge our common bonds and where respect means we don't expect people to live in the streets and eat out of Dumpsters, a society where we can expect that people will be considered for who and not what they are."
Try it yourself and comment back at Scooter Blue

February 22, 2005

On the Down Low

There has been loads of snarky speculation that the naked gay conservative male prostitute sitting in the middle of the family values white house (Jeff Gannon/James D. Guckert) must have got his scoops from a "mentor" in the White House and that that "mentor" was Karl "Turd Blossom" Rove:



However, this seems not to be based on any actual evidence.

Once again, we at 2 Political Junkies have managed to secure actual photographic evidence that even AmericaBlog, KOS and atrios@blogspot.com, with all their resources, couldn't come up with.

We believe that the following photograph leaves little doubt as to who the likely mentor of Jeff Gannon, Male Prostitute, is:



Now that's a MANDATE!

AmericaBlog Contest

Daily KOS has a story on how the Swifties and USA Next are attacking the AARP and the ad that's running at the American Spectator site:



Of course there is now a contest to create an ad for the real Bush Agenda. It's being held at AmericaBlog. Here's my entry:

February 21, 2005

R.I.P. Hunter S. Thompson

Some great quotes by Thompson @ Daily KOS:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/2/21/125743/138

The Post-Gazette on Negroponte

The usually reliable Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board must've recently inhaled some of the air being pumped into the Tribune-Review building. How else can one explain this editorial? It's from today's Post-Gazette.

From the second paragraph:
However, the nominee, John D. Negroponte, currently U.S. ambassador to Iraq, previously U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, having served as U.S. ambassador to Mexico, the Philippines and Honduras, appears to be first rate. If confirmed by the Senate, he is likely to perform the functions of the newly created post with distinction.
Note the qualifier "appears to be" just before the pharase "first rate." That's the only negative in the paragraph. Indeed its about the most critical thing in the whole editorial.

Here are the last two paragraphs:
Mr. Negroponte's only possible shortcoming in the new position will be an absence of experience working directly in the intelligence field. On the other hand, he is a veteran consumer of intelligence, with recent very relevant need of it in his positions both at the United Nations and in Iraq. As a career Foreign Service Officer with some 40 years of experience, who has served all over the world, there isn't a whole lot that he hasn't seen. He isn't partisan politically, having started his career during the Eisenhower administration and having served in every administration since.

This looks like an excellent appointment. The kind of disinterested, cold-eyed intelligence counsel Mr. Negroponte will give President Bush, if he is confirmed, should be just what the doctor ordered for this president, for this country.
Again, the qualifier (it could be named the "escape hatch phrase") "looks like" before the phrase "excellent appointment."

Does the editorial board of the Post-Gazette really think that Negroponte's only possible short coming is his absense of direct intelligence work? Did they miss the fact that he was Reagan's man in Honduras during the Iran-Contra scandal? That he was Dubya's man at the UN during the run-up to the war? Here's what another newspaper's editorial board (The Baltimore Sun) had to say recently about Negroponte:
For four years in the 1980s, he was U.S. ambassador to Honduras, at the time perhaps the quintessential banana republic. His job was to help oversee the Reagan administration's covert and outside-the-law support for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels, who were financed by the illegal sale of arms to the mullahs in Iran. In Honduras itself, a death squad trained by the CIA went about its dirty business. Mr. Negroponte has long denied that he knew about and covered up the death squad's atrocities, which came to light in a series of articles in The Sun in 1995. Maybe that's true - but it happened on his watch, at a time when he was the most powerful man in Honduras. If it is true, it doesn't say much for his ability to marshal good intelligence.
Or David Corn of The Nation:
These days Negroponte's tenure in Honduras is old news. The Washington Post's front-page story on his nomination did not mention his stint there. Senate staffers say that his record in Honduras won't be a focus of the confirmation hearings. But his tour of duty there is worth scrutiny, for it raises questions about his credibility and his ability to handle tough situations and inconvenient truths. While he was in Honduras and for years afterward, Negroponte refused to acknowledge the human rights abuses. In a 1982 letter to The Economist he said it was "simply untrue to state that death squads have made their appearance in Honduras." The next year he maintained, "There is no indication that the infrequent human rights violations that do occur are part of deliberate government policy." And during his 2001 confirmation he stated, "I do not believe then, nor do I believe now, that these abuses were part of a deliberate government policy. To this day, I do not believe that death squads were operating in Honduras." How then does he account for a 1997 CIA Inspector General investigation that concluded, "The Honduran military committed hundreds of human rights abuses since 1980, many of which were politically motivated and officially sanctioned" and linked to "death squad activities"?
And let's not forget that during the run up to the war in Iraq, it was John Negroponte whose job it was to protect and defend Bush's incomplete and misleading rationale on Saddam's WMD. True it wasn't his job to confirm any of Bush's "intelligence" but The P-G should have at least mentioned Negroponte's place in Bush's war.

Here's how The Sun ends its editorial:
American intelligence is in need of repair; on that point, all sides agree. The nation must have an incisive intelligence chief, not afraid to deliver bad news when he has to, and able to stand up to Donald H. Rumsfeld, the defense secretary. But on top of that, America needs a director who by virtue of his reputation and his experience would make it clear from the start that there is no place for abuse, and no place for truth-shading, in the agencies he oversees. Instead, the Senate has been asked to confirm Mr. Negroponte.
Good point., doncha think??

So what happened at the P-G? Did Dickiecougarmellonscaife send over some tainted kung pao? Were the archives at the P-G suddenly off-line? Did Jack Kelly write the editorial when no one was watching?

There has to be a good explanation for the editorial board's sudden amnesia.

Has to be.

February 18, 2005

What Did The Hooker Know And When Did He Know It?

(And who the f*ck told him?!?)

Looks like Gannon knew that the "shock and awe" campaign launching the Iraq war was about to happen four hours before President Bush announced it to the nation and he told his scoop to a news producer for a major network.

According to Americablog:
According to my source, Gannon's insider tidbits were always on the mark. "Gannon's stuff was always golden," the producer says. My source says they kept asking themself, "how does this small news outfit get this info?"
Yes, Karl, et al:
How does a hooker get all this insider information from the Bush Dynasty?

Daily KOS discussion of this topic at:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/2/18/103912/606

We're Going to Reap What We Sow

The Bush Dynasty's nomination of John D. Negroponte to serve as our country's first director of national intelligence should come as no surprise as it fits a pattern of Bush advancing someone from a handful of people he trusts who also just happen to have awful records on human rights.

What's missing from the coverage of Negroponte in the MSM is any mention of his "dark past" as David Corn puts it in The Nation.

According to Corn's Capital Games article:

"After all, during the Reagan years, when he was ambassador to Honduras, Negroponte was involved in what was arguably an illegal covert quid pro quo connected to the Iran/contra scandal, and he refused to acknowledge significant human rights abuses committed by the pro-US military in Honduras."

[snip]

His previous exploits, though, warrant more attention than ever. He has been credibly accused of rigging a human rights report that was politically inconvenient. This is a bad omen. The fundamental mission of the intelligence community is to provide policymakers with unvarnished and valuable information-even if it causes the policymakers headaches. But there's reason to believe that Negroponte did the opposite in tough circumstances. If that is the case, he would not be the right man to oversee an intelligence community that needs solid leaders who are committed to truth-finding."
So now we have Negroponte who whitewashed human rights abuses in the Honduras set to oversee our intelligence agencies; Alberto R. Gonzales who was the prime legal architect for the policy of torture adopted by the Bush Dynasty as the Attorney General of this country; and Donald H. Rumsfeld who tried to deny any complicity in the policy of torture at Abu Gharib and who has set up a new paramilitary intelligence operation (Death Squads) inside the Department of Defense still ruling as Secretary of Defense.

This is the Bush Dynasty's true legacy.

I weep for our country, as should we all.

Daily Show "Attack Bloggers" Transcript

The Honsberger is a Liar blog has a transcript up now on the hysterically funny Daily Show bit on Gannon, bloggers and the MSM:

Daily Show Transcript

February 17, 2005

How Much Will Privatization Cost You?
Here's a Calculator That will Give You the Answer

Click the link below to find out:

Bush Social Security Plan


Daily Show Gannon / Bloggers Piece from 2/16/05 Show...

...can be viewed here (QuickTime):

One Good Move


The line that I was trying to remember from the commentary by Ted Hitler (Steven Colbert's real name revealed!):

"Where I draw the line is with these Attack Bloggers: just someone with a computer who gathers, collates and publishes accurate information that is then read by the general public. They have no credibility. All they have is facts. Spare me!"

February 16, 2005

The Daily Show Nails It

Hilarious Daily Show take on the Gannon story tonight. I would have written down some of the lines but I was laughing too hard. I can say that they scalped the MSM's line that bloggers were only interested in "collecting scalps" by saying something along the lines of "How dare those bloggers come along with their research and facts." The segment mentioned AmericaBlog, Daily KOS and Atrios and showed the Wonkette site.

Will post a transcript or video link when one is available.

February 15, 2005

This Is What 4,500 Valentine's Day Roses Look Like

This what a great big Valentine's Day THANK YOU to Sen. Barbara Boxer looks like:



The Barbara Boxer Rose Campaign sent 4,500 roses to Sen. Boxer to thank her for having the courage to stand up to the Repugs on Ohio, Rice, Gonzales, etc. (see here).

Classy lady that she is, Boxer donated her roses to our wounded soldiers recovering at Bethesda Naval Hospital and Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

She also wrote a "Thank You" blog on Daily KOS.

Some media coverage of the story here, here, and here.

February 14, 2005

Jeff's Been A Bad, Bad Boy

AMERICAblog has all the X-rated pics and links that Jeff Gannon didn't want anyone to see (too bad they didn't use that naked photo of Jeff urinating for his official White House Press Pass).

So is Jeff the actual whore (and not just your run-of-the-mill media whore) who committed the crime of exposing Valerie Plame? Maybe someone should volunteer to pay him his old weekend escort rate of $1,200 and find out during the "pillow talk."

Full story at:

http://americablog.blogspot.com/2005/02/man-called-jeff.html

Does this mean that the FEC will regulate bloggers?

According to Drudge (hey, we heard it on C-Span this morning too), the FEC May Tighten Restrictions On Internet Political Activity. Here's what Drudge says:

FEC May Tighten Restrictions On Internet Political Activity
Mon Feb 14 2005 10:38:41 ET

The Federal Election Commission next month will begin looking at tightening restrictions on political activities on the Internet, ROLL CALL reports Monday.

The FEC is planning to examine the question of how Internet activities, when coordinated with candidates' campaigns, fit into the definition of 'public communications.

Specifically, the FEC is planning to examine the question of how Internet activities, when coordinated with candidates' campaigns, fit into the definition of "public communications." While coordinated communications are considered campaign contributions and therefore subject to strict contribution limits, current FEC regulations adopted in 2002 carve out an exemption for coordinated political communications that are transmitted over the Internet.

Developing...

And, here's a little something that I found on this topic from OMB Watch

FEC Schedules New Rulemaking in 2005 » OMB Watch » Home » Nonprofit Issues » Elections and Issue Advocacy
Published 11/30/2004 11:32 PM

Beginning in January 2005 the Federal Election Commission (FEC) will begin an intense seven-month series of proceedings to amend rules implementing the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) rejected by a federal court this fall, and take up new issues generated by this year's election. Among those with greatest impact on nonprofits will be expansion of regulation into Internet communications, reconsideration of the electioneering communications exemption for 501(c)(3) groups and party donations to nonprofits.

At its Nov. 18 meeting the FEC approved a schedule for the new rules along with a requirement for quick final action once public comment periods have closed. Nonprofits will be most impacted by consideration of:

- Party donations to tax-exempt organizations. The FEC staff have drafted a proposed rule for the Commissioners to consider at their Dec. 2 meeting. If the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is approved, it will be published in the Federal Register for public comment likely in January.
- Internet exclusion from rules on coordination between campaigns and outside groups and the definition of a public communication. That proceeding will begin in March 2005.
- Electioneering communications. The FEC will consider exemptions for 501(c)(3) groups and documentary ads, as well as unpaid broadcasts. The federal district court overturned the unpaid broadcast exemption, but the FEC has appealed. This proceeding will begin in June 2005.

At the FEC meeting Vice-Chair Ellen Weintraub said substantive changes in the exemption for Internet communications are likely. Some of the other issues, such as the 501(c)(3) exemption for electioneering communications, were overturned on technical grounds and may not be radically changed.

For information on the court decision being appealed see the Oct. 4 OMB Watcher. More background is also available on the FEC webpage on rulemaking proceedings.

February 13, 2005

Let Them Know!



Let them know that you appreciate the DNC's choice of Howard Dean as their new Chairman by donating here:


Contribution amount:
$






Might not be a bad idea to use the "code" of adding a penny to your contribution (as in giving $20.01 instead of $20.00). The "add a penny" used to signify that you supported the Internet/blogs, later, during the Kerry campaign it came to mean that you were "on loan to Kerry from Dean."

February 12, 2005

What A Long Strange Trip It's Been

Back in the summer of 2003 I first became aware of Howard Dean via MoveOn.org's straw poll to choose a Democratic candidate to support in the 2004 Presidential Election (I made perhaps the only New Year's resolution I have ever kept in January 2003 to volunteer for the eventual Democratic Presidential candidate in the next election). At that time, MoveOn said that they would support a candidate if one could get a majority vote from its membership. I initially voted for Dennis Kucinich as I understood him to be progressive, while having serious reservations about his backing of a woman's choice to control her reproduction system since he had until very recently been anti-choice. I also was concerned at the time that cosmetically speaking, Kucinich didn't seem to be the kind of person who many would pull the lever for.

Dean had a strong showing in that first poll which led me to look into him a little deeper. When I did, I liked what I saw. I found myself agreeing with his stands on most issues, but almost more importantly, I found myself getting caught up in the buzz surrounding Dean -- it was infectious. By the time MoveOn ran a second, runoff poll, I was in Dean's camp. Dean came close to achieving a majority in the second poll but fell a little short of winning.

By July 2003, I was starting to visit Blog for America and had just missed the Pittsburgh meetup for that month. By August, Dean was splashed all over the cover of Time and Newsweek and I attended my first meetup. The Pittsburgh August meetup was like a revival meeting and I found myself volunteering to help out with the group's website. I got a call the day after that meeting to create a flyer for gay outreach and before I knew it, I was on the website committee, going to house parties, donating money and chosen to be on the local Steering Committee. In October, I got the chance to shake Howard Dean's hand at a big downtown fundraiser and I was so jazzed it took me hours to go to sleep that night.

At this point, I must back up a bit. While I have had a lifelong interest in politics and have voted in every election, I had never before volunteered for a campaign. I have never been shy about expressing my political views (even as a child), but I never went that next step to active participation in the process. But after the 2000 election, something broke within me. I could not understand how the country could let it come down to a 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court.

I became radicalized.

9/11 only made things worse for me. Having lived for 15 years in Manhattan, the attack still seems inconceivable to me. I was fielding frantic calls from friends (one whose husband was in NYC that day and who we feared at the time was in a train under the towers when they started to collapse -- fortunately, the trains had already been stopped by then). I remember trying to reach my sister who worked a block from the White House by phone (an all day process). I remember the calls to and from friends in NYC the next day. I also remember the call from my mother on 9/11 who told me before the plane crashed in PA that my brother (who worked at 911) had enough warning about it to call his wife and have her pull their kids out of school while it was still flying over our state.

I obsessed on the attack and on the Bush Administration's response to it in the weeks and months after. I spent long hours online trying to get at the truth and saw clips of Bush sitting in the school on the morning of September 11th doing nothing long before Michael Moore immortalized those moments on film. I spent equally long hours online cataloging this administration's attempts to dismantle the Constitution in the name of "security" which eventually led me to MoveOn.org and then to Dean.

So when I discovered Howard Dean with his plain talk against a war in Iraq and his message that we could "take back our country," I was more then primed to jump in and help.

From August 2003 through March 2004, I gave many hours to doing whatever I could to help Dean win the nomination. I met many wonderful people who I'm still friends with. When Dean pulled out, like many of my fellow Deaniacs, I mourned the loss. I railed against the unfair coverage of "the scream" and the positioning of Dean in the media as some big joke. And, like many, I joined the local Kerry grassroots group (while still maintaining my DfA membership).

We all know how the story goes from here: Kerry lost and, as unbelievable as it was to imagine before November 2004, Bush is back for four moron years.

There was another thing that I could not foresee on Election Day 2004, however. That was the resurrection of Howard Dean. By December of 2004, Dean meetups which had been consistently growing smaller in attendance took a big upswing in new members and in the return of old members. People had not given up on trying to "take our country back."

In January, Howard Dean officially announced his candidacy for DNC Chairmanship. There were many naysayers from the beginning. They repeated the "Dean Scream." They repeated that Dean was "crazy"...or "a joke"...or "too far to the Left."

But Howard did what Howard does best: he spoke openly and honestly to the electorate. He reminded them that he had the skill set needed for the position (ability to mobilize people, to successfully fundraise, and an understanding of the need for a 50 state strategy).

And this time, it was his distracters and fellow candidates who fell by the wayside.

This time, it looks like the best man will win.

So on this morning when the DNC members will vote for their new chair, I will let out a phrase that I haven't repeated for quite some time now:

THE DOCTOR IS IN! :-)

February 11, 2005

New Rule in 'Murika

There's a new rule in Merika (or maybe it's an old rule and we just ignored it for a while). Here it is:

Gay's are bad, while torture is OK.

Read it in the New York Times. The writer, Bob Herbert asks:
Our henchmen in places like Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Uzbekistan and Jordan are torturing terror suspects at the behest of a nation - the United States - that just went through a national election in which the issue of moral values was supposed to have been decisive. How in the world did we become a country in which gays' getting married is considered an abomination, but torture is O.K.?
Is there a good answer to this? My guess is that it's found somewhere deep in someone's misinterpretation of The Bible. But I could be wrong on that.
More from Herbert:
Any government that commits, condones, promotes or fosters torture is a malignant force in the world. And those who refuse to raise their voices against something as clearly evil as torture are enablers, if not collaborators.
For those not paying attention, THAT'S US - The Land of the Free and Home of the Brave, The Shining City on the Hill, 'Merika.

February 10, 2005

It's Not Too Late!

The Barbara Boxer Rose Campaign

Shower the best damn Senator in the country with roses on Valentine's Day.

Coast-to-Coast Florist coordinated with the campaign's originator for the special price of $10 for three red roses.

Call 1-888-501-7673.

The last date to order is February 12th.

All roses will be delivered, en masse, to Senator Boxer's office at the Hart Building in Washington D.C. on Valentine's Day.

(As seen on Daily KOS)


February 9, 2005

Verse Case Santorum

From BuzzFlash:

Santorum Criticizes U.N. Head Over
Oil-For-Food Program Scandal

by Tony Peyser

A politician
Whose name you know
Was caught in a scandal
Not too long ago.

He lives in Virginia
His kids are homeschooled
Pennsylvania taxpayers
Had all been fooled.

The price he charged
To educate
His kids was paid for
By The Keystone State.

His Pennsylvania house
It’s a given
Is not the place
Where he’s been livin.’

Pennsylvania pays
But he lives near D.C.?
Sounds like kind of
A discrepancy.

When these facts came out,
He couldn’t ignore ‘em
(“He” being Congressman
Rick Santorum.)

This proves it’s unwise
To say, “He’s a crook!”
When you’re not exactly
Playing it by the book

And voters don’t have
To look very far
To find your own hand
In a cookie jar.

February 8, 2005

Happening This Week!

Drinking Liberally is on tonight at Finnegan's Wake.

Your host Ol'Froth is bringing the Santorum petition -- head on down and sign it!

(thanks to Comments From Left Field for links)


Left Ahead Democratic Bookclub Meeting is Tonight

Go to: http://democrat.meetup.com/89 for more information.


People for Peduto February Meetup is Wednesday at 7:00 PM

Go HERE to sign up for this meetup.

Go to www.billpeduto.com for more information on Bill Peduto.




Bush's Ownership High Society

Inspired by The Free Speech Zone's "Birth Tax" graphic, we've made one that goes a little further to explain The Rules of Engagement for Bush's Ownership High Society:




Feel free to use this!

(And, yes, I know it's rather large, but you try explaining all this in a smaller format!)

Want a text version? Email me!

February 6, 2005

Newborn Rachel is Already Deep in Debt

I'm an aunt (for the 7th time). My new niece, Rachel Elizabeth (pictured with me below), was born at 5:20 PM yesterday.



It's a good thing that Little Rachel Elizabeth doesn't know that thanks to Bush, even though she's not quite one day old, she's already deep in debt:


February 4, 2005

NYT Killed Exposé About Bush Cheating During the Debates

(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was one of the first to be offered the Bulgegate photos that later ran at salon.com but declined to use them)

You remember those photos of the bulge in Bush't jacket during the debates -- the ones that where explained away as a "badly tailored suit" -- well, it turns out that the New York Times had a story all ready that would expose Bush for the immoral lying cheat that he is, but they spiked it.

According to FAIR:

On Thursday, just three days after that first exposé, the paper was set to run a second, perhaps more explosive piece, exposing how George W. Bush had worn an electronic cueing device in his ear and probably cheated during the presidential debates.

The so-called Bulgegate story had been getting tremendous attention on the Internet. Stories about it had also run in many mainstream papers, including the New York Times (10/9/04, 10/18/04) and Washington Post (10/9/04), but most of these had been light-hearted. Indeed, the issue had even made it into the comedy circuit, including the monologues of Jay Leno, David Letterman, Jon Stewart and a set of strips by cartoonist Garry Trudeau.

That the story hadn’t gotten more serious treatment in the mainstream press was largely thanks to a well-organized media effort by the Bush White House and the Bush/Cheney campaign to label those who attempted to investigate the bulge as "conspiracy buffs" (Washington Post, 10/9/04). In an era of pinched budgets and an equally pinched notion of the role of the Fourth Estate, the fact that the Kerry camp was offering no comment on the matter—perhaps for fear of earning a "conspiracy buff" label for the candidate himself—may also have made reporters skittish. Jeffrey Klein, a founding editor of Mother Jones magazine, told Mother Jones (online edition, 10/30/04) he had called a number of contacts at leading news organizations across the country, and was told that unless the Kerry campaign raised the issue, they couldn’t pursue it.

The Times’ effort to get to the bottom of the matter through a serious investigation seemed to be a striking exception. That investigation, however, despite extensive reporting over several weeks by three Times reporters, never ran. Now, like the mythic weapons of mass destruction that were the raison d’etre for the Iraq War, the Times is thus far claiming that the Bush Bulgegate story never existed in the first place.

[snip]

In fact, several sources, including a journalist at the Times, have told Extra! that the paper put a good deal of effort into this important story about presidential competence and integrity; they claim that a story was written, edited and scheduled to run on several different days, before senior editors finally axed it at the last minute on Wednesday evening, October 27. A Times journalist, who said that Times staffers were "pretty upset" about the killing of the story, claims the senior editors felt Thursday was "too close" to the election to run such a piece. Emails from the Times to the NASA scientist corroborate these sources’ accounts.

[snip]

As Extra! went to press, New York Times public editor Daniel Okrent posted a message on his website (12/21/04) confirming that his paper had, in fact, killed a story about the device under George W. Bush’s suit.

[snip]

LOCAL ANGLE
The article also says:


At that point, Dr. Robert M. Nelson, a 30-year Jet Propulsion Laboratory veteran who works on photo imaging for NASA’s various space probes and currently is part of a photo enhancement team for the Cassini Saturn space probe, entered the picture. Nelson recounts that after seeing the Salon story on the bulge, professional curiosity prompted him to apply his skills at photo enhancement to a digital image he took from a videotape of the first debate. He says that when he saw the results of his efforts, which clearly revealed a significant T-shaped object in the middle of Bush’s back and a wire running up and over his shoulder, he realized it was an important story.

After first offering it unsuccessfully to his local paper, the Pasadena Star-News, and then, with equal lack of success, to the Post-Gazette in Pittsburgh, where he had gone to college, he offered it to the Los Angeles Times. (In all his media contacts, Nelson says, he offered the use of his enhanced photos free of charge.) "About three weeks before the election, I gave the photos to the L.A. Times’ Eric Slater, who shopped them around the paper," recalls Nelson. "After four days, in which they never got back to me, I went to the New York Times."

Full story HERE

Purple Fingers

We've now had a bit of time to consider the State of the Union Address. Once again, the Republicans demonstrated their love of symbolism when they showed off inked fingers in support of the recent Iraq elections:



We here at 2 Political Junkies think that they should not have stopped there.

For example, they could have showed their support for the 10,000 plus wounded American soldiers by waiving bloody stumps (an arm or leg would do).

They could have shown their support for the 100,000 Iraqi civilians killed by slaughtering their own first born children and displaying them Pieta-style for the cameras.

Or, maybe, they could keep it simple and just show what they really think of Social Security:



Just a thought...

February 2, 2005

Let's Break Strom's Filibuster Record

From the Levity in Action blog:

Let's Break Strom's Filibuster Record

There are those who say it would be a waste of time to hold the Senate floor until Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales answers the questions he’s been asked, about those memos that redefined torture. It’s a lost cause. It’s energy better conserved to fight a right wing Supreme Court Nominee.

But that’s worse than cowardice. It's a lack of self respect -- a failure of imagination and passion. Doesn't anyone remember "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"? Once upon a time, a Senator had that passion.

After Gonzales, Strom Thurmond’s black daughter has been the biggest newsmaker this week. She kept their secret, revealing who her father was only after he was dead. Now she's released her autobiography and talks to everyone.

Strom (he deserves a worldwide first name basis – like Saddam) still holds the Senate filibuster record. The year I was born, Strom held the floor for 24 hours and 18 minutes all by himself, because he believed in something important and he wasn’t afraid to stand up for it. CNN quoted him when he died a year ago:

"I want to tell you that there's not enough troops in the army to force the southern people to break down segregation and admit the Negro race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches."
Except I heard a recording of this on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show – which was, as usual, more accurate than CNN – and Strom didn’t say “Negro” race. As a 21st century American of some African descent, I am permitted to use his vocabulary, though most often I choose not to.

The pool thing was a big deal. When black movie star Dorothy Dandridge was staying at a 5 star Vegas hotel, she dipped her feet in the pool without permission, and the next thing she knew, the management had drained all the water out.

Today as I watch CSPAN today flashing ‘No Agreement on Debate Length,’ and the somnolent announcer actually uses the phrase “possible filibuster’ at the Gonzales hearings, I have hope. And I have an idea.

See, publicly Strom was full of passion and racism. Privately, he helped support his Negro daughter, and insisted he was just giving Americans in the south what they wanted – what they were used to, what would keep him popular with his people.

Last May, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsay Graham was stumbling out into the light after a screening of the other Abu Ghraib photos and videos – the ones that still have never been shown to the public. When asked what he’d seen, Graham answered, “Rape and murder.” Rape, like severe beatings, no longer fit the new Gonzales definition of illegal torture, because neither necessarily causes “organ failure or death”.

Then last week, the same Graham chastised Alberto Gonzales for his role in changing the official interrogation rules in ways that quickly led to Abu Ghraib, among at least 300 reports of abuse and murder in U.S. run prisons. “I think we've dramatically undermined the war effort by getting on a slippery slope in terms of playing cute with the law,” said Graham. “We’ve lost our way.”

And then he voted with his party – even though all of Gonzales’s other support had disappeared – to recommend his confirmation as the next U.S. Attorney General, the nation’s chief of law enforcement.

So let’s learn a lesson from Strom. Maybe he didn’t hate black people as much as we thought. Maybe it was just a popular act. But he sure put on a good show. He made it into the history books. And the 21st century history books still need to be written.

So whatever we feel deep down, let’s pretend we really, deeply hate rape, murder, and torture for just a day or two. We’ve probably got 30 Senators or more, so it’ll be easy to hold the floor compared to what Strom had to do. We could go for 25 hours easy, beat Strom’s record, and then give up. We’ll be in the history books too.

And from that effort, future generations will believe we really hate it when Americans rape and murder arabs, just as much as we hate niggers in our pools.


Manifestation of the American Dream

Senate majority leader Bill Frist said yesterday, ''The idea that the other side of the aisle is even considering filibustering this manifestation of the American dream that is Judge Gonzales is simply beyond me."

Yes, it might be beyond someone who confessed that, as medical student, he used to routinely adopt shelter cats as "pets" and then kill them to understand the objection some have to sanctioning the nominee for Attorney General who sanctioned torture.

If Alberto Gonzales is the "manifestation of the American dream," it would do well to remember that this is the manifestation of that manifestation:



Howard Dean Poised to Head Democratic National Committee

From Air America Radio:

Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor and presidential candidate, has “surged ahead in the contest” for chair of the Democratic National Committee in the wake of his endorsement by the Association of State Democratic Chairs. The Dean endorsement caused Wellington Webb, the former mayor of Denver to withdraw from the contest and throw his support to Dean. “With the endorsement from the state chairs, it became mathematically clear that Howard Dean has the votes to win on the first ballot,” Webb said.

Dean’s capture of the DNC chair would be an important victory for the new wave of grass-roots activists who re-energized the party’s base in last year’s election. Dean’s candidacy has been opposed by the Democratic Party establishment and according to the Los Angeles Times, “unease about a Dean chairmanship is widespread among congressional leaders and many governors. But almost none of those grumbling privately have expressed their concerns publicly — in part, some believe, because they fear crossing the ardent grass-roots, Internet-activist community still backing Dean.”

The movement backing Dean is widely seen as being opposed to efforts to shift the party to the right as a response to the Bush victory last November. Opponents of Dean still have two candidates in the race: Donnie Fowler Jr. of South Carolina and former Representative Martin Frost of Texas. The vote takes place on Feb. 12.

From Daily KOS:
The Hotline's latest delegate count:

Dean 102 (23%)
Frost 15
Fowler 10
Rosenberg 4
Roemer 4
Leland 2

(This list does not include endorsements made as of February 1, 2005.)

Additional Articles:
The New York Times: "Leaders Back Dean to Head Democrats Nationally"
Daily KOS: "Is that Singing We Hear?"