We are the 99%

June 30, 2005

Bad Medicine

From the Post-Gazette:

After two days of debate, the state House approved a variety of changes to the state's Election Code this week, including one that requires voters to present a photo ID at the polls, and another change that would prevent felons from voting for the duration of their maximum sentence, even if they're out of jail on parole.
The photo ID measure is supposedly an "anti-fraud tool." Rep. Daryl Metcalfe of Cranberry (a Republican backer) noted that "people are required to show photo identification when they fly on a plane, drive a car or cash a check." The Democrats correctly pointed out that transportation by car and airplane is not the same as the constitutionally protected right to vote.
The P-G also reported about House bill No. 1318:

"Even if the bill is taken up, some elements might be too controversial to get past the Senate, then the governor."
Let's hope so! Let's also ask:

Why are Republicans always trying to make it more difficult for people to vote?

I know that faithful readers know the answer to that.

Santorum Speaks About The War

"[The] President...is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy."
-- Rick Santorum

"My God," you say -- he must really be running to the center!

Not to worry.

Lil Ricky said this seven years ago about another war.

Hat tip to Delaware Dem from Daily KOS.

DD has some great quotes by other Republicans too.

June 29, 2005

Too Poor to Afford An Issues Page -- Won't You Help?

I received this email today from James Carville (via the Bob Casey for Pennsylvania Committee) and I wanted to share it with you.

Apparently Mr. Carville would like us all to donate money to Little Bobby Casey. Mr. Carville states:
If Bob Casey doesn't have the resources to respond -- to talk about his own values and tell the truth about Santorum’s record -- the Republicans are going to get away with their master deception again.
Mr. Carville has a real point here. Little Bobby has had his website up for a few months now and apparently he still does not have enough money to have an ISSUES page on it.

How can you look at Bobby's big brown eyes and deny him a simple issues page? Can't you find it in your heart to donate just a few cents a day -- the price of a fancy coffee drink once a week -- to help little Bobby get an issue's page of his own?

Won't you help Little Bobby inform his potential contributors that he is anti choice, anti embryo stem cell research, pro war in Iraq, etc.?

Your dollars will mean so much to Little Bobby. And by helping Bobby, you'll be helping more than one disadvanteged candidate: you'll be helping his whole contributor base!

Can you really look away and do nothing?



Please help.

Santorum: "Dog's Best Friend"

From Crooks and Liars:



I can't make out the text of the article. Anyone want to guess what it says? Just remember that this is a family blog. Well, actually it isn't so much. Have at it.

No Cheers For Chimpy



Seeing as how even the soldiers would only clap during Bush's speech when pushed by the White House advance team, it's not surprising that the non-military public were also less than impressed:

AOL POLL
How would you rate Bush's speech?
Poor 52%
Excellent 27%
Fair 11%
Good 9%

How concerned are you about the situation in Iraq?
Very 74%
Somewhat 18%
Not at all 8%
Total Votes: 215,626

Are you satisfied with the progress in Iraq?
No 77%
Yes 23%
Total Votes: 109,912

Will the U.S. ultimately defeat the insurgents?
No 65%
Yes 35%
Total Votes: 109,530

Is the war in Iraq worth the human cost?
No 74%
Yes 26%
Total Votes: 110,349

CNN QuickVote
Which word best describes President Bush's speech?

Reassuring 14%
4540 votes

Uplifting 7%
2101 votes

Worrying 79%
24893 votes

Total: 31534 votes

And, yes, these polls are unscientific so the numbers have a LARGE margin of error, but even taking that into consideration they still do not bode well for Preznit Chimpy McFlightsuit.

It was nice to see that we've found bin Laden -- well found him in a speech by the Preznit, anyway. He mentioned him by name twice and that's as rare as hen's teeth or a day going by without one of our soldiers being killed in Iraq.

June 28, 2005

FOR THE LADIES (and those who love them)

PRESS CONFERENCE RE: ICA BOARD APPOINTMENT OF 6TH WHITE MALE

Date & Time:
Thursday, June 30 at 9:30 a.m.

Location:
Front Steps, City-County Building, 414
Grant Street, Pittsburgh

Why:

  • In the spring of 2004 five people were appointed to serve on the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority board. All of these were Caucasian males. On Friday, June 24, a sixth white male was appointed to this board to replace David O' Loughlin who left the board last month.

  • While women make up 53% of Allegheny County's population and over 50% of the city's workforce, they hold only 31% of the county's non-elected positions and have 0% representation on the ICA and Act 47 boards.

  • In order to spur economic development and fiscal prudence, the core constituency of the city's workforce and consumers must be fairly represented on public boards to ensure that citizenry are engaged in the development of public policy.

  • Pennsylvanians for Fair Representation, a collaboration of over 40 local civil rights organizations and individuals, will hold a press conference to discuss the impact of the recent appointment of J. Matthew Simon to the Fiscal Oversight Board.

  • Statements will be made by: City Council member Twanda Carlisle, City Council member Bill Peduto, Recorder of Deeds Valerie McDonald Roberts, Former Allegheny County Chief Executive James C. Roddey, Executive Director of the Women and Girls Foundation Heather Arnet, and Dr. Cecilia Griffin Golden from the YWCA.
  • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Personal Note: Hey, I like white males. Some of my best friends are white males. But this kind of crap has got to stop. Not even one token woman? What, people of color are incapable of discussing fiscal policy in the Burg? But what do I know -- I'm just a girl. (cue music)

    Dreaming With Bush




























    June 27, 2005

    It's Not the EKG; It's the Cover-up...

    ...or so says Arianna Huffington about Dick's mysterious now he didn't/now he did visit to the hospital.

    Local (Pittsburgh) Radio News!

    Adrian McCoy reports that Pittsburgh "talk radio" station WPTT Is shifting its format a bit. Here's the details:

    At 7-9 am daily we get to hear Laura Ingraham. Although the McCoy plays nice and says this about her show:
    Starting July 4, the station will air the syndicated "Laura Ingraham Show" from 7 to 9 a.m. Ingraham is a conservative, but the show delves beyond politics, addressing topics related to media and popular culture.
    I found this on her website:
    ROVE CALLS OUT ANTI-WAR/MILITARY-BASHING LEFT--IT'S ABOUT TIME: The first time I heard Karl Rove's reference to the "therapy" liberals who want to fight terrorism as if it's just another crime problem--i.e., we have to understand why they hate us, etc., I said to myself--"it's about time!" The reason members of our military turns out to vote for Republican presidential candidates election after election is because they believe the left (whose home is in the Democratic party), thinks that every time something bad happens to America, it's because we deserve it. We are gun-toting, polluting, jingoistic, imperialist, bullies who need to "reach out" to those who feel disenfranchised throughout the world. And let us not forget that during the 2004 election, John Kerry scoffed at the idea that the war against terror could ever really end. The most that could be hoped for, he contended, was to reduce terrorism to the level of a nuisance like prostitution, the Mafia, and illicit drugs trade. Sounds like Rove was right on target.
    So we're pretty sure where she's coming from - the radical anti-American right. Note the jab at John Kerry. You can judge for yourself her truthfulness. The New York Times article that she's referencing actually said something a little different. When Matt Bai, the writer of the article asked what it would take for Americans to feel safe again Kerry answered:
    ''We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance,'' Kerry said. ''As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.''
    So there you have it. This is an old lie. This is the newest addition to WPTT.

    Lynn Cullen's show moves to 9:00am.

    The Thom Hartman show has been added to the schedule - he'll be on at noon every weekday.

    The Doug Hoerth show moves back to 3pm.

    Jerry Bowyer's moving to WORD 101.7

    Michael ("They all have their whores in London") Reagan will no longer be heard on WPTT.

    WPTT is also adding Alan Colmes.

    So there you have it.

    Pissing Off Our Troops, Our Vets, and Their Families

    Uh--oh! Rove's comments about Liberals seems to be the latest example of Republicans overplaying their hand. Check out Taking the Fight to Karl -- American Service Men and Women Mad at Karl Rove. Sample post:

    "Rove should immediately start campaigning to have all Democratic/liberal troops who are presumably "unreliable" replaced with Republican/conservative soldiers. An excellent starting place would be the current College Republicans convention."

    [Name]
    VietNam-Era Vet (enlisted - not drafted - no higher
    priorities Mr. Cheney!)
    Liberal Democrat
    Outraged Patriot
    Bane of Chicken Hawks
    Also check out LeonardClark.com

    Leonard Clark is a "Damned Liberal serving in Iraq" He further identifies himself as a "National Guard soldier serving and patrolling the mean streets of Iraq every day" whose civilian occupation is "Kindergarten teacher (inner city school) Public Schools" and who's also a candidate for "United States Senate in Arizona against John Kyl." Sample post:

    I have been talking to my fellow soldiers about this whole situation and I have told them about how the leadership in Washington is trying to get the American people to silence their criticisms of the continued lunacy we call the occupation of Iraq. I tell them that they are saying to the Congress: Well, ya know our poor soldiers wanna stay and finish the fight in Iraq but you people in Washington D.C. are under cutting their morale by bringing up this "time table stuff" and "what the hell are we doing in Iraq do we have a plan ? stuff.

    When I tell this to my fellow soldiers they immediately begin to laugh and then they get pissed off that such bull shit is being spouted back home because we are the ones who are calling home and telling our families what a bunch of lies and crap they are telling the American people.
    Looks like they picked the wrong "issue" to use to distract from the Downing Street Minutes and the acknowledgment last week by a top general that the insurgency was growing.

    June 24, 2005

    Some thoughts (From Philadelphia) on Senator Santorum

    Although it turns into (at the very end) a comparision between Lil Ricky and Bob Casey, the article by John Baer has some interesting things to say about our Junior Senator. Check it out.

    Baer starts with this:

    I'VE BEEN thinking lately about Rick Santorum's brain.

    It is, and I don't care where your politics lie, something to think about.

    For example: he recently said Terri Schiavo was "executed."

    He was answering questions about her autopsy report confirming her irreversible vegetative state and whether he regrets what some saw as a grandstanding unsolicited visit to her deathbed during a political fundraising trip to Florida.

    He bristles at this, by the way, claiming he'd have been criticized for not going down there.

    By whom, I wonder?

    I already have an answer to that. I might be wrong - no matter. Later, Baer writes:

    I also ask about a New York Times Magazine cover photo last month in which a smiling Santorum, hands folded, eyes heavenward, appears transfixed in prayer.

    "Yes," he says, he posed for it.

    Uh, what were you thinking, I ask?

    He says he was told to do something with his hands, then look here, look there, you know, like a kid at a K-Mart photo shoot following a stuffed toy in a photog's hand.

    That's his story.

    As you can see in the picture, I say he's practicing for his holy card.

    Luckily, Maria's already done that.

    It's good to know we're that much ahead of the Philadelphia Pundits!

    Haahaahaa!

    But I love this paragrahp:
    I'd remind you this is the same Senate leader who recently likened Democrats fighting to save the filibuster to Nazis, who once equated homosexuality with bestiality and who claimed the Catholic priest pedophile scandal in Boston should be no surprise since Boston is "a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America."
    I couldn't have said it any better myself.

    June 23, 2005

    More America Haters/Traitors

    They're EVERYWHERE!

    O'Reilly: FBI should arrest the "clowns" at Air America Radio for being traitors

    O'REILLY: And when he [Durbin] went out there, his intent was to whip up the American public against the Bush detainee policy. That's what his intent was. His intent wasn't to undermine the war effort, because he never even thought about it. He never even thought about it. But by not thinking about it, he made an egregious mistake because you must know the difference between dissent from the Iraq war and the war on terror and undermining it. And any American that undermines that war, with our soldiers in the field, or undermines the war on terror, with 3,000 dead on 9-11, is a traitor.

    Everybody got it? Dissent, fine; undermining, you're a traitor. Got it? So, all those clowns over at the liberal radio network, we could incarcerate them immediately. Will you have that done, please? Send over the FBI and just put them in chains, because they, you know, they're undermining everything and they don't care, couldn't care less.
    Audio clip available at Media Matters

    Why Do You Hate America?

    The "you" of course are Liberals/Democrats/etc.

    Let Karl Rove school you:

    "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," Mr. Rove, the senior political adviser to President Bush, said at a fund-raiser in Midtown for the Conservative Party of New York State.

    [snip]

    Mr. Rove also said American armed forces overseas were in more jeopardy as a result of remarks last week by Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, who compared American mistreatment of detainees to the acts of "Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others."

    "Has there ever been a more revealing moment this year?" Mr. Rove asked. "Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals."
    And I thought Howard Dean was supposed to be the one who shoots of his mouth with the wild, crazy, hateful statements?!?

    June 22, 2005

    Impeach The Bitch Now

    No, this has nothing to do with the Downing Street Minutes. And, yes, the 'bitch' is Bush.

    After we failed to find the WMDs that never were there, every reason under the sun was given by Preznit Chimpy McFlightsuit as to why we needed to invade Iraq and depose its leader.

    A popular one before "it's about the freedom for the Iraqi people" was:

    "Our men and women in uniform are fighting terrorists in Iraq, so we do not have to face them here at home."

    Apparently the CIA may beg to differ according to this report by Reuters:

    Iraq is now a terrorist training ground, CIA says

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The CIA believes the Iraq insurgency poses an international threat and may produce better-trained Islamic terrorists than the 1980s Afghanistan war that gave rise to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, a U.S. counterterrorism official said on Wednesday.

    A classified report from the U.S. spy agency says Iraqi and foreign fighters are developing a broad range of deadly skills, from car bombings and assassinations to tightly coordinated conventional attacks on police and military targets, the official said.

    Once the insurgency ends, Islamic militants are likely to disperse as highly organized battle-hardened combatants capable of operating throughout the Arab-speaking world and in other regions including Europe.

    Fighters leaving Iraq would primarily pose a challenge for their countries of origin including Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

    But the May report, which has been widely circulated in the intelligence community, also cites a potential threat to the United States.

    "You have people coming to the action with anti-U.S. sentiment ... And since they're Iraqi or foreign Arabs or to some degree Kurds, they have more communities they can blend into outside Iraq," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the report's classified status.

    If the terrorists who crashed the planes on 9/11 came from "there" (Saudi Arabia, U.A.E, Egypt, Lebanon) to "here" why couldn't they come from "there" (Iraq or from their home countries after they leave Iraq) to "here" now?

    And, now they have whole new skill sets -- courtesy of our WMD hunt in Iraq.

    How can we ever thank Bush enough?

    Apparently Lil Scotty McClellan doesn't know. But as you can see from today's White House press briefing, he's as confused as I am as to how this is supposed to work:

    Q Scott, how concerned is the administration about the potential for Iraq to become a sort of training ground for Islamic extremists who may go back to their home countries and use these techniques to destabilize their governments? There's a new report on that recently.

    MR. McCLELLAN: Well, let me mention a couple things. As the President has said for some time now, Iraq is a central front in the war on terrorism. Wherever you stood before the decision to go into Iraq, I think we can all recognize that the terrorists have made it a central front in the war on terrorism. That's why, as the President said earlier today, we are fighting the terrorists in Iraq so that we don't have to fight them here at home. And that's where things are. And that's why the terrorists understand how high the stakes are ...

    Q The report suggested that there's concern that Egyptians, Jordanians and others will go back to their home countries, using the techniques they've learned in Iraq to destabilize those countries.

    MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I don't know what your question is.

    Q Are you concerned about that? Do you think there's potential for that?

    MR. McCLELLAN: Iraq is a central front in the war on terrorism. In terms of what's your question on it, I think you're making the assumption that these individuals would just be sitting around sipping tea, as Secretary Rice likes to refer to in her previous comments. So I don't know what your question is regarding that.

    Q Just following up on that question, you said at the outset of that, the terrorists have made it a central front in the war on terrorism. I thought it was a central front in the war on terrorism before we invaded.

    MR. McCLELLAN: It is. It's part of the war on terrorism, yes.

    Q It was.

    MR. McCLELLAN: No, it is.

    Q It is now --

    MR. McCLELLAN: Both.

    Q Was it prior to --

    MR. McCLELLAN: Both. It's part of the war on terrorism, David.

    There, now isn't that as clear as mud?

    Run, Baby, Run!

    Shocked at the dearth of women in elected office in Pennsylvania...in the US...in the world? Well then, baby, you know what you gotta do, right?


    Run, Baby, Run is a workshop that'll give you the information you need to run for office. Elected Officials & campaign managers will share their knowledge + experience with you.

    For years we've talked about our region's lack of women in elected office....

    ...the time for talk is over, it's time to RUN, BABY, RUN.©

    If you're considering running for office, the Run, Baby, Run workshop will give you the information you need. In this one day session, elected officials and campaign managers will share their knowledge and experience with you.

    This workshop is designed for women only.

    Saturday, September 17, 2005
    from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m

    YWCA Greater Pittsburgh
    305 Wood Street, downtown Pittsburgh

    Registration: $15 (includes lunch)

    A limited number of scholarships are available.

    Contact:
    gloria@run-baby-run.com

    Website
    (with downloadable registration form): run-baby-run.com

    June 21, 2005

    TAKE THE PA STATE HOUSE BACK FROM THE REPUBLICANS!

    I'm passing this along as is. Time to turn PA from Swing State to True Blue:

    TAKE THE PA STATE HOUSE BACK FROM THE REPUBLICANS

    SPECIAL ELECTION: July 19, 2005

    HELP ELECT LINDA MINGER FOR STATE REPRESENTATIVE IN ALLENTOWN!



    Who is Linda Minger?

    Linda is a Democrat running in the special election for the Pennsylvania State House in the 131st District, in Allentown, PA. Linda is dedicated to improving and expanding green space, working to provide more early childhood education opportunities, and reducing the tax burden on seniors who are struggling with the rising cost of taxes and health care. For more information check out www.lindaminger.com and here

    This is an incredible opportunity to elect a Democrat to the House and to take a House seat back from the Republicans. Linda Minger's election to office will add another voice in Harrisburg for Democratic values and will put us on a path to take back the House! We only need to take 11 seats back for a Democratic majority. Could you imagine, a Blue State being run by a Blue legislature!

    Why should you get involved in Allentown?

    First, because this is a classic D vs. R race and the race is competitive, with Linda currently ahead in the polls. The special election is July 19th and there is NO OTHER MAJOR ELECTION between now and then.

    Second, Allentown is America! In 2004, CBS News used Allentown as a barometer for the Presidential election because it has the proper mix of people in terms of race, gender, religious beliefs, union affiliation, sexual orientation and political party membership needed to reflect the nation. "No area is more of a perfect proxy for the country as a whole," said Chris Borick, a political science professor and pollster at Muhlenberg College. If we can win over the hearts and minds of Allentown, we can do the same statewide in 2006 and nationwide in 2008!

    Why us?

    Democrats around the state, from Allentown to Zelienople, are working on this race to elect Linda. It’s a winnable race- with your help! Linda Minger has strong support and is currently ahead in the polls. This race will also set the tone for the larger races coming in 2006, the re-election of Governor Ed Rendell and the ouster of Senator Santorum. By showing that Democrats can work together to elect Linda Minger, at a time when there is no other major election until November, we will demonstrate that Democrats are the party of choice for Pennsylvania and start to build momentum toward next year.

    What’s Next?

    More details will follow shortly, but a coordinated effort is under way between Democratic organizations from across the Commonwealth. We need your help with:

    o Fundraising
    o Phone banking for Linda
    o Campaign invasion the weekend before the Special Election (July 16-17)

    If you would like to help with this campaign, please contact Yarone Zober at yarone.zober@obermayer.com or Janis Williams at janis.jmw@comcast.net.

    To find out more about Linda, please go to her website at lindaminger.com.

    Look forward to hearing from you soon,

    Yarone

    June 20, 2005

    Jesus' General's Call to Arms



    Jesus' General has issued a call to arms in the form of OPERATION YELLOW ELEPHANT:

    The objective of OPERATION YELLOW ELEPHANT is to recruit College Republicans and Young Republicans to serve as infantry. They demanded this war and now viciously support it. It's only right that they also experience it.

    The 56th College Republican National Convention is the setting for many of the proposed ops. It begins on Friday, June 24.

    The General encourages his readers to take the initiative to create materials and to plan and conduct special operations. Please let him know what you've done and he'll try to post it.

    Regular readers know that the General is a proud heterosexual, Christian conservative. He is not trying to embarrass the College Republicans. Rather, he believes that by encouraging them to enlist, he is pushing them to be more vocal about the good work their doing to make our homeland safe--things like holding affirmative action bakesales, holding immigrant hunts, almost single-handedly funding Ann Coulter, David Horowitz, and Michelle Malkin, relieving the elderly of the burden of having money, and punching out Joan Jett.

    All the info you need to help the General in his latest manly endeavors can be found at:

    Overview of OPERATION YELLOW ELEPHANT

    June 18, 2005

    Senator Santorum DEFENDS his stand on Terri Schiavo!

    Hardly surprising. But unintentionally funny, doncha think?

    We've written on Senator Santorum's part in this tragedy before.

    Here's where Rick asserted the Congress' authority to order Judge Whittemore's court to simply start over on the Schiavo case. The thing that seemed to have escaped our young friend's mind is that there's two hundred years of Constitutional tradition that says there's this thing called a "separation of powers." Congress lacks the authority to do any such thing.

    Here's where we point out that while our Junior Senator cancelled a public appearance (discussing Bush's proposed Social Security phase-out no less) "out of respect" for the Schiavo family, he never the less made it to a fundraiser where he netted a cool quarter million dollars.

    Here's what he says in the P-G:
    Regardless of what his critics say, U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum insists he did the right thing by visiting brain-damaged Terri Schiavo in Florida before she died March 31.

    In a visit to the state Capitol yesterday, Santorum said the autopsy of Schiavo, which came out this week, hasn't caused him to regret or second-guess his actions.
    And:
    "I absolutely do not regret going there," said Santorum, a conservative Republican who faces a difficult race for a third term next year.

    "I stood up for what I believe was right in defending a disabled person from being executed."
    No regrets. Looks like this article is one big appeal to Rick's religious base. He says later on::
    "Had I not gone down there, there would have been some who would have criticized me for not going," said Santorum, who likely will face a re-election challenge next year from Democratic state Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr.

    What about critics who complained that he was engaged in a political show by visiting Schiavo?

    "Oh yeah, that was a great political show, to go down there when the polls were showing that [getting involved with Schiavo] was something the Congress shouldn't have done," he replied, somewhat testily.

    Notice what he's doing here? Ponder for a minute the two phrases, "there would have been some who would have criticized me for not going" and then the "critics who complained that he was engaged in a political show." Obviously these are two distinct groups of critics, no? So our Rick is asserting that he'll suffer through the criticisms from those who said he shouldn't have gone down to Florida in order to avoid the criticisms from those who would have said that he should have if he didn't (no mention, of course, of the quarter million dollar pay off).

    Any guess on which group of critics encompases Pennsylvania's conservative religious community?

    And notice the moral/political framing going on. Those who criticised him did so because it was a "political show" while he says he went down there to defend what he believes in.

    Again not a peep about the political fundraiser.

    The barely-beneath-the-radar message for Pennsylania's religious conservatives: "I'm with you on this. I'll suffer the petty political bickering to stand with you on this. It's gonna be a tough fight against those who want to execute the disabled."

    Not a poltical show, huh?

    John McIntire returns to the Air!

    John McIntire, former host of PCNC's "NightTalk" returns to the airwaves in Pittsburgh!

    The P-G has the story here.

    The show will be called "Life Lounge" and will be on KDKA Radio 1020 Saturdays after the Pirate games.

    There's more good news. The station broadcasts across the web. So anyone on the planet can tune in!

    Congratulations John McIntire!

    Pittsburgh's Pride Parade and Festival: Today!

    Pittsburgh's Pride Parade and Festival is today.

    The parade will begin at 11:30 from Ross St near the old jail.

    Be sure to look out for the Steel City Stonewall Democrats who will be wearing their "NO SANTORUM" T-shirts. You can purchase these shirts on their website or at A Pleasant Present.

    Steel City Stonewall Democrats is the largest LGBT and supportive political organization in Pittsburgh, and is a chapter of National Stonewall Democrats.

    June 17, 2005

    MOVEON PENNACCHIO NOW!

    Here's the deal: if you want ANY chance of having a progressive senator from PA then you MUST vote in MoveOn's poll for Chuck Pennacchio.

    If you're a member of MoveOn already, then you should have received an email with a link to vote.

    If you're not a member of MoveOn, then here's the link that you need to vote:

    LINK TO VOTE IN MOVEON'S PA SENATE POLL

    Pennacchio needs some recognition and MoveOn can bring it.

    Santorum is already flailing so why not give a progressive a fighting chance in the primary? Why not give someone a chance who won't be as divisive as Casey is?

    Why bow down to the "conventional wisdom" of who to run as a Democrat when it's never failed to fail us???

    Why not give someone a chance who won't piss off a LARGE portion of the base?

    Oh, hell -- just do it!

    Your Age By Chocolate Math...



    A little fun for a change!


    DON'T CHEAT BY LOOKING AT THE END FIRST!!!

    It takes less than a minute. Work this out as you read. Be sure you don't read the bottom until you've worked it out! This is not one of those waste of time things, it's fun.

    1. First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like to have chocolate (more than once but less than 10).

    2. Multiply this number by 2 (Just to be bold)

    3. Add 5 (for Sunday).

    4. Multiply it by 50 I'll wait while you get the calculator...

    5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1755...
    If you haven't, add 1754...

    6. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born...

    You should have a three digit number.

    The first digit of this was your original number (i.e., how many times you want to have chocolate each week).

    The next two numbers are...

    YOUR AGE!!! (OH YES, IT IS!!!)

    THIS IS THE ONLY YEAR (2005) IT WILL EVER WORK, SO SPREAD IT AROUND WHILE IT LASTS.

    This is what democracy looks like under the Bush Regime:



    Signatures of 122 House members and a petition signed by 560,000 citizens delivered by a US Congressman had to be pushed between the iron bars surrounding the White House.

    More pictures here. Story here

    Legs?

    I haven't seen a hell of a lot of coverage of Rep. John Conyers' Forum on the Downing Street Minutes on the teevee. But that is to be expected. Salon has an article by Joe Conason here that talks about the reasons for the press coverup. It echos something that was said during the forum: if this is all "old news" and everyone knew Bush was planning to go to war before he told the American public (and the world) then why the fuck didn't the press report that at the time?

    However, I do think that this story has legs no matter what the MSM may desire.

    I acknowlegde that this poll is COMPLETLEY UNSCIENTIFIC, but damn, Skippy!



    You can still cast your vote here. And read the story here.

    June 16, 2005

    Must Watch TV @ 2:30 PM Today!

    A reminder that C-SPAN 3 will broadcast Rep. John Conyers' Downing Street Minutes hearing today at 2:30 pm.

    This is the same hearing that the Republicans attempted to stop which we wrote about in Judiciary GOP pulls the plug on Conyers 'forums.' That post got a nice plug from Salon's The Daou Report yesterday.

    June 15, 2005

    Well, It Never Stopped George W. Bush

    As those who don't fear and hate science have been saying all along, the autopsy demonstrates:

    Terri Schiavo's brain was half the size of a normal brain when she died.

    Additionally:

    She was blind, and therefore, could not have tracked the red balloon.

    There was no evidence of abuse by her husband
    .

    The real truth with this case is that it had nothing to do with the body, mind or soul of Terri Schiavo. It had to do with giving craven, opportunistic Republican politicians and their house band, FOX News, a platform to spew their hatred of so-called 'activist' judges. It didn't matter if they played out their little game over the body of a brain dead woman. The MSM gladly aided and abetted by playing the video snippet of the BLIND Schiavo "watching" the pretty red balloon.

    And speaking of craven, opportunistic Republicans politicians, if you recall Lil Ricky Santorum was all over Schiavo: from claiming that the courts had to obey Congress; to going to Florida to pray with Schiavo's family. Santorum canceled a Social Security event "out of respect" for Schiavo's family but didn't think there was anything inappropriate about proceeding with a campaign fundraiser that took in a cool quarter of a million dollars while he was there.

    Lil Ricky was one of those who demanded that his own religious beliefs (or at least his belief in playing to his Catholic constituency) supersede any and all actual scientific evidence, as well as the wishes of her husband.

    Well, I won't stand for Lil Ricky and his Rethuglican buddies and the Religious Right crowd making points and scoring cash over this issue anymore. It's time that the Left stands up too. So, in the interest of equal time in being craven and opportunistic, I'll use the occasion to make yet one more shameless plug for a new T-shirt design:



    Get 'em while they're hot.

    As if we needed another reason not to shop at Wal-Mart

    This one comes from down the road from us via West Virginia's Charleston Gazette:

    Wal-Mart officials in Cross Lanes told employees on Tuesday they have to start working practically any shift, any day they’re asked, even if they’ve built up years of seniority and can’t arrange child care.

    [snip]

    Workers who have had regular shifts at the store for years now have to commit to being available for any shift from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week. If they can’t make the commitment by the end of this week, they’ll be fired.

    “It shouldn’t cause any problem, if they [store employees] are concerned about their customers,” Knuckles said.
    Knuckles is the store's knuckleheaded manager. As the article notes, single mothers with children will have no choice but to quit working for the "family oriented" store. I will note that either Mom or Dad would also have to quit in a two income family.

    I will also note, that this is an excellent way to get rid of the employees who have worked there the longest and who are therefore paid the most.

    Wal-Mart's incentive system for managers encourages cost-cutting which usually translates into getting rid of workers. A little birdie told me that one such fire-happy Wal-Mart manager in the South Pittsburgh area managed to get rid of so many employees in order to boost his bonus that sales are down there because shoppers are disgusted with the lack of service.

    Rock on Wal-Mart managers!

    WCHS TV 8 reports that, "Legal Aid of West Virginia says workers who are fired because they cannot meet the new requirement will likely qualify for unemployment benefits. "

    Now all we need to is wait for the inevitable comment: "No one is forcing them to work there." Yep, you're right. But it'd be nice if the store that's so concerned about putting on a family friendly face to the public would show half as much concern for the people with families who work there.

    June 14, 2005

    OH GOD!

    I have my TV on with the sound off (streaming Air America Radio on my PC) but out of the corner of my eye I catch the following big graphic leading into a commercial break on CNN:

    Osama bin Laden in Iran?

    I guess Rove's just been waiting for the Jacko verdict to be announced to break this one...

    Judiciary GOP pulls the plug on Conyers 'forums'

    The Hill is reporting that Republicans will not give Conyers a committee room to hold his hearings on the Downing Street Minutes.


    Sean McLaughlin, deputy chief of staff for Sensenbrenner, recently wrote to a minority staffer in more pointed language.

    “I’m sitting here watching your ‘forum’ on C-SPAN,” McLaughlin wrote. “Just to let you know, it was your last. Don’t bother asking [for a room] again.”

    A committee source said committee Democrats are still planning to hold the forums when they find other available space.
    Not one to be deterred, Conyers has already found an alternative space:


    HEARINGS ON DOWNING STREET MINUTES SET FOR 1 PM THURSDAY

    Hearings to be held at DNC because Republicans Denying Democrats Use of Rooms on Hill

    On Thursday June 16, 2005, at 1:30 p.m. in the Wasserman Room at 430 S Capitol St. SE, Washington, D.C., Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and other Congress Members will hold a hearing on the Downing Street Minutes and related evidence of efforts to cook the books on pre-war intelligence.

    The hearings are being held at the Democratic National Committee because the Republicans controlling the House Judiciary Committee refused to permit the ranking Democratic Member to use a room on the Hill.



    Contact info for Republican Members of the House Judiciary Committee can be found at Daily KOS .


    UPDATE: The hearings on the Downing Street Minutes have been moved to 2:30 at the U.S. Capitol (still tomorrow). More information will be posted when I have it. Looks like the Republicans got too much negative press on this one, folks.

    UPDATE II: The hearing is to held Thursday, June 16 at 2:30PM in room HC9, a small room in the Capitol. An overflow area will be at the DNC headquarters (430 S. Capitol St. SE, Washington DC 20003), which will be hooked up via TV or radio link. C-SPAN 3 will cover the event. (Courtesy of Terre at Daily KOS.)

    Lynching: Silence Is Not Golden

    According to Daily KOS, here's the list of 16 20 Senators who 1) still refuse refused to cosponsor the anti-lynching resolution passed yesterday, and 2) refused a roll-call vote so they'd have to put their name on the resolution.

    The resolution, adopted yesterday in the Senate, apologized to the victims of lynching and their descendants for the Senate's failure to pass anti-lynching bills that could have been approved anytime during the past 65 years. Apparently some felt that this just wouldn't fly with their constituents; or perhaps they had some loftier reason to not sign the resolution (States Rights??); or maybe they are just complete assholes. We report, you decide:

    Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
    Robert Bennett (R-UT)
    Christopher Bond (R-MO)
    Jim Bunning (R-KY)
    Conrad Burns (R-MT)
    Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
    Thad Cochran (R-MS)
    Kent Conrad (D-ND)
    John Cornyn (R-TX)
    Michael Crapo (R-ID)
    Michael Enzi (R-WY)
    Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
    Judd Gregg (R-NH)
    Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
    Trent Lott (R-MS)
    Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
    Richard Shelby (R-AL)
    John Sununu (R-NH)
    Craig Thomas (R-WY)
    George Voinovich (R-OH)

    Tim of the Pennacchio campaign supplies contact info for them here.

    Lynching worked because it was public and quietly -- and often not so quietly -- sanctioned by local authorities. It's only fitting that we publicize the names of those in authority now who cannot be bothered to apologize for the past inaction of their brethren in the Senate who assisted with this practice in their own quiet way.




    UPDATE: See updates to list above. A senator is able even after the resolution passes to sign-on as a co-signer. Read HERE as to the excuses and lies given as to why some of the Dirty 16 have yet to sign on.

    UPDATE II: The lone Democrat among the bunch has now signed as a cosponsor.

    June 13, 2005

    Why They're Wrong On Both Counts And What You Can Do About It

    June 13, 2005 WASHINGTON - Howard Dean is "over the top," Vice President Dick Cheney said, calling the Democrats' chairman "not the kind of individual you want to have representing your political party."

    "I've never been able to understand his appeal. Maybe his mother loved him, but I've never met anybody who does. He's never won anything, as best I can tell," Cheney said in an interview to be aired today on Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes.
    Yep, Dean is getting it from all sides. The current GOP Talking Points:

    1. Democratic National Committee (DNC) fund raising under the chairmanship of Howard Dean has been "disappointing".

    2. He says crazy, mean things and is bad for the party!

    First. let's quickly debunk the first claim. As mediamatters.org notes:

    Media echoed baseless claim that Dean is a fund-raising failure

    In recent days, media figures have repeated the baseless claim that Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Howard Dean is not an effective fund-raiser. These claims echo an assertion in a June 6 Business Week article that misleadingly compared DNC fund-raising with money that the Republican National Committee (RNC) has raised this year. But a more relevant metric of fund-raising by the Dean-led DNC -- a comparison of this year's receipts with receipts in 2003 and 2001, the most recent election off-years -- proves that Dean's fund-raising efforts have surpassed those of his predecessor.

    [snip]

    In fact, Dean raised $14.8 million between February and April 2005 (the latest data available), compared with the DNC's $8.5 million during that period in 2003, the previous non-election year, and compared with the DNC's $13.7 million in so-called "hard money" raised in the first six months of 2001. (It should be noted that since 2001, the contribution limits to national parties have increased as a result of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.)

    Moreover, the DNC has raised more in comparison to the RNC over the past three months than it did during 2003. The RNC raised $32.4 million between February and April, about 2.2 times the rate of the Democrats, as Media Matters for America noted; over the same period in 2003, the RNC raised $25.7 million, more than three times the rate of the DNC. Media Matters compiled statistics from February through April, rather than the first-quarter statistics that BusinessWeek used, because Dean did not assume leadership of the DNC until February 12.
    Now, as to the second charge:

    "Crazy" and "mean" is the Vice President of the United States saying in September 2004 that a November win by Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry would put the United States at risk of another "devastating" terrorist attack.

    "Crazy" and "mean" is when the Republican Majority Leader threatens judges by saying "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior..." at a time when judges are under threat of real violence.

    "Crazy" and "mean" and IRONIC is the Republican Senate Majority Leader participates in a rally subtitled "Stopping the Filibuster Against People of Faith" that is overwhelmingly Christian and White and then the Republicans cry that Dean says that the Republicans are "a pretty monolithic party. They all behave the same. They all look the same. It's pretty much a white Christian party."

    Need we remind any one of what their leadership looks like?


    (Another great picture -- courtesy of Exit Stage Left -- is available here.)

    The real shame is when other "Democrats" pile on providing grist for the Repug propaganda mill like Democratic Sen. Joe Biden saying that, "He doesn't speak for me with that kind of rhetoric and I don't think he speaks for the majority of Democrats." That statement was gleefully quoted at NewsMax and Free Republic.

    However, as this article notes:

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic National Committee leaders embraced feisty party boss Howard Dean on Saturday and urged him to keep fighting despite a flap over his blunt comments on Republicans.

    After a meeting of the DNC's 40-member executive committee at a downtown hotel, members said Dean was doing exactly what they elected him to do -- build the party in all states and aggressively challenge Republicans.

    "I hope Governor Dean will remember that he didn't get elected to be a wimp," said DNC member Gilda Cobb-Hunter, a South Carolina state representative. "We have been waiting a long time for someone to stand up for Democrats."
    Furthermore, Biden's own mail is running is running heavily against him and for Howard Dean as this screen capture shows:


    So what can you do to support Howard Dean? Here's a start:

    1. Sign the petition that tells everyone that HOWARD DEAN SPEAKS FOR ME


    2. Nothin' says lovin' like somethin' in the...err...cash box. Make a contribution to the DNC. This link to Act Blue will tell the DNC that "We've Got Howard's Back." And, don't forget that adding a penny to the amount that you're giving anytime that you make a contribution to the DNC, PA Dem party, etc., let's them know that you're a Dean Democrat.

    3. Call/Email Democratic Elected Officials (Why not start with Biden?)

    4. Write Letters to the Editor

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    And -- shameless plug -- you can always display DEAN SPEAKS FOR ME gear (buttons/bumperstickers) available here.

    June 10, 2005

    REMEMBER: THERE ARE NO REPORTED ABUSES OF THE PATRIOT ACT!

    Remember and repeat after me:

    THERE ARE NO REPORTED ABUSES OF THE PATRIOT ACT!

    THERE ARE NO REPORTED ABUSES OF THE PATRIOT ACT!

    THERE ARE NO REPORTED ABUSES OF THE PATRIOT ACT!

    According to W:

    With an eye toward wavering members of Congress, Bush invoked the name and reputation of Feinstein, a Democratic centrist.

    "One senator, Dianne Feinstein of California, has worked with civil rights groups to monitor my administration's use of the Patriot Act. Here's what she said: 'We've scrubbed the area, and I have no reported abuses.'

    "Remember that the next time you hear someone make an unfair criticism of this important, good law. The Patriot Act has not diminished American liberties; the Patriot Act has helped to defend American liberties,'' the president said.
    AND, THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY REPORTED ABUSES OF THE PATRIOT ACT:

    GOP House Judiciary Chair Uses Pinochet Tactics to Abruptly and Unilaterally Shut Down Hearing Into Abuses of the (Un)Patriot Act, Because He Was Afraid the Truth Would Come Out. America: "IT" is Happening Here. Democracy is Being Dismantled by GOP Thugs.

    A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS

    This morning, House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI) unilaterally and arbitrarily shut down committee hearings on the reauthorization of the Patriot Act without comment or issuing a statement. Sensenbrenner gaveled the committee hearings in the middle of witnesses testifying about human and civil rights abuses at Guantanamo Bay, racial profiling of individuals of Middle Eastern descent, prolonged detentions of Americans after September 11th and other abuses.

    The suppression of free speech and testimony in the congressional committee in charge of protecting our civil liberties shows the Republican’s power grab has no limits and no decency. The irony was not lost on anyone.

    MORE HERE INCLUDING VIDEO
    According to Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, speaking on the The Randi Rhodes Show (right now), Sensenbrenner not only had microphones shut off but also had the court reporter stop typing. How low can they go?

    June 9, 2005

    House Judiciary Democrats to Hold Hearings on Downing Street Minutes

    What would we do without Congressman John Conyers?

    Conyers conducted the hearings on the 2004 vote irregularities (theft) and now he will hold hearings on June 16th on the Downing Street Minutes.

    From
    After Downing Street:


    For Immediate Release:

    THURSDAY, JUNE 16

    CONYERS TO HOLD DEMOCRATIC HEARING ON DOWNING STREET MEMO AND LEAD UP TO IRAQ WAR

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Thursday June 16, 2005, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of House Judiciary Committee, and other Democratic Members will hold a Democratic hearing to hear testimony concerning the Downing Street Minutes and the efforts to cook the books on pre-war intelligence.

    On May 1, 2005 a Sunday London Times article disclosed the details of a classified memo, also known as the Downing Street Minutes, recounting the minutes of a July 2002 meeting of Prime Minister Tony Blair that describes an American President already committed to going to war in the summer of 2002, despite contrary assertions to the public and the Congress. The minutes also describe apparent efforts by the Administration to manipulate intelligence data to justify the war. The June 16th hearing will attempt to answer the serious constitutional questions raised by these revelations and will further investigate the Administration's actions in the lead up to war with new documents that further corroborate the Downing Street memo.

    Directly following the hearing, Rep. Conyers, Members of Congress, and concerned citizens plan to hand deliver to the White House the petition and signatures of over a half million Americans that have joined Rep. Conyers in demanding that President Bush answer questions about his secret plan for the Iraq war.

    WHAT: Democratic hearing on Downing Street Minutes and Pre-war intelligence

    WHEN: Thursday, June 16, 2005, TIME TBD

    WHERE: LOCATION TBD

    WITNESSES: Joe Wilson, Former Ambassador and WMD Expert Ray McGovern, 27-year CIA analyst who prepared regular Presidential briefings during the Reagan administration Cindy Sheehan, mother of fallen American soldier John Bonifaz, renowned constitutional lawyer
    And from Daily KOS, what YOU can do to help his efforts:


    1. Support MoveOn.org. Spread the word. Get as many people to sign Conyers' letter as you can between now and the 14th of June. Target number is 500,000 signatures.

    2. JOIN THE AFTERDOWNINGSTREET.ORG COALITION SEEKING A RESOLUTION OF INQUIRY.

    3. WRITE TO YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS. Tell your representatives that you support Congressman Conyers. "Backbone" postcards available at AfterDowningStreet.org

    4. Put up notices and flyers in public places, directing people to Conyers' letter at MoveOn.org. Move On.org Aims to Get 500,000 signatures by June 14, 2005. Move On Org. TELL THE TRUTH

    5. Downing Street Minutes Research Nuts:
    Contact the House Judiciary Democratic Committee Tip Line:
    Contact the Minority Office:

    "Thank you for your interest in our work on the Committee on the Judiciary. I am seeking information regarding the charges made in the so-called “Downing Street Minutes” that there was a secret agreement between the U.S. and the U..K to invade Iraq by the summer of 2002, well before the president sought congressional authority.

    "Please provide us with any information or leads you might have regarding such a secret pre-war deal, or other efforts to manipulate intelligence or provoke a response to justify war. We will treat any information provided on this site as confidential.

    "Thank you for your assistance in this important matter."
    HOUSE JUDICIARY DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE TIP LINE ON THE DOWNING STREET MINUTES

    6. Congressman Conyers has asked that you do as much as you can to alert the media and inform the public about the Downing Street Minutes Hearing on June 16th, 2005. Please do what you can in local newspapapers, radio, television, and the blogoshpere.

    7. Flyers are available at AfterDowningStreet.org.

    Bloggers: Join The Big Brass Alliance here.

    Catching Up

    I've been tied up on a work project the last few days so I've been looking around some of the local political blogs to see what I've missed here:

    Three Rivers Online has a recap of Kathy Dopp's lecture in Pittsburgh. I had blogged about Dopp, the Founder and President of US Count Votes, coming here but was unable to attend myself so I'm glad I could at least read about it.

    While I don't always agree with the very Libertarian views at Freedom's Gate, I love the "F DUBYA" license plate that's being auctioned on eBay. You can see it here

    And, it's nice to see that the lights have come back on (now and then) at Exit Stage Left. Click here to see his Whiter than White photo gallery of the GOP members of the House (yes, Howard Dean is right).

    June 7, 2005

    The Crazy Email I Get!

    I found the following in my inbox today:


    OK, it got a bit messed up...I live in the city...Damn taggers! They'll spray paint anything!

    The letter goes on to say:

    A great deal has been made of the issues where Bob Casey and I don't see eye to eye ... but that doesn't tell the whole story. I know that Bob is acutely aware of the pain that a lack of access to family planning can cause to women and families BUT IF THE PLANS GOES WRONG, NO ABORTION FOR YOU, MISSY! - it's why he supports public funding of these services and contraceptive equity in health insurance coverage. Bob is also a strong advocate of health care and nutrition programs for women and children.AS LONG AS THAT HEALTH CARE DOES NOT IN ANYWAY INVOLVE EMBRYO STEM CELLS

    In fact, on issue after issue of concern to women and families, Bob Casey has stood with us. UNLESS IT INVOLVES CHOICE/EMBRYO STEM CELLS

    [snip]

    Democrats are fortunate to have people like Bob in our party UH, NO... and we're fortunate he's running. FUCK THAT

    Because Bob Casey will win. NOT WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF PRO CHOICE WOMEN For all of us. EXCEPT THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN CHOICE, EMBRYO STEM CELL RESEARCH, GAY MARRIAGE, ETC., OR WHO KNOWS WHAT OTHER "I WILL IMPOSE MY RELIGIOUS BELIEFS ON YOU" VIEWS HE SHARES WITH LIL RICKY.
    Damn, those graffiti artists are everywhere!

    Of course, if they read THIS, I can understand their rage.

    But really, I suspect that it was done by one of the thousands of women who supported Hafer (no matter which party she was in at the time) because she was ardently pro choice.

    Whatever

    On Being Pragmatic on "Choice"

    There's been a bit of discussion (on this blog at elsewhere) over the upcoming Senatorial election here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I can see two separate and in no way overlapping camps.

    Some say that Senator Santorum is so frightening that we should be supporting whomever chooses to run against him - even if that candidate is a pro-life democrat. These people are only being "pragmatic," they say. To be honest I can see their side.

    On the other side of the discussion there are those who feel that Choice is so central to their politics that, while they'll certianly vote against Bob Roberts Rick Santorum, they just can't bring themselves to happily support a candidate who stands in opposition a profoundly foundamental freedom - freedom over one's own body. Let's call these folks "idealists." I can see this side as well.

    Before you decide that there's no difference between a pro-choice democrat and a pro-life democrat, just as long as the Junior Senator gets beaten in November of 2006, I'd like you to contemplate the story of Gerardo Flores. I found it at Kevin Drum's blog.

    Here's Kevin's take on it. I couldn't put it any better so I'll just cut and paste his words.

    In 2003, Texas passed an anti-abortion law that instituted a 24-hour waiting period; required doctors to show women pictures of fetuses, tell them about adoption procedures, and warn them that an abortion could lead to breast cancer; and forced abortion providers to keep the identities of all their patients in their records. And one more thing, as the Fort Worth Weekly reported at the time:

    The bill as passed also includes another requirement that managed to escape the floodlights of controversy and debate: Abortions from 16 weeks onward now can be performed only in hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers.

    The clause is a major Catch-22. Very few Texas hospitals perform elective abortions, and the few that do charge extremely high fees and require that the patients go through complicated ethics reviews. And of the state's hundreds of surgical centers, none performs abortions.

    So, with no place to get an abortion after 16 weeks, what does a panicky, 17-year-old girl do if she's four months pregnant? Erica Basoria decided to try to induce a miscarriage. When that didn't work, she asked her boyfriend to step on her stomach. A week later she miscarried.

    But as this took place in Bush country, so you know the story gets worse. Kevin continues:
    Texas also has a shiny new law criminalizing "fetal murder," and the fact that Basoria wanted a miscarriage in this case doesn't matter. Her boyfriend, Gerardo Flores of Lufkin, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for his part in this tragic comic opera.
    Seems to me that there's at least 40 years worth of difference we're talking about here. At least for Gerardo Flores.

    June 4, 2005

    Hey Joe (Hoeffel Set To Blog)

    I participated in a bloggers conference call Thursday night with Joe Hoeffel. (I intended to post about this Thursday or Friday but the fire wore me out.) The subject was Hoeffel's new web venture Joe Hoeffel & Friends (expected to be operational in the next week or two).

    The following bloggers participated and you can see their accounts of the call below:

  • Dan and Ray from Young Philly Politics
  • Jane from Above Average Jane
  • Albert from Dragonballyee


  • The invitation to join the call came from Hilary Zwerdling of @DVOCACY, INC. I have no idea how bloggers were chosen to participate. Hilary moderated the call.

    As is usual with all things political in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia was over represented. I believe that I was the only participant from the WILD WILD WEST, but the sponsors of the call did say that they wanted participation from this neck of the woods, and of course, there's no saying how many people were actually invited vs. how many chose to join in.

    Hopefully, everyone reading this post knows who Joe Hoeffel is as he ran against Arlen Specter for Senate in 2004. Certainly one of Hoeffel's problems in his campaign was lack of name recognition as well as the perception of Specter as one of the last moderate Republicans in the Senate.

    I wholeheartedly supported Hoeffel against Specter in the election and met him several times while he was campaigning in these parts.

    Hoeffel is a Progressive so I was terribly disappointed when he came out for Bob Casey, Jr. (anti-choice, antigay, anti-embryo stem cell research, etc.) recently.

    I attended a PA Organizing Conference for Democracy for America in May and Hoeffel was the speaker at lunch. My understanding was that he was asked beforehand not to use the event to campaign on Casey's behalf but he took the opportunity to answer a question as to why he wasn't running against Santorum into a 10 minute plug for Casey. I was one of the attendees who could be heard grumbling loudly that, "I didn't come here for this crap." I had even avoided a fundraiser for Wayne Fontana that was only a couple of blocks from my house because Hoeffel was a guest and I thought that I might break out into a rant against Casey there.

    So let's just say that I approached the call with some trepidation, but also with curiosity (Who was participating? Would this be another Casey ad? etc.). I didn't really venture any comments and the call lasted a half hour.

    The main gist of the call was to inform the progressives about the site (interactive, blog, calendar, polls, resource for information). Hoeffel plans to blog there a few times week. Getting his perspective on things may prove interesting if he keeps it current and insider-enough.

    Certainly we can use an alternative to the Right-minded Grassroots PA.

    Above Average Jane has asked everyone to give Hoeffel three months to get the site together and help it to look good. Three months can be an eternity in politics but I'm not set to attack it at the outset.

    Just one thing, Joe:
    Please do not make it one long campaign ad for Casey.

    I know you're for him. However, I also notice that I wasn't the only blogger on the call with a big fat free Pennacchio ad on my site.

    Let's make this a site that will truly attract ALL Progressive Democrats.

    * * * * *

    NOTE: After the call, I was able to catch a forum of bloggers (Atrios, David Corn, MyDD, Afro-Netizen and others) on C-SPAN2's coverage of The Conference for America's Future. Jerome Armstrong from MyDD mentioned just how crappy a choice Casey is for any progressive voter. Great minds think alike...

    Voter Registration Is An Art

    As they did in 2004, the Three Rivers Arts Festival (Festival Dates: June 3-19, 2005) has graciously offered a free tent for voter registration.

    Members of Democracy for Pittsburgh and Progressive Action Pittsburgh have been tapped to man the booth June 3 - June 5.

    I'll be there this Sunday from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

    Drop on by!

    Kathy Dopp (US Count Votes) Lectures in Pgh on Monday

    Pittsburgh, PA - Kathy Dopp to be in Pittsburgh area for important lectures:

    ABNORMALITIES AND STATISTICAL IMPOSSIBILITIES IN THE 2004 ELECTION - AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT BEFORE THE 2006 ELECTIONS!

    FEATURING KATHY DOPP, Founder and President of US Count Votes
    , an organization formed to investigate the accuracy of our elections.

    President Bush won November's election by 2.5% yet exit polls showed Kerry leading by 3%. How is this possible? Hear the shocking details of the report published by uscounvotes.org.

    TWO VENUES/TWO DAYS ONLY:

    Monday, June 6, 2005, 8:00 PM,
    St. Andrews Lutheran Church, 304 Morewood Avenue (corner of Centre and Morewood), Oakland, Pittsburgh

    Tuesday, June 7, 2005, 8:00 PM, the Penn Township Rescue 6 Community Room, Sandy Hill Road, in Harrison City. This is one turn off the Parkway East/Rt. 22.


    Kathy Dopp, an independent mathematician, has done ground-breaking work on the 2004 election "discrepancies" and the problems and irregularities associated with electronic voting machines. Her team discovered alarming abnormalities and statistical impossibilities in the election results. Working with a team of respected mathematicians and statisticians she published several papers, including an Analysis of the 2004 Presidential Election Exit Poll Discrepancies.

    She also founded the National Election Data Archive Project, which is a volunteer scientific research project to create and analyze - for the first time ever - a database containing precinct-level election results for the entire United States.

    By the national election in November 2006, for the first time in American history, it could be possible for candidates to be reliably warned of indications of machine or human-caused vote count errors in time to challenge the results. With a sound scientific approach and methodology, it may be possible for our project staff to develop statistical evidence in support of legal filings and serve as expert witnesses for candidates, regardless of party affiliation.

    Pennsylvania is now debating methods of implementing the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), passed by Congress after the 2000 election. Decisions are now being made in Allegheny and surrounding counties about HAVA and we need to ensure that accurate and secure methods of voting are implemented in Pennsylvania

    As concerned citizens we owe it to ourselves, our country, and our state to be as informed as possible so that we may effectively influence our political future.

    For further information about the Pittsburgh event, contact Janis Williams at janis.jmw@comcast.net or call 412-680-1626.

    For further information about the Harrison City event, contact Marybeth Kuznick at sunnykay1@comcast.net

    To find out more about US Count Votes, go to their website:
    www.uscountvotes.org.

    Newsweek Was Right: U.S. Southern Command Confirms Koran Abuse

    From Reuters:

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American jailers at the Guantanamo prison for foreign terrorism suspects splashed a Koran with urine, kicked and stepped on the Islamic holy book and soaked it with water, the U.S. military said on Friday.

    U.S. Southern Command, responsible for the prison at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, described for the first time five cases of "mishandling" of a Koran by U.S. personnel confirmed by a newly completed military inquiry, officials said in a statement.
    Any surprise that this story was dumped on the media on a Friday evening? (Traditionally, PR-wise, the time best time to release something that you want the least amount of people to see.)

    Alysheba, a Daily KOS poster, has a good summary of the way the story was handled on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:

    Keith Olbermann's Sub Tonight...

    ..."Alex" somebody, went after the Friday dump HARD. She led off with "The Pentagon released information documenting confirmed cases of Koran desecration at Guantanamo after normal business hours today, in the hopes of minimizing fallout...etc.."

    Then, talking to Barry McCafferty, she brought it up AGAIN, saying something like: "Released the info at 7:15 this evening. Fortunately for our viewers, this broadcast doesn't air until EIGHT o'clock, allowing us to bring this to you as our lead story tonight!"

    Then she got Howard Fineman from Newsweek saying "I think now it's The Pentagon that needs to review its internal reporting procedures!"

    She even got McCafferty - a retired general - to blame Rumsfeld's "improper and likely illegal policies" for the whole torture mess.

    I think this Deep Throat thing has energized a lot of reporters. Not that Olbermann's show doesn't usually call it like it is, but there's just a...an enthusiasm...that hasn't been there for years.

    And I hope they pound this Friday dump clear into next week.

    June 3, 2005

    The house, the house, the house is on fire!

    OK, not my house, but two doors away. Woke up to a nasty smell and thought something was on fire in my own home. The occupant of the house is OK. The fire was probably electrical.

    Seeing as how most of the homes on this block are more-or-less row houses, I'm very glad that my house, the one next door and the one that was ablaze are the only three on the block that do have some real space (tiny) between them.

    The smell is just awful!

    Interestingly enough, I seem to be the only one in this house not to have woken up from a dream about fire.

    Apparently a neighbor smelled the smoke and kicked the man's door in. The occupant (an elderly man) was awake and getting dressed but at that point the flames got much worse and the neighbors hurried him along.

    Bottom-line: everyone is physically OK. The fireman are still here, as well as Duquesne Light. WTAE TV made an appearance. I will try to go back to sleep soon.

    I do wonder if the firemen happened to notice the doll that I have hanging in my front window of Preznit Chimpy McFlighsuit. His pants are on fire. (And, I bet you thought that I couldn't link all this back to some derogatory comment about Bush!)

    June 2, 2005

    No Two Snowflakes Are Alike...But Snowflake Baby Parents Are Identical!

    Remember when Preznit Chimpy McFlightsuit appeared in the White House for a photo-op with parents who had been given left over embryos from in vitro fertilization (IVF) attempts by other couples? These babies are called "Snowflake Babies" based on their past frozen state. Bush appeared with twenty-one "Snowflake Babies" born from an embryo-adoption program at Nightlight Christian Adoption Agency. The children and their parents met with congressmen and the president before the House vote on stem cell research.

    What wasn't detailed at the time that Bush was extolling the virtues of this "adoption" program is that it discriminates on the basis of religion and sexual orientation.

    A couple who adopted from the agency said that it states on the agency's forms that the adopting family must be conservative Christians and, ideally, include a stay-at-home mother. Another reason that the couple used this agency is because they were afraid that another agency might give "Snowflakes" to lesbian parents. (The HORROR!)

    So if I've got it straight (pun-intended) it would be a sin according to Chimpy's buddies to let these popsicles...err...snowflakes not be adopted to loving parents, unless of course the loving parents are Heathens, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Gays, etc., or -- God Forbid! -- LIBERAL Christians. Then, it might just be better to keep them frosty forever.

    Full story at AMERICAblog.com.

    What They're Saying About Deep Throat

    This is going to be fun.

    I bet you're all wondering what (if anything) the national wingnuts have to say about Deep Throat (The Watergate source, not the movie or the act). We'll taking a cue from Josh Marshall over at TalkingPointsMemo.com, here's a few choice grumblings.

    Robert Novak says:

    Mark Felt, finally revealed as the "Deep Throat" who divulged the Watergate scandal, is wearing the hero's laurel 32 years later. But that designation comes across as peculiar to those of us who lived through the turbulent times.

    Felt deserves praise for breaking the rules as FBI associate director, providing Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post the guidance to determine whether they were on the correct path in uncovering the machinations of President Nixon.

    However, Felt was considered by reformers at the FBI to be part of the problem rather than the solution. He was viewed as a sycophantic lieutenant of lifetime FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover who came down hard against any agents who tried to bring change to the bureau.

    Everybody knew that Felt was leaking information to Woodward and Bernstein about the Watergate investigation. The reporters made no secret of the fact that they were getting leaks from inside the FBI, and it was presumed that Felt was one of the leakers. Felt was very unhappy with the Nixon White House, partly for many
    reasons that were not necessarily noble or patriotic.
    So the man who leaked the name of a CIA operative as a partisan payback, deems it fair game to lecture use about patriotism. But look closely, he describes Felt as "breaking the rules" and being a Hoover sychophant. He even downplays the whole situation with the patronizing "Everybody knew that Felt..." comment. If everyone knew, why didn't Robert Novak ever tell us?

    Here's some wisdom from various and sundry wingnuts:

    "Barney Gumble" at freerepublic.com says:
    What remarkable timing for the revealing of Deep Throat! Just as Newsweek was taking tons of heat for publishing a false Koran flushing story, Deep Throat is revealed removing all attention from Newsweek. It just so happens that Newsweek is also owned by the Washington Post.
    Interesting - So I guess the editors of Vanity Fair (owned, I believe by Conde Nast and NOT by The Washington Post or Newsweek) decided to publish the article sometime after Newsweek went with Isikoff's periscope piece.

    James Lakely at venerable The Washington Times had this to say:
    The former attorney for Clinton scandal whistleblower Linda R. Tripp -- who, like "Deep Throat," exposed White House misdeeds -- said his client's harsh public treatment stands in stark contrast to the veneration of W. Mark Felt, whose aid to the press helped bring down President Nixon.
    I like how they equate (with the phrase: "who like "Deep Throat" exposes White House misdeeds") fellation with the systematic shredding of the Constitution. But it's the Washington Times - no need to explain further, I guess. However "seamas" over at freerepublic had this addition:

    Both Tripp and Felt discovered wrong-doing in the White House. Both were digusted that the occupant of the White House was not as honorable as "their" presidents who served before.

    Linda Tripp collected her evidence and went to the authorities -- a legal action.

    Mark Felt took information that it was illegal to disseminate and took it to a newspaper.

    Tripp did the right thing, is a villain.

    Mark Felt did the wrong thing, is a hero.

    And we all know why.

    No, why?

    This freeper thread spins out into complete lunacy with something "Semper Paratus" writes:
    The thing that kept Linda Tripp from being "Fostered" was Clinton's emission of guilt.
    And there you have it - wingnuttery in it's purest form. The discussion of Mark Felt somehow manages to morph into a discussion of Bill Clinton's "murder" of Vince Foster.

    I can't wait to see what Ann Coulter has to say.

    Big Brass Alliance (Downing Street Minutes)

    2 Political Junkies is now a member of The Big Brass Alliance. The Big Brass Alliance was formed in May 2005 as a collective of progressive bloggers who support After Downing Street.

    1. After Downing Street is a Coalition of veterans' groups, peace groups, and political activist groups, which launched on May 26, 2005, a campaign to urge the U.S. Congress to begin a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war. The campaign focuses on evidence that recently emerged in a British memo containing minutes of a secret July 2002 meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top national security officials.

    2. The name is a reference to the Downing Street Memo, a British memo recently made public in the London Times, which contained the minutes of a secret July 2002 meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top national security officials.

    3. After Downing Street reports: In response to the release of the memo, “John Bonifaz, a Boston attorney specializing in constitutional litigation, sent a memo to Congressman John Conyers of Michigan, the Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, urging him to introduce a Resolution of Inquiry directing the House Judiciary Committee to launch a formal investigation into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House to impeach President Bush. Bonifaz's memo, made available today at afterdowningstreet.org, begins: ‘The recent release of the Downing Street Memo provides new and compelling evidence that the President of the United States has been actively engaged in a conspiracy to deceive and mislead the United States Congress and the American people about the basis for going to war against Iraq. If true, such conduct constitutes a High Crime under Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution.’"

    4. Congressman Conyers is now seeking 100,000 signatures to sign a letter on the Downing Street Inquiry.

    5. Sign the letter here. Write to your Congresspeople here.

    Another important piece of information that has been overlooked in this story, as reported in a recent Salon article by Juan Cole, is that Tony Blair had to convince George Bush to go after al-Qaida in Afghanistan, and Bush would only do so in exchange for Britain’s support of the Iraq invasion:

    Astonishingly, the Bush administration almost took the United States to war against Iraq in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11. We know about this episode from the public account of Sir Christopher Meyer, then the U.K. ambassador in Washington. Meyer reported that in the two weeks after Sept. 11, the Bush national security team argued back and forth over whether to attack Iraq or Afghanistan. It appears from his account that Bush was leaning toward the Iraq option.

    Meyer spoke again about the matter to Vanity Fair for its May 2004 report, "The Path to War." Soon after Sept. 11, Meyer went to a dinner at the White House, "attended also by Colin Powell, [and] Condi Rice," where "Bush made clear that he was determined to topple Saddam. 'Rumors were already flying that Bush would use 9/11 as a pretext to attack Iraq,' Meyer remembers." When British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived in Washington on Sept. 20, 2001, he was alarmed. If Blair had consulted MI6 about the relative merits of the Afghanistan and Iraq options, we can only imagine what well-informed British intelligence officers in Pakistan were cabling London about the dangers of leaving bin Laden and al-Qaida in place while plunging into a potential quagmire in Iraq. Fears that London was a major al-Qaida target would have underlined the risks to the United Kingdom of an "Iraq first" policy in Washington.

    Meyer told Vanity Fair, "Blair came with a very strong message -- don't get distracted; the priorities were al-Qaida, Afghanistan, the Taliban." He must have been terrified that the Bush administration would abandon London to al-Qaida while pursuing the great white whale of Iraq. But he managed to help persuade Bush. Meyer reports, "Bush said, 'I agree with you, Tony. We must deal with this first. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.'" Meyer also said, in spring 2004, that it was clear "that when we did come back to Iraq it wouldn't be to discuss smarter sanctions." In short, Meyer strongly implies that Blair persuaded Bush to make war on al-Qaida in Afghanistan first by promising him British support for a later Iraq campaign.”