We are the 99%

April 30, 2006

The Transcript to Stephen Colbert's Performance

Has been posted at the Dailykos. Here are some highlights that the Other Political Junkie didn't post:
By the way, before I get started, if anybody needs anything at their tables, speak slowly and clearly into your table numbers and somebody from the NSA will be right over with a cocktail. Mrs. Smith, ladies and gentlemen of the press corps, Mr. President and first lady, my name is Stephen Colbert and it's my privilege tonight to celebrate our president. He's not so different, he and I. We get it. We're not brain backs on the nerd patrol. We're not members of the fact [police]. We go straight from the gut, right sir? That's where the truth lies, right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. I know some of you are going to say I did look it up, and that's not true. That's [right?], but you looked it up in a book.

Next time, look it up in your gut. I did. My gut tells me that's how our nervous system works. Every night on my show, the Colbert Report, I speak straight from the gut, OK? I give people the truth, unfiltered by rational argument. I call it the "No Fact Zone." Fox News, I own the copyright on that term.
Haahaahaa! Here's another:
I believe in pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. I believe it is possible -- I saw this guy do it once in Cirque du Soleil. It was magical. And though I am a committed Christian, I believe that everyone has the right to their own religion, be it Hindu, Jewish or Muslim. I believe [there are] infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior.
And another:
I've never been a fan of books. I don't trust them. They're all fact, no heart. I mean, they're elitist telling us what is or isn't true, what did or didn't happen. What's Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was built in 1914? If I want to say it was built in 1941, that's my right as an American. I'm with the president, let history decide what did or did not happen.
And yet another:
But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Put them through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction.
Fiction, yea.

I'll end it here. Go read the rest. It's hilarious and sad all at once.

Did Arlen Specter grow some testicles?

This has been floating around for a few days, but I've been out and about so here it is now.

From the LATimes. The lede:
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Thursday he might seek to block funding of a domestic eavesdropping program in an effort to force the Bush administration to answer lawmakers' questions about the operation.

In a warning to the White House, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said he planned to introduce legislation that would cut off funds for the surveillance program, which he described as a threat to civil liberties and a violation of domestic espionage laws.
Good for him. Now let's see if he'll follow through.

Here's the soundbite. My guess is that the first sentence is some rhetorical cover - and that Specter has already decided what he's gonna do. I just don't have any idea what that is:
Specter said he was not yet prepared to support a cutoff of funding, which he said would be a measure of last resort. But he warned that if the Bush administration was unwilling to comply with existing laws or help draft new domestic surveillance legislation, the only way for Congress to exercise any control might be to deny funding.

"What's the use of passing another statute if the president won't pay any attention to it?" Specter said. "When you talk about withholding funds, there you're talking about a real authority."[emphasis added.]
Hahaha. Did he just say that the Bush was acting illegally? What else could "unwilling to comply with existing laws" possibly mean?

Here comes the White House spin. Take a close look at what is said (and what isn't):
"The administration remains confident that a majority of members of Congress continue to recognize the importance of protecting Americans through lawful intelligence activities directed at terrorists," said Dana Perino, a White House spokeswoman.
Notice that she said "lawful intelligence activities directed at terrorists." But, honestly is anyone really against that?

Only those imaginary liberals who seem to only inhabit the scattered imagination of wingnuts (and trolls) everywhere. It's a strawman argument hoisted to deflect from the real issue - the unlawful intelligence activities directed at US Citizens.

In any case the next paragraph from the LATimes calls it BS anyway:
Many in Congress have rejected that argument and are pushing for an overhaul of espionage laws to subject the domestic surveillance program to greater outside scrutiny.
So there.

As I said it's nice to see Specter grow some testicles. Perhaps he'll have the guts to use them.

We'll see.

BIG BRASS ONES

Bushy had his comedy writers deliver him a very cute little skit at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner Saturday night. He's gone for self deprecation before (don't they all?) but this year's skit verged on truthiness with Bush's Id speaking beside him (in the form of the Bush impersonator seen on Leno's Tonight Show).

Like I said, it was cute:




Then Stephen Colbert came out and wiped the floor with Bush.

He ripped Bush a new one so raw and bloody that at times the audience could do little more than cover their mouths to hide their laughter/shock.

The often fawning Washington Press Corps were frequently less than amused as Colbert did not spare them or the man whose approval they crave. Editor & Publisher reported that the "blistering comedy 'tribute' to President Bush...left George and Laura Bush unsmiling at its close."

A video of the last half of Colbert's performance is available at Crooks & Liars.

If you're not familiar with Colbert, his The Colbert Report on Comedy Central is a pitch perfect satire of the Bill O'Liely School of Faux Journalism. It's often brilliant.

But performing a version of the show in front of Bush and his minions is more than brilliant -- it's fucking guerilla art. It's speaking truth to power and the MSM couldn't have been less comfortable as they became part of a performance art piece (and the punch line to many jokes).

Of course they deserved it if only for laughing at George's bit at a previous dinner where he "amusingly" looked under desks and seat cushions for the "missing" Weapons of Mass Destruction as our troops died on the battlefield for his lies.

If you don't like spoilers: read no further.

TrueBlueMajority at Daily KOS captured some of the jokes which include:

The government that governs best is the government that governs least, and by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.

...reality has a well-known liberal bias.

I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things, like aircraft carriers, rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong mesasge that no matter what happens to America she will always rebound with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world!

The greatest thing about this President is you know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday!

Fox News gives you both sides of every story, the President's side and the Vice President's side.

Write that novel you've got kicking around in your head--you know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the Administration--you know, fiction!

[Jesse Jackson] is a very challenging interview... It's like boxing a glacier. Enjoy that metaphor by the way because your grandchildren will have no idea what a glacier is.

Mayor Nagin is here from New Orleans, the Chocolate City... Mayor Nagin, I'd like to welcome you to Washington D.C., the Chocolate City with a marshmallow center... and a graham cracker crust of corruption.

Colbert also accidentally outed Valerie Plame's name:



But this time, she didn't mind (he called Joe Wilson "the second most famous husband next to Desi Arnez"):



In his "demo tape" for the job of White House Press Secretary, he presented some methods for turning down the heat at a press conference:



He showed what Karl Rove doodles on his pad:



He showed the Press Secretary's worst nightmare (the best reporter in the room: Helen Thomas):



And, he managed to get in the line "why are we in Iraq?" over and over again. For that alone, Colbert deserves a medal.

April 28, 2006

Rush Limbaugh: Arrested & Booked



Don't get too happy -- he cut a sweetheart deal.

From a press release put out by Rush's people via yahoo:
The actions taken today are as follows:
-- The State Attorney has filed a single charge of doctor shopping with the Court. The charge is being held in abeyance under the terms of an agreement between the State and Mr. Limbaugh.

-- Mr. Limbaugh has filed a plea of "Not Guilty" with the Court.

The formal agreement between Mr. Limbaugh and the State Attorney will be filed with the Court on Monday. The terms of the agreement are substantively as follows:
-- Mr. Limbaugh will continue in treatment with the doctor he has seen for the past two and one half years.

-- After Mr. Limbaugh completes an additional 18 months of treatment, the State Attorney has agreed to drop the charge.

-- Mr. Limbaugh has agreed to make a $30,000 payment to the State of Florida to defray the public cost of the investigation.


tags:

Extraordinary Renditions: 1,000 secret CIA flights revealed

From the Guardian:

· MEPs' report says member states knew of abductions
· Documents show 'strange routes' and stopovers

Richard Norton-Taylor
Thursday April 27, 2006
The Guardian

The CIA has operated more than 1,000 secret flights over EU territory in the past five years, some to transfer terror suspects in a practice known as "extraordinary rendition", an investigation by the European parliament said yesterday.

The figure is significantly higher than previously thought. EU parliamentarians who conducted the investigation concluded that incidents when terror suspects were handed over to US agents did not appear to be isolated. They said the suspects were often transported around Europe on the same planes by agents whose names repeatedly came up in their investigation.

They accused the CIA of kidnapping terror suspects and said those responsible for monitoring air safety regulations revealed unusual flight paths to and from European airports. The report's author, Italian MEP Claudio Fava, suggested some EU governments knew about the flights.


EU Issues Stinging Condemnation of CIA on Renditions
From the NYT:
Legislators selected to look into allegations of questionable CIA activities in Europe said flight data showed a pattern of hidden operations by American agents, and they accused some European governments of knowing about it but remaining silent.

Cases of terror suspects being secretly handed over to U.S. agents did not appear to be isolated, the lawmakers said in a preliminary report on their inquiry. European human rights treaties prohibit sending suspects to states known to torture prisoners.

''The committee deplores the fact that, as established during the committee's investigation, the CIA has used aircraft registered under fictitious company names or with private companies to secretly transfer terror suspects to other countries including Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Afghanistan,'' according to a copy of the report obtained by The Associated Press.

[snip]

The report said that on a number of occasions the CIA was clearly responsible for detaining terror suspects on European territory and transferring them to countries where they could face torture.

Fighting Back!

Taking the President to Court
Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan) plans to file a suit today in federal district court in Detroit "against the President, members of the Cabinet and other federal officers seeking to have a simple truth confirmed: a bill not passed by the House and Senate is not a law, even if the President signs it. As such, the Budget bill cannot be treated as the law of the land."

Rove to be Charged?
"Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case, is expected to decide in the next two to three weeks whether to bring perjury charges against Karl Rove, the powerful adviser to President Bush, lawyers involved in the case said Thursday."

MSNBC reports Rove believes he is in legal jeopardy
'Karl Rove has described his three and a half hour meeting with a grand jury as grueling, and is more worried about being prosecuted than ever, MSNBC is reporting.

RAW STORY has also learned that an MSNBC report tonight revealed that one of Rove's lawyers said the presidential adviser described his fifth grand jury appearance as "hell."'

Senate Filibuster
Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) conducted a filibuster in the Senate yesterday to "eliminate royalty relief for oil companies when the price of oil is above $50 a barrel."

Pravda on the Potomac

Bus trip for Darfur Rally in DC - Last Chance to Register

From www.pittsburghdarfur.org :

Bus Trip: Rally to Stop Genocide in Darfur - Sunday, April 30, 2006

**Register by Friday, April 28, at 2 pm**

Reserve your seat today. Buses are filling fast!

www.pittsburghdarfur.org/rally.html

Over 250 Pittsburghers are sending an unmistakable message!


The Rally to Stop Genocide in Darfur on April 30 will bring together political and religious leaders, human rights activists, entertainers, journalists and all who support a multinational force to protect the people of Darfur, targeted in a three year long campaign of violence and extermination.

The Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition (PDEC) will be joining concerned citizens from across the country in a March on Washington to tell our leaders that there can be no further delay in bringing protection and peace to the people of Western Sudan. Pittsburgh is proud of our diverse coalition, which has collected a per capita record number of postcards as part of "A Million Voices for Darfur". Our postcards will be delivered to President Bush prior to the Rally.

Reserve your seat today at www.pittsburghdarfur.org/rally.html

April 27, 2006

Tony Snow's new job



Now that it's official and Tony Snow's the new White House spokesman propagandist, charged with shuttling White House information propaganda to the "press" corps, I wanted to take a minute to point out some quotations that obviously qualifiy him to such an important post.

[Thanks to mediamatters for the links]

Tony Snow on Evolution.

In a column published at Townhall.com, Mr Snow equated Intelligent Design with Evolution - that both are "untestable theories." A snippet:
Today, evolutionary theorists find themselves at wits' end because the fossil record provides no evidence of any species ever turning into another. We know species adjust to environmental conditions -- ever notice how tall kids are these days? -- and that natural selection does occur. But there's nothing to vindicate the notion of an evolutionary leap.

That said, ID does not qualify as science because it gives us nothing to test or measure. Science requires replicable tests involving measurable variables. But you can't shake a beaker and find God. If God exists, He reveals himself through faith, not science.

These little insights give us the basis for admitting both views into the educational system. Evolutionary theory, like ID, isn't verifiable or testable. It's pure hypothesis -- like ID -- although very popular in the scientific community. Its limits help illuminate the fact that hypotheses are only as durable as the evidence that supports them.
But take a careful look at what he's doing. He does say that "ID does not qualify as science" because it's untestable. Fine - that's absolutely true. But then he says that "Evolutionary theory, like ID, isn't verifiable or testable."

Ergo, Evolution is as scientifically valid as ID - which is not true.

He also brings up the canard:
This brings us back to the two threshold questions. Most people believe science unravels deep, eternal truths -- that it is "perfect." But the history of science teaches that today's cocksure theory is tomorrow's crackpot superstition.

A century ago, physicists boasted of having solved all the major problems involved in studying the universe. The following year, their smugness collapsed when a patent clerk named Einstein published his paper on general relativity.
I recall Phoebe Buffay used roughly the same argument against Ross Geller a few years ago. If you missed it it was on Friends.

The argument turns one of the strengths of science back on itself. Because it's a discipline that is self-correcting, everything that is said in science to be "true" today will inevitably be "false" tomorrow.

Ergo, Evolution is (or will one day be shown to be) false. And actually, I think Snow got it wrong. Einstein's paper on special relativity was published in 1905. General relativity came a decade or so after.

Also note that he says "Most people believe..." not "Most scientists believe..." a big distinction - and a huge misdirection. If "most people" believed that most scientists were satanists in their spare time, would that alone make that belief true? Of course not. For some reason Snow chose not to say that "Most scientists believe..." and instead rested his argument on the broader "people." Why do you think that's so?

With everything else in the piece, Snow is preparing the ground for his readers to plant the notion that Evolution, while today's scientists believe it true, may be just another one of those "cocksure" theories but it could just as well be another "crackpot superstition."

A masterful spin. With such qualifications I am sure he'd be much at home in the web if lies that surround the worst president ever.

April 26, 2006

Some Pennsylvanians aren't happy with Lil Ricky

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Facing a stiff reelection challenge, Sen. Rick Santorum (R., Pa.) reached out yesterday to a vital constituency: female voters.

Santorum was host to a "Professional Women's Conference on the Hill" and invited 3,000 community leaders, university officials, and other women from Pennsylvania. About 90 women attended.
But here's the interesting part:
In it, Santorum wrote: "For some parents, the purported need to provide things for their children simply provides a convenient rationalization for pursuing a gratifying career outside the home. Many women... find it easier, more 'professionally' gratifying, and certainly more socially affirming, to work outside the home... . Here, we can thank the influence of radical feminism."

Donna Wright, a Republican township supervisor from Lower Milford, Lehigh County, said she was familiar with those comments and was displeased with them.

"Women are entitled to their choice, whether they become professionals or stay home," she said after the forum. "I don't appreciate anyone, public figure or not, telling anyone what they can and cannot do."
A question. Doesn't God's Own Party respect freedom anymore?

That's right, the answer is "Not right now."

Santorum ADMITS IT

Via Santorumexposed, Lil Ricky's been caught on tape admitting something our friends in Penn Hills have been waiting to hear for a long time.

As Warner Wolf used to say, "let's go to the videotape."

On it, Rick Santorum says:
"So, I didn't go to a Catholic high school when I was living in Pennsylvania."
There you have it, my friends. Senator Man-on-dog admitting he no longer lives in Pennsylvania.

So tell me again, why does he get that Homestead Exemption?

You can get anything on Craig's List

At least one PA candidate hopes so...

Remember Raj Bhakta? He was the bow tie-wearing, skirt-chasing, cane-wielding, drunk-driving dude from the second season of The Apprentice. While he wasn't the winner on that show, he's hoping to win as the Republican candidate running against U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D) in Pennsylvania's 13th District.

However, it looks like history's repeating itself for Raj. He had trouble with his team on the popular television show and now he's having trouble with his campaign team.

First his campaign manager left to become director of the southeast regional office for Lynn Swann's bid against Gov. Ed Rendell and now his political director has departed to work as the Bucks County Coordinator for the Republican State Committee.

So what's a poor boy to do?

Advertise for volunteers on Craig's List to "Become Part of Political and Television Documentary History" as a "stellar team of the nation’s best and brightest to become part of a made for television documentary about what a smart, young, dedicated and aggressive campaign team can do."

The listing says that, "The top three performing volunteers will go to Washington with Raj."

I say: Donate to Allyson and help put an end to more bad TV!

(Hat tip to PoliticsPA)

April 25, 2006

More proof that they hate women and they hate sex

From feministing:
Looks like South Dakota is the new black. A Louisiana bill that would ban almost all abortions passed a Senate committee and is on its way to the Senate floor.
Senate Bill 33 by Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, cleared the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare after the provision was added. The bill would allow abortions only to save the life of the mother. But Sen. Diana Bajoie, D-New Orleans, said she wanted to "make it more pro-life" by not allowing any exceptions.
So banning abortions for rape and incest victims isn’t quite enough. She also wants to do away with the exception that would save a woman’s life. Yeah, that’s sounds really “pro-life” to me. Lovely.
From feministing:
Also, [Christina] Page suggests we ask ourselves why one of the biggest supposedly pro-family groups in the country, Concerned Women for America, doesn't offer maternity leave to its employees. If having and cherishing babies is its foremost agenda, why wouldn't that group?
From DARE Generation Diary via Boing Boing:
Lucy’s Love Shop employee Wanda Gillespie said she was flabbergasted that South Carolina’s Legislature is considering outlawing sex toys. But banning the sale of sex toys is actually quite common in some Southern states.

The South Carolina bill, proposed by Republican Rep. Ralph Davenport, would make it a felony to sell devices used primarily for sexual stimulation and allow law enforcement to seize sex toys from raided businesses.
"Officer Smith, does this Pez dispenser look like a sex toy to you?"

"Hmm... check to see what the manual from the Office of National Dildo Control Policy has to say."

"It's rather ambiguous. It is pink and plastic and about the size of *ahem* well, you know. But it also dispenses small tart candies."

"Hrm. Better bring it into the lab for testing."
From Digby:
"Purity Balls"

...this is what that little girl is reading to her father from that card:
I pledge to remain sexually pure...until the day I give myself as a wedding gift to my husband. ... I know that God requires this of me.. that he loves me. and that he will reward me for my faithfulness.
And this is what Daddy says in turn:

I, (daughter’s name)’s father, choose before God to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity. I will be pure in my own life as a man, husband and father. I will be a man of integrity and accountability as I lead, guide and pray over my daughter and as the high priest in my home. This covering will be used by God to influence generations to come.
He's the "high priest" in his home. Are we getting the picture?

Local Rally to Save Darfur: TODAY!

Join PDEC (Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition), Pittsburgh City Council Bill Peduto and US Congressman Mike Doyle as they call for an end to the genocide in Darfur .

9:30, TUESDAY APRIL 25, 2006
STEPS OF CITY-COUNTY BUILDING, 414 GRANT ST.


Following this event on Tuesday at City Hall, during City Council Session at 10 AM (Fifth Floor), Councilman Peduto will be sponsoring a City Council resolution recognizing the local campaign and calling for action to end the genocide in Darfur.

Contact info@pittsburghdarfur.org for more info or go to http://www.pittsburghdarfur.org/localrally.html

*********

ColorOfChange.org is trying to get 100 people in each of the 435 congressional districts in America to demand that our government stop dragging its feet and take decisive action to stop this genocide. Add your voice here:

http://www.colorofchange.org/sudan

"If every member of the House and Senate had received 100 letters from people back home saying we have to do something about Rwanda, when the crisis was first developing, then I think the response would have been different," the late Sen. Paul Simon.

Peduto Endorses McDonald Roberts

Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto officially endorses Valerie McDonald Roberts' campaign for Lieutenant Governor



"It is my pleasure and honor to endorse a true progressive,
Valerie McDonald Roberts, for Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania.
In her vast experience as a School Board Member, City
Councilwoman, and as an elected County official, Valerie has
consistently demonstrated a dedication to promoting
a reform minded agenda," Councilman Peduto said.

Peduto joins a long list of progressives endorsing Valerie:
The Pennsylvania National Organization for Women
Democracy for Pittsburgh
Philly for Change
Capitol Area DFA (Harrisburg)
Steel City Stonewall Democrats
Gertrude Stein Club of Pittsburgh
Liberty City Gay and Lesbian Democratic Club
14th Ward Independent Club of Pittsburgh
Philly Neighborhood Networks
PA ACORN
chicomax.com
You can compare Valerie to other candidates at a DEBATE TOMORROW:
Wednesday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m., co-sponsored by the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh, the Heinz School, and the local League of Women Voters chapter. Candidates who agreed to participate: Valerie McDonald Roberts, Gene Stilp, and Bill Hall.

The debate will be held in the Hamburg Hall Auditorium, Room 1000, at 4800 Forbes Avenue, between Craig Street and Morewood Avenue, directly across the street from the large Morewood Parking Lot.
Want to Help?

You can contribute online at http://www.valerieforpa.com/contribute.asp or you can send a check to: Valerie for PA, 1801 Centre Ave Ste. 302C, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. Make checks payable to: Valerie for PA (please no corporate checks).

You can lit drop for Valerie by contacting Lou at (412)281-2800 or lou@valerieforpa.com

To volunteer at her office, contact Diane at diane@valerieforpa.com or 412-281-2800.

Already working the polls on election day for a candidate? Why not hand out lit for Valerie too? I'm collecting names of people who can do this. Contact me at lupinaccim@aol.com


www.valerieforpa.com

Shhhhh!

Because the truth is scary:

  • Military blocks liberal blogs but not wingnut sites
  • FEMA trailer park residents forbidden to talk to press.
  • April 24, 2006

    CNN: 32% Approval Rating

    Take a look at what CNN is saying:
    President Bush's approval ratings have sunk to a personal low, with only a third of Americans saying they approve of the way he is handling his job, a national poll released Monday said.

    In the telephone poll of 1,012 adult Americans carried out Friday through Sunday by Opinion Research Corporation for CNN, 32 percent of respondents said they approve of Bush's performance, 60 percent said they disapprove and 8 percent said they do not know.
    How bad can things get for President AWOL?

    The 60 Minutes Story: Questions Answered...and Unasked

    Q. Did the White House ignore intelligence that did not fit their agenda?
    A. Yes.

    David blogged on CBS's story on Saturday about revleations that would be made on Sunday's 60 Minutes program here. David quoted the former CIA official recounting how the White House ignored intelligence information that did not fit their agenda:

    "[The source] told us that there were no active weapons of mass destruction programs," says Drumheller. "The [White House] group that was dealing with preparation for the Iraq war came back and said they were no longer interested. And we said 'Well, what about the intel?' And they said 'Well, this isn't about intel anymore. This is about regime change.' "

    They didn't want any additional data from Sabri because, says Drumheller: "The policy was set. The war in Iraq was coming and they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy."
    Q. Can the White House justify why they ignored certain intelligence?
    A. No.


    From the same Saturday CBS story:

    The White House declined to respond to Drumheller's account of Naji Sabri’s role, but Secretary of State Rice has said that Sabri, the Iraqi foreign minister turned U.S. spy, was just one source, and therefore his information wasn’t reliable.

    "They certainly took information that came from single sources on uranium, on the yellowcake story and on several other stories with no corroboration at all and so you can’t say you only listen to one source, because on many issues they only listened to one source," says Drumheller.

    "So you’re saying that if there was a single source and that information from that source backed up the case they were trying to build, then that single source was ok, but if it didn’t, then the single source was not ok, because he couldn’t be corroborated," Bradley asked.

    "Unfortunately, that’s what it looks like," Drum
    Q. Did the White House continue to disseminate bad intelligence even after it was proved to be false?
    A. Yes.

    Again from CBS News :

    One day after Wilson's piece appeared, the White House acknowledged the president should not have used the uranium claim. But according to newly released court records, the vice president’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby, leaked classified intelligence to reporters a day later in an effort to bolster the uranium story. What Scooter Libby didn’t tell reporters is that the White House had been warned before the State of the Union speech not to use the Niger uranium claim.

    "At the same time they were admitting the words should not have been in the State of the Union address, they were, we now know, sending Libby out to selectively leak only those pieces that continued to support this allegation that was baseless. In other words, they were furthering the disinformation campaign," says Wilson.

    "The American people want to believe the president. I have relatives who I've tried to talk to about this who say, 'Well, no, you can’t tell me the president had this information and just ignored it,'" says Drumheller. "But I think over time, people will look back on this and see this is going to be one of the great, I think, policy mistakes of all time."
    Q. Has any of this stuff yet been investigated by anyone whose principal goal is not covering for the White House?
    A. No

    From CBS:

    The White House declined 60 Minutes' request for an interview for this story, but Dan Bartlett, Counselor to the President, wrote us:

    "The President’s convictions about Saddam Hussein's possession of WMD were based on the collective judgment of the intelligence community at that time. Bipartisan investigations … found no evidence of political pressure to influence the pre-war intelligence assessments of Iraq’s weapons programs." And he added: "Saddam Hussein never abandoned his plan to acquire WMD, and he posed a serious threat to the American people and to the region."
    From Josh Marshall who intervied Drumheller after the 60 Minutes piece:

    But here's an angle I'm not sure we're going to hear much about.

    Drumheller's account is pretty probative evidence on the question of whether the White House politicized and cherry-picked the Iraq intelligence.

    So why didn't we hear about any of this in the reports of those Iraq intel commissions that have given the White House a clean bill of health on distorting the intel and misleading the country about what we knew about Iraq's alleged WMD programs?

    Think about it. It's devastating evidence against their credibility on a slew of levels.

    Did you read in any of those reports -- even in a way that would protect sources and methods -- that the CIA had turned a key member of the Iraqi regime, that that guy had said there weren't any active weapons programs, and that the White House lost interest in what he was saying as soon as they realized it didn't help the case for war? What about what he said about the Niger story?

    Did the Robb-Silbermann Commission not hear about what Drumheller had to say? What about the Roberts Committee?

    I asked Drumheller just those questions when I spoke to him early this evening. He was quite clear. He was interviewed by the Robb-Silbermann Commission. Three times apparently.

    Did he tell them everything he revealed on tonight's 60 Minutes segment. Absolutely.

    Drumheller was also interviewed twice by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (the Roberts Committee) but apparently only after they released their summer 2004 report.

    [snip]

    "I was stunned," Drumheller told me, when so little of the stuff he had told the commission's and the committee's investigators ended up in their reports. His colleagues, he said, were equally "in shock" that so little of what they related ended up in the reports either.

    What Drumheller has to say adds quite a lot to our knowledge of what happened in the lead up to war. But what it shows even more clearly is that none of this stuff has yet been investigated by anyone whose principal goal is not covering for the White House.
    Please note that the White House is saying there's "no evidence of political pressure to influence the pre-war intelligence assessments."

    No, they may not have tried to influence the gathering of intelligence -- they just ignored what they didn't like, they can't justify why they ignored it, they lied about the evidence when it did come out and no one is really holding them to account for their actions -- other than the people as evidenced by Bush's sinking poll numbers.

    Q. When will Bush be impeached?
    A. ?

    Santorum on Veterans

    From the Beaver County Times:
    U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum's re-election team might have jumped the gun a bit when it sent out a press release earlier this month touting the leadership team for Veterans for Santorum.

    Included on that list was Beaver County deputy coroner Lloyd "Skip" Haswell, who served three years in the Marine Corps and spent 14 months in Vietnam.

    Haswell is also president of Beaver County's Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 862 and a district director for the Vietnam Veterans of America.

    However, on March 16, Santorum voted against an amendment to a budget bill that would have provided steady funding for veterans health care, a move that did not sit well with Haswell.
    Huh?
    According to a description on the U.S. Senate's Web site, the amendment - introduced by U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D. - would have provided "an assured stream of funding for veterans health care that will take into account the annual changes in the veterans population and inflation to be paid for by restoring the pre-2001 top rate for income over $1 million, closing corporate tax loopholes and delaying tax cuts for the wealthy."
    Oh, well that makes more sense.

    Here's the part that should (but who knows if it will) scare the Senator:
    Haswell said he's been trying to get an answer from Santorum's people on why the senator rejected the amendment, but his calls have been ignored. Consequently, he pulled out of the Veterans for Santorum, saying he can't campaign for someone who "votes against veterans" then can't take the time to explain himself.

    "The veterans deserve answers," Haswell said," and that's all I'm asking for."
    So why did Santorum vote against these veterans' benefits? Looks like Lil Ricky's screwing the country's veterans in order to vote yet again with his corrupt, unpopular AWOL president.

    April 23, 2006

    Lil Ricky's in trouble!

    Hey, gang!

    I found this via the Huffington Post. And here' s the poll that they're all pointing to. It stacks all 100 senators by their individual approval/disapproval poll numbers. If you take a look waaaaaay down at the bottom of the list, you'll see our lil ricky - approval ratings at 39%, disapproval at 53%. I'll do the math for you. It's a difference of -14%.

    Those are the worst numbers in the entire Senate.

    According to these poll numbers, not only is Rick Santorum the least popular of them all, but he's also one of only three Senators (all Republicans, by the way) whose disapproval numbers are actually higher than their approval numbers.

    Couldn't happen to a nicer creepy religious fanatic.

    The Stanford Protest

    Here's what the NYTimes said:
    Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, said Mr. Bush's visit to Stanford was interrupted by protesters, who blocked the only road leading to the Hoover Institution, where Mr. Bush was to meet with fellows before dining with Mr. Shultz.

    As a result of the protest, the meeting was switched to Mr. Shultz's house, and the dinner followed.
    And now from the Stanford Daily:
    Although President George W. Bush was scheduled to meet with fellows at the Hoover Institution on Friday, the presence of more than 1,000 protestors forced him to change his plans and meet with advisers and faculty members at the residence of former Secretary of State and Hoover Fellow George Shultz on the outskirts of the Stanford campus.

    More than 100 armed law enforcement and Secret Service officers lined the streets outside of Encina Commons, as students, parents, faculty members and local residents protested Bush’s anticipated arrival on east campus. While the protest was peaceful, three Stanford students—seniors Claire Wagenseil, Diogo Pereira and Caroline Martin— were arrested as police pushed the crowd out of Serra Street.
    Congratulations to the patriots in California - especially the guy in this picture. Go take a look. It should give any Republican still loyal to Bush (what few there are these days) a fright. Congratulations to photographer Shams Shaikh for snapping it.

    IMPEACH

    April 22, 2006

    Had enough?

    From CBS.
    A CIA official who had a top role during the run-up to the Iraqi war charges the White House with ignoring intelligence that said there were no weapons of mass destruction or an active nuclear program in Iraq.

    The former highest ranking CIA officer in Europe, Tyler Drumheller, also says that while the intelligence community did give the White House some bad intelligence, it also gave the White House good intelligence — which the administration chose to ignore.
    But we already knew this, didn't we?

    I take it this will be on 60 Minutes this Sunday.
    "[The source] told us that there were no active weapons of mass destruction programs," says Drumheller. "The [White House] group that was dealing with preparation for the Iraq war came back and said they were no longer interested. And we said 'Well, what about the intel?' And they said 'Well, this isn't about intel anymore. This is about regime change.' "

    They didn't want any additional data from Sabri because, says Drumheller: "The policy was set. The war in Iraq was coming and they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy."
    But we already knew this too, huh?

    IMPEACH - what other option is there?

    Some Allegations about Secretary Rice

    They're only allegations, but the story's in the Washington Post.
    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice leaked national defense information to a pro-Israel lobbyist in the same manner that landed a lower-level Pentagon official a 12-year prison sentence, the lobbyist's lawyer said Friday.

    Prosecutors disputed the claim.
    Hmmm. How leaky IS the Bush White House?

    April 21, 2006

    What he said!

    Just go here and read this now.
    (Because every time I try to write about Bush and Iran, I end up like this: )

    Some thoughts on this week's debate for Democratic Nomination for the U.S. Senate

    First of all, if you missed it: you can't see it. At Junior's (Casey's) request use of the debate footage is restricted to fuck you if you missed it. I guess Bobby didn't like how the first one went -- Chuck Pennacchio got most of the applause. Smart move by Casey as Chuck got most of the applause this time too.

    I suppose when you're running in a Democratic race in a BLUE STATE, Democrats actually want you to agree with the majority Democratic view and Casey just cannot win on the issues.

    And speaking of issues, how were the candidates views on women's reproductive freedoms not on the list of questions this time? Maybe I missed it...or maybe Bobby got his way on this too. If you want to see what they said, it was live blogged by Politics Philly, Factesque and Above Average Jane. Albert from dragonballyee was at the debate and has loads of background detail and photos.

    I will say (as I did on the call-in show after the debate) that Casey was able to raise his performance from limp dishrag to cardboard. The hosts of the call-in show had been saying that Casey needed to be more "passionate" and "aggressive." Have they never seen Bob "I put my own self to sleep" Casey speak before?

    But back to the debate...

    Casey cracked me up when in his opening statement he criticized Rick Santorum for all the money that he's taken from lobbyists. In case you don't know it, Casey has taken money from the same PACs that Rick has. There's a loooong list here. Casey was called on this by Pennacchio during the debate and also at the end when Pennacchio reminded the audience (and Casey) that there's no such thing as a free lunch.

    Alan Sandals called out Casey too, asking him directly why he would not agree to debate in Philadelphia (PA's largest city). Casey did not answer. Sandals also reminded the audience that Casey, as treasurer, signed all those checks for the midnight pay raise -- a cheap shot to be sure -- but one which the audience liked. Though as Albert said, "Alan had been sounding more and more like he was advertising his firm than simply relating issues to him being a practicing pension lawyer running a small business." Sandals reminded me of the way Star "I am a Lawyer" Jones used to catch hell on Saturday Night Live for prefacing every opinion by mentioning her profession. That set up Chuck for one of his bigger laugh lines when he reminded the audience that he was the only guy running who wasn't a lawyer.

    But back to the meat of the debate, Chuck got a big round of applause when he said that he would not ask anyone's permission to filibuster. He continued to receive the approval of the crowd by forcefully and intelligently coming out on the Democratic side of issues like Iraq, universal health care and a living wage.

    While Casey made some minor cosmetic improvements to his performance in the first debate -- he managed to find a suit and tie for this one -- he continued to run as a shadow. He continued to give bloodless answers to the important issues of the day which for the most part where on the right side -- that is to say the wrong side -- of what the audience wanted to hear. That's why Casey is the one making sure the least number of people can hear what he has to say and what Chuck has to say. Because when you compare the two, there's really no contest who better represents the Democratic voters in the Blue State of Pennsylvania.

    Not that anyone would actually want to bring out the base...

    [sigh]



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


    What you can do to help out the winner of both debates:

    Saturday, April 22. Earth Day!
    Reach out to Conservationalists and tell them the good news about Chuck! Meet at Pittsburgh’s celebration - the Rhododendron Shelter, Lake Dr. in Highland Park at 11:00am-12:30pm. Directions to the Rhodendron Shelter, Highland Park from Fifth Ave.:
    From Fifth Ave., Take S. Negley north.
    At Baum Blvd., veer right onto N. Negley.
    Follow past Penn Ave. and E. Liberty Blvd.
    Turn right onto Stanton Ave.
    Stanton will turn into Lake Drive once you enter the park.
    Follow to the Rhododendron shelter (near the small pond - not the Reservoir)

    Saturday, April 22. More Earth Day!
    Meet at 6:30 PM to attend an Environmental Film Screening. In the Phipps area. More details to come, but please save the time and date.

    Wednesday, April 26th.
    Meet at 7:00 PM for a Strategy meeting. Meet at Beehive on the Southside. We need to discuss canvassing and hosting a large event for Chuck in May.

    Friday, April 28th.
    Meet at 6:00 PM at PNC Park in front of the Roberto Clemente statue to hand out baseball cards for Chuck. These are really great cards with Chuck's picture on the front and his "stats" on the back.

    Saturday, April 29th.
    Meet 9:00 AM at Pamela's in the Strip District. This will be a literature distribution and signing up volunteers in the busy Strip District.

    Thursday, May 5th.
    Attend the annual SEAD (South End Active Democrats) to hand out literature for Chuck. More details to come later, but please save the date!

    Have a suggestion for a busy place to do a lit drop? Want to hold a house party? Send your ideas! We really need help with Canvassing and Yard Signs will be here soon! http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WPA_for_Pennacchio or email WPA_for_Pennacchio@yahoogroups.com

    www.chuck2006.com

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

    UPDATE: Looks like PCN relented a bit. You can find a pocast there or listen to the audio at philly.com
    Via Attytood, I stumbled across this this morning.

    Yet another example of the respect shown by this administration to The Constitution. Here's the headline:
    Free-speech outrage: Wenyi Wang may be charged with federal crime for daring to criticize the president...of China
    Unbelievable.
    Last night, officials with the Secret Service, which eventually dragged Wang away and arrested her -- literally seconds after Bush called on China to permit more free speech -- said they are seriously considering charging Wang with an obscure federal offense, intimidating a foreign official.
    Un-frickin-believable.

    I'M THE DECIDER (Koo-Koo-Ka-Choo)

    "I hear the voices and I read the front page and I know the speculation," the president told reporters in the Rose Garden. "But I'm the decider and I decide what's best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense."


    "I am me and Rummy's he, Iraq is free and we are all together
    See the world run when Dick shoots his gun, see how I lie
    I'm Lying...

    Sitting on my own brain, waiting for the end of days
    Corporation profits, Bloody oil money
    I'm above the law and I'll decide what's right or wrong

    I am the egg head, I'm the Commander, I'm the Decider
    Koo-Koo-Kachoo"


    Bushy & The Magical Mystery Tour drop their latest single here.

    Canvassing for Steve Karas in Forest Hills

    Steve Karas is a candidate for PA House in District 34.

    This change-minded reformer has been endorsed by:
    Democracy for Pittsburgh
    PA Clean Sweep
    Steel City Stonewall Dems
    Gertrude Stein Political Club
    Me!


    The candidate and his supporters will be door knocking/lit dropping this weekend in Forest Hills (both Sat and Sun).

    They'll meet at Forest Hills Coffee Shop at 10am, both days. If you can help him door knock super voters and lit drop all Dems in Forest Hills, contact the campaign by emailing karasforpahouse34@verizon.net or call 412-719-0571 or just show up!

    www.karasforpahouse34.zoomshare.com

    Post-Gazette Endorses Dan Cindric

    From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

    Cindric in the 27th / He's the best reform challenger to a House veteran

    In seeking to reduce the property tax burden on seniors, Dan Cindric has an advantage over the other two challengers to the incumbent: He has practical knowledge gained as a member of Crafton Borough Council, to which he was first elected in 1999. Crafton gives seniors with annual incomes less than $30,000 a 25 percent discount on local taxes. Mr. Cindric, a 56-year-old engineer, recognizes that property taxes can't be eliminated entirely, but is for reducing them by raising the sales tax and income tax.

    As well as being properly aggravated by the pay raise, Mr. Cindric also has valuable expertise on water and sewage issues vital to this region's future (he is chair of the Southern Communities Basin Group, representing 36 communities in Allegheny County concerned about these issues).

    Dan Cindric earns the Post-Gazette's endorsement. Not only is he reform-minded, but he also has the credentials to match his good intentions.
    Dan is an endorsed candidate and member of Democracy for Pittsburgh and I wholeheartedly echo the P-G's take on him.

    Anyone wishing to volunteer can email Dan at dan@cindric2006.com and contributions can be sent to:
    Friends of Dan Cindric
    45 Creighton Ave
    Pittsburgh, PA 15205

    www.cindric2006.com

    Georgia Berner News

    Candidate for US Congress (4th Congressional District)
    Missy Heart's District!

    BERNER HONORED BY U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMININSTRATION
    As seen in Pittsburgh Business Times:
    Georgia Berner's Berner International Corp. of New Castle was named as exporter of the year for Western Pennsylvania by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Since 2002, export sales for the company have increased 47 percent and has nearly doubled the number of employees since 2001. Georgia Berner, the president of Berner International, will be honored at a ceremony at the Westin Convention Center Hotel on May 17.

    AFSCME ENDORSES GEORGIA BERNER FOR CONGRESS!
    Last week, the Public Employees Organized to Promote Legislative Equality (PEOPLE) Committee of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Local 84 voted to endorse my campaign.

    GEORGIA BILLBOARDS ARE UP:


    WANT TO HELP?
    If you would like a yard sign, please e-mail: contact@georgiaberner.com or call 724-770-2220. (They also have window signs, buttons, and bumper stickers available!)

    Over the next four weeks and on Election Day, they need lots of volunteers to help with the campaign. If you can help on Election Day, May 16th, go door-to-door, help phone bank, or assist in other ways – please sign up to volunteer! Click here to sign up to help or call 724-770-2220

    Click here to contribute on-line or mail your contribution to:
    Georgia Berner for Congress
    PO Box 8359
    New Castle, PA 16101-8359

    You can also email Lindsay Patross at lpatross@yahoo.com to help.


    www.georgiaberner.com

    April 20, 2006

    Bush at 33%

    From FOX News:

    President Bush’s approval hits a record low of 33 percent this week, clearly damaged by sinking support among Republicans.
    Apparently even members of his own party think he's THE WORST PRESIDENT EVER.




    (Atrios may have his ponies, but we have our melting Bushie.)


    Pittsburgh Inmates Shackled During Childbirth (and it's all according to the manual)

    According to yesterday's Post-Gazette:
    Sheriff's deputies are shackling some female inmates to the bed during childbirth at Magee-Womens Hospital, officials there said, and the practice has prompted an outcry from advocacy groups.

    Sheriff Pete DeFazio said he had no knowledge of any shackling during labor. "That's crazy. It's hard for me to believe. To tell you the truth, I don't believe it."
    However, Magee's director for labor and delivery, Trish Nelson, has stated that about half of the inmates from Allegheny County Jail who gave birth last year were "restrained by one wrist to the sideboard of the bed by a deputy."

    Think about that for one second.

    Now ask yourself how much of a flight risk is a woman who is in the process of giving birth?

    The article says that if the restraint starts to impede the delivery that a doctor or nurse will ask the deputy to remove it. Nelson said that they "usually comply."

    Jesus! You mean to tell me that there are times when they don't comply?

    The state of Pennsylvania does have polices which restrict restraints during child birth but that policy only governs state prisoners.

    Witold J. Walczak, legal director of the Pittsburgh ACLU, points out that many women in county jail haven't even been convicted of a crime and are awaiting trial.

    The article stated that DeFazio is looking into the allegations and today's P-G has those results. First what the offical manual says and then what DeFazio now says:
    "Any prisoner admitted to a hospital or medical facility as a patient shall be, at minimum, shackled to the bed with leg irons AT ALL TIMES. If the prisoner is unable to be shackled with leg irons due to a medical condition, the deputy will handcuff the prisoner to the bed. If the prisoner is unable to be shackled with leg iron or handcuffs due to broken arms and legs, then the prisoner shall be secured with a waist belt or waist chain locked firmly to the hospital bed. There are NO EXCEPTIONS to this rule."

    [snip]

    Sheriff DeFazio said yesterday he had halted the shackling practice, but he would not punish anyone who had shackled women during childbirth. He said the male deputies, not the female ones, were more likely to have restrained women during labor. [Well, duh!]
    According to today's article, County Chief Executive Dan Onorato had not heard of the policy and is glad that the sheriff is looking into the issue.

    So I ask, what's it going to take for someone to change that manual? A manual that all sheriff's must sign a waiver saying that they have received.

    What's it going to take for someone to make Allegheny County's policy OFFICIALLY match state policy on this issue?

    I wonder if Peter Leo knows he was scooped!

    On Monday, the Other Political Junkie posted this.

    This morning, Peter Leo had this in the Post-Gazette:
    Santorum gets mobbed

    Those of you who saw Sunday night's episode of "The Sopranos" know that Pennsylvania's junior senator got an approving nod from Mob boss Tony Soprano. One of his soldiers is found to be gay, and Tony (James Gandolfini) tells his shrink that when it comes to homosexuality, he agrees with "that Sen. Sanatorium, who says if we let this stuff go too far, pretty soon we'll be ****ing dogs." Tony pretty much had Sen. Santorum/Sanatorium's position down, although the senator used more delicate language. Dan Gross of the Philadelphia Daily News called Santorum to ask if he was flattered about being mentioned on the HBO hit series. "We're not gonna dignify that comment by commenting on it," said communications director Rob Traynham.
    Wait a second, isn't Rob Traynham gay? Yep. He is. I won't dignify his hypocrasy by commenting on it.

    Anyway, here's the link to the story in the Philadelphia Daily News. First off, I'd like to think that a writer as good as Peter Leo could come up with a synonym for "delicate" so that it wouldn't look like he was copying someone else's work (please note the "delicate language" here - hahaha!).

    Second, I have to point out the stuff Leo left out from Dan Gross' piece:
    There also was a reference to Santorum on a recent "Veronica Mars" episode on UPN, in which a student blackmailing gay students used the alias "Rick Santorum."

    Possibly the longest-lasting pop-culture reference to Santorum is that of sex columnist Dan Savage(carried here in Philadelphia Weekly), who started what's become a popular campaign to use the senator's surname to describe a byproduct of anal sex.
    Ah, Our Lil' Ricky must be so proud of himself.

    UPDATE: Via Crooks and Liars, here's the clip of the popular (though fictional) Italian-American thug agreeing with the unpopular (though very real) Italian-American Senator.

    April 19, 2006

    2nd Debate Tonight: Democratic Nomination for the U.S. Senate

    Televised debate between

    Chuck Pennacchio,

    Alan Sandals,

    and Bob Casey Jr.

    TONIGHT!

    April 19th, 2006

    7:00 PM to 9:00 PM


    It will be broadcast live on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) and as a live webcast.

    The event will be held at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster. Chuck Pennacchio has a channel guide here to help locate your local PCN affiliate and webcast. Event details are here. Chuck ran away with last week's debate (podcast here).

    This may be your only chance to see side by side the difference between a real Democrat and a candidate who sounds vaguely like Rick Santorum. The debate is sponsored by the Floyd Institute's Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall

    Following the live coverage, the network will air a special edition of the PCN Call-In program featuring Jim Hoefler, Political Science Professor at Dickinson College and Michael Young, Managing Partner of Michael Young Strategic Research.

    Viewers from around the state can phone in toll-free at 1-877-PA6-5001 during the live program to ask questions or make comments on the U.S. Senate Race.

    April 18, 2006

    Tom must be munching on the placenta right about now...

    Just heard on CNN that TomKat have finally birthed a little alien girl-baby.

    Please maintain silence for the next seven days.

    Thank you.

    Let the Bush Bashing continue!

    I heard about this on the news yesterday. If the poll is accurate (and there's no reason to think otherwise) then our great AWOL leader is in deep poopie - along with his rubberstamp party.

    Take a look.

    The poll asked, "Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president? Do you approve/disapprove strongly or somewhat?" And the people answered, "Approve 38% (20% strongly and 18% somewhat). Disapprove 60% (13% somewhat and 47% strongly)."

    Things aren't much better for the situation in Iraq: Approve 37% (21% strongly and 16% somewhat). Disapprove 62% (11% somewhat and 51% strongly).

    "Oh my god!" I can hear my critics cry out. "How dare you give aid and comfort to THE ENEMY by pointing out that the Washington Post was able to find the 600 people (60% of the thousand polled) to have been taken in by the lies and distortions of the liberal media!"

    I know, I know. By pointing out the truth about my country, I'm a traitor to my country.

    IMPEACH

    ‘Katrina Kids’ Sing ‘Congress, Bush and FEMA…Have Come to Rebuild Us’ at White House Egg Roll

    From Think Progress:

    Today at the White House Easter Egg Roll, dozens of children “from the stricken Gulf Coast region serenaded First Lady Laura Bush with a song praising the beleaguered Federal Emergency Management Agency.” To the tune of “Hey Look Me Over,” the kids from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama sang:
    “Our country’s stood beside us
    People have sent us aid.
    Katrina could not stop us, our hopes will never fade.
    Congress, Bush and FEMA
    People across our land
    Together have come to rebuild us and we join them hand-in-hand!”
    A poster commemorating this event is available at the White House Gift Shop/FEMA Gift Shop:


    (Click on image for larger version)

    .

    April 17, 2006

    Tony "The Boss" Soprano and Ricky "Dog Lover" Santorum

    Last night's The Sopranos featured one of Tony's captains (Vito Spatafore) being outed as gay. When Tony's therapist, Dr. Jennifer Melfi, asked Tony how he felt about gays, Tony got a little political:
    "Don't forget -- I'm a strict Catholic. I agree with that Senator Sanitorium [sic]. If we let this stuff go too far, soon we'll be fucking dogs".
    Too bad Tony lives in Jersey and can't vote for Lil Ricky -- I'm sure he would find loads of other "stuff" that they have in common on the issues.

    Late Night Fun

    Bowling for Banahasky
    8 lanes of bowling fun!
    Monday, April 17th, 9pm to Midnight
    Arsenal Lanes, Lawrenceville
    RSVP: http://www.evite.com/app/publicUrl/shelly@susaninthehouse.com/bowling

    Bands for Banahasky I
    Tuesday, April 25th, 8 - Midnight
    The Brillo Box on Penn Avenue
    Featuring Paul Labrise, The Four Roses and Darryl Fleming
    RSVP: http://www.evite.com/app/publicUrl/shelly@susaninthehouse.com/bandsi

    To volunteer, donate or sign up for updates about Susan's campaign please see her website at www.susaninthehouse.com or call 412.758.2070 for more information!

    April 15, 2006

    Some Opinion from New Jersey

    Via atrios, I found this this morning. Here's the first three paragraphs:
    Reports that the Bush administration is considering a nuclear strike on Iran may not frighten the mad mullahs in Tehran, but it will scare the hell out of many Americans here at home.

    It's hard to believe that with one military venture gone bad in Iraq and a world that now sees Washington as the greatest threat to peace, the Bushies would contemplate attacking a second nation, this time with tactical nukes. Which prompts two questions: Are these guys obsessed with a messianic sense of world mission that has robbed them of common sense? Or are they just plain nuts?

    And the answers are yes and possibly so.
    I would have answered a resounding yes on the second question as well, but that's just me. There's more:
    What's fascinating about these neocons is their obsession with the use of force as old men when, as young men, many of them --notably Cheney -- managed to avoid service in Vietnam. In their youth, when it might have mattered for their country, they never fired a shot in anger. (In Cheney's case, considering his marksmanship, that was not all bad.)

    The whole Iranian matter is fraught with awful irony and echoes of mistakes made in Iraq. Consider, for example, the irony of America inflicting a nuclear strike on the people of Iran in the name of stopping nuclear proliferation. Are the Bushies totally insensate? Or are they simply stupid?
    Again, I'd answer yes and yes. But the finale is the best part:
    It may be seen as surprising that the voices of reason and restraint in this Iran question, as Hersh reports it, are the generals. But it shouldn't be. After all, it was George Washington who warned against the dangers of a standing peacetime army, and Dwight Eisenhower who alerted us to the danger of the military-industrial complex. Having seen it, they know the horror of war.

    And what about the neocons, our home-front heroes -- Cheney, Rumsfeld, the civilians they've recruited like Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz and Stephen Hadley -- who orchestrated the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war and foreign regime change?

    They should never again be allowed anywhere near the instruments and agencies of the American government.
    Never again.

    I spanked Mike Pintek

    Rhetorically, of course.

    Yesterday was Good Friday and so I was off work with nothing to do but laundry. I'd been told by the Other Political Junkie that Mike Pintek was the guest host for Honsberger Live! so I wanted to see how he was doing.

    At the beginning of the program (just after the "after-hours" calls) he began to rant a bit about "the guy in Mexico" who was arrested for burning a Mexican flag. This really got Pintek's goat. "You can burn an American Flag," Pintek complained, "But you get arrested for burning a Mexican flag." (I am doing this by memory so the quotations may not be exact.)

    He also did the "liberal media bias" dance for a few seconds.

    I did a little research found this and then called in. Here's the piece in its entirety:
    A Tucson man who burned a Mexican flag at a counterprotest to an immigration rally Monday faces criminal charges, police said.

    Police booked anti-immigration activist Roy Warden on reckless-burning charges after reviewing televised footage and their own video of the events. They also booked him on assault charges for reportedly pushing a TV cameraman and for damaging the shuffleboard area at the city park where he torched the flag.

    There is no Arizona law prohibiting the burning of any flag, but reckless-burning charges can be filed if a fire damages a structure or property, police Sgt. Decio Hopffer said. More arrests may be made, Hopffer said.

    Warden was cited and released, Hopffer said. He was ordered to appear in Tucson City Court on April 24.

    Warden is the leader of the Border Guardians group and led counterprotesters in Tucson during Monday's protests by immigrant rights activists.
    Take a look again. Why was the guy arrested? For something called "reckless burning." The article says that such charges can be filed if "a fire damages a structure or property." So the type of flag had nothing to do with the arrest. It could have been a Canadian flag or a Honsberger Fan Club flag. The issue at hand is the damage allegedly caused by the burning, not the country the flag represented.

    Then there's the alleged "pushing of the cameraman" part of the story.

    Neither of which actually made it into Pintek's rant. All this from a guy who minutes before was complaining about a liberal media bias. But he was the one who got the facts wrong and he was the one spinning for his own political purposes.

    When I confronted Mr. Pintek with this, he began to spin even more. He started down a series of speculations "you know that if it were an American flag, the guy would not have been arrested..." and so on.

    When can we begin to talk about Pintek's conservative bias?

    April 14, 2006

    It's all good!

    From a recent (April) Bloomberg Poll:

    Highlights:

    “...registered voters favor Democrats by 49 percent to 35 percent as the party they would like to see win their congressional district this year.”

    “When asked which party they would like to control the House after the November elections, voters by 51 percent to 38 percent say the Democrats. “

    “(Republicans’) disapproval rating among all Americans has jumped 6 percentage points since January, to 50 percent. That corresponds with a souring national mood, as 65 percent say the U.S. is on the wrong track. “

    “Republicans also trail on such broader questions as which party better represents American values and can keep the country prosperous.” (emphasis mine)

    From the “A lot of good it does us now” dept.:

    “49 percent of registered voters say they would vote for Massachusetts Senator John Kerry if the 2004 presidential election were held today, to 39 percent who say they would vote for the president.”

    The War on Easter

    Yep, according to O'Lielly there is one.

    It's on.

    I remember back in December 2004 when the Right first started making big noises about the "War on Christmas" Atrios joked about a "War on Easter," but in Bushy's America satire and reality (and lies and truth) are interchangable.

    Soj at Daily KOS points out that in O'Falafel's ridiculous story on "God under attack in America" the fine folks at FOX News used the "religious" icons of the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus to illustrate his point:



    [sigh]

    Yeah, nothing says Christianity so much as a pagan fertility symbol and a giant elf.

    And speaking of weird use of symbols, when I was a kid our Easter candy came from the Easter Bunny by way of Gene & Boots (yummy!).

    Aside from their chocolate bunnies,

    and lambs,

    and ducks,

    we would get chocolate crosses.


    Now if you were Jesus, wouldn't you at least have a "What's up with that?" about the instrument of your death being represented in yummy chocolate and gobbled up by little kiddies?

    I swear one year my little brother got a chocolate gun, but maybe I'm misremembering.

    Anyway, I think Jesus would prefer the Peeps (just not these ones).

    Give them an inch...

    ...And they'll prove what sick, twisted bastards they are.

    (Saw this yesterday at Shakespeare's Sister who saw it at Property of a Lady who saw it at Bitch Ph. D. who saw it at The Stranger, and I see Exit Stage Left has it too.)

    I remembering arguing with someone -- could have been Andrew from the now defunct Freedom's Gate -- a while back over whether pharmacists should have the right to refuse to fill legal prescriptions. As you probably have seen, there here have been numerous news stories about pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions based on their religious beliefs and inevitably, the prescriptions that they refuse to fill are for either Emergency Contraception or just plain old birth control pills.

    Various legislative bodies have made laws allowing pharmacists to have some sort of "moral" out to allow them to not fill these prescriptions. Various Big Box stores and pharmacy chains have had to come up with policies on the subject (usually allowing the pharmacists to refuse to fill the prescription).

    Now imagine for one second, say, a liquor store hiring a Muslim and allowing them to be a clerk who refuses to sell liquor. How about an electric company tolerating an Amish employee who twiddled their thumbs all day? Yeah, that would be ridiculous. They would be told that if they didn't want to do their job, their ass would be fired.

    OK, how about a pharmacist who owns the company and refuses to fill these prescriptions? Imagine going to an emergency room with a gunshot wound and finding out it's staffed exclusively with doctors who refuse to give blood transfusions. How big would that lawsuit be? Any chance that the hospital would win? Any chance that this would be tolerated?

    But let's get back to heart of the whole "moral" objection. The pharmacists who object say they object because they are "pro life."

    So I ask, how is this "pro life"???
    Cedar River Clinics, a women's health and abortion provider with facilities in Renton, Tacoma, and Yakima, filed a complaint with the Washington State Department of Health this week alleging three instances where pharmacists raising moral objections refused to fill prescriptions for Cedar River clients. The complaint includes one incident at the Swedish Medical Center outpatient pharmacy in Seattle. According to the complaint, someone at the Swedish pharmacy said she was "morally unable" to fill a Cedar River patient's prescription for abortion-related antibiotics. Cedar River's complaint quotes its Renton clinic manager's May 17, 2005, e-mail account: "Today, one of our clients asked us to call in her prescription... to Swedish outpatient pharmacy. [We] called the prescription in... and spoke with an efficient staff person who took down the prescription. A few minutes later, this pharmacy person called us back and told us she had found out who we were and she morally was unable to fill the prescription." (Cedar River thinks their client eventually got her prescription filled.)
    Yes, the pharmacist was so "pro life" that she didn't care if the woman went septic...or maybe she just had a thing about killing all that poor bacteria. Bacteria has feelings too!

    But it gets worse:

    The complaint also includes an incident from November 2005 in Yakima, in which a pharmacist at a Safeway reportedly refused to fill a Cedar River patient's prescription for pregnancy-related vitamins. The pharmacist reportedly asked the customer why she had gone to Cedar River Clinics and then told the patient she "didn't need them if she wasn't pregnant."
    Yep, you can't get any more "pro life" than refusing to fill a prescription for VITAMINS FOR A PREGNANT WOMAN just because she went to the "wrong" doctor in your eyes.

    There is no "War on Christianity" -- just a war on women and the clinics who provide them with legal medical care.

    April 13, 2006

    Followup

    Friends of 2 Political Junkies, the Hodge Family, have been mentioned in these pages from time to time. The latest was at the end of last month when we mentioned that Zuri Hodge would be doing a reading at Eyes Wide Open: Pennsylvania (which featured one pair of military boots for every Pennsylvanian casualty in Iraq and 50 pairs of civilian shoes, tagged with Iraqi names, representing the 50:1 ratio of Iraqi to US casualties in the current conflict).

    As it turns out, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's coverage of the event featured a lovely picture of Zuri taken by Andy Starnes which we've been meaning to post forever...and here it finally is:

    My Time on WRCT

    Had a great time on WRCT the other night. The audio's been posted here.

    A generation or more ago, I hung out for a while at WHUS in Storrs, CT. It's the radio station for the University of Connecticut. I made it through their training/testing program, but never had a show of my own. Yea, I know - a bummer.

    Anyway, the minute I walked into WRCT I knew that "college radio" hadn't changed much in 2 decades. Things may have shifted from analog to digital, from vinyl to CDs, but it was all wonderfully frayed and wonderfully familiar.

    The interview went well, I thought. With a good give-and-take amongst all the participants.

    If you have a chance, give a listen to the show. I'm sure the guys will appreciate it.

    If you are curious at to which voice is mine, I'm the guy second from the right with the salt and pepper beard.

    Enjoy

    This is Fiscal Conservatism?

    From the AP:
    Government spending hit an all-time high for a single month in March, pushing the budget deficit up significantly from the red-ink level of a year ago.
    Wow.
    In its monthly accounting of the government's books, the Treasury Department reported Wednesday that federal spending totaled $250 billion last month, up 13.7 percent from March 2005.
    Gee, those "fiscally conservative" Republicans are doing such a wonderful job, huh?

    But all this could be some glitch, some one time only spike in the numbers, right?

    Wrong.
    So far through the first six months of this budget year, which began in October, the deficit totals $303 billion, an increase of 2.8 percent over the deficit in the first six months of the 2005 budget year.
    Isn't it just great that we have the party that sells itself as "fiscally conservative" overseeing the economy? Spending is up, deficits are up, the size of government is up. Yea, God's Own Party must have some real geniuses running the show over there.

    But I'm sure the administration will blame it all on the "democrats in congress" and the "liberal media."

    And of course we should trust them because they've gotten so much else right; WMDs, Iraq's ties to al-qaeda, Katrina...