Democracy Has Prevailed.

November 30, 2005

Why Does FOX News Hate Christmas?

FOX News is selling "Holiday" ornaments for your "Holiday tree"

And, speaking of FOX News, when will Bill O'Reilly put 2 Politcal Junkies on his enemies list?!?


A little over a year ago, the New York Times published a fascinating profile of George W. Bush. One of the most striking paragraphs to my mind was the following:

The [Bush] aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

This passage speaks to the heart of the Bush/Republican ability to hoodwink the American people. While John Kerry published position after position and floundered from one message to another and while progressive bloggers, activists, the netroots, the Congressional Black Caucus and others decried and deconstructed each and every Bush/Republican policy/lie in great detail, our Faith-based Government chugged along growing ever more bold and the public seemingly ever more oblivious to their crimes.

By calling them "faith-based" I am not necessarily referring to religion here. I am referring both to their ability to gain the public's faith and their ability to successfully ignore, distort and lie in the face of reality.

The Bush Administration is a Presidency that had it's start in the smearing of all opponents and the fixing of elections. It gained credibility by capitalizing on the fears (justified and unjustified) of the American People. It thrived on a web of distortions and lies backed by it's own network house organ (Fox News), the echo-chamber of Conservative talk radio, and religious groups and big corporations with their own agendas.

It was aided and abetted by the mainstream media who does not like to make waves for their advertisers and by a public who both hates and ignores "politics" and "the Government."

As long as the majority of the people felt reasonably assured that they would not be literally blown up as they contended with their own day-to-day struggles, they were willing to believe in Bush. The more partisan among them made a fetish of the man as a Great and Moral Leader who would bring the country back to some mythical time when women didn't work, all worshipped at the same altar, and everyone knew their place.

In their view, Bush/Republicans were the Saviors of America and in Walmart We Trust. (They can still be heard calling into C-SPAN each morning bleating that because Valerie "Flame" drove to work every day to the CIA in Langley, Virginia she could not possibly have been an undercover operative and that Joseph Wilson outed his wife in the pages of Vanity Fair.)

And thus it would still be if the damn had not literally broken. Katrina was a cold slap in the face of reality. The illusion that Bush was not just competent, but the only one who could protect them, drowned along with the residents of the Sixth Ward of New Orleans. The reality that race and class still play a part in not only who thrives but who survives in America could not be ignored.

That the gross negligence in the Bush handling of Katrina came along on the heels of record gas prices and a rising death toll in Iraq only made the fall back to Earth faster and harder. Eyes which had been sleepy were opened. Questions that could not even be formed before Katrina were now being asked in public...even on Fox News by the likes of Shepard Smith and Geraldo Rivera.

And Bush's magic fixer, Karl Rove, was up to his neck in his own problems. While still not indicted, there's no reason to assume that he's safe from prosecution at this point. And so the Bush Administration continues to stumble over even the little things -- like manufactured PR events -- the kinds of things that they used to excel at.

But now, the scales have finally fallen off the eyes of the public and what they see is a corrupt, incompetent administration rife with cronyism and liars. An administration that can no better conduct a war in Iraq than they could save flood-stricken citizens here. An administration that has lost the support of even some of the fiercest hawks for and in the Pentagon.

With support for the Iraq War not only slipping among the American people but among Congress itself, Bush felt compelled yet one more time to give a "MAJOR SPEECH" on the war today. The speech came with it's very own "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" which was billed as "A PLAN" but, as The Washington Note asserts:

George Bush's speech this morning is almost entirely a counter-point response to James Fallows' important cover story in the Atlantic Monthly this month. Bush seems to be asserting that Fallows' assessment and math are wrong.

I'll be commenting on this later, but my sense is that Fallows went into extensive, nearly tedious detail about the thus far failed effort to train and "stand up" Iraqi security forces. The President's assertions about the great successes training Iraqi forces do not stand up to scrutiny.
and about which Think Progress notes:

The problem is, it’s not a new strategy for success in Iraq; it’s a public relations document. The strategy describes what has transpired in Iraq to date as a resounding success and stubbornly refuses to establish any standards for accountability. It dismisses serious problems such as the dramatic increase in bombings as “metrics that the terrorists and insurgents want the world to use.” Americans understand it’s time for a new course in Iraq. Unfortunately, this document is little more than an extended justification for a President “determined to stay his course.”
Moreover, it would seem highly doubtful that "THE PLAN" was drawn up in 2003.

But back to the speech itself. In it, Bush said:

This is an enemy without conscience, and they cannot be appeased. If we're not fighting and destroying this enemy in Iraq, they would not be idle. They would be plotting and killing Americans across the world and within our own borders. By fighting these terrorists in Iraq, Americans in uniform are defeating a direct threat to the American people.


Victory will come when the terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten Iraq's democracy, when the Iraqi security forces can provide for the safety of their own citizens, and when Iraq is not a safe haven for terrorists to plot new attacks on our nation.
But this begs the question:

Who is the enemy? Who are the "terrorists" and "Saddamists"?

When eighty-two percent of Iraqis polled have said that they are "strongly opposed" to the presence of the troops and forty-five percent of Iraqis believe attacks on U.S. and British troops are justified, just who is the enemy?

When Iraqi leaders themselves demand a timetable for the withdrawal of coalition troops from Iraq just what does "staying the course" mean and what good is "A PLAN" without any sort of timetable?

When the vast majority of those who are fighting us in Iraq are Iraqi citizens, just who and what are we fighting for?

Thus we return to the beginning of this post. We can only draw the conclusion that George W. Bush is still living outside of the "reality-based community." The rest of us who live in the real world -- the majority of the American public, the majority of the Iraqi public, the majority of the world community -- continue to shake our heads in disbelief at Bush's continuing "faith" that he can create his own reality and at the mounting disasters that result from that belief.

Mike Wallace Needs to Sue Someone

Mike Wallace was on Hardball with Chris Mathews on Monday night and I cannot tell you one thing that was said on the show because I was too busy gasping at the screen.

After watching the show I am left with many questions:

- Did Wallace's enemies payoff the makeup person?

- And, how much was the bribe?

- Does it hurt to have Miniwax Sedona Red #222 Wood Finish on your face for that long?

- Did they really have to use the entire tube of Revlon Super Lustrous "Pink Afterglow" Lipgloss on him?

- And finally, if was willing to lunge at a TLC inspector for messing with his driver, why didn't he KILL the person who did this to his face:

Now you'll just have to take my word for it that the above picture does not do justice to the pumpkin hue of his cheeks, the inch of non-made up skin at the hairline, the Clown White that they used above and below his eyes, and the oh-so-shimmery pale pink lipgloss. He was like some bastard child of Tammy Faye and Kathleen Harris.

The colors were so mesmerizing that I could barely tear myself away long enough to grab the camera and take some snaps.

My friend said, "Maybe it's a bad tan," but then Wallace would gesture with his hands which were clearly of some other race/species...

And, it really didn't help when they'd split-screen him with Chris Matthews. Obviously the camera used on Mathews had been borrowed from The View and someone forgot to wipe off the inch of Vaseline on the lens.

Seriously, Wallace deserves better than this.

November 29, 2005

Looking for a Few Good Women

Seeking Women to Run for State Legislature in 2006

There is a growing movement to recruit and support women from WPA, who will run for the State Legislature in 2006. Currently all of WPA’s State Representatives are men and, especially in light of their recent shenanigans, they are not representing us well.

If you know a woman who may be interested in running for State Representative, Gloria Forouzan of would like you to contact her. And, in order to mount viable campaigns, they must have candidates in place by early next week. You can email her at .

So, if you agree that we need women in the house, please help to recruit women of integrity, regardless of political party, by forwarding this information to anyone that you think might be interested.

For more information and to sign up for an email newsletter, please go to:

You can read more about this effort in Brian O’Neill’s “You’ve Come A Short Way Baby” column in the 11/22/05 Post-Gazette:

"Run, Baby, Run'' can help women there. The organization might not match dollar for dollar, Ms. Forouzan said, but there will be matching money. E-mail may be sent to .

"Come forward and we'll support you.''

A candidate could win a House primary with fewer than 6,000 votes. Given the scarcity of recent competition, it's hard to be more precise than that, but a door-knocking candidate might reach half that many homes in 12 weekends of work. Twenty doors an hour in a six-hour campaign day is Ms. Forouzan's rule. This isn't an easy game.

The rest of Pennsylvania isn't so hesitant to elect women. Eight of the state's 50 senators are women, as are 28 of the 203 representatives. The female contingent in the statehouse has tripled in the past 25 years, but Pennsylvania still ranks 46th among the 50 states in the percentage of female representation, Ms. Forouzan said.

This Is What We're Fighting For

From the New York Times:

Sunnis Accuse Iraqi Military of Kidnappings and Slayings

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 28 - As the American military pushes the largely Shiite Iraqi security services into a larger role in combating the insurgency, evidence has begun to mount suggesting that the Iraqi forces are carrying out executions in predominantly Sunni neighborhoods.

Hundreds of accounts of killings and abductions have emerged in recent weeks, most of them brought forward by Sunni civilians, who claim that their relatives have been taken away by Iraqi men in uniform without warrant or explanation.

Some Sunni men have been found dead in ditches and fields, with bullet holes in their temples, acid burns on their skin, and holes in their bodies apparently made by electric drills. Many have simply vanished.

Some of the young men have turned up alive in prison. In a secret bunker discovered earlier this month in an Interior Ministry building in Baghdad, American and Iraqi officials acknowledged that some of the mostly Sunni inmates appeared to have been tortured.


Ayad Allawi, a prominent Iraqi politician who is close to the Sunni community, charged in an interview published Sunday in The London Observer that the Iraqi government - and the Ministry of Interior in particular - was condoning torture and running death squads.


One Sunni group taking testimony from families in Baghdad said it had documented the death or disappearance of 700 Sunni civilians in the past four months.


"There is no question that bodies are turning up," said the investigator, who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, citing safety concerns. "Quite a few have been handcuffed and shot in the back of the head."


In one Sunni neighborhood, Sababkar, residents said the Iraqi Army surrounded the neighborhood and took away 11 of its Sunni men in July. Most of the bodies were found the next day; television stations here showed pictures of bodies that had been burned with acid and drilled with holes by electric drills. Most of the men had been shot in their temples.

But I'm sure that putting Saddam on trial will stop this sort of thing.

November 28, 2005

Congressman Tim Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair, Pa) Injured in Iraq.

The accident apparently happened last week but is just appearing in today's Post-Gazette (a Macon, GA paper broke the story yesterday).

In an interview from the hospital in Germany yesterday, Mr. Murphy said the accident occurred on the way to the Baghdad airport in a military convoy. The convoy was traveling in the middle of the road, which is a common practice used by the military in Iraq to deter oncoming motorists, the U.S. Embassy said. Shortly after dark, an oncoming tanker truck refused to yield.

Mr. Murphy said their driver was forced to veer off the road after it appeared that the truck might try to hit their vehicle head-on.


Mr. Murphy said he suffered head and neck injuries, but his MRI did not show any nerve damage.

During his brief visit to a Baghdad hospital, Mr. Murphy said, he was treated next to a 7-year-old Iraqi who had been shot by al-Qaida and whose parents were killed. Mr. Murphy said the experience reinforced his view that withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq now would be the wrong course.
Murphy was traveling with U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga), who was not injured, and U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton, (D-Mo) who seemed to suffer only minor injuries and all three were able to walk away from the scene on their own steam.

No snark here about anyone getting injured in Iraq, but it behooves us to point out that it wouldn't have been necessary for their convey to drive in the middle of the road if the violence in Iraq were not increasing seemingly daily.

Murphy's website repeats the Greatest Hits of the Bush talking points on Iraq under the heading of "War on Terrorism" in his issues section so it should not come as any great surprise that the accident has hardened his resolve as a hawk.

It's also worth pointing out that Tom Kovach (a Democratic running for Murphy's seat) served on the USS Nimitz as a nuclear machinist mate and has the following to say about the Iraq War on his website:

Tom supports a safe, fast and fair exit strategy for Iraq, and a resolution requiring President Bush to follow it.

KDKA pics

Thought some of you might enjoy some pictures from Saturday night.

The Life Lounge host John McIntire:

Another one of John:

Camera shy Dayvoe:

A good time was had by all (one hopes).

November 26, 2005

2 Political Junkies on the Radio TONIGHT

Hey, gang!

Guess what? BOTH of the 2 Political Junkies will be on KDKA radio tonight at 10pm!

We'll be on John McIntire's "Life Lounge."

Is that cool or what?

And you know, they do webcast - so if you're near a computer tonight at 10pm (on the east coast), listen in.

November 25, 2005

Progress Pittsburgh Super Happy Hour

Progress Pittsburgh is having a uper happy hour event on Tuesday, November 29th from 6pm to 9pm at the Harris Grill [ ] in Shadyside. (2nd Floor)

The event will include an opportunity to learn more about upcoming elections in 2006 -- particularly those for Allegheny County Democratic Committee.

They will probably have some appetizers.

when: Tue Nov 29: 6PM
where: Harris Grill
neighborhood: Shadyside
it'll cost you: $ your beer
ages: all ages

Last Throes

In this article Robin Wright, a staff writer at the Washington Post, compares visits to Iraq:

September 2003

On our first trip, in mid-September 2003, the State Department entourage and diplomatic press corps stayed for two full nights at the legendary al Rashid Hotel, the high-rise once heavily bugged by Saddam Hussein's security goons. Iraqi vendors in the hotel arcade sold military paraphernalia and souvenirs from the old regime. Medals that Hussein once bestowed on his troops went for 10 bucks -- or less, if you bargained enough.

Back then, we could tool around the Iraqi capital. With a New York Times colleague, I walked through the concrete barriers down the lonely lane that linked the protected Green Zone to the rest of Baghdad. U.S. troops stationed along the route didn't stop us.

July 2004

My second trip to Baghdad, on July 30, 2004, some 15 months after the fall of the city, was a secret. This time, the press corps traveling with Powell couldn't report it until after we'd landed.

We traveled from the airport to the Green Zone in Black Hawk helicopters, with U.S. troops perched in open windows on both sides manning machine guns that fire as many as 4,000 rounds per minute.

The route was so dangerous that we were all given flak jackets and helmets for the short trip.

This time, we didn't stay even one night. The al Rashid had come under rocket fire in October 2003, when then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was visiting. The attack had killed one American soldier and wounded 15 other people.

November 2005

My latest trip to Iraq, on Nov. 11, 31 months after the fall of the capital, was kept secret even from some of the people on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's plane. The dozen members of the traveling press were summoned to the State Department the day before we left on a trip to the Middle East and sworn to secrecy after a briefing about the additional stop.

We could tell an editor and a family member, but we were asked not to mention it to anyone else, particularly our bureaus in the Iraqi capital -- and not on the phone or by e-mail to anyone, at all, anywhere. If word got out, the trip would be canceled. A leak had forced the postponement of a similar trip in the spring.

The road between the airport and the Green Zone was officially considered safer, but we still flew in armed Black Hawks moving in diversionary patterns through the sky.

On this latest trip to Baghdad, the bubble shrank even more. No roaming the Green Zone. Not even a stop at the convention center. The press corps, including veteran war correspondents, was sequestered in Hussein's old palace for most of the seven-hour stay. We were discouraged from wandering the palace and were provided escorts to go to the bathroom.

Our one venture out was a short hop to the nearby prime minister's office, also in the Green Zone. All we saw were new barricades trimmed with razor wire, concrete blast walls, roadblocks and time-consuming identity checks. No Iraqis. No vendors. In October 2004, the bazaar had been attacked, one of two almost simultaneous suicide bombings inside the Green Zone that together killed 10, including four Americans.

Read the entire story here.

November 24, 2005

A Memory of Thanksgivings Past...


Alice's Restaurant
By Arlo Guthrie

This song is called Alice's Restaurant, and it's about Alice, and the restaurant, but Alice's Restaurant is not the name of the restaurant, that's just the name of the song, and that's why I called the song Alice's Restaurant.

You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant
You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant

Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, was on - two years ago on Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the restaurant, but Alice doesn't live in the restaurant, she lives in the church nearby the restaurant, in the bell-tower, with her husband Ray and Fasha the dog. And livin' in the bell tower like that, they got a lot of room downstairs where the pews used to be in. Havin' all that room, seein' as how they took out all the pews, they decided that they didn't have to take out their garbage for a long time.

We got up there, we found all the garbage in there, and we decided it'd be a friendly gesture for us to take the garbage down to the city dump. So we took the half a ton of garbage, put it in the back of a red VW microbus, took shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on toward the city dump.

Well we got there and there was a big sign and a chain across across the dump saying, "Closed on Thanksgiving." And we had never heard of a dump closed on Thanksgiving before, and with tears in our eyes we drove off into the sunset looking for another place to put the garbage.

We didn't find one. Until we came to a side road, and off the side of the side road there was another fifteen foot cliff and at the bottom of the cliff there was another pile of garbage. And we decided that one big pile is better than two little piles, and rather than bring that one up we decided to throw our's down.

That's what we did, and drove back to the church, had a thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat, went to sleep and didn't get up until the next morning, when we got a phone call from officer Obie. He said, "Kid, we found your name on an envelope at the bottom of a half a ton of garbage, and just wanted to know if you had any information about it." And I said, "Yes, sir, Officer Obie, I cannot tell a lie, I put that envelope under that garbage."

After speaking to Obie for about fourty-five minutes on the telephone we finally arrived at the truth of the matter and said that we had to go down and pick up the garbage, and also had to go down and speak to him at the police officer's station. So we got in the red VW microbus with the shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on toward the police officer's station.

Now friends, there was only one or two things that Obie coulda done at the police station, and the first was he could have given us a medal for being so brave and honest on the telephone, which wasn't very likely, and we didn't expect it, and the other thing was he could have bawled us out and told us never to be see driving garbage around the vicinity again, which is what we expected, but when we got to the police officer's station there was a third possibility that we hadn't even counted upon, and we was both immediately arrested. Handcuffed. And I said "Obie, I don't think I can pick up the garbage with these handcuffs on." He said, "Shut up, kid. Get in the back of the patrol car."

And that's what we did, sat in the back of the patrol car and drove to the quote Scene of the Crime unquote. I want tell you about the town of Stockbridge, Massachusets, where this happened here, they got three stop signs, two police officers, and one police car, but when we got to the Scene of the Crime there was five police officers and three police cars, being the biggest crime of the last fifty years, and everybody wanted to get in the newspaper story about it. And they was using up all kinds of cop equipment that they had hanging around the police officer's station.

They was taking plaster tire tracks, foot prints, dog smelling prints, and they took twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us. Took pictures of the approach, the getaway, the northwest corner the southwest corner and that's not to mention the aerial photography.

After the ordeal, we went back to the jail. Obie said he was going to put us in the cell. Said, "Kid, I'm going to put you in the cell, I want your wallet and your belt." And I said, "Obie, I can understand you wanting my wallet so I don't have any money to spend in the cell, but what do you want my belt for?" And he said, "Kid, we don't want any hangings." I said, "Obie, did you think I was going to hang myself for littering?" Obie said he was making sure, and friends Obie was, cause he took out the toilet seat so I couldn't hit myself over the head and drown, and he took out the toilet paper so I couldn't bend the bars roll out the - roll the toilet paper out the window, slide down the roll and have an escape. Obie was making sure, and it was about four or five hours later that Alice (remember Alice? It's a song about Alice), Alice came by and with a few nasty words to Obie on the side, bailed us out of jail, and we went back to the church, had a another thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat, and didn't get up until the next morning, when we all had to go to court.

We walked in, sat down, Obie came in with the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one, sat down. Man came in said, "All rise." We all stood up, and Obie stood up with the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures, and the judge walked in sat down with a seeing eye dog, and he sat down, we sat down. Obie looked at the seeing eye dog, and then at the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one, and looked at the seeing eye dog. And then at twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one and began to cry, 'cause Obie came to the realization that it was a typical case of American blind justice, and there wasn't nothing he could do about it, and the judge wasn't going to look at the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us. And we was fined $50 and had to pick up the garbage in the snow, but thats not what I came to tell you about.

Came to talk about the draft.

They got a building down New York City, it's called Whitehall Street, where you walk in, you get injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected and selected. I went down to get my physical examination one day, and I walked in, I sat down, got good and drunk the night before, so I looked and felt my best when I went in that morning. `Cause I wanted to look like the all-American kid from New York City, man I wanted, I wanted to feel like the all-, I wanted to be the all American kid from New York, and I walked in, sat down, I was hung down, brung down, hung up, and all kinds o' mean nasty ugly things. And I waked in and sat down and they gave me a piece of paper, said, "Kid, see the phsychiatrist, room 604."

And I went up there, I said, "Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill, KILL, KILL." And I started jumpin up and down yelling, "KILL, KILL," and he started jumpin up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down yelling, "KILL, KILL." And the sargent came over, pinned a medal on me, sent me down the hall, said, "You're our boy."

Didn't feel too good about it.

Proceeded on down the hall gettin more injections, inspections, detections, neglections and all kinds of stuff that they was doin' to me at the thing there, and I was there for two hours, three hours, four hours, I was there for a long time going through all kinds of mean nasty ugly things and I was just having a tough time there, and they was inspecting, injecting every single part of me, and they was leaving no part untouched. Proceeded through, and when I finally came to the see the last man, I walked in, walked in sat down after a whole big thing there, and I walked up and said, "What do you want?" He said, "Kid, we only got one question. Have you ever been arrested?"

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the Alice's Restaurant Massacre, with full orchestration and five part harmony and stuff like that and all the phenome... - and he stopped me right there and said, "Kid, did you ever go to court?"

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and the paragraph on the back of each one, and he stopped me right there and said, "Kid, I want you to go and sit down on that bench that says Group W .... NOW kid!!"

And I, I walked over to the, to the bench there, and there is, Group W's where they put you if you may not be moral enough to join the army after committing your special crime, and there was all kinds of mean nasty ugly looking people on the bench there. Mother rapers. Father stabbers. Father rapers! Father rapers sitting right there on the bench next to me! And they was mean and nasty and ugly and horrible crime-type guys sitting on the bench next to me. And the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one, the meanest father raper of them all, was coming over to me and he was mean 'n' ugly 'n' nasty 'n' horrible and all kind of things and he sat down next to me and said, "Kid, whad'ya get?" I said, "I didn't get nothing, I had to pay $50 and pick up the garbage." He said, "What were you arrested for, kid?" And I said, "Littering." And they all moved away from me on the bench there, and the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I said, "And creating a nuisance." And they all came back, shook my hand, and we had a great time on the bench, talkin about crime, mother stabbing, father raping, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the bench. And everything was fine, we was smoking cigarettes and all kinds of things, until the Sargeant came over, had some paper in his hand, held it up and said.

"Kid,this piece of paper's got 47 words 37 sentences 58 words we wanna know details of the crime time of the crime and any other kind of thing you gotta say pertaining to and about the crime I want to know arresting officer's name and any other kind of thing you gotta say", and talked for forty-five minutes and nobody understood a word that he said, but we had fun filling out the forms and playing with the pencils on the bench there, and I filled out the massacre with the four part harmony, and wrote it down there, just like it was, and everything was fine and I put down the pencil, and I turned over the piece of paper, and there, there on the other side, in the middle of the other side, away from everything else on the other side, in parentheses, capital letters, quotated, read the following words:


I went over to the sargent, said, "Sargeant, you got a lot a damn gall to ask me if I've rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean that just, I'm sittin' here on the bench, I mean I'm sittin here on the Group W bench 'cause you want to know if I'm moral enough join the army, burn women, kids, houses and villages after bein' a litterbug." He looked at me and said, "Kid, we don't like your kind, and we're gonna send you fingerprints off to Washington."

And friends, somewhere in Washington enshrined in some little folder, is a study in black and white of my fingerprints. And the only reason I'm singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if you're in a situation like that there's only one thing you can do and that's walk into the shrink wherever you are ,just walk in say "Shrink, You can get anything you want, at Alice's restaurant.". And walk out. You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and they won't take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both faggots and they won't take either of them. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement.

And that's what it is , the Alice's Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement, and all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it come's around on the guitar.

With feeling. So we'll wait for it to come around on the guitar, here and sing it when it does. Here it comes.

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant

That was horrible. If you want to end war and stuff you got to sing loud. I've been singing this song now for twenty five minutes. I could sing it for another twenty five minutes. I'm not proud... or tired.

So we'll wait till it comes around again, and this time with four part harmony and feeling.

We're just waitin' for it to come around is what we're doing.

All right now.

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Excepting Alice
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant

Da da da da da da da dum
At Alice's Restaurant

©1966,1967 (Renewed) by Appleseed Music Inc. All Rights Reserved.

November 23, 2005

Saw this headline in the Post-Gazette today: "Absolut threatens bloggers over use of product in parody of Bush"

I wonder who they could be talking about?

Story here.

Why Does the Pentagon Hate America? Don't They Remember 9/11?

Sure looks like they are telegraphing a withdrawl to the terrorists, no?

Isn't this the kind of thing that got Murtha called a coward?

From the Washington Post:

3 Brigades May Be Cut in Iraq Early in 2006
Some U.S. Troops Would Stay 'On Call' in Kuwait

By Bradley Graham and Robin Wright
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, November 23, 2005; Page A01

Barring any major surprises in Iraq, the Pentagon tentatively plans to reduce the number of U.S. forces there early next year by as many as three combat brigades, from 18 now, but to keep at least one brigade "on call" in Kuwait in case more troops are needed quickly, several senior military officers said.

Pentagon authorities also have set a series of "decision points" during 2006 to consider further force cuts that, under a "moderately optimistic" scenario, would drop the total number of troops from more than 150,000 now to fewer than 100,000, including 10 combat brigades, by the end of the year, the officers said.


Murtha, in his call for withdrawal last week, also suggested retaining a quick-reaction force in the region as well as Marines within a short sailing time away. Similarly, in an article published by the Center for American Progress last month, Lawrence J. Korb and Brian Katulis, two defense specialists, outlined a plan for redeploying some U.S. forces from Iraq to Kuwait and offshore in the Persian Gulf.

As John from AMERICAblog said about this,"The worst president ever just blinked."

November 22, 2005

They LIED from the beginning

By now, I am sure you've seen this at many sites in the blogosphere. If not, let me offer up a few choice quotations. The article (which you really must read yourself in its entirety) starts like this:
Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, according to government records and current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter.
And then there's this:
The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked the White House for the CIA assessment, the PDB of September 21, 2001, and dozens of other PDBs as part of the committee's ongoing investigation into whether the Bush administration misrepresented intelligence information in the run-up to war with Iraq. The Bush administration has refused to turn over these documents.
But wait. Didn't our glorious leader say that the Senate had the same intelligence that he had? Never mind. Here's some more:
The conclusions drawn in the lengthier CIA assessment-which has also been denied to the committee-were strikingly similar to those provided to President Bush in the September 21 PDB, according to records and sources. In the four years since Bush received the briefing, according to highly placed government officials, little evidence has come to light to contradict the CIA's original conclusion that no collaborative relationship existed between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

"What the President was told on September 21," said one former high-level official, "was consistent with everything he has been told since-that the evidence was just not there."
There you have it. They were told not even two weeks after 911 that there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with the attacks. And yet they continued to tells us he did.

To sum up:
No Iraqi ties to al-Qaeda - and they knew this from the beginning.

Disgusting. Deplorable. Let Bush have his legacy. Let him live a very very long life knowing that his deception brought about the deaths of thousands of his fellow Americans. Americans who'd be enjoying life right now if he'd just told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Rick Santorum Campaign Ad: Git ‘er done!

A couple of blogs (including this one) have mentioned that a Santorum campaign ad has started airing -- almost a full year before the 2006 Senate race. Bob Casey, Jr. even sent out an email asking for donations to combat any "Swift Boating" of Casey.

While we'll take's word on it (via Santorum Exposed) that the group running the ad, Americans for Job Security, is "A pro-Republican, pro-business organization, Virginia-based AJS was established to directly counter labor's influence," the ad is hardly in the "Swift Boat" mode.

I caught most of the ad on Friday and it seemed to focus on tax issues with no mention of Casey that I heard.

I would say that the main message of the ad was to attempt to show that Santorum was an effective representative of the people who concentrated on "Getting it Done." Of course considering Santorum's ever sliding poll numbers and the amount of bad press he's gotten for statements that most consider extremist, the underlying message was also to assure the voters that in addition to "getting it done," Santorum is also not BATSHIT CRAZY.

Since no one seems to have a link to a video of the ad, I've attempted to recreate it as best as I can from memory:

As you can see, it's all about making the PA electorate feel good better about a Senator that most of the country views as pretty creepy at the very least if not BATSHIT CRAZY and an embarrassment not just to PA, but to the entire nation.

Again, it almost matters little what the ad says, as it really functions to combat the "movie" that runs in most people's heads (see below) when they think of the man whose name is not just associated with hot man-on-dog-action, but has also become synonymous with the byproduct of a sex act:


UPDATE: The Fix has the actual video of the new Santorum ad (scroll to the bottom of the article). The Santorum Exposed blog suggest that we, "...don't forget to call the phone number at the end of the ad, 717-231-7540, to say thanks to Rick 'for getting it done.'"

Ruth Ann Dailey wants to Surrender to the Terrorists!

I noticed something very interesting in her most recent column. In between attacks on "media bias" and a political deconstruction of Congressman Murtha, Ms Dailey wrote this:
I happen to think that it's time to begin slowly withdrawing troops from Iraq and "incentivizing" democracy-minded Iraqis to undertake their own governance and security...
Is she really advocating troop withdrawal?

If a democrat (let's say a decorated Vietnam war veteran) were to propose the same thing, wouldn't the right side of the blogosphere be calling that person a traitor for advocating surrender?


UPDATE: This morning, when I posted this I forgot to link it back to Ruth Ann Dailey's column. I fixed it this evening.

Rick Santorum's First Campaign Ad!

The Other Political Junkie tells me that she recently caught a glimpse of a Santorum campaign ad on television.

How many months is this before the election?

I haven't seen it, but what the OPJ saw may have been the ad released by a group called "Americans for Job Security." The AP has the story here.
A group called Americans for Job Security is spending more than $450,000 to run an ad in support of Sen. Rick Santorum's 2006 re-election bid.

The ad, showing a family playing together in the park, credits Santorum, R-Pa., with helping to provide $300 billion in tax relief, eliminate the marriage penalty and increase the per-child tax credit.

"Pennsylvania families relax a little more these days because Rick Santorum is getting things done every day," the ad says.
But who are these "Americans for Job Security"? I did a little digging.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center says that:
Americans for Job Security, a “conservative group founded in part by insurance companies,” is politically active in promoting conservative candidates for national political races (Archibold 2003). The organization raises several million dollars each election cycle, and then spends the money on issue ads in key states with competitive races (Stone 2003). The group also takes stances on issues such as support for the abolishment of the estate tax. In 2004 the group ran four issue ads that opposed or supported individual Senators for their position on the abolishment of the estate tax.

As a 501(c)(6), a tax designation for business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards, and boards of trade, Americans for Job Security “[are] not required to make public a list of its contributors” (Cillizza 2004), and as a result, the exact makeup of the organization is not known as they “refuse to disclose members or donors” (Edsall 2002). However, it is known that about “500 corporate and individual members help subsidize the organization with contributions that have been as high as $100,000” (Stone 2003).
While Andrew Wheat of the Texas Observer describes them as:
a shadowy Virginia-based group that the American Insurance Association helped launch in 1997 by supplying $1 million in seed money. AJS takes out attack ads against liberal and moderate candidates nationwide without disclosing its political contributions or expenditures. This track record of spending large quantities of undisclosed funds on attack ads has fostered the perception that AJS is a for-hire corporate attack dog.
The rest of Wheat's article, if true, poses something of a problem for lil Ricky.

It seems that Americans for Job security may be tied up with the whole Delay money laundering scandal. Public Citizen reported back in October of 2004 that:
Americans for Job Security [501(c)(6)] is under investigation by a Texas grand jury for potential violations of a law prohibiting the use of corporate money to influence state elections, the Associated Press reported Friday.

Prosecutors have been investigating AJS since a Texas watchdog group filed a criminal complaint in January alleging that corporate money was funneled through AJS to pay for attack ads against a state representative just days before a six-way special election.

At issue is whether the ads were intended to influence an election, which would make them subject to Texas election law, and whether they were funded with corporate money. AJS has refused to reveal its donors, which is its right as a Section 501(c) group.

The Texas representative attacked by AJS, Republican Tommy Merritt, last year opposed his own party’s redistricting plan that was being pushed through the legislature at the behest of U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas).

Americans for Job Security argued that the ads attacking Merritt weren’t intended to influence the election but rather to further AJS’s promotion of "pro-paycheck issues."

Fred Lewis, president of Campaigns for People, the group that filed the complaint against AJS, said the attack ads were more likely retaliation for Merritt’s vote on redistricting. Lewis noted that AJS did not air its ads during the legislative session, when the bills were being debated, but rather in the closing days of an election campaign.
I haven't been able to track down the results of this investigation so if anyone knows anything about it, let me know.

The web gets a little complicated. Wheat points to a Rove protege named Terry Nelson and describes him as "an unindicted co-conspiritor who oversaw the alleged money laundering in Washington DC in 2002." Terry Nelson also works for a political consulting group called "Dawson McCarthy Nelson Media." Before that he worked for the Republican National Campaign Committee.

Among the clients of DMNM is the National Republican Senatorial Committee and you guessed it, Americans for Job Security.

So is it any wonder the "Americans for Job Security" a corporate-funded attack dog would be putting out ads in favor of Senator Man-on-Dog?


November 21, 2005

Look: More Cowards Calling for Us to Cut and Run!

Iraqi Leaders Urge a Timetable for Eventual Troop Withdrawal

Iraqi leaders, meeting at a reconciliation conference in Cairo, urged an end to violence in the country and demanded a timetable for the withdrawal of coalition troops from Iraq.

In a final statement, read by Arab League chief Amre Moussa, host of the three-day summit, they called for ``the withdrawal of foreign troops according to a timetable, through putting in place an immediate national program to rebuild the armed forces.'' No date was specified.


The final statement also stated that ``resistance is a legitimate right for all people.'' The conference almost collapsed earlier today when Sunni leaders objected to the definition of ``resistance,'' al-Jazeera said.

Maybe we misunderstood Chalabi -- maybe he meant we'd be greeted with flowers and candy when we LEFT Iraq.

Full story here.

It's all true!

I, like, TOTALLY believed that Saddam had WMD's before we went into Iraq and I shilled for the Bush Administration said so many times right here (can't seem to find the posts right now) and I think Chalabi, Rove, Libby and Cheney rock (really!!!), so can I quit 2 Political Junkies now and get my seven figure severance package? I could use the cash, what with the holidays and all...

November 20, 2005

Dennis Roddy is 3 days behind!

An update to a recent posting. This past Friday (three whole days ago), I wrote a piece on Congressman Murtha and how he must hate Murika because he's speaking out against the dear leader's Iraqi war of Liberation. Go read it here. In it I wondered how long it will take the "truth squads" of the right to smear him I asked:
How long until we see a right-wing funded "True Marines for Truth"? I am sure they can "find" some "evidence" that will prove to the right side of the blogosphere that Murtha was wearing women's underwear when he forged the documents used to award him the Bronze Star and the TWO Purple Hearts. And that Vietnamese Cross for Gallantry? It only proves that he was brainwashed, just like that crazy Senator McCain. He probably has lunch with Michael Moore and Jane Fonda once a week.
And now the soft-spoken and bespectacled Dennis Roddy (of the prestigious Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) has written something that parallels something I wrote. But I want it on the record that I DID IT FIRST. Here's what he wrote:
Expect Mr. Murtha's patriotism to fall into question. His morality in office will be questioned. Possibly his enemies will assign him Tom DeLay's finances and Bill Clinton's libido.

Soon the Swift Boaters will be afloat, suggesting that Mr. Murtha's Vietnam service was a charade (he won a Bronze Star), and that his Purple Hearts were undeserved. The Purple Heart gambit has been played before, first in 1982, then just last year. The answer to this nonsense will be the one that gave Mr. Murtha such cache as both a candidate and a member of Congress: big wound or small, he got it in Vietnam. He was there. They were not.
Perhaps it's the instant nature of the blogosphere and/or the realtime limits of Roddy's deadlines, but it's an honor to have beaten him to this particular bit of sarcasm. It seems that I'm always playing catch-up so it's nice to have stumbled ahead, if only this once.

One thing about the blogosphere, I can use some words routinely denied to the writers who get "published" in "the real world." Let me explain. The title of Roddy's piece is "They don't know Jack." It's a play on words. On the one hand it points out how Murtha's critics don't know him, if they think that the current attack on his character is going to get any where, on the other hand, it points out how THEY DON'T KNOW JACK SHIT if they think that those criticisms will work.

Either way, it fits.

November 18, 2005

See this film: 'Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price'

This documentary has been playing across the country all week. Click here to find a free screening near you (there are more this weekend).

I got to see it last night at the Zenith Vegetarian Cafe & Antique Gallery and it's well worth your time.

Any non-trolls reading this blog can probably tick off half a dozen reasons why Wal-Mart is bad for America. The documentary interviews scores of former employees, as well as the residents of towns that Wal-Mart has decimated, to make its points.

I thought that I knew pretty much all of Wal-Marts sins, but even I was shocked to discover the amount of crime (abductions, rapes, muggings, car-jackings, murders) that occur in their parking lots. (Cause you know it would cost some actual $$$ to actually have someone sitting and watching the monitors on their security cameras in the lots -- that is when they even bother to have any.)

Also quite devastating were the scenes inside the Wal-Mart employee "dorms" in China. Workers must pay dorm rent in these crowded, nasty slums even if they choose to live "off campus."

When you take it all in -- the China dorm scenes; the India sweatshop footage of workers falling asleep at their sewing machines from exhaustion; the scenes of American workers whose decades-old family businesses have been shut down by Wal-Mart (and we're talking real disillusioned Bush-loving Red Staters here) -- you get an excellent picture of just how much misery Wal-Mart has been able to sell to the world.

Why does Congressman Murtha Hate Murika?

And why is he giving aid and comfort to our enemies who attacked us so viciously on 9/11?

Does he really want to surrender to the terrorists?

How long will it take Limbaugh, Hannity and Malkin (along with our own Pittsburgh area wingnuts, Fred Honsberger and Jim Quinn) to ask these questions?

My guess is they're asking right about....


Here's the story from the P-G:
U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Johnstown, a decorated Marine Corps Vietnam veteran who is among the most hawkish Democrats in Congress, said yesterday the United States should begin withdrawing troops from Iraq immediately.

"We have become a catalyst for violence," Mr. Murtha told a news conference. "Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. can not accomplish anything further militarily. It is time to bring them home."

A dozen Republicans hastily put together a press conference where some accused Mr. Murtha, 73, and the Democratic Party of "waving a flag of surrender" and undermining U.S. troops.
See? It's started.

Here's the take at wingnut central,
In a statement that has angered, embarrassed and humiliated Marines around the globe, one of our own -- a retired Marine Corps Reserve colonel -- has called for the legendary fighting force to retreat from Iraq and surrender to the terrorist organization that has killed thousands of Americans at home and abroad.
The writer adds:
He has even called for the United States to enter into negotiations with al Qaeda. This vermin’s demand for retreat, surrender and negotiations with the enemy is so committed to assisting al Qaeda in their efforts in Iraq that he has posted his unspeakable demands on his website in the form of an official statement
But take a look at the statement. It can be found here. Where, oh where does he call for negotiations with al Qaeda?

Who is this vermin anyway?? Here's a description from the New York Times:
After serving in the Marines in the early 1950's, he re-enlisted in 1966, at the age of 34, and served in Vietnam, earning a Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross for Gallantry, according to The Almanac of American Politics. When he won his House seat in a special election in February 1974 he became the first Vietnam veteran to serve in Congress.
How long until we see a right-wing funded "True Marines for Truth"? I am sure they can "find" some "evidence" that will prove to the right side of the blogosphere that Murtha was wearing women's underwear when he forged the documents used to award him the Bronze Star and the TWO Purple Hearts. And that Vietnamese Cross for Gallantry? It only proves that he was brainwashed, just like that crazy Senator McCain. He probably has lunch with Michael Moore and Jane Fonda once a week.

According to the Times, the Torture-meister Cheney said this about "certain politicians" who are critical of his rule:
The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone, but we're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history
To which the Bronze Star winning, two Purple Heart awarded, Vietnamese Cross for Gallantry earning Marine Colonel had the unpatriotic nerve to respond with:
I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done.
Congressman Murtha's now being attacked by the wingnut wing of the Republican Party. Go read it. 9/11 is mentioned twice in the first five paragraphs.

November 17, 2005

Happy Birthday, Howard Dean!

And, thank you for getting this long time political junkie off her butt and into volunteering (my butt off) for good candidates.

Everything else that I want to say about what Dean means to me, I have posted here back when he became Chairman of the DNC.

(There's a nice birthday post for Howard at Daily KOS here. While I think it highly unlikely he'll ever see this post, there's a decent chance he may see the one at Daily KOS so you can send him your well wishes there.)

Yeah, I'm a Deaniac -- you got a problem with that? ;-)

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA): "I touch my private parts too much"

Well that is what he said on the Floor of the House. He also said:

"I think about touching other people's private parts too much," and "I wash myself because I feel dirty inside."
Here's a picture of Rep. Murphy from his website visiting my old school:

I don't remember any Congress Critters visiting the gym when I went there. OK, I don't actually remember that gym...must be new.

Full story at Wonkette.

And now for the serious Murphy stuff that has nothing to do with anyone touching anyone or my old elementary school:

Kovach for Congress has a piece detailing how much of Murphy's money comes from PACs. While Kovach for Congress may be considered a somewhat biased source on all things Murphy (as it's the official campaign blog of Tom Kovach, Democrat for the 18th Congressional District of Pennsylvania), their infomation comes from Open Secrets (an impeccable source).

Don't miss your chance today to have some say in new voting machines!

The public is invited to a Free Voting Machine Fair
Thursday, November 17, 2005; 1 PM - 9 PM
Westin Convention Center Hotel
1000 Penn Avenue
(corner of 10th and Penn Avenues, Downtown)
Somerset Room, Second Floor

The November elections saw the last time Pittsburghers used the venerable lever machines after decades of service. Our county will be purchasing new machines in the next 2 months. What will replace them? Many hope that it will be a voting machine with a voter-verified paper audit trail (V-VPAT) with a routine audit. (FYI: the old lever machines did have a paper trail, but not a voter verified paper trail).

YOU have a chance today to check out several new voting machines that the county is considering and to make comments on these machines.

Why is this important?

Two reasons:

1. Will we get machines that we can

2. Will we get machines that the disabled can easily use? Or that, say, my 90-year old, never-miss-an-election grandmother can use? Or that don't intimate most people/create long lines and drive down the number of people who come out to vote to new depths of embarrassment?

As I mentioned here, B-PEP (Black Political Empowerment Project) held a press conference on Monday. I attended the conference which also included members from VotePA, Verified Voting, and other groups, as well as interested citizens. All of these groups have been working hard to ensure that Allegheny County gets the best voting machines possible. They also have gotten the hours of the fair extended from 6 PM to 9 PM.

Now all you have to do is show up!

November 16, 2005

Santorum on the Death of Social Security "Reform": It's the Democrat's Fault!

Check it out.
The Senate staged sparsely attended burial services Tuesday for President George W. Bush's long-dead plan to remake Social Security through creation of personal accounts.

Metaphors outnumbered mourners.

Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., said every attempt to reach across party lines on Social Security had "met with a partisan obstructionism that is as rock-solid as the marble before me on the rostrum" in the Senate chamber.
Here's a longer piece on Lil Ricky's political theatre.

So even though the GOP controls both houses of Congress and the President, it's the Democrats fault the bill failed to get any traction.

Far be it for Senator Man-on-Dog to actually glimpse the truth: that the legislation was bad from the beginning.

Nah, it's simpler to play the blame game than it is to face reality.

Sorry for lack of posting

But, you ever have a day when you feel like entire countries are against you/your blog? (Another apology for the inside joke. Maybe I will be able to blog about this one day..)

November 14, 2005

Alito: "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion"

According to a document obtained by the Washington Times, in 1985 SCOTUS nominee Alito wrote:

"the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion"..."I personally believe very strongly" in this legal position
(More HERE.)

I guess Mom was right.

Things to do today

Fair Appointments: Call Your City Council Member Today.

Be inspired: take action this week to contact your City Council representative to urge them to support passage of the Fair Appointments ordinance. Basically, it insists that the City make information about the many authorities, boards and commissions that govern its departments available online, and moreover make appointment procedures for those boards transparent & consistent. This bill needs to pass unanimously to be able to send a very clear message to the mayor-elect that this is important public information, and that the public has a constructive role to play in ensuring that council and the mayor have the best-qualified applicants to serve on the city's boards.

Your City Council representatives are:

District 1 - Luke Ravenstahl - 412-255-2135
District 2 - Dan Deasy - 412-255-8963
District 3 - Gene Ricciardi - 412-255-2130
District 4 - James Motznik - 412-255-2131
District 5 - Doug Shields - 412-255-8965
District 6 - Sala Udin - 412-255-2134
District 7 - Len Bodack - 412-255-2140
District 8 - Bill Peduto - 412-255-2133
District 9 - Twanda Carlisle - 412-255-2137

ALL of them need to hear from their constituents on this. Even those who're sponsoring the legislation -- they need to have plenty of reassurance that their voters really do care about this issue. Please call or email them TODAY -- the vote is Wednesday. Thanks.

(This bill will take effect January 1, 2006 and is co-sponsored by Council Members Twanda Carlisle, William Peduto, Gene Ricciardi, Doug Shields, and Sala Udin)


Attend A Press Conference: “B-PEP Calls for Voter Verified Paper Ballots for All Future Allegheny County Elections”

Monday, November 14, 2005
6:30 pm – the Hill House Association

1835 Center Avenue; Pittsburgh, PA

On November 8, 2005 Allegheny County voters used, for the very last time, voting machines which most, if not all of us, used during our entire history as registered voters! What now awaits us is a future of the unknown. Allegheny County is at a pivotal moment in its selection process for new voting machines which may very well be utilized for many years to come. With the infamous voting irregularities of the 2000 Presidential Election still rather fresh in the minds of voters throughout this nation, and with questions still remaining about the voting results in Ohio which helped determine the outcome of the 2004 Presidential Election, B-PEP, the Black Political Empowerment Project, strongly urges the Allegheny County Bureau of Elections and the Department of Administrative Services to choose carefully and wisely: Choose voting machines which will provide Allegheny County voters with accurate, reliable, secure, verifiable, audit able and accessible election results.

These new voting machines will be used for the very first time in Allegheny County in the May 2006 Spring Primary. It is the goal of the Black Political Empowerment Project that the new voting machines will be sensitive to the very special needs of those with visual and physical disabilities and user friendly for the elderly and first time voters.

The Black Political Empowerment Project asks the officials of Allegheny County to seriously consider and utilize the informed opinions and recommendations of national election reform authorities. To do otherwise would be foolish and would leave the Allegheny County electorate open to a future of questionable and “challenged” elections. The Government Accounting Office has stated that computer voting systems have serious security issues.* The Carter-Baker Commission recommends Voter-Verified Paper Records.** Many other national organizations advocate for voter verified paper records with routine audits.***

The Black Political Empowerment Project advocates for “Voter Verified Paper Records” (V-VPRs) used with Precinct Based Optical Scan (PBOS) voting machines. PBOS voting systems also provide the most cost effective election systems as documented in many other counties of similar size. The Black Political Empowerment Project also urges voters throughout Allegheny County and throughout Pennsylvania to call upon their Pennsylvania legislators to fully support, and indeed, co-sponsor House Bill 2000 and Senate Bill 977 which call for Voter Verified Paper Records with Routine Audits in Pennsylvania's elections. Twenty-six states have already enacted V-VPR laws similar to HB2000 and SB977.

The Black Political Empowerment Project calls for the passage of these bills as they would help guarantee Pennsylvania voters: accuracy in our elections; Safeguards for the integrity of our elections; verifiability through the use of V-VPRs; audit ability through the use of V-VPRs; robustness in our election day process, (for example, if there is an electrical failure citizens can still vote); a resilient ability for the recovery of voter intentions in the case of election day problems such as computer crashes and programming errors; accessibility and usability; election transparency, meaning voters can watch the recording and counting of their votes; and most importantly, voter confidence! It is important to note again that twenty-six other states have already passed laws for voter verified paper records. HB2000/SB977 have strong bipartisan support and will be passed in the next year. Lets buy our counties election machines wisely so that we wont have to expensively retrofit them with printers after HB2000/SB977 are passed.

I was wrong: Bush is not a lying bastard.

Check out the video HERE from Crooks & Liars via AmericaBlog.

November 12, 2005


In his Veterans Day speech yesterday in Pennsylvania, Bush said the following:

"more than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power."

Don't even bother with anything else. We should just repeat over and over:



(Oh, yeah, and we need to impeach the lying bastard.)

November 11, 2005

Does Bob O'Connor want us, Ladies? Does he really, really want us?

Women of Pittsburgh!

Chatham College invites you to bring your resume and your friends, because Pittsburgh Mayor-elect Bob O'Connor will be in the house to share thoughts on his Vision for Pittsburgh and on creating more a more inclusive city government.

Thursday, November 17 (11:30-12:30)
Laughlin Music Building on the Chatham College campus
(Enter from Murray Hill Avenue, where parking attendants will be available to direct and assist you.)

O'Connor has frequently and publicly noted his interest in finding talented women and minorities to serve in his administration.

This event is an opportunity to show that we are ready and willing to step forward and serve our community.

Bring your resume and your friends.

R.S.V.P. to Kristin at or 412.365.2986.


Of course The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat has another take on what O'Connor wants, but:


The End of the World As We Know It

Item One: There's some bank robber out there who chats on her cell phone as she robs banks. (Just heard on WTAE News)

Item Two: A neighbor put up their Christmas lights this week and it's not even friggin' mid-November. (no link)

Time to Ask: Why Do They Hate the Troops?

From Think Progress:

On Tuesday — three days before Veterans Day — House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Steve Buyer (R-IN) announced that for the first time in at least 55 years, “veterans service organizations will no longer have the opportunity to present testimony before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees.”


The Disabled American Veterans, the “official voice of America’s service-connected disabled veterans,” just issued a scathing release calling the move “an insult to all who have fought, sacrificed and died to defend the Constitution.” The timing, they said, “could not have been worse.”

From The Hill:

The chambers have until Nov. 18 to resolve the two bills into one in conference, and press reports of a $1.2 billion compromise figure — nearly $700 million short of the Senate’s larger emergency infusion — have alarmed veterans lobbyists.


Though veterans groups have received assurances from House and Senate leaders that their healthcare would be exempted from any across-the-board budget cuts mandated by budget reconciliation, lobbyists were dismayed at the likelihood that the VA will end up with too little for 2006.

“I wish I could be confident that the Senate will stay at their higher number, but I just don’t know,” said Joe Violante, national legislative director for the DAV.

Today is Veterans Day. Thank you to all veterans for their service to our country.

Piling on Santorum

Poor Lil Ricky Santorum just can't catch a break.

The latest? Slate identified Santorum as being the Senator from Virginia instead of Pennsylvania in their Bush Abandonment Watch, Part 7 article and had to run the following correction:

As this post from just last week shows, there's plenty of reason to think that this may have been a Freudian Slip rather than just a simple error.

(Thanks to Rebecca and Jonathan for the heads up.)

Kicking Santorum While He's Down

I've always been told that it's a bad idea to kick a man when he's down, but when that man is Senator Man-on-Dog, there is a certain charm to it.

First the "down" part.

A Rasmussen poll of likely voters has Lil Ricky down by 20 points.

Now let's start kicking.

Radar Online has reporting some bad news for Rick:
But as Santorum’s campaign has lost steam, Capital Hill sources say his support from RNC heavies has also evaporated. The blow-dried bible-thumper, who launched his campaign with a giant war chest, is also being deserted by the party’s major moneymen, who are focusing their largesse on more competitive candidates.
Ouch. Couldn't happen to a nicer wingnut.

And now for some important kicking. Take a look at what ABC news reported yesterday:
Nov. 10, 2005 — In recent years many doctors and politicians have complained that frivolous malpractice lawsuits and disproportionate jury awards are a problem in need of reform.

But when "Primetime" did some investigating, it turned out that at least some of the people in favor of reform — even some of its loudest proponents — have themselves benefited from the current laws.

The Senator's Wife

Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., says that the No. 1 health care crisis in his state is medical lawsuit abuse and in the past he's called for a $250,000 cap on non-economic damage awards or awards for pain and suffering. "We need to do something now to fix the medical liability problem in this country," he declared at a rally in Washington D.C., this past spring.

But Santorum's wife sued a doctor for $500,000 in 1999. She claimed that a botched spinal manipulation by her chiropractor led to back surgery, pain and suffering, and sued for twice the amount of a cap Santorum has supported.

Santorum declined a request for an interview, so "Primetime" caught up with him at the signing of his new book in Pennsylvania this August to ask if he thinks his stance and history are in conflict.

"I guess I could answer that in two ways," he said. "Number one is that I've supported caps. I've been very clear that I am not wedded at all to a $250,000 cap and I've said publicly repeatedly, and I think probably that is somewhat low, and that we need to look at what I think is a cap that is a little bit higher than that."

'Of Course I'm Going to Support My Wife'

But the fact is that Santorum has sponsored or co-sponsored a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages two times — even though he testified in his wife's case against the doctor.

"Of course I'm going to support my wife in her endeavors," he said. "That doesn't necessarily mean that I agree with everything that she does."

But Santorum agreed enough to tell the jury that he had to carry the laundry upstairs for his wife and that, because she suffered humiliation from weight gain, she no longer had the confidence to help him on the campaign trail. The jury was so moved it voted to award Karen Santorum $350,000.

"That's where again you're misled is that a lot of, there was cumulative damages," he said. "The medical bills, lost income, all those other things that were out there."

Those medical bills totaled $18,800, yet she sued for $500,000. And lost income? The judge made no mention of that when he slashed the jury's award in half, saying it was excessive.

The judge noted that the remaining damages "awarded amounted to something in the neighborhood of $330,000 or so for injuries sustained and the effect upon Mrs. Santorum's health, her past and future pain and suffering and inconvenience."
I love this - talk about wiggle room. According to the piece, he's twice supported a 250K cap on awards, but then he says that he's not "wedded to it" and that it may be a bit low anyway. I'm guessing he might be thinking it's about 100K too low right about now. Then while he's quoted as saying the #1 health care crisis in the state is lawsuit abuse, he still supports his wife (who by his definition must be one of the abusers) even though he doesn't agree with her on it.

So where exactly does he stand on lawsuit abuse? He can't be for it so he must be against it. But he can't be completely against it, since his wife benefited from an award that was higher than what the Senator is willing now to allow for the rest of us - maybe.

Did he vote for the measure before he voted against it?

Senator Rick Santorum - disgusting in oh so many ways.

November 10, 2005

Like A Prayer

I don't know who to credit the above to, but if you have a better idea, you can create your own at:

Rick Santorum's "Scheduling Difficulties"

Will wonders never cease.

According to the Philadelphia Enquirer, our glorious leader will be visiting the north-east corner of our luscious commonwealth and his number 3 guy in the Senate won't be with him.

Can someone say, "toxic presidency"?

Here's the poop from Philadelphia:
When President Bush touches down in Wilkes-Barre to talk about the war on terrorism Friday, the Senate's No. 3 Republican - the vulnerable Rick Santorum - will be 116 miles away in Philadelphia addressing the American Legion.

Unavoidable scheduling conflict, Santorum's office says.
Yea, right. This is the guy who dropped everything to stand next to the Schaivo family in Florida. He can't clear his calendar for a coupla hours to stand next to the leader of his party who also happens to be the leader of the free-world?

The phrase "Unavoidable scheduling conflict" is yet another lie from the corrupt party in power.

Simple as that.

The AP has this to say:
President Bush will appear at a Veterans Day event in Pennsylvania on Friday with the state's moderate Republican senior senator and a Democratic congressman but without the state's conservative junior senator, who is fighting a tough bid for re-election.

A prior commitment is keeping Sen. Rick Santorum, the Senate's No. 3 Republican, from joining Bush, said Robert Traynham, Santorum's press secretary.

Santorum agreed several weeks ago to speak at the American Legion Veterans Day luncheon in Philadelphia and he intends to keep that commitment, Traynham said. He is to speak at noon, the same time Bush is to be 120 miles away at Tobyhanna Army Depot in Monroe County.

The state's senior senator, Arlen Specter, and Rep. Paul Kanjorski, a Democrat whose district includes the depot, are expected to attend.

When asked if Santorum was intentionally staying away from Bush, Traynham said, "The senator looks forward to having the president come to Pennsylvania as we get closer to next year's election."
Please notice that Traynham doesn't even attempt to answer the question. We should assume that the answer is a resounding, "yes, of course he is."

Oh, and by the way. According to the WSJ/NBC, 57% of the American people think that Bush misled the country into a war. And his approval rating is at a staggeringly low 38%.

When will the impeachment hearings begin? Isn't this more important than a stained blue dress?

November 9, 2005

The most satisfying victory?

I have to say that perhaps the most satisfying victory from yesterday's elections was for a race that I wasn't aware was happening at the time it occurred:

Challengers unseated eight out of nine Dover Board of Education members yesterday in a tight race that centered on the issue whether the theory of intelligent design has a place in science classes.

The ninth member of the York County school board was not up for re-election.

The eight board members unseated were all are proponents of a policy -- now the subject of a federal court case -- requiring high school freshmen to hear a statement about intelligent design before biology lessons about evolution.
The unfortunate part is that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article also states:

The challengers, who said the policy violated the constitutional requirement for separation of church and state, are not expected to revamp the biology curriculum right away.

"They want to have a discussion with the community and see the results of the court case. They are very interested in community input," said Sharon Wetzel, spokeswoman for Dover CARES, the slate of challengers.
If the new board already believes (correctly) that teaching Creationism Intelligent Design violates the Constitution, why not move right away to be rid of it?

Furthermore, why should the community have "input" into deciding what is and isn't science anymore than letting them have "input" on deciding, say, if 1 + 1 = 2?

While I congratulate the citizens who voted out the school board members who desired to turn a biology class into a religion class, I would expect the new board members to have the courage of their convictions and end this farce immediately.

November 8, 2005


Here's some breaking news for everyone who thinks today's elections are one big snoozefest. I believe that I may very well be the only person in town who is aware of this truly shocking information about today's race for mayor in the city of Pittsburgh as the information was made "public" during Sunday's Steelers game when naturally enough the electorate's attention was tuned into that sports event.

On Sunday, November 6, 2005, WTAE broadcast a mayoral debate as part of their "Commitment 2005" series:

Here is a photo taken from my television of the debate which shows moderator Sally Wiggin on the left, three members of the media who asked questions of the candidates in the center, and Democratic candidate Bob O'Connor and Republican candidate Joe Weinroth on the right of the screen:

However, for this lone reporter who had (albeit momentarily) tuned into the debate, the shock was electric to discover that there were apparently two other candidates (not pictured above) who were participating in the televised match-up. As can clearly be seen from the photograph below taken with my trusty camera of the broadcast on 11-6-05, the info screen from Comcast Cable clearly shows that "mayoral candidates...Michael Lamb and Bill Peduto" were also there to "field questions from the moderator.":


Who knew? And here the whole town thought that Lamb and Peduto had dropped out of the race after the May primary...

In other important TV election news:

Candidate Matt Santos handily beat Candidate Arnold Vinick (71% to 29%) according to public opinion in their debate also broadcast last Sunday.

As for the REAL stuff:

There are some races where your vote can make a real difference. I ask you to please consider breaking away from the fantasy of TV and casting a vote (where you can) for:

Jim Burn: Mayor of Millvale and running in County Council District 3 against an "appointed" Republican. Jim Burn has brought new economic life and prosperity to Millvale. He dealt with the aftermath of the floods with intelligence and diligence to restore Millvale, and restored people's lives to normal as quickly as possible and sooner than many thought possible.

Kathryn Hens-Greco: An ideal candidate for family court with 19 years experience as a family court attorney helping children and families end conflict and move forward. Kathryn Hens-Greco, unlike many of the other Democrats running, is not on both the Democratic and Republican tickets so she can really use your support for Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

Tonya Payne: An original Howard Dean supporter and delegate and a truly huge influence and help with the Kerry campaign. Tonya Payne needs your vote against a Republican being backed by some prominent Democrats who are disgruntled that a fresh young voice who speaks for us is trying for a seat on Pittsburgh City Council (District 6).

Erin Vecchio: Running to keep her seat on the Penn Hills School Board but facing a smear campaign by Republicans because she dared to take on the number three Republican in the country: Rick Santorum. Erin Vecchio was on "Night Talk with Ann Devlin" last night and she brought with her postcards being sent out by the Republican Party that try to Swiftboat Erin as some sort of dishonest opportunist. She is also regularly savaged by local Pittsburgh Rush Wannabe, Fred Honsberger, on his TV and radio shows. Devlin said on her show last night that she was, "not going into other things cause there's no tangible proof" but I have heard from a Penn Hills resident that her family received a recorded phone message that seemed to be targeting African American voters with disinformation about Erin designed to turn this group away from voting for her.

Andrew Wagner: A candidate for Ohio Township Supervisor who's running against a 20 year Republican candidate. Andrew Wagner has been an active volunteer in politics, and was instrumental in helping organize students for the Kerry/Edwards campaign in 2004. He's young and he's got fresh ideas and he's ready to turn an R into a D.
And, while candidate for Pittsburgh City Council District 8, Bill Peduto, is expected to win his race today, there's no excuse for those of you who can support him to slack off and not show up at the polls. We all need his voice on City Council and despite what WTAE and Comcast Cable may say, he's not a Democratic candidate for mayor.