Democracy Has Prevailed.

August 31, 2006

Dissent in God's Own Party

We recently posted some criticism of Rick Santorum coming out of the Washington Times. The Washington Times is allied with a magazine called Insight Magazine - just as conservative, just as loony.

Check this out. The article, while purporting to be fair and balanced (oo that phrase!), is a complaint among the ultra-conservative about the less-than-ultra conservative. President Bush has been trying to maintain a united Republican Party amid flagging conservative support and a split with the GOP’s "liberal" wing.
The two wings are so far apart that party strategists no longer envision a united front for the November congressional elections. The strategists said many of the liberals, already alienated from the White House, have been campaigning as opponents of the president in an effort to win re-election as part of an expected Democratic Party sweep of Congress.
It's so weird to read about the "liberal wing" of the Republican party. Just something about that phrase just doesn't make sense - I'd thought they'd purged all the rational Republicans by now.

I remember when Craig Kilborn was hosting the Daily Show - he made a joke about "Moderate Christian Conservatives."

He said they're the ones who smile at you when they tell you that "God hates fags."

Back to the magazine.
Ryan Sager, a New York Post columnist, has published a book that argues that Mr. Bush's agenda has split the GOP. Entitled "The Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, Libertarians, and the Battle to Control the Republican Party," Mr. Sager says Mr. Bush's promotion of bigger government combined with evangelical Christian values has separated Republican support in the traditional South from what he termed "leave me alone states" such as Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico and Nevada.

Mr. Sager said Mr. Bush has attracted a new breed of Republicans, whom he termed big government conservatives. He said this group is mostly female, southern, religious, and seeks solutions from government.
"Big government conservatives"? That's as odd as "liberal Republicans." Who knew there'd be so much nuance in George Bush's party?
"If the Republican Party is no longer the party of Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, limited government, or fiscal restraint, then what is it?" asked the Cato Institute, which hosts Mr. Sager next week. "And what's a self-respecting, small-government, fiscally conservative, socially liberal voter supposed to do?"
Uh, go with a small-government, fiscally conservative, socially liberal Democrat, I guess.

The writer of the article has a few problems with those pesky (and obviously independent) liberal Republicans:
In 2006, the GOP’s liberal wing has so far joined with the Democrats in blocking conservative-drafted legislation that would bolster the U.S. military presence in Iraq, halt illegal immigration, and aim at energy independence and health care reforms. Republican liberals also joined with Democrats against a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage.
Uh-oh. These "liberal Republicans" want to undermine our troops while supporting the millions illegal immigrants streaming through our borders. They want to keep us dependent on those Arabs for our oil and worst yet, they siding with the sodomites on the definition of marriage!

Why are they even Republicans??

I'll give the last word to that clear voice of proper right-thinking morality, Newt Gingrich:
"Republicans need to step forward and regain the conservative wing of the party that stands for fiscal responsibility, individual freedoms and protection of America's reputation and its borders," Newt Gingrich said in a report entitled "Thinking About November.” “The party has been an abysmal failure on all points for the last 12 years. The only reason they have not lost is due to the inability of the Democrats to come together as centrists."
This part I don't understand. The whole article is about how the "liberal wing" is doing damage to the party by not agreeing with the "conservative wing." So why do Republicans need to "regain" the conservative wing?

In any event, it's nice to see that Newt thinks that:
The party has been an abysmal failure on all points for the last 12 years.
Wait 12 years ago is 1994, right? Wasn't that when the Republicans gained 54 seats in the House and, well, took over? So is he saying that it's been all downhill from there?

I couldn't agree more.

Because we could all use a little good news...


A thing of beauty is a joy for ever...OK, that's not quite what's
going through my mind when I see this picture, but this is a
family blog (or it is when it serves my purposes to say so).

(As reported on WTAE)

Well, that worked out not so well...

The decision to stop daily updates by the hospital of Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O'Connor's condition is apparently what led to everyone and his brother hearing the false rumor that O'Connor had passed away yesterday.

While I did receive a couple of emails yesterday afternoon, from what I heard the MSM (radio in particular) was far more active in helping to spread the rumors than the supposedly error-filled blogosphere.

I saw nothing on any local blogs until well after the rumors had been put to rest.

KDKA seemed to have the most coverage. Video available here.

Obviously, the wildfire rumors that Mayor O'Connor had died must make a bad situation even worse for his family and friends...

For future reference, it was reported that if the worst came to be, City Council President Luke Ravenstahl would be almost immediately sworn in (with time given to the media to cover the event) so it's unlikely that you'd be hearing any terrible news from an email that you could not verify yourself through, say, the Post-Gazette or local television stations.

Time to defeat the bastards!

Only 68 days until Election Day!


Phonebank for Rendell/Casey on Mondays/Tuesdays
Phonebank for Rendell on Wednesdays/Thursdays
6:00-8:30 at 225 Ross St Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Labor Day is fast approaching! The Governor will be here for the Labor Day Parade (10:00am) and we need help passing out balloons and signs to parade-goers. (This should be a fun event!) Please call Lauren at 412-201-9024 if you would like to join us.

Canvassing continues: Contact Andrew Adams at (412) 201-9024 or for more info.

Sierra Club Election Action Nights
at the Sierra Club every Tuesday and Wednesday Night
(Targeting voters who rarely vote in off-year elections and who care about envirnmental issues) 6:00 - 8:30 PM
3109 Forbes Aves in Oakland or call 412-802-6161

Democracy for Pittsburgh September Meetup
Event Title: Democracy for Pittsburgh Monthly Meetup
Event Type: DFA-Link Meeting
Event Date: Wednesday, September 6, 2006
Event Time: 7:00 PM
Venue Name: Mario’s South Side Saloon (upstairs)
Address: 1514 E Carson St
City: Pittsburgh
State: PA
Zip Code: 15203

There’s only 68 days till ELECTION DAY!

While we’re all campaigning for Nov. 2006, we’re also planning for 2007.

Come and help us shape the future.



Evening Reception for Lois Murphy,
Dem. Candidate for Congress in PA's 6th District
Date: Wednesday, September 6th
Time: 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Location: United Steelworkers , 60 Boulevard of the Allies, 5
Gateway Center, 13th Floor
Contribution Levels: Benefactor $2100; Sponsor $1000; Friend $250;
Supporter $500 Patron $100
RSVP& Information: Stephanie at (610) 667-5061 or

Honorary host: Congressman John Murtha
Host Committee: Georgia Berner, Russ Burton, Robert Creo, Mark Cummings, Ellen Doyle, Congressman Mike Doyle, Deanna Dellavedova, Gloria Forouzan, Carrie Leana,Betsy Magley, Honorable Dan Onorato, Lazar Palnick, Jon Pushinsky, Chuck Rocha

PAYD Quarterly Meeting (Harrisburg)
September 9, 2006

Join the Pa Young Democrats at the Harriburg Radisson located at 1150 Camp Hill Byp, Camp Hill, PA at 1:30pm for their Quarterly Meeting. Young Democrats are also welcome to attend the State Committee meeting at noon in the same hotel. The location of the Friday night party will be announced soon.

If you plan on attending, please drop them an email, or call. We are planning car-pooling and room-sharing now.

The Pennsylvania Federation of College Democrats leadership will be in attendance to discuss cooperative action including their planned Campaign Invasions. Other topics to be discussed will be the Young Voter Alliance program, Action Days with Governor Rendell and the Coordinated Campaign, our prospects for taking back the State House and what we can do about it.

Pennsylvania Young Democrats
Pennsylvania Federation of College Democrats
PAYD Phone: 412.853.0613
Personal/Sprint: 412.901.3412
Office: Democratic Headquarters
810 River Avenue, Suite 210
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
AIM: PaulMcKrell

Donna Brazile in Pgh. Sept. 12
Date: September 12, 2006
Location: Eddy Theater, Chatham College
Time: Registration 6:45 p.m.
Program 7:15 p. m. (Dessert reception follows the program)
Cost: $10 per person. Space is limited. Advance registration's
advised, go to: , and go to:
September 12 Rachel Porter Social Action/Opening Program
Info: (412) 421-6118

Donna Brazile, the CNN pundit, Washington power broker and Gore's Presidential Campaign Manager, will be in Pittsburgh to kick off the Rachel Porter Social Action Fund Program.

She'll be speaking about her experience in politics and the future of women in political life.

Pennsylvania Governor's Conference for Women
Date: September 14, 2006
David L Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh
Keynote Speakers:
Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President, Children’s Defense Fund
Linda Ellerbee, Journalist, award-winning television producer, best-selling author
Mia Farrow, Actress, Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF
Farkhonda Hassan, Secretary-General of the National Council for Women in Egypt
Teresa Heinz, Chairman of the Heinz Family Philanthropies and The Heinz Endowments

Attendee Registration: $100
Group Registration: $1,000
Student Registration: $50

Register at:

Save Darfur Now - New York City

On Sunday, September 17, PDEC will travel to New York City to take part in a march and rally as the UN General Assembly meets. They will be calling on world leaders to deploy a United Nations force into Darfur to end the genocide.

In April, nearly 300 Pittsburghers traveled to Washington, DC, to deliver this message to President Bush and Congress. And our message was heard. Immediately following this rally, the Bush Administration made protecting the people of Darfur a priority. America is united and believes that a United Nations peacekeeping force is needed to end this genocide. Now they are taking our message to the international community.

PDEC is planning a bus trip so Pittsburghers can take part in this once in a lifetime event. Reservations are $50 for the first 55 seats, $55 thereafter. Please make out your check to "Thomas Merton Center" with "PDEC NYC Bus Tickets" on the memo and send to Thomas Merton Center, 5125 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15224.


Keith Olbermann - Rummy's Got It All Wrong

"That about which Mr. Rumsfeld is simply this: This is a Democracy. Still. Sometimes just barely. And as such, all voices count — not just his."

Yes, David posted the transcript and a link to C&L's video last night, but what Olbermann said yesterday is so very imporatant to our democracy that the video needs to go viral.

Here it is:

I encourage all of you to go to and get the code to post it yourself on your own blogs.

August 30, 2006

Keith Olberman's Special Commentary Tonight

I heard it. It was amazing. You can see it here at crooks and liars.

Forgive me for presenting the transcript in full. Tonight he said:
The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack.

Donald S. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.

Mr. Rumsfeld’s remarkable comments to the Veterans of Foreign Wars yesterday demand the deep analysis - and the sober contemplation - of every American. For they do not merely serve to impugn the morality or intelligence - indeed, the loyalty — of the majority of Americans who oppose the transient occupants of the highest offices in the land; Worse, still, they credit those same transient occupants - our employees — with a total omniscience; a total omniscience which neither common sense, nor this administration’s track record at home or abroad, suggests they deserve.

Dissent and disagreement with government is the life’s blood of human freedom; And not merely because it is the first roadblock against the kind of tyranny the men Mr. Rumsfeld likes to think of as "his" troops still fight, this very evening, in Iraq.

It is also essential. Because just every once in is right — and the power to which it speaks, is wrong.

In a small irony, however, Mr. Rumsfeld’s speechwriter was adroit in invoking the memory of the appeasement of the Nazis. For, in their time, there was another government faced with true peril - with a growing evil - powerful and remorseless. That government, like Mr. Rumsfeld’s, had a monopoly on all the facts. It, too, had the secret information. It alone had the true picture of the threat. It too dismissed and insulted its critics in terms like Mr. Rumsfeld’s - questioning their intellect and their morality.

That government was England’s, in the 1930’s.

It knew Hitler posed no true threat to Europe, let alone England. It knew Germany was not re-arming, in violation of all treaties and accords. It knew that the hard evidence it received, which contradicted policies, conclusions - and omniscience — needed to be dismissed.

The English government of Neville Chamberlain already knew the truth.

Most relevant of all - it "knew" that its staunchest critics needed to be marginalized and isolated. In fact, it portrayed the foremost of them as a blood-thirsty war-monger who was, if not truly senile - at best… morally or intellectually confused.

That critic’s name...was Winston Churchill.

Sadly, we have no Winston Churchills evident among us this evening. We have only Donald Rumsfelds, demonizing disagreement, the way Neville Chamberlain demonized Winston Churchill.

History - and 163 million pounds of Luftwaffe bombs over England - taught us that all Mr. Chamberlain had was his certainty - and his own confusion. A confusion that suggested that the office can not only make the man, but that the office can also make the facts.

Thus did Mr. Rumsfeld make an apt historical analogy. Excepting the fact that he has the battery plugged in backwards.

His government, absolute - and exclusive - in its knowledge, is not the modern version of the one which stood up to the Nazis. It is the modern version of the government… of Neville Chamberlain.

But back to today’s Omniscients.

That about which Mr. Rumsfeld is simply this: This is a Democracy. Still. Sometimes just barely. And as such, all voices count — not just his. Had he or his President perhaps proven any of their prior claims of omniscience - about Osama Bin Laden’s plans five years ago - about Saddam Hussein’s weapons four years ago - about Hurricane Katrina’s impact one year ago - we all might be able to swallow hard, and accept their omniscience as a bearable, even useful recipe, of fact, plus ego.

But, to date, this government has proved little besides its own arrogance, and its own hubris. Mr. Rumsfeld is also personally confused, morally or intellectually, about his own standing in this matter. From Iraq to Katrina, to the entire "Fog of Fear" which continues to envelope this nation - he, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and their cronies, have - inadvertently or intentionally - profited and benefited, both personally, and politically.

And yet he can stand up, in public, and question the morality and the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the Emporer’s New Clothes.

In what country was Mr. Rumsfeld raised? As a child, of whose heroism did he read? On what side of the battle for freedom did he dream one day to fight? With what country has he confused...the United States of America?

The confusion we — as its citizens - must now address, is stark and forbidding. But variations of it have faced our forefathers, when men like Nixon and McCarthy and Curtis LeMay have darkened our skies and obscured our flag. Note - with hope in your heart - that those earlier Americans always found their way to the light...and we can, too.

The confusion is about whether this Secretary of Defense, and this Administration, are in fact now accomplishing what they claim the terrorists seek: The destruction of our freedoms, the very ones for which the same veterans Mr. Rumsfeld addressed yesterday in Salt Lake City, so valiantly fought.

And about Mr. Rumsfeld’s other main assertion, that this country faces a "new type of fascism." As he was correct to remind us how a government that knew everything could get everything wrong, so too was he right when he said that — though probably not in the way he thought he meant it.

This country faces a new type of fascism - indeed.

Although I presumptuously use his sign-off each night, in feeble tribute...I have utterly no claim to the words of the exemplary journalist Edward R. Murrow. But never in the trial of a thousand years of writing could I come close to matching how he phrased a warning to an earlier generation of us, at a time when other politicians thought they (and they alone) knew everything, and branded those who disagreed, "confused" or "immoral."

Thus forgive me for reading Murrow in full:

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty," he said, in 1954. "We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear - one, of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of un-reason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men. Not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were - for the moment - unpopular."
Keith Olbermann - a great American

Spewing Garbage

They'd call us all Nazis if they thought that they could get away with it.

They have no real strategy.

Their only policy is to foment fear and denigrate their opposition.

They have nothing else.

Guest Blogging at Macyapper

Hey, gang.

I'm guest blogging over at John McIntire's blog again today.

August 29, 2006

Rick Santorum's newest charge

Rick's struggling.

He can't get much traction on anything and so what does he do? He brings up the pay-raise. A payraise, by the way, that passed through a Republican State Legislature. No one seems to recall that. Here's Tom Barnes of the P-G:
Political fallout continues from the Legislature's infamous 2005 pay raises, as U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum criticized Democrat Bob Casey yesterday for signing four months worth of checks containing the pay boosts for legislators.

Mr. Santorum, a two-term Republican seeking re-election to the Senate, assailed state Treasurer Casey, his challenger in the race, for not objecting to the higher checks that legislators received from last August through November.
And then the old old old charge:
"He sent out the checks with the raise for four months and then he claimed the raise was unconstitutional," Mr. Santorum told a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon here yesterday. "Where was he when it counted? Why didn't he say the pay raise was unconstitutional and refuse to sign the checks?"
Good one, Rick. But what does Rick Santorum have to say about the pay raise? Barnes quotes Casey Spokesman Larry Smar:
Mr. Smar said that Mr. Casey had spoken out against the pay raise action as early as September 2005 but said Mr. Santorum "to this day hasn't taken a position on the legislative pay raise. He said it was a state issue and hasn't spoken out against it."
So is that true? Santorum hasn't take a position on the pay-raise and yet is criticizing his opponent for not taking a particular position sooner?

I think we have a new definition of chutzpah.

As Warner Wolf would say, let's go to the videotape. Here's a press release from October, 2005.

Paragraph one:
For months now, State Treasurer Robert P. Casey, Jr. has publicly expressed his opposition to the July 7 legislative pay raise, the manner in which it was passed by the General Assembly, and the use of “unvouchered expenses” as a way to circumvent the State Constitution’s prohibition against legislators' pocketing a pay raise in the middle of their terms. [emphasis added]
Paragraph four:
Treasurer Casey has been named as a defendant in two lawsuits about the pay raise solely because the Treasury Department disburses the Commonwealth’s money, including legislators’ paychecks. Unfortunately, the State Treasurer has no authority to stop these payments. He cannot substitute his judgment for that of the judiciary, nor can he refuse to honor lawful requisitions. [emphasis added]
And the penultimate (yea, it's a word - look it up) paragraph:
Taxpayers can be sure that if the courts rule that the “unvouchered expenses” are, indeed, unconstitutional, the Treasury Department will immediately cease to disburse these monies.
So legally he couldn't stop the paychecks. And unless the courts ruled them to be unconstitional, no one could. Yet we have Ricky there saying Casey should not have signed all those checks.

And there's already been an answer from Casey to Lil Ricky's rhetorical question, "Why didn't he say the pay raise was unconstitutional and refuse to sign the checks?" It's here in this column (from way back on March 17) in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The column begins with this:
I took the unusual step this month of siding with the petitioner in a lawsuit in which I am a defendant. The reason is simple: I agree with the petitioner -- a citizen-activist whose lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the 2005 legislative pay raise, the manner in which it was passed by the General Assembly and the use of "unvouchered expenses" as a way to circumvent the state Constitution's prohibition against legislators pocketing a pay raise in the middle of their terms.

Let me be clear on my opposition to this pay raise. I did not vote for it. I did not lobby for it. I did not support it. But as state treasurer, I could not stop it. [emphasis added]
This follows:
Despite our agreement on the pay-raise issue, Gene Stilp last year named me as a respondent in his lawsuit, Stilp v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al., solely because the Treasury Department disburses the commonwealth's checks, including certain lawmakers' paychecks that Mr. Stilp wanted stopped because they were padded with so-called "unvouchered expense allowances" that reflected the exact amount of the salary increases that were to take effect after the next election.
And the important part:
Some critics have seized on my opposition to this pay raise and my legal brief in support of Mr. Stilp. Their question is: Why did you not simply stop the checks? There is a simple answer: I could not. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that such allowances do not violate the prohibition against midterm salary increases and, therefore, are not unconstitutional. Despite my strong disagreement with these rulings, I could not substitute my judgment for that of the judiciary and directly defy a series of Supreme Court rulings. [emphasis added]
Take a look at that carefully. He said that there's been a series of PA Supreme Court rulings that say that the "unvouchered expense allowances" were not unconstitional. So even though he did not support the pay raise, refusing to sign them was not a legal option.

And if you look carefully, I don't think Casey said they were unconstitutional - certainly not the "unvouchered expenses." Another lie from Rick Santorum.

Rick Santorum - struggling so much he has to scrape around for mud to sling.

Santorum's Flip-Flops

We've already written about Senator Santorum's flip-flop on his own pay raise (he voted for it after declaring years before that he'd never take one), and now as the Guardian reports:
Philosophers, scientists and other intellectuals close to Pope Benedict will gather at his summer palace outside Rome this week for intensive discussions that could herald a fundamental shift in the Vatican's view of evolution.

There have been growing signs the Pope is considering aligning his church more closely with the theory of "intelligent design" taught in some US states.
And then there's this:
The Pope also raised the issue in the inaugural sermon of his pontificate, saying: "We are not the accidental product, without meaning, of evolution."

A few months later, Cardinal Schönborn, who is regarded as being close to Benedict, wrote an article for the New York Times backing moves to teach ID. He was attacked by Father George Coyne, director of the Vatican Observatory. On August 19, Fr Coyne was replaced without explanation. Vatican sources said the Pope's former astronomer, who has cancer, had asked to be replaced.
But I got to wondering about another famous flip-flop of Rick's - on Intelligent Design. The American Family Associate of Pennsylvania issued this press release in December that begins with this passage:
Senator Rick Santorum’s agreement with Judge John Jones’ decision concerning the Dover Area School District ’s policy pertaining to Evolution and Intelligent Design is yet another example of why conservatives can no longer trust the Senator, a statewide traditional values group said today. [emphasis added]
There are other examples? Do tell! Do tell!

We've written about this here and here.

I'm also wondering if, since Lil Ricky hasn't been able to move his poll numbers up very much, he's looking for a way to flip back on Intelligent Design - you know to "energize his base" and all that.

Rick Santorum - Flip-flopper


August 28, 2006


A reminder that actions have consequences:

One year after Katrina hit, great swaths of New Orleans look as if the tragedy occurred yesterday and tens of thousands of citizens are scattered throughout the land.

Five years after 9/11, cargo on planes goes unchecked, cargo in our ports is unsecured, radio communications problems between police, firefighters and governmental officials has not been fixed, the Mideast is in worse turmoil, and bin Laden remains free.

Show them that actions (and inactions) do have consequences -- don't reward one single Republican in November.

Political CELEBreality 2008!

Last night saw a celebration of the 2005 /2006 television season wth the broadcast of the Emmy Awards and the airwaves already are glutted with ads for the new 2006/2007 lineup.

We here at 2 Political Junkies like to stay well ahead of the curve, so we've spared no expense to tap the minds of the various network executives to find out what's in store for the 2008/2009 TV season. With that, we bring you:

Still dodging subpoenas from the Democratically-controlled House and Senate, ex-President George W. Bush is spotted in the crowd lining up to audition for the latest season of American Idol. Bush is said to be planning on regaling the judges by tooting out his very special rendition of The Star Spangled Banner (it's OK as long as it's not in Spanish):

The long awaited new season of Being Bobby Brown is finally set to air in 2008 now that word has come out that Osama bin Laden has a major crush on Whitney Houston. It's almost certain that it was the infamous "dookie bubble" episode in the first season that won bin Laden's heart and made him realize that he wanted to get hands-on with the diva:

Also dodging subpoenas from the Democratically-controlled House and Senate, Karl Rove has a major breakthrough and decides to totally turn his life around. He decides to start on the outside and work his way in, hence an appearance on Celebrity Fit Club:

Condi Rice realizes that even after Bush has left office, he'll still never be her hubby. She meets up with now totally irrelevant -- yet still attention-craving -- Jenna and Not-Jenna Bush and a score of other desperate women on season six of Flavor of Love:

A very special live episode of the CBS series Cold Case looks for the still uncaptured Osama bin Laden:

Syndicated programs for the 2008/2009 season (check your local listings for times and dates):

Bad boy Dick Cheney appears on multiple episodes of COPS after shooting more old people in the face.

Former senator Lil Ricky Santorum gets down and personal with our canine friends on the new show Doggy Style! (sold jointly with the Jerry Springer Show).

Guest Blogging Today

Morning, gang!

Nothing from me this morning as I'm guest blogging over at Macyapper while Johnny Mac is on his honeymoon.

August 27, 2006

Once more, with feeling

I notice that 2 Political Junkies has not posted anything anti Santorum in nearly 48 hours.

This must not be!

I am therefore recycling something that originally appeared on this blog on Thursday, March 17, 2005. (Besides, I'm sure there's enough of you out there who never heard of us back then and missed it the first time around.)

Separated At Birth?

"Well, golleeee!!!!"

Sunday Short Takes

In case you missed any of this last week:

- Shocking. "Republican politicians warn that intelligence professionals are being insufficiently alarmist about Iran."

- Iran: "A key House committee issued a stinging critique of U.S. intelligence on Iran yesterday, charging that the CIA and other agencies lack 'the ability to acquire essential information necessary to make make judgments' on Tehran's nuclear program, its intentions or even its ties to terrorism."

- 9/11: "It's the unexamined question of 9/11: What if Rudy Giuliani wasn't quite the hero everybody thought?"

- Bad news for journos: "...the judge also ruled it was acceptable for the government to spy on anyone who handles government information 'not generally available to the public' -- a category which seems to cover any reporter worth his or her salt."

- Katherine Harris: "Separation of church and state 'a lie'." "..God is the one who chooses our rulers." MORE: "If you are not electing Christians, tried and true, under public scrutiny and pressure, if you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin."

- Lieberman: "So, when Democrat Ned Lamont says we need to start a timetable for withdrawal, Lieberman says that would be a victory for terrorists. When Democrats in the Senate put that up for a vote, Joe leads off the debate on the side of... the Republicans. But when Republican Chris Shays says we need a timetable then Lieberman says:...he would consider taking a look at a fellow lawmaker's proposal for a timeline for troop withdrawals."

- McCain: "No Longer Offering Himself As The Alternative...Now Positioned Himself As Bush's Heir"

- New Orleans: "Army Corps worries about Big Easy levees"

Blogroll Update

We've been meaning to add a few blogs to our blogroll and here's who we've (finally) added:

A Spork in the Drawer

Ms. Adventures on the Mon

The Burgh Blog -- Pittsburgh. Only Cooler
Not Local:
Booman Tribune: A Progressive Community

My Left Wing: A Liberal Translation (Mary Scott O'Connor)

Pam's House Blend


Yep. Most of these bloggers are women.

My Left Wing and Booman Tribune are community blogs with diaries (like Daily KOS).

Check them out!

August 25, 2006

Santorum's misleading - again

The first negative TV ad of the Casey/Santorum race begins like this:
Bobby Casey loves running for office. Showing up to do the job, that's a different story. As Auditor General, Casey skipped so much work running for Governor, he never completed over 800 audits...
Of course, it's a false charge. Take a look at this. It's from the P-G website.
A television ad by Sen. Rick Santorum implying that his opponent in the November election, former state Auditor General Bob Casey, did a poor job in his previous position is "simply not true," current Auditor General Jack Wagner said today in a Downtown press conference.
So the current Auditor General thinks Casey did a good job. Huh. So where did the Santorum campaign get the "information" to support its charge?
Mr. Wagner said the ad takes comments he made at a March 2005 state budget hearing about a backlog of audits in the department out of context. He said he called the press conference to "set the record straight" and prevent Mr. Santorum from using the ad "for his political gain."
Oh, I see. How was it taken out of context?
The ad, he said "doesn't give justice to my statement. Bob Casey did a professional job as auditor general. The people of Pennsylvania know that and I'm here to state that today."

Mr. Wagner had testified at the hearing last year that there was a backlog of 839 audits when he succeeded Mr. Casey as auditor general. But he said he amplified that statement later, telling the hearing that the number of backlogged audits changes monthly.

He said the auditor general's office completes 5,000 audits annually on pension plans, school districts, volunteer fire departments, state prisons and liquor stores.

He said his office currently has a backlog of about 300 audits.
Interesting. Who would have imagined that the Santorum campaign would take something out of context for political gain??

No sirree, not me.

Hey, have the police arrested the "Casey operatives" who "trespassed" at the Santorum "home" in Penn Hills, yet?

UPDATE: This is from Saturday's P-G.
Mr. Wagner had testified at the hearing last year that there was a backlog of 839 audits when he succeeded Mr. Casey as auditor general. But he said yesterday he later amplified that statement for the committee, telling it that the number of backlogged audits was in constant flux.

He said the auditor general's office completes 5,000 audits annually on pension plans, school districts, volunteer fire departments, state prisons and liquor stores.

He said his office currently has a backlog of 679 audits.[emphasis added]
Ok, then. So there's always a backlog of audits (one that changes from month to month), then? So Casey's running for office can't much change that, can it? So what Santorum said is (now here's a news flash) basically bullshit, right?

Technorati Tag:

Don't Marry Career Women published a lovely article this week advising men:

Don't Marry Career Women

They were even thoughtful enough to put up a slide show titled:
In Pictures: Nine Reasons To Steer Clear Of Career Women

Now, I can't link to that because it's since been taken down. Indeed, the article itself has even been revised to a be point/counterpoint article with the inclusion of a rebuttal by Elizabeth Corcoran titled: Counterpoint: Don't Marry A Lazy Man

Did Forbes forget that they actually had some female readers who may have objected to such a ridiculous article?

If you want to know how ridiculous it was, it defines a "career girl" as:

"...has a university-level (or higher) education, works more than 35 hours a week outside the home and makes more than $30,000 a year."
Pretty much EVERY woman you work with, huh?

Then to make matters worse, according to Shakespeare's Sister:

Slate’s Jack Shafer issues an apologia on Forbes’ behalf, but warns against his mean feminist “female readers break[ing] their nails pounding out angry e-mails to me” if they don’t like what he has to say. Still, if you must, he says, they can “Bore [him] with your fury.”
And, just so you know where Michael Noer (the author of the original article) is coming from, Jessica at feministing points you to another article he wrote, The Economics Of Prostitution:

Wives, in truth, are superior to whores in the economist's sense of being a good whose consumption increases as income rises--like fine wine. This may explain why prostitution is less common in wealthier countries. But the implication remains that wives and whores are--if not exactly like Coke and Pepsi--something akin to champagne and beer. The same sort of thing.
So if I'm reading my Noer correctly:

"You'll be unhappy if you marry some uppity, smarty-pants bitch who has a career. The true path to happiness lies in marrying a girl that you rescue from behind the cash register of a 7/11, but keep in mind that she's no better than a whore."
To quote feministing:

"Yeah...he doesn't have a problem with women at all."
But do not despair completely, Gawker has a their own unique take on's slideshow (using the now "disappeared" pictures).

Conflict Resolution

Bad Example:
Boy in Hot Water Over 'Meow'
Angry Neighbor Sues, Saying It's Harassment

JEANNETTE, Pa. (Aug. 23) - Meow. A district judge has been asked to decide whether that word is a harmless taunt or grounds for misdemeanor harassment. Jeannette police charged a 14-year-old boy for "meowing" whenever he sees his neighbor, 78-year-old Alexandria Carasia.
Apparently the kid had to get rid of his cat because the neighbor complained to the police about it in the first place. Does this remind anyone else of the beginning of The Wizard of Oz? ("I'll get you and you little dog too!")

Hell, I have a nutty neighbor who makes the sign of the cross every time she sees me, yet I don't run to the police...

Good Example:
Restaurant to Drop Hitler Theme
BOMBAY, India (Aug. 24) -- The owner of a restaurant named after Adolf Hitler said Thursday he will change its name because it angered so many people.

Puneet Sablok said he would remove Hitler's name and the Nazi swastika from billboards and the menu. He had said the restaurant's name -- "Hitler's Cross" -- and symbols were only meant to attract attention.

Sablok made the decision after meeting with members of Bombay's small Jewish community.

"Once they told me how upset they were with the name, I decided to change it," he said. "I don't want to do business by hurting people."

Sablok said he had not yet decided on a new name.
The article does go on to explain that:
Some Indians regard Hitler as just another historical figure and have little knowledge about the Holocaust, in which 6 million European Jews were systematically killed during World War II.

The swastika symbol, which was appropriated by the Nazis, was originally an ancient Hindu symbol and it is displayed all over India to bring luck.

Radio Update

Hey, gang!

Take a look!

We've been podcasted!

Though if you're reading this sometime after August of 2006, you won't find our show.

If you missed any part of the show, you can LISTEN TO THE WHOLE FRICKIN THING!

August 24, 2006

Great Minds Think...

If you caught 2pj at all on air yesterday, you may have heard a discussion of whether or not Bush is truly an idiot. During this topic, I mentioned that I had seen video of Bush when he was Governor of Texas and he seemed like a completely different person then: a reasonably intelligent and decent speaker.

As luck would have it, as we were airing our views on WPTT, John at AmericaBlog posted a video that compares Bush in a debate 10 years ago to Bush in 2004.

Take a look and then try to tell me that this man's mental capacity has not declined dramatically:

A Santorum Duck Sighting!

In our relentless pursuit of the politically irrelevant, we're pleased to report another Santorum-Duck sighting.

Here. Read this article.
Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell made his case for re-election Wednesday to several hundred people in Binns Park despite some heckling from about a dozen local Republicans.
And who was among the hecklers? We find out in this rather clumsy sentence:
The dozen Republicans, standing in the second-story walkway that borders the southern part of Binns Park, held signs for Swann and U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, chanted the names of Republican candidates when their opponents spoke, had a person dressed as a life-size duck that has been seen at events supporting Democratic Senate candidate Bob Casey Jr., and during Rendell’s speech blasted a foghorn. [emphasis added]
The Duck lives!

Now I'm wondering about a few things. Is John Michael Glick still the guy in the duck suit? And if so how does he feel about his work "collecting" signatures for the Romanelli campaign?

I wonder if Clem was with them. Who's Clem? Read this.

Rick Santorum Goes Negative

My friends, this is not just the opinion of some middle-aged, balding blogger typing away at his computer early one morning. It's Jon Delano of KDKA news reporting.
PITTSBURGH The first negative television ad in the race for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania is now on the air.

Incumbent Senator Rick Santorum's campaign is taking aim at challenger Bob Casey's past.
A little later Delano adds:
After running a series of largely positive campaign ads, Santorum's campaign is taking a turn that he himself predicted a few weeks ago.

When asked if his ads would remain positive, Santorum responded, "No, we're going to talk about me, we're going to talk about him."

Talking about him means going after state treasurer Bob Casey.
Rick Santorum - the first to go negative. KDKA said so.

August 23, 2006

2PJ On The Air!

BOTH Political Junkies will be on the air today!

Tony Norman is filling in for Lynn Cullen and he asked us to fill in with him.

Go listen here.

Bush vs Santorum

I'm sure everyone's seen this by now. Take a look at this. It's Dubya discussing Iraq, 911, and those pesky WMD.

Now remember this is The President talking.
Q Quick follow-up. A lot of the consequences you mentioned for pulling out seem like maybe they never would have been there if we hadn't gone in. How do you square all of that?

THE PRESIDENT: I square it because, imagine a world in which you had Saddam Hussein who had the capacity to make a weapon of mass destruction, who was paying suiciders to kill innocent life, who would -- who had relations with Zarqawi. Imagine what the world would be like with him in power. The idea is to try to help change the Middle East.

Now, look, part of the reason we went into Iraq was -- the main reason we went into Iraq at the time was we thought he had weapons of mass destruction. It turns out he didn't, but he had the capacity to make weapons of mass destruction. But I also talked about the human suffering in Iraq, and I also talked the need to advance a freedom agenda. And so my question -- my answer to your question is, is that, imagine a world in which Saddam Hussein was there, stirring up even more trouble in a part of the world that had so much resentment and so much hatred that people came and killed 3,000 of our citizens.

You know, I've heard this theory about everything was just fine until we arrived, and kind of "we're going to stir up the hornet's nest" theory. It just doesn't hold water, as far as I'm concerned. The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East.

Q What did Iraq have to do with that?

THE PRESIDENT: What did Iraq have to do with what?

Q The attack on the World Trade Center?

THE PRESIDENT: Nothing, except for it's part of -- and nobody has ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack. Iraq was a -- the lesson of September the 11th is, take threats before they fully materialize, Ken. Nobody has ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq. [emphasis added]
I want to make sure everyone's on the same page here. The President of the United States, the "leader" of the free world, and the man who sits atop probably the largest intelligence community in history is quoted as saying these things:
  • there were no WMD in Iraq when "we went into Iraq" and
  • Iraq had "nothing" do to with 911.
I do want to point everyone's attention to that last part:
Nobody has ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq.
Notice what he did there. Interesting, isn't it? He changed the idea from "Iraq's connected to 911" to "Iraq ordered the attack" which is something very different.

I guess he's hoping that since the latter is true (no one in his administration said that Iraq ordered the attack), people will believe that his administration didn't try to make the case for the former.

No dice, pal. Take a look at this. It's from the Christian Science Monitor in 2003.
In his prime-time press conference last week, which focused almost solely on Iraq, President Bush mentioned Sept. 11 eight times. He referred to Saddam Hussein many more times than that, often in the same breath with Sept. 11.

Bush never pinned blame for the attacks directly on the Iraqi president. Still, the overall effect was to reinforce an impression that persists among much of the American public: that the Iraqi dictator did play a direct role in the attacks.[emphasis added]
But better yet, take a look at this. It's our good old friend Senator Santorum. The same day that Bush says that Iraq had no WMD and no connection to 911, we find Lil Ricky saying, well precisely the opposite.

The Rick part of the clip is from Monday's appearance on Hardball. Take a minute to watch how Rick dances. Maybe he's still got the Cleveland-style polkas running through his head.

Chris Matthews gives the Senator a going-over. Quoting at him the President's words about no connection between 911 and Iraq and then quoting at him what the Vice President said:
more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and Al Qaida that stretched back through most of the decade of the ‘90s.

With respect to 9/11, of course you‘ve had the story that‘s been public out there, the Czechs alleged that Mohammed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack.
To which Ricky says:
Well, I don‘t think Vice President Cheney is saying there‘s a connection. He‘s saying there was a meeting. We don‘t know whether there‘s a connection or not.
But his President just said no connection, right? Or am I missing something? Rick goes on:
Well, because we‘re asked the question all the time, as I‘m asked the question all the time, was there any relationship? And I think the vice president is right that we‘re finding. And as you know, there‘s these Iraqi document dump that‘s going on that we have 48,000 cases of boxes full of documents from the Iraq regime, the former regime, and a lot of the documents are indicating there certainly was relationships between Iraqi intelligence and military officials and terrorist groups like Al Qaida.

I don‘t think the administration has come forward and said or anyone has come forward and said there is a direct link. But to suggest there was no relationship is inaccurate.
Take a look at Ricky's rhetorical slither.
...there certainly was relationships between Iraqi intelligence and military officials and terrorist groups like Al Qaida.
Our boy changed the subject on us, didn't he? We were talking about al-Qaeda and now he's talking about groups like al-Qaeda. But look again at that last paragraph.
But to suggest there was no relationship is inaccurate.
I'll write it again. His President just said that Iraq had no connection to 911 - yet Rick says otherwise.

And then there's this little gem from our Ricky:
...and that having a major military power like Iraq did, which had chemical weapons, which we have now found...
One last time. Bush said Iraq had NO WMD when "when we went in."

Who's telling the truth and who's lying?

Rick even slithers through the "ordered the attack" loophole that Bush opened:
Order the attack. That‘s the operative word: Ordered the attack. What Vice President Cheney‘s just suggested was they were meeting. I don‘t think he suggested in his comment that Saddam ordered the attack.

What I think we‘ve seen from the documents that have been released and the evidence that‘s been uncovered is that Saddam supported with training camps and training terrorists, including Al Qaida terrorists, that there was a relationship.
And again he asserts something his President says didn't exist. After some more back and forth, Chris Matthews unloads the big question on Rick:
Chris MatthewsWas there a connection between Iraq and 9/11? Any connection?

SANTORUM: I don‘t think we know that.
Yes, Rick we do. And the President said just so.

Rick Santorum - He sticks to the lies that even his President has abandoned.

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August 22, 2006

Interesting Find at Hotline

Found this today via dailykos. It begins with a caveat of sorts:
We don't as a rule publish results from Zogby Internet or Rasmussen polls.

And we are generally wary about putting too much stock into one campaign's internal polls. An exception carves out when those polls are openly released and touted -- and when the opposing campaign fails to respond or responds in a way that suggests their internal snapshot looks much the same.
Can't say I disagree. Then it delivers the goods:
Fresh from the field, the DSCC released a poll conducted by the Berenson Strategy Group showing an 11 point lead by Bob Casey in a three way Pennsylvania Senate race with Sen. Rick Santorum and Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli. In a two-way race absent Romanelli, Casey leads by 14 points.
It includes an explanation for Ricky's recent uptick in the polls:
Newhouse conveniently notes that the campaign "isn't scheduled" to go back in the field until after Labor Day, but pointed that a slew of public polls showed a tightened race after a $5M largely unanswered Santorum television buy.
And the conclusion to the piece?
Is the race closer than it was before? The preponderance of the data, which includes several public polls, reactions from the campaigns and the general effect of television advertisements, suggests that it is. That same evidence suggests that as soon as Casey's television presence matches Santorum's and voters begin to follow the race, the tightening that Santorum is touting and the Democrats say isn't there -- might go away.

Either way, Casey's lead is nothing to sneeze at.

Things we didn't know!

Try as we might, it's impossible to keep up on all the news. Here are some items that slipped our attention but were caught by other local blogs:


- PITTSBURGH CITY SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT MARK ROOSEVELT AMENDS 2006-2007 DRESS CODE (Changes include: Section III, Code 2.5 states that no mother over the age of 35 shall be permitted on school property wearing clothing bought in the junior's section of a department store, or any other purveyor of junior's fashions such as Aeropostale, Wet Seal or Rave. )

And in keeping with this religious vein...

It seems that there actually are atheists in foxholes -- and they are pissed at being constantly told that they don't exist.

American Taliban

By now you may have heard about Mary Lambert a Sunday School teacher who was fired after 54 years because the minister of her church, Rev. Timothy LaBouf, decided to adopt a "literal interpretation" of the Bible and could no longer tolerate a female teaching males.

In the letter of dismissal, LaBouf quoted the first epistle to Timothy: "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent."

Now of course a church is a private, tax free entity and can choose to blatantly discriminate on the basis of gender, race or whatever else floats their boat. The twist comes in this story because LaBouf is one of the all male members of Watertown NY's City Council.

LaBouf has taken great pains to say that his views on women in the workplace only apply within a religious setting, but we wonder if his literal interpretation of the Bible may in the future come into conflict with his official government role.

For example, what if a constituent comes before the Watertown City Council with the following problem:
When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
How shall Councilman LaBouf respond to that?

Or what if a towns person emails him the following quandary:
My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
Or, what if LaBouf has a daughter and desires to sell her into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. Does anyone have any idea in this day and age, what they think would be a fair price for her?

Questions, questions, questions...

If you have any for Rev. Councilman LaBouf, you can visit his blogand ask him yourself:

Some More Flip Flop-ing from Rick Santorum

There's a pair of articles (here and here) on Rick Santorum by Charles Hurt in today's Washington Times.

The Washington Times was Ronald Reagan's favorite newspaper and kos himself has called Charles Hurt a "craptacular partisan hack."

So we know where the articles are coming from.

Seems that our Lil Ricky's got a problem with his conservative base, poor guy. Take a look. Hurt starts out with the regular stuff, Rick's got elected to Congress 16 years ago, he's in a tough campaign - that sort of thing.

Then he tells us of a bit of pork our junior Senator brought back from DC.:
Typical of his campaigning these days was a stop earlier this month at the Pittsburgh Zoo, where he boasted to local reporters about how he'd fetched $500,000 from federal taxpayers to build one of the most luxurious polar-bear exhibits outside Arctic climes.
Then adds Ricky's explanation:
"If the pot of money is there, I'm going to make sure we get a piece of that money," said Mr. Santorum, who defended his record of support for "lean" budgets.
That got someone's gander up.
That's the wrong answer for some of his longtime supporters.

"Where does the federal government get the constitutional right to take $500,000 from people to build a polar-bear exhibit?" asked Charlie Clift, who has supported Mr. Santorum in every past election.
Oops. Mr Fiscal Responsibility might be in a bit of a pickle.
To be sure, conservative Republicans such as Mr. Clift, who lives in Bucks County north of Philadelphia, aren't upset at Mr. Santorum simply because he directed federal funding for the polar-bear exhibit. They say that after 16 years in Washington, he has "lost touch" with the vision of smaller, more responsible federal government that he promised.
The fact that this is in the Washington Times is profoundly important. Someone is sending Lil Ricky a message. But that was just prologue. Here's the real deal.
And while Mr. Casey has not proved himself any more loyal to such beliefs, his campaign is certainly capitalizing on conservative dissatisfaction with Mr. Santorum.

A favorite line in Mr. Casey's stump speech is that Mr. Santorum has steadfastly opposed increases in the federal minimum wage even as he has voted three times to raise his own salary.

It gets worse when Casey staffers dredge up statements that Mr. Santorum made 16 years ago that he would never accept a pay raise, even a cost-of-living adjustment.

The public is fed up with members of Congress having no limits on their ability to increase their salaries," the Associated Press quoted Mr. Santorum saying in 1990.
"And members do not seem willing to voluntarily limit their salaries like I have, vowing never to accept any more salary than what is provided upon taking office."
Something I did not know about Ricky. Now, of course, he sings a different tune. All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others. I guess.
"I believe that members of Congress should, by and large, receive cost-of-living adjustments," he said when asked about Mr. Casey's charges. "If we'd left the salary what it was when I first took office, we'd be getting a third of the value of the dollar than what I got when I came in."
I would think this is officially a "flip-flop."

In the interview, Ricky 'splains himself:
In the 16 years that I have been in office, I think I have voted three times for three cost-of-living adjustments. I don't know too many people who over a 16-year period of time have only asked for three 2-percent cost-of-living adjustments.
Uh, but wait. Take a look at this - Ricky's misleading us. Again.
Given the climate, the Casey campaign was quick to point out Tuesday that Santorum had voted against blocking automatic cost-of-living increases for Congress three times since 2001.
Uh, Rick? You voted to raise your own salary three times in five years, not three times in sixteen. I don't know too many people who can confuse "5" with "16."

Rick Santorum - Voted for his own pay raise before he voted against it.

August 21, 2006

Rick Santorum (no surprise here) Misleads AGAIN

On Fred Honsberger's radio program today, Senator Rick Santorum was given some free airtime (under the ever friendly, if now somewhat concerned, questioning of The Honzman) to rant about a few things; the war in Iraq, the Green Party candidate, and Bob Casey's "reticence" to even talk about a debate.

He said that he wants 10 debates with Bob Casey - and complained that he can't even get a response from the Casey campaign. He said they'd sent certified/registered mail that said "please talk to us," but it did no good. The only thing he said that Casey'd agreed to was a talk show on the Sunday before Labor Day - and that was 25 minutes at the most.

"I've never seen a candidate who's so reticent." Rick said dolefully. He added later, "It's a sad commentary."

To hear it from Rick, the Casey Camp has refused any and all discussion on the matter.

To hear it from Rick, you'd think that the Casey Camp has refused - completely and utterly - all but one debate.

To hear it from Rick, you'd think he was acting out a scene from Fatal Attraction:
"Well, what am I supposed to do? You won't answer my calls...I'm not gonna be ignored!"
All I can say is that Bob Casey better watch the family rabbit very very carefully.

However, it shouldn't be a shock to anyone that Rick Santorum was not telling the whole story - not even half the whole story.

Turns out that things out here in reality are quiet different.

Today, after Ricky sullied up Fred's air, the Casey Campaign issued a press release that said they'd already accepted four debate invitations:
  • KDKA-TV/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in Pittsburgh
  • WPVI-TV/League of Women Voters in Philadelphia
  • KYW Newsradio (with possible simulcast with KDKA radio)
  • NBC’s Meet the Press with Tim Russert
The press release will probably be posted at - when it is, I'll link it here.

And a campaign source informs me they've refused to engage in Ricky's "silly" debate about debates - they're dealing with the debate sponsors instead and they are considering additional debate invitations.

Ah, Lil Ricky didn't say any of that that, did he?

One thing I just noticed. Rick Santorum never got around to saying (unlike the Casey press release) the debates he had agreed to. Has Rick posted this information anywhere? I wasn't able to find it. Saying, "I want 10 debates." really isn't enough.

So take a look at what that does - Ricky ignores the invitations that the Casey Campaign has accepted and paints Casey as ducking the debates, when it's really not true, is it?

Update: Hey, take a look at this. It's from a little more than a month ago. Looks like this "debate" story is not new.
Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum’s campaign manager again accused Democratic state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. of refusing to debate the senator.

Again, Mr. Casey’s spokesman denied it.
This was July 16.
Today’s bottom line: One debate appears set, another is almost set and talks on at least three others are well under way.
See that? One appears set. Ricky didn't say that.
No strategy, said Larry Smar, Mr. Casey’s campaign spokesman. Mr. Casey wants to debate, his campaign is actively negotiating debate dates, and he has accepted at least two debates that the Santorum campaign declined. One was proposed by KYW Radio in Philadelphia.
Whah? Santorum declined a debate that Casey proposed? Lil Ricky didn't say that either!

Finally there's something else Ricky failed to inform us:
Jackie Sallade, debates coordinator for the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, said the league and the campaigns are actively negotiating debates in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Harrisburg in late September or October. She said both camps have already tentatively agreed to a Philadelphia debate.
(Many thanks to the Other Political Junkie for her lightning fast google skills).

I'll repeat it as long as necessary. This is the campaign that outright lied about "Casey Operatives" who were "trespassing" in Penn Hills.

Why should we take anything they say at face value?

Rick Santorum - desperate, and it's showing.

Fred Honsberger on those WMD

This afternoon on his KDKA radio program, the supremely well-informed Fred Honsberger faced down a caller who tried to tell him (and those of us listening in) that there were no WMD in Iraq.

I know. I know - silly thing to do, right?

Well, the Honzman marshalled all his rhetorical skills and brought us (yet again) the story of Georges Sada.

Fred Honsberger described Sada "one of Saddam's top generals." He then played a tape of Sada saying that Iraq had WMD.

For Fred Honsberger, that was all that was needed.Well take a look at what the Wikipedia has to say about Georges:
He officially retired in 1986 as a 2-star general, but was called back to active service for the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. He claims that he was discharged and imprisoned on February 5, 1991, for refusing to execute POWs and has not been employed in any official capacity in Iraq since then. [emphasis added]
Please note that that was 15 years ago - 12 years or so before the war began.

Something the supremely well-informed Fred Honsberger failed to tell us.

I leave you to draw your own conclusions about Fred Honsberger's veracity.

2 Poliical Junkies ON THE AIR

One of our favorite local radio personalities, Lynn Cullen, is taking some time off this week and so her producers went out looking for fill-ins.

They called on Tony Norman and Tony Norman called on the 2 Political Junkies.

All of us will be ON THE AIR on Wednesday morning, 9 to 12 on Newstalk 1360.

The station does stream over the internet (see the link at Lynn's name above) so fear not, if you don't have an AM radio or if you're out of the area or if your AM radio doesn't pick up 1360 because you work in a bank vault, you can still hear us.

Some Santorum History

An astute reader (who obviously saves EVERYTHING) sent me a Santorum clipping. It's from Philadelphia Magazine, (December, 1995). Take a look.

The part I'm interested in is way down the bottom of that paragraph. I'll type it out so the search engines can see it:
At a meeting at Indiana University of Pennsylvania that year (1979), Santorum led a fellow officer into the student union and began to ask him leading questions about what he thought of other members of the group. He had his hands stuffed into his pockets. When the fellow asked Santorum to take his hands out of his pants, he saw he was holding a small tape recorder, which was turned on. "I have a bad memory, and it's hard to remember everything we talk about," was Satorum's excuse. Today, Santorum says he doesn't remember the incident.
So as a senior in college and as head of the Pennsylvania College Republicans, Rick Santorum was tape recording his private conversations - conversations ostensibly to dig up dirt about (maybe, presumably, possibly) his political opponents? Don't tell me he was digging up dirt about his friends. Was that even legal back then?

Also of interest is Rick's lack of respect for rules while he was a lad and head of the College Republicans.
  • [Santorum] abandonded his support of a female friend from Penn State to allow another group of kids to nominate another candidate from the floor (in violation of College Republican rules)
  • [Santorum] also let a crony who wasn't even enrolled full time in classes to run for president (a second violation of the rules)
Wow a republican president who has no respect for rules or decorum - no wonder there was once much buzz about Lil Ricky running for the White House!

I'm still tracking down other aspects of this story - but if anyone has any further information, please feel free to e-mail it in.

Rick Santorum - a life time of political dirty tricks

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"When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts"

HBO : Acts I and II premiere tonight, August 21 at 9pm (ET/PT),
followed by Acts III and IV on Tuesday, August 22 at 9pm.
All four acts will be seen Tuesday, Aug. 29 (8:00 p.m. -midnight),
the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

As the Bush/Rove Team try to ratchet up the level of fear before the November 2006 election by once again presenting the Republicans as the only hope to protect the American public from TERROR, I'm betting that they'd rather we'd all just concentrate on the fifth anniversary of September 11th and skip over the upcoming August 29th one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

But as the New York Times review of Spike Lee's documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts reminds us:
Calvin Mackie, a professor of mechanical engineering at Tulane University in New Orleans, notes in the film that the damage of 9/11 was confined to 16 square acres of Manhattan, while the devastation wrought by Katrina encompassed 90,000 square miles. At the time of the filming, which took place as recently as June, only 70 percent of the debris had been removed from the city, he says, and that 70 percent amounted to 25 times as much as was carried away after the collapse of the World Trade Center.
While the terror in 9/11 came from those outside this country who wished us harm, the terror of Katrina came from the incompetence and neglect of those who occupied the top positions in the federal government -- the people who local and state authorities mistakenly believed they could rely upon when their own resources were overwhelmed.

The federal government's near total lack of action in the first few days after Katrina played out live on the nation's TV screens and provided, perhaps, the first real crack in the public's confidence in the Bush Administration's abilities.

After one year, how has this administration acquited itself? A recent AP article reveals that the promise made by President Bush to "do what it takes" to rebuild the broken lives and cities devastated by Katrina has not been kept. According to that article:

- EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE: A June report by the Government Accountability Office concluded that FEMA wasted between $600 million and $1.4 billion on "improper and potentially fraudulent individual assistance payments."

- CLEANUP: The job still isn't done. More than 100 million cubic yards of debris have been cleared from the region affected by Katrina. So far the government has spent $3.6 billion, a figure that might have been considerably smaller had the contracts for debris removal been subject to competitive bidding.

- REBUILDING: Despite Bush's Jackson Square promise to "undertake a close partnership with the states of Louisiana and Mississippi, the city of New Orleans and other Gulf Coast cities," state and local officials had a hard time reaching a deal for federal aid to help residents rebuild their ruined homes.

- LEVEES: The federal government hasn't broken any promises with regard to flood protection — mostly because it has assiduously avoided making any.

- POVERTY: Bush offered three proposals in Jackson Square to help combat poverty around the Gulf Coast region. Two of them never went anywhere — the creation of "worker recovery accounts" that would help evacuees find work by paying for school, job training or child care while they looked for employment, and an Urban Homesteading Act that would give poor people building sites for new homes that they would either finance themselves or obtain through programs such as Habitat for Humanity.
You can rest assured that the last thing Republicans want is for the public to be reminded of one of Bush's biggest failures only two scant months before an election which already promises to be a referendum on their top elected official. As their candidates scurry to disassociate from their party's standard bearer you can best believe that they hope that the public will be tuning into the latest distraction of JonBenet Ramsey instead of what the Washington Post describes as a documentary that makes its point "as relentlessly as a prosecutor in a court of law."

According to the WAPO, "Lee is clearly out to make an overwhelming case about government ineptitude, carelessness and racism, but the film is polemical in essence without being heavy-handed," and "The usual suspects are allowed to simply hang themselves. And so we hear from President Bush, Michael 'You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie!'"

But, the WAPO review also makes clear that "ordinary people carry the narrative," and that "It is the anger that cuts deepest -- a righteous, laser-focused anger born of betrayal, laced with sadness, a rumbling anger that pumps like blood through the veins of Spike Lee's masterly Katrina documentary..."

It's this anger that Republicans fear most. The anger at the incompetence, stupidity and bullheadedness over not only Katrina, but Iraq, immigration, and record gas prices at a time of record wage stagnation. And, they might want to watch how many times they refer to 9/11 while Osama bin Laden still enjoys his freedom five years down the road.

But back to Spike Lee's new joint. I'm a huge fan of a lot of Spike's work -- my one real criticism being that he often doesn't seem to know how to end some of his films. But, Spike Lee reaches a lot higher than most filmmakers dare to go. And after one year, the story of Katrina is not yet over. As one survivor says about the Katrina Diaspora:

"With the evacuation scattering my family all over the United States," Montanna says quietly, "I felt like it was an ancient memory, as if we had been up on the auction block."

Families torn apart, still torn by pain.


HBO online has a resources page for this documentary with links where you can make still needed donations:

Network for Good
An extensive list of resources to help Hurricane Katrina victims rebuild.

Jazz Foundation of America
Helping New Orleans musicians in need.

Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)
The nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, working together for social justice and stronger communities.

Family Pride Coalition
Tulane students working to restore New Orleans.

Red Cross

Salvation Army

August 18, 2006

Fist FIght over Petitions

The Other Political Junkie posted the news break earlier today about the fist fight that broke out today in Harrisburg. From the AP:
A scuffle broke out Friday between campaign volunteers counting signatures to determine whether the Green Party's candidate for U.S. Senate can appear on the November ballot.
Scuffle, fight. You say toMAYto, I say toMAHto.
Democratic volunteer Alex Hartzler said a Green Party volunteer elbowed a Democratic volunteer, and that another Green Party volunteer threw a punch at a court official, who had moved in to break it up.

Green Party volunteer Charles Sherrouse said the court official was the first to become physical, grabbing another Green Party volunteer to break up the argument. The dispute ended in the hallway outside when Sherrouse and others separated the official and the volunteer, Sherrouse said.

The Green Party is being aided by volunteers who signed in from Santorum's campaign, as well as people who were involved with the anti-incumbent group PACleanSweep. The signature counters have been arguing all week, although the fight on Friday was the first physical altercation, witnesses said.
A source close to the challenges informed me that the scuffle began because Santorum's Greens continued to dispute some challenges despite a court ruling earlier in the week to the contrary. An attorney for the Democrats told them the issue had already been settled and that's when all heck broke loose.

But lost in all the fisticuffs are the numbers. And things seem to be getting rather grim for Santorum's Greens.

In a press release today, the Casey Campaign claimed that of the 70,000 challenges made, 9,000 have been reviewed so far. And of those 9,000 challenges, 60% have been ruled valid. That means assuming I am correctly understanding the press release and assuming my math is just as correct, they've found 5,400 invalid signatures so far. 17% of those 9,000 are still under review.

Santorum's Greens say they submitted around 90,000 signatures. The Casey camp puts it at about 80,000. According to The Post-Gazette:
To get on the ballot this year, all third party and independent candidates were required to collect 67,070 valid signatures on their petitions.
First let's take the widest margin. If Santorum's Greens did indeed submit 90,000 and only 67,000 of them need to be valid, that leaves room for no more than 23,000 invalid signatures. And as I have already written, of the first 9,000 challenged, 5,400 have been ruled invalid.

23,000 minus 5,400 leaves only 17,600. This means that if more than 17,600 signatures are ruled invalid, Romanelli's goose is cooked.

But that's 17,600 out of about the remaining 81,000. That's only 21% of the total.

What do you think the chances of election officials ruling that in one section of petitions, the rate of invalid signatures is a whopping 60%, but in the rest it's a far weaker 21%?

The numbers look even worse if Santorum's Greens submitted only 80,000 signatures. If that is indeed the case, then only 7,600 more invalid signatures need to be found. And 7,600 out of 71,000 is little more than 10%.

Again what are the chances that in one chunk, the "invalid signature" rate is 60% while it's 10% everywhere else?

No wonder tensions are high.

Santorum's followers paid $100,000 for this?

UPDATE: Tom Barnes has an article in the P-G on this. Some clarifications are in order.
Tension has been growing between Democrats and Green Party members over the validity of the Greens' political petition signatures, and yesterday the rising tempers escalated into a scuffle and shoving match at the state Capitol.

Six Capitol police officers had to be summoned to a room at the Department of State where the two sides were going over thousands of petition signatures the Greens submitted in an effort to get their candidate, Carl Romanelli, onto the ballot for the U.S. Senate race in November.
And a little down the page:
The scuffle followed a war of words that has gone on all week between the Democrats and the Greens. Democrats have filed a challenge with Commonwealth Court over the legitimacy of 69,000 of the 93,000 petition signatures Mr. Romanelli has turned in.
So there were 69,000 challenges on 93,000 signatures.

Ok so let's run the numbers again. If the Democrats are challenging 69,000 of the 93,000 signatures, I guess that means the 24,000 they're NOT challenging must be valid. If all that's the case, then Santorum's Greens need at least 43,000 (or a "success rate" of 62% of that 69,000) more valid signatures to get Romanelli on the ballot.

But if it's also the case that 60% of the first 9,000 signatures challenged have already been ruled invalid, as the Democrats say, then Santorum's Greens will have to find those 43,000 valid signatures in the remaining 60,000 (their "success rate" now jumps to about 73%).

Or look at it the other way. Santorum's Greens need 67,000 valid signatures out of the 93,000 submitted. So if the Democrats find more than 26,000 invalid signatures, the game's simply over. They say they've already found 5,400 from the first 9,000 challenged.

So the Democrats only need to find 20,600 more invalid signatures out of the remaining 60,000 (a much lower "success rate" of 33%).

If their success rate of 60% stands, they'll find 36,000 more invalid signatures for a total of about 41,000 - or 15,000 more than they'd need.

Heck, if $100, 000 of mine were riding on numbers like that, I might be a tad testy, too!

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