Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wonderful Post

It's been more than 24 hours and things are beginning to settle down after the debates. And they should..

Final Words on the "Pile On"

Go read Jane and newly-converted Democrat John Cole. That's all. Oh, except for John Amato of Crooks and Liars who, while watching the debate with Jane last night, said to her of Russert, "“Why doesn’t he just ask her if she killed Vince Foster?” This nonsense that Hillary did not do well in the debate, contradicted herself, flip-flopped or whatever is media hype and desperate, wishful thinking by supporters of [...]

Late Night Links

Just a collection of links I found interesting, browsing through Bloglines while watching TV tonight.  Don't forget, if you're reading this on the old site, we will likely be moving to shortly. Let us know of any issues!

Army Has Record Low Level of Recruits

The Army began its recruiting year Oct. 1 with fewer signed up for basic training than in any year since it became an all-volunteer service in 1973, a top general said Wednesday [...]

Clinton, Giuliani Still Ahead Nationally

For what they're worth, there are three new national polls of the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries out today [..]

The right wingers are going for the jugular, filing FEC complaints against Clinton...

FEC Complaint Update

The word began filitering out into the internet shortly after Matt and I posted the entry. The notarised complaint is now on its way to the FEC, and so we'll soon see some action - from what I understand, the [...]

So glad to have John Cole over on our side!

Somewhere, Paris Hilton Is Kicking Herself

And saying “Why the hell didn’t I think of that”: An IDF soldier fled an interrogation room by exposing her breasts to a stunned officer. The soldier was interrogated at the Biranit army base on the northern border after she refused to undergo a drugs test. A short while after her questioning began the soldier was seen [...]

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Thompson's Troubles

Things just aren't going well for Fred Thompson.  He's been coming up with some really silly answers for reporters.  And, now this:
It's been a rough couple of months for Fred Thompson when it comes to public policy and reality. After being away from politics for a few years, it stands to reason he'd be a little rusty, but he's had time to clear the cobwebs, read some white papers, and listen to some policy briefings. At last [...]

Moving Time

I'm thinking that it's about time for a change.  I'm most likely bouncing over to Wordpress in the near future. It just seems a bit more stable and offers some nice touches that Blogger doesn't have.  Wordpress even let me import every post from over here. I'll likely cross-post everything to both sites through the end of the week, then make the move permanent.  Unless, of course, enough regular readers don't like the new look and new site.  So, go ahead, check it out. And, yes, the picture in the banner is from just down the street from our home.  I'll be adding functionality as we go.  For you, the upside might be that the ads must disappear.  Not that I had all that many and not that they ever produced a payout. I'd still love to see THAT happen, but it doesn't seem to be in the immediate future.  If you missed the link above, let's spell it out for you right here:

The Verdict is In

And, it's the correct thing to do.  These people are out of control...

Jury awards father $2.9M in funeral case

A grieving father won a $2.9 million verdict Wednesday against a fundamentalist Kansas church that pickets military funerals out of a belief that the war in Iraq is a punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality. Albert Snyder of York, Pa., sued [...]

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Tax News

This is a positive development!  The AMT was poised to nail a bunch of additional taxpayers.

Tax Writers Tell IRS to Count on Enactment of AMT ‘Patch’

Congressional tax writers from both parties and both chambers have told the Internal Revenue Service – and about 20 million taxpayers – not to worry about any new hit from the alternative minimum tax this year [...]

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Tough Talk. Great Suggestion.

Will the Administration listen?

Private Note to Bush from Hagel Calls For Direct, Unconditional, Comprehensive Talks with Iran

I have just secured a private letter -- not yet publicly released -- from Senator Chuck Hagel to President Bush and copied to Condoleezza Rice, Robert Gates, and Stephen Hadley. I should add that I did not receive this letter from Senator Hagel but from other sources. The letter urges the President to pursue "direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks with the Government of Iran." In the letter, [...]

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Can Ya Blame 'Em?

Nope. Not one little bit.  I'd be po'd, too.

Angry US Diplomats On Forced Iraq Posts: It's A "Potential Death Sentence"

Several hundred U.S. diplomats vented anger and frustration Wednesday about the State Department's decision to force foreign service officers to take jobs in Iraq, with some likening it to a "potential death sentence." In a contentious hour-long "town hall meeting" called to explain the step, these workers peppered the official who signed the order with often hostile complaints about [...]

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The Economy

I have a really difficult time understanding our economy. On one hand, I woke up this morning to a business person on MSNBC explaining how cable companies are noting that customers are dropping premium services, trying to trim their bills as far as possible.  Yup.  Me, too. Then, catching up with some bloglines over lunch,  I ran into the economic info that has bloggers on the Right just jumping up and down.  As for me, I'm wondering just where these numbers really come from...

“U.S. Economy: Growth Unexpectedly Accelerated”

More bad news for John Edwards, Economic growth in the U.S. unexpectedly accelerated in the third quarter as increases in exports, consumer spending and business investment made up for another plunge in home construction. Gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 3.9 percent, the most in more than a [...]

Hmmm. The Fed must not be convinced that the numbers will continue...

Fed Cuts Rates By Quarter Point

The Federal Reserve, confronted with surging oil prices and a slumping housing market, on Wednesday cut a key interest rate by a quarter-point, the second rate reduction this year. The central bank lowered the federal funds rate to [...]

Indeed, analyzing the big picture brings one frightening forecast:

Today's Housing Bubble Post - The Fuse Is Now Lit

Oh, by the way,

NEW YORK (AP) Gold has traded above $800 for the first time since 1980.

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It's Just A Privacy Issue

Making and breaking the rules.  Here we go again.

White House withholds 600 pages of Abramoff docs.

Today, House Oversight Committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) wrote to White House Counsel Fred Fielding and requested that the administration hand over more than 600 pages of documents relating to the White House’s activities with fallen lobbyist Jack Abramoff. From Waxman’s letter: "Despite the refusal of key witnesses to provide testimony, the Committee has [...]

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The Gap Widens

However, these new numbers are from BEFORE last night's debate..

Poll: Clinton widens lead on Obama

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has significantly widened her lead over Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination in the wake of a dispute over handling foreign policy, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds. The survey, taken Friday through Sunday, puts Clinton at 48% — up 8 percentage points from three weeks ago — and Obama at 26%, down 2 points. Among Democrats and independents who [...]

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Scandal du Jour

It's not quite a daily occurence, but the stories sure do seem to be hitting fast and furious..

Yet another Republican falls victim to yet another gay sex scandal

Given the Republican sex scandals of 2006, it seemed reasonable to assume 2007 would be a little quieter. No such luck. Examples like these keep popping up. The headline is a real attention-grabber: “Cross-dressing state lawmaker blackmailed following late night tryst.” State Representative Richard Curtis says he’s not gay, but police reports and court records indicate [...]

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Goodbye, So Long

Farewell.  Another one bites the dust...

Rats, Ship, Etc.

Karen Hughes edition: Karen Hughes, who led efforts to improve the U.S. image abroad and was one of President Bush’s last remaining advisers from the close circle of Texas aides, will leave the government at the end of the year. Hughes told The Associated Press that she plans to quit her job as undersecretary of state and [...]

Hey, did you realize that a lot of conservative pundits didn't think much of Hughes?  Sure 'nuff.  Michelle Malkin links to a multitude of comments:

Goodbye, Karen Hughes

And, if the right didn't like her for THOSE reasons, is this what's around the corner?

Does Karen Hughes Resignation Signal A Strike On Iran?

Tea leave reading is clearly not an exacting science…but if I were asked to interpret the announced resignation of longtime Bush crony Karen Hughes, I would conclude that it signals the likelihood that stealth president Dick Cheney has succeeded in convincing his presidential placeholder, George W. Bush, to launch a strike on Iran prior to [...]

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A Blatant Lie

How can they get away with it, day after day, with no repercussions? It's a topic, obviously chosen because it would push some emotional buttons, particularly when you twist the story all out of proportion.  It really does make you feel for the folks who live and die by Fox News; folks who honestly trust them to deliver the truth.

Fox & Friends, Doocy Lies About Flag Folding Change

Today on Fox and Friends they were in an uproar about something changing in the U.S. flag folding for burial ceremonies. Of course they had Col. David Hunt (Ret), a very outspoken, favorite guest to talk about it. Hunt was, of course, having a hissy fit. They said they were upset about the 11th statement being taken out which coincides with the 11th fold. But Doocy actually said something at the top of the second hour that was an out and out lie. He said the government was taking the word God out of the document when it still remains [...]

As long as we're ganging up on Fox News, let's join Media Matters for another solid punch:

Kondracke: Waterboarding "doesn't result in any lasting damage"

During the "All-Star" panel segment of the October 29 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Roll Call executive editor Morton M. Kondracke, referring to the interrogation technique known as waterboarding, stated, "I'm sure it feels like torture, you know, it doesn't result in any lasting damage, but it feels like torture." However, as Media Matters for America has noted, Dr. Allen S. Keller, M.D., director of the Bellevue Hospital Center/New York University Program for Survivors of Torture, wrote in Senate testimony about the "long-term health consequences" of waterboarding. In written testimony dated [...]

Might I suggest Mr. Hume invite this gentleman on his program? It might make it, for a brief moment, "fair and balanced."

Former Navy SEAL Instructor Offers Another Waterboarding Primer for Mukasey

So Michael Mukasey's new line is that waterboarding may be "repugnant," but he's not sure if the Spanish-Inquisition-era torture technique is illegal. Or, to put it another way, he can't say for sure if the practice is illegal until he's confirmed as attorney general. Mukasey should listen to longtime counterterrorism expert Malcolm Nance. Nance, a veteran of counterterrorism operations in Iraq, has written a moving post for the counterinsurgency blog Small Wars Journal explaining, in more detail than anyone else has in public, what exactly waterboarding is. And Nance knows what he's talking about. As an instructor at [...]

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Selective Outrage

That's really what it seems to boil down to. This Scott Beauchamp story has bothered me from the beginning, with neither side being able to build a rock solid case.  However, this blogger says that's not the most important point out of it all..

Scott Beauchamp and the Outrage of the Right

I talked to a veteran soldier recently, and he confirmed for me that the following story is true: "A soldier told one of the prisoners to jump off the bridge to the rocks 50 feet below. The prisoner refused, so the soldier shot him and kicked the body off the bridge. Then the soldier ordered the other prisoner to jump, and he did. This incident was our first interchange with a unit that had been under attack for some time. Later that day we received word from that outfit to [...]

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The Debate

I didn't watch it, having survived "Hardball" and "Countdown", I needed something non-political while I worked on last night's posts.  So, a day later, the bloggers are trying to sift through the performances.  From what I picked up with an ear to the TV early this morning and from skimming through bloglines tonight, Hillary Clinton came up short.  Here's a quick collection of reviews:

Clinton On The Ropes

One thing that strikes me about these debates: the Democrats are much more boring than the Republicans. I'm not entirely sure why. My hunch is that the Democrats actually think they may need to govern the country, and the Republicans [...]

Observations on the Debate

Here is what I learned in the debate, and spin appearances after the debate, about each of the candidates that I didn't know before: Chris Dodd is for decriminalizing bong-hits and John Edwards thinks that sends the wrong message to children. Edwards is a wimp on this issue, as were several others that raised their hands as opposing the decriminalization of bong-hits. Bill Richardson is running for vice-president (which is why he leaped to defend Hillary Clinton from a tag-team led by Edwards, Obama, and Dodd). Dennis Kucinich saw something [...]

Barack Obama's very, very, very bad week didn't get any better last night and other debate postmortem

The media have been treating the Democratic presidential race as a two-person game for practically the last six months. Granted, a fight to the [political] death between a serious woman candidate and a serious black candidate, particularly when played against a sea of Gray White Saber-Rattlers on the Republican side, makes a more compelling story than do the white guys in the Democratic race. But as Barack Obama's peculiar flavor of [...]

I watch the debates, so you don’t have to

Not since the first debate for the Democratic presidential candidates, way back in April, has there actually been some anticipation about what might happen. Last night, in Philadelphia, it was obvious that Hillary Clinton’s rivals would be more aggressive towards the front-runner, but how much? Who’d benefit? Would it make a difference? We gained some insights [...]

Over at Newsweek, Richard Wolfe boils it all down to this:

A Drop of Blood in the Water

Watch out, Hillary: The feeding frenzy has just begun [...]


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With An Eye On The Weekend

But, much to do before then, since it's only Wednesday.  A couple of quick reminders - Sunday is the beginning of Daylight Savings Time.  Clocks go back an hour at bedtime Saturday night.  I'm noting that today, mostly as a mental reminder to myself, since I really wanted to do it LAST weekend!  Also, let me point out a couple of interesting things over in the vertical panel on the right side of this blog. The Graboid software continues to impress me.  They still have a free level. If you're into movies or TV, check it out.  And the Blogrush widget is much more useful now that they've cleaned up their member list.  It's a good way to find other bloggers who write about similar topics. 

With that out of the way, a quick Halloween note.  It's likely too late for most of you, but it really does confirm the absolute lunacy of the attempts to cut back on staffing and funding for the safety inspection of things we come in contact with on a daily basis.

"100 times the US standard on lead in paint " in Halloween costume

It doesn't even need a quote.  The headline says it all.  Just take a moment to read it and shake your head in disbelief. And, then, you'll understand why this news conference was necessary.

Pelosi: We Must Do More to Protect Our Children From Unsafe Toys

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Representatives Bobby Rush, Rosa DeLauro, Bart Stupak, and Diana DeGette and consumer advocate Donald Mays held a news conference in the Capitol yesterday afternoon on Democratic efforts to promote consumer product and toy safety [...]

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Here Come The Bloggers

They're smelling blood.  Going after Huckabee. Actually, it's just good reporting.

Huckabee Is Lying

Huckabee is lying. He was deeply involved in the release of Wayne Dumond, the serial rapist who, upon his release, raped and murdered at least one woman. And the mainstream press - by refusing to do even the most basic investigation into the Huckabee case - is colluding with Huckabee in his lies. By the press, we're not talking [...]

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Robert Goulet Dies

What a great voice. Silenced.  Robert Goulet was waiting for a  lung transplant when he died.  Don't know how he sang? Take a listen.


West Memphis 3: Update

The Arkansas Times blog has updated information on the latest West Memphis 3 developments.  This story is far from over. Earlier posts are here...

WM3: Plot thickens

No DNA from the convicted West Memphis Three was found in evidence in the murder case. But now we know that DNA from the stepfather from one of three slain children WAS found at the scene. His knives and whreabouts have made news previously. Add to this today Mara Leveritt's report of his previous arrest on a sexual assault charge. The folks in Northeast Arkansas, [...]

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Doing The Impossible

And proving the car experts wrong. There is hope for the future!

Doing what Detroit says is impossible

This story is so incredible, I had to do additional research to confirm that it was indeed true. It centers on Kansas City auto mechanic and inventor Johnathan Goodwin. "Two years ago, Goodwin got a rare chance to show off his tricks to some of the car industry's most prominent engineers. He tells me the story: [...]

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Kucinich's Candor

This'll earn him brownie points from some folks. 

Kucinich Doubts Bush's Mental Sanity

Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich questioned President Bush's mental health in light of comments he made about a nuclear Iran precipitating World War III. "I seriously believe we have to start asking questions about his mental health," Kucinich, an Ohio congressman, said in an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer's editorial board on Tuesday. "There's something wrong. He [...]

By the way, the Kucinich camp says he's not as far back in the pack as you might think...

Kucinich Rides Wave of Improving Poll Results Into Presidential Debate

Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich goes into tonight's Democratic Presidential debate riding a wave of positive polling results that put him in fourth place nationally, second in a major California straw poll, and leading among declared Democrats in an online survey sponsored by [...]

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We ARE Somebody

Arkansans really are important, politically!

Arkansas Swinging Back To Blue

Mike Huckabee likes to say he's a lonely Republican voice back home in Arkansas, and while the state may send two Democratic senators to Washington and 3 out of 4 of its congressional seats may be held by Democrats, since Clinton, Arkansas sure has acted like a red state at the presidential level. In 2000, Bush won by 6% and then in 2004 he won by 9%. But all that could change in 2008. The new Arkansas Poll (754 adults, 10/07, MOE 3.5%) just released indicates the state may be shifting back to a healthy shade of blue. For one thing, there's clearly [...]

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Scary Talk

And not just because it's Halloween.  Because it's real life. Our lives and those of others half way around the world.

Norman Podhoretz: Anyone Who Doesn’t Want To ‘Bomb Iran’ Is Appeasing ‘Hitler’

On the PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer last night, Commentary Magazine editor-at-large Norman Podhoretz, who is also a foreign policy adviser to Rudy Giuliani, repeated his claim that there is “only one terrible choice” left with Iran, which is to “bomb” their “facilities” and “retard” their nuclear program. When Newsweek’s Fareed Zackaria asserted that deterrance [...]

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Good For Her

And all the others who feel the same.

Hillary Will Vote Against Mukasey

From the AP: "We cannot send a signal that the next attorney general in any way condones torture or believes that the president is unconstrained by law," said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. The Democratic front-runner said Mukasey [...]


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It's The Economy


A One-Two Punch

Pow! U.S. home prices fell nationwide in August for the eighth consecutive month, offering little hope of a turnaround anytime soon, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index released Tuesday. Things could get worse, said Yale economist Robert Shiller, who helped create [...]

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Sleep Well Over There

Everything is under control...

‘The Most Dangerous Dam in the World’

It’s a genuine challenge to come up with adjectives, which haven’t been used thousands of times before, to describe the multitude of fiascos in Iraq. They each appear more painful than the last. Consider, for example, the story of the Mosul Dam. The largest dam in Iraq is in serious danger of an imminent collapse that [...]

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I Know It's Last Minute

But tonight's debate really is quite important.  You might want to watch at least a bit of it.

Is Tonight’s MSNBC Democratic Debate High Noon For Barack Obama?

With polls now showing that in hard-nosed political terms the early stories about Senator Barack Obama being a political “rock star” perhaps meant a rock star in 2007 who was popular in the 1950s, the Illinois Senator heads into what some analysts now contend is a make-or-break debate. Can he recapture and transmit that charisma that [...]

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Murtha Profiled

And it's not a complimentary picture.

Today's Must Read

With Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), what you see is what you get. He's the man who opined to The New York Times that "deal making is what Congress is all about" and called the Democrats' ethics reform bill "total crap." And in today's profile in The Wall Street Journal, he's quoted telling an attendee at a fundraiser in Johnstown, his hometown, that bringing federal dollars there "is the [...]

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The Housing Crisis

An upclose perspective..

Confessions of a Mortage Broker: One Perspective on the Impending Housing Meltdown

As home prices continue to slide and we are in the midst of record foreclosures, as Pamela noted here a few days ago, I wanted to share with readers my perspective of the impending housing meltdown. I first began selling mortgages in 1993. At that time the riskiest mortgage available was a loan to persons in a [...]

The broader picture has an even more negative tint..

Quotes of the Day

Housing prices are spiraling downward and consumer confidence plunged four points in September. But that's dry and analytical. For an earthier view of what this means, here's a summary from a set of focus groups run by [...]

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Huck on The TV Machine

Former gov Mike Huckabee's gonna pop up on your TV machine a whole bunch this week, according to the fine folks over at The Swamp blog - It's part of the Chicago Tribune operation -

Huckabee's TV sweep week: No 'dead carcass'

Prepare yourselves. It's going to be very hard to avoid Mike Huckabee for a few days. The former Arkansas governor, who may or may not be as conservative as he'd like you to think, according to some critics responding to his growing media profile, is going to be all over television for a while. One reason is it's a fresh media story. An underdog come from behind possibility, which the media loves after covering what's-her-name out front all this time. Another reason is it's a necessity for Huckabee to get on TV because [...]

By the way, he's still in second place in Iowa, but not anywhere else.

Clinton, Romney Lead in all Three Early States

The American Research Group released new surveys of the presidential races in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina [...]


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The Sorry State of Media

If you want a really good example of what's wrong with the current state of big conglomerate media owners, this is it.

Clear Channel is attempting to silence Bruce Springsteen

 (Radio Nowhere) Here we go again. The Dixie Chicks redux! Bruce has the #1 record in all the land called ” Magic,” but Clear Channel has sent out a memo saying: Alas, there’s a hitch: Radio will not play “Magic.” In fact, sources tell me that Clear Channel has sent an edict to its classic rock stations not to play [...]

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Pure class.

Cheney Went Hunting At Club That Hangs Confederate Flag

Nobody got shot, but Vice President Cheney still fired up controversy Monday when he went hunting at a private club that hangs the Confederate flag. A Daily News photographer captured the 3-by-5 foot Dixie flag affixed to a door in the garage of the Clove Valley Gun and Rod Club in upstate Union Vale, N.Y. "It's appalling for [...]

And the explanation is...

City Room: Staff Says Cheney Didn’t See Flag

Aides to Vice President Cheney said he was unaware that a Confederate flag was in plain view on a garage at a hunting club in Dutchess County, N.Y., that Mr. Cheney visited on [...]

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Here's a neat little trick from the blogosphere.  I got it via the Daily Background blog. Hulu is, after my cursory glance, pretty darn impressive.  If they can deliver video of this quality over the net, the future of television is changing.

Exclusive: How to hack up your own Hulu invite

Okay, so NBC and Fox have partered together and made a spin-off called, which has full episodes of dozens of popular past and present shows in an ad-supported streaming-flash format. It’s currently in private beta and specific details are kind of hush hush, but that’s no fun so I’m going to tell you how to [...]

UPDATE: So, even the NEW info doesn't work. They cracked down.  Darn.

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And the lying liars who tell them.  At the top of today's list.....Rudy!  By the way, welcome to Tuesday evening.

The serial exaggerator strikes again

At this point, it appears Rudy Giuliani is just daring the national media. Following up on yesterday’s item, the candidate who can barely go a day without making a wildly misleading exaggeration, has unveiled a new radio ad with a truly audacious whopper, even by Giuliani’s low standards. "OK, Rudy Giuliani has just released an ad [...]

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Monday, October 29, 2007

West Memphis Three

Major developments today.  The Arkansas Times has been staying close to the story:

WM 3

There's been chatter all day about developments in the West Memphis Three case this week in an expected federal court filing and now word has begun spreading. As we had indicated long ago, thanks to Mara Leveritt's continued reporting, DNA studies of evidence taken from the bodies of victims in the case have turned up no DNA from the three youths sentenced to death for [...]

UPDATE: More details, since this story seems to be driving a ton of traffic to me..

Attorneys: DNA Evidence May Clear West Memphis Three

New DNA evidence could free the West Memphis Three, three Arkansas teenagers convicted of mutilating and three eight-year-old boys in 1993. Defense attorneys are now asking for a new hearing in the case [...]

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We Like Blackwater

We (the Administration) likes Blackwater. Obviously. In fact, they REALLY like Blackwater.  Proof? Sure.

Bush Administration Promised Blackwater Immunity Over Shooting Of 17 Iraqis

The State Department promised Blackwater USA bodyguards immunity from prosecution in its investigation of last month's deadly shooting of 17 Iraqi civilians, The Associated Press has learned. As a result, it will likely be months before the United States can--if ever-- [...]

Then, there's the definitive Blackwater post right here:

Blackwater's 99 Problems

For a company that was supposed to be outside the law, investigations of Blackwater have been proliferating like wild ever since the September 16th Nisour Square shooting, which left seventeen Iraqis dead. The number has been growing so fast, in fact, that we lost count. So we decided to catch up. Here, then, is our rundown of the ongoing investigations that have been reported. If we miss one, let [...]

UPDATE: Today, quick backpeddling.. Who ya gonna believe?

Blackwater not offered immunity, official says

No immunity deal was offered to Blackwater USA guards for their statements regarding a shootout in Iraq last month that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead, a senior State Department official told CNN Tuesday. Blackwater contractors take part in a firefight in [...]

LATER: Well, kinda not so much..

Oh Madame Secretary...?

In an email to Laura Rozen and Jeff Lomonaco this morning, I predicted Henry Waxman would be mightily interested in the news that the Blackwater guards involved in the September 16 shooting had been granted immunity. In any [...]

Further clarification follows, if you consider obfuscation to be clarification:

State Defends Immunity Deal for Blackwater Guards

Since news broke yesterday that the State Department had offered immunity deals to the Blackwater guards involved in the September 16th Nisour Square shooting, which left seventeen Iraqis dead, inquiries from Democrats have mounted, and the State Department has evidently been scrambling to respond. And it's evident what their response is: at least we didn't offer absolute, blanket immunity to the guards from prosecution. As part of the PR offensive, [...]

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NOLA Update

New Orleans has issues. And problems.  And, it appears, the police aren't helping.

In case you thought the Katrina response wasn't about eviscerating black culture in New Orleans

Two-plus years after Hurricane Katrina, the lower Ninth Ward is still in ruins, the Federal government has decided that having fulfilled their goal of turning Louisiana red, it's time to move onto greener pastures. You'd think enough damage had been done to the thriving black culture of New Orleans...but you'd be wrong. Now police are cracking down on jazz funeral marches: [...]

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Terkel Still Has It

Studs Terkel.  Some of you young folks may not even recognize the name. I, quite frankly, was amazed to learn that he's still with us and still writing.  The years have been kind; he seems just as sharp as ever:

Coming full circle on government surveillance

The legendary Studs Terkel has a fascinating NYT op-ed today, noting the trend over the last several generations about the way that “politically active Americans view their relationship with government” — and the way the government views politically active Americans. In 1920, during my youth, I recall the Palmer raids in which more than 10,000 people [...]

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War Campaign

Isn't it quite sad when the Administration realizes it needs to launch a big advertising campaign to convince Americans that we must hammer Iran?


Huffpo's Michael Roston has a follow-up on those reports (primarily in the Times) that White House front group Freedom's Watch was planning a big ad campaign in support of war with Iran. Roston runs down the list of who was [...]

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Fact or Fiction

Whichever it is, it's making for some fascinating reading this Monday evening.  Since the World Series is wrapped up, you have some time on your hands, don't you?

A bizarre, unsolicited e-mail from Gen. Petraeus' spokesman

An e-mail I received this morning from Col. Steven Boylan is heavy on petty insults but extremely light on the issues that actually matter [...]

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Scared For Your Social Security

If you're buying into the scare tactics that would have you believe the Social Security system is ready to fall apart and can't be fixed, prepare to be amazed. Maybe things aren't quite that bad, after all.  Maybe they're not that bad, AT  all.

Social Security For Dummies

Robert Ball, the grand old man of Social Security, explains patiently to the Washington Post editorial board yet again that Social Security IS (a) a rather modest program, (b) more necessary than ever in an era of [...]

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Health Care Plans

One of the big blosphere debates today is over health care.  Conservative bloggers are touting a British newspaper report as evidence that any kind of government health care will fail.

Paging Michael Moore: Brits flee socialized healthcare

Sickos. Oh, what lovely conditions we have to look forward to should Hillary Clinton and Michael Moore get their way: [...]

Progressive bloggers are also noting the story, but translating it completely differently.

Are Conservatives Really This Confused About Health Care Plans?

The Daily Mail has an article on problems in the British health care system–a system I’ve also been critical of. It came as no surprise to review the conservative blogs and see them attempt to use this as evidence against Democratic health care plans. Some call this evidence against a single payer plan, but a [...]

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Bees On Loan

Fascinating 60 Minutes piece on the "disappearing bees" phenomenon last night. "Rental Bees" are being trucked in to help polinate crops. You'll be amazed at how many foods are touched by those tiny bees and how losing them could be disastrous.

Where are the honey bees?

There’s some doubt as to whether Einstein ever actually said that if honey bees died out, mankind only had four years left to live. But no matter the authorship, the truth is that we are very dependent upon bees for our food product [...]

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Party Woes

From one of my recent additions to bloglines comes an interesting post about the differences (or lack of differences) between the two parties. It's an interesting argument, given the fact that Americans don't seem to be pleased with Democrats in Congress right now.


...So goes the refrain from Peggy Lee's song from the 60's. The 60's were my formative years, with a lot going on to raise the political awareness of anyone. In those days there really was a distinct difference between Republicans and Democrats on many issues. Not any more. I once wrote that as far as the so-called "two party system" is concerned, it is [...]


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The Obama Campaign

Did Barack Obama really mess up a good thing this weekend. There are tons of posts much like this one that can't be doing his campaign much good..

In Which Barack Obama Loses My Vote For Good

Well, Barack, it's been a fun campaign. We laughed, we cried, it was the best of times and the worst of times and all that. But unfortunately, I can't vote for you anymore. It's not you, it's me. You see, I just can't quite get over the fact that you've turned your campaign into a forum for anti-gay activists: [...]

As long as we're on that topic...

Bush May Recess-Appoint Homophobic Surgeon General Nominee Who Wants To Cure Gays

President Bush’s Surgeon General nominee James Holsinger appeared before the Senate health committee on July 12, forced to defend his controversial positions on homosexuality. Yet three months later, Holsinger is “no closer to becoming the nation’s next surgeon general.” ThinkProgress today spoke with a spokesperson for chairman Edward Kennedy (D-MA) who said the committee [...]

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Another List Grows

We'll try to keep track. I'm betting the list will continue to grow.  Quickly.

Dodd Opposes Mukasey Nomination

And then there were two: Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) is the second senator and first Democrat to come out against Mukasey. Says Dodd: "Mr. Mukasey's position that the President does not have to heed the law disqualifies him from being the [...]

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The Iowa Caucuses

Mark your calendar. January 3rd. Right after the New Year.  You know what that means, don't you?  Guess where all the college kids will be?

Earlier Iowa Affects Young Caucusgoers the Most

Iowa's January 3 caucus date -- "11 days earlier than first anticipated and the earliest in state history -- means that most Iowa college students will still be soaking up holiday break when the caucuses kick into gear," the Des Moines Register reports. "Some observers believe that's bad news because [...]


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Nice Numbers, Folks

Highly inefficient.

Congress Disapproval Rise To 75 Percent Increases Democrats’ Dilemma

Congress’ approval rating is heading so far south that the Democrats in charge may soon smell the magnolias. The latest CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll shows a 75 percent disapproval rating, guardedly good news for the Democratic Party itself and generally lousy news for the Democrats in charge of — and serving in — Congress: A year ago, [...]

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One More For The Road

Another one bites the dust...

We won’t have Tancredo to kick around anymore

The exodus continues. The latest House Republican incumbent to announce his or her retirement is none other than everyone’s favorite far-right xenophobe, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.). Even if he loses his long-shot bid for the White House, Rep. Tom Tancredo will be leaving the U.S. House of Representatives at the end of 2008. Tancredo, 61 , [...]


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The Past Becomes Current

Old friends come back around for a new dance. Somehow, this just doesn't smell right..

U.S. Iraq strategy leans on Chalabi again.

“Ahmad Chalabi, the controversial, ubiquitous Iraqi politician and one-time Bush administration favorite, has re-emerged as a central figure in the latest U.S. strategy for Iraq.” Chalabi “is an important part of the process,” said Col. Steven Boylan, Petraeus’ spokesman. “He has a lot of energy.” UPDATE: Salon’s Glenn Greenwald is engaged in a bizarre email exchange [...]

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Wanted: A Good Reporter

That's really what the Beauchamp story needs, somebody to dig in, get their reporter hands dirty, and pursue some much-needed answers.  The LA Times takes a solid first step today:

LA Times Asks Some Tough Questions About Army's Conduct In Beauchamp-New Republic Affair...

The other day I noted that the Army has promised to investigate an apparent leak to Matt Drudge of documents relating to its probe of Scott Thomas Beauchamp, the U.S. soldier accused of fabricating stories about fellow troops in a series of articles for The New Republic. The leak, which appears to be the work of an Army official intent on delivering payback to the mag, raises further questions about the Army's less-than-admirable handling of this whole affair. I'd been wondering when we were going to see some aggressive reporting and/or opinion-making about this, when along comes this excellent piece in [...]

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Back To Work

Monday.  Back to work day after a weekend that seemed to offer little in the way of "down time". But, it was productive and that's a good thing!  Much of the chatter during this day seemed to focus on politics. Iowa's decision to bump the caucuses up to January 3 was coming under fire from some radio talkers. Mike Huckabee seems to be in the spotlight, with some of the attention positive and some negative. Hold on tight.  It's time for things to get dirty, I'm sure. 

Here's a sampling of what's being said:

Huckabee surges, Edwards fades

The latest still photo from the slow motion, inter-party electoral horse race known as Iowa is in - and it looks like John Edwards is losing steam on the Democratic side while Mike Huckabee is charging at the GOP frontrunners. The University of Iowa Hawkeye Poll, [...]

Horserace Dominates Media Coverage

"In the early months of the 2008 presidential campaign, the media had already winnowed the race to mostly five candidates and offered Americans relatively little information about their records or what they would do if elected, according to a comprehensive new study of the election coverage across the media," according to a study by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. "The press' focus on fundraising, tactics and polling is even more evident if [...]

NPR, Rocky Mountain News on Huckabee

Moon over Mike

The Moonie Washington Times is, if nothing else, a useful source of information on right-wing political intrigue. Here, it's the "bitter" behind-the-scenes division on the Mike Huckabee presidential candidacy. Too liberal, the red hot righties like former Ark. Sen. Randy Minton say. Just right, say some others. Grover Norquist clearly wants [...]

And, I wonder who will be the first to let Mr. Huckabee in on this little fact?

Krugman: No such thing as ‘Islamofascism’

Someone had to say it; I’m just glad it was Paul Krugman. [T]here isn’t actually any such thing as Islamofascism — it’s not an ideology; it’s a figment of the neocon imagination. The term came into vogue only because it was a way for Iraq hawks to gloss over the awkward transition from pursuing Osama bin [...]

Finally, there's obviously no Huckabee fan behind this post

...think no one's attacking him yet because no one's figured out the angles -- Romney isn't bothering because he's still far ahead of Huckabee in Iowa and New Hampshire (the only two states he cares about right now), while Giuliani apparently thinks he's not competing with Huckabee for the same voters (if that's really what he thinks, I think he's wrong). Thompson and McCain, for their part, don't seem to be thinking about what angles to [...]


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Sunday, October 28, 2007

You'll Be Talking This Week

You'll be talking about this one. Go for it.

Ford Considered Bill Clinton Sex Addict And Hillary Clinton Strong One

A new book that contains conversations with former President Gerald Ford that the ex-president agreed to be published only after his death is likely to create some ripples — and perhaps some unwelcome talk show and buzz chatter for New York Senator Hillary Clinton. According to the New York Daily News, Ford, who had gotten to [...]

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Worth A Watch

I like a lot of what John Edwards says. But, I don't like when he tries to shut people down.

The News John Edwards Did Not Want You To See

The news story in the video above was produced by a student at The University of North Carolina. While hardly the most critical story of Edwards I’ve seen, it does raise the suspicions which many have that Edwards is campaigning on poverty more out of political expedience than conviction. The News & Observer reports on efforts [...]


The UFO Campaign

Richardson appears to be on board. You just KNEW I'd post a UFO story, didn't you?!?

Presidential candidates believe the truth is out there

If the weather-balloon incident in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947 is a big issue for you, Bill Richardson is your presidential candidate. The New Mexico governor hosted a town-hall meeting the other day when a voter asked Richardson whether he’d be willing to get to the bottom of the “mystery.” Not only did Richardson take the [...]

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The Answer

The answer to the question below is quite simple. NO.

Do You Believe Dick Cheney?

Here's the guy in charge of monitoring Iran's nuclear activities talking to Wolf Blitzer on CNN: "I have not received any information that there is a concrete, active nuclear weapon program going on right now. … We have information that there have been maybe some studies about possible weaponization. But we are looking into these alleged studies with Iran right now. … But have we seen having the nuclear material that can be readily used into a weapon? No. Have we seen an active weaponization program? No. So there is [...]

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Must See Video

Unbelievable ending! Really, you MUST watch this!

Strangest Play Since the Band Was On the Field

Really, this might be the most bizarre ending to a football game ever [...]

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Drumbeat Of War

They've got the talking points lined up and a willing audience in Fox News:

Fox Panel: Dems Are ‘Terribly Weak’ If They Don’t Threaten ‘Devasting Military Strike’ Against Iran

Earlier this week, the Bush administration ratcheted up its rhetoric towards Iran, imposing unilateral sanctions that are considered the “broadest set of punitive measures imposed on Tehran since 1979.” The White House also requested $88 million to equip B-2 “stealth” bombers with a new 30,000-pound bunker buster, which is being seen by members of Congress [...]

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Crystal Ball

Looking to the future with Netflix -

Netflix Looking At A Future WIthout The Mailbox

"It's like a three-act play, and we're in the opening minutes of the second act," says Steve Swasey, vice president of corporate communications at movie-rental Web site Netflix, as he gives a tour of the company's Rockville processing center. Act 1, as far as the company is concerned, was getting people used to renting DVDs over [...]

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Weekend Maher

We don't subscribed to HBO, so I have to rely on the internet to get my fix of Bill Maher.  There's usually at least a couple of choice clips to enjoy:

Bill Maher to the GOP: Stop the Scaremongering on Iran!

After he goes through his new rules, Bill Maher takes aim at the nonsensical and uniformed statements and ads from the GOP presidential candidates about Iran… Maher:  … At the Republican debate last week, Mike Huckabee said Islamofascism is the greatest threat we ever faced. Really?  More than the Nazis and [...]

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Sunday Reading

Looks like another busy day around here, so posting will be scattered.  I did a quick scan of bloglines over coffee this morning, and snagged a couple of things that look interesting.  Read on, if you have the time. 

The NY Times profiles "The Evangelical Crackup"

Yes, that's actually the title of a long piece in Sunday's Times by David Kirkpatrick. It's an interesting read. Bush and his war in Iraq helped foster the crackup. And, there seems to be a decidedly different view of what's going on between those evangelicals who are sick of the GOP and those religious right leaders, like Tony Perkins, who are in bed with the GOP. However "the crackup" plays out in 2008, these [...]

Say Goodbye to Intelligence Declassification

When the Intelligence Community releases before/after photos of some remote Syrian site that the Israelis bombed it doesn't take long for a private company to release their own photos. The private company's photos show that whatever the Syrians were doing there started as far back as 2001 and had progressed extremely slowly since 2003. Too bad. The Intelligence Community was trying to justify what Israel did and make some kind of [...]

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

It's a Real Shame

He was a hell of a good reporter.  And his heritage was in Cedar Rapids, Iowa - where I spent a decade anchoring for the local ABC affiliate. Go figure. And try to understand.

Veteran NBC News Correspondent Jim Cummins Dies

Former NBC News Dallas bureau chief and correspondent Jim Cummins died last night after losing his battle with cancer. In [...]

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Ghost Prisoners

Just keeping up with the story..

Where Are the Ghost Air Prisoners Now? [TalkLeft]

The Washington Post reports on the CIA's Ghost Air prisoners. Some have been sent to Guantanamo, some were returned to their home countries (some of whom were never heard from again) and some are....missing. Where are they? Who's keeping track? Human Rights Watch and Reprieve are trying to. According to the Post, HRW says at least 39 of those seized [...]

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Hurricane Preparedness

Okay, enlighten me.  How can you fix a problem if you don't know that it exists?

Bush Admin Refuses To Release Report On Gaps In Nation's Hurricane Preparedness

The state of Louisiana and the Bush administration are refusing to disclose analyses that would let the public know where gaps exist in the government's hurricane preparation and response plans, including evacuation, medical services and shelters. Citing national security concerns, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has [...]

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Saturday Evening

Kind of a slow news/blog day.  We've been busy with things around the house and a few errands.  One stop was the farmers' market (of course), where we scored some fresh yellow fin tuna, caught in the Gulf just two days ago!  We're pairing that with some fresh whole wheat pasta and fresh pesto that were part of the wonderful monthly basket of local, organic, food products that we subscribe to.  It's a great program, put together by the gentleman who operates the fresh produce store in the indoor, year-round, market. Also, sitting on the counter in the kitchen, is an interesting little appliance that we're trying out.  It's a highly-automated hydroponic/Aeroponic device that is producing seven very nice herb plants.  It's about the simplest thing I've ever encountered.  You fill the base of it with water, toss in a couple of nutrient tabs, put a seed pod into each of seven holes in the top deck and turn it on. The high power lights kick on, the water starts to circulate through the pods and the darn things sprout in a couple of days and start producing edible herbs in a couple of weeks.  You can, supposedly, grow cherry tomatoes, green beans and snap peas in the darn thing!  Lettuce is next on our list, but we'll get four to six months of production from the herbs, first! 

Now, before I get to work on supper, a post or two for your enjoyment and information.

The View from Sadiyah, Baghdad

What the president calls 'kicking ass' the soldiers call something else. "It's just a slow, somewhat government-supported sectarian cleansing," said Maj. Eric Timmerman, the battalion's operations officer. That describes the situation in the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadiyah, formerly a 'bustling middle-class district, popular with Sunni officers in Saddam Hussein's military.' Joshua Partlow spent some time with the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, and reported on what he saw. The streets of Sadiyah are deserted again. To the right, power lines slump down into the dirt. To the [...]

“Somebody has to step up here.”

Wisdom in a small-town newspaper, and, I would argue, the best editorial I’ve read this week. From the Port Townsend (WA) Leader. It took common people - farmers, brewers, printers, silversmiths - to write the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights some 218 years ago. And it looks as if it’s up to the [...]

Journalist Wins: NASA To Release Papers on Baffling '65 UFO Incident

NASA has agreed to search its archives once again for documents on a 1965 UFO incident in Pennsylvania, a step the space agency fought in federal court.  The government has refused to open its files about what, if anything, moved across the sky and crashed in the woods near Kecksburg, Pa., 40 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.  Traffic was tied up in the area as [...]

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Friday, October 26, 2007


It's not just for Georgia anymore.

Much Of U.S. Could See A Water Shortage

An epic drought in Georgia threatens the water supply for millions. Florida doesn't have nearly enough water for its expected population boom. The Great Lakes [...]

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Middle East Chaos

And it's all because of somebody's foreign policy.

The only thing on the march is bad foreign policy

Writing in Salon, Juan Cole takes apart the continuing fiasco of the Bush administration foreign policy piece by piece. In particular, the administration has long viewed Turkey and Pakistan as the bookends of its greater Middle East policy, two staunch allies as the anchors of policy. In the past few weeks, of course, tensions in these two nations have reached new highs, with Turkey furious about terrorist attacks originating in Iraqi Kurdistan and Pakistan's increasingly precarious [...]

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Speaking Stupid

I caught this earlier this week, but never got around to pulling a post from anywhere.  Michael Stickings at "The Moderate Voice" sums things up really well - Perino just made no sense. No sense at all.

Insanity at 1600: Secrets, lies, and the “public health benefits to climate change”

You want to know just how crazy the Bush White House is? Do you? I know, there’s already an astonishing amount of evidence to back up that assessment, so much delusion, so much apparent insanity, but consider what White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said on Wednesday in response to allegations “the White House ‘eviscerated’ Center [...]

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You Gotta Love the Explanation

He was "meditating".

Oh, Are We Boring You? Cheney Naps As California Burns

Apparently, your garden variety natural disaster isn’t enough to keep VP Cheney awake during a Cabinet meeting. As Bush and the rest of the cabinet is briefed on the wildfires in California, Cheney nods off. This is hardly the first time he’s been caught doing that either. [...]

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First, Bill Maher

Then, Bill Clinton. Smacking down the conspiracy theorists.

Bill Clinton Puts Down 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists

Bill Clinton, like Bill Maher, also had to deal with heckling from 9/11 conspiracy theorists who deny all evidence of a terrorist attack and claim that it was an inside job. Clinton responded with indignation. While I agree, I did prefer Maher’s comment on a recent show (video here): "New Rule: Crazy people who still think [...]

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Picking Up Steam

Oh, boy...It's like a snowball rolling downhill.  It just keep growing and growing.  The list of senators who are more than a bit concerned about Blackwater's tax breaks. As well they should be.

Obama, Durbin, Kerry Call for Investigations of Alleged Blackwater Tax Dodge

The mad proliferation of Blackwater investigations continues. Earlier this week, House sleuth Henry Waxman (D-CA) accused Blackwater of hiding "tens of millions of dollars, if not more" in Social Security, Medicare and retirement taxes by classifying its security guards in Iraq as independent contractors. Today, Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) piled on, asking for [...]

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