Tuesday, May 29, 2007

On The Road

We'll be on the road most of this week, so posts will be sporadic, at best. I'll try to get a couple up early in the morning or late at night, but make no promises.

I hope you and yours had a great Memorial Day weekend. We put the smoker to good use and ended up with lots of turkey and ribs.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

OlbermannWatch Update

Okay, I've managed to crank out a holiday weekend post for OlbermannWatch, the site where most of the folks hate Keith Olbermann.  There are a few even-minded folks who can be bipartisan over there, but it's usually pretty viscious when I post. Click Here to join in the fun..


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Friday, May 25, 2007

The Ethanol Conundrum

It's a tricky one, that ethanol conundrum. And our currently skyrocketing gas prices aren't helping stabilize things any.


Ethanol Booms, Farmers Bust



In concept, corn ethanol could benefit American farmers. The problem is that the boom is taking place in the same old agricultural economy, which works to the benefit of those on top: landlords, processors and companies selling inputs like seeds and [...]


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Hurricane Recovery

Still not happening next door in Mississippi.  And we're on the verge of another hurricane season.


PEEK: Mississippi's Overrated Recovery



Lindsay Beyerstein: While alligators prowl the ruins and the mail doesn't come, Mississippi's Republican governor, Haley Barbour, receives accolades [...]


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Prison Stripes

Doesn't mean this will happen, but the prosecutor's thoughts usually weigh heavily in such decisions...


Fitzgerald Asks for 2 1/2 - 3 Year Sentence for Libby



From the AP: Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby betrayed the public's trust and deserves to spend 2 1/2 to 3 years in prison for obstructing the CIA leak investigation, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said Friday.... U.S. District [...]


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Evaluation Time

Man, the polling hits just keep on coming...most Americans don't think much of the President's performance, in general. Most don't think the Iraq War is going swimmingly.  And, now.....Strike Three.


Poll: 70% Think Bush Has Let Iraq Veterans Down



...The Marist numbers above would seem to suggests that Dems have been successful in getting the public to see Bush policies as hurting the troops, which they've done by pushing the Walter Reed scandal and other stories. But these storylines don't appear to be putting much of a dent in the perception that Bush is more [...]


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Leading Iraqis

He hasn't popped up for some time, but he obviously didn't lose any power or authority while he was gone.


al Sadr calls for Sunnis & Shiites to unite against US



One of the more powerful Shiite voices in Iraq, the Muqtada al-Sadr is now calling for Sunnis to join Shiites in fighting against the occupation instead of against each other: Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr appeared in public for the first time in months on Friday, delivering a fiery anti-American sermon to thousands of followers and [...]


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Fuel To The Fire

Make sure you take note of this bit of information.  And realize how important it really is, how much credibility it adds to the "why did we go to war" questions...


Fainting Couch Alert!



CIA warned of risks of war in the Mideast: "In a move sure to raise even more questions about the decision to go to war with Iraq, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will on Friday release selected portions of pre-war intelligence in which the CIA warned the administration of the risk and consequences of a conflict in the Middle East. Among other things, the 40-page Senate report reveals that [...]



Bush Ignored Senate’s Pre-War Intelligence Warning of Post-War Fiasco



Yesterday, a White House correspondent candidly asked Bush why the American people should trust him as “a credible messenger on the war,” in light of the major mistakes he has made since first invading Iraq: Q: The majority in the public, a growing number of Republicans, appear not to trust you any longer to be [...]



It just gets more and more interesting, the deeper you dig...


Pre-War Intelligence Was Pretty Good



I really hate it when people set their (.pdf)'s so that you can't cut and paste. But that is exactly what the Senate Intelligence Committee has done with their Prewar Intelligence Reports on Post-War Iraq report. It's frustrating because I'd like to make some points about their conclusions without having to freaking type out huge chunks of their text. The report details what the intelligence community (IC) told our policy makers about the likely landscape of a post-Saddam Iraq. And, perhaps not too shockingly, the IC got it mostly right [....]




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Constitutional Law

It's Jonathan Turley's specialty.  And he DOES know it well.  That's why he's a frequent and well-spoken guest on "Countdown With Keith Olbermann".


Countdown: Turley Breaks Down Gonzo & Goodling



On Thursday's "Countdown" Keith brought in George Washington University Constitutional law professor, Jonathan Turley to discuss Monica Goodling's testimony from Wednesday and it's ramifications for Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales. Olbermann: "What have we learned about the resume of his top official in Bush law enforcement, other than the fact that [...]


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It's So Transparent

One. More. Try.


Bush’s new ‘charm offensive’



In 2000, Bush was going to be a “uniter,” not a divider. He was going to “change the tone” in DC, work with Democrats, and deliver the kind of above-the-fray presidency everyone’s always wanted. That … didn’t quite happen. Shortly after Bush came in second but became president anyway, Matthew Dowd started analyzing election data and [...]


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What's Wrong?

Sometimes, Atrios gets a bit pedantic for my tastes, but he often demonstrates some real insight into an issue.  Today, he's caught without an answer, but his questions get right to the core of how Americans feel these days..


Malaise



There have been 3 presidents during my adult life - Bush, Clinton, Bush - a period of optimism bookended by pessimism. At the end of Bush I there was a recession. It wasn't a very big one but it seemed to be accompanied by growing pessimism about the future. Maybe it was just that I was graduating from college roughly around that time, but there was a sense of diminished opportunity, of diminished options. That changed [...]


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Caught In A Lie

Our good friend, Tony Snow, has up and done it again.  Got caught with his hand in the cookie jar of lies.  I don't hold him 100% personally responsible, because you know that he has several people telling him what to say.


What Will Tony and Sam Say Now?



...For Snow, half-truths and whole lies are his bread and butter.  Smearing a governor and denying a problem to defend the administration's policies is just another day at work.  For Brownback, who came to gawk at the ruins even as Gov. Sebelius was still trying to work around the lack of equipment, these denials call for [...]



By the way, it's not just in Kansas...


States missing emergency helicopters due to Iraq.



ABC News reports today that “some Plains and western states have few if any helicopters on hand to respond quickly to a disaster.” For instance, “Nebraska’s contingent of Blackhawk helicopters are deployed in Iraq, leaving few aircraft for disaster relief missions at home.” Wyoming and Texas — Vice President Cheney and President Bush’s respective home [...]




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Who Do You Trust?

Dems have the upper hand now.  Let's see if they can keep it, in the future...


Rasmussen: Americans Trust Dems Over GOP Across The Board



Rasmussen Via Daily Kos: Democrats are currently trusted more than Republicans on all ten issues measured in Rasmussen Reports tracking surveys. Democrats even have slight advantages on National Security and Taxes, two issues “owned” by Republicans during the generation since Ronald Reagan took office. On National Security, 46% now trust Democrats more while 43% prefer [...]


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War News

Here's a shocker. Seriously. 


Fox News covers Iraq war the least.



A new Project for Excellence in Journalism study finds that of the three major cable news networks, Fox News has given lowest percentage of coverage of the Iraq war. It has also devoted twice as much time to the Anna Nicole Smith story as have MSNBC and [...]


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Presidential Directive

There's been a smattering of posts this week about the President's signing of a National Security Directive that, it seems, pretty much lets him take control of everything if there's any kind of "national emergency".  Looks like some folks saved the big discussions for the end of the week. It's a top topic for Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight...


Dictator in Chief?



With no press conferences, and with no debate, President Bush has ordered up a plan for responding to a catastrophic "event" under which he has entrusted himself with leading the entire federal government, not just the executive branch. The scheme, laid out in a document entitled National Security Presidential Directive NSPD 51 and Homeland Security Presidential Directive HSPD-20 that Mr. Bush signed in secret on May 9.  It defines a catastropic event as [...]



And there are now multiple posts like this one....


One terror attack or tornado and it could be a whole new U.S. - again



All it will take is one incident. A terrorist attack on a major city. A tornado wiping out some coastline. Just one incident. And we will be living in an entirely different world. When the documents “National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51” and “Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20” were released, it gave President George W. Bush responsibility “for ensuring constitutional government” in the case of catastrophic attack. “It defines a ‘catastrophic emergency’ as ‘any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function,’ ” wrote Matthew Rothschild for [...]


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The Pipes are Aging

That's one of the core issues that prompts this report on a frightening scenario.  They are right about one thing, we've become accustomed to not paying through the nost for the water that comes from our taps...


Report: National water crisis looms [RawStory.com Headlines]



The nation's hidden water problem rushed into the basement apartments of 51st Street in West New York, N.J., last February 9, shortly after 4 a.m. That's when a 2-foot-wide pipe ruptured under Bergenline Avenue, New Jersey's longest commercial thoroughfare. Water burst through the asphalt with the force of a geyser, then cascaded downhill [...]


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Summer Reading

I'm betting that these two upcoming books about Hillary Clinton become "required reading" for a lot of folks looking for summer reading material, whether on the road or at home...


Clinton Campaign Nervously Awaits Release Of Two Tell-All Books



Two new books on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York offer fresh and often critical portraits of the Democratic presidential candidate that depict a tortured relationship with her husband and her past and challenge the image she has presented on the campaign trail. The Hillary Clinton who emerges from the pages of the books comes across as a complicated, sometimes compromised figure who tolerated Bill Clinton's brazen infidelity, pursued her policy and political goals with methodical drive, and occasionally [...]



Then, again, maybe not...


Yawn?



The most striking thing about today's Washington Post get of two, embargoed, much-anticipated investigative books about Hillary Clinton is what's not there [...]



By the way, did you catch this part of the Washington Post article?  Kind of kills the credibility of the authors, doesn't it?


First news report about new Clinton book undermines "preposterous" story about "secret pact of ambition"



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Widening The Net

Getting cozy with Mexico, aren't we?


U.S. Pays Mexico To Cooperate In Mutual Data-Mining And Eavesdropping Program Aimed At Both Countries’ Citizens



Leave it to a Republican politician. They’re BRILLIANT; always looking for that “loophole”, and almost ALWAYS able to find it. People need to get over the FACT that President “Surge” W. Bush is no idiot. In fact, he’s quite clever, indeed. We thought we MIGHT have tied his hands on [...]


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Faulty Logic

Or blatant lies.  There are those who are angered by reporters who question the President. The questions should be hard, when the stakes are so high. When the errors are so obvious...


They won’t follow us home



Way back in March, the Washington Post reported, "Al-Qaeda in Iraq is the United States' most formidable enemy in that country. But unlike Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization in Pakistan, U.S. intelligence officials and outside experts believe, the Iraqi branch poses little danger to the security of the U.S. homeland." And yet, over and over again [...]


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I'm Not Holding My Breath

We'll see if the Dems really do follow through and do what the majority of Americans seem to want them to do - show some spine when it comes to the tough issues.  There are some who are feeling a bit more optimistic today...


‘I feel a direction change in the air’



As everyone has surely heard by now, both chambers of Congress fairly easily passed the war-funding supplemental last night. The White House strongly supports the funding package, and will sign it into law, effectively ending this round of the policy fight. Even before the measure was formally approved, Dems were already talking about looking forward to [...]



They are, at least, sticking with the talking points...


Pelosi: Bush's Iraq policy beginning to 'unravel'



House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday the Iraq spending bill is a disappointment because it does not end the war, but that it's only a matter of time before Democrats get their way. "I think the president's policy is going to begin to unravel now," said [...]




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Disenfranching Voters

Missouri tried it, but it was (thanksfully) shot down.  If the Democratic Congress didn't have enough trouble with the outcry over the Iraq Funding Bill, they're facing a second wave over this issue...


REPUBLICAN IMMIGRATION BILL AMENDMENT TO REQUIRE DISENFRANCHISING PHOTO ID RESTRICTIONS AT POLLING PLACE!



Un-believable. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has introduced an amendment to the proposed new Immigration Law that would require disenfranchising Photo ID restrictions on voters at the polling place, according to a press release just out from National League of Women Voters. The provision tagged onto the immigration bill would amend the horrible Help America Vote Act [...]


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Ah, Iran

Our Vice President just can't let go.  Think about this one long and hard this weekend.  I'm not saying it's the gospel truth, but I'm thinking there's enough to it to catch my attention...


Cheney Needs a Straightjacket



Maybe someone should investigate this lunacy. From Steve Clemons: "Multiple sources have reported that a senior aide on Vice President Cheney's national security team has been meeting with policy hands of the American Enterprise Institute, one other think tank, and more than one national security consulting house and explicitly stating that Vice President Cheney does not support President Bush's tack towards Condoleezza Rice's diplomatic efforts and fears that the President is taking diplomacy with Iran too seriously. This White House official has stated to several Washington insiders that Cheney is [...]


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Gas Prices

Driving anywhere this weekend?  Gas prices keeping you at home?  Personally, I'm thankful we don't have to go anywhere. It's painful to gas up. It really is.  I feel my stomach tightening and churning every time I squeeze that pump handle. It's not often I somewhat agree with Mark Noonan over at Blogs for Bush, but he has a point about the oil companies today.  And there are some great comments, too.


A Warning to the Oil Industry



Everyone should pay close attention to this: The House yesterday passed a bill that would make price gouging by gas stations and oil companies a federal crime as prices at the pump surpassed a 1981 record reached at the height [...]


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Convoluted Thinking

I've been buried in "real life" obligations this week and haven't been able to stay on top of my regular reading routine.  That's my way of apologizing for the relatively sparse posts this week.  And a "heads up" that it won't likely be much better over the holiday weekend.  That, in turn, is followed by a business trip that runs the rest of next week.  So, keep checking back. I'll do what I can to keep something moving. Heck, I haven't even had time to really watch "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" and that is usually "must see TV" around our place.  It's been so crazy that I even turned down the invitation to do the nightly "review" of  Countdown for the anti-Olbermann crowd over at OlbermannWatch!  That would have been fun!  And, I promise to, at least, get a fresh column posted online over there to give the anti-KO crowd something to holler about this weekend.  To make sure you get the latest, just click the RSS subscription link over in the column on the right side of the page...In the meantime, off to the races with a couple of posts analyzing the President's news conference Thursday...


Bush: If we leave Iraq, Al Qaeda is going to kill your children. But if the Iraqis ask us to leave today, we'll leave.



I totally missed the bizarre exchange Bush had with ABC's Martha Raddatz at his press conference this morning. First, Bush told the reporters, twice, that if we leave Iraq before "victory," Al Qaeda will come to America and kill our children. He then said that if the Iraqi government asked us to leave today, we'd leave. He repeated that answer, twice. So, in other words [...]



Thank You Mr. President



President Bush’s press conference was an opportunity for him to address issues that are deeply troubling the country and to explain himself in light of dismal job approval ratings, record high opposition to his Iraq policies and major concerns about the integrity of the Justice Department. But the non-answers he gave to reporters’ questions [...]




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Digging Deeper

On thing is become very apparent in watching the new Congress at work...there are sparks of confrontation that make for interesting theatre. Critics will say that it's a tragedy that such "toughness" doesn't extend across the board to all issue...


Waxman Calls GSA Chief Back for Encore



General Services Administration chief Lurita Doan was such a hit in her hearing with the House oversight committee last time around, Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) wants her back. You can Waxman's letter to Doan here (pdf). Waxman wants to know [...]


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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Moyers Is Great, Too

Olbermann's Special Comment was great.  But, Bill Moyers deserves a moment or two of your time. 


Bill Moyers | A Great but Broken Promise



Bill Moyers writes: "Think it over: In 1960, the gap in wealth between the top 20 percent of our country and the bottom 20 percent was 30 fold. Now, it is 75 fold. Stock prices and productivity are up, and CEO salaries are soaring, but ordinary workers aren't sharing in the profits they helped generate. Their incomes aren't keeping up with costs. More Americans live in poverty - 37 million, including 12 million children. 12 million children! America's a broken promise. America needs fixing." [...]


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Blatantly Wrong

At least it seems that way.  Unless the facts have been terribly twisted in this story, there SHOULD be prosecution involved.


DA Refuses to Prosecute Rape Case, Despite Eye Witnesses, DNA



From Mother Jones: What’s the penalty for gang-raping a drunk, 17-year-old girl at a party with 10 of your buddies? Bupkus, said the Santa Clara, California District Attorney’s office yesterday. The alleged rape occurred March 3 at a wild, off-campus party hosted by a member of the DeAnza College men’s baseball team in San Jose, California. Three [...]


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War Stats

Bottom line?  More bodies. Less Support


Bush 'Surge' Fails To Prevent Rise In Iraq Killings



More than three months into a U.S.-Iraqi security offensive designed to curtail sectarian violence in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq, Health Ministry statistics show that such killings are rising again [....]



Poll Shows Opposition to Iraq War at All Time High



Six in 10 Americans say the U.S. should have stayed out of Iraq and more than three in four say things are going badly there [...]


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Great Clip

I'm in a video kind of mood tonight.  Crooks and Liars has a great clip from Chris Matthews from yesterday's show.


Matthews Gets Fired Up



On yesterday's "Hardball" Chris Matthews was in rare form and fired up about Iraq, Immigration and fact-free Republican Presidential candidates. During his interview with Democratic Presidential candidate, Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) he slams President Bush for his Iraq rhetoric and playing the terror card when it suits him, but his main target was Republican [...]


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Presidential Presser

As noted below, the President took advantage of the Iraq Supplemental vote to deliver a pretty good smackdown on the Democrats today.  However, the Rose Garden Press Conferences wasn't without its flaws...


Unraveling a cover-up takes a while without cooperation



The president held a 50-minute press conference in the Rose Garden this morning, offering a veritable treasure trove of content for blog posts. (Taking notes during the Q&A, I felt like a kid at a candy store…) Here’s one of several notable exchanges: Q: Good morning, Mr. President. I’d like to ask you about the Justice Department. [...]


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Gas Prices

High.  And, predictably, going higher.  I'm certainly no expert in the pricing of gasoline.  I'm an end-user.  Buy it at the pump.  I'll also confess that I'm somewhat mystified by the fact that gas at Station A is $3.15 a gallon, while it's $3.24 at the same brand station six blocks away.  With that in mind, here's what seems to be a pretty solid assessment of the situation...


Pointless anti-gouging law



...Right now the big driver in the current level of oil prices is constrained supply which means expensive crude oil and refinery capacity starting to hit their maximum sustainable production limits. The gas station owner or the regional distributer to multiple gas stations does not have a whole lot of pricing power. The station owner is in pretty fierce competition with [...]


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I'd Hate To Be...

I'd hate to be an elected Democrat, headed home for the holiday weekend.  I don't think many are going to be welcomed with open arms and warm smiles.  Not after this week's Iraq Supplemental debacle.  Steve Soto has a great post up at The Left Coaster, summarizing all that's been mismanaged and mishandled..


A Failed Democratic Strategy Got Us Here



Let me summarize my complaints against the funding bill and how this turned out. As I have said previously, my complaint starts with the position that the Democrats should never have gotten themselves backed up against the Memorial Day phony deadline in the first place. Reid and Pelosi made several attempts early in the session to move a bill that would express congressional sentiment for a change in course, and both times the GOP caucuses in each house opted for continuing the autopilot war. At that point, in early February, Reid and Pelosi should have [...]



More thoughts, via Big Tent Democrat:


On Iraq: Something In The Beltway Water [TalkLeft]



Via Stoller, and Matt, it is good to see you back in first rate form, this story adds to my theory that there is something in the water in DC: "Democrats said this week they would have jeopardized their fall bargaining position if they had insisted on keeping withdrawal timelines in the current supplemental spending bill (HR 2206). Persisting now would [...]




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Validating The Bloggers

I take this to mean the White House now believes bloggers really do have an audience and really can have an impact...


White House Establishes "Rapid Response" Team To Counter Internet Blogs



Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Wednesday that Republican conservatives working to block an immigration bill risk endorsing a "silent amnesty" by insisting on deportations that are "not going to happen."...The Homeland Security secretary said he canceled an overseas trip to help. In addition, the president is expected to stump for the bill next week and a "rapid response" team is countering critics, not only in the conventional media but, for the first time, on Internet blogs, said White House communications director Kevin Sullivan. The president's press secretary, Tony Snow, already has [...]


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Journalism?

Not hardly.  This would be outright laughable, if it weren't true..


If the presidential race were a beauty contest…



Look, I know NewsMax is a conservative political magazine. I don’t expect hard-hitting investigative journalism, and I don’t expect anything but flattering coverage of Republican candidates and officials. But Ben Smith noted yesterday that NewsMax wrote a profile about Ann Romney, Mitt’s wife, that is so remarkably over-the-top, one almost wonders if it’s a joke. Alas, [...]


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Missed Opportunity

Investigative Reporter Greg Palast says the Judiciary Committee missed a big chance to get some big news from Monica Goodling yesterday.  How? Read on.  Trust me, this guy makes sense...


Palast Exclusive: The Goods on Goodling and the Keys to the Kingdom



*** Special to The BRAD BLOG by Greg Palast This Monica revealed something hotter --- much hotter --- than a stained blue dress. In her opening testimony yesterday before the House Judiciary Committee, Monica Goodling, the blonde-ling underling to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Department of Justice Liaison to the White House, dropped The Big One....And [...]


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Listen Up!

Pay attention.  Open your eyes. If you haven't done it, read/watch Olbermann's Special Comment from last night. Then, consider the following post a vital update.


Congratulations Dems, you caved and Bush just bashed you on TV for it



Well that little surrender of yours on the Iraq supplemental was quite effective. Bush just went on TV, praised how all of your bad un-American ideas were struck from the bill, and then he told the country that you still have too much pork in the bill. So, basically, he just made fools of you. He attacked, you caved in order to stop the attack, and he attacked again. No one could have predicted that. Speaking of being made a fool, let's hear from Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA). Congressman Moran thinks that [...]


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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Olbermann Vs. The Democrats

Some of you probably won't believe that headline, but it's accurate.  The man the right loves to chastise for his anti-Bush Administration stance on most issues is turning the tables tonight.  I, for one, am glad to see him show a bit of a bipartisan side.


Special Comment Tonight: Compromised



Keith Olbermann will deliver a Special Comment tonight on the "compromise" struck between the Democratic leadership and the White House over the latest troop funding bill...Here's a preview..."The Democratic leadership has, in sum, claimed a compromise with the Administration, in which the only things truly compromised are the trust of the voters, the ethics of the Democrats, and the lives of our brave, and doomed, friends, and family, in Iraq. You, the men and women elected with the simplest of directions - Stop The War - have traded [...]



Video to follow, when I can find some...


UPDATE:  Video and comments from two perspectives:


Thursday Open Thread Pro-Keith site with links to full text and vido


Countdown with Keith Olbermann - May 23, 2007 Our friends over at Olbermannwatch - where they don't like Keith



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The British Assessment

Ask them how the U.S. is doing in Iraq and they'll tell you this:


US Surge Is Failing, Says UK's Iraq Envoy



In a pessimistic assessment of the strategy designed to pull Iraq back from all-out civil war, Alastair Campbell, the outgoing defense attache of the British embassy in Baghdad, claimed that extra US forces were not achieving the desired drop in [...]


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The Edwards Speech

AJ at AmericaBlog says it was impressive.  Why?


Edwards speech at CFR



The Edwards speech outlined proposals for the future of the military, both in terms of structure and use, and mentioned the foreign policy goals he feels are associated with such policies. I have long wondered exactly what kind of lessons prominent Democrats, especially Clinton and Edwards, took from the debacle in Iraq. I’m not alone in that curiosity, and today's speech was tremendously encouraging. The speech was perhaps most notable for [...]


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Goodling's Testimony

Nothing earthshaking.  Just more icing on the cake...


Monica Goofling: I’ts Not A Crime If You Don’t Mean It To Be



So the much anticipated testimony of former Justice Department flack Monica Goofling (The “GOP’s Monica” as HuffPo puts it) was revealing if for only she basically admitted she “crossed the line” with her behavior in Attorney-gate, but doesn’t think it was illegal because she didn’t “intend to commit a crime.” Get a load of this exchange [...]



Leahy says it was still important stuff, because:


Leahy: Goodling Testimony "Confirms Our Worst Fears"



Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) reacts to Goodling's testimony today: “It is curious that yet another senior Justice Department official claims to have limited involvement in compiling the list that led to the firings of several well-performing federal prosecutors [....]




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The Defections Begin

It's looking like quite a few Democrats may vote against the Iraq War Funding Bill, because they're upset that the party leadership agreed to remove all timetables from the plan.


Defections Now Likely on Iraq bill



Liberal Democrats who reluctantly have backed House leaders on the Iraq spending bill may defect due to the leadership's decision to eliminate any timeline for withdrawal from the legislation. Funding the troops means more troops [...]


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Looking To The Future

There's much yelling and shouting going on today (on both sides) about the War Funding Bill in Congress.  Over at The Left Coaster, Steve Soto has some well-modulated thoughts about what the future needs to hold...


Plan Now For The Fall Budget Battle Over Iraq



A day after the funding deal was reached, it is now time to figure out what to do next. There is a short term and mid-term course of action. For the short term, as others have noted, Democrats in each house should vote against the supplemental to demonstrate that they are against the GOP’s auto-pilot rubber stamping of this war. Let Mitch McConnell and John Boehner worry about assembling the majorities for their blank checks. Some would say that this is wrong because [...]


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Pesky Emails

Greg Palast understands self-promotion and he handles it quite well.  This is really a push for his new book, but it contains some information germane to the Goodling testimony today in Congress. Interesting stuff.  Read on...


Journalist with BBC Has Rove Office Emails



Goodling/Sampson Obstruction of Justice evidence? For immediate release Wednesday 23 May BBC Television’s Newsnight has 500 “missing” Rove office emails, including a series of self-incriminating notes which provide “the keys to the kingdom” behind the prosecutor firings. In the opening to today’s testimony before Congress, Monica Goodling, former Department of Justice White House Liaison, testified that Deputy Attorney [...]


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The Numbers Game

If you're a seriously intense political geek, you probably soak up all the polls you can find.  I tend to shy away from the 2008 election numbers until we get closer to the caucuses and primaries. However, I stumbled on a couple of sets of numbers today that deserve a mention:


Wave Of New Iowa Polls Shakes Things Up



Iowa, the state which decided it all back in 2004, is getting really, really interesting right now. With four polls conducted in Heaven in the last week, trends completely different from the national picture are emerging: [...]


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Altering The Truth

It didn't take long for a Dem to jump on this one.  It ain't about solving the Iraq War,. but it IS something that needs to be investigated.


House investigating Smithsonian global warming exhibit.



Earlier in the week, AP reported that the “Smithsonian Institution toned down an exhibit on climate change in the Arctic for fear of angering Congress and the Bush administration.” House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming Chairman Ed Markey (D-MA) has sent the Smithsonian a letter notifying the institution that he is starting [...]


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Dinner Time

Hungry soldiers aren't happy soldiers. The bad guys have found an efficient way to get right to the core of our troops.


We're Hurting Our Troops



Some brave soul in the U.S. military sent Pat Lang a memo issued Monday that shows the U.S. ability to support its troops is collapsing and very vulnerable to disruption...The memo states: "Due to a theater-wide delay in food delivery, menu selections will be limited for the near future.  While every effort will be made to provide balanced meals, it may not be possible to offer the dishes you are used to seeing at each meal.  Fresh fruits and salad bar items will also be severely limited or [...]


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Out Before He Was In

Another one bites the dust.


Lobbyist-turned-Bush nominee withdraws.



“President Bush’s pick to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission withdrew his nomination Wednesday amid strong opposition from some Senate Democrats.” Michael Baroody, a senior lobbyist at the National Association of Manufacturers, was set to receive an [...]


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ABC's Iran Report

There's a sizable glogosphere blowup today over ABC's report last night on covert CIA operations in Iran. Lots of shouts of "treason" from conservative commenters. But, it gets worse from that point.  Carpetbagger sorts through the chaf...


With an eye on Iran



ABC News reported yesterday that the Bush administration’s interest in regime change in Iran continues unabated. The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert “black” operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com. The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because [...]



Over at Pandagon, Amanda Marcotte analyzes some of the "better" comments on the ABC blog..


Bush’s ratings will never drop below 25% for a reason



Jonathan suggested, in this post about ABC reporting that the Bush administration has authorized the CIA to take covert actions to destabilize the Iranian government, not to read the comments at ABC. But because everyone was joking at Drinking Liberally last night at the fact that Bush’s poll ratings stubbornly stay between 25-30%, I [...]



Any connection?


Navy Stages Latest Show Of Force Off Iran Coast



The U.S. Navy staged its latest show of military force off the Iranian coastline on Wednesday, sending two aircraft carriers and landing ships packed with 17,000 U.S. Marines and sailors to carry out unannounced exercises in the Persian Gulf. The carrier strike groups led by the USS John C. Stennis and USS Nimitz were joined by [...]



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Funding The War

There are dozens of posts about the Iraq War funding proposal proposal approved by Congressional Democrats.  The general concensus from both sides? The Democrats caved and gave President Bush a huge victory.  Many of the comments are long-winded.  Rachel Maddow summed it all up in just a few lines.


Dear Congressional Democrats: Are you freaking kidding me?



Dear Congressional Democrats: Are you freaking kidding me?  Why do you guys think you won the elections in November?  Because the American people were clamoring for reconstruction funds for Iraq to be linked to optional benchmarks?  Bullpucky.  You were put in power because [...]



Some of the conservative bloggers are trying to hold down the celebrating, but many commenters aren't buying it:


The job's not done until the last cow is in the barn.



Now's not the time for gloating. Remember the end game. Our troops continue to need their support, however antagonistic it may be, to successfully complete their mission. Now's the time to keep on reminding our democrat legislators, kicking and screaming [...]




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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

We Do WHAT?!?!?

Absolutely unbelievable. 


Bush Outsources the Task of Catching bin Laden



NBC's Jim Miklaszewski reports on how the Bush administration pays the Pakistani government $1 billion a year to hunt down Osama bin Laden, and demands zero accountability as to how that money is spent...So if I understand this correctly, we are paying Musharraf $1 billion a year to strike [...]


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One More Time

I'm going to let Think Progress debunk Tony Snow's comments today. Again.  For the 101st time...


Snow Slams Gore’s Book, Suggests It Should Be ‘Reprinted’ Because It Calls Out Bush’s ‘Deception’



In his new book The Assault on Reason, Al Gore wrote that Bush’s efforts to connect Iraq to 9/11 were an example of the administration’s willful “deception” of the public: When the administration is told specifically and repeatedly by the most authoritative sources that there is no linkage, but then in spite of the best evidence [...]



And the response is? via Dave Johnson at Seeing the  Forest...


Gore Responds to White House



I am on a call with Al Gore. Gore just responded to White House press secretary Tony Snow, who said, “I don’t know if they’re going to do a reprinting of the book to try to get the facts straight [....]




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From Another Neighbor

We took a jab at neighboring Missouri earlier.  Now, let's turn our attention to our friends to the south.  In Louisiana, where the story is about race.  And relations. And criminal charges. All of that, but so much more.


Under the White Shade Tree



Jena High School: The school’s colors are black and gold, but the preferred color is white.Photo: LaSalle Parish Schools It’s 2007, isn’t it? I’m a little scatterbrained sometimes, and not always aware of the date, but I just checked the little clock in the corner of my computer screen, here, and, yes! [...]


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It's A Matter of Perspective

It's always entertaining to compare how one story is handled by blogs on both the left and right.  Case in point, a report about how much John Edwards has been paid for a speech.  First, from the right:


The Left's Hero, John Edwards



The headline: Edwards charges $55,000 to speak to UC Davis students about poverty I don't even [...]



Same story, from the left:


Edwards Hammered for Speaking Fees



John Edwards is getting hammered now for--gasp--accepting money to speak at universities about poverty. But if you compare the relatively modest $55,000 fee paid by UC Davis for a presentation about poverty in America in January 2006 to Rudy Giuliani's $100,000 per-engagement fee to pawn his "principles of leadership", I think you can get a [...]


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Priorities. Priorities.

That must be the excuse.  But, what it heaven's name could have been more important?


Marine Corps waited almost 18 months to act on priority request for bomb-proof vehicles to protect against IEDs in Iraq



It's not just that they didn't fill the order in 18 months, they didn't even ACT on the request to fill the order for 18 months. Our troops were dying every day from these IEDs, Bush was threatening to go to war with Iran over these IEDs, and these people didn't even think it was important to even start the process of getting them the protection they needed for a good year and a half. And now we're going to [...]


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From Right Up The Road

Another installment of "At Least It Didn't Happen in Arkansas"...


Who's Your Daddy?




A very weird tale from the Show Me State (via Dan Collins at Protein Wisdom):Twin brothers Raymon and Richard Miller are the father and uncle to a 3-year-old little girl. The problem is, they don't know which is which. Or [...]

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Oh, Great

Let's hope the forecasts are wrong again this year.  Of course, it only takes one big one....


U.S. Govt Forecasts Active Atlantic Hurricane Season



WASHINGTON, May 22 (Reuters) - The 2007 Atlantic hurricane season will be active with 13 to 17 named storms, seven or 10 of which are expected to become hurricanes, the U.S. government's top climate agency predicted on Tuesday. Of the seven to 10 hurricanes forecast, three [...]


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One Last Chance

I'm not betting on an affirmative reponse.  Are  you?


Dems Give Rove One Last Opportunity To Testify Before Subpoena



Via TPMuckraker: The House Judiciary Committee is prepared to use subpoenas to compel the testimony of Karl Rove and other White House officials, Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and subcomittee Chairwoman Linda Sanchez (D-CA) warned White House counsel Fred Fielding today. "We are today writing to express our extreme disappointment in the White House's rebuff of efforts [...]


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Incompetence

Plain and simple. $63 million a year worth of incompetence.


‘Is there no adult supervision?’



Great, now the Bush administration is broadcasting terrorist messages in the Middle East as part of our diplomatic outreach. On the incompetence-o-meter, this one might bury the needle. Al Hurra television, the U.S. government’s $63 million-a-year effort at public diplomacy broadcasting in the Middle East, is run by executives and officials who cannot speak Arabic, according [...]


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Journalistic Integrity, Indeed

I'm sure it was an innocent mistake (wink, wink). But it sure makes Fox News look bad.  Amateur Hour, at best...


Fox News Falsely Declares Bush Winner Of Iraq Funding Standoff -- Contradicting Its Own Reporting



...As you can see, the line on the screen reads: "PRESIDENT WINS SHOWDOWN OVER IRAQ FUNDING"  The funny thing about this is that Wendell Goler, the Fox reporter pictured above, was simultaneously saying that negotiations between the White House and the Dem Congressional leadership are continuing. More to the point [...]


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Another Day, Another Hit

This continues to be a big story, it really does.  Plus, for me, it offers the added fascination of a key Arkansas connection that just keeps getting bigger.


New Documents Confirm Gonzales Lied To Senator About Plan To Install Rove Protege As U.S. Attorney



On Dec. 15, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) had their second phone conversation regarding the appointment of Karl Rove-protege Tim Griffin as the new U.S. attorney in Arkansas. In April 19 testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gonzales said that when Pryor objected to Griffin’s appointment, Gonzales promised to find [...]


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In The Basement

New numbers on Presidential Support.  PoliPundit has the numbers and a question. I have the answer.  First, the facts:


Fifteen percent (15%) Strongly Approve



Who on earth is in the "15%?" For the third straight day, just 34% of American adults Approve of the way that George W. Bush is performing his duties as President. That’s the lowest level ever recorded by Rasmussen Reports (see comments on comparing Approval Ratings from different polling firms). Fifteen [ ...]



Who is in the 15%?  People like a member of my family.  I got into a short debate on the phone this past weekend, talking about the Bush Administration and Democrats vs. Republicans. One comment stopped me in my tracks.  He said (paraphrasing, but you'll get the gist) "Ya' know, if the Democrats didn't spend all their time running around looking for ways to make George Bush look bad, they might get something done.  All they've done is promise, promise, promise and now they're doing nothing, except cook up ways to slam Bush."  I guess my debating skills are lacking.  I couldn't come up with a comeback.


Oh, before you run off, here's another poll:  31 percent.


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War Spending

Looks like they're still haggling over the War Appropriations bill in Congress. Positive sign? Perhaps. There's good reading just head; a great summary of what some talented writers are saying:


Stalled?



Yesterday an Associated Press story said, in effect, the Dems were capitulating to Bush’s demands for a condition-free Iraq appropriation bill. I didn’t comment on it because I noticed there was no corroboration from other news sources, which made me think the story was inaccurate. Sure enough; the AP jumped the gun a tad. Today Carl [...]



UPDATE:  Just a bit later, we find this:


Dodd and Feingold Fighting The Good Fight On Iraq


UPDATE 2: The liberal bloggers ain't happy:


CNN: Dems to give Bush blank check on Iraq



Sorry, but that's exactly what it is. More from CNN. In my view, they blustered and they blinked. Yeah, it's nice that the Dems attached the minimum wage, and I'm happy about that, but that's not really the point is it? We're in a war that is [...]




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The Impeachment Issue

I don't think Congress should take up valuable time dealing with any proposal to impeach President Bush.  There are simply too many other things that need to be addressed.  That being said, the numbers in a new (unscientific) survey are quite astounding. And, it does appear that the system won't let you submit multiple votes from the same computer/ip address.


Should Bush Be Impeached?



Go over to MSNBC and vote.  429,860 votes so far with 88% saying yes. Of course this is unscientific, but the numbers are astounding nonetheless. For a little context, check out what the polls said for Clinton and what they're now saying for Bush. Wow. To get an idea of how it work, check out [...]


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More Troops On The Way

I'll bet they tried really hard to keep the lid on this one.  Didn't work, though.


Bush implementing secret second "surge" in Iraq



The actual surge could be 46,000 combat troops, rather than the 21,000 that Bush claimed to Congress and to the nation. He's asking for another $100 million from Congress this [...]


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In Hot Water

REALLY hot water. Having read through all the filings, it's going to be tough to talk himself out of these allegations.


Fmr GOP State Senator Arrested for Child Rape, Molestation of Pages



John prefers that we not swear in our posts, so I'm going to let the links speak for themselves, since if I do any more than that, I'm liable to unleash a tirade of profanities that would make a sailor blush. DailyKos: (A)t least Mark Foley never physically acted on his nefarious impulses.  Former South Dakota [...]


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Pay Raise For The Troops

I'm thinking there's got to be a loophole in play here.  If not, Arlen Parsa has a huge story over at BradBlog...


EXCLUSIVE: Proposed Bush Pay Raise for Troops Serving in Iraq, Afghanistan Violates Federal Law



Recently the Bush Administration and Democratically-controlled Congress were at odds over how much to pay US soldiers serving in the most dangerous places in the world: Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress said that the troops should get a raise of 3.5%, while the Administration said any raise higher than 3% was not [...]


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Conspiracy Theory?

Or a frightening, hidden, reality? It's all about a really big highway, designed with ulterior motives.


Urban legend of "North American Union" feeds on fears



We're talking about the secret plan to build a superhighway, a giant 10- to 12-lane production, from the Yucat√°n to the Yukon. This "SuperCorridor" would allow the really big part of the plan to take place: the merging of the governments of Canada, the United States and [...]


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Gearing Up

Getting his followers in gear for the campaign debate, Kos is looking to YouTube for help. And, ya know, it's not a plan without merit.


Videotape everything they do



Every appearance by a top Republican official or candidate should be recorded. Every one of them. All it takes is one "Macaca" incident to transform a race or create one where one didn't exist. As the Montana incident blogged earlier today showed, a video can knock out prospective candidates before they even enter. And this is no longer about finding one big blunder to put on a campaign commercial. It's about [...]


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McCain's Outburst of the Day

Seems like the hits just keep on comin', for a hot-tempered John McCain. Warning, censored nasty words on the link.  Be warned, if you're overly sensitive to such things.


Unhinged McCain apologizes for one outburst, starts another



On Friday, during a back-room discussion on the new immigration-reform package, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) started shouting at Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who dared to disagree with him on the legislation. Apparently, McCain accused Cornyn of raising petty objections, and Cornyn accused McCain of having dropped in without taking part in [...]


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Monday, May 21, 2007

What An Attitude

I worked for a News Director who said something darn close to this.  Last I knew, he kept a copy of a critical newspaper article in prominent view in his office.  As a reminder.


Zinsmeister: ‘I’ll Never Hire Another Woman Because They Just Get Pregnant And Leave’



Karl Zinsmeister is currently President Bush’s chief domestic policy adviser, hired when Claude Allen stepped down after being charged with shoplifting. Before joining the White House, Zinsmeister was editor in chief of The American Enterprise, the conservative think tank’s magazine. In a piece he wrote in 1996, Zinsmeister stated, “[C]olorblindness has become a real [...]


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It's Gore Vs. Bush

Deja vu, all over again.  Except, this time, it's the printed word.


New Gore Book Slams Bush: "[He} Has Repeatedly Violated The Law For Six Years"



When former Vice President Al Gore hosted "Saturday Night Live" in December 2002 he appeared in a skit that compared his vice presidential selection process from two years before to the dating reality TV show "The Bachelor." In one scene Gore appeared in a hot tub with a faux Joe Lieberman, both of them shirtless, drinking champagne, arms locked, romance in the air. Anyone then looking for clues to see if Gore would run for president in 2004 probably had no trouble discerning that an exploratory committee was not in the cards. Almost five years later, Gore still says he has no plans to run for president, but his latest book, "The Assault On Reason," is so searingly critical of the Bush administration it's hard to discern what [...]


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Must Read for Today

And, of course, check out the comments.  Hardly a mention anywhere about this, but it seems to be worthy of passing along.  Do your Senators and Representatives know about this?


Bush Wants Full Control Of Government During Catastrophic Attack



Via The Progressive: With scarcely a mention in the mainstream media, President Bush has ordered up a plan for responding to a catastrophic attack. Under that plan, he entrusts himself with leading the entire federal government, not just the Executive Branch. And he gives himself the responsibility “for ensuring constitutional government.” He laid this all out in a [...]


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Thompson's Trickery

How in the world do they think they can get away with stuff like this? How?


‘Fred Thompson’s Little Red Truck’



That former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) is moving forward with a presidential bid is hardly open to question anymore. Today, he hired a campaign manager (a former top aide to H.W. Bush), which is usually a reliable precursor to an announcement. With this in mind, we can now expect the onslaught of little-red-truck stories. A few [...]


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Living On Foodstamps

They're proving it's not easy...


TSA Confiscates Congressman’s Last Meal During Food Stamp Challenge



Today, four members of Congress conclude the Congressional Food Stamp Challenge, in which lawmakers chose to live “on three dollars of food per day, the same amount an average participant in the Food Stamp Program receives.” One of the participants, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), “stuck to the challenge” even as he traveled to speak at [...]


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Something Fishy This Way Comes...

Just read between the lines...It's looking like this was NOT the ambush, as described originally.


The Missing Soldiers Mystery



Something hasn't smelled right about this one from the start. But when we got news that local Iraqis were involved it became even more suspect. One thing seems clear to me now. Our soldiers were targeted for a hit [....]


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And, So...

Just who's in charge?


Iraqi Leadership Gone Missing



Juan Cole notes today that of the six men who actually run Iraq, one of them is in Iran getting chemotherapy for his lung cancer; one is in hiding; and one, improbably, is in the U.S. seeking [...]


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Timetable on A Showdown

Here's the big question:  Does Congress have enough time to force the White House to comply with all these recent requests?  Or will we just see a political tapdance that goes on and on and on...


Under Pressure: The Congressional Subpoena



Congress and the administration keep getting closer and closer to the edge. As part of the U.S. attorney firings investigation, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) has threatened to subpoena Karl Rove and other White House officials, a [...]


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The Money Trail

Talk about a surprising report!  Just dig in...


Dems Outraising GOP -- In The South!



Now here's an interesting subplot to the story of the success Dem Presidential candidates are having -- the Dems appear to actually be outraising their GOP counterparts in, of all places, the GOP stronghold of the south. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tallied up the numbers and reached some startling conclusions: "Something unusual happens to the political map when it's overlain [...]


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Another U.S. Attorney Speaks Out

And he, like so many others, is angry, unhappy and VERY questioning...


McKay suggests his ouster was ‘possibly illegal.’



“Fired U.S. Attorney John McKay said Sunday he believes the Justice Department is covering up the real reason for his ouster. … ‘I still don’t know if the 2004 governor’s election was the principal reason I was asked to step down,’ McKay said in a speech. … ‘If it was, I think it is an [...]


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Legal Teachings

From a legal point of view, it doesn't seem that the students are learning "fair and balanced".  Not at all..


Number of Evangelical Law Schools Growing



This is about the scariest article I have read in a while. It begins with Jerry Falwell and his Liberty University dream of "training a new generation of lawyers, judges, educators, policymakers and world leaders in law from the perspective of an explicitly Christian worldview." Then it lists the other law schools in the mold. The number is growing...These schools exist to teach the students how to circumvent the constitution, eliminate the separation of church and state and deprive all of us of [...]


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New Name

Familiar story.  And, yes, it has connections to the U.S. Attorney scandals in Arkansas and Missouri..


Hans von Spakovsky



Greg Gordon writes for McClatchy Newspapers that Hans von Spakovsky, a Justice Department lawyer now serving on the Federal Election Commission, allegedly used his position to prevent minorities from voting. During four years as a Justice Department civil rights lawyer, Hans von Spakovsky went so far in a crusade against voter fraud as to warn of [...]


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The Carter Comments

Jimmy Carter came out swinging against the Bush Administration over the weekend, via an interview with our very own Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Now, he's saying he might have been misinterpreted.  I haven't seen a response from the Dem-Zette, yet.  But...


Carter Says Remarks on Bush 'Careless'



 ATLANTA (AP) - Former President Jimmy Carter said Monday his remarks were ``careless or misinterpreted'' when he said the Bush administration has been the ``worst in history'' for its impact around the world. Speaking on NBC's ``Today,'' Carter appeared to retreat from a [...]



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Tall In The Saddle

Harry Reid's locked, loaded and ready for bear...


Harry Reid is Proving He’s the New Sheriff in Town



Good for Harry Reid… Two can play at Bush’s game and this summer Bush may lose: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a little trick up his sleeve that could spell an end to President Bush’s devilish recess appointments of controversial figures like former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton. We hear that over the long [...]


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