Friday, August 31, 2007

The Holiday Weekend Is Here

Don't look for an abundance of posts for a few days.  We're dogsitting for our son and his wife this weekend.  That means a house full of pups and, most likely, not a lot of free time to plow through bloglines.  By the way, bloglines has a pretty nifty new beta you can play with at I'm bouncing back and forth between it and the old version.  The major issue I have with the new ajax version is a small technical thing - when I copy and paste a headline from bloglines into Qumana, the headline font supersizes.  So, I either have to manually change that or stick with the old version of bloglines.  If I solve one thing this weekend, that's my target. 

To start things off this Friday evening (which, by the way, is just a tad bit cooler around here than has been the norm for the past several weeks. This is a good thing.) I'm cherry-picking a couple of posts from the venerable AMERICAblog.  I really respect and admire the folks who thoughtfully post on issues over there.  It's a great one to add to your bloglines and stay updated. And, I sense that what would have been considered a radical leftist position have become much more mainstream in the past couple of years...

CNN's host Glenn Beck says New Orleans should not be rebuilt

Okay, Jonathan Kaplan and CNN, make up your mind about New Orleans [...]

As expected, Petraeus sees progress -- just like Bush

No need to wait for the official report. Nope. Petraeus already has his talking points down: "The U.S. troop surge in Iraq has thrown al Qaeda off balance and led to a reduction in [...]

P.S. - At the request of a couple of regular readers, I've change the number of posts on the first page, so it should load faster.  However, that means you'll usually need to click the "older posts" link at the bottom of the page to get to more of the current posts.  Don't be afraid to do that!  I'm putting ten posts on the first page now, instead of three days worth of posts. And there are frequently more than ten posts on any given day...thus, you'll need to click the "more posts" link.  Let me know if it's too much of a hassle. Oh, yeah.  As long as we're chatting, don't forget the "comments"...feel free to use 'em. 

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One To Bookmark

Bookmark the following post and check back occasionally over the weekend.  If you're from the left, the original post will aggravate the heck out of you and leave you shaking your head.  But, don't give up.  Plow through the comments to get a good feel of where both the left and right stand on the war.  It's quite amazing. Try to figure out how both sides can feel so strongly about their positions. Bookmark it because the comments will continue to grow all weekend long.

The Dratted War Just Isn't Going According to Plan!

Democrat plan, that is. Remember back in January where the President was supposedly on the political ropes and would shortly be forced to begin withdrawing from Iraq? "Lame Duck" didn't even begin to describe President Bush as that time -...Democrat plan, that is. Remember back in January where the President was supposedly on the political ropes and would shortly be forced to begin withdrawing from Iraq? "Lame Duck" didn't even begin to describe President Bush as that time - [...]


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Progress Report

Sure, it's going much, much, better over in Iraq.  Everywhere you turn there are signs of progress, right? Sorry, but I'm just not seeing it. 

‘We should start over’

The National Intelligence Estimate said Iraq is a bloody mess unlikely to improve anytime soon. The Government Accountability Office says Iraq is not making any political or military progress. And an independent examination of the Iraqi police shows a force that is so far gone, it might need to be scrapped altogether. An independent commission established by [...]

And, from Juan Cole, what may be one of the most important and concise posts of the evening..

Arguments over Night of the Living Dead in Iraq

...I personally find the controversy about Iraq in Washington to be bizarre. Are they really arguing about whether the situation is improving? I mean, you have the Night of the Living Dead over there. People lack potable water, cholera has broken out even in the good areas, a third of people are hungry, a doubling of the internally displaced to at least 1.1 million, and a million pilgrims dispersed just this week by militia infighting in a supposedly safe all-Shiite area. The government has all but collapsed, with even the formerly cooperative sections of the Sunni Arab political class withdrawing [...]

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Mining Disaster

It's not simply the loss of life. That's bad enough.  The information below is enough to gag any reasonable person..

Red Blood, Black Rock

Imagine you are in charge of safety for those laboring in America's mines.  Now imagine you don't really care whether one, ten, or a hundred of these men and women die.  All you care about is saving money for the corporations which are your real master.  Once you have that mindset down, you're almost ready for a spot with the Bush administration.  You just have to take one more step.  You have to be willing to take the broken bodies of those who have died through your own negligence and hold them up as reasons to reward those who collaborated in their deaths.  That's exactly what [...]

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Time To Do It

Finally, from Florida comes a Congressman with guts...

Now, More Than Ever…

Rep. Kendrick Meek on accountability and Iraq… Rep. Meek is asking for some help in making certain that your elected representatives know how you feel about Iraq.  It’s time to stand up and say “enough.” “The American people are asking for our troops to come home. I think that should be the goal of the Congress - [...]

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Yet Another Problem

I know the list is already long; the list of problematic situations in Iraq. But, there's yet another issue to add...cholera.

The occupation that just keeps on giving (2).

Cholera is on the rise in northern Iraq as sanitation and medical systems break down from the stresses of coping with thousands of internal refugees. So far, 5000 people have been afflicted with the disease. ""The disease is spreading very fast," Dr Juan Abdallah, a senior official in Kurdistan's health ministry, told a UN agency. "It is the first outbreak of its kind here in [...]

Now, just watch - somebody is going to take that last phrase and say, "See, the war's been underway for a long time and this is the FIRST outbreak, so that's really a pretty good record".  Or something equally silly.  Oh, by the way, here's another "issue":

U.S. Says Company Bribed Officers for Work in Iraq

An American-owned company paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to U.S. officers in efforts to win more than $11 million in contracts [...].

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Tonight's "Must Read"

I wish I had the time (and talent) to pull together posts like the following.  It's based on a newspaper column, embellished with salient thoughts from the post's author.  It wraps up so many good points in a single post that I can't help but be impressed.  I believe you will be, too.  via Mahablog..

The Road to Serfdom

Today’s Paul Krugman column is a must read. Shorter version: We are all New Orleans now. Today, much of the Gulf Coast remains in ruins. Less than half the federal money set aside for rebuilding, as opposed to emergency relief, has actually been spent, in part because the Bush administration refused to waive the requirement [...]

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Spying On Americans

That's the simple way of saying it.  Read the following excellent post by Glenn Greenwald and remember, it's talking about how widespread such spying was long ago.  Long before the current administration opened the floodgates of warrantless wiretapping, etc...

Warrantless surveillance and the new Coretta Scott King disclosures

...There is a long and recent record demonstrating that surveillance powers, when exercised against Americans without oversight, will be abused. And that record just got longer and more disturbing, thanks to a superb investigative report from a local television news station in Houston, which obtained the previously secret FBI surveillance file on Coretta Scott King. Here is what happens when we allow our political leaders to [...]

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Murdered By Marines

It is a tragedy of war...still, somebody should be held accountable.

Marine in Haditha Ordered to Execute Women, Children

Rob Woollard reports for Agence France-Presse, "A US Marine was ordered to execute a room full of Iraqi women and children during an alleged massacre in Haditha that left 24 people dead, a military court heard Thursday." [...]

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Is He For Real?

Mike Huckabee.  From Arkansas.  To the amazement of many back home, his campaign is picking up steam and he's getting some great press. First the latest poll...

Huckabee Gets Big Bounce in IA, NH and SC

Then, as noted by the Arkansas Times blog, more very positive bits of big-time press coverage...

The Iowa bounce


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Slimed In The Green Zone

Give me a break! One incredulous report after another. It's become almost routine. Almost the norm.  Then, you stumble across one that makes you take a deep breath and sigh...

Petraeus Proving To Be A Political Hack

I have been extremely careful in not labelling General David Petraeus as essentially becoming a political hack for the Bush Administration's Iraq policy. I have argued that he will deliver a soldier's report, one intent on shoring up support for a mission he believes in and feels he can accomplish. I have always argued he can not be, by definition, an honest evaluator of his own strategy and performance. That just seems common sense to me. But it is becoming increasingly clear, for even someone like me that really does not want to believe it, that General Petraeus and his operation have chosen to become political hacks doing [...]

UPDATE: AMERICAblog has more:

Spinning members of Congress in Baghdad: Lobster tortellini, cheat sheets and children's cartoons

The Bush administration has been in full campaign mode over the Iraq war since it started. They've put enormous time and resources into messaging the war, not so much into a strategy to extricate the U.S. from the quagmire. Over the past week, there have been several article demonstrating the public relations push the Bush team made with members of Congress visiting Iraq this [...]

From the other side: Troops to "Surrender Democrats": Up Yours

The Washington Post headline caught the self-pity of a couple of antiwar congressmen: "Lawmakers Describe 'Being Slimed in the Green Zone' "  —  If they were "slimed," it was with their own words.  As these congressmen visited Iraq […]

There was this one, little, incident that couldn't quite be managed by PR..

Iraq: Close Call for Congressional Delegation

A close call in Iraq leaves me wondering 'what if?'. What if this attack had succeeded? Congressional sources confirmed late Thursday that a military transport plane carrying three Republican senators and a Democratic representative was attacked by either missiles or rocket-propelled grenades after taking off from the Baghdad airport. Sens. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., Mel Martinez, R-Fla., and Rep. Robert E. “Bud” Cramer, D-Ala., were uninjured after their C-130 transport plane took evasive measures and dispatched flares to avoid the incoming fire. Shelby recounted the incident [...]

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Funding The War

Always keep in mind that the money has to come from somewhere.  It doesn't just magically appear, no matter how fast Washington wants to spend it.

It's not $50 billion. It's $200 billion.

George W. Bush is not asking for $50 billion in additional appropriations for Iraq. He's upping his already pending ask for $147 billion by $50 billion more. Four years and already nearly a half trillion (with a "t") dollars in, the president now seeks an additional $200 billion? And we're thinking of giving it to him? Seventy-plus percent of America wants us out. Less than a quarter of Americans support the president in anything he does. Democrats hold the majority in both houses of Congress. And this president is asking for [...]

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Upside Down

Isn't this the kind of thing that Republicans typically accuse Democrats of doing?

Today's Housing Bubble Post - Bailout With Taxpayer Dollars

Have you been responsibly managing your debt? Have you been sacrificing so you don't get in over your head? Saving instead of borrowing? Accepting lower returns on your money rather than getting greedy and taking on high risk for higher yields? Sucker. Bush announced "home loan relief" today. What does this mean? In short, a huge taxpayer transfer to the rich. Partly by moving [...]

Steve Soto writes that, yes, it is a Democratic-style idea, but he likes it --

For Once, Doing The Right Thing

Sure, he's stealing Democratic proposals and packaging them as an administration initiative, but I applaud Bush for getting involved in the mortage meltdown and putting forward an agenda to help homeowners keep their homes. When you are president, you have the luxury of [...]

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That's what pushed the American Cancer Society to this:

Cancer Society Devotes Entire Ad Budget To Inadequate Health Care

In a stark departure from past practice, the American Cancer Society plans to devote its entire $15 million advertising budget this year not to smoking cessation or colorectal screening but to the consequences of inadequate health coverage. The campaign was born of the group's frustration that [...]

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Good To His Word

Tony Snow tipped his hand earlier this month, telling reporters he would be stepping down as White House Press Secretary. But, I think, the speed with which he made it official is a bit surprising.

Tony Snow Resigns

The White House announced Press Secretary Tony Snow’s much speculated resignation today: President Bush announced Friday that press secretary Tony Snow, who has waged a battle with cancer while manning the White House lectern, will resign and be replaced by his deputy, Dana Perino, on Sept. 14. “It’s been joy to watch him spar with you,” [...]


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That Didn't Last Long

Less than 24 hours.  The celebrating is over.  Done. Kapput.

Same-sex marriages halted in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- A minister married two men outside an Iowa home Friday morning, sealing the state's first legal same-sex wedding. But it also could be one of the last. Judge Robert Hanson issues a stay less than 24 hours after he threw out Iowa's ban on gay marriage [...]

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Expect Nothing Less

Our current administration is a PR juggernaut. Thank goodness there are a few fine folks around who are willing to dismantle some of what the White House puts together..

Pentagon rigs the numbers

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Good For Them

Here's an absolutely excellent example of how to counter an inappropriate move with an appropriate one...

Take Your “No Child Left Behind” Bonus and…

As a certified teacher myself, I can’t tell you how angry NCLB makes me. High performance on standardized tests are an indication of the wealth and whiteness of a school district, and are NO indication of student learning. And the states continue to push the [...]

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Time Will Tell

If this has any chance of working this weekend..

Iraqi Calls for Broader Cease-Fire

The Iraqi government called on all armed groups to join a cease-fire declared this week by Moktada al-Sadr [...]

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Old Enough To Fight

But, apparently, not old enough to make up their own minds about what they read...

U.S. Military Censors ThinkProgress

ThinkProgress is now banned from the U.S. military network in Baghdad. Recently, an avid ThinkProgress reader — a U.S. soldier serving his second tour in Iraq — wrote to us and said that he can no longer access The error message he received: The ban began sometime shortly after Aug. 22, when Ret. Maj. Gen. [...]

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Warning! Warning!

Okay, kids.  Put down that cell phone. Right now!

Study: Ten Minutes On Cell Phone Can Trigger Cancer

Just when you thought it was safe to talk on your cell phone. Now some scientists say there is a chance that talking on a mobile phone for as little as 10 minutes could trigger changes in the brain that are associated with cancer, according to a story published on [...]


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Another One For The Bush Files

There are several folks who delight in keep track of "Bush-isms" - thoe times when the President just doesn't seem to make much sense.  Here's one for the books...

Say What, Mr. President?!? Interpretation Needed

Have a look at this from the President and see if you can tell me what he’s trying to say: "Q So you need those Australian troops there. THE PRESIDENT: We need all our coalition partners. And I would hope that — and I understand, look, everybody has got their own internal politics. My only point is, [...]


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Thursday, August 30, 2007

NOLA Reconstruction

Our actual "introductory post" for the evening is just below this one.  However, I've been looking for this Greg Palast report for a couple of days now. FireDogLake came through (during halftime of the LSU/Mississippi State football game) with a link to the details.  It's truly hard to believe that it's happening in such a wonderful old city, just a few hours to our south..

From the People Who Brought You Iraq Reconstruction….

Greg Palast tells the story of some residents of New Orleans who were forced out of their homes — their nice, undamaged-by-flooding homes — and are being kept out at gunpoint. Why? Apparently because these residents are black and impoverished, and the plan is to turn New Orleans into an upscale majority-white city: “They wanted them [...]

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Thank goodness someone cares. It will be most interesting to compare next week's report with the one leaked to the Washington Post.  And to compare the Post's report with the strategy assessment next month. It's rapidly approaching the point (or, perhaps, we're already there) where it's impossible to trust anything we hear out of Washington.  Has this truth/lies rift always been around?  Am I just becoming more cynical in my old age? There was, after all, Watergate and Deep Throat.  Thank goodness for the whistleblowers who care...

Fortunately there are still a few people in the U.S. government who want Americans to hear the truth

A draft of a GAO report on progress in Iraq has been leaked to the Washington Post, because an unidentified government official "feared that its pessimistic conclusions would be watered down in the final version -- as some officials have said happened with security judgments in this month's National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq": "Iraq has failed to meet all but three of 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks for political and military progress, according to [...]

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Troubled Schools

I won't deny that there are problems with America's public school system, in general.  However, I'm not willing to place the blame where this blogger wants to place it.  I think there are bigger issues, caused by both parties, that need to be addressed.  That's why we've seen an increase in homeschooling, private schools and charter schools.  However, it's becoming increasingly difficult for families to afford some of those options.  Try to convince those folks that the economy is doing "just fine".  The only option for many is public school.  And, in my mind, making school voluntary, not mandatory, is NOT the answer.  Let the debate begin...

Oh, For Crying out Loud...

Is there anyone who will really defend the public school systems any more? About 20 percent of students enrolled in D.C. public schools were absent on the second day of class this week, according to attendance records provided by school [...]

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A Week To Remember

Or, if you're the President of the United States, it might be a week to forget.  via Crooks and Liars..

David Shuster Breaks Down President Bush’s Bad Week

And it’s only Wednesday. Today on Hardball, David Shuster gave a scathing rundown of what has been a horrific week for President Bush and the Republican Party. Starting with the president’s awkward visit to New Orleans to mark the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the “Brownie” moment, Shuster then moves to the resignation of [...]

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Hands in the Air

I'm thinking this analysis is a tad overstated, but SOMETHING'S going on at the Pentagon. And it looks like next months's "Strategy Assessment" is going to look a bit different than anyone expected..

Pentagon Gives Up; Hands War Over to Bush

Mark it down.  August 29, 2007.  That’s the day the Pentagon announced it was done being responsible for Mr. Bush’s waste of lives, time, and money in Iraq.  Tonight, the Defense Department has essentially told the President, "Thanks for the war, George, but it’s all you from here on out, [...]

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Best Line of the Day

Tucked at the bottom of a short article on TVNewser, a widely-read television news website, is the most telling quote of the day: Producers have a hard time getting Republican presidentail candidates to agree to morning show interviews.  Afraid of tough questions? It also might explain why Mike Huackabee keeps popping up, even though most analysts dont' give him a snowball's chance.  I'll say one think for him, he knows the value of getting his face on the tube...

Bias In The Morning?

The AP reports that a conservative watchdog group has found the network morning news shows have spent "considerably more time [...]

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Striking Distance

I know it's just one night, but I'm surprised MSNBC isn't crowing about it.  It's also enough, I'm sure, to send my friends over at into full panic attack mode.  Look at Tuesday night's ratings.  Do my eyes deceive me?  Is Olbermann within striking distance of O'Reilly?  Must be a full moon, or something.  Could it be that the Sunday night "Countdown"  on NBC did what they hoped?  Introduced Keith to some new viewers?

The Scoreboard: Monday, August 27

UPDATE: Make it two in a row.  Even closer now!

The Scoreboard: Wednesday, August 29

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The Truth Hurts

I'm predicting fewer and fewer members of Congress are going to get permission to visit Iraq.  Not if they come home with reports like this one. Remember the term "Green Zone Fog".  Your're going to hear it more and more.

INTERVIEW: Tauscher Returns From Iraq, Warns Of ‘Green Zone Fog’

Shortly after returning from Iraq, Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) conducted an interview with ThinkProgress. She said she conveyed three things to Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker: 1) “the American people don’t want to see some kind of Saigon-like helicopter liftoff trying to remove people out of Iraq,” 2) they don’t want to [...]

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The Big Picture

We're had several posts already tonight about various reports on the Iraq War.  You'll find them as you continue to scroll down the page.  But the fine bloggers over at the Booman Tribune pull all of those reports (and some others, too) together and make some excellent points. It's a must-read, if you care about the war and this country..

One of These Things is Not Like the Others...

Some of you may remember the Sesame Street song that shows four different things, three of which are alike and one that is not. By the time the song is over, you are supposed to guess which of the four is not like the other three. And with respect to a number of recent developments on Iraq, the near unanimous mutiny by different yet unexpected parts of our government on the events going on in Iraq and the “progress” that is most certainly not being made on any meaningful level [...]

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From The Trenches

Another Iraq Vet speaks out, with troubling comments about the war.

You Work For Us Summer Tour: Shadows And Truths

Thus far, we have an NIE assessment that is less than rosy.  The leader of Iraq says that the escalation is not reducing violence there — it’s just shuffling it around in a more intense version of whack-a-mole.  And this morning, we have a leaked GAO report that says that the Iraqi government has failed to meet [...]

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But frightening.  And from the usually-reliable Juan Cole. Get  your dance cards now.  And, if you're here in the U.S. - enjoy the heck out of your Labor Day weekend.  Look what may be just around the corner...

Cheney & Iran: Here We Go Again?

Barnett Rubin relays a message from a well-connected friend in Washington on the Cheney Administration's plans to roll out a military confrontation with Iran in September. He writes at the Global Affairs blog: " My friend had spoken to someone in one of the leading neo-conservative institutions. He summarized what he was told this way: "They [the source's institution] have "instructions" (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be [...]

Good timing, huh?

Nuclear Agency Sees Progress on Iran

VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- The U.N. nuclear agency said Thursday that Iran was producing less nuclear fuel than expected and praised Tehran for ''a significant step forward'' in explaining past atomic actions that have raised suspicions [...]

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Free Speech

I'm always impressed by the journalism that comes from the Baghdad Bureau of McClatchy Newspapers.  At times, the folks who staff that bureau post their thoughts on a blog.  A post today caught my attention as I wondered what the repurcussions of being so outspoken might be...

A Lost Country

All the troops in Baghdad couldn’t provide security for the residents for one day.. just one day. Not a week... Not a month ... But 12 + 12 hours. And if you have read or heard about such a day [...]

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Don't Forget the Torture

Call it whatever you will, but our treatment of detainees at abu Ghraib quite obviously failed to stay within traditional, legal, boundaries. And, now we're expected to just let it fade from our memory...

The New York Times | Abu Ghraib Swept Under the Carpet

The New York Times writes, "We would have been hard pressed to think of a more sadly suitable coda to the Bush administration's mishandling of the Abu Ghraib nightmare than Tuesday's verdict in the court-martial of the only officer to be tried for the abuse, sexual assault and torture of prisoners that occurred there in [...]

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Gas Prices

Gasoline stockpiles are lower than they've been in years.  What better time to throw another log on the political fire and get people REALLY worried..

Rep. Porter cites gas prices as reason to stay in Iraq.

Rep. Jon Porter (R-NV), who recently returned from a visit to Iraq, said he was told that an Iraq withdrawal would cause gas prices to rise to $9/gallon. “To a person, they said there would be genocide, gas prices in the U.S. would rise to eight or nine dollars a gallon, al-Qaida would continue its expansion, [...]

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Bad Way to Run a Campaign

Are the GOP Presidential candidates afraid of something?  First, word that they don't want to do TV interviews on the major network morning programs.  Then, Huckabee becomes the latest to pull our of a debate in Texas.  Now, word that only one candidate signed up for a Spanish-Language debate in Miami.  It's all just not making much sense.

Republicans blow off Spanish-language debate

As if Latinos needed more reason to swing heavily Democratic next year, how about this bit of Republican disrespect? "Univisión planned to air the first presidential debates in Spanish on Sept. 9 and 16, one for Democrats, the other for Republicans, trumpeting a national coming-out party for Hispanic voters. Except Republican candidates aren't coming. Only [...]

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It's All About Communication

In politics and partnerships, if you don't communicate, you're in trouble.  Spell it with a capital "T"...

Gates Marginalized By White House, Not Informed Of New $50 Billion Iraq Funding Request

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that President Bush will soon request an additional $50 billion from Congress for the war in Iraq. The request, which is expected to be made after Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker testify to Congress about Iraq, “appears to reflect the view in the administration” that Bush’s escalation strategy [...]

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Tonight's Question

Do you believe the report is 100% back in his control?  Do you believe it'll be more honest, if it is..

Petraeus Now Claims White House Won't Write Report

Congressional Democrats, back from a quick trip to Iraq, said U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus assured them the White House wouldn't write his upcoming report. Petraeus, the overall military commander in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker are scheduled next month to give Congress a definitive report on progress in the war. A number of news reports cited sources who [...]

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Tin-Foil Hats, Please

We're headed for a long weekend. Let's have a little Thursday night fun with conspiracy theories!

Questioning 9/11 … With Caution

Since the terrorist attacks on 9/11, many prominent journalists have repeatedly been asked the same questions, as The Independent‘s Robert Fisk describes in this piece: “Why, if you believe you’re a free journalist, don’t you report what you really know about 9/11?  ...  Why don’t you reveal the secrets behind 9/11?” Here, Fisk carefully poses some questions of his own—after addressing a familiar figure he [...]


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This Deserves A Mention

From right next door, in execution-lovin' Texas...

Texas governor spares life of getaway driver

Given Texas’ legal and political culture, and given Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s (R) penchant for the death penalty, this is quite a surprise. Gov. Rick Perry accepted a parole board recommendation Thursday to spare condemned inmate Kenneth Foster, the getaway driver in a 1996 murder who had been scheduled for execution within hours. The sentence had drawn [...]

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Double Standard

The example comes from next door in Missouri, but it points to a larger "double-standard" when dealing with those accused of inappropriate sexual conduct.

The Bond Standard: Hookers? Sure. Public Bathrooms? Unacceptable!

When U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-LA) recently acknowledged soliciting sex from prostitutes, Missouri Senator Kit Bond said nothing.  However, he is bothered by U.S. Senator Larry Craig's (R-ID) attempt to solicit sex in a Minneapolis airport restroom. About that, Bond had this to say: "It is unacceptable for [...]

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Getting It Straight

Here's one you really do want to take a moment to read tonight.  It puts so much of what we've been talking about into perfect perspective.

Jon Soltz: Military "just isn't willing to go along for the ride" with Bush on Iraq anymore

Jon Soltz from VoteVets has a must-read post over Huffington analyzing the three very recent news items about Iraq. Those include: 1) the GAO report "that finds, more or less, that Iraq is in chaos" and challenges the underpinnings of Bush's claims of success; 2) the McClatchy news article that indicates military leaders won't make a single recommendation about the war to Bush; and 3) the shocking revelation that the Secretary of Defense was not told about the additional request for $50 billion in Iraq spending. Yes, Gates didn't even know. Think Progress has the video of Gates on FOX News. Soltz explains the dire impact these three developments are having on the U.S. military and the Iraq war effort: [...]

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Worry Wart

That's what some of you will say when you read what I'm passing along here. It's just a normal stateside deployment, right?  Talk me out of being concerned.  Jill at "Brilliant at Breakfast" is worried.  So, apparently, is talk show host, Thom Hartmann.

And speaking of military uprising, this had better not be what it looks like

Thanks to Cliff Schecter's blog for finding this little omen of impending martial law: "Members of the 1st Battalion 265 Air Defense Artillery have mobilized and are on a plane headed first to Ft. Bliss, then for federal active duty in the capital region. The troops will be deployed for [...]

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Lookiing For Answers

Right now, some analysts say the numbers just don't add up. Surprised? Nah!!

Liberal Security Experts: Do the Figures on Iraqi Security Add Up?

Hot on the heels of the GAO report today suggesting the Bush administration is playing fast and loose with the Iraq benchmarks comes a letter to Congress urging scrutiny over how the administration [...]

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mid-Week Musings

Welcome to Wednesday.  It's evening. We've actually had some showers around the area.  I counted a dozen drops of rain on the windshield coming home last evening. I guess you take what you can get.  It's the opposite of what our neighbors to the south were dealing with two years ago. That's when Hurricane Katrina hit.  All of the news nets are back in NOLA, with most of them expressing amazement at how little recovery has really happened.  Where the heck have they been?  Citizen journalists and bloggers have kept up the pressure on local and federal officials over the lack of assistance. It simply hasn't been enough to generate much progress in spots.  And that, my friends, is a true tragedy.

Katrina, two years later

The French Quarter, relatively untouched by hurricane Katrina, is bustling, and businesses are being courted to New Orleans, but a good deal of the rest of the city and the Gulf region remain devastated. Awash in corruption, cronyism and incompetence, the reconstruction effort is a mess. Billions of money designated to the effort is not getting to those in need -- 42% of funds set aside for rebuilding and relief has not even been spent. The federal [...]

More thoughts...

‘We’re still in the middle of the Katrina saga’

The AP noted this morning, “On the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, anger over the stalled rebuilding was palpable Wednesday throughout the city where the mourning for the dead and feeling of loss doesn’t seem to subside.” How could anyone feel anything but anger? For all the rhetoric from the administration, exactly two years after Katrina [...]

And, one more, via Daily Kos: Two Years Ago

UPDATE: The folks over at Shakespear's sister have an excellent collection of links..

Blogging New Orleans spends 24 hours remembering

Today is two years since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast. President George W. Bush has made his way to the still fall-from-recovered region, so he can get his picture taken a few times and head back to Washington to work on more war plans. "War presidents" aren't concerned about things like destroyed U.S. cities, as the past two years have shown us. Over at Blogging New Orleans, however, Kelly Leahy, Mike Schleifstein and others are engaging in a 24-hour blogathon, sharing their thoughts on [...]

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The Fox Approach

Call it slanting the news, if you will.  But there's a stark discrepancy between how Fox news covered the initial news of Sen. Larry Craig's arrest and how the other cable nets reported it.  Check out this post and then try to tell me it wasn't deliberately done to avoid reporting negative news about a Conservative Republican..

Fox News gives slim coverage to Craig scandal.

Media Matters reports, “From 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET on August 27, Fox News devoted only 3 minutes and 47 seconds to segments discussing Sen. Larry Craig’s lewd-conduct arrest. By contrast, MSNBC aired 8 minutes and 26 seconds of coverage on the story, while CNN aired [...]

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How Bad Is It?

Talk about taking it on the chin!  The GOP comes off looking mighty bruised after this evaluation..

GOP Operative: "The real question for Republicans in Washington is how low can you go"

The Republicans Party presents itself as the model of virtue and familiy values. The Republican Party has an agenda based on hate and divisiveness. That Republican Party is falling apart. Read this article in today's New York Times: "Just when Republicans thought things could not get any worse, Senator Larry E. Craig of Idaho confirmed that [...]

The push is officially on.  Even his own party wants him out. Now.

GOP lawmakers call for Craig’s ouster

I guess yesterday’s speech from Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) wasn’t persuasive; the long knives are out. Idaho Sen. Larry Craig’s political support eroded significantly Wednesday when three fellow Republicans in Congress called for his resignation and party leaders pushed him from senior committee posts in the Senate. The White House expressed disappointment — and no support — [...]

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The War Tab

It's kind of like keeping a running tab in a bar, only a whole lot more expensive on so many fronts. The numbers just keep spiraling upward..

Good Money After Bad

Tom Ricks continues his reporting on the Fiasco in Iraq. It seems that it is more expensive than advertised. President Bush plans to ask Congress next month for up to $50 billion in additional funding for the war in Iraq, a White House official said yesterday, a move that appears to reflect increasing administration confidence that it can fend off congressional calls for a rapid drawdown of U.S. forces. The request -- which would come on top of about $460 billion in the fiscal 2008 defense budget and $147 billion [...]

Still, there are those who argue "we need more time"..

Building a Police Force

Its not something done in a day: "BAGHDAD - They wear matching body armor, ride in the same up-armored Humvees and load identical ammunition into M-4 rifles. They are not Soldiers serving in the U.S. Army; they are seasoned American [...]

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Not Just NOLA

No, my friends, New Orleans isn't alone when it comes to discussing "issues" in the aftermath of Katrina.  True, right next door in Mississippi things have been rebuilt much faster, jobs and lives have been restored.  But, it's come at a price.  At the hands of Haley Barbour.

Impeach Haley Barbour

Americans want a good impeachment, but the will is just not there yet to seriously go after the President or Vice President. But what about Haley Barbour? Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour -- former Chairman of the Republican National Committee -- would be a great exercise in impeachment for the numerous Katrina-related ethics violations and beyond that he has been party to. Here is the [...]

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A Filibuster-Proof Majority

That's what the Dems need to have to really accomplish what they were elected to do in Congress.  Conventional wisdom says they can come close, but "no cigar".  Booman thinks more optimistically...

The Bleak GOP Senate Outlook

MSNBC discusses the possibility of a filibuster-proof 60+ majority for the Democrats in the U.S. Senate after the 2008 elections. I talked about exactly this possibility with Chris Bowers last night. He was suggesting a maximum upside of 56-57 seats, and I said it was 62. Let me explain. Chris is pulling his 56-57 number from the conventional wisdom that senators hailing from Kerry states are ln grave danger of losing. Here are the Kerry state GOP senators that are up for re-election in 2008: Susan Collins (ME), John Sununu [...  ]

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Explain This To Me

Please, somebody, help me understand why people living in Manhattan - New  York City - should be getting agriculture subsidies?  For what?   That flower pot with a cherry tomato plant in it?

A Map Of People Who Receive Ag Subsidies

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The Perjury Argument

I hadn't thought of this, but it certainly does raise an interesting question...

CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin - Did Senator Craig Commit Perjury In Minnesota?

During Tuesday night’s “AC 360″ CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin laid out a fantastic breakdown of Senator Larry Craig’s bizarre claims surrounding his bathroom sex scandal. If, as Craig claims, he wasn’t guilty of the charges against him and only pleaded guilty to make the scandal go away, then as Toobin puts it, he [...]

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Probably Want To Top Off Your Tank

Remember what happened to gas prices right after Hurricane Katrina?  This is bringing back some really ugly memories for me..

Gasoline Supply At Record-Low 20 Days

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. gasoline supplies are the lowest level ever recorded in terms of demand, just 20 days of average fuel consumption, the Energy Information Administration said Wednesday. "This is even fewer days than seen following the hurricanes in 2005," the [...]

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Economic Information

Good stuff to tuck away for your next water-cooler discussion...


Over the next ten years, which is a bigger hit to the budget deficit: (a) out-of-control entitlement spending or (b) the Bush tax cuts? Answer here. Be sure to keep this in mind the next time Paul Samuelson or some [...]

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Campaign Spending

Seems the feds have blasted (ie - fined) the group that backed a bunch of Dem candidates in the last elections.  Does the media care?  The blogger linked below may have a point.  I did a quick check of websites for both CNN and MSNBC and I'm not finding anything about the story. Seems to me it SHOULD have some "legs". Or, do most people simply shrug their shoulders and mutter, "who cares"?

FEC Slaps Soros Group for Campaign Finance Abuses; Will Media Care?

Leftist uber-funder George Soros's group America Coming Together has been slapped with a $775,000 fine by the Federal Election Commission - the third largest fine in FEC history, but really only a minor fine considering the crime. According to the FEC, ACT used tens of millions of dollars of unregulated cash to boost Democratic candidates during the 2004 elections. The Politico reports that, according to the FEC, ACT raised $137 million for its get-out-the-vote effort in 17 states in the 2004 elections, but [...]

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We're Number One!!

Wyoming pulls a surprise out of its political hat. But, Wyoming is so small, it might almost be in the best interest of the other early-caucus states to just ignore the move and ignore the votes...

Wyoming GOP Moves Caucus to Jan. 5

A new player in caucus date leapfrog, as the AP reports least-populated state Wyoming is moving its Republican caucuses to Saturday, Jan. 5.  And with a slap at Iowa's traditional phrase: "We're first in the nation," said Tom Sansonetti, the state party's 2008 county convention coordinator. "At least for the next couple, three weeks until [...]


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It's the Blame Game

Maliki's mighty upset.  And he's putting the blame right at the foot of the Bush Administration...

Maliki lashes back at the US

Atrios: In a 50-minute interview in his office in Baghdad’s Green Zone, Maliki strongly defended his tenure and said that he doesn’t expect to be forced out. He said his efforts at national reconciliation, not the surge of additional U.S. troops or actions by Iraqi security forces, are responsible for improved security. He blamed the United States [...]

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Fox News is Still At It

Still playing fast and loose with how they identify politicians.  This is one of the first rules in ANY newsroom policy manual...the designations are spelled out and you stick with the format.  Not at Fox, apparently.

Fox Tidbit - More Chyron Shenanigans

One of the guests today (August 29, 2007) on Fox's "premiere business news" program was Senator Trent Lott (R-MS). Lott was on to report on the post-Katrina rebuilding going on along the Gulf Coast. He was probably the only native Fox could trust (Haley Barbour must have had a prior commitment) to toe the it's-going-pretty-well line. Anyway, during Lott's segment, the chyron read: Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) on Rebuilding the Golf Coast [....]


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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Feel-Good Video

I thought I posted this a few days ago, but can't seem to find the post.  If it's a duplicate, just slide on by. If you don't recognize it, trust me. It's worth a few minutes of your time. Just to make  you feel better. All it takes is two hands, a bright  light, and tons of talent..Absollutely amazing..

What A Wonderful World

If this video isn't viral yet, I imagine it will be in short order. Enjoy!

Tuesday's Tribulations

Yes, indeed.  We're certainly not seeing the usual August slowdown in news. Personally, I'm upset at the position Keith Olbermann has taken in the Vick case. I'll buy into his support of Michael Vick to the point that he seems resigned to the fact that he's going to pay dearly for what he did. As he should. That certainly doesn't diminish the absolute ugliness of what he was involved with - the brutal executions of dogs. Olbermann, I'm guessing, doesn't own a dog.  Maybe never has and never will.  Maybe he didn't even have one as a child. No normal pet person could dismiss Vick's actions as easily as Olbermann seems to have done.  Over on Headline News this morning, about half of Robin Meade's audience (those who text messaged a vote) didn't believe Vick was sincere; another 25 percent thought it was "too little, too late". I can't find any final results online, but I'm betting they didn't vary much from those numbers.  Olbermann's still a major talent and "Countdown" is excellent much more often than not, but taking this stance isn't a good thing.  In my book, it's very bad.  Then, again, I'm writing this with a beautiful black lab mix and a fluffy peakapoodle-something mix at my feet.  Maybe he's just trying to attract attention and generate some debate.  Maybe. All of that being complained about, it's good to see Keith's success with Countdown seems to be continuing...the latest PR missive from MSNBC is right here.. Speaking of cable and my soapbox, consider the early morning cable battle...

August Numbers: Robin & Company owns Morning Joe…

HLN’s Robin & Company bested MSNBC and its Morning Joe program in both the P2+ and P25-54 categories. This is the first time in more than two years (July 2005) that HLN has surpassed MSNBC in P2+ in the morning. P2+ 6-10a Robin & Co. 212,000 6-9a Morning Joe 206,000 P25-54 6-10a Robin & Co. 95,000 6-9a Morning [...]

Morning Joe has its moments, but flounders more often than flies. Meade's show is wonderful.  We'd be constant viewers except for one little thing: our cable company drops a local public affairs show in at :55 every hour.  That's just fine.  The gawdawful music that introduces it makes us reach for the remote every time. Once I've gone away, I'm not going to make the effort to come back.  Not until I'm more awake than most mornings....

The other news?  How about fraud and corruption.  Where, you ask?

Fraud and kickbacks, Iraq War Style

Major scandal brewing over criminality in Iraq. This is what happens when there is no oversight of the war. What were Susan Collins and Joe Lieberman as Chairs of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee for the past five years? They were too busy championing Bush's war to question anything: "Several federal agencies are investigating a widening network of criminal cases involving the purchase and delivery of billions of dollars of weapons, supplies and other matériel to Iraqi and American forces, according to American officials. The officials said it amounted to [...]

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Another Chance

For change.  S...u....r...e.....

Maybe Bush Will Change...This Time

Everytime something bad happens with this administration we get new articles saying that President Bush now has some great opportunity to do...something less bad. At this point the articles almost write themselves. For example: "The Texas mafia is leaving," said Ron Kaufman, a longtime political advisor to the Bush family. "There's a shift in the philosophies of the appointees you have [around the president]. They are much more creatures of Washington, D.C., and not Austin, Texas." But therein may lie an opportunity for Bush. In two weeks, the president has [....]

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Many Words; No Answers

Why bother? Why bother creating answers that don't meet the questions? Sequoia's in desperate need of a true "spin doctor", although I'm not sure there are any good enough to raise the dead...

Sequoia's Documents Fail to Answer Serious Questions Raised in Dan Rather Report

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.Org, with additional reporting by Brad Friedman The latest set of documents released by Sequoia Voting Systems, in an attempt to clear their name after a recent damning news report, fail to answer any of the questions that the company had claimed that they would. [...]

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As Deep As The Ocean

And as wide as the sky.  The same names keep coming up, as if nobody bothers to look behind the curtain and remember the past. Jill has a post up at "Brilliant at Breakfast" today that will make your head swim.

No end to the parade of crooks and cronies in the Administration

It's looking increasingly as if Michael Chertoff will be named Attorney General to replace Alberto Gonzales, and Clay Johnson will be named to head up the Department of Homeland Security. I posted earlier today about Chertoff's less-than-stellar job performance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; but it's even worse than you thought. Back in 2005, Richard Cranium at All Spin Zone wrote about Chertoff's representation of a client with connection to Middle Eastern terrorist networks: [...]

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Will He Stay?

Or, will he go? I'm betting on the latter.

‘It’s the hypocrisy that people can’t stand’

When it comes to sex scandals, the past year has been less than kind to conservatives. There’s no reason to go into too many prurient details, but the list isn’t getting any smaller: former Rep. Mark Foley (engaged in explicit IM chats with congressional pages), megachurch evangelist Ted Haggard (lied about being gay), Republican Sen. [...]

UPDATE:  Looks like, for now, he's staying.  But this is just so bizarre..

ID-Sen: Craig's Big Announcement

With the Senate Republican leadership calling for an official investigation of the Craig incident, this announcement comes as a surprise. He's going to try to continue the line that the only thing he did wrong was to plead guilty. That's not really flying with anyone in Idaho, whatever his new legal counsel might come up with. As Jeffrey Toobin said on CNN, this is one of the most bizarre statements made by a U.S. Senator ever--he was framed but pleaded guilty anyway? So he's going to try to stick it through until next month when [...]

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Old Habits Die Hard

Ari Fleischer just can't help himself.  Once a spinner, always a spinner.  He was on top of his game yesterday...

Fleischer blames Dems for Gonzales’ mistakes

I’d almost forgotten how breathtakingly dishonest former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer can be. Yesterday, on Fox News, he blamed congressional Dems for “politicizing the Justice Department, unfairly so and dangerously so.” Faiz sets the record straight. – It was Alberto Gonzales, not Congress, who fired attorneys for political reasons. – It was Alberto Gonzales, not Congress, [...]

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The Countdown Begins...

They're saying "Six Months"...

Millitary Chiefs Give U.S. Six Months to Win Iraq War

An elite team of officers advising US commander General David Petraeus in Baghdad has concluded the US has six months to win the war in Iraq - or face a Vietnam-style collapse in political and public support that could force the military into a hasty retreat. The officers - combat veterans who are leading experts in counter-insurgency - are charged with implementing the "new way forward" strategy announced by president George Bush on January 10. The plan includes a controversial "surge" of 21,500 additional American troops to establish security in the Iraqi capital and Anbar province. But the team, known as the "Baghdad brains trust" and ensconced in the heavily fortified Green Zone around the US embassy, is struggling to overcome a range of entrenched problems in what has become [...]

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Missing The Point

Juan Cole says torture should have been the reason, but it wasn't. So...

Gonzales Gone for Wrong Reasons

The great shame of it all is that Alberto Gonzales was confirmed as Attorney General despite it being widely known that he had played a central role in attempting to authorize the use of torture on prisoners in US custody. He had tossed aside the US Constitution's own prohibition on "cruel and unusual punishment" (such a wimpy bleeding-heart liberal document). It is an index of the corruption of the Republican Party, which then controlled Congress, that they made this man attorney general in the first place. The great shame of it all is that Gonzales was hounded out of office not [...]

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Guess What?

Our children are being left behind by "No Child Left Behind". But, you ask, "how could that happen?" It defies the very name of the program. It's really pretty simple - when the government mandates what to teach and how to teach it, something has to give.  And, give it has...via a press release from PDK/Gallup...

Public Worried That Narrowed Curriculum Will Leave Children Behind

Americans worry the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act is pushing art, science, health, and social studies out of the classroom. According to this year's PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, one in two Americans believe that NCLB is limiting what children are taught, and a large majority of Americans believe that their schools must do more to prepare young people to succeed in our [...]

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One Simple Question

One single word..."Why?"

Despite Announcing His ‘Retirement,’ General Who Oversaw Walter Reed Scandal Still Serving In Army

On March 12, the Pentagon announced that Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, who oversaw neglect at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, was resigning, effective immediately. NBC News Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski reported that it was “very likely” Kiley “would be reduced in retirement, at least one rank” and “be forced to [...]

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Rough Vacation

This'll give him something to think about on the long flight back to Washington. 

Rep. Baird Gets An Earful: “You are here to represent us…”

MoveOn deserves a lot of credit for getting members to this town hall meeting…hopefully, Baird will reconsider his Lieber-stance. The Oregonian: For more than three hours Monday night, Rep. Brian Baird was verbally flogged by hundreds of his constituents for no longer supporting the quick withdrawal of troops from Iraq. More than 500 people packed a [...]

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