An Online Magazine in the Reality-Based Community.

Thursday, September 30, 2004



It's safe to say Kerry kicked Bush's ass on national TV tonight. I have to say that I'm surprised Bush looked and sounded so bad. His speech was halting or stuttering, and god knows didn't he realize he was on camera for reaction shots? He was grimacing and smirking. Maybe I was beginning to believe the spin about him "being comfortable in his own skin," but he looked more like he was 1) on something; 2) needed a drink 3) needed some meds. Was he just overprepped, under/over medicated or what? His body language suggested he wanted to either clock Kerry, or walk offstage at times. I think having to be on the defensive, one-on-one, really sent him over the edge. It was as if his handlers, particularly whoever stood in for Kerry during the Bush's prep, didn't hit him hard enough so he wouldn't be so rattled in the real debate. He was off even his lame 2000 debate performance.

I didn't expect him to be fantastic, but, this being the foreign policy debate, he's got nowhere to go but down. No lie, I think there is something going wrong "under the hood" with Bush; he looked so bad. His stumbling and bumbling was at a such a level of impatience and discomfort that he looked unbalanced. It was funny at first, but after it all settled in and I watched a replay, it was actually frightening.

And the spinners really had a hard time defending that performance.

Kerry on the other hand, was wildly successful at being succinct and skewered great points home. He way surpassed my expectations. Some coverage (MSNBC):
Sen. John Kerry assailed President Bush’s prosecution of the war in Iraq in the first presidential debate Thursday night, accusing the president of “a colossal error of judgment” as the candidates finally faced each other after a torrent of speeches and hostile television advertisements.

Kerry wasted no time taking on the marquee issue of the evening, saying in his opening response to a question from moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS that “I can make America safer than President Bush has made us.”

Kerry rejected Republican contentions that he would consult too much with foreign leaders before taking action to secure America, promising that “I’ll never give a veto to any country over our security.”

In response, Bush said that, better or worse, “people know where I stand” in putting U.S. interests first. He said the United States must “constantly stay on the offensive” against terrorists.


Atrios has a howler about the AP writing a post-debate story that is already online. If this isn't the most lazy-ass journalism, I don't know what is. Plug and Play. Jesus.


The U.S. has tried to create its little oasis called The Green Zone in Iraq, which has been corraled off from the random, wonton violence occurring outside of it. Apparently it's not so safe anymore. (Christian Science Monitor):
Site of Saddam Hussein's most sumptuous Baghdad palaces and now headquarters for both US officials and the Iraqi interim government, the Green Zone - as opposed to what the military calls the "Red Zone," anything outside the vast compound's 12-foot concrete walls - is experiencing a case of the jitters.

...Other reasons for the heightened anxiety include the ever-bolder attacks on Baghdad streets just a short drive from the zone, and the recent spike in kidnappings and killings of foreigners in Baghdad.

Then there are the almost daily mortar attacks against the zone - most of which cause little or no damage or injury, but which do rattle nerves.

So even though the Green Zone operates like an island in the Baghdad storm, it is not the picture of tranquility.

On various visits to the Green Zone over the past few weeks, this reporter has noticed few signs that security is being taken for granted. The perimeter walls and tire wells of official vehicles parked in guarded lots are checked for explosives. Even some restaurants inside the supposedly high-security sector are now off limits to a growing number of diplomats and other officials.

"They should be worried," says one American technology contractor here who has refused - despite the recent kidnapping and beheading of two US contractors who lived in an upscale Baghdad neighborhood - to relocate to the Green Zone. "I still feel safer where I am than living in there," the contractor says. requesting anonymity. "The place never has been what I'd call secure, but it's gotten worse. If they think the mortars and rockets going in there now are something, they aren't going to know what hit them."



Graphic from John A., at AmericaBlog.

Gotta love it. Tips to the Dems for this one! The card is randomized, so go to the site and have fun.




LA Weekly: News is taking heat (and dishing it too) about the fact that local papers are not covering the outing of David Dreier and his hypocritical stance on gay rights. What is more disconcerting is that the papers won't call Dreier on the fact that his lover has been on the payroll, a la McGreevey. If nothing else, this should outrage his constituents. If the man was out, he wouldn't be doing this.
The P.R. strategy adopted by Dreier is silence — he’s hoping that, by ignoring the story about the Internet campaign to out the congressman as a hypocritical closet homosexual who consistently votes against the rights and interests of gay people, it will simply go away. So far, the strategy seems to be working, at least where some of the major print and television outlets are concerned. For example, absent a comment from Dreier, the Los Angeles Times (where there were serious internal discussions about whether or not to cover the story) has been reluctant to weigh in for its many readers in Dreier’s district — even though Dreier’s Democratic opponent came out of the closet to denounce him. L.A. Times’ editor John Carroll did not return phone or e-mail requests for comment.

After the Weekly’s article, Cynthia Matthews — the Democratic nominee in Dreier’s Foothills congressional district — gave interviews to local radio stations and Internet media saying she was proud of her lesbian relationship. “I have been in an 11-year relationship with my partner,” Matthews told RawStory.com, “and refuse to run for office if I would be required to relegate my partner to the closet.”

Matthews particularly criticized Dreier for paying the man he lives with — his chief of staff, Brad Smith — a remarkably high salary. “David Dreier contributes to a culture that allows closeted gays and lesbians to pay those with whom they have personal relationships from the government payroll,” she added, citing New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey’s recent resignation for having done just that.

...I had questioned, in my article, why the chain of daily papers in Dreier’s district had been silent on the contrast between Dreier’s anti-gay voting record and his closeted gay life. And I heard from the Pasadena Star-News (one of the larger dailies in this chain) requesting information. But, when I asked the reporter who called me if the Star-News would be running a story the next day, he warned me not to expect a story “any time soon” while telling me he couldn’t fill me in — even off the record — on the discussions about it at the Pasadena paper. Trying to talk to journalists from this pro-Republican Valley newspaper chain about Dreier is like trying to talk to a reporter from Pravda about Stalin in the dictators’ salad days — the fear of reprisals from management is palpable. Clearly, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” editorial policy about Dreier’s straight hypocrisy is still in effect in the Media News Group’s string of San Gabriel Valley dailies — none of which have published a single word about all this.


Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Hell has frozen over. Buchanan endorses Kerry over Iraq war


CBS News goes off on Bush's Top Ten Flip-Flops:
The charge of 'flip-flopping' has resounded throughout the presidential race, with the Bush campaign repeatedly accusing Sen. John Kerry of changing his mind on the issues. The Kerry campaign, in turn, has declared that Mr. Bush is the one doing the flip-flopping.

CBSNews.com Chief Political Writer David Paul Kuhn looks at the record and finds both men are correct. Here, the president's most notable flip-flops. Later today, John Kerry's.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Announcing the invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003, Mr. Bush said, Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.

Two months into the war, on May 29, 2003, Mr. Bush said weapons of mass destruction had been found. "We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories, Mr. Bush told Polish television. For those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them.'

On Sept. 9, 2004, in Pennsylvania, Mr. Bush said: I recognize we didn't find the stockpiles [of weapons] we all thought were there.

Nation Building and the War in Iraq

During the 2000 campaign, George W. Bush argued against nation building and foreign military entanglements. In the second presidential debate, he said: 'I'm not so sure the role of the United States is to go around the world and say, 'This is the way it's got to be.''

The United States is currently involved in nation building in Iraq on a scale unseen since the years immediately following World War II.

Iraq and the Sept. 11 Attacks

In a press conference in September 2002, six months before the invasion of Iraq, President Bush said, “you can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror... they're both equally as bad, and equally as evil, and equally as destructive.”

In September of 2004, Mr. Bush said: “We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September 11th." Though he added that “there's no question that Saddam Hussein had al Qaeda ties,” the statement seemingly belied earlier assertions that Saddam and al Qaeda were “equally bad.”

The Sept. 11 commission found there was no evidence Saddam was linked to the 9/11 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

The Sept. 11 Commission

President Bush initially opposed the creation of an independent commission to investigate the Sept. 11 attacks. In May 2002, he said, “Since it deals with such sensitive information, in my judgment, it's best for the ongoing war against terror that the investigation be done in the intelligence committee.”

Bowing to pressure from victims' families, Mr. Bush reversed his position. The following September, he backed an independent investigation.

Free Trade

During the 2000 presidential election, Mr. Bush championed free trade. Then, eyeing campaign concerns that allowed him to win West Virginia, he imposed 30 percent tariffs on foreign steel products from Europe and other nations in March 2002.

Twenty-one months later, Mr. Bush changed his mind and rescinded the steel tariffs. Choosing to stand on social issues instead of tariffs in steel country – Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia – the Bush campaign decided it could afford to upset the steel industry rather than further estrange old alliances.

Homeland Security Department

President Bush initially opposed creating a new Department of Homeland Security. He wanted Tom Ridge, now the secretary of Homeland Security, to remain an adviser.

Mr. Bush reversed himself and backed the largest expansion of the federal government since the creation of the Defense Department in 1949.

Same-Sex Marriage

During the 2000 campaign, Mr. Bush said he was against federal intervention regarding the issue of same-sex marriage. In an interview with CNN's Larry King, he said, states "can do what they want to do" on the issue. Vice President Cheney took the same stance.

Four year later, this past February, Mr. Bush announced his support for an amendment to the Constitution that defines marriage as being exclusively between men and women. The amendment would forbid states from doing "what they want to do" on same-sex marriage.

Citing recent decisions by “activist judges” in states like Massachusetts, Mr. Bush defended his reversal. Critics point out that well before the 2000 presidential race, a judge in Hawaii ruled in December 1996 that there was no compelling reason for withholding marriage from same-sex couples.

Winning the War on Terror

"I don't think you can win it," Mr. Bush said of the war on terror in August. In an interview on NBC's "Today" show, he said, “I think you can create conditions so that . . . those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world."

Before the month closed, Mr. Bush reversed himself at the American Legion national convention in Nashville. He said: "We meet today in a time of war for our country, a war we did not start yet one that we will win." He later added, “we are winning, and we will win."

Campaign Finance Reform

President Bush was initially against the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill. He opposed any soft-money limits on individuals to national parties.

But Mr. Bush later signed McCain-Feingold into law. The law, named for Senate sponsors John McCain, R-Ariz., and Russell Feingold, D-Wis., barred both national parties from collecting soft money from individuals.

During the 2000 race, Mr. Bush showed support for the so-called 527 groups’ right to air advertising.

In March 2000, he told CBS News' "Face the Nation," "There have been ads, independent expenditures, that are saying bad things about me. I don't particularly care when they do, but that's what freedom of speech is all about.”

In late August of this year, in an effort to distance himself from controversial anti-Kerry ads by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, Mr. Bush reversed his position, announcing he would join McCain in legal action to stop these "shadowy" organizations.

Though it would close the Swift Boat group's funding, court action would also silence well-funded liberal 527 organizations like MoveOn.org and America Coming Together.

Gas Prices

Mr. Bush was critical of Al Gore in the 2000 campaign for being part of “the administration that's been in charge” while the “price of gasoline has gone steadily upward.” In December 1999, in the first Republican primary debate, Mr. Bush said President Clinton “must jawbone OPEC members to lower prices.”

As gas topped a record level of $50 a barrel this week, Mr. Bush has shown no propensity to personally pressure, or “jawbone,” Mideast oil producers to increase output.

A spokesman for the president reportedly said in March that Mr. Bush will not personally lobby oil cartel leaders to change their minds.





You have to love Al Gore now. The man has been through a lot. I actually met Gore in Durham, NC, back in 1992 when Earth in the Balance was first published and he had not yet been chosen by Big Bill to be on the ticket. He had come for a book signing at a local independent bookstore, The Regulator Bookshop. I was working in a separate business, Africa News Service, downstairs in the basement of the building. He stopped by to shake hands (my recollection --cold, clammy hands!).

I forgive him for running such a lame ass campaign that the 2000 debacle -- it would have been avoided if he had been able to carry his home state of TN. Florida wouldn't have mattered, Gore would probably have saved tons in shrink bills, and we wouldn't be in the Bush mess we are in now.

He has a great piece in the NYT on how to debate George Bush:
...Senator Kerry can also use these debates to speak directly to voters and lay out a hopeful vision for our future. If voters walk away from the debates with a better understanding of where our country is, how we got here and where each candidate will lead us if elected, then America will be the better for it. The debate tomorrow should not seek to discover which candidate would be more fun to have a beer with. As Jon Stewart of the "The Daily Show'' nicely put in 2000, "I want my president to be the designated driver.''

The debates aren't a time for rhetorical tricks. It's a time for an honest contest of ideas. Mr. Bush's unwillingness to admit any mistakes may score him style points. But it makes hiring him for four more years too dangerous a risk. Stubbornness is not strength; and Mr. Kerry must show voters that there is a distinction between the two.

If Mr. Bush is not willing to concede that things are going from bad to worse in Iraq, can he be trusted to make the decisions necessary to change the situation? If he insists on continuing to pretend it is "mission accomplished," can he accomplish the mission? And if the Bush administration has been so thoroughly wrong on absolutely everything it predicted about Iraq, with the horrible consequences that have followed, should it be trusted with another four years?

The biggest single difference between the debates this year and four years ago is that President Bush cannot simply make promises. He has a record. And I hope that voters will recall the last time Mr. Bush stood on stage for a presidential debate. If elected, he said, he would support allowing Americans to buy prescription drugs from Canada. He promised that his tax cuts would create millions of new jobs. He vowed to end partisan bickering in Washington. Above all, he pledged that if he put American troops into combat: "The force must be strong enough so that the mission can be accomplished. And the exit strategy needs to be well defined."

Comparing these grandiose promises to his failed record, it's enough to make anyone want to, well, sigh.


Mary Jacobs at Salon (subscription or day pass), reveals the story that CBS spiked. Thank god for new media.
By relying on documents that could not be absolutely authenticated from a blind source to make the otherwise irrefutable case that George W. Bush shirked his National Guard duties in the early 1970s, CBS anchor Dan Rather dealt the credibility of journalism a "body blow," according to Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler. But just how damaging was that blow?

One measure of the debacle is a "60 Minutes Wednesday" segment that millions of viewers now will now not see: a hard-hitting report making a powerful case that in trying to build support for the Iraq war, the Bush administration either knowingly deceived the American people about Saddam Hussein's nuclear capabilities or was grossly credulous. CBS news president Andrew Heyward spiked the story this week, saying it would be "inappropriate" during the election campaign.


Tuesday, September 28, 2004



Now Zellfire gets his "pay day" from the GOP (The Hill):
The Republicans are making sure that Sen. Zell Miller, who launched a withering attack on presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry last month, gets his pet projects paid for in appropriations legislation.

Miller, the Georgia Democrat who was the keynote speaker at the GOP convention in New York and who alienated his party by excoriating Kerry, has been told not to worry about losing his earmarks in the new fiscal year, which begins Friday.

The week that Congress returned after the GOP convention, Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) grabbed Miller’s arm outside the Senate chamber and assured him, “Don’t worry about appropriations, I’ve already put that stuff of yours in there.”


"I would vote for Howdy Doody if it would keep my boys home and safe." (CBS video).


Thanks to John A., at AmericaBlog. :)

That quote is from Beverly Cocco of Philadelphia, speaking about the possibility of the draft returning.


We're battle ready -- 30% of soldiers called up haven't reported in, some are AWOL.

Thirty percent of former U.S. soldiers who have been called back to duty involuntarily to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan have failed to report on time, and eight have been declared AWOL, the Army said on Tuesday.

The Army's problem with mobilizing soldiers from the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), a seldom-tapped personnel pool, is another sign of the difficulty the Pentagon is encountering in maintaining troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So far, the Army has mobilized 3,664 people from the IRR to active duty, but 1,085 have not reported on time to the Army post to which they were assigned, said Julia Collins, a spokeswoman for the Army Human Resources Command.

The Individual Ready Reserve is made up of 111,000 people who have completed their voluntary Army service commitments and have returned to civilian life but remain eligible to be mobilized in a national emergency. Many have been out of the active-duty military for years.

Eight of those recently ordered back to active duty have been listed as absent without leave, or AWOL, and could face military criminal charges as deserters, Collins said. All eight have been notified they are being classified as AWOL and still refused to report for duty, Collins added.

In addition, their names will be entered into a national criminal investigation database, and they could be arrested if, for example, they are stopped by a police officer for a routine traffic violation, Collins said.

Six others had been listed as AWOL but have agreed to report after being contacted by the Army, Collins said.

EXEMPTION REQUESTS

About 85 percent of those who did not show up on time have formally requested that the Army exempt them from duty due to health issues or some other hardship, Collins said. Most of the others have requested a delay in their reporting date.

Most exemption requests are likely to be rejected, Collins said.






Bush had no cheat sheet on O'Reilly (or Karl Rove speaking to him in an earpiece) yesterday and today, and it shows. The transcript and clips are up. He sounds like a freaking simpleton. And he dodges the National Guard stuff again.


I'll have to grab the latest Vanity Fair, because Supreme Court clerks reveal the scuttlebutt on the Bush v. Gore election debacle in 2000 . This hit the news because a joint statement by lawyers and former clerks has been release, criticizing the clerks that were sources for the article. Apparently they breached their confidentiality agreement to talk.
More than 90 prominent lawyers and former Supreme Court law clerks including former Attorneys General Richard Thornburgh and William Barr have joined in a statement sharply criticizing the law clerks who gave behind-the-scenes details about the 2000 case Bush v. Gore to Vanity Fair magazine.

The anonymous clerks' disclosures also violate the clerks' Code of Conduct and their "duty of confidentiality" to their justice and to the Court, the joint statement asserts.

Entitled "The Path to Florida," the article reviews the dramatic events of four years ago and depicts sharp divisions within the Court over whether the Florida recount should proceed or be ended. Justices Antonin Scalia, Sandra Day O'Connor and, eventually, Anthony Kennedy are portrayed as determined to reach a result that would hand victory to George W. Bush.

...Several law clerks are named, though they are not necessarily among the clerks Margolick was able to interview. Margolick says roughly one-fourth of that term's 35 clerks spoke with him.

In a footnote published with the article, Margolick, a former legal affairs reporter for The New York Times, acknowledges the confidentiality rule and says none of the clerks he spoke to disclosed internal documents or conversations with their justices. But he indicates that the clerks who were willing to give him other details did so because they felt strongly the Court had acted improperly in the election case. "We feel that something illegitimate was done with the Court's power, and such an extraordinary situation justifies breaking an obligation we'd otherwise honor," Margolick quotes one clerk as saying.

..In one episode reported in the story, Scalia clerk Kevin Martin visited the chambers of Justice John Paul Stevens to discuss the case with Stevens' clerks. The conversation "turned nasty," Margolick reports, and Martin stormed out. Martin could not be reached for comment. On another occasion, Kennedy was said to have visited Justice Stephen Breyer's chambers, where he stated aloud that he hoped Breyer would join his opinion against continuing the recount. "We just kind of looked at him like he was crazy," a clerk is quoted as saying.


An excellent DKos thread points out the irony of the Red (GOP) states that feed at the taxpayers' trough versus the Blue states that take less in government resources and support those Red states:

States Receiving Most in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid (red states in bold):

D.C. ($6.17)
North Dakota ($2.03)
New Mexico ($1.89)
Mississippi ($1.84)
Alaska ($1.82)
West Virginia ($1.74)
Montana ($1.64)
Alabama ($1.61)
South Dakota ($1.59)
Arkansas ($1.53)


In contrast, of the 16 states that are "losers" -- receiving less in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes -- 69% are Blue States that voted for Al Gore in 2000. Indeed, 11 of the 14 (79%) of the states receiving the least federal spending per dollar of federal taxes paid are Blue States. Here are the Top 10 states that supply feed for the federal trough (with Blue States highlighted in bold):

States Receiving Least in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:

New Jersey ($0.62)
Connecticut ($0.64)

New Hampshire ($0.68)
Nevada ($0.73)
Illinois ($0.77)
Minnesota ($0.77)

Colorado ($0.79)
Massachusetts ($0.79)
California ($0.81)
New York ($0.81)


Two states -- Florida and Oregon (coincidentally, the two closest states in the 2000 Presidential election) -- received $1.00 in federal spending for each $1.00 in federal taxes paid.


So much for the GOP representing smaller government.


Amazing, good news. It looks like gay marriage in Massachusetts is likely to stand, without a challenging amendment (BGlobe):
"The effort to bring a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to voters in November 2006 suffered a major setback yesterday with departure of House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran and the elevation of Salvatore F. DiMasi, whose arrival is expected to shift the Massachusetts legislative agenda to the left on social issues such as gay rights, abortion, and stem cell research.

A key legislative backer of the proposed amendment to ban same-sex marriage and establish civil unions yesterday all but declared defeat, saying that Finneran's exit from Beacon Hill was the final straw in an effort that already was in trouble because the state has legalized same-sex marriage with little of the uproar predicted by opponents.

'It is pretty much over,' said Senate minority leader Brian P. Lees, a Springfield Republican who cosponsored the amendment with Finneran and Senate President Robert E. Travaglini. The House and Senate, sitting in a constitutional convention, must vote a second time in the next session before it could go to the voters on the 2006 ballot.

'In fact, there will be a question as to whether the issue will come up at all,' Lees said. He said the issue has faded to the 'back burners of Massachusetts politics,' because few problems have surfaced with the implementation of the Supreme Judicial Court's decision to legalize gay marriage."


And now, what will all the rest of the naysayers in other states make of this? The world didn't come to an end.


Tell me how this is not problematic "for fair and balanced coverage" of the first debate. Fox News will be doing the camerawork for the debate on Thursday, feeding for all the major nets (NYT): "Debate commission officials also said they could not and would not enforce the agreement's stipulation that network cameras refrain from showing Mr. Bush when Mr. Kerry was speaking, and vice versa.
'There are certain things that are clearly beyond our control,' said Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., a co-chairman of the commission. 'We don't control the feed so we don't know what the networks are going to show; that's not within our purview.'

Paul Schur, a spokesman for the Fox News Channel, which is telecasting the first debate on Thursday for the major news networks planning to carry it, said, 'Because of journalistic standards, we're not going to follow outside restrictions.'"


Monday, September 27, 2004

U.S. crude rises to a record $50.17. And the world is safer too.




Now we know why GWB doesn't like non-scripted events. The first part of his interview with Bill O'Reilly aired tonight, and it's official... the president is a moron.

Crackpipe hit #1:
O’REILLY: If they're dumb questions, look that's just dumb. Um, the first one is, according to a poll taken by the Coalition Authority last spring, only five percent of the Iraqi people see the United States as liberators. Are you surprised they don’t appreciate the American sacrifice more?

PRESIDENT BUSH: I, I think they're beginning to, appreciate the sacrifice, because the country is getting better. It’s tougher than heck right now, because Zarqawi (search) and some of these former Baathists are killing innocent Iraqis and killing our soldiers in order to try to get us to leave. Um, I also saw a poll where it said by far the vast majority of the Iraqis believe the world is getting better. And that's positive. In other words, people are beginning to see progress. Electricity is better, schools are opening, hospitals are running. Um, I think when it’s all said and done, the Iraqis are going to look back and say thank God for America.

And what poll was he looking at?

Crackpipe Hit #2:
O’REILLY: How long is it going to take before that happens, do you think?

PRESIDENT BUSH: You know, it’s uh, as soon as possible. Now, I think the elections are going to have uh, uh you know, a very positive effect, and they take place in January, and, but the people want to vote.

O’REILLY: But can they vote when people are being blown up,

PRESIDENT BUSH: Yeah.

O’REILLY: And these guys are threatening them, then they vote,

PRESIDENT BUSH: That's when you're supposed to vote. You’ve got to stand tough with these terrorists. You cannot allow the terrorists to dictate whether or not a society can be free or not.

In all fairness, I'm reading this back and, as bad as it reads, it was a hell of a lot worse seeing him speak this. He looked completely out of his depth. O'Reilly deadpanned most of this interview, especially on the tough questions. Now, on Saddam and WMD. He is truly lost...
Crackpipe Hit #3:
O’REILLY: What happened to Saddam’s chemical arsenal, do you know?

PRESIDENT BUSH: No. I don’t. We thought we’d have stockpiles, uh, we do know he had the capability of making weapons. And that capability could have been passed on to terrorists, and that was a risk, after 9/11, we could not afford to take.

And now, he describes how he will now prevent Iran from developing NU-CU-LAR weapons.
Crackpipe Hit #4:
O’REILLY: Iran. Uh, said yesterday, hey, we’re going to develop this nuclear stuff, we don’t care what you think. You ready to use military force against Iran if they continue to defy the world on nuclear?

PRESIDENT BUSH: My hope is that we can solve this diplomatically.

O’REILLY: But if you can’t.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, let me try to solve it diplomatically first. All options are on the table, of course, in any situation. But diplomacy is the first option.

O’REILLY: Would you allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon?

PRESIDENT BUSH: We, we are working our hearts out so that they don’t develop a nuclear weapon, and the best way to do so is to continue to keep international pressure on them.

O’REILLY: Is it conceivable that you would allow them to develop a nuclear weapon?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Uh, no, we’ve made it clear, our position is that they won’t have a nuclear weapon.

O’REILLY: Period.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Yeah.

The draft is around the corner...

Then there was a long excruciating exchange about the lack of any border control between the US and Mexico, and trust me, it's worth going to the site and reading, because Bush contradicts himself on so many levels it's amazing.









The NEW Draft....get ready for it:
This time Selective Service System (SSS) regulations have been changed. This time, as SSS states, 'a college student could have his induction postponed only until the end of the current semester. A senior could be postponed until the end of the full academic year.' Canada will no longer welcome anti-draft people. A new SSS plan, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer last May, proposes raising the age of draft registration to 34 years old, up from 25, and possibly including women as well. People with special skills, such as computers, foreign languages, medical training and the like, will also be subject to being drafted. In effect, if approved, it will be a universal draft where everyone, including the kids of the rich and powerful, will allegedly be eligible to serve in the military.

But remember this: No congressional son was drafted during the Vietnam War and today there are virtually no congressional sons or daughters serving as enlisted combat personnel in Iraq. Since 9/11, it is almost impossible to name a single prominent pro-Iraq war activist, those who demand an all-out war against terrorism, whose son or daughter has enlisted for active military duty.


However, queers have nothing to fear. The government doesn't want us.


Bush, are you listening? The King of Jordan thinks there will be chaos if elections are held in Iraq in Jan. Moreover, he thinks it will result in even more extremist takeover of the country.
Jordan's King Abdullah has said it will be impossible to hold fair elections in Iraq in the current state of chaos.

He told the French newspaper Le Figaro that only extremists would gain if the elections went ahead in January without the security situation improving.

Correspondents say these were remarkably frank comments from a man Washington regards as one of its key allies in the Middle East.


Ohio rejects 1000s of voter registration applications due to paper weight (DKos). Is this out of control? This is complete bullshit.
When voter registration applications were maintained for years and used to verify signatures for petitions a requirement that the cards be on 80 lb. stock paper was adopted in Ohio, that law remains on the books. Since the applications are now scanned for preservation, there is no current need to continue that requirement. Today the only time that the heavy weight paper becomes an issue is when the new voter uses the application as a postcard. If heavy paper isn't used for postcards the machinery jams at the Post Office.

In the final days before the registration deadline Ken Blackwell, Ohio Secretary of State, has ordered the local election boards to send out new applications to applicants who have submitted registrations on the wrong paper. The ostensible reason for this order is to insure that the applications can make it through the postal system without being damaged. The Secretary didn't point to any examples of voters who were stupid enough to mail regular weight paper as a postcard, nor did he cite examples of complaints from the Postal Service that this has been a problem. Never mind also that the applications he wants thrown out have already been delivered to the election boards safely.

The local boards have been bombarded with applications and will be unable to comply with Blackwell's order before the deadline to register to vote for this November's election.


This outrage in a swing state is unbelievable. Call 614-466-2585 to let them have it.


The latest in a string of gay GOP hypocrite unveilings is buzzing from BlogActive today. Apparently it's the #2 guy guy at the RNC, Daniel Gurley (Jay Bunning, the RNC CFO was outed last week --- what is it with these people?!). Gurley confirmed his homo status with BlogActive's Mike Rogers on the phone.
: Lately, I never know what will happen when I call one of these gays responsible for gay bashing. But much to my surprise, Daniel Gurley, the NUMBER TWO POLITICAL OPERATIVE at the REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE completely confirmed for me on the phone that yes, he's gay. Now, I know some readers have a tough time connecting the guy who manages all the money to the political hate...but could it be any clearer in this case? This man is paid, blogACTIVE readers, to supervise campaigns in the field and what a field day against gays he has been having! Unreal! You can read all about the phone call to Gurley over at Raw Story and Blue Lemur.


And here are some tidbits from the Raw Story:
Gurley said he would not speak about anti-gay marriage flyers the party admitted mailing in the south. As National Field Director, he would have a hand in political mailings. During the call, he repeatedly stressed that he had nothing to say about party politics.

“I have no comment to make about anything,” he said. “I have no comment about my work, or what I do.”

He did, however, intimate that he might not agree with some of the party’s tenets.

“I, like anyone else, have policy disagreements with any number of elected officials,” Gurley said. “I don’t expect to agree with everything that everybody says.”


Dumbass, you may not agree with their policies...so stop working to make their policies succeed!


Are they sh*tting us? Who will we fight with in Syria and Iran, cub scouts? :
Deep in the Pentagon, admirals and generals are updating plans for possible U.S. military action in Syria and Iran. The Defense Department unit responsible for military planning for the two troublesome countries is 'busier than ever,' an administration official says.


Looks like little Jenna takes after Pop.

Stumbling drunk Jenna Bush spotted in skanky DC bar. AmericaBlog's John Aravosis has a scoop -- one of the sources for this story is someone he knows.
My source, who was out for drinks at Smith's Point bar in Georgetown, described the bar that night:
"It's gross, it's disgusting, it's the grossest bar ever, you would never go there if you weren't either wasted or stupid. The place is like a crawling Republican hangout - they all look like Tucker Carlson, it's like a bad frat boy party. The guys that hang out there are reeking of money, it smells like puke and looks like a basement."

Ok then, sounds like a place ready-made for the Bush family.

My source, who says she was at the bar with a few friends waiting to meet another friend, suddenly saw someone walk by:

"I was standing by the back bar, standing a couple feet away from the bar, and this guy with a Bush/Cheney trucker hat comes by. I noticed him dragging the hand of some girl, and thought 'holy shit' that's Jenna Bush. It was obvious it was her, I knew it was her the minute she walked by. She looked just like she looks on TV, she had on jeans and a tank top."
"She was drinking Budweiser and smoking Marlboro Reds. She was incoherent, that's how drunk she was. She was holding court in back, trying to be inconspicuous. She was so drunk she couldn't even sit up, her friend dragged her to the back of the bar stumbling because she couldn't' walk on her own. She then proceeded to take more shots because, like, that's what this girl really needed at this point was more liquor."

"Later, we walked out through the back and her friend with the bad trucker hat, he was kind of like shielding her from everyone, by this point people had realized it was her. Jenna starts shoving her hand in her face to kind of cover it up, meanwhile she's so disheveled cuz she's wasted.

"She definitely liked the firewater."


Jimmy Carter blows the whistle on the likelihood voting in Florida in 2004 is going to be no less corrupt that it was in 2000. WP:
"After the debacle in Florida four years ago, former president Gerald Ford and I were asked to lead a blue-ribbon commission to recommend changes in the American electoral process. After months of concerted effort by a dedicated and bipartisan group of experts, we presented unanimous recommendations to the president and Congress. The government responded with the Help America Vote Act of October 2002. Unfortunately, however, many of the act's key provisions have not been implemented because of inadequate funding or political disputes.

The disturbing fact is that a repetition of the problems of 2000 now seems likely, even as many other nations are conducting elections that are internationally certified to be transparent, honest and fair.

...Four years ago, the top election official, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, was also the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney state campaign committee. The same strong bias has become evident in her successor, Glenda Hood, who was a highly partisan elector for George W. Bush in 2000. Several thousand ballots of African Americans were thrown out on technicalities in 2000, and a fumbling attempt has been made recently to disqualify 22,000 African Americans (likely Democrats), but only 61 Hispanics (likely Republicans), as alleged felons.

The top election official has also played a leading role in qualifying Ralph Nader as a candidate, knowing that two-thirds of his votes in the previous election came at the expense of Al Gore. She ordered Nader's name be included on absentee ballots even before the state Supreme Court ruled on the controversial issue.

Florida's governor, Jeb Bush, naturally a strong supporter of his brother, has taken no steps to correct these departures from principles of fair and equal treatment or to prevent them in the future.


I almost cannot fathom how weird this election cycle is. With all of the outings and hypocrisy and truly unbelievable revelations, this one is particularly bizarre...Alan Keyes's daughter is a lesbian. DKos has a thread on it, as does Chillinois (with pictures). Apparently Maya Keyes has a public blog out there and isn't hiding the fact that she's queer and has a girlfriend. What's strange is how could her dad be the biggest homophobe in the world. After all, he raises money (for his losing campaign), specifically on a virulent anti-gay stance.
Alan Keyes, September 1, 2004:
But as I said to someone the other day, if my own daughter were a homosexual or a lesbian, I would love my daughter, but I would tell my daughter that she was in sin. And I would love her and pray for her and try to open her heart to the truth of God's intention for her life. That's what I would do.


And the Keyes' do know...from her blog, also excerpted by Chillinois:
Third, my parents and I were seriously not getting along and so we needed some time off from each other; the idea was that after a year of being a wonderful good helping-the-poor type person they would once again like me and therefore be willing to pay for my college I'm not so sure that part of it will work; despite the fact that I'm all about working for global justice THEY don't care about that, THEY only care that I am an evil dyke.


Apparently she took down her site last night (or at least all that was "incriminating"). The pix are on AmericaBlog.


So, Bush wants to turn over Iraq security to people like this:
The US military announced yesterday that it had arrested a top Iraqi National Guard commander in Tikrit, accusing him of working with the insurgency. It was the most serious publicized confirmation so far that the growing resistance movement, which US officials admitted yesterday is fanning out from bases in Fallujah and Baghdad, has infiltrated the top echelons of Iraq's new security forces.

***



Big thanks to FreewayBlogger for putting up the above sign. The regulars at AmericaBlog gave suggestions for a sign, and "Can you feel a draft" won.


Sunday, September 26, 2004


Jim Cooper, AP

Bush apparently sat down with Bill O'Reilly and expected a free ride. The interviews air starting tomorrow, and the whispers are that Shrub was on the defense and he didn't like it. Can't wait to see it. Advance word from Tom Watson's blog:
Just caught a clip of Bill O'Reilly's upcoming interview with President Bush, during a profile of the sometimes nasty Fox talking head on 60 Minutes. This could be a big one, a take-down from the right. The interview was taped last week to be presented pre-debate this week and in what I saw, O'Reilly slams a clearly angry President into silence on WMDs and Iraq. Kos already has a post on it. Bush really doesn't do defense very well; remember when McCain slammed him on the attack ads in South Carolina? ...I'm frankly surprised the Rove machine let the President sit down with the bull terrier - didn't they know he turned on the Iraq policy (like Pat Buchanan and many other conservatives) months ago?


Nova Scotia approves gay marriage. Andrew Sullivan puts it into context with the fight for it in the U.S. nicely:
Yet another Canadian province allows gays to marry. I know this sounds esoteric, but Canada does make a difference here for the U.S. It's country deeply intermeshed with this one; it is relatively easy for gay couples to go there, get married and come back with an even deeper sense of their own equality. And the psychological impact of having your relationship affirmed and supported is profound. The truth is: there is no real struggle over whether gays will get married in this country. They are and they will. Gay marriage is a social fact. What is disputed is whether society will accord these relationships any legal validity, whether such couples will live constantly with the threat of their de facto marriages being derailed by the meddling of hostile relatives, using Republican-sponsored law to undermine them and break them up. Canada and the rest of the civilized world adds a huge amount of weight to the gay side of the debate. It shows gay couples that many parts of America are the exception, not the rule. And the idea of marriage as both imaginable and a right will percolate down to the next gay generation and make marriage seem a no-brainer. That goes for younger straights, as well, who already have very few issues with two dudes loving each other and living together as a married couple. What I'm saying, I guess, is that this social movement is unstoppable. All you can do is persecute, harass and marginalize those who are a part of it. But you can't stop them loving one another, or committing to each other, or getting actual marriage licenses (from Canada) that will reinforce the revolution. For a long time, I urged conservatives to co-opt this social change rather than resist it. For the most part, I failed. But the real victims of this, in the very long run, will not be gays. It will be conservatives."




The man is a sociopath. The most miserably embarrassing photo op in history -- "Mission Accomplished" (and I know Mike Dukakis in a tank was awful in its own way), is something Bush would do all over again. This is going to air on the O'Reilly Factor. (Reuters)
President Bush said he had no regrets about donning a flight suit to give his "Mission Accomplished" speech on Iraq in May 2003 and would do it all over again if he had the chance, according to excerpts from an television interview released on Sunday.

When asked by Fox News if he still would have put on a flight suit to declare major combat operations in Iraq over, Bush replied, "Absolutely."

When Bush gave his May 1 speech fewer than 150 Americans had died in the war. Since then more than 900 have died. Amid a rising U.S. death toll and a rash of abductions and beheadings in Iraq, some members of Bush's own Republican Party have criticized him for not doing enough to secure insurgent areas in Iraq sooner.

But Bush said he also did not regret the decision to withdraw U.S. forces from the rebel stronghold of Falluja earlier this year because he believed the conflict there could have jeopardized the June handover of sovereignty to Iraqis.

In response to Bush's remarks, Kerry ripped him a new one:
Kerry, arriving in Madison, Wisconsin for debate preparations, called the statement "unbelievable."

"I will never be a president who just says mission accomplished. I will get the mission accomplished," said the Massachusetts senator. "That's the difference."



Michael and his mother and nephew (WP photo).

Wow. The WP followed a gay teenager in Oklahoma to give people an idea of what it is like to come out in "unfriendly territory." This first article, In the Bible Belt, Acceptance Is Hard-Won, is quite amazing and powerful.
While the rest of the country is debating same-sex marriage, Michael's America is still dealing with the basics. There are no rainbow flags here. No openly gay teacher at the high school. There is just the wind knifing down the plains, and people praying over their lunches in the yellow booths at Subway. Michael loves this place, but can it still be home? What if the preachers and the country music songs are right?

...The gay revolution hit the buckle of the Bible Belt with a clang. The sweeping changes of 2003 -- the U.S. Supreme Court decriminalizing homosexual acts between consenting adults and the Massachusetts high court legalizing same-sex marriage in that state -- pushed gays more toward the mainstream than ever. If the revolution was coming, Oklahoma aimed to stop it. In the first weeks of Oklahoma's 2004 legislative session, 10 anti-gay bills were introduced, including one to ban gay marriage and another to prohibit the recognition of out-of-state adoptions by same-sex couples.

...For Michael Shackelford, blond and earnest, the question of salvation is a serious one. But his concerns about eternal life are eclipsed by the here and now of being a gay teenager in the rural town of Sand Springs, west of Tulsa. There are only a handful of openly gay students at Charles Page High, and they are subject to ridicule and vandalism. This year, they also became a convenient outlet for the fury against gay marriage, which is why Michael wanted to keep his sexuality a secret.

...While the rest of the country is laughing over "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," Michael stops using the restroom during the seven-hour school day.

...Brent Wimmer has a shelf of ribbons for raising purebred show chickens and knows his way around a hog auction. He is 6-foot-2 and also the most unabashedly gay student at Charles Page High. Michael is in awe of Brent's outspokenness, but it frightens him, too. Brent has paid a price for being so open. He's been called to the front of his church to have demons cast out of him. Someone sent a mailbox crashing through his living room window. His car gets egged and scraped with keys in the student parking lot. Nothing seems to stop him.

Please go read the whole article.


Alright. If this doesn't get your hackles up, nothing will. Are these poor people supposed to be cannon fodder? The Army plans to send 800 Reservists over to Iraq with no weapons and no vehicles.
About 800 members of the 98th Army Reserve Division from Rochester, New York will begin a year-long mission in Iraq next month.

The unit, which normally trains reserve and active-duty soldiers in the U.S., will find itself training Iraq’s new army.

The 98th is a non-combat unit that doesn't even have its own weapons or vehicles.

"This is a hard war and we, frankly, inside the Army Reserve have been not properly prepared for it,” said Lt. Gen. James Helmly, chief of the U.S. Army Reserve.


George Stephanopoulos of ABC's This Week, today asked Colin Powell about a return to the draft, and the answer was: "There is no need for a draft at this point." Reassuring, eh? It gets better as he's asked about the conditions in Iraq:
George Stephanopoulos: Is it getting worse?

Sec. Colin Powell: Yes, its getting worse and the reason it is getting worse is that they are determined to disrupt the election. They do not want the Iraqi people to vote for their own leaders in a free, democratic election. And because it's getting worse, we will have to increase our efforts to defeat it, not walk away and pray and hope for something else to happen.


***

Meanwhile, on Meet the Press, the US head of military operations, General Abizaid was bobbing and weaving about the level of violence and the ability to have elections in January: "I also think we're going to have to fight our way all the way through elections, and there will be a lot of violence between now and then."


More power to the FreewayBlogger...


"The Freeway Blogger gets his anti-war message to the people one sign at a time"

The also site notes that an academy award-winning filmmaker is producing a documentary about freewayblogging and the new wave of high-profile individual free speech.




Gary Bauer's obsession with gay marriage is laughable.

Look at this ridiculous anti-Kerry commercial. (Thanks to AmericaBlog for that tip).

I really feel sorry for queer folks in the state of Virginia. They've got Bauer and Falwell cultivating hate, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and quite a few "ex-gay" ministries based there. And now, any "partnership contract or other arrangements that purport to provide the benefits of marriage." has been invalidated by the recent Marriage Affirmation Act.

My state, NC, is sandwiched between some seriously homophobic states (VA/SC). I mean SC has the freaking Christian Exodus movement, which is funny/sad in itself. That's a fertile area for Bauer's commercials.


Saturday, September 25, 2004

The world has indeed turned upside down...gay homophobe David Dreier, up for re-election in CA was outed this week. But the NEW news is that his challenger has just acknowledged she is a lesbian. So we have a head-to-head race here, two queers, one out and proud, the other being dragged from his closet with a long record of anti-gay votes. Raw Story and Blogactive are covering this.

BlogActive:
The state of California is once again making history in the struggle for gay and lesbian equality. The U.S. House race in the state's 26th district is the first time in American history that both major political parties are fielding out gay or lesbian candidates. Cynthia Matthews (D) has been out and in a loving relationship with her partner of eleven years, while incumbent David Dreier (R) was recently outed in the LA Weekly and will be the subject of a Hustler Magazine article due out this fall.

As usual, RAW STORY is on top of the latest developments with a link to John Byrne's BLUE LEMUR. This story is of particular interest to people who live in Washington, DC. While Dreier was voting against gay and lesbian residents in the nation's capital, Cynthia Matthews was living an honest and open life in her congressional district.


Raw Story:
In a surprising twist to an already unusual California congressional race, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican Congressman David Dreier has told RAW STORY that she is a lesbian, and has made a series of conditional statements rebuking Dreier’s position on gay issues while concurrently questioning the payment arrangements with his chief of staff Brad Smith.

Her statement makes this the first known time in history an openly gay candidate has run against another candidate also believed to be gay. The L.A. Times, presented with this information, has said they are not planning a story.

Democrat Cynthia Matthews, who has not kept her sexuality secret from the press, said Saturday that she was proud of her relationship with her same-sex partner.

“I have been in an eleven year relationship with my partner,” Matthews said, “and refuse to run for office if I would be required to relegate my partner to the closet.”

While not rendering judgment on the veracity of the allegations against Dreier – that he has led a closeted 24-year tenure in Congress while concurrently voting against gay civil rights, and that he lived with his chief of staff whom he pays an unusually high salary – Matthews condemned Dreier’s positions on gay issues.

If the allegations are true, she added, Dreier should be ashamed.

...“If David Dreier is gay, it is absolutely shameful to me that he would amass a 24-year voting record against his own community,” Matthews said. “I am saddened that David Dreier has voted against funding housing for people with AIDS and that he has denied AIDS medications to impoverished Americans – those who are most in need of these life-saving drugs.”

Dreier’s former challenger, Democrat Janice Nelson, has said that she was aware Dreier was living with his chief of staff, but chose not to make an issue of it during her 2000 campaign.


Dave Dreier looks like a real loser now. He's got nowhere to hide now; she needs to talk about this to all the media for the rest of the campaign. She blew up what was remaining of the closet he had for shelter. His integrity and honesty regarding his record concerning gay rights are legitimate campaign issues, as is the "honey on the payroll" problem.

More power to her!



Sumner "liberal Democrat" Redstone, head of Viacom, CBS's massa, endorses Bush and spikes the CBS Iraq piece.

The Naked Truth about the death of big media journalism. CBS is spiking its story on Iraq because Viacom head endorses Bush.
Yesterday, the chairman of CBS's parent company chose Hong Kong as a place to drop a little bomb. Sumner Redstone, who calls himself a "liberal Democrat," said he's supporting President Bush.

The chairman of the entertainment giant Viacom said the reason was simple: Republican values are what U.S. companies need. Speaking to some of America's and Asia's top executives gathered for Forbes magazine's annual Global CEO Conference, Mr. Redstone declared: "I look at the election from what's good for Viacom. I vote for what's good for Viacom. I vote, today, Viacom.

"I don't want to denigrate Kerry," he went on, "but from a Viacom standpoint, the election of a Republican administration is a better deal. Because the Republican administration has stood for many things we believe in, deregulation and so on. The Democrats are not bad people. . . . But from a Viacom standpoint, we believe the election of a Republican administration is better for our company."

Sharing the stage with Mr. Redstone was Steve Forbes, CEO, president and editor in chief of Forbes and a former Republican presidential aspirant, who quipped: "Obviously you're a very enlightened CEO."

Also, here is MSNBC/Newsweek on CBS's spike: The Story That Didn't Run


As harsh as it sounds, I have to agree with Ted Rall, that there are some citizens that just shouldn't vote. They are too stupid, uninformed and unengaged.
--"Kerry doesn't know what the working-class people do; he hasn't done any physical labor all his life," Sharon Alfman, a 51-year-old cook in New Lexington, Ohio, told a New York Times reporter. It's true. Kerry is a rich boy. But then she added: "Bush's values are middle-class family values."

George W. Bush earned $727,000 last year. Estimates of his net worth range between $9 and $26 million. Middle class he most assuredly is not. Working class he never has been. Like fellow Skull and Bones member John Kerry, man of the people he never will be. But it matters that Sharon Altman thinks he is. Unless you too are a voter living in a swing state like Ohio, her vote counts more than yours.

Demonstrating that stupefying ignorance can be bipartisan, another Ohioan interviewed for the same article said she is against the war in Iraq because, like 42 percent of her fellow Americans, she thinks Iraq was behind 9/11: "We shouldn't be over there building them back up because they didn't build our towers back up." She is wrong on so many levels that it makes my brain hurt.

...A 2002 poll found that 64 percent of Americans--people whose votes help determine how much you pay in taxes--could not name a single Supreme Court justice. In 2003, 58 percent--people whose votes could elect someone who starts a nuclear war--couldn't identify a single department of the president's cabinet. Voters aged 18 to 24, whose recent schooling ought to inspire confidence in their knowledge of basic facts, are especially ignorant. National Geographic says that 85 percent of young American adults can't find Afghanistan, Iraq or Israel on a map.

The fact that these yahoos are allowed to vote is an abomination. Their ill-considered ballots cancel or dilute those cast by those who do the heavy lifting that makes them good citizens: keeping abreast of current events, researching issues, studying candidates' positions.

In the Old South, literacy tests were used to disenfranchise blacks. Alternatively, a basic political literacy test should be used to ensure that anyone who picks ESPN over CNN--regardless of race or creed--stays home on Election Day. Prospective voters should be required to answer at least three of the following questions correctly; to give people a fair shot, the test should be published in newspapers a week before an election:

1. Who is the vice president?

2. What is your state capital?

3. Name one of the following: your governor, congressman or one senator.

4. What is the capital of the United States?

5. Name one federal cabinet-level department.

Of course, such a political literacy test would drastically reduce voter turnout. On the other hand, those who pass could take comfort in knowing that they're not competing against the 60 percent of Americans who think we've found Iraq's imaginary WMDs, or the 22 percent who "believe" that Saddam Hussein used such weapons against U.S. troops during the 2003 invasion.

Amen.


This is the latest reason why you cannot trust mainstream media for your news. NYT: '60 Minutes' Delays Report Questioning Reasons for Iraq War. CBS caves, saying that a "60 Minutes" segment that questioned Bush administration rationales for going to war in Iraq. won't air until after the election. "We now believe it would be inappropriate to air the report so close to the presidential election," the spokeswoman, Kelli Edwards, said in a statement.

WTF is this? If you're going to expose lies and deceit about a current administration's reasoning for getting into a war where citizens are dying, why is it in the best interest of the public not to know the information beforehand. This is bullshit garbage.


The gay news roundup...

1) Kerry explains his position on gay marriage in his first post-convention interview with the gay press. Apparently there were restrictions, according to the Wash Blade; Kerry’s presidential campaign negotiated a 15-minute interview with the local gay press, and a 15-minute interview with Advocate magazine. Kerry:
I think, you know, and I’ve said this before, I think marriage raises a different issue in the minds of a lot of people because of its deep religious foundations and institutional structure as the oldest institution in the world.

It is the oldest institution in the world — older than country, older than our form of government, older than most forms of government. And people view it differently.

What’s important to me is not the terminology or the status; what’s important to me are the rights. The rights. That you shouldn’t be discriminated against in your right to visit a partner in the hospital. You shouldn’t be discriminated against in your right to leave property to somebody, if that’s what you want. You shouldn’t be discriminated against if you have a civil union relationship that affords you the same rights.

Now I think that’s a huge step. There’s never been a candidate for president who has stood up and said I think we should fight for those things. And you’ve got to progress. Even that, I take huge hits for.

And you know, I stood up on the floor of the Senate and voted against DOMA because I thought it was gay bashing on the floor of the United States Senate. I was one of 14 votes. The only person running for reelection who did that.

2) Also in the Wash Blade, the damn third round of FMA is up for a vote in the house on September 30.
The move could finally put an end to more than a year of back-and-forth from House committee rooms to chambers regarding the contentious amendment’s future, marked by sharp protests, cancelled hearings, cancelled votes, bizarre alliances and an outing campaign.

But if defeated as expected, the amendment is expected to make an appearance in the campaign platforms of many conservatives and most likely on the House floor again next year, with its supporters vowing to resurrect it until it passes.

The most recent round of political posturing over H.J. Resolution 56, also known as the Federal Marriage Amendment, which Rep. Marilyn Musgrave introduced in May 2003, began Friday, Sept. 17, with both sides vowing to prevail on the vote. But despite the rhetoric, legislative experts predict a photo finish for the FMA.

Entitled “Battle for Marriage III,” the multimedia event broadcast from the First Baptist Church in Springdale, Ark., featured Dobson arguing that legalization of same-sex marriage would “seriously threaten religious freedom” and force schools to teach homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle.

3) More news from the Blade...
Blair wobbles on vote for civil unions. British Prime Minister Tony Blair last week delayed a vote on ‘civil partnerships’ to accommodate the born-again Christian preacher who leads Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party.

Spain to approve gay marriage Oct. 1. In a plan that has outraged church leaders in this traditionally Catholic country, Spain’s Socialist government will approve gay marriage at an Oct. 1 cabinet meeting, according to a party leader, Reuters reported. “The cabinet ... is going to approve the change to the civil code so that people of the same sex can marry. Why are we doing this? Because people have to be in charge of their own destiny,” Jose Blanco, a top member of the Socialist party, told participants in a rally Sunday, Reuters reported.

Manitoba became the fourth Canadian province to legalize same-sex marriage. when a judge last week declared the province’s current definition of marriage unconstitutional. Courts legalized gay marriage in the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec in 2003 and in the Yukon Territory in July.

Czech Republic leaders near vote on same-sex unions. Political leaders are set to debate a new measure later this month that would allow civil unions for same-sex couples, the Prague Post reported. The measure was approved upon its first reading in June, and the debate and second reading later this month are considered important milestones for the bill, according to the Post. Christian Democrats oppose the legislation, but a top party official said the legislation likely still will be successful, the Post reported.

4) The head of Georgia's branch of the Christian Coalition has a gay daughter. Sadie Fields, state chair of the Christian Coalition of Georgia, shepherded a constitutional ban on gay marriage through the General Assembly earlier this year — despite having a lesbian daughter.

Fields is estranged from her daughter, Tess Fields, 35, who now lives in Portland, Ore., with her partner and child, according to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Political Insider column on Sept. 20.

“I want to confirm my existence,” Tess Fields told the newspaper, noting that she did not want to engage in a public battle with her mother.

Contacted by Southern Voice, Tess Fields had only one statement.

“I hope that Georgians don’t let hate and bigotry divide their state the same way they have divided my family,” she said.

Sadie Fields did not respond to interview requests by press time, but told the AJC the proposed amendment “is about doing what’s right, regardless of the pain.”

5) Gay baiting in U.S. House race in TX. Houston Voice Online: Congressman Nick Lampson’s campaign to keep his seat in the U.S. House slid into the mud this week when a billboard went up overnight in Beaumont proclaiming, “Nick Lampson supports homosexual marriage. Do you?”

The billboard directs readers to a Web site, www.liberallampson.com, where the headline reads, “Why Rep. Nick Lampson is ‘bought and paid for’ by the homosexual lobby.”


Apparently flight boy has some more records that were released.

Reuters reports that the Defense Department said this latest round of documents had already been released in 2000 by the National Guard Bureau in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, but none of the documents contain substantial info.

My thought is that these documents couldn't possibly be stored with any care; they just trickle out as if some joe blow is in the back room and comes across a document from behind the copier or something. I can also visualize the episodes of the X-Files where the Smoking Man enters a cavernous vault at the Pentagon where all the papers and files are stored...maybe these Bush files were back there with the pickled alien baby.





Sully pointed to an unhinged Chuck Colson article in Christianity Today Magazine on why gay Americans achieving more civil rights is taunting the terrorists into action.
Radical Islamists were surely watching in July when the Senate voted on procedural grounds to do away with the Federal Marriage Amendment. This is like handing moral weapons of mass destruction to those who use America's decadence to recruit more snipers and hijackers and suicide bombers. One vital goal of the war in Iraq, and the war against terrorism, is to bring democracy to the heart of the Islamic world. Our hope is to make freedom so attractive that other Muslim countries will follow suit. But when radical Islamists see American women abusing Muslim men, as they did in the Abu Ghraib prison, and when they see news coverage of same-sex couples being "married" in U.S. towns, we make our kind of freedom abhorrent—the kind they see as a blot on Allah's creation. Preserving traditional marriage in order to protect children is a crucially important goal by itself. But it's also about protecting the United States from those who would use our depravity to destroy us.

One must remember that back in those Watergate days, when he served as special counsel to Tricky Dick Nixon, "Colson sought to hire Teamsters thugs to beat up anti-war demonstrators, and he plotted to raid or firebomb the Brookings Institution. He eventually pleaded guilty to scheming to defame Daniel Ellsberg and interfering with his trial. In 1974, Colson served seven months in federal prison." (David Plotz, Slate). A real clear sense of morality. Just declare yourself born again, and all the rest doesn't matter. Whatever.


Big Surprise...The National Guard falls short of recruiting goal this year. And guess what...they're going to come after high schoolers. Can you feel the draft...
Army Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said in an interview at his Pentagon office that the shortfall for the budget year ending Sept. 30 is likely to be about 5,000 soldiers. That is a little more than 1% of the total Army Guard force of 350,000.

The Guard had set a goal of 56,000 recruits for the year but is likely to end up with about 51,000, he said.

As a result, Blum said he will increase the number of recruiters and put more effort into targeting young people in high school and college who have not previously served in the military.

...Blum said he sees two main reasons why the Guard is attracting fewer soldiers from the active-duty force — a pool of recruits that in some states accounts for half of the total new Guard members in a given year.

One reason is that the active-duty Army is prohibiting soldiers in units that are in Iraq or Afghanistan, or are preparing to deploy there, from leaving the service, even if their enlistment term is up. Thus the number who might consider moving into the Guard has shrunk temporarily.

The other reason, Blum said, is that active-duty soldiers are aware that a growing number of Guard units are being sent to Iraq and Afghanistan. Thus they figure there is little to be gained, in terms of reduced personal risk, by switching from active duty to the Guard.


Friday, September 24, 2004

Boy, been busy at work and out this evening and there's oodles to blog about...

1) NYT: Republicans Admit Mailing Campaign Literature Saying Liberals Will Ban the Bible. The RNC finally fessed up to having sent out the hateful mailings to WV and Arkansas implying a Kerry election means banning the bible and approving gay marriage.
It said the mailings were part of its effort to mobilize religious voters for President Bush.

...In an e-mail message, Christine Iverson, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, confirmed that the party had sent the mailings.

Another note on this, Sully actually acknowledges the blogs broke this one.
BANNING BIBLES: Yep, the RNC did it. I might add that blogs broke this story, although David Kirkpatrick refers only to a liberal religious group. Still: it's enlightening to see how the RNC peddles hysteria and homophobia to win votes. And not an apology in sight.

Damn straight on that, lol, pun intended. No comment from anyone of consequence at the RNC. Speaking of which...

2) BlogActive outs the head of finance for the RNC, Jay Banning. There's also more at The Raw Story. Among his duties:
Banning, as CFO and Director of Administration for the GOP, is responsible for all accounting systems, the administration of party headquarters, GOP security, personnel, information services, graphic services and executive secretariat services.

...Banning, who has collected more than $270 million for the Republican Party in the 2004 election cycle for the most explicitly anti-gay platform the party has held in history, said he has no problem with spending tens of millions of dollars to restrict the rights of a group he's part of.

"I don't seem to have a problem with it," he said. I'm not in the policy area.

Queried further, he remarked, "I don't make the policy.

Asked if he was familiar with the anti-gay marriage flyers mailed by the Republican National Committee in Arkansas and West Virginia which suggested that elected liberals would ban bibles and allow gay marriage, Banning said he "wasn't aware of that."

3) Tell me, how did we go from this: Rumsfeld Suggests Limited Iraq Election to this: Powell Deputy Says Elections Must Be 'Open to All' in Iraq in the course of one day? DKos has a thread on the Kerry rapid response to this desperate failure of the Bush camp to stay on message.

4) Atrios has a nice graphic depicting the flip-flopping, two-faced president:



Thursday, September 23, 2004

Naomi Klein of The Nation writes an incredibly damning piece on the "reconstruction efforts" taking place in Iraq, and how the corporate thieves are cashing in on our tax dollars and have little to show for it. It's another outrage and reason why contractors are getting beheaded and kidnapped. The Iraqis are getting a raw deal, and you can see why:
Good news out of Baghdad: the Program Management Office, which oversees the $18.4bn in US reconstruction funds, has finally set a goal it can meet. Sure, electricity is below pre-war levels, the streets are rivers of sewage and more Iraqis have been fired than hired. But now the PMO has contracted the British mercenary firm Aegis to protect its employees from "assassination, kidnapping, injury and" - get this - "embarrassment". I don't know if Aegis will succeed in protecting PMO employees from violent attack, but embarrassment? I'd say mission already accomplished. The people in charge of rebuilding Iraq can't be embarrassed, because, clearly, they have no shame.
In the run-up to the June 30 underhand (sorry, I can't bring myself to call it a "handover"), US occupation powers have been unabashed in their efforts to steal money that is supposed to aid a war-ravaged people. The state department has taken $184m earmarked for drinking water projects and moved it to the budget for the lavish new US embassy in Saddam Hussein's former palace. Short of $1bn for the embassy, Richard Armitage, the deputy secretary of state, said he might have to "rob from Peter in my fiefdom to pay Paul". In fact, he is robbing Iraq's people, who, according to a recent study by the consumer group Public Citizen, are facing "massive outbreaks of cholera, diarrhoea, nausea and kidney stones" from drinking contaminated water.

If the occupation chief Paul Bremer and his staff were capable of embarrassment, they might be a little sheepish about having spent only $3.2bn of the $18.4bn Congress allotted - the reason the reconstruction is so disastrously behind schedule.

But then, if financial scandals made you blush, the entire reconstruction of Iraq would be pretty mortifying. From the start, its architects rejected the idea that it should be a New Deal-style public works project for Iraqis to reclaim their country. Instead, it was treated as an ideological experiment in privatisation. The dream was for multinational firms, mostly from the US, to swoop in and dazzle the Iraqis with their speed and efficiency.

Iraqis saw something else: desperately needed jobs going to Americans, Europeans and south Asians; roads crowded with trucks shipping in supplies produced in foreign plants, while Iraqi factories were not even supplied with emergency generators. As a result, the reconstruction was seen not as a recovery from war but as an extension of the occupation, a foreign invasion of a different sort. And so, as the resistance grew, the reconstruction itself became a prime target.

The contractors have responded by behaving even more like an invading army, building elaborate fortresses in the green zone - the walled-in city within a city that houses the occupation authority in Baghdad - and surrounding themselves with mercenaries. And being hated is expensive. According to the latest estimates, security costs are eating up 25% of reconstruction contracts - money not being spent on hospitals, water-treatment plants or telephone exchanges.

Meanwhile, insurance brokers selling sudden-death policies to contractors in Iraq have doubled their premiums, with insurance costs reaching 30% of payroll
. That means many companies are spending half their budgets arming and insuring themselves against the people they are supposedly in Iraq to help.

...Rather than models of speed and efficiency, the contractors look more like overcharging, underperforming, lumbering beasts, barely able to move for fear of the hatred they have helped generate. The problem goes well beyond the latest reports of Halliburton drivers abandoning $85,000 trucks on the road because they don't carry spare tyres. Private contractors are also accused of playing leadership roles in the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. A landmark class-action lawsuit filed by the Centre for Constitutional Rights alleges that Titan Corporation and CACI International conspired to "humiliate, torture and abuse persons" in order to increase demand for their "interrogation services".


Is this something like "a little bit pregnant?" Rumsfeld is suggesting that the prospective elections in Iraq could be held in limited areas if security isn't up to snuff Reuters.
"If there were to be an area where the extremists focused during the election period, and an election was not possible in that area at that time, so be it. You have the rest of the election and you go on. Life's not perfect," Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee

...Under questioning on prospects for elections amid the rising violence, Rumsfeld first said, "I shouldn't be saying this because I just don't know enough about it. It's something the ambassador is working on."

But the Pentagon chief said there could be a situation where an election could be held in "three-quarters or four-fifths of the country. But in some places you couldn't because the violence was too great."

Tell me, how is this democracy or "free and fair elections," as Shrub has been saying on the stump? It isn't free or fair if the people being terrorized in the no-go zones cannot go out and vote. It's not their fault that the neighborhoods in which they live are hell-holes of violence, courtesy of the invasion/occupation.




Domestic terrorism at its best...truly "all-American":
Bomb Set Off At McDonald's After Men Receive Bad Shake.
Two brothers serving in the military and a third man exploded a small bomb inside a McDonald's because they were angry over a bad milkshake, officials said. No one was hurt and damage to the restaurant was minor.

Pedro Garza, 19; Joshua Hackey, 19; and Nathaniel Hackey, 21; were arrested Saturday on felony charges of making and discharging a destructive device. The older Hackey is in the Army and his brother is in the Coast Guard, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.

"One of the guys said they got a bad milkshake, and they played a prank on them," sheriff's Maj. Sammy Taylor said.

Investigators say the men mixed toilet bowl cleaner and aluminum foil in a plastic soda bottle as they sat at a table Friday evening near the restaurant's restrooms. They then capped the bottle, put it on the table and left before it exploded at 10:45 p.m. Friday. A customer sitting 10 feet away wasn't hit by the splashing chemicals.


No comment necessary...Bush Budget Adds $1.3T to Deficits.


Bush's poll numbers go down, the terrorist threat bugaboos go up.
As the election nears, U.S. officials say they are increasingly concerned al-Qaida will attempt to mount a devastating attack aimed at disrupting the political process.

Though they have no new information indicating a time, place or method of attack, government agencies are stepping up counterterrorism efforts.

"We remain concerned that al-Qaida continues to demonstrate its intent and desire to carry out an attack that will effect the democratic process," Homeland Security Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said.

Democrats and others have accused the Bush administration of scare tactics on terrorism warnings — deliberately frightening the public to give President Bush (news - web sites) a boost at the polls.


Wednesday, September 22, 2004

It's now out in the open in LA Weekly: The Outing of David Dreier.
Dreier is not just a political homophobe but a heartless AIDS-phobe as well, voting against the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program designed to give shelter to the impoverished sick, and against funding for the federal ADAP program that furnishes the poor with the AIDS meds they need to stay alive.

Dreier can probably survive outing in his district and be re-elected, and it won’t hurt him much with Arnold and his cronies either. But Dreier’s days as a key member of the ultra-homophobic Hastert-DeLay House GOP leadership may be numbered. The telegenic Dreier has often served as the GOP leadership’s spokesman on the TV chat-show circuit. It will be interesting to see whether, the next time Dreier shows up on Crossfire or Chris Matthews’ show, he’s asked about the contradictions between his anti-gay voting record and his hitherto-secret life.


An actual GOP mailing that is going out in Arkansas and WV:




Just remember...RNC honcho Ed Gillespie says he hasn't heard about such a flyer going out. You can always contact the Bush-Cheney Campaign HQ in Virginia, (703) 647-2700 and ask about their latest "compassionate conservative" campaign tactics. Ask to speak to Mary Cheney.


Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart apologizes after remark about 'killing' gay men. Hahahahaha. Canada, which has anti-hate speech laws, gave Jimmy a little beating. Remember his little statement:
"And I'm going to be blunt and plain: If one ever looks at me like that, I'm going to kill him and tell God he died," Swaggart said to laughter and applause from the congregation.

On Wednesday, Swaggart said he has jokingly used the expression "killing someone and telling God he died" thousands of times, about all sorts of people. He said the expression is figurative and not meant to harm.

"It's a humorous statement that doesn't mean anything. You can't lie to God -- it's ridiculous," Swaggart told The Associated Press. "If it's an insult, I certainly didn't think it was, but if they are offended, then I certainly offer an apology."





Bush=AWOL=40 percent of Army reservists fail to report to Fort Jackson. The Charleston.Net: News reports:
"We're not surprised by those numbers at all," [Lt. Col. Burton L. Masters, spokesman for the Army's Human Resources Command] Masters said.

Most of those who have not reported are seeking exemptions from active duty or delays in reporting, he said.

Those who have not reported or applied for a delay or exemption will be considered deserters if they do not show up within seven days of the date they were told to report for duty, Masters said.

"We are going to go the extra mile to work with people," he said. "But if they don't report, the Army will track them down."
Troops subject to the recall have been on active duty but have not completed their eight-year obligation to the Army.
.




Be afraid, very afraid. More e-voting problems, covered in a Wired news article:
"Voting activist Bev Harris and a computer scientist say they found more vulnerabilities in an electronic voting system made by Diebold Election Systems, weaknesses that could allow someone to alter votes in the election this November.

Diebold said Harris' claims are without merit and that if anyone did manage to change votes, a series of checks and balances that election officials perform at the end of an election would detect the changes."

Harris said it's possible to alter the vote summaries while leaving the raw data alone. In doing so, the election results that go to state officials would be manipulated, while the canvas spot check performed on the raw data would show that the GEMS results were accurate. Officials would only know that the summary votes didn't match precinct results if they went back and manually counted results from each individual polling place and compared them to the vote summaries in GEMS.

Diebold said because the two sets of data are coupled in GEMS it would be impossible for someone to change the summaries without changing the precinct data that feeds the summaries. And if they did, the system would flag the change

...But Harris said it's possible to change the voting summaries without using GEMS by writing a script in Visual Basic -- a simple, common programming language for Windows-based machines -- that tricks the system into thinking the votes haven't been changed. GEMS runs on the Windows operating system.

The trick was uncovered by Herbert Thompson, director of security technology at Security Innovation and a teacher of computer security at the Florida Institute of Technology. Thompson has authored several nonfiction books on computer security and co-authored a new novel about hacking electronic voting systems called The Mezonic Agenda: Hacking the Presidency.

...After Harris met Thompson at the Defcon hacker conference this year, she asked him to examine the GEMS program. He found he could write a five-line script in the Notepad text editor that would change the vote summaries in GEMS without changing the raw precinct data. The auditing log in GEMS wouldn't record the change because it only tracks changes that occur within GEMS, not changes that occur on the computer outside of GEMS.


Credit to OutletRadio on this one:

Dan Rather vs George Bush on the facts
September 22, 2004
Dan Rather, CBS News Anchor
* given documents he thought were true
* failed to thoroughly investigate the facts
* reported documents to the American people as true to make his case
* when confronted with the facts, apologized and launched an investigation
* number of Americans dead: 0
* should be fired as CBS News Anchor

George W. Bush, President of the United States
* given documents he thought were true
* failed to thoroughly investigate the facts
* reported documents to the American people as true to make his case
* when confronted with the facts, continued to report untruth and stonewalled an investigation
* number of Americans dead: 1100
* should be given four more years as President of the United States


Oliver Willis has video of Peter Jennings smacking down Bush. And it's a tasty one too. The simplicity of it is that all Jennings had to do was play video of Bush telling a lie about Kerry's remarks on Saddam Hussein and juxtapose it with what Kerry actually said on video from the speech. Beautiful.


Vote for Bush, kiss your mortgage interest deduction goodbye. Yep, Edwards is hitting him hard with this bombshell. There's a lively thread about this on Daily Kos.

That's a winning issue, because it hits a huge chunk of the electorate right in the wallet. The Bush campaign did not deny that Bush was looking at this possibility, since they are proposing tax reform that includes consideration of the "flat tax.":
Under a true consumption levy, allowing investment income to go tax-free would have to be coupled with ending the tax deduction for interest paid by corporations and by homeowners on their mortgages -- a huge and far less popular change.

KE04 should be all over this one.



Holy coke snorting, Batman. Looks like the National Enquirer plans to produce new proof (outside of Kitty Kelley sources) that Bush was doing blow.
One source, author Toby Rogers, said a former member of George Bush Sr.'s staff revealed to him that George W. used cocaine and "has been out of control since college."

Of course, the admin will try to shoo this off since the Enquirer is a newsstand tab. However, they cannot forget how seriously they took the Gennifer Flowers Star cover story back in Big Bill's day...

And for an interesting take on the NE, read I Believe the National Enquirer - Why don't you?, by Jack Shafer.


The world is going insane. This "group" (perhaps we're talking 5-10 people countrywide, tops) hasn't a prayer for a hearing with the Bush campaign. Let alone their stance is non-sensical -- domestic partnerships, but no gay marriage. Just fucking stupid. Black Gay Republicans Break with Log Cabin Republicans, Endorse Bush .
The ALBRC was co-founded by Don Sneed, a member of the Log Cabin Republicans, to address the political issues and needs of young Black gay Republicans, who he says: "Our voices are never heard, yet we exist and are growing in numbers." The endorsement was fueled by the Log Cabin Republicans' refusal to endorse President Bush. "We think that the 'Republican Tent' is inclusive and there is room for differences, but one does not pick up their marbles and go home if there are a few points of disagreement," stated Anthony Falls, Republican Precinct Chairman -- Dallas and the ALBRC National Spokesperson. "The ALBRC does not support marriage for gays, yet we do support and call for recognition of domestic partnerships," he stated.


I'm sure this group is against hate crimes legislation too -- tell that to James Byrd's and Matthew Shepard's families.


If you want to see White House flak Dan Bartlett sweat under the tough questioning not from journalists, but average netizens, check out the transcripts from "Ask the White House". [He ended the session abruptly with "Sorry I need to run. I enjoyed taking your questions."]


It's not enough that the GOP wants to "protect marriage" with FMA, as they'd have the public believe. They want to roll back any protections that we have in the name of their cultural holy war. The latest, under-the-radar tactic is to remove gay employee protections at SSA.
Social Security Administration officials are trying to remove language protecting employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation from the agency's labor contract, union leaders claim.

During negotiations on renewing the contract, SSA officials proposed eliminating a clause that allows gay, lesbian and bisexual workers to file discrimination grievances, said Witold Skwierczynski, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Council 220.

AFGE officials convinced SSA to add the language to the contract during 2000 negotiations, after President Clinton issued an executive order establishing a uniform policy protecting federal employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

To make a ruckus, you can email the government about this. (Thanks, AmericaBlog).


Now if this doesn't cause Iraq to completely unravel...Bush wants to set "Dr. Germ" free. He says this is an independent move by the Iraqi Justice Ministry and has NOTHING to do with the fact that 2 Americans have been beheaded because of the kidnappers' demand that Iraqi women held in custody be freed.

This is sickening -- this is being done as the Brit has the knife at his neck. It is not a far, cynical stretch to think that the timing of this -- with the Brit's life in the balance -- has a lot to do with Tony Blair's political fate hanging in the balance (for being in the Coalition of the Willing). Blair is planning to pull 1/3rd of his troops out shortly, which is going to be a BIG black eye for the Bush admin. It's not cynical to think that "protecting" Blair in order to keep a strong military commitment isn't at the forefront of the motivation for this.

It's horrifically shortsighted, because once we cave, it's open season for kidnapping. And what must the relatives of the two Americans feel?


Tuesday, September 21, 2004



Alan Keyes needs your assistance. His candidacy is being "attacked by the homosexual lobby". Bahahahahahaha. Start playing the violins...
"If you have been following the news lately, you may have seen that militant homosexuals, certain pro-homosexual media outlets and commentators, and even a few weak-kneed Republicans (who should know better) have been attacking me relentlessly because of some remarks I made -- and some I "reportedly" made -- during a radio interview about "homosexual marriage."

...I make no apologies for my position -- which, not coincidentally, is the position of the Republican Party Platform drafted by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and approved by President Bush -- and I will not surrender one inch of ground to those who are attacking this sacred institution. You would expect nothing less of me.

...Friend, I will not surrender to this assault. I will not be cowed, and evade direct questions that require answers of logic and conviction. And neither should you.

CLICK HERE to donate now!


And please make no mistake... this is an assault on all of us who hold to deep beliefs, moral absolutes, tenents of faith, and the rigors of sound reasoning.

Let me tell you plainly what the goal is of the homosexual lobby and its advocates in the press while they attack me... and what is at stake in the bigger picture.

...They do not want me in the Senate! The very thought of me debating and working on the Senate floor for the issues you and I hold dear, horrifies them!


Actually, the thought of him debating on the Senate floor is hilarious. I better go look for my Gay Agenda Master Plan Handbook.


Sully's still not willing to vote for Bush, even though he's not liking Kerry much at all. I'm surprised he's not wavering more actually.
"There are two Kerrys in my mind (and about a few hundred other ones in Kerry's). One is Carter-Redux: former military peacenik, paralyzed by indecision, unable to win a peace, let alone a war. The other is the Honorable Bore: the establishment guy who won't be terrible and whose steady, consensus-ridden hand we might need after the recklessness of young Hal. I'm torn between the two. I really do worry that Bush is out of his depth in this conflict, and that his handling of Iraq these past twelve months essentially disqualifies him from re-election. But better the devil you know? If the war was the only issue - and the fiscal lunacy, social intolerance and institutional arrogance were not also in play, I might have to swallow hard and go for Bush. But a vote for wimping out in Fallujah, bigger government and the social policy of James Dobson? Please. Bush's crude, see-no-problems campaign has also done a lot to persuade me that he's not up to the job."


Monday, September 20, 2004

This is why it is easy to see either 1) A Bush cut and run decision if he's elected, or 2) a return of the draft. This truly makes you want to cry for your country. From the New Zealand Herald:
Where to find the extra troops to fight a seemingly intractable insurgency that echoes Vietnam has become a pressing question. And although you wouldn't hear it from the Bush Administration, the prospect of deploying a draft for the first time in a generation may be edging towards reality.

...Many US soldiers in Iraq are fighting for a second year. The Pentagon has also deployed about 45 per cent of the 1.2 million-strong National Guard (as against 1.4 million in the regular armed forces), the highest call-up of 'weekend warriors' since World War II. Arguably, the move could leave the US more vulnerable to attack.

Other men have been drawn from the Individual Ready Reserve, troops on call for eight years after leaving the military.

The Pentagon has bumped the number of recruiters from 6000 to 7000, and inductees are offered bonuses, scholarships, and various enticements - cosmetic surgery at Government expense is one.

Meanwhile, the war in Iraq bleeds on. Besides the dead, 6690 soldiers had been wounded by September 12.

'We're seeing new types of people going AWOL [absent without leave],' says Steve Morse from the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors. 'They've returned from Iraq and are extremely stressed by the war.'

Calls to the GI Rights Hotline, run by the committee, have shot up. And a handful of soldiers have deserted, fleeing to Canada.

Can the Pentagon hold the line using volunteers? Or will it to have to resurrect conscription? 'If Bush gets in I think a draft is a distinct possibility,' says Ellis. "

...Despite official claims that a draft isn't contemplated, there is growing concern at the grassroots.

"We're getting a lot of calls from people who are worried," says Morse. "Especially from young men. Even from young women."


Oh. my. god. Donald Rumsfeld is such a disgrace. You have to check out this DoD News transcript, where he gives a status report on things all pleasant in Iraq:
"They're making progress economically. The schools are open. The hospitals are open. They have a stock market functioning. They sent some teams to the Olympics. They have a symphony and at the same time, amidst all those good things that are happening, people are being killed. Iraqis are being killed, as they were yesterday and the day before. At some point the Iraqis will get tired of getting killed and we'll have enough of the Iraqi security forces that they can take over responsibility for governing that country and we'll be able to pare down the coalition security forces in the country."


Peace and prosperity abroad, courtesy of W.


Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (R), says he may not support Bush. Guess the sane GOP-ers are going to start publicly walking from affiliating with this insane administration. The interesting thing is, he didn't catch real heat from his colleagues, which in a race this tight, would have been impossible to conceive. I'm sure he got a nasty call from Karl Rove, though.
"There is no secret that on some very important issues I have difference with the current administration," Chafee said, listing abortion rights, the environment and war in Iraq.

"Like all Americans we are looking for some answers to key questions in the weeks ahead," Chafee said. "You wait until November 2 and make your choices."

...Chafee's comments on Monday drew mixed reaction from fellow senators.

"It's unfortunate," said Sen. Kit Bond, a Missouri Republican.

"He is a gutsy and principled guy," said Sen. Thomas Carper (news, bio, voting record), a Delaware Democrat. "He marches to his own drummer."

"He is a good fiscal conservative," Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said with a chuckle.

"What I like about him is that he can be a Republican senator and at the same time say he is unsure about a Republican president," Graham said. "He is a breath of fresh air in politics."


So much for Bush's (and the GOP's) fantasy that the troops are behind the administration. DKos points to this amazing csmonitor.com article on the strong anti-Bush sentiment at the front. And a lot of them are on the record.
"[For] 9 out of 10 of the people I talk to, it wouldn't matter who ran against Bush - they'd vote for them," said a US soldier in the southern city of Najaf, seeking out a reporter to make his views known. "People are so fed up with Iraq, and fed up with Bush."

Whether representing pockets of opposition to Bush or something bigger, soldiers and marines on Iraq's front lines can be impassioned in their criticism. One Marine officer in Ramadi who had lost several men said he was thinking about throwing his medals over the White House wall.

"Nobody I know wants Bush," says an enlisted soldier in Najaf, adding, "This whole war was based on lies." Like several others interviewed, his animosity centered on a belief that the war lacked a clear purpose even as it took a tremendous toll on US troops, many of whom are in Iraq involuntarily under "stop loss" orders that keep them in the service for months beyond their scheduled exit in order to keep units together during deployments.

"There's no clear definition of why we came here," says Army Spc. Nathan Swink, of Quincy, Ill. "First they said they have WMD and nuclear weapons, then it was to get Saddam Hussein out of office, and then to rebuild Iraq. I want to fight for my nation and for my family, to protect the United States against enemies foreign and domestic, not to protect Iraqi civilians or deal with Sadr's militia," he said.

Specialist Swink, who comes from a family of both Democrats and Republicans, plans to vote for Kerry. "Kerry protested the war in Vietnam. He is the one to end this stuff, to lead to our exit of Iraq," he said.


If elected Bush is going to get out of Iraq, and leave its citizens twisting in the wind. This, from the "prince of darkness" Robert Novak:
"Whether Bush or Kerry is elected, the president or president-elect will have to sit down immediately with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The military will tell the election winner there are insufficient U.S. forces in Iraq to wage effective war. That leaves three realistic options: Increase overall U.S. military strength to reinforce Iraq, stay with the present strength to continue the war, or get out.

Well-placed sources in the administration are confident Bush's decision will be to get out. They believe that is the recommendation of his national security team and would be the recommendation of second-term officials. An informed guess might have Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state, Paul Wolfowitz as defense secretary and Stephen Hadley as national security adviser. According to my sources, all would opt for a withdrawal."


If you're an American overseas and want to register to vote, it looks like the Pentagon doesn't want you to. They're blocking access to the official Web site that will assist you in doing so. Read the bullshit excuses...
In a decision that could affect Americans abroad who are not yet registered to vote in the Nov. 2 presidential election, the Pentagon has begun restricting international access to the official Web site intended to help overseas absentee voters cast ballots.

According to overseas-voter advocates who have been monitoring the situation, Internet service providers in at least 25 countries - including Yahoo Broadband in Japan, Wanadoo in France, BT Yahoo Broadband in Britain and Telefónica in Spain - have been denied access to the site of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, apparently to protect it from hackers.

In an e-mail addressed to a person in France who had tried to access the Web site, the Federal Voting Assistance Program's Web manager, Susan Leader, wrote: “We are sorry you cannot access www.fvap.gov. Unfortunately, Wanadoo France has had its access blocked to U.S. government Web sites due to Wanadoo users constantly attempting to hack these sites. We do not expect the block to be lifted."

The Federal Voting Assistance Program, which was designed to help both military and civilian voters abroad, is under the authority of the Defense Department.

Asked whether any other government Web sites had been blocked, a Pentagon spokesman declined to comment.

...Although voter registration forms are available from other sources, being unable to download the forms from the site has frustrated expatriates in many countries. That frustration is growing with the approach of the Oct. 2 deadline for registration in most U.S. states..

Annalee Newitz of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit San Francisco group for protecting people's digital rights, said: “It's extremely ironic that the government is doing nothing to address the security of electronic voting machines" in the United States, "which have been proven to be vulnerable to hacking, yet they block Web sites for expatriate Americans.”

Those who cannot access the voting assistance program site can go to a new site, www.overseasvote2004.com, which promises to help absentee voters complete registration "in five minutes." It features state-specific registration forms that voters can print out and fax and mail back to their states.


Oy. I'm slammed at work, but I hear that John Kerry gave a kick-ass speech on the president's misguided Iraq policy. See it here on C-Span ("Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) Iraq & Foreign Policy Address"). Read it.


The GOP proudly wears the mantle of the party of the gay-baiters.
President Bush (news - web sites)'s support for a constitutional amendment against gay marriage delighted many conservatives but alienated a smaller but potentially important voting bloc in a tight election.

"The final breaking point was when the president announced his support for that amendment," said John Farina, a longtime Ohio Republican activist who left the party in February. "That was enough to finally say, 'OK, the Republican Party is moving in the wrong direction."'

"Privately, one Bush-Cheney official said the campaign hoped the gay issue would mobilize religious conservatives who did not show up as strongly as some expected in 2000.

'Say you lose a thousand voters over the gay issue, you could be possibly mobilizing hundreds of thousands of voters by staying strong on this issue,' the national campaign official said. "


Sounds like sister Karl Rove was quoted on that.


There is an interesting discussion going on over at Daily Kos about the George Lakoff's book, Don't think of an elephant!, which talks about the "frames" that liberals and conservatives think within, and how it plays out in campaigns. There is also a link to an earlier piece by Lakoff here.


Please read the first part of a series of articles in the WP on the income gap and how the middle class is struggling.


There will be three debates, though there is no "final" agreement yet on the town hall debate's scope. That's the one Bush wanted to avoid because he may get "partisan" questions from the undecided voters.
The debates will be spread over two weeks just before the hectic homestretch of a bitter contest, which had been tied for months until Bush recently opened a small lead in a number of national polls. The nominees will focus on foreign policy during the opening session, on Sept. 30 in Florida; they will take questions from undecided voters at the town-meeting-style debate Oct. 8 in Missouri; and they will conclude with a session on Oct. 13 in Arizona that will revolve around domestic issues.

Vice President Cheney and Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards will debate Oct. 5 in Ohio. Each of the four debates will begin at 9 p.m. Eastern time and will run 90 minutes.


Sunday, September 19, 2004

Can I say "holy crap" again? David Corn, after appearing on Fox News to talk about Rathergate, ran into a former military official that has been in current contact with officers in the field in Iraq, and they are saying "we've lost." From Corn's blog.
While leaving the bureau, I ran into an acquaintance who is a former military officer. He is a rather knowledgeable chap about Iraq, who has been there several times since the invasion, and he has many contacts and friends within the highest ranks of the Pentagon. What do you think of the latest news from Iraq? I asked him. "We've lost," he said without pause. Lost? Yes, he said, adding, "but this is not just my view." He told me that the previous day he had been visiting with a pal who is a top commanding officer of the Special Forces. My friend told this commander that he had concluded the United States was a goner in Iraq. The reply: "I knew this was lost five months ago." Oh shit, my friend thought and waited for the explanation. The commander explained that back then he was driving the six-mile stretch that runs from the Green Zone in Baghdad (where the US diplomatic and military offices are headquartered) to the Baghdad airport. An IED went off and took out the car in front of him. "If we cannot secure the road to the airport, we cannot win this thing," the commander told my friend. After recounting this conversation to me, my friend said, "A bomb went off today on the road to the airport."

It is good that military commanders generally keep their noses out of politics and respect their civilian leaders. But there comes a point when they ought to speak their mind for the sake of the troops and for the sake of national security. I don't know how many senior-level commanders have a view of the war that contradict the happy-talk that Bush spouts on the campaign trail. But if this is a prevalent view--or anything approaching a consensus--the public (and the electorate) deserves to know.


An interesting movement is afoot that is urging snowbirds that have winter homes in Florida to vote there, instead of their main home states, which are often in northern (Blue state climes). From the Palm Beach Post:
In the muddled aftermath of Election 2000, Lawrence Caplan lost a legal fight and learned an important political lesson at the hands of none other than Vice President Dick Cheney:

You can live in one state and vote in another.

Caplan, a tax and corporate lawyer, has turned that lesson into Operation: Snowbird, an Internet tool designed to make a difference in the election of 2004 — if Democratic voters in New York and New Jersey respond to it.

All they have to do, according to Caplan's Web site, www.operationsnowbird.com, is switch their registrations to Florida, where their votes are more likely to be needed by the Kerry-Edwards ticket than in the deep "blue" states up north. (The last day to register for the Nov. 2 election is Oct. 4.)

New York went for Gore-Lieberman by more than 1.7 million votes, while the official margin for Bush-Cheney in Florida was 537. If only 600 of the 2.2 million votes cast for the Democratic ticket in New York had been cast in Florida, according to the Snowbird site, the state's electoral votes and the presidency would have gone to Al Gore.


Normally I wouldn't deface this blog by mentioning Britney Spears, but I couldn't pass up the wholly stereotypical "trailer trash" aspect of her second nuptuals. It's jaw-dropping. From ETonline:
ET has confirmed that BRITNEY SPEARS and her dancer fiance KEVIN FEDERLINE tied the knot Saturday night in a surprise ceremony in Studio City, CA. The bride wore a white strapless dress and Kevin donned a tuxedo as the two exchanged vows during a non-denominational ceremony. Twenty to thirty guests were on-hand for the event, which took place around midnight in a white tent erected in the backyard of a private home. Afterwards, everyone dined on a feast of chicken fingers and ribs while music played from a boombox.

ET was there as the beaming bride left the house in the early hours of Sunday morning. A laughing Britney and her brand-new husband departed the home in a black SUV. The rest of the guests emerged wearing sweatsuits -- the girls in pink, the boys in white with the word 'Pimps' embroidered on the back. "

Like I said, jaw-dropping.


No time to read Kitty Kelley's The Family? Check out Slate's readers guide.




Bush was in NC Friday, campaigning with Liddy Dole. Hmpf.


The American mainstream media is still asleep.
They are so scared of losing access, especially during the election season. Print media can be more challenging of the White House, but even they, at some point, usually buckle and paper over Bush's obvious political frailties and flip-flops.

How can they let him get away with saying that he is "pleased with the progress" in Iraq as the situation implodes around him, and his own administration issues official reports saying the same?

I'm about halfway through Bush on the Couch by Justin Frank, which is a psych profile of Bush and it is a scary read (check out the description and reviews). If any journalists bothered to pick this up and read it, they'd have enough information to ask some probing questions of the man and his motivations for getting us into the Iraq mess.

The media values access to power over reporting or investigating the truth. In what now seems quaintly frivolous as a news story, in 1992, when rumors of an affair with Jennifer Fitzgerald finally reached fever pitch with Bush 41 -- almost no one in the press would ask him about it. Mary Tillotson of CNN did during a photo op, and got bitch slapped by Bush spokesman Martin Fitzwater. He said she would never work around the White House again.

THAT'S what the press is afraid of, especially the broadcast media. So they become lap dogs and cheerleaders. The war buildup coverage was embarrassing.

It's sad that Americans have to turn to the foreign press to actually get some detail and truth on issues that our media ignores or glosses over. For instance, I had heard nothing on American media about:

* American troops attempting to desert into Canada; or

* Iraqi middle-class citizens being kidnapped for ransom by insurgents; or

* The result of #2 -- an exodus of Iraqi professionals, including sorely-needed doctors that want to leave for their families' safety, and the impact that this will have on any redevelopment of Iraqi society.

I saw these stories on Canadian and BBC news (via NWI). That kind of news puts the war into perspective. American journalists are not interested in kidnappings unless they are Western victims, they are certainly not interested in stories about deserters and their reasons for not wanting to serve in this war.


Bush plans to execute a major military offensive in Iraq AFTER the election. Remember how there was White House denials about a congressman's statement that the Bush admin was going to make a major call up of National Guard and Ready Reserves? Oh, no, they said. Well, I guess there's no connection to this... (NYT):
"Faced with a growing insurgency and a January deadline for national elections, American commanders in Iraq say they are preparing operations to open up rebel-held areas, especially Falluja, the restive city west of Baghdad now under control of insurgents and Islamist groups.

A senior American commander said the military intended to take back Falluja and other rebel areas by year's end. The commander did not set a date for an offensive but said that much would depend on the availability of Iraqi military and police units, which would be sent to occupy the city once the Americans took it.

The American commander suggested that operations in Falluja could begin as early as November or December, the deadline the Americans have given themselves for restoring Iraqi government control across the country."


Think there's a connection to intimidation of soldiers to re-enlist...

Or

That the body counts and injuries are under-reported, which would show how badly this is all going?

This is Vietnam...or worse. White House political decisions are directly impacting the military situation in Iraq, just as it did back then, and we all know that military people serving Bush behind the scense disagreed with Rummy on how many troops would be needed to win in Iraq.


Guess Tony Blair's under the gun at home now -- has he made a phone call to Shrub about this -- the British Army is reducing its forces in Iraq. The ever-shrinking coalition of the willing. From The Guardian:
The British Army is to start pulling troops out of Iraq next month despite the deteriorating security situation in much of the country, The Observer has learnt.

The main British combat force in Iraq, about 5,000-strong, will be reduced by around a third by the end of October during a routine rotation of units.

...Last week Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, said that more troops could be sent to safeguard the polls if necessary, although Whitehall sources said there was no guarantee that they would be British.

The forthcoming 'drawdown' of British troops in Basra has not been made public and is likely to provoke consternation in both Washington and Baghdad. Many in Iraq argue that more, not fewer, troops are needed. Last week British troops in Basra fought fierce battles with Shia militia groups.

...News of the troop withdrawal comes at a difficult time for Blair, with the publication yesterday of leaked documents suggesting that he was warned a year before the invasion that it could prompt a meltdown.


Saturday, September 18, 2004

Jimmy Swaggart: "If a gay man looks at me, I'll kill him"




A familiar, sick, fornicating, adulterous "man of the cloth" has come out of his hovel to declare his position on same sex marriage -- Jimmy Swaggart's against it, no surprise, but the bastard would take the further step of killing any gay man that dare look at him. Well, the man has the first amendment right to say shit like this, but someone needs to take him to task for it and make him explain himself as a Christian, advocating behavior that has hate crime written all over it.

I'm trying to find the correct name for it ... this utter absolute, asinine, idiotic stupidity of men marrying men. ... I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm gonna be blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died.

The video is here (thanks AmericaBlog, Atrios, and others), start viewing around 36:30. Note his pronunciation of abomination as "abomnation."


If states can't rig the vote by 1) intimidation; 2) monkeying with the voter rolls or 3) using electronic machines without a paper trail, what else can you try? How about making sure there are no machines to vote on at all. That's what happened in New Orleans, where gay marriage was on the ballot.
Many New Orleans voters were unable to cast ballots Saturday on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage because voting machines had not been delivered to polling places, a state official said.

At least 35 precincts did not have voting machines because drivers hired to deliver the machines had apparently not shown up for work, said Scott Madere, a spokesman for Secretary of State Fox McKeithen.


Bush is getting hit on the Iraq mess, but it isn't reflected in any polls yet. I think this will make a turn on the next round From the NY:
"About 80 percent of respondents said that Mr. Bush was either 'hiding something' or 'mostly lying' in talking about the war in Iraq. A plurality of voters disapproved of how he had managed the war. But the disapproval was not as sharp as it was before the handover of power to an Iraqi government in June, even though Mr. Kerry has turned up his attacks on Mr. Bush's handling of the war and the American death toll recently passed 1,000.

A plurality said Iraq had produced more casualties than originally expected.

This poll and several others in recent days with differing findings have suggested that the electorate is in flux. Alternatively, the different results may reflect how difficult it is to poll a closely divided public, particularly when answering machines, caller identification devices and cellphones make people harder to reach on their home telephones. "


Kerry's medals awarded properly, Navy concludes. Well, no surprise there. That was definitely released on Friday for minimal exposure. I'm glad that the medals were cleared though. Take a look at the Freepers' reaction. [I cannot help surfing to see their take on things -- I've never seen such a mass grouping of ignorance on the 'Net. It's like watching a train wreck.]


This nightmare of the hostage-taking of foreign citizens, along with the kidnapping of middle-class Iraqis for ransom to feed the insurgency is all on Bush's hands. He cannot blame this chaos on Kerry. From an Iraqi's blog on the kidnappings of locals:

"This is becoming a very common situation and it is particularly the Baghdadi middle class and the better people who are most cruelly hit. For every foreigner kidnapped you must count perhaps a thousand Iraqis, and this is no exaggeration. The good people have become easy pray to merciless gangs with very little protection from the IP or any other form of Law Enforcement agencies, who can hardly protect themselves, let alone providing security for others. These gangs are part and parcel of the so-called “resistance” and “insurgency”; in many cases they are one and the same."


Friday, September 17, 2004

This deserves a "Holy Shit".
Oliver Willis has a damning release by Rep John Murtha that blows open the issue of what Bush intends to do after the election if he wins. He wins, then he deploys more Guard and Reserve units. Wonder if there will be a comment from the White House.
STATEMENT FROM REP JOHN P. MURTHA [D-PA]:
I have learned through conversations with officials at the Pentagon that at the beginning of November, 2004, the Bush Administration plans to call up large numbers of the military guard and reserves, to include plans that they previously put off to call up the Individual Ready Reserve.

I have said publicly and privately that our forces are inadequate to support our current worldwide tempo of operations. On November 21, 2003, a bipartisan group of 135 members of the House of Representatives wrote to the President urging an increase in the active duty army troop levels and expressed concern that our Armed Forces are over-extended and that we are relying too heavily on the Guard and Reserve.

We didn't get a reply until February 2004, and now as the situation in Iraq is deteriorating, it seems that the Administration will resort to calling up additional guard and reservists, again with inadequate notice."


Canada is looking better and better. A more civilized place. Gay marriage is now legal in the province of Manitoba.

Speaking of Canada, they have, over the last two days, been negotiating how to fix the health care system there. While health care for all is free, there are clearly some drawbacks, including wait times and lack of adequate medical professionals for the demand, that have forced the ministers of the provinces to meet with Ottawa to hammer out how to reform it.


Oops. Another set of Bush Air National Guard records surfaced. Is it that hard to find them?
A packet of Texas Air National Guard records newly released Friday showed that the commanding officer of President Bush (news - web sites)'s basic training unit took a special interest in him as a trainee and wrote to his father to praise his son.

Bush's father, then a congressman from Texas, said in reply to the commander, "That a major general in the Air Force would take interest in a brand new Air Force trainee made a big impression on me."

...The letter and other material were the latest in a stream of documents released about Bush's service three decades ago during the Vietnam War, when Bush's critics say he got preferential treatment as the son of a congressman and U.N. ambassador. Critics have also questioned why Bush skipped a required medical examination in 1972 and failed to show up for drills during a six-month period that year.

The White House has said repeatedly that all of Bush's Guard records have been disclosed, only to be embarrassed when new documents have turned up.

...In addition to the letter from Bush's father, the latest documents contain news releases that the Texas Air National Guard sent to Houston newspapers in 1970 about young Bush, then a second lieutenant and new pilot. "George Bush is one member of the younger generation who doesn't get his kicks from pot or hashish or speed," the news release said. "Oh, he gets high, all right, but not from narcotics."


There's an interesting article in this week's New York Blade Online that deals with what is perceived as a "purge" of out gay employees in the Bush admin. However, in the article, there's something more interesting. This is the first time I've seen hard numbers about the number of queer folk in the administration:
...[Gay GOP activist Carl Schmid] said he knows of between 35 and 40 gay appointments in the Bush administration since Bush took office in 2001. But Schmid refused to identify most of Bush’s gay appointees, saying they were out within the administration but may not want their names reported in the media.

“I have a private list of gay Bush appointees,” Schmid said. “These are gay Republicans,” he said, who were appointed to a “full range” of policy-making positions in various agencies and departments.

When asked if any of the appointees work in the White House, Schmid said, “I’m not going to say.”

...[Gay GOP activist Robert] Kabel, who worked in the Reagan White House as a general counsel, said Republican presidents historically have hired gays to various posts. Unlike Clinton, he said, they have chosen not to “make an issue of it.”

“It’s a mindset,” Kabel said. “It’s like, ‘We’re fine with it, but you’re not going to talk about it.’”


Oh, I wonder if they think Mike Rogers of BlogActive is sniffing around for another outing...


There's a tornado warning in Chatham County, not far from Durham County (where I am). That means one has been spotted on the ground. This is being spawned by Ivan's remnants. We don't get many tornados here, so I'm keeping the radio on...Aside from the ice storms, which can be terrifying, occasionally a hurricane hits the coast and comes inland to do real damage. That happened in 1996 with Fran.


More on the dreamworld that is the Bush admin. They had the report on how badly things were going in Iraq in JULY and they are still seeing sweetness and light. When will the American people wake up from this nightmare. From CNN:
The Bush administration has sought to downplay the significance of a U.S. intelligence forecast painting a pessimistic picture for the future of Iraq, insisting that predictions of difficulties ahead -- including the possibility of civil war -- were not a surprise.

Sources have confirmed to CNN that a National Intelligence Estimate was sent to the White House in July with a classified warning predicting the best case for Iraq was "tenuous stability" and the worst case was civil war.

The Bush administration, however, continues to argue publicly the U.S. is making good progress in Iraq, with the President saying Thursday that "freedom is on the march" in Iraq, citing scheduled elections in January next year.

But the intelligence report raises serious questions about Iraq's ability to achieve political solutions in the next year or two, noting the country's "limited experience with representative government" and "history of violence".

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a report to the U.N. Security Council last week, said the persistent violence in Iraq would make it difficult to hold elections in January.

"I think that anybody that thinks that you can hold elections in the Sunni Triangle by the end of January is really smoking something," military historian Frank Fukuyama said.


John Byrne and The Raw Story, as well as Mike Rogers at BlogActive are hitting Dave Dreier hard on his gay hypocrisy. They are now reporting about Dreier's chief of staff (and alleged live-in partner) is paid over two times that of any of his staff:
Brad Smith, the chief of staff to Republican Californian congressman David Dreier, with whom he is said to have lived, is paid an unusually high salary relative to the chief of staffs of other powerful congressmen, including Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.

The tip suggested that Smith was paid far more than anyone else in Dreier’s office, which turned out to be true. And, while there are chiefs of staff for leadership offices in the House who are paid equally (such as the chief of staff to the Majority Leader), this site has been unable to find any chief of staff for a congressional office who makes as much as Smith.

Smith made $156,600 during the last reporting period, just $400 shy of the highest paid White House staff member, Assistant to the President Karl Rove, who made $157,000. It is also $400 less than President George W. Bush’s chief of staff, Andrew Card, who receives an annual salary of $157,000.

What is more, Smith enjoys a provision of House Committee rules which allows a congressman to pay some of a staffer’s salary from the committee budget. As Dreier is the Chairman of the Committee on Rules, this allows Smith to collect $106,000 on top of his $50,600 office salary.

A call placed to Dreier’s Washington office Thursday evening, asking for Smith, was disconnected.


Progress is being made in Iraq. Funny, it doesn't seem like it, unless the progress is referring to the increase in suicide bombings in Baghdad. Two car bombs killed at least five people.


Thursday, September 16, 2004

The draft is around the corner, if this is true. I hope there is mainstream media on this one, because anyone who's enlisted better watch out. The government is already being sued for "stop-loss" orders that are preventing enlisted from leaving when their tour is up. These soldiers in Colorado say they have been threatened if they don't re-enlist.
COLORADO SPRINGS - Soldiers from a Fort Carson combat unit say they have been issued an ultimatum - re-enlist for three more years or be transferred to other units expected to deploy to Iraq.

Hundreds of soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team were presented with that message and a re-enlistment form in a series of assemblies last Thursday, said two soldiers who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The effort is part of a restructuring of the Army into smaller, more flexible forces that can deploy rapidly around the world.

A Fort Carson spokesman confirmed the re-enlistment drive is under way and one of the soldiers provided the form to the Rocky Mountain News. An Army spokesmen denied, however, that soldiers who don't re-enlist with the brigade were threatened.

The form, if signed, would bind the soldier to the 3rd Brigade until Dec. 31, 2007. The two soldiers said they were told that those who did not sign would be transferred out of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

"They said if you refuse to re-enlist with the 3rd Brigade, we'll send you down to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, which is going to Iraq for a year, and you can stay with them, or we'll send you to Korea, or to Fort Riley (in Kansas) where they're going to Iraq," said one of the soldiers, a sergeant.

The second soldier, an enlisted man who was interviewed separately, essentially echoed that view.

"They told us if we don't re-enlist, then we'd have to be reassigned. And where we're most needed is in units that are going back to Iraq in the next couple of months. So if you think you're getting out, you're not," he said.

..."I can only tell you what the retention officers told us: The soldiers were not being told they will go to Iraq, but they may go to Iraq," said the spokesman, who gave that explanation before being told later to direct all inquiries to the Pentagon.


I've been saying all along that the Pentagon has been suppressing the body and injury count. Now there is published word about this, and it's worse than I thought.:

Nearly 17,000 service members medically evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan are absent from public Pentagon casualty reports commonly cited by newspapers, according to military data reviewed by United Press International. Most don't fit the definition of casualties, according to the Pentagon, but a veterans' advocate said they should all be counted.

The Pentagon has reported 1,019 dead and 7,245 wounded from Iraq.

The military has evacuated 16,765 individual service members from Iraq and Afghanistan for injuries and ailments not directly related to combat, according to the U.S. Transportation Command, which is responsible for the medical evacuations. Most are from Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Pentagon's public casualty reports, available at www.defenselink.mil, list only service members who died or were wounded in action. The Pentagon's own definition of a war casualty provided to UPI in December describes a casualty as, 'Any person who is lost to the organization by having been declared dead, duty status/whereabouts unknown, missing, ill, or injured.'

The casualty reports do list soldiers who died in non-combat-related incidents or died from illness. But service members injured or ailing from the same non-combat causes (the majority that appear to be 'lost to the organization')are not reflected in those Pentagon reports.

A veterans' advocate said the Pentagon should make a full reporting of the casualties, including non-combat ailments and injuries."They are still casualties of war," said Mike Schlee, director of the National Security and Foreign Relations Division at the American Legion. "I think we have to have an honest disclosure of what the short- and long-term casualties of any conflict are."


Did I not tell you that the body and injury count was being suppressed? More proof, made public. And the figures are worse than I thought.
Nearly 17,000 service members medically evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan are absent from public Pentagon casualty reports commonly cited by newspapers, according to military data reviewed by United Press International. Most don't fit the definition of casualties, according to the Pentagon, but a veterans' advocate said they should all be counted.

The Pentagon has reported 1,019 dead and 7,245 wounded from Iraq.

The military has evacuated 16,765 individual service members from Iraq and Afghanistan for injuries and ailments not directly related to combat, according to the U.S. Transportation Command, which is responsible for the medical evacuations. Most are from Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Pentagon's public casualty reports, available at www.defenselink.mil, list only service members who died or were wounded in action. The Pentagon's own definition of a war casualty provided to UPI in December describes a casualty as, "Any person who is lost to the organization by having been declared dead, duty status/whereabouts unknown, missing, ill, or injured."

The casualty reports do list soldiers who died in non-combat-related incidents or died from illness. But service members injured or ailing from the same non-combat causes (the majority that appear to be "lost to the organization")are not reflected in those Pentagon reports.

A veterans' advocate said the Pentagon should make a full reporting of the casualties, including non-combat ailments and injuries. "They are still casualties of war," said Mike Schlee, director of the National Security and Foreign Relations Division at the American Legion. "I think we have to have an honest disclosure of what the short- and long-term casualties of any conflict are."


There is much chatter about how Kerry isn't where we'd like on gay issues, that there isn't much difference between Bush and Kerry.

I think folks need a reality check:
After:
1) that hateful GOP platform;
2) the Mary Cheney embarrassment;
3) LCRs withholding an endorsement of BC04;
4) Rick Santorum and the rest of the FMA/gay-obsessed legislators;
5) all the gay hypocrites being exposed;

...no self-respecting gay voter should cast a vote BC04. That's a vote for repression of their own civil rights. Gay Republicans cannot even hide behind the usual GOP fig leaf of "smaller government" since Bush has blown that out of the water.

And, we know that, if elected, Bush will attempt to pack the Supreme Court with those of like-minded political persuasion if there are retirements.

KE04 may not be all we want in a gay-positive ticket, but it sure as hell beats the alternative.


Great anti-Bush short you need to see:
- Grand Theft America: Stealing the 2000 election. And for a page with many more, go to Bushflash.


Sean Hannity is a disgrace. He mocks the degradation of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib by suggesting that the abuse photos might have been a DNC plant. Joking or not, it's really tasteless and offensive. From MediaMatters' David Brock:

HANNITY: "[T]his woman who also produced -- was the producer who obtained the Abu Ghraib photos. ... [T]he same person that had the Abu Ghraib pictures -- the Abu Ghraib photos is apparently the same one that got these documents. ... Now here's the question. Where did she get all this stuff from? So that could mean that Abu Ghraib -- where did that come from? Was that a DNC plot too? I mean, there's a lot of questions here."

David Brock takes him down...
In questioning whether the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse photographs were part of "a DNC plot too," Hannity is making two assumptions, the first of which is unproven and the second for which no credible evidence has been offered: that the CBS memos are fake, and that the DNC is responsible for them. As for Hannity's advancement of the conspiracy theory of a "DNC plot" in regard to the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, the best response is offered by the August final report (pdf) of the Independent Panel to Review DoD [Department of Defense] Detention Operations:

The events of October through December 2003 on the night shift of Tier 1 at Abu Ghraib prison were acts of brutality and purposeless sadism. We now know these abuses occurred at the hands of both military police and military intelligence personnel. The pictured abuses, unacceptable even in wartime, were not part of authorized interrogations nor were they even directed at intelligence targets. They represent deviant behavior and a failure of military leadership and discipline.



Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Now we're talking. Edwards throws down the draft gauntlet on Bush. (AP):
Vice presidential candidate John Edwards promised a West Virginia mother on Wednesday that if the Democratic ticket is elected in November the military draft would not be revived.

During a question-and-answer session, the mother of a 23-year-old who recently graduated from West Virginia University asked Edwards whether the draft would be reinstated.

"There will be no draft when John Kerry is president," Edwards said, a statement that drew a standing ovation.

The current force is all-volunteer, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said he opposes reinstating the draft. But the Pentagon has taken several steps that have drawn criticism.

In June, the Pentagon recalled to active duty 5,674 members of the Individual Ready Reserve, soldiers who have served specified tours of duty but have years remaining in their enlistment contracts.

Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate, has complained about the extent of the Bush administration's use of Reserves and National Guardsmen and a device called "stop loss," which prevents soldiers from leaving when typical obligations end. "They have effectively used a stop-loss policy as a backdoor draft," Kerry said.


Eventually, someone would have to try and explain Bush's mangling of English. This article makes the case he's showing signs of presenile dementia. From the Boston Globe:
is an article of faith with millions of Americans, most of them on the left, that George W. Bush is stupid. Many reasonable people think his policies are ill-advised, but millions more insist Bush must be a moron because he sounds stupid.

The president's tortured "Bushisms" are chronicled daily and have been collected in books. Two of the more notorious are "I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family" and "Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream."

But something doesn't compute. Fred Smith, the founder of Federal Express and a Yale pal of both Bush and John Kerry, says Bush is five times smarter than people think he is. Cynics deride what passes for scholarship at the Harvard Business School, but the course work for the two-year MBA isn't easy. A grading curve forces a small number of students to fail, and Bush didn't fail.

So why does Bush sound stupid? One doctor thinks he shows signs of "presenile dementia," or an early onset of Alzheimer's disease.

This summer, Joseph Price, a self-described "country doctor" in Carsonville, Mich., was reading a long article in The Atlantic about Bush's speaking style. Author James Fallows alluded to Bush's malapropisms and to speculation that Bush had a learning disorder or dyslexia. But those conditions generally manifest themselves in childhood. Furthermore, Fallows wrote, "through his forties Bush was perfectly articulate."


Looks like Dreier's opponent in 2000 outs him too.

From John Byrne, at The Blue Lemur/The Raw Story:

Dr. Janice M. Nelson, the unsuccessful 1998 and 2000 Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican congressman David Dreier in California's 26th district said Wednesday she was aware that Dreier had been living with his male chief of staff during her 2000 campaign.

Nelson, who is a professor of pathology at Southern California School of Medicine and a medical director at the LAC and USC Medical Center, stated that her campaign was aware Rep. Dreier had lived with his chief of staff Brad Smith but opted not to make an issue of it during her campaign.

"All I wanted to do was work on healthcare and local issues," Nelson said.

Michael Rogers, the gay activist who first asked that Dreier be more candid about his sexuality on his site, blogACTIVE, wrote last week that he "was especially interested in talking with Brad Smith about his living arrangements with the Congressman here in DC."

Nelson said Dreier would rarely be seen publicly with Smith.

"Brad was like an invisible presence," she said. "They really have the routine down slick."


Shrub, the party in Iraq is OVER. Senate Republicans are saying without fear that the war is a disaster. NYT:
Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said today that the Bush administration's request to divert more than $3 billion from reconstruction work in Iraq to security measures was a sign that the American campaign in Iraq is in serious trouble.

"Although we recognize these funds must not be spent unwisely," the committee chairman, Senator Richard G. Lugar, Republican of Indiana, said, "the slow pace of reconstruction spending means that we are failing to fully take advantage of one of our most potent tools to influence the direction of Iraq."

...Another Republican committee member, Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, was blunter in his criticism. First, he praised the two State Department officials, Ronald Schlicher, the deputy assistant secretary for Iraq, and Joseph Bowab, the deputy assistant secretary for foreign assistance, for the "directness and the honesty" they were showing in asking for the fund diversion.

Mr. Hagel said the State Department request was "a clear acknowledgment that we are not holding ourselves hostage to some grand illusion that we're winning."

Mr. Hagel went on to say that the request for reprogramming the money "does not add up, in my opinion, to a pretty picture, to a picture that shows that we're winning. But it does add up to this, an acknowledgment that we are in deep trouble."

***

The body count continues to rise...

Are these Pentagon body count figures counting any contractors? Since Bush is increasingly outsourcing, I am sure the body count and number of injured is much higher. And deaths and injuries to civilian contractors is going to cost the government big time. Bush isn't going to widely share that tidbit.

I recall a report on NPR that alluded to the fact that the military doesn't count those troops fighting there that are not yet American citizens, either.

Read this:

At present, there are over 37,000 non-citizens serving in the U.S. armed forces. Recruiters specifically target Latino communities -- one of the first U.S. soldiers to die in Iraq, Jose Gutierrez, was an orphaned Guatemalan who at the time of his death was not even an U.S. citizen. Often, the youth who are lured into the military are those who cannot afford to pay for education or job training. This is the "economic draft" that ensures that the Pentagon will have a steady supply of cannon fodder, drawn largely from the poor and communities of color. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, Latinos are over-represented in the most dangerous job fields, like the infantry.



An excellent article in the WP by Robert Kagan highlights how Bush has totally ignored the recent power-grab by Putin in Russia. This is not the expansion of democracy Shrub has been touting. Read this and imagine the Right's reaction to Clinton if he had been silent on this.
"Vladimir Putin, the aspiring dictator of Russia, has forced President Bush to reveal how committed he really is to the cause of democracy around the world.

Putin's decision on Monday to end the system of direct popular election of Russia's governors, and to have the Russian parliament elected on the basis of slates chosen by national party leaders he mostly controls, is an unambiguous step toward tyranny in Russia. It cannot be justified as part of the war on terrorism. Putin has had these plans ready for months. He is cynically using the horrific terrorist attack in Beslan as his excuse.

Nor is there any complexity or fuzziness about the significance of Putin's actions. Putin is imposing dictatorship the old-fashioned way, in the manner of a Ferdinand Marcos, an Anastasio Somoza or a Park Chung Hee. He claims that he needs to strengthen the state to face its enemies. So did they. Russia does need to fight terrorism. But eliminating elections and quashing Putin's political opponents has nothing to do with that fight.


People that live in DC, please explain this to me: Marion Barry Victorious in Comeback Bid.


I'm sick and laughing so hard at this that it hurts. :
Declaring that his campaign strategy is dependent on controversy, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Alan Keyes told the state's top GOP donors at a recent closed-door meeting that he plans to make 'inflammatory' comments 'every day, every week' until the election, according to several sources at the session.

The sources said Keyes explained that his campaign has been unfolding according to plan and likened it to a war in which lighting the 'match' of controversy was needed to ignite grass-roots voters.

'This is a war we're in,' one source recounted Keyes as saying. 'The way you win wars is that you start fires that will consume the enemy.'"

OK. It was all planned this way -- to have to make up a 40 point gap against Obama. Good deal, baby.


The hurricane season this year has been incredible. Frances really trashed Florida, but it looks like Ivan, if it directly strikes New Orleans, would be catastrophic, as the Louisiana city is nine feet below sea level in parts of town. Those levees won't stand up to Ivan.


Ugh. I am fighting a bad cold. Probably need to go back to bed...

I was surfing over at AmericaBlog and was in "We've Lost This War" thread on the mess in Iraq. Just posting my musings back here. You should go take a look.

Kerry really must stake a claim on the Iraq issue. The country is falling apart under Bush's stewardship, and Kerry hasn't yet made a believable case on how to clean up Bush's mess.

I have to admit, it's hard to come up with a viable solution to someone's f*ckup of this magnitude, but Kerry's team has no choice but to propose something, and to point out every step of the way where Bush has erred on this.

The Bush admin is suppressing the numbers of KIA and injured US soldiers (military contractors don't have to be included in official figs), and they are deep sixing civilian casualty reporting.

The TV news media has gone to sleep, though there is plenty of good print coverage about Iraq, as we've been pointed to it many times on this blog. Bush is counting on voters to be as uncurious and ill-informed as he is. Most of these voters don't read any daily paper, let alone the NYT/WP (or even USA Today, which has been surprisingly strong of late).

I agree with those that say the moment the torture at Abu Ghraib was uncovered, what little respect we had left in that region of the world for the US evaporated when those images of prisoners being sadistically sexually degraded went over the airwaves.

I caught Sy Hersh on Hardball last night, and his new book, Chain of Command, sounds like a must read -- he shows how the blame goes all the way to the top.

Yeah, this war is tied to 9/11 alright, but not how Bush was spinning it at the convention. It's because this war has ensured that the justification in the Islamist militant mind for attacking the U.S. in the future has solidified and made it easier to recruit.


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

From Wonkette: create your own Custom BC04 posters.


Kerry gives Lynne Gobbell a job. And her ex-boss felt the heat.
By this morning, Geddes, who has declined to comment publicly on the matter, had apparently had enough of the bad publicity. Through an intermediary, he offered Gobbell an apology and said she could have her old job back. But Gobbell said she wouldn't return without some written guarantee that Geddes wouldn't turn around and fire her once he was out of the spotlight. Then, late this afternoon, Kerry himself phoned Gobbell. "He was telling me how proud he was that I stood up," Gobbell told me. "He'd read the part where Phil said I could either work for him or work for John Kerry. He said, 'you let him know you're working for me as of today.' I was just so shocked."

And you can see the reaction to this wonderful news by the good Christians in the Freeper zone.


What is Bush's appeal? The answer is that he know what white guys like, according to Kenneth Walsh of US News & WR:
What works for most white men (as opposed, for example, to African-American men, who evaluate the president in starkly different terms) is Bush's reputation as an "average guy," says a senior White House official--the opposite of what California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger famously calls "girlie men." Baker says Bush "has a down-to-earth quality that men find appealing. You know he won't slip off to a quiet place and strum a six-string guitar." And his support among white males has helped Bush open up a 52-to-43 percent lead over Kerry among likely voters, according to that Washington Post /ABC News poll.

Vacillating. No Democratic presidential candidate has won a majority of white male voters since Jimmy Carter in 1976. That's partly because the party's candidates have come across as vacillating on military issues and lenient on social concerns like crime and federal "giveaways" to the poor. Al Gore got only 36 percent of the white male vote in 2000; Bush pulled 60 percent. Bush now has about 57 percent support among white men to Kerry's 39, according to GOP pollster

...Adding to Kerry's problems, if the Democratic challenger tries to court the white male vote too aggressively, he risks alienating white single women and minorities who are turned off by Bush's macho tendencies. Joe Lockhart, former White House spokesman for Bill Clinton and now a Kerry adviser, says, "If you want the easiest way to define the Bush doctrine, it's what I call the testosterone presidency. They've worked very hard making him look like Gary Cooper in High Noon. Why? Men have testosterone. Does that make good policy? No, of course not."

And here's the money quote; it really sums up the sad, depressing state of political affairs in this country of uninformed, ignorant voters. We have to win back these voters somehow, but you almost think they are beyond redemption:
"Bush has his flaws," says Ted Stout, 39, who runs a bus company in Scranton, Pa., where Bush and Kerry made stops after their respective conventions. "But there's no question that when he says he's going to do something, he does it. That's what I like about him." Stout, waiting to bowl on league night at Scranton's Southside Bowl, adds: "He might seem a little dull-witted, but he's an average person. He makes the right decisions when he needs to."

Now that you've digested that, please review our commander-in-chief in decisive mode at My Pet Goat.




Looks like "Won't say I'm straight" GOP Congressman (CA) David Dreier is officially going to be busted by Hustler and blogACTIVE.com. Up on the site are copies of the letters written by Hustler Magazine Features Editor Mark Comer to Representative David Dreier and Editor Phil Drake of the San Valley Gabriel Tribune.

Dreier did oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment, but the man has a career littered with antigay legislation. From the site:
Voted FOR the Defense of Marriage Act (1996)
Voted FOR the Marriage Protection Act (2004)
Opposed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA (1996, 1997, 1999)
Opposed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act (1997)
Supported allowing federally funded charities to discriminate against gays and lesbians, despite local laws. (2001)
Voted to prohibit lesbians and gays in DC from adopting children - 3,000 miles from his district! (1998)
Opposed the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program. (1996)
Opposed increases in State AIDS Drug Assistance Program (1997)
Opposed the restoration of funding to HOPWA (1998)
(source of votes, www.congress.org key votes library)


More carnage in Baghdad. It is sickening to have to post this crap over and over, but it just keeps getting worse. And we want to give Bush another four years to complete this mission?
A huge car bomb blast tore through a crowded market close to a Baghdad police headquarters building Tuesday, killing at least 47 people in the deadliest single attack in the Iraqi capital in six months.
An Internet statement in the name of the Tawhid and Jihad group led by Jordanian al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility for the blast, which it said was carried out by a suicide attacker. Washington says Zarqawi is its top enemy in Iraq and has put a $25 million price on his head.

'With the grace of God, a lion from our martyrdom brigades was successful in striking a center for apostate police volunteers,' said the statement, which could not be verified.

The Health Ministry said 47 people were killed and 114 wounded. The Interior Ministry said at least one car bomb was used in the attack in Haifa street, a flashpoint area notorious as a stronghold of criminals and guerrillas."

and...

In a separate incident in the restive town of Baquba, northeast of Baghdad, gunmen opened fire on a police minibus. The town's police chief said 12 people were killed. Zarqawi's group also claimed responsibility for that attack.

Guerrillas also blew up oil pipelines in northern Iraq, cutting northern oil exports and forcing a nearby power station to be shut down. The attack meant large areas of Iraq were without electricity from 3 a.m. onward.




Salon's David Talbot dishes at length on the new Kitty Kelley book about the Bushes.
According to Kelley, the Bushes aggressively maintain their all-American family image by scrubbing government files of embarrassing facts, stonewalling journalists, and terrorizing critics. "Some people felt that George's past did not seep out and embarrass him and his family," she writes of the White House's current Bush, "because he was protected by a coterie of former CIA men with an allegiance to his father." An Austin, Texas, political consultant named Peck Young told Kelley that when a woman claiming to have been a call girl from Midland showed up in Austin with "intimate knowledge" of W. during his oil wildcatting days, she was approached by what she described as "intelligence types" and left town abruptly. According to Young, the men "made her realize that it was better to turn tricks in Midland than to stop breathing."


Moulton, Alabama woman lost job for sporting a Kerry/Edwards sticker on her car.

John Aravosis at AmericaBlog has a donation campaign (via Paypal) to help out Lynne. I just added to the donation jar. Please go to AmericaBlog and do the same, if you can. From the Decatur Daily:

Lynne Gobbell never imagined the cost of a John Kerry-John Edwards bumper sticker could run so high.

Lynne Gobbell said her boss fired her last week because of the Kerry-Edwards campaign sticker on the back of her car.

Gobbell of Moulton didn't pay a cent for the sticker that she proudly displays on the rear windshield of her Chevrolet Lumina, but said it cost her job at a local factory after it angered her boss, Phil Gaddis.

Gaddis, a Decatur bankruptcy attorney, owns Enviromate, a cellulose insulation company in Moulton.

Gaddis did not return phone calls from THE DAILY about the alleged Thursday firing.

Though she is unemployed and uncertain if she will get her job back, Gobbell said, she doesn't regret her decision to keep the sticker on her windshield.

..."I would like to find another job, but I would take that job back because I need to work," she said. "It upset me and made me mad that he could put a letter in my check expressing his (political) opinion, but I can't put something on my car expressing mine."

She was referring to a flier that she said Gaddis placed in employee envelopes to remind them of the positive impact that President Bush's policies have had on them. An employee at the plant who would not identify himself confirmed the contents of the letter.

Gobbell provided a copy of the flier. It says:

"Just so you will know, because of the Bush tax (cut):

I was able to buy the new Hammer Mill
I was able to finance our receivables
I was able to get the new CAT skid steer
I was able to get the wire cutter
I was able to give you a job"
It further says:

"You got the benefit of the Bush tax cut. Everyone did."

If you can't give, you can still help. Folks, this scumbag's company needs to get some serious unwanted attention. Emails, phone calls, snail mail. He needs to know that he's going to lose a lot of business.

A little Googling produced this, people:

EnviroMate Insulation
13855 Court Street
Moulton, Alabama 35650
Phone: 256.350.0442
Email Address:
phil@pgeddes.com

This is an outrage, but she works in a right-to-work state and she can, in fact, lose her job for what she did. Kerry's campaign needs to be all over this.

Note the hate from the Freepers.


Monday, September 13, 2004

Good for Doubleday. They are defending Kitty Kelley's allegations of Bush's coke use at Camp David. They are have additional witnesses saying that Sharon Bush was the source for this information.
In an appearance on the Today Show on Monday, September 13, 2004, Sharon Bush repeated a denial she made earlier last week. After telling Kitty Kelley that she had knowledge of President George W. Bush "doing cocaine" at Camp David -- "not once, but many times," Mrs. Bush now denies that statement.

This denial has already been utterly discredited by a third party to the meeting at which Mrs. Bush made the statements. Doubleday and Kitty Kelley, author of "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty," firmly uphold the accuracy and veracity of reporting on this topic. Further, Doubleday and Ms. Kelley affirm that Mrs. Bush was read her comments on the day following the meeting in a telephone conversation, lasting over an hour, that was witnessed by Random House Vice President Peter Gethers -- that those comments included her remarks on cocaine use at Camp David -- and that she once again agreed that these comments were true. The following are undisputable facts:

-- Mrs. Bush confirmed that she was aware of cocaine use by President George W. Bush at Camp David when his father was President

-- Mrs. Bush confirmed that such usage occurred on more than one occasion

-- Mrs. Bush knew that Ms. Kelley planned on using this information in her book and was read the exact quotes that would be utilized

-- Mrs. Bush continued to have a good relationship with Kitty Kelley --long after the meeting in April at which she confirmed the cocaine report

-- Mrs. Bush called Ms. Kelley in May, 2004 after which there was a friendly correspondence.

Additionally, Today Show host Matt Lauer and Mrs. Bush suggested that Kitty Kelley had a "relationship" with Lou Colasuonno, a public relations executive who witnessed the April 1, 2003 lunch meeting between Kitty Kelley and Sharon Bush. Kitty Kelley had never met or spoken with Mr. Colasuonno prior to April 1, 2003. Kitty Kelley has never had and does not have any personal, social or financial relationship with Mr. Colasuonno.


I guess if I were Sharon, I'd be worried about my mistake in ratting, too. Hey, Poppy was head of the CIA, right? A smear and disappearing alimony are the least of her worries.


Karl Rove and Dick Cheney aren't there to wind up the key in Bush's back to help him think on the campaign trail. He's refusing to comment on Iraq or N. Korea. Chaos and increasing deaths in Iraq and mushroom clouds blowing and saber rattling over in N. Korea and he has no grand vision for international peace and prosperity. How blissfully, purposefully silent of him. Perhaps he is "collecting his thoughts" as he did for the 7 minutes in the classroom on 9/11. (Reuters):
As he campaigns on a platform of having made America safer, President Bush usually does not talk about nuclear disputes with North Korea and Iran that show no sign of resolution.

Bush did not mention the two countries, once branded by him as part of an "axis of evil," in his recent Republican Convention address and he has not made them a campaign staple.

Jonathan Pollack, chairman of the Strategic Research Department at the Naval War College, said even though Vice President Dick Cheney and others have admitted time is running out for curbing the North's ambitions, Bush has displayed no sense of urgency and set no deadlines for acting.

"After years of wheels spinning on this issue in this administration, you don't get a sense that there is a clear executive level decision or understanding about what we should do," he told Reuters.

Henry Sokolski of the Non-proliferation Policy Education Center said "a clock is also ticking with Iran and it may have moved to the point where we have a nuclear ready nation."

This is a clear example of if this was a Democrat doing this in the White House, the president would have been charged with treason. Who is going to hold him accountable?


Colin Powell is backing away from Bush's WMD argument on a fast horse. Hmmm... Powell: Unlikely WMD Stocks Will Be Found in Iraq.

"I think it's unlikely that we will find any stockpiles," Powell told lawmakers when asked about the intelligence behind his Feb. 5, 2003, U.N. Security Council speech laying out U.S. arguments for the war with Iraq that began six weeks later.

Powell's latest comments appeared to be his most explicit to date suggesting that the central argument for President Bush's decision to invade Iraq -- the belief it possessed weapons of mass destruction -- was flawed.

As early as January Powell said it was an "open question" whether or not such arms would be found and he conceded the possibility Iraq might not have had any when the war began.

Powell made his comments as Charles Duelfer, the CIA-named leader of the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, is working on a report about his findings that was expected to be completed in the next few weeks.


Atrios rightly points to a lengthy, excellent Elizabeth Drew review of the 9/11 commission report at the NYRB. It's a must read.


BuzzFlash is one of the sites I hit regularly. There is a kickass editorial on the what we are facing in this election. It is must read.
This is an editorial about pulling the fire alarm to save our democracy, our Constitution, our reputation in the community of nations, and freedom itself.

This is not business as usual. This is not just politics. John Kerry is running against a political criminal enterprise. If that statement shocks you, than you don't understand the dire straits that we are in, not even remotely.

...Since the Republican Party was taken over by the Radical Right Wing -- beginning with the Nixon administration (in which Rumsfeld and Cheney began their ascent -- and remember that Cheney is our President for International Affairs, with Karl Rove his aide de camp for domestic affairs) -- the GOP has run campaigns and the country with three basic tools: demagoguery, the creation of manufactured images of leadership, and the criminal abuse of our justice department and legislative process. If we have to detail each of these abuses to convince you that they are accurate characterizations, then you are not a regular BuzzFlash reader.

In modern day politics, form is content. Just look at Bush. Here is a guy who utters the most inane, contradictory pronouncements, a man of such feeble talent that he would be lucky to be bagging groceries were his name not Bush, and the GOP strategists and image makers have managed to wage this election on his image as a "wartime leader."


And there's more where that from. Read it all.


Yet again, Bob Herbert has the goods on the GOP's attempt to monkey with the vote. Now it's voter suppression in Detroit.
More than 80 percent of the population of Detroit is black. This is very well understood by John Pappageorge, who is white and a Republican state legislator in Michigan. "If we do not suppress the Detroit vote," said Mr. Pappageorge, "we're going to have a tough time in this election."

Oops! Republicans aren't supposed to actually say they want to suppress black votes. That's so retro. It's so Jim Crow. This is the 21st century, and the thing now is to do the dastardly deed, but never ever acknowledge it.

That's where our friend Pappageorge went wrong.

After his startling quote was published several weeks ago in The Detroit Free Press, Mr. Pappageorge, who is 73, apologized and said he certainly never meant to suggest that anything racist or illegal take place. But he reiterated to me in a phone conversation last Friday that he did indeed mean that the vote in Detroit needed to be kept down.

A lot of other Republicans have similar views about the vote in areas with large African-American populations. Most blacks vote Democratic. If those votes can be suppressed, Republicans benefit. And there is increasing evidence that a big effort to suppress the vote among blacks and some other heavily Democratic voting groups is under way, which is why it is important to keep the following phone number handy:

1-866-OUR VOTE.

That's a hot line set up by the Election Protection Coalition, a group that was formed to identify and stamp out attempts to disenfranchise voters, especially in predominantly black and Latino precincts around the country.

On Election Day in November, the coalition expects to have as many as 25,000 volunteers, including 5,000 lawyers, available to provide assistance to voters who encounter irregularities or feel they are not being treated fairly at the polls. Voters who call the hot line will immediately be put in touch with volunteers in their local area.


Folks, keep that number handy. Especially if there are attempts to make people show ids at the polls or if you are voting on a touch screen device without a paper trail.


Al Gore, unleashed. Now he can speak his mind and he's savaging the Bush admin and raising funds for Kerry. Hey, it's about time that the gloves really came off!
Speaking with a freedom and passion less frequently seen in his own political campaigns, Gore is happily making speeches, raking in money and generally raising hell for John Kerry and the Democratic Party these days. In his spare time, he's also teaching at three universities and raising money for himself through various business ventures.

In recent weeks and months, as an uncensored voice for the Democratic cause, Gore has skewered President Bush's team for moral cowardice, the "lowest sort of politics imaginable," aligning itself with "digital brownshirts" who intimidate the press, and political tactics as craven as those of Richard Nixon. Just to cite a few examples.

...When Gore, in an interview with The New Yorker, compared Bush's faith to "the same fundamentalist impulse that we see in Saudi Arabia" and elsewhere, the Bush campaign distributed a statement from GOP consultant Ralph Reed, a former leader of the Christian Coalition, calling the comments "reckless and irresponsible."

If Kerry's advisers have any nervousness about Gore's high-octane attacks, they're not showing it in public.

"Gore will be a tremendous asset to us in a number of targeted battleground states and we're happy to have his help," said David Morehouse, a senior Kerry adviser. As for Gore's more outspoken criticisms, Morehouse adds, "He's a former vice president who's entitled to say what he believes."


More Fallujah chaos -- this is "mission accomplished"? We've got the Iraqis we've trained to take over security fighting the Marines, side by side with insurgents. Brilliant tactics, W. It's all coming undone. (WP):
The outgoing U.S. Marine Corps general in charge of western Iraq said Sunday he opposed a Marine assault on militants in the volatile city of Fallujah in April and the subsequent decision to withdraw from the city and turn over control to a security force of former Iraqi soldiers.

The comments by Lt. Gen. James T. Conway, made shortly after he relinquished command of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force on Sunday, amounted to a stinging broadside against top U.S. military and civilian leaders who ordered the Fallujah invasion and withdrawal.

That security force, known as the Fallujah Brigade, was formally disbanded last week. Not only did the brigade fail to combat militants, it actively aided them, surrendering weapons, vehicles and radios to the insurgents, according to senior Marine officers. Some brigade members even participated in attacks on Marines ringing the city, the officers said.

Conway's chief of staff, Col. John Coleman, said he and other senior Marine officers did not foresee the challenges in getting people from Fallujah to police the city. "I'm not sure we fully understood the hardness of the city, the harshness of the elements operating inside," he said.

Conway insisted the brigade was an experiment. "The early success of the Fallujah Brigade was ultimately its downfall," he said. "You had to have a force that came from Fallujah in order for it to be accepted by the people of all. They're very xenophobic . . . but in the end those were the same things I think that dictated the demise of the Fallujah Brigade. Because they were from the local area, they were emasculated as far as their ability to do something very aggressive."

With no security forces in Fallujah now -- U.S. troops do not patrol inside the city limits -- the area has become a haven for insurgents, Marine officers said.


North Korea says it was a "planned demolition of a mountain for a hydroelectric project". Uh. Whatever. A 2.5 mile wide mushroom cloud? Please. If the Bush admin is going to roll and accept that... oh yes, they were the ones floating the "forest fire" explanation yesterday. OK, I guess we won't know what really happened. Neither side has any reason to want the truth out if it was nuclear.


Sunday, September 12, 2004

The Bush admin has thought of a nice, convenient new way to reduce bad PR on Iraq. Just stop counting civilian dead. USA Today:
Iraq's Health Ministry has ordered a halt to a count of civilians killed during the war and told its statistics department not to release figures compiled so far, the official who oversaw the count told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The health minister, Dr. Khodeir Abbas, denied in an email that he had anything to do with the order, saying he didn't even know about the study.

Dr. Nagham Mohsen, the head of the ministry's statistics department, said the order was relayed to her by the ministry's director of planning, Dr. Nazar Shabandar, who said it came on behalf of Abbas. She said the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, which oversees the ministry, also wanted the counting to stop.

The ministry began its survey at the end of July, when shaky nationwide communication links began to improve. It sent letters to all hospitals and clinics in Iraq, asking them to send back details of civilians killed or wounded in the war.

Many hospitals responded with statistics, Mohsen said, but last month Shabander summoned her and told her that Abbas wanted the count halted. He also told her not to release the partial information she had already collected, she said.

"He told me, 'You should move far away from this subject,'" Mohsen said. "I don't know why."



Bush missed the filing deadline for getting on the Florida ballot. OK. Why is this not a full-blown story? The St. Pete Times is covering it, and the Democratic party is letting this slide. In a race this close, you think the GOP wouldn't have taken this seriously? If Nader missed a deadline, you think either party would? Jesus.
The latest effort to disqualify Ralph Nader as a presidential candidate in Florida has led to renewed scrutiny of papers filed by other candidates - including President Bush.

State law sets a Sept. 1 deadline for the governor to certify a list of presidential electors for each party's candidates.

But Sept. 1 was also the day President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were being nominated at their party' convention in New York. Consequently, some of their paperwork did not arrive at state elections headquarters until Sept. 2, a day after Gov. Jeb Bush certified the candidates for president.

...Spokeswoman Jenny Nash said Friday the law is clear: The deadline applies to the governor and the list of presidential electors, not to the candidates themselves. The list of Republican electors released by Hood's office does not show a time stamp indicating when the document was received by the state.

Democrats said they aren't so sure, but they won't challenge the Bush campaign's papers.


Looks like BlogActive has dropped the hammer on Dave "I won't comment on that" Dreir's sexuality. He's the rep from CA that has a 92% approval from the Christian Coalition on his voting record.


Couldn't you see this one coming...

Well, does North Korea have the bomb? To quote an esteemed news source, we report, you decide. You've got the White House saying no. Feel the rock sureness of the response.

A huge explosion rocked North Korea three days ago but U.S. and South Korean officials said on Sunday it was unlikely to have been a nuclear weapons test despite a report the blast produced a mushroom cloud.

...But in Washington, U.S. officials said there was no definitive explanation yet, although Thursday's blast did not appear to be nuclear.

..."We've got no indication that anything of the sort has happened. We believe these reports to be completely unfounded," said a State Department official who asked not to be named.

"People are pretty sure it's not a mushroom cloud and not a test of any kind," the official said.

But wait, here's what the NYT is saying. Wow, are you surprised Bush had advance warning that this might occur? --

President Bush and his top advisers have received intelligence reports in recent days describing a confusing series of actions by North Korea that some experts believe could indicate the country is preparing to conduct its first test explosion of a nuclear weapon, according to senior officials with access to the intelligence.

While the indications were viewed as serious enough to warrant a warning to the White House, American intelligence agencies appear divided about the significance of the new North Korean actions, much as they were about the evidence concerning Iraq's alleged weapons stockpiles.

...One official with access to the intelligence called it "a series of indicators of increased activity that we believe would be associated with a test," saying that the "likelihood" of a North Korean test had risen significantly in just the past four weeks. It was that changed assessment that led to the decision to give an update to President Bush, the officials said.

The activities included the movement of materials around several suspected test sites, including one near a location where intelligence agencies reported last year that conventional explosives were being tested that could compress a plutonium core and set off a nuclear blast. But officials have not seen the classic indicators of preparations at a test site, in which cables are laid to measure an explosion in a deep test pit.

But wait...do you remember this quote from Bush, which I blogged about on August 21, about the leaders of North Korea and Iran (Reuters):
"I don't think you give timelines to dictators."

Bush told the [NY] Times he would continue diplomatic pressure. It said he gave no hint that his patience was limited or that at some point he might consider pre-emptive military action.

"I'm confident that over time this will work -- I certainly hope it does," the newspaper quoted Bush as saying of the diplomatic approach.

And read my blog from 9/7 on this, if you want to really be scared of what this administration has been thinking.

And for a golden oldie that should give you pause, look at this justification for Bush going to war with Saddam in remarks at a Cincinnati event (CNN transcript, October, 2002):
The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. It has given shelter and support to terrorism and practices terror against its own people.

...Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.

***

UPDATE: If you can believe this, someone in the administration told CNN (this was around 7:30 AM) that "it is no big deal; it is probably a forest fire." A 2.5 mile wide, mushroom-shaped forest fire?! My god, they really think we are stupid. Not only that, CNN just rolls over and reports this without any more investigation to confirm it, given the NYT info that the White House had intelligence on possible nuclear testing? Whatever.


This is hilarious: George Bush, Man of Action series. Go to the site for a lot of interactive fun.


Coalition of the willing minus 1. (NYT):
"Costa Rica asked the United States to remove it from a list of Iraq coalition partners on Thursday after the country's Constitutional Court ruled that inclusion on the list violated the Constitution, which bars support for any military action not authorized by the United Nations.

...A White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, said the United States would be willing to remove Costa Rica, though a White House Web site still had the country listed on Thursday evening. 'Every country has to make their own decision about how they want to participate, and in what ways,' he said. 'And if that's what they want, then I'm sure we will do that.'"


Saturday, September 11, 2004

"W" stands for WRONG WRONG WRONG on the separation of church and state. The GOP wants the IRS to allow religious leaders to be able to make political endorsements from the pulpit. From The Hill.
Political pressure is building on a powerful House lawmaker to remove the so-called IRS “muzzle” that prevents religious leaders from endorsing political candidates from the pulpit.

Frustrated that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) essentially rejected House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert’s (R-Ill.) request in June to change the tax code on this issue, 131 House lawmakers are pressing the Speaker to act before the 108th Congress adjourns.

...Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie also wants to change the 50-year-old tax policy, which says that churches can lose their tax-exempt status if they participate in political speech.
Conservative religious groups, including the Christian Coalition and the Traditional Values Coalition, are lobbying heavily for the Jones bill. Concerned Women for America recently issued a legislative alert urging its members to “end this assault on religious freedom and free speech.”

In an interview last week, Jones said that the political momentum to enact his bill has increased dramatically over the summer. He said that groups including the Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Mainstream Coalition have intensified their monitoring of churches. The Mainstream Coalition announced this summer that it is sending volunteers into local churches to make sure that religious officials are abiding by the law.

Meanwhile, Americans United this summer filed a complaint with the IRS against the Rev. Jerry Falwell for endorsing President Bush on his website.

Jones said that news articles on the IRS complaints have helped build support for his bill.

“We’re going to keep pushing,” Jones said, adding that his bill “has to” be attached to the must-pass corporate tax measure.

Critics of the Jones bill say that it is a thinly veiled attempt to mobilize the religious right before the election.

But Jones and other proponents of the bill say that the bill would enable both Republican and Democratic preachers to talk more freely about politics.

While this would equally free Democrat-leaning churches to do the same, it's just WRONG. It's called the separation of church and state.


The juxtaposition below is something everyone should feature on their blog this weekend. See your president on video projecting strength and resolve during five of the seven minutes in the classroom, courtesy of The Memory Hole. And read about your president's performance that day by visiting My Pet Goat.




Yesterday, I watched the Bill Kurtis doco The Anatomy of September 11th on A&E. It was a very detailed and moving account of that day, but it was also great journalism -- it is a joint project of the Investigative Reports unit and NYT reporters. One enormous lesson, one that you cannot help but think is going to be a hard one to learn, is that the NYPD and NYFD need to learn to work together. Their lack of ability (and apparently historical lack of desire, according to Jim Dwyer of the NYT) to coordinate with each other on that day resulted in unnecessary deaths.

I remember the total lack of helplessness I felt on that day; I have a good amount of my mother's side of the family in NYC, and not being able to get through (by cell or landline) in the immediate aftermath was awful. What I will not forget, later that October, is going to my 20th high school reunion (Stuyvesant HS, in Manhattan). The new Stuy -- I attended at the old building on 15th and 1st -- was a staging ground for rescue workers after 9/11, as it is located very close to Ground Zero (see photo below).


Ethan Moses/Stuyvesant Spectator/New York Times

Ground Zero was still smouldering; you couldn't get near the area at the time of my reunion. It was a moving reunion, seeing my classmates after so long, but especially in this context. Many came from afar, as I did, but there are many who still live and work in NYC, some in downtown. So many were shellshocked and in grief over 9/11, but they poured out personal stories. Some even came in late to the reunion, because they were emergency workers or volunteers at the site, and just dropped by between shifts to get together.


The L.A. Times reports that Fallouja units trained by our Marines have been disbanded. After training, arming and paying the Iraqi military force, it is now feared that they will actually become part of the insurgency terrorizing the area. Our government is admitting this is a failure.
"The Fallouja Brigade is done, over," said Marine Col. Jerry L. Durrant, who oversees the 1st Marine Expeditionary Unit's involvement with Iraqi security forces. "The whole Fallouja Brigade thing was a fiasco. Initially it worked out OK, but it wasn't a good idea for very long."

...Discontent rippled through the group, many of whose members had hoped that it would remain intact and eventually become a unit of the new army. Judging by members' comments, it seemed likely that some would openly rejoin the insurgency, in which many had been involved before joining the brigade. In doing so, they would be able to fight with weapons provided to them by the Marines, who also paid them monthly salaries.

That will make it all the more difficult for U.S. troops and Iraqi government forces to retake Fallouja — currently a "no go" area for U.S. forces.

This is an enormous failure by the Bush administration on so many levels -- the policy is a complete and utter disaster in both military and human terms. Basically our tax dollars have gone to teach Iraqis the best ways to kill and injure our own troops over there, and there is no end in sight. Every family that has someone over there should read that article. Bush's numbers should be in freefall simply because of crap like this.


You've seen me refer to Atrios/Eschaton here, it's an ace blog site. Apparently Atrios has largely been a mysterious, unseen presence until now. But as the blogosphere grew (and his influence), I suppose he eventually had to show a picture of himself -- and he actually has a name, lol -- Duncan Black. His mini bio is here.


Compassionate conservatism (pointed from Wonkette)


AP/Jacqueline Larma


A member of the audience pulls a demonstrator's hair as he forces her out of an auditorium where President Bush was addressing a crowd of supporters at Byers Choice in Colmar, Pa. Thursday Sept. 9, 2004.

So why wasn't this guy taken away in a paddy wagon?



Friday, September 10, 2004

Looks like CBS is "putting up or shutting up" on the documents' authenticity, since the wingnuts have been on Dan Rather's ass:
Later today, CBS News will address on the air and in detail the issues surrounding the documents broadcast in the 60 MINUTES report on President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard. At this time, however, CBS News states with absolute certainty that the ability to produce the "th" superscript mentioned in reports about the documents did exist on typewriters as early as 1968, and in fact is in President Bush's official military records released by the White House. This and other issues surrounding the authenticity of the documents and more on this developing story will be reported on tonight on THE CBS EVENING NEWS WITH DAN RATHER.




Interesting post by a regular visitor (Jim) to AmericaBlog, regarding what would happen to gay couples that have legally married (in Massachusetts or Canada) if the Bush vision of America comes to pass.
I've spoken to the Canadian consul here in Boston. He thinks that Canada would recognise glbt married couples as political refugees if the Federal amendment process goes through, or Bush gets three or four Supreme court nominees.

Makes the emigration procedure much quicker.
http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/index.html

Imagine, though, being a political refugee from the USA for getting married and wanting those civil rights. It's a sickening thing to contemplate happening to our country, all because of Bush and his religious right. I'm curious how much an economic hit would occur if all the GLBT money left the country for Canada.


Yet another person steps forward, this time a former professor of Bush at Harvard Business School, to say pompous-ass, elitest Bush used his connections to get out of going to Vietnam -- and adds that Bush eagerly declared his support of the war, but he just didn't want to fight in it. (NYDN):
Yoshi Tsurumi said yesterday that Bush told him his father's connections got him into the Texas Air National Guard. "But what really disturbed me is that he said he was for the Vietnam War," said Tsurumi, who has also taught at Baruch College and the City University of New York. "I said, 'George, that's hypocrisy. You won't fight a war that you support but you expect other people to fight it for you.' He just smirked."

Tsurumi, who crossed paths with Bush in the early 1970s when the future President was studying for his MBA, previously has criticized Bush's economic policies and described him as a mediocre student who "believed people were poor because they were lazy."

But Tsurumi's new volley comes as Bush has been battling allegations he got preferential treatment at the height of the divisive Vietnam War. Bush, according to Tsurumi, "had no sense of guilt" about getting into the Guard while others wound up fighting in Vietnam.

"He was very casual about it," the professor said. "I said, 'Lucky you, how did you manage it?' He said, 'My dad had a good friend who put me at the head of the waiting list.'"


The White House declined to comment on Tsurumi's recollections, but Bush has denied that his father, who was a congressman at the time, pulled strings to get him a much-sought-after berth in the Guard.

You see, the President is not like "the average Joe" image he projects, is he? Was there any doubt that his arrogance about his station in life would allow him to be so bold in declaring he's not like you, that he has no empathy for others? Does it place any doubt in your mind that he would have the balls to blow off a direct order from a superior when asked to report for a physical? This is the kind of character flaw that makes this man unfit to be our president.


See the faces of members of the American military that have died over in Iraq. Thousands more have been injured. These are people not statistics.


Bush is misusing the Secret Service, making them serve as thugs on dissenters. Another outrage on the campaign trail, this time in PA. WP:
"Officially, the Secret Service does not concern itself with unarmed, peaceful demonstrators who pose no danger to the commander in chief. But that policy was inoperative here Thursday when seven AIDS activists who heckled President Bush during a campaign appearance were shoved and pulled from the room -- some by their hair, one by her bra straps -- and then arrested for disorderly conduct and detained for an hour.

After Bush campaign bouncers handled the evictions, Secret Service agents, accompanied by Bush's personal aide, supervised the arrests and detention of the activists and blocked the news media from access to the hecklers.

...One uniformed Secret Service agent complained to a colleague that "the press is having a field day" with the disruption -- and the agents quickly clamped down. Journalists were told that if they sought to approach the demonstrators, they would not be allowed to return to the event site -- even though their colleagues were free to come and go. An agent, who did not give his name, told one journalist who was blocked from returning to the speech that this was punishment for approaching the demonstrators and that there was a "different set of rules" for reporters who did not seek out the activists.

WTF is going on here? Is anyone in the media or the ACLU looking at this?


Just when you think something more stupid can come out of Cheney's mouth...oh well. I'm at least glad John Edwards made him look like an ass.
Indicators measure the nation's unemployment rate, consumer spending and other economic milestones, but Vice President Dick Cheney says it misses the hundreds of thousands who make money selling on eBay.

"That's a source that didn't even exist 10 years ago," Cheney told an audience in Cincinnati on Thursday. "Four hundred thousand people make some money trading on eBay."

Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards responded that Cheney's comments show how "out of touch" he and President Bush are with the economy.

"If we only included bake sales and how much money kids make at lemonade stands, this economy would really be cooking," Edwards said in a statement.


When is that debate with Cheney????


While people have been laughing at ZellFire's performance at the GOP convention, his next target his next target is the gay population in his home state of GA, and that's not funny. He's also a hypocrite, allowing a non-discrimination clause in his Senate office, while voting against ENDA.
...the Georgia Democrat recently wrote that passage of a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage is “one of the most important issues to come along in our lifetime.”

Both U.S. senators from Georgia — Miller and Republican Saxby Chambliss — sent letters supporting the amendment to Sadie Fields, state chair of the Christian Coalition of Georgia. Voters will decide the fate of the amendment on Nov. 2.

At a gathering of conservative authors on Aug. 30 during the Republican National Convention in New York, Miller spoke out against gay marriage, adding that his new focus on social issues was spurred by “seeing my great-grandchildren come into the world,” according to the Washington Post.

Miller has historically been opposed to many gay rights issues.

In 1996, then-Gov. Miller signed the state’s Defense of Marriage Act, which barred same-sex marriage in the state and recognition of same-sex unions legally performed in other states.

Miller is also opposed to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill languishing in Congress that would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, although as a senator he adopted a non-discrimination policy for his office that included sexual orientation.

Miller supports adding sexual orientation to hate crime laws, but he also supports the military’s ban on openly gay soldiers.


Are you safer in the air now than you were before 9/11? The September 11 Commission doesn't think so.(AP):
Its 94 recommendations -- expanded from the handful included in the July report -- include developing recovery plans to restart key transportation systems after a terrorist attack, checking travelers' names against terrorist watch lists before they board passenger trains or cruise ships, and setting priorities based on risk assessments.

Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio, the ranking Democrat on the House aviation subcommittee who made the report available, said the government has done only about 10 percent of what it should be doing to protect transportation.

'No one could look at this and say we've done everything we can do, or are in the process of doing everything we can do, to make the country safe,' he said."


So, Dick Cheney, is a vote for BC04 still a vote for a safer America?


Scathingly funny.



From Oliver Willis's blog



Continuing my mission to see if these electronic voting machines are ever going to see a paper trail before the election, it looks like Nevada residents are the first in the nation to vote on systems that DO have a paper output to verify a vote.
A delegation of federal election officials monitored the equipment's debut Tuesday in the state capital as voters cast ballots for congressional candidates, state legislators, school officials and judges. Results matched expectations.


Now, what other election officials in the land want to step up and protect the public's vote with paper trails on these touch-screen devices?


More depressing BS about our government. The FDA is withholding documents related to the safety of anti-depressants and children. This seems like it's criminal. It also sounds very familiar -- what is it with this administration?. (NYT):
"The chairman of a House committee angrily accused the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday of withholding documents on the effects of antidepressants on children.

Holding a copy of an e-mail message from an agency official instructing others in the agency not to unearth the documents, Representative Joe L. Barton, Republican of Texas and chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said it demonstrated that the agency was deliberately defying the panel. He threatened to ask police officers to go to the agency's offices to retrieve the records.

'The F.D.A.'s lack of cooperation with the committee in obtaining relevant and responsive information in a timely fashion on a matter that involves the safety of our children leaves me wondering whether this is sheer ineptitude or something far worse,' Mr. Barton said.

The warning came at a hearing of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations into why the agency and seven drug makers had failed for years to warn doctors and patients that most antidepressants have not proved effective in treating depression in children and that some studies suggest they may cause some children to become acutely suicidal. In 2002, nearly 11 million prescriptions for the drugs were given to children, 2.7 million of them to children under 12.

Mr. Barton said the e-mail message was sent by Patrick McGarey, an official with the drug agency's Office of Liaison.

Later on Thursday, Jason Brodsky, an F.D.A. spokesman, denied that the agency had withheld documents. 'We have provided all the information requested by the chairman's letter,' Mr. Brodsky said, adding that the material provided ran to 'thousands of pages.'"

Yes, they are playing Russian roulette with the health of American children to protect corporate profits...
The hearing comes in the midst of a growing controversy about not only the safety of antidepressant therapy in children but also the drug industry's longtime tendency to suppress the results of clinical trials that might undermine the sales of their drugs.

Seven top executives from drug giants like Pfizer, Wyeth and GlaxoSmithKline were sharply questioned about why the companies had collectively failed to publish or publicize results of studies showing that their drugs had not proved effective in treating teenagers and children.

Late in the hearing, Representative Greg Walden, Republican of Oregon, read an internal memorandum from a GlaxoSmithKline marketing executive promoting the results of a study of the drug Paxil as showing "remarkable" efficacy in treating depressed teenagers and children. Actually, the study had failed to prove that Paxil was effective.


I can't believe how hard USA Today is continuing to slam Bush on the AWOL issue. this Kit Roane article documents how payroll records and other documents show how Bush failed to report and didn't fulfill his obligations to TX ANG. You have to notice how the White House is doing the non-denial/denial crap
Most of the documents, which have been reviewed by U.S. News, and former military and Defense Department personnel, were released last February, when reporters raised new questions about Bush's service during the Vietnam War. After the release, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said he considered the case closed and noted that, "these records I'm holding here clearly document the president fulfilling his duties in the National Guard."

The White House also included a signed memorandum from the man who headed personnel matters for the Guard during Bush's tenure, certifying the administration's position. President Bush had "completed his military obligation in a satisfactory manner," wrote Albert C. Lloyd Jr., a retired Air Force colonel.

A recent examination of the records by U.S. News does not appear to support Lloyd's conclusions. Among the issues identified by the magazine:

* The White House used an inappropriate–and less stringent–Air Force standard in determining that President Bush fulfilled his National Guard duty.
* Even using this lesser standard, the president did not attend enough drills to complete his obligation to the Guard during his final year of service.
* During the final two years of his service obligation, Bush did not comply with Air Force regulations that impose a time limit on making up missed drills. Instead, he took credit for makeup drills he participated in outside that time frame. Five months of drills missed by the President in 1972 were never made up, contrary to assertions made by the White House.

The White House declined to respond to specific questions submitted by U.S. News last week, but today defended Bush's Guard service. "The president completed the necessary points to qualify for an honorable discharge. He fulfilled his obligation to both the Texas Air National Guard and the Alabama National Guard during his service there," says Claire Buchan, White House spokeswoman. "The president is proud of his service and is pleased to release his records and they confirm that the President served honorably."

For several experts contacted by U.S. News, how President Bush received his honorable discharge from the Guard remains a mystery. Lawrence Korb, a former Assistant Secretary for Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs during the Reagan Administration, said it was apparent that President Bush "had not fulfilled his obligation."


And now, some local news....AP reports that the NC Election Board has just fined the state GOP $200K for an illegal ad on behalf of gubanatorial candidate Patrick Ballantine. They GOP said the inappropriate ad was "unintentional." Again, whatever. Sitting governor Mike Easley is running with an easy lead in this race 54-39 in the 9/6 SurveyUSA poll.
The elections panel voted 3-2 for the fine, with the board's three Democrats voting in the majority.

The board unaninmously determined last week that the association violated state election law by using corporate contributions to pay for the ad for Ballantine, a former state senator running against Democratic incumbent Mike Easley.

The law says such contributions can be used to pay for ads that advocate issues, but not for ads that endorse candidates.

"I think there is a long-standing history in North Carolina that corporate contributions have no place in express advocacy," said Scott Falmlen, executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party.

Falmlen said the penalty, based on how much the association said it cost to produce and air the ad, apparently is the largest fine of its kind in state history.

Association executive director Edward Tobin said the group likely would appeal. He said the ruling "was a political decision made by three Democratic appointees of Gov. Mike Easley. It's an unprecedented response to what a board member termed an unintentional infraction."


Those Bush AWOL docs are not forgeries, says CBS (WP):
"CBS News released a statement yesterday standing by its reporting, saying that each of the documents 'was thoroughly vetted by independent experts and we are convinced of their authenticity.' The statement added that CBS reporters had verified the documents by talking to unidentified people who saw them 'at the time they were written.' "

A senior CBS official, who asked not to be named because CBS managers did not want to go beyond their official statement, named one of the network's sources as retired Maj. Gen. Bobby W. Hodges, the immediate superior of the documents' alleged author, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian. He said a CBS reporter read the documents to Hodges over the phone and Hodges replied that "these are the things that Killian had expressed to me at the time."

"These documents represent what Killian not only was putting in memoranda, but was telling other people," the CBS News official said. "Journalistically, we've gone several extra miles."

The official said the network regarded Hodges's comments as "the trump card" on the question of authenticity, as he is a Republican who acknowledged that he did not want to hurt Bush. Hodges, who declined to grant an on-camera interview to CBS, did not respond to messages left on his home answering machine in Texas.

...CBS officials insisted that the network had done due diligence in checking out the authenticity of the documents with independent experts over six weeks. The senior CBS official said the network had talked to four typewriting and handwriting experts "who put our concerns to rest" and confirmed the authenticity of Killian's signature.

The doubts about the documents left the White House and the Bush campaign in a state of suspended animation, with Bush aides encouraging doubts about the documents but conceding that the possibility that they were forged seemed too good to be true. White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said that officials there had not attempted to authenticate the documents but simply released copies "provided to us by CBS in the interests of openness."

The Bush administration's strategy yesterday was to let news organizations raise doubts and conduct forensic examinations, without taking an official position on whether the documents were genuine.

The wingnuts have Dan Rather running scared, of course. CBS is running an internal investigation (I assume document authentication). The question I have is, Bush can confirm by releasing a comment on whether he was suspended. After all, now the Bush camp isn't sure what other documents (or witnesses) might be out there if they deny it.


Thursday, September 09, 2004

This is unacceptable in this country. Over half of LA's potential workforce is functionally illiterate:
Continued immigration and a stubborn high school dropout rate have stymied efforts to improve literacy in Los Angeles County, where more than half the working-age population can't read a simple form, a report released Wednesday found.

Alarmingly, only one in every 10 workers deemed functionally illiterate is enrolled in literacy classes and half of them drop out within three weeks, said the study by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles.
'It's an emergency situation,' said Mayor James Hahn, adding that poor literacy rates could jeopardize the region's economy by driving out high-tech businesses and other industries that pay well."


Let's take a break from the AWOL/Kitty Kelley stuff for a minute...it looks like the House is about to stomp Bush's new overtime rules that took effect in August. This is a big story, since Republicans joined to stick it to Bush. Bush could still veto this, but it's not likely to reach his desk until after the election. (AP):
In a sharp rebuke of a new administration policy, the House moved Thursday to block the Labor Department (news - web sites) from carrying out overtime rules that critics argued could deprive millions of workers of their overtime pay.

The 223-193 vote in favor of blocking the new overtime rules defied the White House, which has threatened to veto a massive spending bill now on the House floor if it contains any language tampering with the rules that took effect Aug. 23.

Democrats, united against the rules, were joined by some 20 Republicans in voting for the amendment to a $142.5 billion health and education spending bill.

The vote was President Bush's second election-season defeat in Congress in two days. On Wednesday the Senate disregarded a White House veto threat and voted to prohibit Bush from giving federal immigration jobs to private workers.

"The administration has chosen this time to institute new regulations which for the first time in 80 years scale back workers' entitlement to overtime pay," said Rep. David Obey D-Wis., a sponsor of the overtime proposal.

Democrats sought to depict the issue as an election-season example of the Bush administration's insensitivity to worker rights, saying the overtime privileges of up to 6 million workers were at risk.




Dave Moniz and Jim Drinkard of USA Today have an unusually hard-hitting and lengthy piece (for that paper) on the Bush/AWOL/coverup story. It also includes a colorful description of our drunken, partying, lazy-at-work future president.
Bush's military records show gaps in drill attendance from May 1, 1972, to April 30, 1973, when his Texas supervisors could not account for his whereabouts and said so in his last written evaluation. During that time, Bush lived briefly in Alabama, where he worked for the Senate campaign of Winton "Red" Blount. He returned to Texas to work in a Houston program for troubled youth.

C. Murphy Archibald, who worked on the Blount campaign, said that in the fall of 1972, Bush frequently was late for work on the Alabama campaign and often bragged about how much he drank the night before.

"I was bowled over by the competence of this guy Allison, but perplexed by how he had brought this young guy along who seemed to have so little interest in the campaign," Archibald recalled. On most days, Archibald said, Bush arrived at campaign headquarters around noon or 1 p.m. and left around 5:30 or 6 p.m., leaving assigned duties unfinished.

...Requests for his military records under the Freedom of Information Act have hung in limbo for months. The White House counsel's office has become involved in answering the requests even though they were filed with the Pentagon. In recent months, Pentagon officials have been ordered not to discuss the matter with reporters.

...Gerald Lechliter, a retired Army colonel and a member of Veterans against the Iraq War, compared Bush's publicly released records with military procedures manuals from that era. He concluded that Bush's superiors failed to follow proper procedures when he missed required training and when he failed to take his flight physical.

Bush's officer performance report for 1972 "was a clear and unmistakable indication that his performance had declined from the annual 1971 report," Lechliter wrote in an analysis of the records. "The report was the kiss of death before he left for Alabama that year."


Sully's looking for the GOP to give a rational explanation for this, lol. Hope he doesn't hold his breath:
This isn't getting any prettier, is it? But it's always been obvious that, during Vietnam, George W. Bush benefited from the soft affirmative action of pedigreed privilege. The CBS-recovered forms are pretty devastating in this respect, I'd say. You've got that and the guy who pulled the strings to get Bush in the Guard saying he's now ashamed of what he did. Now: I hate this kind of sleaze. But the Bush campaign's attack on Kerry's military service makes it all sadly legit. Is there a real, substantive response to this (and I don't mean sliming Barnes as a Democrat)? Are the forms forgeries? Is Barnes lying? I'd be more than happy to read (or run) a cogent, factual rebuttal."

UPDATE: Sully is desperately trying to give credence to the pro-Bush "the documents are forgeries" crowd (you know the Freepers are all breathless over this):
"FORGERIES? Well, here's a strong reason not to take the Killian memos seriously. The pro-Bush blogosphere is claiming that they are obvious forgeries. I'm no expert in these matters and cannot tell if this analysis is sound. But we sure should find out, shouldn't we? PowerLine has the most comprehensive treatment. The blogs prove one thing, though. If these documents are legit, they are devastating to Bush."

They are SO desperate for this not to be true.

Unfortunately for the Freeper crowd, the White House doesn't think they are forgeries. From Kevin Drum of the Washington Monthly:
In fact, the White House has now released their own copies of two of the memos and doesn't dispute their authenticity. So if I had to guess, I'd say that these are copies taken from the microfilm archives of the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron. How else would the White House have its own copies?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Now Drum is saying that the documents the WH had were faxes from CBS.
UPDATE: I now have copies of the memos the White House released, and they are just versions that CBS faxed to the White House the day before the 60 Minutes segment aired. There's no indication that the White House had its own copies of these memos and had been sitting on them.

Apologies.


Looks like Larry King isn't willing to have Kitty Kelley on, and Kelley thinks it's because King is compromised by a friendship with the Bush family.


So, poor Sharon Bush is probably worried that her alimony is on the line, now that Kitty Kelley has revealed that she's the source of "Bush doing blow at Camp David." Too bad she had a third party at the table during that lunch when she spilled the beans. Hahahahaha. If only Bush would agree to that town hall forum debate so regular people could just ask a question....From the NYT:
"Lou Colasuonno, a former publicist for Ms. Bush, confirmed that he was the third party at the lunch and contradicted her denial. 'I have not seen the book, I have only seen news reports,' Mr. Colasuonno said. 'According to what I have seen, what has been reported, I would not dispute that.'"


Oh they are scared over at the White House...
A representative of the White House recently called Neal Shapiro, president of NBC News, to discourage that network from broadcasting interviews with Ms. Kelley about the book on its "Today'' program and on its MSNBC cable program "Hardball With Chris Matthews,'' a network executive said.

...Through a spokeswoman, Stephen Rubin, the publisher of Doubleday, called Ms. Kelley "a dogged journalist who is unafraid to take on some of the most powerful personalities of our time."

"Kitty has never had to retract anything published in any of her books nor has she ever lost a lawsuit," Mr. Rubin added. "She is a brave, insightful and persistent investigative reporter."




The NYT Editorial today slaps Darth Cheney on his implication that if BC04 isn't re-elected, we're all going to die.
here are some things a presidential campaign should steer clear of, through innate good taste, prudence or just a sensible fear of a voter backlash. We'd have thought that both the Kerry and Bush camps would instinctively know that it would be appalling to suggest that terrorists were rooting for one side or another in this race. But Vice President Dick Cheney seemed to breach that unspoken barrier this week in Des Moines. If John Kerry was elected president, Mr. Cheney warned the crowd, "the danger is that we'll get hit again." In a long, rather rambling statement, he said the United States might then fall back into a "pre-9/11 mind-set" that "these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts."

At the very best, Mr. Cheney was speaking loosely and carelessly about the area in this campaign that deserves the most careful and serious discussion. It sounds to us more likely that he stepped across a line that the Bush campaign team had flirted with throughout its convention, telling his audience that re-electing the president would be the only way to stay safe from another attack.

There is a danger that we'll be hit again no matter who is elected president this November, as President Bush himself has said on many occasions. The danger might be a bit less if the current administration had chosen to spend less on tax cuts for the wealthy and more on protecting our ports, securing nuclear materials in Russia and establishing an enforceable immigration policy that would keep better track of people who enter the country from abroad.

Immigration and homeland security strategies are policy fights, fair game for a political campaign. What's totally unacceptable is to tell the American people that the mere act of voting for your opponent opens the door to a terrorist attack. For Mr. Cheney to suggest that is flat wrong. There was a time in this country when elected officials knew how to separate the position from the person. The American people, we're sure, would like to return to it.


***

Maureen Dowd didn't hold back either:
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have always used the president's father as a reverse lodestar. In 1992, the senior Mr. Bush wooed the voters with "Message: I care.'' So this week, Mr. Cheney wooed the voters with, Message: You die.

The terrible beauty of its simplicity grows on you. It is a sign of the dark, macho, paranoid vice president's restraint that he didn't really take it to its emotionally satisfying conclusion: Message: Vote for us or we'll kill you.

Without Zell Miller around to out-crazy him, and unplugged after a convention that tried to "humanize'' him with grandchildren, horses and wifely anecdotes about his inability to dance the twist, Mr. Cheney is back as Terrifier in Chief.

...The vice president and president did not even mention Osama at the convention because of the inconvenient fact that the fiend is still out there, plotting. Yet they denigrate Mr. Kerry as too weak to battle Osama, and treat him as a greater threat.

Mr. Cheney implies that John Kerry couldn't protect us from an attack like 9/11, blithely ignoring the fact that he and President Bush didn't protect us from the real 9/11. Think of what brass-knuckled Republicans could have made of a 9/11 tape of an uncertain Democratic president giving a shaky statement that looked like a hostage tape and flying randomly from air base to air base, as the veep ordered that planes be shot down.


As John Aravosis at AmericaBlog points out, the AP released a story on the bombshell documents that the White House released (that they claim they didn't have), after the 60 Minutes interview. But the AP story initially ran this info way down in the article:
After the [60 Minutes] broadcast, the White House, without comment, released to the news media two of the memos [mentioned in the broadcast], one ordering Bush to report for his physical exam and the other suspending him from flight status

But now the AP story moved the info up to the first graph and touts the relevance:
Newly unearthed memos state George W. Bush was suspended from flying for the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam war because he failed to meet Guard standards and failed to take his annual flight physical as required.

and added this:
Pentagon officials said they discovered the documents released Tuesday while performing a more comprehensive search "out of an abundance of caution" in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by The Associated Press.

The newly released records also showed that while Bush says he was in Alabama training with another Guard unit in 1972, his home unit in Texas was participating in the air defense of the southern United States by keeping two jet fighters constantly ready for launch within five minutes' notice.

Democrats said that meant Bush passed on a chance to defend his country. Bush flew the F-102A jets his unit kept on alert but was grounded in August 1972 because of the missed medical check.

"When his unit was placed on a 24-hour alert mission to protect our country from surprise attack, why did George Bush not report for duty?" Democratic National Committee head Terry McAuliffe said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday.


***

And the NYT:
The events unfolded a day after the Pentagon, prompted by a lawsuit filed by The Associated Press, released a series of records on Mr. Bush's service, even though the White House had said this year that it had released all the records



The AWOL Project has just added the new documents. This is an online resource on the body of evidence against Bush on this issue.


Want to see one of the unearthed memos indicting pressure from Bush to get out of service? CBS has it here.


Thw WP is going apeshit on the White House lies about Bush's TANG service. And worse, the White House is mad, now that 60 Minutes produced documents that prove pressure was put on TANG officials to relieve him of flight status (he didn't report for a physical) and didn't complete complete flight obligations. They areputting the blame on the cover up on the DOD. HAHAHAHAHA. You mean Bush didn't know he was suspended?
"In releasing Bush's flight records, White House spokesmen yesterday expressed frustration over what they depicted as the Pentagon's failure to produce a full and complete record of the president's military service.

'It's clear that DOD [the Department of Defense] did not undertake as comprehensive a search as had been directed by the president,' said White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan, just days after assuring The Post that Bush's full personnel file had already been released. 'We have again asked that they ensure that any and all documents [relating to Bush's military service] are identified and released.'

A Pentagon spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, said Bush's flight logs were found at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, which is the central repository for veterans' records. She said the logs were found among a batch of records sent to St. Louis from Norton Air Force Base in 1993, which were originally thought to contain records of active-duty officers rather than of National Guardsmen such as Bush."


Guess the Bush team forgot to go there to do some file burning.


Wednesday, September 08, 2004



I love Anita Baker. Rapture was a landmark album, responsible for the "Quiet Storm" genre of the 80s R&B scene. I had this album on tape, and two CDs that I played to death, and now she's ripped onto my MP3 player as a standby. She's been away for 10 years, but she's out with a new album, My Everything. Oh, and the first song played at our wedding was Baker's "Sweet Love." :)


Whew! Raw Story is on a roll. They are saying that Hustler is now investigating David Dreier (R-CA) who is having a hard time commenting whether he is straight. Man, the guy might as well come out already, before it gets even more embarrassing...

By John Byrne | Raw Story Editor
...Hustler Magazine emailed Raw Story Wednesday afternoon, suggesting they may be able to offer further dispatches on the Dreier case soon. They included a letter that the magazine sent to the congressman Tuesday.

"Dear Rep. Dreier,

As you may know, Hustler Magazine sent a team of reporters to New York City to cover the Republican National Convention. Our interest is in exploring the intersection of human sexuality, national politics and the conservative agenda.

Given the culture war that is evolving in this nation, we feel it’s important to have an honest, open and frank discussion with legislators who are voting on laws that shape and impact people’s lives on very fundamental levels. Especially when a Congressman, for example, says one thing and does another—or espouses one way of life, while secretly living another.

Gay rights, by way of example, is just one important element of sexual freedom and a hot button issue that needs to be addressed by legislators in an open and honest fashion. Hustler plans to publish its expose in a coming issue.

We respectfully request the opportunity to interview you about these issues and more. We hope to hear from you soon.

Best Regards,
Mark Cromer / Features Editor, Hustler"



The Dan Rather interview with Ben Barnes, the man who pulled the strings to get Shrub in the TX Air Natl Guard just aired. It was a fair interview, declaring Barnes is a Kerry supporter, and brings on White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett to lamely defend the mountain of charges.
What has never surfaced before, reports CBS News Anchor Dan Rather, are four documents from the personal files of Col. Jerry Killian, Mr. Bush's squadron commander. They could help answer lingering questions on whether Lt. Bush received special consideration during his military service.

The first memo is a direct order to take "an annual physical examination" – a requirement for all pilots.

Another memo refers to a phone call from the lieutenant in which he and his commander "discussed options of how Bush can get out of coming to drill from now through November." And that due to other commitments "he may not have time."

On August 1, 1972, Col. Killian grounded Lt. Bush for failure to perform to U.S. Air Force/Texas Air National Guard standards and for failure to take his annual physical as ordered.

A year after Lt. Bush's suspension from flying, Killian was asked to write another assessment.

Killian's memo, titled 'CYA' reads he is being pressured by higher-ups to give the young pilot a favorable yearly evaluation; to, in effect, sugarcoat his review. He refuses, saying, "I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job."

Thirty-one years later, supporters of now-President Bush have been critical of opponent John Kerry's Vietnam record. Now it's the president's turn to answer tough questions about his own service.

It was just what the White House had hoped to avoid – a new examination of the president's military record just as he seeks to reinforce his credentials as a wartime leader. And Republican officials wasted no time taking dead aim at Ben Barnes' claim that he pulled strings to get George W. Bush into the National Guard, reports CBS News Chief White House Correspondent John Roberts.

"I chalk it up to politics," said White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett. "They play dirty down in Texas. I've been there. I see how it works. But the bottom line is that there is no truth to this."

Asked if this is dirty politics, Bartlett replied, "Oh, I think it is."


A big fat W -- for whatever.


Republican spin machine at work already, trying to discredit Ben Barnes, who is about to blow the whistle on Georgie going AWOL on 60 Minutes II tonight.




You must visit The Freeway Blogger. He was on a one-man mission yesterday to post 100 signs in one day on LA freeways to protest the war in Iraq and the failure to find Osama Bin Laden.


TNR essay on how we've f*cked up Iraq.


Oy. this is pretty much all I can take on the Schrock thing. BlogActive and Raw Story have put up some more audio of Schrock's solicitations on a phone service for "male companionship." Remember, this is Pat Robertson's representative in VA, with a nearly perfect Christian Coalition voting record. Boy is this embarrassing for the homophobe:
RAW STORY transcription Tape 1

I weigh 200 pounds, hazel eyes, blond hair, uh, really buffed up, really tan. Ah, I'm just looking to get together with, uh, any white guy, uh, who has got a great body on him, has got a good-size endowment, is cut, just to get together, get naked, play with one another, get each other off, nothing hardcore, I have to be incredibly careful, incredibly safe, incredibly discrete, I cannot overemphasize that. If that appeals to you, uh, I'd like to hear from you, so hit me back. Thanks. Bye.

RAW STORY Transcription, Tape 2

Hi guys, I'm about 6' 4? weigh 200 pounds, hazel eyes, blond hair, pretty buffed up, I work out religiously I can assure you. I'm just looking together --looking to get together with a guy, maybe to play with one another, go down on one another, nothing hardcore, uh, just to get off. Uh, I'm, looking for guys who are reasonably [sic] height uh, a good, good height, very, very, very well built, muscular, flat stomach, very well endowed, uh, just to have some fun with if that appeals to you guys, uh, leave a message of how I can get a hold of you, and I'll do it. Thanks. Bye.


Just precious.


Time to check the Current Electoral Vote Predictor 2004.


More piling on...Bob Graham's new book accusing the White House of covering up Saudi involvement in supporting 9/11 hijackers is getting AP coverage.


Bush was AWOL - BGlobe takes a whack at him. There were rumors that the Boston Globe was going to do a smackdown on Bush's Guard service and it looks like it was true. The Globe really did its homework on this, mining new gems of info and speckling it with relevant quotes from some heavy hitters in the military.
In February, when the White House made public hundreds of pages of President Bush's military records, White House officials repeatedly insisted that the records prove that Bush fulfilled his military commitment in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.

But Bush fell well short of meeting his military obligation, a Globe reexamination of the records shows: Twice during his Guard service -- first when he joined in May 1968, and again before he transferred out of his unit in mid-1973 to attend Harvard Business School -- Bush signed documents pledging to meet training commitments or face a punitive call-up to active duty.

He didn't meet the commitments, or face the punishment, the records show. The 1973 document has been overlooked in news media accounts. The 1968 document has received scant notice.

On July 30, 1973, shortly before he moved from Houston to Cambridge, Bush signed a document that declared, ''It is my responsibility to locate and be assigned to another Reserve forces unit or mobilization augmentation position. If I fail to do so, I am subject to involuntary order to active duty for up to 24 months. . . " Under Guard regulations, Bush had 60 days to locate a new unit.

But Bush never signed up with a Boston-area unit. In 1999, Bush spokesman Dan Bartlett told the Washington Post that Bush finished his six-year commitment at a Boston area Air Force Reserve unit after he left Houston. Not so, Bartlett now concedes. ''I must have misspoke," Bartlett, who is now the White House communications director, said in a recent interview.

And early in his Guard service, on May 27, 1968, Bush signed a ''statement of understanding" pledging to achieve ''satisfactory participation" that included attendance at 24 days of annual weekend duty -- usually involving two weekend days each month -- and 15 days of annual active duty. ''I understand that I may be ordered to active duty for a period not to exceed 24 months for unsatisfactory participation," the statement reads.

Yet Bush, a fighter-interceptor pilot, performed no service for one six-month period in 1972 and for another period of almost three months in 1973, the records show.

The reexamination of Bush's records by the Globe, along with interviews with military specialists who have reviewed regulations from that era, show that Bush's attendance at required training drills was so irregular that his superiors could have disciplined him or ordered him to active duty in 1972, 1973, or 1974. But they did neither. In fact, Bush's unit certified in late 1973 that his service had been ''satisfactory" -- just four months after Bush's commanding officer wrote that Bush had not been seen at his unit for the previous 12 months.

Bartlett, in a statement to the Globe last night, sidestepped questions about Bush's record. In the statement, Bartlett asserted again that Bush would not have been honorably discharged if he had not ''met all his requirements." In a follow-up e-mail, Bartlett declared: ''And if he hadn't met his requirements you point to, they would have called him up for active duty for up to two years."

That assertion by the White House spokesman infuriates retired Army Colonel Gerald A. Lechliter, one of a number of retired military officers who have studied Bush's records and old National Guard regulations, and reached different conclusions.

''He broke his contract with the United States government -- without any adverse consequences. And the Texas Air National Guard was complicit in allowing this to happen," Lechliter said in an interview yesterday. ''He was a pilot. It cost the government a million dollars to train him to fly. So he should have been held to an even higher standard."

Even retired Lieutenant Colonel Albert C. Lloyd Jr., a former Texas Air National Guard personnel chief who vouched for Bush at the White House's request in February, agreed that Bush walked away from his obligation to join a reserve unit in the Boston area when he moved to Cambridge in September 1973. By not joining a unit in Massachusetts, Lloyd said in an interview last month, Bush ''took a chance that he could be called up for active duty. But the war was winding down, and he probably knew that the Air Force was not enforcing the penalty."

But Lloyd said that singling out Bush for criticism is unfair. ''There were hundreds of guys like him who did the same thing," he said.

Lawrence J. Korb, an assistant secretary of defense for manpower and reserve affairs in the Reagan administration, said after studying many of the documents that it is clear to him that Bush ''gamed the system." And he agreed with Lloyd that Bush was not alone in doing so. ''If I cheat on my income tax and don't get caught, I'm still cheating on my income tax," Korb said.

After his own review, Korb said Bush could have been ordered to active duty for missing more than 10 percent of his required drills in any given year. Bush, according to the records, fell shy of that obligation in two successive fiscal years.

Korb said Bush also made a commitment to complete his six-year obligation when he moved to Cambridge, a transfer the Guard often allowed to accommodate Guardsmen who had to move elsewhere. ''He had a responsibility to find a unit in Boston and attend drills," said Korb, who is now affiliated with a liberal Washington think tank. ''I see no evidence or indication in the documents that he was given permission to forgo training before the end of his obligation. If he signed that document, he should have fulfilled his obligation."

The documents Bush signed only add to evidence that the future president -- then the son of Houston's congressman -- received favorable treatment when he joined the Guard after graduating from Yale in 1968. Ben Barnes, who was speaker of the Texas House of Representatives in 1968, said in a deposition in 2000 that he placed a call to get young Bush a coveted slot in the Guard at the request of a Bush family friend.


Sully's blog pointed me to this one...Eric Muller, Ward Professor, University of North Carolina School of Law, opens a can of Whoop-ass on Michelle Malkin in his essay So Let Me Get This Straight: Michelle Malkin Claims to Have Rewritten the History of Japanese Internment in Just 16 Months?:

In her prefatory note to readers of her new book In Defense of Internment, Michelle Malkin says the following about the book's goal:

This book defends both the evacuation and relocation of ethnic Japanese from the West Coast (the so-called "Japanese American internment"), as well as the internment of enemy aliens, Japanese and non-Japanese alike, during World War II. My work is by no means all-encompassing; my aim is to provoke a debate on a sacrosanct subject that has remained undebatable for far too long.

Read just a bit further, though, and you'll see that the book is not just about "provoking debate." It's about "correcting the record" (page xv). By the time she finishes her retelling of the story of how the U.S. government decided to force 112,000 Japanese aliens and U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry from their homes and into camps in the interior, she maintains that "it should be obvious to any fair-minded person that the decisions made were not based primarily on racism and wartime hysteria" (page 80), but were based instead on information in top-secret decrypted cables from Japan to its embassies around the world (the so-called "MAGIC" decrypts) suggesting that certain people in the Americas (both ethnically Japanese people, including primarily Japanese aliens but also a handful of American citizens of Japanese ancestry, as well as people of other races and ethnicities) were secretly working as spies for the Japanese government.

I have a hard time believing that Malkin did anything of the sort. I suspect that she derived much of the information that supports her account from secondary sources, and relies primarily on primary research done (or perhaps not done) by others. (I do not doubt, by the way, that the documents to which Malkin cites actually exist; I'm not suggesting she's making them up. What I suspect--indeed, what I know from my own experience--is that there must be thousands of additional documents in the archives that are relevant to a full understanding of the government's wartime decisions, and that massively complicate the simple story she narrates). A person certainly can "provoke debate" (uninformed debate, at least) by going about things in this way. But a person can't "correct the record" in this way, or report history in a way that anyone ought to believe. It's just not possible, and it's not credible.


Howard Kurtz's story on the media's reception to Kitty Kelley's book.


The LCRs finally close the door on Bush, from the NYT: Gay Activists in the G.O.P. Withhold Endorsement
Yhe board of Log Cabin Republicans, the largest group for gay men and lesbians in the party, voted overwhelming last night against endorsing President Bush for re-election because of his support for a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

The decision ends six months of soul-searching as the group, which endorsed Mr. Bush in 2000 and Bob Dole in 1996, wrestled with its divided loyalties.

Although the group was immediately critical when the president announced his support for the amendment in February, it pointedly refrained from ruling out an endorsement. Its effort to balance loyalty to the party with opposition to a major item on the Republican agenda has made it a target of criticism from both supporters and opponents of the proposed amendment.

As delegates at the Republican National Convention were preparing to adopt a platform condemning gay parents, for example, a handful of gay rights activists were protesting outside a Log Cabin party on Aug. 29 in Bryant Park in New York.

In a meeting last night in Washington, the group's board voted 22 to 2 to withhold its endorsement, a spokesman said, declining to name the holdouts.


Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Bush AWOL. I'm glad to see Raw Story get its due after it had this story COLD on Bush back in early August.
The 60 Minutes piece tomorrow night at 8 pm EST which features an interview with Ben Barnes, who says he got George W. Bush into the National Guard to get out of the Vietnam draft, is apparently much deeper than previously thought. Meanwhile, The Boston Globe plans to finally report that Bush failed to meet his National Guard requirements, and was absent without leave, more than a month after Raw Story first carried the story.

The 1,500 word piece claims: Twice during his Guard service - first when he joined in May 1968, and again before he transferred out of his unit in mid-1973 to attend Harvard Business School - Bush signed documents pledging to meet training commitments or face a punitive call-up to active duty.

"He didn't meet the commitments, or face the punishment, the records show."

The examination of Bush's records prove what Raw Story has said all along, that Bush should have been ordered to active duty after he repeatedly failed to show up for mandated training sessions.

But the 60 minutes piece may be even bigger. Sources tell RAW STORY that CBS has been pursuing angles of Bush's Guard service for several months far and beyond Barnes, whose only role was getting Bush into the Guard. They will not go on the record with additional information, but say the one-hour special could be a bombshell which would devastate the Bush campaign.


Some documents surfaced to answer charges of Bush's AWOL status. Not enough clarity yet. AP had to file an FOIA to get these. However...
The newly released records do not include any from five categories of documents Bush's commanders had been required to keep in response to the gaps in Bush's training in 1972 and 1973. For example, National Guard commanders were required to perform an investigation whenever any pilot skipped a medical exam and forward the results up the Air Force chain of command. No such documents have surfaced.


Kitty Kelley's book on the Bushes comes out on 9/14 and there is plenty of wildfire about the charge that the President has had a long standing affair with the mayor of a TN city. It didn't take long for this name to surface...he's a former roommate at Yale and a Skull and Bones mate of Bush. A photo is here. Try not to think of Shrub and this man being "friendly" for your own digestive good.


Mike Rogers of BlogActive now has his sights on Dave Dreier, the telegenic Rep from CA. He was interviewed during the GOP convention by Michelangelo Signorile, who asked him about the rumors. Dreier refused to say he was heterosexual. Hahahaha. He's feeling the heat. Just so you know, he has a 92% rating with the Christian Coalition on his voting record.


Good god, first Cheney "A Vote for Kerry is a vote for terrorists", and now Tom Ridge saying Terrorists Hope to Disrupt Election. Note there really isn't news here, it's more scare tactics:
Terrorists still hope to disrupt the U.S. democratic process even though the presidential nominating conventions and other high-profile gatherings this summer went off without incident, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Tuesday.

Threat reporting over the last several months has been "consistent, general and credible" and indicated the al-Qaida network is trying to push ahead with its plans, Ridge said.

Although large events this summer were not attacked, he said, "that in no way diminishes the level of vigilance, awareness and concern that we have during this entire process."


As expected, there's more coverage of Bush's Drugs and Draft issues in UK media (Independent UK).


Nice. Christian. People. Note the last line of the article.
Fistfight Breaks Out Over Kerry Veterans: Man Attacks Participants In Windsor Parade
A member of a Christian group has been fired after allegedly punching several veterans marching for presidential candidate John Kerry in Monday's Harvest Festival parade in Windsor, Colo.

Russell Laughlin, 40, of Nunn, was a member of the northern Colorado FamilyLife Marriage Conference and was walking ahead of 175 members of Veterans for Kerry.

According to police, Laughlin was handing out pamphlets for his group while making loud insults about Kerry to the crowd gathered to watch the parade.

After about a mile, the veterans group asked Laughlin to go back to his own group, but he refused and instead stood in front of the Kerry group, refusing to move, according to a Chris Humphries, an Army veteran and Kerry campaign employee.

That's when a fistfight erupted and Laughlin grabbed a veteran by his shirt and started swinging, according to Gary Fedel, a Lakewood, Colo. member of Veterans for Kerry. Humphries said Laughlin then turned around punched her in the mouth.
Police arrested Laughlin on charges of misdemeanor assault.

The FamilyLife Marriage Conference said it dismissed the volunteer, as a result of the melee.
FamilyLife is an organization that holds conferences to bring married couples closer together. "


President Carter has class. He takes on Zell Miller in an impassioned letter. From Joshua Micah Marshall's blog.
The text of a letter former President Carter sent to Zell Miller over the weekend ...

You seem to have forgotten that loyal Democrats elected you as mayor and as state senator. Loyal Democrats, including members of my family and me, elected you as lieutenant governor and as governor. It was a loyal Democrat, Lester Maddox, who assigned you to high positions in the state government when you were out of office. It was a loyal Democrat, Roy Barnes, who appointed you as U.S. Senator when you were out of office. By your historically unprecedented disloyalty, you have betrayed our trust.
Great Georgia Democrats who served in the past, including Walter George, Richard Russell, Herman Talmadge, and Sam Nunn disagreed strongly with the policies of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and me, but they remained loyal to the party in which they gained their public office. Other Democrats, because of philosophical differences or the race issue, like Bo Callaway and Strom Thurmond, at least had the decency to become Republicans.

Everyone knows that you were chosen to speak at the Republican Convention because of your being a “Democrat,” and it’s quite possible that your rabid and mean-spirited speech damaged our party and paid the Republicans some transient dividends.

Perhaps more troublesome of all is seeing you adopt an established and very effective Republican campaign technique of destroying the character of opponents by wild and false allegations. The Bush campaign’s personal attacks on the character of John McCain in South Carolina in 2000 was a vivid example. The claim that war hero Max Cleland was a disloyal American and an ally of Osama bin Laden should have given you pause, but you have joined in this ploy by your bizarre claims that another war hero, John Kerry, would not defend the security of our nation except with spitballs. (This is the same man whom you described previously as “one of this nation's authentic heroes, one of this party's best-known and greatest leaders -- and a good friend.")

I, myself, never claimed to have been a war hero, but I served in the navy from 1942 to 1953, and, as president, greatly strengthened our military forces and protected our nation and its interests in every way. I don’t believe this warrants your referring to me as a pacificist.

Zell, I have known you for forty-two years and have, in the past, respected you as a trustworthy political leader and a personal friend. But now, there are many of us loyal Democrats who feel uncomfortable in seeing that you have chosen the rich over the poor, unilateral preemptive war over a strong nation united with others for peace, lies and obfuscation over the truth, and the political technique of personal character assassination as a way to win elections or to garner a few moments of applause. These are not the characteristics of great Democrats whose legacy you and I have inherited.


More voter intimidation in Florida (NYT). Will it ever cease? The state is as corrupt as they come. Look at this tactic:
here is no excuse for turning away eligible voters at the polls, but that is what apparently happened in Florida's primary elections last week. Under Florida law, registered voters can vote without showing identification. But election officials at some polling places misstated the law and tried to keep eligible voters from voting. In one county, the official sample ballot got the law wrong. Officials in Florida, and nationwide, must improve their poll workers' training and written materials to ensure that this does not happen in the November election.

Florida's voter-identification law is inartfully written. It says photo identification is required at the polls, but it goes on to give voters without such identification an alternative: signing affidavits swearing to their identities. By that reasoning, Florida voters who show up without identification should be told that they can vote as long as they fill out affidavits. But that did not always happen last week.

In Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, poll watchers from People for the American Way saw voters being turned away after being told about half the law - the photo-identification requirement - but not the other half, the affidavit option. In some cases, said Elliot Mincberg, legal director of People for the American Way, poll workers insisted on identification even when they were shown voting-rights leaflets citing the state election law. Some people may never have cast ballots because they were not informed that they had the option to file affidavits.

The misstatement of the law goes beyond a few bad poll workers. Osceola County's sample ballot, mailed out before last week's election, said "Photo and Signature ID Required at Polls," and it did not tell voters they could in fact vote without identification.


I'm sorry, but this is bullshit. Cheney is using the fear card to scare voters that a vote for Kerry will ensure another terrorist attack. Just bullshit.
Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday warned Americans about voting for Democratic Sen. John Kerry, saying that if the nation makes the wrong choice on Election Day it faces the threat of another terrorist attack.

The Kerry-Edwards campaign immediately rejected those comments as "scare tactics" that crossed the line.

"It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States," Cheney told about 350 supporters at a town-hall meeting in this Iowa city.

If Kerry were elected, Cheney said the nation risks falling back into a "pre-9/11 mind-set" that terrorist attacks are criminal acts that require a reactive approach. Instead, he said Bush's offensive approach works to root out terrorists where they plan and train, and pressure countries that harbor terrorists.


AWOL. That's the name of the new ad by the 20,000-member Texas online activist group, DriveDemocracy.org under the banner Texans for Truth, which is planning to run an ad about Bush's invisibility at the Alabama Air National Guard Unit. Click the pic to see the ad in Quicktime.


Yet another "activist judge" has ruled that Washington state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Woohoo!
The decision is the second victory for supporters of gay marriage in Washington state. A King County judge ruled in favor of gay marriage rights in a separate case last month. Both cases will now go to the state Supreme Court, where they will likely be consolidated.

"For the government this is not a moral issue. It is a legal issue," wrote Thurston County Superior Court Judge Richard Hicks in his ruling, posted today on the court's Web site.

Hicks acknowledged that the intent of the state's 1998 Defense of Marriage Act was very clear: Legislators wanted to limit marriage to a union between one man and one woman. But, Hicks said, that law directly conflicts with the state constitution.

"What fails strict scrutiny here is a government-approved civil contract for one class of the community not given to another class of the community," Hicks wrote. "Democracy means people with different values living together as one people. What can reconcile our differences is the feeling that with these differences we are still one people. This is the democracy of conscience."

The plaintiffs in the Thurston County case are 11 gay and lesbian couples from across the state. An attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union argued their case in court on Thursday.


Looks like more Schrocking sex tapes are going to be released by BlogActive, according to The Raw Story/Blue Lemur. Note his preferences in men (my emphasis).
Michael Rogers, the gay activist whose site blogACTIVE ‘outed’ homophobic Congressman Ed Schrock (R-Va.) Aug. 19, is releasing two more audio files of the Congressman allegedly soliciting gay sex, RAW STORY has learned.

Schrock, named the second most conservative member of Congress by the National Journal, promptly resigned.

The new audio files, which RAW STORY has heard, are voicemail messages allegedly left by Schrock soliciting other men. In addition to the previous general descriptions Schrock is said to have left of himself, they also contain him asking that his respondent have “a great body on him,” be “white” and have a “good-sized endowment.”

“I have to be incredibly careful,” the tape says. “I cannot over-emphasize that.”

The audio files are expected to be released later this evening, by RAW STORY and blogACTIVE.


Bush is losing it. Here is what your fearless leader said on the campaign trail, alluding to "frivolous lawsuits" and "trial lawyers.":
"We've got an issue in America. Too many good docs are getting out of business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."

Uh, OK. Bush HAS to be on something. I loved Keith Olbermann's reaction to this on Countdown. (thanks to onegoodmove)


Ugh. Actually working non-stop today, so I haven't gotten to post anything. Here are a couple of items...

* The AP is reporting that the budget deficit is a mind-boggling record $422 billion (which is actually considered an improvement -- Bush's team expected it to be $55B higher, if that can be believed. Just sick.

* And, it's looking good for Kerry in the latest Rasmussen polling. He and Bush are tied at 47.3 percent.


Monday, September 06, 2004

Want to see how to write news editors en masse?


Digby has this hilarious video clip of Bush foraging in his nose for...what? Download here (Quicktime).


This is why Bush cannot be re-elected. He's going to plunge us into world war, going after his Axis of Evil. Is there any question the man is doing illegal pharamaceuticals? From TIME.com: Extending The Axis Of Evil? :
"Some democrats on the Hill claim that they are worried a second Bush Administration may prove more militarily aggressive than the first. One reason: a Democratic official tells TIME that a leading Pentagon hawk recently hinted that the doctrine of pre-emptive war could soon apply to potential new targets. During a private Aug. 19 conference call with Capitol Hill aides from both parties, sources say, senior Pentagon policy official William Luti said there are at least five or six foreign countries with traits that 'no responsible leader can allow.' An outspoken proponent of the Iraq war, Luti had declared at an October 2002 conference that the U.S. has 'the right to ... hold accountable nations that harbor terrorists.' In his recent call, Luti did not name the nations he had in mind but said they are led by dictators with weapons-of-mass-destruction programs and close ties to terrorists. His remarks suggest that the Administration is looking well beyond the current 'axis of evil,' which includes Iran, Iraq and North Korea; this might put countries like Syria in the spotlight. A Pentagon spokesman declined to release a transcript of the call, saying Luti was stating 'well-established official policy,' not advocating pre-emptive strikes. The U.S., he added, has many other policy options at its disposal. They would presumably include measures like supporting opposition groups in suspect states."


Drudge Report has a link to a UK article about the Kitty Kelley book. Explosive.
BUSH 'TOOK COCAINE AT CAMP DAVID'
Sep 6 2004
And wife Laura liked dope, says book

By Emma Pryer
GEORGE W Bush snorted cocaine at Camp David, a new book claims.

His wife Laura also allegedly tried cannabis in her youth.

Author Kitty Kelley says in her biography The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty, that the US President first used coke at university in the mid-1960s.

She quotes his former sister-in-law Sharon Bush who claims: "Bush did coke at Camp David when his father was President, and not just once either."

Other acquaintances allege that as a 26-year-old National Guard, Bush "liked to sneak out back for a joint or into the bathroom for a line of cocaine".

Bush has admitted being an alcoholic but, asked during the 1999 election if he did drugs, he said: "I've told the American people that years ago I made some mistakes.

"I've learned from my mistakes and should I be fortunate enough to become president I will bring dignity and honour to the office."

Later an aide clarified his remarks saying Bush hadn't taken illegal drugs in the past 25 years.

Kelley says that the Bush family covered up scandals because of their wealth and influence. She claims George W started drinking at school and continued at Yale university to overcome shyness.

Former student Torbery George says in the book: "Poor Georgie. He couldn't relate to women unless he was loaded."

Another says: "He went out of his way to act crude. It's amazing someone you held in such low esteem later became president."

His supporters have slammed the allegations as outrageous.

The White House said: "This book appears to be filled with the same trash discredited years ago."


."What's up with the women (voters)!?". Interesting DKos diary by mugsimo debates why 22 million unmarried women who were registered to vote in 2000 did not do so. One observation in the thread is that Bush actually courts women (laughably "his W is for Women outreach), while Kerry has nothing, clearly taking this bloc for granted.
Mugismo: I'm a married female who decided to vote for [Kerry] on November 8, 2000, so I'm trying to understand why my sister females aren't voting and what I can do to change that. The reason I ask is that if just a fraction of those 22 million unmarried women were to vote, the odds are overwhelming that they would vote Democratic. According to the above-mentioned USA Today article, the "marriage gap" is +25 points in favor of Kerry among unmarried women. (Further proof to the radical right, no doubt, that the Democrats are selfish hedonists, but I digress...) They are 3.5 the number of NASCAR dads, double the number of soccer moms and larger than the Jewish and Latino blocs combined.

I recently saw a segment on CNN Headline News. It was late at night and I can't find a transcript or video of it anywhere. I believe I saw it on the second night of the GOP Convention, but I know it was Headline News. In any case, it was a segment done in NYC during the convention where a reporter took a group of undecided female voters to a sidewalk cafe for a "Sex and The City" moment to talk about why they aren't voting. The four women looked like they were all under the age of 35 and they were single. At least one of them had a kid in a stroller. Here's what I remember of the segment (I'm paraphrasing the quotes):

- One woman, a lawyer, said she wasn't "hearing what I want to hear from the candidates. They aren't addressing my issues."

- Another woman said that "it takes a lot of effort to really understand all the issues and where the candidates stand. That's just not what I want to do with my life right now."

- One of the women noted that she "didn't pay much attention before, but now hearing that I'm part of 22 million and it's such a close race, maybe I should."

That's a huge vote to ignore. How do you reach (and activate) these women?




Thanks to mr.curmudgeon (from a post at Oliver Willis)



Dick Cheney, backseat driver par excellence.


From The Economist, The Other President.

But few people would now argue that Mr Cheney has lived up to his promise as a wise man. The biggest mistakes of this administration, from the blithe acceptance of soaring deficits to the insistence that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, have Mr Cheney's fingerprints all over them. He resisted attempts to get both congressional and UN approval for the invasion of Iraq. He has repeatedly favoured secrecy and “executive privilege” over consultation and compromise.

...The cumulative effect of all these mistakes not only suggests a worrying preference for ideology over common sense, but an arrogant indifference to the checks and balances that are the glory of the American constitution. During the Ford administration, the Secret Service gave Mr Cheney the codename “Backseat”. One of the big questions facing America is whether this particular backseat driver is taking his boss in the right direction.


Bill is swimming in politics from his sick bed!. According to today's NYT, he actually spent an hour and a half on the phone with Kerry talking strategy. BC goes in for quad bypass surgery today. Looks like some of his advisers are coming on board with KE04 for the home stretch.
Former President Bill Clinton, in a 90-minute telephone conversation from his hospital room, offered John Kerry detailed advice on Saturday night on how to reinvigorate his candidacy, as Mr. Kerry enlisted more Clinton advisers to help shape his strategy and message for the remainder of the campaign.

In an expansive conversation, Mr. Clinton, who is awaiting heart surgery, told Mr. Kerry that he should move away from talking about Vietnam, which had been the central theme of his candidacy, and focus instead on drawing contrasts with President Bush on job creation and health care policies, officials with knowledge of the conversation said.

The conversation and the recruitment of old Clinton hands came amid rising concern among Democrats about the state of Mr. Kerry's campaign and criticism that he had been too slow to respond to attacks on his military record or to engage Mr. Bush on domestic policy. Among the better-known former Clinton aides who are expected to play an increasingly prominent role are James Carville, Paul Begala and Stanley Greenberg, campaign aides said.


Of course there is also the impact of what appears to be a shakeup within KE04, but so far, no heads are rolling...

Mr. Kerry's aides emphasized that this was an expansion of the staff for the fall campaign and did not represent another upheaval of the Kerry campaign. Still, several Democrats outside the campaign said the influence of Mr. Clinton and his advisers could be seen over the past few days in Mr. Kerry's attacks on Mr. Bush's domestic policies. They said the Clinton team had been pressing Mr. Kerry to turn up the intensity of his attacks on those policies after a month spent largely avoiding engaging the president.

The installation of former Clinton lieutenants is creating two distinct camps at Mr. Kerry's campaign headquarters on McPherson Square in downtown Washington.

The first is the existing Kerry high command, which includes Mary Beth Cahill, the campaign manager; Bob Shrum, a senior adviser; Tad Devine, a senior adviser; and Stephanie Cutter, the communications director. The second is the Clinton camp, which includes Joe Lockhart, a former White House press secretary; Joel Johnson, a former senior White House aide; and Doug Sosnik, a former Clinton political director. And Howard Wolfson, a former chief of staff to Hillary Rodham Clinton, joined the campaign yesterday.


The soldier that flew Bush in his "Mission Accomplished" Photo Op is killed in Iraq. One would hope that the president would have the decency to personally call his family.


You must read this article by Jeffrey St. Clair at Counterpunch: High Plains Grifter, the Life and Crimes of George W. Bush. Shrub doesn't look good:
[Justin] Frank, author of Bush on the Couch, zeroes in on the crucial first five years of W's existence, where three factors loom over all others: an early trauma, an absent father and an abusive mother. It is a recipe for the making of a dissociated megalomaniac. Add in a learning disability (dyslexia) and a brain bruised by booze and coke and you have a pretty vivid portrait of the Bush psyche.

With this stern upbringing, is it really surprising that Bush evidenced early signs of sadism? As a teenager he jammed firecrackers in the orifices of frogs and snickered as he blew them to bits. A few years later, as president of the DKE frathouse at Yale, Bush instituted a branding on the ass-crack as an initiation ritual. Young pledges were seared with a red-hot wire clothes hanger. One victim complained to the New Haven police, who raided the frathouse. The story was covered-up for several decades until it surfaced in Bush's first run for governor of Texas. He laughed at the allegations, writing the torture off as little more than "a cigarette burn." From Andover to Abu Ghraib.

...According to the intrepid Larry Flynt, he spent part of his time impregnating his girlfriend and, like a true southern gentleman, then escorting her to an abortion clinic. Checkbook birth control, the tried and true method of the ruling classes. A year later, according to Bush biographer J.H. Hatfield, George W. got popped in Texas on cocaine possession charges. The old man intervened once again; George diverted for six months of community service a Project PULL in a black area of Houston and the incident was scrubbed from the police blotter and court records. Today, Bush denies all knowledge of those squalid indiscretions. Just two more lost weekends in George's blurry book of days.

Speaking of cocaine, Bush, by many accounts, had more than a passing familiarity with the powder. Several acquaintances from his days at Yale tell us that Bush not only snorted cocaine, but sold it. Not by the spoonful, but by the ounce bag, a quantity that would land any black or Latino dealer in the pen for at least a decade. Young Bushtail had become the Snow Bird of New Haven.


Sunday, September 05, 2004

Tomorrow, a sham 527 organization with Bush connections, MoveOnForAmerica.org is planning to start a smear campaign against Kerry. Among other things, the group plans to link Kerry with Hitler, cop killers, and black arsonists.

The head of this group is a DC-based GOP political consultant named Stephen Marks. Info:
Specializing in opposition research and media, Mr. Marks has consulted dozens of candidates at all levels from presidential to congressional, including consulting for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the Republican Governors Association. Mr. Marks has also been a press secretary in GOP campaigns [including Jeb Bush’s bid for governor in 1994], as well as an investigative journalist for such publications as Penthouse and New York Newsday. Mr. Marks also currently hosts The Stephen Marks Show heard weekly on KFNX Radio in Phoenix, and has appeared regularly on TV and radio, including The O’Reilly Factor, and Hannity & Colmes.


This guy has done this before, back in 2000, with the same planned smears against Gore. See this October 20, 2000 CNN story.
Americans Against Hate, a newly formed group run by G.O.P. consultant Stephen Marks, is up in four states with a spot linking Gore with the Rev. Al Sharpton. Sharpton, says the announcer, admires Hitler (flash to photo of the dictator) and defends rapists and cop killers (video of Willie Horton-style mug shots). The ad asks, "Mr. Gore...what kind of unholy alliance will you have with Al Sharpton?"

Right out of the same playbook. Pathetic. There's more about Marks's activities here as well.

This has to be exposed and stopped. As the site says, the first ads will starting airing Tuesday Sept. 7th in D.C. market and in key swing states beginning Monday September 13th. Since it's a 527 not subject to the McCain-Feingold ban during the campaign’s final 60 days), the ads will run non-stop until Election Day.


Oh man, this one is rich -- Texas May Lose $7M Over Education Failures:

The U.S. Department of Education may withhold as much as $7 million from President Bush's home state for failing to tell parents whether schools performed up to standards under the No Child Left Behind Act.

Parents won't be able to request transfers to move their children from poorly performing schools until the information is released, and the funding may be withheld until then.

"The law states we're supposed to announce the results before school started and we did not make that deadline," Debbie Graves Ratcliffe, a Texas Education Agency spokeswoman, told the San Antonio Express-News for its Saturday editions.


Current Electoral Vote Predictor 2004 has Bush up, 270 to 252, but cautions that the post-Labor Day polls have yet to come out.


Functional, light-on-details thumbnail sketch piece of the main architects of the campaigns (by Jennnifer Loven, AP). Lord, there's so much more one would want to know about the evil, talented (did I say evil?) Karl Rove, but this is all she can muster:
Rove grew up in the West and, though he never completed college, is a self-taught history buff with an almost encyclopedic command of data. He became a force in Texas politics and engineered Bush's successful 1994 campaign for governor, his 1998 re-election and his 2000 presidential campaign. While Rove oversees Bush's bid for a second term from his post inside the White House, campaign manager Ken Mehlman is responsible for day-to-day operations. Rove is often credited with virtually unchecked power; rightly or wrongly, his stamp - and political calculus - is seen on almost every White House move.


I will qualify talented, after all the man had to be responsible for ZellFire and the Twins up on the podium at the convention. That showed a complete lack of ability to predict disaster.


You can send a get well message to Bill Clinton here. He's already received over 26,000. You can also see the classless wingnuts bashing our last president here.


More missing records related to Bush's Air National Guard service. Big surprise there. I'm sure they fell into a shredder. What's missing:
_A report from the Texas Air National Guard to Bush's local draft board certifying that Bush remained in good standing. The government has released copies of those DD Form 44 documents for Bush for 1971 and earlier years but not for 1972 or 1973. Records from Bush's draft board in Houston do not show his draft status changed after he joined the guard in 1968. The AP obtained the draft board records Aug. 27 under the Freedom of Information Act.

_Records of a required investigation into why Bush lost flight status. When Bush skipped his 1972 physical, regulations required his Texas commanders to "direct an investigation as to why the individual failed to accomplish the medical examination," according to the Air Force manual at the time. An investigative report was supposed to be forwarded "with the command recommendation" to Air Force officials "for final determination."

Bush's spokesmen have said he skipped the exam because he knew he would be doing desk duty in Alabama. But Bush was required to take the physical by the end of July 1972, more than a month before he won final approval to train in Alabama.

_A written acknowledgment from Bush that he had received the orders grounding him. His Texas commanders were ordered to have Bush sign such a document; but none has been released.

_Reports of formal counseling sessions Bush was required to have after missing more than three training sessions. Bush missed at least five months' worth of National Guard training in 1972. No documents have surfaced indicating Bush was counseled or had written authorization to skip that training or make it up later. Commanders did have broad discretion to allow guardsmen to make up for missed training sessions, said Weaver and Lawrence Korb, Pentagon (news - web sites) personnel chief during the Reagan administration from 1981 to 1985.

"If you missed it, you could make it up," said Korb, who now works for the Center for American Progress, which supports Kerry.

_A signed statement from Bush acknowledging he could be called to active duty if he did not promptly transfer to another guard unit after leaving Texas. The statement was required as part of a Vietnam-era crackdown on no-show guardsmen. Bush was approved in September 1972 to train with the Alabama unit, more than four months after he left Texas.

Bush was approved to train in September, October and November 1972 with the Alabama Air National Guard's 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group. The only record tying Bush to that unit is a dental exam at the group's Montgomery base in January 1973. No records have been released giving Bush permission to train with the 187th after November 1972.


Bush still debating on debates, because he is a p*ssy.


I probably would have laughed at this a few months ago, but somehow, it's less funny than frightening considering the October surprise theory. Visit Osama bin Lotto.


Bombs away...
1. There are rumors that Bush is reputedly still on the sauce. See Mark Kleiman's blog: "Susan Estrich goes nuclear"

2. Bob Graham asserts in his new book that the White House and the FBI hampered the 9/11 congressional inquiry regarding information on a coverup of direct Saudi financial ties to hijackers...From the Miami Herald (subscription req'd, but The Blue Lemur /Raw Story has more):

WASHINGTON - Two of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers had a support network in the United States that included agents of the Saudi government, and the Bush administration and FBI blocked a congressional investigation into that relationship, Sen. Bob Graham wrote in a book to be released Tuesday.

The discovery of the financial backing of the two hijackers ''would draw a direct line between the terrorists and the government of Saudi Arabia, and trigger an attempted coverup by the Bush administration,'' the Florida Democrat wrote.

And in Graham's book, Intelligence Matters, obtained by The Herald Saturday, he makes clear that some details of that financial support from Saudi Arabia were in the 27 pages of the congressional inquiry's final report that were blocked from release by the administration, despite the pleas of leaders of both parties on the House and Senate intelligence committees.

3. The same Miami Herald article also points out that military and intelligence resources were diverted to get Saddam in 2002, even though things were still hot in Afghanistan:
Graham also revealed that Gen. Tommy Franks told him on Feb. 19, 2002, just four months after the invasion of Afghanistan, that many important resources -- including the Predator drone aircraft crucial to the search for Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda leaders -- were being shifted to prepare for a war against Iraq.

Graham recalled this conversation at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa with Franks, then head of Central Command, who was ``looking troubled'':

``Senator, we are not engaged in a war in Afghanistan.''

''Excuse me?'' I asked.

''Military and intelligence personnel are being redeployed to prepare for an action in Iraq,'' he continued.

Graham concluded: 'Gen. Franks' mission -- which, as a good soldier, he was loyally carrying out -- was being downgraded from a war to a manhunt.''


Just a reminder that the mission is not accomplished (WP): U.S. Troops in Iraq See Highest Injury Toll Yet. Over 1,100 soldiers and Marines wounded in August.



(CNN)
Well if Osama can resurface, so can Mary Cheney, the low-life, no-show lesbian daughter of Dick Cheney. The self-loathing gay traitor is back on the stump for the BC04 campaign with her dad, apparently not in conflict with the fact that he's working to keep her a second-class citizen.
Vice President Cheney continued his post-convention tour of touching down in Republican areas in swing states, reprising his convention speech Saturday afternoon to about 1,000 party faithful in a humid high school gymnasium in remote Roswell, N.M., best known for its claim to a 1967 visit by aliens.

Accompanied by wife Lynne and daughter Mary, Cheney joined Colorado Gov. Bill Owens (R) and McCain on the cotton-, alfalfa- and cheese-producing town of 48,000, three hours south of Albuquerque, to reach local media in three states.


From the "I told you so dept": Bush is about to take Osama out of the deep freeze as an October surprise -- U.S. Near Seizing Bin Laden, Official Says:
The United States and its allies have moved closer to capturing Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) in the last two months, a top U.S. counterterrorism official said in a television interview broadcast Saturday.

"If he has a watch, he should be looking at it because the clock is ticking. He will be caught," Joseph Cofer Black, the U.S. State Department coordinator for counterterrorism, told private Geo television network.

Asked if concrete progress had been made during the last two months — when Pakistan has arrested dozens of terror suspects including some key al-Qaida operatives — Black said, "Yes, I would say this."

Did you have any doubt this would happen?


Southern Voice Online has an excellent first part of two stories on the similarities and differences between the black civil-rights movement and that of the current gay rights movement. The core of this article is the hypocrisy and homophobia in the black community that continues to deny that homosexuals exist among them. The lack of understanding what commonality exists between the movements is clearly laid out, with the irony that one of the key people in the civil rights movement, Bayard Rustin, was a gay man.

BTW, this denial has resulted in an explosion of HIV in black women today, no doubt due to men on the DL that believe that they are straight (want the relationship with the woman for stability and social acceptance), but like having men on the side for sexual encounters.


Saturday, September 04, 2004

Pope Alert -- het marriage good, gay marriage bad:
"Pope John Paul II kept up his campaign against gay marriage Saturday, telling the ambassador from Canada - where some provinces allow same-sex couples to wed - that such unions create a 'false understanding' of marriage.

In past months, the pope urged authorities to stop approving gay marriages, saying that they degrade the true sense of marriage."


There's nothing false about gay marriage -- my honey and I tied the knot in Vancouver just this past July. He can't take that away from me.


Does anyone know about this 527 organization that plans to start smearing Kerry (featured on The Raw Story today): New consevative special interest group links Kerry with Hitler, black arsonists. "MoveOnForAmerica.org is a group of citizens created by its president, DC-based GOP political consultant Stephen Marks."

Can it be officially tied to Bush pronto? The site said ads will start running next week.


Andrew Sullivan mines another gem from Steve Waldman on BeliefNet about Mary Cheney's absence on the final night of the GOP convention.
What possible explanation is there here that doesn't make the Cheneys look like ghoulish parents? I suppose we should wait for more information; perhaps she had an appendicitis attack and was immobile. More likely, either they discouraged her from appearing or she voluntarily exiled herself, not wanting to embarrass her dad, at which point dad should have said, "I love you. You belong up here with me."

As I wrote earlier, perhaps Mary said she couldn't wound her partner by going up their without her. If that was the case, the compassionate thing for the Cheneys to do would be take away the awkwardness by having the podium scene without spouses. They would have produced a slightly less cheery photo up but made a powerful statement about love, pride and family.

And this has nothing to do with one's position on gay marriage. Having Mary Cheney up there would have in no way contradicted either Dick Cheney or George W. Bush's policies on gay marriage. Bush should be asked about this, too. Powerful evidence was offered that, on a personal level, Bush is a compassionate man. So why didn't he go to Cheney and say: "Hey, don't sweat it Dick. Mary is part of our family. Don't worry about the politics"?


We know why -- gay people are NOT part of the GOP family. The Log Cabin folks should now hear this message loud and clear. Please, will someone in the press ask this of the President or the VP? It's a legitimate campaign issue -- family values, compassionate conservatism -- and we deserve an explanation of what happened that night and why.


Friday, September 03, 2004

Did or didn't the crowd boo at a Bush rally when he announced Clinton was hospitalized? The AP reported that they did, but now apparently retracted the version that states the crowd had booed.

Here is the AP story on Newsday, 1:57 PM version: "Bush's audience of thousands in West Allis, Wis., booed. Bush did nothing to stop them. "

The AP story later on Yahoo News, after 6PM: "The crowd reacted with applause and with some 'ooohs,' apparently surprised by the news that Clinton was ill."

Here is a link to the audio (courtesy of Kevin Drum/Wash Monthly):

http://tinyurl.com/6yfug

Listen and decide. The whole thing is strange; how could an AP reporter who was there "mishear" things?


Uh oh. Is this the Bush bounce? Bush Opens Double-Digit Lead:
If the 2004 election for President were held today, 52% of likely voters surveyed would vote for President George W. Bush, 41% would vote for Democratic nominee John Kerry, and 3% would vote for Ralph Nader, according to a new TIME poll conducted from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2. According to PollingReport, you can see that not all the data is post-convention. I tend to think most independent voters would have been turned off by the last couple of nights of the convention, when the sh*t really hit the fan


In anti-civil rights world news, India courts re-affirm that homosexuality is illegal (BBC):
The petition challenged laws which deem homosexual acts to be "unnatural criminal behaviour".

The court ruled that the "validity of a law" cannot be challenged by anyone who is "not affected by it". [HUH? --P.]

"While the right to respect for private and family life is undisputed, interference by public authority in the interest of public safety and protection of health and morals is equally permissible.



Media Credit: www.s-t.com


Looks like Bill Clinton either had a heart attack and/or is in for quad bypass. Here's a brief from CBS NY:
NEW YORK (CBS) CBS News has learned that former President Bill Clinton will undergo surgery for a heart ailment in New York.

Clinton was complaining of chest pains Friday morning and decided to go to the hospital. He will undergo heart bypass surgery at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital.

The former president had an angiogram near his home in Westchester County on Friday morning and doctors decided surgery was necessary and he was rushed to Manhattan.

The New York Times is reporting that Clinton suffered a heart attack. CBS has not been able to confirm this.

Clinton is currently undergoing pre-surgery tests.

The former president was scheduled to head to the New York State Fair on Friday with his wife, New York Senator Hillary Clinton.

UPDATE: MSNBC (TV) said that BC actually called Terry McAuliffe (DNC) in the last hour to say he is "doing fine," so he must be stable. [the man is politicking from the bed!] Looks like quad surgery will be on Tues. Hope the Big Dog pulls through with flying colors. Best wishes for a complete recovery to Bill; quad BP means it'll be a pretty long one.

Lord, I hope this wasn't caused by ZellFire ringing Bill looking for a new job.


Bush is already trying to weasel out on one of the planned debates:
GOP strategist Scott Reed was quoted by the Reuter news agency this week as saying the Bush camp's position is that "two debates are sufficient and will not dominate the entire fall schedule."

"Three debates would have a tendency to be a little overbearing on your campaign strategy and tactics," Reed was quoted as saying.

On Thursday, after Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman visited a breakfast of the Arizona delegation to the Republican National Convention here, he refused to elaborate when asked whether that was the Bush campaign's position.

"Debates are always very important," Mehlman said.

But will Bush agree to all three of the commission dates, including the one in Arizona?

"We'll see," he said.

In later calls to The Arizona Republic, Bush campaign aides asking not to be identified insisted that Reed was not speaking officially for the campaign and that no decision had been made on the debates.


Weasel.


I need a barf bag. Now. Rush Limbaugh is dating Daryn Kagan of CNN.


I had forgotten about this, but Fred Kaplan's Slate piece (on the lies of Zell and Cheney) reminded me of the irony of Cheney comparing his selection as VP to John Edwards's:
Cheney followed Zell, and couldn't help but begin with … not a lie, but certainly a howler: "People tell me Sen. Edwards got picked for his good looks, his sex appeal, his charm, and his great hair. [Pause] I said, 'How do you think I got the job?' "

Funny, apparently self-deprecating line, but does anybody remember how he did get the job? Bush had asked Cheney to conduct the search for a vice presidential candidate, and he came up with himself. He got the job because he picked himself.

Ba-dump-bump.


Derrick Z. Jackson of the Boston Globe, rips Bush a new one in this editorial.
JUST WHEN you thought it was only Democrats who promised everything to everybody, President George W. Bush made his own promises and hoped Americans would have amnesia. After Zell Miller, Dick Cheney, and a host of others did the dirty work in tearing apart John Kerry in the first three nights of the Republican National Convention, Bush accepted his party's nomination for a second term by promising to bring back compassionate conservatism. He promised to resurrect education, health care, and prescriptions for senior citizens.

And once again, a party whose face is overwhelmingly white trotted out a black minister for the opening prayer, a black gospel singer, a black business classmate of Bush, and Mel Martinez, the former secretary of housing who is running for the US Senate out of Florida. "Nothing will turn us back," Bush said about those social issues.

But as in his first three and a half years as president, this was only a lead in, a tease to the heart of his speech: that only he and not John Kerry has the guts to prosecute the global war on terror and to invade Iraq, even if there were no weapons of mass destruction.

"We have fought the terrorists across the earth not for pride, not for power, but because the lives of our citizens are at stake," he said.

That may have been true for Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, but it was not true for Iraq.

It was only the beginning of his national plea for amnesia. He said nothing will turn us back even though he turned his back on his own pet plan for education, No Child Left Behind, leaving it so chronically underfunded many school boards are screaming for either funding or its elimination.

He said nothing will turn us back even though his thirst for invading Iraq -- while maintaining tax cuts he said again last night that he wants to make permanent -- figured prominently in the fiscal crisis that has forced severe cutbacks in schools and other services.

Bush, after nearly three years of being the grim commander in chief, tried his hand at Reagan, sunny-side-up politics. But in his speech, he offered not a cent of sunrise for his social programs.

"We are on a path to the future, and we are not turning back," Bush said. In saying that, he asked Americans to give him four more years but to turn their backs on the history of the first four.


Halliburton considered bribing Nigerian officials for contracts ten years ago.
An internal Halliburton Co. investigation has uncovered handwritten notes suggesting that former employees considered offering bribes to Nigerian officials a decade ago to secure work in a $5 billion project to build a natural gas liquefaction plant.

The notes appear to record conversations among the former employees and their partners in a consortium called TSKJ, formed in the early 1990s to pursue work on Nigeria's Bonny Island project, an official of the Houston energy services company said yesterday. That consortium includes a company that became part of Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root Inc.

Wendy Hall, a Halliburton spokeswoman, said the notes show the consortium partners were discussing the possibility of bribes. But she said there's no evidence yet that any money exchanged hands.

Vice President Cheney was Halliburton's chief executive at the time of the merger. Hall said there is no indication Cheney was aware of the apparent bribery scheme. Hall said the internal investigation, which began in February, has included interviews with about 50 employees.
It happened under Dick's watch; if nothing else, it indicates how he liked the company to conduct its business. And this is just one smidgen we know about.


The Washington Blade weighs in on the convention. A couple of snippets...

1. Elizabeth Dole. Have to mention our senior senator from NC, since we actually wrote her about FMA and received a response. She got a little coverage. Note how we're addressed as a couple.
Speakers were mostly mum on gay-related issues, despite the GOP’s adopting anti-gay language in its party platform last week.

North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole alluded to the same-sex marriage controversy in her remarks Tuesday night.

“Marriage is important not because it is a convenient invention or the latest reality show,” Dole said. “Marriage is important because it is the cornerstone of civilization, and the foundation of the family. Marriage between a man and a woman isn’t something Republicans invented, but it is something Republicans will defend.”


Thanks, Liddy.

2. The Log Cabin Republicans. This editorial suggests that the LCRs are waiting till NEXT MONTH to decide whether to endorse Bush. Do they need any more time to decide? The self-delusion:
Prominent D.C. gay Republican Carl Schmid has said he was “comforted” by Cheney’s words. Others maintain that while they’ll continue to fight for gay civil rights within the party, they refuse to be defined by their sexual orientation; they choose to be Republicans because of the party’s positions on fiscal matters and defense.


I hope none of them live in VA, because that super DOMA they just passed will allow none of them to even approximate a few legal marriage rights. Dumbasses.


Daily Kos is back online.


I had a great time last night in a chat room with some AmericaBlog diehards commenting live on the primetime GOP speeches, all the way through Bush and then Kerry. Special thanks to RobinBaltimore, our host, and AB maestro John Aravosis for their incredibly nimble chatting and blogging multitasking. We shared in what had to be one of the most frightening convention closes I have ever seen -- it was part church revival, part Triumph of the Will. We were supplied with access to advance text of the speeches, which made it amazingly fun to deconstruct it all. They hope to do it again during the debates.


I cannot let go of the juicy ZellFire meltdown quite yet, seeing as it has, along with the Bush twins speech has caused writhing agony over at Camp Bush. Hoffmania had a Photoshop contest to alter one of the priceless shots from his keynote. My fave (from Adrian Nadjiwon):



This headline needs to be preserved. It's so rich. Someone at AP was having fun:

Bush Leaves Out Complex Facts in Speech:
In Convention Speech, Bush Leaves Out Some Complex Facts About Iraq Coalition, Terror War

Though I love this story, it's more analysis than straight reporting; however, it does hit the mark.
President Bush's boast of a 30-member-strong coalition in Iraq masked the reality that the United States is bearing the overwhelming share of costs, in lives and troop commitments. And in claiming to have routed most al-Qaida leaders, he did not mention that the big one got away.

...Bush's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention on Thursday night brought the nation a collection of facts that told only part of the story, hardly unusual for this most political of occasions.

He took some license in telling Americans that Democratic opponent John Kerry "is running on a platform of increasing taxes."

Kerry would, in fact, raise taxes on the richest 2 percent of Americans as part of a plan to keep the Bush tax cuts for everyone else and even cut some of them more. That's not exactly a tax-increase platform.

And on education, Bush voiced an inherent contradiction, dating back to his 2000 campaign, in stating his stout support for local control of education, yet promising to toughen federal standards that override local decision-making.

...On Iraq, Bush derided Kerry for devaluing the alliance that drove out Saddam Hussein and is trying to rebuild the country. "Our allies also know the historic importance of our work," Bush said. "About 40 nations stand beside us in Afghanistan, and some 30 in Iraq."

But the United States has more than five times the number of troops in Iraq than all the other countries put together. And, with 976 killed, Americans have suffered nearly eight times more deaths than the other allies combined.


Ha ha ha ha...more blowback from ZellFire (WP):
Privately, some senior Republicans agreed that red meat that tasted delicious in the convention hall did not look appetizing to independent voters watching on television. "Everyone read the speech in advance and approved it," said one prominent GOP lobbyist working closely with the Bush-Cheney campaign on the staging and message for the convention. The problem, he added, was that handlers did not account for the shouting voice or glowering stare with which the 72-year-old former Marine delivered his speech, or the short-tempered manner he displayed in interviews once the veracity of his charges began being challenged minutes after he left the podium.

Excuse me, this is, pardon the expression, bush-league campaigning. Does no one think about these things (message and presentation)? Please. Give me a six-figure salary and I can drive your campaign into the ground for you. Email me, Karl.


One of the beauties of Kerry's kick-ass rebuttal last night is that he took the president's feeble military "career" head on:
"For the past week, they attacked my patriotism and my fitness to serve as commander in chief. Well, here's my answer. I'm not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation into Iraq."

This is another excellent wrap on Kerry's speech (Lois Romano and Howard Kurtz, WP):
John F. Kerry lashed back at his Republican critics early Friday morning, denouncing the GOP convention for its "anger and distortions" and belittling Vice President Cheney for avoiding the military draft during the Vietnam War era.

Just 40 minutes after President Bush completed his acceptance speech in New York, Kerry -- in his sharpest and most personal remarks yet -- called Bush "unfit" to lead, saying he misled the country on the Iraq war and citing his failed record on jobs, health care and energy costs.

...More than 15,000 people attended the rally in front of a historic city building here. The event was quickly scheduled to respond to the four days of harsh attacks from the GOP convention this week, questioning Kerry's fitness to be president. The decision to come out swinging followed meetings with an expanded team of advisers that includes two Clinton White House veterans who will help direct Kerry's message.

..."Let me tell you what I think makes someone unfit for duty," Kerry said. "Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead this nation. Doing nothing while this nation loses millions of jobs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting 45 million Americans go without health care makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting the Saudi royal family control our energy costs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Handing out billions [in] government contracts without a bid to Halliburton while you're still on their payroll makes you unfit."


Two...two..two treats in one! Karl Rove didn't like the Twin's Speech. "Reliable sources tell the Daily News that Bush's chief political mastermind, Karl Rove, was among several advisers who panned the twins' convention act.

'Whoever approved this,' Rove moaned to a colleague, 'I'm going to put on a slow boat to China.' "

How is this possible? Rove didn't have an advance of the speech?

Then you have the Zell problem. Rove is batting .000 on these two catastrophes for the campaign. You cannot tell me theShrub puppetmaster didn't have a hand in both of these blow-ups; sounds like he's trying to protect his job by claiming ignorance. You know if these had turned out with positive spin, he'd be basking in it all. TOO BAD.


Did DailyKos's server implode overnight? Currently experiencing (as of 6:30 AM EDT) "an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request." Lord knows it probably peaked in traffic after last night's events.


E.J. Dionne's take on the Zell implosion is spot on (WP): The GOP's Dirty Z-Bomb. Karl Rove has to be scrambling now, because the mere fact that not only do they have to make excuses for the choice of Zell to speak, but they have to explain why he's been unceremoniously booted out of favor in the span of one day. God, the spinning is going to be sweet today, when you have McCain saying:
"I think it backfires," McCain said, his face a picture of genuine astonishment. "It makes [Pat] Buchanan's speech in Houston look like milquetoast." McCain was referring to Buchanan's "culture wars" speech, widely thought to have damaged the first President Bush at the 1992 Republican convention.



With friends like these...Zell Miller stepped into his own ZellFire as the GOP eats one of its adopted own in the span of 24 hours. Hahahahahahahha. On MSNBC:
The Bush campaign stepped backed from Miller’s comments Thursday after it was received with almost immediate criticism, including complaints from prominent Republicans like Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

“Well, Zell Miller is a very experienced politician,” McCain, who spoke earlier at the convention, told NBC News on Wednesday night.

“I’m sure he knew exactly what he was talking about. [But] I just don’t agree with the fact that the Democrats are unpatriotic or the assertion that the Democrats are unpatriotic,” he said. “I don’t think they are.”

In an interview Thursday, Laura Bush told NBC News’ Tom Brokaw: “I don’t know that we share that point of view. I mean, I think Zell Miller has a very interesting viewpoint, just like I had the personal viewpoint to talk about the president when I spoke on Tuesday night. ...

“But, I mean, his voice is one with a lot,” the first lady said. “You also heard Senator McCain. You also heard Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Governor [Arnold] Schwarzenegger.”

A senior White House official, speaking to reporters before Bush’s address Thursday night, said, “Senator Miller was speaking on behalf of himself and obviously on behalf of himself.”


That's so bad -- boy, now who is going to take the blame for this one? Karl Rove?


Andrew Sullivan gives Bush's "Orwellian" speech a few pluses and minuses (even considering it Bush's second best speech ever -- was he watching the same thing I was?) and then finally drops the official bomb - he won't vote for him:
"I CANNOT SUPPORT HIM IN NOVEMBER: I will add one thing more. And that is the personal sadness I feel that this president who praises freedom wishes to take it away from a whole group of Americans who might otherwise support many parts of his agenda. To see the second family tableau with one family member missing because of her sexual orientation pains me to the core. And the president made it clear that discriminating against gay people, keeping them from full civic dignity and equality, is now a core value for him and his party. The opposite is a core value for me. Some things you can trade away. Some things you can compromise on. Some things you can give any politician a pass on. But there are other values - of basic human dignity and equality - that cannot be sacrificed without losing your integrity itself. That's why, despite my deep admiration for some of what this president has done to defeat terror, and my affection for him as a human being, I cannot support his candidacy. Not only would I be abandoning the small government conservatism I hold dear, and the hope of freedom at home as well as abroad, I would be betraying the people I love. And that I won't do."


Thursday, September 02, 2004

Bush's entire speech is posted at Eschaton (thanks again, John@AmericaBlog for the tip).


And, another shout out to AmericaBlog for this... P-FLAG gets into the "MIA Mary" action as well:PFLAG PRESS RELEASE - 2 Sept 2004

PFLAG Wants to Know: Where Was Mary?; Cheney Family Appearance Spotlights Absence of Lesbian Daughter

Contact: Alice Leeds, 212-874-0675 or 917-523-5029 or aleeds@pflag.org, or Taylor Thompson, 202-467-8180, ext. 213 or tthompson@pflag.org, both of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays

WASHINGTON -- At the Republican Convention last night, Vice President Dick Cheney gave the acceptance address and then appeared with his wife, daughter, son-in-law grandchild number 1, grandchild number 2, grandchild number 3 and, awash in the bright stage lights and swathed in blankey, infant grandchild number 4. But where was Cheney's lesbian daughter, Mary?

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) wants to know: why wasn't Mary allowed to be a part of the important event? Were the convention organizers worried that her presence would reinforce what the Vice President stated last week -- that he opposes the President's call for a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and loves and supports his daughter as she is?

'PFLAG moms and dads were moved by Dick Cheney's words of pride for Mary and her basic rights to equal freedoms in America. That made her conspicuous absence from last night's celebration especially disheartening,' said Sam Thoron, PFLAG's president and father of a lesbian daughter.

'Sadly, the message last night was that Mary was not welcome to share the stage with her straight sister,' said Ron Schlittler, executive director of PFLAG. 'It was a missed opportunity by Lynn and Dick Cheney to show the country a family in all its diversity, sharing an exciting moment together.'"


Good for them! The DNC calls out Mary Cheney's conspicuous omission from Dick's post-speech family photo-op.
For the past few years, gay rights groups have been asking, "Where is Mary Cheney?" Not on stage with her family. Last night after her father, Vice President Dick Cheney, concluded his speech to the GOP Convention, he was joined on stage by his wife, his straight daughter, Elizabeth, her husband, and their children. But where was openly-gay daughter Mary? Once on stage, Lynne Cheney offered an answer when she turned to her husband and mouthed "Mary's up there," pointing to another side of the arena far away from her family.

"They can hide gay and lesbian family members at their convention, but Bush can't hide his failed record from the American people," said Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Terry McAuliffe. "President Bush isn't content with just dividing the country along political lines, now he's dividing families, including the family of his vice president. People across the country are fed up with Bush's discriminatory politics. Together, we will take back the White House for all Americans."


It isn't a stretch to think the GOP's wingnuts have moved on from opposition to abortion to take on basic contraception. From AMERICAblog, a pullquote from the GOP platform>:
Abstinence from sexual activity is the only protection that is 100 percent effective against out-of-wedlock pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, including sexually transmitted HIV/AIDS. Therefore, we support doubling abstinence education funding. We oppose school-based clinics that provide referrals, counseling, and related services for contraception and abortion.


I'm sure that the GOP's position is meant only to ensure the respect and honor of womanhood and family. Guess women should purchase their burqas now.

fundamentalist Islam = fundamentalist Christianity...can they not see the connection of their shared intolerance of others?


Homo -- excuse me -- Home Depot has caved after only one day of pressure from HRC into giving Domestic Partner Health Insurance to employees after it was revealed that pet insurance was a named benefit to workers, but not same-sex benefits.
“The Home Depot is finally putting its people first,” said HRC President Cheryl Jacques, after learning that Home Depot put out a memo at close of business Wednesday announcing the change.

The Human Rights Campaign’s WorkNet project revealed Wednesday that Home Depot, based in Atlanta, was one of four Fortune 500 companies that offered pet insurance but not DP health insurance despite published policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation — and one covering gender identity. The others are: Sprint, based in Overland, Kan.; Waste Management of Houston; and Ecolab of St. Paul, Minn.

...Home Depot had been slated to earn a failing grade on HRC WorkNet’s Corporate Equality Index, to be released later this month. The addition of domestic partner health insurance benefits will raise its score to 71 percent — which is also Sprint’s tentative score. Waste Management is slated to receive 43 percent; Ecolab will not be scored because the company has never replied to the HRC questionnaire. The index measures how equitably companies treat their gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees, consumers and investors.


Cannot believe they didn't have domestic partner benefits already, how dumb. It seems like you can't push your cart down a Homo Depot aisle in my neck of NC without bumping into a lesbian. :)




Mary was there, with her partner (and she didn't even get to sit with her family in the VP's box - here's the official guest list)! Mary chose to exclude herself and her partner from the family's "celebration" onstage. F*ck her.


Zell Miller needs a straitjacket. Here is his performance on Hardball (thanks to John at AmericaBlog for the link. Note his defense of Michelle ("interning the Japanese in WWII was a good thing") Malkin getting a can of whoopass opened on her by Chris on his show a couple of weeks ago for enhanced effect.
MATTHEWS: Can you can come over? I need you, Senator. Please come over.

MILLER: Wait a minute. Don‘t pull that kind of stuff on me, like you did that young lady when you had her there, browbeating her to death. I am not her. I am not her.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Let me tell you, she was suggesting that John Kerry purposely shot himself to win a medal. And I was trying to correct the record.

MILLER: You get in my face, I am going to get back in your face.

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER: The only reason you are doing it is because you are standing way over there in Herald Square.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Senator, Senator, can I speak softly to you? I would really like you to...

MILLER: What? No, no, no, because you won‘t give me a chance to answer. You ask these questions and then you just talk over what I am trying to answer, just like you did that woman the other day.


Visit our leader at My Pet Goat.com.


I can't stop thinking about how sick this is. Mary Cheney's absence last night is something all the media should be talking about.

The choice for Mary not to appear was deliberate, and all of possible excuses for this tell voters that the GOP has dehumanizes gays, even to the extent that gay GOP family members like Mary despise themselves, and that kind of GOP family doesn't mind a bit as long as they have power and wealth. That's a terrible message to be affiliated with as a party.

The press cannot say this is not a big issue or pretend people do not know who Mary is -- after all, Dick has been in the media all last week about the fact he mentioned his gay daughter. That story had major saturation across the country.

All the press has to do is ask two simple questions of all the talking heads and GOP officials --

Q : Where was VP Cheney's daughter Mary Cheney last night; was she at the convention?

ANS: yes she was, with her partner. (I presume that no one is going to baldface lie on this one, though her partner may not be mentioned. An enterprising journalist might ask.)

Q: Why did Mary not appear with the entire family on the main stage after the VP's speech ?

ANS: ???
(Insert answer your theoretical answer here. I cannot think of any positive spin to put there. All answers present the GOP/Cheneys as homophobes [self-loathing and otherwise])

Perhaps we should email the media the two questions, just in case "it hadn't occurred to them" to add those to the list of interview Qs for today.


Mary Cheney was not onstage with the rest of the Cheneys after his speech tonight. Either they didn't want her there for political reasons or she was too scared of being booed and didn't want to show her face. Either way, this shows you the sickness in the party. If she has any sense of self-respect, she'd get out of the GOP.

This decision, no matter which Cheney made it, encapsulates all that is wrong with these GOP homophobes. Mary WAS onstage in 2000, when she was not widely known to be out, so what's changed? The wingnuts have hijacked the party -- they want gays in the closet, with the door slammed shut and they key thrown away. The Cheneys must agree. The daughter they claim to love is either afraid to be with them on stage (no doubt she would have been booed by the fundies), or her folks don't want her there. One can only hope this was Mary's decision (not excusing it, but the other is too sad to contemplate).

What must the LCRs think of this -- there's no "big tent" to pitch, it's been torn apart.


Salon bombshell (from Raw Story): Bush was banished to Alabama because he was "political liability".
Once Bush Sr. confidante, widow also reveals she saw Bush urinate on a car after the wake of a failed Senate campaign

In a damning article by Salon correspondent Mary Jacoby, a political confidant to George H. W. Bush, Bush’s father, reveals the truth about those five missing months Bush spent in Alabama after disappearing from the Texas Air National Guard in 1972.

...Before there was Karl Rove, Lee Atwater or even James Baker, the Bush family’s political guru was a gregarious newspaper owner and campaign consultant from Midland, Tex., named Jimmy Allison. In the spring of 1972, George H.W. Bush phoned his friend and asked a favor: Could Allison find a place on the Senate campaign he was managing in Alabama for his troublesome eldest son, the 25-year-old George W. Bush?

“The impression I had was that Georgie was raising a lot of hell in Houston, getting in trouble and embarrassing the family, and they just really wanted to get him out of Houston and under Jimmy’s wing,” Allison’s widow, Linda, told me. “And Jimmy said, ‘Sure.’ He was so loyal.”

Linda Allison’s story, never before published, contradicts the Bush campaign’s assertion that George W. Bush transferred from the Texas Air National Guard to the Alabama National Guard in 1972 because he received an irresistible offer to gain high-level experience on the campaign of Bush family friend Winton “Red” Blount. In fact, according to what Allison says her late husband told her, the younger Bush had become a political liability for his father, who was then the United States ambassador to the United Nations, and the family wanted him out of Texas. “I think they wanted someone they trusted to keep an eye on him,” Linda Allison said…


Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Zell Miller is evil. He's also delusional. Are these remarks of a sane man? From the WP:
(APPLAUSE)
He is not a slick talker but he is a straight shooter. And where I come from, deeds mean a lot more than words.
(APPLAUSE)
I have knocked on the door of this man's soul and found someone home, a God-fearing man with a good heart and a spine of tempered steel...
(APPLAUSE)
... the man I trust to protect my most precious possession: my family."

Good luck Zell, I know you cannot be talking about this man:





***

Oh, BTW, speaking of flip-flops, take a look at the other side of Zell, speaking positively of Kerry (thanks to Atrios; this is on Zell's own web site):
In his 16 years in the Senate, John Kerry has fought against government waste and worked hard to bring some accountability to Washington.

Early in his Senate career in 1986, John signed on to the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Bill, and he fought for balanced budgets before it was considered politically correct for Democrats to do so.

John has worked to strengthen our military, reform public education, boost the economy and protect the environment. Business Week magazine named him one of the top pro-technology legislators and made him a member of its "Digital Dozen."


So, which Zell is the real Zell?


Beautiful. The IL GOP rats are scurrying off the Keyes' ship:
"Judy Baar Topinka, the state party chairwoman, today railed against Keyes, calling his remarks about Cheney 'idiotic.'

'I think it's nasty, and I don't like nasty politics,' she said. 'You don't pick on people's kids. Kids are off limits.'

Topinka added the state central committee, which selected Keyes as its candidate, should have known what it was in for.

'This is not somebody that likes a bit in his mouth,' she said. 'He does things his own way. He has built a career on being controversial.'

State Rep. Tom Cross, the House Republican leader, joked with reporters about the length of Keyes' lease on his apartment in Calumet City.

'My suspicion is we will see and hear from candidate Keyes for the next 60 days, and after that he'll probably be out of Illinois,' Cross said."

...Dan Allen, communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said that sometimes the way candidates present an issue is not reflective of the party's message.

"Alan Keyes is going to have to run his own race, and we're not going to tell him how to do it," Allen said. "He feels very passionate about certain issues, and whether we agree or disagree is not for us to decide, it's going to be the voters of Illinois."


John Aravosis of Americablog has the Alan Keyes "Mary Cheney is a selfish hedonist" meltdown during a SiriusOutQ radio interview with Mike Signorile. The link above takes you to the transcript. This link takes you to an MP3 of the interview. It doesn't get better than this -- the GOoPers are squirming.


Hoo-hah! Michael Rogers of Blogactive is featured in this story on the Schrock outing. But the big deal is that he was apparently on the Today show discussing it all today. I wonder if there's a transcript! Major media coverage -- he's been swamped for comment. There is a god.
Until Tuesday, Rogers, a 40-year-old Washington activist and fund-raiser, has been reluctant to talk publicly about himself.

But he spent most of the day on Tuesday fielding calls from reporters across the country. "I put the "Today" show on hold to talk to you," he told the Daily Press.

He is expected to appear on "Today" this morning.

Rogers said his motivation to out political leaders on Blog active.com began in July to protest President George Bush's proposal to pass a constitutional amendment to make same-sex marriage illegal.

In July, a week after a Senate vote showed a lack of support for a constitutional amendment, Rogers appeared on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor," starring conservative talk show host Bill O'Reilly, who Rogers called a pig.

Rogers said on the show, "if you're going to be gay and lesbian, and go to work every day for the biggest homophobes in the United States Congress, we're going to expose that."

Rogers said he resents that Schrock publicly supported Bush's proposal and opposed President Bill Clinton's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which allowed gays and lesbians to quietly serve in the military.

Schrock, a Navy veteran who is married and has a son, has not commented publicly on his sexuality. He has not confirmed or denied the allegations on the Web site.

"I'm sad," Rogers said of Schrock's decision not to seek a third term. "Our Congress needs more congressmen who are out and open about their lives."


Oh, this is rich.


I love that the AP is covering the topic that it should have been focusing on during this fraudulent GOP convention -- the Culture Wars and intolerance under the veneer of "compassionate conservatism":
Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell praised Bush for knowing that "God is God and he is not."

In a breakfast meeting with his state's delegates, Blackwell issued a call to arms against gay marriage. "We cannot sit on the sidelines and see an assault on the most basic social institution in our democracy and that is the family that is brought together by marriage, a union between one man and woman," he said.

Inside the convention hall, conservatives dulled their rhetorical knives.

"The key to a richer culture is strong families, and the key to strong families is strong marriages," said Rep. Rick Santorum. Pretty tame for a lawmaker who once compared homosexual acts to bigamy and incest.


Atrios has a thread going on the interview Mike Signorile had with David Dreier (R-CA) on SiriusOutQ radio. Dreier was asked point blank if he is gay. He bailed and refused to answer the question, which in itself is an answer since most straight guys have no problem declaring their het status. This rumor has been swirling around the blogs for a while, and has reached fever pitch since the Schrock outing.


More delicious dirt -- on Bush wearing medals he didn't earn. I do have to say though, there is so much actual political hay to be made of the man's record in office on so many issues, that this really isn't important (other than to counteract Swift Boat crap).


Looks like Tony Blair's govt is giving Bush the finger in this election:
John Kerry supporters in America have been told by Peter Hain that Downing Street is hoping the Democratic candidate wins the US presidential election in November.

Mr Hain, who sits in the cabinet as Leader of the Commons, has been in the US on a near-private visit. He met Labour supporters in New York, as well as members of the Kerry team. He has declined to discuss the visit, and his public remarks at a party thrown by the former Sunday Times editor Harold Evans were largely bland. But in private discussions with guests, his tone was markedly different.

Those who met him had the strong impression that he was acting with No 10's support, and that a Democratic victory was clearly sought.


Digby correctly points out that the polls reflect the race is a dead heat, but if you listen to all the talking heads on the cable news channels, it's like Kerry should just throw in the towel. Unbelievable.


This was discussed on AmericaBlog yesterday, and Drudge is finally picking up on it. Alan (watch me go down in flames) Keyes decided to drop the gay bomb on Cheney. Look at what he had to say:
The essence of ... family life remains procreation. If we embrace homosexuality as a proper basis for marriage, we are saying that it's possible to have a marriage state that in principal excludes procreation and is based simply on the premise of selfish hedonism.'

Asked whether that meant Mary Cheney 'is a selfish hedonist,' Keyes said: 'That goes by definition. Of course she is.'"

I cannot wait for election day to see Obama take him out. Will Dick Cheney have a response for his fellow Republican?


I don't want to waste the bandwidth talking at length about the stupid "Barbara and Jenna Show" last night at the convention. The twins were embarrassing. See discussion on their "performance" at Daily Kos.


Andrew Sullivan savages last night's convention speakers on several fronts, but here are my fave quotes:
So we have an Austrian-American bodybuilder with a history of orgies and a couple of spoiled, hard-drinking party girls fronting for a party whose platform is inspired in large part by Biblical fundamentalism. Yep. It would be hard to convey a more vivid reflection of our fractured culture than that.


And...
McCain, Giuliani, and Schwarzenegger all avoided any mention of domestic disagreements and merely vouched for Bush's character and qualifications to be a war-leader. That's not diversity. On the real issues that divide the party - the spending, the deficit, stem-cell research, the incompetence of the Iraq occupation, the FMA, immigration - there was and will be no dissent allowed. The platform is the most hardline religious right document ever put together by the GOP. In that way, the dutiful appearance by one dissident after another, all of whom merely express confidence in the blessed leader, comes off as actually quite creepy. Yes, they are welcome as Republicans. But only if they toe the line in public and help re-elect the ticket. Will their views be accommodated after the election? Are you kidding? And the real leaders of the party, and its intellectual inspirations, are kept off-stage.