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The Donnybrook
Friday, April 30, 2004
My Birthday Is Next Wednesday, Here's What I Want....

Check it out! The bidding doesn't end for another 5 days!!!

Come on and chip in, my new guitar needs a playmate!


Friday Afternoon Toons

I think I'll try this every Friday to see if I can get ANYONE to respond...

These toons are from Democratic Underground, but be sure to check out:

This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow




...and the all-time greatest comic ever, Calvin & Hobbes.

Thursday, April 29, 2004
Bowles Has An Early Lead Against Burr

Good news in what's sure to be an interesting Senate race:

Erskine Bowles (D) "currently holds a substantial lead" over Rep. Richard Burr (R) in the general election match-up for the U.S. Senate in North Carolina, according to an internal DSCC poll done by Bennett, Petts and Blumenthal. "Bowles currently captures 47% of the vote, compared to 38% for Burr."

"Bowles runs particularly well in the Raleigh media market and in Eastern North Carolina. Bowles also has a strong lead among seniors. Furthermore, Bowles’s strong showing against Burr occurs even though George W. Bush currently leads John Kerry in the same poll by a margin of 51% to 44%."

Classy Guy, Our President

Obviously this is old, but damn it's nearly as funny as the time W got caught two knuckles deep in his nostril at a baseball game.

*New Campaign Slogan Alert!*

President George W. Bush: The World Is My Snotrag

Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Random Thoughts For A Slow Wednesday...

Pat Toomey lost in the Pennsylvania GOP primary. You can go ahead and exhale now. Check out Downstown's breakdown...

John Kerry looks French, but Karen Hughes is French. Scoreboard...

The Flyers will take a 3-0 lead this evening...It ain't the Red Wings' year...The San Jose Sharks are just plain scary...

For my money, Stacey Williams is the best SI swimsuit model ever...

Country music sucks...

Here's an awesome picture for you to check out...

I think this is the medal Dick Cheney was given for his activities during the Vietnam era...

Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Pennsylvania Republican Primary Is the One To Watch...

Arlen Specter vs. Pat Toomey is the nation's most watched Senate primary this year, and for good reason...

Specter's a moderate Republican of the John McCain/George Voinovich mold. Toomey's a hardcore right-wing wackjob that proudly displays a virtual love letter from conservative columnist/mental patient Ann Coulter in his website's "In The News" section.

I'm truly torn on this race. Polls show that less than 40% of PA voters want Specter re-elected to the Senate. In this respect, should he survive the primary, he could be a sitting duck in the general election for Democratic challenger Joe Hoeffel.

That being said, I worry that Toomey would have ANY chance to take PA's other Senate seat. The other one's being occupied by Rick "sex with dogs" Santorum. For a state as diverse as PA to have two of the freakiest members of the Senate is just scary.

Bush and Santorum have put their support behind Specter. Their only reason for doing so is because they know Toomey probably can't win against a moderate Democrat. I suspect, though, that their hearts are still with Toomey, who is much more aligned with their personal beliefs.

Truth be told, I think Hoeffel can beat either, and in the process give John Kerry's presidential run in PA a shot in the arm as well...

We'll see tonight...

Monday, April 26, 2004
Theodore Rex

On the literary front, I highly recommend this biography of Theodore Roosevelt written by Edmund Morris.

I'll tell you, my receiving this book was actually a mistake. I told my wife I wanted a biography of Franklin Roosevelt...You can probably guess what happened next...

Luckily for me, TR's story (so far, I'm 1/2 finished) has been fascinating. The book starts with the assassination of President William McKinley. The story of someone as young as Roosevelt assuming the Presidency is told with very vivid perspective.

The way he handled several crises and the decision to build the Panama Canal are really encapsulate how Roosevelt governed.

In addition, I never knew he was the first President to invite an African-American to the White House (Booker T. Washington). Roosevelt seems to be the embodiment of that Rockefeller-type Republican that seems to be disappearing at an alarming rate in today's world of politics.

If you get a chance, it's a good read...

Friday, April 23, 2004
Paul Bremer Had Issues With Bush Adminstration's Terrorism Readiness

You'd probably never hear him say anything that would come close to second-guessing our glorious leader now, but once upon a time in February 2001...

On February 26, 2001, the Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation opened a three-day conference on the theme "Terrorism: Informing the Public" at Cantigny, the colonel's estate in Wheaton. Bremer, who gave the keynote speech, recalled his work on the National Commission on Terrorism.

"We concluded that the general terrorist threat is increasing," Bremer said, "particularly because of a change in the motives of terrorist groups. . . . We have seen a move from narrow political motivation to a broader ideological, religious, or apocalyptic motive for many terrorist groups -- groups that are not attacking because they are trying to find a broader audience, but are acting out of revenge or hatred, or simply out of an apocalyptic belief that the end of the world is near." The new terrorists, he said, weren't interested in killing just enough innocent people to get noticed. For them it was the more dead the better.

The Bush administration had been in power just about a month at this point, but Bremer had already seen enough to draw some conclusions about it. He told the many journalists invited to the Cantigny conference to hold the White House's feet to the fire: "It is the media's responsibility, and an important one, though very uncomfortable for people in government, to put a very strong spotlight on the government's policies and practices on terrorism, especially given the current disorganization of the federal government's fight against terrorism. In this area, the federal government is in complete disarray. There's been remarkably little attention to the major recommendation the Gilmore Commission made for a substantial reorganization of the government's approach to terrorism. Journalists shouldn't let politicians get away with that.

"The new administration seems to be paying no attention to the problem of terrorism. What they will do is stagger along until there's a major incident and then suddenly say, 'Oh, my God, shouldn't we be organized to deal with this?' That's too bad. They've been given a window of opportunity with very little terrorism now, and they're not taking advantage of it. Maybe the folks in the press ought to be pushing a little bit."

Thursday, April 22, 2004
Bush Can't Admit Mistakes, But Can Any President?

Well, yeah, actually one did...

In 1998, Clinton went to Rwanda to apologize for the million or so dead, to their families, and to the survivors for wounds Rwandans themselves say will never heal.

"All over the world there were people like me sitting in offices, day after day, who did not fully appreciate the depth and the speed with which you were being engulfed in this unimaginable terror," Clinton said.

"Scholars of these sorts of events say the killers, armed mostly with machetes and clubs, nonetheless did their work five times as fast as the mechanized gas chambers used by the Nazis."

Bill Clinton cited the horrors of Rwanda as one reason for intervention in Kosovo the next year. Anyone remember how Republicans felt about that?

Read a few of these comments for a stroll down memory lane...

Diebold Apologizes For Device Flaws

I've been called a conspiracy theorist because I don't entirely trust the idea of electronic voting. Systems can be easily hacked into, resulting in voter disenfranchisement. This is fact.

Then there's the partisan aspect. When Walden O'Dell, the CEO of the largest electronic voting machine manufacturer, Diebold, writes a fundrasing letter on behalf of President Bush saying he is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." some alarms should start going off in people's heads.

But alas, I'm a mere conspiracy nut Luddite....

Or am I? This is from the Tri-Valley Herald in the Bay Area of California:

It is an uncommon day when the nation's second-largest provider of voting systems concedes that its flagship products in California have significant security flaws and that it supplied hundreds of poorly designed electronic-voting devices that disenfranchised voters in the March presidential primary.

Diebold Election Services Inc. president Bob Urosevich admitted this and more, and apologized "for any embarrassment."

"We were caught. We apologize for that," Urosevich said of the mass failures of devices needed to call up digital ballots.

Here comes the kicker:

"We're sorry for the inconvenience of the voters," Urosevich said.

"Weren't they actually disenfranchised?" asked Tony Miller, chief counsel to the state's elections division.

After a moment, Urosevich agreed: "Yes, sir."

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go write a report on black helicopters...

UPDATE: California says "No" to voting machines

SACRAMENTO – California should ban the use of 15,000 touch-screen voting machines made by Diebold Election Systems from the Nov. 2 general election, an advisory panel to Secretary of State Kevin Shelley recommended Thursday.

By an 8-0 vote, the state's Voting Systems and Procedures Panel recommended that Shelley cease the use of the machines, saying that Texas-based Diebold has performed poorly in California and its machines malfunctioned in the state's March 2 primary election, turning away many voters in San Diego County.

I'm assuming that 8-0 vote didn't require the use of Diebold's flawless technology...

Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) Makes Sense For Once...

It's a miracle to see the congressman from my home district back in PA being reasonable for a change. He's taking on President Bush for delaying further discussion of increased spending for Iraq until after the election.

These fuckers actually have the temerity of accusing Democrats of "playing politics" whenever they open their mouths???

Rep. Curt Weldon, vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, charged that the president is playing political games by postponing further funding requests until after the election, to try to avoid reopening debate on the war's cost and future.

Weldon described the administration's current defense budget request as "outrageous" and "immoral" and said that at least $10 billion is needed for Iraqi operations over the next five months.

"There needs to be a supplemental, whether it's a presidential election year or not," he said. "The support of our troops has to be the number one priority of this country. . . . Somebody's got to get serious about this."

What are the odds he'll end up with a horse's head in his bed tomorrow?

Taxpayer-funded Website Being Used To Spread GOP Propaganda

An interesting find by Josh Marshall...

Exhibit A

A link to the Department of the Treasury's website containing tax day reminders and this message at the very bottom:

America has a choice: It can continue to grow the economy and create new jobs as the President's policies are doing; or it can raise taxes on American families and small businesses, hurting economic recovery and future job creation.

Exhibit B

A link to the Republican National Committee's website. In the second to last paragraph you'll find:

America has a choice: It can continue to grow the economy and create new jobs as the President's polices are doing; or it can raise taxes on American families and small businesses, hurting economic recovery and future job creation.

It's probably just a coincidence...

A $700 Million Violation of Constitutional Law?

Many people seem to think so. David Sirota has a great piece up outlining the how's and the why's pertaining to what could be a serious violation of the Consititution. He breaks down the specific language in question and details how the White House has failed to explain the diversion of $700 million...

Since Bob Woodward disclosed that President Bush in July of 2002 diverted $700 million into Iraq invasion planning without informing Congress, the Bush Administration has failed to provide one shred of evidence to rebuff the charge. According to Woodward, Bush kept Congress "totally in the dark on this” leaving lawmakers with "no real knowledge or involvement."

Not only does the Constitution vest the power of the purse with Congress, but whichever of the two supplemental bills the President drew the money from had explicit language obligating him to inform key congressional leaders. Instead of opening an investigation, White House allies on Capitol Hill actually told USA Today that the move was acceptable because "the $700 million was small compared" with the overall spending bills.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Condi Rice on Military Affairs in 2000

From Atrios:

"The lesson, too, is that if it is worth fighting for, you had better be prepared to win. Also, there must be a political game plan that will permit the withdrawal of our forces—something that is still completely absent in Kosovo."

"[The military] is not a civilian police force. It is not a political referee. And it is most certainly not designed to build a civilian society."

"Using the American armed forces as the world's "911" will degrade capabilities, bog soldiers down in peacekeeping roles, and fuel concern among other great powers that the United States has decided to enforce notions of "limited sovereignty" worldwide in the name of humanitarianism."

I'll let the irony sink in...

A Better Picture of My New Baby...

Now I understand why you people with kids act the way you do...

Oooh! Here's another one!!!

Can you describe conversations between the White House and Prince Bandar about his essential promise to lower oil prices before the election?

Simple question, right? Not if you're the president's chief spinmeister, Scott McClellan. Read on, and ask yourself why McClellan didn't flatly deny what could be a fairly damning charge.

QUESTION: Can you describe conversations between the White House and Prince Bandar about his essential promise to lower oil prices before the election?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think you heard from Prince Bandar a few weeks ago about --

QUESTION: He didn’t talk specifically about the election.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- the most recent conversation that we had with him regarding oil prices. And he expressed his views out at the stakeout to you all that Saudi Arabia is committed to making sure prices remained in a range, I believe it’s $22 to $28 price per barrel of oil, and that they don’t want to do anything that would harm our consumers or harm our economy. So he made those comments at the stakeout and we’ve made our views very clear that prices should be determined by market forces, and that we are always in close contact with producers around the world on these issues to make sure that actions aren’t taken that harm our consumers or harm our economy.

QUESTION: There were no conversations specifically about the President’s reelection?

MR. McCLELLAN: You can ask Prince Bandar to --

QUESTION: But from the point -- I mean, conversations are obviously two ways.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- what his comments were. But the conversations we have are related to our long-held views that we have stated repeatedly publicly, that market forces should determine prices.

QUESTION: To follow up on that then, I would gather that the White House view is one of expectation that the Saudis would increase oil production between now and November.

MR. McCLELLAN: Our views are very well-known to Saudi Arabia. Prince Bandar made a commitment at the stakeout that I will let speak for itself. You all should look back to those remarks.

QUESTION: We’re missing the allegation here, which is that Prince Bandar and the Saudis have made a commitment to lower oil prices to help the President politically. Is that your --

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m not going to speak for Prince Bandar. You can direct those comments to him. I can tell you that what our views are and what he said at the stakeout is what we know his views are, as well.

QUESTION: Does the White House have any knowledge of such a commitment?

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m sorry?

QUESTION: Does the White House have any knowledge of such a commitment?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I’m not going to speak for Prince Bandar. You can direct those questions --

QUESTION: Is there a deal?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- I wouldn’t speculate one way or the other. You can direct those questions to him, but I’m telling you --

QUESTION: I’m not asking you to speculate either. Do you have knowledge of such a commitment?

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m telling you what our views are and what we've stated, and I'm telling you what I do know, which is that our position is very clear when it comes to oil prices and what our views are. And Prince Bandar spoke to you all just a few weeks ago out at the stakeout after meeting with some White House officials and expressed --

QUESTION: So you have no knowledge of such a commitment?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- and expressed their view. I'm not going to try to speak for Prince Bandar. You can direct those questions to him.

QUESTION: The President is confident that the American elections are not being manipulated by the world's largest oil producer?

MR. McCLELLAN: Our view is that the markets should determine --

QUESTION: The market doesn't. It's a cartel.

MR. McCLELLAN: But our view is that that's what -- that the markets should determine prices. And that's the view we make very clear to producers around the world, including our friends in OPEC.

Monday, April 19, 2004
Did You Know?

There was once a baseball player named Rusty Kuntz?

I have no idea what I expect anyone to do with this information...

Go on about your day...

Flyers Survive and Advance....

My random thoughts:

I'm cautiously optimistic about a 2nd round matchup with the Bruins or Maple Leafs, but not the Senators, they worry me...

The monkey that is the New Jersey Devils is finally off the Philadelphia Flyers backs...

For once in a playoff series, Martin Brodeur was not even close to being the better goalie...

Robert Esche proved himself under the most severe circumstances he's faced. Especially after his recent late-regular season swoon...

Two really random thoughts among a list of random thoughts: 1.) When did Daryl Hannah not only hit the wall but bust through the wall a la Tawny Kitaen? 2.) Do Jessica Simpson's breasts have their own weather system like Venus or Jupiter?

The balance of power seems to have shifted from the West to the East in the NHL...

And finally....SCOREBOARD, SCOTCHZOMBIE!!!! Bring on the Cowgirls!!!!

Friday, April 16, 2004
North Carolina Presidential Caucus Is This Weekend!

Sure, the nomination is locked up, but this is still a great opportunity to have your voice heard and participate in democracy at it core. I'll probably be at the Eastgate Community Center. Get out and mingle with your fellow Democrats!!!

Here are the details:

Saturday April 17th 8 A.M. to Noon

Express your choice for presidential Democratic candidates during the North Carolina Presidential Caucus on April 17 from 8:00 to noon. You can vote in any of four locations in Wake County. In fact, you can vote in any location throughout North Carolina; Wake County welcomes all registered North Carolina Democrats.

Wake County Caucus Locations
Method Road Community Center-Pioneer Building
514 Method Road
Raleigh, NC 27607

First Cosmopolitan Baptist Church
1515 Crosslink Road
Raleigh, NC 27610

Eastgate Community Center
4200 Quail Hollow Drive
Raleigh, NC 27609

Wake County Commons Building
4011 Carya Drive
Raleigh, NC 27610

North Carolina Democrats will have a caucus for presidential candidates on April 17th instead of the election on May 4. This will ensure that North Carolinians will be able to choose delegates to the National Democratic Convention in time to have a voice in the process. Unlike in the Iowa caucus, participants in the the North Carolina caucus simply vote using a pre-printed ballot. Candidates on the ballot will be (in alphabetical order):

Howard Dean
John Edwards
John Kerry
Dennis Kucinich
Al Sharpton

America Thinks Bush Is Wrong on Tax Cuts

According to an AP Poll:

By almost a 2-1 margin, Americans prefer balancing the nation's budget to cutting taxes, according to an Associated Press poll, even though many believe their overall tax burden has risen despite tax cuts over the past three years.
About six in 10, 61 percent, chose balancing the budget while 36 percent chose tax cuts when they were asked which was more important, according to a poll conducted for the AP by Ipsos Public Affairs.

As the nation's tax deadline of April 15 approaches, people's lukewarm feeling about tax cuts may be influenced by a belief that recent cuts haven't helped them personally.

Half in the poll, 49 percent, said their overall tax burden -- including federal, state and local taxes -- had gone up over the past three years. That's almost four times the 13 percent in the poll who said their overall taxes had gone down.

Meanwhile, a poll in Money magazine puts it pretty bluntly as well:

76% of Americans said they would have preferred the government devote resources to job programs instead of tax cuts in 2003…

…[And] more Americans say they would also have chosen reducing the federal deficit (49%) over tax cuts (42%) last year.

By this reasoning, John Kerry is wise to co-opt Howard Dean's message that Bush's tax cuts have only served to increase tax elsewhere, amounting to a virtual tax hike. Thanks to Liberal Oasis...

Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Veep-O-Matic 2004

Here's a neat resource from the Washington Post. Plug in your criteria and see who Kerry should pick as his running mate.

Everyone I've seen mentioned for the spot is on the list.

Check it out...

When Republicans Attack...Each Other

I think the sound of one Republican smacking another one down off of his perch is either the sound at the center of the universe, or what it sounds like when doves cry...

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says former Bush counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke’s testimony before a joint congressional panel on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks did not contradict his later testimony before a presidentially appointed commission.

Roberts’s comments to The Hill contradict a stinging condemnation of Clarke by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) on the Senate floor after Clarke accused President Bush of failing to take Osama bin Laden seriously before Sept. 11.

Roberts said Frist did not consult him before making his floor speech, which has been criticized by Democrats. Roberts’s words make perjury charges against Clarke highly unlikely.

Democratic attack ads have used Clarke’s assertions that Bush did not adequately heed warnings about bin Laden and have been roundly rejected by the administration and its allies, particularly Clarke’s former boss, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Frist.

Frist has seemed to back off his earlier position, declining to repeat the charge that Clarke contradicted himself. But the majority leader continues to say it is suspicious that Clarke, who resigned at the beginning of 2003, has waited until now, in the midst of the presidential campaign season, to level his criticisms.

Speaking of Clarke’s private testimony in 2002 before a joint House-Senate panel investigating the Sept. 11 attacks, compared to more recent public testimony, Roberts said, “It’s not that he said one thing in one place and said another in another place. It’s just that the subject never came up during the investigation by the House and Senate.

“The prime topic was basically, Did the intelligence community have the authority to take advantage of opportunities in regard to Osama bin Laden.

“But I don’t recall any questions in regard to whether the Bush administration was responding well … I don’t think the words ever came up.”

When asked if Clarke contradicted himself, Roberts said he did not.

A Shining Moment From Last Night's News Conference

Bush really should think about trying out for the Los Angeles Dodgers...

Q Mr. President, why are you and the Vice President insisting on appearing together before the 9/11 Commission? And, Mr. President, who will you be handing the Iraqi government over to on June 30th?

THE PRESIDENT: We will find that out soon. That's what Mr. Brahimi is doing; he's figuring out the nature of the entity we'll be handing sovereignty over. And, secondly, because the 9/11 Commission wants to ask us questions, that's why we're meeting. And I look forward to meeting with them and answering their questions.

You can take this exchange one of two ways:

1.) Bush understood the question but didn't want to explain why he hasn't got the stones to meet with the 9-11 Commission on his own like a big boy.


2.) Bush didn't understand the question, despite the fact that anyone with a 3rd grade education could.

Deciding whether your President is a coward or a moron is about as appealling a choice as deciding whether you'd rather get herpes or gonorrhea...

I love these news conferences!

Tuesday, April 13, 2004
82 Troops Dead This Month

This is not me rejoicing in the death and misery of others...These are the stone cold facts.

I welcome any defender of Bush to explain to me how, 11 months after our President declared major combat operations over and stood up in front of a banner reading "Mission Accomplished", our forces are now experiencing the most deadly month of the entire effort, and it's only the 13th...

How is this a sign of a.) A sensible policy in Iraq and/or b.) Pre-war planning that was anywhere near what it should have been?

I seriously want your feedback. This shit has got to stop...

Congressmen David Price and Brad Miller Agree...Zell Miller's Full of Shit!

Last night at the monthly meeting of the Wake Democratic Men's Club, I asked Congressman David Price about Zell Miller's "Democrats For Bush" coalition.

Since Senator Miller is garnering so much attention, I was curious to hear about the dozens and dozens of Congressional Democrats flocking to his side in support of President Bush.

Congressman Price said he hasn't spoken to a single Democrat in the House of Representatives who shares Zell Miller's position of support for Bush. Congressman Brad Miller, also in attendance, said he had spoken to a few (read as: three) very conservative Democrats who said they would rally support for neither Kerry nor Bush in the 2004 Presidential election.

So where does this leave Senator Miller?

Alone in a room with a White House-manufactured "Democrats For Bush" banner (presumably using the same font and background as the "Mission Accomplished" banner), holding a list of names of supposed Democratic supporters of Bush in one hand, and Sean Hannity's phone number in the other...

Enjoy your retirement, Senator!

Federal Review Composite Poll

Winston at Federal Review is running a terrific composite poll that encompasses the most recently available state-by-state tracking polls pertaining to the 2004 Presidential election.

Currently, he's got Bush with a lead in the Electoral College, and a solid tie in the popular vote.

Keep an eye on this one as the dynamics of the race change...

My current best guess is a 289-249 Kerry victory w/ Kerry picking up New Hampshire, Nevada, and Ohio. No science, just a gut feeling there...


Monday, April 12, 2004
Happiness Is A Brand New Guitar...

For some people, it's a new car. Not me. If it gets me from point A to point B without breaking down, I'm a happy camper.

Other people get off on plasma-screen TV's and DVD players. Good, but not great.

A lot of people get way too excited about Star Wars/Star Trek/Lord of the Rings, or as I refer to them, The Holy Trinity of Involuntary Celibacy. Again, not my bag. I'm not one to dress up like an Imperial Stormtrooper unless there is a high-dollar bet on the table...

No, for me, my addiction and the one thing that turns me into a drooling pile of mush is and will probably always be....the music store.

That explains my excellent frame of mind today. Saturday I bought my 5th guitar, and let me tell you, that feeling never gets old.

Here she is...

I got the Trans Purple finish, and it is gorgeous...The feel of this thing is priceless, and the sound is just as great.

Mmmmmm....new guitar....

If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up...

(A free beer to the first person to tell me what movie that line came from!)

Friday, April 9, 2004
Zell Miller Deconstructed

In the course of my rantings over Zell Miller, I can tend to get somewhat carried away and overly critical. The case against Zell Miller is one that inspires that kind of fervor. If I come off as a shrieking freak, it's not intentional.

All that being said, Downstown has found a very effective and well thought-out description of what a strange journey Senator Miller has taken in "seeing the right".

One of Gadflyer's stronger points concerns the comparison of Zell Miller and John McCain as "mavericks" within their respective parties:

Miller is posing as a straight-talking, McCain-style maverick. But he's an aggressive Republican partisan who keeps the "D" in parentheses next to his name because he knows that the media lavish attention on no one more than party heretics.

If it's an anti-choice, anti-gun control, pro-ANWR drilling, pro-Federal Marriage Amendment party that Zell Miller wishes to be a part of, then there's one that suits him perfectly. And responsible progressives ought not to worry about Zell Miller switching parties; they ought to insist on it.

A good read...

Wednesday, April 7, 2004
20 Questions For Condi Rice

Big thanks to Will Pitt for a helluva list:

1. On September 11, 2001, you were slated to deliver a speech describing national missile defense as the cornerstone of American foreign policy. No mention of Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda or fundamentalist Islamic terrorism appeared in the text of the speech, which you never delivered because of the attacks in New York and Washington. The White House is refusing now to release the text of that speech to the 9/11 Commission. Why?

2. That speech appears to verify claims made by former Counter-Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke that terrorism was not on the Bush administration's list of priorities before the 9/11 attacks. Why was the Bush administration so interested in national missile defense during the 'Summer of Threat' in 2001, when alarm bells about an impending attack were sounding everywhere?

3. The Hart-Rudman Report, prepared during the Clinton administration and delivered to the new Bush administration, carried many prescient warnings about the threat of Osama bin laden and al Qaeda terrorism. That report was completely disregarded by the Bush administration. Why?

4. You and others within the administration have claimed that al Qaeda terrorism was an "urgent" priority within the White House. If so, how do you justify the demotion of Richard Clarke, who was the ranking expert in the White House on that specific threat?

5. You and others within the administration have claimed that al Qaeda terrorism was an "urgent" priority within the White House. On May 8, 2001, the White House announced that Vice President Dick Cheney would chair a task force to investigate the possibility of a terrorist attack on American soil. If terrorism was an "urgent" priority for the Bush administration, why did this Cheney terrorism task force not convene a single time for a meeting after it was created?

6. You and others within the administration have claimed that al Qaeda terrorism was an "urgent" priority within the White House. Outgoing National Security Advisor Sandy Berger warned you that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda would be the most important issue your administration would be dealing with, and he left you a massive file on the subject. By your own admission, that file went unread until September 11, 2001. Why?

7. You and others within the administration have claimed that al Qaeda terrorism was an "urgent" priority within the White House. If that is the case, why did George W. Bush tell author Bob Woodward in his book, 'Bush at War,' that he felt no sense of urgency about the terror threat? Did the "urgency" you have described somehow not translate into the Oval Office where command decisions are supposed to be made?

8. On May 17th, 2002, you said, "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile - a hijacked airplane as a missile." Abdul Hakim Murad, one of the bombers in the first World Trade Center attack in 1993, described while under interrogation in 1995 a plot to use airplanes as missiles against the White House, the CIA, and other prominent American targets. Were you not aware of this?

9. Ramzi Yousef, one of the masterminds behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, confirmed the testimony of Abdul Hakim Murad by describing in 1997 plots to use commercial airplanes as missiles. FBI agents who testified in the trial of Yousef further corroborated these statements. Were you not aware of this?

10. In 1993, the same year as the first World Trade Center attack, a $150,000 study was undertaken by the Pentagon to investigate the possibility of airplanes being used as bombs. A draft document of this was circulated throughout the Pentagon, the Justice Department, and to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Were you not aware of this?

11. The 1993 Pentagon report was followed up in September 1999 by a report titled 'The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism.' This report was prepared for the American intelligence community by the Federal Research Division, an adjunct of the Library of Congress. The report stated, "Suicide bombers belonging to Al Qaida's martyrdom battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the CIA, or the White House." Were you not aware of this?

12. In 1994, a disgruntled Federal Express employee invaded the cockpit of a DC10 with the intention of crashing it into a company building. Were you not aware of this?

13. Again in 1994, a pilot intentionally crashed a small airplane into a tree on the White House grounds, narrowly missing the building itself. He clearly intended to smash the plane into the building. Were you not aware of this?

14. Also in 1994, an Air France flight was hijacked by members of a terrorist organization called the Armed Islamic Group, who intended to crash the plane into the Eiffel Tower. Were you not aware of this?

15. Given the testimony of Murad in 1995, the testimony of Yousef in 1997, The FBI agents who were witnesses in the trial of Yousef in 1997, the Pentagon report detailing the airplane-bomb threat in 1993, the 1999 report from the Federal Research Division which described the airplane-bomb threat and named al Qaeda specifically, the attempt by the Federal Express employee to use an airplane as a bomb, the airplane attack on the White House, and the attempt by the Armed Islamic Group to use an airplane as a bomb against the Eiffel Tower, do you find it at all inconsistent to claim that no one could have predicted the use of an airplane as a terror weapon? Isn’t it more likely that you and the administration were the ones who could never imagine the use of airplanes as weapons, because you were not treating the threat as a priority and were therefore not privy to all the data regarding the threat that was readily available?

16. There is someone in this hearing room right now named Sibel Edmonds. Ms. Edmonds was hired by the FBI as a translator nine days after the terrorist attacks. She has already testified privately before this panel. In her testimony, she stated that she personally saw documentary evidence which proves you were wrong when you claimed there was no advance warning of air attacks on U.S. soil. Ms. Edmonds saw intelligence documents that pointed to the use of aircraft against skyscrapers and other important buildings in New York, Washington and five other cities. In an interview Ms. Edmonds gave to the Toronto Star on April 5 2004, she said, "There was specific information on the use of airplanes. There were people issuing orders and information on people already in place in this country months before Sept. 11. But she (Rice) is saying `we' did not know, including herself, her advisers and the FBI. That statement is not accurate. It's a lie and a lie is a lie." How do you respond to these statements from Ms. Edmonds? Remember, she is sitting right behind you.

17. Ambassador Joseph Wilson was sent to Niger in February 2002 to investigate the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger for use in a nuclear weapons program. He returned and directly informed your deputy, Stephen Hadley, that the allegation had no merit. Despite this, George W. Bush used the Niger uranium allegation in his 2003 State of the Union speech to justify the looming Iraq invasion. How is it possible that this bogus allegation made it into that speech after your own deputy was informed the charge was false?

18. Ambassador Joseph Wilson in July 2003 revealed on the editorial pages of the New York Times that he had made that trip to Niger, that he found nothing there to support the uranium allegations, and that Bush should not have used the allegation in his speech. Several days later, Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was 'outed' as an undercover CIA agent by White House officials, who used proxies in the media to destroy her career. There is currently a federal investigation into this matter. Do you have any information regarding which White House officials did this to Plame that could help the investigators? Please remember that you are under oath.

19. According to American Central Command, 639 American soldiers have died in Iraq. More than 18,000 American soldiers have been evacuated for medical reasons. Over 10,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed. The cost of the war is somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 billion, but the figure is hard to pin down because the White House has consistently refused to provide budget data on the amount of money we have spent there. To date, there have been no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq, and no connections between al Qaeda terrorism and Saddam Hussein have been established. As National Security Advisor, can you explain how all this death, all this money, and the total lack of any evidence of a threat to America posed by Iraq fits into the defense of our national security?

20. Finally, Dr. Rice, one last question. This panel was convened to determine why the 9/11 attacks happened, and to work towards ensuring that no such horror ever visits our nation again. As National Security Advisor, you held a vitally important position on the day of the attacks, and stand now as one of the people America depends on to help us keep such a thing from happening again. Yet you and the administration tried to thwart our request to interview you in this public forum. Few activities within American government are more important than that which we are undertaking here, but you refused to help us until public and political pressure made it impossible for you to do otherwise. How can you justify this behavior?

Tuesday, April 6, 2004
"Let us rid ourselves of the fiction that low oil prices are somehow good for the United States..."

Since this quote by then-Congressman Dick Cheney almost made me spit soda at my computer monitor, I figured it was worth mentioning...

On the heels of criticizing John Kerry for supporting a 50 cent a gallon gas tax (which he didn't), it comes to light that in 1986, Vice Prez Cheney uttered this brilliant piece of ammunition I'm now referring to as "my favorite quote in the history the planet":

"Let us rid ourselves of the fiction that low oil prices are somehow good for the United States," Mr. Cheney, who is now vice president, said shortly after introducing the legislation.

Wanna take a wild guess as to who, in addition to almost every politician in the US, was opposed to Cheney's 1986 plea? Senator John Kerry.

This continues a steady pattern that the Bush-Cheney campaign is in the process of perfecting:

Falsely accuse my opponent of something I've already done myself (in abundance) in order to avert the inevitable shit storm my past actions could set off...

See how this game works?

What Kind of Economy Do You Want?

I found this comparison over at Liberal Oasis, and if John Kerry is smart, he'll follow this line of reasoning all the way to the White House:

Do you want a Bush economy?

-- Where you’re overworked, underpaid and insecure about your future.

-- Because your community’s good jobs are being replaced with low-wage service jobs or part-time jobs with no benefits.

-- Because your health care and tuition costs keep going up.

-- Because you can’t find quality child care so everyone in your family can easily enter the workforce.

Or do you want a Kerry economy?

-- Where sound fiscal management creates an environment for entrepreneurship.

-- Where we improve conditions overseas, so more jobs stay here while sparking more trade and economic growth.

-- Where child care, health care, and college are reliable and affordable.

-- So you can better take care of you and your family, and take control of your future.

I may be wrong in the assumption that an economy that produces many of its jobs flipping burgers is less than stellar, but I don't think I am.

This Just In: Bank of America eliminates 12,500 jobs. The good times never end in the Bush economy...

Friday, April 2, 2004
McCain Takes His Strongest Swing Yet...

Sen. John McCain yesterday unleashed an attack on his own party, saying the GOP is "astray" on key issues and criticizing President Bush on the war in Iraq.

"I believe my party has gone astray,'' McCain said, criticizing GOP stands on environmental and minority issues.

"I think the Democratic Party is a fine party, and I have no problems with it, in their views and their philosophy,'' he said. "But I also feel the Republican Party can be brought back to the principles I articulated before.''

McCain then delivered the H-bomb on Bush's Dukakisian aircraft carrier appearance on May 1, 2003:

"You can't fly in on an aircraft carrier and declare victory and have the deaths continue. You can't do that.''


Thursday, April 1, 2004
Political Contributions of The Rich and Famous

A very cool site that lists the political contributions of several politicians, celebrities, and various other public figures.

My employer, Charles Schwab, has given to Rick Santorum (yuk!) , George Bush (yuk! yuk!), Chris Dodd, and Max Baucus...

I'm as confused as you guys!!!

UPDATE: Zell Miller puts his money where his mouth is. Switch parties already!

Top Focus Before 9/11 Wasn't on Terrorism

Thankfully, this Washington Post article is getting quite a lot of play today. Richard Clarke's testimony is looking more and more dead-on with each passing day...

On Sept. 11, 2001, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice was scheduled to outline a Bush administration policy that would address "the threats and problems of today and the day after, not the world of yesterday" -- but the focus was largely on missile defense, not terrorism from Islamic radicals.

The speech provides telling insight into the administration's thinking on the very day that the United States suffered the most devastating attack since the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. The address was designed to promote missile defense as the cornerstone of a new national security strategy, and contained no mention of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or Islamic extremist groups, according to former U.S. officials who have seen the text.

The speech was postponed in the chaos of the day, part of which Rice spent in a bunker. It mentioned terrorism, but did so in the context used in other Bush administration speeches in early 2001: as one of the dangers from rogue nations, such as Iraq, that might use weapons of terror, rather than from the cells of extremists now considered the main security threat to the United States.

Former Phillies Legend Makes An Ass Out Of Himself

Oh well, he played before I was even a thought in my parents minds, so screw Jim Bunning...

Did you hear the one about Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Dan Mongiardo looking like Odai and Qusai, the dead sons of deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein?

You did if you attended the March 20 4th District Lincoln/Reagan Dinner in Florence. The tasteless joke came courtesy of Republican Sen. Jim Bunning of Southgate, who is likely to face Mongiardo this fall.

According to four Republicans at the event, none of whom would be named for fear of angering Bunning, the crowd reacted with laughter - along with some gasps.

Bunning had apparently met Mongiardo - state senator, doctor from the eastern Kentucky mountains, son of Italian immigrants - earlier that day at the Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park.

But even some of the Republicans who heard Bunning's speech found the remarks insensitive, boorish and beneath a U.S. senator.

Republicans are SO DAMN FUNNY!!!

Now wait for the apology that isn't an apology:

"We're sorry if this joke, which got a lot of laughs, offended anyone," the campaign said.

It was racist and moronic, but dagnabbit, it killed!!!


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