Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Shakes On the Edwards Campaign

Congratulations to Melissa McEwan. She has been hired by the John Edwards campaign to whip up netroots support. Everyone at Pushing Rope is a fan of Melissa. Sinequanon and Zencomix blogroll her. Melissa has been kind enough to blog roll me and post links back to this site. Litbrit contributes to Melissa's blog Shakeseare's Sister.

On behave of everyone at Pushing Rope, we congratulate her. She worked hard as a blogger and activist. She is more than deserving and the Edwards campaign is lucky to have her.

Update: Melissa's first post on the Edwards blog is up.

Best Singers of All Time Part 5

There is no way I can have a list of great singers without Van Morrison. He has one of the most emotionally expressive voices I have heard. The man can sing blues folk and soul with equal effortlessness.

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Van Morrison music.

Congress Acting On Iraq

There are is moving from Republicans coming out against President Bush's surge plan. House Minority Leader John Boehner want to create a bipartisan panel to set benchmarks for Iraq.

"It's substantive, it's not one of these nonbinding resolutions," Boehner said.

Translation: the panel will create legally binding legislation. Bush will likely commit political suicide by vetoing bipartisan bills.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sounded alarmist on the Neil Cavuto's show.

"This needs to be successful over the next six to nine months," McConnell said. "And if not, we're going to have to go in a different direction."

Even surge supporter John McCain is drafting a resolution to set benchmarks.

Barack Obama made the biggest news with a detailed plan to withdraw troops. Redeployment will have to start by May 1, 2007. All combat brigades will have to be out of Iraq by March 31, 2008. A limited amount of troops may stay for training, security and counter terrorism.

Obama has set several benchmarks. The Iraqis must share oil revenue, provincial elections, proper government services a constitutional amendment for national reconciliation. The Iraqi govenment must spend at least $10 10 billion for reconstruction and rebuilding the economy. I doubt the Nouri al-Maliki government can achieve these objectives.

What Obama's resolution does is binds Bush into not committing more troops to Iraq. Bush may have Congress approve additional troops. The resolution would not cut off funding for current operations.

Bush will do a few things. He will outright veto the Obama legislation or approve it and then issue several signing orders that he can ignore any part of the language he damn well pleases. It's not constitutionally legal, but he's the Decider. Bush looks at the law as a minor nuisance.

Update: Senators Carl Levin and John Warner reached an agreement on the nonbinding resolution against sending more troops.

Crist Flip Flops On Stem Cell Research

It was only a matter of time before we saw Charlie Crist flip-flopped on a position. On January 24, 2007, Crist was on-record supporting spending $20 million on stem cell harvesting from embryos.

"I think it's important, and we talked about it during the campaign, because of the promise it has for maybe the curing . . . of many diseases and maladies that exist for a lot of our citizens," Crist said.

The bill (HB 555), filed by Rep. Franklin Sands, D-Weston, would require the state to spend at least $20 million a year for 10 years on grants to researchers doing studies using several types of stem cells, including adult stem cells, amniotic stem cells and embryonic stem cells, the most controversial type.

Crist backed the Sands' bill. Then he let out this bomb shell.

But at a seminar sponsored by the Associated Press today, Crist said he would recommend $20 million for research on existing stem cell lines, not on new ones cultivated from human embryos. He made it clear that he had received strong signals that the Republican-led Legislature, particularly the more conservative House, would not accept anything else.

"I'm pragmatic,'' he said. "I want to be respectful of concerns that (lawmakers) might have, but I also want to make progress."

Charlie had a chanfe of heart on January 31. The Governor stood firm and resolute an entire 7 days. That must be a record.

Update: Congressman Ron Klein responds to Charlie Crist's stem cell plan.

“I appreciate the fact that Governor Crist is amenable to putting grant money up for adult stem cell research, however this does not address the important issue of funding much needed embryonic stem cell research. Last year in the Florida State Senate a majority of Senators voted to approve ethical guidelines for this research and Senator Ken Pruitt indicated he would take this issue up.

“It is time for the Governor and the state legislature to think big, and pass an embryonic stem cell research bill this year. Just weeks ago the United States House or Representatives passed a Federal Stem Cell Research Bill with my support. It is my hope the State Legislature will join this effort as we fight to discover cures for our most common diseases and afflictions.”

Wesley Clark Rumor

Blogger Drmontoya said an inside source told him Wesley Clark is running for President. I hope the rumor is true.

Gasparilla Rape Police Mishandling Update

Lindsay Beyerstein and the St. Petersburg Times have punditry about the Tampa rape victim who was jailed by the Tampa Police Department. Lindsay is disturbed that a health care worker can deny a second morning after pill for religious reasons. The Times correctly believes that any supervisor who doesn't have the common sense not to arrest a rape victim should not be in that position.

Update: Her health care worker's layer, Jennifer D'Angelo, said her client was prohibited from giving the second morning after pill.

Tampa attorney Jennifer D'Angelo, who represents the jail worker, said Tuesday that her client is prohibited from giving inmates any medication without specific orders. The worker insists she never discussed religion with the woman who reported being raped.

TPD spokeswoman Laura McElroy contradicts the health care worker's story.

The woman's attorney said a jail nurse refused to give the medication because of religious objections. On Tuesday, the nurse's attorney said she refused not because of religious objections but because dispensing medication that is not listed on a medical chart violates protocol.

McElroy, the police spokeswoman, said Tampa police Officer Lisa Cordero told several jail employees about the woman's situation and specifically told them she needed the medication.

There are several possibilities. The officer did not inform jail workers. A physician didn't give health care workers the authority to administer the second pill. The woman refused to give the pill based on religious beliefs. The question is whose responsibility was it to authorize administer the second pill?

Update Here is a photo of the rape suspect. Anyone with information can call (813) 231-6130.


Victimize Her Twice: Shame On Tampa
Gasparilla Rape Victim Wasn't Freed Until Story Broke

Bush Nearly Kills Press Corp

Bush Nearly Kills Press Corp

I am not kidding.

Does President Bush have it in for the press corps? Touring a Caterpillar factory in Peoria, Ill., the Commander in Chief got behind the wheel of a giant tractor and played chicken with a few wayward reporters. Wearing a pair of stylish safety glasses--at least more stylish than most safety glasses--Bush got a mini-tour of the factory before delivering remarks on the economy. "I would suggest moving back," Bush said as he climbed into the cab of a massive D-10 tractor. "I'm about to crank this sucker up." As the engine roared to life, White House staffers tried to steer the press corps to safety, but when the tractor lurched forward, they too were forced to scramble for safety."Get out of the way!" a news photographer yelled. "I think he might run us over!" said another. White House aides tried to herd the reporters the right way without getting run over themselves. Even the Secret Service got involved, as one agent began yelling at reporters to get clear of the tractor. Watching the chaos below, Bush looked out the tractor's window and laughed, steering the massive machine into the spot where most of the press corps had been positioned.

Irresponsible asshole excuse for a President.

Hat tip to Shakes.

Update: The Duke of DeLand left this insame comment.

Perhaps if we can eliminate the ultra-liberal current press corp, then we'd get more even-handed reporting from the next batch.

Update: Copley News Service reporter Molly Parker confirms the Bush driving incident.

Before the tour, Rove chatted briefly with Caterpillar executives about whether Bush would drive one of the tractors. Rove reminded them Bush doesn't do much driving on his own these days and asked if Caterpillar's insurance was up to date.

"We figure he'll have a tendency to go to the right," quipped Tim Elder, director of corporate public affairs.

At the end, Bush, dressed in a bright blue shirt and without a tie, did indeed climb inside a "Black Iron Machine" bulldozer.

"I would suggest you move back. I'm about to crank this thing up," he told the gaggle of reporters following him. He moved it to the left and then the right, reporters scattering as he wheeled in their direction.

"I thought you were joking," one reporter yelled to the president. He just smiled and shrugged his shoulders.

That missive is neither pro-life or compassionately conservative. I read many blogs and comments and wonder what the fuck is wrong with these people.

I will add that not all conservatives think this way. Let's not label a total group of people over a few nuts.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Quote of the Day

This is the dumbist thing I've heard from a Tampa candidate.

If elected to the city's District 6 seat, Lisa Tamargo wants to be a "customer service representative" who listens to her constituents and weighs all options.

Note to Tamargo: people do not like customer service reps.

Protest Idea For St Petersburg Homeless Situation

Earlier this month, homeless activists started camping out in Paris to draw awareness to the country's 86,000 homeless population. The protests spread to Lyon, Orléans and Toulouse. The activists were able to put enough pressure to force President Jacques Chirac to ask the government to address the homeless plight.

I wonder if this kind of protests would work in St Petersburg. They are nonviolent, inexpensive and would draw media attention if done with the right PR. This would also increased heat for a independent investigation into the police slashing tent city. Many people are having a hard time believing Mayor Rick Baker wasn't involved.

Gasparilla Rape Victim Wasn't Freed Until Story Broke

ABC News report that the 21 year-old Gasparilla rape victim wasn't freed until her attoney Vic Moore informed the media about his client's plight. Moore said his client was not allowed to see a psychologist.

The Tampa Bay Police Department and Hillsbough County jail are now in damage control mode.

Tampa police said Tuesday they were changing their policy to give officers more discretion on when to arrest a crime victim who has outstanding warrants.

''Obviously, any policy that allows a sexual battery victim to spend a night in jail is a flawed policy,'' police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said. ``So our city attorney is writing a new policy right now.''

Hillsborough County jail officials didn't immediately return a phone message seeking comment Tuesday.

The jail worker who refused to give the second morning after pill works for the private contractor Armor Correctional Health Inc. She has hired attorney Jennifer D'Angelo of Luke Charles Lirot P A.

Tampa attorney Jennifer D'Angelo, who represents the jail worker, said Tuesday that her client is prohibited from giving inmates any medication without specific orders. The worker insists she never discussed religion with the woman who reported being raped.

If D'Angelo's client does not not the authority to administer the second pill then who does. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office contract allows them to remove any employee of Armor they are dissatisfied with. The HCSO has place the health worker on leave. They are currently conducting an investigation. My experience is Tampa law enforcement does a poor job of investing itself.

Update Here is a photo of the rape suspect. Anyone with information can call (813) 231-6130.

Lightning Strikes the Taxpayers

Tampa Bay Lightning President Ron Campbell is pushing for another tax break. The Lightning want this tax break to last twenty years. The total will be $60 million over 20 years.

Campbell boasts about the Lightning paying $7 million in sales taxes on jerseys. What Campbell fails to mention is the Lightning would be paying less taxes if to $2 million break went through. The Lightning already receive a $2 million rabate from sales taxes. Hillsborough County is spending $35 million on renovations. If there was no hockey team; the money spent by comsumers, at the Forum, would go to other forms of entertainment. Most Forum employees only work during events. Stanford University Economics Professor Roger G. Noll has written at length about sporting facilities.

“No recent facility appears to have earned anything approaching a reasonable return on investment. No recent facility has been self-financing in terms of its impact on net tax revenues. Regardless of whether the unit of analysis is a local neighborhood, a city, or an entire metropolitan area, the economic benefits of sports facilities are de minimus.”

The benefactors are the team owners and players. The tax break frees the owners to make bigger profits and increase player saleries. The taxpayers are stuck paying for stadium repairs and security. Remember when Malcolm Glazer promised to cover halp the cost of Raymond James Stadium? Glazer quickly broke that promise.

Sen. Mike Fasano is working on a bill that would give the Lightning the tax break. The Lightning would have to pay a penalty of any future payments made on the arena if they moved. That cost would most likely be incurred by the new city the Lightning moves to. It's not hard for a sports franchise to get a city to pay their bills.

Update: Jim Johnson comes out in support of the tax rebate. The economics positives of Vincent Lecavalier and Mike Alstott buying gas in the community leaves me underwhelmed.

Welcome Litbrit

Litbrit has joined Pushing Rope. Her first post is on the Tampa Police Department arrested a 21 year-old rape victim. The woman spent the weekend in the Orient Road Jail.

I'm happy to have Litbrit here and looking forward to her posts on local and national news. She made a strong statement with her first piece.

Victimize Her Twice: Shame On Tampa

Tampa's version of Mardi Gras is called Gasparilla, and every January, the festival's attendant parade, parties, pageants, and over-the-top bacchanalia get splashed across newspapers and television screens like so much spilled rum and scattered beads. Then there's the big mess to clean up and at least a few car thefts, DUI arrests, and minor bits of drunken pirate-related mayhem to report, at which point most of the region reverts to Normal mode until football season begins.

Not so fast with the reversion to normalcy this year, however. Not for one woman (bolds mine):

TAMPA - First, police say, a 21-year-old woman was raped at Gasparilla. Then, she was handcuffed and jailed - for two nights and two days.

A jail worker with religious objections blocked her from ingesting a morning-after pill to prevent pregnancy, her attorney says, keeping her from taking the required second dose for more than 24 hours longer than recommended.


The premedical student attended Saturday's Gasparilla parade and veered off from her friends shortly before 1:30 p.m., police said. The Times is not naming her because police say she is a victim of a sexual crime.

As she walked north on Howard Avenue at Swann Avenue, she was grabbed by a man with crooked teeth and raped behind a building, McElroy said.

After the assault, the man ran off. The woman walked to her car, which was parked on the University of Tampa campus. At 3:40 p.m., after finding her vehicle, she called police.

As police assisted her, taking her to a nurse examiner's clinic, and processing her report, an officer found two outstanding warrants for the woman in Sarasota County.

Attorney Virlyn "Vic" Moore III of Venice said his client was seated in the front seat of the police cruiser, on her way to the scene of her attack when the officer learned of the warrant, cuffed her and placed her in the back seat.

"To stop the rape investigation and instead victimize her again," Moore said. "I'm aghast, astonished and outraged. I have never, ever heard of this happening."

The officer arrested the woman at a sergeant's instruction, McElroy said.

The student had failed to pay $4,585 restitution after a 2003 juvenile arrest, McElroy said. Moore said his client is convinced that she paid the fine and that the warrant was probably the result of a clerical error.

Never mind that the woman believes she paid the fine in question; forget that her arrest took place when she was a juvenile; set aside the fact that this woman was not armed or dangerous. What is so shocking about this case is that both the Tampa police and a jail worker were all able to interrupt and then deny a woman--a crime victim--the proper course of medical care, prophylactic birth control medication, and ongoing counseling she needed at the very time she needed them most.

Let's say the crime in question wasn't rape, but rather, an assault and battery on a man. The victim calls the Tampa Police and reports that he was walking down the street in the middle of the afternoon post-Gasparilla, when suddenly he was ambushed by a large man and his fierce dog. The man beat and robbed the victim, and the dog bit him several times on his arm as he tried to fend off the attack. When the police and ambulance arrive, they take the victimized man to the nearest emergency room; while he's being treated, though, they read his name on their report and decide to run it through the computer. It turns out this man owes the City some $4,585 in unpaid restitution for a crime he committed four years ago, and the police take him to jail, despite his needing follow-up antibiotics the next day to prevent infection. In the morning, the victim waits for his lawyer to sort things out; meanwhile, a jail worker, based on his beliefs as a Christian Scientist, refuses to give the man his antibiotic pills.

Does anyone seriously believe the above scenario would happen? Of course not. The victim might wind up in jail, but not until his medical care was complete--certainly, he wouldn't be denied medication even if he was transferred from hospital to cellblock within hours. Yet I must ask this: Why? Why is this so? Because rape is not the same thing as a real crime like assault and battery? Because women are not the same things as men? Because wanting to protect oneself from impregnation by a rapist is somehow less noble than wanting to protect oneself from infection from a dog's bite?

I wish this unfortunate woman well. I also wish--and for this, I wish hard--that Tampa would use this opportunity to openly address the issue of requiring compassionate, comprehensive, and ethically proper treatment of rape victims by city and state personnel.

Crossposted at The Last Duchess.

Soul Fooled

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Stop The Escalation of The War In Iraq

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Jacksonville City Council Race

Jacksonville, Florida has several candidates with criminal records running for city council. Usually, politicians wait until they get into office to start committing crimes.

Guided By Voices - Chasing Heather Crazy

This is a perfect pop song. In a just world, Guided By Voice would of had a top 40 hit.

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Hillary Coming to Naples

Hillary Clinton will be making a campaign stop in Naples, Florida. She is seeking the endorsement of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. There will also be a cocktail party in her honor. Supporters will be asked to give $100 or more increments. Is it me or is there something odd about stumping Union workers and then attending a cocktail party fundraiser? This is the kind of stuff Republicans can use against her.

Hillary needs to create an image that she is like everyone else. Of course, she is not. She is a Senator and former first lady. George W. Bush was born into a life of privilege. He managed to sucker the media into his everyman image with some silly brush cutting. I prefer a President who would spend less time outdoors and more reading CIA pdb reports.

If a third generation Republican can do it then it's not impossible for Hillary. I suspect her campaign staff know this and will give her an Oprah moment. Her husband was able to bypass the old school media by connecting with voters on MTV. Hillary on Oprah is not as silly as it sounds.

Like many lefty bloggers - I am not a Hillary fan. I hope with Hillary running and Nancy Pelosi becoming Speaker shatters the glass ceiling for women.

Update: the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues now has more members than the Blue Dog Coalition and the New Democrat Coalition. Speaker Pelosi is a former member. The CCWI has 21 Republicans. Don't expect abortion to be on their agenda.

Crooked Talk Express

John McCain's straight talk has become double talk.

September 24, 2002

MCCAIN: I thank you for the question because that keeps me awake at night. Because I know that as successful as I believe we will be, and I believe that the success will be fairly easy, we will still lose some American young men or women. And that's a great tragedy. But I also believe that these young men and women, as they go into war, are fully understanding that they will be possibly saving the lives of possibly millions of people, including possibly millions of their fellow citizens, because there is very little doubt that if Saddam Hussein acquired a nuclear weapon and the means to deliver it, that he would attack the United States of America.

January 4, 2007

"When I voted to support this war, I knew it was probably going to be long and hard and tough, and those that voted for it and thought that somehow it was going to be some kind of an easy task, then I’m sorry they were mistaken."

Crooked Talk Express

ACS Awareness

Learn more about dreaded ACS disease that afflicts many Americans.

Tent City Press Release

The Homeless residents of St. Petersburg's tent city has issued a press release. I'm not sure what their problems with St. Vincent De Paul and Holy Ground are about.

Holy Ground has made a pact with the St. Vincent ’s to intimidate us and the advocates that we have chosen. It is because of these conditions that we have chosen to set up the new tent city at 18th St. between Central Ave. and 1st Ave. N. Holy Ground and St. Vincent ’s are using us as pawns and worse, and we will not accept that- we are human beings. WE will not be used by Holy Ground as a bottom line. According to their Director â€" Lisa, Pasco County pays over $400 a month rent voucher for up to a year for each resident of their shelter. Most of us are from St. Petersburg , have family and friends here, and want to make our permanent home here.

We have enough problems in our lives working 40-80 hours a week at day labor trying to save enough for first, last and security fro an apartment. We fear for our lives as the murders of two of our fellow ex tent city residents still roam the city. We leave the tent city in front of St. Vincent ’s not as a protest, but as an act of survival and human dignity. We worry about our friends who may be taken to Hudson by Holy Ground, and condemn St. Vincent ’s for their collaboration with this group.

I like to know more about this before I make an assessment. Feel free to email me if you have information on the story.

Raise the Minimum Wage

John Edwards has a petition urging the Senate to raise the minimun wage with no unnecessary wording to the bill.

I’m asking my Senators to act swiftly to raise the federal minimum wage, and resist attempts by special interests to attach more corporate giveaways or other “poison pill” amendments. After 10 long years, the American people deserve a raise – no strings attached.

Sign the petition.

Bush On Iran

Bush is issuing more saber-rattling at Iran. The President said the United States "will respond firmly" but invasion is not a current option. The only reason I buy that is because troops are bogged down in Iraq and the American people, as well as Congress, would not support such action.

Here is the part that bothers me.

Bush also acknowledged skepticism concerning U.S. intelligence about Iran, because Washington was wrong in accusing Iraq of harboring weapons of mass destruction before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. "I'm like a lot of Americans that say, 'Well, if it wasn't right in Iraq, how do you know it's right in Iran,'" the president said.

The president, in an interview with NPR, said the United States was "constantly evaluating and answering this legitimate question by always working to get as good intelligence as we can."

Bush is saying he believe the intelligence maybe overstating Iran's weapons program. Then he proceeds to threaten Iran. The stupidity of that is beyond words.

Print Is Not Dead

DC Dave of Sticks of Fire left this comment at Blurbex.

print is dead, long live the internets.

DC Dave's comment was in response to an article about the Orange. The magazine was published by the Tampa Tribune and could never compete with the tbt. The publication did not publish an issue because the word cunt was written in an article. The piece was about an online store named the The Cunt Shop. In this instance, it would have been totally appropriate to use the c word in the article. Orange was geared to a twenty-something democgraphic. It's doubtful a child would want to read the magazine. I feel bad for Mitzi Gordon eing fired. Tom McEwen committed greater journalistic sins during his reign of terror.

I left a comment on why print media will not die.

"print is dead, long live the internets."

Long live small caps and quick use of slang terms that shows amateurish writing skills. I look forward to the Sticks of Fire staff doing independent reporting when print publications cease to exist. I have done some interviews and independent reporting on my blog. I interviewed two candidates and got Scott Montgomery on record on why the St Petersburg Times held back on the Mark Foley story. It's difficult when I don't have a media outlet behind me. I'm the first one to admit I rely greatly on the media services.

The Weekly Standard and Washington Times don't make money. They can still stay in business. (Both publications have conservative owners with deep pockets.) Moneymakers like The New York Times and the Washington Post aren't about to go under.

Is there anyone at Sticks of Fire that has something original to say? The two bloggers who have been published (are) either:

a). fixated on writing about her breasts.
b). fixated on making people angry at her.

If the media is dead then God have mercy on the people forced to get their news from blogs.

There is a joke in there about how many bad writers does it take to publish a blog.

Update: the unpublished Orange article is on Cunt Shop owner Liat Silverman's Myspace blog. It's pretty tame stuff.

Goodbye Roxanne

Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

Roxanne Cooper is retiring from blogging. Roxanne has let me guestblog on her site and been an inspiration to me. I shamelessly stole the write a caption idea from her. Go over to her site and give her you best wishes.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Best Singers of All Time Part 4

Mark Lanegan

Mark Lanegan is the former lead singer of the Screaming Trees. Lanegan has also sung with Queens of the Stone Age, the Balwin Brothers, Isobel Campbell and the Twilight Singers.

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Another reason why I am underwhelmed about Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio winning a second term.

TAMPA - The mayors of Los Angeles, Boston, Dallas and Atlanta have done it. In Florida, the mayors of Miami, Tallahassee and 18 other cities have done it.

But to date, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio has not signed on to the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

Iorio did not return phone calls (plural) to the St Petersburg Times. Why is she so afraid of answering the question? Unfortunately, Iorio is not running against a strong candidate.

Iorio will not have to answer questions about the MCPA. She will not have to address her support for property tax increases. There is also her fumbling with the expensive Riverwalk project.

Iorio has had problems finding a location for the Art Museum. One day it's Curtis Hixon Park. Another day it is the old courthouse. Iorio also managed to alienate the museum's board.

Color me unimpressed.

Michele Backmann Hearts ...

Rep Michele Bachmann has a crush.

Hat tip to Shakes.

Cathie Martin in the Witness Chair

Dick Cheney's press aide Cathie Martin was visibly uncomfortable testifying about the Valerie Plame leak. Martin was forced to admit several taboos that were the worst kept secrets in Washington.

With a candor that is frowned upon at the White House, Martin explained the use of late-Friday statements. "Fewer people pay attention to it late on Friday," she said. "Fewer people pay attention when it's reported on Saturday."

The announcement of the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 was a perfect example of how the White House kill dissent by slowing the slow weekend news cycle. No will wil care if they aren't paying attention.

Martin is knee deep into the Plame leak. She accompanied Cheney and Libby on the infamous Norfolk flight.

Defending the war became the animating priority aboard Air Force Two that day. According to his indictment on Friday, Libby "discussed with other officials aboard the plane" how he should respond to "pending media inquiries" about the critic, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. Apart from Libby, only press aide Catherine Martin is known to have accompanied Cheney on that flight.

Martin was involved in spreading the Plame leak.

But Martin, encouraged by Libby, secretly advised Libby and Cheney on how to respond. She put "Meet the Press" at the top of her list of "Options" but noted that it might appear "too defensive." Next, she proposed "leak to Sanger-Pincus-newsmags. Sit down and give to him." This meant that the "no-leak" White House would give the story to the New York Times' David Sanger, The Washington Post's Walter Pincus, or Time or Newsweek. Option 3: "Press conference -- Condi/Rumsfeld." Option 4: "Op-ed."

Martin was embarrassed about the "leak" option; the case, after all, is about a leak. "It's a term of art," she said. "If you give it to one reporter, they're likelier to write the story."

I would be embarrassed too if I help leak a CIA operative's identity and then had to testify in federal court.

The New Blogger Beta Navbar

I was forced to switch to the Blogger Beta. If you want to get rid of the annoying navbar on the top of the webpage - go check out this post.

Write A Caption: James Brown Funeral

James Brown Funeral

Tags: Michael Jackson, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

Turning Florida Blue - Crashing the Gate

The Florida Kossacks have posted the first online issue of their news magazine. It's a good place for lefties to keep up with state netroots activism.

:: Naked Brunch: Robert Dowling's Art, Music, Contemplation, Philosophy, Life, Paths & Growth ::

UPDATE: Music to read this post by......

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Life is all about the paths you take.

I tend to take the one less traveled (when I don't let other constraints don't bind me too hard - and, I didn't mean those kind of constraints!) - as does Robert Dowling.

As a lesson to us all, this young man (k/t Liberal Avenger), took a path that, was not necessarily extraordinary in context, but certainly difficult for him. We all have challenges - his is trying to find some normalcy in his own. Life and death amongst them (and our ability to actually live that life) the most meaningful of all - as it is our beginning and end, a cycle, if you will. What you make of it, is always your choice. Your path(s) to travel.

Robert Dowling contemplates his won paths in his latest offering, "Contemplating All the Wrongs I Have Made."

178626-650799-thumbnail.jpgAcknowledging the past and the realities of a given life is difficult at best. Individuals often can not see their own life and how they live for the forest - of time and living itself. Taking the time to find insight, to know yourself, is equally important. It gives you direction, depth, motivation and insight into why you do what you do. Just like you, I often dread the day to day drudgery, the minutiae, that comes packaged with our particular life. Predominately, I dislike this because it is such a time waster and I would rather be out there experiencing, learning something new, different - learning, growing, creating wisdom within myself.

In-between contemplation of my navel, though, I revel in life, those moments of joy and discovery. Even when it is painful. Regardless, you learn something, something that guides and influences the path you take. Every day, every single day, new mysterious paths await you, dark or light, dim or well-lighted, it is your decision, and yours alone. The thing is, you must always remember the mistakes, too - and, above all, learn from them, so you don't spend your life in a loop, doing the same thing, over and over again, ad naseum. All that leads to is a life unfulfilled, regret, stupidity and it's damned boring as well. Being scared of life, what is on the other side is such cowardice. Get out of your comfort zone. You won't regret it. Allow yourself to be open to new experience - because, that, my friends "IS" life.

178626-650770-thumbnail.jpgThis little philosophical discussion brings us back to Rob's new painting, "Contemplating All the Wrongs I Have Made." Robert's paintings, above all, are one small element of his life, his dreams, his "other side." In this sense, he too shares how he broods on life's experiences, good and bad. The debits and credits you stack up as life moves, inevitably, forward and beyond - before you can even blink your eyes, life changes.

I was chatting with Rob last night and told him, the one thing I would really like, is to own that wall he paints on behind the paintings. The wall represents his ideas, his diary, if you will, or journal of art over a period of time. It is very telling and changes constantly. So many paths he has taken. This new painting is representative of his churning desire to understand, synthesize what has happened before - and redirect it all.

The "cosmos" figure represents him at a divergent period of his life. Where he took a path or two, while turning out badly, taught him a lesson in this time, in his life as it is now. You can see in the foreground, all the doorways and paths through which he had opportunities and which are there for him again. Regress or progress. Where to go, what to do? Regret? Deal with it, understand it, learn from it - now it is time to move forward. Sometimes, as illustrated, those doorways will eat your alive. There are some incidents in life that simply haunt you to your dying day. To, the other side. Things you, yourself, have caused to happen or where you were a participant. No matter how successful you become, these things rarely leave you. They may be camouflaged with a smile, with secrets, with seeming confidence. Regardless, they are there and make up your psyche.

178626-650811-thumbnail.jpgRob, has had much to contemplate in his life and it has resulted in the brilliance of his psyche, his vision, his depth, and his mystery. The universe as Rob knows it is encapsulated in a canvas, in the continuum, in the evolving change of live, its' planes of existence - past and present - and its' perceptions. Encapsulated in a bubble with a seemingly tough hide. Just one tear in that canvas, though, and it all spills out with epiphanies and an examination of self, so deep, it can still a beating heart - that of the viewer. Because, what we see there, we see in ourselves as well.

"Contemplating All the Wrongs I Have Made" is available through Thursday, February 1st. The painting is an original, 28" by 42" on gallery-wrapped canvas and created with oils and acrylics as well as other media. Please visit the link above for more information and higher quality images.

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Hillary On Iraq

Lefty blogger Roxanne Cooper asked readers why should vote for Hillary. Not a single reader could come up with a reason why they liked Hillary. The best readers could say is vote for Hillary in the general election.

I have also wondered how Hillary is going to handle the qustion of her vote on the Iraq war. The answer is badly.

A man, who identified himself as a Gulf War vet, asked the New York senator at a town meeting in a high school gym here Saturday if the surge of new troops to Iraq “was going to be enough?”

Instead of answering, Hillary (as she is officially called by her campaign) said, “Thanks so much for your service” and then talked about how she visits military hospitals and believes America needs to provide good medical care for its veterans.

In the one-hour town meeting, Hillary did not mention Iraq a single time. She mentioned ethanol twice.

The problem with Hillary is she has never been able to handle the spotlight. Her fumbling on health care reform and "vast rightwing conspiracy" gave her critics ammo. She can not position herself like John Kerry did in 2004 onm Iraq and expect to win the White House.

Side Note: the Bill Clinton impeachment was bullshit. I'm certainly not defending his behavior. The Republicans were out for blood. The point is Hillary did a poor job under the spotlight.

Update: Hillary Clinton says she regrets her vote and "I take responsibility."

"I have said clearly and consistently for quite some time that I regret the way the president misused the authority," Clinton said. "He misled Congress and the country on what he was seeking and what he intended to do."

I was was struck by how cynical it was for both parties in Congress to give Bush the power to declare war. Article I, Section 8 clearly states that only Congress is vested with the power to "declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water." Congress always knew that there was a possibility that this war would go bad. They ducked their constituional responsibilities and punted to the President.

Bush always intended the go to war. The White House told the inspectors to leave and started the invasion. Rumsfeld was constantly pushing for an immediate invasion. Rumsfeld did his best to discourage inspections. It was well known that Rumsfeld and Cheney favored military action. I find it hard to believe that Hillary thought the White House was serious about weapon inspections.

Laurence Tribe on Barack Obama

"I can't pretend that I had any idea then that he would be a serious presidential candidate -- that would have been a crazy thing for anyone to project at that stage of a career -- but he was certainly the most all-around impressive student I had seen in decades."

Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe on Barack Obama.


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I've been dragged down lately by the day job, but I'm gearing back up. I missed the State of the Union, Martin Luther King Day, Blog for Choice, and the Anti-War rally in DC, among other things. Anyways, throw some traffic to the folks linked below...

Folk Songs Of The Far Right Wing (hat tip Foiled Goil)

Kerblog in Beirut ( hat tip to Minstrel Boy

Space Balls

Crazy Talks

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Writing Your Representative

Derek Newton is an ex-Lawton Chiles aide the the brains behind Florida Politics and FLA Politics. He wrote two letters to Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. The first letter was his distress over the President's policy of opening the mail of law-abidding citizens. The second was Newton's concer about the warrant wiretapping data mining. He was overjoyed when he saw a letter from Ros-Lehtinen's office. Finally, his complaints were being taken seriously.

This is what Ros-Lehtinen or (more likely) one of her staffers wrote.

January 23, 2007

Dear Derek:

I would like to say how wonderful it was to receive your kind holiday wishes. It truly is always a pleasure to be so sweetly reminded of those who hold us so dear to their hearts.

During this special time of year I find it important not only to consider all that we have and all that we should be thankful for, but also to look expectantly into the future with visions of what we wish to accomplish. I know that we will only be able to realize these hopes if we are given the love and support of our families and friends. Your kind letter assures me that you too share this belief.

Again, I thank you for your beautiful holiday wishes. I extend my warmest wishes to you and your family for a joyous and prosperous New Year.


Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

It's a shame Ros-Lehtinen didn't get swept out during the midterm elections. She can't even do a decent job of pretending to care about her constituents.

Quote of the Day

"I would say the vicious murder of two human beings is more important than ridding the city of tents that contain no fire extinguishers. Where are your priorities, Mayor Baker?"

Kathleen Manion

There are many other angry letters written to the St. Petersburg Times. BRick Baker's statement that he didn't know police were going to slash tent city isn't cutting it.

Best Singers of All Time Part 3

Petra Haden is a former member of that dog. She has sung and played violin for Mike Watt, the Twilight Singers and the Foo Fighters. She gained great acclaim for an acapella version of The Who Sell Out.

Check out my Public Files on myDataBus!
File Armenia City in the Sky
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:: Saturday's: What the hell are they thinking edition... ::

With a twist of the wrist and the spin of a ball, the Presidential Decision Maker will take the pressure off any would be decision maker's shoulders and let the fates rule.

Between Dubyah ("The Decision Maker") and Gates pushing more troops in the Mid East, claiming a lack of support will embolden the "enemy" -  and them living in a state of denial - a resolution for Impeachment wouldn't be remiss - for the entire Cabinet.  Check P!'s post on sameGreenwald on the Commander in Chief (HA!).

This headline is ridiculous.  Why didn't they post Maher Arar's name in the headline.  It's like they were burying the article for crying out loud.  Tortured Man [Maher Arar] Gets Apology [and Compensation] From Canada while the U.S. still denies wrongdoing and maintains Arar on their "watchlist"  I say good for Arar.  The U.S. and Canada should feel shame and compensate him for the U.S. extraordinary extradition, 10-months of torture, and denial of any wrongdoing.

While Bush may have made remarks regarding Climate Change during his State of FUBAR address, I always take anything of this nature coming from this administration as complete pandering with no intent to do anything whatsoever.  Basically, I'll believe it when I see it.  Anything he deigns to sign into law regarding the climate or pollution will no doubt have a whole bunch of Executive Orders attached indicating he won't fulfill the requirements of the legislation.   Consider this:

Irony alert: As President Bush dwells on terrorism while barely acknowledging climate change, it turns out that climate change may lead to terrorism. The consequences of global warming could aggravate the already-ridiculous divide between the haves and have-nots, put 30 million people at risk of famine and disease, and create eco-refugees with a propensity for radical action, said experts attending a climate-change and security conference in London. "Those who are short of food, those who are short of water, those who can't move to countries where it looks as if everything is marvelous are going to be people who are going to adopt desperate measures to try and make their point," says former British U.N. Ambassador Sir Crispin Tickell, whose name knows no equal. Consider: the role of drought and scarce resources in the escalating violence in Rwanda and Darfur, and a 2002 "letter to the American people" in which Osama bin Laden villainized the U.S. for refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol. Gulp.

straight to the source: Scientific American, Reuters, Mark Trevelyan, 24 Jan 2007
Global warming could exacerbate the world's rich-poor divide and help to radicalize populations and fan terrorism in the countries worst affected, security and climate experts said on Wednesday.

"We have to reckon with the human propensity for violence," Sir Crispin Tickell, Britain's former ambassador to the United Nations, told a London conference on "Climate Change: the Global Security Impact."

"Violence within and between communities and between nation states, we must accept, could possibly increase, because the precedents are all around."....[much more]

straight to the source: Reuters, Tim Large, 24 Jan 2007
straight to the source: Financial Times, David Cameron, 24 Jan 2007

After a solid 7 whoppin' hours of sleep, I feel like I need to go back to bed for a couple more hours.  And, that is the longest jag of sleep I've had for about three weeks.


"I am now working on a device which will remotely modulate the radiation emitted from a person's computer monitor. Through the amplification of certain discrete frequencies, this device will sterilize any person repeatedly using said computer, allowing me to remove Rachel from the gene pool."  ~Blue Shift, WIlliam Gibson Message Board

Rachel Moran:  Amoral Monster 

Followup to Rachel Moran's desire to beat up the homeless, on film, to teach them a lesson.  Sick conscienceless classless self-important priveledged bitch.  Go post how you feel about this at Moran's  latest and greatest follow-up post on this very subject where she trolls for and then plays mind games with a homeless guy and then spins off into her privileged little spoiled daddy's girl Mercedes.  I'm pretty sure Rachel has never had to lift a finger to take care of herself a day in her life.  Do you realize that most of the U.S. population is 30-days from living on the street themselves. 

Was a one week stiffy worth it?

You know those warnings on erectile dysfunction medications that tell guys if they have an erection lasting for over four hours to contact a doctor? This iguana should have done just that. He's had a stiffy for over a week; now he's got to have his penis amputated. Let that be a warning to you, fellas!


More on Spocko, KSFO, ABC and Disney:  Nut BustersOnce more, for the fucking record, ¡¡¡Spocko Saga makes USAToday!!!, and regarding the atrocious and ridiculous New Busted post on Spocko KSFO

That is all.  I'm already 8 minutes past my personal deadline to forge into the two suitcases of work I MUST accomplish this weekend.  Sigh. 


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Friday, January 26, 2007

Best Singers of All Time Part 2

We once again bring to the attention of readers another great singer. Marvin Gaye was taken from us far too early. In his short live he was able to create classic soul that has stood the test of time.

Sexual Healing mp3

Mercy Mercy Me

If you have a problem getting to the mp3 links - just create a YouSendIt account. It's simple and easy.

Do you patriotic duty of shopping by buying Marvin Gaye music.


Marissa Amora suffered permanent brain injuries after her mother's boyfriend beat her. Melissa is now on a feeding tube. Prior to Marissa's beating, the Department of Children and Families received several urgent reports on the abuse Melissa was receiving. This is the kind of parenting Marissa received after a previous assault.

Marissa's mother could offer no explanation for the little girl's broken collarbone.

A DCF child abuse investigator testified at trial she was concerned that Marissa's mom ''was more interested in getting her boyfriend out of jail'' than picking up her own child.

The mother, the investigator said, rarely visited the girl during her monthlong hospitalization, ''and when the mother did come to the hospital the child would cry and the mother spanked the child in her hospital bed,'' the appeals court wrote.

Marissa was placed back into her mother's custody. We know what happened next.

Marissa's adoptive parents sued and won $26.8 million. The DCF was going to appeal. New DCF Secretary Bob Butterworth reversed that decision. The only problem is getting the Florida state legislature to pay. They have a history of not paying for even the most tragic cases.

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Florida Mainstream Democrats

Meowmissy explains Florida State Senator Dave Aronberg's strategy of turning Florida blue. Aronberg is the Chairman of Florida Mainstream Democrats. My only question is are they third way Bill Clinton-style Democrats or the cookie cutter Joe Lieberman and Evan Bayh variety. The latter gets my vote for most unpromising potential presidential candidate.

Rachel Blog Around

I don't have the stomach to write another Rachel post. Fortunately, other bloggers stepped up. What is her fascination with writing about the homeless?

I know why Tommy Duncan and Bill Sharpe let her continue to post at Sticks of Fire. Traffic. Nothing else matters.

Abstract Nonsense
Progressive Gold

When People Post Racist Pictures on Facebook

I don't believe the internet is good or evil. It's a matter on how people use the technology. In this case of students at Tarleton State University - they posted pictures on Facebook that were in horrible taste.

The president of the Tarleton State University chapter of the NAACP said Wednesday that he and other students are upset about a Martin Luther King Day party where students ate fried chicken, drank malt liquor and dressed in faux gang apparel.

One student dressed as Aunt Jemima. That has been a racist caricature long before I was born.

This isn't the first party. It's a TSU tradition.

Many students and university officials said that it seemed to be an isolated incident and that racism was not a problem at Tarleton State. In an e-mail obtained by the Stephenville Empire-Tribune, one student in the photos apologized to Mr. Elder and said the MLK party tradition started "a few years back."

We still have much work to do in combatting racist intolerance. We can't make someone like another group of people A Clockwork Orange-style. Nor should we. My experience has been that people who are racist have personal issues and have an older family member who hates minorities.

People who think racism is fun should watch American History X. This is a deleted scene from the movie.

:: Arcade Fire Hold Secret Concert ::

I have added the entire (sans intro remarks) of The Arcade Fire secret concert for friends (etc.) that just occurred at Saint Michael's Church on January 20th to a zip file available via the link. New material is included that will be on their new album release. It's quite good. It is also a safe bet that I will buy this album as soon as it is released.

Get it quick while they last.

The Arcade Fire Secret Concert Download is only good for a week and 100 downloads max, then it zaps itself.

Zip File: 100 MB, mp3's

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Anti-Surge Petition

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has an online petition you can sign.

Tell President Bush that his plan to rapidly escalate this war sends the wrong message to Iraqi leaders, provides no credible benchmarks or ways to measure progress and worst of all ignores the will of the American people.

Sign our petition to President Bush to tell him that you stand with the Democratic Leadership and that his plan is not the will of the people.

Join the Democratic Leadership in telling President Bush that his change of tactics for Iraq, to escalate the number of troops is not the will of the people.

Sign the Petition

On a side note: Kenneth Quinnell has a problem with lefties using the word purge. Personally, I think George Lakoff is overrated.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Marco 'The Hammer' Rubio

It seems rather supicious that the two lawmakers who voted against the property insurance bill suddenly resigned from their leadership positions. Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio refused to confirm or deny if he made Don Brown (R-DeFuniak Springs) and Dennis Ross (R-Lakeland) step down.

"I stand by my statement,'' said Rubio, shortly after watching Crist sign the insurance bill into law. "I have nothing further to say on this issue."

Apparently, Rubio believes not giving a straight forward answer to a question counts as a statement.

Brown chaired the House Jobs & Entrepreneurship Council. Ross chaired the Safety & Security Council. Both were also on the Rules & Calendar Council. Which helps sets the House agenda.

I don't agree with Brown and Ross voting against the bill. Homeowners insurance is in need of serious reform. The bill was far from percent, but it was a start. What concerns me is Rubio running the House like Tom Delay. That is reason for concern.

Update: here is the official Rubio statement.

House Speaker Marco Rubio said in a written statement that he had accepted the resignations of Rep. Don Brown of DeFuniak Springs and Rep. Dennis Ross of Lakeland as chairmen of two House councils. ''I respect their decisions and look forward to working with them in their new roles,'' Rubio said.

Ross contradicts the press release.

Ross said Rubio called him into his office in the afternoon and asked for his resignation. Ross said Rubio told him that "he needs leaders that are with him on major votes."

"My vote cost me my chairmanship. That's the price you pay if you want to express yourself," Ross said, though he added that he did not hold hard feelings toward the speaker.

The fact that Rubio will not answer any more questions on the subject says much.

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Katherine Harris At SOTU

Katherine Harris won't go away. Which gives me an endless supply of comedy material. Katherine, thank you. (Although that doesn't get you off the hook for the 2000 election.)

According to the U.S. News & World Report’s “Washington Whispers,” Harris was “mingling on the Republican side and even handing out business cards” prior to the president’s speech.

No word on what the cards said. Harris could not be reached.

Current law states that Harris is not allowed to lobby. (I forget the exact waiting period.) Knowing Harris's horrible judgement; I doubt she would let that stop her. This is the same woman who hid a federal subpoena from her own campaign staff. Harris also received illegal campaign contributions from Mitchell Wade. I wouldn't be surprised if Harris got into trouble again.

Mitt Romney: Conservative Heartbreaker

I do love breaking the hearts of my conservative pals at Peer Review. I'm sure they won't be happy to find out that Mitt Romney has been generous to members of the Democratic Party.

According to FEC records, Romney gave $250 to both then-Congressman Richard Swett (D-NH) and to then-Congressman John LaFalce (D-NY). Romney also gave the legal limit of $1,000 to Doug Anderson, an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for an open Senate seat in Utah — a total of $1,500 for Democratic candidates. Only the contribution to Swett has thus far been publicly revealed.

It's like finding out your better half has been cheating. When true love ends that's where Greg Dulli come in.

Afghan Whigs - When We Two Parted/ Ex-Factor medley mp3

Do your patriotic duty of shopping by buying Afghan Whigs music.

Wingnut Bloggers Make Funny

From The Hill email newsletter. The most unthreatening protest I can imagine.

Conservative bloggers have initiated a pledge to deny campaign funds to Republicans who vote against President Bush’s plan to send an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq.

Led by Townhall’s Hugh Hewitt, “The NRSC Pledge” states that if the Senate passes any resolution critical of the troop increase, donors would not contribute to any Republican senator who voted for the resolution. They also would not contribute to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) absent a commitment from Chairman John Ensign (R-Nev.) to not spend any committee money on those senators who are up in 2008.

As of Thursday afternoon, it had nearly 10,000 signatories.

A Democratic-led resolution criticizing Bush’s strategy was supported by Sens. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) has introduced a milder version. Hagel and Warner are both up in 2008, as are several other senators who have been critical of the troop “surge.”

Hewitt says the resolutions are equally damaging in that they both encourage the enemy.

In a post Thursday, he explained: “Because the troops and the war trump any partisan calculation, I have helped organize a campaign to alert Republican senators that a vote for the Warner resolution, or any other similar resolution, is a deal breaker for me. I will not contribute to any senator who so votes, and I will not work for any senator who so votes.”

Other conservative bloggers have joined the call, but some including John Hawkins at the Right Wings News are denouncing the pledge.

“If this catches on or even just makes a really big splash, you're going to have people trying to do the exact same thing on amnesty, embryonic stem cells and who knows what other issues over the next two years,” Hawkins wrote.

The NRSC declined to comment.

Unlike the left, the conservative blogosphere has no netroots movement. Atrios and Kos raise 100 of thousands for candidates and PACs. The right couldn't be bothered. (There are all those Swift Boat posts to write.) What this announcement boils down to is a few wingnut bloggers, who raise no money, saying they won't personally give to certain candidates. I don't expect them to hold to that pledge when faced with the prospects of Democrats winning the White House and picking up Congressional seats.

I'm sure Republicans will tremble now that Hugh Hewitt won't give 500 dollars to Chuck Hagel. Guys, in order to threaten the establishment's purse strings you have to raise a shitload of cash first.

Hewitt fails to understand that if Republicans vote against the resolution, Democratics can link them to Bush in 2008. I could say that Hewitt is hurting his party, but that would be false. He has no financial or political leverage. Republicans know the Iraq poll numbers. They will still be able to raise money from corporations seeking increased deregulation.

The funniest thing is wingnut bloggers are in a tizzy over a nonbinding resolution. This won't stop Bush from sending more troops. They desperately afraid of becoming irrelevant.