Friday, February 22, 2008

More Straight Talk

John "Campaign Finance Reform" McCain unsuccessfully attempted to get his campaign out of public financing.


The nation's top federal election official told Sen. John McCain yesterday that he cannot immediately withdraw from the presidential public financing system as he had requested, a decision that threatens to dramatically restrict his spending until the general election campaign begins in the fall.


Another problem is the the public financing program is cash-strapped. Payments have will come slowly. McCain is dead in the water until the general election.

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Straight Talk From the Special Interest Man



"Everybody says that they’re against the special interests. I’m the only one the special interests don’t give any money to."

John McCain

This is coming from the man that took $422,376 from lobbyists.

This is the same John McCain that denied talking to Bill Keller about the (then) potential story. Even though he did.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

The New York Times/ McCain Scandal

The John McCain extramarital affair scandal does not rage my outrage meter. That is a matter for Cindy McCain. The fact that McCain voted to impeach Bill Clinton and then have had a relationship with Vicki Iseman is standard hypocrisy in American politics. We live in a culture that cast shame on people for honestly discussing sexual issues. The public craves Jerry Springer and can't explain to their children the dangers of STDs. People are paying more attention to what John McCain's penis is doing than is horrible positions on Iraq and the economy.

What is newsworthy is McCain hiring criminal defense attorney Bob Bennett to intimidate The New York Times from publishing details of McCain's relationship with lobbyist Vicki Iseman. The Times only went public because The New Republic was working on their own story. It is amazing how the once mighty Times is getting pushed around by the Right. TNR published Gabriel Sherman piece on how the McCain camp kept The Times from publishing the story.


What happened? The publication of the article capped three months of intense internal deliberations at the Times over whether to publish the negative piece and its most explosive charge about the affair. It pitted the reporters investigating the story, who believed they had nailed it, against executive editor Bill Keller, who believed they hadn't. It likely cost the paper one investigative reporter, who decided to leave in frustration. And the Times ended up publishing a piece in which the institutional tensions about just what the story should be are palpable.


The Times bad handling of holding onto the story made reporters leave.


It was at about that time, amidst flurries of rumors swirling about the looming Times investigation, that the Times' McCain beat reporter, Marc Santora, abruptly left the campaign trail after covering the senator for four and a half months, frustrated by the McCain rumors. A rising star at the paper, Santora had been working grueling hours, joining the 2008 election coverage straight from a reporting assignment in Baghdad. As the campaign headed to South Carolina, the site of McCain's defeat in 2000, Santora emailed the Times' deputy Washington editor, Richard Stevenson, to vent about how the rumors were dogging him on the campaign trail, and left the McCain beat on January 10. "The last thing I wanted was to be a pawn in this thing," Santora told me. "I was exhausted, there were a lot of rumors flying around. I thought the best thing for me to do was take a break."


Santora wasn't the last casualty of the process. Two weeks ago, in early February, Marilyn Thompson, one of the four reporters working on the McCain investigation quit the Times. Thompson had been a staffer at The Washington Post for 14 years, until 2004. She had spent just six months at the Times and recorded only four bylines before accepting an offer to return to her former employer as an editor overseeing the Post's accountability coverage of money and politics. According to sources, Thompson became increasingly dispirited with the delays, and worked around the clock through the Christmas vacation on the piece, only to see the investigation sputter. Declining to comment on the investigation itself, Thompson told me her decision to return to the Post "was an opportunity to go back to the place that has been a home to me." (Thompson celebrated her byline during her last week at the Times. Her final day at the paper is tomorrow.)


The investigative reporters felt they had the McCain story nailed. Executive editor Bill Keller wouldn't go to bat for his employees. He told them to keep working on the story. Keller published a watered-down version that McCain defenders are having a field day poking holes through. Keller's defense is hysterical.


"Our policy is, we publish stories when they are ready. 'Ready' means the facts have been nailed down to our satisfaction, the subjects have all been given a full and fair chance to respond, and the reporting has been written up with all the proper context and caveats."


Keller didn't want to be in the hot seat. He watered-down a story that was publicly floating around since December. The result was another major journalism scandal for The Times. Where does The Times find such horrible editors?

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Kevin Beckner: Cocktails and Hors D'oeuvres Democrat

Kevin Beckner is getting serious about fundraising. Norma Gene Lykes (of the Lykes Family) and Kathy Castor will be hosting a fundraiser. The minimum contribution is$100. Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be served. This is old school limousine Democratic fundraiser. It's making nostalgic for the 90s and Lincoln bedroom scandal.

The guest list is a who's who of Florida Democrats.

Charlie Justice
Gwendolyn "Gwen" Miller
Mary Mulhern
Betty Reed
Linda Saul-Sena,
Bob Buckhorn
Phyllis Busansky
Les Miller
Karen Thurman

Beckner is running to unseat Brian "Bubble Bee" Blair.

Beckner has run an establishment campaign. Most Hillsborough County residents probably couldn't pick him out of a line-up. Blair will win on name-recognition. Beckner may have the support of the Democratic establishment, but these people haven't exactly been winning many elections in Hillsborough County. Beckner needs to make himself seen and heard. He doesn't have grassroot support. Not being Brian Blair isn't enough to get elected.

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Lee Nelson Petitioning at Pride In the Park

Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections candidate Lee Nelson will be at Pride in the Park. Nelson will be gathering signatures to get himself on the ballot.

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 23, 2008
"PRIDE IN THE PARK"
Tampa Bay's FAMILY Pride Event!
11 am to 4 p.m., Al Lopez Park

Bring your blankets and chairs and enjoy a day in the park with your family and friends in an accepting and welcoming setting. ALL are welcome and invited!!!

"Pride in the Park" has something for everyone:

* The largest "pride" family fun area - with face painting,
two 'moon bounces,' clowns and more;
* Pet-Friendly - all leashed pets are welcome;
* More than 100 businesses and organizations that support diversity;
* Classic Car Show;
* Nearly a dozen concessionaires offering
a wide-variety of food and beverages (for purchase)
* Entire event area designated as a 'wet zone"
(beer allowed throughout the event area);
* Five hours of live entertainment by local and regional bands,
singers and performers

It is good to see Democrats Nelson and Pam Iorio embracing the gay, lesbian and transgender community. Tampa has received too much negative publicity from Ronda Storms censoring people that differ from her narrow point of view.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Gutter Twins At the Bowery Ballroom in New York City

I have been waiting a long time for the Gutter Twins project. I was afraid the Twins record would suffer the same fate as My Bloody Valentine's album. We would always hear about it and it would never be released.

Here are the Gutter Twins performing Idle Hands, Papillon and The Stations.

Idle Hands



Papillon



The Stations



I remember reading a Greg Dulli interview and he said Lanegan was going to sing Afghan Whigs songs and he would sing Screaming Trees tunes. Does anyone know if they are doing that on this tour?

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What Is the Academic Freedom Amendment?

One thing social conservatives can't be faulted on his their predictibility. They use the same playbook over and over again. Opponents of teaching evoltion in public schools pushed for a academic freedom amendment. The Orwellian-sounding term was created by professional education hater David Howowitz. Essentially, social conservatives want to erode teachers' abilities to teach things they disagree with. Which makes it all the more hysterical for evolution opponents to call the teaching of science dogmatic.

Howowitz's ignorance on what actually goes on in the classroom is staggering. Howowitz protested George Washington University's women's studies department.


"Women’s studies, as everybody knows…are about unequal power, the oppression of women, so if they don’t have a course on oppression of women in Islam, they should," said Horowitz.


GWU had a class titled "Women In Islam", at the time of Howowitz's silly protest. The man doesn't know what he's talking about. That doesn't stop conservatives from taking him seriously.

Howowitz and the Christian conservative think tank Center for Science and Culture got Rick Santorum to sponsor an amendment for the No Child Left Behind Act. The Santorum Amendment to teach intelligent design in public schools.

Santorum on the floor of the Senate:


This is an amendment that is a sense of the Senate. It is a sense of the Senate that deals with the subject of intellectual freedom with respect to the teaching of science in the classroom, in primary and secondary education. It is a sense of the Senate that does not try to dictate curriculum to anybody; quite the contrary, it says there should be freedom to discuss and air good scientific debate within the classroom. In fact, students will do better and will learn more if there is this intellectual freedom to discuss. I will read this sense of the Senate. It is simply two sentences—frankly, two rather innocuous sentences—that hopefully this Senate will embrace: "It is the sense of the Senate that—


(1) good science education should prepare students to distinguish the data or testable theories of science from philosophical or religious claims that are made in the name of science; and


(2) where biological evolution is taught, the curriculum should help students to understand why this subject generates so much continuing controversy, and should prepare the students to be informed participants in public discussions regarding the subject. It simply says there are disagreements in scientific theories out there that are continually tested.


Evolution is not controversal in the scientific community. The Christian Right attempts to sound reasonable while casting doubt about evolution. They can't come out and say that man was created from dust. They know people will laugh at their ignorance.

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Kathy Castor Endorses Barack Obama

Super delegate Kathy Castor has endorsed Barack Obama.


"Barack Obama is the right person at the right time to lead our great nation as President in the challenging days ahead. Americaneeds Barack Obama to unite and inspire us to improve our country’s economic stability, health care and national security. Everywhere I go people are energized by the Obama campaign because it embodies our hope for change. I ran for Congress in 2006 to fight for a new direction for our country. Senator Obama offers the most determined and coherent plan for a new direction and change and I am proud to endorse him for President of the United States"


"Obama now leads nationally in the number of pledged delegates, in the popular vote, and the number of states won. It is time for our party to coalesce around Barack Obama’s nomination for President.”


Obama is going to be the nominee. I question his understanding of economic policy, but I'm starting to get excited. Obama will be the first black man nominated for President and has the potential to deliver a huge victory in November. Obama has momentum and McCain has a base that hates him. It's like Clinton vs Dole with open Congressional seats in red districts. This is awesome.

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Karl Rove Can't Drive 55



Investigative blogger Lindsay Beyerstein discovers a Karl Rove speeding ticket from September of 2007. Rove's speeding ticket was issued in Walton County, Florida. I keep wondering if he was listening to Sammy Hagar's I Can't Drive 55 when he was busted.

The Rove story gives me the excuse to Hagar's so-bad-it's-good video. Check out the the hair metal outfits Hagar and his band are wearing.

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Open Thread: How to Raise a Child to be a Feminist

A reader of Feministe posed the question, "How does a father teach his daughter about feminism?" Here is my answer:


There seem to be a trend with both young men and women in their mid-twenties to be overly-reliant on their parents. I was never close to my parents and couldn’t wait to leave home. So, it’s hard for me to relate to. Parents need to teach their son and daughters to be self-dependent. Young men and women are going to have a problems if they’re 29 years-old and their parents are still paying their bills. I met these people and their development is arrested. I wonder what happens when they make their own way and pay bills.


As far as feminism, I say have children volunteer for worthy causes and let them try different things. It let’s children have a better understanding of the world.


Let children get beyond worrying about failing activities. Explain that they never learn anything if they don’t try and encourage them.


Teach children the importance of tolerance. Explain to them that they don’t like it when other kids pick on them. They shouldn’t act the same way.


Most important thing: keep kids away from Ann Althouse’s blog.


There are several great comments in the Feministe thread worth checking out.

Readers, how do you raise your children to be respectful to the rights of women? Sadly, many parents do not raise their children to be tolerant and open-minded. The comment section is your's. Fire away.

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I Feel Your Pain

Shorter Peer Review: I hate John McCain, but I'm going to vote for him since I hate Democrats even more.

What an inspiring reason to go out and vote. What a great pitch to register new Republican voters.

It really sucks to be a social conservative right now. In other good news for social conservatives, a Reuters/Zogby poll has Barack Obama beating John McCain 47 percent to 40 percent.

Just to rub Jim Johnson: nice call predicting President Hillary Clinton. Perhaps Jim can talk Glenn Reynolds into running.

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The Bracelet Barack Obama Wears

During his Wisconsin victory speech, Barack Obama told the audience he wears a bracelet given to him by Tracy Jopek. Her son Ryan died in Iraq.

Barack Obama: We're here because of the mother I met in Green Bay, Wisconsin, who gave me this bracelet that I'm wearing. Inscribed on it is the name of her son Ryan. Next to his name it says, "He gave."

Tracy saw the speech and was surprised Obama mentioned her son and the braclet.


"I couldn't believe it. It was such an honor, such an honor," she said, her voice breaking. "To know that he does know his name. It means a lot."

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Bill Clinton vs Anti-Choicers



Just when I'm ready to give up on Bill Clinton, he opens a can of ass whoop on anti-abortionists. The so-called “pro-life movement” is only good for theatrics. There was actually a juggler outside of the Terri Schiavo hospice. These people are clowns.

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Pasalubong

Kumasta pare!

Uncle Dave reporting live from La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines.....The San Miguel ran out, but the Red Horse is still flowing. There's a Red Horse over yonder, back where my baby used to stay...Lloyd kicked ass on the dart board while Ating and crew prepared for Lola's 80th Birthday. Yodi has a copy of "Sicko", and my head is still swimming in the South China Sea. The scanner isn't working right now, but Stevie Ray Vaughn is cranking from the Speakers. Kootan plucks out Red Hot Chili Peppers on the guitar and Jojo cut his hair off....Little Natalia is my sweetie pie!

More later....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

John McCain Wisconsin Speech



John McCain gives a victory speech that would be still Bill Kristol's beating heart.

Attacks Barack Obama's rhetorical skills

Uses the word Islamofascism.

Calls liberalism a failed idea.

McCain really hates Obama. This 2006 attack McCain fired at Obama is really mean-spirited.


"I understand how important the opportunity to lead your party's efforts to exploit this issue must seem to a freshman senator, and I hold no hard feelings over your earlier disingenuousness."


Going negative didn't help Hillary. McCain may dislike Obama so much that he wants to hit low. That plays to Obama strength of optimisim and a change from partisan politics.

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Interesting Wisconsin Primary Fact

Georgia10 notices that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton received more independent votes than the entire Republican field. That favors Democrats heavily for the general election.

Barack Obama 272,488 56%
Hillary Clinton 205,572 43%
All Republicans 185,786

John "The Maverick" McCain is billing himself as the most electable Republican. I haven't seen anything that has made me believe that. I'm not convinced that Huckabee as a VP nominee will greatly help McCain with the base. People vote for the President. Not Vice-President. If that was the case, Spiro Agnew and Dan Quayle would have never set foot in the White House. John Edwards' appeal did not rub off on John Kerry.

McCain's problems with the base are serious. The fact that he is pulling less independents, in open primaries, than Hillary or Obama leads to the possibility to the biggest Democratic vicory in my lifetime. If Dubya didn't screw things up so badly, Jeb Bush would be the nominee. Jeb is smarter and would run a better campaign than any member of the current Republican field. Thank George W. Bush for screwing his younger brother out of the presidency.

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Barack Obama Wisconsin Victory Speech

9:38 The crowd noise sounds like a rock concert. I can barely hear Barack Obama.

9:39 Obama is thanking his Winconsin campaign people.

9:40 Obama thanks his union supporters.

9:41 Obama asks Houston residents to attend the caucas. The crowd starts chanting.

9:42 "We just heard tonight that we won in Wisconsin." The crowd freaks out.

9:46 "Washington is the place where good ideas go to die."

9:47 "We're here because we believe change is possible."

Obama takes a shot against NAFTA and outsourcing. The crowd is eating it up.

9:48 Obama talks about how predatory lenders doubled to mortgage of a woman with two blind children.

9:49 Obama mentions a mother that gave him a braclet to remember her son killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

9:50 Obama hysterically mentions his kindergarden paper the Clinton campaign attempted to use against him.

9:51 "People are working harder for less."

9:52 "Despite the slogan, our children are being left behind."

"We can not wait."

9:53 "Change in America does not happen from the top down, but from the bottom up."

9:54 Obama talks about ending racial and political divisions to take on the special interests. Obama means lobbyists.

9:56 The crowd starts chanting, "Yes, we can."

9:57 This is one of Obama's best speeches. He knows he is in the driver's seat.

9:58 Obama talks about health insurance. I still like Edwards's plan better.

Obama's promises to deliver universal health care by the end of his first term.

10:00 Keep in mind, Obama is holding this rally in Texas. I haven't seen John McCain get this response in any red state.

10:01 Obama promises to raise minimum wage.

10:03 Obama pushes for early child education and higher pay for teachers. Obama wants higher standards, but not "teaching to the test."

10:06 Obama talks about immigration. He supports upholding laws and giving immigrants a chance to become Americans.

10:09 "No more homeless veterans. No more begging for benefits."

10:10 Obama proposes to end the Iraq war in 2009.

10:11 "I want to end the politics of fear."

10:12 Obama quote JFK on foreign policy.

10:12 Obama talks about Darfur and HIV in Africa.

10:15 Obama talks about bringing Republicans to his side. Good luck with that.

10:16 Obama says he looks forward to debating John McCain. It's interesting that CSPAN cut off Hillary's speech to cover Obama. Hillary is becoming an also-ran.

10:18 "Hope is not blind optimism."

10:19 Obama talks against the "scapegoating" of immigrants and gay people.

10:21 Obama says hope played a role in WWII, ending slavery, civil rights and the founding of America.

10:23: "Houston, this is our moment. This is our time."

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Hillary Clinton Wisconsin Concession Speech

9:32 Hillary takes a shot at Obama saying action matters more than words.

9:33 Hillary talks about her small donors and gives a shout out to HillaryClinton.com. This is painful to listen to.

9:34 Hillary talks about her experience. How did Joe Biden listen to a barely second term Senator say she has more experince than him?

9:35 Hillary says she's ready to end the war in Iraq and Cowboy diplomancy. I hope that's true.

9:36 "I'm running to solve our problems!"

Hillary proposes $30 billion in assistance to stop foreclosures.

Update: here are video highlights of Hillary Clinton's speech in Youngstown, Ohio.

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Obama and McCain Wisconsin Primary

Barack Obama will speak shortly. McCain has already thanked his supporters.


"I will fight every moment of every day of this campaign to make sure Americans are not deceived by an eloquent and empty call for change," McCain said, alluding to Sen. Obama.


McCain continued his remarks on Obama, calling the Illinois senator's platform the "confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate" and "holiday from history."
"My friends I am not the youngest candidate, but I am the most experienced."
In a line we'll sure hear more of in the coming weeks: "I know how the world works."


Fox News exit poll show Obama beating Hillary Clinton in nearly every demographic.


Women: Obama 51%, Clinton 49%


Families with income under 50,000: Obama 51%, Clinton 49%


Independents: Obama 63%, Clinton 34%


Seniors: Clinton 60%, Obama 39%


Top quality — experience: Clinton 95%, Obama 5%


Union households: Clinton 50%, Obama 49%


Obama is breaking Hillary's hold on women voters. Hillary only won seniors. That isn't enough.

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Michelle Malkins Sings



You read the title of the post correctly. Michelle Malkin sings and very badly in her lame attempt to do a parody video of Hillary Clinton. What was Malkin smoking when she thought she could actually sing?

Malkin is like a roadside car wreck. I shouldn't look, but I just can't help myself.

For those whom wouldrather not subject their ears to Malkin's musical-stylings. Imagine a cross between Sanjaya and a cat in heat.

Hat tip to Litbrit

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Education Commissioner Maybe Elected Post Again

Florida Senate President Ken Pruitt supports making the Education Commissor an elected post.


“We’re going to have an elected official who’s accountable to the people and they will best determine whether or not they feel that our education system is going in the right direction,” Pruitt told reporters on Tuesday.


Frederica Wilson is sponsoring a bill to make the


COMPOSITION OF CABINET; OFFICE OF COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION.--Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to create the office of Commissioner of Education, who will be an elected member of the Cabinet and responsible for the supervision of the free public education system in the manner prescribed by law, and to delete the power of the state board of education to appoint the Commissioner of Education.


If approved by the legislature and Governor Crist: voters will decide if the post will once again be elected. 60 percent is needed for passage.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Marsh Madness

Tas pointed out Taylor Marsh's fact-challenged support of Hillary Clinton. That doesn't compare to Marsh's hysterical post claiming Obama supporters are an evil cult.


Let me also add that many of the new people who found my site have been driven away from some of the biggest progressive blogs on the web, because their commenters wouldn't allow them to speak, or the proprietors don't let them in. That's what has happened to Obamabots who try to post here, because they simply cannot control their vitriol, and I don't have time to babysit them. Many Hillary supporters are ticked off at being maligned and censored just because they back Clinton. They have every right to feel that way. As for the conversation in comment sections across the web that Obama's campaign is a "cult," well, many of us who are watching what is happening are worried. We're not in small numbers. We're nominating a president, not a motivational preacher, Elmer Gantry, or L. Ron Hubbard replacement.


Exactly what progressive blogs are cencoring commenters? Would Marsh care to explain? I like to hear it just for a good laugh.

I share Marsh's concerns about Obama's lack of policy substance. That doesn't mean he is running a cult.

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TaylorMarsh.com: Continuing to lose all credibility whatsoever

[Crossposted from Sugar Land is Dreaming]

Hillary supporters should know that it would help their candidate's cause if they didn't spread outright lies about the election. And while the parade of attacks against Obama, stemming from their uncritical support for Hillary, are often hilarious because they are so one-sided, the lying needs to be corrected with facts.

One of the latest lies comes from Taylor Marsh's guest blogger, Paul Lukasiak, who claims that Hillary has more votes than Obama:
Based on exit polls, among the approximately 16.3 million people who identified themselves as Democrats, over 678,000 more voted for Hillary Clinton than Barack Obama. If we’re going to “let the people decide" who the Democratic nominee would be, shouldn’t we be basing that on the will of Democrats themselves?
Actually Paul, exit polls aren't actual votes, though I see you touch upon those, as well:
But, since this is actually the Democratic primary, perhaps we should look at how Democrats have actually voted. Based on the available exit polling data, we find that Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead over Barack Obama in the number of votes – As of February 16, 2008, 391,992 more Democrats voted for Clinton than Obama. [...]

But that number also doesn’t include Florida. Add in Florida’s Democrats, and Clinton’s lead advantage increases to 565,684. Nor does it include Michigan; and even if we assign all the Democrats who voted “uncommitted” to Obama, Clinton’s lead among Democratic voters grows to 678,276.
Actually, by my count, it does include Florida and Michigan -- and Obama's still in the lead. My count comes from Dave Leip's Political Atlas, which shows these vote totals:

Hillary: 9,665,101
Obama: 9,545,184

Many people will say, "Aha! Hillary's lead might not be as much as Paul said, but it's still there!" But this is the primary vote count, the caucuses are not included -- something Paul also forgot to include. Let's look at those numbers, shall we?

Obama: 344,402
Hillary: 162,982

Adding both primary and caucus totals together, here are the results:

Obama: 9,889.586
Hillary: 9.828,083

It's slim, but that's advantage Obama. One must also note, though, that the vote totals from Michigan are being counted and Obama wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan. The vote totals from Florida are included as well, but Michigan and Florida are two states that the Democrats didn't campaign in this year. Given that Hillary has more of a national presence than Obama, her familiarity with voters would garner her more votes. So if Michigan and Florida were contested states, it can be reasoned that Obama would have an even larger lead over Hillary right now.

Those are the facts. The exclusion of such by Taylor Marsh and her guest bloggers, in their unflinching support for Hillary, places their credibility into question. Supporting your candidate is one thing, but spreading lies about the other ones is reprehensible. People are sick of witnessing dirty politics -- which might explain why most of them have voted for Obama.

[Update] A comment I posted in the thread for Paul's post, linking to this post and not using any naughty words, never made it out of Marsh's comment moderation queue. Censorship is awesome! She left my trackback, though -- or maybe she hasn't noticed it yet? The fact that Marsh has complained about censorship of Hillary supports on other blogs just makes my censorship all the more ironic.

Wouldn't want any of those pesky facts to get in the way of your lies, eh Taylor?

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Latest Email Falsely Claiming Barack Obama a Muslim and Anti-Semite

Another anti-Barack Obama email has been sent out. Obama is falsely accused of being a Muslim and anti-Semite. Congressman Robert Wexler immediately defended Obama. The email's origin is from the IACEB Activist Newsletter. Sanne DeWitt is a member of the Israel Action Committee of the East Bay. Reports are that DeWitt's group has been highly critical of Obama. There is a lack of information out there on what Dewitt's grievance is.

Dewitt sends out the anti-Obama email and tells the Palm Beach Post, "I don't vouch for the accuracy of the information in any specific article." That a lame excuse. There are so many lies in the email. For instance: the writer claims Obama was sworn into the Senate with a Koran. The message implies that Obama is a sleeper agent helping radical terrorists to destroy America from within. I could go on and on.

Here is the email:

***

Who is Barack Obama
Very interesting and something that should be considered in your choice.

If you do not ever forward anything else, please forward this to all your contacts...this is very scary to think of what lies ahead of us here in our own United States ...better heed this and pray about it and share it.

We checked this out on "snopes.com". It is factual. Check for yourself.

Who is Barack Obama?

Probable U. S. presidential candidate, Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a black MUSLIM from Nyangoma-Kogel, Kenya and Ann Dunham, a white ATHEIST from Wichita, Kansas.

Obama's parents met at the University of Hawaii. When Obama was two years old, his parents divorced. His father returned to Kenya . His mother then married Lolo Soetoro, a RADICAL Muslim from Indonesia. When Obama was 6 years old, the family relocate to Indonesia. Obama attended a MUSLIM school in Jakarta . He also spent two years in a Catholic school.

Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim. He is quick to point out that, "He was once a Muslim, but that he also attended Catholic school."

Obama's political handlers are attempting to make it appear that that he is not a radical.

Obama's introduction to Islam came via his father, and that this influence was temporary at best. In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya soon after the divorce, and never again had any direct influence over his son's education.

Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, introduced his stepson to Islam. Obama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta .

Wahabism is the RADICAL teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world. Since it is politically expedient to be a CHRISTIAN when seeking major public office in the United States, Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background. ALSO, keep in mind that when he was sworn into office he DID NOT use the Holy Bible, but instead the Koran.

Barack Hussein Obama will NOT recite the Pledge of Allegiance nor will he show any reverence for our flag. While others place their hands over their hearts, Obama turn s his back to the flag and slouches.

Let us all remain alert concerning Obama's expected presidential candidacy.

The Muslims have said they plan on destroying the US from the inside out, what better way to start than at the highest level - through the President of the United States , one of their own!!!!

Please forward to everyone you know. Would you want this man leading our country?...... NOT ME!!

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He Got Game



Charles Barkley has never been afraid of sharing his opinion. (Any guy that body-slammed Shaquille O'Neal will say what he damn well pleases.) Sir Charles goes on The Situation Room to share his feelings about the Christian Right.

BARKLEY: Hey, I live in Arizona. I have got great respect for Senator McCain. Great respect. But I don't like the way the Republicans are taking this country. Every time I hear the word "conservative," it makes me sick to my stomach, because they're really just fake Christians, as I call them. That's all they are. But I just -- I'm going to vote Democratic no matter what.

...BLITZER: All right. One quick point before I let you go. You used the phrase "fake Christians" for conservatives. Explain what you're talking about.

BARKLEY: Well, I think they -- they want to be judge and jury. Like, I'm for gay marriage. It's none of my business if gay people want to get married. I'm pro-choice. And I think these Christians -- first of all, they're supposed to be -- they're not supposed to judge other people. But they're the most hypocritical judge of people we have in this country. And it bugs the hell out of me. They act like their Christians. And they're not forgiving at all.

BLITZER: So you're going to get a lot of feedback on this one, Charles.

BARKLEY: They can't do anything to me. I don't work for them.

BLITZER: You feel comfortable saying all that?

BARKLEY: I feel very comfortable saying I'm pro-choice, and I'm for gay marriage. Very comfortable.

BLITZER: But you can't lump all these conservatives as being fake. A lot of them obviously -- most of them are very, very sincere in their religious beliefs.

BARKLEY: Well, they should read the part about they're not supposed to judge other people. They forget that one when it doesn't fit what they want it to say. "

I'm more than happy to refresh the memories of Christians.

Jesus: “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her."

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Florida Democrats to Select Delegates

Florida Democrats will be holding caucuses March 1 to choose delegates for the Democratic National Convention. Howard Dean and the Democratic National Committee have offered no indication that Florida delegates will be alowed.

The Clinton people think the March 1 caucases is the greatest idea since the invention of the wheel. The Obama campaign think the caucases are the second coming of New Coke.

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Harold Ickes on Super Delegates

The Clinton campaign spin just gets sillier by the moment. Mark Penn argued that Clinton losing more states to Barack Obama makes her the stronger general election candidate. Harold Ickes states that Obama's victories in red states makes him weaker in the general election. Hillary won big in blue states so she should be the nominee. Reality-based Republicans do not believe that John McCain is going to beat the Democratic nominee in Califoria. The last two Democratic Presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, did well in the South. Obama's southern victories are exactly what Democrats need in a nominee.

Ickes goes one better and says that the super delegates should vote for Hillary, even if Obama receives more delegates.


''Automatic delegates are supposed to make their best judgment about who would be a good and hopefully a great president, and more importantly, who would win in November,'' he told reporters in a telephone call, pointing to Clinton's wider appeal among Hispanic voters and her victories in some swing states. Independent voters and traditionally Republican states who have favored Obama, he said, can't be counted on in November.


Fortunately, Nancy Pelosi is the voice of reason.


While Ickes emphasized that hundreds of the superdelegates are elected officials, some Democratic leaders say allowing them to break the deadlock would hurt the party's image. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week: ``It would be a problem for the party if the verdict would be something different than the public has decided.''


Pelosi also said states that broke the rules, namely Florida and Michigan, shouldn't settle the nomination.


Ickes is right. The super delegates can vote for the candidate of their choice. I always hated the Democratic Party using superdelegates to nominate a candidate. Hopefully, the controversy will end the practice. That doesn't mean that it would break party rules if the super delegates went with the candidate with less delegates.

It is amusing to listen to the twisted logic the Clinton campaign is using. They are saying we can't beat Obama or win red states, but please give us the nomination. The campaign that was telling the press they were unstoppable is now weak.

If Hillary fights for the nomination at the convention, trashing Obama and then loses to John McCain; she will be outcast from the Democratic Party. Blacks and progressives will feel Hillary stole the nomination. Even feminists will stop defending Hillary. She is setting herself up to be the Democratic version of Bush in 2000.

Hillary's scorched earth tactics are what makes her a polarizing figure. I lived through the Karl Rove/George W. Bush era. I don't have the stomach for another President that will mudsling her way into power.

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Quote of the Day

“Winning Democratic primaries is not a qualification or a sign of who can win the general election. If it were, every nominee would win because every nominee wins Democratic primaries.”

Mark Penn, political advisor for Hillary Clinton.

My head is spinning from the spin.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

What Enhanced interrogation Techniques Look LIke

John McCain has been on his self-rightous soapbox for so long that one wonders if he really believes his own bullshit. McCain has billed himself as a straight-talker unyielding to political influence. Perhaps the self-professed Maverick can explain why he voted against banning the CIA's use of waterboarding.


McCain said that while he remains opposed to waterboarding, "We always supported allowing the CIA to use extra measures."


We? Polls show the majority of the American people no longer support torture. The television show 24 is having a difficult time getting guest stars and ratings are tanking. Even the world of make believe doesn't support torture.

McCain's story of being a Vietnam POW is well-known. The Maverick has gotten on every talk show to condemn the United State's use of the Orwellian-sounding enhanced techniques. McCain comes within sniffing distance of the White House and now he "always supported" torture. Did McCain have a sudden change of heart and think drowning people is a neat idea or was the Maverick just using torture as an opportunity to cynically get face time on television? Please tell us Senator. You can't be both for and against waterboarding. Even President Bush has shown more techniques in his heartless defense of torture.

McCain's fellow Maverick Joe Lieberman channels Jack Bauer to defend the indefensible.


"If we've got somebody that we think can tell us where a nuclear bomb is planted in an American city, then I want the president to be able to authorize that to be used," he said of waterboarding, a method that makes an interrogation subject feel he is drowning.


Lieberman added that while waterboarding is a "terrifying experience," the victim "is in no real danger" because "the impact is psychological."



The second part is telling. Lieberman thinks people don't get hurt from waterboarding and other enhanced methods. The image to the left is from Abu Ghraib. We see that a man is strapped to be waterboarded.

The death of Manadel Jamadi occured Abu Ghraib. He was hung like a raw meat and bleeded to death. Eight Navy SEALs received administrative punishment for Jamadi's murders. The same level of punishment for someone inproperly filing paperwork. The infamous Charles Graner and Lynndie England posed photos over Jamadi's body. Jamadi's interrogation was supervised by CIA operative Mark Swanner. A man who did his best to cover up his less than patriot handywork Paris Hilton did more jail time than Swanner.


"We always supported allowing the CIA to use extra measures."

John McCain

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Keith Olbermann On Bush's FISA Fearmongering



Keith Olbermann: Mr. Bush, you say that our ability to track terrorist threats will be weakened and our citizens will be in greater danger.

Yet you have weakened that ability!

You have subjected us, your citizens, to that greater danger!

This, Mr. Bush, is simple enough even for you to understand.

For the moment, at least, thanks to some true patriots in the House, and your own stubbornness, you have tabled telecom immunity, and the FISA act.

You.

By your own terms and your definitions — you have just sided with the terrorists.

****

You can read the entire transcript.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Quote of the Day

"In my parents' day and age, they were sent away. They were shunned. They were called what they are ... There's no sense of shame today. Society condones it ... They're sluts. And I don't mean just the women. I mean the men, too."

Rep. Larry Liston (R-Colorado Springs), on teenage parents.

Now is a good time to mention that bstinence-only education does not work. Contrary to what conservative would want you to believe.

It is hypocritical for Listen to condemn teens for decide to keep their babies. Treat these teens like shit if they get and abortion and if they decide to keep it. How pro-life.

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Write A Caption: Valentine's Day Edition



"The look of love of love is in your eyes..."

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Pushing Rope Second Anniversary



Pushing Rope is officially two years-old today. I like to thank Tas, Zencomix, Litbrit and Sine.Qua.non for making this site a better place.

Thanks to Creative Loafing for the loaf of bread, Wayne Garcia warned me not to eat. For those you Loafie winners that ate your award... err, yum?.

Thank you to our blogmother. I greatly appreciate the traffic she sent my way.

Jill Filipovic, Lindsay Beyerstein, Kenneth Quinnell and Pam Spaulding have been kind enough to link to this blog.

Props to Cernig, the Panda, David Scott Anderson and most of all our readers and commenters.

Thank you all and anyone I accidently left out.

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It's Come Down to Begging

Things are bad when Republicans are begging Republican House members are begging John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) not to retire.


Motivated by a letter signed by more than 130 of his House GOP colleagues urging him to forgo retirement and run for re-election, Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) could be reconsidering his decision to call it quits upon the conclusion of his current term, a well-placed Republican source said late Thursday.


The letter, spearheaded by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), comes in response to Shadegg’s surprise decision, announced Monday, not to seek an eighth House term....


"Never before have more than 130 members signed a letter asking a fellow Member to stay," the source said.


Shedegg is hardly a marquee Republican name. The fact that Pence is begging a immigration moderate, whose district is in the state of the future party presidential nominee, is hysterical. Republicans aren't confident they can keep Congressional seats in John McCain's home state.

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Plug: Independent Music Awards

Plug has opened voting for their independent music awards. I will hunt you down and make you listen to William Shatner if you vote for the annoying Of Montreal. I hate that band with a vengence. Any band that does a jingo for Outback Steakhouse is beyond lame. Someone should inform Of Montreal that Ziggy Stardust called and he wants his wardrobe back.



Kevin Barnes defense of doing commercials shows a bizarre use of homophobia language and writing skills not worthy of a 14 year-old Livejournal user.


There are so many confused young people running around now polluted by this alloyed version of the tenets of the punk rock manifesto. Of course they're confused. It isn't possible to be in chorus with capitalism and anarchy. You must pick one or the other. Very few people are willing to do it, though. The worst kind of person is the one who sucks the dick of the man during the daytime and then draws pictures of themselves slitting his throat at night. Jesus Christ, make up your mind!


I love the exclamation mark at the end. Apparently, the suicidal and fellatio imagery were too subtle to illustrate his point. Whatever that maybe. You can read Barnes entire post. I don't advise you to. It's painful reading.

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FISA and the U.S. Attorneys Scandal

Nancy Pelosi has decided to let the FISA law elapse. On her Facebook profile, Pelosi wrote that she voted "to uphold the Constitution to uphold the Constitution." Pelosi and House Democrats showed the spine their colleagues in the Senate lacked. The House Republicans response was to take their ball and go home.

House Republicans Stage Walkout


House Republicans have just staged a walkout from the chamber to protest the decision of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership to let an act that expands the government’s surveillance powers expire.


Talking Points Memo has video of Minority Leader John Boehner staging the walkout.



Part of the walkout was a smoke screen: Democrats and the 35 Republicans that didn't walk out voted 223 to 32 to hold Josh Bolten and Harriet Miers in contempt for refusing to testify about their roles in the U.S. Attorney scandal. Bush decided that his staffers were above the law and need not testify.


"This is beyond arrogance. This is hubris taken to the ultimate degree," Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in the closing moments of the debate.


Administration officials purged U.S. Attorneys that would not go after Democrats and bogus voter fraud cases. The White House wanted loyal Bushies to use the Justice Department to win elections. Republican Senator Pete Domenici personally asked Bush to fire U.S. Attorney David Iglesias. Domenici was angered that Iglesias would not (illegally) leak information on possible indictments against Democrats.

U.S. Attorney Carol Lam was fired after issuing a warrant to search Kyle Dustin "Dusty" Foggo. A man involved in the Duke Cunningham bribery scandal and Brent Wilkes's prostitute parties. Wilkes was a major Bush fundraiser. Two days after Lam issued the warrant on Foggo, Justice Department Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson fired off this email.


"the real problem we have right now with Carol Lam that leads me to conclude that we should have someone ready to be nominated on 11/18, the day her 4-year term expires."


Nowhere is Lam's record on enforcing immigration laws is mentioned. Sampson admitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Justice Department never discussed with her handling of illegal immigration.

Boehner is helping turn the GOP into the party that stands up against enforcing laws. His sense of politics and policy are so misguided that he is helping the Democrats win more House seats. House Republicans are retiring, the party has a nominee that the base can't get behind and Boehner still wants to hitch House Republicans to Bush.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Moral Abyss



A young female college student told President Bush, she asked Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld what laws govern American contractors in Iraq. She informed the President that Rumsfeld did not know. Bush laughed and informed the woman he was also clueless. The video shows Bush's willful arrogance.

According to the Jamie Leigh Jones Foundation, 38 American woman have experienced sexual assault and harassment from fellow contractors. Jones told Congress, "Victims of crime perpetrated by employees of taxpayer-funded government contracts in Iraq deserve the same standard of treatment and protection governed by the same laws whether they are working in the U.S. or abroad." The State Department failed to ask the Justice Department to investigate Jones's allegations that she was gang raped. Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice missed Bill Nelson's deadline to respond to allegation of female contractors sexually assaulted. Last year, the Justice Department refused to send a representative to the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the matter. The Bush administration is stonewalling.

The Pentagon has refused to provide Nelson with information on how many rape examinations were performed by military doctors. The Criminal Investigation Command of the Army informed Nelson, 124 sexual assaults have been documented. Contractors fall under the State Department's jurisdiction. The Dep. of State has investigated only four sexual assaults.

Former KBR employee Mary Beth Kineston said, "I felt safer on the convoys with the Army than I ever did working for KBR." Kineston was fired after complaining about being physically groped. "At least if you got in trouble on a convoy, you could radio the Army and they would come and help you out. But when I complained to KBR, they didn’t do anything. I still have nightmares. They changed my life forever, and they got away with it."

Pamela Jones experienced similar threats.


Pamela Jones, of Texas, a KBR logistics coordinator in Kuwait in 2003 and 2004, was sexually assaulted by a supervisor. “It was known that if you started complaining that you could lose your job,” said Ms. Jones, who added that she reported it to management. “They give you an 800 number to report. But then they shoved it under the rug, and they told me I was a pest.”


Jamie Leigh Jones and Tracy Barker signed employment contracts that do not allow them to file civil suits against their former companies in court.


Jones didn't know much about arbitration when she signed the contract and was shocked to learn what she had done.


"I learned that I had signed away my right to a trial by jury," she said.


Republican Congressman Bill Poe voiced his disapproval of the employment agreements.


"Air things out in a public forum of a courtroom," said Rep. Poe in an earlier interview with ABC News. "That's why we have courts in the United States."


Bush's ignorance and arrogance is dangerous. The President literally considers laws over contractors are laughing matter. Iraq is a dangerous place to work because of the insugency. Bush makes matters worse by allowing a lawless environment for women to work in. The moral abyss America government has become because of the Bushies will take years to change. Why else would the administration make contractor immune from prosecution?

Yesterday, Jamie Leigh Jones testifying before U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions.

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Shiny Happy Crist

File this under I told you so. I wrote on Oct. 16, 2007 about the Save Our Homes portability being proposed:


People can live next door and have homes valid at the same price. One owner could pay more taxes because the other got a deductability from moving from his previous resident. The inequities question is interesting. Lawyers could argue it's not a fair tax. I have refered to it as the Rush Limbaugh taxcut.


Tallahassee lawyer William Owen is challenging the legality of Amendment 1. Owen argues, "It sharpens the blade and ratchets up the discrimination." He is representing three Florida homeowners.

How does Charlie Crist feel about the lawsuit?


"Part of my confidence is based on the fact that Save Our Homes has been in existence since 1992. I think it's an extension of that, and I'm very confident that it will withstand judicial test. And I think that one of the things that gives me most comfort, as I assume they're testing the constitutionality, is the fact that it will now be in the constitution, so I'm pleased with that."


Crist would make a great Pharoh.

"I'm optimistic that the boils on the faces of my fellow Egyptians are unrelated to Moses's request for the Jews to leave and settle elsewhere," Pharaoh Crist told the scribes, "Locusts migrating to are lands are normal this time of year."

Pharaoh Crist told the scribes that the families that lost their first-born child will be rewarded with pet frogs.

"The people support our frog compensation plan. 20 frogs is greater than a child," Pharaoh Crist boasted. "I'm more than happy to give them more!"

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NRCC Fearmongering on FISA Bill

I'm on the NRCC email list. It's painful reading, but occasionally I catch nuggets like this fearmongering message sent out by Chairman Tom Cole. The latest email is titled "The Terrorist Threat to America Never Expires."


Even though our intelligence agencies have helped us successfully avoid attacks on our soil, in a few days from now, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) will expire. If Congress lets this bill expire, our intelligence personnel, both here and abroad, will be extremely handicapped and will have a harder time saving American lives from terrorist threats.


The President and Republican leaders in both the House and Senate believe it is long overdue for Congress to pass and send to the President a long-term bill that updates the FISA laws vital to our national security.


Do you agree with your Republican leaders that we need permanent FISA legislation?


American families deserve security and not uncertainty, and they understand that our terrorist surveillance laws help keep our country safe from attack. It speaks volumes about the national security priorities of congressional Democrats that they have failed to permanently close the terrorist loophole after six months. The time for excuses has expired, it's now time for action.


If you believe it’s time to draft responsible legislation that ensures that we quickly close the intelligence gap, sign this petition today.


Cole never mentions that the White House denied violating the Fourth amendment and spying on domestic calls. The Supreme Court ruled in Katz v. United States that national security and executive privilege does not allow the federal government to domesticly wiretap without a warrant.

Retroactive immunity would allow telecommunication companies to gather information and conversations on American citizens. A Mellman Group poll found 63 percent want to government to require a warrant before domestically wiretapping phone calls.


Support for this constitutional right is both deep and wide, cutting across every demographic segment. Whether they are old or young (age 60+ 61% warrants required, age 50-59 61%, age 40-49 66%, age 18-39 66%), more or less educated (college grads 67%, some college 65%, high school or less 57%), black or white (black 83% warrants required, whites 60%), upper class or lower (upper/upper-middle 63% warrants required, middle 66%, working/lower 57%) overwhelming majorities favor requiring warrants for government wiretaps of Americans’ international conversations. Eight-in-ten percent (80%) of Democrats, 56% of independents, and even half (50%) of the President’s own Republicans oppose tapping Americans’ international conversations without a warrant.


Public demand for requiring warrants for wiretaps of Americans’ international conversations also cuts across geography. Large majorities in every part of the country favor requiring warrants: 72% in the Northeast, 64% in the South, 62% in the West, and 57% in the Midwest. Both less religious voters (68% warrants required) and those who are very religious (59% warrants required) oppose wiretapping Americans’ international conversations without a warrant. The same is true of both households with veterans (58%) and non-veteran households (65%).


Public opinion is on the Democratic Party's side. That did not stop several Democrats from voting to extend FISA.

Jay Rockefeller (D-WV),
Evan Bayh (D-IN),
Daniel Inouye (D-HI),
Tim Johnson (D-SD),
Herb Kohl (D-WI),
Mary Landrieu (D-LA),
Claire McCaskill (D-MO),
Mark Pryor (D-AR),
Blanche Lincoln (D-AR),
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA),
Ken Salazar (D-CO),
Tom Carper (D-DE),
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD),
Jim Webb (D-VA),
Ben Nelson (D-NE),
Bill Nelson (D-FL),
Kent Conrad (D-ND),
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

No Democrat in Congress is arguing that terrorists should be protected from wiretapping. The argument goes to sheds when the Bush administration is forced to defend this assertion. The exchange between Russ Feingold and Alberto Gonzales is a perfect example.

Feingold: Do you know anyone in government who ever took that position?

Gonzales: No, but that is not what I said.

Feingold: It is a disgrace and disservice to your office and the President to have accused people on this Committee of opposing eavesdropping on terrorists.

Gonzales: I didn't have you in mind or anyone on the Committee when I referred to people who oppose eavesdropping on terrorists. Perish the thought.

Feingold: Oh, well it's nice that you didn't have us "in your mind" when making those accusations, but given that you and the President were running around the country accusing people of opposing eavesdropping on terrorists in the middle of an election, the fact that you didn't have Congressional Democrats in "mind" isn't significant. Your intent was to make people think that anyone who opposed the "TSP" did not want to eavesdrop on terrorists, even though that was false. No Democrats oppose eavesdropping on terrorists.

Gonzales: I wasn't referring to Democrats.

The White House wants retroactive immunity because they are afraid what telecommunication companies will say about the administration in court. Bush may have foolishly thought going around the FISA court was protecting America. Bush is protecting his own self-interest. The President has made warrantless wiretapping and torture conservative values.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point on Al-Qaeda in Iraq

By 2007, the Bush administrations assertions that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction was debunked to death. Dick Cheney made the illogical and false statement that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was because Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had links to Al-Qaeda.


“He took up residence there before we ever launched into Iraq, organized the al-Qaida operations inside Iraq before we even arrived on the scene and then, of course, led the charge for Iraq until we killed him last June,” Cheney told radio host Rush Limbaugh during an interview. “As I say, they were present before we invaded Iraq.”


Taken at face value: the U.S. military must spend more blood and tressure to hunt al-Zarqawi than hunt Osama bin Laden/Al-Qaeda on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. The Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point has studied Al-Qaeda documents U.S. military personal obtained in the field. It turns out Al-Qaeda does very good record keeping. The findings show al-Zarqawi did not join Al-Qaeda until 2004.


Al-Qa’ida’s allies began moving into Iraq even before U.S. forces entered the country in early 2003. After fleeing Afghanistan and traversing Iran, Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi slipped into Northern Iraq some time in 2002. At that time, Zarqawi’s organization was called Tawhid wa’l Jihad (Monotheism and Struggle) and was built around a backbone of Jordanians, Syrians, and Kurds that either rushed to join him in Iraq or had been working with the Kurdistan-based jihadi group, Ansar al-Islam.


Zarqawi did not join al-Qa’ida until October 2004, when he swore allegiance to Usama bin Ladin. The new organization was called Tanzim Qa’idat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn which was commonly known in the West as al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI). The agreement between Zarqawi and his new masters belied important disagreements that remained even after Zarqawi formally joined al-Qa’ida. Zarqawi was sometimes critical of al-Qa’ida’s willingness to cooperate with “apostates” against other enemies and, unlike Bin Ladin, fervently argued that al-Qa’ida’s “Near Enemy”—apostates and the Shi’a—were more dangerous than its “Far Enemy”—the United States and the West.


Al-Qaeda attempted to form ties with the Ba’athist insurgents. Al-Qaeda's ideology, kill all tactics and pure craziness made this impossible. The Ba’athist are members of Saddam Hussein's army. These are professional soldiers fighting for nationalism. Al-Qaeda in Iraq is made up of foreign-born Muslims that fanatical andpoorly-educated. This is why the different ethnic factions are more than happy to help Gen. David Petraeus destroy Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Cheney's claim that Iraq had ties to Al-Qaeda continues to get shot down. The Vice-President is solely intent on fear-mongering and propaganda. Straight talk is will never be Cheney's forte.

The pro-Al-Qaeda supporting groups are doing a good job of failing on their own. The Islamic State of Iraq attempts to maintain the image of an actual government. Their Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is a cabinet department with no actual office. The ISI may not even have a leader.


The U.S. spokesman in Baghdad, General Kevin Bergner, even claimed to have intelligence that Abu Umar al-Baghdadi is a fictitious character created to front the ISI while non-Iraqis pulled the strings.


The Combatting Terrorism Center finds the insurgency is largely made of Iraqis. Al-Qaeda is not the main group fighting and killing American soldiers.


Most of Iraq’s militants do not suffer that strategic problem. The vast majority of militants in Iraq have nothing to do with al-Qa’ida, and they are focused on Iraqi problems: security, distribution of power and money, and sectarianism. Those insurgents are a mix of Sunni nationalists, Ba’thists, Shi’a militias, and Islamist organizations. Mistaking any of these groups for al-Qa’ida is not simply wrong, it is dangerous.


The Bush administration continues to blur the line between the Iraqi-born insurgents and Al-Qaeda. The White House always puts message and politics over sound policy decisions.

The report finds the Iraq occupation is inspiring young Muslim men to take up arms against the United States. The idea the occupying Iraq is making America safer is bogus. I have tried figuring out why President Bush has stayed in Iraq. THe only logical reason is he doesn't want to be known as the man that lost Iraq. Bush can blame the next President for Iraq.

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Jeb Bush Endorses John McCain



It is no secret that Jeb Bush was unofficially working behind the scenes for Mitt Romney. The Mittster suspended his campaign with a pandering speech to CPAC. Jeb was left with no recourse, but to endorse John McCain.


"John McCain is a patriot and devoted conservative leader," Bush said in a statement issued by the McCain campaign. "Like no other candidate in the field, John McCain has made tremendous sacrifices for this nation. He is beholden to no interest other than that of the public good. He is determined and steadfast in his commitment to reducing the burden of high taxes, restoring the people's trust in their government, and winning the war against radical Islamic extremists. It is with pride that I announce my endorsement of John McCain for president."


The Jeb endorsement helps McCain in Florida. Unlike his brother, Jeb had high approval ratings at the end of his second term. The question is what kind of turnout will McCain get in Florida?

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Hillary Plays Race Card Again

How the hell do the Clintons think they are helping themselves by saying that Barack Obama only won certain states because he is black? Hillary Clinton plays the race card to downplay her defeat in Louisiana.


She told reporters who had gathered to watch her tour a General Motors plant here that "everybody knew, you all knew, what the likely outcome of these recent contests were."


"These are caucus states by and large, or in the case of Louisiana, you know, a very strong and very proud African-American electorate, which I totally respect and understand."


Clinton is showing signs that she is going to lose. She is correct that Obama is stronger in caucuses. A Kevin Drum post outlines how the Obama activists are destroying Hillary's campaign in caucas states. The caucases are confusing and requires the Obama people to get together and say "Yea." People are less likely to mobilize for Hillary.

Hillary firing campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle is a sign of trouble. Major shake-ups at this stage of the race are because the campaign is losing. Obama won all the weekend races. Hillary and Obama now go into Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. This is must win time for Hillary.

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John Stemberger Against Evolution

John Stemberger takes time out of opposing gay marriage to oppose evolution.


The Florida Family Policy Council, a religious conservative group headed by John Stemberger, says it will oppose new Florida public school science curriculum standards that it says advocate teaching evolution “as fact.”


The organization held a news conference including pastors, a public school parent and others in Orlando today.


Stemberger said evolution should be taught as “a theory with ... strengths and weakneses,” not as established scientific fact.


The Florida Family Policy Council is so insecure about their own religious beliefs that they fear that evolution will disprove Genesis. The members of the FFPC dispute evolution, but firmly believe that the first woman was created from the rib of Adam. It's scientific fact because it is in a book written by superstitious people. Stemberger is entitled to his views. That doesn't change the Bible not being science.

The FFPC is essentially Stemberger. The web site domain registry is owned by him. The actual numbers of Republican Christian activists are very fews. They are able to start one and woman organizations and generate media publicity. Public officials are scared of small Christian organizations that have few followers because they call themselves Jesus lovers.

Stemberger can make a difference by feeding the homeless or helping women victimized by domestic violence. He chooses to be a cultural warrior. It's more publicity and he can intimidate government into making people live by his narrow set of ideals.

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No, You Can't



This is a parody of the Black Eyed Peas video Yes We Can. The contrast between John McCain's grumpiness and Barack Obama's optimism is striking.

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It's Still the Florida Democratic Party's Fault

Gene Smith's Daily Kos diary is giving me a migrane headache. I like Gene, but why must Florida progressives continue to defend the idiocy of the Florida Democratic Party. Smith splits hairs by citing rule 3A of the DNC Delegate Selection Rules.


All official Party meetings and events related to the national convention delegate selection process, including caucuses, conventions, committee meetings, filing dates, and Party enrollment periods, shall be scheduled for dates, times and public places which would be most likely to encourage the participation of all Democrats, and must begin and end at reasonable hours.


Smith makes an argument that defies would get thrown out of court.


It goes on to provide the exemptions for the four "early states" of Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina.


But here we are at the heart of the problem, at least here in Florida. We had two different rules of the DNC Delegate Selection Rules brought into direct conflict with each other by the actions of the Republican controlled state legislature. Those are the facts. There is nothing to be nipped in the bud here.


The rule is very clear. Only Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina were allowed by the Democratic National Committee to hold presidential elections in January. It took one hour for Judge Robert Hinkle threw out Bill Nelson's lawsuit against the DNC. The DNC found the Florida Democratic Party in violation of their rules. The argument that the FDP voted unanimously to move the primary up to Jan. 29th. The vote vote to move up the primary received huge bipartisan support.

Florida House 118 to 0
Florida Senate 37 to 2

I have followed this story and I never heard the reason Florida Democrats supported moving the primary up was because of rule 3A. Nelson and Thurman voted to move the primary up so they can court favor with presidential candidates. Republicans and Democrats wanted to national media spotlight that New Hampshire and Iowa received. These people were warned repeatly by DNC and RNC officials not to move up the primary. The FDP has refused to compromise with the DNC. Nelson and Thurman are responsible for disenfranchising voters and they need to be held accountable. Progressive bloggers sound like the lefty version of Instupundit when they become apologists for these incompetent Democrats. Florida deserves better than Bill Nelson and Karen Thurman.

My question to Gene is if it isn't the FDP's fault than who's is it?

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Daily Show On Mitt Romney Dropping Out



Jon Stewart sums up Mitt Romney's b.s. speech at CPAC.

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

The McCain Problem in the Red States

Mr. G noted something I have been wondering. John McCain is the future GOP nominee that is winning blue states. McCain has been tanking in the red states. Mike Huckabee has won Kansas big. Huckabee won 60 percent of the popular vote.

McCain isn't going to win states like New York in the general election. A McCain candidacy allows Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama to pick off red states. This seriously affects the Congressional races. I was talking with a friend and trying to figure out how the Republicans can win with McCain. The Democrats need to stumble and McCain needs a lot of luck.

The GOP may attempt a delegate challenge on the convention floor. Long story short: the delegates shift their alliance to Huckabee. That is a long shot and requires looking up convention rules. I don't have the time. The other option is prayer. It's a good thing the GOP is the faith-based party.

Over to you, Mr. G.

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Congress Report on District 13 Race

File this under you got to be kidding me department.


A bipartisan task force said Friday that it had found no evidence of voting machine malfunctions in a disputed 2006 Florida congressional election.


The panel agreed that U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, who has less than a year remaining in his term, can stay in Congress. He had been seated by the Democratic-controlled House while it probed the election.


The task force was formed after Buchanan's Democratic opponent, Christine Jennings, challenged the validity of the results because more than 18,000 ballots did not indicate a selected candidate in the 13th Congressional District race.


The panel concluded that the undervotes were caused either by voters who intentionally did not vote for a congressional candidate or were


MIT Professor Charles Stewart's study found the odds were 5 million to one that 18,000 did not register a vote in the Congressional race.

Somewhere Brad Friedman's head is exploding right now.

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What the James Dobson Endorsement Means

Mike Huckabee is not going to become the Republican nominee. If by some strange accurance, he were to receive the nomination, the public would reject his bizarre views. Huckabee wanted to quarantine people that are HIV positive. Wayne Dumond raped a distant cousin of Bill Clinton. Baptist minister Jay Cole and New York Post columnist Steve Dunleavy believed that convicted rapist Dumond was innocent. Their logic was Bill Clinton was responsible for falsely imprisoning Dumond. Dunleavy said exactly that in his his column "Clinton's Biggest Crime - Left Innocent Man In Jail For 14 Years."


"Dumond, now 52, was given conditional parole yesterday in Arkansas after having being sentenced to 50 years in jail for the rape of Clinton's cousin," Dunleavy wrote. "That rape never happened."


Dumond was released. He raped and murdered Carol Sue Shields and Sara Andrasek. Dumond was early-received from a life sentence. Rapists don't get early released, unless serious strings are pulled.

Huckabee is not a believer in the separation of church and state. He has associated with Christian reconstructionist Janet Folger. A woman whom was outraged that Clinton White House Press Secretary Michael McCurry denounced Trent Lott for comparing homosexuality to alcoholism and kleptomania.

Another Huckabee Christion Reconstructionist ally is Star Parker. The progressive blogosphere has had great fun making a mockery of Parker's reality-challenged writing. Parker compared the tax system to a plantation.


"Under the dictate of Uncle Sam, the risks of life become engineering problems and the goal of government is to eliminate those problems. The federal solution to poverty is the redistribution of wealth via disproportionate taxes on the wealthy. The plan is ingenious really: identify the need for atonement, demonize the people with the most money, tax them unfairly, and if anyone complains, say they are racist or heartless or both." P. 73


"Uncle Sam has developed a sophisticated poverty plantation, operated by a federal government, overseen by bureaucrats, protected by media elites, and financed by the taxpayers. The only difference between this plantation and the slave plantation of the antebellum South is perception."


Parker fails to recall that Jesus preached that the rich should give their money to the poor.

Huckabee will never get elected to the White House. Which makes James Dobson's endorsement all the more hysterical. Previously, Dobson gave Huckabee the cold should. Dobson is endorsing Huckabee in protest of John McCain's inevitable nomination. Dobson will have no sway with the Republican Party if he sabotages McCain's candidacy.

The Republican Party have made dangerous alliances with radicals such as Dobson, Grover Norquist, Ralph Reed, Jack Abramoff, Sun Myung Moon and Norman Podhoretz. Repubican politicians make it a point never to be photographed with these people. The country and party are moving to the Left. The GOP is being held for ransom by extremists. It couldn't happen to more more deserving group of people.

Update: Texas Governor Rick Perry asked Mike Huckabee to drop out. The Huckster declined.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Afghan Whigs - When We Two Parted/Ex-Factor

Wade Tatengelo listed Lauryn Hill's brilliant Ex-Factor has a song to avoid during Valentine's Day. The Afghan Whig's song When We Two Parted is another good song to avoid during V Day.

I should have seen this shit coming down the hall
Every night I spent in that bed with you facing the wall
If I could have only once heard you scream
To feel you were alive
Instead of watching you abandoning yourself


Greg Dulli combined the two songs live. The Whigs were famous for twisted live musical medleys.

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Crazy Delegate Estimates

The media is having problems following the delegate count in the close Hillary/ Obama race. 2,025 delegates are needed for the nomination.

Washington Post

Clinton - 777
Obama - 756

CBS News

Clinton - 1,075
Obama - 10,14

CNN

Clinton - 1,033
Obama - 937

Wall Street Journal

Clinton - 845
Obama - 765

ABC News

Clinton - 1,071
Obama - 994

MSNBC

Obama - 861
Clinton - 855

We at Pushing Rope use the magic 8 ball to scientifically formulate the complex delegate situation. Readers may think that is our disingenuous way of refusing to admit we don't have a clue what is going on. Nothing could be further from the truth. Pushing Rope is the only news site to correct tell you that both Hillary and Obama have somewhere between 1 and 2,025 delegates. We have provided readers with an accurate delegate count. Unlike other news services.

Pushing Rope: news estimates you can trust.

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