Monday, April 30, 2007

Meet Rebecca Porter

Rebecca Porter is a Tampa resident who works for Operation Outcry. The group is very clear about their purpose.

OPERATION OUTCRY is the project of THE JUSTICE FOUNDATION to end legal abortion by exposing the truth about its devastating impact on women and families. We believe that this will be accomplished through prayer and with the testimonies of mothers who have taken the life of their own unborn babies and of others who have suffered harm from abortion. We are working to restore justice and to protect women, men, and children from the destruction that abortion causes.

OPERATION OUTCRY exposes the two great lies surrounding legalized abortion: 1) abortion is good and safe for women; and, 2) it is not a baby being aborted.

OPERATION OUTCRY reaches out to hurting women and makes available a national 24-hour, toll-free Help Line to help women deal with their grief and to offer hope and healing.

OPERATION OUTCRY has a national network of leaders to assist, encourage, and train women and others to speak out in the public arena and to collect affidavits (sworn testimony) for the historic legal effort to end legal abortion. PLEASE JOIN US

Googling Porter finds that Michelle Malkin ran with a bogus story that a Kerry campaign staffer tore Porter's "My abortion hurt me" sign. Check the Talon News link and you will find it is a dead web page. Talon News was run by GOPUSA President and CEO Bobby Eberle and had Jeff Gannon as a reporter.

The fake news site plagiarized the Wall Street Journal, White House press releases, the New York Times, Fox News Channel and Reuters. Bogus staged incidents of conservatives protesters getting signs torn by Kerry's people were widely discredited. It's interesting that only the disgraced Talon News picked up on Porter story. There is good reason to think it's pure bullshit.

Porter collected letters from women who had abortions. The lack of content and legal reasoning is troubling.

Each affidavit was just two or three sentences. They made no legal argument, contained no legal verbiage. Each just vented pain and guilt. "Twenty years later it still hurts, " one Florida woman wrote.

To call these affidavits is questionable. It's more like spamming the Supreme Court. It worked. Justice Anthony Kennedy was swayed enough by the affidavits into becoming the tie breaking vote. The problem is these letters present only one side of the debate.

"Two thousand women came forth, " says Olga Vives, executive vice president of the National Organization for Women. "But there are millions more whose lives have been saved."

Why didn't NOW or Planned Parenthood send thousands of affidavits to the Supreme Court? The anti-abortion movement is out of the mainstream. Polling numbers show Americans support Roe v Wade.

The Right has been more politically astute in getting the political system to support their goals. The Left has the numbers on their side. They need to learn how to use the support of Roe v Wade to their advantage. That includes holding Democratic candidates accountable. Groups like NARAL need to stop supporting moderate Republicans like Arlen Spector (and Joe Lieberman) who vote for anti-choice judges.

Labels: , , , ,

GOP Debate in Tampa

William March reports Salem News will host a Republican presidential debate. This is geared to the wingnut audience. Conservative talk radio stations WTBN, 560 AM; WTWD, 910 AM; and WGUL, 860 AM will carry the debate locally. The debate will be followed by a straw poll held by Mitt Romney has agreed to paticipate.

I'm betting Jim Johnson will hand business cards to all the campaigns. We can't expect a guy to work for Victor Crist forever. That would mean Jim and I won't be able to debate about arcane policy matters that nobody cares about except us.

Update: Jim Johnson no longer works for Victor Crist.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Gonzo At Harvard Reunion

I'm not the biggest fan of political protests, but this is funny.

A small group of student protesters, including one wearing a black hood and an orange jumpsuit, heckled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as he posed with old classmates Saturday during their 25-year Harvard Law School reunion.

"When the photographer was getting everybody set up and having people say 'cheese,' the protesters yelled: 'say torture, instead,' 'resign' and 'I don't recall,'" said Nate Ela, a protester and third-year student.

Law school spokesman Mike Armini said the impromptu protest was so small that some of those attending the photo shoot did not notice it.

Ela said the protesters followed Gonzales into the law school's library, chanting "shame" and "resign," before the attorney general's security detail took him to his motorcade.

Gonzales has become a walking punchline. People in the Beltway are attacking opponents by saying they are like Gonzales.

Labels: ,

Write A Caption: Singing in the Rain Edition


Open Letter to George Tenet

Former CIA officers wrote a public letter to George Tenet. They accuse the former CIA Director of using his book to whitewash his role in helping the White House make the case to invade Iraq.

You were not a victim. You were a willing participant in a poorly considered policy to start an unnecessary war and you share culpability with Dick Cheney and George Bush for the debacle in Iraq.

The former CIA officers compare Tenet to Alberto Gonzales. They accuse Tenet of being "a grotesque mixture of incompetence and sycophancy shielded by a genial personality." That is a nice way of saying that Tenet is a useless ass kisser.

The letter also throws the dreaded Curveball at Tenet. The informant got his codename because of his history of lying. An intelligence analyst made an attempt to warn about Curveball's unreliability. He was brushed off.

All those sources are suspect or unreliable, especially the key one nicknamed "Curve Ball," warned the analyst, the only U.S. intelligence official who had met Curve Ball.

The analyst received a dismissive reply. "This war's going to happen regardless of what Curve Ball said or didn't say, and . . . the Powers That Be probably aren't terribly interested in whether Curve Ball knows what he's talking about," replied the deputy chief of the CIA's Iraq task force. The warning was never passed on to Powell or his top aides.

That didn't stop the White House from using Curveball's bogus claims of bioweapons. Tenet and John E. McLaughlin were warned about this information.

Tyler Drumheller, former chief of the CIA European Division, said he and other senior officials in his office — the unit that oversees spying in Europe — had issued repeated warnings about Curveball's accounts.

"Everyone in the chain of command knew exactly what was happening," said Drumheller, who retired in November after 25 years at the CIA. He said he never met personally with Tenet, but "did talk to McLaughlin and everybody else."

Drumheller scoffed at claims by Tenet and McLauglin that they were unaware of concerns about Curveball's credibility. He said he was disappointed that the two former CIA leaders would resort to a "bureaucratic defense" that they never got a formal memo expressing doubts about the defector.

"They can say whatever they want," Drumheller said. "They know what the truth is …. I did not lie." Drumheller said the CIA had "lots of documentation" to show suspicions about Curveball were disseminated widely within the agency. He said they included warnings to McLaughlin's office and to the Weapons Intelligence Non Proliferation and Arms Control Center, known as WINPAC, the group responsible for many of the flawed prewar assessments on Iraq.

The letter points out that Tenet did not stand up to the administration and stop the use of faulty intelligence. Tenet was an active enabler. He could have lobbied members of Congress not to vote for the war resolution. He could have resigned and spoke out. Instead, he sat behind Colin Powell during the Sec. of State's disgraceful United Nations presentation.

Wilkerson said Powell “turned to the DCI, Mr. Tenet, and he [Powell] said, ‘everything here, everything here, you stand behind?’And Mr. Tenet said, ‘absolutely, Mr. Secretary.’ And he [Powell] said, ‘well, you know you’re going to be sitting behind me tomorrow. Right behind me. In camera.”

Tenet had the opportunity to tell Powell the WMD case was not solid. He stood behind. I believe Powell still would have made bogus claims to the U.N. The source is Lawrence Wilkerson and he has been a harsh critic of the administration and publicly disagreed with his friend Powell.

Tenet's book is revisionist history. We will be seeing more of it from other Bushies.

Labels: , , , , ,

EFF Legal Guide For Bloggers

For those whom do not want to get internet legal advice from Tommy Duncan --- the Electronic Frontier Foundation has an excellent guide on legal issues bloggers may face.

What legal liability issues can arise from my blog?

Generally, you face the same liability issues as anyone making a publication available to the public, and receive the same freedom of speech and press protections. The main legal liability issues include:

Intellectual Property (Copyright/Trademark)
Trade Secret
Right of Publicity
Publication of Private Facts
Intrusion into Seclusion

"Publication of private facts" covers school teacher Kate publishing a private email a parent sent her about a student medical condition. Kate ran the post on her blog and Sticks of Fire. Which is (poorly) edited by Tommy Duncan. There is also the matter of Rachel Moran's Sticks post about her intentions to seek out homeless people and assault them on video. Someone please explain to me why the St. Petersburg Times interviewed Tommy Duncan about internet laws?

Duncan told the Times he is worried about anonymous commenters. I explained before how bloggers can not be held accountable for commenters under the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Duncan is worried about snarky anonymous commenters using internet handles of local celebrities. Openly discussing assault or Kate's violation of the Family Education Rights And Privacy Act.

Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):

School officials with legitimate educational interest;

Other schools to which a student is transferring;

Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;

Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;

Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;

Accrediting organizations;

To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;

Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and

State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.

Kate has no legal ground to publish that email. That didn't stop Tommy Duncan from letting Kate publish it on Bill Sharpe's his blog.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation explains how bloggers could break privacy laws.

Intrusion into seclusion occurs when you intrude upon the solitude or seclusion of another person or his private affairs or concerns, if the intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person. It generally comes up in the context of paparazzi photographing celebrities, but covers any reasonable expectation of privacy that is intruded upon. If the person intruded upon gave you consent to do it - i.e., gave you permission to take his picture or write about him - then you have a defense against this claim. Interception of an electronic communication (i.e., an email or IM chat) can raise additional legal issues, such as federal wiretap laws.

Strangely, the EFF does not mention anonymous commenters pretending to be local celebrities as a potential lawsuit possibility. Apparently, they haven't consulted with legal scholar Tommy Duncan.

Labels: , ,

Second Time Is Not the Charm

John McCain announced he was running for President on April 25th. Don't feel bad if you didn't hear about this. Neither did I and I follow the news. The funny thing is McCain already announced he was officially running on February 28th.

I'm anxiously awaiting his next announcement, of running for President, two months from now.


:: Naked Brunch: Oh, my achin' ... ::

It's been a busy week for me, ending with Relay for Life. Our team walked 15-miles from 7 PM Friday night to 7 AM Saturday morning. We raised, altogether, $68,000 for the ACS. I came home yesterday morning, after having gone out to breakfast with the group, I came home and crashed - HARD! I'm still exhausted. I've decided I'm too old to stay up all night .... walking. My calves are killing me. (I need a massage badly, from the waist down to help restore my ATP-derived hydrogen ions. Super ouch.) Regardless, it was worth it, if just for the little 9-year old girl that was there going through chemo. Nine years old. I encourage you to participate. As ever, there is ongoing research attempting to offer cures for cancer, one of which is a cancer vaccine.

I have pretty much missed the entire week of news. I somewhat believe it isn't much different than a soap opera. You can miss the episodes for a while and catch up pretty easily. In that vein, let's see what's been goin' on. But, first.......I'm going to go make myself a 4-cheese omelet with some sliced ripe Bosc Pear and red Grapes and organic Arabica bean coffee. Be right back........ oh, yum! Delicious!!

Robert Dowling has a new offering: The Obsession Continues

3 Quarks Daily gives us Lee Iacocas new book, "Where have all the leaders gone?" Go read the excerpt. Just for that alone, its' worth buying.

Acephalous hilarious misunderstanding: Jack London's Swanson Dinner

Gaddafi thinks the world should listen to him on Darfur. As if. On the other hand, Bush has probably been listening if the actions of the US are any indication of our inaction.

Atlantic Free Monthly on their own prediction of the housing slump considering Treasury Secretary Paulson's sunny forecast.

Sex Czar fucks paid women without condoms? Hypocrite. Think Progress has more on the DC Madam's List.

Jill of Brilliant at Breakfast was up way early on a Sunday morn finding us some awesome vid tunes.

Burnt Orange Report on voting in Texas: "I did it because I'm Republican." So, you are admitting to a party bias of suppressing votes?

Empire Burlesque asks for your attention and support of Arthur Silber: Once Upon a Time

FP Passport: X-Presidents (check out the photo)

Jesus' General's inner Frenchman needs some love (and music appreciation classes.)

Marked Hoosier's got himself a Doggie Fan!

Mousemusings: The guy that makes the most sense (and who has a conscience) is often the one most ignored.

Norwegianity curses.

P! on Kucinich and Mike Gravel and Tenet on Cheney & Iraq.

Pushing Rope has video of Mike Gravel.

TOXICITY: Well-deserved, I say.

Fetishists high-heeled shoe and the full-length glove....

Straight White Guy and newborns.

Josh Marshall on Dick Durbin's lack of insight.

Texas Kaos on the Anti-Abortion Terrorism Suspect Arrested in Austin

The American Street on Bush's pre-mature ejaculation evacuation.

The Anonymous Liberal on justifying the Iraq invasion.

Over at the Carpetbagger Report, immigration is Satan's fault. Why am I thinking Jesus' General would be all over this?

The Rude Pundit: Count Guiliani

Carbon Vacuums Cool!

Why are 82 inmates cleared of any terrorism acts or associations still being held at Guantanamo? Cripes!

Protesters demand Bush's impachment while he speechifies immigration plans and Cuba at Florida college. Who the hell cares what the speech was about. He's impotent anyway you look at it.

The RBC concludes that Obama crushed Hillary and I've got to agree.

Corpus Mmothra: President Al Goldstein as First Bottom

A Softer World: Can I get me one of those? It's a great way to end this post.


PS - Rip's too busy to post. Guess why? I hope he isn't too busy for tonight's Decompression Chamber.

tag: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Buying the War

Bill Moyers covers the journalism community's failures to question the Bush administration about prewar Iraq intelligence.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Task Force to Meet on District 13

There is movement by Congress to investigate the District 13 election mess.

Just got a message from the spokesman for Rep. Charles Gonzalez, D-Texas, announcing the next meeting of the 13th Congressional Task Force in Washington is set for next week.

That comes just a day after they said they would wait to respect Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, D-Calif., who died Sunday after a bout with cancer. She was the chairwoman of the House Administration committee, which created the task force Gonzalez is leading. Millender-McDonald's funeral is set for Monday.

This isn't going to change the outcome. Vern Buchanan will keep the seat. Christine Jennings will have a good shot if she runs against him. (Which I'm sure she will) What the investigation needs to do is find the numerous mistakes that were made and document them in a detailed report.

Sarasota County was a perfect storm of fuck-ups. There was Kathy Dent's incompetence, bad ballot design and Election Systems & Software voting machine problems. Absolutely everything went wrong. To say the huge undervote was just people turned off by nasty politics is utter nonsense and should be treated as such.

Labels: , ,

Quote of the Day

“I remember watching and thinking, ‘As if you needed me to say ‘slam dunk’ to convince you to go to war with Iraq.’”

Former CIA Director George Tenet on the Bush administration.

Labels: , ,

Blog Around

Jon Swift - Day By Day's Chris Muir Gives Hillary a Blackface Makeover

FLA Politcs - FL Dems to GOP: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

William F. Buckley - The Waning of the GOP

Feministing - White Girls Giving Gang Signs

Creative Loafing - Will Big Media Bury Us

Crablaw - How Fascism Starts


Mike Gravel

Mike Gravel was the most entertaining and straight forward candidate in the first Democrat presidential debate. People should be aware of his accomplishments in the Senate.

In 1971, Gravel played a key role in the release of the Pentagon Papers — a large collection of secret government documents pertaining to the Vietnam War — which were made public by former Defense Department analyst Daniel Ellsberg. Gravel inserted 4,100 pages of the Papers into the Congressional Record of his Senate Subcommittee on Buildings and Grounds. These pages were later issued by the Beacon Press as the "Senator Gravel Edition" — the most complete edition of the Pentagon Papers to be published. The "Gravel Edition" was edited and annotated by Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, and included an additional volume of analytical articles on the origins and progress of the war, also edited by Chomsky and Zinn.

Also in 1971, Gravel embarked on a one-man filibuster against legislation renewing the military draft. Using various parliamentary maneuvers, Gravel was able to block the bill for five months before President Richard Nixon and Senate Republicans agreed to allow the draft to expire in 1973.

Six months before US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's secret mission to the People's Republic of China in July 1971, Gravel introduced legislation to recognize and normalize relations with the PRC.

I still hate his support for a national sales tax.


Randall Tobias Resigns

Via Mustang Bobby. Deputy Secretary of State Randall L. Tobias is looking for a new job.

Deputy Secretary of State Randall L. Tobias submitted his resignation Friday, one day after confirming to ABC News that he had been a customer of a Washington, D.C. escort service whose owner has been charged by federal prosecutors with running a prostitution operation.

That first paragraph just screams family values.

The U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Randall Tobias has responded by saying that the US HIV prevention message could be characterised as 'ABC', which stands for Abstain, Be faithful, use Condoms, in that order. However, he has also commented that "statistics show that condoms really have not been very effective".

Looks like someone forgot the A in his ABC. He doesn't score well on B.

Reached by telephone, Tobias' wife, Marianne, said Tobias was not available and she could not comment on whether his departure was related to the escort service.
"I'm very sorry, but I cannot make any comment," Marianne Tobias said.

Anyone want a wager on if Tobias truly doesn't believe condoms are effective when getting "massages"?


Senator Reid's Emergency Petition: Support Our Troops And Bring Them Home, Mr. Bush

Senator "Give-'em-hell Harry" Reid asks everyone to sign his emergency petition to George Bush:

Dear President Bush,

Our troops are in the middle of an endless Iraqi civil war. That’s why a majority of Americans, a bipartisan majority in Congress and the Iraq Study Group believe that this war cannot be won militarily and the current path is not sustainable.

Both the House and Senate have passed a Supplemental Appropriations Bill that fully funds our troops and provides a plan to responsibly end the war. A veto will deny our troops the resources they need, and send exactly the wrong message to Iraq’s political leaders. After more than four years of a failed policy, it’s time for us to change course.

Spurious George's mantra would appear to be nah-nah-nah-I'm-not-listening, which fact does not portend well for this appropriations bill. Sure, only 28% of Americans approve of his modus operandi, but he's not listening, get it? That said, it is important to keep pushing for reform and then recording these contrarian little pissfests of his even when it seems hopeless, because the sum total of his subversions, evasions, and underminings shows the enormity of his utter contempt for the will of the American people. And because, when you think about it, enough such demonstrated contempt--coupled with the growing Vesuvius of concrete proof that Bush's cassus belli consisted of nothing more than a wobbly stack of lies and manufactured evidence--means it's conceivable that viable impeachment charges may yet be brought against this Administration. Barring that, the more times we have him on record as having turned his back on the troops, as well as the American people who want them home now, the more obvious and actionable Bush's incompetence, malfeasance, and illegitimacy become, even to some of the dyed-in-the-wool die-hards. Go sign the petition now!

Also at litbrit.

Friday, April 27, 2007

More Charges Filed On Abbate

14 charges have been added to the indictmewnt against disgraced Chicago police officer Anthony Abbate. He is the police officer caught on video assaulting bartender Karolina Obrycka.

The charges, filed Thursday, include seven counts of official misconduct, one count of communicating with a witness, three counts of intimidation and three counts of conspiracy, Cook County State's Attorney's office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said.

The communicating with a witness, intimidation and conspiracy charges stem from two people known as Patty and Gary attempting to bribe Obrycka into silence. The owner of Jesse's Shortstop Inn Tavern was threatened with having drugs planted in his establishment. There was a coordinated effort to silence Obrycka.

NBC5 has photos of Patty and Gary attempting to bride Obrycka.

What made matters worse was Abbate was still charged with a single misdemeanor charge. The video tape and police intimidation stories forced the state attorney's office to drop the misdemeanor and charge him with a felony. Chicago Police Superintendent Philip J. Cline stepped down because of the lack of control over his own officers.

The barroom beatings by Chicago police officers is a widespread problem. Abbate's brother Terry was caught on video in a fight with another officer. Six officers have been stripped of police powers for a fight with four men at Jefferson Tap and Grille. A lawsuit as been filed against the officers. These incidents have shown a deep culture of corruption in Chicago law enforcement.

Labels: , ,

Quote of the Day

"Instead of reinforcing the important proposition -- defined by the Iraq Study Group-- that a military strategy for Iraq is necessary but not sufficient to solve the myriad political problems of that country, Reid has mistakenly argued that the military effort is lost but a diplomatic-political strategy can still succeed."

David Broder

Two points.

1. If Broder actually thinks the Bush administration is following the guidelines set forth by the Iraq Study Group then he is as delusional everyone inside the Beltway believes he is.

2. Reid didn't mistakenly argue anything. There is no military option for America in Iraq. There is a civil war between the Sunnis and Shi‘ites. There is no way militarily to make these people want to live in peace with each other. For Broder to argue that the military option is still viable is foolish.

Broder also compares Reid to Alberto Gonzales. Harry Reid's approval rating in the Harris Interactive survey is up from this time last year. Senate leaders usually have low approval ratings. Reid's 22 percent is still better than Dick Cheney's approval rating. Democrats in Congress are polling at 35 percent. Congressional Republicans are at 22 percent. Reid as Senate Majority leader deserves credit for helping Democrats poll better than the GOP.

For Broder to compare Reid to Gonzales is bizarre. Reid is in in solid standing with his party. Republicans are publicly asking Gonzales to resign. No one questions Reid keeping his job. Getting in a verbal sparing match with Dick Cheney does zero damage to Reid. In fact, it helps him with the Democratic base. Cheney's base of support is nearly nonexistent.

Glenn Greenwald give a perfect example of Broder's hypocrisy. The pundit felt that Bill Clinton should have resigned for lying about the Monica Lewinsky affair.

Washington, D.C.: Mr Broder, if you feel Karl Rove is owed an apology from the pundits and writers over Valerie Plame, did you also call for an apology to the Clintons after Ken Starr, the Whitewater investigation and the failed attempt to impeach President Clinton? If not, why not?

David S. Broder: As best, I can recall,I did not call for such an apology. My view, for whatever it is worth long after the dust has settled on Monica, was that when President Clinton admitted he had lied to his Cabinet and his closest assoc, to say nothing of the public, that the honorable thing was for him to have resigned and turned over the office to Vice President Gore. I think history would have been very different had he done that.

In the same online chat, Broder is asked if Bush and Cheney should resign for lying about bogus links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Broder's answer is truly amazing.

David S. Broder: I think if you want to disqualify as lying everyone in government who believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, you would empty not only the White House but most of Capitol Hill. I think the way to do that is through election, not mass resignation. Resignations seem appropriate to me when individual responsibility is clear and unique.

Apparently, Broder doesn't read the stories in his own paper about the White House using false intelligence and overstating the threat to sell the Iraq invasion to the public. Broder was one of the columnists cheering the war on. The great thing about being an op-ed writer is they never have to worried about getting fired. Bill Kristol got hire to Time and I be hard-pressed to think of when he was ever right about Iraq.

Labels: , , , ,

Joel Award Winner: Laura Bush

It is time to give another Joel Award.

Joel Award: when a journalist, blogger or public figure makes a dishonest flip-flopping statement. The award was named after a blogger who lied about defending a fellow Sticks of Fire blogger for planning to beat homeless people on video. Joel did defend the blogger. The award is meant to hold people accountable for their blatant and morally bankrupt dishonesty.

Laura Bush has this exchange on The Today Show about Iraq.

MS. CURRY: I also asked Mrs. Bush about other challenges her husband is facing.

(To Mrs. Bush.) You know the American people are suffering watching --

MRS. BUSH: Oh, I know that very much. And believe me, no one suffers more than their president and I do when we watch this, and certainly the commander in chief, who has asked our military to go into harm's way.

George and Laura sat down for an interview with People late last year. The President did not sound like a man suffering.

People's interviewer also mentioned that readers had asked if he takes sleep aids. Bush said generally not, but he does occasionally when he travels.

“I must tell you, I'm sleeping a lot better than people would assume,” he said.

Bush added, "I've got so much on my mind, and this job is so exciting that it's really hard to settle down and plan the next 10 years of our life."

Laura Bush said her husband was bothered by Iraq. The People interview showed a man enjoying his job and bragging about how well he is sleeping. Laura Bush sat next to him when her husband said these things. Hardly the words of a man tortured about Iraq. For this Laura Bush wins the Joel Award.

Americablog has video of Mrs. Bush on The Today Show.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Florida Needs Clean Paper Ballot Bill

Via Kenneth Quinnell: BeTheMedia at Daily Kos has sent out an URGENT ACTION ALERT.

Tell the Governor:

Congrats to you, Governor Crist, on your PAPER BALLOT plan to reform Florida’s voting systems. Floridians are fed up being a national laughingstock and the rest of the country is cheering Florida on to get this right. Now is the time for the LEGISLATURE to pass a CLEAN BILL in support of your plan – free from political baggage – and IMPLEMENT meaningful PAPER BALLOT voting system reform – fully effective for the 2008 Presidential election.

BeTheMedia is also asking people to email state senators. THe best bill is SB 2242 by Jeremy Ring. Other bills are entrusting the voting machine makers. That is a horrible idea after the District 13 fiasco.

Labels: , ,

Jason Roe and Jack Abramoff

The Jack Abramoff scandal may spell an end to Jason Roe's career. He is a former Tom Feeney aide. He was hired to work on the Mitt Romney campaign.

Jason Roe, who functioned as the campaign's top daily operating officer, told campaign officials today that he planned to leave.

It's is rather odd to recently get hired by a campaign and suddenly leave. It does make sense when looked through the filter of the Abramoff scandal.

Roe was hired by the campaign after serving as chief of staff to Rep. Tom Feeney since 2003. He has also managed several congressional races. On Monday, the St. Petersburg Times reported that FBI agents had asked Feeney about a 2003 golfing trip with convicted ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The Times also reported that the FBI asked the newspaper to turn over an e-mail Roe sent to the paper. The e-mail's contents, according to the paper, included the sentence: "Any assertion that this office knew Abramoff paid for the Scotland trip is a g--d----- lie."

The Roe story, in the St Petersburg Times, was posted the same day has the Hotline article. Roe gave no indication that he was quitting the Romney campaign. The Times and Orlando Sentinel both goes public with being contacted by the FBI. Roe announces the same day that he is leaving the campaign and was planning on doing so for quite some time.

Columnist Scott Maxwell was asked by the FBI of an email Roe sent him. Besides people who read PowerLine and Instapundit as the gospel truth, does anyone believe the Romney campaign would want to keep Roe around?

In related news: Tom Feeney tells a major fib.

But Feeney denied having any kind of relationship with Abramoff.

“There’s no relationship,” he said flatly.

This from a Congressman who went golfing on Abramoff's dime and was a regular at Signatures. Abramoff also donated $1,000 to Feeney in 2003. Feeney has an odd concept of "no relationship." Abramoff has gotten pass first base no Feeney a long time ago. He is more than happy to share the details with the FBI.

Feeney is among those who might be nervous over the ex-lobbyist's chatter, said the knowledgeable lawyer. The third-term congressman reported accepting $5,643 for the golfing trip and wrote a check to the U.S. Treasury in that amount last January when the House ethics committee found it encroached on rules barring travel with lobbyists.

However, Feeney, Abramoff and others, including transportation committee aide Zachares, flew home in a luxurious Gulfstream V private jet, the lawyer said, and Feeney's check understated the true cost of the trip.

Like Feeney said, "There’s no relationship." Besides golfing trips, campaign contributions, dining at Abramoff's restaurant and sharing private jets.

Labels: , , ,

Gore Still Not Running

Sine.qua.non has the latest results of several recent presidential polls. She is still pulling for Al Gore. The former Vice-President is getting irritated with being asked about plans to run.

Former Vice President Al Gore says he’s still not planning to run for president. That’s how he put it last night at the opening of the Tribeca Film Festival when I suggested that he was just waiting and watching Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama battle it out until September when he, Gore, would jump into the race.

Gore narrowed his eyes and looked straight at me. “I’m not planning to do that,” he said.

And what about rumors of Gore for President groups starting to mobilize?

“Oh, that,” he said, rolling his eyes. He didn’t quite say, 'That’s not true.' He came close, but it wasn’t a total denial.

I would love to see Gore run. The Hillary camp would have a fit. It be fun to see her fundraisers jump on the Gore campaign. I wouldn't shed a tear.


Karl Rove's Disrespect for Hatch Act

Karl Rove and the White House need to brush up on the Hatch Act.

The Hatch Act restricts the political activity of executive branch employees of the federal government, District of Columbia government and some state and local employees who work in connection with federally funded programs.

The Office of Special Counsel is investigating 20 private briefings. Karl Rove conducted one such briefing at the General Services Administration. Rove briefed GSA staffers on GOP candidates that were vulnerable and targeted Democrats.

"Politicization of departments and agencies is a serious issue. We need to know more about these and other briefings," said Chairman Henry Waxman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

There are criminal penaties for using nonpartisan federal agencies for political gain under the Hatch Act.

Except as permitted by subsection (b) hereof, whoever, being an officer or employee of the executive branch of the United States Government, or of any independent agency of the United States, a Federal Reserve bank director, officer, or employee, or an officer or employee of the District of Columbia, including a special Government employee, participates personally and substantially as a Government officer or employee, through decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, the rendering of advice, investigation, or otherwise, in a judicial or other proceeding, application, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, controversy, charge, accusation, arrest, or other particular matter in which, to his knowledge, he, his spouse, minor child, general partner, organization in which he is serving as officer, director, trustee, general partner or employee, or any person or organization with whom he is negotiating or has any arrangement concerning prospective employment, has a financial interest - Shall be subject to the penalties set forth in section 216 of this title.

The White House is busted on this. They aren't trying to deny the meetings. Their strategy is to downplay them and that little thing called breaking the law.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said that he was not familiar with the details of the briefings for other agencies, but that the projected fate of specific candidates was "certainly" discussed. He also said that in addition to the 20 briefings given in 2006-2007, "there were others throughout the last six years," making clear that this was a common Bush administration practice during each election cycle.

Stanzel said that Rove "occasionally spoke to political appointees at departments and agencies" but that his presentations were more "off the cuff" and were meant to convey "their importance to advancing the president's agenda."

These "off the cuff" meetings were also held with Environmental Protection Agency, Veterans Affairs, Department of Transportation, NASA, Housing and Urban Development, Office of Science, Technology Policy and several more. This was a wide spread plan by Rove to politize federal angencies. The damage is what we saw happen to the Juctice Department. There was a movement at the DoJ to hire 150 Regent University School of Law graduates. The school was founded by Pat Robertson and has the distinction of being the worst rated tire four law school in the nation. Many graduates have a problem passing the bar exam.

2004 - 52.5%

2002 - 48.4%

2001- 43.9%

The loyalists the Bushies placed throughout government are Michael Brown-level incompetents. They will be around long after Bush leaves the White House. The next President needs to clean house.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has put online the slides Scott Jennings was using to brief the different agencies. One must ask what the midterm election has to do with NASA's mission of space exploration? Was Rove worried about the GOP GOTV movement on Mars?

Labels: , , ,

Florida Marlins Get $60 Million In Tax Dollars

The Florida Marlins are the winners. The losers is Florida taxpayers.

The bill to give the Florida Marlins $60-million for a new stadium passed the House by a 86-24 vote, despite opposition from some Democrats who viewed it as another corporate give-out. The bill, sponsored by Carlos Lopez-Cantera, would provide $2-million a year in sales tax rebate for 30 years - the same benefit currently enjoyed by other pro teams in Florida.

Dennis Coates and Brad Humphreys of the Cato Institute did a study on the the economic impact a major league baseball team has on the community. They found that the lease amount the Senators would pay would actually decrease with inflation. Taypayers would be forced to make up the difference to pay for stadium upkeep. Money spent buying food, clothing and parking would be spent in the D.C. community. Instead, the money profits the team without helping smaller mom & pop businesses.

Sports stadiums equal tax increases for the local community. Building a new sports area is money out of the pockets of taypayers. Politicians will say differently. If they told the truth people would be in revolt.

Finally, a "ballpark fee" will be imposed on the largest corporations in D.C. Whether it is a surcharge or an increase in the corporate income tax rate, this so-called fee is a tax increase, pure and simple. Moreover, this tax will fall on D.C. residents if they happen to be owners or employees of the affected businesses, or if they purchase the goods or services produced by those businesses. Thus, claiming that D.C. residents will not feel the burden of this corporate tax increase is disingenuous. Corporations do not pay taxes, people do. Whether it is in the form of lower wages for workers, lower asset values for corporate owners, or higher prices for cunsumers of the goods and services those companies provide, this tax increase will touch D.C. residents some way.

Republicans in the Florida House bitch about budgeting more money to meet the class-size amendment requirements. They don't flinch about a tax giveaway for for-profit sports franchase. It says much about where their true priorities are.

Labels: ,

Full Frontal Feminism

"Covering a range of topics, including pop culture, health, reproductive rights, violence, education, relationships, and more, Valenti provides young women a primer on why feminism matters."-- from the Publisher

Congratulations to accomplished feminist blogger Jessica Valenti on the publication of her book, Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide To Why Feminism Matters (read her Salon interview here).

Until fairly recently, I had lived in an isolated part of Florida; beyond my family, the only female friends I knew were other mothers whom I'd see before and after school. From what I gathered during our brief conversations, women my age and younger were consumed with enormous amounts of work and numerous worries, the issue of womens' rights oftentimes least among them, if indeed among them at all. I worried that we'd eventually, inevitably, lose our collective fighting spirit and become docile and accepting, even as women's rights are subtly eroding beneath our feet, which process is aided and abetted by the very officials--legislative and judicial alike--we pay to protect our rights.

But then I moved to the city and got to know some actual young feminists besides myself (and by young, I mean early twenties to my age, which is medium-young. Ahem.) They have plenty of fighting spirit; they care about retaining and regaining reproductive rights and fighting the rising tide of violence against women; next year, they say, they will vote for pro-women candidates.

I should add that there are the many wonderful feminist blogs restoring my faith these days, including Ms. Valenti's smart Feministing.

I look forward to reading and recommending the book.

Also at litbrit.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Possible No Confidence Vote For Gonzales

Senate Democrats are considering holding a nonbinding vote of no confidence on Alberto Gonzales. Politically, it is a good move. Republicans will be screwed either way they vote. Vote for the incompetent Gonzales or express no confidence and risk angering the base. Conservatives hate Gonzales. Republicans (except Orrin Hatch) will most likely vote against the Attorney General.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

North Dakota Passes Abortion Ban

The North Dakota legislature passed a bill that is awaiting Governor John Hoeven's signature. The bill would ban abortion if the Supreme Court decides states can make their own abortion laws. The bill would only allow abortions in cases of incest and rape. There are conflicting news articles on if abortions will be allowed to protect to woman's life.

In related news: Ronda Storms' anti-abortion bill will be voted on the Senate floor. Fortunately, the language of having DNA tests of fetuses has been strickened from the bill.

The bill will have a guardian ad litem appointed to each girl. The good news is the bill makes it mandatory for the courts to tell girls they have the right to court-appointed legal council.

Judges will have to factor these issues in granting the parent notification waiver.

1. The minor's:

a. Age.

b. Overall intelligence.

c. Emotional stability.

d. Credibility and demeanor as a witness.

e. Ability to accept responsibility.

f. Ability to assess the future consequences of her

g. Ability to understand and explain the medical consequences of terminating her pregnancy and to apply that understanding to her decision.

How exactly is a minor's age factored into the waiver decision is not explained? Ditto demeanor. This would be laughable if the consequences weren't so important. The bill's language tells me Storms doesn't give a damn about these girls. She could have least come up with more credible concerns for judges to look into.

I'm bothered by how Storms wants judges to explain "medical consequences" to young woman. Judges went to law school. Not medical school. They should have no roll in giving medical guidance to teenage girls.

Labels: , ,

Quote of the Day

"I'm not going to get into a name-calling match with somebody who has a 9 percent approval rating."

Harry Reid response to attacks from Dick Cheney.

Hat tip to Liberal Avenger.

Labels: ,

Obama's Foreign Policy Speech

Barack Obama gives his first major foreign policy speech. Obama shows why he has better instincts than other presidential candidates.

We now know how badly this Administration squandered that opportunity. In 2002, I stated my opposition to the war in Iraq, not only because it was an unnecessary diversion from the struggle against the terrorists who attacked us on September 11th, but also because it was based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the threats that 9/11 brought to light. I believed then, and believe now, that it was based on old ideologies and outdated strategies – a determination to fight a 21st century struggle with a 20th century mindset.

There is no doubt that the mistakes of the past six years have made our current task more difficult. World opinion has turned against us. And after all the lives lost and the billions of dollars spent, many Americans may find it tempting to turn inward, and cede our claim of leadership in world affairs.

I insist, however, that such an abandonment of our leadership is a mistake we must not make. America cannot meet the threats of this century alone, but the world cannot meet them without America. We must neither retreat from the world nor try to bully it into submission – we must lead the world, by deed and example.

The neoconservatives were overstating the Soviet Union nuclear stockpile in Team B. They didn't learn anything from their past mistakes. They used them as a blueprint for the Office of Special Plans. This is the Cold War thinking Obama is speaking of.

My problems with the Iraq invasion were the same as Obama. Iraq was easily defeated during Desert Storm. I just never saw the country as a major national security threat. The bogus links to Osama bin Laden were never believable. It made no sense to fight bin Laden in Iraq when the terrorist leader was still on the loose somewhere in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

The Bush administration used weapons of mass destruction as a justification for invading Iraq. Which makes their hostility towards weapons inspections all the more hypocritical. Obama wishes to change that thinking.

We must lead by building a 21st century military to ensure the security of our people and advance the security of all people. We must lead by marshalling a global effort to stop the spread of the world’s most dangerous weapons. We must lead by building and strengthening the partnerships and alliances necessary to meet our common challenges and defeat our common threats.

Obama foreign policy goals.

1. Responsible end to this war in Iraq

2. Building 21st century military - adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army and 27,000 Marines.

3. Global effort to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

There are still about 50 tons of highly enriched uranium – some of it poorly secured – at civilian nuclear facilities in over forty countries around the world. In the former Soviet Union, there are still about 15,000 to 16,000 nuclear weapons and stockpiles of uranium and plutonium capable of making another 40,000 weapons scattered across 11 time zones. And people have already been caught trying to smuggle nuclear materials to sell them on the black market.

Obama also touched on world hunger and global warming. His foreign policy view is to lift people out of poverty. A noble goal, but I'm not sure Congress will grant him the economic aid he wants. I'm curious if debt relief is on the table. Obama sees fighting poverty has a way to combat the spread of terrorism.

They operate freely in the disaffected communities and disconnected corners of our interconnected world – the impoverished, weak and ungoverned states that have become the most fertile breeding grounds for transnational threats like terror and pandemic disease and the smuggling of deadly weapons.

Some of these terrorist recruits may have always been destined to take the path they did – accepting a tragically warped view of their religion in which God rewards the killing of innocents. But millions of young men and women have not.

It's a bold vision and certainly better than Hillary Clinton saying she voted to give Bush to power to authorize war on Iraq because she believes presidents should have that power. That isn't a foreign policy vision. That is a woman too used to the trappings of power.


Jessica Lynch Opening Statement

Jessica Lynch testifies in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. What is a testiment to Lynch is that is was in her best interest to maintain her myth. Instead, she debunked it.

“I am still confused as to why they chose to lie and tried to make me a legend when the real heroics of my fellow soldiers that day were, in fact, legendary,” said Ms. Lynch, dressed in a brown pantsuit and speaking softly but firmly into the microphone as more than 12 photographers clicked away in front of her.

Because the Bush administration has been committed to creating a fantasy-based narrative since the start of the war. Telling the truth is something alien to them. Lynch was less a person than a propaganda tool to them.

Labels: ,

Latest Dumb Idea From Florida Senate

This is the most stupid idea to come out of Florida politics in quite sometime.

A Florida lawmaker wants voters to have a guaranteed alternative to all the candidates on future ballots: "I Choose Not to Vote."

State Sen. Michael Bennett, R-Bradenton, has introduced a bill that would require every contest on a ballot to include that as an option.

Bennett introduced the bill in the wake of the controversial District 13 congressional race, where more than 18,000 ballots were cast in Sarasota County with no candidate selected. The large number of "undervotes" prompted claims of voting machine malfunction, and Democrat Christine Jennings challenged her 369-vote loss to Republican Vern Buchanan. A U.S. House of Representatives task force is investigating the election.

There is no evidence that the undervote was caused by voter apathy. There are ugly political races across the country. Those races did not produce an 18,000 undervote.

Election Systems & Software knew their voting machines were having problems.

"It has come to our attention after a number of inquiries...that some of your screens are exhibiting slow response times...We have determined that the delayed response time is a result of a smoothing filter that was added...In some cases, the time lapse on these consistent reads is beyond the normal time a voter would expect."

ES&S handled the District 13 controversy by not disclosing their problems and put out a misleading press release.

"ES&S was not present during the election, so it would be inappropriate to speculate on the situation," spokeswoman Jill Freidman-Wilson said. "However, we have been in contact with the Supervisor of Elections who has emphasized that the voting equipment functioned well.

"The touch screen system used in Sarasota County provides unlimited opportunity for a voter to make and change selections before a ballot is cast. Therefore, according to the Supervisor of Elections, undervotes were a result of an intentional choice not to make a selection in the congressional race or unintentional omission of a selection."

There is ample evidence the machines did not work properly. There is none that 18,000 voters decided not to vote in a Congressional race. Bennett's proposal is pure wingnuttery and unneeded. Voters don't have to vote in every race on the ballot.

Labels: ,

Florida Receives F In Child Abuse

First Star released a report grading the quality of legal representation abused child receive. Florida received a failing F grade. This is another black eye for the state.

The Marissa Amora case is a classic example of how the rights of children are not properly protected. If the DCF responded to the warning signs the girl would not need medical attention from permanent injuries. A girl with an unexplained broken collarbone should not have been put back in the same home.

Related: National Juvenile Defender Center On Florida Juvenile Courts


Meet Representative #3

Tom Feeney is known as "Representative #3" in FBI documents. Feeney told the media he is "not a target" of a criminal investigation. Feeney does need to explain the company he keeps.

Feeney went to Scotland on a trip paid for by convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Mark Zachares was also part of the trip. Zachares recently pleaded guilty to conspiracy. He accepted "tens of thousands" in gifts from Abramoff.

What is more curious is that the FBI has contacted the Orlando Sentinel and St Petersburg Times about information on Feeney.

Federal agents also have asked the St. Petersburg Times for an email sent to the newspaper by Feeney's office describing a golfing trip the congressman took with Abramoff to Scotland in 2003.


Last week, an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation contacted an Orlando Sentinel reporter, seeking information about ties that Feeney and a former member of his staff had with Abramoff.

The agent did not return calls seeking comment Monday.

Charlotte Hall, editor for the Orlando Sentinel, said in a statement Monday that the paper had not received a subpoena and did not have "a firm understanding of what the FBI is looking for."

"We have referred the matter to our attorney," she said.

If Feeney is not being investigated than why is the FBI taking such an interest in him? Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell wrote, "It's not every day the FBI comes asking for my notes and records. But an agent did so just last week -- wanting whatever I could give him about Tom Feeney and Jack Abramoff. He wanted e-mail, maybe notes as well, from as far back as two years ago."

Feeney may not be a target (yet), but now would be a good time to retain a high-powered lawyer.

Labels: , , ,

Who Will Get Shitcanned First

Agitprop is running a poll to see if readers think Paul Wolfowitz or Alberto Gonzales will get fired first. My money is on the Wolfman.

Labels: ,

Blogs Will Not Replace the Media

Why do conservative bloggers continue to believe they will replace the media. Case in point is Jim Johnson. He explains how bloggers and Youtube will fill the void created by people like Rupert Murdoch buying up newspapers, television and radio stations.

You see, the power that Kelly, Kate, Robert, and I all have is the one thing the big media companies can not take away. As Big Media chases the almighty dollar, as they cut staff left and right, as their advertising revenue disappears to the Internet (thank you Google). As they fail to understand the changes around them. They will falter.

And people like Kelly, Kate, Robert, and I will be there to take their place. We can and will offer the world more voices, more choices. Big Media may hold tight to the dying media platforms. But technology has advanced to the point that anyone … and I do mean anyone… can join the ranks of the media.

Blogs. Podcasts. Vlogs. YouTube videos. And much more. These are the future of media. And there is virtually nothing that NewsCorp, ClearChannel, Entercom, Disney, NBC-Univesal, Viacom, or AOL Time Warner can do about it.

No one reads the bloggers Jim mentions. Kate does take time out to abuse her status as a teacher and publish emails from a parent.

No one reads blogs besides other bloggers. People need to get fresh sources of information. Very few bloggers are actually reporters. The media is imperfect, but still a vital source of information.

I touched on how the internet's influence is overrated. Go and read that post.

Bad Polling News For Hillary

Interesting polling news: Hillary Clinton's aproval rating in New York has dropped to 50 percent in the Sienna College poll. It is the lowest her approval rating has been in her home state in the past two years. Rudy Giuliani has pulled within 5 percent with New York voters.

Barack Obama is tied with Hillary at 32 percent in the Rasmussen poll. John Edwards is polling at 17 percent.

Obama is viewed by 59 percent as favorable. That is in contrast to Hillary's 50 percent favorable rating. The problem in both polls is that the more people see Hillary the less they like her. Clinton is not as invincible as her campaign has been trying to project. If people in New York are cooling on her how is she going to win America over.

Labels: , ,

Wolfowitz Fights On

Paul Wolfowitz has no intention of resigning from the World Bank. He has hired the legal council of Robert Bennett. Wolfowitz and Bennett intend to make their case to the World Bank that Wolfowitz should remain. Both are prepared for the worst.

He said Wolfowitz would not resign and said he had not been hired to negotiate a termination agreement for the embattled bank president, the former U.S. deputy defense secretary and architect of the invasion of Iraq.

President Bush has expressed confidence in Wolfowitz. Which is never a good sign in situations like this. Meanwhile, the list of people who want Wolfowitz out grows.

In an open letter to the Financial Times newspaper, 42 former World Bank officials, including several Vice Presidents, say Mr Wolfowitz has lost the trust and respect of staff at all levels and he must quit to help preserve the Bank's reputation.

Wolfowitz only got the World Bank job because Bush had to get him out of the Pentagon for screwing up Iraq so badly.

Labels: , ,

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Right Goes After Harry Reid

The Right is going after Harry Reid for saying the Iraq war is loss. Bill Kristol is going after Reid's scalp on Fox News

Kristol: What Harry Reid said is much more disgraceful than anything Trent Lott said, and I do think Democrats should ask Harry Reid to step down.

Juan Williams: Brit [Hume] says it’s ‘laughable,’ you say it’s a ‘disgrace.’ I think what he said is the truth. I mean, it’s unavoidable,” Williams said. “Most Americans think we should have never gone in there, so he’s speaking in a voice that represents the majority of the American people.

Brad Delong laid out the 4 planks of the neoconservative movement.

That the Soviet Union was winning the Cold War, which the west needed to heat up and wage it with harsher methods--nuclear weapons, aircraft carriers, and death squads rather than limp-wristed Carter-Ford focus on international economic prosperity, democratization, and human rights.

That Likud should be encouraged to drive Palestinians into their existing homeland of Jordan as soon as practicable.

That taxes should be cut, (military) spending raised, and budgets balanced--and that anyone who pointed out that this didn't add up needed to be shouted down.


That African-Americans got too easy a ride in modern America, and needed to be made poorer and less powerful.

Bill Kristol should stay away from the Trent Lott comparisons. Why are people still listening to what he has to say about Iraq? He has been wrong for so long. It's amazing the news talk shows will allow him to continue to come on.

Reid fired back at the attacks from the White House.

In his remarks, Reid criticized Bush and called Vice President Dick Cheney the president's "chief attack dog," lacking in credibility.

He likened the president to Lyndon Johnson, saying the former president ordered troop escalations in Vietnam in an attempt "to save his political legacy," only to watch U.S. casualties climb steadily.

Bush, he said, "is the only person who fails to face this war's reality — and that failure is devastating not just for Iraq's future, but for ours."

The Lyndon Johnson comparison is apt. Bush is putting his selfish needs over that of America.

Labels: , , , ,

More Dana Perino

It's a Dana Perino day at Pushing Rope. Plus, she is really getting on my nerves. She is asked if Congress should have a voice about Iraq. Perino uses the question as an opportunity to attack Harry Reid and Americans against the war.

One thing that concerned me today is I heard that Senator Reid said that the President is in denial about the war. And I think that any quick glance in the mirror would show him that he's in denial on several things -- that Senator Reid is.

First of all, he's in denial about the enemy that we face. This is a vicious and brutal enemy that wants to kill innocent men, women and children of Iraq, people who enjoy and love freedom, and that includes Americans. So it's not in our long-term national security interests in order to not deal with this enemy now.

Secondly, he's in denial about the conflict that we are in, how al Qaeda is inciting sectarian violence. He is in denial about the new Baghdad security plan and the new changes that we've implemented in al Anbar province. He's also in denial that a surrender date he thinks is a good idea. It is not a good idea. It is defeat. It is a death sentence for the millions of Iraqis who voted for a constitution, who voted for a government, who voted for a free and democratic society.

We all want the Iraqis to move faster, to do more and to do it faster, in terms of their political reconciliations. But they're just not ready to do it yet. And Americans are not the type that walk away in times of hardship. To leave people in Iraq flailing and defenseless against an enemy who is determined to kill them. And withdrawal is like crying "uncle," it's giving up. And I can assure you they are diluting themselves if they think that offering a surrender date is in the long-term strategic interests of this country. It is not.

Perino cites no evidence that Reid does not understand that terrorists are vicious. It is a long-used talking point that no longer packs punch. The Bushies are viewed by Americans as clueless about Iraq.

Perino calls a timetable a "surrender date." That rhetoric would pack more punch if the White House actually had a winning strategy. They don't. That is why they go after people who disagree with them so aggressively. It's the only trick in their bag and they are going to keep using it.

The most troubling part of Perino's statement.

We all want the Iraqis to move faster, to do more and to do it faster, in terms of their political reconciliations. But they're just not ready to do it yet.

Then what is the point? There has never been a sense of urgency by the White House to get the Sunnis and Shites to sit down and work out their differences. The surge is pointless if the two ethnic factions continue to engage in civil war.

Labels: ,

Dana Perino Defends Gonzo

Dana Perino's explanation for President Bush's increased confidence in Alberto Gonzales in mind-blowing.

Q There were about 64 variations, according to some accounts in the media, 64 variations of "I don't recall," "I don't remember. So what about that testimony in which he said "I don't recall," some variation, 64 times, that made the President say he now has increased confidence in the Attorney General?

MS. PERINO: Look, Ed, I think that you had testimony that lasted I don't know how many hours, over seven hours, and so many of those questions were repeated over and over. And the Attorney General, who is an honorable and honest man answered truthfully. And I think that's all that we can ask of any public servant or any of us in this room.

Perino's reasoning is that Gonzales was asked the same questions too many times. She avoids dealing the the subject of Gonzales's faulty memory. That's not good spinning. Just a lame excuse about the performance of an Attorney General who had a month to prepare for his testimony. Perino also fails to explain what was it about Gonzales's performance that gave Bush greater confidence.

Even Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee didn't feel Gonzales was truthful. Any other administration would have fired Gonzales by now.

Labels: , , ,

Living In Iraq

Lara Logan of 60 Minutes does a report on what Iraqis go through day to day. Children see insurgents killing people. A father sometimes can not even take his children to school because of the dangers and military roadblocks.

Labels: ,

Crist Considers Warford

Former Florida public schools chancellor Jim Warford lays into Jeb Bush.

Mr. Warford said former Gov. Bush's A-Plus Plus plan requiring eighth-graders to pick a major was "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic" and would do little to solve the problems that keep so many high-schoolers from graduating.

He has criticized the state's "relentless focus on the FCAT" and said it is "intellectually indefensible" to take children out of public schools and put them into charter schools that have little oversight.

He lamented that Gov. Bush focused on the "low-hanging fruit" of improving standardized scores in elementary grades while skating over harder-to-fix problems in high schools.

Overall, Mr. Warford described Gov. Bush's view of education this way: "If your only tool is a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail, and that's been their approach."

Charlie Crist is considering Warford for education commissioner. This is a strong sign Crist is moving away from Bush's education policies. Which explains why John Winn quit as education commissioner. Winn was picked for the job by Bush.

Crist's firing T. Willard Fair and Phil Handy from the Board of Education was another sign that Crist doesn't support Bush's education policies or appointees. The fact he is considering hiring someone so outspoken against Bush says much.

Labels: , ,

Obama and Richardson on Iraq

Barack Obama and Bill Richardson state their positions on Iraq for Democracy For America. Both presidential candidates support pulling troops out of Iraq.

Labels: , ,

Tom Feeney Now Sorry About Golfing In Scotland

Tom Feeney was recently interviewed by the FBI about his visit to Royal & Ancient Golf Club. Convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff paid for the trip. Feeney's office put out this press release.

"Rep. Feeney considers this an embarrassing episode in his 17-year career as an elected official and an expensive lesson for him as a public servant," according to the statement.

That is rather humble of Feeney. He was publicly flaunting his relationship with Abramoff after the lobbyist became a lightning rod for controversy. Feeney kept dining at Abramoff's restaurant Signatures.

Feeney had to pay the U.S. Treasury $5,643 for his Scotland golf trip. The entire trip cost over $160,000. Abramoff spent tons of cash to make Feeney feel comfortable.

The other two Congressmen who Abramoff has taken to golf in Scotland are Tom Delay and Bob Ney. Delay has been indicted. Ney has been convicted of corruption charges stemming from in relationship with Abramoff.

Labels: , , ,