Friday, September 29, 2006

House Leadership Sits on Foley Info 10-11 Months

Another Republican pervert bites the dust.

According to the AP report, House leadership knew as long as 10-11 months ago of inappropriate e-mail exchanges between Foley and a 16 year old page, and did NOTHING.

From Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo:

Here's the key passage from the AP article ...

"The page worked for Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La., who said Friday that when he learned of the e-mail exchanges 10 to 11 months ago, he called the teen's parents. Alexander told the Ruston Daily Leader, "We also notified the House leadership that there might be a potential problem," a reference to the House's Republican leaders."

I assume that passage doesn't need much unpacking. But let's do it anyway.
So Rep. Alexander knew about this 10 or 11 months ago. And he says he notified the House leadership. That means Hastert and (at the time) either Tom DeLay or Rep. Blunt (R-MO). We don't know it was either of those three men yet. But that's what Alexander means when he says he "notified the House leadership." They're the House leadership.

If I'm understanding this correctly, that means that the leaders of the House Republican caucus have known for almost a year that a member of their caucus was having cybersex with an underage congressional page. And apparently they did nothing about it.

I think this story is about to get a lot bigger.

Their inaction is criminal and downright pathetic. Foley was the chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children.

Wal-Mart Voter Education May Backfire

Wal-Mart has begun a voter education program that is a thinly disguised attempt to steer employees to vote Republican. Many feel pressured and may vote Democratic instead. From Lisa Featherstone at The Nation:

In other Wal-Mart news, the company is trying to counter its political troubles -- from site fights to "Fair Share" laws to living wage ordinances -- through "voter education" within its own workforce. Of course the company insists that the information it's giving workers is nonpartisan, but in fact, very few of the politicians that publicly criticize the company are Republican, and the company is clearly responding to recent attacks by Democrats hoping to rally their base. A Wal-Mart department manager -- who wished to remain anonymous -- told me the other day that it might backfire. "Oh, of course they want us to vote Republican," she explains, "but you know, I have been talking to some associates and just the mere fact that Wal-Mart is trying to coerce them... is making them vote the other way."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

N.Y. Post Jests About Terrorist Threat

Keith Olbermann was the recipient of a letter containing a white powder yesterday. The incident, which is still under investigation by the FBI, was flippantly reported in an account riddled with error in today's New York Post:


September 27, 2006 -- MSNBC loudmouth Keith Olbermann flipped out when he opened his home mail yesterday. The acerbic host of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" was terrified when he opened a suspicious-looking letter with a California postmark and a batch of white powder poured out. A note inside warned Olbermann, who's a frequent critic of President Bush's policies, that it was payback for some of his on-air shtick. The caustic commentator panicked and frantically called 911 at about 12:30 a.m., sources told The Post's Philip Messing. An NYPD HazMat unit rushed to Olbermann's pad on Central Park South, but preliminary tests indicated the substance was harmless soap powder. However, that wasn't enough to satisfy Olbermann, who insisted on a checkup. He asked to be taken to St. Luke's Hospital, where doctors looked him over and sent him home. Whether they gave him a lollipop on the way out isn't known. Olbermann had no comment.

On tonight's Countdown broadcast Olbermann disputes this telling of the event, and questions how the N.Y. Post was able to learn of the incident.

"It's interesting too that Murdoch's paper was able to get a jump on this story so quickly -- nearly as quickly, as if they'd known it was coming."

The FBI has asked that details of the threat to Olbermann not be revealed pending investigation.

Olbermann reminds us in his comments this evening, that NBC along with other news outlets, had complied with a request from Fox News to downplay the recent kidnapping of a Fox reporter and photographer. Their safe return may have been partly the result of the kidnappers not realizing that their targets had face recognition.

N.Y. Post and Fox Network are both owned by Rupert Murdoch, whose media outlets are slanted and biased to present the agenda of the Republican Reich.

Minimum Wage and the Caste System

The conservative fight against increasing the minimum wage shows their disdain for the working class, as evidenced by this study from the Employment Policies Institute. Part of their rationale for not raising the minimum wage says:

-- 86% of employees that will benefit from the hike either live with their parents, are part of a dual earning household, or don’t have a family to support...

This does not take into account that:

  • A student living at home, and trying to finance a college degree is facing huge increases in tuition, books and transportation expenses during the last ten years.
  • A dual earning household of low wage earners is still struggling just to put food on the table, a roof over the head and other basic expenses which increase each year.
  • Single people who earn the minimum wage cannot support themselves on $206 per week.

If the conservatives are against a living wage, they should give back their own gains in salary and perks from the last ten years, and it should go to homeless shelters to help the dispossessed.

The Forbes list of the 400 richest people in the U.S. was released recently. " This year, for the first time, everyone on The Forbes 400 has at least $1 billion. The collective net worth of the nation’s wealthiest climbed $120 billion, to $1.25 trillion." From the MSNBC report:

1. William Henry Gates III: $53 billion

2. Warren Edward Buffett: $46 billion

3. Sheldon Adelson: $20.5 billion

4. Lawrence Joseph Ellison: $19.5 billion

5. Paul Gardner Allen: $16 billion

6. Jim C Walton: $15.7 billion

7. Christy Walton & family: $15.6 billion

7. S Robson Walton: $15.6 billion

9. Michael Dell: $15.5 billion

9. Alice L Walton: $15.5 billion

The Walton family alone are sitting on a pot of gold totaling more than $60 billion dollars, while they systematically dismantle the fabric of the small business community in every town where they are allowed to do business. They thwart their employees attempts to unionize and pay them low wages and benefits. Wal-Mart is now the largest employer in the state of Missouri. Most of their employees make more than the minimum wage, but many do not have full-time positions and do not have benefits.

We are creating a caste system of workers who must take jobs with low wages and no benefits. This caste system is being fueled by the millions of economic refugees flooding across our southern borders who are willing to work for a low wage, with no shortage of businesses willing to hire them to improve their bottom line. Our manufacturing jobs have been sent to China, and now we buy low wage goods produced by people who make 10-30 cents per hour and labor 12-14 hours a day as virtual slaves.

We need to raise the minimum wage now, and restore the esteem for the working class. A system where the rich get richer while standing on the backs of the poor should not be tolerated.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Keith Olbermann Kicks Butt

I'm too cheap to pay for expanded cable, so I don't get MSNBC. Just recently I've been clicking on links leading me to expanded comments by Keith Olbermann the anchor of Countdown.

He provides such an eloquent and impassioned progressive voice, I wish he were on a network that gets more viewers. His analysis of the aftermath of the Clinton/Wallace interview just kicked the butt of Bush and the NeoCons who thwarted Clinton at every turn, and did NOTHING to stop Bin Ladin and terrorist organizations after they finessed the election of a GOP Pinocchio to the presidency.

We need a news channel solely dedicated to the progressive/liberal viewpoint, with people like Olbermann on center stage, to counterbalance the malignancy that is FOX News.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Afghanistan Lost to Jihadists

From Newsweek, the Oct 2 issue has a long article on the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan. They alternately refer to it as "Jihadistan" and an emerging narco-state.

Of particular interest is the Cover photo, which in Europe, Asia and Latin America features a Taliban fighter with a rocket launcher and the caption LOSING AFGHANISTAN. The U.S. version features a benign cover of Annie Liebovitz.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Bush Licks Bottom of Clinton's Shoe

Breaking News:

President Bush invited former President Bill Clinton to lunch at the White House yesterday.

During a stroll in the rose garden, where they chatted about the global warming crisis, a black cloud materialized overhead and God struck George Bush with a small thunderbolt and spoke to him in a clear, resonant voice. All nearby attendants and secret service agents were witness to the remarkable event.

God instructed Bush to lick the bottom of Clinton's shoe as an act of contrition for installing the minions of Satan as advisors (Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld), and loosing the dogs of Hell (Savage, Hannity, Coulter, Malkin) upon the American public.

As further punishment, for waging a war of agression on the basis of fabricated intelligence, the Lord fashioned a belt of thorns from the roses for Bush to wear fastened around his thigh for the remainder of his term in office.

Then, a small knotted whip dropped from the cloud, which was accompanied by a letter written on parchment and addressed to Laura Bush. In summary, she was instructed to give George 40 lashes each evening before bedtime, while he recited the names of the 3,000 U.S. military troops sacrificed in this illicit war.

Furthermore, the letter continued, Bush was to light a candle each morning for the rest of his life, in remembrance of the 30,000 plus nameless Iraqi civilians needlessly slaughtered.

The Lord asked Bush why he had invited the moneychangers into the temple of government, instead of making needed reforms. He assured him that the Pearly Gates would be closed to him, if he did not chart a different course and publicly confess his subterfuge.

A cold wind arose suddenly and rose petals swirled around the garden. As the wind subsided, the cloud was gone leaving Bush with a stunned look on his face and a rose petal stuck to his nose.

During a press conference later, that afternoon, Tony Snow announced that the White House dog would be sent to the ranch in Crawford, and that the First Lady would be choosing several cats from local shelters to be installed as First Pets.

The alarm went off, and I woke up with a startled blink of the eyes. It was just a dream. But a small, still voice was whispering--vote blue, vote blue, vote blue.

Betty B.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Fox News Interviews President Clinton

Think Progress has the full transcript of the taped Chris Wallace interview with President Bill Clinton to be aired Sunday on Fox News.

The focus was to be his fund raising efforts to combat the global warming crisis, but Wallace shifted to an accusatory query about why the Clinton administration did not get Bin Laden, repeating the misinformation in the Path to 9/11 movie recently aired on ABC.

Clinton set the record straight in no uncertain terms. Made my day.

Media Matters Holds Bill O'Reilly's Feet To The Fire

Bill O'Reilly's new book Culture Warrior hits the stores September 25, but don't rush out to buy it. Instead, read the lengthy review by the staff of Media Matters, who have ably dissected every fallacious statement.

Bill O. has an acrimonious history with the Media Matters crew, and had boasted that his publisher denied their request for a review copy. Being a crafty and resourceful group, they manifested their copy and chewed it up.

The book purports to "expose the secular-progressive movement in our country for exactly what it is, to explain why it is so harmful for America, and to identify the movement's top leaders..."

I always felt the abandonment of the word liberal was silly. The wacko, perverts like Bill (the story of) O. will just use whatever subsitute word we choose and attack it.

Strangely enough, Bill characterizes himself as an independent, and has two conservatives on his list--Ann Coulter and Michael Savage, admittedly the wackiest of the right-wing personalities.
Ann Coulter has been a guest on the "Factor," but Bill refuses to invite Media Matters, despite their repeated requests to appear.

Nation Analyzes Telecom Giveaway Bill

The Nation has a look at the issue of net neutrality and the telecom bill that will restructure the internet, which if passed would extract fees from net users for activities that are currently free and unregulated.

Despite growing opposition, Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens appears determined to pass his telecom giveaway bill this year. But, if Stevens and his pals in the telecom and cable industries prevail, writes Jeffrey Chester in a new Nation online exclusive, expect the free flow of online content to be replaced by corporate infotainment like Anheuser-Busch's lowbrow broadband Bud TV.

Stevens is using his considerable political clout to get at least sixty senators to agree to bring the flawed measure to the floor. Stevens has acknowledged that his rewrite of the 1934 Communications Act now faces an uphill battle, primarily due to the controversy generated by public-interest groups over network neutrality, the guiding principle of the Internet, which guarantees all users have equal access to content and services.

Read the entire article written by Jeffrey Chester here.

Wal-Mart's $4 Plan Has Double Silver Lining

Wal-Mart announced a plan to offer a long list of generic drugs at the low cost of $4 beginning with a test market in Florida. The TV news coverage has focused mostly on Mr. & Mrs. Average American, talking about how much they will save. Generic drugs generally retail at $10-$30.

It is unclear if Wal-Mart has negotiated a lower price with it's suppliers, or if this is a loss leader to clean up it's tarnished image and bring more customers to it's pharmacies.

Little attention has been paid to the effect this will have on Wal-Mart's competitors. Many independent pharmacies, who are hanging on by a thread, will likely suffer from this move if it is instituted across the country.

The Washington Post reports immediate repercussions for chain pharmacies:

Wal-Mart's announcement roiled the retail drug industry. Shares of Walgreen Co. and CVS Corp., two large drugstore companies, fell more than 7 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

The end result of such a program could be to drive the majority of pharmacy competitors out of business, thus making Wal-Mart the supreme retailer. Has a nice ring, doesn't it?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Kansas Attorney General Memo Outlines Plan For Church Involvement In Campaign

From Talk To Action, a memo from Kansas Republican Attorney General Phill Kline to his re-election campaign staff was recently leaked to the press. The memo details how they are to work with church groups and pastors to steer church goers to campaign receptions following church services, and instructions on getting church members involved in various aspects of his campaign. Tips on getting around IRS restrictions are outlined. Please go to the Talk To Action report for a link to the text of the original memo.

The memo was publicized in a press release from the Interfaith Alliance:

Immediate Release

The Interfaith Alliance
September 12, 2006
Contact: Don Parker, 202.639.6370, ext. 111
Kansas Attorney General Advises Churches to Skirt the Law
Washington, September 12 – In response to a leaked memo from Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline to his re-election campaign staff, detailing a strategy for collecting money and volunteer support from churches, pastors, and church members, The Interfaith Alliance released the following statements from the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the nonpartisan grassroots organization, and from Michael Bayouth, chair of Wichita MAINstream, an Affiliate of The Interfaith Alliance:
A "church effort" memo from Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline has outlined one of the most blatant and aggressive strategies to use religion in a political campaign that I have ever seen. As the senior pastor of a Baptist congregation in Louisiana myself, I can assure you this outrageous elaboration of a campaign strategy for involving churches in a partisan electoral effort offends me beyond measure and evokes from me the strongest level of condemnation. The candidate admits that churches that show his campaign video must not deny opposing candidates an opportunity to show their own videos but coyly tells churches that they do not have to invite other candidates to visit with them. Counsel on how to get away with being politically partisan in a house of worship raises serious ethical, legal and spiritual questions. Kline demonstrates no reticence about manipulating houses of worship—indeed he calls for the organization of "church lay committees" to win votes—or about jeopardizing the reputations and legal standing of religious leaders, some of whom he cites by name, and the houses of worship in which they minister. This memo also raises questions about whether the chief law enforcement officer of Kansas takes a wink-wink, nod-nod view of the law. I also think that this memo would raise as many concerns about legality for the IRS as it does about spirituality for those of us concerned about the integrity of religion in relation to politics.
C. Welton Gaddy
The Interfaith Alliance
This memo affords a blatant disregard for the integrity of the separation of religion and government by one of our highest elected officials. Kline's strategy toys with the tax-exempt status of churches for his own political ambitions, with little consideration for the church, religion, people of faith."
Michael Bayouth,
Chair of Wichita MAINstream, an Affiliate of The Interfaith Alliance
The Interfaith Alliance (TIA) is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to promoting the positive and healing role of religion in the life of the nation and challenging those who manipulate religion to promote a narrow, divisive agenda. With more than 185,000 members drawn from more than 75 faith traditions and 75 local activist groups throughout America, TIA promotes compassion, civility and mutual respect for human dignity in our increasingly diverse society.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Let America Vote Act

From - pass it on.

BLOGGED BY Brad ON 9/19/2006 12:41PM

Every Registered American Voter Must Be Allowed to Vote This November!

Given this year's primary election meltdowns and train wrecks that we've been reporting since March 7th of this year, in which electronic voting machines have failed to start up and thousands of American voters have been turned away from the polls when they came to vote, but couldn't…
Given the fact that one such meltdown occurred last Tuesday in Maryland, where many of the DC media and politicos live…
Given VelvetRevolution's new Princeton Diebold Virus Hack report demonstrating conclusively that electronic voting machines may be hacked in a minute's time resulting in flipped elections without a trace left behind…
Giving that American democracy and the right to vote in that democracy ought to be a beacon to the world…
It is NOW time for Emergency Paper Ballot Legislation to be brought and passed immediately by both houses of the U.S. Congress, in order to at least mitigate the coming train wreck this November 7th.
Call it the Let America Vote Act (LAVA) of 2006…Let democracy flow!
The legislation can, and should be, as short as a single paragraph so that it can be read and passed quickly by every U.S. Congress member. It can apply only to this November's general election, if that is needed to get it passed and signed quickly.
It should read something like this…

Emergency paper ballots shall be made available at every voting jurisdiction in the United States during the November 7th, 2006 General Election. These paper ballots shall be available in sufficient numbers for optional use by voters who prefer to use them, and by all voters in the event of voting machine failure or unavailability. These paper ballots are not to be provisional ballots, but regular paper ballots that shall be counted immediately upon the close of polls on election night along with all other votes cast by properly registered voters.

Note: At this point, I don't give a damn how the Emergency Paper Ballots will be counted; by hand, by optical scanner, whatever. So long as voters are not disenfranchised by the millions — as thousands have already been so far in this year's primary elections across the country — by showing up to the polling place only to be told they can't vote at all, or by being told they must vote provisionally (provisional ballots are not counted on election night, and frequently not at all) because the new voting machines are broken or otherwise unavailable.
States such as Texas, Arkansas and other have already had to do this this year when Secretaries of State put out emergency notices to Elections Administrators to create such Emergency Paper Ballots after the voting machine companies failed to provide programmed ballots or working machines.
All states are already required by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to have such paper ballots available at every polling place as Provisional Ballots, so those can be copied NOW if need be for use as Emergency Paper Ballots (which is better than the scraps of paper some counties reportedly have tried to use in emergency situations so far this year!)
BOTTOM LINE: With the passage of this Emergency Legislation, at least properly registered American citizens will be able to vote on Election Day if they choose to!
Feel free to call it the "Hail Mary Emergency Election Protection Act" if you want. I don't much care, so long as it's passed by Congress in time to ensure that voters can actually vote this November!
I've spoken with a number of people on the Hill and within the Election Integrity movement…scientists, activists, politicians, in DC and around the country, and they have all been in favor of this legislation and have pledged their support.
I am attemping to find sponsorship for this bill in Congress, and I'm calling on all Election Integrity organizations and concerned citizens who may have better connections than I to help find such Congressional sponsorship immediately.
I am calling on these same people to then call on Congress to pass this legislation immediately!
I am hoping to have an official version/wording of the bill posted shortly. It will, of course, be available as a new item here at The BRAD BLOG no later than tomorrow. It will spell out, in official "bill-like" language, precisely what I've posted above.
Democracy is at stake. After at least two years of reporting in exhaustive details on these matters, and at this late stage of the game, I believe the above "reform" is, unfortunately, the most we can likely hope for in time to have any real impact in mitigating a full-on train wreck during this November's crucial excercise of the rite of democracy.
Please forward this item to everybody you know, cross-post it or link to it as you see fit (this is the URL:…And please contact your Congress person and ask them to support and/or sponsor this initiative today!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Bush Hobnobs With Hate Radio Hosts

From Media Matters:

President Bush summoned several hate radio talk show hosts to the White House this past Friday for a 90 minute off-the-record chat. According to Neil Boortz, " the subject matter ranged through domestic policy, immigration, the war on terror, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Jordan. President Bush talked of the leaders of countries ranging from Great Britain to China to Japan to Iran."

Also in attendance were Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Mike Gallagher and Michael Medved. Rush Limbaugh was invited, but was unable to attend.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
"Though he said this session was supposed to be off the record, Gallagher described it at some length, including Bush’s observation to the right-wing radio jocks that the War on Terror has to be about right versus wrong, “because if it’s about Christianity versus Islam, we’ll lose."

These hate-mongers are the key mouthpieces for presenting the radical right agenda in a manner that would be officially inappropriate. During a campaign period, with the GOP dominance of congress hanging in the balance, this little chat will motivate them to new lows in whipping up their brainwashed listeners.

KOLR News at 11 Misleads on Voter ID

KOLR News had misleading information concerning the law requiring photo ID for voters, recently struck down by the court. Hopefully, they will correct this information for future broadcasts. Below is a copy of my e-mail to them, and their reply to me stating the information was from the Dept of Revenue.

Their official statement gives the impression that the voter still needs a photo ID to vote.

Your News today at 11 had misleading information about the photo ID for voters.

Since the voter ID has been struck down, all the voter needs is their voter registration card to present at the polling place, as usual.

Your broadcast stated that the state would now charge $11 for a photo ID for voter registration. That $11 fee would be for a non-drivers photo ID card, that the state of Missouri issues to non-drivers for identification should they desire one.

Please clarify the information on your broadcast for those already confused about this matter

KOLR replied to my e-mail :

Hello,We checked our information, and this comes directly from the Missouri Dept. ofRevenue. Thanks for watching.PVD

Here is the information from the Department of Revenue web site:

For Immediate ReleaseDate: September 15, 2006Contact: Maura BrowningPhone: (573) 751-8222
Court's Order Forces Department of Revenue to Suspend Photo ID Work
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Department of Revenue is suspending its implementation of the Missouri Voter Protection Act, as required by Thursday’s Court Order issued by the Cole County Circuit Court. Effective on Monday, non-driver licenses for voting purposes will cost $11 at contract offices, and the Department is temporarily suspending mobile unit visits to nursing homes, senior centers, and other facilities.
Director Trish Vincent has contacted the Attorney General, requesting that the Court amend its Judgment to permit free non-driver licenses for voting purposes and mobile unit visits pending appeal. Should that occur, the Department is ready to immediately restart mobile visits and issue non-driver licenses for voting purposes at no cost.
“I am disappointed that the Court’s Order is so broad that it enjoins ‘all employees’ of the state -- including Revenue’s -- from implementing this good law,” said Director Trish Vincent. “We have citizens eagerly awaiting mobile unit visits who will be disappointed and inconvenienced. I hope we will soon be permitted to continue our important work pending appeal.”
Before the Court’s Order, the Department had issued 2,074 free non-driver licenses for voting purposes. Sixty-six confirmed visits to nursing homes and other facilities are on hold due to the Court’s Order.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Those Satanic Baptists

There is ongoing coverage at The Turner Report on the series of charges involving ritual sexual abuse brought against several members of the Grand Valley Independent Baptist Church and the Grandview Baptist Church North, located in Newton and McDonald Counties in SW Missouri. Charged are Rev. George Otis Johnston, Johnston's nephew Rev. Raymond Lambert, his wife Patty Lambert and her brothers, Paul Epling and Tom Epling.

Neighbors report that those charged have fled the state, and it remains to be seen if they will actually appear at upcoming court dates.

More information is available on an informational website at, and the Neosho Daily News has comments on their blog.

We moved to Springfield in 1955, and some time thereafter my parents conducted a search for a church home for our family. They decided on Grant Avenue Baptist Church, and my parents, my three sisters and I began attending regularly. After a year or so, a huge scandal erupted in which it was discovered that the very personable and handsome minister had been having intercourse with the young engaged women he had been counseling prior to their weddings. Many of the the young women were getting engagement rings while still in high school, with the wedding date scheduled the summer after graduation. Needless to say, the church was devastated. My family stopped attending along with many others.

I'm not sure about the exact timeline for these events, and do not recall if the minister faced criminal charges. Back in those days, it was common to blame the victim- a practice that, sadly, has not gone by the wayside completely.

Cover-up of such incidents is common within church organizations, the most notable example being the disgrace of Cardinal Bernard Law, formerly the bishop in the SW Missouri region, for covering up sexual abuse by priests and enabling their behavior by transferring them to other parishes. He should have been charged with this crime.

A comment by Mrs Thurston Howell on Chatter the other day reminded us that
"...the frequency of child abuse in SW MO was five times greater than the rest of the state!"

More information on child abuse in SW Missouri can be found on the Good Community web site.

Concerned child advocates, parents, educators and church leaders should come together in addressing abuse of children by adults who hold authoritative positions in churches, schools and other organizations, and those who commit these offenses should be sentenced to long terms in prison.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Claire 7, Talent 0

Claire scored a touchdown today in St. Louis. Her campaign bought 100 tickets for the Rams season opener and gave them away to students at Clyde C. Miller Career Academy High School, which garnered her a lot of press attention and a multitude of thanks. Her last minute purchase helped the game to a sellout, and as a result, it will be televised locally Sunday on KMOV-TV, Channel 4 in the St. Louis area.

Daily Kos has the story.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Repubicans Dig Deep for Dirt

How low will the GOP go in their quest for fuel to feed negative ad campaigns? With a large budget and the will to dig, the Republicans plan a flood of negative ads against Democratic candidates before the November election.

From the 9/10/06 Washington Post:
The National Republican Congressional Committee, which this year dispatched a half-dozen operatives to comb through tax, court and other records looking for damaging information on Democratic candidates, plans to spend more than 90 percent of its $50 million-plus advertising budget on what officials described as negative ads.

The KY3 Politcal Blog reported on a push poll being conducted in Lawrence County spreading lies and disinformation about conservative Democratic Rep. Charley Dake (#132). Dr. Dake is a well-liked and respected veterinarian, and it will be interesting to see if voters respond to such tactics, or if they will ignore the crapola and give him another term.

Homeland Insecurity

President Bush has said that he isn't concerned with finding Bin Laden, and the CIA unit dedicated to apprehending him has been disbanded. Reported in today's New York Times, our Homeland Security director tells us that Al Qaeda/Bin Laden want to bankrupt the country, therefore we can't protect ourselves against terrorists on the home front.

What about the estimated $2,000,000,000,000 (yes, that's trillion) dollars that the war in Iraq is currently estimated to eventually cost us? That would go a long way toward boosting our security at home, securing our ports under U.S. supervision and charting a course to energy independence, with enough left over to find Bin Laden and quell terrorist cells around the world.

Will the U.S. voters wake up, and refuse to send Republican incumbents back to Washington, or will they buy into this nonsense?

From Today's New York Times
WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 — Congress and the American public must accept that the government cannot protect every possible target against attack if it wants to avoid fulfilling Al Qaeda’s goal of bankrupting the nation, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told a Senate committee Tuesday.

Osama bin Laden, Mr. Chertoff said, has made it clear that scaring the United States into an unsustainable spending spree is one of his aims. In a 2004 video, Mr. bin Laden, the Qaeda leader, spoke of “bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy.”
“He understood that one tool he had in waging war against the United States was to drive us crazy, into bankruptcy, trying to defend ourselves against every conceivable threat,” Mr. Chertoff said at a hearing of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “We have to be realistic about what we expect and what we do. We do have limits, and we do have choices to make.”

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Eric Alterman Fired From MSNBC

After 10 years of penning the Altercation blog at MSNBC, Eric Alterman has been canned. He will move the Altercation blog to Media Matters beginning September 18.

From his blog yesterday, he speculates on reasons for his dismissal:

I have never even spoken with the Web site’s current editor-in-chief, nor has anyone communicated with me beyond my immediate circle of editors. Outspoken liberals in the MSM have long been an endangered species. (From the beginning, a Wall Street Journal editorial page writer attacked the site for "conferring mainstream legitimacy on Eric Alterman.”) Even less common, I suppose, are Web sites that feel free to criticize their corporate parents, the pollution they cause, the lying, incompetent, ideologically extremist and corrupt presidents they coddle, and perhaps most especially, the all-but incomprehensible choices they make when doling out cable TV news programs. It would surprise no one if this site caused some discomfort at 30 Rock, if and when they happen to notice it.

Alterman will continue to write for the Nation and the Center For American Progress. He is also professor of English at City University of New York.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Katie Couric, Rush Limbaugh, Free Speech and the Fairness Doctrine

As I tuned in last week to see Katie Couric in her new role as anchor on the CBS evening news, I was favorably impressed. She is skilled at doing interviews, and I like her more relaxed demeanor.

Watching Rush Limbaugh on the Free Speech segment, as he once again lambasted those who want to "cut and run" as unpatriotic, I pondered the decision to give air time to someone who daily spouts lies, half-truths and inaccuracies. Seldom does a dissenting caller get through on the Rush Limbaugh show, and if they do, their remarks are cut short and a derisive, hateful rant ensues, belittling them for disagreeing with the Rush party line.

Wasn't Dan Rather recently ushered out of the anchor chair because he and his team were accused of sloppy research on the evidence for Bush's failure to show up for his National Guard duty? Why do we not hold people like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter to the same exacting standards? If we did, they would be escorted out of the studio after utterance of the first sentence, and that would be that.

In my reading, recently I came across a reference to the Fairness Doctrine:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
The Fairness Doctrine is a former policy of the
United States's Federal Communications Commission. It required broadcast licensees to present controversial issues of public importance, and to present such issues in an honest, equal and balanced manner.

The Fairness doctrine was repealed during the Reagan adminstration, paving the way for sycophants like Limbaugh to take over the entire programming of radio stations (and now TV's Fox News Channel) with their sloppy, slanted and hate-filled rhetoric. Before that time, people like Coulter and Limbaugh had the right to spout their dishonest rhetoric, but they couldn't do it on the air waves in the way they do at present.

So it seems that the CBS news crew does not have to give inaccurate hate speech air time, and if we hold up Dan Rather's example they are bound not to or risk a swift boot out the door.

I'm not a journalist, so I don't know if I'm seeing this issue clearly. I would love to see Ron Davis or Andy Cline and his journalism students do a more informed and in-depth analysis.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Pakistan Flip Flops on Bin Laden Sanctuary

Pakistan says they will give Bin Laden sanctuary 9/5, then changes their tune 9/6, according to ABC News. Pakistan has withdrawn from areas of North Waziristan and given control to the Taliban and Al Quaeda terrorists. Pakistani forces have suffered defeats in this tribal area, so they have ceded the region to the Taliban in a "peace" agreement, despite accepting $3 billion (over the last five years) from the **future** U.S. taxpayer to conduct operations against terrorists in Pakistan.

The ruling Bush triumvirate, Cheney-Rove-Rumsfeld, are bankrupting the country with deficit spending on this fiasco of a war on "terror". When will the U.S. voter wake up and remove Republicans from control of the purse strings?

Do reports like this make you feel safer? Do you feel confident that your borders and ports have been made more secure? I think our money is being poured down a rat hole, and the rats are multiplying exponentially.

The voter has the power to send incumbent Republicans home in November. Will they put two and two together, and figure out that the U.S. taxpayer is being duped and robbed?

Daily Kos reports on the story here, and has the ABC and AP account here.

If he is in Pakistan, bin Laden "would not be taken into custody," Major General Shaukat Sultan Khan told ABC News in a telephone interview, "as long as one is being like a peaceful citizen." – ABC News, Sept. 5, 2006.

Pakistan Denies Bin Laden Gets a Pass
ABC News, September 06, 2006 6:20 AM
Brian Ross Reports:
The government of Pakistan today denied it would allow Osama bin Laden to avoid capture under terms of a peace agreement it signed with Taliban leaders in the country's North Waziristan area.

"If he is in Pakistan, today or any time later, he will be taken into custody and brought to justice," the Pakistani ambassador to the United States, Mahmud Ali Durrani, said in a statement.
The ambassador said a Pakistani military spokesman, Major General Shaukat Sultan, had been "grossly misquoted" when he told ABC News Tuesday that bin Laden would not be taken into custody "as long as one is being like a peaceful citizen." The comments were recorded in a telephone interview with ABC News.

Q. ABC News: If bin Laden or Zawahiri were there, they could stay?

A. Gen. Sultan: No one of that kind can stay. If someone is there he will have to surrender, he will have to live like a good citizen, his whereabouts, exit travel would be known to the authorities.

Q. ABC News: So, he wouldn't be taken into custody? He would stay there?

A. Gen. Sultan: No, as long as one is staying like a peaceful citizen, one would not be taken into custody. One has to stay like a peaceful citizen and not allowed to participate in any kind of terrorist activity.
General Sultan said today it was "hair splitting" to speculate whether troops would be sent in if bin Laden was found in North Waziristan.

"If someone is found there, we will see what is to be done," General Sultan said today. "Pakistan is committed to the war on terror, and of course we will go after any terrorist found to be operating here," he said.
Under the terms of the peace agreement, the Pakistani Army promised to cease action in the area and to return captured Taliban weapons and soldiers.
Former White House counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke, an ABC News consultant, said "What this means is that the Taliban and al Queida leadership have effectively carved out a sanctuary inside Pakistan."
General Sultan said today he "rejected" the idea that Pakistan had created a safe haven for terrorists.

Gen. John Abizaid, commander of the U.S. Central Command, said militants are using Pakistan as a base to infiltrate into Afghanistan, but he said the Pakistani government is not conspiring with them.
"I think that Pakistan has done an awful lot in going after al-Qaida and it's important that they don't let the Taliban groups be organized in the Pakistani side of the border," he said in Bagram, where the main U.S. military base in Afghanistan is located.
Abizaid said he does not believe accusations of collusion between Pakistan's government and the resurgent Taliban rebels or oth
er extremists.Miranshah: Pro Taliban militants and the Pakistani government signed a peace deal on Tuesday, according to Pakistani negotiators.
The militants said they would stop attacks in Pakistan and across the Afghan border on the condition that the Pakistani government stop air and ground operations in the Waziristan region and dismantle newly built checkposts.
People arrested during military operations will also be released under the agreement and confiscated property, including weapons, would be returned.
This is the best part of the deal:

The peace agreement means that there will be no more free movement for tribes to enter into Afghanistan.
"Except for trade, people will not be allowed to go to Afghanistan to launch attacks," said Nek Zaman, a member of the tribal council who is also a member of the Pakistani parliament.
I'm sure they all got a chuckle after "agreeing" on that part of the deal. With no Pakistani Army or checkpoints in the region, who is supposed to enforce that?
So was Abizaid lying, or was he blindsided by our supposed "allies" in Pakistan? And congratulations to Bush, who was just played the fool by Musharraf, who is cashing in U.S. checks to the tune of $3 billion over five years and was supposedly assisting US efforts on the "war on terror".

That's Bush's allies in action. He's allienated our real allies, and made friends with thugs and despots. Why would we expect anything less?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Good News For Heroin Addicts

The recent harvest of the opium poppy crop in Afghanistan was up 60% from last years total, reported in today's BuzzFlash editorial. The poppy harvest will translate to 610 tons of heroin (world demand is at 450 tons). Just reporting the good news for heroin addicts of the world. U.S. addicts will be particularly happy to have an alternative to the fentanyl-laced Mexican heroin which has been responsible for numerous deaths.

Now for the bad news. The opium trade is financing warlords and insurgents in Afghanistan, including the recently deposed Taliban, threatening the stability of the fragile democracy established at the expense of American lives and (mega)millions of our tax dollars.

Way to go Dubya. Mission accomplished?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Decider Farts for Fun

If you are wondering what, oh what, our Decider is doing while not vacationing, this may provide the answer.

By way of BuzzFlash the 8/20/06 U.S. News & World Report in a Washington insider piece by Paul Bedard:

Animal House in the West Wing

He loves to cuss, gets a jolly when a mountain biker wipes out trying to keep up with him, and now we're learning that the first frat boy loves flatulence jokes. A top insider let that slip when explaining why President Bush is paranoid around women, always worried about his behavior. But he's still a funny, earthy guy who, for example, can't get enough of fart jokes. He's also known to cut a few for laughs, especially when greeting new young aides, but forget about getting people to gas about that.

As an aside, Thank You, to for allowing me to listen to my one millionth erectile dysfuntion ad while scanning this piece.