On a final note tonight...

I am just so gushy happy that my hard-earned tax dollars - and yours - will be going not to protecting our ports or cities, but to protecting the well-heeled people who could afford tickets to the SuperBowl tomorrow.

Now the reason to spend tens of millions on extra security for an event where if you added up the IQ of all spectators and players might come out to oh.. about 82 (that's cumulative, not average) is why exactly? Thank you, I thought the reason was that specious. Now I know.

Rolling Eyes Ever Upward

Another terrorist alert for planes coming from Britain and France to the US, just like over Christmas. As you may recall, the European authorities all basically said the US security alert then was nonsense, that none of the leads panned out in any way (and a few alleged they were made up out of whole cloth on America's part), and just seemed to be a way to strong arm our air marshals onto their flights.

This must be why you can fly to London from NY for $99 right now. After all, the way to reward a staunch ally in the war on terror is to make people afraid to buy their products (including use their airlines). Rumor has it they didn't warn Mr. Blair (Mr. Bush's third puppy) that David Kay was about to say the Dictator Had No Clothes in regard to the WMD. From what I can tell, the WH won't be happy until the Brits hang Tony.

From the Karl Rove Management Seminar: The way to make your enemies really afraid of you is to show them how badly you treat your best allies.

Credit Where Due

Reading through Cursor.org brought me to a Timothy Noah article in Slate touching upon a subject I knew nothing about: that Jack Paar helped end the dreadful, hateful, miserable, Joe McCarthy-loving career of so-called newsman Walter Winchell.

While Jack was long gone by the time I came around and sometimes watched my mother watch The Tonight Show, that's a debt of gratitude I did not know until tonight that was owed. A tip of the hat to you, Mr. Paar. I wish we had more of you, considering how many O'Reillys, Coulters, and Rich Lowrys we have today.

Just One Not So Simple Question

If the WH has planned the GOP Convention in NY right near what was Ground Zero and as close to the anniversary date as possible to take full advantage of the moment and if Rudy Giuliani is indeed being seriously considered as a Cheney replacement (at least in name, since I doubt they'd flush Cheney out of the bunkers from which he commands), how can the WH and its people dare to block the 911 investigation so mightily?

How can they trod on the memory of the dead for their own selfish purposes when they will do nothing to determine exactly what went wrong? That, my friends, doesn't just take chutzpah. It takes... I'm not sure... but perhaps cold-blooded greed of an incalculable degree.

Post-Kay Fallout

Cursor.org does a better roundup of David Sanger's article in The New York Times related to David Kay's comments on lack of WMD and the WH's response to them than I managed to muster in an hour of sitting here.

Heart-Saddening Story

No More Mister Nice Blog today (1-31-04) details a story from a Monticello, NY paper regarding a 77-year-old woman struggling now and about to see the condition worsen considerably under Mr. Bush's forced-through Medicate plan. Read it and weep. Then resolve to get the people who pushed this through OUT of office in November.

The Real Reason We Attacked?

I'm sorry, but I find this story of one of Saddam's palaces being used to host a big SuperBowl party tomorrow to be disgusting on so many levels, I cannot begin to count. Since the day the first tank rolled into Iraq, we've used these palaces for photo ops that made us seem like shallow imperialists.

For the record, I don't believe our below-minimum wage soldiers are shallow imperialists. But I think the people who set the stage for this and then gave the OK for it suffer from a bad case of this and it has severely, perhaps irrevocably changed America's stature in the world's eyes.

Remember? We were going to give the palaces back to the people of Iraq who paid for them. But we haven't. We use them for Paul Bremer, and visiting American dignitaries, and visits from celebrities, and SuperBowl parties. I'm sure we're not going to pay the people of Iraq rent for our use of them either.

And another point...

Compare Judy Dean with this woman, oft ridiculed by a number of different blogs and many different people. Here's a woman who clearly got her job probably because of her well-placed husband's connection and when she finds time to actually do that job (write), she fills space with every bit of sad, schizoid minutae from raising four children (including a son she named Paris - I thought only Michael Jackson did that).

Here's a woman who would hate Judy Dean for no more reason than Mrs. Dean/Dr. Steinberg can balance thoughts in her head, a busy medical practice, being a mother, and making a sacrifice for more than herself.

I assume NRO only prints Ms. Gurdon because they want to point out how shallow a woman's life is supposed to be. But if I want one-dimensional human beings, I can turn on the TV. I choose not to, however.

Give me Judy Steinberg Dean in 3-D instead.

This Katha Pollitt piece

Read it and you can appreciate why I find Judy Steinberg Dean a refreshing alternative to the usual potential first lady. Refreshing is the word, too. She talks, dresses, and behaves like a classy regular American (just one who happened to finish med school and went on to run the medical practice she and her husband built alone once he entered politics).

She makes me like Howard even more as a candidate. She's also willing to give up a heck of a lot for us if her husband gets the Democratic nod and then wins the WH.

Imagine a First Lady who isn't just baggage.

Oh yes, we've been fortunate enough to have them before. But all these years after her death, they're still telling wild and perhaps untrue stories about Eleanor Roosevelt. Betty Ford and Rosalyn Carter both brought a great deal to the American experience, although they were forced into a quieter role. Hillary Clinton seemed to threaten people. Too bad.

Judy is awesome, and I suspect that's why she's drawn so much fire. Some people want to carve some huge wedge out between the American people and this intelligent, nice lady before they can warm to her. What nonsense!


is about to launch a drug information site designed to give residents information about buying cheaper drugs across the border into Canada. This is an interim bandaid; our answer is not to drive up drug prices to Canada (and they're being threatened with such by pharmaceutical companies) or force the poorer here to risk the wrath of Customs by importing.

WH Blocks 911 Panel from Obtaining Own Notes

The White House insists it wants a fair investigation into 9-11, then stonewalls, underfunds, under time-commits, and blatantly withholds. This Washington Post piece says now the WH won't even let members of the panel have access to their own notes.

Rather than let this be blown away or resorting to conspiracy theories that the WH was far more intimately involved with 9-11 because it allowed them to pull the crap they have, why not allow a free, balanced, decent investigation that Americans can trust? Instead, all they've done is defeat the "freedom" they talk about so often and fuel the conspiracy theorists.

Sad way

to wake up to the last day of January: Karzai in Afghanistan says the latest American attack there killed 10 civilians (and we hear almost nothing about casualties there anymore) plus 3 more American GIs are dead in Iraq (no work on civilians there).

Media Fairness: Clinton vs. Bush

From a panel before the United Auto Workers CAP Conference, former Clinton Aide Paul Begala, in response to a question from a UAW worker about whether Mr. Bush is getting such a free ride from the media:

    "Let me give you some statistics," responded panelist Paul Begala, "I worked for Bill Clinton in 1992 and …in anticipation of this very question, I looked this up on Nexis. There were 13,641 stories about Bill Clinton 'dodging the draft' …and there were 49 stories about Bush and the National Guard," Begala said.

Does anyone

find it slightly odd the California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger would say this to the local press corps?

    ...let's all work together. And please, continue selling my projects and selling my philosophy and various different things we're trying to get out there.

Bush "Military" Records

From Buzzflash, here's a link to a CompuServe users site with details about Mr. Bush's military record obtained via the Freedom of Information Act (Bush will repeal that next week).

NY Times

They featured two good articles (now yesterday) that you should catch.

One is from Robert Reich on the split in the Democratic Party between those who just want Bush out (NH primary votes would seem to indicate a fair number of GOPers would like to send George back to Crawford, too) and those who really want to change politics. I must admit that I fall into the latter category myself.

The other is from Paul Krugman, who notes that the man who was going to restore honor and integrity to the WH just doesn't seem to be accomplishing that mission. ::Slapping chest in deep and utter surprise::

George? He didn't bring back honor and integrity? But he brought equality! He's not screwing an intern... he's screwing all of us, and doesn't even stop at the borders of this country! Sarcasm mode off.

"Intelligence Probe Could be Risky for Bush"

Gee, you think? So apparently is any real, worthy probe of 9-11 or any of the other nonsense they've dragged us into under a veil of bullshit covering secrecy.

"Speak Out," she says

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg urges any American who is concerned about the curtailment of privacy and civil liberties in post-911 America to speak out loudly and often. Good for her.

Freedom of expression:use it or lose it to those who don't want you to have it.

No Iraq Probe, Zero Accountability

Mr. Bush won't endorse an investigation into the WMD/so-called intelligence failure. Isn't it time to stop having the foxes watching the hen house? Not that Condi doesn't make a nasty-faced little vixen...

Let the Poor Pay for Missiles in Space?

Since Mr. Bush is hell-bent to keep cutting taxes for the rich, I guess the rest of us will have to pay for the huge jump in space missile defense spending he wants.

Wait? Did you just ask why? Did you happen to suggest that most of the tests on what was known as Star Wars has shown it to be a collosal failure for all but the wallets of fat-cat military industrialists? Did you say, "Well, missiles in space would not have stopped anything that happened on 9-11?" Did you have the nerve to wonder, couldn't this money be spent better elsewhere, such as on health care to keep America healthier or for schools to educate the next generation who'll have to pay a LOT of Mr. Bush's debt?

The nerve of you!


UN Election Team

Word today that a United Nations election team may be in place in Iraq soon.

Forget Iraq - I want a UN election team in Florida in November! A stolen election is undemocratic wherever it takes place.

Georgia is Devolving

To use Katharine's phrase, "In the Giant Step Backwards for Mankind" Department, the state of Georgia is considering whether to completely eliminate the term evolution from their science texts.

In related news, Georgia is also wondering whether to offer tobacco chewing as a phys-ed requirement and cous'n-marryin' as part of the social program curriculum. D-U-H.

Why So Certain?

Frequently throughout the night, I've heard referenced a DoD statement that says we'll definitely catch bin Laden this year.

On the face of it, this sounds great, of course. Few (aside from perhaps some zealous percentage of the 1.4 billion Muslims throughout the world) would be sorry to see him caught. Like Dean - before his wording change, that is - I would like to see him properly and fairly tried. As much as possible, I'd like to determine exactly where his culpability lay in so many of the things - including but hardly restricted to the 9/11 event - for which he has been accused.

But I - joined from what I can tell by a significant number of additional people - find myself a bit disquieted by this grand statement on a few different fronts.

We've been ostensibly seeking bin Laden since well before 9/11. Remember the bombing of the Cole, et al? So why is this year going to be miraculously different? Why are we being handed a near guarantee that this year, he'll be captured?

That it's an election year is certainly an issue. But wasn't it just as important that he be caught on September 12, 2001 or in 2002 or in 2003? Only for the president's sake - and that of his potential for reelection - is it most advantageous to find him this year.

This reminds one of 1980. Only later did the facts come out that Reagan and his people had structured a release for the long-held Iranian hostages where the hostages actually had to sit there longer so that Reagan could appear to breeze in and save the day, thus assuring his election against incumbent Jimmy Carter.

But it also reminds people of a report a few weeks ago, dismissed roundly by the DoD and administration, that bin Laden had been captured. After about 36 hours of play, all talk of it went poof although (if memory serves) the stock markets in various parts of the world shot up briefly upon the release of the rumor.

What, you may ask, is the harm if perhaps we really did catch bin Laden a few weeks ago and - for reasons that probably cannot be made known to us for national security - the actual news of his capture is revealed later... say, within 3-4 weeks of the November 2nd election?

On the surface, some could argue that there's no damage done by this. The important thing, if true, is that he's out of circulation. There's even some merit in this argument.

Now take the matter a bit deeper. If true, it would be one more way that this administration massages (I'm so polite tonight I'm making myself ill) the truth. But at this point, discovering that the Bush administration lied about something is about as startling and novel as a lonely, homely girl eager to offer fellatio in return for affection noticing that the boy doesn't call her the next day as promised.

Beyond this, however, is the fact that the capture of bin Laden is probably apt to unleash far more violence in certain strategic areas. If 2,000 or 3,000 Americans are murdered by insurgents and suicide bombers in the weeks betweeen the announcement that "we got 'im" and the election, it could be nasty. Still, shouldn't we be told?

Why is the DoD even telling us this now? If they don't catch him, it will be another thing for people to notice come November. Remember, we were told we were going to "get him dead or alive" and that was 30 months ago. While Ashcroft has been making the world safe from 63 year old Tommy Chong and those who buy drug paraphernalia at head shops as well as the makers of adult videos, bin Laden has produced as many videos as Jennifer Lopez.

In short (I know, too late), there are too many inconsistencies in the matter - including the many times we've been told "he's vicious" and "he's of no import now because his network of terrorists no longer matters since we've destroyed them all" to "Al Qaeda is pulling all this new shit" to "bin Laden blew up the Easter bunny" to "he doesn't matter" again - to fail to notice.

But then, Mr. Rumsfeld told us he knew exactly - by pinpoint - where the WMDs in Iraq were located. Perhaps he should draw someone a map.


Britons Doubt

According to Reuters, half of all Britons surveyed feel that the Hutton investigation into the BBC, Tony Blair, and the suicide of Dr. David Kelly was a whitewash.

This is sad - not just in that it's probably true - because at least the Brits had some form of investigation. That's a lot more than we seem to be able to do here.

Lobbying Rules

Related to the Tauzin situation I cited (where this fat cat Louisiana Republican who - as head of the FDA committee - helped force the Medicare drug bill down our throats and now is up for a $1M+ lobbying job with the drug companies' lobbying organization, Pharma), let's propose a revision to lobbying rules.

This isn't a GOP or a Democratic issue. It's an American one. Hatch's son is a lobbyist, the guy who was to take over for Gingrich but who had to quit when his many peccadilloes were brought to light by Larry Flynt is a lobbyist (to department where his brother Asa operates within Homeland Security), Tom Daschle's wife is a lobbyist... the list goes on and on.

Tauzin can walk out of Congress tomorrow and the only stipulation placed on him is that he can't lobby Congress for one year.

Let's change the rules to:

    No sitting member of Congress may have any member of his/her immediate family be a lobbyist

    No sitting member of Congress may leave and lobby Congress for a period of 5 years minimum (giving time for changeover in personnel)

    No department or government official may leave his or her position and become a lobbyist that can lobby their former sphere of influence for a period of 4 years (minimum) (did you know that the head of Medicare just left to work for the companies who profit from the new Medicare plan, too?)

Dear, Dear Mr. Ashcroft

Who states that our beloved leader will veto any attempt to scale back the Patriotic Act (this in a letter to Senate leaders).

Sometimes I think Mr. Ashcroft won't be happy until he's installed a webcam in every bathroom, television, and bedroom in every home and office in America to be sure that no one is masturbating or even watching dirty movies or (gasp) Free Speech TV.

Senate race

Part of my thinking as to why I think Dean should be President is simply selfish... country selfish. I would hate to lose him in the Senate where he's a very senior member. Remember, we're going to start losing a lot of Dems there. Fritz Hollings, Bob Graham among them. And Dick Gephardt won't return to the House where he's also very senior.

Of course, on the wonderful news side, Zel Miller is going. Don't fail to allow the door to hit you on the way out, Zelster.

But seriously, we need to make gains in Congress even if we manage to get a Democratic president. I doubt we'll regain control of either the Senate or the House in 2004, but we need something closer to some effective balance. One party controlling just one of the two halves of Congress appears to be far less homicidal to mere mortal Americans than having the WH and both sections of Congress run by the same party. Yes, I'd say that even if the Democrats had control of all three. Not everyone's a Democrat, and not everyone's a Republican - some of us are neither, in fact - and we need balance.

Listening to Joe Trippi

being interviewed by (sigh) Deborah Norville. The into says he walked, not was let go, by the Howard Dean campaign (Trippi was campaign manager). I'd much rather have this conducted by Keith Olbermann but you takes what you gets, so to speak.

Oops, Dean said he didn't fire anyone, and was willing to keep on Trippi although not in the same position as campaign manager. Trippi says he's "still with" Dean, that he still expects him to be the nominee, and expects to be a "citizen Dean supporter" now. He says he thinks the Dean campaign may very well be the last chance for the American people to change the system and the way it has worked.

Trippi is breaking up right now (emotionally, not just by way of cell phone). He seems like a class act - none of the nastiness like when that fellow was let go by Kerry a few months ago, then showed up on Hardball to take swipes at Kerry on the night of the Iowa caucus win.

I think Trippi did very well by Dean and by the American public. I hope he continues to be involved. We need good people like this.

How I Lean

Just to be fair, I feel I should probably state my preferences for Dem nominee at this point (in order with top choice listed first):

    Howard Dean
    Clark or Kerry

How wild does...

Kerry-Dean sound? No, I don't believe the conventional wisdom that Dean is in serious trouble, but I'm ready to think about any needed game plan. Edwards went on record today saying he doesn't want to be Veep. However, I continue to think Dean-Clark would be a stronger force.

I don't dislike Kerry. I'd certainly entertain the possibility of voting for him. His history as a major thorn in the side of Nixon alone is one nice credential. He not only served in the military, he was a strong voice in analyzing the wrong of Vietnam. But I know Dean better, and I think he's my first choice (in so much as I have one).

I hope this isn't like me and TV shows. I watch little TV except news analysis, but once I begin to like a program, it's a sure sign it's about to be canceled. I don't think Dean should be canceled. He's given us a lot so far, and I think he could be a very good choice. Am I happy that he's NRA friendly? No. But he's fiscally frugal, he's intelligent and dynamic, and he was a very good (if imperfect) Vermont governor.

The Hartford (CT) Advocate

has an interesting piece saying the GOP's goose is cooked. I'd love to see them right on this. Not to take down the GOP, but to remove a very dangerous administration from office.

Meanwhile, the administration is now telling us that intelligence tells them Al Qaeda is becoming a stronger and stronger force in Iraq, targeting American soldiers. Oh hell, I'm willing to believe that. But a) this administration can't even keeps its lies straight b) the intelligence has been faulty on many fronts c) there's always someone new to blame for the attacks on Americans (insurgents, Saddam loyalists, foreign fighters...). Geez.

A View of Dean from Vermonters

David Budbill (again thanks to Buzzflash for the link) offers a look at Howard Dean from some of the people who knew him best during his years of service here.


Someone apparently doesn't know how to use Excel software properly.

Tom Brokaw reported tonight that the new Medicare drug prescription budget will already cost one-third more than we were told it would just two months ago.

Gee, we're so lucky we learned this now instead of two months ago, when the GOP was bribing and threatening Congress persons to make them vote for it even though the bill is much more useful to HMOs and drug companies than it is to seniors. If you think this is an accident the news is coming out now, contact me. I have a bridge in Crawford, Texas I need to sell you.

Cheney Involved in Security Leak?

That's the suggestion tendered by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) - man, they've had their hands full lately, I bet! Thanks to Buzzflash for the link.

In the "Gosh, I Wonder Why" Department

Rumsfeld "allows" more troops into the Army (another 300,000 in addition to the Congressionally approved 472,000). I guess this is what they really meant by "No (Poor) Child Left Behind".

7-10 troops killed in Afghan Blast

Here's the CNN story on it. Elsewhere, I've seen as many as 10 Americans dead. A Canadian officer was killed there in the past week. And we never hear anything there about civilian deaths anymore.

My heart goes out to their loved ones.

Missing Elements

make for a radioactive situation, says this Dallas-Fort Worth News opinion piece. It's on WMD, if the title somehow managed not to give you a hint.

A New Form of Matter!

We did this. What the ramifications and the glories will ultimately be, we don't know yet - ostensibly, it's supposed to help with super conduction. And hey, it was done in a project headed by a girl. So there.

Jerusalem Bombing

You know it's bad when CNN is using its special "Crisis in the Middle East" theme music.

Worse is that this may have been committed by a Palestinian policeman - and one would ideally like to think that... yeah well. I never said I wasn't delusional.

Everytime we seem to get to a vaguely quiet place there, when anything looks like it could move forward on the peace initiative... we get death and horror. On both sides. Let me repeat: as much as I understand people railing against Arafat, I don't think Sharon and Bush are the two best things that ever happened to the idea of a non-military, non-bomb 'em solution.

I would even postulate that a lot of the reason the Middle East has been so brutal in the last three years is... unmistably.. because both of those men took office within a reasonably short period of time. Arafat's been there forever, and yet there have been times of relative calm. Sharon is a man who left in disgrace and with at least one court calling him a war criminal who was resurrected by the right-wing element. And Bush - enough said.

Strrrrrange Gift Indeed

    Monsignor: And what did the Assistant to the Anti-Christ give you, My Excellancy?

    The Pope: A crystal dove, my child. I wonder if he's ever seen a dove before without shooting it out of the sky.

Yes, it's true. When visiting the Pope last week, Dick Cheney gifted him with a crystal dove.

Oh goodie

the chickenhawks are going to bomb the hell out of Afghanistan again.

BTW, I don't think you can call them "remnants of the Taliban and Al Qaeda" when they outnumber our troops there. Look for the casualty rates to escalate even more. At the rate the new, calm Iraq is going, I'll be happy to see any soldiers come back alive and not scarred beyond all possible recognition. It would also be nice to leave a couple of Afghans and Iraqis alive, too.

Pelosi rips Tauzin a new one...

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) came out very strongly against fellow lawmaker, Billy Tauzin (R-LA) - often linked to House Majority Leader and former exterminator Tom ("I AM the government," he informed a security guard trying to get him to put out a cigar on the same federal property where the rest of us would be arrested) DeLay (R-TX) - for considering a $1 million a year consulting job with a pharmaceutical industry firm. This so soon after Tauzin helped push through a Medicare drug bill that profits pharm cos far more than senior citizens.

Having heard Tauzin speak, I would think the only drug company job he'd be qualified for is telling Rush (30 Oxycontin a day and anything else he can find) Limbaugh he's not an addict.


Related to CyberAlerts

Read this and see why our Dept of Homeland (In)Security gets an F for computer security. Doesn't that make you feel warm and fuzzy?

Daniel Ellsberg wants to see

officials in the US and Britain step forward and tell the truth as he did during Vietnam with the Pentagon Papers. I notice, however, that only England's Guardian printed this.

CyberAlert Nonsense

Wow, another way to spend our tax money uselessly - color coded cyberalerts.

If you really want to feel safe, you can sign up for cyberalerts to come to your Emailbox. I'd definitely want Tom Ridge having access to my Emailbox. How about you? Then they can troll through your spam and charge you for possessing a weapons of mass destruction when they discover you're the one buying all those penis enlargers.

Another Myth DeMythified

All this talk about boxcutters from the government when they've known all along no boxcutters were involved. The hijackers had Mace and knives. I don't believe knives were approved for travel before 9-11, were they? At least, I remember a fellow ahead of me in line for a flight out of Indianapolis who was called aside because he carried one on his belt. This was a week or two before 9-11.

Cheney out, Giuliani in?

Rumors are circulating that Cheney, viewed as a liability but perhaps to be kept on in his secret bunker to control things, will suddenly develop such "poor health" that he will be replaced on Bush's ticket by Rudy Giuliani. For many reasons except for showboating, Giuliani would be an extremely poor choice. All those wives he cheated on, the old mafia-family connection rumors that circulate from time to time, his ego (which is apt to clash with Bush's), and that less than stupendous manner of speaking means that if he is chosen, he's only chosen because of his status as "America's mayor." Meaning: token.

Despite what was a very admirable job on 9-11, Giuliani probably wouldn't be kept on in an community as a mayor for very long.

But we won't lose Cheney - he'll just be driven into deeper, even less accountable cover. This seems even more dangerous to the America we love. Remember, Cheney is someone who thought Nixon wasn't sneaky enough and that the greatest error he committed was on getting caught.

However, watching to see how many people Giuliani would alienate (and his true nature comes out frequently, irresistably) would be amusing. But America needs more than amusement now. We need strong leadership that cares about more of the American people than just big corporations and special right-wing talk show hosts.

From Editor and Publisher

(a favorite site of mine concerning my work background)... an article by Greg Mitchell says that in a survey of the 20 largest circulation US newspapers, 13 of them have run editorials about David Kay and the sudden realization that there was no WMD to find, while 7 of these have included speculation - if not flat out concerns - that the WH cooked up the war.

Notably, the Dallas Morning News, which has been very pro-Bush throughout, now states:

    We feel deceived - by the CIA.... - and by the White House....

The Detroit Free Press states:

    A full accounting is due.

More efforts underway

in Washington, DC, to prevent the 911 investigatory commission from getting any extension to its late May deadline. Condi Rice has already been noted as being very reluctant to testify.

Why? Of all things in American history, why has this effort been so underfunded and under supported by this administration? No American should allow this to happen.

If you haven't checked out

these two blogs - TBogg and skippy the bush kangaroo - I urge you to do so. They're fun as well as informative. August J. Pollak's site also fits that bill.

Bob Novak shoved someone in NH?

According to stories posts by Atrios and Blah3, columnist and CNN spundit (no, I meant to spell it that way, tyvm) Robert Novak up in NH for the primaries didn't like someone calling him on outing Victoria Plame (super CIA spy). So Novak walked over and shoved the guy to the ground.

Novak can dish it but apparently, cannot take it. I'm just so surprised. Cough.

Republicans Wrote Out Bush

Daily Kos brings us one of the oft-overlooked pieces of very interesting data out of yesterday's NH primaries.

Of the 60,000-odd Republicans who voted in their own primary yesterday (compared with the Dems' record 200,000 turnout), 57.6 thousand of them voted (as expected) for Mr. Bush. Others - and I admire anyone who doesn't tout the political line, regardless of which party, with the exception of Zel Miller of course - wrote in candidates. Namely:

    Kerry with 835 write-in votes
    Dean with 633
    Clark with 545
    Edwards with 541

Man, while not huge (about 2500 votes total), one must wonder who eligible to vote in the GOP primary in NH just didn't show up yesterday because Bush was a foregone conclusion and/or because they did not want to vote for Bush. If I were a Dem voter (I'm not) and I didn't want to vote for the incumbent Dem prez in a primary, I probably wouldn't go to the polls until Election Day when my vote would actually count for something. I'm assuming that same logic stands for the other side. Thus, those 2500 votes for Dems from the GOP primary may be symbolic of a much larger issue.

If I were Karl Rove, I'd have a Xanax or 5 and wonder why the only NE state to vote for Bush in 2000 had such a large turnout of GOP primary voters who voted against our beloved leader.

Washington Post Discusses "The Bush Dodge"

Read it and see if you can detect the overwhelming cognitive dissonance in operation here.

The Grinning Bush

Another SunSpot editorial dissects why Mr. Bush seemed to have so much to grin about during a SotU address when we're at war and most Americans are struggling.

When will the rich sacrifice for this war?

That's the question the always thoughtful Cynthia Tucker asked in a 1-26 editorial reprinted by SunSpot.

Dick and Antonin's Excellent Adventure

This Newsday editorial from Monday points out something I missed in earlier coverage of the possible conflict of judicial interest in Mr. Cheney's and Supreme Court justice Scalia's little duck hunting trip: the jet to fly them there was paid for by an oil services company.

Gee, is it perhaps one of those friendly oil services companies who contributed to the secret Energy task force Cheney led that Scalia wants to sit in judgment upon?

Howard Dean

I still don't buy the wisdom that Howard is a goner. We've seen results from two states so far (both small, both predominantly white).

Let me tell you something about New Hampshire. Historically, Vermonters and New Hampshirites aren't all that naturally fond of one another. In some respects, these two small states, each a bit of the mirror image of the other geographically, are very much alike and in other ways, they exist separately across a cultural and political chasm. Many Vermonters see New Hampshirites as social climbers, Republicans in weekend clothing, and the type of people who embrace the nameless, faceless Wal-Marts of the world.

Some of the folks in NH, by contrast, see Vermonters as earth shoe-wearers, too outspoken about natural dairy and agricultural cooperatives, tax loving, discontented, aging hippies who shop at too-expensive food coops and farmers' markets.

Thus, I never thought it was a done deal (before or after Iowa) that Dean was going to sit atop New Hampshire. Clinton came in second there, too in 1992 as you may recall.

The caucus-primary stage is too soon to weed out too many, and Howard deserves a chance to see how he'll fare in NY, California, and.... wait, this geography lesson seems too familiar. So does Clark, so does Edwards.

The others? Lieberman's on life support, Kucinich is a good man with interesting ideas who fares poorly in these, and Sharpton is ... Sharpton.

Y'know, there's someone I'm missing here. Just like I kept forgetting about poor Dick Gephardt, a good man who I felt made some weak choices after 9/11. No, wait, maybe I'm not. Bob Graham dropped out sometime ago.

David Kay hearings

As much as I could follow it while also trying to edit a chapter this morning, I watched with interest at the Senate hearing with David Kay. Dear Mr. Kay seems to be intent on fulfilling his role as a Bush shill, with people like John Warner (R-one of Liz Taylor's many ex's) doing their best to assist him.

I have to admit something here that sounds nasty. I really expected that this administration, when faced with no WMDs, would plant them. They certainly planted the idea, and the media helped by jumping on every helium canister and child's jump rope as a major potential WMD find. They did it a week or two ago with that finding by the Danish of incredibly old, distintegrating missiles (or whatever).

But while I'm extremely pleased that what I perceive as rough-shod arrogance did not translate into planting evidence. However, I come back to the same call I've made for months: we need a full investigation into all of this and not another white wash. Cheney keeps going out to speak about the ties to Al Qaeda and WMD of Iraq - so let him put up or shut up.

Let's see ALL the intelligence before we went to war. Then let's examine what the administration chose to believe and present to us. Blaming everything on bad intelligence is a little easy, considering we're never allowed to know the intelligence. Then, after Kay and others saying this week how poorly intelligence had served the President (I'll avoid a vile crack about the president not serving intelligence well either), Mr. Bush comes out and says he trusts his intelligence community completely.

Shouldn't he be more concerned?

Mandatory ID cards

The Brits are suggesting requiring every citizen to carry a national ID card. I truly hope they do not. The Police State mentality since 9-11 has persisted far too long and too broadly. Tell me what terrorist would have been stopped by an ID card? Their passports and their names on terrorist flag lists should have stopped some of the hijackers on 9-11 but it did not.

Remember Bush kept telling us not to let the terrorists win? Honey, that's all they've been doing. He's been the pied piper leading the march down that strange rabbit hole of fear and loathing.

The other night, in Web surfing, I saw someone postulate, "Al Qaeda will do everything in its power to insure Bush is re-elected."

At first, that struck me as so strange. Yet the more I thought about it, and the number of times our administration's response seemed to be exactly what people "who hate freedom loving Americans" would do. A freedom lover wouldn't re-elect Bush. But someone so afraid that they're willing to drop their pants to allow an alien anal probe at the airport to fly would vote for Bush. Nauseatingly scary thought.

Doing the Rush on Limbaugh

I was reading in the Miami Herald and later on TalkLeft.com (superb site by a very smart lady) that Roy Black, Limbaugh's attorney, claims that the amount of drugs he obtained from doctors in less than a 6 month period (2000) was not unusually high.

That's an interesting theory and if my back weren't hurting so badly, I'd stoop so low as to Limbaugize it. So let me just bend a tiny bit.

First, 2,000 Oxycontin in less than 6 months is more than 11 time-release, meant to last all day pills. As someone who's experiencing often excruciating chronic pain with each breath since a weird lung infection left me in ICU for 3 weeks last summer, even I can't begin to imagine this level of medication. There's a personal note below explaining my situation.

Yes, all pain is different for all people. But even Rush had to know something was direly wrong.

Second, was he not also obtaining thousands of pills at the same time from his housekeeper? So we're not talking maybe 11 pills a day; we're talking 20 or 30 perhaps. I don't believe that he kept stashes of pills for any longer than necessary. An addict would always want to know there's more tomorrow, but 10,000 pills+ get harder to hide than a couple of prescription bottles. With his money, why didn't he buy the bleeping pharmaceutical company?

Mind you, we've prosecuted (sometimes egregiously) people for possession of very small amounts of drugs, prescription and otherwise. I know the happy horse hockey about prosecutors wanting to go after the source rather than the "victims" of drug addiction, but that seems to work more for people like Rush and Noelle Bush and Wynona Ryder (who had her drug-related charges dismissed) than it seems to for black, Latino, or poor whites.

So right now, while I believe very strongly the laws should be changed to consider addiction a disease rather than an automatic mandatory minimum felony, I'm leaning to wanting dear Rush to be treated as he wanted everyone else (who wasn't one of his supporters and himself) to be treated. Then, perhaps, Rush will join us in working to change the laws.

[Personal info: When pain meds were first prescribed for me, they were a tough choice. I've never taken anything like that since I was very ill as a teenager, and with a family history of other types of addiction, I told my doctor about my concerns. I'm still unable to work unless I take something each day, but my doctor has worked with me to try to control the pain yet take steps to insure I don't walk away from this an addict. My doctor's been great: recognizing my degree of pain but without acting like my personal dispensary. Even though the pain is still 70-80% of what it once was, I choose to take far less meds than I could. I don't like taking them, but without them, I spend the workday just staring at my monitor, hoping for a miracle or death, whichever comes first.]


Yet again...

We had exit polls presented before the polls closed - despite promises this would not happen.

What actually amazes me though are the voices saying it's now time for Dean to drop out. Let's see... with 82% of the votes in, he's twice what Clark or Edwards got. Maybe we could actually run the primaries and caucuses and let the voters decide?

Oh sure, we'll have people fall out, just as Iowa brought the end to the single female candidate. But let's not perpetuate the mockery of democracy practiced too often in this country, especially since Election 2000, by telling any candidate who doesn't win they must go.

One less GOPer

Mens Wear Daily - thanks to Counterspin Central for the link - prints an interesting column from a fellow who talks about why he has left the GOP and conservatism behind.


Maureen Griswold, a savvy lady who is not just a veteran Army nurse but lost her brother in Vietnam and who wrote a terrific letter to KB Toys that I referenced on 1-25 on the Veterans for Peace site, has a new article out that Peter Jennings might find interesting related to Mr. Bush's brave military service. Ahem. Read it.

What NH is Saying

Howard Fineman on Hardball just made an interesting point; one I think may be true. NH voters are turning out in greater numbers and with some stronger voices, as if to let the president know that they are very concerned. Bush arrives in NH next week and it's a message he perhaps should heed.

Of course, then Joe ("there wasn't any reason I resigned Congress so quickly and it certainly had nothing to do with the dead woman in my office") Scarbrough informed the world that Democrats can't win if they keep bringing up tax cuts and the economy, because everyone loves the tax cuts and the booming economy.

Of all the people I know and trust me, lots of them are Republicans and middle-class with kids, I perhaps know only two who say they're doing slightly to somewhat better since this so-called boom economy. The overwhelming majority are struggling and say their taxes either weren't cut at all or seem higher in view of other economic constraints. I'd definitely fit into that category myself.

Mixed Prelim Results

Depending on where I turn or browse, the early NH primary predictions say either Dean or Kerry as strongest, with Clark possibly in third.

What happened to the Joe-mentum? That was cruel, I know. I don't even happen to believe Lieberman's a bad guy or only out for himself. But while he seemed acceptable as a VP candidate before 9-11, Joe the person - not his religion, not that he's a Connecticut Democrat (which is something like GOP-lite), not that he seems like the "before" picture in an iron poor blood ad campaign - is not who I want as top woof.

His post-911 behavior makes me wonder how he would have handled 9-11, and I'm not sure it's more than 50% better than Bush handled it. That to me is not enough, considering how America is hurting and how we've made lots of other places hurt, too. Lieberman would handle diplomacy better, however, I'll grant him that and he's certainly far more intelligent than I perceive Mr. Bush to be (and I mean that far more favorably than it sounds considering I now wonder if Jessica Simpson or GW is more astute - there are other similarities between them as well, but I digress).

Another 25 minutes to the end of voting in the places in NH still open. I need to grow nails so I can bite them.

More on WP's Howard Kurtz

Media Whores Online has a followup to their exclusive yesterday about the Washington Post - and now CNN perhaps - looking into conflict of interest charges related to what Kurtz writes and his GOP media analyst wife, Ms. Annis.

Patriot Act renewal

I think this New York Times editorial gets it right: it's way too soon to have Bush and Ashcroft beating their respective, under-worked chests to have the Patriotic Act not only renewed but expanded. But I've still yet to read an exhaustive report of what exactly the federal judge yesterday found unconstitutional. I think this MUST weigh into any considerations regarding the Patriot (oh, that name) Act.

Oy vey!

I've reached a time in my life when I feel great sympathy for Martha Stewart.

From what little evidence from both sides presented through the press in the year or so leading up to this, I think they went after Martha just to show they could get tough on Wall Street. But what she did affected no one like the cases where brokers and such screwed people just for their own profit. The only way Martha's case affected her own investors was AFTER the government went after her and made her sound like Dillinger tied in a raffia bow. The main basis of the Feds case right now is that she lied when she told people she wasn't guilty.

If the Feds are going to prosecute people for people believing in their own innocence, I've got an incredibly long list of more worthy candidates. I bet you do, too.

I miss being able to ridicule Martha, even though I must say that my rugulah is much better since I watched her show. For an English-Irish-Native American girl whose roots in the US date back to Plymouth Rock (and before on the native American side), I make a nice rugulah.

Thank you, Martha. Now beat them in court so I can go back to making fun of you for your perfect place settings.

Primary Tension

I thought I was nuts (well, I still could be, of course) but several others have mentioned the same thing to me today: they feel a palpable tension regarding the results of today's NH primary.

Thankfully, I think any snow in NH right now is fairly light, so there will be turn-out (radar showing NH from here in Vermont makes it look insignificant right now).

See, I want people to turn out and I don't mean just the people who support my position or my candidate. Of course, the presidential and key local elections are the most important for turn-out, but I think the least we can do in a so-called representational Democracy is to show up and cast our ballots. When I was in high school and a teacher tried to explain this to me, I didn't grok it. Now I do.

But there is never a good reason for anything less than an 85% turn-out. Hell, get an absentee ballot if you must. Just vote!

One Scary Stat

Experts are now reporting that between 1 and 12 Emails now in circulation are infected with the MyDoom computer worm I cited earlier. No wonder I'm missing a lot of Email.

For folks like me, who do most of their work communication and product delivery via Email (I'm not a spammer, I'm a writer), this really hurts. Especially when you're like me, and have an allergy to the telephone (not an allergy per se, but my IQ apparently plummets rapidly on a telephone where I'm far less articulate and focused than in Email or even face-to-face).

CNN Employees Killed in Iraq

Yet more deaths - beyond the recent American soldiers dead and missing in Iraq and the Canadian troop member killed in Afghanistan: 2 young CNN employees (a producer and a translater, both in their 20s) were killed from multiple gunshots sustained while they were in transit by car outside Baghdad.

One would hope this might make CNN rethink spewing the company line about how much better Iraq is becoming. And if we're losing soldiers and journalists like this, does it make you wonder how many Iraqis die each day? Unfortunately, the Defense Dept is not tracking them. Too difficult logistically, they say.

The Red Ink Express

Another great column from Paul Krugman, the economist, in today's New York Times:

    What's playing out in America right now is the bait-and-switch strategy known on the right as "starve the beast." The ultimate goal is to slash government programs that help the poor and the middle class, and use the savings to cut taxes for the rich. But the public would never vote for that.

Good for CBS...

An article out this morning confirms the story that editing of the Dean post-Iowa caucus speech made an indictment against Dean that was invalid. The portrait the media painted was grossly unfair and CBS, in 2 articles now, brings that to light honestly in a way other media outlets have not.

Scalia and Cheney Could Marry....

and it would be fine for Scalia to sit in judgment of Cheney in the probe of the Energy Department's task force, says lead Supreme William H. Rehnquist. The LA Times has the story this morning. Rehnquist went so far as to suggest it was "ill-considered" of Democratic senators such as Patrick Leahy (VT) and Joe Lieberman to ask him to look into it.

The arrogance of this crew knows no bounds.

The First Small NH Berg

to vote in the primary - it takes place by written ballot just after midnight - went for Wes Clark. I would like to see Clark get enough momentum (that Joe-mentum thing of Lieberman's left me a bit cold) to stay in the race past NH, his first showing.

But I'd also like to see Dean come in ahead of the pack. What he got cracked for last week was spun out of control, especially if you look at amateur video taken during the so-called "I have a scream" speech where it's obvious that Dean is reacting to a boisterous crowd. Editing by "professional" news services, however, cropped all of that out so we just heard Dean sounding a bit wild.

We in Vermont are at least discussing allowing NO electronic balloting in November. In the past, all of it has been done by the so-called Australian (paper) ballot and frankly, that's how I would like it to continue. The electronic voting thing was pushed through by Bush and, considering how the 2000 election was handled, smacks of another attempt to control results considering Diebold's behavior (no paper trail while the head of Diebold is an active campaigner on Mr. Bush's behalf).

Does that mean I think real corruption is taking place? I'm honestly not sure. But with something as important as an election, I don't want room for doubt. It's that simple.

Dennis Miller

Sad, isn't it? His career flagging, his boyish iconoclast rebel act growing old despite the hair dye and less close-ups trying to cover it. Fired from a dipshit football commentary job. HBO lets him go.

So he sees becoming the ultimate right-winger his ticket to big-time again. Bush gets a free pass from him, he says, because he's the man who inspired him again about politics. Anybody who gets inspired by Bush about anything (unless it's how never to apply yourself and yet be handed everything in the world to trash) is worse than deranged.

His new show on CNBC is produced by a man who works for Arnold Schwarzenegger. Our tax dollars pay for Miller to fly around on Air Force One with the prez.

Let's count the days til CNBC fires Miller's sorry ass, too.


Women GIs: Raped and Ignored

From The State comes an article yesterday that women GIs are returning telling tales of rape by and very poor support and care from their male counterparts.

There are so many sad and terrible aspects to this story. But do you know what I find particularly egregious? So many (right-wingers especially) have beat their chests that women shouldn't be in combat. I suppose they're right, but only insofar as that no one should be involved in war. Period.

But they'll take this issue as another reason for citing why women don't belong on the front line. It's hardly news that some people always find women responsible for those issues some men cannot control.

Listen to Rush Limbaugh sometime. Listen to our president's jokes about women. Remember that smiling picture of a bunch of fat white men all smiling around the president as they signed the first of a number of planned measures to all but rule out a woman's right to choice over her own body.

Last week, when the Right to Life groups marched on Washington, Georgie was right there to call in to give them his support. See, he never shows up at those. That would look bad. By calling in, he makes the Right to Lifers happy while avoiding a messy photo op that could come back to bite him in his ass. Any woman who votes for a man like that is a fool, at best.

Slave Reparations

A federal judge Monday dismissed one of the cases where descendants of African-American slaves sought financial reparations against corporations who they feel profited from the slave labor.

The issue of reparations is a thorny one - the GOP loses its breath just at the mere mention and even liberals tend to be quite divided, as are many descendants of those brought here or born here to slavery. There was indeed that never-kept promise about 40 acres and a mule.

To say simply, "cutting a check won't solve the core of the issue" - an often used argument, and one I've thought - is demeaning. I don't believe anyone really passionate about the feeling that reparations must be made is in it for a fat check. But what is right to do?

Over the little more than three centuries since the white man arrived here to change the continent, we've screwed a lot of different groups: from the native Americans blacks, women, Asians, Jews, the Irish, and it continues today. Should everyone be cut a check as reparations?

As someone who fits in at least three of the above-referenced categories, I'd rather see substantive changes that try to ensure that we don't ever allow ourselves to engage in that terrible behavior again than to receive a check. But we aren't going to do that. We were sure we would never repeat other dark moments in history and yet... we have. Then we fold our arms and agree sagely that "this time, we've learned our lesson"... until we do it yet again. We're incredibly imperfect beings, we humans.

Still, I'm not sure how cutting a check helps. It doesn't change the past. It won't change the future. The "right thing to do" eludes me.

The Daily Show

Cute spot tonight with Jon Stewart interviewing Howard Dean. It was just a tad shy of priceless. You knew Stewart would do well with it, but Dean held up his end very nicely.

Now Ken Auletta's on - he's the one who documented Bush saying, "No president has done more for human rights than I have." Some good observations about the media.

Now Loading the Express Elevator to Hell...

The MyDoom virus.

Corporations: give more of these creeps jobs after they incapacitate part of the world. You're doing such a service to humanity (NOT).

Sometimes the Supreme Court works...

Atrios points us to this story I read nowhere else today: a 9-0 decision by the Supremes against the police in a Miranda-related case.

Considering how frequently we've seen 5:4 decisions from this august body, and you always know who the 5 are based on their conservative leanings...

Neck and Neck in New Hampshire?

With many polls showing Dean and Kerry almost neck and neck in NH and with snow predicted for tomorrow which could severely change the dynamic, it makes me truly wonder how tomorrow will play out in the Democratic primary.

Remember that Newsweek this week said that in their most recent polls, Kerry could win over Bush, and Edwards and Dean would come very close to winning (I think both are witin the statistical range of error) over our beloved leader; overall, Newsweek reported that more people wanted Bush replaced than kept on for a second term.

I'm actually sorry to see Clark isn't making a better showing (at least in pre-primary polls), but I also think that if Dean can survive, a Dean-Clark matchup could tilt lots of people in their direction. But I find myself ready to live with whomever (Clark, Dean, Edwards or Kerry) becomes the Democratic nominee. Seeing an intelligent replacement in the WH - along with strong voter turnout across the board (if you're waving a flag, haul your ass out to vote) - matters more than anything. I'm leaning towards Dean, I believe, with Clark and Kerry close runners-up, followed by Edwards.

Here's how I'd like to see tomorrow and SC next week play out:

Dean - in 1st with a slight lead
Clark/Kerry - closely in second and third

Again, it's difficult. I don't like to rule Edwards out. I think he has some good ideas. His experience, however, may not quite play. He's a first-term senator. But hell, the way Washington's been run the last 30 years, I'm not sure experience in Washington is a good thing, which is why Dean is the candidate I lean towards.

Kerry's wife

I saw Teresa Heinz Kerry on Hardball tonight, and found her - as I have in earlier interviews - to be a strong, intelligent woman who certainly wouldn't be the trophy First Lady that Laura and Barbara Bush, and several others have been.

Judy Steinberg Dean, as I've already documented, seems genuine, smart, warm, and I like her non-materialism. I believe her when she says she doesn't see this "anger" in Howard that has become the thing to snark about and I suspect she - as well as co-workers - would be in the best position to know.

Although I've seen her much less than the others, Edwards' wife also left me with a positive opinion. These aren't women who are only going to devote themselves to silly matters such as not looking too frumpy in a ball gown, smiling benignly at state dinners, and showing off the WH Christmas decorations on Larry King.

One thing you've got to admit: these men had the good sense to marry well.

Lieberman's wife seemed OK when he ran with Gore in 2000, while Kucinich is single, and I don't remember ever seeing Wes Clark's or Al Sharpton's other halves.

Don't miss

Media Whores Online today. There's some nice material, including (perhaps finally!) someone questioning Howard Kurtz's (Washington Post and CNN's Reliable Sources) ethics. His wife is a major GOP media consultant who was intimately involved with Schwarzenegger and yet, while Kurtz often spewed glowingly about The Arnold, he rarely brought up his wife's affiliation.

I used to like Kurtz. I did. But the last three years, I've noticed real changes. Now, I'm assuming his marriage or her position didn't happen during this time period, so I'm not certain whether I misread him before, he actually changed from a more honest news professional, or some third issue has occurred.

But watching him host "Reliable Sources" has become almost undigestable for me, especially the past two years. It seems like a sad, twisted mockery of the very title of the show.

Patriotic Act partially unconstitutional

That's what MSNBC has just reported a federal judge decided but they're "efforting" (MSNBC is making up words) to get the details to tell us more than that. Plus several large, very loud explosions heard in Central Baghdad a short while ago.

Y'know, the Kurds - the group who originally helped us last March after we'd let them get screwed 7,000 ways to Sunday - are now saying they were treated better and their quality of life was better under Saddam. And Saddam seemed to hate them best. However, because of our long-term No Fly Zones, the Kurds in the north were able to develop their own semi-separate Iraq, with a thriving economy and some good deal of autonomy, before the war started in March 2003. Since then, we've been busy making their lives miserable and I _really_ don't think these people deserved more misery.

Mind you, the Kurds are the people the Administration keeps citing when they want us to realize Saddam's horror by killing his own people. I guess it's much worse when they got hurt by Saddam than when we hurt them ourselves (Don't pummel my brother - that's MY job!).

I was wrong about being wrong

Scratch that David Kay may be a more honorable man than I thought. He's arguing that the intelligence community owes the president a great apology for misleading him on WMD.

A) I think the evidence is rather clear that this administration picked and chose (very carefully) what intelligence they wanted to believe, and then spun it accordingly B) the president deserves no apology; but the families of the 500 plus American soldiers and other coalition soldiers who gave their lives, the thousands of Iraqi civilians who died too, and the many thousands on all sides wounded deserve more than an apology. They deserve a full investigation.

On this matter, at least, Britain has shown more balls than we have. But I've yet to see much come of it except the suicide of Dr. David Kelley.

Welcome to the Half Trillion in Debt

The Congressional Budget Office announced today we'll be at $477 billion in the red this year (a new record!) and will worsen if additional tax cuts and more govt spending are approved. And guess what Mr. Bush has planned? More tax cuts (make 'em permanent.. as Mr. Cheney supposedly told Paul O'Neill, "It's our due.") and more spending, principally on programs that support corporate America and GOP backers.

Since the Dems are locked in by a GOP-controlled House and Senate, we have only the GOP, controlling both parts of Congress and the White House, to thank for the debt that we, our children, and our grandchildren will pay to make the wealthy in this country even more wealthy why we can't afford health care, legal assistance, housing.... Remember when the Dems were called the Tax and Spend party? Well, at least they got it right because "Cut Taxes and Spend More" (Bush's motto) sure isn't a recipe for fiscal success.

Michael Wolff

does David Brooks.


1 in 5 American soldiers face

post traumatic stress syndrome because of the Iraqi war. So the price they and their families pay will continue ad infinitum

More GI and Civilian Deaths in Iraq

You know, I get up in the morning, make coffee, go to my PC, and - with dread accumulating into a choke in my throat - log in to check the news to see what's happened in Iraq overnight. I know I'm not the only one who feels the sickness in the pit of his or her stomach when you read about 3 killed, 5 killed, 25 killed.

Now the administration is saying the most recent violence in Iraq has "all the marks of Al Qaeda." This could even be true. But from a group that has gotten so much wrong, I'm amazed they keep saying "Intelligence tells us..." Also, al Qaeda has turned into our bogeyman.

For about a year before 9/11, friends and I had a running joke. So often, any event in the world was being blamed on al Qaeda, that several people - us included - began to snicker. Lost car keys? Al Qaeda. Bounced a check? Al Qaeda. Trent Lott having a bad hair(piece) day. That damned Al Qaeda.

Then 9/11 happened and the jokes stopped. But all I have is this administration's statements and "their intelligence" telling us it was al Qaeda. Perhaps it was. But so much they've said has been proven wrong. What if it isn't al Qaeda and we're chasing the wrong bunny down the rabbit hole? And we're not doing a remarkable job at getting that wrong bunny, either.

Remember, too, Condi Rice telling us again and again on news shows: "Who could have predicted that al Qaeda would strike us on 9-11?"

Anyone who listened to even what news was available on the subject before 9-11, Dr. Rice. Since before the bombing of the U.S. Cole, al Qaeda and bin Laden were mentioned for almost every act of terrorism. Clinton's people said you didn't want to listen to what reporters said OR what they tried to tell you.

Someone must be accountable for this. The actual perpetrators of 9-11, whoever they are, and the people in the US who let it happen. Dr. Rice is one of those, if the evidence is correct. If the chatter was as high about al Qaeda as we've heard since 9-11, why was the President AND the VP both on vacation a good part of the 6 weeks prior to that September morning? Perhaps if so many weren't on vacation, or perhaps if some heard or read the news, so many lives would not have been lost on that September morning... or in all the months since.


David Kay, Speaking Out

Check this out. I felt from the beginning that Kay was put in the job as a studge, someone who could be counted on to tow the WH's line on WMD.

This call of his for a serious review says two things, at least to me: that a serious, comprehensive, non-partisan (meaning, non GOP control at this point) review is direly needed and that Mr. Kay may be a more honorable man than I gave him credit for being when he suddenly signed onto this mission. If this were Clinton, or Kennedy, or Gore, or FDR rather than George W. Bush, the call for a review would be NO less loud from Democrats and Republicans, Independents and Third Party'ers alike.

We were taken to war on one resounding message: they had WMD capable of harming our country even though many neighbor states said they did not worry about Saddam and WMD. VP Dick Cheney still keeps insisting there are WMD and "the case is still out" on a tie between Saddam and bin Laden when there is no substantial evidence to support either at this point.

It doesn't matter if Clinton thought there were WMD. After all, every GOPer with a microphone in or near DC has told us that Clinton couldn't tell the truth. But even without that raising that memory (and not a long memory either, I still hear it from them), Clinton did not take us to full war on WMD. I'm not even certain he was justified in the more limited action he took against Iraq around the time of his impeachment. In fact, I would count this as one of the real concerns of the Clinton presidency, rather than any silliness about an intern past the age of consent.

It is OUR responsibility to hold this administration - white, black, pink, polka dotted or striped - accountable for taking us to a full war based on what we now know. Blaming everything on poor intelligence does not cut it. We owe it to the world, we owe it to the people of Iraq, we owe it to us, and we owe it to every soldier (American and coalition) we've allowed be placed in the line of fire.

The Truth About Vermonters re:Dean

Y'know... I'm sorry everyone's decided it's fun to jump on the Mad How jokes after Dr. Dean's oft-lamented speech to his supporters last Monday. Even the local paper - in the city where Dean served in the statehouse on State Street - has published a letter from someone who withdrew all his support because he "can't trust Dean as a presidential candidate because of that behavior."

But you have to understand that we in Vermont aren't always good at expressing ourselves. Part of the problem is that it's snow covered and below zero here about three months a year, so our social graces get a tad rusty. It's often so cold that we wouldn't think of removing our clothes to have sex. It's NOT that we don't want sex. It consumes some of our mental energy - and God knows we get time for that considering how often the power is out or at least the TV reception does. But we're practical.

And that lack of TV reception means that we actually read up here. In books, you learn all about these complex emotions. Sure, you folks who watch TV know how to behave when you lose because you're ardent watchers of Survivor and Fear Factor and all that. You know you're supposed to deck the person who disappoints you. But winters up here ARE the real-time Fear Factor, so we don't need that fake reality stuff and we're big on natural hair so watching Donald Trump is out.

Besides that, our plumbing is usually frozen for at least two months each year, so ablutions that require water get a bit tricky. Try scheduling your bowel movements for only the warmest part of a sub-zero degree day and see how you behave at a caucus.

But really, watch Howard once the winter thaw sets in, and like all Vermonters, he becomes far more social and socially acceptable again. We're almost as respectable as those red-suit wearing Republicans in NH.

Oops.. there's one more reason to vote for Howard. It may be Vermont's last chance at having a US president hail from here. We're talking about defecting from the U.S. We'll be that little border country - smaller than Belgium perhaps - between Massachusetts and Canada.

I know, it sounds like a silly idea. But think about the last four of the last five Republicans the US installed in office (note, I didn't say elected, because neither Gerald Ford nor GWB were elected). Only 1 out of the 5 (Ford) turned out to be a decent man, if as clumsy as I am. The other 4: Tricky Dick, Ronnie Ray-gun, and both of Prescott Bush's progeny have all made the country swirl the bowl, so to speak. GWB is distinguished from the others in that he's actually trying to flush the entire world, and not just our pleasant part of it.

About veterans and...

the Bush "aviator hero" action figure. Read this and weep. Maureen Griswold, I'd like to hug you. You're a very smart lady.

Wow, another leak...

Who knew? And while this Time article cites the Plame investigation, it fails to note the new story brewing (and the Boston Globe has done some of the best coverage of this to date) that GOP staffers were stealing info from Dem (possibly just Dem judiciary) computers since 2001 and then giving incendiary ones directly to the media. One of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's (R-Hair Club for Men) data servers has been seized.

Probably the best thing about Bill Frist will ultimately turn out to be that Trent Lott won't seem like such a slug by comparison.

Why can't these folks leak concrete information that would lead to the impeachment of the president, the indictment of the VP, and public flogging and an appearance on Fear Factor for Condi Rice?


Although Schwarzenegger took a very long time going to congratulate everyone through the JPL team area during the critical moments as Opportunity was bouncing, some pundit or 700 tomorrow will snark about how Al Gore (who took up far less room and moved quickly out of the way) tried to steal NASA's big moment at JPL tonight. And unlike Schwarzenegger, who seemed to wait until the news was good to appear, Gore was there beforehand, thinking it was an interesting moment without having to wait until he was sure he got his photo op for a "winner".

NASA also knows what side of their bread (the crumbs) is buttered. They mentioned Schwarzenegger's appearance (and some dip-shit councilman) long before they noted Gore. This team needs to thank the Bush Administration for scrapping them; Bush only wants people in space now.

I nominate his twins.

Would Some Kind Person...(or thousands)

send to Peter Jennings and Wolf Blitzer, both shocked that Wes Clark would accept the endorsement of Michael Moore who refers to the president as a "deserter", the research they won't do themselves on how Mr. Flight Suit didn't appear for most of his last two years of service? It's really a shame that the American press has to pretend Bush was a Texas military hero and when it gets dented a bit, they find it necessary to try to get anyone who says anything to the contrary to "take it back".

While other people in the same position who did the same thing were shipped to Vietnam, our beloved leader went on to parade his so-called military service in front of us. As I recall, Texas wasn't engaged in a war in the early 70s.