Is This the Real Reason They Hate Miers?

Anyone to the left of Grover Norquist or the "Reverend" James Dobson doesn't have to say a word about Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers. The right is foaming at the mouth. So much so that many are also debasing Clarence Thomas, who was clearly a token appointment and not even a good one. Articles I've read over the years indicate that among right-leaning African American potential candidates, assuming Bush I chose primarily based on his color, Thomas was the dead bottom of the deck.

While they do this, they all invoice the name of David Suiter, a conservative appointed by Ronald Reagan whom they like to call "the leader of the left wing of the Supreme Court." Now, I'm no Supreme Court specialist, but I do actually read a far amount about the court, its cases, its decisions, and supporting/dissenting opinion. It is after all our third arm of America's overall operation.

Read Suiter and you don't see an idealogue. O'Connor - God love her - split the vote when she felt there were sufficient concerns to do so. The same is true with those that were appointed by Dem presidents.

Go back since slightly before Thomas' arrival and you see a court where the idealogue in chief is Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas his "ditto" yes man, and the late Rehnquist there to protect the uneven handedness of Scalia.

So don't let a nutwinger tell you they're rejecting Miers because she's "bottom of the deck" because a Bush has already given us a bottom scraper. They're rejecting her because they had decided on a few candidates and Bush did not name one of them.

Listen to David Frum, and you hear that if Libby and Rove are indicted, Bush will be forced by the conservobots to ditch Miers. Guess we'll see.


Would Someone Be So Kind

as to confirm to David Frum - former Bush speechwriter, now paid talking head for everything Bushian, the mental giant behind the phrase "axis of evil" and the only Canadian Bush doesn't want to make into smoked bacon - what I have told him numerous times?

Specifically, his 15 minutes are up and while it's lovely to have someone who doesn't hold American citizenship earn a high salary in a taxpayer-paid job to lie and spin for the Bushies, just Jonah Goldberg's size alone exceeds the "Tidy whitie" Bushie racial quota for tubby Jewish mama's boys who pretend that James Dobson would let them into a lifeboat.

My New Favorite Bumper Sticker

Seen on a vehicle driving near Goddard College in Plainfield, VT:

I hate to break this to you, but the Rapture already happened.
And look where you are, staring up Bush's rump!

Booga Booga

Yeah, I'm finally coming up for air and there is just too damned much to discuss.

I have decided, however, that if Bush had a favorite t-shirt, that shirt would feature the slogan, "What? Me Worry?" while Dick Cheney's would say, "I'm with Stupid."


And to Think Martha Stewart Went to Prison for Far Less

Outside the blind trusts he created to avoid a conflict of interest, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist earned tens of thousands of dollars from stock in a family-founded hospital chain largely controlled by his brother, documents show.

The Tennessee Republican, whose sale this summer of HCA Inc. stock is under federal investigation, has long maintained he could own HCA shares and still vote on health care legislation without a conflict because he had placed the stock in blind trusts approved by the Senate.

However, ethics experts say a partnership arrangement shown in documents obtained by The Associated Press raises serious doubts about whether the senator truly avoided a conflict.

In that case, the HCA stock was accumulated by a family investment partnership started by the senator's late parents and later overseen by his brother, Thomas Frist. The brother served as president of the partnership's management company and as a top officer of HCA. Sen. Frist holds no position with the company.

The senator's share of the partnership was placed in a Tennessee blind trust between 1998 and 2002 that was separate from those governed by Senate ethics rules. Frist reported Bowling Avenue Partners, made up mostly of non-public HCA stock, earned him $265,495 in dividends and other income over the four years.

Edmond M. Ianni, a former Wilmington, Del., bank executive who established blind trusts for corporate executives, questioned why the senator's brother was able to manage assets "when the whole purpose of a blind trust is to ensure lack of not only conflict of interest - but appearance of conflict of interest?

With a Bow to Matt Lauer

From Dan Froomkin of the Washington Post:

It was such a lovely photo op -- President Bush and his wife joining the volunteers building a house in Louisiana. The perfect backdrop for an upbeat interview, live on NBC's Today Show.
But then Matt Lauer had to go and pull back the curtain and ask: Isn't this all just an empty photo op?

What ensued was an unusually testy interview, with Bush waving off more questions than he answered, chiding Lauer for quoting too many Democrats in his windups and making it clear that he would have been much happier fielding questions about the charitable nature of the American people than about politics.

Here's the text ; here's the video .

"Q So much more visibility on your part, President Bush, following Hurricane Rita and, as I mentioned, the eight trips to the region, as compared to what was seen as a slow and inefficient federal response after Hurricane Katrina. Is this one of those situations where you're trying to get a second chance to make a good first impression?"

"PRESIDENT BUSH: I do my job as best I can. One of the things that we do is we respond to crisis. And as I told the people, if I didn't respond well enough, we're going to learn the lessons. If there's any mistakes made at the federal level, I, of course, accept responsibility for them. . . .
"Q I talked to a prominent Democrat in Louisiana who has said that this type of appearance, while it's great to see you guys rolling up your sleeves and grabbing a hammer and helping with this piece of wall here, that it's a photo op, and they want to see a plan on paper, your plan to rebuild this region. Do you have that kind of a plan?

"THE PRESIDENT: Well, Matt, you see, I don't think Washington ought to dictate to New Orleans how to rebuild. I guess we have a different philosophy than whoever the prominent Democrat was you spoke to. Last night, Laura and had dinner with Mayor Nagin and a group of distinguished New Orleans citizens from all walks of life. And my message to them was, we will support the plan that you develop.


Edward R Morrow

Unless I'm wrong, I think George Clooney's movie on Edward R. Murrow is a worth-see.

First, there are a lot of similarities between the McCarthy era and today - something I never, ever, ever, ever expected to say during my lifetime (McCarthy predated me). Second, it's a glimpse at how even in those days, networks and media giants were very concerned with issues other than accuracy of news.

Third, Clooney strikes me as remarkably astute in politics and in other areas. Not just another pretty face.

Special Forces Suicides After Return Home Raise Questions

From the Las Vegas Sun (with kudos to Buzzflash for the pointer):

Chief Warrant Officer William Howell was a 15-year Army Special Forces veteran who had seen combat duty all over the world. Sgt. 1st Class Andre McDaniel was a military accountant. Spc. Jeremy Wilson repaired electronics.

They had little in common, other than having served in Iraq with the 10th Special Forces Group based at Fort Carson, Colo. They did not know each other, and they had vastly different duties.
Each, however, committed suicide shortly after returning home, all within about a 17-month period.

The Army says there appears to be no connection between the men's overseas service and their deaths, and Army investigators found no "common contributing cause" among the three. The fact they were in the same unit is only a coincidence, Special Operations Command spokeswoman Diane Grant said at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Others are not so sure. Steve Robinson, a former Army Ranger and veterans' advocate, said he suspects there were problems in the men's unit - namely, a macho refusal to acknowledge stress and seek help.

Bloggers "Probably" Not Journalists

Bloggers would "probably not" be considered journalists under the proposed federal shield law, the bill's co-sponsor, U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (R.-Ind.), told the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) Monday afternoon.

Lugar emphasized, however, that debate is not yet closed on how to define a journalist under the proposed law. "As to who is a reporter, this will be a subject of debate as this bill goes farther along," he said in response to a question from Washington Post Deputy Managing Editor Milton Coleman.

"Are bloggers journalists or some of the commercial businesses that you here would probably not consider real journalists? Probably not, but how do you determine who will be included in this bill?"According to the first draft of the Free Flow of Information Act of 2005, the "covered person" protected by the bill's terms includes "any entity that disseminates information by print, broadcast, cable, satellite, mechanical, photographic, electronic, or other means and that publishes a newspaper, book, magazine, or other periodical in print or electronic form; operates a radio or television station (or network of such stations), cable system, or satellite carrier, or channel or programming service for any such station, network, system, or carrier; or operates a news agency or wire service." The legislation also covers employees, contractors or other persons who "gathers, edits, photographs, records, prepares, or disseminates news or information for any such entity."

A key reason some journalists oppose the popular federal shield proposal is fear that giving Congress the power to define who is and isn't a journalist could lead effectively to the licensing of journalists.

In other remarks about the legislation at IAPA's 61st General Assembly, Lugar acknowledged that the legislation could amount to a "privilege" for reporters over other Americans.
The above from Ed and Pub.

For the record, I'm not fully sure if I have a problem with this. A journalist can blog; some bloggers behave as journalists. But being a blogger doesn't immediately produce a press card.

As I've said before, although I am a journalist and a card carrying member of the press, I do not treat this blog as a journalistic endeavor. Yet there are many bloggers I would consider full journalists.

Answer This

So why did President Bush send Harriet Miers a birthday card telling her "no more public scatology"? Of course, she called him the most brilliant man she ever met (Harriet really needs to get out more)

From Dictionary.com:


The study of fecal excrement, as in medicine, paleontology, or biology.
An obsession with excrement or excretory functions.
The psychiatric study of such an obsession.
Obscene language or literature, especially that dealing pruriently or humorously with excrement and excretory functions.
Don't mess with Tex-ass?

National Journal: Cheney Aide Libby Failed to Disclose Key Conversation


In two appearances before the federal grand jury investigating the leak of a covert CIA operative's name, Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, did not disclose a crucial conversation that he had with New York Times reporter Judith Miller in June 2003 about the operative, Valerie Plame, according to sources with firsthand knowledge of his sworn testimony.

Libby also did not disclose the June 23 conversation when he was twice interviewed by FBI agents working on the Plame leak investigation, the sources said.

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald apparently learned about the June 23 conversation for the first time just days ago, after attorneys for Miller and The New York Times informed prosecutors that Miller had discovered a set of notes on the conversation.
Imagine that, the Prince of Darkness handpicked demon spawn not telling the truth. Be still my heart.

A Note to California's Governator

Dear Arnold:

Considering what a mess you've made of California - and you, God help us, were the recall and reform candidate - I would think you would be more concerned about stop fucking up the state you lead.

But gosh, no, you're signing movie deals. And God knows, the world needs more semi-elderly super heros with a neck the diameter of a redwood tree trunk without a mastery for the English language. The latter, however, won't keep you from being president as our current leader in thief exemplifies.

Speaking as a pacifist to a non-pacifist, someone really ought to slap you silly.

A non-fan in Vermont

Bird Flu Redux

You know, not so long ago I was lamenting that our brilliant leaders were paying almost no attention to bird flu which could make the losses on 9/11, or NOLA, or Pakistan seem like a birthday party.

But now, the Bushies are just using it to distract everybody. And using it to push the end of Posse Comitatus. Talking about forced quarantines. You know, generally fucking it up the way only Bushies seem able to do.


A Prophet, a Warrior, AND Not Gay

General JC Christian has come screaming out of the closet to announce that he is not a homosexual.

Neither am I.

Good. Now that this is settled we can return to the world's chaos, already in progress.

A Toilet You MUST See

Read this interesting article about an American solidarity movement at Karlo's SwerveLeft... then check out the "holy image" in the toilet.

Strangely, during my 32 hour power outage two weeks ago, I ended up with an image of Condi Rice in my lavatory toilet off the kitchen.

Posted by the Good Folks

at Skippy International. I'd read this before but I enjoy reading it again. ;)

theodore roosevelt heller, 88, loving father of charles (joann) heller; dear brother of the late sonya (the late jack) steinberg. ted was discharged from the u.s. army during wwii due to service related injuries, and then forced his way back into the illinois national guard insisting no one tells him when to serve his country. graveside services tuesday 11 a.m. at waldheim jewish cemetery (ziditshover section), 1700 s. harlem ave., chicago.in lieu of flowers, please send acerbic letters to republicans.

National Guard Deaths in Iraq Have Doubled

Story in The Times.

So Now We've Lost Another Billion in Iraq

From USA Today:

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq has issued arrest warrants against the defense minister and 27 other officials from the U.S.-backed government of former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi over the alleged disappearance or misappropriation of $1 billion in military procurement funds, officials said Monday.

Those accused include four other ministers from Allawi's government, which was replaced by an elected Cabinet led by Shiite parties in April, said Ali al-Lami of Iraq's Integrity Commission. Many of the officials are believed to have left Iraq, including Hazem Shaalan, the former defense minister who moved to Jordan shortly after the new government was installed.

For months, Iraqi investigators have been looking into allegations that millions of dollars were spent on overpriced deals for shoddy weapons and military hardware, apparently to launder cash, at a time when Iraq was battling a bloody insurgency that still persists.

In Baghdad, a suicide bomber detonated a car full of mortars near an entrance to the fortified Green Zone on Monday, killing a U.S. soldier and six Iraqis in one of a string of insurgent attacks in which at least 13 other Iraqis also died.

No Values Like Family Values (Cough)

From Oregon Live:

Law enforcement officials said Saturday they are investigating complaints that Louis Beres, longtime chairman of the Christian Coalition of Oregon, molested three female family members when they were pre-teens.

"There is an investigation of allegations that have been made," Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk said Saturday.

The Oregonian talked to three of Beres' female relatives, including two who told reporters that he molested them. All three said they have been interviewed for several hours by detectives.
"I was molested," said one of the women, now in her early 50s. "I was victimized, and I've suffered all my life for it. I'm still afraid to be in the same room with (Beres)."

Beres, 70, whose group champions socially conservative candidates and causes, confirmed he is under investigation for alleged molestation. He blamed "personal and political enemies" for the reports and said, "I never molested anybody."

Top Three U.S. Automakers About to Belly Up?

That's what The Times and other news sources are saying.

Clear the passageways: Rat are running off the Good Ship Dubya

Maybe it's his deodorant; from the Mercury News:

For almost five years, Republican lawmakers have seamlessly marched together to deliver President Bush's legislative agenda. At times, they have made the normally messy business of writing laws look easy.

Now, for the first time in Bush's presidency, party discipline among Republicans has broken down to the point that he faces insurrections on a variety of fronts, from Harriet Miers' Supreme Court nomination to the nation's policy on the treatment of prisoners.

Republicans in the House, in the Senate and in key conservative groups have begun criticizing the president and his policies in a way not seen since he took office.

"With fiscal conservatives, we've been disappointed," said Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a leader in the fight to push the White House to restrain federal spending.

Plummeting ratings for Bush and many of his policies, from Social Security to the war in Iraq, have clearly played a part, freeing people to speak their minds, Flake acknowledged: "When you're taking on water, it's easier to complain."

Bush's problem with his own party coincides with his low popularity ratings around the nation. According to a recent CBS News poll, Bush has hit an all-time low with just 37 percent approval. A new Associated Press-Ipsos poll shows that 28 percent of the electorate says the country is headed in the right direction, while 66 percent say it's on the wrong track.

Now conservatives who have been crucial to Bush's electoral and legislative successes are speaking out against the president.

Jessica Echard, executive director of the Eagle Forum, a grass-roots organization founded by Phyllis Schlafly, describes the mood among her 80,000 members as "disillusionment."

"The Harriet Miers nomination has brought to the surface a lot of concerns and disappointments that have been smoldering beneath the surface," Echard said. "We've been concerned and frustrated by the president's stances on immigration, border security, spending and the fact that he hasn't used his veto power in five years in office."

In recent days, Bush has faced legislative setbacks in the House and Senate and public complaints about his actions and policies. And, for a change, none of the president's trouble has come from the Democrats:

Rejecting White House pleas, the Republican-led Senate voted 90-9 to ban cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment against anyone in U.S. government custody.

In the House, a band of fiscal conservatives has been badgering the White House and Republican leaders to pay for billions of dollars in relief for Hurricane Katrina by cutting other federal spending. GOP leaders eventually relented, promising across-the-board spending cuts by the end of the month.

Bush's nomination of Miers has provoked consternation outside the Capitol, as conservative special interest groups have complained bitterly that Miers does not have a proven track record of supporting their socially conservative agenda.

Bush's push to overhaul Social Security with private investment accounts is widely considered to be dead, having failed to attract enough Republican support.


The Eight Years of Our Discontent OR Cold Reality

I was reading about the expected federal indictments that may extend beyond
Karl Rove via a threat at Think Progress which made me stop, think for about four-five tours around the topic.

Does this strike anyone else any particular way?

Face it- There will be pardons long before any trial, thus eliminating the possibility that the crimes committed by the bush regieme will ever come to light in a public forum.
The fact that the USA electorate refused to challenge the blatantly false “official” 2004 election results is proof enough that the corporate repugs will continue to rule for the foreseeable future.

Stoopid USA citizens will always sell-out the USA in favor of moronic corporate jingles.

Face the truth- Even if rove is shot for treason, almost half of the USA electorate is far too stupid to ever understand the CONCEPT of treason, and most of the other half, is far too stupid to get off their ass and vote.

The USA was once a nation of LAWS. The USA is NOW a nation of MORONS.

For every non-USA citizen who harbors hatred towards the USA, Relax- the USA will be gone forever soon enough. Certainly in less than 2 decades- most likely in less than a decade.

Bide your time, and invest in euros.

The USA is defined by it’s constitution- but almost everyone sworn to to defend the USA constitution is working to destroy the USA constitution.

The noble experiment has failed after more than 2 centuries.The USA is dead.
I find that second to last paragraph stunning in its truth.

Have an Idea That's the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread?

Saw this link to Since Sliced Bread in an ad at Talking Points Memo. Interesting whatever it is.

Mr. Bush's Desire for a Martial Law Police State

Mr Natural at Left Edge North points us to this important piece at Take it Personally.

Snippet from profmarcus:

yeah, uh-huh... right... just trust us... s-u-u-ure... here's the key phrase: "covert operatives need to be able to approach potential sources in the United States without identifying themselves as government agents..." you can't have trust when you don't know what's going on in the first place...

Interesting Poll Result

Now a few different polls indicate that, among the Americans who've ever heard of Harriet Miers after two weeks on nonstop discussion about her, they report feeling more disturbed rather than reassured that Mr. Bush considers her a good friend and an excellent choice.

Social Dem Schroeder Out, Christian Dem Merkel In as Germany's Leader

Interesting. She's Germany's first female leader. Interesting solution to the closeness of the vote, too: Christian Dems agreed to give up key cabinet posts to Social Dems in exchange for Schroeder stepping aside.

This "winner takes all" and "mandate" shit that goes on with our elections doesn't help Republicans, doesn't help Democrats, doesn't help anyone in between or outside the two parties.


Mystery of Dead Journalist in Iraq Deepens

Buzzflash points us at this piece in Editor and Publisher:

Steve Vincent, a New Yorker and a freelance reporter, remains the only American journalist slain in Iraq since the fall of Baghdad more than two years ago. It happened on Aug. 2, but more than two months later, no one has been caught or charged with his murder.

Just before his death, after being kidnapped in Basra, he had written an op-ed for The New York Times. That newspaper re-visited his killing today, revealing or speculating on several fascinating angles, including the role that his very close relationship with his Iraqi interpreter may have played in the mystery. Vincent's death was followed on Sept. 19 by the slaying of Fakher Haider, 38, an Iraqi journalist working for the Times, with the circumstances similar and his killers also still at large.

The paper's Kirk Semple wrote today, "Radical Shiite militias, who have infiltrated the government and police force in Basra, are widely suspected of committing the crimes, though it is not known whether the killings are linked in any way."

Vincent and his Iraqi interpreter, Nooriya Taiz, were grabbed off the street by several armed men and thrown into a government pickup truck in Basra, and found several hours later, riddled with bullets. Taiz survived. From the beginning, speculation about a motive for Vincent's killing focused mainly on his reporting and that July 31 op-ed, which revealed his increasing concerns about the role of radical Shiites and the fundamentalist crackdown in that city since the January elections. But his relationship with Taiz may have also played a big part.

Semple, in a frank account, revealed today that the relationship between Vincent and Taiz "developed well beyond a business arrangement and a shared indignation about the spread of hard-line Shiite control. They clearly adored each other." Among those Semple cited for this: Vincent's wife of 13 years, Lisa Ramaci. Many people who met the writer and the interpreter in Basra were told by them that they intended to marry.

Toledo Blade: More on Ohio GOP Coingate

Although this story of corrupt Ohio GOP's connection to losing a lot of employee money in rare and bad coin purchases goes to the very depth of how legitimate the 2004 presidential elections results from Ohio, the deciding state, this story has only once to my knowledge made it to the airwaves.

From the Toledo Blade, a paper doing steady work on this case:

Tom Noe often transferred tens of thousands of dollars from the Ohio rare-coin funds he managed to his personal business before bankrolling Republican candidates and causes with contributions and loans.

A Blade examination of the accounting records from Mr. Noe’s $50 million rare-coin venture shows a pattern of large sums of money moving from the coin funds to his personal business, Vintage Coins and Collectibles, in the days and weeks before the coin dealer and his wife, Bernadette, made contributions to Republican candidates ranging from President Bush to U.S. Sen. George Voinovich and Gov. Bob Taft down to Lucas County Auditor Larry Kaczala.Mr. Noe typically listed the payments from the coin funds to Vintage Coins as "profit distributions" or "coin purchases."But both of those explanations have been assailed as fraudulent by Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro, who has branded Mr. Noe a thief and accused the former Toledo-area coin dealer of running a Ponzi scheme and making questionable coin trades with the state fund.

Last month, Mr. Petro accused Mr. Noe of diverting coin-fund money to his personal business and then to his personal checking account to pay for his former Catawba Island home, landscape his home in the Florida Keys, and pay off a business loan. Mr. Petro said the accusations largely came from "tracking the flow of dollars" out of the coin funds to Mr. Noe’s personal accounts and measuring the "proximity of the transfers" before large purchases or payments.

According to the computerized accounting records of Capital Coin I, II, and their subsidiaries, Mr. Noe since 1998 transferred more than $19 million from the state coin venture into his business accounts at Vintage Coins, including more than $13 million for "coin purchases" and more than $1.7 million in "profit distributions." In that same time period, Vintage Coins transferred about $5 million back to the coin funds, the records show.

As Mr. Petro lodged accusations about how Mr. Noe bought houses and paid-off loans with state coin fund money, he stopped short of making claims about how the coin dealer paid for political contributions and loans he and his wife doled out, totaling more than $300,000 since 1998 — the year he received his first installment of $25 million from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to invest in rare coins.

Mr. Petro, who has returned $6,100 in campaign contributions from the Noes because of concerns that the money could have come from state funds, said during a news conference that coin-fund money could have been used for political purposes, but his office is focusing on "personal resources" in building its civil case against the coin dealer.

Cheer Up, Kidderoos

After all, as of midnight, we only have 1,197 days of King George's reign left. And they'll all be a bad Monday.

Newsweek on the Republican Party of George Bush and Tom DeLay

Reasonably interesting. I think it barely even tries to scratch the surface, however.

John Dean: The People Vs. Tommy The Bugman DeLay

John Dean is a regular read of mine and this analysis is interesting, explaining lots of the nuances lost in the babble.


The (now) former Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives was indicted on September 28, and again on October 2, by two different Travis County, Texas grand juries. The second indictment is far more serious than the first.

The first indictment charges DeLay with engaging in a criminal conspiracy in violation of Texas Penal Code Section 15.02. It states that DeLay and two of his associates (also indicted) agreed to make corporate political contributions which are prohibited by the Elections Code. If convicted, DeLay faces up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Six days later came the second indictment, which is twice the length of the first, with its two counts. The first count charges another conspiracy under Section 15.02, again to violate the election law - but ALSO to launder corporate money, in violation of Texas Penal Code Section 34.02, the state's money laundering prohibition. The second count charges DeLay outright with the offense of money laundering, and because the amount of the money allegedly laundered exceeds $100,000, that is a felony punishable by life in prison.


One experienced criminal defense attorneys (from Texas, who is following the case closely) volunteered his surprise that DeLay was going around to radio and television shows to speak out on the matter. DeLay has visited Rush Limbaugh's show, Sean Hannity's, and Chris Mathews's "Hardball" to mention a few. At each stop, DeLay repeats his claim that the grand jury had no basis, no evidence whatsoever, to indict him.

"It is just not smart for a criminal defendant to blabber on," the attorney told me. "Those public statements will come back to haunt Tom DeLay in a courtroom, probably early next year." I asked that he be more specific.

This attorney said he had watched DeLay contradict himself on "Hardball," and then, apparently, lie about never having been requested to appear before the grand jury. I pulled the transcript.

Referring to the fund-raising entity at the heart of the case, Texans for a Republican Majority PAC, DeLay told Mathews, "TRMPAC is a separate entity. I had no fiduciary responsibilities. I had no managerial responsibilities. I had nothing to do with the day-to-day operation. I was simply, along with four other elected officials, on an advisory board. They used my name as headliners for fund-raisers."

A few minutes later, though, the transcript reflects that DeLay is contradicting himself. He tells Mathews he was, in effect, deeply involved: "Everything TRMPAC did -- and I insisted on -- to even be on their board of advisers. Now, TRMPAC was my idea. I wanted the Texas House to be a Republican majority. And I went down there and worked with them to do that. We were successful."

Christian Coalition: That They Were Morally Bankrupt Stood Without Question, But Financially?


The Christian Coalition, the onetime powerhouse of the religious right founded by Pat Robertson, is struggling to stay afloat.

The group’s annual revenue has shrunk to one- twentieth of what it was a decade ago – from a peak of $26 million in 1996 to $1.3 million in 2004 – and it has left a trail of unpaid bills from Texas to Virginia. Among the creditors who have sued the coalition for nonpayment are landlords, direct-mail companies, lawyers and at least one former employee seeking back pay.

It has even come to this: The company that moved the group out of its Washington headquarters in 2002 went to small-claims court Friday in Henrico County trying to collect $1,890 that remains unpaid on its three-year-old bill.

It is the latest in at least a dozen judicial collection actions brought against the coalition since 2001. The amounts sought by creditors total hundreds of thousands of dollars.

NOPD Officers Beat Older Man

Not the best time for the NOPD in a history that has not been filled with all the best stuff anyway.


NEW ORLEANS - At least one police officer repeatedly punched a 64-year-old man accused of public intoxication, and another officer assaulted an Associated Press Television News producer as a cameraman taped the confrontations.

There will be a criminal investigation, and three New Orleans Police Department officers will be suspended Sunday, arrested and charged with simple battery, Capt. Marlon Defillo said.

"We have great concern with what we saw this morning," Defillo said after he and about a dozen other high-ranking police department officials watched the APTN footage Sunday. "It's a troubling tape, no doubt about it. ... This department will take immediate action."

The assaults come as the department, long plagued by allegations of brutality and corruption, struggles with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the resignation last month of Police Superintendent Eddie Compass.

The APTN tape shows an officer hitting the man at least four times in the head Saturday night as he stood outside a bar. The suspect, Robert Davis, appeared to resist, twisting and flailing as he was dragged to the ground by four officers. Another officer then kneed Davis and punched him twice. Davis was face-down on the sidewalk with blood streaming down his arm and into the gutter.

Newsday: No Evidence NY Subway Terror Threat Real

But it sure wasis distracting!

NEW YORK -- A reported plot to bomb city subways with remote-controlled explosives has not been corroborated after days of investigation, law-enforcement officials said Sunday amid an easing sense of concern about a possible attack.

Interrogations of suspects captured in Iraq Thursday and Friday after an informant's tip about bomb-laden suitcases and baby carriages have yet to yield evidence that the plot was real, three officials with knowledge of the investigation said.

"The intelligence community has been able to determine that there are very serious doubts about the credibility of this specific threat," Homeland Security Department spokesman Russ Knocke said. "This is after ongoing review and analysis."

Homeland Security officials have been skeptical about the threat since it was publicly announced on Thursday, but officials who were more assertive about the potential danger last week also appeared to be softening their assessment Sunday.

"I believe in the short term we'll have a much better sense of whether or not this has, you know, real substance to it," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said on CNN's Late Edition.

Sound Familiar, FEMA?

Posted by Lambert at CorrenteWire:

According to the Republican Playbook, the first step in privatizing is you always to underfund and trash a government agency. Then, you can privatize the agency—and hand out the contracts to your contributors! Nice work if you can get it…

But you’d think the Republicans would have some stopping points; some ethical constraints; some limit where they’d say, “We can’t do this, it’s just not decent. Money’s one thing, but people’s lives could depend on this!”

But n-o-o-o-o-o!

After Katrina—or Andrew, for that matter—you’d think the Republicans, as the governing ruling party, would be doing their best to defend American citizens at risk from hurricanes. Think again:
    While hurricanes relentlessly pound America’s coastlines, breakdowns in crucial weather-observing equipment are thwarting forecasters at the National Hurricane Center … a Miami Herald Investigation has found.

Grudge Match #2: Patronizing Pimp Boy Pat Robertson vs. Hugo the Terminator Chavez

Raw Story says Pat Robertson is at it again, this time saying Chavez cut Osama bin Laden a generous check. Hell, the Bushies have written LOTS of checks to bin Ladens who are their business and financial partners.


PROMINENT US TV evangelist Pat Robertson has accused Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of giving Osama bin Laden $US1.2 million after the September 11 attacks and of trying to obtain nuclear material from Iran.

Mr Robertson caused uproar in August when he called during his televised religious program for the US government to assassinate Chavez. He later was forced to apologise to the leftist leader.

But the conservative preacher issued a new denunciation of Chavez yesterday, local time, in an interview with CNN.

"The truth is, this man is setting up a Marxist-type dictatorship in Venezuela, he's trying to spread Marxism throughout South America, he's negotiating with the Iranians to get nuclear material and he also sent $US1.2 million in cash to Osama bin Laden right after 9/11," Mr Robertson said.

"I apologised and I said I will be praying for him, but one day we will be staring nuclear weapons and it won't be (Hurricane) Katrina facing New Orleans, it's going to be a Venezuelan nuke," Mr Robertson said.

SARS Spread by Bats

I'm not terribly surprised by this, but considering how SARS and the "avian" flu can have fairly similar symptoms I wonder if bats - even though they are mammals and not birds - could spread the bird flu as well.

Now, the same time SARS broke out, I happened to be taking a three week vacation in ICU with SARS' nasty big brother, ARDS, which isn't known to be communicable. If the bird flu is anything like SARS or ARDS, God help us. Two and a half years later, I have yet to draw a breath that is not accompanied by staggering pain and a sense of my left lower lung being on fire, an effect of all the scar tissue left behind by a respiratory syndrome that turns your organs to jelly.

What's Your Call on Miers

The Carpetbagger Report - for those who aren't regular readers - has a nice habit of opening up the discussion on one key topic every Sunday, and the questions or dilemmas presented are usually good ones, with a lot of good discussion.

Today's topic is Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court (and here's an interesting tidbit: as late as yesterday, polls were showing that between 7 and 9 out of every 10 people have no idea who she is when asked to identify her). Should we actively support her confirmation (I'd probably prefer to eat glass) or happily sit by and watch the extreme right - who my my my has really been snarling about being stuck with Clarence Thomas 14 years ago - demand her replacement because it would be another nail in King Georgy's coffin?

For myself, I can't applaud her nomination. But even to make Georgy Porgy seem bad am I willing to consciously hurt the country by allowing the rightists to trample all over the court.


I gotta go pretend to be a productive member of society instead of... well... whatever it is I am. Then I need to consult my dog about an appropriate super hero's costume, preferably something without bronze breast plates.

NY Daily News: Americans Aren't Buying What Bush and Rice Are Selling


Bush & Rice make new Iraq pitches but Americans aren't buying.

Over the last weeks, the White House quietly has been trying out a new argument on Iraq. Aimed at shoring up public support, the tactic compares the difficulties there with historic conflicts, such as World War II and the battle against communism.
What Iraq shares with those periods, the argument goes, are bouts of doubt and confusion followed by victory - if we are resolute and patient.

It's a good argument, but not good enough. My bet is that it's too late and has too many holes in it to be persuasive for those sick of the carnage in Iraq.

The first peek at the new approach came Sept. 30, when Secretary of State Rice linked Iraq to history's "extraordinary times" in a speech at Princeton University. Then, last Thursday, President Bush picked up the theme in Washington, where he compared Osama Bin Laden and other Islamic terrorists to Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot.

Rice was more thoughtful and less bellicose, but her audience, drawn mostly from the Woodrow Wilson graduate school, responded politely but unenthusiastically. Although her office billed the speech as major, it did not get wide attention, so parts of it are worth repeating here.

Citing setbacks the free world suffered in the first five years after World War II - the division of Germany, the Communist victory in China, the Soviet atomic bomb, the Korean War - she put our choice in stark terms.

"If we quit now, we will abandon Iraq's democrats at their time of greatest need. We will embolden every enemy of liberty and democracy across the Middle East. ... If we abandon future generations in the Middle East to despair and terror, we also condemn future generations in the United States to insecurity and fear."

Bush's Chats with God


WASHINGTON -- Once again, a private conversation between President Bush and Palestinian leaders two years ago has come back to bedevil the White House.

Despite the dubious nature of Bush's reported words -- which the White House insists have been mischaracterized -- the latest account asserting that Bush once claimed a divine mandate to wage war in Afghanistan and Iraq has spawned headlines around the globe, in newspapers and over the Internet.

Commentators have been especially ruthless in Europe, where Bush's born-again Christianity is viewed with suspicion.

The story has its roots in a meeting in June 2003, when Bush attended back-to-back summits in Egypt and Jordan to launch a peace plan for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The BBC will broadcast a documentary this week in which a senior Palestinian official alleges Bush privately suggested that he invaded Afghanistan and Iraq on the orders of God.

Florida's New #1 Educator Promotes Creationism

Oh, glorious.

Cheri Pierson Yecke began her job as one of the most powerful educators in the state last week with little fanfare, receiving her office keys and e-mail address and meeting in a two-day retreat with Department of Education staff.

But the reputation of Florida's new chancellor for kindergarten through 12th grade, second only to Education Commissioner John Winn, preceded her with more flourish — and fear from some.

Yecke, 50, who served most recently as Minnesota's top educator, is a conservative, a believer in creationism, a critic of teachers unions and a strong proponent of President Bush's education reform programs, some of which she helped write.

She was forced out as Minnesota's education commissioner last year by a Democrat-controlled Senate.

She then worked as a senior fellow at the conservative think tank Center of the American Experiment, where she wrote articles blaming childhood obesity on the "liberal media" and said "liberal criminal sentencing laws" make streets unsafe for kids.

The Case of Judith Miller's Mysteriously Missing Then Reappeared Notebook

From Editor and Publisher (curioser and curioser):

If its recent track record is any guide, The New York Times, later today or tomorrow, will get around to confirming Michael Isikoff’s Newsweek revelation late Saturday that the missing notes Judith Miller suddenly found and turned over to the federal prosecutor on Friday in the Plame case were located in a notebook in the newspaper’s Washington, D.C. bureau. The prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, has now scheduled another meeting with Miller on Tuesday.

Besides the ongoing mystery of why the Times is always a step or two behind its competition in reporting on its own reporter, this latest twist raises all sorts of tantalizing issues. If anyone at the Times objects to raising the following questions: It’s your own fault for not disclosing more about this case yourself.

And, before getting to The Case of the Missing Notebook: What’s with the Times, which long supported Miller going to jail for 85 days, purportedly to stand up for a journalistic principle (protecting a source), now willingly turning over a reporter’s notes to the prosecutor? And did Miller turn over the notes herself, or did the Times locate and do the honors itself?

The notes in question, we now know, cover a Miller discussion with I. Lewis Libby on June 25, 2003, two weeks before Joseph Wilson’s WMD op-ed that was thought to have set the Bush backlash in motion. These notes, the Times had disclosed, do mention Wilson. Isikoff observes that the notebook is “significant because Wilson's identity was not yet public.”
Greg Mitchell's been a strong writer on the Bushies for some time.

New Poll, New Blog Listings

Finally, I updated the poll and the blogs of the week listings.

Bush Seeks More Ways to Spy on Americans Without Paper Trail

Doesn't matter how few they ever catch and how few of those are actually guilty.

Walter Pincus in the WaPo:

As part of the expanding counterterrorism role being taken on by the Pentagon, Defense Intelligence Agency covert operatives need to be able to approach potential sources in the United States without identifying themselves as government agents, George Peirce, the DIA's general counsel, said yesterday.

"This is not about spying on Americans," Peirce said in an interview in which he defended legislative language approved last week by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The provision would grant limited authority for DIA agents to clandestinely collect information about U.S. citizens or emigres in this country to help determine whether they could be recruited as sources of intelligence information.

"We are not asking for the moon," Peirce said. "We only want to assess their suitability as a source, person to person" and at the same time "protect the ID and safety of our officers." The CIA and the FBI already have such authority, he added, and the DIA needs it "to develop critical leads" because "there is more than enough work for all of us to do."

The legislative proposal has been controversial on Capitol Hill and has drawn criticism from groups concerned with privacy and civil liberties. The House's intelligence authorization bill, which passed in June, does not include the provision, which is similar to a proposal that was eliminated last year from the legislation.

The Senate intelligence panel approved the new authority for the DIA last week and forwarded it to the Senate Armed Services Committee, which reviews sections related to the Defense Department. One senior Armed Services Committee staff member said yesterday that the DIA provision "will get close review here."

Poll Results In

According to you folks, I'm supposed to be a super hero or a FEMA director. Too bad we didn't have a super hero as FEMA director during Katrina, eh?

Diamonds Aren't Any Girl's Best Friend

I see Karlo at SwerveLeft has the same feelings about diamonds I do.

I'd much rather have a piece of fabricated glass than wear a gem that someone paid with his anatomy to get.

War for Porn Site Raided with Very Minimal Search Guidelines

Monkeyfister from Blah3 posts this:

Photographic Evidence Of Potential Warcrimes Ignored Consensual-Sex Pron Confiscated. Owner of site arrested for the pron.
    Polk County officials arrested a Lakeland man on obscenity charges Friday after investigating his graphic Web site, which has gained international attention for allowing U.S. soldiers to post pictures of war dead on the Internet.

    The charges against Christopher Michael Wilson, a former police officer, are likely to reignite the debate about obscene material in the Internet age. It also raises questions about whether the federal government played a part in motivating the prosecution.

    Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said late Friday that the 300 obscenity-related charges against Wilson all involve sexual content on his Web site -- and not graphic war-scene images posted by soldiers.
As John says, God help us all... BUT, if you go to the link, he promises that he's got a few aces in the hole on this story.

Louisiana Visitors

Looking at my blog log this morning, I'm reminded again that a few folks who used to come in regularly from in and around New Orleans just don't show up anymore.

God only knows I can understand other matters are pressing in their lives. But I keep thinking, "Did they make it? Are their homes gone?"

Likewise, I see a few less Texans since Rita. I worry about them, too.


John Boy, Mary Ellen, Elizabeth, Jim Bob, Gramma and Grampa.

From Dust to... er.. Cocktail Ring?

Woman 1: My goodness. That ring is huge! Is that the Hope diamond?

Woman 2: No such luck! That's actually the remains of my fourth husband, Morty.

Story here:

Everyone said she was a gem. Now, just eight ounces of cremated remains is all it takes to turn your mother into a diamond.


In fact, there's enough carbon in those ashes to make about 20 gems. And there will still be several pounds of ashes left over to display on the mantelpiece.

So far, nobody's ordered more than 11 diamonds, said Dean VandenBiesen, vice president of operations for LifeGem, which uses super-hot ovens to transform ashes to graphite and then presses the stone into blue and yellow diamonds that retail for anywhere from 2,700 to 20,000 dollars.

"It's not for everyone," VandenBiesen admitted, adding that for those who do chose to immortalize their loved ones in jewelry, the experience is extremely positive.

"We have people that approach us who have just experienced a tragedy and they say I can't wait, I'm so excited about this," he said. "In the field of death care, when someone says I'm really excited about this, I think we've achieved what we wanted to do which is change the culture of death."

The success of LifeGem is just one example of a radical shift in the funeral industry, said Mark Musgrove, immediate past president of the National Funeral Directors Association.

Americans are moving away from traditional funerals and are seeking instead less somber occasions that reflect the personality of the deceased.

They are also looking for alternative ways to remember their loved ones.

While a decline in religiosity has contributed to the shift, Musgrove said it's mainly a reflection of a cultural phenomenon.

Say Hello to

Crony Jobs.

Bill Bennett, Still Defending His Abort Black Babies Diatribe

What a maroon!

Now, according to Mr. Morality, it is the media's fault.

"That Was Like So Waaaaaaaay Out of Bounds!"

Errr.....from New York: A 9-year-old girl pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter Friday, admitting she fatally stabbed her 11-year-old playmate after a tug-of-war over a rubber ball went sour.

Is Right Wing Radio Slipping in Popularity?

Knight Ridder:

WASHINGTON - When the White House wanted to talk to its political base about a Supreme Court nominee this week, there was no doubt where to go: talk radio.

Vice President Dick Cheney took the administration's case to the Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity programs, speaking simultaneously to the normally sympathetic hosts and their audiences of like-minded Republicans.

A decade after Republicans credited Limbaugh with helping them win control of Congress - they called him the Majority Maker - they still look to his conservative-dominated medium for a lopsided communications edge over Democrats. Today, they count on talk radio to rally support for President Bush, attack those who criticize or question him, and stir passions leading into the 2006 midterm congressional elections.

There are signs that the Republicans could be losing some of their overwhelming edge, however. Ratings for Limbaugh and Hannity slipped this spring in some markets. Liberals such as Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller and Al Franken are carving out their own radio niche. And Democrats argue that they have an edge on the Internet, where explosive growth could dwarf the political impact of radio.

Today (Sunday) Was Supposed to Be NYC Subway "D-Day"

Story here.

Is There Any Doubt in Anyone's Mind Here About the Energy Bill?

This one has always been a horror - bought by the energy companies but the entire world will pay the costs on this devil's pact.

Boston Globe Editorial: Bush's Solution to Everything is Military, Even in Flu Pandemic

Good piece by George J. Annas on Boston.com:

WHENEVER THE world is not to his liking, President Bush has a tendency to turn to the military to make it better. The most prominent example is the country's response to 9/11, complete with wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. After Hurricane Katrina, Bush belatedly called on the military to assist in securing New Orleans, and has since suggested that Congress should consider empowering the military to be the ''first responders" in any national disaster.

On Tuesday, the president suggested that the United States should confront the risk of a bird flu pandemic by giving him the power to use the US military to quarantine ''part[s] of the country" experiencing an ''outbreak." So we have moved quickly in the past month, at least metaphorically, from the global war on terror to a proposed war on hurricanes, to a proposed war on the bird flu.

Of all these proposals, the use of the military to attempt to contain a flu pandemic on US soil is the most dangerous. Bush says he got the idea by reading John Barry's excellent account of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, ''The Great Influenza." Although quarantine was used successfully in that pandemic, on the island of American Samoa, Barry in his afterword suggests (sensibly) that we need a national plan to deal with a future influenza pandemic. He said last week that his other suggestions were the only ones he hoped public health officials and ethicists would consider, but they read like policy recommendations to me and apparently the president. Barry writes, for example, ''if there is any chance to limit the geographical spread of the disease, officials must have in place the legal power to take extreme quarantine measures." This recommendation comes shortly after his praise for countries that ''moved rapidly and ruthlessly to quarantine and isolate anyone with or exposed to" SARS.

Planning makes sense. But planning for ''brutal" or ''extreme" quarantine of large numbers or areas of the United States would create many more problems than it could solve.

First, historically mass quarantines of healthy people who may have been exposed to a pathogen have never worked to control a pandemic, and have almost always done more harm than good because they usually involve vicious discrimination against classes of people (like immigrants or Asians) who are seen as ''diseased" and dangerous.

Second, the notion that ruthless quarantine was responsible for preventing a SARS pandemic is a public health myth. SARS appeared in more than 30 countries; they all reacted differently (some used forced quarantine successfully, others voluntary quarantine, and others no quarantine at all), and all ''succeeded." Quarantine is no magic bullet.

Third, quarantine and isolation are often falsely equated, but the former involves people who are well, the latter people who are sick. Sick people should be treated, but we don't need the military to force treatment.

Horrific Quake

They're saying at least 18,000 could be dead in Pakistan alone. And poor Afghanistan: a quake might improve services.

More on Rove and His Worthless Assurances He Did Not Leak CIA Spy Valerie Plame's Name to Novak and Other Press

This sounds a tad problematic.

The Scooter (Punch) and Judy Show

So how "freely offered" was Cheney's Scooter Libby's waiver to testify to Judy Miller? Questions get raised.

NEW YORK Reuters' Adam Entous, who has been on top of developments in the Plame probe all week, reported today that I. Lewis Libby, the top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, "got a push" from the federal prosecutor before telling New York Times reporter Judith Miller, in a Sept. 15 letter, that he wanted her to testify.

Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald's encouragement, in a letter obtained by Reuters, "has prompted some lawyers in the case to question whether Cheney‘s aide was acting completely voluntarily when he gave Miller the confidentiality waiver she had insisted on," Entous observes.

Quoting from the Fitzgerald letter to Libby's attorney, Joseph Tate, on Sept. 12: "I would welcome such a communication reaffirming Mr. Libby‘s waiver. It would be viewed as cooperation with the investigation."

Entous notes: "Some lawyers in the case called the letter a thinly veiled threat seeking Libby‘s cooperation, and said it raised questions about whether Libby‘s waiver was as voluntary as Miller and her lawyers had described."

Fitzgerald will speak with Miller again on Tuesday, at least partly about some notes she has discovered of her talk with Libby in June 2003, which took place earlier than the other conversations she has already detailed for the grand jury.

Why Does the Times Keep Getting Scooped on Their Own Stories?

That seems to be the question inherent in this Editor and Publisher piece, noting how many times "the gray lady" has been outreported by many other publications on stories where the Times - at least in theory - should have had inside knowledge like on Judith Miller, Fitzgerald the special prosecutor in Plamegate, and more.