Close Encounters Of The Gubernatorial Kind

For the first time in years, I made a date this (Wednesday) morning to have breakfast away from home while I got my tires balanced (which is not a euphemism for anything, thank you). The Wayside on the Barre-Montpelier Road is a comfy fit; besides, with the average age of the diners usually found there, I can feel pretty damned young!

So after just firing off a letter to the governor's office in Montpelier to complain about his latest veto of anything President Bush wouldn't like, I no sooner step into the Wayside and try to take a seat in one part of the restaurant while my breakfast companion says no, let's sit on the other side. Then he proceeded to choose a seat right behind the counter where Vermont Governor Jim Douglas (R-Bush) was reading the paper and having a meal.

As softly - and sweetly, of course - as I could, I whispered to John, "Uh... are you fucking kidding me? I finally get out to eat and you seat me next to this bloodless Bushie?"

John - having known me only about 20 years so why he'd think I was being "funny" escapes me - thought I was kidding. Then Douglas turned in our direction to talk with someone, John heard the voice, took one look at my face and the way my body was ready to spring, and asked if he needed to move out of the way for his own personal safety. Something about the NEW expression on my face led John (correctly, I might add) to conclude I was serious; that I did not expect to be able to linger another moment without giving Douglas a piece of my mind (something his idol, George Bush, can't exactly offer).

Next, John made the mistake of asking me what I'd call him out for and then sat, bowled over, as I ticked off a list of at least 25 vetoes and other bogus moves he's pulled just in his last term. And I ticked them off loudly enough that the governor - whose entourage was discreetly set aside from him so it appeared the gov was dining alone at the counter - could hear. I mean, I was shaking not only with outrage but perceived self-righteousness; it was my realization of the latter that made me put some brakes on myself.

But there was a bigger reason I behaved (this time!). Douglas - for all my dislike of him - made a point to stop and talk with anyone who was willing to meet his eye contact (except mine.. ahem). When some bratty little kid kept tossing creamers and jelly packages off the table, Douglas kept scooping them up off the floor (later, the mother would brag about how the governor had to keep cleaning up her kid's mess) while he carried on the usual banter. For whatever else he is, and much of it I don't like, much less condone, Douglas was behaving like a Vermonter. And he was being accessible to the people who elected him. Bush has never done this anywhere and, considering Douglas was so faithful to the president, Bush has NEVER visited the state of Vermont as president though many states he has visited hundreds of times (we're ok with keeping the tainted shit out of the state, tyvm). So I have to hand it to Douglas that he, at a time when his popularity maybe isn't so hot, isn't hiding behind his importance.

Now, when Howard Dean (now DNC chairman but then Vermont governor) was gov, I ran into him several times in Montpelier. Even spoke a few times in that brusque New England/Dean way. The state house is right there with every other damned state office building so it's hard not to see your lawmakers and rulers. Loved this about Dean, love this about Vermont.

Where else in America can you get such close access to these people? And if I'd started to blow at Douglas, a lot of things could have happened (after all, I don't know of any governor who doesn't travel with a senior cop, usually in plainclothes, ready to take care of nasty business); the worst of them could be that a man like Douglas would - like Bush - choose to hide away except to attend venues where they handpick everyone in attendance.

Douglas certainly won't have my vote in November when he runs for re-election again. But he gained a smidgen of my respect today while I'm pleased I looked at the bigger picture rather than reacted angrily and rashly and perhaps caused Douglas to stop facing his constituents over a cup of Wayside coffee.


Former Reddites And Indies Leap Onto Democratic Party

As I noted at All Things Democrat, I think there are a host of reasons so many former Republicans and thirdies/Indies have joined new voters flooding into the blue party, among them:

* excitement with the Dem candidates
* Bush - GOP scandals backlash
* that up to 80% of Americans feel the Bushies killed the economy and feel the country in all respects is headed 110 MPH in the wrong direction
* a desire to belong to the only party where they can even dream someone will listen to them
* absolute terror (and not of rogue bombers)
* fear for their children in Bush’s economy and Bush’s wars, given how John McCain praises his efforts

Alas, it will be up to the Dem Party leadership, itself not a single camp, to keep them through November and beyond. Feet to the fire, people; feet to the fire.

Kudos to UVM: Offering Total Education To Low-Income Vermonters

Hurray for UVM, which happens to be an excellent set of schools.

It's not that UVM isn't feeling the financial stress. But it makes sense for them to want more Vermonters to stay within a state that loses so many of its young adults to other markets (a living wage up here can be damned hard to find).


On Funerals And Other Oddities

Sorry for the paucity of posts. I've apparently reached the point in my life where I spend more time attending or helping organize or sending memorial notes or remembrances FOR funerals than for weddings. Which, when you stop to think of some of the horrific bridemaid dresses I've been subjected to over the years, not to mention the number of times I've gone to the wedding of the same person like three (bleepity bleep bleep effing motherbleeper) times .... well.... Let's just say life is some frackin' cabaret and we're not all in the good seats for the right act, if you get my drift.

The latest which, though the funeral I could not attend, bothered me is the younger sister of a regular reader here (and a nearly lifelong friend close enough to be family if I actually liked family) who died way too young leaving two young children. Having lost my parents young, that kind of loss always bothers me. That Lori died way too young and, like too many, trying to do her best considering she was dealt a mucky hand just makes it more sad.

But life goes on until it doesn't any longer, and there's much to do to try to change the world beyond the immediate moment. So....

I'll be posting again starting today.


Just Like I Learned in Journalism School: Dog Bites Man Equals No Story BUT When Woman Bites Pit Bull, There's a Story!

And it's here: the story of the little woman who bit a pit bull defending her dog.

They also used to tell us, besides that if it bleeds, it ledes, that we should never estimate the great interest in the people - especially, if always seemed, American people - to like to get themselves on the news. Sometimes, in anyway possible.


Iraq War Blogswarm: Three Trillion Lies And Still Going Strong

Today, as we mark that dark mid-March day in 2003 when President Bush, complete with a raised fist pumping air like he was about to go into the final playoffs to give "'em one more for the Gipper..." gesture and dispatched the first soldiers off to war, the cold, harsh light of day makes it a heluva lot easier to see all the lies.

After all, it was not just one single lie that Bush used to get us into Iraq but a multitude of them, including:

  • weapons of mass destruction everywhere>

  • doctored intelligence reports that led to the outing of CIA covert operative, Valerie Plame Wilson, because Bushies did not like that Wilson's husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson, would not pretend Niger "yellow cake" uranium story was true

  • Saddam was about to launch a campaign to make kittens and puppies in perfect little American suburbia all sick

  • the war would take a few days to a few weeks, completely pay for itself, and there is "absolutely no way" to lose it

  • the entire world sees the war as right which is why we had to pay them and bully them into joining the "coalition of the willing"

  • actions in Iraq certainly won't distract us from catching Osama bin Laden, regroup al Qaeda, or exhaust our resources for the global war on terror
  • Need I list more?

    Swarm Swarm Swarm! How To 'Do It"

    You can be as low tech - talk to others about Iraq face to face vs. cyber - or high tech as you care to be. The point is to get people talking critically - not as in bad but with attention to details - about the war and the completely horrific administration of it from minute one.

    The March 19th blogswarming people list all the ways you can jump in.

    A Blogswarm To End All Swarms? Dream On!

    However, the March 19th blogswarm commencing now is not to be taken lightly. Indeed, this war has never been a lightweight when it comes to brutality, sheer horror, the depths of human depravity, the ridiculously small amount of lying it took for Bush to get America to buy into a war that was not, nor was it ever, making torture sound like the most patriotic thing an American can do, anything to do with September 11th or al Qaeda, etc.

    The race in November is, at its core, part of a much more fundamental competition against those who turn fascism into proud patriotism and bankrupted our nation at the same time securing record profit for banks who brought about the foreclosure crisis and energy companies demanding tax payers build them free refineries while we say thanks! for those $4/gallon at the umps.

    We need a leader who can take us OUT of Iraq ASAP and not in the 100 years or so Republican presidential candidate John McCain recently proudly proclaimed it may take.


    War With Iran Closer?

    General William Fallon, who until this week was the most recent head of CentCom and the atrocity that is Iraq, has been referred to many times as perhaps the only person standing in the way of Bush-Cheney's nightmare folly of war with Iran.

    Now Fallon has been effectively forced out.

    I dunno. Scott Ritter predicted an April 2008 all-out war, us vs. Iran. Fallon's departure makes me damned scared this IS it. (Bush has pushed out countless people who dared suggest his plans were bad.)

    Anyone else concerned?


    The Spitzer Resignation: Our Loss As Well As His

    OK, color me fucking amazed (and not in a good way): you can lie entire nations INTO a war, and then lie about the results of that war every damned day, and yet if anyone speaks out against the lies, the naysayers are the "evil doers". Screw a prostitute using your own money and bye.

    Clearly, it was WRONG of Spitzer to do what he did when he was, quite recently, New York State's chief prosecutor who could make decisions on others engaging in some of the same acts. But I still can't begin to equate prostitute-hiring with the needless deaths of more than a million innocents in Iraq (and I think that number is notoriously, obscenely low for what we know happened) as well as a MINIMUM of 4,000 soldiers.

    What was sickening was the complete holy sanctity of the right yesterday, proclaiming there has never been a bigger scandal (oh really? Watergate? Iran-Contra? every fucking thing the Bush-Cheney team has DONE?) and, oh yeah, btw, "we want Spitzer out because he prosecuted so many CEOs and finance people." Read: Republicans LOVE to protect the worst offenders and God help anyone who tries to play by the rules. And then to use laws on the books from 1918 and federal task forces to bring Spitzer down, when we've got the anthrax killer still going about his business just makes me ill.

    And not a single Dem seemed to lift a lip to say anything to the contrary.

    Howard Fineman Falls Over Himself Gushing About John McCain

    Yes, this man - well, genetically male anyway - actually earns income as a chief correspondent for Newsweek AND as an MSNBC political consultant. I mean, the lady lobbyist McCain "helped" back in 2000 probably never wrote something so flowery and aquiver as Fineman wrote here about McCain.

    Excuse me, please. I need a very long, very hot shower. And mouthwash.


    It's Getting Nasty Out There... And I'm Not Talking About Weather

    (No, if I talked about weather, I'd use plenty of four-, six-, and even voluminously polysyllabic words as I curse. Vermont has actually had a 36-hour respite from our daily 12 inch dumps of snow and frozen rain BUT...)

    What I'm talking about is the talk between some Democrats. And no, I'm not talking solely about Hillary Clinton and her entourage vs. Barack Obama and his Oprah machine. Every day in my travels, mostly online but also off, I see people beating up the other candidate in ways that would give the anti-Clinton elves like Ann Coulter jealousy that they didn't think of the nastiness first.

    OK, true, neither Barack nor Hillary is Perfect, by whatever definition we choose to assign to that term. And as much as I have long lists of pros and cons for each of the two, I'm still feeling rather deadlocked, Vermont primary over aside.

    But they're like soooooooo freaking much better than what the Republicans want to give us - John McCain, one of those rare men who is actually much more difficult to deal with when he thinks he's winning than he is petulant and tyrannical when he's not winning (see the leadup to how he quit the 2000 presidential race and his frequent meltdowns, usually in the media's face).

    Some call McCain a war hero. I once did. But the first time he said it was worth it to stay in Iraq when he knew we have lost SO many soldiers and far more innocent Iraqi civilians meant he was no longer a hero, but another ambitious dickhead with a God complex who never minds leading lambs to slaughter "for a good enough cause" (read: his own).

    And when I remember who I don't want to see in the White House next January, Hillary and Barack sure look pretty damned good by comparison. Maybe we can evolve them toward protection by getting them into office and then getting them to do the will of the people (for a change).

    My "Sob" Story Of The Week: "Save My Dog First!"

    I really am a terrible sap for saving animals (and still have a scar from a car that clipped me as I moved a box turtle out of a country road to prove it). I hope Lucy a long, good life with this very good man and his wife. God bless them all. Should all dogs (and other living creatures) be half so lucky!

    Life jackets are made for people, not dogs. So, when Randy Earl's small boat capsized while he was fishing with his dog Lacy, a black spaniel mix, he stayed in the water with his life jacket while making sure Lacy was OK.

    "When the boat flipped over, I put the dog on top of the boat," Earl told The Dominion Post of Morgantown.

    NY Republicans and Stone Casting

    Funny... those family value Republicans - even New York ones - always have SUCH a short tolerance for anything even vaguely hinky anyone else does when we've got folks like GOP "morality czar" (and no bigger hypocrit has ever graced the title) and addicted gambler and dominatrix-driven "boy toy" Bill Bennett and House Rep David "When Clinton did it, it's bad. If I do it with prostitutes, it's good family values!" Vitters are racing to grab the biggest stones to hurl at NY Governor Eliot Spitzer's house of glass by demanding the latest pol-with-a-prostitute-proclivity resign or be impeached within 48 hours.

    I dunno. Of the main claims, I don't see where Spitzer differs from Republicans - hey, remember was it once GOP-big-deal Dan Burton's OTHER wife? And Burton's stayed on for years in the House - who have tippled in the paid trade. What I find most egregious (the adultery thing really IS between Spitzer and his wife) is being the attorney general and prosecuting others while knowingly breaking the law. BUT the prostitute thing sure is less on my anger-meter than when Tom DeLay has still yet to spend an instant in jail with all the evil he pulled for years. At least Spitzer figured he could only screw women he was married to or whom he could pay rather than screwing ALL of us up the tender chute with billions in corruption and ever-more-screwed democracy through his dirty tricks.

    DeLay wasn't forced out by the people - although many did get damned mad and have stayed mad at him - and not by his colleagues (though staying every day he did was damned outrageous). And turned right around and reinserted himself back in politics while daring anyone to remind him he was indicted. His wife, too, no?

    Considering the good Spitzer has done (took on prosecution of cases that HURT us over "the powers that be"), and the fact that prostitution, tawdry as it is, just doesn't rise to the occasion of lying us into war as Bush did, for example. And we didn't kick the boy king Bush out.

    Elliot Spitzer, Governor of New York: Ouch

    First off, let me say that I think there are acts of what would legally be called prostitution that I feel are indeed victimless. People - not just women - have been known to use their sexual organs or psyches for profit just as there are people who are willing to pay for that play. It may not be my cup of tea but where no one is being forced, or "pimped out", I don't think it's terribly much of my business. Sadly, however, much prostitution is not simply a female (or male) entrepreneur doing her or his own thing for cash. And the phrase "prostitution ring" can apply to a rather vast range of possible offenses.

    Now, with all that said, I'm disappointed to see that Elliott Spitzer, a fine attorney general for the state it sure seemed and now newly-crowned governor replacing that sleaze, George Pataki (so much for HIS presidential ambitions), solicited the use of prostitutes. As a private person, Spitzer could do, I suppose, what he liked - it's between him and his wife; but if any of this occurred WHILE he was state AG, and oath-bound to uphold ALL the laws of the state, it's not good.

    I hope he does not feel compelled to resign as governor, however. Some very questionable women have been called upon to service MANY - most? - FAR more morality-challenged American presidents who should not be leading the country with one message and behaving so differently and the only reason these men remained in office was with a wink and nod from the press who knew about the women and did not report upon it. The only difference between those men and Spitzer is that Spitzer admitted.

    But Spitzer was certainly right about one thing he said today; he needs to rebuild trust. He made this sound like it mostly applied to his wife and family, but I suspect many voters (pro Spitzer and con) are going to want their outrage addressed as well.

    While I don't expect the media to be nice to him, this is the same mess who squirmed uncomfortably and then fingerwagged at The New York Times for its piece on John McCain's little lobbyist Lola (a story that disappeared much fast than I suspect Spitzer's will because - well, y'know - Democrats are all amoral, don'tchaknow?


    Iraq War Blogswarm

    For those just coming out of their frigid, miserable ice caves, some right-minded though left-spirited are gathering to make March 19th, the anniversary of our 2003 invasion in Iraq, a day of discussion and activism to end the war.
    I'll be participating. You can, too. Go here.

    (Some "in-and-out", "cakewalk", "doubt we'll be there a month and most of the time, they'll be kissing us and tossing flowers at our feet!" of a war it's been, too. And the one million dead number is, I believe, just a percentage of how many have died JUST among the Iraqi civilians.)


    Er... uh.... yeah. I finally get time to get back to post and a) template went bonkers and b) I accidentally poured about 500 gallons of coffee into my keyboard (she types as she has to keep stopping to pull up a key that stays depressed).

    Let me try to crush this keyboard into submission and be back.


    "Torture, Torture Everywhere But Don't You Make A Peep"

    [Ed. note: You can find a much longer post on this torture case documentary, and on the torture brouhaha itself, at All Things Democrat, here and here including Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia insisting that, despite the Constitution's 8th Amendment, we shouldn't prohibit torture - (the fat bastard, why does he HATE America and our Constitution so much?).]

    The longer the far right and the Bush Administration keep insisting that torture is a "good thing" (I suspect they'd like to torture Martha Stewart, too, since I believe she votes Democrat) while they condemn anyone, anywhere, at any time for questioning its legality, morality, the future repercussions of as well as the accuracy of the information obtained from those we extraordinarily rendition, the more important it becomes for each and every one of us, as American citizens and taxpayers to learn all they can.

    Unfortunately, one very good tool to understand the dynamics of torturing detainees, even very innocent ones grabbed up by mistake everyday, is an independent documentary entitled, "Taxi To The Dark Side", has been pulled from the broadcast schedule of The Discovery Channel which bought the rights to show it. "Too controversial" is the only reason given.

    To suggest that Americans should not see what is being done by their own government, especially given how loudly and aggressively we have prosecuted other war criminals (and yes, I consider Bush-Cheney two of the largest of all time) for using torture, is almost as obscene as the act of waterboarding and other forms of torture itself.

    Despite All The BushshitBullshit, Women in Iraq Still Suffer

    Ashley Wright details some of the terrible stuff happening in Iraq that particularly target women. Mind you, before our invasion in March 2003, Iraq was perhaps the most "progressive" of the Islamic cultures toward women. But we put a stop to that! Just like Bush claimed we attacked Afghanistan to "help the women and let girls go to school" while women are at more risk there than ever before, and many (most?) girls have again disappeared from schools under threat of death.

    How the bloody hell did we make Iraq even worse than it was under a brutal dictator like Saddam Hussein? Sadly, the answer falls under the category of our own brutal dictators, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

    When Cops Treat Tasers Like A Flyswatter

    Well, here's a tale to extend the "Don't Tase Me, Bro!" discussion where Brattleboro, Vermont police felt justified in using tasers on two peaceful demonstrators. I just don't get how using electric shock which, contrary to the Nut Lobby, HAS been implicated in LOTS of deaths and injuries, was a) necessary here b) useful here and c) not immediately seen, before use, as being excessive to the point of being criminal (not to mention heinous).

    I'll concede that, unfortunately, stun guns may have some place in security, both personal and professional. But its use has become totally indiscriminate which ultimately will put the people who choose to overuse it perhaps in more danger of being shot before they can shock someone.


    FBI Program Deputizes Corporations To Spy, Report On Workers, Among Others

    If you haven't heard about InfraGard, a Bush Administration-FBI initiative to "fight the battle for homeland (in)security", you need to know. I've written about it in some detail at All Things Democrat, but you can also find the Democracy Now videocast of The Progressive's Matt Rothschild detailing it yesterday. Also, you can read his article here ("The FBI Deputizes Business").

    At BEST, this is corporate favoritism and yet another program WE have to pay for with our tax dollars (many of these businesses involved with InfraGard not only pay minimal if any taxes, many are the recipients of huge rebates we also pay for).

    At worst? Well, it staggers the imagination (like much of what the Bush Administration does).


    Is It Just Me Or Is Everyone Dead Tired Of The Political Partying?

    Once more, the Republican Party figures it's the right one to choose WHO the Democratic presidential challenger in November must be. Meanwhile, idiots who tend to get this stuff very wrong - and with someone like CNN's Schneider rarely noted for the sake of fairness to be a major Republican type/American Enterprise Institute "fellow" when providing "non-partisan" analysis - insist that Barack has to be the candidate because John McCain and Hillary Clinton will tie each other up.

    Uh, I'll ignore the BSDM implications of that last sentence - not because I'm a pussy but because I can't think anything sexual about either Hillary or John within the same week in which I want to be able to keep down my supper.

    YET. What I think this all mostly amounts to, in all seriousness, is the GOP playing its usual game of "Dare Ya" with the Dems and - as happens all too often - the Democrats do exactly what Karl Rove, Grover Norquist, et al want them to do, which is usually the exact opposite of what the American people happen to tell them is needed.


    NewsFlash: A Serum Made From Toxic Botulism Can Kill And Make You Sick! Who'd A Thunk?

    Gee, when I think of something like Botox/botulism which can cause a miserable death, I just don't simultaneously think, "Wow, let me inject it into my face on a regular basis. And, while I'm at being effing moronic, let me have those injections done by a person who didn't necessarily graduate high school who buys this shit off the black market where who the bleep knows WHAT you're getting and then there's that question about whether the needle used is sterile."


    Granted, perhaps I may reach a day when I feel I MIGHT do something silly - not deadly silly, thank you - to look younger. But that day isn't here - thank God for some genes, eh? - and I'm hoping it does not happen. When it does, injecting botulism into my face for kicks won't be a consideration.

    Now, also granted, botulism is used FOR actual medical purposes. I in fact once had a severe muscle problem where it was considered as a short-term "fix" to stop spasms that responded to nothing else. Some of the folks who've died, in fact, were medical rather than plastic surgical users. But anyone who HAS a different option probably isn't racing out to use Botox, and men and women with a few character lines shouldn't either.


    The McCain, Republican Way: Less Jobs, More War

    Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films brings us its latest hard-hitting film, this one driving it home about Iraq, McCain, the war machine and on, ad infinitum.

    BTW, Brave New Films is also looking for assistance in helping fund their effort. I know money is tough, but for those with the wallet and the heart, check the links at the film.

    Tornado Aid Desperately Needed In Deep South

    Thanks to Monkeyfister - and those he contacted to get the word out - progressive blogs are calling on all with the resources to do so to learn what's needed in the areas ravaged by rare winter tornados which occurred Super Tuesday night; death toll at 52 and expected to rise.

    Read Monkeyfister here.


    Hey, Healthy People: You Cost TOO Much!

    A new report says that healthy people who live longer COST society MORE than smokers and the obese. Oops.

    Thankfully, I'm only moderately healthy and will probably die early so I won't cost too much. ;)

    Ouch - Super Duper Recession Tuesday, Too

    Wall Street is seeing one of its worst days thanks to fresh evidence the recession is DEEPENING.

    For Super(duper) Tuesday coverage

    Please check out my posts at All Things Democrat (this, from a lifelong til now Indy) to see how:

    • the Republicans are shitting themselves
    • West Virginia votes first for Romney than seals its delegates to Huckabee "(Aren't dinosaurs still here?")
    • why they're saying John McCain will break the Republican Party in two (don't believe it, myself - they've been a divided party for a long time, usually divided between those with a brain and no heart, and those with feint heart and little brain and then a huge number of folks with some brain and heart who get stuck with loser, pathological candidates).

    Is Monsanto Behind An Effort To KEEP You From Eating Healthy Food?

    Since I first heard about this move by some states, in an effort supposedly underwritten and spurred by Monsanto (the makers of genetically modified seed and people who, even more than Dow Chemicals, espousing the belief of "better living through dangerous chemicals") to get some states to underwrite a national law that would BAN companies who choose NOT to put chemically-adulterated natural food like cream into their products from NOTING ON THE LABEL their decision, I have been roaring mad.

    I say this not just as someone involved in another ice cream company that chooses NOT to use milk from cows treated with bovine growth hormone (rBST, sometimes also called BGH) but as a citizen who WANTS products NOT adulterated, who reads labels to determine what I prefer to buy.

    I'm not natural-food-nik; sadly, like everyone else, I eat my share of chemicals. But in various areas, I prefer NOT to provide certain chemicals to my family when I can choose another product that DOES NOT possess them.

    To force yet another law down our throats that would PURPOSELY deceive us in labeling is just WRONG.


    The Loss of John Edwards Is The Loss of a Voice For Regular Americans

    Yesterday was a very bad day for Americans who are not wealthy, don't own mega corporations, who don't have health care or job security or big political connections.

    I won't pretend that I'm not bitter, sad, and very angry that Democratic presidential nominee candidate John Edwards suspended his campaign yesterday. I thought he and his wife, Elizabeth, and many fine Americans of all economic backgrounds, waged a brave and brilliant campaign that focused on something almost NO ONE else in this campaign, short of Dennis Kucinich who dropped out last week: the rising majority of Americans suffering at the bankrupting of America by Republican rule and Democrat-capitulation.

    We ALL lost, regardless of your party or preferred candidate, when we let the media and the Republican party turn this race only into an Obama-Clinton slugfest, and let Edwards get pushed ever back and finally out of contention. Unlike most - virtually ALL - presidential candidates since I became eligible to vote in 1980, I really believe Edwards meant just about everything he said. And that Elizabeth, with incurable cancer, insisted he run AND participated with him, impressed the hell out of me.

    As much as I can't imagine voting for ANYONE but a Democrat in November, I do not feel either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton speak for the majority of Americans. I think they, at another time, would be viewed as somewhat moderate Republicans. But, as I've said, if Republicans won't elect moderate Republicans to office, why the hell should the Democrats. All I can do is hope that we hold their feet to the fire if one of them wins Election 2008 and that they are just sounding "conservative" and ever so careful during the race, while they show less concern for millionaires and billionaires and corporations once they get to the Oval Office.

    As The Republicans Regurgitate Everything Reagan...

    Sorry, I got felled by hand problems the last few days BUT... I'm even more distressed to listen to the Republicans debate at California's Ronald Reagan Library in the last GOP debate before Super Tuesday next week invoke in every other word the name of Ronnie Raygun - the man who said "fuck the poor; if you aren't a millionaire, I don't want to hear from you" - in every other breath.

    The LAST time Ronald Reagan had a salient thought was back in the 1950s when, as a Democrat, he headed the Screen Actors Guild and tried to mediate the damage being done by horrible hatemongerers like Joe McCarthy tried to force everyone in government and Hollywood to name fellow workers and friends as "reds", even when it was not true. After that, he got involved with Nancy Davis, an even less talented actress (but oh so rich and from old California Republican money) than First Lady - not that Ronnie was a good actor), became a Republican and, like too many in the GOP, disconnected his brain. By the time he reached the White House, he was already well into the grips of Alzheimer's Disease - it's a huge lie that the effects came after he left office; Alzheimer's does NOT work like that.

    So if you aren't afraid YET that the Republicans want to return to the "glory" days of the Reaganomics 80s, you damned well should be. Anyone who didn't make it rich in the 1980s had a damned hard time... and the people who puppeteered Reagan made sure of that!


    The Truth Serum Version of Bush's State of the Union Speech Tonight

    [Mind you, I don't think truth serum ever was - or is today - Bush's drug of choice ("Want a little noseful more cocaine coke with that whiskey, George?"]

    Considering Bush has been known – mature, wise fellow that he is – to flip the finger at press and photographers, a part of me wonders if, on the occasion of his final State of the Union delivery tonight (Monday), he might just tell the truth, certain that no one can do a damned thing about all the misery, injustice, and death he has wrought. God knows the man looks for opportunities to smirk ever more insultingly.

    So here's what I think he would say if truth serum were administered to him just before the speech:

    Good evening, you pussies and ingrates:I could give you my usual bullshit about how I gotta hard job and I work hard (damned, I say that a heluva lot) but we all know if damned good 'o me to bother to put in eight hours a WEEK between my naps, ball game watching, riding my mountain bikes OVER old ladies, and planning for the vacations I take ev'ry few days.

    But anyways... I won't make this long 'cos you don't wanna hear it and frankly, I like to pretend to get into bed real early like so I can hide my drinkin' and druggin' I'd make certain you'd do federal time for. So let's get this sucker over with.

    Too effin' bad if you don't like the job I've done; it was never up to you anyway. And mixed in with all the lies was a little truth, anyway. Like when I said I wanted to make America an ownership society – not my fault if you thought YOU would be the owners when I really meant Saudi nationals, wealthy Kuwaitis, and scores of other rich for'ners would come in and buy everythin' up 'cos I made sure you can't afford to breathe.

    As for Iraq, boo-frickin-hoo so many have died. At least they're not people I care about. My dumb-as-dirt daughters are just fine and livin' like princesses so I don't give a tinker's damn that your kid is too dumb to get into college 'cos I dumbed down the requirements for public education or 'cos I made sure they can't afford to go on to school. After all, we gotta military recruitment quota to fill and it's not like there are jobs out there for your grown kids to get; and where they can find jobs, I'll make damned well sure they are jobs that can feed a family.

    Also, college ain't all its cracked up to be. Just look at me and I went to a bunch of the best effing schools in the country.

    Besides, what I got planned for Iran makes Iraq look like a bleepin' Irish wedding by comparison, so I'll need your kids out on the front line with no body armor and few bullets, and not sittin' in some classroom learning liberal crap like Darwinism and math. Don't be thinkin' you can stop me from going to war in Iran either - look at all the shit you've let me get away with!

    What'cha gonna do? Impeach me? Muhahahahahahahahaha.

    No matter what anybody tells ya, the economy's just FINE. Know how I know that? Cos all my fat cat friends and family are a heluva lot richer now than they were when I first came into office. And if you're a lot poorer because of it, don't look at me. I can't understand how poor people think, like I've said before. And you ought'a see how rich I'll be from sweetheart deals – not to mention my huge tax breaks – once I leave office.

    You're gonna be supportin' me and mine for the rest of our effing lives – and trust me, we got a MUCH bigger standard of living than you.

    And to those who say I do nothin' but lie, so? It's not like the media cares enough to point 'em out. And if you're watching MY favorite NEWS Network, The Cartoon Network uh.. Fox, then you're too damned stupid to notice my lies any ole way.

    In closing, let me tell you something my mama, Bitching Barb, always told us kids: “If you're gonna get screwed, you might as well close your eyes, lie back, pretend to enjoy it, and then charge 'em triple for the honor.”

    Now get the F outta here so I can toke. The White House ain't the people's house anymore.. It's MINE, beatch, and I want you GONE. ::insert extra smirk here::

    If It's An Election Year, Then It MUST Be Time For More Terror Alerts

    Gee, where have we heard THIS before?

    Is it any surprise we're hearing all this talk now of big, bad terror attacks planned soon - right now for Europe (Spain, etc.), but I'm sure we'll see this extended to us - when we have a presidential election come November? After all, they need to build up the case for supported "all war, all the time" guaranteed us by whatever GOP candidate rides into the Oval Office on the numbers from rigged electronic voting machines.

    Perhaps you can spend your "huge" tax rebate check buying bullets for the Pentagon(again).

    President Bush: "(The Devil) Saddam Made Me Do It (Iraq)"

    Well, we've heard every possible excuse from the president and the rest of the Bush Administration on how they could have been so terribly wrong about weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and the threat the Iraqi leaders presented to the U.S. So now, after a government audit documented 935 separate lies about Iraq - and the American economy affected by a war with Iraq - from the Bush Administration, what makes more sense than for the Bushies to turn around and blame Saddam? Well, that is, it makes about as much sense as anything else this murderous, greedy, deceitful crew does, anyway.

    What marvelous timing that the FBI agent who supposedly was the one to interrogate Saddam Hussein after his capture in Iraq in December 2003 picked NOW, in light of the lie report, to disclose highlights from his seven-month-long interrogation of the Iraqi dictator, hanged just before the end of 2006.

    However, for the Bushies to quickly spread the story that it was Saddam who lied and fooled them does NOT appear to be a particularly flattering spin on events. For it to matter, we would have had to BELIEVE what Saddam was saying in the first place - and we had no reason to do that, did we? After all, we expect our enemies - and America's greatest enemy of all, President George W. Bush - to lie to us. So why did the Bushies magically choose to believe the WMD/threat lies (if Saddam told them rather than the U.S.)?

    Also, according to Colin Powell, and Dick Cheney, et al, they had "military intelligence" and well more than ample evidence from "trusted sources" that WMD was EVERYWHERE in Iraq and that the nation, which could barely afford to operate at all, was ready to launch suicide camel rocket SCUBA divers to blow up the West Coast (remember?).

    Well, as usual with the Bushies, the truth changes faster than Bush's "reasons" for going into Iraq in the first place, and none of the stories/versions makes as much sense as that we went in there for the oil, and got a lot more (and not in a good way) than we bargained for.

    Why can't the Bushies do something truly unique just ONCE? As in, tell the truth? Wait. I know why. Because to them, the truth is just something to spin into something worse. Lessons we need to keep in mind as Bush keeps ramping us forward to war with Iran.


    And Then There's Fox News Who Proves There Are People Just as Dumb As Bush and Dana Perino

    [As my mother used to tell me on an hourly basis as a child, "If you had a brain, you'd be even more dangerous."]

    On the heels of ridiculing White House spokesprostitute person Dana Perino, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Countdown tonight points to a Fox news host (phonetically, his name seems to be Brett Baer but I cannot find him listed on Fox's - cough cough cough choke WHEEZE - news site to verify this) who would LOVE to one day be as smart as Perino.

    Namely Mr. Baer, when discussing the GOP presidential nominee debate in Florida last night, refers to late President Abraham Lincoln (1861-64) in a manner that made it ABUNDANTLY CLEAR he had no idea of HOW Lincoln left office.

    In a box, Mr. Fox host... in a box. ("Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?")

    Hasn't been a good week for Fox - or the idiots who watch it - considering how Bill O'Reilly insisted there are NO homeless vets (instead of perhaps as many as 600K+ homeless vets out there) and then blamed vets being homeless on the only candidate talking about helping such folks, Democratic candidate John Edwards (with O'Reilly conveniently forgetting his comment earlier that if there were ANY homeless vets, he personally would make certain they got housing forthwith). Reilly ALSO demanded an apology from David Letterman for suggesting Bill O has never met a lie he wouldn't gladly repeat for his own gain.

    And then there was John Gibson ridiculing the untimely death of actor Heath Ledger only to, rather than apologize for his comments, indicate that it was the people who said that they didn't like his callous, caustic commentary who were the problem.

    No self-respecting under-rock-sliming snake with an IQ of ZERO or less would be caught dead in the company of these people. Sheesh.

    White House Spokesweasel Dana Perino: "What's Cuba?"

    Believe it or not, she's far dumber (or to her boss, Bush, “dumberer”) than she looks and behaves (and those who follow White House press room sessions knows that is QUITE a feat given her past history). Ms. Perino, never short on attitude OR lies OR ways to blame everyone else for what the White House does wrong, not only claimed the 935 certified lies found by a government accounting agency in remarks by Bush and the White House leading up to the Iraq war were really mistakes made by those "other coalition members" who "forced" the Bush Administration to go to war in Iraq (which, uh... would be the Bushies themselves), came up with a new stunner this week.

    Namely, Dim Dana announced – and seemed quite proud of the fact – that she had no bleeping idea what the Cuban Missile Crisis was. Yeah, you could cite her age (though I know all about it and I wasn't even old enough for a pacifier when it happened), but this event was a seminal one in modern American political history, is at the heart of our supposed rabid hatred of Castro and Cuba, and is at the core of our horrific anti-Cuba (but pro-rich-Cuban-exile bizarro behavior) policies.

    But Dana, like her boss, the so-called MBA-holding history major (Bush), is sure that being deadly dumb as denuded, uranium-polluted dirt is a GOOD thing.

    In A Panel of Bald-Faced Liars, Mike Huckabee Stands Out

    [Methinks spending time around Chuck Norris and his drug-induced haze has affected the Huck's mental capacity (which was never exactly firing on all cylinders to start with).]

    Mike Huckabee, the same man who last week insisted that it was his solemn duty to change the U.S. Constitution to reflect HIS interpretation of the word of God - namely, to outlaw homosexuality and a woman's right to choose and make any semblance of marriage restricted exclusively to a man and a woman - with a straight face during the Thursday night Florida GOP presidential debate, insisted that he would never, ever try to impose his religious views on the nation.

    Say what?


    The Pentagon, Bill Clinton's Penis, And Our Tax Dollars At... Uh... Work?

    Like a lot of bloggers, especially perhaps those like me critical of the way our military is being abused, I find I get a fair amount of traffic from not just the Pentagon and the military as a whole, but also the State and Justice Departments and several other agencies staffed by people our tax dollars go to pay.

    But on Thursday, I was both bemused and annoyed to find that someone from the Pentagon came into Cut to the Chase after doing a search on Bill Clinton's penis and then eagerly left again several minutes later looking for a link to photographs of naked Army National Guard female soldiers via Editor and Publisher magazine.

    From my stats:

    Domain Name osd.mil ? (Military)
    IP Address 134.152.17.# (The Pentagon)
    ISP The Pentagon

    Location Continent : North America
    Country : United States (Facts)
    State : Virginia
    City : Herndon
    Lat/Long : 38.9553, -77.3881 (Map)

    Referring URL http://www.google.co...=Clenus Bill Clinton
    Search Engine google.com
    Search Words clenus bill clinton
    Visit Entry Page http://www.inblogs.n...h/label/Bill Clinton
    Visit Exit Page http://cut-to-the-ch...6_09_24_archive.html
    Out Click photographs of naked Army National Guard female soldiers

    With Kucinich Leaving Race, We ALL Lose

    The blog at the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is dropping out of his bid for the Democratic nomination, abandoning his run for U.S. commander-in-chief in this november's 2008 race. Kucinich stayed in throughout the 2004 race but this time, faced with challenges for his Congressional seat back home (says CPD), the one-of-a-kind presidential candidate says he does not want to risk losing his House of Representatives seat - where he is one of the most truly progressive hearts and minds to be found on Capitol Hill - and I certainly would hate to lose him there as well.

    Whether you supported Kucinich or not - and I admit I'm leaning more towards John Edwards - I think we all lose when a man like Dennis is forced out of the race. Why? Because he stands for real issues and stnads up for real people. It is a pitiful, quite obscene statement about what America has become if a person (and in Dennis' case, the best kind of idealist) who wants the United States to actually BE all the positive things we like to say we are (leader of the free world, a democracy, a fair and just society where the "lowliest" of people can achieve their greatest dreams, a beacon of hope, a role model to the rest of the world, to name just a few).

    If only those candidates who pander to the most extreme zealots who would rape and plunder the U.S. Constitution - not to mention human rights and global citizenry -with the insane and obscene claim it's "for God's sake" as we have with the right wing, or those who cater to the the wallets and whims of American corporations as we see with the most mainstream Democratic politicians including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and the more moderate Republicans - who also brown nose the Christian fascists and the richest of the Americans - such as John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, individual American citizens lose BIG TIME. We see it, too, with the almost rabid minimalization and ostracization of Democrat John Edwards who commits the "heresy" of trying to bravely represent the needs and dreams of even poorer working class Americans rather than the corporate money machine of the Democratic Leadership Committee (DLC).

    We lose that which we claim to hold most dear when we allow a Dennis Kucinich or a John Edwards - or even a Ron Paul on the GOP side - to be forced out by those who use money and power and fear-mongering to transform our elections from being ABOUT the needs and dreams and votes of real American citizens and voters to what's in the best interests of a General Electric, a Viacom, a Rupert Murdoch, a Halliburton, a Beatrice Foods, et al.

    Shame on the media... but shame on us, too.

    For more coverage of Dennis Kucinich, go to the Openers blog.

    "America's Mayor" Campaign Going Boom DOT Bust?

    For weeks and weeks, GOP presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani has been pouring all his time and resources (and we've learned that his campaign, even before Mike Huckabee's, has run out of money in ways that make it impossible to pay all staffers) into key primaries like Florida's after doing very badly in Iowa, New Hampshire, and others.

    However, it's unlikely Giuliani, mayor of New York City on September 11th, 2001, will win even Republican voters when it's time for the Empire State to cast ballots. But if he does as badly in the upcoming Florida primary as polls suggest, how can the man who sold out the firefighters and other 9-11 rescue workers, who took billions in no-bid contracts not just from the Bush Administration but from our supposed sworn enemies, and who should have an in among Floridians who were former New Yorkers, stay in the race? Despite his focus down there, he's halved his polling numbers since November (from 36 to 18%).

    The Republican debate in Florida is tonight on MSNBC. Urg.

    John Edwards Is Public Enemy Number One?

    [Hmmm... if I wasn't already for Edwards, this might get him my vote! ]

    I know the press is too busy telling us how happy America is with Bush's bogus tax rebates to "stimulate the American economy" into more bankruptcies and foreclosures, AS WELL AS how odd it is that the folks who found 28-year-old actor Heath Ledger dead called Mary Kate Olsen (now there's a brain trust worthy of the Bush Administration) rather than 9-1-1 first BUT...

    Why has so little attention been paid to the fact that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has declared Democratic presidential candidate and former Senator John Edwards "public enemy number one" and pledged to defeat him with all the ammunition they can fire at him, including a $60 million anti-Edwards fund.

    Personally, anyone so villified by corporate and commercial America just makes me MORE interested in the man. I think others should be paying attention.


    Rich Blogger, Poor Blogger: Where The (Critical) Differences Are More Than (Blog)Skin Deep

    A piece at Media Matters on MSNBC’s Chris Matthews reminds me of a subject often acknowledged too seldomly among bloggers themselves. Namely, those who believe the only key difference between Democrat vs. Republican-leaning bloggers is party affiliation are not only politically naïve; they also may not appreciate how skewed the additional differences can color (in more shades than red, blue, and purple) what gets posted.

    Obviously, there are no hard and fast rules that apply here and that just about everywhere, you’ll find exceptions to any simplistic generalization I’ll post here or you read elsewhere. Still, understand that my information is mined from years of communications with fellow bloggers of all political stripes (or completely stripe-less) and professional experience with online media that dates back to before most of you ever knew the Internet exists. Data here also comes from general publishing and marketing studies, and from statistics and anecdotal evidence compiled by others I respect and/or have a good track record of accuracy including professional news services.

    With this said typed – and my very vocal caveat that this information is not an exhaustive, scientific analysis and may be subject to error - here’s a short list of some of the most interesting of the red vs. blue blogger differences:

  • GOP-oriented bloggers are far more frequently subsidized, if not outright paid a full salary/hourly wage (which many are), by Republican candidates or Republican-centric organizations

  • Among politically-affiliated bloggers who are paid, the Republican types tend to make appreciably more money for their work (example: a “right” blogger is more apt to earn a living wage for his or her work rather than the more modest honorariums offered to a smaller percentage of “lefty” bloggers

  • ”Lefty” bloggers, by and large, tend to voice more criticism about so-called “left” candidates and policies than “righty” bloggers do with candidates, elected officials, and policies of their own party/affiliation

  • Democratic-linked bloggers seem far more inclined to than GOP-leaning ones to openly identify their party affiliation or political bent/philosophy (conservative vs. libertarian, for example), which candidates/policies they support (financially, philosophically, free advertising, etc.) or that they are funded, in part or in whole, by a political group

  • ”Red” bloggers often display far more consistency in “staying on message” (examples: repeating phrase-by-phrase, often ad infinitum, a particular party “talking point” such as that Barack Obama was trained as a Muslim fascist at a madrassah OR that there is actual conclusive proof that candidate John McCain sired a black child out of wedlock and/or deliberately left other American PoWs behind in a Vietnamese prison camp OR that a leading psychiatric expert insists Hillary is not just gay but a self-hating lesbian at that) even when that talking point conflicts with beliefs or reports those same bloggers earlier presented
  • Dem or independent bloggers appear more inclined to report a different point of view/pick apart a “talking point” even if it comes from their own party/preferred candidate/lawmaker

  • The same “right” bloggers often fail to provide a link directly to a news piece or another blogger’s post when, conveniently, the blogger’s “paraphrasing” of details from that report/post significantly differs from the context or content of the original source

  • By and large, “left” blogs are more apt to provide comment/feedback options, and with the blogger more likely to participate in such a discussion for their readers

  • Lefties more frequently write using all or part of their real names compared with righties who use only a first name, a fictitious full name, or an online “handle”

  • Small studies have noted that left-leaning bloggers who make an error in posting are as much as 5x more likely to post a correction or otherwise acknowledge such a mistake than counterparts on the right - or 5 million times more likely in the rightwing post-er is Bill O’Reilly ::choke::

  • There’s more, but I’m trying to share major points rather than summarize “War and Peace.” ::uh-hum::

    [Feel free to share your own observations/comments, etc. here (as a left-leaner, I'm not just statistically more likely to invite feedback, I actually encourage it).]

    Got Something To Say About The 2008 Presidential Race, Politics, and More?

    If you're knowledgeable and passionate about what's going on both on Capitol Hill, the 2008 presidential race and beyond, and have a little time to give, Doug at All Things Democrat (where I also blog) is looking for articulate volunteers to contribute posts. [As the site's name implies, the focus is on donkeys, not elephants.]

    Find out more here.

    The Bushies Lied On Economy and Iraq? Really? Who'd Of Thought?

    I know you'll be shocked and surprised to learn that evidence suggests Bush, Cheney, & company lied extensively about Iraq and the economy/recession (and everything ELSE) but... well, I'll let Think Progress break the troubling news ::cough::

    A new study by the Center for Public Integrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism found that President Bush and his top officials issued 935 false statements about the threat from Iraq in the two years following 9/11. Bush “led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq’s links to al Qaeda.”

    A new Iraqi law said to “return former Baathists to public life,” could actually “set off a new purge of ex-Baathists, the opposite of U.S. hopes for the legislation,” according to “Iraqi lawmakers, U.S. officials and former Baathists.” At least 7,000 Baathists who have been allowed back into the government in recent years may lose their current positions under the new law.

    In “private,” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke “has expressed growing pessimism about the economy,” reportedly saying that “the first six months of this year will be “bad.” He also suggested that “there is better than a 50-50 chance for a recession” and believes the ensuing recovery will be “weak.”

    “Many of the poorest people in the United States are still struggling to recover from the effects of a recession that ended six years ago, making them very vulnerable as the country stands on the brink of a new downturn.” In 2006, “12.3 percent of Americans were living in poverty, compared with 11.7 percent in 2001, the year of the last recession.”

    The House has postponed votes on “criminal contempt citations against White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers” in order to foster “bipartisan unity” while working on an economic stimulus package.

    The South Carolina Democratic Debate: Who Won? Not Us

    If I had to sum up my reaction to the South Carolina Democratic debate Monday night in just one sentence, I would paraphrase what contender John Edwards said, "Excuse me, there are three people in this debate, not TWO and with all this squabbling, how many kids will be able to get health care or go to college because of this meanness."

    Not only did this become a Hillary-Barack slugfest with their behavior along with how debate host CNN's Wolf Blitzer handled it, but the media after the fact seemed to ignore that Edwards was even present. Most of the clips of it shown offered no glimpse, much less a soundbyte, from the former North Carolina senator.

    The relatively few who DID notice Edwards was there, like Keith Olbermann on MSNBC's Countdown, noted that he came out as the soul of reason, the only one who realizes this isn't about Hillary or Barack or even himself, but a nation filled with hurting people who can no longer afford their mortgages, their health insurance, or to be guaranteed a decent education for their kids. As Newsweek's Howard Fineman pointed out with Keith, if Clinton-Obama fights like this continue for the next month, Edwards is almost guaranteed to come out ahead of both of them put together.

    Finally, the media was far more focused on the arguments between the woman candidate and the black candidate, making it sound like it was just wrong. As a pacifist and as someone who rarely feels she learns much from arguing, I'd agree. However, the media ONLY looks at Clinton and Obama and the fighting, giving almost NO attention to harsh words exchanged between Republican candidates or many of the lies the GOP runners tell about the Democrats as well as their own voting/business history. Given how the media presents this stuff, how can we possibly trust their overall analysis? Hell, they didn't give Mike Huckabee this kind of heat when he came out a few times last week to declare that the U.S. Constitution must be completely rewritten to document the word and laws of His God - something that affects all of us a HELL of a lot more than whether Hillary and Barack love each other or engage in verbal smackdowns


    Yummy Cut-to-the-Chase Quick Bytes for January 22, 2008

    Questions About Terrorism? Invite “Ask Al Qaeda” To Your Next Social Organization Brunch!

    Oddly enough, this is not entirely a joke though “Breakfast with the Bin Ladens” may not be quite as popular as “Have Hot Chocolate With Santa.” On the plus side, however, Osama does speak English better than President Bush and can pronounce nuclear correctly..(Though, to be fair, most three-year-olds speak and enunciate far better than our “MBA president”; where MBA stands for “mommy's biggest asshole.”)

    But I digress when I want to share with you news so very twisted in its own way, you'd think it came out of Bush's Department of Homeland (In)Security: Namely, al Qaeda has apparently opened up its own customer service department on the Internets (all of them). There, al Qaeda operatives (so they say) are available to answer questions you may have about those 72 virgins they get for lethal missions, how to make a suicide bomb vest that is both functional and stylish, as well as how all six feet-four inches of Osama (with a beard almost as long) manages to terrorize below the radar abd remain unapprehended some six-and-a-half years after Bush declared, “he can run but he can't hide” and that he would personally catch OBL “dead or alive.” (That Mission isn't Accomplished either, Mr. President.)

    Interestingly enough, the pediatrician al-Zawahri who is Osama's second in command made himself available for a (live?) online interview. Isn't it encouraging to learn that a radical terrorist network and its leaders manage to be far more available and accountable to its recruits than the entire Bush Administration has been to the American people for seven years now? But then, some would say that the Bushies actually represent the largest terrorist network in the entire world.

    Yes, indeed, it's the Bizarro World out there and Bush is the leader of the biggest Bizarro faction of them all!

    Forget Dinner: You Can't Afford It!

    While the Bushies spin the economy as being much better than reported – while Fed chair Ben Bernanke meets “in secret” (the favorite Bushie way!) to cut the interest rate in a move many decry as fraught with more dangers than leaving it alone – more than 3 out of every 4 people taking the CNN poll (“Are we in a recession now?”) say yes! Of more than 125,000 people who've cast votes so far, 75% disagree with the Bush drivel.

    See What Happens When You Forget To Take Your Anti-Psychotic Meds With Breakfast

    Senator John McCain, if seeming to offer Repuglicrat Sen. JoeMentum a job as his vice president did not supply enough evidence his mental health is MIA on its fast track to being declared DOA, proves he's off his meds with THIS quote: (shudder!):

    "Don't turn the pharmaceutical companies into the big bad guys."
    As opposed to... uh... what, Mac? Are they disciples of Christ, beauty pageant contestants, Sunday School teachers, smiters of Harry Potter magic, and benevolent leprechauns all rolled into one of the most powerful lobbyist organizations in the entire world? You feeling OK?

    Or are you just auditioning for your new gig as a PhRMA lobbyist once Diebold steals the 2008 presidential win from you and Arizona (finally) kicks you to the curb?

    “Let Me Have a Pastrami on Toasted Pumpernickel; Hold The Cole Slaw And Give Me Some Progressive- and Fairness.”

    Pass the mustard and napkins and prepare to smile, The very same America that's been fighting in the Bush years to relegate evolution to “crazy theory” status and to wage war on science, critical thinking, AND its own working class citizens sits poised to knock our (figurative) socks O-F-F. It's high time, too, though not even British Colombia's super pot and/or “chronic” deserves the credit for this encouraging about-face.

    In a major CNN poll first reported yesterday (on the late Martin Luther King Jr's birthday), more Americans than ever before acknowledge the United States is “ready” for a black president. Specifically, this “readiness” was opined by:
  • 72% of whites

  • 61% of blacks

  • (and perhaps as many as two whole Southern Republicans?)
  • Adds CNN:
    That number is higher than it was two years ago, when 65 percent of whites and 54 percent of blacks felt the same way. It's also higher than the proportion of either men or women -- 64 percent and 65 percent, respectively -- who currently believe the nation is ready for a woman in the White House.

    The top six concerns for both whites and blacks in making their presidential choice this year are exactly the same in the following order -- the economy, Iraq, terrorism, health care, gas prices and Iran -- though blacks place a higher level of importance on all those issues.
    However, as glad as many of us are to see this, and yes, it is encouraging, it is also shocking to recognize that four full decades since the assassination of Dr. King, such a poll question can be considered fair game, that it took us this long to achieve such results, and that the same questions are still asked about a potential woman commander in chief, a Jew, a Mormon... and probably is not yet capable to consider a candidate (in today's Christian fascism insurgemce) who commits the guaranteed act of political suicide by stating he or she does not believe in a “higher power” or chooses not to share those beliefs with the media/public...

    Fred Thompson Drops His Presidential Race

    Not that his poor showing in Republican caucuses and primaries ever proved he was actually IN the race for GOP presidential nominee race for this November but...

    Let me say that using the "I need to stop to care for my ailing mother" statement is about as ridiculous as Karl Rove quitting the White House "to spend more time with my (Manson) family (of Bushies)." A) Fred is no spring chicken so mama's got to be pretty old b) Fred doesn't look like the bedpan-and-chicken-soup server type and c) well, I suppose Fred's wife, who looks to be about the right age for one of his granddaughters, is not likely to want to spend all her time and designer wardrobe at mama's house while Fred plays nursemaid (which he won't). Thompson's wifey, if you notice, could never answer the most basic questions about his campaign; probably because it interfered with her shopping.

    But that aside, Fred's leaving the race poses an interesting situation. Of all the GOP candidates, I'd call him the only true conservative (McCain is only part of one, and Huckabee and Romney aren't any part of one in the classic sense of the term). A lot of classical conservatives, I don't believe, will vote for a Huckabee or Romney or Giuliani and have voiced discomfort with McCain in the past.

    Here's another difference with Fred that I actually appreciated. Fred Thompson refused to play the religion card. He indicated early on that his relationship with his God was private, his business. I appreciate that; it's how I feel about my faith, as well. People who don't seem to be more likely NOT to force their God down the throats of others.

    I can't think of a faster path to hell (in whatever form you think it may take) than to use God and Christ as a selling point for your election (and frankly, I've never seen a more unholy lot than all these Republican so-called Christians on the campaign trail this year).

    So let me actually thank Fred (and add that I hope he does not return to acting, because he's even worse at that - other than playing himself - than he is as a Republican candidate) for not hitting us over the head with his faith on a daily basis.


    Say Hello to...

    Blogging Olbermann - complete with a tie color/style tracking feature.

    And even if the tie was the ONLY thing this site evaluated, it would STILL be a thousand times more relevant than anything Chris Matthews (of MSNBC's Lardass.. NoBalls... um, Hamhocks.. eh, Hardball) opines either on his own show or when paired with Keith Olbermann's Countdown for political commentary.

    On The Day We Celebrate King's Birthday, What Would He Think of Racial America Today?

    Since the Rev. Martin Luther King's actual birthday last week (born January 15th, 1929), I find myself wondering what the man who became this nation's most famed civil rights activist and left us with passionate legacies such as his "I Have A Dream" speech would think about the state of this nation had he not been gunned down in April 1968, just two months before Bobby Kennedy who just might have won the 1968 presidential race.

    It was no secret to King that he was watched, recorded, and routinely villified by everyone from an FBI where J. Edgar Hoover was still in charge and treating the agency like his personal vengeance machine to a media that, at "best", did not want to infuriate paying white audiences by denouncing claims that King was only "in it" for himself. And, taken from us still so young, we can only guess what MLK really felt were the chances to fully break the color barriers and recreate an America that did not divide itself by race, color, creed, or religion.

    In my musings, I can't seem to escape the conclusion that Dr. King would be profoundly disappointed that a fight for which he gave his life, although things HAVE changed, has really not resolved itself in the four decades since his assassination. We pretend race is no longer the big controversy it once was, yet we let our law inforcement organizations engage in racial profiling, let courts pretend crimes committed by people of color really ARE deserving of harsher punishment than those committed by whiter people with money. We sit back, albeit uncomfortably, while pundits have just moved the angry stereotyping of blacks to those we label "law breaking illegal immigrants" to whom we attach some of the same awful rhetoric: lazy, welfare cheats, people who "deliberately" grow large families to qualify them for additional public assistance and people who demand special treatment to get into good schools and jobs rather than "work as hard as whites" do.

    I also believe Dr. King would be just about as incensed as many of us are that people insist "Obama isn't black enough", that he's the first black candidate for president (forgetting Frederick Douglass, Carol Mosely Braun, Shirley Chisholm, and yes, even Jesse Jackson to name a few), and that he can "only win IF" other people of color just "blindly" vote for him to promote their own race (like whites haven't done this).

    While I would dearly love to think that MLK would have more reasons to be dutifully proud of "how far we've come" than not, this is the kind of wishful thinking we usually only allow white Southern Christian candidates and would be no more true coming from King than it does from them. At the same time, I can't help but think about how many - including a few of the tighty righty GOP presidential contenders out there today - griped when it was enacted and continue to resent it that King's birthday was made into a national holiday.

    John Edwards: Stay or Go?

    Steve Benen at The Carpetbagger Report discusses the big question(s) before 2008 Dem presidential candidate (and John Kerry's VP choice in the 2004 race), John Edwards, regarding whether it's time for him to pack it in or continue on toward the Dem convention this summer which is what Edwards has said he will do.

    As I've said, I'm undecided at this time. However, Edwards (along with Dennis Kucinich) comes closer to my "ideal" candidate than do Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama who, IMHO, are too willing to make concessions I don't like, don't believe are good for the country in its current shape (which isn't all that good). To me, both represent the DLC approach to Democrats which I find too much like middle ground Republicanism to help Democrats as a whole. If the Republicans don't want to elect moderate Republicans, why should Dems do it for them?

    Interestingly enough, I did NOT support Edwards in 2004 though I came to support the Kerry-Edwards' ticket simply because Edwards was on it and I saw a progressive-ism growing in him that seemed utterly absent from Kerry. The Edwards running today is a much-changed man, I believe, from 2004 and I do NOT believe this is an act. John Edwards' approach on universal health care, the working class, and so many other issues.

    Right now, his campaign isn't doing super great. But what's strange is that he's got at least half the delegates of Obama and Clinton WHILE, where Republicans like Thompson and Giuliani barely have a handful of delegates BETWEEN them, pundits aren't shouting to push Fred and Rudy off the campaign trail as they are with Edwards. Why? What's the difference? Could it be that Edwards is simply not "corporate money" enough for the DLC crowd while among Repugs, Rudy and Fred will definitely sell their souls?

    What's your take?

    European Pessimism Over U.S. Economic Outlook Just Proves They "Get It" When Bush Just Makes It Much Worse

    Perhaps Bill O'Reilly can declare war on France again while Bush, our brain trust, changes the name of French fries again. Won't matter though: Europeans are RIGHT.

    So what do the Europeans know that Bush doesn't? (Besides American and world history, how to speak English, that tax cuts to billionaires don't cure everything, etc.)

    Just as about every intelligent voice in the U.S. already says, Europe knows that Bush's latest round of tax cuts for the wealthiest, which did nothing to spur the economy after 9-11 and beyond, Bush wants will NOT do anything to stop the Bush economy's record-breaking race to yet crippling economic recession. European economic pessimism today, in fact, is hurting investors and futures markets, to name but a few. At the same time, Fed chief Ben Bernanke is expected to cut interest rates yet again which sounds great until you listen to a number of other analysts that predict unchecked inflation and other issues arising from the Bush Administration always-does-the-wrong-thing handling of the economy will bring far more DIRE times rather than relief.

    Consider, too, that Bush's latest horrible plan comes right on the heels of introducing "owner foreclosure help" that would allow Countrywide (the nation's largest mortgage bank) to keep from filing bankruptcy and give its buyer (Bank of America), a quarter billion in additional tax write-offs every year for a long time while (magically) doing just about NOTHING for middle class (and lesser) homeowners about to lose their homes.

    As Bush has said a number of times, he doesn't understand poor people.


    * smart people
    * reasonable people
    * people who tell the truth (Bush has never been in the same zip code with the truth in his life)
    * people who really ARE patriotic vs. just his lackeys

    The list could go on forever, y'know.

    Fast Food (Of A Sort): Cut to the Chase Quick Bytes for 1-21-08

    Want An (Un)Appetizer With The Meal?

    If you want a guarantee you won't eat so much today (or tomorrow, or next year), check out The Times' Michael Gordon's nightmare first course via Glenn Greenwald at Salon: This nattering nay bob of a neocon argues that the best way to prove our patriotism to this country and our love of Iraq is to stay there fighting F-O-R-E-V-E-R. Check, please!

    SlopSoup of the Day:

    A big bowl of thick chowder seems like an ideal meal in January. But steer clear of House Dem Leader Nancy Pelosi's lobster pot; the more American voters scream for the Bushies to be indicted, the faster Nancy serves up nothing but year-old watery, rancid, voter sickening leftovers of “impeachment is not on the table” bisque. Unless Pelosi resets and stocks up that table soon, she might be swimming in the broth herself flanked only by foul (disembodied) fish heads that look and stink suspiciously like Mike Huckabee and Chuck Norris..

    Free Egg roll (But Only If You're A Bizillionaire):

    With the U.S. Economic outlook – never, ever good under Bush's tenure as top chef – tanking faster than we can steal crude oil out of Iraq, the president offers up the only solution he knows – and uses for every problem, regardless of what it is. That's right; the best way to stimulate the economy out of a probable recession, he insists, is to serve up 10-course gourmet free lunches (and you just know he'll have as many endangered species – like the American middle class – as he can fit) to the very rich, which I assume he'll deliver one-at-a-time in a gas-hogging Humvee he'll give billionaires another tax break to buy for free.. The rest of you? Starve already so there'll be more room at the restaurant table for Bush loyalists!

    Today's Pickle:

    The so-called master of conspiracy theory films, Oliver Stone, revs up to produce his latest. The subject matter? Someone who can't spell “conspiracy theory” - namely, George W. Mush uh... Slush... Tush... oops... um... Bushwhacked. Josh Brolin (oh, the repugs will love this; Barbra Streisand's stepson) will play the mentally challenged Commander-in-Cheat but there's no word yet on whether Queen Latifah has signed to portray Cheney or Rosie O'Donnell to play “little” brother, Jeb. Yet one thing's guaranteed: Diebold will handle the Academy Award voting for it so you just know Bush will win.

    And The Dessert's On Us:

    Want some much-needed good news to restore your desire to eat? We've got a recipe you'll drool over: as of today, Monday, it's just one year until we can push the Bushies to the curb faster than you can say, “Stick a fork in Dubya; he's DONE!” Perhaps celebrate with Vermont's own Ben and Jerry's ice cream and fear not: with Vermont the only state in the union Dubya has NOT visited during his reign of 'error, there's no way B&J's creamy – and progressive! - goodness has been contaminated.


    U.S. Officials Sell Nuclear Secrets to Israel, Turkey

    It never ends with this "moral" crew, does it? From Raw Story (and mind you, Bushies happily slip two countries "not supposed to have" nukes such secrets, while everytime a doctor in Iran orders a chest x-ray, Bush claims Ahmadinejad's about to nuke The Mickey Mouse Club, Chucky Cheese, and other vital symbols of American uh... brilliance, superiority, and patriotism). Want to bet NONE of these officials is charged, much less convicted, of treason - which is WHAT this act would mean to anyone else.

    The Sunday Times has obtained a document that confirms that a file, which the FBI denied existed, could contain information about American officials stealing nuclear secrets for Turkish and Israeli spies, who would then sell the secrets to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

    Earlier, FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, 37, approached the Times about "explosive" communications she discovered between high-up American officials and Turkish and Israeli spies. A FOIA request to the FBI, for case number 203A-WF-210023, was answered with a claim that the case number did not exist.

    "I can tell you that that file and the operations it refers to did exist from 1996 to February 2002," says Edmonds.

    One high-ranking official, identified by RAW STORY's Larisa Alexandrovna as Marc Grossman, Ambassador to Turkey from 1994 to 1997. Grossman is said to have warned his cohorts not to do business with Brewster Jennings, a front company set up by the CIA. Brewster Jennings was also the "employer" of CIA operative Valerie Plame, whose cover, with Grossman's help, was blown in what is widely believed to be a political hit job by the Bush Administration on her husband, Ambassador and Iraq war critic Joseph C. Wilson.

    The entire Sunday Times article can be read HERE.
    Strange that, if completely accurate, American media ignores the story while a paper most Americans have never heard of, much less read reports on it.

    Is treason no longer a punishable offense? Only, under Bush, could THAT happen. And the GOP crew angling for his job sure won't guard "the flame" any better. Some, quite terrifyingly, could be much worse.

    On Lieberman, Likability, And (Sore) Losers

    Karlo (the man who JUST can't ever get enough cat blogging) notes in Comments regarding my post about the possibility of a John McCain/Joe Lieberman ticket, This refers to Republican presidential nominee Sen. McCain's talk the other day where McCain - perhaps kidding, perhaps not - pointed to allegedly but not actually (Indy) Democrat Sen. Joseph Lieberman, there to provide support and an endorsement for his fellow hawk Republican ::cough::, and mentioned that Joementum might make a great vice president.

    Specifically, Karlo asks "does anyone actually like Lieberman?" given his "new and disproved, not improved" status as the far right wing's and Bush's favorite Orthodox Jewish lackey. After all, it can be hard for the loony right to offer anyone who is not a fascist Christian the time of day much less that most minute hint of respect. Thus, when looking for a token "not me" to suggest they aren't racist, too, it helps that they can wrap a crazy war hawk together with a Jew who wants to see the Biblical rapture and armageddon occur every bit as much as they do, regardless of how many Jews and Muslims they have to consign to hell to do it.

    So yes, Virginia...er... Karlo, someone likes Lieberman. His wife. The loony right just pretends to tolerate him, just as they often utter the words, "Some of my best friends are black" and "I don't hate gay people. I just feel justified in telling everyone gays are promiscuous and mentally ill while I deny them the right to marry and make their lives miserable."

    However, in fairness, I have to say that there was a time when, as Lieberman's constituent, I had some respect for the man. He's always been prissy, a bit holier than almost everyone else, and likely to side with some weird issues, such as when he joined "Second Lady" (and I use the word "lady" very, very, VERY loosely here) Lynne Cheney and "morality czar" (and dominatrix-loving, millions-lost-in-casinos) William "Bill" Bennett in an effort to turn college campuses to the right while discriminating against those educators who don't think it's their job to tell students what to think, how to vote, and that their grades will be hurt if they don't believe in the same God as James Dobson and Jerry Falwell.

    Quite seriously, I think a HUGE part of why Lieberman has turned so far to the right - and not simply because of 9-11 and his zealot's hatred of Muslims - lies right in the lap of the 2000 presidential election. Lieberman blames then presidential candidate Al Gore for not winning (and the American people for not choosing Joementum himself) which turned him into a sore loser and then he jumped on the ultra-hawk bandwagon, with all of his high praise for Bush and other tighty righties, SOLELY to advance his own position.

    His pouting brat sore loser attitude soured him further to Dems after the capitulation to rigged voting so he had to realize Democrats would never support another candidacy for him - and they didn't; Republican money returned him to his Senate job when Dems wanted to flush the turd. Also, he saw the writing on the wall in terms of how completely the fascist right was willing to go to keep a Jew from the White House; to keep from becoming nothing more than a footnote to history, he switched sides. While the right will never like him, they might be willing to hold their nose to let him be a bridesmaid (VP) but never the bride (President).


    McCain-Lieberman Ticket?

    Did you catch the love-in between John McCain and (he's such a liar he still calls himself a Democrat) Joe Lieberman? The one where there was more than just a slight suggestion that McCain might actually consider the hawkish Orthodox Jew-slash-Unorthodox lawmaker as his running mate?

    While anyone with a brain knows that among the countless reasons why Lieberman, in his current incarnation as loyal Bushie, should never be allowed near Capitol Hill, much less 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, his religious affiliation is not at all one of them, I still found myself wondering what the hell McCain is thinking.

    Granted, McCain has tried to rebuild himself in the far right image, courting and getting the warm and wormy embrace of the late (and never great) hate mongerer, Jerry Falwell, and granted that the far right has painted itself the "great defender" of Jews of late. But this scurrilous crowd hardly "likes" Jews - no, they see them (most and revulsively despicably) as a "necessary evil" for the Rapture to occur the way they want.

    But can even the increasingly erratic McCain think he can help his chances on Super Tuesday, or in South Carolina's primary, by suggesting he would consider as his vice president a man like Lieberman who is despised by most Democrats for his "me first" politics of late while many Republicans hold their nose as they try to find something nice to say about Joementum?

    Chris Matthews, Hardball, Mea Culpas, And An Embarrassment of Rich (and Neverending) Embarrassments

    Salon starts of this piece about how MSNBC's Hardball host, Chris Matthews, has caused the Internets (all of them!) to be agog about his terribly treatment of Hillary Clinton and goes on to say he's offering his mea culpas, which may or may not be because he could lose his job otherwise.

    But let's be honest here: almost everything that comes out of Matthews unchecked and mealy mouth, usually about Democrats in particular, has been damned embarrassing.

    Matthews started his very erratic slide - and this tool was never the most sharply calibrated instrument to begin with - when he went totally gaga about how MANLY Bush looked in May 2003 with his stunt landing on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln to announce "Mission Accomplished" and "all combat pretty much over in Iraq". Matthews literally noted Bush's (quite obviously) padded crotch and opined that every woman in America had fallen in love with the brainless wonder and every man was proud that, if they had to have a president who had a bigger codpiece than they did, at least it was "this MAN's MAN". (Geez, I want to retch just thinking about this.)

    Thus, Matthews simple-minded diarrhea of the brain isn't something that started with this election cycle. It's just that he's getting exponentially worse. In addition to the Hillary remarks, he's said Obama was inspiring because he did so well in Iowa considering he's a true candidate of the third world. Uh, I know Chicago has problems, but when did Illinois join the third world? And it gets worse from there.

    Sadly, the only thing MSNBC is doing in having Matthews plastered on EVERY presidential campaign focused broadcast is to render useless the little bit of better analysis they DO have (and considering their team, we're pretty much down to Keith Olbermann who shouldn't have to be paired with a fellow host so incompetent he could be named a major Bush appointee).

    Today's Nevada Caucus: Rules Must ALWAYS Favor the Voters, Not Specific Candidates

    With all the talk the last few days of how critical it was that Barack Obama "won" a ruling in Nevada that permits caucuses in the casino areas (now there's something our forefathers probably did not envision) so that workers, like the culinary workers union that threw its support behind Obama, can participate in the caucus process despite the fact the votes are held on a Saturday (today) which has to be a very busy workday on the strip, comes a point too often lost.

    The point is this: voting rules and laws should always favor the best interests of all voters. For example, anything that can be done to make it easier - and yet still able to protect the integrity of the votes cast - for voters to cast their ballots can and should be done. Such rules should NOT be designed to favor one candidate or another. In fact, screw the candidates: it's the voter's interest that comes above all else.

    The most egregious example we've ever seen - and I pray it will never be repeated - of the system being rigged for a specific candidate rather than the totality of the American voters came in the presidential election of 2000. And no, I'm not talking specifically about the Bush-Cheney subversion of the votes through outright thievery.

    When Bush's people, led by constant Bushie savior James Baker III, raced to the U.S. Supreme Court to be sure that the recount of votes in Florida was stopped (lest it was proven that indeed Gore won), Baker took a law designed to protect the voter and turned it magically into an argument that one single voter and candidate, namely our current Moron in Chief, would be irrevocably harmed if the Florida recount was permitted to continue to its logical conclusion.

    Somehow (magically, through a packed court roster - though hardly as weighted to the extreme Bushian mindset as it is today), the Supreme Court not only let them get away with a total perversion of the laws, they rewarded Baker and Bush and Grand Evil Emperor Cheney with the presidency in a decision that boils down to "we can't let Florida finish its recount because if it does, it's likely Bush will lose, and that will hurt poor Georgie's feelings and nobody ever says NO to Georgie and Dick(less)."

    Thus, regardless of whether the court decision to allow Nevada voters to cast their caucus votes (and the caucus system is really a strange way to go, but that's a whine - without the cheese and crackers - for another day) in a more convenient arena like casinos favors Hillary, Barack, John or Dennis, or hell, even the (choke) McCain-Lieberman ticket, the important issue is not which candidate benefits or is hurt, but that voters get to vote. This is exactly as it should be.