Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sunday Talking Heads

Meet the Press: Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE).

Face the Nation: SoS Condi Rice; Rep. John Murtha (D-PA); Politico's Roger Simon.

This Week: SoS Condi Rice; Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI); Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS); actress Natalie Portman; roundtable of ABC's Martha Raddatz, Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria and George Will.

Fox News Sunday
: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Cindy McCain; remembering ex-MPAA chief Jack Valenti.

Late Edition: SoS Condi Rice; Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL); Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA); Iraqi FM Hoshyar Zebari; European Commiss. Pres. Jose Manuel Barroso; a roundtable of Dana Bash, Joe Johns, and Ed Henry

60 Minutes: George Tenet on 4/29; Guns & Mentally ill

As always, h/t to Newsie8200. Lots of upcoming talking head info here.

Gaw, it's finally getting thru their heads.

Trials of the Truth Seekers
Historians will see the '06 election returns as indispensable to their work.

Without them, we'd never know what's happened to this country.

May 7, 2007 issue - Henry Waxman looks like your accountant, but he acts more like a dog with a bone—the hard bone of truth. This short, bald, mustached California congressman is digging up what really happened inside the U.S. government during the early years of the new century.

Last week, for instance, Waxman's House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform heard startling testimony about how the Army lied repeatedly to protect its image, covered up those lies, then lied again.

Instead of depressing me, the hearings left me strangely exhilarated. Historians will likely see the 2006 midterm election returns as indispensable to their work.

Without a change in party control, we would never have a chance to get to the bottom of what has happened to this country.

Now, if only Alter and all the other purveyors of Conventional Wisdom just STFU long enough for the hearings to bring to light all the things SOME OF US knew were happening, without getting all Broderific on us.


Former U.S. senator Carol Moseley Braun breaks wrist in mugging in Chicago
The Associated PressPublished: April 28, 2007


Former U.S. senator and diplomat Carol Moseley Braun suffered a broken wrist when a mugger tried to steal her purse, authorities said.

Braun, a Democrat who ran for president in 2004, was standing at her front door late Friday when an assailant came out of the bushes and tried to take her purse, said her spokesman, Kevin Lampe. When Braun resisted, the man pulled a knife and cut the strap of the purse, Lampe said Saturday.

Here is wishing Ms Moseley Braun a swift recovery.

And the lede should have been "Ex-Presidential Candidate, Former U.S. senator and diplomat...".

Excellent Emails!

Yes, it's once again time for that wacky feature we all love around here. Ok, some of us do. Ok, me.

Another financial proposal that I am having a hard time resisting my friends. This time from the lovely capital of Cote d'ivoire, Abidjan:

Dear Sir/Ma.

It's my pleasure to contact you for a business venture which I and my Son AIL intend to establish in your country,Though I have not met with you before but I believe one has to risk, confiding in someone to succeed sometimes in life.

There is this huge amount of money Eigtheen million U.S dollars($18,000,000.00) which my late Husband XXXX kept for us in a security storage house here in Abidjan before he was assasinated by unknown persons.

Now my son and I decieded to invest these money in your country or anywhere safe enough outside Africa for security purposes.We want you to help us to transfer this fund to your country for investment purposes on the followings below:

1). Telecommunication
2). International School
3). Five star hotel

If you can be of an assistance to us we will be pleased to offer to you 10% Of the total fund.

I await your soonest response.Through This My Private Email

Extend my warmest regards to your entire family.

Thank you and God bless you.

Well I don't want to look a gift-horse in the mouth...Perhaps SS# and bank account, but I tell him/her to be very careful not to share the information?

Must. Go. Ponder.

Ohio: Key House Battleground

I've moved to the Buckeye State during interesting times. We're all used to Ohio being a battleground state as far as the presidency goes. And that won't change anytime soon. Although The Bobs--Taft and Ney--who in many ways resemble these Bobs...

...except they're eminently more corrupt, have done their best to make this a blue state.**

But I digress. We're now a serious battleground state on the House front too. Democrats came close to winning a number of House seats that have been trending Democratic during the last cycle, and look like we're landing some star recruits for the next one.

I feel a fun 2008 coming on.

**Honorable Mention to Karl Rove, the great architect...of turning a party into a crime syndicate and the ensuing national GOP meltdown.

He's Making A List

I might even check it twice. Or three times. We'll see.

In any case, as George Tenet now slam dunks the Bush Administration (and no, I am not letting him off the hook for his culpability in the Iraq tragedy), I thought it might be useful to keep a running list of the unbelievable number of Republicans/non-partisans, many in pretty high-ranking positions, who have left (or been asked to leave) The Cult Bush and then launched blistering critiques of different aspects of this administration.

I am sure I will miss many. And by the way, I still consider some of these folks to be very bad people (and some are good people of course), just thought it still might be interesting...Feel free to write in and add to the following (many came off the top of my head, some from here):

George Tenet. Richard Clarke. Rand Beers. Paul O'Neill. David Kuo. John Dilulio. Eric Schaeffer. Bill Harlow. Christy Todd-Whitman. Eric Shinseki. David Iglesias. David Kay. Anthony Zinni. Lawrence Wilkerson. Matthew Dowd. Greg Thielmann. Jay Garner. John Brady Kiesling. Tom Ridge. John Brown. Charles Duelfer. Roger Cressey. Sibel Edmonds. Ken Mehlman. Karen Kwiatkowski. Joe Wilson. Thomas White. John Batiste. Paul Eaton. Tom Maertens. Coleen Rowley. Paul Bremer. John Danforth. Andrew Wilkie. Ann Wright, Mike Brown*, Ken Adleman*.

Again, anyone care to add any names I missed?

*added by Paddy from comments

PS from Cliff: Paddy got those two names from our good friend gimmeabreak, whose great blog can be found here.


Robert Greenwald strikes again.

George W. Bush To Announce Off-Shore Drilling Off Virginia Coast

Calling future U.S. Senator Mark Warner...

This is truly unbelievable. George W. Bush wants to use waters off the Virginia coast, currently marked as a Natural Landmark by the Interior Department and a World Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations, for oil and gas drilling.

The Interior Department will announce a proposal Monday to allow oil and gas drilling in federal waters near Virginia that are currently off-limits and permit new exploration in Alaska's Bristol Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, according to people who have seen or been told about drafts of the plan.

Lets hope the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, and other groups mobilize quickly around this...

GOP Rep. John Boozman Implicated In US Attorney Scandal

Another Republican Congressman is about to go down in the US Attorney scandal. Rep. John Boozman of Arkansas now appears to be part of the scheme that conspired to fire Bud Cummins for political reasons and did not tell his Democratic colleagues:

The White House told a Republican member of Congress last summer about its plans to fire a U.S. attorney in Arkansas and replace him with a former aide to presidential adviser Karl Rove, but it did not tell Democratic lawmakers, according to a new Justice Department e-mail released yesterday.

The White House called Rep. John Boozman (R-Ark.) "and pretty much told him what they are doing with this appointment and how they are going about it," according to a July 6 e-mail from Bud Cummins, then the U.S. attorney in Little Rock.

The Cartoons Dude!

Geiger's got ' always in his eloquent words:

The Saturday cartoons are up with sad takes on the VT shootings and funny takes on McCain, George "Mission Accomplished" Bush, and Alberto Gonzales. Enjoy!
So what are you waiting for, get on over there!

Almost forgot to give you your pretty for the day.
Via Cat as usual.
(*note- better get clicking Missy, I'm running out of pics!!)

News That MSNBC Should Be Covering Instead Of "Baby Daddy Part 96"

Domestic Terrorism? Yup, and they caught the guy.
How come we're not hearing about that?


I've seen this one around, but it deserves a second look.
Did you know that Bush 41 & 43 are buying up lots of land in Paraguay?
Now you do.


Annual terrorism report will show 29% rise in attacks


Overheating Britain: April temperatures break all records

Nope, Alec Baldwins rant is MUCH more important.

GOP Sleight Of Hand/Poll

How intellectually bereft are Republicans? Over at the National Review, Cliff May cites some polling data to indicate that the public opposes the Democratic position on Iraq.

Vox Populi [Cliff May]
Some interesting polling results in recent days. For example:

According to a recent USA Today/Gallup poll, 61% of Americans oppose “denying the funding needed to send any additional U.S. troops to Iraq,” and opposition is up from 58% in February. (3/23-25, 2007).

Because I know Republicans tend to distort things, I decided to look at the Gallup Poll myself. Gallup's polling memo seemed to be very different than Cliff's version. Here are some key points.

2. A majority of Americans say it was a mistake for the United States to have become involved in Iraq ...

3. Americans perceive that the war is not going well for the United States ...

4. Americans do not believe the troop surge is having a positive effect ...

5. Americans perceive that the benefits of winning the war do not outweigh the costs involved.

6. Most Americans support a timetable for removing troops from Iraq within the next year, but not immediate withdrawal.

Despite their overall negativity about the war, only about one in five Americans favor an immediate withdrawal of troops. Many of the rest support a gradual withdrawal of troops, preferably within a year. The majority of Americans do not favor an open-ended commitment of troops in Iraq.

8. Democrats are better positioned than the Republicans on handling the issue of Iraq. (emphasis mine)

May's bit of polling data was number 7 in a list of 10 in the Gallup memo. As you can see, the poll shows that the public supports the Democratic perspective on the issue, not the Republican perspective. Maybe Cliff didn't read the whole poll, or maybe this newer data, or maybe, just maybe, Cliff cherry picked his data to distort the polls finding (and point number 8 explicitly rebuts his implication). Either way, instead of challenging Glenn Greenwald to publish this data (as Cliff did in his piece), I challenge Cliff to publish the whole poll over at NRO.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Restoring Honesty and Integrity In Government

A Bush Admin official just resigned because he was implicated in a prostitution ring. Yes, I know, it's hard to tell just who's a prostitute in DC, but still.

COMMENT FROM CLIFF: It gets worse. Once again, these jokes just write themselves:

Deputy Secretary of State Randall L. Tobias submitted his resignation Friday, one day after confirming to ABC News that he had been a customer of a Washington, D.C. escort service whose owner has been charged by federal prosecutors with running a prostitution operation. Tobias, 65, Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), had previously served as the Ambassador for the President's Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief...

As the Bush administration's so-called "AIDS czar," Tobias was criticized for emphasizing faithfulness and abstinence over condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.
Let me break this down in simple language. The Bush Administration guy who was recklessly pushing abstinence and "faith" to prevent AIDS, was fornicating with whores. He was married. This is your Republican government in action.

Although, in his defense, I guess calling out God's name numerous times might qualify as an act of faith.

You Know It Rudy

Well gosh darn, the Rudester was right! We gots to elect ourselves some more of them Republicans to keep the world safe!

So, does this mean we're fighting them over there so we can fight them 25% more often over there? Until they inevitably come back over here?

In the meantime, over here, there are those homegrown ideologically Republican terrorists. If we fight them over here does that mean we won't have to fight them over there?

Debut Of The Ditch Mitch Singers

Netroots hero Jim Pence of The Hillbilly Report has brought us the debut of the Ditch Mitch singers:


NJ: Prosecutors Looking at Ex-GOP Rep
By Paul Kiel - April 27, 2007, 1:43 PM

The Jack Abramoff investigation continues to burst with renewed vigor. Now, it's ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) -- who was defeated back in November due in large part to his ties to Abramoff -- who might be in trouble.

In the current issue of the National Journal (not available online), Peter Stone reports that "two sources say that the Justice Department is making new inquiries into Hayworth’s past links to Abramoff."

Hayworth was a boil on my butt the whole time he was in the House.
Smarmy, holier-than-everyone and a Bubba I recognized. I lived in Central Florida for a few years, and I knew J.D. and/or his cousins REAL well.

They chewed, spat, heckled, harassed, were rude to women, differential to parents & teachers (when they were looking) and basically thought that they would always rise to the top, no matter what kind of excrement they laid out behind them.

I'm willing to bet a nice lasagne meal that ole J.D. goes down hard.

Any takers?

Rick Renzi And Katherine Harris Channel Barry White

The Rickster may soon be joining his friends in the embedded YouTube below, Rob Simmons and Katherine Harris, in the realm of "former Congressperson."

But that's not why I post this. Our good friend Ohdave of the great Ohio blog, sent me this YouTube of Renzi and Harris coming as close to mounting each other as is probably legal in the House chamber. While of course simultanously believing that abstinence education works.

It's a must view! And then go on over to Odave's place and thank him for digging this up:

Executions down across globe, says Amnesty International

The number of people executed by their own governments fell by 25 per cent last year, with China carrying out the most executions, Amnesty International said Friday.

The human rights organization report — the Annual Death Penalty Statistics — outlines the number of executions and death sentences carried out in the world in 2006.

According to the report, at least 1,591 people were known to be executed by their own governments in 25 countries last year.

Of those executions, 90 per cent took place in six countries:

China - 1,010
Iran - 177
Pakistan - 82
Iraq - 65
Sudan - 65
U.S.A. - 53

Amnesty International believes the Chinese figures are drastically underestimated, suggesting the real total is close to 8,000 executions, based on information from a Chinese legal expert. China keeps its prisoner executions a state secret.

That is SOME company we keep.

50% Good News Story of the Day


Can I Plug My iPod into Your Bathing Suit?

It's just what the world needed. Now, there's a solar-powered swimsuit, making it a snap to recharge your iPod right on the beach -- and reduce your carbon footprint while you sunbathe.


But now, there's an invention that may trump all of the above in sheer pointlessness. German lingerie producer Triumph has come up with, of all things, a solar-powered bathing suit. The rather awkward-looking one-piece garment comes complete with photovoltaic cells to capture energy from the sun. What to do with that energy, you might ask? It's perfect, the company assures its potential customers, for recharging your phone or iPod while lying on the beach.

Altogether I don't see any negatives to this.
(ba dum dum)

*Note- Will they send the swimsuits over with the USAID Ipods for Afganistan?

Update - Right Wingers Silent On Romney

Yesterday, we linked to a story on TPM about Mitt Romney saying its not worth spending money to catch Osama Bin Laden. In an update, TPM finds that most right-wing blogs ignored the story entirely. I'm shocked!

I had no idea this was happening, but I'm glad it's not now.

U.S. House backs bill barring genetic discrimination
By Will Dunham
Wed Apr 25, 5:08 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bill that would prohibit genetic discrimination against people, for instance not hiring or insuring someone predisposed to a given illness, won overwhelming approval in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday.

The measure, approved by a vote of 420 to 3, now goes to the Senate. The White House said it supports the bill, which is opposed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a leading business lobby.

Sounds familiar.

Barney Frank Gets It

For a while, a number of Democrats have talked about embracing a more libertarian view of politics. After seeing what the Republicans did with Terri Schiavo and what the Supreme Court just did on abortion, it's easy to understand why Democrats do not want government intrusion into their personal lives.

Some Democrats are starting to pick up on this trend. Barney Frank, for instance, just proposed a bill to undo the ban on internet gambling. The ban was stuck in a bill by religious right forces last Congress, without any debate.

Now, gambling clearly has its drawbacks. But I don't want the government telling me what I can or can't do in my home, as long as I am not hurting anyone. Frank agrees

“I strongly believe people should be able to do what they want with their own money as long as they are not hurting anybody,” Frank said.

Working America Takes On Big Pharma

In a country where millions go without health insurance, while pharmaceutical company executives sometimes have to struggle to pay for that fifth mortgage in Belize or scrape by to purchase that second corporate jet, thankfully we have Working America fighting the good fight.

Working America, the 1.5 million-member community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, provides a voice for those of us who have been denied the right to union membership on the job. Individuals are allowed to join this community, which is comprised of those of us who don't have stock options in Haliburton or stay up nights excited about the next day's bank merger.

So when they asked me to join their fight against Big Pharma, in the latter's attempt to make the cost of prescriptions unbearable for working Americans, I simply said where do I sign up?

Working America very simply provides its members, who are located everywhere from Ohio to Oregon, Missouri to Minnesota, essential information on "good jobs, a just economy, affordable health care, quality education, retirement security and globalization." And interestly enough, the majority of Working America members identify themselves as politically moderate or conservative, as one-third are "born again" Christians and one-third own guns. Sorry to disappoint, Mr. Limbaugh.

So it is a good day for all of us that such an accomplished organization has decided the time has come to make their voice heard on the ever-burgeoning health care crisis in this country. More specifically, through their Health Care Hustlers Campaign, Working America allowed we the people to get involved, by going to their site and sharing our health care horror stories and just as importantly, which greedy industry and/or company was to blame.

The votes were counted, and unlike some in our political system, we didn't try and purge even one. The consensus winner, once the tally was completed, was Big Pharma. You may know them as the quality folks responsible for driving up the price of prescriptions throughout the 50 states with their lobbyist-bought ban on allowing the government to negotiate lower prices for Medicare recipients. Or perhaps for the longtime U.S. ban on allowing Americans to import their prescription drugs from Canada, where they often are half the price of what they cost here.

So what does all this mean? Well, Working America is putting its community where its mouth is. The Health Care Hustle Campaign is not only bringing together the voices of working people exploited by Big Pharma to fight for change, but is specifically targeting the bad actors that have destroyed our health care system.

First on the list, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, who has implemented a policy of reducing supplies of its drugs to Canadian wholesalers and pharmacies that sell life-saving medicines to Americans who make the cross-border trip because they are left with no other choice.

And who said that Corporate America doesn't have a heart?

In any case, Wyeth received a nice visit from some friends at its annual meeting at the Hyatt Hotel in Morristown, New Jersey. Including the Canadian Moose, which the executives may catch a glimpse of on their way from the seaweed rap to the deep-tissue massage. But hey, they can run to the jacuzzi, but they can't hide.

Our friend the Canadian Mooose, as well as other activists, reminded those at The Hyatt, as well as across America, that our system does not have to be this way. It can serve the interests of the American people instead of the American aristocracy.

Let the Wyeth's be warned. American workers demand that we fix this broken system and replace it with one that serves all of us.

Full Disclosure: I am being sponsored by Working America, a community affiliate of the AFL-CIO. More disclosure, I could not be more passionate about this project.

Giggle of the day for yesterday, but worth another giggle today.

A few drive-by bits this morning.

I've never done this before, but watertiger made me choke on my coffee.
Condi, Condi ,Condi.

Anyone want to stake me a trip to Poland to straighten these feebleminded freaks out?
I can say beer, butt, window & trashcan in Polish. What more do I need?

YEAH for Stephen Hawkings.!!! I wish he could have taken a plane full of people similarly afflicted with him.

Finally, and I mean this sincerely Rudy, one of these days people are just gonna look at you and say that you're a panderer and opportunist. Hopefully it will be before the elections.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Terrorist Don't Always Look Like This.

Sometimes They Look Like This.

Police: Device near clinic was a bomb
Sources say it contained nails; federal agencies join investigation.

By Tony Plohetski, Claire Osborn and Elizabeth Campbell


Friday, April 27, 2007

A package found Wednesday in the parking lot of a South Austin women's clinic that performs abortions contained a bomb that could have seriously injured or killed people had it not been spotted by a clinic employee, officials said Thursday.

A terrorism task force made up of local and federal investigators is still trying to determine who left the package near the Austin Women's Health Center at 1902 S. Interstate 35, north of Oltorf Street, and are reviewing footage from the clinic's security cameras.

A woman's clinic that performs abortions. Do you know what that means? That means innocent women going in for affordable pap smears or birth control or bladder infections or anyone of the MULTITUDE of things I've gone to "Women's HEALTH Clinics" for.

Did the "Terror Alert Color Code" get kicked up a notch? Nope.
This is an obvious act of terrorism in the United States.

American Heritage Dictionary - ter·ror·ism (těr'ə-rĭz'əm) Pronunciation Key
n. The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

This should be on the front page of every newspaper. But it won't be.

The only reason Rudolph ever got any media play is that he messed with the Olympics.

And THAT is un-american.

More info here.

Ha!!! Fox News Headline...

Dem Hopefuls Spar Over
Who's More Anti-War

Interesting debate. My thoughts?

Clinton was poised and on point, Obama seemed a little nervous and off, Gravel was a total wild-card, Edwards was staid but faltered on the haircut bit, same with Richardson except with him it was the "Fredo is Hispanic" thing, Biden had the best laugh of the nite and seemed quite impassioned and Kuchinich looked sane next to Gravel.

No real winner IMHO, but neither Obama or Edwards really stepped up their game.

Anyone else notice that Keith seemed a little uncomfortable with Tweety on and off?

COMMENT FROM CLIFF: I was going to write up my thoughts on the debate but found myself entirely agreeing with Paddy. Unlike MSNBC's analysts, and like Paddy, I didn't think there was a real winner. I think most of the candidates came off as presidential, and even more so when compared to the circus clown currently occupying the Oval Office.

Oh, one more thing, I gotta party with Gravel sometime. You can just imagine him drinking a bottle of WIld Turkey in one swig and cursing you for doubting him afterwards. In any case, for all future negotiations between Bush and the Senate, we must send Gravel.

Romney Says Catching Bin laden Not Worth The Money

Eric Kleefeld over at TPM highlights a quote from Mitt Romney on Osama Bin Laden. Here is the quote in full.

Said the country would be safer by only "a small percentage" and would see "a very insignificant increase in safety" if al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was caught because another terrorist would rise to power. "It's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person," Romney said. Instead, he said he supports a broader strategy to defeat the Islamic jihad movement.

We ought to jump on this and make it a career ending statement. First, he's wrong, catching Bin laden would be worth every penny, just for the morale boost. Second, you see, he's the head of Al-Qaeda, and those guys are our enemy. If we actually paid attention to them, instead of being bogged down in Iraq, we would actually be safer (paging Rudy Giuliani, these things actually make us safer, not failed rhetoric). Finally, as Kleefeld noted, if a Democrat said this the GOP would be singing from the rooftops. Is Mitt part of the Osama bin Laden surrender caucus? Maybe Michelle Malkin can make up a cheer for this.

Okay, this is my personal peeve for the day, and I'll try not to get unhinged about it.

Cruising past Faux news I saw the Scary-Skinny-Wacked-Out-Gaze Republican Female Talking Head steamrolling all over the Sweet-Mid-America-Butter-Won't-Melt-Hushed-Tones Democratic Female Talking Head (again).

The SSWOGRFTH was all "The enemy WANTS us to LEAVE". "Harry Reid saying the war is lost PLAYING RIGHT INTO THE HANDS OF THE ENEMY!!!!" etc.

Please, if there is anyone out there who knows anyone who has any say in these things, let them know something important.

The minute the SSWOGRFTH's start on this crap, just look them in the eye and say,

"The Terrorists are just like Republicans.
No matter what happens, it always is to their benefit. Remember the '06 election?
If Democrats mentioned the war, it was good for the Republicans because it made them seem strong.
If they DIDN'T mention the war, it made Democrats look weak.Sound familiar?

Terrorists? If we leave they win. If we stay they win.

Democrats have learned how to deal with that prattle.

They do the right thing for our country and soldiers, exactly what is expected of them.

Hillary Clinton Paying "Volunteers" To Hold 'Clinton Country' Signs

Things do not look promising for your campaign when you claim to be the Democratic front-runner and have to pay students to hold your signs outside the first Democratic Presidential Debate at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, South Carolina.
The rumour du jour is that Hillary Clinton's campaign, or some consultant affiliated with the campaign, paid students at nearby Clafin College to come hold large "Clinton Country" signs. One Clinton sign-holder did indeed volunteer to us that she was being paid, but she wouldn't say by whom. A Clinton spokesman denies that the campaign has paid anyone to attend.

Sen. Mitch McConnell Votes To Continue War In Iraq

The 34 percent of Kentuckians who believe Mitch McConnell represents their view on the war in Iraq may be pleased. Unfortunately, I think the rest of the Bluegrass state may agree with this statement in the New York Times:

Groups aligned with the Democrats plan to capitalize on the connection between the veto and the “mission accomplished” anniversary. Americans United for Change has produced a television commercial that replays scenes of Mr. Bush on the carrier and says: “He was wrong then. And he’s wrong now. It’s the will of one nation versus the stubbornness of one man.”

Well, they may want to change that line to the stubbornness of two men, if you want to consider the efforts of George W Bush’s lapdog Mitch McConnell to continue the war in Iraq. Today, Sen. Mitch McConnell had a chance to fund our troops in Iraq and end the war, and he voted against doing both.

Cross-posted at

Goodness, seems someone is a hypocrite.

Look what John @ Americablog found.


Someone has been sitting on these waiting for the right moment.

Guess this is it.

Let the rationalizations begin!!

Iraq Supplemental Passes The Senate

Only Gordon Smith and Chuck Hagel joined the Democrats in voting for a bill that mandates the withdrawal of all troops from Iraq by this time next year. It already passed the House.

Bob Geiger's got the goods.

UPDATE: Steve Benen reminds us that this bill should arrive on President Bush's desk on the four year anniversary, to the day, of President Premature Exhortation's "Mission Accomplished" speech. This might just be the definition of irony.

What? $200,000 needs to be reported?

Congressman Renzi, please just resign already.

An interesing piece on a lost $90 million dollar earmark. According to the Project On Government Oversight, "[A]lthough the earmark has an unidentified author, the funds went to the Department of Defense’s Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy headed by Douglas J. Feith at the time...."

More from the article: “This earmark raises so many questions including why a policy office would need to receive earmarked funds,” notes POGO Defense Investigator Nick Schwellenbach. “Unfortunately, because the earmark is classified we don’t know how the money was used.”


Broder and One More BS Lieberman Column

I saw Cliff's comment this morning on the David Broder column. If he was trying to define inept, his column certainly helped. He criticized Senator Schumer for pointing out the war in Iraq is lost, but the overall war on terror is not lost. I'm not sure why Broder doesn't understand that the war in Iraq and the war on terror are two separate entities, but most everyone else gets the distinction. At least, most everyone who didn't get their start covering the Hovver Administration.

And even if you think Reid was guilty of a verbal gaffe (which he wasn't), does that make him as inept as Gonzalez? This is a guy who lied to Congress, couldn't remember who he met with and what they discussed, and has lost the confidence of just about everyone in Congress, on both sides of the aisle. Are you serious?

In addition to that vapid column, The Washington Post also green lighted another load of bull from Joe Lieberman. I'm sure you're all surprised that Joe believes we're making progress again, and that leaving is still a bad idea. I believe this is at least the fourth time he's written this column since 2003, and despite the deteriorating situation, he says the same thing.

What I love about this column is when Joe says leaving Iraq is exactly what Al-Qaeda wants us to do. Really Joe? Right now, Iraq is bringing more recruits for Al-Quaeda and giving them a training ground, and an opportunity to kill Americans every day. Couldn't it easily be argued that Al-Qaeda would rather us stay in Iraq, bogged down there, unable to pursue them elsewhere? Aren't we giving them exactly what they want, a recruiting mecca and a training ground all in one? It's sad, but Lieberman is becoming more unhinged and more irrelevant every day.

Two of the many reasons to believe the Democratic Party is on the right track.

Senator Jon Tester
The key, I think, is to make sure you know who you are before you get here... to know why you're here in the first place... to understand your service is an honor and temporary . . .and to have no problem going back home when you're finished.

We have the best quality of life anyone could ask for on our farm. If I wanted to improve my quality of life, I'd invest in a new, more comfortable seat for my tractor. I ran for the U.S. Senate to improve the lives of my grandkids. And that of your kids and your grandkids, that's why I'm here.

Representative Patrick Murphy

What To Say About Broder

I wish I could put this in more gentle language but I can't. He's fuckin nuts. This man is long past his expiration date in terms of providing any useful commentary in Washington. If he were milk, he'd have turned into that sour-stenched, pus-resembling, yogurt-like substance that glops out of the carton.

Broder is yet another reason I cancelled my subscription to the Washington Post. He should be put out to pasture. Sent to Elba Island. Strapped to a gurney with masking tape over his mouth.

He is the very definition, at this point, of all that is wrong with DC punditry, the kind that led us into Iraq and keeps us there.

Note to David Broder: GO AWAY.

Washington Post Reports Karl Rove Gave 20 Political Briefings To Government Agencies

The political briefing that Karl Rove gave to the General Services Administration in January, which is being investigated by Chairman Henry Waxman and the House Government and Oversight Committee, apparently was not the only political briefing that Rove gave to a non-partisan government agency:
White House officials conducted 20 private briefings on Republican electoral prospects in the last midterm election for senior officials in at least 15 government agencies covered by federal restrictions on partisan political activity, a White House spokesman and other administration officials said yesterday.

The previously undisclosed briefings were part of what now appears to be a regular effort in which the White House sent senior political officials to brief top appointees in government agencies on which seats Republican candidates might win or lose, and how the election outcomes could affect the success of administration policies, the officials said.

Bush Administration Motto?

"If you don't like the numbers, just change the math."

U.S. officials exclude car bombs in touting drop in Iraq violence

By Nancy A. Youssef
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON - U.S. officials who say there has been a dramatic drop in sectarian violence in Iraq since President Bush began sending more American troops into Baghdad aren't counting one of the main killers of Iraqi civilians.

Car bombs and other explosive devices have killed thousands of Iraqis in the past three years, but the administration doesn't include them in the casualty counts it has been citing as evidence that the surge of additional U.S. forces is beginning to defuse tensions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rep. Tom Feeney To Become The Third GOP Congressman To Go Down In Abramoff Scandal This Month

Tom Cole and the rest of the RCCC staff can't be too happy about this week. Rick Renzi resigned from all of his committees and announced he's considering resigning. Now, the FBI is investigating Tom Feeney who DENIED having a relationship with Jack Abramoff! Hmm Tom, what about that time you flew on a private jet to go on a golfing trip in Scotland with Mr. Abramoff?

Things don't look to be getting any better for Tom Feeney as his former chief of staff resigned as Deputy Campaign Manager for Mitt Romney as a result of the FBI probe.

Anyone think Feeney's seat won't be another one to add to the Democrats' target list for 2008 after this investigation is finished?
The FBI has asked U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney for information about his dealings with Jack Abramoff as part of its ongoing investigation into the lobbyist convicted of defrauding clients.

FBI agent Kevin Luebke refused to say whether Feeney, a Republican from the Orlando area, is under federal investigation.

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

Update: Feeney only has $84,441 cash on hand in the slim chance he actually makes it to the 2008 election. Not a good outlook for his chances...

For a country that fought Nazism tooth and nail, this is horrifying**.

Polish Witchhunt
By Ignacio Ramonet

The Poles call it the law of lustration, a term meaning ritual purification; the word has strong connotations of repentance and penitence in Poland, where history and Catholicism are so closely intertwined.

Under the law, which was passed last October and entered into force on 15 March this year, 700,000 Poles are required to confess any collaboration with the communists between 1945 and 1989. All senior civil servants, university professors, lawyers, headmasters and journalists born before 1972 must now confess their past sins by 15 May.

They must all fill in a form and answer the question: “Did you secretly and knowingly collaborate with the former communist security services?” The forms must be handed to their immediate superiors, who will forward them to the Institute of National Memory in Warsaw, which will check its records and issue a certificate of political purity. Journalists employed in any public service will be dismissed automatically if they collaborated. Anyone who refuses to answer the question or who is proved to have lied may be banned from their profession for 10 years.

This mad law, which is causing uproar in the European Union, makes the McCarthyites of the United States in the 1950s look like amateurs at the practise of anti-communism. It is the main feature of a witchhunt launched by the authorities after the conservative president, Lech Kaczynski, and his twin brother, prime minister Jaroskaw Kaczynski, came to power in Poland in October 2005.

Any wonder that Poland is one of the few coalition partners left?
Sounds like Bushs' BFF got a little ahead of the pack.

**This is not what my father fought for or his family died for.
Good Luck Poland, too bad the true patriots for Poland are all gone.

Sometimes I like Emails

Here would be one example:

Dear Cliff,

There is a trail of rot making its way through our government—and it leads straight to Karl Rove.

New evidence shows that Rove has been methodically working to twist even the most impartial branches of the federal government—including the Justice Department—to serve the Republican Party at the expense of the American people.

Enough is enough. Impartial justice must be protected. Integrity in government must be defended. Karl Rove must be fired.

Tomorrow, John Edwards is going on national television to take part in the first presidential debate. And that night, he's going to call on George Bush to fire Karl Rove.

Will Bush listen? Not to John alone. Not to you or me alone. But if thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of us speak out together to demand accountability for Karl Rove and end their era of cynical, destructive, partisan government—we cannot be ignored.

Please add your name, so when John speaks out at tomorrow's debate it's clear that he's speaking for thousands. We'll keep a signature counter online to show how many have joined the call.

Karl Rove's assault on our democracy is not new. We all know how Rove's strategy of relentless deception has poisoned our political debate and led to disaster after disaster for our country—starting with the war in Iraq.

But these latest revelations show that no branch of our government is safe as long as Karl Rove is in it.

It is now clear that Rove was at the center of the outrageous, politically-motivated firing of eight U.S. Attorneys. When this scandal broke, John Edwards was the first candidate to call for the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for politicizing justice and betraying the public trust.

Some of these officials were fired because they refused to buckle under to demands that they manipulate the timing of voter fraud investigations, or because they were investigating well connected Republican defense contractors.

And now it seems clear that the White House had its fingers all over this purge. Whose fingers? Karl Rove's, of course.

And Rove's motivations may have been even more insidious than rewarding party loyalists. There are indications that this was all part of his plan to install partisan U.S. Attorneys that would help Republican candidates in 2008 by interfering with minority voter registration drives.

And now, evidence has emerged that that shows Rove has been pressuring impartial federal agencies and employees to use government contracts and other favors to help Republican candidates.

At some point, the very fabric of impartial justice and a government that works for the people—not political parties—is so threatened that we simply cannot sit back and wait for the next election to clean house. That point is now.

In 24 hours John will speak out to the national media gathered to cover the presidential debate and call on President Bush to fire Karl Rove and Alberto Gonzales. That means we have 24 hours to gather enough support to ensure that when John steps forward, he's not stepping forward alone.

Thank you,

--David Bonior
Campaign Manager
John Edwards for President

Do Not Forget!!

Tonite 9p EST on PBS (check local listings),

It must be good. O'Reilly already sent his goon squad out to ambush Moyers.

"50% Good News Edict"

Cranky-Free Diet

Food can play a powerful role in the way you feel day to day.
These menus include some of the best MOOD FOODS -
food combinations which will leave you feeling LESS cranky and irritable 24/7!

Friends and family are emailing me this story.
Wonder why?

Real Treason

Saw this quote in David Ignatius' column this morning.

I spoke with a half-dozen prominent GOP operatives this past week, most of them high-level officials in the Reagan and Bush I and Bush II administrations, and I heard the same devastating critique: This White House is isolated and ineffective; the country has stopped listening to President Bush, just as it once tuned out the hapless Jimmy Carter; the president's misplaced sense of personal loyalty is hurting his party and the nation.

"This is the most incompetent White House I've seen since I came to Washington," said one GOP senator. "The White House legislative liaison team is incompetent, pitiful, embarrassing. My colleagues can't even tell you who the White House Senate liaison is. There is rank incompetence throughout the government. It's the weakest Cabinet I've seen." And remember, this is a Republican talking.

So here you have a United States Senator, who believes that the White House is filled with incompetence, and the cabinet is weak. In other words, this person has first hand knowledge that the White House is harming America. But this person, a United States Senator, will not say so publicly. Why? Because it would hurt his party.

For years now, we've heard Republicans say Democrats were traitors because we told the truth about this Administration and their incompetence. But the real traitors are the Republicans who have first hand knowledge of this incompetence, yet they remain silent.

George McGovern Spanks Cheney (In A Non-American Family Association Kinda Way)

Seriously, former Senator McGovern in one piece reminds Cheney he is a draft-dodging chickenhawk who only knows about war from watching Chuck Norris movies with his hand cutting and running down his pants (ok, the last nine words are mine). McGovern basically calls Cheney a criminal. And he calls him an idiot.

As you know, all of these facts are plainly obvious to anyone. But it's nice to see McGovern step up and not take their trashing the name of this war hero anymore, especially when it's coming from a man like Cheney, the Ted Bundy of good governance.


Media Bistro

Stephanie Miller To Fill In On MSNBC
Yesterday's tipster -- who said Tony Kornheiser was the next fill-in host for MSNBC's morning mix -- was wrong.

Stephanie Miller is hosting Monday through Wednesday of next week.

Miller is the "host of The Stephanie Miller Show, a liberal talk radio program produced in Los Angeles." Her show usually airs from 9am to noon ET...

Okay kids, this is the drill. Watch it. If you can't watch, tivo or dvr or whatever.
If you have to leave the house, turn the teevee on and leave it there for her show.

Do whatever is humanly possible to pop the ratings.

I've never heard Stephanie, but I've heard good things about her, and damned if she wouldn't be a HUGE improvement on Smirks and Imus.

From the looks of things they are trying out alot of different radio people, so they may keep on going, but it would be incredible if the settled down with a progressive.

(h/t gimmeabreak)

Now Playing The Role Of Scaremonger In Chief

It's Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!

Giuliani warns of 'new 9/11' if Dems win
By: Roger Simon April
24, 2007 08:29 PM EST Updated: April 24, 2007 11:20 PM EST

MANCHESTER, N.H. —- Rudy Giuliani said if a Democrat is elected president in 2008, America will be at risk for another terrorist attack on the scale of Sept. 11, 2001.

But if a Republican is elected, he said, especially if it is him, terrorist attacks can be anticipated and stopped.

While I'm not America's Mayor, here is my list of what will make America safer.

  1. Capturing or killing Osama Bin Laden
  2. Making sure that rogue states like Iran don't get nuclear materials and working to isolate North Korea so they give up their nuclear program.
  3. Making sure our Army is the best trained and best equipped, so they can go anywhere at a moment's notice.
The interesting thing about that list, is that the current Republican in the White House has done none of those three things. And oh yeah, 9/11 happened on his watch. You might have missed his election, Rudy. Maybe you were to busy cheating on your wife and alienating your children at the time.

Photo by AP

The rest of the world either laughs at us,
or is horrified by us.

US to make history trying alleged child war criminal

Mark Tran
Wednesday April 25, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

A human rights group today attacked a US decision to file murder charges against a Canadian national and alleged Taliban fighter who was captured in Afghanistan when he was 15.

Omar Khadr was wounded by US soldiers during a battle near Khost, Afghanistan, and taken into US custody in July 2002. He has spent most of the past five years in the US military prison at Guantánamo Bay.

Mr Khadr's Pentagon-appointed lawyer, Marine lieutenant colonel Colby Vokey, said the US would become the first country in modern history to try a war crimes suspect who was a child at the time of the alleged violations if a trial went ahead.

Mr Khadr has been charged with murder, attempted murder, providing support to terrorism, conspiracy and spying under rules for military trials adopted last year. The conspiracy charge is based on acts allegedly committed before Mr Khadr was 10, according to his defence team.

I don't want to be accused of selective editing 'cause I tried to make this readable in this form, so go read the article.

This young man is charged with serious crimes, but the combination of the fact that he was a juvenile & the barbaric tribunal system he will be facing dishonors America in the worlds eyes.

Even Bill Clinton as "Roving Goodwill Ambassador" won't be able to fix this.

Huzzah!!! Hip Hip Hooray!!! We are Jolly Good Fellows!!!

U.S. says killed senior al Qaeda in Iraq figure

BAGHDAD (Reuters) -
The U.S. military said on Wednesday it had killed a senior al Qaeda in Iraq figure who it accused of leading a cell which sent children as young as 12 on suicide car bomb missions.

Yeah For Us!!! Al Qaeda Leader #568.2 is down!!

We're turning corners faster than they can stand up while we stand down in the piles of flowers and candy they threw in their last throes!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Note To Rep. Don Young

You might want to padlock the doors to your home and business offices about now.

Two quick things.

First- looks like McCain & Romney won't participate in the Huffington Post sponsored debate for the same reasons the Dems wouldn't participate in the Fox News sponsored debate. I say, no problem, good for them, what's to fuss about?

Second- Is there a dearth of news in the world today? No tornados or Iraq updates or celebrity couplings going on?

The reason I ask is that for the umpteenth day in a row, instead of actually talking about news, Bill O'Reilly is railing on Bill Moyers & "He Who Owns Us All". Soros 'cause he runs all liberal everything and Moyers over his show tomorrow on PBS criticizing the media.(don't worry, I'll remind you again)

It is really disheartening to see Marv Kalb, who I remember as a good if not great newsman, acting as an a apologist for O'Reillys mad blathering.

Toss in a couple eye-rolls and spittled invectives from Ms Malkin, and it's a paranoids paradise.

In all the hullabaloo about Tillman, don't forget Lynch.

Guardian UK

'Little girl Rambo' decries US propaganda

The former US private Jessica Lynch today condemned what she said were Pentagon efforts to turn her into a "little girl Rambo", and accused military chiefs of using "elaborate tales" to try to make her into a hero of the Iraq war.

I truly believe that the minute Jessica Lynch & Pat Tillman each faced their situations, there were spinners spinning and liars lying to make each of these instances up from whole cloth.

Another Chicago institution falls. This time, LaSalle Bank is being purchased by Bank of America.

It seems as though the near future will present us with only one national bank--5/3 US Chase Bank of America Mutual--and a smattering of small banks.

Updated with pic stolen from HuffPo

Well, I'm doing my bit for the Russian "50% Good News" edict!!!

International Herald Tribune

Drunken man parks horse in bank foyer to take snooze
The Associated Press Published: April 24, 2007

BERLIN: An early-morning German bank customer had a bit of a shock when he found a horse already in line at the automatic teller machine in front of him.

It seems the horse's owner, identified only as Wolfgang H., had a bit too much to drink the night before and decided to sleep it off inside the bank's heated foyer, police said Tuesday.


Confronted with the lack of a hitching-post, he brought the 6-year-old horse, named Sammy, in along with him.

No charges were filed, but there might be some cleanup needed: Apparently Sammy made his own after-hours deposit on the carpet.

No mention if it's a quarter horse.
ba dum dum.

What a bunch of WATB's*.

GOP may target Clinton Administration e-mails
Raw Story
Published: Tuesday April 24, 2007

Probes can go both ways, Republicans are warning Congressional Democrats who are investigating the use of private, sometimes GOP-issued e-mail accounts by many Bush Administration staffers, a Capitol Hill newspaper reports.


"If you can go back through five years of e-mails, you can go back 10 years of e-mails,” McNicoll is quoted as saying. "The Clinton administration was doing this too — they were using e-mail accounts that were outside the presidential records system."

Is there ANYTHING the Republics don't think the Clenis did bigger, better and badder?

pic liberally stolen from Think Progress

Think Progress tears apart this op-ed by Fred Kagan of The Kagan War Crime Family. BUT, the real fun is in the comments at the Guardian UK.

Literate intelligent Brits ripping apart a fascist Neo-Con keyboarding "military analyst"?

Good times.


The blog has just met the milestone of over 1k blog posts pixelated for your pleasure!!

Let me take this opportunity to ask you to please click on our advertisers (so they will continue to advertise) and if you are thinking of buying something from Amazon, clicking on one of our links to go through benefits us.

Also, each of the books that we have linked to Amazon through are hand picked by The Cliffster himself.

That means GREAT reading!!

Dems Praying Is Bad, GOP Praying is Good

In a column that can only be described as hysterical (in every sense of the word), Roger Simon over at Drudge Jr. (that's The Politico) criticizes John Edwards for mentioning Christ in his prayer. Yeah, we all know how the Democrats are constantly using Christ in their politics, using the Bible as a reason to push forward certain political causes.

Oh wait, no, that's every Republican. So I'm sure Simon writes this all the time about Republicans, right?

Start your morning off with a laugh.

A Woman's Touch

It's apparently something Karl Rove is not at all comfortable with. Particularly that of only a mildly attractive woman, like say Sheryl Crow. I know I spend nights full of nightmares that that very moment may someday present itself.

The General, or JC to his friends, is only looking out for Rove's purity, and therefore chastises the Secret Service for ever allowing such a travesty to transpire.

Now, sadly, cooties are everywhere.

Meanwhile In The Sunni Triangle

Have we won yet? Has the mission been accomplished? Are their markets just like the ones Mike Pence peruses in Indiana? Have they stood up so we can stand down? Have we gotten them over there so they can't get us over here? Are they in their "last throes." Do we just need another six months?

But remember Saddam's dead, so we should turn a corner anytime now. So stay the course, Commie!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Oh Hillary

Hillary, Hillary, Hillary. You gotta stop hanging out with those corprorate lobbyists, who for some reason you are keeping among your inner circle (the pollster for Big Oil, the lobbyists for Big Pharma, etc.).

See, if you were surrounding yourself with progressive advisors (this doesn't include your netroots team who are great progressives I might add), they might have told you that THIS was a bad idea.

The choice is still yours.

The Spoils Of The War That Will Last 100 Years.

Every day, these men and women are coming home with crippling injuries, seen and unseen.
When they come home.
9 more just died in and IED attack this Monday evening.

Military expanding Calif. amputee center
By THOMAS WATKINS, Associated Press Writer
Fri Apr 20, 5:45 AM ET

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Where some see scarred stumps and horrific wounds, Peter Harsch sees carbon-fiber feet, hydraulic legs and bionic knees.

Harsch became the Navy Medical Center San Diego's first full-time prosthetist last fall as part of the military's push to treat troops who have lost arms and legs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I'm suffering from a bad case of hysterical laughter.
Expanding an amputee center? Oh my holy whatever.

Is this what the administration is talking about when they talk about "creating jobs"?

Every day for a tarted up war, men and women that we entrust our liberties and lives to die and are maimed. My friends and relatives, and I'm sure yours as well.

Will I be thankful that the amputee center has expanded when my nephew ends up there?

Should you be happy that as your grandchild returns to the US there is a FULL-TIME PROSTHETIST available to slag on a bionic leg and elbow for the girl?

Cowardly weak tin soldiers sending the real iron soldiers to die.

Governor Richardson hits the airwaves first in Iowa and New Hampshire. For those of you itching for him to compete with the Big 3, take heart that he is doing what he can.

On a personal note, I celebrated Earth Day by borrowing High Tech Trash from my local library. The book is an interesting piece on the environmental effects from (1) the failure to recycle discarded high tech devices in greater amounts, and (2) manufacturing high tech products. What has made the book enjoyable thus far is that it is not an attack on anyone; rather, it points out the facts and promotes recycling as a sensible solution.

photo liberally stolen from Democratic Underground

Oooops, another one bails

Huckabee calls Gonzales a distraction
By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer

Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee on Monday called Alberto Gonzales a "major distraction" for President Bush and the GOP, and suggested the attorney general voluntarily step down.

Hmmm, most of the R Senators on the Judiciary Committee,
Adam Putnam, #3 in the House (and GOP mouthpiece)
and now the Prez hopefuls are starting to crack.

Buh bye Fredo.

A Worthy Cause

Fantastically talented writer Will Bunch is writing a book which will serve as a media critique. In the spirit of our new more democratic new media, he is asking for the input of we the people. It's a great idea, one I have been planning to do too, if I must tell, with my book.

So go to Will's place and let him know what you're thinking. It would be the Un-Rovian thing to do.

The AFA is selling these videos for $5 a piece.

Profit from tragedy? "American Family Association" does it in style.

As someone in the comments on YouTube said...

"3 words. Amish School Massacre."

The Republicans Hate Sunshine & Accountability

Last week, Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, S. 223 (campaign finance electronic filing bill) was brought to the floor of the Senate after careful vetting by the 35 bipartisan co-sponsors.

Lo and behold, Sen. Alexander objected "on behalf of a Republican Senator" to the request for unanimous consent to take up and pass the bill.

The Sunlight Foundation has been hard at work on pinning down who the "objectionable" Senator is, and they only have 4 3 more to go. (I did my bit, not Bayh or Lugar).

The remaining possibilites are Kyl, Vitter, Lott & Gregg.
If one of them is your Senator, think about taking a minute to pick up a phone and point blank ask if they are the one placing the "hold" on the bill.

Phone numbers and more info here, further explanation as to what happened from Sen Feingold here.