Saturday, June 23, 2007


totally cribbed from Newsie8200


MTP: Patrick Buchanan (R) & Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) debate immigration; roundtable of WaPo's David Broder, CNBC's & WSJ's John Harwood, PBS's Gwen Ifill and Politico's Roger Simon discuss Decision2008

FTN: roundtable of ex NYC Mayor Ed Koch (D), GOP consultant Ed Rollins, actor Sam Waterson (Unity'08), and Politico's John Harris.

This Week: Sen. Ted Kenned (D-MA) & Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) on immigration; roundtable of Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria, ABC News consultant & ex-Pentagon spokeswoman Torie Clarke (R), ABC's Jake Tapper and George Will; David Hyde Pierce talks about Alzheimer's disease

Fox News Sunday: Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS); Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA); Cal Ripken Jr.

Late Edition: Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) & Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) talk about Iraq war escalation; Vietnamense Pres Nguyen Minh Triet; Egyptian Amb to US Nabil Fahmy; Israeli Amb to US Sallai Meridor; ex US Special Envoy Dennis Ross (author "Statecraft"); Ralph Nader; roundtable of Bill Schneider, Elaine Quijano, and Joe Johns

'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' singer dies
NEW YORK - Hank Medress, whose vocals with the doo wop group the Tokens helped propel their irrepressible single "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" to the top of the charts and who produced hits with other groups, has died of lung cancer. He was 68.

Medress died Monday at his Manhattan home, relatives said.

He was a teenager at Brooklyn's Lincoln High School when he launched his vocal quartet in 1955 with Neil Sedaka, performing as the Linc-Tones. When Sedaka departed for a successful solo career, lead singer Jay Siegel joined brothers Mitch and Phil Margo and Medress to become the Tokens.

It wasn't until 1961 that the group scored its singular smash, its hypnotic "Wimowehs" derived from a traditional Zulu melody. The Weavers had made the song a folk staple in the '50s, but the Tokens brought their version to No. 1 on the pop charts.

Former Environmental Protection Agency boss Christie Whitman says she urged Ground Zero workers to wear respirators, but then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani blocked her efforts.

She also said city officials didn't want EPA workers wearing haz-mat suits because they "didn't want this image of a city falling apart."

She testifies in front of Congress Monday.
Whitman also criticized Giuliani's handling of a suspected anthrax attack at NBC's Rockefeller Center headquarters weeks after 9/11.

"There was concern by the city that EPA workers not be seen in the haz-mat suits," she said. "They didn't want this image of a city falling apart. I said, 'Well, that's not acceptable.'"

Giuliani's former Deputy Mayor Joe Lhota rejected Whitman's claims.

Rudy, Rudy, Rudy, you blow so much poisonous hot air, I'm surprised the whole city isn't stampeding Gas Masks R Us right this minute.

It was obvious on September 11, 2001 that the air was toxic. It was obvious that people would suffer from the effects of the very visible pollution. And "America's Mayor" was no hero, just someone who was forced to walk down the streets of New York because he had nowhere else to go...since his Office of Emergency Management was conveniently located on the 23rd floor of Number 7 World Trade Center. By choice.

This particular story has haunted me since that day, exactly because of what we'll very likely hear on Monday.

DC madam says she may release full client list

In an email sent to supporters Friday, former DC madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey says she's considering releasing all the phone records provided to ABC News -- from 1993 to 2006.

[My lawyer] "Mr. Sibley and I will be guests on "Geraldo," Saturday, June 23rd, Palfrey wrote in an email acquired by RAW STORY. "The interview will be my first in a nationwide setting, since the 20/20 piece aired on May 4th."

"I hope to discuss my displeasure with the ABC broadcast and why I believe the network held back names at the last moment," she added. "I hope to announce my decision to distribute the phone records (all years 1993 to 2006) to as many responsible media, press and bloggers as possible, once the current injunction prohibiting me from releasing the invoices is lifted -- and my reasons for doing so.

[...] "I am doing this in large measure because of the excellent data and evidence which is being brought to my attention piecemeal, by sundry investigators, journalists and
bloggers interested in my case. It is becoming increasing difficult for me to relay such information onto individual recipients. Ergo, my decision here to forward pertinent info en masse."

"Make no doubt about it," she concludes. "My case is political in nature."

Ohpleaseohpleaseohplease....If you do that, we promise to be the most responsible bloggers in the whole wide world. Sweartogod.

Glenn Greenwald: Now ALL the "Insurgents" in Iraq are "Al-Qaeda."
Bush frames and reframes and soon his distortions morph into what becomes the "normspeak" for "journalists" (and I use the term loosely), military commanders, and soon the general public.

Just go read this.

Lawmaker Urges Condoms for Border Control
"A slower rate of growth of Mexico's population would improve the economy of Mexico. It would also reduce the environmental pressure on Mexico's ecosystem. But a slower rate of growth would also reduce the long-term illegal immigration pressure on America's borders," reasoned Rep. Mark Kirk, who also supports stronger border security in the short-term.[...]

Kirk, who attended college in Mexico and holds a master's degree from the London School of Economics, may have offered an idea that might appeal to some fiscal conservatives.

Shipping condoms to the poor in Mexico could be cheaper than the multibillion-dollar fence being constructed along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Where do I even start? This provides fertile ground for further discussion? The idea is screwed from the start? It would promote social intercourse between friendly nations? It's a preventive measure? I bet you guys can do better than I can.

Front-page reports in the Saturday editions of The New York Times and The Washington Post by two of the leading writers on the war cast grave doubts on the likely success of the two major U.S. military operations in Iraq. One relates to the latest effort to secure Baghdad, the other to the new drive in Baquba.

Meanwhile, eight American servicemen were reported today to have been killed in Iraq, bringing the four-day death toll to at least 25.[...]
'Why would we think that a temporary presence of 30,000 additional combat troops in a giant city would change the dynamics of a bitter civil war?' [Retired Army Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey] said in an interview yesterday. 'It's a fool's errand.'
Really? The Chimp in Chief hatched a brilliant plan? And it's not working?

Iran is in the throes of one of its most ferocious crackdowns on dissent in years, with the government focusing on labor leaders, universities, the press, women’s rights advocates, a former nuclear negotiator and Iranian-Americans, three of whom have been in prison for more than six weeks.

The shift is occurring against the backdrop of an economy so stressed that although Iran is the world’s second-largest oil exporter, it is on the verge of rationing gasoline. At the same time, the nuclear standoff with the West threatens to bring new sanctions.

[...]The hard-line administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, analysts say, faces rising pressure for failing to deliver on promises of greater prosperity from soaring oil revenue. It has been using American support for a change in government as well as a possible military attack as a pretext to hound his opposition and its sympathizers.

What a mess. I know! Let's bomb them. Piece-o'-cake, especially with the assistance of the new rogue nation of Dick.

Rahmbo - Taking On Cheney

I know there are some elements of the liberal blogosphere that don't like Rahm Emanuel, but he's one of our best when it comes to streetfighting. Good to see him taking on Cheney.

The White House defended Vice President Cheney yesterday in a dispute over his office's refusal to comply with an executive order regulating the handling of classified information as Democrats and other critics assailed him for disregarding rules that others follow.

White House spokeswoman
Dana Perino said Cheney is not obligated to submit to oversight by an office that safeguards classified information, as other members and parts of the executive branch are. Cheney's office has contended that it does not have to comply because the vice president serves as president of the Senate, which means that his office is not an "entity within the executive branch."


The dispute stems from an executive order, issued in 1995 by President
Bill Clinton and revised by President Bush in 2003, establishing a uniform, government wide system for protecting classified information. Cheney's office, like its predecessor, filed reports about its handling of classified information to the National Archives and Records Administration oversight office in 2001 and 2002 but has refused to do so since. His office also blocked an on-site inspection to examine its handling of classified data.


The argument that Cheney's office is not part of the executive branch prompted ridicule by many administration critics.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a group that has been highly critical of the White House, suggested that Cheney is "attempting to create a fourth branch of the government." If he is not governed by executive branch security requirements, the group asked if he is covered by Senate rules.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) said he plans to propose next week, as part of a spending bill for executive operations, a measure to place a hold on funds for Cheney's office and official home until he clarifies to which branch of the government he belongs. Emanuel acknowledged that the proposal is just a stunt, but he said that if Cheney is not part of the executive branch, he should not receive its funds. "As we say in Chicago, follow the money," he said.

A study in contrasts.

Dems criticize GOP plan for veterans' health

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush's congressman said Saturday that the administration and Republicans put a higher priority on tax cuts than on veterans' health care.
Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Texas, said the House has sent Bush a $64.7 billion spending bill to fund Veterans Affairs. That includes a $6 billion increase for veterans health care, $3.8 billion more than Bush had requested, Edwards said.

"For weeks, the White House budget office threatened to veto this bill, because it was above their request," Edwards said in the Democrats' weekly radio address. "Fortunately, the president finally backed down on his threat to this historic veterans' bill, but only after it was clear that Congress would override a veto."


Gov't Struggles to Cope With Wounded GIs

AP Medical Writer
More than 800 of them have lost an arm, a leg, fingers or toes. More than 100 are blind. Dozens need tubes and machines to keep them alive. Hundreds are disfigured by burns, and thousands have brain injuries and mangled minds.

These are America's war wounded, a toll that has received less attention than the 3,500 troops killed in Iraq. Depending on how you count them, they number between 35,000 and 53,000.


Counting the wounded can be contentious. Earlier this year, the Department of Defense changed how it tallies war-related injuries and illness, dropping those not needing air transport to a military hospital from the bottom-line total.

Oh those wacky Republicans Senators!!!

The Wingers have been all a twitter over Senator Inhofe reporting he heard Sens Clinton & Boxer saying they wanted a "legislative fix" of the disparity in radio talk ideology. The story was broken by a mini-Drudge, then Drudge picked it up, and various and sundry others took up the call, including Smearconish on MSNBC yesterday.

Both the Clinton camp and representatives of Senator Boxer deny it to the point of saying it is laughable.

Laughable being the operative word.

Turns out, Senator Inhofe is a time traveler. In two different versions, it occurred "the other day" and "three years ago".

So...did this happen "the other day," or "three years ago"? Maybe "the other day" can mean "three years ago." But it sure seems unlikely that it happened "three years ago" -- if Inhofe had been telling this story for all this time, think we might have heard about it?

So what's the deal here? Maybe the episode occurred twice?
Or maybe it never happened at all?

Bingo in bold.

The Big Announcement

Hey there sports fans. I have been hinting at an announcement of Ruthian magnitude for a while now. So if you think I'm joining The View or scaling Mount McKinley you'll probably feel a bit let down.

What is happening is this: I have joined Brave New Films (BNF), Robert Greenwald's progressive filmmaking powerhouse, as a writer and video content provider/curator. What does that mean?

In English, it means I will be the blogger-in-chief at the spiffed up blog over there, and will develop ideas for short video clips mocking right-wing loons. We intend to turn the site into the place to go for progressives who produce original online content and those who want to watch it.

I think this will be an integral part of our infrastructure for progressives, as we will help develop and promote the message and the messengers using video to balance out the right-wing stranglehold on the corporate media.

How does this effect the site so affectionately known as Cliff Schecter? Well, we ain't going nowhere. We will leave blogspot soon to be hosted by the BNF folks, but as I have promoted this site as from the beginning, it shouldn't be a major problem.

We'll be cross-posting content with BNF, and roles may change a bit as time goes on, but that will be explained. The difference is that this site will still have all things Cliff Schecter/Paddy/BC/Gottalaff/The Hounddog, etc, while the impressive bells and whistles of the BFN site will accompany our writing over there.

We encourage you to go to both sites every day...many times a day...maybe even a few times an get the picture.

I am very excited about this, as working with Robert in the past on a few projects has been a highlight of my political career. His team is excellent too. This will only enhance our voice, bringing more traffic and allowing us to experiment with the video genre. As YouTube becomes EditorTube, we will be the spot to go for progressive video.

So onward and forward. And maybe this explains why I have been absent so much, along with traveling 5 days a week the past three weeks, moving three months ago, keeping up the blog traffic, consulting for Working America and Brave New Films, writing a book and having an 8-month old.

My apologies for that. But soon, you will see the fruits of this parternership...So what are you waiting for, like go check it out dude!

Photo of the pond in front of Aquinas College by Cat of course!

Good Saturday Morning!!! Paddy reporting for service, but not too much service at least until I've finished my coffee.

Not just Cheney, but now Bush says he is exempt from his own records law.

Whist Gone WILD!!! 2 shot in card game at senior citizens home

Please ingest with the proper grains of salt..

What a beautiful headline- Victory in November allowed Democrats to move focus from drilling to conservation.

The "Duh" headline of the week? Fans at Wrigley Field drink a lot of beer

Something we should actually be worrried about, Worry rises over aging U.S. farmers.

Finally, don't forget that you can still bid on lunch with Cliff at Yearly Kos August 2-4 in Chicago, and if you're around tonight, I will be hosting Saturday Night Losers Club on Kos about 8p EST. I'm thinking a Polka Party is in order.

Friday, June 22, 2007

This could help:
U.S. company says grows embryo-safe stem cells

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Researchers at a U.S. company trying to push the margins of stem cell research said on Friday they had grown human embryonic stem cells using a non-controversial method that did not harm the embryos.

They said they had grown several lines, or batches, of the cells using a single cell taken from an embryo, which they then froze unharmed.

"We generated three new lines," Dr. Robert Lanza of Advanced Cell Technology Inc. told Reuters.

"These are first human embryonic cell lines in existence that didn't result from the destruction of an embryo."

It's only 7 pm out here in Cal-i-for-ni-a, as the Governator would attempt to say. Too early to quit posting. Check this little tidbit out:
An Army officer with a key role in the U.S. military hearings at Guantanamo Bay says they relied on vague and incomplete intelligence and were pressured to declare detainees "enemy combatants," often without any specific evidence.

His affidavit, released Friday, is the first criticism by a member of the military panels that determine whether detainees will continue to be held.

Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham, a 26-year veteran of military intelligence who is an Army reserve officer and a California lawyer, said military prosecutors were provided with only "generic" material that didn't hold up to the most basic legal challenges

An attorney for al-Odah, David Cynamon, said Abraham "bravely" agreed to provide the affidavit when defense lawyers contacted him.

"It proves what we all suspected, which is that the CSRTs [Combatant Status Review Tribunals] were a complete sham," Cynamon said.

Romney aide takes leave amid probes
An ever-present aide to Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney took a leave of absence Friday after he became the subject of investigations in two states for allegedly impersonating a law enforcement officer. His attorney denied the charges.

Jay Garrity, who serves as director of operations and is constantly at the side of the former Massachusetts governor, is accused of leaving a lengthy message with the answering service of a plumbing company on Mother's Day, identifying himself as "Trooper Garrity" of the Massachusetts State Police and complaining about erratic driving by a company driver.

The district attorney in Boston is investigating the call, which was tape recorded by an after-hours operator. Impersonating an officer is a misdemeanor charge carrying a fine of up to $400 and one year imprisonment.

Those little scalawag righties just can't seem to stay out of the slammer.

AP - 1 hour, 21 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - The U.S. may be able to reduce combat forces in Iraq by next spring if Iraq's own security forces continue to grow and improve, a senior American commander said Friday. He denied reports the U.S. is arming Sunni insurgent groups to help in the fight against al-Qaida.

One of the most interesting things about having an RSS reader is seeing the same headlines over and over again. You really get an idea of how certain things are permeated in the media, especially in different countries.

Today, two headlines have dominated the feeds-

US May Reduce Forces in Iraq by Spring


Administration May Close Gitmo

Now, the thing that sticks out the most to me on these are......

They are suppositions. No hard facts. Just, "If this happens this way, then that will happen that way if we maybe feel like it that day".

But those headlines are EVERYWHERE. I mean it, from India to Al Jahzeera to Ireland.
Just floaters out there in the ether.

Someone with a conspiratorial mindset just might make something of it.

Bait and switch? Distraction? Placebo?

I just got a message from my dear pal Tiffani. If you hadn't followed my series (which can also be read on Mary Ellen's blog), I ran a 4-part post, unedited, quoting a letter written to me by my 14-year-old friend/student about her 33-year-old father being sent to Iraq. Powerful words from a very frightened kid.

Today she got to speak to her father for the first time since he left--on Father's Day of all things. Here's what she wrote, again unedited:
he is goood he says its like
supercalifragilistic hott out there
it was like 120 yesterday he said
i feeel so bad for him lol
im alright i cry everytime i talk to him
im just worried lol
and today i heard like shooting in the backround
and he was like" I GOTTA GO!!! I GOTTA GO!!!"
and i havnt talked to him since soo
idk* im just scarred
I'm scared, too. This is Tiffani's reality. This isn't a movie, Chimp In Chief, it's f***ing real life. Or real death...for 3,546.

*idk is MySpaceSpeak for "I don't know".

For your erudition without comment, even though you KNOW I want to.

Health minister stands up for vibrating condom

23 Jun, 2007 l 0130 hrs ISTlKounteya Sinha/TIMES NEWS NETWORK
NEW DELHI: Union health minister A Ramadoss has taken a hardline on Hindustan Latex’s vibrating condom, which has got the Madhya Pradesh political class in a tizzy, demanding its ban.

The minister clarified on Friday that the Crezendo condom "has been developed to entice men into using it both for family planning and protection against infections like HIV." He would, therefore, promote it in all states because popularising condom use was one of his missions.

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has been training on long-range flights, including refueling in mid-flight, in preparation for potential strikes against Iranian nuclear targets.

The training program has been taking place for some time but has only been released for publication Friday, the Ma'ariv daily reported.

Intelligence assessments received by the defense establishment concur that once Iran passes the point of no return in its nuclear efforts, the entire Middle East will enter a frantic nuclear armament race. Egypt and Saudi Arabia are expected to take the lead should such a scenario become reality.

It's Foot-In-Mouth Time! Tell me if you've heard this oldie-but-goodie before. It's a real knee-slapper:

Remarks by President Bush at the Congressional Picnic

THE PRESIDENT:...I want to thank our Chef, [NOLA caterer] Paul Prudhomme, from New Orleans, Louisiana -- one of the great chefs in America.
Thanks for coming, Paul. (Applause.) I thank Tony Snow and his bunch of, well, mediocre musicians -- (laughter) -- no, great musicians. Beats Workin, thanks for coming. (Applause.) Kermit, come up here. Kermit, we're proud to have you.
MR. RUFFINS: Well, thanks for having us.

THE PRESIDENT: Kermit Ruffins and the Barbeque Swingers, right out of New Orleans, Louisiana. (Applause.)

MR. RUFFINS: Thank you. Thanks for having us. We're glad to be here.

THE PRESIDENT: Proud you're here. Thanks for coming. You all enjoy yourself. Make sure you pick up all the trash after it's over. (Laughter.) God bless you, and may God bless America. Thanks for coming. (Applause.)

If You Missed It

I had some nice things to say about John McCain and Joe Klein on Sam Seder's show this past Sunday...or did I?

House Panel Hears Of Battle Within Administration...sort of.
Reyes declined to detail the specifics of Ashcroft's testimony but said the former attorney general, now in private practice, gave the panel "very candid advice" as it considers drafting new legislation that could rewrite FISA. There was "robust and enormous debate" within the Bush administration about the post-Sept. 11, 2001, program, he said.

But another member of the panel, Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.), said that Ashcroft did not give detailed explanations of what he was so concerned about in 2004, more than two years after the program's inception. "He gave long, rambling, nonspecific answers," Holt said.

With that, let's take another peek into our

*Vote Republican!* snappy Campaign-omercial file:
A wiretap requires a court order. Kiiiiiidding! We genuinely want to hear what you, the little people, have to say! Tell ya what, we'll go to just about any lengths to do just that! Including strong-arming an ex-Attorney General in intensive care to do things our way! And just to push the point, we've decided to share some awfully special secrets with our neighbors! Eavesdropping is now available in Mexico! Olé! Vote Republican: The party that really listens to you.

Do the Democrats in the government actually ever pick up a paper?
GALLUP: Only 29% Say U.S. Winning War on Terrorism --
Lowest Number Since 9/11

By E&P Staff
Published: June 22, 2007 10:55 AM ET
NEW YORK A new Gallup Poll reveals that fewer than 3 in 10 Americans saying the United States is winning the war on terror -- the lowest figure since the 9/11 attacks.

Further, while most Americans consider the war in Afghanistan part of the war on terror, more than half reject the idea that the war in Iraq is.

Results of the June 11-14 national survey of 1,007 adults find that that 29% of Americans say the United States is winning, while 20% say the terrorists are winning and 50% say neither side. Independents and Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to doubt U.S. progress, but even so only 53% of Republicans feel we have the upper hand.

The smartest damn thing I've seen yet this season.
Elizabeth Edwards scheduled to speak at Gay Pride event

Presidential race hopeful's wife seen as breaking barrier
Carla Marinucci, Chronicle Political Writer

Friday, June 22, 2007
Elizabeth Edwards' scheduled appearance Sunday at a major San Francisco Gay Pride event represents a first for a major presidential candidate or spouse -- one that activists said reflects the growing clout of gay and lesbians as voters and their continued move into the political mainstream.

Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards, is scheduled to speak Sunday morning at the Alice B. Toklas Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Democratic Club breakfast at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. Organizers say it marks the highest level of presidential campaigning at the annual Gay Pride Parade.

"It certainly is another barrier falling,'' said author and gay activist David Mixner, a Clinton administration adviser who backs Edwards in the 2008 race.

"The myth of what Pride is will be exploded ... and that taboo will now be removed,'' he said. "And I can't think of a better person to do it than Elizabeth Edwards. She won't let people tell her where she can go and who she can talk to.''

I cannot overemphasize that in all my trips thru the intertubes (and I spend alot of time on the intertubes) most people who support an Edwards nomination for President, wish it was Elizabeth.

Damn. Smart. Move.

Oh McHenry!

For weeks now, Democrats have been grumbling about the blatant hypocrisy of Republicans on earmarks and spending. For a decade, the House Republicans have passed out earmarks like cocaine at the Ravenel household. And they've shown the fiscal restraint of Paris Hilton on Rodeo Drive. But now that the Democrats control the House, suddenly, earmarks are bad and spending is suddenly out of control.

But some of these tough talkers are now being exposed as the hypocrites they are.

McHenry pushes $129K earmark for X-mas tree foundation

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) was all over the House floor last week, bashing Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) and other Democratic leaders for not doing enough to disclose member earmarks early in the appropriations process, as Democrats had promised when they took over the House in January. Republicans eventually got Democrats to back down and release the earmark requests -- read "pork" -- earlier than Obey had planned, so McHenry got what he wanted. And now McHenry will be forced to defend his $129,000 earmark, via the Small Business Administration, for Christmas trees.


When asked about the earmark, McHenry doesn't like to use the word pork. The North Carolina Republican prefers the term "directed spending," and he said this request is perfectly defensible, even though Democrats have been quietly chuckling about it since it was unveiled as part of the Financial Services spending bill earlier today.

"Look, the important thing is transparency and openness," McHenry said when asked about the earmark, which he confirmed that he had inserted into the bill. "I have never been opposed to directed spending."

McHenry added: "I just think that it's critical for members to know what they are voting on when a [spending] bill comes to the floor."

So for McHenry, pork is OK, as long as you know what pork you're voting on. Got that? Thanks.

I Don't Know, How Many?

From a Time magazine story on the tough week for Guiuliani.

How many alleged criminals can a law-and-order candidate be associated with before it starts to hurt? That's the question facing former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, following the indictment Tuesday of Thomas Ravenel, his volunteer campaign chairman in South Carolina.

Giuliani entered the presidential campaign early this year with one tarnished pal stuffed into his baggage: his former bodyguard, police commissioner and business partner Bernard Kerik. Kerik's career began to unravel in 2004 after Giuliani urged President Bush to name him Secretary of Homeland Security — a nomination that was quickly withdrawn amid reports of Kerik's questionable business and personal dealings. Kerik eventually pleaded guilty to ethics violations while on the city payroll and remains under investigation for tax evasion and other offenses, which Kerik's attorney has said, "he didn't do."

Now Ravenel, the state treasurer of South Carolina, has been charged with cocaine possession and distribution — a felony punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison. Neither he nor his attorney has made any statement.

Rumours "R" Us.
Gore’s 2000 team stays on sidelines

By Alexander Bolton
June 22, 2007
Most members of Al Gore’s inner political circle have not yet signed up with any presidential campaign, triggering speculation that the 2000 Democratic nominee will jump into the race for the White House later this year. But Gore’s ex-aides and advisers say they do not think their former boss will enter the presidential fray.

The "Money Graph".

Judging from public records of campaign contributions, a large number of Gore’s top fundraisers have not yet settled on a preferred candidate. Ten of Gore’s 25 top fundraisers in 2000 have not given any money to a presidential campaign this year, according to a review of campaign records. An 11th, Charles Bone of Nashville, gave a mere $500 to Clinton.

Like any infection, if left on it's own,
it festers everywhere.

Panel Faces Partisanship Allegations

By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, June 22, 2007; Page A17

In late 2003, the first four commissioners of the newly formed, bipartisan Election Assistance Commission were given a tall order: Help states overhaul their election procedures so that the acrimony that followed the contested 2000 presidential election would not be repeated.


The most recent controversy stemmed from last summer, when two reports were prepared for the agency, one about voter fraud and intimidation, the other about voter identification laws. But they did not see the light of day for several months.

Facing multiple open-records requests, the panel released its voter intimidation and fraud report in December. The report said that "there is a great deal of debate" about the topic. Later, it was revealed that the original report had been changed; it had said that voter fraud was virtually nonexistent. Commissioners say the original report went too far in reaching its conclusions about voter fraud.

In March, after lawmakers demanded a copy, the panel also released its voter identification report.

Civil rights groups suspected undue influence from the Justice Department, echoing allegations in the controversy over the firings of U.S. attorneys.

There is nothing and no one that won't be open to suspicion after this administration.
The corrosion is that deep.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sometimes this stuff just all falls together.

The west has created fertile ground for al-Qaida's growth/Guardian

The Taleban do not pose a threat to long-term stability in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai has said. /BBC

Stay in Afghanistan past 2009, NATO chief urges/Globe and Mail

Taliban vows to make Kabul its main targe/CBC

All in a neat little row in my feedreader.

Amazing isn't it? We barely hear about what is really going on in Iraq, let alone the deafening silence on how things are in Afghanistan.

Looks like we might be hearing a bit more in the future.

Blair wears same shoes for 10 years
Posted 1 hour 52 minutes ago

Outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair has revealed he has worn the same pair of shoes to his weekly question-and-answer session in Parliament since becoming the country's leader in 1997.

The shoes in question, an 18-year-old pair of hand-made leather brogues that have only been re-soled once, were made by Church's in Northampton, central England.

"I know it's ridiculous, but I've worn them for every PMQs (Prime Minister's Questions), I've actually had them for 18 years," Blair told The Times in an interview, adding that "cheap shoes are a false economy."

Ridiculous is an understatement.

Nonononononononononono. No.

The issue at hand is Cheney's insistence that his office is exempt from an executive order issued by President Bush in 2003 requiring all federal agencies or "any other entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information" to report annually on its activities regarding the classification, safeguarding and declassification of national security information.
Whoa. Here's his explanation, in part:
Cheney's office maintains that its dual executive and legislative duties (the vice president also serves as president of the Senate) make it uniquely exempt from such rules.
Henry Waxman's delving into this one more deeply than Lieberman's tongue down GW's throat. He's written a letter:
"Your office may have the worst record in the executive branch for safeguarding classified information," Waxman wrote, noting the recent conviction of former vice presidential chief of staff I Lewis "Scooter" Libby for obstructing justice by lying about his role in disclosing the identity of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame.
He goes on to ask questions; however, we all know how likely he is to get any answers...I mean other than a request to get intimate with himself. Go read the rest. It's from the always-excellent Dan Froomkin.

(HealthDay News) -- First-born children possess IQs that are 2.3 points higher, on average, than their younger siblings, a new study contends.

George W. Bush
, is the oldest child in a family of six children.

So this makes his younger much more poorly equipped? And how is that even possible?

Terror suspects held at the prison would be moved military prisons on US soil, The Associated Press said it had learned.President George W. Bush's top national security and legal advisers were expected to discuss the move at the White House tomorrow and it appeared a consensus was developing, the AP quoted three senior administration officials as saying.
Sources close to the president said off the record that Bush finally conceded that it would be more rewarding to watch torture up close and personal, right here at home.

"Nothin' funner than an evening of kick-ass sufferin'...I mean it beats endless nights with Laura and the girls-- and all that wimpy, dumb government stuff." His subsequent remarks were muffled as Karl Rove and 2 Secret Service men quickly covered his mouth and enticed the protesting Commander Guy with a box of wine as they dragged him away from reporters.

max blumenthal

I laughed like a 6 year old.

Wonkette has the best headline.

Bush Finally Hated More Than Carter

It has taken nearly two terms to achieve what many considered impossible, but today George W. Bush has approval ratings lower than the all-time lows of Jimmy Carter.

The latest Newsweek poll puts Bush at 26%. That’s two points less than Carter’s worst approval rating of 28%.



Tom Harkin gives him a nice smackdown today that is thoroughly justified. Look, I don't care that he has occupied space, the center-left, that no longer exists in the Republican Party.

It is very simple. He switched to the GOP before his run for Mayor of New York from being a Democratic stalwart simply because he couldn't win in a Democratic primary, but could buy the race once he got the GOP nomination--a much easier feat. Of course, he still gave somewhere around $7 million to Bush's Republican machine during 2004. In other words, Bloomberg was all too happy to screw us all and support Bush, a man with whom he ostensibly agreed with about 5% of the time, when it was in his political interest to do so.

Now he realizes he can't win in a GOP primary for President. So once again, let the party-switching begin. And the record-breaking spending, which bought him his career in New York. He spent what, $100 million in New York? So what might he spend nationally, $700 million?

Just another obnoxious, self-interested billionaire. Can't he find a stupid reality show and leave us alone? (h/t my pal Ali Savino)

I saw this on the blurb on Cspan.

Senators backing tougher fuel rules say they have winning deal

June 21, 2007

WASHINGTON – Backers of a 35 mile-per-gallon fuel economy standard by 2020 said today they had reached a tentative deal that they believe could win passage in the Senate, over the likely objections of the auto industry and Michigan’s senators.

The larger energy bill survived a test today when 61 Democrats and Republicans approved a procedural vote that could have killed the bill. Michigan Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow broke with other Democrats and voted against the bill.

35 MPG by 2020? Hell, you and I could probably put our heads together and figure out how to accomplish that. This is supposed to make a difference? They're PROUD of this? We need an Energy Bill with cojones people, not a panty waist thing they're trying to sell us.

Then they let this crap happen.
Big Oil Companies Spared Tax Hikes

Published: June 21, 2007
WASHINGTON, June 21 — The oil industry and its supporters in Congress scored a big victory this afternoon as Senate Republicans blocked a package of tax breaks for renewable energy that would have been paid for by the major oil companies.

We need more seats in government. This made more sense than anything I've heard coming out of those hallowed halls in years.

Now you see a lake.....
Water, water, nowhere
Associated Press

June 21, 2007 at 10:52 AM EDT

SANTIAGO — A 20,000-square-metre glacial lake in Chile's southern Andes has disappeared – and scientists want to know why.

Park rangers at Bernardo O'Higgins National Park said they found a 30-metre-deep crater in late May where the lake had been in March. Several large pieces of ice that used to float atop the water also were spotted.

“The lake had simply disappeared,” Juan Jose Romero, head of Chile's National Forest Service in the southernmost region of Magallanes, said. “No one knows what happened.”

A group of geologists and other experts will be sent to the area 2,000 kilometres southeast of Santiago in the next few days to investigate, Romero said.

Now you don't....

Any ideas as to what happened?

Sounds like a good start to me.

Report: Pennsylvania Rape Suspect Survives on Worms, Creek Water in Woods for a Month

DUNMORE, Pa. — A man wanted for raping a teenager has surrendered to police after living for nearly a month in the woods of Pennsylvania, eating worms and drinking from a creek to survive, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

Charles W. Lake, 39, had been sought by local and federal authorities since May 27, when police say he tied up, gagged and raped an 18-year-old woman at knifepoint inside her home.

Now keep it up in a 6x6 room for 20 years and we've got a deal.

John Conyers, re: the White House being, um, unhelpful in the U.S. Attorney dismissal matter:

"They haven't responded to beans!"

That concludes the live-blogging portion of this program.

Thank you and good day.


Paul McNulty testifying now on CSPAN3.

Pinko Greeny!

It seems to me we ought to be encouraging this kind of behavior rather than stifling it. But you know Republicans, they hating taxing people, except when it will help their friends in big oil who are having trouble paying that 14th mortgage.

Are You Kidding Me?

Tucked into an New York Times op-ed on Bloomberg is the following paragraph ...

And Mr. Bloomberg’s announcement that he is getting out of the G.O.P. but not getting into the race, certainly brought some fresh air into the longest and already most airless presidential campaign in memory. For a couple of days, at least, he changed the subject from who has raised the most money and focused attention on some of the nonwedge but really important issues that he and a few other mayors and governors have been trying to push to the front of the national agenda.

Let's leave aside whether Bloomberg's musing have touched on any major issues for the moment. I want to focus on the "airless" comment.

This is typical MSM nonsense. They complain about the lack of substance in Presidential campaigns, yet they refuse to cover substantive events. The candidates, on both sides of the aisle, have been talking about issues. Romney, Giuliani, and McCain have tangled over abortion, guns, torture and immigration. Ron Paul talked about diplomacy and Iraq (of course, he got ripped for it, but it was substance). On the Democratic side, Iraq has been the issue (as it should be). Many candidates have released health care reform plans, and the list goes on and on. When the candidates have debated and discussed Iraq, immigration, health care, abortion and guns six months into the Presidential campaign, it may be boring, but it isn't "airless."

On the other hand, I'll wager the New York Times will have a couple of articles written on the money chase right after the filing deadline. Because that's the modern day MSM. They bemoan the lack of substance in campaigns, then they ignore the substance and focus on the horse race. Well, we're not going to let them get away with it.

Back In Black

Well not really in black. Too hot outside.

Thanks for putting up with my serial absences folks. At least most of the crazy travel schedule is done. Now I only need to do the edits on my book, prepare for my parents to arrive to hang with their grandson and blog. That seems almost too easy. And for those of you who came to realize how much better the other bloggers are at Cliff Schecter than I could ever be, while I was gone, ha and ha.

Now you have to read my sclerotic ramblings again too. Suckers.

For my inaugural post back here let me link to the great Bill Scher, who organized much of the Take Back America conference (at least on the blog side).

Conservatives are now lying about when the crowd booed Senator Clinton. Lying as you know is a bodily function for them. So self-loathing Drudge, Carl "my wife enjoys working for you Mr. Bush but I am still objective" Cameron and 80s-hair Byron York all have blatantly lied and claimed the booes erupted when she mentioned how well our troops have done over there.

In fact, it was her line (which I thought was incredibly stupid) about the Iraqi government failing (yes, Hill, because our government has done so well with the planning). In any case, Bill Scher's got the goods.

Oh, and by the way, I will try and get audio of my appearance on Sam Seder's new show for you. Why? Because I responded to yet another call by journo-monkey Joe Klein, who said (again) we needed to be "moderate" (again) and try and work with conservatives (again). Nothing if not predictable is that Joey.

Yeah, I am going to try and work with people who call me names and claim I booed the troops in the face of video that proves them wrong. So they are liars, smear artists and incompetent. Yup, ready to meet them in the false "middle" of your late night fantasies Joe.

Oh, and more to come on the conference and a few very big announcements on their way.

Journalists dole out cash to politicians (quietly)
News organizations diverge on handling of political activism by staff

By Bill Dedman
Investigative reporter
Updated: 57 minutes ago

BOSTON - A CNN reporter gave $500 to John Kerry's campaign the same month he was embedded with the U.S. Army in Iraq. An assistant managing editor at Forbes magazine not only sent $2,000 to Republicans, but also volunteers as a director of an ExxonMobil-funded group that questions global warming.

A junior editor at Dow Jones Newswires gave $1,036 to the liberal group and keeps a blog listing "people I don't like," starting with George Bush, Pat Robertson, the Christian Coalition, the NRA and corporate America ("these are the people who are really in charge").

It's an interesting article, but what I don't get is why anyone thinks the individual reporters/journalists have any control over the skew of their reporting?

It's the editors and corporations that make the final decisions on content, and we all know who the corporations love most.


New book from Mr Greenwald.
Pre-ordering available now.

· House Judiciary Subcmte. with Paul McNulty, Dpty. Atty. Gen. (12pm) - LIVE Cspan 3/Cspan Radio

Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) on Washington Journal (always fun)

Yearly Kos 2007 is having a fundraising auction on Ebay. Lots of really cool stuff, including lunch with Cliff at Yearly Kos 2007, August 2-4th. Even if you aren't planning to go, but will be in the Chicago area, you can share a plate of fries with him at The Plate Room in McCormick Place. You do not have to register and pay for Yearly Kos to have lunch with Cliff!! (Check out the other stuff up for auction also. I donated the Keith Olbermann tattoos. Don't ask.)

Please click on all 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. Each of the books that we have linked to Amazon through are hand picked by The Cliffster himself. I've heard really good things about "Nixon", the Clarence Thomas book looks really interesting, and as always, we severely dislike Mitch.

And for all of you bemoaning the lack of Cliff lately, the book is in the editors hands, he just got back from Taking Back America conference, and he should be around today.

The Question of the day? Did he get me an intimate autograph from Joe Conason?