Saturday, June 30, 2007

This is a real television that you can buy at Shop UK

MTP: Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on US atty purge, DoJ, and NSA surveillance subpoenas; rountable on immigration reform, racial politics, and voting demographics with Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody, PBS' Tavis Smiley, NBC's Chuck Todd and PBS' Judy Woodruff

FTN: Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN); WaPo's Robin Wright; WaPo's Thomas Ricks

This Week: DHS Sec Michael Chertoff on London plot & US response; Sen. Joe Lieberman (CFL) on SCOTUS, immigration & Iraq; roundtable of WaPo's Ruth Marcus, Bay Buchanan (R), Donna Brazile (R) and Cokie Roberts; James Earl Jones on literacy

Fox News Sunday: DHS Sec. Michael Chertoff; talk radio host Mike Gallagher; Air America's Mark Green; Americans for Tax Reform's Grover Norquist

Late Edition: DHS Sec Michael Chertoff; Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC); Rep. Peter King (R-NY); Zbigniew Brzezinski; Henry Kissinger; roundtable of Bill Schneider, Joe Johns and Ed Henry.

Cribbed ruthlessly from Newsie8200.


You can still bid on lunch with Cliff at Yearly Kos August 2-4 in Chicago. The auction ends Monday night. You DO NOT have to be registered for Yearly Kos to have lunch with Cliff, it's to be at the Plate Room at McCormick Place.(Check out the other stuff up for auction also. I donated the Keith Olbermann tattoos. Don't ask.)

New book from Mr Greenwald.

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 haven't spent enough time there yet, but Booman Tribune looks very interesting, and as always, we severely dislike Mitch.

And if you're really bored, you can go check out the pictures of my "Adventures with Intrusive Shrubbery".

The Right Slams Sens. McCain, McConnell and Graham

Ruh-Roh! (In my best Scooby voice).

It seems conservatives may be a bit peeved over the failed immigration bill that Senators McCain, McConnell and Graham were responsible for crafting and pushing. But at least none of them are up for reelection.

Wait. What is that you say?

One is running for president and looks like he could lose his home state and the other two have pathetically low approval ratings among their base, right when they need to start building support for reelection in 2008? Wow, that sucks.

Now my best Nelson voice: Ha-ha.

Oh, and I took a little trip to Arizona with a video camera a few weeks back, so you'll get a longer version of this video with Arizona conservatives "sharing their feelings with Senator McCain" just as soon as we (me and my friends at Brave New Films) can put it together.

In the meantime, break open a cold one, and enjoy!

AP/Themba Hadebe

No regrets, Laura Bush says
Administration playing 'the hand we were dealt,' she says in interview

By Mark Silva
Tribune national correspondent
Published June 30, 2007, 11:45 AM CDT

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine -- George W. Bush campaigned for the presidency with a promise of compassion, a decidedly domestic agenda pledging to reform public schools, offer immigrants a permanent home, enlist churches in the delivery of social services and cut taxes for Americans.


"Neither George or I are the kind to look back and think, 'Oh, what if? Why did this happen when I was president?' " she said. "I think it's because he is a realist. … And it's just that this is what's happened, this is the hand we were dealt, and you just have to move on and do the very best you can with that hand."

No regrets huh? No regrets over the thousands of American soldiers killed, no regrets over the possible HUNDREDS of thousands of innocent victims in Iraq and Afghanistan? No regrets over shredding the constitution and pooping on the Bill of Rights?

Laura, it's less than two years. Up your dosage, and STFU until then.

We're all aware of how the Bush Brigade thrives on trying to scare us into submission.

The Supreme Court's got them beat.
But the word "submission" isn't in my vocabulary.

Backlash against undercover journalists obscures the contributions they make.

This was in my L.A. Times Op-Ed Section today. It is a superb piece and I urge you to read it. Here's a sample:
[I] headed to downtown Washington for meetings with some of the city's most prominent lobbyists. I had contacted their firms several weeks earlier, pretending to be the representative of a London-based energy company with business interests in Turkmenistan. I told them I wanted to hire the services of a firm to burnish that country's image.

I didn't mention that Turkmenistan is run by an ugly, neo-Stalinist regime. They surely knew that, and besides, they didn't care. [...]

In exchange for fees of up to $1.5 million a year, they offered to send congressional delegations to Turkmenistan and write and plant opinion pieces in newspapers under the names of academics and think-tank experts they would recruit. They even offered to set up supposedly "independent" media events in Washington that would promote Turkmenistan (the agenda and speakers would actually be determined by the lobbyists).

All this, Cassidy and APCO promised, could be done quietly and unobtrusively, because the law that regulates foreign lobbyists is so flimsy that the firms would be required to reveal little information in their public disclosure forms.

Now, in a fabulous bit of irony, my article about the unethical behavior of lobbying firms has become, for some in the media, a story about my ethics in reporting the story. The lobbyists have attacked the story and me personally, saying that it was unethical of me to misrepresent myself when I went to speak to them.
And guess who he cites in the piece....Howie Kurtz, "...who was apparently far less concerned by the lobbyists' ability to manipulate public and political opinion than by my use of undercover journalism." Oh, just go read it.

From the Department of Overkill

I'm already sick of these....

...but I really, really want one.

This Just Never Gets Old


Empty TV Suit

Interesting article today on the McClatchy website regarding Fred Thompson. Basically, he made his way up to New hampshire and gave, wait for it, a nine minute speech short on specifics. If you remember a few months back, the MSM beat up on Sen. Obama for a lack of specifics. Lets see if they do the same to Good Ole Fred. I mean, Free Scooter Libby may make for good radio, but its not much of a platform.

The former Tennessee senator with the baritone drawl showed up Thursday in New Hampshire, the site of the first primary voting, and gave a speech that lasted only nine minutes, skipping over hot-button issues such as Iraq and immigration to invoke platitudes about freedom and strength.

He left more than a few Republicans disappointed.


``It was short,'' said Richard Heitmiller of Nashua. ``He's got a nice voice. But there was nothing there. He's for apple pie and motherhood. He's going to have to say what he's for.''

Heitmiller said he hadn't made up his mind about whom to support — way too early — and had come to learn more about this man he'd heard about but never seen.

``People want to get to know him. He hasn't been here, and he gives a nine-minute speech,'' he said dismissively. As Thompson exited, people started making their way to the doors midway through a reception.

``I told my wife we'd get home by 8. We'll get home a lot earlier than that,'' Heitmiller said.

``He looks good onstage, but I don't know if he has the gravitas,'' said Kathleen Williamson, a conservative Roman Catholic from North Weare. ``It seems like he's trying to win over conservatives, but I'm still not sure he has the credentials. I'm worried he's trying to get by on his celebrity.''

(HT - The Daily Dish)

Winning hearts and minds.

U.S. Raids Baghdad Slum; 26 Iraqis Die

Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD (AP) -- American soldiers rolled into Baghdad's Shiite Sadr City slum on Saturday in search of Iranian-linked militants and as many as 26 Iraqis were killed in what a U.S. officer described as "an intense firefight."

But residents, police and hospital officials said eight civilians were killed in their homes and angrily accused U.S. forces of firing blindly on the innocent. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki condemned the raids and demanded an explanation for the assault into a district where he has barred U.S. operations in the past.


30 Afghan Civilians Said Killed in Clash

Associated Press Writer

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- U.S.-led airstrikes targeting Taliban militants who had attacked NATO forces slammed into civilian homes in southern Afghanistan, killing or wounding at least 30 people including women and children, a local official said Saturday.

Villagers reported casualty tolls close to 100, but government officials could not confirm that number.

And this.

CBS Poll: 2 Out of 3 Want Troops Home from Iraq

By E&P Staff
Published: June 30, 2007 10:45 AM ET

NEW YORK A new CBS polls reveals that despite the "surge" in Iraq, more Americans than ever are calling for a U.S. pullout. Two out of three want troops withdrawn now, including 40% who want all troops removed -- a 7% increase since just April.

But wait!! One heart & mind has been won!!!

Bush Defends Military Buildup in Iraq

Associated Press Writer
Published June 30, 2007, 9:14 AM CDT

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine -- President Bush, who faces mounting congressional pressure to end the war, called Saturday for patience as U.S. forces conduct stepped-up operations in Iraq.

"We're still at the beginning of this offensive, but we're seeing some hopeful signs," Bush said in his weekly radio address, in which he likened U.S. troops deployed around the globe to the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Hopeful signs.

The Best Thing About The Supreme Court: How Few Cases They Took On This Past Term

Not Wanted: Angry White Male

While walking through lovely Dupont Circle in DC two days ago I bumped into one of my favorite cynics of all time: Charles Krauthammer. It was in the low-90s, about the same in humidity, and this poor guy was there on the way out of the Metro station in his wheel chair, wearing a full suit and sweating up a storm.

Seeing him brought a mix of emotions. At once I wanted to approach and berate him for his continuous spewing of Republican Party talking points on the airwaves every Sunday. Or, for his at times nasty columns that appear thrice weekly in the Washington Post and other publications. But, instead, I felt nothing but pity. Although he typically looks angry on TV, the other day he appeared a mix of anger and…sadness. [Chucky, if we ever cross paths again I’d like to buy you a beer. And if it’s hot outside, we can move into the confines of Biddy Mulligan’s nearby or some other place with ample air-conditioning].

Regrettably, this article is not about celebrity site-seeing in the greater DC metro area. Rather, it is a question about what makes a true conservative these days. Has being a conservative changed so much since the onslaught of the great Nixon revolution? Perhaps, yes, as evidenced this past week by the Washington Post’s excellent reporting on the inner-workings of the sometimes member of the executive branch, VP Dick Cheney.

With so much at stake in the world (such as globalization, and wars on everything from terror, Iraq, Iran, and most likely several more Stans in the next year or two), why are so many angry white males (like and unlike myself) so worried about immigrants, especially those from south of the border, “socialized” healthcare, abortion, gay marriage, and a whole list of other social woes? I don’t remember reading anything about Hate Thy Neighbor in the Bible – is that What Jesus Would really Do?

I ask for your help. What makes an angry conservative so…angry? Is it hereditary or a result of socialization? After all, isn’t the latter reason one of the excuses Republicans use for all of those social ills stated above?

Cliff Note: IMHO, it's psychology baby. Read my piece below about men fighting wars to make up for feelings of inadequacy. Or google Hofstadter, Richard and "paranoid style." Oh, and no feelings of pity for Mr. Krauthammer. Now many more Americans will be returning from Iraq in wheelchairs, or worse.

Dick Cheney A "Chicken-Hawk" Says NY Times Columnist

The war has started to resemble a postapocalyptic sci-fi film like "Blade Runner." Here is a troubled superpower headed by a pair of delusional men, with a rag-tag army fighting a constant low-grade insurgency. The cause has long since been forgotten, the slogans are hollow, death lurks around every shadowy corner.
This is not me, but is from New York Times guest columnist Timothy Egan (sorry, subscription or hacking skills required).

"A pair of delusional men." You don't usually see this kind of bluntly honest characterization of the two Clowns-in-Chief among our prestigious dead-tree publications. Oh, and Blade Runner was freakin' awesome. But I digress.

For that's not the part that brought a smile to my face. This is:

But unlike some chicken-hawks who did not serve — chief among them, Vice President Cheney, with his numerous draft deferments — he is not trying to make up for lost courage.
Yes, a New York Times columnist is using the term "chicken-hawk" to describe our VP. And claiming he fights wars to make up for "lost courage."

In other words, as we all know, it's the wimps who feel a need to play cowboy or soldier to make up for past and present feelings of inadequacy who have been most in favor of this war (with very few exceptions). I don't know about you, but I haven't seen this so plainly written among the MSM very much, if at all.

Good for Mr. Egan.

(h/t Greg Greene)

Pic via Cat of course.

Anyone want to go with me to New York and kick the butts of these STUPID news readers that keep on going on about how "devastating" this bomb could have been?

No wonder our citizens are so moronically dumb. Chick on MSNBC just now (talking to the expert), "The bomb. Is it possible the people who made it could have learned from the bomb makers in Iraq?" OH. MY. GOD. Like there is an expertise to a propane tank, a container of gas & a Home Depot Economy Pack O'Nails.

Law requires N.M. to grow its own pot

Man creates monumental cheese carving

Dads aren't obsolete — yet

Superstitious people hoping 07/07/07 will be a lucky day

It's the people vs. the government, new poll suggests

Friday, June 29, 2007

This Wouldn't be so funny...

...If they didn't zoom back in to cover this up close, so they could make sure to get all the carnage and profanity on camera. While pretending it was about making sure the reporter was "all right."

FoxNews: Where the sensational sells, even if it is violence perpetrated against one of their own reporters.

"All The President's Men" on PBS.

So you get this.

Why is PBS playing this movie at this time?

On Desegration

What problems have arisen with desegregation?

Kudos to Michael Moore

Like the lush that I am, I skirted out of work on a long lunch break this afternoon to catch Michael Moore’s “Sicko”. Before I digress, I’d like to backup a bit and say I’m really not a fan of the guy. He’s definitely not an altruist. In my not so humble opinion, Bowling for Columbine started out great but then fell flat when the film become more about Moore and less about gun control; an issue near and dear to my heart. Roger and Me was too preachy. But, Moore’s last two outings (Fahrenheit 9/11 and Sicko) have been nothing but superb.

What makes Sicko most effective is that it is a call to action and not just a film about how screwed up we are in the US. Since my return to the coffee shop this evening, I’ve already witnessed numerous health care representatives, members of the congress and government, as well as lobbyists, on cable TV belly-aching about how Moore’s film is misleading. But is it really?

Let’s get down to the basics. Private industry is in business for one purpose: to make a profit. A private healthcare system – such as what we have in the US – is essentially one built on this tenet. To think otherwise is nonsense. So, why all of the fear about “socialized medicine”; the term used in abundance by all but Tommy Thompson during the last Republican debate? What is it we’re really afraid of?

Moore’s forays into the Canadian, French and Cuban health systems should not be taken lightly. They are strong examples of where and how we continue to fail not just our poor and elderly, but also every middle-income American who has to deal with our failed health system.

For example, this past month I decided to visit three different doctors for different ailments for the first time in almost three years. I have slightly better coverage than an HMO (PPO) and made sure I used only doctors within the “network”. Just this past week I received bills totaling more than $300 dollars, which caught me by surprise. I contacted my insurance company to find out why the in-network visits cost so much. They replied that I hadn’t yet met my deductible and therefore had to pay for the doctor’s visits almost entirely. In short, I got my teeth cleaned, and had two other “specialists” put their fingers up my arse for five minutes only to tell me that I’m healthy (hey, I’m nearly 40 so I’ve got to be careful these days). Had I known back in May what I know now I would’ve preferred to buy a Wii, or something more useful like a steady diet of fast food.

Go see the film. Discuss it with friends. And remember the message: Something has to change ‘cause what we have doesn’t work.

Tiffani's Story, cont'd.
This is another in a series copied and pasted, unedited from a 14-year-old girl named Tiffani. She's one of the many teens I've gotten to know through my work, and she has willingly and passionately agreed to share this with all of you. Her 33-year-old father was just sent to Iraq. She inadvertently found out his mission, which is among the most dangerous and is one typically covered by the media.

This is what some of our kids are going through, Commander Guy and Rogue Nation Dick. Proud of yourselves?
june 27 ,2007

dear journal

two days till my recital
and my dad isnt going to be there
it hurts to know everyone in my family
will be there but him.
i dont know what to do
it feeels like my heart is slowly tearing down
the middle matter how hard i try
i cant get my dad out of my mind
constantly terrible thoguhts fill my head
nightmares haunting me every night
sometimes i cant handle the thoughts and i want
to cry .....but i cant
im a soldires daughter
were not suppse to cry
i have to be strong for my family=[
even though im the one they should be helping


Is impeachment feasible? Maybe not. Is it a realistic option? Debatable. Do I wish it would happen? Hellz yeah, I do.
Impeachment Is Not Acceptable. That's what Barack Obama thinks. He went on:
"There's a way to bring an end to those practices, you know: vote the bums out," the presidential candidate said. [...] "I think you reserve impeachment for grave, grave breeches, and intentional breeches of the president's authority," he said.
Of course. What was I even thinking? We'll just wait until that happens, until Chimpy and Mr. Warmth do something really bad, because so far, they've just been....impish. And besides, there's nothin' that can stop us from "voting the bums out" now! Not disenfranchisement, not voter suppression, not election fraud, nothin'! Piece-o'-cake.

Nancy Pelosi was on Press the Meat on Sunday:

Russert asked her: "Is impeachment off the table?''

Pelosi said, "Well, you never know where the facts take you, but -- for any president -- but that isn't what we're about. What we're about is going there and having high ethical standards, fiscal soundness and a level of civility that brushes away all this fierce partisanship.''

The last thing we want 2 opposing political parties to do is be partisan. Can't we all just agree on everything? And all those "high ethical standards" have gotten us this far, right? Why, I bet, if we wish real hard, the Righties will be our bff's forever! All we have to do is be nice.

This is the video of the Murdoch smackdown by Bill Moyers that Cliff was talking about earlier.
Good stuff.

Oh, and if anyone needs firewood, I'm your go to girl.

And In Medical News (A rant from a non-smoker):
Passive Smoking Raises Carcinogen Levels In Urine Rapidly
A potent carcinogen rises quickly in restaurant and bar workers' urine after even brief exposures to secondhand smoke, a new U.S. study finds. [...] Three of every four employees working where smoking was permitted had detectable levels of NNK [cancer-causing toxin], compared to fewer than half of those in no-smoking establishments, the researchers found.

Another report in the same issue of the journal noted that employers are increasingly likely to be held legally liable for exposing workers to secondhand smoke, even in localities where laws permit workplace smoking.

The legal analysis, from the Public Health Institute in Oakland, Calif., found that workers harmed by secondhand smoke are turning to worker compensation laws, state and federal disability laws for redress. It is now employer's responsibility "to provide a safe workplace" to have smoking banned where they work, the researchers wrote.

I never understood the appeal of voluntarily addicting oneself to a bunch of toxic weeds wrapped in paper, setting them on fire, and filling one's lungs with smoke.

In the end, cigarettes result in lives lost, more costly health care, legal bills, and cash wasted on a self-imposesd habit.
I played at smoking as a teenager and amused my friends by blowing smoke rings. Nothing about smoking turned out to be very amusing.

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Guantanamo Detainee Appeal
The U.S. Supreme Court has reversed itself and agreed to hear the appeals of detainees held at the U.S. facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. As VOA correspondent Gary Thomas reports, legal scholars say it is a highly unusual move for the country's highest court.

On the last day of its current session, the Supreme Court changed its mind about two cases involving detainees in government custody. After denying earlier appeals by the Guantanamo detainees in April, the court said it will hear arguments in its next term about whether inmates whom the government deems to be enemy combatants have the right to challenge their detention in a U.S. court. [...] ...
there is general agreement that ...
the last time such a reversal occurred in the Supreme Court... it was about 40 years ago.

Eric Freedman, a law professor at Hofstra University and a legal advisor for the detainees, says the turnabout is a major victory for the Guantanamo inmates.

"It's a huge step forward for the detainees, and a serious, serious setback for the government's efforts to do anything except allow the independent judicial review which is at the bedrock of the separation of powers," said Freedman.

...even conservative legal scholars say the court decision to take the cases does not bode well for the administration's detainee policies.

I heard an audio clip on the Stephanie Miller show this morning. It was noteworthy for its accuracy, especially considering the source. I can't link to it, but here's the exact quote as I heard it:

"I'm more a man than any liberal is."
Ann Coulter

Pot. Kettle. Black.

Bush called out for his earmarks
By Alexander Bolton
June 28, 2007
Democratic and Republican appropriators are accusing President Bush of urging Congress to pack spending bills with pet projects despite his high-profile crackdown on earmarks this year.

A House Appropriations Committee report accompanying legislation funding the Department of the Interior shows that Bush requested 93 of the 321 earmarks in the bill. A panel report for the financial services and general government spending bill showed that Bush requested 17 special projects worth $947 million, more than any single member of Congress.

Senate appropriators have identified more than 350 earmarks in the military construction spending bill requested by the president.

Lawmakers say these lists of earmarks are inconsistent with Bush’s tough talk on earmarks this year.

(HT: NRO. Yes, the National Review Online. They don't like the President any more)

Hannity V. Voinvich: This Time It's Personal

Mike Stark has the goods...And by the goods I mean audio of:

Hannity V. Voinovich - Republican on Republican Action

Um, I mean fighting, of course. Yes, they almost came to fisticuffs on the radio over immigration (well, as much as you can over the phone). Voinovich hung up on him. It was good wholesome family fun, like when Hannity invites his white supremacist friends on the show.

Lewis Black Destroys Right-Wing Media

He takes a shot at Murdoch, and other assorted silly right-wingers (Qube TV, the alternative to that "liberally-biased" YouTube, which steals all its videos).

But if you want to see someone just take apart Murdoch with a scalpel instead of a blowtorch (not that there is anything wrong with that--in fact I rather enjoy both), go here and see Bill Moyers destroy poor Rupert M.

A man after my own heart.

London Bomb--What a Crock of Crap!!

Larry Johnson speaks, you go read.

You know what makes me sad about this? And it's not what you're thinking.
Failed bomb sparks UK terror alert
BRITAIN remained on high terror alert last night after police defused a car bomb they warned could have caused carnage in the heart of London's crowded entertainment district.

Amid fears a would-be suicide bomber was on the loose, new Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned of the ongoing threat faced by Britain, which soon marks the second anniversary of bomb attacks which killed 52.

What makes me sad is that my first reaction was skepticism after all the false alarms in the past. I kept wondering if this was another phony diversion from all the negative press about BushBlair. That I can't trust reports about something as important as this is lamentable.

More Great Video From The Habeas Corpus Rally, For Your Perusal

Senator Tom Harken (D-IA)

Representative Jerrold Nadler

Anthony D. Romero, Top Dog, ACLU

The So-Called Liberal Media

Continuing my Obama theme today, there was another article in the Chicago Sun-Times about the Democratic debate at Howard. In it, the writer insinuated that Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama, was the best on issues important to minority voters. Fair enough.

But I found a criticism of Sen. Obama to be ridiculous. The writer took Obama to task for not pandering.

Surprisingly, Obama continued a balancing act in which he points out the unfairness African Americans face in their daily lives but also criticizes the negative behaviors often found among the impoverished.


"We live in a society that remains separated for opportunities for African Americans, for Latinos," he said. "It is critical for us to recognize that there are going to be [expectations] on the parts of African Americans and other groups to take personal responsibility to rise up out of the problems that we face. ... There has to be a political will in the White House to make that happen. That's the reason why I'm running for president."

(Frankly, Michelle Obama, who has been tapped to convince women that her husband is the "real deal," was more passionate on the issues when she spoke at a fund-raising luncheon earlier in the day.)

Obama failed to strike a forceful tone on the race issue, and that's unfortunate since he has to run past a gauntlet of black leaders who are supporting Clinton.

The writer seems shocked that Obama told a minority audience the same thing he tells every audience. That's not a lack of passion, that's consistency. And I applaud it, because its the kind of thing that wins elections.

Working America Says: Ask A Lawyer

Can my boss really do that? How many of us find ourselves asking that very question on a weekly, if not daily basis? Well now we just may get the answers we seek. Because Working America, the 1.6 million-member community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, who provides a voice for those of us denied the right to union membership on the job, has started their "Ask-A-Lawyer" program.

First of all, who benefits from Working America? Well, only those of us who don't have stock options in Haliburton or stay up nights uncontollably excited about the next day's bank merger. The silenced majority, if you will.

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 only logical that the country's fastest growing progressive organization would pioneer a new frontier in providing information to workers about their rights, by providing a "free online service to help workers understand their rights and determine whether the boss can really do that--or not." Questions may range from "can I be fired for something I put on my blog"--(probably, unless you are writing about politics) to "can I be fired for being a smoker even if I don't smoke at work"--(yes, in 21 states). Or you may be interested in more everyday subjects such as workers' compensation, pay and benefits or discrimination at the workplace.

To the chagrin of corporate-jet executives everywhere, Working America's "Ask-A-Lawyer" program can and will answer these and other general questions that arise at the workplace. So find out what your rights are, and enjoy the benefits of an organization that helped defeat tax initiatives that would have hurt working familes in Oregon, assisted in getting a Family and Medical Leave act passed in Washington state and fought to get a fair hearing for the Employee Free Choice Act.

Unless of course you come from the school of exploiting your workers. Then you had better prepare yourself. Because Working America is on the job day in and day out, to make sure your day comes to an end.

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.

Money Talks

Very interesting stuff. Makes it hard to argue "the inevitable" when your opponent has more money from more donors. Unless this is all a bluff. Either way, it bears watching.

Hillary concedes victory to Obama in dash for cash
June 29, 2007
BY LYNN SWEET Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON -- With the second quarter closing on Saturday, Hillary Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson said in a memo the campaign expects to take in at least $27 million, conceding that Barack Obama will be collecting "significantly" more in April, May and June.

The Clinton campaign did not break down how much of that $27 million was for the primary and how much was given for the general election contest.

The only figure that counts politically is money raised for the primary election. Obama's second quarter haul, according to estimates of knowledgeable observers, could reach $30 million -- most raised for the primary.

What passes for "high discourse" AM Radio Style.

Immigration debate kindled new level of rancor, division

(06-29) 04:00 PDT Washington -- A lethal combination of lack of government credibility, a lame-duck president, fractures in both parties and an electric undercurrent of hostility to illegal foreigners decisively ended for at least two years, and possibly much longer, any effort to offer a path to citizenship to the estimated 12 million people living illegally in the United States.


The debate in its final days had a rancor seldom seen even in matters of war. Supporters complained of racist hate mail. Majority leader Harry Reid said a caller from his tiny hometown of Searchlight, Nev., told him he should enter a witness protection program.

A vivid rift between Southern conservatives and Northern liberals touched the rawest nerves of American history. A knot of Southern Republicans -- Sens. David Vitter of Louisiana, Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Jim DeMint of South Carolina -- rose again and again on the floor to block action.

"This immigration bill has become a war between the American people and their government," DeMint said.

Vitter hotly denied that the fight cast Southern Republicans in the mold of Southern Democratic segregationists of the 1960s.

"Eighty percent of the American people were against this bill," he said. "For anybody to suggest that was about racism, I think itself is the height of ugliness and arrogance."

I heard Scarborough repeat this "80% of American people against the bill" also. Wonder where this stat came from, since all the ones I've seen are overwhelmingly pro the immigration bill.

Must be quoting Lou Dobb's surveys.

Anyone got a chainsaw?

I'll provide the beer.

Thursday, June 28, 2007



1. Open a new folder on your computer
2. Name it "George W Bush"
3. Send it to the trash.
4. Empty the trash.
5. Your PC will ask you, "Do you really want to get rid of "George W. Bush?"
6. Firmly Click "Yes."

Feel better already don't you?

PS: Tomorrow we'll do Dick Cheney

(h/t Ruth Cuevas, Brave New Foundation)

What a novel concept.

Senator Webb calls for National Guard, Army Reserve support

By Patrick Fitzgerald
June 29, 2007
Concerned with the military’s continuing erratic deployment rotations, freshman Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) is planning to introduce an amendment to the 2008 defense authorization bill that will require the Pentagon to give troops at least as much time at home as they spent on deployments.

“We’re seeing, in many cases, our ground troops burned out,” Webb said at a press conference yesterday alongside Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D). “The current strategy of this administration has not justified the deployment of troops in this way.”

Imagine that.

A Democrat supporting the troops by..... SUPPORTING THE TROOPS.

Good choice picking Gov Sebelius to stand up with. She knows a thing or two about the National Guard.

Libby = No. 28301-016
For years he was known as chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney and assistant to President Bush. On Wednesday, I. Lewis ''Scooter'' Libby became federal inmate No. 28301-016.

Libby, who was convicted in March of lying and obstructing an investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity, faces 2 1/2 years in prison.

The assignment of an inmate number by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons represents another step on the road to prison. Inmate numbers stay with prisoners even after their release.

One down, two to go. At least two.

Some Headlines Are More Fun Than Others

Keep Your Buds From Becoming Duds Norm Coleman caught supplying weed to his pals.
Bush Anticipates Death of Ailing Castro "Stop jumping up and down like a fool," a plainly irritated Cheney hissed to Bush after revealing assassination plans to the president.
Official: No Child Left Behind Lowers Standards "Stop jumping up and down like a fool," a plainly irritated Cheney hissed to Bush after the president took credit for the results. "But Mr. President," a chagrined Bush protested to Cheney, "I'm just excited that all those kids get to be at my level. I'm the edjumicator!"
AOL's News Sites Adopt Look of Blogs Blogger Cliff Schecter makes millions following deal with AOL to let them clone the look of his relatively new blog, which has been an astounding success in the blogosphere. "I can't believe my luck," an ecstatic Schecter gushed. "I owe it all to Paddy. She's the genius behind the buff and green color scheme."

Halliburton Is Back

Well this seems to make sense:

The Army awarded a contract worth up to $150 billion to feed, house and provide other services to U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait, spreading among three companies work that recently had been linked to a single, controversial contractor: Halliburton.

In light of this:

Since then, the contract has come under scrutiny by members of Congress, and critics have alleged that KBR had an advantage in winning the 2001 contract because Vice President Cheney had been Halliburton's chief executive.

There have been other allegations of overcharging and poor record-keeping by KBR and lax oversight by the government. Government auditors turned up more than $1 billion in questionable costs. Whistle-blowers have said the company charged $45 per case of soda, allowed troops to bathe in contaminated water and double-billed on meals -- all allegations Halliburton denied.

As of the end of May, KBR -- the largest single contractor in Iraq -- had been paid $19.7 billion for its work under the contract.
Yeah, we obviously can't afford universal healthcare, because we need to pay Halliburton taxpayer money to sicken our troops with tainted water.

Somewhere Dick Cheney is shedding a grateful tear, as he pulls his fangs away from an unsuspecting neck.

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Seafood From China Will Be Detained, US FDA Says

You know what they, and 2 hours later you're ... very ill.
Some seafood imported to the U.S. from China will be detained by regulators because of possible contamination with unsafe drugs, the latest health warning about products from that country.

The Food and Drug Administration put a hold on all farm- raised shrimp, catfish, basa, dace and eel from China until the shipments are shown to be free of residues from drugs that aren't approved in the U.S., the agency said today in a statement. The medications are used by producers to prevent infections in seafood.

Just reading about what's in the seafood was enough to make me sick.

Though John Edwards is far ahead of the fundraising numbers he posted during his first run for the White House, the former North Carolina senator is having trouble keeping up with the breakneck pace set by his rivals this time around.
This is my least favorite headline of the election campaign season. This is not what it should be about, but it's the focus of most newscasts and other media reports.

Plus, John Edwards is a good guy with good ideas. I know, it's early. But still...

FOX News - 8 hours ago By Major Garrett and Trish Turner WASHINGTON - As day broke Thursday ahead of a vote to cut off debate on an immigration reform compromise, it appeared only the White House believed the bill could be saved.
As much as I hate to quote anything from Fixed News, that bolded part struck me. Why? Because it is so often that "only the White House believes" in things that nobody else can even fathom.
  • Only the White House believes that we're making "real progress" in Iraq.
  • Only the White House believes that free trade is to everyone's benefit, but that their no-bid, crony private contractors don't comprise a shadow government or waste billions at the expense of the lives and health of our military, Katrina victims, and the middle class.
  • Only the White House believes that the Vice President's office isn't part of the executive branch.
  • Only the White House believes that spying on fellow Americans is A-OK.
  • Only the White House believes that they didn't appoint U.S. Attorneys for political reasons.
  • Only the White House believes that they still have the Latino vote.
  • Only the White House believes that Cheney, Condi, Gonzo, et al are doing a hekuvah job.
  • Only the White House believes that [insert any Bush appointee here] is doing a hekuvah job.
  • Only the White House believes that Bush is doing a hekuvah job.
I don't need to go on. We can continue the Fantasy Fun List in Comments.

Code Pink member collapses in Lieberman’s office

By Klaus Marre
June 28, 2007
A member of the anti-war group Code Pink who had staged a hunger strike in order to force a meeting with Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) on his stance on Iran collapsed in the senator’s office Thursday.

Leslie Angeline, who had recently traveled to Iran, wanted to discuss the senator’s remarks from earlier this month that indicate he would support a limited air strike on the country.

The 50-year-old woman launched a hunger strike to get a face-to-face meeting with Lieberman but was repeatedly rebuffed, according to Code Pink. However, Lieberman's staff has met with her on the issue.

Members of Code Pink have been trying to meet with Lieberman for quite a bit now, but he keeps on putting them off. One would almost have to think he was scared. Or even unable to defend his stance in a non fixed forum? (aka Faux)

Or maybe even a total goon war mongering wussy?

So many possibilities.

Since this is a full service blog, here is your daily bit of tabloid weirdness.


June 28, 2007 -- An anonymous user operating a computer traced to Stamford, Conn. - home to World Wrestling Entertainment - posted an entry to pro wrestler Chris Benoit's biography on announcing the death of his wife Nancy at least 13 hours before police in suburban Atlanta said they found her body along with her husband's and that of their 7-year-old son, has learned.


The posting reads: "Chris Benoit was replaced by for the ECW Championship match at Vengeance, as Benoit was not there due to personal issues, stemming from the death of his wife Nancy." According to a report published after made inquiries, the edit was reversed just under one hour later with the comment:

"Need a reliable source. Saying that his wife died is a pretty big statement, you need to back it up with something."

Spooky as hell. If someone had information on his wife's death, why the hell would one of the first things they would think of to do be updating a Wiki?

Can You Say, "Game Over?"

This would be sad, if he weren't such a destructive ass. Instead, I feel a bit of schadenfreude building up...

Paging Senator Snowe!

Just was worried about your well-being. Because my sense is that it is going to get really lonely being a New England Republican soon.

First there is this:

US Senate Shaheen Sununu Undecided

All voters 57% 29% 14%

Republicans 30% 61% 9%
Democrats 96% 1% 3%
Undeclared 50% 25% 25%

Mar 2007 44% 34% 22%
Oct 2002 43% 51% 6%
BTW with the margin of error being 4.2% for this poll, Sununu's solid 1% of Democratic support could really be something like -2% (and I am being generous--as that is my way). So Sununununu's losing by 28 points, with only 29% supporting him.

Um, like, you may want to retire or something, dude (Norm Coleman actually said that).

And then there is this, in the inimitable words of Howie Klein:

Lieberman's fundraiser for Collins brought together lots of K-Street prostitutes who love him for his consistent willingness to sell out his constituents' most basic interests. Collins' campaign claims that Lieberman helped her raise between $120,000 and $150,000. Between MoveOn and half a dozen blogs raising money for progressive Congressman Tom Allen, Lieberman's efforts were not just countered, but turned upside down. Grassroots and netroots contributions to Tom Allen last week out-raised Lieberman and Collins by between $100,000 and $120,000.
See ya Susan. Play fake-moderate somewhere else please.

My sense from what I am seeing is that the last GOP Congressman in New England, Chris Shays, will also go bye-bye too as another idiot Iraq hawk who doesn't have LieberRash doing his GOTV this time.

So get ready to party with the fun-loving Judd Gregg, Senator Snowe. Because soon it's going to be a table for two (and a half, including LieberItch).

Told Ya!

It was just the other day that I pointed out the GOP's anti-immigration, hardline anti-immigrant stance was dooming them to minority party status. An today, this article appeared in USA Today.

Hispanics turning back to Democrats for 2008
SAN ANTONIO — Like no Republican before him, George W. Bush drew Hispanics to the GOP. In the 2004 election, at least 40% of the voters in the nation's largest and fastest-growing minority group backed Bush, double the share of Hispanics who had supported Republican Bob Dole eight years earlier. But the inroads Bush made are vanishing.

Prescient, yes. Genius, not quite (despite what my Mom tells all her friends). It should be obvious that the GOP is turning off the fastest growing minority in the US. And since black Republicans are about as rare as a sober day for Lindsay Lohan (zing!), Republicans will be at a tremendous disadvantage for the foreseeable future. There simply aren't enough white voted for Republicans to offset their unpopularity with minority communities. This may or may not be decisive in 2008, but by 2012 and 2016, it will be.

Stoner Coleman Returns

All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I'm fine

- Jeff Spicoli, Fast Times At Ridgemont High

In case you missed the HUGE Larry King interview with Paris Hilton last night.

ABC World News Now Re-Enactment.

From the "What Else Is New?" Dep't.

Immigration Bill Suffers Setback
The Senate fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to end debate on immigration overhaul, dealing a near-fatal blow to the landmark bill and one that could very well dash President Bush's hopes of ever achieving this goal before leaving the White House. The 46-53 roll call evolved into a blowout as a strong majority of Republicans sought cover and lined up against the administration once the outcome became apparent.
As if we didn't expect this. There were things in this bill that bothered me. I wasn't a big fan. Maybe when we get a real Democratic Congress, they can pull a new and improved version off.

This Is Hysterical...

...Whether or not you are a Hillary Clinton fan:

(h/t Matt Stoller)


Court limits use of race in school admissions


Strict constructionist LIARS reverse Brown vs Board of Education and lay groundwork for All Poor Brown People School vs All Rich White People School Intramural Volleyball Tournaments.


Updated: 1 hour, 50 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected public school assignment plans that take account of students’ race.

The decision in cases affecting schools in Louisville, Ky., and Seattle could imperil similar plans in hundreds of districts nationwide, and it leaves public school systems with a limited arsenal to maintain racial diversity.

The court split, 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts announcing the court’s judgment. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a dissent that was joined by the court’s other three liberals.

I literally feel sick.

Webb's Populism

Interesting article on Sen. Jim Webb in today's Washington Post. The article really highlights Webb's populist efforts to reshape the Party. However, I'm not sure that Webb is pitch perfect, as the below quote indicates.

Webb articulates what may be the wild-card issue of the 2008 campaign. There is a deep anger these days among middle-class Americans who feel abandoned by the elites in both parties. That anger surfaces on pocketbook issues that affect working people -- immigration, outsourcing of jobs, and the trade and tax boondoggles that broadcaster Lou Dobbs rages against each night on CNN.

"The average American worker sits there feeling the impact of globalization and immigration. They need people sticking up for them," says Webb. Though he doesn't criticize any politicians by name, he scolds what he calls "the Rubin wing" of the party, which supports the pro-investment policies advocated by Clinton administration Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.

I think he is dead on in that the Middle Class feels abandoned by both parties. But I think he's wrong to dismiss pro-investment policies. As a parent, I think one of the best government policies in recent years has been the 529 accounts, designed to help families save money for college. I have no doubt that middle class families and Robert Rubin approve.

I've long felt that the American Dream is getting harder and harder to achieve for the middle class. Housing prices, insurance rates, tuition increases, child care costs, et. al. are making it more difficult to have the life your parents did. The Democrats have to speak to those middle class families getting squeezed.

That's not to say that raising the minimum wage and covering the uninsured, among other things, are not important goals. But we need to speak to a wider audience. I think it's too simplistic to say there are the "haves" and "have nots." I think there are also plenty of "have some, but not enough." Jim Webb wants the Democrats to speak to these people. I agree. We just disagree slightly on what needs to be said, but we seem to be going in the same direction.

So. Who the hell told them this was a good idea?

House members seek pay raise of $4,400

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 26 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Despite low approval ratings and hard feelings from last year's elections, Democrats and Republicans in the House are reaching out for an approximately $4,400 pay raise that would increase their salaries to almost $170,000.

Oh my god. What a boneheaded move. Out here in the hinterlands, there is no love lost for our congress critters and this is NOT going to help.

Seemingly stymied at every turn, no major achievements under their belts, they're going to **** up with the one thing that everyone understands.

Keep an eye out for single digit approval numbers coming to a Congress near you.