Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Progressive Patriot John Hall

From Russ Feingold:

With all the votes counted, I am proud to announce that the Progressive Patriots community has chosen Representaive John Hall (NY - 19) as our first 'Pick a Progressive Patriot' of 2007. Congressman Hall is a great progressive congressman and an important addition to the new Democratic majority. We are pleased to send a $5,000 contribution to his campaign and we're thrilled to welcome him to our growing list of "Progressive Patriots".

He is a Patriot and he loves his country,
because his country is all he knows.

Death by no Insurance

Once again we see another disturbing example of why we need some kind of universal coverage:

A twelve year old boy dies of a toothache with insurance complications.

WASHINGTON - Twelve-year-old Deamonte Driver died of a toothache Sunday.

A routine, $80 tooth extraction might have saved him.

If his mother had been insured.

If his family had not lost its Medicaid.

If Medicaid dentists weren't so hard to find.

If his mother hadn't been focused on getting a dentist for his brother, who had six rotted teeth.

By the time Deamonte's own aching tooth got any attention, the bacteria from the abscess had spread to his brain, doctors said. After two operations and more than six weeks of hospital care, the Prince George's County boy died.

Deamonte's death and the ultimate cost of his care, which could total more than $250,000, underscore an often-overlooked concern in the debate over universal health coverage: dental care.

And because we as a society were unwilling to provide him with the $80 treatment, we are in the end left with a tab for a quarter of a million.

That's 'conservative fiscal management' for you.

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Can You Ear Me Now?



Monday, February 26, 2007

Google It, Condi!

Keith Olbermann, Special comment:

Condi goes too far
Here we go again!
* * *

On the Sunday morning interview show "Of Broken Record" on Fox, Dr. Rice spoke a paragraph, which if it had been included in a remedial history paper at the weakest high school in the nation would've gotten the writer an "F" — maybe an expulsion.

If Congress were now to revise the Iraq authorization, she said, out loud, with an adult present: "… it would be like saying that after Adolf Hitler was overthrown, we needed to change, then, the resolution that allowed the United States to do that, so that we could deal with creating a stable environment in Europe after he was overthrown."
* * *

Oh, good grief, Secretary Rice, that's exactly what we did do! We went back to Congress to deal with creating a stable environment in Europe after Hitler was overthrown! It was called the Marshall Plan.


Gen. George Catlett Marshall!

Secretary of state!

The job you have now!

* * *

This administration has long thought otherwise, but you can't cherry-pick life — whether life in 2007, or life in the history page marked 1945. You can't keep the facts that fit your prejudices and throw out the ones that destroy your theories. And if you're going to try to do that; if you still want to fool some people into thinking that Saddam was Hitler, and once we gave FDR that blank check in Germany he was no longer subject to the laws of Congress or gravity or physics, at least stop humiliating us.

Get your facts straight. Use the Google!


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Decay, Mismanagement and Redirection

Newsweek writes about how the government is struggling to care for an increasing number of injured soldiers.

Carl Levin spoke this morning of the deplorable conditions at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. "we need a surge is not in Iraq. We need a surge of concern for our troops, for the veterans, for the injured, for the wounded, for the families of those who have lost loved ones. That’s the surge of concern and that’s the surge that we need," Levin said.
Think Progress has the video.

Meanwhile, SEYMOUR M. HERSH writes about "The Redirection - The Strategic Shift" toward Iran.
Some of the core tactics of the redirection are not public, however. The clandestine operations have been kept secret, in some cases, by leaving the execution or the funding to the Saudis, or by finding other ways to work around the normal congressional appropriations process, current and former officials close to the Administration said.
Crooks and Liars has the video of Sy Hersh with Blizter on CNN.
We are simply in a situation where this president is really taking his notion of executive privilege to the absolute limit here, running covert operations, using money that was not authorized by Congress, supporting groups indirectly that are involved with the same people that did 9/11, and we should be arresting these people rather than looking the other way…

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

No Free Lunch Today

I'm not exactly sure what kind of hawk this is. It is smaller than an adult red tail. While the characteristics are very similar, the bands on the tail confuse me.

It sat on the evergreen bush, about four feet from the window, for almost 20 minutes. When it finally flew off into the trees I was able to catch this picture.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Run, Al, Run

Carter Endorses Gore, Says Former Veep Can Win More Than Oscars

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos Reports: In an exclusive interview with former President Jimmy Carter set to air on Sunday's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos", Carter lavished praise on his favorite Democrat, former Vice President Al Gore. Carter told ABC News, "If Al should decide to run -- which I'm afraid he won't -- I would support Al Gore."

Me, too!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Public Service Announcement


Now that I am unemployed, I have a little more time to actually read the multiple pages that come with my Capital One credit card statement each month. And, it turns out that I am lucky to be unemployed or I would never have caught this. To my surprise, my 7.99% rate will be raised to 12.99% commencing April, 2007. And, it's not what you think - I've never, ever been late, nor have I exceeded my credit limit and I always pay way more than the minimum amount due. So, I called my friendly customer service rep and, incredulously asked her what this was about. And, to my disbelief, I was told that Capital One is losing money - that's right LOSING MONEY. Therefore, their losses are being passed on to the consumer (my words). The poor girl that worked in Customer Service advised me that everyone has to pay the higher rate, although she could offer me the rock bottom 11.99% due to my excellent payment history. Needless to say, I've said good-bye to Capital One.

So, the Republican bankruptcy law that benefited the credit card industry (Yes, thank you, Joe Biden), actually appears to have caused them to lose money. Now, if you believe that, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you.

Check your wallets.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Silly Talk

Last night on Faux Noise, Hannity and Colmes had the right-wing radio host Neal Boortz on who claimed that teachers unions are “destroying a generation” and are “much more dangerous than al Qaeda.”

Boortz stated:

“Look, Al Qaeda, they could bring in a nuke into this country and kill 100,000 people with a well-placed nuke somewhere. Ok. We would recover from that. It would be a terrible tragedy, but the teachers unions in this country can destroy a generation.”
I am not making this up. Think Progress has the video.

Helen Thomas Goes to the Back of the Bus

Every theater-style seat in the White House briefing room, now closed for renovation, had a brass plaque inscribed with the name of a news organization. Only one, in the middle of the front row, had a name: “HELEN THOMAS,” it said. The unique assigned seat between the chairs for CBS News and ABC News was reserved for the legendary United Press International correspondent who is now a columnist for Hearst Newspapers.

The press corps is scheduled to move from temporary facilities back into the spiffed-up, rewired briefing room in May or June. Thomas, who has been questioning presidents and press secretaries for 46 years, plans to be there. But her front-row seat won’t be. Plans call for her to be moved to the second row to make room for a cable news channel – a sign of Washington’s changing pecking order, and of the new ways that Americans get their news.

Well, I can't help but think that it's more than the "new ways that Americans get their news" that relegated Helen to the back of the pack. I think it has more to do with her biting criticism of this administration and their inability to answer truthfully. In any case, it is a shabby way to treat a remarkable hero of American Journalism. And, yes, after 46 years, I consider the second row the back of the bus.

Politico has it here

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Taking Care Of The Troops

The proposed Bush budget calls for a reduction in veteran health care two years from now, followed by three years of freezes... in addition to the cuts veterans have already suffered.

Yet, the government is not even taking good care of our veterans now: read about the shocking and deplorable conditions our returning injured troops endure at Walter Reed and the bungling bureaucratic treatment of veterans who suffer from brain injuries, severed arms and legs, organ and back damage, and various degrees of post-traumatic stress. Read the moving account of a Marine's suicide who was made to wait for PTSD treatment.

And this is how the pro-war "support the surge" Republic Party continues to NOT support our troops:

After repeatedly spinning their pre-approved talking points (PDF) to stall voting, and in spite of the fact that the nonbinding resolution specifically does support our troops, the Republic Party in the Senate foiled the Dems' bid to repudiate the Iraq surge:
The 56-34 vote fell four short of the 60 needed to advance a nonbinding measure identical to one the House passed Friday. [snip]

The nonbinding measure consisted of fewer than 100 words. It disapproved of Bush's decision to deploy more troops and pledged to support and protect the troops in the field. [snip]

"The Senate will keep fighting to force President Bush to change course," Reid said at a news conference after the vote.

In the House, Democrats have said they will attempt to place restrictions on Bush's request for an additional $93 billion for the military in an effort to make it impossible for him to deploy all 21,500 additional troops.
It makes you wonder:
How can any patriotic American support a regime that has shredded the US Constitution, ignored the separation of powers, violated the Geneva Conventions, forced through a law legalizing torture, launched a war of aggression that has produced 26,000 American military casualties in service of a lie, murdered tens or hundreds of thousands of Muslim civilians, destroyed an entire country, and planned an attack on Iran, perhaps with nuclear weapons?
It’s time to simply admit the obvious:
The president of the United States is crazy as a loon, and the Congress and the media are functioning as co-dependents as he runs the country off a cliff. [snip]

This seems to be the attitude in Congress and the media. The Democrats, who could put the president in a richly deserved straightjacket, are afraid to take that step. The media are afraid the president and his crazy backers would howl if they pointed out how nutty he has become.

So they all let him rant on, as though he were making sense.

The problem is that this president is also the commander in chief. He has ordered three heavily armed (and nuclear-equipped) carrier battle groups to the Persian Gulf and is talking about “dealing” with Iran. We all know what that means. He wants to attack Iran and expand his disastrous war in the Middle East to put us at war with another 70 million people.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Saturday Morning

Today the Senate will vote on whether to allow the anti-escalation resolution that passed the House yesterday to go to the Senate floor.

John Avarosis at AMERICAblog has something to say about who has chosen not to change his schedule to remain in Washington for this important vote. Hmmm....

The House voted yesterday on the resolution to condemn escalation with it passing 246-182. It is important to note that two Democrats, Jim Marshall (GA) and Gene Taylor (MS) defected and voted against it. However, 17 Republicans defied their party line to vote to condemn the "surge." TPM Cafe has the list of GOP Defectors.

It truly was a wartime rebuke to the Commander in Chief. Although it is an act that is not binding it certainly carries symbolic significance.

Congressmen and Congresswomen spoke this week about the policy in Iraq. Many stood up together and stated they were against this escalation.

Video: Rep. Patrick Murphy and Rep. John Hall.

The Gavel has more video of the speeches of the Freshman who spoke out against the escalation.

And Raw Story reports:

On the same day that the House of Representatives expressed its disapproval of President Bush's US troop increase in Iraq, the Pentagon announced it is accelerating the deployment of a division headquarters there by about three months, which would add another 1,000 troops to the "surge."
The 3rd Infantry Division headquarters, based in Fort Stewart, Ga. was scheduled for deployment in June 2007, however it will now begin its deployment in March 2007.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Hypocrite Christo-Fascists


Even though Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan have resigned from their positions with the John Edwards campaign, the problems and attacks from the fascist radical lunatics have not stopped.

Daily Kos says: As predicted, right wing activists have detected in the sheepish silence of the other Democratic presidential campaigns an opportunity to separate yet more top contenders from the herd, and turn Democrats against Democrats. [snip]

The self-proclaimed "Catholic-based advocacy group" Fidelis has sent essentially identical letters to Clinton (PDF) and Obama (PDF), demanding that they:

"...publicly condemn the anti-Catholic and anti-Christian blog posts by Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan..."

Frameshop says that Donohue's smears and demands that Edwards fire Amanda Marcotte as Blogmaster and Melissa McEwan as the Netroots Coordinator may violate tax laws:

The IRS document Organizational Test – IRC 501(c)(3) (link opens PDF file) states explicitly that an organization with this tax exempt status cannot intervene in a political campaign.

Despite the legal restrictions on his organization, Donohue appears to be using the Catholic League to campaign against John Edwards bid for the 2008 Democratic nomination for President, in particular the IRS strict prohibition for 501(c)(3)'s on "issue advocacy" as a form of political intervention.

And Huffington Post reports: The ramifications of Bill Donohue and the Catholic League's reckless rhetoric has materialized in the form of death threats to bloggers Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan. This is what happens when the ultra-right wing is given the megaphone of mainstream media. It is also a complete break down in the responsibility that the media has in vetting those who are given a platform to spread a message.

This is also evidence that ultra-right wing organizations that create messages based on hate and fear find sympathetic audiences with people who think more like citizen-militia than the loyal Catholics that Bill Donohue claims to represent. It is no wonder that there has been no mainstream Roman Catholic group, nor the Church itself, to step forward to support Donohue in his illegal, unethical scalp-seeking tirade against Senator Edwards' bloggers.

Bill Donohue must immediately rescind his hateful comments against these two young women and call on the hate-mongers, which he is responsible for inciting, to cease their threats against Amanda, Melissa, and their families. Call him at 212-371-3191 and demand this.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Rep. Rips "Republic" Party

Happy Birthday, {{Lizzy}}!


Hope this brings a smile to you:

Right-wingers like to use that familiar slur: "Democrat" Party -- and W (again) used it in the SOTU. Here's some payback time!

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY, Brooklyn and Queens) disses the "Republic" Party on the House floor Thursday, February 8, 2007, over their mind-wobbling (call the wah-mbulance!) whining over Nancy Pelosi's military plane...

Watch it at YouTube.

Download versions at Crooks & Liars.

Read the full text at Carpetbagger.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Paraplegic dumped in skid row by hospital. Without a wheelchair.

Sadly, this isn't the first time I've had to blog on Los Angeles hospitals' unique way of dealing with the homeless. In fact, in my second post on the topic, just this past October, I wrote about how this practice had become the target of a criminal investigation.

How would you like to be discharged from the hospital, still in pain or not completely well, and dropped off someplace where you did not come from, perhaps didn't know where you were, and among people who you did not know? If someone-- homeless or not-- requests to be taken downtown, then it is fine to take them there. But absent such a request, discharge from a hospital is just that-- they can walk out the front door.

We also know that some of the homeless dumped on skid row 'paid' their hospital bill another way-- apparently being abducted, murdered and their bodies 'donated' to UCLA medical center in the infamous UCLA cadaver scandal.

But a story out today makes even that nauseating turn of events seem like old news:

a homeless paraplegic was dumped on skid row by an L.A. hospital:

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- A hospital van dropped off a paraplegic man on Skid Row, allegedly leaving him crawling in the street with nothing more than a soiled gown and a broken colostomy bag, police said.

Witnesses who said they saw the incident Thursday wrote down a phone number on the van and took down its license-plate number, which helped detectives connect the vehicle to Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, the Los Angeles Times reported on its Web site.

Police said the incident was a case of "homeless dumping" and were questioning officials from the hospital.

Outrage is too mild a word for what I felt when I read this story. No matter how horrid some of these stories have gotten, it's always possible to think 'well, there is still something left they won't do.' Get a hint: NO, there is nothing they won't do. If they will even toss a paralyzed hospital patient out onto the street, then these goons will do anything. In fact, this should be prosecuted as a hate crime.

I know that hospitals lose a ton of money treating the indigent (welcome to America 2007, even as our President submits a budget that calls for another round of cuts in Medicaid) but if this is the best they can do, then there is indeed a strong argument for not just increasing Medicaid payments on behalf of the indigent, but in fact just plain nationalizing some hospitals (this one would be a prime candidate). Obviously the Presbyterian Church (which apparently has lent its name to the medical center) is incapable of running an institution that shows even the most minimal level of decency.

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Taliban making a comeback while we are fixated on Iraq

While all the focus is (still) on Iraq, it seems like no one is paying attention to 'the forgotten war' in Afghanistan. And while we have been ignoring it, the Taliban have re-emerged as a major power structure within the country and now control or have a great deal of influence in large areas of the country.

Like Iraq, the situation is deteriorating and has been for over four years. Like Iraq, we have seen poor leadership from this administration that has played into why we are stuck in such a bad situation. And like Iraq, our troops have become targets in an ongoing civil war.

There is a difference however. Lest we forget, those who actually did us harm on 9/11 were hiding out in Afghanistan, not Iraq. And unlike Iraq, which was simply a war of George Bush's choice, and which was therefore not supported widely within the international community, there was very little opposition from that community to our invading the Taliban-run country.

But Afghanistan has just never been a major concern for this administration. As former President Clinton astutely noted, there are more than seven times as many American troops in Iraq as there are in and around Afghanistan. The whole argument about 'fighting terrorists over there...' falls flat on its face when we see how little the war against al-Qaeda in the place where we know for a fact they are strongest fits into the priority scheme. In fact, we even have President Bush on record:

I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority.

-- George W. Bush on March 13, 2002 (more than a year before the Iraq war, but when he was starting to ratchet up the rhetoric against Saddam Hussein).

Obviously he was telling the truth when he made that quote. Because Afghanistan has not been a priority at all. Well, maybe for a few short weeks during election season (as I wrote in a post entitled Terrorism and the Afghan War (written last year, exactly two months before the November election). The President had at the time been talking a lot more about the Afghan war and al-Qaeda than he had for-- well-- since the 2004 election:

I bet that by Christmas, Afghanistan will be relegated to the same second thought that it has been over the past few years.

I was right about that. Came Christmas, and it was. Fortunately, the Bush administration had gone to that well one too many times and the American people didn't buy it.

I believe two (not necessarily contradictory) things about Afghanistan. The first is that we actually have a real reason for being there and we should stay until the Taliban and bin Laden are gone. The second, on the other hand, is that we have already compromised our position in Afghanistan because of the focus on Iraq. If we are not ready to make fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda there our priority then getting out is a much better option than continuing to fight the war of attrition we see going on right now.

Continuing to send American troops to fight and die in Afghanistan while we send the resources they would need to Iraq is the worst of all worlds, and if that is the Bush administration's plan then we owe it to our troops to get them out of there.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Twins For Twyn


Monday, February 05, 2007

Rush is a racist, and nothing brings that out like the NFL

Today while discussing the Super Bowl, Rush Limbaugh went into a tirade about how the media wanted Chicago Bears quarterback Rex Grossman to fail (which Grossman did, throwing a pair of late interceptions and adding two fumbles to make a strong case for why he should be Super Bowl MVP-- for the Colts.) It is true that last week the media kept asking whether Grossman might be the worst Super Bowl quarterback ever (which he also made a case for yesterday).

Rush then inserted two words that he used to explain why the media was (as he put it) 'rooting for Grossman to fail,' and those two words, almost inserted as an afterthought were 'white quarterback.' Of course words that people casually insert into a conversation often tell much more about who they really are and how they think than what they think through before they say.

What Rush said is in fact stupid on the face of it. Not only were the media simultaneously commenting on how superlatively good (white) Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning was (so that the notion that they root for white quarterbacks to fail is plainly absurd), but the reason for the negative questions about Rex was because we've seen the 'bad Rex' this year, and he has been really, really bad (as he showed the world last night). It was really a question of which Rex Grossman would show up-- he is inconsistent, and there is no way around it.

There was a racial angle on the game, to be sure, but it had nothing to do with the quarterback matchup-- the notion that black quarterbacks weren't as good as white quarterbacks was ended when Doug Williams and Washington won big almost twenty years ago. The racial angle yesterday was that two black coaches, Tony Dungy of Indianapolis and Lovie Smith of Chicago, both directed their clubs to the Super Bowl and Dungy became the first black coach to win a Super Bowl (which the NFL has done an outstanding job of ending racial hiring preferences across the league-- too bad that college football hasn't done the same).

What is really amazing is that this isn't the first time that Rush has talked about media coverage of a quarterback and added race into the equation. Recall that in 2003 he lost his job providing commentary on Monday Night Football by saying that Eagles' quarterback Donovan McNabb was 'overrated' because the media wanted to see a black quarterback succeed (again, that was over 15 years after Williams' performance in Super Bowl XXII had ended the race issue in regard to quarterbacks for anyone other than obdurate racists like Limbaugh shows himself to be).

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Wake Up, Little Snoozie

Sleeping Beauty (a hopeful fairy tale)

by W. Christopher Epler

A beautiful county was once bewitched into a deep, deep sleep.

Then her spacious skies and purple mountain majesties were polluted and raped by corporate, Texan dragons of greed. Her fruited plains and amber waves of grain were bled dry by Bush/Saudi greed vampires who wouldn't know what a plow or furrow looked like if they stumbled over one while shooting friends in the face while duck hunting in the deadly Swamps of Cheneyburton.

And forget the crown of brotherhood from sea to shining sea, since the Christian Fundamentalists hated everyone. Captain Insecticide (a former killer of bugs), said don't Delay, we know the way, while the usurper King sold the country's soul to a neocon lobby which is now captaining America's Ship of State -- but NOT for the well being and national security of the United States of America.

The spinner magicians tried their best to keep the Prince of Truth from kissing the Sleeping Beauty. Their thorns were everywhere and many knights lost their way in the mists of Judas media.

However, very gradually reality rain washed and nourished the land and after many kisses from the more courageous knights, the Sleeping Beauty is finally awakening and some day soon will sing America the Beautiful.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Bush Does Democrats

A sidebar to Barbi's post below. Notice the look of rapture on Rahm's face in the first photo.

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John Edwards is not being Silent

From Sen. Edward's speech at the DNC Winter Meeting:

We are here because somewhere in America a mother wipes her hand on a dishcloth to go answer a knock on her door ... and opens it to find an army chaplain and an officer standing there with solemn faces and her boy's name - her patriotic son who enlisted after September 11 - on their lips. It doesn't have to be that way.

We are here because somewhere in the world, a 5-year old boy in a refugee camp is bending under the weight of his 2-year old sister. His family massacred, he carries his remaining sister everywhere, and sleeps with his arms wrapped tightly around her, knowing that tomorrow he will have to do the same thing, and again the next day and the day after that because she is all the family he has now. It doesn't have to be that way.

They are why we are here. Because everywhere in America, people are counting on us to stand up for them.

And so I ask you,

Will you stand up for America?

Because if we don't stand up, who will?

Video here:

***Standing with Fist Raised***



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