Thursday, March 29, 2007

Senate Passes Iraq Funding Bill

Passage of the Bill (H.R. 1591, As Amended)

Yea 51
Nay 47
N/V 2

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bush Threatens To Veto Troop Funding

Bush renews vow to veto Iraq timeline

As the Senate resumed debate Wednesday on a bill containing a spring 2008 timetable for bringing American troops home, Bush argued again that such a step would result in a needless delay of funds for troops. But Democrats are insisting that he'll have to accept some sort of timeline to get the money.
"Why doesn't he get real with what's going on with the world?" Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said after Bush's speech. "We're not holding up funding in Iraq and he knows that. Why doesn't he deal with the real issues facing the American people?"
* * * * *

"If Congress fails to pass a bill to fund our troops on the front lines, the American people will know who to hold responsible," Bush said.
* * * * *

"This Congress will hold him accountable for the conduct of this war and we will have legislation that will give him every dollar he asks for, for our troops and more, but with accountability," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Dems: Bush must accept Iraq timetable

"We would hope that the president understands how serious we are," said Majority Leader Harry Reid D-Nev., after the Senate voted to uphold a proposal in a war spending bill calling for the troop withdrawal.
* * * * *

"We have misunderstood, misread, misplanned and mismanaged our honorable intentions in Iraq with an arrogant self-delusion reminiscent of Vietnam," said Hagel (R-Neb).
Comparing House and Senate Iraq bills

Comparing Iraq withdrawal measures

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Withdrawal Timeline Stays

The Senate has voted and they said NO to removing the timeline for the troop withdrawal in Iraq. Meaning...the timeline stays...for now.

Chuck Hagel stood by his word. And the shocker of the night was that Ben Nelson voted with the Democrats. Howie Klein has a good post up with remarks by Russ Feingold.

Lieberman, well he did what we all expected. And did anyone see who came racing over to vote, thinking it was going to be a tie breaker? Gawd I love it when the Dems defeat GOP bills -- a true representation of what the people want.

Tless2 has a reminder for Susan and Olympia.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Just Say No - New York State's 21st Congressional District

I could not be more proud of my congressional representative. Michael McNulty is as solid as they come. If you concur and have an inclination to thank him, you can reach him here:

(Washington, DC):

Congressman Michael R. McNulty today voted against the supplemental appropriations bill to continue funding the War in Iraq. He issued the following statement:

"In the spring of 1970, during my first term as Town Supervisor of Green Island, I testified against the War in Vietnam at a Congressional Field Hearing in Schenectady New York.

"Several months after that testimony, my brother, HM3 William F. McNulty, a Navy Medic, was killed in Quang Nam Province. I have thought -- many times since then -- that if President Nixon had listened to the voices of reason back then, my brother Bill might still be alive.

"As a Member of Congress today, I believe that the Iraq War will eventually be recorded as one of the biggest blunders in the history of warfare. In October of 2002 I made a huge mistake in voting to give this President the authority to take military action in Iraq. I will not compound that error by voting to authorize this war's continuation.

"On the contrary, I will do all that is within my power to end this war, to bring our troops home, and to spare other families the pain that the McNulty family has endured every day since August 9th, 1970."

Saturday, March 24, 2007

When the Stone Begins to Turn

Nancy Pelosi responded to yesterday's passing of the Iraq Supplemental:
“The American people have lost faith in the president’s conduct of this war. … The American people see the reality of the war, the president does not.”
Bush said immediately following the vote at a press conference:
The purpose of the emergency war spending bill I requested was to provide our troops with vital funding. Instead, Democrats in the House, in an act of political theater, voted to substitute their judgment for that of our military commanders on the ground in Iraq. They set rigid restrictions that will require an army of lawyers to interpret. They set an arbitrary date for withdrawal without regard for conditions on the ground.
David Sirota wrote in the wee hours before the vote:
The progressive Democratic Members of Congress who had been considering trying to kill the supplemental bill that includes binding language to end the war made a deal with Speaker Pelosi to provide the necessary votes to pass the legislation. This is a principled and shrewd move that these lawmakers should be applauded for if and when the bill passes. And it is a courageous move because it is never, ever easy to swallow a compromise, even if it is clearly the right thing to do to achieve long-term goals. These Members of Congress played hardball from the beginning, and that hardball made sure this bill included strong, binding legislation to end the war. Without that hardball, that legislation wouldn't be in this supplemental at all. In fact, such binding language probably wouldn't even be voted on at all in any form, much less have a solid chance to be passed by the full House today. And because of their efforts, progressive Democrats have not only brought the war closer to an end, but they have become one of the most powerful blocs in the U.S. Congress.

When the walls have begun to crumble
When the laws have begun to burn
When the winds is singing freedom
When the stone begins to turn
~Jackson Browne~


Friday, March 23, 2007

An example of how a conservative budget cut will create more of what conservatives say they are against

Conservatives should be happy.

Their fiscal solutions help create more social problems, which later create more budgetary problems they can rail against, so they can be happy because they always have something to complain about.

For example, there is a story out today about how because of a bill the GOP Congress passed in 2005 ostensibly to reduce the deficit (you know, the one they created with trillions in tax cuts), the price that college students will pay for birth control pills will double or triple to in excess of hundreds of dollars per year (for comparison, when I was in college I once paid $20 per month to live in a non-air conditioned converted boxcar during the summer, in desert heat-- and for many students their standard of living has not improved much since then.)

(AP) -- Millions of college students are suddenly facing sharply higher prices for birth control, prompting concerns among health officials that some will shift to less preferred contraceptives or stop using them altogether.

Prices for oral contraceptives, or birth control pills, are doubling and tripling at student health centers, the result of a complex change in the Medicaid rebate law that essentially ends an incentive for drug companies to provide deep discounts to colleges.

"It's a tremendous problem for our students because not every student has a platinum card," said Hugh Jessop, executive director of the health center at Indiana University....

At some schools women could see prices rise several hundred dollars per year.

About 39 percent of undergraduate women use oral contraceptives, according to an estimate by the American College Health Association based on survey data.

Many students could shift to generics but experts said they might still pay twice the previous rate.

Let's focus on what will happen. I'm not going to split hairs about numbers or who else might do what (though I suspect that the number of students who will therefore and only for this reason abstain from sex, which is what conservatives would probably claim they want, is negligible.) While I suspect the following 'some' would be quite a large number, I'll just say, 'some' since any conservative who wanted to dispute it would have to argue the negation of 'some' (which is 'none') and would be in obvious denial as to the consequences of their 2005 budget cut that is now taking effect.

Here is what will happen to SOME of these adult college students: some of them will certainly quit taking the birth control pills due to the increased cost, and some of those will have unwanted pregnancies.

Some of those pregnancies will result in abortions. This will give conservatives cause to celebrate, because the number of abortions (largely due to sex education and contraception) is down 25% since the early 1990's. When these college women start having abortions maybe that trend will reverse itself and then conservatives will have something more to complain about, because they never seem to be happy unless they have something to rail against.

Some of those who do not have abortions, will keep their child. Some of them will give up on their dreams of earning a degree, and instead of becoming an educated and likely productive member of society, will join the oversupply of low skill, non-college educated workers competing for a shrinking supply of low-wage jobs. The later children of those women will have a much worse standard of living growing up than the later children of them would have if they were born to a professional, college educated mother. And some of them will end up on public assistance-- which I guess will please future conservatives very much (else why are they passing bills like this) because then they will have a whole new generation of 'welfare queens' they can complain about.

Yup, conservatism breeds the fuel for more conservatism. What a deal.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Edwards Campaign Goes On

The campaign goes on

John Edwards said Thursday that his wife is now battling an incurable reappearance of cancer but vowed to continue his second bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"The campaign goes on. The campaign goes on strongly," Edwards told reporters, his wife by his side.

The recurrence of the cancer -- this time on Elizabeth Edwards' bone -- presents a setback for the couple, both personally and politically. But both said the cancer was treatable and that they would stick with their plans to campaign vigorously for the nomination.

"From our perspective, there was no reason to stop," Edwards said. "I don't think we seriously thought about it." [...]

The couple, married 30 years, have a grown daughter, Cate, and two young children, Emma Claire and Jack. Their teenage son, Wade, died in 1996 when high winds swept his Jeep off a North Carolina highway.

"We've been confronted with these kind of traumas and struggles already in our life," Edwards said. "When this happens you have a choice -- you can go and cower in the corner or you can go out there and be tough."

Elizabeth Edwards added: "We're always going to look for the silver lining -- it's who we are as people."
On stage 4 breast cancer...

Bone cancer outlook:
The bone is one of the most common places where breast cancer spreads, and once it does so it is not considered curable.

But it is treatable, and how long women survive depends on how widespread the cancer is in the bone. Many women survive for years. The longer it takes for cancer to spread after the initial tumor, the better the prognosis. Elizabeth Edwards was diagnosed in 2004.

Chemotherapy and radiation are standard treatments, along with use of drugs that specifically target the bones called bisphosphonates. Other treatments include hormone therapy if the cancer is responsive to estrogen.

"I will have what will be a less debilitating kind of chemotherapy ... for the rest of my life," Elizabeth Edwards said.

Dr. Lisa Carey, Edwards’ physician, said that initial tests showed some very small suspicious spots elsewhere, but that the therapy focus would be on the bone. Asked where else, she said "possibly involving the lung."

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Edwards to Suspend Campaign

John Edwards is suspending his campaign for President, and may drop out completely, because his wife has suffered a recurrence of the cancer that sickened her in 2004, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, an Edwards friend told The Politico.

"At a minimum he's going to suspend" the campaign, the source said. "Nobody knows precisely how serious her recurrence is. It’ll be another couple of days before there’s complete clarity." "For him right now he has one priority which is her health and the security of the two young children," said the friend.

As for the campaign, "You don't shut this machine off completely, but everything will go on hold."

Politico blogs


Getting It Wrong

A single, confident source close to John Edwards told me this morning that Edwards was "suspending his campaign," and I posted it to the blog at 11:06 this morning.

My source, and I, were wrong.

The source, whose anonymity I agreed to respect, spoke of the kind of grim prognosis Elizabeth Edwards herself just described hearing before a second round of tests came back. I trusted the source, somebody I've known for several years, and who has always been reliable.

And with less than an hour before Edwards was to announce, I unwisely wrote the item without getting a second source.

When the campaign pushed back harder than I'd expected, I added that information to the original item, but that doesn't undo the damage.

My apologies to our readers for passing on bad information.

Politico blogs

A lot of the reason I really like John Edwards as to do with this. While the Republicans are out preaching family values, the likes of Newt Gingrich trying to divorce his wife while she was in the hospital going through cancer, Mr. Edwards is living family values by stepping to the plate and doing the right thing, putting politics to the side and being with his wife during this time. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Edwards family, Mrs. Edwards, John and the kids.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Springtime is seen as a time of growth, renewal, of new life being born, and of the cycle of life once again starting.

It is also used more generally as the start of better times.

"Love is a springtime plant that perfumes everything with its hope,
even the ruins to which it clings.”
~Gustave Flaubert

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Helen Stays in Front

Update, via TPM:

Helen Thomas Keeps Front Row Seat

"In addition, the board agreed to honor a previous commitment by our association to maintain Helen Thomas' seat in the first row. As the dean of the White House press corps, Helen is an institution. First with United Press International and now as a White House columnist for Hearst newspapers, Helen has covered every president since John Kennedy."

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh*

*Happy St. Patrick's Day

Friday, March 16, 2007

US Attorney Scandal Timeline

Talking Points Memo has got it.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Smile - it's Savana

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Instant Karma: The Campaign To Save Darfur

Make Some Noise is an international project of Amnesty International, and aims to inspire a new generation to celebrate and stand up for human rights through the works of John Lennon. This Global Music Activism Project will benefit relief work in Darfur, Sudan.

The album hits stores in June, but R.E.M's version of #9 Dream has been released as a single today. (It is quite good, but then again, I am partial to R.E.M.)

So long ago
Was it in a dream, was it just a dream?
I know, yes I know
Seemed so very real, it seemed so real to me

Yoko says:

"John's music set out to inspire change, and in standing up for human rights, we really can make the world a better place."

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Rudy made sure they found the gold. Then he quit looking.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has jumped to the head of the GOP Presidential field, despite not having actually run for any office in nearly a decade (maybe that is why he is so popular).

His biggest plus, according to everyone was his exhibition of leadership on September 11. He got the second biggest accolades for heroism on that day. The biggest of course, were for the first responders, especially the New York Fire Department, which lost 343 of its members. Those who went into the buildings to help others get out of them.

So how are the Firefighters responding to Rudy today? Not well, it turns out. They drafted a letter listing very specific reasons they are not supporting him.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- One of the nation's largest firefighters' unions has accused Republican presidential contender Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, of committing "egregious acts" against firefighters who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks.

In a letter to its members Friday, the International Association of Fire Fighters excoriated Giuliani for his November 2001 decision to cut back the number of firefighters searching the rubble of Ground Zero for the remains of some 300 fallen comrades.

The 280,000-member union accused him of carelessly expediting the cleanup process with a "scoop-and-dump" operation after the recovery of millions of dollars in gold, silver and other assets from the Bank of Nova Scotia that had been buried.

Now granted, by November of 2001, it was certain that no one else would be found alive in the rubble, but it is a fact that only a small portion of the rubble was really searched thoroughly through for remains (and the discovery of several sets of remains since then even in the industrial scale cleanup operation since shows that it would not have been all that hard to find most of them, at least). Don't the family of the real heroes even deserve that?

Well, no, apparently. It is clear that Rudy's biggest concern was to make sure that the gold and silver were found and recovered. After that, nothing else was left that was as important as the reserves of the Bank of Nova Scotia.

So this is a union, and they always back Democrats, right?

No again. It is true that they endorsed John Kerry in 2004 after the Bush administration's promises to fund first responders turned out to be more flourish than substance. But in the 1997 mayoral race, the last time Rudy Giuliani ran for office, he beat Ruth Messinger with their backing and their votes.

It seems that Rudy's leadership on September 11 is a bit overrated. The tragedy itself happened in the heart of the nation's biggest metropolitan area, where the infrastructure remained otherwise intact, and everyone who survived had a home to go back to so there were no refugees. In this regard it was far less of a test of leadership than, for example, Katrina which devastated an entire region, including homes, hospitals and shelters. So the real test of leadership came in the days, weeks and months after the September 11 attacks, and it is clear that once the gold was safely back in the Bank of Nova Scotia, Rudy Giuliani simply turned his back on the real heroes of the day.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Gingrich Had Affair During Clinton Probe

By BEN EVANS Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich acknowledged he was having an extramarital affair even as he led the charge against President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair, he acknowledged in an interview with a conservative Christian group.

"The honest answer is yes," Gingrich, a potential 2008 Republican presidential candidate, said in an interview with Focus on the Family founder James Dobson to be aired Friday, according to a transcript provided to The Associated Press. "There are times that I have fallen short of my own standards. There's certainly times when I've fallen short of God's standards."

Gingrich argued in the interview, however, that he should not be viewed as a hypocrite for pursuing Clinton's infidelity.

"The president of the United States got in trouble for committing a felony in front of a sitting federal judge," the former Georgia congressman said of Clinton's 1998 House impeachment on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. "I drew a line in my mind that said, 'Even though I run the risk of being deeply embarrassed, and even though at a purely personal level I am not rendering judgment on another human being, as a leader of the government trying to uphold the rule of law, I have no choice except to move forward and say that you cannot accept ... perjury in your highest officials."

Widely considered a mastermind of the Republican revolution that swept Congress in the 1994 elections, Gingrich remains wildly popular among many conservatives. He has repeatedly placed near the top of Republican presidential polls recently, even though he has not formed a campaign.

Gingrich has said he is waiting to see how the Republican field shapes up before deciding in the fall whether to run.

Reports of extramarital affairs have dogged him for years as a result of two messy divorces, but he has refused to discuss them publicly.

Gingrich, who frequently campaigned on family values issues, divorced his second wife, Marianne, in 2000 after his attorneys acknowledged Gingrich's relationship with his current wife, Callista Bisek, a former congressional aide more than 20 years younger than he is.

His first marriage, to his former high school geometry teacher, Jackie Battley, ended in divorce in 1981. Although Gingrich has said he doesn't remember it, Battley has said Gingrich discussed divorce terms with her while she was recuperating in the hospital from cancer surgery. Gingrich married Marianne months after the divorce.

"There were times when I was praying and when I felt I was doing things that were wrong. But I was still doing them," he said in the interview. "I look back on those as periods of weakness and periods that I'm ... not proud of."

Gingrich's congressional career ended in 1998 when he abruptly resigned from Congress after poor showings from Republicans in elections and after being reprimanded by the House ethics panel over charges that he used tax-exempt funding to advance his political goals.

Wha, wha, wha, what?!?!?

DEQ Withdraws Approval of Kennecott Mine

The Department of Environmental Quality announced Thursday that it has withdrawn its proposed decision to approve a permit for the Kennecott Eagle Minerals Company to construct a mine on the Yellow Dog Plains.

Officials say they discovered that two reports on the structural integrity of the mine were not properly made part of the public record or given a comprehensive review.


Yellow Dog Plains

Save the Wild UP

I hope this mine doesn't get approval. The area they are thinking of mining is about 3 miles from the camp I did a lot of growing up at. The place that I had my first beer, shot my first gun and spent quality time with two of my role models, my grandpa and my great grandpa. This mine has the potential to destroy a pristine wilderness and a pristine river. This delay is a step in the right direction. I hope the Michigan DEQ does the right thing and does not give this mine approval.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Honoring the Dead

We are just 11 days shy of the 4 year mark since the United States invaded Iraq.

  • We were told it was because of WMDs, oops wrong, no WMD's there.
  • We were told it was because of Saddam Hussien, well the man has been hung.
  • We were told it was for Democracy.
9 U.S. soldiers died in 2 separate incidents north of Baghdad yesterday.

But not just US soldiers died.

4 people were killed when a parked car bomb exploded in western Baghdad.
8 Shiite pilgrims were killed when they came under attack.
3 people were killed, 20 miles south of Baghdad.
1 pilgrim died in a roadside bomb attack in Waziriya.
5 policemen died when a bomb exploded near their convoy in Maamil.
2 men were killed by gunmen in separate attacks south of Baghdad.
2 people died when a roadside bomb exploded next to a fuel tanker in north Baghdad's Sarafiyah neighborhood
38 people died in the blast when a suicide car bomber turned a venerable book market into a deadly inferno.
7 pilgrims were killed when a gunmen targeted Shiite pilgrims.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Pseudo Journalists. Who Butters Your Bread?

This hideous face of the Republican Party has been obvious to those of us who have been paying attention for a long, long time. It is the single most important reason why our politics have devolved into a filthy grudge match.

For a long time liberals were paralyzed or indifferent as the GOP demonized liberalism as the root of every problem and pathology in American society. We were derided as unamerican, treasonous and evil. After the congressional harrassment of the 90's, the partisan impeachment, the puerile coverage of campaign 2000 and the resulting installation of a Republican president under very dubious circumstances, Democrats of all stripes heard both the Republicans and the media smirking at our outrage and telling us to "get over it."

And all of this was his was after Bill Clinton had moved the party to the center, had governed as a bipartisan compromiser and the Republicans impeached him anyway. Clearly, the Democratic party was blind if they didn't take the Republicans at their threatening words.

Salus populi suprema est lex*

Christy at Firedoglake posted the Sunday Talking Head's Thread and keenly noted:

I would love to hear Jack Murtha and Lindsey Graham talking honestly about the mess that our military is in at the moment — and about what that means for our national security. And about the abysmal treatment our vets have been getting at Walter Reed and elsewhere.
Well, Christy - I think Jack Murtha did not let you down. Think Progress has the video:
Murtha pointed out that Cheney “just does not listen to what I’m saying.” Cheney ignores the military’s readiness crisis and the fact that “the future threats to this country significantly increased in the last year because we have no ground strategic reserve. … He doesn’t talk about the policy and the results of what I’m saying.”
And just look at who is complaining over at Faux Noise. Brit Hume called "the neglect and deplorable conditions at the military hospital a “potential” political firestorm suggesting that the Bush administration would not have demanded resignations from the Army Secretary and the chief of Walter Reed had the Democrats not taken control of Congress last November."

Think Progress has that video too.

*Salus populi suprema est lex - The safety of the people is the highest law.

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