Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Clinton and Spitzer Rally for John Hall

Yesterday Pres. Bill Clinton came to our district to campaign and rally the Democrats in our District. I just wanted to share it with you. It was a truly an amazing event. President Clinton said that the GOP is stating that the Democratics are are going to tax Americans to the poor house. But I thought many Americans were already in the poorhouse thanks to Bush.

You can view the speech here.

More here at Daily Kos

Today, Eliot Spitzer, our future Governor came to Fishkill and rallied for John Hall.

Rantin' Rev: "You Choose"

(Borrowed from the Rev:)

No question that the neoselfservatives have completely screwed up Iraq and destabilized the Middle East. None whatsoever. No question that Iraq is already in a civil war. When people stop voting and start shooting at each other, that's a civil war, end of story, period, full stop.

Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld's little pirate war has ruined our economy, completely screwed up the Middle East, enslaved our treasury to Communist China (unforgivable!) and wiped their fat backsides on the Constitution. Criminals, with criminal-minded (or cult-freak) followers. That's not what I want running my government. It's up to each American to decide whether or not they want a criminal government or a clean, transparent one. The only way that happens is to participate and not give them a chance to steal it out from under you.

I blame people who sit on their butts or say "oh, I don't like politics" just as much as I blame the nutcase right-wingers for the mess our government is in; equally for enabling the neoKKKons to perpetrate sedition at home and nation-as-enterprise-building abroad. If you feel un-inclined to vote for change, consider this:

If you were in a department store and saw someone tucking a few shirts into their bags, would you call an associate over and point it out, or would you "just let it ride" because you're not interested and think it doesn't affect you? Allowing someone else to steal through your own inaction is just as much aiding and abetting as if you were handing the thief the shirts to steal.

You gonna let a group of people do that to your whole country? If you stand idly by or vote to continue enabling theft, misery and destruction (R) then you are no better than the criminal. Period.

On the other hand, if you try to do the right thing, (voting D), even if some of your candidates are defeated this go around, you've cleared your conscience and departed from sin. As far as I concerned, it's almost as simple as that. Protecting the Constitution and the American way of life is the most patriotic act of all.

Enabling those who destroy the Constitution, steal your jobs and send them overseas, steal oil from other nations, enrich themselves on no-bid contracts that your tax dollars are being wasted on, isn't just wrong... it's unpatriotic, and borders on the stupid and self-destructive.

You choose.

The best thing we can do as a nation is to get the hell away from Iraq, quit throwing our children into a death machine and set about restoring our face. The only way we can do that is to mind our own damn business for a while, prosecute and convict the criminals who stole from us and attempted to steal from Iraq, and get our own house clean.

We have no business telling anyone else how to run their business, when obviously and demonstrably we can't run our own.

The neoselfservatives have been picking illegal wars since Korea. It's waaayyyyy past time to put a stop to their criminality. Don't just throw the bums out; throw them in prison where they richly deserve to be.

~Red Letter Rev


Dough, Joe?

You may have read about the approximately $400,000 in slush funds spent by the Lieberman campaign that remain unaccounted for. You can read more about it here:


I can't help but wonder what that is all about. Well, okay, I have a theory. My neighbor was GOING to be a driver for the Lieberman campaign. He changed his mind (thank goodness!). BUT, the Lieberman campaign committed to paying him $14 an hour. Not huge, right? But they wanted him to commit to 10 hours/day from now until the election.

I'm not mathematician (I can't even spell it right!). Lessee. Ten hours a day at $14 an hour is $140. And if one does this work for the next seven days (as proposed), the drivers earn $980. For many, this may be seen as chump change. To less fortunate others, not so much.

Let's think about this a bit further in that context. I recall during the week approaching the primary, that Lieberman paid $12 an hour to have young sign holders stand on our major roadways. The sign holders (from what I saw) were teens from Hartford. I don't begrudge them from making an honest living. But they don't care what they do for that stinking $12/hour. Could even be that they don't know or believe in what they are doing beyond that paycheck.

I do know that the campaign my son worked on over the summer (in Hartford) also employed these teens from Hartford. Most, understandably, did not have cars or transportation. In some cases, they would be afforded rides by the staff with cars. Others had to be fired because the campaign couldn't accommodate enough transportation for them.

Joe, or someone on his staff, came up with the brilliant idea of pouring more money into drivers so that these underpriveleged kids can earn money to survive in the inner city. Good for them that they can make some honest money. But what does that say about dough-Joe? It feels like exploitation, on some levels, to me.

Am I crazy? I know it's not sweat-shop pay or anything like that. But why is it that Joe needs to use this financial muscle to accellerate his cause? What about his "loyal" followers? You know, the ones that believe in his agenda? Why does Joe need to PAY the less fortunate to champion his cause -- even if they don't know what that is?

PS: Didja "catch" the double entendre of my subject line? Dough, Joe = Dojo. You know, the karate term for where folks fight in the ring.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Granholm, Yes! DeVos, NO!

Granholm hits home run with supporters:

“The people of Michigan are smart. They know the economy is tied to the auto industry, and we happen to have a larger concentration of those jobs than any state in the country. They want to know if we've got a plan to diversify our economy and bring in jobs, and we do.”

“Despite having a hostile Legislature, we still got through the main components of our economic plan,” Granholm said. “Plus we got a water protection act we had not gotten for 20 years, a higher minimum wage, an earned income tax credit, a tax credit for manufacturers and new high school graduation standards.

“Absolutely we would continue to work with them. But I would prefer a Democratic legislature because I would like to see a $4,000 scholarship for every single child and an end to restrictions for stem cell research.”

“Every time I turn on the television and see this president, I get angry,” she said. “This president has been utterly disrespectful of working people. Not only has he refused to meet with the CEOs of the Big Three (automakers), but he's also failed to enforce the trade agreements we have.

“We say all the time, 'NAFTA and CAFTA have given us the shafta,' but now the president has refused to take our trading partners to court, which has hurt Michigan more than any other state.”

As an example of unfair trade, Granholm said Chinese cars can enter the U.S. market with a 2.5 percent tariff, while U.S. automakers have to pay a 25 percent tariff there.

“We are not afraid of trade, but the playing field has to be fair,” she said. “My opponent is someone who lobbied for these trade agreements that have hurt Michigan. He's not a jobs creator in Michigan. He created jobs in China and eliminated jobs in Michigan.”

“We need a no-worker-left-behind law,” Granholm said. “We need a governor who is going to fight for 40-somethings and 50-somethings who have been left behind by this global economy. I'm going to fight for you. You got my back, I've got yours.”

Video: New Granholm Ad

Along with the Detroit Free Press, Lansing State Journal, Saginaw News and Ludington Daily News, Governor Granholm has garnered more newspaper endorsements:

The Muskegon Chronicle
The Battle Creek Enquirer
The Kalamazoo Gazette
The Bay City Times
The Ann Arbor News

and The Traverse City Record Eagle:
“Trying to blame Granholm for the shift in the global economy is simplistic to the point of dishonesty. Compounding that tunnel vision is the refusal to acknowledge the massive deficit Granholm inherited from former Gov. John Engler, who gave away a hefty state surplus via tax cuts for business. Who fixed Engler’s hole in the dam? Granholm.”


Dick DeVos (R-Amway) is a failure:

Sunday, October 29, 2006

New York's 41st

Hey everyone,

We are near the finish line. So far, we have:

- Over 800 individual donors
- Raised over $90,000
- Produced and aired TWO GREAT TV ads
- Debated the opponent and won
- Stirred up a lot of noise here
- Put us in a great position to win this thing

What we still have left to do is:

- Purchase some more TV time
- Expand the universe of our final two mailings
- Execute our GOTV campaign

What we need to accomplish this feat:

- Another $10,000 by Monday

I know you have helped us out in the past, and I'm asking you to do it ONE MORE TIME. If you can, please go to our web site and give what you can to help us reach our goal. Any amount is very helpful.

I can't even begin to express the gratitude I feel for all the support this campaign has received. I am both humbled and amazed.

This is our country and it's time to take it back.

Onward to victory and thank you one more time.

My Best,

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Clear Choice

Today, both President Bush's radio address and the Democratic response outlined the important issues of the campaign.

The President spoke first. He credited his tax cuts with improving the economy. That is debatable. With the tax rates that existed before the tax cuts, Bill Clinton presided over the creation of 20 million jobs in eight years. Under President Bush, there has been a net gain of 4 million jobs in a little under six years. And even if you start counting, as the President does, when he claims his tax cuts 'kicked in,' in mid 2003 when he had already lost two million jobs, since then there have been six million jobs created in over three years, so less than two million per year. That is still fewer per year (even using the same starting point that the Bush administration uses) than the Clinton average with the old tax rates.

And what exactly did the President suggest would happen if the Democrats took back Congress? That the tax cuts would expire and the old rates would return. Yeah, bring back the economy of the 1990's when they were in force. Only in George Bush's economic view of the world would that be a bad thing. My gosh, we might even get the surplus back. Horror of horrors, wouldn't that be a bad thing?

Of course the economic news out this week suggests that might not be any too soon either. A Commerce Department report on Friday showed that the economy in the third quarter showed an annual rate of just 1.6 percent -- the slowest in more than three years, and well short of the 2.1 percent annualized rate that analysts had forecast. Investment in housing dropped by the most in 15 years (which was way back before Bill Clinton came in and raised taxes to get rid of the deficit).

Meanwhile, Virginia Senate candidate Jim Webb delivered the Democratic radio response. Webb is a former Republican, who served as Navy secretary under President Reagan and received three silver stars in Vietnam and has a son on active duty with the marines in Iraq. Webb said that Bush and his administration have been incompetent in fighting the Iraq war, and that has harmed us in the war against terrorism. This is nothing new, but it points out that the Democrats consider that right now Iraq and the war on terrorism are the most important issues. And they are right.

Webb said, "Since 2003, President Bush has laid out nine different plans for victory in Iraq, none of them serious and none of them workable. And most seriously, this incompetence has hindered our ability to fight international terror."

Webb wrote in 2002 that a war in Iraq would be 'protracted and bloody.' He was right. So he was a logical choice to deliver the response today.

He also suggested that if the GOP retained control of Congress, we will see at least the next two years of Congress and the Senate continuing to rubber stamp Bush's policies on Iraq and we will uselessly lose more troops in what has by now become anybody's guess what exactly we are pursuing anymore.

Webb did offer a solution to this though, at least a plan to make the administration explain what and why we are fighting in Iraq and a plan to finish this war. "A Democratic Congress will demand from day one that the president find a real way forward in Iraq. We'll work with the administration and other Republicans to develop a concrete plan, but none of us are ready to settle for empty rhetoric, or the same old unacceptable results."

The choice is clear.

Look Who's Coming to the NY-19

Today we were informed by Bill Clinton that he would be coming to campaign with John Hall.

If you are in the area, do stop by and show your support for John Hall.

Rally for Change
Monday, Oct. 30, 2006
Doors Open - 2:45 PM

Colonial Terrace
Main Ballroom
119 Oregon Road
Cortland Manor, NY

Friday, October 27, 2006

MyDD Blogs for John Hall

Worthwhile blog post by Matt Stoller, and check out the pictures, too.

Bush Serves More Kool Aid

This is hysterical and sick at the same time. Daniel Henniger, an editorial writing pimp for the Wall Street Urinal, attended Bush's meeting with right wing media whores the other day. In this piece about the meeting he goes on about how unpolitical the thing was ( barf ) and quotes Bush:
“My biggest issue that I think about all the time," Mr. Bush says, "is the next attack on America, because I am fully aware that there are people out there that would like nothing more than to have another spectacular moment by killing American people. And they're coming.”
Too bad this wasn't what Bush was thinking about before 9/11, he might have cut that vacation short and read some reports. Right... not political. Just tell the bobble heads that attacks are on the way and only he knows how to defend us. I wonder if this pimp asked about how port security was coming or how many suicidal terrorists there are in the world now compared to five years ago? Did he ask if Bush would like to have that spectacular attack this week maybe? No. He tells us this is a great man who only has our interests in mind. What a sack of shit! The implication that Gore or Kerry would not be as focused and concerned about our safety is so much crap. The lack of any analysis of the complete mess Bushco has made of everything world wide and how exposed we are to bazzilions of new enemies is a farce. This is all these shits have left less than two weeks out… to hope for disaster or the fear of it. Screw them.

~Posted for Gregg

From Red to Blue

Yesterday, Congressman Chris Van Hollen from Maryland (MD-8) came to New York to announce the following:

Democratic Congressional candidate John Hall has pulled even with Rep. Sue Kelly in 19th District polling, and the National Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) announced it now considers the Hall-Kelly contest in the “Red-to-Blue” class of districts moving from Republican to Democratic control.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who heads up the DCCC Red-to-Blue effort, told a noontime news conference at Croton Point Park that national Democrats believe John Hall is within sight of victory on Election Day.

The news conference was called by the Sierra Club to announce its endorsement of Hall. The 750,000-member environmental organization joins a host of others in supporting Hall, including unions representing two million New York wage-earners.

“The DCCC recognition of our campaign is no surprise to us,” said Tom Staudter, Hall’s press secretary. “Our own polling shows this election to be dead even.”

Staudter attributes the Hall campaign’s success, despite Kelly’s 3-to-1 financial advantage, to its grassroots nature. “Our hundreds of volunteers throughout the
district are knocking on doors and phoning people by the thousands each week,” he said.

“We are taking on Kelly’s ‘air war’—her incessant and entirely negative on-air commercials paid for by special-interest big donors—with our ‘ground troops’, ordinary middle-class and working people who live in the district and want change from the Bush-Cheney-Kelly policies,” Staudter said.
If blogger would allow (dang them anyway) I would put up the picture I have.

Health Care Ad: Granholm vs. DeVos

Ad contrasts Granholm health care plan
with DeVos’ lack of a plan

DeVos has no plan for making health care more accessible or affordable to Michigan citizens. DeVos’ only plan for health care is to “get a job.” Governor Jennifer M. Granholm proposed the revolutionary Michigan First Health Care Plan that will, for the first time, provide access to affordable health care for all citizens in Michigan. Negotiations with the federal government are on track to implement the program in April, 2007.

“The 900,000 Michigan citizens who live in households with a job and without health care find Dick DeVos’ approach towards health care unacceptable,” said Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer. “Having a plan to provide health care to Michigan’s people like Governor Granholm’s MI First Health Care Plan is a large step towards growing and keeping businesses here. Economists agree that health care is a key component to creating jobs, not the other way around.”

Watch the ad here.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Amos Williams For MI Attorney General

“I’m a Democrat. I’m a Liberal”

“And I'm one of those damn trial lawyers everyone hates - until you need one.”

Amos Williams is a lawyer and decorated Vietnam Veteran that proudly served in the Detroit Police Department for several decades. He is running for Attorney General because he wants to be in the forefront of advocating for people determined to take back their government, and ensure that it remains a government in which the interest of the people is paramount.

Michigan can not afford to keep the current Republican Attorney General in office! Mike Cox has not protected consumers or voters. Instead, he joined the 2004 Republican efforts to intimidate minority voters, refused to believe that retailers were price gouging gas after Hurricane Katrina, and failed to collect more than 99% of unpaid child support.

Articles and more

MI Voter Protection Program

Michigan Democrats Announce 2006 Voter Protection Program

Program is in response to the Republican Party’s plan to suppress the minority vote

The Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) announced their 2006 Voter Protection Program, a program that will deploy over one thousand trained lawyers and volunteers at polling locations statewide to defend the rights of Michigan voters on Election Day. The MDP has set up a toll-free telephone help line (888) DEM-VOTE (888-336-8683) that voters can call on Election Day if they have any questions about their voting rights or if they want to find their polling location.

The MDP’s program is in response to the Michigan Republican Party’s (MRP) attempts in previous elections to suppress the minority vote by sending paid poll challengers to urban areas to harass African American and other minority voters. In 2004, the Detroit Free Press reported that Detroit voters said that Republican poll watchers were illegally asking them for photo identification and had physically assaulted voters and poll workers. The Associated Press reported that Detroit election officials complained that Republican challengers were telling voters in line whether or not they could vote. [...]

In 2004, Republicans revealed part of their Election Day strategy when then GOP State Representative John Pappageorge said that the GOP would fare poorly in this year's elections if it failed to "suppress the Detroit vote." The MDP also received reports that Michigan Attorney Mike Cox was part of Republican efforts in 2004 to intimidate minority voters by giving hands-on training to Republican challengers.


This 'N That -- Again!

Well, my son called from his dorm tonight. He was part of a HUGE event in Worcester. It was a gathering on behalf of democratic gubernatorial candidate, Duval Patrick. I forgot the name of the venue (a civic center kind of place). BILL CLINTON was the headliner. Ted Kennedy also appeared. It was a packed crowd of 8,000. Matthew said it was electric.

John Kerry was supposed to be among the participants, but he never showed up. Frankly, I was glad. Kerry was HERE in East Hartford stumping for Ned Lamont. Kerry made the right choice. Duval is a shoe-in in Massachusetts.

I hope Kerry's involvement moves Ned's numbers. At this point, it's not looking very promising for Ned. I hate to say it, but I feel like Ned is slipping away. I'm not very optimistic right now. Seems Liarman is about to torture the people of this STATE and this NATION for another six years. Sigh. But I will proudly eat my hat if I am wrong!!

On another note, we buried my MIL last Saturday after a very long (IMO) battle. It was a very exhausting process. My husband and I are finding it a bit odd to not be running here, there, and everywhere. To not being apart so much since my husband isn't virtually over his mom's nightly since the end of June. It's nice, but foreign. It will take some time to heal.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Lofty Donkey DID get a scoop.

OK, I've been proven wrong.

And I will admit it. A couple of days ago I put up a post in which I suggested that due caution and diligence be excercised on a story about a rumor swirling around a congressman (who I declined to name in the post.)

Well, I will now name him. He is the Congressman who pretends to represent me here (though he actually resides in Burke, Virginia, over 2000 miles from here), none other than Rick Renzi.

And I will give credit to the blogger who first broke the story (though the specifics have not been verified but the central fact seems to have been): The original story that started the 'rumor' (which is now turning out to be true) was on Lofty Donkey. The link is directly to the story itself.

One article that confirms that Rick Renzi is in fact under investigation by the FBI and the Justice Dept. is this one:

New York Times and another is

Washington Post.

In fact, what is interesting is that the stories deal with two different Renzi scandals, one that he steered millions of dollars in Federal contracts to family members (his father in particular) and the other the shady land deal that helped him get elected to Congress in the first place (which I posted on here.

I do believe that the criminal justice system operates at its own pace and whether these investigations are concluded before or after the elections is a matter of how long they need to do their jobs. However, clearly something is brewing and the best bit of news for Renzi is that he has been involved in so many scandals by now that it may take until after the election just to pour through them all.

He's the Hall With Colbert, Not Oates


For three decades, in a rite only Democrats could invent, there was the Shrum primary, in which Democratic presidential aspirants fell over one aother to win the services of the brilliant strategist Bob Shrum, who went on to brilliantly lose eight presidential races, a record far less attainable than, say, Henry Aaron's 755 home runs.

Now comes the Colbert primary, which as fake-news fans know, is the empire of faux bombast presided over by Stephen Colbert weeknights on Comedy Central. It's hard to know the predictive value of the Colbert primary.

But a moment of polite applause, please, for its latest winner. He's John Hall, former rock musician, former member of the Saugerties, N.Y., school board and the Ulster County Legislature, current Democratic Congressional candidate — yet another reminder that in this year of political wild cards, you never know how and where the deck can get scrambled.

"The Colbert Report," for those who go to sleep early, is a sendup of the world of Bill O'Reilly and other cable windbags. True, it's not exactly a primary. And yes, it's usually more a booby prize than a prize prize, one that gives the lie to the adage that there's no such thing as bad publicity.

Still, in the volatile mood of this election, this could be a big moment for Mr. Hall, whose bald head, sober suits and deadpan demeanor say rock star about as much as Kate Moss says sumo wrestler.

One of Mr. Colbert's regular features is a 434-part series on the nation's congressional districts. His show last Thursday featured New York's 19th District, in the heart of the Hudson Valley.

It is, he informed viewers, a place where the trees glow a luminescent green from the Indian Point nuclear power plant. The birthplace of Velveeta, a substance that melts at the first sign of heat, like the current congresswoman, Sue Kelly. It is where she is being challenged by Mr. Hall, late of the pop duo Hall and Oates. Well, none of that is quite true, except for the invention of Velveeta, which was first made in 1918 by a Swiss immigrant, Emil Frey, of the Monroe Cheese Company, and Mr. Hall's electoral challenge. But let's not quibble.

Mr. Colbert said that Ms. Kelly was invited to appear, but declined. Republicans have tended to shun the show since Representative Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia was asked to name the Ten Commandments right after co-sponsoring a bill requiring that they be displayed at the Capitol. Viewers saw him struggling to name three; his press secretary later said he actually came up with seven.

Ms. Kelly's spokesman, Jay Townsend, said he didn't recall receiving the invitation and had never seen the show. "I'm not sure it's her audience," he said.

The audience includes Mr. Hall, who said he usually comes home from a long day of campaigning and watches "The Daily Show" and "Colbert" before going to bed.

"Since I'm living and breathing politics all day long, it's something of a relief to have people make fun of politics," he said.

On the show, he informed a crestfallen Mr. Colbert that he's the John Hall from the band Orleans ("Still the One," "Dance With Me"), not from Hall and Oates. He suffered the embarrassment of a particularly goofy Orleans album cover. And when Mr. Colbert feigned astonishment that Mr. Hall would not have wanted President Bush to use the song "Still the One," Mr. Hall managed to shift into campaign mode like a seasoned pro.

"We're still having fun, and he's still the one," Mr. Colbert insisted.

"Well it was fun except for the increase in the poverty rate," Mr. Hall said. "And it was fun except for the increase in the deficits and the loss of jobs overseas. And it was fun except for the fact that we went to war over what was either intentionally or accidentally miscalculated intelligence."

It ended with the two harmonizing quite nicely, Mr. Colbert doing the melody, Mr. Hall doing harmony on "Dance with me."

In the past, the 19th has been a solidly Republican district, and Ms. Kelly still has a money advantage. But the war is a hot issue, the district has become more blue as people move north from Manhattan, and Ms. Kelly was the chairman of the board overseeing the House's pages in 1999 and 2000. Mr. Townsend said she was never made aware of any allegations of improper behavior. Ms. Kelly is viewed as leading, but the race is considered competitive.

The Hall campaign says it enjoyed the exposure, but both camps agreed with Mr. Townsend when he said, "I don't think it will be decided by who went on Comedy Central."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Happy Birthday, Beantown Bob!

Happy Birthday, BB!
And, as I couldn't decide between the almond cake with almond dacquoise, apricot preserves and vanilla rum buttercream with the rolled fondant hand painted with a design adapted from an illuminated manuscript from the Italian Renaissance
the Devil's food cake with vanilla buttercream and vanilla-flavored rolled fondant, hand painted with a painting adapted from a print by the Japanese artist, Toyohara Chikanobu, I decided to bake them both.

PS, bb: It is your birthday today, right?

Lieberman/Lamont/Schlesinger Debate

Oh, wow! I watched the Lieberman/Lamont/Schlesinger debate, and HOT, HOT, HOT!

First of all, Schlesinger (R) tried to be funny, playing it like a stand up comic. It ceases to be funny anymore when it is time for serious.

Lieberman LIED his ass off. All he did was attack Ned because he has nothing else. Lieberman LIED and said he never supported privatizing SS, when there are videos and articles showing he did. He LIED about never saying “Stay the Course.” He LIED about everything. He came across like a washed up old man, desperately trying to make people think Ned Lamont was bad.

Ned was very statesmanlike, calm and cool. When Joe criticized his ads and called them outright lies, Ned calmly said, “Joe, all I am doing is playing back your words.” Joe's little face got all screwed up like he was going to cry!

And then, when it was time to give closing speeches and it was Joe's turn, there were some men in the audience who suddenly started yelling and singing. They were wearing Lamont buttons, but after Lamont supporters helped drag them out of the hall, it was discovered they were Lyndon LaRouche supporters who had come in, and outside were comparing Bush and Joe to Nazis. Of course, you know that Joe will keep insisting they were Ned's supporters, like he was doing on the stage! When the debate was over, you could see Joe confronting Ned, but you couldn't hear it. Well, someone who was there says he said to Ned, “You goddamn son of a bitch, how dare you send out those mailers accusing me of only voting for the Energy Bill because of the donations they sent to me?!"

Joe is a Class-less act! TIME TO GO, JOE!

Time to put the pedal to the metal and get this over with!

h/t to Domingo:
The Lieberman/Lamont/Schlesinger debate, with video.

~Posted for Bergs

Monday, October 23, 2006

GOP Fear Mongering

Advertising terrorism
The key to terrorism is not the act — but the fear of the act

Keith Olberman

From the transcript:

“To fill or overpower with terror; terrify. To coerce by intimidation or fear.”

By this definition, the people who put these videos together — first the terrorists and then the administration — whose shared goal is to scare you into panicking instead of thinking — they are the ones terrorizing you.

By this definition, the leading terrorist group in this world right now is al Qaida.

But the leading terrorist group in this country right now is the Republican Party.

And now we have this cheesy commercial — complete with images of a faked mushroom cloud, and implications of “mass death in America.”

This administration has derived benefit and power from terrorizing the very people it claims to be protecting from terror.

It may be the oldest trick in the political book: scare people into believing they are in danger and that only you can save them.

If, Mr. President, this is the kind of crack work that your new ad implies that only you and not the Democrats can do, you, sir, need to pull over and ask for directions.

The families and friends of each of the 2,749 dead — who had been grimly told in May of 2002 that there were no more remains to be found — were struck anew as if the terrorism of that day had just happened again.

And over the weekend they’ve found still more remains.

And now this week will be spent looking in places that should have already been looked at a thousand times five years ago.

For all the victims in New York, Mr. Bush — the living and the dead — it’s a touch of 9/11 all over again.

And yet you can actually claim that you and you alone can protect us from terrorism?

You can’t even recover our dead from the battlefield — the battlefield in an American city — when we’ve given you five years and unlimited funds to do so!

Setting aside the fact that your government has done nothing else for those five years but pat yourselves on the back about terror, while waging pointless war on the wrong enemy in Iraq, and waging war on the cherished freedoms in America;

Just on this subject of counter-terrorism, sir, yours is the least competent government, in time of crisis, in this country’s history!

“These are the stakes,” indeed, Mr. President.

You do not know what you are doing.

And the commercial — the one about which Zawahiri might say “hey, pretty good — we love your choice of font style”?

All that need further be said is to add three words to Shakespeare.

Mr. President, you, and that advertisement of terror, are full of sound and fury — signifying (and competent at) nothing.

Video at Crooks and Liars.

Skewing Elections

Electronic Voting Machines Could Skew Elections

Researchers, Candidates Have Little Confidence in Machines Designed to Make Elections Easier to Call

Cheryl Kagan, a former Maryland Democratic legislator, was shocked when she opened her mail Wednesday morning.

Inside, she discovered three computer discs. With them was an anonymous letter saying the discs contained the secret source code for vote-counting that could be used to alter the votes cast through Maryland's new electronic voting machines.

"My understanding is that with these disks a malicious person could skew the outcome of an election," Kagan said.

Diebold, the company that makes the voting machines, told ABC News, "These discs do not alter the security of the Diebold touch-screen system in any way," because election workers can set their own passwords.

But ABC News has obtained an independent report commissioned by the state of Maryland and conducted by Science Applications International Corporation revealing that the original Diebold factory passwords are still being used on many voting machines.

The SAIC study also shows myriad other security flaws, including administrative over-ride passwords that cannot be changed by local officials but can be used by hackers or those who have seen the discs.

The report further states that one of the high risks to the system comes if operating code discs are lost, stolen or seen by unauthorized parties -- precisely what seems to have occurred with the discs sent to Kagan, who worries that the incident indicates the secret source code is not that difficult to obtain.

"Certainly, just tweaking a few votes in a couple of states could radically change the outcome of our policies for the coming year," she said.

Full article

~Posted for Bergs

Sunday, October 22, 2006

MI State Senator Caught Taking Signs

(Apologies for posting the entire length of this article, but you will see why when you get to the end.)

Senator accused of verbal assault over lawn signs

The News-Herald

An alleged confrontation between a political activist and state Sen. Bruce Patterson (R-Canton Twp.) has led to allegations of assault.

Amy Brittain of Gibraltar has filed reports with the Gibraltar and Brownstown Township police departments about the alleged incident.

Patterson tells a different story and denies her allegations.

Brittain has accused Patterson and his campaign aide of stealing his opponent's election campaign signs, but Brownstown Police Chief Daniel Grant said that based on where the signs might have been located, they might have had the right to remove them.

Grant said the incident is still under investigation and that police will have to determine whether any larcenies or assaults occurred.

Patterson said he has been told that his aide had not removed campaign signs from private property. He said they were in the county right of way, and are considered litter and obstruct drivers' views.

Patterson represents the 7th District, comprising Belleville, Brownstown Township, Canton Township, Flat Rock, Gibraltar, Grosse Ile Township, Huron Township, part of the city of Northville, Northville Township, Plymouth, Plymouth Township, Rockwood, Sumpter Township, Trenton, Van Buren Township and Woodhaven.

Patterson's opponent in the Nov. 7 election for a four-year term in the Michigan Senate is Democrat Mark Slavens, also of Canton Township.

The incident occurred at about 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Hidden Oaks Condominiums off Allen Road in Brownstown Township, according to reports.

It began when Brittain and her boyfriend saw the aide removing election signs from the shoulder of the roadway at Gibraltar Road and West Jefferson.

According to Brittain, after she asked why he was removing signs, he took the signs from his vehicle and threw them at her.

After the first confrontation, Brittain and her boyfriend, Steve Sorge, whose last address is in Maumee, Ohio, then continued to Allen Road between Vreeland and Gibraltar and found the same man removing lawn signs and putting up Patterson election signs.

Patterson said the couple must have followed them.

According to Brittain, Patterson was helping his aide this time, and the couple confronted Patterson about what Brittain calls as an illegal act.

Brittain told police that Patterson said he had every right to remove the signs and that he called her a "dumb b——."

He also allegedly told her that she should "go back to Ohio" and that he should have her arrested for "littering Democratic signs."

After the couple left, Patterson allegedly followed and blocked them in a residential area with his truck.

Brittain told police that Patterson got out and asked her boyfriend if he was "the big man protecting the little girl."

She said Patterson began to verbally assault her and made a threatening gesture.

In some of his own political literature, Patterson describes himself as being about 6 feet 5 inches tall.

Brittain told police she got out of her vehicle and told Patterson that he should not be threatening them.

After Sorge told her to get back in, both parties left.

The couple told police that Patterson did not verbally threaten them.

Patterson said that although he will admit to inappropriate conduct in the past, he did not call Brittain a vulgar name.

"She wasn't worth expending the time or the effort on," Patterson said.

He said she had been yelling and addressing his aide by a vulgar name.

"This is the silly season," Patterson said.

(The text in yellow appeared in the online version, but did not in my printed edition of the newspaper!)

Times Herald Record Endorses John Hall

Here is the link to the Times Herald Record:

There comes a time in our personal and professional lives when we must be held accountable for what we do, or don't do. When we explain who we really are, what we really stand for. This is Sue Kelly's time and she has failed miserably. With her steadfast allegiance to the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq and blind loyalty to a House Republican leadership that has condoned, covered up or contributed directly to corrupt politics while ignoring the needs of hard-pressed middle-class Americans, she has forfeited her right to re-election to Congress. Instead, we encourage voters in the 19th Congressional District to send a new voice with different ideas, and loyalties, to Washington, D.C. — John Hall, the Democratic candidate.

Bushes Capitalize On Education

One thing about these bushies, they never feel liked they have quite ripped off the American people enough:

Bush Family Co. Capitalizes on Education Act

A company headed by President Bush's brother and partly owned by his parents is benefiting from Republican connections and federal dollars targeted for economically disadvantaged students under the No Child Left Behind Act.

With investments from his parents, George H. W. and Barbara Bush, and other backers, Neil Bush's company, Ignite! Learning, has placed its products in 40 U.S. school districts and plans to market internationally.

At least 13 U.S. school districts have used federal funds available through the president's signature education reform, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, to buy Ignite's portable learning centers at $3,800 apiece.

When the Bushes come over for dinner be sure to count the hand towels before they leave.

~Posted for Gregg

Ocean Dead Zones Rise

We need leadership in this country and on this planet who can take on problems like this, not morons who whine about the "death tax" and other such made up problems:

Health/Science U.N.:
Number of Ocean 'Dead Zones' Rise

Scientists have found 200 "dead zones" in the world's oceans -- places where pollution threatens fish, other marine life and the people who depend on them. The United Nations report Thursday showed a 34 percent jump in the number of such zones from just two years ago.

Pollution-fed algae, which deprives other living marine life of oxygen, is the cause of most of the world's dead zones that cover tens of thousands of square miles of waterways. Scientists chiefly blame fertilizer and other farm run-off, sewage and fossil-fuel burning.

Those contain an excess of nutrients, particularly phosphorous and nitrogen, that cause explosive blooms of tiny plants known as phytoplankton. When they die, they sink to the bottom, where they are eaten by bacteria that use up the oxygen in the water.

"The low levels of oxygen in the water make it difficult for fish, oysters and other marine creatures to survive as well as important habitats such as sea grass beds," U.N. officials said. "These areas are fast becoming major threats to fish stocks and thus to the people who depend upon fisheries for food.

The oceans are in trouble.

Do you think anyone in the White House even cares?

~Posted for Gregg

NY Times Endorses John Hall

Endorsing John Hall For Congress:

An unusually lively Democratic primary race in the 19th Congressional District last month ended with a resounding victory for John Hall, a singer-activist-politician who has spent a long time on the outskirts of renown and is now poised to move into the thick of it. [...] His platform is ambitious and coherent, with calls for universal health coverage, a return to fiscal discipline and a full-bore national effort to achieve energy independence. He blends a deep-blue idealism with a crisp command of details; it’s best not to get him started on “low-head” hydroelectric power, for instance, if your time is pressing. [...]

The incumbent, Sue Kelly, entered Congress in the “Contract With America” class of 1994. [...] But she has mostly been a go-along-to-get-along party member, supporting the Bush administration’s tax cuts, stoutly defending its handling of the Iraq war and voting this month for President Bush’s dangerous bill on military commissions, a measure that affirms the administration’s ad-hoc subversion of cherished principles of justice and decency.

She is a rank-and-file loyalist in a party that is tired and fiscally reckless. On issues that Congress has bungled, and where independence would have been welcome — immigration, or homeland security, a particularly pressing topic in a district with a nuclear plant in its backyard — Ms. Kelly has not strayed far from the pack.

For voters in the 19th District who want a lawmaker of energy, steady conviction and clear principles, John Hall is the obvious choice. We enthusiastically endorse him for Congress.

~Posted for Lizzy

Saturday, October 21, 2006

One soldier's view

When Pat Tillman left a multimillion dollar NFL career on the table to go join the army Rangers after September 11, he was hailed as a larger than life hero. Then when he was killed in a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan, the cover up began almost immediately. And his family, led by his mother Mary, could have simply accepted the silver star that Pat was awarded posthumously and played along with the charade. But a charade it was, and is. So Mary Tillman continues to press for the truth-- the whole truth.

And it is well known by now that Pat himself was critical of the war in Iraq, believing that it was a dangerous and unjustified diversion from the job of finding and fighting terrorists. As an army member however, we have learned his views over time as the men he served with have left the army and been free to share the conversations that he had with them.

What some people still don't know is that when Pat joined the Rangers, he joined his little brother Kevin in doing so. What does Kevin think about the war in Iraq? He couldn't say anything about that until he was discharged from the army last year.

Well, he is now free to talk about it, and he has posted what he thinks, as a guest poster on the blog, Truthdig.com, in a post called After Pat's Birthday

It is Pat’s birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice… until we got out.

Much has happened since we handed over our voice:

Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can’t be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few “bad apples” in the military.

Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It’s interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.

Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.

Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.

Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.

Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.

Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.

Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.

Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.

Somehow torture is tolerated.

Somehow lying is tolerated.

Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.

Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.

Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

Somehow this is tolerated.

Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don’t be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that “somehow” was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat’s birthday.

Brother and Friend of Pat Tillman,

Kevin Tillman

This is not the first such testimonial we've seen from former soldiers who have left the service after going to Iraq, though it is certainly among the best written and from a name the people will recognize. And as more and more of them muster out and are no longer muzzled by their service agreements, you will see more of these testimonials. Our soldiers are doing the best job they could be given the circumstances they have been sent to war under, but the lie that the right has perpetrated that the war is uniformly supported by the soldiers who have fought in it, is starting to unravel.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Happy Birthday, Gregg!


And, party favors for all!

Please feel free to help yourself to the cake, a glass of wine, join the Poker game in the back room and leave Gregg a crazy cyber birthday present.

Let the Party begin!!!

Tigers Play Cards

Boston Herald: Relief pitching was supposed to be the Mets’ strength. [...] Instead, it did the Mets in.

Staten Island Live: Next up for St. Louis, a date with the Detroit Tigers on Saturday night in Game 1 of the World Series.

Hey Motown, here come the Cards.

MLB: World Series Dot Com

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Mammals Support John Hall (NY-19)

I had the opportunity to see The Mammals in concert last night. They were part of a Benefit Concert for John Hall which also featured Bonnie Raitt. I was humbled by their keen awareness of our country's problems and their knowledge of worldly musicians. They sang a song titled "Solo Le Pido a Dios" which was written by a truly accomplished musician from Argentina Leon Geico.

The Mammals have release a primo CD titled “Departure” which has quite a few extraordinary songs on it. “Alone on the Homestead,” sung from the voice of a woman who has lost her entire family to a war, is a timeless protest song and hauntingly beautiful. Michael Merenda, who wrote the lovely ballad, sings the gender-bending lead vocal, with Ruth Ungar adding harmony.

You can listen to it here.

Tonight, John Hall will be on "The Colbert Report" - 11:30pm on the Comedy Channel.

There is a new poll out for the race in the 19th District in New York.

Your Words Are Lies, Sir

'Beginning of the end of America'

Keith Olbermann:
Special comment on the Military Commissions Act

We have lived as if in a trance.

We have lived as people in fear.

And now — our rights and our freedoms in peril — we slowly awake to learn that we have been afraid of the wrong thing.

Therefore, tonight have we truly become the inheritors of our American legacy.

For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:

A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.

* * *

“With the distance of history, the questions will be narrowed and few: Did this generation of Americans take the threat seriously, and did we do what it takes to defeat that threat?”

Wise words.

And ironic ones, Mr. Bush.

Your own, of course, yesterday, in signing the Military Commissions Act.

You spoke so much more than you know, Sir.

Sadly — of course — the distance of history will recognize that the threat this generation of Americans needed to take seriously was you.

We have a long and painful history of ignoring the prophecy attributed to Benjamin Franklin that “those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

But even within this history we have not before codified the poisoning of habeas corpus, that wellspring of protection from which all essential liberties flow.

You, sir, have now befouled that spring.

You, sir, have now given us chaos and called it order.

You, sir, have now imposed subjugation and called it freedom.

For the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And — again, Mr. Bush — all of them, wrong.

* * *

This President now has his blank check.

He lied to get it.

He lied as he received it.

* * *

Your words are lies, Sir.

They are lies that imperil us all.

* * *

Habeas corpus? Gone.

The Geneva Conventions? Optional.

The moral force we shined outwards to the world as an eternal beacon, and inwards at ourselves as an eternal protection? Snuffed out.

These things you have done, Mr. Bush, they would be “the beginning of the end of America.”

* * *

For the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And doubtless, Sir, all of them — as always — wrong.

Video and transcript at Crooks and Liars.

Lamont/Lieberman/Schlesinger ANOTHER DEBATE TODAY

So, it was held at the Bushnell in Hartford. A place I often go to when off broadways shows are in the city. Oh, and last Friday I went there with my son to see a forum with Bill Moyers and Andrew Sullivan. It was quite interesting. But I digress.

Seems the Lieberman camp didn't want live coverage of the 3PM event. "Reports" are that CBS is behind it, but I have my doubts. No cameras were allowed. No recording devices. Hmmmm. What other famous pug has behaved like this in the past? Remind you of anyone? I'm sure Cindy Sheehan can answer that!

Anyway, we (the people of CT) are not allowed to see the debate until tomorrow evening (it will also be on CSPAN). But I jumped around some of the CT blogs to see what is out there so far. I'd post links, but I'm kind of fried right now.

Just like the debate the other day, Lieberman consistently went over his allotted time. Bob Schiefer finally had enough and would cut off Joey's mike when his time was up. Yay Bob Schiefer! It is reported that LIARMAN is looking for a REGIME CHANGE IN IRAN! What a f*cking nutjob!

It appears Allan Schlesinger is aligning with Ned to knock Joe out. I couldn't believe it when I read:

Schlesinger: If you had someone doing a job for eighteen years, and after eighteen years, their record was one of complete failure, what would you do? What do you think should happen with that person?. . . Ned, you’re a businessman: what would you say about someone like that?

Lamont: I’d say, “It’s time to go”
Wowzer! I'd say Schlesinger is pretty damned pissed off at the Pug party for feeding him to the wolves and aligning themselves with Joey. Pay back time! Schlesinger has become a popular figure among Lamont supporters. It's an interesting phenomenon.

Finally, Joey did NOT stay around after the debate to take questions and answers from the audience (unlike the other candidates). Later, Schlesinger was swarmed by the media like never before. Ned, of course, had the same.

I can't wait to watch the debate tomorrow. It will be interesting to see. I tend to try to be more objective (not going to say Ned did a great job if it doesn't look that way to me). I'm anxious to see a new poll conducted. I'm hoping there will be one by the end of the week.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Granholm vs. DeVos

Business Equipment Tax: The truth about the business equipment tax is that it should be reduced, but local governments cannot afford to have it eliminated. Dick DeVos refuses to say how he would pay for his business tax cut schemes.

Education: DeVos has a long history of fighting for vouchers that would take money out of public education.

CAN Trash: Governor Granholm supports legislation to discourage importation of Canadian trash, but it has been held up by DeVos' Republican colleagues in the Michigan Legislature.

Single Business Tax: Michigan currently has the 13th lowest business taxes in the country, and Governor Granholm has signed 72 business tax cuts since taking office. A recent study by the non-partisan Upjohn Institute found that changing the SBT would have very little impact, if any, on Michigan’s economic growth. Governor Granholm doesn’t want to give handouts to big corporations at the expense of everyday people, and unlike DeVos, she still the only candidate who has proposed a fair plan to replace the SBT. DeVos tells us to wait until after he’s elected to tell us his plan.

Health Care: Contrary to what Dick DeVos claims, the Governor has restored and extended health care coverage and prescription drug discounts to nearly 300,000 Michigan citizens.

Jobs Plan: The Governor's MI Opportunity Partnership connects those seeking work with jobs that are available right now and helps others get the skills they need to land good paying jobs. Since its launch, the Partnership has already helped 117,000 people get jobs.

Unfair Trade: President Bush's refusal to enforce trade agreements with China and others is ravaging Michigan’s manufacturing economy. President Bush has not found time to meet with the CEO’s of the Big Three automakers to discuss trade and rising health care costs, despite repeated requests.

Dick DeVos' support for President Bush and unfair free trade agreements is what got Michigan into this mess in the first place. *
- - -

What you don’t know about Dick.

Everyday until Election Day, the MDP will list another reason why voters should not vote for Dick DeVos.
- - -

Watch Ad: See Dick run

Watch Ad: Bush’s clone

10/17/06: Watch the new ad:

* The Michigan Democratic Party unveiled a new television ad to highlight this point, titled “Office”. The ad, which begins airing today, shows how Dick DeVos has supported NAFTA, invested $200 million dollars in China and reveals that DeVos incorporated Amway in Bermuda. Read more
- - -

Women praise Granholm on CHOICE

The Seven Percent Thing?

This is the first I've heard of this 7 percent thing. Is anyone else familiar with it and could you please explain it in more detail? I believe the Krugman referred to in this article is Paul Krugman, but I don't have a NYT's pay for your Op-Eds account.

From the Daily Howler

THE SEVEN-PERCENT CONVOLUTION: Hurrah! We think it’s a very important point, and Krugman discussed it again last Friday. We don’t know who’s going to win next month’s House elections. But in his column, Krugman explained a “G.O.P structural advantage” in the way our House elections now work:

KRUGMAN (10/13/06): Unless the Bush administration is keeping Osama bin Laden in a freezer somewhere, a majority of Americans will vote Democratic this year. If Congressional seats were allocated in proportion to popular votes, a Democratic House would be a done deal. But they aren't, and the way our electoral system works, combined with the way ethnic groups are distributed, still gives the Republicans some hope of holding on.

The key point is that African-Americans, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic, are highly concentrated in a few districts. This means that in close elections many Democratic votes are, as political analysts say, wasted—they simply add to huge majorities in a small number of districts, while the more widely spread Republican vote allows the G.O.P. to win by narrower margins in a larger number of districts.

Because of concentrations of Democratic voters, many Democratic votes are “wasted” in congressional races. Krugman goes on to rework the math for this fall’s elections. According to Krugman, Dems could win the popular vote by a healthy margin, and still not take back the House:

KRUGMAN: My back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that because of this ''geographic gerrymander,'' even a substantial turnaround in total Congressional votes...would leave the House narrowly in Republican hands. It looks as if the Democrats need as much as a seven-point lead in the overall vote to take control.

Dems will need to win by at least seven points! For the record, that’s what Mort Kondracke said last week (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/11/06). In April, Krugman estimated that Dems might need to win by 8-10 points to take control of the House (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/24/06).

To state the obvious, that’s a remarkable state of affairs. And here’s an equally remarkable fact—we Democrats never discuss it! We never discuss the fact that we need to win by at least seven points if we just want to break even! Is there a way to redistrict in various states which would reduce this “structural disadvantage?” Who knows? We’re Democrats! We don’t seem to care! To all appearances, our leaders are perfectly happy to keep finishing second, as we have told you before.

This seven-point “GOP structural advantage” is important for two basic reasons. First, it keeps Democrats from gaining control of the House. Let us ask you a simple question. Can you imagine the modern Republican Party sitting still for a built-in, seven-point disadvantage? For ourselves, we find that quite hard to picture. But then, as has been clear for a good long time, the GOP’s leadership cares who wins. The Dem leadership doesn’t much seem to.

But there’s a second reason why this is important. Let’s say the following happens next month: Let’s say Dems out-poll Reps by seven or eight points—but Republicans retain a narrow margin in the House (perhaps one seat). Democrats will be ridiculed all over the press—and no one will mention the fact that we won a significant margin of votes. Our party is too lazy to fight for a real chance to win—and too stupid to care about optics.

Go ahead—ask yourself if you can picture Karl Rove accepting a seven-point built-in disadvantage. For ourselves, we can’t picture that. But then, Karl Rove tries to win.

Monday, October 16, 2006

CT's Three-way

It was an interesting debate. This is the first that CT has heard from Alan Schlesinger (R), who -- for all intents and purposes -- was ignored (if not ousted) by the Republican powers that be. I think, at last poll, he had about a 4% approval rating. He seemed pretty decent. He lost it a couple of times. He is ABSOLUTELY INSANE regarding immigration ("build a wall. Let no one in."). But he appears to have not only helped himself. He has helped Ned Lamont.

Lieberman constantly ran over his allotted time without consequence. At least for most of the debate. Near the end, the moderators decided to put a stop to it. The moderator said, "Senator, time's up." With that, they went back to Schlesinger, who parroted, "That's right, Joe, your time is up." It was priceless.

Oh, in the opening statement, Liarman went on a rant about making sure the debate is civil and not wanting attacks (as he pointed to Ned with this comment). He said something about how the "rich" candidate will buy everyone beer and pizza if he attacked ten times or more. It was ridiculous. About ten minutes into the debate, Schlesinger had just finished answering a question. Back to the Liar, who (with his whiney, nasally voice) said, "I've already been attacked five or six times." Boo Hoo. You should have heard the audience boo that comment. It was great.

I don't have a strong sense of Lamont's performance today. I wasn't overly impressed. That could be me, but I REALLY want his campaign to take the gloves off. It's time for some serious fighting.

As an aside, Matthew watched part of the debate at the LOB today. The press corps was watching. They were LOL when Schlessinger made his immigration stance known. Schlesinger, BTW, was in a bit of hot water here in the past. He would go to one of our casino's under an assumed name. Casino officials watched him carefully and determined he was counting cards (to win). They asked him to leave and never come back. He lost something in five figures.

Finally, Matthew met Ned Lamont today (I am so jealous!). While he is home on his break, he is volunteering for Mary Glassman (D), who is running for Lieutenant Governor. Matthew's boss from the Malloy campaign is Glassman's campaign manager. Matthew is very close to his former boss. And they got to take a ride to Quinnipiac Law School. Matthew loved it! The dollar signs are floating in my head. I think he wants to go there after he graduates from WPI. I so need a job!!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Tigers Sweep A's!

It came just before eight o'clock, after three hours and 23 minutes of baseball, after two outs and extra innings looming, after Monroe cracked a single, and Placido Polanco -- the MVP of the American League Championship Series -- looped another single. Then Ordonez, who had a solo homer earlier in the game, stepped to the plate. [...]

"We know what kind of a hitter Magglio is," Polanco said. "It was just a matter of time before he hit one hard."

Hard? Ordonez took his destiny pitch over the wall, 385 feet away, and took half this state with it.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

An Observation Worth Reading!

I wish I could write like this, but at least I can read like this:

"...For the past three and a half years I have watched in horror the mirror image of another Vietnam unfolding in Iraq. As of this writing over 2,700 Americans have died and nearly 20,000 have been wounded while tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, many of them women and children, have been killed. Refusing to learn from the lessons of Vietnam, our government continues to pursue a policy of deception, distortion, manipulation and denial, doing everything it can to hide from the American people its true intentions in Iraq. Sadly, the "War on Terror" has become a war of terror. Never before has this government through its outrageous provocations and violent aggressions placed the citizens of this country in such grave danger. Never have the people of this country been so threatened, never before has life and liberty been in such great peril; not in the two hundred and thirty years since our revolution have we as a people and a nation been at such a crucial turning point. These are dangerous times. A century of arrogance, brutality and aggression has come back to haunt us all. September 11th has happened. The mask has been ripped away. The lie has been exposed and this criminal government now stands naked before the world! These are provocative words, and the truth may be deeply unsettling but when will we speak the truth? When will we end this silence? How much longer will we wait before we are ready to finally admit that the murderer lives in our own house, that this government that we entrusted long ago with the sacred task of protecting life and liberty now, by it's every reckless, unjust and immoral action threatens the lives and liberty of us all?

Have we become so complacent, so coward and intimidated by this government that we have forgotten our own revolutionary birthright of rebellion and dissent? Have we become so paralyzed by the eleventh of September that we would give up our liberty and freedom for the promise of a security that does not exist by a government that now threatens our very lives? What will it take before we finally realize the true reality of this crisis? How many more terrorist attacks, senseless wars, flag draped caskets, grieving mothers, paraplegics, amputees, stressed out sons and daughters before we finally begin to break the silence of this shameful night? Let us open up our hearts and speak in a way we have never spoken before knowing that lives now depend on it, and the very survival of our nation is now at stake. Let not our silence in this crucial moment betray us from our destiny."

Writers on the Loose

Friday, October 13, 2006

Ney Pleads Guilty

Ohio Congressman Pleads Guilty In Abramoff Probe

Plea Comes As GOP-Allied Nonprofits Stung In Report

Ohio Republican U.S. Rep. Bob Ney pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy and fraud charges stemming from the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling investigation.

He was the first member of Congress convicted in the scandal that has tainted the White House as well as Capitol Hill. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

Ney abandonded months of defiant denials in September to admit guilt in the congressional corruption probe spawned by disgraced lobbyist Abramoff. [...]

Five nonprofit groups, including one of President George W. Bush's biggest supporters, may have broken tax laws and put their tax-exempt status at risk by helping Abramoff, a Senate Finance Committee report concluded.

The 600-page report issued Thursday was prepared by the committee's Democratic staff. Majority Republicans, however, had agreed to its release and joined with Democrats in issuing subpoenas for documents and e-mails cited in the report.

Among the groups named as possibly taking money from Abramoff clients and funneling it into his lobbying efforts on their behalf were Americans for Tax Reform, Citizens Against Government Waste and the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy.

Tax-exempt groups are barred by law from being paid to lobby or do public relations.

Americans for Tax Reform is headed by Grover Norquist, a key ally of Bush and a longtime associate of Karl Rove, the president's chief political adviser.

The report said Norquist's group accepted $1.5 million from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, one of Abramoff's clients. More than two-thirds of that money was then passed to Christian Coalition founder Ralph Reed as part of Abramoff's lobbying efforts to block a rival tribe's proposed casino in Alabama.

Susan Ralston, a senior aide to Rove, resigned last Friday in the wake of a congressional report that listed hundreds of contacts between Abramoff and the White House.

Critics have pointed to Ralston as evidence that Rove -- and thus Bush -- are possibly closer to Abramoff than the White House has acknowledged. Ralston was Abramoff's administrative assistant at his lobbying firm and, after Bush took office, assumed the same post with Rove.

The House Government Reform Committee last week issued a report saying that based on documents supplied by Abramoff's former lobbying firm, he had 485 lobbying contacts with White House officials over three years, including 10 with Rove. [...]

We're Saved!!

Unsurprisingly Digby:

Get prepared to go back to the future, folks. If and when we manage to take back one or both houses of congress get prepared to relive those glory days of the 90's, when the Republicans acted like raving lunatics and braindead losers like Chris Matthews blamed it all on the Democrats.
This comment will make your day! It reminds me of something that Dors or Chuck would say.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sooner or later, you knew this story would become reality.

A homeless, jobless, sixty three year old man has found a way to keep a roof over his head and enough food to survive on. He robbed a bank explicitly to go to prison.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A man who couldn't find steady work came up with a plan to make it through the next few years until he could collect Social Security: He robbed a bank, then handed the money to a guard and waited for police.

On Wednesday, Timothy J. Bowers told a judge a three-year prison sentence would suit him, and the judge obliged.

"At my age, the jobs available to me are minimum-wage jobs. There is age discrimination out there," Bowers, who turns 63 in a few weeks, told Judge Angela White.

The judge told him: "It's unfortunate you feel this is the only way to deal with the situation."

Bowers said he had been able to find only odd jobs after the drug wholesaler he made deliveries for closed in 2003...

He pleaded guilty to robbery, and a court-ordered psychological exam found him competent.

"It's a pretty sad story when someone feels that's their only alternative," said defense attorney Jeremy W. Dodgion, who described Bowers as "a charming old man."

Prosecutors had considered arguing against putting Bowers in prison at taxpayer expense, but they worried he would do something more reckless to be put behind bars.

"It's not the financial plan I would choose, but it's a financial plan," prosecutor Dan Cable said.

Of course we have seen Republicans cut, cut and cut more from the social safety net until there are holes that are big enough for a truck to fall through. And all of it to finance the trillions in corporate welfare that they have handed out in legislation like the energy bill and the prescription drug bill.

So now we finally see the day when voluntarily committing a felony in order to go to prison is the only option left for an honest citizen who just wasn't one of the winners in the new game of Social Darwinism.

GOP for Granholm?

MARQUETTE — Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm is getting support for her re-election campaign from some unlikely people — Republicans.

Gil Ziegler, chairman of “Republicans for Granholm,” is in the Upper Peninsula gathering support from Republicans who feel their party is moving too far to the right. “It wasn’t an easy decision but sometimes you have to check your partisanship at the door and become a citizen,” Ziegler said of his decision to go against his party and support the governor over Republican challenger Dick DeVos.

Continued at link

Another Lamont/Lieberman Debate

It is scheduled for October 16 at 1PM. Rebroadcast at 7PM. Airing on WVIT NBC30 in West Hartford, CT. I will try to summarize for y'all after I watch. But I'm sure it will be covered on firedoglake.com and myleftnutmeg.com. I bet Olberman will carry some snippets as well. He did the last time.

There will be one more debate after this one. Not sure of the date at this time. Lamont's numbers are closing in a bit. But it's not close enough for comfort right now. I suspect, however, Lamont has some tricks up his sleeve that will be coming out very soon.

Go Ned!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Pirates vs Congress

Depp? Yep! -- Hastert? Yuck!

Avast! Ye Scurvy Gentlemen

In new poll on ethics, the public ranks Congress lower than pirates.

The Borowitz Report

• Satire: Congress Rated Lower Than Pirates

The survey, which was conducted by the University of Minnesota's Opinion Research Institute and asked likely voters to rate 100 professions according to their ethics, showed congressmen near the bottom of the list, only ranking higher than crack dealers and lawyers.

Worse was the fact that pirates, who have not fared well in earlier incarnations of the ethics poll, were considered twice as trustworthy as members of Congress, a finding that sends an alarming message to lawmakers seeing reelection this November.

“Pirates received consistently higher marks than congressmen in this survey,” said Crandall Pritchard, who supervised the poll for the University of Minnesota. "We heard comments like, ‘Sure, pirates make people walk the plank and will slit their throats for a doubloon, but at least they would keep their hands off congressional pages.’ ”

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, under fire of late because of the congressional page scandal, said that the poll showing that pirates are more ethical than congressmen is much ado about nothing: "I don't think this reflects the unpopularity of Congress so much as it reflects the surging popularity of pirates."

But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had a more sober assessment: "Arggh!"

* * *

More on Foley Follies:

Kolbe Says He Warned of Foley Years Ago

Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe said Tuesday he told the House official in charge of the page program as early as 2001 about Rep. Mark Foley's "creepy" e-mail to a former page.

Kolbe, the only openly gay Republican in Congress, said a former page he had sponsored contacted his office to complain of e-mails from Foley and that he "passed along" the complaint to Foley, R-Fla., and then-House Clerk Jeff Trandahl. Kolbe said he did not take the matter to other lawmakers. [snip]

Kolbe is the second person to come forward and say that top House officials had early warnings about inappropriate Foley approaches to pages. Trandahl, the top administrative officer of the House, got his job from Hastert.

A lawyer for Kirk Fordham, Foley's longtime chief of staff, said Fordham will tell the House ethics panel Thursday that he warned Hastert's chief of staff, Scott Palmer, about inappropriate Foley conduct with pages in 2003 or possibly the previous year. Palmer has denied Fordham's account. [snip]

Asked about Kolbe's statement, Hastert told reporters in Aurora, Ill.: "I don't know anything more about it. [snip]

Meanwhile, lawmakers are responding to the ethics committee's request that they survey aides and former House pages to find out if any of them had knowledge of inappropriate conduct by Foley toward male pages.

* * *

Still More Foley Follies:

Ex-aide to testify he gave alert on Foley

Former Republican Rep. Mark Foley's former chief of staff, who says he warned the House speaker's staff three years ago of inappropriate conduct by Foley toward pages, is to testify Thursday before the U.S. House ethics committee.

Kirk Fordham will insist that he warned Speaker Dennis Hastert's chief of staff about the conduct in 2003 or possibly the previous year, Fordham lawyer Timothy Heaphy said. [snip]

Also Tuesday, Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., said he passed along a complaint to Foley's office and then-House Clerk Jeff Trandahl about inappropriate e-mails from Foley but took no further action when learning of the incident. Trandahl's lawyer, Cono Namorato, said Trandahl "will cooperate fully with the FBI and the House ethics committee investigations."

A former page sponsored by Kolbe contacted the lawmaker's office in 2000 or 2001, well before House leaders say they first learned of inappropriate messages sent by Foley. In a statement Tuesday, Kolbe said he wasn't shown the content of the messages and was not told they were sexually explicit.

Also Tuesday, Hastert met with an evangelist who hoped to persuade him to step down because of the scandal. [snip]

Ex-page Jordan Edmund, whose computer screen name was inadvertently published by ABC News, and his attorney, Stephen Jones, met in the U.S. Attorney's Office for 2 1/2 hours.

Polls show disdain: A CBS News-New York Times poll released Monday found that four in five people said GOP leaders were more concerned with politics than with the well-being of the congressional pages. Nearly half of those polled, 46%, said Hastert should step down over his handling of the Foley matter, while 26% said Hastert should remain in his post. The other 28% said they "don't know." The poll has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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