Monday, October 31, 2005

Political Animals

Every day, Spike over at Booman Tribune posts a daily cartoon that he draws and scripts. He has a knack at capturing the daily debate on issues with humor and truth.

Today is no exception.

To view all of his cartoons, check out

More on Alito

If you say the title of this post out loud, you'll get a hint of my view on his nomination. heh.

He is opposed to having to deal with the burden of writing opinions for the various cases he hears. I wonder if it's "hard work" on par with George's view of his job

"The Judiciary has been concerned that the universal publication of opinions would either produce a deterioration in the quality of opinions or impose intolerable burdens on judges in researching and drafting opinions," Alito said. "It would be virtually impossible for the courts of appeals to keep current with their caseloads if they attempted to produce such an opinion in every case."

"Responsible appellate judges must devote more time to an opinion that changes the law or clarifies it in an important way, and may thus affect many litigants in future cases, than to an opinion that simply applies well-established law to specific facts, and thus affects solely the litigants at hand," he said.

The federal rules govern procedure, practice, and evidence in federal courts. Congress has authorized the federal Judiciary to prescribe the rules of practice, procedure, and evidence for the federal courts, subject to the ultimate legislative right of Congress to reject, modify, or defer any of the rules. (emphasis mine)

Wait. I thought George was opposed to judicial activists.

Oh right. IOKIYAR.

Mrs. Rosa Parks and Judge Alito

When I heard the news, I had the exact reaction as John over at AMERICAblog.

And now we know the rest of the story. Bush's Supreme Court pick, Judge Alito, will be visiting the Hill today and, oh what a coincidence, he's going to pay homage to Rosa Parks in state. Oh, and, gosh, do you think there will be cameras there to capture the Kodak moment?

Now, maybe this isn't a stunt to use Rosa Parks' corpse as a tool to further a far-right extremist agenda that she would never endorse in a million years. But if that's the case, that this is simply a heartfelt gesture to honor a great woman, then I'd like to know if Judge Alito was coming to Washington anyway to pay homage to Rosa Parks, whether or not he was going to be the Supreme Court nominee. If not, then this is a PR stunt.

Oh, and one final question for Judge Alito. Did he ever visit Rosa Parks when she was alive?

A Nomination Bourne of Weakness

George W. Bush has had a shitty couple of months.

His party's House Majority Leader was indicted and forced to step down; his Senate Majority Leader is being investigated for shady stock dealings; his FEMA apparatus botched the response to Hurricane Katrina; he wasn't able to kill Social Security; his buddy Harriet Miers was laughed out of contention for the Supreme Court; his Vice President is in the crosshairs of Treasongate after his chief-of-staff was indicted with five felony counts; his own "brain" remains in legal jeopardy; and noone trusts his warmongering strategy in the Middle East anymore.

This is not exactly the strongest position to be in while making another Supreme Court nomination. Rather than govern from the middle, as a real leader would do in a time like this, George decided it was better to make a political calculation that would shore up his base. This morning he nominated Samuel A. Alito to fill the SCOTUS vacancy.

To be sure, Alito is a staunch conservative. Here are just a few bits of past rulings that make my blood run cold on this Halloween Monday. Via the indispensable Think Progress:

ALITO WOULD OVERTURN ROE V. WADE: In his dissenting opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Alito concurred with the majority in supporting the restrictive abortion-related measures passed by the Pennsylvania legislature in the late 1980’s. Alito went further, however, saying the majority was wrong to strike down a requirement that women notify their spouses before having an abortion. The Supreme Court later rejected Alito’s view, voting to reaffirm Roe v. Wade. [Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 1991]

ALITO WOULD ALLOW RACE-BASED DISCRIMINATION: Alito dissented from a decision in favor of a Marriott Hotel manager who said she had been discriminated against on the basis of race. The majority explained that Alito would have protected racist employers by “immuniz[ing] an employer from the reach of Title VII if the employer’s belief that it had selected the ‘best’ candidate was the result of conscious racial bias.” [Bray v. Marriott Hotels, 1997]

ALITO WOULD ALLOW DISABILITY-BASED DISCRIMINATION: In Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, the majority said the standard for proving disability-based discrimination articulated in Alito’s dissent was so restrictive that “few if any…cases would survive summary judgment.” [Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1991]

ALITO WOULD STRIKE DOWN THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT: The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) “guarantees most workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a loved one.” The 2003 Supreme Court ruling upholding FMLA [Nevada v. Hibbs, 2003] essentially reversed a 2000 decision by Alito which found that Congress exceeded its power in passing the law. [Chittister v. Department of Community and Economic Development, 2000]

ALITO SUPPORTS UNAUTHORIZED STRIP SEARCHES: In Doe v. Groody, Alito agued that police officers had not violated constitutional rights when they strip searched a mother and her ten-year-old daughter while carrying out a search warrant that authorized only the search of a man and his home. [Doe v. Groody, 2004]

ALITO HOSTILE TOWARD IMMIGRANTS: In two cases involving the deportation of immigrants, the majority twice noted Alito’s disregard of settled law. In Dia v. Ashcroft, the majority opinion states that Alito’s dissent “guts the statutory standard” and “ignores our precedent.” In Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, the majority stated Alito’s opinion contradicted “well-recognized rules of statutory construction.” [Dia v. Ashcroft, 2003; Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, 2004]

I hope this nomination serves as a big BLINKING NEON-SIGN NOTICE to all women in this country. You will no longer be in control of your body if this nomination makes it to the Supreme Court.

This is not about abortion.

This is about who gets to make the decisions in your life. Would you rather have the ability to discuss your options with your doctor, and make a reasoned choice that way? Or would you rather the decision be made by a group of men sitting behind a big wooden slab wearing black robes?

You decide.

George Bush has made it clear that you are a second-class citizen, along with those who have disabilities, happen to be minority, or are in need of personal time to take care of a sick family member. This is the Republican model of Compassionate Conservatism in action.

You get what you voted for, I suppose. Don't make the same mistake in 2006.

Deserved Headlines

Just enough to make me smile on a Monday morning.

From the WaPo, a set of poll results and the headline, "White House Ethics, Honesty Questioned":

Some highlowlights:
A majority of Americans say the indictment of senior White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby signals broader ethical problems in the Bush administration, and nearly half say the overall level of honesty and ethics in the federal government has fallen since President Bush took office, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News survey.

The poll, conducted Friday night and yesterday, found that 55 percent of the public believes the Libby case indicates wider problems "with ethical wrongdoing" in the White House, while 41 percent believes it was an "isolated incident." And by a 3 to 1 ratio, 46 percent to 15 percent, Americans say the level of honesty and ethics in the government has declined rather than risen under Bush.

It appears the American public is finally starting to tune-up their B.S. meters and apply them to anything coming out of the White House. It's about time, welcome to the partynightmare.

The next headline surprised me, to be honest, because one-half of the piece's authorship is Howard Fineman. He has been a reliable attack dog against the Democrats for the past five years, but perhaps he is more of an opportunist than a shill. He'll kick whomever is down.

From the Nov. 7th issue of Newsweek, "Flying Blind":

Now Fitzgerald's probe is aimed at the operational inner sanctum of Bush's "war presidency"—and, by extension, at Bush's anchoring view of what his administration has been about since the 9/11 attacks. As he prosecutes "Cheney's Cheney" for perjury, false statements and obstruction, Fitzgerald will inevitably have to shine a light on the machinery that sold the Iraq war and that sought to discredit critics of it, particularly Joseph Wilson. And that, in turn, could lead to Cheney and to the Cheney-run effort to make Iraq the central battleground in the war on terror. As if that weren't dramatic enough, the Libby trial—if there is one—will feature an unprecedented, high-stakes credibility contest between a top government official and the reporters he spoke to: Tim Russert of NBC, Judith Miller of The New York Times and Matt Cooper of Time magazine. Another likely witness: Cheney himself. White House officials were admonished not to have any contact with Libby about the investigation. That presumably includes the vice president.

The piece continues to describe the setting of Cheney's star in the Administration, the emergence of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice in his place, and the implications of the tone-deaf circle of advisors that surround the Boy President.

...For a political figure who rose to power on the strength of strategic "rollouts," Bush seemed to be oddly lacking a grand plan.

There is, as yet, no master plan to breathe life into the second term with dramatic new initiatives...


"Now isn't the time for a long ball," said a senior aide. "It's time for simple blocking and tackling. We have to demonstrate that we can make sound, competent decisions.

"That won't be as easy as it sounds, given the decision Bush was facing: whom to nominate to the high court in place of his White House counsel.

Clearly there is a lot at stake in the coming days. Today is the expected announcement of George's replacement for the Harriet Miers SCOTUS debacle and this week will see a return of torture to the headlines.

Will the American people finally demand that George W. Bush govern from the center? Or will the Chimperor be allowed to continue to drag our country into the depths of his compassionate conservative hell... Stay tuned.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Well Deserved Honor

Racism is alive and well in the United States; but it takes more shadowy forms than the past when it was still sanctioned by society.

Thanks to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's, many of the walls that separated Americans from Americans were cracked and removed. We still have a long way to go, and most of the effort involves education and the realization that we must treat one another with the dignity that is rightfully ours as human beings. Given that advice, I hope the national discussion on race and equality will be reinvigorated by this happy news

Black civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks would become the first woman to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda under resolutions considered Thursday by lawmakers.

Parks' refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955 led to a 381-day boycott of the city's bus system and helped spark the modern civil rights movement. She died Monday in Detroit at age 92.

The Senate approved a resolution Thursday allowing her remains to lie in honor in the Rotunda on Sunday and Monday "so that the citizens of the United States may pay their last respects to this great American." The House was expected to consider the resolution Friday.

In most cases, only presidents, members of Congress and military commanders have been permitted to lie in the Rotunda.

Parks would be the first woman and second black American to receive the accolade. Jacob J. Chestnut, one of two Capitol police officers fatally shot in 1998, was the first black American to lie in honor, said Senate historian Richard Baker.

Parks also would be the second non-governmental official to be commemorated that way. The remains of Pierre L'Enfant -- the French-born architect who was responsible for the design of Washington, D.C. -- stopped at the Capitol in 1909 -- 84 years after his death in 1825.

Rosa Parks' story should be told to every new generation of Americans. We have to be willing to stand up for what's right, even if it means swimming upstream against a current of hatred and divisiveness.

As a minority in this country, I can think of several instances when I have felt ridiculed, demeaned, and made to feel less American than my Anglo brothers and sisters. Some of it is blatant, but most of it is unconscious. Either way, it is still wrong. I hope to continue to educate those around me of the ways in which we perpetuate divisiveness. By exposing it, we can continue to work against it.

Rest in Peace, Mrs. Rosa Parks. Thank you for blazing a path towards unity.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Titanic Revelations

I hope this is only the tip of the iceberg regarding the cover-up by these traitors:

Vice President Cheney and his chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, overruling advice from some White House political staffers and lawyers, decided to withhold crucial documents from the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2004 when the panel was investigating the use of pre-war intelligence that erroneously concluded Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, according to Bush administration and congressional sources.

Among the White House materials withheld from the committee were Libby-authored passages in drafts of a speech that then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell delivered to the United Nations in February 2003 to argue the Bush administration's case for war with Iraq, according to congressional and administration sources. The withheld documents also included intelligence data that Cheney's office -- and Libby in particular -- pushed to be included in Powell's speech, the sources said.

The new information that Cheney and Libby blocked information to the Senate Intelligence Committee further underscores the central role played by the vice president's office in trying to blunt criticism that the Bush administration exaggerated intelligence data to make the case to go to war.

How many more soldiers have to die in the Middle East for their treasonous lies?

Reaping the Consequences

Every decision made involves an outcome. In government, our lawmakers have an obligation to spend the taxpayer's money responsibly. Since Bush is a complete disaster when it comes to managing a budget, our country is saddled with the worst deficit in our history.

Something has to be done, obviously, to control the spending; and it appears the Republican-led Congress is finally starting to act. These actions define their values

House Republicans voted to cut student loan subsidies, child support enforcement and aid to firms hurt by unfair trade practices as various committees scrambled to piece together $50 billion in budget cuts.

More politically difficult votes -- to cut Medicaid, food stamps and farm subsidies -- are on tap Thursday as more panels weigh in on the bill.

These budget cuts are a big "Fuck You" to the middle class and poor of our nation. Meanwhile pork spending is on an exponential rise, tax cuts are given to the richest of our citizens and defense spending continues to skyrocket (because "freedom is on the march").

Those are not my values and I suspect the vast majority of Republicans don't share them either; yet they allow wedge issues like same-sex marriage and abortion to blind them from the fact that they are screwing the poor. Divide and Conquer, that is the modus operandi of our Republican-led government....and people wonder why I'm a progressive Democrat.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Leave No Oil Company Behind

This really burns my ass:
ConocoPhillips, the nation's third-largest integrated oil and gas company, said Wednesday its third-quarter profit surged 89 percent, reflecting strong prices for crude oil and natural gas.

Earnings for the quarter ended Sept. 30 rose to $3.8 billion, or $2.68 per share, topping the average Wall Street estimate of $2.57 per share, according to a Thomson Financial survey of analysts. A year ago, the company earned $2 billion, or $1.43 per share.

Quarterly revenue rose 43 percent to $49.66 billion from $34.74 billion

"During the quarter, our U.S. Gulf Coast operations were significantly impacted by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Dennis," said Jim Mulva, chairman and chief executive. "Despite these impacts, our overall operating performance for the quarter was good, and we continued to benefit from the strong commodity price environment."

Texas Oil Man + Oval Office = Raping by the oil industry

Calling it like it is...

I have read a lot of blog posts, but this is by far the best one. Meteor Blades lays out, with numerous sources, the reason that most progressives' bullshit meters were peaking when the first rumblings of Iraq started spreading after 9/11.

Go read it, all of it. It is breathtaking. It is the truth.

Not So Fast, Bugman

With everyone's attention focused on Fitzmas, I bet Tom DeLay wished this new development in his corruption scandal would be swept under the rug. Not a chance

Rep. Tom DeLay failed to comply with House requirements that he disclose all contributions to a defense fund that pays his legal bills, the Texas Republican acknowledged to House officials.

He wrote officials that $20,850 contributed in 2000 and 2001 was not reported anywhere. Another $17,300 was included in the defense fund's quarterly report but not in DeLay's 2000 annual financial disclosure report -- a separate requirement.

Other donations were understated as totaling $2,800, when the figure should have been $4,450.

Greed. There's a reason it's one of the seven deadly sins.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Vigils for the Fallen

From DFA:

Today marks the day that 2,000 brave servicemen and women have sacrificed their lives for the war in Iraq. Most of us cannot imagine what it must be like for their sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. But as a nation, we can take a moment to send our gratitude and support to those families.

Democracy for America is joining with MoveOn and TrueMajority to host candlelight vigils across the country and offer our condolences to the families and friends of the American servicemen and women who have given their lives. The vigils will take place at 6:30 PM tomorrow night, Wednesday, October 26. To find a vigil in your community, visit:

If there is not a vigil already planned in your community, then sign up to host one yourself. It's easy. All you need to do is find a place for people to congregate, register it online and gather the group together when people arrive. To host a vigil, visit:

These vigils aren't rallies or places to give long-winded speeches. They are moments to solemnly come together and mark the sacrifice of those who have died and their families.

If you can't join a vigil in your community, then please join the "Honor the Fallen" campaign and write a letter to the editor to your local newspaper asking them to place all casualty reports on the front page. With this one small action, we can continue to honor the fallen and remind the public of the dangers that our troops face everyday.

Thanks for all you do,

Tom Hughes
Executive Director
Democracy for America

No Doubt

It's more than a rock group; it's the summation of the fact that the Bush misAdministration wants to continue torturing human beings:

A White House bid to exempt the CIA from legislation in Congress that would formally ban degrading and inhumane treatment of detainees in U.S. custody ran into a forceful rejection on Tuesday from the bill's main sponsor, Sen. John McCain.

The exemption proposal, from an administration on the defensive over prisoner abuse in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, would exempt non-Defense Department counterterrorism operations deemed vital to U.S. national security by President George W. Bush, officials said.


The CIA and Cheney's office both declined to comment on the exemption proposal and the meeting with McCain.

The McCain amendment followed an unsuccessful attempt by Senate Democrats to spur the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to investigate U.S. detainee policy, including allegations of torture against CIA interrogators.

Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, the intelligence oversight panel's Republican chairman, voted against the McCain amendment and has denied publicly that the CIA uses torture. (emphasis mine)

They don't want to open an investigation because the Republican apologists for torture refuse to face the truth. I'm sick of all the winking and nodding that is going on in Washington with respect to torture.

It shouldn't matter a flying frick who we have in captivity: terrorists, innocents, common criminals. TORTURE IS WRONG. PERIOD.

The Republican Party continues to stonewall and condone it, along with their apologist supporters. Wake up people! We are better than this.

For those of you that require Hard Proof: here are the official autopsy reports, with several of the deaths being labeled HOMICIDE.

Let there be peace...


Click the link

Monday, October 24, 2005

Stability Maintenance

Sometimes you need a way to get out your aggression.

PlameGate in Pictures, Part One

Winning their Hearts

Hey Bush-supporters, this is your prize for being blind followers:
A 27-year-old Iraqi male died while being interrogated by Navy Seals on April 5, 2004, in Mosul, Iraq. During his confinement he was hooded, flex-cuffed, sleep deprived and subjected to hot and cold environmental conditions, including the use of cold water on his body and hood. The exact cause of death was "undetermined" although the autopsy stated that hypothermia may have contributed to his death. Notes say he "struggled/ interrogated/ died sleeping." Some facts relating to this case have been previously reported. (In April 2003, Secretary Rumsfeld authorized the use of "environmental manipulation" as an interrogation technique in Guantбnamo Bay. In September 2003, Lt. Gen. Sanchez also authorized this technique for use in Iraq. Although Lt. Gen. Sanchez later rescinded the September 2003 techniques, he authorized "changes in environmental quality" in October 2003.)
For the past couple of years we have heard these incidents of torture as being attributed to "a few bad apples", "isolated events", blah blah blah.

If you still believe that, here is my response: How many fucking reports do you have to read to FINALLY GET IT?!? These abuses are occurring due to policy changes. Nothing is being done to stop it. Nothing. I hold you responsible if you are going to continue to be an apologist for this Presidency.

I am thoroughly disgusted with my country.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Support the Troops

For a nice healthy dose of cognitive dissonance, check out Steven D's diary here.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Incestuous Beltway Brigade

I have a piece up at Booman Tribune regarding a new player in the Plamegate investigation. The link is here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Immoral Budget

I was glad to see this from Nancy Pelosi's office:

"Speaker Hastert and Congressional Republicans are desperately trying to distract the American people from their culture of corruption and cronyism. The real problem with the Republicans' immoral and financially irresponsible budget is that it does nothing to address the concerns of hard-working Americans; instead it gives tax breaks to Republican cronies.

"Republicans have squandered the largest budget surplus in American history and continue to put forth fiscally irresponsible budgets. Their latest proposal would actually increase the deficit by $20 billion dollars, increase tax cuts for their cronies, and cut critical programs used by Hurricane Katrina and Rita survivors.

"Republicans need to get serious about the budget; it is a statement of values as a nation. Republicans refused to join Democrats in supporting pay-as-you-go budgeting to share the sacrifices that must be made. It is unacceptable for Republicans to cut taxes for their cronies, paid for on the backs of the middle-class, working Americans.

"Together, America can do better. Democrats will continue to stand with Katrina and Rita survivors, veterans, students, and working families struggling to pay for gas and home heating oil, medical care, and other basic needs."

I've said for quite some time that if Democrats explain to the country the values they stand for, then they will grow their coalition and win some elections. This has to involve contrasting between the two political parties. Luckily the voting record of the House Republicans make it quite clear who is working on behalf the middle class and poverty-stricken members of our society.

Pelosi's statement highlights the atrocity committed in April when budgetary bills were being circulated. From a Booman diary I submitted:

Immoral. This budget is yet another example of the poor reaping the consequences of the rich's decision-making. The Democrats were united against the budget because it cut Medicaid benefits.

Details (with updated vote line-up) below ...

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg, R-N.H., said it was a first step toward confronting the "massive problem" of meeting the nation's defense and domestic spending needs while coping with relentlessly rising baby boomer health and retirement costs. "The president sent us a budget which for the first time in seven years stepped on the sacred ground of trying to address the entitlement costs of the federal budget," he said.

It was the effort to control spending on the Medicaid health program for the poor -- one of the three big entitlement programs, along with Medicare and Social Security -- that created the biggest obstacle to agreement on the budget. Medicaid was last cut in 1997.

Democrats and some Republicans, led by Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon, objected that cuts in projected spending for Medicaid would impose a hardship on states that rely heavily on federal grants to care for the poor.

The vote was 214-211 in the House and 52-47 in the Senate

Update [2005-4-29 9:2:15 by Man Eegee]:

The Senate vote tally can be found here No Democrats voted in favor of the budget.

The House of Representatives vote tally can be found here. No Democrats voted in favor of the budget.
Makes you wonder where the priorities lie for the "Religious Right" that have become rabid Republicans. I was always taught that as a Christian we are obligated to help ease the burden on the poor, not pile it on and spit in their face.

Perhaps if the Dems keep raising the volume on their social justice messaging they will start winning back the hearts of conscientious Americans.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Monday News Roundup

One for fun

More than Dots

Click on the map

Number of funerals the Commander in Chief has attended for those "dots": zero

(hat tip: jimstaro, Veterans for Peace)

Friday, October 14, 2005


If it quacks like a duck, then it must be a second-term Bush Presidency.

From the Pew Research Center

For the first time, more people say George W. Bush's presidency will be judged as unsuccessful than say it will be seen as a success, a poll finds.

Forty-one percent of respondents said Bush's presidency will be seen as unsuccessful in the long run, while 26 percent said the opposite. Thirty-five percent said it was too early to tell, according to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

In January, 36 percent said successful and 27 percent said unsuccessful.


Seven in 10 said they want the next president to offer policies and programs that are different from the Bush administration's.

Only half said they wanted the next president to offer different policies in 2000, at the end of the Clinton presidency. By a 2-1 margin, people said the Bush administration has had a negative impact on politics and the way government works. (emphasis mine)

Ouch. I know George says he doesn't pay attention to polling, but damn! How does he even manage to get up in the morning? Poor guy, I almost feel sorry for him.

But wait! It gets better (or worse if you are still on the kool-aid):

According to the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll President Bush's national approval rating has declined to 39 percent, the lowest level during his Presidency. And among African-Americans, Bush has only a 2 percent approval rating, proving that African-Americans are not fooled by Republican's hollow apologies and empty rhetoric on outreach to the African-American community.

Two percent! Well, at least he has proven to be a uniter after all. That's gotta count for something, eh?

Have a nice day, George, I can't wait to hear your resignation speech.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Welcome Back

It appears the national media finally woke up from their deep slumber and are in a fighting mood. They don't even sugarcoat this article, entitled "Bush Teleconference With Soldiers Staged"

"I'm going to ask somebody to grab those two water bottles against the wall and move them out of the camera shot for me," Barber said.

A brief rehearsal ensued.

"OK, so let's just walk through this," Barber said. "Captain Kennedy, you answer the first question and you hand the mike to whom?"

"Captain Smith," Kennedy said.

"Captain. Smith? You take the mike and you hand it to whom?" she asked.

"Captain Kennedy," the soldier replied.

And so it went.

Can we all agree now that Georgie is just an empty suit? There will be a lot of people surprised to learn that the vast majority of his public events are heavily scripted, but he has been doing it for a long, long time.

SEC Subpoenas Bill Frist

From Thursday's Washington Post:
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has been subpoenaed to turn over personal records and documents as federal authorities step up a probe of his July sales of HCA Inc. stock, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

The Securities and Exchange Commission issued the subpoena within the past two weeks, after initial reports that Frist, the Senate's top Republican official, was under scrutiny by the agency and the Justice Department for possible violations of insider trading laws.

Nothing like some gasoline to throw on the fire, eh? Here's hoping for some added momentum to the Culture of Corruption meme.

Some background on Frist's Martha Stewart antics

Over a period of four years, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist accumulated stock in a family founded hospital chain that produced tens of thousands of dollars in income - all outside the blind trusts he created to avoid a conflict of interest, documents show.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has long maintained he avoided a conflict of interest because he had placed the stock in Senate-approved blind trusts.

The stock was held in a family partnership largely controlled by Frist's brother, Thomas, who founded HCA Inc. along with the senator's late father.


While there have been no allegations of impropriety in Frist's having shares outside the voluntary blind trusts, federal prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating Frist's sale of HCA stock from his blind trusts.

Frist ordered the stock sold June 13, and all sales were completed by July 1. The value of HCA stock peaked on June 22 and then gradually declined. On July 13, it dropped 9 percent.

Reports to the SEC showed insiders sold about 2.3 million shares of HCA stock worth at least $112 million from January through June 2005.

Frist has denied that he had any insider information before the stock sale and pointed out that he has not held any position in the company.

The stock outside Frist's Senate blind trust was accumulated by a family investment partnership started by the senator's late parents and later overseen by his brother. Thomas Frist served as president of the partnership's management company and as a top officer of HCA.

The senator's share of the partnership was placed in a Tennessee blind trust between 1998 and 2002 that was separate from those governed by Senate ethics rules. Frist reported that Bowling Avenue Partners, made up mostly of nonpublic HCA stock, earned him $265,495 in dividends and other income over the four years. (emphasis mine)

No wonder the President's poll numbers are in the crapper. He and his minions are finally starting to be held accountable for their criminal activities over the past several years.

As James Carville once said, "When your opponent is drowning, throw the son of a bitch an anvil."

Image hosted by

Crossposted from Booman Tribune

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

AZ Political News Round-up

Spotlight Story
In the green fields and orchards of southern Arizona, chiles are shriveling on the vine and apples are falling from trees because there's no one to pick them.

It's the latest sign of a farmworker shortage that is becoming a costly national trend.

Farmers in Arizona attribute the shortage in large part to the crackdown along the U.S.-Mexico border. For towns with a heavy U.S. Border Patrol presence such as Willcox and Yuma, it has made keeping a stable work force impossible.

The crisis has highlighted the industry's dependence on the labor of illegal immigrants. In 2001, a U.S. Department of Labor survey found that about 53 percent of the 1.8 million farmworkers in the country were here illegally. Local farmers suggest the number is more like 80 percent to 90 percent.

"Our industry cannot exist without a foreign work force," said Thomas Nassif, president of Irvine, Calif.-based Western Growers, one of the largest farming associations in the country.

Buyers' Remorse is a Bitch

For the first time in the poll, Bush’s approval rating has sunk below 40 percent, while the percentage believing the country is heading in the right direction has dipped below 30 percent. In addition, a sizable plurality prefers a Democratic-controlled Congress, and just 29 percent think Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers is qualified to serve on the nation’s highest court.

"Any way you slice this data, I think these are just terrible sets of numbers," said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff.

The poll shows that Bush’s approval rating stands at 39 percent, a new low for the president. In the last NBC/Wall Street Journal survey, which was released in mid-September, 40 percent approved of Bush’s job performance while 55 percent disapproved. In addition, just 28 percent believe the country is headed in the right direction, another all-time low in Bush’s presidency.

Mission Accomplished, George?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

AP: DeLay uses Media as Bullhorn

File this one in the 'No-Shit' bin:
Long before his criminal case gets a hearing in a court of law, Rep. Tom DeLay is fighting in the court of public opinion. With his trademark zeal, he assails the prosecutor in one sentence and portrays himself as a victim in the next. And the media — often distrusted by fellow conservatives — is his bullhorn.

"I know when you stand up for what you believe in, this kind of thing is going to happen," DeLay boasted on a Houston radio show. "It's part of the fight. I know Democrats hate me and they hate what I believe in and they hate the amazing things we've been able to accomplish ever since we've been in the majority."

Setting aside his own aversion to the media, DeLay has waged a blitz on radio, on TV and in print as he tries to shore up support in his suburban Houston congressional district while assuring fellow Republicans he plans to return to power. (emphasis mine)

I grew up in a household where every night we watched the news. It was our thing. Even when I was a little child, my parents would let me stay up late with them to see what the weather was going to be the next day, or whether our team had won the big game. It is a situation that is repeated in homes across the country.

Tom DeLay takes advantage of the trust that people put in their news sources by poisoning the stories with propaganda. The rise of the wingnut-faction of the Republican Party has caused the spread of that poison. All levels of our government have infiltrated our newsrooms, yet most Americans don't know it. They still blindly trust that they are getting truth, not spin, when they sit as a family to check out the going-ons of the world each evening.

Chalk this episode up to another way the Republican Party will do anything to maintain its power. Corruption and lies be damned.

It is time for a change.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Monday Morning News Round-up

One for fun

Friday, October 07, 2005

Nobel Peace Winners

This is good news
The U.N. nuclear watchdog and its head, Mohamed ElBaradei, won the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their efforts to limit the spread of atomic weapons.

ElBaradei told CNN he was "overwhelmed." He said it was "a shot in the arm" for his agency and would strengthen its resolve in dealing with major issues like North Korea and Iran.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee picked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and ElBaradei, an Egyptian, from a record field of 199 candidates.

It praised ElBaradei as an "unafraid advocate" of measures to strengthen non-proliferation efforts.

Meteor Blades, a rockstar in Blogsylvania, has written a great piece on the implications of this selection with respect to the tension between the U.N. and the Bush War Council.

Naturally, the Bush administration wants the IAEA and its director to perform as its agent in all things, just as it did in the case of weapons inspector Hans Blix. Acting contrariwise risks having one's competence and impartiality called into question. In the case of El Baradei, these methods were combined with attempts to smear and humiliate the man. Par for the course in this administration, as anybody who's watching knows too well. White House slimeballs even bugged El Baradei's phones in hopes they would find something to incriminate him of over-friendliness toward the Iranians so they could use this evidence to replace him. They couldn't find anything incriminating and they couldn't find a replacement, although they were once keen on Alexander Downer, the Australian Foreign Minister. El Baradei was selected for a third term last June, after months of what used to be called diplomatic intrigue.

What jerks the Administration's chain more than anything else is that El Baradei was dead right about Saddam's lack of a nuclear weapons development program. And, furthermore, despite all their slanders, El Baradei has done much to budge the difficult-to-budge Iranians to get them to make their nuclear program utterly transparent, which they have not been willing to do.

Go read the whole thing. This selection is another shot at the Bush War Council's deceptive reasoning for the Iraq War. They claimed there were WMD in Iraq, yet there were none. They claimed Saddam Hussein was running a covert nuke program, he wasn't; yet they have not been held fully accountable. I congratulate the IAEA and Mr. El Baradei for this honor, it is greatly deserved.

Friday Morning News Roundup

What else is happening at the end of this busy news week?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Life, Lies and this War

They say a picture is worth 1000 words....

...then this link speaks volumes

(Hat tip to Connecticut Man1 from BMT)


Looks like the bug spray is splattering on the new Republican House Majority Leader

Tom DeLay deliberately raised more money than he needed to throw parties at the 2000 presidential convention, then diverted some of the excess funds to longtime ally Roy Blunt through a series of donations that benefited both men's causes.

When the financial carousel stopped, DeLay's private charity, the consulting firm that employed DeLay's wife and the Missouri campaign of Blunt's son all ended up with money, according to campaign documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

Corruption at the highest tiers of the Republican-led Congress. Surprised? I'm not.

Rovitt on the Hot Seat

But remember, this is all just a bunch of partisan hooey

Federal prosecutors have accepted an offer from presidential adviser Karl Rove to give 11th-hour testimony in the case of a CIA officer's leaked identity but have warned they cannot guarantee he won't be indicted, according to people directly familiar with the investigation.

The persons, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because of grand jury secrecy, said Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has not made any decision yet on whether to file criminal charges against the longtime confidant of President Bush or others.

The U.S. attorney's manual requires prosecutors not to bring witnesses before a grand jury if there is a possibility of future criminal charges unless they are notified in advance that their grand jury testimony can be used against them in a later indictment.

Rove has already made at least three grand jury appearances and his return at this late stage in the investigation is unusual.

And the theme of the month is: Indictment...

...or as I like to think: About Fucking Time

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hunter writes a letter...

From the Reality Based, With Love

Dear Republican Party,

Included, please find one anvil:

A Texas grand jury indicted Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) yesterday for alleged involvement in money laundering related to the 2002 Texas election, raising new and more serious allegations than the conspiracy charge lodged against the former House majority leader last week.

One piano:

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist faces a near-term ordeal unwelcome to anyone, particularly an ambitious politician: an official probe into his personal financial dealings by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC authorized a formal order of investigation of Frist's sale in June of HCA Inc. shares, people with direct knowledge of the inquiry said yesterday. The order allows the agency's enforcement unit to subpoena documents and compel witnesses to testify, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the order hasn't been made public.

There's much, much more hilarity here.

George's Reward

For the love of buddha, please let the rumors be true:

(From Pre$$titutes via Booman)

Interrupting our regular focus on Pre$$titution, we want to let readers know that rumors are flying around D.C. that over a dozen indictments may be coming in the Plame case.

We caution that we are reporting a RUMOR. Nothing more. And this may be absolutely false. Still there is definitely chatter in Washington circles....

UPDATE: AMERICAblog has this teaser: "My source tells me that the scuttlebutt around town is that the White House knows something bad is coming, in terms of Karl getting indicted, and they're already trying to distance him from the president."

Lord, let it be true. And now for the best guess on twelve people to be indicted:

Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, John Hannah, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, Scott McClellan, Fred Fleitz, Ari Fleischer, Condileezza Rice, Stephan Hadley, Eliot Abrams, Karen Hughes.

George's Economy

This is what happens when you trust a Texas Oil Man with your economy:

The economy received another inflation warning on Wednesday, when a survey of industry executives showed that energy costs drove prices higher in September while business activity slowed in the services sector. The report reinforced expectations that the Federal Reserve would continue to raise rates as the economy struggles with rising fuel costs aggravated by Hurricane Katrina.

The Institute of Supply Management, which conducted the survey, said its non-manufacturing business activity index was at 53.3 percent in September, down from August's reading of 65 percent. The group's index of prices paid rose 14.3 points to 81.4 percent, the highest level and the biggest jump for the index in the eight-year history of the report.

The survey, whose results chipped away at broader Wall Street stock indexes on Wednesday, found that many business executives are concerned about the continuing rise in oil and gas prices after Hurricane Katrina and about the toll rising energy costs will take on the economy.

"That is the $64,000 question: if and when manufacturers and businesses decide they have to pass through these rising prices to consumers?" said Jerry Zukowski, deputy chief economist at Nomura Securities International Inc. "A lot of it is energy. We are clearly not out of the woods in terms of these price pressures."


Wednesday's report on the services sector of the U.S. economy follows a survey of manufacturers published on Monday by the ISM. That survey also recorded a dramatic rise in its prices paid component.

"It is troubling to see so many more purchasing managers, manufacturing and non-manufacturing, paying higher prices to their vendors," said Johnson. "It suggests that the Federal Reserve is faced with an economy which is weaker and inflation which is stronger. That is not a particularly good configuration."

Before anyone starts howling at me that Bush had no control over the hurricane and its impact on the economy, think about the rising price of gas in the U.S. and then look at the profit margins for George's friends in the oil industry.

George's Crony

I don't support Mr. Bush's pick for the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Why? Because this is all I know of her:

  • she is not a judge
  • she would never have been considered if she wasn't in his inner-circle
Were you expecting a longer list? I could go on and on, but those two reasons are enough for me to scream at the top of my lungs that she is unfit to hold the power offered. I don't trust George Bush, he gives me absolutely no reason to trust him. He has nominated, recommended and appointed HORRIBLE people to positions in the past few years. Examples: John Bolton, U.N.; Bernie Kerik, Dept. of Homeland Security; Michael Brown, FEMA, Paul Wolfowitz, World Bank; Alberto "Torture" Gonzalez, Attorney General; the list continues...

Apparently I'm not the only one pissed off:
Conservatives in some cases are expressing outright opposition, some are in wait-and-see mode and others are silent, all bad signs for a Bush administration used to having the full backing of all wings of the GOP when it takes on the Senate's minority Democrats over judicial selection.

"I'm getting reports on both sides," said Paul Weyrich, a conservative leader from the Free Congress Foundation. "Some people are quite enthused about her and other people are very upset. The grass-roots are not happy, I can tell you that."

Bush defended the 60-year-old nominee at a Rose Garden news conference Tuesday, repeatedly implying that conservatives should trust his judgment in picking Miers to succeed the retiring Sandra Day O'Conner. While insisting that he doesn't recall ever talking to Miers about abortion, he pointedly said, "I know her heart."

No kidding.

UPDATE: All things Harriet, via The Left Coaster. Hat tip to Nag at BMT for the heads up.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Iraq Veterans Seeking Change

This should dispel the myth that all veterans/military-types are Republicans:

Lawyer Patrick Murphy and five other veterans of the Iraq war are asking questions about President Bush's policies in Iraq as part of their broader Democratic campaigns to win congressional seats in next year's elections.

Given their experience in Iraq, the six Democrats in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia say they are eminently qualified to pose the tough questions. Their reservations mirror public opinion, with an increasing number of Americans expressing concern about the mission and favoring a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops.


The Democratic veterans walk a fine line as they reach out to voters who may question Bush's handling of the conflict. The task is to challenge the administration while still being seen as patriotic. (emphasis mine)
How more patriotic can you be than serving in the military? The Republican Smear Machine loves to trash liberals/Democrats as unsupportive of the troops, yet they are first in line to tar the character of any soldier that disagrees with their imperialistic view of foreign policy.

Recent victims include: John Kerry, Max Cleland and Paul Hackett

It's shameful but they do it because they know that it will win elections to drag their opponent through the mud. They love to play to the worst emotions in people, it is classic Karl Rove.

Who's the Abomination?

Like a cornered cat with its claws in full display:

If convicted, the money laundering charge carries a penalty of up to life in prison. The charge of conspiracy to launder money is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The initial conspiracy charge carries a punishment of up to two years.

"Ronnie Earle has stooped to a new low with his brand of prosecutorial abuse," DeLay said in a statement. "He is trying to pull the legal equivalent of a 'do-over' since he knows very well that the charges he brought against me last week are totally manufactured and illegitimate. This is an abomination of justice."

DeLay and two political associates are accused of conspiring to get around a state ban on corporate campaign contributions by funneling money through the DeLay-founded Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee.

I have a better description for this situation: an abomination of democracy.

Tom DeLay's shameful antics are exactly what is wrong with this country and both political parties. It's time the officials we elected into office start paying attention to our needs, rather than being ooed and aahed by the hypnotic attraction of the Almighty Dollar.

I hope Tom DeLay gets what is coming to him. He is a dirty politician, not a lawmaker, and deserves to be sent back to the hole where we emerged.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Monday Morning News Round-up

  • Bush nominates Harriet Miers, his legal counsel, to the SCOTUS
  • William Bennett still standing by his racist comments; cancels upcoming event
  • Democrats will expand their initial primary contest from two to four states
  • Pentagon revokes clearance of 9/11 whistleblower
  • Homicides in Georgia targeting Hispanics

And for fun:
  • Brain freeze, bikini wax and chick flick added to the dictionary

What's happening in your neck of the woods?