Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Bush Bigotry [UPDATED]

According to MSNBC, the miscreant in our White House will announce his support of a Constitutional Amendment (H.J.RES.56) banning same-sex marriage tomorrow.

Not satisfied that gays are already one of the most vilified and discriminated against groups in the country, Bush, in a bow to his far-right wingnut base wants to codify their bigotry and hatred by desecrating one of the most admired documents in history: our Constitution. This is a document that, throughout its history, has been a beacon of freedom. That history has not always been perfect, but the trend has been towards a greater protection of equality for all, towards a greater provision and protection of rights to Americans.

No matter how the amendment is phrased, no matter what Rethugs say about their intentions, no matter how mealy-mouthed Democrats blather on about marriage versus "civil unions," this is about denying equal protection under the law to a group of people. It would be a direct repudiation of the 14th amendment. It would be a horrid stain on the source of all of our freedoms.

What can you do? Write and/or call your congress person. Write and/or call the White House. Write letters to your local newspaper. Call in to local talk shows. If you love this country, if you really want to "protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," if you love your freedoms - then exercise the responsibilities that come along with them!

Congress.org has a search function allowing you to get the addresses and phone numbers of everyone in the federal government you might want to contact. Go there now. Tell them all that you want to protect and enhance rights and freedom for all citizens, NOT to restrict them.

Go now!

UPDATE:The following is the text of the letter I sent to my representatives in Congress through the Congress.org website. I hope you've clicked through and sent a letter as well.

When I entered West Point in 1979, and again when I entered the Regular
Army in 1983, I took an oath to "...protect and defend the constitution of
the United States..." so did President Bush. I am not as familiar with the
oaths - if any - required upon being seated as a member of Congress, but I
would imagine the intent is much the same.

I believe that the above House Joint Resolution is a direct attack on the
Constitution which it is all of our duties to defend. If this resolution
passes, an amendment is sent to the states for ratification and it passes,
it would be the first amendment to restrict the rights of a group of
citizens in the modern history of that document.

I urge you to vote against this resolution, I urge you to fight it in any
way that you can. Do not fall prey to those who would codify their hatred
and bigotry into a document that has been a beacon of freedom to our
citizens and to the people of the world since it was first written.

Thank you for your consideration in this incredibly important matter.

Sincerely,


Charles O. Perez

It's Going to Be a Dirty Fight

Via Dohiyi Mir, we get an early idea of just how nasty the Rethugs are going to be this election. Not like we really needed a reminder, but this one is especially egregious; once again a BushCo. official is tainting all who oppose it as terrorists.

This is not the usual "with us or agin' us" bullshit we've come to expect from the Repugs. This time, Secretary of Education Rod Paige actually said that the national teachers' union, The NEA, were a terrorist organization. The remark was confirmed by several state governors, attending a private White House meeting on education. Paige, of course, said that he and the administration support "ordinary teachers," attempting to divorce teachers from the union they belong to.

While the governors, at least the Democrats among them, were surprised by this turn of phrase, I don't think any of us should be. This has been the way of the thugs in BushCo all along: tar with the widest possible brush all those who disagree with you. Democrats at all levels, but especially whoever wins the party nod for President should be planning for this to be an exceptionally dirty campaign. History has shown that Rove and his sock-puppet are fully capable of running the nastiest of campaigns. I hope everyone is ready.

Monday, February 23, 2004

It's What You Know, Not Who You Know...

Sure it is.

Seems that Halliburton is feeling the heat from all its scandals and its links to Dick "The Dick" Cheney. So they've started running TV ads claiming that despite all appearances, despite all facts, they got the high profile, no-bid, cost-plus contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan not because Cheney used to be their CEO, not because they still pay Cheney a deferred salary, not because having an ex-CEO in the White House gives them unprecedented access to decisions, not because they've contributed over $800,000 to Republican campaign coffers in just the past year.

Nope.

Apparently they got those contracts "because of what we know, not who we know."

Of course "what they know" is how to overcharge for gasoline, how to charge for meals not actually served to troops, how NOT to keep their field kitchens clean and how to line Rethugs' pockets to keep their mouths shut.

But while trying to clean up their public image, seems they are shining a light on the Republicans' involvement in the whole mess, not to their liking:

...the Halliburton spots - two are on the air so far - have created an awkward situation for the White House, which has not fallen over itself to embrace them. Mr. Cheney's office had no comment, and neither did the Bush campaign. But one Republican official close to the administration said the company was clearly thinking of itself, not the president's re-election.
Whoever that "Republican official" is, he seems to be implying that they expect some sort of quid-pro-quo that they are not getting. Imagine that. Are companies supposed to be "thinking of the president's re-election?" And why would this official expect that? Curiouser and curiouser.

Read all about it in today's New York Times.

Anybody But Bush

I hadn't been able to decide what to put up in my sidebar under "For President" since Dr. Dean dropped his bid. For a while I just "draped" his Dean for America button with a black band; I guess sort of in mourning for the campaign. But I wanted something else there, something more forceful but still reflective of my ambilvalence towards the two frontrunners.

Being somewhat creative, and having a little time on my hand this weekend, I decided to make something. And that something turned out to be the "ABB" button you see to the right. For a first attempt at putting something like that together I'm rather happy with how it turned out.

For now it's a link to the Democrats.org website. That will definitely change later, when the candidate is selected.

If anyone out there likes it, please feel free to use it; but please put it on your own site's server - and I'd appreciate a link back and some sort of attribution. Thanks.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

HaloScan Trackback Enabled

HaloScan has implemented a Trackback service with their commenting service. As much as people complain about HaloScan commenting, they've really done a great job supporting their user base; they respond quickly to bugs or problems and they really do provide a great service for the price.

Um...that would be free!

Actually, I should say, considering the price, they provide an amazing service. If you know how to use Trackback, go to it! If not, please visit the HaloScan site, they explain it much better than I ever could. Or visit Steve Bates over at The Yellow Doggerel Democrat - he explains it very simpley as well!

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Late Friday Dog Blogging

So late, in fact, that it's going to be the first-ever Saturday Dog Blogging. I've been busy this week...

So, without further ado, here's Baylea in a classic action shot.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Shiny, Happy People

Lots of bloggers have been writing about what's going on in San Francisco this past week, including me. But words sometimes lack the emotional impact of a picture. Unfortunately the pictures we've seen from the media have been nearly as lifeless as the words they've written about it.

I found, via Atrios, the blog of author/designer/photographer Derek Powazek. He lives in SF and has taken his camera to city hall to witness the marriages taking place there. In the process, he has captured the joy, the pride and the sheer beauty of these events. His pictures, especially those of the new couples convey such a sense of drama and pathos and most importantly of love that words never will. Derek doesn't have comments on his blog, but drop him an e-mail if you like his stuff.

Derek also has a Cafeshops store set up and is selling a great poster from one of his photos that captures it all, simply and elegantly. Please check it out

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Is Chicago Next?

Chicago mayor, Richard Daley said he would have "no problem" with allowing his county clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He stopped just short of actually telling the clerk to begin, but my guess is that before the week is out we may be seeing the same wonderful scenes we've witnessed in San Francisco over the past week.

Daley really hit all the important points during the interview:

Daley urged sympathy for same-sex couples because "they love each other just as much as anyone else."

Daley also dismissed a suggestion that marriage between gay couples would undermine the institution. "Marriage has been undermined by divorce, so don't tell me about marriage,"he said. "Don't blame the gay and lesbian, transgender and transsexual community."
And David Orr, the county clerk was just as adamant that this was the right thing to do:

"I'm fed up with people being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation," Orr said."(But) whatever you do when it comes to challenging laws, you want it to be effective and not knee-jerk."
If the mayors of a few more large cities take the same view, we really could be in the midst of a sea-change in civil rights as occured in the 1960s. And once the numbers reach a critical mass, which they may have done already in California, it will be almost impossible to stuff the genie back into the closet, as it were...

And where is our preznit, who's "done more for civil rights than any other president?" He remains "deeply troubled" by all of this and his extreme right-wingnut supporters are saying that he's definitely going to come out in favor of the first Constitutional amendment to restrict the rights of a minority in our history.

Shrubby also had this to say:

"People need to be involved in this decision," Bush said. "Marriage ought to be defined by the people, not by the courts."
I'm getting tired of saying this, but really... they sets 'em up, I just knocks 'em down: how can you honestly say that irony is dead?

George and the Wall

I wish I could remember now which blog I should credit with pointing out this Britt cartoon. Go check it out. It's powerful stuff - and it gets to the heart of why aWol's National Guard service - or lack of service - is so important.

It's about character.

Shrubby's character is probably in the same place as the rest of his military service records.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Dean Bows Out

See here and here.

Dean said he would not run as a third-party candidate and urged his followers to support the eventual Democratic nominee.

"The bottom line is that we must beat George W. Bush in November, no matter what," he said.
Remember: ABB.

Pardon Me, Your Geek is Showing...

I completely forgot to blog about one of the biggest news stories I've heard recently. It was last week, I believe, and when I heard it I had to stop for a moment and catch my breath. My heart pounded, my eyes bulged nearly out of their sockets and I began to jump up and down like a little kid.

What in the world could possibly make me react like that?

Only this: "Star Wars original trilogy to be released on DVD in September."

Truly geek heaven.

How Do You Say "Overstretched" in French?

When our military is stretched too thin, lots of really bad things can happen. And not just to our troops' morale.

While clothed in the usual mealy-mouthed diplomatic language of international affairs, BushCo. has indicated they have "no enthusiasm" for sending troops to Haiti, where a violent coup appears poised to spiral out of control. And this for the Haitian president, Jeanne Bertrand Aristide, that American troops helped re-take the presidency he overwhelmingly won after a previous coup attempt.

There are lots of reasons why Aristide himself should likely not be helped; he has grown more corrupt and allowed roving bands of government supporters and thugs to enforce his tenuous hold on power. But the Haitian people, some of the poorest in the Caribbean, already dependent in large part on government and international food aid, are in dire need of help. Deploying even a regiment of US troops, in coordination with the UN or a couple of European allies would be a relatively easy way to bring some stability to the country and allow its fragile democracy a chance to heal itself.

From The Seattle Times:

Secretary of State Colin Powell responded that the United States, which sent in soldiers to restore President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power in 1994 after he was ousted in a coup that led to an influx of Haitian boat people to Florida, had "no enthusiasm" for sending military forces to Haiti.

He said the administration was working toward a political solution.

[edit]

He is accused of using police and armed militants to stifle dissent and allowing corruption to fund lavish lifestyles for his cronies as the majority of the 8 million people suffer deeper misery.

But other countries say they cannot condone the use of force by Aristide's opponents to remove him.

"Certainly there needs to be some changes in the way Haiti is governed and the security situation as well," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. But he added, "That's a matter for the people of Haiti to decide."
And they say irony is dead.

Doctor, Heal Thy Self! [UPDATED]

UPDATE:Thanks to regular reader Bob James, I realize I misread the Snopes article that I quoted below: this appointment - after a fashion - has already happened. Dr. Hager was appointed to the FDA committee, but was not appointed to chair the committee.

While outdated in the specifics, this article remains topical. This still serves as a warning: If BushCo remains in our White House beyond his current term, we can expect more appointments like this. We can expect a continued erosion of our rights and liberties.

My apologies for the mistake. My original post remains below - minus the call to action.


Keith at The Invisible Library, posted the following at the Liberal Coalition Blog, it's originally from Snopes.com. It is vitally important to get this information out as broadly as possible (all bold emphasis is mine):

President Bush has announced his plan to select Dr. W. David Hager to head up the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. The committee has not met for more than two years, during which time its charter has lapsed. As a result, the Bush Administration is tasked with filling all eleven positions with new members. This position does not require Congressional approval.

[edit]

Dr. Hager is a practicing OB/GYN who describes himself as "pro-life" and refuses to prescribe contraceptives to unmarried women. Hager is the author of "As Jesus Cared for Women: Restoring Women Then and Now." The book blends biblical accounts of Christ healing women with case studies from Hager's practice. In the book Dr. Hager wrote with his wife, entitled "Stress and the Woman's Body," he suggests that women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome should seek help from reading the bible and praying. As an editor and contributing author of "The Reproduction Revolution: A Christian Appraisal of Sexuality, Reproductive Technologies and the Family," Dr. Hager appears to have endorsed the medically inaccurate assertion that the common birth control pill is an abortifacient.

For some women, such as those with certain types of diabetes and those undergoing treatment for cancer, pregnancy can be a life-threatening condition. We are concerned that Dr. Hager's strong religious beliefs may color his assessment of technologies that are necessary to protect women's lives or to preserve and promote women's health. Hager's track record of using religious beliefs to guide his medical decision-making makes him a dangerous and inappropriate candidate to serve as chair of this committee. Critical drug public policy and research must not be held hostage by antiabortion politics. Members of this important panel should be appointed on the basis of science and medicine, rather than politics and religion. American women deserve no less.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Hiatus

Today was just crazy at work; all day meeting, getting pulled out at odd times to make additions and corrections to a big presentation coming up (I'm the local expert in all things applications at work; PowerPoint, Excel, etc.), then finally making my way home a little late.

So tonight, I'm going to sit down and watch an old favorite movie of mine and do nothing. Perhaps a glass of wine while I watch the movie would be nice.

Oh, the movie? One of the best suspense/horror movies ever made - that just also happens to be an excellent science fiction movie: Alien.

Talk among yourselves - and have a great night (and keep your fingers crossed for your favorite democrat in Wisconsin)

Monday, February 16, 2004

Regulations, Regulations, Regulations; And Why That's A Good Thing

Three stories caught my eye this evening and they illustrate clearly why government regulation - when applied logically and for the good of people (as opposed to industry) - can be a very good thing.

The first two stories involved disasters in China and Russia where building codes, while they exist, are enforced laxly, if at all (as long as you can afford the bribes). In the first instance, the glass roof to an indoor water park collapsed in Moscow on Saturday. Rescuers estimate that up to 38 may have died and over 100 were injured. In the second instance a fire in a multi-storey shopping pavilion in northeast China and in a bamboo temple in an eastern province killed 93 people. In what are considered civilized states, these kinds of failures of structures and codes should be unthinkable. They are not, however all that rare in either country.

In a similar vein think back to the major earthquakes this year in Turkey and Afghanistan and the thousands of people who died because poorly built structures collapsed.

The third story that caught my attention was about a construction crane that fell off of an Interstate construction site on an overpass, killing 3 construction workers. This is major news here in the U.S. because it it is rare and points out a potential failure of the complex of safety regulations, rules and inspections that keep such a story rare.

Tragedies of the type that happened in Russia and China are not so rare in what we would consider third-world countries; and the reasons are clear: insufficient or poorly enforced regulation of construction. They are rare in the US and most western countries for exactly the opposite reasons. Keep these stories in mind the next time some shrink-the-government-until-it-dies conservative complains about government regulations. But you don't have to restrict yourself to just the examples I've provided here. A very small amount of effort researching the topic will provide you with a wealth of examples to use. Everything from gas fires in China to tens of thousands dead in collapsed structures in earthquakes all over the world.

Government can be a force for good; regulations that secure our safety are but a single, wonderful proof of that.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

To Infinity, And Beyond!

Humans have such a short attention span. We also are cursed - and blessed - by a very limited sense of time. Our temporal horizons are typically some fraction of a human lifetime; some fraction of a human lifetime from about 2500 years ago. Which means something less than about 40 years.

Even though most people realize intellectually that they will live for some four score of years or more, our brains have not overcome the shorter time spans our ancestors lived. It's partly, I believe why teenagers can't imagine what it's like to be forty. It's why adults have a hard time saving for retirement. It's why governments have such a difficult time convincing citizens to think about the next generation, much less the seventh generation. It is, in a very fundamental way I think, why we have such a hard time solving so many problems. The future is just "too far away."

In particular, conservatives - especially during the last 40 to 50 years - seem to have a difficult time with the concept of the future. Their political, philosophical and often their religious frame of reference denies the classical action-reaction dialectic. So that we get a denial of the need to steward and protect the environment; the denial that we need to conserve non-renewable energy sources; the lack of interest in renewable sources. In other words, it seems that their temporal horizons are especially short and they are incapable - or, even worse, unwilling to see that their actions now have an impact later. But the particular brand of conservatism in vogue now is not the sole province of short-sightedness. We are all guilty.

So, besides a nice glass of Cabernet, what brought on this post? The discovery of what is perhaps the most distant object ever observed. A galaxy, visible only because of gravitational lensing, about 13 billion light years away. The big bang is currently dated at about 13.7 billion years ago, so the light from this small galaxy has been traveling outward since the universe was less than a billion years old.

The atoms that make up our bodies and our computers and everything around us had not even been created yet when this galaxy first coalesced. The stars in which our atoms were forged were still billions of years in the future.

Now that's a long horizon.

In truth, I'd be happy if we could just convince some of the people in this country to think about things 20 years in the future.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Is That Really All of Them?

Via Dohiyi Mir and CNN:

Hundreds of pages of President Bush's Vietnam-era military files were released to the media Friday amid questions about whether he completed his required service in the Air National Guard.

About 400 pages of what officials have been able to find of his military records -- from 1968 to 1973 -- were released early in the evening.
The article never says, nor does anyone from the administration, that this comprises his entire military records jacket. CNN also says that the records are very repetitive; something that - at least in my case and other sets of military records I've seen - is not usually true.

Of course this was done at the nadir of the media coverage week; a Friday afternoon. And there has been no detailed analysis done yet. So it remains to be seen just how much this release explicates the questions that have been raised. We should, however, as NTodd says; give "credit, where credit is due."

Friday, February 13, 2004

No.

The headline is to answer this question from my post below:

"Is there no limit to the depths this maladministration will stoop?"

Apparently, there is not.

A story in today's New York Times has Ashcroft defending his subpoena of women's medical records from several hospitals.

The department has subpoenaed at least six hospitals, in New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago and Ann Arbor, Mich., to obtain medical histories for women who have had abortions in the last three years performed by the doctors now suing the government. A federal judge in Chicago has thrown out a subpoena against Northwestern University Medical Center because he said it was a "significant intrusion" on patient privacy, and hospital administrators in other cities are contesting the demand as well.
There are obvious signs of retribution here; the records subpoenaed are only from those doctors suing the government. There are also signs that Ashcroft sees himself - and his band of merry men - as omniscient:

Mr. Ashcroft told reporters that "if the central issue in the case, an issue raised by those who brought the case, is medical necessity, we need to look at medical records to find out if indeed there was medical necessity." He refused to say whether he had personally signed off on the subpoenas for the records.
Is anyone in the Department of Justice qualified to determine what is medically necessary? And if there are questions, how will they resolve them? They can't maintain the women's privacy - as promised - and then subpoena them or their doctors to ask pointed questions about something that should be strictly between a person and their doctors. And of course, see the last sentence, Ashcroft won't even accept responsibility for his actions: "He refused to say whether he had personally signed off on the subpoenas for the records."

This is, on the face, a clear instance of intimidation; of the doctors, the medical facilities where they practice and the women involved. It is spiteful, hateful and intrusive. And it is entirely in character.

Women make up more than 50% of the citizens of the US. If a single woman votes for BushCo in November they are fools.

George W(ho)?

Via Hesiod over at Counterspin Central, comes this story from the Memphis Flyer. Seems that two pilots from the Alabama Air National Guard unit that aWol supposedly served in while away from his Texas unit don't remember him.

This story confirms a lot of things I've been saying in comment threads on multiple blogs: pilots are a very small part of aviation units - numbers-wise. And they hang out together, drink together; there's a lot of truth behind the bar scenes in "Top Gun." None of these two pilots remembers anyone showing up from out of state. One of them remembers looking for him:

Recalls Memphian Mintz, now 63: “I remember that I heard someone was coming to drill with us from Texas. And it was implied that it was somebody with political influence. I was a young bachelor then. I was looking for somebody to prowl around with.” But, says Mintz, that “somebody” -- better known to the world now as the president of the United States -- never showed up at Dannelly in 1972. Nor in 1973, nor at any time that Mintz, a FedEx pilot now and an Eastern Airlines pilot then, when he was a reserve first lieutenant at Dannelly, can remember.

“And I was looking for him,” repeated Mintz, who said that he assumed that Bush “changed his mind and went somewhere else” to do his substitute drill. It was not “somewhere else,” however, but the 187th Air National Guard Tactical squadron at Dannelly to which the young Texas flyer had requested transfer from his regular Texas unit – the reason being Bush’s wish to work in Alabama on the ultimately unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign of family friend Winton "Red" Blount.

Bold emphasis is mine.
He never showed up.

Friday Dog Blogging

The long, cold winter we've had here in New York has been rough on all of us. It's been so cold for so long that I'm starting to wish that I could hibernate. During most of the year and in the winter when it's not so cold, Baylea gets to go out and play most afternoons when we get home from work. When it's in the single digits, even she doesn't enjoy being outside. And I can't really say I blame her.

While I can't hibernate, Baylea has no such compunction. So this Friday's dog blogging at the Fulcrum has Baylea doing one of the things she does best: sleeping!

Thursday, February 12, 2004

The Case of the Disappearing Dental Records

Dental records?!? I swear I saw aWol's dental records from 1972 or 1973 on Good Morning America this morning. The White House claims that these prove Shrubby was at his Alabama Guard duties during a disputed period. If they are real, if they are his, what they prove is that he went to the dentist. That's all.

But the odd thing is, I've been around all the news sites, including ABC's, and there is no mention of the dental records.

Maybe it's too early for them to have updated their sites? But it was nearly an hour ago that I saw the preznit's teeth, full of the black marks and Xs indicating he has really bad teeth, by the way. So where is this story now? It's ridiculous. All the records that should be available - assuming the stories of record "cleansing" prior to aWol's Gubernatorial campaign are false - and the best they can do is a dental exam sheet?

They are in really big trouble on this one.

UPDATE: ABC has finally put the story up on their web site, but not on the front page. It's buried about 1/3 of the way down their Politics page. And the headline is that the dentist who apparently signed the form doesn't remember Bush. He also says that doesn't mean he wasn't there. Still to be cleared up is why Bush saw a dentist in Alabama when previous statements would have put him in Houston at the time.

The White House is starting to take a harder line; trying to repeat the mantra that what's been released should clear everything up. I still hold to my assertion: "They are in really big trouble on this one."

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

"A Texas C***sman" in Alabama

Via Blah3, James Ridgeway at the Village Voice apparently found someone who would talk about Bush's time in Alabama when he was supposed to be working on a family friend's campaign and reporting to the Alabama Air National Guard. What this person has to say isn't very flattering:

In Alabama, where George W. Bush supposedly was slaving away on Winton "Red" Blount's 1972 U.S. Senate campaign in lieu of National Guard duty, he is remembered by a Blount son as a smartass "cuntsman" from Texas.
The other people who spoke apparently weren't any more impressed than Blount's son - except apparently a gaggle of southern belle debutantes also working on the campaign who thought Bush Jr. was "dreamy."

The article doesn't have much to say about whether or not Bush ever made it his drills on the weekends, just that he bragged about how much he'd drunk the nights before. But if they can find someone who remembers him at campaign headquarters, it shouldn't be that hard to find someone who remembers him on base.

Unless he was never there...

Ashcroft Seeking Release of Women's Medical Records

Is there no limit to the depths this maladminstration will stoop?

Seems that John "The Crisco Kid" Ashcroft is seeking the release of medical records for patients, from several hospitals, of women who have or may have had a certain late-term abortion procedure. Fortunately a District Judge in Illinois has blocked the first request from a hospital in Chicago. But the Attorney General has made requests to several hospitals.

Read about this at Roger Ailes, who got it from TAPped.

This is a horrible intrusion into the most private of our records for likely the most heinous of reasons. Read it. Then, if medical privacy is at all important to you, do something about this. Write to your local paper - most especially if you are in or near Chicago. Write to your congressman. Talk to your doctor.

A Personal Exploration of Service

Over at the Liberal Coalition, I've posted a rather longish, personal exploration of service and commitment and how that colors my opinions of Shrubby's A.W.O.L. conundrum. Here's an excerpt:

All this is to say that someone who goes through such training and who says that they "supported X war" that was happening when they became a pilot would not - under any circumstances - do anything to imperil their flight status and they would do anything they could to put their training to use in a war they believed in.

Does this sound like the current resident at 1600 Pennsylvania? He is on record as saying that he didn't want to "go to Canada or shoot out his eardrum with a shotgun," and yet he can still say with a straight face that he supported the Vietnam War.

Continue reading "Get Me a Flight Surgeon."
After reading the rest of my post, I hope you'll explore some of the other bloggers who are members of the Liberal Coalition: there are some wonderful writers in that blogroll.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Bush is Outsourced! [UPDATED]

Via Hesiod from the Seattle Times, who seems to think Bush has finally stepped in it so badly that it's nearly unrecoverable for our Unelectable, Miserable Failure of a pRezint.

Seems that aWol, the compassionate conservative that he is believes that... well, check this out:

"The movement of American factory jobs and white-collar work to other countries is part of a positive transformation that will enrich the U.S. economy over time, even if it causes short-term pain and dislocation, the Bush administration said yesterday.

The embrace of foreign "outsourcing," an accelerating trend that has contributed to U.S. job losses in recent years and has become an issue in the 2004 elections, is contained in the president's annual report to Congress on the U.S. economy.

"Outsourcing is just a new way of doing international trade," said N. Gregory Mankiw, chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisors, which prepared the report. "More things are tradable than were tradable in the past. And that's a good thing."
Emphasis mine.
This from a politician and an economist for whom there is no chance of their jobs being "outsourced." And in fact, probably true for both of them, these are people who have never had to work hard a day in their lives to get to where they are. Theirs have been lives of privilege, of leisure, of unearned success.

Shorter BushCo to American workers: "F*** you! I got mine!"

UPDATE: I thought that regular reader Bob James' comments to this post were relevant, so I'd like to share part of them. I hope he doesn't mind.

It is so far removed from the realities of the situation that it's hard to formulate a response. And I'm so sick of hearing about how it's going to cause "short-term pain". What the hell do those pukes know about short-term pain? I'm hearing from colleagues who routinely add up the pros and cons of eating a bullet because they're stuck packing boxes for $6.50/hr instead of the $55K/year job they once held, and kissed goodbye to India. No one who's suffering this fate sees the pain as short-term, nor even as trivial as "pain". "Soul-killing anguish" barely covers it.
As I wrote above, these are people who don't know what it's like to live paycheck-to-paycheck; or at least what it means to have a budget that you have to stick to. Every problem they've had is trivial. Anyway, I thought Bob's remarks were important.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Media Decontaminated of Ricin

If you read my previous post about the discovery of ricin in a capitol mail room, you'll know that I had a strange feeling about the whole incident. Well recent news has done nothing to relieve that odd feeling.

The major news outlets have been all but silent on the story; the odd circumstances under which the powder was found, the strangely subdued reactions by BushCo and most of all the oddly ineffective manner in which the toxin was delivered: to the only medical doctor in Congress.

In an article in The Hill ("The newspaper for and about the US Congress), the Capitol Police spokeswoman said the following:

Mail delivery to the Capitol complex is still suspended indefinitely, Capitol Police spokeswoman Contricia Sellers-Ford said yesterday.
But more interesting than that, Capitol Police haven't even decided what they are going to do to start investigating this.

Although police have confiscated all unopened mail from congressional offices, Sellers-Ford said the department still hasn't "pinpointed” its testing procedures or decided if mail will be returned.

The police notice said that mail removed during cleanup was “wrapped in protective packaging, catalogued and sealed inside protective containers and will be cleaned,” adding that “every effort is being made to safely return mail.”

Sellers-Ford said “nothing has tested positive.”
That odd feeling in the back of my mind is not going away.

New in the Blogroll

Mac-a-ro-nies. I've read her blog before, and have been remiss in not getting her onto my blogroll; don't you be remiss in not reading some of the best written commentary on a small blog. My only complaint is that she has no commenting system set up. (The fact that she uses a Mac also prejudices me towards her!)

I highly recommend this post on "gay marriage." This is time well spent.

I know I don't always post about adding people to my blogroll. If you read my blog and think you fit in with the other folks there, leave me a comment or an e-mail. I'll be glad to add you in. If you're a regular reader and commenter, and you're not there, I promise it's only because of an unintentional oversight. Let me know.

Ipecac for the Mind

I didn't want, to; but I made myself. I read the entire transcript of Preznit aWol's interview on Meet the Press. While I was reading, I kept wanting to skim over just about everything Bush said. Reading his remarks is nearly as bad as listening to them. Has there ever been a more illiterate sounding president?

Lots of folks have done a great job dissecting this whole thing, especially I have to recommend the folks over at Corente, and NTodd over at Dohiyi Mir. But go visit most any of your favorite bloggers - there is plenty of really great reaction and analysis out there.

I just want to list a few of my reactions:

1. I didn't bother to count, but there had to be a dozen references to 9/11 in various guises regardless of whether there was reason to link the topic being discussed with the terrorist attacks of 2001. This has been a staple in every public utterance by aWol.

2. I know I mentioned it in my remarks above, but reading his remarks is like reading the ramblings of a 10 year old. His noun-verb agreement problems make me cringe. His remarks bounce erratically from point to point and topic to topic all within what should be a short, easy answer.

3. Bush's verbal "placeholders" and acknowledgments of statements would have gotten me - and most likely him - slapped as a kid. They consisted of "Yeah" and "Uh-huh" and other figurative verbal tics that are impolite at best and uneducated at worst in "polite conversation." Coming from a supposedly well educated man occupying the most powerful seat in the world, they are atrocious. They are not the sign of a common man, aWol is anything but common in his patrician and very privileged rearing and education.

4. He outright lied in several places. This point is well covered in lots of analysis of the interview, and I won't lay out the specifics here, it's been done better on other blogs (see above).
That's more than enough. I could go on, but, really, what's the point. The interview is done, there are some rumblings on the Right that this was a disaster for aWol, but the press has not really shown an interest in holding Shrubby to the same standards as they've held other presidents and the current crop of Democratic candidates. So what's the point?

This is really starting to get me down.

What I Didn't' Miss This Weekend

Another weekend is in the history books. Amazing how quickly they go by, isn't it?

It was a great weekend; some of which I blogged about: CATS downtown on Saturday and a wine tasting afternoon on Sunday. We didn't get any snow this weekend and we actually saw the sun both days - or at least that's what I think that bright ball in the sky was... it's been so long. I watched the Grammys last night. It was actually quite enjoyable, but then I'm a huge music fan and no matter how often I say that I'll just watch the red carpet show, I always get sucked in. And I always love it. Finally, a movie recommendation: for a night when you want a semi-light, funny, family kind of movie that's just odd enough to be different, I highly recommend "Secondhand Lions." Robert Duval, Michael Cain and Haley Joel Osment; all three are excellent. Rent it, you won't be disappointed.

So, I did miss a few things in the literal sense, but honestly, after paying such close attention to politics and news lately, I really didn't miss taking this past weekend completely off. I did read the papers, I can't help that - it's a very old habit. But I didn't watch aWol's interview, although I will read the transcripts today. I didn't watch any news shows, I did very little blog reading - sorry all of you.

Of course that's all to say that I have some catching up to do. I haven't done a Liberal Coalition blog about in a while, there are a couple of subjects I'd really like to write about and of course, there's this thing called "work."

So I guess I'd better get at it. It's a new week!

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Languid Sunday

Sometimes, there's just nothing like a lazy Sunday to end the week - to end the weekend.

This morning we slept in a little late and didn't get out of bed until after 8:30. Then it was hot, light, homemade pancakes to start the day; lots of butter and real maple syrup. Well, real syrup for me, my wife doesn't like real maple so it's Mrs. Butterworth for her. Coffee, tea and, for me, a quick blog entry.

Then we're off to a nearby winery that's having a celebration of their ice wines. There will be sleigh rides through the vineyards, ice wine, chocolate, desserts of all kinds, live music and some friends. It should be a wonderful day. It could be warmer... right now it's only 21 degrees. But there's a light snow, a little sunshine and it should be absolutely beautiful. I think I'll be taking my camera - and if I get any good shots, I'll post a couple.

So, whatever it is that makes your Sunday relaxing and enjoyable and gets you recharged for another week, I hope you get it in spades today.

Sometimes, life is just perfect!

Saturday, February 07, 2004

If Only Canadians Could Vote

Those of you who've read this blog long enough know that my wife is Canadian. In general, I've found the Canadians I know to be very progressive folks; live and let live. While generally they like Americans - as people, it is seen as the kiss of death for any of their politicians to be seen as caving to a U.S. politician. Even our most liberal ones. And despite seeming to many of us here in the US as "the 51st State," you're likely to get a punch in the nose if you suggest any such thing to a Canadian. After which they would apologize profusely and buy you a beer (a good beer, not the pond water US breweries get away with selling). They are an unfailingly polite people.

Anyway...

It's no wonder that according to a MacLean's poll, only 15% of Canadians would vote for our stuffed flight suit pResident. If you've never read MacLean's, I highly recommend it. I would say it's close to Time Magazine, but better written, better edited and it will give you a very different point of view than the rest of our American, corporate, SCLM. There's a great article this month about how Canadians have a visceral dislike of aWol - and I recommend it - but the best part of this issue was the cover which I've lifted from the MacLean's site.

I think you'll appreciate this:

Friday, February 06, 2004

Wishful Thinking Dog Blog

It's been a long, cold, snowy winter here in Western New York. And it's only February. Spring time seems a long time away. Before I moved up here, friends used to tell me that the weather here wasn't bad: "nine months of winter and three months of bad sledding." Oh well.

In light of the long winter, the long wait for spring and not having seen the grass here in months, I bring you this edition of Friday Dog Blogging here at The Fulcrum.

Google This!

Via Blah3 comes this latest Google Bomb. Not since Miserable Failure has there been a more apt attempt to game Google. Help point those looking for "Bush Military Record" in the right direction.

Go check it out!

It's in my right side bar, it's in this post: add it to your blog.

George W. Orwell

Paul Krugman hits one out of the park in today's New York Times opinion piece.

Right now America is going through an Orwellian moment. On both the foreign policy and the fiscal fronts, the Bush administration is trying to rewrite history, to explain away its current embarrassments.
Krugman reminds us of the real history of the intelligence problems prior to the Iraq war and of the seemingly never-ending budget deficits. He also shows how those following BushCo's talking points are sticking to their stories - no matter how poorly backed up by facts - and, unfortunately, how most of the media appears to be swallowing those points hook, line and sinker.

This is an important piece. Not because it says things that haven't been said, but because it says them so succinctly, so well and all in one place. This is something you could easily print out and wave in the face of the next freeper who drones on about one of these talking points.

One more reason this piece is important - a somewhat parochial reason: Krugman credits a blogger, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo with reminding him of all these historical rewrites.

Lastly, Krugman closes his article sounding a lot like myself and other progressive/liberal bloggers:

I'd like to think that the administration's crass efforts to rewrite history will backfire, that the media and the informed public won't let officials get away with this. Have we finally had enough?

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Sometimes You Just Get it Right

It seems I may have been on the right track with my post from yesterday about Abdul Qadeer Khan. I predicted that nothing would happen to Khan, Musharraf or our relationship with Pakistan. From the article in today's NYT, I think this is shaping up just like I thought it would:

The president of Pakistan, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, granted a full pardon today to Abdul Qadeer Khan, the founder of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, who admitted sharing nuclear technology with other countries in a contrite television appearance on Wednesday night.

[snip]

Speaking to journalists after the news conference, General Musharraf said Dr. Khan would be under close supervision to prevent him from carrying out any more proliferation, but he added that there would be no further investigation.

The tone of his comments indicated that he wished to put the scandal behind him.

Emphasis is mine
And of course the crickets have been deafening as far as the White House goes on this. Yep, everything is just fine. Nothing to see here. Oh, look, ricin over in Congress!!

Separate is Rarely, if Ever, Equal

The Massachusetts Supreme Court got it exactly right (WSJ) yesterday. And it was wonderful to hear - finally - a high court use the language of the civil rights movement in discussing this issue.

Whatever you call the legal union of two people, the rights of that couple should not be different based on; race, color, creed, national origin or sexual orientation. We've done the whole "separate but equal" thing before. You'd think we'd have learned our lesson.

In Wednesday's opinion, the majority, led by Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, wrote that while the state couldn't force religions to perform or recognize gay marriages, "neither may the government, under the guise of protecting 'traditional' values, even if they be the traditional values of the majority, enshrine in law an invidious discrimination that our constitution... forbids."
Whenever anyone finds themselves saying anything about "gay rights," they should instead, substitute - before opening their mouths - women or blacks or Hispanics in their statement. If that makes you hesitate to say it, then you shouldn't say it with the word gay or homosexual, either.

Are equal rights for women "special rights?" Are equal rights for non-whites "special rights?"

Bad Moon a' Ricin

Something about this whole ricin "attack" on Senator Frist's mailroom isn't adding up.

I'm not sure exactly what it is about the whole thing that seems like an itch in the back of my mind. And like everyone else, I'll just have to see how it all plays out. But something just isn't right.

There is no known antidote for the toxin, derived from castor beans in a relatively straightforward manner. It was initially thought that because the powder showed up in a mailroom that it had arrived, like anthrax before, in the mail. But postal inspectors are starting to doubt that (WSJ, subscription required).

Investigators assume the poison, in the form of a white powder, was sent through the mail. But U.S. Postal Inspectors, who police the mail system, reported no success finding suspect packages after spending Wednesday combing Senate buildings and letter-sorting facilities trying to find a letter or a trail that would link the ricin to the mail system.

"We normally would expect to find a bulging envelope with powder, but there isn't any yet and to be honest I am not optimistic we will find one," said Postal Inspector Daniel Mihalko.
So if it didn't arrive by mail how did it get there? Investigators can find no obvious trail. And the Department of Homeland Security has no plans to issue any alerts about ricin attacks.

Stories of an earlier letter with ricin in it from someone connected with the trucking industry now sound like a red herring; but from what are they distracting us? I'm treading dangerously close to tin foil hat territory here, so I'll go no further; I'm just raising some interesting points. We're not likely to hear anything remotely resembling the truth from BushCo., so watching the press and interpreting administration releases of information will have to suffice.

But something just doesn't add up in all of this.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Find the Real Boob

If you haven't read any of Spade's posts over at HAMMERDOWN, you should give him a visit. Especially funny is this post about "half-time-gate," the ensuing investigation and 9/11. Believe me, there's a connection there.

The Wrath of Khan

The man who created what is known in his country as the "Islamic Nuclear Bomb" has confessed to selling or giving away the secrets to recreating his work to some of the most wretched dictators in the world. Abdul Qadeer Khan, widely revered in Pakistan for building, likely from black market information, the first nuclear weapon in his country. This development "balanced" the development a couple years prior of a nuclear weapon in India.

In selling plans and knowledge of how to build a nuclear weapon - a true "weapon of mass destruction" - to Iran, Libya and North Korea, Abdul Khan is likely deserving of being sent before the Hague for crimes against humanity. And yet, because his country is, if not in deed then in word, an ally of BushCo's imperial adventures, you can be sure that the U.S. will officially accept his "apology" and require no more of Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf.

Khan made an abject apology on Pakistani TV saying that nobody in the government knew what was going on - over the course of two decades. On the face of it, this seems absolutely ludicrous. It is likely that nothing goes on in Pakistan without the military knowing about it. And Musharraf is the head of the military. The odds of him not knowing what his chief nuclear weapons scientist was doing are infinitesimal.

But aWol has looked Pervez Musharraf in the eyes and found him to be an honorable man and a worthy ally. Therefore, he is to be taken at his word. Nothing will happen to Khan. Nothing will happen to Musharraf. Nothing will happen to our relationship with Pakistan.

If the Democrats don't take this as another bludgeon in their attacks on Shrubby's international policies they are fools. They have an almost unlimited arsenal in such an attack. They should hammer him. Mercilessly.

John Kerry, Howard Dean, John Edwards, Wes Clark... we're waiting.

Lord, I Was Born a Ramblin' Man...

I guess you could say I've been around. Most of my travels were with the Army, but a fair bit was done as a sales rep. as well.

Via BlogAmY:



Create your own visited states map
or write about it on the open travel guide.

I Was Starting to Feel Better

Thank you to everyone who sent me good wishes; I'm feeling much better today.

I would probably feeling a whole lot better had Dr. Dean done better last night, but since he did kind of blow off all seven states holding primaries and caucuses yesterday, I suppose it could have been worse. Kerry, besides winning big yesterday on a state count, also moved into first place in delegates; but there are plenty more to be won in the coming weeks. I do think, however, that Dean's showing yesterday does not position him well for the remaining 41 states to be won. Dr. Dean and Roy Neel have a lot of work before them.

There are two good pieces of news out of all of this: 1) The longer the fight for the democratic nomination goes on, the more press it gets, the more oxygen it steals from anything BushCo might have up their sleeves; 2) In three different polls, John Kerry is beating Shrubby head to head.

So, today it's back to work and hopefully back to a little blogging.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Bleh...

I've been fighting off some kind of bug the last couple of days and I'm still not feeling 100% so expect light blogging - at least for today.

Go check out everyone in the Liberal Coalition blogroll and my regular blogroll on the left. They are all good and they'll have plenty to say about the bombing in Irbil this weekend, the discovery of ricin in some congressional buildings, the seven primaries tonight and of course, the most important thing going on right now: Janet Jackson's breast.

I'll try to get something up today, but no promises.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Friday Dog Blog

If you've seen any national weather lately, you know that here in upstate New York we've gotten pounded lately with snow. A town I regularly drive through on the way to my in-laws got over 70 inches since Wednesday. We didn't get quite that much, but so far in January, we've gotten nearly 50 inches.

So for this Friday's edition of dog blogging on The Fulcrum here's yours truly and Baylea enjoying what we've got the most of... snow.

Dean's Dollar Doldrums?

There seems to be a mix of hope and despair among those supporting Dr. Dean for the Democratic nomination. Hope: that he will be able to continue to bring his message of change and to inspire the intense grass-roots devotion that has brought him this far. Despair: that he will have enough money to do so.

From the comments of an earlier post, Steven Bates, The Yellow Doggerel Democrat had this to say:

Sorry to spoil the fun, but if Dean is truly out of money, it may well be all over, whatever the delegate count.

Dean's money was, to all evidence, raised in a virtuous way, compared not only to other Dem candidates (though Kucinich also took the small-donations route) but to every candidate in recent prior presidential elections. But there's no getting around the fact that campaigns run on money. I'm hoping for a miracle, and I'm with Dean to the end (election or withdrawal), but I'm afraid it may take a miracle.
Yesterday I heard - and I can't remember where - that all of the people who had given to Dr. Dean couldn't afford "another $75." I think, no, I hope that particular talking head was underestimating the depth of support for Dean and the depth of their pockets. And there are likely still people out there who saw that Dean's fund raising was going so well that they didn't give the first time around.

Unfortunately, money plays such a huge part in just staying in the game, much less actually crossing the finish line. But that's the subject of an entirely different post.

I'm with Steve on this one; "I'm hoping for a miracle, and I'm with Dean to the end..."

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Thanks for the Memories...

Via Rubber Hose, comes this video.

It is simple. It is powerful.

Whoever gets the Democratic nomination should purchase this video and run it as a commercial 24/7 for the duration of the campaign. Or maybe George Soros should do so.

Now there's an idea...

Trippi to Neel Before Dean

Joe Trippi's out in the Dean campaign. Roy Neel is in.

I heard this last night and haven't been able to figure out whether this is a good thing or not. Whether it's a smart move or a sign of desperation.

Neel was appointed to Al Gore's transition team when Gore was the presumptive - and actual - winner of the 2000 election and had pledged to join Dr. Dean's campaign after his ex-boss threw his support behind Dean.

Trippi did an excellent job propelling Dr. Dean to the forefront and to the front-runner position before the Iowa Caucuses. It remains to Roy Neel to bring him back to the front. He has his work cut out for him - I really hope he's up for the task.

By the way; still no mention in the press - anywhere - that Dean remains in the lead by delegate count.

Shorter Condi: "Screw the American people."

There was part of an interview on Good Morning America today; Diane Sawyer was speaking with Condoleeza Rice about the David Kay testimony before Congress. She straight out asked Condi if Kay's assertions are found to be correct, would the President or someone in the administration admit to the people that they were wrong in asserting that Iraq had massive quantities of WMD that were a gathering/imminent threat to the US. Condi went off on the usual BushCo tangent about the world being a safer place without Saddam.

Much to my surprise - I almost choked on my breakfast - Diane actually followed up and repeated the question, almost forcefully. "Would the administration admit that it was wrong?"

No surprise that Condi evaded the question again. But it was very clear that the question had not been answered.

What was even more clear to me - and I hope it was as clear to everyone else watching - is that BushCo are not even trying to care what we might think about their misadventure in Iraq or the deceptions that lead up to it. They are playing their usual game of bluster and misdirection in the hope that the issue will fade away into the next crisis or the next Michael Jackson revelation. The difference this time is that a reporter actually called one of them on the misdirection.

A follow up question! What's next, some real reporting?

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I'll See Your $477 Billion and Raise You $23 Billion!

The Congressional Budget Office estimated the 2004 budget deficit to be a record breaking $477 billion. Record breaking, budget breaking and back breaking for all those middle class people (like me!) who are forced to carry the tax burden and for our children and grandchildren whose economies will be burdened with paying off this debt.

Not wanting, apparently, to be outdone, the White House released its estimate: $500 billion - or more.

Here's an interesting take on it from the WSJ:

The higher deficit estimate, to be reported in the president's 2005 budget request Monday, could give the White House political headaches in the short run, drawing further attention to the nose dive the government's finances have taken on President Bush's watch. But some analysts have suggested that the $500 billion estimate -- which White House officials have floated periodically since last summer -- could actually help Mr. Bush's cause if the fiscal year ends Sept. 30 with a deficit that is less than $500 billion. That could help Mr. Bush persuade voters that his policies have begun to turn around the deficit problem.
Turning around the deficit problem. Right.

Playing With Air Safety

BushCo is continuing its policy of promise now to pay later - but only after we're safely gone. This time however it's not a Mars mission or AIDS assistance or even our children's' education. This time it's air safety. You know, one of those things that aWol specifically promised to fix even before September 11, 2001. From this morning's Wall Street Journal:

The Bush administration plans to propose a 16% cut in spending on air-traffic-control equipment and facilities, saving nearly half a billion dollars a year but postponing or scaling back projects aimed at making air travel more efficient.
Don't be fooled by the word "efficient." When it comes to air traffic control, that means SAFETY. Efficiency in air traffic control means that planes don't have to be stacked up quite so closely when queued up for landing or takeoff. That gives controllers and pilots more time to react should something out of the ordinary happen.

So, there's the cut, the part you knew was coming. Where's the promise?

Speaking Tuesday to an aviation-industry group, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta made no mention of the budget plan but said the administration is working to triple the capacity of the nation's aviation system over the next 15 to 20 years.


There's the now-classic set up. We're going to do something so wonderful - just you wait and see! But it won't be finished for quite a while. Sure we'll be long gone, but you'll have a nice, shiny new [insert promise here]. Then, under the cover of the latest announcement or emergency, they cut funding for their brand new whatever. They've gotten quite good at it. But they've done it so often, you'd think the public would have caught on by now.

What? A new mission to Mars? Wow...

Now, what was I saying?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Hey, Big Spender...

"Tax and Spend." We all know that when someone uses that phrase, they are usually talking about Democrats.

Not any more. The chart below, comes from an article in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) and shows just why some "paleo-conservatives" are not too happy with BushCo. It also puts to rest that damned quote above - at least as far as it applies to Democrats.



Here's the arch-conservative WSJ on the matter of Shrubby's spending spree:

But if the gap between revenues and outlays is of small concern in any single year -- and especially during recession and war -- it does not follow that there should be no worry over rapidly rising levels of federal spending. The much delayed omnibus appropriations bill for 2004, scheduled for a vote in the Senate this afternoon, looks set to cap the first term of the most profligate Administration since the 1960s.

[snip]

GOP leaders would have us believe this all adds up to one of the leanest spending plans in years -- an increase in federal discretionary spending of only 3%, compared with 13% and 12% in each of the previous two years. But Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation points out that it's really more like a 9% increase, and that's assuming there will be no supplemental appropriations as in previous years.

The 3% vs. 9% discrepancy results from the difference between budget authority and actual outlays. The increase in budget authority looks smaller only because a lot of money that will actually be spent in 2004 was assigned to 2003. That's true most importantly of the Iraq war supplemental. But the drive for the appearance of fiscal sanity has also reduced our representatives to gimmicks such as moving the authority for $2.2 billion in education spending back into 2003, after previously voting to push it forward to 2004. When corporations tried accounting like this, Congress gave us Sarbanes-Oxley.

[snip]

Amazing as it may sound, the ostensibly small-government GOP seems totally oblivious to the fact that all this spending puts its future economic agenda in jeopardy. Appropriations do mean taxes after all, even if they're deferred taxes.

All emphasis is mine.


So, does all this mean that the so-called paleo-conservatives will vote for the Democratic nominee? Probably not. But it might mean that some of them will vote for somebody other than Shrubby; some independent. And that could be enough for the Democrat to clinch the election.

Early Voting, Early Polling, Early Results

No, you won't find minute-by-minute updates on the New Hampshire primary here. But you will find this short rant about early exit poll results and early reporting.

I know that the networks have to fill up the morning news. I know that elections are now seen as part entertainment part spectacle. I also know that complaining about early reporting of results is a quadrennial sport - much like the Olympics.

But really.

The talking heads were all reporting exit poll results - and apparently real district results - after two small New Hampshire townships voted just after midnight. I won't repeat the results here; that shouldn't be done, in my opinion, until after all the results for the state are in. Honestly, can such reporting do anything but spoil the process? Anything that could potentially discourage voters from going to the polls is a bad thing. I think early reporting can do just that.

However, one thing you can count on from our friendly neighborhood media whores, is that they will bring you the circus for as long as they think you'll watch.