I Want to Save a Child's Sight!

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Special Thanks to Xoff via Cagle.

The Year in Review: While You Were Sleeping

"IT was a year of apocalyptic events. Hurricanes and floods and earthquakes humbled us. Holy wars raged at home and abroad. Deep Throat was unmasked, but the hero of Watergate, Bob Woodward, re-emerged in a strange new guise, covering up White House secrets. Avian flu lurked. Brad dumped Jen, the girl next door, and took up with the enchantress Angelina. Amid such catastrophes, it was easy to miss news of more subtle significance. Here are just a few of the developments that may have slipped your notice in 2005:

A Blast From The Past:

"To find out whether human activities are changing the atmosphere, scientists took ice cores from ancient glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica. Bubbles of air trapped in the ice provided a pristine sampling of the atmosphere going back 650,000 years. The study, published last month in the journal Science, found that the level of carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases that can warm the planet, is now 27 percent higher than at any previous time. The level is even far higher now than it was in periods when the climate was much warmer and North America was largely tropical. Climatologists said the ice cores left no doubt that the burning of fossil fuels is altering the atmosphere in a substantial and unprecedented way."

The Day After Today:

"One of the more alarming possible consequences of global warming appears to be already under way. The rapid melting of the Arctic and Greenland ice caps, a new study finds, is causing freshwater to flood into the North Atlantic. That infusion of icy water appears to be deflecting the northward flow of the warming Gulf Stream, which moderates winter temperatures for Europe and the northeastern United States. The flow of the Gulf Stream has been reduced by 30 percent since 1957, the National Oceanography Center in Britain found. Perhaps you'll remember that in the film "The Day After Tomorrow," the collapse of the Gulf Stream produces a violent climate shift and a new ice age for much of the Northern Hemisphere. Climatologists don't foresee a future quite that catastrophic, but something worrisome, they say, is afoot."

The Spanish Flu Lives:

"This viral Frankenstein, perhaps the most deadly pathogen in human history, now lives on in quarantine. Many experts were alarmed when scientists published the flu's genetic blueprint; it would not be hard, they said, for a terrorist group or a madman to hire scientists to make the virus, quietly unleash it and kill more people than several nuclear weapons could."

Forbidden Vaccine:

"Every year, about 500,000 women throughout the world develop cervical cancer. In the United States alone, the disease kills about 3,700 women annually. This year, scientists developed a vaccine against human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease that is the primary cause of cervical cancer. The vaccine produced 100 percent immunity in the 6,000 women who received it as part of a multinational trial. As soon as the vaccine is licensed, some health officials say, it should be administered to all girls at age 12. But the Family Research Council and other social conservative groups vowed to fight that plan, even though it could virtually eliminate cervical cancer. Vaccinating girls against a sexually transmitted disease, they say, would reduce their incentive to abstain from premarital sex." [NYT]

These and several other stories did not dominate the headlines this year. Why?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Drinking Liberally

From Scott:

"Wednesday is the last Drinking Liberally of 2005.Stop down at Club Garibaldi after 7pm while we toast to the end of this year, and look ahead with hope to 2006.Club G is located at 2501 S Superior St in Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood. See you there."

Unfortunately, I won't be there...again! SORRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have a wicked head cold from all of the Christmas cheer. I miss you guys!!! I'll see you in '06.

Halliburton Lobbies for Human Trafficking

"President Bush and Congress mandated a "zero tolerance" policy towards human trafficking years ago. So why hasn't the Defense Department adopted a similar policy for its contractors? The Pentagon drafted a proposal six months ago prohibiting defense contractor involvement in human trafficking, but five defense lobbying groups hindered the policy. The lobbyists who support human trafficking represent firms such as DynCorp International and the Halliburton subsidiary, K.B.R., both of which have been linked to trafficking-related concerns." [Source]

I guess all you have to do is come out with a strong stance and say that you have a "zero tolerance policy." You don't actually have to follow through with it. It just makes it so much more ironic that the firms lobbying for human trafficking are directly tied to VP Dick Cheney. Weird...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Stinging Defeat

At least our side won this one...for now...

"A quarter-century long fight over the nation's most divisive environmental issue rages on after the Senate on Wednesday rejected opening an Alaska wildlife refuge to oil drilling — even though that provision was included in a must-pass bill that funds U.S. troops overseas and hurricane victims."

"It was a stinging defeat for Sen. Ted Stevens R-Alaska, one of the Senate's most powerful members, who had hoped to garner more votes by forcing senators to choose between supporting the drilling measure, or risking the political fallout from voting against money for the troops and hurricane victims."

Instead, Stevens found himself a few votes shy of getting his wish. Republican leaders could not break a Democratic filibuster threat over the drilling issue, falling three votes short of the 60 votes need to advance the defense spending bill to a final vote. Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., left the bill in limbo as he, Stevens and other GOP leaders gauged their next move. The measure was widely expected to be withdrawn and reworked without the refuge language, although Stevens warned he was ready to stay until New Year's if necessary to fight for the drilling, a cause he has pursued for 25 of his 37 years in the Senate." [Yahoo]

Senator Stevens' fondest wish is to destroy the pristine wilderness of his home state. All told, there are some 10 billion barrels in the ground under this wildlife sanctuary, enough to fuel US consumption for all of SIX MONTHS. The republican argument is that this oil would fuel domestic reserves and reduce foreign consumption. Ummm...yeah, for SIX MONTHS! Let's go and destroy a virtually untouched wildlife preserve so we can get some oil. Great idea!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

This Call May Be Monitored...

"On Oct. 17, 2002, the head of the National Security Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, made an eloquent plea to a joint House-Senate inquiry on intelligence for a sober national discussion about whether the line between liberty and security should be shifted after the 9/11 attacks, and if so, precisely how far. He reminded the lawmakers that the rules against his agency's spying on Americans, carefully written decades earlier, were based on protecting fundamental constitutional rights. If they were to be changed, General Hayden said, "We need to get it right. We have to find the right balance between protecting our security and protecting our liberty." General Hayden spoke of having a "national dialogue" and added: "What I really need you to do is talk to your constituents and find out where the American people want that line between security and liberty to be."

"General Hayden was right. The mass murders of 9/11 revealed deadly gaps in United States intelligence that needed to be closed. Most of those involved failure of performance, not legal barriers. Nevertheless, Americans expected some reasonable and carefully measured trade-offs between security and civil liberties. They trusted their elected leaders to follow long-established democratic and legal principles and to make any changes in the light of day. But President Bush had other ideas. He secretly and recklessly expanded the government's powers in dangerous and unnecessary ways that eroded civil liberties and may also have violated the law."

"President Bush defended the program yesterday, saying it was saving lives, hotly insisting that he was working within the Constitution and the law, and denouncing The Times for disclosing the program's existence. We don't know if he was right on the first count; this White House has cried wolf so many times on the urgency of national security threats that it has lost all credibility. But we have learned the hard way that Mr. Bush's team cannot be trusted to find the boundaries of the law, much less respect them." [NYT]

So, now we know, and Bush has admitted to breaking the law. I love though that instead of apologizing and admitting it was a wrongdoing, he criticizes the New York Times for breaking the story.

Where do we go from here? Where does this end? Does it die with another primetime news conference where we are told that "Staying the Course" is the only way on Iraq, and Bush lies some more? What is going to be the straw that breaks the camel's back? Are people now going to realize that this administration is full of liars, thieves, and ill-suited political appointees (Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job!).

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Reaction to President's Radio Address

“The President's shocking admission that he authorized the National Security Agency to spy on American citizens, without going to a court and in violation of the Constitution and laws passed by Congress, further demonstrates the urgent need for these protections. The President believes that he has the power to override the laws that Congress has passed. This is not how our democratic system of government works. The President does not get to pick and choose which laws he wants to follow. He is a president, not a king."

"United States Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) made the following statement today in response to the President’s weekly radio address. The statement is available as a radio actuality at the following number: 800-511-0763, Code 4945."

Friday, December 16, 2005


Led, by Senator Feingold, the forces of evil were turned back this time:

"Supporters of the broad anti-terrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act suffered a stinging defeat in the Senate today, falling well short of the 60 votes needed to bring the act to a final vote and leaving it in limbo for the moment. After an emotional debate about the balance between national security and personal liberties and the very character of the republic, the Senate voted, 52 to 47, to end debate and take a yes-or-no vote on the law itself." [NYT]

Senator Feingold had this to say:

"The bipartisan vote this morning to extend debate on the Patriot Act should be a strong signal to the White House that the American people believe that we can fight terrorism while protecting our freedoms. I am very proud to be part of a bipartisan coalition working together to strengthen protections for civil liberties in the Patriot Act. The demonstration of bipartisanship on the Senate floor over the last few days has been remarkable. The House should now pass the version of the Patriot Act that passed the Senate unanimously earlier this year, so that the President can immediately sign into law a reasonable bill that reauthorizes the Patriot Act while protecting our rights. It is unreasonable and irresponsible for the President and the Republican leadership to insist that this flawed conference report is the only way to reauthorize the Patriot Act. Today’s vote proves that this is not a partisan issue. This is an American issue and a constitutional issue. Now is the time to come together to give the government the tools it needs to fight terrorism and protect the rights and freedoms of innocent citizens. " [Feingold]

This comes on the heels of this revelation from the New York Times:

"Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials. Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible "dirty numbers" linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications."

"The White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article, arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny. After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting. Some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists has been omitted." [NYT]

So, basically, "Bush has personally authorized a secretive eavesdropping program in the United States more than three dozen times since October 2001, a senior intelligence official said Friday night."

As Mike states: "The previously undisclosed decision to permit some eavesdropping inside the country without court approval represents a major shift in American intelligence-gathering practices, particularly for the National Security Agency, whose mission is to spy on communications abroad. As a result, some officials familiar with the continuing operation have questioned whether the surveillance has stretched, if not crossed, constitutional limits on legal searches." [NYT]

But, why would this administration tell the truth, or be transparent about what they are doing to this country!?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Proxmire Passes Away

"Former Wisconsin Sen. William Proxmire, a political maverick who became Congress' leading scourge of big spending and government waste, has died, a congressional official said Thursday."

"Over the years, the rebel Democrat developed an image of penny-pinching populism that played well with his homestate voters. But his support of the expensive system of dairy price supports -- widely criticized by others as symbolic of government largess gone amuck -- won him strong backing from his state's dairy farmers."

"Proxmire, who also became a familiar face on the television network Sunday news shows, was elected to the Senate in 1957 in a special election to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Sen. Joseph McCarthy. He was re-elected in 1958 to his first six-year term and was returned to the same post in 1964, 1970, 1976 and 1982." [Tribune]

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Neocon Roundup

The below three articles are all from the NYT Op/Ed page, showing the Neocons and their priorities, not the priorities of real Americans. They would rather gerrymander states, destroy the environment, and protect drug companies from liabilities, than to allow competition, fund medicare and help the poor, or help those that have been injured by these drug companies.

Redistricting Tom Delay:

"The Supreme Court agreed this week to review Texas' 2003 Congressional redistricting, which added five Republicans to the state's delegation. The plan, engineered by the former House majority leader Tom DeLay, is rightly being challenged as partisan and discriminatory against minority voters. It is encouraging that the court has decided to step in. Mr. DeLay's 2003 redrawing of Texas' Congressional district lines threw aside the longstanding tradition that new lines are drawn only every 10 years, after the census. The purpose of this heavy-handed line-drawing was purely to increase the number of Republican districts. It worked. The number of Republicans in the delegation went to 21 from 16, helping to entrench Mr. DeLay as majority leader."

The Senator Who Cried Wolf:

"Strange things are afoot as Congress presses to end this year's woefully inadequate session by the weekend: coverage of impotence drugs has been restored in a Medicare budget proposal, while an emergency subsidy to help poor people pay their heating bills this winter is getting only anemic financing. But the biggest money issue being haggled over - the House and Senate dispute over cutting up to $50 billion in spending from assorted vital programs - is somehow tangled up in the Bush administration's insistence on drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The House has already rejected this perennial chestnut on the anti-environmental agenda, but Senator Ted Stevens, the Alaska Republican, is making tooth-and-claw vows to prevail in the final negotiations. He will be one of the chief bargainers on the final compromise, and he insists that he won't sign off on any deal that omits Alaskan drilling. So what if important issues are on the table - like proposed harmful cuts in food stamps for the poor?"

"They should keep in mind the senator's earlier melodramatic vow to resign from public office if pork money was rescinded for Alaska's notorious bridges to nowhere. An embarrassed Congress nevertheless scuttled the requirement to build the bridges. Alas, Senator Stevens remains at work."

The Stealth Liability Provision:

"Republicans are using the last days of this Congressional session to try to grant extraordinary liability protection to the drug companies that will make the vaccines and other medicines to combat a possible influenza pandemic. But they have been slow to mount a comparable effort to help the people who may be harmed by adverse side effects. Although liability protection is being portrayed as a vital step in carrying out the president's $7 billion flu pandemic plan, it serves a political purpose as well. The insulation against liability looks suspiciously like an effort to reward the drug companies, which help bankroll Republicans, and punish the trial lawyers, who help bankroll Democrats."

Annie Get Your Gun

Chalk another win up to the gun nuts:

"Republican leaders in the state Assembly worked into early this morning to amend a measure that would allow Wisconsin residents to carry concealed weapons and rounded up enough Democratic support to fuel an override of the expected veto from Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle. The bill, SB 403, passed the Assembly at 3:10 a.m. on a 64 to 32 vote. In the marathon session that dragged on because of long breaks lawmakers took to strategize, the Assembly also voted 74 to 23 to end the automatic annual increase in the gas tax beginning in April 2007. Wisconsin’s gas tax is one of the highest in the nation, and current law would raise it to 30.7 cents per gallon next April and to 31.3 cents per gallon in spring 2007."

"The Assembly adjourned just before 4 a.m."

"Rep. Scott Gunderson (R-Waterford) said he thought the amendment, which passed 71 to 25, was enough to sway some Democrats into sticking with the majority in a veto override. Gunderson and other supporters say the bill will reduce crime and make Wisconsin safer. "It’s important for people to be able to protect themselves," Gunderson said. " [JSOnline]

Wonderful. Thank you democratic assembly members for joining with the republicans to pass this monstrosity. Sure, Doyle has promised to veto (thankfully), which would still require a 2/3 vote, which they think they may be able to override. I have absolutely no problem with people owning guns. The Constitution protects the right to bear arms. BUT NOT IN PUBLIC! Why do you need a gun? Do you hunt? Fine. Why do you need a handgun? WHY? I'd like a good reason. Is there a reason for people other than police and military to own a handgun? Is there? Please share this with me, because I'm not buying this "protect themselves" garbage.

If someone from the State Assembly could answer me: What are your legislative priorities? People are starving, living on the streets, or can't afford their heating bills to stay warm...Christmas is coming, and you vote to pass a bill that would allow people to carry weapons. We're so worried about another terrorist attack...what about those in our own nation? What about the police that are on the street. I don't want to see them getting shot at and killed because someone got pulled over in a random traffic stop. WHERE ARE THE PRIORITIES!?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Feingold on Iraqi Vote

“With only three days remaining until the Iraqis return to the polls to elect their national parliament, President Bush missed a critical opportunity today to signal U.S. support for an autonomous, independent, and self-sustaining Iraqi government by making clear that the U.S. military mission in Iraq is not permanent. Unfortunately he also indicated that even after this week’s election, he will continue down the same “stay the course” path. This is no strategy for success."

"As Iraqis elect their national parliament, the current massive U.S. military presence, without a clear strategy and flexible timetable to finish the military mission in Iraq, will continue to fuel a growing insurgency and will ultimately prevent the very political and economic progress Iraqis need to develop a true democracy. A flexible timetable for withdrawal will also allow the U.S. government to refocus its efforts on making our country safe and combating global terrorist networks – the true threat facing our country today.” [Feingold]

These comments follow Bush's speech today on Iraq. He estimates that over 30,000 Iraqis have been killed since our invasion in 2003. That's a low estimate Mr. President.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Bush 'Flat Wrong' on Climate

"Delegates from around the world worked into the final hours of a U.N. climate conference to produce a plan for deeper cuts after 2012 in greenhouse-gas emissions, buoyed by a last-minute message of support from former U.S. President Bill Clinton."

"Clinton, in an applause-filled appearance at the Montreal meeting on Friday, said U.S. President George W. Bush was "flat wrong" to claim that reducing greenhouse-gas emissions to fight global warming would damage the U.S. economy. But the ex-president urged the negotiators from more than 180 nations to find a way to "work with" the current U.S. administration."

"Throughout the two-week conference, the Bush administration repeatedly rejected Canadian and other efforts to draw it into future global talks on emission controls, just as in 2001 it renounced the existing Kyoto Protocol and its mandatory cuts." [CNN]

You know what is going to hurt the economy? When the earth really starts going to shit, and it's too late. We're at a critical point here, and we can go either way. Mr Bush: I urge you to shed your hatred for all things science and those that disagree with your fundamentalism, and listen to real scientists. We are headed for a real disaster if you don't pull your head out of your ass. How is that 180 nations from all parts of the globe can come together and work towards trying to turn this around, but you reject their findings and ideas at every turn? Former President Clinton got it right; we can fight global warming and prevent damage to the US and World economies. But you have to throw aside your distain for what you call "junk science," and open your eyes! Maybe we should be moving towards alternate energy sources, instead of killing the earth with oil, coal, and non-renewable resources.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Feingold: "Bush Doesn't Get It"

“The President does not understand that his Iraq policies are preventing us from succeeding in our larger campaign against global terrorists - Iraq is not the be-all and end-all of our country’s national security. The President also fails to understand the limited role the U.S. military should play in Iraq’s long-term political and economic reconstruction efforts. Our brave servicemen and women won a resounding victory in the initial military operation, and their task is largely over. Maintaining the current U.S. military presence, without a clear plan and timetable to finish the military mission in Iraq, isn’t a strategy for success in Iraq or for success in the fight against global terrorism."

"Rather than continuing with a media blitz that tries to repackage a “stay the course” strategy that isn’t working, the President and his administration should give the public a plan, with a timetable, to complete the military mission in Iraq. We need to get the focus back on the significant threats the United States faces that are currently being ignored or inadequately addressed.” [Source]

Bush's speech [CNN]

Bush just doesn't get it...he surrounds himself with and listens to the wrong people. Feingold is dead on; rather than continuing this media blitz of tours around the country, and visiting only "friendly areas," why not come up with a solution to PROTECT us, and get us out of this quagmire?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Commercialize Christmas...Or Else!

"Religious conservatives have a cause this holiday season: the commercialization of Christmas. They're for it. The American Family Association is leading a boycott of Target for not using the words "Merry Christmas" in its advertising. (Target denies it has an anti-Merry-Christmas policy.) The Catholic League boycotted Wal-Mart in part over the way its Web site treated searches for "Christmas." Bill O'Reilly, the Fox anchor who last year started a "Christmas Under Siege" campaign, has a chart on his Web site of stores that use the phrase "Happy Holidays," along with a poll that asks, "Will you shop at stores that do not say 'Merry Christmas'?"

"This campaign - which is being hyped on Fox and conservative talk radio - is an odd one. Christmas remains ubiquitous, and with its celebrators in control of the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court and every state supreme court and legislature, it hardly lacks for powerful supporters. There is also something perverse, when Christians are being jailed for discussing the Bible in Saudi Arabia and slaughtered in Sudan, about spending so much energy on stores that sell "holiday trees.""

And this last NYT quote proves what a tool Fox News is.

"It does not, however, appear to be catching on with the public. That may be because most Americans do not recognize this commercialized, mean-spirited Christmas as their own. Of course, it's not even clear the campaign's leaders really believe in it. Just a few days ago, Fox News's online store was promoting its "Holiday Collection" for shoppers. Among the items offered to put under a "holiday tree" was "The O'Reilly Factor Holiday Ornament." After bloggers pointed this out, Fox changed the "holidays" to "Christmases."" [NYT]

One reader agrees with Falwell, Dobson, and their ilk:

"This holiday has always been widely acknowledged in America and been happily accepted by retailers and businesses, who have profited greatly as a result. Yet recent malicious attempts by various anti-Christian or so-called civil liberties groups are proposing Christmas as offensive, and want all mention of it removed. With pressure from these organizations, some businesses have given in to these demands and are now refusing to mention Christmas, and have replaced it with other titles and references to a seasonal holiday." [Tribune]

I've never heard ANYONE ever call for the banishment or ending of Christmas. I have to agree: this is a big, phony ruse created by religious conservatives like Jerry Falwell and James Dobson. Media Matters shows Fox News lies and spin on the topic. [MediaMatters]

Hat Tip to Folkbum, who brings us these gems: O'Reilly: Soros is Moneyman behind War on Christmas. Christmas Crusade.

Bottom Line: Stop worrying about this so-called "War on Christmas," and worry about those of us who are less fortunate. I mean, they can't afford to buy into the blatant commercialization of the holiday!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

World AIDS Day - 12/01/05

On this day every year, we mark World AIDS Day to remember all of those that have been lost, the ones infected, and to prevent infection in everyone else. [WorldAIDSDay]

"Rage and remorse marked World AIDS Day in Africa on Thursday as the continent worst hit by the global crisis remembered millions of deaths in a pandemic that even new drug treatments are doing little to slow." [Yahoo]

"AIDS is outrunning us. The annual report of the United Nations' AIDS agency, released last week to mark World AIDS Day today, informs us that this year there will be 5 million new infections, a record, and more than 3.1 million deaths, another record. The most troubling aspect of the report by the agency, Unaids, is its grim evidence that many large countries are still closing their eyes to limited AIDS epidemics that will soon explode into the general population. India is providing numbers no one believes. Russia has the world's fastest-growing epidemic, fueled by intravenous drug abuse. Drug abuse also now accounts for half of China's AIDS cases, and it is spreading AIDS infections rapidly in Vietnam, Indonesia and Pakistan." [NYT]

I think this statement from the above article sums it up best: "The AIDS story this year is mostly one of failure: the failure of rich countries to give the promised money, the failure of poor nations to muster the political will. All around, it's a failure of leadership."

More: [CNN] [PersonalStories] [BBC] [Google]

I think nearly everyone in this day and age has some story or connection to HIV/AIDS. Here is what I wrote last year. We need to practice safer sex; not just abstinence, but correct methods of prevention. We need to give clean needles out for users, we need to distribute condoms to everyone possible, we need to work to advance science and society to accept the science needed to find cures.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Shameless Plug

Vote for me at Mke Blog of the Week!

Vote Here

Vote for me and all of your dreams will come true.

UPDATE: Thursday, 12/01/05 @ 5:40 PM. I lost. Thank you to all of you that voted for me. May all of your dreams still come true.

Feingold on President's Speech Today

“While today’s speech by the President was billed as yet another attempt to lay out a plan for finishing the military mission in Iraq, the only new thing the administration gave the American people was a glossy 35-page pamphlet filled with the same rhetoric we’ve all heard before. Today’s action by the White House isn’t a step forward, it’s a step back. In fact the booklet the administration released to accompany the President’s speech is described as a “…document [that] articulates the broad strategy the President set forth in 2003…” That alone makes it clear that the President seems more dug in than ever to the same old “stay the course” way of thinking. This is not a strategy, and it certainly is not a plan to complete the military mission in Iraq."

"The American people, an increasing number of elected officials, and more and more military and intelligence officials understand what the President doesn’t - that our seemingly indefinite presence in Iraq, and the lack of a plan to redeploy troops, feeds the insurgency and hurts our national security. We need leadership, and we need a policy on Iraq that includes a flexible timetable for completing our military mission there, so that we can focus on our national security priority – defeating the global terrorist networks that threaten the U.S. The President missed a vital opportunity today. Our brave service members, their families, the American people, and the Iraqi’s themselves deserve and demand more.” [Attribution]

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Even Supporters Doubt President as Issues Pile Up

"Leesa Martin never considered President Bush a great leader, but she voted for him a year ago because she admired how he handled the terrorist attacks of 2001. Then came the past summer, when the death toll from the war in Iraq hit this state particularly hard: 16 marines from the same battalion killed in one week. She thought the federal government should have acted faster to help after Hurricane Katrina. She was baffled by the president's nomination of Harriet E. Miers, a woman she considered unqualified for the Supreme Court, and disappointed when he did not nominate another woman after Ms. Miers withdrew. And she remains unsettled by questions about whether the White House leaked the name of a C.I.A. agent whose husband had accused the president of misleading the country about the intelligence that led to the war."

"Many people who voted for Mr. Bush a year ago had trouble pinning their current discontent on any one thing. Many mentioned the hurricane and the indictment of a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, which some said raised doubts about the president's candor and his judgment. But there was a sense that something had veered off course in the last few months, and the war was the one constant. Over and over, even some of Mr. Bush's supporters raised comparisons with Vietnam." [NYT]

To those of you that voted for him: Too bad. You made the (poor) choice to vote for Bush, now you have to live with it. Problem is, we all have to live with it. I don't feel bad for you at all, now changing your mind about Bush and his administration. Maybe if you would have voted your own best interests to begin with, you wouldn't be where you are today, and maybe we as a nation wouldn't be where we are today.

My parting shot: where are the democrats??? Stand up for yourselves! Show America and the World that we are not going to take it anymore, this fleecing of America, this attacking and stealing from other nations, this diminishing of us in the World's eyes. We are better than this! Show us what you stand for before it's too late.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

They Flat Out Lied. But You Knew That

"Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, according to government records and current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter."

"One of the more intriguing things that Bush was told during the briefing was that the few credible reports of contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda involved attempts by Saddam Hussein to monitor the terrorist group. Saddam viewed Al Qaeda as well as other theocratic radical Islamist organizations as a potential threat to his secular regime. At one point, analysts believed, Saddam considered infiltrating the ranks of Al Qaeda with Iraqi nationals or even Iraqi intelligence operatives to learn more about its inner workings, according to records and sources."

"Bush and Cheney have also recently answered their critics by ascribing partisan motivations to them and saying their criticism has the effect of undermining the war effort. In a speech on November 11, the president made his strongest comments to date on the subject: "Baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will." Since then, he has adopted a different tone, and he said on his way home from Asia on November 21, "This is not an issue of who is a patriot or not." In his own speech to the American Enterprise Institute yesterday, Cheney also changed tone, saying that "disagreement, argument, and debate are the essence of democracy" and the "sign of a healthy political system." He then added: "Any suggestion that prewar information was distorted, hyped, or fabricated by the leader of the nation is utterly false." [NationalJournal]

Bush, Cheney, and the entire administration lied, and continue to lie and spin. But, you already knew that.

Special Thanks to Scott of Brewtown Politico and Buzzflash.

Iraqis Want U.S. Out


This is a repost of the original from Mike, which links to a recent Krugman post, which I will now comment on. It was very good...thanks Mike!

The Great Paul Krugman weighs in: "Representative John Murtha's speech calling for a quick departure from Iraq was full of passion, but it was also serious and specific in a way rarely seen on the other side of the debate. President Bush and his apologists speak in vague generalities about staying the course and finishing the job. But Mr. Murtha spoke of mounting casualties and lagging recruiting, the rising frequency of insurgent attacks, stagnant oil production and lack of clean water. Mr. Murtha - a much-decorated veteran who cares deeply about America's fighting men and women - argued that our presence in Iraq is making things worse, not better. Meanwhile, the war is destroying the military he loves. And that's why he wants us out as soon as possible."

"Some administration officials accused Mr. Murtha of undermining the troops and giving comfort to the enemy. But that sort of thing no longer works, now that the administration has lost the public's trust. Instead, defenders of our current policy have had to make a substantive argument: we can't leave Iraq now, because a civil war will break out after we're gone. One is tempted to say that they should have thought about that possibility back when they were cheerleading us into this war. But the real question is this: When, exactly, would be a good time to leave Iraq?"

"Pessimists think that Iraq will fall into chaos whenever we leave. If so, we're better off leaving sooner rather than later. As a Marine officer quoted by James Fallows in the current Atlantic Monthly puts it, "We can lose in Iraq and destroy our Army, or we can just lose." [Source]

This starts here, but where it ends, no one knows. I've been an outspoken critic of the war since the run-up began. Now, the American public at large is starting to see what is going on, and the human toll that this conflict is taking. When is a good time to get out? Well, now and never. We preemptively invaded a sovereign nation to among other things steal oil. We destroyed Iraq's infrastructure. They now suffer from nearly 70% unemployment, extreme lack of clean running water, and sporatic electricity. We can't just ruin their society and leave. But look at what this has done to our armed forces. Now, we have kids, yes kids, from the National Guard, who were never meant to serve overseas in a combat situation, serving 13+ month tours of duty in Iraq, and dying in droves. It's not cutting and running to protect ourselves. But, we're more concerned about getting as much black gold out of the ground than anything. Oil is a diminishing resource, and that fact hasn't escaped this administration. Those who control it, control the world. I wonder why, then, that the Bush administration has rejected nearly every mention of alternative energy sources. Someone and their friends have the market cornered.


"Ohio Republican Jean Schmidt said Tuesday she should have rephrased her sharp critique of a fellow congressman's call to immediately pull troops from Iraq. Schmidt was booed off the floor of the U.S. House on Friday after she criticized Rep. John Murtha (news, bio, voting record), D-Pa., saying that "cowards cut and run, Marines never do." When Schmidt made the comment, Democrats rose in protest at the suggestion that Murtha, a decorated Vietnam veteran and the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, was a coward. Schmidt said the comment was prompted by a conversation she had with state Rep. Danny Bubp, though he denies discussing Murtha with Schmidt." [Yahoo]

Too little, too late Jean. Pathetic is what you are.

Special thanks to Brewtown Politico for the original story.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

HP Goblet of Fire Review

If you'll allow me to play critic briefly:

Went last night and saw Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. As a devotee of the books, I wasn't sure what to expect. I mean, who really listens to the professional reviewers anyways.

The plot moved too fast (all of a sudden it was the 2nd task, then it was June for the 3rd task). They didn't show enough interaction between Ron, Hermione, and Harry. They certainly didn't follow the book at all in some areas.

But, for all of it's shortcomings, it was an excellent movie. The action scenes were wicked intense, and not for the faint of heart. The graveyard scene at the end was just AWESOME. The trio of Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, and Daniel Radcliffe has really come of age, and their abilities really shined. Two and a half hours that were very well spent, but went way too fast.

Overall, I'd give it an A-. 3 1/2 out of 4.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Never Tickle A Sleeping Dragon

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire opens tonight at Midnight!!!

Read Reviews [Tribune] [NYT] [TeaserTrailers]

Quotable Feingold

"I welcome the comments today of Congressman John Murtha about the situation in Iraq. Congressman Murtha should be commended for having the courage to stand up to the administration’s outrageous attempts to intimidate into silence those who are trying to fix our Iraq policy."

"I have suggested December 31, 2006, as a target date for bringing our troops home—Congressman Murtha suggests withdrawal should begin immediately. Given the choice between staying indefinitely without a plan, which is the current situation, and bringing our troops home, I would opt for bringing our troops home, but I would prefer to do so based on a flexible timetable for achieving clear, realistic goals."

"The administration’s continued efforts to change the subject and attack those who question their “stay the course” mentality are simply irresponsible. The administration must spend more time getting our Iraq and national security policies straight and less time attacking those who question the deeply flawed course we are on." [Attribution]


Always with the wedge issues!

"The Legislature is on the verge of passing a bill that would require school districts with human growth and development classes to teach sexual abstinence until marriage as the preferred behavior. The bill (SB 286) touched off a firestorm at a public hearing Tuesday, where abstinence was called the only "100% effective method" of avoiding pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. Opponents said the move would ignore the fact that many teens already engage in sexual activity."

"The bill's sponsor, Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin), said Wisconsin teens don't get the abstinence message in classrooms enough, because of a focus on using condoms and birth control instead. "Abstinence isn't taught out there, or isn't emphasized," Lazich told the Assembly Education Committee." [JSOnline]

Oh heaven forbid that we teach something like SAFETY to our kids in school. Something like 60% or more kids are sexually active by age 18. I agree, abstinence should be taught, but you can't simply forget about condoms, birth control, and preventing STD's. Just another attempt by a conservative Republican to push the conservative christian religious agenda onto the rest of us.

A second bill (AB 690), is being offered up by Rep. Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee). Let's hope that common sense prevails.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Lies and the Lying LIARS That Tell Them

Here is a follow up to Bush's revisionist history:

NYT: "To avoid having to account for his administration's misleading statements before the war with Iraq, President Bush has tried denial, saying he did not skew the intelligence. He's tried to share the blame, claiming that Congress had the same intelligence he had, as well as President Bill Clinton. He's tried to pass the buck and blame the C.I.A. Lately, he's gone on the attack, accusing Democrats in Congress of aiding the terrorists. Yesterday in Alaska, Mr. Bush trotted out the same tedious deflection on Iraq that he usually attempts when his back is against the wall: he claims that questioning his actions three years ago is a betrayal of the troops in battle today."

"It all amounts to one energetic effort at avoidance. But like the W.M.D. reports that started the whole thing, the only problem is that none of it has been true." [NYT]

The scary thing is that Bush had the same intelligence data that Clinton had. Clinton believed (correctly) that the sanctions and the inspectors were working in Iraq. Apparently, Bush read the same info, and decided that we were in mortal danger.

From the Center for American Progress, here are some questions that we should be asking to every member of Congress, but we aren't:
1. Was intelligence on Iraq exaggerated, manipulated or misused?
2. What is your strategy for Iraq?
3. Knowing what you know now, would you still vote for the war in Iraq? (At least John Edwards had the balls to say that he was wrong.) [CAP]

This pretty much sums it up...even the New York Times gets it right sometimes:
"The president and his top advisers may very well have sincerely believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. But they did not allow the American people, or even Congress, to have the information necessary to make reasoned judgments of their own. It's obvious that the Bush administration misled Americans about Mr. Hussein's weapons and his terrorist connections. We need to know how that happened and why. Mr. Bush said last Friday that he welcomed debate, even in a time of war, but that "it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began." We agree, but it is Mr. Bush and his team who are rewriting history."

Monday, November 14, 2005



What can I even say about this guy??? Mike is dead on: this guy is scary only because he has an audience. Here's what O'Lie-ly had to say:

"If city voters were intent on voting to oppose military recruitment in public schools and to ban handgun ownership, O'Reilly reasoned, then maybe it should be cut off from federal dollars. To illustrate his point, O'Reilly riffed on a vision of a San Francisco nation-state:

"Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead," O'Reilly went on. "And if al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead."

Err...so, what does opposing military recruitment in public schools and banning handguns have to do with terrorists attacking the Coit Tower?? Leave it to O'Reilly to make some sort of convoluted connection.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Revisionist History

First, today is Veteran's Day. A hearty Thank You to all of the brave men and women that have served. It does not go unnoticed by those of us that have benefitted from your sacrifices.

But, how do we honor them? I just saw an interview with Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) on CNN with Wolf Blitzer, and he said that the best way to honor the current veterans (those in Iraq) was to come up with a coherent foreign policy, an exit strategy, and to just be honest with these soldiers about why they are there. I agree; but it goes much farther than that...what about when these soldiers come home? We need to protect these soldiers when they come home with help on jobs, housing, better health care, including mental health care, and better pay and retirement benefits.

This stems from today's attack by President Bush on war critics, drumming up that old line of his, that war critics are undermining the troops in Iraq. Meanwhile, Bush resurrects his old standby: "Congress had the same intelligence on Iraq as I did!"

Harry Reid retorts: "Attacking those patriotic Americans who have raised serious questions about the case the Bush administration made to take our country to war does not provide us a plan for success that will bring our troops home," Mr. Reid said. "While the Bush administration continues to stonewall the Congress from finding the truth about the manipulation of pre-war intelligence, Democrats will continue to press for a full airing of the facts."

John Kerry responds: "Mr. Kerry responded in Boston, where he participated in ceremonies honoring veterans and active duty forces. "I wish President Bush knew better than to dishonor America's veterans by playing the politics of fear and smear on Veterans Day," Mr. Kerry said. "This administration misled a nation into war by cherry-picking intelligence and stretching the truth beyond recognition."

Mr. Bush considers it "revisionist history" to question why we went to war in the first place. Then again, his poll numbers are in the toilet...you do the math. [Yahoo]

While it is perfectly true that the misguided war in Iraq had bi-partisan support at the time, it was based on cherry-picked intelligence and outright LIES. We went over there to among other things, steal Iraqi oil. We've lost over 2,050 soldiers since we launched the Iraq war. Isn't it time we did these brave soldiers a favor and brought them home?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Kangaroo Court

Kangaroo Court: Noun; "A self-appointed tribunal that violates established legal procedure; also, a dishonest or incompetent court of law. For example, The rebels set up a kangaroo court and condemned the prisoners to summary execution, or That judge runs a kangaroo courthe tells rape victims they should have been more careful. This expression is thought to liken the jumping ability of kangaroos to a court that jumps to conclusions on an invalid basis. [Mid-1800s]"
1. A mock court set up in violation of established legal procedure.
2. A court characterized by dishonesty or incompetence. [AmericanHeritage]

"And that definition clearly describes yesterday's Senate hearings on energy prices.
First and foremost was the Republicans efforts to kiss the pearly white asses of the oil industry executives that they were supposed to be demanding answers from. As you may recall, these executives have used America's oil industry crisis to rake record profits, while bleeding American consumers dry (Exxon, for instance, pocketed more in profits this quarter than any corporation in U.S. history). Yet, instead of grilling these guys, the GOP did everything they could to make them comfortable. As just one example, Republicans refused to swear in the executives, and actually cleared the room of reporters so that there weren't any damning photos of them a la the famous hearings with tobacco industry execs." [Sirota]

What's worse is this: "But what really made this a kangaroo court was the testimony of Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Deborah Majoras. As the New York Times reported, " she opposed a federal price-gouging law because it might lead to price caps." Hmm...so let us get this straight - the industry is price gouging Americans all over the country, but what we really should be afraid of is a law barring that price gouging because it may actually force companies to bring down their prices?"

More on Majoras here. [WorkingForChange]
Oil Company Execs Defend Huge Profits. [Yahoo]

This is fantastic. Bush appoints Majoras, a former ChevronTexaco exec, to head the Federal Trade Commission. What a gift to the oil companies, and ensures they stay loyal to the republican party. So, the republicans let these execs continue bilking the American consumer for extraordinary amounts, but it's ok because the oil industry is lining their pockets to keep them in office. Then they get soft questions when they finally have a hearing in the House about it, and don't even swear in the execs to keep them "honest." I love cronyism!!!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Happy Blogoversary!

One year ago today, I had my first post. I've come a long way baby!

Lots of changes in my life, and in the world since I started last November. The newest being my new baby, Keira Elizabeth.

I won't be able to make it (or I already missed) Drinking Liberally tonight. We just got home from the hospital again. Seems like we live there now.

Here's to another year of personal growth, outing Bush Family Evil Empire lies and corruption, and the betterment of the world as a whole.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Family Picture

Updated Photos

Both Becky and Keira are doing very well. We expect to be able to bring her home tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


We have a baby!

Just a quick post before I get back to the hospital, but mother and baby are doing just fine. Click on her name below to see an online photo gallery.

Keira Elizabeth Bryhan

She was 6 pounds, 1 ounce, and 18 inches long. She came to us at 12:03 AM this morning.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Wal-Mart is Shafting Workers Again

Wal-Mart Memo Suggests Ways to Cut Employee Benefit Costs:

"An internal memo sent to Wal-Mart's board of directors proposes numerous ways to hold down spending on health care and other benefits while seeking to minimize damage to the retailer's reputation. Among the recommendations are hiring more part-time workers and discouraging unhealthy people from working at Wal-Mart."

"In the memorandum, M. Susan Chambers, Wal-Mart's executive vice president for benefits, also recommends reducing 401(k) contributions and wooing younger, and presumably healthier, workers by offering education benefits. The memo voices concern that workers with seven years' seniority earn more than workers with one year's seniority, but are no more productive." [Internal Memo] [NYT] [AAR]

Yet another reason not to shop at Wal-Mart. When my wife worked at Wal-Mart one summer several years ago, she was paid $7.00 an hour, and employees were forced to actually build the new store. No bonuses, nothing. Now, with this announcement, they want to discriminate on who they hire, and take away their ability to earn and save money for the future.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Indictment Mania!

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is indicted on 5 counts, then resigns.

"Libby was indicted on one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury and two counts of making false statements, court documents show."

Here are the indictments, courtesy of Think Progress.

It appears there will be a press conference by Fitzgerald later today, but they will wait on Rove. Maybe this means they'll go after Cheney for withholding documents from the Senate Intelligence Committee.

It's a sad day indeed for the United States. Scott is right, this will only increase the cynicism of many citizens that their vote doesn't matter. I really hope that this shows people that they can make a difference. They just have to use their heads and start voting for their best interests, rather than voting against them.

Special thanks to Scott and Mike.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Miers Withdraws

No SCOTUS for you!

"Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination for the Supreme Court this morning after weeks of increasingly heated debate over the depth of her conservative beliefs and her qualifications to fill the seat to be vacated by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Ms. Miers, President Bush's White House counsel, told the president in a letter this morning that she feared that the confirmation process "presents a burden for the White House and our staff that is not in the best interest of the country." She said that even though her long career offered enough basis for senators to consider her nomination, "I am convinced the efforts to obtain executive branch materials and information will continue." [NYT]

Here is the text of the letter she sent to Bush. [MSNBC]

More: [Tribune] [CNN] [MSNBC]

Basically, she is withdrawing (from her letter to Bush) because she "knows too much." She wants to "protect the independence of the Executive Branch." Right...She is afraid that the "Big Bad Senate" will ask for more documents and try to figure out who she is. How dare they ask who she really is, and where she stands on important issues! How dare they ask to find out what the President is doing!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Bringing Out the Absurdity of the News

NYT: "If anything, after one week, Mr. Colbert's half-hour sendup of cable news commentators already suggests that "Saturday Night Live" has outlived its usefulness - or at least is in need of a shake-up. When a comedian from "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" has a big enough following to warrant his own spinoff, it may be time to renovate NBC's 30-year-old comedy show. Even last Saturday, when Tina Fey, the head writer, was back at the "Weekend Update" anchor desk after her maternity leave, most of the political jokes were as labored and predictable as the comedy skits."

"And some of the best material on Mr. Stewart and Mr. Colbert's shows lies in their sadistic use of snippets from real newscasts and political speeches. On Thursday, Mr. Colbert showed a montage of alarmed reports about the avian flu epidemic on CNN, C-Span and MSNBC, then showed a more upbeat Fox News headline: "Bird is the word on the street. Why the avian flu could send stocks soaring." [NYT]

I love to see the reports of the numbers of people that get the majority of their news from the Daily Show, or now from the new Colbert Report. The major media outlets have become such a joke. There is no integrity, only a bunch of people fawning all over every little thing that the president does. Liberal media? That I'd like to see!

Buyers Remorse? 2,000th Death

In that crazy world of hypothetical elections, a majority of Americans said that they would vote for a Democrat, instead of Bush if an election were held this year.

"In the latest poll, 55 percent of the respondents said that they would vote for the Democratic candidate if Bush were again running for the presidency this year. Thirty-nine percent of those interviewed said they would vote for Bush in the hypothetical election." [CNN]

This comes on the heels of the US losing it's 2,000th soldier in Iraq. President Bush repeated again that the best way to honor the men and women that he illegally sent to their deaths, would be to "stay the course." [CNN] [IraqiCasualties] [Yahoo] [CommonDreams]

Feingold disagrees: "Some have argued that a timetable is designed to appeal to the American public, but that it has no relationship to our security, or to achieving policy goals in Iraq. Actually, it is just the opposite – I proposed the timeframe because it has everything to do with improving our national security strategy. Our fundamental national security goal must be to combat the global terrorist networks that attacked and continue to threaten the United States. An increasing number of military experts and members of the public have concluded that our military presence in Iraq is not consistent with that goal – and that it is in fact undermining that goal. It's becoming increasingly clear that we have created a breeding ground for terrorism in Iraq and that the indefinite presence of tens of thousands of U.S. troops is often fueling, not dampening, the insurgency in that country."

Apparently, not all think that 2,000 dead is a milestone: "U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, director of the force's combined press center, wrote in an e-mail to reporters, "I ask that when you report on the events, take a moment to think about the effects on the families and those serving in Iraq. The 2,000 service members killed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is not a milestone. It is an artificial mark on the wall set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives." [Ed&Pub]

This is a milestone. This president launched us into an illegal war on sovereign nation, for among many things, oil. I think it's time that we start listening to people like the good Senator Feingold, and set a timetable to withdraw from Iraq. It is not our property; it belongs to the people of Iraq, not a cabal of filthy-rich Texas oilmen and their corporations.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Leak Widens To Include Forged Documents

Bush at Bay: "The CIA leak inquiry that threatens senior White House aides has now widened to include the forgery of documents on African uranium that started the investigation, according to NATO intelligence sources."

"This suggests the inquiry by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald into the leaking of the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame has now widened to embrace part of the broader question about the way the Iraq war was justified by the Bush administration."

"Fitzgerald's team has been given the full, and as yet unpublished report of the Italian parliamentary inquiry into the affair, which started when an Italian journalist obtained documents that appeared to show officials of the government of Niger helping to supply the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein with Yellowcake uranium. This claim, which made its way into President Bush's State of the Union address in January, 2003, was based on falsified documents from Niger and was later withdrawn by the White House. This opens the door to what has always been the most serious implication of the CIA leak case, that the Bush administration could face a brutally damaging and public inquiry into the case for war against Iraq being false or artificially exaggerated. This was the same charge that imperiled the government of Bush's closest ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, after a BBC Radio program claimed Blair's aides has "sexed up" the evidence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction." [UPI]

This looks pretty bad for Rove and Scooter Libby. What about Novak? How is he getting away clean in all of this?

Then comes this gem headline from the NY Times: "Republicans Testing Ways to Blunt Leak Charges."

"With a decision expected this week on possible indictments in the C.I.A. leak case, allies of the White House suggested Sunday that they intended to pursue a strategy of attacking any criminal charges as a disagreement over legal technicalities or the product of an overzealous prosecutor."

That's right, when you want to cover up your pack of lies, smear those that are talking bad about you. If you illegally out an under-cover CIA agent for revenge, it's a "disagreement over legal technicalities or the product of an overzealous prosecutor."

Friday, October 21, 2005

Wait 'Till Next Year - The "We Love Suffering Edition"

Looks like my favorite baseball teams aren't the only ones...it's also those of us that SUFFER that must wait for our chance.

"Well, we've been waiting for a Senate vote, and... the bad news is that the stem cell bill we've been fighting for -- HR 810 -- will not be voted on until early next year. But the good news -- according to Senator Arlen Specter -- is that Majority Leader Bill Frist has promised to bring it up as one of the first items of 2006." [StemPAC]

I hope this is just a temporary delay. As surprised as I was that Frist (R-Stock Thief) supported this measure (HR 810), I will be less surprised if this keeps getting put off. Never mind that people are suffering and dying. Welcome to AmeriKKKA, where guns rule, and regular people pay the price.

Hat tip to Brewtown Politico and Xoff.

As Promised

"I'm Hot Tub Tom! What's your question!??"

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Go To Jail, Go Directly To Jail

Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Arrest warrant issued for Tom DeLay: "Bail was initially set at $10,000 as a routine step before his first court appearance on conspiracy and money laundering charges. Travis County court officials said DeLay was ordered to appear at the Fort Bend County jail for booking." [CNN] [Yahoo] [NYT]

So, "Hot Tub Tom" is in more hot water. Granted, this is a routine step in this process, but it doesn't make it any less enjoyable. "DeLay, R-Texas, could be fingerprinted and photographed, although his lawyers had hoped to avoid this step. DeLay probably will surrender in his home county of Fort Bend, near Houston, but he could go to any law enforcement office in Texas. His court appearance will be in Austin."

How come if an arrest warrant is issued for a "regular person," the police come and get your right away; But if you're famous, they let you come in on your own?

If we get mugshots, they will most definitely be posted here...with glee and giggles.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Stem Cell Slide Shows

NYT: "Scientists experimenting with mice have devised two new ways to derive embryonic stem cells without destroying viable embryos. The work is being hailed for its potential to sidestep some of the ethical controversies that have slowed stem cell research in this country. But each of the new techniques raises ethical issues of its own, and neither is apt to be ready for use in humans for many years."

"These and other approaches to deriving stem cells without destroying embryos clearly deserve further research, but they must not be allowed to halt or slow the most proven method of obtaining embryonic stem cells - extracting them from human embryos that are inevitably destroyed in the process." (Emphasis added-mine)

"Some critics consider it morally objectionable to genetically engineer a defective embryo that can't implant. But advocates of this approach believe it can be refined to produce disorganized clumps of tissue that will be deemed biological artifacts, not nascent life."

"It would be great if some way could be found to produce embryonic stem cells of high scientific value without raising ethical objections. But until that day comes, it would be foolish to abandon proven techniques just to meet the ethical objections of a minority." [NYT]

Yes, it would be wonderful to have a scientific method to produce high quality embryonic stem cells without raising the dander of religious conservatives. Currently, that is not possible, except by not trying, and by letting those of us that might benefit from these scientific advances suffer. I'm sorry, but I'm tired of taking insulin injections and checking my blood sugar level constantly. Embryonic stem cells show such a great promise to end the suffering of millions worldwide with Diabetes (like me!), Alzheimer's, spinal cord injury, and many, many more. But religious conservatives, who currently control all three branches of government, won't let science help us out. Write to your elected officials and ask them to support HR 810.

Can Cubs Fans Suck It Up?

Tribune: "Picture two ugly sisters--think Patty and Selma Bouvier from "The Simpsons"--spending their childhood living together, arguing over who was prettier, who was more popular, who did better in school--even though neither has much to brag about. That's what Chicago Cubs and White Sox fans have been like for the last 46 years. For seasons immemorial, North and South Siders have bickered and brawled over who won more games, who (before the interleague season series era) won the otherwise meaningless Crosstown Classic, or who (after interleague play began) won the season series. But we never debated pennants or World Series titles because, well, that never was an issue." [Tribune]

This article makes a good point, it's not the team we hate, it's the fans. Sox fans hate the "wine-sipping crowd" at Wrigley just as much as we hate the "mullet-wearing, toothless bunch" at the Cell.

During any given season, I think about the White Sox maybe a handful of times. I don't care about their team. They have no bearing on my mental well-being at all. But, those same Sox fans are just waiting...waiting for any little thing to befall the Cubs, and they jump all over it. Pathetic.

Here's a great story from the article: "Cub fans barely noticed the Sox's playoff failures in 1993 and 2000. But in 1984, when the Cubs squandered a 2-0 National League playoff series lead to the San Diego Padres, Sox fans were elated. They were downright giddy when that ground ball rolled through Leon Durham's legs. I was 11 at the time and, following the last out of Game 5, I rushed outside the house in tears, only to see my friend, one of a family of Sox fans who lived down the street, ride by on his bicycle. This was the same kid whom I had consoled one year earlier after his "Winning Ugly" Sox choked against the Baltimore Orioles in the American League playoffs. His kind words to me? "Go Padres!" he yelled."

"That's a Sox fan for you, whether he's 11, 31 or 81. We don't really root against the Sox, but they live for the Cubs to fail. It's like your younger sister jeering you after you've been stood up for the umpteenth time, even though she's never been asked out on a date herself."

Am I jealous they're playing in the World Series and my Cubs aren't? You bet.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Return of the Mike

Sorry about taking a few days off...busy and traveling. I'm in a week-long training class at work, so I haven't even been able to follow headlines for the most part.

Mike is back. After relocating to Madison, Isolated Incident returns from hiatus with a new look. Check it out.

Happy Columbus Day to all! I guess I forgot to put up the tree because there weren't any presents waiting when I got up this morning. To our Jewish friends, Yom Kippur starts today at sundown. Happy atonement.

I hope to make it to Drinking Liberally tonight at 7 at Club Garibaldi. Hope to see you there too!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Time Warp Redux

NYT: "Yesterday, the same day New Yorkers were warned there was a "specific threat" of a bombing on their subways, President Bush delivered what the White House promoted as a major address on terrorism. It seemed, on the surface, like a perfect topic for the moment. But his talk was not about the nation's current challenges. He delivered a reprise of his Sept. 11 rhetoric that suggested an avoidance of today's reality that seemed downright frightening."

"The president's inability to grow beyond his big moment in 2001 is unnerving. But the fact that his handlers continue to encourage him to milk 9/11 is infuriating. For most of us, the memories are fresh and painful. We mourn the people who died on Sept. 11, as we mourn Daniel Pearl and other Americans, not to mention innocents from other countries, who were murdered by terrorists. The administration's penchant for using them as political cover is offensive. It threatens to turn our wounds, and our current fears, into cynical and desperate spin." [NYT]

NYT: "We've lost track of the number of times President Bush has told Americans to ignore their own eyes and ears and pretend everything is going just fine in Iraq. Yesterday, when Mr. Bush added a ringing endorsement of his own policy to his speech on terrorism, it was that same old formula: the wrong questions, the wrong answers and no new direction." [NYT]

Isn't the general public getting tired of the same old Bush rhetoric? The guy has been saying the same thing since 2001. "We have to stay the course." Well, the course is leading us into another quagmire where nearly 2,000 of our brave men and women are dying for oil and to profit the Bush Family Evil Empire. But, a lot of the public is ok with this, just as long as those stem cells don't come and get us. We must stop the stem cells above all else. And those gays, wanting to marry and join the military and the priesthood. What gives!?

Thursday, October 06, 2005


I'm looking for suggestions on what my title bar should say (besides the name of my blog). Currently, it says Eamus Catuli!!!, which loosely translated means "Go Cubs!"

So, now that the Cubs season is regrettably over, I need a new header. I'm having a contest of sorts to help me decide what to put up there...suggestions welcome!

*Disclaimer: No actual prize will be awarded in said contest as writer and wife are currently expecting a daughter in December. Instead, you win the satisfaction of naming my header, which sounds funnier than it is.

Carnival Badger 8

Belle of Leaning Blue has the 8th editon of the Carnival of the Badger. And a fine job indeed...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Barry Melrose!

Time to drop the puck, the NHL is back!!! Finally returning after over a full year off, the NHL comes back better than ever. [Yahoo]

As with all sports, I am again a paradox, as I cheer for the Detroit Red Wings AND the Chicago Blackhawks. But the big constant, and what I am most excited about, is BARRY MELROSE. You know, everyone's favorite west-coast Canadian with the mullet. Best. Announcer. EVER.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Suitable Pick?

"In the White House that hero worshipped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met." --David Frum

I agree with Brewtown Politico and Stacie; the SCOTUS nominee does not have to have judicial experience. This is not required, nor does it automatically disqualify her. One, for example, me, would hope that the nominee does have some experience. But that is not for me or anyone but the Senate to decide. I will try to reserve judgement on her until confirmation hearings begin.

What scares me is the blind allegiance to Bush.

Hat tip to Brewtown Politico, Vast Dairy State Conspiracy, Folkbum, and Xoff Files.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Wait 'Till Next Year

Congrats to the Brewers, who finished at .500 this year (81-81), the first time since 1992. The franchise is definitely moving in the right direction. This year brought unprecedented fan interest to the team, along with attendance. Immediately following the game, they fired bench coach Rich Dauer, and third-base coach Rich Donnelly.

As most of my readers know, I love the Brewers, but my heart follows the Cubs. I don't really have an issue following two teams, except when they play each other...which I hate. It brings out too much nastiness on both sides.

Much has been said about the Cubs, and their season. The Cubs get more press because they are a higher-profile team, and because of their history. After their game 7 loss in the NLCS in 2003, then the rising hopes of 2004, destroyed by a last week crash in New York, this season brought renewed hope of the elusive championship. Alas, it was not to be. Too many injuries, too many mistakes, not enough of this or that...

I have many feelings about this year's version of the Cubs, and a lot of questions. What if Nomar wouldn't have gone down in St. Louis in April? Would have have gotten hot like he was in September? What if Kerry Wood would have stayed healthy and returned to the form he was in in 2003? What if Mark Prior wouldn't have gotten hit on the elbow in May? What if that ball would have hit him just an inch or two over, and ended his career? What if the Cubs would have made Dempster the closer on day 1? He went 33-35 in saves, and they still won the two "blown saves." What if Corey Patterson would have really focused on playing this year? What if the Cubs would have won a few more games that they should have easily won. I guess we'll never know the answers to those questions.

They did some things right: they locked up Dempster for 3 more years. Derrek Lee put on a show that this Cubs fan will never forget, in route to winning his first batting title.

What will the Cubs look like in 2006? No one knows yet. I'd like to see Matt Murton and Ronny Cedeno get full-time gigs. I'd love to see Todd Walker come back. I wouldn't mind Nomar coming back, and maybe playing left field. Give Felix Pie a shot in CF. I'd like to see Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano really focus on losing some weight and strengthening their lower bodies. I'd REALLY LOVE to see some durability and a major reduction in the number of injuries. I'd love to see some defense, some fundamentals, and some HEART.

Here's some season recaps. [MissedGoals] [SeasonInReview] [Sportsline] [Tribune]

The latin phrase "Eamus Catuli" that I have in the header of my site loosely translates to "Let's Go Cubs!" I'll have to come up with something else to replace it until next spring training. Just remember, hope springs eternal! Keep the faith! Believe!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Baby Update

I haven't written about myself or my family a lot on this blog. I guess I've tried to shelter that as much as possible. I did announce back in May however, that my wife and I are expecting our first child, a daughter, on December 1st (or when she is good and ready to appear!).

Becky is doing well...she is currently 31+ weeks in. She's been uncomfortable, and had some "power outages," where she is just beat-tired, but otherwise fine. I know you'd be tired too if you were a teacher and 31+ weeks pregnant!

We bought a crib and changing table, that was just delivered on Friday. Otherwise, I feel pretty unprepared. Mentally, I'm ready, but we just have to make a space in our house for her.

For anyone that wants to know, we are registered at Target. :)

Illegal Propaganda

"Federal auditors said on Friday that the Bush administration violated the law by buying favorable news coverage of President Bush's education policies, by making payments to the conservative commentator Armstrong Williams and by hiring a public relations company to analyze media perceptions of the Republican Party."

"In a blistering report, the investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said the administration had disseminated "covert propaganda" in the United States, in violation of a statutory ban." [NYT]

When has this administration done anything within the realm of the law? Will they pay any consequences for this? NO.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Bill Bennett: Pillar of Racism

"I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down." -- Bill Bennett, former Secretary of Education, author of "The Book of Virtue" and conservative poster boy, in a radio interview.

This all started with one callers suggestion that the "lost revenue from the people who have been aborted in the last 30 years" would be enough to preserve the solvency of Social Security.

"Bennett's remark was apparently inspired by the claim that legalized abortion has reduced crime rates, which was posited in the book Freakonomics (William Morrow, May 2005) by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. But Levitt and Dubner argued that aborted fetuses would have been more likely to grow up poor and in single-parent or teenage-parent households and therefore more likely to commit crimes; they did not put forth Bennett's race-based argument." [Xoff] [MediaMatters] [Yahoo]

Bush stooge Scott McClellan came out and stated that President Bush believes that the comments were not appropriate. Notice he didn't condemn them, as the media is reporting...he just said that maybe they weren't appropriate.

Yes, this is what the GOP really thinks of America and it's citizens.

The Bare Necessities

Sirota: "Despite thousands in Louisiana having lost their homes, jobs, and life's possessions, the Wall Street Journal reports today that HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said that extending health care benefits to hurricane victims is "unnecessary." The public is expected to accept this rationale as an explanation for why, as CBS News reports, the White House is "blocking a bipartisan $9 billion health care package for hundreds of thousands of evacuees" from the hurricanes. Shocked at the Bush administration's indifference? Don't be - over the last few weeks, the Republican Party has made clear what its priorities really are in these very terms."

Necessary for the GOP after Katrina:
New tax cuts for the wealthy
Cutting programs that serve military families
Increasing audits on the working poor
Skewing tax relief for victims to the wealthy
More oil industry tax breaks
Lowering workers' wages

Unnecessary for the GOP after Katrina:
Stopping $336 Billion in new tax cuts for millionaires
Stopping $200 Billion in new tax cuts for millionaires
Cracking down on wealthy & corporate tax cheats
Independent commission to find out what went wrong
Cracking down on oil industry profiteering
Taking FEMA director off the federal payroll

Throw in some indictments on DeLay, investigations on Rove and Frist, and you've got a recipe for GOP disaster.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Drinking Liberally 2

Last night was the second edition of Drinking Liberally - Milwaukee. A great time was had by all (especially when toasting at DeLay's expense!). Got to meet some new faces and some familiar ones.

I still think that we need to get more organized when it comes to blogging and our online presence. The conservatives seem to have their stuff together, and a Badger Blog Alliance. Of course, it helps when they have domination of all forms of media in Milwaukee. What do we have? A loose coalition of liberal bloggers. I think Jason is definitely on the right trail with podcasting.

Let's find a way to work together (and work smarter) and spread the democratic message with a unified front.