Monday, January 31, 2005
Friedman: "By refusing to rein in U.S. energy consumption, the Bush team is not only depriving itself of the most effective lever for promoting internally driven reform in the Middle East, it is also depriving itself of any military option. As Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, points out, given today's tight oil market and current U.S. consumption patterns, any kind of U.S. strike on Iran, one of the world's major oil producers, would send the price of oil through the roof, causing real problems for our economy. "Our own energy policy has tied our hands," Mr. Haass said." [NYT]
Torture Chicks Gone Wild: " former American Army sergeant who worked as an Arabic interpreter at Gitmo has written a book pulling back the veil on the astounding ways female interrogators used a toxic combination of sex and religion to try to break Muslim detainees at the U.S. prison camp in Cuba. It's not merely disgusting. It's beyond belief." [NYT]
Saturday, January 29, 2005
Sammy's best and worst moments: [Tribune]
Who is going to play in the Cubs outfield now? Hollandsworth and Dubois are expected to platoon in left, Patterson in center, and...The Cubs should be going after Magglio Ordoñez, NOT Jeromy Burnitz. But, why spend money to improve your team??? [CBS] [ESPN] [Cubs]
In good news: UNC dominated Virginia today, 110-76, and it wasn't even that close. The Heels led 62-26 at half, and led by 50 points at one point in the 2nd half. UNC shot 60% from the floor, while Virginia shot 39%, and UNC outrebounded the Cavs 45-26. [UNC] [CBS] [Box]
Editorial on the Millenium Challenge Account, that gives money to poor and developing countries for sorely needed aid: "This follows a sad pattern. Mr. Bush said he would ask Congress for $1.7 billion in 2004; he asked for $1.3 billion and got $1 billion. He said he would ask for $3.3 billion in 2005; he asked for $2.5 billion and got $1.5 billion.
So if past is prologue, the Republican Congress will cut the diluted 2006 pledge even further." [NYT]
Chicago GM Jim Hendry denies the trade rumors, but admitted that he negotiated with several teams on Friday. This is basically a giveaway. Sure, Hairston is fast, but he has had a lot of injuries. Julio had a 4.57 ERA last year, which hopefully would improve in the NL. This is the best we could do for a future HOF Member with 574 HR's??? This speaks volumes.
Nothing is done yet, however. There is still the sticking point of money for Sosa, who by being traded is guaranteed $18 million for 2006, and a $4.5 million buyout. The Cubs are rumored to be seeking the services of 35 year old RF Jeromy Burnitz, who hit .283 with 37 HR's and 110 RBI's in Colorado (inflated? Yes). So...why wouldn't the Cubs go after Magglio Ordoñez? Who would you rather have sprinting out into right field at the home-opener???
Is Señor Cub really leaving? I think he mentally checked out after his sneezing-fit last May. Honestly, I will be sad to see him go. He's been the Cubs to me for so long. Who will ever forget 1998? Who will ever forget the corked-bat episode? The Cubs are losing a prima-donna, a mediocre at best right fielder, a aging and declining hitter, and one of my favorite players ever.
[Cubs] [Tribune] [Downey] [Rogers] [CBS] [MLB]
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Dowd: "Genius? Not so much. Spendthrift? Definitely. W.'s administration was running up his astounding deficit paying "journalists" to do what they would be happy to do for free - just to be friends with benefits, getting access that tougher scribes are denied." [NYT]
Friedman: "In such an environment, the only thing that Mr. Bush could do to change people's minds about him would be to travel across Europe and not say a single word - but just listen." [NYT]
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
"Unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions. In this case, we, the undersigned bloggers, have decided to speak as one and collectively author a document of opposition. We oppose the nomination of Alberto Gonzales to the position of Attorney General of the United States, and we urge every United States Senator to vote against him."
We as a nation cannot support torture, or risk further reducing our standing in the world. Contact your Senator and tell them to vote NO!
Send an e-mail to Margo Baldwin and Dimpled Chad at the addresses below, telling them your blog is joining the call to the Senate for a "NO" vote.
[Kos] [ChelseaGreen] [DimpledChad]
Message from MoveOn PAC: "In house meetings after the election, you told us that crafting a bold progressive message and running an aggressive organizing strategy were your top priorities. The Chair of the Democratic Party may be able to do more than any other individual to help accomplish these goals -- and on February 12, the members of the Democratic National Committee will pick a new one. They need to hear from you.That's why we're launching an unprecedented campaign to tell the DNC who grassroots progressives across the country want to see as the next DNC Chair. We'll start by posing your top questions to the six candidates running for Chair. Then we'll present their answers back to you, and hold a nation-wide online vote. We'll deliver the results to your state's DNC delegation when the members gather in Washington, DC."
Click here to send your thoughts [ActionForum]
Sign this petition: [Education]
Time to get the message out, to everyone. [NYT]
Why Gonzales is not even a bad choice for Attorney General, he's worse. [NYT]
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Krugman on our economic future after Greenspan: "Yet President Bush, as you may have noticed, only appoints yes-men (or yes-women). This is most obvious on the national security front, but it's equally true with regard to economic policy. The current Treasury secretary has no obvious qualifications other than loyalty. The new head of the National Economic Council apparently got the job because he is a Bush classmate and fund-raiser."
I love nepotism! [NYT]
[Dems] [Boston] [Kos] [IsolatedIncident]
Sign these petitions:
[Social Security] [Filibuster]
Someone finally says it: Rice LIED. I must be mistaken, when did the Democrats grow balls? Go Mark Dayton (D-Min) Go! Confirmation is still all but assured in the GOP-controlled Senate, but they are at the very least challenging this horrible nominee, and raising questions with the public, if they'll listen. [Yahoo] [CNN] [WP] [Reuters]
Not that you can actually believe any numbers that the White House puts out, but WOW. Earlier today, they put the budget deficit number somewhere around $368 billion, excluding the $80 billion for Iraq. So, Bush says he can cut the deficit in half by 2009, while each year the deficit gets larger. Extending Bush's two tax cuts are expected to cost $1.8 TRILLION over the next 10 years. Bush is preventing an expansion of the alternative minimum tax (tax on the wealthy-his base) that would cost over $500 billion. All in all, the new estimate calls for the budget to climb slightly, and a new report earlier today by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office shows that deficits will remain above $350 billion through 2009 and climb sharply after that. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that continued costs of the war in Iraq and other aspects of the war on terrorism could add $285 billion over the next five years.
Monday, January 24, 2005
Wow...but they won't allow new lines to become available because we "have to protect the fetus." So, a simple solution would be to use cells from fertility clinics, but that would only make sense. Stupid "junk-science." [NYT] [CNN] [BBC]
Krugman on Social Security and the politics of fear. [RollingStone]
AWESOME article by Richard Clarke: "The column is written from the perspective of a fictional lecturer speaking on September 11, 2011 at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and talks about how the country hasn't won the war on terror. It speculates that attacks have increased over the previous ten years, the price of oil has spiked dramatically, a successful coup has occurred in Saudi Arabia, and Iran has become a nuclear power." [CrooksandLiars]
We were 45th?!?!!!!?!?!!! Thank you pResident Bush! Thank you for making our environment worse! Thank you for giving tax breaks and eliminating regulations on industries so they can rape and pillage our environment. [NYT] [Yale] [Columbia]
New research indicates that global warming is now reaching a critical point of no return. "According to the report, urgent action is needed to stop the global average temperature rising by 2 degrees Celsius above the level in 1750 -- the approximate start of the Industrial Revolution when mankind first started significantly polluting the atmosphere with carbon dioxide. Beyond a 2 degrees rise, "the risks to human societies and ecosystems grow significantly" the report said, adding there would be a risk of "abrupt, accelerated, or runaway climate change." It warned of "climatic tipping points" such as the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets melting and the Gulf Stream shutting down." [CNN]
Sunday, January 23, 2005
Editorial: "That said, in districts where evolution is a burning issue, there ought to be some place in school where the religious and cultural criticisms of evolution can be discussed, perhaps in a comparative religion class or a history or current events course. But school boards need to recognize that neither creationism nor intelligent design is an alternative to Darwinism as a scientific explanation of the evolution of life." [NYT]
Friedman: "There's only one thing you can say about the elections in Iraq: They are either going to be the end of the beginning there or the beginning of the end." [NYT]
Friday, January 21, 2005
"Now, Dobson said, SpongeBob's creators have enlisted him in a "pro-homosexual video" in which he appears alongside other children's television characters such as Barney, Blue from "Blue's Clues," Clifford the Big Red Dog and Jimmy Neutron, among many others.The makers of the video, he said, plan to mail it to thousands of elementary schools this spring to promote a "tolerance pledge" that includes tolerance for differences of "sexual identity." He urged his allies to stand together to stop it as part of a "spiritual battle" for the country." This James Dobson, founder of Focus on Family, is a HUGE nutcase. People, it's a cartoon! We can't have all these crazy people walking around trying to teach us REAL values and tolerance!
[Tribune] [NYT] [IsolatedIncident]
Wait...you mean, one state got it right??? "To loud cheers and a standing ovation from some 150 gay rights supporters, Gov. Rod Blagojevich (Illinois) on Friday signed a new law protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination." [Tribune]
Herbert: " People traveling in the real world may see Iraq as a place where bombings, kidnappings and assassinations are an integral part of daily life; where police officers are blown to pieces as they line up for their pay; where innocent men, women and children are slain by the thousands for no good reason; where cities like Falluja are leveled in order to save them; where America's overwhelming superiority in firepower has not been enough to win the war; and where the upcoming elections seem very much like a joke since many of the candidates have to keep their identities secret and the locations of many polling places remain undisclosed.
People traveling in the real world may see Iraq that way. But in the fantasy-laden Bush realm, Iraq is a place where freedom is on the march. So why not raise a toast to freedom, and dance the night away." [NYT]
Thursday, January 20, 2005
If it's not on TV, we as a nation don't hear about it. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! [NYT]
Friedman: "Watching George Bush's second inaugural from a bistro in Paris is like watching the Red Sox win the World Series from a sports bar in New York City. Odds are that someone around you is celebrating - I mean, someone, somewhere in Europe must be happy about this - but it's not obvious." [NYT]
Dowd: "She (Rice) can't do simple equations. She doesn't even know that X times zero equals zero. If you multiply 1,370 dead soldiers times zero weapons of mass destruction, that equals zero achievement for Ms. Rice, who helped the president and vice president bamboozle the country into war." [NYT]
I, for one, will be protesting the coronation. We as a nation have settled for a semi-literate, "moral" pResident instead of thinking about what might be best for us. Our nation has already suffered the consequences for four disasterous years under the Bush Family Crime Syndicate: our standing in the world, over 1,370 soldiers dead in a failed "war" in Iraq, the gutting of the environment, and civil liberties, for example. Haven't we had enough!?!?!!!
I urge you not to spend one damn dime today in protest of Bush's coronation. He is wasting over $45 million of OUR money on his coronation and the gala surrounding it, therefore, today, I will spend not one penny, not one nickel, not one damn dime. I also urge you to visit Choose the Blue, and find out how you can switch your spending to companies that support democratic causes. [NotOneDamnDime!] [ChoosetheBlue]
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
I can't believe that it was even this close. At least two Democrats stood up to this horrible confirmation. Rice did a HORRIBLE job as NSA; how is she going to do a better job as Secretary of State?
[NYT] [Yahoo] [Quotes] [Transcript] [Video]
This was nothing but an exercise in political theater. "Senator Joseph Biden, Democrat of Delaware, asked Ms. Rice how big an Iraqi security force had actually been trained. When Ms. Rice, the national security adviser, offered an absurdly inflated 120,000, Mr. Biden said the people doing the training put the total at 4,000. He then suggested that Ms. Rice "pick up the phone or go see these folks," as if that has not been her job all along, especially in the year since the administration said that all information on operations in Iraq would flow through her." [Editorial]
Caught between church and state: evolution vs. "intelligent design." Hey, how about we keep the religion in church, and out of the schools. Last I checked, there was supposed to be something called the "separation of church and state." [NYT] [CNN]
Judge throws out Florida same-sex marriage suit. [NYT]
Remember me? Death toll exceeds 226,000 in tsunami & aftermath. [Reuters]
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
This is your brain on politics. [NYT]
Some genetic research isn't worth the money. That is the suggestion of two geneticists: that we need to prioritize our research on disorders that cannot be derailed by changes in personal habits or manipulation of the environment, such as Type 1 Diabetes, autism, and Alzheimer's. [NYT]
Monday, January 17, 2005
Text of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I See the Mountain" speech, given 04/03/1968, the day before he was assassinated. [I See the Mountain]
Text of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech, given 08/28/1963. [Mecca] [UMN]
New York 7th & 8th graders on Dr. King. [Buzzflash]
Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence, by Dr. King. [Buzzflash]
Bob Herbert: "Never since his assassination in 1968 have I felt the absence of Martin Luther King more acutely. Where are today's voices of moral outrage? Where is the leadership willing to stand up and say: Enough! We've sullied ourselves enough.
I'm convinced, without being able to prove it, that those voices will emerge. There was a time when no one had heard of Dr. King. Or Oscar Arias Sanchez. Or Martin O'Brien, who founded the foremost human rights organization in Northern Ireland, and who tells us: "The worst thing is apathy - to sit idly by in the face of injustice and to do nothing about it." [NYT]
Adam Hochschild on how the British influenced Dr. King and history: "Dr. King knew that too. In celebrating his legacy today, we also honor the legacy of all those who went before him, here and abroad. And, in a world where the gap between haves and have-nots sometimes seems wider than ever, we acknowledge the work that still has to be done." [NYT]
Sunday, January 16, 2005
I don't know if this is the answer or not (is there one?), but it seems a hell of a lot better than Bush's plan. [NYT]
What liberal media? [Tribune] [WhatLiberalMedia?] [Eric Alterman] [Altercation] [Alterman] [Cohen]
[UNC] [CBS] [Fouls] [Box]
Wisconsin plays Michigan State today at 12:30. [JS]
UW-Milwaukee hammers UW-GB yesterday, 86-56. [GB P-G] [JS]
Badger Hockey now alone atop the WCHA at 17-6-1 overall (14-4-0, 28 points in WCHA) [JS]
Friday, January 14, 2005
This is why Dean is the right choice for DNC Chair. To bring back the party from the brink of its own destruction, at its own hands. [TheNation]
David Corn: "And nothing has changed in terms of the White House's response to the absence of WMDs. Bush refuses to address the consequences of having misled the nation and the world. Before the war, he stated that there was "no doubt" that Iraq was loaded to the gills with WMDs."
I just love how there are no consequences for Bush. He LIED to the WORLD about Iraq and the threat it posed. [TheNation]
Katrina Vanden Heuvel: "What's in store for 2005? We anticipate scandals to come. But it should be noted that the GAO may face White House-proposed budget cuts and that the Bush Administration has developed a hostile policy toward nonpartisan IGs in various federal agencies. Instead of shooting the messenger, the Bush approach is defunding the investigator." [TheNation]
Even then, would we have a sustainable retirement system? Not bloody likely." [NYT]
Herbert: "But the administration is like an ardent lover in its zeal to shower the rich and powerful with every imaginable benefit. So tucked like a gleaming diamond in proposed legislation to curb malpractice lawsuits is a provision that would give an unconscionable degree of protection to firms responsible for drugs or medical devices that turn out to be harmful." [NYT]
Is there no end to the hypocrisy?!?
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Kristof: "Yes, Cuba's. Babies are less likely to survive in America, with a health care system that we think is the best in the world, than in impoverished and autocratic Cuba. According to the latest C.I.A. World Factbook, Cuba is one of 41 countries that have better infant mortality rates than the U.S. Even more troubling, the rate in the U.S. has worsened recently." [NYT]
Yes, thank you Republicans. Cut our healthcare and assistance to the poor, and then wonder why we have such a high relative infant mortality rate. Typical. Protect the fetus. It's all about the fetus. It's once you're born that you're screwed.
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
[UNC] [CBS] [Box] [On Marvin]
Excellent. We have over 10,000 wounded troops returning from Iraq/Afghanistan, and they are going to come home to what? NOTHING. No assistance, no housing, no health benefits. Community Development Block Grants could be cut by 50%, and overall funding to housing programs will be AT BEST frozen. "Veterans programs are also expected to be pinched, with flat funding, higher deductibles and co-payments for health care and a squeeze on benefit eligibility, aides said."
Way to support the troops Republicans!
Kennedy's on fire [CNN] [WP]
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
The vote is February 12th; here's to hoping that he wins in a landslide.
[DemocracyforAmerica] [BlogforAmerica] [Buzzflash] [CNN]
Victor's Spoils: aka, "How to hold an inauguration at taxpayer expense." [Editorial]
The "Doomsday Plan": "Usually, 218 lawmakers - a majority of the 435 members of Congress - are required to conduct House business, such as passing laws or declaring war. But under the new rule, a majority of living Congressmen no longer will be needed to do business under "catastrophic circumstances." Instead, a majority of the Congressmen able to show up at the House would be enough to conduct business, conceivably a dozen lawmakers or less."
Monday, January 10, 2005
The Baby Tax: "You've known them in your lives. The guys who go on credit card spending sprees and then skip town leaving their families to pay off their debts. They are louses, creeps, guys who mortgage the future of their children to their high off the hog living and lavish life styles." [Buzzflash]
Social Security by the numbers: "So you add that up and you get $3.7 trillion we need to cover Social Security's shortfall and $19.7 trillion we need just to cover the costs of the two major domestic policy initiatives of the president's first term." [TalkingPointsMemo]
Sunday, January 09, 2005
Editorial: "And last month, when the tsunami hit Asia, viewers got a chance to notice what they were in danger of losing to talk TV. CNN, with a comparatively large international army of journalists at its disposal, went out and covered the story. Fox News and MSNBC had to depend more on conversationalists in the studio, all of whom agreed that tidal waves were very, very bad." [NYTE]
Danner: "We are all torturers now." [NYTOPED]
Saturday, January 08, 2005
As a Cubs fan, I'm elated that Beltran decided not to continue to play in Houston (whom I HATE). I see good and bad things about this guy. Good: he's only 27, a five-tool player, hit .435 with 8 HR's in the playoffs in 2004. Bad: he wants HUGE money. Do the Cubs need another player with a long-term guaranteed contract on their roster? I don't want a guy that is making $16+ million that is hitting .265 (as he did after coming to Houston). Sosa is already a cancer on the payroll (which will be eliminated after the 2005 season).
This guy is a REALLY good player, and I really think the Cubs owe it to their fans to take a shot and go and get this guy.
UNC had SEVEN players in double-figures, and the bench scored 41 points. If they can just cut down on the turnovers. But, you have to give Maryland credit: they forced a lot of turnovers, and their defense wasn't terrible. UNC is just playing like a #1 team. [UNC] [CBS] [Box]
Meanwhile, Wisconsin lost to Indiana [CBS]
and UWGB beat Butler [CBS]
"Either way, when the Senate confirms Mr. Gonzales, it will mean that Iokiyar remains in effect, that the basic rules of ethics don't apply to people aligned with the ruling party. And reality will continue to be worse than any fiction I could write." [NYT]
Herbert: "If the United States were to look into a mirror right now, it wouldn't recognize itself." [NYT]
Thursday, January 06, 2005
MoDo the Dragon Lady gives us such gems as: "It's comforting to start the new year in the hands of a party that cares so much about morals and values." & "You know how bad the situation is when the president's choice for attorney general has to formally pledge not to support torture anymore." OH MAN. [NYT]
Friedman: "What the Bush team has done in Iraq, by ousting Saddam, was not to "liberate" the country - an image and language imported from the West and inappropriate for Iraq - but rather to unleash the latent civil war in that country. Think of shaking a bottle of Champagne and then uncorking it." [NYT]
"I have concluded that objecting to the electoral votes from Ohio is the only immediate way to bring these issues to light by allowing you to have a two-hour debate to let the American people know the facts surrounding Ohio's election," Boxer wrote in a letter to Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (news, bio, voting record), D-Ohio, a leader of the Democratic effort."
Someone stands up. How nice it is to see someone, anyone, fight back for the rights of the disenfranchised. It won't change anything, especially since the Rethugs have control of both houses, but maybe it will spark a REAL journalist or two to question what really happened. [Yahoo] [Buzzflash]
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
As a budget concern, Social Security isn't remotely in the same league. The long-term cost of the Bush tax cuts is five times the budget office's estimate of Social Security's deficit over the next 75 years. The botched prescription drug bill passed in 2003 does more, all by itself, to increase the long-run budget deficit than the projected rise in Social Security expenses.
That doesn't mean nothing should be done to improve Social Security's finances. But privatization is a fake solution to a fake crisis." [NYT]
Choose and LOSE [NYT]
And, this is NO time to play "Fear Factor" with Social Security funds. [NYT]
[Cubs] [Ryno] [Career] [MLB] [Tribune] [Stats]
One and done: The Bears fired offensive coordinator Terry Shea Tuesday. Not really a huge surprise. The Bears offense took a step backwards this year (if you can believe that).
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Can't a guy catch a break? I was just sick with the flu last week, and then this happens: more of the vomiting, and this time, severe pain.
The good news was that I met two new friends: Morphine and Valium.