Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Random Political Thoughts for a Wednesday Afternoon...

Scott and I are back. After taking some time off for the Christmas holiday, we are back to work and back to bringing you, as my mom likes to say, the ‘best political blog written by my son and his friend.’

As has become tradition here (two weeks in a row with RPTfaWA makes it a tradition to me), we kick off our return to blogging with more quick quips about politics and life… Enjoy:

  • Democratic Senators targeting seven key states in 2006 midterms. Sen. Schumer (D-NY), who is in charge of Senate Democrats' campaign efforts, mentioned that he and the other Senate Democrats are focusing on seven states where they can take over a GOP-held Senate seat in 2006: Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee, and Arizona. God speed Senator…
  • DHS is failing. A few House Democrats that oversee the Department of Homeland Security are saying the department hasn't kept some of its promises. A report that was released on 12/27 says that there are still gaps in federal efforts to defend the nation against acts of terror. It also goes on to say that the department fails to share alerts and other intelligence quickly with state and local officials. Is it true? Maybe, but I’d like to see more proof before I make any decisions.
  • President Bush enjoying time off by reading. I almost fell out of my chair when I heard about this… and then couldn’t stop laughing. White House spokesman Trent Duffy reported that the “President” is reading a couple of books while relaxing at his Texas ranch. Duffy spewed out the titles “When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt After the White House” and "Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground”. What I think Duffy meant to say was that the President was reading “Where’s Waldo” by Martin Handford and “Doors” by Roxie Munro.
  • CJ-SCOTUS getting high marks. It seems that Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts is earning raves from both sides of the partisan-ship that is U.S. politics. Three months into the job, there are signs he is going to be a more energetic Chief Justice than his two predecessors, William Rehnquist and Warren Burger. Stay tuned…
  • ‘Sc’Alito confirmation looking more difficult by the minute. With new writings and documents being released daily that show how SCOTUS nominee Samuel Alito thinks, it is getting more and more evident that his confirmation may not go as smooth as the administration had hoped.
  • Clinton impeachment in textbooks. It’s been seven years since President Clinton was impeached, and now high school textbooks are including the impeachment in milieu with his two-term presidency. Most show that it was a part of his Presidency, but did little to overshadow his overall success on the job. Hopefully, the textbooks in 10 years will show the opposite effect for Commander Cuckoo-Bananas.
  • President Bush hunting for a better 2006. President Bush is looking forward to a new year and is hoping it will be easier on him and his agenda. Maybe if he resigns now 2006 will be easier on him. Otherwise, I think he’s gonna get screwed with this pants on... again… but only time will tell.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

Kemp and I are taking a few days off to celebrate and spend Chrsitmas with our families and friends.

We at The "Bush"-Whacked Administration wish all of you a most Merry Christmas.

And for our friends who may celebrate a different faith, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Chanukah or a joyous Boxing Day to you and yours. However you celebrate please be safe.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from The "Bush"-Whacked Administration.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Random Political Thoughts for a Wednesday afternoon...

  • Understatement of the Year Award (UOTYA): replacing one we pointed out here a few weeks ago, President Bush has now won the Understatement of the Year award by announcing, during a primetime Oval-Office speech delivered Sunday night that the IRAQ WAR is/was “MORE DIFFICULT THAN WE EXPECTED.” Well, duh.
  • Addendum to the UOTYA: During the aforementioned address, the “President” also hailed the Iraqi elections as a crucial step toward stabilizing that nation, but warned that more violence lies ahead in spite of the ‘political progress’ the country has recently experienced. Again, well, duh.
  • Iraqi war veteran is running for political office in Illinois. L. Tammy Duckworth, a helicopter pilot who lost her legs in a rocket-propelled grenade attack, formally announced her candidacy Sunday for the congressional seat of retiring Republican Rep. Henry Hyde. While she is running in an area that is HEAVILY Republican, she thinks her military stance will help her win some votes regardless of her party affiliation. Stay tuned...
  • Something about Abramoff. With the recent news that a duo of politicians will return the money they received from Jack Abramoff, a call is going out to all Republicans AND Democrats to do the same, lest they become embarrassed by the public scrutiny.
  • Something about Abramoff, part 2. Abramoff, whose trial on fraud charges is slated to begin Jan. 9 in Florida, is negotiating a possible deal with the Justice Department. The deal would include him pleading guilty and cooperating in the wide-ranging political corruption investigation focused on his dealings with members of Congress and executive branch officials. This could get even more interesting as I’m sure there are a few Democrats who would be included in his testimony. Again, stay tuned…
  • Governor Schwarzenegger starting to act like a Republican. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has severed ties with his Austrian hometown because they dared to have a different thought about the Williams clemency than he did, meaning he’s finally starting to act like a Republican isn’t he?
  • FEMA changes could be revolutionary. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said on Tuesday that the Federal government might have to ‘radically change FEMA.’ While he didn’t offer any particulars about possible changes, he did say FEMA employees have to be given the authority to cut through red-tape in order to assist disaster victims hastily.
  • Sen. Clinton's GOP challenger to quit race. Jeanine Pirro, who had been set to run against Sen. Clinton in 2006, has decided to drop out of the Senate race. Instead she will run for state attorney general, an adviser said.

Monday, December 19, 2005

You Speak, We Listen

We at TBWA value opinions. You may not agree with ours and we may not agree with yours, but that is part of the democratic process. In the end we agree to disagree and hopefully somewhere along the way everyone learns something, including an increased level of tolerance for differing opinions.

Part of our exercise in practicing tolerance for differing opinions we present the results of our weekly poll.

Last week we asked “Do you agree or disagree with the Democrat’s plan to alter the primary process by adding more and diminishing the impact of New Hampshire?”

Here are the responses:

  • 61% - Yes, they need states with more diversity
  • 11% - Yes, New Hampshire has gotten too big of an ego
  • 11% - No, they should leave tradition alone
  • 11% - I’m a Republican so I could care less
  • 6% - No opinion

Based on your feedback, 72% of you believe that the Democrats should change the primary process if for no other reason than to diversify the opinions expressed in the primaries. While 11% of you are opposed feeling that they should leave the process alone.

Of the remaining respondents, 11% of you are Republicans, and we appreciate your honest vote, that and also that you did not vote to skew the poll results.

Now the remaining 6% of you stated that you had “No Opinion”. Ok I guess on this question we can let it slide…..but don’t get used to it. We understand that on this issue, not everyone may have an opinion, we respect that.

Ok, last week is history and we now have a new question, “Do you feel that U.S. Troops will begin coming home following the nationwide voting in Iraq?” We want to know your thoughts, please visit the top of the page and vote.

Be good, stay informed…later

Sunday, December 18, 2005

A Lie Of Any Nature Is Still A Lie.

So "Clueless George" has admitted that there were no WMD and it was because of bad intelligence, however he still would have gone into Iraq anyway. seems to me that the more accurate statement would be that he KNEW at the time that there were no WMD but he still wanted to go into Iraq anyway. Why? To get even with Saddam for turning daddy into a one-term prez? Who knows? Any reasonable person would say that he LIED...

As for the war itself, the administration didn't go in with a plan to win the war, only to win the initial battle.

We didn't secure and protect areas where large amounts of weapons/explosives were being stored and subsequently stolen and because of these and many other errors on the part of the 'leadership/administration' have lost over 2,000 American troops with tens of thousands more in harms way every day. Not to mention those who have returned with disabilities both physical and mental that will affect not only the returning soldiers lives but the lives of family and friends. But again it goes back to the reason that we are in Iraq in the first place...because of a lie.

So our 'president' lied to congress, and lied to the American people, and his lies have cost thousands of lives, and affected tens of thousands more. But thank god that ole' George wasn't getting a "Blow Job" in the oval office ! (or anywhere else..) Now that would be news right ?

I guess we don't impeach for deceit on a large or global scale that involves the death of innocents....we save that for getting your knob polished....

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Weekly Rewind

It’s Friday and we all know what that means… besides payday…

Right! It’s time for another fun-filled, fact-filled, opinion-filled edition of 'The Weekly Rewind.' I’m your host for today, Kemp, without wasting any more time, here we go…

APPLAUD: to the Bush Administration (no, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you, you read it right) for promising (though how much faith can you put into a promise from this group is questionable, but let’s be a little optimistic this close to Christmas) to $3.1 billion to New Orleans to replace/repair the levees. Some people are saying ‘too little, too late’. But I have to say ‘about time’ and ‘applaud’…

HECKLE: to Commander Cuckoo-Bananas (or as Scott calls him: Clueless George) for secretly allowing the U.S. government to spy on its citizens. As Ty Webb says: “This isn't Russia. Is this Russia? This isn't Russia.” Not so sure of that myself… Update: Now word comes that Bush isn’t going to say anything about this, even though Congressional leaders, including Republican Arlen Specter, are promising to look into the accusations.

APPLAUD: to the U.S. Supreme Court who decided on Monday to hear a group of cases involving the Texas redistricting plan. Did I mention that the plan gave the GOP six additional congressional seats?

HECKLE: to the US Treasury department for not allowing Cuba's participation in the World Baseball Classic. Much more important things to worry about people...

APPLAUD: to the news that Robert Novak is leaving CNN for Fox News. Why applaud? Because with him being at Fox now, we’ll automatically know that everything he says is counter-intuitive.

HECKLE: to the lemmings coming back to the flock (what exactly is a group of lemmings called?) Bush's approval rating (via a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll) got a little higher than last month because people are falling for the claptrap he's spouted off in all the recent "we can & will win in Iraq" speeches. Sad and pathetic.

APPLAUD: to Senate Democrats (and some Republicans) for smacking down the Republican-fueled renewal of the Patriot Act (otherwise known as the “Shove your Civil Liberties up you’re A**” Act)

to yet another week full of "We can and will win in Iraq" speeches from Commander Cuckoo-Bananas, give it a rest already, would ya?

to the people of Iraq for defying the insurgency and the potential for violence to vote in the country’s most-recent elections. (But why did I wake up with a purple finger this morning???)

HECKLE: to the news that President Bush said that the hunt for WMD’s in Iraq were irrelevant (much like his Presidency) to the decision to go to war. … Scott will be posting more on this later.

APPLAUD: to Secretary of State (and Presidential Dominatrix?) Condoleezza Rice for making an ardent personal plea to Congress asking themto provide $50 million for African troops trying to keep peace in Sudan's Darfur region. (What’s this I see? Signs of life and empathy from a Bush Administration official? Quick, someone call hell and see if it has frozen over)

APPLAUD/HECKLE: We’re split down the middle of whether this should be an applaud or a heckle as the US House passed legislation that changes the way pensions are monitored and managed in this country. For reasons why you may not like the changes, click here. Many house Democrats changed their tunes after the United Auto Workers (UAW) endorsed it earlier in the week.

APPLAUD: to some Senate Democrats for vowing to fight the Republican’s plan to open up the Alaskan Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for drilling. Why destroy a thing of beauty and serenity for meager oil amounts?

HECKLE: to the New York Times (new slogan: ‘Falling out of favor faster than the Bush Administration’) Ok, we all know that the Pentagon has been spying on Americans without warrants of any kind (see above), but we also need to remember that the NY Times held onto the story for a year because the White House ‘asked’ (read: told) them to. Pathetic, wrong, and totally unacceptable. Two words for the Times; ‘karma baby.’

APPLAUD: to Harold Pinter. In a lecture to the Swedish Academy in Stockholm this past week, this Nobel laureate stated that the 'invasion of Iraq was an act of blatant state terrorism" and that Clueless George and Tony Blair should be tried for the tens of thousands of deaths in Iraq as a result of the unjustified invasion. (Thanks to Sabrina for the heads up on this one, we would send you an 'I've been "Bush"-Whacked' t-shirt if we had them...Scott)

HECKLE: to Minnesota Republican State Senate candidate Dan Ochsner. Well, not so much him as his campaign staff. Seems they are in a little trouble for doctoring a 2004 Bush/Cheney campaign rally. His staff changed all the Bush/Cheney signs to read: Ox: Ochsner for State Senate. What’s worse, that his staff did it or that his staff got caught doing it? Not sure, but you can see the article and the picture here.

That’s it, as Scott said last week; you may notice more of a balance again this week, but it's not because I couldn't come up with even more Heckle's, it’s the Christmas/Holiday season and I’m in a giving mood.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Talk about a foul ball...

From the Official TBWA’s "There Has to be More Important Things to be Worrying About” files comes this little tasty tidbit…

News Release: the U.S. government, in looking out for the safety of the nation, has done something to protect the country from danger. Cuba will not be allowed to participate in the inaugral World Baseball Classic.

We can all breath easy now and know that we’re safe from the stampeding hordes of… a couple dozen baseball players…

Forget that Iraq acidentally allowed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi slip through their fingers, the government has stopped a group of Cuban baseball players from entering the country, we’re saved!! (If you can’t sense the sarcasm here, you’re not trying hard enough…)

The Treasury Department told Major League Baseball on Wednesday that they will be keeping Cuba out of the World Baseball Classic, citing the standing embargo against the communist island nation.

Again, we can all breath easy now…

Paul Archey, the senior vice president of Major League Baseball International, and Gene Orza, the chief operating officer of the Major League Baseball Players Association have already vowed to work on having the decision reversed.

Some of you may be asking why the Treasury Department has any say in this matter… well, because of U.S. laws governing certain commercial transactions with the Comminist nation the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has to issue a permit to in order to allow them to play.

Let’s not pay any attention to the fact that in the tournament schedule; Cuba was to play its three first-round games in San Juan, Puerto Rico (facing Panama, the Netherlands and Puerto Rico).

If they advanced (fairly possible since they have a pretty good team), they would also have played their second-round games in Puerto Rico. So no games in the first 2 rounds would have been played on “official” U.S. soil since Puerto Rico is more of a protectorate than anything else (and that’s something else for another post on another day)

While government officials had yet to react to the decision, Cubans on the street in Havana were outraged. Not only because they felt it was unfair, but because it means they won't be able to see their players go up against the American major league stars.

"It is our policy that we do not confirm, deny or discuss licenses. Generally speaking, the Cuba embargo prohibits entering into contracts in which Cuba or Cuban nationals have an interest." Treasury spokeswoman Molly Millerwise said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

We should leave the politics out of this.This isn’t about communism or grudges against a nation that has weathered on despite being ignored by most of the world; it’s about baseball.

Again, we can all breath easy now…

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Random Political Thoughts for a Wednesday afternoon…

  • Fox News tool Sean Hannity attacked Harvard and Georgetown Universities for accepting money from Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal. But Hannity has no qualms that the Prince also owns a small percentage (approx. 5.5%) of Fox News... hmmmmm?
  • 'Smilin’ Tom DeLay doesn’t just have to worry about a Democrat usurping his seat next year… seems 2 Republicans are gearing up to battle him in the primary. Kinda brings a smile to your face, doesn’t it?
  • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is getting hit hard with European-backlash from his refusal to grant clemency to ‘Tookie’ Williams. Seems his countrymen in Austria are not happy with the gov’s decision and are doing everything possible to make their anger known. Including, but not limited to, ridding the stadium in his hometown of his name.
  • The Gov. is also facing intense pressure on this side of the ocean… from his own party. Seems the GOP faithful in CA are a tad upset with him for naming a Democrat as his Chief of Staff. Bet he’s wishing he was making movies again…
  • The NY Times is reporting that the corruption cases of DeLay and Cunningham are colliding. Texas prosecutors revealed in subpoenas Tuesday that they’re investigating ties between Mr. DeLay and lobbyist, Brent Wilkes. Wilkes is a California businessman that is one of four unnamed co-conspirators listed in the criminal charges against former Representative Randy Cunningham. Smilin Tom and The Duke are going down together…
  • Reuters is reporting that Commander Cuckoo-Bananas has put his dominatrix, sorry I meant confidant, Condi Rice, in charge of U.S. efforts to stabilize and rebuild nations roiled by war or civil upheaval. My question is who will be in charge of stabilizing and rebuilding after she leaves? My money is on Brownie.
  • In yet another “We can and will win in Iraq” speech, the “President” defended the decision to go to war and also accepted responsibility for going to war with faulty intelligence. Some people will fall for it George (unless they throw themselves off a cliff) but smart people will see through your veil of lies.
  • The trial of former Illinois Governor George Ryan is getting heated. The lead prosecutor angrily accused Ryan’s defense team of tarnishing the veracity of government lawyers and agents. The rest of the country isn’t paying much attention to this story… heck, Illinois isn't paying much attention to this story, but they should as it figures to be a good one.
  • The recount for Detroit Mayor has suddenly gotten interesting as eight write-in ballots, appearing to have been filled in by the same person, were found in one precinct. Stay tuned…

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Caucus This!

Are the Democrats about to mess with tradition? Quite possibly as they play with the idea of adding additional primaries to the mix of Iowa and New Hampshire (New Ioshire? Hampowa?)

This past Saturday, a group of Democrats recommended that New Hampshire push its historic primary behind one or two states with more diverse populations, thus losing its treasured status as part of a presidential soothsayer.

Under the new plan, the party would add one or two caucuses after the Iowa Caucus but before the New Hampshire Primary. The proposal, which would need approval from the Democratic National Committee (new slogan: bruised and battered, but still have a better approval rating than you-know-who) would also add another primary or 2 after New Hampshire.

(First, let me explain what a caucus is. A caucus can be defined as a meeting of supporters or members of a political party or political movement. In the U.S. especially, it’s a meeting of local members of a political party or subgroup whose goal is to nominate candidates or plan policy. A Primary is one of the first steps in the process of electing someone to higher office. Simplistic definition? Yes. But, in all honesty, the process is fairly simplistic also.Essentially, a caucus sees voters attending lengthy meetings at set locations whereas primaries are more like general elections with a much broader voting population casting ballots. Voters of New Hampshire tend to downplay the Iowa caucus and overstate the importance and the impact of their primary. In fact, in 1988, then NH Gov John Sununu (remember him? He was a crony for the first President Bush) stated: “The people of Iowa pick corn, the people of New Hampshire pick presidents.” It’s statements such as that that shows itself as one reason why I would choose to have other primaries… New Hampshire residents take their place in line a little to seriously and tend to have oversized egos)

What’s the primary (pun intended) driving force behind the push?

As usual Liberal Guilt (someone in this country has to have some feelings of guilt… the Republicans sure as hell won’t/don’t), but also a feeling of need to change the system in order to get a better overall snapshot of the country, rather than use the predominantly white-populated states of Iowa and New Hampshire. (Besides, as I mentioned above, who isn’t sick of New Hampshire’s mightier-than-thou persona when it comes to the presidential primaries).

While the new states have not been named, the panel has already suggested that they would have to be ethnically diverse and from different areas of the country. States like South Carolina, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico or Nevada could be in the running.

Naturally, New Hampshire has vowed to fight the proposal and is going to try and rally support among grass-roots Democrats and potential presidential candidates (though many think their changes to disrupt the proposal would be a tough sell) Additionally, since 1977, New Hampshire law has stated that its primary is to be the first in the nation (how egotistical can you get?) As a result, the state has had to move its primary, originally in March, earlier in the year to remain the first.

2004 vice presidential candidate (and possible 2008 presidential candidate) John Edwards had a guarded reaction to the proposal. Admitting that there needs to be diversity in the nominating calendar, he stated that it is also vital “for Iowa and New Hampshire to maintain their status because, having lived through them, I know the importance of grass-roots campaigning that occurs in both places.”

For more than three decades, presidential hopefuls have traversed the state fairs, picnics and gatherings of party faithful in both states — a ritual that almost seems to be ingrained into the American political landscape and system.

New Hampshire's secretary of state, William Gardner, stated that the state would eventually consider whether or not they have to move up the state's primary in order to comply with the aforementioned New Hampshire state law.

The recommendation now has to go to the rules panel of the Democratic National Committee, which will hammer out the details of the plan before it gets passed on for vote by the full DNC at its April meeting in New Orleans.

Stay tuned…

Monday, December 12, 2005

Poll Position

It’s Monday and that means it’s time for… (Where’s some fanfare when you need it?)… a new poll.

With the unveiling of the new poll comes the recap of the previous weeks poll.

Last week’s question was “Do you agree with the 9/11 commission report that the U.S .is not 'well-prepared' for preventing another terrorism attack?”

The results were decidedly one-sided with an incredible 69% of you believing that the country is NOT well-prepared and will suffer another 9/11-type attack. Those results don’t surprise us at all.

28% of you said you are unsure if the country is well-prepared and would like to hear more about the report. Well, you can do that HERE.

While Scott and I aren’t surprised by the 69% and the 28%, we are alarmed by the other result, but we’ll get to that percentage momentarily, first Scott and I want to talk about the aforementioned option, that you disagree and think that the country is very well prepared.

3% of you believe that…

Scott and I want to know one thing… what the hell you are smoking… and where is our share?

Now, there is always the possibility that someone answered that option as a joke or as a way to skew the results… but what we’re scared about is that someone out there may actually think that the country is better prepared than we were 4 years ago. If you believe that, I strongly advise that you go out, buy a copy of the 9/11 Commission Report (or click HERE), open your mind, read it… and try to justify your reasoning.

Having spouted off about that, I now want to thank all of you that took the time to vote and urge you to vote in this week’s poll. The question this week is:

“Do you agree or disagree with the Democrat's plan to alter the primaryprocess by adding more primaries and diminishing the impact of New Hampshire?”

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The week in wait, it's The Weekly Rewind !

Alright folks, it’s once again that time. Yes, you know it, you love it….it’s the weekly rewind.

We are two weeks away from Christmas with shopping to do, so this week may be a little more brief than usual. But, not to disappoint any of our dedicated readers, without further ado we present ….The Weekly Rewind…

APPLAUD: to Eugene McCarthy for changing the politics were done in this country.

HECKLE: to another "We can and will win in Iraq" speech from Clueless George (or as kemp likes to call him, 'Commander Cuckoo-Bananas') this past week. Give it a rest Dubya, we ain't buying it.

HECKLE: to the short-sightedness of the U.S. Navy. In an interesting article by Robert Novak (wow, who would have ever thought you would hear us say that!) there is a quiet debate among the armed services, specifically the Navy and the Marines, regarding the last 2 battleships in the Navy. Independent of the Novak article, it is known that the Navy wants to turn the Iowa and Wisconsin into museums, currently they are berthed but remain listed in Reserve and could be recommissioned in less than a year. The Navy wants to remove the 'Reserve' requirement and for firepower they are instead anticipating a new (10 years in the future) destroyer to takeover the main fire support function. The Marines of the other hand are eager to keep the battleships available. They cite the firepower of these behemoths and the capability of hitting land based targets in supporting Marines as recently as the Gulf War. The Marines also state that the anticipated destroyers will not have the same capabilities as the battleships they will be replacing. (The cost of keeping these ships in Reserve readiness status is about $250,000 a year, hmmm...I think Tom DeLay might know a few ways to come up with that paultry sum.)

APPLAUD: to Bill Clinton. The former President was invited to speak at the U.N. Climate Conference in Montreal. He was invited by the City of Montreal. This was obviously a surprise to the Bush Administration representatives at the conference who were said to be ‘displeased’ by the last minute surprise speech. In his speech to (a majority of) conference delegates, Mr. Clinton stated that George W. Bush was “flat wrong” in his arguments that the Kyoto Protocol would harm the U.S. economy. (The only damage would be that it might take a little of the obscene level of profits out of some companies pockets. I remember when creditors were still making money with a much higher ‘prime‘ rate and charging their customers 18% and 20% rates on credit….hmmm aren’t they paying a much lower prime rate and still charging customers the same high interest rates on credit? Where does the extra money go?? Profit margins!!..)

HECKLE: to George W. Bush. Normally on principles alone, however this week we can add an additional reason. His administrations representatives to the U.N. Climate Conference were the only ‘hold-outs’ standing alone against renewed talks on new ways to curb/combat global climate change. Even as other countries were exploring how to extend the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012.

APPLAUD: to Patrick Fitzgerald. The special prosecutor was once again presenting information to a grand jury. The continuing investigation is said to be focusing on Senior White House advisor Karl Rove. It is already known that Rove failed for months to tell investigators that he had provided information about Valerie Plume to Matt Cooper, a reporter for Time magazine, back in July 2003. The only reason that Rove did finally admit to having the conversation is that Mat Cooper was subpoenaed to testify about their discussions.

HECKLE: to Senator Joseph Lieberman. You seem like a nice enough guy, but shut-up, would you please ?!

APPLAUD: to Democratic Senators for calling on SCOTUS nominee Samuel Alito to answer additional questions and requesting additional papers to be submitted prior to the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings. An APPLAUD also must go out to Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa) . The Senator stated that the committee will demand that Judge Alito answer more questions than did now, Chief Justice John Roberts.

HECKLE: to the Bush Administration (what a surprise) for reporting that the jobs report shows a strong/strengthening economy. Anyone who looked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers saw that while the unemployment percentage may have stayed the same between October and November, the actual reported number of persons that were unemployed actually increased during the same period. (what song is that coming from the White House press office….’You spin me right round baby, right round like a record baby…” )

APPLAUD: to the 9/11 Panel. This bi-partisan panel sidestepped partisan politics and issued a report stating that the Bush Administration has not done enough to protect the country against another possible terror attack similar to the attacks of 9/11/2001. (If my son came home with a report card that had similar grades, we would be having a serious discussion on a loss of privileges and how the grades would be improved in a very short period of time !)

HECKLE: to Bill O‘Reilly. We can‘t help but laugh at this guy for trying to turn a small issue into a big one. We are speaking of course about the so-called debate over ‘Merry Christmas’ vs. ‘Happy Holidays’. We guess that he must not have enough real issues to report on.

APPLAUD: to Senior District Judge Pat Priest. On Monday, Judge Priest let stand the felony indictment of Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tx) on charges of money laundering in connection with the 2002 Texas elections.

HECKLE: to Doughnut Holes. (mmm.....doughnuts....) Specifically the huge ‘doughnut-hole’ in the pending Medicare Prescription Drug Plan(s). I have worked in the Insurance industry for over 15 years and have read through even more information on the available plans and I am still confused. I still don’t understand how the elderly are going to make heads or tails of this. The only thing I do know is that no matter which plan someone chooses, their overall out-of-pocket costs (premium, deductible and co-insurance) will basically total to the same amount. (Nice..isn't that the American way, in 'Bush's America'.....let's screw the little guy...)

Well, that's it for this week. Notice more of a balance this week in the Applaud's vs. Heckle's? It's not that I couldn't come up with a lot more Heckle's, but it the holiday season and I am feeling generous.

Be good, stay informed....later.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

December 8, 1980

As soon as your born they make you feel small
By giving you no time instead of it all
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool
Till you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

When they've tortured and scared you for twenty odd years
Then they expect you to pick a career
When you can't really function you're so full of fear
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you're so clever and classless and free
But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

There's room at the top they are telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

If you want to be a hero well just follow me
If you want to be a hero well just follow me

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A date which will live in Infamy !

"Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya. Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong. Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam. Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands. Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island. This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounded determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December seventh, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire."

- President Franklin D. Roosevelt's address to Congress, December 8, 1941

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

'Ho-ho---' on second thought, 'bah humbug!'

The (crass) commercialization of Christmas continues…and now it turns out… religious conservatives are all for it.

The American Family Association (slogan: helping keep American families together… as long as no one is gay, lesbian, liberal or has had an abortion) started a boycott of Target for not using the words "Merry Christmas" in its advertising.

The Catholic League (slogan: we keep higher standards, except for pedophilic priests) boycotted Wal-Mart (let’s be honest… who HASN’T boycotted Wal-Mart before) in part over the way its Web site treated searches for “Christmas.” Huh?

Fox News tool Bill “wanna see my microphone” O'Reilly, whom started a “Christmas Under Siege” (see the movie, starring Steven Seagal as Bill O’Reilly, this winter) campaign last year, has a chart on his Web site of stores that use the phrase “Happy Holidays.” The site also has a poll that asks, “Will you shop at stores that do not say ‘Merry Christmas’?”

The campaign is being hyped on Fox and conservative talk radio as a battle to rescues the “true” meaning of Christmas.

Christmas remains omnipresent.

There is also something pigheaded about wasting so much energy on stores that use the word ‘Holiday’ rather than ‘Christmas’ when, around the world, Christians are being persecuted and/or jailed for discussing the Bible (as is the case in Saudi Arabia) or downright slaughtered (like in Sudan). Don’t you think the Christian right should be fighting and arguing for these people rather than the fact that Wal-Mart of Target are using the “proper” wording in their Holiday, oops sorry, Christmas campaigns? (Proper words? Have we suddenly become China?)

These self-proclaimed Christmas defenders (that has TV series written all over it, doesn’t it? '“Christmas Defenders” starring Gerald McRaney and Della Reese, this spring on NBC') are rewriting history as well, claiming that the “traditional” American Christmas is under attack by “professional atheists” and “Christian haters”, at least according to another Fox News boob, John Gibson. But what exactly is a ‘traditional American Christmas’?

America has a convoluted history with Christmas at best as we as a country have taken bits and pieces of other countries’ Christmas traditions over the years. Not all the Christmas traditions that the Christian Right is defending are religious-related… or if they are, they are not all ‘Christian’-related.

What the boycotters (isn’t that what Michael Jackson was accused of?) are doing is not defending America's Christmas traditions, but rather creating a version of the holiday that fits a certain political agenda that, miraculously (can you sense the sarcasm?), is linked to Conservatives and Republicans. They aren’t just tolerating commercialization - they're downright demanding it.

Further investigation also shows that this group is rewriting Christmas history on another key point: non-Christians' objection to having the holiday forced on them. The religious right is insisting this is a new phenomenon - a “liberal plot,” as Mr. Gibson put it. (whoa… wait a minute, Republicans rewriting history to accommodate their own views… they wouldn’t do that, would they? That would be unscrupulous)

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 but rather one created by the powers that be.

Does the religious right and other conservatives really think that people are going to forget Christmas? Or forget what the origins of Christmas are? Or forget what (in some religions) the true meaning of Christmas is??

To that I say to them; "Get a f****** clue." Christmas has been around for over 2000 years and, despite attempts by others (Hitler, Lenin, etc) has never disappeared, never lessened, and has never been forgotten. The only thing that can truly harm the meaning of Christmas is the crass commercialization and overdramatizing by certain individuals and/or groups. You know what, to get a good understanding of what the Christmas holiday means, try watching this Holiday Special on ABC tonight.

And here’s another thought: no one should be forced to say ‘Christmas’ rather than ‘Holiday’, likewise, no one should be forced to say ‘Holiday’ rather than ‘Christmas’. If one wants to say ‘Chriskwanzakkah’ they should be able to, if one wants to say Happy Kwanchristakkah, they should be able to… last time I checked (though that could change in the blink of an eye with Commander Cuckoo-Bananas in charge) we were living in the United States of America where one has the freedom to speak freely with no risk of retaliation, submission, or attack.

I guess that’s changing…

Monday, December 05, 2005

Poll Position

It’s the beginning of a new week and that means it’s out with the old poll and in with the new…

Last week’s question was regarding Michael Brown (aka: Brownie) and his announcement that he was opening a consulting firm specializing in disaster preparedness. We asked for your thoughts and here are the results.

  • 56% - Who in their right mind would hire this schmuck?
  • 22% - No Surprise; ignoring & rewarding failure is what right-wingers do best.
  • 13% - Only in America
  • 6% - He could do well if he has Snoopy with him…oh, sorry I was thinking of Charlie Brown.
  • 3% - It’s Great! He did a brilliant job at FEMA.

So once again it appears that although sense may not be common, most of you are in agreement and were laughing and shaking your heads with the announcement, and a few of you get our sense of humor that was interjected into the response choices.

As for our own opinion, wee lets just say ‘Brownie’ would probably have better luck starting a psychic hotline with Ms. Cleo.

Hopefully the votes for “It’s Great! He did a brillian job at FEMA” were done as a tongue in cheek attempt at humor. We at TBWA have one hell of a sense of humor. Then again, if you were actually serious, once again Kemp and I are very worried about you and recommend seeking medical (specifically psychiatric) attention for the delusions.

Thanks to all of you who participated in the voting. Why not make it a habit! Take a look at this weeks poll and let us know what you think. Hey why not send us an e-mail at

As always-

Be good, stay informed...Later

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Weekly Rewind

It’s Friday @ TBWA (actually, it’s Friday in most of the Northern Hemisphere, but you know what I mean)… who can tell me what than means??? You, no you, the one with the hat… in Las Vegas… can you tell me what Friday means on TBWA?


It’s time for the weekly rewind of course…

The end of the week after Thanksgiving… Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanza and Boxing Day are all approaching… smart money would be on the fact that things sort of get quiet and start winding down for the remainder of 2005. But this year, in the words of Homer Simpson: “Anything’s possible with Commander Cuckoo-Bananas in charge.”

So sit back, turn on a little Sinatra, (how does Mrs. Sinatra feel about that? [rimshot]) and take it all in…

Applaud: to me for finding this quote from Adlai Stevenson online last night: “If the Republicans will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.” Even bigger applaud to Mr. Stevenson for saying it all those years ago.

Heckle: to ‘old’ wars becoming ‘new’ news. According to government documents that were recently declassified, U.S. intelligence officials distorted evidence of an attack on two U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964 in order to support claims of communist aggression. This directly led to a massive escalation of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

Applaud: to the good news of job growth in the count— wait a minute… son of a—. It turns out the Bush‘Whacked’ Administration is spinning the results. Well then, we have to call this one a HECKLE, don’t we?

Heckle: to the Pentagon and the Lincoln Group for their 'paid' articles in the Iraqi press. It seems the U.S. military paid money to Iraqi press outlets (all you broadcasting and journalism students out there – of which I was for about 1 semester – don’t aim for network news or newspapers in the states… aim for “Iraqi Action News”,“Good Morning Falujah” or “The Baghdad Sun-Times” – that’s where the REAL money is)

Applaud: to the news that Representative “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA) resigned from office after admitting he broke the law by (and I know this will be hard to believe about a Republican) taking bribes… I am shocked and appalled.

Heckle: to Bill O’Reilly. Does anyone really need a specific reason to heckle this little SOB? I didn’t think so.

Heckle: to Bill O’Reilly part 2. He released his “enemies” list this past week… had 3 names on it…. Wow, that must have strained his colossal creativity.

Applaud: to President Bush… (I know, I know, it goes against EVERYTHING this site stands for) for signing into law Thursday a bill directing that a statue of Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks be erected in the Capital’s Statuary Hall.

Heckle: to this website linked HERE. I don’t even know where to begin…

Applaud: to the state of Texas (I know, it even looks weird as I write it) for calling “Commander Cuckoo-Bananas” in for Jury Duty. But…

Heckle: to the White House, who said that the President wouldn’t serve on jury duty on Monday as scheduled because he has “other commitments.” (Unlike the millions of other U.S. citizens who are called for jury duty on a daily basis… they don’t have any commitments in their life. I know he’s the “President”, but if he can take off as much vacation time as he does, then he can serve on jury duty when he’s originally scheduled)

Applaud: to Arlen Specter (R-PA), who has decided to not move forward with his call for investigation into the NFL’s handling of the Terrell Owens’ suspension. Seems like he either gained intelligence (unlikely) or someone smacked him upside the head with a 2 x 4 and told him he’s being an idiot (more likely)

Heckle: to the White House, which on Thursday called those Democrats who said that the President lacked a clear strategy for victory in Iraq as being "deeply irresponsible". (Let's see, we have been there since 2003, have lost over 2,000 troops, and in the President's speech on Wednesday he admitted mistakes, and outlined goals....hmmm, nope didn't hear a clear strategy for victory in Iraq.... so I guess that would make us at TBWA irresponsible as well )

Heckle: to SCOTUS nominee Samuel ‘Sc’Alito. He “assured” Sen. Specter this past week that his personal views on abortion will NOT be a factor in his rulings. (Yeah, like we’re supposed to take his word for it… whatever)

Applaud/Heckle: this has to be counted as both. It’s a ‘Heckle’ for Illinois Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka (who would lose in a Beauty Contest against Rep. Jean Schmidt of Ohio – if you can believe that) officially announced she is seeking the Republican nomination for Illinois Governor, saying she is the only one capable to “take out” Democratic incumbent Rod Blagojevich. It’s an ‘Applaud’ because she is known as the person who single-handedly killed the GOP in Illinois (remember Alan Keyes’ IL senate run…heh heh heh, I do) and is thus a VERY polarizing figure in the party.

And one final item to mention (though we at TBWA aren’t sure if it should be an applaud or a heckle, so make that decision on your own): check out these new action sets from Playmobil. They include: airport security checkpoint, getaway car, safe crackers set, and construction workers with porta-potty…imagine the possibilities.

They seem to be evening out a little… cause for optimism? One can only hope.

That’s it for this week’s rewind… ‘Remember, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars’… no wait, sorry, that’s Casey Kasem’s sign-off.

How about, ‘good night and good luck’… no, that’s Edward R. Murrow

Uh, ‘Goodnight America, wherever you are’… no, that’s Midnight Caller’s… ah, now I remember:

Only time will tell…

The Other Side of the Shiny New Jobs Coin....

Ok, Bush is running around talking about how strong the economy is cause there were over 200,000 job created.....

However the unemployment rate stayed the same.....You know it occured to me that you never hear the corresponding number about how many jobs were lost/disolved, etc. in order to put the new ones in persepctive. How many people are just going along like 'lemmings' (thank you Kemp) thinking that everything is looking great cause they only hear what the admin tells them..??

According to the charts on the above linked site (run by the U.S. govmt itself), the number of persons unemployed grew by 149,000 in November as compared to October..... and the number of persons employed dropped by 52,000.......

Here's a wild idea, how about statistics not only talking about the number of jobs created, but also the number of jobs lost and the actual number difference of those people working or not working compared to the prior month. ??

Once again it's look at the shiny object in the right hand and pay no attention to the crap in my left....

Or am I just making this too simple..?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The lemmings continue to run over the cliff...

How is it they still support him? How is it they haven’t turned his back on him?

Because they’re mindless, conservative drones who, rather than use their own minds to make decisions, act like lemmings going over a cliff... but I digress.

More than 100 supporters gathered at a suburban Houston hotel to express their support for DeLay, who stepped down as House Majority in September.

Besieged former House majority leader Tom criticized Democratic leaders and told supporters at a Monday rally to not lose faith in him as he faces charges of campaign finance violations.

‘Well, why did he step down, Kemp?’

He was indicted in a campaign finance case by a Travis County, TX grand jury, that’s why.

DeLay, along with two Republican fund-raisers, is accused of illegally funneling $190,000 in corporate donations to GOP candidates for the Texas State Legislature (It should be noted by the way that the direct use of corporate money for political purposes is illegal in Texas)

Coincidentally, all three men deny the charges.

DeLay was working the room as he stated to the supporters: “I'm very proud of my relationship with you. I'm very proud of my record. They (the Democrats) won't win by criminalizing politics or by the politics of personal destruction because we'll fight them every step of the way.” (Pot calling the kettle black isn’t it? Saying the Dems are criminalizing politics and using politics of personal destruction? I’m sorry… that approach must be above republican’s conscience, right? Wait a minute… do Republicans even have a conscience? I find that VERY hard to believe…)

As the supporters got down on their knees, ignored their consciences and kissed his ass, a group of about 15 protesters picketed the event outside the hotel.

Some of the protestors held up signs reading “Save America Without DeLay!” and “DeLay Responds to Cash Not Constituents”

While the protesting was going on outside, inside, all in attendance were praising the Devil’s cabana boy as being the best politician ever…

Glenn Goerke, a former University of Houston president who indicated he usually supports Democratic candidates (how many of you reading this actually believes that? I don’t, it’s something I could easily see a conservative say to a journalist to give the appearance that DeLay is bi-partisan and loved by liberals… but that’s just me) stated “Tom (gotta love the use of the first name… anything to make their man seem more approachable and less of a schmuck) I have always admired you because you do care. (What is this person smoking? Sure, DeLay cares… as long as you A: have money. B: are not a part of any minority group, and C: have the ethics of a two-toed tree sloth) When we needed help, we knew we'd get your help. That's the kind of leadership we want in Congress.” (Ok, then why are you supporting DeLay? I mean, if that’s what you want, then we need to get rid of Bush… and Cheney… and Rove… and DeLay… and, well you get the picture)

Supporters at the event declared their belief that DeLay will not be convicted and see this indictment as nothing more than some sort of revenge act by the Democrats for Bush winning re-election. (With each passing day, that is becoming more and more of a reality without any help from liberals or democrats…the GOP is doing it all on its own…)

During his short speech, DeLay criticized Democratic leaders by saying they have no agenda and do not want to make the country safe by fighting terrorism in Iraq. (Once again, I am not against the war… but let’s call a spade a spade and acknowledge the fact that the war in Iraq has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE WAR ON TERROR!!!!!!!!!!! I’m okay now… just had to get that off my chest…)

DeLay continued by saying “This isn't about me. It's about this community, it's about this state, it's about this nation that we're all fighting for.”

Sure it is Tom… sure it is… whatever gets you through the night.

DeLay’s likely opponent in his 2006 re-election bid, former Democratic U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson, said that the rally on Monday was just another failed attempt to show he still has voter support.

Lampson saw it differently, saying “Tom DeLay is losing support here by the day. The crowd is booing, the hook is out and Tom DeLay is trying to shuffle his way out of trouble just like Bugs Bunny in one of those old cartoons.”

Wonderfully put Mr. Lampson, well done.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Daily Ponderance

Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) thinks the NFL is treatingTerrell Owens unfairly and that the league's actions may constitute restraint of trade. Seems to me that there are several million people in this nation who need the U.S. government to speak out on their behalf, and Terrell Owens is NOT one of them. But, seeing as how Specter is a Republican and Owens is a millionaire, it all makes perfect sense... the GOP is always looking out for the best interests of millionaires while turning their backs on everyone else.

Is it just me, or should Specter be concentrating on more important things... like the confirmation hearing of 'Sc'Alito and the falling-apart of his own party?


Narrowmindedness is alive, but not so well...

If high school is a place for learning some of life’s lessons that will stick with you for years and years, then the students of Tennessee’s Oak Ridge High School are getting a civics lesson in spades.

School administrators last week seized copies of the student newspaper….all 1,800 copies. The issue, two articles, one of which talked about the success rates for various birth control methods to avoid teen pregnancy. The second article was about student tattoos and body piercings.

The school has said that they will reprint the newspaper minus the story on birth control and with an edited tattoo story. At a Monday night meeting of the school board, the large attendance included students who wore tape with the word “censored” across their mouths, as well as shirts printed with the statement “Ignorance isn’t bliss.”

The article on birth control said that contraceptives were available to students from doctors and the local health department. School Superintendent, Tom Bailey, said that the article would need to edited so that it was acceptable for the entire student population. The author, Krystal Meyers, stated that her article was meant to inform students of their right to obtain birth control without parental permission. She further stated that “A lot of kids don’t know that it is their right.”

One parent, Jackie Moreno, stated that parents should be the ones to give their children information about sex. Another parent, Joseph Oswald, said that the “article talks about subverting parental authority”.

(News flash for Ms. Moreno: GET TO IT. If parents were doing their job then articles like the one in question would not be needed… And as for Mr. Oswald, hate to tell you but you‘re kids are going to do the ‘things that kids do‘ and it has nothing to do with subverting authority, and if you are referring to the fact that your kids can get birth control without needing your permission, I think you need to take that up with the state government, so zip it…)

Many of the students as well as some parents are obviously upset with the school’s action and are talking with attorneys about next steps. Being that a school board is an elected body and therefore a part of the local government, the action of seizure raises some very touchy issues. David Stuart, a local attorney who met with a group of students on Monday evening said, “It’s not a small thing for a government to confiscate a newspaper.” The ACLU and the Student Press Law Center are also talking with students concerning legal representation.

The article on birth control said that contraceptives were available to students from doctors and the local health department. School Superintendent, Tom Bailey, said that the article would need to edited so that it was acceptable for the entire student population. He also said that many of the students are only 14 and that language in the article was inappropriate. Ms. Meyers responded that she used medical terminology in her article to keep it informative and professional.

The schools principle, Becky Ervin, also advised that she wanted the tattoo story changed because four of the students pictured in the article are underage for tattoos or body piercings. One of the students pictured had not told her parents about having gotten a tattoo.

Ok, give me a break. A state where you can get contraceptives at age 14 but you cannot get a tattoo? I would rather have my son go and pick up some contraceptives after getting a tattoo (both of which come packaged and sterilized) then have him sneak behind my back and get a tattoo after telling me that his girlfriend is pregnant because he could not obtain any contraception.

But I digress, there are many issues here, freedom of the press, freedom of speech and right to privacy to name a few. Not to mention that Oak Ridge Tennessee, just like a lot of other towns, is evidently full of narrow minded people who still believe that if you do not talk to their kids about sex and preventing pregnancy that kids will never think of sex on their own.


According to studies, approximately 25% of 15 year olds have had sexual intercourse, and by age 17 more than 50% have had intercourse, and I am sure that most of those teens parents didn’t talk to them about sex. Also of note is that at these same ages the number of teens who have had oral sex is even higher than those who have had intercourse.

Wake up folks, as the students of Oak Ridge High School stated, “Ignorance isn’t bliss”, and message to the school board: Big mistake guys and gals, censorship is a serious issue with legal repercussions even when it involves a student newspaper. Next time think before you act, then think again....

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A Guest Post about Pensions & Unions

We at TBWA are proud to present our first-ever guest poster. Please give a BWA welcome to Chris, a final-year law student in Chicago.

She’s liberal, she’s pro-union, and she’s gonna be a lawyer… you can already hear conservatives quaking in their tasseled-shoes can't ya?

Read her post, comment on her post, and vote in our poll… it’s a moral imperative.

And now… here’s the post:

Someday the pension you save may be your own.

Bush and his cronies may view with suspicion, or outright contempt: Democrats, liberals of all colors, Europe, women, minorities, the poor, the middle-class, lawyers, judges, grammarians, the United States Congress, and the parts of the Constitution that aren't the Second Amendment… but what do they hate most of all?


Unionized workers are a close second. So what are the Republicans in Congress going to do about it?

Crush them slowly (or quickly if no one pays attention)

You ask yourself, what have these insidious unions done now? They negotiated fair pension deals for decades. (The nerve)

Well, the Republicans aren't going to stand for this sort of chicanery. Read on:

The Senate passed a new pension bill (S. 1783) on Thursday, November 16.

The House is scheduled to take up its pension bill (H.R. 2830) on December 7th or 8th.

If the House passes its bill, there will then have to be a House-Senate conference to iron out differences between the two pension bills. The House pension bill (H.R. 2830) has two major problems:

It would freeze pension credits and benefits in many pension plans negotiated by unions.
Second, it would outlaw plant shutdown pension benefits that have been negotiated by unions.

If pension credits were frozen, this would mean that nobody could earn any more credited service, no matter how much longer they worked.

For example, a worker with 15, 20 or 29 years of service would be frozen at those levels. They would not earn any more pension credits for future years of work, it would also mean their pensions would not grow as they continue to work. It also indicates they might never become eligible for certain types of pension benefits; I.E. they would never qualify for a 30-and-out pension.

If pension benefits are frozen, this would mean that benefit levels could never be improved. Thus, the benefit levels for active workers could never be adjusted to keep pace with the growth in wages. And benefit levels for retirees could never be adjusted to reflect inflation.

The sponsors of the House pension bill claim these limits on pension credits and benefits only apply to poorly funded pension plans. Is this true?


Because of a phony “credit balance” subtraction requirement, the House pension bill would also limit pension credits and benefits in plans that are well funded, including the GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler pension plans…

Okay, okay. I'll stop there. The main point is this: they want to freeze the pension plans. Under ERISA (the Federal law that governs pension plans like this) ceasing a pension plan will be much easier if it's frozen for a time. Why should you care if you work/don't work for an auto company, or you're not a member of a union? Why care if you don't have a pension plan at all?
First off, because you have a heart and you don't want to see people who've been working hard, dangerous, demanding jobs thrown to the wolves. Not that altruistic? How about the economic repercussions in your community of hundreds of thousands of people who suddenly find themselves with inadequate income and health insurance?

The proponents will tell you this is just a "technical rule" designed to improve the system.

(I'm only a student, but I can tell you this: The bulk of the law is "technical rules". Corporate tax rates go down? That's just a "technical rule" change that involves changing two numbers in a huge law. Letting the FBI access your computer files? Change the "probable cause" to "discretion" and it's done. Constitutional protections like the 4th Amendment are often referred to as "technicalities" when they prevent people from being railroaded.)

Tell your Congressman that you would prefer they not "fix" the problem of workers having fair pensions that they bargained for in good faith, then worked to earn.

Well, if these bills pass, it'll be a good thing the White House hasn't done something crazy like try to privatize Social Sec—….oh, wait...

Well, it's at least a good thing they've made sure everyone has good health ins—…. Hmm...

Okay, okay…at least they haven't cut back on aid to senior cit—…

Wait, I've got it. At least the next generation will be in good shape because of good school fund—… crud

- written by Chris

Monday, November 28, 2005

Poll Position

It’s Monday, so that must mean it’s time for a new poll… and also time to let loose of last week’s results…

This past week’s question was – “Do you believe that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will ask for indictments against other members of the Bush Administration?

  • 40% said that you hope there are more indictments and would hate to think that Libby was the only one (come on, we all know you can’t stop at one)
  • 32% of you think Scooter was the first of many more (Scooter needs a cell-mate doesn’t he?)
  • 16% of respondents don’t give a rat’s behind (good to see you’re taking an interest in politics)
  • 8% thinks there will be no more indictments (Why do you have to burst our bubble like that?)
  • 4% of you answered with a question of ‘what indictment?’ (Seriously, put the X-Box controller down and open a newspaper…)

It’s been a few weeks since the new Grand Jury was impaneled, and nothing has been leaked, much less announced… so it is entirely possible that the indictments are done and now Fitz is just wasting time like Kenneth Starr did. Or, Mr. Fitzgerald could be waiting for a more opportune time to make the announcement… but everything said here is just conjecture because, as I’ve said on this site many, many times…

… only time will tell.

Be sure to check out and vote in this week’s poll up top. This week, the question is “What do you think of Michael Brown’s announcement that he is starting-up a disaster-preparedness consulting firm?"

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Weekly Rewind

Well it's the end of the week and you all know what that means, right? Yep, it's time for a look back at the happenings of the past week, it's a little thing we like to call 'The Weekly Rewind'.

(It's a holiday weekend and since I am recovering from a couple of days of sleep inducing turkey meals this may be a little more subdued than usual...)

HECKLE: to former FEMA chief Michael Brown. Announced he is starting his own disaster preparedness consulting firm. Why? According to him, officials need to "take inventory" of what's going on in a disaster so they can answer questions and avoid appearing unaware of how serious a situation is... insert your own smart-ass comment here.

APPLAUD: to Asian doors. Anything that can make the leader of the free world look like a schmuck, has to be applauded doesn't it?

HECKLE: to “President” Bush. As always, on general principles alone.

APPLAUD: to a nice guy. Pat (Mr. Miyagi) Morita who gave us the phrase “Wax on, Wax off” who died this week at the age of 73.

HECKLE: to Pat Robertson. For being a constant putz. Can someone tell this guy to just shut-up already?

HECKLE: to FEMA. After previously announcing that they would be ending the hotel housing program for hurricane victims at the beginning of December, the agency, under much public outcry has extended the deadline until January 7th. So why not an Applaud for the extension? Because while the extension is a temporary reprieve for thousands of families, the agency is still not addressing the housing needs of those who will be without a place to live after January 7th.

HECKLE: to new taxes. Hybrid vehicles not only save their owners money with increased gas mileage, but are costing states money as less fuel purchased equals less fuel taxes being collected. As a result many states are looking at adopting ‘road use’ taxes, or tolls, as a way to make up the difference. One way of tracking miles is equipping vehicles with a GPS type of device that would then report not only distances traveled but also times of travel. Does anyone else think big brother?

HECKLE: to Tom DeLay. In court earlier this week defense attorneys asked for charges against Delay to be dropped on technicalities. They also asked for a change of venue as they claim they cannot get a fair trial in the liberal-leaning city of Austin. (You know Tom, if you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear….)

APPLAUD: to prudent thought. Senior Judge Pat Priest advised attorneys in the DeLay case that he would need at least two weeks to seriously consider the motions by both sides before rendering a decision on dropping charges or changing venue.

HECKLE: to U.S. Retailers. After all the hoopla surrounding ‘Black Friday’ including deeper discounts and earlier openings than previous years, sales came in 0.9 lower than last year. Next year give us all a break, let your employees sleep in, people will still be stupid enough to line up at 9 a.m. (Except me, I didn’t shop this year on Black Friday and I don’t plan to start next year either…)

HECKLE: to jumping on the bandwagon. Under political pressure to change the administrations stand on Iraq, the President, in his weekly radio address paid tribute to the more tan 2,100 U.S. Troops who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Note to the President- Thanks for joining the rest of us.

HECKLE: to Senator Joseph Lieberman for stating the obvious. On his fourth trip to Iraq, the senator commented that failure in Iraq would be “catastrophic” for the U.S. and the entire Middle East, and that the U.S. should not immediately withdraw from Iraq.

APPLAUD: to Senator Barack Obama. The junior Senator from Illinois this week called on the President to admit mistakes in the plan to go to war in Iraq. The Senator stated that while U.S. troops in Iraq should be reduced, the troops are necessary and would remain “part of a solution” in the war torn country for the near future.

HECKLE: to Tom DeLay part 2. A continuing investigation of the dealings of Jack Abramoff by the Justice Department has turned up the names of at least half a dozen members of Congress. More specifically the wives and aides of some of these lawmakers. Whose name is among the half-dozen….yep, our old friend Tom DeLay. When it rains it pours…..

APPLAUD/HECKLE: to the Congress. APPLAUD: In it’s massive budget cutting bill, the House has included a major restructuring of the nation’s welfare system. It would require those receiving assistance to increase the number of hours worked, hours receiving training and hours performing community service for the poor. Let’s face it, you shouldn’t get something for nothing. However (here is where the HECKLE comes in) these same changes do not increase assistance with child care. If you are going to require people to put in more hours away from the home where are they going to find the money to pay for more child care?

HECKLE: to putting both feet in your mouth. Freshman Representative Jean Schmidt (R-Oh) tossed the word ’Coward’ at Congressman John P. Murtha (D-Pa) for previously suggesting that the U.S. should immediately withdraw our troops from Iraq. Oh yeah, she used this word while on the House floor. In her defense she stated that she was passing on the words of a conversation she had with Colonel Danny Bubp, who is himself a GOP state legislator. (Col. Bubp stated that he had said no such thing.) Within minutes of her statement she chose to have her comments stricken from the official record. Maybe next time she wants to say something stupid she will think about it and chose not to say anything.

Ok, as if it was a total surprise, once again we notice more heckles than applauds. Remember, you are still living in George W. Bush's America.

Be good, stay informed.....Later.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Directions: Open mouth, insert foot

What makes someone say something?

Is it a need to be noticed?

Is it a need to get something off their chest because they think it is for the greater good?

Or is it simply to gain points with a few shallow-minded constituents?

For those of you who chose the latter, you’re right.

Of whom am I speaking? Why, Ohio Representative Jean Schmidt of course…

You know who she is, right? She’s the one who uttered… no wait, change that, the one who shouted the word ‘coward’ towards a war veteran, a highly-decorated war veteran at that, last week.

Did I mention she was on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives at the time?


She tossed the word “coward” at Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.). BTW, Murtha suggested in a speech last week that the U.S. should immediately withdraw its troops from Iraq. Murtha, it should be known, is a 31-year House veteran and longtime military hawk. He’s also a retired Marine who valiantly fought in Vietnam and Korea.

Her words from that day: “A few minutes ago, I received a call from Colonel Danny Bubp. He asked me to send Congress a message: Stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message: that cowards cut and run, Marines never do.”

(Bubp is a GOP state legislator and Marine Corps Reserve officer who campaigned for Schmidt in the August special election)

After the declaration that Murtha was a coward, the House chamber exploded into a chorus of boos and catcalls from Democrats and, while witness accounts vary on this, some Republicans. Within minutes of her declaration, Schmidt chose to have her words stricken from the official record and then sent an apology to Murtha.

Last Saturday (the start of a 2-week recess for Congress) she went home to her district where she discovered that tensions were still high and the calm water she had encountered when she left for D.C. had begun churning, with some supporters skulking away as she rushes to explain what she actually meant (I don’t know about you, but I think it is pretty hard to redefine the word ‘coward’… but that’s just me)

News and media outlets were not shying away from ridiculing her as “Saturday Night Live” satirized her (isn’t that what millions of Americans are getting ready to do to turkeys tomorrow?)

The Cincinnati Enquirer, (which, it should be mentioned, endorsed her congressional bid earlier this year) printed that she was “way out of line.” Add to that the fact the “friend” she had claimed to be quoting on the House floor last week declared that he had said no such thing. (Wait a minute… a Republican lied about something… about a conversation? Well, I am shocked… shocked to find gambling in this establishment. Shocked and appalled)

It should also be noted however that Schmidt recalls the Friday phone conversation a tad differently. “I wrote down what he was saying. He did ask me to send a message to Congress, and he also said send a message to ‘that congressman.’ He did not know that congressman's name, but I did. Neither one of us knew he was a Marine.”

Bubp released his own statement that stated: “The comments and concerns I shared with Congresswoman Schmidt were never meant as a personal reference to Mr. Murtha. We never discussed anyone by name and there was no intent to ever disparage the congressman or his distinguished record of service for our nation.”

Seemingly, Schmidt also does not understand what all the fuss is about and even sees herself as a victim, not a villain. (Come on… a Republican refusing to admit they were wrong and also refusing to be held accountable… I don’t believe it… do you?) In a statement released to the press, Schmidt remarked “I am amazed at what a national story this has become. I have been attacked very personally, continuously since Friday evening.”

Schmidt said she had not noticed the numerous references to Murtha's military background in the newspaper, radio and TV accounts of his troop-withdrawal proposal, made Thursday, saying that they are kept pretty busy in Congress. (That’s understandable, right? I mean no one wants their U.S. Representative to be aware of current events, do they? That’s something I constantly press on; get the facts before you speak)

The question then is this; if she had read some of the information that was flying through the cosmos about Murtha, would she still have spouted off? Well, when a reporter asked if she would change anything from her speech if she could, she replied: “I wouldn't have used Congressman Murtha's name.” (Hard to figure out if she learned anything from this little snag, isn’t it?)

Her congressional opponents had labeled her “Mean Jean” for the acidic tongue she possesses and brandished in the August campaign. Though now she is probably hoping that the din from this fracas will have faded by next month when Congress reconvenes.

I certainly hope it doesn’t… it makes for some good theater.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

We at TBWA wish everyone (yes, even Conservatives), a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. See you on Friday...

Kemp & Scott

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Dr. StrangeBush

In the ever-growing Pandora’s box of examples of just how moronic and shortsighted our current President and his crony-led administration is; it was revealed the other day that the Bush administration wanted to bomb the headquarters of Arab-language television channel al-Jazeera, which the Bush administration has frequently accused of being nothing more than a mouthpiece for anti-American sentiments. (You think Judith Miller at the NY Times is nervous about that concept... I would be)

The headquarters are in Qatar.

Qatar is a U.S. ally.

Nice… I mean, with friends like these, who needs enemas…I mean enemies. (Sorry, I was thinking about the high colonic that a good majority of the world’s population wants to give President Bush)

(Ok, hold on, before everyone starts the name calling, which if we deserve at times we gladly accept, let's be clear that while we know that al-Jazeera is used as a conduit for the garbage that spews from Osama and his freakish minions, it is not the purpose of the station, it is a media enterprise. While we wouldn't mind if they would 'shut-up' at many times, overall this comes down to a freedom of the media issue and once you start to censor the media ('Even one from another country' interjects Kemp) out... Also don't overlook that fact again that the headquarters is in the middle of a country that is an ally of the U.S. and has played a huge part in all U.S. miltary operations in the Gulf region.... but I digress, sorry for the interuption folks, Scott)

It turns out that a British civil servant (those British… always so civil…) is being charged under Britain's Official Secrets Act for allegedly leaking a government memo to The Daily Mirror, the memo is being described as a transcript of a conversation between the two leaders from a White House summit on April 16, 2004 (oh to be a fly on the wall for that conversation) In the conversation, the "President" revelaed the plan for 'military action' against the network. The memo even (seems to) suggest that British Prime Minister Tony Blair had to dissuade President Bush from implementing a plan to not only bomb the Qatar headquarters, but also other bureaus of the channel.

Granted, some inside the office of the Prime Minister are being quoted as saying that the alleged threat was “humorous…” But, the newspaper (which is sort of a cross between the New York Times and The National Enquirer - ewwwwww) quoted another source though as saying that “Bush was deadly serious, as was Blair.”

White House spokesman Scott McClellan (who I still think is slowly losing what’s left of his mind) sent an email to the Associated Press stating “We (the White House) are not interested in dignifying something so outlandish and inconceivable with a response.” Blair's office declined comment as well, stating that they never discuss documents that may have been leaked. (Uh, sure they don't...)

What is Al-Jazeera’s reaction to this? Well, they said in a statement that they are investigating the report. (What that exactly means I am not sure… but there ya go… they’re investigating it…)

What the network did say was that if the reports are found to be true, it would “cast serious doubts” on the Bush administration and their explanations of earlier incidents involving al-Jazeera and the U.S. military.

This is in reference to the fact that, in the last few years, U.S. bombs or missiles have hit offices of al-Jazeera in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

In April 2003, an Al-Jazeera journalist was killed when its Baghdad office was struck during a U.S. bombing campaign. A State Department spokesman said the strike was a mistake.

In November 2002, Al-Jazeera's office in Kabul, Afghanistan, was destroyed by a U.S. missile. No one was in the office at the time and U.S. officials maintained that they thought the target was a terrorist site and did not know it was al-Jazeera's office.

So there you go, both times the U.S. military stated that they were not intentionally targeted...

In related news (and by related I mean it contains info on the al-Jazeera network & absolutlety nothing about the subject at hand) the network has announced plans to begin airing an English-language version of its channel sometime in early 2006. The channel hired former U.S. Marine Captain Josh Rushing, who was a coalition spokesman during the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He than resigned and became a critic of the war itself and the coverage the war got from the U.S. media.

What will come of this little tidbit? Probably not much as I am sure one of two things will happen. It will be proven that it’s not true, or the Bush Administration will do what it always done when there is danger lurking in the shadows… create another controversy that will make everyone forget about this one…

Monday, November 21, 2005

Poll time, Poll time....

Ok everyone, it’s Monday which means it’s time for a new poll question. Since no one has submitted a question it’s once again our choice, and we are asking your thoughts on the continuing grand jury investigation surrounding PlameGate.

As for last weeks poll, we asked if you thought that the President would have enough time to snap out of his run of bad luck/setbacks before the end of his term of office (which at the time of this writing is 1,155 days, 9 hours and 25 minutes….)

The responses were:

  • 54%- I hope not, I’m hungry for some ‘lame duck’
  • 32%- No. Two words: Richard Nixon
  • 11%- Yes. Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton came back
  • 3%- What back luck

Ok, overall 86% of you are of the opinion that Bush will essentially be ineffective for the remainder of his time in office. (Assuming that he has been effective up to this point, which is another debatable topic.)

There are 11% who hold out hope that Bush has the charisma and ability of Eisenhower, Reagan and Clinton. Ok those of you who are thinking that need to seriously take another look at the 3 former presidents and then look at our current president and once again tell me that there is any comparison…..nuff said.

As for the remaining 3% of you who are saying’ What bad luck?’, let’s just say Kemp and I are seriously worried about you. Do your families know that you are running around loose?

Also, interestingly enough 1/3 of you feel that Bush will be remembered in the same breath as Richard Nixon. Let’s see, Nixon was known as ‘Tricky Dick’, and now we have ‘Clueless George’.

That’s it….I am calling author credit on the new, official, nationally recognized, universal nickname for this president …. ‘Clueless George’. Spread the word, tell your friends, hang banners from highway overpasses and tall buildings (no I will not post bail if you get caught)..

We just had off year elections a few weeks back where the republicans had some seriously week results, we have republican members of congress now calling on the ‘President’ to come up with a plan for withdrawing from Iraq, and we have the continuing investigation into the events surrounding PlameGate. Things do not look good for the remainder of Bush’s term in office. Nor do they look any better for a ‘positive’ legacy of his time in office. I wonder if ‘Lame Duck’ comes with orange sauce?

Don’t forget to participate in this week’s poll, believe it or not we do listen…

Be good, stay informed…..later

The Week Ahead

On Fridays we at TBWA have ‘The Weekly Rewind.’ So it only makes sense that on Monday’s we have… ‘The Weekly Forward.’

(That sounds incredibly lame doesn’t it? ‘Forward Thinking?’ Nah.

What’s Ahead? I don’t think so…

‘Whacking Day?’ No, that sounds sort of dirty doesn’t it?

I got it: ‘The Week Ahead’— brilliant!)

Here’s ‘The Week Ahead’, a few tasty tidbits that we should keep an eye on during this (hopefully) short workweek:

  • Will “President” Bush be able to keep tempers/opinions over Iraq at bay for the next week? Talk from both parties seems to be taking a toll on his mental well being… if there was such a thing.
  • Will Bob “trying-to-get-some-of-my-past-glory-back-by-getting-my-name-in-the-news-now” Woodward be employed by the Washington Post by week’s end? Who knows, but all bets are off.
  • Will the questions about the U.S.’s suspected torturing get softer or louder?
  • Not to pull a Frist (meaning not to whine and pout) but will the ‘stunt’ by House Republicans to vote on immediate Iraqi withdrawal come back to bite them on the ass?
  • How will history remember President Bush’s Asian trip?
  • Is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi really dead?
  • What lies in wait for the Samuel “don’t-call-me-Scalito” Alito nomination? I smell a filibuster
  • With an article about him in the Chicago Tribune (and picked up by the L.A. Times), will Illinois’ Junior Senator Barack Obama’s stock rise with each passing week? Seems like it…but only time will tell...

There ya go, a few small things to keep an eye on as we start this holiday-shortened week.