Mrs. King…the world is poorer for your absence and we will miss you. Your elegance, your spirit and your devotion to your Husband's memory was massive, and you truly brought grace and dignity to the Civil Rights movement.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Monday, January 30, 2006
If you haven’t noticed lately, we have been keeping the poll question up for 2 weeks rather than 1 in order to get a better snapshot of what you, the readers, are thinking… and it’s working as we are getting more votes and thus (hopefully) generating some thought about things going on in the wide, wide world of politics.
The last poll asked the question: “Do you think Senator Specter too easily dismissed the CAP allegations against SCOTUS nominee Samuel Alito?”
The results have been tabulated (the Supreme Court tried to interfere but were beaten back with a stick) and here they are:
- A whopping 73% of respondents thought “Yes” that Senator Specter (R-PA) dismissed the CAP allegations against SCOTUS nominee Samuel Alito too quickly.
- A healthy 24% believe “No” and that his involvement was not that big of a deal. To that, that is your opinion and we respect you for it.
- And 3% of voters said they didn’t pay attention to the hearings and don’t care. I only have one word for that: pathetic. You don’t have to necessarily watch the hearings, but you should at least pay attention to what is going on. Why? Because this process, nomination, debate and decision will have a direct impact on us as a society for years and years to come… ya schmuck.
Scott and I would like to thank all of you who took the time to vote in the poll, and ask you to partake in the next poll.
The new poll question is:
“Does “President” Bush have the constitutional power to approve wiretaps and spying without a court order?”
Take a gander above, vote, and let us know your opinion on the important issues.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
It’s Back! It took a vacation, got lot‘s of rest, and now it’s back and ready to go. What is it? Surely you jest, you didn’t forget did you? You know you can’t live without it. So without any further delay……. LET”S GET READY TO REWIIIIIIIND !…. (Thanks Michael Buffer)
That’s right it’s The Weekly Rewind. Volume 2, Number 1.……Here we go.
Heckle: To President Bush, it’s been a few weeks, but remember just on general principals alone.
Heckle: To Medicare Part D, aka: the prescription shell game. It is now the end of January, the first month of the new, highly touted Medicare prescription drug plans (yes PLANS as there are over 500 different ones around the country). In this first month many pharmacies have been fronting the cost of seniors prescriptions as the coverage information has not been available from the Medicare system to tell the pharmacies which plan someone may be covered under. Once again, why didn’t the administration come out and tell everyone that part D coverage would be automatic when you get part B, raise the monthly premium to cover the plan and cover prescriptions like any other medical plan? Because they left it up to the pharmaceutical industry and the insurance carriers to develop plans that would give the appearance of being a drug plan to benefit all but in reality would make profits for the industries and also confuse the public.
Heckle: The Alito confirmation process. In a vote down party lines, the SCOTUS nomination of judge Samuel J. Alito was forwarded to the Senate where he is expected to win confirmation by enough votes to avoid a filibuster. If you think that the administration is running over civil rights now, just wait. Once he is confirmed and on the SC watch the clock start to turn back. Also watch how quickly the administration will want to bring issues before the court. (Like going to a casino and playing the slot machine that has been rigged to pay out every time….)
Applaud: to some Senate democrats for finally ‘growing a pair’ and declaring their intent to vote against the Alito confirmation. You better get moving guys as time is running out....tick, tick,tick...that is the sound of our individual freedoms slowly ticking away on the conservative clock.
Heckle: to those same democrats for taking so long to get with the plan and voice opposition.
Heckle: to Senator and former Presidential candidate John Kerry. (What you guys are heckling a named liberal?…you bet your ass we are..) Kerry decided to fly back from Europe where he was attending World Economic Forum in Switzerland saying that he wanted to work to stop the approval of Alito. Hey John, you’re a little, no wait, a lot late.
Heckle: to White House Press Secretary Scott (Scooter) McClellan. After Ford Motor Company announced that it will be eliminating up to 30,000 jobs and close a number of U.S. plants, Scooter responded to a reporters question by stating the “overall economy is going strong”. What’s next there Scooter? How about telling us that we have a ‘chocolate’ economy or maybe a mocha-latte economy. It’s an interesting juxtaposition when you can say the we have a strong economy that is putting people on unemployment.
Applaud: to Republican Senators (once again ,you bet your ass we are applauding a couple of conservatives) John McCain (Az) and Tom Coburn (Ok) for announcing to their Senate brethren that in the wake of the continuing scandals involving lobbyists, they will challenge special ‘pet projects’ that are placed into spending bills until the practice is stopped. We at TBWA applaud the stance that the two of you are taking.
Heckle: To Canada. After almost two decades of liberalist party rule the conservatives have taken over the majority in the parliament and will also hold the prime ministers office. The U.S. sees this as improving relations between the US and Canada. (Conservative birds of a feather fly together) Hopefully the party doesn’t do to the Canadian economy, what their ‘cousins’ have done to the US economy.
Heckle: The White House and Clueless George are still defending the “Wiretapping of America’ as legal. They go even further in stating that if the Congress tries to pass legislation legalizing/authorizing the warrantless wiretaps that it will actually help the enemy. (Kind of like the old ‘If I told ya, I’d have to kill ya…) and the best part is that the Pres stated that the program is actually designed to “protect civil liberties”. Typical, the administration could care less about civil liberties until they can utter the phrase in there own defense.
So, there you have it. Noticing that the teeter-totter on the political playground is stuck to the ground on the ‘heckle’ side. Welcome to the scary realization that we are living in an Orwellian society also known as George W. Bush’s America.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
“We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them,this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’”
President Ronald Reagan on January 28, 1986 from the Oval Office in an Address to the Nation regarding the Shuttle Challenger disaster earlier that day.
Friday, January 27, 2006
Let’s review something… “President” Bush has delivered four State of the Union addresses, or SOTU, with the 5th one on the (bleak) horizon, and with each one he and his “Administration” have promised big things.
The State of the Union is a ritual that is broadcast live on television and radio to millions of people, not just in the U.S. but also around the world. And it is a stellar (and guaranteed annual) opportunity for a president to hawk his wares directly to the American people (and other lawmakers) and trumpet their administration.
And while the results of Bush’s SOTU’s have been lacking (we’ll get to those shortly) he has been fortunate that all four of his SOTU’s have been molded to fit the moment. Consider these:
- Bush delivered his first SOTU in January 2002. Mere months following 9/11 terrorist attacks.
- SOTU number 2 came a few months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
- SOTU number 3 was embroiled with his re-election themes of terrorism, Iraq, terrorism, Medicare, terrorism, staying-the-course. You get the idea.
- SOTU number 4 (last year's) was the first once since the 9/11 attacks that was focused on domestic issues rather than terrorism, Iraq, terrorism, Iraq, terrorism, staying-the-course, etc.
This brings us to this years SOTU. A SOTU that will see Dubya delivering the speech amid quickly falling (and tepid) job approval ratings, looming midterm elections, anxieties over continuing U.S. troop deaths in Iraq, cynicism about how legal his eavesdropping program to foil terrorists is and a lobbying scandal that is a threat to many Republican members (his own party btw) on Capitol Hill.
Now let’s take a quick travel back in time (just allow Mr. Peabody and Sherman time to set the WABAC controls to teleport all of us back to 2002… ) to get a quick glance at some of his more spectacular SOTU misses.
Among the swings and misses:
- His plans to overhaul Social Security. This was a key cog in last year's speech. The plan had a lot of fervor out of the gate, but has since failed to gain any traction and has since fallen by the wayside. Not even his 3- or 4-month tour (which I like to call ‘Bingo George and his Traveling Elixir Sideshow and Musical Caravan”) to rally support could put the American people at ease over his plan. (Ya know, sometimes the collective intelligence of the country surprises you and they make an intelligent choice. It’s just too bad they didn’t make an intelligent choice in 2000 or 2004 and we could have avoided all this mess)
- Another strike from last year was Bush putting forth his definition of an “ownership society,” a concept that pushed for the embracing of his drive to privatize Social Security and create personal health savings accounts. How’s that working out for all of you? Hello? Can everyone in Louisiana and Mississippi hear me?
- Another strike: the president's admonishment of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s). Remember those? One of the primary reasons given to the American people and the world for invading Iraq. Now that we found them… what’s that?? Wha-, nothing was found? They had to have found one missl- None? Maybe a little bom-, nothing?? At least some chemicals… no? Oh… well, never mind…
- Remember his statement about Britain having learned that Saddam Hussein had sought “significant quantities” of uranium from Africa. That one was true—, what, you’re kidding me, that one too? Oh… well, never mind...
Granted, besides quite a few swings and misses, Bush has had some announcements from previous SOTU address that, in a sense, were successful… but soon imploded, such as:
- Tax cuts that he boasts have primed the economy. Uh… sure… whatever you say Herr Bush. Never mind that a US Commerce Department report that was released today (Friday, January 27th) shows the U.S. economy ending 2005 on a soft note due to consumer spending growing at the slowest rate since 2001. Add to that the businesses were less eager to boost investments in 2005 as well and you have an economy that doesn’t seem to ‘primed.’
- Four words: “No Child Left Behind.” That was Bush’s “education initiative” that was enacted in 2002. How did it fail? Well, it would take too long to list all the reasons here, so instead I’ll just point you to a well-written article (HERE) about its failings and be done with it.
- It will be very difficult for Shrub… sorry, I meant Bush, to equal the success of his first address in 2002 that was propped up by national unity following 9/11 as he received rousing applause from both Democrats and Republicans and enjoyed job approval ratings that exceeded 80 percent (presently they are hovering around 43%).
- Bush also pledged that year to put all terrorists out of business and famously spoke of the so-called “axis of evil” (not to be confused with the asses of evil) nations; North Korea, Iran and Iraq.
While the “axis of evil” phrase has taken root into the American lexicon, keep in mind that
- no WMD’s were found in Iraq
- any and all diplomatic efforts to suppress North Korea's nuclear ambitions have, thus-far, failed
- U.S. (and European) diplomats have not been able to persuade Iran to stop enriching uranium, which should be pointed out is a step in making nuclear weapons.
Bush also stated in his first speech that the federal budget would run a deficit for the first time in four years (which, non-coincidentally, was during the Clinton administration). Dubya said it would be short term if Congress had to hold down spending… that’s not how things have worked out. The deficit in 2002 was $159 billion, and that has climbed up to $337 billion for the current budget year. At this rate it will exceed $400 billion by the end of 2006.
What’s the point of this post?
To get across that Bush is, and will forever be, a tool; a simple, unknowing, intelligent-lacking, empty-headed tool.
Not just a tool for the Conservative Right mind you, but also a tool for all the empty-headed, can’t-think-for-themselves, Ann-Coulter-loving, empty shirts.
Of course, that's just my opinion...
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Wednesday is known as many things… ‘Hump Day,’ ‘Mid-week,’… well that’s about it.
But now you can add RPTFAWA (Random Political Thoughts for a Wednesday Afternoon) to the list of aliases for Wednesday.
And now… without further ado…
I Spy. Attorney General Alberto “I-Love-the-Smell-of-Wiretaps-in-the-Morning” Gonzalez decided to teach a history class on Tuesday in an attempt to spin the Administration’s ‘Domestic Spying Program’… (wait, we just got a memo in the TBWA office, it’s now being called the ‘Terrorist Spying Program’… wait, another memo just came in… it should now be called the ‘Screwing the Nation with their pants on Program’… wait, here’s another memo… ah forget it…) Gonzalez used the axioms of past presidents George Washington and Franklin Roosevelt while defending the program’s usage. Let me give you a clue here Al, George and Frank are rolling over in their graves at what your administration is doing.
On the floor. As expected, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the SCOTUS nomination of Samuel Alito on Tuesday in a vote that went strictly down party-lines. As the debate turns to the Senate floor, Democrats are refusing to rule out a filibuster in order to block the confirmation. Alito has the commitment of 51 senators, but still lags behind and under the 60-vote threshold that is needed to guarantee a full-floor vote and prevent a filibuster. BTW, the Chicago Tribune, usually a bastion of Republican-love, has an editorial in today’s edition that DOES NOT ENDORSE Samuel Alito and says he should NOT be a SC Justice. It’s worth a look.
White House not cooperating. It seems that the Bush administration knew what Hurricane Katrina would do to New Orleans in the days leading up to landfall and either dragged their feet or simply didn’t act on the news. (Karma, baby!) Now they’re being accused of dragging their feet on complying with the Senate probe. To make matters more pathetic, the White House is now citing the confidentiality of executive branch communications, the White House disclosed on Tuesday that it does not plan to turn over certain documents about the hurricane. The administration also will not make any senior White House officials available for sworn testimony before two Congressional committees investigating the storm response. Nice… it seems the administration is using the standard ‘Ignore it and it will go away’ game plan. As I’ve said in this blog many times, and in earlier in this random thought… ‘Karma, baby!’
Ryan Trial Continues in Illinois. Former Gov. George Ryan’s son-in-law, Michael Fairman, testified Monday that Ryan's co-defendant, Larry Warner, once lent him $5,000 a few months before Fairman declared bankruptcy due to a gambling addiction, and doesn’t remember paying Warner back. The son-in-law also disclosed that he received $55,000 in Ryan campaign funds in 1996 and 1997 while admitting he didn't do any political work for the money. Once again, all together now: ‘Karma, baby!’
Running for Re-election. Is there something in the water in DC that makes people clueless? Undaunted by speculation (within his own party) that he may have to give up his seat in Congress because of a corruption probe (Name’s Abramoff, Jack Abramoff) Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) announced on Wednesday that he will run for re-election this year. While support in his home district has not ebbed, the Chairman of the Ohio Republican party stated last week that Ney should resign if he is indicted. Not surprisingly, Ney didn't catch the subtle hint of 'leave now and don't ever come back...'
Bush to visit India & Pakistan. President Bush announced yesterday that he will travel to India and Pakistan in March. The central topics for the visits will likely involve discussions about terrorism, democratic governance (yeah, like this administration has any clue what THAT is) and the recent U.S. airstrikes in Pakistani territory. The ‘recent’ airstrikes… discussions in March… nothing like striking while the iron is hot there Bush-boys.
Vapor-lock, beltway style. Efforts to resolve House and Senate differences over a revised USA Patriot Act have stalled (now do you catch the vapor-lock references?) rising from privacy issues. The main disagreement centers on provisions that would allow FBI agents to get records on terrorism suspects, who have very limited options for challenging such searches.
Senator seeking information on subpoena of Google. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee asked AG Alberto “Torture Master” Gonzales what steps are being taken to protect Americans' privacy rights as the Justice Department demands information about Internet searches, specifically the JD’s request from Google. Leahy was asking about which types of information was being sought, how the department intends to use the information while protecting individual privacy rights and civil liberties and whether it will issue any additional subpoenas. Well, I would tell you more, but the less waves I make online, the better off I’ll be when the administration gets to me.
U.S. has Military Options Against Iran. Even while they say that they are working on diplomatic efforts to head off an Iranian nuclear bomb threat, it’s been learned that the United States has military options in place against Iran should the need arise. Ok, let’s review… battling in Afghanistan, battling in Iraq, yeah, I think we could spread the military out even thinner… that’s a good plan. But, having said that…
Military Not Overextended says Rumsfeld. Secretary of Defense Donald “I-love-the-smell-of-torture-in-the-morning’ Rumsfeld on Wednesday disputed Associated Press reports that suggested the U.S. military is stretched thin and close to a snapping point due to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. (The article went on to say that the military may not be able to recruit and keep enough troops that would allow for a defeat of the Iraqi insurgency) Rumsfeld stated, “This armed force is enormously capable.” Sure, we’re trying to believe you Don, we really are, but those of us who passed 1st grade arithmetic are having trouble seeing the math behind the rhetoric.
Take ‘em as you will…
Monday, January 23, 2006
Just how far out of whack are the priorities in this country? Tonight I was given a prime example on the local news in Chicago.
Today in this nation we had some significant events/announcements;
- Ford Motor Company announced the plan to close 14 manufacturing plants and cut as many as 30,000 employees from it’s work force. (If the UAW wants a hint of what may be next, just look at the example they have in Caterpillar….the writing is on the wall.)
- The SCOTUS turned down a request to review a patent infringement ruling against Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry. This sets this stage for the potential shut-down of all BlackBerry service. (I don’t think that it will happen but the possibility still exists, conventional wisdom says that RIM can keep selling and servicing alive with a settlement to the patent holder of $800 million to $1 billion…..)
- The state of West Virginia was quickly moving forward (too bad the Federal Gvmt can’t do the same) with legislation to make the mining industry safer in that state. Among the proposals is one that would mandate the wearing of electronic tracking devices by miners, and another that would mandate the creation of reserve oxygen stations positioned throughout the mines. (By days end, both of these had been passed by the W. VA House and Senate and signed into law by the Governor.)
- Alan Crotzer was freed after serving 24 years in a Florida prison for crimes he was convicted of, but DNA tests proved, he did not commit.
So which one of these stories made the top story on the local news in Chicago? (Keep in mind that it was announced as “Breaking News”..) Was it job cuts affecting thousands, technology about to be turned off for millions, improved safety for miners or any of the other important/newsworthy stories in this country or around the world??
No, the top story was that a settlement had been announced in an incident at the United Center (Where the Bulls ’NBA’ and Blackhawk’s ‘NHL’ play.)
What was the “incident” you may ask? (go ahead, you may ask….yes, you in the back… oh you want to know what the incident was? Sure let me look up the details on the local Chicago websites as I don’t know either….ok here it is..) Last week during a game between the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks, the wife of Antonio Davis (Knicks Forward) had gotten into a supposed argument with a Chicago Bulls fan. Antonio (who was on the court playing) witnessed the ’argument’ and climbed into the stands to defend his wife. No punches were thrown, no pushing or shoving occurred, just some words back and forth and maybe some hands placed on others. Following the incident the fan had asked for an apology and threatened to sue. However today everyone made nice and said in a joint statement that “common sense” should prevail.
Now with everything else of true importance going on, this ‘settlement’ was THE top news story in Chicago.
Note to self….The next time I want to know about things that really matter and may affect the lives of tens of thousands of Americans as well the economy, remember not to look to the news stations in Chicago…. priorities?
I know it’s my fault!! I forgot to tell the news stations that I could give a rats ass about an argument between 3 people at a sporting event that doesn’t mean ANYTHING to anyone except the 3 people involved.
And many of us wonder why so many people are unfamiliar with current events.
Be good, stay informed….later
Friday, January 20, 2006
While taking stock of TBWA’s most recent posts, Scott and I realized an error…
We haven’t lent our unique wit, wisdom and knowledge to anything recently about the SCOTUS nomination of Samuel Alito (or ‘Sc’Alito or ‘Bork’Alito – use whichever you prefer)
So, we decided to rectify that and the two of us drew straws to see who would write this post and I won…or lost… depends on your POV.
Quite a lot has happened since the softball game that was the Alito confirmation hearing ended last week, so let’s look into the events of the last few days.
A cavalcade of Democratic senators (which include a few that supported John Roberts nomination as Chief Justice) announced this week that they will oppose Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Why? Well, we’ll get to that momentarily. But first, let’s keep in mind that this development is seriously underscoring the sharp partisan divide that has evolved over Alito's nomination. Chief Justice John Roberts was confirmed with a total of 78 votes and had solid bipartisan support behind him… it looks as though the exact opposite will happen with Alito.
While Democrats appear to be uniting in their opposition to Alito, they are not as united when it comes to the option of pursuing a filibuster or not. (A filibuster, btw, that seems less and less likely with each given day)
While the filibuster option seems to be losing steam, the Democrats are more united than ever in their desire to ask for an extended floor debate over the confirmation. Why? Because the Dem’s firmly believe what the polling data shows, that the more the American people learn about Alito's record and writings, the more they will oppose his addition to the high court. It should also be noted that Richard Durbin (D-IL), in his role as the Minority Whip (esentially the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate behind only Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)) has the job to count votes for and against Alito and he has said that he won't know until Tuesday if there are enough strong opponents to filibuster Alito's nomination.
Democrats who have now announced that they will vote against Alito are the aforementioned Richard Durbin (D-IL), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who is the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Ken Salazar (D-CO), Max Baucus (D-MT) Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). To keep tabs on who gets added to this list, check out this link from Daily Kos.
It should be noted that Leahy, Salazar and Baucus voted in favor of Roberts’s confirmation as Chief Justice.
So, getting back to what I promised earlier, why are these Democratic Senators shying away from voting yes on the confirmation of Alito? Well, besides the fact that it would signal the end of the world were he to be confirmed, the senators in question warned that Judge Alito would not provide a judicial check over the ever-widening growth of presidential power and that he wouldn’t be suitably attentive about protecting the rights of ordinary Americans such as you and me. Including, but not limited to concerns over the “President’s” authorization of warrantless eavesdropping on American citizens.
Specifically, some of the Senator’s have their own reasons to not back the nomination. Kennedy called Alito's record “clear and ominous” on issues of executive powers. Kennedy continued by stating that “The record demonstrates that we cannot count on Judge Alito to blow the whistle when the president is out of bounds.”
Another Senator, Richard Durbin, said he would not vote for Alito because, in replacing Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (who often was a critical swing vote on the court and was the fifth vote in 148 out of 193 SCOTUS cases that were decided by a 5-4 margin) Alito’s views on privacy, abortion and executive power were out of step with mainstream public opinion. Add to that the fact that Alito was evasive in answering questions on some of these questions during the confirmation hearings.
(Only one Democratic Senator, Ben Nelson (D-NE), has announced his support for Alito. To which I say ‘you are a tool sir.’)
As of right now, no Republicans in the Senate have announced an oppositional stance on Alito with most, if not all, expected to vote for his confirmation. Senator Jim Jeffords, a Vermont Independent who usually votes along Democratic lines, has not yet announced how he will vote.
Senators John Sununu (R-NH) and John Warner (R-VA) announced their support for Alito after meeting with him earlier this week. Alito also visited some Democrats this past week, paying visits to Tom Carper (D-DE) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), neither of which has yet to announce how they’ll vote.
As Republicans come together around Alito, conservative organizations announced plans to air radio/television ads in states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Louisiana and Arkansas) that Bush carried in 2004 but are represented by (at least one) Democrat in the Senate.
The Judiciary Committee (which has 10 Republicans and 8 Democrats) is expected to vote on and approve Alito's nomination next Tuesday (in a vote that will seemingly be split down party-lines) with the full Senate expected to debate and vote on the nomination later that same week.
The Democrat’s need to take the bull by the horns and do what has to be done to try and derail the Alito nomination. Stop resting on your ‘laurels’ and act… don’t just talk, DO SOMETHING.
And along those lines, let me close with a quote from an Alito posting on Daily Kos by Armando, who sums up things nicely;
“And all you Democratic Senators who dream of being President someday, remember that Alito is 55, he'll be around for a while. And when you want to call yourself pro-choice when you run for President, I guarantee you someone will be there to remind folks how you voted on the Samuel Alito nomination.”
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
It’s Wednesday, we all know what that means.
“E-Ring” on NBC? Uh, no.
“Skating with Celebrities” on Fox? Uh, no.
“South Beach” on UPN? You’re kidding me, right??? UPN is still around?
No, it’s time for another installment of ‘As the Shrub Turns’… otherwise known as Random Political Thoughts for a Wednesday Afternoon or RPTFAWA.
Last week we hit a nerve with our reading public to the extent that our site and last week’s RPTFAWA got a shout-out over at Democratic Underground. (Click here to see the shout-out)
It’s another Wednesday, so we go at it again and hope we touch another nerve with the American public.
Abramoff at the White House. Convicted über-lobbyist Jack Abramoff had a “few staff-level meetings” at the White House, but press secretary Scott “Don’t call me CJ” McClellan refused to disclose who met with Abramoff or what they talked about. (Why is it whenever I hear McClellan’s name I think of the phrase ‘hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil’?) Now, people are acting with surprise that Abramoff even visited the White House, to which I say; “I am shocked. Shocked to find gambling in this establishment.”
White House Calls Gore Hypocritical. (Hello Kettle? This is The pot… you’re black) After Al Gore’s raucous and inspiring speech on Monday the White House called Gore out and ordered AG Alberto Gonzalez to toss accusations about national security during the Clinton Administration his way. The Associated Press has since smacked down those accusations. Having said that, we should be thankful to the White House because every time they try to argue their points with Gore, it keeps the story, and thus his speech, in the public eye for that much longer. Good work guys.
Donkey vs. Elephant Lobbying Measures. Forget dueling banjos, how about dueling lobbying measures. Both parties are poised to offer up their own measures to restrict lobbying. The Republican's offering, not surprisingly, has a few loopholes; the largest being a trip could be privately financed as long as it includes the exchange of a campaign check. The Democrat’s offering has not been announced yet (that should be coming sometime this afternoon) but I am sure it will also have some loopholes as I don’t see either side willing to give away EVERY lobbyist perk they receive. Stay tuned.
Medicare Problems + Bush Administration = PR Campaign #2. The implementation of the Administration’s ts new Medicare prescription drug benefit wasn’t as seamless as had been promised. (The Miami Herald called the implementation an “unmitigated disaster. Nice choice of words) Rather than explain the collassul screw-up, the White House is launching another PR campaign. Brilliant! That’s just what the country’s elderly need more than easy access to their medication… more spin. (Here’s a concept, abandon the plan, go back to the way it was, then start over from the beginning and put together a Medicare plan that doesn’t look and sound as if it were put together at an Amway rally)
Pat Roberts— (sorry) Ray Nagin apologizes. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin apologized today for being “insensitive” when he expressed his desire to see the city return to its majority-Black status and for saying God had sent Hurricane Katrina to punish America. Apparently Mayor Nagin has been taking lessons from Pat “What-can-I-say-next-to-make-me-look-&-sound-like-an-absolute-idiot” Robertson. Everyone repeat after me; ‘Don’t make God has smited comments’, ‘Don’t make God has smited comments’, ‘Don’t make God has smited comments’. Say that 50 times a day for a week, and maybe it will get through some people’s thickheads.
Roberts questions McCain-Feingold. SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts expressed doubt this past week about legal restrictions put upon political ads by outside groups under the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. At issue is a stipulation that bans the use of corporate or union money for ads that identify federal candidates two months before a general election. If Roberts votes against the restriction in question and if O'Connor is off the bench by the time the court issues its new ruling, which may set-up the possibility of a 4 - 4 deadlock… a deadlock that would be broken by a new justice. It starts.
Take ‘em as you will…
Now the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee (remember him, Ted Kennedy’s good friend and verbal sparring partner) has expressed skepticism over Commander Cuckoo-Bananas’ domestic eavesdropping program. Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) joined a chorus of Republicans and Democrats by questioning the legal justification of the law. It’s even gotten to the point where the committee will hold hearings in February on the decision to allow the National Security Agency program to continue without court approval. Specter also has told administration officials that he believes they are on shaky legal ground. (Like this is anything new for this administration…)
In his defense, Dubya’s puppeteers (you know;Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, etc) have maneuvered him to point to a congressional resolution that was passed after the 9/11 attacks that authorized him to use force in the fight against terrorism for allowing him to order the program into existence. The program authorized eavesdropping of international phone calls and e-mails of people deemed a terror risk. (How, in God’s name, is this considered ‘use of force’? Maybe they were threatening to whack the country upside the head with the phone receiver so Bush and Company decided to whack them over the head with the receiver first… that must be what they mean by ‘force’)
Specter said on ABC's “This Week”, “I thought they were wrong. There still may be different collateral powers under wartime situations. That is a knotty question.” Speaking in general terms Specter said that impeachment and criminal prosecution are possible in the event a president acted unconstitutionally. (Uh, ok… I don’t even no where to begin with that sentence)
A number of members of Specter's committee, including Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) have also expressed doubt about the administration's legal basis and is looking to the hearings to help clear things up.
The hearings are being planned for early February, with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as the main attraction.
But… let’s keep in mind that Specter is a Republican Bush-lackey, so he also added this little morsel; “I don't see any talk about impeachment here. I don't think anyone doubts the president is making a good-faith effort. He's acting in a way that he feels he must.”
I seem to remember that we as a nation heard arguments like this during the Iran-Contra affair in the 80’s. Is this printed in the Republican handbook?
- Blame others.
- Shift blame to them evil Democrats.
- Accept half-assed responsibility.
- Do #3 followed immediately by stating you are/were acting in a way that you feel you must in order to protect the country.
Huh? Did I miss something? Isn’t that something we try to teach our children not to do? Blame others and then justify that what they had done (which is usually bad) to make it seem less bad? I remember this lesson from my parents, and have already started that with my kids… but here we have the GOP doing that exact thing.
So… you have comments from a leading Republican Senator. A fire-branding speech by former Vice-President Al Gore on Monday (if you haven’t read it or seen it… click here to read it and here to view it. You will NOT be disappointed!). Attorney General Alberto Gonzales rejecting Gore’s calls for a special counsel. The ACLU (who… despite being a liberal… I am not a big fan of) prepping a lawsuit against the administration over US domestic spying. The White House blasting Gore’s 'hypocrisy'. You throw all those things together and you have yourselves a good old-fashioned, DC-donnybrook forming.
Ain’t it grand?
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
As much as Kemp and I enjoy doing this as a way to get our thoughts and opinions out to the masses, it is a great rush to see TBWA being acknowledged and named on other sites.
Last Wednesday we were thrilled to be named on the Blogroll in a Washington Post Article (even though they are the media tool of the eveil empire), and also again on Friday. We are also honored to have a link to our site placed on Democratic Underground. It is a great read be sure to check it out.
It is also interesting to track the various states and countries where the visitors to our blog reside. Here is a listing of those places:
49 out of the 50 states and 2 protectorates (we are still waiting on Rhode Island, if Guam and Puerto Rico can visit so can you)
Thanks to "The World Factbook" from those wonderful folks at our own CIA for all the information available on all of these places. It just made my job much easier.
Thanks again to all of you for your continued visits and your comments. Agree or disagree with us we enjoy the chance to open a dialogue. Kemp and I hope you enjoy what we do and that you keep returning and telling your friends. The more the merrier.
Be good, stay informed....later.
p.s.- Somoene has to have a relative in Rhode Island... please tell them to visit, or better yet call Adam West, after all he is the Mayor of Quahog !
Monday, January 16, 2006
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free.
One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.
So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.
This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.
So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights.
The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. we must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.
We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" we can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom
ring." And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
- Martin Luther King, Jr. - delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial - Washington D.C. August 28, 1963
Happy Birthday Dr. King. Your memory, your life, and your dream will never die.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Even after being stripped of his leadership title, and with his approvals rivaling Dubya’s for ‘lowest in the land’, Tom DeLay is still using intimidation to get what he wants.
Four Houston television stations that originally had sold airtime for an Anti-DeLay commercial refused to air it Wednesday after an attorney for DeLay (campaign lawyer Don McGahn) objected. (BTW, the ad was and is accessible on cable channels and the Internet; in fact you can see it here)
What was the station’s excus—, sorry, ‘reasons’ for the decisions? Well, in reality, they didn’t offer up much in any justification for not showing the ads.
They also refused to comment if the letter from McGahn had any influence in their decision making process… (I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say… ‘yes’… but that’s just me… and anyone else with the ability to decide things on their own)
Two Liberal groups (Public Campaign Action Fund and Campaign for America's Future) bought a week's worth of ad time for the commercial that highlighted the surfeit of ethical questions about DeLay and his (extremely) close dealings with lobbyist Jack Abramoff. (Remember him? He’s the über-lobbyist that pleaded guilty to corruption charges last week and is has decided to cooperate with the federal investigation of his contacts with members of congress and their aides)
Now, if DeLay and his bloodsucking lawyers had an ounce of common sense in their collective heads they would have realized that a controversy of this nature plays right into the hands of the groups that financed the ad (which did get airtime on CNN Headline News and CNBC… for free)
Why do I say that? Think about this; DeLay's work to keep it off the air has become the story and produced much more attention than the commercial alone ever could. Meaning the impact of the ad has been exaggerated 10 fold because of this little ‘spat.’(I guess, for his lawyer's actions, we should be grateful then)
Now… in all fairness, and in order to practice tolerance for those that disagree with us, let’s remember that Democrats waged a (for the most part) unsuccessful campaign to prevent the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT) ad from airing during the 2004 Presidential campaign. That played into the SBVT’s hands because, originally, the ad was only supposed to run in three battleground states (Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin) in a total of seven medium-size markets. But because the Democrats complained, it got national airtime… again, like the DeLay ad, for free. Remember, the classic “Daisy” ad of 1964 aired only once, and 1988's “Revolving Door” ad only ran a couple of times, yet each one mutated into it’s own story and, to whatever extent, affected those races.
What was within the letter that McGahn sent? Well, it “implied” that the stations would be legally responsible for airing falsehoods about DeLay if the ads ran as scheduled.
Never mind that broadcasters can only be liable for damages if they air something that they know to be false, let’s look at this for what it truly is; a preposterous exercise in futility.
What about the title of this post, 'DeLay'ing the Inevitable, what does that mean? Well, besides being a great pun with wordplay, it means that no matter what DeLay does, no matter how many times he tries to manipulate the wheels of justice, the wheel will come around to him, the karma (which, if you couldn't tell, is a concept that is a big part of this site) will catch up to him, and in the end, he will get what he has coming to him. Losing his majority seat was only the beginning...
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Well, for all you nay-sayers (yes Kemp that includes you..) I present highlights from the last six months of the year 2005. Oh, and what an exciting year it was!
This year had it all, lies, intrigue, lies, suspense, lies, stupidity and what else, more lies…..
Enough of me spouting off, I present the 2nd half of 2005.
Heckle: Eight days after the terrorist attacks on London’s bus and underground systems, conservative leaders of the Senate repeatedly beat down attempts to increase funding for mass transit protection. The end result was a $50 million cut to funding. ( I guess the Senate doesn’t get CNN, MSNBC, Fox or Basic AM radio news stations.)
Applaud: John Roberts is nominated to the SCOTUS to fill the vacancy of retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. He seems like a fair and honorable guy and a knowledgeable jurist.
Heckle: On August 2nd (the day after the Bolton appointment), Clueless George evidently had thought he had done enough work for the month as he departed for his Crawford ranch kicking off the longest Presidential vacation in 36 years.
Heckle: After having made repeated statements over the years against Pork Barrel spending, Bush signed into law a transportation bill that contained a record 6,371 ‘pet projects’ placed into the bill by members of both parties. (Evidently large quantities of high-fat pork is only unhealthy for us common folk, members of congress must get immunized yearly…)
Applaud: Chief Justice of the SCOTUS William H. Rehnquist dies following a more than year long battle with thyroid cancer. The court under Chief Rehnquist seemed to be fair and balanced. His wisdom will be missed.
(Following the death of Chief Justice Rehnquist, the nomination of John Roberts was changed to Chief Justice instead of replacing Justice O’Connor.)
Heckle: ‘Brownie’ resigns from FEMA. After leading the agency into the biggest case of mismanagement in history, Michael Brown resigns as head of an agency who function is to assist and co-ordinate management of emergencies and disasters. (As if this wasn’t enough, ‘Brownie’ later announces that he will be starting a consulting firm to advise companies/government agencies on how to prepare and handle what else…disaster management…….those who can‘t do, teach…..sorry to anyone who truly is a teacher, including my cousins)
Applaud: The SEC officially launches an investigation into stock sales made by Senator Bill Frist.
Heckle: Harriet Miers is nominated to the SCOTUS to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Conner. Harriet is a nominee without any prior judicial experience, this is the beginning of her downfall.
Heckle: Clueless George acknowledged that his top domestic policy endeavor for his second term, restructuring social security, is basically dead in the water as he is unable to gain any public support . (Wow, thinking that you are going to get the public to jump on the idea of restructuring ‘aka: screwing with’ their future retirement income and then being surprised that they are not….just another reason why we call you clueless)
Heckle: In the wake of the administrations bungling of Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Commerce announces that all media requests for information from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) are to be collected in a standardized format and forwarded to the DOC for response approval. (So should we submit our request for information on bad weather 3 or 4 weeks before it ‘actually’ occurs?)
Applaud: Harriet Miers voluntarily (yeah and we all believe that one) withdraws her nomination for SCOTUS.
Heckle: An absolutely huge and unforgivable Heckle to the administration for the 2,000 U.S. Military fatality in Iraq. (Come on George lets come clean and show some back bone on why we are there in the first place and don’t tell us it was to fight terrorism, or WMD’s as we now all know that these did not come from Iraq)
Heckle: I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby (nice nickname putz) is indicted in connection with the CIA leak investigation.
Heckle: The Department of Defense was found to be holding back 824 new armored Humvees from being sent to Iraq until January when the 4th division is sent to replace 3rd division units currently serving in Iraq. (That is like giving troops bullets, but telling them they have to wait 3 months for the guns.) Hey, here is an idea, why not let the military experts run the military instead of the politicians.
Applaud: Ben Bernanke is named to replace Alan Greenspan as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Someone being appointed to a position that actually has the qualifications to perform the job, someone in the administration must have fallen asleep on the job!
Heckle: Clueless George nominates Appellate Court Judge Samuel Alito to the SCOTUS to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Yippee, this guy is a huge step up from Harriet Miers! Let’s all get set to get a subscription to the ‘Puritan Times’ and set our clocks back 50 years!
Applaud: On election day, the Democrats bitch-slap the RNC in elections all over the country……is this a harbinger of things to come? We can only hope!
Heckle: Once again senate Republicans introduce a provision to a spending bill regarding Artic Drilling.
Applaud: Due to pressures from Democrats and moderate Republicans, the Arctic Drilling provision is removed from the spending bill.
Heckle: The White House admits that it did not have accurate information on the issue of WMD’s in Iraq, basically that admitted they were wrong, made a mistake, an error, a major blunder. (Finally joining the real world, taking off the welding goggles and looking at things in the clear light of day….wow things really do look different from the perspective of the real world don’t they!)
Heckle: White House Spokesperson Scott “Screw up” McClellan (and basically Republicans at large) in responding to the attack on Rep. John Murtha, basically accused a majority of Americans of being traitors since a majority oppose Bush’s personal police action in Iraq. (Nice going Scott….)
Applaud: After accusations of detainee torture, the administration gives the Red Cross access to the detainee facility at Guantanemo Bay.
Heckle: FEMA announces that they will stop paying for hotel rooms for residents displaced/uprooted by the Gulf cost hurricanes. (Wow not only do you screw up the initial response, but now you are going to screw up the after care of thousands) After much public outcry, FEMA extends the deadline.
Applaud: We at TBWA are proud to have had our first guest post.
Heckle: Bill ‘The Tool’ O’Reilly starting a panic surrounding ‘Happy Holidays’ replacing ‘Merry Christmas’. (Hey Bill, we thought it was your job to report the news, not try to create it.)
Applaud: The 9/11 Commission did it’s job in a fair and non-partison way and issued a report stating that the administration was failing in it’s efforts to protect the country against further terrorist attacks. (Now that the terrorists all over the world know that our security is still woe-fully lacking maybe we should speed things up a bit, hmmm?)
Heckle: Bush continues spouting his ‘We can win’ rhetoric to whoever will listen or believe him. (Excuse me, but don’t you need a well thought out plan or strategy in order to win?)
Applaud: Prosecutors investigating former Lobbyist Jack Abramoff were in discussions with Jack that would lead to his pleading guilty to fraud charges and cooperate with investigators in the ongoing investigation of congressional officials, both Democrat and Republican. (It’s about time we get things moving forward and cleaned up…..we can be hopeful can’t we?
You know doc that didn't hurt a bit....whoa, you using the whole fist there doc?
Just kidding folks. Let's hope that 2006 is a lot better than 2005. (Seriously, it needs to be!)
Be good, stay informed.....Later
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
It’s Wednesday and we all know what that means…no, not the second part of the year in review… (My trustworthy colleague has assured me that it is forthcoming) And no, not time to put up a new poll… (Oops… our bad…) No, it’s time for this week’s Random Political Thoughts for a Wednesday Afternoon…
Here we go…
Israel not dealing with Robertson. Israel will not do business with Pat “What-can-I-say-next-to-make-me-look-&-sound-like-an-absolute-idiot?” Robertson after the evangelical leader stated that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine punishment for the Gaza withdrawal. Robertson had been leading a group of evangelicals who pledged to raise $50 million in order to build a large Christian tourism center in Israel. Now, according to a spokesman for the Israeli Tourism Minister, the Christian Heritage Center project was now in question, though he left the door open to develop it with others. All I can say is; Karma baby!
The Trouble with Jack. Christian-Right tool Ralph Reed, a former presidential-campaign adviser who once was in charge of one of the U.S.'s largest Christian activist groups, is close to losing all his political ambitions in one fell swoop. Why? His dealings with Jack Abramoff, that’s why. There have been revelations that Reed was running an anti-gambling campaign that was being financed by casino-owning clients of Abramoff (now that is an excellent example of irony) This has damaged his ability to raise funds in his bid to become the Lt. Governor of Georgia, which he was hoping to use as a springboard to higher political office (Uh, sure) Again, all I have to say is; Karma baby!
NSA to Investigate Eavesdropping Program. The inspector general of the National Security Agency has opened an investigation into the eavesdropping without the ‘hassle” of warrants program. Good news, sure, but the fact that it’s the NSA and Bush-Media-Tool The Washington Post telling us, I’m gonna take it with a grain of salt… actually, I’m gonna take it with a pillar of salt.
Things getting testy in Alito hearing. Ok… now this is engrossing television. After exchanges that seemed like a kitten pawing around a ball of yarn, the hearing got a little heated today. More so when Senators Ten Kennedy (D-MA) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) had a bit of a roustabout. Can find a terrific link here, but all in all this is how it went down. Kennedy requested that Specter issue a subpoena to the Library of Congress for documents related to the right-wing group Concerned Alumni of Princeton, of which Alito was a member. Specter refused to rule on the request and claimed it’s the first time the request had even been made. Actually, Sen. Kennedy sent a letter on December 22 making the request, Specter replied that there is a big difference between “sending” a letter and someone “receiving” it. (essentailly, saying that he never saw the letter). The problem? The good senator from Massachusets has Specter’s reply… oops.
Take ‘em as you will…
Friday, January 06, 2006
"...but I have the feeling that about 60 percent of what you say is crap."
- David Letterman, to Fox News tool Bill O'Reilly, on Tuesday's (January 3, 2006) edition of "Late Show with David Letterman."
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
(Calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean...
As the end of 2005 has officially come and gone, we at TBWA agree that it is now time to review the past year in the world of politics.
Today, or more specifically tonight, I will bravely delve into the plethora of events that have occurred in the political arena in the months of January through June.
Later this week, my ever-knowing partner-in-political-blogging-crime Scott will sort through the months of July through December.
So sit back, open your eyes and your mind real wide and say: ‘give it to me straight Doc, I can take it.’
Applaud: to the outpouring (pun not intended) of foreign aid to the Tsunami stricken areas in Southeast Asia. So many countries haven’t gotten together to help another in a long, long time. Unfortunately, the world would have that chance again in about 8 months…
Heckle: to Bush's prattling. In his 2nd inaugural address (makes you shudder, doesn’t it?), the “President” says our relations with “every ruler and every nation” will now be based on how they treat their citizens. Uh, ok…
Heckle: ‘Commander Cuckoo-Bananas’ is poised to announce federal appeals court judge Michael Chertoff as the new head of the Department of Homeland Security (new motto: xxx) Media bites have stated that Chertoff “helped craft the early `war on terror' strategy.” That explains a lot, doesn’t it?
Applaud: to Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” for summarizing the White House's response to any opposition with a simple formula: Sept. 11 + X (X = “whatever we say”) = Shut the f*** up! Succinct, isn’t it?
Heckle: to incompetent & egotistical elitists on the hot seat. Condi Rice got grilled (actually, lightly sautéed is probably a more apt wording) by a Senate panel in January in her quest to replace Colin “I had good intentions once… once” Powell. People expected ‘softballs’ aplenty and that’s what they got. Sample question: “If you could be any kind of tree, what kind would you be?”
Follow-up Heckle: While Condi won Senate approval with a whopping 85-13 margin, Alberto Gonzales was nominated and (in February) won approved to be the U.S. Master Torturer… I mean Attorney General… sorry, easy mistake.
Applaud: to the King of Late Night, Johnny Carson, who succumbed to emphysema at the young age of 79. Never one to miss using a politician, any politician, as the butt of joke, he deserves acknowledge in this rewind. Johhny, you will be missed but never forgotten.
Heckle: to the news that the search for WMD’s in Iraq came to an ‘official’ end and none were found. Well, what can be said that hasn’t already been said?
Applaud: to John Ashcroft. Why an applaud you’re asking, because he’s gone that;s why… In January, Ashcroft bid farewell to his minions and took a walk into the sunset, which he promptly had arrested as an enemy combatant for momentarily blinding him.
Applaud: to Election Day. Despite the ever-present threat of being blown up, more Iraqis ventured to the voting booth than U.S. citizens did on November 2nd. But we had a good reason...it was raining.
Applaud: to backfiring cow dung. A poll from Democracy Corps shows that even when they use the term “personal accounts”, support for the Bush Administration's gutting of Social Security falls faster than Tom Cruise’s career. The sound you hear? That would be Bush’s good fortunes going down the crapper…
Heckle: to President Bush who signed a bill in this month that made it easier for companies to sell dangerous or unhealthy products and thus harder for citizens to file class-action lawsuits if they or a loved one are harmed by these aforementioned dangerous or unhealthy products.
Applaud: White House shill—sorry, “reporter” Jeff Gannon retired after liberal blogs (Like Daily Kos) outed him. Turns out that Jeff Gannon isn’t his only name. He also goes by James Guckert and has been linked to online domain addresses with sexually provocative names. The ‘ick’ factor has risen highly with every given year in this administration.
Heckle: to the news that the new Medicare Prescription Drug Bill was revealed to cost $600 billion more than originally promised. Wow, the Bush administration was wrong about something?? I can’t except that…
Applaud: to justice, served stone cold. Bernard Ebbers, the former head of WorldCom was found guilty on all charges in March. Don’t bend over for the soap Mr. Ebbers… on second thought, that would probably make the people you screwed over happy as elves if you did.
Heckle: to the news that Paul Wolfowitz was being appointed by President Bush to the post of World Bank President. (Oh, yeah, that’s a good idea…)
Heckle: to GOP radicals in Congress when they crossed the line between judicial and legislative branches by playing politics (and God) with Terri Schiavo. Need I say more? I didn’t think so.
Applaud: to Pope John Paul II who died Saturday, April 2nd at the age of 84. While I may not agree with everything he (or the Church) believes and stands for, he was an inspiration to millions. God speed your Holiness…
Heckle or Applaud: not sure, make up your own mind on this one. Prince Charles and Camilla got married and then went on their honeymoon. Ewwwww…
Heckle: to the passing and signing of the bankruptcy law that makes it harder for average Americans to recover from financial misfortune by declaring bankruptcy. The new bill allows no exceptions, even if the individuals are victims of identity theft, suffer from debilitating illness, or are a U.S. service members. (Nice...)
Heckle: to plodding along like a Dubya press conference. The bipartisan heads of the 9/11 Commission say George Bush and his administration are moving too slow in protecting the U.S. from terrorist attacks. They would continue to assault this administrations adoption of their suggestions in December, 2005 as well.
Applaud: to the release of the Downing Street Memo. It was first published in the London Sunday Times and has been a thorn in the administration’s side since… but not as much as some had hoped it would be.
Heckle: Vice President Dick Cheney stated that the Iraq insurgency is in its “Last Throes.” Apparently nobody told the insurgents.
Applaud: to the outing of Woodward and Bernstein informant Deep Throat. Former FBI official W. Mark Felt told a reporter with Vanity Fair that he indeed was the unknown informant that helped bring down the Nixon presidency. (Aside: How has Woodward gone from being a journalist of this moral upbringing, to now being a White House shill?)
Heckle: to Dubya as he had been canvassing the country on a 60-day Social Security tour to drum up support for his radical realignment… but, this leads to an…
Applaud: as his tour ended in May, a new ABC News-Washington Post poll showed that more Americans oppose privatization and that 64 percent of Americans disapproved of Dubya’s handling of Social Security. (It should be noted that this was a 56 percent increase since the tour started back in March. Heh heh heh.)
Applaud: to Texas District Judge Joe Hart who ruled in the month of June that a political action committee (PAC) that was established by House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay was guilty of failing to report $600,000 in contributions. Should be noted that since 1905, Texas law has clearly prohibited corporate or union donations to political campaigns.
Heckle: to the White House for being caught altering documents. White House officials were caught “working behind the scenes…weakening key sections” of a global warming action proposal before the start of the annual G-8 Meeting in Scotland.
Applaud: Federal Agents raided the home (one of them at least) of Rep. Duke Cunningham, R-CA. What was found? Read this article and find out for yourself. We all know how this one ended.
Applaud: to one of Bush’s fellow Republicans for stating the obvious when he mentioned that the Bush administration is “…losing in Iraq.” Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) went on to state that “The White House is completely disconnected from reality.” Well said Senator Hagel, well said.
I know; a lot more happened in the first six months of 2005, but these were some of the things that really stood out.
If I forgot something, please feel free to leave a comment and let us know. Or add your own Applauds and Heckles below, the more the merrier.
Later: July through December.
Monday, January 02, 2006
In the spirit of fairness and compassion for our fellow man, we decided to leave the poll from 2 weeks ago up an extra week.
Why? To make sure that everyone had the opportunity to have their voices heard… that and Scott forgot to change it. (Why am I blaming Scott? Seeing as this is a new year, I am trying to act more like a Republican and deflect the blame to others when I make mistakes… heh heh heh…)
Seriously though. The new poll has been posted above (“Will 2006 be a better year for “President” Bush and the United States?”) and I have the distinguishable honor of recapping the previous poll.
We last asked: “Do you feel that U.S. Troops will begin coming home following the nationwide voting in Iraq?”
The results are in; the hanging chads have been dispensed with (gotta love a blog that can use a ‘hanging chad’ reference 6 years after the word came into vogue…), and the votes manipu— … I mean counted.
- 53% of you are of the more jaded variety (like myself ) and won’t believe our troops are on their way home until you see it with your own eyes.
- 37% of respondents believe that the U.S. is stuck there for the foreseeable future and will be given another 'milestone' event that we’ll have to stay for before the troops start coming home.
- And a trifling 10% believe that since the elections have happened, a new Iraqi government can be established, will take over control of Iraq and our troops will soon be home.
All in all, the results are not surprising. National polls that asked the same, or similar, question have gotten the same type and percentage of responses.
I am fairly positive that the 10% of you that believe our troops will be coming home soon truly believe that and didn’t answer with that option in order to skew the results or praise the current administration.
I just hope the other 90% are wrong and the return home will be sooner, rather than later.
Yes... yes we are...
Rest assured everyone, we have not gone anywhere. For the past few days we have been A- taking time off to celebrate the arrival of 2006 with family and friends, and B- constantly toiling away in the “politics mine” to put together a Year-End Rewind… lot of stuff has happened in the 12 months of 2005, so bear with us as we shift through the slop and bring you the highly-charged, important, and occasionally funny side of politics.
We will (hopefully) be posting the rewind tomorrow (Tuesday).
Until then, take another gander at a “classic post” by yours truly…
Originally posted Monday, September 26, 2005
A Not so Exclusive Club...
Welcome to the club, Senator Frist...It's a big club, a (not so much anymore) exclusive club (Delay, Rove, etc.)But it's a club that is welcoming you with open arms…and daggers at the ready.The good Doctor is being accused of violating federal laws regarding his recent sale of stock in HCA Inc. (which just happens to be his family's hospital corporation). A nice snippet of the AP story is below in red…
Blind trusts are designed to keep an arm's-length distance between federalofficials and their investments, to avoid conflicts of interest. But documentsshow that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist knew quite a bit about his accounts from nearly two dozen letters from the trust administrators.
Frist, R-Tennessee, received regular updates of transfers of assets to his blind trusts and sales of assets. He also was able to initiate a stock saleof a hospital chain founded by his family with perfect timing. Shortly after thesale this summer, the stock price dived.
A possible presidential contender in 2008, Frist now faces dualinvestigations by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York andthe Securities and Exchange Commission into his stock sales.
The sale has raised questions about possible insider dealing. Frist aides confirmed Friday that the SEC was investigating. I am sure we can expect some inane statement from Frist’s people stating that since he received approval from the ethics committee, one can look at it not as a "blind" trust, but as a "legally blind" trust.
(News of Bill Frist's ethics troubles – you know, his well-timed dumping of family stock and subsequent probes by both the Justice Department and the SEC -- on top of his base-alienating stem-cell position shift has us wondering: At what point do Republicans pull the feeding tube from his presidential ambitions?)
Now, let’s be honest, only a complete and utter fool would do what Frist did; selling stock in a supposed blind trust, essentially getting his hand caught *in* the cookie jar while everyone was looking.
(Everyone sing: Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? – Bill did! – Not me! – Then Who?)
Now there is a question out there that I have seen on a few other political websites. Was Frist given bad advice by someone he has unconditional trust in? Think about it, no way is the man that stupid on his own. Yes, the man is a mental furball, but he is an educated mental furball and has some Common Sense (though I could be giving him WAY too much credit)
He knows the law and he knows the rules of the Senate.
Maybe he was set up??? And let’s be honest, that would make a very interesting theory. Maybe someone did talk him into being totally stupid long enough to expose himself to an investigation by the SEC and breach Senate ethics rules (but one has to ask, do those things even exist??? – Senate Ethics Rules. Sounds like an oxymoron to me – like jumbo-shrimp or bittersweet or free-love)
Even a theory that has no basis in realty has to be looked at (that explains the WMD-Iraq theory)
So let’s look at it. Who is the one guy that Frist listens to?
Easy: Karl Rove.
Maybe Karl is trying to clear the slate for the preferred neo-con candidates in 2008, meaning he’s trying to get rid of the nuisance candidates like Dr. Senator Frist (or is it Senator Dr. Frist??)
Somewhere in Mississippi, you have to wonder if Trent Lott is wearing a smile from ear to ear…
This rampant run of ethical lapses in DC is running amok. It’s a raging amok running, and it has no signs of slowing down. In fact, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) took a look at the most corrupt members of Congress that need to have an eye kept on them. The list?
- Rep. Roy Blunt – Republican, Missouri 7th
- Sen. Conrad Burns – Republican - Montana (Is his middle name Montgomery? As in C. Montgomery Burns.
- Rep. Bob Ney - Republican, Ohio 18t
- Rep. Tom Feeney – Republican, Florida 24th
- Rep. Richard W. Pombo – Republican, California 11th
- Rep. Maxine Waters – Democrat, California 35th
- Sen. Rick Santorum – Republican, Pennsylvania
- Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham – Republican, California 50th (1/2/06 update... I think we all know what happened to "Duke." Is this fate awaiting the others listed here? Only time will tell...)
- Rep. William J. Jefferson – Democrat, Louisiana 2nd
- Rep. Charles H. Taylor – Republican, North Carolina 11th
- Rep. Marilyn N. Musgrave – Republican, Colorado 4th
- Rep. Rick Renzi – Republican, Arizona 1st
I’ll forgo pointing out the obvious that all but two are Republicans (though I just did that by saying I wasn’t going to say that, didn’t I? Strange how things work out, isn’t it?) and just leave you, the reader with this thought:
“People say I steal. Well, all politicians steal.” – Huey P. Long