Friday, March 31, 2006

The Weekly Rewind

It... is... Friday...

We all know what that means, right? Payday! Whoo-hooooo!!!

But it also means that it is time for The Weekly Rewind, our attempt to recapitulate the past week in politics... the only way we know how. With attitude! And a good dose of caffeine...

What's that?? It's not normal for me to be flittering around like a hummingbird? Hmmmm, I wonder if it could be the 2 pots of coffee I drank today...

The Rewind for the week ending March 31, 2006... starts... right now... (this is when I wish we had theme music...)

Applaud: to the reshuffling of cards in the Bush Administration that comes with the resignation of White House Chief of Staff (COS) Andrew Card. Anytime we can jettison a piece of Bushcrony crap, it’s a good thing. Having said that though, his resignation also leads to this...

Heckle: to a shake-up that isn’t really a shake-up (unless you’re one of the countless lemming running amok in this country right now). Replacing Card will be Josh Bolten, who currently works for the Bush Administration... but in a different capacity. Some within the administration are touting this as the first salvo in a massive “second-term overhaul, others think that if you are trying to shake things up, you don’t bring someone in from another part of the administration. This can be seen one of two ways; Card getting the hell out of Dodge before the you-know-what really hits the fan… or he was pushed out because he is starting to garner too much attention with PlameGate. Stay tuned…

Applaud: to more telling it like it is. This time it comes from CNN’s Lou Dobbs, currently traveling abroad with Bush in Mexico. Long and short of it, Dobbs stated that President Bush and Congress are defying the people's will. I could explain it more, but I feel pointing you to the actual article (HERE) and urging you to read it works better in this situation.

Heckle: to bringing up painful memories of the past. I understand the need to release the 911 tapes from the September 11th terrorist attacks to the families that lost loved ones on that day… what I don’t like is the way the media is playing them over and over and over. Leave it for the families… please.

Applaud: Former US national security advisor (under Jimmy Carter) Zbigniew Brzezinski has put together a four-point plan for the United States to withdraw from Iraq with a plan that would allow BushCo to extricate gradually in Iraq, “without victory, but also without defeat.” Let’s hope the Bush Administration listens and heeds what we at TBWA always say… show respect and practice tolerance for those who disagree with them… and listen to others who may have some very good and very practical ideas. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for that to happen, but I won’t hold my breath, lest I lose consciousness.

Heckle: to piss-poor planning and calculation. The Bush administration announced Thursday that the cost of rebuilding New Orleans's levees to federal standards had been miscalculated and has now tripled to $10 billion. So far Congress has only approved $2 billion for the rebuilding effort and will next week will consider a White House request for an additional $1.5 billion. Local leaders are stating that the federal government is backing away from its promise to rebuild the area to better protect it from future storms. The even worse news is that the start of the 2006 hurricane season is only 2 months away and this season is forecast to be as nasty as last season. Now do you want the punch line? Because of the ballooning costs, there may not be enough money to fully protect the entire region now. Brilliant… absolutely fuc**** brilliant! Just keep kicking them while they’re down and hope they leave…

Applaud: to the release of hostage Jill Carroll. No smart-ass comments, no ‘snark’, just a big sigh of relief. We’ll ignore her comments that she was ‘treated well’ by her kidnappers and attribute it to Stockholm Syndrome. But… this incident does illicit one:

Heckle: to Don “Old Fart” Imus’ sidekick (or lackey if you want to get technical) for comparing Carroll, on the air, to a suicide bomber. Want to read the exchange? Click HERE. Sounds as though even Imus, who is just this side of senility, is aghast at what his co-host and producer are saying.

Applaud: To Snark-filled radio – Liberal style. Today marks the 2nd Anniversary of the liberal radio network Air America. Remember that conservatives? The network you all claimed would shut down after 6 months. Today they're heard on 85 stations (& XM Satellite Radio) and you can stream their programming on the ‘internets.’ As BiPM said on his Daily Kos Cheer & Jeers diary today: “It's not just talk radio---it's crack for the reality-based soul.” ‘Karma, baby!’

Heckle: to an issue that will put ally vs. ally, family vs. family, and politicians vs. politicians. Immigration reform is gearing up to be THE hot-button issue for this years midterm elections and beyond. I am still in the middle of the road on this topic, seeing intelligent arguments being made on both sides. What I do know is that it will not go away soon… it will not go away quietly… and the debate will get louder and louder. All I can say about it now is… stay tuned.

Applaud: to the great city of Chicago, who announced that they may “buck” the feds on immigration and will not enforce any immigration law that criminalizes undocumented workers. Tip of the hat to Mayor Daley for standing up for one of your largest ethnic blocs… very, very smart.

Heckle: to SCJOTUS Antonin Scalia. Not for his decisions and opinions, but rather for… how do we say this… for acting like a street punk when he made an obscene gesture and said "Vaffanculo" (literally "Go get f'd up your ass")… did we mention there is photographic evidence? Did we mention it was in church? Nice...

Applaud: to not kowtowing to the current administration. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan rejected requests by the Bush-Cheney campaign to order the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to enforce tougher regulations on "527" political committees. In a ruling issued earlier this week, Judge Sullivan gave the FEC a choice: explain in detail why regulations are not needed… or begin proceedings to develop such rules. Nice… very nice ruling your honor…

Heckle: to nothing good can come of this. Iran announced that it had successfully test fired a new missile. Not only is this new missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, but is also claimed to be invisible to radar and is able to avoid anti-missile missiles (Patriot). They already have the Shahab-3 missile that is nuclear capable and can hit not only Israel but also U.S. bases around the Middle East and now they add another to thier arsenal. Clueless George has already lost all credibility here and overseas, so this will be interesting. Three words: cuban... missle... crisis...

Applaud: to even more in-fighting among the GOP (hee hee hee). Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) has been facing mounting criticism this week from fellow Republicans who have stated that he has proved to be an ineffectual leader whose legislative agenda was predicated by his ambitions for the Presidency. Rumbling about Frist were seen before, but have been exacerbated by his push to debate immigration reform, which some Republicans say put a spotlight on a hot-button topic that caused squabbling within the party. Frist is not a leader… he was placed in his current position of power due to lack of other options. He has a long history of looking out for himself and only caring about his own political ambitions. Now others, including some within his party, are starting to see that. (I think we can now say that his presidential ambitions are on life-support. Let’s hope President Bush can cut short his current trip and rush back to DC to save him… sarcasm is SO hard to convey in a blog)

Applaud: to getting what’s coming to you, and it’s only the beginning. Lobbysit extraordinarie Jack Abramoff, he of the disgraced lobbying fame, was sentenced earlier this week to nearly six years in prison for fraud. As we said on this blog earlier this week, this has nothing to do with his problems in DC… so it’s likely that he will receive more prison time… unless he starts naming names, which is always a possibility. (All together now: ‘Karma, baby!!’)

Heckle: to not knowing the difference between Iraq and Turkey. Howard Kallogian, a Republican candidate in the CA-50 special election, posted a picture on his campaign site (which you can see HERE on Daily Kos) which he claims he took in Bahgdad, in order to show the “good things” happening over there that are being ignored by the mainstream media (msm). Wow, that is a nice picture of Baghdad… except, wait a minute, the women are wearing shorts and t-shirts… that doesn’t sound right. Oh wait, that’s right; it’s not Bahgdad, it’s a suburb of Istanbul… which (hopefully this fact doesn’t really need to be pointed out) is in Turkey. The man is an idiot. The only thing more entertaining than this picture being seen as the fraud that it is? Watching Kallogian trying to spin the story. Karma, baby!

Applaud/heckle: I honestly can’t decide what this one should be classified as. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated in a speech today that the Bush administration has made "thousands" of tactical errors in Iraq. Well, duh. That statement alone would illicit an applaud, but then she had to add that history would judge the strategic decision of invading Iraq favorably… huh? Ya see, that makes me re-think that it’s an heckle. Sigh… I give up.

Applaud: to approaching milestones. We at TBWA have been posting and giving you our unique approach to politics since September 2005. Here we are, the last day of March and we are very, very close to 10,000 visitors… that’s right… 10,000. It boggles the mind...

That's all we got, what are you Applauding and Heckling as this week (and the month of March) comes to an end?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

25 years ago today...

Even today, 25 years later… I remember where I was and how I was told. I was 7, attending a Catholic grade school (the only option at that time in the little town where I resided outside of St Louis), and the Priest came in and told us what had happened.

I believe in showing respect and practicing tolerance for those who disagree with me. Having said that, I may not agree with his policies as President… and I may not respect him as a politician… but he was a good man (though only a so-so actor) who I respected as a person. Reading this article from the Washington Post will take you back and make you think, and I highly suggest everyone take a gander...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

'Arbitrary' Political Thoughts for a Wednesday Afternoon

It is with a heavy heart that we at TBWA announce the resignation of Random Political Thoughts for a Wednesday Afternoon. RPTFAWA has served us well, but in an attempt to shake things up a bit, we at TBWA feel comfortable with a change. After an exhaustive search that spanned 1 day, we found our choice to fill this position within our own ranks, not venturing far from the blogosphere. So it is with great honor that we present to you; Arbitrary Political Thoughts for a Wednesday Afternoon.

The Democratic National Security Plan. Seems as though the Democratic leadership has been listening to us at TBWA (… along with every other Liberal site) as Congressional Democrats are set to unveil a national security plan today that looks to “eliminate” Osama bin Laden, “immediately implement” the 9/11 Commission recommendations (wow, there’s a concept for ya) and an all-encompassing increase in security, both domestically and abroad. This marks the first major plan provided by Democrats on national security (in what can only be coincidentally in a midterm election year). Strategists hope the ever-deepening discontent with Bush and the Republican-led Congress will lead to Democratic gains in November. (Fingers crossed, but, this almost smells of desperation, but I’ll withhold my final analysis until I hear every detail)

Card shuffling. The resignation of COS Andrew Card is being seen in some circles as the start of a “second-term overhaul.” Others think that if you are trying to shake things up, you don’t bring someone in from, literally, ‘across the street’. I could see hiring someone from outside the current administration to shake things up, but someone who is already working, in some capacity, in the Administration is not shaking things up… it’s simply changing times for their depositions in the Libby and/or Abramoff trials.

This week’s shameless Op-Ed Plug. Read this gem from WaPo columnist David Ignatius. Hopefully, the leaders of the Democratic Party read it as well.

An ‘outside’ chance? Nope. Earlier this week the Senate voted down (67-30) the plan to set up an independent office that would investigate any ethics complaints against Senate members. This clears the way to pass a broad-based ethics and lobbying bill this week.that would be overseen and ran by… can you guess? That’s right, the Senate itself. Well sure, having an outside office overseeing corruption and ethics lapses would force them to be… well… ethical… and we can’t have that now, can we? Note to all the Senators on BOTH sides of the aisle: It will catch up to you all, via a little something we at TBWA like to call, ‘Karma, baby!’

More card shuffling. Andrew Card’s replacement as Chief of Staff (COS), Josh Bolten, is a Bush loyalist (read: crony) who is known up and down K-Street as someone who is modest, competent and non self-promoting. Unmarried, Bolten likes to unwind by riding his Harley, bowling in the White House alley, or singing with his band, Deficit Attention Disorder. (Yeah… seems as though someone is trying too hard to prove he’s not a geek, but we all know better, don’t we?) See a few earlier posts by Scott and me for more on this train-wreck waiting to happen.

The antagonizing continues. Just when you thought “President” Bush couldn’t antagonize Iraq any more, he goes and surprises you. The American ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, told Shiite officials that the President doesn’t want Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to stay as the country's leader in the next phase of the Iraqi government . Naturally, this is increasing the already tense relationship between the US and Shiite leaders, but why should that surprise anyone. Bush has shown, many times in the past, his elitism with foreign potentates and prime ministers…

Trailing… trailing… gone? A new poll shows that weeks of turmoil in Katherine Harris’ campaign have not hurt her popularity with the voters. The problem is, it hasn’t helped either. For nine months, Harris has HHatrailed her Democratic opponent, Sen. Bill Nelson, 35 percent to 51 percent. The new poll shows the same spread. What part of ‘we wouldn’t vote for you Katherine if you were the last politician on earth’ does she NOT understand??? Maybe she’s hoping the pity vote will catapult her to Washington… though that seems less and less likely with every give day. Remember her actions during the 2000 voting recount and her campaign for Congress? Seems Karma is coming back to bite her in the ass… big time.

Immigrants? What immigrants? The Senate will take up a (very) broad revision of the country’s immigration policies today, Wednesday. There are signs everywhere that point to the fact that conservatives may be ready to do a little give and take on efforts to give illegal immigrants new ways to gain lawful employment. Yeah, protest after protest after protest can have that effect on people… (editor's note: You noticed that we at TBWA have not taken a position as of yet on this issue, that is because we are not prone to knee-jerk reactionary thinking. While we agree that drastic reform is needed, we want to have more facts before rendering an opinion on what the proper reform should be.- Scott)

The 5th plane? Convicted al-Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui's said in court this past week that he (along with would-be "shoe bomber" Richard Reid) were to hijack a 5th airliner and fly it into the White House in the September 11,2001 terror attacks. This confession has now undermined his attorneys' arguments that he shouldn’t be sentenced to death. That seems unlikely now, and, being a Liberal who supports the death penalty in some cases, I say kill the fu****.

And this is only the beginning… Jack Abramoff, he of the disgraced lobbying fame, was sentenced today to nearly six years in prison for fraud. Nice. And btw, this has nothing to do with his dealings in Washington; this is all about the purchase of a Florida casino cruise line, so more prison time is likely on its way for the one-time ├╝ber-lobbyist. (All together now: ‘Karma, baby!!’)

Son of a bi***. Want outrage of a Republican lying to make things in Iraq look rosier than they are? Then trot on over to Daily Kos and check out this tasty tidbit. Im – be –cile.

Put the resolution down and take 1 step back. Due to this week’s FEC decision that the nation's new campaign finance laws won’t apply to most political activity on the internet, House Resolution (HR) 1606 has been put away by the House leadership. The resolution isn’t completely derived of life, but it has been locked away for now, to which I give a Homer Simpson-esque ‘Whoo-hoo!’

Downing Street Memo: The Sequel. In the weeks leading up to the US-led invasion of Iraq, “President” Bush offered up an ultimatum to Saddam Husein: Disarm or face war. The story behind closed doors was very different as Dubya was positive that war was certain. During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, Bush stressed to British Prime Minister Tony Blair that he was determined to invade Iraq even if the arms inspectors failed to find WMD’s, second resolution be damned. This all according to a confidential memo about the meeting written by one of Blair's top foreign policy advisers. (editor's note: I've said it since before the 'war' began, Bush came into office looking for an excuse, 'any' excuse to invade Iraq. My feeling is that he was looking to get even for making daddy a 'one-termer'- Scott)

Take them as you will…

We changed the first mate but the 'ship' is still sinking

This morning on the Today Show, Mary Matalin was discussing the resignation of Andrew Card as White House Chief of Staff and commented that this White House has been historic in the things that they have accomplished. In her words we have a “robust economy” (the average American is still waiting for that to arrive) and made the comment that Bush is a ‘big, bold President’. (maybe a big, bold liar..)

Of incoming Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, she commented that he has a long time girlfriend but brings his mother to White House events. She said of Josh, “He’s a good boy”. (Wow I guess any other credentialing aside, that is a stamp of approval that we were all looking for on an advisor to the President)

Like was said yesterday by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), "Simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic by replacing Andy Card with Josh Bolten without a dramatic change in policy will not right this ship" . How right you are Senator….

Demonstrating that the HUGE shortcomings of this administration are not lost on the youth of this country, we want to give a shout out to Shelley! We at TBWA applaud a teenager with the ability to think for themselves. It’s also nice to know that we are one of her favorite websites. Like we have said before, spread the word-tell a friend about us. Oh, by the way Shelley, we are not sure if Dubya has difficulty with counting, but yes, we would agree with you about the lying part.

Later...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Aw crap...

You can put this under the ‘This can’t be good’ file.

Undercover investigators (in a report by the Government Accountability Office, or GAO, the Congressional watchdog) put radioactive material in the trunks of cars and drove to Canadian and Mexican border checkpoints on Dec. 14, 2005. When Homeland Security radiation detectors went off, the investigators gave the border agents falsified government licenses and receipts. Agents searched the cars, reviewed the documents and promptly gave the investigators the ‘wave through’ and the OK to bring the materials into the US.

Some solace can be taken in the fact that the Homeland Security Department's equipment worked properly, but that goes for naught when the agents (who, according to the report, acted in the way they were trained) let them in anyway.

The GAO also criticized the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for failing to require companies that sell radioactive material to verify who is buying it, with the report stating that there is no way for border agents to verify NRC licenses or other documents.

A NRC spindoc- , sorry, I meant 'spokesman,' said the GAO bought a small amount of radioactive material (is any amount 'small' when talking about radioactive materials?) and stated that the company selling it wouldn't have been required to ask for proof of licensing from buyers because the amount of material purchased was too small to pose a safety or security threat.

(Now, I see a quite a few problems with all of this; first, the fact that the investigators were able to bring the materials into the country in the first place is troubling. Second, that the radioactive materials were purchased so damn easily. Third, that the NRC would respond so flippantly about the ease of purchase of radioactive materials. Yes, the amounts they bought were small, but the fact remains, they were able to make up a company name and get the materials, and if someone did that enough, they would be able to amass enough to make something that would pose a safety or security threat)

Or, to borrow a line from my esteemed colleague, am I oversimplifying this too much?

A new hand has been dealt at the White House

This week just got interesting…

With debate about immigration reform continuing (I am currently conflicted about this and have not yet formed an intelligent opinion. If you want knee-jerk reaction to this story, look to a Republican), the GOP received some news today that may make their week go by a little faster and make them forget about that for, at least, a minute or two.

White House chief of staff Andy Card resigned today, and will be replaced by Joshua Bolten, who for the last three years was the director of the Office of Management and Budget. Bolten was praised by Bush who called him a man with broad experience on Wall Street and in Washington.

Bush announced the changes that are coming amid escalating calls for a White House/ Administration shakeup during a nationally broadcast appearance in the Oval Office

(Nice… the putz didn’t even have the balls to have a real press conference… lest anyone ask him a question. This action of having an Oval Office press conference gives this WaPo story absolutely NO credence whatsoever… Dubya is not making any inroads with all the media. There are still some out there, quite a few actually, who see the man and his actions for what they truly are. Want an example? WH Press Corps Icon Helen Thomas. He’s may be making inroads with the Post, but that’s because they have been a Bush Mediawhore for years… but I’m getting severely off subject)

Standing stoically as Bush lauded his years of service, Card, gripping the podium like it was a life preserver, stated in his farewell: “You're a good man, Mr. President.” (Andy, I think you can stop sucking up to him now…)

During a presidency, especially in its second term, it's not unusual for top-level staff to change. What’s interesting in this case is that up until last week, the President was insisting (stubbornly some, including myself, would say) that a shake-up was not in the… cards… (sorry, I can never resist a bad pun)

The fact that Bush has all of a sudden accepted Card’s resignation shows (yet again) that this President is weak and that his administration seems to be on wobbly legs. Add to that the fact Bush has been forced to listen to some very scared GOP leaders who are being threatened with losing their majority status come November’s midterm elections.

There are also parallels between Card and Scooter Libby, the Vice-President's Chief of Staff who resigned because of the Valerie Plame/CIA scandal. Card is in the midst of another scandal, that of warrantless domestic spying. Why? Let’s keep in mind that it was Card (along with current AG Alberto “Torture is Fun” Gonzales) who went to former AG, Singin’ John Ashcroft's, hospital bed in 2004 to get the approval to keep the (illegal) program alive.

I'm sure the conservative pundits, like Michelle “Insert own nickname here” Malkin or Ann “Rhymes-with-Witch” Coulter, will be aflutter about how this shake-up is going to help invigorate the President's second term.

No matter how you slice it, it’s still baloney as there is no way, no matter how much ‘new (old) blood’ Bush brings in, to prevent him from going down in history as the worst president to ever hold office.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Poll Position

It’s that time of the month (no, not that time), it’s that time of the month where we at TBWA change our bi-weekly poll and announce the results of the previous poll.

The last poll question posted was: What do you think of the Presidents low approval ratings?

Well, it’s obvious that all of you definitely have an opinion on this subject as this question drew a heavy response from our readers. In fact, it has drawn the largest number of votes since we started doing the poll…thank you.

Here are the results:

Coming in last, each with 1% of the vote, are people who either don’t care about the President’s ratings or those who are certain his numbers will bounce back (I, personally, hope they do not…)

3% of respondents wanted us to know that they were upset about the ratings and were curious if they were only polling Liberals (BTW, to the 3% of you who voted for that – no, they didn’t just poll Liberals… sorry. I’m not really sorry, but that looks better than writing nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah)

16% don’t think that polls mean anything. To that we say, ‘wake up and smell 21st century politics people)

19% believe that it’s karma firmly biting Bush in the ass that are causing his approval-ratings downfall. Those of you who are regular readers of this blog know that we are ALL about the Karma…

Having said that, the winner, with a vast majority of you selecting it (60% of you to be exact), is that President Bush is going to go down in history as the: Worst. President. Ever. (sorry to trot out an overused and trite bloggerism like that)

That’s all I got. Scott and I thank all of you who took the time to vote. Our new poll is up, so take a moment and vote for the new question: Do you agree with the FEC's decision to not regulate political activity on the Internet?

The Week Ahead

Things to pay attention to and keep an eye (or two) on this week…

  • As more and more information on this comes out, it's sure to make this week very, very interesting. It seems there is a new memo rattling around out there that (allegledly) shows that Herr Bush was intent on invading Iraq in January 2003 (personally I think it goes back even further than that – like when Daddy lost his re-election bid, but that’s just my opinion…). He was intent even though the White House had knowledge that Saddam Hussein had no WMD’s. ‘Nuff said.
  • The Federal Election Commission (FEC) decided today, in a 6-0 vote, that the nation's new campaign finance law won’t apply to most political activity on the Internet with the commission deciding to regulate only paid political ads placed on another person's Web site. Good times.
  • The public is losing confidence in the war… and losing faith in lawmakers that supported it (expect to see more backpeddaling on this – by both Democrats & Republicans – than there was on XX) Experts believe “this might mark a turning point in public perception” and may help the Dems in November’s mid-terms. As we’ve said on this site before… this will work to our advantage only if the Dems in power can strike a single chord and agree on one message and one strategy. Get it in gear already guys…
  • The last few weeks have seen some (very) large rallies in major towns across the US to show support to immigrants. All this while lawmakers confront legislation aimed at curbing illegal immigrants. This could very well be THE biggest story to keep an eye on this week as there are sure to be more rallies, more debate and more bickering. Stay tuned…
  • Pressure is mounting on politicians to make full disclosure of any and all dealings with lobbyists… the proposals being made are also demanding they be held accountable. Yeah, like that’s gonna work…
  • Continue to keep an (very close) eye on Jack Abramoff this week. A judge has approved subpoenas for him and one of his (many) business partners to answer questions about the mob-style slaying of Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis a few months after the Abramoff and his partner bought SunCruz Casinos from him. (Well, that story does go along with the Mob-look that Abramoff is going for with the black trench coat and black fedora…)
  • This is important news to monitor if you’re a convervative looking for a job… News is coming out that First Lady Laura Bush goes through staff faster than the rise in Dick Cheney’s bloodpressure if his motel-room TV isn’t set to Fox ‘News” (even faster than her husband… I know there’s a sexual performance joke in there somewhere, but I’ll refrain from that today) Well hell, would you want to work for that ball-busting, you-know-what?? Remember her steel glance at Corretta Scott King’s funeral?? I think I would prefer to work for Ann Coulter or Michele Malkin… ok, that’s a lie, but you get the general idea.
  • As always, keep an eye on the weekly goings-on of Smilin’ Tom DeLay. On tap this week? One of his former aides has been enriching himself through a non-profit agency. The judge presiding over his trial is expected to decide on the motion before the court about whether a felony charge of conspiracy to violate the Texas Election Code should be reinstated against DeLay.
  • One last thing to keep an eye on this week is the trial of September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. He’s taking the stand today in his sentencing trial that will determine whether he is executed or not, so things could get interesting as this week continues.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Weekly Rewind

Hi folks. Well, it’s Friday at The “Bush”-Whacked Administration… actually it’s Friday everywhere unless you are on the other side of the international dateline where it is Saturday, but I digress. As I was saying, it’s Friday and that means it is time for The Weekly Rewind.

Normally Kemp and I trade off the rewind from week to week. However we will send each other e-mails with snippets of stuff that we want to make sure gets into that weeks post.

Well this week’s rewind is truly a collaborative effort. My sister and her son’s have flown in from Idaho and are staying with me for the week. We have a surprise birthday party on Saturday that will last almost all day and into the evening and my nephews baptism on Sunday for which I have been asked to serve as Godfather, dinner of course follows. And this weekend I also have my son with me. So this weekend I will have absolutely no spare time. My thanks to Kemp for a big assist with this weeks snippets. I couldn't have done it without you pal!

Here is this weeks somewhat abbreviated Rewind-

Applaud: to WaPo columnist E.J. Dionne. This is an absolute must-read as he shrewdly matches Dubya's press conference rhetoric on Katrina relief with reality, then neatly sums up the Orwellian nature of the GOP. (As Bill on Daily Kos stated: don't read if your head is prone to popping off your body)

Heckle: On this date in 1989, Captain Joseph Hazelwood (aka: Captain Morgan) was catching forty winks (drinking a lot on the job will do that to ya) while his tanker, the Exxon Valdez, was running aground and spilling 11.3 million gallons of crude all over the Alaskan coast.

Applaud: to a prelude of things to come. This weeks primaries saw a large number of democrats take leading roles in preparation of the November general election. One local election recognized at a national level is that of Iraq war veteran and Democratic hopeful Tammy Duckworth of Illinois. She is running to fill the seat of retiring House member Henry Hyde. Way to go Tammy!!

Heckle: The Washington Post has touched off a furor (and rightfully so) by hiring and then firing (ok so he resigned…yeah right) a 24-year-old former Bush administration aide who co-founded a conservative site to be one of their bloggers. Two things to take away from this; he once (and recently) referred to Coretta Scott King as a "communist" and he is also, as some liberal blogs ( here and here) have unearthed, is a rampant plagiarist. Oh by the way he “resigned” due to the plagiarism. As my esteemed colleague would say, Karma Baby! What, they can’t hire y Kemp and I !?!?

Applaud: to abandoning a sinking ship. Another staffer has jumped ship from the Katherine “I steal elections and get make-up tips from Tammy Faye” Harris campaign for Senate in Florida. So many long term staffers have left the campaign she needs to install a revolving door. She is running against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and last week said she would fund her campaign with $10 million inherited from her father. Talk about throwing good money after bad…

Heckle: to Fox "News" anchor Neil "I'm as annoying as O'Reilly" Cavuto. Recent headlines splashed on his show: " Does Hollywood treat Albinos worse than conservatives?" " Hillary: Jesus Wants Illegal Immigrants in America?" and "All Out Civil War In Iraq: Could It Be A Good Thing?" Stupidity is a dangerous thing...

Applaud: to a Republican stand out. This week the Senate Parliamentarian gave Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) authority for presiding over Senate efforts to create legislation that would legalize (and hopefully reign in) the Presidents current NSA eavesdropping program. Senator Specter has been a very outspoken critic of the administration on many issues. While we don’t always agree with the Senator we must admit that more often than not we find that we are all on the same side of an issue. Keep up the good work!

Heckle: to Dick’s Inner Diva. Dick ‘Dead Eye’ Cheney outranks rapper Busta Rhymes on his list of must-haves when traveling. Among the items on the ‘list’ seems the V.P. needs a pot of freshly made Decaf Coffee (decaf-what’s the point?), the room temperature set to exactly 68 degrees, and every television in the hotel suite set to ‘Fox News’ ... cause they’re so fair and balanced (it’s so hard to express sarcasm in the written form!). What no bowl of only green M&M’s?? By the way, Busta requests a bottle of Moet champagne, a bucket of KFC and ribbed condoms. Nothing says ‘let’s get it on’ like some Moet and a bucket of chicken!! (once again, sarcasm is so difficult in the written form)

Ok folks, I have got to get some sleep as morning is going to be here before I know it.

Be good, stay informed….later.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The secret is out

Want the secret to a longer life… just like Vice President Dick “Dead Eye” Cheney?

Diet Caffeine-Free Sprite (there’s a manly drink for ya), Caffeine-free coffee (I mean really, what’s the friggin’ point of caffeine-free coffee?), Perrier water (though this is only if Mrs. Cheney is traveling with him – and really, how often does that happen anymore?) and Fox “News”.

I guess the latter is so you can keep tabs on any new investigations of GOP party-members (btw, don’t you just love that Duke Cunningham is getting into more trouble while awaiting his prison term? Makes me smile a little), your party’s attempt to create a ‘civil’ debate about immigration (the words ‘civil’ and 'debate' coming from the mouth of a Republican makes me laugh) or a columnist from Bush-Media Whore the Washington Post going against the grain and perfectly matching-up the “President’s” press conference rhetoric on Katrina relief with reality (must read the article… must read the article… must read the article…trust me, it’ll make ya think... and quite possibly make your head explode as well)

You, yes, even you; with your extra pounds, love of fried-foods, addiction to caffeine, and unwillingness to throw away the Constitution can live a long and healt- (wait, how many heart attacks has he had?) life just like ‘Dead Eye’ Cheney.

Seems whenever the VP has to stay somewhere he has a longer list of demands than Brittany Spears (who reportedly wants absolutely no music made or performed by her husband to be played) or Tom Cruise (no questions about Scientology or couch-jumping) including all the things listed above, plus a suite with a king- or queen-size bed and a connecting parlor (pleasure cabin perhaps?... or maybe he uses it for attor--, I mean skeet, shooting), and strict orders to the hotel staff that when he arrives, all lights should be turned on, a freshly brewed pot of decaf should be waiting, and the room should be set at 68 degrees, with "all televisions tuned to FOX News.”

And, just so you all know, if the hotel would like to leave a gift in the suite, please let the vice president's office know in advance so they can check it to make sure it’s nothing that will agitate his ticker…

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Deja- Speech ??

editors note: I am back....was out sick....you don't want to know about the things you can possibly catch from helping take care of folks in thier mid- 80's in a hospital. Thanks to Kemp for taking the helm for the past few days. Now I feel like posting.....

I began to think that I was the only one who thought that Clueless George was giving speech after speech but saying nothing new at any of them. At least I know I am not alone. It seems like George is looking for something to do with his final two years in office.

I mean after all he spent the past 3 years focused on one thing….war with Iraq. Now that the war posturing is falling down around him like a house built without nails in a windstorm, what else is there for him to focus on.

How about the economy (sucks), well then what about housing starts (at a slow down, new orders being cancelled), lets look at interest rates (on the rise), I know, what about jobs- (a lot of low hourly wage jobs replacing better paying salaried ones and by the way, many months we have lost more than we have created)

He has spent so much time and effort on war with Iraq that he and his cronies have totally lost touch with the average American and what we deal with on a day to day basis. (Not that they had any clue to begin with, but they have moved even farther out of touch with each passing day..)

For all his posturing and strutting now he tells us that our sons, daughters, fathers, wives, aunt and uncles will be in Iraq until the next president takes office. Well ain't that just great! If you listen to various statements and speeches made by people within the admininstration you could almost overlay them with statements and speeches made during the Vietnam War. Remember however that a number of high level administration cronies (Cheney and Rumsfeld for a start) were involved with administrations during the Vietnam War, so it’s no wonder that this one is turning out similar, with not only the same rhetoric but also no plan for either achieving victory or for getting our troops out.

SO what is George to do?? Give the same speech over and over and hope no one notices. Take the same posturing as he has for the past 3 years and hoep no one notices. by the way George, I noticed, and so are many other people.

How many days do we have to deal with this schmuck…. ah yes, only 1,033 till we can say “Farewell, and do let the door of Marine 1 hit you on the ass on the way out.”

Later...

Specter vs Roberts: This time it's political

Editor's note: for those of you wondering where my esteemed and distinguished colleague Scott has been, he’s been sick the last few days so the job of posting has solely fallen to yours truly. We wish Scott well and hope he is ready to once again dole out his brand of knowledge soon… because my hands are getting very, very tired...

While Iraq war veterans are winning primaries across the country (not good news for the GOP as a majority of them are Democrats – whoo-hoo!), and polling machines are crashing and burning in Cook County (a replay of 2000 looming? I certainly hope not), and Tom Delay’s lawyer’s are trying to expedite his trial (let’s expedite his sorry butt right into jail!) a handful of Republicans are running scared and acting as if they are afraid to act, let alone speak.

Not so for Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA). Specter, an outspoken Republican critic of the Bush administration's eavesdropping program, will preside over Senate efforts to write the program into law, but he was pessimistic Wednesday that the White House would even listen, stating, in an AP interview, “They want to do just as they please, for as long as they can get away with it. I think what is going on now without congressional intervention or judicial intervention is just plain wrong.” (Brilliantly put Mr. Specter)

Specter has been the most vocal Republican critic, and one of the first to publicly question the NSA’s authority to monitor international calls without getting court approval beforehand.

Under the program (which was first disclosed, accidentally, last year) the NSA has been conducting the surveillance when calls and e-mails are thought to involve al-Qaida… (or al-Queada… or al-quiada… however you wish to spell it)

Senate Intelligence Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) had expressed interest in handling NSA legislation as well, but the Senate Parliamentarian gave Specter authority over it last week.

(A good thing, or at least a better thing in my eyes as Sen. Roberts has not been as incensed by the plan as Specter has. In fact, it could be argued that Roberts supports the plan and doesn’t want any legislation. Also, it’s fairly well known on K-Street that Roberts – who according to the linked article was unhappy that his committee was bypassed – is a Bush Crony in the highest order)

There are two different bills out there that would provide more checks and balances on the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program.

Specter is the author of one of the bills, which would require a secretive federal intelligence court to conduct regular reviews of the program's constitutionality. Specter’s bill would also require the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) to provide a broad constitutional review of the surveillance activities every 45 days and evaluate whether the government has followed previous authorizations that are issued.

The other bill was written, not coincidentally by another Bush crony, by Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) That bill would allow the government to conduct warrantless surveillance for up to 45 days before seeking court or congressional approval. If at any moment during that time the attorney general has enough information to go to the intelligence court, he has to.

This is welcome news because it’s doubtful that the Bush administration will cancel the warrantless spying program, so a few checks and balances within the program is definitely needed.

Having said that, it should be noted that neither of the bills holds the President accountable for his lawlessness or protects the 4th Amendment.

The real problem is that Specter's bill poses a snag for the President: the FISA court may rule the program is unconstitutional. That’s why Bush lapdog Roberts is so eager to have any legislation funneled through his Committee, so it can be altered so it poses no threat to the President.

And no, you're not seeing things and hell is not freezing over, we are praising Specter (in a roundabout kind of way) on this blog.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Random Political Thoughts for a Wednesday Afternoon

I don’t wanna do Random Political Thoughts for a Wednesday Afternoon today… I’m tired… and cranky… and my fingers hurt… can’t someone else do it??

What? He said that??

That son of a bi—… ok, where’s my computer??

Here we go…

Two more years! Two more years! President Bush said Tuesday that American forces will remain in Iraq for years (probably until, at the least, 2008) and that it will be up to a future president (Condi? Hillary? Russ? John? Kemp?) to decide when to bring them all home. But despite ever-dropping polls and a plethora of critics Dubya stated, “I'm optimistic we'll succeed. If not, I'd pull our troops out.” (Whatever. How old are people when they usually learn that simply ignoring a problem never makes it go away? Dumb-ass)

Do we have comprehension? In the same speech, Bush admited that the Iraq War is eating away at his political status. (Well… duh. Apparently the comprehension has gotten through the 17 layers of Bush's hard head, so let’s all welcome Commander Cuckoo-Bananas to the self-apparent fact that thousands of others realized months and months ago… dumbass)

About friggin’ time. Weeks after Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) made remarks about the nation’s chemical plants being a security risk, the Department of Homeland (In)Security has decided to do something about it. Homeland Security Secretary Michael “I won’t let the door hit me on the way out” Chertoff said that the nation must move rapidly to bolster protection of its chemical plants against a terrorist attack and urged Congress to adopt regulations that the industry has already largely endorsed. It’s strange… a few months ago the Bush Administration was against this… now, in a move that can only be seen as a turnabout brought about by low approval ratings, the administration is now lobbying for regulations that senior administration officials worked privately to block shortly after the 9/11 attacks. Back then they said that voluntary measures would be sufficient. (Amazing what piss-poor approval ratings can do… isn’t it?)

The fat lady has sung… finally. The seven-year, $70 million Whitewater investigation officially came to an end earlier this week (Monday) when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the last remaining appeal from former Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker (Wow, if it took that long for this investigation to end, how long will it take for the investigation of Bush, who has done far-worse stuff than Clinton, take? 10 years? 15 years? One can only hope... fingers crossed, fingers crossed...)

Immigrant wars? Congressional elections are looming… now lawmakers on Capitol Hill are preparing for a major showdown over immigration reform. It should be known that this is an issue that carries an “explosive mix of national security concerns, social pressures, and financial realities”. Hard-line Republicans are demanding that the country tighten its borders and deport all undocumented immigrants with very few exceptions. President Bush and business interests want temporary work permits for people from other countries who break the law to fill jobs few Americans want. Some Democrats are joining with some Republicans to insist that those immigrants follow paths to legal US residency (wherever you may fall on this issue, I advise to keep close eyes on it as any changes will happen quickly as to avoid protests or anger)

The end is near? It’s been about a year since he took over from Tom “Duct-tape is our friend” Ridge at Homeland Security, so how is Michael “I miss Tom Ridge” Chertoff doing? Well, he’s getting a lot of the blame for the inadequate Hurricane Katrina response, the piss-poor supervision of the Dubai port deal and domestic defenses that remain, by most standards, incredibly weak. The White House is denying any calls for Chertoff to resign or be forced out, but calls for his dismissal are still being heard throughout Washington. (It’s hard to blame him for everything. After all, he did have help with his inadequacies and poor planning/execution, but he seems to be the likely scapegoat… be afraid whom Bush would pick as a replacement if it does happen)

DeLAY(ing) the inevitable? Travis County, Texas prosecutors will attempt to resurrect a dismissed indictment against U.S. Rep. “Smilin” Tom DeLay (R-TX). Lawyers will argue about the possibility that the trial judge erred when he dismissed an indictment accusing DeLay of conspiring to violate the state election code during the 2002 elections. The money-laundering indictment against DeLay is still there, but all criminal proceedings have been put on hold until the issue of the dismissed indictment can be resolved. (Just when he thought he could shimmy out of the charges, they're gonna pull him back in. 'Karma, baby!'

The tumble continues. U.S. Rep. Katherine “Makeup is my friend” Harris (R-FL) continued in her attempts to salvage her disastrous senate campaign by taking her message to national television. In an appearance on ABC News’ “Nightline” last night, Harris told John Donvan that she intends to sell all her personal assets in order to fund her campaign. Since she made the desperate and frantic pledge to put $10 million of her own money into the race, her people have made the phrase “putting everything on the line” a new campaign theme. (She just makes it too damn easy sometimes, doesn't she? This is a desperate attempt to save her campaign, and, if polls are any indication, will not work. Oh, well. Couldn't have happened to a nicer, wait, I meant, bitchier person...)

The real end? Basque separatist group ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna - Basque Country and Freedom) announced a permanent cease-fire today for its nearly four-decade long fight for independence in northern Spain and southwestern France in a printed statement and videotape that was given to Basque broadcast and print media. Analysts say a concerted police crackdown in recent years in Spain and France, along with the March 11, 2004 terror attacks in Madrid (carried out by Islamic extremists) helped to suppress the group. (Having had family directly affected by the actions of this group, I welcome the news… but I welcome it with a grain of salt and a wait-and-see approach)

Support Bush, get a Grant. Wow, am I shocked to learn this (hard to express sarcasm in the written word ya know). It seems grants flow freely to any group that Bush agrees with on Social Issues. For years conservatives have complained about the “liberal tilt” of federal grant money as taxpayer funds went to abortion rights groups and groups aligned with the AFL-CIO. Now, in the Bush administration millions of dollars in taxpayer funds have flowed to groups that support President Bush's agenda on abortion and other social issues. (Sigh… nothing I can say about this. When the Democrats regain power, liberal groups will be getting the money. Thee who controls the power, controls the wealth)

Lame duck or lame brain? You decide. President Bush “seems to be enjoying his swim,” as a lame duck. At least that’s what Dana Milbank writes in WaPo. Check out the whole story HERE.

Take them as you will...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The man is a schmuck...

Just when you thought Bush couldn’t antagonize or piss-off any more of our allies… he proves you wrong.

The latest ally to question the motives of the U.S. and, more specifically, ‘President’ Bush, is Russia, who lashed out earlier this week at a U.S. strategy document that was severely critical of Moscow's democracy record. In fact, the Russians said that the document sent alarming signals about the future of bilateral ties and the direction of Washington foreign policy.

A new national security strategy was published last week and it spelled out the administration’s concerns over Russian President Vladimir Putin and their belief that he is back-pedaling on the whole democracy thing and said the Kremlin's policies would shape the U.S.-Russian relationship.

The two-paragraph reference to Russia in the U.S. national security strategy specifically mentioned Moscow's policies in the Middle East and Asia as factors in influencing bilateral ties. (It’s no secret that Washington has been worried about Russia's ties with Iran, its attempts to boost its diplomatic presence in the Middle East by courting Syria, it’s courting of Hamas in the wake of its Palestinian election win and their very open dialog and offers to China, You can also add the close ties Moscow has with the newly elected President of Belarus, an election the U.S. is publicly questioning the legitimacy of)

Moscow thinks the U.S. is trying to promote themselves as the dominant power in post-Soviet states that, for the most part, fall within “Mother Russia's” sphere of influence.

How many years did it take our country to cultivate a goodwill relationship with Russia… now all that hard work is being destroyed in a few short years by Commander Cuckoo-Bananas.

Sigh…

The man is a schmuck...

Monday, March 20, 2006

Monday Morning Week Ahead

New feature (possibly) premiering today on TBWA as we present a list of things to keep in mind and keep an eye on as this week gets underway…

  • As the trial for September 11th conspirator Zacharias Moussaoui gets back on track, let’s remember to keep an eye on it and keep in mind that a few other terrorist court cases, according to the Washington Post, have been spoiled by “government misconduct, overzealousness, hyping of charges or just plain ineffectiveness.” (Lovely… this administration is supposedly all about protecting the country and its citizens, but they can’t do a relatively simple thing like manage a trial)
  • Tuesday is Election Day around the country and Scott and I urge you all to keep an eye on your state and local elections as they may give a small, yet still significant, clue on what will happen in November’s mid-terms. A few states, and races, to particularly be mindful of: the Illinois GOP primary and races in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Ohio, all of which were states that Bush carried before but now have a good chance of swinging over to Democrat.
  • It’s the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and Bush and his galloping murder of cronies still have their blinders on and are remaining optimistic about the country and the possibility of civil war. The Prime Minister of Iraq, Ayad Allawi, told the BBC earlier “If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is.” (I think the quote from Mr Allawi is all that needs to be said on this…)
  • There’s a huge GOP fundraiser in California tonight for Gov. Schwarzenegger that is expected to draw thousands of dollars for his re-election campaign. But the real show will be, and is expected to be, the event’s main speaker, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and his 2008 Traveling Presidential Bandwagon and Cavalcade. For months, McCain has been (quietly) piecing together the necessary parts to assemble a national campaign: lining up donors, courting his Senate colleagues, reaching out to social conservatives, earning IOUs from other politicians. Republican or not, I respect Senator McCain and think (especially if the Democrats can’t get behind a good, quality candidate) he would make an excellent President. Here’s a hint. Keep an eye on McCain in the next couple of years.
  • The Chicago Tribune has a story that states the next big clash between Liberals and conservatives will be over gay adoption.
  • Republican efforts to craft a single policy and political agenda to help carry the party into the midterm elections has stumbled repeatedly as GOP leaders face widespread disaffection and disagreement within the ranks. (This makes me happy. It would make me happier if the Democrats had themselves already decided on a single policy and political agenda to help carry them into the midterm elections…)
  • As the GOP struggles to get out from under the Jack Abramoff/lobbyist cloud, lobbyists themselves are predicting that it will be business as usual with no real changes happening in the way they do their jobs. How do they expect that? By anticipating ways to circumvent any congressional efforts to impose new restrictions on how they work. (Nice. They have essentially admitted that they will do whatever it takes to lobby politicians the way they always have, no matter what restrictions are put into place. That being said, the changes that the Republicans AND the Democrats are cultivating need to be aggressive, quick and wide-spreading, and will have to have real and serious repercussions when lobbyists violate the rules. Otherwise, as they just stated to anyone who reads a newspaper or watches the news on TV, they will find ways around the rules. BTW, any politicians who are caught dealing with these shady lobbyists will also have to be reprimanded with more than a slap on the wrist… think “Duke” Cunningham)

Stay tuned...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

And the embarrassments just keep on coming...

As if he hasn’t been suffering from enough embarrassment lately (though I am, personally, enjoying it immensely), now comes a few items today that may add more red-faced fuel to the already smoldering humiliation fire.

Two news items today caught my eye this morning, one from the Associated Press, another from the Washington Post.

WaPo is reporting that two advance men for Bush posed as reporters while they were scouting locations for an upcoming presidential visit.

Apparently the two advance men told a Mississippi couple that they were Fox News journalists (hmmmm, I wonder why they could have possibly chosen Fox News – as we’ve said on this site many, many times; it’s hard to express sarcasm in the written word) looking into a story about displaced Mississippians rebuilding their Katrina-damaged homes.

The men arrived on March 3 at the site of the beachfront home that Jerry and Elaine Akins are rebuilding in Gautier, Miss. They talked to the couple, asked them about rebuilding their house then, after they were done talking, the two men “approached us and they were laughing, and they said: 'You know, we really weren't with Fox. We're government, Secret Service men,’” this according to Elaine Akins.

Not surprisingly, the White House is a tad upset (those ethics classes really seemed to do the trick didn’t they?) and have promised a full investigation. The anger in the White House is exacerbated by the fact the two men are not, according to the Secret Service, employed by the Secret Service… so the real identity of the men is, as of now, unknown.

Another story that caught my eye this morning was one from the Associated Press that stated the trial of former White House aide, and Dick “Dead Eye” Cheney confidant, Scooter Libby is going to be a major embarrassment to not only the White House, but also the State Department… and this is coming from Libby’s lawyers, who are determined to make sure that their client does not become a BushCo patsy.

Court papers that were filed late yesterday (Friday) contain information that has raised the possibility that a trial could become politically embarrassing (fingers crossed) for the Bush administration by focusing on debate about whether the White House manipulated intelligence in order to validate the invasion of Iraq three years ago.

So here we have two perfect examples of how the Bush(Whacked) Administration is so completely focused on making things comfortable for King Bush that they are willing to lie to U.S. citizens (the advance men) and were willing to (apparently) compromise government workers (Libby et al) just so Bush can be the strong leader that he knows he never will be…

And add to that the state of Wisconsin is voting on the Iraq war (another embarassment in my opinion... I mean think about it, a state of the union voting against something that the "President" and his government have been championing for over three years) and, well, you have all the makings of another Nixonian-like political disaster...

I honestly don't know whether to weep for the future... or hold out hope for the future.

Stay tuned...

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Weekly Rewind: Green St Paddy's Day Edition

It’s Friday, St. Patrick’s Day.

In honor of that, we present to you the Official TBWA St. Patrick’s Day Weekly Rewind.


What makes it the Official St Patrick’s Day version?

It’s green (and by green I mean the lettering is green, not that it’s biodegradable)

Here we go:

Applaud: to ever-dropping polling numbers. His performance ratings are in the toilet, and now, support for his monst—, sorry, his ‘pet’, project of Iraq is falling faster than… well… his approval numbers.

Heckle: to “President” Bush. As if anyone needs a reason anymore. But we at TBWA will continue to say just on general principles alone.

Applaud: to great, late-night political snarks. This one comes from David Letterman: “Everybody excited about March Madness… the big NCAA tournament? Here's how it works: It starts at 65, then 64, then 32, then 16. It's just like Bush's approval rating.” [Rimshot!]

Heckle: to
Carla Martin for being dumb as a box of rocks. Harsh words, yes. But what else would you call coaching witnesses after being told not to coach witnesses and then jeopardizing the US case for the only person we can hold accountable for 9/11? Granted, it may have been an innocent faux-paus but it again demonstrates the ineptitude that seems to permeate all levels in Washington and all we can say to her is ‘duhhhhh’

Applaud: to General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Earlier this week, Dubya suggested that Iran was involved in making some of the roadside bombs that are being used in Iraq. General Pace says that statement was wrong and there is no evidence of that. Anytime someone in the administration goes against what King George says, they’re gonna get an applaud on this site. I am fairly certain though that that will not happen often.

Heckle: to all (but 3) of the Republicans in the Senate for passing a bill that would increase the debt of the US to almost $9 trillion… you saw that right; trillion. TRillion, with a ‘TR’… as in TRavesty… or TRouble… or TReachery

Applaud: to ALL the Democrats (yes, every single one of them), 3 Republicans and 1 Independent who voted against the bill that would increase the country's debt... nice show of unity there everyone! Keep it up!

Heckle: to Ann Coulter. Granted, just on general principles alone would work for this ball-busting, sorry-excuse-for-a-human-being, but this week we have a specific reason. She says the US should invade China and Iran immediately. With what, you? (Though the image of her coming at you would probably make anyone crawl-up into the fetal position and cry…)

Applaud: to White House Press Corp icon Helen Thomas. She has a book coming out June 20th entitled: “Watchdogs of Democracy? The Waning Washington Press Corps and How It Has Failed the Public”. Knowing her it’s gonna be great, but don’t take my word for it, here’s an excerpt from this weeks edition of The Nation.

Applaud: to Daily Kos founder Markos Zuniga and MyDD founder Jerome Armstrong for their book “Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics” I highly recommend it. Wanna read en excerpt? Here ya go.

Heckle: to even more worthless, and feeble, spin-speeches from Commander Cuckoo Bananas. This week he’s tried to put a positive spin on Iraq (not gonna happen) and on his disastrous (he calls it “terrific”) Medicare program. Give it up already Dubya… more and more people (and getting higher by the minute) do not believe a damn word you say.

Applaud: to Jessica Simpson (did I just write that?) for balking at attending a GOP Fundraiser. Mindless bimbo act or not… that was a thing of beauty.

Applaud: to Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) for finally showing some Democrat backbone and taking a step forward. This past week the Senator called for a censuring of President Bush over the domestic spying issues. Republicans, of course, jumped all over this as a publicity stunt, but whatever Feingold's motive, isn't it about time that someone in congress said what the American public is thinking. Way to go Russ! Now if all Democrat’s could get on the same damn page we’d be in business.

Heckle: to Dubya’s choice to replace disaster-in-a-dress Gale Norton. He’s tapped Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne as his choice to be the new Secretary of the Interior. Let’s review Dirk’s career…he fought to open national forests to logging, mining, and oil and gas drilling and also worked to weaken water safety and endangered species laws. Yeah, he fits into the Bush-Crony model perfectly; I mean… who needs safe drinking water anyway? (It’s so hard to express sarcasm in the written word)

Applaud: to Republican in-fighting and GOPirritationwith President Bush. What more can be said? The GOP fighting amongst themselves can only help the Democrats in the long run; and as long as Bush continues to do things for himself and ignore the party, this little party-spat will continue well into the mid-terms… high-fives all around!

Heckle: to Katherine “2000 election? What 2000 election?” Harris (R-FL). She is staying in the Florida Senate race even though she is embroiled in an ethics case amid questions about her ties to a defense contractor who has been implicated in Washington influence-buying. Due to that, and because her campaign is flailing like a fish out of water, she announced earlier this week that she is contributing $10 million of her own money to help with her campaign. The best way to describe this: ‘Stupid is as stupid does’

Applaud: to the death of a Tyrant. Earlier this week, former Yugoslavian 'Dictator' Slobodan Milosevic was
found dead in his cell at The Hague. On trial for crimes against humanity from the Kosovo war and charges of genocide in Bosnia, his trial may have not concluded and reached a verdict, but many people feel, that with his death, justice has finally been served.

Heckle: to the first-ever meeting of the Iraqi parliament earlier this week. Why a heckle? It lasted for a total of 30 minutes (though that would match Bush’s attention span) with the members getting sworn in (barely) and nothing else getting accomplished. Way to go.

Applaud: to Operation Swarmer. Here’s to hoping it actually accomplishes something…

Applaud: to news we already had a feeling was true, but of which we now have validation of. The GAO has completed an audit on government contracts for Katrina relief. Wanna know the "surprise?" (again, it's so hard to express sarcasm in the written word)... the goverment wasted millions of dollars in its awarding of Post-Katrina contracts. (I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!)

That’s all I have this week. Have a safe and Happy St. Patrick's Day and a good weekend. What are you applauding and heckling this week?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I'll see your bet and raise you $781 billion...

The U.S. Senate has approved a bill that will allow the government to borrow another $781 billion… it should be known that this would raise the national debt limit to nearly $9 trillion.

You read that right… not a ‘m’, not a ‘b’, but a ‘tr’… as in TRILLION…

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg (R-NH) confessed "It's hard to understand what a trillion is. I don't know what it is."

Brilliant... absolutely brilliant...

Why was the bill approved? Well, the Bush Administration would tell you it was needed in order to forestall a possible government default on their debt later this month.

(Intelligence would tell you it was to cover the expenses for the Iraq war and all the other Bush-blunders this country has had to put up with…though I am sure the possibility of defaulting on the debt is a valid reason… but I also think we all know why we’re even in the position to default on our debts in the first place...)

The voting was, not surprisingly, broken down in partisan lines with 52 voting for and 48 voting against. Every single Democrat (Every. Single. One.) voted against imposing this financial burden on working Americans with three Republicans (you saw that right... three Republicans) voting with them; Conrad Burns (R-MT), John Ensign (R-NV), and Tom Coburn (R-OK).

The measure (btw, this is the fourth time the cap has been raised since 2002) now goes to Commander Cuckoo Bananas for his signature, which I assume he can do on his own…

If voters want change, if they want adults controlling the nation's wallet, then the only party that can restore fiscal sanity is the Democratic Party.

While Democrats are united (at least there's one thing we can be united in) in reigning in the out-of-control and reckless spending of this President, the GOP couldn't care less about the country's financial security as the "rubber-stamp Republicans" have increased the government's debt four times since President Bush took office , adding an additional $2.23 trillion cushion.

This comes at the same time as the U.S. military (in association with the Iraq “military”, such as it is) opens up an air campaign (named: Operation Swarmer) against insurgent strongholds in Northern Iraq and at the same time that Dubya restates the doctrine of preemptive war that allows war against terrorists and hostile states with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons (cuz it worked SO well in Iraq…)

The downward spiraling of our beloved country continues…

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Random Political Thoughts for a Wednesday Afternoon

Psst… buddy. Hey… do you know what today is?

It’s Wednesday, which can only mean one thing… Random Political Thoughts for a Wednesday Afternoon… spread the word.

Timelines? We don’t need no stinkin’ timelines. Ya know, for a person who dislikes timelines, he uses them effectively. ‘President’ Bush vowed for the first time yesterday to turn over most of Iraq to newly trained Iraqi troops by the end of 2006 as he kicked off yet another meager attempt to reassure Americans about the War in Iraq along with the recent burst of sectarian violence. Dubya, who until now has shown a strong disdain for any sort of Iraq War timeline (even after it had lagged on longer than he, or anyone else in the administration, had expected) spoke of the target date earlier this week. (Brilliant… about friggin time. The only thing many people, including myself, wanted was a timeline of US troop withdrawal… now we have it and now it becomes a waiting game to see if Dubya was telling the truth or if this is a pitiable attempt to calm fears amid drastically falling polling numbers… stay tuned)

Snnnyyyxxxx…. Many of the president's top aides have been by his side for more than five years (that’s not including the first campaign, the [cough-cough] “recount” and transition) According to insiders, the people inside the White House are physically drained, emotionally exhausted and mentally spent (that was a short trip) after being battered by scandal and drained by political setbacks. All I can say is… ‘Karma, baby!

When stamina falls, bring in fresh blood. A move is stirring among friends and confidantes of President Bush to persuade him to bring in (at least) one seasoned Republican veteran (or an “adult” as others have called for) to help his struggling staff. Clinton did it, Regan did it, but so far Bush is ignoring it. (This reminds me of the plot device that TV shows use when they bring in new kids when the other kids start getting too old… ya know, like The Cosby Show did. I can see it now… Bush, in an attempt to make his administration look younger and refreshed will bring in either Dan Quayle for that youthful, boyish feel or Bob Dole for that old coot, forgetful feel)

Traipsing across the country. Once again, President Bush is canvassing the nation in a feeble attempt to promote his Medicare Prescription plan. Yesterday, Bush and his entourage traveled to a western New York town to kick off a two-day administration effort to promote the new benefit that saw Bush urging senior citizens to enroll and stating the plan was ‘a good deal.’ Never mind the widespread confusion o date, 26 million senior citizens have signed up for the benefit. Not only has the benefit reduced drug costs for most enrollees, but federal costs for the plan are also running 20 percent lower than projected, he said.

What kind of an idiot is this attorney? A judge has barred a key government witnesses from testifying at the death penalty trial of Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. In a ruling handed down yesterday, the judge stated that the misconduct of a federal lawyer had so tainted the proceedings that all evidence concerning aviation security must be stricken from the records. Turns out the attorney, after numerous orders not to coach any witnesses… coached the witnesses. What an idiot… now the entire case against the one person who can be held accountable for 9/11 is in danger of being erased. Stupid is, as stupid does.

A call for censure. Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI) has called for a formal censure of President Bush for (according to some) clearly violating a federal statute regulating domestic surveillance. I’ve posted about this issue already this week, and still am not sure of Feingold’s motives… but I stand by what I said earlier this week; it’s time for the Democrats to unite and strike a single voice and a single message as, once again, opportunity is knocking and we’re all acting like it’s a traveling salesman at the door rather than a golden chance to DO something.

Liars, liars pants on fire? The Dubai-owned company based out of the UAE, remember them, the ones who had promised to surrender its U.S. port operations, has no immediate plans to sell its U.S. subsidiary's interests at Miami's seaport. Sigh… just when you think this story is done, it comes back…

President rants, General recants. Earlier this week, the President suggested in a speech that Iran was involved in making roadside bombs (otherwise known as improvised explosive devices or IED’s) that are being used in Iraq. This came after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld accused Iran of sending members of its Revolutionary Guard to conduct operations in Iraq. Yesterday, General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he has no evidence that the Iranian government has been sending military equipment and personnel into neighboring Iraq. And now the White House is defending the President’s claim (I’ve heard of not allowing the right hand know what the left hand is doing… but come on now… shouldn’t the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the President be on the same damn page??? Here’s a brilliant concept guys; communication)

Statistically speaking he’s in Nixon-Land. In the latest round of polling, President Bush’s approval ratings… hee hee hee, are still… hee hee hee, falling faster than xx with a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll showing his favorables at 36% (for those of you with acalculia, that means 64% disapprove of his job performance) All I can say to that is, ‘Karma, baby!’ What goes around, comes around… and it’s coming faster than shotgun pellets shot from Dick Cheney’s gun.

Here we go again… Another former White House aide was arrested on a theft charge after he admitted to a store investigator that he fraudulently returned merchandise that he didn't buy. Police allege that Claude Allen, a former domestic policy adviser to the “President”, made fraudulent returns worth at least $5,000 at various stores (including Target) in the Washington suburbs on 25 different occasions. Nice… the hits just keep on coming don’t they…

Watch for the windowless vans. An FBI agent stationed in Pittsburgh took pictures of various members of an antiwar activist group back in 2002. At least that's what documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union (again, a group that I am not a big fan of). The ACLU stated that this disclosure is just the latest incident in which the FBI has monitored left-leaning groups. With my dislike for the ACLU, I urge you all to make up your own minds on this story...

Take them as you will…