Monday, July 31, 2006

The Week Ahead

I’m back from vacation (family wedding with a sidetrip to DC) and am able to give to you all, once again, a handy-dandy list of things to keep an eye on as the month of July ends and the August begins.

Here you go…

A constant at this time is keeping an eye on the battle in the Middle East between Israel and Hezbollah. It’s starting to erode Bush’s goals in the mid-East, it’s starting to have a more profound and harshly-viewed impact on civilians, and The Jerusalem Post has thrown out a concept that suggests the U.S. is prodding Israel to attack Syria. (Again, no side-taking, just a reminder to not let this situation fall into the background)

Keep an eye on Karl Rove. He’s on a direct heading for an implosion. Want an example? During a commencement speech at GWU graduate school of political management, Rove tore-into the media for playing a “corrosive role” in politics by ‘focusing on process, not substance.’ (Uh, yeah… sure. I think Mr. Rove may be living in an alternate-universe. And not the same one as Rummy…

Keep an eye on the number of U.S. Troops in Iraq. They’re supposed to be going down, right Kemp? Well… no. Last week the number of troops went from 127,000 to 132,000 according to The Financial Times of London as the US “quietly reversed its goal from whittling down troop numbers in Iraq before the mid-term congressional elections in November.” (Nice… playing politics with the lives of our soldiers… isn’t that such a Republican thing to do?)

Pay attention to more falling numbers for Dubya as a CBS News/New York Times poll shows that 60% of Americans believe that our “fearless” leader is not respected by foreign leaders. (Wow, that almost seems impossible following his performance at the G8 Summit… a shoulder rub here, a swear word there… I never would have thought that Americans would believe other leaders don’t view him with respect. For those of you who couldn’t tell, I’m being sarcastic…). Plus he’s losing his focus.

Pay attention to Congress as they resume talks about a minimum wage hike and the fate of the estate ta— what’s that? They’re gone?? They left DC for the rest of the summer, leaving those and other items dangling in the breeze?? No, I can’t accept that… they wouldn’t do that to the American public that they work for… (Again, For those of you who couldn’t tell, I’m being sarcastic…)

Keep your eyes on Ann Coulter’s syndication royalties. Fast on the heels of her column being dropped from daily papers in Augusta, GA. and Cedar Rapids, IA. A weekly newspaper in Greensboro, N.C., is also dropping her column, using reader feedback in support of the decision, as its basis. (Ms. Coulter, allow me to offer you some free future career advice; VH-1’s ‘Surreal Life’ is always hiring for their next season… or maybe you could be Flavor-Flav’s new squeeze…)

Pay attention as the United Nations decides to get involved in some U.S. internal haggling as the UN states that the District of Columbia should have a voting member of Congress and says not doing so shows an enourmous inconsistency with international law. (Uh…sure. Good to know the UN is getting involved in the affairs of the World that are important, and leaving the trivial things – like Iran, North Korea and the mid-East— space to sort themselves out. Wow… am I in a very sarcastic mood this afternoon or what??)

Don’t take your eye off of Tom DeLay or the GOP for a minute, lest they pull some more slight of hand attempts. A federal appeals court in New Orleans is the latest venue for the legal wranglings over whether Tom DeLay should remain on the ballot this November as the Republican nominee in Texas’ 22nd District. (Of course he should stay on the ballot; as a punishement if nothing else. DeLay’s ego prevented him from stepping out of the primary in time for the GOP to pick a potential candidate, so let his name hang in the wind of embarassment…)

Keep your eyes on Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) at all times as he disapears at will. Remember months and months ago when the good senator was pushing for campaign finance reform? Well, there’s a new bill out there, almost identical to McCain’s version of last year… but his name is “conspicuously absent” from it. (Hmmmm…. Sounds like the act of someone gearing up for a possible presidential run in 2008 to me…)

Don’t take your eyes off the Katherine Harris campaign for a minute, or you might miss something downright hilarious. Ms. Harris is a popular subject here at TBWA (and everyt other Liberal site), and this one just adds to the saga that is her senate campaign. The Associated Press has tracked down a letter from the Florida state Republican Party, signed by Party Chair Carole Jean Jordan, and sent to Ms. Harris in May, that promised her absolutely no support from the party and urged her to drop out of the race. The letter states: “Katherine, though it causes us much anguish, we have determined that your campaign faces irreparable damage. We feel that we have no other choice but to revoke our support.” (All I can say to that is ‘ouch’… and hah hah hah hah hah)

Keep your eyes and ears on the mid-term election as we reach the 100-day point. Only 100 days until the mid-terms, and the Democrats are starting to pull even and/or pull ahead of some GOP opponents.

That’s all we got, take ‘em as you will…

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Weekly Rewind

Well folks, it is the end of July, we have passed the half-way point in the year and we are within 100 days of the fall mid-term elections, and you know what….they can’t come soon enough. But enough middle of the road complaining. It’s time to take a quick look at some of what has happened this past week. A little thing we like to call The Weekly Rewind.

Heckle: to obviously needing a brick to fall on your head. Scientists say earth is losing species “faster than at any time since 65 million years ago” as a result of human activity. And still, many people refuse to listen.

Applaud: to the continuing rounds of smack-down. A federal judge did not buy the administration’s argument that a lawsuit challenging the NSA domestic wiretapping program would endanger national security. The ruling yesterday marked “the first time a judge has ruled on the government’s claim of a ‘state secrets privilege.’”

Applaud: to calling it as it is. In a great article this week, Lou Dobbs raises the point that every President swears during the oath of office to "preserve, protect and defend’ the Constitution of the United States.” Lou continues that the American Bar Association claims President Bush has violated that oath by issuing hundreds of "signing statements" to disregard selected provisions of the laws that Congress passed and he signed. In fact, Bush has used signing statements to raise constitutional objections to more than 800 provisions in more than 100 laws. All of the presidents combined before 2001 had issued only 600.

Applaud: to not being the only person in the room paying attention. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) is readying a bill that would allow Congress to sue President Bush over his use of presidential signing statements “with the view to having the president’s acts declared unconstitutional.”

Heckle: to the President on principle alone.

Heckle: to just when you thought thngs couldn’t get more complicated. The Institute of Science and International Security concluded Pakistan is building “a powerful new reactor for producing plutonium, a move that, if verified, would signal a major expansion of the country’s nuclear weapons capabilities and a potential new escalation in the region’s arms race.”

Applaud: to pearls of wisdom from the mouths of conservatives. The father of modern conservatism, William F. Buckley said of President Bush: “If you had a European prime minister who experienced what we’ve experienced it would be expected that he would retire or resign.”

Heckle: to stupid is as stupid does . Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a surprise visit to Lebanon today. The total death toll from the recent violence has climbed to 36 people in Israel and nearly 400 in Lebanon.

Applaud: to the voice of reason, and someone smarter than....everyone. Stephen Hawking, the “world’s best-known living scientist,” urged Europe not to “follow the reactionary lead of President Bush” on stem cell research. “Stem cell research is the key to developing cures for degenerative conditions like Parkinson’s and motor neuron disease from which I and many others suffer,” he said.

Heckle: to two-thirds of us seeing through you. Most Americans blame Hezbollah “a great deal” for initiating the current Mideast crisis, a new USA Today poll shows, though half also say Israel was justified in responding but has now “gone too far.” “Two-thirds say President Bush does not have a clear Mideast policy.” As for the other one third of you, it's time to wake up!

Heckle: to stupid is as stupid does part 2. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said of the Mideast violence that has claimed hundreds of lives, “We’re seeing here is, in a sense, the growing — the birth pangs of a new Middle East.” Oh tell me that she did not really say that...

Heckle: to growing pains becoming death pains. Four U.N. observers were killed yesterday “when an Israeli airstrike hit their observation post near the Israeli border.” Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he was “shocked” at Israel’s “apparently deliberate targeting” of a UN post; an Israeli official called Annan’s suggestion “outrageous.”

Heckle: to a future with Ice Cubes for $4.00 a cube. “Imagine Glacier Park without glaciers or Yellowstone without any grizzly bears.” Global warming threatens 12 of the nation’s most famous national parks, according to a new NRDC report.

Heckle: to three plus years and no end in sight. “It sucks. Honestly, it just feels like we’re driving around waiting to get blown up. That’s the most honest answer I could give you,” said 28-year old Army Specialist Tim Ivey, about U.S. troop morale in Iraq. Just remember that according to our President, major combat operations have ended....

Heckle: to 60 percent. That is the number of Americans who believe President Bush is not respected by foreign leaders, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll. We didn’t really need a poll to tell us that did we?

Applaud : to.... oh what the hell, we just get a good chuckle every time we see something like this. Following on the heels of daily papers in Augusta, Ga., and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a weekly in Greensboro, N.C., has decided to drop Ann Coulter’s regular column.” The paper explained reader feedback showed approval for “cutting her column at a ratio of two to one. And numbers don’t lie (unless, some would say, they’re being wielded by Ann Coulter).

Heckle: to wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more. In a half-hour speech to Congress yesterday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki “embraced the stance of President Bush in calling Iraq a key front in a wider battle against terrorism and in evoking the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.” Slate wonders whether the White House wrote the speech. Tony Snow acknowledged there had been “conversations” about the address within the administration.

Heckle: to enough is enough. Exxon posted $10.36 billion in profits this quarter, the “second-largest quarterly profit ever recorded by a publicly traded U.S. company.” Royal Dutch Shell pocketed $7.32 billion, a 40 percent rise from the same period last year. That translates to $1,318 every second of every day. Remember this next time you go to fill up at the pump.

Heckle: Doesn’t the President have other actual important things to do? President Bush’s meeting with American Idol finalists at a moment of heightened tensions in the Middle East “demonstrate[s] a lack of seriousness.” Darrell West, a political scientist at Brown University: “There’s the risk that people will ask, ‘Doesn’t this guy have something better to do? Shouldn’t he be solving foreign crises?’” You know Darrell, I said that exact thing when I saw the news report. Glad to know I am not alone.

Heckle: to the Colonels silence saying volumes. U.S. Sgt. Lemuel Lemus has said in a sworn statement that he was given an order to “kill all military-age men” during a raid in Baghdad by a colonel and a captain. The colonel, Lemus’ commanding officer, has refused to testify at any stage of the court-martial, a “very rare” occurrence. I have a feeling this will not be the first or last we hear on this type of issue.

Heckle: to Bill coming to the rescue. Bill Clinton, campaigning to save an old friend from defeat, appealed to Connecticut Democrats Monday to put aside their opposition to the war in Iraq and re-elect Sen. Joseph Lieberman to a new term. The Senator has made his own bed, and he should be left to lay in it.

I think that is quite enough for this week. Noticing that we still have far more heckles than applauds, welcome to the United States of America under George W. Bush.

You may begin screaming uncontrollably now….

Be good, stay informed….later.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Weekly Rewind

It's Friday... we all know what that means. Time for The Weekly Rewind.

Applaud: to people who are starting to pay attention to the man behind the curtain. Former Christian Coalition head, and tool, Ralph Reed suffered a humiliating defeat in his Georgia Lt. Governor’s campaign earlier this week. After leaving the coalition, Reed later worked as a lobbyist with “close associate” Jack Abramoff, a job that seemingly derailed his campaign before it even had a real chance to start. (This brings a smile to my face as Reed is one of the most manipulative and creepy people in the GOP today. He’s like a male version of Katherine Harris…)

Heckle: to Halliburton. Usually just on general principles alone, but this week it’s for earning a second-quarter profitof $591 million, a 51 percent increase over the same period last year. Nice to see them making a nifty amount off people’s suffering.

Applaud:to more people seemingly seeing the light for the first time. A bill thats aim was to allow the Bush Administration more freedom in its warrantless surveillance program (they need more freedom??) was met with indifferance and resistance in the Senate this week. (Hmmm, I wonder why? It would have allowed the administration to submit the NSA's warrantless surveillance program to a secret intelligence court for review of its legality and some senators had problems with that??? Gee, I have no idea why... As I've said before, it's hard to express sarcasm in the written form...

Heckle: to the entire Bush-appearance at the NAACP’s annual convention. First, it has to be seen for what it was; a (piss-poor) attempt to mend the rift that was created by him jilting the organization the last five years. Second, for Bush’s audacity at saying that his party has ignored African-Americans. His party? How about himself???? Third, for his White House trying to scam the American public by ‘failing’ to include in the official transcripts the short dialog between Bush and NAACP Chairman Julian Bond in response to some hecklers. The White House later repented and labeled the disruption as “applause.” Yes, that right… applause. . give me a friggin’ break…

Applaud: to telling it like it is. One of the top scientists at NASA, James Hansen, gave an explanation as to his reasoning for not attending a recent House committee hearing on global warming. His reasoning; “I would get out of my sickbed to testify to Congress on global warming, if they were ready to deal responsibly with the matter. But obviously they are still in denial, inviting contrarians to ‘balance’ the science of global warming.” (Very well said mr. Hansen. Which everyone had your convictions about global warming…)

Heckle: to Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) for calling White House Press Corps icon Helen Thomas a “left-wing, socialist, wacko, communist” when speaking at an intern seminar. Sorry Pat, Helen knows more about politics than you ever will. And be warned; when you attack Helen, the entire press corps comes back at you, even from conservative media outlets. You may want to watch your back…

Applaud: to a federal judge who didn't buy the Bush Administration’s argument that a lawsuit challenging the NSA domestic wiretapping program would endanger national security. U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that he did not see any “reasonable danger” towards national security and that the court had a constitutional duty to decide matters brought before it. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

Heckle: to the bloodshed in the Middle East between Israel and Hezbollah . (We’re not taking sides, only to say this; knock it the hell off…).

Applaud: to republican politicians who are starting to see the light. Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said recently that if he was running a reelection campaign this year, he would not “embrace the president and his agenda.” Saying that he would have to acknowledge that mistakes were made before he could continue.

Heckle: to flip-flops… and I don’t mean the footwear... or Sen. John Kerry... This one is to describe Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH). Sen. Voinovich refused to back John Bolton as U.N. Ambassador last year. This year? Different story… and he’s giving the standard “undermine our policies and agenda” claptrap… as well as saying that not doing so would jeopardize the US influence in the United Nations. (Sure… we all know the US has no influence at the UN anymore, not after BushCo’s crying of wolf in Iraq that has been deemed; untrue. Bolton is a crony, and like all of Bush’s other cronies, he’ll get a free pass to re-approval. Scary… )

Heckle: to Margaret Spellings the head of the U.S. Department of Education. She visited Capitol Hill earlier this week to push a voucher program. No surprise there, right. Well, it turns out that her department had published a report earlier that found little difference between students performances in public versus private schools. (Nice. She's the head of the US Dept of Ed, and she can't read a report that, I don't know, sounds pretty damn important. Just another example of Bush's cronyism shining bright...)

Heckle: to the House for passing a bill earlier this week that will “bar federal courts from ruling on the constitutional validity” of the Pledge of Allegiance. (Well… I think it’s safe to say the First Amendment is now on life support in this country… and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) agrees with me, stating after the vote that “We (Congress) are making an all-out assault on the Constitution of the United States…” She thinks the measure will fail. Me, I’m not so sure. )

Heckle: Usually we like to heckle Dubya just for the pure joy, and general principles, o of it all. This week, we have a legitimate heckle. Ignoring the majority of Americans (wow, I guess he was right, it's not just the African-Americans that Bush can ignore... it's everyone), Dubya, despite the Senate voting to lift restrictions on federally funded human embryonic stem cell research, shot the bill down. (As I said this past Wednesday in the random thoughts, this veto was a sad and pathetic act by a sad and pathetic man who thinks he's doing the noble thing. The facts are this; the majority of American citizens, Liberal and conservative, wanted this bill passed, and yet the administration did what it does best; ignored them. Many pundits are saying this will hurt the GOP’s chances in November more than anything else… let’s hope they’re right)

Heckle: to Democratic presidential nominee front-runner (Why God?? Why?> Good God, noooooooooo!!!!!) Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is apparently losing her freakin' mind. In a speech to the Kaiser Family Foundation earlier this week, Mrs. Clinton started mouthing off about the evil that faces America. No, not terrorism. No, not nuclear weapons. No, not even flag burning. Her target? The evil of video games (that's right, you heard me...) At one point during the speech, she stated:

“At the rate that technology is advancing, people will be implanting chips in our children to advertise directly into their brains and tell them what kind of products to buy.”
You're... you're kidding me... right? This is a skit from SNL, isn't it?? Sigh... I think if she gets the nomination in 2008, we as a country are once again gonna get screwed with our pants on...

Wow... a LOT more heckles this week... I wonder if that means anything?

Take 'em as you will...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Random Political Thoughts for a Wednesday Afternoon

It’s Wednesday, we all know what that means… time for TBWA’s patented (not really, but doesn’t it sound nice?) Random Political Thoughts for a Wednesday Afternoon… and here we go…

Buh-bye. The former head of the Christian Coaltion, Ralph Reed, lost his bid for the Republican nomination for Georgia’s Lt. Governor. And when I say lost, I mean a huge, embarassing, demoralizing, liberal-enjoyable, defeat. Apparently people couldn’t forgive Reed for his brief career as a lobbyist with ties to… can you guess? That’s right; Jack “Black Hat” Abramoff. (This is funny stuff… poster-boy for the “Religious Right” gets smackdowned like he was God’s whipping boy. It brings a smile to my face…)

Where’s mine? A new GAO report has reveealed that the Departemtn of Homeland Security wasterd hundreds of thousand of dollars last years on iPods, designer clothing and other frivalous crap. The reason? “Poor training, lax oversight and rampant confusion.” (Nice… way to keep us safe there guys! Let me guess, the iPod is for keeping yourself updated on terror alert levels, right? Thank God for podcasts… if you couldn’t tell; that was sarcasm.)

About time. After years of stiffing them, it seems as though “President” Bush is finally ready to end his boycott of the NAACP’s Annual Convention. Supposedly, though I’ll believe it when I see it, he will give (possibly) a speech to the group on Thursday. (As I said earlier, I’ll believe it when I see it. Though how can he not speak to them? His approval numbers are hovering near Nixonian-levels, and his numbers (along with the rest of the GOP) with African-Americans are in the toilet, so he essentially has to appear this year, lest his numbers get any lower)

Aye, there’s the rub. By now I’m sure we’ve all seen the the video and we’ve all seen the photographs… but it’s such a bizare occurance, we have to mention it again. Bush has been acting like a fraternity boy throughout the G8 Summit, and he crossed a line the other day when he decided to give a shoulder massage to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The LA Times said she smiled afterwards, but that isn’t true… especially if you look at the pictures. (And for the Conservatives who argue that Bill Clinton did far worse, that has never been proven. With Bush, there is enough physical evidence that no one can deny he did it.)

Everyone else wants it, but I don’t care. Despite the fact that the Senate voted to lift restrictions on federally funded human embryonic stem cell research earlier this week, “President” Bush and his cronies are vowing a veto. White House press tool Tony Snow stated that Bush was “honor-bound” to block the bill (whatever the hell that means) and that the veto would be “pretty swift”. (The bill would give millions of dollars for possible life-saving medical research, though the fight to ease the restrictions has been a long and difficult one). Add to that the erroneous comments made by Karl “I’m the tool belt of the White House Tools” Rove and you have a White House that is proving, once again, that they do what they want, and don’t give a rat’s ass what the citizens of this country want. (This is sad and pathetic. The majority of American citizens, Liberal and conservative, want this bill passed, and yet this administration is doing what they do best; running to the extreme right. Many pundits are saying this will hurt the GOP’s chances in November more than anything else… let’s hope they’re right)

What? Me worry? It’s official, we have Alfred E. Neumann in charge of our country. Liberals (except for pseudo-liberal Joe Lieberman) have always had disdain for Bush and his policies, foreign and domestic. But now, things are starting to get worse within the GOP as Dubya faces a quickly-rising backlash over his handling of foreign affairs. Conservative pundits are beginning to say publicly that Bush is acting with “timidity and confusion” in regards to Iran and North Korea as well as the current crisis between Israel and Hezbollah. (Hmmmmm… it seems as though some conservatives are beginning to see Bush for what he truly is. A man determined to right the wrongs and embarrassments of his Daddy (Iraq) and ignore everything else. I’m sorry, but haven’t we Liberals been saying that for years? Ah, screw it, welcome to the club guys, we’ve had jackets made…)

This week, on the soap opera that is the Katherine Harris senate campaign. Last week she lost, again, more of her senior campaign staff. Now comes word that Justice Department officials have contacted Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL) and “requested information” from her office as they investigate a bribery case. Harris confirmed earlier this week that she is, indeed, involved in the case (a case that has already landed one member of Congress in prison… hellooooo Mr. Cunningham) But in true Harris fashion (meaning she refuses to accept reality) she released a statement (and with the massive turnover in her campaign, one has to truly wonder if she, herself, wrote the statement) that said she is cooperating fully but is not a target of the bribery investigation. (Katherine Harris. Pure. Comedy. Gold.)

Gratuitous op-ed plug of the week Not so much an op-ed piece, but rather an incredibly well-written and intelligent diary from one of the “Front Pagers” at Daily Kos. It’s about stem cell research and the stem cell bill, written by Kos’ resident science/health expert; DarkSyde. Please read it HERE.

Brooking’s Findings. The Brookings Institute performed an analysis of 13 American cities and found that our country’s working poor pay (a lot) more than moderate- and high-income households do for everyday essentials. (The administrations caring for the working poor can be described in three words: sad and pathetic)

More military worries. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker has expressed worries that the Army won’t be able to repair vital equipment fast enough because supplemental budget requests have been “too little, too late.” (Aren’t conservatives supposed to care more about the military than Liberals? That’s what I always hear from the likes of Ann “Plagirsm is my life” Coulter and Michelle “I’d sell-out my mother to gain more readers” Malkin… but here we have evidence that they, seemingly, don’t. Again, sad and pathetic…)

Take ‘em as you will…

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The plot thickens...

With our current administration doing whatever they can do to destroy the concept of checks and balances, a lot of people were thrilled (and surprised I must say) to see SCOTUS smack-down the Bush Administration a few weeks ago when they ruled that all detainees have basic rights under the Geneva Convention.

Did that decision take the legs out from under the Administration's warrantless wiretapping program?

Anyone with a brain can see that the program is a violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), but the administration has insisted that the authorization for use of military force (AUMF) from September 2001 makes the program okay

We’re going to ignore the fact that there is no language about wiretapping in the resolution, and no evidence to suggest that AUMF was created in order to give the President blanket authority to order warrantless wiretaps and jump ahead to this week… this week in which Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was going before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In his testimony before the committee yesterday, AG Gonzales said that Bush "personally blocked” attorneys from the Justice Department from pursuing an internal probe of the warrantless eavesdropping program.

According to an article from the Associated Press, the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) claimed that they “could not pursue an investigation into the role of Justice lawyers in crafting the program

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) found this puzzling: “It was highly classified, very important and many other lawyers had access. Why not OPR?”

Gonzales’ response?

“The president of the United States makes the decision” on whether or not to use OPR for an investigation.


Correct me if I’m wrong since this event was slightly before my time, but the last time it came to light that a President had specifically told the Justice Department to “back off” an investigation, a whole gaggle of Republicans went to jail and one resigned in disgrace… from the Oval Office.

Let’s see here… let me ‘google’ this… Tricky Dick… Tricky Dick… uhhhh… here we go… what does Count 4, Article 1 of the impeachment of Richard Nixon say?

Interfering or endeavoring to interfere with the conduct of investigations by the Department of Justice of the United States...

And that’s different than what Bush did… how?

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Week Ahead

As we always do on Monday, here’s a handy list of things to keep an eye on as the week progresses. It’s gearing up to be a busy week, so there are a lot more items than usual…

  • If you have to be told to keep an eye on Israel and Lebanon, then you’re probably not smart enough to live… Earlier Monday (the sixth day of the escalating conflict in the Middle East) several Hezbollah rockets hit the city of Haifa, in Northern Israel. Besides that, Israeli ground forces entered southern Lebanon momentarily so they could attack Hezbollah bases on the border.
  • In addition to the escalating tensions and fighting, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is calling for the deployment of international forces to quell the violence while G8 leaders “crafted a plan to stop the fighting.” (Here’s hoping that something can be done to stop the violence and stave off any more attacks… lest we see the beginning of what could become World War III)
  • Keep an eye on the Bush administration (really, shouldn’t we be keeping an eye on them at all times??) as the administration is planning “sweeping changes in Medicare payments to hospitals” with a plan that would cut Medicare payments anywhere from 20 to 30% for a lot of complex treatments and new technologies. Many doctors and patients’ groups believe that a move like this “could be devastating.” (Brilliant… as if they didn’t screw-up Medicare enough with their prescription plan, now they’re going to screw it up even more)
  • Keep an eye on the Democratic primary in Connecticut, specifically Joe Lieberman’s as he slowly starts to make the realization that he probably shouldn’t have kissed the President.
  • Keep an eye on the foreign policy legacy of “President” Bush. Already in shambles due to his ineptitude and bumbling of Afghanistan and Iraq, some pundits believe that he could reshape it by the way he handles the current crisis in the middle east…. Even though he appears (at least to Newsweek… and anyone with a brain) to be staggeringly unprepared for it.
  • Keep an eye on Dubya’s feet as he continually puts them into his mouth. During this weekend’s G8 Summit, a microphone picked up some private conversations between Bush and other world leaders. Examples; Bush on Putin’s flight home: “You eight hours? Me too. Russia’s a big country and you’re a big country. … Russia’s big and so is China.” (Huh??) Bush on Blair’s departure: “Yo Blair, what’re you doing? Are you leaving?” (Can we say professionalism kids??) His airheadedness also stated that some of the speakers at the meeting had the tendency to talk too long (granted, they probably talked for a long time, but I can guarantee you they probably made sense…). Another example where he sort of stuck his foot in his mouth was when the hot mic caught him using an expletive to Tony Blair in describing the violence in the Middle East. (Sigh… way to go Georgie. I swear, quite a bit if I can be honest, but not in professional situations or a professional setting. Could someone please tell Mr. Bush that this isn’t a fraternity mixer but a meeting of the world’s most powerful leaders??? Moron…)
  • In case you haven’t been, remember to keep an eye on Iraq and the ever-escalating rise in insurgent attacks. Today, Monday, saw “one of the bloodiest incidents in Iraq this year,” as a bomber attacked a market just outside Baghdad with officials estimating the death toll to be as low as 40 or as high as 70… but things are getting better if you listen to Bush and his cronies. (If this is better, I would hate to see worse…)
  • Keep an eye on Mississippi & Louisiana as federal aid is (finally!) beginning to get into the hands of those who lost their homes. For now we’ll ignore the fact that it’s coming almost a full year after Hurricane Katrina hit, and just say this; “Thank God.” (There are a lot of people who believe that the reception of federal dollars is a significant component in the rebuilding of areas left devasted… here’s to hope!)
  • Keep an eye on Washington DC as the “President” gets ready to veto a bill that the majority of US citizens (and many politicians – Republicans included) want, and that is embryonic stem cell research
  • Pay attention to Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Indiana) as he begins to sound more and more like someone who is weighing a run for the presidency in 2008. In two separate speeches, Bayh will criticize his own party for losing touch with middle class Americans and that a failure to reconnect with them could result in this November and beyond. (I’ve always been a fan of Bayh, and I, in the words of Chancellor Palpatine, will follow this part of his career with great interest)
  • Keep an eye on the NAACP. Since taking office in 2001, Bush has slighted the group and has never spoken at their annual convention (the first sitting president to not speak at the group’s annual meeting in decades). This year, with the meeting getting under way, NAACP chairman Julian Bond opened the convention by criticizing the war in Iraq and pushing for voting protections. Mr. Bond then threw out a message to Bush that was anything but a veiled invitation for Bush to speak on Wednesday: “This year the convention has come to the president and we hope and pray he is coming to us," Did we mention that this year’s conference is at the Washington Convention Center which is about a mile from the White House? It should be noted that Dubya’s schedule for Wednesday lists an event with the notation “TBA.” (One would have to think that Bush’s handlers will send him this year… with near-record low approval ratings, not going will only make things worse…

Keep an eye on ‘em and take ‘em as you will

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Weekly Rewind

It's the middle of July. It's getting hot in many areas of the country and you know what happens when it gets hot...that right people do stupid things. So let's see what stupid things have happened this past week. Maybe we will find some surprises along the way ...

Applaud: to getting votes with a great nickname. Earlier this week the state elections chief in Texas ruled that Richard Friedman could use his nickname on the November ballot in the race for governor, as long as it was accompanied by his full given name. What is Richard’s nickname? ‘Kinky’as in Richard ‘Kinky’ Friedman. The well known musician and author, who obtained his nickname (because of his curly hair) in 1962, is running as an independent. The same elections chief also ruled that another independent candidate could not use ‘Grandma’ on the ballot as that is a slogan and not a nickname. Besides, can you imagine the ‘guilt’ campaign that would be run by chiding you to vote for ‘Grandma’ for governor?

Heckle: to getting whacked with the truth. Columnist Robert Novak confirmed this weekthat one of his sources that named Valerie Plame as a covert CIA operative was none other than White House Advisor Karl ‘Mr. Teflon’ Rove. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Rove needs to go…..he also needs to be indicted….

Heckle part II: When Karl Rove was asked about the outing of Valerie Plame last week. He reportedly said that after a “careful, thoughtful, aggressive investigation,” the person responsible for leaking should be fired. Ok Karl, when can we expect your ass to be canned?

Applaud / Heckle or Just plain confused: A recent Washington Post/ABC News pollasked about potential democratic candidates for President in 2008, especially Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY). While Fifty-four percent of those responding viewed her favorably and give her even higher marks for leadership, strong family values and being open and friendly, only Thirty-seven percent of Democrats said that they would definitely vote for her for President. One respondent said "I think she's a little hard, She may be strong, but at the same time, if you're driven sometimes you're perceived as not having sympathy. And perception is reality for most of us." That seems to sum up a lot of peoples feelings and if Hillary cannot overcome the perception she is dead in the water.

Applaud: to forcing the issue. Mark Nickolas of The Bluegrass Report has filed suit against Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R). Gov. Fletcher banned the blog from state computers last month, one day after Nickolas was quoted in a New York Times article critical of Fletcher. We stand behind you Mark!

Heckle: to scraping the barrel. The Army is staying on track to meet its target of 80,000 new soldiers this year. Lowered standards have helped. The Army has eased restrictions on high school drop-outs, raised the maximum age from 35 to 42, and admitted large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists.
Wow, that should help the military’s image at home and abroad. I can see the commercials now…and they scare me…

Applaud: to we can only hope. Will Ann Coulter be dropped from The Shreveport Times? The paper says it’s been “buried alive under an avalanche” of emails over the question, but has “yet to make a decision.” Write the editor with your thoughts.

Heckle: to getting no widespread attention. A Treasury Department analysis “presented in the Mid-Session Review itself confirms what outside experts have consistently said - tax cuts do not come remotely close to paying for themselves.” Wow, and we needed an official analysis to figure that one out? How much did that study cost?

Applaud: to no one being above the law. A federal judge ruled yesterday that the controversial seizure of records from Rep. William Jefferson’s (D-LA) legislative offices was legal. Investigators told ABC News “an indictment is likely sometime this summer.” You reap what you sow. I bet he could use some cold hard cash right now, oh wait, that is what got him in trouble in the first place.

Heckle: to not doing anything about it. There is as much wind power potential off our coasts “as the current capacity of all power plants in the United States combined,” according to a new report sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, and General Electric. And you’re going to do what with this info?

Heckle: to an obvious side deal. The U.S. government “is discontinuing a controversial multibillion-dollar deal with oil services giant Halliburton Co. to provide logistical support to U.S. troops worldwide.” Ok, and what new deal is the government making with Halliburton to replace this one?

Applaud: to our hopes being realized. Ann Coulter dumped!! That’s right, you heard me. The first newspaper “to officially drop Coulter’s column since the latest uproar began seems to be The Gazette of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she had appeared for about 14 months.” The Shreveport Times is still considering the decision. Keep e-mailing them.

Heckle: to talking out your ass. House Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) promised yesterday to crackdown on intelligence leaks to the media, suggesting “some unauthorized leaks could have been deliberate attempts to help al Qaeda.” To back up his claim, Hoekstra said: “I don’t have any evidence.” Of course you don’t, that explains why you made that stupid statement to begin with.

Heckle: to Defcon indicators next to the menu board. The federal antiterrorism database includes potential “targets” like Old MacDonald’s Petting Zoo, the Amish Country Popcorn factory, and an unspecified “Beach at End of a Street,” a new inspector general report shows. Indiana is listed as the most target-rich state in the U.S., with “50 percent more listed sites than New York.” This is what happens when you manage by ‘committee’. In this case the committee’s were actually committees in all 50 states that were told to come up with targets of importance in their state. The database has essentially been rendered meaningless. Nice job guys and gals.

Heckle: to being more stupid than you appear. “Less than two months after voting overwhelmingly to build 370 miles of new fencing along the border with Mexico, the Senate yesterday voted against providing funds to build it.” What’s next, sending our troops off to war without having a means to pay for it…. cutting services for the elderly..…refusing to raise the minimum wage…..

Be good, stay informed….later.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Random Political Thoughts for a Thursday Afternoon

Stupid is as stupid does. The federal antiterrorism database includes potential “targets” like Old MacDonald’s Petting Zoo and the Amish Country Popcorn factory. The National Asset Database seems to be so flawed, that the inspector general found that Indiana has 8,591 potential terrorist targets (50% more New York (which has 5,687) and twice as many as California (with 3,212), this makes Indiana the most target-rich state in the U.S.” (Who came up with this list, David Letterman? Maybe the government should look into altering the database a tad…)

The numbers don’t lie. Next year’s monthly premium for Medicare Part B outpatient coverage, which will be an 11% increase over this year, is going to be $98.40 (Way to overhaul Medicare there Dubya…idiot)

I’ll believe it when I see it. Haliburton will no longer be providing logistical support to U.S. troops worldwide as the Feds have decided to discontinue the troubling and controversial deal. (That’s all fine and good, but shoule we believe it? My heart, and my brain, say no we shouldn’t until we see viable proof)

Potshot on the VP Russian President Vladamie Putin, during an NBC News interview, called Vice President Dick Cheney’s recent criticisms of Russia an “unsuccessful hunting shot.” Nice snark Mr. President… keep it up

Well, duhhhhhh. An analysis prepared by Treasury, confirms what everyone with a brain of their own already knows: tax cuts don’t come anywhere close to paying for themselves.”

Stupid is as stupid does, part II Conservative pundit Michael Savage has gone on the record stating that “Liberalism is, in essence, the HIV virus.” (What the HELL does that mean? Let me know how you like this analogy; Michale Savage is, in essence, a tool.)

I’ll believe it when I see it, part II The Pentagon has determined that every detainee that is being held in US military custody are entitled to protections under the Geneva Convention. (Good… when we as a nation stop adhereing to the rules of civilization, we become the very thing we’re fighting against as terrorists who don’t have any belief in the sanctity of law, but we should)

It’s legal, baby! A federal judge ruled earlier this week that the raid and seizure of records from Rep. William Jefferson’s (D-LA) offices was legal, which prompted investigators to say that Rep. Jefferson will likely be indicted “sometime this summer.” (Before that happens, the Democratic party needs to act and toss him off any committee he serves on… now.)

Secret pacts. President Bush is proposing a nuclear pact with Russia. Members of the House International Relations Committee heard about President Bush’s proposed nuclear pact with Russia the same way average citizens did — in the pages of Saturday’s Washington Post. And panel members and staff, from both parties, aren’t very happy about it.”

Battle of the Blogs Mark Nickolas of The Bluegrass Report has filed a lawsuit against Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R) after he banned the blog (and all other Liberal blogs – yet keept conservative blogs safe) from state computers. (Here’s hoping that Nickolas’ case works, or we could see a rash of this kind of blog-banning happening everywhere… right, Scott… Scott??? Where the hell are you buddy?? Hellooooooo…)

The Defecit Song and Dance. Bush’s expected announcement today heralding the shrinking budget deficit is full of deception. “This will be the third year in a row that the administration put forth relatively gloomy deficit forecasts early on, only to announce months later that things had turned out better than expected.”

Hack this! Hackers in China broke into the State Department’s computer system looking for information, passwords and other data. (Still no word if they got the cheats for “Halo 3” or not…)

Rising interest rates, coupled with incessantly high gas (or petrol for all you visitors from Europe) are going to “pinch consumer spending” more than anyone previously thought… well, duh… and will , weaken the U.S. economy. Gee, too bad nobody thought of that before… oh, wait, someone did…

She’s back! After weeks of staying out of the media spotlight by actually keeping her staff intact, it looks as though Florida Senate candidate Katherine Harris (R) is losing much of her staff… again… for like the billionth time. Her communications director resigned Wednesday, and The Hotline blog is reporting that most of her current campaign staff will resign either today, Thursday, or tomorrow, Friday. About time, I was starting to lose faith in her as a lightening rod for snark.

Against the grain. Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) announced that he will schedule a vote next week on the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (HR 810), calling it the “best chance for our country to vigorously pursue research” of stem cells. Do you know what position your Senator has on stem cells? Click HERE to find out, and take action if it goes against what you want.

Take 'em as you will...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Destination: Cuba

President Bush has set his sites on demolishing a communist dictator that is disrupting his life.

You’re saying to yourself, Kemp is writing about North Korea’s 'K'razy Kim.


I’m talking about Cuban President Fidel Castro.

Rather than worrying about nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea, Dubya is focusing on Cuba…

Great, just great. Because Cuba has nukes, right?

They don’t??

They’re a breeding ground for terrorists, right?

They’re not??

They’re impeding our economy, right?

Well, for whatever reason, “President” Bush is approving an additional 80 million dollars to help foster Cuban democracy and pressure President Fidel Castro into resigning? (Castro and his government are describing the effort as “embarrassing,” though the adjective inane works as well…)

The new program (anointed with the “Afterschool Special”-esque title of “Compact with the People of Cuba,”) throws in an additional 80 million dollars on top of the 70 million dollars that is slated to be spent throughout 2007 and 2008.

The program is designed to “build support for transition to a legitimate, democratic government.”

Why is $80 million more needed? Castro has won, plain and simple. We as a country have tried to assassinate him (with Marx Brothers-like results), have attempted ill-advised and poorly executed invasions, and imposed sanction and embargos that have done nothing to stem Castro’s popularity or his power.

He’s won.

And to add more humiliation, many Cuban/Castro dissidents have their own opinions about the programs; it won’t work.

Some dissidents have stated that they fear the program could compromise their movement's independence. Elizardo Sanchez, a human rights activist stated: “I have no doubt about the intentions of the report's editors, but I believe it is another example of Washington's views and initiatives on Cuba that have a rather counter-productive effect.”

Wonderfully put.

Another anti-Castro dissident, Oscar Espinosa Chepe, stated to AFP; “We are not in absolute accord with any foreign government's views on what Cubans must do. I believe Cubans have to be the ones who solve our problems, and any interference serves to complicate the situation. We are thankful for the solidarity we have received from North America, Europe and elsewhere, but we request that they do not meddle in our country.”

Rather than take up the task of ousting Castro and bringing democracy to Cuba, perhaps the current administration could, I don’t know, finish their job in Iraq, find Osama bin Laden, talk North Korea and Iran out of their love for all things nuclear, stabilize the economy, fix Gitmo, and

Maybe Bush should listen to the proletariat and not do anything to Cuba and let the winds of change that worked so well in the USSR and Germany (and are starting to work in China) reach Cuba and allow the Cuban people the opportunity to change themselves.

Maybe I’m not being rationale, maybe I’m missing the point, or maybe I’ve become a blathering idiot…

Oh well, either way, I’m still smarter than you-know-who...

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Week Ahead

A few things to keep an eye on as this week gets underway.

  • This cannot be good… Japan is considering military action against North Korea. I really don’t think anything else needs to be said… except that I have got to finish that damn bomb shelter…
  • Could North Korea’s missile tests be traced back to jealousy? That’s what Jerrold Post, formerly the CIA's top expert on Kim Jong Il, has said. Believing that Jong test-fired the missiles due to resentment over the attention that Iran's nuclear program is receiving from the U.S., he thinks the dictators actions are out of an interest to be the most feared person in the world. Nice… let’s keep an uneasy eye on this, as it’s only going to get more and more interesting…
  • Keep an eye on Texas… no wait, keep an eye on Virginia… no, Texas… no, Virginia… Screw it; just keep an eye on Tom DeLay (R-TX). A source close to the ex-Congressman told Time Magazine that DeLay is thinking about launching an aggressive campaign with an aim to retake the House seat he gave up in June. This is only if an appeals court refuses to change a ruling by a federal judge that mandated his name stay on this November's ballot. Wait a minute… I thought he moved to Virginia? That was the Texas GOP’s main argument to get him off the ballot, that he moved to Virginia… so now he’s not a “Virginiain” like he’s claimed, but still a Texan who may want to run to reclaim his seat?? This whole thing is getting me confused…
  • Rick Santorum is trying to “reintroducing himself” to Pennsylvania voters… so far it’s not working. This is a race to keep an eye on as the less popular he gets, the more desperate he’ll get… and who knows what he’s liable, and capable, to do then…
  • Two words: Iran. Nukes. Nothing more needs to be said.
  • Bad news for the White House as it turns out that lobbyist Jack Abramoff had a half-dozen White House appointments during the first months of the Bush administration, even though they had constantly said otherwise. Isn’t that special?
  • Keep an eye to DC as Congress returns from a long break this week (about time). Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX), stated earlie that he’s “…not sure what this Congress has accomplished.” I think the vast majority of the American public would agree with you Mr. Armey.
  • In concert with their return, or maybe despite the aforementioned return, it seems that a legislative agenda that at one point in the last 12 months was THE most important subject in Washington is stalled and a few public interest groups believe that may be a good thing, considering that every “reform” piece appers to be nothing more than a PR stunt. Couldn’t agree more… we’ve been keeping our eyes on this, and it still evaporates before our eyes and we allow it…
  • Keep an eye on "Democrat" William Jefferson as the “cooling off period” for all materials that were confiscated in a raid of his Capitol Hill office has expired. There’s still no resolution on the table, so it should be interesting to see what the next step is for all involved parties. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; the man should resign.
  • Pay attention to Adam Carolla. He picked up a plethora of new fans this week the instant he hung up on Ann Coulter. See the video HERE via Crooks and Liars and laugh your ass off with the rest of us.
  • Keep an eye on MySpace and Facebook as politician portfolios on each site are close to becoming a reality? Starting this September, Facebook will allow politicians to buy profiles that will have a potential audience of 8 million members. It’s seen as an attempt to court a group of voters who normally are hard to reach. MySpace plans a similar initiative later this year. What’s next? Youtube being used as…oh, never mind.

Take 'em as you will...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Weekly Rewind

End of the week.

Time for The Weekly Rewind.

Without further ado... here we go;

to Ned Lamont. Word on the street is that he pummled Joe Lieberman (“D”, really R-CT) in last night’s debate. (Heh heh heh). You can read the debate’s transcript HERE.

Heckle: to North Korea. I think we all know why. If not, I’ll just say this; Dr. Strangelove is alive and well and living in Pyongyang…

Applaud: to Rod Nordland. A former bureau chief for Newsweek, stationed in Baghdad, has accused the U.S. military of “censoring many [embedded reporting] arrangements.” Supposedly, before the military will go on the record, they want to know what your views on a story will be, as well as “what you intend to write, and what you have written from embed trips before.” Mr. Nordland continues to say that if the military doesn’t like what you’ve done before, they won’t allow you to travel. (This should surprise me, but coming from the military under this administration; it doesn’t. Makes you feel proud doesn’t it??)

Heckle: to the American Family Association. The ultra-rightwing group is suing Michigan State University in an attempt to ge them to stop offering health insurance to the partners of gay workers. Why? They claim that it’s in violation of a 2004 state constitutional amendment that banned gay marriage. They say it’s a violation “in substance if not by label.” Uh…okay

Applaud: to Republican in-fighting. Earlies this week, we saw Sens. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Rick Santorum (R-PA) clash over the definition of amnesty, with Santorum stating: “If I am [mischaracterizing it], then so are…a lot of other folks who read that bill and see it for what it is.” Specter response? “Sen. Santorum is entitled to his views. … ‘Amnesty’ is a buzz word that is used in derogation…I think we’re moving past that.” (Whenver they fight amongst themselves like that it brings a little, and smug, smile to my face)

Heckle: to the same-ol’ song and dance. U.S. job growth for the month of June was, once again, weak and below expectations. (Color me… NOT surprised…)

Heckle: to $75.78 a barrel. That was the closing price of one barrel of crude oil today, a record-high. Naturally the oil companies are blaming the “unrelenting demand for oil” in the U.S. and Asia, as well as the nuclear standoff with Iran (cuz that’s such a hardship at this particular moment) that was pushed further by North Korea’s missle tests.

Applaud: to the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. They awarded conservative tool Ann Coulter this year’s Sitting Duck award for “Easiest Column Target.” The society imparted the honor on her for “cheapening political discourse in America.” There apparently was some reluctance in bestowing the honor on her as they know, as does every other person on this planet with a brain of their own, that Coulter is desperate for any kind of attention.

Heckle: to THIS practice. I have daughters and I do worry about them and boys, but this practice seems a tad extreme. And can I say, even though I’m not a female; “Ouch!”

Applaud: to GOP-led election shananigans being nixed. U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled Thursday that ex Rep. ‘Smilin’Tom DeLay, (R-TX), can’t be replaced on the November ballot simply because he moved from Texas to a Virginia condominium that he has owned for over 12 years, so that means that DeLay (flashback: he left office in June after winning the Republican nomination despite having been indicted on money-laundering charges, but was still facing a tough re-election bid) will remain on the ballot. (Lame attempt to circumvent the law there guys. Moving and proclaiming yourself a Virginian, as DeLay did, does not make you a Virginian. Here’s a strategy; take your lumps in the election you dickhead. If you wanted off the ballot, you shouldn’t have run for re-election in the first place…)

Heckle: to something like this being this damn easy. A computer consultant working for the government to rate the security of FBI computers, and using programs that can be found on the Internet, was able to hack into the FBI’s “classified” (and I use that term very loosely) computer system and get passwords of 38,000 employees. Including FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III’s.

Applaud: to the end of drinking the kool-aid and the beginning of using their own brains. A push on Capitol Hill for more tax cuts “is waning.” Why? Because constituentsd have begun questioning congress about the deficit and whether these tax cuts would do anything more for the middle class than make them feel like they got screwed with their pants on… (Ok, I made that last part up. Finally!! A blip of intelligence and independence from the lemmings… praise the Lord!!!)

Heckle: to piss-poor management of high-level government jobs. Two examples of this: almost a year after Homeland Security Tool (”Secretary”) Michael Chertoff announced the creation of a Cabinet-level cyber-security czar, the position remains vacant. Add to that the fact that Richard Stickler, the man President Bush chose to oversee federal mine safety laws has gone to work at the Labor Department despite not yet winning Senate confirmation, and you have a political boondoggle of potentially catastrophic proportions. (Let’s think about these for a moment; First the lack of a cyber-security czar. One of the worst thing that could happen to this country would be an attack on the world wide web that would cripple so many vital things in this coutry that we would come to a standstill. The other issue, allowing someone to work at a job even though they haven’t been confirmed is one more example of this adminstration and their flagrant disregard for the rules. What wonderful examples they’re giving us and the rest of the world. How much longer is Dubya in charge?? November 2008 cannot come soon enough…)

Applaud: and it pains me to do this, but applaud to Sen. John Kerry (D-XX) for calling for the reopening of the CIA’s “bin Laden unit.” Yes, I know it’s an election-year move and is aiming at strengthening his political standing, but at least someone is saying what we’re all (should be) thinking.

Take 'em as you will... what are YOU... you, yes you, the little guy in Vegas... don't hide from me, I know you're there... what are YOU applauding and heckling this week??

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Weekly Rewind

It’s the last week of June already, the year is half-way through and that means we are one-half year closer to the end of clueless, sometimes autocratic rule in this country. Maybe in 2008 we can work on rebuilding our status in the world. Ok enough of my soap boxing, it’s time to see who screwed up and who tried to do something admirable, in other words, it’s time for The Weekly Rewind.

Heckle: to scratching the palm. White House staffers have accepted $135,000 in free trips since November of 2004. Among those picking up the tab are some of the President’s top business supporters and dozens of conservative and religious groups. I’m shocked and appalled at this revelation. (as my esteemed colleague would say, it’s so hard to express sarcasm in the written form)

Applaud: to another insider smack down. Former CIA officer Tyler Drumheller said he personally crossed out a reference to Iraq’s supposed mobile bioweapons labs from a classified draft of Colin Powell’s Feb. 2002 U.N. speech because he recognized the source (known as “Curveball”) as someone who was mentally unstable and a liar. Powell still claimed to “have firsthand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and rails.” (I like Gen. Powell but stuff like this just doesn’t sit right with his standing as the only decent guy to serve at the ‘pleasure of the president’)

Heckle: to making things better. As the summer heat soars to over 120 degrees in Iraq, “power supply still falls about 33% short of demand.” Power in Baghdad comes on for approximately 90 minutes once every six hours. Here’s a friendly tip, remember to not open the fridge when the power is out…

Heckle: to ‘Crude-a-palooza‘. Top executives at oil giant Shell have begun a 50-city tour across the United States this summer in hopes of persuading angry consumers that Big Oil is not ripping them off. Who’s the opening act going to be Carrot Top? …. I wonder if they will sell t-shirts?

Applaud: to seeing stupidity for what it is. Reports are that Web traffic is dropping at,, and, but it’s rising at many progressives sites, including Raw Story, Crooks and Liars, and ThinkProgress. We can only hope that this trend continues and gains momentum.

Applaud: to little surprises from the SCOTUS. Unlike Justices Scalia and Thomas, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito actually “believe that a great many of the country’s campaign contribution laws are constitutional. This is a very big deal and good news for those of us who support such limits.” These types of decisions/opinions are what makes the political and judicial process worth watching. You never know what these Justices will do next.

Heckle: to running around yelling, waiving your hands and then wondering why everyone looks at you like you’re an idiot. The Pentagon is speeding up “plans to deploy advanced Patriot interceptor missiles on U.S. bases in Japan,” in response to last week’s report that North Korea finished fueling a long-range ballistic missile. But Slate throws doubt on that report: “the missile could stay ready for only a few days since the fuel is corrosive stuff and eats through things like metal. It’s now been a week.” (Hey Bob, I think we are going to need more missiles….well they are only good for 3 days so I think about 100 will be good to start with…oh yeah can you bring a big dumpster for the bad ones…thanks…)

Applaud: to the ultimate capitalist/average Joe. Warren Buffett reiterated his support for the estate tax yesterday, saying he favored equality over “giving incredible head starts to certain people who were very selective about the womb from which they emerged.” Very funny and well said Mr. Buffett, well said indeed…

Heckle: to repeating the same mistakes over again. A Gallup poll shows that 50 percent of Americans support redeploying U.S. forces out of Iraq “immediately or within 12 months.” A Washington Post survey shows 47 percent backing a timeline, up 8 points since December. We here at TBWA support our troops, and we also support bringing them home as quickly as possible. However, we are in so deep in Iraq that just bringing them home for no other reason than to bring them home will undo everything that our 2500 + men and women died for. Our troops need to come home, but they need to come home victorious. It’s time for Washington and the administration to come up with a game plan for winning, then withdrawl.

Heckle: to having your incompetence thrown in your face. Romania announced they will withdraw their troops from Iraq by the end of the year. “The announcement regarding Romania’s 890 troops follows a similar move by Italy, while Japan began withdrawing its troops from the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq last week.” Again, if the administration would have developed a winning game plan, our allies would stay the course.

Applaud: to getting a warm feeling all over. Ratings for Fox News, particularly among the most important age demographic, are “dropping precipitously.” Probably from the same people who are not looking at conservative web sites. Maybe they can poll this and get an idea of how ‘fair and balanced’ viewers think they are not.

Applaud: to a responsible stance. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has promised “to block a congressional pay hike” until the minimum wage is raised. Since 1996 the minimum wage has not been raised, however congressional salaries have gone up $31,600.

Heckle: you just don’t get it do you? Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) announced the Senate will not vote on a bill reducing the Paris Hilton Tax this week. (Can we at least do something about that damn dog..)

Heckle: to a Distraction Congress: The House was expected to vote on a conservative-backed resolution “today or Thursday” that is expected to attack The New York Times for its recent disclosure of the government’s secret monitoring of Americans’ bank transactions. When you can’t do anything of substance, bang the pots and make a big scene over nothing.

Applaud: to a guy that we continue to like on the other side of the aisle. Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) lambasts a Justice Department official for the administration’s use of “signing statements” to get around laws the President doesn’t like. Keep at it Senator people are paying attention!

Heckle: to not being a surprise at all. “We have never ever seen a case like this,” said Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense: The lobbying firm at the center of the House Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA)/Duke Cunningham scandal failed to report fully $2 million in lobbying fees. Once again I find myself shocked and appauled at this revelation. (Insert sarcastic tone…)

Heckle: to an impotent congress. Prospects for a swift renewal of the Voting Rights Act faded on Thursday as lawmakers called for new congressional hearings. If not renewed, provision of the landmark 1965 civil rights legislation will expire at the end of 2007. Ok, this is not a difficult issue, agree to agree and move forward, with enhancements. Something like this should be a no-brainer, but then we are talking about our congress….

Heckle: to President Bush, normally on principles alone, but also for once again expanding the membership of the Washington “Back Watching Club“. The ‘President’ has nominated Peter D. Keisler for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Seems that Keisler is currently a senior Justice Department official and defended the administration’s policy of military tribunals, which was overturned yesterday by the Supreme Court.

Once again, noticing more Heckles than Applauds, welcome to George W Bush’s America, aka: The U.S. Twilight Zone.

Be good, stay informed, later….