Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Random Political Thoughts for a Wednesday Afternoon Morning

It’s been a few weeks, so I think it’s safe to say this is a Random Political Thoughts for a Wednesday Afternoon Morning: The Return.

Hera ya go…

Scoot Away Scooter. A lot of stuff has been going on in the trial of “Scooter” Libby. Firedoglake has an excellent play-by-play going on, and Daily Kos has some good stuff about it as well. Check them both out. If you’re one of those that can’t click on a link, here’s a short rundown. Libby is oh so screwed. That pretty much sums it all up…

Numbers game. that the Army Corps of Engineers say that 146 levees across the nation “pose an unacceptable risk of failing in a major flood.” (Nice. So it’s not just New Orleans that has crappy levees, it’s other parts of the country as well. Maybe, just maybe, the government should do something about that? What ya think?)

Not so fast Dubya. Despite his assurances that he’s the sole “decision-maker” when it comes to escalating the war in Iraq, Congress does have the power to end the war in Iraq,. At least that’s what a group of Constitutional experts told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Bradford Berenson, a Washington lawyer who was a White House associate counsel under Bush for a few years: “I think the constitutional scheme does give Congress broad authority to terminate a war.” (Wouldn’t you just love to see the escalation rug get pulled right out from under Dubya’s feet? Now that would be funny… and oh-so enjoyable)

Aim higher. Aggressive new tactics aimed at detering Iranian assistance to Iraqi militants is one of a few more tactics being discussed in having the Air Force expand thier role in Iraq. (And if the fighters “accidentally” cross over into Iran and “accidentally” destroy a nuclear lab, it wouldn’t be the beginning of a war with Iran now would it?? Yes, that was sarcasm.)

Only a matter of time? The Brookings Institution ran a few simulations of civil war in Iraq. The findings found (imagine that) that as the country further descends into civil war, confrontation between the US and Iran will intensify and DC’s leverage with Tehran would severely diminish. Said the report; “Civil war in Iraq would turn Iran into ‘the unambiguous adversary’ of the US.” (Only a matter of time boys… only a matter of time. I have got to get back to work on that bomb shelter…)

Strongarming the Scientists. Two private advocacy groups are saying that they have gathered new evidence of “suppression and manipulation” of climate scientists in “seven federal agencies.” Why are they strongarming the scientists you ask? So they can “downplay the threat of global warming.” (Makes you proud to be an American… doesn’t it. If you believe in global warming, you’re letting the scientists win…

Same old, same old. Even as the FBI lookis into some of his land deals, Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA) has been chosen to be the ranking member of a panel that is responsible for investigating financial institutions. This, even after The Hill reports that in the last two months, FBI officials have contacted local officials about Miller’s land deals. (Unfortunately, this does not surprise me one bit…)

NOT the way to treat our service men and women. The Army and Marine Corps are “thousands of vehicles, armor kits and other equipment” short of supplying the surge troops. A senior Army official stated: “It’s inevitable that that has to happen, unless five brigades of up-armored Humvees fall out of the sky,” (Nice way to take care of our brave men and women, isn’t it? The next time Dubya has the audacity to say he cares about the troops, everyone listening should stand up and walk out. How can you escalate the troops without having the neccesary equiopment. Shouldn’t that have been the first thing to do?? Make sure we have the equipment readily available and then call for a surge?? Everything this president does is backwards.)

More Loss of Party Unity. Another republican is jumping sides as a group of congressman led by Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) is pushing a resolution that calls for Bush to come to Congress before using military force against Iran. Said Rep. Jones: “Concerned about the way the Bush administration moved against Iraq, the Congress should say to the President that ‘we believe you should come to the Congress before you initiate any kind of attack.’” (Nice job guys… too bad none of you found your balls before we went to war with Iraq. Think of all the needless suffering that could have been prevented. I guess late is better than never… but not by much.)

And then there were 324. Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) has now joined the race for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. (Okay… eventually every single Democrat in the US – save for Al Gore and John Kerry – are going to throw their hat into the ring. This could get ridiculous before it gets better…)

Discourse in Homeland Security. Scary. The Department of Homeland Security has scored last (or almost last) in job satisfaction, leadership and workplace performance in ratings that came from the 2006 Federal Human Capital Survey. (Should we be worried that the employees of the department that are supposed to be protecting our lives don’t like their jobs?? It scares me. As I said above, I really do need to get back to work on that bomb shelter)

So that’s what a timetable looks like. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) has proposed setting a deadline for withdrawing troops from Iraq that would remove all combat brigades from Iraq by March 31, 2008. (Granted, this is being done to bolster his foreign policy credentials, but it’s nice to see someone give a timeline of getting our troops the hell out of there…)

All I have… take ‘em as you will.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Weekly Rewind

No glitz… no spin… no flashy intro… just a simple ‘Here ya go, help yourself to this week’s Weekly Rewind.’

Applaud: to all the delicious tidbits being strewn about in the Scooter Libby trial. VP Dick Cheney’s former communications director showed notes that detail how Cheney “could respond to allegations that the Bush administration had played fast and loose with evidence of Iraq’s nuclear ambitions,” OR how former Associate CIA Deputy Director Robert Grenier testified that he told Libby that Valerie Plame worked at the CIA in June 2003 (a month before Libby claimed to have learned that information), OR any of the other nifty little items that have, or will be, come out. (Good stuff… good times…)

Heckle: to the State of the Union address… no particular part mind you, really the whole damn thing… it was just one big heaping load of crap…

Applaud: to Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI). The shiny-new chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, has scheduled a hearing to explore whether or not Congress has the authority to cut off funding for the war in Iraq. (It’s nice and refreshing to see someone actually do something about the “surge” and not just throw rhetoric to the wind about it. Way to go Senator Feingold!)

Applaud: to the Congressional Budget Office for popping Dubya’s bubble. The CBO says that y that “President” Bush can “balance the budget within five years, or he can get Congress to extend his tax cuts beyond their scheduled expiration — but he can’t do both.” (Almost a political equivalent to a good ol’ fashioned knee in the groin, isn’t it? Could Dubya be any more of a lame duck?)

Heckle: to an inactive Parliament. As insurgency attacks have grown, the Iraqi Parliament “has been at a standstill” with almost every session being adjourned because so few members make it into work,. Officials fear that the members were and are “losing confidence in the institution.” (Excellent, I’m sure the troop escalation will be just what the doctor ordered and will help immensely. As I’ve always said; sarcasm is so hard to express in the written word)

Applaud: to over-analysis of this past week’s SOTU. According to this interactive graph from the New York Times, Bush used the word Iraq 37 times in his State of the Union and the word “freedom” just three times. (And yet absolutely no mention of Hurricane Katrina… hmmm, interesting. HT to Thinkprogress.org for the link)

Heckle: to “President” Bush for stating in an interview with USA Today, that he “can’t guarantee that all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by the end of his presidency because ‘we don’t set timetables.” (I’m sorry… you don’t do what? Set timetables?? Are you fuc**** kidding me?? That’s all your administration does is set timetables. So instead of fessing up that you screwed-up big time, you’re gonna leave a nice mess for the next president to clean up?? Mark my words, doing that will tarnish his already-hazy legacy even more. What. A. Tool.)

Applaud: to the Washington Post (did I just write that??). In the SOTU, Bush said he wasn’t the U.S. to reduce “U.S. gasoline usage by 20% in the next 10 years.” All fine and good, right. Wrong. The Washington Post looks at the fine print in really small letters and finds that the administration says that the goal is 20% below projected annual gasoline usage and not based off today’s levels.” What does that mean? It means that carbon dioxide emissions from transportation fuels will “drop only slightly from today’s levels” (Rhetoric is as rhetoric does…)

Heckle: to the news that the Taliban (Yes, that Taliban) plans to open its own schools in areas of southern Afghanistan that are under its control. (Words coming from the White Hosue: ‘Taliban? What Taliban? Afghanistan? What Afghanistan?” I swear, this administration has to be the most inept group of idiots to ever be in charge of anything, ever!)

Applaud: to former VP Al Gore and his Oscar nomination in the Best Documentary category for “An Inconvenient Truth

Heckle: to conservatives in the Senate that blocked legislation to raise the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25. They insisted that it “include new tax breaks” for restaurants and other businesses.

Applaud: to polling data. New approval numbrs are out, new approval numbers are out! AWashington Post-ABC poll puts him at 33%, CNN/Opinion Research has him at 34% and a CBS poll shows yet another record low with a 28% approval. (Nothing I say could improve on the beauty of the numbers themselves…)

Heckle: to even more putting of foot into mouth by “President” Bush. Despite getting ridiculed after he labeled himself ‘The Decider’, Dubya is up to naming himself again… Currently on a collision course with Congress over the troop escalation, Bush said today; “I'm the decision-maker” about sending more troops to the war. (It would be funny if he didn’t actually say it… but he did. This man just does not get it. And it’s also good to know he’s able to ignore all those checks and balances things that our forefathers thought of. Idiot.)

Applaud: for dis-proving any true evidence of Iran’s links to the insurgency in Iraq. According to the LA Times, “evidence of Iranian involvement in Iraq’s troubles is limited.” While U.S. troops have found mortars and antitank mines with Iranian markings dated 2006… there’s been “little sign of more advanced weaponry crossing the border, and no Iranian agents have been found.” (Good news to see there isn’t any real evidence of Iran’s involvement, bad news that real evidence doesn’t mean a damn thing to the man in the oval office. Everybody panic…)

Heckle: to Fox “News” host Sean Hannity. In an interview with former Presidential candidate and retired 4-Star General Wesley Clark, the idiotic host had the audacity to essentially claim that Clark doesn’t know much about military strategy. What an asshat…

Heckle: to news stories that really shouldn’t catch anyone by surprise. It seems that Diebold voting machines have a key (a key that can open every single Diebold machine by the way) that can be copied from a photo on the company's website. (Lovely… and this is a surprise… how?)

Heckle: to Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who apparently is a cheap date. Come on Blago, hows about making job buying a little more pricey of a proposition…

That's all I have, take 'em as you will...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

SOTU

My cell phone rings, it's my good friend and colleague Scott

Me: "What's up?"

S: "Is he saying anything interesting?"


Me: "Mike Rowe? Yeah, he's making barrels... not very dirty, but still somewhat interesting"

S: "No, Bush is giving the SOTU, isn't he?"

Me: "Yeah. I watched the fist 20 minutes then I got this dull buzzing sound in my ears... then my ears started to bleed... then I had a brief spasm and drifted in and out of consciousness for a while. I thought it would be most beneficial to me to turn it off and watch something else. What are you up to?

S: "All I can say is it deals with a lot of crap..."

Me: "Oh, so you were watching the speech?"


Okay, so maybe it didn't happen exactly the way I describe it above, I did watch most of the speech, then drifted back and forth between the speech and "Dirty Jobs." I have to give "President" Bush props for hailing Madame Speaker Pelosi... but overall it was the same rhetoric we've heard from him six times before, only this time he was a little more nervous than in years past.

What was good was the Democratic response by Freshman Senator James Webb (D-Va), one of the best Democratic responses I have ever heard.

For those of you interested, I present links for each:

SOTU

Democratic Response

Enjoy.

Twixt Dwindling Polls and the SOTU

With the State of the Union fast-approaching (it’s tonight – do you have your SOTU drinking game ready?) some would think that now would not be a good time to release new approval polls for “President” Bush… well… it would be a bad time for Bush and Bush-supporters, but a good time for anyone who thinks he’s driving this country further and further into the ground (such as me).

Two new polls were released this week, and both paint an even-more dismal picture for the “President” than prior months (hard to think that was even possible – but it is)

A Washington Post-ABC poll puts Dubya’s job approval at a scant 33%.

I’ll pause a moment to let that sink in…

It should be noted that only two presidents have ever had lower approval ratings while on the cusp of the State of the Union address: Nixon & Truman.

A CNN/Opinion Research Poll has his approval at 34%.

A new CBS poll shows yet another record low with a 28% approval rating. You read that right, 28%… I’ll pause again to allow that number to sink in.

So with these new numbers in their back pocket, what should one expect the administration to come up with for tonight’s performance?

Like previous years I would imagine more of the same, even though this time he’s facing a much-more cynical audience… with Congress and a good portion of the U.S. population tired of his ineptitude and piss-poor work.

One thing he will mention (besides mention Iraq, terrorism, OBL, etc a dozen or so times) is that he wants the U.S. to reduce gasoline consumption by 20% over the next 10 years…

In my opinion, this smells greatly like a last-minute, hail mary-type act of desperation… especially coming from someone who has made a lot of money and has a LOT of friends in the gas industry… makes one think that maybe, just maybe, the negative talk is finally starting to sink-into that un-level head of his…

But I doubt it…

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Weekly Rewind

Friday… you know what that means… , it’s porkchop day in the employee cafeteria… that, and it’s time for The Weekly Rewind…

Here ya go:

Applaud: Monday was the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King… let’s keep his memory and dreams alive forever. So far, $72.9 million has been raised to erect a memorial to Dr. King that is expected to cost $100 million. So if you want to help, donate today.

Heckle: to what seems to be even more cronyism in the Bush(whacked) Administration (… I know, I know, I should be used to it by now from this man) Do you know who Frederick Kagan is? He’s the American Enterprise Scholar who had “the president’s ear” on Iraq and is responsible for crafting the escalation plan. One would think that the person Bush placed responsibility on for crafting a new stratgy for Iraq would have a long military history and experience as a military expert… well, one would think that… and hope that… to bad he isn’t a “military expert” (Yeah… I have great hopes for this plan working…)

Applaud: to giving it back. Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki has decided to “take a page out of the Bush administration playbook..” Earlier this week he said that that criticism of his administration from “President” Bush gives the terrorists a “morale boost” and pushes them to make an extra effort. Monkey see… monkey do…

Heckle: to the Bush(whacked) Administration… do you sense a theme here? While House Democrats want to cut student loan interest rates… the administration has “declared its opposition” even though the bill would cut interest rates on some college student loans in half and “would help an estimated 5.5 million students.” (Nice… the White House really does care about the people don’t they? Fuc**** idiots…)

Applaud: to political satirst Art Buchwald… who passed away earlier this week (Thursday). Democrat or republican, Liberal or conservative, it didn’t matter to him, he would skew each side with snark (even before we knew what snark was) and wit. And he did it for over four decades. He will be missed.

Heckle: to the Bush(whacked) Administration. Experts tell us that the Administration is leaving out important details in regards to the Iraq troop “surge” (read: escalation). McClatchy Newspapers: “President Bush and his aides, explaining their reasons for sending more American troops to Iraq, are offering an incomplete, oversimplified and possibly untrue version of events there that raises new questions about the accuracy of the administration’s statements about Iraq.” (I am shocked… shocked to find gambling going on in this establishment…)

Applaud: Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) just created his. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is poised to make herself one… former Sen. John Edwards (D-SC) has one… as does Gov Tom Vilsack (D-IA). A few others are considering doing the same… I writing about the ever-popular Presidential Exploratory Committee. This is gearing up to be a croweded and, some say, an historic Presidential campaign. Can’t wait to see how this one plays out. (My opinion can be summed up in two simple words: No. Hillary…. Okay, two more words: No. Kerry.)

Heckle: to the same old, same old. According to the Washington Post, at least half a dozen congressional spouses have jobs as registered lobbyists and several more are connected with lobbying firms. Coincidentally… all reforms that are being made in regards to lobbyists seem to be excluding the aforementioned spouses… but I’m sure there’s no connection to that whatsoever…

Applaud: to Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, for speaking the truth and ignoring the pressure of the White House. He stated in an interview that Taliban attacks have surged by 200% in December. (Wouldn’t it make more sense to add more troops to Afghanistan, where the terrorist/Al-queda links actually are, then to Iraq? I would think it would, but I guess that’s what happens when I think for myself…)

Heckle: to Commander Cuckoo-Bananas schedule. After six horrific… terrifying… nauseatingly troublesome… civil liberty-erasing… deadly… catastrophic… immoral… sheep-like thinking… years in office, “President” Bush has now spent one full year (or 365 days) at Camp David. The Bushes (The Bushesssses?) left Friday evening for their 116th visit. If you’re asking where his Camp David visits ranks with his Crawford, Texas visits… David is still way on down the line. As of Jan. 1, Bush has spent 405 days in Crawford. Including the days immediately after Hurriance Katrina and immediately after the death of former President Gerald Ford. Bush… a prince of a man… and by prince I mean moron.

Applaud: to Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE). He’s joing leading Democrats in introducing a resolution that opposes “President” Bush’s buildup of troops in Iraq. For those of you keeping score, this puts a bipartisan spin on the looming showdown over the war… which include Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and his cap plan . Especially when you consider that Bush says Congress and the Senate can’t stop his escalation plan… Liberal and conservative Constitutional Law experts disagree... Llllllleeetttssss getttt readddddddyyyyyy toooo rrrruuuummmbbbbbllllleee…

Heckle: to slow-ass comprehension… and evern slower speaking up. Okay, I’ll give him the benefot that the news probably took this long for the concept to comepletely reach his brain , but almost three weeks after the fact, President Bush said the execution of Saddam Hussein “looked like it was kind of a revenge killing.” The hanging of Saddam by the Shiite-led government is also helping accelerate Sunni-Shiite sectarianism across the Middle East.. (and Lord knows that will help defuse the situation…)

Applaud: to shrinking political capital. No, not Bush’s, but Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s. It seems that he is now under pressure from “higher authorities” in Iran to “end his involvement in the country’s nuclear program.” (Good news… but answer me this; why can’t we get the same thing over here?)

Heckle: to Frank Hargrove (R-VA). A day after our nation observed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, he said that slavery ended nearly 140 years ago and that “black citizens should get over it.” He then went on to say; “Are we going to force the Jews to apologize for killing Christ?” (The crap that oozes out of their mouths just amazes me sometimes…

Applaud: to General Electric, DuPont, and Alcoa, along with about seven additional major companies for banding together, along with a few environmental groups, to call for a “firm nationwide limit on carbon dioxide emissions.” A limit that would lead to reduced emission of “10 to 30%” over the next 15 years… (Excellent… about time some of our larger companies start leading by example. Maybe the gop will finally see the light)

Uber-Heckle: Okay, when I tell you this, don’t panic… on second thought; panic. The Doomsday clock was moved closer to Armageddon this past week. Mass hysteria in 5…4…3…

Applaud: to the fall of the axe… and by axe I mean justice. Ex Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH) has been ordered to serve 30 months in prison for accepting gifts, favors and campaign contributions in exchange for official actions. This makes him the first elected official to be sent to prison in the ongoing investigation of ex-lobbyist Jack “Black Hat” Abramoff'. (Hopefully, and I think I speak for a LOT of people; he wont be the last. Don’t bend over for the soap Bob…)

Heckle: Really???? Rich Little??? Are you fuc**** kidding me???

Applaud: to the Senate (Democrats and republicans) who approved legislation (with a 96 to 2 vote) that would limit the influence of lobbyists, constrict congressional ethics rules and put a stop to spouses of senators from lobbying senators and their staffs. (Nice piece of legislation, but let’s hold off on praising it more until it actually is signed into law…)

Heckle: to Attorney General Alberto “Torture is my Life” Gonzales. Do I really need to give a reason? Sigh… okay; heckle(s) for this, this, this, this aaaaaand this… what. A. Tool.

Heckle: to Vice-President Dick “Dick” Cheney. Why? Because he should be heckled every damn chance we get. Along with “President” Bush, AG Gonzales, Karl Rove, Condi Rice… let’s just throw in every single member of the Bush(whacked) administration and cabinet and be done with it.
That’s all we got, take ‘em as you will.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

An Important Bill is Passed

House Democrats wanted to cut student loan interest rates… the administration “declared its opposition” to a cut. The (Democratically-controlled) House, by and large, ignored the White House and overwhelmingly approved the bill yesterday by a vote of 356 to 71… a vote which saw more than a few republicans swinging sides… a swing nearly 130 votes strong. Having said that, don't let the final tally deceive you… most republicans opposed the bill… vehemently opposed the bill… and voted for it simply because they didn’t want to be painted as opposing student aid or opposing anything related to education.

The bill, which lost by a scant 2 votes a year ago, aims to cut interest rates on college loans and thus create a plan that could potentially save students $2,300 over the life of a loan. While that in and of itself is good news, it’s unfortunate that the reduction in rates will be phased-in and won’t take full effect until 2011. Regardless, even a phased-in reduction will help some students considerably.

I’m not posting this to harangue about how important education is… most everyone knows that education is a fundamental building block of society and is relatively important in the creation of an informed citizenry. Keep in mind that I am not saying that those without an education are not important and do not contribute to society, they do… a lot… it’s just my personal belief is that education is important.

The reason I’m posting this is because it is an important bill that could have a significant impact on a very large segment of the population. Furthermore, it could also have an impact on a segment of the population that is constrained from furthering their education by the idea of having to pay off their oversized loans. But with a significant cut in interest rates, the dream of getting an education just got easier for a lot of people… and that is something that I believe in.

I was lucky; when I was working on my undergrad, I was on a Forensics scholarship and didn’t have to take out any student loans. Ditto for my Masters degree, my employers paid for it, so I’ve never had to rely on student loans. My wife on the other hand has… her undergrad, her post-graduate certificate and now her Masters, she’s had to use student loans, so I know the anxiety, stress and worry that they bring… and cutting the interest rates is an enormous step in the right direction.

Let’s hope republicans and/or this administration don’t do anything to screw it up…

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Another hat into the ring

Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) has officially put together a Presidential Exploratory committee, essentially signaling his decision to run for President in 2008.

Thoughts... anyone?

Monday, January 15, 2007

I Have a Dream

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.

So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.

So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights.

The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. we must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" we can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial - Washington D.C. August 28, 1963

Happy Birthday Dr. King. Let your memory, dreams, and life never die or fade from our nation's memory.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Random Political Thoughts for a Wednesday Afternoon

It’s Wednesday, and tonight “President” Bush unveils his “New Way Forward” strategy for Iraq.
(Aside: Am I the only one who thinks ‘new way forward’ sounds like some crappy, 1980’s ‘do it yourself’ mantra? Who else could see Stuart Smiley saying that??)

Being Wednesday, it also means it’s time for “Random Political Thoughts for a Wednesday Afternoon” to make its 2007 premiere. Enjoy.

Modern major generals need not apply. When President Bush speaks to the American people tonight and outlines his new “strategy” for Iraq, he will be ordering the top military brass to take actions that they advised against. Apparently, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have long opposed the increase in troops as well. (Which is good… what with Dubya’s years and years of military planning experience. Ignore the generals and do what I want seems to be Bush’s mantra now… don’t you feel safe?)

Eyes are opening? Granted, the Associated Press (New slogan: All the News that’s fit to print… unless it upsets our republican overlords”) has tried to work around the facts in the article, but someone has finally noticed that job growth under Bush… well… it… kinda sucks…actually, it totally sucks. Under Bush, the economy produced 3.7 million new jobs from January 2001 through December of last year based on non-farm payroll figures collected by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics. What this means is that the U.S. economy has created less jobs under Bush than it had by the same point in the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton (For those of you scoring at home – or even if you’re alone – when Bubba was in the White House, the economy generated 17.6 million jobs during the corresponding period. When Grecian Formula was in the Oval Office, 9.5 million jobs were created… I love statistics that make my point so succinctly…)

I’ll believe it when I see it. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), the new chairman of the Senate Banking Committee has “vowed to crack down on ‘outrageous’ credit card fees” and the lying-ass (my word, not his) lenders that target certain demographics. (That’s all fine and good, but as I said in the title of this thought; I’ll believe it when I see it)

Screw nature? As quietly as Elmer Fudd hunting Bugs Bunny, “President” Bush lifted the drilling ban on Alaska’s Bristol Bay yesterday (Tuesday). This essentially clears the way for the Department of the Interior to open the waters for oil and natural gas development. (Nice… I don’t even know where to begin…)

Op-Ed Piece of the Week. This week, the honorific goes to Molly Ivin’s and her column; “It's up to us to stop this war” if for no other reason than the first line; “The president of the United States does not have the sense God gave a duck.” (Priceless and classic stuff… and a definite must-read)

Can we say; Ironic? Ex-senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) has himself a new job, and it’s ripe with irony. He’s now a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, (which is ironic in and of itself) and is in charge of a program entitled “America’s Enemies” whose focus is the “identifying, studying, and heightening awareness” of the myriad of threats posed to America. (Sometimes… the smart-ass comments just write themselves)

Checks & Balances, what checks & balances? White House Press Secretary Tony “Rhymes with Blow” Snow told a gaggle of press yesterday that even though Congress had funding control over the Iraq war, “the president could ultimately do what he wants” and that Bush “has the ability to exercise his own authority if he thinks Congress has voted the wrong way.” (Good to know that Bush can ignore all those checks and balances and Constitutional ‘hang-ups’, isn’t it? I seriously do worry about the future of this country with this man in charge…)

Is it hot on earth, or is it just me? According to the National Climatic Data Center, 2006 was the warmest in the continental United States in the past 112 years, and that statistic caps a nine-year warming streak that is “unprecedented in the historical record.” The cause… well, that’s where we get into some interesting territory. Per the experts at the NCDC, the cause was “driven by the burning of fossil fuels.” (But… I thought global warming was a myth and that Al Gore was lying… I. Don’t. Know. What. To. Believe…Oh wait, I have a brain and I’m Liberal so I believe in Global Warming. With this news I can say; suck it conservatives…)

Was it really that easy? Congressional Democrats, backed by a plethora of party-line-crossing Republicans, voted 299 to 128 yesterday to approved legislation that would implement quite a few of the remaining recommendations of the 9/11 commission. (Granted, it faces a tougher road in the Senate, but isn’t it nice to see the Dems actually do something… something that was promised in its much-ballyhooed “100 hours” agenda. It kinda makes me proud to be a Democrat… let’s hope they keep it up…)

There goes the judge, there goes the judge. The Bush administration withdrew four of its nominees to the federal appellate bench earlier this week. Why you ask, because the Dems control the Senate Judiciary Committee now and the four who were withdrawn were… how do I say this… were more to the right than the Kaiser. So already our controlling the Senate is paying off. Brings a smile to your face, doesn’t it?

Is it really that slow of a news day? Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) went swimming in Hawaii and took his shirt off… okay… and the news portion of this is what? That someone went swimming and took their shirt off? I think millions of people do that every day. This is news… why???

That’s all I have, take ‘em as you will…

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Is Bush losing an Ally?

With his looming announcement of a troop “surge” (read: escalation) in Iraq, some people are starting to question if “President” Bush is losing one of his most stallwart ally’s for the Iraq War.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair seemed to be breaking away from Dubya’s concepts about the Iraq war and (finally) using his own mind when he announced earlier this week that Britain will not be sending more troops to Iraq, even if Bush pushes ahead with a ’surge’ (read: escalation) of U.S. troops.

(Should I be looking outside for flying pigs? Quick, someone call Hell and see if they’ve frozen over…)

The Prime Minister’s strategy is a gradual handing over to the Iraqi army… something that many others (Democrats and republicans here in the U.S.) have been pushing for for a long time.

Does this show a strain in Bush’s and Blair’s relationship? It certainly seems so… it also makes one wonder… is Blair finally starting to grow tired of his “friend and colleague” George? Has he seen enough bloodshed in Iraq and enough running in place by the Bush Administration in regards to Iraq that he’s gotten to the point that the only true and viable solution is to hand over responsibility to Iraq.

Who exactly does support a troop surge? Good question. The Dems don’t. Many republicans don’t. A lot of generals don’t. The American public doesn’t. Our troops don’t. The Iraqi people and government don’t. It’s enough to make you wonder if Dubya’s life (people in his circle are starting to leave rather quickly) is getting to a point where the only people that support and listen to him are Laura and his dog…

Well… at least his dog…

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Week Ahead

A handy-dandy guide of some things to pay attention to as this week gets underway…

  • The biggest news of the upcoming week is that on Wednesday night, “President” Bush is expected to announce his new and improved plans for Iraq which most people are saying is a surge (read: ESCALATION) of troops. While thinking about that frightening scenario, think about this (via Think Progress): On June 28, 2005 — a mere 18 months ago — Dubya said that sending more troops to Iraq wouldundermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the leadand would also suggest to the Iraqi people that we “intend to stay forever.” As of Friday, the new plan was being dubbed “A New Way Forward.” Interesting… isn’t it?)
  • The day after Bush’s speech on his new plans for Iraq, Secretary of State Condoleezza “Rhymes with” Rice will go before the House Foreign Affairs Committee so she can defend her boyfriend’s boss’s “war-strategy shift.” Besides Condi, newly-minted Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Peter Pace will be busy defending the change before the House Armed Service Committee. (Can we say “spin” boys and girls?)
  • Pay attention to how the new Democratically-controlled Congress reacts to Bush’s new Iraq strategy. This past Sunday on CBS' “Face the Nation,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Democrats will not give President Bush a blank check for Iraq, declaring: “The American people and the Congress support those troops. We will not abandon them. But if the president wants to add to this mission, he is going to have to justify it. And this is new for him because up until now the Republican Congress has given him a blank check with no oversight, no standards, no conditions.”
  • Keep an eye on science in the days weeks months years ahead. Why? Well, it seems the failure of the 109th “Do-Nothing” Congress to pass new budgets for the fiscal year has engineered “a crisis in science financing” that is so bad that is threatens to close major facilities, delay new projects and leave thousands of government scientists out of work with, possible, disasterous consequences. (Well sure, it plays right into the gop’s hands of ignoring the plight of Global Warming and the environment… so it’s natural that they ignored science. Remember; to them, science is a four-letter word.)
  • Watch out as one of the cornerstones of Bush’s domestic agenda turns five-years old this week (seriously though… it’s really his only domestic agenda that got off the ground… but let’s not nitpick…). Which one you ask? It’s the plan that, at its simplest, aimed to improve the basic skills of the nation's public school children, in particular poor and minority students... that’s right; No Child Left Behind turns 5 years old today. And it’s future is as unclear as the future of the students it was supposed to have helped as Congress prepares to reauthorize it there is a group of 100 education, religion and civil rights leaders that are going to be calling for “major changes" to the plan…so stay tuned.
  • Keep an ever-vigilant eye on Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) because I don't think he can be trusted...
  • Keep your ears open year-round, as another year filled with Bushisms gets under way. Curious as to what the top Bushism for 2006 was? Wonder no more. A Web site that analyzes and catalogues language usage has issued its Top Bushisms for 2006, the Top Five are:

5. "The only way we can win is to leave before the job is done." Nov. 24 (Greely, Colo.)

4. "I've got an ek-a-lec-tic reading list." August 29 interview with NBC's Brian Williams.

3. "It was not always certain that the U.S. and America would have a close relationship." June 29.

2. "I use The Google," in reference to the popular search engine. October 24th. Interview with Maria Bartiromo of CNBC.

And the number one Bushism for 2006 is:

1. "I'm the Decider." "I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense." April 18, in response to a question from CNN's Ed Henry.

I don’t really think anything more needs to be said… have a good week everyone and remember:

Take ‘em as you will…

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Weekly Rewind

Friday is here, whoo-hoo!!

That can mean one thing and one thing only.

Sit down, open your eyes, open your mind and wallow in the crapulence that is… TBWA’s Weekly Rewind.

Applaud: to the best news of this past week… the commencement of the 110th Congress… the commencement of the 110th Democratically controlled Congress… yee-haaaaa and whoo-hoooo!!!!!!!

Applaud: In its first (of many we hope) legislative act, the (Democratically controlled) 110th Congress voted 430-1 yesterday to approve “the broadest ethics and lobbying revision since the Watergate era.” (This is all fine and good, I just hope it works…)

Heckle: to Pat “Bigotry is my Life” Robertson. He’s out wit his annual predictions (who does he think he is, Kreskin? and is saying that God has told him of a terrorist attack on the U.S. that would result in “Mass killing. Late in 2007.” All of this because our nation and society is tolerant of homosexuals. (Sigh… besides a heckle, let me throw out a STFU as well. What a tool)

Applaud: to ignoring bigotry and embracing the bigot. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) introduced himself to Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA), earlier this week despite the incredibally insensitive, idioitc and racist rants that Goode aimed at Ellison and his Muslim beliefts. (I love this. Not only did it show that Ellison is a bigger man than Goode, it also made Goode look like an even bigger asshat. Way to go Rep. Ellison, keep it up.)

Heckle: to bad news and sorry preparation. Only six out of 75 U.S. cities/metro areas achieved high grades for their emergency agencies’ ability to communicate during a disaster. (Nice… way to keep us safe there guys. Ya think this is what Pat was referring to? Or maybe Pat heard this story on the News and mistook it for God speaking to him… that’s always a possibility, isn’t it?)

Applaud: did I mention that this past week saw the commencement of the 110th Congress… the commencement of the 110th Democratically controlled Congress… yee-haaaaa and whoo-hoooo!!!!!!!

Applaud: to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), soon to be the chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW). She’s already promised that her committee will “scrutinize” the EPA’s approach to… well… to the environment really. (Wow… a EPW committee chair who actually will care about the environment? When’s the last time we had that? Oh, that’s right, the last time we had a Democratically controlled Senate…)

Heckle: “Only six of 75 U.S. metropolitan areas won the highest grades for their emergency agencies’ ability to communicate during a disaster, five years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,” according to a new Dept. of Homeland Security report.

Applaud: to polling data. No, not the one I posted about earlier, but new numbers coming in regarding Dubya’s ever-shrinking approval numbers. CBS shows him at 30% approval... (if he gets below 30, I think we should sell...)

Heckle: to global warming and El NiƱo, which combined will make 2007 the warmest year on record… (Lovely… last one off the planet is a corpse rotten egg. That self-satisfying ‘I told you so’ you hear is coming from President Gore)

Applaud: to a continuing cleaning up of the mess left by House republicans. Soon to be House workforce chairman George Miller (D-CA) is going to erase a “controversial vestige of the Jack Abramoff era” by raising wages on the Mariana Islands. The islands are a U.S. territory where sweatshop factory conditions, among other things, have been documented but have gone ignored by the U.S. thanks to Abramoff who, in cooperation with his back-pocket conservatives, blocked better working conditions. (See that… get rid of the shyster republicans, elect Democrats, and things start happening… let’s keep it going)

Applaud: have I mentioned that this past week saw the commencement of the 110th Congress… the commencement of the 110th Democratically controlled Congress… yee-haaaaa and whoo-hoooo!!!!!!!

Heckle: to using tactics originally adopted by the tobacco industry (always someone to model yourselves after). ExxonMobil has given $16 million to groups that question global warming in an attempt to “manufacture uncertainty” about climate change. At least that’s what the Union of Concerned Scientists (who I’ve heard throw some wild parties) claims in a recent report. (Nice… very nice… gives you a nice, warm feeling in your heart… and your head… and your legs? Uh-oh… this can’t be good…)

Applaud: to speaking the truth… even if it isn’t viewed as such. Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Joe Biden (D-DE) said earlier this week that he thinks that most of the top officials in the Bush administration have “privately concluded they have lost Iraq and are simply trying to postpone disaster so the next president will ‘be the guy landing helicopters inside the Green Zone, taking people off the roof,’ in a chaotic withdrawal reminiscent of Vietnam.” (Ouch… truth hurts, doesn’t it Dubya? Let me consult the guide here… yes, that statement would qualify as a smackdown… nice job Joe)

Heckle: Chief Justice William Rehnquist was addicted to drugs and had hallucinations after back surgery… wouldn’t that have been a sight to see??

Applaud: to making an example of someone… even though it looks as though he’s being used as a patsy. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman has fired the head of the department’s nuclear weapons program this past week. Reasons for the firing included a plethora of security failures at national laboratories (including my favorite: a computer device that contained classified documents that was discovered in the home of a former employee during a drug raid… It’s the drug raid portion of the story that makes it art…)

Heckle: to doing things under the radar. A “signing statement” attached to postal legislation, and signed by “President” Bush earlier this week, has opened the door for your government to open mail without so much as a warrant. (And the attack on our civil liberties continues… at least until 1/20/2009…

Applaud: to the continued recovery of Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD).

Heckle: to the standing ovation that William “The Freezer” Jefferson (D-LA and he who faces an FBI probe into bribery allegations) received from the Congressional Black Caucus. (I don’t think that’s a good way to separate ourselves from the gop there fellas… I’m just sayin’…)

Applaud: to the stepping-down of one-time failed SCOTUS nominee Harriet Miers as White House counsel. She was a tool then… she’s a tool now… and the White House is clearing the decks for troubles ahead I think…

Heckle: to Ann Coulter. Do I really need to give a specific reason? Sigh… okay fine… she called the Democratic party a “vast sleeper cell.” Is that enough of a reason to vilify her? It is. Excellent… let’s get to work people…

Applaud: I think I’ve mentioned this already, but it certainly bears repeating. This past week saw the commencement of the 110th Congress… the commencement of the 110th Democratically controlled Congress… yee-haaaaa and whoo-hoooo!!!!!!!

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

Very interesting polling data

Quick post about some interesting results from a CNN poll (along with our own special brand of commentary) released earlier this week.

  • Allowing the government to negotiate with drug companies to attempt to lower the price of prescription drugs for some senior citizens: 87% approve of the plan, 12% oppose the plan (young college republicans must have made up this result pool) and 1% have no opinion on the matter and should be jettisoned from the earth.
  • Raising the minimum wage: 85% approve. 14% oppose and 1% have no opinion and should be jettisoned from the earth.
  • Cutting interest rates on federal loans to college students: 84% approve. 15% oppose, and 1% have no opinion and should be jett— well, you get the idea.
  • Creating an independent panel to oversee ethics in Congress: 79% approve. 19% oppose (obviously the respondents were members of Congress) and 2% have no opinion and, well, you know...
  • Making significant changes in U.S. policy in Iraq: 77% approve. 20% oppose (I really would like to meet the people that make up this 20% and ask them what they hell they’re thinking… wouldn’t you?) and 3% have no opinion.
  • Reducing the amount of influence lobbyists have on congressional decisions: 75% approve. 21% oppose (those 21% obviously must have been lobbyists or members of congress…) and 4% have no opinion
  • Implementing all of the anti-terrorism recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission: 64% approve. 26% oppose and 10% have no opinion (can I confess I’m a little scared that 10% have no opinion on this matter? Should we check the 10% for terrorism ties?)
  • Maintaining the current Social Security system to prevent the creation of private investment accounts: 63% approve. 32% oppose and 6% have no opinion.
  • Funding embryonic stem cell research: 62% approve. 32% oppose and 6% have no opinion

What do these numbers say? That the gop has been ignoring the will of the people (the people they allegedly represent) and screwing the nation with its pants on for the last decade.

What else do these numbers say? That the Dems better mind their P’s and Q’s and listen to what their constituents are telling them… lest they also be shoved out the door in the years ahead…

Looking at these poll questions, does anything strike you about them?

They’re all things that are on the Democrat’s agenda, which gives much insight to our lovely gop smackdown back in November, doesn't it?

Now let's not blow it...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

It starts...

If you haven’t heard… today is the day the 110th Congress convenes… the 110th Democratically Controlled Congress convenes…

It’s enough to bring a smile to the faces on Mount Rushmore.

I think it’s absolutely fantastic that the Dems have control again… but let’s maintain some level of composure about it and not think that they will be able to change things overnight, because they won’t be able to. "President" Bush and the gop will see to that.

Also, let’s keep in mind that, first and foremost, the Democrats' primary task is to serve the American people while simultaneously showing that they are responsive to the needs of the people… that's their whole reason for being.

For the last ten years, republicans have been ignoring the will of the people and working for themselves… this past year the people finally got fed up and shipped them out… en masse.

Allow the gop to oppose our agenda. Let them bitch and moan and groan all they want… it can only help us in the long run.

As Kos himself says in a post on Daily Kos: It's our time to be responsive.

Let’s not lose sight of that… otherwise we will be the party kicked out in the years ahead…

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Little help please...

Something’s been bothering me… maybe all of you could help me out…

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), the outgoing chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, told Fox “News” host Chris Wallace that Dubya needs to make sure he has congressional support before he even announces a plan for escalatiing troops in Iraq.

If Bush chooses to ignore Congress, Lugar said he should expect “a lot of hearings, a lot of study, a lot of criticism,” along with “demands for subpoenas.”

Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Larry Korb, a former U.S. assistant secretary of defense under President Reagan, stated last week that “Congress should intervene to block another troop surge” unless the administration can “adequately” explain why it’s necessary.

Here we have two conservative republicans asking why an escalation is necessary… yet Bush is doing what he’s always done… ignoring others.

My question is this: What will it take for the failure of Iraq and the decline of his inner-party support to get through that thick head of his????