Thursday, November 30, 2006

Gore: Inconvenient Truth DVD special features!

HuffPo has the video from the Tonight Show: "Al Gore appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night to promote the DVD of his hit documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Leno asked Gore about special features the DVD might have, and Gore joked that it included an uncensored version called 'Global Warming Gone Wild'...including 'hot glacier on glacier action.'"

BBC: Bush vows to 'complete Iraq job'

BBC: Bush says Maliki is "right guy for Iraq": "US President George W Bush has pledged to keep American troops in Iraq until 'the job is complete'.

Speaking after a summit in Jordan with Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki, he said troops would remain as long as Mr Maliki's government wanted them there.

But he said it was important to speed up training for the Iraqi security forces. Mr Bush praised Mr Maliki as the 'right guy for Iraq'.

The summit had been delayed by a day amid denials of a snub to Mr Bush.

It was held as reports suggested a report by America's cross-party Iraq Study Group would recommend changes to US policy.

It appears to recommend a pullback of US troops to their bases but no firm timetable for a pullout from Iraq."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

TP: Americans not duped on Iraq

Think Progress: "According to a new Harris poll, 68 percent of Americans say they believe there is a civil war in Iraq, compared with 14 percent who disagree. Only 13 percent think new Defense nominee Robert Gates will make the situation in Iraq better, versus 42 percent who think he will make no difference. “About half of those polled would like the government to set a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq, while 18% favor withdrawing all U.S. troops now and 19% favor sending more troops to stabilize the situation.”"

Famed pastor defends invitation to Obama

Maybe there's a bit of hope for Rick Warren: "Famed pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren on Wednesday defended his invitation to Sen. Barack Obama to speak at his church despite objections from some evangelicals who oppose the Democrat's support for abortion rights.


"Our goal has been to put people together who normally won't even speak to each other," the Saddleback statement said. "We do not expect all participants in the summit discussion to agree with all of our evangelical beliefs. However, the HIV/AIDS pandemic cannot be fought by evangelicals alone. It will take the cooperation of all — government, business, NGOs and the church."

Obama declined an interview request. But in a statement, he said while he respects differing views on abortion, he hopes for unity "to honor the entirety of Christ's teachings by working to eradicate the scourge of AIDS, poverty and other challenges we all can agree must be met.

"It is that spirit which has allowed me to work together — and pray together — with some of my conservative colleagues in the Senate to make progress on a range of key issues facing America," Obama's said."

AMERICAblog: Bush's Iraq Trip Debacle

AMERICAblog: Joe in DC--and the whole AmericaBlog site--has the latest from the Bush trip, and it's not pretty: "Bush may be intently focused on Iraq, but his trip became more disastrous by the hour today. That coverage the White House wanted is filled with bad news and talk about the failures of Bush's foreign policy. The entire world got to see that the President of the United States flew half way around the world to get blown off by the Prime Minister of Iraq.

So that's the coverage the White House is getting. Take a look at what the network websites are reporting..."

Monday, November 27, 2006

Daily Kos: The Iraq Study Group report

Daily Kos on the NYT report: "The New York Times is reporting this morning that a draft report of the Baker Commission, aka the Iraq Study Group, makes exactly the recommendations that most analysts have expected for months: more diplomacy, particularly with Iran and Syria; and no timetables for withdrawal of U.S. troops. The latter, according to reporter David Sanger, citing unnamed commission members and outsiders, is likely to prove divisive when the ISG meets today to begin debating the contents of the final report.

So what else could be expected from a 'bipartisan' commission full of ideologues that ought instead to have been non-partisan and have included at least a token dove?"

AP: Peace wreath draws neighbors' wrath

Woman in Denver is in deep trouble because of her controversial wreath... depicting the peace symbol: "A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.

Some residents who have complained have children serving in Iraq, said Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs. He said some residents have also believed it was a symbol of Satan. Three or four residents complained, he said.

'Somebody could put up signs that say drop bombs on Iraq. If you let one go up you have to let them all go up,' he said in a telephone interview Sunday.

Lisa Jensen said she wasn't thinking of the war when she hung the wreath. She said, 'Peace is way bigger than not being at war. This is a spiritual thing.'

Jensen, a past association president, calculates the fines will cost her about $1,000, and doubts they will be able to make her pay. But she said she's not going to take it down until after Christmas.

'Now that it has come to this I feel I can't get bullied,' she said. 'What if they don't like my Santa Claus.'

The association in this 200-home subdivision 270 miles southwest of Denver has sent a letter to her saying that residents were offended by the sign and the board 'will not allow signs, flags etc. that can be considered divisive.'"

Merry Christmas. Peace on earth.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

AJC: Psychic enlisted to find pig's killer

This is one of those earnest news stories you can't help but laugh at: "Halle Berry met a grisly end in this mountain town.

Not the Hollywood star —- this Halle was a 10-month-old pet pig, a house- and leash-trained porker that loved to nibble owner Lydia Weaver's hostas and have its belly scratched.

Someone captured, killed and butchered Halle a few weeks ago, dumping the animal's remains on Weaver's land.

'Every morning at breakfast and every evening at supper I think, 'Are they cooking Halle?' ' Weaver said. 'She was more than the price of bacon or sausage. She was a family member.'

Weaver called the cops and has offered a $1,000 reward, but in case neither the law nor the cash smokes the bad guys out, she's got a pig-loving psychic on the case.

'I have never called a psychic in my life, but I am desperate' said Weaver, who lives on 38 acres with her husband, two children and 30 sheep, 12 horses, 12 dogs, 15 cats, two donkeys and eight pigs. 'I'll shake every tree I can.'

Enter Victoria Bragg of Jasper, a volunteer animal rescuer who professes a sixth sense, especially when it comes to critters.

'I can see spirits and communicate with spirits,' Bragg said.

Her senses tell her that Halle did not suffer.

'She felt a sting in her neck,' Bragg said. 'Then she was with her mother.'

That jibed with information Weaver hadn't shared: Halle's throat was cut, and the pig's mother, Harley, had died not long after Halle was born.

'I'm so upset about it, but I also know she's in a good place,' said Bragg, who occasionally finds homes for pigs that grow bigger than owners expected. 'Somebody that could do that is the epitome of evil. When I had an image of him, it just made me shake.'

Actually, Bragg's instinct tells her that more than one pig-napper was in on the crime —- and that they preserved the body before returning it to Weaver's place. 'I see a freezer,' Bragg said.

The daughter of a traveling preacher, Bragg says her special sense may have been honed on the tent-revival circuit. Today she describes herself as more spiritual than religious.

'I believe if you ask God for help, you'll get it,' she said. 'We all have this gift, it's just we don't listen to it. It's like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets.'


Weaver says a local investigator 'sort of smirked' when she brought up the idea of a psychic; the Fannin County sheriff's office did not return calls about the case. In Georgia, misdemeanor animal cruelty is punishable by up to a year in jail and up to $5,000 in fines, while aggravated animal cruelty, involving torture, is a felony punishable by up to five years and $15,000.

Bragg hopes those responsible will reveal themselves by blabbing about the deed.

'Even if we don't get justice in this lifetime,' she said, 'we will in another.'"

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Atlantic: Top Living Influentials

Top Living Influentials: The Atlantic polled a bunch of important people and compiled various lists of influential people in America... including this list of living influentials...

1. Bill Gates (No. 54 on the Top 100)
2. James D. Watson (No. 68)
3. Ralph Nader (No. 96)
4. Bob Dylan
5. Steve Jobs
6. Steven Spielberg
7. William F. Buckley Jr.
8. Muhammad Ali
9. Sandra Day O’Connor
10. Oprah Winfrey
11. Billy Graham
12. George Lucas
13. Norman Borlaug (founder
of the “Green Revolution”)
14. Michael Jordan
15. Shirley Temple
16. Walter Cronkite
17. Gloria Steinem
18. Phyllis Schlafly
19. Norman Mailer
20. Sid Caesar (the soul of Borscht Belt comedy)
21–24. Vinton Cerf, Robert E. Kahn, Leonard Kleinrock, Lawrence Roberts (the four “fathers of the Internet”)
25. Helen Gurley Brown (legendary editor of Cosmopolitan magazine; author of Sex and the Single Girl)
26. Stan Lee (founder of Marvel Comics; inventor of Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, and other superheroes)
26. Bill Cosby (tied)
28. Henry Kissinger
28. Chuck Berry (tied)
28. Bill Clinton (tied)
31. Martha Stewart
31. Clint Eastwood (tied)
33. Tiger Woods
33. Hugh Hefner (tied)

President-elect of Christian Coalition resigns

President-elect of Christian Coalition resigns: "The Reverend elected to take over as president of the Christian Coalition of America said he will not assume the role because of differences in philosophy.

The Rev. Joel Hunter, of Longwood's Northland, A Church Distributed, said Wednesday that the national group would not let him expand the organization's agenda beyond opposing abortion and gay marriage.

This is the latest setback for the group founded in 1989 by religious broadcaster the Rev. Pat Robertson. Four states - Georgia, Alabama, Iowa and Ohio - have decided to split from the group over concerns its changing direction on issues like the minimum wage, the environment and Internet law instead of core issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.

Hunter, who was scheduled to take over the socially conservative political group Jan. 1, said he had hoped to focus on issues such as poverty and the environment.

'These are issues that Jesus would want us to care about,' Hunter said.

He resigned Tuesday during an organization board meeting. Hunter said he was not asked to leave.

'They pretty much said, 'These issues are fine, but they're not our issues, that's not our base,'' Hunter said."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

USAToday: Baptist minister's op-ed on Christianity and homosexuality has an excellent op-ed by Oliver "Buzz" Thomas, a Baptist minister, that makes an excellent point: "Galileo was persecuted for revealing what we now know to be the truth regarding Earth’s place in our solar system. Today, the issue is homosexuality, and the persecution is not of one man but of millions. Will Christian leaders once again be on the wrong side of history?"

Go read it.

The World in Miniature

Very interesting online presentation of your place in the world...

Michael Richards on Letterman

The shocking video of Richards raging against some audience members in a comedy club has made the rounds. Richards' pal Jerry Seinfeld encouraged him to go on Letterman to apologize. It's still deeply disconcerting, but at least he's trying. Here's the segment from last night:

Monday, November 20, 2006

Episcopal Presiding Bishop takes on conservative gadfly

This is exciting! And it is about time that the church leadership took on the trouble makers:

San Joaquin bishop sent letter from Presiding Bishop

[ENS] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori -- concerned by current affairs in the
Fresno-based Diocese of San Joaquin, California -- has written to its bishop, the Rt. Rev.
John-David Schofield. The diocese, which is scheduled to meet in convention December 1-2,
includes an estimated 10,000 Episcopalians in some 48 congregations. The text of Jefferts
Schori's November 20 letter follows.

November 20, 2006

The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield
Diocese of San Joaquin
4159 E. Dakota Avenue
Fresno, California 93726

My dear brother:

I have seen reports of your letter to parishes in the Diocese of San Joaquin, which
apparently urges delegates to your upcoming Diocesan Convention to take action to leave the
Episcopal Church. I would ask you to confirm the accuracy of those reports. If true, you must
be aware that such action would likely be seen as a violation of your ordination vows to
"uphold the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them." I
must strongly urge you to consider the consequences of such action, not only for yourself but
especially for all of the Episcopalians under your pastoral charge and care.

I certainly understand that you personally disagree with decisions by General Conventions
over the past 30 and more years. You have, however, taken vows three times over that period
to uphold the "doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church." If you now feel
that you can no longer do so, the more honorable course would be to renounce your orders in
this Church and seek a home elsewhere. Your public assertion that your duty is to violate
those vows puts many, many people at hazard of profound spiritual violence. I urge you, as a
pastor, to consider that hazard with the utmost gravity.

As you contemplate this action I would also remind you of the trust which you and I both hold
for those who have come before and those who will come after us. None of us has received the
property held by the Church today to use as we will. We have received it as stewards, for
those who enjoy it today and those who will be blessed by the ministry its use will permit in
the future. Our forebears did not build churches or give memorials with the intent that they
be removed from the Episcopal Church. Nor did our forebears give liberally to fund endowments
with the intent that they be consumed by litigation.

The Church will endure whatever decision you make in San Joaquin. The people who are its
members, however, will suffer in the midst of this conflict, and probably suffer
unnecessarily. Jesus calls us to take up our crosses daily, but not in the service of
division and antagonism. He calls us to take up our crosses in his service of reconciling the
world to God. Would that you might lead the people of San Joaquin toward decisions that build
up the Body, that bring abundant life to those within and beyond our Church, that restore us
to oneness.

I stand ready for conversation and reconciliation. May God bless your deliberation.

I remain

Your servant in Christ,


The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate

New Yorker: Hersh on the neo-cons saber-rattling over Iran

The New Yorker - "The Next Act" by Seymour M. Hersh: "A month before the November elections, Vice-President Dick Cheney was sitting in on a national-security discussion at the Executive Office Building. The talk took a political turn: what if the Democrats won both the Senate and the House? How would that affect policy toward Iran, which is believed to be on the verge of becoming a nuclear power? At that point, according to someone familiar with the discussion, Cheney began reminiscing about his job as a lineman, in the early nineteen-sixties, for a power company in Wyoming. Copper wire was expensive, and the linemen were instructed to return all unused pieces three feet or longer. No one wanted to deal with the paperwork that resulted, Cheney said, so he and his colleagues found a solution: putting “shorteners” on the wire—that is, cutting it into short pieces and tossing the leftovers at the end of the workday. If the Democrats won on November 7th, the Vice-President said, that victory would not stop the Administration from pursuing a military option with Iran. The White House would put “shorteners” on any legislative restrictions, Cheney said, and thus stop Congress from getting in its way.

The White House’s concern was not that the Democrats would cut off funds for the war in Iraq but that future legislation would prohibit it from financing operations targeted at overthrowing or destabilizing the Iranian government, to keep it from getting the bomb. “They’re afraid that Congress is going to vote a binding resolution to stop a hit on Iran, �la Nicaragua in the Contra war,” a former senior intelligence official told me."

AMERICAblog: Kerry needs to go away

AMERICAblog: An AP story reports that Kerry says his botched war joke won't hurt his presidential chances in '08...and John opines: "It's hard to hurt a zero chance. The man needs to go away. He lost. He lost to an idiot. And now he wants another chance to show the country that this time he'll fight back. Just like he fought back one week before the election and almost destroyed our chances at taking back the Congress because, like an idiot, he decided that NOW was the time he was finally going to fight back. But any idiot who actually understands politics will tell you that you don't always fight back. Sometimes you do, other times you ignore the attacks, and even other times you say I'm sorry, and shut up for a while (kind of like relationships). It depends. Only an idiot thinks that you always fight every time the other guy attacks. It depends. Kerry never understood how and when to fight back, and he still doesn't. He's not going to be president. He had his chance and blew it. He needs to go away."

AP: At least 112 die in attacks across Iraq

AP: At least 112 die in attacks across Iraq: "Syria's foreign minister called Sunday for a timetable for the withdrawal of American forces to help end Iraq's sectarian bloodbath, in a groundbreaking diplomatic mission to Iraq that comes amid increasing calls for the U.S. to seek cooperation from Syria and Iran. At least 112 people were killed nationwide, following a week that had already seen hundreds of deaths."

Things seem to be spiraling, and at home Dems and Reps are calling for increasing the number of troops and possibly reinstating the draft (as I was traveling last night I heard Tim Russert's MTP on the radio). It's all very confusing and sounds like it's going to get a lot worse before it could possibly get better.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Crest: Lieberman: Political hack

Born at the Crest of the Empire: (Insert your vilest personal obscenity here): "Now, Lieberman blackmails the Dems for a committee chair.

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut said yesterday that he will caucus with Senate Democrats in the new Congress, but he would not rule out switching to the Republican caucus if he starts to feel uncomfortable among Democrats.

Look, I didn't really care about the Connecticut Senate race, but this is vile politics."

Ferguson's farewell to Rummy

There were snippets of this in Olbermann's comedy review of the election, but here's the whole hilarious piece from Craig Ferguson's Late Late Show:

WaPo: Despite Billions Spent, Rebuilding Incomplete

Despite Billions Spent, Rebuilding Incomplete - "Poor planning and coordination by U.S. officials meant that even successful individual projects failed to do the job; for example, health-care centers were built at great cost but had no water and sewer service. Poor work-site management by contractors meant that some projects went awry. And now that the United States is handing over reconstruction efforts to Iraq, many involved with the process worry that the Iraqis don't have the training or the money to keep U.S.-built facilities running.

This was not how the rebuilding of Iraq was supposed to go. In the fall of 2003, six months after the U.S. invasion, President Bush promised Iraq 'the greatest financial commitment of its kind since the Marshall Plan.' Top administration aides said they considered that plan, which helped rebuild Europe after World War II, to be a model for Iraq. Congress soon passed a spending bill that, while offering less money than the Marshall Plan, was expected to be enough to get Iraq back on its feet."

BBC: Call to bridge West-Muslim divide

BBC NEWS - A call to bridge West-Muslim divide: "A cross-cultural group of 20 prominent world figures has called for urgent efforts to heal the growing divide between Muslim and Western societies.

They say the chief causes of the rift are not religion or history, but recent political developments, notably the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The panel, drawn together by the UN, says a climate of mutual fear and stereotypes is worsening the problem.

To combat hostility bred of ignorance, they want education and media projects.

The Alliance of Civilisations, which includes Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, dismisses the notion that a clash of civilisations is inevitable, but says that swift action is needed."

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Daily Kos: Feingold on why he won't run in 2008

Daily Kos: 2008: "I know there may well already be diaries here and elsewhere discussing my decision to continue my important work in the Senate and not run for President in 2008, but I wanted everyone in the online community to hear from me directly."

Saturday, November 11, 2006

2006: The Year of the ‘Macaca’ - Frank Rich in the NYT

2006: The Year of the ‘Macaca’ - New York Times: "Of course, the “thumpin’ ” was all about Iraq. But let us not forget Katrina. It was the collision of the twin White House calamities in August 2005 that foretold the collapse of the presidency of George W. Bush.

Back then, the full measure of the man finally snapped into focus for most Americans, sending his poll numbers into the 30s for the first time. The country saw that the president who had spurned a grieving wartime mother camping out in the sweltering heat of Crawford was the same guy who had been unable to recognize the depth of the suffering in New Orleans’s fetid Superdome. This brand of leadership was not the “compassionate conservatism” that had been sold in all those photo ops with African-American schoolchildren. This was callous conservatism, if not just plain mean.

It’s the kind of conservatism that remains silent when Rush Limbaugh does a mocking impersonation of Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s symptoms to score partisan points. It’s the kind of conservatism that talks of humane immigration reform but looks the other way when candidates demonize foreigners as predatory animals. It’s the kind of conservatism that pays lip service to “tolerance” but stalls for days before taking down a campaign ad caricaturing an African-American candidate as a sexual magnet for white women.

This kind of politics is now officially out of fashion. Harold Ford did lose his race in Tennessee, but by less than three points in a region that has not sent a black man to the Senate since Reconstruction. Only 36 years old and hugely talented, he will rise again even as the last vestiges of Jim Crow tactics continue to fade and Willie Horton ads countenanced by a national political party join the Bush dynasty in history’s dustbin."

Read the rest.

Comedic Roundup of the 2006 Elections

From Olbermann and crew at MSNBC, a great selection of late night comedy (and BTW, the two Craig Ferguson bits and gut-busters):

Friday, November 10, 2006

WaPo's The Fix ranks the Prexie contenders

The Friday Line: Return of the Presidential Rankings - The Fix: "It's back! After a hiatus in the run-up to the 2006 midterm election, the regular Friday Line on potential 2008 presidential candidates returns this week ... with a special new twist.

In previous presidential lines, we've chosen not to rank the candidates by their likelihood of winning their party's nomination -- choosing instead to just list the five with the best chance at the nomination. No more. Starting today we rank the five candidates in each party best positioned to become their party's standard bearer."

No surprises, but check 'em out.

Lieberman: Call me a Democrat

Lieberman: Call me a Democrat - "Sen. Joe Lieberman, who won re-election as an independent, has a message for his Senate colleagues in the next Congress: Call me a Democrat.

The three-term Connecticut lawmaker defied party leaders when he launched his independent bid after losing to Democrat Ned Lamont in the August primary. During the campaign, he vowed to be an 'independent-minded Democrat' if he were re-elected. In Tuesday's election, Lieberman won strong GOP support and given the closely divided Senate, Republicans are expected to court him.

So will he count as a Democrat or an independent who caucuses with the majority Democrats? In an e-mail message late Thursday, Lieberman spokesman Dan Gerstein said the senator will begin his new term as a Democrat.

With the Democratic takeover of the Senate, Lieberman is in line to become chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee."

The Great Revulsion - Krugman in the New York Times

Paul Krugman's column today (and it's free!): "Here’s what I wrote more than three years ago, in the introduction to my column collection “The Great Unraveling”: “I have a vision — maybe just a hope — of a great revulsion: a moment in which the American people look at what is happening, realize how their good will and patriotism have been abused, and put a stop to this drive to destroy much of what is best in our country.”

At the time, the right was still celebrating the illusion of victory in Iraq, and the bizarre Bush personality cult was still in full flower. But now the great revulsion has arrived.

Tuesday’s election was a truly stunning victory for the Democrats. Candidates planning to caucus with the Democrats took 24 of the 33 Senate seats at stake this year, winning seven million more votes than Republicans. In House races, Democrats received about 53 percent of the two-party vote, giving them a margin more than twice as large as the 2.5-percentage-point lead that Mr. Bush claimed as a “mandate” two years ago — and the margin would have been even bigger if many Democrats hadn’t been running unopposed."

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Daily Kos: Chafee Kills Bolton Re-Nomination

Daily Kos diarist eztempo: Chaffee Kills Bolton Re-Nomination: "The AP is confirming that Lincoln Chafee is effectively killing the Bush Admin's 'in your face' re-nomination of John Bolton to be our rep to the UN.

One has to wonder what 'spirit of cooperation' an un-bowed Bush means when he meets with Pelosi, talks to the press, then 15 minutes later pushes his most divisive foreign policy nominee back up for confirmation?" Ed Bradley is dead has the sad news, along with lots of remembrances and videos.

C&L: Olbermann’s Run Down Of Memorable Election Night Moments

Crooks and Liars has the video of Olbermann’s Run Down Of Memorable Election Night Moments... check 'em out!

Mo Dowd: A Come-to-Daddy Moment - New York Times

A Come-to-Daddy Moment - New York Times... Maureen Dowd's take on the Rummy firing is fascinating (and thankfully Times Select is free this week!): "In a scene that might be called “Murder on the Oval Express,” Rummy turned up dead with so many knives in him that it’s impossible to say who actually finished off the man billed as Washington’s most skilled infighter. (Poppy? Scowcroft? Baker? Laura? Condi? The Silver Fox? Retired generals? Serving generals? Future generals? Troops returning to Iraq for the umpteenth time without a decent strategy? Democrats? Republicans? Joe Lieberman?)

The defense chief got hung out to dry before Saddam got hung. The president and Karl Rove, underestimating the public’s hunger for change or overestimating the loyalty of a fed-up base, did not ice Rummy in time to save the Senate from teetering Democratic. But once Sonny managed to heedlessly dynamite the Republican majority — as well as the Middle East, the Atlantic alliance and the U.S. Army — then Bush Inc., the family firm that snatched the presidency for W. in 2000, had to step in. Two trusted members of the Bush 41 war council, Mr. Baker and Robert Gates, have been dispatched to discipline the delinquent juvenile and extricate him from the mother of all messes.

Mr. Gates, already on Mr. Baker’s “How Do We Get Sonny Out of Deep Doo Doo in Iraq?” study group, left his job protecting 41’s papers at Texas A&M to return to Washington and pry the fingers of Poppy’s old nemesis, Rummy, off the Pentagon.

“They had to bring in someone from the old gang,” said someone from the old gang. “That has to make Junior uneasy. With Bob, the door is opened again to 41 and Baker and Brent.”"

BBC: Iraq corruption 'costs billions'

BBC NEWS - Iraq corruption 'costs billions': "Corruption within the Iraqi government is costing the country billions of dollars, the US official monitoring reconstruction in Iraq has said.

Stuart Bowen told the BBC that Iraq was facing a second insurgency of corruption and mismanagement.

He said Iraqi government corruption could amount to $4bn (�2.1bn) a year, over 10% of the national income, with some money going to the insurgency."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

AMERICAblog: What yesterday's victory means

AMERICAblog: John's summary is illuminating and helpful: "I don't think the election was a victory for conservative Democrats or liberal Democrats. It was a victory for Democrats across the board, and a repudiation of Republicans and conservativism.

Conservative Dems, like Bob Casey in PA, won. Conservative Dems like Harold Ford in TN lost. Liberal Dems like Sherrod Brown in OH won. Liberal Dems like Ned Lamont in CT lost. There was no absolute pattern, in my view, as to liberal Dems winning or losing or conservative Dems winning or losing. Democrats ran a variety of candidates, from left to right, and some won and some didn't. And that's the way it should be. I don't think you can win by only running conservative candidates (good luck in SF), or only running liberal candidates (good luck in much of the south). You need to run a bit of a rainbow, and that makes sense - America isn't left or right, at least not exclusively."

It's an excellent post--go read the whole thing.

AMERICAblog: What yesterday's victory means

AMERICAblog: John's summary is illuminating and helpful: "I don't think the election was a victory for conservative Democrats or liberal Democrats. It was a victory for Democrats across the board, and a repudiation of Republicans and conservativism.

Conservative Dems, like Bob Casey in PA, won. Conservative Dems like Harold Ford in TN lost. Liberal Dems like Sherrod Brown in OH won. Liberal Dems like Ned Lamont in CT lost. There was no absolute pattern, in my view, as to liberal Dems winning or losing or conservative Dems winning or losing. Democrats ran a variety of candidates, from left to right, and some won and some didn't. And that's the way it should be. I don't think you can win by only running conservative candidates (good luck in SF), or only running liberal candidates (good luck in much of the south). You need to run a bit of a rainbow, and that makes sense - America isn't left or right, at least not exclusively."

It's an excellent post--go read the whole thing.

AMERICAblog: What yesterday's victory means

AMERICAblog: John's summary is illuminating and helpful: "I don't think the election was a victory for conservative Democrats or liberal Democrats. It was a victory for Democrats across the board, and a repudiation of Republicans and conservativism.

Conservative Dems, like Bob Casey in PA, won. Conservative Dems like Harold Ford in TN lost. Liberal Dems like Sherrod Brown in OH won. Liberal Dems like Ned Lamont in CT lost. There was no absolute pattern, in my view, as to liberal Dems winning or losing or conservative Dems winning or losing. Democrats ran a variety of candidates, from left to right, and some won and some didn't. And that's the way it should be. I don't think you can win by only running conservative candidates (good luck in SF), or only running liberal candidates (good luck in much of the south). You need to run a bit of a rainbow, and that makes sense - America isn't left or right, at least not exclusively."

It's an excellent post--go read the whole thing.

A Loud Message for Bush - New York Times

A Loud Message for Bush - New York Times: "Everything is different now for President Bush. The era of one-party Republican rule in Washington ended with a crash in yesterday’s midterm elections, putting a proudly unyielding president on notice that the voters want change, especially on the war in Iraq.

Mr. Bush now confronts the first Democratic majority in the House in 12 years and a significantly bigger Democratic caucus in the Senate that were largely elected on the promise to act as a strong check on his administration. Almost any major initiative in his final two years in office will now, like it or not, have to be bipartisan to some degree.

For six years, Mr. Bush has often governed, and almost always campaigned, with his attention focused on his conservative base. But yesterday’s voting showed the limits of those politics, as practiced — and many thought perfected — by Mr. Bush and his chief political adviser, Karl Rove.

In the bellwether states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, two Republican senators, both members of the legendary freshman class of 1994, were defeated by large margins. Across the Northeast, Republican moderates were barely surviving or, like Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, falling to Democrats who had argued that they were simply too close to a conservative president.

Most critically, perhaps, Republicans lost the political center on the Iraq war, according to national exit polls. Voters who identified themselves as independents broke strongly for the Democrats, the exit polls showed, as did those who described themselves as moderates.

Senator Olympia J. Snowe, a Maine Republican who was re-elected yesterday, said that with the election’s results, the administration’s Iraq policy “has to change.”

“It absolutely has to change,” Ms. Snowe said. “And that message should have been conveyed by the administration much sooner.”"

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dan Rather to 'play it straight' on Comedy Central tonight

Philadelphia Inquirer: "Dan Rather will analyze election results with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert tonight at 11 on Comedy Central's live, hour-long Indecision 2006 special.

'It's a risk, I guess, but what the hell,' says Rather, who covered every national election since 1962 for CBS before being drop-kicked in June. Now he's global correspondent for Mark Cuban's HDNet.

'J. Stewart and company offered the chance, and I've taken it,' Rather, 75, says. 'I don't do comedy, I do politics, which sometimes is one and the same.

'Certainly, one can't cover politics and not have a sense of humor about it. Let's face it, politics is often a theater of the absurd.'"

C&L: Olbermann on today's vote

Crooks and Liars - OLBERMANN: “This country was founded to prevent anybody from making it up as they went along.”: "Having frightened us, having bullied us, having lied to us, having ignored and re-written the constitution under our noses, having stayed the course, having denied you've stayed the course, having belittled us about 'timelines' but instead extolled 'benchmarks'…

You've now resorted, Sir, to this?

We must stay in Iraq to save the two-dollar gallon of gas?"

For Democrats, Even a Gain May Feel Like a Failure - New York Times

Looks like the media has painted the Dems into a corner... after hyping polls, anything less than a landslide will be a disappointment: "For a combination of reasons — increasingly bullish prognostications by independent handicappers, galloping optimism by Democratic leaders and bloggers, and polls that promise a Democratic blowout — expectations for the party have soared into the stratosphere. Democrats are widely expected to take the House, and by a significant margin, and perhaps the Senate as well, while capturing a majority of governorships and legislatures.

These expectations may well be overheated. Polls over the weekend suggested that the contest was tightening, and some prognosticators on Monday were scaling back their predictions, if ever so slightly. (Charlie Cook, the analyst who is one of Washington’s chief setters of expectations, said in an e-mail message on Monday that he was dropping the words “possibly more” from his House prediction of “20-35, possibly more.”)

Some Democrats worry that those forecasts, accurate or not, may be setting the stage for a demoralizing election night, and one with lasting ramifications, sapping the party’s spirit and energy heading into the 2008 presidential election cycle.

“Two years ago, winning 14 seats in the House would have been a pipe dream,” said Matt Bennett, a founder of Third Way, a moderate Democratic organization. Now, Mr. Bennett said, failure to win the House, even by one seat, would send Democrats diving under their beds (not to mention what it might do to all the pundits)."

Monday, November 06, 2006

And why is Times Select free this week?

Mark Evanier--who subscribed the first year but let it lapse recently--hazards a guess: "And you can wonder if the reason they're doing this is because it's now been around thirteen months since they started this deal and I'm probably not the only charter subscriber who disappeared on them when Year One was up. What kind of drop-off did they experience? I'll bet it was formidable."

I used to subscribe to the weekend NYT just to get to the columns, but after a while it wasn't worth it. I wish they'd give up on this elitist exercise!

Times Select is Free This Week! Check out Krugman's latest

Limiting the Damage - Krugman in the New York Times: "President Bush isn’t on the ballot tomorrow. But this election is, nonetheless, all about him. The question is whether voters will pry his fingers loose from at least some of the levers of power, thereby limiting the damage he can inflict in his two remaining years in office.

There are still some people urging Mr. Bush to change course. For example, a scathing editorial published today by The Military Times, which calls on Mr. Bush to fire Donald Rumsfeld, declares that “this is not about the midterm elections.” But the editorial’s authors surely know better than that. Mr. Bush won’t fire Mr. Rumsfeld; he won’t change strategy in Iraq; he won’t change course at all, unless Congress forces him to.

At this point, nobody should have any illusions about Mr. Bush’s character. To put it bluntly, he’s an insecure bully who believes that owning up to a mistake, any mistake, would undermine his manhood — and who therefore lives in a dream world in which all of his policies are succeeding and all of his officials are doing a heckuva job. Just last week he declared himself “pleased with the progress we’re making” in Iraq.

In other words, he’s the sort of man who should never have been put in a position of authority, let alone been given the kind of unquestioned power, free from normal checks and balances, that he was granted after 9/11. But he was, alas, given that power, as well as a prolonged free ride from much of the news media.


Simpsons on the Iraq War

From the latest Treehouse of Horror episode:

The Saddam Hussein Verdict - New York Times

The Saddam Hussein Verdict - New York Times: "Saddam Hussein’s horrendous crimes deserve exemplary punishment. During his own dictatorship, that would have meant a gruesome death, after a staged trial or no trial.

In an Iraq fully liberated from his evil thrall, it might have been something very different — an exemplary exercise in the rule of law, aimed at holding Mr. Hussein fully accountable, but also at healing and educating a nation he so ruthlessly divided.

Regrettably, yesterday’s sentence to death by hanging in a case involving the execution of 148 Shiites in the 1980s fell somewhere short of that goal. Mr. Hussein got a fairer trial than he ever would have allowed in his courts. But Iraq got neither the full justice nor the full fairness it deserved. President Bush overreached in calling the trial “a milestone in the Iraqi people’s efforts to replace the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law.”"

Bush Trumpets Iraq Verdict to Rally Support - New York Times

Bush Trumpets Iraq Verdict to Rally Support - New York Times: "President Bush on Sunday seized on the conviction of Saddam Hussein as a milestone in Iraq, seeking to rally Republican voters with the issue of national security as some polls suggested that his party might be making gains in the final hours of the campaign.

The White House said the timing of the announcement, two days before Election Day, had nothing to do with American politics and had been dictated by the Iraqi court. But Mr. Bush moved quickly to put it to use in what has been his central strategic imperative over the past week, trying to rouse Republican voters to turn out."

Sunday, November 05, 2006

AMERICAblog: GOP up to dirty tricks again

AMERICAblog reports on how the GOP is breaking the law to win in the Northeast: "The Republicans are up to their dirty tricks, and honestly, someone should throw these people in jail - on either side of the aisle, if you do things like this.

Talking Points Memo has been gathering evidence that Republicans are using robo-phone-calls to annoy voters, especially Democratic voters, in Connecticut and New York - i.e., the calls make voters think it's the Democratic candidate harrassing them, so they won't vote for him or her.

The messages start like they are going are from the Democratic candidate 'I have a message from....' but then turn in to a negative call. However, callers are only hearing the first part of the message, thinking that it is the Democrat. If callers hang up, they're called back again, and again, and again. End result? The Democratic callers are so ticked off at the Democrat harassing them that they don't vote, or vote for the Republican - without realizing they've just been tricked.

The National Republican Campaign Committee admitted they're making the calls in an Associated Press article reported on TPM Muckraker last Wednesday."

Anger Joins Grief as Marine’s Family Feels Misled - New York Times

Anger Joins Grief as Marine’s Family Feels Misled - New York Times: "More than a dozen families have publicly said they were misled or overtly lied to about the cause of their loved one’s death in Afghanistan or Iraq. These families — about half from the Marines and half from the Army — said the military was slow to investigate or take possible violations seriously, or that the information they did receive was riddled with contradictions. What should be the military’s most careful duty, these families say, has for them been a painful ordeal.

The best known such case was in 2004, when Cpl. Pat Tillman, the former professional football player, died in what the Army first said was a heroic firefight. A month later, officials told the family that he had actually been accidentally shot by members of his own platoon. The Defense Department is now completing the fourth investigation of his death, this time examining the possibility that a cover-up followed.

But cases like Corporal Tillman’s are not unheard of. A recent study by the Army shows that the families of seven soldiers were misled about their deaths."

BBC: How will the Saddam verdict impact Iraq and the world?

BBC NEWS | Middle East | International resonance of Iraq verdict: "The trial of Saddam Hussein was supposed to mark an important moment in a process of turning Iraq from dictatorship to the rule of law.

However, it might turn out to be just another event in the catalogue of chaos that has engulfed the country."

BBC: Saddam Hussein sentenced to death

BBC NEWS: Saddam Hussein sentenced to death: "Saddam Hussein has been convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging.

The former Iraqi president was convicted by a Baghdad court for his role in the killing of 148 people in the mainly Shia town of Dujail in 1982.

His half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti and Iraq's former chief judge Awad Hamed al-Bandar were also sentenced to death."

Freakonomics Blog: Who is the most trusted man in America?

Freakonomics Blog: Steven Levitt was struck by the question--and the answer recently--and asked his blog readers.... DUH!: "I think I will have disappointed many blog readers. The question about who was the most trusted man in America was not meant to be a trick one. I was just struck at the charity event, in the 10 seconds between when they said they had a clip from the most trusted man in America and when the clip started, by what an intersting question that was. I didn’t mean to imply that the answer they gave was suprising or counterintuitive.

In fact, the answer turns out to be far less interesting than even I had thought, because apparently the man in question, Walter Cronkite, is literally known as the “most trusted man in America” according to Wikipedia! Like most readers of this blog, I’m too young to know that."

Not only is he too young, he's not a very good speller either.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

AMERICAblog: Haggard's church dismisses him for "sexually immoral conduct"

AMERICAblog: has the press release: "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Life Church
Colorado Springs, Colorado

We, the Overseer Board of New Life Church, have concluded our deliberations concerning the moral failings of Pastor Ted Haggard. Our investigation and Pastor Haggard's public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct.

The language of our church bylaws state that as Overseers we must decide in cases where the Senior Pastor has 'demonstrated immoral conduct' whether we must 'remove the pastor from his position or to discipline him in any way they deem necessary.'

In consultation with leading evangelicals and experts familiar with the type of behavior Pastor Haggard has demonstrated, we have decided that the most positive and productive direction for our church is his dismissal and removal.

In addition, the Overseers will continue to explore the depth of Pastor Haggard's offense so that a plan of healing and restoration can begin.

Pastor Haggard and his wife have been informed of this decision. They have agreed as well that he should be dismissed and that a new pastor for New Life Church should be selected according to the rules of replacement in the bylaws.

That process will begin immediately in hopes that a new pastor can be confirmed by the end of the year 2006. In the interim, Ross Parsley will function as the leader of the church with full support of the Overseers.

A letter of explanation and apology by Pastor Haggard as well as a word of encouragement from Gayle Haggard will be read in the 9:00 and 11:00 service of New Life Church."

Well if he only had a massage and didn't inhale, isn't this harsh? Unless...

ABC: GOP accepts money from military porn distributor

The Blotter: "Despite running an attack ad accusing a Democratic senatorial candidate of accepting money from 'porn movie producers,' the Republican National Committee itself has accepted several donations over the past few years from the president of a large pornographic movie distribution company.

Marina Pacific Distributors calls itself 'the leader in adult video distribution.' Included in the movies for sale on their Web site are videos made by 'Active Duty Productions.' Active Duty, as their name suggests, has cast active duty soldiers in some of their films but not without serious consequences for the soldiers.


Vanity Fair: NeoCons, who got us into Iraq, blame Bush

Neo Culpa: Politics & Power: "As Iraq slips further into chaos, the war's neoconservative boosters have turned sharply on the Bush administration, charging that their grand designs have been undermined by White House incompetence. In a series of exclusive interviews, Richard Perle, Kenneth Adelman, David Frum, and others play the blame game with shocking frankness. Target No. 1: the president himself."

4 Leading Military Papers: 'Rumsfeld Must Go'

4 Leading Military Papers: 'Rumsfeld Must Go'- Editor & Publisher: "An editorial set to appear on Monday -- election eve -- in four leading newspapers for the military calls for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

The papers are the Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times. They are published by the Military Times Media Group, a subsidiary of Gannett Co., Inc. President Bush said this week that he wanted Rumsfeld to serve out the next two years.

'We say that Rumsfeld must be replaced,” Alex Neill, the managing editor of the Army Times, told The Virginian-Pilot tonight in a telephone interview. “Given the state of affairs with Iraq and the military right now, we think it’s a good time for new leadership there.”

Friday, November 03, 2006

Death order for Saddam may spark a bloodbath

Death order for Saddam may spark a bloodbath - Times Online: "IRAQ is bracing itself for another surge of violence tomorrow, when Saddam Hussein is expected to be sentenced to death for crimes against humanity.

Iraq’s national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, told The Times that the central provinces of Baghdad, Diyala and Salahaddin would be placed under curfew. “There are more security measures under consideration,” he added."

Six Arab states join rush to go nuclear

Six Arab states join rush to go nuclear - Times Online: "THE SPECTRE of a nuclear race in the Middle East was raised yesterday when six Arab states announced that they were embarking on programmes to master atomic technology.

The move, which follows the failure by the West to curb Iran’s controversial nuclear programme, could see a rapid spread of nuclear reactors in one of the world’s most unstable regions, stretching from the Gulf to the Levant and into North Africa.

The countries involved were named by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Saudi Arabia. Tunisia and the UAE have also shown interest.

All want to build civilian nuclear energy programmes, as they are permitted to under international law. But the sudden rush to nuclear power has raised suspicions that the real intention is to acquire nuclear technology which could be used for the first Arab atomic bomb."

Hyman to stop his Sinclair TV commentaries

Hyman to stop his 'The Point' remarks, says 'I'm exhausted' - "Although not as well known as Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity, Mark Hyman has made a name for himself with his fiery conservative commentaries on dozens of television stations owned by Hunt Valley's Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Yesterday, Hyman, 48, announced that he plans to drop his daily commentary, known as 'The Point,' at the end of the month to spend more time with his four children.

'I want to focus more on family activities and recharge my batteries,' Hyman said in a telephone interview. 'I'm exhausted.'"

Obviously, it's hard work being a conservative.

U.S. Web Archive Is Said to Reveal a Nuclear Primer - New York Times

U.S. Web Archive Is Said to Reveal a Nuclear Primer - New York Times: "Last March, the federal government set up a Web site to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war. The Bush administration did so under pressure from Congressional Republicans who had said they hoped to “leverage the Internet” to find new evidence of the prewar dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.

But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.

Last night, the government shut down the Web site after The New York Times asked about complaints from weapons experts and arms-control officials. A spokesman for the director of national intelligence said access to the site had been suspended “pending a review to ensure its content is appropriate for public viewing.”"

The GOP in their desire to show "proof" of Saddam's WMD only makes more WMD possible...

Haggard in the hot seat

AMERICAblog: The media is going crazy on the revelations of gay sex and drug accusations against a leading right wing religious leader. Haggard is a major figure, clearly. Once again hypocrisy roars its ugly head...and yet I can't help but feel pity: "Jones says he was contacted three years ago by Haggard for sex - he thinks through a gay newspaper advertisement or an online ad he posted on

Today, Jones showed the Denver Post an envelope addressed to him from 'Art,' a name Jones says Haggard used - sent from an address in Colorado Springs. Jones said the envelope came to him with two $100 bills inside.

Jones also played a recording of a voicemail left for Jones from 'Art.' Jones refused to reveal what the topic of the voicemail was about because there could be legal problems and he wants to consult with an attorney."

Turns out Jones says the voicemails were about a meth buy.

This Election, Modest Tour for President - New York Times

This Election, Modest Tour for President - New York Times: "During the last two elections, the fumes of Air Force One worked like political magic dust for the candidates lucky enough to score visits from Mr. Bush.

Candidates flew to Washington just to be seen arriving back home on his 747. Local newspapers doubled as welcome mats, and television reporters and radio hosts excitedly echoed his verbal jabs at Democrats long after he had left.

But 2006 is not 2004 or, for that matter, 2002, when Mr. Bush’s last minute, 17-city tour won credit for helping his party buck history by gaining seats in a midterm election cycle in which it also held the presidency."

Heck, he was in Perry, Georgia--prime Bush country--for two days!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

CSMonitor: In turbulent times, a new Episcopal leader

In turbulent times, a new Episcopal leader | "This week, the US Episcopal Church installs a woman as 'chief pastor' - the first to lead a national church in the five-century history of the global Anglican denomination.

Katharine Jefferts Schori - oceanographer, pilot, professor, mother, priest - will be invested as presiding bishop in a stately ceremony at Washington National Cathedral on Nov. 4.

Although most Episcopalians are eagerly anticipating the upcoming ceremony, it comes as the church grapples with history of another sort - the most troubled moment in Anglicanism. A rift over actions of the US church, especially in regard to homosexuality, has grown into a genuine threat of schism.

And the new leader herself faces predicaments:

• Seven US bishops have requested that the leader of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, provide them with 'alternative oversight' to that of the new pastor.

• Leaders of some 'provinces' in the developing world recently said they cannot sit down with her at a scheduled February meeting of the denomination's 38 'primates' (Latin for 'leader').

Seventeen years after the first woman bishop in the United States was consecrated, female leadership remains controversial in most of the Anglican Communion. Archbishop Williams said after Ms. Jefferts Schori's election in June that it 'will undoubtedly have an impact on the collegial life of the Anglican primates.'"

C&L: Olbermann and Bush's stupidity

Crooks and Liars - Olbermann’s Special Comment : There is no line this President has not crossed — nor will not cross — to keep one political party, in power.: "There is no line this President has not crossed — nor will not cross — to keep one political party, in power.

He has spread any and every fear among us, in a desperate effort to avoid that which he most fears — some check, some balance against what has become not an imperial, but a unilateral presidency.

And now it is evident that it no longer matters to him, whether that effort to avoid the judgment of the people, is subtle and nuanced — or laughably transparent.

Senator John Kerry called him out Monday.

He did it two years too late.

He had been too cordial — just as Vice President Gore had been too cordial in 2000 — just as millions of us, have been too cordial ever since.

Senator Kerry, as you well know, spoke at a college in Southern California. With bitter humor, he told the students that he had been in Texas the day before, that President Bush used to live in that state, but that now he lives in the state of denial.

He said the trip had reminded him about the value of education — that quote 'if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you can get stuck in Iraq.'

The Senator, in essence, called Mr. Bush stupid.

The context was unmistakable: Texas;the state of denial;stuck in Iraq. No interpretation required.

And Mr. Bush and his minions responded, by appearing to be too stupid to realize that they had been called stupid.

They demanded Kerry apologize — to the troops in Iraq.

And so he now has."

C&L has the video.

The Great Divider - New York Times editorial

The Great Divider - New York Times editorial (and go read the whole thing): "Mr. Bush has been pushing these divisive themes all over the nation, offering up the ludicrous notion the other day that if Democrats manage to control even one house of Congress, America will lose and the terrorists will win. But he hit a particularly creepy low when he decided to distort a lame joke lamely delivered by Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. Mr. Kerry warned college students that the punishment for not learning your lessons was to “get stuck in Iraq.” In context, it was obviously an attempt to disparage Mr. Bush’s intelligence. That’s impolitic and impolite, but it’s not as bad as Mr. Bush’s response. Knowing full well what Mr. Kerry meant, the president and his team cried out that the senator was disparaging the troops. It was a depressing replay of the way the Bush campaign Swift-boated Americans in 2004 into believing that Mr. Kerry, who went to war, was a coward and Mr. Bush, who stayed home, was a hero.

It’s not the least bit surprising or objectionable that Mr. Bush would hit the trail hard at this point, trying to salvage his party’s control of Congress and, by extension, his last two years in office. And we’re not na�ve enough to believe that either party has been running a positive campaign that focuses on the issues.

But when candidates for lower office make their opponents out to be friends of Osama bin Laden, or try to turn a minor gaffe into a near felony, that’s just depressing. When the president of the United States gleefully bathes in the muck to divide Americans into those who love their country and those who don’t, it is destructive to the fabric of the nation he is supposed to be leading."

With Election Driven by Iraq, Voters Want New Approach - New York Times

With Election Driven by Iraq, Voters Want New Approach - New York Times: "A substantial majority of Americans expect Democrats to reduce or end American military involvement in Iraq if they win control of Congress next Tuesday and say Republicans will maintain or increase troop levels to try to win the war if they hold on to power on Capitol Hill, according to the final New York Times/CBS News poll before the midterm election.

The poll showed that 29 percent of Americans approve of the way President Bush is managing the war, matching the lowest mark of his presidency. Nearly 70 percent said Mr. Bush did not have a plan to end the war, and 80 percent said Mr. Bush’s latest effort to rally public support for the conflict amounted to a change in language but not policy.

The poll underlined the extent to which the war has framed the midterm elections. Americans cited Iraq as the most important issue affecting their vote, and majorities of Republicans and Democrats said they wanted a change in approach. Twenty percent said they thought the United States was winning in Iraq, down from a high this year of 36 percent in January.

Even beyond the war, the Times/CBS News poll, like most other polls this fall, contained worrisome indicators for Republicans as they go into the final days of a campaign in which many are bracing for a loss of seats in both the House and the Senate."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sullivan and Hitchens on Iraq


Cafferty on the lost American in Iraq

Big brouhaha over Kerry's botched joke. Where is the outrage?

AFP: Nearly half of Americans uncertain God exists: poll

BREITBART.COM - Nearly half of Americans uncertain God exists: poll: "Nearly half of Americans are not sure God exists, according to a poll that also found divisions among the public on whether God is male or female or whether God has a human form and has control over events.

The survey conducted by Harris Poll found that 42 percent of US adults are not 'absolutely certain' there is a God compared to 34 percent who felt that way when asked the same question three years ago."

Daily Kos: Bush abandoned a U.S. soldier behind enemy lines

Daily Kos - Virginia Dem: A more important topic: Bush abandoned a U.S. soldier behind enemy lines: "Bush has the gall to attack Kerry about supporting our troops while Bush literally abandons them on the battlefield."

Check out the link to Andrew Sullivan's take on this incredible story.

AMERICAblog: Tables turned on apologizing

AMERICAblog has the latest: "UPDATE: CNN just reported on Howard Dean's and Harry Reid's demands that Boehner apologize. CNN contacted Boehner for a response but hasn't heard back yet. This should be fun.

Howard Dean just issued the following statement:

Dean: Boehner Owes Military An Apology

Washington, DC – Today during an interview on CNN, House Republican Leader John Boehner blamed the military for the problems with the Bush Administration’s failed Iraq policies. Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean issued the following statement calling on Boehner to apologize to the men and women in the armed services for his irresponsible election year rhetoric:

“After the Bush Administration’s numerous failures in Iraq, to blame our brave troops is just wrong. John Boehner should apologize immediately. Once again, Republican leadership is pointing fingers rather than taking responsibility for their failures. Our brave troops deserve better from Republican leaders like Don Rumsfeld, John Boehner and Dick Cheney.”"

This after Sen. Kerry sheepishly, finally, apologizes. Kerry seems to have the tinnest political ear.

NYT: Bush and Kerry trade jabs

As Vote Nears, Stances on War Set Off Sparks - New York Times: "For at least a few hours on Tuesday, President Bush had a chance to relive his victorious campaign of 2004, taking a break from a bleak Republican campaign season as he attacked Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts over the war in Iraq.

Mr. Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who was Mr. Bush’s opponent in 2004, is not running for office this year. But the president seized on what he said were Mr. Kerry’s disparaging remarks about the troops — and what Mr. Kerry insisted was a botched joke aimed at Mr. Bush — as he sought to make Mr. Kerry the face of the Democratic Party this fall.

In the process, Mr. Bush brought renewed attention to the war in Iraq, which he defended with vigor while campaigning in Georgia, at the very moment that a number of Republican Congressional candidates, following the advice of party strategists, were stepping up their efforts to distance themselves from the White House on the war as the campaign enters its final days."

Seems like old times! But what a nonstory. Kerry clearly had a lapse of common sense (not the first time) and should have said something positive about the troops rather than angrily refuse to apologize for his "botched joke". But the fact that Bush and his cohorts are shrieking about it is breathtaking in its hypocrisy. Kerry is the war hero, he's been there, but once again in a deja-vu way the GOP has taken his words sort of out of context and used them against him. What this means in the days before the election is unclear. I'm sure it will get lost in some other gaffe news later today.