Saturday, November 17, 2007


Today: HOMEWALK Los Angeles. Walk for the homeless at Exposition Park.

There is actually a lot of good news about wonderful people all over the world. The networks won't cover it, but we need it. Check out these GOOD NEWS stories (below) and more from Good News ... but first, on Friday November 16, we had the pleasure of interviewing Dennis Kucinich (for the 3rd time) and his goddess wife Elizabeth on our show BASHAM AND CORNELL PROGRESSIVE TALK

The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) on KLAV 1230 AM Radio live in Las Vegas. All shows are simulcast on the Internet (and archived) and can be listened to at Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk If you've missed our show, check out the audio archives. We have interviewed John Edwards, John Dean, Valerie Plame, Dahr Jamail, Elizabeth Edwards, Mike Gravel; Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage, Congressman Charlie Rangel, Senator Byron Dorgan; bestselling authors Greg Palast, Paul Krugman, Greg Anrig, Mikey Weinstein, Paul Krugman; Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert and Paul Waldman are regular guests. Upcoming: Obama and Hilary. If you missed any of these shows, check out the archives on our website.

Check out these GOOD NEWS stories (below) and more from Good News

'Anonymous Friend' Gives $100 Million to Town
Written by geri
Tuesday, 13 November 2007
In a beautiful story, an unnamed 'friend' gives $100 million to the struggling old industrial city of Erie, Pennsylvania, to be divided among its 46 charities including the food bank, a women's center, and a group for the blind, and its universities. "What a godsend for some of these agencies," says a resident. (CNN) Thanks for the great link, Han!

Volunteers Build 200 Homes in African Slum in One Week
Written by geri
Monday, 12 November 2007
"1,400 Irish workers brought hope to hopelessly misnamed Freedom Park slum. The initiative, now in its fifth year, was organized by Niall Mellon, a Irish millionaire who bought a holiday home near Cape Town but could not accept the squalor in the townships nearby."

Teacher "Angel" Donates Kidney to Former Student
Monday, 12 November 2007
"Samantha now can dream about a career, shopping and boys — about life beyond the boundaries of a dialysis machine, thanks to her art teacher who gave the girl one of her kidneys." She was one in a long list of angels Samantha's mother credits with helping her baby of two survive into young adulthood. (Suburban Journals)


In Africa, a Papercraft Path Out of Poverty
Written by geri
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
Poor Ugandan women who were living on the streets begging for food, have now turned their lives around after joining BeadForLife, a small Colorado-based nonprofit group dedicated to eliminating poverty through handcrafts. (CS Monitor) Submitted by Steve Ghent!



  1. I love this kind of stuff. I never understand why 'news' is always Sturm and Drang

  2. Thanks rhea, I agree. We are entering the New Enlightenment. I guess we have to spiral out of control first, which seems to be happening, but that is just an illusion. The truth is in the beauty and goodness -- everything else (everything unlike God) is just a bad dream ... a mortal dream.

  3. I haven't chosen a presidential candidate yet for '08, but I'm leaning towards Edwards. He's made a campaign pledge to take away Congress' health coverage if they don't pass universal health care. This might put him out in front of the pack.

    Who Hijacked Our Country

  4. Check out this excellent John Edward's video on how he will provide healthcare to those without.

    Liberally Mirth

  5. From the Chris Dodd for President webpage:

    The Military Commissions Act. Warrantless wiretapping. Shredding of Habeas Corpus. Torture. Extraordinary Rendition. Secret Prisons.

    No more.

    I have decided to place a “hold” on the latest FISA bill that would have included amnesty for telecommunications companies that enabled the President’s assault on the Constitution by illegally providing personal information on their customers without judicial authorization.

    I said that I would do everything I could to stop this bill from passing, and I have.

    It’s about delivering results — and as I’ve said before, the FIRST thing I will do after being sworn into office is restore the Constitution. But we shouldn’t have to wait until then to prevent the further erosion of our country’s most treasured document. That’s why I am stopping this bill today.

    This needs our support.

  6. Democrats are known for “tax and spend”, whereas republicans “borrow and spend”. Is there any real difference? Well, yes, there is. There’s no interest accrued on monies raised from taxation. Considering that the Bush administration has borrowed billions from countries such as Saudi Arabia, China, Japan, and Mexico, the interest alone will take years to pay back.

    Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., suggests that we “roll back the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest, the people making over $200,000 a year, close some tax loopholes, including benefits for oil companies, and [start] withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq”.

    This really needs our support.

  7. A possible sign that the Jack Abramoff investigation continues to burrow into Capitol Hill, a congressman under scrutiny for his ties to the disgraced former Republican superlobbyist has paid tens of thousands of dollars to a legal firm specializing in forensic data recovery.

    Since April, Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Fla., has paid over $90,000 to a Washington, D.C. office of FTI Consulting, through his re-election campaign and a separate legal defense fund he began in June, according to financial filings and a news account.

    More good news for those who seek justice.

  8. Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert is expected to announce Thursday on the House floor that he is retiring from Congress, a senior aide to the congressman told CNN Wednesday.

    The aide said that Hastert will announce his plans to retire tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. in an address on the House floor. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office provided the floor time to the former speaker to address his colleagues.

    "His plan is to make his farewell address tomorrow on the House floor," the aide said. "He is then going to decide at some point this year when he will step down."

    More good news: Another neocon bites the dust.

  9. The "D.C. Madam" served a subpoena Tuesday on Sen. David Vitter, R-La., requiring him to testify about his use of the Washington, D.C., escort service federal prosecutors say was a prostitution ring.

    The subpoena calls on the freshman senator to testify at a federal court hearing Nov. 28 looking into the business operations of the $2 million escort service Deborah Jeane Palfrey operated in the nation's capital for 13 years.

    Vitter has acknowledged being a client of Palfrey's company, Pamela Martin & Associates, and his telephone number appeared six times in the firm's phone records between 1999 and 2001, when he was a member of the House of Representatives. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004.

    More good news.

  10. Here is some good news:

    California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and the state's Democratic Party pushed back Wednesday against a proposal by a coalition of progressives to censure the four-term senator for her recent votes siding with the Bush Administration, dismissing the proposal as a distraction put forth by activists who did not speak for the majority of Democrats in the Golden State.

    Feinstein's office defended what they called her record of standing up to Bush, citing her role in recent probes into allegations of partisan firing at the Justice Department, as well as her votes against the Supreme Court nominations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Samuel Alito.

    "She led the Judiciary Committee investigation into [former Attorney General] Alberto Gonzales and the firing of the U.S Attorneys," said Feinstein spokesman Scott Gerber. "What Sen. Feinstein is going to continue to do is fight for this issues that are important for all Californians."

    On Monday, a coalition of progressive Democrats said they would ask the California Democratic Party to censure Feinstein at its executive board meeting this weekend, citing her recent votes in favor of confirming Attorney General Michael Mukasey and controversial appeals court judge Leslie Southwick.

    They argued that in backing the Bush Administration's nominees, Feinstein had lost touch with the core principles of her party's base.

    State party insiders Wednesday predicted the censure resolution would almost certainly be swiftly defeated when the party gathers in Anaheim, outside Los Angeles.

  11. Thanks for the plug, Larry.

    While Kucinich most expresses my ideals and I hugely admire him, I don't think he is electable nationwide and that's what we have to do: put forward a candidate who the country can rally around. We need a candidate you can realistically give us hope.

    Beginning in '09 a dutiful Congress, that is a Congress acting in the interests of citizens and fulfilling their oaths, will be as much or even more important as who is president.

    We need Dennis Kucinich in Congress.

    Edwards '08

  12. The office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday denied an internet rumor suggesting that Rep. Pelosi would pursue an impeachment measure against Vice President Dick Cheney should she receive 10,000 handwritten letters in favor of the measure.

    Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly called the notion "absolutely not true" in an email sent to RAW STORY.

    The rumor appears to have stemmed from a Sunday blog post at Thinking Out Loud, which claimed to have received a tip that Pelosi would reconsider moving forward with a recent impeachment resolution against Cheney brought by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) -- but only if she received enough handwritten letters demanding it.

    Flood her office with letters and calls.

  13. We need a candidate *who can realistically give us hope.

  14. I agree with you Mirth, John Edwards is the best one to choose from.

  15. Here is more good news:

    Largely ignored by the mainstream media, a dark-horse Democratic presidential candidate has decided to create his own coverage with a new online TV station set to launch Wednesday.

    While the media seems more focused on Rep. Dennis Kucinich's alien encounters than his universal healthcare proposal or warnings about the march to war with Iran, the feisty Ohio Democrat is using the Internet to side-step the normal gatekeepers of presidential campaign coverage. KucinichTV will feature a live town hall meeting at 9 p.m. Wednesday as part of a series of broadcasts planned for the next 10 weeks, the campaign says.

    Kucinich did receive a burst of coverage when his resolution aimed at impeaching Vice President Dick Cheney provoked several hours of unexpected action on the House floor. Republicans joined with Kucinich and his allies to defeat the Democratic leadership's attempt to kill the bill, but it has been referred to committee where it is expected to languish.

    On, the congressman lists the details of his impeachment measure, which he says is necessary to prevent Cheney from plunging the country into another war with Iran. Kucinich first introduced his impeachment resolution in April, accompanied by a lengthy list of alleged Cheney crimes, including pushing false intelligence in the run up to Iraq.

  16. NIce line up, Lydia. Congrats!

  17. I agree Mirth and Tom...........I am backing Edwards as well!

  18. Lydia, have you read Paul Krugman's new book yet.........its Great, he was on CNBC the other day and he absolutely took the Conservative stooges to should really have him on your show again!

  19. Larry said...
    From the Chris Dodd for President webpage:

    The Military Commissions Act. Warrantless wiretapping. Shredding of Habeas Corpus. Torture. Extraordinary Rendition. Secret Prisons.

    No more.

    I have decided to place a “hold” on the latest FISA bill that would have included amnesty for telecommunications companies that enabled the President’s assault on the Constitution by illegally providing personal information on their customers without judicial authorization.

    I said that I would do everything I could to stop this bill from passing, and I have.

    It’s about delivering results — and as I’ve said before, the FIRST thing I will do after being sworn into office is restore the Constitution. But we shouldn’t have to wait until then to prevent the further erosion of our country’s most treasured document. That’s why I am stopping this bill today.

    This needs our support."

    Well it certainly has MY support!

  20. I'm seriously hoping Edwards gets the nomination..............I allready made a contribution to his campaign...........and if he gets the nomination i'll make another contribution!

  21. Hi Guys
    This is off message but I was just sent this from the Director of Public Relations at the VA mortgage center looking to give monetary rewards to deserving Iraq and afghanistan veterans. I thought you Lydia, Larry or whoever sees this might want to nominate someone.


    My name is Katherine Renick and I found your blog while doing a search on veterans. After reading your Veterans Day post, I wanted to pass along the news of the launch of our most recent charitable campaign.

    VA Mortgage is sponsoring their first annual American Hero award, with a $5,000 prize for a deserving Veteran of Iraq or Afghanistan. This year’s theme, “Honor Your Hero,” is a call for individuals to nominate Veterans at

    10 Finalists will be selected and the winner will be determined by an online vote. All 10 finalists will receive a $500 prize and the Veteran with the most votes will be presented with a certificate and check by members of our organization.

    All nominations must be submitted by December 14, 2007.

    We would like to encourage you to share this campaign with your readers and ask them to submit nominations and vote for the finalists to help us find the most deserving Veteran. As a lender specializing in VA home financing, we strive to be an active member of the Veteran community. We have already provided over $15,000 in charitable donations in 2007.

    I’ve attached a copy of our Media Kit, complete with a flier and press release. For further information, please feel free to contact me or visit

    Kind Regards,

    Katherine Renick

    Director of Public Relations

  22. Hey guys the debates are on tonight and i think hillary will be given easy questions to make her look good

  23. Yes, the debate is on right now on CNN. We're having Kucinich and his wife on our show tomorrow, post debate stuff.

  24. There is debate commentary during and after the debate at our friend Mirth's blog.

    You are invited to join them and participate with your thought about the debate.

    Liberally Mirth

  25. Average Patriot - thank you for posting this. We have to nominate a vet.

  26. Ok, a follow up from the last post's comment section.

    Why does Gonzales need a legal defense fund? Here's what will happen: trial, 894 answers of "I don't recall", guilty, commuted sentence, home in time for dinner.

  27. On Nov. 15, 1969, a quarter of a million protesters staged a peaceful demonstration in Washington, D.C., against the Vietnam War.

    If this happened today the reichwingers in DC would crap their pants, but the MSM would pretend it never happened.

  28. "Electrode Al" Gonzales need never worry about seeing the inside of one of his little torture chambers. The moronic monkey would never let that little coward face justice, because he'd squeal like a pig.

  29. clif said...
    Is George Bush auditioning for a place as a replacement writer for the Daily Show during the writers strike?

    US dollar will get stronger: Bush

    US President George W. Bush predicted in an interview Tuesday that the battered US dollar will get stronger because the US economy is robust.

    "If people would look at the strength of our economy, they'd realize why, you know, I believe that the dollar will be stronger," Bush told the fledgling Fox Business Network.

    "We have a strong dollar policy, and it's important for the world to know that. We also believe it's important for the market to set the value of the dollar relative to other currencies," the president said.

    Bush cited low US inflation figures, modest interest rates, job growth, and gross domestic product growth and declared "the underpinnings are strong."

    Asked whether he was satisfied with current exchange rates, Bush replied: "I am satisfied with the fact that we have a strong dollar policy and know that the market ought to be setting the exchange rate."

    If Bush can deliver this comedy with a good dead pan delivery, John Oliver might be good to worry about the competition."

    Its pathetic Clif that this jackass that is the head of our country could either be that delusionally stupid and ignorant to actually believe the BS he is saying ................or that he has the nerve to insult our intelligence with that big of a lie.

    Personally i think its both!

  30. Bush and the repugs are trying to play obstructionists and trying to tarr the democrats with being fiscally irresponsible.

    We need to pound the phony repug hippocrites with the fact that its a joke that they are trying to claim to be fiscally conservative and fiscally responsible when they support wasting 1.6 TRILLION in Iraq anf now they want to start ANOTHER quagmire by attacking Iran!

  31. I think all of the Democrats did pretty good except for Hillary..........the Corporate shills in the MSM can say she won all they want..........I dont think that is the case.

  32. Well Dead Eye and the idiot in chief are gonna have to get some NEW LIES to sell their war against Iran;

    US general: Iran sticking by pledge

    Iran seems to be honoring a commitment to stem the flow of deadly weapons into Iraq, contributing to a more than 50 percent drop in the number of roadside bombs that kill and maim American troops, a U.S. general said Thursday.

    The comments by Maj. Gen. James Simmons marked rare U.S. praise for Iranian cooperation in efforts to stabilize Iraq. Washington has repeatedly accused the Islamic Republic of aiding Shiite militias and trying to foil U.S. goals in Iraq and the region.

    But it remains unclear why Iran may have decided to choke off the suspected weapons pipeline. One possibility is that Iran — the most populous Shiite nation — is seeking to shore up the struggling government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, in the belief it will help Tehran's long-term interests.

    Simmons, a deputy commander of Multinational Corps-Iraq, told reporters that the number of roadside bombs either found or exploded nationwide had fallen from 3,239 in March to 1,560 last month.

    Sounds like Georgie nor dead eye are gonna like the new pentagon which tells a more honest account of things on the ground.

    Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Iranians had apparently assured the Iraqi government that it would stop the flow into Iraq of bomb-making materials and other weaponry.

    "We believe that the commitments that the Iranians have made appear to be holding up," Simmons said, adding that Iranian-made weaponry still found in Iraq appeared to have been smuggled in months ago.

    After the news conference, Simmons told The Associated Press that the Iranian move followed "a significant amount of negotiations." He would not give details, however, saying he was not privy to the discussions.

    SO somebody IS negotiating with Iran, I wonder why reichwingers always claim we can NEVER negotiate with Iran we have to attack.

    Last week, the Americans freed nine Iranians detained in Iraq for months on suspicion of smuggling weapons to Iraqi Shiite groups. The release was seen as a possible response to Iran's move to curb weapons shipments.

    Wanna bet that dead eye wasn't notified before hand, other wise he woulda blocked that move to keep his juvenile desire to attack on course.

    BTW wouldn't this mean the surge wasn't as important to the lowering of US casualties and attacks as negotiations were?

    Kinda makes clowns like John "Bonkers" Bolton, Dead Eye and other reichwing neo-cons screeching we can't negotiate ring hollow doesn't it?

    At the same time this was coming out of the IAEA;

    IAEA: Iran generally truthful on nukes

    Austria - A report from the U.N nuclear watchdog agency on Thursday found Iran to be generally truthful about key aspects of its nuclear history, but it warned that its knowledge of Tehran's present atomic work was shrinking.

    The White House said it would continue to push for a third round of U.N. sanctions against Iran despite the findings by the International Atomic Energy Agency report.

    The IAEA report, released to its 35 board members, also confirmed that Tehran continued to defy the U.N. Security Council by ignoring its repeated demands to freeze uranium enrichment, a potential pathway to nuclear arms.

    Not perfect, but it does deny the loud mouthed know-nothings who are trying to use disinformation and lies to ramp up a war against Iran just like they did against Iraq.

    Add to that the fact Iran still needs YEARS at least to achieve a enough Uranium to build a bomb, if they are trying at all, (the IAEA seems to doubt that one), then the bomb this year or next argument rings as hollow as the lies they used to attack Iraq did.

    Don't expect that to stop the stupidest f**ker to ever darken the white house or the lying gutless 5 star chicken hawk who pushes for the war NOBODY but them and their minions really want.

    But at least it seems the US Military with out Dumsfeld is going to participate in the lies and deception to hawk for a war with Iran, and the IAEA will get a better hearing than Hans Blic did when HE told the truth while Bush, Cheney, Feith, Rumsfeld,olton, Libby, Rice, Powell, ET Al LIED the US into a war of aggression and illegal occupation against the people of Iraq.

  33. Thats all the treasonous chicken hawk Neo Cons do is lie!

  34. Mike you'll like this one;

    Liberty Dollar No Longer at Liberty

    The Raid on the Headquarters of the Liberty Dollar

    The Liberty Dollar is a privately issued currency distributed and promoted by Liberty Services. Until Thursday morning, the currency was produced in Evansville, Indiana. At 8 AM on Thursday morning, the 15th of November, federal agents made a surprise raid on the mint, seizing coin and note, computer files, gold, silver, and platinum. Also included in the federal raid was the Sunshine Mint in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, where the dies for the money were kept.

    According to the company's website, the Liberty Dollar is "inflation proof." The currency is loosely based on the principle of silver certificate, paper money that could be redeemed for an amount of silver coinage. The U.S. government stopped redeeming these notes in 1968 when the price of silver inflated past the value of the paper money. Bernard von NotHaus, 'money architect' of the Liberty Dollar, cites the inflation of the dollar as his reason for creating a new currency. Since its inception in 1998, twenty-million dollars in U.S. currency has been converted into Liberty Dollars.

    Not everyone has been happy about the Liberty Dollars success. The United States Mint issued a statement on its website warning people that the Liberty Dollar is misleading in its similarities to legal tender and stating that "prosecutors with the Department of Justice have determined that the use of these gold and silver NORFED "Liberty Dollar" medallions as circulating money is a Federal crime." In response to this strong statement, Liberty Services brought a lawsuit against the U.S. Mint.

    Thursday morning, von NotHaus sent a letter to supporters and holders of the Liberty Dollar detailing the morning raid. The letter, circulated on many blogs and posted at the Gold Seek website, breaks what for some could be very bad news. The seizure of Liberty Dollar assets leave many stranded with Liberty Dollars, which for the moment are no longer redeemable as silver or gold. "We have no money. We have no products. We have no records to even know what was ordered or what you are owed," said Bernard von NotHaus in a morning letter to supporters of the Liberty Dollar.

    The Federal Governments reasons for the raid are unclear as is the future of the Liberty Dollar. "We have nothing but the will to push forward and overcome this massive assault on our liberty," von NotHaus writes. The Liberty Dollar website has not yet published a statement on the federal raid or the future of the currency. It has posted a link for currency holders to sign up for a class action lawsuit. "Everyone who has an unfulfilled order or has digital or paper currency should band together for a class action suit and demand redemption," exhorts von NotHaus. "You did nothing wrong. You are legally entitled to your property."

    Looks like the Bush reichwing goberment really doesn't like competition, especially competition which undercuts their federal reserve inflationary scheme to grab as much as they can.

    Things are gonna get more interesting as time goes by.

  35. Starbucks Corp. said Thursday its fiscal fourth-quarter profit jumped 35 percent, though its first-ever drop in U.S. traffic sent shares plummeting.

    The world's largest specialty coffee retailer said it plans to open 100 fewer stores in fiscal 2008 than originally forecast but it brushed aside suggestions that it has oversaturated some markets.

    Because of the Bush economy.

  36. Karl Rove, the former White House deputy chief of staff, will become a Newsweek contributor, offering occasional opinion pieces to the pages of the magazine and to

    Looks like Newsweek has finally admitted they are a neocon publication.

  37. Democrats who lead Congress likened President George W. Bush on Thursday to a bully on Iraq war policy and vowed to spend no more on combat without a deadline for bringing U.S. troops home.

    "He damn sure is not entitled to having this money given to him just with a blank check," Sen. Harry Reid, the Democrats' Senate leader, told reporters.

    "Americans need someone fighting for them taking on this bully we have in the White House," he said.

    Reid and other Democrats, who hold slim majorities in both houses of Congress, accused Bush of wanting a free-flow of hundreds of billions of dollars for the Iraq war, all the while being tight-fisted on the home front.

    "Every dollar we spend in Iraq comes at the expense of people in America," Reid said.

    We've heard all your promises before Reid.

  38. A recent poll of black Americans has found that two-thirds believe racism is very prevalent when they seek jobs or housing and half say they have encountered discrimination even in stores and restaurants.

    This contrasts strongly with the beliefs of white Americans, only about a quarter of whom think that blacks still face discrimination in housing and employment.

    Even more disturbing, the Pew Research study found that just 44% of blacks believe the situation will be better in the future, compared with 57% who responded optimistically to the same question in 1986.

    Despite their own experiences of discrimination, 53% of black Americans say that blacks are responsible for their inability to get ahead, a striking turnaround from the situation in 1994, when 60% said discrimination was the major factor.

    This shift in attitudes may be connected with the belief of 61% of black Americans that the values of middle class blacks are diverging from those of poor blacks, with 40% saying that there is no longer a single black community. Black college graduates in particular said their values were more like those of middle-class white Americans than like those of poor blacks.

    The survey also suggested that black Americans feel they made gains during the Clinton boom years of the late 90's but have not fared as well under Bush. Only 20% said that blacks are better off now than five years ago -- the lowest that number has been since 1983, when the country was just coming out of a major recession. However, 31% agreed that blacks are better off now than ten years ago, which confirms the generally more optimistic responses obtained by a similar poll in 1999.

    Another result of the Bush presidency.

  39. In his second day on the job, Attorney General Michael Mukasey leaped into the political fray, telling a key Democratic senator he opposes his electronic surveillance plan and would recommend the president veto it if it is passed.

    In a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., on the eve of crucial committee votes to update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), Mukasey was adamant in opposing Leahy’s plan for changing the law.

    Mukasey and Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell co-signed the letter released Wednesday night by the Justice Department.

    “We strongly oppose the proposed substitute amendment. If the substitute is part of a bill that is presented to the president, we and the president’s other senior advisers will recommend that he veto the bill,” they said.

    Leahy last week introduced his substitute to a FISA modernization bill already approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee. That effort, led by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., won wide bipartisan support and is backed by the administration. It includes retroactive immunity to legally protect the telecommunications companies which cooperated with the administration’s classified warrantless surveillance program.

    Leahy, who had opposed Mukasey’s confirmation last week, is adamantly opposed to the immunity provision.

    Mukasey and McConnell listed nearly a dozen other provisions or omissions in the Leahy plan which they said “would not provide the intelligence community with the tools it needs effectively to collect foreign intelligence information vital for the security of the nation.”

    The White House, meanwhile, released a statement calling Leahy’s plan “a step back for our nation’s security.”

    Leahy and many of his Democratic allies back provisions which they believe provide essential civil liberties protections against excessive government intrusion and potential abuse.

    Didn't Feinstein and Schumer claim this would never happen?

  40. ORU president Richard Roberts, facing accusations he misspent university funds to support a lavish lifestyle, has received a vote of no confidence by the tenured faculty at the evangelical university.

    The resolution was approved by faculty Monday and obtained late Tuesday by The Associated Press. Faculty plan to distribute the nonbinding document to the school’s Board of Regents and the faculty assembly at an upcoming meeting.

    Donald Vance, a professor of biblical languages and literature who voted with the majority, said the vote by a quorum of faculty was “nearly unanimous,” but he declined to give the exact tally.

    “It’s essentially how the university has been run,” said Vance, who has taught at the 5,700-student school for 13 years. “We see the Board of Regents as allies wanting to do the right thing, but we’re not sure they know everything and we’re not sure they knew how the faculty felt.”

    Jeremy Burton, a spokesman for Oral Roberts University, declined to comment on the vote Tuesday.

    Richard Roberts has been on temporary leave while an investigation into the school’s finances continues.

    Accusations of lavish spending were detailed in a wrongful termination lawsuit filed Oct. 2 by three former ORU professors. The lawsuit includes allegations of a $39,000 shopping tab at one store for Richard Roberts’ wife, Lindsay, a $29,411 Bahamas senior trip on the university jet for one of Roberts’ daughters and a stable of horses for the Roberts children.

    Roberts: Suit amounts to 'blackmail'
    In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Richard and Lindsay Roberts denied wrongdoing. Richard Roberts has said the lawsuit amounted to “intimidation, blackmail and extortion.”

    Tulsa attorney Gary Richardson, who filed the lawsuit against ORU on behalf of the former professors, said he was “encouraged” to see that steps are being taken to preserve the university.

    “When we filed the suit, I said I really personally believe that this lawsuit is very much like surgery,” Richardson said Tuesday. “When there’s disease in the body, sometimes it requires surgery in order for there to be healing.”

    Last week, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley announced a Senate investigation into whether six televangelists violated their organizations’ tax-exempt status by living lavishly on the backs of small donors.

    The Robertses were not among the six. But those targeted include three members of the school’s Board of Regents: Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn.

  41. Here is some good news:

    California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and the state's Democratic Party pushed back Wednesday against a proposal by a coalition of progressives to censure the four-term senator for her recent votes siding with the Bush Administration...


    This is "good news?" You're kidding me with this, correct?

    DiFi totally deserves to be censured.

  42. Lydia
    I figured you or someone here would know someone that should be nominated. After talking to Anok I think I will nominate her husband!
    Thanks Larry!

  43. Christopher:

    I was being scarcastic about Feinstein.

    I think Feinstein and Schumer should be impeached for what they have done.

  44. Soldiers strained by six years at war are deserting their posts at the highest rate since 1980, with the number of Army deserters this year showing an 80 percent increase since the United States invaded Iraq in 2003.

    The troops want out of Iraq also!

  45. Of all the allegations contained in former ReganBooks Publisher Judith Regan's lawsuit against her one-time employers at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., the most explosive is the first. Regan charges that News Corp. executives wanted to destroy her reputation because she knew too much about her ex-boyfriend, former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, and that what she knew could be harmful to the presidential hopes of Rudy Giuliani -- whom she depicts as the preferred candidate of News Corp. and its subsidiary, Fox News. According to Regan's suit, "This smear campaign was necessary to advance News Corp.'s political agenda, which has long centered on protecting Rudy Giuliani's presidential ambitions."

    Regan and the married Kerik had a well-publicized yearlong affair. Their assignations often took place in a lower Manhattan apartment that had been specifically reserved for the use of workers in the aftermath of 9/11. After Giuliani left the mayor's office on January 1, 2002, Kerik went to work for him as a consultant at Giuliani Partners. Kerik and Regan broke up later in 2002. In December 2004, according to Regan's complaint, when President Bush tapped Kerik, at Giuliani's recommendation, to head the federal Department of Homeland Security, Regan was pressured to keep quiet, and asked to lie on Kerik's behalf. "[A] senior executive in the News Corp. organization told Regan that he believed she had information about Kerik that, if disclosed, would harm Giuliani's presidential campaign. This executive advised Regan to lie to, and to withhold information from, investigators concerning Kerik. ... [D]efendants knew they would be protecting Giuliani if they could preemptively discredit her."

    Many Guiliani Mob Stories Yet To Come!

  46. Everyone is pretty much in agreement that last night's "Diamonds or Pearls?" query to Hillary Clinton at the CNN Democratic Debate in Las Vegas was a total clunker. Now from The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder comes word that the UNLV student who asked the question, Maria Luisa, had not, in fact, expected to ask that question, but had rather prepared a question about the proposed Yucca Mountain site for nuclear waste. Ambinder tracked the story to Luisa's MySpace page, which he excerpted as follows:

    "Every single question asked during the debate by the audience had to be approved by CNN...I was asked to submit questions including "lighthearted/fun" questions. I submitted more than five questions on issues important to me. I did a policy memo on Yucca Mountain a year ago and was the finalist for the Truman Scholarship. For sure, I thought I would get to ask the Yucca question that was APPROVED by CNN days in advance. CNN ran out of time and used me to "close" the debate with the pearls/diamonds question."

    Oh, ouch — it's almost worse knowing that someone actually gave the thumbs-up to "diamonds or pearls?" in advance.

    "When her Yucca mountain question was asked, she was given the opportunity to ask another question, and my understand is that the [diamond v. pearls] questions was her other question," Feist said. "She probably was disappointed, but we spent a lot of time with a bunch of different candidates on Yucca Mountain, and we were at the end of the debate."

    Meanwhile, Ambinder also notes that there are rumblings that the debate audience had a "pro-Clinton tilt"; as we (and others) have noted, CNN's postgame panel featured both James Carville (former Bill Clinton advisor and current Hillary Clinton supporter) and David Gergen, also a Clinton White House advisor (but, to be fair, also for Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Bush I. Even so, as a counselor to Clinton, it ought to have been noted — particularly when paired with the no-ifs-ands-or-buts-about-it Clintonite Carville). Our take: Did anyone see that postgame wrap-up? Urk. If comments like, "Hillary Clinton was rested and ready" were supposed to help his candidate, then Gergen's not all that much help. The other campaigns ought to be glad they weren't part of it.

    Looks like CNN has become a Republican/Hillary enabler network.

  47. We've all heard the old adage: The Republicans are the party of wealthy plutocrats concerned with paying as few taxes of possible, while Democrats' economic populism appeals to middle- and lower-income voters struggling to pay their bills and send their kids to college.

    New polling data, and interviews with voters, shows that paradigm may be shifting in at least one Western state that political analysts believe may play a key role in next year's presidential election, the Wall Street Journal reports Friday.

    The paper's John Harwood compares two voters in Denver at either end of the economic spectrum to illustrate the shifting trends.

    "The Democratic Party stands more for creating equal opportunity," says Jim Kelley, who buys companies for the $7 billion private-equity firm Vestar Capital Partners, which is headquartered on New York's Park Avenue.

    Angela Williams, a city bus driver whose route passes Kelley's Denver office building, earns $39,000 a year, but she tells Harwood that social issues and tax cuts are her primary issues.

    "I'm pro-life," she declares to Harwood. "Basically, that's why I'm Republican."

    Kelley has a much more nuanced approach to economic policy, and he says pocketbook issues are low on his priority list. Kelley tells Harwood the Democratic Party "speaks to me on issues of the environment, and even more to me on national security." To Kelley, the Republicans are too concerned with "so-called moral issues" like gay marriage.

  48. Even as Iraq verges on splintering into a sectarian civil war, four big oil companies are on the verge of locking up its massive, profitable reserves, known to everyone in the petroleum industry as “the prize.”

    Iraq is sitting on a mother lode of some of the lightest, sweetest, most profitable crude oil on earth, and the rules that will determine who will control it and on what terms are about to be set.

    The Iraqi government faces a December deadline, imposed by the world’s wealthiest countries, to complete its final oil law. Industry analysts expect that the result will be a radical departure from the laws governing the country’s oil-rich neighbors, giving foreign multinationals a much higher rate of return than with other major oil producers and locking in their control over what George Bush called Iraq’s “patrimony” for decades, regardless of what kind of policies future elected governments might want to pursue.

    Even as Iraq verges on splintering into a sectarian civil war, four big oil companies are on the verge of locking up its massive, profitable reserves, known to everyone in the petroleum industry as “the prize.”

    Iraq is sitting on a mother lode of some of the lightest, sweetest, most profitable crude oil on earth, and the rules that will determine who will control it and on what terms are about to be set.

    And Bush says it isn't about oil.

  49. The impact of the U.S. mortgage market crisis on the underlying economy could be “dramatic” as leveraged investors may need to scale back lending by up to $2 trillion, according to investment bank Goldman Sachs .
    In a report dated Nov. 15, Goldman’s chief U.S. economist Jan Hatzius said a “back-of-the-envelope” estimate of credit losses on outstanding mortgages, based on past default experience, was around $400 billion.
    But unlike stock market losses, which are typically absorbed by “long-only” investors, this mortgage-related hit is mostly borne by leveraged investors such as banks, broker-dealers, hedge funds and government-sponsored enterprises.
    And leveraged investors react to losses by actively cutting back lending to keep capital ratios from falling — A bank targeting a constant capital ratio of 10 percent, for example, would need to shrink its balance by $10 for every $1 in losses.

    “The macroeconomic consequences could be quite dramatic,” Hatzius said in the note to clients. “If leveraged investors see $200 billion of the $400 billion aggregate credit loss, they might need to scale back their lending by $2 trillion.”

    Another result of the Bush economy.

  50. With an endless, futile and costly Iraq war, a stinking economy and most Americans seeing the country on the wrong track, the greatest national group delusion is that electing Democrats in 2008 is what the country needs.

    Keith Olbermann was praised when he called the Bush presidency a criminal conspiracy. That missed the larger truth. The whole two-party political system is a criminal conspiracy hiding behind illusion induced delusion.

    Virtually everything that Bush correctly gets condemnation for could have been prevented or negated by Democrats, if they had had courage, conviction and commitment to maintaining the rule of law and obedience to the Constitution. Bush grabbed power from the feeble and corrupt hands of Democrats. Democrats have failed the vast majority of Americans. So why would sensible people think that giving Democrats more power is a good idea? They certainly have done little to merit respect for their recent congressional actions, or inaction when it comes to impeachment of Bush and Cheney.

    One of the core reasons the two-party stranglehold on our political system persists is that whenever one party uses its power to an extreme degree it sets the conditions for the other party – its partner in the conspiracy – to take over. Then the other takes its turn in wielding excessive power. Most Americans – at least those that vote – seem incapable of understanding that the Democrats and Republicans are two teams in the same league, serving the same cabal running the corporatist plutocracy. By keeping people focused on rooting for one team or the other, the behind-the-scenes rulers ensure their invisibility and power.

    The genius of the plutocrats is to create the illusion of important differences between the two parties, and the illusion of political choice in elections. In truth, the partner parties compete superficially and dishonestly to entertain the electorate, to maintain the aura of a democracy. Illusion creates the delusion of Americans that voting in elections will deliver political reforms, despite a long history of politicians lying in campaigns about reforms, new directions and bold new policies. The rulers need power shifting between the teams to maintain popular trust in the political system. Voting manifests that trust – as if changing people will fix the system. It doesn’t.

    So voters become co-conspirators in the grand political criminal conspiracy. Those who vote for Democrats or Republicans perpetuate the corrupt, dishonest and elitist plutocracy that preferentially serves the interests of the Upper Class and a multitude of special interests – some aligned with the Republicans and some with the Democrats. Voting only encourages worthless politicians and those that fund and corrupt them.

    Public discontent leads to settling for less through lesser evil voting rather than bold thinking about how to reform the system to get genuine political competition and better candidates and government.

  51. Dude, Where's My Country
    A. Alexander

    More and more Americans are waking up in the morning, rubbing their eyes with the heel of their hands, yawning, blinking, shaking their head as if to clear cobwebs from their mind and then laying down in hopes of returning to sleep because they are certain they've just experienced a nightmare. These Americans are suffering from something called, "Dude, I've Been Rip Van Winkled" or "Dude, Where's My Country" Syndrome.

    The disease works like this:

    1. The sufferer goes to bed one night and wakes up to find that their government has gone totally Soviet Gulag on them and has started operating secret prisons.

    2. The Sufferer goes to bed one night and wakes up to find that their government has gone totally Third World Tin-Horn Dictator on them and has started imprisoning people without trial.

    3. The Sufferer goes to bed one night and wakes up to find that their government has gone totally pre-King George III on them and has done away with habeas corpus.

    4. The Sufferer goes to bed one night and wakes up to find that their government has gone totally Nazi and has taken to torturing people here, there, and everywhere.

    5. The Sufferer goes to bed one night and wakes up to find that their government has gone totally Medieval by joining some of the world's biggest human rights abusers, Iran and Syria among the group, in opposing a UN resolution calling for the end of capital punishment.

    6. The Sufferer goes to bed one night and wakes up to find that their government has gone totally blitzkrieg -- "shock and awe" -- on an innocent country and, unprovoked, invaded based upon trumped-up banana republic-like claims of WMD.

    7. The Sufferer goes to bed one night and wakes up to find that their government has gone totally Orwellian "1984" and vetoed health care for children because it was too expensive, while immediately demanding a $50 billion increase in war funding.

    8. The Sufferer goes to bed one night and wakes up to find that their government has gone totally pre-1930's Depression-era economic paradigm and became almost giddy about the fact that 35 million Americans -- nearly 13 million children -- went hungry in 2006.

    Why was the Bush administration giddy? Because the number of hungry Americans "only" increased by about a quarter million over the previous year.

    Dude, I've so been totally Rip Van Winkled. All I'm saying is like, Dude, where's my country? I'm gonna turn off the lights, go back to sleep and hope that this long national nightmare comes to an end soon.

    Need we say anything more?

  52. Within its bowels, The Boeing Co. holds volumes of proprietary information deemed so valuable that the company has entire teams dedicated to making sure that private information stays private.

    One such team, dubbed "enterprise" investigators, has permission to read the private e-mails of employees, follow them and collect video footage or photos of them. Investigators can also secretly watch employee computer screens in real time and reproduce every keystroke a worker makes, the Seattle P-I has learned.

    For years, Boeing workers have held suspicions about being surveilled, according to a long history of P-I contact with sources, but at least three people familiar with investigation tactics have recently confirmed them.

    One company source said some employees have raised internal inquiries about whether their rights were violated. Sometimes, instead of going to court over a grievance on an investigation, Boeing and the employee reach a financial settlement. The settlement almost always requires people involved to sign non-disclosure agreements, the source said.

    Boeing desires to keep investigation details under wraps.

    "We will not discuss specifics of internal investigations with the media," it said in a written response to P-I questions. "Issues that necessitate investigation in order to protect the company's interests and those of its employees and other stakeholders are handled consistent with all applicable laws."

    But the tactics used by Washington's largest employer raise questions about where an employee's rights begin and the employer's end, and how much leeway any corporation has in investigating an employee if it suspects wrongdoing.

    A recent case at another large company highlighted that investigations can go too far. In 2006, a scandal erupted at Hewlett-Packard after the company investigated leaks from its board of directors.

    The company was ordered to pay $14.5 million and to bring its internal investigations into compliance with laws in California, the company's home state.

    The investigation included reviews of internal e-mails and instant messages, the physical surveillance of a board member and at least one journalist, and the illegal use of deception to obtain telephone records of employees and journalists.

    For its part, Boeing says that it has multiple internal organizations that provide checks and balances "to ensure these investigations are conducted properly and in accordance with established company and legal guidelines. We do not comment on individual cases or specific investigation activities."

    An employee is tailed

    Recently, a Boeing investigator told a Puget Sound-area employee that he was followed off company property to a lunch spot, that investigators had footage of him "coming and going" and that investigators had accessed his personal Gmail account.

    The primary reason for the 2007 investigation, the employee said, was Boeing's suspicion that he had spoken with a member of the media. The employee learned the details of the investigation during a three-hour meeting, in which investigators laid out some of their findings. He has since been fired.

    That particular investigation was connected with a July article in the P-I that brought to light Boeing's struggles complying with a 2002 corporate reform law and cited unnamed sources and internal company documents.

    "I wasn't surprised, but more just disappointed in them, that instead of looking at the problems, instead of investigating that, they investigated the people that were complaining and got rid of them," said the employee, who had been an auditor in the company's Office of Internal Governance and asked that he not be named.

    "It's not quite indentured servitude, because you can quit, but when you look at the mortgages and car payments, especially in Seattle, you're not exactly free," said the surveilled former employee.

    Experts say that tailing employees -- though surprising -- is usually legal, and that corporations have many options at their disposal to monitor employees. An investigator can do most things short of breaking into someone's home.

    For example, under Washington's stalking law, licensed private investigators "acting within the capacity of his or her license" are allowed to repeatedly follow a person. Boeing's internal investigators are exempt under state law from having to obtain a private investigator license, but contracted investigators must hold licenses.

    "It's worse than you can possibly imagine," said Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director at the federation of Public Interest Research Groups.

    "Employees should understand that the law generally gives employers broad authority to conduct surveillance, whether through e-mail, video cameras or other forms of tracking, including off the job in many cases."

    The law grants companies the right to protect themselves from employees who break the law, such as by embezzling money or using the company warehouse to run a drug-smuggling ring.

    The problem, Mierzwinski said, is when companies use the surveillance tactics available to them to root out whistle-blowers.

    "We need greater whistle-blower protections," he said. But, "if you're using the company's resources and you think it's protected because you're using Hotmail, think again."

    Privacy laws ask whether a reasonable person would be outraged by a particular act; reasonableness is an oft-cited concept in law, explained Bill Covington, a University of Washington professor on technology law and public policy. Washington is a "will-to-work" state, meaning employees can be fired without reason, he added.

    "We cannot write laws that cover every circumstance," he said. "A jury can apply a community standard of what they deem to be fair and right. There are just too many other situations."

    Unfortunately, the public itself does not know what it wants, he said.

    "I don't think we have made up our mind which way we want to go with these particular laws," Covington said. "You are having a classic clash between business ... and privacy groups."

    You are being watched

    So when does privacy begin? When an employee steps across the threshold into his or her own home, experts say.

    "The only thing your boss can't do is listen to personal telephone calls; that's covered by wiretapping laws," said Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute in Princeton, N.J.

    Companies following workers typically do so to check on the legitimacy of workers' compensation claims. A company needs to know if a worker who claims injury is actually mowing his lawn, Maltby said. It is "completely inappropriate" to trail employees to see if they are talking to reporters, he added -- but it is legal.

    As one expert at the American Civil Liberties Union pointed out, just as the average Joe could trail his neighbor if he wanted to, companies are allowed to trail employees.

    "I can't harass the person, but there's nothing that prevents me from just following him," said Doug Klunder, privacy project director at the ACLU of Washington.

    Klunder said that reading private e-mails is "highly questionable." Companies should be able to know that employees are checking e-mail, but should not be able to view the contents of the e-mails.

    "We certainly don't believe that an employer should be able to read private e-mail content just because it's accessed on a work computer," he said.

    However, "it's a tricky area because there aren't a lot of legal protections in Washington and in most states where we have employment-at-will. There are some privacy rights of employees, but they are limited relative to the employer."

    When Boeing employees sign on to the company network, a screen pops up to tell them that "to the extent permitted by law, system use and information may be monitored, recorded or disclosed and that using the system constitutes user consent to do so," according to Boeing.

    Spying on innocent Americans: A Daily Event in Bush's America.

  53. Larry,

    I figured. But I had to ask.

  54. This comment has been removed by the author.

  55. "Every single question asked during the debate by the audience had to be approved by CNN..."

    WTF? WTF?

    So, this "event" wasn't a debate if the C.onservative N.ews N.etwork had to approve the questions in advance.

    I wish I had been there. I would've submitted a question for their approval in advance and then when called upon, I would've asked a different question just to stick it to the bastards.

  56. Christopher:

    CNN is a lighter version of Fox News and it is obvious they have the same agenda.

  57. Ed Schultz just told Chris Matthews that the CNN debates last night had Wolf Blitzer and CNN bending over for Hillary.

    Great quote!

  58. Lydia, that's a most impressive list.

  59. If you suffered through Thursday night’s Democratic debate on CNN and had the nagging impression that Congressman Dennis Kucinich had the least facetime, you’re correct.

    From Dennis4President:

    Although he received the least amount of time of any of the seven Democratic Presidential candidates during last night’s CNN debate — less than six minutes of the two hours – Dennis Kucinich made the most of it with crisp answers to questions about the war in Iraq, China Trade, the Patriot Act, the proposed Yucca Mountain Nuclear waste dump, and other issues.

    Here is the actual time breakdown each Democratic candidate received:

    BIDEN 9:15 minutes
    CLINTON 15:15 minutes
    DODD 7:15 minutes
    EDWARDS 10:43 minutes
    KUCINICH 5:37 minutes
    OBAMA 18:09 minutes
    RICHARDSON 14:06 minutes

    It’s worth noting that CNN’s ringmaster, anchor Wolf Blitzer, who never seemed to shut up, received 14:53 minutes of facetime — or nearly three times that of candidate Kucinich.

  60. Good one Christopher.

    Kuchinich and most of the others seemed to be left behind when the debates went on.

    Next they will exclude him like they have Gravel.

  61. Check out Christopher's post on last night's debate:

    From the Left

  62. CNN is a wholly-owned mouthpiece for AIPAC.

    Which explains why Wolf "Leslie" Blizter -- a former AIPAC lobbyist, is no on-air 6 days out of 7, and, the mindnumbing Situation Room, is a three-hour showcase for Leslie and advertising opportunities.

    The Dumbos, need to take back their debates and have them either on PBS and/or CSPAN.

    Even MSNBC isn't as bad as CNN.

    When CNN broke for a 5 minute commercial at 9:50pm, I told Jim, "what kind of fuckery is this?" Here is 5 minutes the candidates lost so CNN could sell ad time.

  63. Larry said...
    Ed Schultz just told Chris Matthews that the CNN debates last night had Wolf Blitzer and CNN bending over for Hillary.

    Great quote!"

    Thats sure what it looked like to me........whenever someone made Hillary look stupid they were either cut off or booed or Hillary slimed and smeared them like a repug, while whining that the other candidates were smearing her like a repug.

    Hillary didnt address Obama's or Edwards point that she talks out of both sides of her mouth and takes both sides of an issue.........instead she attacked them while crying they were attacking her..............And Wolf Blitzer and ALL the Analststs were clearly fawning all over her proclaiming her the winner...........Wolf even attacked Edwards with a false analogy to provide cover for Hillary, Edwards was accusing Hillary of taking both sides of an issue and Wolf told change you mind also dont you.

    He had to say changing your mind when new facts come to light and taking both sides of an issue at the same time are two completely different things.

  64. The deck was stacked in favor of Hillary, courtesy of CNN and Wolf Blitzer.

  65. John Kerry accepts oil man's $1 million challenge

    Sen. John Kerry is fighting back against the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Some observers might say that this is about four year too late, but so it goes.

    Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat, has accepted the challenge of wealthy oil man T. Boone Pickens, who provided cash to the Swifties four years ago for ads that had the effect of torpedoes on Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. The ads, as you'll recall, questioned the circumstances surrounding the wounds Kerry received during his service in the Vietnam War and other aspects of Kerry's biography.

    Pickens recently said he'd give $1 million to anyone who could prove that one fact in any of those ads was wrong. Kerry is taking him up on it. Here's Kerry's press release:

    WASHINGTON D.C. – Senator John Kerry wrote a letter to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth financer T.Boone Pickens today, accepting his million dollar challenge to give $1 million to the person who proves wrong a single fact asserted by the right wing smear group. Kerry does not seek the million dollars for himself, but rather for the Paralyzed Veterans of America to help veterans returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Pickens keynoted a dinner recently, sponsored by the American Spectator in Washington D.C., at which he announced that he would pay $1 million to anyone who could prove wrong a single allegation asserted by the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004.

    Today, Kerry is taking Pickens up on his offer.

    Please find the text of Kerry’s letter below:

    T.Boone Pickens
    8117 Preston Rd
    Dallas TX 75225

    Mr. Pickens,

    It has come to my attention through the accounts of individuals who were in attendance at the American Spectator’s Robert L. Bartley Dinner & 40th Anniversary Gala as well as through the public accounts, that you personally “staked one million dollars” that “no one” could “prove anything the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth said in 2004 was false” (RedState.Com) and offered “a million dollars to anyone who could prove wrong anything the Swiftboat Veterans charged about Kerry.” (

    I welcome the opportunity to prove that you are a man of your word and that the so-called “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” lied. While I am prepared to show they lied on allegation after allegation, you have generously offered to pay one million dollars for just one thing that can be proven false. I am prepared to prove the lie beyond any reasonable doubt.

    I would request that your check be made payable to the Paralyzed Veterans of America which is doing incredible work every day to meet the needs of veterans returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan. My hope is that by sending this money to such a dedicated organization – founded for veterans, by veterans – some good can come out of the ugly smears and lies of the orchestrated campaign you bankrolled in 2004 in an attempt to discredit my military record and the record of the men who served alongside me on the Swift Boats of the Mekong Delta.

    I would be more than happy to travel to Dallas to meet with you in a mutually agreed upon public forum, or would invite you to join me in Massachusetts for a public dialogue and then together we could visit the Paralyzed Veterans of America in Norwood and see firsthand how we can put your money to good work for our veterans.

    I look forward to setting up a visit at the earliest possible, mutually convenient time. I trust that you are a man of your word, having made a very public challenge at a major Washington dinner, and look forward to taking you up on this challenge.


    John F. Kerry

    United States Senator

  66. Larry
    I caught that this morning when I had my coffee. pickens won't giver it up. His response to Kerry was that he will only give it up if Kerry sibmits to him all back up and film archives. Another words, all proof so T. Boone can destroy it and say see I told you he was lying.
    I didn't know T Boone Pickens was behind that. The underhanded crap sickens me and it will never stop as it is now a hallmark of Politics and business as usual today.

  67. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has decided to keep the chamber in session over the Thanksgiving break to block President Bush from making any unsavory recess appointments while Senators are out of town.

    In a statement inserted in the record Friday, the Majority Leader said he will hold the Senate in a series of pro forma or nonvoting sessions to prevent the controversial practice.

    It's about time you stopped the Senate from getting two more weeks vacation, during another holiday at taxpayers expense.

  68. As the January 3 Iowa caucuses draw near, media outlets across the country will continue to buzz about new poll numbers and analyses from the Hawkeye state. Although they will not always be so careful to mention this, at Iowa Independent we feel it is important to emphasize how difficult it is to predict caucus results.

    No poll is definitive, nor is any one columnist or pundit. Determining which Iowans will show up to participate in a caucus on a wintry January night -- one which, this year, will be only days after New Year's -- is nearly impossible. And pollsters find it difficult to include second choice support -- a very significant factor in caucus results -- in their horse race numbers at all.

    I have compiled the first installment of what we are calling the "Iowa Independent Power Rankings" below. They attempt to answer the very narrow question, "If the caucuses were held tonight, what would be the results?"

    Campaigns were evaluated based on impressions we received from activists, everyday caucus-goers, event attendees, and pundits about the quality of each campaign's on-the-ground organization, the likelihood of each candidate's supporters actually attending a caucus, second choice support, and -- at the most basic level -- gut feelings and guesses. We provide no guarantee that these results are accurate, but we hope that while our readers are looking at poll numbers and spin from day to day, they will keep these rankings in mind as another worthwhile point of reference.

    If the Democratic caucuses were held tonight, this is how we think they would end:

    1. John Edwards -- Edwards started about a year ago with the best organization in Iowa, and most of the foundation he built here is still in place. Although concerns persist that his sharpening rhetoric may be alienating a few of his earliest supporters, his solid performance at the Jefferson Jackson dinner, his endorsement from Caucus 4 Priorities (and the potential 10,000 caucus-goers it could bring him), and his ongoing commitment to retail politicking keep him in the top spot -- for now.

    2. Barack Obama -- Obama's organization was fairly inconsistent over the summer, with some counties getting a lot of attention and others getting barely any. Still, his campaign's ability to build crowds -- as evidenced by his huge and geographically diverse group of supporters at the Jefferson Jackson dinner -- are as good a measure of his strength as anything. And as Clinton continues to receive sharper attacks from Edwards and subtler attacks from Obama himself, the Illinois Senator could move up in the coming weeks -- particularly on news of his United Auto Workers endorsement. As things stand now, he would still place second behind Edwards.

    3. Hillary Clinton -- Different sources tell vastly different stories about the Clinton campaign in Iowa. Some expect it to flop completely, but others point to poll numbers showing Clinton in the top spot among Democratic candidates in Iowa. All that said, her aura of inevitability has been all but shattered by increased criticism over the past few weeks, and she seems to lack significant second choice support. And her latest swing through Iowa highlighted her energy policy, something which may not resonate among working class women, which continues to be her key demographic. Frankly, although the polls show Clinton in first place in Iowa, many of us have been hard pressed to find solid Clinton supporters whose names have not already appeared on a campaign press release.

    4. Joe Biden -- Biden's campaign only picked up steam during the late Fall, but one could be led to believe that he planned it that way all along. His list of legislative endorsements (including many in the Democratic leadership) is his greatest strength, because it lends him credibility that others in the so-called second tier do not have. The current situation in Pakistan highlights his foreign policy expertise, which allows him to continue to take ground from Gov. Bill Richardson. And his support comes largely from older Iowans, who are more likely to attend Caucuses than any other group.

    5. Bill Richardson -- Richardson's campaign may have peaked too early, when its tongue-in-cheek TV commercials bumped his poll numbers into the double digits during the early summer. Since then, he has shown little positive movement in polls. His campaign events are known to be wildly inconsistent: some speeches and events are excellent, and others are lackluster at best. But his field operation appears to be solid in certain key precincts, where staff have been on the ground since early summer.

    6. Chris Dodd -- Everyone who has attended a Dodd event or met the Connecticut Senator personally seems to like him, but few seem to have committed to him so far. While his International Association of Fire Fighters endorsement continues to be a major X-factor, he has attracted very few Iowa endorsements from activists and politicos outside the IAFF. One gets the sense that Dodd has very strong second choice support from activists who have signed on to one of the top three candidates' campaigns, but he needs to persuade more of those caucus-goers to put him at the top of their lists. The campaign shows real potential with its talented staff and a candidate who is so committed to Iowa retail politics that he has moved his family here through January, but if the caucuses were held today, they would not go his way.

    7. Dennis Kucinich -- Although Kucinich may have a small number of hold-outs from his 2004 campaign, the vast majority of his past supporters appear to have migrated elsewhere, because Kucinich has spent such little time and money on the ground here.

    I choose Edwards!

  69. There are very few political analysts more closely associated with the Clintons than James Carville, who was a key adviser to Mr. Clinton in the 1992 campaign.
    So it’s no surprise that Mr. Carville’s appearance on a round table after last night’s CNN-sponsored Democratic debate is arousing some morning-after controversy.

    “Would it kill CNN to disclose that James Carville is a partisan Clinton supporter when talking about the presidential race?” wrote Daily Kos. “Would it kill James Carville to disclose that he is a partisan Clinton supporter when on the air talking about the presidential race? Apparently so.”

    Last night, Anderson Cooper of CNN introduced Mr. Carville, who appeared alongside panelists David Gergen and J.C. Watts, as a “former presidential adviser.”
    And Mr. Cooper made one attempt at a disclosure: “I should point out David Gergen was an adviser in the Bill Clinton White House,” he said. “As, of course, was James Carville.”

    But he didn’t point out that Mr. Carville is also an informal adviser to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.
    Last night, Mr. Carville praised Mrs. Clinton’s performance along with the other panelists. “I agree with David and J.C.,” he said at one point. “I think that Senator Clinton’s people have to be — and Senator Clinton — have to be pretty pleased tonight that they certainly reversed a trend. We will see where it goes from there.”
    And he was pointedly critical of Mr. Obama’s debate performance. “I think he might be even slightly intimidated, that he thinks Senator Clinton is more experienced than him, a little more hungry than he is,” Mr. Carville said.

    There is also a fair amount of criticism of CNN’s overall conduct of the debate, especially Wolf Blitzer’s questions.

    CNN is promoting the Republican choice for President Hillary Clinton.

  70. Even though a human rights group believes the Commander in Chief has been naughty, they plan to play Santa Claus this year and make a political statement at the same time.

    The Center for Constitutional Rights plans to "flood the Oval Office with copies of the Constitution this holiday season ... as a seasonal reminder that the Constitution needs to be upheld; not destroyed."

    Those interested can also sign an accompanying letter addressed to President Bush, which poses a multitude of questions reminding the president "that he swore an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States."

    "I would have hoped that you'd be pretty familiar with [the Constitution] already," writes the anonymous author, "because you have at least three times in your life taken a solemn oath to uphold, protect and defend it, but all the signs indicate that you either don't know what's in it, or you don't care."

    The diatribe covers controversial topics such as habeus corpus and torture, and beseeches the President to "uphold, protect and defend [the Constitution], like you swore you would."

    Interested parties can donate money to help cover costs if they wish, but the offer itself is completely free. The CCR hopes to send the President more than 25,000 copies of the Constitution by January 2008.

    Now they need someone to read it to him, and a dozen more to try and explain it.

  71. Nearly a year after anti-war voters put them in power, congressional Democrats remain unable to pass legislation ordering troops home from Iraq. Frustrated by Republican roadblocks, Democrats now plan to sit on President Bush's $196 billion request for war spending until next year — pushing the Pentagon toward an accounting nightmare and deepening their conflict with the White House on the war.

    "We're going to continue to do the right thing for the American people by having limited accountability for the president and not a blank check," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

    Senate Republicans on Friday blocked a $50 billion bill by Democrats that would have paid for several months of combat but also would have ordered troop withdrawals from Iraq to begin within 30 days. The measure, narrowly passed this week by the House, also would have set a goal of ending combat in December 2008.

    The 53-45 vote was seven votes short of the 60 needed to advance. It came minutes after the Senate rejected a Republican proposal to pay for the Iraq war with no strings attached.

    Now, Democratic leaders say they won't send President Bush a war spending bill this year. They calculate the military has enough money to run through mid-February.

    Responding to the congressional blockage, Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Friday signed a memo ordering the Army to begin planning for a series of expected cutbacks, including the layoffs of as many as 100,000 civilian employees and another 100,000 civilian contractors, starting as early as January, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said.

    "The memo reflects the urgency of the situation we find ourselves in — we are in a real crisis," Morrell said, noting that layoff notices to some civilian employees would have to be sent as early as mid-December. He decried Congress' refusal thus far to provide the money needed to continue fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, accusing lawmakers of "holding hostage the well-being of our men and women in uniform, and our national security."

    The delay will satisfy a Democratic support base that is fiercely anti-war. But it also will give Republicans and the White House ample time to hammer Democrats for leaving for the holidays without funding the troops.

    Do these supposed layoffs include Blackwater and Halliburton: Probably not they have lifetime jobs.

  72. Associated Press

    Mitt Romney transferred to Brigham Young University to be near Ann L. Davies, whom he married in 1969.
    VideoMore Video » While assassinations, race riots, sit-ins and marches transformed his generation, Mr. Romney spent more than two years cloistered in a strict regimen of prayer and proselytizing.

    The missionaries were discouraged from indulging in newspapers, radio, television or phone calls home. They spent twelve hours a day knocking on doors, often ending up defending the Vietnam War or American race relations against tirades by the French. Mr. Romney was so removed from the tumult at home that he was surprised to learn that his father, George Romney, had turned against the war while campaigning for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination.

    “There had been this whole revolution while we were gone,” recalled Dane McBride, a close friend from the mission. “While we had gone from being adolescents to grown-ups with a lot of responsibility, our peers — from our perspective — were just tearing down the country, becoming dangerously childish.” He added, “It just seemed deplorable.”

    It was the midpoint in a six-year immersion in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — first as a missionary and then at the church’s Brigham Young University — that set the conservative course Mr. Romney would follow as a businessman, politician and now a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.

    He left for France a 19-year-old freshman at Stanford, a sheltered child of privilege full of ideas about how to shake up the French mission. He could be goofy, quoting Sylvester the Cat this way — “Sutherickin Schatash! It’s humiliatin’!” — in letters to friends. He was considered the free spirit of his crowd, the one who sneaked off to movies (discouraged for missionaries) and ate coq au vin (controversial because of his church’s prohibition on alcohol). He was a half-hearted Mormon whose beliefs, as he recalled recently, were “based on pretty thin tissue.”

    Mitt Romney is a war dodger like his five sons.

  73. A mass grave filled with badly decomposed bodies was unearthed Saturday in southern Baghdad, where relatives of people missing in the neighborhood gathered at a mosque in hopes of learning the fate of their loved ones.

    It was the third mass grave found in Iraq this month.

    The remains were found in Baghdad's mostly Sunni Dora neighborhood, placed in black plastic bags and transferred to a Shiite mosque nearby, according to a police officer at the mosque. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release information.

    An Associated Press photographer at the al-Kazimain mosque counted 33 plastic bags, and police said each bag held the remains of one victim. But the condition of the remains — severely decomposed — meant that it was impossible to verify the number of bodies.

    Some of the bags were opened, revealing body parts, bones and scraps of clothing. One of the bags contained a prosthetic leg.

    Relatives of people who had been missing in the area crowded into a courtyard outside the mosque, where the remains were laid out. A woman in a black Muslim abaya cried as the bags were opened.

    At one point, eight bags of remains were placed into a single plain wooden coffin, for burial.

    Earlier this month, U.S. and Iraqi officials said they found 29 bodies in the Lake Tharthar area of the once restive western Anbar province. And another 17 victims were discovered in a brushy area near a school in Hashimiyat, northeast of Baghdad.

    Meanwhile, an Iraqi TV station said Saturday that one of its reporters was kidnapped a day earlier on his way to work in central Baghdad. The station has already lost two reporters to the violence here that often targets the media.

    Muntadhar al-Zaidi, a 28-year-old reporter for the Iraqi satellite channel al-Baghdadiyah, disappeared Friday, according to an editor at the channel. The editor who spoke on condition of anonymity because of safety concerns.

    A colleague phoned al-Zaidi around noon Friday, and a stranger answered his cell phone. "Forget Muntadhar," the stranger said, according to the editor.

    "This is the act of gangs, because all of Muntadhar's reports are moderate and unbiased," the editor told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

    Al-Baghdadiyah TV broadcasts from Cairo, Egypt, and is often critical of the Iraqi government and the U.S. military presence here. It is perceived as pro-Sunni.

    Iraqi journalists working for local or international media frequently come under threats from insurgents because of their reporting or their affiliation with foreign organizations.

    The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 123 journalists and 42 media support workers — translators, drivers, fixers and guards — have been killed in Iraq since the war began in 2003. About 85 percent of those deaths were Iraqis, the group said.

    In addition, the organization says at least 51 journalists have been kidnapped in Iraq since 2004.

    And Bush says the "surge"is going to well.

  74. Hollywood film and TV writers who've been on strike nearly two weeks will return to contract negotiations on Nov. 26, their union and producers said Friday.

    In a joint statement, the Writers Guild of America, West, and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said both sides had agreed to return to formal negotiations.

    The statement said no other details would be released.

    Meanwhile, the writers, who went on strike Nov. 5, would continue on the picket line, said Gregg Mitchell, a spokesman for the guild.

    Some writers applauded the decision to return to talks.

    "That's fabulous, that's great," said Sean Jablonski, a writer for the FX drama "Nip/Tuck." "You can't get a deal until two sides sit down and talk about it."

    "It's a good message to hear around the holidays," he said.

    At the core of the contract dispute is compensation for shows offered on the Internet _ a medium that appeals to a number of tech-savvy, young assistants who aspire to create their own online programming and want a piece of the profits.

    The producers group has said it's offering writers a share of licensing fees paid by Web sites to stream shows.

    However, the union rejected the offer, saying the payments wouldn't begin until six weeks after a show goes online and viewer interest is nearly exhausted.

    Writers also want a cut of revenue from non-skippable ads contained in many shows streamed free online. The alliance slammed the door on that demand.

    Since the strike began, late night talk shows and some sitcoms have gone to reruns. Officials at other shows are counting down the number of episodes they have left before running out of scripts.

  75. To My Fellow Members:
    This evening the WGA and the AMPTP announced that we will resume negotiations on Monday, November 26.
    This announcement is a direct result of your efforts. It is the direct result of the hours you have spent on the picket lines, the days you've spent educating friends and colleagues, the boundless energy you've put into engaging with not only the Hollywood talent community, but people all over the country and the world. It is a direct result of your dedication to this union and to each other.
    Over the past two weeks we have shown incredible resolve and resourcefulness. Every fifteen minutes someone sends me an e-mail with a new suggestion or a copy of a supportive news article or an entertaining and informative pro-writer YouTube video. Actors, local legislators, fans, and fellow members of the Hollywood workforce joined us in droves on our picketing lines this week. SAG's Alan Rosenberg and I were warmly welcomed in Washington D.C. and offered support from every member of Congress with whom we met. These developments all undoubtedly contributed to the decision to return to the table.

    For 12 days I have repeated that a powerful strike means a short strike. In that time we have proven that bad news won't slow us down. Now it is equally important that we now prove that good news won't slow us down, either. We must remember that returning to the bargaining table is only a start. Our work is not done until we achieve a good contract and that is by no means assured. Accordingly, what we achieve in negotiations will be a direct result of how successfully we can keep up our determination and resolve.
    We have an abridged picketing schedule next week. Next Monday, November 19, we will return to the lines but on Tuesday we have a Labor
    Solidarity Rally scheduled and Wednesday through Sunday we will not be picketing due to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The picketing schedule for the following Monday, November 26 (when we return to the table) will be determined in consultation with the Strike Captains and will be designed to continue to have maximum effect on our employers and include both studio and location picketing. We will keep you posted through your Strike Captains.
    Once again, I thank you all for your efforts and ask you to continue to dedicate yourself to this cause with the same level of energy and enthusiasm that has gotten us to where we are today. We are all in this together.

    Patric M. Verrone
    President, WGAW

  76. In person, Steve Martin, now 62, is far from a wild and crazy guy — if he ever really was one. His hair is snow white. Though still youthful, his famously mobile face is mostly in repose. He’s a lot like your tax accountant, only a little shyer.

    Lately, however, he has been sporting a mustache that you would hate to see on your accountant: a little pair of sleazy Gallic brackets outlining his lip and the groove beneath his nose. This is part of his get-up for his role as Inspector Clouseau in “Pink Panther Deux,” a sequel to his 2006 remake of the classic Peter Sellers film. “It’s growing on me,” Mr. Martin said of the mustache last month. “In both senses.”

    For much of the autumn, Mr. Martin was living in Boston — the new Toronto of the film industry — where “Pink Panther Deux” was being filmed. He and Wally, his yellow Labrador retriever, shared a trailer equipped with a flat-screen television, a gas fireplace and a couple of industrial-size dog dishes.

    Mr. Martin is also publishing two books this fall: “The Alphabet from A to Y With Bonus Letter Z!” (Flying Dolphin Press), illustrated by Roz Chast, which is just what the title suggests, and “Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life” (Scribner), a memoir of his years as a stand-up comedian.

    Reviewing the second book for The New York Times, Janet Maslin called it a “lean, incisive” work that was “smart, serious, heartfelt and confessional without being maudlin.”

    Mr. Martin discussed the memoir on set on a recent Friday when the script called for Clouseau to marry his colleague Nicole (played, as in the first film, by Emily Mortimer) at a ceremony conducted by John Cleese as Chief Inspector Dreyfus. His wedding uniform consisted of red-striped trousers and a tunic with epaulets the size of scrub brushes, which kept getting knocked off as Mr. Martin walked through the trailer door.

    “I’m not used to ones this big,” he apologized to the wardrobe assistant, who sewed them back on.

    Mr. Martin’s career as a stand-up comedian lasted roughly 18 years, from the early 1960s when he was performing sketches at the Bird Cage Theater at Knott’s Berry Farm in California, to 1981, when he was the most successful comic in America. He had such a following that, wearing a mock arrow through his temples, he could, and did, lead audiences out of the theater and ask them to pick him up and pass him over their heads. He made so much money that, as he used to say, he could afford a gasoline-powered turtleneck sweater. In a foreword to “Born Standing Up,” he notes, “In a sense this book is not an autobiography but a biography, because I am writing about someone I used to know.”

    He says now that that part of his life seems part of another era, almost ancient history. Recently he came across a photograph of the sign outside the Bird Cage, which he had with him in the trailer: It says, “World’s Greatest Entertaiment.”

    “Look at that,” he said, pointing to the missing n. “I don’t think anyone ever noticed.”

    The book came about, Mr. Martin said, because he felt the urge to write something, and following his two best-selling novellas, “Shopgirl” and “The Pleasure of My Company,” he had temporarily run out of characters and ideas. “It’s the old adage: write what you know,” he said. “I realized that I had had this unique experience, and then I happened to see the show ‘Jersey Boys,’ which reminded me that it’s the years before you make it that are interesting. And then it all seemed navigable to me. I always like to begin with an ending, and I had one: it was when I quit stand-up.”

    Mr. Martin, who says he is “neurotically punctual” about turning up at the set, had to break off so he could head over to the Sûreté for his wedding. He crossed a parking lot, entered the warehouse and made his way through castoff scenery (bushes, walls, a giant backdrop of the Eiffel Tower) to the Chief Inspector’s Office, already packed with dignitaries, including the pope.

    A makeup assistant dabbed powder on Mr. Martin’s forehead and fussed with his hair; another groomed his mustache with a tiny comb, and then Mr. Martin took his place at the front of the room. A bell rang, the cameras rolled, and as Ms. Mortimer, in a strapless gown, walked toward him up the aisle, a little leer crept over Mr. Martin’s face, and he gave a shudder of pleasure and pomposity. He half-turned to whisper something to Mr. Cleese, and his voice came out in that famously fractured French accent, with gargling r’s, and vowels so ripe they lingered in the air like little zeppelins.

    “I really like the collegiality of movies,” Mr. Martin said, back in his trailer, and speaking unaccented English again. He insisted that he didn’t miss stand-up. “It’s really, really hard,” he said. “The solitude, the traveling, the sense that every night you’re being judged.”

    The appeal of writing, he added, was that “I feel like I can get to the point where I know I did the best I can. I really love the sense of finality in writing, the sense of getting it right in a way that only I can know about. In comedy, if they’re not laughing, there’s no doubt.”

    In the book Mr. Martin describes a career that seems more accidental than ordained, the story less of an irrepressible, Mel Brooksian sort of funnyman than of a shy, introspective young man looking to find a place for himself. He grew up, in a not terribly happy family, in Orange County, Calif. For most of his childhood, he and his father, a failed actor, barely spoke. Like a lot of sensitive, gifted boys — Johnny Carson and Woody Allen, for example — he drifted into magic.

    His early acts were a hodgepodge — some juggling, some magic, some balloon tricks, some banjo-playing — and to a great extent his style remained eclectic, with the crucial addition of irony; the act became in some ways the parody of an act, with no punch lines, and audiences found it even funnier.

    “It was a great discovery,” Mr. Martin said. “There I was making fun of what I was doing, and yet I was still getting to do it.”

    The only relic Mr. Martin keeps from those days is his banjo, which he taught himself to play as a teenager from a Pete Seeger instruction book, practicing alone in his car with windows rolled up even on hot summer nights. Waiting for the knock on the trailer door, and the summons to don his epaulets and marry again, he picked up the banjo and played a bluegrass song he had been learning. “When I play music, it’s like an alternate form of living,” he said.

    A little later he remarked: “Every now and then I suppose I get a little nostalgic for the stand-up days. They were so — redolent, I guess you could say. I can still smell those hot, smoky clubs, the cigarettes, that awful nightclub wine. It was years before I learned there was such a thing as good wine.”

    Lydia Cornell and Steve Martin are both writing books!

  77. Larry
    I hsve been monitoring your many comments. This one deserves a reply not just a look. Excellent move by reid! I actually think they might not roll over this time but I do think Bush will get his way the bee hive. We will see but he was wise to stick around. I would expect a move like that from the snake I mean the Bushmaster.

  78. Jim:

    I also like the move by Reid, I just hope he sticks with it, instead of giving into Bush like he has so many times in the past.

  79. Striking screenwriters in the US and major production studios have agreed to hold new contract talks aimed at ending a strike that is headed for its third week.

    The announcement came as the deadlock over revenues claimed its first major Hollywood casualty as filming of the sequel to the blockbuster film, the Da Vinci code was postponed.

    The Columbia Pictures studio announced on Friday that "Angels and Demons" starring Tom Hanks would now be released in 2009 rather than next year as scheduled.

    The two parties revealed that they will unexpectedly hold talks on November 26, the first since negotiations presided by a federal mediator broke down and the strike began on November 5.

    The negotiations, which began in July, foundered mostly on differences over the writers' demands for a greater share of revenues from the Internet, widely seen as the main distribution medium for filmed entertainment in the future.

    "Leaders from the WGA [Writers Guild of America] and the AMPTP [Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers] have mutually agreed to resume formal negotiations on November 26. No other details or press statements will be issued," a statement said.

    The WGA said its 12,000 members would remain on strike for the time being, with picketing to resume next week with a major rally and march along Hollywood Boulevard planned to take place on Tuesday.

    'Powerful strike'

    In an online message to union members, the WGA West president, Patric Verrone hailed the breakthrough as a result of the union's resolve.

    "This announcement is a direct result of your efforts," he wrote. "For 12 days I have repeated that a powerful strike means a short strike."

    He added the guild would suspend picketing next Wednesday until November 25, the eve of the next bargaining session due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

    The strike is the worst labour crisis to affect Hollywood in 20 years and several late-night talk shows, including those hosted by Jay Leno and David Letterman, have been forced to show repeats of episodes.

    Production also ground to a halt on numerous prime-time comedies and dramas and was expected to end on most TV shows was expected by the end of November as work was completed on the last advance scripts stockpiled by the studios in anticipation of a prolonged strike.

    The last major Hollywood strike, a 1988 walkout by the WGA, lasted 22 weeks, delayed the start of that year's autumn television season and cost the entertainment industry an estimated $500 million.

    Experts said a strike of similar duration this time would result in losses of more than $1 billion.

  80. (Reuters) - Mired in the second week of a bitter strike, Hollywood's studios and writers appear headed for a long stalemate over how to share the wealth from the next media bonanza -- delivering TV shows and films over the Internet.

    Just as their last labor contract still pays "residuals" for TV reruns -- a 50-year-old artifact from the days when the western drama "Bonanza" graced prime time -- writers want a new deal to shape how generations earn their living off the Web.

    Although the Web and wireless devices such as mobile phones account for a fraction of revenues generated from film and TV now, experts see the Internet growing into Hollywood's distribution channel of choice in the not-too-distant future.

    High-speed Web delivery could prove as big a watershed as film talkies, technicolor, the VCR or even television itself.

    Already, some industry analysts estimate that major media companies are bringing in hundreds of millions in advertising and other revenue by posting video content on the Internet. But the studios argue it is too soon to know how much money can be made, let alone how much they can share. Writers want to ensure their piece of the pie in the long term. Neither is budging.

    "We're looking at the future, and the future is so big that we'll be kicking ourselves for the next 20 years if we aren't part of the Internet," said Greg Daniels, executive producer of the NBC show "The Office," the network's No. 1 comedy and one of TV's biggest online hits.

    Longtime media lawyer Howard Fabrick, a veteran of numerous Hollywood labor talks, said the Web issue has galvanized film and TV writers. "I have not seen that kind of cohesiveness of position in prior negotiations. That's different," he said.


    In fact, the promise of the future is so potentially lucrative that the Writers Guild of America gave up its quest for a bigger share of flourishing DVDs to press demands for a greater stake in new media on the last day of contract talks.

    That tactic struck some as a huge gamble when the talks with film and TV studios collapsed November 5, leading to the first major Hollywood strike since a 22-week WGA walkout in 1988.

    That action lasted 22 weeks, delayed the fall TV season and cost the industry an estimated $500 million. Economists say a similar strike now could produce $1 billion in losses.

    One vestige of the 1988 strike is the formula still used to calculate how much screenwriters earn for film and TV work that gets repackaged into DVDS -- 1.5 percent of 20 percent of gross revenues, or roughly 4 cents for every disc.

    The writers say they settled for that rate in the 1980s because studios argued that the video home market, dominated by cassette tapes at the time, was still in its infancy. The WGA claims studios never made good on their promise to negotiate a more generous residual once the home video market took root.

    Writers are now unwilling to accept what they view as an equally penurious rate for Web downloads while the studios wait for digital distribution to gel. For now, the money at stake seems relatively small, but it is expected to grow rapidly.

    The U.S. download-to-own market for all movies and TV episodes totaled a mere $107 million in 2006 but should triple to $315 million this year, according to accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. The sum is expected to more than triple again by 2011 to nearly $1.2 billion a year.

    Downloads still pale in comparison to revenues from DVD sales, which will reach an estimated $17.3 billion this year and $20.7 billion by 2011, according to Pricewaterhouse.


    Still, the Internet is widely expected to evolve into the pipeline used to carry all TV shows and many movies into homes, and the future could arrive far sooner than the studios think.

    Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for DVD rental service Netflix, sees home Web delivery posing a serious challenge to "packaged media," such as DVDs, in seven to 10 years.

    "We named the company Netflix because we absolutely believe that most content will be delivered to houses over the Internet. It's just a matter of when," he said.

    Allen Weiner, an analyst for technology research company Gartner Inc., predicted "convergence" of Internet and TV "probably (in) a three- to five-year window."

    At the bargaining table and in public pronouncements about the contract talks, studio executives have said digital distribution of filmed entertainment remains largely experimental or promotional.

    Faced with an uncertain business model on the Web, threats from piracy and soaring production costs eating at their bottom line, the studios say it would be foolish to give away too much too soon. They, too, seem entrenched.

    "We're not going to do something stupid at the bargaining table," said Nick Counter, the chief studio negotiator as head of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

    Screenwriters counter that much of what the industry calls promotional actually makes money in download fees or advertising, and they point to bullish declarations from studio executives on Wall Street about the world of digital media.

    Since starting downloads on Apple's online iTunes store two years ago, the Walt Disney Co. (DIS.N: Quote, Profile, Research) has reported sales of 24 million TV shows and 2 million movies via iTunes. Disney CEO Robert Iger said digital commerce accounted for about $1.5 billion of Disney's $35 billion in annual revenues last year. But it was not clear how much of that comes from downloads.

    NBC's "The Office" alone posted 7 million downloads from iTunes before NBC (GE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) removed its shows from that service in a recent pricing dispute with Apple, according to Daniels.

    "That's a lot of downloads for our show at $2 a pop," he said, adding that advertising rates for shows "streamed" by are nearly double what NBC charges for broadcast ads.

    Network TV audiences still dwarf those on the Internet; "The Office" averaged over 8 million broadcast viewers a week last season, for example, according to Nielsen Media Research.

    The direction digital media takes in the immediate future is not entirely clear. Some analysts, notably Forrester Research, have said that paid-download services such as iTunes are a dead-end market that ultimately will decline as ad-supported streaming video becomes the dominant model.

    Still, the word emanating from the studio board rooms to investors is one of confidence about the Internet.

    One YouTube-posted video produced by striking writers and sardonically titled "Voices of Uncertainty" features clips of several media moguls, including Iger, Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone and News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, boldly touting the fortunes to be made from digital media.

    "Viacom will double its revenues this year from digital," Redstone firmly declares in one of them.

  81. This Version of the United States
    From Progressive Beacon

    Maybe I was always unreasonably idealistic. My uncles served in World War Two and the Korean War and as a boy -- being from a blue-collar union town -- almost everyone I knew who was old enough to serve in Vietnam, served. One of the reasons that I joined the Marine Corps straight out of high school was because I felt a sincere duty to serve my country or to, as John F. Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." So, as my uncles and boyhood mentors before me had, when it was my turn to serve my country, I served my country.

    If I had to do it all over again today, I wouldn't serve in THIS version of the United States military. When I served, flawed as the nation's foreign policy was even then, the United States stood for something and, as a people, we believed in certain non-negotiable principles. The United States used to stand for human rights and fought to protect those tortured by truly evil regimes. The United States used to stand for justice and fought to protect every person's "inalienable right" to a fair trial and the United States most especially defended the cornerstone of any just system, habeas corpus. Having seen the horror of Hitler's Nazi secret prisons, the United States had ALWAYS demanded an accounting for every prisoner's whereabouts and vehemently fought against the Soviet Union's use of black sites. Torture, secret prisons and disregarding habeas corpus were, we ALL knew, the domain of dictators and tyrants ... and we, the United States, stood foursquare against any regime that practiced such evil.

    Today, sadly, the United States' government practices and endorses the policies of dictators and tyrants. And, let's be honest here, it isn't only Mister Bush. Both Democratic and Republican-led Congress's have supported and/or refused to end the administration's most vile programs. From spying on innocent U.S. citizens to the operation of secret prisons; from eradicating habeas corpus to imprisoning citizen and non-citizen without trial; from maintaining Guantanamo Bay to extraordinary rendition; from Abu Ghraib to the invasion of Iraq no one has been held to account and nobody has demonstrated the courage necessary to end the injustice and to defend the principles once held so dear by the people of the United States.

    The United States of America used to stand for something. Imperfect and flawed as the United States has always been, its principles -- that for which it once so proudly stood -- were worth fighting for and, if necessary, dying. But THAT United States isn't THIS United States. THIS torture-practicing, secret prison-operating, habeas corpus-denying and Constitution-destroying United States isn't worth the spit required to wet my lips. I wouldn't fight for this government anymore than I would fight for Saudi Arabia's Royal Family, Musharraf's Pakistan, Putin's precious Russia, the Mullahs' Iran, Kim Jong-Il's North Korea or, let's get down to brass tacks, Stalin's Soviet Union or Hitler's Germany.

    Maybe George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Trent Lott, John Boehnner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Steny Hoyer, Mitch McConnell and Hillary Clinton have stopped believing in the principles that the United States once stood for and defended, but I haven't and I bet most Americans haven't either. Let Mister Bush et al., their rank-and-file supporters and their children fight for THIS new unprincipled United States because I most certainly will not!

    Is this how you feel?

  82. Two U.S. Army deserters who fled to Canada and sought refugee status on grounds of their opposition to the war in Iraq have lost their bids to have the Supreme Court of Canada hear their cases.

    The court refused to hear the appeals of Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey Thursday, who were rejected two years ago by Canada's immigration authorities.

    The board ruled they would not be at risk of their lives if they returned to the United States, nor were they at risk of "cruel and unusual treatment or punishment".

    Hinzman and Hughey deserted the U.S. Army in 2004 after learning their units were being deployed to Iraq to fight in a war they have called immoral and illegal. The men argue that serving in Iraq would force them to commit crimes against civilians, and that they would be persecuted if forced to return to the United States.

    There are currently about 200 U.S. Army deserters in Canada. Among them is Ryan Johnson of Visalia, California. He fled to Canada in 2005, the day his unit deployed to Iraq.

    "The Canadian government decided not to fight an illegal war," he told IPS. "Canada was going to go into the war in Iraq, but then decided that because the U.N. did not sanction it, Canada would not participate in the war in Iraq. That's a major reason that I came to Canada. Canada felt the same way I did about the war in Iraq."

    Canadian immigration officials ruled, however, that "as mere footsoldiers", U.S. war resisters "could not be held responsible for the breach of international law committed by United States in going to Iraq." Immigration authorities also ruled that "ordinary footsoldiers are not expected to make own personal assessment as to the legality of any conflict they may be called upon to fight". They also said there is no internationally recognised right to object to a particular war.

    "It's disappointing that the Supreme Court of Canada would not even go as far as to hear our case," Johnson said. "It is definitely not something that is pertinent. They've used legality of war in other refugee cases, I don't know why in our case they refused to use the legality of the war in evidence."

  83. A group of 9/11 firefighters and victims' family members with eyes on derailing Republican Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign is close to a decision on forming an entity that would run issue ads in key early nominating states.

    "TV made him a hero, and we'll use TV to take him down," New York Fire Chief Jim Riches told ABC News.

    The final decision about the formation of an outside entity will happen sometime within the next few weeks after the group finalizes its plans at a meeting scheduled for after Thanksgiving. So far, though, under Riches' leadership, the group has sought legal guidance and help from political consultants.

    If the group decides to move forward, it would set up a 527 committee -- or something similar to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which in 2004 helped sink Democratic Sen. John Kerry's White House bid.

    This Monday, the firefighters and family members are holding a meeting at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire hoping to spread the word about what they say is Giuliani's "egregious" use of 9/11 for political gain.

    The group also is considering additional trips to early presidential primary states Iowa, Florida and South Carolina.

    Riches, who lost his firefighter son Jimmy in the World Trade Center's north tower, said, "We don't want him running on 9/11 or the bodies of all these dead people or my dead son saying that he did a great job that day."

    He and other members of the anti-Giuliani group claim 9/11 first responders were given bad radios and that that prevented them from hearing evacuation orders when the World Trade Center buildings were about to collapse. They also contend Giuliani rushed cleanup work and misled people about air quality at Ground Zero, where recovery workers, including Riches, say they contracted illnesses.

    Guiliani is a Media Creation.

  84. - Hillary Clinton was peppered by anti-war hecklers at a presidential forum on climate change and energy policy, leading to the forceful expulsion of one protester from the audience.

    "How can you say you're for the environment when you are always voting for war?" local activist Tyghe Berry shouted out as he stood up from his seat in the audience and interrupted the front-running Democratic candidate as she vowed to make America green if elected President.

    "Were you invited to speak here this afternoon?" responded a visibly perturbed Senator Clinton. Berry was then immediately grabbed by security agents and rushed to a waiting police car by a phalanx of LAPD and federal officers. When Senator Clinton was introduced earlier to the forum she was met with both loud cheers and scattered boos from the predominantly Democratic and liberal audience of approximately 1,000.

    Some Republicans can't hear the truth.

  85. Lou Dobbs of CNN swatted away rumors today that he might run for president.
    “I don’t know where this is coming from,” he said in a quick phone interview. “I have no interest in running, and I’ve said that throughout.”

    Mr. Dobbs, the host of “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” has been a powerful rallying force for opponents of illegal immigration, arguing for months that Washington has no clue about the concerns of the American people. He say he thought there was “a strong likelihood that an independent populist candidate will emerge in the next several months, whether from an independent movement or from within the party structures.” The Democrats and Republicans, he said, are “two completely homogeneous parties, both dominated by corporate America” and not giving voters much of a choice.

    But he will not be that candidate, he said, though he finds “the speculation about me flattering.”
    An online column in The Wall Street Journal yesterday by John Fund said that friends of Mr. Dobbs said he was “seriously contemplating a race for the first time, although it’s still unlikely.” Mr. Fund said these friends thought that if Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York joined the race as an independent, “Mr. Dobbs then sees a niche for a ‘fourth-party’ candidate who could paint the three other contenders as completely out of touch.”


    * MTP: National Journal’s Ron Brownstein; WaPo’s E.J. Dionne; PBS’s Gwen Ifill; NBC’s Chuck Todd; National Review’s Byron York; a look at 60 years of MTP
    * FTN: John Edwards (D-NC); Politico’s Jeanne Cummings
    * This Week: Fred Thompson (R-TN); roundtable of NYT’s David Brooks, Donna Brazile, Jake Tapper and George Will; Kayce Freed Jennings on the new biography, “Peter Jennings: A Reporter’s Life.”
    * FNS: Mike Huckabee (R-AR); atty Billy Martin (represents Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), Michael Vick and other bold-faced names)
    * Late Edition: Japan PM Yasuo Fukuda; John Edwards (D-NC);

  87. Hey guys i saw on jolly rogers site that bush is setting the democrats up to blame them for losing the iraq war by making him pull out

  88. I just read on patriots site that that chavez is going to attack us because bush is going to attack iran

  89. Thats right Holly.

    Its now all our fault.

  90. Holly said...
    Hey guys i saw on jolly rogers site that bush is setting the democrats up to blame them for losing the iraq war by making him pull out"

    well if the fascist monkey is gonna blame them............they might as well be worthy of the blame and smears and actually end the war.................they should not give that warmongering fascist pig another bloody nickel for his wars.

    Whats amazing is Bush says we dont have a few billion to spend on giving medical care to our Veterans and children.........but we have 1.6 TRILLION to spend on a failed war based on lies.

    These repug fools are STILL pretending to be fiscally responsible when the condone spending over a trillion dollars of borrowed money on war............if you polled the average citizen and asked them if they are willing to pay over $50,000 to keep the war in Iraq going they would think you are insane

  91. The reichwing is going into the welfare for the rich mode once again;

    Financial Aid for the Rich

    A boon for business owners

    A little-noticed loophole written into federal college financial aid rules allows the children of wealthy entrepreneurs to collect aid intended for the needy.

    In a bill passed last year, Congress decreed that when determining how much each family can afford to contribute to a child's college education, the federal government should not consider the assets of owners of businesses with 100 full-time employees or fewer. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R) of Colorado inserted this exemption, noting at the time that small-business owners should be treated the same as family farmers, who aren't expected to mortgage their property to pay for college. Musgrave, a Republican, did not respond to requests for comment. The federal government will still consider the income of all business owners.

    Nice to see the GOPers are willing to earmark welfare for the rich still.

    I wonder if Ronnie depends wearing fraud Reagan would call these people "welfare Queens"?

    Wanna bet Bush doesn't veto this welfare for the rich provision?

  92. John McCain often says on the campaign trail that he wants to take on the system in Washington. Usually, he's talking about congressional spending and pork-barrel projects. But he also wants to challenge the system of protection that forces presidents to live life in a bubble.

    "It's my intention, if we win this nomination, to reject Secret Service," he said during one of his many conversations with reporters on his Straight Talk Express this weekend. "Why do I need it?"

    Why would he need the Secret Service, after all since he licks on Bush's ear every chance he gets, he can use Blackwater instead.

  93. The Army has discovered that its new UH-72A Lakota helicopter, designed for search-and-rescue and disaster relief, has a fatal flaw: It can't fly in hot weather. At temperatures over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, cockpit temperature soars over the upper safe limit of 104 degrees. Naturally, the Army spent $2.6 billion on the choppers, reasoning that it is unlikely ever to be required to perform missions in temperatures over 80 degrees since everyone would be at the beach.

    Sadly, the UH-72A is only the latest in a spate of recent military boondoggles that have cost taxpayers billions.

    The AT-42 "Tempest" Self-Propelled Combat Transport: Building on the success of its lightning-strike operations during the Iraq War, the Army sought a vehicle that could cover great distances and would not be limited by fuel requirements. The answer: an armored transport vehicle powered by an immense Kevlar sail. After four years of development, the first prototypes were tested in early 2007, and failed to perform to spec. Extensive testing revealed that the probable cause to be: "it isn't windy enough." To rectify the problem, the Army has commissioned a new vehicle, the XR-671 Mobile Propulsion Unit, a humongous fan mounted on a retrofitted Bradley fighting vehicle.

    More wasted dollars to the defense industry.

  94. Republicans and Race


    Over the past few weeks there have been a number of commentaries about Ronald Reagan’s legacy, specifically about whether he exploited the white backlash against the civil rights movement.

    The controversy unfortunately obscures the larger point, which should be undeniable: the central role of this backlash in the rise of the modern conservative movement.

    The centrality of race — and, in particular, of the switch of Southern whites from overwhelming support of Democrats to overwhelming support of Republicans — is obvious from voting data.

    For example, everyone knows that white men have turned away from the Democrats over God, guns, national security and so on. But what everyone knows isn’t true once you exclude the South from the picture. As the political scientist Larry Bartels points out, in the 1952 presidential election 40 percent of non-Southern white men voted Democratic; in 2004, that figure was virtually unchanged, at 39 percent.

    More than 40 years have passed since the Voting Rights Act, which Reagan described in 1980 as “humiliating to the South.” Yet Southern white voting behavior remains distinctive. Democrats decisively won the popular vote in last year’s House elections, but Southern whites voted Republican by almost two to one.

    The G.O.P.’s own leaders admit that the great Southern white shift was the result of a deliberate political strategy. “Some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization.” So declared Ken Mehlman, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, speaking in 2005.

    And Ronald Reagan was among the “some” who tried to benefit from racial polarization.

    True, he never used explicit racial rhetoric. Neither did Richard Nixon. As Thomas and Mary Edsall put it in their classic 1991 book, “Chain Reaction: The impact of race, rights and taxes on American politics,” “Reagan paralleled Nixon’s success in constructing a politics and a strategy of governing that attacked policies targeted toward blacks and other minorities without reference to race — a conservative politics that had the effect of polarizing the electorate along racial lines.”

    Thus, Reagan repeatedly told the bogus story of the Cadillac-driving welfare queen — a gross exaggeration of a minor case of welfare fraud. He never mentioned the woman’s race, but he didn’t have to.

    There are many other examples of Reagan’s tacit race-baiting in the historical record. My colleague Bob Herbert described some of these examples in a recent column. Here’s one he didn’t mention: During the 1976 campaign Reagan often talked about how upset workers must be to see an able-bodied man using food stamps at the grocery store. In the South — but not in the North — the food-stamp user became a “strapping young buck” buying T-bone steaks.

    Now, about the Philadelphia story: in December 1979 the Republican national committeeman from Mississippi wrote a letter urging that the party’s nominee speak at the Neshoba Country Fair, just outside the town where three civil rights workers had been murdered in 1964. It would, he wrote, help win over “George Wallace inclined voters.”

    Sure enough, Reagan appeared, and declared his support for states’ rights — which everyone took to be a coded declaration of support for segregationist sentiments.

    Reagan’s defenders protest furiously that he wasn’t personally bigoted. So what? We’re talking about his political strategy. His personal beliefs are irrelevant.

    Why does this history matter now? Because it tells why the vision of a permanent conservative majority, so widely accepted a few years ago, is wrong.

    The point is that we have become a more diverse and less racist country over time. The “macaca” incident, in which Senator George Allen’s use of a racial insult led to his election defeat, epitomized the way in which America has changed for the better.

    And because conservative ascendancy has depended so crucially on the racial backlash — a close look at voting data shows that religion and “values” issues have been far less important — I believe that the declining power of that backlash changes everything.

    Can anti-immigrant rhetoric replace old-fashioned racial politics? No, because it mobilizes the same shrinking pool of whites — and alienates the growing number of Latino voters.

    Now, maybe I’m wrong about all of this. But we should be able to discuss the role of race in American politics honestly. We shouldn’t avert our gaze because we’re unwilling to tarnish Ronald Reagan’s image.

    Yes end the insane worship of the pResident who is only outdone By G W Bush in damage to America and it's future in order to sell lies to the sheeple. Just because they didn't wanna grow up and do what was necessary to forge a REAL future for America, they bought his lies and spin instead of the truth that predatory capitalism was running it's course in human history and the planet couldn't sustain things for much longer, now we face the same problems with more urgency, and far less ability either financially or energy wise to solve these very real problems. If Reagan hadn't started the US down the road the last 30 years, we wouldn't be in the economic, environmental and energy fix we are in right now.

    That fraud should have stayed a grade B actor and then Bush woulda been another angry dry drunk with no accomplishments, and we wouldn't face the BLEAK future we all face thanks to them and their Stupid minions.

  95. With the Iowa caucuses approaching, Senator John Edwards (D-NC), on a Sunday campaign stop, calls the position of Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) on the United States' occupation of Iraq a tacit approval, and continuation, of war, reports the Associated Press.

    Another truthful Edwards statement.

  96. Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich said Sunday the thinking that went into producing an Army school blamed for human rights abuses in Latin America was the same that led the U.S. to war in Iraq and could cause it to raid Iran.

    Kucinich was speaking at the 18th annual protest of the school at Fort Benning that trains Latin American soldiers, police and government officials. One of his first acts as president if elected would be to close the school, he said.

    Democratic presidential hopeful, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, right, and the Rev. Roy Bourgeois, left, comfort a crying Adriana Bartow, center, after placing a cross at the gates of Army school at Fort Benning, during the 18th annual protest of the school which trains Latin American soldiers, police and government officials

    "The type of thinking that produced this school is the same type of thinking that produced the war in Iraq and is producing a war against Iran," Kucinich said. The Ohio congressman and former Cleveland mayor was addressing a crowd estimated by local police to number roughly 10,000.

    The Army's School of the Americas moved to Fort Benning from Panama in 1984 and was replaced in 2001 by the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, under the Defense Department.

    The protests outside the gate to the military installation are timed to commemorate six Jesuit priests who were killed along with their housekeeper and her daughter in El Salvador on Nov. 19, 1989. Some of those who killed them had attended the School of the Americas.

    The military has acknowledged that some graduates committed crimes after attending the School of the Americas, but has said in the past that no cause-and-effect relationship has ever been established.

    The new Western Hemisphere Institute has mandatory human rights courses, but the demonstrators contend changes at the school are only cosmetic.

  97. At least 25 were killed including 7children in another daily bombing in Iraq.

  98. Three U.S soldiers were killed in Iraq.

    Are you happy Bush?

  99. Preparing for Life After Oil

    By Michael T. Klare,

    This past May, in an unheralded and almost unnoticed move, the Energy Department signaled a fundamental, near epochal shift in US and indeed world history: we are nearing the end of the Petroleum Age and have entered the Age of Insufficiency. The department stopped talking about "oil" in its projections of future petroleum availability and began speaking of "liquids." The global output of "liquids," the department indicated, would rise from 84 million barrels of oil equivalent (mboe) per day in 2005 to a projected 117.7 mboe in 2030 -- barely enough to satisfy anticipated world demand of 117.6 mboe. Aside from suggesting the degree to which oil companies have ceased being mere suppliers of petroleum and are now purveyors of a wide variety of liquid products -- including synthetic fuels derived from natural gas, corn, coal and other substances -- this change hints at something more fundamental: we have entered a new era of intensified energy competition and growing reliance on the use of force to protect overseas sources of petroleum.

    To appreciate the nature of the change, it is useful to probe a bit deeper into the Energy Department's curious terminology. "Liquids," the department explains in its International Energy Outlook for 2007, encompasses "conventional" petroleum as well as "unconventional" liquids -- notably tar sands (bitumen), oil shale, biofuels, coal-to-liquids and gas-to-liquids. Once a relatively insignificant component of the energy business, these fuels have come to assume much greater importance as the output of conventional petroleum has faltered. Indeed, the Energy Department projects that unconventional liquids production will jump from a mere 2.4 mboe per day in 2005 to 10.5 in 2030, a fourfold increase. But the real story is not the impressive growth in unconventional fuels but the stagnation in conventional oil output. Looked at from this perspective, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the switch from "oil" to "liquids" in the department's terminology is a not so subtle attempt to disguise the fact that worldwide oil production is at or near its peak capacity and that we can soon expect a downturn in the global availability of conventional petroleum.

    Petroleum is, of course, a finite substance, and geologists have long warned of its ultimate disappearance. The extraction of oil, like that of other nonrenewable resources, will follow a parabolic curve over time. Production rises quickly at first and then gradually slows until approximately half the original supply has been exhausted; at that point, a peak in sustainable output is attained and production begins an irreversible decline until it becomes too expensive to lift what little remains. Most oil geologists believe we have already reached the midway point in the depletion of the world's original petroleum inheritance and so are nearing a peak in global output; the only real debate is over how close we have come to that point, with some experts claiming we are at the peak now and others saying it is still a few years or maybe a decade away.

    Until very recently, Energy Department analysts were firmly in the camp of those wild-eyed optimists who claimed that peak oil was so far in the future that we didn't really need to give it much thought. Putting aside the science of the matter, the promulgation of such a rose-colored view obviated any need to advocate improvements in automobile fuel efficiency or to accelerate progress on the development of alternative fuels. Given White House priorities, it is hardly surprising that this view prevailed in Washington.

    In just the past six months, however, the signs of an imminent peak in conventional oil production have become impossible even for conservative industry analysts to ignore. These have come from the take-no-prisoners world of oil pricing and deal-making, on the one hand, and the analysis of international energy experts, on the other.

    Most dramatic, perhaps, has been the spectacular rise in oil prices. The price of light, sweet crude crossed the longstanding psychological barrier of $80 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange for the first time in September, and has since risen to as high as $90. Many reasons have been cited for the rise in crude prices, including unrest in Nigeria's oil-producing Delta region, pipeline sabotage in Mexico, increased hurricane activity in the Gulf of Mexico and fears of Turkish attacks on Kurdish guerrilla sanctuaries in Iraq. But the underlying reality is that most oil-producing countries are pumping at maximum capacity and finding it increasingly difficult to boost production in the face of rising international demand.

    Even a decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to boost production by 500,000 barrels per day failed to halt the upward momentum in prices. Concerned that an excessive rise in oil costs would trigger a worldwide recession and lower demand for their products, the OPEC countries agreed to increase their combined output at a meeting in Vienna on September 11. "We think that the market is a little bit high," explained Kuwait's acting oil minister, Mohammad al-Olaim. But the move did little to slow the rise in prices. Clearly, OPEC would have to undertake a much larger production increase to alter the market environment, and it is not at all clear that its members possess the capacity to do that -- now or in the future.

    A warning sign of another sort was provided by Kazakhstan's August decision to suspend development of the giant Kashagan oil region in its sector of the Caspian Sea, first initiated by a consortium of Western firms in the late '90s. Kashagan was said to be the most promising oil project since the discovery of oil in Alaska's Prudhoe Bay in the late '60s. But the enterprise has encountered enormous technical problems and has yet to produce a barrel of oil. Frustrated by a failure to see any economic benefits from the project, the Kazakh government has cited environmental risks and cost overruns to justify suspending operations and demanding a greater say in the project.

    Like the dramatic rise in oil prices, the Kashagan episode is an indication of the oil industry's growing difficulties in its efforts to boost production in the face of rising demand. "All the oil companies are struggling to grow production," Peter Hitchens of Teather & Greenwood brokerage told the Wall Street Journal in July. "It's becoming more and more difficult to bring projects in on time and on budget."

    That this industry debilitation is not a temporary problem but symptomatic of a long-term trend was confirmed in two important studies published this past summer by conservative industry organizations.

    The first of these was released July 9 by the International Energy Agency (IEA), an affiliate of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the club of major industrial powers. Titled Medium-Term Oil Market Report, it is a blunt assessment of the global supply-and-demand equation over the 2007-12 period. The news is not good.

    Predicting that world economic activity will grow by an average of 4.5 percent per year during this period -- much of it driven by unbridled growth in China, India and the Middle East -- the report concludes that global oil demand will rise by 2.2 percent per year, pushing world oil consumption from approximately 86 million barrels per day in 2007 to 96 million in 2012. With luck and massive new investment, the oil industry will be able to increase output sufficiently to satisfy the higher level of demand anticipated for 2012 -- barely. Beyond that, however, there appears little likelihood that the industry will be able to sustain any increase in demand. "Oil look[s] extremely tight in five years' time," the agency declared.

    Underlying the report's general conclusion are a number of specific concerns. Most notably, it points to a worrisome decline in the yield of older fields in non-OPEC countries and a corresponding need for increased output from the OPEC countries, most of which are located in conflict-prone areas of the Middle East and Africa. The numbers involved are staggering. At first blush, it would seem that the need for an extra 10 million barrels per day between now and 2012 would translate into an added 2 million barrels per day in each of the next five years -- a conceivably attainable goal. But that doesn't take into account the decline of older fields. According to the report, the world actually needs an extra 5 million: 3 million to make up for the decline in older fields plus the 2 million in added requirements. This is a daunting and possibly insurmountable challenge, especially when one considers that almost all of the additional petroleum will have to come from Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Angola, Libya, Nigeria, Sudan, Kazakhstan and Venezuela -- countries that do not inspire the sort of investor confidence that will be needed to pour hundreds of billions of dollars into new drilling rigs, pipelines and other essential infrastructure.

    Similar causes for anxiety can be found in the second major study released last summer, Facing the Hard Truths About Energy, prepared by the National Petroleum Council, a major industry organization. Because it supposedly provided a "balanced" view of the nation's energy dilemma, the NPC report was widely praised on Capitol Hill and in the media; adding to its luster was the identity of its chief author, former ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond.

    Like the IEA report, the NPC study starts with the claim that, with the right mix of policies and higher investment, the industry is capable of satisfying US and international oil and natural gas demand. "Fortunately, the world is not running out of energy resources," the report bravely asserts. But obstacles to the development and delivery of these resources abound, so prudent policies and practices are urgently required. Although "there is no single, easy solution to the multiple challenges we face," the authors conclude, they are "confident that the prompt adoption of these strategies" will allow the United States to satisfy its long-term energy needs.

    Read further into the report, however, and serious doubts emerge. Here again, worries arise from the growing difficulties of extracting oil and gas from less-favorable locations and the geopolitical risks associated with increased reliance on unfriendly and unstable suppliers. According to the NPC (using data acquired from the IEA), an estimated $20 trillion in new infrastructure will be needed over the next twenty-five years to ensure that sufficient energy is available to satisfy anticipated worldwide demand.

    The report then states the obvious: "A stable and attractive investment climate will be necessary to attract adequate capital for evolution and expansion of the energy infrastructure." This is where any astute observer should begin to get truly alarmed, for, as the study notes, no such climate can be expected. As the center of gravity of world oil production shifts decisively to OPEC suppliers and state-centric energy producers like Russia, geopolitical rather than market factors will come to dominate the marketplace.

    "These shifts pose profound implications for U.S. interests, strategies, and policy-making," the NPC report states. "Many of the expected changes could heighten risks to U.S. energy security in a world where U.S. influence is likely to decline as economic power shifts to other nations. In years to come, security threats to the world's main sources of oil and natural gas may worsen."

    The implications are obvious: major investors are not likely to cough up the trillions of dollars needed to substantially boost production in the years ahead, suggesting that the global output of conventional petroleum will not reach the elevated levels predicted by the Energy Department but will soon begin an irreversible decline.

    This conclusion leads to two obvious strategic impulses: first, the government will seek to ease the qualms of major energy investors by promising to protect their overseas investments through the deployment of American military forces; and second, the industry will seek to hedge its bets by shifting an ever-increasing share of its investment funds into the development of nonpetroleum liquids.

    The New 'Washington Consensus'

    The need for a vigorous US military role in protecting energy assets abroad has been a major theme in American foreign policy since 1945, when President Roosevelt met with King Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia and promised to protect the kingdom in return for privileged access to Saudi oil.

    In the most famous expression of this linkage, President Carter affirmed in January 1980 that the unimpeded flow of Persian Gulf oil is among this country's vital interests and that to protect this interest, the United States will employ "any means necessary, including military force." This principle was later cited by President Reagan as the rationale for "reflagging" Kuwaiti oil tankers with the American ensign during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88 and protecting them with US warships -- a stance that led to sporadic clashes with Iran. The same principle was subsequently invoked by George H.W. Bush as a justification for the Gulf War of 1991.

    In considering these past events, it is important to recognize that the use of military force to protect the flow of imported petroleum has generally enjoyed broad bipartisan support in Washington. Initially, this bipartisan outlook was largely focused on the Persian Gulf area, but since 1990, it has been extended to other areas as well. President Clinton eagerly pursued close military ties with the Caspian Sea oil states of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan after the breakup of the USSR in 1991, while George W. Bush has avidly sought an increased US military presence in Africa's oil-producing regions, going so far as to favor the establishment of a US Africa Command (Africom) in February.

    One might imagine that the current debacle in Iraq would shake this consensus, but there is no evidence that this is so. In fact, the opposite appears to be the case: possibly fearful that the chaos in Iraq will spread to other countries in the Gulf region, senior figures in both parties are calling for a reinvigorated US military role in the protection of foreign energy deliveries.

    Perhaps the most explicit expression of this elite consensus is an independent task force report, National Security Consequences of U.S. Oil Dependency, backed by many prominent Democrats and Republicans. It was released by the bipartisan Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), co-chaired by John Deutch, deputy secretary of defense in the Clinton Administration, and James Schlesinger, defense secretary in the Nixon and Ford administrations, in October 2006. The report warns of mounting perils to the safe flow of foreign oil. Concluding that the United States alone has the capacity to protect the global oil trade against the threat of violent obstruction, it argues the need for a strong US military presence in key producing areas and in the sea lanes that carry foreign oil to American shores.

    An awareness of this new "Washington consensus" on the need to protect overseas oil supplies with American troops helps explain many recent developments in Washington. Most significant, it illuminates the strategic stance adopted by President Bush in justifying his determination to retain a potent US force in Iraq -- and why the Democrats have found it so difficult to contest that stance.

    Consider Bush's September 13 prime-time speech on Iraq. "If we were to be driven out of Iraq," he prophesied, "extremists of all strains would be emboldened.... Iran would benefit from the chaos and would be encouraged in its efforts to gain nuclear weapons and dominate the region. Extremists could control a key part of the global energy supply." And then came the kicker: "Whatever political party you belong to, whatever your position on Iraq, we should be able to agree that America has a vital interest in preventing chaos and providing hope in the Middle East." In other words, Iraq is no longer about democracy or WMDs or terrorism but about maintaining regional stability to ensure the safe flow of petroleum and keep the American economy on an even keel; it was almost as if he was speaking to the bipartisan crowd that backed the CFR report cited above.

    It is very clear that the Democrats, or at least mainstream Democrats, are finding it exceedingly difficult to contest this argument head-on. In March, for example, Senator Hillary Clinton told the New York Times that Iraq is "right in the heart of the oil region" and so "it is directly in opposition to our interests" for it to become a failed state or a pawn of Iran. This means, she continued, that it will be necessary to keep some US troops in Iraq indefinitely, to provide logistical and training support to the Iraqi military. Senator Barack Obama has also spoken of the need to maintain a robust US military presence in Iraq and the surrounding area. Thus, while calling for the withdrawal of most US combat brigades from Iraq proper, he has championed an "over-the-horizon force that could prevent chaos in the wider region."

    Given this perspective, it is very hard for mainstream Democrats to challenge Bush when he says that an "enduring" US military presence is needed in Iraq or to change the Administration's current policy, barring a major military setback or some other unforeseen event. By the same token, it will be hard for the Democrats to avert a US attack on Iran if this can be portrayed as a necessary move to prevent Tehran from threatening the long-term safety of Persian Gulf oil supplies.

    Nor can we anticipate a dramatic change in US policy in the Gulf region from the next administration, whether Democratic or Republican. If anything, we should expect an increase in the use of military force to protect the overseas flow of oil, as the threat level rises along with the need for new investment to avert even further reductions in global supplies.

    The Rush to Alternative Liquids

    Although determined to keep expanding the supply of conventional petroleum for as long as possible, government and industry officials are aware that at some point these efforts will prove increasingly ineffective. They also know that public pressure to reduce carbon dioxide emissions -- thus slowing the accumulation of climate-changing greenhouse gases -- and to avoid exposure to conflict in the Middle East is sure to increase in the years ahead. Accordingly, they are placing greater emphasis on the development of oil alternatives that can be procured at home or in neighboring Canada.

    The new emphasis was first given national attention in Bush's latest State of the Union address. Stressing energy independence and the need to modernize fuel economy standards, he announced an ambitious plan to increase domestic production of ethanol and other biofuels. The Administration appears to favor several types of petroleum alternatives: ethanol derived from corn stover, switch grass and other nonfood crops (cellulosic ethanol); diesel derived largely from soybeans (biodiesel); and liquids derived from coal (coal-to-liquids), natural gas (gas-to-liquids) and oil shale. All of these methods are being tested in university laboratories and small-scale facilities, and will be applied in larger, commercial-sized ventures in coming years with support from various government agencies.

    In February, for example, the Energy Department announced grants totaling $385 million for the construction of six pilot plants to manufacture cellulosic ethanol; when completed in 2012, these "biorefineries" will produce more than 130 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year. (The United States already produces large quantities of ethanol by cooking and fermenting corn kernels, a process that consumes vast amounts of energy and squanders a valuable food crop while supplanting only a small share of our petroleum usage; the proposed cellulosic plants would use nonfood biomass as a feedstock and consume far less energy.)

    Just as eager to develop petroleum alternatives are the large energy companies, all of which have set up laboratories or divisions to explore future energy options. BP has been especially aggressive; in 2005 it established BP Alternative Energy and set aside $8 billion for this purpose. This past February the new spinoff announced a $500 million grant -- possibly the largest of its kind in history -- to the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Illinois and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to establish an Energy Biosciences Institute with the aim of developing biofuels. BP said the institute "is expected to explore the application of bioscience [to] the production of new and cleaner energy, principally fuels for road transport."

    Just about every large oil company is placing a heavy bet on Canadian tar sands -- a gooey substance found in Canada's Alberta province that can be converted into synthetic petroleum -- but only with enormous effort and expense. According to the Energy Department, Canadian bitumen production will rise from 1.1 mboe in 2005 to 3.6 mboe in 2030, an increase that is largely expected to be routed to the United States. Hoping to cash in on this bonanza, giant US corporations like Chevron are racing to buy up leases in the bitumen fields of northern Alberta.

    But while attractive from a geopolitical perspective, extracting Canadian tar sands is environmentally destructive. It takes vast quantities of energy to recover the bitumen and convert it into a usable liquid, releasing three times as much greenhouse gases as conventional oil production; the resulting process leaves toxic water supplies and empty moonscapes in its wake. Although rarely covered in the US press, opposition in Canada to the environmental damage wreaked by these mammoth operations is growing.

    Environmental factors loom large in yet another potential source of liquids being pursued by US energy firms, with strong government support: shale oil, or petroleum liquids pried from immature rock found in the Green River basin of western Colorado, eastern Utah and southern Wyoming. Government geologists claim that shale rock in the United States holds the equivalent of 2.1 trillion barrels of oil -- the same as the original world supply of conventional petroleum. However, the only way to recover this alleged treasure is to strip-mine a vast wilderness area and heat the rock to 500 degrees Celsius, creating mountains of waste material in the process. Here too, opposition is growing to this massively destructive assault on the environment. Nevertheless, Shell Oil has established a pilot plant in Rio Blanco County in western Colorado with strong support from the Bush Administration.

    Life After the Peak

    And so we have a portrait of the global energy situation after the peak of conventional petroleum, with troops being rushed from one oil-producing hot spot to another and a growing share of our transportation fuel being supplied by nonpetroleum liquids of one sort or another. Exactly what form this future energy equation will take cannot be foreseen with precision, but it is obvious that the arduous process will shape American policy debates, domestic and foreign, for a long time.

    As this brief assessment suggests, the passing of peak oil will have profound and lasting consequences for this country, with no easy solutions. In facing this future, we must, above all, disavow any simple answers, such as energy "independence" based on the pillage of America's remaining wilderness areas or the false promise of corn-based ethanol (which can supply only a tiny fraction of our transportation requirements). It is clear, moreover, that many of the fuel alternatives proposed by the Bush Administration pose significant dangers of their own and so should be examined carefully before vast public sums are committed to their development. The safest and most morally defensible course is to repudiate any "consensus" calling for the use of force to protect overseas petroleum supplies and to strive to conserve what remains of the world's oil by using less of it.

  100. The secretive US policy of transferring suspected terrorists abroad for severe interrogations is akin to something the Syrian government would do, according to a Syrian-American columnist and lawyer.

    "When visiting my grandmother's house in Damascus a few years ago, I never could have imagined sitting one day in a U.S. court, listening to the U.S. government defend its covert transfer of a Canadian citizen to Syria to be tortured," writes Salon columnist Alia Malek. "Yet, that's precisely what happened..."

    Malek's column is entitled "When did we become like Syria?"

    Since Bush became King!


  101. On Nov. 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address as he dedicated a national cemetery at the site of the Civil War battlefield in Pennsylvania.

    Too bad Richard Nixon, Patrick Buchanan, Lee Atwater, Ronald Reagan, George H W Bush, KKKarl Rove, George W Bush, Trent Lott, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Guiliani, and a hell of a lot of reichwing republicans have spent the last half decade pissing on Abraham Lincoln's legacy and grave ..................

  102. And their contaminated urine still flows Clif.

  103. Doing the Right Thing
    A. Alexander,

    Doing the right thing, being a good and decent human being and nurturing the best part of our common humanity are not easy things to practice. Taking care of those who cannot care for themselves, exercising patience and understanding, practicing tolerance of those somewhat different from us, and accepting our interdependence requires great and sustained effort. Attempting to live a life and to build a society constructed upon such principles can be difficult and exhausting. On the other hand, allowing our darker human qualities -- fear, racism, anger, self-seeking, selfishness, indifference, greed, vengeance, and violence -- to rule our lives and society is easy ... it requires no effort, no thought and no self-sacrifice. And, too, these dark traits are simple to cultivate and easier still to manipulate.

    Mister Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld understood all too well just how easy it is to foster and influence peoples' lesser emotions. Following 9/11 these men helped magnify society's collective fear and used it to nurture an unthinking anger-driven desire for misplaced vengeance. They tweaked a nation's fear, fed a nation's anger, and used it to attack Iraq ... a country and people that did absolutely nothing to the United States. It was an abhorrent act made possible through the Bush administration's understanding of just how simple it is to manipulate people who are under the influence of their most primitive emotions.

    According to memos written and distributed by Rumsfeld, when public opinion toward the Iraq War first began to decline, he had ordered his people to, "Make the American people realize they are surrounded in the world by violent extremists." He wasn't interested in knowing how to convince the American people that the war was a just cause. Rumsfeld's first response to the people losing faith in the war cause, was to prey upon their fear. Why? Because it is an easy thing to do ... it is easy to call upon peoples' dark nature.

    Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity ... their entire reason for being is to actively encourage us to indulge in our most instinct-driven characteristics. They tell us that affirmative action isn't an attempt at overcoming the persistent and lingering inequality caused by more than 400 years of slavery. They say affirmative action is giving "special treatment" to black people at the expense of hardworking white folks. They tell us that not allowing gays and lesbians their human right to marry isn't bigotry and oppression. They say it is to "strengthen" the marriages of "Christians" and to "defend" the "sanctity" of heterosexual marriage. They tell us that we should be afraid of the Iranian people and that it is okay for us to kill them because they aren't human, they're ... they're "Islamao-fascists."

    The people responsible for Limbaugh, O'Reilly and Hannity know that it is easy to make people indulge in their lesser nature. It doesn't require any effort on behalf of the listener or viewer. People can sit passively and be told what it is that they should fear, why they should be angry, how others are out to get them, and be convinced that someone is waging a war against all that they hold dear. And, too, the people responsible for Limbaugh, O'Reilly and Hannity know that humans functioning under their most primitive emotions, and humans who are made to feel as though they are under unrelenting siege tend to become irrational reactionaries ... people easily manipulated.

    Being angry, spiteful, vengeful, vindictive, uncaring, and hateful is easy. Trying to understand and to feel for others is difficult and takes effort. Trying to secure healthcare for our neighbors and their children is difficult and takes effort. Trying to reach out to a Somali-American woman wearing a hijab can be scary and requires effort. Trying to make-up for past wrongs so that the future can be confronted with honor and dignity requires self-sacrifice and effort. Trying to contain our collective anger after someone kills our loved ones, "turning the other cheek" and refusing to react violently -- refusing to lower ourselves to hatred's level -- takes grace and maximum effort. Trying to abstain from torturing those we feel harmed us isn't easy. None of it is easy, but it is right and doing right ensures and strengthens our collective humanity.

    Doing the right thing, being a good and decent human being, and nurturing the best part of our common humanity are not easy things to practice ... but they are necessary for our survival. Let us all endeavor to overcome those who prey upon our lesser nature and in so doing, renew our commitment to one another ... American to American and American to all the world's citizens.

    Will we ever have anyone to "do the right thing."

  104. NY Times, November 19th, 2007
    Data released at a news conference in Baghdad showed that attacks had declined to the lowest level since January 2006. It is the third week in a row that attacks have been at this reduced level.

    Military officials said the attacks were directed against American and Iraqi forces, as well as civilians. But since the source for the data is American military reports, and not the Iraqi government, the figures do not provide an exhaustive measure of sectarian violence.

    The data released Sunday cover attacks using car bombs, roadside bombs, mines, mortars, rockets, surface-to-air missiles and small arms. According to the statistics, roughly 575 attacks occurred last week.

    To be sure, the level of violence in Iraq is still high. Even as military officials announced the figures, Iraq had one of its deadliest days in weeks, with at least 22 people killed. Among the killed were nine civilians in Karada, a mixed neighborhood in central Baghdad, when a car bomber rammed a convoy carrying Iraq’s deputy finance minister. The official was not hurt, but a guard was among the wounded.

    Also on Sunday, three children were killed and seven were wounded in Baquba, to the north, in an explosion in a small garden where American soldiers were handing out candy, ballpoint pens and soccer balls. Three American soldiers were also killed. Their names were not released.

    Some experts said the data indicated a downward trend in violent attacks, albeit from relatively high levels — 2006 was one of the most violent years in the war.

    And this is supposed to be good news???

  105. RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Saturday that oil prices could more than double to $200 per barrel if the United States attacked Iran over a standoff about Tehran’s nuclear program.

    “If the United States is crazy enough to attack Iran or commit aggression against Venezuela … oil would not be $100 but $200,” Chavez told an OPEC summit in the Saudi capital Riyadh. His remarks were translated into Arabic.

    Another reason Bush should be impeached before he attacks Iran.

  106. I have decided to support Barack Obama.

    His record on LGBT rights is unmatched and unlike several of the Democrats running for president who had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the table before they would endorse core LGBT rights issues like repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and, tossing out all of DOMA, Sen. Obama has a proven record of upholding equal rights for the entire LGBT community that stretches all the way back to his time as an Illinois state lawmaker.

    It's also interesting that Real Clear Politics has a poll up that shows only Obama able to beat the top four vote getting Republicans seeking the presidency. Hillary gets her ass handed to her and Edwards and Kucinich barely register.

    Clinton 44 - McCain 48
    Clinton 47 - Giuliani 43
    Clinton 49 - Romney 43
    Clinton 49 - Huckabee 43

    Obama 52 - McCain 40
    Obama 52 - Giuliani 39
    Obama 53 - Romney 39
    Obama 56 - Huckabee 35

    These are significant numbers and with Iowa roughly six weeks out, if I were HRC I would be very worried. She isn’t connecting with Republicans and Independents, whereas Obama is connecting with all three demographics.

    Not to mention that Obama is leading HRC and Edwards in New Hampshire too (more on that later.)

    Not everyone will agree with my decision and this is fine, but I need to feel confident the Democrat in the race will look out for the entire LGBT community and not just the portion viewed as having the deepest pockets.

  107. I think thats fine. Obama would make a fine President. I'd have no problem at this point voting for Barack.

  108. Christopher...........i'm doubting the credibility of that poll you just posted it shows Hillary beatring all the repugs except McCaine?

    I think McCaine is Done!

  109. That said I could support Obama as well if he were to win the primary...........although I am still pulling for Edwards.

  110. I may be accused of being a "single issue" voter in 2008 but, a careful analysis of the voting records and policy positions of Obama, Edwards and Clinton regarding LGBT issues, made my decision an easy one.

    Of the three, Obama, Edwards and Clinton, no one has a demonstrated record on LGBT rights that can equal Obama's and his goes all the way back to his tenure in the Illinois state Senate.

    Plus, I troubled by Edwards voting "FOR" the Iraq war, and "FOR" the USA Patriot Act and supporting dumping nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. And, I don't think he can derail Hillary Clinton.

  111. Interesting info Christopher. How do you feel about Kucinich?

    I went to a fundraiser for him on Friday night. He is amazing.

  112. Kucinich is brilliant. He's unfortunately not the image most redneck American voters feel comfortable with.

  113. On the other hand, people have had their fill of lowbrow inbred rednecks, so who knows? Maybe Kucinich could win.

  114. Lydia,

    I like Dennis Kucinich a lot and his views and values are closest to mine.

    I think he got the short shrift from CNN and Wolf Blitzer last week.

    But for no reason and every reason, Kucinich's campaign isn't catching fire with the public and there's only a year left until the General Election. Hillary must be stopped and I think the only person who can do this, while pushing back against the GOP boys, is by supporting Barack Obama.

  115. The economy needs help and fast, Hillary Rodham Clinton declared Monday, claiming the experience for the job and saying the nation can't afford to break in a newcomer.

    In speech that kicked off a two day campaign swing through Iowa, the New York senator painted a bleak picture of a U.S. economy battered by home foreclosures, rising oil prices and lack of good jobs for middle class workers.

    The former first lady compared the situation to 1992, when her husband ran against the first President Bush.

    "There seems to be a pattern here. It takes a Clinton to clean up after a Bush," she said to applause.

    Is there much of a difference in this Clinton the warlover and Bush the war creator?

  116. Wall Street resumed its slide Monday as Wall Street absorbed a gloomy outlook for the banking sector as well as bleak news from the National Association of Homebuilders. The major stock market indexes each fell more than 1.5 percent, with the Dow Jones industrial average giving up more than 200 points.

    Concerns about the banking sector dominated the session. Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s downgrade of large banks, and its estimate that Citigroup Inc. would have to write down $15 billion due to its exposure to risky debt over the next two quarters unnerved Wall Street.

    Other sectors suffered big hits during the session, including airlines and automakers.

    Housing stocks also suffered. The worry on Wall Street is that the housing market is getting so weak it will crimp consumer spending, which until now has helped keep the economy afloat. Ahead of the holiday shopping season, any signs that Americans are pulling back could prevent a December rally.

  117. Top White House Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend resigned today after four and a half years at her post.

    Here's Fran Townsend's resignation letter.

    "In 1937, the playwright Maxwell Anderson wrote of President George Washington: There are some men who lift the age they inhabit, til all men walk on higher ground in their lifetime."

    "Mr. President, you are such man."

    Another Bush sweetheart: Condi won't like this.

  118. Mr. President, you are such man."


    Are you sure she wasn't referring to Pickles?

  119. Pickles is too drunk to notice the difference, and Condi is jealous of Townsend so off goes Townsend.

  120. New Washingtonpost poll has Obama leading in Iowa.

  121. "While porn mogul Larry Flynt says he's still about to blow the lid off a couple of more sex scandals involving Republicans, he's lining up behind his horse in the Democratic field," the Examiner reports.

    "Flynt was one of the co-hosts of a fundraiser for liberal candidate Dennis Kucinich at the headquarters of his company, Hustler-LFP, in Los Angeles."

    Said Flynt: "I support Dennis Kucinich because not only have I been a friend of his for 40 years, but I believe he offers an essential, viable and exciting option to the candidates that are more popular at the moment."

  122. lydia you know, at one point I thought if we were in troubl we would lose because people were into themselves and the Government would have to rescue us.
    Today people are coming together and the Government is the enemy. There are wonderful things being done around America and it is coming from the people.
    Bush is all mouth and no action. If we have to rely on the Government we are in serious trouble every time.

  123. And I think the polls out of New Hampshire also have Obama leading Hillary.

    Barack had better duck because you can bet the farm Camp Hillary will pull a dirty trick from her playbook to unseat Obama if this keeps up.

  124. I read Obama's "Audacity of Hope" -- very good book. That's who my wife is pulling for. I'm in the Edwards or Kucinich camp myself but to be honest, even if Hillary wins the nomination, Im voting for the Democrat because there is no way we'll survive 4 more years of Redumblican rule

  125. Billionaire Warren Buffett testified before the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday in defense of the federal estate tax, the nation's only tax on inherited wealth.

    Buffett invoked the historical roots of the estate tax, established in 1916 during the Gilded Age to put a brake on anti-democratic concentrations of wealth and power. "Dynastic wealth, the enemy of meritocracy, is on the rise," Buffett told the panel. "Equality of opportunity has been on the decline. A progressive and meaningful estate tax is needed to curb the movement of a democracy toward plutocracy."

    As a result of the 2001 Bush tax cut, the federal estate tax is being phased out and in 2010 will be completely repealed for one year. But the entire tax bill sunsets in 2011, and unless Congress takes action, the estate tax will return. The votes no longer exist for "permanent repeal," so a compromise lies ahead.

    Wealthy individuals and tax cutters have always disliked the estate tax, which they labeled the "death tax." In the mid-1990s, a group of superrich families began funding organizing efforts to abolish the tax, culminating with the passage of the 2001 legislation.

    For the last decade, conservative tax cutters working to abolish the tax have had the upper hand, beating up Democrats for supporting a tax that they alleged "destroy family farmers and small businesses." They put forward these farmers and small business owners as the public face of their campaign, even though research and investigative reporting have vanquished these charges. Tom Buis, president of the National Farmers Union, representing 250,000 farmers, complained, "Family farmers and ranchers are insulted by those who use farmers as the reason for eliminating estate taxes, when the real beneficiaries are the nation's multimillionaires."

    After a decade of false accusations and innuendo, Wednesday's hearing was the first opportunity to set the record straight as to who pays the estate tax, how much revenue it generates and why we should retain it. Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus, D-Mont., a supporter of abolishing the tax, conceded that the "99 times out of a hundred, the tale is worse than the tax."

    Republican Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, complained that "the death tax" was "fundamentally wrong." Buffett responded that use of the phase "death tax" was "intellectually dishonest" and "clever, Orwellian and dead wrong."

    Buffett pointed out that tax cuts of the last decade have enabled the superrich, including himself, to get richer. "Tax-law changes have benefited this superrich group, including me, in a huge way. During that time the average American went exactly nowhere on the economic scale: He's been on a treadmill while the superrich have been on a spaceship."

  126. As of Monday, Nov. 19, 2007, at least 3,873 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes eight military civilians. At least 3,153 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

    The AP count is six higher than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Monday at 10 a.m. EST.

    The British military has reported 171 deaths; Italy, 33; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 21; Bulgaria, 13; Spain, 11; Denmark, seven; El Salvador, five; Slovakia, four; Latvia, three; Estonia, Netherlands, Thailand, Romania, two each; and Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, South Korea, one death each.

    Are you happy Bush?

  127. After having received a share of email, comments, and Google News alerts, on the matter of sending Christmas cards to Walter Reed Army Medical Center I have decided that a posted needed to be dedicated purely to the matter in question.


    It will not be received. There are many reasons. One being that there is a 2001 regulation saying that it cannot be done. It also says that the mail will not be accepted, but there is a larger problem than that. And unfortunately it is a logistical one.

    The contractor that handles the mail simply cannot (have not) been able to keep up with the volume of mail that is received for this type of parcel. Last holiday season there were nearly 1 millions pieces of mail to Wounded Warriors here at Walter Reed alone. Imagine huge mail carts, holding thousands and thousands of letters. Now imagine cart after cart of this mail clogging the storage rooms and hallways. Now the horrible part…imagine that mail being sorted, processed, and returned by the very Soldiers that the mail was intended for.

    Due to the volume of mail, and shortage of contract employees, last holiday season Wounded Warriors from Med Hold and Holdover were tasked in assisting in the return of these cards. From 0800 until 1500 every weekday 6-12 Soldiers worked in sorting these cards. First, by whether or not they had return addresses. If they did not they (assumingly) were returned to the mail postal facility and destroyed. If the parcles did have a return…. that’s when the work began.

    The Walter Reed zip code was lined through first and then the barcodes. Next it was stamped “return to sender, addressee not known and refused”. From there a card from the post commander describing why the mail could not be received and an alternative to supporting the Soldiers was hand addressed. The endacted letters were then separated, bundled (if you sent more than one), and returned to sender along with the hand addressed card.

    Progress was shown by the number of hand addressed cards that had been completed in a day, normally in the hundreds. Needless to say, that is a small dent in a very large pile of mail. This operation went on from November until March when the “Walter Reed Scandal” story broke in the Washington Post. The operation was then downscaled and delegated to a smaller number of Soldiers. For all that I know mail from last year is still being returned.

    So in conclusion, this holiday season do not send “Any Soldier” mail to Walter Reed. Find a particular Soldier at Walter Reed and write them; or even better find a local veteran or VFW and write them. Show them your support. While there are a few of us here, there are many more veterans in your local community that need your support during this holiday season. It would mean the world to them.

    Another example of how Bush hates the soldiers.

  128. The United States is a nation of Liberals. Americans don’t think or speak of themselves that way; we prefer to imagine great philosophical gulfs that divide us on matters of profound political importance, but in truth, we are united in our Liberalism. From Al Franken and Michael Moore to Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, Americans are more alike than they think and more obsessed with the imagined and constructed differences of political opinion than they’d like to admit.

    Ask the more vehement in the Republican Party what’s wrong with their ideological counterparts and the response will typically run along the lines of the following, taken from a heated exchange on MSNBC’s recently aquired social news network Newsvine:

    The Democrats have already exhibited their proclivity for mandated behavior, from speech codes to smoking, to healthcare, to seatbelts. Now the schools are telling parents their children are too fat and providing them with condoms at ever earlier ages. The Democrats want to mandate what we will drive, how big our homes will be, what kind of fuel will be acceptable. They want to turn over the United States to the UN, lock, stock and barrel, via methods like LOST and the UNESCO Heritage Sites initiative.
    Big government, intrusive government, government that thinks it knows better than you how to spend your money, raise your kids, and live your life. The liberal boogy man by any stretch of the imagination. Yet ask the Democrats what is wrong with the Republicans and one need only change the words.

    The Republicans have already exhibited their proclivity for mandated behavior, from school prayer to calls for artistic censorship, to sexuality, to marijuana. Now the schools are telling parents their children have to learn Christian theology and refusing to teach anything but abstinence-only to at risk teens . The Republicans want to mandate what we can say about our government, how private our homes will be, and what kind of dissent will be acceptable. They want to turn over the United States to the military industrial complex, lock, stock and barrel via programs like the New American Century and the War on Terror.
    Government just big enough to fit in the bedroom, government that thinks it knows better than you how to speak your mind, raise your kids, and live your life. The conservative boogy man by any stretch of the imagination, yet the difference between the two is almost immaterial.

    While Americans like to pretend otherwise, the argument between the main-stream parties is not if Americans ought to legislate morality but whose morality should be put into law, not if we should tax but who. We debate where to spend the US Government’s multi-trillion dollar budget rather than the actual size of that budget because for all the rhetoric across the aisle, Americans are fundamentally Liberal in their political outlook.

    Even the races for the 2008 Democratic and Republican nominations highlight this fact. Only the most radical of the candidates, Kucinich and Ron Paul, exhibit marked political differences on the fundamental and foundations political issues that could be called "Conservative" and "Liberal" and even in those cases Kucinich’s views advocate only minor deviance from the fundamentally Liberal political outlook that has dominated the last 70 years. While Kucinich is marginalized, Paul is openly mocked even within the Republican Party - the so called Conservative Party - for his calls to cut back on the size of the Federal Government, drastically reduce the budget, and restore power to the states: A conservative party indeed.

    None of this, of course, is to suggest that there are not real and significant political differences among Americans. There exists a formative political divide between those that favor military spending over social programs and prisons over schools.

    That divide is not one of Liberal and Conservative but rather one of Progressive and Regressive, a question grounded in the fundamental assessment of societal worth and value, in fortuna, and virtue.

    The destruction of the conservative movement: Courtesy of George W Bush!

  129. Presidential hopeful John McCain said Monday he doesn't hold grudges and indicated he would accept campaign help from Karl Rove, the architect of then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush's 2000 triumph that dashed McCain's presidential hopes seven years ago.

    Poor old McCain: He can't pry himself away from licking Bush's earlobes.

  130. The housing market bust has punished homebuilders, lenders and investors. Now the homeless and the hungry may be victimized.

    Charity executives are nervously monitoring the mortgage debacle while food and energy costs continue to rise. Food banks and homeless shelters are already grappling with reduced federal aid as fears grow that more people will need help just as charity giving starts to decline.

    Shelters and food banks are already reporting more need among households. One shelter in Minneapolis served as many people by the end of September as in all of last year. In New York, food banks are serving 24 percent more people, but receiving half as much federal aid as in 2004.

    "There is some growing concern" about the effect of the housing slowdown on charitable donations, said Michael Nilsen, a spokesman for the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

    The backbone of those charities — U.S. households with $200,000 or more in annual income or more than $1 million in assets — are also the ones most likely hit by the recent drop in stock prices sparked by the mortgage mess, according to research.

    Most likely donors expected to feel pinch
    Those households make almost two-thirds of charitable donations, according to Bank of America Corp.-funded study. But research also shows stock prices have more of an effect on their giving than income changes, said Patrick Rooney, director of research at Indiana University's Center for Philanthropy, which carried out the Bank of America study in 2006.

    Despite the roller-coaster ride stocks have taken in recent months, the Standard & Poor's 500 is up 2.9 percent so far this year. But as of Nov. 16, the benchmark index was 6.3 percent lower than a record high hit in October.

    There are anecdotal reports the mortgage mess is forcing corporations to pull back too. Carol Schneider, media relations manager for the Food Bank for New York City, said a major U.S. bank — she wouldn't name the company — has reduced its donation by 60 percent this year, citing the fallout from mortgage losses.

    If a recession can't be avoided, look out. The inflation-adjusted level of private donations fell in 2001-2002 — amid the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and Internet stock bubble bust.

    Unfortunately, when giving falls, it's most often when demands on charitable groups are rising, said Rick Belous, United Way's vice president of research.

    Food pantries around the country are scrambling to meet rising demand from households that can't afford food because of rising housing costs.

    The crisis also affects renters, who are heading for emergency shelters after landlord-owners foreclose on apartments and houses, said Steve Berg, vice president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

    Another result of the Bush economy.

  131. Hey Guys did you see on the news that rove is telling the republicans to act like they are against bush to get elected

  132. Did anyone see the picture of bush on patriots site

  133. Der Rovesmarschall blew it badly in 2006. In so doing, he revealed to the world what we already knew; there is no genius to the man, no special gift. He's just more willing to engage in despicable gutter tactics than most are.

    That realization will surely cut into what he can get himself paid, so he's furiously looking for a way to stay relevant. Much like Ann C*****r, we can expect him to sink ever-lower in his quest.

  134. Federal prosecutors have issued grand jury subpoenas to some of the Blackwater employees present at a Sept. 16 shooting in Baghdad in which the company’s security personnel killed 17 Iraqi civilians, lawyers in the case and government officials briefed on the matter said Monday.

    The opening of the grand jury inquiry is a significant step in the case because it indicates that prosecutors believe that there is enough evidence of wrongdoing to warrant a formal criminal investigation.

    Officials cautioned that the decision to begin a grand jury inquiry did not mean that prosecutors had decided to charge anyone with a crime in what they said was a legally complex case. Some government lawyers have expressed misgivings about whether a federal law exists that would apply to the actions Blackwater employees are accused of committing.

    The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing grand jury matters, would not say exactly how many subpoenas had been issued, but they said the subpoenas were mainly to Blackwater employees who were at the scene of the shooting but did not fire their weapons. The prosecutors are also seeking company records compiled at the time of the shooting as well as employee work histories and military service files.

    The grand jury inquiry in Washington was first reported Monday by ABC News on the network’s Web site.

    A spokesman for the Justice Department would not comment on whether prosecutors had convened a grand jury in the case. It was not known whether Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey approved the decision, but it would be unusual for prosecutors to take such a step in a high-profile case without advising the attorney general.

    Bush won't allow his militia to face prison.

  135. CBS News writers authorized their union leaders to call a national strike, the Writers Guild of America said Monday, escalating a labor impasse.
    About 500 CBS News television and radio writers -- who work in New York, Los Angeles, Washington and Chicago -- have been working under an expired contract since April 2005.

    Maybe this will silence Katie Couric and her whining for awhile.

  136. Days after anti-Mormon phone calls were first reported in New Hampshire and Iowa, the source behind the calls remains a mystery, causing speculation and infighting between the campaigns.

    Even with evidence suggesting that, in a bit of political schadenfreude, Romney's people may have undertaken the endeavor - in hopes of casting his Mormonism in a sympathetic light - focus has shifted to the other GOP candidates.

    One name increasingly thrown around among Republican insiders is the guy nipping at Romney's heels in the Iowa polls: former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

    "Who has the most to gain by this," one operative told the Huffington Post. "It's Huckabee. If Romney were to fall he would be the conservative option to Rudy Giuliani."

    A source with another Republican presidential campaign added fuel to the fire by pointing out that the Huckabee's statement on the matter - "The Huckabee campaign does not condone this type of activity" - isn't exactly an "outright" denial.

    "Of course it is a denial," Huckabee's spokesperson, Alice Stewart, told the Huffington Post. Moreover, it's worth noting that few if any political connections have surfaced linking the former governor and Western Wats, the company that made the calls.

    Other candidates have been equally adamant in insisting their non-involvement. Romney's campaign, for its part, has come out forcefully against speculation that the Mormon candidate could behind the anti-Mormon calls.

    "That's preposterous," Romney's spokesman, Kevin Madden, told The Politico. "Emphatically, I reject any insinuation that we would support phone calls attacking our own campaign," he added to the Salt Lake Tribune.

    And so, general confusion over who's to blame persists. Still, there is one consensus emerging: that the guilty party would be better served getting it out into the open now rather than as the primary approaches.

    "If it was Huckabee or someone else like Romney, they would be better off cutting their losses and saying they were sorry the day before Thanksgiving rather than Christmas eve," a Republican pollster told the Huffington Post. "Because if the Attorney General in New Hampshire does investigate this, and they don't need to do a lot to investigate - it could get messy."

    Those poor Repugs just can't get along. No wonder the country hates them.

  137. In a recent radio broadcast, Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said he's convinced a "higher power" has taken a shining to Brazil. That, he said, might explain the providence of state-run oil company Petrobras (PBR), whose colossal new oil discovery could transform Brazil from a barely self-sufficient producer into a major crude exporter.

    Petrobras announced Nov. 8 it has found between 5 billion and 8 billion barrels of light oil and gas at the Tupi field, 155 miles offshore southern Brazil in an area it shares with Britain's BG Group and Portugal's Galp Energy. Tupi is the world's biggest oil find since a 12 billion-barrel Kazakh field was discovered in 2000, and the largest ever in deep waters. Perhaps more important, Petrobras believes Tupi may be Brazil's first of several new "elephants," an industry term for outsize fields of more than 1 billion barrels.

    Initially, Tupi will produce about 100,000 barrels a day but may ramp up to as much as 1 million before 2020—more than the biggest U.S. field in Alaska's Prudhoe Bay, says Hugo Repsold, Petrobras' exploration and production strategy manager. "It's monstrous," says Matthew Shaw, a Latin America energy analyst at consultant Wood Mackenzie in London.

    Blocking Private Companies
    Given the discovery's magnitude, Tupi already is changing how Brazilians think about their oil riches. It even tempts the kind of oil nationalism that has prompted Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to expropriate oil reserves and production infrastructure in Venezuela from oil majors ExxonMobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX).

    Does this mean Bush will attack Brazil next?

  138. Wall Street resumed its slide Monday as investors absorbed a gloomy outlook for the banking sector as well as bleak news about housing. The major stock market indexes each fell more than 1.5 percent, with the Dow Jones industrial average giving up more than 200 points.

    Concerns about the banking sector dominated the session. Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s downgrade of large banks, and its estimate that Citigroup Inc. would have to write down $15 billion over the next two quarters.

    More of the Bush economy.

  139. The U.S. military plans to seek a criminal case in an Iraqi court against an award-winning Associated Press photographer but is refusing to disclose what evidence or accusations would be presented.

    An AP attorney on Monday strongly protested the decision, calling the U.S. military plans a "sham of due process." The journalist, Bilal Hussein, has already been imprisoned without charges for more than 19 months.

    In Washington, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell explained the decision to bring charges now by saying "new evidence has come to light" about Hussein, but said the information would remain in government hands until the formal complaint is filed with Iraqi authorities.

    Morrell asserted the military has "convincing and irrefutable evidence that Bilal Hussein is a threat to stability and security in Iraq as a link to insurgent activity" and called Hussein "a terrorist operative who infiltrated the AP."

    Top NewsTop Posts
    Politics: Karen Dalton-Beninato: Steven Paul Mark On Colbert, Writers' Strike
    Entertainment: Alec Baldwin: Three Random Things
    Living: GOOD Magazine: Urban Entertainment Needs To Change Its Tactics
    Business: Hale "Bonddad" Stewart: Will OPEC Dump the Dollar?
    Media: Karen Dalton-Beninato: Steven Paul Mark On Colbert, Writers' Strike
    Business: Wall Street Suffers Big Hit
    Politics: Behind Obama's Iowa Boost
    Living: Can Being Unfaithful Save Your Marriage?
    Media: Staffers Vote To Strike At CBS News
    Entertainment: Jimmy Kimmel Ad-Libs Awards Show Monologue

    AP Associate General Counsel Dave Tomlin rejected the claim: "That's what the military has been saying for 19 months, but whenever we ask to see what's so convincing we get back something that isn't convincing at all."

    Another example of the Bush justice system.

  140. The long-awaited, long-feared consumer crunch may finally be here. That might not mean an economywide recession, but the pain for American households will be deep.

    In recent years the U.S. mostly has seen narrowly focused downturns, where a few sectors are hit hard while the rest of the economy and financial markets remain relatively unscathed. In the dot-com bust of 2001, for example, tech companies and stocks took it on the chin, while consumer spending and borrowing sailed through without a pause. This time the positions will be reversed, as consumers tank while much of the corporate sector stays on track.

    More results of the faltering Bush economy.

  141. I've always thought the writers who really need to go out in sympathy with the WGA are the ad copy writers.

  142. Long before the White House Press Corps became saddled with Dana "The Gift That Keeps On Giving" Perino, they got to receive their briefings from Scott "The Gift That Gave As Well As He Could Given The Relative Lack Of Confidence He Had In Just About Everything He Was Ever Asked To Say" McClellan. McClellan stepped down from the position in May of 2006, and has since penned a book that will finally allow him to do what he never could as press secretary: tell all.

    Public Affairs, who will be publishing the book, has posted this excerpt, which gives one a helping of insight into how McClellan views his years of service:

    The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

    There was one problem. It was not true.

    I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the president himself.

    Oh No. Little Scottie lied for Bush!

  143. Boston police are trying to get guns off the streets by asking parents in high-crime areas to let detectives come into their homes without a warrant and search their children's bedrooms.

    There has been considerable controversy over the program. For example, former Boston police lieutenant Thomas Nolan, who now teaches criminology at Boston University, complained that "I just have a queasy feeling anytime the police try to do an end run around the Constitution. ... The police have restrictions on their authority and ability to conduct searches. The Constitution was written with a very specific intent, and that was to keep the law out of private homes unless there is a written document signed by a judge and based on probable cause. Here, you don't have that."

    Jack Cafferty discussed the controversy on his CNN show Monday, highlighting the objections by civil liberties advocates that parents "may be too intimidated to say no to the police or may not understand the consequences if they say yes."

    Cafferty also noted that Boston police say a similar program in St. Louis was highly successful, finding guns in half the homes that were searched, and have promised that they would never abuse the program to gain access to the homes of people under suspicion or make arrests for small amounts of marijuana.

    However, the St. Louis program was effective only during a brief period in 1994-95, when youth violence was at a peak and community support high. It later switched over to a focus on traditional warrants and arrests and was ultimately discontinued.

    Cafferty then asked his viewers to respond to the question, "Should Boston police be able to enter private homes without a warrant to search for guns?" He read excerpts from the responses during a follow-up segment.

    Although one viewer suggested that "concerned parents would welcome this," the general reaction appeared to be strongly negative, to the point where Cafferty suggested it might be because the question had not contained the phrase "with permission." He apologized repeatedly for that omission, both before and after reading from viewers' comments.

    One viewer wrote in warning about "the slippery slope to a police state." Another insisted "absolutely no entry without a warrant ... no fishing expeditions." Yet another wanted to know, "Since when did Boston secede from the U.S. and the constitutional safeguards against illegal searches?"

    And one raised the specter of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, asking, "Did someone make Gonzo the Boston Police Commissioner? Why would anybody in their right mind invite the police into their home to conduct an illegal search for illegal guns?"

  144. Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales endured screams of "criminal" and "liar" during a speech at the University of Florida on Monday evening.

    About 730 students and community members listened to Gonzales defend his career as White House counsel and head of the Justice Department. He also spoke about immigration and terrorism.

    "No one is perfect. What is important is that we identify our mistakes and correct them," he said.

    Gonzales' appearance was the first by a high-profile speaker at the university since a student was Tasered on Sept. 17 at a speech by Sen. John Kerry. An investigation found that campus police acted appropriately, and charges were dropped against the student.

    Gonzales resigned earlier this fall in the face of an uproar on Capitol Hill over the dismissals of a slew of federal prosecutors and in connection with the administration's warrantless wiretap program.

    Early in his speech, two people climbed on the stage in hoods. Gonzales stopped talking for a few minutes as police led them away without incident, though there were several outbursts from the crowd.

    The hooded demonstrators were charged with interruption of a public event, said Steve Orlando, a university spokesman. Several other people were ejected for yelling, and more than a dozen people stood for most of Gonzeles' hour-long speech with their backs toward him.

    Gonzales still has the militia stopping free speech.

  145. Between corrupt mortgage brokers, feckless lenders and risk-happy hedge funds, there’s plenty to keep investors and policymakers up at night. But recently a new item has appeared on the list of things to worry about: so-called sovereign wealth funds, which are investment funds controlled by foreign governments.

    While these funds are not new — they first rose to prominence in the seventies, as a way for Arab states to reinvest their oil money — of late they’ve become major players in global markets, thanks to the precipitous rise in oil prices and the booming Chinese economy. China’s new sovereign fund alone has $200 billion to invest, while sovereign wealth funds all together control more than $2.5 trillion — and could control as much as $12 trillion by 2015.

    These funds now have the buying power to shape market prices and acquire assets throughout the developed world. Were China’s fund so inclined, it could buy Ford, GM, Volkswagen and Honda, and still have a little money left over for ice cream.

    Because of the faltering Bush economy.

  146. Larry
    living here all my life I will say there is no way that will work here. I do believe that iff I was a concerned parent I would call the cops and want to have them look around.
    However, being a red blooded Bostonian if I was a kid I would simply hide the weapon elsewhere as I am sure will be the case.
    Like the rediculous buy back programs it would only work for the willing. IE. The buy back programs generally get dysfunctional unwanted weapons off the street.

  147. On Nov. 20, 1945, 24 Nazi leaders went on trial before an international war crimes tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany.

    Hopefully the people of the US and this planet will hold the reichwingers and neo-cons as culpable for their crimes against humanity as the people of the mid 1940's did the Germans, Italians and Japanese.

  148. clif
    You know what the sad part is? If the Bushco criminals are to be held cupable we would have to be defeatd and I don't like that idea at all regardless of the chief idiot though I do want them hels accountable.
    Anyway you look at it their damage will go on around the world long after they are gone because of the seeds they have planted.

  149. Clif, as much as I doubt it will ever happen, I hope that Bush, Cheney, et al have their Nuremberg moment too.

  150. Larry
    I am sickened by Gonzo and all the rest of them and all the lying. They are all proud of what they have done to us and the world and will get away with it. I left a reply to your comment on my site I think you will find it interesting and agree!

  151. an average patriot, we are losing the war in Iraq, because the government doesn't listen or do what Bushco wants any more then Musharraf in Pakistan does, and the rest of the Iraqis ain't willing to listen to the lying reichwingers either.

    The only thing required is for the people who respect the US constitution to require it be followed COMPLETELY, if that happened Bush and Cheney would be on their way to the Hague in chains.

  152. The reichwingers are gonna have to claim Scott McClellen is an Islamofacist;

    Scott McClellan in Upcoming Book Admits Wrongdoing in Clearing Rove and Libby in CIA Leak Case

    To no one's surprise in a world where top White House aides with any president eventually write a book about it, former Press Secretary Scott McClellan will be coming out with his volume in April.

    It's called "What Happened" and its publisher, Public Affairs, at its Web site carries this brief excerpt:

    "The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

    "There was one problem. It was not true.

    "I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the president himself."

    AP reported this afternoon: "White House press secretary Dana Perino said it wasn't clear what McClellan meant in the excerpt and she had no immediate comment. McClellan turned down interview requests Tuesday."

    At The Lede blog at The New York Times, Mike Nizza responds: "How exactly was the president involved? Did he take part in a cover-up? Will the next few sentences in the book explain the role of each official? Well, until more of the 400-page book is released, we are left with only a tantalizing bit of fodder for close watchers of the C.I.A.-leak story line to chew on. If Mr. McClellan is the first senior administration official to implicate President Bush in the scandal, we’ll definitely know by April 2008, when the memoir is due to hit store shelves. But something tells The Lede that this won’t be the last little taste of the book that the publisher will, um, leak to the press."

    In its promotional material posted at and elsewhere, the publisher describes the book like this: "In this refreshingly clear-eyed book, written with no agenda other than to record his experiences and insights for the benefit of history, McClellan provides unique perspective on what happened and why it happened the way it did, including the Iraq war, Hurricane Katrina, Washington's bitter partisanship, and two hotly-contested presidential campaigns. He gives readers a candid look into who George W. Bush is and what he believes, and into the personalities, strengths, and liabilities of his top aides.

    "Finally, McClellan looks to the future, exploring the lessons this presidency offers the American people as we prepare to elect a new leader."

    Too bad Scotty wasn't so concerned with the truth when it really counted, like the rest of the criminals who aided and abetted Bush and Cheney in their illegal war of aggression against the people of Iraq, Scotty might be trying to clear his conscience, but will never be able to wash the BLOOD off his hands.

  153. Chris Matthew's is totally lambasting the Bush Administration..................Matthews's just said that GWB said the SAME thing as Scooter Libby and Libby was CONVICTED of Obstruction of Justice fot it!

    In other Words he just said Bush, Cheney and Rove are partr of a treasonous criminal conspiracy and guilty of Obstrucyion of Justice.

    Put that in your crack pipe and and smoke it then chug another pitcher of repug koolaide Troll Tex you delusional AIPAC jackass!

  154. Why does all the repug treason and Obstruction of justice come out on Holiday weekends so its easier to hide?

  155. TomCat said...
    Clif, as much as I doubt it will ever happen, I hope that Bush, Cheney, et al have their Nuremberg moment too."

    I too have been saying we NEED a Nuremberg Moment...................traditionally war criminals and those guilty of treason were hung............why depart from tradition!

  156. Fitzgerald NEVER closed the investigation................THAT means he can S T I L L indict Bush, Cheney, Rove, Armitage and all the rest of the treasonous bastards involved!

  157. Thats right Mike.

    When he ended his prosecution he said "barring any new revalations"....


    Well this constitutes as a "new revalation".

  158. Remember all those countless debates with idiots like Doltron and TT about this?

    Remember the endless denial's and "nuh uh's" right in the face of overwhelming and obvious evidence?

    Well now, old Scotty Mclellan just confirmed that it was all bullshit, and they were all wrong.

  159. Lets see Bush use his demogogery to try to demonize the Democratic Congress as NOT supporting the troops or NOT patriotic NOW when the evidence clearly says he is guilty of treason and lies against national security for political gain................not to mention all the incompetence, mismanagement of resources and bungling this criminal Administration has been guilty of..............HOW MANY BILLIONS of dollars are lost and unaccounted for as a result of the Bush Administrations criminal cronnyism and/or bungling incompetence and Bush says we should give him a BLANK CHECK for another 200 billion with NO STRINGS and no OVERSITE.

    Clearly Georgie boy is even MORE insane and delusion than King George the 3rd who was also delusional and insane that our Founding Fathers fought for Fredom and liberty.

    The ONLY thing GWB deserves is IMPEACHMENT and to be held accountable fot high treason and war crimes against humanity!

  160. Scottie admits in his new book that Bush had him lying for him.

    Treason all the way around.

  161. “The U.S. Military is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses because they are unable to serve out their commitments.” Jordan Fox of Pittsburgh was injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq, cutting his service short by three months. “A few days ago, he received a letter from the military demanding nearly $3,000 of his signing bonus back.” Watch CBS affiliate KDKA’s report on Fox’s situation:

    This is how Bush really feels about the troops.

  162. Larry said...
    “The U.S. Military is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses because they are unable to serve out their commitments.” Jordan Fox of Pittsburgh was injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq, cutting his service short by three months. “A few days ago, he received a letter from the military demanding nearly $3,000 of his signing bonus back.” Watch CBS affiliate KDKA’s report on Fox’s situation:

    This is how Bush really feels about the troops."

    Yeah, I saw that on Olberman Larry............its dispicable and a disgrace!

    Lets hear the repugs say the Democrats dont support the troops and vets NOW!

  163. These are two BIG stories Larry..........they have teeth!

  164. Scotty should be brought up for treason along with Bush and Cheney.

  165. The White House cover-up in the Valerie Plame case — the leaking of the identity of an undercover CIA operative — went all the way up to President George W Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, former press secretary Scott McClellan wrote in an upcoming memoir.

    A brief excerpt from the memoir, What Happened, was posted online at the publisher’s site on Tuesday. In the excerpt, McClellan claims that he was told to insist that aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby were “not involved” in the leak involving operative Valerie Plame.

    “There was one problem. It was not true,” McClellan writes, according to a brief excerpt released Tuesday. “I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest-ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president’s chief of staff and the president himself.”

    If Pelosi doesn't bring up impeachment then she needs removed.

  166. ONLY a fool could say those actions DO NOT warrant impeachment!

  167. Just watch Mike, Pelosi will not allow it.

    She needs to go.

  168. Scott Mclellan's revelation is the biggest story of the year.

    It going to act as a Rosetta Stone into uncovering all of Bush's lies.

  169. Pelosi, along with Reed, Hoyer and all the phony anti war Bush enablers NEED to go...........I'm hoping the 2008 election sweeps out ALL the garbage repugs and Democrats alike.

    I hope some REAL independents run against these losers so we get REAL representation rather than crony capitalism and self serving partisanship!

  170. BARTLEBEE said...
    Scott Mclellan's revelation is the biggest story of the year.

    It going to act as a Rosetta Stone into uncovering all of Bush's lies."

    Like I said this story is a big one and its got teeth!

  171. Just watch Reid and Pelosi let Bush and Scotty off the hook.

  172. Something Tells me Fitzgerald's Investigation will get new life and kick into high gear and at the least Cheney will go down!

    He'll probably be pardoned by the Bush justice obstucting criminal empire but I think this could take him down.

  173. Scotty is saying he lied for Bush, so Bush should be impeached and imprisoned.

  174. He likely will be looking at some trouble now.

    This revelation from Scotty is pretty damned big.

  175. clif said...
    Is George Bush auditioning for a place as a replacement writer for the Daily Show during the writers strike?

    US dollar will get stronger: Bush

    US President George W. Bush predicted in an interview Tuesday that the battered US dollar will get stronger because the US economy is robust.

    "If people would look at the strength of our economy, they'd realize why, you know, I believe that the dollar will be stronger," Bush told the fledgling Fox Business Network.

    "We have a strong dollar policy, and it's important for the world to know that. We also believe it's important for the market to set the value of the dollar relative to other currencies," the president said.

    Bush cited low US inflation figures, modest interest rates, job growth, and gross domestic product growth and declared "the underpinnings are strong."

    Asked whether he was satisfied with current exchange rates, Bush replied: "I am satisfied with the fact that we have a strong dollar policy and know that the market ought to be setting the exchange rate."

    If Bush can deliver this comedy with a good dead pan delivery, John Oliver might be good to worry about the competition."

    Bush is a traitor to this country and a chronic liar.............Anyone that can "claim" to have a "strong dollar policy" when the dollar has lost OVER 50% of its value during his administration is either

    1) a delusional liar
    2) pathetically and totally incompetent

    With GWB I think its both since he IS a chronic liar and virtually ALL his policies have proven to be pathetically incompetent..............unless of course perpetual war and bankruptcy and economic ruin were his policies.......then its heckuva job Georgie Boy!

  176. Another pathetic lie is how Bush and the repugs are attempting to rewrite history and "PRETEND" to be the party of fiscal and economic responsibility despite squandering a surpus and turning it into the largest deficit EVER...........AND STILL even now supporting wasting and squandering 1.6 TRILLION on a unwinnable and senseless war based on lies and cherrypicked intelligence that is an act of TREASON!

  177. What did the repugs push to impeach Clinton for............I believe it was a lie?

    How MANY times has GWB lied to us..........i'll give the trolls a clue thats more fingers and toes than even inbreds like you clowns have!

  178. I'm serious when I say be watching closely over the coming days. This is it for Bush. Bush was at an all time low in the public eye already. He was taking a lot of punishment but he can't take this.

    Not one of his own. Especially Scotty. They were so close. Remember how Scotty cried when they let him go? Wonder if that was because he knew all the shit that was coming down the pike?

  179. I bet Valerie Plames feeling pretty good this evening.

  180. I'll bet Valerie Plames lawsuit gets new life...........say either after Bush is out of office in 2009.........although if he were to be Impeached then it would be sooner.

  181. Like Chris Mathews said Scooter Libby was Convicted of Obstruction of Justice for the SAME thing Bush's buddy Scotty acuses him, Cheney, Rove.............etc.. of.

    Get ready to see the Reich Wing screech and smear machine try to portrat Scott McClellan as a disgruntled employee with an axe to grind.

  182. John Dean thinks this will bring on Congressional Investigations as well as breathe new life into Valerie Plames lawsuit............Cheney could go down on this one.........he could fall on the sword for GWB just like Scooter did for Him and Rove!

  183. One things for sure. The trolls are heartbroken.

    Notice there are no trolls today?

    Anyone wonder why?


    They couldn't bear old Scotty turning out to be Caesars Brutus.

  184. Well if Cheney is indicted, Bush will CERTAINLY pardon him......................pardoning Turkey's and Obstructing Justice are becoming habitual for the Treasonous GWB!

  185. Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

    God Bless.

  186. Happy Thanksgiving Anon!

  187. "Why, of course the people don't want war... but, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament or a communist dictatorship... voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger." -- Hermann Goering

  188. 17JUN2004 Is US like Germany of the '30s?
    By Andrew Greeley - Chicago Sun Times

    I can understand, my German friend said, why Germans voted for Hitler in 1933 -- though he did not receive a majority of the vote. The Weimar Republic was weak and incompetent. The Great Depression had ruined the nation's war-devastated economy. People were bitter because they thought their leaders had betrayed them in the war. They wanted revenge for the humiliation of Versailles. Hitler promised strong leadership and a new beginning. But why did they continue to support that group of crazy drug addicts, thugs, killers and madmen?

    The historical question remains. I leave aside the question of the guilt of the whole German people (a judgment beyond my competence because I am not God) and ask what explanations might account for what happened. Hitler turned the German economy around in short order. He was crazy, of course, a demagogic mystic sensitive to aspirations of the German spirit. He appealed skillfully to the dark side of the German heritage. Anti-Semitism was strong in Germany, as it was in most European countries, but not violent until Hitler manipulated it. He stirred up the memories of historic German military accomplishments and identified himself with Frederick the Great -- thus placating the Prussian ethos of the German army. He promised glory to a nation still smarting from the disaster of 1918. Germany was emerging from the ashes, strong and triumphant once again. He also took control of the police apparatus. The military might have been able to dump him till 1937. After that he was firmly in power. The path lay open to holocaust.

    Can this model be useful to understand how contemporary America is engaged in a criminally unjust war that has turned much of the world against it, a war in which torture and murder have become routine? Has the combination of the World Trade Center attack and a president who believes his instructions come from God unleashed the dark side of the American heritage?

    What is this dark side? I would suggest that it is the mix of Calvinist religious righteousness and "my-country-right-or-wrong" patriotism that dominated our treatment of blacks and American Indians for most of the country's history. It revealed itself in the American history of imperialism in Mexico and after the Spanish-American War in the Philippines. The "manifest destiny" of America was to do whatever it wanted to do, because it was strong and virtuous and chosen by God.

    Today many Americans celebrate a "strong" leader who, like Woodrow Wilson, never wavers, never apologizes, never admits a mistake, never changes his mind, a leader with a firm "Christian" faith in his own righteousness. These Americans are delighted that he ignores the rest of the world and punishes the World Trade Center terrorism in Iraq. Mr. Bush is our kind of guy.

    He is not another Hitler. Yet there is a certain parallelism. They have in common a demagogic appeal to the worst side of a country's heritage in a crisis. Bush is doubtless sincere in his vision of what is best for America. So too was Hitler. The crew around the president -- Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft, Karl Rove, the "neo-cons" like Paul Wolfowitz -- are not as crazy perhaps as Himmler and Goering and Goebbels. Yet like them, they are practitioners of the Big Lie -- weapons of mass destruction, Iraq democracy, only a few "bad apples."

    Hitler's war was quantitatively different from the Iraq war, but qualitatively both were foolish, self-destructive and criminally unjust. This is a time of great peril in American history because a phony patriotism and an America-worshipping religion threaten the authentic American genius of tolerance and respect for other people.

    The "real" America is still remembered here in Berlin for the enormous contributions of the Marshall Plan and the Berlin airlift -- America at its best. It is time to return to that generosity and grace.

    The strongest criticism that the administration levels at Sen. John Kerry is that he changes his mind. In fact, instead of a president who claims an infallibility that exceeds that of the pope, America would be much better off with a president who, like John F. Kennedy, is honest enough to admit mistakes and secure enough to change his mind.

    Ed. note: As promised, Tom Engelhardt delivers a Modern Day Nazi Picnic, after up 'til now being very cautious in venturing about in this real obvious area of socio-political reality.

    Tom wrote, "The 'Nazi analogy' is making its slow way into the critical mainstream. Of course, since at least 9/11 this analogy has been alive and well at the wilder fringes of the Internet. (There, people have long been asking: Are we already in the Nazi era, or are we at the desperate end of the Weimar Republic? Were the attacks of 9/11 another Reichstag burning?)" and "Now, variations on this Nazi analogy are suddenly thriving -- and not in obscure political websites either.

  189. Interesting, on Five blogs that were discussing the story, only one troll even tried to derail the news that Scotty admitted Bush, Cheney, Card, Libby and Rove told him to LIE to the American people, and that was only half hearted, and the troll didn't hang long.

    Where is Freedom Fart, Tiny the Liar, Doltron, and Crusty?

    When we told them the truth years ago they screeched about us being unpatriotic, hating the US and other reichwing talking points, but NOW that the truth is coming out from one who PERSONALLY lied for Bush ET Al they ain't got much to say.

    Seems even they can't deny it any more, eh?

    Either that or the RNC ain't as good as it was when KKKarl ran the lies and spin ops over there ............

    Looks like the campaign just got a wee bit harder for the next generation of wanna be reichwingers to steal another election.

    Especially since a hell of a lot of the sub human species of former enablers of the reichwingers are willing to sell out their former criminal bosses for as few more dollars.

    But gutless greedy people are just that gutless and greedy with no real integrity or redeeming qualities.

  190. A civilian contractor is accused of bribing a U.S. Army official in Kuwait to win millions of dollars in business with the military, according to a federal indictment disclosed Tuesday.

    The corrupt influence of Bush.

  191. The housing collapse and credit crisis will slow economic growth and nudge up unemployment next year, the Federal Reserve said Tuesday in a first-of-its-kind forecast that some economists believe will lead to interest rate cuts early in 2008.

    Another result of the miserable Bush economy.

  192. The Department of Homeland Security improperly awarded a half-billion-dollar, no-bid contract in 2003 to a little-known company to maintain thousands of X-ray, radiation and other screening machines at U.S. border checkpoints, incorrectly designating the firm a disadvantaged small business, according to a report by the department's inspector general.

    The annual revenue of Chenega Technology Services, a firm owned by Alaska Natives and based in Fairfax County, was too high to qualify for the nine-year, $475 million contract, the report said. After the contract was awarded, the department's U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency also failed to ensure that Chenega did not pass most of the work to large federal subcontractors, and the company failed for four years -- until last month -- to deliver a management system that would achieve savings to justify its middleman role.

    Alaska Native corporations have favored status under federal laws that encourage American Indian participation in federal contracting. Such legislation has been introduced most prominently by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. But the measures have drawn significant scrutiny and questions about whom they benefit.

    Ryan Alexander, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group, said the power of Alaska's delegation and Stevens in particular raises several questions. "Why did somebody make this happen? Is part of the reason someone made this happen to satisfy an important member of Congress? . . . How was this mistake made?"

    Speaking on the condition of anonymity, citing Stevens's influence on Capitol Hill, a congressional aide familiar with the report said, "I would hope the Congress would take a long, hard look at conditions that allow a company to improperly get a half-billion-dollar no-bid contract."

    Is there any end to this governments corruption?

  193. In John Edwards' America, no issue matters so much as the fight between you and the system.

    Speaking this weekend to a crowd of roughly 150 mostly elderly Iowans in the Charles City (pop. 7,812) town library, Edwards tied every one of the Democrats' bread and butter issues to a singular idea—"This system is corrupt. And it's rigged. And it's rigged against you."

    "There are huge issues facing America," the former senator said, standing in front of a massive American flag and a smaller Iowa state flag. "We have a dysfunctional health care system, desperately needs reform. We have huge issues with social security. The prescription drug law under Medicare. We've got issues with protecting our planet from global warming. Extraordinary economic inequality." Here he pauses, then speaks slowly, his southern drawl becoming more pronounced with each syllable. "But whatever the positions of the candidates on these issues, I want to make it very clear where I stand. I don't think we can change these things unless we do something to change this system."

    In packaging his stump speech this way, Edwards passes on the opportunity to feed his audiences the red meat that conventional wisdom and the polls suggest they want. He doesn't discuss Iraq for longer than a few sentences. He hits the Bush administration for its warmongering on Iran, but only as an addendum.

    He doesn't even describe the details of his universal health insurance plan. Instead, standing in jeans and a blue sport coat, he asks attendees why they think America doesn't already have such a plan. "Drug companies, insurance companies, and their lobbyists in Washington DC," he says. "It's that simple. Really."

    Every other ill is tied to the system as well. The prescription drug law, Blackwater, crippling student loans, social security, the pathetic rebuilding of New Orleans—"nothing will happen until we change this corrupt system."

    The system isn't George Bush's doing, so a change-the-party solution won't suffice. At each stop, Edwards repeats, "Do you really believe that if we replace a crowd of corporate Republicans with a crowd of corporate Democrats that anything meaningful is going to change?"

    And by corporate Democrat, he means only one of his rivals.

    In his second appearance of the day at the town civic center in Waverly (pop. 8,968; flag count: one giant and two large American flags), Edwards offered this, "The presidential candidate who has raised the most money from Washington lobbyists is not a Republican. It's a Democrat. The candidate who has raised the most money from the health industry—insurance companies and drug companies—is not a Republican. It is a Democrat…. And the candidate who has raised the most money from the defense industry, is not a Republican. It is a Democrat. And all those descriptions fit the same candidate. They're all Senator Clinton."

    That's the dominant angle of attack Edwards uses on the Democratic frontrunner, who's recent stumbles perhaps emboldens him to continue on the offensive. It isn't the attack du jour—that Clinton equivocates and speaks out of both sides of her mouth, the latest example coming in last week's debate when she voiced approval for a plan for driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, only to pivot moments later when she said she doesn't support such a plan. Though his campaign released a video attacking Clinton for what it called "The Politics of Parsing," Edwards uttered only one sentence on the incident in his three events Saturday—"You can't answer a yes or no question, yes and no." Instead, the attack is that Clinton is complicit in a "rotten" system.

    The charge is a legitimate one. According to only $20 of the more than $30 million Edwards has raised has come from Political Action Committees (PACs), and lobbyists, as an industry, aren't in the top 20 industries donating to his campaign. On the other hand, Clinton has received roughly $750,000 from PACs and more than $500,000 from lobbyists. But the charge is also an inevitable one. There is so little that distinguishes the leading Democratic candidates on the issues that attacks on political maneuvering are the only attacks possible. All three, Edwards, Clinton, and Barack Obama, support universal health care, comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship, rebuilding America's reputation overseas, and ending the war in Iraq. The struggle to convince voters that, when all candidates more or less present the same platform, they ought not go with the one with the most experience, requires a campaign that bemoans politics as usual and chides those who perpetuate it.

    This rhetoric also makes it feel like Edwards is playing doubles with Obama. The senator from Illinois is famously running a campaign that indicts the system in Washington. Though Obama decries partisanship far more frequently than Edwards, he has said repeatedly that Americans feel politics is an "insiders' game." He wants to "challenge the status quo and get results." It is a different message than Edwards' on the margins, but is substantially similar.

    On his Saturday stops, the third at the University of Northern Iowa, Edwards spoke charitably of Obama, echoing his message of hope. "You have the ability to help create change," he tells his audiences. Edwards poses the "great moral test of our generation" this way: "Will we get the power in this democracy out of the hands of the few, and the rich, and the powerful, and will we put it back your hands?" Yes, he says. "We can do it."

    Hillary is a corporate stooge.

  194. The most frightening thing facing Hollywood today is not the WGA strike.

    Unless and until Hollywood workers at all levels are prepared for the digital transformation of entertainment, we will suffer missed opportunities, inefficiencies, diminished revenues, obsolete employment categories and, ultimately, thousands of lost jobs.

    We all feel the thumping footsteps of the digital revolution each day. You can't avoid it once you accept it.

    Music. This is the horror story, the nightmare. Global music sales have by some reports dropped by 49% since 1997. The music business as we knew it has evaporated. Sales of CDs in the U.S. have slipped from $13.2 billion in 2000 to $9.2 billion in 2006 (that's down 30%). As of June 2007, overall CD sales have plummeted 16% for the year so far--and that's after seven years of near-constant erosion.

    Movies. Whether you think the motion picture business has thrived or survived for the past 10 years, it is axiomatic that the DVD is to thank for any success. It has been a profit center for every movie company, providing predictable strong margins in a notoriously unpredictable world. Now we know that technology will eventually make the DVD obsolete. While it may take a while for streaming and download-to-own markets to become efficient, consumers will be able to get any movie any time on any device -- there will be no need to buy or rent a DVD any more. While the media companies will figure out ways to monetize downloads, the profit margins just are not the same as with the DVD.

    Television. Our One Screen (TV) World is becoming a Three Screen (TV, Internet, and Mobile) World. The $65-$70 billion per year US TV Ad market is under attack from digital advertising migrating to the internet and mobile. Studies show that people are spending 25% of their time on the internet and yet only 9% of the ad-spend has moved to broadband. And mobile has not really started penetrating the ad market yet. You don't need to be a futurist or have a crystal ball to predict where the dollars are heading. This obviously creates enormous pressure on traditional television platforms, both broadcast and cable. As in music, no one really seems to know what to do.

    To make matters worse, there is an elephant in the room: Google. It has already figured out digital distribution in a more economic and pervasive way than any traditional media company (so has Apple, by the way). Via YouTube and its other divisions, it is developing and refining ways to make money on entertainment and Wall Street, at least, buys what they are doing. Google is currently valued at over $200 billion dollars -- compare that to the Walt Disney Company at $65 billion. Now Google is working out the last piece of the entertainment puzzle: content. Once it does, it could be game over.

    The "Case Study" of the Advertising Business

    I recently attended the Google Zeitgeist Conference and while I was there took in a panel discussion which centered on a presentation by Robert Greenberg, founder and president of the advertising agency RGA. Bob's presentation was entitled "Talent Crisis" and in it he explained that while digital advertising is growing in every possible way, the ad industry's ability to employ skilled workers to handle the tasks involved in creating digital campaigns is reaching crisis proportions. To meet the booming demand, a functioning agency needs internet designers, technologists, data analysts and mobile specialists of all kinds to staff the work. But there simply are not enough of these folks to go around in today's marketplace. Compounding the problem, the schools are apparently still training students to enter a traditional ad world -- one in which an elite group of executives and companies make commercials for the traditional outbound, interruptive mass media campaigns. People responsible for hiring will privately tell you -- and this is not limited to advertising -- that once an executive is set in his ways in the traditional world, he or she isn't of any use at all to the digital side.

    The Training Crisis

    In truth, our own version of the talent crisis in the advertising business is the thing we have to worry about the most. My assessment of the entertainment business is this: The heart of Hollywood is not ready for the digital transformation which is shaking the ground under our feet. As remarkable as this may seem given what has happened in the music business and the explosion of Google and YouTube and itunes, it is true. This is a giant disconnect. It is a grand self-deception.

    The companies which make up Hollywood -- the studios, the networks, the production companies, the talent agencies, the management companies, the law firms, the finance groups, the marketing firms, the PR firms, the facilities providers -- are all well aware of the digital transformation and most are trying to do something to address the situation. The problem is that there is a tremendous lack of meaningful action in the heart of these companies. Each company, by and large, has a "Digital Group" or "Digital Division" or, in some cases a few "Digital Guys." These groups are usually made up of people not from the center of the business. Their training and background is different than Hollywood executives and, to be blunt, they are powerless within the arrangement structure of our studios, networks and talent agencies. The core people in our business -- the people who facilitate the development of material into motion pictures and films, the people who cast the actors and hire the directors and set the budgets -- are not paying attention in the right way to the changes that will soon recalibrate everything we do. The heart of Hollywood is not paying attention to this thing and it will soon reach a crisis.

    It is true that people who make content have for a very long time believed that others will find a way to distribute their material so long as it is "quality." I've been told many times: "there will always be a market for good stories." The Business has been able to absorb every type of emerging technology, more or less, since the studios came into prominence in the early part of the last century. After denying television for many years, the Business absorbed it and the movies survived. When video came along, executives ignored it until it could not be ignored anymore and the Business absorbed it. Some believe that Hollywood will always be able to deal with new technologies in the same fashion and the "stuff" that is going on now will fall into the same pattern.

    But this strikes me as worrisome historical arrogance which threatens the very existence of Hollywood. If you have ever hit "send" you ought to be able to realize that we can no longer make these assumptions -- especially at the leadership level of these companies. In the film and television and allied businesses, we will wake up one day soon and find ourselves untrained for the very jobs we do right now. We are not that different from the advertising or music businesses and we need to not kid ourselves that we are. The ability to create, market and distribute entertainment through various digital media will be what our jobs require. Right now, most of us are not able to do that. If you doubt that this spells trouble, go look for a record company executive. If you can find one, I bet you they will confirm this fear.

    What to do

    Here's where to begin: We all have to be digital.

    Hollywood companies need to embark immediately on a re-training effort. The executives who occupy the core of Hollywood need to be instructed on the primacy of digital issues. They need to learn the platforms; they need to learn the capability of the emerging technologies to transform their product. Again, this does not mean that companies need to start or bolster their "digital groups." That is not the point. The point is that the main people -- starting at the top -- need to understand that a sophisticated understanding of the changes being brought about by technology are fundamental to their jobs going forward. There can no longer be a distinction within companies of employees who work in the "digital group." Everyone needs to be digital. At our law firm, we are requiring that everyone views digital as a part of their practice, not as some sidebar or developing trend. There are no "new technology" or "new media" departments or practice areas into which things must be directed. Digital is ubiquitous and everyone has to incorporate it into their life and practice and learning.

    Each company in Hollywood needs to do the same thing in its own way. If we don't there is sure to be a labor crisis which makes the current one look quaint.

  195. A collision with a semi-trailer truck seven years ago left 52-year-old Deborah Shank permanently brain-damaged and in a wheelchair. Her husband, Jim, and three sons found a small source of solace: a $700,000 accident settlement from the trucking company involved. After legal fees and other expenses, the remaining $417,000 was put in a special trust. It was to be used for Mrs. Shank's care.

    Instead, all of it is now slated to go to Mrs. Shank's former employer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

    Two years ago, the retail giant's health plan sued the Shanks for the $470,000 it had spent on her medical care. A federal judge ruled last year in Wal-Mart's favor, backed by an appeals-court decision in August. Now, her family has to rely on Medicaid and Mrs. Shank's social-security payments to keep up her round-the-clock care.

    "I don't understand why they need to do this," says Mr. Shank on a recent visit to the nursing home, between shifts as a maintenance worker and running a tanning salon. "This girl needs the money more than they do." Mrs. Shank, who needs help with eating and other basic tasks, spends more time alone since Mr. Shank had to let her private caregiver go. At some point, he says, she may have to be moved from a private to a semi-private room in the nursing home where she lives.

    Walmart Sucks.

  196. Bush is a treasonous liar and should be impeached and removed from the fabric of our societyASAP like a cancerous tumor.

  197. Fed Expects Slowdown to Deepen

    The Federal Reserve expects economic growth to slow sharply next year, and policy makers there are worried that even this forecast may prove too optimistic, according to an assessment that the central
    bank released on Tuesday.


    Neither the forecast nor newly released minutes from the Fed’s last meeting on Oct. 31 mentioned the chances of a recession. But the new predictions are low enough that, if borne out, the economic situation might well feel like a recession to many people.

    Still can't say that "R" word can they?

    Still wanna project everything is fine, even if they have to inject BILLIONS into wall street to prop it up, and helicopter Ben is throwing money as fast as he can.

    They can't have the economy tank near the end of another Bush administration cause this Bush is even MORE clueless then his father was about how real Americans live.

    It looks like this election might have another;


    meme eclipse the war record of a bush, even if this war record is a miserable failure, and it is the fiasco the first bush tried to avoid.

    In other words, the Fed is trying it's earnest to avoid admitting this Bush is more clueless then the last bush on economic things, NOBODY defend this bush's military affairs record, but some clueless chicken hawk reichwingers still try.

  198. Bush is a fool and a liar...............he SAID he has a strong dollar policy............that means either

    1) Bush is a chronic liar who doesnt give a crap how bad he insults our intelligene


    2) Bush is SO pathetically incompetent that the dollar declines about 75% while he "CLAIMS" to have a strong dollar usually Bush is SO pathetically incompetent that his "policies are complete and utter failures just like he is!

  199. BTW Mike get ready to sell;

    Dow ($INDU) 12,848.70 -161.44

    and the afternoon isn't here yet ........

  200. Clif look at the 10 Year Treasury Yield, it is inverting the Yield curve further and signalling BOTH a recession and another rate cut..............hint for all the repug trolls and talking heads and cheerleaders on CNBC who dont have a clue how the economy works................the Fed DOESNT cut rates when the economy is healthy and the fundamentals are strong...............The Fed cuts rates when the economy is sickly, much like a doctor prescribes antibiotics and gives a shot of steriods to a a patient sick with pneumonia and or bronchitis!