Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Iraqi wedding party bombed, 11 die - Conflict in Iraq - MSNBC.com

Something to read while George Bush, Tony Snow and the rest of the candy-assed-never-heard-a-shot-fired-in-anger Republicans try to divert your attention by attacking John Kerry's foolish comments from yesterday. Never forget that George Bush and his people chose to invade Iraq.Iraqi wedding party bombed, 11 die - Conflict in Iraq - MSNBC.com

The Raw Story | Salon: Money trails lead to Bush judges

God bless Raw Story... They've given the term "Activist Judges" a whole new meaningThe Raw Story | Salon: Money trails lead to Bush judges

Iraq prime minister eases security around Sadr City - CNN.com

In November of 1963, the Kennnedy Administration authorized the asssassination of Nhu Dinh Diem, the President of South Vietnam. Immediately afterward, they increased the number of American advisors on the ground. Here we have the Iraqi Prime Minister ordering the opening Sadr City check points... A brave man, considering the Americans are the ones who put the checkpoints up in the first place.

And a bit deeper in the story comes the news that Americans are considering an increase in troop strength... Iraq prime minister eases security around Sadr City - CNN.com

Money sways West Virginians as Sen. Byrd nears record - USATODAY.com

And just in case you thought money in politics was only a Republican weakness...Money sways West Virginians as Sen. Byrd nears record - USATODAY.com

Attytood: No sex, please: You're 20-somethings

You meaan to tell me people in their 20's actually have sex? What is this world coming to? Let's put a stop to this.Attytood: No sex, please: You're 20-somethings

Will Ken Blackwell find the ways to steal Ohio 2006 as he did in 2004?

Florida E-Voting Machines Already Flipping Votes

Here it comes... Worried... Very worried...Florida E-Voting Machines Already Flipping Votes

Monday, October 30, 2006

14,000 U.S.-supplied weapons reportedly missing in Iraq - CNN.com

23 policemen shot to death in Iraq - Yahoo! News

Try to read this analytically. 23 dead policemen here. 24 bodies, some decapitated, there.

Shiite militia. Shiite death squads. Sunnis bombing mosques. Thousands tortured on both sides. Imagine trying to live in those conditions.

Imagine trying to feed, clothe and house your family.Imagine living in a society where everyone you know has lost someone close to them to the violence.

Imagine how you would feel about the invading army that (although now caught in the middle like you)can't seem to do a thing to bring an end to the chaos.

Now shift focus and imagine being a 23 year-old soldier who signed up for the National Guard for the college benefts - that he'd be happy to do the weekend a month or maybe spend a week or two every spring sandbagging some flooded river.Imagine being that soldier and getting plunked down in the middle of Iraq.

Imagine. Then vote on November 7th.23 policemen shot to death in Iraq - Yahoo! News

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Hampering the vote - The Boston Globe

So let's review: Voting machines? Hackable. Voting machine technology? Untested. Election Day tech support? Nonexistent. Recounts? Impossible. Voter lists? Purgeable. Sounds fair to me. Hampering the vote - The Boston Globe

Freedom to Tinker - Blog Archive � “Hotel Minibar” Keys Open Diebold Voting Machines

Saturday, October 28, 2006

GAO chief warns economic disaster looms - Yahoo! News

The people in power have done this. They are not traditional Republicans. They are rich, selfish fools who havve mortgaged the country's future. It will take generations to undo what they have done. When you hear Bush say, "The economy is strong," and you hear somebody agreeeing with him, cite this article.GAO chief warns economic disaster looms - Yahoo! News

Thugs and Aliens Part Two

Repubabubba writes this concerning the idea of fighting illegal immigration by jailing the people who employ illegal immigrants:

I actually agree with the dilemma you bring up between cheap labor and illegal’s. In my past life we would hire people with documentation that looked good, only to find out later that their ss#s belonged to dead people. We knew many were illegal, just couldn’t tell who.

With foreign competition driving prices ever downward, the only apparent solution is to hire this new willing worker. The survival instinct kicks in when you have your net worth tied up in a business, knowing the government only supports the very poor or those that want to build new stadiums.

Hey, don’t libs run businesses too?


I like the part about government only supporting the very poor and those that want to build new stadiums.

Repubabubba seems to have forgotten the prescription drug bill - a $100 billion windfall to the drug companies. And the billions in tax breaks to the energy industry.

Or, perhaps closer to home, the farm subsuidy program - the backbone of the rural American economy. Or the SBA loan program. And so on. And so forth...

As for survival instinct and net worth, that sounds like the kind of justification you might have heard after dinner in the big house on a Georgia plantation circa 1856 when the ladeis had adjourned to the parlor and the gentlemen to thhe pool room for brandy and cigars.

Instead of illegal immigrants, they would have been justifying slavery, of course. But the difference in real, human terms is marginal at best. "De mastuh" had to feed and clothe his human livestock. The illegal alien employer pays "those people" enough to feed and clothe themselves - and damned little more.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Rights

Interesting op-ed piece here. Absent habeas corpus, people like this can now be "disappeared"whether they're American citizens or not. And, just in case you might think people like this deserve to be "disappeared," please remember that the right to oppose the government via free speech is no more and no less guaranteed in the Constitution than the right to bear arms.

GOP will win in November

Worried... Very worried... GOP will win in November

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Good spot

From Zubbabubba comes this commercial

YouTube - Stay the Course?

Thank you, Bartcop, for posting this first.YouTube - Stay the Course?

D's Getting $s

I'm not sure this is a good thing in the long run. Not good to have either party dependent on campaign contributions - the system is broken. But in terms of leveling the playing field for the next couple of weeks, this is like the point in pro wrestling where the guy who's been getting the crap beat out of him slides under the rope and out of the ring and gets his hands on a folding chair...The Fudge Report

A light unto the world

Cheney admits we waterboard detainees. "'It's a no-brainer for me,' Cheney said at one point in an interview." And thanks to that recently-passed and signed bill, you, too can be detained. Makes you proud, doesn't it? McClatchy Washington Bureau | 10/25/2006 | Cheney confirms that detainees were subjected to water-boarding: "It's a no-brainer for me,' Cheney said at one point in an interview."

Thugs and Aliens

Repubabubba writes:

“On the way in to work this morning, I heard about the 13 year old girl who escaped a close call of being abducted by two Hispanic men. Without jumping to conclusions, which admittedly is difficult, I’ll instead just ask the question- How many thugs are crossing our porous boarder? And how much crime are we willing to put up with before we say enough is enough. What does Bubbarama have to say about this?”

Bubba says:

Without jumping to conclusions, which is admittedly difficult, clearly, the majority of illegal aliens are coming here for jobs, and not to abduct 13 year-olds.

So the question is indeed how much crime are we willing to tolerate before we say enough is enough? The crime we’re willing to tolerate is hiring illegal aliens. And the “thugs” are the scofflaw employers who do it. The single most important step that we as a nation could take to stop the flow of illegal aliens would be to prosecute Americans who illegally employ them.

Prosecuting those scofflaws seems to cause the people in power (who happen to be R’s) something of a problem. It seems many of the criminal employers are, in fact, loyal Republicans.

They like those low wages for which illegal aliens will work. They like dodging social security taxes and workers comp. They like the leverage they get in dealing with workers who don’t have a legal leg to stand on.

Some sort of “guest worker” program would seem to make sense. But that kind of thing won’t play well with the more redneck elements in the Republican base (including the Dixiecrat honkies who left the Democratic party after LBJ rammed the Civil Rights Act through).

So here we have a uniquely Republican dilemma: Do they bite the bullet (and the hand that feeds them)and clamp down on illegal immigration? Or do they continue to mollify that element of the base which benefits from cheap but illegal labor?

As a rabid liberal, Ol’ Bubba believes the answer to the illegal alien problem will entail some sort of mechanism for coping with illegal immigrants already here. (According to Lou Dobbs last night, there are 12 million of them here already. They’re arriving at the rate of 3000 a day.)

I suspect, as is often the case, the Republicans will avoid making the tough decisions involved in framing that mechanism and enacting the legislation necessary to implement it.

They will, instead, wait for a Democratic congress or a Democratic White House and let the Democrats take the lead – and the heat – on the issue.

And, finally, on the subject of thugs crossing the border, I can’t read the phrae without thinking of an old Army buddy. He was 23 back then and he’d pulled two tours flying helicopter gunships in Vietnam.

He had a scar on his leg from a knife fight he got into one night down in Juarez, which is, as I recall, south of the border…

Ol' Bubba is still worried

If we can't pull off a free, open election, we have lost our democracy.FT.com / In depth - Voter chaos predicted at US polls

Orwellian

The Carlyle Group specializes in, among other things weapons and armament.George H.W. Bush and a number of his political allies call the shots there. Carlyle Group reportedly among possible bidders for Tribune Co. - Washington Business Journal:

Never forget...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Ol' Bubba is worried - Part IV

Contrary to what the polls are telling you, a Democratic victory in not - repeat not - in the bag. Consortiumnews.com

YouTube - Chocola Stem Cell

Zububba forwarded this. A good TV spot. YouTube - chocola Stem Cell

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

YouTube - Clinton Got A Blowjob

Prude alert. But damn, this is funnny. YouTube - Clinton Got A Blowjob

Democrats can be hacks too

Repubabubba writes:

“After reading your commentary on your blog this morning I noticed something; why don’t you harpoon some democrat hacks at the same time? Both parties are full of them. It would make you look more grounded in your values as opposed to a partisan attack dog.”

He’s right. Both parties are full of hacks. And even before he wrote, I had it in mind to say yet again that there is no assurance – none whatsoever – that the Democrats won’t become just as power-crazed, craven and corrupt should they assume control of the House on November 7th.

These are not John Kennedy’s Freedom Riders. They aren’t Lyndon Johnson’s Civil Rights Act advocates. They aren’t Eugene McCarthy or George McGovern anti-war types. They don’t have Jimmy Carter’s moral compass either.

These are, for the most part, the same breed of consultant-driven, triangulating weasels who are in power right now. Left or right, a hack is a hack.

If they are not hacks in their own right, then there is a great temptation to dub them hacks by association. That way, when the FBI finds $100,000 in the freezer, we’ll be able to say, “See? Told you so.”

And don’t look for any of that Mr. Smith Goes to Washington crap. Any first-blush, high-minded effort to right the wrongs of twelve years of Republican power will suffer death by realism in a matter of days after Congress returns to session in January.

A hack is a hack. There is every chance that, while they were out of power, the Dems didn’t learn one god damned thing. That twelve years of wandering in the wilderness – of waiting outside all-Republican conference committee meetings to see what kind of compromise bill the Republican Senate and Republican House would send to that miserable excuse of a Republican president – of absolute and abject marginalization – of floor votes being held open while Tom “The Hammer” DeLay worked his blunt force magic to give away billions to corporate benefactors – will be for naught.

That said, I must conclude this rant with the observation that, for the first two years at least, the Democratic hackdom will not be as egregious as the Republican hackdom is now. Pork levels will probably recede. Pedophilia will abate. Taxes on upper income households may increase and the minimum wage may even go up – who knows?

The Dems may be hacks, Repubbabubba, but they’re my hacks. And there’s no way they can be as smarmy and immoral as your hacks have been.

At least not in those first two years. After that, all bets are off.

The Raw Story | Video: Olbermann claims Republicans are using 'terror tactics'

This ain't right

Every so often, these people still amaze me. This from the LA Times.

Candidate reportedly bought voter list for controversial letter

Tan Nguyen, seeking an O.C. congressional seat, denies using the list for that purpose.

By Christian Berthelsen, Jennifer Delson and Christine Hanley, Times Staff Writers
October 24, 2006

Congressional candidate Tan Nguyen personally bought the list of voters to whom a racially charged letter was mailed, warning that immigrants could be jailed or deported for voting, according to the president of the company that sold the list and sources familiar with the still-unfolding investigation.

Nguyen requested information on registered Democrats in the central Orange County Congressional district with Spanish surnames who were born outside the United States, according to people familiar with a state investigation into the letter. Nguyen, a Republican, is running an underdog campaign against Democratic incumbent Loretta Sanchez.

"The only thing I can really say is, the candidate purchased the data, which he had a legal right to do, and if he went and did something illegal with it, he's going to have to answer for it," said Jim Hayes, president of Burbank-based Political Data Inc., the largest voter information broker in the state. Hayes met with investigators and provided them with the same information last week, sources said.

Nguyen, who has drawn national scorn for his campaign's role in the mailing, maintains that he had nothing to do with the letter's production or distribution, saying a campaign office manager misappropriated the list. Nguyen fired the worker last week but said Sunday that he had offered to rehire her because he came to believe that the letter was accurate and did not violate the law.

Many follow U.S. example on detainees - Boston.com

Think Progress Bush: ‘We’ve Never Been Stay The Course’

Skilling sentenced to 24 years in prison - Yahoo! News

Never forget that the day after the 2000 election, George W. Bush's team of lawyers and political operatives arrived in Florida aboard Enron corporate jets Skilling sentenced to 24 years in prison - Yahoo! News

Recipe for a Cooked Election

Greg Palast explains how it's done - and why Ol' Bubba is worried: Recipe for a Cooked Election

Monday, October 23, 2006

Think Progress Bartlett: ‘It’s Never Been A Stay The Course Strategy’

ABC News: Electronic Voting Machines Could Skew Elections

Republican edge on security wanes as elections near - USATODAY.com

Maybe, "Boo!" won't work this time... Then again, maybe all they need is a bigger brand of "BOO!!"...Republican edge on security wanes as elections near - USATODAY.com

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Cutting? Running? Former Top Bush Administration Official Calls For Withdrawal of U.S. Troops From Iraq

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Expect a climatic 'wild ride,' study says - CNN.com

But wait. Norm Coleman says CO2 isn't a pollutant.Expect a climatic 'wild ride,' study says - CNN.com

Coleman is knee-deep in global-warming fray

Norm Coleman is shameless. Coleman is knee-deep in global-warming fray

Do you need any further proof he's bought and paid for? This is an empty suit of a man, hand-picked by Dick Cheney. A toady of the first degree.

Last year, he wanted to beat up on the UN. Now he wants to strip the EPA and all 50 states of the authority to control CO2 emissions. Under his proposed legislation, CO2 would not be considered a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.

Gee. Thanks, Norm. There's a hole in the ozone layer the size of North America - the largest hole EVER - and you want to laissez the bon temps to roulez.

Chump.

This proposal isn't a solution, and Coleman knows it. It's an extension of the problem.

So here's a question for "The Senator:"

How much will it cost to get you to come to work for our side? Write a dollar figure down and slide it across the table. Let us see what we can do to raise it.

Would a couple million dollars for your campaign be sufficient to get you to adopt a "Don't fellate, just legislate" approach and do the peoples' business rather than doing favors for corporate America?

In 2008, the Republican National Convention will take place at the Excel Energy Center - a toney hockey rink Norm fobbed off on the tax payers of Saint Paul. The disaster that George built will come to the house that Norm built, and the party of comfortable, wide-bottomed, affluent, midde-aged white folks will party like it's 1959.

We can only hope for one of those late summer temperature inversions - the kind that trap the CO2 close to the ground, where if Norm has his way, neither the EPA nor the state of Minnnesota can do a damned thing about it.

Will The Real Conservatives Please Stand Up?

Gene Lyons is a great political writer NWAnews.com :: Northwest Arkansas' News Source

No Reality From Administration

Never forget they didn't need to invade Iraq.No Reality From Administration

Friday, October 20, 2006

Truthdig - Reports - After Pat’s Birthday

Why Ol' Bubba's worried

These machines can't produce a trustworthy election, no matter what your politics are:

Officials Probing Possible Theft of Voting Software in Md.
Ex-Delegate Says FBI Contacted Her About Disks She Received

By Cameron W. Barr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 20, 2006; Page B01

The FBI is investigating the possible theft of software developed by the nation's leading maker of electronic voting equipment, said a former Maryland legislator who this week received three computer disks that apparently contain key portions of programs created by Diebold Election Systems.

Cheryl C. Kagan, a former Democratic delegate who has long questioned the security of electronic voting systems, said the disks were delivered anonymously to her office in Olney on Tuesday and that the FBI contacted her yesterday. The package contained an unsigned letter critical of Maryland State Board of Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone that said the disks were "right from SBE" and had been "accidentally picked up."

(Snip)

In an unrelated development, Maryland state auditors said in a report yesterday that the State Board of Elections is not properly controlling access to a new statewide database of registered voters or verifying what changes are made to it. The report comes at a time of heightened concern over the security and effectiveness of electronic voting systems.

(Snip)

The FBI investigation into the disks could focus further scrutiny on the security of Maryland's electronic voting system.

(Snip)

The release of such software poses a risk, computer scientists say, because it could allow someone to discover security vulnerabilities or to write a virus that could be used to manipulate election results.
In September, computer scientists at Princeton University who had obtained a Diebold voting machine demonstrated how a program they had created could secretly alter the votes cast on the machine. Diebold President Dave Byrd called the demonstration "unrealistic and inaccurate" and said it ignored the "physical security" measures used to safeguard voting machines.

The Washington Post obtained copies of the disks Wednesday and allowed Avi Rubin, a computer scientist at Johns Hopkins University, along with a colleague and a graduate student, to review the software on the condition that they make no copies of it.

"I would be stunned if it's not real," Rubin said.

Rubin, who has said that electronic voting systems that do not produce a paper record of each vote cannot be secured, led a team that produced an analysis that pointed out security vulnerabilities in the Diebold software found on the Internet in 2003.

Note to self

There was no need to invade Iraq in 2003. Never forget there was no need.

There were no weapons of mass destruction. International inspectors were in the country. Inspections were working.

Iraq was not an Al Qaeda stronghold. Far from colluding with Osama bin Ladin, Saddam Hussein was behaving like a classic Balkan strong man dictator, using terror, torture and death to hold the disparate elements of the country together.

You can give the people in power – George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and the imminently despicable neoconservatives - the benefit of the doubt. You can say there were reasons. Saddam is a bad man we will all stipulate that.

There is all the difference in the world, though between reasons and need. There may have been reasons. There was no need.

The people in power invaded Iraq anyhow. They exercised the authorization to use power that congress provided them and committed us – you and me and the other 299,999,999 citizens of this country - to their folly.

They were supported in this by an at-best-complacent, at-worst-complicit corporate media, with embedded reporters and red, white and blue graphics. The same corporate media undercounted and downplayed the massive rallies against the invasion here in America and around the world.

They were supported – or at least not opposed – by the ignorance, laziness and apathy of the American people.

“They must know something,” people said to one another. “They wouldn’t take us to war if they didn’t need to.”

They didn’t need to. There was no need.

Apologists will say that the Democrats voted to go to war too.

No. The Democrats and the Republicans in congress merely authorized the president to use force. George W. Bush was “the decider.” He chose to invade Iraq. He and the rest of his damned and deluded lackeys chose to invade Iraq. They didn’t need to.

Never ever forget that.

Court Told It Lacks Power in Detainee Cases - washingtonpost.com

..."no court, justice, or judge" can consider those petitions or other actions related to treatment or imprisonment filed by anyone designated as an enemy combatant, now or in the future.Court Told It Lacks Power in Detainee Cases - washingtonpost.com: "'no court, justice, or judge' can consider those petitions or other actions related to treatment or imprisonment filed by anyone designated as an enemy combatant, now or in the future."

Investigators fired by investigatee

Top US general says Rumsfeld is inspired by God - Yahoo! News

Religion is something between you and your God. It is not a licensse to kill tens - or even hundreds of thousands of other people. Your God wouldn't really want that, would He?Top US general says Rumsfeld is inspired by God - Yahoo! News

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Ol Bubba's Worried, Part Deux

A rightie Minnesota reader - call him Repubabubba - responds to Bubba's concerns about election fraud.Note the dismissive and caustic tone. Repubabubba is a nice man, and I am sure he is only trying to be funny. That said,as noted in another post,a CNN survey out today shows that 61% of Americans think this year's election results will be inaccurate.

On to Repubbabubba:

Are you serious? You make this sound like some third world country that keeps electing the same dictator election after election.

What are you worried about, the sheep are ready to head to your pasture. They think we have wolves in ours. And because they’re sheep they’ll keep searching. They’re searching for nirvana; no terrorists, free health care, cheap gas, free education k – college, smoke free bars, mass transit, winning sports teams in new stadiums and lots green areas with bike trails. Oh yes, and make the rich guys pay for it.

What are they going to think when the dems get in and we still have terrorist psycho’s trying to blow us up. Maybe we can send the women from “The View “over there to get them to see the light.

So don’t worry so much, this election is in the bag for you guys. Honest elections are only tough when it’s down to a few votes any way. It looks more like a run-a-way at this point.

I’m sure Mike, Amy and Patty will fix it all.

“And I approve this message”!

Ol' Bubba is worried

Ol’ Bubba is worried. I don’t think this country can get off an honest election any more. I don’t think the people in power will allow it to happen. I don’t think the mainstream/corporate media have the courage to pursue the story. I especially don’t think the public has the attention span or the willpower to do anything about it.

We are sinking in a tar pit of our own making – sinking with an apathy we ought to be ashamed of. The people in power are breaking down our democracy and selling it off piece-by-piece to the highest bidders – foreign and domestic.

As if our democracy were a factory to be broken down, boxed up and shipped, along with its jobs, to China.

As if Election Day were some street corner “Find the pea” shell game. Or a professional wrestling match with that made-for-TV veneer of good guys and bad guys and simple plots and subplots.

We don’t vote for candidates based on issues or policies any more. We vote against candidates based on our hates, fears and bogeymen. And, this year, most of us will vote on new and imminently hack-able electronic voting machines. Machines without a paper trail.

Expect longer lines. Especially in poorer precincts. Expect election-arresting technical glitches as old, almost-doddering-but-civic-minded poll workers – workers from the age of carbon paper – struggle with newly-installed machines and software.

Mostly, though, expect a crooked election where the people in power do everything in their power to stay in power and keep their lips locked on the financial sugar teat that is lobbyists and corporate donations and kickbacks and bribery.

It’s now or never, folks. Get involved. Push back. Get your lazy, out-of-work brother-in-law out of the hide-a-bed and get him involved. Find a campaign. Go to work. Help get out the vote.

For two hundred and thirty years, our service men and women have fought and died for this country. Not for corporations. Not for lobbyists. For you and me. Don’t let the people in power steal that. Getrid of the apathy and the cynicism. Then get busy. Let’s go.

Poll: Half of Americans think Congress is corrupt - CNN.com

More freedom on the march. Half of us think Congresss is corrupt. 61 percent of us expect inaccurate election results. Yikes. Poll: Half of Americans�think Congress is corrupt - CNN.com

Don't assume the election will be fair - Or that voting will be easy

This very important story from this morning's NY Times:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 — New electronic voting machines have arrived in Yolo County, Calif., but there is one hitch: the audio program for the visually impaired in some of them works only in Vietnamese.

“Talk about panic,” said Freddy Oakley, the county’s top election official. “I’ve got gray-haired ladies as poll workers standing around looking stunned.”

As dozens of states are enforcing new voter registration laws and switching to paperless electronic voting systems, officials across the country are bracing for an Election Day with long lines and heightened confusion, followed by an increase in the number of contested results.

In Maryland, Mississippi and Pennsylvania, a shortage of technicians has vendors for new machines soliciting applications for technical support workers on job Web sites like Monster.com. Ms. Oakley, who is also facing a shortage, raided the computer science department at the University of California, Davis, hiring 60 graduate students as troubleshooters.

Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania are among the states considered most likely to experience difficulties, according to voting experts who have been tracking the technology and other election changes.

“We’ve got new laws, new technology, heightened partisanship and a growing involvement of lawyers in the voting process,” said Tova Wang, who studies elections for the Century Foundation, a nonpartisan research group. “We also have the greatest potential for problems in more places next month than in any voting season before.”

Election officials in many of the states are struggling with delays in the delivery of machines before the election as old-fashioned lever and punch-card machines are phased out. A chronic shortage of poll workers, many of them retirees uncomfortable with new technology, has worsened matters.

Wendy S. Noren, the top election official for Boone County, Mo., which includes Columbia, said delays in the delivery of new machines had left her county several weeks behind schedule and with 600 poll workers yet to be trained. Ms. Noren said she also had not yet been provided with the software coding she needed to print the training manuals.

“I think we will make it,” she said, “but my staff is already at the point of passing out, and the sprint is just starting.”

New computerized registration rolls and litigation over new voter identification laws in states like Arizona, Georgia, Indiana and Missouri have left many poll workers and voters unclear about the rules, including whether they are in effect, as the courts have blocked many of the new laws.

“We’re expecting arguments at the polls in these states that will slow everything down and probably cause large numbers of legitimate voters to be turned away or to be forced to vote on provisional ballots,” said Barbara Burt, an elections reform director for Common Cause.

Meanwhile, votes in about half of the 45 most competitive Congressional races, including contests in Florida, Georgia and Indiana, will be cast on electronic machines that provide no independent means of verification.

“In a close race, a machine error in one precinct could leave the results in doubt and the losing candidates won’t be able to get a recount,” said Warren Stewart, policy director for VoteTrustUSA, an advocacy group that has criticized electronic voting.

Deborah L. Markowitz, president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, was less inclined to sound the alarm. She said that since it was not a presidential election year and many states had encouraged voting by mail, fewer people would turn up at the polls than in 2004.

With computerized registration rolls, Ms. Markowitz said, there will be far fewer people incorrectly excluded from the new databases compared with when registration rolls were on paper.

“There will be isolated incidents, there is no doubt about that,” she said. “But over all the system will move faster and with fewer problems.”

Charles Stewart, head of the political science department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, published a study this year indicating that from 2000 to 2004, new technology helped reduce the number of improperly marked ballots by about one million votes.

“If you think things are bad and worrisome now, they were much worse before 2000,” Mr. Stewart said, adding that breakdowns in the mechanics of voting are simply more highlighted, not more prevalent.

Still, this is a year of firsts for some local election officials. Cherie Poucher, elections director for Wake County, N.C., which includes Raleigh, said she expected 350,000 voters on Election Day, up from the 30,000 in the May primary. She worries that the county’s 218 optical scan machines may be unable to handle the increased load. During the primary, 12 of the new machines would not boot up and needed to be replaced.

“In the end, we were lucky,” Ms. Poucher said. The machines were replaced within hours, she said, and since her county uses optical scan machines rather than paperless machines, voters were able to deposit paper ballots into a ballot box until replacements arrived.

“I’m an optimist,” she said. “But if we have more failures than we have total machines, it could be really difficult even with the paper ballots.”

Ms. Burt of Common Cause said there was some disagreement about the likelihood of problems, and difficulty in predicting where problems might emerge, in part because there is little uniformity in how elections are conducted.

Except for rudimentary federal rules on voting age, federal financing for states and counties, and protections for minorities and the disabled, elections are shaped by a variety of local laws, conflicting court rulings and technological choices.

“People might refer to it as a national election system but in truth there is no such thing,” Ms. Burt said.

Justin Levitt, a lawyer with the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, said that on election night his organization will be keeping particularly close watch on North Carolina, Florida and South Dakota, because of new voter registration databases there.

Under the federal Help America Vote Act passed in 2002, election officials were required to create computerized statewide voter registration rolls. These databases were intended to help streamline registration and decrease fraud, and they help political parties track potentially supportive voters. In some states, however, the databases have blocked large numbers of eligible voters from joining registration lists.

North Carolina, for example, requires that information provided by voters for registration forms match information in the motor vehicle or Social Security databases.

“If someone is listed with their maiden name in one list and their married name in another list, that voter will be blocked from the eligible voter roll,” said Mr. Levitt, adding that these voters may show up in large numbers and not realize that there is a problem.

“I certainly don’t see a disaster, but frankly I’m very concerned,” said Ion Sancho, supervisor of elections in Leon County, Fla., which includes Tallahassee. He said Florida has tried three times to create databases of eligible and ineligible voters but each system has had widespread inaccuracies.

“This is our fourth attempt and I’m worried that voters who have been voting for the last decade will show up at the polls and they won’t be listed anywhere,” Mr. Sancho said.

A report released last Thursday by the Century Foundation, Common Cause and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights cited concerns that most states have only vague, if any, standards for voting machine distribution.

There is no federal minimum for the ratio of voters to machines and there is wide variation in state standards.

In Wisconsin, the law requires at least one machine for every 200 registered voters. In Michigan, that ratio is 1:600, the report said. Election officials in Ohio, which had some of the longest lines in 2004, passed a law this year setting the ratio at 1:175, the report said. But the law does not take effect until 2013.

Keith A. Cunningham, director of the Allen County board of elections in Ohio and former president of the Ohio Association of Election Officials, said most counties were close to the ratio required by the law.

“I don’t believe it is going to be as bad as everyone is predicting,” Mr. Cunningham said.

Whether there are problems or not, post-election litigation is likely. A study released this year by the Washington and Lee Law Review found that the number of court cases challenging elections has risen in recent years. In 2004, the number was 361, up from 104 cases in 1998.

Jonah Goldman, a lawyer and elections expert with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said his organization is prepared for the worst. With the N.A.A.C.P. and the People for the American Way Foundation, the lawyers group will have about 500 people fielding calls to a national hot line (1-866-OUR-VOTE) about problems and providing information to voters and poll workers.

In 2004, a similar hot line fielded more than 200,000 calls and created a database of about 40,000 reported problems. The coalition is dispatching lawyers in a dozen states to address reports of voter intimidation or to see if litigation is needed to extend hours at polling stations.

“We’re not sure what we will be handling,” Mr. Goldman said. “But we’re pretty confident that there will be no shortage of work that night.”

Ohio Gov Race Poll

This from the most recent NYTimes/CBS Poll:

"The Democratic candidate for governor, Representative Ted Strickland, is leading the Republican nominee, J. Kenneth Blackwell, the Ohio secretary of state, by 53 percent to 29 percent."

But Ohio otes on Diebold machines, Blackwell is the Secretary of State, and he appears to have purged the voter registration records (see below).

Daily Kos: ACTION ALERT: Blackwell purged Ohio Voter Rolls Oct 1st.- Vote Early.

This is positiveely chilling. Polls in Ohio have the Democratic candidate for governor (Strickland) significantly (double digits) ahead.Thee Republican, Blackwell, has purged the voter rolls and could steal the election. If you know anyone voting in Ohio, spread the word. Daily Kos: ACTION ALERT: Blackwell purged Ohio Voter Rolls Oct 1st.- Vote Early.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

How low can they go?

This passes for political dialogue these days (sigh) The Enquirer - Governor's race turns ugly

Public wary of links with lobbyists - USATODAY.com

The public sees the problem. The pols don't.Public wary of links with lobbyists - USATODAY.com

Mr. Knuckles Goes to Washington

I forgot how good MoJo isMr. Knuckles Goes to Washington

Just Try Voting Here: 11 of America's worst places to cast a ballot (or try)

In case you thought the election was going tto be a slam-dunk for Dems...Just Try Voting Here: 11 of America's worst places to cast a ballot (or try)

The Raw Story | Video: Boehner says Dems 'want to appease the terrorist'

God to Michele: Run

God to Bubba: Boo again

"We have every intention of out-praying, out-thinking, out-working, out-serving and out-loving our opponents," Sutton said. "And we will by the grace of God make this a Christian nation."Welcome to Ethics Daily.com!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

House page program leaders discuss trip - Yahoo! News

I don't know whether I want my boy to be a page or an altar boy. House page program leaders discuss trip - Yahoo! News

Torture is now the law of the land

Did I say torture? I meant to say extreme interogation.

Think Progress � Paramount Hires Path to 9/11 Writer For Movie On ‘The Hunt For Osama Bin Laden’

TomPaine.com - Blocking The 2006 Vote

Don't take anything for granted.
TomPaine.com - Blocking The 2006 Vote

Bush in a Snit - washingtonpost.com

Monday, October 16, 2006

"One nation under me." - God

Is U.S. Winning in Iraq? Tony Snow Says, "I Don't Know"

"The president has made it obvious..."Is U.S. Winning in Iraq? Tony Snow Says, "I Don't Know"

Poll: Support for Iraq war at all-time low - CNN.com

God to Bubba: "Boo."

Driving across northern Wisconsin the other day, reading campaign signs and billboards, I got the willies about the upcoming election all over again.

There were blaze orange, “support the marriage amendment” signs (perfect for sighting in your deer rifle after the election). There were anti-abortion billboards. There were flag waving billboards, too. Along I-94, somewhere around the exit for Baldwin, some farm family had a big, home-made sign proclaiming, “We Support President Bush.”

The kicker, however, was one billboard – a big one – what we in the ad game call a “Vinyl” that read:

“One nation under me.”
- God

Yikes.

All of creation – everything that ever was or ever will be to worry about – six billion souls on the planet, each one working out its personal relationship with Him, and God chooses to jab an anthropomorphic finger in my chest and remind me about how he feels about the United States of America.

“Remember, Numbnuts: It’s one nation under me.”

Check.


They’re out there. And they want you to get with their God’s program. Now. All the talk about the Foley scandal disaffecting the fundamental Christian vote looks like so much crap when you whiz by a billboard like that at 70 miles an hour.

November Surprise

Do you think America is dumb enough to fall for this?Saddam prosecutor’s kin shot dead - Conflict in Iraq - MSNBC.com

Bush tells Iraq PM: Ignore deadline talk - Yahoo! News

This Just In

Reader DA forwards this

"George and Condi sitting in a tree.
K
I
S
S
I
N
G
First comes love then comes
a miserable pointless war in a middle eastern desert with no hope of a good result."

Buffalo News - McCain bails out as local speaker; Rove to pinch-hit

White House Upbeat About GOP Prospects - washingtonpost.com

Is the fix in? Voting machine malfunction chaos?White House Upbeat About GOP Prospects - washingtonpost.com

USNews.com: Inside Washington: Bush Is Said to Have No Plan if GOP Loses

Why should they start to work with Congress now? USNews.com: Inside Washington: Bush Is Said to Have No Plan if GOP Loses

Friday, October 13, 2006

Nonprofits may be ensnared in lobbyist scandal - CNN.com

Again, these aren't traditional Republican conservatives. These are crooks.Let's hope traditional RRepublican voters see them for what they are and purge them from their party - and the national debate.Nonprofits may be ensnared in lobbyist scandal - CNN.com

Rep. Bob Ney pleads guilty to�Abramoff bribery charge - CNN.com

Let's hope the sincerely conservative voters of America - the menn and women who genuinely want fiscal accountability - will be able to see the Bob Ney brand of Republicans for the crooks they are instead of giving the party the kind of blind allegiance that put this asshole in office in the first place. Rep. Bob Ney pleads guilty to�Abramoff bribery charge - CNN.com

Y'all ought to read this

The South doesn't like the war eitherSouthern Studies: The South and Iraq

A little peek into Bushworld

A worthwhile readConsortiumnews.com

Wal-Mart preparing voter drive of its own

Such a nice, civic-minded group of people...Wal-Mart preparing voter drive of its own

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sad little people

Need a good excuse no to vote R next month? TPMmuckraker October 12, 2006 01:30 PM

"The economy is strong." - G.W. Bush

Trade Deficit Hits Record High

By Howard Schneider
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 12, 2006; 10:20 AM

The U.S. trade deficit rose to a record $69.86 billion in August, driven by high oil prices, a growing trade gap with China, and rising consumer demand for imported goods from antiques to appliances.

The record deficit represents a 2.7 percent increase over July, and it came despite growth in U.S. exports. American companies sold $122.4 billion worth of goods and services overseas in August, an increase of $2.7 billion over the previous month that was led by sales of agricultural products and aircraft.

However, American companies and consumers bought far more from abroad, with imports rising to $192.3. That included $20.8 billion worth of crude oil, as demand remained strong even in the face of record prices that touched $77 per barrel over the summer.

Although policymakers had hoped the trade gap would moderate this year, after setting a full-year-record of $716 billion in 2005, that now appears a distant possibility: through August, the country had spent $522 billion more on imports than it sold abroad, on pace for another record.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

NWAnews.com :: Northwest Arkansas' News Source

Bush: Iraqis Willing To "Tolerate" Violence... | The Huffington Post

If you voted for this man, you should be ashamedBush: Iraqis Willing To "Tolerate" Violence... | The Huffington Post

Army: Troops to stay in Iraq until 2010 - Yahoo! News

Mission Accomplished

From today's New York Times

October 11, 2006
Iraqi Dead May Total 600,000, Study Says
By SABRINA TAVERNISE and DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.

BAGHDAD, Oct. 10 — A team of American and Iraqi public health researchers has estimated that 600,000 civilians have died in violence across Iraq since the 2003 American invasion, the highest estimate ever for the toll of the war here.

The figure breaks down to about 15,000 violent deaths a month, a number that is quadruple the one for July given by Iraqi government hospitals and the morgue in Baghdad and published last month in a United Nations report in Iraq. That month was the highest for Iraqi civilian deaths since the American invasion.

But it is an estimate and not a precise count, and researchers acknowledged a margin of error that ranged from 426,369 to 793,663 deaths.

It is the second study by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. It uses samples of casualties from Iraqi households to extrapolate an overall figure of 601,027 Iraqis dead from violence between March 2003 and July 2006.

The findings of the previous study, published in The Lancet, a British medical journal, in 2004, had been criticized as high, in part because of its relatively narrow sampling of about 1,000 families, and because it carried a large margin of error.

The new study is more representative, its researchers said, and the sampling is broader: it surveyed 1,849 Iraqi families in 47 different neighborhoods across Iraq. The selection of geographical areas in 18 regions across Iraq was based on population size, not on the level of violence, they said.

The study comes at a sensitive time for the Iraqi government, which is under pressure from American officials to take action against militias driving the sectarian killings.

In the last week of September, the government barred the central morgue in Baghdad and the Health Ministry — the two main sources of information for civilian deaths — from releasing figures to the news media. Now, only the government is allowed to release figures. It has not provided statistics for September, though a spokesman said Tuesday that it would.

The American military has disputed the Iraqi figures, saying that they are far higher than the actual number of deaths from the insurgency and sectarian violence, in part because they include natural deaths and deaths from ordinary crime, like domestic violence.

But the military has not released figures of its own, giving only percentage comparisons. For example, it cited a 46 percent drop in the murder rate in Baghdad in August from July as evidence of the success of its recent sweeps. At a briefing on Monday, the military’s spokesman declined to characterize the change for September.

The military has released rough counts of average numbers of Iraqis killed and wounded in a quarterly accounting report mandated by Congress. In the report, “Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq,” daily averages of dead and wounded Iraqi civilians, soldiers and police officers rose from 26 a day in 2004 to almost 120 a day in August 2006.

The study uses a method similar to that employed in estimates of casualty figures in other conflict areas like Darfur and Congo. It sought to measure the number of deaths that occurred as a result of the war.

It argues that absolute numbers of dead, like morgue figures, could not give a full picture of the “burden of conflict on an entire population,” because they were often incomplete.

The mortality rate before the American invasion was about 5.5 people per 1,000 per year, the study found. That rate rose to 19.8 deaths per 1,000 people in the year ending in June.

Gunshots were the largest cause of death, the study said, at 56 percent of all violent deaths, while car bombs accounted for about 13 percent. Deaths caused by the American military declined as an overall percentage from March 2003 to June 2006.

Violent deaths have soared since the American invasion, but the rise is in part a matter of spotty statistical history. Under Saddam Hussein, the state had a monopoly on killing, and the deaths of thousands of Iraqi Shiites and Kurds that it caused were never counted.

While the near collapse of the Iraqi state makes precise record-keeping difficult, authorities have made considerable progress toward tracking death figures. In 2004, when the Johns Hopkins study was first released, authorities were still compiling deaths on an ad hoc basis. But by this year, they were being provided regularly.

Iraqi authorities say morgue counts are more accurate than is generally thought. Iraqis prefer to bury their dead immediately, and hurry bodies of loved ones to plots near mosques or, in the case of Shiites, in sacred burial sites. Even so, they have strong incentives to register the death with a central morgue or hospital in order to obtain a death certificate, required at highway checkpoints, by cemetery workers, and for government pensions. Death certificates are counted in the statistics kept by morgues around the country.

The most recent United Nations figure, 3,009 Iraqis killed in violence across the country in August, was compiled by statistics from Baghdad’s central morgue, and from hospitals and morgues countrywide. It assumes a daily rate of about 97.

The figure is not exhaustive. A police official at Yarmouk Hospital in Baghdad who spoke on the condition of anonymity said he had seen nationwide counts provided to the hospital that indicated as many as 200 people a day were dying.

Gilbert Burnham, the principle author of the study, said the figures showed an increase of deaths over time that was similar to that of another civilian casualty project, Iraq Body Count, which collates deaths reported in the news media, and even to that of the military. But even Iraq Body Count puts the maximum number of deaths at just short of 49,000.

As far as skepticism about the death count, he said that counts made by journalists and others focused disproportionately on Baghdad, and that death rates were higher elsewhere.

“We found deaths all over the country,” he said. Baghdad was an area of medium violence in the country, he said. The provinces of Diyala and Salahuddin, north of Baghdad, and Anbar to the west, all had higher death rates than the capital.

Statistics experts in the United States who were able to review the study said the methods used by the interviewers looked legitimate.

Robert Blendon, director of the Harvard Program on Public Opinion and Health and Social Policy, said interviewing urban dwellers chosen at random was “the best of what you can expect in a war zone.”

But he said the number of deaths in the families interviewed — 547 in the post-invasion period versus 82 in a similar period before the invasion — was too few to extrapolate up to more than 600,000 deaths across the country.

Donald Berry, chairman of biostatistics at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, was even more troubled by the study, which he said had “a tone of accuracy that’s just inappropriate.”

Sabrina Tavernise reported from Baghdad, and Donald G. McNeil Jr. from New York.

JURIST - Paper Chase: Fate of transferred Afghan prisoners unknown: report

110 bullet-riddled bodies found in Baghdad - CNN.com

Oh yeah. Let's stay this course. 110 bullet-riddled bodies found in Baghdad - CNN.com

Cowboy Foreign Policy

Robert Parry is the heart and conscience of the liberal blogosphere. Here he is on the subject of Bush and nuclear North Korea:Consortiumnews.com

Dobbs: Middle class needs to fight back now - CNN.com

I hate to agree with a cable television blowhard, but the man has a point.Dobbs: Middle class needs to fight back now - CNN.com

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

New NYT/CBS News Poll

“The number of Americans who approve of Mr. Bush’s handling of the campaign terrorism dropped to 46 percent from 54 percent over the past two weeks, suggesting that the president had failed to gain any political lift from an orchestrated set of ceremonies marking the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.” New York Times/CBS News poll 10/10/06

The reassuring thing to be glimpsed beneath the numbers in the just-released NYT/CBS news poll to be found here (registration required) is that maybe – just maybe – people who have settled for the “form” of ceremonies and empty rhetoric are beginning to want the “substance” of meaningful policy and action.

CNN.com - Poll: About half think Hastert should resign - Oct 9, 2006

The headline says "about half" the numbers say "more than half"CNN.com - Poll: About half think Hastert should resign - Oct 9, 2006

Monday, October 09, 2006

Aw, shucks... Too bad...

Think Progress � “Why should I care about North Korea?”

Dear Christians...

Dear American Christian Fundamentalists,
How do you like your blue-eyed boys now? How about their covering up Congressman Foley’s pedophilia in order to retain a Republican seat in Congress? Disgusted yet?

You went along with them as they lied the country into a war. You turned a blind eye on the hundred-thousand murders that followed. You bought into that “fight the terrorists over there so we don’t have to fight them over here” crap all the way.

Back home, you stood by as they cut taxes on the ultra-wealthy. You stood by again as they cut spending on health, education and social programs, even as they spent like drunk sailors everywhere else – and drove America’s future into the ditch.

Just a few weeks ago, you watched them rescind habeas corpus and give George W. Bush the authority to define what is and is not torture.

How do you think Jesus feels about that, what with dying on a cross and all? By their acts shall you know them. Remember?

So now that they’ve covered up for a sexual predator, will that be enough to wake you up?

Yours truly,

Bubba

Your liberal media at work

This from the New York Times

Secret Iraq Meeting Included Journalists

By JULIE BOSMAN
Published: October 9, 2006

It was the kind of shadowy, secret Washington meeting that Bob Woodward is fond of describing in detail. In his new book, “State of Denial,” he writes that on Nov. 29, 2001, a dozen policy makers, Middle East experts and members of influential policy research organizations gathered in Virginia at the request of Paul D. Wolfowitz, then the deputy secretary of defense. Their objective was to produce a report for President Bush and his cabinet outlining a strategy for dealing with Afghanistan and the Middle East in the aftermath of 9/11.

What was more unusual, Mr. Woodward reveals, was the presence of journalists at the meeting. Fareed Zakaria, the editor of Newsweek International and a Newsweek columnist, and Robert D. Kaplan, now a national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, attended the meeting and, according to Mr. Kaplan, signed confidentiality agreements not to discuss what happened.

While members of policy research groups often dispense advice to administration officials, journalists do not typically attend secret meetings or help compile government reports. Indeed, many Washington journalists complain that the current administration keeps them at an unhealthy distance.

Mr. Zakaria takes issue with Mr. Woodward’s account, saying that while he attended the meeting for several hours, he does not recall being told that a report would be produced.

...

Mr. Kaplan said much of the meeting was spent drafting and reworking the document, which in the end carried the names of all 12 participants and was “a forceful summary of some of the best pro-war arguments at the time.” Could any of the participants have been unaware there was a document in the making? “No, that’s not possible,” he said.

Mr. Kaplan, who was then a freelancer at The Atlantic Monthly, said he spoke to his editor before attending, and was given approval to attend because “everybody was in a patriotic fervor.”

Mr. Zakaria said he felt participating was appropriate because his views, as a columnist for Newsweek, were public, although he has never divulged his involvement to his readers.

“My column is an analytical column,” he said, adding that he gives advice to policy makers and elected officials: “If a senator calls me up and asks me what should we do in Iraq, I’m happy to talk to him.” JULIE BOSMAN

Atomic North Korea

From the first months in office through North Korea’s nuclear test, the Bush Administration’s foreign policy has been an unmitigated disaster.

Politics

Lost in all the fun of watching the Republicans self destruct this fall is any sense that the Democrats represent real, genuine change.

You can point to policy differences. You can pretend the Dems occupy the moral high ground. In point of fact, though, the Democratic party is every bit as addicted to lobbyist money – and every bit as vulnerable to corruption – as the Republican party is.

Should the House and/or the Senate change hands this fall, the underlying system will still be in place. Influence will still be influence. Pork will still be pork. The good times will continue to roll.

They’ll just roll the Democrats’ way. And, after a while, when the public gets good and upset with their excesses, the public will turn things back over to the Republicans. The hand basket we are in will change. The route to hell will not.

Politics. Such a strange and mesmerizing bit of theater. Part morality play, part professional wrestling, complete with good guys, bad guys, plots, subplots, back plots heroes and villains. The losers now always win later. The good guys become the bad guys. Life goes on.

It would all be uproariously fun, except it is deadly serious now. The planet is warming. The global economic paradigm is shifting.

Indulging themselves and their friends, the Republicans have played fast and loose with the Constitution, impeaching one president for a frivolity, refusing to oversee the misguided excesses of another president, deeding away individual civil rights, taking care of their corporate pals.

They deserve to be thrown out. They have earned our scorn one selfish, misguided act at a time.

But don’t think for a moment that the Democrats are not capable of the same levels of corruption, malfeasance and myopia. There is no moral high ground in that swamp.

Human nature being essentially crooked, the job of governing ourselves comes with a certain amount of grease, juice and corruption. Our job as citizens is to rail against it – to perpetually vote new heroes in as we throw the old bums out, regardless of political affiliation – to perpetually believe that we can do better.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Buh-Bye...

Interesting summmary of the Republican's quagmire. Should not be confused with any sense of Democrats holding moral high groundCNN.com - The end of a revolution - Oct 8, 2006

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Staying the course (cough)

From the New York Times:

Warner’s Iraq Remarks Surprise White House

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 — The White House, caught off guard by a leading Republican senator who said the situation in Iraq was “drifting sideways,” responded cautiously on Friday, with a spokeswoman for President Bush stopping short of saying outright that Mr. Bush disagreed with the assessment.
Skip to next paragraph
The Reach of War
Go to Complete Coverage »
Related
U.S. General Says 4,000 Iraqi Policemen Have Died in 2 Years (October 7, 2006)
Readers’ Opinions
Forum: The Transition in Iraq

“I don’t believe that the president thinks that way,” Dana Perino, the deputy White House press secretary, said when asked whether the president agreed with the senator, John Warner of Virginia. “I think that he believes that while it is tough going in Iraq, that slow progress is being made.”

Ms. Perino’s carefully worded response underscores the delicate situation that Mr. Warner, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has created for the White House just one month before an election in which Mr. Bush has been trying to shift the national debate from the war in Iraq to the broader war on terror.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday after returning from a trip that included a one-day stop in Baghdad, Mr. Warner said the United States should consider “a change of course” if the violence there did not diminish soon. He did not specify what shift might be necessary, but said that the American military had done what it could to stabilize Iraq and that no policy options should be taken “off the table.”

With the blessing of the White House, a high-level commission led by James A. Baker III, the former secretary of state, is already reviewing American policy in Iraq. But the commission is not scheduled to report to Mr. Bush and Congress until after the November elections, a timeline that the White House had hoped would enable Mr. Bush to avoid public discussion of any change of course until after voters determine which party will control Congress next year.

Now, Mr. Warner’s comments are pushing up that timeline, forcing Republicans to confront the issue before some are ready. In an interview on Friday, Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who has been critical of the administration’s approach in the past, said there was a “growing sense of unease” among other Republicans, which she said could deepen because of Senator Warner’s comments.

Ms. Collins, who is the chairwoman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, echoed Mr. Warner’s calls for a shift in strategy in Iraq. “When Chairman Warner, who has been a steadfast ally of this administration, calls for a new strategy,” she said, “that is clearly significant.”

She said the current approach, which she attributed to Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, had not led to an overall reduction in violence or any prospect that American troop levels would come down soon.

“We’ve heard over and over that as Iraqis stand up, our troops will stand down,” Ms. Collins said. “Well, there are now hundreds of thousands of Iraqi troops and security forces, and yet we have not seen any reduction in violence.”

Democrats, who have been using their fall election campaigns to tap into intense voter dissatisfaction with the way that Mr. Bush has handled Iraq, quickly seized on the Warner remarks, circulating them in e-mail messages to reporters. Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., the senior Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, convened a conference call on Friday afternoon to hammer home the theme that even Republicans believed that the administration must change course. “Warner’s statement is an important, important statement and, I hope, a turning point,” Mr. Biden told reporters.

He that at least two Republican colleagues other than Mr. Warner had told him that once the election was over, they would join with Democrats in working on a bipartisan plan for bringing stability to Iraq. Echoing Mr. Warner’s language, he said, “I wouldn’t take any option off the table at this time. We are at the point of no return.”

The White House said Friday that Mr. Bush had not spoken to Mr. Warner about his comments, and otherwise insisted that it had not glossed over the problems in Iraq. During her afternoon briefing, Ms. Perino harked back to a speech in late August in which, she said, the president said Iraq was at a “crucial moment.” She said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had put forth the same message during her unannounced visit to Baghdad this week.

Later in the day, the White House circulated an e-mail message titled “Iraq Update: Political Progress,” citing comments of other lawmakers, including Democrats, who had returned from the Middle East with more hopeful assessments than the one offered by Mr. Warner.

Rove aide resigns in fallout over Abramoff report - Yahoo! News

No doubt it's a Democrat's fault somehow:Rove aide resigns in fallout over Abramoff report - Yahoo! News

Friday, October 06, 2006

Olbermann Gets It Said

Waterboarding Historically Controversial - washingtonpost.com

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Foleygate. It's not just for Republicans any more.

While it is absolutely wonderful to watch the Republicans and Fox News struggle with Foleygate, it is important that Democrats not allow themselves to be too glib about it. People aren’t any happier with them than they are with the Republicans.

People may be angrier with the Republicans. People may want change. But people are not high-fiving one another about the prospect of the Democrats coming to power.

They see the Democrats as part of the same inside-the-beltway problem – of that D.C. culture of privilege and corruption. To them, Dems are not any more pure. The Dems are just out of power. The Dems have had to settle for the chump change that was left over after the lobbyists greased the Republicans.

Outside the beltway, a lot of people feel that the Democrats’ silence on the Foley situation is either relief that their own scandal hasn’t come to the surface or part of their consultants’ plan for not screwing up the best chance they’ve had to retake the House since they got run out of power in1994.

People believe that, if the House turns over this fall, the corruption will flow across the aisle. Lobbyists will point the grease gun the other way. That’s all.

We have reached one of those “At long last” moments – all of us Republicans and Democrats and everyone else. Have we had our fill of this crap? At long last, have we had enough?

Those Democrats who are salivating and wringing their hands as they wait for Election Day would do well to take notice.

The Elephant in the Voting Booth

Mark Crispin Miller is one of the best political writers working today. Here he is on the subject of voting machinesWelcome to Washington Spectator Online

More Gladiators

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Free speech?

Dick Cheney is a mean man Rocky Mountain News: Local

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Condoleezza kinda lying

Wrong on defense. Wrong on economy.

A Nobel Prize winner comes down 4-square against Bush's economic policies (registration required)How to Fix the Global Economy - New York Times

What a schmuck

This from a guy who I can't seeem to remember running across during my 1970-71 all-expenses paid tour of Vietnam CNN.com - Bush: Democrats shouldn't be trusted to run Congress - Oct 3, 2006

Cutting? Running?

Family values

As late as last Friday,they were working to cover it up...AMERICAblog: A blog for a great nation that deserves the truth

Monday, October 02, 2006

Condolezza kinda lying

Jack who?

Wal-Mart to use more part-timers, wage caps: NYT�|�US News�|�Reuters.com

I'm always amazed when blue collar middle American people support these bastards. Hey, middle-America - Wal-Mart doesn't care about you. Wal-Mart wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire. But they would give you a great price on a fire extinguisher that was made in China. Wal-Mart to use more part-timers, wage caps: NYT�|�US News�|�Reuters.com

Vote your values

Yessir... Vote your values...The Blotter

Condoleezza kinda lying

"I can't seem to remember... Hmmm... Just can't... remember..."Rice: No memory of CIA warning of attack - Yahoo! News

Question...

What if you or I knew a dirty old man was harrassing teen-aged boys over the internet and did nothing about it for a year? Think Progress � Hastert Yanks Press Releases On Efforts To ‘Keep Kids Safe in Cyberspace’ From His Website

Point of order

As someone who knew the business end of a bottle and doesn't drink any more myself,(at least not today), I guess I should shut up and try to be as compassionate as possible for this guy.If he's alcoholic and getting help, good for him.

But it would appear that alcohol is a tangental issue, not the core problem. It would appear that the core problem is pedophelia.CNN.com - As sex e-mail allegations swirl, Foley enters rehab - Oct 2, 2006

Sunday, October 01, 2006

In case you thouught they were kidding about that habeas thing

And if you read the fine print in the bill, being an American citizen doessn't matter at allCNN.com - In Iraq, a journalist in limbo - Sep 29, 2006

"Tell me, Bobby - Do you like gladiator movies?"

Thank God Republican leadership didn't throw this guy under the bus until he had a chance to vote for the terrorism bill.AMERICAblog: A blog for a great nation that deserves the truth

Molly Ivins on the terrorist bill