Saturday, October 08, 2005

Bush admin 'woefully unprepared' for a flu pandemic

From a front page post by Plutonium Page on Daily Kos. She writes that Pandemic Flu Awareness Week ends tomorrow--I wasn't even aware that there was such an awareness week. So I felt it was important to front-page the issue here as well. In her diary, Page recommends visiting the Flu Wiki, and goes on to detail the Bush administration's response (or lack thereof) to this potential public health crisis.

Dean Statement on National Disability Employment Awareness Month

On the DNC web site, under "Press" you can find the following statement from Howard Dean on National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

"This month marks the 60th year that Americans celebrate the skills and know-how that people with disabilities bring to our workplace every day. With more than six million people with disabilities participating in the American workforce, we can all be proud of the doors of opportunity that have been opened to our friends, coworkers and neighbors with disabilities.

"But great progress can never be an excuse to turn our backs on the great work that remains to be done. We can never rest until every American enjoys equal opportunity to contribute and equal access to the American Dream. Sadly, too many people with disabilities are denied those opportunities, are left to live in poverty, and are victimized by a system that promotes their institutionalization instead of encouraging and enabling them to live independently in their own homes and communities.

"People with disabilities deserve better. They deserve leaders who provide resources instead of slogans, and who are committed to protecting and expanding their hard-earned rights and personal freedoms. Four years after the Bush Administration introduced its New Freedom Initiative, the White House and the Republicans in Congress have failed to provide the resources needed to help expand access and opportunities for people with disabilities. In fact, while the President's most recent budget proposal zeroed out key employment assistance programs, Democrats in Congress are leading the fight to restore those funds.

"We can do better. Democrats are committed to ensuring that the next Supreme Court Justice will not use the High Court to roll back the rights and freedoms that people with disabilities have fought so hard for, and to fully funding programs that help them live full, independent lives. Because we understand that when any one of us is held back, every one of us suffers."

This is the word of the Chair.
Thanks be to Howard.

Historical parallels

Wow--it certainly is gratifying to see this blog spring to life in the early hours of a Saturday morning! I need to head out for a bit, but thought it would be a good idea to put up a new thread. Looking to offer something with a little more substance than an open thread, I checked out some of the other blogs I frequent. Found something interesting by it's simple IF you ignore the complexity over at Street Prophets. Here is an excerpt:

It interests me how often there are parallels in periods of history. I've remarked, here and elsewhere, that I think (and fear) that we are reliving the late 1920's and early 1930's - the precipice of economic ruin and rising threat of fascism parallel that time. Similarly - those same years were a time of great struggle between progressive "social gospel" and fundamentalism in our society. The Scopes Monkey Trial and Fosdicks's epic sermon Shall the Fundamentalist Win"" seem to fit right into today's headlines.

Read the rest here.

Friday, October 07, 2005

BBC backs down (Bush/God story)

Crossposted at My Left Wing and Daily Kos

In Being "on a mission from God", I posted about a BBC series set to air that was going to report Bush's claim to Palestinian ministers "that God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq - and create a Palestinian State". Today, in BBC shies away from Bush story, we read that the BBC is backing off from that plan, "after a strong denial by the White House". Aw, come on--of course they deny it. In the Bush White House, they falsely deny at least a dozen things before breakfast. Does anyone really believe Bush doesn't say such things when he thinks he can get away with it?

BBC programme editors turned lukewarm on a claim by a BBC2 programme that George Bush believed God told him to invade Iraq and Afghanistan after a strong denial by the White House.

Just 24 hours after accusations that the corporation's news coverage was backing away from risk-taking, some of the BBC's key outlets decided not to run an exclusive story unearthed by BBC2 about the US president.

It was all the more unusual as yesterday morning the corporation sent out a press release trumpeting the exclusive in BBC2's forthcoming "major three-part" series called Israel and the Arabs: Elusive Peace.

In the programme, Palestinian minister Nabil Shaath said Mr Bush had told them during a meeting in June 2003 that God had given him a mission to invade Iraq and Afghanistan and also to create a Palestinian state.

Abu Mazen, another minister attending same meeting, said Mr Bush had told him: I have a moral and religious obligation. So I will get you a Palestinian state."

More here. Bush denied this one too. When visiting the Amish...

As he was about to leave, Bush told the group -- according to Stoltzfus' source "I trust God speaks through me. Without that I couldn't do my job."

I suspect he had his guard down because he thought there weren't any reporters present.

Friday Comics

Young Bushisms
Heart Of The Matter
Protest March Of The Penguins
Recruiting Extra Effort
Sanitation Economics
Hummer Escape Pod
It's A Small World After All
Washed Up
Glass Bone-Dry
Not Gonna Happen
George Bush Don't Like Black People
Prey For A Piece
Whoda Thunk

And my favorite for today: Jefferson Davis Eyes

What's your monster name?

UPDATE: It turns out that Corinne (and when I say Corinne, of course I mean Cheerleader-Obliterating Redhead-Injuring Nightmare from the Ninth Earth) not Oscar was posting at the same time I was. My suggestion would be to use both threads--hers for serious political commentary and this one for the silly stuff.

Do you know what your monster name is? Find out here.

I'm figuring any time now our Offensive Sinister Creature Addicted to Rage

will come by and post the comics thread, but what the heck, it's a gray Friday morning and I thought this would be fun to post, complete with avatars. Besides, do you really want to mess with a Ravenous Evil Nightmare from the Enchanted Earth?

I didn't think so.

As the PlameWatch Turns

The White House continues to spread misinformation about Karl Rove, declaring him "not worried" and "fine" as he faces a 4th appearance before the grand jury investigating the Valerie Plame case. According to today's NYTimes,

But some of the lawyers said Mr. Fitzgerald indicated that he had not yet made up his mind about whether to accuse anyone with wrongdoing and would use the coming weeks before the grand jury expires on Oct. 28 to decide the issue.

Mr. Fitzgerald's conversations with lawyers since late last week have left an ominous cloud hanging over the inquiry, sweeping away assurances from a number of officials and their lawyers that Mr. Fitzgerald was unlikely to find criminal wrongdoing.

In coming days, Mr. Fitzgerald is likely to request that several White House officials return to the grand jury to testify about their actions in the case - appearances that are believed to be decisive as the prosecutor proceeds toward a decision on whether to file charges.

Jane Hamsher at firedoglake says, "Oh I bet Special Counsel Fitzgerald already knows he's going to charge someone with "wrongdoing" (that's some euphemism) -- it's just a matter of how many "wrongdoings" he's going to pile one on top of another."

Well, the NYTimes says there's this possibility:

One new approach appears to involve the possible use of Chapter 37 of the federal espionage and censorship law, which makes it a crime for anyone who "willfully communicates, delivers, transfers or causes to be communicated" to someone "not entitled to receive it" classified information relating the national defense matters.

Under this broad statute, a government official or a private citizen who passed classified information to anyone else in or outside the government could potentially be charged with a felony, if they transferred the information to someone without a security clearance to receive it.

In related news, Boston Globe columnist Tom Oliphant takes a peek at Bush's unmentionables--his poll numbers. And it's not pretty.

Today's WaPo had this little treat for its readers: "Former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) met for at least 30 minutes with the top fundraiser of his Texas political action committee on Oct. 2, 2002, the same day that the Republican National Committee in Washington set in motion a series of financial transactions at the heart of the money-laundering and conspiracy case against DeLay."

Read this. Your jaw will drop too. Atrios could barely muster, "Oh. My. God."

Oscar, this toon's for you.

On the Town: WaPo's Reliable Source spotted Mick Jagger and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean at an eclectic Cafe Milano table that included Shakespeare Theatre's Michael Kahn, D.C. Council member Jack Evans, developer Brad Dockser andbaseball booster Winston Lord late Wednesday night. Later, Jagger and Lord were spotted at Modern nightclub in Georgetown.

Clearly, I am not running in the right circles.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Open thread

Just seems like time for a clean sheet. Why not go check out Oscar's latest post, Hide the Salami?

Thursday Comics

Brownie Crony Nina Miers
The Next U.N. Ambassador
Paper Trail
Failed TV Shows
Faith-Based Nomination
Boy Who Cried 'Wolf!'
Kill The Messenger
Pissed-Off Base
Aborted Problems

And my favorite for today: Your Turn

Transcript of Gov. Dean on Hardball

Either this transcript was not proofread, or Matthews is totally inarticulate.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HARDBALL HOST: Dr. Dean, were you surprised by the nomination of Harriet Miers to be a member of the United States Supreme Court?

HOWARD DEAN, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: I was surprised. I'm like most every other American, including the ones in Washington. We know almost nothing about her. And we have a lot of questions to be answered before she gets a lifetime appointment.

MATTHEWS: Would you have ever thought of her as a possible court nominee?

DEAN: No. You know, she's a person who's very much below the radar screen as the president's legal counsel. But there's a lot of questions. I do think the president should make sure the Senate knows about her positions that she took while she was the president's legal counsel because it's the only documentation that we're going to have about what she believes.

MATTHEWS: Do you believe that the president can claim executive privilege?

DEAN: Well, certainly the president can claim executive privilege. But in this case, I think with a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, you can't play, you know, hide the salami, or whatever it's called. He's got to go out there and say something about this woman who's going to a 20 or 30-year appointment, a 20 or 30-year appointment to influence America. We deserve to know something about her.

MATTHEWS: Are you being consistent? During the campaign, there was an issue of you releasing records from Montpelier. And you were fighting that case, you were saying, "I don't want to release these records. They divulge a lot of personal matters. I'm not going to do it." Now you're saying the president should release these papers.

DEAN: Well, actually, I did release about 2/3 of our records. The stuff that I didn't release was stuff - was not about people who were up for appointment to the United States Supreme Court, I can assure you of that.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, is this a case of cronyism?

DEAN: I wouldn't go that far. We don't know Ms. Miers. I've always believed people ought to begin with the benefit of the doubt. I thought long and hard before I opposed Judge Roberts, and I opposed him because I thought he would [not]protect the most vulnerable Americans. Now we'll get a chance to see. Until I know something about her, I'm not willing to condemn her.

MATTHEWS: Judge Roberts got an even split among the Democratic senators. I think it was 22-22. Do you think this woman will do as well?

DEAN: I just have no idea, Chris. I have no idea. I know nothing about her, I don't think many people in America know much about her.

MATTHEWS: John Roberts, when he was up before the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he was not an ideologue. In fact, he was implying he wasn't a partisan politician. Do you think she can make that claim, having served so loyally this Republican president?

DEAN: You know...

MATTHEWS: Can she claim not [to] be an ideologue when she's been such a Bushie?

DEAN: Well, I don't think she probably is an ideologue. I think she's probably a pretty smart lawyer, but that doesn't mean she ought to be on the Supreme Court. I think we ought to know whether she's going to defend Americans, whether she's going to defend all Americans. I wasn't very impressed by Judge Roberts questioning the voters of Oregon on the euthanasia laws they have. It seems to me that if you believe in states' rights that you ought to support the state's rights. And he seemed to take a contradictory view of that. So I think let's find out what these folks are like, which you find out pretty fast when they go on the bench. I think it's really, really important that we know a lot more about her than we do right now.

MATTHEWS: George Welsh sik (Wills?), the columnist, said at this point, there's no reason right now why this woman should be approved for the court. It's up to her to prove herself. Do you take that stand, that she has to be proven, and she has to do it, that she deserves a seat on the Supreme Court?

DEAN: Yes, I think she has to prove that she can defend the American Constitution, something which Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas, for example, did not do and have not done very well. We need people who will actually do what the Constitution says, who will protect all Americans equally under the law and not try to rewrite the Constitution so it looks like a right-wing Federalist Society agenda. And that's all I ask for.

MATTHEWS: Does it bother [you] that she's been to a pro-life event?

DEAN: No. I mean, you know, I'm a strong believer that the government ought not to tell women what kind of health care they ought to have. But I don't mind what her religious convictions are, as long [as] she's upholding the law.

MATTHEWS: The Democratic Party supports abortion rights. Do you?

DEAN: Yes. I believe that a woman ought not to be told by the government what kind of health care she ought to have. That's not the government's business.

MATTHEWS: Do you believe the Democratic Party consists on that position, despite the comments by Hillary Clinton about the need for dialogue and all that. Do you think.. sound on this. Huh?

DEAN: I think we ought to have the smallest number of abortions possible. You know, abortions have gone up since George Bush has been president. I think we ought to reduce abortions to the smallest number possible. But I don't think you do it by taking away the right of women to make up their own minds about the way their lives are going to be shaped.

MATTHEWS: So in this upcoming birth on partial-birth that's coming, there's going to be a verdict on that sometime after Thanksgiving. HUH? Do you think it's important that the new justice be a person who supports abortion rights down the line, supports Roe v. Wade?

DEAN: I think it's important that the justice is willing to grant individual freedom to all Americans, not just on the issue of abortion, but the individual freedoms that make up - for voting rights, for example. I think they ought to defend people's ability to vote unharassed. I think this thing they're doing down in Georgia where they're going to charge people 20 bucks for an ID so they can vote, that's going back to the days of Jim Crow. Those are the kinds of things I really care about. I want people that defend the individual freedoms and rights of Americans. And so far, we haven't seen that happen from the right wing.

MATTHEWS: Dr. Dean, you've been very cautious here, and I think a lot of Democrats have, you're not alone. Why are the right-wing people, the people on the radio all day, Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, people like Bill Kristol, who was mentally? important in knocking Hillary Clinton's health care plan, he has a big power in this country. Why are they out there with the blunderbuss, going at this nomination, and you're so cool about it?

DEAN: Well, I don't know. They can say whatever they want, that's what they do. Sometimes the people who talk the most know the least. LOL Yeah! Ain't it the truth?

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about Iraq. One in six Democrats now tell pollsters that the war in Iraq was worth it. Are you one of those one in six, or one of the five in six - I should say, well, only one in six say it's worth it. Are you one of the one in six or one of the five in six who don't think it was worth it?

DEAN: Well, I think, Chris, one thing I am is consistent. I thought this was a bad idea in the first place because I believed we would get just in the kind of mess we have. It looks like, Chris, now the Iraqi government that George Bush is supporting to hard is trying to rig the vote on the constitution. Women appear to be worse off under this constitution than they were under Saddam Hussein. I think this president's made a terrible mistake. Now we're stuck, we're in there. It's not responsible to take our troops out tomorrow, but we need to get our troops out of there and we need to do it in a reasonable way and not lose any more lives.

MATTHEWS: Most Democrats, in fact all but a quarter, think that your party, you, don't have a policy, an alternative, to President Bush on Iraq. What is your clear-cut alternative to what he's doing now in Iraq?

DEAN: Well, our clear-cut alternative, of course, wouldn't have been to get in there in the first place. But I think our clear-cut alternative is we know we have to come home. The American people are sick of this, they think this was a mistake. The question is, what's the timetable to come home? There's a lot of reasonable alternatives. I personally don't think it's reasonable to pull out all the troops tomorrow. But I clearly think sooner is better than later.

MATTHEWS: If we haven't begun that withdrawal by next November, the election of congressmen and senators across the country, will this be a campaign issue?

DEAN: It will be, but I think the culture of corruption that Tom DeLay and Karl Rove and Scooter Libby and Bill Frist and the Ohio people are bringing to the Republican Party is a much bigger campaign issue. You can't trust Republicans with your money. Not only can they not handle [it], in terms of driving up huge deficits, but it turns out they're also putting it in their own pockets. Nobody likes corruption. Not conservatives, not liberals, not Democrats, not Republicans.

MATTHEWS: Wait, wait, wait. Dr. Dean, who was putting money in their pockets in the Republican leadership?

DEAN: Well, first of all - well, certainly Tom Noe was, who gave money to a lot of other people. Jack Abramoff was putting money not just into his own pocket, but into...

MATTHEWS: The former aide to Tom DeLay, right.

DEAN: Right, maybe into Tom DeLay's pocket, which was certainly benefiting a bunch of folks in Texas who were running for reelection. And then you have the issues of revealing what may be national security secrets, which Karl Rove and Scooter Libby are accused of. And then you have the question, which would be money in their pockets if it proved to be founded, of whether Senator Frist participated in insider trading or not, which is currently being looked at.

MATTHEWS: Right. You're talking about these junkets that DeLay's accused of taking at the behest of Jack Abramoff, his former aid, when you said, "money in his pocket."

DEAN: I'm talking about the junkets, the free trips - but I'm also talking about the indirect benefits of having more Republicans by circuitous - circumventing the campaign laws in Texas by putting corporate money, washed through the Republican National Committee, into Texas illegally, which is what he's charged with in his indictment.

MATTHEWS: If Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, says that the vice president's office was involved in leaking the name of that CIA agent, do you believe - what do you think his status would be, the vice president, if his office was named to be involved in this?

DEAN: Well, I think that depends on what kind of evidence there is, if that's true. Obviously, the person, I think, who's indicted would have to step down immediately. And then we'd have to ask the question, was the vice president himself personally involved in this? And that of course extends the -

MATTHEWS: Do you believe it's credible that the vice president's chief of staff, his office, his operation, were involved in such a scheme to hurt somebody like Joe Wilson, that he wasn't personally involved in his own office's activities? Do you think it's credible?

DEAN: Sure - well, I don't think it's very credible that he didn't know anything about it, because the MO of the Bush administration is to discredit your opponents and attack them personally rather than attack them for their position, which this is an example of.
These guys are bad for democracy. They're not interested in ideas; they're interested in power. And frankly they're not very much interested in the best interests of the American people. They're interested in the power for the right wing of the Republican Party, and that's why they'll be gone after 2006.

MATTHEWS: Back that up, Dr. Dean. What other examples can you point to - or any examples can you point to where the Republicans in power right now, in the White House or in Congress, have gone after somebody and tried to discredit them?

DEAN: Oh, I think there are numbers of them, not just Valerie Plame, but look at what they did to John Kerry with the Swift Boat ads. Certainly they - certainly tried to marginalize me during the presidential campaign. I think they would have done that -

MATTHEWS: Well, you helped a little, didn't you?Son Of A Bitch!

DEAN: I don't really think so. I think the press probably helped some. But -

MATTHEWS: I mean, the Dean scream was good material, like the ride in the tank was good material for the Republicans when they went after Mike Dukakis.

DEAN: Well, as you know very well, based on Diane Sawyer's report on ABC, that didn't exactly happen the way it was shown on television 700 times that week. But leaving that aside, I think it's very clear.

MATTHEWS: I know: it was a directed mike. I understand the technology.

Yeah, and? Is that the end? Did Matthews say, "Thank you, Dr. Dean," or anything? As I said, very poor editing here. However, Howard's words are what matter, and they have, for the most part, not been too badly mangled that I can detect.

He did us proud, as usual.

Al Gore addresses We Media conference

For anyone who missed it, here is a link to the transcript of Howard Dean's appearance on Hardball.
I got this link from a post on My Left Wing

Al Gore addresses The Media Center's We Media conference at AP headquarters in NY.

There is a link where you can download the full 48 minute, 20 MB MP3 of the speech. What you see here is about 10 minute of it...

I'm here today because I believe in the purposes of this conference, and admire the work that so many of you are doing, and because I truly believe that American democracy is facing a grave danger. And it is a danger that is sometimes hard to describe in words. But I'd like to start this is no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse. I know that I'm not the only one who feels that something has gone basically and badly wrong in the way America's fabled "marketplace of ideas" is now functioning. I wonder how many of you have had a friend of a family member remark at some point over the past few years that it's almost as if America has entered an alternate universe. Have you ever heard that phrase? I see a lot of nods, and, if there weren't so many journalists here I'd probably see more.

I thought, for example, that it was an aberration when three quarters of Americans reported that they believed that Saddam Hussein was the one responsible for attacking us on September 11, 2001. But here we are more than four years later, and between a third and a half still believe it. That's strange. Strange, because they believe something that's just not true.

To take another example. At first I thought that the exhaustive, nonstop coverage of the O.J. trial was just an unfortunate excess that marked a rare and unfortunate departure from what I do consider to be the normal good sense and judgement of our television news media. But now with the perspective of time, we know that it was merely an early example of a new pattern of serial obsessions that periodically take over the airwaves for weeks at a time. That's strange, isn't it? I think it is.

To take a third example...are we, as Americans, still routinely torturing helpless prisoners? And if so, does it feel normal that we as American citizens are not expressing outrage at this practice? And does it feel right to have no ongoing discussion of whether or not this abhorrant medieval behavior is being carried out regularly in the name of the American people?

Or to take another example...if the gap between rich and poor is widening steadily, and economic stress is mounting quickly for low income families, why is apathy and lethargy in our role as citizens increasing right alongside this distress? That seems strange to me.

Or to take a final example...on the eve of our nation's decision to invade Iraq, our longest serving senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia stood on the Senate floor and famously asked, "Why is this chamber empty? Why are these halls silent? The decision that was then under consideration in what used to be called the world's most deliberative body, turned out to be a fateful one. Indeed, just a few days ago, the respected former head of the national security agency Lt. General William Odom said "The invasion of Iraq I believe will turn out to be the greatest strategic disaster in U.S. history.

But whether you agree with General Odom's assessment or not. Even if you believe that this was a wise policy, still, Senator Byrd's question has direct relevance, and his questions are like the others that I posed a moment ago. He was saying, in effect, here we are on the eve of war, a lot's at stake, big questions haven't been answered, and nobody's debating it. Nobody's talking about it. The Senate chamber is empty. That's strange, isn't it? That's what he was saying. Aren't we supposed to have full and vigorous debate in our democracy about questions as important as the choice between war and peace?

Those of us who served in the Senate, incidentally, and watched it change over time, could volunteer answers to Senator Byrd's two questions. The Senate was silent on the eve of war because senators have now come to feel that what they say on the floor of the Senate really doesn't matter that much any more. And the Senate chamber was empty because the senators were somewhere else. They were in fundraisers, collecting money mainly from special interests, in order to buy 30 second television commercials for their next re-election campaign because 30 second television commercials are just about the only thing that matters in political campaigns any more. That's strange.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, there was at least for a short time, a quality of vividness and clarity of focus in our public discourse that reminded some Americans, including many journalists, that vividness and clarity used to be more common in the way we talk with one another about the problems and choices that we face. But then, like a passing summer storm, the moment faded.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Raw Story: Cracks in the GOP Facade

Whoa. No amount of bondo in the world could fill these cracks, I'm sure: RAW STORY is reporting that Bill "the cat" Frist is facing a significant challenge as Senate majority leader not just from Sam Brownback on the Senate Judiciary Committee, but also John Warner on the delays in the military's budget bill and flash-from-the-past Trent Lott, who has joined the ranks of those publicly speaking out against Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court.

While hardly all-out rebellion, the three senators' comments may presage unrest to come. As Senate leader, Frist sets the timetable for when legislation is voted on; he is the gatekeeper of the President's agenda. Frist has prevented a vote on the military budget because he is certain to lose a battle over an amendment authored by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) which prohibits the Administration from employing torture -- a measure that President Bush has threatened to veto.

Not only are the conservatives vexed about Miers, they're also unhappy over Bush's profligate spending, the largest increase in government spending in U.S. history. The American Conservative Union has said, "Conservatives throughout the United States are increasingly losing faith in the President and the Republican Leadership in Congress to adequately prioritize and rein in overall federal spending."

According to RAW STORY,

What was once a hairline fracture in party cohesion is now a broken bone. Whether Republicans in Congress can reform a disciplined cavalcade behind the party's agenda and its leadership - as the Democrats did on Social Security - may be the difference between holding onto the presidency and Congress and losing control in the years to come.

More trouble in doggyland: the Gang of 14 is meeting at 4:30 today.

SusanHu has diaries up at Kos and Booman Tribune, if you want to enjoy the comments.

Extra credit: Is there any reason why James Dobson should not be subpoenaed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee?

A dose of Dean

For those of us who are feeling a little Howard-deprived these days, the good news is that he's going to be on television today. The bad news, depending on how you feel about Tweety, is that he'll be on Hardball.

From the DNC blog:

Gov. Dean will be appearing on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews today to discuss the Miers nomination, DeLay's indictment, and other issues of the day. The interview will broadcast twice today (5 and 7 p.m. ET). Be sure to tune in!

Also on the DNC site, under the "Press" heading, you can find Howard Dean's statement commemorating the start of Ramadan.

Wednesday Cartoons

Kierkegaard (R-Red State)
Cat Blogging
That Dog Don't Hunt
Faint Praise
Deep Caca
Battered-Wife Syndrome
She's A Witch
Complete Transparency
To Chambers!
He Spoke
My Little Crony
Heavy Water
Straight Pimpin'
Throwing Money At Problems

And my favorite for today: Persistent Vegetative State

George Will goes off the reservation

I must admit that the best part of Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court is watching the famous GOP discipline disintegrate. George Will is the latest right-winger to say there is no obligation to confirm her:

It is not important that she be confirmed because there is no evidence that she is among the leading lights of American jurisprudence, or that she possesses talents commensurate with the Supreme Court's tasks. The president's "argument" for her amounts to: Trust me. There is no reason to, for several reasons.

Ok, Will has just said Bush cannot be trusted. I'll wait until that sinks in. Here's why:

He has neither the inclination nor the ability to make sophisticated judgments about competing approaches to construing the Constitution. Few presidents acquire such abilities in the course of their pre-presidential careers, and this president particularly is not disposed to such reflections.

Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that Miers's nomination resulted from the president's careful consultation with people capable of such judgments. If 100 such people had been asked to list 100 individuals who have given evidence of the reflectiveness and excellence requisite in a justice, Miers's name probably would not have appeared in any of the 10,000 places on those lists.

In addition, the president has forfeited his right to be trusted as a custodian of the Constitution. The forfeiture occurred March 27, 2002, when, in a private act betokening an uneasy conscience, he signed the McCain-Feingold law expanding government regulation of the timing, quantity and content of political speech. The day before the 2000 Iowa caucuses he was asked -- to ensure a considered response from him, he had been told in advance that he would be asked -- whether McCain-Feingold's core purposes are unconstitutional. He unhesitatingly said, "I agree." Asked if he thought presidents have a duty, pursuant to their oath to defend the Constitution, to make an independent judgment about the constitutionality of bills and to veto those he thinks unconstitutional, he briskly said, "I do."

As we say back home, "Light dawns on Marblehead." The right-wing is admitting that their leader is not smart. Not even close to being smart. Even more, they are deathly afraid Miers is going to be another Souter.

The emperor not only has no clothes, he's not even a real conservative.

I'm shocked, just shocked I tell you.

UPDATE: If you like to indulge in a bit of schadenfreude, here is a nice neat package of imploding conservatives.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Oh no, not Yoo again!

Speaking this evening on The News Hour, UC Berkley professor John Yoo made it clear that he is disturbed by, if not outright opposed to Fearless Leader's nomination of Harriot Miers to the Supreme Court. His reason is not that she is inexperienced in the ways of The Bench, but rather that he cannot be sure she won't pull a Souter and, shock HORROR, "grow!"

MARGARET WARNER: Professor Yoo, what did you think when you heard the president say I know she's not going to change her judicial philosophy over 20 years? Did you find that reassuring or like Professor Karlan, did you find it troubling?

JOHN YOO: I found it mildly reassuring but I don't think it answers the deep questions because I think one thing that is probably becoming clear is she probably hasn't had to think about a lot of questions that the Supreme Court has to face along the lines that Pam listed. The second thing is, this is very much -- the way to understand this is very much a reaction, I think, to his father's appointment of Justice Souter.

The great fear I think amongst conservatives is that someone will be put up into office in the Supreme Court who will "grow in office," and conservatives generally think justices who are more of a blank slate tend to grow to the left. The sun somehow shines on the plant from the left. And because of that, that's why President Bush keeps repeating she won't change. She's going to stay steady.
But it doesn't mean a lot if we don't know what the starting point is.

Its odd how the two extremes tend to meet. Ultra RWs oppose Miers, and LWs oppose Miers. In fact, I gather some "moderate" Republicans are less than thrilled with her as well. Could be a formidable coalition. *Could* be, if the Senate "Dems" would hold together. Apparently our Noble Leader, Harry Reed, however, is pleased with her nomination.

When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Strickland/Cleland event in Dayton

Last night I posted that Max Cleland would be endorsing Ted Strickland for Governor of Ohio, and would be appearing with him at events across Ohio today. I very much wanted to be able to attend the Columbus event and provide a first hand report complete with photos. Sadly, I wasn't able to attend, so when Susan D. commented that she'd been to the event in Dayton, I asked if she could write something up for those who weren't able to be there. Thanks for agreeing to share what you could remember about the event, Susan--I know you weren't expecting that there would be a quiz. ;-)
Senator Cleland was introduced by a young representative who has just come home from his FOURTH deployment to Iraq! He spoke about knowing he could trust Ted Strickland. He spoke about the fact that Strickland has fought hard to see that the troops were supplied in a timely manner, that vehicles were uparmored, etc. Of course, he praised Senator Cleland as he introduced him.

Ted Strickland goes to all the funerals for Iraqi veterans in his district. (Side note: When Strickland spoke to us in Columbus for the DFO meeting, he told us that he has returned his government pay raises, and that he refused the medical insurance for elected officials. He and his wife pay for their own. He said he comes from a poor district and he doesn't want to put himself above his constituents.) Strickland spoke about the embarrassment of having such a corrupt State government. He talked about the fact that people in the age range from 26 - 44 are leaving Ohio because they can't build a life here. He said Ohioans are deeply patriotic and our government, national and local, hasn't done right by them. He spoke about the fact that people need to be able to trust their government.

Sen. Cleland has a great sense of humor! The event took place at Memorial Hall in Dayton. He said, "I noticed that you have a cannon out there on the lawn. I just want to let you know (pause, smile) we have cannons in Georgia too. They're all pointed North."

He said that Strickland is "for real". He doesn't go to the funerals for political reasons; he goes because it's in his heart. Basically just spoke about what a good man Ted Strickland is, and how good he'd be for Ohio. Senator Cleland got a standing ovation at the end.

There were only about fifty of us (because of weekday/workday), but they'd seated us in the lobby rotunda, so our applause sounded like 500 people.

Tuesday's Comics

Bush's Base
Advice & Consent
Google Bomb
It's The Cronyism, Stupid
Lesson Learned
Postmodern Qualifications
True Qualifications
Most Qualified
Refugees From Reality
One Hand Washes The Other
Heck Of A Job

And my favorite for today: Doggy Style

Hold the Revolution

Yesterday, people were choosing up sides on Harriet Miers faster than Moses parted the Red Sea.

Today, Boston Globe columnist Tom Oliphant says he doesn't think the nomination of Harriet Miers to replace Sandra Day O'Connor is such a bad thing:

Brownback and his conservative friends got the back of Bush's hand. Having essentially held their tongues -- and then their noses -- during the hearings on the Roberts nomination, their reward was an even blanker slate for the hole being left on the court by Sandra Day O'Connor.

What bothered conservatives privately about Roberts was the extent to which he went out of his way to respect the court's most important precedents and the modesty with which he said he would approach big issues. They smelled, at best, incrementalism, and they believe that yesterday Bush gave them even less than that.

This is the most important moment yet in the Bush presidency, when his most vocal and activist supporters have felt like they were on the outside looking in. Their disappointment -- and privately, there is a great deal of anger -- should be the cue for the rest of us to join Sam Brownback in his posture, but to do so with a strong, built-in bias in favor of her confirmation in the absence of shocking, disqualifying evidence.

The revolution Oliphant is referring to is not a revolt against Miers as unqualified but the judicial revolution conservatives hoped would happen during a Bush presidency:

And that is what conservatives hate about her, realizing as they do that this is their last time via Bush to have a chance to employ the Supreme Court on behalf of their long-delayed hopes of revolution via the courts.

The Miers nomination is also another occasion on which to observe that this year's compromise, engineered by a bipartisan collection of 14 moderate senators, to end filibusters for the most part against Bush's appellate court nominees appears to be holding pretty firm. The White House was not a party to that compromise, as a Bush White House counsel named Harriet Miers went out of her way to explain, but there was an implicit commitment, and the Bushies are honoring it thus far. The most important element of the deal was consultation with senators of both parties before Bush made his choices for the bench.

The president did some of that before Roberts. And he did some of that before Miers. Moreover, on this latest occasion he appears to have received strong advice from several Democrats -- most notably Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, that the choice of Miers would be viewed as a positive gesture. This will make opposition to her extremely difficult to mobilize on purely political grounds.

There have been 38 judges appointed to the Supreme Court who had no prior experience on the bench, including William Rehnquist, Byron White, and Lewis Powell so opposing Miers on the grounds that she lacks the qualifications ignores precedent. That leaves cronyism which, while stomach-turning, probably won't do her in, either.

Says Oliphant, "May the best side win. Meanwhile, Bush has appointed a sensible, loyal person whose nomination has deeply disturbed conservatives. These days, that's as good as it gets."

The Washington Post coverage of Miers' nomination is here, here and here.

Richard Viguerie, the "funding father of the conservative movement," is furious about Miers' nomination, according to John Aravosis at AMERICAblog:

Conservatives Feel Betrayed
“President Bush Blinks on Supreme Court Nominees”

“Congratulations are due to Ralph Neas, Nan Aron, and Chuck Schumer for going toe-to-toe with President Bush and forcing him to blink,” said conservative activist Richard A. Viguerie. “Liberals have successfully cowed President Bush by scaring him off from nominating a known conservative, strict constructionist to the Court, leaving conservatives fearful of which direction the Court will go.”

“President Bush desperately needed to have an ideological fight with the Left to redefine himself and re-energize his political base, which is in shock and dismay over his big government policies,” Viguerie added.

“With their lack of strong, identifiable records, President Bush’s choices for Supreme Court nominees seem designed more to avoid a fight with the extreme Left than to appeal to his conservative base,” lamented Viguerie.

Many conservatives worry that without verifiable records, President Bush’s Supreme Court nominees will be more like the liberal Justice Souter than the conservative, strict constructionists Scalia and Thomas.

Finally, outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. predicts that 8 cities will see a sharp drop in productivity in the coming days. Many of the baseball playoff games are scheduled in the afternoon, costing millions of dollars in lost productivity due to employees leaving work early, peeking at television sets and trolling the Internet for score updates. I think that given the events of the past 5 weeks, Americans deserve to have some fun.


Monday, October 03, 2005

Max Cleland endorsing Strickland for Ohio Gov

Just got this from Central Ohio DFA:

Tomorrow, Vietnam veteran Senator Max Cleland will endorse Ohio gubernatorial candidate Congressman Ted Strickland at events across Ohio Tuesday. Cleland will join Strickland and Iraq War veteran State Representative John Boccieri at an event here in Columbus, as well as additional events in Dayton and Youngstown. The Columbus event will be at 12:30 PM at the Ohio Statehouse Lawn Veteran's Memorial (S. 3rd St). For more info visit

Also, for anyone who hasn't seen this headline yet:
Hackett to challenge DeWine for Senate

MViMV/DeanFest News

Update from Jessica:

Tonight's Interactive Guest Blog at MViMV will take place from 8-9pm at the My Vote is My Voice Blog. Kety Esquivel from Latinos For America will be blogging and answering questions about LFA's involvement in Deanfest, which will be held next year in San Diego, CA.

An Interfaith "October Surprise"

Crossposted at Daily Kos, Street Prophets, My Left Wing, Booman Tribune, and MyDD.

A week or so ago, I received an email from Don, a member of my parish. It was Joan Chittister's most recent column, entitled A simple, doable, soul-changing project. I always appreciate reading Joan's thoughts when I find the time, and as it turns out, this particular column addresses an issue I've been meaning to look into in more depth. (I first heard about it at an interfaith gathering here in Columbus a little over a month ago.) In her article, Joan gives some background on the interfaith group known as the Tent of Abraham, Hagar, and Sarah and the opportunity they see before us for increasing mutual respect and understanding between the three Abrahamic faith traditions.

In other periods of history, this group would have made unlikely bedfellows.

The first is a small Jewish community that has always been against the oppression of Palestinians.

The second is a small group of Muslims who are opposed to the fundamentalist definition of "jihad" as military struggle rather than as the interior struggle to be holy.

The third is a small group of Christians who have no doubts about the sins of Christianity against both these communities and, even more, a memory of Francis of Assisi, who in the midst of a Crusade against Egypt, crossed the battle lines to talk to Sultan Malik al-Kamil.

Francis, to convert the Egyptians, tried to strike a bargain: He would go into a fiery furnace and, if he came out alive, the Egyptians would convert to Christianity. Al-Kamil's answer to Francis was a gentle and a wise one. Gambling with one's life, he argued, is not a valid proof of one's God. Then, both of them wiser, he spared Francis' life and sent him on his way again.

Like Francis, these people have decided to do what their governments won't do. They are stepping across battle lines.

They are reaching out as friends to one another in formal, public ways. They are listening to the spirit in the heart of the other.

They call their project The October Surprise. The surprise is that the Jewish High Holy Days, the Islamic Month of Ramadan and the Christian feast of St. Francis of Assisi who opposed the Crusades and learned from an Islamic teacher, all come in October.

Even the heavens, it seems, are calling all of us to do penance, to be peaceful, to become the human community we are meant to be.

But how?

The group, after praying together themselves, encourages a public day of fast and prayer on Oct. 13 for all of us -- Christian, Muslim and Jew alike. They are asking congregations, organizations and families, to host members of the other communities in order to celebrate these common feasts together. They are suggesting that we all hold teach-ins to honor one another and to come to know our common teachings on peace, on kinship with the earth and all its creatures, on openness to the wisdom of others.

Here is a link to the Tent of Abraham, Hagar and Sarah web site. The introduction reads:
The Tent of Abraham, Hagar, & Sarah is a gathering of Jews, Christians, and Muslims who have been building a 'Tent' of shared spiritual concern for peace, justice, and healing of the earth. Arising from this effort has been a call to take part in 'God's October Surprise'.

Click to read more about October Surprise: A Call to Share Sacred Seasons. Here is the groups Call to Action/Gathering Statement.This link leads to a printable (PDF) flyer explaining the "October Surprise" and the opportunity we have before us. On this page, you can search for an event in your area, or add your own to the database.

Monday Comics

Winning Proposition
Network Marketing
Dopey Et Al.
Crime & Punishment
I Knew Him, Horatio!
Weapon Of Mass Destruction
The Prince
Who Moved My Cheese?
Working On The Chain Gang
That Dog Will Hunt
Republican Priorities
Activist Judge
Persistent Vegetative State
What Evildoers?
DLC Concerns
Hut Hut!
Political Animal
Run Forrest, Run!
Shower-To-Shower Each Day
Conspiracy Theory
Is Our Children Learning

And my favorite for today: Robbers' Den

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Oscar's Word for the Week (non-stealth mode)

This is funny. This morning when I was writing the Sabbath post, I kept checking to see if Oscar had posted his Word for the Week yet, so that I could link to it along with Pastor Dan's. It occurred to me that he might be about to post it, and his would crosspost it here just as my post was going up. Corinne and I do that all the time, and I've decided that rather than lamenting entropy, it would be more adaptive to take a liking to it. Entropy is my friend. ;-)

But no post from Oscar came, and I had to leave for church. Since then, I've checked in on the comments a number of times, but it was only just minutes ago that I discovered the words "Oscar's Word for the Week" sandwiched into my post, right after Pastor Dan's Word for the Week. For a second, I doubted my own memory, and wondered if I had actually posted those words and that link myself. *Shakes head vigorously*. No, I'm positive that I didn't. Oscar must have come by, at some point today, and quietly edited the post himself. But if I didn't notice the update, I bet some other people didn't notice it either. So I'm posting Oscar's Word for the Week--non-stealth version.

I have a sharp tongue and a wicked sense of humor - I can go from zero-to-gutter in about a half second. It is a fairly simple matter for me to skewer someone in such a manner that they don't know that I have cut them to the quick until long after I have walked away from the scene of the crime and they find their psyche hemorrhaging. I have some evil tendencies, and oftentimes when I would do right I find that what I actually end up doing is worlds apart from what I should do. Have you ever found yourself to be dead wrong?

Click here for the rest.


You may or may not be aware of my husband Demetrius' joke that he attends the "Church of the Restful Sabbath" on Sunday mornings--meaning that he enjoys sleeping in and "doesn't bug God on His day off". Being a funny guy who does computer graphics for a living, the joke came complete with a church logo.

In my EFM reading last night, the significance of the creation story ending with a day of rest was discussed. This excerpt from the Judaism 101 web site expresses the gist of what I read:

In modern America, we take the five-day work-week so much for granted that we forget what a radical concept a day of rest was in ancient times. The weekly day of rest has no parallel in any other ancient civilization. In ancient times, leisure was for the wealthy and the ruling classes only, never for the serving or laboring classes. In addition, the very idea of rest each week was unimaginable. The Greeks thought Jews were lazy because we insisted on having a "holiday" every seventh day.

So, maybe Demetrius' restful Sabbath notion isn't too far off from the original intent. Church music courtesy of Dr. Demento. I've written elsewhere about the importance of following your own spiritual practice--whatever that may be, as long it is a source of rest and renewal. We need these times, maybe more than ever.

Most of you do know that, more often than not, I honor the Sabbath day by actually going to church. Today, I will not be attending my home church, but the one where my daughter sings in the children's choir. Both of us are a little disappointed that the day children's choir is scheduled to sing will make us miss the blessing of the animals at the other church. Maybe we can find another animal blessing event later in the day, though. In any event, I need to get ready now, so I leave you with this fresh, new Sabbath day thread.

Here is Pastor Dan's Word for the Week, Oscar's Word for the Week, and it's simple IF you ignore the complexity' Sabbath Time thread. The theme, as I mentioned yesterday, is the very timely one (given the recent discussions) of being tired.

Yesterday Demetrius created a new candle graphic for the page where I used to list our intentions. I thought it was about time to start actively maintaining that page again, so if you or someone you care about are in need of prayers or positive thoughts, please let me know.