"On Topic" With Doug Krile

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Spying? On You?

You, the average, ordinary, internet user? Before you say, "No way!", read on.


FBI "Vacuum Cleaner" Sucks Up Americans' Internet Records



Cnet News reports: The FBI appears to have adopted an invasive Internet surveillance technique that collects far more data on innocent Americans than previously has been disclosed. Instead of recording only what a particular suspect is doing, agents conducting investigations [...]



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Weekend Drinkers

And the school that wants to test them on Monday mornings.  Whatcha think about THIS idea?


NJ School Randomly Screens For Alcohol Consumption



A public school that wants to search a student's urine for evidence of alcohol consumption should seek a warrant based on probable cause. The shortcut taken by Pequannock Township (NJ) High School is offensive: random urinalysis using a dubious screening test.  "Urine screenings look for ethyl glucuronide, produced by the body after it metabolizes alcohol. School officials acknowledge the test is sensitive, and false positive readings can be [...]



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Not What It Appears

Consider, if you will, the end result.  TPMmuckraker did.


Today's Must Read



The dark reign of experts and regulatory officials is over! From The New York Times: In an executive order published last week in the Federal Register, Mr. Bush said that each agency must have a regulatory policy office run by [...]



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Katrina Memories

Those memories are today's reality.  Sadly.


Katrina recovery efforts — and Republicans’ disinterest



Barack Obama did a good job yesterday of bringing attention to an issue that seems to have been largely forgotten: post-Katrina recovery in New Orleans. If only Republicans had bothered to listen to what Obama had to say. Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama blasted the Bush administration Monday for the slow pace of Hurricane Katrina recovery [...]



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Minimum Wage

Raising the minimum wage took a sizable step forward in the Senate this afternoon. A Daily Kos poster has waded through a myriad of reports and pieced together a good summary.  Complete with a rhetorical question or two.


Harry Reid breaks GOP min. wage filibuster



A step forward for the minimum wage increase this afternoon, as the Senate cleared the logjam of the Republican filibuster that had been preventing the UpperdownvoteTM.  But just how craven was Republican opposition to a fair day's pay for an honest day's work? Well, apparently the tax breaks they demanded in exchange for [...]



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Twisting The Truth

There are some startling numbers included in this report.  It's from AP, via Huffington Post.


Scientists To Congress: There's Political Pressure To Downplay Global Warming



Two private advocacy groups told a congressional hearing Tuesday that climate scientists at seven government agencies say they have been subjected to political pressure aimed at downplaying the threat of global warming. The groups presented a survey that shows two in five of the 279 climate scientists who responded to a questionnaire complained that [...]



Oh, that's just the tip of the iceberg.  Read on.


A Story You Won't Read Here In The US



This Friday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will issue its fourth annual report on global warming, and it's expected to be a doozy. Put it to you this way: the only thing the world's scientists disagree on is how high sea levels will rise in response to the current warming trends, and the panel painstakingly went out of its way to include scientists who formerly disagreed with the global warming concept. In fact, one of the major criticisms [...]



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Questioning "The Decider"

There are some interesting quotes coming out of today's hearing on America's war powers.


Specter to Bush: you aren't the only decider (that was just the case when the GOP controlled Congress)



Oh, now Arlen Specter gets a spine. Today, he challenged Bush's self-designation as the decider:..."I would suggest respectfully to the president that he is not the sole decider," Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said during a hearing on Congress' war powers amid an increasingly harsh debate over Iraq war policy. "The decider is [...]



New CENTCOM Commander Oblivious On Surge



Can someone explain to me how in the hell Admiral William Fallon was installed by the White House to implement the surge in Iraq when he doesn't fully understand the president’s plan or his boss's congressional testimony on it, and won’t commit to Senator Levin that the 21,500 troops [...]



CENTCOM Follies



Spencer Ackerman reports from Capitol Hill:I just got back from Admiral Bill Fallon's hearing to head Central Command, and I've never heard a military officer testify for nearly four hours and fail to exhibit an understanding of even one [...]



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What's Happening?

Not a whole lot today.  In fact, it's one of the slower days out in the blogosphere that I've seen for quite a while. That probably means all heck is fixin' to break loose, though.  Here's something to get you talking.


Army Investigating Video Alleging More Iraq Prison Abuses



The U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Division has begun an investigation into this video, which was first posted on IraqSlogger last week.  The clip, originally linked via a now defunct account on YouTube, purports to show a former guard from Abu Ghraib talking about torture techniques employed at the American-run prison. The man also recounts the gang rape of [...]



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Monday, January 29, 2007

No Laughing, Now

Science is serious stuff.


WE FIGURED THIS WOULD BE A MORE EFFECTIVE WAY TO COOL THE PLANET THAN HANGING A REALLY, REALLY HUGE CEILING FAN FROM THE MOON



Who says the Bush administration favors "junk science"? This is from Saturday's Guardian: "The US government wants the world's scientists to develop technology to block sunlight as a last-ditch way to halt global warming, the Guardian has learned. It says research into techniques such as giant mirrors in space or [...]



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Contractor Corruption

Asking the obvious question, I give you Nicole Belle -


Army To Investigate War Contractors



Hmmm….the new Democratic majority in Congress wouldn't have anything to do with this sudden interest in cleaning up corruption, would it? Kansas City Star (h/t MrEMan) Army investigators have opened up to 50 criminal investigations involving battlefield contractors in the war in Iraq and the U.S. fight against terrorism, The Associated Press has learned. They include high-dollar [...]



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No Kidding

Politicizing prosecutors?  No kidding.


CNN: Bush Admin Politicizing Prosecutors?



Jack Cafferty, in his gruff, everyman way, took on the question of the Bush administration's placement of conservative loyalists in U.S. attorney spots during his segment today [:...]



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Ari Opens Up

Under immunity, the former press secretary speaks out.  And opens some eyes.


Fleischer: Libby discussed CIA official over lunch.



“Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer testified Monday that then-colleague I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby told him over lunch that the wife of a prominent war critic worked at the CIA,” the AP reports. “Fleischer said the conversation happened July 7, 2003, days before Libby told investigators he was surprised to learn about the CIA [...]



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The Campaigning Begins

You know the political campaigns are truly underway when the critics start putting together websites and videos to work AGAINST a candidate.


TheRealMcCain.com



It isn't pretty. Please watch this video. It's a documentary short about John McCain, and it's simply devastating. It's all his own words. Then his other words that contradict his words. Again, and again, and again.  Then visit the new [...]



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Just Another Day

In the War Zone.  More thoughts via the McClatchy News folks in Baghdad.


A typical day of fear



We encounter so many violent incidents everyday not only in the district we live in but everywhere in Iraq, every passing day there is something new to worry about, sometimes I wonder where I have the patience and the courage [...]



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The Strange Case of Dick Cheney

Every day brings a new (and unfathomable) bit of information about our Vice President. Andrew Johnson notes the latest.


The Arrogance of Cheney



After his patently unhinged appearance with Wolf Blitzer last week, one wonders how much longer the vice-president's increasingly bizarre assertions of secrecy and authority will be tolerated in Washington. Check out this post from David Kurtz. Money quote:The Vice President [...]



And Booman Tribune notes another classic, via Newsweek -


The Hubris of Dick Cheney



Newsweek's Richard Wolffe got an exclusive interview with Dick Cheney and he asked some tough questions. Here is how the interview ended. "Wolffe: Bob Woodward reported that President Ford thought you had justified the war wrongly, and that Ford agreed with Colin Powell that you developed a fever about Saddam Hussein, about terrorism. Did you feel that was accurate? Cheney: I've never heard that from [...]



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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Huckabee Announcement

No surprise.  Mike Huckabee went on Meet The Press today to confirm he's setting up an exploratory committee for a presidential campaign.  There was at least one surprise - Russert brought up the Wayne Dumond issue, surprising several bloggers.


Russert did ask Huckabee about Dumond



I'm still half asleep, but Timmy did bring up a few questions about the Wayne Dumond case to Mike. Huckabee did admit that he talked to the parole board about Dumond, but danced around and never told us why he was interested in the case in the first place. I'll have to check the segment [...]



The Arkansas Times blog has some key quotes in its summary.


Huckabee meets the press



Did you watch Mike Huckabee with Tim Russert on Meet the Press? Thoughts? (Of course he announced  his presidential candidacy.) After noon Sunday, you can watch the show on the web. Mine: Huckabee did well. He's a good talker and met no question that he doesn't expect to have to field at some point. But Russert was sharper than I'd predicted and brought up some issues Huckabee struggled with a bit. Some talking points: [...]



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Psychic Advice For a President

It was Nixon.  And, it appears, he took it seriously.


President Nixon’s Secret Psychic Adviser



After his secretary conveyed psychic Jeane Dixon’s prophecies about terrorism, President Nixon ordered Henry Kissinger and others to prepare for attacks [...]



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And the Winner Is...

Interesting observations on Wolf Blitzer's interview of Dick Cheney. Must say, I'd agree.


In Wolf v. Dick, Blitzer Wins



I think it's safe to say that Wolf "out of line" Blitzer was the winner of last week's verbal battle [...]



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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Hillary Singing

We were watching MSNBC today when Hillary Clinton was being introduced in Iowa. During the singing of the National Anthem, they left her microphone on. The lady can't carry a tune, that's for sure.  MSNBC spent some time debating whether that was her verion of "The Dean Scream".  Nope. No way.  And Rachel Sklar explains why not on the Huffington Post


Microphone Mistake Broadcasts Clinton Singing National Anthem...



More and more, it seems, it's the unscripted, unguarded moments in candidates for public office that are making the difference, be they botched joke or Macaca moment. Today in Iowa, Hillary Clinton may well have had her own: An open-mic snafu that broadcast her singing along to the National Anthem, and none to tunefully. "Iowa Idol!" screams the headline at Drudge, but even [...]



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The Big Protest

They really had a decent crowd for the anti-war protest in D.C. today.  And HippieChick has a very nice little commentary on it.


Evening reflections: can you hear us now?



Thousands of protestors stormed Washington this morning to make sure the president knows how most of this country feels about the war in Iraq. Thousands and thousands. Tens of thousands. People from all over the country, members of Congress, celebrities, old and young, black and white.  Can you hear us NOW, Mr. Bush?  I hope [...]



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Kerry's Speaking Out

Actually, it's more than just speaking out.  It's a pummeling.


Kerry Rips Bush Administration in Davos



John Kerry is in Davos this weekend for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting where he wasted no time stepping up to speak the truth to power. Liberated now from the constraints of running for president in ‘08, Kerry ripped the Bush Administration as he spoke at the WEF session, ‘The Future of the Middle [...]



UPDATE:  Just for the sake of comparison, here's how the right sees the Kerry speech.


John Kerry Slams His Own Country At Davos


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Kerry's Speaking Out

Actually, it's more than just speaking out.  It's a pummeling.


Kerry Rips Bush Administration in Davos



John Kerry is in Davos this weekend for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting where he wasted no time stepping up to speak the truth to power. Liberated now from the constraints of running for president in ‘08, Kerry ripped the Bush Administration as he spoke at the WEF session, ‘The Future of the Middle [...]



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Mike Huckabee is In

Announcement coming on Meet The Press Sunday, exploratory committee to be formed Monday. Many of us here in Arkansas wonder how long it will take before somebody asks him about Wayne Dumond. Who's that,  you say? Read on.  And thank the blogosphere for the research.

The Tale of Wayne Dumond



Wayne Dumond was convicted in 1985 for the rape of Ashley Stevens. In 1999, he was released after the parole board, under pressure from Huckabee, voted to do so. Two years later he was convicted of murdering a woman, who he also sexually assaulted. Dumond was also a victim of a vigilante attack, having been attacked and castrated after his rape of Stevens. Now, normally this would just be usual tale of leniency being granted to the wrong person, the kind of thing which is inevitable in the criminal justice system. But Wayne Dumond wasn't just any criminal, he was [...]



UPDATE:  Also from the blogsphere. Some help for Russert on MTP


Questions Tim Russert should ask Mike Huckabee on Meet the Press


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So Much For Bipartisanship

The gloves are gonna come off now.  I don't believe the Democrats will stand for this kind of childish behavior by opponents of the Minimum Wage Hike.


179:



Number of amendments offered by conservatives to the minimum wage bill, including multiple amendments to abolish the federal minimum wage. In a dramatic floor speech (go to 4:30), Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) said today that conservative senators appear to be waging a “filibuster by amendment.” The next vote on the bill will be on [...]



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New Lows

Simply stunning results in the latest Newsweek poll.  You really need to read through all of the results.  Several key things to note: A new low for the President; The State of the Union Speech did not help the President; Americans think he's ignoring the experts; and they want us out of Iraq.  And not by small margins. A longer-than-usual quote follows below.  But, there's much more to read.


NEWSWEEK Poll: Bush Hits New Low



President George W. Bush concluded his annual State of the Union address this week with the words “the State of our Union is strong … our cause in the world is right … and tonight that cause goes on.” Maybe so, but the state of the Bush administration is at its worst yet, according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll. The president’s approval ratings are at their lowest point in the poll’s history—30 percent—and more than half the country (58 percent) say they wish the Bush presidency were simply over, a sentiment that is almost unanimous among Democrats (86 percent), and is shared by a clear majority (59 percent) of independents and even one in five (21 percent) Republicans. Half (49 percent) of all registered voters would rather see a Democrat elected president in 2008, compared to just 28 percent who’d prefer the GOP to remain in the White House [...]



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Friday, January 26, 2007

More Libby Court Action

Now, THIS is really going to get interesting. MSNBC is making it out to be "breaking news". And, it probably is.


Rove, Bartlett Subpoenaed In Libby Trial



White House anxiety is mounting over the prospect that top officials--including deputy chief of staff Karl Rove and counselor Dan Bartlett-may be forced to provide potentially awkward testimony in the perjury and obstruction trial of Lewis (Scooter) Libby. Both Rove and Bartlett have already received trial subpoenas from [...]



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Tough Words

CNN's milking the Blitzer/Cheney interview for everything they can squeeze out of it. 


Begala on Cheney: “If he had any decency, he would simply resign”



After a clip from Cheney's interview with Wolf Blitzer, Begala has some tough words for Vice President Cheney. Tell us how you really feel, Paul.  Video will be coming… From CNN.com :  PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: "Really, it's stunning. It's a great interview, and — because we saw the real Dick Cheney, you know, a really remarkable, [...]



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No Guts

No glory. 


Profiles in courage?



A top conservative Capitol Hill staffer tells Politico that more than 70 senators would oppose Bush’s escalation if their vote matched their comments in private meetings. “The White House is trying to [...]



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Flip-Flop

Of the good kind!


Famed country singer Toby Keith,



who engaged in a public feud with the Dixie Chicks and once sang a two-fisted song about putting “a boot in [the] ass” of the terrorists, tells Newsday that he doesn’t support the Iraq war. “‘Never did,’ he says — and he favors setting a time limit on the occupation. He says he suspects civil [...]



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Nudging Slightly Higher

A bit of a bounce from the State of the Union speech. 


Bush's Approval Edges Up



President Bush's job approval rating ticked up slightly after his nationally–televised State of the Union address, according to a new Zogby telephone poll. With 32% approving of his work leading the nation, he is up two points from last month's poll.  Key finding: "More people approved of the Bush speech than [...]



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The Personal Stories

This, from NBC News, will touch you.


An attack in Baghdad hits home



Robert Bazell, NBC News Chief Science Correspondent, is reporting from the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Iraq this week for the Nightly News with Brian Williams. He blogs about how an attack in Baghdad hits home in the [...]



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Smokescreens and Changing Stories

It just makes it so darn difficult to trust any part of the Administration.  So difficult.


AP Disputes Military Claims on Deaths of Americans in Iraq



Contrary to U.S. military statements, four U.S. soldiers did not die repelling a sneak attack at the governor's office in the Shiite holy city of Karbala last week. New information obtained by The Associated Press shows they were [...]



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Just Down The Road

For those of you who don't keep up with Southern geography, the city of Texarkana is actually two cities, one in Arkansas and one in Texas.  The city is divided (pretty much right down the middle) by the border between the two states.  So, being an Arkansas myself, this headline caught my eye. Our tax dollars at work, my friends.


Terrorists in Texarkana?



The city of Texarkana, Texas, has found the terrorists, and with money from the Department of Homeland Security, is going to go round 'em all up. Or, perhaps, not [...]



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Not A Joke

Right on the heels of announcing massive losses, look at what Ford Motor Company is doing -


“Ford May Resume Its Bonuses to Boost Executive Morale”



It's as if this was written as a satire: Ford Motor Co. may resume paying executive bonuses to boost the morale of managers battered by three rounds of job cuts and plant closings in the past five years, people familiar with the matter said. The No. 2 U.S. automaker is considering [...]



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Another Arkansan In The Hunt

Huck (announcing Sunday?), Hillary and now the General. Maybe.


Wither Wes Clark? Wait Two More Weeks...



Over the Christmas holidays, Ret. Gen. Wes Clark told a close friend that, without a doubt, he would establish a presidential exploratory committee after the first of the year. And now?  A Clark adviser says the '04 candidate is "leaning towards setting up an exploratory then taking some time to explore." Clark accepted an invitation to speak at [...]



UPDATE: Hotline has more on Huckabee - Huckabee Hearts This Weekend


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Oil Rights and Politics

If you want to know the REAL reason the Administration is so intent on sending more troops to Iraq, read on. It's quite simple.  Oil.


Big Oil Strikes (Black) Gold in Iraq. $3 Billion Worth.



And there it is. Once again. As if there wasn’t enough reason to make you disgusted about the trillions of our dollars and tens of thousands of lives (at a minimum) wasted in Iraq, ExxonMobil and Chevron are (quietly) negotiating with Iraq on a $3 Billion deal for one of them to build a petrochemical plant. So while a debate continues to rage about whether we should send more troops (which are already being sent) or whether we should keep the same troop levels – as opposed to debating the [...]



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Decision-Maker

AP pretty much spells it out with a few choice words: "on a collision course with Congress".  I'm looking for video clips, but the President was far from a happy camper during a terse meeting with reporters this morning.  He also owned up to a relatively recent policy implemented in the Iraq War -


Bush Approved Killing Iranian Assets Inside Iraq



While Bush told the world last summer that he was committed to resolving disputes with Iran diplomatically, he secretly authorized US forces in Iraq to capture and kill suspected Iranian operatives. Dick Cheney and Elliott Abrams, who both think that the killing of Iranians inside Iraq will force Tehran to back down from its nuclear ambitions and stop meddling in Iraq, cooked up the new policy. Of course, it could also [...]



UPDATE:  The folks at Think Progress snagged the video clips. Watch 'em.


UPDATE 2: One of the commenters over at Talking Points Memo has some salient thoughts about all this -


TPM Reader AC...



on the Decider ... "President Bush has never been very strong on the stuff most of us learned in 7th grade civics--namely, that there are three branches of government that share power. Of course, part of that is because he's always had a rubber-stamp congress. His comment that "I'm the decider" on Iraq shows that view remains. No surprise there. But now there's a congress with a [...]



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TGIF

The President was back on his "I'm the Decider" kick this morning and is really locking horns with Congress.  More on that momentarily.  First, a bit of history. And some thoughts about how it might apply to today.


JFK to GWB?



Here's a YouTube purporting to expose what president Kennedy might say to president Bush if he were still alive, on the question of government secrecy and executive power. It's worth acknowledging that, whatever his rhetoric, Kennedy wasn't so good at [...]



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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Constant Pressure

Smoke and mirrors.  Non-stop. 24/7.


Rockefeller: Cheney applied "constant" pressure to stall investigation on flawed Iraq intelligence


Vice President Dick Cheney applied "constant" pressure on the Republican former head of the Senate Intelligence Committee to stall an investigation into the Bush administration's use of flawed intelligence on Iraq, the panel's Democratic chairman charged Thursday. "It was just constant," Sen. Jay [...]

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Ready-Made Promo

Talk about falling into a ready-made promo. I'll bet MSNBC has clips of its reporting of the Libby trial on the air by tomorrow. If not sooner.


Cheney was obsessed with Hardball’s coverage



This is pretty exposive testimony. Cathie Martin, (worked at the OVP under Mary Matalin) testified today that Cheney was totally obsessed with Chris Matthews and "Hardball," because they were taking Joe Wilson so seriously. Cheney's staff were cutting up clips and transcripts and passing them out to track what was being said on the show regarding Joe Wilson. Cheney [...]



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Science Fiction

Meet science fact.


It’s a Frickin Laser Beam



Well, really a ray gun: The military's new weapon is a ray gun that shoots a beam that makes people feel as if they will catch fire. The technology is supposed to be harmless -- a non-lethal way to get enemies to drop their weapons. Military officials say it could save the lives [...]



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Not A Guarantee

If you think John Kerry has a lock on staying in his Senate seat in 2008, the Massachusetts Republican Party would like to change your mind.


Kerry Won't Go Unchallenged



Believe it or not, the Massachusetts Republican Party believes it has a chance to oust Kerry from the Senate in 2008, and will likely recruit a challenger to oppose him [....]



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One To Watch

An Arkie goes to bat for America's rights.


Prosecutor Purge Is Illegal, Lawyer Argues



An Arkansas lawyer has risen to challenge the law which allows the administration to circumvent Senate approval when installing new U.S. Attorneys. On behalf of his client, an alleged crack cocaine dealer who's accused of killing a man he'd robbed [...]



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The Eyes of the World

There's a fascinating website that I visit periodically where foreign language news reports and editorials are translated into English.  If you wonder how the rest of the world sees the United States and our leaders, here's a sampling from today's posts.


From Saudi Arabia - How America's Conflict with Iran Will Begin ...


From Germany - Bush: The Great Failure


From The Netherlands - A Weak President and a Diminished State of the Union


From Israel - Bush's State of the Union Speech: Echoes of Nixon


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Your Quote of the Day

Heck, this will be tough to top for the entire week!  Just make sure you follow the link and read to the end!


It's even better than Kos reports



Markos reports the following, then read on because I have more and it's good: "In an interview, Pelosi also said she was puzzled by what she considered the president's minimalist explanation for his confidence in the new surge of 21,500 U.S. troops that he has presented as the crux of a new "way forward" for U.S. forces in Iraq.  "He's tried this two times — it's failed twice," the California Democrat said. "I asked him at the White House, 'Mr. President, why do you think this time it's going to work?' And he said [...]



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Foot In The Door

This is quite interesting. It reminds me of a question broadcast consultants would use to help determine the popularity of a TV newscaster.  I don't know if it's still used, but (back in the day) the researchers were ask an interview subject something along the lines of, "If Doug Krile showed up at your front door, would you: A. Tell him he had to stay outside.  B. Invite him into the hallway.  C.  Invite him into your living room.  D. Invite him into the kitchen.  "A" was not good news for the newscaster.  "B" was okay.  "C" was better.  "D" was the best.  If you got invited to the kitchen you were considered "family".  Now, a similar question is showing up in political surveys.


Dinner With.....



Clinton has a strong edge when the question is which presidential candidate people would most like to have over to their homes for dinner. The former First Lady led the dinner-invitation field with 26%, while Obama and McCain tied for second place at 15%. --Time Hunh? I thought everyone in America regarded Hillary as a vicious, power-mad psycho automaton with no human feelings. That's what [...]



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Journalistic Abomination

CBS News is wrong.  Wrong to refuse to air this report on the horrific street fighting in Baghdad.  It's no worse than what other networks and other reporters have been telling us. 


Watch the Video CBS NEWS won't put on TV



Even though CBS's Senior Foreign Correspondent in Baghdad, Lara Logan pleaded for them to air this video report from Iraq (may take a while to load so be patient), they were only willing to place it online at the CBS website. When you watch it you will see why. It doesn't fit the Bush/Cheney narrative to which the cowed (or complicit) corporate media news organizations have acquiesced. Read Lara Logan's frustrated email about her bosses' refusal to air her report on any CBS newscast, and her plea to the online [...]



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Stopping Spanking

It's no secret that some parents spank their children too frequently.  But, the idea of legislating against ANY spanking seems outlandish to me.


California moves to outlaw spanking



California Assemblywoman Sally Lieber plans to give California parents a lesson in parenting -- whether they like it or not. Next week, she will introduce a bill that will outlaw the spanking of children under four by their parents, a move that has sparked a flurry of both criticism and support in [...]



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Scraping The Bottom

Robert Novak's barrel must be getting close to empty, if this is the best topic he can come up with!


Novak whines about ‘rude’ congressional Dems



When Bush announced his latest escalation policy for Iraq in a televised address a couple of weeks ago, he also mentioned that he’d like Congress to create a “new, bipartisan working group that will help us come together across party lines to win the war on terror.” Bush said it was a good idea — [...]



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Universal Health Care

Obama's all over this issue.


Obama Calls For Universal Health Care Within Six Years...



Every American should have health care coverage within six years, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama...said Thursday as he set an ambitious goal soon after jumping into the 2008 presidential race. "The time has come for universal health care in America," Obama said at a conference of [...]



Sounds like some solid goals.  However, Kevin Drum isn't impressed.  Yet.


Halfway Measures



I don't want to jump all over Barack Obama before he has a chance to present his ideas in a serious way, but can I just say that I found his healthcare speech today distinctly underwhelming? He starts out [...]



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Back With Jack

We haven't called on Jack Cafferty much in recent weeks.  His CNN commentaries are enough to help me suffer through Wolf Blitzer's endless repetitions of facts and figures while talking with reporters or interview subjects.  Jack was on target yesterday.


Cafferty Calls Out Saint McCain



Jack Cafferty notes Senator McCain's "change of heart" over Vice President Cheney's wisdom and [...]



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Oh, Those College Kids

Always looking for creative ways to have fun.  Thank god it was in Texas, not here in Arkansas.


Outrage Over Texas College MLK Party



Students at a Texas college threw a Martin Luther King Jr. Day party that featured attendees wearing gang apparel and Afro wigs, carrying malt liquor, handguns, and fried chicken, and even one woman dressed as [...]



UPDATE:  East-Coasters, you had one, too.


Another Celebration Of Black Culture



Seems that questionable parties were not limited this month to a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at a Texas college. Turns out students at the University of Connecticut School of Law also opted for do-rags, gang signs, gold teeth, malt liquor, and a fake machine gun during [...]



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Defending the Indefensible

It's an all-out public relations assault.  The Bush Administration wants to change what you think about the Iraq War. Glenn Greenwald pulls together a boat-load of excellent examples.


Our Supreme General has spoken



There is nothing like a feeling of besiegement and desperation to make a political movement -- one that knows it is in its "last throes" -- show its true colors. The Supreme General-Commander has now decreed that any opposition to the "surge" helps The Enemy. Therefore, according to Bush followers -- beginning with the Vice President and moving down -- it is now the solemn duty of every patriotic American, especially those in Congress, to refrain from [...]



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Talk The Talk

Walk the walk. It would be nice if they could put the two together.


Senate Republicans are melting down over Iraq



...So, the Senate Republicans are opposed to the Bush escalation plan, are willing to voice that opposition publicly, but they feel that if they actually vote their opposition then somehow this will magically signal our allies, our troops, and our enemies that we are divided and in disarray over Iraq when their own public statements have already made clear to our allies, our troops, and our enemies that we are [...]



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Final SOTU Reaction

I know. I know.  It's time to move on.  After one final critique of the State of the Union Speech.


If you thought the left was disappointed with the State of the Union…



For the president’s critics, the State of the Union was a boring disappointment, filled with half-truths and missed opportunities. He defended an indefensible policy in Iraq; he made ridiculous budget claims, he ignored Katrina reconstruction, and he unveiled awful (and largely rehashed) health care and energy policies. There wasn’t much to like. But as it turns [...]



Okay, let's stretch things a bit and go for TWO final critiques -


Katrina Victims Outraged Over Bush Snub



President Bush’s State of the Union address did not include a single mention of Katrina or the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast region. (A year ago, Bush promised the federal government would “stay…at it until they’re back on their feet.”) Last night, CBS News reporter Armen Keteyian traveled to Mount Olive Gardens, a trailer park near [...]



It's a trifecta -


Bush’s SOTU Leaves Social Conservatives ‘Lifeless,’ ‘Disappointed,’ ‘Shaking Their Heads’



Social conservatives who have been longtime loyalists of President Bush are speaking out in anger about the president’s silence on divisive right-wing issues. Cultural conservatives who have become accustomed to hearing Bush cater rhetorically to their wishes found “little to cheer” in his speech Tuesday night. Some examples below: In a video address entitled, “A Lifeless [...]



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Iraq Security

Today alone - two rockets hit INSIDE the supposedly-secure Green Zone in Baghdad.  Then a suicide car bomber kills 26 people in a mostly-Shiite neighborhood.  The folks at the McClatchy News Bureau were becoming concerned even before today's events -


A smaller circle



Everyday this circle of security is getting smaller and smaller I am afraid one day there will be no place in Baghdad secured because the Iraqi security forces and the government are busy protecting themselves and don’t have the ability [...]



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Cheney On Camera

Did you see it?  Wolf Blitzer's interview with Dick Cheney?  The VP is not a happy camper.  Here's the transcript. 


CRITICISM OF ME IS "HOGWASH"...



Vice President Dick Cheney was interviewed by CNN's Wolf Blitzer. The interview aired in segments on today's CNN Situation Room. Cheney appeared to be slightly bothered after Blitzer questioned how he felt about criticism aimed at him from members of his own party [...]



Crooks and Liars has video of some of it -


Cheney Spars with Blitzer Over Criticism of Iraq, Mary’s Pregnancy


UPDATE:  Good post over at Kos -


Dick Cheney On Iraq


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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Handiwork

The entire Electronic Voting Machine issue exasperates me.  There seems to be so much evidence against using these machines, yet so little is being done about it.  Somebody explain to me why THIS report shouldn't bother every American.


DIEBOLD VOTING MACHINE KEY COPIED FROM PHOTO AT COMPANY'S OWN ONLINE STORE!



Good lord in heaven. How dumb are these guys at Diebold?! Can you believe the United States has actually entrusted them to build a security system for the original U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights?! After everything else. Now comes this. It was revealed in the course [...]



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Health Care Proposal

The President talked about Health Care costs in the SOTU speech last night.  Made a couple of proposals. Kevin Drum says the impact isn't good.  At least when you look down the road it's not good.


Stealth Conservatism Update



One of the favorite tricks of the Bush administration is to enact policies that have moderate effects today but substantial effects in the future. These future effects develop at a barely noticable pace, but the long-term goal is [...]



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Comparing The Speeches

This is an interesting way to compare the President's speech last night with what Jim Webb said in the Democratic Response.  via Taegan Goddard's Political Wire - Follow the links and play for a while.


State of the Union Smackdown


More web creativity - via Think Progress -


VIDEO: The Annotated State Of The Union



ThinkProgress conducted a real-time fact-check of this year’s State of the Union address. Click.TV, a web video technology company, has synchronized our rapid response with the complete video of President Bush’s speech. You can watch the speech in its entirety, or click on the facts below to jump directly to the claims we’re rebutting. Also, use [...]



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Yet Another Reason

Why the "surge" is wrong.  Just run the numbers.


Oh, The Humanity



Make that insanity… Let’s take a look at this surge by the numbers. The Army acknowledged last week, for example, that it is still 22 percent short of the armored Humvees it needs in Iraq despite heated criticism in 2004 and 2005 over the lack of armored vehicles. Army officials said it will be another eight months [...]



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More Reaction

The more I read today, and the more I watch the tube, the more negative reaction I'm seeing and hearing to the presentation and content of the State of the Union speech last night.  Here's one more example, from a conservative blog -


Bush Takes it on the Jaw… From Republicans



Let the smackdown begin: In Bush's 50-minute speech, he implored Congress to back his plan to send more troops: "Give it a chance to work." But over the next two hours, a bipartisan group assailed his policies. Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Arlen Specter both attacked the president's plan for a troop [...]



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Attacking The Reporter

It's no secret that I'm a fan of MSNBC, particularly because of the "edge" they allow some of their personalities to present. I always keep an eye on David Shuster, because he spent a couple of years here in Little Rock as a reporter. He's not building a big fan base among some bloggers - including Tom Maguire


The David Shuster Follies (Act Five)



So often I find myself asking - is it true, or is that a report from David Shuster? In the brutally competitive world of television news David Shuster of NBC has hit upon a winning formula - make stuff up [...]



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Voting Rights

If all of this is true, I'm afraid I might have to side with the Right on this issue. Something just ain't right about this kind of end-run.  Unless it's not what it seems.  One source is, after all, the Washington Times.


The Democrats Unconstitutional Power Grab



You may or may not have heard, but Nancy Pelosi is attempting to grant voting privileges to the delegates representing the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the Virgin Islands. In fact the House is voting on the measure today.  Besides the fact that this is a blantent power grab by [...]



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Delivering The Speech

Much of the chatter today seems to be about President Bush's low-key delivery of the State of the Union speech last night. "Low key" is my description of it.  Others are a bit less kind.


The State of the Union is … lethargic



As a political geek, I look forward to State of the Union addresses, no matter who’s president. These speeches, at a minimum, nearly always make for great political theater, and capture the political world’s attention. I usually enjoy the spectacle of it all. Bush, for all of his many tragic flaws, is capable of delivering a [...]



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Another Speech

This time, from a Republican.  This time, in a Senate committee meeting.  This, my friends, is something you simply MUST watch.


Hagel: "There Is No Plan"



Here's Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) barnburner of a speech this morning during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting on the resolution against the president's troop increase in Iraq. An excerpt: I don't think we've ever had a coherent strategy. In [...]



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Obama Goes After Fox News

When it gets personal, the gloves do come off!


Wow, this is...



quite a sight: Obama aggressively goes after Fox News for spreading lies about [...]



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Failed Government

Not ours.  Iraq's. How can you do any work when almost nobody shows up?


Iraq Parliament Missing in Action




This is the sovereign government of Iraq for whom our troops are supposedly fighting and dying so Iraqis can have their freedoms, liberties and justice for all: "BAGHDAD, Jan. 23 — Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, the speaker of Parliament, read a roll call of the 275 elected members with a goal of shaming the no-shows. Ayad Allawi, the former prime minister? Absent, living in Amman and London. Adnan Pachachi, the octogenarian statesman? Also gone, in Abu Dhabi. Others who failed to appear Monday included [...]



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Kerry Is Out

The Boston Globe is first to report that John Kerry will NOT jump into the 2008 Presidential Race. The botched joke may have done it for him.


UPDATE:  Kerry is delivering a blistering attack against the Bush Administration's Iraq Policies right now.  And he sounds like someone who honestly understands the people, the players and the policies at play in Iraq. Novel idea, huh?


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State of The Union

I'm keeping an eye out for the ratings on the State of the Union speech last night.  I have this gut feeling that many Americans chose not to watch.  But, assuming you did, let's look at the response from the other side of the aisle.  Bob Geiger has done a spectacular job of assembling some notable quotes.


Democratic Response To Bush Speech


And, he has some solid thoughts on Jim Webb's official response, including a full transcript.


Webb Rocks In Response To Bush



Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) gave the Democratic response to George W. Bush's State of the Union speech tonight and I believe he hit it out of the park. Webb wrote the speech himself and delivered it with bearing that belies his status as a freshmen on Capitol Hill. This is one of the best Democratic responses I have seen in a long time -- and you had to love [...]



If you'd rather watch it -





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Start The Day With A Chuckle

We'll tackle the SOTU and reaction to it in just a moment.  First, one of the funniest things I've read in a long time.  Enjoy!


Ya Gotta Hand It To Her



Shown below, allegedly, is an actual letter that was sent to a bank by an 86 year-old woman. The bank manager though it was amusing enough to have it published in the New York Times. "Dear Sir. I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check which I endeavored to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the check and the arrival [...]



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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Global Warming Is Here

It's time to get serious about this issue, folks.  We're slipping far behind the proverbial eight ball.


More “Good News” On The Global Warming Front



As President Bush prepares to discuss Global Warming tonight in his State of the Union Address, CNN is reporting that a group of leading scientists claim they have proof that Global Warming is occurring as we speak. “The smoking gun is definitely lying on the table as we speak,” said top U.S. climate scientist Jerry [...]



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Keeping Their Collective Mouths Shut

Just in time for our troops to go rolling in, guess what the Iraqi government is doing? via Confederate Yankee


CRACKDOWN: Iraqi PM Locks Down Official Media Access to Key Government Ministries



An anonymous source from within Baghdad's Green Zone has provided me with a copy of a document issued from the office of Iraqi Prime Minster Nouri Al-Malki, ordering the shutdown of contacts with the world press on "any topics that [...]



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Playing To Packed Houses

Al Gore continues with his political stump speech on Global Warming.  But, you'll be amazed at the demographics of some of his biggest supporters and biggest fans.  Not only of his speech, but his movie, too.


HuffPo's Melinda Henneberger: Gore Sells Out Idaho's 10,000 Seat Taco Bell Arena "Faster Than Elton John"...



...It's a diverse crowd of all ages, including many children kept home from school for the occasion.
Ten-year-old Sienna White, whose mom teaches MBA students in the business school here, says she's seen Gore's movie over and over, and just had to come. Her fourth grade class is planning a bake sale to help stop global warming -- probably, the money will go to re-forestation efforts -- and half the kids her age at Washington Elementary got An Inconvenient Truth, for Christmas, she reports. Gosh, and that was [...]



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Nice Timing

Just so blatantly obvious.


"Hot" news out of Iraq the last two days



What are the odds that the FBI suddenly announces an al Qaida threat to America (after supposedly having the information for six months and it being just an "informal list" and from Zarqawi who was killed last summer) and then the arrest of 600 al Sadr fighters just before Bush speaks to the nation? Amazing, isn't it? So who's playing [...]



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Sticking Up For Daddy

Simply bad timing.  SOTU, Iraq War and Libby Trial bombshells notwithstanding.  It still wouldn't look good. Even the conservative bloggers are raising a collective eyebrow.


Politics Rule Number One, Do Not Give Your Opponents Ammunition



Today, the Vice Presidents daughter Liz Cheney, had an opinion piece published by The Washington Post entitled "Retreat Isn't an Option." From a political perspective, this strikes me as stupid and does nothing to help the Administration in its cause. It does not matter if you agree or disagree with the [...]



Honestly, it looks like both sides are "piling on" the Administration -


Another Day, Another Blunder



The gang that couldn't shoot straight is at it again ... didn't anyone at the White House realize that the State of the Union would coincide with the opening arguments of the Scooter Libby trial? Forget the endless stream of [...]



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Before The Speech

It's SOTU night.  Taegan Goddard's Political Wire has a bit of preview information that's worth a moment or two of your time. 


Preview of Bush's Speech



The White House issued "fact sheets" in advance of President Bush's State of the Union address tonight that give you a good idea of what he's expected to cover. Congressional Quarterly's Craig Crawford bills the speech a [...]



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So Much For Credibility

Things like this should come back to haunt Fox News.


CNN Debunks False Obama ‘Madrassa’ Smear



Last week, Fox News and other Rupert Murdoch outlets amplified a right-wing report alleging that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) attended an Islamic “madrassa” school as a 6-year-old child. One Fox News caller questioned whether Obama’s schooling means that “maybe he doesn’t consider terrorists the enemy.” Fox anchor Brian Kilmeade responded, “Well, we’ll see about that.” Commenting [...]



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The McCain Tapdance

Political posturing at its best.  Or worst. Can somebody tell me exactly where McCain stands today on the Iraq War?


McCain’s Iraq position becomes even less coherent



To help kick-off a new Capitol Hill newspaper, The Politico, Roger Simon interviewed John McCain (R-Ariz.) about his take on the war in Iraq. Given McCain’s countless recent comments on the subject, you’d assume this is well-tread ground, but Simon caught a few gems. With his presidential hopes tied to an administration whose Iraq policy he [...]



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New Polls

A couple of important new polls are out today, in the final hours before George W. Bush's State of the Union address. First, from NBC and the Wall Street Journal - new numbers that show two-thirds of Americans have given up on Iraq.



When President Bush delivers his next-to-last State of the Union address Tuesday night, he will confront this reality, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll: Nearly two-thirds of Americans appear to have given up on success in Iraq and also on his presidency [...]



The approval numbers are even grimmer for the President in the latest CBS poll -


Bush at 28%



The President has finally dropped into the twenties. According to CBS News Bush is now at 28%. And just by way of comparison: In January 1999, for example, just after his impeachment by the House of Representatives, President Bill Clinton's job approval rating was 65 percent. In January 1987, President Ronald Reagan's was 52 percent. In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson received a 47 percent approval rating, even as debate about the Vietnam War raged. Pretty sad [....]



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A Big Pat On The Back

A home-grown Arkansas company does something to make us all proud.  And it deserves a bit of attention beyond our borders. Take a look. This is pretty darned impressive. We'll let the Arkansas Times explain.


Murphy believes in El Do



We've written often before about the investment Murphy Oil has made in hometown El Dorado -- not only by staying there, which is not insignificant -- but by pouring support into the public schools and an education foundation that serves El Dorado....The company took a quantum leap forward today by announcing a commitment to provide college scholarships for all El Dorado high school graduates for the next 20 years, up to $50 million. Students will be reimbursed on a sliding scale based on [...]



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The "New" Campaign

Just watch as the 2008 Presidential Campaign moves full-speed to the internet.  Yes, television will still be important.  So will good old-fashioned hand-shaking and baby-kissing.  But the net is where it's at.  Hillary Clinton, among others, knows it.


Hillary Clinton Innovates New Model for "State of the Union" Address



Last night, I watched Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's first "Conversation" with Americans over the internet. There are three more sessions -- one tonight at 7 pm just before the President's State of the Union address (ouch!) and then on [...]



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The Libby Trial

This is really something!  Prosecutors in the Libby trial are saying VP Dick Cheney was deeply involved in the Valerie Plame leak. Deeply involved. We'll link to reports momentarily.  But, for now, here's some fascinating liveblogging from the folks at the FireDogLake blog -


Libby Liveblog: Fitzgerald’s Opening Statement


And the liveblogging continues here...


and more here -


Libby Liveblog: Wells’ Opening Statement, Part Two


Any bets on whether the VP keeps this appointment, given today's trial developments?


VP Cheney in The Situation Room…



CNN announced that Vice President Cheney will be interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday, Jan 24th… In an exclusive television interview, Vice President Dick Cheney will speak with CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday, Jan. 24. The interview will take place the day after President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address. Cheney will answer [...]



Here's the initial story via MSNBC.


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The Libby Trial

This is really something!  Prosecutors in the Libby trial are saying VP Dick Cheney was deeply involved in the Valerie Plame leak. Deeply involved. We'll link to reports momentarily.  But, for now, here's some fascinating live-blogging from the folks at the FireDogLake blog -


Libby Liveblog: Fitzgerald’s Opening Statement


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Monday, January 22, 2007

Remember Katrina

Remember Brownie.  The guy makes more sense now than he did back then!


Brownie: Politics Played A Role In Katrina



And yet, Holy Joe doesn't think we need to investigate. YahooNews: (h/t E) Political storm clouds gathered again over the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina as former Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown said party politics influenced decisions on whether to take federal control of Louisiana and other areas affected by the hurricane. Louisiana Gov. Kathleen [...]



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Costumed Bombers

Seems the bombers who hit U.S. soldiers this weekend pulled a "fast one" to get by security.


Iraqi assailants dress as American soldiers.



New details have emerged about this weekend’s assault in Karbala that killed five U.S. soldiers. The Iraqi gunmen “were wearing what appeared to be American military uniforms in an effort to impersonate United States soldiers.” This appears to be the first time that attackers have portrayed themselves as Americans, raising concerns about Bush’s plan to [...]



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How Low Can He Go?

This is pretty nasty news for the Bush Administration.


Lowest Approval Since Nixon...



President Bush faces the nation this week more unpopular than any president on the eve of a State of the Union address since Richard Nixon in 1974. Nixon was beleaguered by the Watergate scandal; for Bush, three decades later, it's the war in Iraq. With his unpopular troop surge on the table, his job rating matches [...]



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It's All Politics

Quite the busy political weekend, wasn't it?  Clinton's in.  Richardson is in.  Obama is still in. And, now, the chatter begins in earnest.  But, will it be enough to suck the oxygen away from the State of the Union speech tomorrow night?


Food For Thought: Anyone but a Bush or a Clinton



In 2008 it really is time for a change. And change, some think means putting an end to the “era of Bushes and Clintons.” In a look at the possibility of Hillary Clinton winning the presidency, James Burkee, an assistant professor of history at Concordia University Wisconsin notes, if Hillary “secures the Democratic nomination, wins [...]



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Inching Toward War With Iran

That's why political analysts think there's a growing anti-Shia movement in the Middle East.


Report From Egypt



....The growing regional hostility in the Middle East between Shia and Sunni has been getting a lot of play lately, and Marc Lynch says it's for real. Here's his report after spending a week in Cairo:Anti-Shia stuff is [...]



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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Confession Time

Okay, I messed up! Took the laptop off the work domain so I could put it on a network at the house to transfer some music files to my wife's computer. So far, so good. The problem is, I can't get back on the work domain until I'm hooked to it tomorrow! And, my blogger software isn't accessible unless I'm on that, for some reason. So, I have some posts saved and will get to them Monday. Not to mention - there's a little football to watch tonight! Later!

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