Thursday, October 31, 2002

Time for a break. Fright Night Queen - Jamie Lee Curtis

Edited, somehow they had switched pictures and Mr. T was showing up here.
CNN/Time - The New Politics Of Pot

Billionaire philanthropists George Soros, Peter Lewis and John Sperling have bankrolled the pro-pot movement in the US in an effort to end the drug war which has been a failure. Very biased pro-administration article but does have a lot of facts if you ignore the slant.
This is what R. Robot - the warblogger had to say about me:

Fellowship of the Islam-O-traitors

Easter Lemming Liberal News -- was there ever a public official of such pro-shoplifting baying, such breathtakingly fork-tongued hatred of America? But with Paul Wolfowitz you get the sense that this is one who will wander into greatness.

It's this kind of pathological treachery that made me quit The Nation.

At the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Albert Gore, Jr engaged in shockingly anti-war treachery that most Americans found shocking. "What ever happened to Osama Bin Laden?" were the words. That's not what Easter Lemming Liberal News was saying last year.

I suppose some notice should be paid to the performance that the Chomsky-like Al Gore delivered Monday in a dream I recently had. "Oh, if Madison were here today," he said. This is why I could no longer write for Z Magazine, not with a clear conscience. Easter Lemming Liberal News, contemptuously, is a absurd, naked opportunist.

On Good Morning America, Easter Lemming Liberal News engaged in unmistakably cheap treachery that most Americans found shocking. "What ever happened to Osama Bin Laden?" were the words. Well, duh. The nattering hatred of America of the Democrats and their pro-shoplifting elite is outrageous.

"I have a few questions I'd like to ask about this," says Easter Lemming Liberal News. Well, duh. In 1938, George Orwell wrote, "The spiteful perfidy of the rumormongers is little more than bias."

Democrats are against a lot of things, but ask them what they're for and they'll just stammer.

Many thoughts are unthinkable to the unmistakably pro-kidnapping elite that the hot-tubbers represent.

Instead of constructing arguments based on logic, the bigots assume that whatever they want to be true must be. "'Department of Homeland Security?' What is this, Brazil?" says Al Gore. For shame! I suppose he'd rather invite Saddam Hussein over and play croquet. | Joe Conason's Journal points out that the windbag Republicans loved it when Hillary Clinton was booed at a memorial service. The more mature Republicans understand that people get carried away with their emotions.
The DNC Social Security Sequel Cartoon.
Can too much restraint endanger peace? | Interview with Dr. Donald Kagan, elder philosopher of Pax Americana.
Ventura exits Minnesota, but third-party hopes live | Governor's race is neck and neck ... and neck.

Happy All Hallow's Eve,



Have fun tonight. | Joe Conason's Journal

The madness of King Jesse. Plus: Imus, Drudge whine about partisanship at Wellstone's memorial, but miss the big picture. And Ann Coulter is still fired!

I couldn't say it better - it was a terrific memorial service, slightly marred by scattered boos toward Jesse Ventura and some Republicans.
MyDD: Senate Rankings Update Democrats with momentum in Senate races. His latest prediction - 53-47.
ArabNews: US media sniping frenzy bumps off politics

Yes, they notice these things. More than most of our media does. - maryland -- Indian Politics in South Dakota

The first time I, on my own, wrote an elected official was to complain to the South Dakota governor of his persecution of Indians. He was doing something outrageous several years ago - It was stopping state computers from receiving email from some Indian used ISP's. He didn't want to hear from them. (It is another long story I don't want to get into now about the first time I wrote letters, not on my own.)
ESP Magazine: Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina -- John Ashcroft defines patriotism

...Some of Ashcroft's security measures "compromise important freedoms in ways that previous presidents never attempted, even in the midst of formally declared wars. Important individual freedoms have been sacrificed -- often needlessly and unjustifiably."

Among such sacrifices Schulhofer cites are "new powers to conduct undercover infiltration and surveillance of political and religious groups, and increased wiretapping, electronic eavesdropping, and covert acquisition of Internet and e-mail communications, including increased powers to conduct these kinds of surveillance without probable cause or a judicial warrant."

...Librarians and bookstore owners [should] post this notice to customers and library users:

"Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act ... gives the FBI the right to obtain a court order demanding ... any records we have of your transactions at this location. We will be required to give them the requested information, AND WILL BE FORBIDDEN FROM TELLING YOU OR ANYONE ELSE ABOUT IT."

Is this what Bush meant when he said "We will not allow this enemy to win the war by changing our way of life or restricting our freedoms."

Digital copyright law on trial - Tech News -

ACLU, EFF and others still seeking to overturn Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
UPI: Report: Errors plagued US missile computer

Parts database riddled with errors creating problems. "Specific problems included the discovery that 10 silos at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota did not have enough batteries on hand to successfully launch their missiles"
Is a Law Unjust? One State May Allow Juries to Decide

This story is half-baked. There is a principle already in force called jury nullification, but judges and lawyers do not want juries do know it and the Supreme Court has ruled that defense attorneys can't tell juries about it. But if you do not feel that the law is a good law or maybe shouldn't apply in a particular case, as a juror you can refuse to convict. Happens all the time but judges especially hate it. Uppity people, what right do they have. Not mentioned is that historically it is a major reason we have jury trials. One of the rights enshrined in the constitution. - Bell demands TV ad retraction

Standing with his wife and two dozen other women Wednesday, Democratic congressional candidate Chris Bell called on Republican opponent Tom Reiser to withdraw a television commercial that says Bell "was reprimanded for sexually harassing a co-worker."

Included in the group was the woman Reiser says Bell sexually harassed -- City Councilwoman Carol Alvarado -- who disputed the commercial's allegation.

Reprimanded for sexually harassing a co-worker? It's not true says the co-worker, Bell and the facts. - As moderate candidates disappear, so do voters

The number of Republicans who are more liberal and Democrats who are more conservative than their respective party colleagues has been a shrinking pool for more than a decade.

The growing partisan divide comes at the expense of independent voters, who now outnumber those who consider themselves Republicans or Democrats, according to many polls.

Little wonder that turnout at the polls is at historic lows, with just three in 10 eligible voters expected to cast ballots on Election Day.

I do a lot of these digests or highlights for people not wanting to read the entire article.

MySanAntonio : What could the spending on the governor's race buy?

With the money being spent on this year's governor's campaign, Texas cities could hire 1,348 new police officers and put them on the streets in 1,348 sparkling, new patrol cars.
That same $89 million could hire 2,320 classroom teachers. Or it could pay for a four-year college education for 2,000 Texas high school students at state universities.

Or it could pay for day care for 13,000 children for two years.

The US will spend over a billion dollars on elections this year.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Why Iraq?

I want you to vote!

Sen. Edwards was on Comedy Central's The Daily Show last night and was terrific.
Win One for Wellstone? (

Five days after the death of Paul Wellstone, both parties in Minnesota are accusing each other of gross insensitivity.

I haven't posted a lot of the outraged remarks from all sides. Democratics outraged at Republicans, Republicans and Jesse Ventura outraged at Democrats, - enough already.

Seeking Big Ideas To Break A Deadlock (

In a country more evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans than at any time in over a century, an amazing thing may happen on Election Day:

The balance could get even closer.

DNC - Chairman McAuliffe Calls on Bush to Stop Republican Voter Suppression Tactics

With election day a week away, we have already seen a disturbing number of incidents in which Republican operatives are working to chill voter turnout.
CSMonitor : Election wild card: mobile voters

In the South and West, one pivotal factor is the large number of new arrivals, rocking states' electoral habits.

Common Dreams - Toronto Globe and Mail -- For-Profit U.S. Schools Sell Off Their Textbooks

A true horror story. What happens when you privatize schools? Well, in this case selling off books, computers, lab equipment, musical instruments and supplies to raise cash, using school space as executive office space, seriously considering the students as free child labor.

Part of my problem with libertarians is they don't recognize the loss of liberty, and sometimes the selfish idiocy, that purely for-profit institutions can cause.
AlterNet: One-Click Activism

An article on True Majority, the one click let your congressperson know what you think website.

""What's really patriotic is struggling and fighting for the soul and spirit of America.... The majority of the population wants to increase spending for education. They want to take care of people in poverty at home and abroad. They want the U.S. to act in a multilateral fashion, cooperating with other countries in the world instead of ... refusing to sign international treaties," says Cohen. "These are things that are based on the traditional American values of compassion, equality, and social justice." "

Quin Hillyer on Elections 2002 -- National Review Online

As recently as October 10, the GOP looked poised to regain control of the Senate and at least maintain its six-seat edge in the House. Now, though, the Senate contest looks like an even battle, and the House majority itself may yet slip away.

All of which means that, under the leadership of a hugely popular president, this should be a year of big Republican gains. Instead, though, look for Republicans to struggle. Control of the House may not be apparent until late into the morning after election day; the final Senate lineup may await decisions of potential party-switchers and the results of a Louisiana runoff on December 7.

And don't be surprised if enough elections are close enough that federal courts again are called in to referee.

The best conservative national election forecaster, who had correct party split predictions for the House and Senate in 1998 and 2000, is worried and thinks the results may not be known immediately.
Yahoo! News - The voters might just pull some surprises Tuesday

Had Wellstone lived to hold his muscular wrestler's arms high in exuberant celebration on election night, perhaps his example might have emboldened others to follow their hearts rather than the polls. How sad it is to write this brief valedictory for this senator who never abandoned the fiery passions that first fueled his entry into politics.

But as we begin the hour-by-hour countdown to Election Day, there is still the gnawing suspicion that the voters will find a way to offer a definitive verdict. It would be easy to follow the conventional oddsmakers and predict that the new Congress will look pretty much like the old one -- a narrow Democratic margin in the Senate and a tiny GOP majority in the House. But whether the decisive thrust comes from the economy for the Democrats or the president's popularity for the Republicans, the nervous forecast here is for still yet-to-be-defined surprises on Nov. 5.

My prediction, narrow Democratic wins and court battles.
Yahoo! News - Atheist Eagle Scout Gets Ultimatum

Eagle Scout Darrell Lambert has earned 37 merit badges, worked more than 1,000 hours of community service and helps lead a Boy Scout troop in his hometown.

But the 19-year-old has another distinction that may lead to his removal from the Boy Scouts: He's an atheist.

Lambert, who has been a Scout since he was 9, said he won't profess a belief he doesn't feel, saying it amounts to a lie. "I wouldn't be a good Scout then, would I?"

MySanAntonio : Cornyn, Kirk press on as race tightens

Kirk, the former Dallas mayor, accepted the endorsement of President Lyndon B. Johnson's daughter and former U.S. Rep. J.J. "Jake" Pickle of Austin in the driveway of his boyhood home.

Luci Baines Johnson read a letter of support from Lady Bird Johnson, the 89-year-old former first lady who attended a Kirk fund-raiser last week.

NYTimes - Krugman -- For the People

Almost every politician in modern America pretends to be a populist; indeed, it's a general rule that the more slavishly a politician supports the interests of wealthy individuals and big corporations, the folksier his manner. But being a genuine populist, someone who really tries to stand up against what Mr. Wellstone called "Robin Hood in reverse" policies, isn't easy: you must face the power not just of money, but of sustained and shameless hypocrisy.

...Repeal of the "death tax" has been cast, incredibly, as a populist issue. Thanks to sustained, lavishly financed propaganda — of which that anti-Wellstone flier was a classic example — millions of Americans imagine, wrongly, that the estate tax mainly affects small businesses and farms, and that its repeal will help ordinary people. And who pays for the propaganda? Guess. It's amazing what money can buy.

In an age of fake populists, Paul Wellstone was the real thing. Now he's gone. Will others have the courage to carry on?

NBC 5 (DFW) Exclusive: Voters Poll -- Kirk makes huge gain

Statewide poll results:

Lieutenant Governor
"Who do you think you would vote for if the election were held today?"

(D) John Sharp 36%

(R) David Dewhurst 37%

Undecided 23%

U.S. Senate
"Who do you think you would vote for if the election were held today?"

(D) Ron Kirk 40%

(R) John Cornyn 43%

Undecided 15%

"Who do you think you would vote for if the election were held today?"

Democrat Tony Sanchez, Jr. 38%

Republican Rick Perry 51%

Undecided 9%

In one week: Kirk is up 4% and Cornyn down 3%, Sharp gains 1%, Sanchez gains 4% but Perry gains 2%

BostonGlobe -- Bush was told of risks before his stock sale

"SEC reports on the case make it clear, however, that the memo was written in response to Bush asking Harken executives whether he could sell his shares. Bartlett said he did not believe that Bush had seen the memo, but instead thought that Bush was told about the advice by a company lawyer.

"The memo raised a specific concern about the insiders' knowledge of the rights offering, which split Harken into three entities. The plan was recommended by Harken board member Michael Eisenson, the Harvard Management executive in charge of the university's Harken investment. Eisenson was trying to save the company from bankruptcy, according to board meeting minutes. Eisenson has declined to be interviewed."

From BuzzFlash - the UnDrudge Report - Dems riding wave to statehouses

Even as opinion polls tighten in the days before Nov. 5, Democrats hold leads of two to 20 percentage points in key states. They are favored to win Illinois, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and could win Wisconsin, Arizona and Massachusetts. California Democrat Gray Davis is headed for re-election. Republicans are likely to hold Texas, Florida and New York. But their pickups may be limited to smaller states, such as New Hampshire and maybe Hawaii.

States to watch

Thirty-six states will elect governors on Nov. 5. Twenty-three of them have Republican governors now, 11 have Democratic governors, and two have independent governors.

States where governor's offices may switch parties, and their electoral votes:

Likely Republican to Democrat:

Illinois, 21
Kansas, 6
Michigan, 17
New Mexico, 5
Pennsylvania, 21

Likely Democrat to Republican:

Hawaii, 4
New Hampshire, 4

Likely Independent to Democrat:

Maine, 4

Too close to call, now held by Republicans:

Arizona, 10
Florida, 27
Massachusetts, 12
Rhode Island, 4
Tennessee, 11
Wisconsin, 10
Wyoming, 3
Too close to call, now held by Democrats:

Alabama, 9
Alaska, 3
Iowa, 7
Maryland, 10
South Carolina, 8

Too close to call, now held by independents:

Minnesota, 10

GOP pollster Bill McInturff says Republicans are "in deep trouble" in pivotal states. Their net loss could be small, but "it's not the same when you trade major states for minor ones."

Democrats will likely have a majority of governorships after the election, including most of the biggest states.

USAToday -- Bush's 'Radio day' gets static from Democrats

Radio talk-show hosts are setting up shop on the White House lawn today to interview Cabinet secretaries and top administration officials. Democrats say President Bush is using his office to give Republicans an unfair edge six days before elections.

''It reeks of an inappropriate mix of politics and official business,'' says Jennifer Palmieri, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee.

''Radio day'' -- held in a heated tent to fight Washington's unseasonable mid-40s chill -- is the latest example of Bush's willingness to use all the tools of the presidency to boost Republican candidates' chances. He's wielding his popularity and ability to grab headlines to make the case for the importance of the Republican agenda.

This is clearly a partisan use of government resources for political purposes.

Minn Star-Tribune -- Over 20,000 strong, they came to remember Wellstone

Political Poll

Dramatic political developments since Sen. Paul Wellstone's death Friday have had little effect on voters' leanings in the U.S. Senate race, according to a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll taken Monday night.

Wellstone's likely replacement on the ballot, former Vice President Walter Mondale, leads Republican Norm Coleman by 47 to 39 percent -- close to where the race stood two weeks ago when Wellstone led Coleman 47 to 41 percent.

There are now partisan attacks on his funeral.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

News-Record Challenger's 'hits' don't faze congressman Coble. The first report this newspaper has run on Libertarian candidate Tara Sue Grubb is all about her website.

The Dispatch had an article about the "North Carolina's Ladies of Liberty" Libertarian calendar she appeared in.
I added Mars or Bust to my links. Smart and right.
David E's Fablog: Meet Mr. Conservasavage

After my favorable take on Dan Savage's put down of O'Reilly, I find that Savage has become another gay neoconservative. I have just read David Brock's Blinded by the Right - The Conscience of an ex-Conservative Hasn't he? Doesn't he know what they really stand for?

David E "fisks" Dan Savage's coming out above. "Fisking" is a paragraph by paragraph opinionated rebuttal of an opinion.
UK Independent -- UN warns of unprecedented series of famines caused by gobal warming.

George W "let them turn up their air conditioners" Bush still does not believe in global warming.
There is still time for Americans to stop the insanity

Robert Jensen again - Wow, I just discovered him but he has been writing what I had discovered and my opinions.
Bush’s lies and simple truths University of Texas Professor Robert Jensen Speech at anti-war rally in Austin.

Let us not be unrealistic about this struggle. We have to ask, who is on our side in this struggle? Is the media on our side? No. Are the corporations on our side? No. Are the politicians on our side? No.

Who is on our side? Take a minute and look to the person at your side. That is what we have. We do not have the power of money; we have the power of people.

HoustonChronicle - : Molly Ivins

He was the rarest of all rare breeds -- a mensch from Minnesota. But this is not a column about Paul Wellstone. No one has to wonder for a minute what he would have wanted, "What would Wellstone do?" The answer all but roars back, "Don't mourn, organize!"

The contrast between Paul's passionate populism and this dreary mid-term election is as sad as his death. There's many a contest between political pygmies this year -- we're down to seeds and stems again --- but even in proud Texas we have to admit that this year's palm for nose-holding voting must go to California. Not to overstate, two of the most titanically unattractive candidates in the history of time -- Gray Davis and Chuck Simon -- are vying for the governorship. A new nadir in modern politics. How we got from the Lincoln-Douglas debates to this -- or what we ever did to deserve it -- is unclear. The debate between Davis and Simon raised the always-timely question: Is God punishing us?

Naturally, when it comes to voting, we in Texas are accustomed to discerning that fine hair's breadth worth of difference that makes one hopeless dipstick slightly less awful than the other. But it does raise the question: Why bother?

One sorry excuse for a decent, fighting people's pol or the other; what difference does it make?

Oh, just that your life is at stake...

The Bush administration has announced this grand imperial plan, the "National Security Strategy of the United States," under which America is to dominate the world forever, and we'll attack any country that doesn't agree with us. Frankly, it's nutty. But they made a big mistake. They forgot to run it by the people first.

More on my political debate about Iraq with Peter.

You know, you could be right. I am so obsessed about the Bush
politicking, subverting the Constitution, ignoring international
agreements, that I dismiss that I would prefer Saddam gone too.

However, I disagree with you about North Korea in that I think North
Korea is more ruthless and aggressive. North Korea is in violation of
similar agreements. The suffering of the North Korean people is much
worse. The only problem I see with North Korea is that they are a
many times tougher and more dangerous opponent with a nearby highly
populated target. Your position on taking on Saddam first I do agree
with and we are without a cause for military action, as opposed to
other actions, against North Korea.

There is some evidence that oil is the issue, but it is not totally
conclusive. I have a number of links but I don't want to look them
up - mainly because I don't have a good search engine for my blog
archives. There is enough evidence for me to think it is likely.

Pax Americana refers to the doctrine of an expanded military and
expanded worldwide bases to support an aggressive unilateral military
and foreign policy that permits no large or small potential challenges to the
United States. I believe as a corollary it expands the power of the
executive branch and places security over civil liberties. I think
that is the wrong direction for our country.

KPFT has undergone a deeply radical revolution recently. They cannot
even agree if they want to be associated with.presenting opposing
views. For many programs I think I am now too "liberal" for them and
not "radical" enough.

Legally, we are not the enforcers of the truce in Iraq, the Security
Council is. Practically, we have been. I see Bush ignore the
legalities as part of the rewriting of American foreign policy in
favor of an Imperial doctrine. I was a reluctant supporter of the
first Gulf War because Bush the first also wasn't following a good
process - Iraq had indicated it would move out without fighting --
but thought the principal of preventing invasions or takeovers of
another country was correct. This time we are the ones invading.

I have decided to give up actively opposing the war in Iraq, just
limiting myself to saying this is a very wrong "process", to
concentrate on trying to oppose Imperialistic tendencies at home. I
also feel it is a done deal, Bush will do whatever he wants, when he
wants as Congress has given him that authority.
HoustonChronicle - Ruling backs doctors who prescribe marijuana

A federal appeals court ruled for the first time today that the government cannot revoke doctors' prescription licenses for recommending marijuana to sick patients.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the Justice Department's policy interferes with the free-speech rights of doctors and patients.

A victory for free speech and sanity.
Liberal Pictures - Let it snow, "I'm so hot it doesn't matter. Contains nudity.
And here's another.
HoustonChronicle - Major crime in Texas sees big jump in 2001

Major crime rose nearly 4 percent in Texas last year -- almost five times the national increase -- halting a decade-long nationwide decline to record low rates, according to FBI statistics released Monday.

The state's figures increased last year in every category -- homicides, aggravated assaults, rapes, property crimes, burglaries, auto theft and larceny.

This is the expansion of Dick Morris's remarks on Fox yesterday. My take is that Bush is too political to be a good president even if he had good policies.
HoustonChronicle -- Consumer confidence rating lowest since 1993

Fewer households reported planned purchases of cars, homes, and major appliances. Spending on autos and homes, fueled by low interest rates, has been a bright spot in the otherwise faltering economy.
Minn Star Tribune -- Minnesota's Democratic Party sues over absentee ballot issue

I said it was a bad procedure and it quickly gets a law suit. If you early voted your vote for Wellstone does not count, you have to vote again. Early votes for other candidates do count.
NYTimes: Cure for Low Turnout -- Instant runoff Voting.
Houston Chronicle: Neil Bush tries to sell software to Fla. schools. So his brother the President makes it a requirement for states to buy testing software and his brother the governor chooses which to buy.
Liberal Pictures -- half-naked hot sexy Italian Aria Giovanni in black stockings: here.

Common Dreams - Left-Winger Lula Elected President of Brazil
PLA -- A collection of Bush whoppers in defense of the Washington Post's Dana Milbank.

The New Republic : Do voters really prefer divided government? In many ways it is best for the country, now it is vital for the country, but do voters think of that when they decide?

The Brownsville Herald : Perry’s latest TV ad labeled ‘racist’ by Laredo state senator Sen. Judith Zaffirini has condemned Gov. Rick Perry’s latest TV attack ad against gubernatorial rival Tony Sanchez as "racism personified."

Common Dreams - Times UK -- US-British Strategy on Iraq Close to Collapse. US proposal, as I expected, has only 6 probable votes. French or Russian could get 8 or 9 if it is not vetoed. This report and another have also indicated that Bush is very upset at his amigo President Fox for not supporting him in the UN.
Online Journal : "When we're done looking for the moderate Muslims, let's look for the moderate Christians I guess I wish someone would conquer Ann Coulter and convert her to Christianity. Because she is not any kind of Christian I have ever read about." A lot of people feel that way. She is very popular among conservative Jews but I don't think that means anything. I just think she is a truly evil woman.
Tom Paine - Common Sense: The Loyal Opposition: A Meaningless Election? That's What Some People Think

"A lot rides on this election. Corporate lobbyists in Washington have already prepared a Christmas wish-list, in optimistic anticipation of the Republicans bagging the one seat they need in the Senate. The list is no surprise: more tax cuts, deregulation, and -- their equivalent of a pony -- major tort reform."

Dick Morris on Fox News had an early report that there is another significant drop in support for Bush. Still not many people talking about the Democrats retaking the House.

Washington Post: Short Race, Long Vote Count Expected in Minnesota Senate Race

There are some problems in Minnesota besides the great tragedy of Wellstone's death. Governor Ventura will appoint someone else besides whoever runs for the lame-duck session just after the election. Also right now they plan to not count any early votes for Wellstone but will count the early votes for the other Senate candidates. Early Democratic voters have to come in and cast a new ballot but Republicans do not.

Newsday: Breslin - Where was Bush and Ashcroft? Campaigning when a sniper was gunning down children in the nation's capital.

Gallup Poll: Public attitudes about the economy have worsened significantly over the past month, according to the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll. Now almost six in 10 Americans (58%) rate the economy as poor, while just four in 10 (41%) rate it as good. Bush's rating on economy Suffers currently, just 49% approve, while 44% disapprove -- the worst rating Bush has received on this issue since taking office. In another poll on the economy their index of investor optimism has dropped to it's lowest level since they began measuring it. This is not good for the economy, it's a leading indicator, or Republicans.

Newt Gingrich has come out of retirement to already start lying about Mondale. Sunday he said that Mondale headed a commission that wanted to privatize Social Security, The Republican party has already polled in Minnesota, say the race is too close to call and are preparing to come out smearing.

Although the East coast media - that ha! ha! liberal media establishment - is saying that Democrats have no chance to take the House. The latest computer model based on Gallup polling shows a significant swing to Democrats likely.

The Bryan - College Station Eagle: Walter Cronkite warns war with Iraq could lead to a wider nuclear war. He also worries we now have an oligarchy, not a democracy.

MyDD -- Oct 28 2002: This analysis forecasts the Democrats to win two takeovers and one open, Republican-held seat, while the Republicans win one takeover. This nets two seat for the Democrats, resulting in a Democratic-voting majority of 53-47.

Houston Chronicle: Democrat Tony Sanchez, in a campaign ad released Monday, accused Republican Gov. Rick Perry of politically exploiting a lawman's death in a commercial linking Sanchez to the 1985 murder of a DEA agent. This is an unbelievable low for the GOP and Perry. There was a fall-off in early voting later in the week compared to 1998, it may be due to this constant barrage of negative political commercials on television. Negative commercials depress turnout - particularly Democratic turnout.

NYPost : The Time/CNN poll revealed that 72 percent of Americans now feel that people arrested with small amounts of marijuana should not do any jail time, while just 19 percent favored sending pot smokers up the river.

Saturday, October 26, 2002

Vote! PAC

Regime Change Begins At Home. *VOTE* : Democrats Blame GOP for Deficit

They (GOP leaders) squandered the surplus, and in doing so, kept us from investing in the priorities we all share," she said.

How many radio stations carry the weekly Democratic address?
Molly Ivins : The Red Queen Program

The famous Texas two-step is getting a heavy workout in Washington. You glance away for just a moment to watch the World Series and -- oops — we're no longer for regime change in Iraq.

Two-stepping on all issues is a Bush trademark.
MSNBC : Slate: Oil and Israel

"The idea that oil is a factor in official thinking about Iraq shouldn’t even be controversial. Protecting oil supplies from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait was an explicit — though disingenuously underemphasized — reason for Bush War I

"The lack of public discussion about the role of Israel in the thinking of “President Bush” is easier to understand, but weird nevertheless."

We are thinking alike - I mentioned both Israel and Oil in my lastest Iraq debate email to Peter this morning.
Bush White House Shows No Respect for 'Opinions of Mankind'

"O that God the gift would gie us;

to see ourselves as others see us."

"If we ask what it is that has our friends across the Atlantic and elsewhere around the world so upset, it is not that we plan to declare war on another country in violation of every international law ever written; it is that we act so arrogant and cavalier about it. In a period in which we should be witnessing a display of the best of prudent leadership, we are treated to a Texas swagger that boasts of getting our enemies "dead or alive," of an "axis of evil" that, so named, implies we can do whatever we choose to get rid of it, that describes Saddam Hussein as "stiffing the world" about his weapons arsenal and that generally uses language for public discourse more fitting for a barroom brawl scene in a cheap-budget Western movie than for discussions by a head of state."

Legally it is the Security Council truce and resolutions that Iraq is violating and they have to be the ones to enforce it. : Close Races to Decide Senate Control

With less than 10 days remaining in the campaign, as few as two dozen House seats out of 435 appear to be seriously competitive, according to public and private polls and assessments by strategists in the two parties. Democrats would need to win roughly two-thirds of them to gain control, a challenge complicated by a GOP advantage in campaign fund raising.

Turnout, turnout, turnout is the key.

Salon | Will the NRA once again shoot down common-sense legislation? -- Arianna Huffington Of course. | Brazil -- What will Lula do?

With a coalition government don't expect radical moves.
NYTimes -- Divided S.E.C. Picks Watchdog for Accounting

Pitt, the controversial head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, had promised Biggs the job and told the members. Leading accounting firms and the White House said he was too much a reformer and Pitt changed and went with their pick - a non-accountant. You cannot get reform from Republicans who are indebted to their big contributors.
My Mellow/Dramatic Life

O'Reilly pounced: "I want to go to a gay bathhouse!" he barked. "I want to go to a gay bathhouse!" I was stunned. There I was sitting across the table from the darling of the American right, and he was shouting at me about wanting to go to a gay bathhouse.

Amusing sound bite from Fox hypocrite. - Sanchez blasts Perry for ad linking Dem to murder

Democrat Tony Sanchez angrily called Republican Gov. Rick Perry a "bald-faced liar" Friday because of a new commercial linking Sanchez to the murder of a DEA agent.

"Rick Perry is a liar. He has sunk to a low level that no other politician in the history of politics has ever sunk to," Sanchez said.
"Politics is not about big money or power games, it's about
the improvement of people's lives. Paul Wellstone."

Friday, October 25, 2002

Libertarian Against Coble

Support Tara Sue For Congress

There is no Democratic candidate in the race.
She is a liberal leaning libertarian.
She is up against one of the worst tools of the huge multimedia corporations.
She supports people's rights.

Tara Sue's Weblog:
Senate Predictions - Stolen White House

I think the Republican accusations and patriotism smears in South Dakota have backfired but otherwise I agree.
ABCNEWS : More Americans Doubt Islam's Tenets

Last January 22 percent said Islam doesn't teach respect for other beliefs; today it's 35 percent. And the view that Islam encourages violence is up by nine points, to 23 percent. Many more — 53 percent — reject this suggestion, but a substantial number, 25 percent, are unsure.

Similarly, while 42 percent of Americans express an overall favorable opinion of Islam, this is unchanged in the last 10 months, while unfavorable views are up by nine points, to 33 percent. (Still it was higher, 39 percent unfavorable, shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks.)

Conservative attacks on Islam have an effect.
Quicken -- Banking Committee Chairman to SEC's Pitt: Step Down

At Pitt's urging the SEC voted 3-2 to appoint former Central Intelligence Agency director William Webster, 78, as chairman of a five-member Public Corporation Accounting Oversight Board.

Sarbanes and House Financial Services Committee ranking Democrat Barney Frank of Massachusetts, said Webster has no experience in accounting.

Sarbines had not been one of those calling for Pitt to step down - until now.

The Salt Lake Tribune -- IVINS: Bush's Cheapskate Move Just One More Anti-Woman Decision

President Bush has decided not to send the $34 million approved by both houses of Congress for the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA). The fund provides contraception, family planning and safe births, and works against the spread of HIV and against female genital mutilation in the poorest countries of the world.
In Ads, It's a Campaign Smackdown (

"The last few election cycles have been tame compared to what we're seeing this year," said Darrell M. West, a Brown University professor and author of a book on political advertising. "There are more negative ads and more misleading or exaggerated ones than in past years."

Candidates in the midterm elections have been accused of letting killers go free, destroying the Brazilian rain forest, unleashing dioxin, laying off workers, scaring seniors, allowing assault weapons, not hunting enough, using a barnyard epithet and being weird enough for "The X-Files."

Republican win with negative ads. Negative ads reduce turnout which helps Republicans. Is it any wonder this is some of the most negative campaigning in history? - In surprise move, Russia circulates competing Iraq text

Ain't a surprise. For five weeks Bush has not been able to convince anyone but Tony Blair to support his resolution. A French or Russian proposal should pass easily if the United States doesn't apply too much pressure.
The Daily Texan - Candidates face off in TV debate

Democrats won both but was anyone watching?
MySanAntonio : Dewhurst, Sharp get educational at debate, Abbott and Watson duel

Not carried in most of the state - the public was the loser.
HoustonChronicle - Ignore Headline and Lead, you have to go down to get the real story

But Sanchez said the state lost $400 million in Medicaid funding because of the veto, money that could have provided health care for children. Sanchez said the Texas Medical Association's political action committee is supporting him because of Perry's veto of the prompt-pay legislation.

"The big insurance companies that have given him over a million dollars for his campaign told him to veto that legislation and he did exactly what he was told to do," Sanchez said.

Sanchez won the debate, is it too late?
Michigan GOP ads 'race-baiting, morally wrong, politically stupid'

Former Republican Gov. William Milliken is calling the GOP ad campaign on behalf of gubernatorial candidate Dick Posthumus "race-baiting, morally wrong and politically stupid."

Even more damaging - a conservative, nearly always Republican newspaper is reconsidering it's endorsement, calling the ad's "vile".

My Iraq War Debate

I have been having an argument with a libertarian friend of mine.

He is not your classic libertarian who I think would oppose war with Iraq.

His reasons for the war seem to be two. One: Saddam has been in breach of the peace treaty that ended the Gulf War and he is bad and dangerous. Two: we need to destroy or convert Islamic related terrorists who have a fourteenth century mindset. He feels the best way to do this is to occupy Iraq like we did Japan and undertake a similar cultural conversion.

A recent e-mail exchange had him arguing that he supports::

"1) using force to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of a
ruthless, aggressive dictator,
(2) enforcing a peace treaty,
(3) liberating a suffering nation from said dictator, and
(4) doing what is right regardless of conflicts of interest that
prevent other nations from cooperating,"

I argue the above is a stronger case for attacking North Korea, which I oppose as being even more dangerous and destructive.

As for the mass conversion or destruction of Islamic-related terrorists: I have seen no plans by this administration to convert "Islamofascists" to modern Republicans, which a small articulate group seems to want. (Look up warbloggers if you want.)

Based on what the administration is doing in Afghanistan and their reluctance for both "nation-building" and to having 75,000 US troops tied down indefinitely, I conclude they have no plan for what occurs after the war. They are likely to prop-up a friendlier-to-the-US dictator than Saddam Hussein. This is a common US practice. I call it Republicans preferring those governments who can do what they dream about.

I found that major elements of this administration have been wanting to get rid of Saddam and invade Iraq since before the election. This continued through this fall when they suddenly decided it had to be done right now. The decision on timing was strictly political.

There is evidence it is more about the oil and a foreign policy doctrine that it is time the United States became the world empire and more obviously dominate other countries.

I can see little evidence, that I believe, that the administration is going to war for my friend's reasons. Those reasons just make the war more palatable for people than the administration's real reasons - going for the oil and instituting an overall more aggressive and dominating foreign policy.

I will mention that I think the war is more popular with fundamental Christians and Jews than it should be because eliminating Saddam and installing an American leaning government is very much in Israel's interest. I think the fact taking out Iraq is so much more in Israel's interest actually makes success in eliminating or converting "Islamofascists" less likely.

My position on this war- Saddam has to allow full inspections and disarm.
If he doesn't we have the option of an invasion or of destroying every palace, government building and military installation in Iraq by air strikes.
In either case, Saddam should be tried as a war criminal.
Once Saddam is gone, by whatever means, we should stop sanctions and help creat a stable government.
Only if we invade should we occupy Iraq like we did Japan and establish a new stable government.

Invading and occupying Iraq is the true goal of this administration as it meets both the Pax Americana needs and gets the oil.
Most managers are Republicans, the majority of professionals are Democrats. Is this because the managers only think about their own immediate short-term advantage?

Here is an article about how professional managers destroy innovative companies.

PBS -- I, Cringely | The Case Against Professionalism -- How We Have Managed Industry Almost to Death

NYTimes: Democratic Minnesota Senator Wellstone Is Among 8 Dead in Plane Crash

USNewsWR: Bush whacked
Democrats think they can beat the president's brother in Florida
The governor finds himself holding on to just a 3- to 6-point lead against a relatively unknown Tampa lawyer two weeks before Election Day, primarily because Florida is being transformed from Republican-leaner to bona fide swing state. Democrats lead Republicans in voter registration by 43 percent to 39 percent

UPI: Texas early voting setting records

Early voting in 15 of Texas' most populous counties is double the rate it was four years ago in the last off-year election and a political observer said Thursday it may favor Democrats if they can maintain the momentum through Election Day.

Reuters: Democrat Senator Wellstone Finds Anti-War Vote Does Not Hurt

The latest polls show Wellstone ahead of Coleman by around 6 percentage points, a week and a half before the election. If anything, his lead has widened slightly since the vote. The battle may play a crucial part in deciding whether Democrats can retain control of the Senate.

NYTimes: U.S. May Ask Court to Dismiss a $1 Trillion Suit Linking Saudis to Al Qaeda and 9/11

The suit seeks $1 trillion in damages and is being pursued here by nearly 3,000 of the relatives.

American officials insist they know of no evidence to support the suit's principle accusations, including its charge that Prince Sultan "publicly supported and funded several Islamic charities that were sponsoring Osama bin Laden."

Nor, the Americans say, do they know of any support for the suit's charge that Prince Turki negotiated a deal with Al Qaeda in 1998 in which the terror network agreed to end its efforts to subvert the Saudi monarchy in exchange for a Saudi promise not to demand the extradition of Qaeda leaders.

NYTimes: Dead Parrot Society By PAUL KRUGMAN

I was reminded of Monty Python's parrot: he's pushing up the daisies, his metabolic processes are history, he's joined the choir invisible. That is, he's dead. And the Bush administration lies a lot.

Let me hasten to say that I don't blame reporters for not quite putting it that way. Mr. Milbank is a brave man, and is paying the usual price for his courage: he is now the target of a White House smear campaign.

That standard response may help you understand how Mr. Bush retains a public image as a plain-spoken man, when in fact he is as slippery and evasive as any politician in memory.

Mr. Bush ran as a moderate, a "uniter, not a divider." The Economist endorsed him back in 2000 because it saw him as the candidate better able to transcend partisanship; now the magazine describes him as the "partisan-in-chief."

For the Bush administration is an extremely elitist clique trying to maintain a populist facade. Its domestic policies are designed to benefit a very small number of people — basically those who earn at least $300,000 a year, and really don't care about either the environment or their less fortunate compatriots. True, this base is augmented by some powerful special-interest groups, notably the Christian right and the gun lobby. But while this coalition can raise vast sums, and can mobilize operatives to stage bourgeois riots when needed, the policies themselves are inherently unpopular. Hence the need to reshape those malleable facts.

NYTimes: One Seat Shy of Control, Lott Battles for Senate

Democrats say Mr. Lott's pitch to have Republicans consolidate control of government can help them energize their voters as well.
"That frightens people," said Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, adding that Americans like divided government.

Referring to the prospect of Republican control of Congress, Tovah Ravitz-Meehan, spokeswoman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said, "Nothing makes our base get out and work harder and longer." She said much of Mr. Lott's campaigning lately had been confined to the Southern tier of states because his style of conservatism might not play so well elsewhere.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

AlterNet: Which Side Are You On?

All honor to those early American political leaders who would not ratify the U.S. Constitution until it included a Bill of Rights. And a special "right on" to James Madison and the others who drafted those remarkable 10 amendments, especially the first one that gives us the right of free speech, a free press, freedom of religion and "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

"Which side are you on"? an old labor song asks. You study an issue, discuss it with people you trust, question the assumptions of both the advocates and the dissenters, consult your conscience and then, when you make your decision, you act.

That's it for today, probably too many. Did end on a constitutional note, which I like. The big news was Jeb Bush being behind which is at the bottom
Salon Joe Conason's Journal The most ridiculous, shameless lie in this campaign season.

Another report on the group putting a couple million dollars for Republican Senator campaigns. They are being sued.

"In order to maintain the secrecy of its donors, AJS bills itself for tax and regulatory purposes as a "nonpolitical trade organization." As such, AJS is forbidden from partisan activity on behalf of a candidate; legally, it can only run issue-oriented advertising. But the AJS advertising against Wellstone has gone way over that blurry line. That is why Dubke uttered the consummate lie in an interview with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Asked whether his latest anti-Wellstone commercial is "intended to influence the election," Dubke replied, "Absolutely not." He embroidered his mendacity by adding that the ad "is not an attack on Wellstone's integrity as much as bringing up the issue of the trustworthiness of public officials."

"The Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party is suing AJS, which raises the delightful prospect of Dubke giving testimony under oath rather than just misrepresenting himself to newspaper reporters."
The Onion | Cardinals Blasted For Negative Campaign Tactics In Papal Race

"This papal campaign is one of the nastiest in recent memory, characterized by slander, smear tactics, and ad hominem attacks," said Catholicism Today editor Bruno DeGaetano. "Everyone knows His Holiness will soon be called to join The Heavenly Father, and there are a lot of cardinals out there who've been waiting since 1978 to run for pope, so the stakes are incredibly high." : Texas Senate Race: Ron Kirk v. John Cornyn

Earlier report about racial undertones and accusations flying. "Texas may not have changed enough yet for this to be Ron Kirk's time. But if demographics are destiny, then it is just a matter of time."
Senate Panel Faults Bush Efforts to Rewrite Clinton Environmental Regulations (

Hostile to Clinton administration environmental regulations, the Bush White House largely shut out the public from commenting on its reworking of forestry and mining rules that had been years in the making, a Senate panel's Democratic staff says...

The report portrays the Bush administration as routinely dismissive of long-established regulatory procedures, public input and the scientific record behind the rules.

White House dismisses report as political.
Newhousenews : Families of 9/11 Victims Pursuing Congressional OK for Independent Inquiry

The administration initially opposed the commission outright, but then endorsed it after the plan gained overwhelming support in Congress.

Then the administration killed it right before recess.

Repeat, the White House suddenly balked.
ABCNEWS : White House: 2002 Deficit Hits $159B The figure was not a surprise and largely reflected an ongoing dip in federal revenue collections. But it was nonetheless breathtaking for its contrast with the $127 billion surplus the second largest ever shown by the government's books just a year before.

Republicans bring War, Repression, Deficits, and Recession

Texas Monthly Left Out Once upon a time, liberals like the late Billie Carr changed texas politics for the better. Now you can't even find a liberal—except in a republican TV ad.

In the end, what makes Billie Carr worthy of a place in the mythical Texas Politics Hall of Fame is that she offers us an important lesson for our time: Politics matters. We live in a cynical age, when participation is low and passions are lower still. At a time when most of the people who are involved in political combat are money-grubbing hired guns who are as cynical as the voters, she stands as someone who cared deeply about politics and stood to gain nothing—except to remake the world, committee by committee, precinct by precinct, and convention by convention.

Will the fight to save the democratic republic from the new imperialists provide a unifying banner for liberals? - The Death Of The Internet How Industry Intends To Kill The 'Net As We Know It

To achieve this, the cable industry, which sells Internet access to most Americans, is pursuing multiple strategies to closely monitor and tightly control subscribers and their use of the net. One element can be seen in industry lobbying for new use-based pricing schemes, which has been widely reported in trade press. Related to this is the industry’s new public relations campaign, which seeks to introduce a new "menace" into the pricing debate and boost their case, the so-called "bandwidth hog."

At this time, I am not convinced this is a plan to put internet radio and mpd downloaders out of business and destroy new broadband technologies as the writer thinks.

Bush Enlists Government in GOP Campaign (

Scholars called Bush's partisan use of the government unprecedented for a midterm election, and said the aggressiveness and thoroughness of his politicking approached that of a presidential reelection campaign. The broad orchestration of executive branch activity to benefit campaigns was moved up to the midterm elections this year because of a confluence of history: a hairsbreadth margin of control in both chambers of Congress, the huge repercussions of tiny swings in a closely divided electorate, and the dawn of new campaign finance restrictions the day after the election.

But longtime activists in both parties said this administration was setting a new standard. NASA has traditionally stayed out of campaigns because of the need for bipartisan support for its multibillion-dollar projects. But the space agency's administrator, Sean O'Keefe, has plunged into home-stretch Republican politics. He toured a technology center this week with Bob Riley, the GOP challenger for Alabama governor, and is heading to Florida to hold a town meeting on Monday with a Republican House candidate.

Another new extension of White House political activity is the 10-person Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which has been sponsoring seminars on federal grants that have heavy attendance by black ministers. The office's director, James Towey, has appeared with endangered House Republicans and promising GOP Senate candidates, including joining Hutchinson to tour a Little Rock shelter for abused women and children.

Unprecedented and dangerous - We limited politics from civil service years ago but it's back. This is also the holdup on Homeland Security, Bush wants to appoint Republicans and ideologues regardless on qualifications and civil service regulations.

Hard-core libertarians often claim to be above left or right, beyond Republican or Democrat. But in our experience the sociology of libertarians is usually such that they are functionally Republican. To put it another way, our libertarian friends always seem to care much, much more about what liberals do wrong than what conservatives do wrong; property takings always seem to anger them more than drug prohibition. Perhaps this is simply because liberals are more wrong, by libertarian standards, than conservatives -- that property takings are a bigger or more pervasive threat to liberty than pot laws... That's why liberals often have the sense that libertarians -- Washington libertarians, anyway -- are just conservatives by another name.

I know few liberal libertarians, most got into the party because they are anti-tax but objecting to the link Republicans have made with Christian fundamentalists.
TAP: Lula's Rules. more on Brazil.
TAP: Government by Half-Truth. by Bruce Ackerman. The president's failure to tell Congress about North Korea before the vote on Iraq violated separation of powers
Another Liberal Picture Break -- Natalia Sokolova Naked Russian except for blue underwear, I have always thought that the Russian and American people are most similar in terms of culture. Should I get a Russian bride?
American Civil Liberties Union : Quiz

“How Free Are We?” Quiz. It’s fast, fun and informative. You'll get 10 points for each question you answer correctly -- answer all 10 to find out how you rank. Even I missed one.
Hartford Courant - Death Notice for a Palestinian Mother, Teacher, Activist

Referred to by Common Dreams - Generating controversy particular among Jewish people in Connecticut.
Common Dreams / Daily Texan -- U of Texas Student Government Adopts Resolution Opposing War

Student Government passed a resolution Tuesday condemning any attack on Iraq by the Bush administration after a heated debate and a narrow vote.

The assembly of hundreds roared as the 20-17 vote was read by Vice President Stacey Kounelias.

"This makes the statement that the student body of the nation's largest university and in Bush's hometown feels that an unprovoked war is wrong," said SG two-year at-large Representative Jordan Buckley, author of the resolution and a key mediator in the evening's debate.

Student Government member Jerome Posatleo votes on the controversial proposal calling for President Bush not to start war with Iraq at the SG meeting Tuesday night.

The anti-war resolution, thought by most representatives to stand little chance of passing, condemns Saddam Hussein but opposes any pre-emptive attack against Iraq.

Det News / LATimes -- Secretive group has D.C. clout Nonpartisan Christian club holds sway with world leaders

The $4.4 million estate called Cedars sits at the highest point of the Potomac River on a quiet residential street, with spectacular views of Washington beyond the pool and tennis courts. It is owned by the Fellowship, the nonpartisan Christian group that sponsors the National Prayer Breakfast

"Religion is divisive. The ideas of Jesus are cohesive," Coe said. "That is the single most important thing I've learned in the last 50 years."

I try to keep track of groups you don't hear anything about.
Common Dreams : Condoleezza Rice and the President Have Lost Their Way

The main crime of war is aggression. It is initiating a deliberate armed attack against another state, putting its people “to the sword.” Over more than 2000 years, diverse cultures - ancient Greek, Christian, Jewish, Islamic - have rightly named aggression as the central crime of war. Article 51 of the United Nations Charter enshrines self-defense against aggression in international law.

In The New York Times (Sept. 22, 2002), Professor Bruce Ackerman noted that through signing the founding documents of the United Nations, the United States has also legally outlawed aggression as the highest law of the land. But to bar aggression – mass murder by the state – is no more controversial than to prohibit murder. Professor Ackerman spoke of Bush’s error as only one of illegal “unilateralism,” a violation of “two generations” of international law to which the U.S. is signatory. More deeply, however, the central moral judgment, made historically by every culture, about the horrors of war underlies these treaties.

Secretary of State Powell has defended a supposed American right to “take out” Saddam Hussain as part of a Presidential repertoire of tools: a “preemptive war.” But the idea of a preemptive war is to head off the immediate threat of armed aggression. No showing of immediacy – or, for that matter, significant new evidence – has been introduced by the Bush administration or British Prime Minister Blair.

As the overwhelming military power in the world, the Bush administration proposes a doctrine of unending aggression against sovereign states and arrogant military superiority. This policy will not make any of us feel more secure getting on an airplane or walking near a public building…Worse yet, we will have on our hands the blood of large numbers of innocents.

AlterNet: Brazil: Notes on a Democracy Rising

"If there is one area where Lula knows he has the full support of the Brazilian people, however, it is in renegotiating the rules of free trade in the hemisphere. There is room for compromise, but neither W nor his Wall Street buddies are going to like them, since they involve labor rights, environmental protections and ending a lot of U.S. subsidies for agriculture."

Lula is rolling toward a blow-out victory
Star Telegram | Molly Ivins : It's enough to make you sick

Have you had a terrible stomach illness lately? It's quite likely that you should blame the Bush administration... Consumer advocates put the blame on Bush's "industry-friendly" U.S. Department of Agriculture... Faster line speeds result in more fecal matter on poultry. Consumers do not want poop on their poultry.

So who's in favor of poop on poultry?

Surprise -- it's the meat and poultry industry

The Center for Responsive Politics reports that 82 percent of the meat industry's political contributions, $4.5 million since 1990, went to Republicans. To labor the point, it does actually make a real difference in your daily life who winds up in public office.

So to all of you who "just don't care about politics," take another bite of chicken and think about it some more. - Moderates May Determine Who Controls the House

There are fewer moderates of both parties but they really control the House votes.

Referred by BuzzFlash
Freep: 9/11 tip now a perjury charge

A Jordanian tried to warn the FBI that attackers would fly planes as bombs into Washington, D.C.. They didn't listen. They now charge him with perjury.
Cox News -- 'Bowling for Columbine' spares no one

"Bowling for Columbine " is a risk for Moore, because rather than targeting General Motors' Smith, as he did in "Roger and Me," or Nike Corporation's CEO Phil Knight, as he did in "The Big One," he is taking aim -- pardon the expression -- at the very people he wants to come see his movie.

"The right will always win, because they get up in the morning. Conservatives are up at 6. They greet the sunrise. We're still laying in bed," he says. "They never lose their car keys. It's always us. We can't find anything. They've got hooks with labels. I admire them."

Nevertheless, Moore remains an optimist. "Absolutely, because things get better. Slavery ends, Hitler dies, the bad guys usually do lose, things do improve. I cannot allow myself to sink into despair over this. That's why you have a lot of humor in these films, because the humor is there as a release."

Playing at the River Oaks in Houston
Reporters sans frontières - International

Reporters Without Borders is publishing a worldwide press freedom index

The US is now ranked 17th overall in Freedom-of-the-Press. Thank You Ashcroft.
Off the Kuff: Early voter turnout up
TX kcbd : Studies suggest administration rules could worsen air pollution

"Two new studies suggest a new Bush administration proposal could make air pollution worse.

"The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to deliver documents to a Senate committee today detailing the administration's plan to ease controls from aging coal-fire power plants and other facilities."
Early turnout statewide has Sanchez camp optimistic
Sci Fi Wire -- SCI FI Backs UFO Disclosure

The SCI FI Channel joined with John Podesta, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, in calling for declassification of secret government records on UFOs, the network announced. SCI FI is backing a Freedom of Information Act initiative to obtain government records on cases involving retrieval of objects of unknown origin by the secret Air Force operations Project Moon Dust and Operation Blue Fly. Assisting SCI FI in its effort is the Washington, D.C., law firm of Lobel, Novins and Lamont, the network announced. "It is time for the government to declassify records that are more than 25 years old and to provide scientists with data that will assist in determining the real nature of this phenomenon," Podesta said in a statement.

As secretive as this administration is, it ain't going to happen. Bartcop Forum pointed to this. - USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll results Democrats pulling ahead, getting out the vote would make huge difference.

Likely Voters Dem 49 - 46 Rep
Registered Voters Dem 50 - 41 Rep
Dubya the Magnificent, - Democratic Underground

"Americans are supposed to believe that we now face a clear and present danger from Iraq that is so compelling that an immediate pre-emptive strike remains our only real option. We're asked to believe this despite the obvious fact that Bush and his team have discussed their desire to overthrow Saddam Hussein for some four years, at least."

A Democratic House and Senate will slow this action, I don't think it will stop it as it has been in the works too long.
Yahoo! News - Bush Served on Harken Board During Enron Trades It just won't go away, much more here to justify independent prosecutor than Clinton's few thousand dollars in Whitewater.
TheAmericanProwler -- Shaky Overconfidence

"Sunday's Washington Post ran a front page story outlining all of the plans and policies confident GOP-ers on the Hill were going to implement once full control of Capitol Hill was attained in early November. But if Republicans are so sure about continuing control of the House and regaining control of the Senate, it isn't showing up on Capitol Hill, no matter what the Post says. Late last week Republican staffers from several important Senate offices could be found in Capitol Hill watering holes mapping out their future employment, and none of it involved shiny new leadership positions on Senate committees.

" 'I guess we're being more realistic than our bosses," says a Senate staffer for a Western Senator up for re-election. ' I'm thinking I'm going to need to find a new job. I don't know any Republican staffer who really believes we're going to pull this thing off. There are too many variables.' "

Probably the best forecaster at this time is someone who's job depends on the outcome.
NYTimes : A Softer Spin on the Mean Season

Political commecials are as negative and nasty as ever but use techniques to sound less hostile.

After beating the airways for days about how bad the Montana hairdresser commercial was one Republican media consultant admits: "If I could do an ad like that and drive the guy out of the race. Wow. That's effective."

Minnesota Star-Tribune: Mysterious group spends huge $1 million on anti-Wellstone campaign Not so mysterious, it looks like it coordinates with the Republican Senate Campaign Committee.
ABCNEWS: Poll: Bush Approval Original headline questionable

"Approval of Bush's handling of the economy has slipped from 63 percent in midsummer to 49 percent now, with 44 percent disapproving in the Gallup poll; the numbers were about the same in the NBC-Journal poll. Public approval of his handling of foreign affairs has slipped from the 70s or higher earlier this year to 58 percent now, in both polls.

"Six in 10, 61 percent, said President Bush has not spent enough time dealing with domestic issues, compared with 68 percent who felt that way about his father in January 1992. More than half, 58 percent, said they think economic conditions in this country are poor, the most who have said that in years.

"The race for Congress remained virtually even, with 49 percent saying they would vote for the Democratic candidate and 46 percent choosing the Republican."

Jacksonville : Florida governor's race tightens with stakes high

Latest poll shows Jeb Bush behind! 49-45

Conservative paper urges President Bush to save his brother.

And so, of course, the Republicans turn nasty.

Sun-Sentinel: "Insults and accusations of lying flew between the campaigns of Republican Gov. Jeb Bush and Democratic challenger Bill McBride on Wednesday, as the two escalated their battle over taxes, spending and how to pay for reducing class size."

The Miami Herald : Tide shifts: Bush takes the offensive on tax issue Republican leaning paper.
CSMonitor -- Wave of ballot measures this fall veers left

"Back in the 1990s, many high-profile citizen ballot initiatives across the country had a Rush Limbaugh conservativism driving them: They aimed to cut taxes, bust up affirmative action, impose term limits, allow school vouchers, and toughen crime policy.

"But this year's big initiatives suddenly have a Ralph Nader-like slant: They would provide universal healthcare in Oregon, legalize marijuana in Nevada, institute same-day voter registration in California and Colorado, and even protect pregnant pigs in Florida."

I think that liberals with less money just take longer to adopt sucessful tactics. - Too Much Work, Too Few Nurses "Registered nurses are overworked and burned out, and there have been few solutions to stop them from fleeing hospitals as a result,"
Yahoo! News - Dick Cheney Pulls in $22M for GOP

After blasting Clinton and Gore for fund-raising Bush-Cheney devote much, much, more time to it. There is a reporter who tracks presidential schedules. So far Bush since being sworn in has been in the White House less than half of his time.
U.S. tells U.N. to hurry -- The Washington Times

Continuing mixed signals from administration on Iraq.

Most likely now is an attack after the election without UN support.
Shell Game Who's to Blame for the Insurance Crisis? - The Texas Observer

Perry miscalculated but in a break for him Farmer's is delaying non-renewal notices until after the election. They would rather deal with Perry than Sanchez.
HoustonChronicle - Senate candidates spar again (Odd this was extensively rewritten, better, while I was blogging it. I wouldn't have noticed it but I accidently erased the link.)

Republican Right masquerading as Republican Moderate versus Republican Light.

Most Republicans getting high priced help run much more moderate than they are and Cornyn is no exception.

Kirk, perhaps correctly, is not running as a Democrat but as a strong supporter of Bush and most Republican positions. He is also running as non-threatening and mild. I think he should take a few issues to take a tough stand so he doesn't appear a complete wuss. Still, I'm the cheap advice and he's getting the high priced.

The major disagreements in the debate were over Social Security and Hopwood decision(against measures creating diversity in public colleges). Cornyn is the only Republican Senate candidate still supporting privatization and Kirk clearly won that round. Surprisingly, Kirk took a position encouraging methods to expand college education to all minorities. Only surprising considering his Republican positions on all other issues.

My prediction, Kirk loses 53 - 46 but probably the increased turnout gets Sharp as Lt. Governor.

My favorite part of listening to politicians speak - Freudian slips.

Cornyn - referred to going after Texas's low income children!
Kirk - referred to Saddam as an "Actor," correct but he was probably thinking of all politicians.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

David Dewhurst—the Unlikeliest (and Oddest) Candidate - The Texas Observer Many Texans might get their first good look at him during tomorrow's debate.

Weird shy, extremely conservative, ex-CIA, 6'-5" make-up wearing roper who looks like a model and likes to work out at the downtown Austin gym.

He has alienated most Republican's he would have to work with in the Senate for not keeping his word. Although the mainstream GOP doesn’t support him he has the support of the extreme wing of the party and small towns. "The best that one prominent Republican who’ll be on the November ballot could say of Dewhurst was, 'He’s weird. But he’s less weird than he used to be.' "

Opponent John Sharp has gotten the endorsement of most business groups in Texas and some moderate Republicans like Nolan Ryan but the race is still 50-50 because of the Texas attitude of anyone but a Democrat and he has millions of dollars of his own money to throw into advertising.

TAKE a porn flick, remove the sex - and let everyone sing and dance and keep their clothes on.
What have you got?
"Debbie Does Dallas," a cheerful, nudity-free retooling of the '70s hard-core classic, in a downtown theater.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

The Boondocks One of the three comics I really like. - Canned ads, stale words ensure flavorless races

As he campaigned for Democratic congressional candidates in New Hampshire last week, Sen. Joe Lieberman repeatedly warned, "Lord protect us, if both houses of Congress go Republican, there will be no balance left, nothing to protect us from the far-right agenda." Then with a broad smile, the 2000 vice-presidential nominee joked, "I don't want to put too much pressure on you, but the future of Western civilization hangs in the balance."

But hardly anyone is saying that where voters can hear it.

For while the political implications are indeed large, the tactics employed by both sides have been depressingly small-minded.

One only has to go back to the 1994 campaign to find a late-breaking national trend that caught many observers by surprise. On this date eight years ago, The New York Times declared in a news analysis, "There are no real issues at all this year, at least not in a traditional sense."

That was, of course, the year when the Republicans, powered by Newt Gingrich's "Contract with America," won back control of the House for the first time in four decades.

Early voting in my city is over 1998 totals, approaching 2000. Except for mail in ballots which are higher than 2000.

The Onion In History October 22, 1929
Stock Market Invincible: "Buy, Buy, Buy!" Experts Advise

Reuters AlertNet - Dissident Venezuelan officers reject Chavez rule

Recently there seems to be a step up on US media reports on Venezuela. I am inclined to think this is US CIA and Mil Intel lead to prepare for the next coup attempt. This is a back burner issue but they do not want Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela to lead South America left.

Bush is reminded me more and more of a Reagan clone - someone who is folksy and John Wayne like - who puts the friendly political face on the finance-military-industrial-intelligence-complex control of US government.

I had a comment today that I am not really blogging, that I am often just lifting short segments of stories and making no comments. So? Most blogs are comments, mine is trying to give a reader's digest summary of liberal news with links to the original sources with few comments. If someone doesn't like this they don't have to read it.
This Modern World - Tom Tomorrow Just you wait...
t r u t h o u t - Interview | William Rivers Pitt -- The New Book; "War on Iraq -- What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know

"I was appalled at the priorities of the administration. I thought they were leading us down a path to economic ruin, to international isolation. Virtually everything that Bush stood for I was against, and quite afraid of on a lot of levels. After September 11, the volume on my fears got turned up a great deal, particularly after the signing of the Patriot Act, and particularly with the rush to war with Iraq, in the aftermath of the meltdown of the stock market and Enron and Halliburton and Harken and everything else. I think that we are dealing with individuals...I don't even think you can rightfully call them republicans anymore. They are corporatists; they are something new on the planet and they are mortally dangerous to this country. I am not a radical leftist lunatic by any stretch of the imagination. I was a fairly moderate democrat before this party got itself into power and I have been radicalized by this situation. Right now, we are in a place of great and fundamental danger to everything about this country that matters to us."

War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You To Know - Buy at Amazon Now
Quicken -- Economy Will Be Big Issue In US Elections - Gephardt

The faltering economy will be the dominant issue in next month's elections and could be a catalyst for ending the Republicans' eight-year hold on the House, Democratic leader Dick Gephardt said Tuesday.

"I think most Americans are concerned primarily about their economic situations," the Missouri Democrat said at a news conference.

Jobs, wages, pension plans and savings for education "are the issues that people live with every day and worry about every day," he said. "It's obvious the Republican plan is an absolute failure and has let everyone down in this country."

Gephardt said that if Republicans win control of Congress, "the American people can expect more tax cuts for special interests like Enron." He noted that Tuesday was the first anniversary of the GOP-led House voting for a corporate tax repeal that would have returned billions of dollars to corporations, including $254 million to Enron. That legislation ultimately failed.

If Democrats win the House, Gephardt said, they will try to revitalize the economy with short-term investments in school construction and other vital needs, one-time rebates and tax cuts for families and for company investment, a long-term plan to balance the federal budget, protections for people's pensions and an increase in the minimum wage.

Turnover expected to peak this election -- The Washington Times

Control of the nation's legislatures — currently split almost evenly between the two major parties — will be up for grabs in several states on Election Day, and experts are predicting possible record turnover.
Sniper coverage drowns out politicians -- The Washington Times

The sniper shootings that have dominated network news also are cutting into their national election coverage, and that could affect voter turnout, some party officials said yesterday.
Austin Statesman - Democrats keep eye on early voting

Taking rural early voters by van to voting locations and appealing to specific groups are just two of the things Sanchez and the Democrats are doing to attract every possible vote. How well those efforts work could determine whether Democrats gain any statewide offices this fall.

Early indications are the Democratic GOTV campaigns are working, I hear reports that early voting in the valley has tripled from last election. Thank Daily Kos for this link.
MotherJones : Beyond Left: The Principles of Democracy

The astonishing recent flood of calls, letters, e-mails, and faxes to Capitol Hill opposing the Bush Administration's desire for a blank check for blitzkrieg were important for several reasons that transcended the vote itself. The outpouring itself was important, but so were its speed and lack of organizational sponsors, and the ideological and demographic diversity of the critics.

This debate is about how a US invasion would be received globally -- especially in the Islamic world and among Washington's closest allies -- and about the precedent of "preemptive" (i.e., unprovoked) military attack. And, while most people haven't read the document, public concerns about war with Iraq are squarely based on the principles laid out in a recent Bush Administration report to Congress entitled "The National Security Strategy of the United States."

Any broad-based opposition must start with an alternative vision of what we stand for. Many progressives have forgotten that public policy doesn't have to inexorably get worse; it can actually create good things, too. In this case, the best of what we can work toward requires not isolationism (an option that is both irresponsible and no longer possible) or a reflexive criticism of America or of war. Instead, it means embracing this country's ideals and proposing policies based on mutual international respect, interdependence, and the good America could accomplish if it tried.

MotherJones : | Beyond Right: The Temptations of Empire

Why the anti-war movement should listen to the 'real right's' patriotic arguments against invading Iraq.

The anti-war movement must mobilize the antiwar "silent majority" -- and it won't accomplish that with leftist jargon. Nor will "can't we all get along?" pacifism, or appeals to "multilateralism" and the United Nations suffice. The UN, after all, authorized the first Gulf war -- and their imprimatur didn't justify that one, either.

There is, however, a third way: we must appeal to the American public's instinctive revulsion at the idea of international meddling or bullying. We must show the American people that this war will hurt and not advance our national interests. We can build a movement that represents the antiwar majority if we ask people to join not because America is inherently evil, but because it's the patriotic thing to do.

So, let's get rid of the arcane slogans, and the appeals to free Mumia, and let's get out the American flags. Or, if the stars-and-stripes are too prosaic, those who really want to make a political fashion statement might take a look at the flags of the American Revolution. I suggest the Gadsen flag, with its coiled snake and the motto "Don't tread on m!" It's the perfect answer to the War Party's continuing assault on the Constitution -- and to phony neoconservative "patriots" like Bill Bennett and David Horowitz who seek to stigmatize all opposition to this war as a "fifth column."