Saturday, September 29, 2007

John Lott - still a flaming Bozo

I hadn't heard much about John Lott lately. He happens to be one of my top candidates for the worst statistician in the world. As is typical of our current crop of incompetence supporting conservative Republicans he is a big hero on that side of the aisle.

Last night I was flipping stations looking for something to listen to and I believe Mike "turd world nations" Savage had him on. Garbage finding its proper level I suppose. (Was a different radio clown garbage show, see comments.)

One of the stories John Lott told was of a court ruling against a store that had extended credit to a women only after she pledged previously paid for furniture as collateral for the new purchase. When the woman defaulted the store repossessed the new furniture as well as the furniture she used as collateral. The judge said they could not do that. John Lott's lesson from this story was that judges feeling sympathy for the poor woman (edited from original) has now prevented any others from getting a break and possibly being able to get credit to buy furniture.

John Lott is breathtakingly wrong. Judges don't decide who they will offer sympathy to. That is not their job. They rule on the law. It was against the law for the store to offer credit only on condition of having prior purchases used as collateral and then seizing the collateral in the event of default. Simpleton libertarian economics and tirades on "liberal judges" and unintended consequences have nothing to do with this.

The more I find out about John Lott the more the range of his ignorance expands.

I see John Lott is about to lose his case against Freakonomics.

When even shrill Michelle Malkin doesn't support you and finds you creepy....

Fox News: Army generals betraying us

Fox News contributor and frequent O'Reilly guest David Hunt repeatedly attacks the honor and integrity of our military generals in a special editorial on their web site.
Our generals in both the Army and Marine Corps have cared more about their precious careers and reputations than their soldiers and Marines under them. The Marines have actually prosecuted a Marine for shooting a terrorist too many times....

In Iraq, the story is the same. The Army rediscovered a trick we used in 'Nam' called "baiting," where you leave ammunition and pieces of explosive devices out and shoot whoever takes them. We used to leave exploding ammo to put in your AK -- when you try to fire it, the gun blows up. It worked then and it works now . . . but guess what the Army is now putting on trial: Ranger Snipers for doing their jobs. The rules of engagement were once again being followed and once again our generals put their careers over their men's lives.

We should be putting these generals on trial, first for going along with Rummy and just as important for not trusting their soldiers. . . .

These poor excuse for officers do not deserve the soldiers they dare claim they lead.
Hunt flat out states that the corruption and betrayal of our American Generals are preventing us from winning.

I want a Senate resolution denouncing Fox News for smearing our generals and saying they are betraying us and our courageous troops. As Greenwald writes:
Taking the corrupt political tactics wielded by the war-hungry Right and applying those same tactics to them (rather than ineffectively protesting the unfairness of the tactics) is the only way to ensure they cease.

Friday, September 28, 2007

A two-faced box turtle update

Two-faced Box Turtle
"It does not affect your daily life very much if your neighbor marries a box turtle. But that does not mean it is right. Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife."

John Cornyn
Senator Box Turtle has also dishonored the men at the Alamo with his famous quote: “None of your civil liberties matter much after you’re dead.”

Jordan is a feminist who likes men

Nothing Matters, and What if it Did?: Major Feminist Rant

Strange Bedfellows

Scooter Libby has been cited by the defense in a child pornography case. An aggressive prosecutor is bringing the first text only porn case in decades against a women who wrote stories about child rape and abuse for less than 30 paid subscribers. The defense will claim that her depictions are not any different than a child bestiality rape scene in Scooter's novel.

Edwards first in MySpace/MTV hot seat

An excellent showing my Edwards in the MySpace/MTV race. Article is by Helena Andrews at the normally biased

Dispirited Liberals, Houston Progressive Democrats

Ian Welsh:
Let's Summarize. Control of Congress has bought us:
  • war spending at about the same and probably an even higher level than a Republican Congress (if they pass that 50 million coming up it'll actually be higher);
  • A FISA bill that guts the 4th amendment;
  • No real procedural control over the floor, because the leadership is too scared of their own members to enforce discipline (and control over this was supposed to be the main benefit, so that bad bills and amendments never even made it to general votes);
  • A Congress with higher approval ratings from Republicans than Democrats or Independents;
  • A refusal to use inherent contempt to enforce subpoenas, meaning we don't even really have subpoena power;
  • A refusal to actually make the Republicans get off their asses and physically filibuster; and,
  • An inability to stop the Republicans from "filibustering 3 times as much as any Congress has been filibustered.
  • Someone explain to me what we did get out of the victory in 06?
    I am supposed to be all optimistic because I can finally see some few scattered rays of sunshine indicating that the dark clouds of the Bush regime are starting to clear but on too many days that is difficult.

    In addition to withholding financial support to the Harris County Democratic Party, is there anything else I can do to show my displeasure at the chosen "honored guest" Rahm Emanuel at the main fundraiser? I have already offered to help run a dunk booth with him as the attraction.

    Comedy Central puts GOP debate on spin cycle

    John Oliver and Larry Wilmore, correspondents for The Daily Show, attracted a growing crowd as they taped candidate interviews after the forum at historically black Morgan State University in Baltimore. Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Rep. Duncan Hunter of California and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas all submitted to questions. Some examples:

    "Governor, explain to me. What is it about black votes that makes them so difficult to count?"

    "Current health care plan: Wack or dope?"

    "Democrats have done virtually nothing to help African-Americans for the last 40 years, but they still get 93 percent of the black vote,'' Comedy Central's correspondents noted. "My question to you is, what does that say about your party?"

    Can You Spot Rush Limbaugh's 'Phony Soldiers'? - Update

    Limbaugh: Service members who support U.S. withdrawal are "phony soldiers"

    Progressives have been honoring the troops while opposing the mission. Rush somehow got that turned around.

    Tell KTRH you don't like them dishonoring the troops.

    Rush on saving the troops: 'whatever'.

    UPDATE - Phony explanation for 'phony soldiers'.

    Dan Rather "The story was true"

    Sidney Blumental in Salon is reporting on the Dan Rather story and the so-called-liberal-media reaction. He paints a sad incriminating picture of CBS and its sucking up to the administration. This whoring has been a disaster for CBS on many levels. I think stockholders might want to consider holding Viacom management responsible for the loss of value.

    Air Force refused to fly weapons to Middle East theater?

    Wayne Madsen reports that the breakdown of US nuclear weapons security where armed nuclear cruise missiles on a B-52 "accidentally" wound up in the staging area for Middle East flights was a botched operation to attack Iran. He reports that dissident intelligence and Air Force personnel leaked the story to prevent the risky attack on Iran.

    Wayne Madsen is the United States version of the Debka Files. He runs a news and rumor source featuring leaked information and rumors from military, political and intelligence sources, some of which may even be mostly true.

    Update - While not going to this extreme in repeating rumors, Greenwald points out the most effective American anti-war movement today is coming from the Pentagon. Meanwhile Hillary just helped Bush and Lieberman move another step closer to war with Iran. Even Maureen notes that the US just keeps helping Iran.

    Thursday, September 27, 2007

    Should I go to Harris County Democratic Fundraiser?

    The only reason, of course, would be to punch "honored guest" Rahm Emanuel in the face.

    Open Left:: Emanuel and Hoyer Blocking More Aggressive Dem Tactics on Ending War

    Rahm Emanuel Recruited Wealthy Conservatives to run as Democrats, pitched over the side progressives.

    No more Tim Russert debates

    Perhaps the winner was Edwards.

    Who would elect a President who is afraid of Travis Smiley?

    If they are afraid of tough questions, unlikely as Travis is also a Republican, do you think they will be anything but cowards in the War on Terror? Or is this more of a lack of respect towards non-white Americans?

    Dan Rather is right

    Dubya's desertion returns as an issue much to the chagrin of the American mass media. For them it is not about Bush being AWOL and never correcting it, it is about how to portray Dan Rather as the villain.

    For those just joining us Eric Boehlert offers a quick summary of just a few of the undeniable facts about AWOL Bush.
    Here are the 10 discrepancies that would have gotten any other Air National Guard member severely reprimanded, and certainly would have, later in life, derailed any presidential aspirations:

    1. Upon entering the Guard, Bush agreed that flying was his "lifetime pursuit" and that he would fly for the military for at least 60 months. After his training was complete, he owed 53 more months of flying.

    Bush flew for only 22 of those 53 months.

    2. In May 1972, Bush left the Houston Guard base for Alabama. According to Air Force regulations, Bush was supposed to obtain prior authorization before leaving Texas to join a new Guard unit in Alabama.

    Bush failed to get the authorization.

    3. On his transfer request to Alabama Bush was asked to list his "permanent address."

    He wrote down a post office box number for the campaign where he was working on a temporary basis.

    4. According to Air Force regulations, "[a] member whose attendance record is poor must be closely monitored. When the unexcused absences reach one less than the maximum permitted [sic] he must be counseled and a record made of the counseling. If the member is unavailable he must be advised by personal letter."

    There is no record that Bush ever received such counseling, despite the fact that he missed drills for months on end.

    5. Bush's unit was obligated to report to the Personnel Center at Randolph Air Force Base whenever a monthly review of records showed unsatisfactory participation for an officer.

    Bush's unit never reported his absenteeism to Randolph Air Force Base.

    6. In July 1972, Bush failed to take a mandatory Guard physical exam, which is a serious offense for a Guard pilot. The move should have prompted the formation of a Flying Evaluation Board to investigate the circumstances surrounding Bush's failure.

    No such Flying Evaluation Board was convened.

    7. On Sept. 29, 1972, Bush was formally grounded for failing to take a flight physical. The letter, written by the chief of the National Guard Bureau, ordered Bush to acknowledge in writing that he had received word of his grounding.

    No such written acknowledgment exists.

    8. Each time Bush missed a monthly training session he was supposed to schedule a make-up session, or file substitute service requests. Bush's numerous substitute service requests should have formed a lengthy paper trail with the name of the officer who authorized the training in advance, the signature of the officer who supervised the training and Bush's own signature.

    No such documents exist.

    9. During his last year with the Texas Air National Guard, Bush missed a majority of his mandatory monthly training sessions and supposedly made them up with substitute service. Guard regulations allowed substitute service only in circumstances that were "beyond the control" of the Guard member.

    Neither Bush nor the Texas Air National Guard ever explained what the uncontrollable circumstances were that forced him to miss so many of his assigned drills during his last year.

    10. On June 29, 1973, the Air Reserve Personnel Center in Denver instructed Bush's commanders to get additional information from his Alabama unit, where he had supposedly trained, in order to better evaluate Bush's duty.

    Bush's commanders ignored the request.

    But why do I bother with these silly facts? Everybody knows the Guard story is bogus. And everybody knows Dan Rather is crazy for suggesting otherwise.
    For more of my obsession with AWOL Bush see my archives which are finally fixed under Google's Blogspot management. There has been some creative work by ignoramuses trying to prove the documents were forged, which was not necessary for the case against Bush as Eric points out.

    Monday, September 24, 2007

    When the world changes

    Hillary Clinton - I cannot vote to fund this war without a change in course. Nice to see her joining Edwards on this and health care.

    Dilbert also came out in satirical form against right wing crazies on the Middle East and their cutting liberty and freedom nonsense.

    If Dilbert and Hillary actually become liberals can Middle America be far behind?

    (For you right wing crazies out there they have not been liberals. Scott Adams has been corporate libertarian. The Clintons are often hated on the left for taking conservative positions and trying to make them palatable to Democrats - triangulation.)

    Texas Round-Up 11

    It's Monday, and that means it's time for yet another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's Weekly Blog Round-Up. This week's installment is compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex as usual.

    It's about one thing. TXsharon at Bluedaze tells us why we have to make it about something else.

    Bill Howell of StoutDemBlog, a new member of the Texas Progressive Alliance, takes a look at Kirk England's recent party switch as well as other recent party switches in Dallas County in Rove's Permanent Majority Collapses: Now What Do We Do With All These Defectors?

    Boadicea at Texas Kaos wonders if MoveOn doesn't owe John Cornyn a thank you note.

    Musings discovers that the lead GOP presidential contenders are too busy for Black and Latino sponsored debates, while the local Harris County GOP claim they are home to Hispanics because of their once a year bike give away.

    Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News has word on Mayor Manlove of Pasadena entering the race to challenge Lampson for Congress and the mayor's race it opens up He also has a short colorful digest of Naomi Klein promoting her book on Disaster Capitalism.

    WCNews at Eye on Williamson posts on recent news that Gov. Perry and Speaker Craddick - who Krussee excoriated at the end of the legislative session--will appear at a fundraiser for him in Krusee Throws Reagan Over The Wall And Under The Bus.

    Mayor McSleaze at McBlogger takes a look at some of the dumber things to come out of the right this week, like Bill O'Reilly's trip to a Harlem hot spot where he discovered that it was just like a 'real' restaurant, you know, like Olive Garden.

    Off the Kuff looks at the causes and effects of Kirk England's party switch.

    Refinish69 at Doing My Part For The Left looks at UT football and ask a simple question - UTLonghorns or UT Thugs.

    Burnt Orange Report and its diarists are following the Kirk England switchover with enthusiasm. After breaking the story on Wednesday, the entire staff, welcomes the newest Democrat to the House.

    KT at Stop Cornyn shows how Junior Senator John Cornyn is wasting time again. Instead of getting funding for CHIP or getting our troops the armor they need, John Cornyn forced a vote condemning Yet another example of failed leadership and Junior John being out of touch with Texas needs.

    Evan at the Caucus Blog covered two major stories this week. First, after months of investigation, discussion, and debate, the Houston GLBT Political Caucus has decided to endorse the HISD bond proposal. Second, Evan has looked into the history of the fight for a federal Employment Non-discrimination Act in the post "ENDA Deja Vu."

    Bradley at North Texas Liberal discusses how Washington, D.C. almost had the vote, but lost it due to greedy Senate Republicans. Only eight Republicans could be bothered to vote for the legendary bill that would have allowed the District a voting member of Congress.

    The marriage of the Republican party to theocracy is no accident. Right wing investors like Richard Mellon Scaife are molding US churches, notes CouldBeTrue at in "What does an El Paso Church have to do with the right wing" at South Texas Chisme.

    It was quite a week for Senator Box Turtle; he led the Senate charge against free speech, voted against habeas corpus, and against adequate down time for our soldiers. As PDiddie at Brains and Eggs points out, he now owns the war on terror -- in addition to the war on the Constitution and all Americans. But he did unwittingly sponsor a successful fundraiser for, so he wasn't a complete failure.

    WhosPlayin joins a local Republican activist in opposing tax abatements for speculative real estate development in Lewisville.

    Vince at Capitol Annex has been keeping tabs on the Texas Conservative Coalition and its town hall meetings across East Texas in which they propose to eliminate property taxes in favor of an expanded sales tax, and points out that at least one new candidate has already started drinking their Kool-Aid.

    Hal at Half Empty was at a campaign kickoff fundraiser for Ron Reynolds who is running for State Rep in HD 27. He took videos and did a series. Links to the series is at his summary posting: Ron E. Reynolds is Running for State
    Rep in HD 27

    Blue 19th notes that Randy Neugebauer can't hide his contempt for veterans from everyone. So which party was it that supported our troops? Oh yeah, the one that doesn't start with "Republican".

    No? No! Yes? Yes! Texas Cloverleaf reports on Trinity Vote Trickery Confusing ballot language and campaign slogans cloud the upcoming Trinity Toll Road vote in Dallas.

    Don't forget to check out other Texas Progressive Alliance blogs shown on my blogroll on the left.

    I am not at home and my usual Technorati tags will be added later.

    Sunday, September 23, 2007

    GOP on a Filibuster Frenzy

    Before last year's election the Republicans were calling for the elimination of the Senate filibuster. Now it is their only desperate hope.

    A bipartisan majority of the Senate have voted that soldiers get as much time home as they do deployed. That all prisoners have the right of habeas corpus. That DC should get a vote in Congress. All have been stopped by Senate filibusters.

    Through poor judgement on the Democratic leadership side the only thing that wasn't filibustered, and should have been, was Sen. John "Cowardly" Cornyn's resolution of condemnation for the three million member strong's New York Times ad. (BTW, thanks to Cornyn and Bush attacks MoveOn has received two million dollars in new donations the last couple of days. Hey, Senate condemn me, I could use the money.)

    I am at the point now that if Bush and the GOP want to shut down the government through filibuster and refusal to compromise LET THEM. The Bush administration needs the money to run government, needs the money to fund the occupation. Why should my money be spent for those things? The Democrats control the purse, they should prove they have balls by voting for good legislation and letting the GOP filibuster and Bush veto. Then submit it again. Who loses in that case?
    In 2003, Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) threatened, "[Filibustering] is wrong. It's not supportable under the Constitution. [Not a scholar.] And if they insist on persisting with these filibusters, I'm perfectly prepared to blow the place up."
    Do we need more Democrats prepared to hold the GOP and Bush accountable? Do we need more Democrats willing to let the GOP blow the place and themselves up? YES.

    Saturday, September 22, 2007

    Media Matters: Petraeus = Powell:

    In his book Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush, Eric Boehlert noted that ABC's Ted Koppel hosted Powell for three "in-depth interviews" on Nightline. In the first appearance, according to Boehlert, Powell "was not asked one question about his U.N. performance despite the fact that observers had already detailed the obvious errors in Powell's presentation. In fact it took the international press just one week to detail the holes in Powell's speech. But eight months later on Nightline, Koppel paid no attention to that fact." In what must surely be a coincidence, Koppel and Powell are, according to Boehlert, "good friends."

    Less than five years ago, America's news media enthusiastically embraced Powell's U.N. address -- an address that we now know was riddled with untruths and bogus "evidence." But the nation's leading journalists and commentators bought it and shouted down skeptics. They bought it not after examining and assessing the quality of Powell's evidence, but because "Powell himself had presented it." They shouted down skeptics not because of the quality of the evidence, but because of the quality of the man. To be a skeptic required believing "that Colin Powell lied"; thus, being a skeptic was unacceptable.

    Why dwell on that now? Because the media's coverage of David Petraeus in 2007 is depressingly similar to their treatment of Colin Powell in 2003.
    A few of the columnists had regrets and rescinded their remarks about Powell in the following days but the first serious American media examination of the speech came many months later. Now it is pretty well universally acknowledged that Powell damaged his reputation to be a mouthpiece for lies. What would Powell say to Petraeus now?

    Note - I had the main criticisms of Powell's speech from foreign sites soon after - his exaggerations, questionable claims and one outright lie that never got in the media here. I think I found my first post - Feb 17, the speech was Feb. 5. Some previous links of mine are dead like one Feb. 9 that pointed to another version of this. Easter Lemming, keeping you informed.

    Manlove vs. Lampson, Pasadena race opens up

    I have been told that Pasadena's Mayor Manlove has decided he will run for Tom DeLay's old seat. Manlove has a large picture of himself and DeLay in his office and they are BFF. Manlove is term limited in Pasadena and this explains what he will do with the money he raised last year in Houston. He has over $332,000 in his political campaign war chest. It appears this will be a crowded Republican field with Robert Talton, Sekula Gibbs and others competing to face Democratic incumbent Nick Lampson. The official announcement may be delayed as he must step down as mayor if he is seeking another office.

    Manlove is Latino on his mother's side and may have received minority set aside contracts for his publishing business. He has used some of his recent contributions to finally learn to speak Spanish through a Berlitz course.

    It is unclear how strong Lampson's support is in District 22 although Democratic activists are less enthusiastic due to some of his recent votes on the Iraq War and civil liberties. Has this gained him some independent votes to make up for fewer activists campaigning for him or donating to him?

    Manlove seeking Lampson's seat will also open up a race in Pasadena for mayor. The likely players are Don Harrison, Dana Philibert, and former Pasadena mayor Johnny Isbell or current council member J.J. Isbell. By coincidence ;-), brief bios of all can be found here except for former mayor Johnny, J.J.'s father.

    My Take on the Pasadena Mayoral candidates

    Normally, I would be supportive of Don Harrison, who at least is good for seniors, but there have been many ethical issues in his past including pleading guilty to libel and lying about it, shutting down citizen speech in council chambers, and refusing to give up his council seat after losing it. My previous posts on Harrison are here. Dana is personally pleasant but participated in the free speech shut down and has been a reliable supporter of Manlove. J.J. has shown some independence but has not distinguished himself yet in politics and seems more interested in the Pasadena rodeo. Johnny Isbell's time appears to be past and he had switched to the Republican party in 2001 in a case of political opportunism. On the other hand, he deserves credit for helping develop Pasadena's neighborhood network association. Maybe former council woman Nona Phillips will get my support if she tries again for mayor.

    Another Naomi

    What is it with Naomis lately? First Naomi Klein's book about Libertarianism being imposed by forceNaomi Wolf via Shock and Disaster Capitalism, and now Naomi Wolf appearing on the Colbert Report to discuss her book on 10 Ways America is moving toward Fascism. Naomi Wolf was part of a new wave of feminists in the 90s.

    I think smart liberal women are sexy. Link from Boing Boing.

    Friday, September 21, 2007

    SiCKOS for sale list

    Who has the health care industry fallen in love with?

    A listing of the presidential candidates and the contributions they've received from the health industry (described as HMOs, pharmaceutical companies, physicians, and "other health professionals").

    Hillary Clinton $848,872

    Mitt Romney $830,285

    Barack Obama $566,638

    John McCain $409,751

    Rudy Giuliani $401,422

    John Edwards $212,200

    Bill Richardson $185,000


    Idiocratic Democratic Senators

    Lane Hudson:
    Twenty three Senate Democrats today showed that they are cowards and will bend to the slightest threat by the right wing. They all joined every single Republican Senator in censuring's advertisement in the New York Times. The add, now famously known as the "General Betray Us" ad, asserted that General David Petraeus had a record of carrying the political water of the Bush administration and that a less than honest assessment of the situation in Iraq was a betrayal of trust.

    It's not rocket science. In fact, none of the people attacking MoveOn even bothered to take issue with the facts contained in the advertisement. Not one. I challenge you to prove me wrong.
    Cowards: Max Baucus, Evan Bayh, Ben Cardin, Tom Carper, Bob Casey, Kent Conrad, Byron Dorgan, Dianne Feinstein, Tim Johnson, Amy Klobuchar, Herb Kohl, Mary Landrieu, Pat Leahy, Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln, Claire McCaskill, Barbara Mikulski, Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, Mark Pryor, Ken Salazar, Jon Tester, and Jim Webb.

    Biden and Obama didn't vote and then Obama tried to DC talk his way out of it.

    All Most of the Democrats who voted against MoveOn also showed they didn't want to support the troops and end the war.

    I know a few people who want the money back they had given to some of these Senators.

    UPDATE - I agree with the first three comments. I originally had a notation by Lieberman's name but dropped it.

    Lakoff is right. Who was more rude, beyond the pale, John McCain saying that Democrats are calling for surrender, or asking the general not to betray us?

    UPDATE 2 -, with over three million members, says they are being overwhelmed with emails of support and donations. Half a million dollars right after the disgraceful Senate vote and Bush called MoveOn disgusting. Click here to donate.

    Generals May Have Persuaded Bush Not to Attack Iran

    Steven Clemons lays out a persuasive case that in a military strategic ops meeting Bush was persuaded that if he ordered an attack on Iran they could not guarantee that all of Iran's nuclear facilities would be taken out and blowback from the operation would be harmful to the United States.

    The attack seems to have been placed on hold. I believe that Bush will reconsider, perhaps next year. Right now Bush is using other means to attempt to overthrow the Iranian government.

    There is still great danger as many influential people are working to get the United States to attack. Cheney and the other rabid war hawk neocon's are not taking Bush's decision well, of course. There have been a number of leaks since early this year of Cheney and his staff's unhappiness and other neocons have publicly advocated attacks and called conferences to make that seem the only option.

    Of all places Reason Magazine has a good article by Michael J. Totten on some of those other means - revolution not invasion, that Bush has turned to.

    As Joe Klein at a Time blog post back in March revealed Bush accepted the military's Iran advice but rejected their other advise and went ahead with the troop surge.

    Based on the movement of carrier groups and bomber air wings Bush has left the option open to change his mind at any time.

    I fell like I am in the Cold War or the dark days of WW2, sifting for clues as to what the hawks in the Kremlin or Berchtesgaden and the Eagle's Nest were going to do next.

    Thursday, September 20, 2007

    Banned in Boston - Fun with Romney Ads

    Amusing story of becoming a "media consultant" for the Romney campaign.

    The ad.

    Cowardly Republicans

    "If Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, and John McCain can’t stand up to Tavis Smiley, than how can they stand up to the terrorists?" - Jonathan Zasloff
    For Giuliani, at least, skipping these events is totally consistent with his history. As New York mayor he refused to meet with black leaders and on several occasions exploited racial tensions or used racially coded language. And he is on the one hand the national front-runner in the Republican race and on the other the guy whose big liability is supposed to be his liberalism on some social issues.

    So that's where this country is: on the one hand you have the Republicans, who feel no need to talk to black people, and on the other hand, you have the traditional media, which thinks that for a party to get its winning margins from black voters as opposed to from homophobes (or, as they like to call them, "values voters") is vaguely illegitimate. - MissLaura at Daily Kos

    BBC Charges Anbar is a Fraud

    BBC documentary reporter Rick Rowley and cameraman Dave Enders went to Anbar Province embedded with the 7th Cavalry to film the new conditions since Sheik Abu Risha’s Iraq Awakening Council supposedly kicked Al Qaeda out of the area. What they found, you won’t see on American TV.

    Al Qaeda was never a factor in Anbar, Abu Risha was a con man, and the so-called “peace” of Anbar is the result of ethnic cleansing by the Sunni of the Shi’ia who used to live there, all of whom have been either murdered or forced into exile.

    With a fraud this big, it’s hard to know where to begin.
    Pass the popcorn General.

    UPDATE - Al Jazeera footage.

    Greg Palast on the fake sheik.

    I will also add this supposed peace has a price - ethnic cleansing.
    The Anbar tribes’ alliance with the US military has effectively given them control of the province and they’re using that control to “cleanse” the Shi’ia population. As Rowley reports, there isn’t a Shi’ia family left in Anbar. Whole families have been murdered, and the rest have fled for the protection of Muktada al-Sadr. They are now living in refugee camps without water, sanitation facilities, or much food, in areas considered too dangerous for NGO’s to operate.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2007

    Obama Rocks SEIU Union House

    Service Employees Union decides to delay expected Edwards endorsement.

    Dems Caving to Dictatorial Bush Power Grab

    The word for today is Idiocracy.

    The Krugman Blog

    As media rapidly embraces blogs, the Krug joins in. Time and The Atlantic and and The Houston Chronicle have good blog sections. Krugman posts with the great theme of his writings lately, income inequality in America.

    Tags: ,

    Webb's Righteous Amendment

    Good amendment, worth thinking about. Sen. Reid is also coming around to the idea of letting the Republicans and Bush be the bad guys who won't let anything be passed.

    The Shock Doctrine: Naomi Klein on the Rise of Disaster Capitalism

    On Democracy Now! (audio, video, transcript) :
    Naomi writing.
    Economist Milton Friedman once said, "Only a crisis produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. " Naomi Klein examines some of what she considers the most dangerous ideas -- Friedmanite economics -- and exposes how catastrophic events are both extremely profitable to corporations and have also allowed governments to push through what she calls "disaster capitalism."
    Cutenomics.More on the short film and book.

    Economic libertarianism usually seems to have to be imposed by force in a crisis. Is the United States the exception in some measures pushed through by Republicans? Or does it prove the case where conservatives have to point to a few outside countries as examples of "free markets"?

    The Independent:
    In a damning critique of Friedmanite economics, The Shock Doctrine: the rise of disaster capitalism ... uses thousands of documents and interviews to expose how governments and corporations have used or even invented disasters to push through laissez-faire market reforms before local populations can recover from the shock. Wars and disaster responses are now so fully privatised that they themselves have become the new markets.
    UK Guardian: Extracts of the book. The debate.

    The Nation - video.

    Save 40% at Amazon.

    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    Times Select No Longer Select

    Having to pay for their most popular columnists might diminish future ad growth. More of the archives also open up.

    My take - was a poor decision on NYT's part to start and copies of the popular columns popped up online anyway.

    Texas Round-Up 10

    It's Monday Tuesday (my fault), and that means it's time for another Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Round-Up. This week's round up is compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex. As the TPA welcomed aboard a few new members this week, you may notice some new names and blogs.

    Muse at Musings liveblogs Lap Dog Cornyn’s portion of Petraeus’ appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee this past week and notes that he slobbers all over himself praising the surge.

    McBlogger at McBlogger goes to the CAMPO meeting on the Phase 2 toll roads and finds lies, damn lies and statistics as well as an Austin City Council Member who seems hell bent on ending his political career. Is resurrection possible? Sure... if you believe McCracken is the second coming. Spoiler alert: McBlogger doesn't.

    While on vacation, PDiddie at Brains and Eggs discovered quite a few similarities between the Texas Legislature and the Nevada State Assembly.

    Good news brought by TXsharon at Bluedaze: Bush Economy Solves Obesity Problem!

    Could Be True at South Texas Chisme notes that the Republican tactics of purging voter rolls, creating barriers to voting, and discouraging new voter registration are moving right along and could get serious in Bexar County.

    After the demolition of yet another historic structure in Houston, Charles at Off the Kuff looks at what can be done to abet preservation efforts going forward.

    Adam Silva of Three Wise Men, blogging for the UNT Democrats, provides a detailed analysis of competitive U.S. Senate races for 2008.

    City life can be complicated - but it includes an awfully lot of conveniences that we take utterly for granted-as long as they work. In Houston, We Have a Problem, on Texas Kaos, The Houston Organization of Public Employees (HOPE) invites all of us to get a little taste, so to speak, of what it takes to keep the fourth largest city in the nation running.

    WhosPlayin notes that some Republican Members of Congress just don't know when to stop digging a hole in continuing to support a failed president.

    Since 9/11, an increasingly strident message of xenophobia has seeped into both fringe and mainstream political movements. A new climate of exclusion has formed as a result of this country's heightened anxiety against racial, ethnic, and religious minorities. Whether or not intended as such, new Texas Progressive Alliance member Xicno Pwr at ¡Para Justicia y Libertad! tells us we are in the midst of a growing culture of hate as the number of hate crimes in this country are on the rise.

    WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on the unintended consequences of the 2003 GOP redistricting scheme in Are Democrats Statewide Prospects Improving Because Of GOP Gerrymandering?

    Refinish69, another recent addition to the TPA, at Doing My Part for the Left examines sex scandals and hypocrites in the Repugnant Party and Texas Stonewall Caucus.

    Have Republicans moved in a "ringer" to challenge Chet Edwards in TX-CD 17? Vince addresses that in a post at Capitol Annex.

    The Texas Clover Leaf (a new member of the Alliance) notes that Alan Keyes has entered the GOP race for President, but asks if he is actually the Republican's version of Obama.

    Texas Toad at North Texas Liberal tells us about the controversy surrounding the preservation of trees at the Trinity Trail in Ft. Worth.

    John at Bay Area Houston tells us that Jared Woodfill, Chairman of he Harris County Republican Party, must think Hispanics are stupid with his recent op-ed in the Houston Chronicle "Hispanics can feel right at home in the Texas GOP".

    Jack Cluth at The People's Republic of Seabrook notes that it would seem that we've learned nothing from the 60s. Today, in allegedly-enlightened 21st century America, a man or woman can be fired from their job in 31 states for the simple fact of being a homosexual. Regardless of how you feel about the "lifestyle", how can anyone who values liberty and freedom be OK with this...especially with Americans dying in Iraq to "protect and defend out freedom"?

    Jaye at Winding Road in Urban Area addresses several things, including machine-gun-toting cops in a 'brain dump,' post, The Stream of Consciousness Just Overflowed the Toilet. (Please flush!)

    Todd Hill (another new addition to the Texas Progressive Alliance) blogging at Burnt Orange Report tells us all about a North Texas Tribute to Speaker Jim Wright.

    Matt at Stop Cornyn tells us how John Cornyn worked to disenfranchise minority voters while he was Attorney General.

    Evan Leslie at Caucus Blog reviews the Houston GLBT Political Caucus's deliberations over its potential endorsement of the Houston Independent School District bond proposal.

    Don't forget to check out other Texas Progressive Alliance blogs, too: BlueBloggin (new member!), The Agonist, Blue 19th (new member!), In The Pink Texas, Grassroots News U Can Use (new member!), The Caucus Blog (new member!), The Texas Blue (new member!), Casual Soap Box, Common Sense, Dos Centavos, Feet To Fire, Marc’s Miscellany, Rhetoric & Rhythm, Three Wise Men, Truth Serum Blog, and Wyld Card.

    I missed the round-up but was stuck between a number of immodestly great posts anyway. Check out those on 9/09 to 9/16 and pick your favorite.

    Monday, September 17, 2007

    The First Only Online Debate Results

    Good questions, watch your favorites go toe-to-toe. Watch the final questions from Bill Maher.

    Sunday, September 16, 2007

    Israel F-15s attacked Syria

    That much is known.

    For ten days rumors have been flying and various explanations have been offered as to what was really going on in this night time battle.

    The most credible one is that Israel wanted to test Syria's new Soviet supplied air defense system, note how the administration calls it 'Iranian' in this AP story. Contrary to the Forbe's article, Iran also has new modern Soviet air defense systems. Debka speculates, but doesn't call it rumors, that both Iran and Syria have the anti-air systems only confirmed in Syria.

    The newest speculation is that Israel was attacking a nuclear enrichment plant or nuclear weapons shipment supplied by North Korea!

    These nuclear speculations seem least credible but the one the right is salivating over and fits in with administration plans to escalate tensions until an attack on Iran seems justified. Fox News, the propaganda arm of the GOP, is linking all Iraq, Syria developments together as part of the neocon justification for an attack on Iran.

    Saturday, September 15, 2007

    Galveston soldier died doing his duty

    A mother's pain over her son's death in Iraq after he had seen firsthand the futility of the current mission. From Mark Collette with the Galveston County Daily News:
    Sgt. Omar Mora, a U.S. citizen for just a few weeks, had struggled to make sense of the war for which he had volunteered....

    An infantryman, within three years he earned the rank of sergeant in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. A legal permanent resident in the United States, Mora wanted to join the Army Special Forces, which requires citizenship. He received his citizenship papers a few weeks ago.

    November would have marked the end of his 15-month deployment.

    The Capetillos last saw their son in April, when he was on leave after a roadside bomb damaged his ears and left one of his friends without an arm.

    He eventually redeployed, and in August saw another friend shot in the head, a wound that later killed him, the Capetillos said.

    Mora and six other soldiers were then in the process of writing an editorial that later ran in The New York Times. Six of the men were sergeants.

    Questioning The War

    “To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched,” the group wrote.

    They said recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable simply didn’t jibe with realities on the ground. They then went on for paragraphs describing those nuances.

    “We are effectively hamstrung because realities on the ground require measures we will always refuse — namely, the widespread use of lethal and brutal force,” they said.

    The most important front in the counterinsurgency is improving basic social and economic conditions — the front on which the United States has “failed most miserably,” they said.
    My nephew is in the 82nd Airborne Division.

    The Israel lobby flexes its muscles, Obama gives a massage

    Attacks on professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt have continued to proliferate over their book and essay. They express dismay that America has tilted too far in favor of Israel under the influence of a coalition of hawkish pro-Israeli groups and individuals to the detriment of both countries.

    Saying that Israeli is ghettoizing and mistreating Palestinians does not make one anti-Semitic. To note Israel's poor treatment of Palestinians is not to support Palestinian suicide bombers. To say that there is an incredibly strong pro-Israel lobby is merely to state the obvious.

    Barack Obama has distanced himself from the book and attacked the author's conclusions over the influence of the Israel lobby seemingly to beef up his Jewish support.

    Threading the needle on contentious issues seems one of a Washington politician's most important jobs. If Obama is trying to appease the Israel lobby he is also reducing his standing as a fresh voice and outsider candidate.

    Amazon: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.

    Rep. James Moran is also under fire again for mentioning we have a powerful Israel lobby in Washington. Is it supposed to be a secret?
    Moran said the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is "the most powerful lobby and has pushed this war from the beginning. I don't think they represent the mainstream of American Jewish thinking at all, but because they are so well organized, and their members are extraordinarily powerful -- most of them are quite wealthy -- they have been able to exert power."
    Disclosure, right now Obama is only my second choice among Democratic presidential candidates.

    Injecting Over $60 Billion in new Arms to the Middle East

    This happens to be the current part of Bush's plan to prevent Iran from exploiting the opportunity we have given them in Iraq. Gary Kamiya at
    Belatedly, the Bush administration has embraced a Cold War paradigm in the Middle East, with the good guys -- Egypt, the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia -- being paid off to contain the bad guys -- al-Qaida, Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah.

    The Bush administration's proposed $60 billion to $70 billion Mideast arms deal takes us back to the cynical realpolitik of traditional great power politics, with puppet-master America jerking around half-willing strongmen with billion-dollar strings. Washington is offering to sell $20 billion of high-tech weaponry to Saudi Arabia, and also sell arms to the Gulf States of Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. To ensure that Israel maintains its military superiority over its neighbors, the U.S. will increase the already vast amount of annual military aid it gives the Jewish state by 30 percent, offering $30 billion over 10 years. And Egypt will also wet its beak, with a $14 billion 10-year arms deal.

    By paying off the "moderate" Sunni states to confront hard-line states and militant groups, Bush is hoping to reverse the changes he brought about in Iraq -- the most pernicious, in the eyes of the U.S., being that the war greatly empowered Iran. By demonizing Iran and inciting U.S. allies to take a hard line against it, Bush hopes both to stabilize Iraq and to roll back Iran's and Syria's influence. In a larger sense, he aims to place the entire region back under American strategic control -- just as it was before his Iraq war threw everything into chaos. It's the time-honored American solution for every problem: When in doubt, buy more guns. It worked in the Wild West, why not in the Middle East?

    What does ex-military writer think of Bush now?

    Four and a half years after this president ordered the invasion of Iraq in a gross act of arrogance and ignorance based on faulty, bogus and politically twisted intelligence — and after repeatedly changing the rationales and objectives of the war as each has failed in turn — we’re going to continue this war because George W. Bush is incapable of admitting that he was wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Leaving aside all the happy talk we heard this week about how much better the security picture is in Baghdad, the fact is that the escalation or surge has failed utterly.
    Joe Galloway is the co-author, with Lt. Gen. Hal Moore, of We Were Soldiers Once ... and Young, a story of the first large-scale ground battle of the Vietnam War.

    Media Matters goes all Chomsky on the Media

    Manufacturing consent, stifling dissent
    Given that the majority of congressional Democrats voted against the authorization, including such household names as Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer, how could Tim Russert suggest there was no "opposition party" during the Iraq debate?

    Maybe because there was scant evidence of an opposition party on Russert's Meet the Press during the run-up to the Iraq war. On his personal blog earlier this year, Media Matters for America Senior Fellow Duncan Black examined five months of Meet the Press guest lists, starting on the day Congress authorized the use of force against Iraq to the day coalition forces actually invaded. Of the appearances by Democrats that involved a discussion of Iraq, eight appearances were by Democrats who voted for the authorization, and only three were by Democrats who voted against it.

    Remember, a majority of Democrats voted against the authorization; but on Russert's Meet the Press, there were nearly three times as many Democratic supporters of the authorization as opponents.

    Financial Woes Spread - Run on British Bank

    Branches of Northern Rock were besieged by savers yesterday as fears grew in the City that the Bank of England rescue package for Britain's fifth-biggest mortgage lender could herald a slide in house prices and further financial collapses.

    Amid news that property prices were already falling sharply before the Bank's first use of its lender-of-last-resort facility in more than 30 years, the Newcastle-based Northern Rock was forced to keep branches open late to allow savers access to their money. By last night it was reported a total of £1bn had been withdrawn.
    More - Online savers struggle to access Northern Rock accounts
    As thousands of customers queued up outside branches in a bid to get their money, many more were trying to log on to Northern Rock's website - some as early as 5am - in a desperate bid to retrieve their savings.

    As soon as news of the bank's problem broke last night, customers with E-savings - accounts that pay higher interest rates but can only be accessed online - were trying to log on to withdraw their money.
    ADDED - American Home Mortgage checks bouncing in Baltimore.

    144 Race on the GOP side

    Ken Legler, a Pasadena native, has announced his candidacy for state representative, District 144, to fill the vacancy left by Robert Talton's planned retirement from the Texas Legislature.

    Talton has announced his intention to run for US Congress.

    "I am proud of the job Rep. Talton has done. His service to our area, since his election in 1992, will be a model for anyone who hopes to succeed him," Legler said. "My candidacy is in response to the many local business, community and political leaders who have asked me to offer myself for this position. I welcome the challenge and this new opportunity to serve my community."
    I have heard of another possible GOP candidate but can't find anything online.

    Friday, September 14, 2007

    'Bizarro World' Speech Reaction

    I had a post saying the President's speech was from Bizarro World. The moderate conservative Fred Kaplan at Slate agrees with me.
    President Bush's TV address tonight was the worst speech he's ever given on the war in Iraq, and that's saying a lot. Every premise, every proposal, nearly every substantive point was sheer fiction. The only question is whether he was being deceptive or delusional.

    American Economy: R.I.P.

    Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. So why is he saying this?
    The US economy continues its slow death before our eyes, but economists, policymakers, and most of the public are blind to the tottering fabled land of opportunity....

    The jobs data and the absence of growth in real income for most of the population are inconsistent with reports of US GDP and productivity growth. Economists take for granted that the work force is paid in keeping with its productivity. A rise in productivity thus translates into a rise in real incomes of workers. Yet, we have had years of reported strong productivity growth but stagnant or declining household incomes. And somehow the GDP is rising, but not the incomes of the work force.

    Something is wrong here. Either the data indicating productivity and GDP growth are wrong or Karl Marx was right that capitalism works to concentrate income in the hands of the few capitalists. A case can be made for both explanations.

    Recently an economist, Susan Houseman, discovered that the reliability of some US economics statistics has been impaired by offshoring. Houseman found that cost reductions achieved by US firms shifting production offshore are being miscounted as GDP growth in the US and that productivity gains achieved by US firms when they move design, research, and development offshore are showing up as increases in US productivity. Obviously, production and productivity that occur abroad are not part of the US domestic economy.
    Thanks to kamelton.

    Another Gay GOP Scandal Looming

    This could top the previous ones.

    A triple murder suicide in Florida has ties to several top Southern GOP officials. This story involves gay GOPers in the closet, gay escort services, gay aides, drinking and alcohol offenses, murders, suicides and corruption.

    There might be some advantage in getting all the church groups into the GOP, some of them get too disgusted to go along with the cover-ups.

    Much of the talk centers around North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry. Here is a conservative North Carolina GOP site with an extensive list of allegations. More here. Clean photos here.

    Patrick McHenry is the GOP congressman who votes most often with Bush - 97%. The unmarried McHenry has had lots of young men living at his house and voting illegally.

    It may be a while before the story is fully untangled. Pam is working on it with Michael Rogers and Drama Queen.
    Wow. Just wow.
    I've been following politics and political scandals for more than 30 years and never have I witnessed ONE story with so much graft, corruption, sex, and murder. - Storm
    Even the Florida vote-rigger Tom Feeney figures into this mess. Florida House Speaker Feeney already had the death of an investigator looking into his illegal Chinese espionage ties and electronic vote-rigging programs still dogging him.

    Gay Old Perverts indeed.

    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    Reporter pushing Cheney agenda exposed

    Many fake interviews, fake credentials and questions about ABCNews employing him both as a source and a reporter. He was a source or reporter for a number of Iran and terrorism stories.

    The Speech from Bizarro World

    One of the best presidential speeches, if it wasn't founded on a very different reality than what we have on this planet.

    He repeatedly touted the surge's success in Anbar province, when Anbar was chasing out insurgents before the surge began. In fact, Anbar in 2003 tried to get support from the US Army to take on the insurgents and the Army turned them down insisting on razing cities like Falujah.

    He claimed a major reduction in bombings there where government officials do not live in fear of being beheaded, but the Anbar leader he spoke to was blown up today.

    In Bizarro World, the war in Iraq is all about the fight against al-Qaeda and terrorists. We can sign long term colonial relationships with the Iraqi government that is falling apart. We lead a strong coalition of 36 nations in the war in Iraq! His troop reduction is a great compromise all Americans can get behind.

    In our real world:
    There was no al-Qaeda in Iraq before we invaded.
    Al-Qaeda in Iraq was inspired by al-Qaeda but has very little connection to the al-Qaeda that attacked us.

    Less than 3% of the bombings and of our military casualties have any connection to al-Qaeda in Iraq.

    The Iraqi people may have turned against al-Qaeda, foreigners with messianic goals, but poll after poll show they support attacks on our occupying troops as they want their country back from our disastrous occupation.

    There is no real Iraqi government, flying the Iraqi flag is forbidden in Kurdistan for example.

    The great majority of the Iraqi Congress wants close ties with Iran.

    Our only real military partner has already begun withdrawing.

    Putting troop levels back to where they were last January by next summer is not some great compromise to unite Americans by the President. He just doesn't have more troops to send without massive withdrawals from other foreign bases.
    John Edwards laid down the mission to Democrats - defund this war unless there is a faster withdrawal to end this war.
    Our troops are stuck between a president without a plan to succeed and a Congress without the courage to bring them home.

    But Congress must answer to the American people. Tell Congress you know the truth - they have the power to end this war and you expect them to use it. When the president asks for more money and more time, Congress needs to tell him he only gets one choice: a firm timeline for withdrawal.

    No timeline, no funding. No excuses.

    It is time to end this war.
    MSNBC with Keith Olbermann and many others, was the place to watch tonight. A variety of opinions but just about all against the war except Republican presidential candidate Huckabee. We must fight this theological war against Islam, so says the former Baptist preacher who looked confused by the other opinions expressed. Biden: after being in Iraq five years there is no government in effect. Dodd:
    "Moving us in 10 months to where we were 10 months ago is not progress. It is the very definition of status quo.

    "Not only is the President not offering us anything new; he's insulting our intelligence."
    The Iraqi and American people agree - bring the troops home. If the President doesn't agree - no more military funding. Let him veto, let the GOP filibuster. If they want money they are the ones who have to compromise.

    Update - For my Houston Chronicle readers, Fred Kaplan at Slate agrees with me.

    Russians trump our "Mother of all Bombs"

    The Russians have demonstrated their new "Father of all Bombs" which is four times more powerful than our "Mother of all Bombs." Putin: Bush is a girly man.

    Oh yeah, says Bush, sticking out his lower lip, we are almost ready with our gamma-ray annihilation lasers, so there. And don't bother hiding. We will not permit a mine-shaft gap!

    For those wishing to build their own underground shelters....

    Humanist Themes in Star Trek lecture

    This Saturday at 5:30 PM a lecture on Humanist themes in Star Trek will be presented at First UU Houston. For details click above.


    How did the Texas Observer blog get to be boring? Sure doesn't seem like the home of Texas liberal firebrands like Molly Ivins. Or is this just sour grapes because they didn't hire me?

    John Edwards to address nation tonight

    Tonight, after President Bush makes yet another argument for continuing the war in Iraq, John Edwards will speak directly to the American people in a nationwide address on MSNBC.

    Our campaign has bought airtime on MSNBC immediately following the President's address at 9 p.m. [Eastern time], and John Edwards will challenge the President's remarks with a strong call to the nation to end the war now.
    You can also watch or contribute here. As I post that is in just over four hours.

    Pasadena resident announces HR 144 candidacy

    Nice front page Pasadena Citizen write-up for Bob Sonnier. The primary is next year and the election is the following November.
    The candidate says that he decided to run because of a desire to support the area.

    "I've had a lot of people help me out over the years, and I feel like I'm in a position where I can serve my community," he said.

    Among the top things Sonnier wishes to have changed is Texas healthcare.

    "Health insurance is my main concern," he said. "The fact that almost one in four Texans do not have health insurance is bothersome to me, and I think it's a major issue our state needs to look at. In a perfect world, we'd like to get something that the state provided for everyone in Texas, basically a health insurance plan that would cover anyone in the state of Texas. The first step is getting people informed and letting them know that there is a problem. By getting everyone informed, we'd be able to work together towards a situation of getting everyone covered."
    We also have a Texas constitutional amendment election this November. I will likely be the alternate judge at the San Jacinto College library. Check here for election locations. The only thing on on our ballots appears to be the amendments you can read about here until I study them and have some opinions. Meanwhile, you can volunteer to be a low-paid people's worker for democracy here. A lot more interesting than being a poll watcher.

    Wednesday, September 12, 2007

    Cuba healthcare: First world results on a third world budget

    Better healthcare for the great majority at less than one-twentieth the cost of the American system.
    According to the World Health Organisation a Cuban man can expect to live to 75 and a woman to 79. The probability of a child dying aged under five is five per 1,000 live births. That is better than the US and on a par with the UK.

    Yet these world-class results are delivered by a shoestring annual per capita health expenditure of $260 (£130) - less than a 10th of Britain's $3,065 and a fraction of America's $6,543.

    There is no mystery about Cuba's core strategy: prevention. From promoting exercise, hygiene and regular check-ups, the system is geared towards averting illnesses and treating them before they become advanced and costly.
    Also, the SCLM NYT on Germany.

    Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    What is it good for?

    Observations of a nation at war, sortof.

    Memo reminded me of this.

    Democratic House Officials Recruited Wealthy Conservatives

    Rahm Emanuel, I am sure you have seen his big ego on TV, gets busted. When he headed the national Democratic Campaign Committee he threw the weight of the party behind wealthy conservatives he recruited to run as Democrats even if there were Democrats already running. Some had even been Republicans until he talked them into running as a Democratic candidate with his support.

    I was aware of this but not to the extent that is revealed. He was the anti-Dean in the Congressional races last time. Most of his candidates have been been more supportive of the war and of Bush. Contributed by zappa2004.


    After being warned that al-Qaeda was determined to attack US, Bush did nothing. Some Americans re-elected him. Who could do such a thing?

    A few weeks ago I read a report analyzing the people who did, the modern Grand Old Party. Paul Burka at Texas Monthly, who I often disagree with, also read the report and has a good write-up on Dissecting the Elephant.

    Howard Dean: "On the sixth anniversary of September 11, we honor those who were killed in those tragic attacks, the family and friends who still grieve their loss, and the survivors who continue to suffer. On that day, our country and our world changed forever. Today, Democrats also renew our commitment to fighting the real war on terror. Six years after the attacks, we are not as safe as we should be. We remain committed to fighting al Qaeda where they are and implementing policies that make our country safer and more secure."

    Thom Hartman - Is this a free-market war?

    We are leaving Iraq. We will start this year. The only question is how fast.

    Juan Cole: Iraq - Next Democratic President being set up to take the fall for Iraq's fall - Carterized or Fordized.

    Launching Brand Petraeus and the real Iraq numbers.

    Iraqi reporter: Baghdad '100 times worse' than a year ago

    Perjury? Internal Pentagon report recommends rapid withdrawal. The superiors disagree with General PR, why should we listen to him?

    I kept adding items to this post. I should stop now.

    9/11 was bad, and to think it enabled Bush to do this to our country.

    Iraq - What Crocker and Petraeus didn't say

    "At best, what you've got is the status quo from May or June of 2006," said Kirk Johnson, who served for 13 months as the chief statistician for Crocker and who said he supports the current strategy in Iraq.

    Rand Beers, a former White House counterterrorism aide who resigned to protest the invasion of Iraq, noted there was another troop surge, in Baghdad, in summer 2006.

    "We've had two surges, and in a way, things are back to the level before the first surge," Beers said in a conference call with reporters.
    This congressional testimony is spin by two supporters in charge of the occupation following orders.

    There is dissent over the numbers they are presenting.

    This testimony will not alter the course.

    Another miserable failure.
    When President Bush announced in January what the White House called a “New Way Forward” in Iraq, he said that Iraqi and American troops would improve security while the Iraqi government improved services. Responsibility for security in most of Iraq would be turned over to Iraqi security forces by November.

    With better security would come the breathing room needed for political reconciliation, Bush said.

    With less than a week to go before the White House delivers a congressionally mandated report on that plan, none of this has happened.
    If you want truer news on Iraq, trust America's family newspaper chain.

    More from elsewhere:
    Petraeus based much of his assessment on the claim that violence in Iraq is dropping. That just isn't true:

    Petraeus is using "funny math." According to the Washington Post, Petraeus and the Pentagon are using a bizarre formula for measuring violence in the country. For example, deaths by car bombs don't count. And assassinations count only if you're shot in the back of the head—not in the front.

    Iraqis believe the surge has failed. According to a massive new ABC/BBC poll, every single Iraqi polled in Baghdad, the primary target of the "surge," said it had made security worse. Iraqis themselves overwhelmingly think the situation in Iraq is deteriorating, in terms of security, political cooperation, the economy, and other measures. Overall, 70% think the escalation worsened rather than improved security conditions.

    The independent GAO report found that violence is up. A comprehensive Government Accountability Office report ordered by Congress found that "average number of daily attacks against civilians have remained unchanged from February to July 2007." In August, things got worse, with civilian casualties rising according to the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times.

    For our troops, it's the bloodiest summer yet. More U.S. troops died every month this year compared to the same month last year.

    Petraeus claimed that he compiled his report without conferring with the White House. But the Washington Post recently reported that Petraeus or his staff joined daily conference calls with the White House and former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie this summer to "map out ways of selling the surge." The Post reported that Gillespie's White House political unit was "hard-wired" to Petraeus' military unit.
    That was reporting in an email, no wonder everyone was attacking them as treasonous. They urge everyone to write a letter to a newspaper saying you are not buying the new lies. Call your representative too.