Saturday, June 30, 2007

What Good Is A Democratic Congress If They Allow The Independent Media To Be Shut Down?

In a massive blow against smaller mailers a huge postal rate increase will bankrupt some smaller mailed publications. This increase was snuck into the postal rate deliberations and was even mostly written by Time-Warner. An across the board increase of over 10% was going to be applied to bulk mailers but Time-Warner designed a complex scheme with special provisions that some large media ginats could take advantage of that has small publications facing increases of over 30% while some media giants like itself have their postal fees reduced.

This is similar to the FCC regulation which is about to wipe-out Internet radio by imposing impossible to meet fees for playing music instead of the much smaller fees first proposed. You can protest that here.

What the Hell good is a Democratic congress if people can't listen or read material unless it is from large multinational corporations?

Z Magazine:
The latest bad news for independent print media came over the past few months when the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced a complex new payment rate system for mailed periodicals. Following a postal rate increase of about 5 percent last year, publishers had been told to expect another rate increase of around 12 percent this year. Instead, the proposed plan might cost us up to 30-40 percent more.

The new rate system is designed to benefit large media conglomerates, whose mailing cost increases will be far less than smaller, independent publications. Some of the largest publications will even see their postal costs decrease as small publications face massive cost increases. There’s a reason for this—the plan the USPS adopted was largely written by Time Warner Inc., the world’s largest media conglomerate.

Last year, the Postal Service tasked the independent Postal Regulatory Committee (PRC) with coming up with a plan to increase revenues. The USPS itself offered a plan for a periodical rate increase that would have raised costs for all publishers, more or less evenly, by around 12 percent. During the public comment period, Time Warner submitted their proposal.

The Time Warner plan offered various incentives that could only be realized by large publishing groups, such as co-palletizing large numbers of magazines together or drop shipping from within postal zones via centralized printing and distribution centers. Rates for periodicals that could not meet the new incentives would increase dramatically.

To the surprise of many, the PRC announced in late February that it was going with a plan similar to Time Warner’s, instead of adopting what the USPS had originally suggested. In March the USPS allowed only eight days for public comment on the 758-page PRC plan before they adopted it. This plan is so complex that even two months later publishers such as the Nation and Mother Jones have said they still cannot calculate exactly how much more their postal costs will be, though the Nation is currently estimating an increase of perhaps $500,000.
The conservative National Review and the liberal The Nation, email here, and even church publications shocked and surprised by over 30% hikes at the instigation of large media corporationss are urging action against this now. Catalogers and paper manufacturers are also very worried about the financial impact.

The Film Take Back America Took Back

Cheney Impeachment Bill Quietly Comes to Life in House Judiciary Committee

Cheney impeachment sentiment has reached a critical mass in the House Judiciary committee, even over the objections of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Conyers. There appear to be at least three members of the committee firmly behind impeachment proceedings against the VP. From the Atlanta Progressive News a statement from Rep. McDermott, one of ten House members signing on to bills to impeach:
"When you look at the record, you have to conclude the Vice President has placed himself above the law. He holds himself accountable only to special interests, who meet with him in secret with no record kept of who was there, what was discussed or what promises the Vice President made."

"For the last four years, the Vice President has refused to allow routine office inspections by a Federal agency regarding the safe handling of America's secrets. The Vice President defies the Information Security Oversight Agency, claiming he is not part of the Executive Branch of government. When a sitting Vice President claims he is not part of the Executive Branch of government to which he was elected, it is time to remove him."
The only downside is that it would require at least 16 GOP votes in the Senate to impeach, which is not there yet.

Asymmetrical Information: But they're illegal

This is so wrong. I actually agree with Jane Galt. I also actually had this same argument the other day.

First, Most of those who try to say they are only opposing illegal immigration really oppose immigration, legal or not, but are hoping to score some debate points.

Second, we have treated illegal immigration like traffic laws with little enforcement so any penalty or fine should reflect that and be relatively minor.

There are simple ways to fix illegal immigration if we wanted to - I favor mandatory jail time and fines of $1,000 a person a day for anyone who employs an illegal. Businesses in this country don't want that. Republicans who complain about illegals should look at their party as the cause and quit blaming some scheme of Democrats to get more votes. Despite the racist GOP paranoid fantasies you see constantly as part of the GOP plan to reduce the voting population, illegal aliens don't vote. Take it from an election judge, requiring more ID simply reduces the number of older and poorer people voting.

The Killing Fields of Iraq

An occupation initially advertised as a “cakewalk” war to disarm a tyrant is now, according to our politically desperate president, a fight for the soul of the world—good versus evil, democracy versus tyranny.

But the carnage we have visited upon Iraq represents nothing of the sort. We are not building democracy, we are creating mayhem.

The evidence arrives daily in the form of dozens, sometimes hundreds, of mutilated bodies. But even the few ghastly images that actually make it onto the television actually underestimate the horror. And it is getting worse, not better: The killing of innocents is now 10 times higher than a year ago. - Robert Scheer
The Iraq Body Count dismisses the over 600,000 Iraqi deaths by the Lancet report as it continues it's own badly flawed count of only violent civilian death by the insurgency reported in western media which is approaching 50,000.

Did defeat of immigration reform also stop new trade deals?

David Sirota feels that the defeat of business backed immigration reform by the coalition of the populists of the left and right might be responsible for Bush's new trade agreements being pulled from the Congressional timetable. Bush had hoped to fast track Peru, Panama, South Korea and Columbia trade deals but Nancy Pelosi has pulled them from the calendar. Corporate politicians still hope to have the deals sometime this year.

In some early Pohl science fiction books they had replaced the Senators representing states with Senators for large corporations, not such a big change when you think about it. In some cases politicians are known mainly for the corporate interests they represent. The Democratic energy bill is being held up by the American car maker politicos.

Alterman's history of the one time liberal The New Republic

The did manage to publish my first letter to the editor before Bush's Iraq debacle began.

Dan Froomkin - Put a Fork in Him

Bush is now lamer than a lame duck with GOP Senators rejecting his immigration plan compounding his troubles.
In the space of a single short week, Bush was hit with more Republican defections on Iraq, more bad news from the battlefield, more subpoenas from a hostile Congress, a new assault on his signature education plan and embarrassing disclosures about his vice president.

"He also found himself in a fight over executive privilege that begs comparisons to Richard Nixon's legal battles during the Watergate scandal.

"'It's the incredible shrinking presidency. He's lost battles in the courts. He's lost battles in Iraq. He's lost battles on Capitol Hill.'"
Julie Mason blogs for the Houston Chronicle: "[A]ll that stuff from Tony Snow about how Bush had 60 votes in the Senate and a majority of members supported many of the provisions in the immigration bill? Well, apparently not. Even as late as this morning they were saying it was too close to call. Really? ....W[what a butt-kickin'!"

Bush is also lying again: "Al Qaida is the main enemy for Shia, Sunni and Kurds alike," Bush asserted. "Al Qaida's responsible for the most sensational killings in Iraq. They're responsible for the sensational killings on U.S. soil."

"U.S. military and intelligence officials, however, say that Iraqis with ties to al Qaida are only a small fraction of the threat to American troops. The group known as al Qaida in Iraq didn't exist before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, didn't pledge its loyalty to al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden until October 2004 and isn't controlled by bin Laden or his top aides...."

Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel's proposal to withhold Cheney's budget failed in the House yesterday -- but only by a vote of 217 to 209 reports the WP.
Emanuel argued "that if Cheney is not part of the executive branch, then the spending bill funding that branch need not bother with his office. . . .

"Rep. Jose E. Serrano (D-N.Y.) wondered aloud whether he could make himself into an executive branch official, to get 'a security detail and all that.' Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Tex.) postulated that if Cheney is now part of the legislative branch, 'that means that we can expel him.'"

The Authoritarian Personality on American Media

I was thinking that Jonah Goldberg was just an incredible idiot but Greenwald shows how he is just one example of an authoritarian personality on American mass media.
Our Leaders are Good and want to protect us. Therefore, we must accept -- and even be grateful -- when they prevent us from knowing what they are doing. The less we know, the more powerful our Leaders are. And that is something we accept and celebrate, for our Leaders are Good and we trust that the more powerful they are, the better we all shall be.

No inferences or interpretations are required to describe Jonah's mentality this way. That is precisely -- expressly -- what he said. And though it is rarely expressed in such explicit form, this is the mindset which, more than anything else, has enabled the rampant lawbreaking and unprecedented secrecy of the last six years.

Over at Americablog Watch Ann Coulter lose it

"She walks around calling people 'fags,' mocking their dead children, wishing that they were murdered, then when people respond by saying 'uh, you're kind of mean,' Ann flips out over the level of venom that's directed against her."
Brent Bozell: Ann Coulter Is One Of The "Leaders" Of Conservative Movement

Friday, June 29, 2007

100 Spiritually Significant Films

Robert Nagle has thoughts on films that have a connection to spirituality. Spirituality casts a pretty wide net - is M.A.S.H. a spiritual film? I think so.

The tools that he is using has a significant overlap with the program with CD's and handouts I went to at ApolloCon on free and low cost open source software tools for writers. Most of those were not connected with writing per se but very useful stuff for writers. Troy Belding of Bookworm Computing was the sole source at that event.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"Johnny Got His Gun"

'Most severely wounded' soldier endures: blind, quadriplegic, struggling to breathe - International Herald Tribune

Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo - excerpts.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Robert's Court finds a drug exception to student free speech

The Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling found that a student banner "could be interpreted" as promoting drug use and the student could be punished. Conservate judges Roberts and Alito provided key votes. "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" nonsense or advocacy of illegal drug use? Because it could be the latter it can be banned both inside and outside of school by students.

Will the Progressive Majority Emerge?

The nation is trending left and is majority progressive by all long term polls but the Democratic Party is not reaping the benefits. Will a great communicator arise to tell the DLC focus group leaders to stuff it and articulate a vision that resonates with most Americans? Does Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or John Edwards seem most likely to appeal to the Independents who are even more secular and as progressive as the Democrats?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Luck Of The Draw?

The Scooter Libby appeal will be heard by three friends of Cheney conservative judges.

I am out of here for three days at ApolloCon. Wonder if anyone will set up Imperial in the game suites, where you play financiers guiding countries into and out of wars and setting tax policy to make money? Or will we talk about the government's role in the movie Serenity? Or how Bush's anti-science policies have hurt NASA? Politics - it affects your life.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hoping and Praying for war and a wave of Anti-Americanism

Amazing what the neo-con fossils wish for. Just a hoping and praying Bush is as much an idiot as they thought and will attack Iran. Secretly the Arab governments will support us - just like secretly the Iraqis are throwing us those flowers.

Hightower Lowdown - The Bushites have outsourced our government to their pals

I haven't heard from Hightower for awhile.

Digby's a her

Unlike Steve Gilliard where there were clues that he was black I don't think anyone really suspected Digby at Hullabaloo of being a woman. No rumors even until the last few days.

Hillary has driven Althouse crazy

As a commenter at her blog points out - "Lady, you are bug f**k crazy. Bug. F**k. Crazy."

Guess what Ann Althouse thinks Onion Rings represent in the Hillary video that announces her campaign theme song, with the video as a Sopranos spoof?

Crazy.... but then again I love onion rings and am an expert onion ring eater....

The Enduring Lies of Ronald Reagan -- In These Times

Reagan knew how to play a nice guy but he was controlled by the far right. He was just another out of touch rich dude. He has been the object of a major GOP campaign to increase his stature and to diminish FDR's.

How Liberal Activists Outfoxed Fox | Campaign for America's Future

Liberal bloggers and the progressives are winning some.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Thousands of missing emails indicate the extent Bush made government his political machine

From the White House admiting a handful of government employees also had RNC email accounts, to their admiting 50, it has now gone up to at least 88. It is also apparent the accounts were used for official business but where they did not want a permanent record kept. During the Abramoff investigation it was revealed a White House official gave specific instruction for lobbyists to use that account for "security reasons," the security of not having to reveal illegal activity.

For 51 members of government the RNC wiped all the emails from their system. For others like Rove many are missing.

This was part of making the entire federal government the political machine of Bush and his party in violation of the Hatch Act and in violation of record keeping standards which could document the atrocities.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Retired Gen. George Washington Criticizes Bush's Handling Of Iraq War

"We're very happy that someone of General Washington's stature is speaking out," said Jon Soltz, cofounder and chairman of "He has impeccable conservative credentials, extensive foreign policy experience, is a true citizen-soldier with a proven commitment to his country, and, if that's not enough to get Bush to listen, he's the face on the dollar bill."

However, White House response to the former general's criticism was swift and sharp. Spokesman Tony Fratto dismissed Washington as "increasingly irrelevant" and "a relic" who "made some embarrassing gaffes" during his own military career, such as the Continental Army's near destruction in the Battle of Long Island in 1776.

Conservative pundits moved quickly to discredit the decorated general.
That was The Onion, more from The Freeway Blogger how our founding fathers would protest this war.

Palestine Civil War Instigated by Condi Rice

Some headline I have and I give no link. Let me explain. In the recent The Atlantic there was a long article on Condi working for Middle East peace with many laudatory statements by her colleagues. However, every policy decision she made turned out to be badly wrong. One of her recent decisions was to arm and encourage Fatah to attack Hamas, the recent winners of the Palestinian elections she had insisted upon, confident Hamas couldn't win. At the time of the article al Fatah had lost its battles with Hamas, which Condi believed wouldn't happen, and the other Arab states had worked out a Unity government plan for Palestine, which Condi still opposed.

What do you want to bet Condi is still sending arms to al Fatah and encouraging this coup d'etat leading to the Civil War? A Tiny Revolution catches Abrams explaining to a group of Palestinian businessmen that the United States would sponser a "hard coup" against the Hamas government. The WP is, of course, rewriting history to ignore this. Wow, Hamas the actual government, is accused of leading the coup. The NYT joins in the rewrite. Recent stories speak of new arms for Fatah - "Both the United States and Israel are reeling from the rapid and ignominious collapse of Fatah in Gaza in recent days, despite significant injections of American political and military advice and aid." The New York Times seems to have proved my point.

I wonder if the American people remember that al Fatah, whom we now support, was one of the first Palestinian terrorist groups we opposed? This also seems part and parcel of the newer Bush/neo-con doctrine of giving aid to our terrorists and siccing them on the other terrorists (and later they will either become our dictators or we will turn on them.)

The future - the allies Condi are backing are not very good at fighting and have little support. We should stop intervening in the Middle East which is a powder keg not helped by our incompetent leadership. The most we can hope for is creating a stable Afghanistan provided we get lots of support from other countries. How much should our policies be determined by protecting oil for very wealthy corporations?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Freedom documentaries

Michael Moore's Sicko opens soon. A strong brilliant indictment of the American health care system. Even Fox News praises the film.

Aaron Russo's America: From Freedom to Fascism (2006) (view free) is an indictment of the IRS that makes one demand - "Show me the law." It then begins a broader attack on our rule by international bankers and multi-national corporations and the decline of civil liberties in America. Shortly after the 16th amendment passed authorizing the federal income tax, a series of Supreme Court rulings made it clear, at least to Russo, that there was still no law requiring an American citizen to pay a direct unapportioned tax on their labor but only business profits. Current and past IRS regulations all use the wording "voluntary compliance." Why this argument doesn't work: Wiki. NYT : Facts refute income tax documentary. The laws that require you to pay income taxes. All tax protester inaccuracies explained here.

Do not use Aaron Russo for tax advice. He owes millions in taxes. Michael Moore looks more accurate in his criticism of American health care, but I haven't seen the film yet and wouldn't want him as my doctor.

What is your news IQ?

PEW did another survey on how much Americans know about what is going on. You can test yourself at the above link. The major finding is that despite news being available 24/7 on cable there has been no increase in the news knowledge of citizens. Looking at the results one reason is that FOX NEWS is again home to the least informed. Only those who don't follow the news are less informed than those listing FOX NEWS as their major news source.

Conservative bloggers cry foul over this report as it asked about minimum wages which they believe, incorrectly, only concerns teenagers with part-time jobs. They also argue that characterizing a Supreme Court Justice as liberal, moderate, or conservative is an opinion and not a news fact.

Take the test.

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that a majority -- 53 percent -- of those who would be affected by the Democratic minimum-wage proposal are full-time workers (at least 35 hours a week), if the federal minimum wage were increased by 2008, 14.9 million workers would see their wages rise, and that those affected by a minimum-wage increase would be mainly adults who typically work full time and provide significant income to their families. Almost half, 46%, of all families with affected workers rely solely on the earnings from those workers.

NPR reported that the judge was not just XXXXX but "very, very, very XXXXX."

I got all correct, better than 96% of those polled, but I am a news junky constantly looking for my next fix.

Annals of National Security: The General’s Report

How a general destroyed his career by reporting what went on at Abu Ghraib. Chilling descriptions of an out of control vindictive leadership. The latest from Seymour Hersh, America's great living military and foreign policy muckraker.
"From the moment a soldier enlists, we inculcate loyalty, duty, honor, integrity, and selfless service," Taguba said. "And yet when we get to the senior-officer level we forget those values. I know that my peers in the Army will be mad at me for speaking out, but the fact is that we violated the laws of land warfare in Abu Ghraib. We violated the tenets of the Geneva Convention. We violated our own principles and we violated the core of our military values. The stress of combat is not an excuse, and I believe, even today, that those civilian and military leaders responsible should be held accountable."

“From what I knew, troops just don’t take it upon themselves to initiate what they did without any form of knowledge of the higher-ups,” Taguba told me. His orders were clear, however: he was to investigate only the military police at Abu Ghraib, and not those above them in the chain of command. “These M.P. troops were not that creative,” he said. “Somebody was giving them guidance, but I was legally prevented from further investigation into higher authority. I was limited to a box.”

Houston's Melissa Noriega Wins

Interesting runoff with dismal turnout. Someone from the GOP instructed or helped Morales who ran a much better runoff campaign including actually winning the vote by mail ballots. Couldn't stop the Democratic wave which is still advancing in Houston and Harris County. With Melissa's election there is a solid Democratic majority on city council.

Dallas voters rejected a Democratic gay mayor in favor of a conservative businessman who didn't even vote in the last mayor's race. Results were determined by the stronger turnout in the conservative north side and the financial support provided to the newcomer by Dallas's business elite.

There were two close runoffs in La Porte and Pasadena council races I didn't hear much about. Surprised Pat Riley lost in Pasadena.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

World oil supplies are set to run out faster than expected

We are either at peak oil production or will be within four years say scientists. Posh, posh say politicians and oil companies.

First Administration Traitor to Go To Jail

You will see and hear a lot of treason enablers begging Bush to pardon Libby. Firedog has some of the lies they will use.

Hillary loses to all three top Republicans

What Perry says, Hillary is the worst choice for Democrats. He has more here.

BTW, I would vote for Hillary, I just feel she will not do well in Southern states and I would love the top of the ticket helping Texas Democrats.

UPDATE - A new poll says Hillary does surprisingly well in Texas, so we may be wrong. The large undecided does raise questions however.
According to the survey, if the 2008 presidential election were held today, 36 percent of Texans would vote for Mr. McCain, 35 percent for Mrs. Clinton and 29 percent undecided.

The results of a Clinton-Giuliani matchup were similar.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Thing a Thong of Tholomon

The amazing Huckabee and his inappropriate thong.

There are fascists among us

Greenwald here reviews the latest court decision on holding people without trial. The right and the administration strongly object to the reasoning that the President is not above the law:
Freedoms are virtually always lost incrementally. I know we are supposed to debate these matters soberly and with civility, but it is difficult to treat advocates of tyranny as anything other than dangerous extremists. The very fact that such individuals can and are openly advocating that we vest the President with the power to imprison people inside the U.S. with no charges by itself ought to be causing far more alarm than it is. This 2-1 decision may very well be reversed on appeal and was likely the by-product of a fortuitously assigned panel than anything else. If the possibility of arbitrary and indefinite executive imprisonment does not constitute a true constitutional crisis, then it is hard to imagine what would.

Gore’s ‘92 speech on Iraq — and why the right has it wrong

Gore has been right all along but the right is letting partisanship blind them to reality.

For seven hours, MSNBC hosted only conservatives and reporters to discuss immigration

This is the network that is supposed to be the liberal alternative to FOXNEWS.

Cautionary tales - Ford and Lieberman

Just because a US automaker is improving initial quality does not mean its sales will increase. Ford also had some good ratings in 1998. Buyers look more at the long term reliability of models than initial quality.

Just because he was nominated for VP and has a D after his name on ballots doesn't mean Democrats would have been happy with a Lieberman presidency. It is position on the issues and long term reliability that counts.

Latest on America's vanishing bees

Colony Collapse Disorder is endangering America's crops and scientists remain puzzled. In some areas over half off bee colonies have vanished. The clues may be pointing to an infection or a bee suppressed immune system.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Lesbian Hot 100 Women List

Finally something we can all agree on, lesbians know their hotties. This was a reaction by a lesbian site to the Maxim Hot 100 list and proves men are much less apt to spot real beauty than women. Readers of were asked to create their own lists and the site has finally compiled all the votes.

Added - the Hottest Women in Comics by Maxim. Discussion.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Bork, father of tort reform, files slip and fall suit for big bucks

Like our Texas Attorney Gregg Abbott, and our former Texas resident Tom DeLay, he is all for principle except for when he can be rolling in dough. Bork, bork, bork, bork (I like the sound of his name, sounds like a greedy businessman receiving a bj behind his desk during a meeting and starting to yip.) is seeking a cool mill plus punitive damages for slipping while walking up a stage at the Yale Club.

No Amnesty! (Unless it's for Scooter)

"The fact is, we cannot win in Iraq."

What Three Wise Men say.

Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class - And What We Can Do about It

Thom Hartmann's book is out in paperback.
Analyzing the rhetoric and policies of the current administration's "compassionate conservatism," Hartmann goes on to detail the ways in which safety nets for working people (from progressive taxation to antitrust legislation to Social Security) have been steadily weakened, and argues that an empowered, educated middle class is crucial to a functioning democracy. Chapters detail the ways in which what gets called "the free market" is not really free (for good reason, he notes), how "We the People create the middle class," how the policies of the Founding Fathers and figures like FDR still have a lot to teach us, and ways for "Leveling the Playing Field." Though far from comprehensive, and despite its sensationalist title, Hartmann's latest is an intelligent critique of the contemporary plight of the middle class.

Reporter Arrested on Orders of Giuliani Press Secretary

What kind of America will it be if Rudy becomes President? This might provide a clue.

An alternate media reporter, credentialed and with the right to be there, was arrested because Rudy's people did not like the questions being asked about 9/11. Using WIFI his video and audio feed was carried live during his arrest. The police refused to respond to statements from the debate organizers that the reporter had official credentials to be there and later indicated they were looking into charges of espionage because of the live feed. The questions Rudy did not want aired related to his TV appearance on 9/11 where he indicated that building 7 was going to collapse before it happened.
Since when do campaign operatives have the power to order state police to arrest someone on false charges or arbitrate who has the right to conduct journalism, a right guarded by the Constitution?

Scoop - NZ

RADAR reports that the reporter is going to pursue a criminal indictment.

Jones Report: Freedom to Fascism reporter Samuel Ettaro was also dragged out after asking a question on Giuliani's ties with Cintra and Macquerie, two foreign contractors involved with the contentious Trans-Texas Corridor under development in Texas.

The reporter was questioning Republican strategist and pollster Ed Goeas of The Tarrance Group, also gives analysis to the drug industry, who has been hired by the Rudy Giuliani campaign.

Stop Cornyn

Cornyn has stuck in my craw ever since he said: "None of your civil liberties matter much after you're dead."

What a yellow-bellied coward and a rebuke to all of those true Texans who died defending liberty at the Alamo.

He has also been shredding the Constitution in DC with his support of any bill that removes more civil rights and liberties.

He now has a negative approval ratings in Texas and we are going to have some good Democrat candidates to choose from to bring him down. True Texas heroes like Mikal Watts and Rick Noriega. It looks like these will even have the money and broad support to win and kick this faux Texan who disgraces the state out of office and back to cowering under the bed.

Defend liberty, kick out cowardly Texans.

Lampson chances in 2008 looking good

Early this year experts were writing off Rep. Nick Lampson's chances of being reelected to Tom DeLay's old seat. But thanks to GOP extremists his chances are now looking much better.

The two most likely GOP candidates now appear to be TX House Representative Talton from Pasadena or one-month congresswoman Sekula-Gibbs. If anything Talton is even more conservative than DeLay with his special issue being gay bashing, although reports out today indicate DeLay was also not above gay bashing the House clerk. Sekula-Gibbs in her one-month in DC as a lame duck managed to get all the wrong kinds of extensive local and national publicity, being revealed as incompetent, ineffective, flakey and vain.

This may still be a close race as conservative as the DeLay drawn district is, but it is now leans Democratic unless the GOP can come up with a better candidate.

Is Chavez's Bolivarian Revolution over?

Has the removal of the broadcast license of his most fervent critic, RCTV, sparking protests by some students and others, marked his apogee? Daniel thinks so, but Chavez seems to have more supporters on the street than opposition - if that is a valid comparison when both sides are well-organized to get many, many supporters out.

Venzuela might be instructive as to what political discourse becomes when the left gets organized and the right gets more frightened. Could the US become more like Venezuela? No, but that is what frightens the right media owners and personalities in this country.

I am not the biggest fan of Chavez, too many tendencies toward authoritarianism, but the right in Venezuela is authoritarianism without power, and the left is communitarianism with power but slipping into authoritarianism.

The student protests for more freedom part 1, part 2, part 3.

The Blogometer: The Horserace Today

What the blogosphere is writing about the presidential race today.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A Woman's Life

The game of Life is being updated, with some odd changes. The game seems to discourage people from getting an education and mandates getting married. I think the current game almost requires a wife and kids as well.

Jane uses the opportunity to decry women's salaries and Bush's Supreme Court recent decision which former judge Sandra Day O'Conner would never have supported.

Someone else reports that America's biggest ally in the Middle East, badly treats its women.

I just finished Tepper's The Fresco, a review, which is a feminist wish fulfillment fantasy about aliens coming to Earth and inviting us to join the Galactic Confederacy, if we all become more neighborly and nice. The two aliens then give us all sorts of solutions to get humans to treat each other better. They start an ugly plague for women in Afghanistan and the Middle East so no one will worry about them being raped and the women could get more freedom. If the problem in the Middle East is Jerusalem they remove it because the people don't deserve the city of peace. They threaten to make the empty hole where it was bigger if violence doesn't decrease, and possibly might bring it back if peace comes. Some alien peacekeepers need live hosts for their unborn larvae, who better than religious leaders and conservative politicians who praise the sanctity of the unborn even in the case of rape. Don't worry boys, you'll only be carrying for a year and then just a small percentage of you will die.

‘He looks like a guy who would have been a great hunter’

Great moments in So-Called-Liberal-Media.

American Conservative: Iran is not our enemy

This is by Christopher Hitchens' conservative brother Peter, who thinks his brother is going off the deep end about God as well in Chris's new book God is not Great.

I wonder if they are making a play for a new column and TV show - Hitchens versus Hitchens.


Joe Klein's Newest Big Lie

Not surprised, Joe makes his living being a somewhat moderate/liberal and being outraged at those more liberal. The Moderate Voice ignores the facts of the case and says bloggers, except The Moderate Voice, are shrill.

Fuzzy Wuzzy Logic

It can actually be entertaining watching Captain Kirklite and traitor Novak attempt analysis on Democratic campaigns. So now only Edwards, Kerry and Dean could have lost to Bush in 2004, an illustration of the very low regard Bush has fallen among his (cough) supporters.

Novak only talked to DLC members and Clinton supporters and not surprisingly they are worried about Edwards taking Iowa and then New Hampshire easily and so being the leader for Super Duper Tuesday after which it could be all over for Hillary. An amusing case of considering the sources. Amazing what they say on a topic they know little about and should care less.

Hugo Chavez versus Far Right TV

A long-time AP reporter in Venezuela agrees with me about the one-sided nature of the Hugo Chavex coverage in this country and that in America RCTV would have been shut down and its owners thrown in jail for inciting riots and treason five years ago.
Would a network that aided and abetted a coup against the government be allowed to operate in the United States? The U.S. government probably would have shut down RCTV within five minutes after a failed coup attempt — and thrown its owners in jail. Chavez's government allowed it to continue operating for five years, and then declined to renew its 20-year license to use the public airwaves. It can still broadcast on cable or via satellite dish.

Granier and others should not be seen as free-speech martyrs. Radio, TV and newspapers remain uncensored, unfettered and unthreatened by the government. Most Venezuelan media are still controlled by the old oligarchy and are staunchly anti-Chavez.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Some people normally wrong observed...

Luntz's Democratic focus groups liked Edwards the most on Sunday and his Republican counterpart preferred Romney yesterday. This contrasts with what I take to be the "mainstream" consensus that Clinton and Giuliani performed the best. Edwards and Romney are the two major candidates who court with the least amount of nuance the anti-war left and traditional conservatives, respectively.

Maybe it's just that simple.

JOHN adds: Yes. Or maybe it's as simple as the fact that Edwards and Romney are both nice-looking guys who talk smoothly. - Powerline
I'll link to Daily Kos and Honky Tonk Saloon, who was shocked by the old white primary GOP voters Luntz gathered. Don't be shocked, propensity to vote goes up by age and for the GOP primaries that is a representative group.

Fred Thompson is the knight on the horse for old conservatives

Interesting observations about Fred Thompson by Chris Bowers.
Consider Fred Thompson entry into the race as the supposed "conservative savior" in the context of contemporary conservative identity politics and the voting predilections of Americans born after 1964. Now, consider that the same Pew poll shows that 70% of his potential supporters are male, and 65% are over the age of 50. In this context, it seems quite reasonable to draw the conclusion that those people urging Fred Thompson into the campaign view him as the savior of what Bill O'Reilly calls "the white, Christian, male power structure." His strongest potential supporters are by far the oldest and most male of any other currently major candidate, even when compared to other Republican candidates. Fred Thompson is the old, male white knight for conservatives in 2008.
They also used to call that "man on a white horse" politics. The belief that people are waiting for someone to show up on a charger and lead them.

Is your boss, or politician, a psychopath?

Take the quiz.

I would have used the term sociopath but antisocial or dissocial personality disorder are becoming the terms now used. My term is the more common among sociologists, according to the wiki on psychopathy.

Read the analysis. Are convicted criminals simply unsuccessful psychopaths while business leaders are the success stories?

Six quick tips for coping with psycho-bosses and coworkers.

Read a science blogger.

The observations about top corporate executives would apply even more to many politicians. Bush as sociopath.

Hillary Rodham Clinton - Her War, Her Backtracking

Hillary was one of the Democratics most sold on the war. A history of her backtracking.

Steve Gilliard: I'm a fighting liberal

You know, I've studied history, I've read about America and you know something, if it weren't for liberals, we'd be living in a dark, evil country, far worse than anything Bush could conjure up. A world where children were told to piss on the side of the road because they weren't fit to pee in a white outhouse, where women had to get back alley abortions and where rape was a joke, unless the alleged criminal was black, whereupon he was hung from a tree and castrated.

What has conservatism given America? A stable social order? A peaceful homelife? Respect for law and order? No. Hell, no. It hasn't given us anything we didn't have and it wants to take away our freedoms.... - December 3, 2003
Meteor Blades also has a favorite Steve Gilliard blog post that rips Ann Coulter for her insults and ignorance of history.
Now, there are plenty of other sites which will deconstruct her monstrous book, Treason, and I would rather watch Shrek than read her drivel, but what I wanted to point out and what I think is relevant, is the way she abuses history to make her point. She's not the only one, and we'll get to that a bit later.

But Coulter uses the one crime defined by the constitution. Claiming that Molly Ivins is a friend of treason is an abuse of the term to such a degree, it would be comical, if Coulter wasn't on TV selling her book.

But what I want to discuss are not her unhinged insults, but her contention that Joe McCarthy, a drunken bum and liar, was actually brought down by the left. It is an assertion which borders on rank stupidity and is patently untrue.

Joe McCarthy was brought down by the US Army and Republicans. Not the left, not communist sympathizers or the Hollywood Ten. The Army detested McCarthy... What people have to remember is that history is not just opinion. It is fact. It is the report of witnesses. Ann Coulter can play games with Joe McCarthy's legacy, but his words are transcribed for anyone to read....
Steve Gilliard was a big fan of the left that actually does something, not the New Left engaged in intellectual circle jerks or meaningless theatrical protests. He was also well read in history and knew the most meaningful progress for most workers occurred in 1946 with the passage of the GI Bill and the model UAW contract. He remarked on both early this year.

I didn't link to him nearly enough when he was alive.

Kos writes about knowing him here.
Steve, in fact, was the first person I ever approached with the "guest blogger" offer. And he didn't waste time getting started, drawing on history of the region and the British occupation of Iraq in the late 1910s to set the stage for what the US would soon face in Iraq. He was frighteningly prescient on Iraq, and it wasn't the only topic he would consistently nail. He was a credit to the progressive blogosphere.

Steve was a big personality, and it was clear he needed his own stage. And he got it with the News Blog, which he soon built into a full-time gig, still a rarity among bloggers. It was one of three sites I religiously checked more than three times a day.

If you knew Steve only from his blog, you'd think he was a pit bull. He was blunt, loud, aggressive, unafraid, and took no prisoners.

But you'd meet him in life, and he was the exact opposite. He was soft-spoken, shy, modest, calm, friendly, and -- this was the most surprising to me -- gentle.
He has a wiki. He is known on the right for photo-shopping a black politician into blackface for his Uncle Tom subservience to the Republican Party. As a black person he felt more entitled to do that but removed the picture.

As with most bloggers, I didn't even know Steve Gilliard was black. He was extremely outraged by racial bias, but he was outraged by anti-gay bias, and prejudice against women and the entire conservative bag of outrages. Us liberals simply knew he was one of us.

NYTimes - Blog Caucus. Obit.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Top of the News

Dan Froomkin - Scooter Libby Shows No Remorse, Gets No Mercy.
Wrap-Up of trial sentencing by Jane.
White House won't intervene 'now' in Libby case.

White House Directed Operations to Deny Black Soldiers Serving In Iraq 2004 Vote. Possible reason for Gonzales appointed prosecutor resignation. Very limited American media coverage.
Tim Griffin, formerly right-hand man to Karl Rove, resigned Thursday as US attorney for Arkansas hours after BBC Television "Newsnight" reported that Congressman John Conyers [had] requested the network's evidence on Griffin's involvement in "caging voters." Greg Palast, reporting for both BBC "Newsnight" and "Democracy Now," obtained a series of confidential emails dating from the 2004 presidential election, in which the GOP operative transmitted so-called "caging lists" of voters to state party leaders.

Experts have concluded the caging lists were designed for a mass challenge of voters' right to cast ballots. The caging lists were heavily weighted with minority voters, including African-American homeless men, students and soldiers sent overseas.
Digby: Master GOP debaters make me feel unclean. AP: GOP Debaters Repeatedly Attack Bush. What you missed watching Deal or No Deal.

CNN: The Three Leading Democratic Candidates Talk About God and Religion and Politics and Poverty.

Guantánamo trials in chaos after judge throws out cases.

The June Atlantic magazine is an excellent issue with many great articles I happened to read. Will be best known for the long article on Condi Rice. It primarily quotes many of her admirers but repeated instances of her being naive and wrong on issues are noted. (I had a debate about rather she is really the worst NSA head and now Sec. of State or if she keeps pulling a Gonzales to protect the President - appear dumb and incompetent and lying in the face of mistakes to show loyalty.) The article makes it clear she is sincere and misguided but incompetent. She pushed for Democratic elections in Palestine sure that Fatah would win, they lost. She pushed for arming Fatah and having them battle it out with Hamas, American involvement not reported at all in the American media, sure they would win. They lost in bloody battles. Now she is pushing to ignore the Unity Palestine government against the wishes of every U.S. ally in the Middle East. She is pushing for more elections in Arab states, naively ignoring that fundamentalist groups are the big winners. At the end she is reduced to saying what we do now may only show results in 40 to 50 years. I say if we want faith-based foreign policy just appoint Dr. James C. Dobson.

The article does have this remarkable statement from a former head of Mossad: "Isreal today will not do anything, take no initiative whatsoever unless the United States approves it. Insemination is an act of two, not of three. As a result of what happened in 2003 and 2004, the natural act of insemination between Israel and its neighbors is no longer possible." I am not sure Israel can't screw its neighbors or he wanted to say that.

Also looked through some recent Newsweek's. This news magazine I used to think was remarkable for having a major article slanted for Bush one week and against the next. Along with the GOP Presidential candidates, and the conservative media, it has switched to just anti-Bush. Reading the real magazine and not the online site it becomes apparent how except for one or two articles it is now primarily a People magazine covering politicians and politics.

The rise of gay politicians in Dallas. In addition to having a strong candidate for mayor, gays hold several seats in Dallas government.

A New Poll Suggests That Play-It-Safe 'Centrists' Are Weakening the Democratic Party.
If Democrats don't take firmer action they may well find themselves going into the 2008 election with a double handicap. Swing voters will consider them cynical and fearful of taking bold action, while the party base is dispirited and open to third party alternatives (or staying at home).

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Dem Debate

I was busy and didn't get in to Houston to watch it. Watching at home I thought Edwards and Kucinich did well but nobody is gaining much from the debates this early.

FEAR! FEAR! FEAR! and Hysteria as the Default Conservative Position

National Review Online is screaming the brown guys will blow them up. The Power of Narative has his usual interesting analysis.

Cordesman Blasts Baker's Iraq Study Group

He says there is little chance for any kind of success in Iraq and whatever happens is pretty much out of U.S. hands anyway. The ISG plans were platitudes that had little relationship to the challenges we face.
The crippling irrelevance and unrealism of the ISG does not mean that the Bush strategy is valid. It is, however, a broader warning to both the Congress and the Administration. The US cannot fix an Iraq it did so much to help break by simple, quick, and glib solutions of any kind and particularly ones imposed by the US. The US still has great influence, but it does not control Iraq’s internal politics and cannot do so by threatening to leave or simply turning over the nation’s problems to Iraqi forces and some mythical international forum.

The US has no good options in Iraq, either to stay or leave. At best, it can now only try find the least bad path of uncertainty and work out the best compromises over time. To do this, it must focus on its overall longer term strategic interests in the region, working with its friends and allies, and looking both at what can be done in Iraq and in the region as a whole.

Masters of Horror: Joe Dante - Homecoming: DVD

After a speech by the Prez about how he wished all of our soldiers fighting a foreign war could vote and tell Americans what they are fighting for the corpses of the recent dead rise from the grave and shuffle to the voting booths.

Pro-Union Southerners

Here is a bit about the part of the Civil War you don't hear about, especially in the South. There are some covered up episodes of Texas history including a Confederate massacre in East Texas of pro-union families and other battles in Texas left out of history books. The so called "Battle of The Nueces In Kinney County, Texas" on August 10, 1862. A minor footnote in history books is the "Texas Troubles" - a fake conspiracy of black slaves and white abolitionists burning Texas towns in 1860 which increased the sentiment for Texas leaving the Union.

Twenty years after the Civil War even though the forces to end slavery had won you could hardly tell. Many Northern city Republican clubs that had been partially founded by freedman had "no blacks allowed" policies. The mythology of gallant gentleman dying for a doomed cause and to protect their way of life with the approval of grateful darkies was in full development. Slavery was dismissed to the sidelines in views of the civil war. Who really won the Civil War?
Do you know the term "The Lost Cause?" The Lost Cause was the title of a book by Sir Walter Scott. The term was used deliberately by Southerners right after the war, by 1866. They started this interpretation that basically said, "We didn't fight for slavery, we fought against overwhelming odds for state's rights. By the way, we were never defeated, we were just ground down by superior force." That was the mythology that persisted, and still persists.

Pokey explains what is wrong with e-voting today

A long excellent article on some of the problems with e-voting, particularly with how the United States is doing it. More on Pokey Anderson.

Steve Gilliard, 1966-2007

Jane said it best.

Its the weekend - take a break with Terra Naomi

Saturday, June 02, 2007

How much does DC Journalist Mike Allen suck?

As much and as long as his Republican masters want him to. Allen is another sterling example of our so-called-liberal-media and their fawning devotion to their insider GOP sources. Revealing puff pieces and recent interviews have exposed the slavish, whorish devotion to conservatives of Mark Halperin and Mike Allen.

Some good things the Texas Legislature did

Now if these aren't vetoed by Perry....

As an election judge here is one that is important.
HB 2823 (Rep. Dwayne Bohac, R-Houston)
Authorizing voters who applied to vote early by mail but did not do so to cast provisional ballots and cancel their mail ballot application in person at the polling place.
Right now if you asked for a mail-in ballot but did not use it in Harris County you must go into Downtown Houston to cancel your mail-in ballot and then return to your precinct to vote.

Several other good bills did get passed as well. Our Democrats also blocked the meaningless Voter-ID bills and a Republican measure to block a person from taking mail-in ballots to the polls for shut-ins. The GOP will have to work harder next time to prevent people from voting.

Interviewing Gore: On the Pollution of Our Environment, Our Politics, and Our Souls

"It's a problem that George Bush invaded Iraq," Gore told me. "It's a problem that he authorized warrantless mass eavesdropping on American citizens. It's a problem that he lifted the prohibition against torture. It's a problem that he censored hundreds of scientific reports on the climate crisis -- but it's a bigger problem that we've been so vulnerable to such crass manipulation and that there has been so little outcry or protest as American values have been discarded, one after another. And if we pretend that the magic solution for all these problems is simply to put a different person in the office of the president without attending to the cracks in the foundation of our democracy, then the same weaknesses that have been exploited by this White House will be exploited by others in the future."

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Decider as Tarzan

Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated "I am the president!" He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of "our country's destiny." - Georgie Anne Geyer
UPDATE - Bush's growing madness shocks even his friends.

Al Gore's Book Hits Number One, ExxonMobil's Front Groups Attack

Last year Exxon spent $2.1 million on 41 groups who are leading the climate skeptic industry.

Circling Armageddon today

Stratfor, the private premium military and intelligence site, is seeing the recent reappearance of Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr as evidence of a broad deal involving Iran and the United States that could lessen the violence. Their assumption is that Iran and the United States are working on a deal with the broad outlines known. A Shiite dominated unified Iraq without an offensive army that is secure enough to crack down on international terrorist organizations and that is not engaged in a civil war seems to be the mutual objective. Iran also wants recognition by the United States as a strong regional power even if not an active partner with Iraq. The jihadists in Iraq are stepping up their violence to prevent this deal believing that those who would accept it are not true Muslims. A more complete statement of the outlines of a deal:
1. The creation of an Iraqi government that is dominated by Shia, neutral to Iran, hostile to jihadists but accommodating to some Sunni groups.
2. Guarantees for Iran's commercial interests in southern Iraqi oil fields, with some transfers to the Sunnis (who have no oil in their own territory) from fields in both the northern (Kurdish) and southern (Shiite) regions.
3. Guarantees for U.S. commercial interests in the Kurdish regions.
4. An Iraqi military without offensive capabilities, but substantial domestic power. This means limited armor and air power, but substantial light infantry.
5. An Iraqi army operated on a "confessional" basis -- each militia and insurgent group retained as units and controlling its own regions.
6. Guarantee of a multiyear U.S. presence, without security responsibility for Iraq, at about 40,000 troops.
7. A U.S.-Iranian "commission" to manage political conflict in Iraq.
8. U.S. commercial relations with Iran.
9. The definition of the Russian role, without its exclusion.
10. A meaningless but symbolic commitment to a new Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Such an agreement would not be expected to last very long. It might last, but the primary purpose would be to allow each side to quietly fold its busted flushes in the game for Iraq.
Cheney and the neocons are furious about any deal with Iran and are working on ways to derail it, with the most obvious methods being hyping up the fears of a nuclear Iran again and encouraging Israel to attack Iran where the repercussions would shortly have the U.S. in a much wider, deadlier war.

This war was about control of oil, the neo-cons are willing to approach Armageddon to prevent Iran from receiving any benefits from their plans. They seem to see that a Middle East in flames with a destroyed Iran would leave the United States in a better relative position than anyone else. Bush, only slightly less insane, is also jeopardizing any chance of a more stable Iraq by his authorization of a destabilization campaign against Iran.

Joe Klein at Time: Cheney's Iran fantasy.
IAEA chief warns of "crazies" seeking Iran war.
The terrorists the United States funds.

Bush: 50 more years of troops in Iraq.

Randi Rhodes on a campaign to become the progressive Rush

Following her move back to New York, Randi Rhodes is in the forefront of efforts to have Liberal talk radio in every city. Here is her BuzzFlash interview. Randi Rhodes Show - 30 states and growing. Real Video of her on CSPAN today.

Guv "Good Hair" Perry has been Bilderberged

A VP nomination should now be expected.

Known Democratic candidates who have been to Bilderberg - John Edwards and Hillary Clinton.

Sci-fi writers join war on terror

Looks like another meeting of the hard SF U.S. governmental task force. They had another meeting right after 9/11, not discussed in the article, on what other means terrorists might use. They first had a fictional meeting in 1985 in Footfall to discuss how the U.S. might combat an alien invasion.