Saturday, November 08, 2003

John Snow got a B in high school economics
Without any economics to back it up, the man who has been talking down the value of the dollar all year decided to say that Bush's tax cuts MUST be the reason the economy is doing well, and also that we'll all have jobs soon.

Snow also confronts the rising deficit. Just kidding.

Not-so-slick Willy
Bill Frist tried to minimize suspicion today by freezing the probe into pre-war intelligence. Using the leaked Democratic memo as an excuse, Frist seized on his chance to save the president's ass. Senator Rockefeller sums it up: "Whose advantage is it to derail asking the tough questions on prewar intelligence and the use and misuse of it?"

Plus there's that deficit...
TAPPED has a good commentary on the realities of the recent economic news.

Bad news for decent human beings
The Republicans have once again passed a military measure that hurts veterans and opens up loopholes like this:

"The bill would exempt the military from aspects of the Marine Mammal Protection and Endangered Species acts. The armed forces would be allowed to conduct tests near critical habitats with less oversight from other departments such as Interior. The military would operate under a looser definition of "harassment" of whales, dolphins and porpoises. The new law also would allow the military to manage and define what a critical habitat is, rather than conform to detailed guidelines from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "

And of course, most Democrats are silent, fearing that voting against a bill funding the military will be used against them come election time. The only fact more disturbing than that is that those Democrats are right.

Pelosi gets it wrong
Nancy Pelosi spent her day complaining about the extremely trivial issue of why there were no women in the picture of Bush signing the PBA ban. Nancy, spend your time informing the public instead of picking out minor details and harping on them. The real "slap in the face to women" was the banning of late-term abortions, not the picture of Bush signing it.

36 dead
The worst week in Iraq since our mission was accomplished.

Friday, November 07, 2003

The Zogby Report
The latest Zogby polls are pretty interesting.

Apparently, only 43% of people think the war was worth the lives lost, while 53% support the administration's handling of the war. My head is going to explode.

Outsourcing your privacy
For the sake of cutting costs, several huge credit companies are outsourcing files abroad that may include information such as...Social Security numbers. Since these coutnries don't have to abide by U.S. laws, we could see a huge surge in identity theft.

Occupation 101
Instead of having fewer, better-trained Iraqi policemen, Rumsfeld has decided that it would be a better idea to have more policemen with less training. So essentially, the average Iraqi (or, say, a terrorist) can now receive a free assault rifle from the United States with little or no training. Good thinking, Rummy.

Lynch tells the truth
Jessica Lynch has come forth and said that the military was "wrong" to manipulate her story into a heroic tale.

When asked about the military's account of her rescuers coming in with guns blazing and getting her out the same way, she said "I don't think it happened quite like that."

It's sad when the government has to twist stories in order to gain emotional profit from the crowd sitting at home, in awe of someone's bravery. Apparently they don't think that we respect our soldiers enough.

Must be the tax cuts
Unemployment sank from 6.1% to 6%, which is at least good news.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

NPR has received a massive, $200 million gift from the estate of Joan Kroc. This is about double NPR's annual budget. I guess we should expect some grade A programming... (actually, NPR's programs are fantastic already, and I'm just glad this didn't go to Clear Channel).

Another blow to Bush
A judge in California is the third to block the PBA ban.

Assumptions, assumptions...
Lawrence F. Kaplan's article (you can only read it all if you're a subcriber) in the latest (Nov. 10) New Republic states that the Democrats' anti-war rhetoric is furthering the image of Dems who are weak on national security. He says:

"Descriptions of America like "empire" and "bully"--banished from our political lexicon after Vietnam--have returned to favor among the 2004 Democratic candidates. Indeed, far from being a contest between "Bush-lites," the race for the Democratic presidential nomination has centered on opposition to Iraq policy. Senators John Edwards and John Kerry voted against funding the ongoing operation there. For the first time in three decades, we even have "peace" candidates. "

Well yeah, Lawrence. It's the first time in three decades that we've had a war during the campaign. The centrist Democrats and the liberals are battling it out over what platform will win in 2004. The argument Kaplan is going on is that the people won't take the dovish approach. Well, he's wrong. The Democrats will never win with an all around "peace and love" campaign. However, opposing Bush in Iraq is a winning issue, especially if the economy starts to swing back (yes, Bush has little to do with the current economic spike, but any attempt to convince the voters otherwise will seem like an excuse). Kaplan's basis for the article is wrong: the people aren't always hawks, and when the majority of the country disagrees with something, it's in your best interest to do so, too.

A "Panic Attack"
Unbelievable. A soldier in Iraq sees a mangled corpse and says that he can't keep fighting, and he's court martialed. The Army has to realize that not everyone is able to cope with witnessing mutilation and death every day. After so many veterans have had mental health problems (including Posttraumatic Stress Disorder), you would think that one would be more sympathetic to a case such as this. Sadly, it seems that we're backtracking, and anyone who can't handle the bloodshed once confronted with it is a coward. I have a feeling that he isn't the only one who would start heaving after staring at a mangled corpse.

Dick Cheney's assessment of the FIRST Gulf War seems to almost parallel liberal arguments against Gulf War II. This is QUITE interesting:

"I think that the proposition of going to Baghdad is also fallacious. I think if we were going to remove Saddam Hussein we would have had to go all the way to Baghdad, we would have to commit a lot of force because I do not believe he would wait in the Presidential Palace for us to arrive. I think we'd have had to hunt him down. And once we'd done that and we'd gotten rid of Saddam Hussein and his government, then we'd have had to put another government in its place.

What kind of government? Should it be a Sunni government or Shi'i government or a Kurdish government or Ba'athist regime? Or maybe we want to bring in some of the Islamic fundamentalists? How long would we have had to stay in Baghdad to keep that government in place? What would happen to the government once U.S. forces withdrew? How many casualties should the United States accept in that effort to try to create clarity and stability in a situation that is inherently unstable?"

Amen, Dick.

Texas inches forward
The Texas Board of Education approved books that teach kids that evolution might not be a big myth. Good for them; that leaves them only 50 years behind the rest of us.

The Good Fight
A judge in New York has followed suit in blocking the PBA ban.

Things I could have told you
It appears that it required a panel for Congress to figure out, 9 months after Columbia burned up on re-entry, that civilian flights into space might not be the best idea.

Jobs Growth?
Alan Greenspan took some time off from meddling with interest rates to say that job growth was on the way.

"Unless hiring picks up and layoffs ease, assuaging the latent job security fears
of many of those currently employed, the share of income spent could decline, a
development that would hamper the vigor of the expansion."

So, while he talked about how jobs are going to grow, he mentioned that this would only happen if hiring picks up and layoffs ease. Unfortunately, productivity is hitting a ten-year high. He doesn't mention this as a hindrance to job growth...but it is. Increased productivity per worker = less new hiring. While CEOs apparently predict that the economy will pick up next year, only 14% plan on increasing their rate of hiring.

On top of that Greenspan mentions that the budget deficit and the future of Social Security and Medicare make the economy shakey. What seems rosy fades to gray.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Pro-lifer attack
Armed and poised to invade your ovaries.

Andrew Sullivan gets bored
Andrew Sullivan does a great job of laying into some random kid who posts at Democratic Underground. Of course, I don't need to point you to the Free Republic for you to know that some stupid people post there. Stay off the message boards, Andy.

The War on Strip Clubs
The Patriot Act being used in situations not related to terrorism? Wow, no one saw this coming....

We elect people in November
Fred Barnes is an idiot. The line: The GOP picks up two more governorships, making it three big wins in the last month. Is this a trend?

No, Fred. It's an election month.

Horowitz raises the bar for self-love
David Horowitz has continued to fellate himself by posting an admiring letter from a soldier on his blog. Good work, Dave.

The post includes such classic statements as "I feel the need to thank you for what you have done for this citizen-soldier's morale," and "I don't believe you addressed any issues specifically related to the current war Iraq in the works I read, but you magnificently exposed the Left as a hypocritical and quixotic coterie on the wrong side of the political spectrum." Wow. He can expose hypocrisy without even touching on issues. Brilliant work, Mr. Horowitz!

Orrin Hatch vs. foresight
In the 1999 Republican debates Hatch said, "I was the one who convinced Reagan we should give the Stinger missile to the Mujahadeen." Good going, Orrin. It's always good to supply Islamic fundamentalists with weapons. I wonder what kind of missile shot down that Chinook?

Relatively minor milestones
I've gotten someone to link to me: the Radical Review

Sure, it's not a big time blog, but I'm a start-up, baby! Aside from that, the blog has some lengthy but very deep and thoughtful posts. Consider it the antithesis of Kick the Leftist

They didn't think they would win?
Did the Iraqis try to cut a deal before the war began? ABC seems to think so. It seems odd that Saddam would be willing to hold free elections as a concession - perhaps this was out of his hands.

It seems like if they had wanted to avoid war they could have just told us that they didn't have Weapons of Mass Destruction. Oh...that's right...I guess they did.

The people may never know....
This WaPo editorial is saying that Monday's vote on the $87 billion dollar bill was done by voice vote. This means that who voted for which side is not recorded. How convenient.

Call up your Senators and ask how they voted if they haven't stated it publicly. They'll probably say they didn't vote, because there were - count 'em - 94 no shows.

Maybe you should have killed him
Bush has stated that Saddam is trying to "stir up trouble" in Iraq. I suppose that "stirring up trouble" is some kind of metaphor for "killing American soldiers," but maybe I'm wrong.

What strikes me here is that Bush has sunk to the lowest level: he is blaming the botched occupation on Saddam Hussein.

Republicans for Dean
Howard Dean is trying to downplay his comments on the Confederate flag by claiming that we need to help the poor whites in the South. Now Fox News is saying that there "might be Democrats that support the Confederacy and might be flirting with racism." I'm not kidding. They said that.

The Republicans have kept their mouths shut thus far because they don't want to look like they agree with Dean; unfortunately, painting him as a racist will also open up the majority of their party to the same criticism.

I advise Fox News to shut up as well, lest they hurt their own party.

Pro-life, anti-logic
Bush has signed the so-called "partial birth" abortion bill into law today.

The implications of this are disgusting. Mr. "Uniter, not a divider" has made quite the divisive decision. The bill makes NO exception if the woman's health is at risk; if you're going to die while giving birth, you are going to have to find a back-alley doctor. Furthermore, the language is so broad that it essentially applies to the last 6 MONTHS of pregnancy.

Conservatives don't have a sincere desire to see the woman's right to choose hold up. They know that the vast majority of Americans support early-term abortions and have capitalized on the term "partial birth" to distort the image of late-term abortions. This IS the first big step in their campaign to completely eliminate the right to choose, and it IS a political sham. And if you don't believe me, even proponents of the ban admit it.

The right has a motto: "We'll fight for your rights up until you're born--then you're on your own, sucka."

UPDATE: A federal judge has already taken action to fight the PBA ban.

Green River Killer caught
Gay Leon Ridgway pleaded guilty to 48 counts of murder. The killings took place in Northwest Washington; it's been 48 women since 1982.

"I killed so many women, I have a hard time keeping them straight."

UPDATE: Earlier I said he would likely get the death penalty. This is more complicated that I originally thought. Ridgway would NOT get the death penalty if all the murders were in Washington; however, he said that four of the murders may have been in Oregon, in which case execution is possible.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Charitable...but evil
They've reeled in another white collar criminal. Richard Scrushy, the ex-head of HealthSouth, pleaded innocent to 85 charges that "he masterminded a fraud scheme that allowed him to pocket more than a quarter-billion dollars from rigged books at the rehabilitation services giant." Well....sure he stole $250 million, but he HAS given $100 million to charity.

Maybe Iran will send troops
It looks like Turkey's refusal to send in troops to Iraq has led to another imminent call-up. With whispers of Bush's withdrawal plan floating around the political world, this seems like a bit of a setback.

It's official
Despite the federal government bugging his office, John Street trounced Sam Katz, and the Dems maintained control of Philly.

The "quiet but critical" race
The Dems are ahead in the race for the New Jersey senate.

UPDATE: No longer are the Dems ahead. They are now officially "kicking ass."

Those damn Turks
It appears that Turkey won't send troops unless they get an invitation from the Iraqi Governing Council. Unfortunately, many (if not most) IGC members are very much opposed to this idea.

This is progress.

2004 update
Looks like we only need to swing 6% of the vote for a 2004 victory. It's almost as if losing 3 million jobs and fighting one war too many is hurting Bush. Hmmm...

The polls are closed
Keep yourself updated on the Philly mayoral numbers, they're about to come pouring in.

UPDATE: Turnout is high in Dem districts

Progress, regress...who cares?
CBS is reporting that attacks in Iraq are up 50%. Smells like....progress.

A Lost Soul
The New Republic hits the nail on the head on Zell Miller's recent antics.

If there is one thing I don't understand besides the meaning of the universe, it's why Zell Miller is still a Democrat.

Breaking News
Leave it to CNN to state the unbelievably obvious.

Good and bad news from the GOP
Looks like Matty Dowd isn't feeling too confident about 2004. Who woulda thunk it?

Sadly, it appears the GOP thinks they can take out Daschle come next election. Call up your Republican congressman and tell them you think that they should push money away from the presidential campaign and toward removing Daschle.

Presidential races for the whole family
Kerry has his whole family complaining about the debates, which are apparently "silly." What's silly isn't the debates themselves, it's the fact that we have nine Democrats running for president at this point. Perhaps if the candidates who don't have a chance in hell of winning would take a lesson from Bob Graham we could make some progress. (And no, I don't mean they should retire).

Local governments in the balance
It's an election day in a number of states. Change starts at the local level, people, get out there and vote if you can.

The mayoral race in Philly is climaxing today. Tune in to the 11 o'clock news to watch replays of the bloodletting.

Burning bushes
Bush is visiting the site of the fires in California. He's either doing it to assure himself that he shouldn't have sent more federal money to assist California, or because of the raw pleasure he gets in seeing dead trees.

We just like it
Calpundit wakes up before me, but the WaPo did what can only be described as excess delving in writing an article about our fascination with nudity in its magazine. Is our interest in naked people really that hard to figure out?

It's not like he'd be watching
Looks like CBS caved to the whining right. Liberal media? Perhaps not.

Bad news for Bible thumpers
Well, looks like pregnancy and abortion rates sank in the 90s. Now, remind me, pro-life activists...who was our president during the 90s?

Monday, November 03, 2003

The Limits of Learning
Apparently a couple right-wing parents in Berkeley got ticked off that their kid was being told liberal opinions in high school:

"The couple considers the politicization of Berkeley High, where their daughter is a student, an infringement of their parental rights to lay their own right- or wrong-headed world views on their kids without interference from the classroom. "

Ah yes, the ongoing tragedy of children learning different viewpoints.

They weren't bluffing
AT&T may be the first big company to get stung over the Do Not Call list.

It has begun
Welcome to Kick the Leftist