Saturday, November 15, 2003

More casualties in Iraq
12 soldiers were killed in the collision of two Black Hawks today in Iraq. The chopper incidents this month have left 34 dead alone.

UPDATE: Today's crash toll was raised to 17.

Clark crosses party lines?
The latest series of Gallup polls are nothing new, except that it shows that Wesley Clark has a sizably higher favorability rating among all Americans than the other candidates:

John Kerry +12%
Joe Lieberman +16%
John Edwards +10%
Dick Gephardt +4%
Howard Dean +4%
Al Sharpton -50%
Dennis Kucinich -34%
Carol Moseley Braun -14%
Wesley Clark +26%

School Sanctions
Susan Ohanian does a number on No Child Left Behind for the Nation.

The Dean Factor
TAPPED linked to this today: a potential ad that Bush could use if running against Dean. I have to admit, if done right it could smash him.

Opposition to the war - in my opinion Dean's biggest weakness in a hawkish post-9/11 America, might not be so unpopular come next year. Raising taxes on the middle class, however...

I'll follow the crowd
Plenty of bloggers have linked to this....but David Brooks' latest column is remarkable in its sheer stupidity.

Bush, probably unknowingly, has granted the Sun, a British tabloid regularly featuring nude women, an interview. No comment needed.

It'll all be good next summer
By the end of June next year Bush will have jumped the ship that he sank.

The military won't leave until Saddam is killed or captured (see post below), but the U.S. simply won't have to rebuild Iraq anymore. It also adds the vital element of influence: if the Iraqis, when electing their own officials a couple years from now, decide to elect anti-Western leaders, the U.S. will be there just in case they need some overthrowing in the future.

Of course, the fact that the military will still be there doesn't really solve the problem of the resistance. This is a simple case of Bush and Co. taking the easy political road: say you have a plan, but don't confront the fact that all of our problems will remain intact.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Change of Plans
The White House has stated that we will stay in Iraq until Saddam is killed or captured.

So it wasn't about WMD. And it wasn't about the Iraqi people. It was about a little grudge Dubya felt for his Daddy's enemy.

They DID declare war on us...
The WaPo has a worthwhile piece on whether or not the Dems should abandon the South.

I'm getting a little tired of the phrase "abandon the South." Can't we make ourselves out to be nice people and say "stop campaigning in the South"?

"A 5,000 pound hunk of stone"
Gregg Easterbrook hits it on the head about the Roy Moore/Ten Commandments controversy.

The economy sputters
Despite the fact that the economy is "surging," CNN says that the economy is slowing down after the impressive 3rd quarter gains. Retail sales continued to fall, and personal bankruptcies skyrocketed. This must be what Dubya is taking credit for.

Fake progress on 9-11 report
While the White House had said that a deal had been reached with the 9-11 panel to release all documents, it appears that they are allowed to edit them first. Back to square one...

A 30-hour waste of time
The Republican attempt to end the filibustering of Bush's far-right nominees failed. While the right will continue to whine like so: "So I've made the decision as a United States senator to try to find some legal assistance and I'm going to take this to court. It is now time for the Supreme Court, if this continues and we don't break this filibuster, to give us their view of what is going on here," (that was Senator Lindsay Graham) they are only reaping what they sow. After blocking dozens upon dozens of Clinton nominees using the underhanded Blue Slip Policy, they should expect at least a little resistance.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Slight inconsistencies
How many insurgents are in Iraq? Some say 5,000, some say 50,000

Must be somewhere in between.

Bush gets nitpicky
Bush has demanded action on his judicial nominees. Apparently he's pissed that a full 4 of them have been blocked. I guess he would explode if 63 were blocked (the amount blocked by Republicans under Clinton). Because those blocks would lead to a massive crisis in judicial vacancies (like the Republicans' did).

Getting back to normal
After a decline that had conservatives shaking in collective orgasm, jobless claims are up once again.

The Army vs. Mommy
The story of a mother who returned to American from fighting in Iraq to take care of her seven children just got a little more complicated.

"Faced with an intractable conflict between military and motherly duties, Army Spec. Simone Holcomb finally decided to stay home with her seven children -- and not return to her unit outside of Baghdad when her four weeks of family leave expired last month. For that, Holcomb's lawyer said, she has been threatened with disciplinary charges of missing movement and disobeying a lawful order. "

So the Army would rather have her seven kids stay with a nanny for a few months. I'm sure that won't scar them at all.

A victory for the Constitution
Advocates of an entirely Christian nation have suffered a blow.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Hypocrisy vs. Even more hypocrisy
Looks like the Republican Congress, despite disliking big government so much and complaining about "tax and spend" liberals, has increased discretionary spending 12.5% in fiscal 2003. While it would be easy for me to go on a rant about Republican hypocrisy and the long-term pitfalls of cutting taxes while increasing spending in a recovery, I won't.

The Pentagon snubs our troops
A report has stated that 94% of National Guard soldiers in six different units didn't receive proper pay.

"While National Guard soldiers fulfill their duty, risking their lives around the world, the Pentagon apparently is not living up to its obligation to pay them the right amount or on time. That’s according to a new congressional report obtained by NBC News, which finds the Pentagon’s pay process is such a mess it’s having “a profound financial impact on individual soldiers and their families.'”

The same people that bashed liberals as anti-military have disgraced those who serve. You'd think that they might at least pay attention to these things around Veterans Day.

He's baaaack
Limbaugh is set to return to the air Monday. Call him up, say that you're addicted to (hard drug) and that you sympathize. You don't have to call him a hypocrite to point it out.

Pushing the burden on the people
It appears that while things are "under control," they are also bleak.

"A new, top-secret CIA report from Iraq warns that growing numbers of Iraqis are concluding the U.S.-led coalition can be defeated and are supporting the insurgents.

The report paints a bleak picture of the political and security situation in Iraq and cautions that the U.S.-led drive to rebuild the country as a democracy could collapse unless corrective actions are taken immediately."

At the same time, it seems that the meeting Bremer was going to Washington for was about transferring power to the Iraqis. Not an international force, but the Iraqis. Let's think about this. Now, it was reported a couple of days ago that the U.S. was thinking of alternatives to the Iraqi Governing Council. Apparently now they are not only capable, but should be running the country themselves. While every logical person on Earth wants to gain assistance from the international community, BushCo. wants to toss the hot potato to a government that is destined to fight a long civil war, as long as we can get the hell out of there.

The friendly, homely skies
While the economy is allegedly on the rebound, Bush looks set to officially declare Delta Airlines "not part of the economy" as not to send mixed messages. You see, Delta just lost $415 million.

Smells like a recovery!

Oh Trent....
As you may have heard, on NPR this morning Trent Lott made a slight gaffe. He said that the upcoming Senate filibuster on judicial nominees was offensive to "men, women, and minorities."

I don't think this one needs a witticism.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

That makes sense
Turns out Bremer was being summoned to DC to discuss the problems in Iraq. Whew. I thought something might be wrong.

Raising Zell
Here is Zell Miller's office number in DC: (202)224-3643

Call him and tell him to leave our party.

CNN Plants the vote
Do you remember that ridiculous "Mac vs. PC" question at the Rock the Vote debate? Someone's saying CNN planted it.

The media doesn't think the debates are interesting enough, so they plant a stupid question that will get them viewers while lessening the debate as a whole. Profit more important than people? I didn't know that CNN was a Fox subsidiary.

Nothing to see here...
Bremer unexpectedly returned to Washington today. But I'm sure that everything's just fine.

Getting away with murder
Another millionaire is off the hook, this time in a murder case:

"Durst, 60, who is under suspicion in two other killings and who posed for a time as a mute woman, testified in his own defense for nearly four days. He insisted that Black was shot accidentally during a struggle over a gun, and said he used two saws and an ax to cut up the body."

Oh yeah....happens to the best of us.....

Monday, November 10, 2003

Rummy assures us all
I was worried for a second there, but it turns out that things are "under control" in Iraq.

Reconstructing the Truth
Bremer says the Iraqi resistance is going to step up the attacks. He said that this is because "the terrorist can see the reconstruction dynamic is moving in our direction." However, looking at the situation, it seems more likely that the resistance is invigorating by the recent successful attacks. Bremer knows this. We know this. Why won't he admit it?

People like this guy?
Andrew Sullivan has one hell of a stupid comment about the "Mission Accomplished" sign.

"Bush was dumb to have put that banner up (and dumber to say it had nothing to do with him). But if he was wrong, how wrong was Madeleine Albright, who trumpeted "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq in ... 1998!"

He links to this.

Now, first of all, it was a totally different battle in 1998. We weren't on the ground. Second, it might have damn well been accomplished, since it seems that Saddam's weapons program was pinned down.

Getting the word out
It's sad, but in order to educate people about the positives of gay marriange, a $1 million ad campaign is being launched.

Military Strategy 101
Generals in Iraq have decided to take on a new approach to quelling the violence in Iraq. Instead of tightening security, they have sat down with Iraqis and told them to stop. Apparently we're threatening to fight back harder, which brings to the forefront this question: shouldn't we be fighting our hardest already? After all, it is war.

Don't piss off Europe
The WTO declared that U.S. tariffs on steel are illegal.

"President Bush must quickly remove the tariffs or face retaliation from the European Union, which is threatening to hit back with some $2.2 billion in duties on U.S. goods."

"The United Steelworkers union expressed disappointment with the ruling and urged the administration to stand by the tariffs."

Perhaps the USW should be reminded of how much money $2.2 billion is.

While the U.S. said that they needed the tariffs to prevent a flood of cheap imports - a logical argument - it seems that they weren't worried about those coming from Mexico and Canada. The tariffs weren't imposed on our neighbors because they are NAFTA partners.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

A "statistical dead heat"
Looks like Gen. Clark could give Bush a run for his money.

Not so independent
Ever since the Iraqi Governing Council smashed U.S. dreams of Turkish troops by denying any neighboring countries the permission to send in their militaries, the U.S. has been taking out their frustration on the Council.

Four day weeks
Schools are cutting off 20% of their week in order to save 2% of their money. Brilliant.

Where's the funding, you ask? Why don't you talk to genius behind No Child Left Behind?

Make sure Iran-Contra is mentioned
Salon has the entire "Reagans" script. Judge for yourself.

Armitage assuages our fears
Whew. I thought that maybe things weren't going well for a second there. Luckily, Rich Armitage has proved me wrong. I wasn't quite convinced until I heard him say this:

“I’m pretty convinced after this short visit ... that we will take this fight to the enemy.”

Take this fight to the enemy...I thought we were doing then when we invaded Iraq. What else do you have to say?

“We have the momentum in this process.”

OK. Generally, I would have thought that when the other side is doing much better than they have in the recent past, that they would have the momentum. I guess I just don't know much about momentum.