Saturday, November 22, 2003

Chest for charity
Charities in San Francisco are turning down a donation because it was raised by a strip club.

I'm sure that they'll have a good time explaining to a hungry child that he can't get a lunch today because the charity is trying to be moral.

The WaPo discusses the misuse and non-use of much of the D.C. area's $324 million in anti-terror funds.

"In many ways, the funds have helped the Washington area become better prepared than it was when terrorists struck on Sept. 11, 2001. The region has earmarked at least $63 million -- about one-fifth of the total -- for compatible radio systems, long considered critical so rescuers from different jurisdictions can communicate with each other in an emergency.

Police, firefighters and public health workers have undergone disaster training and are better equipped to handle conventional attacks and weapons of mass destruction. They have more gear to protect them, more ambulances and firetrucks and more heavy equipment to defuse bombs or locate victims buried beneath rubble. Local governments have at their disposal new blueprints on how to respond to a terrorist attack.

But critical needs remain unaddressed, according to federal assessments and interviews. Many of the region's hospitals are already strained, and without adding beds and personnel, would be overwhelmed if thousands needed medical attention in an emergency. In the District, hospital officials estimate that just 400 beds could be freed in a disaster.

Some police officers are still waiting for basic protective gear. Public health labs swamped by the anthrax attacks of 2001 have no more capacity today. Most local governments have no efficient way to give instructions to residents shut off from radio and television, such as a "reverse 911" system that automatically telephones people at home. There is no comprehensive plan to unite families separated in a disaster."

Anti-war terrorists
At the Drudge Report:

"FBI has collected extensive information on 'tactics, training and organization' of antiwar demonstrators and has advised local law enforcement officials to report any suspicious activity at protests to its counterterrorism squads, confidential bureau memorandum show... Developing..."

5 votes
We were unbelievably close to defeating the Medicare bill, but the House passed it. When the House, dominated by the Republicans, nearly swings Democratic, you know the Senate is in for a battle.

The Daily Bernie-bashing
The Daily Howler has continued to tear Bernie Goldberg's new book apart.

Eyes on the Midwest
Harold Meyerson at the American Prospect explains why the Dems should keep Ohio in their sights in 2004.

That sweet, sweet cash
The WaPo is reporting what everyone could have figured out: the companies poised to benefit from the Bush energy Medicare bills are huge fundraisers for the Bush team.

Balancing a budget for dummies
The Economist has a nice chart for you (Atrios posted it also). This is from the latest issue:

The top line is what the Bush team uses to get projections. That means that if all the cuts expire when they were supposed to, and there's no alternative minimum tax reform, and there isn't Medicare drug benefit, and discretionary spending growth is kept at 2.7% per year we'll have that kind of growth. However, most tax cut expirations, or "sunset dates," are put into place solely so the administration can feign future growth. The lower lines show what will happen to the budget if the cuts are made permanent (likely), there is no AMT reform (likely), there is no Medicare benefit (quite likely), and discretionary spending grows faster than 2.7% (insanely likely).

Bad strategies
The New York Times had the hutzpah to bring up Dean's draftdodging. I'm not one to defend a draftdodger just because he's a Democrat, but this will only blow up in the Republicans' faces. Clinton was elected to two terms even after right-wing campaigns to portray him as a dodger. Bush managed to avoid the stigma - but if the Dean campaign gets a lot of flak for this, you can bet they'll start swinging.

Let's envision a scenario: Dean's dodging becomes an issue during the primaries. To respond he attacks Bush's record and points out the fact that Bush has recently been taking steps that would make an upcoming draft seem like a possibility. Dean falls out of the lead, and Bush takes enough damage for another Dem to whip him come election time. I'm indulging a little, but draftdodgers can't bash draftdodgers

Another day, another bomb
More progress in Iraq.

I'm starting to think that maybe setting these guys up with a weak government and cutting and running in 7 months won't leave the country in the best shape.

The CBO scam
The New Republic's &c has a great post on the Congressional Budget Office's fake figures.

Stop the presses!
Police overreacting to anti-globalization protesters? Never...

Friday, November 21, 2003

That's what they get
Calpundit has a good story for you.

The Republicans wanted to push their convention next year into September to increase fundraising and capitalize on September 11. Turns out that a lot of states don't put candidates on their ballot unless they announce before the end of August. That leaves Bush off of some states' ballots, and in return for his getting on them, the Dems are asking for some favors...

Richard Perle...THE Richard Perle, admitted that the Iraq invasion was illegal. He didn't declare that he opposed the war at all, but that international law "stood in the way of doing the right thing."

Those pesky laws...

Oxymorons vs. Regular morons
The Governor of Maryland, Bob Ehrlich, said on WBAL-radio that "gay marriage is an oxymoron and makes no sense."

He added that he has never actually been in love, and knows nothing about the homosexual lifestyle. He also wondered aloud why allowing two people who are in love to marry would be such a burden on society. OK, he didn't do any of those last things.

Now if we can block the Medicare bill...
The Dems succeeding in blocking the Republican energy bill.

Considering we're a minority (even more so with Zell accounted for), the Senate Dems have done a masterful job of blocking dangerous legislation. This $31 billion monstrosity was filibustered (6 Republicans opposed it as well, but I suppose that this was because they "like blackouts," as Pete Domenici said).

"Backers and opponents of the bill said a provision providing protection from lawsuits for firms that make and distribute MTBE, a gasoline additive that has been found to contaminate groundwater, turned opinion against the bill."

Indeed. Had this bill passed, it would have been a green light to Karl Rove, who's thinking of ways to slide as much environmental deregulation into bills as possible. Domenici said:

"The blackouts in America will remain alive and possible because we will have thrown out the window the reliability standards that are in this bill because some want to make the case on an issue like MTBE or the like."

So perhaps next time you think you have a great energy plan you'll remember not to toss in an item that puts toxins into our water.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Instapundit thinks that the attacks today in Istanbul were in response to the ANTI-WAR DEMONSTRATIONS, and not Bush's visit to London.


Using soldiers
Drug Policy Alliance has some interesting news.

Soldiers are being called up and upon testing positive for drugs, are still being sent into combat. Only upon their return are they discharged.

So let's get this all straight: upon finding drug users, the military sends them out to kill and/or die, and then they get kicked out when they return, getting no benefits. How valiant of the military!

Better late than never
The 9/11 commission is subpoening for New York to release documents that they say would assist the public if something similar were to occur again.

Once again, the commission is forced to take unnecessarily complex measures to get info that should have been made public ages ago. Unless, of course, firefighters' phone conversations are vital to national security...

If you're wondering why the AARP has decided to defile its integrity by supporting the Medicare bill, the Dems have some ideas.

A shred of O'Hope?
Spinsanity does a great job giving a run-down on the Ted Kennedy "neanderthal" comment controversy. Surprisingly, and to his credit, O'Reilly said that the comment wasn't a racial slur on Kennedy's part. Creepy.

More unlying about the Medicare bill
corrente snags a lie on the Medicare bill issue.

Slight overreaction
Today, a blip on the radar that was probably a bird caused everyone in the White House to evacuate. If a plane has been spotted above the White House, what do you think the chances are that they can get everyone out of the gigantic building in time? Perhaps the bomb shelter should be made larger.

Watering the flames?
Jeb Bush, perhaps trying to silence the liberals who have been crying foul over 2000 for three years, suspended an election official from Broward County.

Acknowledging that things went seriously wrong in Florida may give the left a good oppotunity to release the dogs. Or maybe the press will brush it aside.

Truth in chart form
Uggabugga has a chart that gives you the gist of the Medicare plan.

A weak budget
Democrats in CA are saying that Arnold's budget plan lacks specifics. Maybe it's because after a fluffy campaign he realized that he wasn't entirely positive about what his job is.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

"It's the commitment, stupid"
William Saletan has a good article on how to sell the gay marriage issue to public over at Slate.

Someone needs to get fired...
I'm late on this, but thus is the life of a blogger temporarily stuck with a 56K.

It appears that after a long investigation into what went wrong in August with the blackouts, Ohio is to blame.

More specifically, FirstEnergy is to blame:

"A U.S.-Canadian government investigation of the massive Aug. 14 power outage in the Northeast singles out a series of operators' mistakes, computer failures, violations of grid rules and inadequate maintenance by FirstEnergy Corp., the Akron-based utility serving northern Ohio, as the primary causes of the largest blackout in North American history."

As Calpundit notes, it only took three months for this investigation to reach a conclusion, but the 9/11 investigation continues. Almost as if something is impeding it....

You mean they were wrong about Clinton?
Remember the big Clinton/Rich fundraising hype? Righties screamed that Denise Rich had given money to Hillary in exchange for her husband's pardon. Looks like it didn't happen.

Things not so good out east
Some new polls are in on Iraq.

Only 42% of respondents approve of the way that the U.S. is handling Iraq. It was 80% on May 1, when we (::ahem::) accomplished our mission. 55% disapprove. However, a majority still believe that it was worth going to war for (without knowing why we were going to war, apparently).

48% say the war in Iraq has made us more safe, and 43% say less safe. In late April 58% said it made us safer, and 33% said less safe.

53% of respondents say that the war won't inspire change in the Middle East.

A turn of events...
So despite the fact that Republicans famously whined a week ago about the Democrats' filibustering a full 4 judicial nominees, some Republicans are turning on the latest nominee, Leon Holmes. Perhaps it's because Holmes doesn't consider rape cases an issue with abortion, but Arlen Specter (PA), Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins (ME), and Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX) are all apprehensive about the appointment.

Will the Senate Republicans put their collective tail between their legs and pretend this isn't happening, or are these four marked men? One thing is for sure - Pat Toomey, Spector's upcoming conservative opponent, will be getting a lot more party support than Arlen.

Much-needed reform
Illinois is revamping their capital punishment system to reduce the risk of the innocent being executed. This comes not too long after former Gov. George Ryan cleared out Illinois death row (167 inmates were sent to life in prison).

"Lawmakers said they will also press for legislation that would banish police officers who lie in murder investigations."

That's right - police officers who LIE IN MURDER INVESTIGATIONS are, as of now, allowed to keep fighting crime. I'm personally opposed to lying in murder investigations, but I guess I just haven't heard the other side.

A case study in lies
Here's how the right works:

Remember last week when Fox News and Co. jumped on the bandwagon of the memo that purportedly linked Osama and Saddam? Well, that memo was debunked by the Pentagon. Why aren't you hearing about this? Because the media will scream for days about a lie, but making a big deal about the correction would make them look bad. Not to mention the war.

Moderate Republican?
It appears that Arnold, perhaps after being left alone in the office, has put a hold on dozens of measures involving environmental and consumer protection.

"On his first day in office, Schwarzenegger ordered a six-month halt to the creation of new rules affecting hundreds of issues so he can review how they will affect California's business climate. The order could affect everything from the state's efforts to develop an unprecedented computer recycling program to a new law requiring hospitals to have a minimum level of nurses on duty.

Business advocates praised the move as a signal that Schwarzenegger is committed to building jobs in the state by streamlining burdensome regulations."

But there's no need to worry, it's not like he's tossing out favors to his business buddies. OK, so he is.

"Unadulterated evil and scary anal sex"
Mark Morford has a great editorial on the public reaction to the gay marriage ruling.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Biased arrogance
The Daily Howler does a number on Bernie Goldberg.

Monitoring the Grieving
Counterspin Central has this posted.

Only pre-approved families of dead soldiers in Iraq are allowed to visit with the President. Why? Well, we can assume that it's so someone who didn't like the idea of their son or daughter or husband or father being killed to find weapons that aren't there doesn't kick his ass.

More economic news
The dollar is plummetting against the Euro.

"Breaking down the numbers, foreign investors sold $6.3 billion worth of U.S. equities compared with $11.5 billion worth of equity purchases in August. They bought just $5.6 billion worth of Treasurys -- down sharply from the $25.1 billion they bought the month before."

So.....weak dollar combined with weak foreign investment...I'm no economist, but this doesn't sound fantastic.

NRO - almost as good as the Weekly Standard
As Atrios pointed out today, the folks at the National Review are having a hissy fit over the Mass. ruling.

Privatizing your pills
The Center for American Progress has a good run down on why the Medicare reforms by the Republicans are a bad idea. They have some good talking points, too.

It's unfortunate that voting against the bill will be political hell.

Holy crap.
Not for the weak of heart.

Some people need serious help.

I'm a little behind on this but...
A Massachusetts court has struck down the gay marriage ban.

Conservatives are all over television about how the majority of Americans oppose gay marriage. What they haven't confronted are the realities of government imposing itself on family. It's a win for the good guys in Mass.

Kick the Computer
Sorry about the spacing between this and my last update - my hard drive and I had a disagreement. You see, I wanted it to continue working, but it had other plans. My computer is in the shop and I am now blogging from a 56K. It sucks, but the truth is more important than the Internet speed! At least, I assume so.

Monday, November 17, 2003

More crazy spending!
Calpundit discusses Arnold's non-solution for the deficit.

New Tactics
Bremer has made it official that Saddam must be killed. Unless I missed something, that's been the plan the whole time...

Fred Barnes, punching bag
In a remarkably turn of events, Fred Barnes has blamed the Dems' victory in Louisiana on racism (her opponent being an Indian-American). When the liberals play the race card, it's elitist and petty. But just think about all the Weekly Standard readers sitting around their magazines nodding, not realizing that they don't think for themselves. Just think about it. Because it's happening.

Der Governor
Arnold was sworn in today, just in time to catch the praise for the deficit, which was never really $38 billion.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Do you feel a draft?
Something is fishy with the Selective Service.

Next year they are spending $28 million extra in order to be ready to activate in 75 days from March 31, 2005...

This one reeks.

Maimed by War
Today's New York Times has a great article on the wounded in Iraq.

Terror ties
With the memo supposedly connecting bin Laden and Saddam still floating around (and getting way too much airtime on Fox), an independent military/intel expert completed a study concluding that Saddam never tried to transfer any WMD to terrorists.

Maybe he wanted to transfer the WMD but just couldn't find them.

Dept. of Defense responds
The DoD has stated that it never confirmed the accuracy of the memo connecting bin Laden and Saddam. Does that mean Fox wasted the whole day talking about something that wasn't an issue? I'm astounded...

"The People Don't Trust Democrats"
Just when the Republicans thought that they were sweeping the recent elections, a Democrat becomes governor in Louisiana, the heart of the Souther Stronghold. So no, Fred Barnes, it wasn't was a trend.