Saturday, February 07, 2004

Rummy gets teary

MUNICH, Germany (AFP) - US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made an emotional defense of the US-led war on Iraq but acknowledged that it has taken a toll on the US image in the world.

"I know in my heart and my brain that America ain't what's wrong in the world," he told an audience of defense and foreign policy luminaries here that included some the fiercest European opponents of the war.

Well, if HE thinks so....

First amendment? What?
Suck on this, Constitution-huggers.

The American Research Group's latest:
2/4-6. MoE 4%.


Kerry 32
Edwards 21
Clark 20
Dean 8
Kucinich 1
Sharpton 1
Undecided 17

Nothing new, but Tenn. has been accurate on the winner of the last ten Kerry may just wrap this one up.

How not to write a newspaper
Does this qualify as news?

Californians from Hollywood to the Silicon Valley have given $24.5 million to presidential candidates in the 2004 campaign, according to a preliminary study of campaign finance filings by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. That accounts for $1 of every $10 collected by all presidential candidates through Jan. 31, 2004, and about $1 of every $5 for the leading Democratic contenders.

Well....yeah....with 35 million people, they are well OVER 10% of the why exactly does this warrant a news article?

Not so unnatural
Homosexuality: not uncommon in animals.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Billy Tauzin could be in trouble
See what happens when corrupt people pass bad legislation?

When TVs take control
That's right, TiVo users. You're being watched.

Policeman let off the hook
Whew. I was almost afraid that another cop wasn't gonna get off for beating a handcuffed kid.

KtL Murder Mysteries
Here's quite the interesting story:

SHELBY, North Carolina (AP) -- Police Chief Charlie VanHoy isn't quite sure what he has on his hands, but he's worried.

From August to November last year, three elderly women were found dead in their beds, dressed in their nightclothes, with no sign of forced entry into their homes. Phone lines were severed, yet medical examiners found no foul play.

Further confusing matters, jewelry, pocket books -- even loaded guns -- were not taken.

"This is just baffling and very frustrating," VanHoy said Thursday.

Lottie Mae Ledford, 85, was found dead in August. The body of Margaret Tessneer, 79, was discovered about a month later. And Lillian Mullinix, 87, was found dead in November.

Their community, Shelby, is a working-class town of 21,000 people that once was home to a thriving textile industry. The town, located about 50 miles west of Charlotte, averages between five and seven homicides each year, so VanHoy is alarmed by the possibility there could be a killer on the loose in what he describes as "older, established neighborhoods."

The first death was discovered August 23, when Ledford's niece tried to check on her aunt after she was unable to reach her on the phone for several days. According to a police report, she found the front door unlocked and no sign of forced entry, then went next door to a neighbor's house and called police.

Before officers arrived, the neighbor entered the small, one-story home and found Ledford lying on the bed, wearing a nightgown. VanHoy said the neighbor had seen Ledford on her back porch earlier that day.

"She had two loaded guns in her bedroom," the police chief said. "We learned it was normal for her to have them. In all the cases, pocketbooks were located with cash in them. We also found jewelry on their bodies that was undisturbed."

Bobby Fisher, Ledford's nephew, does not believe his aunt would have left her front door unlocked.

"Any time I went to see her, she had to unlock the door to let me in," he said. "And she had two guns and she wasn't afraid to use them."

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Europe to hit up Mars
It looks like Europe is aiming at Mars, too:

The European Space Agency has embarked on an ambitious space plan that includes sending astronauts to Mars in 2033.

The ultimate goal of sending people to Mars is similar to the initiative outlined by US President George W Bush in January, but ESA's programme, called Aurora, is far more detailed.

Aurora was first approved in principle in 2001, but details of the plan were presented to members of the British space industry on Tuesday in London. ESA's strategy is to take a step-by-step approach to developing the technologies required for a manned Mars mission.

The steps include creating a new vehicle that will re-enter Earth's atmosphere at high speeds by 2007, sending an orbiter and rover to Mars in 2009, and launching a two-stage mission to return samples from Mars in 2011 and 2014.

Between 2014 and 2018, officials plan demonstrations of spacecraft assembly in orbit, as well as new propulsion, aerobraking, and landing systems. By 2025, five years after President Bush vowed a return to the Moon, the Aurora programme will use a manned mission to the Moon to test life support systems and ways to use on-site resources.

Just what we need...a multi-hundred-billion dollar space race that doesn't benefit society in any tangible way. If only some big spending Congressman would stand up and inform everyone how bad of an idea this is...

Condi to talk to 9/11 commission

National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice has agreed to be interviewed by the bipartisan 9/11 commission on Feb. 7, after weeks of resistance from the White House to the bipartisan panel's requests, The Observer has learned.

In a Feb. 3 interview the newly minted commission member Bob Kerrey, the former Senator from Nebraska, now the president of the New School University, said that Ms. Rice's interview will not be held under oath, and the results of the interview are not to be made public.

But as the Bush administration fights to limit the scope and time allotted to the independent commission investigating a broad array of failures leading up to and during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Kerrey is emerging as a strong antagonist to their efforts to contain the political damage.

Mr. Kerrey, the commission's unlikely new spitfire, told The Observer he would lobby the comission to request sworn, public testimony from Bush's embittered national security advisor.

"I'm very much interested in following up on the statement Condoleezza Rice made at her famous press conference in '02, that 'I don't think anybody could have predicted . that they would try to use an airplane as a missile,'" Mr. Kerrey said. "I don't believe that."

Did we hit the Plame Affair jackpot?
Judge for yourself:

There's been plenty of chatter over recent days that some indictments were coming down the pike in the Plame matter. Now UPI's Richard Sale seems to have the goods.

This from a story just out [:]

Federal law enforcement officials said that they have developed hard evidence of possible criminal misconduct by two employees of Vice President Dick Cheney's office related to the unlawful exposure of a CIA officer's identity last year.

The investigation, which is continuing, could lead to indictments, a Justice Department official said.

According to these sources, John Hannah and Cheney's chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby were the two Cheney employees.

Good News

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Wings for sale
Wanna buy an F-18? Because while it ends Feb 9, the bidding starts at 850K!

Ridge gets vague
So what do you do when people aren't feeling like your department is being productive? You say that you think that you might have just done something right:

WASHINGTON - Even as the spy community comes under fire for faulty intelligence in Iraq Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said he believes recent actions taken in response to terrorist threat information have averted an attack.

"Do I personally? Yes," Ridge said Wednesday when asked if a strike has been prevented. "But I don't know that we'll ever be able to confirm it. ... Proving an unknown is a difficult thing to do."


I swear to God you'll go to hell
Here's something bittersweet: a clearly brainwashed 2nd grader gets suspended for telling a classmate that he would go to hell for saying "I swear to God." The article makes it seem like the word hell was the issue, when in fact it was more likely that the teacher was offended by the sentiment,

Novak goes down swinging
Bob Novak: from treason to assault.

Mass. ruling on gay marriage
A Mass. court ruled that gays should get all the benefits of marriage that straights do:

(CNN) -- Massachusetts' highest court reiterated Wednesday that only full marriage rights for gay couples, not civil unions, would be constitutional

The ruling sets the stage for Massachusetts to likely become the first state in the nation to allow same-sex marriages.

The advisory opinion released Wednesday by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts was in response to a request from the state Senate about whether allowing gays to join in civil unions would be sufficient.

In its decision, the court rejected using civil unions as a remedy, "Because the proposed law by its express terms forbids same-sex couples entry into civil marriage, it continues to relegate same-sex couples to a different status. ... The history of our nation has demonstrated that separate is seldom, if ever, equal."

I'm going to have to disagree with corrente on this a little. Lambert says that marriage should be a religious issue. Well...I'd tend to agree with this more if there weren't so many legal benefits to being married. And as a whole I would tend to agree with the concept of marriage benefits. However, his point is that if it's legal for straights, it should be legal for gays, and with this I cannot argue.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Big news in the KtL world
On the day marking 3 months for Kick the Leftist, I've hit 8,000 hits. Thanks, everyone!

Lieberman has dropped. Praise his Lord.

Edwards on top in SC
While he's currently with 41 delegates to Kerry's 115 (and Dean's 114), Edwards has taken SC.

UPDATE: Kerry has taken Delaware and Missouri, leaving Edwards with 66 delegates to Kerry's 129.

Moral minority
A pharmacist in Texas refused to prescribe the morning after pill to a rape victim:

DENTON, Texas (AP) -- About 40 people gathered outside an Eckerd pharmacy Monday, protesting what they said was a decision to deny a rape victim a prescription for the morning-after pill.

A spokesman for the Florida-based company confirmed that Eckerd has taken disciplinary action in response to an incident at the store.

"Apparently there was a request for a prescription to be filled and the prescription was denied based on a moral or ethical decision made by the pharmacist, and that's not in accordance with our corporate policy," said Joan Gallagher, vice president of communications for Largo, Florida-based Eckerd Corp.

Gallagher told the Denton Record-Chronicle that she could provide no other details.

The protesters carried signs. Some stood silently and others chanted slogans.

Morning-after pills have been sold under the brand names Plan B and Preven since 1998. Taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse, the hormone pills are at least 75 percent effective at preventing pregnancy.

Censure Bush
Take some time to sign this MoveOn petition to censure Bush. No, it'll never happen, but it'll piss off all the right people.

If you're having a mind-boggling day, it just got worse.

Joey to drop
If Lieberman comes up empty today (likely), he'll apparently drop out.

Town Hall dispatch
In the debate over whether Janet Jackson's stunt was too much for a large younger audience, Matt Towery misses the point entirely and asks why there wasn't less skin, and more sweet sweet tribute to the soldiers:

Several of us working the coverage of the Democratic presidential primaries found ourselves playfully guessing who the mystery superstar might be. Since the game was in Houston, my guess was President George W. Bush.

Ah yes, Mr. Towery is entirely in tune with pop culture, and this predicted the president would be the "shocking" guest.

I'm no prude. Nor do I enjoy cantering atop the moral high horse. But did anyone listen to the lyrics of some of these songs? I thought the Super Bowl was supposed to appeal to the best in us -- to American talent, skill, hard work and competitiveness. Instead, on Sunday we got an in-your-face salute to everything you know your kids hear on the radio but hope they don't understand. The customary innuendo of popular music became a defiant collage of risque visuals.

My disappointment doubled when I realized the halftime extravaganza would include no tribute to U.S. troops at war; in fact, no patriotic or inspirational message at all. And certainly no surprise at the magnitude of, "Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States!"

Did he watch the pregame? No tribute to the troops, but a long tribute to the Columbia crew was given. Everyone in the crowd held up little American flags.

Don't these Hollywood idiots realize that real live men and women in our military have gone through hell this past year?

Well, I certainly do. Perhaps we could have given them a pre-emptive tribute and not sent them to die.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Ricin may have been found in the Senate office building.

So much for freedom
It appears as though Iraqi women might become subject to some good old Islamic restraints:

WASHINGTON (AP) Iraqi women are in danger of losing many of their rights to Islamic law, and the U.S. occupation authority is not doing enough to prevent it, Democratic lawmakers said Monday.

Though deposed President Saddam Hussein has been criticized on many grounds, women had some of the most liberal protections of any Muslim country under Iraqi legislation that prohibited marriage under the age of 18 and denied favoritism to men in inheritance, divorce and child custody.

The Iraqi Governing Council in December decided to abolish Saddam's code and allow each religious group to apply its tradition.

The decision has not been approved by U.S. occupation administrator L. Paul Bremer, who wields a veto. The 45 members of the House said Monday in a letter to President Bush that the administration must act now because it will be unable to reverse the council's action after the scheduled June 30 transfer of power to Iraqis.

Bed time for George
Q What part of the Super Bowl did you like the best? The half time or the ending? (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: I don't want to admit it, but because this White House starts early, I missed it -- again. Saw the first half, did not see the half time -- I was preparing for the day and fell asleep. But you all can tell me about it. (Laughter.)

Wait. The President of the United States of America has an 8 p.m. bedtime? On the night when the greatest sports event our country possesses was on? For shame, George. For shame.

Town Hall dispatch
Diana West speaks out on the Dems (with witty commentary):

"We were misled -- misled not only in the intelligence, but misled in the way that the president took us to war ... I think there's been an enormous amount of exaggeration, stretching, deception." -- John Kerry, the Democrat who came in first in the New Hampshire primary

"The administration did cook the books." -- Howard Dean, the Democrat who came in second in the New Hampshire primary

We were misled? The Bush administration cooked the books?


Welcome to the ugliest, nastiest policy scrum Americans have ever had to referee in a presidential election year. Rather than hearing a philosophical or strategic alternative to the Bush foreign policy, we are being asked to vote Democrat because leading Democrats charge that the incumbent Republican administration willfully "misled" the American people into war -- exaggerating, stretching, and deceiving -- with a scheme to "cook the books." Are these heinous accusations true?

To be sure, inspectors in Iraq haven't found the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) President Bush and Vice President Cheney warned against. This comes as a shock to us all, including Bill Clinton, Tom Daschle, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Ted Kennedy, Jacques Chirac, Al Gore, German intelligence, Bob Graham, the United Nations, Madeleine Albright, Hans Blix, even John Kerry -- just some of the subscribers to the old Saddam-equals-WMD theory that inspired former President Clinton to warn against "the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program" six years ago.

Six years ago? You mean right before Clinton bombed Iraq? Oh yeah. I guess he DID say that.

But Diana wants a strategic alternative? How about NOT lying? No? Too drastic? Fuck it, let's bomb Syria.

Bush stumbles
Over the past month or so, Bush's ratings have nose-dived:

President Bush's approval among Americans has sunk to a new low, and Sen. John Kerry would likely win the presidential election if it were held today, according to a new USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup poll.

Bush's 49% approval number -- the lowest of his presidency -- is 11 points lower than his approval number in early January. He also received the lowest ratings of his presidency for his handling of the economy, foreign affairs and his performance on health care policy, with the numbers on those issues sinking substantially in the past few weeks.

"It's hard to believe that these numbers could turn as quickly as they have," political analyst Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of the Rothenberg Political Report, said of the poll results. "My gut tells me that the direction is right, but the magnitude may be a bit of an exaggeration."

The poll was conducted among 1,001 adults from Jan. 29-Feb. 1. The questions about presidential preference have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Rothenberg noted the poll was taken shortly after the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary — a time when Democrats dominated the political news. "As long as the Democrats are driving the discussion, he (Bush) is not going to be in good shape," Rothenberg said.

Among likely voters, Kerry held a 53%-46% edge over Bush, a gap larger than the margin of error and a substantial turnaround from the 55-43 edge Bush held only three weeks ago. The bad news for Bush did not stop there: Most of the other leading Democrats landed in a statistical tie, polling within the margin of error in head-to-head matchups. Sen. John Edwards led Bush 49-48 among likely voters, and retired Gen. Wesley Clark trailed Bush 47-50.

The notable exception was former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who trailed Bush by a 52-45 margin in a head-to-head matchup. That number still is an improvement for Dean from a poll three weeks ago, in which Dean trailed 56-41.

Bush's low approval rating was matched by the highest disapproval rating — 48% — of his presidency. Three percent of those polled had no opinion.

"You can choose who to believe"
A fellow Liberal Coalition blogger sent me this: A Newsmax story dated a few months before the war. Let's read, shall we?

WASHINGTON – The White House said Thursday that it had "solid" evidence Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction.
"Iraq has lied before, and they're lying now about whether they possess weapons of mass destruction," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.

"President Bush has said Iraq has weapons of mass destruction." British Prime Minister "Tony Blair has said Iraq has weapons of mass destruction." Defense Secretary "Donald Rumsfeld has said Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Richard Butler [the former head of U.N. weapons inspections] has said they do. The United Nations has said they do. The experts have said they do.

'You Can Choose Who to Believe'

"Iraq says they don't. You can choose who you want to believe," he said.

"The president of the United States and the secretary of defense would not assert as plainly and bluntly as they have that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction if it was not true, and if they did not have a solid basis for saying it," Fleischer said.

The most trusted name in news
How can you measure when society hits a new low? Because news stories like this are written.

WMD panel
So they are making a panel to review intel on WMD. We can rest assured knowing that Bush is handpicking everyone who will sit on it.

Fun with Super Bowl ads
The Globe had a little piece today on the Super Bowl ads. I must say, the ads were terrible this year. The Chevy "soap in the mouth" commercial was excellent, but other than that, I have some advice for advertisers: getting kicked in the balls is not that funny; Willie Nelson will not sell products; (to AOL) your commercials suck; if you have an alien in your commercial, explain why it is there; you don't need an ID to buy Pepsi. That is all.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

A soldier's story
A very good article on Iraq from the SF Chronicle.

Just as the war ended...
The Guardian says that senior U.S. officials learned last May that there were likely no WMD in Iraq.

Dean searches for reasons
Dean admitted that his Iowa-New Hampshire strategy didn't pay off:

Once the front-runner in the race for the party's presidential nomination, Dean said he regretted burning through most of the $41 million his campaign raised last year.

''We spent a lot of money in Iowa and New Hampshire trying to win,'' Dean told NBC's ''Meet the Press.'' ''We took an enormous gamble and it didn't work."

I'm a bit confused. Is Dean trying to say that his problem in Iowa and New Hampshire was that he spent too much money? Hmmm. The way I see it, Dean is thinking exactly what everyone else is thinking: he has no idea what the hell happened. While he touted the fact that he has more delegates than Kerry, Dean has actually pinned his loss on the fact that his campaign was so wealthy. Interesting.

56 dead in Iraq today.

KtL is back in full effect
I apologize about the sparse posting of the last week. I was overloaded with work, but things are back in order and I will be posting more towards ten a day.