Sunday, April 30, 2006

Ken Starr has a New Bag of Tricks

Just when you thought you would never have to hear his name again, Ken Starr goes and files a legal motion.
reports that Starr is challenging the constitutiality of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, an anti-fraud bill that was signed into law by President Bush after the Enron and corporate scandals. Consumer groups strongly supported the bill.

The law raised the annual budget for the Security and Exchange Commission, and created a 5-member government board to oversee accountants, stock sales, and so on; and the law also gave the board the authority to investigate any suspected wrongdoing.

I guess, it's the investigating part that has the good barrister all up in arms!

Starr, along with a few of his buddies and funding by the "pro-business conservative group, the Free Enterprise Fund," hope to take their lawsuit all the way to the Supreme Court.

They are arguing that the makeup of the accounting oversight board violates the separation of powers doctrine because its members aren't appointed by the resident and cannot be removed by him, and Congress cannot control its budget. The chairman of the oversight board and the other four directors are appointed by the SEC, which is an independent federal agency; the accounting board is funded by fees on publicly traded companies according to their size.

The Sarbanes-Oxley law - which, among other things, mandated greater financial disclosures and increased the criminal penalties for securities fraud - could be invalidated if any of its sections, such as that related to the accounting board, is found unconstitutional. Opponents want it sent back to Congress for a revision.

Hmmm, whatever happened to the sacred rule of law?!? And leaving law making to lawmakers, not activitist judges? Is Ken Starr and his GOP cronies now hoping some run-away judge overturns the will of the people as expressed by the rule of law?!?

Waah, waah, waah. What a bunch of phony, whiny cry babies.

D-Day Set for Tomorrow

Jolly, jolly, tomorrow is D-Day for immigrant workers and the rest of the country.

To protest the harsh immigration law passed by the House last December and to prove to the nation just how valuable their labor is to the U.S. economy, thousands upon thousands of Latino, Chicano and Hispanic workers plan to stay home tomorrow.

Across the land, they will march in "rallies and other events...scheduled in at least 68 cities across 23 states."

The rally in Chicago is expected to be the largest one with numbers in the hundreds of thousands; and the one in Seattle is "expected to turn out...50,000."

Rallies in the East, according to the
Los Angeles Times, are "expected to be light." But heck, Howling Latina just might go to Washington, DC and say hello to her fellow "compadres." The Washington Post reported on Saturday that area business have "decided to close or scale back hours."

It seems, employers fully sympathize with laborers; and "in solidarity with their employees," who are "protest[ing] against legislation tightening U.S. borders and defining illegal immigrants as felons", were more than happy to accomodate their one-day strike.

So much for Sen. George Allen's latest canard about right-wing wackos like Limbaugh and Hannity having the pulse of the nation. Latinos are here to stay, Señor Allen, and all your bullshit about some damn "pedal to some metal" ain't gonna produce some mythical paddy wagon to transport the 12 million undocumented folks out of the United States.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Karl Rove to be Indicted

Howling Latina has previously posted about Jason Leopold and his use of anonymous sources; and more often than not, Leopold adds a few morsels to a story that is soon released by mainstream media.

So when Leopold writes for
TruthOut that Fitzgerald has already drawn up the Rove indictment and simply needs the grand jury to vote to indict, HL takes notice, even if Leopold haa a pesky past.

Leopold is an investigative journalist with past gigs at the Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, City News Service, Los Angeles Times, Salon, Global News Wire, OpEd News, Raw Story, AlterNet and others. He is also author of "News Junkie - A Process Book," a book released this spring.

Despite vehement denials by his attorney who said this week that Karl Rove is neither a "target" nor in danger of being indicted in the CIA leak case, the special counsel leading the investigation has already written up charges against Rove, and a grand jury is expected to vote on whether to indict the Deputy White House Chief of Staff sometime next week, sources knowledgeable about the probe said Friday afternoon.


In recent weeks, sources close to the case said, Fitzgerald's staff has met with Rove's legal team several times to discuss a change in Rove's status in the case - from subject to target - based on numerous inconsistencies in Rove's testimony, whether he discussed Plame Wilson with reporters before her name and CIA status were published in newspaper reports, and whether he participated in a smear campaign against her husband.


The rescheduled grand jury appearance by Rove took place Wednesday afternoon and hinges on whether Rove's testimony about the reasons he did not disclose the emails during his previous testimony will convince Fitzgerald not to add obstruction of justice to the list of charges he intends to file against Rove, sources said.

Folks, straight up, Leopold is a real journalist, although unfortunately for him, he can't seem to shake his past; maybe his breaking news entries in the Plame affair will help. With his past problems, I think my initial hunch that some reporters were feeding him information makes even more sense; you know, to help Leopold burnish his credentials.

Friday, April 28, 2006

NeoCon Alert - GOP Losing the House in the Fall

Neocon Bill Kristol was a guest on the "Steve Cobert Report" last night. And yes, he still believes going to war with Iraq was a great idea, just not its piss-poor execution.

And of course, we need to keep our options open in Iran; and, oh, and by the bye, Republicans are going to lose the House in November.

WHAT?!? oh no, he did not say THAT!

Yep, and what's more, Kristol tells Republicans not to worry about the prospect of losing but to rejoice instead. You see, the loss is going to be the next best thing since, well, since we liberated IRAQ!

With Nancy Pelosi as Majority Leader, Charles Rangel as chairman of Ways and Means, John Conyers at Judiciary, John Dingell at Energy and Commerce, Henry Waxman at Government Reform and Louise Slaughter at Rules Committee, the country will get to see what terrible, horrible legislators the Democrats are and overwhelmingly vote for a Republican president in '08; and a Republican Congress.

SURE...just keep telling yourself that...over and a sacred prayer from your neocon Bible to the neocon gods; but in the meantime, keep that list of all those top-dollar Democratic lawyers handy.

Upcoming "Meet the Press" Guests

It's going to be 'Oil Sunday.'

"Meet the Press" will have Samuel Bodman, Secretary of Energy; Red Cavaney, president and chief executive of American Petroleum Institute; Jim Cramer, co-founder and commentary of and CNBC blowhard at "Mad Money with Jim Cramer; Sen. Dick Durbin, Democratic Whip, and Daniel Yergin, NBC analyst, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates and author of "The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power."

With five guests, I hope this show doesn't turn out like Easter Sunday; guests hardly had time to say their name before Russert was on to the next question and to the next guest.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

George Allen Racist Story Goes Mainstream

Howling Latina has been beating the George Allen racist drum for a while; and as contributing writer for The Virginia Progressive, Allen was profiled as the GOP Bastard of the Month; so I am glad to see that the 'Allen Racist' story will soon go mainstream.

Raw Story posted a link to Taegan Goddard's Political Wire in advance of the soon-to-be released racist past of Sen. George Allen in a feature story by the New Republic.

[A]uthor Ryan Lizza finds many of Allen's high school classmates surprised that he's considering running for president because of the racist tendencies he displayed as a teenager. They say he "plastered the school with confederate flags" and drove a red Mustang with a confederate flag on the front. Then Lizza got a copy of Allen's high school yearbook:

I stared closely at Allen’s smirk in his photo, weighing whether his old classmates were just out to destroy him. And then I noticed something on his collar. It’s hard to make out, but then it becomes obvious. Seventeen-year-old George Allen is wearing a Confederate flag pin.

When confronted with this evidence, Allen sent an email through an aide with this explanation: "When I was in high school in California, I generally bucked authority and the rebel flag was just a way to express that attitude.”

The legitimate heirs of the Old South could righteously argue that the Confederate flag is simply a symbol of their heritage, but guess what folks? Allen ain't Southern; and he sure as the dickens wasn't Southern when he lived as a teen in the beachy estates of Southern California.

From my perch, Allen's ugly racist past is rearing its foul head for voters to see; and then hopefully news wires and our feckless Virginia media will pick up the story after it's safe to write about it; that is, someone with courage has already given voice to Allen's hateful, intolerant, bigoted history.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Thelma Drake Poll Numbers Plunge

Oh my, looks like after started airing ads showing what Congresswoman Thelma Drake has been up to, like supporting Bush's disastrous prescription drug bill, and rubber stamping White House policies and the wreckless agenda pushed by the GOP leadership in Congress, folks back home are starting to wizen up.

Since the ad campaign began, Representative Thelma Drake lost nine points. Tracking polls were "conducted by Voter Roll Call, an affiliate of the nation’s largest media polling firm, SurveyUSA."

"Last month, MoveOn ran ads showing Rep. Drake’s addiction to oil company money while we pay more at the pump. Today, we see that she also sides with big drug companies while some seniors have to chose between paying their rent and paying for medication,” said Guy Sturino, a MoveOn member and community leader who has lived and worked in Virgina’s 2nd district for more than 10 years.

“We need someone who’ll represent the people of the 2nd District of Virginia, not the big drug companies who fund Congresswoman Drake’s campaigns,” he concluded.

Give away tax breaks for Big oil, ruinous prescription bill favoring the drug industry, no bid contracts to Halliburton, a total culture of corruption in Washington, and voters in Virginia Beach are saying "ENOUGH!"

Maybe the next issue of Congressional Quarterly will show the 2nd district going from "Republican favored" " to "leans Republican." And with time to "no clear favorite" to "leans Democrat" to "Democrat favored," especially with Phil Kellam in the race.

Frigging Jesus

After reading Raising Kaine's comment about Wonkette dissing James Webb, I thought I would go to Wonkette's Web site and let them know what a bunch of asses I think they are.

But guess what?!?

No posting except by invitation. You must be part of some exclusive chummy club in order to leave a comment.

Guess cyberspace is getting more and more elitist; you know, like mainstream media.

Well here's one from the Howling Latina to your perverted, falsely named Wonkette, get over yourselves; and then Go Cheney Yourself!

Bush's Culture of Life - Take Off the Life Support

A patient in Houston is about to be zapped because she has bed sores.

A law in Texas allows Texas hospitals to withdraw life support if their "ethics committee" decides to give the go ahead.

Don't believe me?!?

Well, at St. Luke's Hospital in
Houston, a 54-year old who has health insurance went to the hospital for heart surgery, survived and then developed complications as well as bed sores.

The patient is not brain dead, and according to her family, she wants to live.


“They just say, ‘well she’s miserable.’ Well, to me that’s a quality of life decision that is up to her and her family,” Lanore Dixon said. “That is not a medical decision.”

Dixon is the patient's sister, Andrea Clark; and says Clark has communicated with her by blinking her eyes.

Never you mind, the insurance company and hospital are tired of taking care of her; and the only "requirement is that the hospital...give a family 10 days notice to find another facility that would care for their loved one."
“If their ethics committee makes a decision, it doesn’t matter what the patient wants,” Dixon said. “It doesn’t even apparently matter what the patient’s condition is, because our sister is not in a coma, she’s not brain dead,” Dixon said.
Yes siree, our man of God signed this nefarious bill into law in 1999, right before he ran for president as a compassionate conservative with his culture of life agenda. More proof that Bush is a Pharisee Christian; all public talk and no private deeds.

But as Easter Lemming News
points out, the left and right are in an uproar; as they should be!

Gasoline Tax Holiday

Sen. Robert Menendez has proposed “suspending the 18.4 cent federal gas tax for 60 days and repealing several billion-dollar tax giveaways to major oil companies.”

It’s the
Menendez Federal Gas Tax Holiday Amendment, a nifty "short-term measur[e] geared toward easing the strain of energy costs already placed on American families.”

Now that's what I call a REAL TAX CUT; and not too shabby of a way to show Americans what the Democratic Party stands for!

Please immediate go to
Give ’Em Hell Harry and sign the citizen co-sponsorsing petition; if not, then don’t bitch about high gasoline prices. Also write your senators and demand their strong support.

Way to go, Señor Menendez, that’s one measure that's sure to raise your profile and endear yourself to voters.

Hat tip to
Pocho Hour of Power via Ricardo.

(Crosspost with The Virginia Progressive)

Holy Batwings

First Read posted today that Sen. Arlen Specter is becoming increasingly embroiled in the culture of corruption in Washington; or at least the culture of accusations of corruption.

I mention this item because what's good for goose is good for the gander; and like Rep. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia, there is a whispering campaign about a $200,000 grant to a "Philadelphia foundation represented by the son of one of Specter's top aides."

Holy Batwings!

Democrats must storm the floor of the Senate and demand, yes, demand that Specter resign his posts as member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and chairman of the subcommittee "that oversees spending for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education."

In February, USA TODAY reported that Specter helped get almost $50 million in funding for clients of a lobbying firm run by the husband of Specter's top appropriations aide, Vicki Siegel Herson. After that, Specter called for a Senate ethics investigation of his office and asked his chief of staff to determine whether there were other potential conflicts of interest.

Well, I think there should be an immediate federal investigation; and Democratic attack dogs must insist that Specter answer all questions posed by federal prosecutors on the subject. The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times, San Antonio Express-News and others must also write condemning editorials decrying the latest shameful "appearance" of impropriety.

After all, as USA Today writes:
Lobbyist Eric Wallace, a former Specter intern, is the son of Specter's Scranton office chief, Andy Wallace. Lobbyist Shannon Meadors Oscar is the wife of Michael Oscar, former head of Specter's Philadelphia office. Eric Wallace sought money for 13 projects, Reynolds said. Specter helped win approval for one: a $200,000 grant to Impact Services, a Philadelphia non-profit firm, for housing homeless veterans. Both Wallaces declined to comment.
Hastern, Tom DeLay, Cal Thomas, we're waiting for your outrage!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Liberal, liberal, liberal

Liberal this; and liberal that. Liberal, liberal, liberal.

I am so sick of watching pundit shows, and every time some Republican whackjob throws up the word liberal at his Democratic counterpart, the person who is supposed to be speaking for me, truth, social justice, economic integrity, and the liberal way of life, leaves the stench of its tattered symbol besmirched by some Neanderthal.

Speak up and defend our honorable history, for crying out loud.

Last night, David Gregory was filling in for Chris Matthews at "
Hardball." Democratic Congressman Marty Meehan of Massachusetts and Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee were guests.

To hear Blackburn's talking points, price gouging is all liberals fault. As prices at the pump "increase by the hour," and oil companies continue to make record profits to the tune of over $1.1 trillion, it's those pesky environmentalist that refuse to let oil companies drill who are responsible.

The cross interviews started out reasonably enough. Meehan told the audience that Republicans in Congress have rewarded the gas and oil industry with every imaginable tax break; and oil companies should be held accountable through taxes on their windfall profits.

Blackburn's response was some more giveaways from the federal government and laying the entire blame for the mess at the feet of environmentalist extremists; and Democrats like Meehan who refused to go along with the Republican House version of the Gas Act.

When Meehan objected and pointed out the numerous hidden tax breaks in the House bill; and how the president needs to lead by calling on his oil and gas industry friends to stop gouging the public, Blackburn snapped, "Oh yea, I tell you...liberal double talk is easy!"

"It is easy. They create a problem and then they want to tell you how they're going to go and solve the problem. What we've seen as I said earlier 30 years of environmental extremist energy policy. We let the environmentalist extremist, EPA and OSHA, folks like that, shut down the ability to put in new refineries.
So you see, it's liberals who created the problem with their pro-environment laws; and liberals who now profess to know how to fix it. But only the GOP has all the answers, don't you know.

Yep, more drilling on federal lands; no royalty payments to the government; more tax giveaways; energy bills drawn up the industry; and some lame crapola about conserving energy by turning off your lights before you leave home. That's how you fix the problem!

And how do you hold the industry accountable?!?

According to conservative Blackburn and conservative free market dogma, you let oil and gas bigwigs rape the land. Let them drill in Alaska and every other place in the country, without of course, paying a dime to our government.

Well, how about the next time some idiot Republican hurls the "liberal" label, a progressive respond with a caricature of what conservatives stand for; a sea of rubber stamps lined up with special interests against a sea of liberal Democrats standing up with consumers and the general public interest.

Frank Wolf Supports Paper Trail

Roll Call (subscription required) reported last week that Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia came out in full support of H.R. 550, the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act, sponsored by Rep. Rush Holt of New Jesey.

The law would require all voting machines to generate a "voter-verified paper record of each vote cast" in federal elections.

The bill has 175 co-sponsors. Now let's just see if it ever sees the light of day and reaches the House floor for a vote.

In other news, a Wolf spokesman dismissed any worries about the upcoming election against Judy Feder of the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute and "close [ally] to former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. "

While Wolf may not admit angst, even the congressman has to admit that the recent transportation stand-off in Richmond does not bode well for Northern Virginia Republicans.

Gov Tim Kaine's big win last November was partly due to his focus on transportation; and now with the impasse, Wolf is trying to separate himself from his obstructionist fellow GOP'ers. His chief of staff, Dan Scandling, reminded Roll Call what a great friend of roads voters in Virginia have had in the past.
Transportation trumps everything in Northern Virginia," Scandling said. "And no one has a better record and has been more involved in working to solve transportation problems in Northern Virginia than Frank Wolf."
Hmmm, the record shows Wolf voted with the president in last year's give-away to the oil industry; and not a penny to states for roads.

In fact, the record shows that
Wolf rubber stamped White House policies 86 percent of the time; and House leaders, 90 percent of the time.

So forget soccer moms; NASCAR dads; moral values voters. It's now the suburbs and suburbania mania: transporation, gas prices, Iraq; and accountability for Wolf's unswerving support of the worst president in American history.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Virginia's Heroes

The Richmond-Times Dispatch has a list with the names of our soldiers killed in Iraq and the Middle East.

As I clicked each name down the heart-rendering list, innocent eyes filled with joy, jitters, bravado, sadness, un-adulterated purity gazed at me; the "me" with a 23-year old son who did not have to face the agony of losing my baby son because of some bullshit war.

And the young men's gaze seemed to whisper, "I never thought my government would let them kill me."

But kill them they did; all 77 of them. No future kind gestures to neighbor; no walks on the beach, picnics in the knolls; no awards for this and that; hugs from wife and kids; weddings and church fairs; nothing but emptiness; and a life zapped by the vagaries of politics and war.

The names of our unwitting heroes are:

Army Capt. James F. Adamoukis, 29, of Springfield; Army Spec Clarence Adams III, 28, of Varina; Arine Cpl. Bradley Thomas Arms, 20, of Charlottesville; Navy Chief Joel Baldwin, 27, of Arlington; Army Command Sgt. Major James Blankenbecler, 40, of Alexandria; Marine Cpl. Jonothan Bowling, 23, of Patrick; Marine Lance Cpl. Demarkus D. Brown, 22, of Martinsville; Marine Cpl. Kyle W. Brown, 22, of Newport News; Army Sgt. Jack "Jay" Bryant, 23, of Dale City; Marine Lance Cpl. Danny Scott R. Bubb, 19, of Grottoes; Marine Pfc. Michael M. Carey, of Prince George; Army Sgt. Kenith Casica, 32, of Virginia Beach; Army 2nd Lt. Leonard M. Cowherd Jr., 23, of Culpepper County; Army Prv. Jason L. Deibler, 20, of Coeburn; Marine Lance Cpl. Tenzin Dengkhim, 19, of Falls Church; Army Spc. Jeremy M. Dimaranan, 29, of Virginia Beach; Army Sgt. Michael E. Dooley, 23, of Pulaski; Air Force Maj. William Downs, 40, of Winchester; Marine Capt. James C. Edge, 31, of Virginia Beach; Army Pfc. Jeremy W. Ehle, 19, of Richmond; Army Staff Sgt. James Earl Estep, 26, of Damascus; Army Staff Sgt. Jason A. Fegler, 24, of Yorktown; Marine Cpl. Orville Gerena 21, of Virginia Beach; Army Command Sgt. Maj. Cornell W. Gilmore, 45, of Stafford County; Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael J. Gray, 32, of Richmond; Marine Lance Cpl. Jourdan L. Grez, 24, of Harrisonburg; Marine Staff Sgt. John R. Howard, 26, of Covington; Marine Lance Cpl. Tavon L. Hubbard, 24, of Reston; Army Lt. Joshua C. Hurley, 24, of Clifton; Army Pfc. Leslie Denise Jackson, 18, of Richmond; Army 2nd Lt. Jeffrey Joseph Kaylor, 24, of Clifton; Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan, 27, of Bristow; Army Cpl. Jared Kubasak, 25, of Rocky Mount; Marine Sgt. Michael Vernon Lalush, 23, of Troutville; Army Cpl. Binh Le, 20, of Alexandria; Army Pfc. Lee Lewis Jr., 28, of Norfolk; Marine Lance Cpl. Karl Linn, 20, of Midlothian; Marine Cpl. Brett L. Lundstrom, 22, of Stafford; Army Pfc. George A. Lutz II, 25, of Virginia Beach; Marine Capt. Michael D. Martino, 32, of Fairfax; Marine Gunnery Sgt. Justin R. Martone, 31, of Bedford; Army Spc. Nicholas C. Mason, 20, of King George; Marine Staff Sgt. Donald C. May Jr., 31, of Richmond; Marine 2nd Lt. Donald Ryan McGlothlin, 26 (no home city); Marine Lance Cpl. Brian A. Medina, 20, of Woodbridge; Marine Sgt. Sean H. Miles, 28, of Midlothian; Army Pfc. Dillon Miles Jutras , 20, of Fairfax Station; Marine Sgt. Krisna Nachampassak, 27, of Burke; Army Staff Sgt. Nathaniel J. Nyren, 31, of Reston; Army Sgt. Maj. Robert D. O'Dell, 38, of Manassas; Marine Lance Cpl. David Edward Owens Jr., 20, of Winchester; Marine Sgt. Jayton D. Patterson, 26, of Wakefield; Marine Gunnery Sgt. Javier Obleas-Prado Pena, 36, of Falls Church; Army Staff Sgt. Gregory V. Pennington, 36, of Konnarock in Washington County; Army Capt. Christopher P. Petty, 33, of Vienna; Marine Lance Cpl. Steven L. Phillips, 27, of Chesapeake; Army Lt. Timothy Price, 25, of Midlothian; Marine Lance Cpl. Jason Redifer, 19, of Stuarts Draft; Army Spc. Frank K. Rivers Jr., 23, of Woodbridge; Army Sgt. David Ruhren, 20, of North Stafford; Army Pfc. Jason D. Scheuerman, 20, of Lynchburg; Marine Lance Cpl. Darrell Schumann, 25, of Hampton; Army Staff Sgt. Kristopher L. Shepherd, 26, of Lynchburg; Army Capt. Mark N. Stubenhofer, 30, of Springfield; Army Chief Warrant Officer Sharon T. Swartworth, 43, of Fairfax County; Army Staff Sgt. Ayman A. Taha, 31, of Vienna; Army Capt. John Robert "J.R." Teal, 31, of Mechanicsville; Army Sgt. Tromaine K. Toy Sr., 24, of Eastville; Army Pfc. Andrew L. Tuazon, 21, of Chesapeake; Army Spc. Felipe J. Garcia Villareal, 26, of Burke; Air Force Maj. William R. Watkins III, 37, of Danville; Marine Cpl. Christopher L. Weaver, 24, of Fredericksburg; Marine 1st Lt. Alexander E. Wetherbee, 27, of Fairfax County; Army Lt. Col. Thomas A. Wren, 44, of Lorton; and Robert J. Zangas, age unavailable, of Prince William County.

Thomas M. Thomas, 29, formerly of Chester, a security specialist working for Cochise Consultancy, Inc. and security contractor Gregory R. Wright Jr., 32, of Virginia Beach were also killed in the Middle East.

Family in Egypt in Harm's Way

Breaking news that as many as 30 people died in a recent spate of violence in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Dahab has Howling Latina worried. Her daughter and family moved to Cairo last month.

Reuters via CNN reports:

"There were body parts and debris in the street. ...There are ambulances and cars taking people to hospital," one witness, who refused to be named, told Reuters news service.

"There is smoke coming from the area and there are people running everywhere," Reuters quoted another witness as saying. One witness, Serge Loussararian from Cairo, told CNN he was about 300 feet away when the explosions occurred. He said the blasts targeted a tourist area in front of hotels, restaurants and bars on the

And Rueters in a separate article writes that the director of rescue services in South Sinai province, Said Issa, indicated "the number of wounded was 160, with some in critical condition."

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Chavez Blames Bush for High Oil Prices

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela recently blamed the administration's hard line against Iran for the high cost of fuel prices, CBS reports.

Chavez predicted that the cost of oil would soar far higher if the standoff over Iran's nuclear program led to a U.S. attack on the Islamic republic.

Oil prices fell slightly Thursday after reaching a record high above $72 a barrel.

Well praise the Lord. Like a Texas blogger noted, folks are starting to have to go to pawn shops just to pay to fill up their gas tanks.

In other news from Venezuela, a former communist guerilla fighter from the 1960s announced his candidacy for president in the December 3 election. He is promising to keep the social programs of Chavez but rid the government of "corruption."

Petkoff, 74, said Chavez has created a nation enveloped in fear that has led to mounting crime, unemployment and corruption. [He] announced his presidential bid last night, [and] said he would also maintain the social programs Chavez started, but improve them by rooting out ``corruption and political discrimination.''

"Chavez has created a society controlled by fear,'' Petkoff said during a news conference today in Caracas. "A fear of crime, a fear of the police, a fear of property being seized, a fear of corruption.''

In an amazing mincing of words, the Associated Press via the Miami Herald described the ex-guerilla fighter and presidential challenger in a story on Thursday as a "moderate leftist...two-time presidential candidate...opposition leader and newspaper editor."

Imagine if you will, 40 years from now, some journalist describing a former Iraqi insurgent who might by then operate an opposition newspaper and be challenging an even more rigid fundamentalists as a "moderate" anything.

Bloomberg reports that Petkoff has a long way to go. Chavez leads Petkoff by a whopping margin of 44 percent, 72 percent to 28 percent in the latest poll. Petkoff is editor and founder of Venezuela's opposition newspaper, Tal Cual; and this is his third try to win the top spot.

Three other candidates have also announced. Julio Borges of the First Justice Party, Roberto Smith of the Venezuela First party and William Ojeda of the Only One People's party.

In the meantime, thousands gathered in Caracas to protest a recent wave of crime. "Violent robberies, kidnappings and murders have long been frequent in Venezuela, but a series of particularly heinous killings have sparked protests by largely middle-and upper-class crowds demanding immediate action to make the streets safer. "

Venezuela recorded 9,402 homicides last year, but "the real figure is higher", according to "some experts."

In one headline-grabbing case this month, kidnappers executed three Venezuelan-Canadian brothers, ages 17, 13 and 12. A prominent businessman and a newspaper photographer were also murdered.

Phony Hillary Clinton Approves Border Walls

In yet another move to the right, Sen. Hillary Clinton told the New York Daily News she supports walls between Mexico and the United States.

Please tell me why this "faux" progressive is worshipped by Democrats?!?

Yes, Hillary Clinton "announced Saturday that she backs a border wall plan that would include both physical barriers and a 'smart fence.'"

"A physical structure is obviously important," Mrs. Clinton told the New York Daily News. "A wall in certain areas would be appropriate."

The News said she also supported deploying a high-tech "smart fence" that could spot people approaching from 200 or 300 yards. Clinton said the deployment of surveillance drones and infrared cameras should be considered as well

Looks like Hillary has gone back to her GOP Goldwater roots; and using race to win the hearts of all those bigots who would rather vote for a Chavez-Castro ticket than vote for her.

Heartless Whores

After reading the Washington Post article about the recently fired CIA analyst, I can totally understand why my journalism professor once said that whistleblowers take great risks when they talk to reporters.

If a reader didn't know any better when reading the story, he or she would think the Post was an arm of the CIA instead of the newspaper which broke the story that only last week garnered the paper and its reporter a Pulitzer Prize for "beat reporting."

The Post front-pages the article with the following lede, "CIA Officer's Job Made Any Leaks More Delicate," stating the obvious.

Of course the leak was DELICATE. You're talking about "secret prisons" in former Soviet satellite nations, for crying out loud!

In a sad way, the lede and story almost remind me of Tim Russert and Bob Woodward pontificating all over television about the Valerie Plame case in the third person, as if they weren't privy to the most intimate details on the subject. Here's what the Post writes:

The rare firing last week of a CIA officer accused of leaking information to the news media stems both from the sensitivity of the subjects she allegedly discussed and the Bush administration's forceful efforts to block national security disclosures that have proved embarrassing or caused operational problems, according to current and former intelligence officials.


A majority of CIA officers would probably "find the action taken [against McCarthy] correct," said a former senior intelligence official who said he had discussed the matter with former colleagues in the past day. "A small number might support her, but the ethic of the business is not to" leak, and instead to express one's dissenting views through internal grievance channels.

And of course, the Post was sure to point out that the paper took great pains to minimize any harm to national security.

The Post withheld the names of the countries from its account at the administration's request. The article attributed its information to current and former intelligence officials and diplomats from three continents.
Almost makes me want to puke.

Yes, same as the New York Times article about secret spying, which they held for a year until our idiot president was safely reelected, newspaper conglomerates (and yes, that especially includes the Washington Post) need to get it straight. They are supposed to serve the public's interest and their right to know when the government breaks national and international laws; and strongly advocate on behalf of whistleblowers, not the other way around.

The reason why readership is dropping nearly as fast as Bush's poll numbers is that the public inherently knows when they are being duped by the media and government.

My journalism ethics professor explained to his incredulour class that whistleblowers risk career, freedom and financial security when they start blabbing to reporters; and his advice to anyone who would contemplate leaking a major story to a newspaper was to think really hard about it and then keep quiet.

For according to him, any leaker expecting the media to come his or her aid and publicly defend them would be gravely mistaken; and you know what? He was absolutely right.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

George Allen Stradding Roe v. Wade

Looks like Sen. George Allen is waking up to the fact his reelection to the Senate in Virginia is not going to be a cakewalk after all.

With the recent passage by South Dakota to ban all abortions and a Senate committee in the Louisiana legislation voting 7-0 to outlaw abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned, the pesky subject of abortion is more than of passing interest to many Virginia voters; and especially women.

Add to the mix, any future presidential hopes by Allen must be weighed against the very real possibility of a loss in November.

Get Religion has a story about Allen and an interview with uber-conservative Fred Barnes of the Wall Street Journal. It seems Allen refused to give a straight answer to the question posed by Barnes on whether Roe v. Wade should be overturned or not.

George F. Allen is staring at me. The normally loquacious Virginia senator is not saying anything and neither am I. Silence hangs in the air for a few seconds.

The impasse, like so many other things in American politics, was owing to Roe v. Wade. Mr. Allen’s position is carefully demarcated: He would like to see the decision “reinterpreted” to allow states to decide the legal status of abortion. Does that mean he would like to see it overturned? He won’t say. So I suggest that Mr. Allen’s “reinterpretation” would produce precisely the same result as overturning the ruling: States would decide the fate of abortion. I pause for a response. Nothing. I get more direct. “Why won’t you say you want Roe reversed?”

Again, Mr. Allen is mum, and eventually I give up.

The article wrongly believes Allen is conflicted between the Republican libertarian camp and cultural conservatives.

Fear not, my dear pro-life amigo. If for some reason Allen wins in the fall (Democrats elect Harris Miller), you can bet your last centavo that Allen will make crystal clear his pro-life, overturn-Roe stance right after his victory is assured.

High and Dry Machinations at Virginia's Shad Planking

Rep. Tom Davis from the 10th District was looking for votes in Wakefield at Virginia's 58th annual Shad Planking.

Raising his state profile for a possible senate run in Virginia when either John Warner retires or George Allen goes on to bigger and grander things (ooh, what a horrid thought), Davis headed to Wakefield and was busy giving interviews to national media and news reporters from across the state.

"We're seeking to expand our base,' Davis declared." And it looks like part of his strategy is to run away from the White House, George Allen and the Republican Party as fast as his political legs will carry him.

Only last month, Davis was quoted by the Washington Post saying of the White House, "This is probably the worst administration ever in getting Congress's opinion on anything."

And in talking with the Daily Press, Davis wistfully looked over to Webb's table and praised his supporters who had previously lined up 7500 Webb signs along Route 628 "from U.S. Route 460 to the Wakefield Sportsman's Club."

He also issued a warning to the junior senator and would-be presidential candidate, "Th[is] atmosphere has potential for greater impact in a Senate race than one for the House."

In other words, don't count your presidential chickens before your senate eggs hatch. And of Webb's enthusiastic volunteers, Davis said:

"They started doing this two days ago, and they're all volunteers," he said, pointing at a crowd that was mostly young and that included many military veterans.One of them was William Edwards of Alexandria, who said he had spent a tour in Iraq in 2003-04, fighting in a war that Webb vehemently opposes.
In a bit of irony, an Allen supporter with an "Allen for Senate" bumper sticker and a "red Allen sign...upright in the truck bed" had out-of-state tags from Iowa; it was unfavorably parked right next to the Webb volunteer's rental truck and duly noted by the Daily Press reporter.


There is a catchy campaign slogan for both Allen and Davis, "Vote for us so we can continue to screw you over, only on a grander scale in '08."

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

The media reports that a CIA employee was arrested for releasing classified information to the press.

Dana Priest of the Washington Post won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for "revealing that the CIA was using secret prisons in Eastern Europe to interrogate terrorism suspects"; and Mary McCarthy, a career analyst with the CIA, is accused of being her source.

But as Drew Curtis of asks, "If the secret prisons abroad don't really exist, why was McCarthy fired?!?

Moreover, recent news about Condoleeza Rice "leak[ing] national defense information to a pro-Israel lobbyist" and last summer's revelation of Scooter Libby and Karl Rove leaking classified information to Judy Miller, Matt Cooper and others begs the question, 'Why the CIA analyst and not Rice and Rove'?!?

I mean, if administration denials are truthful, then what classified information was leaked?!? And if the United States is indeed using former Soviet satellite countries to advance their own brand of democracy, then why was McCarthy fired for leaking while Rice and Rove continue to work in this administration?!?

Insurgent Snared by Wrong Number

Star and Stripes is reporting that an Iraqi interpreter helped U.S. soldiers snare a group of insurgents when they called a cell number in an abandoned home by error.

On a routine patrol, U.S. troops with 1st Battalion, 68th Armor came upon a house in the midst of dense greenery and at the end of a dusty country road.

Staff Sgt. Matthew Nicodemus, 33, said he immediately noticed that no Iraqi men were around.

Suddenly, a cell phone inside the home rang, said Nicodemus, of Altoona, Pa.

The interpreter answered the phone and "on the other end a person said, 'Hey, coalition forces are here, go ahead and run away,’" specifically ordering him to "[g]o and run into the palm groves."

The guy kept calling back to find out "what the Americans were doing." And the interpreter kept the ruse going. Eventually the insurgent called to tell the soldier that help was on its way. In ten minutes, they would "attack the Americans."

When the seven insurgents arrived at the house they were greeted with a hail of bullets.

The first guy that came in the door just dropped like a rock. The other two guys behind him got hit pretty hard, too. The rest grabbed their wounded and just ran back off.”

Friday, April 21, 2006

Allen is an Idiot

From Raising Kaine we learn George Allen has hired the most mean-spirited, dispicable vermin from the political arena, save for Karl Rove.

As Lowell explains, this is the guy responsible for those lovely Hitler ads during Kilgore's losing campaign for governor last fall; and the person who created the shameful ad with brown and black hands tallying up their welfare dollars during the 2004 Oklahoma senate race.

Allen's campaign media strategy will be to frame any Democratic opponent with the well-worn, Republican hackneyed meme, 'Liberal, liberal, liberal.'

I mean what else can Allen do?!? He certainly has no record of accomplishment during his six years in the Senate.

And who is the best person who can respond to this attack?!? I'll give you a hint, it ain't Harris Miller.

Only a few days ago, the Arlington Connection reported Allen barely beats Webb in a head-to-head contest, 48.9 percent to 41.72 percent; and the race hasn't even really STARTED!

You know Allen is worried when he goes out and hires top gun Ed Gillespie and now Scott Howell.

Yes, when Allen's lame campaign manager, Richard Wadhams says, "We look forward to a spirited Democratic primary between two self-funding, wealthy liberals," Webb's campaign manager can then immediately respond, "Yes, we too look forward to running against a fake cowboy who has rubber stamped every Bush policy for the last six years without thinking how his votes adversely affected his Virginian constituents."

And for good measure, Webb can also point to Allen and his GOP cronies reckless disregard for the welfare of our soldiers, starting a war of choice without a solid military plan for victory.

Oh, and by the bye, Senador Allen, how many military ribbons do you have?!? What, not even a service medal?!? Why, you're nothing but another Republican chickenhawk.

Democrats Awash with $$$$

Everybody loves a winner. Now that GOP polls are in the toilet, folks are coming out of the woodwork like roaches on Steroid to food crumbs; and contributing to Democrats.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, with Sen. Charles Schumer at the helm, has been kicking some serious financial butt.

Now the Washington Post reports the DSCC "finish[ed] the quarter with twice as much money in the bank," than the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Poor Liddy, chairman of the RSCC.

In years past, through the 2002 elections, the NRSC consistently crushed the DSCC in the race for cash. In the 2001-2002 cycle, the GOP committee raised $154.4 million, compared with the Senate Democrats' $60.3 million.

But this trend has been turned in recent years. In the 2003-2004 cycle, Democrats for the first time pulled ahead of the NRSC. There have been growing complaints in Republican circles about the chairmanship of Sen. Elizabeth Dole (N.C.), who was elected to the post in part because of her reputation as a fundraiser.

The DSCC reported raising $6.9 million in March, bringing its total for the 2005-2006 cycle to $56.4 million, with $32.1 million in the bank. The NRSC reported raising $5 million in March, bringing its total to $50.4 million for the cycle, with $16.5 million in the bank.

But that's old good news. Here's some good 'new' news.

Under the leadership of Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee "reported having $23 million in the bank, almost equaling -- for the first time in memory -- the cash balance of the National Republican Congressional Committee, which was $24.4 million."

"The days of the 'strategic cash advantage' are over," declared Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), chairman of the DCCC, which raised $9.2 million in March, the same amount as the NRCC. The DCCC has raised a total of $52.8 million in the 2005-2006 cycle, compared with the NRCC's $83.3 million.

Ooh, I detect the faint sweet smell of victory. And not a minute too soon; this administration has totally screwed up the entire world!

Ho-Hum, Meet the Press Guest List

"Meet the Press" announced the lineup for this coming Sunday.

Fresh from his ongoing book tour, Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts. Joining him are Tony Blankley, former Press Secretary to House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Washington Times editorial page editor and Republican blowhard, David Broder, columnist for the Washington Post, Ron Brownstein, columnist for the Los Angeles Times and Dee Dee Myers, former press secreary to President Bill Clinton and contributing editor of Vanity Fair Magazine.

This edition will be a gabfest to bloviate about the latest so-called White House 'shake-up' and what it means.

Well, it means Cheney is still there; Rove is still there; Rumsfeld is still there; Rice is still there; and worst of all, Bush is still there.

In this week's announcement, NBC was a little more discreet with their sponsorship blurb, which like last week and the week before that is Boeing Company and its 153,000 proud employees; no mention until the very bottom of the e-mail; and no link, just Web site address.

Poll Numbers Down the Toilet

According to Survey USA, as of April 20, the two bottom feeders in their poll are Sens. Rick Sentarum of Pennsylvania and Conrad Burns of Montana with a 39 percent approval rate.

Both Republican senators will likely lose their seat in November; one is embroiled in the Jack Abramoff scandal and the other is simply too conservative for his blue state.

Out of 29 senators running for reelection this fall, nine other senators also have approval rates below 50 percent.

They are: Bob Menendez, D-NJ., 40 percent approval rate; Jon Kyle, R-AZ., 45 percent approval rate; Debbie Stabenow, D-MI., 45 percent approval rate; Sens. Jim Talent, R-MO., Maria Cantwell, D-WA., Ben Nelson, D-FL., and Mike DeWine (R-OH., 48 percent approval rates; and Sens. John Ensign, R-NV., and George Allen, R-Va., with 49 percent approval rates.

One very hopeful sign for Democrats is the list includes only four Democrats, but 11 Republicans fall under the "magic" 50 percent approval rate.

It's a also good thing for the GOP that some senators don't have to face voters in the fall. Here is a list of senators who don't have to run this year. The poll numbers are from dismal to lukewarm.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX., 41 percent approval rate; Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC., 42 percent approval rate; Sens. Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ, Jim Bunning, R-KY., and Mel Martinez, R-FL. with 43 percent approval rates; Sens. Wayne Allard, R-CO., 44 percent approval rate; Sen. Mark Dayton, D-MN., 45 percent approval rate; George Voinovich, R-OH., 46 percent approval rate; Sen. John Inhofe, R-OK., 47 percent approval rate; Sen. John Sununu, R-NY., 48 percent approval rate; John Inhofe, R-OK., 47 percent approval rate; and Norm Coleman, R-MN., and Johnny Isakson (R-GA., 49 percent approval rates.

Again, out of the 13 senators not up for reelection this year under 50 percent, 11 are Republicans and only two are Democrats.

Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska tops the entire list with an astronomical 73 percent approval rate.

In fact, seven Democrats make the top 10 list; and the only Republicans on the list are Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine. Independent James Jeffords of Vermont rounds out the top 10 list.

Let's face it, Democrats are the party people like; they're creative, funny and HONEST. Only RINO's (Republicans pretending to be Democrats on easy votes) are able to make the Senate elite list.

Maybe because he's not running for reelection, but normally popular Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-MD., only has a 46 percent approval rate.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Another So-Called 'Independent' Republican Sells Out

It looks like the road to the White House, or at least the GOP presidential nomination runs through the Christian batwing faction of the party.

First John McCain agrees to travel to Virginia to lobby for presidential blessings from Jerry Falwell, the man whom he'd previously labeled “as one of the ‘agents of intolerance’”, and now Rudy Giuliani is jumping on the flip-flopping bandwagon.

NewsMax reports that Giuliani has been on the campaign trail for Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania; a losing proposition, for this guy is history.

But ever the faithful foot soldier, "Giuliani said he agreed with Santorum that national defense is the country's most critical issue and praised the senator for his support for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, regardless of opinion polls."

Well, if all poor Rudy can plug is Satorum's strong support for Bush's war in Iraq, this guy is in even more trouble than his piss-poor poll numbers show.

Guess Giuliani is trying to win the hearts and minds of the Christian right; and to that end, Giuliani is also on the campaign trail for some pretty seedy Republicans.

Next month, he is holding a fundraiser for disgraced former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed, who only weeks ago was asked by Republican leaders in the state of Georgia to please keep his current job and not run for office.

Yes, even the far right NewsMax writes, “Reed is running for lieutenant governor in Georgia. His campaign has been undercut by his ties to disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who is facing prison time after pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy, tax evasion and fraud."

George Allen Upset

Wah, wah.

Sen. George Allen is upset because seven mean "retired generals...issued a public call for the resignation of U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld."

Allen said that folks are just piling on the poor president.

The Daily Telegraph wrote a 174 word article about White House claims, er, I mean Pentagon claims in a "one-page memo saying Rumsfeld had met repeatedly with military advisers from 2005" to today.

Senior military leaders ''are involved in an unprecedented degree in every decision-making process,'' the memo says.Richard Myers, the air force general who was chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2001 to 2005, said Mr Rumsfeld allowed ''tremendous access'' for military brass to present their arguments about war strategy.
Sure, but just because you meet with Pentagon officials, doesn't mean you heed their warnings.

Hell, just a few months ago, Pres. George Bush met with former secretaries of state to get advice, but the only advice that seems to have broken through our 'I'm the Decider' president is how best to pose for the next day's front pages.

And I just love the way this administration quashes discontent with non sequiturs. The point is not whether Pentagon officials met or did not meet with Rumsfeld; of course he probably convened with SOMEBODY from the Pentagon; the question is what advice did they give him, did he follow it, and why or why not.

Rubber stamp Allen chimed in with yet another idiotic sentiment and quote. A new secretary of state is not going to stop the insurgency in Iraq, he opined; and what's more, "people are searching for a ''scapegoat'', that's all.

Nah, you think?!?

Thanks for stating the obvious, senator; and another non sequitur. It's about ACCOUNTABILITY!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

What A Dumb-Ass

A college student threatened to kill Pres. George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, First Lady Laura Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the Post-Tribune reports. Normally I don’t like to call people names, but this guy truly takes the cake for stupidity.

Vikram Buddhi of India, a graduate industrial engineering student at Purdue University wrote menacing posts on an online message board where he threatened to kill the president and “all Republicans.”

He was promptly arrested and charged with making lethal threats against public officials. His attorney, however, said he hoped this little mess could be quickly settled so Buddhi could make it back to school in time for his final exams. Buddhi is also a teaching assistant at the university.

Hate to break it to you buddy; but your client is going to Big House for a little while. He does not have the legal right to make threats against anyone’s life, much less the president, his wife, the vice president and a member of his cabinet.

Allen and Drake Ain't Safe

Congressional Quarterly had a nice post on Virginia politics; although as usual, Democrats are predicted to lose in November.

Well, that’s what they said about Gov. Tim Kaine, and Mark Warner before him. At least CQ framed Webb and Miller as “creditable” candidates.

The article notes that Republicans are holding primaries in all but three districts: the 3rd and 9th districts. Democrats, on the other hand, are nominating their candidates in all districts but the 2nd, 8th, 10th and 11th districts.

Featured is the Thelma Drake against Democratic candidate Phil Kellam in Virginia Beach. CQ ranks the race as the most competitive one, garnering a “Republican favored” status. The good news is that the Senate race between Webb and Allen also ranks “Republican favored.”

In other words, Allen ain’t safe. Guess someone should tell him to wait until after the election before he goes across the country on his victory lap.

Cubans Converting to Islam

Oh my god, what is this world coming to!

The Miami Herald reports today that a "small number of Cubans have embraced Islam, gathering for prayers and attending religious" services.

No, not in Miami, but in Cuba not-so-libre.

It seems Iranian diplomats have been busy converting the Havana heathens. The Iranian embassy sponsors outreach missions, and the Herald reports they want to build a mosque where they can worship properly.

There are about 16 Arab diplomatic missions in Havana [and[ the Iranian embassy plays the leading role in contacts with the local Muslims.


The mission created a writing contest about Iranian history, hopes to set up a ''reflection group'' on Islamic subjects and earlier this month hosted a reception to mark the anniversary of the birth of the prophet Mohammed.

By appointing "an official to work as liaison with the converts," tacit government approval is evident.

This is something definitely new; religion, condemned by Karl Marx as the "opiate of the masses" has always been discouraged by Cuban authorities for fear of "undermining" government "control over the island and its people."

Maybe Castro is getting religion in his old age and making peace with his maker; although in the past, Castro strongly supported Yasser Arafat and today has good relations with Arab nations, including Iran.

Monday, April 17, 2006

George Allen Drove Down Wages

Let's get it straight, undocumented workers are not driving down wages, Congress is; and yes, that especially includes our junior senator.

Ostroy has a brilliant post noting how Republicans have blocked attempts to raise the minimum wage by Democrats at every turn. The last time the minimum wage was increased was eight years ago, from a paltry $4.75 an hour to a still contemptible $5.15 an hour.

So folks, don't pay any attention to histrionics from the likes of George Allen or Tom Tancredo; our wages are not under attack by foreigners, but by callous, hate-mongering, do-nothing legislators who only last October voted down the Democratic proposal to increase the minimum wage.

As Ostroy points out, the "very same [s]enators, who earn $162,100 per year [and] have voted themselves eight pay raises totalling $31,600."
They also get upwards of $2-million, depending on the population of their home state, to cover health and life insurance, pensions, office supplies and expenses, travel, telecommunications and mass mailings. But these elitist Republicans, many of whom were born on 3rd base and think they've hit a triple, repeatedly shoot down Democrats' proposals to put another buck or two per hour into the hands of Mr. & Mrs. Working Stiff. What balls.
And just who were these arrogant 'ballsy' senators? Well, here are the names of legislators, in alphabetical order, from Roll Call.

Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, George Allen of Virginia, Bob Bennett of Utah, Kit Bond of Missouri, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Jim Bunning of Kentucky, Conrad Burns of Montana, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Susan Collins of Maine, John Cornyn of Texas, Larry Craig of Idaho, Mike Crapo of Indiana, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, Pete Domenici of New Mexico, John Ensing of Nevada, Michael Enzi of Montana, Bill Frist of Tennesee, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Charles Grassley of Iowa, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Orin Hatch of Utah, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Jon Kyle of Arizona, Trent Lott of Mississippi, Richard Lugar of Indiana, Mel Martinez of Florida, John McCain of Arizona, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Richard Shelby of Alabama, Gordon Smith of Oregon, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Ted Stevens of Alaska, John Sununu of New Hampshire, James Talent of Missouri, Craig Thomas of Wyoming, John Thune of South Dakota, David Vitter of Louisiana, George Voinovich of Ohio and John Warner of Virginia.

That's right, not a single Democrat on the list; every one voted for the increase, along with petrified Lincoln Chafee, Mike DeWine and Rick Santorum.

Possibly looking ahead, or maybe because he doesn't really like Frist or the administration, Arlen Specter also voted for the increase. couldn't be 'cause he's got a conscience.

The Holy Spirit Rocks

Tim Russert of "Meet the Press" had the most impressive panel of religious leaders on Easter Sunday; the pity was the shortness of time; only a few minutes to delve into the issues of faith, spirituality and religion.

Jon Meacham was great; as was Rabbi Rabbi Michael Lerner, Professor Sayyed Hossein Nasr, Sister Joan Chittister and Pastor Joel Osteen.

This is probably the first time folks had a chance to hear a televangelist from a mega-church speak less about damnation and more about grace, as they should!

And it was truly too bad Osteen didn't have a chance to 'show his stuff.'

But ask Osteen about "repentance, acknowledgement of wrongdoing and sinful behavior," in other words, 'fire and brimstone' mindset, and he'll respond by talking about "the goodness of God that leads people to repentance."

In the Washington Metropolitan area Osteen comes on Fox right after their batwing gabfest; and he is a whole lot more inspiring than Chris Matthews over at NBC during the same time slot.

I wish Osteen could have had a chance to chime in the conversation between Reverent Richard John Neuhaus and Sister Joan.

No praise for Rev. Neuhaus.

When confronted with the hypocrisy of some Catholics, including himself, for failing to voice the same outrage against capital punishment as against abortions, Neuhaus came back with the tired canard about "the moral imperative of protecting innocent, unborn human life.”

Yep, this is the wild joker in the argument of many televangelists, evangelicals and Christian right; especially since the New Testament makes no distinction between killing of innocents or killing the guilty; and in the Old Testament, every creature on earth is equally guilty according to the law.

"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matthews 5:38-39)

You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthews 5:43-45)

Rev. Neuhaus pooh-poohed the idea about any religious dogma when it came to capital punishment with some crap about "the integrity of the life of the church" and how the ultimate punishment and abortion were not "at the same level of teaching weight."

Oh really?!? From quoting Aristotle to carping about the "integrity of the life of the church." Well, never mind about the church, let's hear what Jesus had to say on the subject of forgiveness.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"

Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times (Matthews 18:21-22)

In other words, always!

And Sister Chittister had it right. "[E]ither life is of value or it’s not of value."

One pesky bit of history Professor Nasr brilliantly pointed out to viewers is the tragic past of Muslims at the hands, sword, guns and bombs of the West, beginning with the Crusades in the Middle Ages to more modern history when the West colonized Muslim lands in North Africa and the Middle East.

For a bit of context and as a follow up, I point to an article by the National Catholic Reporter. Carl W. Ernst, a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of "Following Muhammad: Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World" was profiled about his book and thoughts on Islam and the West.

[I]t was the Christian West that forcibly colonized Muslim lands and killed millions upon millions in the two world wars that began in 20th-century Europe.

Not to mention that nasty business during the Middle Ages; and how disparate tribes were forced to forge nations as conjured by the economic imagination of the colonizers--not the people living in the lands; and how Britain annointed kings as their weak subordinates until ruthless tyrants overthrew them and took over.

But...if they were friendly to the interests of the West, hey, no crime, no foul.

As to why in God's little green acre Russert kept asking Osteen about any criteria for joining his church, my initial reaction was to think Russert was just reflecting what a blubbering idiot he is; but as I thought about it, I realized Russert may have wanted to make a point; televangelists who are blessed to have their churches filled with Holy Ghost power welcome people from all walks of life and all political proclivities. Maybe Russert wanted to shatter old stereotypes; and although I knew the questions he posed were silly, for some, Osteen's answers probably surprised.

[W]e’ve got Republicans, Democrats and all kinds of different, different people from different political backgrounds. So, you know what? We encourage them to vote, to search their own hearts, to feel their own convictions, but no, there’s not any certain criteria that they have to meet.

Folks, believe it or not, that's how the Baptist Church started out; and in fact, one of their early tenets was to be led by the Spirit and not by any church canon.

Finally, as Sister Chittister asked viewers, "Do we want the religion of the Crusades and the Inquisition and the witch burnings and segregation and slavery and the oppression of women and Puritanism that led to Prohibition, that didn’t last because it was somebody’s creed imposed on everybody else’s creed? Or do we want the religion of the peace movement that Jesus talked about, and the, the labor movement and the civil rights movement. "

Your national budget is theology walking. If we’re really a pro-life country and not a pro-birth country, we, we won’t be taking from all the life bodies in order to feed a war body.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Qué descarado es el Senador George Allen

A few days ago, Brian Patton wrote a post about Sen. George Allen's new alliterative Web banner, "Adelante con Allen."

How very catchy and endearing.

But can't help but note how even more effective the banner would be if it read: ¡Adelante con Allen!

It's a punctuation thing. Lends a little authenticity to the 'mentiroso.'

But you gotta give it to Allen, though; the man has got some steel cajones. Goes on national television week after week, trashes immigrants and then has the balls to ask them to vote for him.

Easter Message from George Allen and Newt Gingrich - Pass A Tough Immigration Law

NewsMax News has an article about today's rightwing gabfest on "Face the Nation." On this Easter Sunday, CBS should be ashamed of itself.

First our goober senator George 'Gomer Pyle' Allen gives a big shout-out to all the racists who want to build a wall between Mexico and the United States; and then to add injury to insult, viewers are treated to some more brotherly love from disgraced former House leader Newt Gingrich.

Why are Allen and Gingrich on the Sunday talk shows?!? I mean, should they not be in church somewhere on Easter Sunday?!?

Well, Gingrich had a dire warning for Republicans:
"[G]et [your] act together" and pass tough new laws against illegal immigration - or the Democrats will win back the House and Senate in November.
Oh no, John Conyers, judicial and intelligence hearings, the horror, the HORROR. .
"The question for Republicans in the next 90 days is: Are they going to become the party of real change?" Gingrich said. "Are they going to learn some lessons and get their act together?"
Gingrich is sooo full of crap. He knows perfectly well that the Senate and some House members in Latino districts and states are not going to go along with any "new tough" measures; and in fact are running away from their own Draconian bill as fast as they can.

So when Republicans lose the House in November, Gingrich can say, "See, I told you so." And ride his white horse to the front of the line and displace Sen. John McCain as the leading presidential contender in the Republican party.

Only one slight problem for both Allen and Gingrich; they are playing from the exact old playbook that worked in the past but has grown increasingly stale; it worked for Dubya; it worked for Bush I; it worked for Reagan, but not this time around.

For what these idiots don't understand is that the '08 election is not going to be about immigration but Iraq; and what's more, after an onslaught of Republican crimes are exposed to the electorate, they'll all take an even bigger bath at the polls in '08 than they did this coming fall.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Republicans are Racists

Jonathan Singer of MyDD has a post about the upcoming Maryland race for governor and the entrenched racism in the Republican party.

He predicts that Maryland GOP voters will leave their party by the droves; and vote for the Democratic candidate if he's white.

Right now, conventional wisdom gives Rep. Ben Cardin (who is white) the edge over former Rep. Kweisi Mfume and former NAACP president and chief executive. Both are running for the Senate seat, but Mfume left political office in 1996, political eons ago.

Back in 1964, losing presidential candidate Barry Goldwater voted against the Civil Rights bill of 1964 and then campaigned that fall with the catchy slogan, "Because in your heart, you know he's right."

And before the ink on the landmark bill had a chance to dry, the Deep South started voting for what used to be the party of Lincoln (he must be weeping a river by the Lincoln Memorial grounds).

Yes, for the first time since reconstruction, Dixie went Republican; after that, it's been Katie-bar-the-door for racial politics from our GOP friends; and of course, beloved Barry Goldwater was annointed author, leader, god of the so-called conservative movement; he figured out how to turn race into an attractive wedge issue for Republicans.

From Willie Horton, 'truth in sentencing' bullshit and now, the 'rule of law' for undocumented workers, the racial wedge issue has been nothing but barefaced, shameless racism very thinly disguised as tough on crime.

Republicans are tough on crime except when it's one of their own; and right now their party is brimming with felons and would-be felons, giving the nation corrupt Tom DeLay, Duke Cunningham, Jack Abramoff, Scotter Libby, Robert Taft, David Safavian, Tom Noe and Claude Allen, all within a mere few years.

Republicans love to higlight their token black members; and Republican voters will go along as long as you don't try to actually elevate one of them to high office where they'll actually have direct power over their lives.

The record is clear. A little walk down history lane shows that racial wedge issues have worked out quite well for Republicans at the polls; however, the record is also very clear that when Republicans are given a choice to vote for the white guy or the black one, they'll vote for "whitey" almost every single time.

Not good news for Michael S. Steele (who is a black Republican). Or possibly for Ken Blackwell of Ohio.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Win with Webb - Withdraw Miller

No doubt about it, Webb is the winning candidate.

Folks in Fauquier County are excited about Webb. While they appreciate all of Harris Miller's previous work to advance the Democratic party in Virginia, most people feel that with the political climate being what it is, Webb has the more essential elements to play to Sen. George 'Gomer Pyle's weaknesses, as easy as that sounds with scads of Allen deficiencies from which to run.

Strong on defense? Check
Strong on opposition to Iraq? Check
Strong on service to country and state? Check
Ability to pull Republicans to vote for him? Check
Straight Shooter? Check
No ties to corruption? Check
Indescribable 'something' that makes people want to vote for him? Check

All the polls show Webb matches against Allen better than Miller. The Howling Latina's greatest fear is of some Rovian-Gillespian plot where every loyal Allen supporter goes to the polls in June and votes for Miller.

For the good of his party, Miller should withdraw and endorse Webb.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Crocodile Tears from Republicans

After receiving an e-mail from my pal in California about my thoughts on the raging scandal of some Democratic congressman from Virginia, I said, what?!?

Well, it turns out the buzz is about Rep. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia and some profitable pork he steered to his district.

Ooh, what a scandal!

But before we talk about Mollohan, let's hear from the high priest of moral rectitude, soon-to-be convicted felon, former Republican Senate Majority Leader Tom DeLay, as quoted in a Denver newspaper:

'If somebody else doesn't file an ethics charge, I will," former House Republican leader Tom DeLay said of Georgia Democrat Cynthia McKinney's altercation with a U.S. Capitol police officer.

"Had it been Tom DeLay, the ethics committee would have met the next day," he told one interviewer.

If that didn't get a hearty laugh on Capitol Hill, it should have. Thanks largely to DeLay's own problems with the panel, the ethics committee was moribund all of 2005. After the Texan was admonished three times by the committee for ethical lapses, the Republican leadership ousted the chairman and changed the rules in moves widely seen as protecting DeLay against further scrapes. Outrage forced the new rules to be withdrawn, but left the committee paralyzed.

The Wall Street Journal initially broke the story last week, subscription required; and Republican attack dogs immediately sent press releases to major media outlets and newspapers, demanding Mollihan resign as one of the ranking member of the House ethics committee; you see, "federal prosecutors [have] opened an investigation,"

Yea, this comes from the same corrupt group of charmers who sicked the IRS on some poor Texas nonprofit without basis except...well, they were progressive. CREW has compared the partisan charges to all the baseless accusations against former President Bill Clinton during the 90s.

But don't take our word for it, read three of the most damning paragraphs in the initial Wall Street article below.
A 12-term congressman, Mr. Mollohan sits on the House Appropriations Committee, a panel that disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff dubbed the "favor factory." Working with fellow West Virginian Sen. Robert Byrd, Mr. Mollohan has steered at least $178 million to nonprofit groups in his district over the past five years using "earmarks" -- special- interest provisions that are slipped into spending bills to direct money to pet projects. The money has brought more than jobs and building projects to his district. It has formed and financed a tight-knit network of nonprofit institutions in West Virginia that are run by people who contribute regularly to Mr. Mollohan's campaigns, political-action committee and a family foundation. One of these people also invests in real estate alongside Mr. Mollohan and his wife. The network of contributors also includes private companies that get contracts through these nonprofits. .


Central to the Mollohan network is a former staffer, Laura Kuhns, who heads the nonprofit Vandalia Heritage Foundation. It is a historic-preservation group that is financed almost exclusively by earmarks backed by Mr. Mollohan. It paid her $102,000 in 2004. Vandalia is coordinating construction of the new building for the Institute for Scientific Research, or ISR, and Ms. Kuhns sits on its board and those of three other nonprofits that get funds via earmarks.

She and her husband also are partners with Mr. Mollohan and his wife in five properties in Bald Head Island, N.C., valued in local real- estate records at a total of $2 million. The Mollohans recently bought a $1.45 million oceanfront home on the island, called the Peppervine House, which they rent out for $8,555 a week, next to the Kuhs' house, known as Cape Fearless. These and other investments, including a stake in a nine-story luxury condominium complex in Washington, appear to have made the Mollohans wealthy.

The Charleston Daily Mail reports that "executives, employees, board members and contractors who benefited from the five nonprofits" contributed at least $397,122 between 1997 and 2006. This comes to around $37,000 a year, hardly mega bucks.

Newspapers also reported of mammoth real estate profits by Mollahan; you see, in 2000, he "reported a portfolio of less than $500,000" but by 2004, it had grown to at least $3 million, a 12-fold increase.

You would think any scribe worth their press pass would know that real estate prices have skyrocketed during the last six years; and any person smart enough to catch the initial wave is now a whole lot richer than he or she was on January 1, 2000.

Many of Mollohan's properties are beach front; my sister bought a condominium in Topsail North Carolina three years ago for $164,000; the last unit just like hers sold for $630,000 -- around four times as much.

If she'd only purchased two additional units, voila, she, too, would have made a hefty increase in her portfolio; and all without benefit of any crooked dealings with nonprofits!

Furthermore, exactly how many folks contributed to the $397,122 pot in the first place?!? Neither of the articles mentions. I mean, was it just a few fat cat contributors or a whole bunch of modest ones?!?

A quick search of one of the nonprofits, Vandalia Heritage Foundation, shows that Laura Kuhns contributed $2,000 to Summit PAC, a Mollohan PAC; and David Durbin contributed $1,000; Michael Mills directly contributed $500.

Monihan "called the charges 'spurious' and said both the accusations and the calls for him to step down are politically motivated," an article by The Washington Post on Saturday reported.

The fact of the matter is that Mollohan was first elected to Congress in 1982; and he has won every reelection by comfortable margins. Republicans are starting to get nervous about the upcoming November ballots and are grasping at straws.

Yep, we need to investigate the rascal.

Meet the Press Guests

To celebrate Easter Sunday, Meet the Press is having an all-star religious guest panel this coming Sunday.

Sister Joan Chittister, a Benedictine sister, co-chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, author of "Called to Question: A Spiritual Memoir" and Executive Director of Benetvision Research and Resource Center for Contemporary Spirituality.

Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Ikkun Magaine and author of "The Left Hand of God: Taking Back our Country from the Religious Right."

Jon Meacham, Managinig Editor of Newsweek and author of "American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation."

Seyyed Hossein Nasr, professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University and author of "The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity."

Rev. Richard John Neuhause, editor of First Things and author of "Catholic Matters: Confusion, Controversy, and the Splendor of Truth"

Joel Osteen, Senior Pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas and author of "Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential."

Nearly every guest expresses their faith from a progressive perspective; and Osteen, who I love to watch on Sunday mornings is an evangelical who shied from the "fire and brimstone" crap on Larry King Show and preaches the gospel of hope.

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