Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Harvey Wasserman: We Love You, Molly

Over at is this tribute to Molly Ivins who's fighting another round in her battle against cancer. Wasserman says:

Our beloved sister Molly Ivins is fighting for her life against cancer, and all we can do is try to send her even a fraction of the brillliance, joy and love she has given us for so many incomparable years.

This genuis daughter of Texas turmoil has stood alone for so long as a voice of clarity, wit, common sense and plain-spoken conscience that it’s hard to know even where to start.

Here's the rest of the article at

Monday, January 29, 2007

Two Maryland Girls Missing: Have You Seen Them?

[Update: I am sad to report that the two girls were found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning. My condolences, thoughts, and prayers are with the families.]

Two Montgomery County, Maryland, high school students disappeared. They were last seen January 19th. As the clock ticks, they have not been located. If you have seen the girls, please notify the Montgomery County, MARYLAND, police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000, or call the Family Crimes Division at 240-773-5400.

They were last seen in a 1997 dark blue Subura Outback station wagon, with a luggage pod on top and with Maryland plates: MBJ-485

Rachel Smith (16)is 5 ft. 1 inches, 118 pounds, with green eyes and medium length brown hair. She's of the 14000 block of Platinum Dr., Potomac, MD.

Rachel Crites (18)is 5 feet, 4 inches, 110 pounds, with brown eyes and medium-length brown hair. She's of the 600 block of Gate Stone Drive, Gaithersburg, MD.

For more information, go here or here:

Monday, January 22, 2007

Supporting and Protecting the Troops: Where Did the Money (and Real Support) Go?

The Baltimore Sun reports that even now our troops are inadequately protected against IEDs. Effectively armored vehicles are in short supply. And the primary mission of our Defense Dept. --to provide for our troops-- goes untended.

Scarce vehicles become scarcer, and Marines have to "swap access to scarce armored vehicles." Indeed in an earlier article the Sun also reported that most newly deployed troops will not have access to adequately armored vehicles. How can this be?

While it's true that use and harsh conditions have taken a toll on protective vehicles, it is also true that the Defense Dept. has failed to assure their repair or replacement production and deployment. Accountability? Anyone?

Another article this weekend from Reuters reveals the price tag for Iraq has risen to $8.4 billion a month this year, nearly twice what it was in 2003 ($4.4 billion). Bush is set to request another $100 billion on top of the $70 billion already earmarked for Iraq this year. The Democratic Congress, including US Rep John Murtha's Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations, should take a closer look at just where the money has gone and will go. Murtha and his counterpart in the Senate must demand 1) proper protection of our troops and 2) effective oversight. Anything less should result in more replacements of another kind -- of those failing at their jobs of protecting the troops, starting with administration officials.

Instead of armored vehicles, the Army is sending 71,000 sets of fire-retardant uniforms to protect our men and women from fires when Humvees are consumed by fire. Meanwhile, as the administration floods the airwaves with more empty rhetoric about its supporting the troops, this same administration fails utterly at it's most fundamental responsibility to those who serve us.

Note: This article is cross-posted at Raising Kaine

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Just When You Think the Republican General Assembly Couldn't Do Worse...

The ghost of Jim Gilmore lives, not just in the GOP presidential race. (Yes, Gilmore actually thinks he has a chance with his narrow "no car tax" mantra.) Gilmore's hammer-head shark government, which left both our state budget and bond rating behind, has reared its ugly head once again. GOP leadership, and its pawns, created more poor government, issue by issue. Once again, citizens are the losers.
  • First, the GOP transportation plan would rob hundreds of millions from the general fund, year after year. This would once again pave the way, not for sound highway planning, but for another state fiscal crisis. It's an irresponsible way to handle our state transportation crisis.

  • Then comes the GOP refusal to take redistricting out of the partisan arena. No comment necessary.

  • HR 48. a "sunshine" bill requiring all subcommittee votes to be recorded was defeated. Where's the accountability, from the supposed GOP accountability "police"?

  • HB 2072, which would permit pregnant women to vote absentee, was tabled. Nor would the GOP majority allow those volunteering on election day to vote absentee. (There's) no care about democracy there. Of course the GOP can afford to hire professionals to do its GOTV, so it can only gain from suppressing volunteers on the other side.

  • A bill including dating violence in family life curricula passed, but 14 Republican males voted "Nay."

With all this steamrollering over good legislation, how does Del Carrico have time (and gall) to re-submit his bill institutionalizing state and institution-mandated prayer in the guise of freedom to pray? We already have the right to pray in public buildings. But the institutions of government have no constitutional or legitimate business coercing, or implicitly coercing by power of their authority, any prayer in public buildings. Once again, Carrico cares more about theocracy and less about "rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesars and to God the things that are God's."

And, then there's Del. ("Sideshow" Bob) Marshall's plan to interfere in married couples' divorces. Carrico, Marshall et al should spend more time taking care of their own lives and less intruding on others.

Some Thoughts on Hargrove's Dreadful Bigotry

Del. Hargrove thinks that we should forget about slavery. No one in the General Assembly had anything to do with it, so Hargrove thinks an apology is uncalled for. I beg to differ.

We own our comlete history -- all of it. That includes the good and the shameful. The hope is that we wise up and learn from our mistakes as a society. We try to set right the wrongs and create a better future. But lacking even an apology, how does a society move forward? Is it Hargrove's wish that all just be forgotten, and if so, how then do we prevent another slavery, Holocaust, or Darfur?

Now comes a lettter-to-the-editor in the Roanoke Times to suggest the writer should be left alone to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of Jamestown without unpleasant thoughts about things such as slavery. Illustrating exactly the opposite of what the letter writer wishes, he makes my case instead. Such sanitizing of our nation's history does all of us a disservice. And, it guarantees that collective amnesia could one day cause us to repeat grave errors of the past.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Who Did You Say the Front-Runner Is?

This week, Al Gore brought his "Inconvenient Truth" presentation to Boise State University. Any suggestion that Gore is yesterday's news can be easily dispelled by the following. This is posted over at

(New West Politics) - Jill Kuraitis and I made a bet against our significant others last weekend on whether or not Al Gore would sell out the Taco Bell Arena. The men said it wasn’t likely. We should have placed a larger wager because the former vice president did, in fact, sell out the 10,000-seat stadium

This is in the previously conservative west. Times are a'changing. Gore opposed the Bush invasion of Iraq because there was no evidence that country was a threat to us and because there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction. How different things would be with a competent leader in the White House now! Al Gore was the most experienced VP ever to run for president. He believes in diplomacy, integrity in government, and science. And, Al Gore actually won the popular vote in 2000.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I'd Still Prefer Al Gore, But.... There's This Email from Barack Obama

Dear Friend,

As you may know, over the last few months I have been thinking hard about my plans for 2008. Running for the presidency is a profound decision - a decision no one should make on the basis of media hype or personal ambition alone - and so before I committed myself and my family to this race, I wanted to be sure that this was right for us and, more importantly, right for the country.

I certainly didn't expect to find myself in this position a year ago. But as I've spoken to many of you in my travels across the states these past months; as I've read your emails and read your letters; I've been struck by how hungry we all are for a different kind of politics.

So I've spent some time thinking about how I could best advance the cause of change and progress that we so desperately need.

The decisions that have been made in Washington these past six years, and the problems that have been ignored, have put our country in a precarious place. Our economy is changing rapidly, and that means profound changes for working people. Many of you have shared with me your stories about skyrocketing health care bills, the pensions you've lost and your struggles to pay for college for your kids. Our continued dependence on oil has put our security and our very planet at risk. And we're still mired in a tragic and costly war that should have never been waged.

But challenging as they are, it's not the magnitude of our problems that concerns me the most. It's the smallness of our politics. America's faced big problems before. But today, our leaders in Washington seem incapable of working together in a practical, common sense way. Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions.

And that's what we have to change first.

We have to change our politics, and come together around our common interests and concerns as Americans.

This won't happen by itself. A change in our politics can only come from you; from people across our country who believe there's a better way and are willing to work for it.

Years ago, as a community organizer in Chicago, I learned that meaningful change always begins at the grassroots, and that engaged citizens working together can accomplish extraordinary things.

So even in the midst of the enormous challenges we face today, I have great faith and hope about the future - because I believe in you.

And that's why I wanted to tell you first that I'll be filing papers today to create a presidential exploratory committee. For the next several weeks, I am going to talk with people from around the country, listening and learning more about the challenges we face as a nation, the opportunities that lie before us, and the role that a presidential campaign might play in bringing our country together. And on February 10th, at the end of these decisions and in my home state of Illinois, I'll share my plans with my friends, neighbors and fellow Americans.

In the meantime, I want to thank all of you for your time, your suggestions, your encouragement and your prayers. And I look forward to continuing our conversation in the weeks and months to come.


U.S. Senator Barack Obama

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Stop Mad Cowboy Disease

The voters have spoken. But Bush is not listening. Instead, admits Tony Snow and White House spokesperson David Green, Bush seeks to bring us back into the war (and into the fold). Always, always, he treats us as recalcitrant children. But it is as if Bush, in his child-like stubborness juxtoposed to his manly toys (real WMD), is covering his ears and saying, "lalalalala..not listening." It's his way or the highway.

Current polls show Americans strongly oppose Bush's current and planned actions in the Middle East. Yet the decider is forging ahead with war escalation before Democrats get out of the gate on Iraq hearings or actions. You know things are bad when former Congressman and long-time conservative commentator Joe Scarborough (of MSNBC)Monday night called for the Democratic Congress to stand up to George W. Bush. Gordon Smith has abandoned the Bush failed policy. Paul Begala said today on CNN that at least 10 more Republicans are prepared to do likewise. And Sen. John Warner criticized that the president's plan will put the troops in danger. The majority of Americans oppose further expansion, yet Bush has massive plans for the remake of the Middle East still on the drawing board. And he's reconfiguring his administration with yes-men to pull it off.

In a chilling, must-read article about the extent of Bush's war ambitions, Robert Parry of Consortium News, who as an AP reporter broke much of the Iran-Contra scandal, now tells us that even John Negraponte has stood up to George W. Bush, by arguing that intelligence does not support attacking Iran because it is at least 10 years away from a nuclear weapon. Does this sound familiar? So, Negraponte's out as intelligence chief. No one questions the decider.

Predictably, news earlier in the week suggested that the US is still considering strikes on Iran, or, possibly, encouraging Israel to do the dirty work. Here at RK, Lowell has written on this subject earlier this week.

Bush cannot seriously believe that such an action won't further destabilize the Middle East, endanger our troops, and threaten our security at home. More disturbing, we have learned of a new covert war in Somalia. There is some evidence this is not a temporary or one-time incursion. Though the administration denies it, there are reports that the US may be working with war lords in Somalia. We've gone that route before.

Since last spring, Seymour Hersh at The New Yorker has forecast the looming expansion in Iraq, as well as in Syria and Iran. This dangerous turn in our foreign policy is costing us every alliance we ever had, except the lame duck Blair, and perhaps some opportunists who fed the Bushies pseudo-intel on pre-war Iraq.

George W. Bush may have kept reading instead of acting when we were under attack on September 11, 2001, but he is full-steam ahead with the war-without-end agenda now. Lame duck time means time is of the essence for Bush -- and for the American people to push back. He works for us and not the other way around.

Moreover, the will of the American people requires Congress to act to halt further escalation (or widening) of the war. Will it step up to the plate?

The legislation bringing to fruition the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission (HR-1, focused on honestly protecting us against terrorism, passed last night, no thanks to Bush. What Bush is planning in the Iraq and planning on his drawing board will not keep us safe.

Congress should make clear that it will only entertain real efforts at making us safe, not thinly disguised attempts at manipulation of Americans. It should demand the White House stop using the vague PR construct "war on terror" to justify anything the administration wants. "War on terror" is am empty construct Bush uses to scare Americans. Just Today Tony Snow tried to scare Americans to justify a new war in Somalia. We must face the fact that what Bush proposes is frightening. And, were there real evidence to justify some sort of anti-terrorism effort now, who can believe him?

Immediately, Congress must orchestrate a legislative smack-down by creating a bill which simultaneously:
1. Requires that we engage a diplomatic process by dispatching a bipartisan team to engage Iraqi and regional stakeholders, and to negotiate a peace treaty.
2. Ends, by law, the US Middle East hegemony;
3. Outlines a safe plan to bring home the troops, starting now;
4. Funds only the safe drawdown of troops;
5. Forbids off-budget funding of expanded war;
6. Forbids preemptive war against Iran and Syria;
7. Halts an Iraqi jobs program ($1 billion),spending it instead on US jobs;
8. Sends all US mercenaries home immediately and forbids the use of such mercenaries in the US when they return, as they were used in New Orleans last fall; and
9. Reverses the blank check for the Iraq war, which the Congress foolishly gave the dissembling Bush in 2002.

If Bush/Cheney defy Congress and forge ahead with expansionist plans anyway, Congress should first impeach Cheney (so he couldn't replace Bush) and then Bush himself. Bush deserves impeachment in any case. But should he defy Congress this time, the case would be ironclad.

Most Americans want an end to Bush's failed, misguided attempt to remake the Middle East to his liking. Despite repeated warnings, Bush has dragged Americans into a nightmare.

We must stop the insanity. To do so, we must leave no congressional representative behind. Tell each we will work to defeat him or her if if her or she doesn't stand by us and stand up to Bush this time. Our country depends on us. We need people of courage to hit the phones (to call Congress), the sidewalks, door-knockers, letters to the editor, commentaries, the blogosphere, online polls, and rallies. In one strong and unyielding voice: Stop Mad Cowboy Disease!

Write Senators and Congresspersons here:

Or use the letter-writing tool at:

Cross posted at Raising Kaine, Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 08:16:37 AM EST

Keith Olbermann Special Comment Alert

Watch for a Special Comment by Keith Olbermann on Countdown tonight on MSNBC. Airtime is 8:00 PM Eastern.

Here's his website:

Letter from Howard Dean, MD, Chairperson of he DNC:

Last night, George Bush plans announce that he wants to send tens of thousands more troops to Iraq.

The American people oppose it. The generals, both active-duty and retired, say that it won't help. But George Bush thinks he can do it anyway.

He's got another thing coming.

We believe the Democratic Congress must have the opportunity to review and approve the troop increase in Iraq.

Whether you agree with a policy of escalation or not, Congress's involvement is fundamental to our democratic process. The people's representatives must consent to sending troops and spending money -- particularly on something as controversial as sending tens of thousands more troops into the middle of a civil war.

Unlike the way we got into this war, America must have a real conversation about how to end it. Congress finally asserting its constitutional authority is the only way that conversation will happen.

Why should Congress have to be consulted?

Because this is a new level of engagement in Iraq, far different than anything the Congress has authorized to date.

Whatever you felt about that Iraq vote in 2002, it's impossible to deny that the situation now has deteriorated and the president's policies have continually failed. We now know that the administration's claims about WMD stockpiles and Saddam's ties to al Qaeda were false. We also that the regime we went in to depose is long gone.

We've been fighting in Iraq for longer than we fought in World War II. There is a full-blown civil war there. And Saddam is dead.

The American people, through their elected representatives, deserve a voice in the decision to send tens of thousands more troops there.


Congressional oversight may seem strange to the pundits who have gotten used to a Republican-led group that barely showed up to work and didn't take its constitutional responsibilities seriously.

But there's plenty of precedent for it.

In the 1970's Congress passed laws to stop Richard Nixon from expanding the Vietnam War into Cambodia and, later, to cap the number of personnel allowed in Vietnam in order to force the administration to wind down the war.

In the 1980's Congress required Ronald Reagan to seek explicit authorization if he planned to expand U.S. forces in Lebanon and capped the number of troops on permanent duty elsewhere in the world.

Congress has the constitutional duty to represent the people, and the new Democratic Congress is prepared to live up to that responsibility.


I opposed this war from the beginning. But no matter how you felt then, it's clear that the president's policy has failed.

Last year's elections were a referendum on Iraq, and the president lost.

Ignoring the lessons of history by increasing troop levels is not an answer to the problems in Iraq. Nor is blaming the military for the President's own mistakes an answer, or ignoring the bipartisan Baker-Hamilton Commission recommendations, including an emphasis on diplomacy. And ignoring the will of the American people is certainly not an answer.

The people made their voices heard, and if the president isn't going to listen, the Democratic Congress will.

Democrats in Congress heard the people loud and clear in 2006. In 2007, they are ready to act.

Let's join them.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

[Note: markings "..." represent deletions of proprietary links intended for recipients of the emailing only.]

Could George Bush Pass the New Citizenship (Pilot) Test?

Here's a question: has George W. Bush even read the Constitution? I doubt it.

Here's the test new citizens must take. George W. Bush obviously needs to go back to citizenship school. We have three branches of government and there are co-equal! This is not a unitary government. Bush's version of consultation with Congress is, according to his senseless speech last night, to form a new "bipartisan" working group with non other than Joe Lieberman! That's real bi-partisanship for you. Take one independent, mix him in with a number of Republican yes-men and there you have it. The GOP didn't give Lieberman his ride back to Congress for nothing.

And come to think of it, didn't we just have such a group -- the Iraq Study Group? Didn't Bush say he'd take the recommendations seriously. He didnt', anymore than he did the recommendations for the 9-11 Commission. It took a Democratic Congress to pass the 9-11 Commission recommendations (it did so earlier this week). This is not a dictatorship (yet). But more and more it acts like one on TV.

A constitutional crisis is brewing and Bush is sqaurely to blame. He's not listening to anyone these days, except perhaps a few ideologue crazies. His supporters are dropping like flies and still he thinks he can remake the Middle East. He does so at our peril. But that matters little to him. I don't think anyone feels safer yet. And still he conflates imperialsm with the war on terrorism.

Calling all Congresspersons: Is anyone listening to Americans, who say overwhelmingly get the troops out safely and stop the insanity? Anyone?

Here's the citizenship test.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Out, Damn Racism

[I decided to spend the Christmas holidays (yes, I did say Christmas--must come as a shock to the likes of Virgil Goode) with family. It's been a difficult year following the loss of my father. And I wanted to focus on family without the intrusion of day-to-day politics. So, except for reading half of Thomas Rick's Fiasco,after the grandkids were in bed, I didn't read much, whether online or elsewhere. I don't much feel like blogging today, but I feel that I must say this.]

Virgil Goode's got a character probelm: He may not have any (character, that is). And he makes me realize how sweet was my disengagement from the news for most of the past two-plus weeks. I returned to the real world of ugly Virginia politics to read article after article about how Virgil Goode has disgraced his constituents and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Looking for all the world like a bigot, Virgil wants all of America to be just like him, or else they can't have the rights those of Goode's faith have, including running for political office. How does anyone take him seriously? Taking the high road, US Rep Keith Ellison was more than polite than Neanderthal Goode and introduced himself to Goode on the floor of the House Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Roanoke Times weighed in on Dec. 23rd with an excellent editorial and a wonderfully outrageous political cartoon. Go RT! Although Dan Radmacher and the editorial staff ably tackled this issue, in their editorial "Virgil Goode's Macaca Moment" (read it here), perhaps just as outstanding is the political cartoon. It shows Joseph Goebels ranting about immigration in 1942. Here's the text of Goebbels' hideous remarks:

"The hundreds of thousands of foreign workers now employed in the Reich are a headache. The danger exists that (relations) between these workers and German women will cause a gradual deterioration of our race. This danger must be checked by every possible means. But it is difficult to discuss such questions in public because the peoples and nations affected immediately take offense" (Joseph Goebbels, 1942).

And now, here are Goode's:

"If American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran..I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the US if we do not adopt the strict policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped (Virgiil Goode, 2006).

It's striking just how extreme Virgil's comment is.

Furthermore, Goode doesn't want us to know that there was no Bible used by anyone at the swearing in. It's a group swearing-in with no religious books. Only in a ceremonial photo does anyone use any book, and it's just for the photograph (i.e., fake). This is how its been in recent years. No one is attacking Christianity here. But that doesn't stop Goode and the other nutjobs who try to bully the rest of America to believe just like them.

Regarding Goode's call for a banning of all Muslims from holding congressional office, Goode doesn't get that the Constitution bans a religious litmus test for seeking public office.

Goode conflates US Rep. Ellison's use of the Koran during the swearing in with immigration in general, which Goode is against. This is interesting because Goode wouldn't be here had his ancestors not immigrated to these United States. Ellison's ancestors came to the US in the 1700s. Yet Goode confuses Ellison's presence in the US with current immigrants. Not that he should be attacking newer immigrants lock, stock and barrel either. Standing up to illegal immigration is one thing. Bashing all immigrants and promoting xenophobia is another. But Goode pushes the immigration "hot button" to rile his fellow bigots.

Then an RT letter-to-the-editor writer wrote a letter to accuse others of attacking Goode's faith. Talk about turning the world (and democracy)upside down! Today (January 8th) the Roanoke Times ran an excellent column by Sam Riley here.

Even Katie Couric, of CBS, has weighed in on the subject (read it here). She's embarrased to be a Virginian. And with respect to the Goode boorishness, so am I.

But US Rep. Ellison himself has said it best, though. Read about it here.

Recently, I have become the focus of some criticism for my use of the Qu'ran for my ceremonial swearing in. Let me be clear, I am going to be sworn into office like all members of Congress. I am going to swear to uphold the United States Constitution. We seem to have lost the political vision of our founding document -- a vision of inclusion, tolerance and generosity.

I wish US Rep. Keith Ellison well. He, at least, knows what America is all about. For Goode, I recommend the new citizenship test, a pilot version of which is located here:


The "Honeymoon" Between the Democrats and the Press: There Wasn't One

It's been a great two months having real hope for our country's future. There was a great week in Congress as the strongest ethical reform since the Watergate era passed. The Dems made progress on the "First 100 Hours" agenda. But things aren't totally rosy. The "honeymoon" for the Democratic Congress and the media didn't last 24 hours.

Already, CNN, MSNBC and FOX have bared their collective teeth at Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the Democrats. The relcutance to embrace a woman leader at the top ranks of US government was never more apparent that when the various (unfortunately mostly female) daytime anchors of the big three cable news outlets let Pelosi have it.

With the exception of the media bashing of Al Gore and Howard Dean for the pettiest of reasons, men are rarely held up to media ridicule for what they wear or how they talk. Not so with Pelosi or Hillary Clinton.

Tucker Carlson's, thinly-disguised hope that Johnson never return to the Senate is almost palpable. Tucker came close to suggesting that Johnson should already resign his seat and give the majority (with Cheney's vote) back to the GOP. Not so fast. Tucker's self-serving salivation is, at the very least, pretty low. Johnson is making steady progress and there are a number of precedents by GOP leaders taking extended leave. We have just learned from FBI files recently declassified that Former Chief Justice Reinquist's rehabilitation from prescription drug use is one example. [Aside: Personally, I think this revellation was unnecessary. Reinquist did nothing wrong. Unlike one famous right-wing radio host, Reinquist was using legal prescriptions for pain and sleeplesness.] The point is that when Reinquist, Strom Thurmond, or the other Congressional members from time past, needed to recover, they did so. Later in life, Strom Thurmond missed much time in the Senate. But these republican public servants retained their positions. It's more than disgusting that not many years after the Senate turned back over to the Reblicans on the death of Sen. Paul Wellstone (whose suspiciously died in a plane crash due to someone turning runway lights off at the small airport), any member of the the media should try to engineer a groundswell for a Johnson resignation.

There was more evidence of no-honeymoon by the media. On Friday, the fist full day the Democrats were in charge after the Thursday ceremonies, NBC ripped Democrats for having a $1000 a plate fundraiser. Coming on the heels of the money-flowing-everywhere GOP rule, this hardly constitutes a scandal.

And the unfair media-bashing of James Webb has begun. (See additional blog post on this blog for the details.)

Anchors have falsely accused Democrats of "not having a plan." But they do (have a plan), that they were not in charge of Congress before Thursday, and that they don't control two branches of government even now. There are actually at least three Democratic plans for Iraq (Democrats do differ on various issues), all of which will be debated. The Dems "First 100 Hours" effort debunks the claims that they'll do nothing that Americans care about. Already they've passed the most extensive ethics bill since the Watergate era. And more constructive effort is to come.

Once bills obstructed by former GOP chairs are voted on, the GOP will experience more collegiality and fair treatment than Democrats ever received at GOP hands. Under GOP rule, there were votes never announced to Democrats, votes scheduled when Dems were home in their districts, unscheduled votes in the middle of the night. Dems didn't get to read the bills, add amendemnts, or debate the bills. The GOP added secret amendments in the middle of the night. Once when Democrats were relegated to the basement to hold a hearing, the Capitol Police were called by the Delay-Frist storm-troopers. This was the sad state of our Democracy at the hands of the GOP. [Yes, I know that we technically have a Republic, but the overarching goal of our country is a the construct of democracy. And certainly since we attempt to foist democracy on others, however much an oxymoron it is (to try to force democracy). If we expect others to emrace it, we should practice more of it.] But the media ignores it all.

As daytime anchors on the three cable news networks openly mocked and belittled Democratic leaders and committee chairs on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I found it ever so more satisfying watching ACC basketball. (Go Tech!)

Chris Matthews Fibs to Slam Webb.

Following the great victory and celebration for Senator James Webb last week, it took barely 24 hours for saber-toothed motor-mouth Chris Matthews to spin this one. Read the Media Matters report here:

Here's what Rob at Raising Kaine had to say:

On Hardball, Chris Matthews asked why Sen. Jim Webb is "changing the subject" away from Iraq, falsely asserting that Webb "never did [that] during the campaign." In fact, Webb frequently discussed other issues during the campaign, including during two appearances on Hardball.

The video montage compiled by Media Matters is a visual beatdown of Matthews.

First, it shows Matthews' false assertion that Webb was only an
anti-war candidate, which Webb corrected before answering the question
about Iraq:

MATTHEWS: ... the people that voted the way they did this past November
to bring about a change, do you think they're going to be happy to see
an escalation in the U.S. role in Iraq that the president's talking

· Then, it shows Matthews slam Webb behind his back with false claims
that Webb was simply "changing the subject now" (no, he was correcting
a falsehood and he did talk about Iraq) and that Webb never talked
about issues other than Iraq during the campaign.

· And finally, the video clip shows examples of candidate Jim Webb
doing exactly that - stressing other issues (like economic fairness)
during the campaign while on Matthews' own show!

Chris Matthews needs to pay attention during his interviews and do his
homework, and then he needs to apologize to Senator Webb.

Tell him:

Thanks to Rob from Raising Kaine for this.

Bush Gone Wild

Is he just making stuff up as he goes along? George W. Bush now wants a billion (that's right a billion) dollar jobs program for... Iraq! Let me count the ways this is a bad idea.

1) Apparently, he's not satisfied with his previous or current run-away spending in Iraq.

2) He evidently willfully wishes to borrow even more that our children,grandchildren
and great-grandchildren will have to pay back.

3) His handing over our tax dollars to friendly US contractors means the money is just one more huge distribution of pork. How many cost over-runs should Bush buddies get away with? We haven't gotten our our money's worth on the reconstruction effort. If he decides to give the money directly to Iraq, then we are directly funding Iraqi "entitlements."

4) Many Iraqi's still don't have electricity for 16 hours a day. Let the hearings begin!

5)Bush's hand-over of a billion is not good stewardship of our tax dollars. of our own dollars for a so-called jobs program. That's Bush "conservatism" for you.

6) We can't depend on the Bushies to get anything right in Iraq.

7) Bush needs to spend that on those whose jobs have been outsourced and off-shored here.

8) In addition to borrowing, Bush has taken monies from just about evverything else in the budget and from Social Security to pay for Iraq. He needs to start paying it back.

If this latest news tidbit isn't enough to persuade Americans that we should stop this Bush craziness, then nothing will.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Priceless: Political Joke of the Week

Week's end brough this gem: Jim Gilmore Will Form an Exploratory Campaign Committee.

I have not laughed this hard in a long time. Thanks, Jim Gilmore. You've given many Virginians reason to smile, but not in the way you wish.