Saturday, October 13, 2007

This is just .. well .. wrong

Thanks to my friend for pointing this out to me today. David Hasselhoff at his err .. finest.. shudder

9/11 Changed Everything

Nacchio's account, which places the NSA proposal at a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, suggests that the Bush administration was seeking to enlist telecommunications firms in programs without court oversight before the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The Sept. 11 attacks have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its warrantless surveillance efforts.

The allegations could affect the debate on Capitol Hill over whether telecoms sued for disclosing customers' phone records and other data to the government after the Sept. 11 attacks should be given legal immunity, even if they did not have court authorization to do so.

Mostly what 9/11 changed was the ability of cynical Republicans and certain Democratic enablers to get us to piss our pants whenever they said boo.

What this shows is that the Bush White House planned to break the law almost since the very beginning.

So I think that everyone should email Nancy Pelosi and ask her if impeachment is still off the table.

Read the full article at

Ian Welsh @ Firedoglake - The Underclass

I generally quote a paragraph or two, then write something hopefully pithy and say "see the rest of the story at wherever" but this time I am just going to say that this is the best article about how an underclass is created and sustained that I have seen in years and I encourage everyone to read it in full at its source.

Firedoglake - Firedoglake weblog » The Underclass

A possibly suprising answer to Michelle Malkin

I know that I am going to have to spend the rest of the day scrubbing the comments for this but ...

Michelle Malkin asks who deserves Government Subsidized Health insurance?

That is such an easy one to answer that I have to do it.

No One. Not one person.

What every single person living in a country as rich as the US does deserve is single payer tax funded healthcare. These are not the same things. Why would anyone want to pay insurance companies to act as a middleman?

Just my thought on this one.

More On Stifling Dissent

Take a look at some rough numbers vis-à-vis the Frosts’.

And for purposes of the analysis, we’ll use some very conservative numbers.

Let’s assume that the $45,000 per year figure is net income. And further that the private school tuition is free.

Let us also assume that their $1200 monthly mortgage on their residence includes property taxes.

Yearly mortgage payments on the residence come to $14,400. Let’s call it $14,000. Subtracting the mortgage payments from their annual net income leaves $31,000.

Let’s assume that the property taxes due on the commercial property are $500 per month (probably on the low side for that area). The annual property taxes for the commercial property would come to $6000 per year. Subtracting the property taxes on the commercial property of $6000 from the remaining net income leaves $25,000.

Next,, let’s further assume that the utilities on both the commercial property and the residence (all utilities including phone) comes to $600 per month for the residence (3000 square feet) and $200 per month for the business property. That is $9,600 a year. Call it $9000. Taking $9000 off the remaining net income now leaves $14,000.

The Frosts have 3 relatively new vehicles. For insurance purposes. we will assume that their rates were not seriously impacted by the accident. Insuring those vehicles in that area would run, say, $3000 per year. So after factoring in car insurance, there is $11,000 of net income left.

Let’s assume that the Frosts own one of those vehicles, and lease or finance the two others. And we will assume the leases or loans are long term, and further assume a down payment of about 10% of the vehicle costs was made at the time of purchase or lease. So we will figure that the combined car financing/lease expense is in the neighborhood of $350 per month per vehicle. So annual car finance expenses run at $8400 per year. Call it $8000. When applied against the remaining $11,000 of net income, the Frosts have $3000.

Let’s also assume they drive those cars, and that they put gas in them. But we’ll assume they do not drive much, and only spend $100 per month on gas, and since they take great care of their cars, their monthly car maintenance expenses for all 3 cars are $50 per month. That is another $1800 in annual expense, that we’ll call $1500, just to be conservative. Well, that now leaves the Frost’s $1500 - annually.

$1500 a year breaks out to $125 per month. Or a little over $30 per week for clothing, food and other essentials for a family of 4 ($8.00 per person).

And the left does not understand why people have a problem with this?
Via the fine folks at Sadly, No! comes this comment from Michelle Malkin's blog (no I will not link to it directly because I don't want to spend all day scrubbing the comments) that to my mind just shows that the Frosts actually weren't rich and that yes indeed they would have had a hard time affording health insurance.

The spin that is being put on it in right wing whackjob land is that they obviously were cheating on their taxes since they couldn't possibly even afford to eat. The reality is probably something much more prosaic like.... They took full legal advantage of every tax savings that was available to them, fully used itemized deductions and , God forbid, even maybe hired an accountant to ensure that all of the expenses from his business were properly deducted.

This family is the frigging poster child for "The American Dream" and the right wing is all over them like ants on honey trying to destroy them. These are folks that any other time would be held up as the absolute epitome of hard working blue collar Americans. It shows just how far the Right is willing to go to destroy people and shows, once again, what I keep saying.

This is not about debate. This is not about politics as we have understood it. This is about stifling dissent through crushing the middle class and destroying the quality of life of anyone who dares to poke their head up and say "hey, this thing you are doing is wrong".

Now, it could be argued that this is just a bunch of stray wingnuts but you have to also note that there has not been one peep out of the Republicans decrying this behavior. Compare and contrast with the complete meltdown over the "General Betray Us" ad. Make no mistake that these loons are being, at minimum, tacitly endorsed by the Republican establishment.

If there are any people with a conscience left in the Republican party they will be out on the talk shows on Sunday morning saying how disgusted they are that the Frosts have been treated this way and that the people that have been doing it are not representative of the way that a Republican acts. Of course I am making the very large assumption that there are people of conscience left in the Republican party. Sadly, I see no evidence that it is true.

But remember, it is the left that is uncivil because we say "Fuck" and "Shit" and because we get pissed off when a pack of crazed weasels takes on a 12 year old kid and his family. What we don't do is just make shit up and then use it to attack people. But, they do it "politely" so I guess it is OK.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Yay for Paul Krugman

You might be tempted to say that bloggers make unfounded accusations all the time. But we’re not talking about some obscure fringe. The charge was led by Michelle Malkin, who according to Technorati has the most-trafficked right-wing blog on the Internet, and in addition to blogging has a nationally syndicated column, writes for National Review and is a frequent guest on Fox News.

The attack on Graeme’s family was also quickly picked up by Rush Limbaugh, who is so important a player in the right-wing universe that he has had multiple exclusive interviews with Vice President Dick Cheney.

And G.O.P. politicians were eager to join in the smear. The New York Times reported that Republicans in Congress “were gearing up to use Graeme as evidence that Democrats have overexpanded the health program to include families wealthy enough to afford private insurance” but had “backed off” as the case fell apart.

In fact, however, Republicans had already made their first move: an e-mail message from the office of Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, sent to reporters and obtained by the Web site Think Progress, repeated the smears against the Frosts and asked: “Could the Dems really have done that bad of a job vetting this family?”

And the attempt to spin the media worked, to some extent: despite reporting that has thoroughly debunked the smears, a CNN report yesterday suggested that the Democrats had made “a tactical error in holding up Graeme as their poster child,” and closely echoed the language of the e-mail from Mr. McConnell’s office.

All in all, the Graeme Frost case is a perfect illustration of the modern right-wing political machine at work, and in particular its routine reliance on character assassination in place of honest debate. If service members oppose a Republican war, they’re “phony soldiers”; if Michael J. Fox opposes Bush policy on stem cells, he’s faking his Parkinson’s symptoms; if an injured 12-year-old child makes the case for a government health insurance program, he’s a fraud.

Meanwhile, leading conservative politicians, far from trying to distance themselves from these smears, rush to embrace them. And some people in the news media are still willing to be used as patsies.

A Traditional Media Person gets it exactly right.

This is one where the wingnuts finally went over a line that EVERY sane person thinks is too far and the Republicans, including elected members like Senator Mitch McConnell are following merrily along.

I hope they realize that if their God does exist, this is the kind of shit that will make him toss them into hell. I will bring the marshmallows!

Read the whole thing at The New York Times with a thanks to the always wonderful Digby for pointing it out

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Congratulations to Nobel Laureate and Next president of these Unites States of America, Al Gore

I told you to watch This site


Two well-respected US peace activists, CODEPINK and Global Exchange cofounder Medea Benjamin and retired Colonel and diplomat Ann Wright, were denied entry into Canada today (Wednesday, October 3). The two women were headed to Toronto to discuss peace and security issues at the invitation of the Toronto Stop the War Coalition.

And this sort of bullshit makes me ashamed.

How many times do I have to say it ... It is all about stifling dissent. If you are no longer able to travel abroad because you spoke out how many people are just going to say "screw it, it isnt worth it"?

I will freely admit that I sometimes wonder if I am making a mistake being so open about my identity on here. But then the drugs kick in and all those paranoid feelings go away .......

Read more at Politics’n'Poetry

NFL in Toronto

Believing there is a real possibility of an NFL franchise coming to Toronto, the owners of the Toronto Argonauts have begun laying the groundwork to buy that team in partnership with other owners in the CFL.

David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski, who purchased the Argos out of bankruptcy in the fall of 2003, have long worried that the arrival of a National Football League team might endanger the 130-year-old franchise, wipe out their substantial investment in the Canadian Football League, and damage the viability of the league as a whole.

I think that while this is an interesting story I have to agree with Bob McCown at The Fan that there will never be an NFL team in Toronto as long as the the economics of the league are driven by the US television contract. Last time that I looked, the ratings for Toronto do not show up when Neilsen does its thing for Monday Night Football.

Read more at the Globe and Mail

Nancy Pelosi Doesn't Get it

"Look," she said, the chicken breast on her plate untouched. "I had, for five months, people sitting outside my home, going into my garden in San Francisco, angering neighbors, hanging their clothes from trees, building all kinds of things -- Buddhas? I don't know what they were -- couches, sofas, chairs, permanent living facilities on my front sidewalk."

Unsmilingly, she continued: "If they were poor and they were sleeping on my sidewalk, they would be arrested for loitering, but because they have 'Impeach Bush' across their chest, it's the First Amendment."

Though opposed to the war herself, Pelosi has for months been a target of an antiwar movement that believes she hasn't done enough. Cindy Sheehan has announced a symbolic challenge to Pelosi in California's 8th Congressional District. And the speaker is seething.

"We have to make responsible decisions in the Congress that are not driven by the dissatisfaction of anybody who wants the war to end tomorrow," Pelosi told the gathering at the Sofitel, arranged by the Christian Science Monitor. Though crediting activists for their "passion," Pelosi called it "a waste of time" for them to target Democrats. "They are advocates," she said. "We are leaders."

Nancy Pelosi has acted more like a reasonably competent administrator than a leader. The sad part it seems like she thinks there isn't a difference.

Story at the Washington Post via Digby

Carter says U.S. tortures prisoners -

Let the swiftboating begin

Go read it

waiting for the world's best 12 year old

Not that anyone cares, but this is my blog so ...

My 12 year old is visiting me from Nova Scotia for a couple days and I am so absolutely thrilled to see her that I can barely express it.

Being divorced isn't really that bad. Actually, my ex and I get along great and she regularly calls me "the world's best ex-husband". But being a Dad and living a 90 minute flight (and a 90 minute drive) away from my daughter really sucks. I know that I chose to live this far away but ... sigh

Yeah, Yeah.. I know.. stop whining Rob

Anyway ... not sure if I have any "regular readers", I doubt it but hey you never know , but if I do.. I won't likely be posting much the next few days. Talk among yourselves.
air canada sucks .. just saying that as i sit around my living room waiting to hear if the flight from NS is going to be delayed again

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Statins cut risk of heart attack in men with elevated cholesterol: study

Men who take statin drugs for moderately high cholesterol – even if they don't have any history of heart attack – may significantly reduce their risk of heart disease or heart attack, a new study suggests.

The study of 6,595 men, published in Thursday's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, was conducted between February 1991 and May 1995. Participants who were chosen, based on their cholesterol level, had elevated LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, with one reading indicating a level of 4 mmol per litre or higher, and one reading of 6 mmol per litre or lower.

Maybe I am missing something here but I thought that this was kind of the general point of taking them. I would have been flabbergasted if this hadn't been the case. Any comments?

full story at

Newfoundland Election Results

Danny Williams and his Progressive Conservatives won a landslide victory in Newfoundland and Labrador on Tuesday night, with a massive lead over their political opponents.

A buoyant Williams said he was "truly, truly overwhelmed by what has happened here tonight," and added he was humbled by the magnitude of the landslide.

From the start, the PCs were polling about 69.5 per cent of the vote, giving the CBC's decision desk confidence in projecting a second mandate about 20 minutes after the polls closed.

At the end of the night, Williams's Tories had taken 43 seats, the Liberals 3 and the NDP 1.

Williams's vote share is the highest since the 1949 election, when Joseph R. Smallwood's Liberals formed the first post-Confederation government with 70 per cent.

Yeah, I know I am a day late on this but I was off injuring myself bowling last night(dont ask)

69.5% ... wow.. those are the kinds of numbers that you don't often see in places where you actually have 3 functioning political parties.

Full story from

Silver Lining?

By galvanizing universal health care's advocates, Bush's veto might do a lot more to make universal health care likely than expanding S-CHIP ever would have.

An interesting take on this and one that I have to say that I am prepared to ponder hopefully

Go read the entire article at at

Ezra Klein To Michelle Malkin: Let's Debate

I will debate Michelle Malkin anytime, anywhere, in any forum (save HotAir TV, which she controls), on the particulars of S-CHIP. We can set the debate at a think tank, on BloggingHeads, over IM. Hell, we can set up the podiums in the shrubbery outside my house, since that seems to be the sort of venue she naturally seeks out. And then if Malkin wants an argument, she can have one. We'll talk S-CHIP and nothing but -- nothing of the Frosts, or Congress, or her blog.


So c'mon Michelle: Let's debate health care. Prove to the world that you really want "a good-faith argument." We can talk crowd-out, and cross-subsidization, and whether lower-middle class entrepreneurs are able to procure health care on the individual market. If this is a policy argument you care so deeply about as to travel to the Frost family's house to see if they really deserved S-CHIP benefits, surely you'll want to set up a web cam and talk through the issue.
I would pay actually cold hard cash to see this. But, it will never happen.

Go Read the comments

Turkey vs Kurds

Turkey took a step toward a military operation in Iraq on Tuesday, as its top political and military leaders issued a statement authorizing troops to cross the Iraq border to eliminate separatist Kurdish rebel camps in the northern region.

Turkey moved toward military action in the face of strong opposition by the United States, which is anxious to maintain peace in the region, one of the rare areas of stability in conflict-torn Iraq. But more than two dozen Turkish soldiers have been killed in recent days, and the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan seemed far more determined than before to act decisively...

A more cynical person than myself would say that the Bush administration will try to spin this as Turkey joining the "Coalition of the Willing" rather than as a member of NATO tossing a big middle finger at them.

From Tristero at Hullabaloo

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

More Thoughts on stifling dissent

And that, my friend, is what is truly stunning. I say a lot of nasty things about right-wing crazies such as Dan Riehl. But it would never occur to me to invade his privacy by posting live dispatches about his living conditions from the shrub outside his driveway. What Malkin and her fellow travelers are doing is creepy and immoral, and they don’t seem to give a damn about it one way or another. The idea that these people make up any significant part of our population- even if it’s only 30%- is terrifying to me. Where does this sort of viciousness come from?

I think that this is what happens when a wounded animal is cornered. The wingnuts know that their time is drawing to a close. The American people have seen through the bullshit and are finally realizing what an ugly bunch of folks they have let run their country for the last 7 years or so.

I think this is going to get uglier before it ends and there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth that we should all just get along but we have to remember one thing. Liberals don't do shit like this. Period.

It is perfectly legitimate to play political hardball and I hope both sides do because frankly it is fun to watch. But this is not hardball, this is the stalking and intimidation of a little kid and his family. You cannot "just get along" with people that are capable of this kind of behaviour. You have to confront them and call them on their bullshit at every opportunity and if that gets you called shrill or angry then so be it.

If you are not angry at what has been happening to America in the last 7 years then you aren't paying attention.

From Sadly, No!


The always astute Watertiger has this about right.

Thanks to the always wonderful Digby for the pointer

Then just frigging ask them

A new survey says more than 10 per cent of doctors who moved to the United States after graduating from a Canadian medical school would seriously consider returning home to Canada to practise.

The Canadian Medical Association conducted the survey in April. It shows 13 per cent of respondents would be "likely" or "very likely" to return home while more than half of the almost 1,540 respondents would be willing to hear about practice opportunities in Canada.

Canada has a serious shortage of doctors and it is only going to get worse. What better way to get back on track than to have the ones that were trained in Canada, at enormous taxpayer expense I might add, come back home.

There are about 8000 Canadian trained doctors in the US. My quick math says that it would be possible to get 1000 of them to move home. That would get the equivalent of about 1/2 of one year's graduates(pdf) from all Canadian medical schools. Not a lot, but a start

Full story at

This is how you WIN hearts and minds

"If the Canadians pay the police, the police won't steal things from us," Noor Rahman, a store owner in Kandahar city, told the Globe. "If they have a good salary, maybe they will behave.

"The Canadians will give them good training and weapons and monthly salaries, and this way they can clean the Taliban from our area."

Just a little thing. Make sure that the police get paid. But that means that they don't have to steal to feed their families and they can spend more time being ... police.

Full story at

'Honest Ed' Mirvish honoured on soda pop bottle

Seattle-based Jones Soda has brewed up a tribute to the late businessman and theatre impresario Ed Mirvish with a limited-edition run of cream soda released this month featuring a portrait of the beloved Torontonian.

Lisa Giroux, Jones Soda regional manager, said Russell Lazar — the general manager of the discount bargain shop Honest Ed's in Toronto — gave the soda company the green light to proceed.

A limited run of cream soda made by the Jones Soda Co. features a tribute to the late Ed Mirvish.A limited run of cream soda made by the Jones Soda Co. features a tribute to the late Ed Mirvish.

"We chose to feature Ed Mirvish because he was such an icon in Canadian entertainment and Honest Ed's has been a loyal customer to Jones Soda for quite some time," Giroux said.

When I lived in Toronto in the late 70's (wow doesnt that sound weird), I went to Honest Ed's all the time. A truly great store and Ed was an utterly larger than life character. I am so pleased to see him being celebrated like this.

And let's not forget that he did a thing or two for the theatre in Toronto as well

Story from

Little Mosque on the Prairie

Little Mosque on the Prairie, the CBC sitcom which is winning awards around the world for its fond depiction of a Muslim community, has won yet another honour, this one for promoting harmony.

The makers of the show will receive the Search for Common Ground award from a U.S. human rights organization that promotes collaborative problem-solving as an alternative to conflict.

New Imam Amaar (Zaib Shaikh), left, and the fictional town of Mercy's original Imam, Baber (Manoj Sood), argue in Little Mosque on the Prairie.New Imam Amaar (Zaib Shaikh), left, and the fictional town of Mercy's original Imam, Baber (Manoj Sood), argue in Little Mosque on the Prairie.

The award was previously won by Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, newsman Ted Koppel and Muhammad Ali.

Nice to see that a TV show can be made that shows "the other" as just ordinary folks. I have to admit that when I first heard of this show I assumed that it was a joke waiting for a punchline but I am pleased to have been wrong.

Read the story at CBC

Rush Limbaugh is still a big fat idiot - Phony Children Edition

When right-wingers attack soldiers who disagree with them on Iraq or kids who disagree with them on health care, that is indeed where Rush and his “hate radio” buddies “come in.” The right-wing attack machine personally assaults anyone for daring to disagree.

Just like I said Yesterday, this is all about shutting off dissent.

Go read more at Think Progress

Friday Morning Must View Website

Not that I know anything at all but this place might have an interesting announcement on Friday Morning

Just saying ... You never know who might win

The Young Turk(s)

I am doing my usual morning ritual of having a diet coke and a bagel and listening to Cenk Uygur over at The Young Turks. I guess it takes a former Republican to get properly pissed off at what has become of his country because of the folks that he used to run with.

One of these days I have to get around to subscribing because while I was never a huge fan of Jill Pike it was a big loss to not have Ben Mankiewicz anymore.

On a related topic... Is it too much to ask Air America Radio to update their website so that it doesn't show Jill, Ben and Cenk .. come on .. geez

OK, off to work I go

Monday, October 8, 2007

Nine Inch Nails - Survivalism

In honour of NIN becoming free agents

Beyond slimy

Here are the facts that the right-wing distorted in order to attack young Graeme:

1) Graeme has a scholarship to a private school. The school costs $15K a year, but the family only pays $500 a year.

2) His sister Gemma attends another private school to help her with the brain injuries that occurred due to her accident. The school costs $23,000 a year, but the state pays the entire cost.

3) They bought their “lavish house” sixteen years ago for $55,000 at a time when the neighborhood was less than safe.

4) Last year, the Frost’s made $45,000 combined. Over the past few years they have made no more than $50,000 combined.

5) The state of Maryland has found them eligible to participate in the CHIP program.

Desperate to defend Bush’s decision to cut off millions of children from health care, the right wing has stooped to launching baseless and uninformed attacks against a 12 year old child and his family.

This is a really scary story because it shows exactly the lengths to which the loonier fringes will go in order to intimidate dissenters. And make no mistake, this is all about shutting down dissent. If you dare speak out you will be targeted.

Brrrrr .. getting chilly don't you think?

Read the rest at Think Progress.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Villeneuve takes it slow and steady

The entire industry was tense about this race leading up to the green flag because of a combination of the COT and Villeneuve, who was widely criticized for picking Talladega for his first start.

But Villeneuve, who qualified sixth, dropped to the very back of the pack at the start and stayed out of everyone's way as he quietly finished 21st.

"I'm glad that I didn't create any problems with the drivers," he said. "The finger was being pointed before the race, and that was understandable. The goal was to stay out of trouble and not make enemies."

Villeneuve is a consummate professional that knows what side his bread is buttered on. He has spent a lot of years on second rate teams and he knows how to just survive a race rather than pushing past his and the car's limits.

Read the story over at ESPN

IOKIYAR - Fundraising edition

Here's an amusing postscript to the whole Rush Limbaugh flap: Far from conceding that there's anything wrong with Rush's remark that troops who don't agree with Bush are "phony soldiers," Republicans in D.C. are now raising money off of Rush's sliming of antiwar troops.

Not that I am surprised anymore by the shamelessness of this bunch but I have to admit that this took some balls to do.

Full story at Talking Points Memo

Campaign Debt Forgiveness

The situation is bleak at the National Republican Congressional Committee. The GOP's House committee has $1.6 million in the bank, but is $4 million in debt. The NRCC has struggled to convince incumbents to avoid retirements, and its recruiting efforts have largely been busts. Two weeks ago, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) was so discouraged by the campaign committee's plight that he threatened to fire its chief strategists, and NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) considered resigning.

I often hear things like "campaign debt isnt real" because it is usually never paid back. I know that if I get a debt forgiven it is treated as income. What happens for debts to campaigns that get forgiven? Are they treated as contributions in kind?

Looking to be educated on this one.

Full story, which isnt actually about this, is over at Talking Points Memo

Jim Carrey - Message for Ban Ki Moon on Burma

Jim Carrey again calls for people to support the world's only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi. He decries Burma's military regime for recruiting more child soldiers than any other country in the world, destroying 3,000 villages in eastern Burma, and forcing 1.5 million refugees to flee. And he appeals to viewers to help her by emailing Ban Ki Moon at the United Nations using this address:

This message is brought to you by:
The Human Rights Action Center

U.S. Campaign for Burma

I did my part, did you?

Thanks to Crooks And Liars for pointing this out

Bye Joe

With the New York Yankees one loss away from being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, owner George Steinbrenner added fuel to the fire by stating manager Joe Torre needs his team to advance to the next round in order to keep his job.

"His job is on the line," Steinbrenner told Sunday's edition of the Bergen Record. "I think we're paying him a lot of money. He's the highest-paid manager in baseball, so I don't think we'd take him back if we don't win this series."

Now normally I don't put a lot of stock in the old "fire the manager when they don't win" theory of professional sports. But when you have consistently the highest payroll in the majors and the guy who is likely to be the league MVP along with various other players that are certainly among the best in the league and the best that you can do is get knocked out of the playoffs in the first round 3 years in a row there is something fundamentally wrong with what you are doing as a manager.

Read the story atCBC

Another Award For Larry Craig

- Sen. Larry Craig has been chosen for induction into the Idaho Hall of Fame, despite his well-publicized arrest and guilty plea in an airport sex sting, officials said.

The nonprofit Idaho Hall of Fame Association picked Craig in March, months before he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after a Minneapolis airport police officer accused him of soliciting sex in the men's restroom, the organization's board chairman said.

"Larry Craig has made a great contribution to Idaho over the period of 20-some years. At the time it was considered, this other matter had not come up," Harry Magnuson told The Spokesman-Review newspaper Saturday.

But some Republicans said the honor is inappropriate now. Kootenai County Republican precinct committeeman Phil

Thompson said Idaho Hall of Fame officials should consider at least postponing the induction. Video Watch Craig's defiant about-face »

"Maybe in 10 or 15 years we can think of this hall of fame stuff. Now is not the time," he said. "It's a sad day to be a Republican."

Now personally I would say that any day is a sad day to be a Republican but that is just me.

Go read the gory details over at

Atrios has this exactly right

The only reason to have an individual mandate plan instead of a sign everyone up and pay for it out of taxes plan is... actually, I can't think of one at all.

Go Read

Just saying ...

Canadian federal election of 1993 (officially, the 35th general election) was held on October 25 of that year to elect members to the Canadian House of Commons of the 35th Parliament of Canada. Fourteen parties competed for the 295 seats in the House at that time. It was one of the most eventful elections in Canada's history, with more than half of the electorate switching parties from the 1988 election.

The election was called by the new Progressive Conservative Party leader, Prime Minister Kim Campbell, near the end of her party's five-year mandate. When she assumed office, the party was deeply unpopular and was further weakened by the emergence of new parties that were competing for its core supporters. Campbell's initial efforts helped the party recover somewhat in pre-election polls before the writs were issued. However, this momentum did not last, and the Conservatives suffered the most lopsided defeat for a governing party at the federal level, losing half their vote from 1988 and all but two of their 151 seats. Though they recovered slightly in subsequent elections, the Progressive Conservatives would never be a major force in Canadian politics again. In 2003, the Progressive Conservative Party disappeared entirely when it merged with the larger Canadian Alliance party to create the new Conservative Party of Canada.

Kim Campbell's approval rating just before the election was called was 37%

Gotta love multi-party parliamentary systems!

Taking responsibility

I posted this over at Lawyers, Guns and Money and figured I might as well repeat it here for emphasis

No one that gets paid to write opinion pieces about public policy for a living is allowed to be surprised that their pieces impact public policy. And no one that writes in favour of going to war is allowed to be surprised when real people die in the war that they supported.

Hitchens, Friedman and the rest are all to be reviled for their roles in this debacle and they are never to be allowed to forget what they have done.

A tale of two Davids

David Ignatius: Sunday, October 7, 2007
But one knowledgeable official argues that any "surgical strikes" against the al-Quds Force, as discussed by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker, would come only in response to a high-casualty attack -- say, on U.S. forces in Iraq -- that could be traced to Iran.

David Petraeus: Sunday, October 7, 2007
The U.S. military commander in Iraq stepped up accusations over the weekend that Iran was stoking violence in Iraq and said Tehran's ambassador to Baghdad was a member of the Revolutionary Guards Qods force.

Washington accuses the force, the elite unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, of inciting bloodshed in Iraq and of training and equipping militias who have attacked U.S. troops.

General David Petraeus, speaking at a U.S. military base about 30 km (20 miles) from the Iranian border on Saturday, said Iran was giving advanced weaponry to militias in Iraq.

Do these people not even bother to try to fool us anymore? I mean come on, put in the effort at least.

Glenn Greenwald hits it out of the park, again

That is the core ideology of the Beltway political class. Even when the President gets caught breaking the law, it is the duty of Democrats to "compromise" by going to the White House and figuring out how to write nice legislation to make the whole thing legal. If they don't do that, it means they are listening to the vile radicals who control their party and they will lose, and they deserve to.

It is a perfect reflection of our political process to go and read the two Sunday Op-Eds by the Washington Post's Very Serious and Well-Regarded columnists and see that both of them contain nothing but one quote after the next from Bush loyalists, reciting the Bush storyline perfectly and without a molecule of critical thought.

That is how our opinion-making elite functions -- still. They go to their favorite GOP Beltway friends, write down what they say, and then announce that the only way for Democrats to avoid disaster is to repudiate their rabid, angry, radical partisan base and to join in with the heroic efforts of the honorable, Serious Bush warriors to protect America and find Serious solutions to our problems. That trite storyline -- and the slothful, deceitful template for advancing it -- never dies, even as the entire country outside of their Thirty-Percenter comrades has abandoned it. Anyone who has doubts about whether that is true should just read each paragraph of the Ignatius and Broder columns today.

Go read the rest of this truly excellent essay at Salon because it says everything that I keep thinking about punditry.

Fortunately, he can actually write, so it makes sense.

Unlike my scribblings on the matter.

David Broder ...sigh

Congress as a whole rated only 29 percent approval, down 14 points from its start in January. The reason: People think it has been spinning its wheels. By 82 percent to 16 percent, those polled said it has accomplished little or nothing this year. Half blame Bush and the Republicans; a quarter, the Democrats; and a separate fifth, both parties.

Cole, who admits Republicans hurt themselves in 2006 with scandals and out-of-control spending, said the poll confirmed for him a comment he heard this week from a Republican colleague. Speaking of the Democrats, he said, "My God, they're dragging themselves down to our level."

It all adds up, Cole said, to a political environment reminiscent of 1992 -- a tough year for entrenched incumbents of both parties who suddenly saw their margins shrink or disappear. "The American people are rising up in disgust," Cole said, "and incumbents will pay. It's not anti-Republican anymore. It's anti-Washington."

And that, boys and girls, is why it is very important to keep our eye on the ball. It is in the interests of the Republicans for the government to look ineffective.
Everyone that cares about the direction of the country after the next election has to remember how we got in this mess. It was because we had a President who is incompetent and a bunch of Republican lapdogs (with some Bush Dogs tossed in) let him do everything that popped into his head without providing any meaningful oversight.

Imagine, if you will, Hillary Clinton with a Republican House and Senate. Not a pretty picture is it?

If any of the following things is true:
  • If you care about getting some sort of national health care that actually covers everyone
  • If you care about getting the hell out of Iraq in your lifetime
  • If you care about getting back to having a country that is actually admired around the world rather than one that is scorned or pitied
  • If you care that we are not taking care of our national infrastructure
  • If you care about having an immigration policy that reflects what the country needs rather than just "build a wall and ship them home"
then it is incumbent on you to keep reminding your friends that the reason that "nothing gets done" is because everytime something good comes along it is either obstructed by the Republicans and the small group of enabler Democrats or vetoed by the President.

Remember, friends don't let friends vote Republican.

Read the horror show that is David Broder at
I want to thank Atrios for forcing me to read this.

Multiple Ticketing and the Senate

So much for traveling like the rest of us.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) this week quietly inserted a provision into a Defense Department spending bill that allows senators to continue booking multiple tickets with airlines to get home to their states in the most expeditious way possible.

Rather than wait around for the committees of jurisdiction to handle the matter, Reid and McConnell on their own approved a one-sentence provision, unrelated to the underlying Pentagon funding bill, changing Senate rules to clarify that the multiple-reservation benefits were not actually gifts from the airlines.

"It is not a gift for a commercial airline to allow a member, officer or employee to make multiple reservations on scheduled flights consistent with Senate travel regulations," the Reid-McConnell resolution reads.

"Senators Reid and McConnell thought a formal rules change, not just guidance from the Ethics Committee, was preferable," said Jim Manley, spokesman for Reid. "Under the new law, companies may face criminal penalties if they violate the gift rules, so a rules change eliminates ambiguity. The new rule provides a clear framework for the process that was already under way."

I actually do not have a problem with this. If we want our Senators to be able to work in Washington and have any ability to get back to their home states on a regular basis we have to realize that there are going to be things that they will need to have happen that are not exactly the same as the "average person".

I spent a lot of years as a consultant flying back and forth on a weekly basis and I will tell you that it sucks to have a client decide that they absolutely have to have a meeting 1/2 hour after the flight that you booked is supposed to leave. I cannot even imagine trying to book flights when your schedule is dependent on floor votes.

This isn't about them being able to cut to the front of the line for a vacation. This is about allowing the people that we have chosen to represent our interests to have just a little bit of sanity in what must otherwise be a miserable travel life. In this one case they are not like "the rest of us" so let's not pretend that they should be treated in the same way.

Jan Schakowsky Gets it

Placing further restraints on private security firms is just one of the Iraq-related measures that Schakowsky is urging the House to consider this fall. Rather than pivoting away from the war, as the Senate has following a slew of recent defeats, Schakowsky and her antiwar colleagues want to keep the drumbeat rolling in their chamber.

"Whether or not the Senate has the votes, whether or not the president signs a bill, we have got to make the fight," she said.
It is so nice to see some more of the folks in Washington getting a clue and realizing that if they want bad stuff to stop happening then they have to make sure that the people responsible for it are seen to be responsible for it.


Incomplete tasks ...

Probably no one in the White House has seen Iraq up close more than Meghan O'Sullivan. She served as an adviser to initial U.S. occupation Administrator L. Paul Bremer in Baghdad before Bush brought her to the White House, where she became deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan. When she decided to move on last spring, Bush asked her to wait for a few months and spend the summer in Iraq helping to push political leaders there toward reconciliation, a task as yet incomplete.

I think that calling political reconciliation in Iraq "incomplete" is pretty indicative of what is wrong with media coverage of the people that brought us the Iraq debacle. Call it what it is, an abject failure. The government is in worse shape with fewer members in the coalition than it was in on January 1, 2007. Meghan O'Sullivan's "pushing" did nothing positive.

I am tired of it sounding like they have been working so hard and "well darn it things just didn't quite work out yet". These people broke a country (two if you want to count the mess they made over here) and they don't have the vaguest idea as to how to fix it. They should not be allowed to hold any job of significant responsibility again ... ever.