Tuesday, August 10

Go, Costco! Go, Costco!

We've been telling you this for a while: Costco contributes to Democrats. Wal-Mart/Sam's Club donates to Republicans. How are customers voting? With their feet - big time!
Consumers vote by shopping. And so far this year, they're voting more for Costco than Wal-Mart, yet another illustration of the Two Americas shopping theme. Costco's customers plainly have cash to spend. For the four weeks ended Aug. 1, Costco's same-store U.S. sales rose 9 percent; in the 48 weeks ended Aug. 1, they were up an impressive 10 percent. At Wal-Mart, the registers haven't been ringing quite so loudly. In its most recent four-week sales period, same-store sales rose a meager 2.4 percent. For August, Wal-Mart sees same-store growth of between 2 percent to 4 percent - about the same growth rate as the economy, if not slower.

So far this year, the Democratic-leaning chain has also been winning in the forum in which investors vote on company's future prospects. Over the long-term, Wal-Mart has done far better than Costco. But look at charts showing the relative two-year and one-year performance (fittingly, Costco is the blue line and Wal-Mart the red), and the Democratic discounter has been kicking the tar out of the Republican discounter.

From the Pen of: Pat Oliphant

Oh. My. God.

Anne sent this along - a pic of John McCain giving up another several dozen notches of his self-respect in Florida today...

Brings a tear to your eye and chunks to your esophagus...


That's the sound of "Swift Boat Veterans for Bush Truth" imploding. Like I always say, "Cream Rises, Crap Sinks."
Anti-Kerry Book Scribe Sorry for Slurs

One of the authors of a new anti-John Kerry book frequently posted comments on a conservative Web site describing Muslims and Catholics as pedophiles and Pope John Paul II as senile.

But as he prepared to launch the book, "Unfit for Command," Jerry Corsi apologized for the remarks in an interview with The Associated Press Tuesday, saying they were meant as a joke and he never intended to offend anyone.

In chat room entry last year on freerepublic.com, Corsi writes: "Islam is a peaceful religion -- just as long as the women are beaten, the boys buggered and the infidels are killed."

In another entry, he says: "So this is what the last days of the Catholic Church are going to look like. Buggering boys undermines the moral base and the lawyers rip the gold off the Vatican altars. We may get one more Pope, when this senile one dies, but that's probably about it."

Corsi, who described himself as a "devout Catholic," said the comments are being taken out of context. "I considered them a joke," said Corsi, who owns a financial services company and has written extensively on the anti-war movement.

In a March posting, Corsi discussed Kerry's faith, writing: "After he married TerRAHsa, didn't John Kerry begin practicing Judaism? He also has paternal grandparents that were Jewish. What religion is John Kerry?"

Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, are Catholic.

"I don't stand by any of those comments and I apologize if they offended anybody," Corsi said.

The Kerry campaign called Corsi's Web chat postings disgusting.
More of Corsi's hilarious jokes can be seen here. This is one dark and deeply disturbed little man.

Oh, by the way, Jerry - Judaism is handed down on the maternal side of the family, not paternal. I mean someone as knowledgeable as you are about religions of the world oughta know that. You lying, steaming pile of snot.

A Slow News Day - Until Now

oooOOOOoo. Isn't this interesting. Bloomberg wants to give NYC's first responders the same pay as desk clerks and DMV staffers.
NYC Fire, Police Unions May Strike at RNC
New York Fire, Police Unions Threaten Strike During Republican National Convention

Police officers and firefighters announced an impasse Tuesday in their contract negotiations with the city and refused to rule out an illegal strike or sickouts during the Republican National Convention.

Off-duty police officers have recently been showing up at Mayor Michael Bloomberg's daily public appearances and picketing outside Madison Square Garden, the site of the Republican National Convention beginning Aug. 30.

"Everyone has a limit, and the mayor needs to know we're close to our limit," said Stephen Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

"Mike Bloomberg says we're no different than people that push paper," said Cassidy. "It's an insult to the firefighters and police officers who risk their lives every day." He said more than 1,100 New York firefighters have died in the history of the department, including more than 300 on Sept. 11, 2001.

Firefighters have been without a contract since May 31, 2002, and police since July 31, 2002.

Bloomberg has said the city cannot afford to give significant raises to municipal unions.

Hey! Let's Get the Whole Family Scared!

Duck and Cover, 2004 style.
Ad campaign urges employers, families to plan for emergency

WASHINGTON - The Homeland Security Department is enlisting allies in its effort to prepare the nation for another terrorist attack: your kids and your boss.

Starting next month, children in grades 4 though 8 and employers nationwide will be asked to help get families and companies better prepared to respond to a crisis. (Related story: Administration says attack averted)

In schools, on the Internet and in TV and radio ads, youngsters will be introduced to a new Homeland Security mascot: a dog (an American shepherd) that will be named in a contest. The campaign, using the dog and a set of Ad Council advertisements, will encourage families to develop an emergency plan and talk about where kids should go, who will pick them up and how they will make contact.
Let's name him something lovable, kids. How about...Tom Ridge?

One Down...

From Radio Daily News...

Since the early 1990s, Rush Limbaugh's three-hour radio talk show could be heard every Monday through Friday on an Arkansas River Valley radio station. At 11 a.m. July 1, however, the conservative talk show host's voice was silent when listeners tuned in to Russellville radio station KCAB (980 AM).

River Valley Radio's general manager explained Friday the decision to not renew the station's annual contract with Limbaugh had nothing to do with previous allegations of Oxycontin abuse. "It was strictly a business decision," Jim Kelley said. "Rush Limbaugh was one of the first shows we broadcast when KCAB came back on the air in the early 1990s. I listened to Rush Limbaugh, and it was a part of the day that attracted many listeners.

"However, over the past few years, sponsorship for the show has dwindled to the point we had one sponsor for the show last year (June 30, 2003 through July 1, 2004). The bottom line is we were losing money on the show for the past year, so we asked not to renew our annual contract with Rush Limbaugh earlier this year."

Monday, August 9

Fahrenheit 9/11 DVD Dropping October 5th: Pre-Order It Now

Fahrenheit 9/11 DVD by Michael Moore

Be among the first. Click the graphic.

GOP: "We Foiled a Plot! We Foiled a Plot!"

Terrorists? Please. This is what the Republicans are bragging about.
Republicans contend they foiled a plot by America Coming Together, a 527 organization that supports the Democratic Party, to disrupt the (July 31st Dick Cheney) New Mexico rally.
Thank God, they're protecting us from hearing opposition.


DANGEROUS. Repeating: DANGEROUS. That's the only way to describe the scope of the decisions made by our anti-terrorist geniuses. First, we show the world what gets armed guarding in our cities when they poot out a terror alert. Then we stupidly out an al Qaeda mole which Pakistan "arrested" in a rush to show we're supposedly winning the war on terror - horrifying Pakistan and crushing their intel plans, along with putting the man in mortal danger.

And now - AGAIN - Pakistan, the only country producing results, gets this from us. Everything we now touch - DANGEROUS. This story is from the BBC - the quote marks around "war on terror" are theirs.
Pakistan protests over US sting

Pakistan has protested to the United States over what it says was an FBI sting operation involving a fake plot to kill Pakistan's UN envoy.

Islamabad called the operation bizarre and mind-boggling.

A spokesman said it had endangered the life of Munir Akram, Pakistan's permanent envoy to the United Nations.

Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman Masood Khan asked why the US authorities had not picked an American "target" instead.

"It is mind-boggling why they could not use the name of an American functionary," he told a news conference.

"This technique and methodology is tantamount to auto-suggestion and could have endangered the life of our ambassador," he said.

Pakistan has been a close ally of the US in its "war on terror".
We're about to fucrew that up royally. Still want to try to defend all this? We dare you.

The Broken Campaign Promises of George W. Bush

Naturally, they'll tell you that all bets were taken off the table on 9/11, but most of these have nothing to do with that. Too numerous to post here, see them at the Center for American Progress. Mind-numbing. Just mind-numbing.

W, The Sportsman

Flashback, Yale, over 30 years ago...

Even in college, he knew - there's nothing more effective than a pre-emptive sucker punch against a defenseless opponent.

From the Pen of: Jack Ohman

The Right Way and the Wrong Way

You see, The Clinton White House did it the way you're SUPPOSED to do it. The intelligence community followed leads - CLANDESTINELY - and thwarted the millennium bomb attack on LAX. Quietly. Effectively. To the point that I'm willing to bet more than half of Americans still don't even know it happened.

(Flashback: March, 2001 - yes, six months before 9/11)
Algerian planned millennium attack

Prosecutors Tuesday said an Algerian national planned to bomb New Year's 2000 celebrations in the United States, but authorities foiled the plot in a "law enforcement success story."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Gonzalez outlined the government's case in opening statements against Ahmed Ressam, 33, who authorities say has ties to Osama bin Laden's terrorist network.

The Algerian national was arrested in Port Angeles, Wash., on Dec. 14, 1999, after crossing the Canada-U.S. border with a car allegedly loaded with bomb-making material.
That's called protecting America without scaring it senseless.

Today, the Bush White House screams its intel from the rooftops the nanosecond they get information to prove to voters that they're working on the terrorist problem.

We call that reckless and irresponsible opportunism - and so does the most effective country we have in trying to nail this thing.

The evidence of this administration's inability to protect us is really piling up. It's time for them to start taking the advice Bill O'Reilly likes to give us: "JUST SHUT UP."
Pakistani sources: U.S. leak scuttled al Qaeda sting

The effort by U.S. officials to justify raising the terror alert level last week may have shut down an important source of information that has already led to a series of al Qaeda arrests, Pakistani intelligence sources say.

Until U.S. officials leaked the arrest of Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan to reporters, Pakistan had been using him in a sting operation to track down al Qaeda operatives around the world, the sources said.

In background briefings with journalists last week, unnamed U.S. government officials said it was the capture of Khan that provided the information that led Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to announce a higher terror alert level.

The unnamed U.S. officials leaked Khan's name along with confirmation that most of the surveillance data was three or four years old, arguing that its age was irrelevant because al Qaeda planned attacks so far in advance.

Okay. We're Confused. Which One Do We Believe?

U.S: Al Qaeda undermined
White House claims arrests prevented terrorism

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration believes it has undermined Al Qaeda's plans for attacking the United States with the recent arrests of suspected terrorists and the seizure of detailed surveillance of financial buildings.
NYC Tourist Copters Considered for Attacks

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pakistan has given U.S. officials what they consider credible and specific information indicating that al Qaeda has considered using tourist helicopters in attacks in New York City, the New York Times said on Monday, citing U.S. security officials.

A new directive as early as this week will call for increased security measures for helicopter operators, the officials said.

TiVo Alert!

The Big Dog (Bill Clinton for you newbies) joins Jon Stewart on The Daily Show tonight at 11pm ET.

NYC: Leave Your Camera Home

If you're looking for proof of innocent people being held without reason other than they're foreign, here it is.

From my favorite place in the third world, Jamaica, a Gleaner staffer gets the American treatment.
Jamaica in colour at Empire State

THE new security blanket that envelops New York City is intimidating as was experienced by a Gleaner photographer as he captured the glowing lights of the Empire State Building, which was lit up in Jamaica's national colours on the weekend in tribute to the island's 42nd Independence celebrations.

Photographer Errol Anderson was Friday night detained for questioning for several hours by the New York police as he took pictures of the Empire State Building, one of America's most recognised, and now secure landmarks.

The photojournalist was shooting pictures from a vantage point near the Manhattan Post Office at 33rd and 9th avenues shortly after the lights went on. Empire State is at 33rd and 5th avenues.

A federal police officer watching him shooting his camera away at the building, became suspicious of his activities, even though he was wearing easily verifiable identification. The police officer called 9/11 to report the activity of "someone taking pictures of the post office."

The United States Postal Service is a federal agency and any untoward activity around post offices can be cause for alarm.

In addition, with the upcoming Republican Party national convention in New York City, and the heightened security alert, the building of a bridge nearby to accommodate the thousands of people expected at the convention, the overzealous police officer would not listen to the photographer's explanation.

Did Bush Hang Himself?

On the bus to the Hollywood Bowl last night, we noticed the first $1.99 gasoline in a long time. This, like watching dust particles, got me thinking.

These gas prices are obviously a result of circumstances before last weekend's terrorist alert. After those alerts, oil prices jumped to record prices per barrel, and now the $50 mark is in reach.

What were getting at here is this: If Bush wants to include lower prices at the pump as a sign of his deteriorating "turned-the-corner" economy, he'd better knock off his addiction to terror threats.

Oh, Mr. Bush - Something to Check Out, Sir

Reposting - in case it passed by you over the weekend. Here is a heart-wrenching photo essay by Newsweek photographer Robert King. Since our president is too busy stuffing his campaign pockets to be bothered with this unoptomistic nonsense, you better do it for him.

Horribly sad.

Sunday, August 8

Franks: Kerry a "Patriot" and "Absolutely" Qualified

And he's hanging out close to the fence in his support for Bush, huh...?
Franks Says Kerry Qualified for President

Retired Gen. Tommy Franks, producer of the early military successes in Afghanistan and Iraq, said Sunday that criticism of John Kerry's war record is political hyperbole and Kerry is "absolutely" qualified to be commander in chief.

A year into retirement, Franks also said he has not decided whether to endorse President Bush for re-election. "I don't know yet. I'm leaning in that direction," he said on ABC's "This Week."

Franks, whose hometown is Midland, Texas - where Bush keeps a ranch - has been making television appearances in recent days to publicize his just-published memoirs, "American Soldier."

"Do you think Senator Kerry is qualified to be commander in chief?" Franks was asked.

"Absolutely!" he said.

But like the criticism of Kerry, the retired general said the Democratic nominee's recent harsh words about the war plan Franks created in Afghanistan was motivated by politics and his failure to capture al-Qaida network leader Osama bin Laden.

"I think a presidential election year is a marvelous thing. I think Senator Kerry is a patriot. And I think what ... what we're doing is, we're seeing an attempt to sort of draw the lines between the two parties in this country. And I wouldn't have it any other way," Franks said.

Bush Loses Another Franchise

Kerry Leads Bush in Exudation of Optimism

Democrat John F. Kerry has new reason to be cheerful. Kerry leads President Bush on the question of who conveys more optimism, according to a new poll.

The Republican incumbent accused Kerry of being pessimistic. That in turn prompted the Democratic challenger to accuse Bush of being pessimistic and to declare in his nomination acceptance speech that "we are the optimists."

All these professions of hopefulness have evidently paid off for Kerry. The National Annenberg Election Survey run by the University of Pennsylvania showed last week that 42 percent of the independent voters prized by both candidates think Kerry is more optimistic, while 30 percent think Bush is. The same group's poll taken before the Democratic convention had Bush leading the optimism derby with independents by 41 to 34 percent.

Saturday, August 7

Jerome Corsi, PhD., Buckethead Flambe'

So we know about the agenda John O'Neill has against John Kerry in his forthcoming brother-in-arms-trashing book, Unfit for Command. But who's this Jerome Corsi, PhD who's his co-author? Media Matters clues us in - and this will not be pretty.
- Corsi on Islam: "a worthless, dangerous Satanic religion"

- Corsi on Catholicism: "Boy buggering in both Islam and Catholicism is okay with the Pope as long as it isn't reported by the liberal press"

- Corsi on Muslims: "RAGHEADS are Boy-Bumpers as clearly as they are Women-Haters -- it all goes together"

- Corsi on "John F*ing Commie Kerry": "After he married TerRAHsa, didn't John Kerry begin practicing Judiasm? He also has paternal grandparents that were Jewish. What religion is John Kerry?"

- Corsi on Senator "FAT HOG" Clinton: "Anybody ask why HELLary couldn't keep BJ Bill satisfied? Not lesbo or anything, is she?"
Where did Corsi write these? Why, he's a frequent poster at the Free Republic! Media Matters has all the proof to make you ill. For example, here are some of Corsi's positive and optimistic comments on Chelsea Clinton:
CORSI: According to Talk Magazine, Chubby Chelsea had a very great adventure on 9/11 in NYC and Hell-ary had the details wrong -- oh, it was terrible. (12/07/2001)

CORSI: Did the Journalist see Chubbie Chelsea among the wives. Little Katie Communist [Katie Couric] on the NBC Today show interviewed Hillary this morning and mom is worried sick about Chelsea. She was last seen in Kandahar at a Starbucks. But now, as Little Katie Communist sighed, "Who Knows?" Even British disinformation planted reports such as this grocery crap will be useful. Anyone with information about Chubbie Chelsea's whereabouts should post it now. Mom wants to know her daughter is out of harms way. Mom also wants to be at the center of the story. (11/29/2001)

CORSI: But the real question is: WHERE IS CHUBBIE CHELSEA? Is she in Kabul in danger, looking for a Starbucks? Waldo wants to know. Please, Little Katie Communist, HELP US FIND CHELSEA. THE SITUATION MAY BE URGENT. (11/29/2001)
Nice. Very nice. And oh, so rich in that legendary right-wing homespun humor. Now crawl back under the refrigerator from whence you came.

Will Kerry Knock This One Over the Wall?

He can if it's framed as, "If what we know now is that over 900 U.S. soldiers have died and thousands more have been injured, disfigured and scarred for life - that over ten thousand Iraqi citizens have perished in the rush to war - that no-bid contracts for rebuilding would go to Cheney's companies - that Iraq continues to be a bloody deathtrap with unspeakable terror and fear - and that the evidence of WMDs was a lie - the answer, Mr. Bush, is a clear and emphatic 'NO!'"
Bush wants 'yes or no' from Kerry on war

President Bush challenged Democratic rival John Kerry on Friday to give a yes-or-no answer about whether he would have supported the invasion of Iraq "knowing what we know now" about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction.

Hey, President Flip-Flop...

"We're still not safe," said Bush, who was spending the weekend at his family's oceanfront compound in Maine to attend the wedding of his nephew, George P. Bush, the son of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. He also found time to do some fishing with his twin daughters and father, former President George Bush.
Well, if we're still not safe, then your concession speech the night of November 2nd will be most welcomed.

Bush Supporters - Class with a Capital "ASS"

Typical. Since this happened about 11pm, the cockroaches came out in a cloak of darkness.
Democrats' Rally Turns Into a Shouting Match

It was supposed to be an idyllic image for the Democratic presidential ticket: From a train's rear deck, the running mates would greet 2,000 cheering supporters on a quick nighttime stop in this factory town.

Instead, Sedalia's railroad tracks were the scene of a loud, face-to-face clash late Thursday that spotlighted America's political divide, as supporters of President Bush and his Democratic rival, Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, tried to shout each other down.

Kerry and his running mate, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, struggled to be heard over the din. With police and Secret Service agents keeping the crowd at bay behind makeshift barricades on the tracks, the candidates sought - without success - to calm the commotion.

"My children are on this train," Edwards told the group that was shouting "Four more years!"

Edwards continued: "Show 'em some good Missouri manners, if you don't mind."

"We want Bush!" some yelled.

"Ker-ry!" responded others.

Kerry chuckled.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa," he told his supporters. "Look, let 'em chant, ladies and gentlemen. Because they've only got three more months to chant!"

Sedalia Mayor Bob Wasson called the confrontation "unfortunate," and blamed it on fellow Republicans trying to taint the Kerry-Edwards rally.

"It wasn't just some people who got drunk in a bar and came down and decided to do something," he said. "It was well-orchestrated."

Hello, Kansas City!

From the Kerry blog...

30,000 people gathered outside Union Station to see John Kerry and John Edwards. This was one of the largest rallies of this campaign and pictures simply will not do it justice.

I climbed on top of a truck to get a better view of the crowd and what I saw was shocking. It seemed as though a never ending sea of people extended out from the stage filling every conceivable area of the ground below. (Climbing down from the truck was not nearly as fun as climbing up.)

Count, Pointercount

Bill O'Reilly on his radio show yesterday:
"Bruce Springsteen - you wouldn't last three minutes in the No-Spin Zone."
Hoffmania to O'Reilly:
"Anyone with a gnat's worth of sense couldn't last three minutes watching the No-Spin Zone."

We're Glad but not Gleeful

We always welcome third party people with new ideas, and aren't thoroughly pleased when such voices are silenced. But it is with those mixed emotions that we're glad that the Ralph Nader campaign, which is by his own admission nothing more than an egotistical laboratory experiment, has hit a very severe brick wall. Ralph - you are so good at activism. Please find a more productive way to do it and don't continue this campaign of alienation. Please.
Nader fails to make California ballot

Famed third-party candidate Ralph Nader has failed to gather enough signatures to qualify for the California ballot as an independent after ditching his Green Party label of four years ago.

Nader had submitted slightly more than half of the 153,805 signatures required two hours before Friday's deadline, according to the secretary of state's office.

"We were not there, the last I heard," confirmed Peter Camejo, Nader's running mate and a two-time gubernatorial candidate who lives in Folsom.

The news could spell doom in the nation's biggest voting state for Nader, whom Democrats blamed for costing Democrat Al Gore the 2000 presidential election.

Drawing with Blinders On

Right wing cartoonist for the L.A. Times, Michael Ramirez, seems to have forgotten something here, titled "The Decline of Civilization."

No Arnold Schwarzenegger. No Bo Derek. No Ted Nugent. Gee, I guess those folks just slipped under his radar.

Then there's this morning's Prickly City.

Guess the ratings in New York City and Portland slipped past this fella, too.

Amazing how forgetful some of these guys can be when they try to make a point...

Friday, August 6

Ways You Cannot Imagine Laura Bush Being

Teresa Heinz Kerry talks to three young siblings on the ferry ride between Muskegon, Michigan and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Thanks, Mark)

NewsMax: Your News Source with the Short Memory

Newsmax, today:
O'Neill, who served with John Kerry in Vietnam and has been exposing the Massachusetts Democrat's military record ever since, has terrified Kerry's presidential campaign with the explosive new book.

As NewsMax has reported, O'Neill, a leader of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, has:

# Accused Kerry of exaggerating and even faking his wounds. "He literally is a guy who parades around and pretends to be something he's not," O'Neill said.
Newsmax, May 4, 2004:

O'Neill told NewsMax.com that the medals and their back stories were not the real issue being targeted by the organization, referring to the second paragraph of the letter to Kerry:

"It is our collective judgment that, upon your return from Vietnam, you grossly and knowingly distorted the conduct of the American soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen of that war (including a betrayal of many of us, without regard for the danger your actions caused us.) Further, we believe that you have withheld and/or distorted material facts as to your own conduct in this war."

But it is with regard to the latter sentence of the charge that O'Neill and others get vague.

When asked by NewsMax if they had in mind any potential smoking gun of distortion that might be revealed by an unfettered examination of Kerry's military records, there was no answer forthcoming.

From the Pen of: Ben Sargent

From the Pen of: Jeff Danziger

A Gift to George Elliot and the Swift Boat Kerry Haters

Here's a full-color photo of your fake plastic deflatable hero. Don't stain the monitor, you wretched bucketheads.

George Elliot, Right Wing Flip Flopper

He saw the light! Oh. Wait. Maybe not.
One of presidential candidate John Kerry's Vietnam war comrades, who had appeared to back off his criticism of Kerry's war record, recanted on Friday and said, yes, in fact he did question whether the U.S. senator deserved his medals.

George Elliott appeared to back off an earlier affidavit in which he suggested Kerry did not deserve the Silver Star. In the affidavit, he said, "I was never informed that he had simply shot a wounded, fleeing Viet Cong in the back."

In Friday's Boston Globe, Elliott was quoted as saying: "It was a terrible mistake probably for me to sign the affidavit with those words. I'm the one in trouble here."

Elliott told the Globe Kerry did deserve the medal.

Inundated with calls to verify the statement, Elliott grew media shy and said through his wife he would not talk. Earlier in the day, Mrs. Elliott said her husband was playing golf and would call back when he returned in the afternoon.

Elliott later issued another affidavit -- witnessed and notarized -- this time saying he was misquoted by the Globe and reaffirming his belief that Kerry has "not been honest about what happened in Vietnam."

Elliott also wrote: "Had I known the facts, I would not have recommended Kerry for the Silver Star for simply pursuing and dispatching a single wounded, fleeing Viet Cong."

Martin Baron, editor of The Boston Globe, said in a statement: "Regarding George Elliott's statements on John Kerry's military service, which ran in the Globe this morning, the Globe stands by the article. The quotes attributed to Mr. Elliott were on the record and absolutely accurate."
Looks like Karl Rove turned the screws on Mr. Elliot. A real pillar of strength and honor.

Jesus Christ, John Kerry served in Vietnam, then returned to speak out against the war. His only crime is that he was RIGHT. If there's any justice in this lifetime, these insane jackasses will be scorned by America for their twisted values (they seem to love the AWOL George W. Bush) and their deep hatred for a brother in arms.

They're sick petty little men.

Quote This

Like many others, in the aftermath of 9/11, I felt the country's unity. I don't remember anything quite like it. I supported the decision to enter Afghanistan and I hoped that the seriousness of the times would bring forth strength, humility and wisdom in our leaders. Instead, we dived headlong into an unnecessary war in Iraq, offering up the lives of our young men and women under circumstances that are now discredited. We ran record deficits, while simultaneously cutting and squeezing services like afterschool programs. We granted tax cuts to the richest 1 percent (corporate bigwigs, well-to-do guitar players), increasing the division of wealth that threatens to destroy our social contract with one another and render mute the promise of "one nation indivisible."

It is through the truthful exercising of the best of human qualities - respect for others, honesty about ourselves, faith in our ideals - that we come to life in God's eyes. It is how our soul, as a nation and as individuals, is revealed. Our American government has strayed too far from American values. It is time to move forward. The country we carry in our hearts is waiting.

- Bruce Springsteen

The Economy: Happy Days Are Here Again!

Oh. Wait. No they're not.
Job Growth Grinds Nearly to Halt in July, Labor Dept. Reports

Job growth ground nearly to a halt last month, the Labor Department reported Friday, in a new sign that the economy has weakened in recent months.

Employers added just 32,000 jobs in July, a small fraction of what forecasters had expected and the smallest gain this year. The government also announced that job growth in May and June was less than initially estimated.

Stocks fell broadly after the report was issued, with the Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Dow Jones industrial average down almost 1 percent in early afternoon trading in New York. The dollar dropped against the euro, and interest rates declined, too, although many economists continue to expect the Federal Reserve to raise its benchmark short-term rate next week.

The new report creates a nettlesome political situation for President Bush, who had pointed to the strong job gains earlier this year as a result of the tax cuts he had championed. The weak job growth of the last two months means that he is now highly likely to stand for re-election with an employment level lower than when he took office, the first time that has happened in 72 years, when Herbert Hoover lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932 amid Depression-era job losses far greater than any experienced in recent times.

Bush Protest in LA Thursday

AnswerLA wants you next Thursday.
Bush is Coming to LA: Emergency Protest
Thursday, August 12, 4 pm
Santa Monica Airport
Corner of 31st St. & Ocean Park Blvd
Santa Monica

Stand Against Racism Here and Abroad!
Same Sex Marriage Rights Now!
Money for Jobs, Healthcare, Education, Welfare, Housing--Not for War & Occupation!

On Thursday, August 12 President Bush will breeze into town to hold a "Presidential Gala" at a Santa Monica Airport hangar for his political base: "The Haves and the Have Mores" as he smirkingly calls them. While Bush is partying with his cronies, Iraqis and U.S. soldiers will continue to die in a war and occupation fought for oil and huge corporations. People here in the U.S. and all over the world are growing in their anger and disgust for the suffering caused by the Pentagon's ruthlessness, Wall Street's greed and Bush's right wing agenda of racism, bigotry and cutbacks here at home. Let's take to the streets on Aug. 12.

323-464-1636 www.answerla.org

300 or 400 Killed

That's mind-boggling. 300 (maybe 400) killed. And 17 of our kids are dead in the first week of August alone. Some Iraq we're building.
U.S. marines clash with Iraqi militia

U.S. marines say they have killed 300 fighters loyal to a firebrand Iraqi Shi'ite cleric in fierce clashes that pose a stern test for an interim government struggling to stamp its authority over the country.

The fresh fighting marks a major challenge for U.S.-backed Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and appears to have destroyed a two-month-old ceasefire between U.S. forces and Sadr's Mehdi militia.

"The number of enemy casualties is 300 KIA (killed in action)," Lieutenant Colonel Gary Johnston, operations officer for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, said at a military base near the city, 160 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad.

The U.S.-appointed governor of Najaf put the militia death toll at 400, with 1,000 captured. He said he had information 80 Iranians were fighting alongside Sadr's militia, whom he ordered to leave the city in 24 hours.

Amazing, Ain't It?

From Dan:

* Al Qaeda Computer Whiz Nabbed
* Anthrax Trail, Cold For Years, Heats Up
* Brit With Taliban Ties Arrested
* Albany NY Mosque Selling Rockets Is Busted
* Leading Saudi Militant Captured

Suddenly our intelligence quotient quintuples? Can we look forward to OBL in an RNC dunk-tank booth?

Debunking the Swift Boat Commercial

Hoffmania Washington correspondent Michael O'Brien did a ton of research and finds a pantload of lies in the Swift Boat Veterans for "Truth" commercial. Here are his findings.
In the commercial, Lieutenant Commander George Elliot states "John Kerry has not been honest about what happened in Vietnam" yet in Kerry's fitness reports, he raved about Kerry.

Lieutenant Commander George Elliot:
(18-DEC-69) In a combat environment often requiring independent, decisive action, LTJG Kerry was unsurpassed. He constantly reviewed tactics and lessons learned in river operations and applied his experience at every opportunity. On one occasion, while in tactical command of a three boat operation his units were taken under fire from ambush. LTJG Kerry rapidly assessed the situation and ordered is units to turn directly into the ambush. This decision resulted in routing the attackers with several enemy KIA.

LTJG Kerry emerges as the acknowledged leader in his peer group. His bearing and appearance are above reproach. He has of his own volition learned the Vietnamese language and is instrumental in the successful Vietnamese training program.

During the period of this report LTJG Kerry has been awarded the Silver Star medal, the Bronze Star medal, the Purple Heart medal (2nd and 3rd awards).

(28-JAN-69) LTJG Kerry was assigned to this division for only a short time but during that time exhibited all the traits desired of an officer in a combat environment. He frequently exhibited a high sense of imagination and judgement in planning operations against the enemy in the Mekong Delta. Involved in several enemy initiated fire fights, including an ambush during the Christmas truce, he effectively suppressed enemy fire and is unofficially credited with 20 enemy killed in action. Though relatively new to the PCF he is thoroughly knowledgeable of all aspects of his boat and PCF operations. He was instrumental in planning of highly successful Sea Lords Operations. He was cited for his performance during action against the enemy by Commander Task Force in his message 080807z Jan 69.

In fact, other than LC Elliot, his fitness reports were all outstanding. One was a little odd -- by Lt. Cmdr. Grant Hibbard. See for yourself (Page 19 in the above document). I don't understand this one. Mr. Hibbard in the commercial stated, "He betrayed all his shipmates. He lied before the Senate." I do find it interesting that although he 'betrayed all his shipmates', all of his shipmates joined him on the stage during his endorsement. This is not typical behavior for people who have been betrayed.
Hoffmania note: Yesterday, Elliot retracted his remarks, but not until the commercial started airing and the book came out. Too little, too late for the grist mill, Mr. Elliot - damage done. Continuing...
Lewis Letson, lieutenant commander, stated "I know John Kerry is lying about his first Purple Heart because I treated him for that injury." Yet, if you go to this report, you will see that the attending physician was not Mr. Letson.

In the commercial, Lt. Larry Thurlow stated "When the chips were down, you could not count on John Kerry."

This main claims to be an eyewitness to the rescue of Green Beret Jim Rassman. According to Mr. Thurlow, there was no firefight, no danger, and that the story was hyped beyond belief. He states that Kerry's heroic rescue is nothing but fiction.

Jim Rassman is a Republican who volunteered to help Kerry. Mr. Rassman has, many times, thanked Kerry in public for saving his life.

But now to discredit Mr. Thurlow. In American History magazine's web site it tells the tale of Kerry's final mission. While Kerry was rescuing Rassman "Thurlow was struggling to get PCF-3's wounded gunner out of his hole and onto the deck when the damaged Swift ran aground hard on a shoal on the right side of the river, sending Thurlow somersaulting into the water. At the same moment, the five Swifts came under fire from the right side again, and Kerry remembered thinking that was it -- they were going to get completely cut off and annihilated in a crossfire."

The story states that Mr. Thurlow was awarded a bronze star for his heroic efforts that day too. Either way this man's credibility is on the line. Either he accepted an award for bravery that he didn't deserve, or he is lying about Kerry.
Michael adds, "...if Kerry joined the Mass. Air National Guard and partied every night, his career would have been safer. What an odd world we live in." Indeed. Pick your heroes wisely, readers.

The Dem's Best Offense is a Good...Offense

Promoted from the comments...

Reader notbushcity makes a great talking points chart for the Democratic offense. Print 'em out. Laminate 'em. Carry 'em with you.
Hey, get the dems on message! I'd love to see the known and popular dems out on all these shows blowing huge holes in all the GOP talking points. Keep in their faces until everyone sees their lies.

GW: no foreign policy experience.
GW: no national experience.
GW: failed miserably at business.
GW: violated SEC rules.
GW: drunk driving arrest.
GW: BUSHISMS! (this is the fun one)
GW: Ken Lay's biggest beneficiary
GW: turned the corner away from "mainstream."

DC: crooked businessman.
DC: HALLIBURTON (24/7 with this.)
DC: unaccomplished legislator.
DC: far right of "mainstream."
DC: foul-mouthed and intolerant.
DC: lied about WMD.
DC: gave away Iraq contracts, US $$$!
DC: tried to cut those weapons, too.
DC: power lobbyists writing policy in secret.
DC: could kick any second (would you hire Mr. Cardiac Arrest in a time of danger?)
DC: proposed huge gas tax while in Congress.
DC: cut the military by $300 billion in 1992.
DC: proposed closing 72 military bases in 1990.
Cheney's got a rap sheet longer than we can list here. Go check it out for yourself. Good work, notbushcity, and thanks.

"Prickly City" - Still Making Crap Up

We've discussed this strip before here. It began as a black girl and a coyote in Arizona frolicing on the desert landscape discussing right-wing politics. Now in its second month, it's still a black girl and a coyote in Arizona frolicing on the desert landscape discussing right-wing politics. Today's strip:

Ah, the fine wingnut art of making stuff up. Can this have any more of an agenda? And can creator Scott Stantis possibly make this any less funny?

(Heh - Just noticed Ucomic's bio for Stantis titled his page "Lost Sheep" - a strip Stantis has nothing to do with. Sweet karma.)

One Swift Boater Comes Back to his Senses

I guess when America finally sees the ugliness, some people rediscover their conscience. It's a start...
Veteran retracts criticism of Kerry

A week after Senator John F. Kerry heralded his wartime experience by surrounding himself at the Democratic convention with his Vietnam "Band of Brothers," a separate group of veterans has launched a television ad campaign and a book that questions the basis for some of Kerry's combat medals.

But yesterday, a key figure in the anti-Kerry campaign, Kerry's former commanding officer, backed off one of the key contentions. Lieutenant Commander George Elliott said in an interview that he had made a "terrible mistake" in signing an affidavit that suggests Kerry did not deserve the Silver Star - one of the main allegations in the book. The affidavit was given to The Boston Globe by the anti-Kerry group to justify assertions in their ad and book.

Elliott is quoted as saying that Kerry "lied about what occurred in Vietnam . . . for example, in connection with his Silver Star, I was never informed that he had simply shot a wounded, fleeing Viet Cong in the back."

The statement refers to an episode in which Kerry killed a Viet Cong soldier who had been carrying a rocket launcher, part of a chain of events that formed the basis of his Silver Star. Over time, some Kerry critics have questioned whether the soldier posed a danger to Kerry's crew. Crew members have said Kerry's actions saved their lives.

Yesterday, reached at his home, Elliott said he regretted signing the affidavit and said he still thinks Kerry deserved the Silver Star.

"I still don't think he shot the guy in the back," Elliott said. "It was a terrible mistake probably for me to sign the affidavit with those words. I'm the one in trouble here."

Bush Struggles On His Feet - Again

I'm watching the little maniac trying to take questions at the Unity Conference live on C-SPAN2.

Mark Trahant of the Seattle P-I asked him a question of Native American tribal sovereignty which prompted Bush to say (paraphrasing) that tribes are sovereign and America's government is sovereign, and it's important for each to recognize their (BUSHISM ALERT) "Sovereigninity."

UPDATE: The White House web site clarifies:
"Tribal sovereignty means that, it's sovereign. You're a -- you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity. And, therefore, the relationship between the federal government and tribes is one between sovereign entities."
Oh. I heard something much different, but I'm wrong again.

Roland Martin is challenging him on his pre-Q&A talk about how 8 million Afghans have registered to exercise their "God-given" right to vote, but 2 million voters in the United States - half of them black - had their votes discounted in the 2000 election. The audience erupted in cheers when he asked if Bush would make voters' rights a constitutional amendment. Bush said he'd consider it. Guess gay marriage is more important.

I notice here that he's fluent on talking about evil in the Middle East and does not hesitate when he's talking about how terra'sts like to cut off heads and hands. But when he's trying to talk about domestic and social issues, he's way over his head and the rumblin' bumblin' and stumblin' kicks in. And that smirk never leaves his face, no matter what he's talking about.

I can't help it. He still has that appearance of when you look into his eyes, you see the back of his head.

Thursday, August 5

Can We Make Something Real Clear to the Shrimp Boat Jerks?

Hey. Swift Boat Veterans for "Truth"...

You guys can cry and piss and moan and trot out all the doctors you want about John Kerry's third Purple Heart. The Purple Heart is NOT something that soldiers apply for. It's not something for which you send in a $20 entry fee to try to win. It's not something you buy from a street vendor. It's not as if John Kerry forced anyone to give him that Purple Heart.

It was awarded to him. Period. Don't make it sound like he got it by any shady means. Because you guys are too chickenshit to criticize the military itself for it, you're going to blame Kerry. What a steaming pile of unmitigated crap. You're a disgrace to this country.

Gutless. Bill Mauldin is looking down at you clowns with contempt.

"Just gimme a coupla aspirin.
I already got a Purple Heart."

Malloy. Oy.

Well, it's Thursday and Air America's Mike Malloy is still taking nothing but calls from his old I.E. Network listeners. Tonight, he also ran a REALLLLY long monologue by his wife doing a character "Evangelina" which was clever the first four minutes. But it went ON. And ON. And ON. For practically an entire segment.

Even Prairie Home Companion knows anything longer than five minutes is death unless it's a proven commodity. Long folksy bits like this are what turned people off to liberal radio until AAR came on the air. I know I'll catch flak for this, but I put Jim Hightower into the same category. In contrast, Franken and Rhodes know the art of the quick hit - make your point, be funny and move on. Their shows are infinitely more entertaining.

After the Evangelina thing, Malloy heavily promoted that he was going to play a Bush sound bite at today's signing of the defense bill that we just would not believe! (Go on! Guess what it was!) Again, a topic which Air America touched on all day - without turning it into a major topic of discussion as Malloy did.

I really REALLY want to like this guy. What am I missing here?

Okay! Okay! HERE.

You can stop emailing me with this. I assumed everyone saw this at least twelve times today, but if you're one of the six web surfers who missed it...
Bush misspoke as he delivered a speech at the signing ceremony for a $417 billion defense spending bill.

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we," Bush said. "They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

No one in Bush's audience of military brass or Pentagon chiefs reacted.

Number One and Number Four: A Lot of Number Two

Wow. I outdid myself with that title. I'll sit back and let the story speak for itself.
Where Do They Stand?

The Bush campaign has gotten particularly good mileage out of a National Journal analysis of roll call voting in 2003 that ranked John Kerry of Massachusetts as the No. 1 liberal in the Senate and John Edwards of North Carolina as the fourth-most-liberal senator.

So where do the Democratic nominees really fit along the left-right spectrum?

Assertions that the Democrats' presumptive nominees are extreme liberals fall flat. True, Mr. Kerry's voting history places him to the left of today's median Senate Democrat (Tom Daschle of South Dakota). But he is closer to the center of the Democratic Party than he is to the most liberal senators, including Mr. Kennedy. John Edwards falls just to the right of the median Democrat. In fact, he is nearly indistinguishable from Mr. Lieberman, the Democrats' vice presidential candidate in 2000.

On the other side of the partisan divide, Mr. Bush - like Mr. Kerry - is more extreme than his party's median senator (Richard Shelby of Alabama). He is also noticeably more conservative than his primary challenger in 2000, John McCain. So any assertion that the Democratic candidates are out of the mainstream might easily be applied to the Republicans as well. In fact, if any of the four candidates on the national party tickets this year is out of the mainstream, it is Mr. Cheney, who in his last full term in the House was on the right flank of roughly 90 percent of his Republican colleagues.
Can we start thumping the message that Bush is the most extreme rightist and Cheney is the second most extreme?

Military Votes Count. Right?

Uh...hmmm...not according to this story at the Army Times.
Official: Absentee votes may go uncounted - again

Thousands of votes from U.S. troops overseas could go uncounted again in November without emergency legislation extending deadlines for the ballots, a Chicago election official warned President Bush in a letter Tuesday. Nearly 30 percent of military voters who requested ballots in 2000 didn't get them in time to vote.

Theresa M. Petrone, a Democratic member of Chicago's three-person Board of Election Commissioners, told Bush the problem could be solved if he proposed emergency legislation giving election officials up to 14 days after Election Day to collect and count ballots.

White House spokesman Ken Lisaius declined to comment, saying he hadn't seen the letter. Congressional leaders have opposed amending the Help America Vote Act of 2002 and such emergency legislation is unlikely before November.

The handling of military ballots was a major issue in the ballot recount in Florida in 2000 that led to Bush's victory, when election officials rejected hundreds of military absentee ballots, many because they lacked postmarks or signatures.
Mike, who sent us this, says, "What's really sick is those guys are forced to put their life on the line and don't even get a say so." There's a lot that's sick about all this, Mike.


How much are you loving the way Karl Rove's Swift Boat Veterans for Truth gambit has exploded right in his fat pink oily face? He painted his boss, George W. Bush into a corner and now he has a major clusterf--- on his sweaty pink-knuckled claws. Little bastard.

McCain may be campaigning for the dark side, but when the ghosts of the 2000 campaign come out, he knows who his true friends are.
McCain deplores anti-Kerry ad
White House declines to repudiate it

Republican Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, called an ad criticizing John Kerry's military service "dishonest and dishonorable" and urged the White House on Thursday to condemn it as well.

The White House declined.

"It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me," McCain said in an interview with The Associated Press, comparing the anti-Kerry ad to tactics in his bitter Republican primary fight with President Bush.

The 60-second ad features Vietnam veterans who accuse the Democratic presidential nominee of lying about his decorated Vietnam War record and betraying his fellow veterans by later opposing the conflict.

"When the chips were down, you could not count on John Kerry," one of the veterans, Larry Thurlow, says in the ad. Thurlow didn't serve on Kerry's swiftboat, but says he witnessed the events that led to Kerry winning a Bronze Star and the last of his three Purple Hearts. Kerry's crewmates support the candidate and call him a hero.

The ad, scheduled to air in a few markets in Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin, was produced by Stevens, Reed, Curcio and Potham, the same team that produced McCain's ads in 2000.

"I wish they hadn't done it," McCain said of his former advisers. "I don't know if they knew all the facts."

Asked if the White House knew about the ad or helped find financing for it, McCain said, "I hope not, but I don't know. But I think the Bush campaign should specifically condemn the ad."

McCain, chairman of Bush's campaign in Arizona, later said the Bush campaign has denied any involvement and added, "I can't believe the president would pull such a cheap stunt."

White House spokesman Scott McClellan declined to condemn the ad.
Better start believing it, John. This has Karl Rove's fingerprints all over it.

Checkmate, Karl - you zit on the buttocks of America.

Editorial From This Morning's NY Times

The Terror Alerts

The color-coded threat chart doesn't serve the purpose for which it was invented, and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is hopeless as a public spokesman on this issue. The Bush administration needs to come up with a method of communication that informs the public in a calm, clear way. Perhaps most important, people need to be made totally confident that this critical matter is not being tangled up in the presidential campaign. [...]

The Bush administration expressed outrage at the suggestion that there could be any politics behind any of its warnings, but the president has some history to overcome on this issue. There is nothing more important for Mr. Bush to do every day until Nov. 2 than to make it clear that he would never hype a terror alert to help his re-election chances. It is a challenge complicated by the fact that he is running on his record against terrorism and is using images of 9/11 and the threat of more attacks to promote his candidacy. The president's credibility on national security issues was gravely wounded by the way he misled Americans, intentionally or not, about the reasons for invading Iraq - including the suggestion that the war was part of the campaign against Al Qaeda.

Some of the past terror alerts have seemed aimless and happened when the Bush administration would have benefited from a change in the political conversation. On Sunday, when the administration had grim and specific information to convey, Mr. Ridge did a real disservice to himself, his president and the public by giving what amounted to a campaign pitch for "the president's leadership in the war against terror."

It's hard to write that off as an offhand comment. If Mr. Ridge is to continue in this role, he must stay out of the election; using him as a campaign surrogate would be disastrous for public confidence. The administration should also stop dropping dark hints about Al Qaeda's having election-related motives to attack, as if a vote against the current president were appeasement.

The White House Website - and This Morning's Campaigns

Y'know, since everyone's paying for it and all, I'd sure feel better if WhiteHouse.gov was something more than just a free Bush-Cheney campaign site. It's not carrying news about the executive branch. It's covering Bush's campaign. It repeats their lies verbatim as our government at work. The headlines are always campaign talking points.

In fact, the only reliable thing about it is that we can go back to Bush's and Cheney's campaign speeches and find transcripts of their lies.

I went into this tirade because I tried to find Bush's little monologue before he signed the $417,000,000,000 defense bill (of which $25,000,000,000 will be spent on offense - Iraq). I found some quotes at the Guardian...
Overwhelmingly approved by a Congress eager to show election-year support for the military, the measure includes money for 39 more Army Black Hawk helicopters, a Virginia-class attack submarine, three guided-missile destroyers and a 3.5 percent pay increase for troops.

BUSH: "With this legislation America's military will know that their country stands behind them as they fight for our freedom and as they spread the peace."

"No enemy or friend can doubt that America has the resources to prevail."

"This bill will help make America a safer place."
Hmmm...still no turkee for vets' benefits, I see.

The study in contrast was on CNN this morning. After Bush's signing of the bill, they switched to Kerry's Q&A session at the Unity Conference in Washington. The timing was perfect. Kerry was asked if he were in a classroom in Florida while being told America was under attack, what would he have done differently from what Bush did? Would he have gone to war with Iraq? And how would he try to rectify that situation?

Leading questions, yes - but the last question allowed him to answer an important issue - live on CNN yet. The coverage gave viewers a chance to finally see the contrasts between the two candidates...not only in philosophy, but in ability to think on their feet - and speak. Kerry's answer was thorough and clear. When CNN cut away during his answering a question about media consolidation (heh), I switched to C-SPAN2 to see the rest of it. MAN, it's a pleasure seeing Kerry face questions and not blink, chuckle, stare blankly, fidget, smirk, look at his feet, pause to think, stare at the sky, and ruminate on how he wished he knew he'd be asked that question when he's asked questions.

One Kerry quote from the SF Chronicle (deemed "liberal" by the wingnuts because they're the only U.S. website to carry this):
"Just saying that you've turned a corner doesn't make it so. Just like saying there are weapons of mass destruction (in Iraq) doesn't make it so. Just like saying you can fight a war on the cheap doesn't make it so. Just like saying 'mission accomplished' doesn't make it so," Kerry said.

"The last president who used that slogan, who told us that prosperity was just around the corner, was Herbert Hoover during the Great Depression," he said.
Is there a difference between Kerry and Bush? Damned skippy.

Wednesday, August 4

From the Pen of: Ben Sargent

From the Pen of: Tom Toles

"Vote for Change" Tour Schedule

Via MTV.com...
Pearl Jam/ Death Cab for Cutie:

* 10/1 - Reading, PA
* 10/2 - Toledo, OH
* 10/3 - Grand Rapids, MI
* 10/5 - St. Louis, MO
* 10/6 - Asheville, NC
* 10/8 - Kissimmee, FL

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band/ R.E.M./ John Fogerty/ Bright Eyes:

* 10/1 - Philadelphia, PA
* 10/2 - Cleveland, OH
* 10/3 - Ann Arbor, MI
* 10/5 - St. Paul, MN
* 10/8 - Orlando, FL

Dave Matthews Band/ Jurassic 5/ My Morning Jacket:

* 10/1 - State College, PA
* 10/2 - Dayton, OH
* 10/3 - Detroit, MI
* 10/5 - Madison, WI
* 10/6 - Ames, IA
* 10/8 - Gainesville, FL

Jackson Browne/ Bonnie Raitt/ Keb' Mo':

* 10/1 - Williamsport, PA
* 10/2 - TBA
* 10/3 - Grand Rapids, MI
* 10/5 - Kansas City, MO
* 10/6 - Des Moines, IA
* 10/8 - Jacksonville, FL

Dixie Chicks/ James Taylor:

* 10/1 - Pittsburgh, PA
* 10/2 - Cleveland, OH
* 10/3 - Detroit, MI
* 10/5 - Iowa City, IA
* 10/6 - St. Louis, MO
* 10/8 - Tampa Bay, FL

John Mellencamp/ Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds:

* 10/1 - Wilkes-Barre, PA
* 10/2 - Cincinnati, OH
* 10/3 - Kalamazoo, MI
* 10/5 - Milwaukee, WI
* 10/8 - Miami, FL

The DNC Dollars At Work

Their new TV spot. Money well spent.

Viewer Mail

Brad sends along a moral dilemma...
I was just looking at Brian Deese's report on Americanprogress.org about how consumer spending growth has slowed significantly and it got me wondering if other people are doing what I have found myself doing.

I need a new stove, refrigerator and washing machine. None of these purchases are urgent, but the stuff is breaking down and needs to be replaced. However, when my wife suggests that we actually go and shop for one or more of these items I reply, 'Not until after the election.' She agrees, in principle, but thinks I'm being stupid.

I wouldn't ask the question directly in a public forum because it would provide too much fodder for those that think that we "hate Amur'ca" and want to hurt it, but I wonder if any amount of the falloff in consumer spending is a result of other people putting off discretionary purchases until after Nov 2. I don't want to hurt the economy, but I just can't bring myself to allow the stuff I buy with my hard-earned money to become something that the current administration can crow about.
Wow. This is kind of a far-reaching question that goes beyond whether to buy it at Sam's Club or Costco (Answer: COSTCO). You set the bar on principles higher than I would have ever thought to do. But this is a glaring testament to how much we're aware that almost everything we do is turned into partisan spin.

Let's make one thing clear: We love America. All of us. We just don't like what's being done to it and what it's doing to our reputation overseas. And we're so intent on making change that we can't bring ourselves to do ANYTHING that will look good to the White House propaganda machine...even if it means buying canned goods, using a hotplate and going to the laundromat.

That said, I'd like our readers to chime in here. Is Brad here overthinking this, or is he right in waiting?

"A Gross Overreaction...Irresponsible"

Former counter-terrorism director Larry Johnson on NPR, comparing The U.S.'s reaction to the terrorism intel to playing Texas Hold'Em poker and showing your opponent your hand. Audio file.

Mmm...The Taste of Freedom in Iraq

So when do we get the flowers and candy for this?
Water Offers Deadly Relief in a Blistering Iraqi Slum
Typhoid and hepatitis E run rampant because sewage has tainted nearly the entire supply.

BAGHDAD - The price of bicycle pumps has more than quadrupled in Sadr City, for reasons that have nothing to do with cycling. Residents of Baghdad's worst slum use them to coax water from the district's battered supply lines. It's either that or use their mouths as though they're siphoning gas.

But there's a problem - the water is making them sick.

Typhoid and hepatitis E are running rampant through Sadr City this summer, as residents rely heavily on a sewage-tainted water supply to endure temperatures of 115 degrees and up. The outbreak has strained local healthcare facilities and left Health Ministry officials able to only guess at the scope of the problem.

The increase in typhoid (known as "tee-pho" here) is a regular summer occurrence in Iraq because of increased water consumption, but officials say this year's infection rates are much higher than usual. Hepatitis E, although present in the country for decades, is more rare.

Sadr City's aging water system was crumbling before last year's U.S.-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein. But the postwar looting of a sewage treatment plant brought the crisis to a new level. Broken water lines allow raw sewage to seep into the regular water supply. Frequent electrical shortages stop the municipal water pumps, and innovative means of pumping water from the dry pipes end up bringing in extra sewage.

Blame the Damn Democrats!

Vice President Dickless Cheney - speaking in Arkansas before a heavily-screened group of Bush Pledge Signers who passed background checks - forgot momentarily that the Democrats don't represent any majority in the House or the Senate.
Cheney Blames Democrats for Nation's Pain at the Gas Pump

Vice President Dick Cheney said Tuesday that rising consumption and decreasing domestic oil production have led to high gasoline prices but also blamed his Democratic opponents and their opposition to the Bush administration's energy policies.

He accused Senate Democrats of blocking a Bush energy plan that would increase petroleum drilling and energy conservation and provide new tax breaks and other incentives to spur exploration and production.

"John Kerry and John Edwards voted no," Cheney said. "It's another area where I think there is a significant difference."

Cheney advocated increasing domestic oil production in wildlife areas in Alaska and other regions that are now off-limits to development.

C'mon - Think About It

When it was revealed that the al Qaeda intel Homeland Security received was four years old, don't you just know in the depths of your heart that Tom Ridge mumbled, "Oh, shit"? C'mon, you know he did.
AP: U.S. Struggles to Grasp Scope of Threat

WASHINGTON - The government is no closer to understanding some important details about possible terror plots against American financial institutions, intelligence and law enforcement officials acknowledge.

Investigators are poring over the trove of documents and photographs that led to this week's urgent warnings from the Homeland Security Department. But intelligence agencies have been unable to reach a consensus on whether the unusually detailed documents recovered in Pakistan reflect a defunct terror plot or one that might have been successfully interrupted.
USA Today: Officials don't see attack as imminent

WASHINGTON - The U.S. financial institutions identified in a recently disclosed al-Qaeda surveillance operation are not believed to be at imminent risk of attack, two federal law enforcement officials with knowledge of the investigation said Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 3

Now If We Can Just Get the SCLMedia to Report This

Man, why doesn't the Kerry-Edwards campaign put "Karl Rove" in their fax machine ID, dummy up a White House Fax Cover Sheet and send this to the newsrooms? That way, they'll at least LOOK at it...
George Bush loves to attack John Kerry's legislative record. But the fact is that 57 bills and resolutions Kerry sponsored passed the Senate and countless others have been improved because of his work, including the Clean Air Act, the Children's Health Insurance Program and the COPS program. In addition, Kerry has taken on the special interests and won. He fought against Newt Gingrich's anti-labor and anti-environmental regulatory reform, he has fought to raise the minimum wage, and he has worked to shut down wasteful corporate subsidies.

Here, for comparison is a summary of the legislation sponsored and passed by Vice President Cheney during his 11 year legislative career.

Cheney's Legislative Career by the numbers

96th Congress:4 Sponsored; 0 became Law
97th Congress:4 Sponsored: 0 became Law
98th Congress: 8 Sponsored: 0 became Law
99th Congress:

7 Sponsored: 1 became Law
(H.R.1246 : A bill to establish a federally declared floodway for the Colorado River below Davis Dam.)

100th Congress:

7 Sponsored: 1 became Law
(H.R.712 : A bill for the relief of Lawrence K. Lunt.)

101st Congress: 1 Sponsored:  0 became Law
Very distinguished record, Vice-President Dickless. No wonder you don't want any Democrats around you.

Zogby: Kerry Leads Battleground Poll

Fox News is proclaiming Bush the winner.
Senator Kerry Retains A Lead Through His Convention, New Zogby Interactive Presidential Battleground Poll Reveals
Kerry leads Bush 291-215

Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry remains solidly in the lead after a week in which his party and candidacy grabbed the political spotlight at their national convention in Boston, a new edition of Zogby Interactive polls in 16 battleground states shows.

After a string of good news for the Kerry campaign stretching back to the selection of North Carolina Sen. John Edwards as the vice presidential running mate a month ago, he leads in the Electoral College by a 291-215 margin, the individual state polls shows. Four of the 16 states in the poll collection - with a combined total of 32 electoral votes - were excluded from the calculation because the races there are too close to call.

Those states are Missouri (11 votes), Nevada (5 votes), Tennessee (11 votes), and New Mexico (5 votes). Mr. Bush won all but New Mexico four years ago.

Mr. Kerry picked up ground in Florida, while Mr. Bush made up ground in West Virginia, Tennessee, and Ohio.

So the Terror Alert Didn't Scare Ya?


The DNC Hits the Streets

It was good to see young folks canvassing a corner of Beverly Hills today for the DNC. I stopped to chat with one of them, but I couldn't stop him from doing his pitch once he got going. Seems they're taking pledges of support, but only with a minimum of a $100 donation by credit card.

Now glad as I am to see the grassroots at work, I wonder about the wisdom of this. Getting signatures and e-mail addresses is a great idea, but for that price? And how many people want to give out their credit card number on a street corner? Actually, quite a few, if the names on his clipboard were any indication. But is this the right way to go about it?

'Course it WAS Beverly Hills. Tell me if I'm off base here, and what would be a better way to gain support. This way really didn't do it for me, especially since I told him I contribute to the DNC online via this site (which you can do by clicking the DNC logo there. Go on. Do it. Click. C'mon...).

By the way, I gave him the address here, so he'll be checking it out too. Suggestions?

What Do George Bush, the Free Republic and the Terror Threat Have in Common?

Four-year-old intelligence.

Boston Wrapup from Perlstein

The Official Village Voice Columnist And Occasional Op Ed Contributor To The Los Angeles Times of Hoffmania, The Chronicle of the American Condition - that'd be Rick Perlstein - files his report and reaction on the Democratic Convention today. (We give him that title to see if he can fit it on a business card.) Check it out.
The End of Republican Rule
Righteous populism holds the key to vanquishing Bush forever

...Niceness is nice. It makes a body feel good about himself. But it's no strategy with which to win a presidential election. Adlai Stevenson was nice; he lost two presidential elections for the Democrats. Michael Dukakis, Jimmy Carter: They were nice. And look what happened to them.

These days, talking about things like the growing gap between the rich and the rest of us is judged not very nice. Fixing it might require breaking some eggs. The pundits would call it "class warfare." So whenever a concession is demanded in the interests of unity, it will be demanded of the party's left wing, never of the corporate types.

Like the time, Tuesday night, one party liberal - this one - returned to find his seat occupied by one of those blue-suited thirtysomethings. I asked him to give it up. He refused. "We gave lots of money to the Democratic Party," he said, and demanded I sit in the aisle. "It would be shameful if I couldn't get a seat."

It was on behalf of all those poor single women who don't vote and who really hold the explosive power for beating George Bush on November 2, 2004, that I refused to give up my seat.

Why California Wants Wal-Mart Out

Wal-Mart's presence in California is actually killin' our economy. Fellow Californians, we'll repeat those three words: Costco, Costco, Costco. Thank you.
Study Cites Social Costs of Wal-Mart
Company workers draw $86 million a year in aid, researchers say. But the retailer says it gives jobs to people who otherwise would not be employed.

Inadequate wages and benefits force workers at Wal-Mart stores in California to seek $86 million a year in state aid, according to a report released Monday by the UC Berkeley Labor Center.

Moreover, if other retailers cut their wages and benefits to the levels offered by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the cost to California's public-assistance programs would rise by $410 million annually, the study said.

In their report, Berkeley researchers Arindrajit Dube and Ken Jacobs contend that more than other retail workers, Wal-Mart employees rely on a variety of public-aid programs, including food stamps, Medicare and subsidized housing.

"In effect, Wal-Mart is shifting part of its labor costs onto the public," the researchers wrote. "Wal-Mart's long-term impact on compensation in the retail industry has the potential to place a significant strain on the state's already heavily burdened social safety net."

Ladies and Gentlemen - Our Future First Lady

"Three more months." This is why we love her.
[Teresa] Heinz Kerry was introducing her husband, John F. Kerry, at a huge outdoor rally [in Milwaukee] when a group of Bush supporters, armed with a megaphone, started chanting from a distance, "Four more years! Four more years!"

Without hesitating, Heinz Kerry responded, "They want four more years of hell."

The candidate threw back his head with a laugh, and the partisan, pro-Kerry crowd roared its approval, chanting, "Three more months, three more months," with Heinz Kerry joining in. When it was his turn to speak, Kerry said of his wife, "She speaks her mind, and she speaks the truth -- and she's pretty quick on her feet, too."
The woman's got more guts than the testically-challenged Dick "The Mad Screener" Cheney could ever dream of having. Karl Rove's little band of cretins here got a lesson on how a real campaign faces their opponents.

From the Pen of: Pat Oliphant

Monday, August 2

This'll Guarantee a Warm Welcome for Bush's Convention

Oh, brother, is this gonna be one pissed off city when it reads the morning paper...
Terror alert based on old intel
But authorities continue to think the U.S. is at risk
New York Times

Much of the information that led authorities to raise the terror alert at several large financial institutions in the New York City and Washington areas was 3 or 4 years old, intelligence and law enforcement officials said Monday.

Authorities reported that they had not yet found concrete evidence that a terror plot or preparatory surveillance operations were still under way.

But the officials continued to regard the information as significant and troubling because the reconnaissance already conducted has provided al-Qaida with the knowledge necessary to carry out attacks against the sites in Manhattan, Washington and Newark, N.J.

"Gotta Boogie," Mike Malloy...

I heard little clips of this guy in the past and got an earful from his fans, so I looked forward to hearing Mike Malloy's debut tonight on Air America (10pm ET).

Well...taking the small technical difficulties and first-night syndrome under consideration, we still sure hope there's more to him than what we heard tonight.

The big problem I had was that he did his show as if he were continuing a work in progress. He geared it almost exclusively to whoever heard him until last March on the dismal I.E. Network. No, like most of you, I never heard any of their programming either. In fact, his opening line was, "Where was I when I was so rudely interrupted last March?" I don't know, Mike. Most of us didn't know. It would've behooved you to tell us who the hell you are.

He then opened with reintroducing his wife to the audience, who I assume was his producer, and read two stories which were covered pretty substantially by Air America all day - the heavily-screened Cheney rallies in Arizona and New Mexico. (Malloy apologized if the subject was talked about on AAR already. It might have helped if he listened to his own network.) He then immediately launched into taking calls.

His first caller took swipes at Kerry and Bush, and he said he was voting for Nader. Malloy, rather tourettes-like, began hollering at the guy, saying he was sick of talking about Nader and if he's said it once, he's said it a million times, he never wants to talk about Nader on the show again.

Huh? Malloy was on for barely six minutes and he's sick of talking about the subject of his first caller? Okay, I'm guessing this was a meme with him 'way back when on the Obscure Network, but it was completely out of context for a first show on a new venue.

All the calls for the rest of the hour were from Mike Malloy fans - again leaving me hungering for a reason why they were fans.

Mike. Buddy. It's one thing if you were previously on a network with y'know, a following? But it's horribly egotistical to assume that every person tuning into you on Air America was hanging onto your every word back then. I wasn't, and I feel like I was left out of a very - VERY exclusive little club tonight.

Oh, and please stop ending every call with "gotta boogie." It's a very dated crutch.

Let's give Mike the benefit of the doubt, though, and give him a shot at starting over tomorrow night. However, if he still makes the show a continuation of the No One's Listening Radio Network program, I'm outta there.

By the way, Randi, Janeane and Sam sounded GREAT together earlier tonight. The crossovers between the two shows oughta be a blast.

The FBI Whistleblower Lets Loose on 9/11 Commission

Sibel Edmonds, the former FBI translator who has been gagged from speaking out, is speaking out. REALLY speaking out. Her blistering missive to the 9/11 commission, dated yesterday, has been picked up by the foreign press. (Did you really think you were going to read it in the American media?) You can see it here at the Scoop, based in New Zealand.

It's an enormous and extraordinarily detailed open letter, but here's a passage which stood out to us:
Only one month after the catastrophic events of September 11; while many agents were working around the clock to obtain leads and information, and to investigate those responsible for the attacks, those with possible connections to the attack, and those who might be planning possible future attacks; the bureaucratic administrators in the FBI's largest and most important translation unit were covering up their past failures, blocking important leads and information, and jeopardizing on going terrorist investigations. The supervisor involved in this incident, Mike Feghali, was in charge of certain important Middle Eastern languages within the FBI Washington Field Office, and had a record of previous misconducts. After this supervisor's several severe misconducts were reported to the FBI's higher-level management, after his conducts were reported to the Inspector General's Office, to the United States Congress, and to the 9/11 Commission, he was promoted to include the FBI's Arabic language unit under his supervision. Today this supervisor, Mike Feghali, remains in the FBI Washington Field Office and is in charge of a language unit receiving those chitchats that our color-coded threat system is based upon. Yet your report contains zero information regarding these systemic problems that led us to our failure in preventing the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In your report, there are no references to individuals responsible for hindering past and current investigations, or those who are willing to compromise our security and our lives for their career advancement and security. This issue, as with others, is systemic and departmental. Why does your report choose to exclude this information and these serious issues despite all the evidence and briefings you received? Why does your report adamantly refrain from assigning any accountability to any individuals responsible for our past and current failures? How can budget increases address and resolve these intentional acts committed by self-serving career civil servants? How can the addition of a new bureaucratic layer, "Intelligence Czar", in its cocoon removed from the action lines, address and resolve this problem?

New Air America Schedule

Wow. I was never a fan of Marty Kaplan's "So What Else Is News?" - the one-hour speedbump between Randi Rhodes and Janeane Garofalo/Sam Seder - but I almost felt sorry for him as Janeane and Randi celebrated the new back-to-back scheduling of their shows, saying that it's what they should have done from the beginning. Almost.

But they're right. Kaplan's show was a momentum killer at best. The network has some real daily forward motion now with Garofalo/Seder now immediately following Randi at 7pm ET, and Mike Malloy following them...whenever their show ends.

Y'see, while Air America's getting their on-air act together, their website is hideously out of sync with all this, so we don't know WHEN Malloy's show starts.

By the way, can Garofalo/Seder ditch that college-radio-produced show open and get something a little more y'know - professional? Man, they still have to untether themselves from the NPR production values.

Onward and upward.

Why I Need to Sell More BlogAds

The EquiMount is on my wishlist, and I think it'll enhance this website dramatically.

ABC News/WaPo Poll Numbers

They're out. Registered voters:
Kerry 50% (+4)
Bush 44% (-4)
Nader 2%

But the more telling part is that Bush now leads in one - and ONLY one - issue. Three guesses what that issue is. Yup - the one he's going to ride hard through the election. But check out Kerry's bounce on ALL the issues...

Trust Candidate on These Areas:
Trust to HandleNowPre-conventionNet Change
Health care Kerry +19 Kerry +3 Kerry +16
Terrorism Bush +3 Bush +18 Kerry +15
Iraq Kerry +2 Bush +12 Kerry +14
Taxes Kerry +6 Bush +6 Kerry +12
Education Kerry +13 Kerry +1 Kerry +12
Economy Kerry +11 Bush +1 Kerry +12
Health care Kerry +19 Kerry +3 Kerry +16
Int'l relations Kerry +9 NA NA
Intelligence Kerry +5 NA NA
So again, the bounce off the concrete trampoline had Kerry up and Bush down. But on the issues, Bush is the big, big loser.

Grand Rapids, Michigan - Hello

These people - 20,000 of 'em - didn't have to sign a pledge of allegiance to Kerry.

You Want the Truth?

Bob Herbert says America can't handle the truth. The Dems knew going into their convention that they had to take the high positive road. Herbert says that's because they'd get lambasted to being honest about Bush's failures.
Not long ago American officials were claiming a decisive victory and the Bush administration was trumpeting the liberation of Afghan women from the clutches of the Taliban. But the proclamations of success were premature. Osama bin Laden and the Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar are nowhere to be found. Warlords and insurgents are in control of much of the country and the growth industry is the opium trade. The extraordinarily courageous group Doctors Without Borders is packing its bags and withdrawing from Afghanistan after 24 years because five of its staff members were murdered and the government will not bring the killers to justice. On Friday the U.S. government warned American citizens against traveling to Afghanistan because of the danger of being kidnapped or killed.

Some victory. [...]

So there was President Bush in a hard-hit industrial region of Ohio over the weekend telling voters, "The economy is strong and it's getting stronger." And the Kerry-Edwards team is assuring one and all that "help is on the way."

The voters may deserve better, but there's a real question about whether they want better. It may well be that candidates can't tell voters the truth and still win. If that's so, then democracy American-style may be a lot more dysfunctional than even the last four years has indicated.

Truer Words About This Administration Have Never Been Spoken

"We are a nation in danger."

- President Bush in the Rose Garden today

Business As Usual in NYC

Scanning the Fenderhead News Networks, it's pretty interesting to see the interviews with the folks who work at the NYSE and Citi. When they're asked about how they felt about going to work under the terrorist threat, they all kinda say the same thing - we were there for 9/11, so this is just sort of normal for us...we have to work. Bravo.

The funniest one I saw was a reporter asking why there were a lot of empty desks. The reply was, "Well...it's summer and they're on vacation." Oh yeah. That summer thing.

A Reminder

...of the shining happy optimistic faces running this joint.

Thanks for your time. Register and vote for Kerry.

Boost or Bump? And Should I Buy a Hat?

Item four in ABCNews.com's "The Note" this morning:
With all due respect to Newsweek and Gallup, hold onto your hat and hair for tonight's ABC News/ Washington Post poll. And please say "boost" or "bump," and not "bounce."

Out of the Panic of Cable News...

...comes a little sensibility. Being one of the 99.6% of America that doesn't watch MSNBC on a regular basis (combined with the fact that I immediately cruised the channels without my glasses on when I woke up on to see if I should get out of bed), I can't tell you who their terrorism expert is. But what he said made a whole pantload of sense.

Basically, "plans" don't mean "capability." "Desire" doesn't mean "ability." And he didn't hear anything in the intel that said they were going to carry this out in the near future, if at all.

He went on to say that we got this information from Pakistan's efforts of capturing and killing al Qaeda operatives. The lesson there is that we should concentrate on putting pressure on them instead of scaring the crap out of our own people.

Amen to that...but ya see, we had to drain our resources in that important little ongoing (and deteriorating) Iraq adventure...oh, you know the story.