Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Proper Domestic Policy

Mathew Yglesias provides guidance on how the Democrats should approach economic issues.
"The real lesson of the Clinton era isn't that Democratic policies made the economy boom, but that these policies -- higher taxes on the wealthy, higher spending on the poor, more regulation to protect labor and the environment, a higher minimum wage, and a budget aimed at sustaining Social Security for the long-term -- were perfectly compatible with the longest economic expansion of American history. Conversely, nothing Bush has done or is proposing -- tax cuts for the wealthy piled upon tax cuts for the wealthy, and giveaway after giveaway to corporate lobbyists -- is either necessary or sufficient to bring about economic growth. Taken to extremes, interventions could do real harm: A $70 per hour minimum wage or a total ban on burning coal would shut the economy down, but this isn't what we're talking about. The minimum wage has been much higher in real terms in the past and the economy grew steadily, while we were enforcing clean air standards properly just a few years ago with no visible ill-effects."

The economy has and always will do its own thing. However a rational administration should fit its policies into the economic reality rather than ignore it completely.

Liar, Liar Same-ol', Same-ol'

Jon Stewart warned about Cheney's flaming pants. Brad DeLong quotes Andrew Northrup's litany of Bush lies. A good list to save for your casual Republican smack-down.

The case for an AWOL Bush

(courtesy of Atrios) Paul Lukasiak lays out the details of an AWOL BUSH. And in plenty of time to make the rounds in the presidential campaign, too.

ARPC was looking at the record of a deserter, whose desertion had been aided and/or ignored by the Reservist’s superior officials, and then covered up by the chain of command of the Texas Air National Guard. TXANG had ignored the instructions in the Notice of Correction, and permitted Bush to continue to be paid as a pilot despite his lack of pilot qualifications. Bush had announced to his unit, well after he would had made his decision, that he was leaving Texas. Then, he simply disappeared, and had taken no steps to find another unit in which to serve, or another job that he could do as a member of the Air National Guard. A single letter dated September 5th, 1973, asking to be discharged, was the only evidence ARPC had that Bush continued to exist after the day he told TXANG he was leaving.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Conservative Characteristic

Kevin Drum says:

"Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush all had economic recoveries, but under Reagan and Bush it was (and is) primarily the rich who benefited. Under Clinton, the poor and middle class also benefited, and this was not just a coincidence. It was the result of deliberate policy choices inspired by a belief that when the economy grows, everyone should benefit.

Conservatives do more than simply disparage this: they ignore it, and it's a telling ignorance. Perhaps more than anything, it tells you everything you need to know about the values and character of modern conservatism, and it's not a pretty picture."

Perle Wimps

In the war between Richard Perle and Sy Hersh, Perle has no ammo.

"But Hersh's piece, read from the benefit of a 15 months removal from it, judiciously avoids libeling Perle. After writing extensively on Perle's dual roles as DPB chair and businessman, Hersh asks Perle if there are any conflicts of interest between his two roles or if they constituted an appearance of a conflict. Hersh never makes the charge. Since when is raising a relevant question of a government employee an action for libel?

And so ends our 15-month saga: A libel allegation has been reduced to a request for a correction, which is a little like a demolition artist placing an order for nitroglycerin but settling for nitrous oxide."

F 9/11

Charles Pierce reviews:

"In fact, the most heartbreaking thing about F 9/11 is that we are now engaged in the national argument over a film that we should have had about going to war."

Supreme Court Affirms Detainees' Right to Use Courts

A win for the right to due process.

"The American Civil Liberties Union called the rulings historic and said they embodied 'a strong repudiation of the administration's arguments that its actions in the war on terrorism are beyond the rule of law and unreviewable by American courts.'"

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier the guard takes 21 steps during his walk across the tomb. It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.

He hesitates 21 seconds after his about face to begin his return walk for the same reason.

His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle.

He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. After his march across the path, he executes an about face, and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.

Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.

For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he must be between 5' 10" and 6' 2" tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30."

They must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives. They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the uniform {fighting} or the tomb in any way. After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb. There are only 400 presently worn.

The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin.

The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet. There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt. There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform. Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror. The first six months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone, nor watch TV. All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred.

Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty.


Our US Senate/House took 2 days off as they couldn't work because of the expected storm. On the ABC evening news, it was reported tonight that, because of the dangers from Hurricane Isabelle approaching Washington DC, the military members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend the assignment. They respectfully declined the offer, "No way, Sir!"

Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment, it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a serviceperson.

The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.

When we ask our young men and women to risk their lives or our behalf they deserve this kind of honor and more. Every commander and particularly the Commander-in-Chief should hold our military in this kind of respect. Their lives should not be wasted on endeavors to protect our mere economic or political interests. It is they who have volunteered to put their lives on the line so that ours might be preserved. That is their mission. They are not there to protect our riches and they are not there to make other nations conform to our will. They are there to keep you, me, and our loved ones safe. Period. There is no other way to justify the sacrifice.

Poker With Dick Cheney

This is a howl!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Mistakes with a drift


Does anyone in the mainstream media ever wonder why this administration only makes “honest mistakes” in favor of its own arguments?

I didn’t think so.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Noonday in the Shade

Krug sticks by his guns. Ashcroft IS the worst AG ever.

Unfairenheit 9/11

Christopher Hitchens takes a swipe at Michael Moore. Moore has prepared for this and Hitchens step up to the plate. Let's see how it plays out.

Daily Show

Last night I caught the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He juxtaposed Cheney responding to "pretty well confirmed" with "I never said that" with the tape of Cheney saying..."It's been pretty well confirmed..etc". I agree with Alterman that Jon had the quote of the day: "Mr. Cheney, your pants are on fire."

Monday, June 21, 2004

Dealing with Kidnappers

As we watch the current drama with the kidnapped South Korean play out, people need to keep a couple of things in mind.

No one but the kidnappers is responsible for the welfare of the hostage. Not the government, not the family, no one. The perpetrators will try all kinds of dodges to place the responsibility elsewhere but they have the corpus and they have the responsibility. They are not bound be any convention to do anything that they themselves do not want to do. There is no good faith. Holding the hostage gives them power only to the degree that other parties fail to recognize that fact.

The hostage is better off being considered as already dead and the kidnappers already guilty of murder. Therein lies the only incentive for them to prove themselves to be otherwise. This is the reality of the situation. The only price that is at risk is the kidnappers' own skins. Unless they want to save themselves there is no basis for negotiation. This is the only way to deter this kind of activity. When the perpetrators learn that kidnapping gets them nothing but trouble it will stop but probably not before.

Guantanamo inmates' importance overstated

I'm not surprised. The Great Unravelling continues across all fronts.

NYT quoted at MSNBC:

"Bush administration and U.S. military officials have repeatedly exaggerated the intelligence value of detainees at Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba as well as the danger they pose, it was reported Monday.

Contrary to the repeated assertions of senior administration officials, none of the detainees at the U.S. naval base in Cuba ranked as leaders or senior operatives of al-Qaida, The New York Times reported, citing interviews with high-level military, intelligence and law-enforcement officials in the United States, Europe and the Middle East."

Judicial Nominee Practiced Law Without License in Utah

It's clearly a bit of carelessness that the general counsel of BYU happened to be practicing law without a license for a few years. But you would think that the administration would make sure the guy got that all squared away before the nominated him to a federal bench. But perhaps they just don't care about the rules that much when it comes to one of their guys.

He can't run a campaign either

From the AP.

"President Bush has spent seven of every $10 he has raised for his re-election campaign, more than half of it on television ads, and is asking supporters for more money."

All that money. Just evaporating away.

Space Ship One

had a successful flight into space today.

'Teleportation' Of Atomic States For Quantum Computing


Friday, June 18, 2004

The Wal-Mart Effect

A rational civic growth policy should consider the downside of big box stores in their communities.

Furthermore our national policies on global trade need to have provisions to check the spiral to the bottom that the passion for low prices can produce.

Perle is...

well...a real pearl of a guy.

Presidential Letter linking Iraq and 9/11

Presidential Letter see Kaplan below.

It Depends What the Meaning of "Relationship" Is

Fred Kaplan deconstructs the calculated language and arrives at the conclusion:

"Bush has been careful in the way he's worded his charges and rationales. Dick Cheney has not. Last Sept. 14, on Meet the Press, Cheney said that a U.S. success in Iraq will mean 'that we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.'

There's no getting around this one. Cheney wasn't merely suggesting, he was stating that the 9/11 terrorists' base was in Saddam's Iraq. Even Bush had to backpedal, admitting, 'No, we've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with Sept. 11.' The president is just sneaky. The vice president lies."
(my emphasis)

Coming to a theater near you

Michael Moore's "Farenheit 9/11" passes the fact-checking test. And it looks like the gaggle of usual suspects that will attack will not know what hit them. Truth can be a powerful weapon. Nero fiddled. Bush read a children's book.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

"America's blankness"

A case of unintended consequences from the Bush foreign policy.

"Machiavelli might well have added that 'worst of all is to be hated without being feared' -- the unenviable position into which the U.S. has recklessly cast itself, with what consequences, I believe, no one can tell. Reduced fear of the U.S., in fact, may be one of the most paradoxical outcomes of the war in Iraq. By exposing, in such an eye-catching fashion, the limits of U.S. military power, the administration has unintentionally reduced anxiety in Syria and Iran. What countries will now fear an American invasion? Who will henceforth believe our bluffs?"

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Scary Thought

Wouldn't the campaign become "interesting" if the Republican party regained it's good sense and kicked the Bushie's out at the convention and ran McCain instead?

Monday, June 14, 2004

Cheney's office briefed on Halliburton deal

Caught lying again.

"The existence of the briefings, one of which included Mr. Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, appeared to undermine earlier claims from Mr. Cheney and White House officials that the vice-president and his office were unaware of the Halliburton contract before it was announced. "

Why do they do that? If something looks so bad that they need to cover it up from the public, why doesn't the thought occur to them that maybe it isn't the right thing to do? Assuming, of course, that doing the right thing is something they have ever thought about.

Sound of the big bang

The sound of the big bang has been transposed into human audible frequencies. It sounds like this!

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Fact Check

From Atrios:

"The House and Senate did not both come under Republican rule during Reagan's time.
The Berlin Wall did not come down when Reagan was in office.
Reagan is not the president who left office with the highest approval rating in modern times.
Reagan was not 'the most popular president ever.'
Reagan did not preside over the longest economic expansion in history.
Reagan did not shrink the size of government.
Reagan did preside over what was at the time the 'biggest tax cut in history' but it was almost instantly followed up by the 'biggest tax increase in history.'
Reagan was not 'beloved by all.' He was loved by some, liked by some, and hated by some with good reason."

Caught on Film

What he says is so different than what he does. Warning. It's a long list.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

And Then

There's the Bush legacy.

The groups criticized the Bush administration for trying to change existing clean air laws, which the report said would result in nearly 4,000 more annual deaths from asthma, heart attacks and other ailments linked to coal plant emissions.

“The Bush air pollution plan represents a step backward from simply enforcing current law,” said Angela Ledford, director of Clear the Air, a coalition that includes the National Environmental Trust, the Public Interest Research Group and the Clean Air Task Force.

Sharp divisions marked Reagan tenure

WaPo on the Reagan legacy.
"But the lavish praise obscures that much of Reagan's record through eight years in office was highly controversial and intensified social and political divisions. Even now, nearly 16 years after he left office, some major interest groups and key voting blocs most adversely affected by Reagan policies remain bitter about his legacy.

The controversies and scandals included attacks on the federal school lunch program and aid to the poor, anti-union tactics, the illegal sale of arms to Iran and Reagan's 1985 participation in a ceremony at a German cemetery where Nazi soldiers are buried.

No group may have chafed more at Reagan's policies and views than African Americans, who assailed the president for opposing racial quotas and for seeking to obtain a tax credit for Bob Jones University, a segregated southern school."

The Great Taxer

Krugman, as usual, is excellent.

Don't believe everything you hear about Ronald Reagan

David Greenberg debunks the Reagan myths.

Monday, June 07, 2004

WiFi Cattle

This is cool. Keep them localized with a virtual fence on an open range. One could also monitor each animal's physical conditon in real-time.


Eric Alterman on Reagan:

"To me the most astounding thing about Reagan was his ability to convince the many members of the media and much of the country that his fantasies mattered more than reality did. In this regard, I think we can point to his presidency as the moment the country went off the rails in terms of a willingness to address its real problems, rather than the ones we wish we had. The news is more nonsense than normatively significant national problems, and while there has always been some of this, I think with Reagan we hit a tipping point. Listening to Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts wax nostalgically about how wonderful it was that Reagan made stuff up and a bunch of silly journalists had the temerity to (briefly) call him to account, brought back an almost physical wave of nausea as I involuntarily experienced the beginning of the period when facts and truth ceased to matter to their alleged guardians. "

Kerry plan could cut insurance premiums

Something substantiative on the health-care front. The article point out that a primary contributor to the health-care insurance problem is catastrophic care in which just a few cases drive up the costs for everyone. This problem can be tackled.

"At the center of Kerry's ideas is his proposal to have the federal government reimburse employers 75 percent of medical bills over $50,000 that a worker runs up in a year. The reimbursement would, in effect, make the government a secondary insurer and ease costs for employers, workers and private insurers.

In exchange for the benefit, Kerry would require employers to offer insurance to every worker and to provide health programs that detect and manage chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure early enough to prevent the diseases from worsening.

Kerry's catastrophic-illness relief plan is the only new health care proposal -- and the most expensive -- of this campaign season. It marks the first time in 12 years that a political leader has attempted to reorient the insurance market away from dodging the costliest patients and in the direction of implementing higher quality of care."

Sunday, June 06, 2004

It's Alive!

The nuclear option, that is.

A "True and Balanced " Reagan

Joshua Green in the Washington Monthly.

"Reagan is, to be sure, one of the most conservative presidents in U.S. history and will certainly be remembered as such. His record on the environment, defense, and economic policy is very much in line with its portrayal. But he entered office as an ideologue who promised a conservative revolution, vowing to slash the size of government, radically scale back entitlements, and deploy the powers of the presidency in pursuit of socially and culturally conservative goals. That he essentially failed in this mission hasn't stopped partisan biographers from pretending otherwise. (Noonan writes of his 1980 campaign pledges: 'Done, done, done, done, done, done, and done. Every bit of it.')

A sober review of Reagan's presidency doesn't yield the seamlessly conservative record being peddled today. Federal government expanded on his watch. The conservative desire to outlaw abortion was never seriously pursued. Reagan broke with the hardliners in his administration and compromised with the Soviets on arms control. His assault on entitlements never materialized; instead he saved Social Security in 1983. And he repeatedly ignored the fundamental conservative dogma that taxes should never be raised.

All of this has been airbrushed from the new literature of Reagan. But as any balanced account must make clear, Reagan acceded to political compromises as all presidents do once in office--and on many occasions did so willingly. In fact, however often unintentionally, many of his actions as president wound up facilitating liberal objectives. What this clamor of adulation is seeking to deny is that beyond his conservative legacy, Ronald Reagan has bequeathed a liberal one."

Middle Class shaft

According to an article in AlterNet your Republican Congress is giving the middle class a working over.

See your representative's scorecard. My Republican Rep (Hastings) got a D. The Republican (Nethercutt) running against Patty Murray for a Senate seat got an F. That must have something to do with why I'm supporting a change in the House.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Warrior for the center

E.J. Dionne to the Democratic Party:

"To repair the party, Democrats should 'stop talking about what they are not' and instead announce what they are for: economic justice, fair play, strong communities, tolerance and public service, he writes. They must take back the language of morals and religion from Republicans. And they must fight not only harder but smarter than Republicans. Otherwise, this historic opportunity to return America to equilibrium will be lost, he argues."

Hear, Hear!

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Craig Mason at the 4th CD Democratic Convention Posted by Hello

The Justice Department's triumphant victory over the Constitution

Dahlia Lithwick:
"In his comments accompanying the release of the Padilla document, Deputy Assistant Attorney General James Comey offered the following weird little tribute to the joys of suspending the Constitution at will: Had the government charged Padilla criminally, he said, 'He would very likely have followed his lawyer's advice and said nothing, which would have been his constitutional right. ... He would likely have ended up a free man.' Comey's point seems to be that constitutional protections produce bad evidence, in which case we should probably get rid of the Constitution in every criminal case. What he was really saying was that if you permit them to perform unconstitutional interrogations, the administration can get the accused to say exactly what we all wanted to hear."

This is Ashcroft's concept of justice.

Scientists tie ancient warming to 'belch'

Past events leading to global warming strongly support the need to do something about the greenhouse gases of today. I wonder how much more study is going to be needed to convince the polluters.

Cancer Cure?

A virus that replicates and kills in cancer cells. It is unable to replicate in normal cells though it does kill them. It would be like a microscopic scalpel, excising the cancer and a few nearby healthy cells before the virus died out completely.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004


First Valerie Plame and now this. Where are all the special prosecutors when you really, really need them?

Tuesday, June 01, 2004


Josh Marshall is starting to get really upset.
"The president's actions, if not his words, concede that Iraq has become the geopolitical equivalent of a botched surgery -- botched through some mix of the misdiagnosis of the original malady and the incompetence of the surgeon. Achieving the original goal of the surgery is now close to an afterthought. The effort is confined to closing up as quickly as possible and preventing the patient from dying on the table. And now the 'doctor', pressed for time and desperate for insight, stands over the patient with a scalpel in one hand and the other hurriedly leafing through a first year anatomy text book."

Terror threat source called into question

The Bushies are at it again. They are acting on intelligence from a group that has a track record of being wrong or intentionally misleading.

Dooh Nibor Economics

Krug says: A memo leaked from the OMB makes it clear that Bush plans to cut programs on which he is campaigning after the election.

That agenda is to impose Dooh Nibor economics — Robin Hood in reverse. The end result of current policies will be a large-scale transfer of income from the middle class to the very affluent, in which about 80 percent of the population will lose and the bulk of the gains will go to people with incomes of more than $200,000 per year.
Right now, it seems that the 2004 election will be a referendum on Mr. Bush's calamitous foreign policy. But something else is at stake: whether he and his party can lock in the unassailable political position they need to proceed with their pro-rich, anti-middle-class economic strategy. And no, I'm not engaging in class warfare. They are.

Miners Drawn to Illegal Congo Uranium

Oh, Mr. Bush. If you were really interested on a war on terror this is where you shuld be looking. Uranium is coming out of the ground and no one knows where it's going.