Friday, August 31, 2007

Real Time with Bill Maher...tonight!

Look carefully...that's Bill where ol' George would normally be.
This week, Bill welcomes singer John Mellencamp, fmr. Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK), and fmr. U.S. Ambassador Barbara Bodine. Plus via satellite, actor Harry Shearer and animal activist Ingrid Newkirk.

Sit down or walk away?

Jeffrey Feldman| BIO | I'M A FAN OF THIS BLOGGER
Dems Should Walk Away
Posted August 31, 2007 | 10:12 AM (EST)
Read More: Breaking Politics News, U.S. Republican Party, U.S. Senate, Harry Reid, U.S. Democratic Party, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney

According to the Washington Post, Harry Reid is again 'negotiating' with Senate Republicans about ways to end the nightmare on Baghdad Street often referred to as 'the war in Iraq' (i.e., it's not a 'war'--it's a burned-out military occupation). What's up for negotiation this time? You guessed it: Bush wants $50 billion more for Iraq. Apparently, Republicans are willing to sit down and talk about legislation to get out of Iraq, with just a few conditions: they refuse to use the words 'deadline' or 'timetable' or 'withdrawal.' In other words, the Republicans are happy to negotiation with Democrats about ending the war on Iraq, but refuse to allow any of the words Americans use to talk about ending a war.

Now, I ask myself: would I sit down at the negotiating table if the opposition put forward that kind of condition as their opening position? Let me think...


'Bad Faith' Republicans

I would have to be an idiot to think I was 'negotiating' if the opposition refused to use words that allow us to actually talk about the subject at hand. I would not sit down given that condition because it would not be a negotiation if I did. It would be a bad faith manipulation. To sit down would be to concede first, negotiate later. And if you concede firsts, there is no need to negotiation. So I would walk away. And Dems should, too.

But just to make this point clear enough, I've assembled a list of some common, everyday negotiations to see what they would look like if they were rigged from the start they same way as the Senate negotiations on Iraq.

Read the following situations and decide whether you would sit down at the table or walk away (***answer key included below).

Sit Down or Walk Away?

1. You want to buy a house and call the seller to negotiate the price. The seller says, "I'd be happy to talk with you on the condition that we do not discuss the house or the price." Should you sit down or walk away?

2. You want to ask your girlfriend's father for her hand in marriage. Her father says, "I'd be happy to talk with you on the condition that we do not discussion marriage or my daughter." Should you sit down or walk away?

3. You want to buy a car from dealer and you want to get the best deal possible. The dealer says, "I'd be happy to talk to you a deal on the condition that we do not use the word car, price or delivery." Should you sit down or walk away?

for complete article here is the url:


no comments necessary

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Execution Celebration

The Onion

Texas Executes 400th Convict

Last week, the state of Texas executed its 400th prisoner since 1976, when execution was ruled constitutional. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The WINNER of no child left behind!

I think she should have been left behind...

To add to the rich get richer...

The rich DO get richer. Our nation values the rich and tells the poor and middle classes that they "got what they deserve." Even Evangelical religious groups tell their followers that "God wants them to be rich" therefore when they don't achieve wealth, it's their own fault.

Along with all of this, we see the number of uninsured rise each year in this country. You see, to be insured, means you have "made it," you have a "good enough" job, with "good enough" skills. The problem is, fewer and fewer jobs are "good enough."

For example, here in Kendall County, part time workers do not get any benefits. They work 29 hours per week (just 30 hours per week is considered full time). One more hour per week and they would qualify for health insurance. I find that a really cheesy way to bilk employees out of benefits. One lousy hour per week. Oh, and since when is 30 hours per week full time? Who can live on 30 hours a week salary? It's harder and harder to live on 40 hours per wEEk.

However, on the flip side, if an employer does not pay for health insurance, he/she will save several hundred dollars per month in fees. Which begs the question, is for profit healthcare ethical?

Just who deserves health insurance and who does not? Who decides? What is "worthy?" Who is "worthy?" Just the rich? This is an ethical and moral question. We, in this nation, have been duped into believing that only "certain" people are deserving of health care. Why?

When you consider the fact that it is illegal to deny emergency care to any person in critical condition, why then is it illegal to deny health care to anyone? It's more expensive to take care of a very ill person than it is to perform preventative care, provide prescription drugs and prenatal healthcare.

Our nation ranks behind Latvia in maternal child death rates. That is the rate of deaths of mothers while giving birth. Most of us only think of death in childbirth as something that happened to the pioneers and early settler of this nation, such as in the Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prarie) era. Not so. In the great USA women are dying while giving birth at a greater rate now than since the mid 19th century. They are not in covered wagons giving birth by lantern light, this is in so-called state of the art US hospitals.

It is shameful. Shameful. We shuttle our elderly off to the hell we call nursing homes, we don't help families care for the elderly at home, we don't provide maternal and child care, and in essence, we only care for those who can pay. And the costs keep rising.

We need national health care, and forget the B.S. you hear about Canada and the U.K. They see a specialist and wait no longer for surgery than we do. Having your knee replaced, or your backache taken care of surgically is not an emergency. There is a waiting period in this country as there is in any other country. Most surgeries are not emergent. That is what we need to understand. Emergent care is life-saving care, like treating heart attack, stroke or major trauma. Everything else can be treated in a clinic, and a bit of a wait won't kill you. Living without any access to medical care to treat your diabetes, hypertension, or other chronic illness will kill you. So, in the good old USA, we live with untreated, or under-treated chronic illnesses that will kill us eventually. The US government and the insurance companies know this, and they don't give a darn. Profit is their motive.

There is no reason to have FOR PROFIT health care. Nobody should make a profit on illness or the prevention of illness. It's unethical.

Overheard at Methodist Hospital...a physician is taking a temporary job in Austraila. Why? 6 weeks of paid vacation a year and a smaller patient load. He wanted to try it out, because it sounded nicer than the hours he was currently working in the US although the pay was a bit lower. Tempted by quality of life, perhaps? Well, wouldn't we all like some quality of life.

So, while thinking about the quality of life you wish you had, spend a minute and think about our Boerne city employees. Write letters to the editor, attend a community meeting, and demand health insurance for all our city employees. Even if we can't have it ourselves, if we work to help one group attain health care benefits, they may just return the favor.

In Nov. 2008, when you vote, vote for a candidate that promotes single payer health insurance so we can raise our maternal child death rates above those of Latvia. Vote in your own best interest, not for party, but for what will help you (and the citizens of this nationa) the most. Forget the blather and B.S., think critically and then do what will serve all Americans.


The rich get richer and the middle class disappears

How the Neoliberals Stitched up the Wealth of Nations for Themselves
By George Monbiot, Comment Is Free
Posted on August 28, 2007, Printed on August 28, 2007
For the first time the UK's consumer debt exceeds the total of its gross national product: a new report shows that we owe £1.35 trillion. Inspectors in the United States have discovered that 77,000 road bridges are in the same perilous state as the one which collapsed into the Mississippi. Two years after Hurricane Katrina struck, 120,000 people from New Orleans are still living in trailer homes and temporary lodgings. As runaway climate change approaches, governments refuse to take the necessary action. Booming inequality threatens to create the most divided societies the world has seen since before the first world war. Now a financial crisis caused by unregulated lending could turf hundreds of thousands out of their homes and trigger a cascade of economic troubles.

These problems appear unrelated, but they all have something in common. They arise in large part from a meeting that took place 60 years ago in a Swiss spa resort. It laid the foundations for a philosophy of government that is responsible for many, perhaps most, of our contemporary crises.

When the Mont Pelerin Society first met, in 1947, its political project did not have a name. But it knew where it was going. The society's founder, Friedrich von Hayek, remarked that the battle for ideas would take at least a generation to win, but he knew that his intellectual army would attract powerful backers. Its philosophy, which later came to be known as neoliberalism, accorded with the interests of the ultra-rich, so the ultra-rich would pay for it.

Neoliberalism claims that we are best served by maximum market freedom and minimum intervention by the state. The role of government should be confined to creating and defending markets, protecting private property and defending the realm. All other functions are better discharged by private enterprise, which will be prompted by the profit motive to supply essential services. By this means, enterprise is liberated, rational decisions are made and citizens are freed from the dehumanizing hand of the state.

This, at any rate, is the theory. But as David Harvey proposes in his book A Brief History of Neoliberalism, wherever the neoliberal program has been implemented, it has caused a massive shift of wealth not just to the top 1%, but to the top tenth of the top 1%. In the US, for instance, the upper 0.1% has already regained the position it held at the beginning of the 1920s. The conditions that neoliberalism demands in order to free human beings from the slavery of the state - minimal taxes, the dismantling of public services and social security, deregulation, the breaking of the unions - just happen to be the conditions required to make the elite even richer, while leaving everyone else to sink or swim. In practice the philosophy developed at Mont Pelerin is little but an elaborate disguise for a wealth grab.

full article


I had trouble with the link to Andrew Cohen's blog. It really is an interesting column. If you want to read it, go to blogs at and scroll down to Cohen's blog, then down to Good Riddance to read all 4 parts.

Had Enough About Alberto Yet?

If you can stand to read any more about the soon to be gone Attorney General, Andrew Cohen has an excellent 4 part column in his blog "Bench Conference". Part 1: Alberto Gonzales: A Winning Accessory at Justice, explains his background and ties to Bush. The most telling (and frightening) in this section is the answer he gave when asked to list his roll models. He said, "The three biggest influences of my life, in terms of maturing me as a person, were my mom, my dad and our President, who's given me some wonderful opportunities. I've learned a lot from him in the various roles that I've seen him in, as a father, and as a governor, and as a president." Yikes!!!
Part 2: Presidential Enabler, Part 3: The "Empty Suit" AG and the last, Part 4: The Case for Attorney General Patrick Fitzgerald, all make fascinating reading. I've heard a lot of people mentioned to take the AG position, Joe Lieberman for one, but Fitzgerald seems like to best to me. Unfortunately, we can count on Bush to choose the worst.

This Week on the Daily Show

New episodes return Monday, September 10


TUESDAY 8/28 -- Bill Kristol -- Editor, The Weekly Standard

WEDNESDAY 8/29 -- Denis Leary -- Comedian & actor, "Rescue Me"

THURSDAY 8/30 -- Stephen F. Hayes -- Senior Writer, The Weekly Standard

This Week on the Colbert Report

New episodes return Monday, September 10


TUESDAY 8/28 -- Mike Huckabee -- 2008 Presidential Candidate (R); and
Andrew Keen, author, "The Cult of The Amateur"

WEDNESDAY 8/29 -- Michael Jacobson, Center for Science In The Public Interest

THURSDAY 8/30 -- Markos Moulitsas -- Daily Kos; and Michael Wallis,
author, "The Lincoln Highway"

Monday, August 27, 2007

Why Did Alberto Gonzalez Resign?

Progressivegrannie posted an excellent article below...but I thought I would just take it to its basic components and give you the REAL reason Gonzalez left: you. You and a hundred thousand others saying "Enough is enough!"

"Don't condone torture!"

"Don't give our enemies reasons to murder our captured soldiers!"

"Don't mess with our Constitution!"

The catcalls turned to a chorus, to a roar, and to a crescendo that was hard, even for the tin-eared Bush administration to ignore. And whether Gonzalez left to avoid more questioning, or if it was to avoid embarrassment for his mentor Bush, or the same for himself...the only reason that Gonzalez would ever even consider quitting is because Americans spoke out. It took one helluva lot longer than it should have...but eventually we got what we wanted. Eventually, we got what we deserved. We need to continue to be connected, to demand better of those who are, after all, our public servants.

This is a big victory for Democrats, but an even bigger victory for Americans as a whole. Celebrate! Then steel yourself up for the next fight. Because you damned well know there will be a next one.

William Rivers Pitt, excellent article on Truthout

Burning the Law in a Riot of Treason
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Columnist

Monday 27 August 2007

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.
- Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

The departure of Alberto Gonzales from the Attorney General's Office brings America to a place of definitions, and hanging in the balance is the very idea of the nation itself. The basic concepts and fundamental principles of our republic now stand as the only legitimate considerations going forward, for they have been tested almost to annihilation already, and will not endure much longer if we continue on this path.

It is the mythology within the Declaration of Independence we speak of, the fiction that tells us we are endowed with rights, and that those rights are unalienable. This falsehood has been vividly exposed in the last several years, and it has been a harsh lesson indeed. All the rights we hold dear and believe to be our greatest strength are, in fact, only words on old paper with neither force nor power. The next line - "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed" - is the muscle behind the myth, the core that has endured a withering assault.

Matters are so much worse than our national political dialogue lets on. The resignation of Gonzales has unleashed a torrent of hard words and harsh criticisms aimed at the deplorable nature of his tenure, but the truth of it continues to elude mention. They call Gonzales an incompetent, a crony, a loyalist, a disgrace, leaving off the one word necessary to fully explain who he is, and what he was engaged in before he stepped down.

Alberto Gonzales is a traitor. That is the only word to explain it.

He is not the only one; there are many more traitors like him in the Bush administration, criminals joined in an act of treason so vast and comprehensive that it beggars comparison. Nothing quite like this has ever before been attempted in America, and if they are allowed to succeed, there will be nothing of what defines America left to be seen

for more:

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bush and Napoleon

Bush and Napoleon Both Believed Their Own Propaganda About a "Greater Middle East"
By Juan Cole, Posted August 25, 2007.

"There are times when the resonances of history are positively eerie. The parallels of Napoleon's occupation of Egypt with Bush's disaster in Iraq are enough to make you jump out of your chair."

This is really interesting.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Keith Olbermann on NBC

Countdown is going to be shown on NBC before the pre-season football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Keith Olbermann has gained such a large following since last July that his show will be given a shot at network prime-time. It apparently will be shown next Sunday before "Football Night in America" which Mr Olbermann will co-host.
The New York Times and Liberal Values each have the story.

"Rally Squads" to stop anti-Bush demonstrations

Late last week, the federal government settled a lawsuit with a pair of Texans who were arrested in 2004 for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts at a Fourth of July event in Charleston, W.Va. That's right, friends, $80,000 (of your taxpayer dollars) will be paid out to Jeff and Nicole Rank, whose suit against Gregory J. Jenkins—former deputy assistant to the president and director of the White House Office of Presidential Advance—has been dismissed.

White House spokesman Blair Jones managed to turn lemons into lemonade with the statement last week that "the parties understand that this settlement is a compromise of disputed claims to avoid the expenses and risks of litigation and is not an admission of fault, liability, or wrongful conduct." ...
Because, you see, what the Ranks did wrong was attend an open-to-the-public, taxpayer-sponsored Independence Day speech by the president on the grounds of the state capitol, sporting homemade anti-Bush T-shirts. Their shirts had a red circle and a diagonal bar covering the word Bush. (His said, "Regime change starts at home," on the back; hers said, "Love America, Hate Bush.") The Ranks neither said nor did anything to disrupt the speech, but when they refused to remove their T-shirts, they were, at the direction of White House event staff, handcuffed, booked, photographed, and fingerprinted, charged with trespassing, and held for several hours in jail. (The charges were subsequently dismissed, and the city of Charleston has apologized.)...
But the best thing to have emerged from the Rank litigation was the official—if heavily redacted—Presidential Advance Manual (dated October 2002), which, although stamped "SENSITIVE" and not to be "duplicated ... replicated ... photocopied or released to anyone outside of the Executive Office of the President, White House Military Office or United States Secret Service,"

There is so much that is entertaining in the Advance Manual, it's hard to know where to begin. Sure, it's not a surprise anymore that it is official White House policy to use staff to foster "a well-balanced crowd," with well-balanced evidently defined as a subtle melange of those citizens who adore the president and those who revere him. The key to achieving such a balance, according to the manual, lies in "deterring potential protesters from attending events" and "preventing demonstrators." Nor should anyone be surprised that the president is to be shielded from dissent at taxpayer-funded presidential appearances and at "rallies, roundtables and tours" in equal measure. Only those individuals and groups that are "extremely supportive of the Administration" (emphasis theirs) will be seated in the area between the stage and the main camera platform.

The manual cautions that event staff "must decide if the solution would cause more negative publicity than if the demonstrators were simply left alone," but it's also full of ingenious ideas for dealing with a flare-up of dissent. Among the White House tactics are the subcontracting of censorship to event "rally squads" composed of helpful "college/young republican organizations, local athletic teams, and fraternities/sororities." (What, no mathletes?) These obliging rally squads can then "use their signs and banners as shields between the demonstrators and the main press platform." The use of a "long sheet banner ... in strategic areas around the site" is similarly smiled upon. Lest you believe that the Big Brother sheet represents the full extent of the speech suppression, however, the manual provides that, "As a last resort, security should remove the demonstrators from the event."

The Advance Manual's finest moments come in its urgent, earnest drive to protect not just the television cameras but also the president himself from the ugliness of the dread "demonstrators." Certainly, "if it is determined that the media will not see or hear" demonstrators, event staff can ignore them. But event staff must involve themselves in "designating a protest area preferably not in view of the event site or motorcade route." In other words, all this suppression of dissent isn't just to create a puppet show for the cameras. It's also about sock puppets for the president, who—if he could just be shielded from the mean T-shirts—might still believe his approval ratings soar into the mid-90s. ...

It's disturbing enough to learn from the Advance Manual that the White House has adopted an official policy of shouting down or covering up dissenting viewpoints with large sheets in order to deceive Americans at home into believing the president is universally adored. But that this official policy also exists to protect the tender sensitivities of the president himself is beyond belief.

Check out the White House document here

Oh I knew I should have removed my shirt at the Senate Office Building so could go through the metal detector! It would have been ever so much more fun than removing my anti-Bush buttons! Then, at least, I could have been arrested for indencent exposure!

Bob Schieffer link to video

Veteran CBS newsman Bob Schieffer offered a commentary Sunday on the upcoming report from General Petraeus on conditions in Iraq, observing, "When I ask a question and guests start laying out conditions ... I know that we're headed down the old rabbit trail."

"Excuse me for getting a little suspicious," Schieffer said, pointing out that "the White House want[s] the general to deliver the report to Congress behind closed doors while Cabinet officers do the talking in public. And suddenly we're told the general won't actually write the report, but that his thoughts will be included in a summary prepared by the White House."

"This is the report the president has said over and over that he will use to decide where we go from here in Iraq," concluded Schieffer. "Maybe it's because I've been dragged down the old rabbit trail too many times by too many people with something to hide, but this does not sound like we're headed to a straight answer."

Monday, August 20, 2007

This Week on the Daily Show

Daily Show Senior War Correspondent Rob Riggle files special reports from Iraq all this week (yes, actual Iraq, not greenscreen Iraq).

MONDAY 8/20 -- Nikolas Kozloff -- author, "Hugo Chávez: Oil, Politics and the Challenge to the U.S."

TUESDAY 8/21 -- Alan Weisman -- author, "The World Without Us"

WEDNESDAY 8/22 -- Sen. Barack Obama -- 2008 Presidental Candidate


This Week on the Colbert Report

MONDAY 8/20 -- Nathan Sawaya -- LEGO art sculptor

TUESDAY 8/21 -- Michael Shermer -- founder of The Sceptics Society

WEDNESDAY 8/22 -- Richard Branson -- Virgin Atlantic

THURSDAY 8/23 -- Joe Klein -- author, "Politics Lost"

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Moyers: My Fellow Texans

In this guest essay, Bill Moyers reflects on the legacy of his fellow Texan and Bush's political guru, Karl Rove:

Like the proverbial hedgehog, Karl Rove knew one big thing: how to win elections as if they were divine interventions.

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You may think God summoned Billy Graham to Florida on the eve of the 2000 election to endorse George W. Bush just in the nick of time, but if it did happen that way, the Good Lord was speaking in a Texas accent.

Karl Rove figured out a long time ago that the way to take an intellectually incurious, draft-averse, naughty playboy in a flight jacket with chewing tobacco in his back pocket and make him governor of Texas, was to sell him as God’s anointed in a state where preachers and televangelists outnumber even oil derricks and jack rabbits.

Using church pews as precincts, Rove turned religion into a weapon of political combat -- a battering ram, aimed at the devil’s minions. Especially at gay people.

It’s so easy, as Karl knew, to scapegoat people you outnumber. And if God is love, as rumor has it, Rove knew in politics to bet on fear and loathing. Never mind that in stroking the basest bigotry of true believers you coarsen both politics and religion.

At the same time he was recruiting an army of the Lord for the born-again Bush, Rove was also shaking down corporations for campaign cash. Crony capitalism became a biblical injunction.

Greed and God won four elections in a row -- twice in the Lone Star state and twice again in the nation at large. But the result has been to leave Texas under the thumb of big money with huge holes ripped in its social contract, and the U.S. government in shambles -- paralyzed, polarized, and mired in war, debt and corruption.

Rove himself is deeply enmeshed in some of the scandals now being investigated, including those missing e-mails that could tell us who turned the Attorney General of the United States into a partisan sock puppet.

Rove is riding out of Dodge City as the posse rides in.

At his press conference this week he asked God to bless the President and the country, even as reports were circulating that he himself had confessed to friends his own agnosticism. He wished he could believe, but he cannot.

That kind of intellectual honesty is to be admired, but you have to wonder how all those folks on the Christian right must feel discovering they were used for partisan reasons by a secular skeptic, a manipulator.

On his last play of the game all Karl Rove had to offer them was a Hail Mary pass, while telling himself there’s no one there to catch it.

Bill Moyers is managing editor of the weekly public affairs program Bill Moyers Journal, which airs Friday night on PBS. Check local airtimes or comment at The Moyers Blog at

Friday, August 17, 2007

Bill Maher's Back Next Week!

Find out more here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What Dems need

Democrats need what Americans want: a conviction politics that is principled, fearless and tenacious and projects confidence and strength to voters hungry for change.

The vision is clear: a realigning election in 2008 with a Democratic president and Democratic Congress to establish one of those great eras of American optimism and reform.

Democrats could run a national “Morning in America” television ad that attacks the Bush failures and abuses, the Republican obstructionism that blockades change; and offers an uplifting panorama of the America that will be, with change.

However: Leaders lead, and the battle must be waged on the floor of Congress with a courage and tenacity that is lacking today.

Walking a day in a nurse's shoes

And unionized nurses at that! Oh I do miss my union days back East. Where we had smaller patient-nurse ratios, discharge planning and we actually could take a bit of time and care with our patients. Texas nurses are overworked and undervalued. Sigh.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

We need 21st Century Dems!

Howard Dean in the 2004 campaign; Al Gore as the effective leader of the Loyal Opposition; and now Barack Obama challenging the tired and decadent national security establishment — these are the first true voices of 21st century politics.

If you believe supporting the Iraq war for five years was right; that America is safer under George Bush; and that special-interest lobbyists are the heart of America who do not buy laws with money, Hillary Clinton, the leader of the old establishment, is your girl (as she said).

I totally agree with this article. The 21st century Dems need to take over from the fossilized old Dem party. We need new blood, we need change, and we need it now!

It's too early to be sure, but.............

From Political Wire yesterday:

Electorate Shifts Towards Democrats
In a new strategy memo, Stan Greenberg looks at four months of polling data and sees "big changes that have an enduring quality" that will shape the 2008 presidential race.

Key takeaways:

* The "opinion elite" in the country -- those with a college education and earning more than $75,000 -- support a Democratic presidential candidate by an 11 point margin.
* Independents have defected from Republican candidates and now support a Democrat for president by 19 points.
* Young voters are breaking to Democrats with landslide margins.
* Married women -- a key swing vote -- are breaking marginally for the Democrats this year after swinging strongly for the Republicans in 2004.
* Unmarried women -- a key bloc of "base" voters for Democrats -- pick the Democratic candidate by two to one margin.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Tx immigration detention centers, horrible conditions

This is America? Children held in a prison, no comfort, no toys and no joy. What would make someone hate America? Probably this. Why make more enemies? This is not the country I grew up in. I am disgusted.

Of the two all-ages detention facilities operated by the government, the T. Don Hutto Family Residential Center, which opened in May, is the newest and largest, and holds roughly 200 minors and their relatives who have been arrested or detained across the border. It is the only detention center housed in a former prison, and agency officials say it has been extensively renovated into "a modern, state-of-the-art facility."

Yet lawyers and human rights advocates question the ethics and legality of imprisoning children and say T. Don Hutto is, regardless, a bad place to start. "It's clearly not a setting that is appropriate for families," says Michelle Brané, an investigator with the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children who toured the facility late last year. She says a typical prison routine still exists there: all children who are big enough must wear scrubs akin to prison uniforms, and there's little to occupy their time besides lounging in the "pod," the communal space walled off by prison cells. When not hanging out there, children receive a single hour of physical recreation each day and, at the time Brané visited, a single hour of schooling in the form of an all-ages English class. (The classes were upped to four hours recently, and are expanding to the seven hours required in Texas public schools.) Brané was not impressed by efforts to brighten the pod with carpet and a mural depicting an ocean scene: "It's definitely a penal environment."

Faten, the five-year-old detainee, suffered from nightmares and often sobbed uncontrollably at T. Don Hutto, according to a lawsuit seeking her family's release that was filed late last month by a private attorney. In one instance she was "yelled at and threatened with 'punishment' for her failure to 'stand still'" during the prison's daily population count, the suit said. Her mother, Hanan, who is now five months pregnant, complained of being too tired to join daily showers at 5:30 a.m., but was told that if she didn't she could be put in solitary confinement, according to the suit. To see a gynecologist, according to the lawsuit, Hanan had to travel two hours away, bound in leg irons the entire time, for each prenatal appointment. Her absence from the pod so upset Faten and her siblings, aged eight and 14, that their mother stopped seeking medical treatment rather than leave them alone.

This Week on the Daily Show

MONDAY 8/13 -- Bill Kristol -- Editor, The Weekly Standard

TUESDAY 8/14 -- Denis Leary -- Comedian and actor, "Rescue Me"

WEDNESDAY 8/15 -- Stephen F. Hayes -- Senior writer, The Weekly Standard

THURSDAY 8/16 -- Sen. John McCain -- 2008 Presidential Candidate

This Week on the Colbert Report

MONDAY 8/13 -- Michael Jacobson -- Center For Science In The Public Interest

TUESDAY 8/14 -- Jerry Miller -- exonerated through DNA evidence
Spencer Wells, The Genographic Project

WEDNESDAY 8/15 -- Michael Wallis -- author, "The Lincoln Highway"

THURSDAY 8/16 -- Andrew Keen -- author, "The Cult Of The Amateur"

Rove Resigns

Boy, I don't know how to take this! I'm thrilled of course, but I'm also deeply suspicious. Will he go to work on a new Republican's presidential campaign? Hmmm...yeah, I 'm not sure sure about this.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

New movie: No End in Sight

Roger Ebert's review:
by Roger Ebert

Remember the scene in "A Clockwork Orange" where Alex has his eyes clamped open and is forced to watch a movie? I imagine a similar experience for the architects of our catastrophe in Iraq. I would like them to see "No End in Sight," the story of how we were led into that war, and more than 3,000 American lives and hundreds of thousands of other lives were destroyed.

US military psyops in a neighorhood near you

Welcome to the Jungle: US Military Psychological Operations and You
"...the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other."- Benjamin Franklin, 1787

They say that if you drop a frog into a pot of boiling water it will immediately jump out, but that if you raise the pot's heat gradually, the frog won't react.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sarkozy meets Bush in Maine, but there is no lobster on the menu

“We’re going to give him a hamburger or a hot dog, his choice,” Mr. Bush said as he waited for Mr. Sarkozy to arrive. He was flanked by the first lady, Laura Bush, and his parents. Looking on were members of the extended Bush clan, including grandchildren who had made welcome signs — “Bienvenue Monsieur Le President” — with pictures of lobsters.

Mr. Bush went on with the menu, occasionally interrupted by his wife: “He’s got some baked beans,” Mr. Bush said. “If he likes baked beans he can have that as well.” (“Native Maine corn,” Mrs. Bush interjected.) “There’s corn on the cob, real fresh this time of year,” he continued. (“Salad, fresh tomatoes,” the first lady added.) “If he feels like it, he can have him a piece of blueberry pie, fresh blueberries up here in Maine.”...
Like Mr. Chirac, Mr. Sarkozy, 52, is no supporter of the war in Iraq. But he is much more Mr. Bush’s speed — youthful, vigorous and, in his own words, proud to be known as “Sarkozy the American.” For his summer vacation, he shunned the French Riviera, instead choosing Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, just 50 miles from here....
Mr. Bush, for his part, was careful not to portray himself as too much of a Francophile.

“No I can’t,” the president said, asked by a journalist if he could say something in French. “I can barely speak English.”


oMFG ! ! Bush is still a moron. And, for that matter what is the matter with the French? Why would they elect someone who loves Bush? Makes no sense to me.

News from the SD 25 Convention held today

We have a yahoo group. Email Sally or John for information.

Important dates to remember:
Early voting (for the primary) starts on 02/19/08
Primary election day is 03/04/08
Don't forget to attend your precinct convetion on 03/04/08 at 7:15 pm.

County Convention 03/29/08

State Convention June 6-7, 2008

In between all these events, we need to GOTV!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

No school for Vets, thanks Bush

Administration Fights Dem Plan to Boost School Aid for Vets

The Bush administration opposes a Democratic effort to restore full educational benefits for returning veterans, according to an official's comments last week.
full story

So, these men and women are fighting for what? Let's see, first it was stopping WMD's, then it was promoting democracy. What was it really...hmmm, regulating the flow of oil perhaps?

Sickening spin and B.S. by the Bush administration.

We don't need no stinking safe bridges!

Bush wants to cut corporate taxes, but does not think we need to do anything about infrastructure, like bridges. Ok, I want him to sit on the bridge north of Boerne Stage Road (at Leon Springs) while traffic passes over it. He can feel the scary shaking and wobbling of the bridge and then he can tell me, there is nothing wrong with it.
He can drive over the John's Road bridge every day and wonder why, after it was hit by a semi truck and we were told it needed repair, no repairs were done.
It's all so ridiculous.


In a 48-minute conversation on an array of economic issues, Bush also warned China not to start a trade war, blamed Congress for not doing more to shore up infrastructure such as the bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis last week, and pushed back against Democratic presidential candidates who are promising to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

So, no bridges for us? Bush thinks a tax cut for business will be the best thing. Moron that he is, he should not be pushing China's button as they basically OWN this country. If we can spend Billions with a "B" on a war, why can't we Americans have safe bridges, working sewer systems, water systems, etc." What's he gonna do, fix them like he did in Baghdad where they get 1 hour of water a day? Come on! That's so un-American! He is running our country into the ground, while corporations make mega bucks. Good for his friends, bad for the rest of us.

'Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death'

Patrick Henry’s words ring hollow after Congress passed, and the president signed, a law of enormous constitutional and security importance in an atmosphere of fear, without any semblance of serious debate. Again.

A Feast of Bullshit and Spectacle: The Great American Media Mind Warp

..Through advertising and marketing, the hologram combs the fields of instinct and human desire, arranging our wants and fears in the direction of commodities or institutions. No longer are advertising and marketing merely propaganda, which is all but dead. Digitally mediated brain experience now works far below the crude propaganda zone of influence, deep in the swamps of the limbic brain, reengineering and reshaping the realms of subjective human experience.

Yet we are the hologram, because we created it. In a relentlessly cycling feedback loop, we create and project the hologram out of our collective national psyche. The hologram in turn manages our collective psyche by regulating our terrors, cravings and neurological passions through the production of wars, whores, politics, profits and manna. Like legions of locusts, we pray before its productive engines of commerce and under the shifting aurora borealis of the hologram's drama and spectacle. It is us. We are it. The psychology of the individual becomes irrelevant as the swarm relentlessly devours the earth...


Monday, August 06, 2007

This Week on the Daily Show

MONDAY 8/6 -- Matt Damon -- actor, "The Bourne Ultimatum" (Repeat Episode)

TUESDAY 8/7 -- Andy Samberg -- comedian, actor, "Hod Rod"

WEDNESDAY 8/8 -- Joseph Biden -- U.S. Senator, D-DE

THURSDAY 8/9 -- Tal Ben-Shahar -- Harvard professor & author, "Happier

This Week on the Colbert Report

MONDAY 8/6 -- Kathleen Kennedy Townsend -- author, "Failing America's Faithful" (Repeat Episode)

TUESDAY 8/7 -- Ian Bogost -- author, "Persuasive Games"

WEDNESDAY 8/8 -- Tina Brown -- author, "The Diana Chronicles"

THURSDAY 8/9 -- Judd Apatow -- producer, "Superbad"

Gitmo poetry

Poems written by Gitmo prisoners. Worth reading.

A list of democrats who voted for the FISA bill

Editors Note: The following is a list of Democrats who voted for the FISA Bill which signed into law the Bush administrations authority to eavesdrop on US citizens, making surveillance without warrants, which was being conducted in secret by the NSA and in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, legal. cw/TO

Evan Bayh
Tom Carper
Bob Casey
Kent Conrad
Dianne Feinstein
Daniel Inouye
Amy Klobuchar
Mary Landrieu
Blanche Lincoln
Claire McCaskill
Barbara Mikulski
Bill Nelson
Ben Nelson
Mark Pryor
Ken Salazar
Jim Webb

Jason Altmire (4th Pennsylvania)
John Barrow (12th Georgia) Blue Dog
Melissa Bean (8th Illinois) Blue Dog
Dan Boren (2nd Oklahoma) Blue Dog
Leonard Boswell (3rd Iowa)
Allen Boyd (2nd Florida) Blue Dog
Christopher Carney (10th Pennsylvania) Blue Dog
Ben Chandler (6th Kentucky) Blue Dog
Jim Cooper (5th Tennessee) Blue Dog
Jim Costa (20th California) Blue Dog
Bud Cramer (5th Alabama) Blue Dog
Henry Cuellar (28th Texas)
Artur Davis (7th Alabama)
Lincoln Davis (4th Tennessee) Blue Dog
Joe Donnelly (2nd Indiana) Blue Dog
Chet Edwards (17th Texas)
Brad Ellsworth (8th Indiana) Blue Dog
Bob Etheridge (North Carolina)
Bart Gordon (6th Tennessee) Blue Dog
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (South Dakota) Blue Dog
Brian Higgins (27th New York)
Baron Hill (9th Indiana) Blue Dog
Nick Lampson (23rd Texas) Blue Dog
Daniel Lipinski (3rd Illinois)
Jim Marshall (8th Georgia) Blue Dog
Jim Matheson (2nd Utah) Blue Dog
Mike McIntyre (7th North Carolina) Blue Dog
Charlie Melancon (3rd Louisiana) Blue Dog
Harry Mitchell (5th Arizona)
Colin Peterson (7th Minnesota) Blue Dog
Earl Pomeroy (North Dakota) Blue Dog
Ciro Rodriguez (23rd Texas) Blue Dog
Mike Ross (4th Arkansas) Blue Dog
John Salazar (3rd Colorado) Blue Dog
Heath Shuler (11th North Carolina) Blue Dog
Vic Snyder (2nd Arkansas)
Zachary Space (18th Ohio) Blue Dog
John Tanner (8th Tennessee) Blue Dog
Gene Taylor (4th Mississippi) Blue Dog
Timothy Walz (1st Minnesota)
Charles A. Wilson (6th Ohio) Blue Dog

A commentary so good I had to share it

p m carpenter's commentary

August 06, 2007

Monday's memo

I laughed -- literally -- upon reading the first five words of yesterday's New York Times coverage of the Democrats' shameless collaboration in further suspending the Constitution: "Under pressure from President Bush...."

Under pressure from whom?

But I imagine "whom" laughed harder than I. Because "whom" had hornswoggled and bamboozled them again. "Whom" had pulled off another good one. "Whom" still has the decisive victors of the last election believing they lost. "Whom" is down to a political base of his wife, his dog, a few Bundist Christians and a scattering of Skinheads -- yet he could bend Democrats to his will, just by shouting "Boo!"

And the burlesque didn't stop there.

"Civil liberties and privacy advocates and a majority of Democrats said the [approved changes in the terrorist surveillance program] could allow the monitoring of virtually any calls, e-mails or other communications going overseas that originate in the United States, without a [warrant], if the government deems the recipient to be the target of a U.S. probe."

Sounds frighteningly intrusive, doesn't it? Downright unconstitutional? Utterly offensive to those historic and familiar words, "The right of the people to be secure ... against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause ..."?

Well, not to worry, since "Under the administration's version of the bill, the director of national intelligence and the attorney general can authorize the surveillance...."

Butch Cassidy-like, for a minute there we thought we were in trouble. But, given Alberto Gonzales' unbesmirched veracity and virtue, and given Congress' outspoken confidence in his abilities and judgment, our peace of mind is intact. The Republic is safe, for Alberto is in, and still in charge.

Let us not even ponder the slippery-sloped ramifications -- for instance, that we started with a "secret court" approving warrants on citizens, yet now, even star chambers are too fastidiously quaint. We've matured. Now, the simple stroke of a pen by a known and bumbling felon -- a wannabe dictator's puppeteered jackal -- can put you under a federal microscope. But please know it's for your own good, your safety, your protection from those who hate your theoretical freedoms.

So let us ponder that not. It's too depressing. Let us, rather, return to the burlesque -- a show that never seems to close and always seems to feature an entertaining cast of cowering Democrats.

True, less then 20 percent of House Dems voted along with the Senate to white-out the Fourth Amendment. But it was the leadership's all too typical, after-the-fact, "Boy, are we going to get tough now" attitude that made the entire party look so foolish.

The TSP changes are slated to expire in six months, but, sternly admonished the House Democratic Caucus chairman, Rahm Emanuel, "There is no way we are ever going to wait six months." What he omitted was, "But we've got this dang summer vacation we simply must take, and its urgency takes precedence over the Constitution."

Also omitted was any acknowledgement that six months from now will be six months nearer to the next terrorizing election -- a season when "Boo!" will come with an even more powerful kick, and, likely, an even more cowardly reception.

It's official, we are a police state

So, noted Larisa Alexandrovna (excerpt and link below). I had a discussion about living in a police state with a friend of mine, who grew up in a communist country and whose father was a communist party member. She disagrees that we are living in a police state because she said, nobody had knocked on her door a night or taken any body away, so far. She said when that happens, she will believe it. Well, it looks like that could now happen, since the Dems rolled over and gave almost limitless power to the Feds with the new FISA bill.


It's official, we are police state...
Posted by Larisa Alexandrovna

“This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.” - Plato

Thanks to 40 Democratic members of the House and the Democratic leadership in the Senate, the FISA Absolute Power bill has now passed. I promise you that whatever tiny restriction the Congress managed to put on the Absolute Power bill, the Decider will attach a signing statement to it making sure that that he gets every inch that he pretended to give. This Congress is a disgrace. Compared to the Congress before it, which redefined corruption and took it to whole new levels, the Democratic Congress is the culture of cowardice and compromised people.

Thankfully I am an independent, which gives me plenty of room to vote for whomever I choose. Party is not country after all. But those of you who are Democrats, you need to send your party cards back in mass protest and make it clear, that you will make sure that every single person who voted for this horror is not going to be coming back to Congress after the next election. And for the rest of them who did not even attempt to filibuster this, I would urge you to put them on notice. As far as the Conservatives go, they will pick party over country, so there is no point in addressing what they need to do, as they are likely celebrating a big victory as though something this serious were a mere Monday night football game.

Make NO mistake, we are in serious peril when an Attorney General who has subverted the Constitution per request of his boss, lied, obstructed justice, and defended torture, is now in full authority to declare who is going to be a target of warrant-less surveillance. You may not see this as seriously as I do, but then again, you have not lived under a dictatorship to know the difference. Mostly though, the people who failed most, are the citizens of this country - who should have taken to the streets and shut down all commerce, all traffic, and disengaged from the machine of government. You did not shut it down. You did not even try. You waited as your hopes were put entirely in the hands of cowards.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

dems roll over and play dead....again

Apparently the Dems will continue to roll over and play dead, ceding everything to the executive branch. Why? I have done a bit of reading here and there, partly because I am so angry and partly because I just can't believe this. Where in the world are we headed? Is it time to move to Canada?

From the dailyKos:

The Congress is at the threshold of a major capitulation on FISA. There's no doubt that there are a lot of political (read: electoral) implications to this vote. We all know that. We've been through this fear mongering routine before, where the public is rattled by vague pronouncements about unspecified threats (or about whatever's going on in Michael Chertoff's "gut," as the case may be), and where Members of Congress are cowed by the prospect of Republican attack ads claiming they're "weak on terror."

And of course, at this point it should go without saying that if a bill is placed before you that addresses additional powers and authority for the Attorney General, of all people, this is a full stop moment.

The vote on this bill is no. The vote on any bill expanding the powers of this Attorney General is no.

These are things I should not have to outline for anyone at this point. Certainly not Daily Kos readers. But you'd hope Members of Congress, too. But apparently, in that hope you'd be disappointed.

Still, these are merely the surface issues. There's something deeper and even more troubling going on here. What's happening here is the ceding of the last remaining prerogatives of the legislative branch to the executive. We are currently watching the Congress cede its oversight authority -- not its ability to hold hearings, but its ability to make hearings mean something.

Then I found this news story that could add a tinfoil hat conspiracy theory to the reasons why the Dems are rolling over.

Two congressional representatives were meeting with Capitol Hill security officials Friday as workers dealt with an increased security presence related to unspecified al-Qaida threats as the sixth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks approaches.

The fears were stoked Thursday when Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott said it would be a good thing for congress to leave town until September 12.

His remarks prompted D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton to accuse the Mississippi Republican of playing politics.


Then of course, this comment on dailyKos, which goes along with what I have been saying for a very long time. It's even worse now that we elected Dems on 2006, and they are rolling over, and allowing the fascist state to build more and more power.


Can You Say, "Enabling Act"? (0 / 0)

How many more civil liberties must we sacrifice before its becomes possible to make any comparisons to late Weimar Germany?

Bitterly polarized society?
"Stab in the Back" accusations against liberals?
Extreme concentration of power in the executive?
Fragile economy and massive deficits?

Is it fair to suggest that once these concentrations of absolute power are in place, it will be too late to do anything?


This quote says it all:

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Texas Deficient bridges

Report says 2,100 Texas bridges are deficient | - ...

Report says 2,100 Texas bridges are deficient

AUSTIN — More than 2,100 Texas bridges were classified under the same structurally deficient rating given to the bridge that collapsed in Minnesota and killed at least four people, but state officials insisted Thursday that all the spans are completely safe.

Structurally deficient bridges accounted for 4 percent of the state's approximately 50,000 bridges in a 2006 report by the Texas Department of Transportation. Seventy-seven percent of Texas bridges were labeled good or better, while most of the rest were deemed functionally obsolete, meaning they were not designed to handle the current traffic demand.

But department spokesman Mark Cross said there is no reason for Texans to worry about a repeat of the bridge collapse that happened Wednesday evening in Minneapolis. The eight-lane Interstate 35W bridge was in the midst of repairs when it buckled during the evening rush hour, sending dozens of cars plummeting more than 60 feet into the Mississippi River and injuring 79 people.

"We talked to our state bridge engineer and that is the first thing he said: Texas has an aggressive bridge inspection program, and all bridges in Texas are safe," Cross said.