Monday, December 31, 2007

600


Welcome to our 600th Blog Post of 2007.



Happy New Year.

Huckabee: We Won't Throw The Kids Out, But They'll All Go

(H/T Crooks and Liars, they have video, high techery)

MTP:

MR. RUSSERT: Let me ask you about immigration because it is your consistency on that issue, I think, that is going to be talked about. The debate in November, you were active--talked about shipping, sending illegal immigrants home, and you made this impassioned plea. Let's watch.

(Videotape)

GOV. HUCKABEE: In all due respect, we're a better country than to punish children for what their parents did. We're a better country than that.

(End videotape)

MR. RUSSERT: "We're a better country than punishing children for what their"...

GOV. HUCKABEE: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: ..."parents did."

GOV. HUCKABEE: I still believe that, yeah.

MR. RUSSERT: But a week later, after that comment, you came out with this: "The Secure America Plan."

GOV. HUCKABEE: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: "Propose to provide all illegal immigrants a 120-day window to register with the Bureau of Citizenship" "Immigration Services and leave the country. Those who register" "return to their home country will face no penalty if they later apply," "those who do not return home will be, when caught, barred from future re-entry for a period of 10 years." Children born here are American citizens.

GOV. HUCKABEE: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: And you were saying that.

GOV. HUCKABEE: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: "Don't punish those kids." A week later, you said, "No, no, no, send the parents home," and what happens to the kids?

GOV. HUCKABEE: They go with their parents. I mean, I can't imagine a parent not taking their children...

MR. RUSSERT: But they're American citizens. Why do they have to leave the country?

GOV. HUCKABEE: Because they're--first, before they're American citizens, they're the children of their parents.

MR. RUSSERT: But aren't we a "better country," to quote someone, than that?
So he said let the kids say, they shouldn't pay for what their parents did, but that probably didn't go over very well with the wingers, so he tried to take it back, sorta. It's nice to see candidates standing up for what they believe will get them elected, then quickly changing their minds (while "standing by their statements") when the realize they made a mistake. Isn't there a name for something like that . . . oh ya.



PS - I love Teva Mush flip flops.

Predict The Primaries, Make Yourself Famous

MandateMedia.com(via da inbox):

Correctly predict the winners and you could be famous. You could be the next Cable TV talking head. There's no money in it, but if your crystal ball is the finest of them all - we'll bow down before your greatness and proclaim it to the world.

(In 2004, Intel policy guy Jonathan Williams correctly picked every governor's race, every Senate race, and all but one state in the presidential race. We're still astonished.)

The deadline for your picks is Wednesday at midnight. So, get on it!

The 2008 Presidential Primary Punditology Challenge awaits your brilliance.
Go Be somebody.

Orem, Eagle Mountain Score High on Open Government Test

Daily Herald:

Public information on the activities of planning commissions and city councils varies widely across Utah Valley. Some cities provide agendas with extremely minimal information, stating only that "recreation" or undefined jargon terms such as "CDBG" will be discussed, as a recent agenda in Goshen stated, or simply "airport loan" or "center for the arts" listed on a recent Provo agenda. Such opaqueness makes it difficult for residents to know not only how elected officials are spending taxpayer money, but also how city actions may affect residents.

Other cities are much more transparent. Eagle Mountain and Orem both regularly provide agendas reaching 10 pages or more, containing detailed explanations making it easier for residents to know at a glance where money is being spent and on-the-ground consequences of city actions. Most, if not all, cities provide extremely detailed packets of information -- sometimes numbering 100 pages or more -- regarding the agendas to their city leaders, but have sometimes charged the public and media fees to get the same information. Other cities post these packets on their Web sites for free public access.
In the same vein, Salt Lake County residents have a great tracking resource, and citizens of Cache Valley can now access council podcasts via KVNU's For The People.

The Lighter Side of Fighting Off Empire


It's like a bad sitcom.

In one of the shortest session in its history, the Senate's final session of the year lasted a total of 12 seconds Monday.

Democrats kept the Senate in session over the holiday season.

Only one senator, Democrat Jack Reed of Rhode Island, was in the chamber to gavel open the Senate and adjourn it until January 3.

Monday's event was the latest in a series of "pro forma" sessions the Senate has called. Pro forma means "for the sake of formality" and these micro sessions are part of the last political scuffle between the White House and the Democratic-led Congress.
Necessary, unfortunately.

Got Any Mp3s? If So, You're Breaking The Law

Or at least that's what the way the RIAA wants things to work.

Now, in an unusual case in which an Arizona recipient of an RIAA letter has fought back in court rather than write a check to avoid hefty legal fees, the industry is taking its argument against music sharing one step further: In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

The industry's lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are "unauthorized copies" of copyrighted recordings.
Now, since I hardly ever use CDs beyond ripping the files to put on my ipod, I suppose the only legal way for me to get music will be via itunes, since CDs now do me no good whatsoever. Radiohead just keeps looking more right.

Update Damnit, I clicked post too soon. Here's what the RIAA says about copying a legal cd for your own use.
11. How is downloading music different from copying a personal CD?

Record companies have never objected to someone making a copy of a CD for their own personal use. We want fans to enjoy the music they bought legally.
Shouldn't your website match what you're suing people for?

The Oversight Year Vs. The Working Conservative Majority

TAP:

As the year draws to a close, it will be tempting for pundits -- liberal and otherwise -- to despair at the Democrats' inability to wield their new congressional leadership to affect real and swift change in the country. After all, the war in Iraq not only continues, but 2007 was its deadliest year. FISA presents a greater danger to American civil liberties today than it did when the Democrats took their gavels in January. And the radiant vision of Karl Rove being escorted down Pennsylvania Avenue to jail never came to pass.
Many disappointments for progressive Democrats this year, driven home hammer-like by the victory of 2006, and what it should have meant, but didn't.
The fact is, things have changed quite a bit. I'm friendly with a lawyer in a major executive branch agency, and she told me that the investigations going on by Congress are allowing her to do her job. Steve Novick, candidate for Senate in Oregon (who is really quite terrific), told me the same thing about friends he has in the Federal bureaucracy. Governance itself is getting better, or at least has stopped getting worse. So Blue Dogs are not Republicans.

There are other weaknesses in what I wrote [about Blue Dogs], and the commenters pointed them out. In particular, this comment by Paul Rosenberg is I think accurate, as he argues that we are facing a conservative but not right-wing Blue Dog/DLC bloc combined with an anti-progressive elite consensus in the form of a hostile media establishment, a hostile think tank and academic structure, a hostile regulatory structure, a hostile set of cultural leaders and a set of old world economic incentives for elites.
As the TAP author, argues the failure was not complete, thanks to the return of oversight, and despite the efforts of Blue Dogs to undermine the majority.

Does lend a bit of perspective, and lend fuel to fire as we head into 2008.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Why is There Never a Plan B?

We don't need no stinkin' Plan B.

"Plan A still has to work," a senior administration official involved in Pakistan policy told the paper. "We all have to appeal to moderate forces to come together and carry the election and create a more solidly based government, then use that as a platform to fight the terrorists."

Bush's policy remains "wedded" to Musharraf despite warnings from experts and others who say his dictatorial methods are "untenable," they say. The Pakistani president recently deposed Supreme Court justices who would no go along with his plans.

"This administration has had a disastrous policy toward Pakistan, as bad as the Iraq policy," Robert Templer of the International Crisis Group told the Post. "They are clinging to the wreckage of Musharraf, flailing around. . . . Musharraf has outlived all possible usage to Pakistan and the United States."

All or nothing on two cards is a lot of fun in Vegas. It sucks as foreign policy.



The Google Public Policy Year in Review

The Google bloggers are "looking back on a year of public policy."

For me, the highlights of the now 6 month old Google Public Policy Blog were the Net Neutrality threads, the patent reform campaign, and this, the "presidential interview" series.

In what Newsweek called a "must-stop on the 2008 trail," eight (nine?) presidential candidates visited our headquarters in Mountain View, California: Senator Chris Dodd, Senator Barack Obama, Senator Mike Gravel, Representative Ron Paul, Senator John Edwards, Senator John McCain, Governor Bill Richardson, and Senator Hillary Clinton.
There is something about the forum that brought out the worst and the best of the candidates in something a bit more gritty than campaign ads and well-lit teevee debates.

"Endemic Surveillance Society"

China, Russia, Singapore, Malaysia...United States of America.

In the recently released annual survey of worldwide privacy rights by Privacy International and EPIC, the United States has been downgraded from “Extensive Surveillance Society” to “Endemic Surveillance Society.” As Glenn Greenwald notes, this is “the worst possible category there is for privacy protections, the category also occupied by countries such as China, Russia, Singapore and Malaysia.” In general, “the 2007 rankings indicate an overall worsening of privacy protection across the world, reflecting an increase in surveillance and a declining performance of privacy safeguards.”
The 1,100 page, 6,000 footnote report is a survey of 70 participating countries using information gleaned from privacy scholars, administration officials, journalists, and researchers.

Key findings were a worsening climate for privacy worldwide with many countries investing in identity databases, including citizen financial records, geographic location, and communication data "without regard for privacy implications of their own citizens." Greece, Romania, and Canada received the most positive evaluations for the protection of privacy rights.

Punditry Explained (Sam The Eagle)

FDL:

When I'm confronted with fact-challenged idiocy from the punditocracy, I like to pretend it is coming from Sam the Eagle of Muppet Show fame.

That stuffy, "I know far more about this than you." tone of voice reciting factually inaccurate drivel just fits. Especially with its ponderous tones of solemn disapproval for anything outside his realm of comprehension, making Sam the perfect voiceover for Beltway Brahmins and ill-informed wingnuttery.

Give it a try with any columns from Bill Kristol.

This one is so on the spot, I had to find video. The similarity cannot be contested.



(Quick Aside: I can't believe we didn't have a "Muppets" tag already)

Anti-Bush Sentiment Not Driving Primary Voters

Kevin Drum (via TalkLeft) peaked my interest this morning dissecting the "Anti-Clinton" motivations of Republicans, and the assumption that rebuking Bush is the only focus of the Democrat primary battles.

Whatever else you think about the Clinton vs. Obama question, this is almost certainly wrong. Among the activist liberal base — the people who are the loudest and angriest about what George Bush has done over the past seven years — support is way stronger for both Obama and John Edwards than for Hillary Clinton.
. . . Conservatives tend to be so blinded by their hatred for Hillary that they're convinced that her liberal supporters are also motivated by hatred. But they aren't. Among activist liberals, Hillary is mostly viewed as as smart and hardworking, but also triangulating and mainstream. She's the candidate of caution and moderation, not the candidate of the haters. The anti-Clinton fever swamp protests too much.
Outside of just getting a Democrat (any Democrat) into the white house, this is one of the most interesting dynamics of the way the primary campaigns have played out.

I understand the concerns many have of a Clinton White House, and as Bob writes, ramifications on our local politics could be devastating,
...most important, she hurts everyone down the ticket here in Utah. Her disapproval rating is in the mid-40s nationwide, and even lower in Utah. Having a strong name at the top of the ticket helps everyone from our party down the line.

And, here in Utah, that's what's important.

Because while our 5 Electoral Votes will (barring a miracle) go to the Republican, having someone to inspire Utah Democrats will drive them to the polls.
That is a reality for us, unfortunately. But nationally a Hillary presidency is a bit easier to swallow (if only as Plan B), and that is what is driving activists and voters to the polls, not simply a dislike of Bush, or even Hillary, but a concern for the future of what being a Democrat means.

Hatred for Bush has solidified into the idealistic notion that the general election is in the bag -- a dangerous attitude, but one that will most likely ring true this time -- for Democrats, and having good choices in the primaries has served as a catalyst for looking beyond merely passing the presidential baton in 2008 to focusing on a more long term future. Progressives will cast their vote with confidence that 2008 is ours for the taking, and moderation is not the goal.

We won't line up for the safest candidate, or one most likely snub Bush and the Republicans, deserving as they are. We did that in 2006, and Bush has only further chipped away at his party since. Further challenging their credibility are candidates like Romney and Giuliani (exampled in the Huckabee surge and McCain's rebirth) offering more of the same. The GOP is fractured by an inability to reconcile their current policies with the main tenets of conservative ideals.

Progressives will take a risk on Obama and Edwards, Dodd or Biden, because they can and because both candidates have shown the leadership that speaks to a new party identity. Should Hillary finish first, progressives, perhaps disappointed, will work just as hard for her, with a more concentrated effort to pull her to the left. Republicans don't see this.

Additionally, the question of who is most electable, the most important factor in primaries of the past 40 years, becomes secondary to who will redirect not only the country, but also the Democratic Party itself. Republicans' inability to see this motivation through their own distaste for seeing "Clinton" on White House Christmas cards again works in our favor, while progressives balk at Hillary's establishment ties, it is not a deal breaker for the movement, but something to fine-tune while she gets herself elected.

This is not to say that it doesn't matter which of them goes to the final cage match. Obama and Edwards have much more to offer progressives than Clinton, and without a fight. And that has become the most forceful engine of primary activism itself, not an anti-Bush sentiment. Thus our hands are not tied to the mainstream candidate, more so to capitalizing on the growing national distaste for Republican policy, which allows us to fine tune the progressive identity and a more broad plan for the future behind Obama or Edwards.

Progressives aren't working just for 2008, but 2012, and 2016 as well.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Cap'n, We Have Failed Ye

Despite the best efforts to tank our own numbers, and The Captain's (aka Mommy Dearest, aka AlthePal) own last minute cut-and-paste efforts, we were unsuccessful at pushing him to number one.

As for the BNN ratings, Mark, it is just as I expected; your blog just isn't that popular, and everyone else has better shit to do. Despite collective efforts, we just couldn't generate enough positive ratings to put you at the top where you so obviously belong for self-promotion endeavors alone.

And despite the fact that the polls still show Amicus, and Bell run cleaner ships, we can still pride ourselves in the fight, no? We fought for you with all we had, and lost. No shame in that.

Thanks to everyone who helped out. Let's never do this again. I feel dirty.

Bloggers for Mark Towner (El Fin) - (Updated)

This will be our final post in the campaign to push The Captain to that #1 spot he so deserves. And in his own words, we owe him that.

I had mentioned in an earlier Spyglass post that the lefty authors of Amicus, Bell, etc, etc, etc (Shall we Dance) would wait till the last minute on Saturday night to intentionally spike down the ratings of the Spyglass. Well I just happened to be reading some of the lefty blog posts this evening and what do I see? , nearly every article I posted early this morning was repeated by the left.
[...]
So the Gloves come off you ingrates, just watch in shock as your favorite Amicus, Bell, Track, and the rest feel the sharp attacks you have chosen to dish out on the old Spyglass.
He hasn't made it easy, having posted very little since we launched the campaign, but we persevere, and hopefully our efforts aren't for naught.

As a send off, we'd like to recap for you a handful of posts from The Blog That Deserves to be Number One, and would be, were it not for those meddling kids.
GOP Gay Group Slams Romney in New Ad
(Sourcing on this one was a bit iffy, but a little research cleared up that this is an article from USA Today.)

In Jesse Harris Gets Smacked Down By Utah Taxpayers Association, The Captain continues his obsession with Mr. Harris, and fighting the evils of cheaper, faster, community driven broadband.)

In Quotes of The Week, he gives us quotes of the week.
I hope all of you have taken the time to read even more than this, to show your support for the original content, err... information he provides, and help him fight against the evil lefty-blogs who hold him back.

Visit BNN. Rate High. Click often. And above all, know that you are doing a valiant thing.

And to The Captain; a hearty thank you for illuminating the injustices of the blogosphere, and helping to entertain us in what is otherwise a traditionally slow week of blogging. The blogging world can be rough. Your words and opinion are there for anyone and their dog to criticize. It takes a thick skin, and confidence that some just don't have. We are all activists, just some are better at cutting and pasting the news we really need than others, and therefore deserve that mythical Holy Grail of blogging, the #1 BNN Rating.

Happy Holidays to all. Now, for the love of God, lets just get back to blogging, huh?

UPDATE: We missed a few links. Sorry. Good Luck Captain!

here. here. here. here. and here.

With more here, here, here, and here.

Fostering Tension

The Great Polarizer:

You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite right in calling, for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.
The Coalition Builder:
When the Bush Administration secretly abolishes fundamental rights, telling no one what they have done, and we scream bloody murder when it comes even partially to light, then King's words describe us as well: "We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with." And when consultants, pundits, and leaders like Barack Obama scold us for polarizing and poisoning the political debate, they are acting the part of the eight Southern white clergymen who told King to shut up and go home.
I like the talk of change, and I like Obama and Edwards (which is why I am more critical of the two). I also like what I've seen from Dodd, despite his poor chances as a candidate in the GE. Much of what I've seen from Hilary, Biden, and even Kucinich lights an encouraging fire under the future of the Democratic Party. And I agree with this completely.

But I really can't stand all the talk of bipartisanship and middle-ground. When the party of the President has us at war, while stripping away our civil-rights and blowing holes in the Constitution, it isn't a time for reaching across the isle to make nicey-nice, but rather reaching across to bitch-slap the moron who's propping up these policies and ideals.

We shouldn't fear tensions or even polarization, but rather acquiescence and a complacent voting block. If you have to call someone a jackass on the evening news to get voters to the booth, I say grab your megaphone and head to the station.

$15 Billion A Month

"This cost of this war is approaching $15 billion a month..."

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Mitt Romney Answer

So Mitt was on HANNITY and colmes. When talk turned to the Bhutto assassination, colmes asked The Mitt-Flop if he thought the President should've listened more to the State Department in their warnings of a volatile situation before he persued his current policy regarding Pakistan. Mitt answered:

“Well, of course, any president is going to listen to the widest array of voices about the risks inherent in any potential strategy. You know, in a setting like this, you’re not looking for a person who has all the answers, themselves. Instead, you’re looking for an individual who knows how to make very difficult decisions, based upon gathering data and analysis directly from the scene, gathering information from people who have extensive experience in the region, first hand contact with leaders in other parts of the world, and then looking at different options and selecting which option is the best, based upon that analysis. And that’s the process you want to see. And that’s the process I’ve engaged in the business world, at the Olympics, and as a governor.”
I'll send $20 to anyone who can find an actual answer in that verbose paragraph of rambling jello.

Bloggers for Mark Towner (Day Three)

The Captain brings us the latest headlines from Real Clear Politics today. Check 'em out. And as always, don't forget to rate and click to support the valiant cause of driving him to #1.

Articles sighted cover the political spectrum from December 27th to the 28th.

Our researchers checked into it and were able to verify that these were indeed the headlines from Real Clear Politics from December 27th to 28th.

Solidarity Brother!

Wall Street toTeeVee Network Execs: Bull

Bear Sterns ads some perspective to the writer's strike negotiations (or lack thereof):

The firm estimates that the $120 million figure would carry an average impact of less than 1% on annual earnings per share for the media companies. That does not factor in any concessions by the writers' side (the WGA), where the principal issue is a desire for a piece of ad dollars from new-media distribution.

The potentially small financial impact suggests that studios (Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers) are more concerned about setting a precedent in new-media revenue sharing. However, Bear Stearns wrote that the writers' forecast for that market "strikes us as fairly aggressive." The firm hinted that studios are looking to the future. They are concerned that a favorable settlement would embolden directors and actors in their coming renegotiations.
And if you're not yet taking this one personally, let me bring it on home for ya.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Iowa Obama Volunteer Awakes to Racist Graffiti, Stolen Christmas Presents

Iowa's Times-Republican (h/t O.W.):

Supporters of Barack Obama living on 25th Street reported a number of racial slurs and derogatory comments had been spray painted on their property. Further, the family’s Christmas presents were all stolen from a vehicle and a garage.

Chief Lon Walker confirms the police received the report Monday morning.

“We found vandalism to the house. When we got there, we found some racial things regarding presidential candidate Barack Obama,” he said.

Marie Ortiz has been working as a volunteer for the Obama campaign locally. She has volunteered her time in the office, going door to door, and has signs supporting Obama in her yard.

She has two children, ages 11 and 2.
Workers from the local Obama office donated gifts to the family in lieu of the items stolen.

Political Book-Buying Patterns (Interactive Map)

Orgnet (via Political Books) has put together an interactive map of this year's political book purchasing trends, using social-networking data of top selling books.

This network visualization shows patterns of political book buying prior to the 2008 U.S. presidential primaries. Books are linked if bought by the same reader -- only top-sellers are shown. Two distinct clusters emerge, with a few books bridging the divide -- very similar to 2004.
[...]
Broken Government is the most influential blue book, and An Inconvenient Book is the most influential red book, just beating out Power to the People.
I don't know that it impresses me John Dean sold the most books to Democrats, but I know it scares the beejezzus out of me that book-reading Republicans are getting their information from Glenn "I've Got Some Time and a Camera" Beck.

Bloggers for Mark Towner (Day Two)

Don't forget to support The Captain in his quest for #1.

Step 1 - Click the links and rate the posts.

Step 2 - Feel warm and fuzzy inside.

And while you're at it, enjoy this story of Fox News shill Trace Gallagher trying to assert, within hours of the announcement and without the slightest evidence, that Islamic extremists were responsible for the Bhutto assassination, and getting owned by journalist Trace Gallagher

Candidates, Bhutto Assassination is Not About You

A lot is being written in the few hours since news broke of Bhutto's assassination, but nothing so poignant as this:

To all the presidential campaigns trying to claim that the atrocity in Pakistan somehow proves that they have the right candidate — please stop.

This isn’t about you; in fact, as far as I can tell, it isn’t about America. It’s about the fact that Pakistan is a very messed-up place. This has very bad consequences for us, but it’s hard to see what, if anything, it says about US policy.

If you’re a tough guy (or gal) who believes in exerting US power — never mind, there are just too many heavily armed people in Pakistan for anyone but Norman Podhoretz to believe that we could throw our weight around. If you believe you can bring new understanding to the world through your enlightened outlook — sorry, there are too many people in Pakistan who don’t want to be enlightened.
The ramifications of this will effect us, obviously, and I agree with Bell, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Regardless, this is not a divining rod for presidential nomination. At most it shines light on the failure of Bush/Republican policy in making the world a better place.

$10 Billion US dollars to prop up the shell of democracy.

Brilliant.

January 7th Deadline: Are You Registered?

If you are not registered to vote, plan to change your registration, or jump ship to smarter party, you have until January 7th in order to cast a vote on February 5th.

CREDO and Rock The Vote have an online registration form. (also available in spanish)

To check your registration, or verify you are on the Utah registration rolls, contact these folks:

Office of the Lieutenant Governor
P.O. Box 142325
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
Phone number: (801)538-1041
E-mail address: elections@utah.gov
Web site: http://elections.utah.gov/

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hillary, Thompson, and The 5 Least Surprising Toy Recalls

Is it too much to ask that we keep the debate a bit more down to earth?

Hillary Clinton: Vote for me and the price of oil goes down!

Fred Thompson: Illegal immigrants caused the mortgage crisis!

Ludicrous campaigning such as this causes even the most hopeless political junkie's brain to wander. Speaking of which, Cracked.com has released their list of 5 least surprising toy recalls. #3: Sky Dancers.

Galoob unleashed Sky Dancers in November 1994. It was an unholy alliance between the pretty girlishness of a Barbie doll and the magic of a whirly bird. Children would put the helicopter toy on a mechanical base, pull the cord and watch its foam propeller pull it high into the sky. The company went on to re-release the toy several times as flying dolphins, flowers and ponies--all with different, presumably increasingly gay, names.

Six years later, Hasbro scooped up Galoob and found itself ordering a massive recall when it was learned the magic fairies would randomly fly in any direction at a high rate of speed and bitch slap children and even their parents like a white trash Tinkerbell after a bottle of lukewarm Jack Daniels.

Despite Threats, Women Play Large Role in East African Politics

Driven by a desire to change one of the most corrupt political systems in the world, Dr. Karambu Ringera is stepping up her campaign for a Kenya Parliament position despite verbal abuse and threats of violence. In an area never before represented by a woman, Ringera is also finding support from people who want change.

Ringera, who has a Ph.D. in human communication from the University of Denver and is founder of a nonprofit called International Peace Initiatives, decided to run after she spent days trying to get in touch with her member of parliament last year. No one knew where he was. "It was my frustration and anger in looking for someone in authority that caused me to run for parliament," Ringera told me.

With a government notorious for corruption and inefficiency, the 2007 parliamentary and presidential elections have given Kenyans a chance to challenge the priorities of the current administration, which has failed to tackle the poverty, unemployment, and disease that most Kenyans face day to day.

In searching for a solution to the nation's problems, some Kenyans have turned their attention to an entire gender. This election, there are more female candidates than have ever run before in Kenya's history.
In September, another female candidate in Kenya was beaten with an iron bar and forced to swallow feces outside of her home in Meru.
Given all this, it might be hard to believe that East Africa is thought of as a pioneering region for women's political participation. In Rwanda, women hold 49 percent of the seats in parliament, the largest percentage of women in government of any country in the world. (In the United States, only 16 percent of members of Congress are women.)

$28.4 Million of Missing Government Property


TPM reports that a 2007 State Department report cannot account for guns, armored cars, etc. last seen in the hands of contractors.

The report, prepared by the State Department inspector-general's office, hits the department for its lack of "adequate internal control over the government property held by contractors." It calls the property lists provided by State officials managing the contract in Afghanistan "incomplete and, therefore, unreliable." The $28.4 million worth of missing or poorly-documented property represents 21 percent of the government property held by DynCorp and Blackwater.

In some cases, the property has disappeared into a bureaucratic morass, thanks to State's improper bookkeeping. But in other cases, the property appears to be simply gone.
I lost a $20 bill once. It still nags at me.

FCC's Michael Copps on Corporate Vs. Local News

Last week the FCC voted (along strict party lines) to lift a 30 year ban on media consolidation, cross ownership of television and print news media, without -- according to Commissioner Michael Copps -- addressing the steady decline of local media outlets.

Local news, local music and local groups so often get shunted aside when big media comes to town. Commissioner Adelstein and I have heard the plaintive voices of thousands of citizens all across this land of ours in dozens of town meetings and public forums, from newscasters fired by chain owners with corporate headquarters thousands of miles away to local musicians and artists denied airtime because of big media’s homogenization of our music and our culture, from minorities reeling from the way big media ignores their issues and caricatures them as people to women saying the only way to redress their grievances is to give them a shot to compete for use of the people’s airwaves, from public interest advocates fighting valiantly for a return of localism and diversity to small independent broadcasters who fight an uphill battle to preserve their independence.
Watch/Listen here.

More on media consolidation here.

Bloggers For Mark Towner (Day One)



Spammer, unaffiliated statesman, sting operation mastermind, and internet victim Mark Towner isn't feeling the love.

We've been mean to him. We've poked fun. We've pointed the spotlight of wisdom on dishonesty and hubris. And worst of all, none of you are voting for his blog!

So, in the spirit of the holidays, I hope you will all forgive us a daily token post in our Bloggers For Mark Towner campaign. Each day, to the end of the week, we will highlight one of Mark's posts, serve him up a few links, and work with him -- side by side -- to make him once again feel that surge of relevance only a Blog Net News rating can bring a person.

Please take a moment to visit his blog and parse the latest "political intelligence" (Sorry the links in that post go nowhere, he has deleted the original from his blog). We also encourage you to visit Blog Net News, and rate high to give Mark that ever so important #1 rating, at least for one week of 2007.

Remember this is a season of giving; a time for blogs who have to help blogs who have not.

This one's for you Mark! Keep fighting the good fight!

Monday, December 24, 2007

More on Matheson and Courage

More thoughts in the wake of Matheson's Complaints over the AMT vote, and progressive leadership in a red state.

Again, my objection is not that the AMT vote deserves defense, it was indeed, to borrow Matheson's phrase, "gutless." But I'm very put off from this sudden outpouring of criticism from Matheson, who speaks as a representative of the most effective yellow streak in the 110th Congress, the Blue Dogs.

And to further illustrate, I wanted to draw attention to an example of real courage from a true leader also surrounded by red state Republicans, Wyoming candidate Gary Trauner. From OpenLeft:

Blue Dog Democrats tend not to stand up for the Constitution because they think that the public is willing to let the government intrude into every facet of their lives. They think that convincing Republicans to vote for you is about pandering to fear. Gary Trauner stands this equation on its head by showing actual leadership. He actually fights for core Constitutional values, says no to fear, and is able to persuade Republicans to vote for him as a result.

Now, Wyoming is not an easy state for a Democrat, but there are several trends that make this race winnable. One, there is tremendous frustration with the war in Iraq, and a strong sense that there needs to be a change in strategy. Two, though Wyoming is an energy patch state and has a budget surplus, it also has one of the highest percentage of people working multiple jobs in the country. The people are struggling, and the benefits of high energy prices are going to large companies which don't put their profits back into Wyoming.

Three, the 'hook and bullet' crowd of hunters, fishers and ranchers are beginning to see climate change and environmental damage as a real threat to their way of life. With more BTU's of coal in Wyoming than BTU's of oil in Saudi Arabia, the state is being physically gutted. Fishermen and hunters are noticing gas rigs in their favorite spots. And Gary told me that that when he goes to talk to ranchers, he is beginning to hear less about cheap beef imports and more about health care and climate change. Rancher families that have lived on the same land for five generations are noticing the extended drought and changes in weather patterns, and are beginning to realize something has got to be done to curtail carbon emissions.
In 2006, he ran against Bat Shit Crazy Barbara Cubin, and lost by less than 1%. He has been propelled to run again in a traditionally conservative state by public support for the courage he has shown to speak out when it is important, on issues people care about.

People are drawn to leadership. And people vote. It's not rocket science.

Proud Member of the Opposition

At times I grow very tired of the word "bipartisan." Especially when parsing national politics. The importance of reaching across the isle pales in comparison to true representation and smart policy.

Nothing in particular makes me write about this other than a nicely worded post from MyDD's Natasha Chart that summed it up nicely, say I. She responds to the focus on bipartisanship from candidates, their supporters, and various bloggers who worked for Howard Dean in '04.

How's that again? I, for one, don't remember supporting Dean because he was bipartisan. Or because I thought he was the most progressive candidate. I supported him because he called out the fundamentalist takeover of our national dialogue, because he wanted to know what so many Democrats were doing supporting stupid Republican policies. I supported him because he was a partisan Democrat who knew how to sound like a member of the opposition and didn't attack other Democrats, liberals or progressives from the right. He knew what side he was on, even when he said that he wanted to appeal to Republican voters because he thought he could better protect their interests.
Taking Utah as an example, how often have you heard our Republican representatives decry the importance of bipartisanship? Nationally, how often did you hear of it before 2006? Stick a few more Democrats in the mix, challenge their stranglehold on progressive policies, and suddenly they can't get enough of fairness and compromise.

It's just more empty rhetoric to confuse and distract. We're not fighting for compromise, we're fighting for better leadership.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Cliff Notes for Democracy

A quick guide to the candidates on the issues a la MotherJones.com:

Debates, stump speeches, and websites notwithstanding, it often remains hard to sort out what the candidates stand for—whether they issue 80-page white papers like John Edwards or feel-good three-paragraph statements à la Fred Thompson. Below, a summary of where the major contenders stand on the big issues relative to each other and their respective party line.
I am especially fond of the icons (a panda bear and a pair of flip-flops) denoting hastily changed positions for political clout.

And something I didn't know. Rudy Giuliani on Crime:
Supports death penalty. Says 9/11 convinced him he was wrong to push gun control.
Huh?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Opus Explains...

...registered republicans.

Buy a Soldier a Phone Card

Moveon.org:

This winter, thousands of U.S. servicemen and women are spending the holidays far away from their families, and calling home can cost them a large part of their paycheck. Troops stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the globe actually have to pay for phone calls to the U.S.—and many of them just don't have a lot of money to spare. Imagine being stuck in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Korea and being unable to afford a call to your spouse or kids on Christmas or New Year's Eve.

That's why we're helping the USO to provide thousands of phone cards to troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world to let them call their friends, family and loved ones this holiday season.

These phone cards don't cost a lot—only $15 each, but they are incredibly valuable, providing about 45 minutes of talk-time and holiday wishes for service members.

Can you give $15 to buy a phone card for troops stationed overseas?
Click here to help out.

Hollywood Fools Me, Again

I guess I'm just gullible.

Washington Times writes that, “Conservative officials who served in the Reagan administration are upset by the left-wing slant of the new movie” — Charlie Wilson’s War. They “said the movie promotes the left-wing myth that the CIA-led operation funded Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda and ultimately produced” the 9/11 attacks. “The officials blamed the anti-Reagan slant of the film on the movie’s screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin.”
Someone should tell the History Channel.

This ludicrous claim is answered best by the first comment on the same post quoted here.
Now it’s the film maker’s fault that the truth has a liberal bias?

Comment by Abby — December 22, 2007 @ 6:33 pm

Matheson's Complaints

Before everyone comes down on me for criticizing Utah's only Democrat, let me say that I like Matheson. Most of the time.

In the wake of the Alternative Minimum Tax debate, Jim has been a vocal critic of his peers for not fighting more aggressively in the senate for the "pay-as-you-go" rule. From the Tribune:

Matheson called the parties "gutless" in a statement released after the House gave its final approval to a "patch" on the alternative minimum tax, or AMT.
[...]
The tax affected 4 million people in 2006, and an estimated 20 million families were facing the average $2,000 extra tax hit.

Democrats had pledged to vote against any bill that violates the House's pay-as-you-go rule, known as PayGo. The AMT bill is the first time the House bypassed the rule, which Democrats put in place after they took control last year.

"The day of reckoning will come if we continue to live beyond our means," Matheson warned.

But the president and congressional Republicans refused to pass an AMT bill that raised taxes.
He's right. It was a gutless vote. But it is difficult to rally behind Matheson and the Bush Dogs as the bold warriors of principle he paints them as in his criticism.

His Blue Dog Coalition of Capitulation is responsible for the Protect America Act, failing to end the war, aiding the obstruction of conservatives, and effectively creating a "conservative majority" in giving Bush whatever he wants.
The polls show that this is a very bad political move for Democrats. Congress has an 18% approval rating, from Democrats, and 60% of all voters strongly disapprove of Bush's new wiretapping authority. Democrats haven't stopped the war, haven't stopped torture, haven't curbed corporate abuses, and haven't really done anything except raise the minimum wage as part of a package to send $100B of taxpayer into the sands of Iraq.
So while he may be correct in his criticism this go round, the Bush Dogs have not shown leadership in any way meaningful to the wishes of a majority of voters, nor the effectiveness of Democratic congress, nor congressional Democrat's chances in 2008.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Meet the Ron Paul Movement


Ron Paul on Meet the Press Sunday.

Dress appropriately.

Cache Democrats: Candidates / Poll Coverage Needed

Cache Democrats (via email):

Locally, we are looking at 3 races for the State Legislature, 1 for the State Senate, and 4 for the County Council. The filing deadline is mid March. Please spend some time this holiday season thinking about good candidates for these positions. We are aware of a certain number of people, but we are sure that there are many more good candidates than we know about. We want your help. Have you ever thought about being a candidate? Has one of your friends often been bringing up great ideas about what County and State leaders should be doing? Pass on your ideas to us; we would like to hear them.
Also...
...poll workers (formerly called Election Judges) are needed. The County Clerk, Jill Zollinger, is seeking poll workers to cover the Presidential Primary on 5 February, the local Primary on 24 June, and the General Election on 4 November. We need Democrats in these positions. The people who have done it, have enjoyed the participation. Because of the new voting machines and the number of elections, many new people are needed. And the training for the Presidential Primary begins on 7 January. If you can do this and would like to, please e-mail Sharon Hoth in the Clerk's office
The next scheduled meeting of Cache Democrats is 9 am, January 12th. Click here to get involved.

Man On Street Says Everything's Fine

A headline in today's WaPo:

Bush Is Upbeat About Economy's Prospects
That's super. And irrelevant. Much like the president himself.

Couldn't this print space have been better used parsing the key details of economic projections and analysis, rather than the current warm-fuzzy attitude of a President with no credibility? Predictions from a man who's only remaining showcase of leadership is a veto pen are need to know information?

To their credit, they do parse the thoughts of those who aren't as upbeat (I like to call them Economists) later in the article. But the focus of economic muckracking for the WaPo seems to be that Georgie thinks everything is just peachy keen. And I'm glad for him. It's important to keep a positive outlook.

But if I remember correctly, he was also very upbeat about the war.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Daily Show and Colbert Report: Back Jan. 7th, Sort Of

I'm as big of a Daily Show and Colbert Report fan as anyone out there. I've found myself bored for an hour each Monday through Thursday evening, as though something was missing.

There have also been stories that would have been perfect for these two shows, almost like they happened just to boost Comedy Central's ratings. The White House caught on fire , Romney gave his JFK speech (which turned out to be the opposite of what JFK actually said, although they both did mention religion), Huckabee and Giuliani put out their Christmas ads (creepy, seriously), and to top it all off, Bush is still president, and Fox News is still on the air. Needless to say, the writers would have had a lot of material to work with.

So part of me is excited about getting my TDS and TCR back, but will they be the same without the writing staffs? I doubt it. To sum it up,

Now that almost all the other late night hosts are returning right after the new year, the latest news is that Jon Stewart (a WGA member) and Stephen Colbert (also a WGA member) are headed back into the studios on January 7th. The good news is that this could make the 2008 Presidential race that much more interesting. The bad news is that the shows won't have available to them the WGA writers who would make the shows that much more interesting.
[...]
And then there's this joint statement by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert: “We would like to return to work with our writers. If we cannot, we would like to express our ambivalence, but without our writers we are unable to express something as nuanced as ambivalence.”
Send the Comedy Central execs an email and let them know that if they're going to put TDS and TCR back on the air, they're going to need their writers.



P.S. Speaking of funny, my favorite part of the Republican debates is going away, Tom Tancredo is dropping out of the race, now that guy had a hilarious writing staff.

A Very Rudy Christmas

Campaigning made creepy. Time's A.M. Cox:

Giuliani seems as serious about giving us all fruitcake as he does our civil liberties. And nothing screams Republican Presidential nominee like a dude in a sweater vest lisping the words "fruit cake!"

Happy Holidays From The Pope, Unless You're Different

Sutherland Institute, via my inbox, is spreading Pope Benedict's message of "love" this holiday season:

In Pope Benedict XVI's message for the new year, he focuses on the importance of the natural family and what it represents. "The natural family, as an intimate communion of life and love, based on marriage between a man and a woman, constitutes 'the primary place of 'humanization' for the person and society', and a 'cradle of life and love'. The family is therefore rightly defined as the first natural society, 'a divine institution that stands at the foundation of life of the human person as the prototype of every social order'."
There seems something decidedly un-Christian in the use of a goodwill holiday message as an opportunity to divide and marginalize millions of families just days before Christmas.

Maybe that's just me.

My Local Area Bloggers Are Superior to Your Local Area Bloggers

Attended my first "lunch date" (Will they call me in the morning?) with the uber exclusive Cache Valley Illuminati this afternoon. It is always nice to put faces with blogger ID's, and as was mentioned by another attendee, it is intriguing to see the personalities behind the posts.

So, still high on the heady buzz of intelligent conversation, I wanted to point you to those in attendance, and their various musings.

For The People
(You know 'em and love 'em, already. No introduction needed, save to say Tom and Ryan are as well spoken over lunch as they are on the radio.)

Loralee's Looney Tunes
(I dare you not to laugh. And I have it on good sources she still hasn't visited the gas stations since "the incident")

Banter of a Blond Republican Couple
(I had steeled myself for a continuation of my heated objections to an old post of Craig's at FTP citing Fox's Brit Hume as a source on journalistic integrity. Alas, there was no time. I jest, as is my nature. I wish there had been more time to get to know he and MacKenzie. Next time perhaps.)

Jeff's Blog (buddythedog)
(He named his blog after his dog. I named my business after my dog. Instant respect!)

See Hear Speak No Evil
(Most misleading blog title, ever. Pure evil here. The good kind)
If I left out any of the blogs who's creators were in attendance, I apologize.


I look forward to the next meeting.

New Orleans Housing Protest Turns Violent

Earlier today:

Police used chemical spray and stun guns Thursday as dozens of protesters seeking to halt the demolition of 4,500 public housing units tried to force their way through an iron gate at City Hall.

One woman was sprayed with chemicals and dragged from the gates. She was taken away on a stretcher by emergency officials. Before that, the woman was seen pouring water from a bottle into her eyes and weeping.

Another woman said she was stunned by officers, and still had what appeared to be a Taser stun gun wire hanging from her shirt.

"I was just standing, trying to get into my City Council meeting," said the woman, Kim Ellis.
What the fight is about, here. CNN has video.

GitYer Debate On

I've been spending a lot of time at Bloggingheads.tv lately. I find the debates often educational, occasionally inspiring, and always entertaining.

Check out TAP's Ezra Klein vs. Reason's Julian Sanchez.

Maybe we can get some cage-matches organized through the Bloghive?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Controversial Einstein Photo Discovered


Ah, fun with famous scientists. Make your own with the Dynamic Einstein Photo.

And seriously, if you haven't already, get yourself podcasted.

Web Tool: Asterisk PBX Committee Caller (Open Source)

Activism made easy:

CommitteeCaller.com is a site that allows one person to target an entire congressional committee over the phone. The web application utilizes the open source Asterisk PBX system to connect you to every senator or house member on a particular committee. No more digging around the 'net entering zip-codes to retrieve phone numbers of representatives. CommitteeCaller.com automates the tedium of finding and dialing your favorite politicians.
Yes, open source. It doesn't get more grassroots than that.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mitt-Flop: I Swear I Didn't Do A Good Thing!

EEGADS!

ABC News obtained a photograph of Mitt Romney attending "a fundraising reception for Planned Parenthood in 1994 in conjunction with a $150 donation his wife made to the organization -- notwithstanding Romney's contention that he had 'no recollection' of the circumstances under which his wife made gave money to the abortion-rights group."
Only today's Republican Party could make a person feel like a traitor for supporting a good cause. Only Mitt Romney would lie about having done so.

Glenn Beck (still?) Hosts a TeeVee Show

It amazes me CNN keeps this guy on the air. It says a lot about the lowered bar of cable news content.

On the December 17 edition of his CNN Headline News show, host Glenn Beck interviewed Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) senior fellow Chris Horner, who referred to senators "who see a president in the mirror when they shave in the morning." Beck responded by inquiring about Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), asking: "Does that include Hillary? Does she shave? ... Does that include Hillary? Does she -- I mean, she -- she shaves her legs. I'm just saying." After Horner said, "Now who's being naïve?" Beck -- while jutting out his lower jaw and miming shaving his face -- said: "I can see her in there. 'Gimme a pack of Kool cigarettes, will ya?' "
Glenn Beck, contributing oh so much to educated voting.

(Hi Rick!)

JM Bell (Free!) Podcast - Now With 10% More Us

The talented JM Bell has again allowed us to contribute to his (Free!) Podcast Broadcast.

Still working out the recording kinks (I apparently like the taste of my mic, and I think Craig was recording underwater), but the content remains high quality. Take a listen.

Download/Listen here.

Topics include: Afghanistan, USMC, How to lose the War On Terror, Taxes and Habeas Corpus

Thanks again to those at JMBell.org for the opportunity, and for the investment they've made in furthering Utah's political dialog.

The Bush Legacy: Nixon

As a matter of perspective, the quest for relevance is a natural inclination for any public figure. When the historians and cherry-picking pundits mention your name five years on, what words will they follow it with? Leader? Visionary? Patriot? Politicized Department of Justice? Politicized Military? False Pretense for Invasion? General Douche-Baggery?

Secrecy, and a free, democratic government don't mix - Harry S. Truman
Revisionists have painted the ideal for Republicans into a dichotomy of ideology; Reagan, good, Nixon, bad. It isn't a bad policy for party reform, if you are of the conservative persuasion, and ignore the failure of Gipper Economics, Reagan Foreign Policy, Reagan's Tax Policy, and Reagan's "Ketchup Is A Vegetable" Children's Health Policy, but it begs a question they will not answer. In their continued support for George Bush and his administration -- expressed by congressional votes, campaigns, and policy backing -- despite the obvious similarities, it remains unclear whether Nixon becomes the pariah because of his behavior, or simply because he got caught.

For the past 30 years, have Republicans avoided comparison with Nixon because he betrayed the nation's trust, or because he was didn't get away with it? Assuming that our GOP reps Cannon, Hatch, and Bennett (and unfortunately the occasional Matheson vote) are representing their conscience, and the voice of their constituency, are we ignoring the similarities of the Bush and Nixon administrations? Or have we forgiven the secrecy and dishonesty of the Nixon years in light of threats to national security? What of Bush's stonewalling of open government policies and refusal to head the wishes of the people prior to the 2001 terrorist attacks? If 9/11 changed everything, was it also retro-active to the first weeks of his administration?

Executive privilege was nearly a political taboo post Nixon, and admittedly it's use by Clinton against investigations of special prosecutors is a blemish on the Democratic Party, but Bush has fashioned the privilege into a perverse art-form. Many had never heard of a "signing statement" prior to this administration. But does continued conservative support for the President imply a support for advising the contempt of congressional oversight (arguably the most prominent provision of our constitution for the protection of balanced power)? Is Nixon's legacy a dirty word because of his trespasses against the nature of democracy, or do Republicans shun him simply because he was so unpopular? Do they reject Nixon upon principle, and just not see the correlation between his White House and this one because of loyalty to party? Or do they embrace this White House still because "the tapes" have yet to be discovered?

It isn't just a question for progressive voters to answer. Such introspection may be the last hope of the Republican Party my father (and maybe your father?) so revered, but now abandons in search of more representative body. And it's not just that generation, it's effecting younger Republicans like a virus.

To further illustrate, I'll leave you with just a handful of examples. Taken en total, it paints a strange picture of the governing principles of this administration, those who lay claim to it, and who we are as a nation:

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Stroll Down Libertarian Lane

MotherJones.com has pieced together a historical time-line of Libertarianism. Much I didn't know, but here are the two highlights for me:

1935: Laura Ingalls Wilder publishes Little House on the Prairie. Libertarians claim her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, a prominent libertarian author at the time, was the ghostwriter. In 2003 Reason magazine will praise the books for placing "community and commerce—rather than male adventure, escape and violence—at the heart of our national experience."
[...]
1966: Sci-fi writer Robert A. Heinlein releases The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, a libertarian retelling of the American Revolution set on the big cheese. The narrator, a polyandrous computer programmer who rebels against a meddling and incompetent Lunar Authority, appeals to the experimental, fiercely independent mentality of Silicon Valley's emerging generation of techno-libertarian hippies.
Having now learned the phrase "techno-libertarian hippies," my life will never be the same.

Media Tool: The Spotlight Project

The Spotlight Project is an amazing online tool that allows you to email blog posts from supported blogs to any one of thousands of listed editors, reporters, and correspondents. Names range from Bob Woodward to the Boston Globe sports page editor. Grouping media representatives in radio, print and teevee, it allows you to focus a "spotlight" (explains the name, huh?) on the stories you feel the media may be missing (or ignoring). From the Spotlight homepage:

The Spotlight Project examines the media, the role it plays in politics and the public discussion. More importantly, The Spotlight Project enables individuals to communicate with the press and media.

Blogs are changing how we discuss our world. At the very time that many news organizations are losing readership and cutting staff, the Internet in general and blogs specifically, are growing at a phenomenal rate.

The blogging community is vibrant, passionate, well educated and well informed. It is also very good at fact checking, in depth investigation and developing under reported stories. The Spotlight Project wants to harness this energy to reinvigorate the traditional news media with a bias for the common good, also known as a public bias.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dodd Taking Requests for Filibuster Topics

Dodd has left his campaign to return to DC in preparation for the Monday morning FISA filibuster. His campaign has notified the blogs that they will consider content recommendations for the Senator to read. Crooks and Liars:

After 7 long years of feeling left out of the political discussion, there are many things I’d love to have a Senator say out loud on the Senate floor. I’ve been communicating with his office and they have authorized me to put out this invitation to you, as well as readers of FDL and other blogs.
What would you like to hear Senator Chris Dodd say as part of his filibuster?
I am going to sticky this post at the top of the page today to get as many responses as possible. Obviously, we’re making no guarantees other than his office will definitely be looking at your posts. Normal commenting policies still apply.

And Senator Dodd? Thank you, thank you, thank you.
My Suggestion: excerpts from the 93rd Congress White House Surveillance Activities (NIXON IMPEACHMENT) Hearings.

The White House Shredder

Sparks of Sanity:

Behold, the Bush Administration in chart form: Federal spending on paper shredding has increased more than 600 percent since George W. Bush took office.

This chart, generated by usaspending.gov, the U.S. government’s brand spanking new database of federal expenditures, shows spending on “contracts for paper shredding services” going back to 2000. Click here for the full, heartbreaking breakdown. In 2000, the feds spent $452,807 to make unpleasant truths go away; by 2006, the “Cheney Effect” had bumped that number up to $2.9 million. And by halfway through 2007, the feds almost matched that number, with $2.7 million and counting.

Online Tool: The Candidate Truth-O-Meter

Hats off to the St. Petersburg Times and CQ Politics:

THE TRUTH-O-METER
(Categories: True, Mostly True, Mostly False, False, and Pants on Fire!)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Harry Reid Explains the FISA Showdown

Via TalkLeft, Harry Reid issued a statement explaining the FISA battle on Friday and the upcoming vote on Monday.

As my colleagues know, the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees share jurisdiction over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Both Committees have worked diligently over the past few months, this hard work has resulted in two different versions of legislation to improve FISA – S. 2248 – reported out of the Committees. I consulted extensively with Chairman Rockefeller and Chairman Leahy about the best way for the Senate to consider this subject.

“I have determined that in this situation, it would be wrong of me to simply choose one committee’s bill over the other. I personally favor many of the additional protections included in the Judiciary Committee bill, and I oppose the concept of retroactive immunity in the Intelligence bill. But I cannot ignore the fact that the Intelligence bill was reported favorably by a vote of 13-2, with most Democrats on the committee supporting that approach. I explored the possibility of putting before the Senate a bill that included elements of both two committee bills. Earlier this week, I used Senate Rule 14 to place two bills on the calendar.

“The first – S. 2440 – consists of Titles I and III of the Intelligence bill, but did not include Title II on retroactive immunity. The second bill – S. 2441 – consists of Title I of the Intelligence bill and Titles II and III of the Judiciary bill. But after consulting further with Chairman Rockefeller and Chairman Leahy, a consensus emerged among the three of us that the best way to proceed would be by regular order. Both Chairmen agreed with this approach.
It's filibuster time.

Marine Corps' Toys For Tots: Volunteers Still Needed

Our Marine Corps is feeling the crunch this holiday season. The Militant Progressive has the goods:

We still have a big need in Provo at the Boys and Girls Club on Sunday and Monday for the Charlie Company distribution. This is the unit that is currently deployed in Iraq. We have no volunteers for either day…if anyone can donate any time, even if just an hour it would be greatly appreciated.

[...]

Want to Volunteer? Round up your friends and family and join us in spending a day playing Santa Claus !! What fun!!! It really is a great time choosing gifts for children in need and presenting them to the families.

Charlie Company Distribution:Saturday Dec 15/ 8-5, Sunday Dec 16/ 8-5, and Monday Dec 17/ 8-noon

Provo Boys and Girls Club, 1060 East 150 North, Provo, UT

** need minimum one person/day who speaks Spanish to translate

Fox Company Distribution:

Monday Dec 17- Friday Dec 21 from 8-4

Navy Operation Service Center, Fort Douglas, 116 Pollock Rd, SLC, UT

** need minimum one person/day who speaks Spanish to translate

Wear warm clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and bring coat, gloves, hat…it gets cold on the well deck. Water, snacks, lunch if you are staying all day.

For volunteer scheduling or Questions: Contact Laura Sexton at 435-640-7223 military@allwest.net or laura@sextonoffroad.com

For more INFORMATION or to make a DONATION to the USMC Reserve Toys for Tots Program visit: www.toysfortots.org
Donations can be made at any Albertsons location. If you have any time to spare the next few days, please volunteer!

Cable Operator Blues

From the Free UTOPIA blog:

It's a bad time to be Comcast. They dropped 7% in the American Consumer Satisfaction Index. They banished public access channels to expensive and less visible digital tiers. Rumors are flying that the Comcast Hammer Lady got dropped off the air while she was on Good Morning America. Then they get caught trying to stuff a poll on Comsumerist. (FYI, they still lost.) Add on the abysmal customer service record and some are wondering how much longer Comcast will be alive to kick around.
Cable networks nationwide may also face more strict regulation, a result of one of FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's few moments lucidity; the scrutiny of cable provider practices and market saturation.