Friday, August 31, 2007

Forbes: The 100 Most Powerful Women

I thought this might be interesting to send on, even though the continuing double standard is irritating (imagine the outrage if there were a "100 Most Powerful Men" list that excluded women). 
What was most notable to me was the #1 choice - if she were running for President of the U.S., she'd have my vote in a heartbeat and I'd scrounge up as much support as I could for her, I've seen nothing but strong leadership.

Old Daily Show bit including Stephen Colbert and the Singing Senators (including Larry Craig)

Senators' Plane Evades Ground Fire In Iraq

Good on CBS for including Pence's "normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime" quote - I've never been to Indiana, but hope I don't have to worry about RPG's if I do...

Antiwar: "They have 'instructions' from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day"

Lots unconfirmed here - could be a lot of hot air, but worth the read...

Fundraiser turns himself in

It's shocking to see how many pots this guy had his hand in.  If this is the sort of thing every candidate has to deal with, heaven help them.
It's also interesting that everyone is returning the direct money he contributed, but not an amount that might incorporate his indirect fundraising (for example, he contributed $23,000 to Hillary but as a Hillraiser must have brought in at least $1 million).

Underdog Paul inspires political passion

3 Democrats to skip rogue primary states

U.S. cites 'secrets' privilege as it tries to stop suit on banking records

Letter from Germany: When it comes to human rights, Merkel means business

Scientists sue NASA, Caltech over deep new background checks

NASA calls on employees to permit investigators to delve into medical, financial and past employment records, and to question friends and acquaintances about everything from their finances to sex lives, according to the suit. The requirements apply to everyone from janitors to visiting professors.

The suit claims violations of the U.S. Constitution's 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure, 14th Amendment protection against invasion of the right to privacy, the Administrative Procedure Act, the Privacy Act, and rights under the California Constitution.

Those in more sensitive positions are asked to disclose financial records, list foreign trips and give the government permission to view their medical history.

Dennis Byrnes, a flight dynamics engineer who has worked on trajectory designs for Galileo and the Apollo moon landings, said he was afraid the requirements would prompt people to "flee" government service.

The plan is a "flawed promise of security at the expense of freedom," he said.

Employees who don't meet the deadline will be barred from JPL and will be "voluntarily terminated" as of Oct. 27.

Cold War II, by Noam Chomsky (this week)

It meanders some, but also includes some good points, such as:
Without irony, the Bush administration and the media charge that Iran is "meddling" in Iraq, otherwise presumably free from foreign interference.

The rhetoric about Iran has escalated to the point where both political parties and practically the whole US press accept it as legitimate and, in fact, honorable, that "all options are on the table," to quote Hillary Clinton and everybody else, possibly even nuclear weapons. "All options on the table" means that Washington threatens war.


The UN Charter outlaws "the threat or use of force." The United States, which has chosen to become an outlaw state, disregards international laws and norms. We're allowed to threaten anybody we want -- and to attack anyone we choose.

It Can't Happen Here

Terrorism will never be eradicated completely; does this mean future presidents will assert extraordinary war powers indefinitely?
I'm afraid of creating a society where the burden is on citizens to prove their innocence, rather than on government to prove wrongdoing.   Most of all, I'm afraid of living in a society where a subservient populace surrenders its liberties to an all-powerful government.
Americans remain tolerant of what they see as mere nuisances because they have been deluded into believing total government supervision is necessary and helpful, and because they still enjoy a high level of material comfort.   That tolerance may wane, however, as our standard of living falls due to spiraling debt, endless deficit spending at home and abroad, a declining fiat dollar, inflation, higher interest rates, and failing entitlement programs.   At that point attitudes toward omnipotent government may change, but the trend toward authoritarianism will be difficult to reverse.

Ron Paul article in Wall Street Journal 8/31

White House spokesman Tony Snow stepping down

Unfortunately, Dana Perino's just as bad...

The Rip-off in Iraq: You Will Not Believe How Low the War Profiteers Have Gone

I only made it through 3 pages, and then had to give up - so depressing in so many ways...
I ask again - what circumstances would it take for impeachment to be acceptably back "on the table"?

Mexican Trucks Begin Crossing Border Saturday

Funny - I've been mildly following the North American Union conspiracy theories on and off for the last few months, and now it looks like it's going to start getting shoved into place with about as much competence as practically everything else the Bush administration has done.  Way to shove in an untested and unprepared solution on one of the busiest trucking weekends of the year. 
There's an element of close-mindedness in not wanting to interact with other countries, but there's also something to be said for thinking things through before taking really dumb action.  I hope at a minimum, the following have been accounted for:
- "Supporters of the plan say letting more Mexican trucks on U.S. highways will save American consumers hundreds of millions of dollars."  I'm missing how this will benefit American consumers, not just corporate interests.  Is it pointing toward need for the old Wal-mart conversation of when do you stop sacrificing other important considerations just to get a lower price, or something else?  Now if they're saying it will save corporations hundreds of millions, I can totally see that - but it's time to stop kowtowing to corporations.
- Traffic congestion (both of traffic speed and environmental impacts), which slow, polluting, big trucks just make worse.
- Making sure those inspections are up to snuff, instead of just waved through or subject to easy corruption. (similar to what I've seen in both Mexico and Thailand, just from my limited experiences)
- I just get the feeling lots of little things haven't been thought about.  For example, how do license and registration work in this case?  If U.S. versions are required, who pays for it - the Mexican companies?  What about the infrastructure strain, are they contributing to paying for that somehow?
- Two of our big challenges with Mexico are illegal immigration and the drug trade.  Do we not see either of these getting much worse through this arrangement?
Overall, it reminds me of the Dubai Ports World debacle which similarly got shoved through, even though the net benefits to the average American are dubious at best.  My concern is that things in our country seem to be changing quickly, but not in ways I've seen are based on sound principles or competent implementation.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Kucinich: Congress Must Tell The President ‘No’ To Additional War Funding

God I hope I don't end up having to vote for Kucinich, but I think he's mostly right again here.
Several months ago, I had a conversation with my wife about how GW Bush is the epitome of a horrible project manager leading a project that is very important to a company - the short version of that conversation being that everytime someone criticizes the project, it gets deflected as "look, we can't afford to be focusing on criticism, we've got to be focusing on reaching important results"... again and again and again, until in the real business world, the project manager gets fired when it's clear the project is costing too much and not showing sufficient progress.  Note that in the business world it's not typical (though it happens sometimes) that the project gets entirely cancelled/withdrawn - at least not until after the project manager has been fired and another resource has been given a chance to set things right first.
In the past, I've been against full withdrawal from Iraq without leaving it in semi-stable condition - but the key tool I think would enable that (replacing the "project manager") is "off the table".  So maybe my second option, if not removal from office (Pelosi, Cheney, and Bush all, with a suitable leader as a replacement to Pelosi), might be supporting full withdrawal rather than continuing this military/economic/goodwill quagmire...

Point, Click ... Eavesdrop: How the FBI Wiretap Net Operates

Miss Teen South Carolina 2007

While this video makes me fear for our future even more, it explains so much... :-(

Bush Wants $50 Billion More for Iraq War - in addition to the $600+ Billion currently slated for 2008

The above news just makes me sick.  Why are we still following Bush's general incompetence when there are plenty of better plans out there?
And anyone want to take bets on Congress doing their job here either?
I think I might just start posting this each time too, because it's so relevant, apparently so unknown, and because moves like this aren't going to make it any better...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Study: US preparing 'massive' military attack against Iran

While I just skimmed this article and didn't fully read it yet, it doesn't sound good at all.  So basically, they did a study to see how much the U.S. would have to do to prepare for an onslaught against Iran, and instead found out that everything's already ready. 
We're being played like a fiddle if this is true...

Edwards wants law against "Brownies"

Great leadership, though it basically comes back to the need for Congress to do their jobs in confirmations etc.  Points for Edwards though.

Interesting random blog post, I get where they're coming from

Though I don't fear the revolution, I just think his charisma is sorely lacking compared to the strength of his stances.  Not sure it that's a good reason not to vote for him, but...
(obligatory Cheney impeachment .pdf:

CIA World Factbook - Current Account Balances

CNN: Bush Plans To Install High School Friend Clay Johnson At Dept of Homeland Security

Wonderful - we've seen what happens when the Justice Dept gets corrupted by incompetence and loyalists, and the violations that occurred as a result.  What results do you think we'll see when the Department of Homeland Security gets twisted to that same point?  I've got some guesses, and none of them are good...

Re: Kucinich 9/11 Financial Investigation

I must be slipping - how could I not mention the Cheney impeachment as an example of his strength?

On 8/28/07, CShack <> wrote:
Hmmm, should be interesting. 
Kucinich has arguably been actively on the smart side of more issues than any other candidate (voting against the Iraq war, supporting universal healthcare in smart ways, repeal of the PATRIOT Act, etc.) - I doubt he'd just now start espousing the 9/11 conspiracy stuff and might have an interesting new consideration.  This could be another differentiator for him, or the end of his validity...

Kucinich 9/11 Financial Investigation

Hmmm, should be interesting. 
Kucinich has arguably been actively on the smart side of more issues than any other candidate (voting against the Iraq war, supporting universal healthcare in smart ways, repeal of the PATRIOT Act, etc.) - I doubt he'd just now start espousing the 9/11 conspiracy stuff and might have an interesting new consideration.  This could be another differentiator for him, or the end of his validity...

2 Out of 3 Anchors Join Colbert in Wrist Stunt


ACLU: Gonzales Resignation Does Not Pardon President’s Abuse of Power

Right on the nose.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Offender Locator

This is a powerful tool that provides full details including mugshots of any sex offenders in your area. I would like to see this not only for sex offenders, but for all felony offenders of any sort.

In a decision of cosmic brilliance, the brains of my city apparently said, "Let's see, where should we let a sex offender live... I know! How about right next to a park where there will undoubtedly be plenty of temptation for him to offend again?" (click for larger picture)

I would like to see collective political acumen from somewhere, anywhere, in our government at this point.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Barack Obama on the Daily Show from last Wednesday


Interesting conversation with Zbigniew Brzezinski re: Obama and Clinton

I've mentioned Brzezinski a few times in the past, most notably his excellent Daily Show appearance - below is that refresher link and his Wikipedia page (above is the url that sparked this post). 
I wish he'd more fairly lent credence to Hillary's continuing six years of congressional service (compared to 2 for Obama at the same level, albeit plus an additional 7 at the state level), but nonetheless an interesting read.

Random note: Barry Goldwater on Nixon

Then, the bluntness and candor that had so often damaged Mr. Goldwater's presidential campaign a decade earlier and his outspoken and harsh criticism of Nixon's failure to deal with the growing Watergate scandal were among the vital ingredients of his political renaissance.

The president, he contended, had shown "a tendency to dibble and dabble and argue on very nebulous grounds like executive privilege and confidentiality when all the American people wanted to know was the truth."


We torture our own citizens. We torture our own vets. We torture our own.

The link to the source article is below if you can't handle non-mainstream commentary, but I also think the points made there were worth reading:
Everything that my country supposedly is and was, stood for then and now, is all slowly disintegrating in a fire that no one seems capable enough of putting out. This sort of corruption goes from deep within our military, our justice department, our Congress, and right up to the President himself. This sort of corruption would have a hard time being rooted out from the government even if there were a Stalin-esque purge. This sort of corruption will become a mortal wound to what it means to be American if left untreated.

It is scary to entertain the thought that the country you are a citizen of has suddenly become the bad guy - that you're on the wrong side of this, whatever this is. Looking across the field at the enemy, what adds to the depression is the notion that in this situation there are no good guys. Who's leading the charge for freedom, human rights, and all that lovely stuff that I was told we once were champions of. Who's waging that battle? Who's answering that call?

Where do we as a people, as a supposedly superior society, where do we go from here? How do we change this? Who do we hold accountable and how?

What kind of a nation have we become, when we sink to the depths of all we claim to hate - when we finally became what we beheld?
Source article:

God vs. Taser: Officer sues APD

On a light-hearted note: Obama's 3-pointer

No really, it's not just a lame metaphor for something political - it's the real deal, nothing but net. 
And from back in his high school days:

Bush's message 'that Iraq is just like Vietnam, but in a good way'

"And that's why in 1941, America invaded China," noted Stewart.
Perfect response (as was the equally-good unprecedented/precedents highlight) - great clip.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Federal Agencies Among the Biggest Employers of Illegal Immigrants

Saw this on the news as I was headed out to the airport - it'd be funny under different circumstances...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

ABC News Reposts Poll Because Kucinich Won

This would be funny if it weren't so sad.

Again, Cheney Says He is Not Part of the Executive Branch

Pelosi's Stand on Impeachment is Killing the Democratic Party

I'm pulling this content straight from another site because it's worth reading and the site's having troubles.  Here is the source:

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Pelosi's Stand on Impeachment is Killing the Democratic Party

It's not just the Constitution that's suffering because of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's nutty and unprincipled "impeachment-off-the-table" position blocking any effort to impeach President Bush or Vice President Cheney for their many crimes and abuses of power.

Her position on impeachment is killing the Democratic Party too, by driving away not just progressived members of the party, but independents who voted for Democrats last November expecting some action in defense of the Constitution.

I see this anger welling up among progressives and independents everywhere I travel, as people say they've simply had it with the Democrats. The support of the party for a bill continuing funding for the war through September was terrible. The Democrats' rush to pass a bill granting Bush the authority to spy without a warrant on Americans, and to expand the power to spy domestically well beyond phones and internet to even include break-ins was a last straw.

My own little call for people so sign an "I Quit This Party" petition has seen a jump from 300 to now 400 signers. (Sign up on the column to the right.) When it gets to 500 I'll be sending the list off to Pelosi, as well as to the offices of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean.

Four or five hundred party defectors may seem like small loss, but it reflects a larger trend across the country.

Here's a letter I got from the head of a group of active Democrats in central Pennsylvania--the very kind of heartland area that Democrats will need if they are going to win the presidency and hang on to or make gains in Congress next year.

Writes Kathy Ember, a Democratic Committee member in Pennsylvania, and president of the Kutztown Democratic Club:

I am the president of a very active grassroots Democratic club just outside Philadelphia in PA. Recently, I got an email from Nancy Pelosi, asking all of us to help build the grassroots.

EXCUSE ME Nancy, but we have been working our butts off out here for years trying to do just that. WE are the ones that put that Democrats back in power in Congress. We've been there for you, but you have let us down by not holding the current administration responsible for their crimes.

Not only are you losing are making it impossible for us to "build the grassroots". Do you know how people look at you now when you ask them to join the Democrats? They laugh in your face. Why, they want to know, should we join or support a party that has done nothing toward getting out of Iraq or impeaching this president?

I am in contact with other Democratic clubs across PA. Some have recently changed the word "Democrats" in their name to a lower case "d". Others have abandoned their association with the Democrats altogether and have formed instead "citizen action groups."

When will the Democrats in Washington wake up and realize that it's not impeachment that will hurt the is the lack of it.

I believe that the aptly named Ember is just one spark in a prairie fire that is going to sweep away the conservative Democratic establishment in 2008. Whether it is by turning to third party candidates, or just sitting out the next election, these angry and frustrated Democrats are showing that they've been betrayed one too many times by the Democratic Party.

Either Pelosi--who is facing an election challenge by Cindy Sheehan in her own San Francisco district--better do an about face and open the path to impeachment of Bush and/or Cheney. Otherwise, she and her fellow party leaders are going to find themselves either ousted in primaries, or back in the position of minority "leaders" in 2009.

Iraq governor dies in bomb attack

Monday, August 20, 2007

U.S., Mexico, Canada Summit Prompts Fears of Super-Government

(cancel the Print command)

Prelude to an Attack on Iran,8816,1654188,00.html

Hillary busted on her political maneuvering (read: hypocrisy)

I love the Internet for times like this.  I really hope there's only one way to survive in politics from here on out, and that's by sticking to your principles (whatever they may be). 
So, Barack and Hillary (the 6-months-ago Hillary) were both right on this issue at one point, but only one of them's sticking by it and the other has flip-flopped to wrongly try to take political advantage.  Stick to your real principles...

Re: More Republicans quit as party faces election disaster

And on a related note, never thought I'd see the day I was impressed by Chris Wallace...
Rove calls Fox host 'agent of Congress' for asking about US Attorney firings
And of course, the eternal reminder:

The Supreme Court confirmed the legitimacy of this doctrine in United States v. Nixon, but only to the extent of confirming that it can be invoked when the oversight of the executive would impair that branch's national security concerns .

Historically, the uses of executive privilege underscore the untested nature of the doctrine, since Presidents have generally sidestepped open confrontations with the United States Congress and the courts over the issue by first asserting the privilege, then producing some of the documents requested on an assertedly voluntary basis.

More Republicans quit as party faces election disaster

The bad news is, all that background research down the drain!  The good news is...

Clinton, Obama fend off criticisms in debate

I have to say, I think Obama's right on all three counts in this case.
The senator from New York added, "When you've got that big an agenda facing you, you should not telegraph to our adversaries that you're willing to meet with them without preconditions during the first year in office."
Though he added that there is substantive difference between him and Clinton over meeting with adversaries, he added, "I think that strong countries and strong presidents meet and talk with our adversaries."

This to me is just less-than-optimal politicking by Sen. Clinton, and I think Obama's got it right.  I can't think of a single person in my life that even if I were to have a huge problem with them, I would absolutely refuse to talk to them until certain pre-conditions were met.  It's instead valuable and puts you on the high ground to begin talking and enter their "space", and once there begin to work together to achieve those desired conditions.  We've even seen it countless times in Hollywood - the hero has a gun pointed at them by the token emotionally-maxed-out individual, but they talk with the person gradually until they can take the gun away from them.  I've never seen a movie where instead they said "I refuse to talk to you until you point that gun somewhere else", but I'd guess the frequency of success for our hero would be much less if done that way.


Clinton and Obama also disagreed over his previous remarks that nuclear weapons should be off the table in dealing with Pakistan, where U.S. intelligence officials say al Qaeda-linked militants are holed up in tribal regions. Clinton has said it is not appropriate to take any option off the table on such a matter.

Same here - it's time to get away from our "we just might be craaaazy!" fallback defense and instead work from strategic diplomatic and military alternatives to every extent possible.  If those are done reasonably well, I strongly believe that nuclear strikes should never become a necessity.  Strategic international diplomacy as a first step (and not just any ham-fisted diplomacy, but approaches whose outcomes have already been considered) including economic and other approaches, then targeted military strikes if truly necessary, and only then do we start needing to talk about other alternatives.  With a leader who's thinking about these things, I think diplomacy would meet at least 80% of our needs, targeted military strikes if necessary could answer a further 10-15%, and that remaining sliver is the only time worse alternatives should be considered.  I've got no problem with Obama saying it should be off the table, because he knows that if things get to that point after he's exhausted all other options and can demonstrate that, he'll still have the support of the American people.
Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina said that Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, "is not a wonderful leader, but he provides some stability in Pakistan. And there is a great risk, if he's overthrown, about a radical government taking over."
Has Obama even called for the replacement of Musharraf?  Seems like there's a lot of spin around this topic.  He's said something along the lines that if he had actionable intelligence that Bin Laden was in Pakistan, and if Musharraf continued his incompetence/obstruction, that he'd have no problem sending special forces in with or without Musharraf's permission.  I'm okay with that, it's a bold step but a justifiable one.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

How Rove Directed Federal Assets for GOP Gains

The Hatch Act (5 USC 7321-7326) restricts the political activity of executive branch employees of the federal government. These federal and D.C. employees may not use official authority or influence to interfere with an election, solicit or discourage political activity of anyone with business before their agency, engage in political activity while: on duty, in a government office, wearing an official uniform, or using a government vehicle .An employee who violates the Hatch Act shall be removed from their position, and funds appropriated for the position from which removed thereafter may not be used to pay the employee or individual.
There are a lot of people in that scheme (based on the dramatic change in travel behaviors etc.) that should be losing their jobs (and pensions?) based on that definition.  My fear is that with Obama or Clinton (or any of the Republicans except Ron Paul), the lack of dedication to better government transparency could result in a very similar replay of these illegal and wasteful events if not brought to justice now...

The Rise and Fall of a British Muslim MP

Lawmaker apologizes for Muslim remarks

Way to go, Bill Sali - it's not like the founding fathers fought for freedom of religion or anything.  Matter of fact, Article VI of the Constitution:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
Amazingly ignorant paragraph at the end here too:
"Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of common law." - Thomas Jefferson, February 10, 1814.  Congratulations Bill on getting added to the replacement effort list for 2008.
You know what would be an easy way to avoid the whole debate?  Not have prayer for ANY religion during political situations.  You know, that whole "Separation of Church and State" thing.

Bringing Sunlight to Congress

In Unprecedented Order, FISA Court Requires Bush Administration to Respond to ACLU's Request That Secret Court Orders Be Released to the Public


Global Correction (economic markets)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

'Daily Show' to Air Reports From Iraq

Neo-Cons: Make Bush Dictator Of The World

This article is insane - moreso because of it consistently being backed up by references including a Google cache of the original article from FSM (which up until today, had happily only been claimed in my mind as the abbreviation for the Flying Spaghetti Monster). 
Further evidence of the dangers of a power-hungry president getting elected in 2008 after the changes already made so far under GW Bush...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Initiative Update as of August 16, 2007

Just surfing around election stuff, and saw this page - might be interesting to watch as the elections approach. 
Interesting the high speed train from SF bay area to LA that qualified so far, though I think just extending BART to Livermore would be a great next step (I'm not sure that will happen in the next decade based on the monster parking structure they're building in Dublin though).  It would be fun to start meeting up more with LA pals, though...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Re: The real issue from the Iowa straw polls - ongoing voting machine difficulties

And more Diebold shady-ness:

YouTube wants to depose Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart

I love that Google's standing their ground instead of capitulating - here's hoping that one way or the other we still get to see plenty of Stewart and Colbert highlights...

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Federal Marijuana User Testifies

I know, I know - trying to keep it to a minimum. :-P

China Acknowledges the Tiananmen Massacre...for 12 Hours.

Wow - makes you really appreciate how good we have it here in North America...

Reaction to Karl Rove Resignation

Two repeats at the end, but interesting (/sad) to see the split in perspectives clearly represented even in the comments...

Big news from Australia

Karl Rove to leave the White House (at the end of this month!)
Rove, who never graduated from college, is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of U.S. politics, able to speak knowledgeably about virtually any congressional district in the U.S., even down to the precinct level.

(just another reminder that choosing to forego college doesn't mean you can't go places)

Looks like along with the failures, that subpoena heat was finally catching up - hope it stays hot.  A statement I agree with (in that I think it's being underestimated by the Dems):

In the interview with the Journal, Rove said he expects Senator Hillary Clinton to win the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. He described her as a ``tough, tenacious, fatally flawed candidate'' and said Republicans have ``a very good chance'' of holding on to the presidency, according to the Journal.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Dick Cheney '94: Invading Baghdad Would Create Quagmire

The Insolvency Crisis: How we got here, and what to expect

This is a pretty good summary from what I've read so far of our past, current and coming economic market problems.  I don't know enough about the specific companies like LTCM, but it sounds about right...

Iraq war czar: Consider a draft

I only hope that if there were a draft, it would get segmented to start with those that support the war...

Don’t Go There: Top 20 Taboo Topics for Presidential Candidates

Pretty good post - I found myself nodding to each (though they missed the mark a little on #12, it's more AIPAC related I think).  Somewhere around #1 should have been "impeachment" though (maybe by combining #1 and #2), and "progressive energy" should have been in there somewhere lower down too.

Re: The real issue from the Iowa straw polls - ongoing voting machine difficulties

A couple more good articles:

The real issue from the Iowa straw polls - ongoing voting machine difficulties

A sampling of the less-loony and more relevant comments from The Atlantic's recent posts about the straw poll:
Bizarre... those electronic voting machines are a farce. (Counting votes shouldn't be that hard.)

Did anyone else say "WTF" that it would cost $184,000 for a full paper recount (of 14,000 ballots?)

Ten people could do that in 15 minutes...

Three volunteers can count and record one vote every 2 seconds (One to count, one to record, one to oversee). If you had five stations where this was going on, that's just 15 volunteers counting 150 votes a minute, or 9000 votes an hour.

In just over 90 minutes, they could have hand counted, recorded, and verified all the PAPER votes cast at the straw poll without spending a dime.

And how much did those Diebold machines cost? I bet more than a dime.
And how faulty are they? Apparently, they have problems every single election—even in a straw poll.
I'm so glad California ditched Diebold.  Here are some details on that:
(I get what Feinstein's saying, but this has been an issue for at least 7 years - if Congress hadn't been doing nothing for 6 years, maybe they wouldn't be so up against the wall now...)
Debra Bowen will definitely have my vote in 2010 (and I'll know it's been safely counted thanks to her).


Have You Fallen for these 7 Negative Attitudes Pushed by the Media?

Sort of a fluff piece, but not too bad...

Why Terrorists Aren’t Soldiers

Good piece by Wesley Clark... (

How the Democrats Blew It in Only Eight Months

While I disagree with several of the later perspectives in this piece regarding strategic approaches, it's still overall a good thought-provoking article:
Here's some supporting information on Congress' 14% approval rating, too:

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Stephen Colbert rips into Rudy Giuliani

The dollar's already been crashing for 6 months. Here comes the inflation onslaught... :-(

Excellent: The kind of spam Nigerians get

Leahy, Gonzales, and torture

It's a clip from back in January, but I hadn't seen it before.  It's outbursts (after trying controlled approaches until they've been exhausted) like the one around the 4-minute mark that make me love Leahy...

A Ron Paul refresher

I just wrapped up a huge work phase, and took a breather by reviewing some Ron Paul goodness about the two issues I feel are most important in the 2008 elections (foreign and economic policy).  The activist freak parade is highlighted in the first one, but other than that it was a satisfying start to the weekend - no apologies.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

ABC news misrepresents Ron Paul supporters

While I'm never a fan of crowds zombie chanting (unless I've got a shotgun handy), this really is shady behavior by our news media.  I just want accurate news, is that really so hard?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Re: Wired Analysis: New Law Gives Government Six Months to Turn Internet and Phone Systems into Permanent Spying Architecture

Yeesh - and it's not even close to over yet...

An ignoble anniversary

Six years ago today, the president, on vacation in Crawford, was handed an intelligence briefing document. It was titled, "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US."...  Six years ago today, Bush received one of the most important warnings any president has ever received — and he told the CIA official who handed him the warning, "All right. You've covered your ass, now."


Wired Analysis: New Law Gives Government Six Months to Turn Internet and Phone Systems into Permanent Spying Architecture

Wanted: a Constitutional Democrat

Good post about the lack of Congressional adherence, including the appropriate Ron Paul envy. ;-) 
Seriously, though, it's understandable to have different definitions of what constitutes "the general welfare" (which is where I think Ron Paul loses lots of popularity, is his absolute refusal to provide safety nets), and it would be interesting to see a Democratic twin that strictly adheres to the constitution but includes a greater provision for safety nets...

Re: Ex-Justice Department lawyer’s home searched in effort to find leak

Here's another good article on the subject:

Re: Democrats introduce Bush, Cheney, Gonzales censure resolutions in House and Senate

Continuing their NATO tradition... (No Action, Talk Only)

Rudy Giuliani's daughter is supporting Barack Obama.

While not 100% accurate, it's still funny...  (Republican's "family values" and what not)

Ex-Justice Department lawyer’s home searched in effort to find leak

This is retribution, pure and simple - there was clear value in having a whistleblower, and it needs to be protected not attacked...

U.S. military officials do not know what happened to 30% of the weapons the U.S. distributed to Iraqi forces since 2004

Re: Iowa Republican Debate from today

Okay, last post on this topic - a solid Ron Paul interview by Fox News (of all sources), post-debate.  You might find it hard to focus because the interviewer is the epitome of NILF - stay focused...

Roll Calls: Terrorism Surveillance

Wow - Congress just rolled over once again. 
Here's a list of which members of Congress voted this Friday (in order for them to get to their long vacation on time) for warrantless invasions of privacy, which include if you (as a U.S. citizen) participate in any international phone call (or networks that might traverse internationally in routing, say like Skype, calling cards, etc):
If I had limitless time and resources, I'd launch campaigns to get every Yes vote booted out of Congress in 2008 (particularly the Democrats who were clearly elected in 2006 to bring about change) , followed closely by the Not Votings.  So I guess it's a good thing I don't have that luxury, because for some inexplicable reason Ron Paul chose not to vote on this important issue.

Re: Iowa Republican Debate from today

Aha - here's something of a schedule for the Republican debates, at least...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Re: Iowa Republican Debate from today

I started jumping around because Ron Paul's the one whose ideas I really want to hear (and make sure they're heard, regardless of whether he wins the Presidency).  Two moments really jumped out to me:
1) In Part 3, 3:30-5:00.  You have got to be kidding me - does Romney really believe that anyone that criticizes the difference between the advertised "quick and easy" Iraq conflict and the "long and drawn-out" reality has forgotten about 9/11?  Seriously.  Romney might have just surpassed Giuliani's disqualifying apparent unfamiliarity (and offense) with the concept of "blowback".  I'm glad to see Ron Paul was the one who got the solid applause in this exchange, despite Romney's Giulianization.
2) In Part 9, 5:55-6:25.  Interesting how even though I don't think it's come up before, Ron Paul nails exactly what I was talking about here: 

Iowa Republican Debate from today

I wish the schedule for these debates was better broadcasted before they occurred (particularly ads online, as I get practically none of my information from TV these days).  Anyway...
I just started watching, but Romney and McCain had meltdowns almost as soon as they opened their mouths... 

Re: Hooray for Hypotheticals

Whoops, looks like I was behind the times - there's actually already an outstanding response from the Obama camp.  Read the details, it makes some strong points.

Hooray for Hypotheticals

While I found the examples used to paint Mitt Romney as a buffoon inaccurate in this case (though he already did himself in permanently with two words: "Double Guantanamo!"), this article highlights a good note - that the more transparent candidates (and the entire next presidency) can be, the more points they can score. 
I hope everyone else is as sick as I am of secrets-related management (secret tribunals, secret committees, secretive leadership methods, secret alliances, secret legislation modifications, etc.).  Transparency is one thing I think is a differentiator and which a few candidates in particular have really stepped up to or have it naturally in them (Barack Obama, Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel when he's not throwing rocks into ponds).  Others might see transparency as a weakness, I agree with Slate (God help me) that it's as a significant strength. 
Now the unspoken question in the article is whether Barack can overcome the double-team (or more) and stand by the strength of his non-nuclear argument.  In my opinion, his argument in this case is an example of very strong leadership, and I'd like to see him go further on the offensive to really highlight with details why his answer is right and why his critics are clearly the wrong choice for President.  I hope he doesn't get drowned out in the media din before we can see if he's got the fortitude to do that.

Fast Talk: The Selling of a President

I happened to sit next to a guy on my plane from Denver to CA who had last month's issue of FastCompany, which I had missed.  Luckily, he was willing to share, and they are kind enough to keep their past issue referencable, at least for now.
The June 2007 issue has a great series called "Fast Talk: The Selling of a President," in which Danielle Sacks single-handedly does a great job interviewing several key netroots players in the bid for the 2008 presidency.  Scroll about halfway down, they're all really fresh and interesting reading.


Okay, granted the New York Post is a trashy news rag (as evidenced by the article title), but this is the essence of what's mucking up intelligent debate.  I'm not an Edwards fan, but someone's going to read this and think he's a hypocrite on this, when the reality is, this is pure spin by one of Rupert Murdoch's publications in making Hillary look less bad.  There's a clear difference in the two situations: Edwards engaged in a business transaction where his role was to provide a book (with all royalties going to charity, no less!), and Murdoch's organization was to drive sales - each provided a service, and each was rewarded for it.  This, as to opposed to Hillary who received campaign contributions for as-yet-to-be-determined services on the political front.
Murdoch has made it clear (I can dig up the links if necessary) that his plan is to get Hillary the Democratic nomination, because there are so many moderates on both sides that would refuse to vote for her that it would practically guarantee a Republican victory (and if he's wrong, hey, he still contributed to the President).  So be it, that's up to him - but when those efforts appear in widely-distributed news channels as evidence and intentionally twisted away from the reality of the situations, it stinks.
So here's my question: How do we get past this noise to see the reality of situations?  Is the assumption that the market will see through this and that no one will read the NY Post (or take it seriously)?  Is something further needed?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Court secretly struck down Bush spying: report

That initial period from September 11th 2001 to January 2002?  I'd be willing to let that slide.  Everything else since then related to this BS?  Not so much.  Despite Bush's push to keep them there until they do what he wants, I hope Congress does their job here. 
Though then again, this would be felony wiretapping, which would imply impeachment - and we know that's been "off the table" for quite some time now (for excellent reasons, I'm sure).  Which means my broken-record response: What crime would there need to be reasonable doubt of for impeachment proceedings to be acceptable for the top members of this administration?

China enjoys anti-corruption game

When's the U.S. version come out?  (off to Gitmo/Leavenworth for me...)

Tancredo: Threaten to bomb Muslim holy sites in retaliation

Wow - this is just brilliant.  While I thought the recent cockfight between Barack and Hillary about who would be more willing to nuke a Muslim country was ludicrous (hint: it's Hillary), this goes one further.  This would without a doubt rile up every Muslim in the world, extremist or no (along with any countries who think the U.S.'s cavalier nuking just might not be a good thing).
But hey, maybe that's it - if people really think Islam is the key problem, then with this approach we could bring them all (and our quickly-determined non-allies) on in one fell swoop without all the pussyfooting around.  So what are we waiting for, let's start blowing up world-renowned holy sites to get things under control!!!
It's a good thing that there's at least one candidate farther behind in the polls than Ron Paul, and that that candidate is Tom Tancredo. 
This is also the exact reason I registered to become a Republican - on the one hand (the Democrats), there's a bunch of players who at worst could end up being completely ineffective as President.  On the other hand (the Republicans), there's a bunch of players who could quickly bring about mutually-assured destruction - oh, and one who at worst could end up being completely ineffective as President. 
I want to make sure that I'm doing my part to avoid mutually-assured destruction, and I think that should be a pretty high agenda item in the 2008 elections.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Inquiry: London police withheld info

Wow - and it's sad that my first thought is "at least it's not just happening in the U.S."...
Inquiry: London police withheld info

As The World Prospers...

Though the article is mostly upbeat, look at that crashing slope on the U.S. graph and consider the falling value of the dollar.  Everybody else sees it coming...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Rove refuses to testify on role in prosecutor firings

Daily Show: Rove subpoenaed after Leahy's balls grow three sizes

I would argue that they've been that big for a while now (though not from any personal insights).  The summary covers a good portion of it, except that Tony Snow used of one of my favorite words with a great retort by Stewart...

Kucinich grills Rumsfeld on 'cover up' at Tillman hearing

Kucinich at his best here - no dancing around, he gets straight to the right underlying issues, bulldogs them instead of being sidetracked, and highlights examples.  He hasn't won my vote, but moments like this certainly go a long way. 
There are few candidates that appear to have remained largely uncorrupted, but I think Kucinich is one of them. 

Fwd: Send a BIG message to Gonzales

"Joe Trippi, Edwards for President" <> wrote:
From: "Joe Trippi, Edwards for President" <>
Subject: Send a BIG message to Gonzales
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2007 11:09:13 -0400

John Edwards '08

Gonzales must go. Dear friend,

Today, we need your help to send a message to insiders like George Bush's Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who have no respect for the rule of law, our rights and freedoms, or the Constitution.

Gonzales, the man who helped enable torture at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and illegal spying on Americans, is now facing a possible perjury investigation for lying to Congress.

President Bush may be incapable of admitting when he makes a mistake (yes, too many to count)—but you and I and the American people still have the power to tell Gonzales that it is time to go!

Add your name to our message to Gonzales today.

We have a simple message to deliver to Gonzales:

Remember the Constitution that you were sworn to uphold?

Remember what this country stands for?

Remember the laws you were supposed to defend?

If you do, then do what is right—just once—and resign.

But then again, maybe it has been so long since Gonzales read the Constitution that he forgot what this great document says.

Well, let's remind him.

For every signature we collect (and this is where friends and family become very helpful), we will send Gonzales a copy of the Constitution. You can even add a special message like:

"Do the right thing for once - resign."
"What will it take for you to resign?"
"I believe perjury is against the law."

Add whatever reasonable note you think could make him do what is right.

But here's the best part—with your help, we can send Gonzales a really BIG message.

If we gather over 25,000 signatures online, we're not just going to mail them.

We're going to put them at the bottom of the largest copy of the Constitution you have ever seen, and deliver it straight to Gonzales' office at the Robert F. Kennedy Justice Department building in Washington, D.C..

How big a copy of the Constitution? Big. Really big.

And maybe—just maybe, when he sees that Constitution with all of your signatures, Gonzales will remember that his job is not to protect George Bush—it is to protect the rights and freedoms of the American people.

And maybe—just maybe, if enough of us speak out he will once—just once—do what is right, and resign. No matter what he does, history will record that at this critical moment you and I took a stand. And we're going to keep standing up for what is right when our nation needs us—because that's what this campaign is all about.

So if you want to join the fight for real change, then please add your name right now and help send Gonzales a message he will never forget.

Thank you,

-- Joe Trippi
   Monday, July 30th, 2007

P.S. - This grassroots movement to change America depends on your support, so contribute today—even a small contribution—and help John Edwards and our campaign fight for the kind of change you and America deserve.
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California proposal could sway 2008 race

"If this change is made, it will virtually guarantee that a Republican wins the White House in 2008," Lehane said in an e-mail.

Cheney: I Don't Recall

Mike Mullen, incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs

Lord help me, a member of the Bush Administration that I might actually like...