<!-- Begin meta tags generated by ORblogs --> </meta name="keywords" content="progressive, liberal, politics, government, edit, language, grammar, accuracy, honesty, clarity, world, news, media" /> </> <!-- End meta tags generated by ORblogs -->> Editor at Large: October 2005

Monday, October 31, 2005

Unlike Miers, Alito has a record - and it isn't pretty

Have we jumped from the frying pan into the fire? Here's a disturbing snapshot of Samuel Alito.

ALITO WOULD OVERTURN ROE V. WADE: In his dissenting opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Alito concurred with the majority in supporting the restrictive abortion-related measures passed by the Pennsylvania legislature in the late 1980s. Alito went further, however, saying the majority was wrong to strike down a requirement that women notify their spouses before having an abortion. The Supreme Court later rejected Alito's view, voting to reaffirm Roe v. Wade. [Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 1991]

ALITO WOULD ALLOW RACE-BASED DISCRIMINATION: Alito dissented from a decision in favor of a Marriott Hotel manager who said she had been discriminated against on the basis of race. The majority explained that Alito would have protected racist employers by "immuniz[ing] an employer from the reach of Title VII if the employer's belief that it had selected the 'best' candidate was the result of conscious racial bias." [Bray v. Marriott Hotels, 1997]

ALITO WOULD ALLOW DISABILITY-BASED DISCRIMINATION: In Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, the majority said the standard for proving disability-based discrimination articulated in Alito's dissent was so restrictive that "few if any cases would survive summary judgment." [Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1991]

ALITO WOULD STRIKE DOWN THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT: The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) "guarantees most workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a loved one." The 2003 Supreme Court ruling upholding FMLA [Nevada v. Hibbs, 2003] essentially reversed a 2000 decision by Alito which found that Congress exceeded its power in passing the law. [Chittister v. Department of Community and Economic Development, 2000]

ALITO SUPPORTS UNAUTHORIZED STRIP SEARCHES: In Doe v. Groody, Alito agued that police officers had not violated constitutional rights when they strip searched a mother and her ten-year-old daughter while carrying out a search warrant that authorized only the search of a man and his home. [Doe v. Groody, 2004]

ALITO HOSTILE TOWARD IMMIGRANTS: In two cases involving the deportation of immigrants, the majority twice noted Alito's disregard of settled law. In Dia v. Ashcroft, the majority opinion states that Alito's dissent "guts the statutory standard" and "ignores our precedent." In Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, the majority stated Alito's opinion contradicted "well-recognized rules of statutory construction." [Dia v. Ashcroft, 2003; Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, 2004].


Friday, October 28, 2005

Can you see Jesus in this tree?

It's about time Jesus showed up. We could use his perspective on things right about now. Unfortunately, we'll have to learn the language of the tree to understand what Jesus is saying. Specifically, a silver maple tree in Rochester, N.Y.

The tree is located in an area of Rochester known for its high crime rate. "It's a sign from God that there should be peace," said Maria Trinidad, who lives in the neighborhood. "There is a lot of crime here. People should have faith in God. This is God giving us a sign."

Perhaps the White House should use that tree as its Christmas tree this year?

Feeling poor?

In comparison to the rest of the world's population, you might not have it so bad. Find out exactly how you rank among the world's richest and poorest people. Go to http://globalrichlist.com and type in your annual income. The Web site will calculate how your income compares with that of the rest of the world.

For example, if you make $50,000 a year, you're in the top 1% of the world. If you make $25,000, you're in the top 10%. Even if you make only $5,000 a year, you're still in the top 14%.

Of course, relative incomes shouldn't be compared without also comparing relative costs of living, but if one factors in quality of life we're right back to being stinking, filthy rich.

The Day Scooter Died

Despite what this book's title might lead you to believe, Scooter Libby hasn't actually died. But he has been charged with obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury, and two counts of making a false statement, and if convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines. But his life isn't over, technically speaking. Just his job as Cheney's advisor, his political career, his status as a right-wing hero, and perhaps his sex life. Oh, and adding injury to insult, he recently broke his foot. But he's not dead yet. Not like the poor little puppy in this book, whose only crime was probably soiling the carpet...

(Thanks to Colleen Spedale.)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

DeLay: Conservative politics being criminalized

Fox News started whining about the "criminalization of politics" a couple of weeks ago, and now Tom DeLay has jumped on the paddywagon - er, bandwagon. In a letter to his constituents and co-conspirators - er, contributors, DeLay wrote, "What we're fighting is so much larger than a single court case or a single district attorney in Travis County. We are witnessing the criminalization of conservative politics."

No, no, no, Mr. DeLay. It isn't the criminalization of politics; it's the criminalization of crime. And don't worry, you'll look smashing in your new orange jumpsuit.

(We didn't really mean to make a pun, but "smashing"? The Hammer?)


Does this look better to you?

The evil-looking picture of Condi Rice that has some people up in arms was, indeed, altered by a USA Today photo editor, but the comically demonic white eyes were apparently an accidental result of over-brightening - not, as some have suggested, an attempt by the "liberal media" to make Republicans look evil. (Republicans are doing that just fine all by themselves.)

Here's how the photo should have appeared. And below is the USA Today editor's note explaining what happened.

"Editor's note: The photo of Condoleezza Rice that originally accompanied this story was altered in a manner that did not meet USA TODAY's editorial standards. The photo has been replaced by a properly adjusted copy. Photos published online are routinely cropped for size and adjusted for brightness and sharpness to optimize their appearance. In this case, after sharpening the photo for clarity, the editor brightened a portion of Rice's face, giving her eyes an unnatural appearance. This resulted in a distortion of the original not in keeping with our editorial standards."



This cartoon by Mike Luckovich spells "WHY?" using the names of all 2,000 U.S. soldiers who had died in Iraq as of 10/25 (the current number is 2,001). To see all 2,000 names, download the PDF from http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/shared-blogs/ajc/luckovich/entries/2005/10/26/the_2000_americ.html

"Bush 2000" has new meaning

The flag-draped coffin says it all...

(Design by Tom Tomorrow, from an idea by Michael D.)

Bush blames snoopy senators for Miers' withdrawal

Rather than blaming himself for nominating someone so grossly unqualified that even conservatives didn't like her, Bush pointed his finger at the Senate Judiciary Committee: "It is clear that Senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House - disclosures that would undermine a President's ability to receive candid counsel."

The question is, what are those "internal documents" and why is Bush so intent on keeping them secret? Also, why did Bush capitalize "Senators" and "President"?


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Wal-Mart memo: Cut costs by hiring only healthy part-timers

An internal memo sent to Wal-Mart's board of directors recommends hiring more part-time workers and discouraging the hiring of unhealthy people. To discourage unhealthy job applicants, the memo suggests that Wal-Mart arrange for "all jobs to include some physical activity (e.g., all cashiers do some cart-gathering)."

The memo also recommends reducing 401(k) contributions and attracting younger, and presumably healthier, workers by offering education benefits. The memo expresses concern that workers who have been with Wal-Mart for several years are no more productive than newbies.

In an interview, the author of the memo (M. Susan Chambers, Wal-Mart's executive vice president for benefits) said, "We are investing in our benefits that will take even better care of our associates. Our benefit plan is known today as being generous."

Better care? Generous? By whose standards?

Maybe instead of "How may I help you?" the lettering on the Wal-Mart worker's vest in this picture should read, "Always low benefits. Always."


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Plamegate indictments possibly coming tomorrow

An insider has told the Washington Note that "target letters" for indictment have been sent to as many as five people, presumably including Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, and possibly Dick Cheney, and that the indictments will be filed Wednesday, October 26. A press conference is being scheduled for Thursday.

Wonder what's going through Bush's Brain right about now...


Will Bush be impeached?

A front-page article in today's New York Daily News says that Bush knew about Karl Rove's scheme to blow CIA agent Valerie Plame's cover, that he was Rove's partner in treason from the start, and that his claims of ignorance were lies. The source for the News article is anonymous, but, as columnist Ted Rall says, "we know it's 100 percent true because the White House won't deny that Bush is a traitor."

So now will Bush be impeached?

Unfortunately, no, because impeachment is a political process, not a legal one. Because Bush belongs to the same party as the majorities in the House and the Senate, nothing he does can get him impeached.

"Our failed Constitutional system means we're stuck with this disastrous demagogue for three more years," Rall says. "The more you look, the more you'll find that our Constitution has been subverted to the point of virtual irrelevance. The legislative branch has abdicated its exclusive right to declare war to the president, who was appointed by a federal court that undermined the states' constitutional right to manage and settle election disputes. Individuals' protection against unreasonable searches have been trashed, habeas corpus is a joke, and double jeopardy has become routine as those exonerated by criminal court face second trials in civil court. Our system of checks and balances has collapsed."

It's looking like even an act of God won't exorcise this demon, because God is just another one of Bush's cronies...


2,000 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq

But hey, the Iraqi draft constitution passed! And isn't that what we were fighting for in the first place - their freedom to draft a constitution? Or was it to protect us from Iraqi terrorists? Or was it to disarm their nuclear weapons program? Or was it to keep America free? Or was it...


OSU student's parents are $340 million Powerball winners

The winners of last week's $340 million Powerball jackpot are the parents of OSU freshman Curtis West. West said he's been too excited to study or sleep after learning that his father, Steve West of Medford, had the winning Powerball ticket. He said he even missed a midterm exam because he wasn't able to sleep - and when he finally did go to sleep he slept through the test.

West's father said he is planning to meet with a financial planner today before he claims the jackpot. Perhaps he should also meet with the folks at Brinks...


Monday, October 24, 2005

Junk doctor debunks good science

Get this. There's an organization called the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), which corporations hire to debunk research reports that make them look bad. A doctor named Gilbert Ross is the ACSH's public voice. It's his calm, soothing voice you hear on TV or the radio, trying to quell your fears about the latest bad news about health or the environment.

For example, it was Dr. Ross who wrote on behalf of the farmed-salmon industry that the PCBs in fish "are not a cause of any health risk, including cancer" and Ross whose organization once asserted that the jury's still out on whether environmental cigarette smoke really is hazardous to your health. He spends a lot of time trying to tarnish noncorporate-sponsored research as "junk science."

However, Ross may not be the best choice to assail the credibility of other doctors, scientists, and researchers. In 1995, Ross's license to practice medicine in New York was revoked for professional misconduct, and he was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for his participation in a scheme that defrauded New York's Medicaid program of approximately $8 million.

In addition to his prison sentence, Ross was required to pay $125,000 in fines and was barred from participating in either the Medicare or Medicaid programs for 10 years. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services described Ross as a "highly untrustworthy individual" who had engaged in "medically indefensible" practices.

After his release from prison, Ross answered an ad in the New York Times for a "staff assistant" at ACSH. Ross told president Elizabeth Whelan that he'd been convicted of a crime, done time in prison, and no longer possessed a medical license, but she hired him anyway. He apparently was just the kind of "doctor" they were looking for. In 1999, he was promoted to medical/executive director. In 2004, he somehow managed to get his medical license back, with the stipulation that if he ever decides to practice medicine, he faces three years of probation.

This all seems to explain the sometimes contradictory reports we hear concerning the safety of certain foods and drugs. Unfortunately, because of people like Dr. Ross, it might be preferable to err on the side of caution: believe any "bad" news you hear, and be skeptical of arguments to the contrary.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Flag display leads to water cutoff

Wendy Oshima, shown here with her flag display, says Mount Shasta Spring Water, a company with offices in Oregon, has terminated her water delivery because they don't approve of her flags. When Oshima called the general manager of the company, Bill Ellis, he mentioned "desecration of the U.S. flag." Later Oshima realized he was referring to a small American flag that belonged to her daughter, who had drawn a peace sign over the flag's stripes and also penned in some "happy faces."

Ellis said the delivery man who brought Oshima her water found the flag offensive, in part because his son has been serving in Iraq and because his family includes several veterans.

"It kind of hit a nerve with all the employees here," Ellis said.

Oshima said her husband purchased the three foreign flags several years ago, and occasionally the family would fly one or another. All three went up on September 11 of this year, when the Chico Peace and Justice Center held a benefit event at her place.

Oshima said her family flies the flags of Cuba, Iraq, and Palestine "to show our solidarity with the people of these countries. These are countries that have long suffered from U.S. foreign policy," she said.

Ellis said the issue for his company wasn't Oshima's political views — it was desecration of an American flag. He said soldiers are fighting and dying in Iraq to preserve Oshima's right to freely express her views.

But Oshima said she found it hard to believe anyone can still accept the Bush administration's claims that the war in Iraq is about promoting freedom and protecting America. "It's about oil, economic interest, global dominance," she said.

Although her family has decided they don't want bottled water anymore, anyway, Oshima insisted her rights have been violated. "A political viewpoint is no different from someone's religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. There would be a bigger fight if it was based on my ethnicity, but I don't see it as any different."

"I think we have the right to serve who we want," Ellis said. "We would rather do business with people who are more respectful."

To register your disrespect for Mount Shasta Spring Water's discriminatory policies, call them at 1-800-922-6227.


NBC typo refers to Bill O'Reilly's show as the "No SPINE Zone"

This is an unaltered screen shot from this morning's Today Show on NBC. That's Bill O'Reilly on the right (naturally!), and yes, the caption underneath really does say "NO SPINE ZONE."


The actual warrant for DeLay's arrest

Here's what it says:


"...and him safely keep, so that you have him before the 331st JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT of Travis County, Texas, at the Courthouse of said county, in the City of Austin, forthwith, then and there to answer The State of Texas upon an indictment pending in said court charging him with the offense of

Looks kinda plaintive in black and white, doesn't it? But then, black and white is what DeLay has always done best.

Miers hasn't paid her dues - literally

Harriet Miers disclosed to the Senate Judiciary Committee that in 1989 her Texas law license was suspended for 26 days because of unpaid dues, and that last year her D.C. law license was briefly suspended because of unpaid dues.

Of course, to the Bush administration, not paying one's dues is irrelevant. The fact that Miers thinks Bush is the most brilliant man she's ever met is enough.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Fox News and the criminalization of politics

In response to the recent deluge of Republicans getting themselves into legal hot water, Fox News has coined a new term: "the criminalization of politics." Apparently, the talking heads at Fox believe that the Republicans have done nothing wrong; the Democrats are just sore losers so they're manipulating the justice system in a pathetic attempt to gain some power. Anyway, this is America; one is innocent until proven guilty. People like Tom DeLay should get to keep his job until he's found guilty.

Well, that's all wine and candy, but what Faux News is really trying to do is shift the debate, or rather, to re-frame it as something undebatable: that politics is not a crime. Well, of COURSE politics is not a crime, but that doesn't mean politicians don't occasionally COMMIT crimes, or that we should look the other way when they do. And yes, of course we shouldn't prejudge guilt (or innocence), but when so many politicians in one party are attracting so much negative attention at the same time, it's hard not to feel like maybe, perhaps, possibly something is up - ethically, if not legally.

Perhaps what's really going on here is not a criminalization of politics, but a politicization of crime.

To see a funny/not funny video compilation of Fox News hosts saying "the criminalization of politics," go to http://streaming.american

Fan mail

In reply to our post about Bono having lunch with Bush, "Justadog" wrote:

"Dining with the enemy? LOL, you liberals are sooooooooo stupid. Keep it up, we'll win the next election. Your hatred is intense, and the public doesn't care for it."

LOL. We tried saying "sooooooooo" out loud, just to see how long it took to pronounce all nine o's. It took almost four seconds. LOL. Which means we must be verrrrrrrrry stupid indeed. LOL. Not just because we're liberals, but because we actually timed ourselves saying "sooooooooo." LOL.

P.S. For an example of some reeeeeeeeeally intense hatred, LOL, visit Justadog's blog at http://wheresyourbrain.blogspot.com/

South Park creator hates creating South Park

"I hate making 'South Park' and I always have," Trey Parker says. "It's super stressful. I'm always miserable. I want to kill myself every week."

But if he did kill himself every week, would he come back, like Kenny always does?

Unfortunately, Parker will have to wait to find out, because he has three years left on his contract with Comedy Central - three more years of being a stressed-out multimillionaire...


Bono to have lunch today with Bush

U2, Bono? Dining with the enemy?

In Washington today for a concert, U2 singer Bono was invited to lunch with Bush, to follow up on talks they had in July at the G-8 summit in Scotland.

"They had a very good discussion about some of our common priorities," White House spokesman Scott McClellan lied. "Both share a deep commitment to combatting AIDS, preventing malaria and expanding trade to lift people out of poverty."

McClellan said Bono also planned to meet with National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley later today, before U2's concert at the MCI Center.

McClellan said Bush was not planning to attend the concert. Probably because Bush does not share Bono's deep commitment to rock music...


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Cheney to resign, Rice to be named V.P.?

Rumors are circulating around Washington, D.C., that Cheney's involvement in the Plame-CIA link will lead to his resignation - and that President Bush will give Condoleezza Rice the job.

"If that should happen," said one government official, "there will undoubtedly be those who believe the whole thing was orchestrated – another brilliant Machiavellian move by the V.P."

A Bush advisor said, "Folks on the inside and near inside are holding their breath and wondering what's next."

Another Bush associate said of the rumor, "Yes. This is not good."

We're not sure about any of this, but we are fairly certain that a major upheaval is in order, if not in store...


Poor, poor Bill O'Reilly

Bill O'Reilly says he's sick and tired of being hated. Mainly because it costs him so much money ("I spend an enormous amount of money protecting myself from evil"), but also because of the death threats. Yes, there are actually people out there who hate O'Reilly enough to want to kill him. Unbelievable.

He's also sick of being recognized everywhere he goes ("I can't take my family and stay in a hotel"), and of paparazzi who snag a picture one minute and post it on the Web the next. "Who wants to live like that?" he asks.

Despite his fear of being loathed and his loathing of being feared, O'Reilly is appearing on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" tonight. We hope Stewart tells him to shut up.


Friday, October 14, 2005

Ten pledges to demand from Democratic candidates

Send this contract to your elected representative and let him/her know that, if they intend to run for re-election, the price of your vote is their signature.

A Progressive Contract With America

If elected to office I promise to fully, enthusiastically and aggressively work to pass legislation that achieves the following goals:

1. We Will Bring the Troops Home. Our military has been stretched to the breaking point through a series of unwise deployments, particularly the war in Iraq. We will begin rebuilding America's all-volunteer military by first setting a date-certain for withdrawal from Iraq, beginning with National Guard and reservists. We will pass legislation requiring US troops begin leaving Iraq at the rate of 15,000 a month. We will work as closely as possible with Iraqi government officials to make this withdraw orderly while continuing to provide them the resources needed to train and equip their own soldiers and police forces.

2. We Will Crack Down on Corruption. The revolving door between corporate lobbies and high public office must be closed. We will pass legislation prohibiting legislators, their senior aides and executive branch political appointees from lobbying for two years after leaving office. We will let the sun shine into the deepest corners by requiring detailed public reporting of all contacts between lobbyists and legislators and the timely posting of such contacts on the Web. We pledge to apply these rules to all, regardless of party, as one way to take big money out of politics.

3. We Will Make Public Officials Accountable. When public officials fail to do their job, as in the pre-9/11 and WMD intellegence faliures, we will require an independent investigation be launched so that no official's actions, regardless of rank or position, escapes review. We will detail action on the urgent needs that this Administration has ignored: Improve port security, bolster first responders and public health capacity, and require adequate defense planning by high-risk chemical plants. And we will attack fraud, waste and abuse, beginning with the pork-barrel squandering of national security funds.

4. We Will Unleash New Energy for America. We understand that the "age of oil," is nearing an end. Therefore we pledge to launch and fund a concerted drive towards real energy independence for America. We must approach this task with the same sense of urgency, funding and attention that the nation gave to the Manhattan Project. We will focus these efforts solely on mainstreaming renewable, non-polluting sources of energy such as hydrogen, wind and solar, with the goal of achieving total energy independence no later than 2020.

5. We Will Rebuild America First. We will pass legislation rescinding Bush's tax cuts for the already wealthy and corporations in order to create more jobs here than overseas. We will accomplish that, in part, by using the additional tax revenue to create good-paying jobs rebuilding America's decaying infrastructure.

6. We Will Make Work Pay Once Again. There are only three nations on earth with such a vast disparity between rich and poor, Russia, Mexico and the United States. It is a disgraceful effect of GOP economic policies that favor corporations and the wealthy while ignoring hard working Americans. While CEO pay has moved steadily upward, the pay of working Americans has fallen, in many cases below the official poverty level. We promise to reverse that trend, beginning by passing legislation raising the minimum wage to a level that reflects current economic reality. We will encourage workers, including white collar workers, to take a hand in their own destinies by joining unions, as well as becoming shareholders in the companies that employ them and fully participating in both union and shareholder activities. We will insist that any companies that receive government contracts pay the prevailing wage.

7. We Will Make Healthcare Affordable. We pledge to fix America's broken healthcare system, a to do so quickly. We will study and then propose a single-payer, universal, healthcare system to be in place no later than 2015. We will also immediately reverse the Republican shameful sellout to the pharmaceutical industry by empowering Medicare to bargain down drug prices andallowing people to purchase drugs from safe outlets abroad.

8. We Will Protect Retirement Security. We pledge to strengthen Social Security. We will not risk Social Security by privatizing it. Instead we will modernize Social Security by, in part, recognizing that people live and work longer than they did 75 years ago.We will also modernize the ways the Social Security Trust Fund is invested to assure it always grows at least as fast as core inflation. We will also require companies to treat the shop floor like the top floor when it comes to managing their pensions and healthcare benefits.

9. We Will Keep the American Dream Alive. We will immediately stop and reverse current GOP efforts to cut eligibility for college grants and to limit loans. Instead we will offer a contract to American students: If they graduate from high school, they will be able to afford college or the higher technical training needed to be successful in today's economy. We will pay for this by preserving the estate tax on the wealthiest multimillion-dollar estates in America.

10. We Will Provide Real Security for America. We will foster and lead an aggressive international alliance to track down stateless terrorists, capture or kill them and confiscate their assets. Captured terrorists will be always be treated in accordance with international law. We will increase efforts and funding to track down and secure "loose nukes." We will detail action on the urgent needs that this Administration has ignored: Improve port security, bolster first responders and public health capacity, and require adequate defense planning by high-risk chemical plants. We will also affirm the reality that no nation can ever be secure as long as its borders are not. We will bring order and security to our borders by increasing border patrols and controls and by instituting a fair, manageable and humane guest worker program. We will also aggressively prosecute employers who employ or exploit illegal immigrant workers.



(By Stephen Pizzo, from Bob Borosage's article in The Nation titled "A REAL contract with America")


Announcing the George W. Bush Crony Correspondence Contest!

What do Harriet Miers and President Bush tell each other in private? What did Bush and Mike Brown talk about to get him appointed to the head of FEMA?

A contest sponsored by Campus Progress (www.campusprogress.org) is asking for your best depiction of an exchange between President Bush and one of his favorite cronies.

The Ground Rules:

1. It has to be an exchange between Bush and one of his actual political cronies. Harriet Miers and Michael Brown have been big in the news, but places like The New Republic have tallied a large list for you to peruse.

2. The exchange can be in any format - send Campus Progress your idea of letters, e-mail exchanges, IM chat sessions...you name it. You can send them a visual interpretation too - Photoshop a memo or create your own version of the most recent Valentine's Day card sent to the President from his favorite horse enthusiast. (Send images in GIF or JPEG formats only.)

3. Exchanges can be as long or as short as you want, and can be a one-way communication or a dialogue between Bush and crony.

For example, this dramatic IM exchange between Bush and Mike Brown:

PrezNitUSA: Brownie!!!!
MyLittleFEMAPony: d00d, the levees all broke, everyone's pissed
PrezNitUSA: Hmmm...u want I come down for a photo-op?
MyLittleFEMAPony: can we have a helicoptor in the background?
PrezNitUSA: sure, not like we need them all right now or anything ;)
MyLittleFEMAPony: LOL, kthxbye
PrezNitUSA: k cu l8r

All submissions must be received by Noon EST on October 26. Submit entries to cpwebmaster@campusprogress.org.

The winner will be judged by equal parts creativity/effort, and overall humor of their submission. Campus Progress is looking for submissions that highlight the nature of political cronyism in America and/or that illustrate the, uh, challenges faced by the Bush Administration in addressing our country's most critical issues, from Iraq to Katrina. You may enter as many times as you wish.

The winner gets a Campus Progress T-shirt, a Campus Progress tote bag, a Vote Foo Fighters '06 bumper sticker, and a lovely set of personalized engraved stationery.

Legal blather:

Employees, consultants, and interns of the Center for American Progress may enter, but are not eligible to win.

By entering the contest you agree to the contest rules, as contained in this announcement. Selection of contest winners is in the sole discretion of Campus Progress. The grand prize winner must consent to Campus Progress publicizing his or her actual name.

Void where prohibited. Void outside of the U.S. 50 states and the District of Columbia. Void in Arizona because their state law on contests is too complicated. Prizes are non-transferable. Not affiliated with Silverado Savings & Loan.


Karl Rove drives to work in his Jaguar

This was taken by AP photographer Kevin Wolf early this morning. Why is Rove smiling? Is it a smile of relief that he's finally been caught - and will soon be relieved of his job as Bush's brain?


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Musical breast implants?

This is so idiotic it has to be true. Computer chips that store music could soon be built into breast implants. One breast could hold an MP3 player and the other the person's music collection.

BT Laboratories, which came up with the moronic idea, says it could be available within 15 years. The company's analyst, Ian Pearson, said flexible plastic electronics would sit inside the breast, and a wireless signal would be relayed to headphones. The device would be controlled by Bluetooth using a panel on the wrist.

"It is now very hard for me to think of breast implants as just decorative," Pearson said. "If a woman has something implanted permanently, it might as well do something useful."

Why don't you do something useful, Mr. Pearson? How about a musical implant for your penis?


Miers and Bush: More than just friends?

In this 1997 birthday card to Bush, Harriet Miers says, "Dear GWB, You are the best Governor ever--deserving of great respect! Thank you for listening and for your time this week." Listening? To what? Time? Doing what?

See more mush-o-grams from Harriet to George at http://www.thesmokinggun.com/

Harriet Miers + George W. Bush

Admiration, or adulation? You decide. Harriet Miers wrote this postcard to George W. Bush in 1997, when he was governor of Texas. Isn't it great how great she thinks Bush is at being great?

You can see several more examples of Miers' gushing to GW at http://www.thesmokinggun.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Bush: "Confirm Miers because she's religious"

Unbelievable. Is there no limit to George Bush's uncanny knack for saying stupid things and pissing people off? Here's the latest:

"People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers. They want to know Harriet Miers' background. They want to know as much as they possibly can before they form opinions. Part of Harriet Miers' life is her religion."

As Barry Lynn, director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, pointed out, anyone who tried to bring up the topic of religion during the Roberts confirmation was labeled a bigot. "Now Bush and Rove are touting where Miers goes to church and using that as a selling point,'' Lynn said. "The hypocrisy is staggering.''

Staggering indeed.


What Rove told Dobson about Miers

It's official: Harriet Miers is anti-choice. We suspected as much, but now we know for sure, thanks to Karl Rove's pathological inability to keep a secret.

James Dobson, chairman of the SpongeBob-hating religious group Focus on the Family, has revealed that two days before Miers was nominated, Rove assured him that she attended "a very conservative church, which is almost universally pro-life." (The rest of us are, of course, anti-life.)

Dobson said Rove also told him that Miers had been a member of Texas Right to Life, an antiabortion group, and had "taken on the American Bar Association on the issue of abortion."

But wait, there's some good news. A poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that only 33 percent support Miers' confirmation, 27 percent are opposed, and 40 percent have no opinion. Okay, so 40 percent having no opinion is scary, but the rest is encouraging...


Monday, October 10, 2005

What's the big secret?

Raise your hand if you've heard this one. In 2001, President Bush signed Executive Order 13233, under which a former president's private papers can be released only with the approval of both the former president (or his heirs) and the current one. Before that executive order, the National Archives had controlled the release of presidential documents, under the Presidential Records Act of 1978. The act stipulated that all papers, except those pertaining to national security, had to be made available 12 years after a president left office.

Now, however, Mr. Bush can prevent the public from knowing not only what he did in office, but what Bill Clinton, Poppy Bush, and Ronald Reagan did. (Although Reagan's term ended more than 12 years before the executive order, the Bush administration had filed paperwork in early 2001 to stop the clock, and thus his papers fall under it.) Clinton publicly objected to the executive order, saying he wanted all his papers open, but Bush went ahead and signed the order anyway.

As author Kitty Kelley points out, President Bush's signature on Executive Order 13233 "stopped the National Archives from a planned release of documents from the Reagan era, some of which might have shed light on the Iran-contra scandal and illuminated the role played by the vice president at the time, George H.W. Bush."

Kelley also says that, because executive orders are not acts of Congress, "they can be overturned by future commanders in chief. Representative Henry Waxman, Democrat of California, has repeatedly introduced legislation to overturn Mr. Bush's executive order, but the chances of this Republican Congress defying Bush are slim. There is also a lawsuit by the American Historical Association and other academic and archival groups before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. A successful verdict could force the National Archives to ignore the executive order and begin making public records from the Reagan and elder Bush administrations."

"Unless one of these efforts succeeds," Kelley says, "George W. Bush and his father can see to it that their administrations pass into history without examination. Their rationales for waging wars in the Middle East will go unchallenged. There will be no chance to weigh the arguments that led the administration to condone torture by our armed forces. The problems of federal agencies entrusted with public welfare during times of national disaster - 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina - will be unaddressed. Details on no-bid contracts awarded to politically connected corporations like Halliburton will escape scrutiny, as will the president's role in Environmental Protection Agency's policies on water and air polluters."

If the truth does, indeed, set us free, then obstruction of truth keeps us all prisoner. And George W. Bush is obstructiing the truth.


Friday, October 07, 2005

Evil, or just mad?

Evil, or just mad?
Originally uploaded by Editor at Large.
Either way, we're terrified.

(Thanks to Tom Tomorrow, www.

"Ten terrorism plots foiled"...so what? Dozens have succeeded!

Yesterday Bush tried to distract us yet again from what's really going on, declaring in a speech that the United States and its partners had disrupted 10 serious plots since 9/11.

Bush said nothing, of course, about the possible reasons why there have been so many terrorism plots recently, or about the dozens that have succeeded, resulting in hundreds of deaths.

Democratic Senator Harry Reid had the best response to Bush's latest attempt to shore up his ratings: "The truth is, the administration's mishandling of the war in Iraq has made us less safe, and Iraq risks becoming what it was not before the war: a training ground for terrorists."


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Four unpleasant facts about Harriet Miers

• When Miers was Bush's appointee to head the Texas State Lottery Commission, the lottery was accused by a former director of awarding multimillion-dollar, no-bid contracts to a technology firm represented by former Lieutenant Governor Ben Barnes. Barnes has since said he helped Bush escape active duty in Vietnam, and the lottery director alleged that Barnes demanded (and under Miers, received) the lucrative public contracts to keep quiet about Bush's military service.

• As governor of Texas, Bush signed a law blocking Texas consumers from collecting a $6 billion dollar judgment against car dealers for predatory lending practices and for secret kickbacks. The law firm Miers headed represented the auto dealers.

• Miers was hired as legal counsel on both of Bush's gubernatorial campaigns. Among other things, her research was used to persuade a local judge to excuse then-Governor Bush from jury duty, a civic task that would have forced him to disclose his 1976 arrest for drunken driving in Maine. As a result, he was able to keep his arrest secret until late in the 2000 presidential campaign.

• Miers' personal friendship with and allegiance to Bush has been cited for years in connection with her promotions, including that of White House Counsel.

George Will: Bush is incompetent

Well, those aren't his EXACT words, but they might as well be. The conservative columnist does not approve of Bush's latest choice for the Supreme Court. Indeed, he doubts Bush's very ability to choose nominees for the court: "He has neither the inclination nor the ability to make sophisticated judgments about competing approaches to construing the Constitution. Few presidents acquire such abilities in the course of their pre-presidential careers, and this president particularly is not disposed to such reflections."

Wow. Coming from George Will, that is a bit of a slam. It's interesting how even the congenitally wrong can occasionally get something right. We're still waiting for that to happen with George Bush.


Harriet Miers, hot chick

Harriet Miers in 1963
Originally uploaded by Editor at Large.
What's in a picture? We're not sure, but we think this high school yearbook photo of Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers would make an excellent pin-up. On a dart board.

How can we be so callous? Hey, she's the one who defected from the Democratic Party and became a born-again Repugnican.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Tom DeLay's guide to criminal justice

Here's what Tom DeLay said on October 9, 1998, about the impeachment of President Clinton:

"This nation sits at a crossroads. One direction points to the higher road of the rule of law. Sometimes hard, sometimes unpleasant, this path relies on truth, justice and the rigorous application of the principle that no man is above the law. Now, the other road is the path of least resistance. This is where we start making exceptions to our laws based on poll numbers and spin control. This is when we pitch the law completely overboard when the mood fits us, when we ignore the facts in order to cover up the truth.

"No man is above the law, and no man is below the law. That's the principle that we all hold very dear in this country."

Now that the tables are turned, of course, DeLay's tune has changed. Now he wants us to "ignore the facts in order to cover up the truth." Considering that one of the charges against him comes with a possible life sentence, Mr. DeLay had better exercise his so-called faith and start praying...hard.


Monday, October 03, 2005

Harriet Miers: another Bush lapdog

Former Bush speechwriter David Frum has some interesting things to say about Bush's latest Supreme Court nominee. Last week, he said, "I believe I was the first to float the name of Harriet Miers, White House counsel, as a possible Supreme Court. Today her name is all over the news. I have to confess that at the time, I was mostly joking. In the White House that hero-worshipped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met."

The most brilliant man she had ever met? With judgment like that, how can this woman judge Supreme Court cases with any credibility whatsoever?

This week, Frum changed his tune slightly about Miers but still has reservations:

"I worked with Harriet Miers. She's a lovely person: intelligent, honest, capable, loyal, discreet, dedicated...I could pile on the praise all morning. But nobody would describe her as one of the outstanding lawyers in the United States. And there is no reason at all to believe either that she is a legal conservative or - and more importantly - that she has the spine and steel necessary to resist the pressures that constantly bend the American legal system toward the left.

"I am not saying that she is not a legal conservative. I am not saying that she is not steely. I am saying only that there is no good reason to believe either of these things. Not even her closest associates on the job have no good reason to believe either of these things. In other words, we are being asked by this president to take this appointment purely on trust, without any independent reason to support it. And that is not a request conservatives can safely grant.

"She rose to her present position by her absolute devotion to George Bush. I mentioned last week that she told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met. To flatter on such a scale a person must either be an unscrupulous dissembler, which Miers most certainly is not, or a natural follower. And natural followers do not belong on the Supreme Court of the United States."


Quote of the day

"Sometimes intellectuals become detached from common sense."
- Robert Woodson, Sr., defending former education secretary William Bennett's comment on national radio that "you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down."


Boo boo of the day

Subject line in an e-mail from "Beaver Nation Inside" (a product of the Oregon State University athletics department, whose mascot is a Beaver):

"Beavers vs Cal at 7 pm will be steamed live..."

We think they mean the Beavers will be STREAMED live, as in streaming video, but since we've never tasted steamed beaver, we can't be completely certain.