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Step off, old man!
Friday, 19 March 2004
Say one thing, do another
It's laughable the way the President wants to portray Kerry as someone who will not provide for the troops. This compilation of quotes came from www.cuttersway.com.

"Thousands of U.S. troops invaded Iraq in March without the new body armor that can stop rifle bullets, and thousands more still lack the lifesaving protection. `I can't answer for the record why we started this war with protective vests that were in short-supply,' Army Gen. John Abizaid told Congress last week." (Richard Sisk, Knight-Ridder Tribune, 9/29/03).

"The administration announced that on October 1 it wants to roll back recent modest increases in monthly imminent-danger pay (from $225 to $150) and family-separation allowance (from $250 to $100) for troops getting shot at in combat zones." (Editorial, Army Times, 6/30/03).

"Hundreds of sick and wounded U.S. soldiers including many who served in the Iraq war are languishing in hot cement barracks while they wait--sometimes for months--to see doctors." (Mark Benjamin, UPI, 10/17/03).

"The Bush administration is formally opposing a proposal to give National Guard and Reserve members access to the Pentagon's health insurance system." (Gannett News Service, 10/24/03).

"The Department of Veterans Affairs announced yesterday that it is immediately cutting off access to...about 164,000 veterans who expected to enroll in the system during the current fiscal year." (Edward Walsh, Washington Post, 1/17/03).

And now this, from (White House press secretary) Scott McClellan's press briefing of March 17: "This president, from day one, has provided strong support to our troops to make sure they have all the resources they need to do their job, and that includes supporting significant pay raises for our troops, improving housing and health care for our troops. This president, from day one of this administration, has been working to make sure our troops have all the resources they need to do their job."

Makes you want to holler.

Posted by brettdavey at 2:38 PM EST
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Wednesday, 17 March 2004
The Godfather meets Wag The Dog
Of course, this isn't news. Why should it be? It's only your money.

This is from the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Last November, during the heat of the congressional debate on the law, the White House reportedly threatened to fire a top Medicare official if he told the truth about the cost of what President Bush described as a $400 billion Medicare bill.

Medicare's chief actuary, Robert S. Foster, said it was clear from the start that the actual cost would be substantially more -- as high as $534 billion. And, he said, the White House was aware of that in June, five months ahead of the debate.

Although, by law, the actuary is charged with providing nonpartisan counsel to lawmakers, Foster said he was silenced by the White House to prevent Congress from getting the true figures. Threatened with "severe'' personal consequences, he was instead ordered to withhold the information, even if Congress asked for it.

Absent the damning cost data, the bill (bitterly contentious even among Republicans) barely eked by, passing in the House, 216 to 215. With cost as the sticking point, the likely outcome would have been reversed, if all the facts had been known. Democrats had argued that the law didn't significantly help seniors and gave drugmakers too much clout. Republicans said seniors didn't gain significantly from the much costlier plan."

That's the first part, where the Bush Administration again acts like the Mob. Here's the second part where they act like "Wag The Dog."

"In order to sell the complicated and skimpy plan to seniors, the Department of Health and Human Services is paying actors to pose as journalists in bogus TV "news'' reports. Videos have been sent to TV stations, along with government-prepared scripts for news anchors to read. The idea is to make propaganda appear to be unbiased news during prime-time viewing."

By the way, you're paying for those actors to be hired as well.

Posted by brettdavey at 2:44 PM EST
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From sun to snow
I'm not even going to rag about coming back from weather in the 70s to a stinking snowstorm. Spring training in Florida was awesome so I've got nothing to bitch about.

Our first leg of the trip took us to Atlanta, where the last 10 minutes of the flight were so white knuckle that none of the passengers were talking at all. Even my 9-month old son got really quiet. Most of us were looking out the window to see if the damn wing was going to fly off the plane. I half expected to see some beast on the wing tearing the plane apart like in the classic episode of "Twilight Zone" with William Shatner. Despite the very rocky landing, we all made it OK although I had a major league case of swamp ass. I'm guessing I wasn't the only one.

I'm not going to bore you with too many details about the trip except for these:

* We went to four spring training games and I came to this conclusion: There is nothing more pathetic than watching a grown man beg for an autograph, especially when their voice gets real high and whiny. "NOMAH, PLEASE!" I was hoping the whiny autograph hounds would get hit in the head with a stray line drive, but no luck.

* The biggest cheers at the games weren't for Nomar, Pedro, or Curt Schilling. They came when the announcer would say before every game: "The game time temperature, 75 in Ft. Myers. In Boston, it's 32." And then everyone would go nuts.

* The hotel where we stayed was home to a couple dozen players on various women's college softball teams. Seems there was a tournament in Florida so there were teams from all over. I hate to engage in stereotypes, but they really did look like women softball players, if you know what I mean.

* There was also a crazy group of older women called the Red Hats. They're part of a national group that goes out and does fun things like take trips and wear crazy clothes. The women showed up for breakfast in the morning, all wearing purple pajamas, red slippers, and red hats with feathers. They were all at least in their sixties. They were loud and boisterous. It made me think: why wait until you're a senior to start a club like that? Let's do it!

That's my abbreviated report. I'm back to posting every day. OK, I can't help it. This weather does suck.

Posted by brettdavey at 11:22 AM EST
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Friday, 5 March 2004
"Leaving a bad tip..."
My favorite part of this story is the quote at the end of the story from the spokesman for Red Robin Gourment Burgers.

CANTON, Ohio (AP) -- Talk about leaving a bad tip at the restaurant.

A 22-year-old woman found the severed tip of a thumb in her lunch salad at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers.

Stark County Health Commissioner Bill Franks said a worker at the restaurant, in the Canton suburb Jackson Township about 70 miles south of Cleveland, was chopping lettuce Monday night when he cut off part of his left thumb, including part of the fingernail.

Employees searched for the fingertip, but could not find it. The area was cleaned and sanitized, but the lettuce was placed in a cooler and then used for salads on Tuesday.

"It wound up being served at lunch time Tuesday to a 22-year-old woman," Franks said.

She had eaten most of her salad when she put the fingertip in her mouth, Franks said.

She first thought it was a piece of gristle, a health department report said.

Red Robin spokesman Dwayne Chambers said employees, in their haste to get the injured man to a doctor, failed to follow the chain's procedures and throw out all food in the area.

"We clearly had a breakdown," he said. "We are incredibly sorry about what happened."

Chambers said he spoke with the woman. "She obviously was pretty upset," he said.


Posted by brettdavey at 2:46 PM EST
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See ya for a while
I'm going to Red Sox spring training for the next week and a half. I'm returning on Tuesday, March 16 so there won't be any postings until then. I'll be having fun in the sun but check back week after next.

Thanks!

Posted by brettdavey at 1:08 PM EST
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Thursday, 4 March 2004
Clinton for VP?
Read Josh Marhsall's www.talkingpointsmemo.com for analysis of the President's nothing-is-my-fault strategy for the upcoming election. It simply echoes everything I've been saying about the Republicans refusing to take responsibility for anything.

Of course, the Kerry VP speculation is running wild. There was an interesting op-ed in yesterday's New York Times that speculated Kerry's best move would be to tap Clinton as VP. Not Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton! It looks like it would be legal since he wouldn't be running for President but for VP.

Can you imagine the shock waves from that one? While it's extremely doubtful it would happen, I would love to see it, if for no other reason than to shake things up.

Posted by brettdavey at 10:52 AM EST
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Wednesday, 3 March 2004
Molly says...
Molly Ivins is awesome. Let me say that first. Here's something from a recent column of hers:

"In one of the mind-boggling deceptions wrought by said (corrupt) CEOs, the cost of the war isn't in Bush's budget, even though Bush is blaming his budget deficit on the cost of the war. Honest: War cost is not in there. Bush will ask for another supplemental budget after the election to cover it. And at this rate, it won't be the estimated $40 billion to $45 billion, it'll be another $87 billion.

It is a source of continuing frustration to me that we have so many big problems, I rarely get to report on the little things this administration is doing that are just as telling. Here's an example: Last week, Bush dismissed two members of his own handpicked Council on Bioethics. One is a scientist, and the other a moral philosopher -- and both are advocates of stem-cell research.

According to The Washington Post, "In their place he appointed three new members, including a doctor who has called for more religion in public life, a political scientist who has spoken out precisely against the research that the dismissed members supported and another who has written about the immorality of abortion and the 'threats of biotechnology.'"

Go get them, Molly. Welcome to Christian American. Other faiths need not apply.

Posted by brettdavey at 5:04 PM EST
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Potential life changing experience
I almost ran over a kid last night with my pickup truck. He couldn't have been more than 4 years old. I was driving about 30 miles an hour through a residential neighborhood at about 8 p.m. The kid ran from behind a van and I swerved to miss him. I did, but only by about five feet. If I had kept going straight, I would have run him over.

He was running towards his mother, who was in the car across the street. She looked like she was getting the car ready for them to leave, like I do with my nine-month old when I get the car seat ready. My guess is that she left him in the house while she got the car ready and he ran out on his own.

You always hear people say, "He came out of nowhere..." and it's true. It all kind of happened in slow motion. I distinctly remember what he looked like: Hispanic, dark hair, colored striped shirt. In my rear view mirror, as I drove away, I saw him cross the street and his mother take him by the hand, walking him back towards the house.

There's a chance she didn't even notice the whole episode. And he didn't appear to be rattled in the slightest. Me, I couldn't sleep last night.

Posted by brettdavey at 2:56 PM EST
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Coulda got him...
All the wowsers in the world love to repeat: Clinton could have had Bin Laden; he just chose not to. Let's see how they react to this one from NBC News:

"With Tuesday's attacks, Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant with ties to al-Qaida, is now blamed for more than 700 terrorist killings in Iraq.

But NBC News has learned that long before the war the Bush administration had several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself -- but never pulled the trigger.

In June 2002, U.S. officials say intelligence had revealed that Zarqawi and members of al-Qaida had set up a weapons lab at Kirma, in northern Iraq, producing deadly ricin and cyanide.

The Pentagon quickly drafted plans to attack the camp with cruise missiles and airstrikes and sent it to the White House, where, according to U.S. government sources, the plan was debated to death in the National Security Council.

`People were more obsessed with developing the coalition to overthrow Saddam than to execute the president's policy of pre-emption against terrorists.'


-- Roger Cressey
Terrorism expert


"Here we had targets, we had opportunities, we had a country willing to support casualties, or risk casualties after 9/11 and we still didn't do it," said Michael O'Hanlon, military analyst with the Brookings Institution.

Four months later, intelligence showed Zarqawi was planning to use ricin in terrorist attacks in Europe.

The Pentagon drew up a second strike plan, and the White House again killed it. By then the administration had set its course for war with Iraq.

"People were more obsessed with developing the coalition to overthrow Saddam than to execute the president's policy of preemption against terrorists," according to terrorism expert and former National Security Council member Roger Cressey.

In January 2003, the threat turned real. Police in London arrested six terror suspects and discovered a ricin lab connected to the camp in Iraq.

The Pentagon drew up still another attack plan, and for the third time, the National Security Council killed it.

Military officials insist their case for attacking Zarqawi's operation was airtight, but the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam.

The United States did attack the camp at Kirma at the beginning of the war, but it was too late -- Zarqawi and many of his followers were gone. "Here's a case where they waited, they waited too long and now we're suffering as a result inside Iraq," Cressey added.



Posted by brettdavey at 2:10 PM EST
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Tuesday, 2 March 2004
Listen up!
I've told you this a few times, but here goes again: Listen to Randi Rhodes over the internet on weekdays from 3-7 EST. Go to www.therandirhodesshow.com and click on listen live. Then, spread the word.

Posted by brettdavey at 12:16 PM EST
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