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Step off, old man!
Wednesday, 14 July 2004
Let's ban divorce.. for the children's sake
I'm going to puke if I hear Rick Santorum or some other holider-than-thou Senator invoke "the children" in the gay marriage debate. "Let's protect the children..." is a phrase I've heard a number of people use. What the hell does that mean?

Others are invoking the sanctity of marriage. What does that say about the 50 percent of married folks who end up getting divorced? Are they bad people? Are they going to hell? What about their children?

Does Rick Santorum think divorce is good for children? If not, then let's have a constitutional amendment banning divorce.

After all, it's bad for the children.

Posted by brettdavey at 10:30 AM EDT
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Kerry's campaign manager writes to her counterpart
This comes from the Kerry campaign website. It's kind of funny, or at least as funny as things get in politics.

"Washington, DC ?C Kerry-Edwards campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill today sent the following letter to Bush Cheney !?04 Campaign Manager Ken Mehlman in response to a letter Mehlman sent yesterday:

July 13, 2004
Ken Mehlman
Campaign Manager
BUSH-CHENEY '04, Inc.

Dear Ken:

Over the past several months, allies of the President have questioned John Kerry!?s patriotism while your staff has criticized his service in Vietnam. Republicans and their allies have gone so far as to launch attacks against his wife and your campaign has run $80 million in negative ads that have been called baseless, misleading and unfair by several independent observers.

Considering that the President has failed to even come close to keeping his promise to change the tone in Washington, we find your outrage over and paparazzi-like obsession with a fund-raising event to be misplaced. The fact is that the nation has a greater interest in seeing several documents made public relating to the President!?s performance in office and personal veracity that the White House has steadfastly refused to release. As such, we will not consider your request until the Bush campaign and White House make public the documents/materials listed below:

!? Military records: Any copies of the President!?s military records that would actually prove he fulfilled the terms of his military service. For that matter, it would be comforting to the American people if the campaign or the White House could produce more than just a single person to verify that the President was in Alabama when said he was there. Many Americans find it odd that only one person out of an entire squadron can recall seeing Mr. Bush.

!? Halliburton: All correspondence between the Defense Department and the White House regarding the no-bid contracts that have gone to the Vice-President!?s former company. Some material has already been made public. Why not take a campaign issue off the table by making all of these materials public so the voters can see how Halliburton has benefited from Mr. Cheney serving as Vice-President?

!? The Cheney Energy Task Force: For an Administration that claims to hate lawsuits, it!?s ironic that the Bush White House is taking up the Courts!? time to keep the fact that Ken Lay and Enron wrote its energy policy in secret behind closed doors. Please release the documents so that the country can learn what lobbyists and special interests wrote the White House energy policy.

!? Medicare Bill: Please release all White House correspondence between the pharmaceutical industry and the Administration regarding the Medicare Bill, which gave billions to some of the President!?s biggest donors. In addition, please provide all written materials that directed the Medicare actuary to withhold information from Congress about the actual cost of the bill.

!? Prison Abuse Documents: A few weeks ago, the White House released a selected number of documents regarding the White House!?s involvement in laying the legal foundation for the interrogation methods that were used in Iraq. Please release the remaining documents.

We also wanted to wish you a happy anniversary. As we are sure you and the attorneys representing the President, Vice-President and other White House officials are aware, today marks one year since Administration sources leaked the identity of a covert CIA agent to Bob Novak in an effort to retaliate against a critic of the Administration.

In light of the fact that the Administration began gutting the laws protecting the nation!?s forests yesterday, we hope you will accept the paper on which this letter is written as an anniversary gift. (The one year anniversary is known as the !?paper anniversary.!?)

Sincerely,


Mary Beth Cahill
Campaign Manager

Posted by brettdavey at 10:25 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 13 July 2004
Who's more optimistic than Cheney?
I've seen a number of Bush operatives interviewed who keep saying the Kerry-Edwards ticket has a pessimistic view of the future, while Bush and Cheney have an optimistic one.

I was watching C-Span over the weekend and they ran a bunch of campaign commercials for both tickets. The only Bush spot that wasn't a negative one was the ad where McCain endorses Bush and that was done just to tweak Kerry. Like I said, not one positive ad about the President's accomplishments.

Must be because he doesn't have much to crow about.

In a way, Bush reminds me of Jimmy Carter before the election against Reagan. I don't mean in the negative advertising, but in the rationale as to why he should be re-elected. I supported Carter at the time (even though I was only 14!), but had a hard time coming up with a rationale for that support. If you're a Bush supporter, my question is: why?

Here's how Maureen Dowd in the NY Times addressed the "optimistic" Republican team.

"It's hilarious that the Republicans are trying to paint their ticket as the more optimistic one.

Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush radiate negativity, even as Mr. Edwards and his photogenic blond kids glow for the cameras. Dick Cheney glowers for the camera, a Dr. No with a dark vision that has resulted in a gigantic global mess. (When he was stopped by applause at a campaign stop in Altoona, Pa., on Sunday, he asked, "You guys want to hear this speech or not?")

Unfortunately for this White House, it is Mr. Edwards's great talent to talk about the class warfare of "two Americas" in a sunny way. The Breck Girl is already getting under the Boy King's thin skin."

If you read the whole article, she also takes numerous swipes at Kerry. But that's Maureen Dowd. As the joke goes on bartcop.com, she hates everybody.

By the way, www.mediamatters.org is a must read every day. If you get frustrated when the dittoheads and right-wing monkeys keep parroting the lines they hear from O'Reilly, et al, mediamatters.org is your ammo to fight back. Check it out.


Posted by brettdavey at 9:13 AM EDT
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Monday, 12 July 2004
Weekend wrapup
* If you're left-leaning, the name Tom Delay has the effect that the name Hillary Clinton does on right-leaners. So, Delay is now being investigated for shady money dealing in regards to campaign contributions.

But here's the rub, from the Houston Chronicle: "Four of the five Republicans investigating an ethics complaint against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay have received campaign contributions from DeLay's political action committee, records show. The contributions -- $28,504 split among the four during the past seven years -- were all delivered before the ethics committee received the DeLay complaint June 15. But it is an example of awkward situations spawned by the U.S. House's decision to police itself on ethics."

Awkward, indeed.

* I saw Bill Maher, who hosts an HBO show and was the host of "Politically Incorrect", at Foxwoods on Friday. I thought the show started at 7 p.m., so my wife and I went early enough to eat, then go to the show since neither of us gambles much. Instead, the show started at 9 p.m. We went to one of those all-you-can-eat buffets. They talk about obesity becoming the number one health problem in America and I say, "No shit." I usually eat like a slob and I actually got a little sick looking at all the food. The other thing you notice when you walk around the casino is the great number of children. Are people taking their kids to Foxwoods on vacation? Uuuh, must be for the Indian culture.

If you live in New England, you've seen those "Wonder of it all.." commercials for Foxwoods. Here's the skinny: noone at Foxwoods dresses or looks like those people. The typical dress code is more like that of the flea market. Before I went, I called my mother, who goes to the casino once in a while, if jeans were acceptable at the casino. She kind of chortled at that one. With a nice pair of jeans on, I looked lik Frank Sinatra compared to most of the people there.

* I saw "Dodgeball" this weekend. There were a few funny spots, mostly involving people getting pegged with dodgeballs. There were, however, an inordinate number of hairpieces in the movie. Ben Stiller had one on for his character and Vince Vaughn had one because he's losing his hair, but there were two of the alltime great rug wearers in the movie as well. I'm talking William Shatner and Chuck Norris, baby. Yes!


Posted by brettdavey at 8:46 AM EDT
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Friday, 9 July 2004
Convenient destruction
So, the records that supported Bush's contention about his service were OK, but ones that may have challenged his assertion just happened to be destroyed?

Ha! Ha!

"Military records that could help establish President Bush's whereabouts during his disputed service in the Texas Air National Guard more than 30 years ago have been inadvertently destroyed, according to the Pentagon.

It said the payroll records of "numerous service members," including former First Lt. Bush, had been ruined in 1996 and 1997 by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service during a project to salvage deteriorating microfilm. No back-up paper copies could be found, it added in notices dated June 25.

The destroyed records cover three months of a period in 1972 and 1973 when Mr. Bush's claims of service in Alabama are in question."


Posted by brettdavey at 9:05 AM EDT
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Thursday, 8 July 2004
Wish I saw it...
This was on Yahoo news, with a picture of Bush walking away from the podium. I wonder which member of the press (Helen Thomas, maybe?) actually had the balls to ask the President a tough question.

"US President George W. Bush walks away from a briefing with the media, refusing to answer questions after he was asked about Enron and the reported indictment of former CEO Kenneth Lay, who was a close adviser and fund-raiser for Bush and his father, earning him the presidential nickname of 'Kenny Boy.'"

Posted by brettdavey at 1:22 PM EDT
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Watch Hitchens sweat
Ever see writer Christopher Hitchens on television? He always looks like he's sweating out the booze from the night before. Maybe he's drinking so much because he's one of those pundits who went "all in" on Bush.

Anyway, this comes from www.wonkette.com.

"The New York Daily News peeks at Christopher Hitchens's Vanity Fair column and finds the Johnnie Walker enthusiast looking on the bright side: "That Bush did not surrender to the need for a colossal bourbon on Sept. 11 stands, I think to his credit." Right. So let's go to the official Bush presidency scoreboard. Pros: Did not get stinking drunk on 9/11. Cons: Started a war that has yet to be proven necessary. Could you send that Johnnie Walker over our way now?"

Good point. I've always wondered why people go so nuts about Bush's leadership after 9/11. What did he do that Clinton, Gore, Kerry, or Bush the Elder wouldn't have done? So basically, it's because he didn't break down crying? Or because he didn't start drinking again?

I don't get it.

Posted by brettdavey at 9:35 AM EDT
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This story about Tom Scully, former head of Medicare is disturbing and of course, it's garnering little attention. It's just further proof of the media's dereliction of duty. Hey, American people: it's your money! Don't you think your elected officials should know how much this bill was going to cost before voting on it. Anyway, here it is:

The former Medicare chief pressured an agency official to keep secret his high cost estimates for prescription drug coverage for the elderly but did not break the law, government investigators said Tuesday.

The Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services HHS) confirmed allegations that former Medicare Administrator Tom Scully, appointed by President Bush, worked to keep the estimate from lawmakers as they considered whether to pass the bill last year.

Scully left the government last year for a private law firm.

Some congressional Democrats called for a congressional probe, saying the report lacked independence and relied on the administration's own legal reasoning.

Months after its enactment, the Medicare bill remains controversial, in part because of the flap over cost estimates. Whether the bill could have passed if conservative Republicans knew that Medicare's chief actuary thought it would cost $534 billion in 10 years -- a third more than congressional budget officials estimated -- is an open question.

The report said Scully, then head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, failed to meet congressional requests for information and threatened his top actuary, Richard Foster, if he did not withhold the estimate. Foster has said he thought he would be fired if he defied Scully.

"Scully warned Foster that he would take disciplinary action if Foster failed to conform," the report said.

The report found Scully acted "within the scope of his authority" and did not violate the law. However, investigators said they would have referred the matter for possible disciplinary action if Scully still worked for the government.

(This is the part that kills me -- blame it on the 'vicious election cycle.') "I am glad my public service, which I thoroughly enjoyed, ended before we got into (the) current, vicious election cycle," Scully e-mailed in response to a request for comment.

Several Democrats said they wanted to know if anyone in the White House had been involved.

"Unfortunately, the chances of the public ever learning the whole story are dim. ... The need for a full congressional investigation is clearer than ever," Rep. John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat, said in a statement.

Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, said Scully's conduct was "inappropriate" even though the probe concluded he did not break the law.

Posted by brettdavey at 8:54 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 7 July 2004
Is Edwards the answer?
Kerry's selection of Edwards is a good one. Either Gephardt or Vilsack would have produced a collective groan from the general populace and wouldn't have done a whole lot for the ticket.

The selection might not swing people to the Dem side, but it might energize people who were going to vote for them anyway. It's sort of like "Fahrenheit 9-11". It's not going to change many minds since the people who are going to see it can't stand Bush anyway.

The GOP had their attack dogs ready, allowing Bush to do what he's always done: sic the attack dogs while not getting his own hands dirty. It's been a trend his whole life, not just in politics. When he's in a jam, someone bails GW out.

I liked the whole "McCain wouldn't be his running mate" stuff. I think Kerry was dead serious about McCain, but in reality, there is no precedent for two politicians so diametrically opposed philosophically joining up on a presidential ticket. And don't forget: McCain said back in the 2000 election that he wouldn't serve with GW either.

I'm intrigued by the debate between Cheney and Edwards. They both have built-in problems that will be highlighted when there on the stage together. Cheney looks like the mean landlord who want to kick the old lady out into the snow; Edwards looks like the eager kid who's there to shovel the snow.

Despite Edwards persona of Mr. Positive, RNC chairman Ed Gillespie tried to paint him as a pessimist hiding behind a Southern drawl and a smile. I'm paraphrasing, but he actually used those words. As a famous former Southerner used to say, "That dog ain't going to hunt."

And what's so optimistic about the Bush-Cheney vision for America? Here is is: slightly lower taxes, a never-ending war, a booming deficit, lower employment levels, and an incredibly secretive government whose motto seems to be 'None of your business.'

The last one has been bothering me a lot lately. It seems Attorney General Ashcroft is less concerned with national security than with covering the Administration's ass. There was an article in the Boston Globe the other day about a woman who is a translator for the government. She basically said there were a lot of missed clues before 9-11 that were ignored. Now, Ashcroft has retroactively classified her testimony. To clarify, her testimony was already part of the public record, but now it's off-limits. And there's nothing in there that anyone could argue is dangerous to the country; they just don't want it out there.

Please get these people out of the White House.

Posted by brettdavey at 10:09 AM EDT
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Sunday, 27 June 2004
Fahrenheit, Army recruiters, and changing the tone
I saw Fahrenheit 9-11 on Friday night. It was, at turns, funny, poignant, and difficult to watch. Some of the war footage was tough to take, as well as the footage of war dead. Also, it was pretty sad to see the family of a dead soldier and servicemen with missing limbs, terrible wounds, and nerve damage that makes even talking a chore.

It's worth seeing.

Bush supporters who remain staunchly behind the President remind me of Texas hold-'em poker players. Basically, they went all-in on a hand they believed was a winner. Now that they see the results, they are trying to bluff their way out of it.

There was a scene in the movie where Marine recruiters go to a rundown mall in Michigan to recruit young men and women into the service. They are incredibly aggressive, literally chasing people around the parking lot. Most are minority and look like they come from tough circumstances.

There's a kid named Sam who I'm friendly with. He's a 19-year old black kid who lives in a housing project in Providence. Army recruiters have been calling him relentlessly because he once indicated interest in the service when he was in high school. By their language, the recruiters have given him the impression that he has no choice but to sign up. I told him otherwise. It shows how desperate the Armed Services are for new recruits.

Nice to see Dick Cheney is part of changing the tone in Washington. Of course, Bush doesn't think he did anything wrong. But of course, this is the super-Christian President who believes God selected him to lead the country at this time in history and who is proud of putting more people to death than anyone in the history of Texas.

Heaven help us.


Posted by brettdavey at 6:42 PM EDT
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