Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Top Races - Opponents

--AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl

--AZ-01: Rick Renzi

--AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth

--CA-04: John Doolittle

--CA-11: Richard Pombo

--CA-50: Brian Bilbray

--CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave

--CO-05: Doug Lamborn

--CO-07: Rick O'Donnell

--CT-04: Christopher Shays

--FL-13: Vernon Buchanan

--FL-16: Joe Negron

--FL-22: Clay Shaw

--ID-01: Bill Sali

--IL-06: Peter Roskam

--IL-10: Mark Kirk

--IL-14: Dennis Hastert

--IN-02: Chris Chocola

--IN-08: John Hostettler

--IA-01: Mike Whalen

--KS-02: Jim Ryun

--KY-03: Anne Northup

--KY-04: Geoff Davis

--MD-Sen: Michael Steele

--MN-01: Gil Gutknecht

--MN-06: Michele Bachmann

--MO-Sen: Jim Talent

--MT-Sen: Conrad Burns

--NV-03: Jon Porter

--NH-02: Charlie Bass

--NJ-07: Mike Ferguson

--NM-01: Heather Wilson

--NY-03: Peter King

--NY-20: John Sweeney

--NY-26: Tom Reynolds

--NY-29: Randy Kuhl

--NC-08: Robin Hayes

--NC-11: Charles Taylor

--OH-01: Steve Chabot

--OH-02: Jean Schmidt

--OH-15: Deborah Pryce

--OH-18: Joy Padgett

--PA-04: Melissa Hart

--PA-07: Curt Weldon

--PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick

--PA-10: Don Sherwood

--RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee

--TN-Sen: Bob Corker

--VA-Sen: George Allen

--VA-10: Frank Wolf

--WA-Sen: Mike McGavick

--WA-08: Dave Reichert

Monday, June 13, 2005

they are freaking crazy

ok, a couple frightening stories on the christian evangelist right in the blogosphere today...

first, there's the move by the "christian" coalition to force gays to wear "warning labels". this doesn't even warrant a comment, in my opinion, so i'll let john at americablog (imminently more qualified than me on this issue) do the honors.

second, we have a wonderful woman who is attempting to create - i kid you not - a christian american flag... and it's REALLY ugly.

these people are out of control.

reflecting on 9/11

i'm in a really strange mood today. i read an article this morning about these 9/11 widows/children who were paid these multi-million dollar settlements and who have since essentially spent nearly all of the money. it got me thinking about 9/11 in general. nothing specific, but even though i wasn't personally affected, nor were many millions of americans, i still feel as if there's been a palpable sorrow hanging over our country since that happened. there's an edginess, or a desire to unplug and not pay attention to anything but the superficial. this isn't something that's universal, there are plenty of people out there like me, who continue to poke and prod and follow what's going on in the world and here at home. but on a higher level, there's all of this unsettled sorrow/anger.

right after 9/11, we were all sort of surrounded by this magnetic patriotism/togetherness. we had been attacked, and we rallied together around our leadership and our country to fight back. but we still haven't had the satisfaction of closure. that closeness has sort of disintegrated into sniping and backbiting and even greater internal division here at home.

instead of hunting osama, we've been distracted by iraq. there's been no resolution whatsoever for all the pain and shock that we experienced as a nation on that day in 2001. we're still burying/cremating little body parts that have been identified with dna. and i feel like that pain/shock has kind of evolved itself into a general numbness/glassy eyed feel in this country. people still seem to be emotionally exhausted on a very core level. we are still all silently searching for that resolution that will at least bring some closure, but nothing that we're doing as a nation is bringing us closer to that. instead, our fear and sadness has been exploited, and our numbness has been taken advantage of by some avaricious people who have used all of this to their own personal advantage.

but even while many millions of people know this, we aren't able to shake ourselves out of the stupor that we've sunk into. our schools are getting worse, our health care is getting worse and much more expensive, our financial situations are more perilous than they've been in decades, our personal debt levels are increasing, our salaries aren't keeping up with inflation, the real value of our income is dropping, and our strength as a nation is being sapped. but we, as americans, continue to be distracted by the likes of young white women gone missing, runaway brides, and the inane insanity of the jacko trial and tom cruise's warped scientological worldview.

i'm not blaming anyone here. i'm just worried that we're losing our direction, our positive idealism, and our moral strength as we slip into the morasse of our small, guilty, personal pleasures. our country lost a lot on 9/11, and what i'm worried most about is that our compass has been dislodged and we have become a nation of depressed, prozac be-smiled, willfully distracted individuals. i don't know what will get us out of it. but i hope we shake it off before we lose our way completely.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Thou doth protest too much?

"I think there's a certain journalistic standard that should be met and in this instance it was not," said Bush spokesman Scott McClellan today, according to Reuters. "The report has had serious consequences," he said. "People have lost their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged."

Mr McClellan is absolutely correct. And any statements or actions that might damage US relations with the rest of the world or - even worse - endanger the lives of US citizens and service members demands accountability.

Here's the beginning of the President's remarks from March 17th, 2003 - I've highlighted some pertinent points - via the White House:

President Says Saddam Hussein Must Leave Iraq Within 48 Hours
Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation
The Cross Hall

8:01 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: My fellow citizens, events in Iraq have now reached the final days of decision. For more than a decade, the United States and other nations have pursued patient and honorable efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime without war. That regime pledged to reveal and destroy all its weapons of mass destruction as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

Since then, the world has engaged in 12 years of diplomacy. We have passed more than a dozen resolutions in the United Nations Security Council. We have sent hundreds of weapons inspectors to oversee the disarmament of Iraq. Our good faith has not been returned.

The Iraqi regime has used diplomacy as a ploy to gain time and advantage. It has uniformly defied Security Council resolutions demanding full disarmament. Over the years, U.N. weapon inspectors have been threatened by Iraqi officials, electronically bugged, and systematically deceived. Peaceful efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime have failed again and again -- because we are not dealing with peaceful men.

Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq's neighbors and against Iraq's people.

The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East. It has a deep hatred of America and our friends. And it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda.

The danger is clear: using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons, obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country, or any other.

The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this threat. But we will do everything to defeat it. Instead of drifting along toward tragedy, we will set a course toward safety. Before the day of horror can come, before it is too late to act, this danger will be removed.

The United States of America has the sovereign authority to use force in assuring its own national security. That duty falls to me, as Commander-in-Chief, by the oath I have sworn, by the oath I will keep.

Recognizing the threat to our country, the United States Congress voted overwhelmingly last year to support the use of force against Iraq. America tried to work with the United Nations to address this threat because we wanted to resolve the issue peacefully. We believe in the mission of the United Nations. One reason the U.N. was founded after the second world war was to confront aggressive dictators, actively and early, before they can attack the innocent and destroy the peace.

I anxiously await a retraction from Mr. McClellan regarding our "pretty darn good" intelligence on Iraq's WMDs and its "imminent threat." You know, since it's cost the US so many lives and damaged our relations with the rest of the world.

Don't even get me started on the President's dare to the terrorists to "Bring it on...."

As usual, Salon's War Room closely follows the unfolding hypocrisy of this story...

I've taken the liberty of bolding one particularly interesting fact that seems to be lost amidst this manufactured circus (again, via Salon):

Did the Newsweek report really cause the riots in Afghanistan? That's the conventional wisdom, peddled hard by McClellan and others in the Bush administration. In the Washington Post this morning, Howard Kurtz says at the top of his piece -- without attribution -- that the Newsweek story "sparked riots in Afghanistan and elsewhere." As the story began to bubble over yesterday, we did the same. But as the New York Times reports today, evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship is a little more tenuous than all that. Last week, Gen. Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that the senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan believed the protests in that country had resulted from developments there, not from a story in Newsweek. "He thought it was not at all tied to the article in the magazine," Myers said.

Interesting. There's an old saying that I think pertains to this situation:

"He who hath smelt it, hath surely dealt it."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Bill Moyers: My New Favorite Hero

"Of course you know, this means war." That's pretty much the gist of Bill Moyers' latest speech to the National Conference for Media Reform. Here's a little taste:

First, let me assure you that I take in stride attacks by the radical right-wingers who have not given up demonizing me although I retired over six months ago. I should put my detractors on notice: They might just compel me out of the rocking chair and back into the anchor chair.

Who are they? I mean the people obsessed with control using the government to intimidate; I mean the people who are hollowing out middle-class security even as they enlist the sons and daughters of the working class to make sure Ahmad Chalabi winds up controlling Iraq's oil; I mean the people who turn faith-based initiatives into Karl Rove's slush fund, who encourage the pious to look heavenward and pray so as not to see the long arm of privilege and power picking their pockets; I mean the people who squelch free speech in an effort to obliterate dissent and consolidate their orthodoxy into the official view of reality from which any deviation becomes unpatriotic heresy. That's who I mean. And if that's editorializing, so be it. A free press is one where it's OK to state the conclusion you're led to by the evidence.

One reason I'm in hot water is because my colleagues and I at "Now" didn't play by the conventional rules of Beltway journalism. Those rules divide the world into Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, and allow journalists to pretend they have done their job if, instead of reporting the truth behind the news, they merely give each side an opportunity to spin the news.

Jonathan Mermin writes about this in a recent essay in World Policy Journal. You'll also want to read his book "Debating War and Peace: Media Coverage of U.S. Intervention in the Post-Vietnam Era." Mermin quotes David Ignatius of the Washington Post on why the deep interests of the American public are so poorly served by Beltway journalism. "The rules of the game," says Ignatius, "make it hard for us to tee up on an issue without a news peg." He offers a case in point: the debacle of America's occupation of Iraq. "If Senator So-and-so hasn't criticized postwar planning for Iraq," Ignatius says, "it's hard for a reporter to write a story about that."

Excellent reading over at Salon.

Here's one of his most damning points:

Instead of acting as filters for readers and viewers sifting the truth from the propaganda, reporters and anchors attentively transcribe both sides of the spin -- invariably failing to provide context, background or any sense of which claims hold up and which are misleading.

And here's a point of view that I've expressed on numerous occasions:

In Orwell's "1984" the character Syme, one of the writers of that totalitarian society's dictionary, explains to the protagonist, Winston, "Don't you see? Don't you see that the whole aim of newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050 at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we're having right now. The whole climate of thought," he said, "will be different. In fact, there will be no thought as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking, not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness."

Hear me: An unconscious people, an indoctrinated people, a people fed only partisan information and opinion that confirm their own bias, a people made morbidly obese in mind and spirit by the junk food of propaganda, is less inclined to put up a fight, ask questions, and be skeptical. And just as a democracy can die of too many lies, so that kind of orthodoxy can kill us, too.

Thankfully, some real journalists - like Moyers - are finally taking a strong stand against the erosion of own democracy.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

You tell 'em, Sir!

I would comment on the Pentagon's base closing plans...but I believe General Wes Clark sums it up best:

Retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark said Saturday that the Pentagon's plan to close military bases around the country and reorganize troops will isolate the military from the American people and the rest of the world.

Clark said the plan to pull U.S. forces back home from abroad and centralize bases takes jobs away from smaller towns.

"We're losing influence abroad when we bring those troops home, and we lose the interaction with America when we create these super bases," Clark said in a speech to the Arkansas Associated Press Managing Editors Association.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Right to Secrecy

An appeals court ruled in favor of Cheney's right to secret energy meetings. The news comes amidst rising gasoline and oil prices, higher dependency on foreign oil, and approval for drilling in Alaska.

I'm shocked, I tells ya! SHOCKED!

Appeals Court Sides With Cheney in Lawsuit By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer

Vice President Dick Cheney doesn't have to disclose the advice his energy task force got from the industry, an appeals court ruled Tuesday in what probably was a final blow to a politically charged lawsuit over public access to White House decision making.

The task force met in 2001 and produced pro-industry recommendations for sweeping energy legislation now before Congress. The Bush administration fought hard to keep the panel's workings secret, arguing that public disclosure would make it difficult for any White House to solicit candid advice on important policy issues.

Once seen as a potentially huge political liability for the Bush administration, the task force lawsuit ended up being more Washington political theater, with cameo appearances by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and former Enron Corp. Chairman Ken Lay.

The two private groups that sued failed to establish that the government had a legal duty to produce documents detailing the White House's industry contacts, the court said in an 8-0 decision.

The Sierra Club and Judicial Watch alleged that energy executives and lobbyists effectively became members of the task force, while environmental groups and others were shut out of the meetings. Outside participation made the task force a federal advisory committee with an obligation to disclose its operations, the groups argued, a position the court rejected.

"The outsider might make an important presentation, he might be persuasive, the information he provides might affect the committee's judgment," U.S. Appeals Court Judge A. Raymond Randolph wrote. "But having neither a vote nor a veto over the advice the committee renders to the president, he is no more a member of the committee than the aides who accompany congressmen or Cabinet officers to committee meetings."

In a statement, Cheney's office said the court guarded the confidentiality of internal deliberations and that the Constitution protects such deliberations as essential to informed decision making.

David Bookbinder, a senior attorney at the Sierra Club, said the decision "is not going to be helpful in assuring open and accountable government."

The appeals court directed U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to dismiss the case. Sullivan earlier had ordered the White House to produce some documents.

The Sierra Club and Judicial Watch could ask the appeals court to reconsider or could ask the Supreme Court to take the case, as it did once before. Either option would be considered a long shot.

Cheney's task force issued a report that favored expanding oil and gas drilling on public land, rejuvenating nuclear power and lifting the ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The focus of the lawsuit: several thousand task force e-mails and 12 boxes of documents.

Scalia took a hunting trip with Cheney while the Supreme Court was considering an appeal of the lawsuit. Scalia then issued a forceful defense rejecting calls for him to step aside and let the other eight justices rule.

Democrats hoped the Supreme Court would uphold an earlier ruling by the appeals court and force the administration to reveal potentially embarrassing details about its relationship with energy company executives ahead of the November election. But the high court sent the case back on a 7-2 vote, saying there was a "paramount necessity of protecting the executive branch from vexatious litigation."

Lay was involved because he met with Cheney — a fact the White House acknowledged to Congress in 2002 only after Enron collapsed in scandal. Lay's contact was among six meetings between Enron executives and Cheney or his task force aides.

The day after meeting with Lay, Cheney said the Bush administration would not support price caps on wholesale energy sales in California.

Even the investigative arm of Congress got into the act, filing a lawsuit seeking the identities of the people with whom the task force met. Under pressure from congressional Republicans, the Government Accountability Office did not pursue the case.

University of North Carolina political science professor Terry Sullivan said the Bush White House's position supporting confidentiality was sound in principle but could be unwise politically.

"There is a balance between the need for confidentiality and how that process works when it is being carried out; it's a Caesar's wife problem," Sullivan said. "For example, it certainly was embarrassing to have the likes of Ken Lay advising them."

Friday, May 06, 2005

Filibuster Primer

Kagro X and the folks at Kos have put together a great primer on the Filibuster issue in the Senate that, by all accounts, is expected to be triggered in the next week, when Senators return from their current recess.

Here's the executive summary of what's covered in the diary:

There's been no shortage of coverage of the nuclear option, here or elsewhere. Everyone knows this issue is a real turd in the punchbowl. But as we head into the weekend - and into the weekend talk shows - it might pay to recap just how underhanded the Republicans have been in selling this piece of crap. Therefore...

Weekend pundits: Here's a wrap-up of how the Republicans are:

1) Breaking the rules of the Senate
2) Lying about previous filibusters and attempts to change the rules
3) Writing inconvenient words out of the Constitution
4) Hiding from their own "nuclear" terminology
5) Lying about the legal theories supporting their power grab
6) Dealing in bad faith with Democratic Senators and the public

Check out the rest of the diary for an expansion on these topics.