Democrat From Kentucky

Democrat from Kentucky
We promote fair and honest political discussion from all sides of the ideological spectrum While my own opinions and my contributors tend toward a more progressive view, that's not always the case. I ask people to comment freely and openly to promote fair discourse.
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Previous Posts

A long time coming
Happy 2007
Mark Foley: SICK SICK SICK!!!
Looks Like Lamont Levels Lieberman?
Oil Prices in the tank
Clinton Reams Rummy
A long time...
Chandler/Abramson in '07?
A new poll



May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
August 2006
October 2006
January 2007
June 2007
September 2010
Current Posts
Rosa Parks In Honor Monday, October 31, 2005

Rosa Parks, a symbol for the civil rights movement in America died last week at the age of 92. As much as any founding father or famous pioneer, Rosa Parks was an American hero, loaded with the pioneering spirit that defines many people in our country. She sought something better, to make others' lives better. Her story is the stuff of legend.

She lies in honor in the capitol rotunda. She's only the second civilian and the first woman to be placed there. She'll be laid to rest this week. I doubt she would've expected the grand spectacle surrounding her passing but I hope she would be proud.

like so many other in history, when the time came for her to make a difference, to take a stand she did. It was at some cost to herself and she put her own safety and that of her family at some risk, just by continuing to sit in a bus seat. Something so mundane leading to something so extraordinary boggles the mind.

The world today lacks heroes. We used to look to our presidents, astronauts, sports figures. These days, many are wrapped up in scandals, hung up on money and general don't care. Parks is a hero for the ages. She lies in the rotunda like so many other figures in American history. The last was Ronald Reagan.

When one takes measure of individuals to judge their quality, many characteristics comes to mind. Courage in the face of danger, fighting despite the odds, adhering to a code of righteous honor when others tell you not too. Parks was a person of the highest quality. I wish I could've met her. I believe I would've been better for it.

posted by Stithmeister @ 10:42 PM

Issues Really Facing America

So, we've got talking points out the yin yang right now on both sides between the Libby indictment and the Alito's nomination to the court. But there are a lot of other issues facing America right now. You wouldn't know it but there are.

So what issues are we considering here? Lets consider a few:

The Budget

Congress is currently debating on the what to do with the budget. They've got to make cuts somewhere (Don't they?). So naturally, they look to raiding the all the domestic programs. No one debates the military budget can be cut much right now. Dick and Rummy felt they could run it on a tight budget, getting by with bare necessities. They say they won't cut national security but they've cut the heck out public safety budgets, including police, firefighters, first reponders, etc. We also can't forget those annoyances like food stamps, medicaid, heating assistance for the winter months. All these will be cut.

But, we've got $458 million bridge in Alaska being built so a senator can up his mom's property values. The road bill had over 6000 special projects in it, popularly called PORK. It's one thing if roads are getting paved. It's needed. But the bridge goes to an island of 50 people. That's just one example. Getting rid of the bridge will protect half of the proposed cuts in the food stamp program. It would also heat a lot of homes in January. I bet it would pay off some of the loans from China.

The Economy

The first beef is the Fed. Greenspan keeps up the interest rate a quarter of a point to slow down inflation. The problem is inflation came almost single handedly from fuel prices. When fuel goes up, so does everything else. Many economists are saying that if they raise it again, they are nuts and will wreck the ecomomy. No one is saving, no one is preparing for the future. They should be because they can't get out debt now thanks to the Congress. Ben Stein (yes, that Ben Stein)even said it was the wrong move. The Fed is expected to raise the rate tomorrow though.

Professor Peter Morici of the Smith Business School at the University of Maryland said, "The prospects for weaker consumer and housing sectors and moderating inflation, coupled with the need to encourage business investment, indicate the Fed should pause in its march to push up interest rates to 4.5 percent. If it fails to heed these warning signs, the Fed risks throwing the economy into a tailspin."

Then there's jobless rates, the screwed up CAFTA agreement, China producing all the goods we consume AND buying tons of U.S. dollar every year. What're we going to when a couple hundred thousand veterans come back from Iraq. It will happen some day and everyone knows the bureaucracy in the V.A. can kill someone quicker than tap dancing on landmines. All those guys will need jobs too because most won't stay in the military I can assure you.

Iraq War

Seems like a good point next. So, we just hit 2000 dead. That's just our own. We attempting to democratize a nation with no history of it. No history of it anywhere around them except maybe Israel and they surely look to them for influence. Bill Buckley had a good column last week. He mentioned a conversation between former NSA chief Gen. Brent Scowcroft and his protege' and former NSA chief and now secretary of state Condi Rice. Scowcroft said it's darn near impossible to do. Of course Scowcroft is one of those people who created the current state of event to begin with because of meddling in the middle east but that's another post.

The point is, the administration has botched this one royally across the board. I just think of the 7 P's. Piss Poor Planning Promotes Piss Poor Performance.

Fuel Costs

Fuel costs are exorbitant. It's no big secret it's forcing people to cut back on spending in various other sector. There are few people who want higher fuel prices so it will cut back on levels of pollution. They think people should live closer to their jobs, use public transit, etc. I got new for you, most people can't use public transit. Try coming to Kentucky. Many people drive to Lexington or Louisville or Frankfort or Charleston or Elizabethtown or one of several other cities in Kentucky because many cannot afford to live in the city. They have no desire to live in a place with incredibly high property values when they can get something about the same for much less just 1/2 hour away. Lexington and Louisville have bus systems. I don't know much about TARC in Louisville but Lexington's LexTran system still needs a lot of work and more frequent routes before it could become really useful for most people.

Then there's heating. I wonder how many will freeze to death this winter to because they can't afford gas prices. All fuel costs are going up in our free market economy. Heating oil comes from crude just like gasoline does.

These are just some of the issues we must deal with and the administration is not dealing with. America is losing thanks to the problems created by this administration. While Clinton wasn't perfect by any means, he didn't create the problems in our country the way Bush has. I just hope our country can survive.

posted by Stithmeister @ 9:18 PM

Bush Nominates Samuel Alito

President Bush nominated Appeals Judge Samuel Alito to replace Sandra Day O'Connor for associate justice on the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) as his second choice after Harriet Miers withdrew her name from consideration last week.

Alito has credentials that are darn near perfect for a seat on SCOTUS. He's been an appeals court judge for 15 years up in New Jersey. He's argued a dozen cases in front of the hight court and he clerked for the appellate courts also. He's been a federal prosecutor. It's safe to say he knows the job as well as anyone could going into the nomination process. The problem is, ideologically, he falls into classic "just right of Hitler" category.

He's the kind of candidate many conservatives wanted and really, the liberals did too. Now, we will be subjected to an ad campaign rivalling a presidential campaign with similar amounts of money. I'd say call my senators but that's would futile. Honestly, Mitch McConnell may have moment to really shine. With Bill Frist and his own problems, McConnell can really work the masses to make sure Senators are towing the line. This could set the stage for Mitch becoming majority leader in 2007. And everyone knows Jim Bunning does what he's told.

The Washington Post had a great feature discussing the matter. It goes into a lot of detail.

posted by Stithmeister @ 2:20 PM

Open Topic Sunday, October 30, 2005

It's Halloween and the White House got it's treat for the weekend. Tells what on your mind?

posted by Stithmeister @ 10:50 PM

A Newsletter

I'm considering putting together a newsletter for a run about once a week. Would anyone be interested and what type of content would people like to see in it? Just doing some feelers at this point. What do people think?

posted by Stithmeister @ 10:46 PM

Rove Walks?

It looks like Karl Rove escaped with his head intact on this one, much to the chagrin of many a Democrat and liberal. As one of the brains behind the Bush administration, the future remains uncertain however because there are still questions about Rove and for that matter Cheney. Newsweek offered an analysis of the Rove situation.

The next chapter of the story will be Bob Noak too. He's the one the first revealed Valerie Plame in the article he obviosly wrote as a personal favor to Dick Cheney and the administration.

posted by Stithmeister @ 10:00 PM

Harry Reid Says Rove Should Resign

Senator Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) called for presidential aide Karl Rove to resign today because of his connections in the Valerie Plame controversy. Scooter Libby was indicted and subsequently resigned on Friday and the whole thing is still ongoing. Rover is still under investigation.

The Washington Post covered the shake down on Sunday morning news programs today and Reid was one of several calling for some major changes in the administration. While no one has called for the resignation of Vice President Dick Cheney, it's go to be in people's minds. Right now, the scandals are paralyzing the administration and Bush needs to surprise everyone and not only take charge of his administration but to also actually exercise intellectual capacity, which seems a stretch for him, to get our country going in a direction. Right now, we're caught in a malestrom and he's going to take us down.

"I think Karl Rove should step down," Reid said about the White House deputy chief of staff. "Here is a man who the president said if he was involved, if anyone in the administration was involved, out they would go. Anybody who is involved in this, they're gone."


Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), speaking on "Fox News Sunday," urged the president to make changes in his staff but did not explicitly call for the dismissal of Rove. He said the president's chief strategist should decide for himself if he is a distraction to the administration.

But Lott said Bush "should always be looking for new blood, new energy. I'm not talking about wholesale changes, but you ought to reach out."

Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), speaking on the same show, said he agreed that Bush should shake up his staff "but that's really the president's call."

Bush needs to get real because while I'm a Democrat, I also hate seeing our country flounder like this and it has been for four+ years now. He's wrecking things and he needs to get rid of Cheney and follow the line down.

posted by Stithmeister @ 7:05 PM

"Governor Fletcher's Attracting More National Attention

A progressive blog called the TPM Cafe talked about this week in corruption and our very own Ernie Fletcher and subsequent comments by Senator David Williams got mentioned.

This past Monday, Kentucky governor Ernie Fletcher called upon the special grand jury investigating improper hiring practices to stop indicting those he pardoned in late August, claiming that "it is unconstitutional to purport to indict persons encompassed by the Governor's amnesty." The president of the state senate, Republican David Williams, echoed Fletcher's request, and called for an end to the grand jury. Williams said if the investigation is extended for another 90-day period, it would be a "major distraction" during the General Assembly session in January, and "will put legislators in a bad mood and will not be good for the Commonwealth." An extension may well be needed, since this past Wednesday Fletcher's attorney's released nine emails investigators had requested for their inquiry, leaving 102 others they are still awaiting.

It's great when the state corruption scandal gets moree play on the national level. It reaffirms to everyone Kentucky has a corrupt political machine that Republicans in Kentucky are like Hal Mumme, you're hear a couple of years and are already on sanctions.

posted by Stithmeister @ 6:35 PM

David Williams Wants Grand Jury To End Saturday, October 29, 2005

Senate President David Williams said he thinks the merit system grand jury needs to end before the upcoming general assembly session. He is right in that it will distract from the session but I don't think it should end because the Republicans not only broke the law but he got caught, which politically, is the true cardinal sin. Jack Brammer quoted Williams and also House Speaker Jody Richards:

"If this investigation continues into the session, it will be a major distraction. It will put legislators in a bad mood and will not be good for the Commonwealth," Williams, R-Burkesville, said in an interview. "I think it's time for it to stop."

But House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, said the grand jury needs and should have sufficient time to finish "its important work."

"The jury needs time to be sure justice is meted out," said Richards. "More time doesn't bother me, and I don't think it will bother the legislative session.

"We will perform our duties in a way the public expects, even though the governor's power will be diminished somewhat."

What a great precedent we could set here. While Williams can be a potent force when it comes to bullying using his political strength, Stumbo's not slouch. I think this will go on a while.

posted by Stithmeister @ 5:11 PM

Libby Took The Hit

I posted my last post before Lewis Libby was indicted. The Fitzgerald issued an indictment based on inconsistancies in Libby's testimony. He was charged with perjury, conspiracy, obstruction of justice... the usual crimes when an administration is trying to distact from the real issue. The Washington Post had a good story on the matter. The story did point out that Fitzgerald said he wasn't done yet although I would be surprised if any other indictments come down.

Libby resigned and that's all well and good but the real problem hasn't been addressed and that's the campaign of malice and destruction the administration used against Joe Wilson. Wilson certainly isn't totally off the hook but at the same time, he also was against the war in Iraq, like most right thinking people and like pretty much the entire state department starting with Colin Powell and going down the line.

posted by Stithmeister @ 4:39 PM

Libby Will Be The Fall Guy Friday, October 28, 2005

I've thought for sometime Scooter Libby will be the one to take the hit for the administration this thing. If anything comes down it will be on Libby. Here's why. The administration simply cannot afford to do without Karl Rove. Libby will be a tremendous hit but Rove would be bigger. The investigation has been going on for two years and this has been all over the headlines. If nothing happens, the Democrats might go into armed revolt. Someone's head must roll. It won't be Bush or Cheney. Bush as the faceman and Cheney as part of the brains and the "Cabal of Evil" must remain in place. I could be totally wrong but the White House is genuinely worried as an AP story pointed out.

White House colleagues feared Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, would be indicted Friday for at least false statements but held out hope that presidential political adviser Karl Rove might escape criminal charges for the time being.

A person outside the legal profession familiar with recent developments in the case said Thursday night that Rove's team does not believe he is out of legal jeopardy yet but likely would be spared bad news Friday when the White House fears the first indictments will be issued.

What does it mean? It means things could potentially get uglier still. Even Fox News is raising questions about the GOP future because many running for office probably won't want Bush to help them campaign. It's not a good sign for the fearless leader.

posted by Stithmeister @ 12:12 AM

Meirs Withdraws From Nomination Thursday, October 27, 2005

Bush made a bad call for nominating Harriet Meirs for the SCOTUS slot. She was a good loyal lawyer for Bush and she knew corporate law well but she knew very little about constitutional law and the problems she'd be facing as a justice. Also, the conservatives didn't like here at all. There were few loyalists but most went after vociferously. The Washington Post gives a good accounting of the break down of the situation. The first two paragraphs tell it all though:

For Harriet Miers, the "murder boards" were aptly named. Day after day in a room in the Justice Department, colleagues from the Bush administration grilled her on constitutional law, her legal background and her past speeches in practice sessions meant to mimic Senate hearings.

Her uncertain, underwhelming responses left her confirmation managers so disturbed they decided not to open up the sessions to the friendly outside lawyers they usually invite to participate in prepping key nominees.


Now comes the tough part. If President Bush wants the support of the people who elected him, he's going to need someone very conservative, very astute and who embraces the evangelical mentality. One of the reason the White House nominated Miers is because they didn't want a war with the liberals. They got one with conservatives instead. So now what happens? The war the White House doesn't need is what. His next nomination will be conservative enough to pass muster and the left and the Democrats will pull out all the stops. In the coming months, Bush will pick someone to replace only the 35th nominee since 1789 not to make it to the court. This is a major loss for the president so he can't afford to take another hit. The problem is he's going to have a relentless, ideological war on his hands. It's almost pathetic for a guy who doesn't really even understand the ideological war.

posted by Stithmeister @ 11:53 PM

Fletcher Continues To Argue For Pardons

The governor's office continues to argue the extent of the pardoning ability. Fletcher and the attorney general's office are currently in a debate on whether the pardon's extend to other indictments. The practicality of the situation as Cynicus mentioned in a comment to a previous post is if Fletcher wants his pardons to work the way he wants them too, he might as well hand them a certificate to commit crimes at no charge. The Herald-Leader ran a feature by Ryan Alessi discussing the issue.

FRANKFORT - The attorney for the governor's office accused prosecutors of leading a grand jury to continue to indict public officials solely for the purpose of smearing those individuals' names in the jurors' final report.

Sheryl Snyder, who represents Gov. Ernie Fletcher, asked Franklin Circuit Judge William Graham yesterday to instruct the grand jury to stop indicting individuals in connection with the state hiring investigation. He argued that the governor's broad pardons, issued Aug. 29, effectively wipe the legal slate clean for any current or former officials.


For more than five months, the grand jury has combed through evidence and summoned more than 100 witnesses to investigate allegations that Fletcher's administration ignored merit hiring laws, which require that rank-and-file jobs be filled based on qualifications, not politics.

The grand jury has indicted 13 people. Five men have been charged since Fletcher's Aug. 29 pardons, which also provided "blanket amnesty" for anyone charged for related crimes in the future.

The grand jury can issue a final report when it wraps up its evidence gathering. But, according to Kentucky law, that report cannot accuse individuals of wrongdoing by name unless those people have been indicted.

Snyder accused the prosecutors of "misleading" the jury and encouraging jurors to levy more charges just to make the report more juicy.

"They are indicting people who have been pardoned for the sole purpose of naming them by name in the report," he told Graham. "It's now clear what's going on."

Snyder went even further, telling reporters later that pardons "erase the offenses" for all those pardoned.

"They should not be named in a report, just like a person who wasn't indicted shouldn't be named in a report," he said.

Whites conceded that a report cannot name people in connection with "committing infractions" unless they've been indicted.

posted by Stithmeister @ 8:31 AM

The Senate Continues To Cut Domestic Programs Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Budget cuts are being made this week to pay for the administration's war machine. The Washington Post ran an AP story discussing where various programs are being cut. They've even proposed pulling $1 bill from the the food stamp program. They're couldn't get any extra assistance for the poor to help heat their homes in the face of rising energy costs. So they're going to make people choose between heating their homes and eating in the winter. Delightful.

NONE of those senators or congressman will take a hit and help people to eat and stay warm this winter. The Democrats are no better than the Republicans. They're cutting the budget to pay for the Republican War Machine. They say it's Katrina and Rita assistance but that's a load of bull. If the administration hadn't started the war and wasted tons of money doing BS on the "WAR ON TERROR" then we wouldn't have this problem. The Bush administration. The problem is, not even the true conservatives like Bush because he's nothing remotely close to a fiscal conservative. He's rivaled FDR in massive deficit spending. FDR had a depression and a REAL war to fight. What's George's excuse?

posted by Stithmeister @ 11:57 PM

Bill O'Reilly: Chicken$%I7

Mad dog Bill O'Reilly sure picks a good fight but he can't take it. He constantly attacks the Media Matters website and their words but he doesn't have the stones to talk to them on his show. Of course, if he did, his face would turn bright red, he would scream loudly, and he would eventually boot them from the show. Check out the video on their website.

I talk to people who say O'Reilly is better than some other conservative commentators and maybe he is in some ways but he's still the loudmouthed bully who can't handle dealing with people coming at him as equaly without yelling. He mistakes frequently. People who call him out he tries to smear. O'Reilly says he's looking out for you? How can a man from a wealthy Long Island family who attended an Ivy League university know what the average working guy thinks? He has no concept of it. He's an elitist jerk just like the rest of them.

posted by Stithmeister @ 11:26 PM

The Mighty 37th, Taxation Without Representation?

The 37th senatorial district in Jefferson County has been without representation for some time now. The problem is complicated. Virginia Woodward, the Democrat and Dana Seum Stephenson, the Republican ran for the 37th district back in 2004. There were problems. Stephenson, daughter of long time Louisville politican Dan Seum, got the most votes in the election, however, she wasn't eligible to run because she didn't meet residency requirements. Woodward filed with the state board of elections two days before the election. The race went on though with Stephenson's name on the ballot.

The state constitution sets the residency requirements in the document itself however it also says the houses of the legislature can determine eligibility requirements so there's a bit of a conundrum. The board of elections held that Stephenson couldn't take the seat. The senate however convened a special committee and then determined she could. So they swore her in and she has a seat with her name on it in the state senate. The judge in the case put granted an injunction for Woodward saying Stephenson couldn't take the seat. Then he also said the senate couldn't be forced to let Woodward to take the seat. This brings us to the current situation. The case should be finished soon, particularly since the legislature convenes at the beginning of 2006.

This is certainly a constitutional issue. But, in a recent WAVE-3 story, many people in the 37th district don't really know the situation.

At Jimbo's Barbecue, the food is hot and conversations about anything are easy -- except when it comes to the ongoing battle in the area's senate district.

Doug Audrey says, "I don't know really too much about it, to tell you the truth. I didn't know the seat was empty."

In fact, in a year where political showdowns have drawn lots of attention, it seems sometimes the only people in the 37th district paying attention to who represents it in the Senate are the two women fighting over the seat: Dana Seum Stephenson and Virginia Woodward -- and their attorneys.


This really shows a lot of things. The average person doesn't have the time deal with all the garbage that goes on. They don't have time for the political antics and raving by various politicians. IF the Republicans had actually paid attention to the eligibility requirements or not just outright cheated in the whole thing, this wouldn't be a problem. IF the Democrats had raised this issue before, when the first found out about it, then it wouldn't be a problem. Both parties are to blame in this issue. It's ridiculous that the good people of the district, who pay taxes, who had their taxes altered without any kind of representation AT ALL haven't revolted yet. They, at the very least, should send the state senate a redress of grievances.

posted by Stithmeister @ 11:06 PM

Gary Hart's Words On CIA Coverup

The Denver Post ran a great editorial by former U.S. Senator, Gary Hart. Hart ran for president back in the 80s and might have made a good one except he had problem with liking the ladies. He challenged the Miami Herald to catch him folling around and they promptly did just that. It ruined his political career. He's still thoughtful and introspective. If one didn't know better, one would think he might be looking to run but it's doubtful he's got the stamina or the name recognition to make a national run.

Here is the crime in outing of CIA agent
By Gary Hart
Denver Post Guest Commentary

It is now fashionable among columnists supporting the Bush administration, New York Times journalist Judith Miller, Robert Novak and the increasing network of senior administration officials implicated in the Valerie Plame Wilson outing to say, "So what? Where's the crime?"

The federal statute making it a criminal penalty to knowingly divulge the identity of anyone working undercover for the Central Intelligence Agency was not enacted in a vacuum. In the early 1970s, in part as a result of the radicalization of individuals and groups over the Vietnam War, a former CIA employee named Philip Agee wrote a book revealing the identities of several dozen CIA employees, many under deep cover and some including agency station chiefs in foreign capitals.

Many of the countries in which those CIA employees were working themselves had extremely radical and violent elements stirred to hatred over their opposition to America's conduct in the Vietnam War. So, by revealing their identities, Agee had knowingly and willingly placed these American citizens at risk. Violent consequences were predictable.

Richard Welch, a brilliant Harvard-educated classicist, had been stationed in Greece as CIA station chief only a few months before he was murdered, by a radical Greek terrorist organization called the 17th of November, in the doorway of his house in Athens on Dec. 23, 1975. Had Agee not divulged his name, there is every reason to believe that Welch would be alive today after decades of loyal service to his country.

Largely as a result of Agee's perfidy and Welch's unnecessary death, the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) of 1982 was enacted, making it a felony to knowingly divulge the identity of a covert CIA operative. It carries penalties of 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine for each offense. There are those who dismiss the crime by saying, "Oh, Wilson only had a desk job." That is not a defense under this felony statute. It is for the CIA, not Karl Rove or Robert Novak, to determine who requires identity protection and who does not.

The political irony of all this is that conservative elements in America have always proclaimed themselves more concerned than anyone else with national security, the sanctity of classified information, protection of sources, support for our intelligence and military services, and so on. At radical times in our past, irresponsible leftist groups thought it was their duty to try to reveal the names of CIA agents. Now, under a conservative administration, it is these conservative national security champions who are saying, with regard to the "outing" of a CIA undercover


It's nice to see Hart making thoughtful commentaries. It shows he's still got fire in his belly. He would make a decent leader in many ways, to help revitalize the party at least on the surface. Unfortunately though, our party doesn't have unifying leader like we had in Bill Clinton. He had the charisma and intelligence to do things for himself. Bush doesn't have those. He's got some charisma but it stops there.

Many on the conservative side, including the Wall Street Journal maintain Plame wasn't undercover at the time. If that's the case, then what was the point in bringing up the whole issue? What was the reason behind attempting this smear campaign against Joe Wilson if they didn't believe that naming his wife as a CIA agent wouldn't bring him and her some grief out of this. Wilson got his job as a diplomat When Bush's father was running the show. He spoke out against the information from the current administration and they attempt to destroy him and his wife perhaps even physically.

posted by Stithmeister @ 10:53 PM

Looking through the open window Tuesday, October 25, 2005

So what's ticking you off? It's an open post. Lemme hear your gripes!

posted by Stithmeister @ 11:35 PM

Lead Up To Leak

Newsweek ran a great story giving a pretty detailed look at how things came together in with the war in Iraq as well as to the current chain of events that could very well end up with someone important in the hoosegow.

Central to that case was the belief that Saddam was determined to get nukes—a claim helped by the Niger story, which the White House doggedly pushed. A prideful man who enjoys the spotlight, Joseph Wilson grew increasingly agitated that the White House had not come clean about how the African-uranium claim made it into George W. Bush's 2003 State of the Union address. In June, Condoleezza Rice went on TV and denied she knew that documents underlying the uranium story were, in fact, crude forgeries: "Maybe somebody in the bowels of the agency knew something about this," she said, "but nobody in my circles." For Wilson, that was it. "That was a slap in the face," he told NEWSWEEK. "She was saying 'F--- you, Washington, we don't care.' Or rather 'F--- you, America'." On July 6, Wilson went public about his Niger trip in his landmark New York Times op-ed piece.


Some lawyers close to the case are convinced Fitzgerald has a mysterious "Mr. X"—a yet unknown principal target or cooperating witness. Some press reports identified John Hannah, Cheney's deputy national-security adviser, as a potentially key figure in the investigation. Hannah played a central policymaking role on Iraq and was known to be particularly close to Ahmad Chalabi, whose Iraqi National Congress supplied some of the faulty intelligence about WMD embraced by the vice president in the run-up to the invasion. Lawyers for Rove and Libby have said their clients did nothing wrong and broke no laws. Last week Hannah's lawyer Thomas Green told NEWSWEEK his client "knew nothing" about the leak and is not a target of Fitzgerald's probe. "This is craziness," he said. Whatever news Fitzgerald makes this week, however, the case has shed light on how Cheney and his clique of advisers cleared the way to war, and how they obsessed over critics who got in the way.


This case is getting bigger and bigger. It depresses me that this whole fiasco happened. I don't know if Cheney actually broke a law. There is some debate over whether or not a crime was actually committed regarding Valerie Plame Wilson. However, as with so many other politicians, they get caught in the lies and then comes the conspiracy, obstruction and perjury charges.

posted by Stithmeister @ 8:52 PM

The Tao of Dubyah

Canadian journalist Will Thomas maintains a web site discussing the philosophy of George Bush. It's pretty amusing and maybe, ever so slightly troubling because of the truth in the what's being said. Check it out.

posted by Stithmeister @ 8:18 PM

Cheney Has A Big Mouth

The New York Times reported Dick Cheney may have been the original source on the Valerie Plame leak although the amount of knowledge he had regarding her is up in the air.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 - I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, first learned about the C.I.A. officer at the heart of the leak investigation in a conversation with Mr. Cheney weeks before her identity became public in 2003, lawyers involved in the case said Monday.


Lawyers involved in the case, who described the notes to The New York Times, said they showed that Mr. Cheney knew that Ms. Wilson worked at the C.I.A. more than a month before her identity was made public and her undercover status was disclosed in a syndicated column by Robert D. Novak on July 14, 2003.

Mr. Libby's notes indicate that Mr. Cheney had gotten his information about Ms. Wilson from George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, in response to questions from the vice president about Mr. Wilson. But they contain no suggestion that either Mr. Cheney or Mr. Libby knew at the time of Ms. Wilson's undercover status or that her identity was classified. Disclosing a covert agent's identity can be a crime, but only if the person who discloses it knows the agent's undercover status.


It would not be illegal for either Mr. Cheney or Mr. Libby, both of whom are presumably cleared to know the government's deepest secrets, to discuss a C.I.A. officer or her link to a critic of the administration. But any effort by Mr. Libby to steer investigators away from his conversation with Mr. Cheney could be considered by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special counsel in the case, to be an illegal effort to impede the inquiry.


On Monday, Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby both attended a cabinet meeting with Mr. Bush as the White House continued trying to portray business as usual. But the assumption among White House officials is that anyone who is indicted will step aside.

On June 12, 2003, the day of the conversation between Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby, The Washington Post published a front-page article reporting that the C.I.A. had sent a retired American diplomat to Niger in February 2002 to investigate claims that Iraq had been seeking to buy uranium there. The article did not name the diplomat, who turned out to be Mr. Wilson, but it reported that his mission had not corroborated a claim about Iraq's pursuit of nuclear material that the White House had subsequently used in Mr. Bush's 2003 State of the Union address.


The writing is plain. The outing of Valerie Plame Wilson was part of a campaign to not only discredit her husband Joe Wilson but also to show the price you pay for crossing the administration. The thing is nobody will go to jail for that, it will be because they lied about it under oath. It's always the simple things that get you. It also shows they can pretty much do what they want as long as they don't lie about it.

posted by Stithmeister @ 8:27 AM

Fletcher Thinks Indictments Unconstitutional

Governor Ernie Fletcher continues to grasp at straws as he tries to get indictments thrown out on constitutional grounds. At this rate, it will all end up in federal court of they're not careful anyway. Mark Chellgren wrote the AP story. Here are some excerpts:

Fletcher filing argues some indictments are unconstitutional


Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Indictments returned by a special grand jury since Gov. Ernie Fletcher granted amnesty to anyone who might be charged are unconstitutional, Fletcher's lawyer argued in court documents filed Monday.


"The motion was filed on behalf of the governor in his official capacity and it seeks to enforce the amnesty he granted," Snyder said in a telephone interview.

Attorney General Greg Stumbo, whose office is conducting the investigation, accused Fletcher of trying to usurp the grand jury and hide the truth about "corruption in their government."

On Aug. 29, Fletcher pardoned nine current or former members of his administration who had been indicted, mostly for misdemeanor violations of state personnel laws known as the Merit System. But the pardon language also extended to "any and all persons who have committed, or may be accused of committing, any offense up to and including the date hereof, relating in any way to the current Merit System investigation..."


Snyder and the attorney general's office both say an 1865 case backs up their arguments.

In it, the former Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled that a gubernatorial pardon could be granted before a conviction. At the time, it was the highest court in the state.

Snyder said the case and the debates that led to the writing of the current Kentucky Constitution in 1891 show the power to pardon is virtually unrestricted for a governor.

But the relatively brief decision does not specifically address whether a pardon can be granted before an offense is even charged.


Fletcher seems to be sinking fast. While he does have two years left, he's got a legislative session quickly approaching as well as a state of the commonwealth address. One has to wonder what he will say in it because just about all his aides have been booted in one form or another. Honestly, the state of the commonwealth isn't so good because they're no real leadership. The Democrats don't have much either. While I like a lot of the Democrats, none are really stepping up to begin their war against the Republicans. Who do people think show some real promise and can win the Democratic nomination for governor and then take it in 2007?

posted by Stithmeister @ 12:11 AM

Kaine Picking Up Steam In Va. Governor's Race

Rick Howell has some good information regarding the vicious governor's race in Virgiina. Democrat Tim Kaine has a tight lead over Republican Jerry Kilgore but with any luck, Kaine can lengthen the lead a bit further as they head into the final days of the campaign.

posted by Stithmeister @ 12:08 AM

What Perjury Means To Mitch McConnell Monday, October 24, 2005

Mark Nickolas over at Bluegrass Report pulled a great quote from a speech Mitch McConnell made back in 1999 during the Clinton impeachment proceedings. I've reprinted it here. Pay particular attention to the final statement, McConnell quoted Justice Louis Brandeis:

I am completely and utterly perplexed by those who argue that perjury and obstruction of justice are not high crimes and misdemeanors...

Perjury and obstruction hammer away at the twin pillars of our legal system: truth and justice. Every witness in every deposition is required to raise his or her right hand and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help them God. Every witness in every grand jury proceeding and in every trial is required to raise his or her right hand and swear to tell the truth. Every official declaration filed with the court is stamped with the express affirmation that the declaration is true. In the words of our nation's first Supreme Court Chief Justice, John Jay: 'if oaths should cease to be held sacred, our dearest and most valuable rights would become insecure.'

The facts clearly show that the President did not value the sacred oath. He was interested in saving his hide, not truth and justice. I submit to my colleagues that if we have no truth and we have no justice, then we have no nation of laws. No public official, no president, no man or no woman is important enough to sacrifice the founding principles of our legal system.

On this point, I am proud to quote Justice Louis Brandeis--a native of my hometown of Louisville and the man for whom the University of Louisville Law school is named:

'In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the laws scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker; it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.'

[Congressional Record, 2/12/99]

posted by Stithmeister @ 11:58 PM

Cabal of Evil - Cheney And Rumsfeld

The current administration is having real problems, no doubt about it. Various factions of the Republican party are divided. One major problem is the problem created by George Bush's "Cabal of Evil" and all the mayhem they have brought upon our glorious nation. Right now, a federal prosecutor smells blood and he's going to get it I think.

In this administration, loyalty is everything. It explains why Gonzalez is attorney general, it explains why Miers is up for SCOTUS and it explains why Joe Wilson and his wife Valerie Plame got the treatment they did. The administration may well have put Plame's life in danger based on sheer spite and someone may just spend some quality time in a penintentuary. It's a shame on our country that the Bush administration brought us to this level.

Do the Democrats have anything to offer? Probably not. The presidential candidates look somewhat weak so far because none of them are out pounding the sidewalks and the TVs calling for a sharp alternative to the corruption proliferating the White House. But first things first, the Democrats are going to have to work on Congress and get people elected at both state and national levels. I'd like to say we could do it in Kentucky, but Howdy Doody is a powerful senator who may end up senate majority leader. I only hope the Dems come up with some alternatives.

posted by Stithmeister @ 8:33 PM

Bernanke Named To Replace Greenspan

Ben Bernanke has been tapped to replace retiring Fed chairman Alan Greenspan. Bernanke is an inflation hit man. Questions are already being raised about his loyalty to the president however as Bernanke currently chairs the presiden't Council of Economic Advisers.

The Washington Post picked up the AP story on the subject. Greenspan's been on the job since 1987 (Reagan pick)and will retire as of Jan 31, 2006.

There had been widespread speculation that Bush might act as early as this month to give the Senate time to act on the nomination before Greenspan's term expired.

However, announcing Greenspan's successor also provided a diversion for a White House reeling under congressional criticism of the Harriet Miers' Supreme Court nomination and a federal investigation into whether top officials leaked the name of a CIA operative for political purposes.

Dr. Peter Morici sent out a quick email about the nomination with a little info on Bernanke.

Ben Bernanke

President Bush has named Ben Bernanke to replace Alan Greenspan. He appears to be giving Wall Street exactly what it asked for: an inflation hawk. That would pose real dangers but don't pigeon hole him too soon.

Bernanke is a strong advocate of inflation targeting but as simple and elegant as that sounds, it can prove an unrealistic goal. These days, too much of the inflation challenge stems from structural issues beyond the control of the Fed—for example, hypergrowth in China and the resulting pressures on oil prices, and the mismanagement of energy policy and resulting shortages of refining and natural gas capacity.

Inflation targeting can result in overreaction to surges in commodity prices that the Fed cannot affect at the expense of sacrificing growth the Fed can help the economy accomplish. The end result would be rising unemployment and falling wages—stagflation.

Wall Street, whose view of the economy rarely extends beyond two quarters, wants an inflation hawk, even if it is at the expense of sacrificing growth and the interests of ordinary working Americans. That is even sadder because too much attention to inflation is bad for Wall Street too.

The Fed is charged with both maintaining stable prices and sustaining growth. Bernanke, while on the Fed Board, advocated attention to the output gap—that counsels more moderation from strict inflation targeting and concern about unemployment. However, Wall Street’s fixation with inflation—even inflation that is inevitable and beyond the reach of the Fed--kept any viable candidate from talking too much about the importance of the Fed’s joint responsibilities.

Just like a Supreme Court nominee, we really won’t know how Bernanke will vote, until he is on the job.

Peter Morici
Robert H. Smith School of Business
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-1815


The good professor generally isn't espousing one party or the other in his statements. He's a learned economist who calls them like he sees them. He is right about Bernanke. There's no way to know what he will do until he gets there.

posted by Stithmeister @ 1:18 PM

Problems With Changes In State Merit System Sunday, October 23, 2005

A traditionally rightwing newspaper, The Danville Advocate-Messenger, ran a letter to the editor recently about the new direction of the merit system changes:

State employees' group concerned about merit system changes

Dear Editor:

The Kentucky Transportation Employees' Association (KTEA) Board of Directors would like to express its concern with the Fletcher administration's attempts to change the merit system.

The KTEA is one of the oldest and largest employee organizations in Kentucky state government. The KTEA has served employees of the Transportation Cabinet since 1950. Currently, over 3,300 Transportation Cabinet employees are represented by the KTEA. Our organization is dedicated to upholding, preserving and strengthening the merit system. The merit system is the foundation of state employee freedom, freedom to devote our best work efforts to provide exceptional service to the taxpayers of Kentucky without fear of reprisal or expectation of reward for political activity.

During the 2003 governor's race, Governor Fletcher showed his support for the Merit System by stating, "The current merit system has been very effective at keeping politics out of state government. I believe that it would be a mistake to do anything that would potentially undermine the current system... We must ensure that the current merit system remains strong and that we continue to keep politics out of state government."

Since the governor has established a Blue Ribbon Task Force to study the current Merit System laws, we hope that he remembers his promise to state employees to support and strengthen the Merit System. While our organization is supportive of changes that would improve career growth, employee salaries and the overall wellbeing of slate employees, we are against any changes to Merit System laws that will threaten state workers' job security. Our organization welcomes the chance to provide input to the Blue Ribbon Task Force that will lead to a stronger more efficient state government workforce. Hopefully the Blue Ribbon Task Force has this same goal in mind.

Jane Shindlebower-Mers, president
Kentucky Transportation Employees' Association
Copyright The Advocate-Messenger 2005


Imagine, employees worried about their jobs after the recent turn of events in Frankfort. I'd say Fletcher is wrecking things but I don't think he has the credibility nor the political power to do much of anything. He's a lame duck and his first regular session of the legislature's not even started yet.

posted by Stithmeister @ 11:19 PM

Delware Senator Joe Biden Shows Up In Kentucky

Senator Joe Biden did a little fund raising for Kentucky Democrats this weekend up in northern Kentucky. I pulled this story from WTVQ:

Senator Biden in Kentucky
Bennett Haeberle
Action News 36
Oct 23, 15:37 PM EDT

In an effort to jump-start political dollars for their party, the state's Democratic leaders brought in a national presence to ignite the crowd.

The move to bring in Senator Joseph Biden was intentional. He says his party is at a disconnect with middle class voters, and that if Democrats want to make strides...they'd better start now.

All the signs of a political rally were there: the smiles, the handshakes, the signing of autographs. But Delaware Senator Joseph Biden says his party has less to smile about and more work to do.

"The truth is, the Democratic party has lost its base - middle class folks."

About 400 people showed up tonight for a fundraiser that sought to gather $150,000 for the party.

"He's a presidential contender, he's a national figure and having him in Kentucky... it shows Kentucky is in play,” says Kentucky Democratic Chairman Jerry Lundergan.

Adding more of a spring to their step is the current Fletcher administration involvement in the merit system investigation… which Fletcher has called “politically motivated.”

But Biden says even the appearance of mismanagement – whether at the state or federal level – can aide his party.

“Forget ideology,” Biden says. “Just managing the war, the economy, not managing... It seems to me that Democrats need to talk about what we'd do."

But his talk has led some to criticize Biden for his stance on the war and the Supreme Court nominees.

As for Harriet Miers, Biden says he looks forward to learning more about her… because he says he knows little now.

As for his own presidential future, he says it will depend largely on what drives politics – money.

"If I can't sell my message in Northern Kentucky, I can't sell it to Tennessee… or Cincinnati…. Then I can't win."

On the phone last night, I spoke with Marcus Carey, a Republican executive committee member from Northern Kentucky. He says he doesn't feel his party will lose out to the strong conservative base they already have.

posted by Stithmeister @ 11:10 PM

Judith Miller Vs. New York Times

It looks like Judith Miller and the New York Times (NYT) may be at odds over the CIA Leak case. The NYT executive editor, Bill Keller, sent out an email suggesting he felt Miller hadn't been entirely candid with them in the whole affair and they may have done things differently had they known then what they know now. Here's an excerpt from an ABC story from the letter:

In a dramatic e-mail, Executive Editor Bill Keller wrote Times' employees he wished he'd more carefully interviewed Miller and had "missed what should have been significant alarm bells" that she had been the recipient of leaked information about the CIA officer at the heart of the case.

"Judy seems to have misled (Times Washington bureau chief) Phil Taubman about the extent of her involvement," Keller wrote in what he described as a lessons-learned e-mail. "This alone should have been enough to make me probe deeper."

Keller said he might have been more willing to compromise with Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald "if I had known the details of Judy's entanglement" with Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.


Interesting stuff but it brings to mind a couple of points. One, it shows some reporters will go to great lengths to get contacts inside an administration, even to the point of losing any hint of objectivity in order to maintain the connection.

The second is a bigger picture thing regarding this issue. If reporters and the media that supports them, be broadcast, print or otherwise, continue they way they are going, they're in bed with whatever they're reporting on and have no safe claim to objectivity. They compromise their integrity in order to keep close connections. I'm a bit of a purist in that I believe the purpose of the media, once again print, broadcast or otherwise, is to be a gadfly to those in power. They're job is to sting the authority and the public consciousness in order to help make our world a little more transparent. Instead, these companies are big multinational conglomerates with a vested interest in the status quo. While many accuse the media of being liberal or conservative or whatever, honestly, they're just kissing the ass of whoever's in power to keep their connection. They don't hound them at every turn, they open the door for them and it's ridiculous.

posted by Stithmeister @ 10:58 AM

Lt. Gov. Pence Speaks In NKy Friday, October 21, 2005

I picked this up from ChallengerNKY via Bluegrass Report. Pence discusses two big points. One, the budget was NOT revenue neutral and the fact Medicaid is eating any bonuses we might have gained.

Lt. Gov.: Medicaid Debt Devouring Gains

By Jason Feldmann
The Sunday Challenger

COVINGTON--Reducing the state's mounting Medicaid debt, the possibility of expanded gaming, and tougher penalties for convicted sexual predators were some of the topics that Lieutenant Governor Steve Pence addressed while speaking at the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Friday, Oct. 14.

On Medicaid, Pence predicted Gov. Ernie Fletcher would "take the lead" during next year's legislative session.

The "huge" Medicaid debt, said Pence, is "eating up every bit of gain that our General Assembly and the governor made this last year."

New revenue from tax modernization is lost because the state "has failed to change the business model," said Pence.

Now perceived as "free," health care is being used "recklessly," added Pence.

One possible solution, he said, is to tailor Medicaid to meet the needs of patients.


Medicaid is becoming a real problem. The federal government is cutting the program by leaps and bounds and will probably continue to do so. I'm not against providing medical benefits to those who need it but there has to be some effort to restructure and get peole using Medicaid to quit doing things like using the ER as a primary care physician. Treat this program like any other PPO and run it that way. Then people will have to do their regular checkups and things like that. I think it would work and it would be better than our current system.

posted by Stithmeister @ 8:34 AM

Republican Unpaid Gubernatorial Advisors Indicted

It looks like the grand jury handed down some more indictments on Thursday going after Republican Party treasurer Dave Disponett and J. Marshall Hughes, his assistant. The Herald-Leader ran a good story on the issue this morning.

Yesterday's indictments of Dave Disponett, an Anderson County contractor who also serves as Kentucky Republican Party treasurer, and Bowling Green attorney J. Marshall Hughes represent the first time in the five-month-long hiring probe that individuals who were never on the state payroll have been charged with crimes.


Disponett did work out of a Capitol office from February 2004 until June 2005 while he was advising Gov. Ernie Fletcher.

Disponett faces three counts of conspiracy, including one related to the hiring of his nephew. Another charge stems from the hiring of the brother-in-law of Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer.

Hughes, who often assisted Disponett in screening potential state job candidates, is charged with two counts of conspiracy, including the hiring of a Republican circuit court clerk as a transportation supervisor.

Hughes' attorney called the indictments "a stretch of the statutes" because private citizens can't be charged in relation to state hiring rules.

"I don't think you can conspire to commit a crime if you have no authority to make a decision on employment," said Steven Thornton, Hughes' Bowling Green-based attorney. "I can't imagine how it would succeed."

I think if you are working out of the governor's office at the governor's pleasure, using his resources, even if you don't have an official salary, you should be indicted. I think you have to consider what they're being charged with too. Conspiracy is means basically you were in on it to break the law. One doesn't need to be a paid state employee to be charged with violating the merit law rules. These guys helped to implement these policies and in so doing conspired to violate state law.

posted by Stithmeister @ 8:21 AM

FEMA Officials Said Chief Unprepared Thursday, October 20, 2005

A FEMA official testified before congress today and said that Brown was unprepared. Talk about an understatement.

posted by Stithmeister @ 11:56 PM

More Soldier Abuses

Soldiers were desecrating corpses in Afghanistan. More brilliance tricking down from the administration. You don't send in enough troops to win so you fight really dirty. That's a brilliant idea.

posted by Stithmeister @ 11:54 PM

Tom Delay Got Booked

Tom Delay reported to the police in Houston today and got booked. Just think, one of the most powerful men in Washington, a mountain of a congressman being booked. I hope they nail him to the wall.

posted by Stithmeister @ 11:47 PM

Bush Administration Falling Apart?

Recently, Col. Larry Wilkerson, USMC Retired, and former chief of staff at the state dept. under Colin Powell spoke at a luncheon for the New America Foundation think tank. In this luncheon he became a marine once again and began a verbal onslaught against those who are most damaging to the country and the constitution who swore to protect, President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. He let'em have it too.

The Washington Post printed a couple of good columns on it, one by Dana Milbank and the other by Dan Froomkin.

This is from Milbank's column:

He said the vice president and the secretary of defense created a "Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal" that hijacked U.S. foreign policy. He said of former defense undersecretary Douglas Feith: "Seldom in my life have I met a dumber man." Addressing scholars, journalists and others at the New America Foundation, Wilkerson accused Bush of "cowboyism" and said he had viewed Condoleezza Rice as "extremely weak." Of American diplomacy, he fretted, "I'm not sure the State Department even exists anymore."

This is pretty serious stuff here. This guy was obviously a heavyweight in the party and I think he's upset his friend Colin Powell basically got dumped on.

The man who was chief of staff at the State Department until early this year continued: "If you're unilaterally declaring Kyoto dead, if you're declaring the Geneva Conventions not operative, if you're doing a host of things that the world doesn't agree with you on and you're doing it blatantly and in their face, without grace, then you've got to pay the consequences."

Lots of people believe George W. Bush was a tough guy, a no nonsense kind of person who didn't take any crap off of those other nancy-boy nations. Turns out he was still nothing more than the Crawford Tx. village idiot.

Here's a link to the text of the speech:

  • Speech

  • His final words:

    I will tell you, as a military man, the bottom line is not everything. It’s far from everything. One of the reasons Colin Powell answered the question when he was asked, after the first Gulf War, why he sent five carriers – one of the reasons he said because he didn’t have six – (scattered laughter) – was because he understood that the bottom line is not everything. When you start taking a paring knife to the military to cut it -- like a businessman would cut his business -- you are damaging and perhaps destroying the potential of that military to win future conflicts. You never know what you are going to need on the battlefield, so you’d better have six of them. Five of them won’t show up, four of them won’t be able to communicate, and I could go on. But you need overlap, you need redundancy. You need, as Powell used to say “decisive force.” People say he said “overwhelming force;” most often he said “decisive force.” And when you are dealing with government in many ways, whether it’s Katrina, Rita, responding to a nuclear attack or whatever, you’d better have 10 cases of water where you think you need one. You’d better have 15 million MREs where you think you need only a million because you never know in a crisis, and the best way to be prepared is to have lots more than you think you’re going to need or want. And that’s just the reality of the way you do business in government and in the military as opposed to the way you do it at GE – oh, I shouldn’t use GE – (scattered laughter) – you know, wherever you do business. It’s very – it’s a very different environment. So when you have businessmen making the decisions within government, it’s not necessarily bad, but you’ve got to be willing to listen to other people who might have different opinions to those you have.

    posted by Stithmeister @ 8:38 PM

    The Cardinals Lost Wednesday, October 19, 2005

    It looks like it will be a memorable October Classic. The Houston Astros have never been and the Chicago White Sox haven't been since 1959, haven't won since 1917. It should be good. Another great possible outcome.

    posted by Stithmeister @ 11:54 PM

    Troubles in the Bush Administration

    This is turning into a fairly traditional second term for a president. It may have started a little early but its still in line. Most presidents elected to second terms normally have the lame duck status to deal with. It's just the reality. They can't be reelected unless they want to take a step down.

    In recent memory, Johnson had Vietnam. While he didn't serve 2 full terms it was 1 1/2 and it was ugly. Then came Nixon, who's troubles are legendary. He was the only president to resign the job. He would've been impeached and would've gone to jail. Then next two-term man was Reagan. He had Iran-Contra. It turned out to be a nightmare although it laid the foundation for a splendid pundit career for then Lt. Col. Oliver North. Then came Clinton (I like puns). He was impeached over lying about a BJ. Now comes Bush's second term and it's a disaster. His base is fighting like cats and dogs, he's had one natural disaster after another, fuel prices are at record highs, Iraq is a disaster. He may end up impeached over this mess the CIA mess. Yep... early, a little more extensive, but nonetheless not unexpected in a second term.

    posted by Stithmeister @ 11:48 PM

    Rove, Libby and What Did Bush and Cheney Know?

    A number of discussions are going on over who knows what regarding this CIA investigation. As many have pointed out, if Rove knew and Scooter Libby knew, it's not unreasonable to think Bush and Cheney knew as well.

    Here's something further. It's no big secret Bush values loyalty, perhaps above all else. He takes care of those loyal to him and Harriet Miers has found out and a former FEMA director and a multitude of others. Ambassador Wilson crossed Bush when he spoke out against him. That would be more than enough reason for him to be dealt with accordingly, even to the point of putting his wife, Valerie Plame in danger. There's also been some animosity between the administration and the CIA for some time now after 9/11.

    With both men acting on these, it's clear the administration knew what was going on. This plausible deniability is crap. It didn't work for Nixon, it won't work for Bush the Younger either.

    posted by Stithmeister @ 11:41 PM

    Va. Attorney General's Race

    Rick Howell has a great piece on his opinions in the upcoming Virginia Attorney General's race. It looks like the Republican, Bob McDonnell, is firmly in the camp of the Pat Robertson school of political wingnuts. That's good enough for me. Get him out of there.

    Rick suggests his Democratic opponent, Creigh Deed, is a bit more sound choice and while not necessary liberal, moderate enough to be in line with most people's views. Give your support.

    posted by Stithmeister @ 11:37 PM

    Warrant Issued For Tom Delay

    It shows this one if for real folks. A warrant was issued for Tom Delay and a $10,000 bond set. That's of course pocket change for him but it does show that this matter is getting serious. All of the proceedings will take place in Austin and this is just a formality. Whether or not he's guilty remains to be seen but this is certainly a difficult time for Delay because his reelection campaign will begin in just a few weeks. Here's a link to the AP story

    posted by Stithmeister @ 11:32 PM

    Ernie Fletcher's In The Onion

    I received my weekly dispatch of "The Onion" and low and behold, there was a pictur of Ernie Fletcher and several other governors(some Dems) who've had some problems. I would check it out.

    COLUMBUS, OH—The bodies of six U.S. governors were discovered in the Ohio Statehouse early Monday, all apparent participants in what authorities believe to be some sort of statewide-officeholder suicide pact.
    Enlarge ImageSix Dead In Gubernatorial Suicide Pact

    Governors Barbour, Fletcher, Lynch, Richardson, Taft, and X.

    Police have identified five members of the media-dubbed "Gubernatorial Six": governors Haley Barbour (R-MS), John Lynch (D-NH), Bill Richardson (D-NM), Ernie Fletcher (R-KY), and Robert "Bob" Taft (R-OH). The identity of the sixth governor is being withheld until his family is notified. Columbus Police Chief James Jackson confirmed rumors that "Governor X," as he is being called, was a male, and governor of "a very large state."

    Early toxicology reports indicate that five of the governors died after drinking scotch laced with barbiturates. Gov. Fletcher is believed to have mixed the drug with bourbon and a splash of water.

    Discovered by a Statehouse night cleaning crew in the pre-dawn hours, the governors' bodies were arranged in a circular pattern on the floor of the Finan Room. Forensic evidence indicated that Taft, who was found clutching the presidential seal to his chest, was the last one alive, leading police to speculate that he was the ringleader.

    "We believe Governor Taft served the executive authorities their final cocktails," Jackson said. "There were no signs of struggle, no attempts to escape. It appears that all participated willingly and sought a common end."

    Although the reasons behind the suicide pact remain unknown, many of the country's surviving 44 state chief executives said they are not surprised by the tragedy. The governors were all known in their home states for their penchants for dark suits, their similar hairstyles, and their "fuck everything" attitudes.

    "I never really talked to them except when I had to, like during the occasional National Governors' Association meeting," Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle said. "They tended to stay away from girls altogether. It's sad to see such bright and promising state-level executives succumb to this senseless rage and self-destruction."

    Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry, who sometimes socialized with members of the Gubernatorial Six at luncheons, said that although they openly talked of taking their own lives, he never took them seriously.
    Enlarge ImageSix Dead In Gubernatorial Suicide Pact

    The grisly scene at the Ohio Statehouse.

    "They made a lot of bizarre jokes, a lot of dark stuff that I didn't understand," Henry said. "I knew many of them didn't want to be governors anymore, and Bob was always saying how much he hated it, how he felt trapped, how he'd do anything to get out of 'the cage.' The others would pretty much go along with him. The sad thing is, they probably could have done quite well in the private sector."

    Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina has been able to provide grieving family members and states with some insight into the actions of the Gubernatorial Six. Sanford, who was briefly associated with the group in 2003, said their suicide came as no surprise to him.

    "I was your typical confused, first-term governor," said Sanford, who admits he found the dark, morbid posturing of the outcast governors "cool."

    "I had a great deal of respect for Bob [Taft]—he lived on the edge, always giving the world the finger," Sanford added.

    But by 2004, Sanford had distanced himself from the group.

    "Bill [Richardson] had developed this habit of slashing at his arms and chest with his New Mexico flag lapel pin," Sanford said. "And Haley [Barbour] liked asphyxiating himself with his necktie until he turned blue. Not long after I stopped hanging out with them, I found a dead bald eagle on the doorstep of the governor's mansion."

    The FBI set up a national hotline Monday and urged voters to call if they suspect that their governor might be contemplating suicide or has joined a gubernatorial cult. Counselors from the National Institute Of Mental Health have been sent to capitols in all 50 states to counsel at-risk and interim governors.


    One of the best stories I've read in a while. Check out the link. It's got photos and it's just a great read.

    posted by Stithmeister @ 11:28 PM

    Big Box Mart

    JibJab recently premiered thier new video on The Tonight Show. Folks may remember their cutting edge humor back during the election for "This Land Is Your Land." I would advise checking it out. It's a good take on the state of affairs in America, particularly regarding out jobs industry.

    posted by Stithmeister @ 11:25 PM

    Which Way Do Threads Twist? Tuesday, October 18, 2005

    He folks, this is an open threat today. One little note I will pitch in though.

    For folks who wish to include links into their comments, do it this way:


    posted by Stithmeister @ 11:41 PM

    St. Louis Holds On..

    I was glad to see St. Louis held on for another game against the Astros. They need to win two more and they go play the Chisox.

    posted by Stithmeister @ 11:41 PM

    Horton Hears A Heart

    I don't put up odd stuff in here very often but this was great. It's called Horton Hears A Heart. Check it out. I found it quite amusing.

    posted by Stithmeister @ 11:39 PM

    Producer Price Reports

    Another report by Dr. Peter Morici. He's been doing this economics stuff for a long time. He makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, he seems to think the fed gets it wrong.

    Producer Price Report Shows Inflation Poses Little Threat

    Today, the Labor Department reported the Producer Price Index rose 1.9 percent in September, thanks largely to a surge in energy prices.

    However, the report indicates inflation is not spreading to nonenergy goods and services that reach final consumers. The index for finished goods, less energy and food, rose only 0.2 percent, and prices for final consumer goods, less energy, were up 0.1 percent.

    The latter two indexes are good predictors of future consumer price inflation. For example those were down in August, and the CPI, less food and energy, rose only 0.1 percent in September, reflecting some retail markup.

    Consumer price inflation will likely be tame in the months ahead. Gasoline prices and crude oil have fallen in October. The recent spurt in energy prices has not passed through to wages, which account for about two thirds of production costs, and rapid productivity improvements are permitting businesses to absorb rising energy and material costs before those reach final consumers of nonenergy goods.

    The core CPI, the CPI net of energy and food, has risen only 0.1 percent or less each month for the last six months, and today’s report on wholesale prices indicates future inflation likely will be contained.

    The modest increase in wholesale prices for final consumer goods less energy indicate Federal Reserve concerns about inflation are exaggerated. Coupled with slowing automobile and other retail sales, this cooling of core inflation indicates consumers are strapped, and additional interest rate increases are not needed.

    The reason for near zero inflation outside the energy sector is quite simple. Consumers have no more money to spend. Consumption exceeded disposable income in June, July and August. Credit card delinquency rates are very high.

    Consumers can no longer easily add to credit card debt and home equity loans. With gasoline prices up, they are cutting back on spending in other areas. Stores like Wal-Mart are already discounting to accommodate weak consumer spending, which is resulting in lower prices for most products.

    Some retailers and auto manufacturers are attempting to raise prices in October but those efforts will be frustrated. Attempts to raise prices will be met with fierce consumer resistance.

    Energy prices will subside as Gulf oil, gas and refining come back on line. When energy prices fall, deflation, not inflation, may be the problem. Should the Fed persist in pushing up interest rates, it risks throwing the economy into a recession.

    The Fed has no need to tighten credit markets further to slow the economy.

    Higher energy prices have done the work of higher interest rates, and the Fed should not raise interest rates in December.

    Peter Morici
    Robert H. Smith School of Business
    University of Maryland
    College Park, MD 20742-1815


    As usual, his points are great. Credit is as tight as it needs to get because huge swathes of the country need rebuilding literally from the ground up and the holiday shopping season is upon us. I'd say retail markets will take a beating this winter as many won't have the money to shop unless oil prices drop dramatically across the board and I don't think that will happen.

    posted by Stithmeister @ 11:19 PM

    Republican Separation: Inevitable?

    Howard Fineman's written a good piece about problems within the Republican ranks of Bush's administration. The various groups are having real problems connecting now that the leadership is falling apart.

    Conservative Crackup
    How the neocons have developed a political exit strategy.

    Oct. 12, 2005 - President George W. Bush may have no military exit strategy for Iraq, but the “neocons” who convinced him to go to war there have developed one of their own—a political one: Blame the Administration.


    The “movement” —that began 50 years ago with the founding of Bill Buckley’s National Review; that had its coming of age in the Reagan Years; that reached its zenith with Bush’s victory in 2000—is falling apart at the seams.


    In 1973, Karl Rove met George W. Bush, and became the R2D2 and Luke Skywalker of Republican politics. At first, neither was plugged into “The Force”—the conservative movement. But over the years they learned how to use its power.


    For Religious Conservatives

    The Harriet Miers nomination was the final insult. Religious conservatives have an inferiority complex in the Republican Party. In an interesting way, it’s the same attitude that many African-Americans have had toward the Democratic Party over the years. They think that the Big Boys want their votes but not their presence or their full participation.


    For Corporate CEOS

    For them, Bush’s handling of Katrina was, and remains, a mortal embarrassment to their class, which Bush is supposed to have represented—at least to some extent.

    These are people who believe in the Faith of Management—in anticipating problems and moving mass organizations. They also like to think of themselves as having a social conscience. And even if they don’t, they are sensitive to world opinion.

    The vivid images from the Superdome were just too much for these folks. Recently, a prominent Republican businessman, whom I saw in a typical CEO haunt, astonished me with the severity of his attacks on Bush’s competence. And Bush had appointed this guy to a major position! Amazing.



    They think that the Middle East can be remade, and this country made safe, by instilling a semblance of democracy in the Fertile Crescent and beyond. But they seem to have given up on the ability of the Bush Administration to see that vision through.

    They want more troops, not fewer; more money, not less; more passion, not the whispered talk of timetables for withdrawal.

    Besides championing democracy, we need to show strength and resolve, they believe—and they are no longer convinced that Bush can show much of either.


    This goes to show you that many alliances are tedious and fragile at best. Far too many don't hold together very long. It will be interesting to see how our leaders go in the future because Bush tried to be all things to all people in his base and the farther along he goes, it turns out he's none of those things to anyway. He's not terribly adept at anything except maybe mountain biking. In some cases, I don't doubt his conviction. I think when the he walked among the ruins of the world trade towers, he felt genuine emotions. The problem with our president is that he's not the man everything thinks he is. He's the face man and he's lost face. Alas poor Dubyah.

    posted by Stithmeister @ 7:44 PM

    Al Cross On Mitch McConnell

    A great column appeared yesterday on how Mitch McConnell may be losing his touch. While he is powerful his efforts may be more focused on the national scene right now. Columnist Al Cross had a great column in the Courier Journal yesterday. Hat tip to Bluegrass Report for lead on this one. Here's an excerpt:

    Nature abhors a vacuum, so the maxim goes. So does politics, and so do the politicians who are most successful at this strange science -- including those who indirectly helped create the vacuum.

    U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell showed that, two weeks ago tomorrow, when he and 1st District U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield held a press conference at state Republican headquarters in Frankfort to announce that . . . well, that a state legislator who was elected as a Democrat from Whitfield's hometown of Hopkinsville was becoming a Republican.

    This don't-stop-the-presses news came after a weekend of suspense, caused by the party's cryptic announcement of the event and the participants' refusal to give any clues about its purpose.

    In the end, the real import was not that Republicans had their largest number of state House members in 61 years (44 of 100), but that the Boss was back in town.


    I agree with Cross on McConnell picking his people. I think he's done well building up the Republicans in Kentucky but he can never seem to grab the whole thing. I also think McConnell has his hands full in Washington right now too as Bill Frist and Tom Delay both are in deep trouble as his the administration. You'll see McConnell more in the news probably but it will take all his skills to come up smelling like roses on this one, especially since his clout may not be as strong with some in the state Republican party as it is with others.

    posted by Stithmeister @ 12:13 AM

    American Politics: Follow The Money Monday, October 17, 2005

    David Sirota wrote a great blog post about the real reasoning behind and behind corporate power attorney getting the nod for SCOTUS. You can find it at the Huffington Post.

    For the last few months, I have tried to point out how, despite the media's binary left-right portrayal, President Bush's Supreme Court nominations are really about one thing: solidifying Big Business's power in our legal system (for examples, see here, here, here, here and here). We are led to believe these fights are all about ideology or partisanship, when in fact they center around money, plain and simple.


    Still, this is a big moment as for once the mainstream media isn't trying to pigeonhole a political issue into purely partisan terms, when all the evidence shows that it is anything but. Here are the key excerpts:

    "...another critical element of the Republican political base is applauding [Bush's court nominees] from the wings. That would be big business. For the first time in more than three decades, corporate America could find itself with not one, but two, Supreme Court allies with in-the-trenches industry experience -- Miers and newly minted Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. Don't be fooled by the low-key personas they have projected thus far; both are legal wonks who have packed a powerful punch in the corporate world. Together, they could be a CEO's dream team.... Miers has a blue-chip résumé that would wow Wall Street....Her decades as a high-powered corporate litigator are just the beginning. She also has served on the corporate boards of a securities fund and a mortgage company. She's tackled the entire spectrum of commercial issues firsthand, defending Texas car dealers against price-fixing charges, challenging claims that Microsoft sold defective software, protecting Walt Disney's trademarks, and taking on consumers who sued mortgage companies for violating debt collection laws. But, for the boardroom set, it's her work outside the courtroom that sets her apart. For years, Miers was a driving force in Texas for reforms that would protect industry from lawsuits."


    This fault line between Big Money and The Rest of Us is, as it has been through history, the most important narrative we face, despite many D.C. "strategists" trying to say otherwise. It is what my upcoming book, Hostile Takeover, is all about. The narrative surrounding this fault line is one that, incredibly, conservatives have dominated over the last decade, as they have "framed" all of their policies as if they are on the side of the people. That may seem counterintiutive since they so clearly represent Big Money, but think about it - on almost every major issue, their elitist policies are packaged as populist.

    Progressives, sadly, have often refused to make the narrative their own, for fear they will be attacked for waging "class warfare." That's as pathetic as it is stupid because, in truth, whenever an elitist cries "class warfare" what they are really crying is "uncle." This is the fundamental truth that the tired, ineffective dinosaurs who are desperate to maintain their relevance in and control over the Democratic Party are desperate to deny. These are the folks who, no matter how many election losses they contribute to, continue to make money advocating for split-the-difference politics that denigrates populism in the name of capitulation/subservience to the corporate hacks who fund their institutions.

    So, we face a choice. Are progressives going to continue in an emasculated state, willing only to shill for hollow partisanship, and unwilling to give voice to the millions of Americans who understand that today's politics - often regardless of party - works only to enrich the already rich, and empower the already powerful? Or are we going to be a about something more than just the next election and and more than just providing cover to politicians who "aren't that bad?" Are we, in short, going to be apologists for and deniers of a sad reality, or are we going to be a movement to change that reality into something better?


    Sirota calls it right again. When one examines the culture, it's pure class warfare they are waging. Back when our country was founded, Alexander Hamilton knew that class warfare would sink our ship. He new that horizontal divisions would do nothing but create problems. He tried to create some rivalries but more between industries than classes. Those in say textile manufacturing might have some competition with those in another industry. It's an oversimplification but he recognized that class warfare just create's problems and like like the dolt, Neal Boortz said in his radio program, it's obvious what's up. The sad thing is, the people in power now lack the elegance and class of true nobility. If they acted kingly, they might get more to follow them. It's ashame they never follow noblesse oblige. It's more "hammer them til their broke."

    posted by Stithmeister @ 11:16 PM

    McConnell Gearing Up For Senate Majority Leader

    The Hill is a great DC newsmagazine and they've got a good article on Kentucky's own political machine, Mitch McConnell. McConnell got elected back in 1984 with a brilliant commercial against then Democratic senator, Walter "Dee" Huddleston. The commercial was viscious and comical at the same time and it got him in the door. He's been climbing ever since. It looks like he's continuing to climb as well:

    Mitch McConnell is waiting patiently in the Senate’s wings, but he will soon be standing in the spotlight — a fact not lost on lawmakers, lobbyists and aides.

    As fastidious in appearance and command of legislative details as he is in accumulating political capital, the Kentucky senator has been widely considered the heir to the Republican leader’s post since 2003, when self-term-limited Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.) took the helm and McConnell settled into the No. 2 job of whip.


    “There are definitely people out there who have woken up and realized that Mitch McConnell is going to be the next leader of the U.S. Senate,” one member of McConnell’s inner circle said.


    “His good friend, Senator Frist, is the majority leader, and he is doing a great job at it,” McConnell spokesman Robert Steurer said in a statement. “Senator McConnell’s main focus right now is to be the best whip possible to enact our agenda.”

    Those who have worked with McConnell describe him as measured, loyal and politically astute. Those traits helped him when Sen. Trent Lott (Miss.) was deposed as Republican leader in late 2002 after praising then-Sen. Strom Thurmond’s (R-S.C.) 1948 segregationist presidential campaign. Other Republican senators, including then-Whip Don Nickles (Okla.), publicly jockeyed for position. McConnell’s loyalty to Lott was rewarded when his colleagues promoted him to the whip job after all the dust had settled.


    For Democrats thinking that control of Frankfort is only a matter of time, be aware. McConnell is patient, thorough and deadly. He may have left Fletcher to his own devices, but it's not over by a long shot. He's concentrating on taking control of the state House, just like they have control of the senate and while some politicians implode, it's men like McConnell who should scare you. They set quietly in the wings, waiting for the opportunity to run the pride and that lion will be there soon enough.

    posted by Stithmeister @ 10:50 PM

    Pentagon Reneges on National Guard Bonuses

    The News Tribue up in Washington state published an interesting article today discussing the Pentagon backing out of their offer to pay folks who extended their service $15,000.

    The bonuses were offered in January to Active Guard and Reserve and military technician soldiers who were serving overseas. In April, the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs ordered the bonuses stopped, Senator Patty Murray, D - Seattle, said.


    A Pentagon spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, confirmed the bonuses had been canceled, saying they violated Pentagon policies because they duplicated other programs. She said Guard and Reserve members would be eligible for other bonuses.

    Krenke said some soldiers had been paid the re-enlistment bonuses, but she was unsure how many or whether the money would have to be repaid. Murray’s office said that as far as it knew, no active Guard or Reserve members had received the bonuses.


    I'd say unbelievable but that's not true. Gee... still think a draft is a long way away? They're lying to get people to hang around longer. I wonder what other "deviltry" they can do.

    posted by Stithmeister @ 10:43 PM

    Owensboro And Elizabethtown, Talk Of The Nation

    Katrina Vanden Heuvel recently blogged about her trip to Owensboro and Elizabethtown. It was a great entry and inciteful about life here in Kentucky. She points out that most of us news junkies are something of a rarity in Kentucky as most people feel like the scandals in the government on the state and federal level are just part of it. Something I think they're right. Here's an excerpt from the end of her post.

    I got home Sunday night, after a few days out of New York, away from the parsing of Miller's testimony and the New York Times's treatment of her, and found a comment on my latest blog, about a Central American film I had highlighted. "Are you this out of touch?," some person named Colmes asks. Why are you "shilling for some Latin American movie when there are real issues right her in the previously good ol' US of A." Colmes then lists Rove and Miller and McLellan and so on.

    There are real issues right here in the good ol' US of A. But maybe we need to spend more time paying attention to the record number of bankruptcies being filed in towns like Owensboro, or the workers' lives lost with an end to safety and health regulations, than to Judith Miller and her notes.

    I think she's got one thing right. Maybe our nation should work a little more toward helping our people deal with the tough issues of existance. The working men and women of our country are what define us at our foundation and that's where the Democrats have lost their way. She mentioned listening to folks like Dr. Dan Mongiardo, who could well be our state's future. Someone certainly needs too.

    posted by Stithmeister @ 10:15 PM

    Republican Corruption Running Amok In America

    AmericaBlog had delightful piece over the weekend and then reran today. It's a great op/ed and
    If a senior White House staffer had intentionally outed an American spy during World War II, he'd have been shot.

    We're at war, George Bush keeps reminding us. We cannot continue with business as usual. A pre-9/11 mentality is deadly. Putting the lives of our troops at risk is treason.

    Then why is the White House and the Republican party engaged in a concerted campaign to make treason acceptable during a time of war? That's exactly what they're doing. On numerous news shows today, Republican surrogates, their talking points ready, issued variations of the following concerning White House chief of staff Karl Rove's outing of a covert CIA agent as part of a political vendetta:

    - It's the criminalization of politics
    - Is this 'minor' leak really worth all this?
    - Political payback is common and should not be criminalized
    - Mis-speaking or mis-remembering is not a crime

    Yes, the Republicans are now making light of an intentional effort to expose an undercover CIA agent, working on weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, no less, while we are at war in the Middle East on that very issue.

    The GOP has become the party of treason.

    It would be one thing for a senior adviser to the president to put the nation's security at risk during a time of war. That could be explained as an aberration - a quite serious one, no doubt - but a fluke nonetheless. But when the president himself refuses to keep his own word about firing that aberration, and when the entire Republican party rallies around that fluke and tries to minimize what is usually a capital offense during wartime, something is seriously wrong with that party and its leadership.

    America is ignoring the Geneva Conventions because our president feels that winning this war is so paramount. Our Congress has watered down our civil rights laws. We have jailed American citizens with no access to legal counsel. And our President even believes it is worth lying to the American people in order to wage this so-important battle. All this because we are a nation at war and nothing will be permitted to stand in the way of this life-and-death struggle.

    But when a senior aide to the President of the United States endangers the life of an undercover CIA agent, her colleagues and contacts around the world - when he chooses to put at risk our entire effort to uncover weapons of mass destruction before they are used to kill millions in an American city - what response do we get from the Bush White House and the Republican Party? A defensive (offensive) shrug.

    The Republican party's gift to the American people, and the Bush administration's legacy, will be the normalization of treason. They are trying to convince Americans that betraying our country during wartime for personal gain is no more serious than running a stop sign or going 60 in a 55 zone.

    If a senior aide to the president had intentionally outed an American undercover agent during World War II, an agent whose work was central to our mission of defeating the Germans, that aide would very likely be put to death. While no one is yet arguing that Karl Rove be executed, it is the height of hypocrisy and hubris for the Republican party to attempt to minimize a crime that not only puts our troops at risk, but risks the lives of every American man, woman and child.

    It is truly a sad day when the Republican party minimizes treason in a selfish attempt to defend a traitor. President Bush has yet to give a clear explanation as to why 2,000 Americans have given their lives in Iraq. But one thing is for sure. It wasn't to defend our right to treason.


    A lot of the national blogs are examining this issue pretty closely but I feel here in Kentucky, we're going through it on a much more personal level because our own state scandal mirrors what's going in Washington. The same typical arrogant corruption that shows absolute disregard for the citizens. At least when the Democrats were in power, they had they knew how to work the crowd. They new how to talk to people. The Republicans show absolute contempt for even the idealistic side of Democrats, which is to say the working men and women and their well being. And I thought we lived in a utilitarian society.

    posted by Stithmeister @ 9:24 PM

    Tories Fighting Labour... Really Sunday, October 16, 2005

    I normally keep the politics on this side of the pond but this story was too good not to mention. The Daily Mirror, a British tabloid reported this and there was something refreshing about this.
    14 October 2005
    Labour and Tory MPs brawl over an email in radio studio
    By Rosa Prince And Kevin Maguire

    LABOUR MP Stephen Pound yesterday branded Tory backbencher Philip Davies "a little squirt" after the two men brawled at a radio station over a scrap of paper.

    The bust-up broke out when law and order spokesman Mr Pound read an embarrassing email about Mr Davies which the Tory tried to grab from him.

    Speaking from the red corner, 57-year-old Mr Pound - who went to hospital with a cracked rib or damaged muscle - declared: "What a pillock. He was knocking me about the control room trying to get the email. This guy has a very short temper and was howling at the moon."

    But over in the blue corner Mr Davies, 33, innocently insisted: "He's pulling everyone's leg, there was no grappling. It was hardly Giant Haystacks against Big Daddy - it was more like handbags at dawn."

    Talksport host Ian Collins, who had invited the two men to discuss their party leaderships on his show, had a ringside view of Tuesday's scrap.

    His verdict? "It was an absolutely ridiculous sight, two grown men in their Savile Row suits brawling as if they were in a playground.

    "They were in a bear hug and really going for it. They were very serious. We broke it up but as they were leaving, one taunted the other and it broke out all over again."

    The email read out by Mr Pound revealed that Stacy Hilliard, an assistant of Mr Davies, had sent out a message asking local Tories to support him by phoning the show.

    It read: "Tomorrow Philip will be on Talksport from 12-1 with Steven (sic) Pound and Simon Hughes. Please let members know so they can call in and support Phil."

    At the end of the show Mr Davies, new MP for Shipley, West Yorks, tried to snatch the note from Mr Pound allegedly sending him flying.

    Later Mr Pound, parliamentary aide to Home Office minister Hazel Blears, was treated at London's St Thomas' Hospital where doctors said he had either a cracked rib or a damaged chest muscle.

    He said: "When I was 32 I never went grappling with older men.

    "This man was embarrassed at the little scam being found out. I've decided he's a little squirt and don't want to give him any more publicity by reporting him to police.

    "At one point it became quite farcical as the producer is blind and we ended up falling over his guide dog.

    "But it's not really funny. It was very undignified. We were toe to toe body-checking each other. That's how I got hurt. I'm not happy about it at all. My rib is really very sore."

    Told that Mr Davies denied his story, he said: "It 's a sign of desperation that he's making these claims. If I were to make up a story, it would be something a bit more exciting than a new Tory losing his cool and attacking me."

    Mr Davies claimed he was unaware of the email and wanted to see it so he could discover who had leaked it.

    He said: "None of this would have happened if he'd kept the email in his pocket. But he brandished it above his head as if he was Neville Chamberlain with the documents promising peace with Hitler.

    "I snatched it off him and he was furiously trying to get it off me pulling at my fingers. In the end the note ripped. I had one half and he had the other. That was it, there was no grappling whatsoever. There's no way on God's earth he could have hurt his rib. If he went to hospital, he's obviously done it for effect."

    Mr Davies accused Mr Pound of "having it in" for him because during the show, he joked about the Labour MP once being a bus driver.

    He said: "I like to think of myself as a nice guy, and if that's what has upset him I'm prepared to apologise.

    "I don't think there's anything wrong with being a bus driver. It was just banter and I'd hate to think I offended him. I can assure everyone there were no bear hugs. I wouldn't know how to give anyone a bear hug."

    After the radio show the two MPs shared a taxi back to the Commons.

    Meeting Mr Pound the next day, Mr Davies could not let it go and called out "How's your rib?" before adding: "It could have been worse."

    But yesterday he said: "I did see him the next day, and shouted out 'You'll break your rib if you laugh like that, Stephen'.

    "But that's because I thought it was a joke. I didn't believe for one moment he was seriously hurt."

    Married Mr Davies was elected by just 500 votes. On his website he boasts that he campaigned to "Keep the Pound." Dad of two Mr Pound has represented Ealing North since 1997.


    This was just too funny. So, what do you think? David Williams and Ed Worley? Do you think Dan Mongiardo vs. Dan Kelley? Or let's go to the big leagues and say Senator Clinton vs. Senator Santorum. I think my money would be on Hillary. She's meaner.

    posted by Stithmeister @ 11:52 PM

    Location: Harrodsburg, Kentucky, United States

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