Saturday, July 15, 2006

Saturday Morning Funnies: The Not-So-Funny-Edition

-AP: Hezbollah: We're ready for 'open war'
-AP: Israel bombs Hezbollah leader's Beirut home
-Washington Post (David Ignatius): Behind the Crisis, A Push Toward War
-Digby: War Cry
-Jonathan Schwarz: The lighter side of widening slaughter in the mideast
-AP: Bush refuses to press Israel for truce]

More Odds And Ends

The week is over, but the turmoil is not. A quick look at some miscellaneous news-

Your tax dollars at work... Reuters reports that "The Iraq war could cost U.S. taxpayers between $202 billion and $406 billion more over the next 10 years, depending on how quickly U.S. force levels can be reduced, congressional budget experts said on Thursday." Emphasis added- this is in addition to the nearly half a trillion already spent! With a record deficit, how can anyone justify continuing to throw this kind of money down this sinkhole?

Meanwhile, Think Progress reminds us that the Senate voted last November, as part of another spending bill, to declare 2006 would be "a period of significant transition" for Iraq and call on the Bush administration "to explain to Congress and the American people its strategy for the successful completion of the mission in Iraq." Nearly a year later and we're still stuck in a holding pattern as the congressional leaders scream 'stay the course!' and throw 'cut and run' talking points at the opposition party, while ignoring the fact that we still seem to have no real plan for dealing with this mess. I have a feeling this November, they will receive a wakeup call.

In related news, the Army decides to stop giving Halliburton a free ride.

And Arianna Huffington wants to know why Democrats are silent on the issue of permanent bases in Iraq.

In lighter Iraq news, Elmo will help explain to children why their parents are being deployed overseas.

Moving on, President Bush and the GOP Congress- in light of numerous abuses and overreach- are struggling to resolve before the midterm elections a series of issues relating to the war on terror (detainee treatment, military tribunals, and eavesdropping). Why? Is the standard 'rubberstamp what the President wants and tell Americans to trust in you' approach no longer working? It seems to me that the best way to go forward is the mea culpa approach... admit that you did it wrong and that you're willing to start over and find agreeable solutions to these serious issues. Have an open, honest debate resulting in solutions which help us combat terrorism, while also adhering to U.S. and international law. Shall I hold my breath?

On a related note, a new AP poll finds that "Americans by an almost 3-to-1 margin hold the GOP-controlled Congress in low regard and profess a desire to see Democrats wrest control after a dozen years of Republican rule" and also finds "a solid percentage of liberals, moderates and even conservatives who say they'll vote Democratic." Don't break out the champagne bottles just yet, my friends; a lot can change in four months. I do think, however, that this good news should maybe give the Democrats the confidence to... ya know, start campaigning already. Grab a Jolt cola and start knocking on some doors, Dems.

Meanwhile, 2006 is looking to be another record hot year. Global warming, you cad! Experts believe that this climate change is responsible for such extreme weather conditions this summer as "moderate to extreme droughts in almost 45 percent of the contiguous United States" while "some areas, such as the Northeast of the country experienced record rainfalls and severe floods."

Speaking of hot... Al Gore is also apparently now a fashion symbol. Who knew?

In other news, someone sent to the NY Times a fake/prank 'anthrax letter', which was actually just generic white powder. I doubt they'll ever catch the anonymous mailer, but I think it's obvious that this was the work of some overenthusiastic Malkin-esque right-winger as part of their anti-NY Times crusade. If my belief is correct, it'd almost be par for the course for them, as they've already accused the paper of treason and advocated the execution of its editors. The Reuters article, to their credit, does allude to this connection.

Finally, President Bush is taking the current Middle East crisis very seriously.

Quote of the Day

"Courage in journalism today takes all the obvious, traditional forms -- reporting from a war zone or from a totalitarian country where a reporter's life or safety are issues. In Washington, D.C., where I work, it's a far less dramatic form of courage if a journalist stands up to a government official or a politician who he or she has reason to believe is not telling the truth or living up to his or her responsibilities...

...A new element of courage in journalism would be for editors and reporters to decide not to cover the President's statements when he -- or any public figure -- repeats essentially what he or she has said before. The Bush team also has brought forward another totally PR gimmick: The President stands before a background that highlights the key words of his daily message. This tactic serves only to reinforce that what's going on is public relations -- not governing. Journalistic courage should include the refusal to publish in a newspaper or carry on a TV or radio news show any statements made by the President or any other government official that are designed solely as a public relations tool, offering no new or valuable information to the public."
--Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus (Fighting back against the PR presidency)

Yes, it is about time the press corps remembered that they are journalists...

...Not stenographers.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Specter: 'President Bush To Consider Pretend Oversight On Spying'!!! :D

Actual compromise... or more masturbatory nonsense from Arlen Specter?

All logic would indicate the latter.
(NOTE: Updates added at the bottom)

AP: Surveillance oversight plan gets a boost
The White House has conditionally agreed to a court review of its controversial eavesdropping program, Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter said Thursday.

Specter said President Bush has agreed to sign legislation that would authorize the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to review the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's most high-profile monitoring operations...

This is what Arlen is celebrating- the President, 5 years after secretly authorizing an illegal and widespread wiretapping program that is known to have targeted innocent Americans with no actual success, agreed to (maybe) let Congress and the courts kind of do their job?


Some revealing passages from the AP article...

Specter said the court would make a one-time review of the program rather than performing ongoing oversight of it.

So basically the program will continue endlessly (warrantless wiretapping of thousands of Americans- and all that that entails)... and there will still be no actual oversight of the program at all. Just a one-time rubberstamp from the FISA court. What a fucking joke.

Furthermore, the bill isn't even binding-
An administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the bill's language gives the president the option of submitting the program to the intelligence court, rather than making the review a requirement.

The official said that Bush will submit to the court review as long the bill is not changed, adding that the legislation preserves the right of future presidents to skip the court review.

Once again, that ol' GOP Congress is giving President Bush the option of obeying the law and the Constitution. No biggee, though. And future Presidents will also have the option to refuse oversight on this indefinite spying justified by our indefinite war.

Conservatives, think you'll be bothered by this when the next Democrat is elected?

And furthermore-
Specter told the committee that the bill, among other things, would:

...Expand the time for emergency warrants secured under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act from three to seven days.

A pointless move. The time for warrants was never the issue, as they could be issued retroactively. The issue was that the President believes that he is above the law. This is a problem that is the root cause of numerous other issues- Guantanamo, torture, etc. Until that problem is resolved, this is all just a farce.

And an early reaction-
The Center for National Security Studies and other civil liberties advocates have consistently faulted Specter's proposals. "They would set up a system of sham judicial review," said the center's director Kate Martin.


Why do Republicans have such a low opinion of our democracy?

Finally, some humor-
Specter said the legislation, which has not yet been made public, was the result of "tortuous" negotiations with the White House since June.

Yes, I imagine Arlen waterboarded Gonzales for hours before he would agree.

A final question... does Sen. Specter still intend to grant amnesty for those who authorized illegal wiretaps?

Fourth Amendment, rest in peace. You will be missed.

[See also previous entry:
Spy Lies

UPDATE: An excellent analysis from Glenn Greenwald- here and here.

UPDATE #2: Josh Marshall looks at an interesting nugget in the Knight-Ridder report.

UPDATE #3: Marty Lederman sums up this constitutional travesty- "So what does Specter do in the wake of the momentous Hamdan decision, which put all the cards in Congress's hands? He introduces a bill, with Administration blessing, that gives the Administration everything it ever wanted, and much, much more. Indeed, come to think of it, the Specter bill is basically the sort of legislation one would expect if the Supreme Court had just held that Congress is powerless to enact legislation constraining the President's 'inherent' war powers -- something that not a single Justice in Hamdan so much as suggested." As I noted above, this really is pathetic. And because the media is labeling all of this as a 'compromise' (!), the public outrage will not be forthcoming.

UPDATE #4: Washington Post editorial- Wiretap Surrender]

Ohh, That Wacky Middle East

Israel, this hasn't been your summer, has it?

AP: Israel intensifies attacks against Lebanon
Israel intensified its attacks against Lebanon on Thursday, imposing a naval blockade, twice hitting Beirut's airport, and blasting two Lebanese army air bases near Syria. Hezbollah fired more than 100 rockets into Israel, which said one also struck the port city of Haifa...

..The crisis began with a Hezbollah raid on Israel that resulted in the capture of two Israeli soldiers...

..The violence reverberated throughout the region and oil prices settled at a new high of $76.70 a barrel...

Buckle up kiddies, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

[PS- President Bush responds. Some thoughts from the blogosphere via Josh Marshall.]

Not So Fast...

The other day I blogged about a news report about how "the Bush administration said Tuesday that all detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and in all other U.S. military custody around the world are entitled to protections under the Geneva Conventions," a decision made in response to the Supreme Court's ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.

As I noted then, some were skeptical of the administration's apparent acceptance of Geneva.

Such skepticism appears to have been warranted, as a new NY Times article would indicate-
A day after saying that terror suspects had a right to protections under the Geneva Conventions, the Bush administration said Wednesday that it wanted Congress to pass legislation that would limit the rights granted to detainees.

The earlier statement had been widely interpreted as a retreat, but testimony to Congress by administration lawyers on Wednesday made clear that the picture was more complicated.

The administration has now abandoned its four-year-old claim that members of Al Qaeda are not protected under the Geneva Conventions, acknowledging that a Supreme Court ruling two weeks ago established as a matter of law that they are. Still, administration lawyers urged Congress to pass legislation that would narrowly define the rights granted to detainees under a provision of the Geneva Conventions known as Common Article Three, which guarantees legal rights “recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.”...

Reuters has a related report on this subject.

Finally, I end with this section from further down in the Times story-
Military lawyers, human rights groups and some lawmakers have warned that an effort by Congress to limit the rights granted to terror suspects under the Geneva Conventions would blacken the United States’ reputation internationally, by effectively announcing to the world that it was reneging on a fundamental and commonly held notion of human rights.

“We should embrace Common Article Three and sing its praises from the rooftops,” Rear Adm. John D. Hutson, a former judge advocate general of the Navy who is retired, told the Armed Services Committee. "To avoid it or try to draft our way out of it is unbecoming the United States."

Many conservatives these days disagree, though.

Some Senators indicate Bush may agree to "prosecute terrorism suspects under a court system based on the Pentagon's Uniform Code of Military Justice." Sen. McCain, before you applaud this move, make sure the President doesn't have his fingers crossed this time. He's tricky like that.]

Novak: 'Why, Yes I Am A Douchebag of Liberty'

With Plamegate apparently going to end with a whimper instead of a bang, Robert Novak (the columnist who first outed Valerie Plame) finally decides to tell all, errr, some.

AP: Novak: Rove was a source in outing Plame
Now that Karl Rove won't be indicted, now that the president won't fire him, now that it really doesn't matter anymore, more details of the Valerie Plame leak investigation trickle out.

In his latest syndicated column released Wednesday, columnist Robert Novak revealed his side of the story in the Plame affair, saying Rove was a confirming source for Novak's story outing the CIA officer, underscoring Rove's role in a leak President Bush once promised to punish.

The columnist said he learned of Plame's CIA employment from a source he still refuses to publicly identify, and then confirmed with Rove and then-CIA spokesman Bill Harlow, whose roles in talking to Novak have been previously reported...

An appreciatedly snarky beginning to this story.

And, yes, Karl Rove still works for the White House. Why he even just got a raise!

More on Novak's revelations (or lack thereof) from Think Progress and Crooks and Liars.

Eric Alterman and CNN's Jack Cafferty also throw in their two cents on this story.

But the saga continues!

AP: Former CIA officer sues Cheney over leak
The CIA officer whose identity was leaked to reporters sued Vice President Dick Cheney, his former top aide and presidential adviser Karl Rove on Thursday, accusing them and other White House officials of conspiring to destroy her career.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Valerie Plame and her husband, Joseph Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador, accused Cheney, Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby of revealing Plame's CIA identity in seeking revenge against Wilson for criticizing the Bush administration's motives in Iraq...

...The lawsuit accuses Cheney, Libby, Rove and 10 unnamed administration officials or political operatives of putting the Wilsons and their children's lives at risk by exposing Plame...

They have also set up a website with information on their lawsuit.

Odds and Ends

Some miscellaneous- but important- news...

India is recovering after deadly bombings in Mumbai.

A possible result of global warming... "Trees could be growing in the Antarctic within a century" according to scientists, an AFP report explains. Let that one rattle around in your brain for a while.

Republicans are not interested in renewing the Voting Rights Act. Democrats are fighting that stance, however.

(UPDATE: Good news... The House has voted to renew the Voting Rights Act, with no changes)

Republicans are also planning to crack down on leaks. Maybe they should start with their own sink.

Sen. Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is once again delaying the "completion of Phase II of the investigation into the manipulation of pre-war intelligence". Surprise, surprise... it's unlikely he will complete it until after the midterm elections.

In good news, Iraqi forces have taken full security control from coalition forces in one province of Iraq.

In bad news, the overall situation on the ground remains as bad as ever.

In other news, the White House is actually paying someone $106,641 to be the "Director for Lessons Learned". Heckuva job.

Finally, the return of conveniently-timed terror warnings/plots indicates the elections are near.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

GOP Congress: "Minimum Wage Increase?...

...We got your minimum wage increase right here!!"

ThinkProgress: Top White House Staffers Pocket $4,200 Raise, Fight $2 Minimum Wage Increase

Democrats, please add this to the list of things to mention to voters this Fall. Thanks*.

[See also previous entry:
Stop The Train, I Wanna Get Off

*Assuming you're actually planning to start, ohh I dunno, campaigning at some point.]

Major Announcement: Bush Administration Recognizes Detainees' Geneva Rights?

The ramifications of the Supreme Court Hamdan decision are already being felt...

AP: U.S. will give detainees Geneva rights
The Bush administration said Tuesday that all detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and in all other U.S. military custody around the world are entitled to protections under the Geneva Conventions.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said the policy, outlined in a new Defense Department memo, reflects the recent 5-3 Supreme Court decision blocking military tribunals set up by President Bush...

...Word of the Bush administration's new stance came as the Senate Judiciary Committee opened hearings Tuesday on the Guantanamo issue — which is testing unity among Republicans on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers trying to decide in an election season how military detainees should be tried and what their rights should be...

A great sign of progress and vindication for critics of the President's detainee policies since 2002.

Money quote from Press Secretary Tony Snow: "It's not really a reversal of policy."

Actually, Tony, that's exactly what it is.

Congress is also now debating how to proceed (with military tribunals, etc) in light of the Supreme Court ruling. I am not sure, especially with the Republicans in charge, that I will approve of whatever piece of legislation is eventually agreed upon, but it is important that this debate is finally taking place- publicly. This should have happened five years ago, but President Bush decided he could do whatever the hell he wanted, regardless of whether it was legal or right. The Supreme Court humbled him. And now we start again.

Finally, some remain skeptical of the hand the White House is playing here.

Conservative blog looks at the detail and says... don't believe the hype?

[Related reading:
-Washington Post: Rethinking Embattled Tactics in Terror War
-Newsweek: The Gitmo Fallout- The fight over the Hamdan ruling heats up—as fears about its reach escalate.
-Financial Times: Pentagon in U-turn on Geneva rights for detainees
-Glenn Greenwald: Real dangers face Bush officials post-Hamdan, and they know it
-Andrew Sullivan: The End of Torture?]

Spy Lies

Remember these quotes?

The Washington Post this past January...
Vice President Cheney said yesterday that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks might have been prevented if the Bush administration had had the power to secretly monitor conversations involving two of the hijackers without court orders...
Cheney said if the administration had the power “before 9/11, we might have been able to pick up on two of the hijackers who flew a jet into the Pentagon.”

...And CIA Director (and former NSA chief) Michael Hayden, also in January-
“Had this program been in effect prior to 9/11, it is my professional judgment that we would have detected some of the 9/11 al Qaeda operatives in the United States, and we would have identified them as such,” said Hayden, who now is principal deputy director of national intelligence.

Also- Attorney General Gonzales' recent testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Well hold onto your monocles, because Bloomberg News recently reported this-
The U.S. National Security Agency asked AT&T Inc. to help it set up a domestic call monitoring site seven months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, lawyers claimed June 23 in court papers filed in New York federal court.

The allegation is part of a court filing adding AT&T, the nation's largest telephone company, as a defendant in a breach of privacy case filed earlier this month on behalf of Verizon Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. customers. The suit alleges that the three carriers, the NSA and President George W. Bush violated the Telecommunications Act of 1934 and the U.S. Constitution, and seeks money damages.

``The Bush Administration asserted this became necessary after 9/11,'' plaintiff's lawyer Carl Mayer said in a telephone interview. ``This undermines that assertion.''


If more Bush administration lies fall in the woods and no one is around to care, does it make a sound?

Amazing how quickly this scandal is fading away, no? When the story first broke last December, Americans were outraged. Former Nixon White House counsel John Dean noted that, in acknowledging and defending the program, President Bush was "the first president to admit to an impeachable offense." This was serious stuff. And now here we are seven months later and our attention span has shifted; we just don't care anymore. If 24-hour cable channels, etc, had existed in 1972, Richard Nixon might've served out his second term in full. The other problem is that the more Big Brother revelations come out, the more the American people are beaten down by them and just give in. As an AP article on NYC subway bag searches said "the practice once thought of as a temporary imposition, with the potential to trample civil rights, remains in effect and is barely causing a stir." This sort of gradual acceptance is at play here in the still-unfolding NSA scandal.

I can't think of any way to reverse that. And that's a depressing thought.

The Great Society summarizes the significance of this report-
This argument completely undermines the President’s justification for completely ignoring the 1978 FISA law. Ever since it was disclosed by the treasonous, murderous plotters at the New York Times, the White House and their backwash of supporters charged that the program was necessary to fight terrorism since 9/11. Undoubtedly, these same people will hold steadfast and claim it was necessary prior to September 11.

But, given that the administration and the NSA had seven months prior to 9/11 to catch the hijackers and came up with nothing, zero, zippo, zilch — doesn’t that suggest that this program does not work?

Well they never could prove that it did, could they?

Finally, this is in addition to news via Rep. Hoekstra (R-MI) that the "Bush administration briefed the [House Intelligence Committee] panel on a 'significant' intelligence program only after a government whistle-blower alerted him to its existence and he pressed President Bush for details... 'But in this case, there was at least one major — what I consider significant — activity that we had not been briefed on that we have now been briefed on. And I want to set the standard there, that it is not optional for this president or any president or people in the executive community not to keep the intelligence committees fully informed of what they are doing,' [Hoekstra said]".

Translation: The President is keeping even more programs secret.

Are they legal? Do they violate the Constitution? Once again, that's not for us to know.

[PS- Related reading:
*NY Times: Congressman Says Program Was Disclosed by Informant
*TruthDig: Truthdigger of the Week: Rep. Peter Hoekstra]

[PPS- They were lying about the Abramoff visits too.]

End Of 'Cowboy Diplomacy'?

That's the much-hyped big news from Time magazine.

All the good feeling at the White House on July 4 couldn't hide the fact that he finds himself in a world of hurt. A grinding and unpopular war in Iraq, a growing insurgency in Afghanistan, an impasse over Iran's nuclear ambitions, a brewing war between Israel and the Palestinians--the litany of global crises would test the fortitude of any President, let alone a second-termer with an approval rating mired in Warren Harding territory. And there's no relief in sight...

There's relief for Bush. January 2009. That's when he cuts and runs.

Despite appearances, the White House insists that Bush's goals have not changed. "The President has always stressed that different circumstances warrant different responses," says White House counselor Dan Bartlett. "The impression that the doctrine of pre-emption was the only guiding foreign policy light is not true. Iraq was a unique circumstance in history, and the sense of urgency on certain decisions in the early part of the first term was reflective of a nation that had to take decisive action after being attacked."

Sorry Dan, but preemptive war and unliteral action wasn't part of some broader fantasy policy, it was the whole policy. These people are hoping most Americans don't remember the days of "with us or against us", but they'd better work harder if they want to whitewash such recent history.

"We put three countries on notice--Iraq, Iran and North Korea--and we attacked one of them pre-emptively," says retired Marine Corps General Joseph Hoar, who commanded the U.S. Central Command from 1991 to '94. "Now we find that was a put-up job. Meanwhile, North Korea and Iran have chosen different routes than what we wanted them to take

A key fact... Bush's policies haven't just failed; they backfired on him completely.

Among ordinary Muslims, outrage at the bloodshed in Iraq and the excesses of the Administration's campaign against al-Qaeda--in particular, reported abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay prisons--has strengthened the appeal of Islamists opposed to the West. As a result, elections are producing governments more hospitable to extremism, not less. Exhibit A was the election of Hamas, a group the U.S. and Europe classify as a terrorist organization, to run the Palestinian Authority. In response to Hamas' victory, the U.S. has led an international ban on aid to the democratically elected Palestinian government.

Related to the above point of backfiring (I gave my thoughts on the Hamas victory in January).

And another point related to all of that-
For most outside the U.S., the threat of suicide bombings is a less pressing concern than issues like health care, education, job security and the environment. The longer the U.S. bases its foreign policy around the single-minded pursuit of Islamic terrorists, the less influence it is likely to have.

Bingo. And while his cult-like followers still can't see it, Bush is starting to figure that out.

At the same time, there is a danger that Bush's belated embrace of conventional diplomacy will turn out to be a cover for disengagement, at a time when U.S. leadership is still required to fend off civil war in Iraq and deter the ambitions of Iran and North Korea--to say nothing of al-Qaeda. We are witnessing an overhaul of the old Bush Doctrine, but the question is, Can the U.S. find a new one to take its place?

I'll come back to this last part shortly.

There seems to be two key points here...

First, that this shift is not due to a conscious choice or the influence of moderates like Ms. Rice, but rather the inevitable result of their policies imploding all around them. Had things not gone as bad in Iraq, many preemptive wars would have followed (with Iran first on the list for the Rummy 'shock and awe' treatment). But their ideas and policies have failed and they're left to begrudgingly accept diplomacy and multilateralism while our resources regroup and recover. Or, as DK at Talking Points Memo notes, "The fact is Bush has boxed himself in, frittering away lives and treasure, and leaving himself with few options. He deserves no more credit for a policy shift than the man serving a life sentence who declares that he will henceforth be law-abiding."

The second point, related to that last section I highlighted from the Time piece, is that there is no discernable new policy in place following this implosion of the 'cowboy diplomacy'. Kevin Drum aptly noted last week that "the Bush administration literally seems to have no foreign policy at all anymore. They have no serious plan for Iraq, no plan for Iran, no plan for North Korea, no plan for democracy promotion, no plan for anything." I gave my thoughts on that last Thursday.

We'll see what really comes of this shift. It is a welcome one, of course.

[PS- Ol' John Podhoretz doesn't like this, no sir. As amusing as he is predictable.]

"It's a 9/11 thing, I think."

[See previous entry to understand this is not that far-fetched:
Truth, Justice, and the Malkin Way]

General Update

Howdy all. Sorry for the lack of updates in the last few days; I'm leaving for vacation next week and have just been trying to finish up alot of stuff at work before I go (plus a pool/BBQ invite on Sunday that could not be turned down), so haven't had the time. I do have a bunch of stories- more revelations of lies surrounding Bush's Big Brother programs, the supposed 'retiring' of Bush's cowboy diplomacy, etc- I plan to blog about later. A few odds and ends first....

I read this headline this morning: "Rumsfeld says Taliban will be defeated"

It's like deja vu all over again!!!!

Of course I could go on a rant about how these idiots have failed in our mission in Afghanistan and how we should be ashamed that coming up on the 5th anniversary of 9/11 that the Taliban still control much of that country and that Osama is still releasing his podcasts secure in the knowledge that we stopped trying to capture him years ago.... or a general rant about what a deplorable state Afghanistan is in and how little real progress we've made there... or another rant about how if Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld had stay focused on the real war that had 90%+ of the country's support and not given up on it so they could have their pet project of an unjustified war in Iraq that maybe we wouldn't be in this unwinnable mess right now nor would the administration be in such dire straits politically.

But I will refrain.

In other news, the latest comic-book-level terror plot (and in an election year- *gasp*) adds a new twist... "The Lebanese man accused of plotting to destroy and flood Hudson River train tunnels also discussed the possibility of setting wildfires in California to inflict harm on the U.S., a federal official said Monday." Smokey The Bear = pissed.

A new poll finds that "roughly 2 in 3 Americans urge a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, with 31% wanting this to start immediately." And yet, most politicians are still too scared to take this position. The American people are ahead of Washington yet again. Snarky quote from the article #1- "Suggestions that the United States engage in some type of gradual withdrawal increase significantly as educational level increases." Natch. Snarky quote #2- "only 54% understand the Democrats' view--whatever that is." Oop.

Finally, President Bush may use his first veto to stop stem-cell research. The Democrats could only be so lucky.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Do-Nothing Congress

Saw this Reuters article last night; enjoyed it immensely...

Reuters: Congress faces long list of unfinished tasks
U.S. lawmakers returning from a weeklong break on Monday will take up a long list of unfinished -- and possibly insurmountable -- tasks that could help decide whether voters will re-elect them in November.

Action or inaction on a series of contentious issues including immigration, pensions, energy and federal spending will determine whether this Congress sheds the impression that it has made few legislative achievements...

..."Historically this is certainly not a Congress that will be remembered," said Larry Sabato, of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. "There is just not much there."...

Ahhhh, Congress. The lazy college slacker who does all his term papers the night before they're due. Stock up on the Jolt Cola and ginkgo biloba, our dear GOP leaders, November's only a few months away and you're averaging a D- at best.

PS- They haven't done nothing, though. They did try to save Terri Schiavo and stop gays from marrying.