November 23, 2007 archive

Meet “The Democrats” — The New Party of the Rich

And, so it should be. Self-described Democrats are generally better educated than Republicans, and they are more likely to view society as an interrelated system that is as strong as its weakest links. Thus, Democrats are more inclined to care about the health and welfare their fellowman.

According to a recent Heritage Foundation study, Democrats control the majority of the country’s wealthiest congressional jurisdictions. Most of Americas wealthiest households are located in the 18 states where Democrats control both Senate seats. The Heritage Foundation looked at two categories of taxpayers: single filers with income above $100,000 and married filers with income above $200,000.

Are they wealthy because they are Democrats?

Or, are they Democrats because they are wealthy?

Four at Four

Some afternoon news and open thread.

  1. The Los Angeles Times reports on Justice Stevens and the tipping point. “Justice John Paul Stevens, 87, last week became the second-oldest justice in the Supreme Court’s history… Although Stevens has given no hint of retiring and shows no sign of slowing down — in the courtroom, he looks and sounds much as he did 20 years ago — the question of his tenure looms over the court and the 2008 presidential campaign. If there is a tipping point in the Supreme Court’s future, it is likely to come with his departure. What kind of justice would replace him — and how strong the court’s slim conservative majority would be — may well depend on who is elected president.”

  2. The Guardian reports another person has been killed by police in Canada by Taser. So, Inquiries launched after Canadian stun gun deaths. “Canadian authorities have launched urgent reviews into the safety of Taser stun guns following two recent deaths. Yesterday, a 45-year-old man died while in police custody after being shocked by the 5,000-volt weapon… Canada’s provincial Nova Scotia government today began an inquiry into Thursday’s death. Police said the victim had been taken into custody on assault charges just after midnight on Wednesday, when he became violent. The man then tried to escape from the police station, but one officer used a stun gun to shoot him in the thigh. Emergency services took the victim to hospital where he was assessed, deemed to be healthy, and released back into police custody. The man, whose identity has not yet been released, died 30 hours after being shocked.”

  3. The Denver Post reports Polis blogging from Baghdad about the war. “Congressional candidate Jared Polis, in a late-night blogging session from his Baghdad hotel, said Wednesday that all U.S. senators and representatives should see the war firsthand. The Boulder Democrat.. was hit with few confrontational questions during his hour-long blog chat on the political website Polis, a multimillionaire Internet entrepreneur, acknowledged he is covering his trip expenses as well as those of the Mile High United Way representative traveling with him.” Polis has also been posting on Daily Kos.

  4. According to The Christian Science Monitor, On election eve, Australia’s opposition leader says climate change is his no. 1 priority. “Kevin Rudd, a bookish former diplomat who heads the opposition Labor Party, has pledged to sign the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, a move which would leave the US as the only developed nation not to have ratified the treaty. Mr. Rudd, a fluent Chinese speaker, has also promised to withdraw Australia’s small but politically significant contingent of 550 combat troops from Iraq… [Rudd] said he would personally represent Australia at a UN climate change meeting of environment ministers next month in Bali to discuss the next stage of the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. Ratifying the Kyoto treaty would be a radical departure from Prime Minister John Howard, a climate change skeptic and close friend of US President Bush. ‘Australia needs new leadership on climate change. Mr. Howard remains in a state of denial,’ Rudd said.”

There’s a bonus story below the fold…

Great Holiday Gift Idea

I refuse to go shopping today. But having the day off from work did give me some time to think about what to do with my holiday gift list. Being the couch-potato pajama-blogging slouch that I am, I thought I’d look around the internet for some good ideas.

I don’t buy for many people, but one of my biggest challenges is buying for my 7 neices and nephews. They range in age from 10-19 and none of them live near me. I haven’t seen most of them for over a year. Now that they are mostly into adolescence, the line between kewl and nerdy is pretty thin and I don’t want to make any mistakes. For years I bought them books for birthdays and christmas. But I just don’t know enough about their tastes to pick well this year.

Finally, all but one of them live in consumer-driven Dallas, Texas. They are being productively molded by that culture and the holidays are a crash course in the art of always wanting more “stuff.”  

Gen. Sanchez: Bring the troops home; New Report: 20,000 troop brain traumas unreported

The Associated Press reports:

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top commander in Iraq shortly after the fall of Baghdad, said this week he supports Democratic legislation that calls for most troops to come home within a year.

The remarks will be aired Saturday, as part of the weekly Democratic radio address, and right wing blowholes will undoubtedly begin emitting noxious fumes about General Sanchez hating America. Let the facts speak for themselves: General Sanchez was there; he knows what he’s talking about; the gasbag pundits sit in hermetically sealed sound studios spewing lies.

The legislation, passed by the House, blocked by Senate Republicans, and threatened with a veto by Bush, would have paid for further combat operations, while setting a goal to end combat operations by the middle of next December. It wasn’t even a hard demand to end combat operations, but even just setting such a goal was too odious for the chickenhawk warmongers of the Republican Party.

The Pentagon, of course, announced on Tuesday that they will begin laying off up to 200,000 civilian employees and contractors, unless Congress passes a bill Bush will sign. Nice framing, that. What the Pentagon really means is that they will start laying off 200,000 civilian employees unless the spoiled brat Bush gets his way.

General Sanchez takes a certain blaming-the-victim angle to his explanation, pointing out that our troops are sacrificing life and limb for an Iraqi government that continues to fail to govern. Of course, after blowing their country all to hell, failing to repair the damage, and inciting a civil war, while the majority of foreign fighters entering the country to add to the mayhem come from our ostensible allies, it’s probably not the easiest thing in the world for the factions of our puppet government to settle millenia-old differences. Even so, there’s also a pragmatic realism to the general’s comments, for the Iraqi political leaders are continually failing to meet the benchmarks that are supposed to measure their progress. They are, in fact, not doing the job our troops are supposedly there to give them a chance to do.

“There is no evidence that the Iraqis will choose to do so in the near future or that we have an ability to force that result,” he said.

Sanchez added that the House bill “makes the proper preparation of our deploying troops a priority and requires the type of shift in their mission that will allow their numbers to be reduced substantially.”

Meanwhile, the cost to our troops has once again been revealed to have been understated. USA Today reports:

At least 20,000 U.S. troops who were not classified as wounded during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan have been found with signs of brain injuries, according to military and veterans records compiled by USA TODAY.

The data, provided by the Army, Navy and Department of Veterans Affairs, show that about five times as many troops sustained brain trauma as the 4,471 officially listed by the Pentagon through Sept. 30. These cases also are not reflected in the Pentagon’s official tally of wounded, which stands at 30,327.

There’s not much more to say, except this: end the war and bring the troops home!  

Giuliani: Closer to Corrupt Criminal Kerik Than His Kids

For starters, I must give a hat tip to my good friend, thereisnospoon, for mentioning this frame on our BlogTalkRadio show, “Don’t Hijack My Thread!” when I was talking about how Rudy’s tremendous and consistent showing of bad judgment when it comes to who he aligns himself with and what his major decisions and actions are.

And for anyone who still can overlook his lack of “family values” when it comes to multiple marriages, or his (conflicting) views on a woman’s right to privacy in her personal and medical decisions, surely will at least be a bit disturbed by the fact that Guiliani is closer with the corrupt and indicted Bernard Kerik than he is with his own children. Whether this kills him in the primary battle or the general election, I think this is a simple and direct reminder of what the “strong on crime former Federal prosecutor” Rudolph Giuliani deems to be important when choosing his relationships.


Anglo Disease: Black Friday Blues

Now that the economy is heading south, worries are being increasingly expressed about the great unwinding, and one sees increasingly frantic attempts to rewrite the economic history of the past few years.

On the eve of the famous Black Friday, one of, or the busiest shopping day in the year, I’d like to point out a column written in the Financial Times, Europe’s main English language business paper, which attempts to spin current worries about the economy on a grand scale. As the author, John Plender, explicitly writes about the “Anglo economies”, I feel it is appropriate to incorporate that in my “Anglo Disease” series (see the links at the bottom for earlier instalments).

This was posted on DailyKos yesterday, but may be worth a read for those of you that have not seen it. It was originally posted on European Tribune.

Tabasco: Let The Fingerpointing Begin

Corruption, in addition to climate change, may have been responsible for the devastation caused by the Tabasco floods.  You’ll remember that floods in Tabasco last month, caused by up to 30 inches of rain, ruined all of the crops, stopped oil production, and caused one million people, about half the state’s population to be displaced.  About 70,000 people were in shelters in Villahermosa and another 20,000 were living on their roofs.  Indigenous people in the interior found themselves stuck on islands in the flood water.  And recently, it was reported that the entire state was being sprayed with insecticides to prevent an outbreak of dengue, a mosquito born disease similar to malaria.  280 people are still unaccounted for.

Today the AP, comparing the situation in Tabasco to Katrina, reported:

The government knew Mexico’s Gulf coast was a disaster in waiting long before three rivers surged out of their banks, flooding nearly every inch of the low-lying state of Tabasco and leaving more than 1 million homes under water.

But officials admit they never finished a $190 million levee project that was supposed to have been done by 2006 and would have held back much of the rising waters that flooded Tabasco at the end of October.

The tragedy was reminiscent of the Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005, when levees failed and swamped much of New Orleans, forcing people to flee by wading through dirty waters. In Tabasco, days of relentless rain – not a hurricane – were to blame.

Creating the War OF Terror

Larisa at-Largely reports:

Well, apparently (and again) we find out that the majority of the “terrorists” we are fighting “over there” are actually a our own allies, or as the terrorists call themselves, Our Allies in Iraq (OAI):

Saudi Arabia and Libya, both considered allies by the United States in its fight against terrorism, were the source of about 60 percent of the foreign fighters who came to Iraq in the past year to serve as suicide bombers or to facilitate other attacks, according to senior American military officials.

The data come largely from a trove of documents and computers discovered in September, when American forces raided a tent camp in the desert near Sinjar, close to the Syrian border. The raid’s target was an insurgent cell believed to be responsible for smuggling the vast majority of foreign fighters into Iraq.

The most significant discovery was a collection of biographical sketches that listed hometowns and other details for more than 700 fighters brought into Iraq since August 2006.”

Ah, the House of Saud, with an ally such as this, who needs any enemies? They are, after all, our number one arms client, and so what if they dabble in murdering Americans, when multi-billion dollar contracts are on the table (where apparently impeachment [and Iraq occupation defunding] is not).

(italicized addition mine)

You’ve gotta feel for George Bush. Not enough people are buying his WOT fantasy, so as with any other BS product, he simply creates the problem to help him sell his solution.

And lives? Big deal. Lot’s more where they came from…

Thanks a lot, George.

Pony Party, Black Friday

So, what are you doing today?

working?  shopping?  spending time with your family?

I’ve had a hectic week…and we’ve got an early appointment today…but I hope YOU are all sleeping in, so I don’t expect to see too many of you here today….which is as it should be…  😉

Ponies don’t accept recommends…


Pat Buchanan Is An Effing Moron

I can say nothing else about the man.  He’s deficient in every mental faculty save the ability to write apparently “dog-whistle” columns celebrating the “good old days” when people were “free” to hang blacks from trees, beat gays to death and ensconce themselves in “Whites Only” clubs…


Read some of his latest lunatic ramblings decrying the protection of gay’s jobs and employment;

What are you reading?

Just the usual list this week.  Suggestions for topics are welcome.

If you like to trade books, try BookMooch.

What are you reading?  is crossposted to daily Kos

Docudharma Times Friday Nov.23

This is an Open Thread: Hey don’t pull the string

Friday’s Headlines:Cellphone Tracking Powers on Request: Abortion foes’ strategy advances : D.B. Cooper, where are you?: Returnees Find a Capital Transformed


Cellphone Tracking Powers on Request

Secret Warrants Granted Without Probable Cause:

By Ellen Nakashima

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, November 23, 2007; Page A01

Federal officials are routinely asking courts to order cellphone companies to furnish real-time tracking data so they can pinpoint the whereabouts of drug traffickers, fugitives and other criminal suspects, according to judges and industry lawyers.

In some cases, judges have granted the requests without requiring the government to demonstrate that there is probable cause to believe that a crime is taking place or that the inquiry will yield evidence of a crime. Privacy advocates fear such a practice may expose average Americans to a new level of government scrutiny of their daily lives.

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