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October 18, 2006

This is it! Man the torpedoes!! We are under attack!!!

What fools we've been -- sharks, giant squid, killer whales... we've been so obsessed with the giant teeth and beaks of certain sea creatures that we missed the peril in our midst. First they came for Steve Irwin -- so that we would have no one to defend us. I have had my own close encounter with a sting ray. It was back in the summer of 1990. I was snorkeling in the bay of Catalina Island, off the coast of California, and I luckily dodged one that headed straight for me down a narrow channel between two rock formations. Perhaps ... if only I hadn't been so blessed, thousands could have been saved. For now, just hours ago, according to a story that just dropped on the Miami Herald's web site, a sting ray actually LEAPED FROM THE WATER AND STABBED A BOATER IN THE CHEST.


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STINGRAYS! The black-cloaked agents of evil!

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STINGRAYS! The soft-underbellied faces of death!


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STINGRAYS! The sand-hidden harbingers of doom!


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STINGRAYS! The ... WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU PEOPLE DOING?! Get the hell out of the water!
But no ... it's too late for those poor devils. They're already dead. They just don't know it yet.


October 16, 2006

GOP abandons U.S. Senate

OK, so the title may be a bit of an exaggeration -- but not much. Basically, the GOP is already screwed in the House and now, they've probably jumped the shark in the Senate as well. In a New York Times story in Sunday's paper, writer Adam Negourney reported that the GOP has decided to abandon the Ohio Senate race, essentially conceding that Republican Mike DeWine will be horse-whipped by Democrat Sherrod Brown.

But, that is only the latest in a series of calculated withdrawals.

The GOP has already essentially conceded Senate elections in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Montana, meaning the Democrats will pick up those four seats.

Instead, the Republicans are using all their cash in Tennessee, Missouri and Virginia. And that, mind you, is a shit-ton of cash. The GOP enjoys a huge monetary advantage over the Dems -- but that's business as usual, of course. When you represent corporate greedheads and religio-crazy megachurches, the money flows. Anyway, the Democrats need to pick up six seats to take over the Senate. With four already under their belt, they need to hold onto Bob Menendez's seat in New Jersey (the only Senate race left in which the GOP is still spending money and actually trying to pick up a Dem. seat) and take two of the aforementioned three races in order to win.

Unfortunately for the GOP, that should be easier than one would think. New Jersey has not elected a Republican senator in 30 years. The GOP simply doesn't have the numbers to pull off an upset in the Garden State. Out of about 5 million registered voters in the state, 23 percent are Dems, 18 percent are Republican, with the huge remainder voting overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates in most races. The state boasts a Democratic governor, two Democratic senators and Democratic majorities in both houses of state congress. Although this is a tight race, Menendez will pull it off in the end.

Which means the GOP has to hold onto two out of three seats in Tennessee, Missouri and Virginia. In Virginia, Republican Senator George Allen was already tanking after the racist slurs. Then, last week, the Associated Press reported that Allen had violated Seante ethics rules by failing to report stock options he had with companies that he helped win lucrative government contracts. And then, as if all that wasn't enough, an intrepid blogger at DailyKos revealed over the weekend that George Allen has a criminal record that he didn't divulge. Oops. So, Allen, already in very deep shit, is set to wallow even deeper in the mire. The senator says that the arrest warrant issued for him in 1974 was due to fishing without a license, but no one believes him.

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Senator George Allen, racist criminal

Meanwhile, the latest polls in both the Missouri and Tennessee races have the Democrats pulling ahead. In Missouri, the latest Survey USA poll, from Oct. 12, has McCaskill ahead 51-42. While a 9 point lead may not seem like much, for a challenger to have 9 points over an incumbent is a pretty big deal. And then there's Tennessee. The latest poll there comes from Rasmussen, which shows Democrat Harold Ford with a five point lead over Republican Bob Corker. Given the slow but steady trend toward Ford, this latest poll has caused Rasmussen to shift this state from "toss up" to "leans Democratic."

So, overall, the GOP is hoping that lightning will strike twice in the 2006 Senate race. It probably won't happen, though it is a very close thing. The Dems are almost guaranteed to win the House, probably by a 20-seat margin or more (by 21 seats if you believe me) and will probably take the Senate as well, though by a decidedly less-impressive margin.

What could be very interesting is if the Dems win the two out of three they need, and then Joe Lieberman threatens to go GOP in Connecticut. I don't think that will happen, simply because Joe cares most of all about Joe, and he almost certainly intends to run for re-election in 2012. Given that, he knows as well as anybody else that he'll have to caucus with the Dems if he wants any hope of re-election.

But what would be even more interesting is if the Dems won 7 seats and told Joe to go to hell. If they win the four seats the GOP has abandoned and also pick up Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia while holding onto New Jersey, it can happen. If the Dems win six seats, Joe gets his choice of committee chairs. If they win seven seats, Joe's relegated to the back of the room for the next six years. That should be fun to watch, no matter what the outcome.

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Senator Joe Lieberman, a party of one

October 12, 2006

I'm just gonna let this story speak for itself

Canada Troops Battle 10-foot Afghan Marijuana Plants

Jeb fleeing to the closet

I recently wrote an entry on this, but the picture's worth a thousand words.

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Thanks to indymedia, which often does more good work in a week than mainstream journalism outlets do all year.

October 10, 2006

Prediction: The Democrats will take 21 seats in the House in the November election

I've been working on this one for a while, adding and subtracting, rethinking and so on. But I think I've finally got it where I want it. I now predict that Democrats will win 21 seats currently held by the GOP in the November election. Conversely, the GOP will win no Democratic seats.

Here's how it breaks down:

Dem. House pickups

Arizona, District 8
Republican Rep. Jim Kolbe is retiring, and his shoes will be filled by a Democrat. For reasons that I don’t claim to understand, the national GOP party has refused to back GOP candidate Randy Graf, pretty much conceding this district to Democrat Gabrielle Giffords. It seems like a petulant move, with Arizona Republicans voting for Graf in the GOP primary over the Republican Party’s chosen one, Steve Huffman. Either way, it’s a win for Giffords and the Dems.

Colorado, District 7
Republican Bob Beauprez is running for governor, and his seat is being contested by Republican Rick O’Connell and Democrat Ed Perlmutter. Some polls have Perlmutter leading by as many as 20 points, and this district went to Kerry in the 2004 election. Nuff said.

Connecticut, District 2
Republican Rob Simmons is simply a casualty of the times. This district went Kerry by more than 10 points in 2004. No other incumbent Republican in the country has a district that went to Kerry by double digits. Worse, sentiment toward Republicans in this district has only grown more sour in the last two years. Ignore polls that give Simmons a 12- or 14-point lead over admittedly goofy Joe Courtney. This race is Courtney’s to lose.

Connecticut, District 4
Despite his popularity in the district, Republican Christopher Shays has been unable to shake Democrat Diane Farrell. Kerry won here in 2004 by 6 points, and Shays himself only won re-election by a 4 point margin that year, and that was also against Farrell, but in a much kinder climate.

Connecticut, District 5
As in Florida’s District 22, long-term incumbency is a problem this time around, as Washington is seen as a corrupting influence, one whose likelihood at corrupting a politician increases exponentially the longer the politician is there. Republican Nancy Johnson has held this seat for 24 years. Democrat Chris Murphy is tied with her in the polls. With a bit of cash infusion to country the $2.6 million Johnson has on hand, he should pull this off.

Florida, District 16
If Mark Foley’s old district goes GOP, I will personally eat a cow. Although Republican Joe Negron is now running, GOP voters will have to check the Foley box — not bloody likely. Democrat Tim Mahoney should take this easily.

Florida, District 22
Between the Foley scandal, the anger over the rip-off prescription drug plan among seniors (this district is full of’em) and the fact that Kerry took this district by 4 points, Republican Clay Shaw, after more than two decades of so-so representation will finally get kicked to the curb, replaced by Democrat Ron Klein.

Illinois, District 6
The polls have this district tied up between Democrat Tammy Duckworth and Republican Peter Roskam. But I haven’t seen any polls that came out since the last debate, in which Roskam idiotically accused Duckworth of wanting to “cut and run” in Iraq, a country in which Duckworth recently left both of her legs.

Indiana, District 2
Incumbent Republican Chris Chocola is trailing in the polls to Democratic candidate Joe Donnelly. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re an incumbent and you’re trailing, you’re probably screwed.

Indiana, District 8
Democratic challenger Brad Ellsworth is leading Republican incumbent Jeff Hostettler by double digits. Period.

Iowa, District 1
This open seat, formerly Republican, is the Democrats’ to lose. Republican Mike Whalen has not led in a single poll, the district went to Kerry by 7 points in 2004, and Democrat Bruce Braley has thus far defined the race, despite Whalen’s desperate attempts to paint him as “anti-troop.”

Minnesota, District 6
Former Republican Rep. Mark Kennedy is in the midst of a losing battle for an open Senate seat against Democrat Amy Klobuchar. Democrat Patty Wetterling, who lost to Klobuchar in the Democratic Senate primary, will beat out Republican Michele Bachmann for this seat. At a time when Bush and the far-right are looking crazier and crazier, running an extreme conservative like Bachmann in a relatively moderate district was a foolish notion.

Nevada, District 3
Tessa Hafen should squeal by to take out Incumbent Jon Porter, for several reasons. First, though most political handicappers insist on calling the 3rd district “Republican,” Bush won by only 1 percentage point, 50-49, in 2004. Additionally, Porter was last re-elected with only 54 percent of the vote. Plus, a minimum-wage bill on the ballot will help ensure a large Democratic turnout. All these things add up to victory for Hafen, the little substitute teacher who could.

New Mexico, District 1
Incumbent Republican Heather Wilson, who earlier this year was considered a possibility for a Senate run against Jeff Bingaman, will go down to Democratic contender Patricia Madrid. The latest polls have the pair tied, but Wilson won re-election last time by a relatively narrow margin of 8 points, and this district went to Kerry by 3 points in 2004.

Ohio, District 1
Democrat John Cranley has successfully painted Republican incumbent Steve Chabot as a Bush stooge. Chabot, meanwhile, has failed to counter this, instead screaming about immigration – a somewhat silly issue to harp on in this middle-of-the-Midwest, landlocked district.

Ohio, District 18
After Bob Ney went down to federal bribery charges, Republican Joy Padgett replaced him. But being the successor to the corrupt Ney, and having formerly worked in the office of Ohio governor Bob Taft, perhaps the most unpopular governor in American history, means that Padgett doesn’t have much of a chance against Democrat Zack Space.

Pennsylvania, District 6
Despite several recent polls showing incumbent Republican Jim Gerlach with a fairly substantial lead, Democratic challenger Lois Murphy has been leading – or at least close – for most of the race, and there’s no reason not to think these recent polls are outliers.

Pennsylvania, District 7
Republican Curt Weldon must be the most vulnerable incumbent in the state. Democratic former admiral Joe Stesak now leads by a couple points. According to another poll, only a third of voters think Weldon deserves to be re-elected.

Pennsylvania, District 8
As sentiment turns against the Iraq War, Democrat Patrick Murphy, a former Army captain and veteran of that war who now calls for its end, looks better and better against Republican incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick, who offers the usual “stay the course” platitudes.

Pennsylvania, District 10
Incumbent Republican Don Sherwood, a confirmed adulterer and alleged basher, will probably get smoked by Chris Carney, if only because so-called “values voters” will stay home on election day.

Texas, District 22
Alleged money launderer Tom DeLay’s old district is a shoe-in for Democrat Nick Lampson, who faces a write-in vote by Republicans.


Rep. Pickups

Not a damn one. I see no race in the country in which Republicans stand a serious chance of overtaking a Democratic seat.

Thus, the totals after the election:
Democrats – 223 seats
Republicans – 212 seats

Say hello to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Chairman of the Judiciary Committee John Conyers. Now let the investigations begin!

Dirty Tricks and Charlie Crist

The latest polls in the Florida gubernatorial race have Charlie Crist with a 10-point lead over Jim Davis, 53-43, with 3 percent undecided. Despite the fact that 10 points is considered the thin line between a sure thing and a tossup, Associated Press writer Brent Kallestad refers to it as a "commanding lead" in his story. But that doesn't really bother me. The Cook Political Report and the Washington Post still insist on calling Michigan, Minnesota and Nebraska states to watch in the U.S. Senate campaign, despite the fact that the Democratic contenders in those races enjoy 20 or 30 point leads in many polls.

Anyway, back to Charlie. The Sun-Sentinel reported today that the Democratic Party has asked Attorney General Crist for any and all records he has relating to Foley. Sure, it's a fishing expedition, but if played right, it could be a successful one, in the tradition of Democratic enemy Karl Rove. Hell, they didn't even need to ask Crist for any records he had. What's already out on the Net provides more than enough ammo.

Yeah, I can see it now....

(Grim baritone voiceover as TV shows a stark, black-and-white picture of Crist)
"As state attorney general, it has been Charlie Crist's job to protect our children from sex fiends and pederasts."

(Cut to this picture:)
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"So why is Charlie Crist palling around with known deviant Mark Foley, the disgraced congressman who salivated over congressional pages?"

(cut to video of Jim Davis, offering a couple teenagers a manly handshake as he meets them in their classroom)
"Jim Davis doesn't believe in coddling sexual predators. As governor, he'll make sure the attorney-general's office cracks down on all forms of government corruption, whether they involve diddling congressional pages like Republican congressman Mark Foley, money laundering charges like Republican congressman Tom DeLay, bribery scandals like Republican congressman Duke Cunningham, or lobbyist corruption like Republican congressman Bob Ney. Jim Davis will come down on these greedheads like a screaming eagle of righteous justice. And Charlie Crist?"

(Cut to this picture:)
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"He'll just keep having lunch and playing tiddly-winks with degenerates. Charlie Crist -- if you can't trust him with your children, you certainly can't trust him with your state."

(Cut to video of Jim Davis, looking tough with shirt sleeves rolled up, who says:)
"I'm Jim Davis, and I approved this message, because Florida needs someone who will work with our families, not against them."

*****************************************************************************************************************************

See what I did with the last line about Crist? I made it so that the fact that Crist can't be trusted with children is a known fact. Neat, huh? Oh, and also, while Foley and Crist are having lunch there, they certainly aren't playing tiddly winks. But saying this would force Crist to come out and say, "I did not play tiddly-winks with Mark Foley," which will only help matters.

Man, why doesn't a political campaign hire me? They'd shoot up in the polls like gangbusters, dammit!

Bush: Why should I care about North Korea?

Given the possibility that North Korea, having successfully detonated an underground nuclear blast, will soon test fire a nuclear missile, I thought this passage from Bob Woodward's new book, State of Denial, to be particularly noteworthy.

George W. pulled Bandar aside.

"Bandar, I guess you're the best asshole who knows about the world. Explain to me one thing."

"Governor, what is it?"

"Why should I care about North Korea?"

Bandar said he didn't really know. It was one of the few countries that he did not work on for King Fahd.

"I get these briefings on all parts of the world," Bush said, "and everybody is talking to me about North Korea."

"I'll tell you what, Governor," Bandar said. "One reason should make you care about North Korea."

"All right, smart alek," Bush said, "tell me."

"The 38,000 American troops right on the border." ..."If nothing else counts, this counts. One shot across the border and you lose half these people immediately. You lose 15,000 Americans in a chemical or biological or even regular attack. The United State of America is at war instantly."

"Hmmm," Bush said. "I wish those assholes would put things just point-blank to me. I get half a book telling me about the history of North Korea."

"Now I tell you another answer to that. You don't want to care about North Korea anymore?" Bandar asked. The Saudis wanted America to focus on the Middle East and not get drawn into a conflict in East Asia.

"I didn't say that," Bush replied.

"But if you don't, you withdraw those troops back. Then it becomes a local conflict. Then you have the whole time to decide, 'Should I get involved? Not involved?' "

At that moment, Colin Powell approached.

"Colin," Bush said, "come here. Bandar and I were shooting the bull, just two fighter pilots shooting the bull." He didn't mention the topic.

Buy Woodward's book here.

October 9, 2006

Jeb Bush -- Just Another Closeted Conservative on the Road to the Death of the Republican Dream

Big, big news over this weekend. One former page confirmed that disgraced pariah Mark Foley did, in fact, use the congressional page program as a boy buffet, waiting until after they were legal to have sex with them. The Party of Reilgio-Crazy Morality now officially includes at least one Boy-Hopping Sex Fiend -- one they tried to cover up for.

Meanwhile, that nasty little halfwit in North Korea has The Bomb. Terrible, terrible. We have become like Fifth Century Rome -- there are barbarians at the gate, but we are too busy buggering boys to notice, and so the fall. We have come to be the assholes.

But neither the Boys nor the Bomb made for the weirdest news of the weekend. That came from Jeb Bush, who was campaigning in Pennsylvania for Rick Santorum, who has had his own problems with bestiality and gay marriage.

The story had me giggling outloud, and it certainly bears repeating, because Jeb finally pays a little price for his relentlessly uncaring pissant attitude toward the voters, and the American people in general. While on his way to a dinner, Jeb was met by about 30 protestors. Being Jeb, he blew them a kiss. That's when things got nasty. The protestors, made up not of anti-war pacifists but of members of the United Steelworkers union, surged forward. Jeb retreated to the subway station, along with a security guard and a female aide. He fled down an escalator to the subway's mezzanine level, like a purse snatcher trying to make off with his ill-gotten goods. The protestors, now numbering about 50 with 75 more remaining on the streets, followed Jeb, yelling at him to get out of town and declaring Pittsburgh a "Santorum Free Zone." Police showed up to disperse the crowd. While they did so, Jeb Bush, governor of the state of Florida and brother of the leader of the Free World, hid inside a supply closet.


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Jeb Bush, Closeted Republican


I wonder what Jeb thought while he stood in there? Did he think the game was finally up? That the protestors, finally overcome with grief and horror at the direction his family has taken this country, would overwhelm the cops and rip open the supply closet door, carrying him off to Lord-knows-what-terrible fate? I like to think so. I like to think that he sweated and moaned and tried desperately not to soil his pants, but I doubt it went down like that. What caused Jeb to have to flee to the closet in the first place -- his wantonly arrogant attitude toward average American citizens -- probably gave him comfort while he was there. Instead of fearing for his own skin, he was probably just angry that his schedule had been thrown off, and wished that the cops would just get on with the business of tear-gassing the crowd.

But for Jeb, and for others like him, the Day of Reckoning is nigh. Newsweek's latest poll has President Bush at a 33 percent approval rating -- the lowest in the history of that poll. And Time's latest cover story proclaims the death of everything Republican in Washington. The time has come. The good may die young, but the evil are hounded and whipped and plagued into early old age, finally dying of guinea worm or Mad Cow disease, after going bald and morbidly obese by the age of 32.

The good may die young, but karma is a fucking bitch.

October 6, 2006

For everyone who says the Democrats "don't have a plan"...

Here's the most recent Associated Press story on what Nancy Pelosi would do with a Democratic majority in the House -- and this is just in the first couple of days:

"Day One: Put new rules in place to "break the link between lobbyists and legislation."

Day Two: Enact all the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Time remaining until 100 hours: Raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, maybe in one step. Cut the interest rate on student loans in half. Allow the government to negotiate directly with the pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices for Medicare patients.

Broaden the types of stem cell research allowed with federal funds — "I hope with a veto-proof majority," she added in an Associated Press interview Thursday."

Much more at the link.

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House Minority Leader Nacy Pelosi, ready to "drain the swamp" in the first 100 hours of a Democratic majority House

By the way, while all these Foley Follies are happening...

TWENTY-THREE (23) American soldiers have been killed in Iraq in just the first six days of October. At this rate, October stands to be the worst month for American casualties in Iraq since January 2005, and the fourth-worst month since the beginning of the war. Those 23 soldiers, half of whom died of small-arms fire, included Timothy Burke of Hollywood, Fla.

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Army Spc. Timothy Burke

Burke would have come home in two months. The Sun-Sentinel's Brian Haas offered a pretty good story on him, but no story can ever completely do justice to the harsh truth that a unique individual -- complete with his own hopes, dreams and memories -- was struck down before his 25th birthday. Burke wanted to be a firefighter and a paramedic.

Too often, we treat men like Burke as a statistic -- hell, I just did it myself in the opening paragraph, with the gruesome October toll reported on icasualties.org. But this tendency to look at numbers instead of humanity robs us all of a true understanding of the meatgrinder reality of Iraq.

Burke was killed while sweeping a house in Taji for weapons. In the story, Haas notes "As relatives waited for Burke's body to return to the United States, they took consolation that the Army calls Burke's mission a success: Weapons were found and seized. But the sadness creeps in."

Indeed, the sadness creeps in. How could it not? But in a larger sense, Burke's death, and the death of 2,736 other American soldiers in Iraq, is made even more tragic by the unanswered questions. The success of Burke's mission is likely a case of winning the battle, but losing the war. After more than three years, we still have no proper explanation of our mission in Iraq, and no basis for having gone in the first place -- phantom weapons of mass destruction and illusionary ties to al-Qaeda have given way to the equally false fable of Iraqis standing up as we stand down, as the high number of casualties for October is partially due to American troops replacing corrupt Iraqi police on the streets.

Soldiers do as they are asked for the good of their country, at the very least offering several years of their lives and at most, offering their lives entirely. Such an act of selflessness is beyond my own ability to emmulate, or even at times understand. It is not up to soldiers to demand an end to this bloodbath. They have given enough, seen enough and they do not deserve the occasional cries of the anti-war left, who sometimes demand to know why the soldiers don't simply refuse to go. Why they don't refuse to obey "illegal orders."

But what these voices do not understand is that discipline and dedication, and perhaps even more importantly, the very real desire to be there to protect one's comrades, would prevent most self-respecting soldiers from even contemplating such thoughts, let lone carrying those thoughts into actions. It is not up to soldiers to stop this war -- they will carry it out, no matter how long, no matter at what cost, until there will come a day when we look back on the idea of 2,700 American soldiers dead as a mere drop in a bloody bucket. It is not up to soldiers to stop this war, but, based as it was on lies, and based as it is on further lies, it is up to each and every American citizen to do what they can to stop this idiocy before another Timothy Burke. Before another Benjamin Rosales. Before another Edward Garvin. Before another Jonathan Rojas. Before another Daniel Isshak. Before another Joseph Perry. Before another Michael Oremus. Before another Satieon Greenlee. Before another Joe Narvaez. Before another Mario Nelson. Before another Denise Lannaman. Before another. And another. And another. ...

October 5, 2006

The latest in the Foley Follies, and my predictions on Hastert's resignation

Finallly, a comic moment amid all the pedophilia and cover ups. Larry Wheeler of Florida Today reports that Republican Congresswoman Deborah Pryce of Ohio has asked the House clerk to investigate rumors that, on one star-crossed but unfortunately unnamed night, then-Congressman Mark Foley showed up to the congressional pages' dormitory, ripped to the tits, and was turned away at the door. The mental image I conjure up is positively hilarious...

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*Hic!* Hey!! Hey you kids!! Come on out!!


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Um ... good evening congressman. Can I help you?


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Hey! Kids!! Come on down and *Hic!* give Uncle Mark a big hug!!


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Ah... Congressman? I'm afraid none of the pages can see you now.


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Wha?? Oh! Heya ossifer! Didn't even see ya there!


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Congressman, I'm going to give you until I eat this donut to leave the premises


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Hey! You canna talk ta me like that! I'm *Hic!* a congressman!


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Congressman, please don't make me call for backup.


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Wha's this world comin' to when a patriotic 'murikan like me can't say hullo to li'l boys? Eh?!


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Last chance, creep


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Whoa! Thass some backup! Goodnight, sir!

********************************************************************************************************************************


Yeah, I imagine it went down something like that. Kidding aside, one thing this story does is give creedence to Foley's claims of alcoholism. To my knowledge, it's the first story to do so. When the alcoholism angle first dropped a couple days ago, none of Foley's friends or colleagues were willing to say they'd seen him drunk.

Anyway, The Republican circular firing squad seems to be surrounding Dennis Hastert, the only congressman who loves little sausages more than Mark Foley (Sorry, sorry. Had to get one fat joke in. It's not nice to make fun of someone's weight, but at least I didn't go with the obvious "Fat Hastert" coupled with a photo of Fat Bastard from Austin Powers). I believe one of three things will happen.

1) Hastert will resign this Friday night or Saturday morning -- this seems fairly unlikely. Although Hastert's pretty much done at this point, he's still stumbling around zombie-like, unaware that he's already been killed. Sort of like in those action movies where the villain gets shot about 20 times, then lurches around for a while before dropping.

2) Hastert will resign next Friday night or Saturday morning -- depending on how next week goes for the Speaker, this could be the most likely option.

3) If he weathers the next couple weeks, Hastert will wait until after the election to resign, in order to assure a Republican seat in the House -- if the scandal doesn't build over the next couple weeks, this is the likely outcome.


Notice how Hastert will resign in all three scenarios. At this point, I think that's unavoidable. Also, notice how the first two involve late Friday or early Saturday. Traditionally, these are the times when politicians carry out actions that will play badly in the media -- it's called the "news dump" in some circles, and it happens like clockwork.

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Dennis Hastert, alleged soon-to-be ex-Speaker of the House

October 4, 2006

Is there an actual Democrat left among Broward County Democrats?

Whenever Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim "Marie Antoinette" Naugle comes down on the side of Republicans, political junkies know to shrug their shoudlers and move on. Despite being a registered Democrat, Antoinette almost always sides with the GOP, having support Jeb in both his elections, George W. Bush in both of his presidential campaigns, and Congressman Clay Shaw locally.

But just the other day, I got a form letter from Broward County Mayor Ben Graber, in which the Democrat endorses Republican Clay Show for congress' District 22. My initial reaction -- What the Fuck?! Is there not a single, solitary Democrat among the local Democratic Party that has the stones to stand up to the establishment? Of course, this is an impossibility with men like Graber and Antoinette, who are so beholden to their moneyed backers that they're just as much a part of the problem as Shaw.

What's really eye-rolling about Graber's written endorsement, though, is his amazing ability to parrot all the Republican talking points for this election. It's almost as though some GOP party apparatchik just wrote this up and then told Graber, "Sign here."

Shaw's challenger, Democrat Ron Klein, has tried to paint Shaw as little more than a Bush enabler -- and, indeed, Shaw has voted with Bush an astounding 93 percent of the time. Some of these votes have come at the expense of his constituents. Shaw's vote in favor of Bush's presciption drug plan, which has amounted to little more than a giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry at the expense of senior citizens, was a particularly egregious betrayal of Shaw's district, which includes a great multitude of gray-haired voters. Indeed, many of these elderly citizens pay more for drugs now than they did before the plan. Just look at this example.

So, with a vulnerable Republican incumbent who has placed his own party above his constituents on multiple occasions, what do Broward County Dems do? Why, endorse him, of course! And getting back to those Republican talking points, since being a Bush stooge is so unpopular these days, Shaw's campaign has tried to cast him as an independent. So what does Graber's letter say? "Clay Shaw is independent." (That line was bolded and underlined in Graber's letter, I should point out.)

In an earlier blog entry, I predicted Ben Graber would win his bid in the primary election for a Florida state senate seat, and even supported him over former Yahoo executive Jeremy Ring on the basis that Ring's run for office struck me as little more than a vanity campaign. Now, all I can say is, thank God in heaven above that I was wrong.

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Democratic Broward County Mayor Ben Graber, sellout and Shaw supporter

The Blame Game

So, now it is the fault of both alcohol and molestation at the hands of Catholic priests that caused Mark Foley's salacious instant messages. Meanwhile, not even an hour ago, right-wing blog Passionate America outed one of the boys on the receving end of Foley's instant messages. Specifically, the fellow -- 17 years old at the time -- who Foley told to "strip down and relax." Anyway, the page is now apparently the Deputy Campaign Manager for Oklahoma Republican Congressman Ernest Istook, who is running for governor against the Democratic incumbent, Brad Henry

The Foley scandal continues to spread more slime than the Exxon-Valdez disaster, with Republican congressman Tom Reynolds' chief of staff resigning today, after helping cover up Foley's depredations.

October 3, 2006

Democrats are clearly to blame in the Foley scandal

Welcome back to the work week -- at least for those of us who were absent from work yesterday. Having a Jewish fiancee meant spending all of Monday in Yom Kippur services -- Lashanah Tovah to all the chosen people out there.

Anyway, I'd just like to come out here and say that this entire Foley scandal is the fault of Democrats. Foley himself has blamed alcohol, as those keeping up with the scandal know. This, of course, is absurd -- I myself am no stranger to the bottle, nor are the vast majority of my friends, acquaintances and colleagues. And to my knowledge, there's not a pederast among us.

Meanwhile, stand-up guys like Bill O'Reilly and Matt Drudge have blamed the 16-year-old page that Foley came on to, with Drudge even calling him a "beast." But I'm just not into blaming the victim, and besides, O'Reilly and Drudge are just prepping for their own problems. O'Reilly, after all, already has one sexual-harassment suit under his belt, and Drudge ... well, he's always seemed kind of degenerate. And in this post-truthiness world, what my gut tells me matters a lot more than any solid evidence.

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Matt Drudge, alleged sexual deviant!!! Developing ...

The Democrats -- and most of the media, for that matter -- have blamed Republicans, saying they didn't do enough soon enough. And it's true that Republican House leaders like Tom Reynolds and Speaker Dennis Hastert knew about this thing months ago, and did nothing substantial, in effect sweeping the scandal under the rug.

It would seem, then, that Republicans are clearly to blame, and that more of their fat should join Foley's on the fire -- and if we're talking Dennis Hastert here, that better be one hell of a fire.

But Democrats should share the blame of Masturgate, as I've come to know it...

After all, shouldn't Democrats have known better by now?

Meet Mark Rey:
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He's the Undersecretary of Agriculture in charge of the Forestry Service, whose job it is to protect our natural woodlands. His former job? Timber industry lobbyist.

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And here's Mike Leavitt
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Now the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and formerly the EPA administrator, before his time at the EPA, Leavitt was the governor of Utah, where his anti-environment, anti-health decisions included allowing "US Magnesium to emit over 42 million tons of Chlorine per year-nine times the Chlorine emissions from all other states. Despite intense local pressure from citizen groups, Leavitt's Department of Environmental Quality failed to bring the polluter under control. The EPA was forced to step in, filing a $900 million lawsuit against MagCorp for alleged environmental violations. He is now head of that very same EPA. Leavitt downplayed the toxic releases of the mining industry - including the releases of the potent neurotoxin Mercury by saying 'in reality it is not pollution.' " (source)

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Now, meet Paul Hoffman:
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Paul is the Deputy Assistant Interior Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. He runs the Federal Fish and Wildlife prograns and the U.S. Parks. A former member of the pro-business Chamber of Commerce, he has fought to allow drilling and mining in the parks he is supposed to be protecting.

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Here's Gale Norton:
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Norton was Bush's first Secretary of the Interior, the department that heads up all of our protected federal lands. Before that, she was a mining industry lobbyist.

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And now let's meet David Lauriski
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Under Bush, Dave is head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Before that, he was a coal industry executive and lobbyist. When he was named head of the MSHA, he bragged to a group of coal industry executives about how short his agenda was. Subsequently, he called for an end to the administration's program that offers chest X-rays to coal miners to check for black lung. He also wanted to cut the amount of mine inspectors by 25 percent.

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But don't think for a moment that putting the fox in charge of the henhouse is purely an executive branch phenomenon for Republicans. Here's Jim Inhofe.
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Oklahoma Senator Inhofe, the Chairman, for God's sake, of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, dismissed global warming as a "hoax."

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Do you see the point now? The Dems should have wised up to the placement of GOP officials a long time ago. The Republicans apparently place leadership based on some sort of Bizarro World concept, in which the people who are most dangerous to something are placed in charge of it. When Mark Foley became the chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, he should have been arrested on general principle. The failure of the Democrats to get this done will no doubt haunt them in November, when the voters repay their failures by voting in God-fearing Republicans by the barrel full.