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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Virgin Galactic: Let the journey begin

Hello, this is Stan. John is away at the moment and has given me the key to his blog site. He also said that he left me food for the trolls. I’m not sure what he meant by that…

I decided to share something other than politics in this post. I saw something really cool and thought you might want to see it too!

British entrepreneur Richard Branson said that his Virgin company plans to launch commercial space flights over the next few years.
The Virgin transport, entertainment and communications group has signed an agreement with pioneering aviation designer Burt Rutan to build an aircraft based on Rutan's SpaceShipOne vessel.

SpaceShipOne cracked the barrier to manned commercial space flight in June by flying 62 miles above Earth, just a little more than 400 feet above the distance scientists widely consider to be the boundary of space. The flight lasted 90 minutes.

SpaceShipOne's effort was bankrolled by billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
Virgin said its agreement to license technology from Allen's company, Mohave Aerospace Ventures, could be worth up to $25 million, over the next 15 years, depending on the number of spaceships built by Virgin. The company said it planned to begin construction of the first vessel, VSS Enterprise, next year.

"Virgin has been in talks with Paul Allen and Bert throughout this year and in the early hours of Saturday signed a historical deal to license SpaceShipOne's technology to build the world's first private spaceship to go into commercial operating service," Branson told a news conference.

The new service will be called Virgin Galactic and expects to fly 3,000 new astronauts within five years. Fares will start at $208,000, for a suborbital flight, including three days' training. Branson said the business would "allow every country in the world to have their own astronauts rather than the privileged few."

"Virgin Galactic will be run as a business, but a business with the sole purpose of making space travel more and more affordable," Branson said. "Those privileged space pioneers who can afford to take our first flights will not only have the most awesome experience of their lives, but by stepping up to the plate first they will bring the dream of space travel for many millions closer to reality."

You should view the flash video below. You have to watch a commercial first, but it is well worth it! Turn the speakers on also. I haven’t figured out if the video is real or simulated. I think it’s some of both.
Virgin Galactic video

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

R.I.P. Habeus Corpus

Human has an excellent take on this. I'll let him take it on; I'm too busy feeling sick to my stomach. . .Okay, maybe I DO have a few things to say about it:

If THIS doesn't give you cause to vote these bastards out of power in November than nothing ever will. This summer the Supreme Court ruled that these measures, which are now about to become law, were unconstitutional. So, apparently, the Supreme Court is only useful to these people when "choosing a president" or denying women their personal rights, or whatever their agenda of the day may be. See what happens when you give Republicans control over ALL branches of our government??? BTW,there are 12 Democrats that I would also like to speak with about this issue. . .

Now is truly the time for all good men (and women) to come to the aid of their country!

UPDATE: I must add this awsome entry from Kvatch to this post!

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Iraq poll

About six in 10 Iraqis say they approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces, and slightly more than that want their government to ask U.S. troops to leave within a year, a poll finds.

The Iraqis also have negative views of Osama bin Laden, according to the early September poll of 1,150. The poll, done for University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes, found:

-Almost four in five Iraqis say the U.S. military force in
Iraq provokes more violence than it prevents.

-About 61 percent approved of the attacks — up from 47 percent in January. A solid majority of Shiite and Sunni Arabs approved of the attacks, according to the poll. The increase came mostly among Shiite Iraqis.

-An overwhelmingly negative opinion of terror chief bin Laden and more than half, 57 percent, disapproving of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

-Three-fourths say they think the U.S. plans to keep military bases in Iraq permanently.

-A majority of Iraqis, 72 percent, say they think Iraq will be one state five years from now. Shiite Iraqis were most likely to feel that way, though a majority of Sunnis and Kurds also believed that would be the case.

The PIPA poll, which included an oversample of 150 Sunni Iraqis, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The State Department, meanwhile, has conducted its own poll, something it does periodically, spokesman Sean McCormack said. The State Department poll found two-thirds of Iraqis in Baghdad favor an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces, according to The Washington Post. McCormack declined to discuss details of the department's poll.

"What I hear from government representatives and other anecdotal evidence that you hear from Iraqis that is collected by embassy personnel and military personnel is that Iraqis do appreciate our presence there," he said. "They do understand the reasons for it, they do understand that we don't want to or we don't intend to be there indefinitely."

An Iraqi public opinion research firm with a proven record of conducting scientifically valid surveys conducted the department's poll, press officer Janelle Hironimus said later.

"We will not identify the firm in order to protect it and its employees from danger," she said.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My thoughts on patriotism

I recently was involved in a misunderstanding with someone whom I respect that has a different view than I on the state of our country right now. While I have no need to change hearts or minds, it's my hope that the following quote and video will help others understand my mindset, and at least think outside of their own box for a moment. I consider my dissent against our present government to be the truest form of patriotism, but I support YOUR right to disagree with me. That very right is under attack by this administration. . .

"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else" ----- Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States

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Olbermann's Special Comment on Fox & Clinton

I tried to find this last night after seeing it on Crooks & Liars, but to no avail. My thanks go out to Roger for finding it and sending it my way today!

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Today's laugh

Joe, a guy traveling through Mexico on vacation, lost his wallet and all identification, and was stopped by the U.S. Customs Agent at the border. "May I see your identification, please?" asks the agent."I'm sorry, but I lost my wallet," replies the guy."Sure, buddy, I hear that every day. No ID, no crossing the border," says the agent."But I can prove that I'm an American!" he exclaims. "I have a picture of Ronald Reagan tattooed on one butt cheek and a picture of George Bush on the other.""This I gotta see," replies the agent.With that, Joe drops his pants and bends over in front of the agent."By golly, you're right!" exclaims the agent. "Go on home to Indiana.""Thanks!" he says. "But how did you know I was from Indiana?"The agent replies, "I recognized Mitch Daniels in the middle."

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You tell me

It's make your own caption day here again at Left in Aboite:

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bush translator

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Clinton on FOX

YES! Bill Clinton finally called Faux News and the right-wing neo-cons on their bullshit! Clinton said exactly what he should have said during his Sunday interview with Chris Wallace on Faux News. And it felt damned good to hear Wallace's RNC talking points thrown back at him.

But instead of celebrating, let's take this moment to step back and give it some context. What can we learn from what happened? More specifically, what can Bill Clinton learn? That the bipartisan love-in he's been engaged in over the last several years has resulted in jack-squat.

After providing Bush cover for his disastrous handling of Katrina, after trying to get himself adopted by George Bush, Sr., after giving Laura Bush (WHAT was he thinking???) the keynote slot at his Global Initiative Conference, after going along with Rupert Murdoch's fundraiser for Hillary. . .after all that, what did he get? NOTHING . . .

All of Bill Clinton's tireless "bipartisanship" has been of no benefit to him, of no benefit to the country, and has only benefited George Bush and the right-wing. I'm glad the Chris Wallace interview flew all over the internet, but I really hope that one person who will watch it over and over again is Bill Clinton. And that on the fifth or sixth viewing it might occur to him that the more cover he gives Bush and his cronies, the more they're able to increase and entrench their power. Power they use to destroy everything that Clinton purports to stand for.

Taking the "high-road" has a nice sound to it, but Clinton shouldn't fool himself, and insult the rest of us, by thinking that the time he's spent traveling that high road has made the world a better place. Or made the gang at Fox News hate him any less than they did the day he left office.

The people who tried to hound him out of office haven't changed much, though they do now control both houses of Congress and the White House. Back then, he seemed to think fighting them was worthwhile. Now that he's got his back up again, maybe he'll rejoin the battle. Nov. 7 is only six weeks away. And nothing less than oversight of the lunatics in charge is at stake.

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

JFK on secret societies and freedom of the press

If JFK were still with us today, how sickened would he be by our current state? Very much so considering this speech he once gave. . .I cannot help but think that our current situation couldn't even exist if this great man had lived out his life.

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

The return of John McCave

Isn't this what they call "voting against one's own self-interests"?

Despite repeatedly being fucked over by W and company, John McCain continues to wear the blue dress for shrub.

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Clinton on the Daily Show

President Bill Clinton on The Daily Show 9/18/06

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Friday, September 22, 2006

War is a racket

As the dust begins to settle on the latest round of George Bush vs. American Values, it's important to emphasize just how little support this man has for the torturous way he operates.While Senate Republicans now say that that they have reached some sort of Geneva Conventions-friendly "agreement" with the White House, the vehement backlash against Bush by the military this past week is well worth revisiting.

These five former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff actually had to publicly stand up against a sitting President of the United States! Yeah, it's really gotten that bad.

Gen. Hugh Shelton
Chairman under Bill Clinton & George W. Bush

Gen. John Shalikashvili
Chairman under Bill Clinton

Gen. Colin Powell
Chairman under George Bush Sr. & Bill Clinton

Admiral William Crowe
Chairman under Ronald Reagan & George Bush Sr.

Gen. John Vessey
Chairman under Ronald Reagan

These men were joined by dozens of other Generals, Admirals, intelligence officers and the entire JAG Corp. Plus, the FBI (who refuse to be present while these interrogations are taking place because they are too gruesome) and the CIA who recently said they would NOT continue these illegal interrogations.They all rose up to protect America from its own President. Surreal...

This historic standoff comes on the heals of the ongoing revolt of the Generals against Bush's disastrous oil war in Iraq. These are honorable military commanders who are following in the fine tradition of General Smedley Butler.

In the first half of the 20th century, Gen. Butler was as well known as Colin Powell is today. He served 33 years in the US Marines and is one of only 19 people ever to receive TWO Congressional Medals of Honor - the highest decoration the US Military awards.Gen. Butler served with unquestionable distinction on battlefields spanning three continents.

And when his service was through and the only orders he followed were his own he did what all great men do: he asked himself "Why?"History now remembers General Smedley Butler for his answer that very simple question. An answer that holds as true today as it did 73 ago…


The following is an excerpt from a speech Gen. Butler delivered in 1933…one of over 1,200 speeches he delivered in over 700 US cities.

"War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."

In 1935, Gen. Butler published his famed short work titled War is a Racket. Click here to read it in its entirety.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Timely Political Humor

I ran across the following joke this evening and, in the middle of chuckling at it, realized how closely it mirrors Karl Rove's efforts at this very moment. . .

While walking down the street one day a U.S. senator is tragically hit by a truck and killed. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

"Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in," says the man.

"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."

"Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the senator.

"I'm sorry, but we have our rules." And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him. Everyone is very happy and in evening dress.

They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne. Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises...

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him. "Now it's time to visit heaven."

So, 24 hours pass with the senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

"Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity."

The senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: "Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell."

So, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.
Now, the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above. The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.

"I don't understand," stammers the senator. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?"

The devil looks at him, smiles and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning...... Today you voted."

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GOP disapproval at record high

With the midterm elections less than seven weeks away, Americans have an overwhelmingly negative view of the Republican-controlled Congress, with substantial majorities saying that they disapprove of the job it is doing and that its members do not deserve reelection, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The disregard for Congress is the most intense it has been since 1994, when Republicans captured 52 seats to end four decades of Democratic control of the House and retook the Senate as well. It underlines the challenge the Republican Party faces in trying to hold onto power in the face of a surge in anti-incumbent sentiment.

By overwhelming margins, respondents said that members of Congress were too tied to special interests and that they did not understand the needs and problems of average Americans. Two-thirds said Congress had accomplished less than it typically does in a two-year session; most said they said they could not name a single major piece of legislation that cleared this Congress. Just 25 percent said they approved of the way Congress was doing its job.

The Times/CBS News poll also found that President Bush did not improve his own or his party’s standing through the intense campaign of speeches he made and events he attended surrounding the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The speeches were at the heart of a Republican strategy to thrust national security to the forefront in the fall elections.

HAT TIP: New York Times

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006


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The world view of America

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, addressing the U.N. General Assembly today, said "The devil came here yesterday", referring to Bush's Tuesday address there and making the sign of the cross. "He came here talking as if he were the owner of the world." Joining with Iran and Cuba he accused Washington of "domination, exploitation and pillage of peoples of the world", and appealed "to the people of the United States and the world to halt this threat, which is like a sword hanging over our head". Hugo, you nicely summed up the feelings of the majority of Americans.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad took the podium hours later, denouncing U.S. policies in Iraq and Lebanon and accusing Washington of abusing its power in the Security Council to punish others while protecting its own interests and allies. He insisted that his nation's nuclear activities are "transparent, peaceful and under the watchful eye" of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency and reiterated his nation's commitment to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Let's sum this up: sovereign nation, under U.N. watch, asking for dialogue. . .yep, Bush will definately attack them next. It's right from his playbook.

And in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai warned that terrorism is rebounding in his country and that efforts to build democracy there had suffered setbacks over the past year as violence increased. NATO forces have been battling Taliban militants in some of the fiercest battles since the hard-line government was toppled in 2001. "We have seen terrorism rebounding as terrorists have infiltrated our borders to step up their murderous campaign against our people," he told the General Assembly. It's a damned good thing that we finished the job there before recklessly invading the sovereign nation of Iraq.

Thank GOD that George W. Bush has been working so hard on defeating the terrorists around the world. He's created so many new ones with his reckless abandon and complete disregard for our constitution as well as international treaties that he must be working triple shifts to keep up. From what I have been able to glean from his schedule, he apparently co-ordinates most of this work from his ranch in Crawford. Those lucky Texans. I wish we had a fearless Hoosier protector. Someone to work overtime HERE to protect our roller rinks, petting zoos, and general stores from terrorists. Lord knows, those Spaniards and Aussies are bent on taking over our fine state (Rumor has it that they have already obtained a large chunk of property north of here)!

Oops! I have to go now. . .Survivor is coming on, and I have Nascar on cable after that. And did you hear the latest about Britney? And Michael? No need for me to worry about the other stuff; George and Mitch have got it all covered. . .

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Quote of the day

"I am sick of Karl Rove's bullshit."

A recent issue of the New Yorker turned out an astonishing 23-page profile on Bill Clinton, written by the magazine's editor David Remnick. The former President sounds off on almost every topic available during the course of the article, but saves his choicest words for the Bush administration, uttering the particularly damning phrase, "I am sick of Karl Rove's bullshit."

Clinton does devote some time to refreshing self-examination, saying that authorizing the war in Iraq "was a mistake, and I would have made it, too." But he delivers a biting critique of Bush's handling of the run-up to the war, saying, "the administration did not shoot straight on the nuclear issue or on Saddam's supposed ties to Al Qaeda prior to 9/11." Clinton's general assessment of his successor is no kinder. "It just makes me mad," he says about the current administration, "I just wish I were there trying to articulate an alternative vision."

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MIA blogger "alive and well"

Gary, formerly of the weblog "American Agenda" mysteriously vanished in July of this year. His blog address suddenly began directing one to an advertisement for an acne medication. I have not yet heard an explanation from Gary as to what happened, but he reappeared in the comments section of a post here today, and I have added his new digs to my blogroll. Gary, next time you pull a disappearing act, let us in on it, okay? You've been missed!

His new blog is titled Declarations of Pride, and it serves up more of the wit and wisdom that we have come to expect from Gary. I'm relieved to learn that all is well and that he is still on the attack against the neo-nazi's that are currently occupying our country.

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Monday, September 18, 2006


Kvatch created this hilarious take-off of SpongeBob SquarePants based upon our glorious leader. It was hilarious on it's own but, after reading the copy of it here, click over and read the additions to it in the comments! You'll be rolling on the floor laughing your ass off!


Who squats in the White House, A pox on D.C.?
Dim-witted, inane, and clueless is he.

If dangerous nonsense, yer looking to see...
Then shut off yer brain, and vote G-O-P!

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Jesus Camp

First up, an ABC News report on this film. Followed by the actual trailer for the film. If these don't disturb you on some level, I suggest that you (a) hit the "next blog" button at the top of this page, cause you won't like it around here, and (b) consider obtaining the services of a reputable de-programmer.

HAT TIP to Pam for bringing this to my attention!

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Dem business card backer

This great idea was presented by Big Dog at the Katrinacrat weblog. His suggestion is to use this on the back side of business cards, or as a stand-alone card that can be left behind in diners, taverns, stores, etc. It says volumes for it's size and cost:

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The Bush Tax Cuts

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The Social Security "Shell Game"

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

ACDP Fundraiser

The Allen County Democratic Party's fall fundraiser is coming up on Friday, September 22nd.

We will be celebrating "2006-The Year of the Democrat". There will be a reception beginning at 6pm with dinner at 7pm. The location will be the Holiday Inn Downtown.

Our speaker will be Jennifer Wagner- editor of "Taking Down Words" .

Tickets are $40 each and seats must be reserved by Wednesday, September 20th. E-mail reservation requests to info@allencountydemocrats.org.

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Down and Out

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Friday, September 15, 2006

No Regrets

Today, as President Bush comes to Capitol Hill, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced the release of a new web video on Iraq. The video, entitled “No Regrets,” shows that although the Bush administration is content to stay the course in Iraq, the burdens faced by soldiers deployed and millions of American families at home, it’s time for a change. The video shows that 2,674 Americans have been killed in Iraq, nearly 20,000 have been wounded and $314 billion has been spent, all while Bush and Cheney say that “It was the right thing to do and if we had to do over again we’d do exactly the same thing.”

The Republican Congress has been complicit in the poor administration of the war – in fact -- they have supported President Bush 100% on the Iraq war. Not only did the Republican Rubber Stamps vote with Bush every time, but they were silent when troops were deployed without the body armor they need, they were silent when it became clear that the Bush administration has no strategy for success and they were silent when it became clear that the White House and the Pentagon had “lost” $9 billion spent in Iraq. They have consistently refused to ask the tough questions of President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary Rumsfeld and it’s time for a new direction.

The Republican Record on Iraq

Republicans Voted Against Accounting For Billions Of Taxpayer Dollars Spent On Iraq.

The vote was against an amendment to provide $5 million to establish a select committee to investigate reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, including contracting procedures, protection against money laundering, and the allocation of contracts to foreign companies and small businesses. In October 2004, the International Advisory and Monitoring Board released an audit of the Bush Administration’s management of Iraqi oil proceeds and other funds in the Development Fund for Iraq. Problems found involved hundreds of millions of dollars, numerous sole source contracts and missing and nonexistent contract files. The amendment was rejected, 191-236.

Republicans Opposed Setting Benchmarks for Success in Iraq.

The vote was against an effort to require President Bush to submit a plan for success in Iraq, supply the military with adequate equipment and other resources to complete their mission, and provide veterans with adequate health care services. The proposal was debated during consideration of the State Department authorization bill. Had the plan passed, it would have required the president to outline benchmarks for success in Iraq – including the adoption of a constitution, free and fair elections, and a plan for economic development – that could be used to determine when Iraq is sufficiently stable to allow for the return home of American soldiers. The motion also noted that the lack of a clear strategy for success in Iraq could undermine the morale of U.S. troops. The proposal was rejected, 203-227. [Rep. Menendez Press Release, 7/20/05; Vote #398; H.R.2601; 07/20/2005; motion failed 203-227]

Republicans Voted To Continue Awarding Contracts to Halliburton.

The vote was against an amendment that would prohibit the awarding of a contract by the secretary of the Army to any contractor if the Defense Contract Audit Agency has determined that more than $100 million of a contractor's costs involving work in Iraq were unreasonable. Currently, the only company that this could potentially apply to is Halliburton. [Vote #60; H.R.4939; 03/16/2006; amendment failed 193-225]

Republicans Opposed $100 Million Increase for Military Personnel.

The vote was against a proposal to the budget to increase funding for military health care by $100 million and transitional job training for military personnel by $50 million. The proposed increase failed, 200-229. [Vote #76; H.R.1268; 03/16/2005; motion failed 200-229]

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Take it back!

The upcoming election is a real chance to finally stop the madness by getting a Democratic majority in the House or Senate.

Right now, the best way you can help is to get more people involved. We all know people who agree with progressive values and hate the direction our country is going in, but haven’t yet become active in changing it.

TrueMajorityACTION has just created an edgy online animation that is specifically designed to get them to join our team.

So take a look at the animation and please pass it along to your friends on the verge.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

New VoteVets AD

(Click the picture below to view the ad)

New TV Ad Deployed in Virginia

"This ad, from Vote Vets, is more relevant and hard hitting than anything else I've seen this cycle..." - Daily Kostv_ad_1.jpg

"A+. Terrific Stuff." - MyDD.com
"...by far the most brilliant and effective ad I've seen this cycle..
."- Swing State Project
"It's a very well done ad spotlighting the difference between Sen.George Allen's voting record and his rhetoric." - PoliticsTV.Com

Check out the full Vote Vets site!

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``We didn't fight strongly enough against the lies and innuendo in 2004," Vietnam veteran Dick Class told Murtha supporters Thursday, many of them veterans themselves. ``Karl Rove's clone army is out there spreading lies [but] we're not going to take it anymore."

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tom Hayhurst on Energy


It is time for America to declare its energy independence. Our country's security depends on it. The pocketbooks of working families depend on it. Our ability to compete and create jobs depends on it. Our innovation future depends on it. And the natural environment we all inhabit and rely upon depends on it.

We start by making it our national priority. Then we take action. We launch a total-commitment initiative that links the best in our private and public sectors together to turn American ingenuity into America's new energy. The missing ingredient today is leadership. And that is why this election is so important.

As a physician for over 30 years, I know you save lives by making smart decisions and taking action. As a City Councilman for 10 years, I know you build strong communities by rolling up your sleeves and getting to work – solving problems, not ignoring them or putting our country at risk. We need that determination now. We need that kind of fresh thinking, free from the grip of special interests, in Congress.

Northeast Indiana is well positioned to be a leader in our move toward energy independence. We are a region that makes things and makes them well. That manufacturing know-how can be transformed into high-mileage, emission-friendly cars, trucks, RVs and boats. It can be put into a high-speed, energy-efficient rail system to boost regional and national commerce and connectivity.

We are an area with a rich farming tradition and respect for the earth. Those skills give us an edge in the development of biofuels and other renewable forms of energy. The land that feeds us can become the land that fuels us, converting the crops we grow into the power behind our dreams.

When I am in the U.S. Congress, I will:

• Campaign for a national commitment to energy independence and a comprehensive, commonsense plan to advance it.

• Fight to make America more secure by lessening our dependence on foreign oil.

• Support incentives for the development and use of biofuels, renewable fuels and alternative energy sources, the raw materials for many grown here on our farms.

• Promote policies and programs that encourage conservation and energy efficiency.

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9/11 - Press for Truth

The following account is from B.Shilliday over at Left of Center. I wanted to make it available to a wider audience, and I thank Mr.Shilliday for his work on this:

I just finished watching the movie Press for truth...Shortly after 9/11 four women came together because they had questions about why their family members had died in the attack. Prior, these women had little in common. One was a Democrat, One was an independent, and two were Republicans. They spent thousands of hours researching and reading everything they could about the lead up to the attack, and actions taken after. About the same time, another man started collection news items about 9/11. He began to create a time line on his internet site. A time line that took thousands of stories that when viewed separately may seem inoculous enough. But when put into a true historical perspective on a time line, portrays the true picture of what really happened. This movie is about these two groups. There is no “tinfoil hat stuff”, there are no conspiracy theory's. This is about what is documented. When put together as is done here the result is powerful and compelling. I urge you to watch this movie. I've seen all the conspiracy movies, and the one done by popular science. This is nothing like those. Please watch it. Home website for the movie can be found here.

This runs approximately 90 minutes. You may wish to download it rather than watch online.

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Sunlight Network


New campaign will award Americans who get Members of Congress to agree to post their daily schedules on their websites.

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Sunlight Network (the 501(c ) (4) social welfare organization affiliated with the Sunlight Foundation) is today announcing “The Punch Clock Campaign,” which will pay out good-will bounties to anyone who gains the signature of a Member of Congress, or prospective Member, on an agreement to make their daily schedule – listing all the people they meet with, including lobbyists, and all the meetings they go to, including fundraisers — public on the Internet.

“Every single day, the majority of Americans have to account for their time by punching a timecard or filling in a time sheet. It is about time our employees, guaranteed to us by the Constitution, do the same,” said Executive Director Ellen Miller. “A little more than a decade ago this would have been nearly impossible. Now, with the development and reach of the Internet, posting their daily schedule – complete with all the lobbyists they meet with and the fundraisers they go to – is simple.”

Sunlight is asking Members of Congress and FEC qualified challengers to sign an agreement to post their Congressional schedules. To anyone who can get a Member or challenger to sign the agreement, Sunlight will pay a cash fee -- $1,000 for each Member of Congress’ signature, and $250 for all other FEC qualified candidates.

“The Sunlight Network is hoping the change the nature of the relationship between lawmakers and citizens. That starts with lawmakers being more transparent and open about what they do as elected representatives – posting their calendars would begin that process,” Miller added.

The agreement Members and candidates are being asked to sign reads, “I believe citizens have a right to know what their Member of Congress does every day. Starting with the next Congress, I promise to publish my daily official work schedule on the internet, within 24 hours of the end of every work day. I will include all matters relating to my role as a Member of Congress. I will include all meetings with constituents, other Members, and lobbyists, listed by name. (In rare cases I will withhold the names of constituents whose privacy must be protected.) I will also include all fundraising events. Events will be listed whether Congress is in session or not, and whether I am in Washington, traveling, or in my district.”

More information can be found at www.punchclockcampaign.org.

The Sunlight Network, a 501 c(4) affiliated with the Sunlight Foundation, was founded in 2006 to foster a more positive relationship between lawmakers and their constituents, using technology, transparency, and local communities.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Today's RoundUp

Bush's "base" disappointed

Leaving services Sunday morning at
Faith Bible Chapel, an evangelical megachurch, Jim McBride, a pilot who served in Vietnam, said he was not happy with President Bush’s handling of Iraq. And he displayed little inclination to rethink his position despite the White House’s new push to focus this year’s Congressional elections on which party will keep the nation safer.“I do have a bit of mistrust,” said McBride, who twice voted for Mr. Bush but is now disappointed — a sentiment he said is shared by many in his Bible study group. “The whole thing about W.M.D. and that Iraq is somehow tied to 9/11, I just don’t believe it.

American Airlines slams Disney/ABC-

Late Monday,
American Airlines released the folllowing statement: "The Disney/ABC television program, 'The Path to 9/11,' which began airing last night, is inaccurate and irresponsible in its portrayal of the airport check-in events that occurred on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

"A factual description of those events can be found in the official government edition of the 9/11 Commission Report and supporting documents. This misrepresentation of facts dishonors the memory of innocent American Airlines employees and all those who lost their lives as a result of the tragic events of 9/11."

More Americans blaming Bush for 9/11-

percentage of Americans who blame the Bush administration for the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington has risen from almost a third to almost half over the past four years, a CNN Monday poll found. Asked whether they blame the Bush administration for the attacks, 45 percent said either a "great deal" or a "moderate amount," up from 32 percent in a June 2002 CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.

Tennessee Chicken-

GOP Senate candidate
Bob Corker has rejected appearing on NBC TV's "Meet the Press" to debate his Democratic opponent U.S. Representative Harold Ford Jr. The show's executive producer told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that they had hoped to get a debate scheduled.

Walking on a Thin Line-

Bob Weldon (PA)is one of many Republicans facing a tough November election who are giving voice to the idea that
the war is not going well. Their comments two months before the Nov. 7 general election could be politically tricky. They come as the Bush administration advocates a hard-line, for-us-or-against-us stance on the war. Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that someone who supports withdrawing troops "validates the strategy of the terrorists."

Polls show that about six out of 10 Americans think invading Iraq in 2003 was a mistake. So. . . 60% of us support terrorism I guess.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Path To 9/11" Heismanned By NFL Fans, Thinking People

After a huge controversy and not-at-all-huge resulting edits, ABC "docu-drama" (aka "fabri-fiction") had a viewership of 13 million, getting drubbed by Sunday Night Football and the brother-on-brother action between Eli and Peyton Manning, which drew 20.7 million viewers. CBS drew 10.6 million viewers for its third airing of its Katie Couric-hosted 9/11 documentary, which did not attempt to pass off invented episodes as actual fact.

Bill Clinton, who along with Madeleine Albright and Sandy Berger had certain events attributed to them that did not happen, opted for football, according to Clinton Foundation spokesman Jay Carson. His lawyers did see the film, however, and
fired off a strongly-worded letter to Bob Iger dated yesterday saying they were "deeply disappointed" that ABC and Disney aired something that was "fraught with error and contained contrived scenes that are directly contradicted by the findings of the 9/11 Commission Report."

(It was
noted earlier today that, despite the obligatory discliamer before the film, the ABC promotional material was overwhelmingly suggestive it was grounded in fact). Clinton lawyers Bruce Lindsey and Doug Band rebuked Iger for falling shor on his promise to "personally tak[e] the responsibility" for the required edits; instead, the doc " invented its own version of history." Case in point: "There is not enough room here to fully document the fiction in your film." Clinton's lawyer can have the last word here, because they're right:

That the film directly contradicts the findings of the 9/11 Commission is troubling. That it defames dedicated public officials is tragic. But the fact that it misleads millions of people about the most tragic and consequential event in recent history is disgraceful.

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Two-Thousand-Six-Hundred Souls

I encourage you to view the latest effort by Paul Hipp, "Two-Thousand-Six-Hundred Souls".

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Mid Term Races

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The GOP Attack Plan

From The Washington Post:

Republicans are planning to spend the vast majority of their sizable financial war chest over the final 60 days of the campaign attacking Democratic House and Senate candidates over personal issues and local controversies, GOP officials said.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which this year dispatched a half-dozen operatives to comb through tax, court and other records looking for damaging information on Democratic candidates, plans to spend more than 90 percent of its $50 million-plus advertising budget on what officials described as negative ads.

The hope is that a vigorous effort to "define" opponents, in the parlance of GOP operatives, can help Republicans shift the midterm debate away from Iraq and limit losses this fall. The first round of attacks includes an ad that labeled a Democratic candidate in Wisconsin "Dr. Millionaire" and noted that he has sued 80 patients.

"Opposition research is power," said Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds (N.Y.), the NRCC chairman. "Opposition research is the key to defining untested opponents."

The Republican National Committee, meanwhile, has enlisted veteran party strategist Terry Nelson to run a campaign that will coordinate with Senate Republicans on ads that similarly will rely on the best of the worst that researchers have dug up on Democrats. The first ad run by the new RNC effort criticizes Ohio Rep. Sherrod Brown (D) for voting against proposals designed to toughen border protection and deport illegal immigrants.

Because challengers tend to be little-known compared with incumbents, they are more vulnerable to having their public image framed by the opposition through attacks and unflattering personal revelations.

And with polls showing the Republicans' House and Senate majorities in jeopardy, party strategists said they have concluded that their best chance to prevent big Democratic gains is a television and direct-mail blitz over the next eight weeks aimed at raising enough questions about Democratic candidates that voters decide they are unacceptable choices.

"When you run in an adverse political environment, you try to localize and personalize the race as much as you can," Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said.

In a memo released last week, Cole, who is running to succeed Reynolds at the NRCC, expanded on that strategy. The memo recommended that vulnerable incumbents spend $20,000 on a research "package" to find damaging material about challengers and urged that they "define your opponent immediately and unrelentingly."

GOP officials said internal polling shows Republicans could limit losses to six to 10 House seats and two or three Senate seats if the strategy -- combined with the party's significant financial advantage and battled-tested turnout operation -- proves successful. Democrats need to pick up 15 seats to win control of the House and six to regain power in the Senate.

Against some less experienced and little-known opponents, said Matt Keelen, a Republican lobbyist heavily involved in House campaigns, "It will take one or two punches to fold them up like a cheap suit."

Republicans plan to attack Democratic candidates over their voting records, business dealings, and legal tussles, the GOP officials said.

John Geer, a political scientist at Vanderbilt University and the author of a book on negative advertising, said Republicans and Democrats alike lack positive issues on which to run because of divisions over the war and economic policy. This will be a "very negative campaign and probably a more negative campaign than any in recent memory," Geer said.

As Republicans try to localize races, Democrats' hopes for the most part hinge on being able to nationalize the election and turn it into a referendum on the Iraq war, President Bush, and the performance of the Republican Congress -- all faring poorly in polls this year.

Bush will try to make terrorism the issue nationally, casting the election as a choice between two distinct approaches for protecting the nation from attack. Beyond that, however, most Republicans want to distance their elections from the national context.

That strategy is born of necessity. Republicans are alarmed by the large number of House and Senate incumbents who are trailing or tied in their internal polling. Many are attracting the support of less than 45 percent of likely voters -- a danger zone for any incumbent 60 days before an election. The political rule of thumb is that incumbents rarely draw a majority of voters who make up their minds in the days shortly before Election Day.

History shows how the combination of opposition research and negative advertising can work. In 2000, Republicans unleashed a furious attack on the spending practices of Democratic House candidate Linda Chapin, including her purchase of an $18,500 bronze frog as a legislator in Florida. Chapin, then the favorite to win an open Florida House seat, lost to Republican Ric Keller. That same election cycle, Republicans dug up a tape of state Rep. Eleanor Jordan (D-Ky.) asking to speed up a vote so she could attend a fundraiser, an image that destroyed her chances of knocking off Rep. Anne M. Northup (R).

This year, the challenge is tougher, as national polling shows voters dissatisfied with the party in power and ready for a change.

"When all [Republicans] do is launch potshots, they look like they're trying to cover up the fact that they have no solutions" said Phil Singer, communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

As in past elections, the bulk of negative advertising this year probably will be delivered by party committees -- a strategy that allows the candidates to distance themselves from the trash-talking messages that turn off some voters.

Wisconsin's 8th District offers an example. Earlier this summer, the NRCC sent a young staff member to the district for one week to look through court records, government and medical documents, and local newspapers to find embarrassing information about physician Steve Kagen, one of the leading Democratic candidates in an important swing district, an NRCC aide said. The researcher discovered that Kagen's allergy clinic has sued more than 80 patients, mostly for failing to pay their bills.

A new NRCC ad airing in the Green Bay area, the district's main media market, warns: "What Dr. Millionaire doesn't want you to know is his clinic left more than 80 patients behind -- suing them. That's right, suing more than 80 patients."

In recent elections, Democratic officials have complained that Republicans are much better at opposition research. But Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) and Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who chair the Democrats' House and Senate campaign committees, have invested more heavily in research. Notably, the researchers dig not only into Republicans, but also their own candidates. This allows Democrats to anticipate what is coming and be ready to respond quickly.

One Democratic research success this year came when Emanuel's staff combed though the archives of several universities to find a copy of an article Colorado Republican candidate Rick O'Donnell wrote for an obscure publication in the mid-1990s. A researcher eventually found the article at George Washington University. In it, O'Donnell argued that Social Security should be abolished -- a revelation that was highlighted in three sharply worded DSCC mailings in the district.

Direct-mail appeals often carry the most negative and potentially damaging messages. Dan Hazelwood, a leading GOP direct mail consultant, said that if a hypothetical Democratic candidate favors the establishment of a garbage dump in a section of the district, for instance, it makes more sense to "narrow-cast" this message by mail to the people most affected rather than buying an expensive, districtwide television ad.

The RNC's expanded role in part reflects concerns that Senate Republicans may not have enough money to take the fight to Democrats. The National Republican Senatorial Committee, under Chair Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), had $15 million less to spend than the DSCC at the end of July. But, the RNC is planning to make up the difference. The committee ended July with nearly $44 million in the bank, four times what the Democratic National Committee had on hand.

In setting up a separate arm to spend money on Senate races, the RNC is altering its past practice. In the past, the RNC simply transferred a large sum of money to the House and Senate campaign committees and let the chairmen decide how to spend it. This year, Nelson -- a former top official in the Bush reelection effort and political strategist for House Republicans -- will work with consultants Tony Feather and Curt Anderson to oversee the TV and direct-mail campaign, which by law must remain independent of coordination directly with candidates.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sick Bastards

This story came to my attention several days ago. I have sat on it in the hope that others would blog it. This has not occurred, so. . .prepare to be offended and disturbed by the following story. . .

Three men charged with attempting to rob a grave Saturday in Cassville Wisconsin were doing so because one of the men had seen the dead woman's obituary photo and wanted to have sex with her body, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday in Grant County Circuit Court.

The men had stopped at a Wal-Mart and bought condoms before heading to the cemetery, police said. Were they worried about disease or evidence? "One of the crimes we study in abnormal criminal behavior is necrophilia. I guess that would be the motive," Grant County Sheriff Keith Govier said Tuesday, adding that he had never before dealt with such a case. Govier said the men apparently didn't know the dead woman. "They just saw her obituary picture in the newspaper," he said.

Cassville Police Officer Brent McDonald was sent to St. Charles Cemetery about 11 p.m. Saturday on a citizen's report of a suspicious vehicle. McDonald found Alex Grunke, 20, of Ridgeway, dressed in black. Grunke was "extremely nervous" and "sweating on a very cool night," McDonald said in an interview. Grunke told McDonald that two other men were in the cemetery digging up the grave of Laura Tennessen, 20, who died Aug. 27 after being thrown from the back of a motorcycle.

At Tennessen's grave, officers found a hole that uncovered the concrete vault that encases the coffin. The two men were gone. Sunday morning, Nicholas Grunke, 20, of Ridgeway, and Dustin Radke, 20, of Dodgeville, were found walking along Highway 81 in Beetown, about eight miles from the cemetery. The Grunkes are twin brothers.

Each man was charged with being party to attempted third- degree sexual assault and being party to attempted misdemeanor theft. Bond was set at $1,000 each for the Grunke brothers and $1,500 for Radke.

According to the complaint, Radke told police that Nicholas Grunke asked him to help dig up the grave so that Grunke could take the corpse behind his house in Ridgeway and have sexual intercourse with the body. On the way to the cemetery, the men stopped at the Dodgeville Wal-Mart and bought condoms, Radke told police.

Govier said he spoke with members of the Tennessen family about the incident.
"I can't come to the word to describe (what they're going through),"he said. "Having to put their daughter to rest, and then having to deal with this. It opens up wounds that I don't know anybody could experience."

Out of respect for Miss Tennessen and her family I will not post her picture here. However the sick bastards who are charged with this crime are pictured below:

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Any questions?

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Old American Century

Screw PNAC. . .here's the answer for all of us progressives: Project for an Old American Century. My thanks go out to Pam for pointing out this site to me! Click on the picture on the left to check them out.To quote their "about" page: " This website is a free independent online daily news source that presents and distributes under-reported news items focusing on corporate and government corruption. We make available free of charge all of our archives and do our own research, as well, into conflicts of interest and cronyism."

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Grabill Days Parade

My daughter and I joined Tina Taviano this morning for a walk through the streets of Grabill. This was the third parade that we walked in with Tina, and was by far the most participated in event to date. Not only for Tina, but for Dr. Tom Hayhurst as well. Between both campaigns, over 150 volunteers showed their support by walking Grabill with the candidates.

Hayhurst volunteers

The kids had a great time passing out stickers and candy, while we parents passed out information about Tina and Tom.

Early in the parade route, Mitch Harper stepped out into the street ahead and snapped some pics. I'm sure he'll have a nice piece about the parade over at Fort Wayne Observed.

Before the start of the parade, I saw the llama in this picture wearing a Taviano t-shirt and posing with Tina. A picture was taken of this, and. . .I'd like a copy here people!

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Friday, September 08, 2006

A milestone

Sometime soon, likely within the next twelve hours, Left in Aboite will surpass the 10,000 hits mark. While there are far busier blogs as well as smaller sites, I am personally proud to hit this number and I sincerely thank everyone who has contributed to it. Even those of you who raise my blood pressure and cause me chest pain. ;)

It's never been much about the numbers here. If that were the case, there are many examples which I could follow that would pile up 10,000 hits in a month or two if I so desired. I prefer to play things "off the cuff" here. . .I don't take myself all that seriously. Therefore, you may read an op/ed piece about the political hot button of the day followed by a dirty joke or a funny picture. Clicking on LIA is like opening a box of Cracker Jack; you'll never find a Coupe de Ville, but it's always a surprise. . .

Left in Aboite began in January of this year as a strictly political blog. As I grew in my blogness, I began to incorporate my humor (sometimes juvenile, I readily admit) into my posts. I am very serious about my politics, but I also have a need to find the funny things in life. . .If I can't chuckle along the way, then the journey isn't worth taking. I think most people agree with that statement.

I also enjoy meeting like-minded individuals. The blogosphere has really opened up that world to me. I live in one of the most conservative townships in one of the most Republican states. I am friendly with all of my neighbors; they know my politics (yard signs tell the story). But it's nice to have new friends whom you know share your beliefs and positions. Blogging has led me to new friends that I never would have met otherwise, due to obvious geographic differences and chance.

It has also allowed me to become involved in local politics. I'm not the sort of guy who ever wants to run for office, but it's satisfying to help out local candidates who share my views. So many people complain about politicians but don't get involved, or don't even bother to vote. In my opinion,these people have no right to complain. I'll be campaigning for a local candidate tomorrow, how 'bout you? Get involved or shut up. You know who you are. . .

My thanks go out to:

- The Fort Wayne Reader - For posting an article about my old friend, Robert Rouse's blog. It led me to his site, and eventually to starting my own blog.

- Robert - For setting a fine example, and for support and graphic design.

- All of my blogging friends - TOO numerous to mention, you're all in my blogroll.

I thank you all and, to borrow a line from Murrow, Good Night and Good Luck!

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Moms speak out

HAT TIP to Betty Cracker

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The Path to 9/11

ABC alters 9/11 show under pressure

ABC has in recent days made changes to it's film "Path to 9/11" (set to air Sunday and Monday) after leading political figures, many of them Democrats, complained about bias and inaccuracies. Meanwhile, the Center for American Progress Action Fund has launched a letter-writing campaign urging the network to "correct" or dump the miniseries. As of Wednesday it had collected 25,000 letters asking ABC to either correct or cancel the miniseries. "The miniseries presents an agenda that blames the Clinton administration for the 9/11 attacks while ignoring numerous errors and failures of the Bush administration," the center said in a news release.

ABC unleashed a promotional blitz in the last week for this new "docu-drama" and has thrown its corporate might behind the two-night production, billing it as a public service, a TV event, and to quote the ABC tagline, "based on the 9/11 Commission Report". That's false. "The Path to 9/11" is actually a bald-faced attempt to slander Democrats and revise history right before Americans vote in a major election. Does anyone else smell the stench of Karl Rove on this one? Put together by right-wing conservative writers, the film relies on the old GOP playbook of using terrorism to scare Americans. It mocks the truth and dishonors the memory of 9/11 victims to serve a cheap, callous political agenda. It irresponsibly misrepresents the facts and completely distorts the truth.

After a screening of the first episode in Washington last week, some audience members attacked the film's depiction of the Clinton administration's pursuit of Osama bin Laden. Among those unhappy was Richard Ben-Veniste, an attorney and member of the 9/11 commission. Richard A. Clarke, the former counterterrorism czar, has criticized the movie for suggesting that the Clinton administration was in a position to capture Bin Laden in 1998 but canceled the mission at the last minute.

After much discussion, ABC toned down, but did not eliminate entirely, a scene that involved Clinton's national security advisor, "Sandy" Berger, declining to give the order to kill Bin Laden, according to a person involved with the film who declined to be identified because of the sensitivities involved. "That sequence has been the focus of attention," the source said, adding: "These are very slight alterations."

In addition, the network decided that the credits would say the film is based "in part" on the 9/11 commission report, rather than simply "based on" the bestselling report, as the producers originally intended.

ABC, meanwhile, is tip-toeing away from the film's version of events. In a statement, the network said the miniseries "is a dramatization, not a documentary, drawn from a variety of sources, including the 9/11 commission report, other published materials and from personal interviews." Not to mention, biased conservative opinions. . .

The statement adds: "The events that lead to 9/11 originally sparked great debate, so it's not surprising that a movie surrounding those events has revived the debate. The attacks were a pivotal moment in our history that should never be forgotten and it's fitting that the discussion continues."

None of ABC's moves is likely to quell the debate, however.

UPDATE: Read more on this over at Blognonymous.

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Camp Democracy


The antiwar activists who picketed near the president's ranch this summer traded dusty Texas for soggy Washington yesterday, when they set up camp near the White House to continue their vigil.

"Every day, we realize there is a war in Iraq," said Charlie Richardson, co-founder of Military Families Speak Out and father of a U.S. Marine recently returned from Iraq. "But the vast majority of Americans don't; they forget. Less than 1 percent of this population has gone to war. And we need to get those troops out. .now."

Richardson and about 100 other military family members, veterans and peace activists kicked off a 17-day demonstration called "Camp Democracy" yesterday. With piles of military boots to represent slain soldiers and banners calling for an end to the war as their backdrop, they rallied in the pouring rain and stayed throughout the day's relentless drizzle. Camp Democracy, a spinoff from Camp Casey in Crawford,TX,started by antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, will feature a series of speeches, lectures and discussions under white tents pitched on the Mall at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW.

Sheehan, whose older son, Casey, was killed in Iraq in 2004, started the Crawford protest camp early last month on a five-acre lot she bought in July, after her roadside vigil last year drew about 10,000 supporters from across the country. She wasn't in Washington yesterday, but organizers expect she will be a speaker before they pull up stakes. The main voices heard yesterday were those of veterans.

Charlie Anderson, 29, spoke loudly through the rainstorm. "I was so optimistic," said the Toledo native, who joined the military when he was 19. Then he "rode into Iraq without body armor," he said. And "I had no idea what the mission was, because it was changing every day."

Dozens of other veterans nodded when Anderson said this. A Vietnam War veteran in a wheelchair clapped. A naval recruiter from the Vietnam era raised her fist in the air. A Gulf War veteran mouthed the word "yes." They talked about shortfalls in veterans' benefits and medical care. They discussed ways to end the war and tactics to starve the war machine of its essential fuel. . .young recruits like them.

"I've been to dozens and dozens of counter-recruitment actions," said Joe Hatcher, who served in Iraq from February 2004 until March 2005 with the 1st Infantry Division. Now the 25-year-old California native tours the country and sets up camp outside schools, where he gives students his real-life version of the recruiters' pitch about military life. His group also advises families on ways to opt out of military recruiting.

Camp Democracy will have similar themes every day for the next few weeks:Organizing the Progressive Agenda Day,Immigrants' Rights Day, Labor Speaks Out Day,Climate Crisis Day and others.Camp Democracy has no single message, though its organizers said they wanted the veterans and their families front and center because "they are the ones affected most by this war, except for the Iraqi people," said David Swanson, coordinator of Camp Democracy, which was born when the people protesting in Crawford wondered what they could do next.

The variously themed days and speakers from causes across the spectrum are one way to demonstrate that war affects all parts of American life, organizers said. They want to show that funding to rebuild New Orleans is hamstrung by war costs, and immigration legislation is threatened by the drumbeat of war on foreign soil, Swanson said. "People keep telling us that this will muddle our message," Swanson said. "But this is not a three-week PR campaign. It's more complicated than that. We're trying to bring people together to make a stronger movement."

Editor's note: Robert Rouse of Left of Centrist will be attending a segment of this demonstration this weekend. I'm sure he'll have a full report with pictures upon his return.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Tom Hayhurst on jobs & the economy

Jobs & the Economy

Jobs, jobs, jobs. No three words are more important to Hoosier workers and their families. Good jobs and a healthy economy are the bedrock of the American dream.
As a physician, I have spent my entire life fighting for the well-being of my patients. As a local elected official, I have made it my business to support every initiative that enhances our regional economy and the lives of working families. As a veteran and cofounder of Veterans for Better Health Care, I know about shared sacrifice and the bond of one's word. The very strength of our great nation depends on the heart and talent of each and every citizen.

I believe it is time to start a quiet revolution in the halls of Congress. It is time to turn the Washington-insiders out and put the focus back on the people, like you, who work hard and play by the rules. A one-question benchmark should be the test for nearly every measure that Congress considers: Is this bill good for the working families of America ?

When I am in the U.S. Congress, I will:

• Work tirelessly for the people of the 3rd District to create and keep good jobs throughout northeast Indiana .
• Foster an environment in which innovation and initiative can thrive and companies can grow.
• Nurture a strong economy, an attractive quality of life and our ability to compete around the world.
• Advance a policy of “fair trade, not just free trade” in all international trade agreements, leveling the playing field and defending American workers and their jobs while protecting the natural environment and workers in our partner countries.
• Support sound, fiscally-prudent decision making.
• Leverage resources to get the most out of every taxpayer dollar.
• Promote lifelong learning and educational excellence to ensure the stability of our country and a future full of opportunities for our children and grandchildren.

I'm running for Congress because I am committed to making America work for working families. Together, we can transform our hard work, hope and hometown values into a fresh start for the 3rd District and greater prosperity for all our citizens.

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Tom Hayhurst on veterans


It was a divisive war in a troubled time. But when the moment came, I stood to serve my country. The war then was Vietnam . My tour was as a medical officer in the United States Air Force.

Now as then, our brave military men and women find themselves in harms way as conflicts rage around the world. I know the price of freedom. I have been witness to the costs of duty. I will never forget those who risked everything or those heroes who perished in America 's defense. I believe that the promises made to those who put themselves on the line for liberty's sake are promises that must be kept, especially in this time of war when we ask yet another generation to make the ultimate sacrifice.

I know the price of freedom. That's why my battle to aid our veterans has already begun. When the inpatient beds at our regional Veterans Administration hospital were threatened and little was being done, I joined with my fellow veterans to form Veterans for Better Health Care. Together we are fighting to save those essential services and keep them nearby. Together we are waging a war on the home front for those forgotten by the federal government and our elected representatives in Washington , D.C. Together we are pressing for action even as new veterans return from the front lines with long-term needs.

From my days in uniform, my life has followed a path of service, as a practicing critical-care physician in northeast Indiana and as a local elected official in my hometown. I was humbled to receive the Americanism Award of the Allen County Council of Veterans in 2005 and 2006. I believe that democracy lives in each of us. And that we cannot turn our backs on those who are the living symbols of our freedom.

When I am in the U. S. Congress, I will:

• Lead and energize the fight to save the inpatient beds at the Fort Wayne Veterans Administration Hospital .

• Work to obtain adequate funding for veterans' services and facilities.

• Do all within my power to ensure that our great nation and its people are safeguarded forever.

• Advocate forcefully on behalf of our active duty military, our veterans and their families for the health care they have earned and all their entitled benefits.

• Support in every way our veterans and members of the National Guard, Reserve and those on active duty in all branches of the military.

I know the price of freedom. I'm running for Congress because it's time for a representative who understands we never leave our troops behind.

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Comic Relief

"Karl Rove's new talking point for the Republicans is that the terrorists are like the Nazis, and anyone against the Iraq War is like the appeasers before World War II. If that doesn't work they're going to use Bush's analogy, where bin Laden is a Klingon and he's Captain Kirk." - Bill Maher

“The United States and Europe say they’re ready to begin imposing low-level sanctions against Iran, such as travel bans. Travel bans. That’s going to ruin a lot of people’s Labor Day weekend. How many were going to Tehran this weekend? Aw.’” - Jay Leno

"Here's a good reason to stay in school. The president was in Salt Lake City yesterday speaking about the War on Terror, while simultaneously fighting his own personal battle with the English language [on screen: Bush mispronouncing 'totalitarian']. You think when he sees Jessica Simpson screw up a word, he laughs or feels sorry for her?." - Jimmy Kimmel

"President Bush is on television giving a speech and Kyra Phillips, an anchorwoman from CNN, gets up to go to the bathroom. She's wearing a microphone. She leaves the microphone on. Everyone was outraged. What's the big deal? She gets up to go the bathroom in the middle of a George W. Bush speech -- who hasn't done that?" - David Letterman

“But some good news. The price of gasoline continues to fall. It has dropped 15 cents over the last two weeks. In fact, listen to this. Gas prices have dropped so much Dick Cheney was put on suicide watch. Can’t take it anymore.” - Jay Leno

Iraq's government announced Sunday the Iraqi Army has captured the country's number-two al-Qaeda leader. They know beyond the shadow of a doubt that he's the number-two leader. He just shot his lawyer on a hunting ranch outside of Baghdad.- Argus Hamilton

"According to a national organization that studies obesity, nine of the fattest states in America are in the lower third of the country. In other words, geographically, America has a fat ass." - Conan O'Brien

"He [Bush] kind of blew it. He described his reading list to Brian Williams during the interview as 'epileptic.' I think he was trying for 'eclectic.' What happened? He was doing so well on the Ritalin." - Bill Maher

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Labor Day Political Battlefield Report

(Courtesy of MoveOn.org)


  • The environment for Republicans is grim: "Facing the most difficult political environment since they took control of Congress in 1994, Republicans begin the final two months of the midterm campaign in growing danger of losing the House." (Washington Post) "It's the most difficult off-year cycle for the Republicans since 1982," said Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma and former chief of staff to the Republican National Committee 'Environmentally, it's about as good from the Democratic perspective as they could hope to have.'" (New York Times)

  • The battlefield is broad: "Over the summer, the political battlefield has expanded well beyond the roughly 20 GOP House seats originally thought to be vulnerable. Now some Republicans concede there may be almost twice as many districts from which Democrats could wrest the 15 additional seats they need to take control." (Washington Post)

  • Voters want change: "President Bush's low approval ratings, the sharp divisions over the war in Iraq, dissatisfaction with Congress, and economic anxiety caused by high gasoline prices and stagnant wages have alienated independent voters, energized the Democratic base and thrown once-safe Republican incumbents on the defensive." (Washington Post)

  • "In the latest New York Time CBS poll, just 29 percent said the country was headed in the right direction, a measure of national pessimism that rivals the 26 percent who felt that way in October 1994." (New York Times)

  • "Analysts forecast a wave of change. Two independent political analysts have, in recent weeks, forecast a narrow Democratic takeover of the House, if current political conditions persist. Stuart Rothenberg, who had predicted Democratic gains of 8 to 12 seats in the House, now projects 15 to 20. Democrats need 15 to regain the majority. Charles Cook, the other analyst, said: 'If nothing changes, I think the House will turn. The key is, if nothing changes.'" (New York Times)


  • Winds can shift: "[Democratic House Campaign Committee chair Rahm] Emanuel, discussing the widespread predictions that his party would win the House if the election were held today, said simply: 'It isn't today. That's the unfortunate part.'" (New York Times)

  • Republicans plan a massive get-out-the-vote campaign: "Republicans are counting on their vaunted get-out-the-vote campaign, which proved so effective in 2002 and 2004, to overcome what many concede is a less than enthusiastic conservative base. The Republicans are also expected to have a financial edge this fall, although the Democrats have worked hard to narrow it."(New York Times)

  • A wave of money in the next 30 days: "Mehlman said Republicans have financial and organizational assets to deploy, and he predicted that, over the next 30 days, GOP candidates will attempt to convert the elections from a referendum on the president and congressional Republicans to a choice between competing philosophies on fighting terrorism and growing the economy.'" (Washington Post)

  • Karl Rove working to "frame the contest": "White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove told one associate last week that he believes that the climate has begun to turn in a way that will help Republicans preserve their majorities, and GOP officials will spend the coming weeks trying to boost the president's approval ratings and frame the contest." (Washington Post)

  • Massive, negative GOP attacks: "Over the next month, Democratic challengers will also feel the heat from millions of dollars' worth of negative GOP ads. Normally, incumbents wait until the final weeks of their campaigns to launch their attacks, but party strategists are warning that to wait that long could be fatal. Democrats promise to be just as aggressive in responding, but there is a window in which Republicans have a chance to plant doubts about little-known challengers." (Washington Post)

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The GOP's national defense failure

(Excerpted from Howie Klein)

I highly recommend that you read Mr.Klein's full column on this issue (Click the link above). I serve up the barest bones of it here:

The unexpected reliance on the National Guard and Reserve in Iraq not only raises serious concerns about the Guard's long-term ability to recruit and maintain troops but also causes concerns for states that rely on the Guard in case of natural disasters (Katrina, anyone?). And for the members themselves, Guard service has often been truly disastrous. For many it's meant economic ruin. Their civilian jobs and salaries are disrupted but their mortgage payments, car payments, and credit card debt continue to pile up. This puts their families at home in a terrible financial situation where bankruptcy is often the only way out... Increasing numbers of Guard and Reserve troops who have returned from war in Iraq and Afghanistan are encountering new battles with their employers at home. Jobs were eliminated, benefits reduced, and promotions forgotten."

Meanwhile Bush's rubber stamp Republicans disingenuously chant mantras about "supporting our troops," accusing the Democrats of abandoning them, while the GOP votes against legislation to ease their burdens. Almost 1 in 5 activated Reservists have no medical insurance but when Democrats introduced a bill expanding military health care to provide access for most members of the Reserves, Guard and their families for a low fee, the GOP leadership beat it back, 211 to 218. Similarly, last year HR 2528 was meant to provide an additional $30 million for veterans' health care that would have added funding for combat-related trauma care to support wounded troops once they return to their homes, medical and prosthetic research, and 100 additional staff to help process claims and pensions benefits. Bush's rubber stamp fake-patriots managed to kill that one 214 to 213.

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