The All Spin Zone

Cost of Putting Lipstick on a Pit Bull?

$68,400. That's the total of figures being reported in campaign finance reports by the Republican National Committee. The figure went for makeup for vice presidential candidate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. From the New York Times:

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Palin Is Sinking the McCain Campaign

Every single Democrat should be worried about the outcome of this election until at least midnight of November 4th. Still, the polls are encouraging, and they are showing, amazingly enough, that Sarah Palin hurts John McCain’s candidacy worse than does George Bush. There’s no turning that one around.

The first polls are out with even a hint of a reaction to the Powell endorsement of Barack Obama, and those polls should make Republicans weep.

The NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll gives Obama a 10 point lead nationally. 60% of respondents in the CNN poll think McCain’s attacks on Obama are unfair, a figure that hurts McCain’s chances further with independent voters. Reuters/Zogby has an 8 point Obama lead in its latest tracking poll. And the Pew poll, which takes into account cell phone users, has Obama up by 14 points. The prediction here is that these totals will go up in the next couple days as the impact of the Powell endorsement fully hits the polling results.

What’s the big news here? Sure, McCain has been hurt by his association with Bush for a long time. But in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, it appears that Sarah Palin is a bigger drag on the Palin/McCain ticket than is Dubya. She’s now seen as unqualified for the vice Presidential job by 55% of the public, and her negatives are now 47%, higher than her positives for the first time. Here’s a bit from the Pew results about the Palin drag on the ticket, and about McCain’s lack of judgement:

The Whack Jobs Holding Out for a Palin/McCain Ticket

The latest Washington Post/ABC poll has Barack Obama with 53% of the voters and a ten point lead. No, polls are not the final word, but 53% is a big number in Presidential politics, and with three weeks to go the trend line is strongly in Barack Obama’s favor. Here’s a little of the Washington Post reporting about this big number:

McCain has made little headway in his attempts to convince voters that Obama is too “risky” or too “liberal.” Rather, recent strategic shifts may have hurt the Republican nominee, who now has higher negative ratings than his rival and is seen as mostly attacking his opponent rather than addressing the issues that voters care about. Even McCain’s supporters are now less enthusiastic about his candidacy, returning to levels not seen since before the Republican National Convention.

Conversely, Obama’s pitch to the middle class on taxes is beginning to sink in; nearly as many said they think their taxes would go up under a McCain administration as under an Obama presidency, and more see their burdens easing with the Democrat in the White House.
OK, there are some amazing numbers underlying this poll, as there are amazing numbers underlying other polls. Newsweek investigates those numbers, like trying to find out just who the whack jobs are in their poll who are satisfied with the economy. In this poll, 8% of the people had worse opinions of Barack Obama. Those are the ones shouting “terrorist” and “traitor,” I’m betting. Yeah, whack jobs. Newsweek may think it has the answer, but it is just as easy to conclude there are whack jobs out there, and Republicans seem proud to have them on board and voting.

Thou Shalt Not Go Negative Against a Comedian

Al Franken, known far more as a comedian than as a politician, is certainly benefiting from the Obama surge in the last week or two, but it appears Norm Coleman is doing his part in boosting the Franken candidacy, as reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken has moved into his first solid lead over incumbent Republican Norm Coleman, according to a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll.

The survey, conducted Tuesday through Thursday by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among 1,084 likely Minnesota voters, shows Franken leading Coleman 43 to 34 percent. Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley is supported by 18 percent of respondents.

. . .

The new poll suggests that one reason for Franken’s gain is voters’ reaction to the abrasive advertising in the campaign.

The survey shows that 56 percent of poll respondents consider ads criticizing Franken to be “mostly unfair personal attacks.� Only 42 percent said the same about ads criticizing Coleman.

Some of the ads by the Coleman campaign and national Republicans show Franken when he was an entertainer, cursing and ranting on political subjects.
I suppose voters understand that in his previous occupation as entertainer and comedian, it was Franken’s job to be abrasive on these issues. The Coleman attacks using old SNL footage are backfiring because Minnesota voters are smarter than Norm Coleman gives them credit for.

Go Stuart Smalley!

FEC Decides that the First Amendment Actually Applies to Bloggers

We bloggers are media! We get to exercise our rights to free speech! Who knew? Well, since we’ve had those rights for a couple hundred years, so I knew. The Federal Election Commission, however, has seen fit to confirm my rights as a blogger to write about . . . politics! Yes, even if I commit the sin of favoring a candidate!

Heck, you can even be political and all that stuff. Nope, you don't need any stinking "freedom of speech" to give you these rights. The FEC has assured them. The whole case evidently extends from a whine by the Clinton campaign against a blog in Iowa advocating for Barack Obama. The report on this action is from

Is Helping Big Oil the New Third Rail in American Politics?

Another Republican incumbent has lost an election, this time a primary in Tennessee. He was painted as beholden to Big Oil, and that's what led to Dave Davis' loss. Meanwhile, John McCain is in opposition to the New Energy Reform Act of 2008 precisely because is scales back Big Oil subsidies. This is the stuff of political ads against McCain.


courtesy of Think Progress

So it seems. There was a primary in Tennessee yesterday, and the incumbent Republican lost. David Davis, who represented the Northeastern part of the state, was upset by the Mayor of Johnson City, Phil Roe. While this one is going to be in the Republican column come November, Roe worked hard to tie Davis to Big Oil, and the pundits are reporting that is why Davis lost. RawStory has the scoop, as does Ben Pershing at the Washington Post:

Has Cheney Been Disinvited to the GOP Convention?

The lineup for the GOP Convention isn’t set, but Dick Cheney’s role seems set. He’s going to be absent. Evidently the current Vice President is so toxic in his disapprovals that few Americans, even Republicans, want to be seen with him. Everyone who is surprised, raise your hands.

We know that a whole bunch of GOP Senators, the ones up for reelection, are not attending this year's GOP Convention. We know that Mr. Bush will be making an early speech at the GOP Convention, then will likely be whisked off the stage. The current Veep, though, Dick Cheney? Evidently nobody is quite sure if Dick Cheney will attend, though it seems axiomatic that nobody wants Cheney to show up at the GOP Convention. Here's a bit on the subject from
Vice President Cheney will be a no-show at the Republican convention in Minnesota, Republican officials said, citing a desire by Sen. John McCain's campaign to turn the page on the Bush-Cheney years.
One GOP official told CNN there's a "mutual understanding" between Cheney's office and the McCain camp that he is "unlikely" to attend the convention.
A second Republican official said there are still "talks going on" between Cheney's office and the McCain camp and both sides are "still trying to work it out."
The conservative American Spectator first reported Monday that Cheney, who has low national approval ratings but is still popular among conservatives, is not expected to attend the convention.
A Wall Street Journal-NBC News Poll from June showed that while 31 percent of Americans had a positive opinion of President Bush, only 23 percent had the same feeling for Cheney.
Yeah, one can certainly understand why the Republicans would want to hide both Bush and Cheney when they dominate the airways during their convention. It is a bit odd that there's any confusion here, though. I would think even Cheney would immediately say he wouldn't attend. But these sources are not unanimous, that's for sure.

Karl Rove Cited For Contempt

The House Judiciary Committee voted this morning to hold Karl Rove in contempt of congress. Big deal. The entire Bush administration has held congress in contempt for the past seven years. And there is no intent on the part of the House to actually, you know, enforce the citation. So what's the point?


So what?

The Bush administration has held congress in extreme contempt for the past seven-plus years. For five of those years, it didn't much matter. The past two years haven't made much of a difference either.

So, Conyer's committee cites Karl Rove for contempt of congress because he wouldn't comply with a subpoena, claiming "executive privilege". And now, the full House must vote on the citation, at least if that isn't off of Speaker Pelosi's table, too.

WHO Updates AIDS Model - Christian Conservatives Go Crazy

A new assessment of the AIDS epidemic by the World Health Organization drew an immediate response from the Family Research Council. Given the content of the FRC response, it appears that 25 years has done little to end the labeling of those with the disease as morally inferior.

Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

The inclination to view natural disasters and disease as signs of God’s wrath remains a frightening demonstration of the dangers of religious dogma. Time and again, a vocal group of religious leaders attribute these tragedies to the morality of those affected.

One long standing example is HIV/AIDS, though there are many more. When HIV first appeared, there were numerous religious leaders and politicians who chose to characterize the disease as punishment for homosexuality. Since the beginning, the fact that the infection rate in lesbians was a fraction of that found in gay men seemed to defy the efforts to apply a moral judgment. Regardless, the prevalence of these prejudices continues to exist.

The release of a new report by the World Health Organization, in which the organization acknowledges that HIV isn’t likely to become a heterosexual pandemic, has already triggered a new round of moral pronouncements. I’ll discuss the invective offered by the Family Research Council beneath the following excerpts. They are from an article in The Independent which details the reports conclusions.

A quarter of a century after the outbreak of Aids, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has accepted that the threat of a global heterosexual pandemic has disappeared.

In the first official admission that the universal prevention strategy promoted by the major Aids organisations may have been misdirected, Kevin de Cock, the head of the WHO’s department of HIV/Aids said there will be no generalised epidemic of Aids in the heterosexual population outside Africa.

Dr De Cock, an epidemiologist who has spent much of his career leading the battle against the disease, said understanding of the threat posed by the virus had changed. Whereas once it was seen as a risk to populations everywhere, it was now recognised that, outside sub-Saharan Africa, it was confined to high-risk groups including men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, and sex workers and their clients.

[…] But we have to be careful. As an epidemiologist it is better to describe what we can measure. There could be small outbreaks in some areas.”

The Politics of Humanitarian Aid

After Cyclone Nargis ripped through Myanmar’s Irrawaddy delta area, the Bush administration was wringing its hands over the Myanmar ruling junta’s delay in approving international aid, which is interesting, considering how the Bushies responded to offers of international aid after Hurricane Katrina.

Commentary By: Walter Brasch

President Bush was justifiably upset. A cyclone four days earlier had destroyed a large portion of Myanmar, and the country’s military junta was still refusing humanitarian aid. “Let the United States come to help you, help the people,” Bush pleaded with the junta. “We’re prepared to move U.S. Navy assets to help find those who’ve lost their lives, to help find the missing, to help stabilize the situation,” said the President, “but in order to do so, the military junta must allow our disaster assessment teams into the country.”

With more than 20,000 dead, possibly 40,000 missing, and close to one million homeless, the junta made it clear that it, not the international community, would provide whatever humanitarian aid was necessary.

A week before the cyclone hit, President Bush extended sanctions against Myanmar by another year because of what he called that junta’s “large-scale repression of the democratic opposition.” Paranoid about anything that could threaten its power, the junta was frightened that the United States would use the cyclone as a reason to invade the country.

The junta’s response the first week of May was little different than the international concern almost three years earlier. It wasn’t the destruction of villages and the rice farming industry, but the destruction of cities and the shrimp industry. It wasn’t a cyclone named Nargis, but a hurricane named Katrina.

Boy Scouts Want to Discriminate Using Public Dollars

The Boy Scouts here in Philly want the city to support them to the tune of $200,000 per year. They’re suing for that “right,” feeling themselves to be entitled. They’ll lose, at least according to precedent, but this time they are using some particularly whiney courtroom strategies that go against what they claim to teach boys.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

We’ve had a long controversy here in Philadelphia. (I’ve written about this before, here and here.)The Cradle of Liberty Council of the Boy Scouts of America has long had a $1 lease on a fine building in a very expensive part of town. The national Boy Scouts won a Supreme Court ruling allowing them to discriminate in the last several years, sure. But the Boy Scouts are in a bind, Cradle of Liberty Council in particular. They don’t want to discriminate against gays and athiests as the national coucil tells them to do, at least not quite as much, but if they do discriminate, then the City of Philadelphia will have to follow its own laws. You see, it is against the law in Philadelphia to fund groups that discriminate. So what’s the solution? According to the Cradle of Liberty Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the solution is a lawsuit, demanding that the City of Philadelphia aid and abet their discriminatory policies by reducing their rent from $200,000 to $1 per year.

Now it has come down to it, here in Philly, that the Boy Scouts feel they are entitled to suck off the public teat, to soak up my tax dollars, even if they do treat my fellow citizens in a discriminatory manner. There are articles on the subject in both the Philly Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News this morning, and there’s a wonderful quote from Mayor Nutter on the situation in the Inquirer:

Red-Faced GOP Turns Blue Over Mississippi Loss

The GOP’s loss of a special election in Mississippi’s 1st. district earlier this evening is bound to leave a number of Republicans tossing and turning tonight as they weigh the 2008 election. Regardless, Democrats should redouble their efforts to achieve more gains in November.

I don’t believe in crystal balls or tarot cards…but the fact that the Democrats have now won three congressional special elections in stronghold Republican districts doesn’t bode well for the GOP in November. The most recent loss took place tonight in the solidly red 1st. district in the state of Mississippi.
Democrat Travis Childers won Tuesday’s Mississippi special election runoff for Sen. Roger Wicker’s (R) former House seat, handing Democrats the biggest of their three special election takeovers this cycle and sending a listless GOP further into a state of disarray.
Childers led GOP candidate Greg Davis 53-47 with more than 90 percent of precincts reporting. Turnout increased substantially over the 67,000 voters who cast ballots in the April 22 open special election, with more than 100,000 voting in the runoff.
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), issued a somber and self-reflective statement following the loss, saying Republicans were “disappointed� and that they need to prepare to run against Democrats campaigning as conservatives.
Cole added that “the political environment is such that voters remain pessimistic about the direction of the country and the Republican Party in general. Therefore, Republicans must undertake bold efforts to define a forward-looking agenda that offers the kind of positive change voters are looking for. This is something we can do in cooperation with our presidential nominee, but time is short.�
Now I understand that Rep. Cole has to respond to the defeat and I’m sure it’s difficult to craft a palatable rationale. Regardless, it’s hard to imagine the words “forward-looking agenda� and GOP in the same sentence.

Conservatives to Provoke Confrontation with IRS Over Clergy Endorsements

The gall of the religious right never ceases to amaze. Time and again, they demonstrate that hypocrisy is an essential element of their ideology. While many of these zealots frequently demonstrate their willingness to preach one thing and do another, their latest endeavor seems determined to take it to a whole new level.

The Alliance Defense Fund, a legal advocate for the right wing, is calling on churches to voice their positions on political candidates en masse on September 28th in order to create the grounds to challenge the constitutionality of the current tax code. As it now stands, the IRS guidelines prohibit churches from directly endorsing or rejecting political candidates in order to maintain their tax exempt status. The ADF wants to overturn the provision on the grounds that it circumvents their First Amendment rights and is therefore unconstitutional.

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Will Gay and Lesbian Voters Swing Philly for Obama or Clinton?

There’s an article in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer about how both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are courting the gay vote in PA as they square off for the primary here in just three weeks. It mentions how both campaigns value that voting bloc, and how Chelsea extended her campaign visit to Woody’s, a major gay bar here, in order to visit with the largely gay and lesbian crowd. I’m thinking this is a good thing. Neither Clinton nor Obama seems to have a lock on this segment of the voting population, but they sure are energizing the gay and lesbian voters here in Philly. Here’s a little of the piece from the Philadelphia Inquirer:
You don’t see many women at Woody’s, but Chelsea Clinton popped in last week.
To a packed house of screaming supporters, the 28-year-old former first child led a presidential pep rally for her mother at one of the oldest gay bars in Philadelphia.
“We love your highlights!” a man yelled from the crowd, referring to Chelsea’s tresses. “Wow,” she said, temporarily bumped off message, “that’s something I never heard before.”
At the end of an exhausting day of nonstop events, Chelsea was supposed to leave after 10 minutes. She ended up staying 25.
A few years ago, such a scene would have been unthinkable. But with an eye on the April 22 Pennsylvania Democratic primary, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama are fervently courting the gay vote.
In Philadelphia, gays constitute an estimated 5 percent of voters, according to Malcolm Lazin, president of Equality Forum. That is not an inconsequential percentage in a race as tight as this one.

11-Year-Old Girl Dies When Parents Choose Prayer Instead of Medical Care

It's not a long trip down the road to drive me absolutely insane, but these kind of reports are simply too prevalent in 21st century America:

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Why Republicans Should Be Scared of Don Siegelman

Donald Siegelman has been freed from jail. As many know, Siegelman was Governor of Alabama and was prosecuted for giving a position on a Board in the state to a major contributor, Richard Scrushy. I suppose if we were doing a tit for tat thing, that would mean every major contributor President Bush appointed to Ambassadorships is up for investigation, but that’s not how the US DOJ was working under President Bush and Alberto Gonzales. Nope, they prosecuted only Democrats for that sort of thing, even when Senior preosecutors in their office counseled otherwise. Scott Horton in Harpers, over a year ago, noted, basically, that miscarriage of justice should be seen as obstruction of justice on the part of the Bush appointed US Attorneys.

A couple of interesting things here. First, Siegelman would not be released unless there were a strong possiblity his appeal would go through. From the Birmingham News:
The judges wrote that Siegelman met both requirements for an appeal bond: He is not a flight risk and his appeal raises a substantial question of law or fact likely to result in reversal or an order for a new trial.
“After thorough review of this complex and protracted record, we conclude Siegelman has satisfied the criteria set out in the statute, and has specifically met his burden of showing that his appeal raises substantial questions of law or fact,” the judges wrote.

It’s going to be overturned, and we should have an investigation, a real one, into the role of the Bush Administration, Karl Rove in particular, in the prosecution here. I’m guessing the motive behind this selective prosecution was that the GOP felt threatened in their electoral bastion, the deep south. Be that as it may, the GOP claims they had not political role here, that Siegelman was prosecuted on the merits. Then why the heck do they have to act as if this is so godalmighty important to them, to the extent that they’re protesting the judge’s order? They’re protesting a whole whale of a lot for folks who claim they had no interest in the case. From WSFA in Alabama:

A Novel Idea for Gun Control? Vasectomies for a Permit

The Supreme Court has taken up the issue of a restrictive gun control ordinance in Washington, D.C., and is hearing the case today. It goes without saying that uncontrolled handgun proliferation, particularly in urban areas, has become anathema to law enforcement agencies across the country, but don’t look for SCOTUS to uphold the D.C. ordinance.

Perhaps there are other ways, more voluntary in nature, to control the permitting, licensing, and distribution of handguns? Hmmmmmm….
A bandit-infested region of India is trying to persuade men to undergo sterilization by offering to fast-track their gun licence applications, an official said on Tuesday.
Officials in central Madhya Pradesh state’s Shivpuri district decided to adopt the policy — already tried out by some neighboring states — to increase the low vascectomy rate.
“I came to know that it had to do with their perceived notion of manliness,” said Manish Shrivastav, administrative chief of Shivpuri district, part of the Indian Chambal region, which is famed for its lawlessness and bandits.
“I then decided to match it with a bigger symbol of manliness — a gun licence,” he said. “And the ploy worked.” …

What Do Nataline Sarkisyan and Britney Spears Have in Common?

They were both treated (or not, as the case may be) at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Just to refresh everyone’s memory, Nataline Sarkisyan was the young woman who, just before Christmas last year, was denied a liver transplant by her insurance company until it was too late. She died at UCLA Medical Center on the day that the transplant was approved.

And Britney Spears? Just to refresh everyone’s memory…oh…never mind. But she’s also been treated at UCLA Medical Center on various occasions. Britney gave birth there, and has also had a few encounters with staff in the psychiatric wing of the hospital.

The reason I bring up Nataline is that right after she died, I asked a simple question: why in the hell didn’t the hospital just do the transplant, and figure out the financials at a later time? I don’t believe that anyone at UCLA Medical Center was ever held to account for this lack of decision making that led, directly or indirectly, to the young woman’s death.

However, apparently some staff members at UCLA Medical Center were caught peeping in Britney Spears’ medical files - and have been fired for the offense:
UCLA Medical Center is taking steps to fire at least 13 employees and has suspended at least six others for snooping in the confidential medical records of pop star Britney Spears during her recent hospitalization in its psychiatric unit, a person familiar with the matter said Friday.
In addition, six physicians face discipline for peeking at her computerized records, the person said…

Listen, I’m the last person in the world who would make excuses for any medical personnel violating the privacy of any patient, celebrity or not, by snooping in patient records for prurient information. Anyone at UCLA Medical Center who wasn’t directly involved in treating Britney had no business prying into her personal records, and should have been fired when the discovery was made. That was the correct call. (Interestingly enough, it appears as if staff were fired, but not doctors. Go figure.)

A Democratic Do-Over in Florida Is Unlikely

It's looking increasingly like the proposed do-over of the Democratic Party presidential primary is DOA. There have been several proposals batted around, the latest of which is a mail in ballot type of affair. The Dem chairperson in Florida appears to be concerned about the sheer logistics of conducting such a vote:

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GOP State Rep Insists Homosexuality is a Bigger Threat to US Than Terrorism

I’m always amazed when the religious right seeks to characterize the pursuit of gay equality as a militant homosexual agenda. I’m especially amused when the rhetoric by which they put forth this argument is laced with the words we normally associate with the very militancy they seek to attach to the gay community.

In the following video, Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern waxes on about the threat posed by homosexuals. According to Kern, homosexuality poses a greater danger than terrorism. Just listen to the angry and confrontational imagery laced throughout her speech. When Kern states that she is in jeopardy by just making her comments, what kind of jeopardy is she alluding to? This is fear mongering at its worst. Sadly, these are the words we hear so often from those who claim to be Christians.

Video - Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern

As is so often the case with bigotry, Kern’s remarks are rife with exaggerations and misinformation. Kern tells us she was a teacher for twenty years and that schools are no longer teaching facts and knowledge. It sickens me to imagine the curriculum Kern and her ilk would favor. Thank goodness she’s no longer teaching. We can only hope that her political career comes to an end as well.

Honestly, when I hear the assertion that no society that embraced homosexuality has survived, I want to puke. I could just as easily assert that no society that has embraced a monetary system has survived. There isn’t a scintilla of evidence that any society failed due to an acceptance of homosexuality…unless of course one chooses to cherry pick from the Biblical account of Sodom and Gomorrah.

I find it amusing that homosexuality is given the distinction of being the preeminent means by which sexual behavior can destroy a society. Somehow, the Kern’s of the world seem to ignore God’s supposed admonitions against adultry, premarital sex, or any other heterosexual indiscretion. I wonder what Kern thinks about the growing prevalence of “pegging”. Of course I’m sure she would blame it on gays.

Rather than rant on about the ramblings of another run of the mill right winger, I decided to grant her inane fears the credence they warrant.

The following is my version of the top ten goals of militant homosexuals.

Atheist Soldier Says Army Punished Him for His Beliefs

At the very least, atheists aren't going to make it anywhere in the army during the Bush Administration. Fiorst we had that scandal at the Air Force Academy, where it seemed as if the place was run by evangelical Christians, with bias and intimidation included. No news on whether they've solved that problem. Now it seems that a soldier has been denied a promotion because he is an athiest. It appears, even, that he was told he wasn't a good soldier because he couldn't pray with his fellow soldiers. From Yahoo News:

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Will There Be a Florida Democratic Primary Do-Over?

As those who follow this kind of stuff are well aware, the DNC stripped Michigan and Florida of their delegates to the Democratic Party convention as a penalty for moving up the state primaries. Hillary Clinton won both primaries decisively, in what was essentially a "straw vote", since neither state can seat its delegates (as things stand now).

Interesting enough, with the nomination hanging in the balance, and the talking heads chattering that if Clinton can't win both Ohio and Texas tomorrow she should quit the race, Florida governor Charlie Crist has thrown a bit of a monkey wrench into the works. He says he's willing to give the Dems a do-over vote in the Sunshine State:

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Motivational Coaching Company Accused of Waterboarding an Employee

A motivational coaching company in Utah is being sued by a former employee for using waterboarding as a performance improvement technique. No word yet on whether snarling dogs, loud music, or pictures of Dick Cheney were also being used to properly inspire the employees.

So, you think you have a crappy job?

This is what happens when torture becomes acceptable in the mainstream. It's also quite a stark commentary on the state of corporate employee / employer relationships:

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Idiot Reporter Asks David Duke to Weigh In on Concept of a Black President

Michael Crawley of the New Republic called up David Duke to ask him his opinion on a Presidential race that just might bring us an African-American President. Yeah, he called David Duke, who claimed to be somewhere in Europe at the time, and was using secret email addresses. This is supposed to be of some import?

The content of this interview with David Duke on the prospects of Barack Obama, a potential Obama Presidency and its effect on America. . . the contents of the interview are pretty luke warm. I'm thinking those contents are so luke warm as to be a waste of bandwidth on the innertube. Well, it would be a complete waste, since there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of animus against Mr. Obama in the fringe white supremacist groups surveyed by Mr. Crawley. Here's how Crawley describes Duke's reaction to the Obama candidacy in the New Republic:

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US Army Still Broken and Getting More Hollow By the Day

The question is: will a Democratic Party controlled congress do anything about it?

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey went before the Senate Armed Services Committee today, and told them:

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Hillary Continues Anti-Hope Campaign

Hillary continues to ridicule Barack Obama and his supporters on the notion that all he is bringing to the table is hope, as if that were insubstantial. The Tribune notes, however, that Obama is bringing more substance to his speeches than Hillary or John McCain. Denigrating hope, though, is the wrong, and probably fatal, move for her campaign.

Oh, she needs a lot more than that, but it is the wrong move for the Hillary Clinton campaign, once again, to mock the hope the Barack Obama campaign is bringing to millions and millions of people. Look here at what Hillary Clinton had to say at a campaign stop Sunday. From the "Caucus" at the New York Times:

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Clinton Should Hold Open Casting Call for a Campaign Director

The Hillary Clinton campaign is desperate for ideas, so desperate they're asking anyone, ANYONE, to send in ideas about how the campaign can gain some traction against Barack Obama. I'm thinking this kind of call should have been made a lot earlier.

The Hillary Clinton campaign did nothing in last night's debate to help their situation, which seems to be deteriorating fast, and some would say that Hillary really screwed up in last night's debate (I'm agreeing, because of the moment mentioned in the article, but also because of the smirk that appeared and stayed on Hillary Clinton's face). The point spread in Texas has moved from a Clinton edge of 16 points to an edge of 3 points in the latest Rasmussen poll. Hillary Clinton has also taken to borrowing words from John Edwards' speeches. (Some might call that plagiarism, but I'm not going to.) I'm saying here that thewse folks are getting desperate, but they've got the answer. They're wanting a new campaign manager, and they're holding an open casting call for the position. From the Telegraph:

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Swiftboaters for Hillary Clinton?

Hillary Clinton's campaign failed when it went negative in Wisconsin, and here's a bet that each attempt at negative campaigning is going to fail in the future, even if those negative attacks come from the new 527 group formed to support Hillary Clinton.

As George Curry mentions today, andI mentioned one week ago today, negative campaigning by the Hillary Clinton camp is simply not going to work. Man, I'm thinking these folks should just get rid of the whole campaign staff and hire bloggers. They're clueless, and it appears they're now going to ratchet up the negatives rather than seek a strategy that has a prayer of working against Barack Obama. Some of Hillary Clinton's most well-heeled reporters are forming a 527 group to support her in Ohio and Texas. Here it is from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

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Are We One Unforseen Crisis Away from a Military Draft?

Reading between the lines of a newly released survey of current and former military officers seems to suggest that the U.S. military may be one unexpected military crisis away from the need to reinstitute the draft. Those who doubt that the war in Iraq is a drain on our military may want to reconsider the merits of that never ending conflict.

The fact that the bulk of the American public's military assessments are filtered through the prism of the powers that be...a la the Bush administration...can be rather misleading and may well engender a false sense of security. Implied in these assessments is an assurance that our nation is being sufficiently protected from harm. It's not only possible that this is a rose colored view; we may be one unforeseen crisis away from the need to reinstitute a military draft.

A survey of a few thousand current and former military officers overwhelmingly concludes that our military has been stretched dangerously thin by the war in Iraq. What the survey doesn't state may be the ominous six hundred pound gorilla in the room.

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Bush Goes on Safari to Find Friendly Faces

President Bush is in Africa this week, sulking because he didn’t get his way.

In one of the rare times the past seven years, the House of Representatives, now under Democrat control for the first time in 12 years, defended the Constitution and refused to allow the President to bully it with a program of fear mongering. He really tried, though.

In a Feb. 15 speech, the President, mad at yet another delay in voting on the Protect America Act, harrumphed, “[B]y blocking this piece of legislation our country is more in danger of an attack. … [T]he House leaders must understand that the decision they made to block good legislation has made it harder for us to protect you, the American people.� Not through with his saber-rattling, the President declared that not only would he veto an extension he would cancel a scheduled visit to five African nations and, maybe for all we know, hold his breath until the House acquiesced to his will.

In August, Congress had passed the Protect America Act, designed as a six-month temporary “fix� to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. The modified Act would have further strangled Americans’ civil liberties by reducing judicial oversight and by removing the constitutional provision from FISA that for federal law enforcement to obtain a court warrant for surveillance, it needed to show probable cause that the target is a “foreign power� or an “agent of a foreign power.�

However, the most controversial part of the Protect America Act was that it gave immunity to several national telecommunications companies, which had willingly acceded to government requests to illegally and secretly monitor the phone conversations of millions of American citizens. If the 40 lawsuits currently on file were to proceed, significant information about the government’s illegal and unconstitutional actions the past six years would be revealed.

When Did the Ability to Kill Animals Become Prerequisite for the Presidency?

Over the weekend, Hillary Clinton was doing some campaigning in Kenosha, Wisconsin. At a Q&A session, a question was raised on what she would do to prevent tragedies such as occurred last week at Northern Illinois University, in which 5 students were killed and 22 more wounded by a former NIU student who had gone off his meds.

Her answer was troubling to me - not her stock political answer (background checks, no gun permits for terrorists or the mentally ill) - but that she felt the need to impress Wisconsin voters with her own killing credentials:

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