Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Towering Solons of Abortion
By Molly Ivins

AUSTIN, Texas—South Dakota is so rarely found on the leading edge of the far out, the wiggy, the California-esque. But it has now staked its claim. First to Outlaw Abortion This Century. The state legislature of South Dakota, in all its wisdom and majesty, a legislature comprised of sons and daughters of the soil from Aberdeen to Zell, have usurped the right of the women of that state to decide whether or not to bear the child of an unwanted pregnancy. They will decide. Women will do what they decide.

These towering solons, representing citizens from the great cosmopolitan centers of Rapid City and Sioux Falls to the bosky dells near Yankton, are noted for their sagacity and understanding. When you think “enlightenment,” the first thing that comes to your mind is “the South Dakota Legislature,” right?

As well it might. The purpose of the law is to force a decision from the United States Supreme Court, where the appointments of John Roberts and Sam Alito have now shored up the anti-choice forces.

The South Dakota Legislature has made it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion under any circumstances except to save the life of the mother. There are no exceptions for rape, incest or to preserve the health of the mother. Should this strike you as hard cheese, State Sen. Bill Napoli, R-Rapid City, explains how rape and incest could be exceptions under the “life” clause. Napoli believes most abortions are performed for “convenience,” but he told “The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer” about how he thinks a “real-life example” of the exception could be invoked:

“A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl, could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.”

Please stop and reread the paragraph above. See? Clearly Napoli’s exception would not apply to the South Dakota woman also interviewed by the NewsHour. “Michelle” is in her 20s, has a low-paying job and two children. And says she simply cannot afford a third. She drove five hours to the state’s only abortion clinic.

“It was difficult when I found out I was pregnant. I was saddened because I knew that I’d probably have to make this decision. Like I said, I have two children, so I look into their eyes and I love them. It’s been difficult, you know, it’s not easy. And I don’t think it’s, you know, ever easy on a woman, but we need that choice.”

But who is she to make that choice when Bill Napoli can make it for her? He explains: “When I was growing up here in the wild west, if a young man got a girl pregnant out of wedlock, they got married, and the whole darned neighborhood was involved in that wedding. I mean, you just didn’t allow that sort of thing to happen, you know? I mean, they wanted that child to be brought up in a home with two parents, you know, that whole story. And so I happen to believe that can happen again. ... I don’t think we’re so far beyond that, that we can’t go back to that.”

I find this so profound I am considering putting Sen. Napoli in charge of all moral, ethical and medical decisions made by women. Certainly lucky for the women of South Dakota that he’s there, and perhaps that’s what we all need—a man to make decisions for us in case we should decide to do something serious just for our own convenience.

Look at some of the incompetent women we have running around in this country—Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright, now there are a couple of girls in need of guidance from the South Dakota legislature. Female doctors, lawyers, airplane pilots, engineers and, for that matter, female members of the South Dakota Legislature—who could ever trust them with an important decision?

In South Dakota, pharmacists can refuse to fill a prescription for contraceptives should it trouble their conscience, and some groups who worked on the anti-abortion bill believe contraception also needs to be outlawed. Good plan. After that, we’ll reconsider women’s property rights, civil right and voting rights.

For years, the women’s movement has been going around asking, “Who decides?” as though that were the issue. Well, here’s the answer. Bill Napoli decides, and if you’re not happy with that arrangement, well, you’d better be prepared to do something about it.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Poor Get Poorer

The President’s 2007 budget proposes $2.7 trillion in spending neccessary to increase defense and homeland security. There is $18 billion for rebuilding from the hurricanes that devestated the poor in the Gulf Coast region. Other programs such as energy programs will get $4.1 billion (huge surprise), while 141 programs that primarily help the poor, children, the elderly, veterans and the handicapped will see their money drastically cut or eliminated. The cuts are needed to reduce a deficit caused, in part, by the war and to support the continuation of the war. They are also to pay for damage from the devastating hurricanes.

The soldiers who risk their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq do so with heroism and grit. The soldiers and their families are making brave and sometimes horrific sacrifices. Why should the same socioeconomic group that makes up the bulk of the fighting force also sacrifice the most financially? Some of us do not believe that we should have invaded Iraq, some of us do. What we all can agree upon is that the cost of the war should not trickle down to those who are fighting and their families. The cost of hurricane rebuilding should not cut programs that will help those most effected by the hurricanes.Why is this happening?Why are programs for the poor cut to pay for a war and storm damage that has benefited the wealthy oil companies and defense contractors? The money that's cut will go to wealthy cotractors hired to rebuild or Haliburton KBR. Huge, sometimes record profits for them, while killing and maiming the poor and middle class soldiers and causing emotional and financial hardship for their families is terrible.

A report, entitled “Shifty Tax Cuts: How They Move the Tax Burden off the Rich and onto Everyone Else,” from United for a Fair Economy (UFE) indicates that between 2002 and 2004, the Bush tax cuts to the top 1% of US income earners redirected billions of dollars in revenue that could have eliminated virtually all of the budget shortfalls in every state.These tax cuts and our government's incestuous relationship with large corporations are the reasons why.

The report identifies five main areas of shifting tax burden:
FEDERAL TO STATE — a 15% shift in tax burden between 2000 and 2003.
PROGRESSIVE TO REGRESSIVE — at the federal level, a 17% decline in the share of revenue from progressive taxes and a 135% increase in the share of revenue from regressive taxes.
WEALTH TO WORK — A tax cut on unearned income — such as inheritance or investment — of between 31% and 79%, but a tax hike on work income of 25% since 1980
CORPORATIONS TO INDIVIDUALS — a 67% drop in the share of federal revenues contributed by corporations and a 17% rise in individuals’ share.
CURRENT TAXPAYERS TO FUTURE GENERATIONS — record deficits that shift the tax burden to our children and grandchildren

Corporate welfare is not a valid reason for the poor and middle class to have to shoulder the financial burdon in same war that they are making all of the physical sacrifices. The Military Industrial Complex must not be allowed to continue to overshadow the citizens of this country.Wealthy corporations should not supplant the working class and poor in importance to our Federal government.

Posted by Andre M. Hernandez
Democrats & Liberals: Archives

Friday, February 03, 2006

Bono - National Prayer Breakfast, D.C., 02/02/2006

If you're wondering what I'm doing here, at a prayer breakfast, well, so am I. I'm certainly not here as a man of the cloth, unless that cloth is leather. It's certainly not because I'm a rock star. Which leaves one possible explanation: I'm here because I've got a messianic complex.

Yes, it's true. And for anyone who knows me, it's hardly a revelation.

Well, I'm the first to admit that there's something unnatural...something unseemly...about rock stars mounting the pulpit and preaching at presidents, and then disappearing to their villas in the south of France. Talk about a fish out of water. It was weird enough when Jesse Helms showed up at a U2 concert...but this is really weird, isn't it?

You know, one of the things I love about this country is its separation of church and state. Although I have to say: in inviting me here, both church and state have been separated from something else completely: their mind.

Mr. President, are you sure about this?

It's very humbling and I will try to keep my homily brief. But be warned - I'm Irish.

I'd like to talk about the laws of man, here in this city where those laws are written. And I'd like to talk about higher laws. It would be great to assume that the one serves the other; that the laws of man serve these higher laws...but of course, they don't always. And I presume that, in a sense, is why you're here.

I presume the reason for this gathering is that all of us here - Muslims, Jews, Christians - all are searching our souls for how to better serve our family, our community, our nation, our God.

I know I am. Searching, I mean. And that, I suppose, is what led me here, too.

Yes, it's odd, having a rock star here - but maybe it's odder for me than for you. You see, I avoided religious people most of my life. Maybe it had something to do with having a father who was Protestant and a mother who was Catholic in a country where the line between the two was, quite literally, a battle line. Where the line between church and state was...well, a little blurry, and hard to see.

I remember how my mother would bring us to chapel on Sundays... and my father used to wait outside. One of the things that I picked up from my father and my mother was the sense that religion often gets in the way of God.

For me, at least, it got in the way. Seeing what religious people, in the name of God, did to my native land...and in this country, seeing God's second-hand car salesmen on the cable TV channels, offering indulgences for fact, all over the world, seeing the self-righteousness roll down like a mighty stream from certain corners of the religious establishment...

I must confess, I changed the channel. I wanted my MTV.

Even though I was a believer.

Perhaps because I was a believer.

I was cynical...not about God, but about God's politics. (There you are, Jim.)

Then, in 1997, a couple of eccentric, septuagenarian British Christians went and ruined my shtick - my reproachfulness. They did it by describing the millennium, the year 2000, as a Jubilee year, as an opportunity to cancel the chronic debts of the world's poorest people. They had the audacity to renew the Lord's call - and were joined by Pope John Paul II, who, from an Irish half-Catholic's point of view, may have had a more direct line to the Almighty.

'Jubilee' - why 'Jubilee'?

What was this year of Jubilee, this year of our Lord's favor?

I'd always read the scriptures, even the obscure stuff. There it was in Leviticus (25:35)...

'If your brother becomes poor,' the scriptures say, 'and cannot maintain shall maintain him.... You shall not lend him your money at interest, not give him your food for profit.'

It is such an important idea, Jubilee, that Jesus begins his ministry with this. Jesus is a young man, he's met with the rabbis, impressed everyone, people are talking. The elders say, he's a clever guy, this Jesus, but he hasn't done much...yet. He hasn't spoken in public before...

When he does, is first words are from Isaiah: 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,' he says, 'because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.' And Jesus proclaims the year of the Lord's favour, the year of Jubilee (Luke 4:18).

What he was really talking about was an era of grace - and we're still in it.

So fast-forward 2,000 years. That same thought, grace, was made incarnate - in a movement of all kinds of people. It wasn't a bless-me club... it wasn't a holy huddle. These religious guys were willing to get out in the streets, get their boots dirty, wave the placards, follow their convictions with actions...making it really hard for people like me to keep their distance. It was amazing. I almost started to like these church people.

But then my cynicism got another helping hand.

It was what Colin Powell, a five-star general, called the greatest W.M.D. of them all: a tiny little virus called AIDS. And the religious community, in large part, missed it. The ones that didn't miss it could only see it as divine retribution for bad behaviour. Even on children...even [though the] fastest growing group of HIV infections were married, faithful women.

Aha, there they go again! I thought to myself judgmentalism is back!

But in truth, I was wrong again. The church was slow but the church got busy on this the leprosy of our age.

Love was on the move.

Mercy was on the move.

God was on the move.

Moving people of all kinds to work with others they had never met, never would have cared to meet...conservative church groups hanging out with spokesmen for the gay community, all singing off the same hymn sheet on moms and quarterbacks...hip-hop stars and country stars. This is what happens when God gets on the move: crazy stuff happens!

Popes were seen wearing sunglasses!

Jesse Helms was seen with a ghetto blaster!

Crazy stuff. Evidence of the spirit.

It was breathtaking. Literally. It stopped the world in its tracks.

When churches started demonstrating on debt, governments listened - and acted. When churches starting organising, petitioning, and even - that most unholy of acts today, God forbid, lobbying...on AIDS and global health, governments listened - and acted.

I'm here today in all humility to say: you changed minds; you changed policy; you changed the world.

Look, whatever thoughts you have about God, who He is or if He exists, most will agree that if there is a God, He has a special place for the poor. In fact, the poor are where God lives.

Check Judaism. Check Islam. Check pretty much anyone.

I mean, God may well be with us in our mansions on the hill. I hope so. He may well be with us as in all manner of controversial stuff. Maybe, maybe not. But the one thing we can all agree, all faiths and ideologies, is that God is with the vulnerable and poor.

God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them. "If you remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, and if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom with become like midday and the Lord will continually guide you and satisfy your desire in scorched places."

It's not a coincidence that in the scriptures, poverty is mentioned more than 2,100 times. It's not an accident. That's a lot of air time, 2,100 mentions. (You know, the only time Christ is judgmental is on the subject of the poor.) 'As you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me' (Matthew 25:40). As I say, good news to the poor.

Here's some good news for the president. After 9/11 we were told America would have no time for the world's poor. America would be taken up with its own problems of safety. And it's true these are dangerous times, but America has not drawn the blinds and double-locked the doors.

In fact, you have doubled aid to Africa. You have tripled funding for global health. Mr. President, your emergency plan for AIDS relief and support for the Global Fund - you and Congress - have put 700,000 people onto life-saving anti-retroviral drugs and provided 8 million bed nets to protect children from malaria.

Outstanding human achievements. Counterintuitive. Historic. Be very, very proud.

But here's the bad news. From charity to justice, the good news is yet to come. There is much more to do. There's a gigantic chasm between the scale of the emergency and the scale of the response.

And finally, it's not about charity after all, is it? It's about justice.

Let me repeat that: It's not about charity, it's about justice.

And that's too bad.

Because you're good at charity. Americans, like the Irish, are good at it. We like to give, and we give a lot, even those who can't afford it.

But justice is a higher standard. Africa makes a fool of our idea of justice; it makes a farce of our idea of equality. It mocks our pieties, it doubts our concern, it questions our commitment.

Sixty-five hundred Africans are still dying every day of a preventable, treatable disease, for lack of drugs we can buy at any drug store. This is not about charity, this is about justice and equality.

Because there's no way we can look at what's happening in Africa and, if we're honest, conclude that deep down, we really accept that Africans are equal to us. Anywhere else in the world, we wouldn't accept it. Look at what happened in South East Asia with the tsunami. 150,000 lives lost to that misnomer of all misnomers, "mother nature." In Africa, 150,000 lives are lost every month. A tsunami every month. And it's a completely avoidable catastrophe.

It's annoying but justice and equality are mates. Aren't they? Justice always wants to hang out with equality. And equality is a real pain.

You know, think of those Jewish sheep-herders going to meet the Pharaoh, mud on their shoes, and the Pharaoh says, "Equal?" A preposterous idea: rich and poor are equal? And they say, "Yeah, 'equal,' that's what it says here in this book. We're all made in the image of God."

And eventually the Pharaoh says, "OK, I can accept that. I can accept the Jews - but not the blacks."

"Not the women. Not the gays. Not the Irish. No way, man."

So on we go with our journey of equality.

On we go in the pursuit of justice.

We hear that call in the ONE Campaign, a growing movement of more than 2 million Americans...Left and Right together... united in the belief that where you live should no longer determine whether you live.

We hear that call even more powerfully today, as we mourn the loss of Coretta Scott King - mother of a movement for equality, one that changed the world but is only just getting started. These issues are as alive as they ever were; they just change shape and cross the seas.

Preventing the poorest of the poor from selling their products while we sing the virtues of the free market...that's a justice issue. Holding children to ransom for the debts of their grandparents...that's a justice issue. Withholding life-saving medicines out of deference to the Office of Patents...that's a justice issue.

And while the law is what we say it is, God is not silent on the subject.

That's why I say there's the law of the land¿. And then there is a higher standard. There's the law of the land, and we can hire experts to write them so they benefit us, so the laws say it's OK to protect our agriculture but it's not OK for African armers to do the same, to earn a living?

As the laws of man are written, that's what they say.

God will not accept that.

Mine won't, at least. Will yours?

[ pause]

I close this morning

This is a dangerous idea I've put on the table: my God vs. your God, their God vs. our God...vs. no God. It is very easy, in these times, to see religion as a force for division rather than unity.

And this is a town - Washington - that knows something of division.

But the reason I am here, and the reason I keep coming back to Washington, is because this is a town that is proving it can come together on behalf of what the scriptures call the least of these.

This is not a Republican idea. It is not a Democratic idea. It is not even, with all due respect, an American idea. Nor it is unique to any one faith.

'Do to others as you would have them do to you' (Luke 6:30). Jesus says that.

'Righteousness is this: that one should...give away wealth out of love for him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for the emancipation of the captives.' The Koran says that (2.177).

Thus sayeth the Lord: 'Bring the homeless poor into the house, when you see the naked, cover him, then your light will break out like the dawn and your recovery will speedily spring fourth, then your Lord will be your rear guard.' The Jewish scripture says that. Isaiah 58 again.

That is a powerful incentive: 'The Lord will watch your back.' Sounds like a good deal to me, right now.

A number of years ago, I met a wise man who changed my life. In countless ways, large and small, I was always seeking the Lord's blessing. I was saying, you know, I have a new song, look after it¿. I have a family, please look after them¿. I have this crazy idea...

And this wise man said: stop.

He said, stop asking God to bless what you're doing.

Get involved in what God is doing - because it's already blessed.

Well, God, as I said, is with the poor. That, I believe, is what God is doing.

And that is what he's calling us to do.

I was amazed when I first got to this country and I learned how much some churchgoers tithe. Up to 10% of the family budget. Well, how does that compare with the federal budget, the budget for the entire American family? How much of that goes to the poorest people in the world? Less than 1%.

Mr. President, Congress, people of faith, people of America:

I want to suggest to you today that you see the flow of effective foreign assistance as tithing.... Which, to be truly meaningful, will mean an additional 1% of the federal budget tithed to the poor.

What is 1%?

1% is not merely a number on a balance sheet.

1% is the girl in Africa who gets to go to school, thanks to you. 1% is the AIDS patient who gets her medicine, thanks to you. 1% is the African entrepreneur who can start a small family business thanks to you. 1% is not redecorating presidential palaces or money flowing down a rat hole. This 1% is digging waterholes to provide clean water.

1% is a new partnership with Africa, not paternalism toward Africa, where increased assistance flows toward improved governance and initiatives with proven track records and away from boondoggles and white elephants of every description.

America gives less than 1% now. We're asking for an extra 1% to change the world. to transform millions of lives - but not just that and I say this to the military men now - to transform the way that they see us.

1% is national security, enlightened economic self-interest, and a better, safer world rolled into one. Sounds to me that in this town of deals and compromises, 1% is the best bargain around.

These goals - clean water for all; school for every child; medicine for the afflicted, an end to extreme and senseless poverty - these are not just any goals; they are the Millennium Development goals, which this country supports. And they are more than that. They are the Beatitudes for a globalised world.

Now, I'm very lucky. I don't have to sit on any budget committees. And I certainly don't have to sit where you do, Mr. President. I don't have to make the tough choices.

But I can tell you this:

To give 1% more is right. It's smart. And it's blessed.

There is a continent - Africa - being consumed by flames.

I truly believe that when the history books are written, our age will be remembered for three things: the war on terror, the digital revolution, and what we did - or did not to - to put the fire out in Africa.

History, like God, is watching what we do.

Thank you. Thank you, America, and God bless you all.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The intimate link between reproductive and sexual freedon

Pro-choice activist and author Cristina Page

If you're a (hetero)sexually active woman capable of getting pregnant, your freedom is in danger. Access to abortion and birth control is increasingly under fire from conservatives who think all sex should result in pregnancy. Go beyond the bloody-fetus placards and you'll see the religious right isn't out to simply reverse Roe v. Wade, but to combat birth control and promiscuity while they're at it.

Cristina Page, vice president of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, exposes pro-lifers' secrets in her new How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America: Freedom, Politics and the War on Sex (Basic Books, January 2006). Even this longtime activist was shocked to find that pro-life groups, across the board, are "opposed to anything that leads to people having sex and not having a baby."

One needn't look far to confirm Page's argument that sexual freedom and reproductive rights are intimately entwined. In the eyes of the pro-life movement women are designed for making babies, and men's pesky sex drives are something to be suffered or used to procreate. According to, "Abortion enables the woman to become a reusable sex object without any idea of fidelity, and it gets the father out of having to pay for child support." Someone recently posted to a Pro-Life America website, "There is no such thing as an accidental pregnancy. Pregnancy is the outcome of sex and is the sole purpose of sex. Sex is not a game and is not for pleasure only. If it were . . . then pregnancy would not be an outcome." Even the group Feminists for Life (feministsforlife .com) points to women as the kinder, gentler, less horny gender: "No one can deny that women have always had a higher biological investment in sexual union; abortion seeks to undo that tie. Is the ideal a world wherein sex can be (and often will be) commitment-free?" While Page's title is deliberately provocative, wading into the minds of those who consider women baby-making vessels is more disturbing. To hear them tell it, we're off having careless sex 24-7, then blithely aborting. Anyone who's sweated out a pregnancy test knows nothing could be farther from the truth. Says Page, "There's a pro-life war against Americans' sex lives and the pro-choice movement is a relief agency. We're the levee that keeps this wave of fundamentalism from washing over the American public."

The pro-life movement, through its language and extreme shock tactics, attempts to make us feel guilty about abortion and pleasurable sex. It has co-opted the very idea of freedom, insisting that it's OK for pharmacists to refuse to dispense emergency contraception (see to protest). It's distorted the debate so much that we sometimes forget very basic facts: Those of us who are pro-choice are also, passionately, pro-life. Most of us love babies, love children, and love our liberty—not to mention loving sex and our right to have it when, how, and with whomever we choose. Page, who has one child, says, "People are interested in having babies; they're just not interested in having 15 babies. The average American woman spends 23 years of her life preventing pregnancy. No one's going 23 years not having sex." She finds opposition to birth control especially appalling. "It's the injury adding to the injury. It's not like they have child-care campaigns under way or were supportive of the Family and Medical Leave Act. They're opposed to any effort to make having a child easier," she claims. According to Page, pro-life groups believe (though they don't explicitly state) that woman's proper place is in the home, knocked up, completely domesticated—a much scarier vision than a world without abortion.

The strength of the reproductive-rights movement is in its diversity and ability to welcome dialogue, debate, and difference. True choice means more than just the option not to become a mom. We need to safeguard all forms of consensual sexual expression, including sodomy and kink, for "choice" to truly matter. The pro-choice movement and the GLBT movement should work together to ensure our right to sexual autonomy. We need to provide cultural, social, and financial support for struggling parents so more women can embrace the choice to have kids.

Just because you wouldn't have an abortion doesn't give you the right to decide for someone else. My mom is ardently pro-choice, even though, after giving birth to me prematurely at 26 weeks, her outlook changed. "After that, I could never have had an abortion. But I support a woman's right to choose; quality of life matters for both parent and child." We're entitled to believe in a woman's right to choose whom she fucks, how she protects herself, and what to do with an unwanted pregnancy, without supporting every tenet of pro-choice ideology or the reasoning behind Roe. We don't have to like any given woman's reason for aborting—it's her body, not ours. I'm all for encouraging sexual responsibility and safety. In an ideal world, everyone who doesn't want to get pregnant would use protection, and it would work. But when unwanted pregnancies occur, women shouldn't be punished by having to give birth.

In an old Our Bodies, Ourselves I saw a photo of a woman holding a placard reading "Menstruation Is Murder." As a teenager, I couldn't begin to fathom the meaning of such extremism, but now it's clear her motto is the natural extrapolation of anti-choice logic. On the other hand, the socialists at my alma mater had Day-Glo stickers proclaiming "I Fuck to Come, Not to Conceive." I found those too bold, perhaps because many of us who fuck for pleasure, our own and our partners', will also be those who fuck to conceive some day. People have sex for many reasons—pleasure, boredom, curiosity, peer pressure, and, yes, baby-making. It's presumptuous, condescending, and infuriating to be told what my reasons should be.

I'm pro-choice because I couldn't fully enjoy sex were I consumed with worry about the potential consequences. I'm pro-choice for all my friends who've had abortions and gone on to do great things, who are better women for being childless (for now). I'm pro-choice for the new moms and dads I know who were able to actively choose to become parents. I'm pro-choice for all those babies, like my new cousin Adam, born knowing they're 100 percent loved and wanted.


Monday, January 30, 2006

Saturday, January 28, 2006

For the sake of our Children...

Kos is keeping us up to date in their great war room on the filibuster. Here is the list of fax numbers:
AR: Lincoln(D) (202) 228-1371
AR: Pryor(D) (202) 228-0908
CA: Boxer(D) (202) 226-6701
CA: Feinstein(D) (202) 228-3954
CO: Salazar(D) (202) 228-5036
CT: Dodd(D) (202) 224-1083
CT: Lieberman(D) (202) 224-9750
DE: Biden(D) (202) 224-0139
DE: Carper(D) (202) 228-2190
FL: Nelson(D) (202) 228-2183
HI: Akaka(D) (202) 224-2126
HI: Inouye(D) (202) 224-6747
IA: Harkin(D) (202) 224-9369
IL: Durbin(D) (202) 228-0400
IL: Obama(D) (202) 228-4260
IN: Bayh(D) No FAX listed
LA: Landrieu(D) (202) 224-9735
MA: Kennedy(D) (202) 224-2417
MA: Kerry(D) (202) 224-8525
MD: Mikulski(D) (202) 224-8858
MD: Sarbanes(D) (202) 224-1651
MI: Levin(D) (202) 224-1388
MI: Stabenow(D) (202) 228-0325
MN: Dayton(D) (202) 228-2186
Local (612) 727-5223
MT: Baucus(D) (202) 224-0515
ND: Conrad(D) (202) 224-7776
ND: Dorgan(D) (202) 224-1193
NE: Nelson(D) (202) 228-0012
NJ: Corzine(D) (202) 228-2197
NJ: Lautenberg(D) (202) 224-9707
NM: Bingaman(D) (202) 224-2852
NV: Reid(D) (202) 224-7327
NY: Clinton(D) (202) 228-0282
NY: Schumer(D) (202) 228-3027
OR: Wyden(D) (202) 228-2717
RI: Reed(D) (202) 224-4680
SD: Johnson(D) (202) 228-0368
VT: Leahy(D) (202) 224-3595
VT: Jeffords(I) No FAX listed
WA: Cantwell(D) (202) 228-0514
WA: Murray(D) (202) 224-0238
WI: Feingold(D) (202) 224-2725
WI: Kohl(D) (202) 224-9787
WV: Rockefeller(D) (202) 224-7665
WV: Byrd(D) (202) 228-0002
Vulnerable Republicans:
Lincoln Chafee Fax: (202) 228-2853 / (401) 453-5085
Susan Collins: Fax: (202) 224-2693 / (207) 990-4604
Olympia Snowe: Fax: (202) 224-1946 / (207) 874-7631

You can send a free fax here.

Bob Fertik also has the war room open and reports that "Senators are freaking out!'

T2 at Vichy Democrats posts the plans for the weekend.

Save the Court

A huge thanks to Lizzy from
Night Bird's Fountain for this information.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Pro-Choice - It's a woman's right to choose

Alito will overturn Roe and Republicans know it - They're preparing challenges right now by August Keso, January 23rd, 2006

For some completely inexplicable reason, Americans don't seem all that concerned Judge Alito is in favor of granting heretofore unheard of powers to the Executive Branch - specifically the President, and precisely the current President - George W. Bush. Bush is a President by the way, which apparently doesn't believe there to be any restrictions on the reach and scope of his power. Why this President's lust for monarchical power doesn't concern more Americans is beyond comprehension, and they seem more than willing to allow Alito on the Court, so he can ensure unbridled Executive power. Still, there is something that does worry Americans, and that is the dismantling of Roe v Wade. Make no mistake about it, Alito will vote to overturn Roe, and Republicans know that.

The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday, that Republicans and their various anti-abortion groups -- all around the nation -- are busy writing abortion laws, which they know to be in direct conflict with Roe. Why are Republicans writing laws that they know contradict a woman's Constitutional right to abortion? Simple, they know that once Alito is seated on the Supreme Court, he will rule to overturn a woman's right to choose.

The LA Times' report included the following:

"Republican Rep. Troy Woodruff, serving his first term in the Indiana Legislature, wrote House Bill 1096 knowing it would conflict with Roe vs. Wade.

"That was precisely his point: He wants his ban appealed to the Supreme Court, in hopes that the justices will overturn Roe and give states the power to make abortion a crime.

"Woodruff said, of his frontal assault on abortion, "We either want these procedures, or we don't....And I don't.

"Certainly Alito, Woodruff, and the Republican Party do not want American women to have the right to choose, but a large majority of American people wants abortion to be kept safe, legal, and available. With Judge Alito sitting on the Supreme Court, Republicans know Roe v Wade won't long last.

Alito's determination to allow Bush the power to shred the Constitution and have powers reserved only for Kings and Emperors, may not worry the American people, but the people do worry about Roe being overturned. Make no mistake about it - if there is a Supreme Court Justice Alito, American women will not long have the right to choose. Maybe that fact will move America to do the right thing and insist Alito not be granted a seat on the highest court of the land - maybe?


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Googling Past the Graveyard

By Maureen Dowd

I don't like the thought of Dick Cheney ogling my Googling.

Because what I'm Googling, of course, is Dick Cheney. I have to constantly monitor how Vice Voyeur is pushing the federal government to constantly monitor millions of ordinary Americans' phone calls, e-mail notes and Internet searches.

If you want to know why the Grim Peeper is willing to turn this country into a police state to take his version of democracy to other countries, just do a Google search under "antiterrorism," "government snooping," "overreaching" and "fruitcake."

It was hard to know which story yesterday was scarier: Osama bin Laden, still alive and taunting the U.S., or the Justice Department's trying to force Google to turn over a suspiciously broad array of information on millions of users' searches and Web addresses, supposedly to investigate online crime involving pornography.

The Internet is full of vile diversions, but prying without justification is just as vile. Innocent Americans - not just lonely guys in their boxers - could be swept up in the fishnet dragnet. Who decides what is porn? Will those who Google to find out-of-print copies of Lynne Cheney's juicy, cheesy lesbian Old West novel, "Sisters," be suspect? (The cheapest copy at is $195.)

When Fox News asked him about the fresh Osama audiotape, Mr. Cheney sounded like Mr. Moviefone. "Probably low production values," he said.

Osama may not have graduated to DVD's, but he has stayed alive, despite W.'s threat way back in the era of dial-up connections to smoke him out and hunt him down.

Officials first indicated that the U.S. had killed Ayman al-Zawahiri in a bombing in Pakistan last week - or at least his son-in-law or a friend of his son-in-law, or maybe the guy who delivered a kabob to him. Yesterday, Al Qaeda released a tape of Zawahiri's greatest verse hits - poetry for jihadists - like "Tears in the Eyes of Time." What rhymes with mujahedeen? Antihistamine?

None of the Bushies' actions in defiance of law and convention, none of the money or blood spilled in Iraq, have helped these so-called tough guys get the one guy they really need to get. That is truly galling.

W. and Vice don't even act upset about Osama's still being on the loose. Having played down his significance after they missed their chance to get him in Tora Bora, they continue to act as if it's no big deal when he hurls more threats.

Torquemada Cheney was torturing logic again in a speech to a conservative think tank in New York. "Some have suggested that by liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein, we simply stirred up a hornets' nest," he said. "They overlook a fundamental fact: we were not in Iraq on Sept. 11, 2001, and the terrorists hit us anyway."

Yeah, Dick, because they weren't in Iraq, either.

The fact that federal snoopers are all over reporters, monitoring their phone calls, shows the sorry state of our intelligence. Even F.B.I. agents feel as if they have been wasting their time rummaging through library cards and tracing numbers that turn out to be Pizza Huts.

Maybe they could make an argument that it's worth bending the Constitution into a balloon elephant if we were getting Osama's area code and smashing his connections. We don't even bother to raise the terror alarm anymore when the Qaeda mass murderer releases a tape. The scare-level color code was a more useful tool before the 2004 election.

I just don't get why it's so hard to find Osama. So what if he's in what is often described as "the impossibly rugged mountain terrain" of Pakistan? We send people to the Moon, and W. wants to send someone to Mars. What's more impossibly rugged terrain than that?

If we can brave Big Brother, we could probably find Osama's lair on Google Earth (but not Dick Cheney's - it's censored).

The White House has always seemed less compelled to capture Osama than to use him as a pretext for invading Iraq and as a political selling point. Karl Rove, coming out of his "please don't indict me" crouch, tried to chase away the taint of the Abramoff scandal with a new round of terror-mongering for 2006: "We need a commander in chief and a Congress who understand the nature of the threat and the gravity of this moment. President Bush and the Republican Party do. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for many Democrats."

So why did the White House set aside the gravest threat of all?

Friday, January 20, 2006

There is no Greater Divide

Will Hillary run? Not only are Republican's united in their hatred of her, but some Democrats are, as well. Check any Democratic blog and you will see she is called a Dem lite, a DINO, a traitor to our party and only true to herself. Why does this woman spark such debate? Who is afraid of what???

Hillary's Got the Ball

and here's another view

Molly Ivins. Not. Backing. Hillary.

If you are a Democrat, I am interested in hearing what you think of her.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Congresswoman Louise Slaugther on GOP Corruption and Reform

My name is Louise Slaughter -- I represent upstate New York, and I'm the ranking member on the Rules Committee.

But I am certainly honored to be standing here with these wonderful Democrat as we say today that we're taking our stand to end the Republican culture of corruption here in Washington.

And like Senator Reid, I know a little something about corruption. In the late '70s, I chaired the Public Safety Committee in the Monroe County Legislature in New York. And while it may not be well-known everywhere, both Buffalo and Rochester were notorious mob cities, and we were trying to clean up the mob.

And I was taught by the district attorney and the police chief and the sheriff to take a mirror on the stick every morning before I left the garage and look under the car to make sure there were no bombs there.

Well, I didn't flinch from any of that then, and I'm sure not going to flinch from any of this now, because I believe our democracy is at stake.

And in addition to that, they don't call me "Slaughter" for nothing.
Click for Video

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Can you tell lying little Scottie pisses me off?

A recent delight was to stumble on a diary on ePluribus Media by Aaron Barlow called The Poetry of Scott McClellan

It was a poem created by using the precise words of White House spokesperson Scott McClellan, exactly as he said them during a news conference on November 9, 2005. It is redacted only by leaving out the questions to which he was responding. At first, my reaction was that it was damn funny. I gave kudos to Aaron for his good catch that had seen the humorous possibilities of stringing all these hollow phrases together in this way. My second reading of the poem made me realise that Aaron had created something more than just an amusing diary. If Tracy Emin can create a major contribution to BritArt by displaying in the Tate Modern a scrap of paper on which are written her meaningless jottings, so Aaron has created art out of Scotty's equally meaningless and stumbled stonewallings.

I've hope I've piqued your interest, because if you are still reading, this is spectacular.

ee cummings 2006

Sunday, January 15, 2006

I Am A Cologne/Perfume Snob

Excellent perfume or cologne is my addiction. I don't care what it costs if I love it. And, it is my morning ritual, putting that lovely scent on my neck and my wrists. And when I catch a wiff of it during the day, it reinforces my mantra that it is worth every penny I spend. Ummmm......

I have become addicted to the Santa Maria Novella one note scents. They are clean and pure. I started with Caprifogilo, the subtle Honeysuckle. Then, Ginestra, a fresh green and floral scent that is called Scottish Broom. Now, it is Garofano, advertised as the unmistakable fresh and invigorating scent of this flower cultivated along the Ligurian Riviera, the dianthus (carnation), means "Jupiter's flower". It was considered throughout history as the flower representing "loyalty". It's a spicy, sexy scent.

A little history about my addiction.

About the House:
Adjacent to Piazza di Santa Maria Novella is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world, established by the dominican fathers shortly after 1221, the year of their arrival in Florence. in the garden, the fathers began to cultivate the herbs that they need to prepare medications, balms and creams for the monastery's little infirmary. in 1612 the Grand Duke, Fernando I di Medici, gave the dominicans permission to open this little store - the pharmacy was opened to the public. a century later their herbal secrets had become internationally renowned.

In any case, it is pure, expensive and worth every scent ;-). And, extremely hard to find, even in NYC. Interested? Email me and I'll hook you up.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Caption Contest

Caption contest! Let's come up with a really great caption for these pictures. The lucky winner will get a $20.00 paypal prize and have the honor of seeing his or her caption and these pictures (borrowed from donkey o.d.) made into a T-Shirt to sell for donations to the 2006 Congressional elections! Hey, I want to buy one without the caption.

Where else can you have fun making fun of Bush and help get contributions for Democratic candidates, as well?

The Alito Shuffle

Doing the Alito Shuffle By MAUREEN DOWD
January 11, 2006Op-Ed ColumnistWASHINGTON

You've got to like a man who knows how to juggle.Samuel Alito picked up the skill on a summer vacation a decade ago, and his juggling talent was on full display yesterday as he tried to balance the old Sam, who was eager to impress Reagan revolutionaries with his zeal, with the new Sam, who is eager to impress a bipartisan Senate panel with his open-mindedness.It was a tale of two Sams.Is he the old Sam, who devised ways to upend Roe v. Wade and crimp abortion rights? Or the new Sam, who has great respect for precedent and an "open mind" about abortion cases?Is he the old Sam, who plotted ways to tip the balance of power to the executive branch? Or the new Sam, who states that "no person in this country is above the law, and that includes the president"?Is he the old Sam, who said Robert Bork "was one of the most outstanding nominees of this century" and "a man of unequaled ability"? Or the new Sam, who shrugged off that statement as the dutiful support of one Reagan appointee for another?Is he the old Sam, who cited membership in a Princeton alumni club that resisted the admission of women and minorities when he was seeking a promotion in the very white Reagan old boys' club? Or the new Sam, who has "no specific recollection of that organization," unless, of course, he innocently joined it to support R.O.T.C. on campus, and who says he's been shaped partly by his hopes for his 17-year-old daughter, Laura, and by his sister's experiences "as a trial lawyer in a profession that has traditionally been dominated by men"?Is he the old Sam, who thoughtlessly blew off a pledge to recuse himself from cases involving Vanguard, where he has a six-figure mutual fund? Or the new Sam, who admits that the problem was not "a computer glitch," as he had suggested, and humbly says, "If I had to do it over again, there are things that I would have done differently"? The judge didn't deign to say what he thought of illegal wiretaps - which you'd think would be an easy one.About the judge's memory lapses, Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican, drolly noted, "And I hope you'll understand if any of us come before a court and we can't remember Abramoff, you'll tend to believe us."Some of his answers, Senator Joe Biden complained to Chris Matthews, did not "ring a chord of sincerity." (The National Review Web site says the voluble Biden got in 3,673 words and held Judge Alito to 1,013.)You don't have to know the difference between horizontal and vertical stare decisis, or between emanations and penumbras, to see that the man who could take Sandra Day O'Connor's seat and yank back women's rights was, in a word, shifty.Or in three words, shifty, sapless and sighing. To offset his reputation on women's rights, he even played the henpecked husband. When Republican senators used the expression "When did you stop beating your wife?" about Democratic questions, Judge Alito riposted, "I wasn't asked whether she had stopped beating me."His basic defense to Democrats boiled down to: "I was just saying what my boss wanted to hear at the time." Haven't we had enough yes-men mangling government for the last five years? Heck of a job, Sammy.I understand why the president is drawn to the judge. Mr. Alito is dubbed "Scalito" - a conservative senator, John Cornyn, accidentally blurted out the nickname - because he's so much like Antonin Scalia. And W. loves Nino.Judge Alito has supported imperial powers for the presidency, not strong checks and balances; he approved the strip search of a 10-year-old girl but is not probing too deeply into what the executive branch is doing. That's W.'s philosophy, too - a pre-emptive right to secretly do everything from war to torture to snooping.Like the president, the judge loves baseball. Mr. Alito once vacationed at a fantasy baseball camp (O.K. fielder, hopeless hitter), wearing the red and white Phillies uniform. W. has spent five years in fantasyland on Iraq, on occasion donning military costumes.His fingers in his ears, W. didn't want to hear that we had too few troops in Iraq - ignoring advice from Viceroy Paul Bremer and Gen. Eric Shinseki - or that the troops didn't have enough armor. But the president continues to fling blame outward. In a speech yesterday before the Veterans of Foreign Wars, he warned the Democrats that they should take care not to bring "comfort to our adversaries."Judge Alito was evasive, disingenuous and deferential. He fits the Bush era like a baseball glove.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

What's up with this Weather???????

I am an Upstate NY gal. It's supposed to be below zero in our little neck of the woods (that's Upstate NY for "here"). Hot Damn - its about 30 degrees now, with a promise of 50 degrees by Friday. WTF? We hardass Northern Country people believe that if doesn't fall below 20, we will all be sick (and that includes the cows - yes, this is dairy land). So, you don't believe in Global Warming?

Liberals v. Conservatives

"Virtually every step forward in our history has been a liberal initiative taken over conservative opposition: civil rights, Social Security, Medicare, rural electrification, the establishment of a minimum wage, collective bargaining, the Pure Food and Drug Act, and federal aid to education, including the land-grant colleges, to name just a few. Many…were eventually embraced by conservatives only after it became clear that they had overwhelming public approval for the simple reason that almost every American benefited from them. Every one of these liberal efforts strengthened our democracy and our quality of life. I challenge my conservative friends to name a single federal initiative now generally approved by both of our major parties that was not first put forward by liberals over the opposition of conservatives."

~George McGovern, December, 2002

Monday, January 09, 2006

Howard Dean sets Blitzer staight on Abramoff

Read it and weep, Neo-Cons. It's a Republican scandal.

Dean sets Wolf straight
by kos

Not a single Dem took Abramoff money. Democrats have to set the record straight one misinformed person at a time. Dean took point on Wolf Blitzer:

BLITZER: Should Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff, who has now pleaded guilty to bribery charges, among other charges, a Republican lobbyist in Washington, should the Democrat who took money from him give that money to charity or give it back?
DEAN: There are no Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff, not one, not one single Democrat. Every person named in this scandal is a Republican. Every person under investigation is a Republican. Every person indicted is a Republican. This is a Republican finance scandal. There is no evidence that Jack Abramoff ever gave any Democrat any money. And we've looked through all of those FEC reports to make sure that's true.
BLITZER: But through various Abramoff-related organizations and outfits, a bunch of Democrats did take money that presumably originated with Jack Abramoff.
DEAN: That's not true either. There's no evidence for that either. There is no evidence...
BLITZER: What about Senator Byron Dorgan?
DEAN: Senator Byron Dorgan and some others took money from Indian tribes. They're not agents of Jack Abramoff. There's no evidence that I've seen that Jack Abramoff directed any contributions to Democrats. I know the Republican National Committee would like to get the Democrats involved in this. They're scared. They should be scared. They haven't told the truth. They have misled the American people. And now it appears they're stealing from Indian tribes. The Democrats are not involved in this.
BLITZER: Unfortunately Mr. Chairman, we got to leave it right there.

Crooks and Liars has the video. Note Blitzer's deep sigh before that last sentence.

Week 2 of South Beach

And, well, I did drink wine over the weekend. I stayed on the food part of the diet, but what's a weekend without booze?????

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Pimping of the Presidency

Four months after he took the oath of office in 2001, President George W. Bush was the attraction, and the White House the venue, for a fundraiser organized by the alleged perpetrator of the largest billing fraud in the history of corporate lobbying. In May 2001, Jack Abramoff’s lobbying client book was worth $4.1 million in annual billing for the Greenberg Traurig law firm. He was a friend of Bush advisor Karl Rove. He was a Bush “Pioneer,” delivering at least $100,000 in bundled contributions to the 2000 campaign. He had just concluded his work on the Bush Transition Team as an advisor to the Department of the Interior. He had sent his personal assistant Susan Ralston to the White House to work as Rove’s personal assistant. He was a close friend, advisor, and high-dollar fundraiser for the most powerful man in Congress, Tom DeLay. Abramoff was so closely tied to the Bush Administration that he could, and did, charge two of his clients $25,000 for a White House lunch date and a meeting with the President. From the same two clients he took to the White House in May 2001, Abramoff also obtained $2.5 million in contributions for a non-profit foundation he and his wife operated.

Billing clients for face time with George W. Bush
Thanks to Barbi of Night Bird's Fountain for this find.

What Does Andrea Mitchell Know That She's Not Telling Us?

What is Andrea Mitchell, of NBC news, trying to tell us about the NSA domestic spying program? During an interview with New York Times reporter James Risen, who broke the story, Mitchell asks a rather peculiar question.

Mitchell: Do you have any information about reporters being swept up in this net?
Risen: No, I don't. It's not clear to me. That's one of the questions we'll have to look into the future. Were there abuses of this program or not? I don't know the answer to that

Mitchell: You don't have any information, for instance, that a very prominent journalist, Christiane Amanpour, might have been eavesdropped upon?

Risen: No, no I hadn't heard that.

I can understand the question about spying on journalists in general; but why did Mitchell bring up Amanpour in particular? Does Amanpour, Mitchell or NBC have reason to believe that she was the target of NSA spying? What is the significance if she was? After all journalists have contacts all over the world, some that the government might consider a security threat. But this particular journalist had another contact. One the Bush administration may have considered a political threat.

Thanks to Democrats & Liberals. Check out the full article here: Source

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Merlot Sans Me

Cooking again. Or, I should say, this time I am cooking. South Beach diet, Day 3. Damn these New Year's resolutions. I could be sipping a great wine, chatting with my friends. Good things happen to those that wait, right? I don't think I am cut out for waiting...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Little Lying Scottie's Mom

WH press secretary's mother quits GOP to run for Texas governor

Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn announced on Monday she will run for governor as an independent against incumbent Republican Rick Perry, Raw Story has learned.

Strayhorn, a former Democrat who switched to the GOP in 1985, has been Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts since 1998. She is the mother of White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan and of Mark McClellan, who is currently director of Medicare for the Bush Administration.

Strayhorn has been a harsh critic of Perry's leadership over the past several years. She has described Perry as "a weak leadin', ethics ignorin', pointin' the finger at everyone blamin', special session callin', public school slashin', slush fund spendin', toll road buildin', special interest panderin', rainy day fund raidin', fee increasin', no property tax cuttin', promise breakin', do nothin' phony conservative."

Republican primaries in Texas are typically dominated by social and religious conservatives who support Governor Perry's strong stands against abortion and gay marriage. By running as an independent, Strayhorn would avoid a primary battle against the incumbent.

Well, I don't know how this little old story grabs the rest of you, but I am laughing my ass off! Snottie little Scottie's mom running on the Independent ticket and trash talking conservatives? Yes, Virginia, there just may be a God. And, she sure has a great sense of humor!

Drunken Prez

Is Georgie drinking again?

A Gal Can Hope, Can't She?

Kerry Positioned for '08 White House Bid

By ANDREW MIGA, Associated Press Writer
It's almost as if Sen. John Kerry never stopped running for president. He still jets across the country, raising millions of dollars and rallying Democrats. He still stalks the TV news show circuit, scolding President Bush at every turn.

His campaign Web site boasts of an online army of 3 million supporters.
The Massachusetts Democrat, defeated by Bush in 2004, insists it is far too early to talk about the 2008 race, but some analysts assume he has already positioning himself for another shot at the White House.

"Obviously, Kerry has all but said he wants another crack at the thing," said Neal Thigpen, a political science professor at South Carolina's Francis Marion University. "He's going to make a second try."

While most losing presidential nominees quickly fade into the political landscape, Kerry has worked hard at maintaining a high public profile.

"He's continuing the fight he began in 2004," said Kerry spokesman David Wade. "He wants to make it very clear he's a fighter who is going to continue to fight for his agenda."

Borrowing a page from Republican Sen. John McCain's 2000 postelection playbook, Kerry has kept much of his presidential political organization intact. He has also used his fundraising prowess to aid Democrats across the country, collecting chits that could be called if he seeks the party's White House nomination.

"He believes in his heart and soul that he came just a whisker away from being president," said Ronald Kaufman, a veteran GOP operative with Massachusetts roots.
Traveling extensively since his 2004 loss, Kerry generated nearly $5.3 million for dozens of Democratic candidates, state parties and charitable causes, according to aides.

He gave more than $200,000 to help Washington state Democrats prevail in Christine Gregoire's gubernatorial recount.

Kerry has expanded his campaign's e-mail supporter list, a vital organizing tool if he runs again. He has bought TV and newspaper ads promoting pet issues such as children's health care and his opposition to oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He also reunited several members of his campaign policy team.
"No other past presidential candidate, with the exception of McCain, has done what Kerry has done in terms of converting his presidential campaign into a grass-roots political and legislative operation," said Wade. "He's dedicated to electing Democrats."

Despite such political spadework, Kerry can expect an uphill fight in 2008.
"He is going to have a difficult time overcoming his last campaign and explaining to the party regulars how and why he lost," said Dan Payne, a longtime Democratic consultant and former Kerry strategist. "There's only so much that the Democrats can blame on (senior Bush adviser) Karl Rove."

Kerry will also be bucking history. Adlai Stevenson was a two-time Democratic nominee nearly a half-century ago. He suffered back-to-back losses in 1952 and 1956 to Republican Dwight Eisenhower.

"Democrats are less prone historically to turn to a defeated nominee again," said political scientist Thigpen.

Richard Nixon won the Republican nomination in 1960, but lost the general election. He rebounded eight years later to capture the presidency.

In 2008, Democrats will probably be eager for a fresh face, said Thigpen, citing New York Sen. Hillary Clinton's lead in early polls and her ability to raise large sums of money.

"There's not a lot of fire out there for Kerry," he said.

Kerry's image as a Northeast liberal with fuzzy views on major issues like Iraq would make him vulnerable once more, said Kaufman, who was White House political director for Bush's father, President George H.W. Bush.

"I go to bed every night praying Kerry is the nominee again," he said.

Looking Back on 2006

... And reading the year ahead
By H.D.S. Greenway | January 3, 2006

LOOKING FORWARD instead of backward, here are some of the events that dominated the news in the new year, 2006.

With its new immigration and guest worker proposals going nowhere, and the insurgency soaring in Iraq, the Bush administration decided to solve both problems at once by accepting a proposal from the Joint Chiefs Of Staff that the badly strained US military stand down in Iraq, to be replaced with a new American Foreign Legion along the lines of the legendary French model.

Potential immigrants and undocumented workers already in the United States were asked to join the Foreign Legion to fight in Iraq by June 1. After five years of service, those still left alive were promised automatic citizenship, as their counterparts in the French Foreign Legion are offered. ''It's going to be one heck of a lot safer than trying to cross our borders," said President Bush, who simultaneously announced that anti-terrorist walls would be built along the entire length of the Mexican and Canadian frontiers.

Insiders said that the president had promised Senator John McCain, who has been calling for more troops in Iraq, that there would be close to 900,000 legionnaires in Iraq by Thanksgiving. The president promised congressman John Murtha that all American citizens fighting in Iraq would be out by Christmas.

Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado said: ''This is a good start, but there is much more work to do." Democrats, with the exception of Senator Joe Lieberman, objected, but offered no coherent reasons why. Senator John Kerry said he would have voted against such a proposal in Vietnam. Some patriotic conservative groups worried, however, that ''Foreign Legion" sounded too French.

In Baghdad, Ahmed Chalabi, whose party did badly at the polls in Iraq, announced that he would run for president of Iran, if the United States would give him a little help. He told an audience of neoconservatives in Washington that regime change in Iran, under his leadership, would be friendly to both the United States and Israel. He is said to be favored by the Pentagon, but to face reservations by the State Department and the CIA.

The trial of Saddam Hussein came to a halt when Donald Rumsfeld refused an Iraqi court subpoena to appear as a witness for the defense. Photographs of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Hussein were recirculated, and Hussein alleged that Rumsfeld had been briefed on all of Hussein's plans.

Following the resignation of Rumsfeld, after tapes of his meetings with Hussein were leaked to National Public Radio, Bush surprised the world with the announcement that Tony Blair would be his new secretary of defense. Blair told the British people that he could easily serve in the Pentagon as well as the House of Commons, and that the move would further cement the ''special relationship." He explained to the European Union that the move would allow him to tame the Bush administration's more aggressive instincts.

Former Massachusetts governor William Weld announced that he was giving up his race for governor of New York to make a bid for the leadership of Britain's Conservative Party. ''Hell, my family's been carpet bagging in New York since the 17th century," Weld told Larry King. ''Britain's where we're really from."

In business news, 2006 saw China's successful bid to buy both General Motors and Ford, with the promise that exhaust pipes for all models would continue be made in the United States. The struggling Pontiac model would re-emerge as the Pu Yi, after China's last emperor.

The media world was shocked when, in an out of court settlement, I. Lewis ''Scooter" Libby and former reporter Judith Miller were elected to the board of the New York Times Company.

Vice President Dick Cheney's office and the attorney general came up with new guidelines for interrogation in 2006. Torture would be replaced by hurting, with ''hurting with extreme prejudice" reserved for tough cases held by CIA. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice went on a European tour to explain the new policy.

The CIA itself was rocked by scandal when it was revealed that CIA case officers had been abusing their perks by claiming frequent flyer miles for rendition flights.

Rumsfeld, Ahmed Chalabi, and former Enron chief Kenneth ''Kennyboy" Lay were given medals of freedom by Bush in a Christmas Eve ceremony, as was Michael ''Brownie" Brown for his work in the 2005 hurricane season. Happy New Year.
© Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Outer Limits

Ohhh, he is still cooking! Real french frys with malt vinegar. Is it any wonder that I have dragged the old stationary bike out of the cellar? And, he added crusty Italian bread to the eggplant creation.

Sigh. I shall have to pedal my ass into 2007 to keep up with this man.

Maybe he is the devil....

Out of His Mind

For our first dinner on this first night of 2006, my husband made ceasar salad dressing - from scratch, with no recipe and he let me sample it. It is to die for. How he does it, I'll never understand. His main course consists of eggplant, celery, onions, garlic, provolone and feta cheeses and salsa (yes, I am spying).

I will never understand where he comes up with these dishes, but they are always wonderful. I am one of those exact, measure everything, always use a recipe cooks. He just boils and bubbles and throws things in. I think he must have been a witch in one of his former lives.

But, so far as I know, I have never eaten eye of newt.

My first post

January 1, 2006 seems like a good time to start something new. I haven't yet figured out why I started this blog, other than to record my thoughts and musings. When I actually get a thought or musing, I will be back.