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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Conservative media lost it

"War on Penguins" rages on in Medved's USA Today op-ed http://mediamatters.org/items/200611290008 In a November 29 USA Today op-ed, conservative radio host Michael Medved continued his attacks on the animated children's movie Happy Feet (Warner Bros., November 2006), claiming that the movie, which features tap-dancing penguins, contains "unmistakably alarming, discomfiting and politically potent elements," and that penguins themselves have "become targets and instruments of powerful propaganda." As Media Matters for America noted, in a November 17 weblog post on Townhall.com, Medved referred to the film as "Crappy Feet" and claimed that it was the "darkest, most disturbing feature length animated film ever offered by a major studio." Medved is just one of several media conservatives to attack Happy Feet for its alleged pro-environmentalist content, claiming that the movie is intended to indoctrinate children. In his USA Today op-ed, Medved also attacked as propaganda the children's book And Tango Makes Three (Simon & Schuster, June 2005), which is based on the true story of two male penguins at New York City's Central Park Zoo that hatched and raised a penguin chick named "Tango." Man have the mighty has fallen, they spent the majority of the spring and the summer protecting the GOP and now the Republicans lost power they're attacking kiddie films for their liberal "agenda"

Webb exchange words with Bush over Iraq

Webb, Bush have terse exchange over Iraq - Yahoo! News Webb, Bush have terse exchange over Iraq By BOB LEWIS, Associated Press Writer1 hour, 46 minutes ago Democratic Sen.-elect Jim Webb avoided the receiving line during a recent White House reception for new members of Congress and had a chilly exchange with President Bush over the Iraq war and his Marine son. "How's your boy?" Webb, in an interview Wednesday, recalled Bush asking during the reception two weeks ago. "I told him I'd like to get them out of Iraq," Webb said. "That's not what I asked. How's your boy?" the president replied, according to Webb. At that point, Webb said, Bush got a response similar to what reporters and others who had asked Webb about Lance Cpl. Jimmy Webb, 24, have received since the young man left for Iraq around Labor Day: "I told him that was between my boy and me." Webb, a leading critic of the Iraq war, said that he had avoided the receiving line and photo op with Bush, but that the president found him. The White House had no comment on the reception. But it did not dispute an account of the exchange in Wednesday's Washington Post. Webb, a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War and Navy secretary under President Reagan, defeated Republican Sen. George Allen (news, bio, voting record) by 9,329 votes out of 2.37 million cast, giving the Democrats control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 1994. Webb left the GOP, in part over the Iraq war. He warned against the invasion, and criticized Bush over Iraq during the Senate campaign. He said he meant no disrespect to the presidency during the reception, but "I've always made a distinction about not speaking personally about my son." In interviews during the campaign, Webb said it was wrong to elevate the role of one Marine over others. Webb also expressed concern that a high profile could subject a Marine to greater peril. He wore his son's buff-colored desert boots throughout the campaign, but refused to speak extensively about his son's service or allow it to be used in campaign ads.

GOP lame final attempt to please the wing nut base

Republicans want vote on abortion bill - Yahoo! News Republicans want vote on abortion bill By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer2 hours, 32 minutes ago While they still can, House Republicans are looking at scheduling a vote next week on a fetal pain abortion bill in a parting shot at incoming majority Democrats and a last bid for loyalty from the GOP's base of social conservatives. The measure is tentatively on House GOP leaders' list of bills to be considered in a lame-duck session before Democrats assume control of Congress. It has no chance of passing the Senate during the waning days of Republican control. But, with Democrats ascending to agenda-setting roles, passage isn't the point, said one conservative leader. "Next year, the leadership of the House will be hardcore pro-abortion loyalists," said Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee. "They will block votes on even modest pro-life measures like this one." The vote would be the first on the measure, which was introduced in September and referred to a health subcommittee, where no action on it was taken. Johnson said his group wants a House vote to test support for the measure. The bill, by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., defines a 20-week-old fetus as a "pain-capable unborn child" — a highly controversial threshold among scientists. It also directs the Health and Human Service Department to develop a brochure stating "that there is substantial evidence that the process of being killed in an abortion will cause the unborn child pain." Abortion providers would be required to inform the mothers that evidence exists that the procedure would cause pain to the child and offer the mothers anesthesia for the baby. The mothers would accept or reject the anesthesia by signing a form. The bill allows for an exception for certified medical emergencies. When fetuses can feel pain — versus a reflexive drawing back from stimuli — has been the subject of heated debate. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco last year reviewed dozens of studies and medical reports and said that fetuses likely are incapable of feeling pain until around the seventh month of pregnancy, when they are about 28 weeks old. That report hardly settled the issue for Johnson's group. The legislation would enshrine other evidence that fetuses "would experience great pain during abortions by 20 weeks," the Right to Life Committee said in a letter this week to House members. ___

wars wear down army gear at the cost of 2 billion a month

Wars wearing down military gear at cost of about $2 billion a month - USATODAY.com Wars wearing down military gear at cost of about $2 billion a month By Matt Kelley, USA TODAY WASHINGTON — About $2 billion worth of Army and Marine Corps equipment — from rifles to tanks — is wearing out or being destroyed every month in Iraq and Afghanistan, military leaders and outside experts say. That's equal to about a quarter of the $8 billion per month in military war costs. The wear and tear may lead to future equipment shortages and cutbacks in more advanced weapons, such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter being developed with allies around the world and the Army's new, high-tech family of weapons and equipment, says William Cohen, secretary of Defense from 1997 to 2001. Pressure to keep spending under control can lead to cuts in both current maintenance and future weapons, Cohen says, but "the longer we defer on that, the more expensive it's going to be." The Pentagon needs $50 billion to $60 billion to re-equip and restore units returning from Iraq, says Leon Panetta, the former Clinton White House chief of staff and member of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. On Monday, the Pentagon said it had issued more than $1.7 billion in equipment repair and replacement contracts during November alone. This summer, the leaders of the Army and Marine Corps said their services rack up a combined $23 billion a year in repair costs. Army Gen. Peter Schoomaker and Marine Gen. James Conway told Congress that repair money comes only in special requests for war funding, not in annual budgets. That, they said, makes it hard to plan for future needs. "They've been falling badly behind," says Winslow Wheeler, a former congressional budget analyst now at the independent Center for Defense Information. The Pentagon is considering $127 billion to $160 billion in requests for war funding next year. Vehicles and other equipment are far more complex now than they were in previous conflicts such as Vietnam, making repairs and replacements even more expensive, Wheeler says. The Congressional Research Service says the entire Vietnam War cost an estimated $650 billion in today's money, while the global war on terrorism, including Iraq, has cost more than $500 billion so far. The Army and Marines have reported using about 40% of their ground combat equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Units departing Iraq leave much of their heavy equipment behind, which further delays major maintenance and leaves holes in training for future missions, the report says. A separate GAO report this month urged the incoming Democratic-controlled Congress to investigate the Pentagon's planning for repair, maintenance and replacement of war equipment. If the United States entered another war, "it would be difficult for us to accomplish anything," says retired lieutenant general Donald Kerrick, who served on the National Security Council under presidents Clinton and Bush. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has acknowledged the problem and said he is working with the White House to get more money for repairs. "I think we have some reasonable understandings about the coming year and the importance of not having a two- or three-year lag," Rumsfeld said last month. •Charities such as Bake Sales for Body Armor, Soldiers' Angels and Operation Helmet, a favorite of singer Cher, have sprung up to provide some gear, though not heavy equipment.

Monday, November 27, 2006

NBC calls a spade a spade Iraq is in a civil war

NBC brands Iraq conflict 'civil war' - Conflict in Iraq - MSNBC.com NBC brands Iraq conflict 'civil war' Pronouncement to increase public dismay over troop presence, analysts say WASHINGTON - NBC News Monday branded the Iraq conflict a civil war — a decision that put it at odds with the White House and that analysts said would increase public disillusionment with the U.S. troop presence there. NBC said the Iraqi government's inability to stop spiraling violence between rival factions fit its definition of civil war. The Bush administration has for months declined to call the violence a civil war — although the U.S. general overseeing the Iraq operation said in August there was a risk — and a White House official Monday disputed NBC's assessment. National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said while the situation on the ground is serious, neither President Bush nor Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki believe it is a civil war. Democrats used NBC's decision to accuse the White House of "splitting hairs." "The American people want their leaders in Washington to tell the truth and find a solution to the problems in Iraq," said Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Stacie Paxton. "No amount of spin on the part of the Bush White House can prevent news organizations and independent observers from calling the war ... what it is: a civil war." Several analysts said NBC's decision was important as the administration would face more pressure to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq if the U.S. public comes to view the conflict as a civil war. The decision "certainly is a major milestone," said Ted Carpenter, vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute. "That does change the terminology and is likely to change the perspective of viewers, and one suspects other media outlets will sooner or later follow suit." Public weariness with the conflict — which has has now lasted longer than U.S. involvement in World War II — helped Democrats take control of Congress from Bush's Republican Party in Nov. 7 elections. Americans killed 'accidentally,' Iraqis 'on purpose'Analysts said Americans would not tolerate U.S. troops being used as referees between warring Iraqi factions. "It almost looks as if the Americans who are getting killed are getting killed almost accidentally, while the Iraqis are getting killed on purpose," said Stephen Hess, a professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University. Sectarian violence between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in Iraq has increased dramatically in the past week. Multiple bombings in a Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad on Thursday killed more than 200 people and drew reprisal attacks in Sunni neighborhoods. Jordan's King Abdullah said on Sunday that civil war was looming in Iraq and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned Monday that the country was nearly in civil war. Bush and Maliki are scheduled to meet in Jordan this week to discuss ways to stem the violence. Experts differ on how to define a civil war and which conflicts fall into that category. While Shiites and Sunnis are not organized into formal armies, the rising level of sectarian violence has led many to conclude that a de facto civil war is under way. "It's getting silly for the administration or anyone else to deny there's a civil war," said Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who said the February bombing of a Shiite shrine marked the transition from an anti-American insurgency to civil war. Loren Thompson, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute, said he does not believe the country has yet descended into civil war because most of the population is not involved in the violence. But he said: "The bottom line on the American role is it will leave if it feels it has to take sides in order to continue operating in Iraq." Gen. John Abizaid, the commander of U.S. military operations in the Middle East, told Congress in August that "the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I've seen it, in Baghdad in particular, and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move toward civil war." The heads at GE probably know their days of profiting from the war is pretty much done after next month when the Democratic majority takes over so they're finally decided to do what they supposed to do report the truth.

Approval of Bush Iraq policy drops even more

Americans' approval of Bush's Iraq policy drops to lowest level yet - USATODAY.com Americans' approval of Bush's Iraq policy drops to lowest level yet Updated 11/17/2006 4:34 PM ET WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans' approval of President Bush's handling of Iraq has dropped to the lowest level ever, increasing the pressure on the commander in chief to find a way out after nearly four years of war. The latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll found just 31% approval for Bush's handling of Iraq, days after voters registered their displeasure at the polls by defeating Republicans and handing control of Congress to the Democrats. The previous low in AP-Ipsos polling was 33% in both June and August. Erosion of support for Bush's Iraq policy was most pronounced among conservatives and Republican men — critical supporters who propelled Bush to the White House and a second term in 2004. A month ago, approval of the president on the issue certain to define his presidency was 36%. ON DEADLINE: Ratings dip "I'm completely frustrated," Rep. Robin Hayes, R-N.C., said this week during a House Armed Services Committee hearing. Hayes' district includes part of Fort Bragg, and he supports the U.S. effort but favors pushing Iraqi troops to take more responsibility for the fighting. Bush's low numbers underscore the high expectations for the report by the Iraq Study Group headed by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and one-time Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton. The demand for an exit strategy comes as the number of U.S. dead from the conflict exceeds 2,850. Violence in Iraq, much of it between religious sects, continues unabated. Dozens of employees at Iraq's Higher Education Ministry were kidnapped this week and some were reportedly tortured before they were released; bombings and shootings claim Iraqi lives daily. "Hopefully the Baker-Hamilton commission can offer a face-saving measure for the White House that can put the beginning of the end in sight," said Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., who is in line to become chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Two options under discussion — greater cooperation with Iran and Syria, and a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops — would require a major policy shift by the Bush administration Almost by default, the poll showed Bush approval on handling the economy his strongest issue — at 43%, according to the poll of 1,000 adults taken Monday through Wednesday. The poll, which has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, also found: •34% think the country is headed in the right direction; Democrats are more optimistic while Republicans are more pessimistic since the election. •36% approve of the job being done by the president; this is close to the results in early October. •26% approve of the job being done by Congress, also close to approval levels in early October. The decline in support on Iraq was the most notable change. Anger about Iraq also was a strong theme for voters, according to exit polls taken for The Associated Press and the television networks on Election Day. BUSH: Be patient A majority of voters disapproved of the war in Iraq, thought the war had not made the United States more secure and wanted to see troops start coming home, those exit polls found. "The president recognizes that the American people are understandably concerned about the violence in Iraq," said White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore. "He shares their concerns but believes that our policy in Iraq must be determined by victory in the war on terror, not public opinion polls." Some people question whether victory is achievable. "Now it's a total mess and I don't have the faintest idea how they're going to get out," said Arthur Thurston, a Democratic-leaning independent from Medina, Ohio. "Iraqis are fighting each other now. But the U.S. troops can't just walk out." Bush has met with Democratic leaders since the election, though Senate leader Harry Reid of Nevada says he thinks the president will need to be pushed to change his stance on Iraq. "I agree that we need to stay over there and finish what we started. I don't like that our people are over there dying. But if we don't finish it, it will come back over here," said Kelly Mangel, an independent from Sedalia, Mo. The public divisions over the war have left the Iraq Study Group with a difficult job. "If there's any hope," said a Democratic member of the blue-ribbon panel, Leon Panetta, "it's that our recommendations can help pull the country together — if Republicans and Democrats can agree on a common strategy." Panetta said the group hopes to offer recommendations in December but "that will depend on when we reach consensus." "We've certainly covered a great deal of territory," he said. "And now we're getting down to the hard work of looking at options."

Dem pledges array of investigations

Democrat pledges array of investigations - Yahoo! News Democrat pledges array of investigations By KEVIN FREKING, Associated Press WriterSun Nov 26, 5:10 PM ET The incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is promising an array of oversight investigations that could provoke sharp disagreement with Republicans and the White House. Rep. John Dingell D-Mich., pledged that Democrats, swept to power in the Nov. 7 elections, would govern "in the middle" next year. But the veteran lawmaker has a reputation as one who has never avoided a fight and he did not back away from that reputation on Sunday. Among the investigations he said he wants the committee to undertake: _The new Medicare drug benefit. "There are lots and lots and lots of scandals," he said, without citing specifics. _Spending on government contractors in Iraq, including Halliburton Co., the Texas-based oil services conglomerate once led by Vice President Dick Cheney. _An energy task force overseen by Cheney. It "was carefully cooked to provide only participation by oil companies and energy companies," Dingell said. _A review of food and drug safety, particularly in the area of nutritional supplements. Meanwhile, the incoming chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee said his committee would not take on contentious issues, such as extending expiring tax cuts or overhauling Social Security, at the beginning of the year. Rep. Charles Rangel D-N.Y., said Democrats do not want a fight with President Bush and want to prove they can govern. "The first thing we're going to do is try to work together on things we know we can accomplish," Rangel said. "Rather than have the committee against the president, it's not going to happen," Rangel said. Rep. Barney Frank, set to lead the House Financial Services Committee, said issues such as raising the minimum wage will be popular, even thought the idea has been identified with liberals. "In my own committee, the biggest difference you're going to see is we're going to return to try to help deal with the housing crisis that blights so many parts of our country socially and economically," said Frank, D-Mass. Frank, who in 1987 became the first member of Congress to voluntarily make his homosexuality public, also said he wants to modify the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The current policy prohibits officials from inquiring about the sex lives of service members and requires discharges of those who openly acknowledge being gay. "One of things I do want to address, yes, is discrimination based on sexual orientation," Frank said. "In fact, what we have is a shortfall in the military. I think when you have people being fired who can read Arabic and understand Arabic, because of what they do when they're off duty, that that's a grave error. But that's not what we're going to begin with." A report in 2005 by the investigative arm of Congress estimated it cost the Pentagon nearly $200 million to recruit and train replacements for the nearly 9,500 troops that had to leave the military because of the policy. The losses included hundreds of highly skilled troops, including translators, between 1994 through 2003. Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott(R-racist) who will become the Senate's second-ranking GOP leader, said Republicans still have enough clout to block legislation "if it's really bad, not in the country's best interest." But he also said he wanted to find areas where the two sides can compromise. "The people, I think, sent us a message. I think we've got it," Lott said. "We're going to be working hard together." The lawmakers appeared on "Fox News Sunday."

Wing nut blocks judge over the issue of gay marriage

Michigan judicial nominee in limbo over gay marriage issue Michigan judicial nominee in limbo over gay marriage issue ASSOCIATED PRESS November 27, 2006 WASHINGTON — A conservative Republican lawmaker is considering whether to stop blocking a judicial nominee over concerns her appearance at a lesbian commitment ceremony betrayed her legal views on gay marriage.Sen. Sam Brownback(R-loon), a potential presidential candidate in 2008, said Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Janet T. Neff should not be disqualified automatically for having attended the ceremony. But Brownback, R-Kan., made clear it raised doubts in his mind.“But what I want to know is what does it do to her look at the law? What does she consider the law on same-sex marriage, on civil unions, and I’d want to consider that,” Brownback said Sunday.President Bush nominated Neff, who has a liberal reputation, to be a U.S. District Court judge as part of a compromise struck with Democrats.Neff’s nomination is pending before the full Senate; Brownback has stalled it because of her attendance at the 2002 ceremony in Massachusetts.“I’m still looking at the Neff situation, and I will in the future,” Brownback said.Neff has said she attended as a friend of one of the two women, a longtime neighbor.Neff has declined to answer Brownback’s queries on whether the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage or civil unions, saying it would be improper to address questions that might come before her as a federal judge.Brownback called gay marriage a developing area of the law best not left to the judiciary anyway.“To me these issues should be decided by the legislative bodies, not by the judicial bodies, and it seems to me this may indicate some view of hers on the legal issue. And that’s what I’m concerned about here, is her view of the legal issue involving same-sex marriage,” Brownback said.Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., urged taking a step back, away from “the political agenda,” in considering judicial appointees.“You know, these are important lifetime appointments. These men and women who serve on the bench, we really trust their judgment and their wisdom and giving these political litmus tests I don’t think is in the best interest of justice in America,” said Durbin, who will be the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate.In an Oct. 12 letter to Brownback, Neff said a minister presided over the ceremony and she insisted her attendance would not affect her ability to act fairly as a federal judge.“The ceremony, which was entirely private, took place in Massachusetts, where I had no authority to act in any official capacity and where, in any event, the ceremony had no legal effect,” Neff wrote.Brownback and Durbin appeared on “This Week” on ABC.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Kissinger: victory in Iraq no longer-possible

Kissinger: Victory in Iraq no longer possible - CNN.com Kissinger: Victory in Iraq no longer possible WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A U.S. victory in Iraq is no longer possible under the conditions the Bush administration hopes to achieve, but a quick withdrawal of American troops would have "disastrous consequences," former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said Sunday. President Bush has said the United States will remain in Iraq until the country's government "can sustain itself and defend itself," and a top Iraqi official disputed Kissinger's assessment of the three-year-old war in an interview with CNN. But in a BBC interview Sunday morning, Kissinger said the U.S. course needs to be redefined -- and the breakup of Iraq could be the eventual outcome. Kissinger served as national security adviser and secretary of state in the Nixon and Ford administrations and has advised the Bush administration on Iraq. In August 2005, he wrote in The Washington Post that "victory over the insurgency is the only meaningful exit strategy." But on Sunday he said a military victory in Iraq was no longer in the cards. "If you mean by clear military victory an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible," he said. His comments come as a commission led by another former top diplomat, James Baker, prepares to offer its recommendations for a change of strategy in the war. The conflict has become increasingly unpopular in the United States as the American death toll nears 2,900, while waves of sectarian violence over the past nine months have left thousands of Iraqis dead. However, a premature withdrawal of all 140,000 American troops now in the country risks bringing about a "dramatic collapse" of Iraq and eventually require U.S. forces to return to the region, Kissinger said. Iraqi ambassador disputes Kissinger's conclusions Instead, he recommended an international conference with Iraq's neighbors, the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and countries he said have a "major interest" in the outcome -- such as south Asian nuclear rivals India and Pakistan -- to craft a settlement. "I think we need to separate ourselves from the civil war, and we have to move at some early point to some international definition of what a legitimate outcome is," Kissinger told the BBC. "By legitimate, I mean something that can be supported by the surrounding states and by ourselves and our allies." The partition of Iraq on ethnic lines "might be an outcome," he acknowledged, "but it might be better not to organize it that way on a formal basis." Samir al-Sumaidie, Iraq's ambassador to the United States, disputed Kissinger's conclusions. He said his government still could prevail over the chaos of a largely Sunni Arab insurgency, sectarian militias and Islamic fighters who swear loyalty to the al Qaeda terrorist network. "I think a lot of people in Iraq, the members of the government and the members of the policy council for national security all believe that the situation is retrievable," he told CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer." "It's doable, but we need to have support of the right kind," al-Sumaidie said. "Now we have a lot of pressure on us, not only from our regional neighbors who are interfering, but pressures from our own friends." Voters' dismay over Iraq contributed to the Democratic takeover of Congress in the November 7 midterm elections. The incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Carl Levin, has called for a "phased redeployment" of U.S. troops as a way of pressuring Iraq's government to make the political compromises needed to end the violence. "You want to make the point to the Iraqis that, folks, you've got to take responsibility for your own country," said Levin, a Michigan Democrat. "We cannot do it for you." But Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, repeated his argument Sunday that more U.S. troops, not fewer, are needed in Iraq. He told ABC's "This Week" that such an increase would put "a terrible strain" on the Army and Marines. "But there's only one thing worse, and that is defeat," he said. McCain is expected to be the ranking Republican on Levin's committee in the new Congress and took the first step toward a possible presidential bid in 2008 last week. He said the United States has been losing the war in Iraq and that American troops have been "fighting and dying for a failed policy." "There's no good options," he said. "But the consequences of failure are severe, and I believe that we must do what's necessary to prevail. And I understand how terrible this is. The young men and women who are in the military today, and God bless them, they'll respond if called upon to."

GOP fundraiser gets 18 years in the cooler

GOP fundraiser gets 18 years in prison - Yahoo! News GOP fundraiser gets 18 years in prison By JOHN SEEWER, Associated Press WriterMon Nov 20, 3:19 PM ET A GOP fundraiser who embezzled from a state investment in rare coins was sentenced Monday to 18 years in prison in a scandal that helped bring down Ohio's ruling Republican Party on Election Day. Tom Noe, 52, was also fined $139,000. Noe spent money as if he had "a bottomless cup of wealth and luxury" at his disposal, "when in fact it was at the state's expense," Common Pleas Judge Thomas Osowik said. The sentence handed out to the politically connected coin dealer will be on top of the more than two years he was ordered to serve after pleading guilty earlier this year to illegally funneling $45,000 to President Bush's re-election campaign. Noe was the central figure in a scandal that dogged the Ohio Republican Party for more than a year. On Election Day, the Democrats won the governor's office, a Senate seat and other major offices after 12 years of GOP rule. Up until Monday, prosecutors did not say whether Noe used any of the money to make campaign contributions. But after the sentencing, Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said, "You can make those inferences." Also for the first time, prosecutors calculated that Noe stole $13.7 million in all. Noe was hired by the state workers' compensation agency and given $50 million to invest in an unorthodox and risky attempt by a state government to make money buying and selling rare coins. A furor erupted when the rare-coin investment became public and when it was learned that millions of dollars were missing. Democrats charged that Noe got the job because of his GOP ties. He was a top fundraiser who gave more than $105,000 to Republicans, including Bush and Gov. Robert Taft in 2004. The resulting investigations led to ethics charges against Taft, who pleaded no contest to failing to report golf outings and other gifts. Four former Taft aides pleaded no contest to similar charges. Noe was convicted last week of theft, corrupt activity and other offenses, and faced a minimum of 10 years in prison on the corrupt-activity charge alone. Prosecutors said he used the money to pay off business loans, renovate his Florida Keys home and otherwise live in high style. Noe declined to make a statement before sentencing and stared blankly, his upper lip twitching, as his punishment was handed down. Defense attorney John Mitchell had asked for the minimum 10-year sentence, saying that other high-profile criminals had received less time for taking more money. The lawyer also assured the judge that Noe's offense "was a one-time crime."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

After win some Dems are asking for Dean's head

After Win, Democrats Revert to Finger-Pointing - New York Times November 16, 2006 Political Memo After Win, Democrats Revert to Finger-Pointing By ADAM NAGOURNEY WASHINGTON, Nov. 15 — One would think that after their biggest electoral triumph in about a decade, Democrats would finally break their usual postelection syndrome — a November loss followed by recriminations, finger-pointing and infighting. Well, think again. The Democrats are celebrating their big victory of Nov. 7 with recriminations, finger-pointing and infighting, no matter that they won control of the Senate and the House for the first time since 1994. State Democratic leaders are saying Howard Dean, the party chairman, is not receiving the credit he deserves for the triumph. Offering a rather different view, two leading party strategists rebuked Mr. Dean on Wednesday, saying the Democrats could have captured 40 House seats rather than 29 had Mr. Dean bowed to demands by Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, leader of the effort to recapture the House, to put more money into Congressional races. “I would describe his leadership as Rumsfeldian in its incompetence,” one strategist, James Carville, said of Mr. Dean. Liberal bloggers say they are not receiving the credit they deserve and are chafing at how what they call the mainstream media has showered too much credit on Mr. Emanuel and his Senate counterpart, Charles E. Schumer of New York, for the sweep. “Rahm won everything” was the headline on a sarcastic post on MyDD, a liberal Web site. On Capitol Hill, soon-to-be Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California has waded into a leadership fight that has divided her caucus, providing the public — in its first glimpse of the incoming Congress — with a reminder of just how much Democrats like to rumble. Democrats, if grimacing, sought to put the best face on the latest episode of that familiar Washington series, Democrats in Disarray. “We are a diverse party,” said Donald Fowler, a veteran South Carolina Democratic leader. “We have different people from different backgrounds, and we see things differently both in terms of style and issues.” Mr. Fowler sighed before letting out: “We’re nuts! We’re all nuts!” Larry Gates, the Democratic chairman in Kansas, where Democrats stunned Republicans by capturing a once very-red seat, said: “This is what we Democrats do. A little bit of success, and we start to fight.” So it was that Stan Greenberg, the Democratic pollster, and Mr. Carville used the forum of a Monitor Breakfast, a gathering of newsmakers and reporters, to say Mr. Dean wasted an opportunity to make historic gains by refusing to take resources out of his effort to build up parties in all 50 states and put them into Congressional races. Mr. Greenberg said that Republicans held 14 seats by a single percentage point and that a small investment by Mr. Dean could have put Democrats into a commanding position for the rest of the decade. “There was a missed opportunity here,” he said. “I’ve sat down with Republican pollsters to discuss this race: They believe we left 10 to 20 seats on the table.” Mr. Carville, whose close ties to former President Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York have prompted speculation that he is attacking Mr. Dean on their behalf, said the Democratic National Committee had taken out a $10 million line of credit and used barely half of it. “They left money on the table,” he said. Asked whether Mr. Dean should step down, he responded, loudly, in the affirmative. “He should be held accountable,” Mr. Carville said. In an interview later, he asked, “Do we want to go into ’08 with a C minus general at the D.N.C.?” Aides to Mr. and Mrs. Clinton said Mr. Carville had not cleared his attacks on Mr. Dean with them. The attacks set off recriminations in Mr. Dean’s base, state parties that have benefited from his decision to channel millions of dollars to them. “Asking Dean to step down now, after last week, is equivalent to asking Eisenhower to resign after the Normandy invasion,” Mr. Fowler said. “It’s just nonsense. “Carville and Greenberg — those people are my friends — they are just dead wrong. They wanted all that money to go to Washington consultants and speechwriters and pollsters. This kind of nonsense is destructive of the party.” The Democratic chairman in Michigan, Mark Brewer, said party money had allowed Michigan to re-elect its Democratic governor and senator. “This is a zero-sum game,” Mr. Brewer said. “That money would have had to come from somewhere. We should be looking forward to future endeavors, and not attacking at this moment of great triumph.” Mr. Dean was traveling and not available for comment, aides said. At Democratic National Committee headquarters, the communications director, Karen Finney, insisted that Mr. Dean had spent money on House races through the final hours, notwithstanding his announcement in the campaign that his top priority was rebuilding state parties, even in longtime Republican states. Ms. Finney expressed incredulity that Democrats would be going after Democrats in this of all weeks. “Did he not see that we won?” she said of Mr. Carville. “Did he not read the results? If James and Stan are interested in knowing what the D.N.C. is doing and has done, they can pick up the telephone and give me a call.” Mr. Emanuel warred with Mr. Dean over his refusal to provide as much money as Mr. Emanuel said he needed. He said Wednesday that a favored candidate, Tammy Duckworth, the severely injured Iraq war veteran running for an open Republican seat in Illinois, had lost because the Republicans had spent $1 million on negative advertisements against her in the final weekend and that he did not have the money to respond. Mr. Carville and Mr. Greenberg have been close to Mr. Emanuel since they worked in the Clinton White House in 1992. Asked about the criticism of the two, Mr. Emanuel said he would offer precisely these two sentences: “More resources brings more seats into play. Full stop.” There was also some lesser blame passing. Mr. Emanuel suggested that Democrats had fallen just short of picking up the seat held by Representative Christopher Shays, Republican of Connecticut, because Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, a registered Democrat, had sought re-election on an independent line after losing the Democratic primary. That brought out more Republican votes. Mr. Greenberg fumbled when asked in a two-part question whether he agreed with some Democrats that a botched joke by Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts and the White House attack on it might have made the difference in very close races where Democrats lost, like the effort to defeat Representative Heather A. Wilson in New Mexico. “Bah-bah-bah-bah, let me go to the first question,” Mr. Greenberg said haltingly before returning, with prompting, to the original question, allowing that the Kerry episode might have “moved the needle a little bit.”

House Dems name Pelosi speaker

House Democrats name Pelosi speaker - Yahoo! News House Democrats name Pelosi speaker By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer 42 minutes ago Nancy Pelosi was unanimously named speaker-elect by House Democrats Thursday, the first woman to be ensured the post that constitutionally is second in line of succession to the presidency. Even as Pelosi was enjoying her finest hour politically, her fellow Democrats remained divided by a family feud over whom to select as her top lieutenant. Pelosi officially takes the post in January, succeeding Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert, when the House convenes in formally elects her in the next session of Congress. Pelosi was elevated by her party caucus not long after Democrats went behind closed doors for secret balloting at the Capitol. The history of the moment notwithstanding, there actually was more intrigue surrounding the contest for the No. 2 job — majority leader. Pelosi had passed over Rep. Steny Hoyer (news, bio, voting record) of Maryland, now the assistant minority leader, and endorsed longtime ally John Murtha of Pennsylvania to take the majority leader spot, the powerful No. 2 party post. Hoyer, a Pelosi rival, was battling to hold onto the lead in the race with Murtha, and both candidates were predicting victory via a secret ballot, which allows lawmakers to be evasive when asked about their intentions. The Hoyer-Murtha battle was a no-win situation for Pelosi, who had hoped to avoid the fight. Murtha was a problematic candidate because of his penchant for trading votes for pork projects and his ties to the Abscam bribery sting in 1980, the only lawmaker involved who wasn't charged. A Murtha victory could create hard feelings among Hoyer allies, especially moderate Democrats. On the other hand, a Hoyer victory could be seen as a defeat for Pelosi in her first major move since Election Day. Either way, the race has roiled a Democratic caucus that will need maximum unity in order to effectively rule the fractious House come January. The race dredged up Murtha's involvement in the Abscam scandal. FBI agents pretending to represent an Arab sheik wanting to reside in the United States and seeking investment opportunities offered bribes to several lawmakers. When offered $50,000, Murtha was recorded as saying, "I'm not interested ... at this point." A grand jury declined to indict Murtha, and the House ethics committee issued no findings against him. "I told them I wanted investment in my district," Murtha told MSNBC's "Hardball" on Wednesday. "They put $50,000 on the table and I said, 'I'm not interested.'" Pelosi allies, including confidant George Miller of California, were aggressively courting votes for Murtha. Meanwhile, House Republicans, soon to be in the minority for the first time since 1994, met in private Thursday to hear presentations from candidates for their leadership posts. Their election was scheduled for Friday. Finding a replacement for Hastert, R-Ill., as the caucus leader turned into a two-man race between Majority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and conservative challenger Rep. Mike Pence (news, bio, voting record) of Indiana after Rep. Joe Barton (news, bio, voting record) of Texas dropped out and endorsed Boehner. Hoyer entered the Democratic leadership race with a substantial lead by most counts, but he has been scrambling to hold onto supporters since Pelosi's surprise intervention on Sunday. He appeared to carry a lead into Thursday's secret ballot despite Pelosi's opposition. "I think we're in very good shape. I expect to win," Hoyer said Wednesday. "I expect that we will bring the party together and become unified and move on from this." With characteristic gruffness, Murtha said the opposite was true. "We're going to win. We got the votes," he said on MSNBC. Allies such as Miller have been working this week to peel away votes from Hoyer. Pelosi also has intervened more directly, making the case for Murtha in one-on-one meetings with Democratic freshmen, sessions in which the incoming lawmakers ask for all-important committee assignments. Murtha, a former Marine who generally has supported U.S. military efforts, has gained considerable attention for his criticism of the administration's Iraq war policies. He steered Pelosi's winning campaign in 2001 against Hoyer for the No. 2 Democratic leadership post, and his supporters say Pelosi deserves a more loyal wingman. Murtha has a record of not always being a leadership loyalist, frequently supplying votes to GOP leaders who were struggling to pass bills. The none-too-subtle trade-off: Murtha and his allies would do better when home-state projects were doled out by the Republicans. He has been criticized by ethics watchdogs such as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, who have said he exemplifies a "pay-to-play" culture of Washington. The group says Murtha has steered defense projects to clients of KSA Consulting, a lobbying firm that until recently employed his brother Kit. Clients of the firm are generous with campaign contributions. Hoyer claims considerable support from some liberals made uncomfortable by Murtha's opposition to abortion, gun control and changes to House ethics rules. He also is a leadership contact for many moderate "Blue Dog" Democrats. Hoyer's backers say he has been an able lieutenant to Pelosi and has done nothing to disqualify himself from holding the same position in the majority. He has been aggressive in lining up supporters, most of whom are sticking with him. "One of the first things I learned around here is that when you give your commitment you honor it," said Rep. Rick Boucher (news, bio, voting record) of Virginia, a Hoyer supporter.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Calif suspect in threats due in court

Calif. suspect in threats due in court - Yahoo! News Calif. suspect in threats due in court Mon Nov 13, 8:08 AM ET A man suspected of mailing more than a dozen threatening letters containing white powder to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record), Jon Stewart and other high-profile figures was in custody and awaiting a court appearance. Prosecutors were expected to file a criminal complaint against Chad Conrad Castagana, 39, in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Monday. He was arrested Saturday for allegedly conveying false information and sending threats by U.S. mail. Preliminary tests showed the white powder was not hazardous, officials said. The letters, which had fake return addresses, were received by Pelosi, a California Democrat who is in line to become speaker of the House; comedians Stewart and David Letterman; Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record) of New York; and MSNBC host Keith Olberman. Some letters, which were sent over the past three months to addresses in New York, New Jersey and San Francisco, included phrases like "Death to Demagogues" and pictures of victims of the 2004 Asian tsunami, authorities said. The FBI said federal agents watched Castagana, of Los Angeles, walk from his home to a public mailbox Thursday and deposit several letters. One was allegedly addressed to someone previously targeted and contained the white powder. Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office, said he did not believe Castagana had retained a lawyer but he wasn't certain. If Castagana hasn't, a public defender will be appointed prior to his court appearance. There's more the dude sending the fake anthrax happens to be an Free Republic poster Man arrested in fake anthrax attacks an avid free republic poster

Dems urge Iraq exit

Print Story: Emboldened Democrats to urge Iraq exit on Yahoo! News Emboldened Democrats to urge Iraq exit By ANNE PLUMMER FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer 8 minutes ago The Bush administration must tell Iraq that U.S. troops will begin withdrawing in four to six months, the next chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Wednesday, as Congress began re-examining U.S. policy in the wake of last week's Democratic election victory. "We cannot save the Iraqis from themselves. The only way for Iraqi leaders to squarely face that reality is for President Bush to tell them that the United States will begin a phased redeployment of our forces within four to six months," Sen. Carl Levin (news, bio, voting record), D-Mich., said at the outset of a hearing featuring the top U.S. commander in the Middle East.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Smirks calls meeting with big three constructive

Bush calls meeting with auto leaders constructive Bush calls meeting with auto leaders constructive By JUSTIN HYDEFREE PRESS WASHINGTON BUREAU November 14, 2006 WASHINGTON — President George W. Bush(R-lame duck) met with the heads of Detroit’s automakers in what he called a “constructive and meaningful dialogue ” at the White House this afternoon, while automakers said they agreed on many, but not all, issues. General Motors Corp. Chairman Rick Wagoner said the automakers told the president they could increase their production of vehicles that can run on ethanol or biodiesel to half of their fleet by 2012, if they could be assured that such fuels would be widely available. The Detroit automakers said earlier this year they would double their output of such vehicles by 2010.Vice President Dick Cheney, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and other officials joined Wagoner, Chrysler Group Chief Executive Tom LaSorda and Ford CEO Alan Mulally in the hour-long Oval Office meeting with Bush.Bush said the executives “are making difficult decisions, tough choices to make sure that their companies are competitive in a global economy.“And I’m confident that they’re making the right decisions, and that’s good news for the American people because the automobile manufacturers play such a significant part of our economy and a vital part of our employment base,” he said.Bush and the executives said they touched on health care, energy and currency, as expected. While Wagoner, LaSorda and Mulally praised the president for being open to their concerns, Wagoner indicated some areas of disagreement, especially on Detroit’s concerns of Japanese currency manipulation.“I can honestly say that it appeared the president didn’t 100 percent see it that way,” Wagoner said. “We had a good open dialogue. We agreed to continue that dialogue.”Bush said the meeting was a starting point for future conversations about the state of the industry. While not committing to discuss currency with Asian leaders next week, Bush said his message “to our trading partners is just treat us the way we treat you. Our markets are open for your products, and we expect your markets to be open for ours, including our automobiles.”The companies had pursued the long-awaited meeting, originally scheduled for May, after finding few sympathetic ears for their concerns in the administration, a problem exacerbated by the departure of former GM executive Andrew Card as White House chief of staff in March. Michigan’s Congressional Democrats, who will take over several important committees when the new Congress begins in January, have pressured the automakers to take a harder line with the administration. But the executives said the get-together was meant to improve relations, and succeeded. “I was very impressed with the president’s knowledge of the situation with competitiveness issues, and the fact we’re taking the actions needed to have viable businesses going forward, and his commitment to partner with us on issues that are really important,” said Mulally.

Abramoff reports to jail

Lobbyist Abramoff to report to prison - Yahoo! News Lobbyist Abramoff to report to prison By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer 20 minutes ago Jack Abramoff(R-Corrupt), the lobbyist known for lavishing politicians with football tickets or whisking them away on exotic golf junkets, will start life Wednesday with a new identity: federal inmate No. 27593-112. Abramoff is to report to federal prison to begin serving a nearly six-year prison sentence for a fraudulent deal to buy a fleet of casino ships in Florida. He also is awaiting sentencing for corrupting government officials and their staff members. If it were up to the Justice Department, Abramoff wouldn't be heading to prison — at least not yet. He could hold the key to a sweeping corruption case involving Congress, members of the Bush administration and their aides, and prosecutors said putting their star witness behind bars would impede the investigation. But a Miami federal judge refused to delay the sentence, meaning Abramoff's cooperation will have to continue from prison. Abramoff's lawyers had no comment. Abramoff was originally assigned to a federal prison in Pennsylvania about four hours away from Washington. Prosecutors wanted him assigned to a prison in Cumberland, Md., about two hours away. The Justice Department said the issue has been resolved and, though the Bureau of Prisons will not comment on where Abramoff will report, prison officials began making preparation for a crush of reporters outside the Cumberland prison. Abramoff enjoyed access and influence across Capitol Hill, from his close ties to congressman to his hundreds of contacts with White House officials. He kept his powerful friends flush with campaign cash, gifts and trips such as a $92,000 chartered jet to Scotland for a golf outing with Rep. Bob Ney (news, bio, voting record), Bush administration official David Safavian and congressional aides. Ney, an Ohio Republican who recently resigned, became the first congressman convicted in the case when he admitted last month that he accepted took official actions on behalf of Abramoff's clients in exchange for his gifts and campaign donations. The investigation had already ensnared Ney's former chief of staff and two aides to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. The investigation cost DeLay his leadership seat before he ultimately resigned, and it contributed to the Election Day defeat of Sen. Conrad Burns (news, bio, voting record), R-Mont. Safavian was sentenced in October to 18 months in prison for lying to investigators about his ties to Abramoff. He is asking a federal judge to postpone his sentence until he can appeal his conviction. Burns, who received about $150,000 in Abramoff-related donations and whose aides traveled on the lobbyist's jet to the 2001 Super Bowl, has denied any wrongdoing. Though two of Delay's aides have pleaded guilty, the former majority leader maintains his innocence and has not been charged. Also under scrutiny are Rep. John Doolittle (news, bio, voting record), R-Calif., who accepted campaign money from Abramoff and used the lobbyist's luxury sports box for a fundraiser without initially reporting it, and former Deputy Interior Secretary Steven Griles, whom senators and a former colleague said gave preferential treatment to Abramoff and his Indian tribe clients.

Turd flower loses his touch

Karl Rove: The Architect's Faulty Specs - Newsweek National News - MSNBC.com Karl Rove: The Architect's Faulty Specs Rove believed in his metrics. He miscalculated. How did Bush's guru get the numbers so wrong? By Richard Wolffe Newsweek Nov. 20, 2006 issue - President Bush knew he was in for a rough night. As he settled down in front of the TV in the White House residence to watch the election results, the numbers were already grim. By 8 p.m., long before the polls closed out west, Bush realized it was over. "It looks like this is going to be a rout," he lamented to a handful of aides. Downstairs in the West Wing, Karl Rove wasn't ready to concede anything. The president's political architect believed the GOP could hold on to slender majorities in the House and the Senate. He had history on his side: in 2004 he refused to believe the early exit polls while everyone else was resigned to defeat. This time he was convinced his numbers would come through again. But even Rove's optimism finally cracked when he took a gloomy call from an old friend working for Rep. Clay Shaw in Florida. Shaw won re-election two years ago by a 28-point margin; last week he was heading to a four-point defeat. At 11:01 p.m., Rove made the long walk to the residence. "We're losing the House," he told Bush. The president let out a long sigh and went to bed. How did the man they call Bush's brain get it so wrong? Rove's miscalculations began well before election night. The polls and pundits pointed to a Democratic sweep, but Rove dismissed them all. In public, he predicted outright victory, flashing the V sign to reporters flying on Air Force One. He wasn't just trying to psych out the media and the opposition. He believed his "metrics" were far superior to plain old polls. Two weeks before the elections, Rove showed NEWSWEEK his magic numbers: a series of graphs and bar charts that tallied early voting and voter outreach. Both were running far higher than in 2004. In fact, Rove thought the polls were obsolete because they relied on home telephones in an age of do-not-call lists and cell phones. Based on his models, he forecast a loss of 12 to 14 seats in the House—enough to hang on to the majority. Rove placed so much faith in his figures that, after the elections, he planned to convene a panel of Republican political scientists—to study just how wrong the polls were. His confidence buoyed everyone inside the West Wing, especially the president. Ten days before the elections, House Majority Leader John Boehner visited Bush in the Oval Office with bad news. He told Bush that the party would lose Tom DeLay's old seat in Texas, where Bush was set to campaign. Bush brushed him off, Boehner recalls. "Get me Karl," the president told an aide. "Karl has the numbers." The numbers looked a lot less rosy to the other architect of the campaign—RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman. It was Mehlman who built the much-vaunted turnout machine. But he feared that many inside the party were relying too much on technology, like voter databases, and had lost sight of the bigger picture: that voters were turning against them. "We've built a great new car, but the gasoline for the car isn't us; it's the candidates and the issues," Mehlman told NEWSWEEK. There was no bigger issue than the war, which Rove had pushed as a winning theme for the GOP. As he flew back to D.C. on a private jet two days before the elections, Mehlman scribbled his predictions on a card—not to be revealed until after the elections. His numbers were much closer than Rove's: the GOP would lose 23 in the House (5 short of the final tally), 5 in the Senate (1 shy) and 6 governors (spot on). Last week Mehlman announced he would step down and pursue opportunities in the private sector. Rove blames complacent candidates for much of the GOP's defeat. He says even some scandal-tainted members won when they followed what he calls "the program" of voter contacts and early voting. "Where some people came up short was where they didn't have a program," he told NEWSWEEK. But even Rove concedes that there were several hardworking incumbents, like Mike Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania's Eighth District, who simply couldn't overcome the odds. In an election overwhelmed by war and scandal, the program was no match for their party's problems.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Bush's approval rating hits 33%

Bush's post-election approval hovers near lowest of presidency - USATODAY.com Bush's post-election approval hovers near lowest of presidency Updated 11/13/2006 1:00 PM ET By USA TODAY staff WASHINGTON — President Bush's job approval ratings have slumped in the latest USA TODAY/Gallup poll, with the president's rating hovering near the lowest of his tenure. In the poll, taken Thursday through Sunday, 33% of Americans approve of Bush's job performance and 62% disapprove. That compares to 38% approval and 56% disapproval in a USA TODAY/Gallup poll taken Nov. 2-5, just before the Nov. 7 midterm elections. ON DEADLINE: 'Approval' lowest since May Bush, an asset for congressional candidates four years ago, was a liability for many this time. His approval rating was 42% in midterm exit polls. That's 10 percentage points lower than on Election Day in 2004 and 24 points lower than in 2002. Sixteen percent of those who said they voted for Bush in 2004 supported Democrats in the midterms, according to exit polling. Bush's lowest job approval rating came in a poll taken May 5-7, where 31% of Americans approved of his job performance. The same poll pegged Americans' disapproval of his job performance at 65%, the highest of his tenure. The president's approval ratings have hovered near or below 40% for most of this year in the poll. The president's highest approval ratings came in late September 2001, shortly after the 9/11 terror attacks. Ninety percent of Americans approved of Bush's job performance at that time. The poll was based on telephone interviews with 1,004 adults. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Contributing: Randy Lilleston, Susan Page.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Democrats got the senate

Virginia win gives Democrats the Senate - Yahoo! News Virginia win gives Democrats the Senate By BOB LEWIS, Associated Press Writer 2 minutes ago Like President Bush's win in 2000, the victory that gave Democrats total control of Congress made for edge-of-your seat ballot-counting — even after election night. But Sen. George Allen (news, bio, voting record), who came out just short, is unlikely to wage the kind of prolonged fight that took the Florida recount to the Supreme Court. Democrat Jim Webb won Virginia's pivotal Senate race Wednesday by about 7,200 votes, giving the Democrats total control of both the House and Senate for the first time in 12 years. An Allen adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity because his boss has not formally decided to end the campaign, said the Republican likely will not request a recount if a statewide canvass of votes doesn't show significant changes. Allen wanted to wait until most canvassing was completed before announcing his decision, possibly as early as Thursday evening, the adviser said. Officials in several large localities told The Associated Press on Thursday that they hoped to finish their canvass by the end of the day. Their deadline for completing the work is Tuesday. The Associated Press contacted election officials in all 134 localities where voting occurred, obtaining updated numbers Wednesday. About half the localities said they had completed their post-election canvassing and nearly all had counted outstanding absentees. Most were expected to be finished by Friday. The new AP count showed Webb with 1,172,538 votes and Allen with 1,165,302, a difference of 7,236. Virginia has had two statewide vote recounts in modern history, but both resulted in vote changes of no more than a few hundred votes. There are no automatic recounts in Virginia, but state law allows a candidate who finishes a half-percentage point or less behind to request a recount paid for by state and local governments. Control of the Senate hung in the balance for most of Wednesday as Webb clung to an excruciatingly small lead. Moving swiftly to establish himself as the winner, Webb began assembling a transition team hours after he proclaimed victory around 1:30 a.m. "The vote's been counted and Jim won," said campaign spokeswoman Kristian Denny Todd. Some absentee ballots remained to be counted, she said, but Webb considers it "a formality more than anything else." After GOP Sen. Conrad Burns (news, bio, voting record)' loss in Montana, the Virginia contest was the last undecided Senate race in the country. Webb's victory gave the Democrats 51 Senate seats and majorities in both the House and Senate for the first time since 1994. Webb, a 60-year-old Naval Academy graduate, novelist and decorated Vietnam veteran who served as Navy secretary under former President Reagan, bitterly opposed the war in Iraq and switched to the Democratic Party. During the campaign, he tried to tie Allen to President Bush and the war. Allen, the 54-year-old son of a Hall of Fame coach of the Washington Redskins, is a former governor once popular for abolishing parole, and he had once been expected to cruise to a second term this year as a warmup for a run for the White House in 2008. Then in August, he mockingly referred to a Webb campaign volunteer of Indian descent as "Macaca," regarded by some as a racial slur. And some former football teammates from the University of Virginia charged that Allen had commonly used a slur for blacks — something he denied. Allen battled back, accusing Webb of denigrating women in a 1979 magazine article decrying the admission of women to the Naval Academy. Allen also tried to portray sexual descriptions in Webb's six best-selling war novels as demeaning to women. The State Board of Elections is set to meet on Nov. 27 to certify the results of the statewide canvass. Allen would have 10 days after that to go to court to ask for a recount, which would be overseen by three judges. "These canvasses often turn up mathematical mistakes and tabulation errors, juxtaposition of numbers, numbers being written in the wrong columns and attributed to the wrong candidate, and the canvasses correct those mistakes," said former Republican national chairman Ed Gillespie, an Allen campaign adviser. In the 1989 gubernatorial election, Democrat L. Douglas Wilder's GOP opponent, Marshall Coleman, asked for and received a recount. Wilder was declared the winner by just under 7,000 votes out of 1.8 million cast. ___ Hey where's that pro George Allen blogger at now? But if ya out there here's something for you HA HA.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Na-Na hey hey good bye Rummy

Rumsfeld resigns as secretary of defense - Yahoo! News Rumsfeld resigns as secretary of defense By ROBERT BURNS and KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press Writers 25 minutes ago After years of defending his secretary of defense, President Bush on Wednesday announced Donald H. Rumfeld's resignation within hours of the Democrats' triumph in congressional elections. Bush reached back to his father's administration to tap a former CIA director to run the Pentagon. The Iraq war was the central issue of Rumsfeld's nearly six-year tenure, and unhappiness with the war was a major element of voter dissatisfaction Tuesday — and the main impetus for his departure. Even some GOP lawmakers in Congress became critical of the war's management, and growing numbers of politicians were urging Bush to replace Rumsfeld. Bush said Robert M. Gates, 63, a national security veteran, family friend and currently president of Texas A&M University, would be nominated to replace Rumsfeld. "Secretary Rumsfeld and I agreed that sometimes it's necessary to have a fresh perspective," Bush said in the abrupt announcement during a postelection news conference. Asked whether Rumsfeld's departure signaled a new direction in a war that has claimed the lives of more than 2,800 U.S. troops and cost more than $300 billion, Bush said, "Well, there's certainly going to be new leadership at the Pentagon." Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Rumsfeld was not leaving immediately. Rumsfeld planned to deliver a speech on the global war on terrorism at Kansas State University on Thursday. Just last week Bush told reporters that he expected Rumsfeld, 74, to remain until the end of the administration's term. And although Bush said Wednesday that his decision to replace Rumsfeld was not based on politics, the announcement of a Pentagon shake-up came on the heels of Tuesday's voting, in which Democrats captured control of the House and could win control of the Senate if the remaining undecided race in Virginia goes their way. With his often-combative defense of the war in Iraq, Rumsfeld had been the administration's face of the conflict. He became more of a target — and more politically vulnerable — as the war grew increasingly unpopular at home amid rising violence and with no end in sight. Gates ran the CIA under the first President Bush during the first Gulf war. He retired from government in 1993. He joined the CIA in 1966 and is the only agency employee to rise from an entry level job to become director. A native of Kansas, he made a name for himself as an analyst specializing in the former Soviet Union and he served in the intelligence community for more than a quarter century, under six presidents. Numerous Democrats in Congress had been calling for Rumsfeld's resignation for many months, asserting that his management of the war and of the military had been a resounding failure. Critics also accused Rumsfeld of not fully considering the advice of his generals and of refusing to consider alternative courses of action. Sen. Carl Levin (news, bio, voting record) of Michigan and Rep. Ike Skelton (news, bio, voting record) of Missouri — the top Democrats on the Armed Services committees — said the resignation would only be a positive step if accompanied by a change in policy. "I think it is critical that this change be more than just a different face on the old policy," Skelton said. Rumsfeld, 74, has served in the job longer than anyone except Robert McNamara, who became secretary of defense during the Kennedy administration and remained until 1968. Rumsfeld is the only person to have served in the job twice; his previous tour was during the Ford administration. Rumsfeld had twice previously offered his resignation to Bush — once during the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in spring 2004 and again shortly after that. Both times the president refused to let him leave. Gates took over the CIA as acting director in 1987, when William Casey was terminally ill with cancer. Questions were raised about Gates' knowledge of the Iran-Contra scandal, so he withdrew from consideration to take over the CIA permanently. Yet he stayed on as deputy director. Then-National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, who has been a critic of the younger Bush's policies, asked Gates to be his deputy in 1989 during the administration of Bush's father. President Bush, a former CIA director himself, asked him to run the CIA two years later. The scandal had faded and Gates won confirmation. After leaving government service, Gates joined corporate boards and wrote a memoir, "From The Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War." It was published in 1996. Gates is a close friend of the Bush family, and particularly the first President Bush. He became the president of Texas A&M University in August 2002. The university is home to the presidential library of Bush's father. Bush has considered Gates for jobs before, including in 2005 when he was searching for a candidate to be the nation's first national intelligence director. Gates declined to take the position, disappointing some Republicans who hoped the veteran of Washington would bring his expertise to this Bush administration.
THE SECOND TIME AROUND:
Granholm earns second term with a double digit victory

Granholm: reelection validates her economic plan for Michigan

Granholm: reelection validates her economic plan for Michigan November 8, 2006 Gov. Jennifer Granholm said this morning her re-election was voters’ validation of her economic plan for Michigan. She also said Democratic victories are a strong message to President George W. Bush that his policies are wrong for the nation. “His plan is not the plan of the citizens of this country, and he needs to change direction,” she told reporters at a Detroit restaurant, 11 hours after she triumphantly declared victory Tuesday night. Appearing rested and with her family joining her for breakfast, Granholm said she can better move forward her plans with a Democratic House.She said if the lame duck Legislature doesn’t act, she will push immediately in January for revamping the state’s business taxes, creating a universal health plan for all state residents, easing restrictions on stem cell research and making voting easier with same-day voting registration.“The people of Michigan have affirmed our effort to transform Michigan’s economy,” Granholm said. “We’renot going to slow down for one moment, we’re going to keep the momentum going.”Granholm also called “very, very sad” the defeat of Proposal 2 – the ban on affirmative action in public institutions. She said the state would look at different ways to achieve diversity in the state's work force.Granholm had campaigned hard against the ballot issue.

Outside prop 2 passing it was a good night for Democrats everywhere from Michigan to nationwide look Granholm and Stabenow smoked their Republican challengers, A weaken Michigan Republican party and nationally the Dems kicked ass and took names. But for me the question is what now? For me as of right now I'm looking to take on Jennifer Gratz and her right wing supporters unlike Jenny Gratz I believe we need something to even the playing field and I'll plan to focus the blog on picking Gratz and her supporters apart on this issue. So Jennifer Gratz and your right wing friends enjoy your brief victory because it's not going to last long.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Election 2006: take

I'm pretty good picking things I picked Al Gore in 2000 and I was right unfortunately I didn't see the supreme court stepping in and picking George W. Bush. 2002 I thought the Republicans will use the 9.11 as a political tool and they did, I picked Granholm and pointed to the anti Detroit ads ran by Dickie P boom she won. 2004 I hate to admit it I was feeling uneasy about it I still picked John Kerry as winner and again an Sec. of state and GOP voting fraud aided Bush to gain an second term. As for 2006 I feel pretty good about Jennifer Granholm and Debbie Stabenow getting re-elected, so here what I feel Debbie will most likely smoke Mike Bouchard 57% to 43% and as for Guv Jen, Jennifer Granholm 53% to Amway Dick 47%( that 40 million brought that 47%) Detroit turnout is key and I think Detroit will turnout for this one prop 2 I'm picking prop 2 taking a fall. As for the Michigan state house it's a coin flip for me but from the weekend ad blitz from the Michigan Republican party it shows that they're biting their finger nails over in the pit. Nationally I'm picking that the Democrats will win but I don't see the tidal wave most people are saying not because the GOP got their zombies to vote to counter the Democratic voters but these damn voting machines and let's not forget the Republican idea of getting out the vote is making sure you don't vote. But we still gotta get out to vote and if some GOPper trying to stop someone or you to vote you call 1-866-OUR-VOTE or kick his or her ass.
Granholm Ad: Endorsement from:for my amusement only... To put it plainly this ad blows the Amway Dick "endorsement" ad out of the water. As Awmay Dick depend on right wing editors and big business for endorsements, Granholm has real people backing her up.

Unions get out the vote...

Unions join in get-out-the-vote effort - Yahoo! News Unions join in get-out-the-vote effort By KATHY BARKS HOFFMAN, Associated Press WriterSun Nov 5, 1:26 PM ET Victoria Cook moved to California last year and cannot vote in Michigan. That did not stop the labor organizer from returning to the state this fall to help turn out the union vote for Democratic candidates. Union votes were critical in helping Debbie Stabenow beat Republican Sen. Spencer Abraham by a single percentage point in 2000. With Stabenow up for re-election and Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm facing an opponent who has spent at least $35 million of his own money in the race, unions in Michigan are not leaving anything to chance. For union members such as 44-year-old Joel Gutzki, that means staffing a phone bank every day at Michigan AFL-CIO headquarters through Tuesday. Taking a few minutes away from his phone on a recent night, he said most union members he is reaching are very engaged in the election. "They're really enthusiastic when you call, which is not always the case," Gutzki said. He is a veteran of five other elections who works in Lansing for Local 1390 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Organized labor is spending close to $100 million nationally in its effort to reclaim its leading role in getting out the vote for candidates friendly to labor — usually Democrats. That effort includes the AFL-CIO's $42 million — the federation's largest election commitment — and millions more from member unions. AFSCME, for instance, is spending $33 million separate from the AFL-CIO investment. The ramped-up effort to contact union members and their families and encourage them to vote is especially evident in heavily unionized Michigan. Some 2,000 volunteers are working more than 260 phone lines making calls to union households in the final days of the campaign. Union volunteers also are walking door to door in three targeted legislative districts. Fliers were being handed out to workers at plants and construction sites urging them to vote Tuesday for union-supported candidates such as Granholm and Stabenow. Michigan's deep economic problems — worsened by the downward slide of U.S. automakers — could spell serious trouble for incumbents like Stabenow and Granholm, although the national anti-Republican trend has somewhat alleviated Democrats' worries. The low-profile Stabenow was seen as somewhat vulnerable against Republican Mike Bouchard, who got $849,205 in help from the National Republican Senatorial Committee last week. Republicans borrowed heavily in recent years from the union's successful get-out-the vote strategy, outperforming the unions and Democrats in 2002 and 2004 based on election results. But the unions are aiming to improve their performance in 2006 by borrowing some of the GOP's new techniques. Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis (R-Douchebag) said it is posing a challenge the Republican Party is having to work hard to meet. "There's no independent effort like that anywhere," he said of the union push. "They're jumping in and leaping over their traditional ways of doing it." The final phase of the national AFL-CIO program, focusing on four days through the election, started Saturday. About 100,000 union volunteers in Michigan and other states contacted voters, especially people who voted in the 2004 presidential election but not the 2002 races. Karen Ackerman, political director of the AFL-CIO, said the union effort would be turning out more voters than in 2004 because the unions are targeting twice as many states as in 2004 — 32 this time — and 175 races. Michigan AFL-CIO President Mark Gaffney said union polling has showed the extra effort is getting the union message out to members. In one recent poll, Granholm was doing well among union manufacturing households, but was losing among nonunion manufacturing households that had not been contacted by the AFL-CIO. This year marks the first national election since the labor movement split in two last year. Several of the largest unions — including the Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union — broke away from the AFL-CIO and formed their own federation in a dispute over money and priorities. Several of the breakaway unions are working with the AFL-CIO's get-out-the-vote operation. But the Teamsters — which is involved in various labor election activities — is not working directly with the AFL-CIO's national effort, said Gerald McEntee, president of AFSCME and chair of the AFL-CIO's political committee. Cook, a former president of the SEIU state council in Michigan who now works for the national AFL-CIO, worried it would be awkward trying to get the AFL-CIO and breakaway unions to work together in Michigan. But she said it has not been a problem. "No matter what's going on with the split, every single leader is out there working," said Cook, dressed in a bright red T-shirt proclaiming "Labor 2006 — We Have the Power." This year, the unions will focus more on all the voters in union households, instead of focusing heavily on just union members. Unions also are doing more specific targeting of voters — another strategy used by the GOP, McEntee said. "By the next election," he said, "the Republicans will be learning from us again." ___ Associated Press writer Will Lester in Washington contributed to this report. Prediction: Granholm:53% Amway Dick:47% Stabenow: 60% Bouchard:40% Prop 2: NO 51%( Send a thank you card to Detroit) Yes:49 Prop 3: N0: 70% Yes 30%

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Big Dog backs Granholm and Stabenow...

Granholm For Governor: President Clinton and Governor Granholm Rally Supporters in Detroit President Clinton and Governor Granholm Rally Supporters in DetroitSaturday, November 4, 2006 By: Campaign Release "Putting Michigan First Express" Rolls Through Southeast Michigan and Flint DETROIT – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm took her “Putting Michigan First Express” bus tour to Detroit today, joining President Bill Clinton at a rally at Wayne State University on Saturday morning. Hundreds of supporters packed Mattheia Athletic Center just three days before Election Day. Lt. Governor John Cherry, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick also headlined the event. President Clinton entered the room to a standing ovation. He energized the crowd and encouraged everyone to get-out-the-vote. He also spoke about the Governor Granholm’s aggressive economic plan to turn the economy around and applauded Governor Granholm’s effort to make health care more affordable for every family and improve education for our kids. President Clinton also talked about the importance of defeating Proposal 2, which would ban affirmative action in Michigan. Governor Granholm has been a vocal opponent of the proposal, which she has called neither civil, nor right. She has been a staunch advocate for diversity in the workplace and in classrooms. She has made it clear that there is no room in Michigan’s Constitution for any amendments that would put up the barriers civil rights leaders have fought for decades to tear down. At the rally, Governor Granholm introduced President Clinton and inspired the audience by sharing stories from the campaign trail and defining what’s at stake in this election. Governor Granholm was joined onstage by several people who she has met during her “Putting Michigan First Express” bus tour. “Over the past four years, I’ve traveled from St. Ignace to St. Antoine Street here in Detroit and all along the way I’ve met some amazing people. We can all find strength and hope in their stories,” Governor Granholm said. Governor Granholm has consistently fought for the City of Detroit and has blocked multiple attempts by the Republican-controlled legislature that singled out the city for unfair treatment. She vetoed the Republican-led Detroit Water Board takeover and stopped an effort to cut $11.3 million from Wayne State University’s budget. In addition, she vetoed a Republican bill that would have prevented Detroit from taking advantage of $100 million in federal funding for mass transit. After the rally, Governor Granholm took her “Putting Michigan First Express” to Flint, where she was met by a packed house of supporters at the Flint Coordinated Campaign Office. At the rally the Governor highlighted the differences between her and Dick DeVos and thanked supporters for all the work they are doing on her behalf. “As we head into the final three days of this race, the choice between me and my opponent is clear,” Governor Granholm said. “I will fight for all of our citizens, while he will protect special interests at your family’s expense.” On Sunday, the Governor will continue her “Putting Michigan First Express” bus tour. She will attend several church services in the Detroit area and attend a campaign stop in Royal Oak. To be fair to the other side the Amway Dick had Rudy Giuliani at his side, I don't want to tell people who they should or shouldn't have stomping for them but come on Dick it's not 2001 anymore so why do you have Giuliani there? He butched his paid statement of support and he lost much of his "political" impact from explotting 9.11 for Republicans. Using Rudy Giuliani is like using a used up battery in a remote control you might get few more flicks out of it but no more, and Rudy has used up his last flicks two years ago. I could understand if you got your buddy George W. Bush to speak for you I wouldn't hold nothing against you if you had the decider there with his sleeves rolled up holding onto the microphone like it was no tomorrow rambling on about how if Granholm is re-elected Bin Laden wins or something like that. I could understand that better than getting Rudy who's making a living off 3,000 dead people. But I did notice one thing during the two rallies when you saw the Granholm rally it was filled and loud, then when the news show the Amway Dick rally it look like it was held in someone's basement because the room looked small as he tries to jam in many supporters for the camera. Which might leads me to this question do anyone of you out there believes the Amway Dick has the supporters as the Michigan Republicans and Michigan media makes us to believe? One more question and this goes to the Amway Dick supporters (if they really exist) if Dick claim he didn't want Bush to rally for him because he wanted things to focus on the state level instead of nationally why is Rudy Giuliani here in Michigan? Last time I check Rudy isn't from Michigan.

Late night debunking: Truth Squad style...

http://www.granholmforgov.com/site/PageServer?pagename=truthsquad Ad Rebuttal: Vetoed Dick DeVos: “Under Governor Granholm’s administration, you can stay on Welfare as long as you want.” FACT: Dick DeVos is not telling the truth. The State of Michigan follows federal law and our state has a five year time limit on welfare for able-bodied adults. (Source: The Code of Federal Regulations: 45 CFR 264.1) FACT: Let’s be very clear about the difference between Governor Jennifer Granholm and Dick DeVos. Governor Granholm has dedicated her life to helping everyday people. She was a federal prosecutor and the state’s Attorney General. Dick DeVos has instead continued his fight for the fortunate few. Dick DeVos Is Placing Corporations Over Real People: DeVos refuses to offer specifics on how he would make up for the loss of roughly $3 billion through the elimination of the Single Business Tax and the Business Equipment Tax, facing deep cuts in health care, education and public safety. DeVos Will Cut State Services Or Raise Taxes To Make Up The Difference: “This year, those taxes are expected to raise $767 million for the school aid fund, $916 million for local governments and community colleges and $70 million for the state's general fund, according to Scott Schrager, special assistant to state Treasurer Robert Kleine.” (Associated Press, October 11, 2006) Dick DeVos Is Lobbying For The Estate Tax: The DeVos family is one of 18 families who are lobbying for the repeal of the federal estate tax, saving the Amway heirs approximately $1.3 billion. (Public Citizen Report, April 2006) Dick DeVos: “Michigan is one of only two states in the nation that does not have time limits on Welfare.” FACT: Governor Jennifer Granholm changed the welfare system in Michigan. She supported and continues to support stronger consequences for those who are able-bodied and choose not to work. FACT: The Governor’s changes are already part of the Governor's ongoing Jobs Education and Training (JET) program, which went into effect earlier this year. (Source: Public Act 345 of 2006) FACT: The Governor's plan (which includes drug screening) is designed to give people the opportunity to help themselves, become independent and move permanently into the workforce. (Source: Family Automated Screening Tool) Individualized planning with welfare recipients that will identify appropriate skills training. Planning with employers, colleges and other training institutions to assure that education and training meets the economic development needs of the community. Plans under development with community colleges to offer programs that integrate basic remedial skills education into associate's degree programs. (Press Release, Michigan Department of Human Services, October 9, 2006) Dick DeVos: “Unfortunately, Governor Granholm vetoed a legislative bill that would have limited Welfare benefits to four years – allowing someone to sit and exist on Welfare for their entire life.” FACT: When making everyday decisions, Governor Jennifer Granholm looks out for everyone, including Michigan’s children. The Department of Human Services created a new approach to helping kids: DHS has already adopted a new approach to child welfare that focuses on involving families in decision-making, keeping children with birth families whenever safely possible, and when out-of-home placement is necessary to assure the safety of the child, increasing the number of placements with relatives. The department received a federal waiver that allows the use of Title IV-E funds to expand innovative prevention and family support programs. The department is already working with funding sources to determine where flexibility exists to support community-ased initiatives. The department is encouraging relative caregivers to become licensed foster parents to support the placement of children with relatives. (Press Release, Michigan Department of Human Services, September 15, 2006) FACT: Under the Republican plan people who are doing everything right, following all the guidelines, would have been put out on the streets. FACT: Did you know the cash assistance people receive only provides 37% of poverty level wages? That’s about $489 a month for a family of three and less than $6000 a year. (DHS Program Policy Group, Program Reference Table Manual Item 210, FIP Monthly Assistance Payment Standard) Dick DeVos: “Day one, we’re going to get to work fixing the Welfare system in Michigan, Day one, I’m going to get it done.” FACT: Dick DeVos is a major financer for an extreme organization that has called for major cuts to aid for needy families with children. DeVos paid the Mackinac Center for Public Policy over $100,000 from his foundation and joined its board of directors. (Detroit Free Press, September 28, 2006) FACT: The Mackinac Center issued an opinion detailing cuts to essential services, including Medicaid and aid for needy families with children. The organization suggested cutting $240 million. (Mackinac Center for Public Policy, February 28, 2006) FACT: Dick DeVos is trying to divert people from looking at his real record. The truth is clear: Dick DeVos eliminated 1,400 Michigan jobs and invested $200 million in China. “Granholm is referring to the fact that DeVos, as president of Amway Co. parent Alticor, eliminated 1,400 jobs at the main plant in Ada, Mich.’” (Detroit News, September 22, 2006) The Detroit News published a letter from the former Amway President himself. In the letter, Dick DeVos said his company invested $200 million in China. (Dick DeVos, Detroit News, May 17, 2006) If anything in this race has taught us about the Amway Dick it taught us he does three things very well 1. spend money like there's no tomorrow 2. quit everything when things didn't go his way and 3. lie his beady eye butt off. Again the Truth Squad debunks another one of Amway Dick's ad, since Amway Dick has probably given up the idea of watering down the Detroit vote so he has gone the path of all Michigan Republicans have gone down using codes words to fire up the "base" by talking about welfare and how Granholm is basically allowing people (blacks) stay on it as long as they want. This is he's last ditch effort to get anyone out to vote for him and using the tried and true method for Michigan Republicans is in work here, scare the white folks by telling them that you're tax dollars is helping some single BLACK mother in Detroit. sidenote:If there was an award show for bad political attacks ads the Michigan Repuglican party would have cramps in their legs from all the standing up they would have to do. The Michigan Repugs would get the award for least original attack ad they basically copy the two Granholm ads and when I say copy I mean copy how each red line that went under words for they even ended one with the failed plaster on the face. Geez Michigan Republicans do I need to add copycats to racists and corrupt? Another award would be called pull the strings: Would go to Laura Toy who's using her mother's death to justify missing 464 votes in the state senate but Laura getting help her sister is whining about Glenn Anderson in another ad, don't get me wrong I feel for the Toy family but this is a party that had the nerve to wear purple heart band-aids mocking John Kerry service and if the roles were flip and Anderson missed that many votes Laura Toy and the Michigan GOP would run ads telling us from here to there how many votes he missed and the dude could have his whole family wiped out. Playing the I hate darkies card: Well the entire Michigan GOP and Cocker from Tennessee would be on stage for that one.