Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Amazing Molly Ivins passed away at 62

Molly Ivins dies of cancer at 62 - Yahoo! News
Molly Ivins dies of cancer at 62 By KELLEY SHANNON, Associated Press Writer 19 minutes ago Best-selling author and columnist Molly Ivins, the sharp-witted liberal who skewered the political establishment and referred to President Bush as "Shrub," died Wednesday after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 62. Ivins died at her home while in hospice care, said David Pasztor, managing editor of the Texas Observer, where Ivins was co-editor. Ivins made a living poking fun at politicians, whether they were in her home state of Texas or the White House. She revealed in early 2006 that she was being treated for breast cancer for the third time. More than 400 newspapers subscribed to her nationally syndicated column, which combined strong liberal views and populist humor. Ivins' illness did not seem to hurt her ability to deliver biting one-liners. "I'm sorry to say (cancer) can kill you, but it doesn't make you a better person," she said in an interview with the San Antonio Express-News in September, the same month cancer claimed her friend former Gov. Ann Richards. To Ivins, "liberal" wasn't an insult term. "Even I felt sorry for Richard Nixon when he left; there's nothing you can do about being born liberal — fish gotta swim and hearts gotta bleed," she wrote in a column included in her 1998 collection, "You Got to Dance With Them What Brung You." In a column in mid-January, Ivins urged readers to stand up against Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq. "We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war," Ivins wrote in the Jan. 11 column. "We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, 'Stop it, now!'" Ivins' best-selling books included those she co-authored with Lou Dubose about Bush. One was titled "Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush" and another was "BUSHWHACKED: Life in George W. Bush's America." Ivins' jolting satire was directed at people in positions of power. "The trouble with blaming powerless people is that although it's not nearly as scary as blaming the powerful, it does miss the point," she wrote in a 1997 column. "Poor people do not shut down factories ... Poor people didn't decide to use 'contract employees' because they cost less and don't get any benefits." In an Austin speech last year, former President Clinton described Ivins as someone who was "good when she praised me and who was painfully good when she criticized me." Ivins loved to write about politics and called the Texas Legislature the best free entertainment in Austin. "Naturally, when it comes to voting, we in Texas are accustomed to discerning that fine hair's-breadth worth of difference that makes one hopeless dipstick slightly less awful than the other. But it does raise the question: Why bother?" she wrote in a 2002 column about a California political race. Born Mary Tyler Ivins in California, she grew up in Houston. She graduated from Smith College in 1966 and attended Columbia University's journalism school. She also studied for a year at the Institute of Political Sciences in Paris. Her first newspaper job was in the complaint department of the Houston Chronicle. She worked her way up at the Chronicle, then went on to the Minneapolis Tribune, becoming the first woman police reporter in the city. Ivins counted as her highest honors the Minneapolis police force's decision to name its mascot pig after her and her getting banned from the campus of Texas A&M University, according to a biography on the Creators Syndicate Web site. In the late 1960s, according to the syndicate, she was assigned to a beat called "Movements for Social Change" and wrote about "angry blacks, radical students, uppity women and a motley assortment of other misfits and troublemakers." Ivins later became co-editor of The Texas Observer, a liberal Austin-based biweekly publication of politics and literature. She joined The New York Times in 1976, working first as a political reporter in New York and later as Rocky Mountain bureau chief. But Ivins' use of salty language and her habit of going barefoot in the office were too much for the Times, said longtime friend Ben Sargent, editorial cartoonist with the Austin American-Statesman. "She was just like a force of nature," Sargent said. "She was just always on and sharp and witty and funny and was one of a kind." Ivins returned to Texas as a columnist for the Dallas Times-Herald in 1982, and after it closed she spent nine years with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. In 2001, she went independent and wrote her column for Creators Syndicate. "She was magical in her writing," said Mike Blackman, a former Star-Telegram executive editor who hired Ivins in 1992. "She could turn a phrase in such a way that a pretty hard-hitting point didn't hurt so bad." In 1995, conservative humorist Florence King accused Ivins in "American Enterprise" magazine of plagiarism for failing to properly credit King for several passages in a 1988 article in "Mother Jones." Ivins apologized, saying the omissions were unintentional and pointing out that she credited King elsewhere in the piece. She was initially diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999, and she had a recurrence in 2003. Her latest diagnosis came around Thanksgiving 2005. ___ Associated Press writers April Castro in Austin and Matt Curry in Dallas contributed to this report. Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Chuck Norris on Faux News interview Iraqi rapper Timz

Fake tough guy and chickenhawk Chuck Norris sits in for Sean Hannity, Fox News regular fake tough guy during a segment of "Hannity and whoever that weird dude looking do is" Chuck Norris does his best impression of Sean Hannity during an interview with Iraqi American rapper Timz. Much like acting Chuck falls on his face trying to pin down Timz with talking points.

Arlen Specter: Smirk is not the only decision marker

Specter: Bush not sole 'decision-maker' - Yahoo! News Specter: Bush not sole 'decision-maker' By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer2 hours, 35 minutes ago A Senate Republican on Tuesday directly challenged President Bush's declaration that "I am the decision-maker" on issues of war. "I would suggest respectfully to the president that he is not the sole decider," Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record), R-Pa., said during a hearing on Congress' war powers amid an increasingly harsh debate over Iraq war policy. "The decider is a shared and joint responsibility," Specter said. The question of whether to use its power over the government's purse strings to force an end to the war in Iraq, and under what conditions, is among the issues faced by the newly empowered Democratic majority in Congress, and even some of the president's political allies as well. No one challenges the notion that Congress can stop a war by canceling its funding. In fact, Vice President Dick Cheney challenged Congress to back up its objections to Bush's plan to put 21,500 more troops in Iraq by zeroing out the war budget. Underlying Cheney's gambit is the consensus understanding that such a drastic move is doubtful because it would be fraught with political peril. But there are other legislative options to force the war's end, say majority Democrats and some of Bush's traditional Republican allies. The alternatives range from capping the number of troops permitted in Iraq to cutting off funding for troop deployments beyond a certain date or setting an end date for the war. "The Constitution makes Congress a coequal branch of government. It's time we start acting like it," said Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., who presided over a hearing Tuesday on Congress' war powers. He also is pushing legislation to end the war by eventually prohibiting funding for the deployment of troops to Iraq. His proposal, like many others designed to force an end to U.S. involvement in the bloody conflict, is far from having enough support even to come up for a vote on the Senate floor. Closer to that threshold is a nonbinding resolution declaring that Bush's proposal to send 21,500 more troops to Baghdad and Anbar province is "not in the national interest." The Senate could take up that measure early next month. But some senators, complaining that the resolution is symbolic, are forwarding tougher bills. Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer (news, bio, voting record) of California, for example, is a sponsor of a bill that would call for troops to come home in 180 days and allow for a minimum number of forces to be left behind to hunt down terrorists and train Iraqi security forces. "Read the Constitution," Boxer told her colleagues last week. "The Congress has the power to declare war. And on multiple occasions, we used our power to end conflicts." Congress used its war powers to cut off or put conditions on funding for the Vietnam war and conflicts in Cambodia, Somalia and Bosnia. Under the Constitution, lawmakers have the ability to declare war and fund military operations, while the president has control of military forces. But presidents also can veto legislation and Bush likely has enough support in Congress on Iraq to withstand any veto override attempts. Seeking input, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record), D-Vt., and Specter, asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for the White House's views on Congress' war powers. Boxer and Feingold are in effect proposing putting conditions on troop funding and deployment in an effort to end the war in some way other than zeroing out the budget. But some lawmakers and scholars insist war management is the president's job. "In an ongoing operation, you've got to defer to the commander in chief," said Sen. John Warner (news, bio, voting record), R-Va., ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. But the veteran senator and former Navy secretary said he understands the debate over Congress' ability to check the executive branch. "Once Congress raises an army, it's his to command," said Robert Turner, a law professor at the University of Virginia who was to testify Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. In recent decades, presidents have routinely bypassed Congress when deploying troops to fight. Not since World War II has Congress issued an official declaration of war, despite lengthy wars fought in Vietnam and Korea. Congress does not have to approve military maneuvers. John Yoo, who as a Justice Department lawyer helped write the 2002 resolution authorizing the Iraq invasion, called that document a political one designed only to bring Democrats on board and spread accountability for the conflict. The resolution passed by a 296-133 vote in the then-GOP-run House and 77-23 in the Democratic-led Senate, but it was not considered a declaration of war.

Miller testimony contradicts Libby story

Miller testimony contradicts Libby story - Yahoo! News Miller testimony contradicts Libby story By MATT APUZZO Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller testified Tuesday that former vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby first discussed a CIA operative with her weeks before he told investigators he believed he first heard it from another reporter. Miller spent 85 days in jail for refusing to cooperate with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into who leaked the CIA operative's identity to reporters. She had refused to disclose conversations she had with Libby. Libby is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice. Fitzgerald says Libby discussed CIA officer Valerie Plame with reporters, then lied about those conversations. Miller ultimately agreed to cooperate with authorities, saying Libby had given her permission to do so. She is a key witness in Fitzgerald's case because she describes two conversations with Libby regarding Plame before Libby told investigators he was surprised to learn about Plame from NBC reporter Tim Russert. Miller testified Tuesday that Libby discussed the CIA officer on June 3, 2003. He said Wilson's wife worked for the "bureau," Miller recalled. She was confused about that at first, she said. "Through the context of the discussion, I quickly determined it to be the CIA," she testified. The discussion occurred amid a growing controversy about intelligence failures leading up to the war in Iraq. Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, said he debunked some of the intelligence that was used to justify the war and said Vice President Dick Cheney should have known it. Miller also discussed a second meeting with Libby, this one on July 8, 2003. She said Libby mentioned that Wilson's wife worked for a CIA division specializing in weapons of mass destruction. Libby says his discussion with Russert occurred on July 10, 2003. Journalism groups have criticized Fitzgerald for calling reporters as witnesses and demanding they discuss conversations with sources. Miller's notes likely will be used as evidence, and Fitzgerald is expected to call two other reporters — Russert and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine — during the trial. Earlier Tuesday, David Addington, who served as Cheney's legal counsel during the CIA leak scandal, described a September 2003 meeting with Libby around the time that an investigation into the leak began. "I just want to tell you, I didn't do it," Addington recalled Libby saying. "I didn't ask what the 'it' was," Addington added. Fitzgerald hopes Addington's testimony will bolster his argument that Libby was worried about whether his conversations with reporters were improper and therefore lied to conceal them. ___ Associated Press Writer Michael J. Sniffen contributed to this report.

Memo: GOP pushes LIEberman as means to attack Dems

The Raw Story Second GOP memo pushes Lieberman as means to attack Democrats on Iraq Second GOP memo pushes Lieberman as means to attack Democrats on Iraq 01/30/2007 @ 1:41 pmFiled by John Byrne A second memo sent to House Republican press staff Tuesday highlights Sen. Joseph Lieberman's (I-CT) comments disparaging Democrats' plans for Iraq troop deployment, RAW STORY has learned. Combined with a second set of talking points pushed to Republican staff Monday by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), the email represents a concerted effort to use the former Democrat against his colleagues. Lieberman switched parties to become an Independent after losing the Democratic nomination in Connecticut's Senate race last year. He currently caucuses with Democrats, providing the party the necessary edge to control the chamber. The talking points follow. Our Options in Iraq House Republicans Offer Two-Part Strategy TO HELP THE PRESIDENT'S NEW STRATEGY SUCCEED January 30, 2007 When it comes to the war in Iraq, the stakes for our country and our military are high. We have two options, and when examined carefully, our choice is clear. OPTION #1: FAILURE IN IRAQ Failure in Iraq would bring about disastrous consequences for U.S. security, our interests, and our allies. Failure in Iraq would allow Al Qaeda to emerge stronger and establish safe havens to plot and carry out attacks against Americans and our allies. Failure in Iraq would give Iran free reign to increase its support for Hezbollah and other terrorist groups, and to spread instability throughout the Middle East. Failure in Iraq would pull neighboring countries into an escalating sectarian conflict in Iraq which could devolve into a civil war or a regional conflict. And failure in Iraq would embolden our enemies who seek to destroy Israel. OPTION #2: SUCCESS IN IRAQ Success in Iraq will further America's strategic interests to empower moderate Arab and Muslim governments in the Middle East and to deny terrorists a safe haven - not just in Iraq - but throughout the Middle East, striking a significant blow to the efforts of Islamic extremists in a region which serves as a critical source of recruits, funding, and support for global terrorist activities. It will mean a safer, more secure America we all want for our children and grandchildren. When faced with the realities of these two choices, our only option is success. The President has laid out a new strategy for success in Iraq and General David Petraeus, who during his Senate confirmation hearing discussed the negative consequences of early withdrawal from Iraq and the encouragement Congressional resolutions of disapproval would give our enemies in Iraq, has been unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to help implement this strategy. But with the growing perception that progress has stalled, House Republicans have offered a two-part plan to help ensure success in Iraq. The first part is a proposal by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) - a distinguished Vietnam War veteran - to ensure the Congress does not cut off or restrict funding for America's troops who are in a combat zone. The second part is a proposal designed to help Gen. Petraeus successfully implement the President's new strategy by putting pressure on the Iraqi government and holding it accountable for its role in achieving success. These two efforts are in stark contrast to the Congressional "resolutions of disapproval" - non-binding criticisms of the President and the war - which, as Gen. Petraeus told the Senate last week, harm our chances for success by providing encouragement to our enemies: SEN. LIEBERMAN: But I want to ask you, what effect would Senate passage of a resolution of disapproval of this new way ahead that you embrace -- what effect would it have on our enemies in Iraq? GEN. PETRAEUS: Sir, as I stated in the opening statement, this is a test of wills, at the end of the day. And in that regard, speaking purely as a military commander, if confirmed -- albeit one who, frankly, does understand enormously and treasures the value of free and open debate, free speech, who has put himself in harm's way to protect those great features of our democracy -- nonetheless, having said that, a commander in such an endeavor would obviously like the enemy to feel that there's no hope. SEN. LIEBERMAN: -- a Senate-passed resolution of disapproval for this new strategy in Iraq would give the enemy some encouragement, some feeling that -- well, some clear expression that the American people were divided. GEN. PETRAEUS: That's correct, sir. The House Republican proposals explicitly support our troops and the President's new strategy for success in Iraq. What is the Democrats' plan for success in Iraq? Victory in Iraq is critical to America's strategic interests. The President's new strategy deserves a chance to succeed and it should receive fair and full consideration by this Congress. Republican Leader Press Office Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) H-204, The Capitol (202) 225-4000

Monday, January 29, 2007

Who cares if the story is fake?

Feeding Frenzy for a Big Story, Even if It’s False - New York Times Feeding Frenzy for a Big Story, Even if It’s False By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 — Jeffrey T. Kuhner, whose Web site published the first anonymous smear of the 2008 presidential race, is hardly the only editor who will not reveal his reporters’ sources. What sets him apart is that he will not even disclose the names of his reporters. But their anonymity has not stopped them from making an impact. In the last two weeks, Mr. Kuhner’s Web site, Insight, the last remnant of a defunct conservative print magazine owned by the Unification Church led by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, was able to set off a wave of television commentary, talk-radio chatter, official denials, investigations by journalists around the globe and news media self-analysis that has lasted 11 days and counting. The controversy started with a quickly discredited Jan. 17 article on the Insight Web site asserting that the presidential campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was preparing an accusation that her rival, Senator Barack Obama, had covered up a brief period he had spent in an Islamic religious school in Indonesia when he was 6. (Other news organizations have confirmed Mr. Obama’s descriptions of the school as a secular public school. Both senators have denounced the report, and there is no evidence that Mrs. Clinton’s campaign planned to spread those accusations.) In an interview Sunday, Mr. Kuhner, 37, said he still considered the article, which he said was meant to focus on the thinking of the Clinton campaign, to be “solid as solid can be.” But he declined to say whether he had learned the identity of his reporter’s sources, and so perhaps only that reporter knows the origin of the article’s anonymous quotes and assertions. Its assertions about Mr. Obama resemble rumors passed on without evidence in e-mail messages that have been widely circulated over the last several weeks. The Clinton-Obama article followed a series of inaccurate or hard-to-verify articles on Insight and its predecessor magazine about politics, the Iraq war or the Bush administration, including a widely discussed report on the Insight Web site that President Bush’s relationship with his father was so strained that they were no longer speaking to each other about politics. The Washington Times, which is also owned by the Unification Church, but operates separately from the Web site, quickly disavowed the article. Its national editor sent an e-mail message to staff members under the heading “Insight Strikes Again” telling them to “make sure that no mention of any Insight story” appeared in the paper, and another e-mail message to its Congressional correspondent instructing him to clarify to Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama that The Washington Times had nothing to do with the article on the Web site. “Some of the editors here get annoyed when Insight is identified as a publication of The Washington Times,” said Wesley Pruden, editor in chief of The Washington Times. And in an interview, John Moody, a senior vice president at Fox News, said its commentators had erred by citing the Clinton-Obama report. “The hosts violated one of our general rules, which is know what you are talking about,” Mr. Moody said. “They reported information from a publication whose accuracy we didn’t know.” Mr. Kuhner’s ability to ignite a news media brush fire nonetheless illustrates how easily dubious and politically charged information can spread through the constant chatter of cable news commentary, talk radio programs and political Web sites. And at the start of a campaign with perhaps a dozen candidates hiring “research directors” to examine one another, the Insight episode may be a sign of what is to come. To most journalists, the notion of anonymous reporters relying on anonymous sources is a red flag. “If you want to talk about a business model that is designed to manufacture mischief in large volume, that would be it,” said Ralph Whitehead Jr., a professor of journalism at the University of Massachusetts. With so much anonymity, “How do we know that Insight magazine actually exists?” Professor Whitehead added. “It could be performance art.” But hosts of morning television programs and an evening commentator on the Fox News Network nevertheless devoted extensive discussion to Insight’s Clinton-Obama article, as did Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talk radio hosts. And the Fox News rival MSNBC has picked up several of Insight’s other recent anonymous “scoops.” Among them: that Mr. Bush was afraid to fire his adviser Karl Rove because “he knows too much”; that there is a rift between President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over the president’s support for Israel; and that Mr. Bush spent the months before the midterm elections in a bunker-mentality focused on the Iraq war and the elections to the exclusion of all else. Mr. Kuhner has appeared as a guest on both networks. A spokesman for MSNBC declined to comment. Representatives of News World Communications, the arm of the Unification Church that owns Insight, could not be reached for comment on Sunday night. Mr. Kuhner said, “Our report on this opposition research activity is completely accurate,” and he argued that all major news organizations relied on anonymous sources. Mr. Kuhner, in an editor’s note on Insight, said the Web site could not afford to “send correspondents to places like Jakarta to check out every fact in a story.” The Web site pays up to $800 for an article. Mr. Kuhner said he was not yet convinced by reports from officials of the elementary school that Mr. Obama attended in Indonesia about its secular history. “To simply take the word of a deputy headmaster about what was the religious curriculum of a school 35 years ago does not satisfy our standards for aggressive investigative reporting,” he wrote. Insight was founded two decades ago as a conservative print magazine called Insight on the News. It started the career of the journalist David Brock, who became famous for writing sensational magazine articles and books about Anita Hill and later Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Brock later recanted much of what he had written, and now runs a liberal media group dedicated to countering what it considers be conservative bias in the news media. Insight had thousands of subscribers, but its reputation was checkered by its false reports, which included an assertion that President Bill Clinton was selling plots at Arlington National Cemetery to Democratic campaign donors, and, during the Bush administration, that Saddam Hussein’s purported weapons of mass destruction might have been found. Officials of the Unification Church closed the print magazine about a year and a half ago, and tapped Mr. Kuhner to run it as a stand-alone Web site. He worked for three years, from 2000 through 2003, as an assistant national editor at The Washington Times. Before that, he was a history professor, but did not finish his dissertation. After leaving The Washington Times, he worked for a Republican policy group. Mr. Kuhner said he insisted on editorial independence, reporting only to the board of New World Communications. Under his tenure, Insight’s Web site has claimed a series of anonymous scoops, many centered on the White House. In addition to the article about Mr. Bush’s feud with his father, there was also a January 2006 report that the United States was preparing for a covert attack on Iran and a February 2006 report that Vice President Dick Cheney would step down after the midterm elections. Mr. Kuhner said Insight stopped using bylines to encourage contributions from reporters for major news organizations. He said such contributors could not write what they knew under their own names for their main employers, either for fear of alienating powerful sources or because of editors’ biases. “Reporters in Washington know a whole lot of what is going on and feel themselves shackled and prevented from reporting what they know is going on,” Mr. Kuhner said. Insight, he said, “is almost like an outlet, an escape valve where they can come out with this information.” “The team I have has some of the most seasoned, experienced reporters in this town, so I know the material I am getting is rock-solid.” he said. “The reporter has to give his or her word that, ‘It is solid, Jeff,’ ” Mr. Kuhner said. During an interview, he invited this reporter to moonlight for Insight. “I will take a look at your work,” he said. “I will do a background check. You may get a call from me.” He declined to say where the contributor who offered the Clinton-Obama story worked. “I said, ‘That is a sexy story, if you can confirm it,’ ” Mr. Kuhner recalled. After Insight posted the article on Jan. 17, Mr. Kuhner said, he was disappointed to see that the Drudge Report did not link to it on its Web site as it has done with other Insight articles. So, as usual, he e-mailed the article to producers at Fox News and MSNBC

Newsweek: How low can Bush poll numbers go?

NEWSWEEK Poll: Bush Hits New Low - Newsweek Politics - NEWSWEEK Poll: Bush Hits New Low Following his State of the Union address, President Bush’s approval rating hits a new low in the NEWSWEEK Poll, as Sen. Hillary Clinton enjoys an early lead among the field of likely candidates in the ’08 race. WEB EXCLUSIVE By Brian Braiker Newsweek Jan. 27, 2007 - President George W. Bush concluded his annual State of the Union address this week with the words “the State of our Union is strong … our cause in the world is right … and tonight that cause goes on.” Maybe so, but the state of the Bush administration is at its worst yet, according to the latest NEWSWEEK Poll. The president’s approval ratings are at their lowest point in the poll’s history—30 percent—and more than half the country (58 percent) say they wish the Bush presidency were simply over, a sentiment that is almost unanimous among Democrats (86 percent), and is shared by a clear majority (59 percent) of independents and even one in five (21 percent) Republicans. Half (49 percent) of all registered voters would rather see a Democrat elected president in 2008, compared to just 28 percent who’d prefer the GOP to remain in the White House. Public fatigue over the war in the Iraq is not reflected solely in the president’s numbers, however. Congress is criticized by nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of Americans for not being assertive enough in challenging the Bush administration’s conduct of the war. Even a third (31 percent) of rank-and-file Republicans say the previous Congress, controlled by their party, didn’t do enough to challenge the administration on the war. Still, the new poll, which examined the preferences of registered Democrats for their party’s presidential nomination in 2008, shows that Sen. Hillary Clinton, an initial supporter of the war, has a 20-point lead over junior Sen. Barack Obama (55 percent to 35 percent) and a 34-point lead over former Sen. John Edwards (63 percent to 29 percent). Obama has a marginal seven-point lead over Edwards (46 percent to 39 percent). On the other side of the aisle, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain are closely matched at this point among Republicans: the mayor is preferred over the Arizona Senator by a statistically insignificant margin of 48 percent to 44 percent. When each GOP frontrunner is matched up against former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, it is no contest. Giuliani beats Romney by 55 points and McCain outpolls him by 50. With about half (48 percent) of voters nationwide saying their opinion of Bush will be at least “somewhat important” in determining who gets their vote in ’08, the two Democratic frontrunners have narrow leads over their potential opponents. In a mock election, Clinton tops McCain by six points (50-44 percent) and barely edges out Giuliani by three (49-46 percent). Obama’s lead over both McCain and Giuliani is by the exact same margins (48-42 percent against the former and 47-44 percent against the latter). The races are tighter with Edwards as the Democratic candidate: the former vice presidential candidate edges out McCain by four points (48-44 percent) and is in a statistical dead heat with Giuliani (46-47 percent).With Bush widely viewed as an ineffectual “lame duck” (by 71 percent of all Americans), over half (53 percent) of the poll's respondents now say they believe history will see him as a below-average president, up three points from last May. The first time this question was asked, in October 2003, as many people thought Bush would go down in history as an above average president as thought we would be regarded as below average (29 to 26 percent). Only 22 percent of those polled think Bush's decisions about Iraq and other major policy are influenced mainly by the facts; 67 percent say the president's decisions are influenced more by his personal beliefs. This perhaps explains why only about half (49 percent) of adult Americans even bothered to watch or listen to any of the State of the Union speech as it happened. Of those, less than half (42 percent) think his energy, health care and other domestic policy proposals are likely to be seriously considered by the new Democratic-controlled Congress. Overall, 61 percent are unsatisfied with the way things are going in America; just 30 percent are satisfied.The NEWSWEEK poll, conducted Jan. 24-25, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. In conducting the poll, Princeton Survey Research Associates International interviewed 1,003 adults aged 18 and older. var url=location.href;var i=url.indexOf('/did/') + 1;if(i==0){i=url.indexOf('/print/1/') + 1;}if(i==0){i=url.indexOf('&print=1');}if(i>0){url = url.substring(0,i);document.write('URL: '+url+'');if(window.print){window.print()}else{alert('To print his page press Ctrl-P on your keyboard \nor choose print from your browser or device after clicking OK');}}

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Levin: compromise near on Iraq troop resolution

Levin: Compromise near on Iraq troop resolution Levin: Compromise near on Iraq troop resolution Gordon Trowbridge / Detroit News Washington Bureau WASHINGTON -- Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said Thursday he believes there are "very minor" differences between competing Senate resolutions seeking to oppose dispatch of new troops to Iraq, and that those differences could be worked out quickly if a leading Republican is willing to meet. Levin said he hopes to meet with Sen. John Warner, R-Va., to try to merge a resolution he has backed with one Warner introduced this week. "We can work this out if Sen. Warner wants to work this out," Levin said after a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. Levin said he and three other senators who are backing one of the resolutions have asked Warner for a chance to work out language to which he can agree. Such an agreement would be the strongest signal yet to the Bush administration that Congress will not back his plan, which would deploy about 21,000 additional troops in an effort to quell violence in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq. Levin, along with fellow Democrat Sen. Joseph Biden and Republican Sens. Chuck Hagel and Olympia Snowe, have introduced a nonbinding resolution that would put the Senate on record as opposing the troop increase. Warner, who chaired the Armed Services Committee before Levin took over this year, has introduced a similar measure, though without some wording Republicans had suggested was partisan. The Senate is scheduled to debate Levin's resolution next week; Warner has suggested he would introduce his measure at the same time. But agreeing with Warner on wording would unite each party's leading defense expert in the Senate, and do much to accomplish the bipartisan rejection of President Bush's plan that Levin has said is his top priority. Levin and Warner had at least two private conversations during Thursday's hearing, though Levin said they did not discuss the substance of their disagreements. Warner's office did not immediately return a call seeking comment. But Warner took perhaps the toughest tone of any senator, Democrat or Republican, during the hearing, at which top military and diplomatic experts from outside the Bush administration gave their views on the Bush plan. Warner asked retired Army Gen. Jack Keane, one of the primary architects of the "surge" strategy, why Iraqi forces couldn't surge to Baghdad instead of U.S. troops. When Keane said the Iraqi army isn't yet capable of such operation, Warner reacted harshly, saying he believed he and other lawmakers had been misled by Bush administration officials who claimed Iraqis were gaining in strength and capability. Warner also said he was troubled by command arrangements for the attempt to secure Baghdad. Military officials have said a joint Iraqi-U.S. command would oversee the operation; Keane said at one point that U.S. and Iraqi officers down to the platoon and company levels would have to work out disagreements essentially on the fly. "Are you aware of any precedent," for such a divided arrangement, an incredulous Warner asked Keane. "If there is, I don't have it at my fingertips," Keane replied.

Ex-Aide for Darth Vader hurts Libby case

Testimony by Former Cheney Aide Hurts Libby - New York Times January 25, 2007 Testimony by Former Cheney Aide Hurts Libby By NEIL A. LEWIS WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 – Vice President Dick Cheney’s spokeswoman told a jury today that she informed Mr. Cheney and his chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby Jr. , that a prominent war critic’s wife worked for the C.I.A. days before Mr. Libby contended he learned it from a reporter. Cathie Martin, who was Mr. Cheney’s chief spokeswoman, was the fourth witness for the prosecution in the perjury and obstruction of justice trial of Mr. Libby, who is charged with lying during an investigation to determine who leaked the name of a C.I.A. operative, Valerie Wilson. Unlike the previous three witnesses who worked at the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department, Ms. Martin provided an insider’s perspective, one from within the Office of the Vice President. Her testimony under questioning from a federal prosecutor was damaging to Mr. Libby. She testified that both Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby were intensely interested in Ms. Wilson and her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, who had been sent on a mission to Africa by the C.I.A. to investigate reports that Saddam Hussein was trying to buy uranium from Niger for his nuclear weapons program. Ms. Martin’s testimony was damaging for Mr. Libby in two respects. She bolstered the prosecution’s assertion that Mr. Libby was fully aware of Ms. Wilson’s identity from a number of administration officials, and did not first learn about her from reporters, as he claims. Perhaps more important, she testified as a former close colleague of Mr. Libby’s, and demonstrated her familiarity with him by repeatedly referring to him by his nickname, “Scooter.” Ms. Martin, who still works at the White House but no longer for Mr. Cheney, described how Mr. Libby had telephoned a senior C.I.A. official in her presence and asked about the Wilson trip. She said she was then put on the phone with Bill Harlow, the C.I.A.’s spokesman, who told her that Mr. Wilson went to Africa on behalf of the agency and that his wife worked there. Some days later, she testified, she told Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney that Mr. Wilson’s wife worked at the agency. Mr. Libby is facing five felony counts that he lied when he told a grand jury and F.B.I. agents that he learned of Ms. Wilson’s identity from reporters. Her identity was first disclosed in a column by Robert Novak on July 14, 2003, just days after her husband had written a commentary in The New York Times asserting that the Bush administration had distorted intelligence to bolster the case for invading Iraq. Theodore V. Wells Jr., Mr. Libby’s chief lawyer, in his cross-examination of Ms. Martin, had her acknowledge that she had not listened fully to a telephone conversation with Matthew Cooper, then of Time Magazine, on July 12. It was in that conversation that Mr. Libby is charged with having told Mr. Cooper about Ms. Wilson.

MI GOP support for Dear leader weakens

Detroit Free Press - - Wary GOP lawmakers bail on Bush Wary GOP lawmakers bail on Bush Michigan delegation largely greets his Iraq war plan with skepticism, silence January 25, 2007 BY KATHLEEN GRAY FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER At least three GOP lawmakers from Michigan who have supported President George W. Bush's Iraq policies have joined a growing number of Republicans distancing themselves from him. U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, who cochaired Bush's re-election campaign in Michigan in 2004, and U.S. Reps. Joe Knollenberg of Bloomfield Township and Pete Hoekstra of Holland -- strong supporters of the war when it began in 2003 -- all have made statements this week saying they are dismayed by the lack of progress in Iraq. Michigan's six other U.S. House Republicans were either silent on Iraq after Bush's State of the Union speech Tuesday or more supportive of him. As recently as last year, Miller of Harrison Township was a reliable supporter of Bush's Iraq policy on the House Armed Services Committee. But no longer. "I remain extremely hesitant to embrace his plans out of concern that the Iraqis will not be able to live up to their commitments," she said in a statement after the speech. Miller is married to retired Air Force Col. Don Miller, a Macomb County Circuit judge. Knollenberg issued this statement: "My patience with the war is growing thin. We need to see real progress in Iraq soon." Hoekstra added, "President Bush has removed his former leadership for the war and hired a new secretary of defense, a new ambassador to Iraq and a new general in Baghdad. It hopefully marks a willingness to rethink some of the strategies and tactics advocated by the former team that clearly have not worked." In the wake of Bush's speech, it became clearer Wednesday that many Republicans were bolting. Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a potential 2008 presidential candidate, joined Democrats in passing a resolution saying Bush's strategy to deploy 21,500 more U.S. troops to Iraq is not in the nation's interest. Two other influential Republican senators -- John Warner of Virginia and Richard Lugar of Indiana -- also have said this week that they oppose the increase in troops. Analysts said Wednesday that the defections are not surprising. "He's gone to the well one too many times, saying 'Trust me, this has the best chance of working,' " said John Geer, a political science professor and presidential scholar at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. "Unfortunately, there's a history of things not working as well as he's indicated." As a result, Republicans are more willing to defy their commander in chief, especially one who has such low approval ratings and who can't run for re-election again, Geer added. "Three years ago, the Republicans were carving out a place for Bush on Mt. Rushmore," he said. "But they've put the chisels away." A lame-duck president is an easy target, added Craig Ruff of the Lansing-based Political Sector Consultants. "There is a fresh scent of blood, and the prey and predators don't waste any time in politics," he said. "As soon as they sniff a wound, they run for cover. Politicians have survival instincts." Republicans have good reason to hone their survival skills. A growing frustration with the war led to voters giving Democrats majorities in the House and Senate in November's elections. Knollenberg had his closest race since first running for Congress in 1992, barely beating Democrat Nancy Skinner, who pounded an antiwar message. But it's the climate in Iraq, not the political environment back home, that is leading the Republican renegades away from Bush, Capitol Hill staffers said. "He wants the Iraqi government to step up and take over security of their own country. That's the impetus behind our change in tone," said Trent Wisecup, chief of staff for Knollenberg. Other Republican House members from Michigan are more supportive of Bush. U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, a first-term congressman from Tipton, said Congress can't afford to back away from Iraq. "The war on terrorism is the calling of our time," he said. U.S. Rep. David Camp of Midland said after the speech that progress in Iraq needs to come quickly, but added, "This is a war we cannot walk away from." Wednesday, his office was more cautious. "This is not an open-ended commitment. There needs to be measurable progress in a very short time frame," said Camp spokesman Sage Eastman. Could the change in tone translate into a transparent and expedient political flip-flop? It all depends on what happens on the ground in Iraq, Ruff said. "If putting 21,000 more troops stabilizes the situation, maybe the John McCains of the world will actually look like the heroes and the people who say 'Let's pull out as fast as we can' will look like villains," he said. "But the voters may wreak vengeance on both

Dems kill GOP poison pill on min wage

Senators kill minimum wage amendment - Yahoo! News Senators kill minimum wage amendment By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press WriterThu Jan 25, 1:25 PM ET An effort to increase the minimum wage in all states, even those that already have wage floors higher than the federal base, failed Thursday after Democrats labeled it a "poison pill." Democrats said the Republican proposal was designed to kill underlying minimum wage legislation. An amendment offered by Sen. Jim DeMint (news, bio, voting record), R-S.C., was an effort to show how raising the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 over 26 months would have no effect in eight states because they already have wage floors of $7.25 or higher. Another two states have scheduled minimum wage increases that also would place them above the proposed federal floor. Eighteen other states have higher minimum wages than the current federal floor, but not as high as the $7.25 in the proposed legislation. "This is a mandate on low-cost-of-living states, but not on high-cost-of-living states," DeMint said. The amendment failed on a 78-16 vote after Sen. Edward Kennedy (news, bio, voting record), D-Mass., raised a budget point of order challenging it. Massachusetts is among the states that already have a higher minimum wage and would not be affected by the federal law. Kennedy called the amendment a ploy "intended to give senators in high minimum wage states an uncomfortable vote today not to raise wages for hardworking Americans." States that already have higher minimum wages than the federal floor tend to be clustered in the Northeast and the Pacific Coast. States without their own wage floor are in the Midwest and the South.

Barack calls for universal health care

Obama calls for universal health care - Yahoo! News Obama calls for universal health care By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer1 hour, 33 minutes ago Every American should have health care coverage within six years, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama (news, bio, voting record) said Thursday as he set an ambitious goal soon after jumping into the 2008 presidential race. "I am absolutely determined that by the end of the first term of the next president, we should have universal health care in this country," Obama told a conference of Families USA, a health care advocacy group. The Illinois senator did not provide specifics on his plan for coverage. Obama was previewing what is shaping up to be a theme of the 2008 Democratic primary. His chief rivals, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards, also are strong proponents of universal health care and have promised to offer their plans. Obama said while plans are offered in every campaign season with "much fanfare and promise," they collapse under the weight of Washington politics, leaving citizens to struggle with the skyrocketing costs. He said it's wrong that 46 million in this country are uninsured when the country spends more than any one else on health care. He said Americans pay $15 billion in taxes to help care for the uninsured. "We can't afford another disappointing charade in 2008, 2009 and 2010," Obama said. "It's not only tiresome, it's wrong." Obama's call was an echo of a speech he made last April when he said Democrats "need to cling to the core values that make us Democrats, the belief in universal health care, the belief in universal education, and then we should be agnostic in terms of how to achieve those values." His argument Thursday not only will be considered through the prism of the presidential campaign, but weighed against rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's ill-fated plan to overhaul the health care insurance system when she was first lady. Even after leading that calamitous attempt in 1993, Clinton remains in favor of universal health care and has made it a central theme of her presidential bid. "One of the goals that I will be presenting ... is health insurance for every child and universal health care for every American," she said at a community health clinic in New York Sunday, the day after entering the 2008 Democratic field. "That's a very major part of my campaign and I want to hear people's ideas about how we can achieve that goal." On Thursday, she criticized Bush's proposal to make health care more affordable through tax breaks, arguing that it would lead to less funding for hospitals. Addressing the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Clinton was self-deprecating in describing her own experience in the health care debate and joked that Bush would need some heavy-duty protection as he wades into the fight. "I welcome his participation in the health care debate. I'm going to send him a suit of armor because I know anybody who puts a foot in the health care debate is gonna need that. I've got the scars and experience to show for it," said the New York senator. Another candidate, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, also backs universal health care.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Libby: White House wanted to trade his freedom for Rove's

Libby: White House sacrificed him for Rove - Politics - Libby: White House sacrificed him for Rove Fitzgerald says Libby lied about Cheney; first witness takes stand MSNBC staff and news service reports Updated: 4:42 p.m. ET Jan 23, 2007 WASHINGTON - Top White House officials tried to blame vice presidential aide "Scooter" Libby for the 2003 leak of a CIA operative's identity to protect President Bush's political strategist, Karl Rove, Libby's defense attorney said Tuesday as his perjury trial began and the first witness took the stand. I. Lewis Libby is accused of lying to FBI agents, who began investigating after syndicated columnist Robert Novak revealed that a chief Bush administration critic, Joseph Wilson, was married to CIA operative Valerie Plame. When the leak investigation was launched, White House officials cleared Rove of wrongdoing but stopped short of doing so for Libby. Libby, who had been asked to counter Wilson's criticisms, felt betrayed and sought out his boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, Wells said. "They're trying to set me up. They want me to be the sacrificial lamb," attorney Theodore Wells said, recalling Libby's end of the conversation. "I will not be sacrificed so Karl Rove can be protected." White House infightingRove was one of two sources for Novak's story. The other was then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Nobody, including Rove and Armitage, has been charged with the leak. Libby is accused of lying to investigators and obstructing the probe into the leak. Cheney's notes from that meeting underscore Libby's concern, Wells said. "Not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder," the note said, according to Wells. The description of the White House infighting was a rare glimpse into the secretive workings of Bush's inner circle. It also underscores how hectic and stressful the White House had become when the probe was launched. By pointing the finger at Rove, whom he referred to as "the lifeblood of the Republican party," Wells sought to cast Libby as a scapegoat. "He is an innocent man and he has been wrongly and unjustly and unfairly accused," Wells said. The first witnessMarc Grossman, the former under secretary of state, was the first person to be called to the witness stand by prosecutors. Grossman is said to have advised Libby on June 12, 2003 that former ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife worked for the CIA and helped arrange for his fact-finding trip to Niger. Defense attorneys have called him "a critical witness for the government." Grossman according to prosecutors is one of the first officials to tell Libby that Wilson's wife was employed by the CIA and had a role in the Niger trip. Fitzgerald said Tuesday that Cheney also told Libby about Wilson's wife working at the CIA in early June. Libby has told FBI investigators and a grand jury that he first learned Plame's identity from NBC Washington Bureau Tim Russert, in a conversation on July 10 or 11, 2003. Russert has testified that Plame never came up in their talk. ( is owned, in part, by NBC News.) Libby is charged with five felony counts. He allegedly obstructed an investigation into the leaking of C-I-A officer Valerie Plame's identity in 2003 and lied to the F-B-I and a grand jury. Wilson's Africa tripThe June-July 2003 time period is crucial to the charges brought against Libby. In the spring of 2003, two newspaper articles reported on a trip by a former ambassador to Africa sponsored by the C.I.A. to check reports that Iraq was seeking enriched uranium to help with its nuclear arms program. Neither article identified the ambassador, but it was known inside the government that he was Joseph C. Wilson IV, Valerie Plame Wilson's husband. White House officials wanted to know how much of a role she had in selecting him for the assignment. In May 2003, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof was first to write that an unnamed ambassador traveled to Niger to investigate uranium sales. The envoy, Kristof wrote, reported to the C.I.A. and State Department that the information was unequivocally wrong and that the documents had been forged. Fitzgerald contends that the Kristof column sparked a frenzy of queries from the office of the vice president to both the State Department and the CIA about ambassador Wilson and who arranged his trip. The defense's approachThe prosecution says Grossman recalls telling Libby that "Joe Wilson's wife works for the CIA" and that "our people say that she was involved in the organization of the trip." Ted Wells, Libby's may take aim at Grossman, and cast doubt on the accuracy of any testimony by Grossman, who is identified as a longtime friend and traveling partner of Wilson's, suggesting they are biased against Libby because of their connections to one another and to Wilson. The defense says that Grossman was visited by the state department's second in command Richard Armitage, the night before his interview with the FBI. Armitage admitted this summer that he was the first to reveal Plame to columnist Robert Novak. Ted Well's says Armitage told Grossman that he spoke to Novak and he already told the FBI about Novak. Wells says "this is cooking the books" Wells said Grossman and Wilson went to college and came up through the ranks of the State Department together. Tuesday's testimony ended with Grossman still on the stand. He is expected to resume his testimony on Wednesday, when the court resumes at 9:30am ET. Sorting conflicting statementsAs the trial opened with a preview of each side's position, it was clear that the jury will be tasked with sorting through conflicting statements in a high-profile case that has opened a very public window on the behind-the-scenes Washington practice of leaking sensitive information to the news media. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald told a far different story from Wells. He described for jurors a Bush administration effort to beat back early criticism of the Iraq war and accused Libby of lying to investigators about his role in that campaign. Using a computerized calendar during opening statement, Fitzgerald described a tumultuous week in 2003 when he said the White House was under "direct attack" from Wilson. Fitzgerald said Libby learned from five people -- from Cheney to members of the CIA and State Department -- that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Libby discussed that fact to reporters and others in the White House, Fitzgerald said. "But when the FBI and grand jury asked about what the defendant did," Fitzgerald said, "he made up a story." Memory or lying?Libby told investigators he learned about Plame from NBC News reporter Tim Russert. But Fitzgerald told jurors that was clearly a lie because Libby had already been discussing the matter inside and outside of the White House. "You can't learn something on Thursday that you're giving out on Monday," Fitzgerald said. Libby says he didn't lie but was simply bogged down by national security issues and couldn't remember his conversations with New York Times report Judith Miller, Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper and Russert. "He spends his day trying to connect the dots to be sure we don't have another 9/11," Wells said. Opening statements were expected to continue into Tuesday afternoon. The trial is expected to last four to six weeks. © 2007 MSNBC InteractiveNBC's Joel Seidman and The Associated Press contributed to this report

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Political question of the day well night...

Why does this man one Glenn Beck have a three forums to spew his brand of nasty right wing rhetoric? He has AM show, he has a gig on Headline News and now he got a spot on Good Morning America for what? The man is nothing more than a bad intimation of Rush "blue pill" Limbaugh this sad sac of crap attack attack an American Muslim congressmen loyalty to the country and this pasty white flabby turd called Cindy Sheenhan an big prostitute I guess a big prostitute like Beck would know what a big prostitute would look like Beck doesn't tell the truth, he's not objective and he panders to the worst parts of human nature. Beck represents that 28 to 33% of America that still worship Bush and support the right wing world view yet he's given multiple platforms to spew things most Americans don't support why is that? Didn't ABC learned their lesson when they tried to pass that steaming pile of right wing crap "Path to 9.11" as a documentary? I quess the suits at the mouse network thought hey if we got this much press for airing right wing propaganda why not hire an right wing propagandist to be a commentator on our morning show.
The 2006 mid-term election should show the suits that run the media that America has soundly rejected the likes of Ann the man Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck but yet these snakes manage to slither out from their rocks and spew more venom to a pool of Americans that's getting smaller every day.

Bush at 28%: Maybe they're running low on the kool aid Print This Story Poll: Bush Approval Rating At New Low NEW YORK, Jan. 22, 2007 (CBS) President Bush will deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday night to a nation that's strongly opposed to his plan for increasing troops in Iraq and deeply unhappy with his performance as president, according to a CBS News poll. Mr. Bush’s overall approval rating has fallen to just 28 percent, a new low, while more than twice as many (64 percent) disapprove of the way he's handling his job. Two-thirds of Americans remain opposed to the president's plan for sending more than 20,000 additional U.S. troops to Iraq — roughly the same number as after Mr. Bush announced the plan. And 72 percent believe he should seek congressional approval for the troop increase. However, the poll finds more Americans might back the president's plan if they were convinced it would assure U.S. success in Iraq. SHOULD U.S. SEND 20,000 MORE TROOPS TO IRAQ? Favor 29% Oppose 66% …if it increased U.S.’ chances for success? Favor 53% Oppose 38% However, Americans aren't convinced the U.S. needs a troop increase to achieve its goals in Iraq. Just 26 percent think that's needed, about the same number that think those goals can be reached without sending in more troops. Forty-one percent think the U.S. can't achieve its goals regardless of troop levels. Read the complete CBS News poll results. The president's nationally televised message to Congress may not even reach many of those whose minds he would like to change. Less than half the public says it's very likely to watch the speech — and that answer comes more from those who already support him. There's still more troubling news for the president: By a more than 2-to-1 margin, Americans think Mr. Bush does not share their priorities. Just 28 percent think he does, while 69 percent think he does not. More than two-thirds of Americans also think the country has gotten off on the wrong track, while just 26 percent think it is headed in the right direction. DOES BUSH SHARE YOUR PRIORITIES? Yes 28% No 69% Mr. Bush's approval rating is much lower than it was one year ago, when 42 percent of Americans approved, and far lower than the ratings he received in polls prior to his previous State of the Union addresses. Those ratings have fallen steadily since a high of 82 percent in January 2002, shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. His job approval is also far below those of other modern two-term presidents at this point in their second terms. In January 1999, for example, just after his impeachment by the House of Representatives, President Bill Clinton's job approval rating was 65 percent. In January 1987, President Ronald Reagan's was 52 percent. In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson received a 47 percent approval rating, even as debate about the Vietnam War raged. The war in Iraq remains the most important problem facing the country, cited by 33 percent of Americans, far more than mentioned the next top issues, the economy and jobs (8 percent) and health care (7 percent). Only one in four believes the war is going even somewhat well, while three-quarters say it's going badly — something the president himself acknowledged earlier this month and the highest number since the war began. MOST IMPORTANT PROBLEM War in Iraq 33% Economy and jobs 8% Health care 7% Americans are split on whether Congress, now under Democratic control, should offer a non-binding resolution against the troop increase: 42 percent say yes and 42 percent say no. But more than half of Americans — including most Democrats — want Congress to cut off the money for the troop buildup, including a small number who want to cut funds for the entire war. Mr. Bush is expected to talk mostly about domestic concerns in Tuesday's address — and that is what most Americans want to hear; just one in four wants to hear mostly about foreign policy and Iraq. Thomas Mann, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution says, "He's already invested in a national speech on the subject, which was not well received in the country or in the Congress. My guess is he will talk more about the War on Terrorism, and link Iraq to that broader initiative." On the domestic front, Americans think the economy is in good shape, but a majority says the Social Security system needs to be fixed now. The public is split on whether the 2001 tax cuts should be made permanent. More than half think the issue of illegal immigration is very serious, but are divided on whether Congress will actually pass immigration reform. Americans continue to see global warming as a serious problem. Seven in 10 say it is a problem that is having a serious impact right now. A quarter disagrees. For detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here.

Rev Moon's hit piece on Obama

The Rev. Moon's Anti-Obama Agit-Prop By Robert Parry January 23, 2007 If you’ve ever wondered how agit-propaganda works, you might take a look at the latest case study from the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s media empire – a bogus story about Barack Obama attending a Muslim “madrassah” when he was six years old, a smear that was then attributed to operatives of Hillary Clinton. The shrewdness of Moon’s Insight magazine story is that it hit two enemies with one anonymously sourced stone, a strategy of slime and divide straight from the textbooks of a spy agency like the CIA. Only in this case, it is not the CIA planting black propaganda in a foreign publication to undermine some U.S. enemy. It is Moon using his media outlets subsidized by his mysterious foreign money to manipulate and distort the U.S. political process, again. The Insight “madrassah” story also turned out to be false. As CNN reported on Jan. 22, the Indonesian school that Obama attended as a child was not a “madrassah” where sometimes extreme forms of Islam are taught, but rather a well-kept public school in an upper-middle-class neighborhood of Jakarta. The boys and girls wear school uniforms and are taught a typical school curriculum today as they were 39 years ago when Obama was a student there, while living with his mother in Indonesia, reported CNN correspondent John Vause, who has had prior experience covering real "madrassahs." While most of the school’s students are Muslim – Indonesia is a Muslim country, after all – Vause reported that the religious views of other students are respected and that Christian children at the school are taught that Jesus is the son of God. Nevertheless, the nasty Insight story is sure to hurt Obama by pushing anti-Islamic hot buttons of many Americans. By citing Clinton operatives as the supposed source of the story, Moon’s publication also played to the negative image of the New York senator as a ruthless politician who would sling mud at an opponent. Moon’s media empire has planted similar stories in other U.S. presidential campaigns, publishing false or exaggerated stories that disparaged Democratic candidates and helped Moon’s political favorites – particularly in the Bush family. In Election 1988, Moon’s Washington Times floated a story that Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis had psychiatric treatment, harming George H.W. Bush’s Democratic opponent; in Election 1992, it bannered an accusation that Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton had worked for the KGB, again aiding the senior George Bush; in Election 2000, when George W. Bush was seeking the White House, the Times pushed allegations that Vice President Al Gore was “delusional”; in Election 2004, to boost the younger George Bush again, it trumpeted attacks on Sen. John Kerry’s patriotism. The Right’s Echo Chamber Once Moon’s media empire surfaced these accusations, they would reverberate through the right-wing echo chamber and often into the mainstream press. Usually, the charges spotlighted a purported flaw so severe – such as mental instability or treason – that the Democrat would be disqualified in the eyes of many voters. Also, since it’s difficult to prove a negative, mainstream news outlets often would treat the charges as a point of legitimate dispute, forcing the Democrat to issue a denial or refuse to comment. Sometimes, TV pundits would add insult to the injury by critiquing how poorly the smeared Democrat countered the attack. Moon’s long record of engaging in this agit-propaganda helps explain his value to the Right and particularly to the Bush family. In turn, the Republicans have protected Moon from government investigations into his questionable sources of money, which finance both his media empire and his allied right-wing political organizations. The Korean cult leader spends more than $100 million a year just to subsidize his flagship newspaper, the Washington Times, according to former Moon insiders. Longtime Washington Times reporter George Archibald recently put Moon’s total investment in the newspaper at over $3 billion since its founding in 1982. Though Moon’s finances remain murky, the evidence is overwhelming that he engages in international money-laundering and has been closely tied to major crime syndicates in Asia and South America. [For details, see’s “The GOP’s $3 Billion Propaganda Organ.”] The latest attack on Obama is framed as a heartfelt desire to test out the credibility of the 45-year-old Illinois senator who identifies himself as a Christian and belongs to a church in Chicago. But Insight magazine – citing supposed opposition research from the Clinton camp – contended that Obama actually was raised as a Muslim and is trying to keep that secret from the American people. “He was a Muslim, but he concealed it,” a source supposedly close to the background investigation told Insight. “The idea is to show Obama as deceptive.” Insight uses no named sources in the article, nor did the magazine check out the facts about the school as CNN did. The article simply relies on its unnamed sources to claim that Obama was indoctrinated at a “madrassa,” a school for religious studies where boys are sometimes taught Islamic extremism such as Saudi-based Wahhabism. “Although the background check has not confirmed that the specific Madrassa Mr. Obama attended was espousing Wahhabism, the sources said his Democratic opponents believe this to be the case – and are seeking to prove it,” Insight magazine claimed. Insight then stated: “The sources said the opponents are searching for evidence that Mr. Obama is still a Muslim or has ties to Islam. Mr. Obama attends services at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago’s South Side. However, he is not known to be a regular parishioner.” [Insight, Jan. 17, 2007] The Fox Effect After Moon’s magazine published the “madrassa” story, it quickly spread to the wider audiences of Rupert Murdoch’s right-wing media outlets. Fox News and the New York Post – both owned by Murdoch – picked up and further disseminated the ugly stories that portrayed Obama as a secret Islamic militant and Clinton as a smear artist. To further the subliminal link between Obama and Islamic terrorism, the New York Post ran its story under the headline “‘Osama’ Mud Flies at Obama,” much as talk show host Rush Limbaugh has reveled in repeating the names “Osama, Obama” again and again – all the better for his weak-minded listeners to connect Obama with Osama bin Laden. Many right-wing pundits also have insisted on using Obama’s middle name, “Hussein” apparently to disqualify Obama by associating him with Saddam Hussein though there is no connection. Hussein is a common and respected name in the Muslim world. Obama received his middle name from his father who came from Kenya as a student. Obama’s mother was the daughter of a Kansas farmer. As the Obama-madrassa article spread through the right-wing media world, Fox News made sure the story was put in the harshest possible light. “Hillary Clinton reported to be already digging up the dirt on Barack Obama,” said John Gibson, anchor of Fox’s “The Big Story.” “The New York senator has reportedly outed Obama’s madrassah past. That’s right, the Clinton team reported to have pulled out all the stops to reveal something Obama would rather you didn’t know – that he was educated in a Muslim madrassah.” For Obama’s part, he wrote in his autobiography that after he had attended a Catholic school for two years, his Indonesian stepfather sent him to a “predominantly Muslim school” in Jakarta when he was six. This inconsequential fact apparently became the basis for Insight’s claim that Obama was indoctrinated at a “madrassa.” “The allegations are completely false,” Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs told the Washington Post. “To publish this sort of trash without any documentation is surprising, but for Fox to repeat something so false, not once, but many times is appallingly irresponsible.” Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson termed the Insight article “an obvious right-wing hit job by a Moonie publication that was designed to attack Senator Clinton and Senator Obama at the same time.” [Washington Post, January 22, 2007] But the troubling back story to this latest smear is the long history of Moon’s publications injecting damaging propaganda against Democratic politicians in ways meant to confuse American voters. Viewed over the past quarter century, Moon’s media empire has the distinct appearance of a well-designed covert operation that uses foreign money, possibly from illicit sources, to influence the U.S. political process in ways beneficial to Moon’s political and financial goals. [For more details on Moon’s mysterious operations, see’s special report, “The GOP’s $3 Billion Propaganda Organ.”] Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at It's also available at, as is his 1999 book, Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth.'

D.C. mayor: Thanks but no thanks to sit with Laura Bush Fenty Won't Sit With Laura Bush At Speech By Elissa SilvermanWashington Post Staff WriterTuesday, January 23, 2007; B01 D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has declined a White House invitation to sit with first lady Laura Bush at tonight's State of the Union address, deciding to attend the event as a guest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Fenty spokeswoman Carrie Brooks confirmed yesterday that the city's new mayor will sit in the gallery along with others invited by Pelosi (D-Calif.), who recently became speaker after Democrats took control of the House of Representatives. " 'Pelosi asked us first,' " Fenty said, according to Brooks. Although former mayor Anthony A. Williams, like Fenty, is a Democrat, Williams sat with the wife of Republican President Bush. Presidents often acknowledge guests in the VIP box during the address, and Williams was often captured on television as the cameras panned to the seats around the first lady. During his campaign for mayor, however, Fenty pledged that he would not sit as a guest of the White House because the president had not supported the city's quest for voting representation in Congress. "He committed during the campaign not to sit in the first lady's box," Brooks said. Fenty has the made voting rights a top priority of his administration, beginning with a call for D.C. statehood in his inaugural address. He has lobbied Pelosi to support a bill co-sponsored by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) that would give the District a voting representative in the House. Fenty will be joined by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and his wife, Judge Katie Curran O'Malley, also invited by Pelosi, a Baltimore native. Fenty and the O'Malleys will also attend a reception in Pelosi's office suite before the address.

Opening statement in Libby trail: The defendant lied

The Raw Story Opening statement in Libby trial: 'The defendant lied.'
Opening statement in Libby trial: 'The defendant lied.' 01/23/2007 @ 12:53 pmFiled by Michael Roston The opening statements in the trial against former Bush administration official I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby kicked off today. Federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald revealed that Libby destroyed a note written by Vice President Dick Cheney with instructions on how he should deal with federal investigators, while Libby's defense attonrey maintained that he was a "sacrificial lamb." A broadcast on MSNBC described Fitzgerald's opening statement, in which he challenged Libby's defense against perjury and obstruction of justice, notably that he didn't remember what he had said because he was busy dealing with national security issues: Fitzgerald alleged that Libby in September 2003 “destroyed” a Cheney note just before Libby's first FBI interview when he said he learned about Wilson from reporters, not the vice president. I. Lewis Libby is charged with perjury and obstruction. He told investigators he was surprised to learn Wilson’s wife’s identity from NBC News reporter Tim Russert. But Fitzgerald told jurors that was clearly a lie because Libby had already been discussing the matter inside and outside of the White House. “You can’t learn something on Thursday that you’re giving out on Monday,” Fitzgerald said. The blog Firedoglake is also liveblogging from the trial, providing an unofficial paraphrasing of what has transpired. "The defendant lied. He made up a story," they quote Fitzgerald saying. Background on the case against Libby and the jury selected to hear his case can be viewed in the following video clips from APTN and MSNBC. The AP reports: "Lewis Libby's attorney countered with a White House effort of his own, one in which Libby was blamed for the leak to protect Bush political adviser Karl Rove's own disclosures." AP continues: "They're trying to set me up. They want me to be the sacrificial lamb," attorney Theodore Wells said, recalling a conversation between Libby and his boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, as the leak investigation heated up in 2003. "I will not be sacrificed so Karl Rove can be protected."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Senators agree on war resolution

Senators agree on Iraq war resolution - Yahoo! News Senators agree on Iraq war resolution By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer 2 minutes ago A group of senators including a Republican war critic announced agreement Wednesday on a resolution opposing President Bush's 21,500 troop build up in Iraq, setting the markers for a major clash between the White House and Congress over the unpopular war. The non-binding resolution, which was also gaining interest from a second key Republican, would symbolically put the Senate on record as saying the U.S. commitment in Iraq "can only be sustained" with popular support among the American public and in Congress. "I will do everything I can to stop the president's policy as he outlined it Wednesday night," said Sen. Chuck Hagel a Nebraska Republican and potential 2008 presidential candidate, who joined Democrats at a press conference on the resolution. "I think it is dangerously irresponsible," Hagel said. Even as skeptical Republicans were summoned to private meetings with Bush and national security adviser Stephen Hadley at the White House, Bush's aides made clear that the Capitol Hill challenge would be met aggressively by the administration. Presidential spokesman Tony Snow said resolutions passed by Congress will not affect Bush's decision-making. "The president has obligations as a commander in chief," he said. "And he will go ahead and execute them."

MSNBC: is 24 slanted to the right?

The Raw Story MSNBC: Is '24's Jack Bauer a FOX 'right-wing propagandist?' MSNBC: Is '24's Jack Bauer a FOX 'right-wing propagandist?' David Edwards and Mike SheehanPublished: Tuesday January 16, 2007 "Is FOX using fear of terror attacks in U.S. to get ratings?" asks MSNBC in a segment about popular TV series 24. "Jack Bauer might be trying to save the world," remarks the host about the show's main character, played by Kiefer Sutherland, "but is Jack also a right-wing propagandist?" In the video below, after showing a clip from 24 featuring an enormous explosion as helpless characters look on in shock, a debate ensues between Congressional Quarterly's Craig Crawford and Joel Mowbray of as to whether the show is just entertainment or not-so-subtle right-wing propaganda. TIME/CNN recently reported that Vice President Dick Cheney is a fan of 24.

GOP faces vote on Smirk's war plan

GOP faces tough vote on Bush's war plan - Yahoo! News GOP faces tough vote on Bush's war plan By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press President Bush summoned Republicans skeptical of the war to the White House on Wednesday as Democrats won support from a GOP senator for a resolution expressing opposition to a 21,500 troop buildup in Iraq. Democratic House and Senate leaders intend to hold votes to gauge GOP opposition to Bush's decision to send more troops to Iraq. The Senate leadership is expected by Thursday to propose a resolution denouncing the plan, with debate planned around the same time Bush delivers his State of the Union speech next Tuesday. Sen. Chuck Hagel (news, bio, voting record) of Nebraska, a Republican critic of the administration's Iraq policy and a potential 2008 presidential candidate, is working with Senate Democrats on a resolution opposing Bush's troop buildup, which would give the measure a bipartisan stamp. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (news, bio, voting record) said the House will follow suit with its own resolution. The White House said Bush would meet on Wednesday with Republican senators about the president's plans in Iraq. He refused to say who was invited but said that "probably everybody there is at least skeptical" about the buildup. The resolutions would likely be a symbolic expression of Congress but would not affect the Pentagon's war budget or challenge the president's authority over U.S. forces. Such votes, however, could be a shot across the bow to Bush, who said Jan. 10 that the extra troops are needed to protect U.S. interests in Iraq. The resolutions also would help Democrats measure GOP support for more aggressive legislative tactics, such as cutting off funds for the war. Such a vote puts many Republicans in an uncomfortable position. They will have to decide whether to stay loyal to an unpopular GOP president and risk angering voters disillusioned by the war or buck the party line. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., said Wednesday she thinks there should be a cap on U.S. troops in Iraq and said she wants "to condition American aid to the Iraqis on their meeting political benchmarks." "I am opposed to this escalation," she said on NBC's "Today" program. "The Bush administration has frankly failed to put any leverage on this government," said Clinton, considered a likely 2008 Democratic presidential front-runner, although she has not yet entered the race. Bush has been trying to sell his revised war plan to the public in a series of television interviews. He told PBS's Jim Lehrer in an interview broadcast Tuesday that keeping his old policies in place would lead to "a slow failure," but withdrawing from Iraq, as some Democrats and other critics suggest, would result in an "expedited failure." "I am frustrated with the progress," Bush said. "A year ago, I felt pretty good about the situation. I felt like we were achieving our objective, which is a country that can govern, sustain and defend itself. No question, 2006 was a lousy year for Iraq." Bush also said that the unruly execution of Saddam Hussein "looked like it was kind of a revenge killing," making it harder to persuade a skeptical U.S. public that Iraq's government will keep promises central to Bush's plan for a troop increase. In his toughest assessment yet, Bush criticized the circumstances of Saddam's hanging last month, as well as Monday's execution of two top aides, including Saddam's half brother. "I was disappointed and felt like they fumbled the — particularly the Saddam Hussein execution," the president said. In spite of Bush's efforts to gain support, several GOP members are offering only tepid endorsements of his plan, as well as a wait-and-see approach to the Democratic resolution. Republican Rep. Chris Shays — who scraped by in the November elections while his GOP Connecticut colleagues Rob Simmons and Nancy Johnson lost their seats — said his vote would depend on what Democrats come up with. He said he supports the troop push if there are guarantees offered by the Iraqis that they will reach a political settlement. Likewise, Sens. Saxby Chambliss (news, bio, voting record), R-Ga., and John Sununu (news, bio, voting record), R-N.H. — both up for re-election in 2008 — say they think Bush's plan might work, but only if the Iraqis come up with a way to share oil and reach other political milestones. Lining up behind Bush in the Senate are Republican stalwarts and a few members who have long backed sending more troops to Iraq, including Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz. At least seven Republican senators have said they flatly oppose the troop increase: Sam Brownback (news, bio, voting record) of Kansas, Hagel, Norm Coleman (news, bio, voting record) of Minnesota, Gordon Smith (news, bio, voting record) of Oregon, George Voinovich (news, bio, voting record) of Ohio, Susan Collins (news, bio, voting record) of Maine and Olympia Snowe (news, bio, voting record) of Maine. Acknowledging their party is divided on Iraq, Republican leaders are trying to stave off a showdown in Congress by casting Democratic efforts as a political ploy to embarrass the president. Republicans are also discussing alternative proposals, including one House resolution promising to keep funding for troops in combat. The White House cautioned lawmakers about the consequences of voting against a buildup. "The one thing the president has said is, whatever you do, make sure you support the troops," Snow said at the White House. "And the question people who support this resolution will have to ask is, how does this support the troops?"

Racism alive and well in Richmond VA

Top News- Lawmaker Under Fire for Slavery Comment - AOL News Lawmaker Under Fire for Slavery Comment By BOB LEWIS AP RICHMOND, Va. (Jan. 16) - A state legislator said black people "should get over" slavery and questioned whether Jews should apologize "for killing Christ," drawing denunciations Tuesday from stunned colleagues Del. Frank D. Hargrove, 79, made his remarks in opposition to a measure that would apologize on the state's behalf to the descendants of slaves. In an interview published Tuesday in The Daily Progress of Charlottesville, Hargrove said slavery ended nearly 140 years ago with the Civil War and added that "our black citizens should get over it." The newspaper also quoted him as saying, "are we going to force the Jews to apologize for killing Christ?" Black lawmakers swiftly denounced Hargrove's comments. "When somebody tells me I should just get over slavery, I can only express my emotion by projecting that I am appalled, absolutely appalled," said Del. Dwight C. Jones, head of the Legislative Black Caucus. Del. David L. Englin also criticized Hargrove's remarks, recalling that his grandparents were driven from their homes in Poland "by people who believed that as Jews, we killed Christ." When Hargrove rose to speak, he told Englin he didn't care about Englin's religion. "I think your skin was a little too thin," Hargrove said as lawmakers gasped and groaned.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Fox News vs MSNBC

Watching Fox News accuse a news network of being slanted to one political view is like Mike Tyson calling Michael Jackson crazy. In my opinion both news network have acted like mindless cheerleaders for the coked up chimp president since he stole his way into power back in 2000. This attack from Fox News on MSNBC comes from the new feud between the king of objective media Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olbermann, Keith is not only taking viewers from Bill-O he's making dishing out his fair shots at Bill and Fox every time they open their mouths and whine about someone objectivity. What makes this hissy fit from Fox News funny as they ranted and rave about where MSNBC is slant at people joke about the Fox News headquarters being in the basement of the Republican National Committee office. So their argument sake say MSNBC has gone to the left so what? Majority of cable news slants to the right, majority of AM talk radio slants to the right why can't MSNBC have a liberal point of view? And if MSNBC has a liberal slant then Dick DeVos favorite blog is the Michigan Liberal, the point is MSNBC has much of a liberal slant as Fox News do. Because Keith Olbermann gives you an hour of what is really going on in the world doesn't mean MSNBC has gone to the left. But for Bill-O and the people who supports him I will give you the list of people who either had shows or who was going to have shows before it got axed before it launch. Liberals who have/had shows on MSNBC: 1. Dick Armey 2. Jesse Ventura 3.Frank Luntz 4.Dennis Miller 5. Joe Scarborough 6. Tucker Carlson and the biggest liberal of them all Mike Savage who told a caller on national tv that he should catch AIDS and die.

C-Webb a Piston...

Detroit News Online Printer-friendly article page Can Webber measure up? Detroiter joins the Pistons in hopes of winning a title AUBURN HILLS -- Chris Webber confirmed Monday what Joe Dumars pretty much knew Jan. 4 -- the former Detroit Country Day and University of Michigan star wanted to come home and play for the Pistons. It was that night, as the Pistons were in the process of beating the Hornets, Dumars got a call from Aaron Goodwin, Webber's agent. "Joe, would you have any interest in Chris Webber?" Goodwin said. "Yeah," Dumars said, "except he plays for the Sixers." That's when Goodwin informed Dumars that Webber had reached a buyout agreement with the 76ers, and that Webber wanted to go to a contender, and he hoped the Pistons would be interested. At 2 today, Webber, after clearing waivers, will sign a prorated one-year, $1.17 million contract ($650,000) with the Pistons. "After careful thought and discussions with my family, I have decided I will sign with the Detroit Pistons," he said in a statement. "Joining the Pistons will allow me the opportunity to play the game I love in my hometown of Detroit, surrounded by my family. I look forward to joining a roster of talented athletes and working towards a fourth NBA title for the Pistons and the great city of Detroit." How much is left? Webber walked into The Palace with 2 minutes, 57 seconds left in the first quarter of Monday's 94-90 overtime loss to Minnesota and received a standing ovation. The Pistons players didn't acknowledge him at that moment but are equally excited. "I look at it like when we got Rasheed (Wallace in 2004)," Chauncey Billups said. "He knows he has a lot to prove. There's a lot of people that think he doesn't have any juice left in his tank. " I know he is hungry to win a championship." The plan is for Webber to start at center alongside Wallace. Pistons coach Flip Saunders said there was a chance Webber could be in uniform for Wednesday's home game against the Jazz. "No question Chris is someone we thought would be a good fit for our team because of how we play," Saunders said. "He has a high basketball IQ and has been one of the best passing big men in the NBA. The way we play, he is going to fit right in." But, how much does Webber have left in his 33-year-old body? In his 14th season, Webber played 18 games with the 76ers before agreeing to a buyout. He has been hampered by knee and ankle injuries the last two seasons. Before last season, he had microfracture surgery on his left knee. "I know he might be limited in his running and jumping, but not with his shooting, passing and low-post moves," Wallace said. Goodwin said Webber's left knee was about 95 percent healthy. And, from what he has seen on film, Pistons physical therapist Arnie Kander agrees. "I like a lot of what I have seen," he said. "I don't think (his knee) is an issue." In recent days, Kander has studied Webber on film dating to 1998. He said Webber's mobility issue has been because of a balky left ankle, which he believes is correctable. "It's very similar to Dyess (Antonio McDyess, who came to the Pistons after knee surgery in 2004)," Kander said. "It's not the knee; we have to correct the things around the knee. People fail to realize, he had a terrible ankle sprain in Sacramento and then six months later had microfracture surgery. "If you watch him run, he always lists to one side. He can't get over the right ankle so he comes down hard on the left knee." Help for 'Sheed If Kander can work some magic, the Pistons could be getting their center for the next couple of years. The Pistons will consider signing Webber beyond this season if things work out. "I ain't one to count my chickens before they hatch," Wallace said. "But I don't see nothing but positives." Wallace should be the biggest benefactor of a productive Webber. Wallace has struggled lately under the weight of having to provide most of the low-post muscle. "I know with him there, I will be seeing more man coverage," he said. "They are either going to have to double Chris or double me." Webber's presence likely will lead to another deal -- moving either Nazr Mohammed, who probably will be moved out of the rotation, Dale Davis or McDyess. The Pistons would be looking for another perimeter player in return. "If somebody would have told me in my career I was going to play with, on one team, Rasheed Wallace, McDyess, Chris Webber, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince -- I'd say, 'Maybe so, on an all-star team,' " Billups said. "But not every single night. It's unbelievable."