Friday, October 31, 2008

Countering Republican calumnies

The Dems have never been particularly good responding to Republican calumnies.

The longest-running such seems to be, "Dems are tax-and-spend liberals". The easiest counter is to note that "tax-and-spend" makes a lot more sense than "borrow-and-spend", which is the Republicans' budget philosophy.
Still another response is the Steve Greenberg cartoon comparing "Fiscal Conservative" results with "Tax and Spend Liberal" results. [The previous link to this is now dead, but you can view it at Blog: Steve Greenberg's Cartoons ... scroll down!)

The most recent calumny is "the evil of Single-Party Rule": if Obama wins, the Dems will control the Executive and both Houses of Congress - ooh! Scary!!!

How to respond? The ideas below aren't well-formulated, but may provide a beginning.
1. Note that it was Republican control of the Executive & both Houses of Congress that got us into our current mess... and that it just might take Dem control to get us out!!!

2. (related to #1) We're facing a lot of very serious crises right now - economic meltdown, bogged down in two possibly unwinnable wars, America's international reputation in shambles.
Now is NOT the time to dither. We need deliberate, consistent policies enacted NOW to get us out of the hole W and his minions have dug us into.

(Maybe when we're out of the hole it would be appropriate to return to so-called "divided government"... but NOT NOW!)
Again, these points are not well-articulated, but I believe they provide a basis on which to construct more convincing arguments to counter the "Single Party Rule"-is-bad Republican talking point.

Have a nice day.

More fun with juxtaposition

First we have:
Evidence of a recession piles higher with new data
31 Oct 2008
WASHINGTON – Evidence of a recession piled ever higher Friday, with new figures showing Americans are spending less and gloomy about the economy, while the government signaled it won't buy stock in the financing arms of auto companies to prop them up. The Commerce Department reported consumer spending dropped a sharp 0.3 percent in September while their incomes, the fuel for future spending, managed only a small 0.2 percent gain.

That followed a report a day earlier that the U.S. economy shrank by 0.3 percent in the third quarter. The accepted definition of a recession is two straight quarters of a shrinking economy.
... Followed by:
Chevron 3Q profit soars, yet caution prevails
By JOHN PORRETTO, AP Energy Writer
Fri Oct 31, 2008
HOUSTON – Chevron on Friday reported the largest quarterly profit in its 129-year corporate history, joining other oil companies reporting stunning third-quarter earnings gains.
To whom does Sen. McCain want to give tax breaks???

T minus 0... my predicted October Surprise didn't happen

In my favor: I named a date & stuck to it!... and now that I've been shown to be full of it, I'm 'fessing up to my ineptitude as a forecaster!

... but we got a (1) bad guy!

Recall, on Sunday, 26 Oct, U.S. Special Forces launched a raid inside Syria, ostensibly to get a bad guy (one! bad guy).
U.S. authorities claim that we did, in fact, get the bad guy.

Now the fallout:
Syria orders US school, cultural center closed
... okay, no big deal - the Syrians close some U.S. offices.

Syrian protests lead U.S. Embassy to close
... do we really need an embassy in Syria?

Syria suspends Iraq security talks
DAMASCUS, Syria, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Syria severed communications with Iraq, suspending bilateral security meetings and has cut back on its border troops, officials said.

Baghdad condemns 'US Syria raid'
Iraq has denounced a raid into Syria at the weekend, saying it does not want its territory to be used as a launch-pad for US attacks on its neighbours.
[This at a time we're desperately trying to negotiate a SOFA with our reluctant Iraqi partners!]
Gee, I sure hope that ONE BAD GUY was worth it!

Stop the madness!!!

I was being sarcastic!

A few posts ago I mused:
I'm wondering what cabinet post McCain has in mind for Joe.
I was being sarcastic.

Seems John McCain isn't!
At a campaign rally in Ohio yesterday, McCain declared:
"I'm going to Washington and I'm going to bring Joe the Plumber with me!"
[Reported by The New York Post, 31 Oct 2008]
I was making a funny!

Stop the madness!!!

What would St. Reagan say???

Former Reagan adviser endorses Obama
From CNN's Adam Levy
31 Oct 2008
(CNN) — Former Reagan chief of staff Ken Duberstein told CNN's Fareed Zakaria this week he intends to vote for Democrat Barack Obama on Tuesday.

Any real psychics/spiritualists out there who'd be willing to ask St. Reagan for his reaction?

Gov. Palin's understanding of the First Amendment

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Gov. Palin apparently interprets this to mean that the press ought not criticize her speech:
"If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations," Palin told host Chris Plante, "then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media."
[Excerpt from Gov. Palin's interview with radio host Chris Plante, WMAL-AM, posted on]
Well, actually, Gov. Palin, the First Amendment protects your right to say whatever you please - without fear of being silenced by the Government... and it also protects the press's right to report what you say and comment on it! - without fear of Government retribution.

Maybe I'm reading too much into Gov. Palin's words, but to me it sounds like she'd really like to muzzle media criticism of Candidates and - by extension - the Government!

Actually, we - the U.S. - tried this once with The Alien and Sedition Acts, back in 1798.
The Sedition Act (officially An Act for the Punishment of Certain Crimes against the United States) made it a crime to publish "false, scandalous, and malicious writing" against the government or its officials. Enacted July 14, 1798, with an expiration date of March 3, 1801.
... Tho' I note that this Act applied only to "the government or its officials"... NOT to candidates for elective office!

Stop the madness!!!

Voting on Election Day (4 Nov)

Not sure where you go to vote on Election Day, Tues, 4 Nov?

For AQA readers in Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance, and Valencia counties, New Mexico:
Bernalillo County residents:
Where do I vote?
[site also contains a sample ballot]
Valencia County residents:
Where do I vote?
Sandoval County residents:
Torrance County residents:
Note: the VoterView website is common to Sandoval, Torrance, and Valencia counties; it also works for Bernalillo County.
For AQA readers in other locales: Visit the website of your County Clerk. (Google search on, e.g., "Bernalillo County Clerk" works like a charm!)


Last day for early voting in NM: Saturday, 1 November

Early voting in Bernalillo County began Saturday, 18 October.
LAST DAY: Saturday, 1 November (tomorrow).

Early voting hours:
Tues - Fri, noon - 8 p.m.
Sat, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Early voting sites in Bernalillo County:
Paradise Hills Community Center, 5901 Paradise Blvd NW
Los Ranchos Villa, 6601 4th St NW, Stes A, B, & C
Coors Plaza, 3200 Coors Blvd NW, Ste A
Integrity Plaza, 1512 Wyoming Blvd NE, Stes F & G
Plaza Paseo Del Norte, 9231 Coors blvd NW, Ste R8
Siesta Hills Shopping Center, 5407 Gibson Blvd SE
Del Norte Shopping Center, 7120 Wyoming Blvd NE, Ste 16
Market Center East, 11110 Lomas Blvd NE, Ste E4
98th & Center Shopping Center, 120 98th St NW, Ste B5
Goff Plaza, 1720 Bridge Blvd SW, Ste G
Daskalos Shopping Center, 5339 & 5339A Menaul Blvd NE
Juan Tabo Plaza, 11012 Montgomery Blvd NE
CNM - South Valley Campus, 5816 Isleta Blvd SW
University of New Mexico, Student Union Building
Tijeras City Hall, 12 Camino Municipal

Don't let this happen! VOTE!!!

McCain camp 'jazzed up' about possible comeback

As I've expressed previously, I am concerned that the talking heads, Republican gurus, and Sarah Palin, all seem to predicate their remarks on the assumption that Sen. McCain has already lost.
He hasn't.

It ain't over till the polls close on Tues, 4 November.


Oh, good: it's almost official now

Economy shrinks in 3Q, signaling recession

Meanwhile: Exxon Mobil posts biggest US quarterly profit ever

... and let's not forget the other good news:
Beaten down, American consumers burrow deeper

And the so-called bail-out?
Report: Banks continue paying dividends after receiving bailout money
"... "The 33 banks signed up so far plan to pay shareholders about $7 billion this quarter," the paper adds. "Companies generally try to pay consistent dividends and, at the present pace, those dividends will consume 52% of the Treasury's investment over the initial three-year term."
Paying dividends??? 52% of the bail-out money??? Ah, yes - our MBA President at work!
[Note: I've chosen to cite USA Today version of the story, rather than the original from The Washington Post. The reason? WaPo requires registration (free) to read article online - I wanted to make it as easy as possible for AQA readers by not sending you all to WaPo's sing-in/sign-up page.]

The Post notes further (as reported in USA Today) that:
"... The Treasury's approach contrasts with decisions by foreign governments, including Britain and Germany, to require banks that accept public investments to suspend dividend payments until the government is repaid."
W's wisdom.

Question: Does U.S. Govt get dividend payments like all other shareholders?

Have a nice day.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

McCain won't fund basic science

Watching AC360 - a clip of McCain at campaign rally promising to veto any budget with earmarks, including (he's happy to point out) money to study bear DNA.

Gov. Palin previously ridiculed fruit fly research.

Without government funding of basic science, the U.S. pretty much loses whatever edge it has in the global marketplace.

Yeah - it's easy to ridicule any specific scientific study. (Can you believe it? We're paying hard-earned taxpayer dollars to study fruit flies!!!)...
Where do these folks think medical advances originate?
Basic physics research led to development of nuclear weapons - I'm not sure this a great example of the inherent value of the technology resulting from basic scientific research, but it does help make the case that basic science drives technological progress.

Go ahead, John: turn us into a country of Luddites.
This'll delight your base of "intelligent design" advocates!

Stop the madness!!!

p.s. No - I do not mean to imply that the ONLY value of basic science is its potential to lead to technological/economic advantage... but that is certainly ONE of the values of basic science!

G&S in modern popular culture!

Countdown with Keith Olbermann's Oddball segment tonight featured a clip from The Family Guy that included a parody of Ko-Ko's "I've got a little list" from Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado.

Will this be sufficient to spark a nation-wide G&S revival???

Joe disses McCain...

Joe the Plumber didn't show up at a McCain rally... at which McCain introduced him. "Where's Joe?" Oops.

I'm wondering what cabinet post McCain has in mind for Joe.

Stop the madness!!!

What a surprise!

Analysis: Bush foreign-policy goals largely unmet

... BUT: he did get to "finish" Daddy's war in Iraq!

Stop the madness!!!

"Battleground states": NM loses out!

Not all that long ago - perhaps last spring - when the Electoral College discussion began, NM was counted among the key battleground states in the Prez election.

As the campaign played out, sadly, we lost that distinction. A number of factors contributed to putting NM in Obama's favor a while ago.

Yes, the candidates still show up here - both were in town last Saturday. But, the media don't pay us much mind.

I think the talking heads could have fun discussing the possibility that NM will be entirely blue this time around: Obama for Prez, Udall for Senate, Heinrich in NM1, Teague in NM2, Lujan in NM3. An historic first!

Hope #2 realized: DoJ ignores W's latest request (...maybe)

Ohio Vote-Challenge Effort Hits Another Roadblock
By Ian Urbina
The Caucus: The New York Times Politics Blog
29 Oct 2008
The Department of Justice will not require Ohio to disclose the names of voters whose registration applications did not match other government databases, according to two people familiar with discussions between state and federal lawyers.

The source is a NYT politics blog, so this may not be the last word... but it's still encouraging.

Given that there has not been a positive response to W from DoJ in the several days since he made his request, I'm hopeful that a real news story will confirm the report shortly.

If the reporting continues to emphasize what appear to be low-level "discussions" within DoJ, the suggestion is that folks will have decided to simply ignore W's request - not even bothering to formally respond to their putative boss.

I'm really hoping that this is how it in fact plays out. Mukasey doesn't issue a statement, DoJ doesn't issue a formal reply... rather, DoJ simply and straight-forwardly publicly ignores W.

Have a nice day.


(... tho', to be honest, I'm probably not the only source of this brilliant idea.)

For many moons I have advocated that all Dem candidates, from County Dog Catcher to Congress to Senate to President, simply run on W's record... and make your respected Republican opponent run on W's record.

Apparently this simple strategy is paying off:
"... The apparent McCain drag on congressional races comes as voters increasingly cast blame on Bush and Republicans for the crumbling economy and at a time when the GOP's national party committees have little financial resources to defend an increasing number of House and Senate seats that are in jeopardy.
[McCain's Troubles Afflicting Other Races, The Washington Post, 29 Oct 2008]
See how easy that was!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Having fun with a headline

Palin suggests she's now GOP political fixture

... Just like Harold Stassen!!!

Missed Obama's 30 minutes...

... not a matter of principle: I was at rehearsal.

Current TV chatter anticipates joint appearance: Obama with Bill Clinton.
I've seen no coverage/commentary on Obama's 30 minutes.

How was it?

Phillies win series, 4-1

Delayed Game 5 at last completed: Philadelphia 4, Tampa Bay 3.

I'll cheer for the AL champ again next year.

T minus 2 and counting

... and I've started to wonder: What will I do if, in fact, there is a terrorist attack on the U.S. on Halloween???

The appropriate tone: ridicule

From HuffPost:
... Responding to charges that his economic policies were socialistic in nature, the Democratic nominee ridiculed his opponent for resorting to trivialities and distractions.
"Now, because he knows that his economic theories don't work, he's been spending these last few days calling me every name in the book. Lately he's called me a socialist for wanting to roll-back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans so we can finally give tax relief to the middle class. I don't know what's next. By the end of the week he'll be accusing me of being a secret communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten. I shared my peanut butter and jelly sandwich."
As I've noted previously, ridicule can be a powerful rhetorical tool!

Thank you, Margaret Carlson (transcript)

Countdown with Keith Olbermann, transcript, 28 Oct 2008:
Olbermann: "... Would this schism be there on January 20th next year for a President McCain and Vice President Palin?"

Carlson: "Well, victory tends to heal a lot of wounds. However, if the White House were run the way the campaign were run, that would be very bad for the country."
It's about time this point was made! Thank you, Margaret Carlson!!!

"Any given Sunday"

I'm concerned watching the talking heads: all seem to believe that McCain has lost already.
He hasn't.
It's a week too early to celebrate.

Both pro and college football teams underperform the point-spread every weekend - with heavy favorites losing not just to the spread, but losing the game.

Tonight's Rachel Maddow show featured an amusing, extended football metaphor. Rachel began by noting that football was a game of statistics: time of possession, yards passing, yards rushing, number of turnovers... BUT: that the only thing that matters at the end of the game is the final score.
A team can dominate another statistically and still lose.

An amusing semi-personal story... well, actually, an amusing personal story related by a friend & former colleague of mine:
(warning: this is one of my "remembered quotations", so I may not get the details quite right).
Statistician colleague Mark wrote his Master's thesis on college basketball, attempting to develop a model to pick winners based on game stats.

His surprising finding? The single most predictive statistic was which team scored the most points!
Folks - it's about a week too soon to celebrate.


p.s. full-disclosure: friend & former colleague Mark is one of my conservative friends... and one of two with whom I manage to conduct civil political discussions.

p.p.s. Lee Corso - ESPN sports commentator - got it right:
When asked what what it would take for OU to beat Mizzou in last year's Big 12 Championship game:
"Oklahoma's gonna have to outscore 'em!"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Waiting for the transcript... hint: Thank you, Margaret Carlson

Tonight on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Margaret Carlson said it:
[a remembered quotation, almost certainly not accurate; I'll call it a paraphrase]: If John McCain runs the White House like he's run his campaign, the country's in trouble.
Transcript should be available tomorrow - I'll post the accurate quotation when it is available.

How is this bad?

McCain Calls Obama ‘Barack the Wealth Spreader’

I'm sorry, but I don't get it.
How is being a "wealth-spreader" bad???

If McCain advertised himself as a "wealth-spreader", who knows - maybe I'd give him a second look.

I'm ready for this election to be over!!!

Very different coverage from past episodes...

Authorities say skinhead plot wasn't fully formed
By WOODY BAIRD and ANDREW DeMILLO, Associated Press Writers Woody Baird And Andrew Demillo, Associated Press Writers
28 Oct 2008
BELLS, Tenn. – Two white supremacists charged with plotting to behead blacks across the country and assassinate Barack Obama while wearing white top hats and tuxes were likely too disorganized to carry out the plot, authorities said, and their planning was riddled with blunders.

Where was this judicious, cautious skepticism when pathetic human-being Jose Padilla was arrested for plotting a radioactive "dirty bomb" attack? No - Padilla was a clear & present danger, and had to be locked away - without trial, without recourse to judicial review.

Are neo-Nazi skinheads less of a threat than pseudo-Islamists?

Where was this skepticism when this story broke?:
4 Men Accused of Plot to Blow Up Kennedy Airport Terminals and Fuel Lines
This one was all over the cable networks, all day long. My 90-year-old mother was terrified!... This was in June, 2007 - presumably well after the post-9/11 national hysteria had subsided.

Will the next high-profile arrest of a domestic terror cell involving Arabs and/or Muslims be accompanied by such qualifying, disarming considerations - you know, admissions & caveats that the folks in question just might not have the capability to really do anything?

Or is this simply a convenient double-standard? (Heck, if we lock up the skinheads, what happens to the Republican base?... Okay - that remark was out of line, but why this sudden caution on the part of the Government when confronted with domestic terrorists???)

Recall, the folks who really did blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995 were native-born, white Americans!!!

Have a nice day.

Good news! (... I wonder why...)

Guantanamo man tortured into confessing: U.S. judge
By Jane Sutton Jane Sutton
28 Oct 2008
GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) – A young Guantanamo prisoner's confession to Afghan police was obtained through torture and cannot be used as evidence in his trial on charges of wounding U.S. soldiers with a grenade, a judge in the U.S. war crimes court ruled on Tuesday.
The military prosecutor in the case quit last month, alleging the U.S. government was suppressing evidence that cast doubt on Jawad's guilt. And a U.S. general who supervised the prosecutors was reassigned after fellow officers accused him of pushing for charges in the Jawad case prematurely because he felt it would excite the interest of U.S. citizens.

Note: The judge is Army Col. Stephen Henley, sitting on a Military Tribunal. This is not not some leftie-Pinko Fed judge.

I'm delighted with the ruling... but am wondering, "Why?"

A couple of answers present themselves:
1. As we've seen before, the JAG Corps really does seem to care about the law - regardless of what their current political masters might want.
2. These guys are just a little concerned that they might be held complicit in some future war-crimes trial!

The two answers are not mutually exclusive.

Hooray for Army Colonel Stephen Henley!

p.s. Recall: Gitmo houses ONLY 'the baddest of the bad'!!!

Seventy-six years ago today!

A fun read:
"... I stated that this depression had exposed many weaknesses in our economic system. It has shown much wrongdoing. There has been exploitation and abuse of financial power. These weaknesses must be corrected, and that wrongdoing must be punished. We will continue to reform such abuses and correct such wrongdoing as falls within the powers of the Federal Government.

Furthermore, the American people must have protection from insecure banking through a stronger banking system. They must have relief from conditions which permit the credit machinery of the country being made available without adequate check for wholesale speculation in securities, with its ruinous consequences to millions of our citizens and to our national economy. This the Federal Reserve System by its present constitution has proven incapable of bringing about. I recommended to the Congress the sane reform of our banking laws. The Democratic House of Representatives did not see fit to pass that legislation in the last session, but we shall persist until it has been accomplished.
My only comment on this occasion is that if I receive a mandate from the American people in this election, I shall be able not only to force upon this Democratic House real economies, but I shall be able to stop further raids by the Democratic Party on the Treasury of the United States.
I also, likewise at Cleveland, gave an extended exposition of the measures and policies which we have in action and propose for labor and employment. I am in hopes that these statements may be carefully considered, and our time is too short this evening to go into those items in detail although I hope to take them up again in this campaign.

[Address in Indianapolis, Indiana, Herbert Hoover, 28 Oct 1932... 76 years ago today!]
Warning: the entire address is very long, and is a quite detailed polemic against FDR.

Much of it could be lifted with little change and attributed to Sen. McCain, with few folks the wiser.

For what it's worth: the specific economic policies discussed by Hoover in this address bear little resemblance to those being discussed today. Quite a bit of space is devoted to tariffs. The issuance of paper money, not backed by specie, is another concern.


This is almost funny

Our MBA President at work:
White House tells banks to stop hoarding money
WASHINGTON – An impatient White House is serving notice on banks receiving billions of dollars in federal help to quit hoarding the money and start making more loans.
Now, my understanding is that when British Government recently gave money to British banks, there was a clause in the agreement obligating the banks to use the money for loans.

As I've noted previously, W doesn't believe in contracts that actually work - you know, with clearly articulated 'deliverables' and enforcement clauses.

I'm curious: just exactly how is W "serving notice"???

Again: our MBA President at work!

Stop the madness!!!

Overlooked (by me) good news

I'd have lost big had I been betting on oil & gasoline futures!

Gasoline at cheapest price since March 2007

Oil slides below $63 as recession worry dominates
[... ignore for the moment the cloud surrounding this silver lining: "... as recession worry dominates".]

Will cheaper gas be enough to rescue Detroit?
... Nah - it'll just confirm for the Big 3 that they've been right all along to bet on SUVs!]

I wish others would ask this question.

If John McCain can't control Palin now, what's going to happen if he becomes president?

Unfortunately, this question was raised on the progressive blog, AMERICAblog, read only by us fellow-travelers.

Why aren't the prominent talking heads on cable asking this question?

I alluded to this in an earlier post:
In an appearance on The Colbert Report, David Gergen suggested that,
"The months of the campaign are your first governing months."
This was picked up by Anderson Cooper on AC360. The ensuing discussion missed what is to me the obvious point:
McCain is unable or unwilling to control his campaign.
If this is a harbinger of his governing style, it foretells an interesting McCain presidency!
Somehow this point was lost on "the best political team on television".
This point still strikes me as embarrassingly obvious. Why have the talking heads not picked up on it?

Hooray for David Gergen!

On AC360:
David Gergen: "... So I think that these arguments are -- you know, some of them get so carried away that they don't recognize the realities of what we've been going through in public policy and the big arguments about why the wealth over the last 30 years has been redistributed. It's been redistributed upwards.
As we grow, the top 1 percent is getting a disproportionate share."
Thank you!

Gergen also presented another nice talking point for the Dems to use in response to "Obama wants to redistribute the wealth... he's a Commie!":
"Now, one of the most effective popular programs we've had in the last three decades. It's called the earned income tax credit. It's a program whereby, if you're a working person, a working couple and you're below the poverty line, the government will actually give you money. That's a redistributed program. It's a program which takes money from the upper classes and gives it to the lower -- to the working poor.

Now who started that program? The earned income tax credit? Ronald Reagan. It was one of the -- it was an achievement of the Reagan administration that Bill Clinton then built on.
Again, thank you!!!

Yes, Senator McCain, let's talk about the redistribution of wealth in America!!!

A gentle reminder: VOTE!!!

Full-disclosure: I support
President: Sen. Barack Hussein Obama
Senator: Tom Udall
NM1: Martin Heinrich
I of course believe my candidates are the only rational choices, and that anyone who believes otherwise is an idiot... BUT!!!...

Regardless of who YOU support, I urge you to VOTE!!!

Early voting in Bernalillo County began Saturday, 18 October.
Early voting hours:
Tues - Fri, noon - 8 p.m.
Sat, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Early voting sites in Bernalillo County:
Paradise Hills Community Center, 5901 Paradise Blvd NW
Los Ranchos Villa, 6601 4th St NW, Stes A, B, & C
Coors Plaza, 3200 Coors Blvd NW, Ste A
Integrity Plaza, 1512 Wyoming Blvd NE, Stes F & G
Plaza Paseo Del Norte, 9231 Coors blvd NW, Ste R8
Siesta Hills Shopping Center, 5407 Gibson Blvd SE
Del Norte Shopping Center, 7120 Wyoming Blvd NE, Ste 16
Market Center East, 11110 Lomas Blvd NE, Ste E4
98th & Center Shopping Center, 120 98th St NW, Ste B5
Goff Plaza, 1720 Bridge Blvd SW, Ste G
Daskalos Shopping Center, 5339 & 5339A Menaul Blvd NE
Juan Tabo Plaza, 11012 Montgomery Blvd NE
CNM - South Valley Campus, 5816 Isleta Blvd SW
University of New Mexico, Student Union Building
Tijeras City Hall, 12 Camino Municipal

The only poll that counts is on Tues, 4 November.
To quote a well-known philosopher, "It ain't over till it's over!"


Game 5 suspended...

Bottom of the 6th, suspended due to rain.
Tied, 2-2.
(Phillies lead series, 3-1).

Monday, October 27, 2008

Something in this story NOT found in others

Feds disrupt alleged plot targeting Obama

First: I'm glad local & federal law-enforecment disrupted the plot and arrested the plotters.

But... the point of this post: the accompanying story includes a detail not found in, for example, the initial story about the Miami Six, or the initial story about the Ft. Dix Five.

The detail?:
"Whether or not they had the capability or the wherewithal to carry out an attack remains to be seen," [Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren] said.
In previous high-profile domestic-terrorism arrests, the Government presented the threats as real and imminent, and described the plotters as fully capable of carrying out their plots. There were no circumspect statements suggesting that maybe the plotters hadn't the capability to carry out their plans.

I don't know if this means that the Government is becoming more critical of evidence, more cautious about making inflammatory accusations (these would be good things); or if White Supremacists targeting a Presidential Candidate are simply less sexy, less terrifying than dubious plots to blow up the Sears Tower.

The full-blown plot - involving plans to kill black students before going after Candidate Obama - is hair-raising.
I sure hope the Government doesn't decide to downplay the threat by characterizing the plotters as simply skinhead losers.
[I note that Jose Padilla - a very obvious 'loser' - was treated VERY SERIOUSLY by the Government: held incommunicado, in solitary confinement, for years before SCOTUS finally ruled in his favor.]

If this case is NOT reported by the Government as one of domestic terrorism, something is slightly screwy.

Why are they so afraid???

Why are they so afraid?
The Republican Party of Pennsylvania sends email to Jewish voters insinuating that an Obama victory would lead to another Kristallnacht.

McCain's Pennsylvania campaign jumps on & hypes the soon-to-be-revealed-as-hoax story of scary black man assaulting a College Republican McCain volunteer.

Gov. Palin insinuates that Obama is a terrorist.

More recently, Gov. Palin insinuates that Obama is a Marxist in the Stalinist mold.

William Kristol has devoted at least two of his NYT Op-Ed columns to, "What McCain needs to do to win".

Gen. Powell reveals that senior Republicans continue to identify Obama as a Muslim.

Rush Limbaugh continues to peddle the "scary black man" story - not about the hoax, but about Obama himself.

Fox News continues to air all calumnies indiscriminately: Obama's a Commie, a Socialist, a Muslim, a terrorist.
What is it about the prospect of an Obama Presidency that terrifies these folks?

Yes - I understand that the point of a political campaign is to win the election... BUT: the rhetoric on the McCain/Republican side is so over-the-top, and so disconnected from reality, that it begs this question:
What is it that scares them so much?
Why is Obama so terrifying to them?
I don't know the answer.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Words we can understand

Other woes makes foreclosure crisis hard to break
By ALAN ZIBEL, AP Business Writer Alan Zibel, Ap Business Writer – Sun Oct 26, 2008
WASHINGTON – Each day from July through September, more than 2,700 Americans lost their homes in foreclosure.

That number, up from 1,200 a day a year ago, is a sign that the mortgage industry and government programs have done little to help troubled homeowners.

Have a nice day.

Let's talk some more about wealth redistribution

From that Pinko rag, The Wall Street Journal:
Income-Inequality Gap Widens
Boom in Financial Markets Parallels Rise in Share For Wealthiest Americans
12 Oct 2007
... The wealthiest 1% of Americans earned 21.2% of all income in 2005, according to new data from the Internal Revenue Service. That is up sharply from 19% in 2004, and surpasses the previous high of 20.8% set in 2000, at the peak of the previous bull market in stocks.

The bottom 50% earned 12.8% of all income, down from 13.4% in 2004 and a bit less than their 13% share in 2000.

[note: the date is correct - the article is a year old... I'm not sure Murdoch's WSJ would countenance such left-wing reporting!]
Yes, Senator McCain, let us talk about the redistribution of wealth in America!

Stop the madness!!!

p.s. The WSJ article cited above was linked from a post over at DailyKos: Wall Street. Main Street. Why No Mention of Side Streets and Alleys? .
Warning: there are, like, real statistics in the DailyKos post! - stuff like "Gini coefficients", and graphs... just to warn you.

Is it over yet?

Game 4: Phillies 10, Rays 2
Philadelphia leads the series, 3-1.

Go, Rays!!!

Personal resolve - Game 4!

Game 4 of the World Series is starting.
I'm walking away from online news & blogs till it's over.

Game 3: Phillies 5, Rays 4.
... with a very bizarre 9th-inning finish!

Why does this not sound good?

US special forces launch rare attack inside Syria
By ALBERT AJI, Associated Press Writer Albert Aji,
Associated Press Writer
26 Oct 2008
DAMASCUS, Syria – U.S. military helicopters launched an extremely rare attack Sunday on Syrian territory close to the border with Iraq, killing eight people in a strike the government in Damascus condemned as "serious aggression."

A U.S. military official said the raid by special forces targeted the foreign fighter network that travels through Syria into Iraq. The Americans have been unable to shut the network down in the area because Syria was out of the military's reach.

The flourishing Iraqi democracy was supposed to stabilize the region, wasn't it? Or did I miss something.

Exactly how are we helping stabilize the region - let alone winning friends - by launching military strike against Syria???

Can you spell "C-A-M-B-O-D-I-A"? Expanding the war into Cambodia & Laos was Nixon's "secret plan" to end our ill-fated Vietnam engagement.

Just out of curiosity, did we even TRY to work with the Syrians to help close the porous border?

Stop the madness!!!

Yes, W lives in a banana republic

I'd sort of hoped W would be happy just to hold his little economic summit and then go away quietly.
No such luck:
Bush calls for Ohio voter probe
WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- President George W. Bush has asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the status of 200,000 newly registered Ohio voters, the White House said.
This after SCOTUS ruled against the Ohio Republican Party:
"... The U.S. Supreme Court last week dismissed a case brought by the Ohio Republican Party in the matter."
[note: this is the Roberts/Alito/Scalia SCOTUS - not some unAmer'cun librul SCOTUS - you know, like when Rehnquist was Chief Justice!]

Apparently W still regards DoJ as his personal political hit squad.
Will DoJ comply with his request???

... stay tuned!

(This is almost as much fun as an old Saturday morning serial: "Will Flash escape? Will Ming the Merciless incinerate Planet Earth?... Tune in next week!!!")

Hope # 1 being unrealized (that would be the hope expressed in lead sentence, above - about W leaving quietly), I now must content myself with Hope # 2:
Maybe Mukasey will remember that what was left of his predecessor's reputation was destroyed by Alberto's involvement in similar shenanigans back in 2006.
Mukasey could even be polite about it:
"I'm sorry, Mr. President, but for the Department of Justice to interfere in State elections at this time would be inappropriate."

Stop the madness!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I've been trying to limit my Palin-related comments... but this statement is just weird!
"See, under a big government, more tax agenda, what you thought was yours would really start belonging to somebody else, to everybody else. If you thought your income, your property, your inventory, your investments were, were yours, they would really collectively belong to everybody.
And government kind of moving into the role as the other half of our family, making decisions for us. Now, they do this in other countries where the people are not free."

["Palin rallying voters in Iowa", reported by CNN; quotation lifted from HuffPost]

Did I miss something?
Has Sen. Obama said, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs"?

A point I've tried to make before: the only folks who have meaningfully participated in our recent economic growth are the upper 5% of income-earners. These are the folks whose taxes Sen. Obama wants to raise. The U.S. economy has been good to them - the upper 1% have seen their incomes grow 175% over 25 years, even tho' the economy grew only 112%. Republican tax-policies have been very good to them.

The rest of Palin's diatribe - the bits about collective ownership, government making decisions for us, losing our freedom???
What is she talking about???

Which Major Party wants to decide for every woman that her pregnancy must be carried to term?
Which Major Party wants to decide for all of us whom we can and cannot marry?
These sound like pretty personal family decisions to me!
Yes, there is one Major Party that wants to make these decisions for us... but it's not the Dems!

As for losing our freedom - has Gov. Palin read, or even heard of, the so-called Patriot Act? You know, the legislation that allows the President to declare HER an enemy combatant and detain her without recourse to judicial review? The one that DoJ has repeatedly affirmed makes the Bill of Rights a "quaint, historical document"??? The one beloved of W and his minions because they know better than us how best to protect our freedoms???

Yes, there is one Major Party seeking to redistribute our wealth and restrict our freedoms... but it's NOT the Dems!

Stop the madness!!!

Success in Iraq: political reconciliation achieved!

Iraq's prime minister won't sign U.S. troop deal
By Roy Gutman, McClatchy Newspapers Roy Gutman,
Mcclatchy Newspapers – Fri Oct 24, 2008
BAGHDAD — Fearing political division in the parliament and the country at large, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki won't sign the just-completed agreement on the status of U.S. troops in Iraq , a leading lawmaker said on Friday.

This followed by
Iraqi party suspends ties with U.S. over raid
Sat Oct 25, 2008
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq's biggest Sunni Arab political party suspended all dealings with U.S. civilian and military personnel on Saturday after U.S. and Iraqi forces carried out a raid in which a man was killed.
And, not to be left out,
Shiites in Basra protest US-Iraqi pact
By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer Sameer N. Yacoub, Associated Press Writer
– Sat Oct 25, 2008
BAGHDAD – About 300 Shiites rallied Saturday in the southern city of Basra against a security pact being negotiated that allows U.S. troops to stay in Iraq for three more years.
Last week, our creation, Moqtada al Sadr, got in the act:
Muqtada al-Sadr urges rejection of US-Iraqi pact
By HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press Writer Hamza Hendawi,
Associated Press Writer –
Sat Oct 18, 2008
BAGHDAD – Anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr urged Iraq's parliament to reject a pact that would extend U.S. presence in Iraq for three years as tens of thousands of his followers marched through Baghdad's streets Saturday to reinforce that demand.
I'd say we've achieved the goal of "political reconciliation": All major players have now rejected the recently negotiated SOFA: the Shiites (both in the South & in Baghdad), the Sunnis, and the Iraqi Government.
(Wait a sec!... We haven't heard from the Kurds!)

The surge worked!

Can we leave now?

Note: the Iraqis don't want us there any longer!

Stop the madness!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Okay: Let's talk about the re-distribution of wealth

First, from Onefly over at Outta the Cornfield:
Inequality in major U.S. cities rivals Africa: U.N.
Thu Oct 23, 2008
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Major U.S. cities including New York, Washington, Atlanta and New Orleans have levels of economic inequality that rival cities in Africa, according to a U.N. report published on Thursday.
And now for some dull but informative statistics:
1979: $6052.9Bn (constant 2006 dollars)
2005: $12,857.7Bn (constant 2006 dollars)
% increase: 112%

Median household income:
1979: $42,606 (constant 2006 dollars)
2005: $47,845 (constant 2006 dollars)
% increase: 12%

95%-ile household income:
1979: $121,287 (constant 2006 dollars)
2005: $174,012 (constant 2006 dollars)
% increase: 41%

[numbers above from U.S. Census Bureau]

(I'm unable to find Census Bureau source for 99%-ile, but Wikipedia article Income inequality in the United States, provides the following:)

99%-ile household income:
% increase, 1979-2005: 175%
So - who got that 112% increase reflected in GDP growth?
The top 1% of households!

Yes, Senator McCain - LET us talk about the re-distribution of wealth!

Stop the madness!!!

A contest (sorry, no prizes)

Pretend you're a brilliant political analyst.
Write your post-election analyses today!

You'll need at least 2 (tho' there are many permutations available):
Scenario #1: Sen. Barack Obama wins.
What were the dominant factors leading to his victory?
Scenario #2: Sen. John McCain wins.
What were the dominant factors leading to his victory?
Remember - you're writing for a vast television audience who will hang on your every word!

The permutations? Throw in Senate & House results.
... Actually, the only interesting pair of alternatives seems to be
Dems pick up enough for 60+, filibuster-proof majority
Dems fail to pick up enough for 60+ filibuster-proof majority.
You are competing with the real talking-heads: come Wed, 5 Nov, how well do your analyses stack up against what the brilliant minds are really saying?

Have a nice day.

p.s. If you'd care to share your brilliance, feel free to post a comment... all entries must be dated 3 Nov or earlier to be considered for the non-existent prizes.

Breaking news: at least some 9/11 hijackers were NOT terrorists!

From Think Progress (note: I looked for a transcript on NBC News website, without success):
In her interview with NBC’s Brian Williams, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said that Bill Ayers is “no question” a terrorist because he sought to destroy the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon. Palin, however, refused to apply the same label to abortion clinic bombers:
Q: Is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist, under this definition, governor?

PALIN: (Sigh). There’s no question that Bill Ayers via his own admittance was one who sought to destroy our U.S. Capitol and our Pentagon. That is a domestic terrorist. There’s no question there. Now, others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or facilities that uh, it would be unacceptable. I don’t know if you’re going to use the word terrorist there.
By this standard, at least some of the 9/11 hijackers were NOT terrorists!
At 8:46 a.m., American Airlines Flight 11 was flown into the World Trade Center's North Tower, followed by United Airlines Flight 175 which hit the South Tower at 9:03 a.m.
The WTC towers were NOT U.S. Government buildings - the only folks harmed were "innocent Americans" and non-governmental facilities.

Only the hijackers that flew American Airlines flight 77 into the Pentagon were really terrorists!!!

Simply amazing!

Recall: Republicans are the folks who abhor moral relativism.

Stop the madness!!!

Roller-coaster? ... bad analogy!

Roller-coasters have UPS as well as downs...
Our economy?
Job losses accelerating, and the worst is ahead
By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Economics Writer Christopher S. Rugaber, Ap Economics Writer – Thu Oct 23,2008
WASHINGTON – Unemployment claims, already well into recession territory, are rising even faster than expected, leading economists to warn Thursday that the worst is yet to come.
This is looking to be a long, ugly time for America.

Thanks, W!
Thanks, John!!

As McCain is quick to remind us - the unemployed don't pay taxes, so Obama can't lower their taxes!!!

... well, actually: the unemployed DO pay taxes: gas, food, clothing... if you buy any of these, you pay taxes.

US dollar falls to 95.32 yen, lowest in 13 years
Japanese products just got more expensive.

Recall, our economy is 70% consumer spending. When consumers don't spend??? We're about to find out.

Have a nice day.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

World Series, Game 2: Phillies 2, Rays 4

Series tied, 1-1

Deep thought

Maybe I'd get more attention if I relabeled myself as,
FYI: C&L bounce has been holding - AQA has been getting ~40 visits/day since the mention on Mike's Blog Roundup.

Au contraire, Mr. Greenspan!

Blast from the past (yep - I'm self-referencing & reposting again!)
Greenspan sees many casualties from crisis
Mon Mar 17, 2008
LONDON, March 17 (Reuters) - There will be many casualties from the unfolding financial market crisis, which will lead to a large-scale overhaul of international banking regulations, codes and risk management, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said.
He added, however, that he hoped one of the casualties from the worst U.S. financial crisis since World War Two would not be the spirit of broad self-regulation within financial markets.
Me? I'm hoping the term "self-regulation" is henceforth and forevermore ridiculed as oxymoronic - the butt of jokes, like "military intelligence".

If we've learned nothing from 1929 and today, it really ought to be that "market self-regulation" does not exist.
Maybe it did in some long-gone fantasy-world: the small self-sufficient village, where many small consumers shopped at many small suppliers, and everyone knew Mary the Milkmaid and Dan the Dairyman.
Adam Smith's basic model was out of date when he wrote The Wealth of Nations. As a recent headline put it:
The Invisible Hand Gets Ready to Smack America Silly
The Depression-era regulatory structures worked so well that Saint Reagan determined to destroy them - and succeeded.

In today's global economy, dominated in almost all sectors by very few key players (I'm betting most of you can name the big auto companies, and count 'em on 10 fingers!), "market self-regulation" does NOT exist!

Stop the madness!

I was wrong (not a first)

The Dow closed up 172 today.
About 18 hours ago I predicted a drop.

Again: AQA may NOT be your best source for financial advice!

Fun headlines to juxtapose

McCain says Obama will 'say anything' to win
EXCLUSIVE: McCain lambastes Bush years
I believe it's Rachel Maddow who has pointed out the psychological meaning of "projection", and its relationship to McCain's campaign:
In psychology, psychological projection (or projection bias) is a defense mechanism in which one attributes one’s own unacceptable or unwanted thoughts or/and emotions to others.
[Wikipedia entry, Psychological projection]
And, yes... at some point I do intend to return to more relevant commentary!

In the meantime, in my unofficial role as advisor to the Obama campaign, I suggest the following use of McCain's own words:
Sen. McCain accuses me of 'saying anything to win'.

Meanwhile, while Sen. McCain has publicly bragged about supporting President Bush more than 90% of the time, today he decides it's time to lambaste the Bush years.

John, I'm proud of my record.
Why are you running away from yours?
Have a nice day.

Lack of imagination (2)

An earlier post today commented on Greenspan's lack of imagination, and suggested that while Fed Chairman he had discounted the risk of really bad things happening.

Here's a repost from long ago providing documentation of these sentiments:
Note: the current mess was to some extent anticipated by a near-deified expert, Alan Greenspan:

The apparent froth in housing markets appears to have interacted with evolving practices in mortgage markets. The increase in the prevalence of interest-only loans and the introduction of more-exotic forms of adjustable-rate mortgages are developments of particular concern. To be sure, these financing vehicles have their appropriate uses. But some households may be employing these instruments to purchase homes that would otherwise be unaffordable, and consequently their use could be adding to pressures in the housing market. Moreover, these contracts may leave some mortgagors vulnerable to adverse events. It is important that lenders fully appreciate the risk that some households may have trouble meeting monthly payments as interest rates and the macroeconomic climate change.
[Testimony of Chairman Alan Greenspan
Federal Reserve Board's semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress
Before the Committee on Financial Services, U.S. House of Representatives
July 20, 2005]
Alas, he somewhat undermined the doom-and-gloom picture in his very next paragraph:

The U.S. economy has weathered such episodes before without experiencing significant declines in the national average level of home prices. Nevertheless, we certainly cannot rule out declines in home prices, especially in some local markets. If declines were to occur, they likely would be accompanied by some economic stress, though the macroeconomic implications need not be substantial. Nationwide banking and widespread securitization of mortgages make financial intermediation less likely to be impaired than it was in some previous episodes of regional house-price correction. Moreover, a decline in the national housing price level would need to be substantial to trigger a significant rise in foreclosures, because the vast majority of homeowners have built up substantial equity in their homes despite large mortgage-market-financed withdrawals of home equity in recent years.

So, although we "cannot rule out" bad things happening, it's best to pretend that they won't... after all, "a decline in the national housing price level would need to be substantial to trigger a significant rise in foreclosures", and we know that's just not going to happen!
It's fun to be able to exploit my psychic abilities by simply reposting some previous bit of brilliant commentary!

I note today that "widespread securitization of mortgages" in fact did NOT "make financial intermediation less likely to be impaired", but is, in fact, a cause of the crisis we now face.
No one really understood the technical details of this "widespread securitization", not even the demi-god Greenspan.
As it turns out, it was just exactly this unregulated "widespread securitization of mortgages" that has cratered the U.S. financial system!

Stop the madness!

Are we appeasing Iran?

Bush intends to establish U.S. diplomatic outpost in Iran
By Warren P. Strobel, McClatchy Newspapers
23 Oct 2008
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration will announce in mid-November, after the presidential election, that it intends to establish the first U.S. diplomatic presence in Iran since the 1979-81 hostage crisis, according to senior Bush administration officials.

Will Fox News, William Kristol, and the rest of the conservative establishment shout, "Appeasement!"???

W still scrambles to rescue something for his legacy.
His much-heralded mid-East peace initiative, announced earlier this year amid much hoopla at Annapolis summit, seems to have come to naught.
There's some chance that recent negotiations with N. Korea will bear fruit - a bit on the "too little, too late" side... after W deliberately, vocally walked away from negotiations in his first months in office, 7.5 years ago.

He must be getting desperate to even entertain the idea of a diplomatic mission to Tehran.

Meanwhile, Gitmo is still a festering wound in the side of America's international reputation.

Have a nice day.

Lack of imagination

Greenspan "shocked" at credit system breakdown
By Mark Felsenthal Mark Felsenthal
23 Oct 2008
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told Congress on Thursday he is "shocked" at the breakdown in U.S. credit markets and said he was "partially" wrong to resist regulation of some securities.

Despite concerns he had in 2005 that risks were being underestimated by investors, "this crisis, however, has turned out to be much broader than anything I could have imagined," Greenspan said in remarks prepared for delivery to the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Is lack of imagination a Republican trait?

Note: in previous testimony before Congress as Fed Chair, Greenspan acknowledged that if things went south, it could be very bad... but discounted this as an extremely unlikely possibility. I've noted before that most of us facing very bad but very unlikely possibilities buy insurance to mitigate the bad outcomes should they, in fact, occur! In the present case, "insurance" was available in the form of increased regulation, perhaps requiring more substantial cash reserves, perhaps limiting certain types of trades,... I'm not a financial or regulatory expert, but I'm pretty sure that some regulatory limits on the deified 'free-market' would have mitigated some of the bad things we are now experiencing.

Yes - it would have cost something... all insurance costs something. But the main costs would have been borne by the folks being regulated - they'd not have been able to play quite so freely. As it has turned out, without this regulatory insurance, it's costing a lot! - and the costs are being borne by the Government.

Stop the madness!

Filene's basement

Prediction: the Dow will head south later today, Thurs, 23 Oct.

The source of my psychic abilities (if such they be):
Asia stocks at 4-year low as global economy slows
By Kevin Plumberg Kevin Plumberg – 23 Oct 2008
HONG KONG (Reuters) – Asian stocks fell to a 4-year low on Thursday on growing fears emerging market weakness will prolong a global recession and depress corporate earnings, pushing the yen to a 6-year high against the euro.
The Filene's reference: Filene's is a dept store in Boston, known for its free-market bargain basement.

Warren Buffett & I are both advising buying.

T-minus 8 and counting

Maybe Hezbollah won't be the alleged perpetrator:
“If Al Qaeda carries out a big operation against American interests this act will be support of McCain because it will push the Americans deliberately to vote for McCain so that he takes revenge for them against Al Qaeda. Al-Qaeda then will succeed in exhausting America till its last year in it.”
[Al Qaeda-linked Web site backs McCain as president, Detroit Free Press, 22 Oct 2008]
Okay: I'm willing to accept a presumed al Qaeda attack on 31 Oct 2008 as confirming my insane conspiracy theory.

... tho' I am betting that such an attack would not lead to a McCain victory, but rather to a suspension of the election!

Please remember: you heard it here first!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"Pulling a 'Bulworth'": a public service

Tonight on CNN's Hardball with Chris Matthews, MSNBC political analyst Chuck Todd wondered if the Republican candidates "were pulling a 'Bulworth'".

For those of you as ignorant of popular culture as I, here's the reference:
Bulworth: 1998 film starring Warren Beatty & Halle Berry

Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia's plot summary:
"... A veteran Senate Democrat, Bulworth is losing his bid for re-election to a fiery young opponent.
Tired with the state of affairs and politics in general, he then contracts to have himself assassinated within two days' time. Here, Bulworth takes a major turn, politically and personally. Knowing his time left on earth is short, he begins speaking his mind freely at public events and in the presence of the C-SPAN film crew following his campaign. His frank, potentially offensive remarks make him an instant media darling and re-energize his campaign.

[Wikipedia entry, >Bulworth]
I'm guessing that Chuck Todd's reference was to the highlighted section above... perhaps also suggesting that the Republican candidates were both "tired with the state of affairs and politics in general".
(I'm guessing, again, that Chuck Todd was NOT suggesting that either Sen. McCain or Gov. Palin was planning to have him or herself assassinated!)

Have a nice day.

On the campaign trail (NM1)

First of three televised debates held tonight between Dem. Martin Heinrich & Rep. Darren White, on KOB TV-4.
I didn't watch (WS, Game 1).

Public service: upcoming debates
KNME TV-5, 7 p.m., Thurs, 23 Oct
KOAT Channel 7, 4 p.m., Sunday, 26 Oct

Not televised:
Congregation Albert, Sun, 9:30 a.m., 26 Oct.
3800 Louisiana NE
[note: tickets may be required; I'll post info when I get it!]
In other news: Three of us started and finished a 1000-piece mailing today - pretty much 5 hours of uninterrupted folding/stuffing/sealing.

Less than 2 weeks till the election.
I sure hope we know results - at least for NM1 - when the polls close.
(In 2006 it was more than a week before final tabulation was completed - a very close race. Dem candidate lost by about 800 votes out of 200,000 cast!)

Have a nice day.

World Series, Game 1: Phillies 3, Rays 2

I'm pulling for the Rays.

[pointless aside: I think managers get way too clever with late-inning relief pitching!]

equal time

Lots of mindless chatter regarding:
Al Qaeda-linked Web sites revel in U.S. crisis, pull for McCain
By Joby Warrick and Karen DeYoung | The Washington Post
October 22, 2008
... "Al Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming election," said a commentary posted Monday on the jihadist Web site al-Hesbah, which is closely linked to the terrorist group. It said the Arizona Republican would continue the "failing march of his predecessor," President Bush.
Does anyone care?

Well... Just in case: I claim equal time!
Al Qaeda in Albuquerque endorses Sen. Barack Hussein Obama!
Because Sen. Barack Hussein Obama will NOT follow W's failed policies:
- policies that have directly contributed to the resurgence of al Qaeda in the wake of our Iraq fiasco;
- policies that have weakened America's economy;
- policies that have strained to the breaking-point America's military.

Sen. Barack Hussein Obama offers the country a change from the past eight years of Republican mis-rule, and a message of hope for the future.

... What's more: Sen. Barack Hussein Obama does not resort to fear to advance his candidacy, and is unlikely to resort to fear to advance his policies once President.
Note: "al Qaeda in Albuquerque" is NOT affiliated with Osama bin Laden's similarly-named organization!

Stop the madness!

politics be painful

I tune in to MSNBC, CNN, maybe a network newscast... to learn the NEWS.
What do I find instead? "McCain said...", "Palin said...", "Obama said..."
Sometimes there's a variant: "McCain spokesman said..."
OR - even more irritating - I find some Brilliant Political Analyst opining on just what it means (or meant) that "McCain said..."

... and then there are the polls.

I'm pretty sure the world has not stopped to watch our Presidental Campaign.
Where's the beef?... you know, the NEWS?

Have a nice day.

McCain fires Palin! Hires Lieberman!! Suspends campaign!!!

McCain fires Palin, Taps Lieberman
Swordfish1543, SNS correspondent
21 Oct 2008
Sen. John McCain announced late this evening that he had asked for Gov. Sarah Palin's resignation as VP, and that he'd "reached across the aisle" to Sen. Joseph Lieberman to replace Palin as his running mate.
McCain noted that, "Joe knows the difference between Sunnis and Shiites, and was alive during the Cuban Missile Crisis."
Nah - I made that up.

Will it find it's way into the discussion?

I doubt it... but I can hope!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bay Buchanan is crazy!


apologies for reposting material not my own...

... but some folks get paid to write eloquent rhetoric.
I'm not one of 'em.
The screenwriters of The American President, on the other hand...

Here goes: excerpts from President Andrew Shepard's speech, The American President:
"... America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours." You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms.

Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.
THAT is the America I learned in 8th-grade Civics!!!

G&S and the economy (honest!)

Visitors to AQA may notice that The Gilbert & Sullivan Archive is listed as one of my favorites.

One of my correspondents (an old Army bud) forwarded the following:
(To the tune of "Here's a Howdy-Do", from the Mikado)
Here’s a how-de-do!
If I bail out you,
All the other firms will follow,
Till the federal bank is hollow.
If I bail out you!
If I bail out you!

Was the Quant jock smart?
Pulled mortgages apart,
Rearranged them willy-nilly,
Turning B’s to A’s, that’s silly.
Why’d they ever start?
Were they really smart?

What did Shiller say,
Long before today?
“We are in a housing bubble,
Subprime credit swaps are trouble,”
That’s what Shiller said.
He could look ahead.

Here’s the guy from Bear
In his underwear,
Nothing left inside his closet,
Nothing earned for a deposit,
Do we really care?
Here’s the guy from Bear.

Where’s the S.E.C.?
Setting markets free!
Let all the banks self regulate,
The profit motives really great,
So said the S.E.C.,
Who led the S.E.C.?

Morgan may be next!
Now we’re all perplexed.
No more money in the budget,
What the hell, we’ll have to fudge it.
Let our children pay,
That’s what we all say!

Here’s a how-de-do!
If I bail out you,
Our taxpayers will be hurtin’,
That we know for good and certain.
Here’s a how-de-do!
Here’s a how-de-do!
Sometime now long ago I opined that an appropriate Gilbert & Sullivan or Tom Lehrer quotation could be found to match just about any situation.

I was right!
... well... okay - this isn't really G&S, but I'll count plausible parodies!
Stop the madness!!!

Another of W's successes!

Russia, Iran and Qatar discuss forming gas cartel
By NASSER KARIMI, Associated Press Writer Nasser Karimi, Associated Press Writer
Tue Oct 21, 2008
TEHRAN, Iran – Russia, Iran and Qatar made the first serious moves Tuesday toward forming an OPEC-style cartel on natural gas, raising concerns that Moscow could boost its influence over energy markets spanning from Europe to South Asia.

The litany of W's "accomplishments" is simply flabbergasting!

Recall: Qatar is location of CentCom communiques during Iraq invasion. They aren't - or, at any rate - weren't our enemies!

We won't talk to Iran?
No problem - the Russians will!!!
Ah, yes. I almost forgot:
"I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue.

I was able to get a sense of his soul."

[Bush and Putin: Best of friends]
Stop the madness.

A long, desultory post: my beliefs, my fears

Note: this post has been delayed a day or so, awaiting the Hardball transcript.
I want to get the quotation right!
'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Friday October 17, 2008:
[Minnesota Congresswoman Michele] BACHMANN: What I would say—what I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look. I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America?
Followed closely by...
[N.C. Congressman Robin] Hayes: "... liberals hate real Americans that work and achieve and believe in God."
Me? My bona fides:
Enlisted in U.S. Army, voluntarily, April, 1975.
Honorable Discharge.
Registered to vote, 1971.
Voted in every Presidential election from 1972 forward.
(note: I voted for McGovern in 1972 - I've moved to the Left since then!)
Filed Federal & state income tax annually, 1974-2007.
Retired from Fortune 100 company.
I consider myself an American.
Not only an American, but a loyal and patriotic American!

What I know of government, and much of what I know about America, I learned in public schools. My knowledge of government? - pretty much limited to 8th-grade Civics class (thank you, Miss Helen Giffert!).

Required reading in 10th-grade U.S. History class: Masters of Deceit, by J. Edgar Hoover.

I am extremely distressed to hear our elected Representatives espouse the opinion that, as a self-confessed liberal, I am anti-American.

The implication seems to be that if I question my Government, if I suggest that just maybe things could be a little different - perhaps a little better - then I hate my country.

I sing in a church choir - and have for the past 12 years.

I am voting straight-ticket Democratic this time around - perhaps the first time in my political life I have done so (I frequently have voted in protest for meaningless 3rd-party candidates, at all levels).
Because I am afraid of the Republicans!
They believe that I am anti-American!
They believe that I hate America, MY country!!!

Do I care what Sarah Palin's wardrobe costs?
Do I care that Sarah Palin none-too-subtly insinuates that Sen. Obama is a terrorist?

My vision of America is shaped by texts memorized in Miss Giffert's 8th-grade Civics class:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..."
[Declaration of Independence]

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

[The Gettysburg Address, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania;November 19, 1863]

"... Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

[The New Colossus, Emma Lazarus]
Stop the madness!!!

On the campaign trail

Day 2 getting a mailing out.

I got a paper-cut... folding!
If anyone can explain to me how this is possible, I'd be happy to learn!

The power of a C&L reference

About a week ago I self-promoted to Mike's Blog Roundup over at Crooks and Liars.

I repeated the self-promotion on Sunday, 20 Oct.
Apparently this flood of self-promotion was too much for Mike Finnigan to ignore!
Yesterday, AQA got a mention in his "Off the beaten path" section.
The result?

I had 376 visits yesterday!

My typical readership? Something less than 20 visits/day.

Will any of these folks return? Who knows?
... BUT: it was fun!

Returning the favor: visit Crooks and Liars.

Have a nice day.

The Vice-Presidency and the Senate

Q: Brandon Garcia wants to know, “What does the Vice President do?”
PALIN: That’s something that Piper would ask me! …
[T]hey’re in charge of the U.S. Senate so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom.

[Palin: Vice President “In Charge of” the Senate (!?!), Jackson Free Press, 21 Oct 2008]
Our first Vice-President, John Adams, tried this. As Joseph J. Ellis reminds us in Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation:
During his eight years in office Adams cast more tie-breaking votes - at least thirty-one and perhaps as many as thirty-eight - than any subsequent vice president in American history...
But after Adams's initial fling at participating in the debates,
the members of the Senate decided that the vice president was not permitted to speak.
"It is to be sure a punishment to hear other men talk free hours every day," Adams wrote to Abigail, "and not be at liberty to talk at all myself, especially as more than half I hear appears to me very young, inconsiderate, and inexperienced."

[Founding Brothers, page 166]
From Vice President of the United States (President of the Senate) we learn that:
Holding the least understood, most ridiculed, and most often ignored constitutional office in the federal government, American vice presidents have included some remarkable individuals.
Under the original code of Senate rules, the presiding officer exercised great power over the conduct of the body's proceedings. Rule XVI provided that "every question of order shall be decided by the President [of the Senate], without debate; but if there be a doubt in his mind, he may call for a sense of the Senate." Thus, contrary to later practice, the presiding officer was the sole judge of proper procedure and his rulings could not be turned aside by the full Senate without his assent.

The first two vice presidents, Adams and Jefferson, did much to shape the nature of the office, setting precedents that were followed by others. During most of the nineteenth century, the degree of influence and the role played within the Senate depended chiefly on the personality and inclinations of the individual involved. Some had great parliamentary skill and presided well, while others found the task boring, were incapable of maintaining order, or chose to spend most of their time away from Washington, leaving the duty to a president pro tempore. Some made an effort to preside fairly, while others used their position to promote the political agenda of the administration.

During the twentieth century, the role of the vice president has evolved into more of an executive branch position. Now, the vice president is usually seen as an integral part of a president's administration and presides over the Senate only on ceremonial occasions or when a tie-breaking vote may be needed. Yet, even though the nature of the job has changed, it is still greatly affected by the personality and skills of the individual incumbent.

[Reprinted from:
Mark O. Hatfield, with the Senate Historical Office,
Vice Presidents of the United States, 1789-1993,
Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1997, pp. xiii-xxiii.]
And finally, from the U.S. Constitution:
The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.
[U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 3]
Note: I'd hoped to beat Keith Olbermann to the punch on this one, but lost!
[BUT: I do have references other than the U.S. Constitution!]

Have a nice day.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Preparing my public

Loyal readers:
This blog was begun as an avenue to vent my continual anger at W and his minions.

As the 2008 election approaches, I doubt - despite my insane conspiracy theory - that I'll have W to kick around much longer.

When Sen. Obama is chosen by the Electoral College, I'll have nothing else to bitch about.

At that point, I anticipate winding down this blog.
Who knows? Maybe I'll find myself compelled to continue writing anti-Administration polemics... but I doubt it.

Prepare yourself.

Back to basics.

I've recently found myself engrossed by politics.
That was NOT the original intent of this blog.

As stated on left-hand banner, the original intent was to, "Restore the U.S. Constitution as the Supreme Law of the Land!"

What would I prefer to see the campaigns debate?
"We the people of the United States, in order to
form a more perfect union,
establish justice,
insure domestic tranquility,
provide for the common defense,
promote the general welfare,
secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity
do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
There's plenty of wiggle-room here.

Honest people, espousing honest positions, can honestly disagree on the best ways by which to attain these ends... but I'd prefer every candidate, from county dog-catcher on up, start from the premise that these six (6) simple aims are our aims.

These six simple aims ought be the basis of all political discussion.
How ought we attain them?

Have a nice day.

What does this mean?

Momentum building for new economy-boosting package

"Economy-boosting package"???

Hmmm... wonder if I'll get a tax rebate?
... or perhaps a check from the govt for... what, $50,000???
That'd be nice.

What happened to "balance the budget"? Isn't W a fiscal conservative?

Once upon a time I harped on the $600,000,000,000 we've squandered in Iraq. Now? Heck - that looks like a bargain compared to what's quickly becoming $$$ measured in trillions for economic relief!!!

Could someone please explain to me why anyone is voting for McCain???

Stop the madness!!!

On the campaign trail (2)

Back at Campaign Headquarters today - helping with a mailing.
I've probably mentioned this before:
there are 5 basic tasks associated with preparing a mailing:
Most of my day was spent on task #2: address.

Peel off pre-printed label; affix to envelope.

At one point I took a break, and contributed to task #3: fold!
Fold letter; insert contribution envelope.

There were 4-6 of us working on this. I arrived at about 11:30 a.m. and left at 4:30.
One fellow worked from 10 to 4.

We completed about 2/3 of a 1300-piece mailing.
Rumor was that others would be showing up after work to complete the project.

Back to Campaign Headquarters to work on two more mailings!
(Maybe I'll get to stuff!!!)

Have a nice day.

On the campaign trail (1)

I attended a campaign event last week - the second such I've attended since june.

This one? B-day party for The Candidate, held at O'Neills pub, complete with bluegrass music.
As the campaign manager noted: if we can't get people to show up for beer & music, we're in bad shape.

O'Neills being an Irish pub, I drank Guinness.
(note: I'm not a big fan of Guinness... but O'Neills is an Irish pub!)

After the obligatory 2 pints, I headed home.

The music - several different bands featured - was wonderful.

"Happy Birthday, Martin!"

Blast from the past (2)

0% tax rate:
If your respected opponent attempts to label you as a “tax and spend liberal”, point to our ballooning deficit, and suggest that “tax and spend” is a somewhat more responsible policy than “borrow and spend.” Use some homey examples to illustrate your point. (e.g., “How would you counsel an alcoholic who takes out a second mortgage on his house to pay for booze?”)

If s/he presses the point, suggest a 0% tax rate. Argue that if lower taxes are uniformly good, then no taxes ought to be perfect. Ask him/er why s/he does not advocate no taxes. What ought be funded? How does s/he propose to pay for it? [Note: the “no taxes” idea might appeal to the Grover Norquist wing of the Republican party – don’t worry: they’re not going to vote for you – the Democrat – under any circumstances!]

There are tons of statistics out there strongly suggesting W’s policies have been a boon to Big Biz and a disaster for the rest of us. Use ‘em! [easy ones: gas prices, 2003 vs today; oil prices 2003 vs today.]
(Yep - I'm recycling & self-referencing... it's easy!)

Blast from the past (1)

"THE PRESIDENT: They will try to hide, they will try to avoid the United States and our allies - but we're not going to let them. They run to the hills; they find holes to get in. And we will do whatever it takes to smoke them out and get them running, and we'll get them."
[President Urges Readiness and Patience, Remarks by the President, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Attorney General John Ashcroft; Camp David; Thurmont, Maryland; 15 Sep 2001]

[Mullah] Omar: I am considering two promises. One is the promise of God, the other is that of Bush. The promise of God is that my land is vast. If you start a journey on God's path, you can reside anywhere on this earth and will be protected... The promise of Bush is that there is no place on earth where you can hide that I cannot find you. We will see which one of these two promises is fulfilled."
[Mullah Omar - in his own words, The Guardian, Wednesday September 26 2001]
Given the following, I'm betting on Mullah Omar:
Official: 30 killed in Taliban bus attack in Afghanistan
CNN, 19 Oct 2008
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) -- Afghan officials say Taliban militants have killed about 30 Afghans after stopping a bus on a highway and taking the passengers hostage.

Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi says 31 people were killed in the attack in the Maiwand district of Kandahar province, a dangerous region just west of Kandahar city.

Azimi says six of the dead were beheaded.
Stop the madness!!!

Let's talk about the re-distribution of wealth.

Sen. McCain has been very vocal lambasting Sen. Obama's tax plan as a "redistribution of wealth".

Let's look at the data for a moment.

Since 1981 - spear-headed by Reagan's "trickle-down" economic theories, wealth has been redistributed.
In 1981, median household income was $40,573. In 2006 (latest figure available), it was $48,201. (Both cited in 2006 dollars).
This represents an 18.8% increase over 25 years.
In 1981, the 95th percentile of household incomes was $117,419. In 2006 (again, latest figure available), it was $174,012. (Both cited in 2006 dollars).
This represents a 48.2% increase over 25 years.

The rich have been getting richer relative to the median!

So, yes - let's talk about the redistribution of wealth in America!

Wow - it's a good thing we went after Saddam!

Okay - that heading is a bit too flippant an intro for the following:
Official: 30 killed in Taliban bus attack in Afghanistan
CNN, 19 Oct 2008
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) -- Afghan officials say Taliban militants have killed about 30 Afghans after stopping a bus on a highway and taking the passengers hostage.

Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi says 31 people were killed in the attack in the Maiwand district of Kandahar province, a dangerous region just west of Kandahar city.

Azimi says six of the dead were beheaded.
Pretty gruesome.

Folks, we're now losing two wars - one of which is actually directly related to the 9/11 attacks.
Osama bin Laden is still a free man.
Mullah Omar is still a free man.
The Taliban are sufficiently resurgent to operate openly and brazenly within Afghanistan - stopping a bus to execute the passengers.

Stop the madness!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This is fun!

Pity poor John McCain.
Today on Fox News:
MCCAIN: Of course. It was a package that had to be enacted because the economy was about to go into the tank.
If we don't turn — the housing market was the catalyst — the greed and excess, and Fannie Mae and Freddie, which some of us proposed legislation to rein in — the Democrats were in charge of Congress for most six — for the last couple of years, and they did not act, and so — and Senator Obama did not act.

[Transcript: John McCain on 'FOX News Sunday', 19 Oct 2008]
And what do we learn today about Freddie & Fannie?
AP IMPACT: Mortgage firm arranged stealth campaign
By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer
19 Oct 2008
WASHINGTON – Freddie Mac secretly paid a Republican consulting firm $2 million to kill legislation that would have regulated and trimmed the mortgage finance giant and its sister company, Fannie Mae, three years before the government took control to prevent their collapse.
To quote a Miller Beer ad:
It doesn't get any better than this!
Those of you who've been paying attention will recognize that McCain's latest Fox interview is consistent with his repeated diagnosis of the problem:
Freddie & Fannie are the culprits! If only the Dems had agreed to regulate 'em, we wouldn't be in this mess.

Again, those of you who've been paying attention will recognize that Freddie & Fannie may be emblematic of the problem, but they ain't the cause... and it was the Republicans' fervent faith in de-regulation that contributed to both the little-"s" sin of not more stringently regulating Freddie & Fannie, and the the big-"S" Sin of not regulating anything at all that led us into this ditch.

"The market is perfect" and "regulation is bad" are Republican mantras.
McCain's attempts to pin this on the Dems are pathetic!

Stop the madness!!!

p.s. ... and if Sen. McCain's diagnosis of current economic meltdown is that it's all due to Freddie & Fannie, what does that say about his ability to seriously address anything resembling a serious solution?

Powell's endorsement - just a snippet

As everyone who cares knows by now, Gen. Colin Powell today endorsed Sen. Obama on "Meet the Press".
Gen. Powell gave a number of reasons.
I'm going to draw attention to a teeny little bit, an almost inconsequential bit, sandwiched in between much else that Gen. Powell had to say:
I'm also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?
['Meet the Press' transcript for Oct. 19, 2008]
Gen. Powell nailed it, and did what Sen. McCain has been unable to do: distinguish the correct answer from the really right answer.

I alluded to this previously, noting that Sen. McCain's robocalls may contain narrowly "truthful" claims... but are NOT "honest"... and that Sen. McCain seems unable to distinguish between these two concepts.

Gen. Powell's "really right" answer to the supposed Muslim slur is perfect. What if Obama were Muslim? So what???

Recall - just a few days ago, Senators McCain and Obama appeared at a charity dinner in honor of Alfred E. Smith - the first Catholic to run for President. Al Smith's Catholicism was an issue, and contributed to his defeat at the polls. Similarly, John Kennedy's Catholicism was an issue which he confronted directly in his Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, a speech that has become a model of modern political rhetoric.

When will it be okay for an American Muslim to run for President?

I note that Gen. Powell's inclusive vision of America is far-removed from what the McCain campaign in particular, and the Republican Party in general seem to espouse... and that Gen. Powell's inclusive vision is much more in line with what the Framers had in mind:
"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."
[U.S. Constitution, Article VI]
Stop the madness!

meanwhile: Iraqi govt asserts its independence

Shiite bloc holds off OK to US-Iraq security pact
By ROBERT H. REID and QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press Writers
19 Oct 2008
BAGHDAD – Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's ruling Shiite coalition withheld support Sunday for the proposed security pact that would keep U.S. troops here for three more years, dealing a setback to American hopes of a speedy approval of the agreement.

Just a reminder: The U.N. mandate under with U.S. forces in Iraq currently operate expires in December.
Without a SOFA in place, the U.S. will have no legal authority to keep troops in Iraq.


Stop the madness!