Monday, June 30, 2008

Some fun "worsts" (well, "fun" may not be the right word)

CORRECT: U.S. stocks plunge; worst June for Dow since 1930
Thursday June 26, 6:57 pm ET
By Kate Gibson

Stocks end difficult first half with quiet session
By TIM PARADIS and JOE BEL BRUNO, AP Business Writers
Mon Jun 30, 2008
NEW YORK - ... This was the worst first half for the Dow Jones industrials since 1970, when the country fell into recession. The more diverse Standard & Poor's 500 and Nasdaq composite indexes had their worst first half since 2002, when Wall Street was still suffering through the aftermath of the dot-com bust, the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and a recession.
Light, sweet crude, which began the year at $96 a barrel, fell 21 cents Monday to settle at $140.00 on the New York Mercantile Exchange while retail gasoline set a new national average of $4.086 a gallon, according to a survey of stations by AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express.

Note: Oil declined to $140/bbl!!!

Detroit car sales set to be ‘worst since 1990s’
By John Reed in London
Published: June 30 2008

I have to live in this economy with everyone else, and do own stock. I'm not all that tickled with this news!... BUT: it may be time to dust off Carville's, "It's the economy, stupid!"... as a nice bit of icing on an already rich cake.

[A new contest: "How can/will the Dems shoot themselves?"]

Have a nice day.

No comment

US, NATO deaths in Afghanistan pass Iraq toll

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Personal pointless post

I now have a brand new Dell computer.
In the best of all possible worlds I'll keep this one virus-free.

Meanwhile... well, not much.
The Sox beat the Cubs. Sigh.

Don't tell Mom!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Needed: more and better Democrats!

Congress passes Iraq war spending bill
By CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press Writer
26 June 2008
WASHINGTON - The Senate passed a $162 billion war spending plan Thursday, sending to President Bush legislation that will pay for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan until the next president takes office.


Say it slowly.
One-hundred and sixty-two BILLION dollars.
We can't afford universal health care, or even S-CHIP.
Our bridges are falling down.
Our farmlands are under water.
BUT - we CAN afford $162,000,000,000 for another year in Iraq!

I can't tell you how tired I am of "Dems Cave to W" headlines!

More and BETTER Democrats needed.

Remember Jean Schmidt? She's the OH-2 Representative who insulted John Murtha on the House floor. Anyway... she's being opposed by Dem Victoria Wulsin. In recent polls, OH-2 is found to be majority DEM for the first time ever. If you're so inclined, you can give Wulsin $$$. Here's her ActBlue page. [To learn more about Victoria, visit her campaign webpage.]

While you're at it: Martin Heinrich is the Dem candidate in NM-1. The district has been Republican since its creation in 1968. This year it is an open seat, with Martin Heinrich the Democratic candidate for Heather Wilson's old seat. If you're so inclined, visit Martin's ActBlue fundraising page. [To learn more about Martin, visit his campaign webpage.]

More and better Democrats now, today!

Stop the madness!

The few, the proud... the chickenhawks

Cheney aide Addington says he didn't write memos
By LIBBY QUAID, Associated Press Writer
26 June 2008
WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney's top adviser on Thursday refused to claim any responsibility for the adoption of harsh interrogation methods following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks during a combative exchange with congressional Democrats.

Hmmm... now that it looks like there might NOT be a "permanent Republican majority", seems W's minions want to flee.

If I were Addington, I'd avoid the EU for next few years. Some diligent French policeman might just take him into custody for War Crimes. (Note: The U.S. has asserted the more sweeping right to kidnap British citizens in the pursuit of its "War on Terror".)

There are very few almost universally applicable "guides to moral behavior".
Among them:
"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."
[Matthew 7:12]

"If you'd be ashamed to have your Mom know what you're doing, don't do it."
(paraphrase of poorly remembered quotation)
I suppose I could add something along the lines of,
"If you'll want to deny it tomorrow, don't do it today."
It's really pretty simple.

See Addington.
See Addington run.
Run, Addington, run!

Stop the madness!

Uh oh! I think I'm in trouble...

In two recent Supreme Court decisions I agree with Scalia!

US Supreme Court rejects death penalty for child rapists
Scalia joined the 4-member dissent. I'm ambivalent about the death penalty... but, if it's allowed for anything, it ought be allowed for child rape. The majority opinion cited "disproportionality" of crime to punishment. Okay - I'll agree the death penalty is not proportionate to, say, stealing a loaf of bread. But child rape? Yes, I agree with Scalia, Roberts, Alito, and Thomas in their dissent.

High court affirms gun rights in historic decision
In this case, Scalia wrote the majority 5-4 decision. The 2nd Amendment is devilishly ambiguous - I believe deliberately so, as a compromise between Madison & Hamilton. Me? I take at face value the phrase, "... the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." The alternative, from my perspective, is to parse all other Amendments in the Bill of Rights so as to dangerously weaken the core protections W has largely ignored. In support of the other Rights, I defend the Right to keep and bear arms. Note: I do not own a gun and am not a member of the NRA. If it weren't for the 2nd Amendment I'd be in favor of amazingly strict gun-control legislation... I just can't see my way clear to restricting "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" while vigorously advocating for 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendment protections.

Me & Scalia: yeah, let's have a beer together!

W appeases North Korea

Bush administration to lift North Korea sanctions
USA Today
From staff and wire reports
26 June 2008
WASHINGTON — President Bush announced Thursday that he will lift U.S. economic sanctions against North Korea — a charter member of the "axis of evil" — and remove it from the U.S. terrorism blacklist now that Pyongyang has met a key requirement of its promise to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

THIS is what it means to appease: Not simply talking to your foes, but giving them good stuff in return for promises of future good behavior!

Yes, W is an appeaser!!!
Shout it from the rooftops!!!
... and let his minions now be silent regarding Obama's willingness simply to talk with Iran!

W, who pointedly rejected then SecState Powell's suggestion that W would take up where Clinton left off in talks with N. Korea, now offers the evil Commies - one of the most repressive regimes on earth - good stuff in return for promises to end its nuke program!

W is so desperate for anything to call a legacy, next thing you know he might even admit... ah, nevermind!

I note that North Korea has recently - within the past couple of months - been implicated by W's Administration in aiding & abetting Syria's acquisition of nuke capability!

W: Man of Principle!

Calling a spade a spade: W - The Appeaser!

Fun bumper sticker

Carpe Mañana

Water falling from the sky!

There's water falling from the sky!

I think it's called "rain".
Main Entry: 1rain
Pronunciation: \ˈrān\
Function: noun
Usage: often attributive
Etymology: Middle English reyn, from Old English regn, rēn; akin to Old High German regan rain
Date: before 12th century
1 a: water falling in drops condensed from vapor in the atmosphere

[Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionary]
I've read about it in books!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A call to action - write your Senators!

Okay, writing letters to your Senators might not do much except make you feel better... but there's nothing wrong with feeling better!

Me? I just Sens Dodd & Feingold, and my two Senators, Bingaman & Domenici, email stating my distress regarding the so-called "compromise" on telecom immunity included in the House version of revised FISA legislation.

I cited the 4th Amendment, and included my "wishful thinking" Federal Court opinion.

Dodd & Feingold are pretty much guaranteed to vote against the so-called compromise, so you'll just be preaching to the choir - but it can't hurt to let 'em know they've got support!

Domenici is hopeless, and I don't expect my opinion to sway him - but again, just letting him know my opinion, as one of his constituents, is a pretty painless "feel good" activity.

I'm betting that Bingaman is already set to vote against the so-called "compromise", but if he needs any nudging, a letter/email or two can't hurt.

Have fun.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Optimism: the American Experiment

I just watched the final episode of a re-broadcast of the History Channel series, The Revolution.

It is good to occasionally return to our roots.

Ours is the first country to be "invented".
It is one of the few invented countries which has succeeded.
The French Revolution produced anarchy and Napoleon.
The Russian Revolution produced Stalin, and a now-failed state.

The U.S. Constitution was written by fallible men who dreamed.
That it continues to inform our politics and our policies is a testament not only to the Framers, but also to ourselves - each and every one of us, Americans!

We have weathered invasion (War of 1812), Civil War, imperialism, two World Wars, the Cold War... and 9/11.

We've never quite lived up to the ideals inherent in our Constitution, but have somehow managed to move forward - striving for a State that respects individual liberties. This is no small achievement.

Many of the Framers were extremely mistrustful of mob rule, but they shrugged and took what compromises they could - a Senate elected by state assemblies, the franchise granted by the States. [aside: as a 4th-grader in Casper, Wyoming, I learned that Wyoming was the first state to grant the franchise to women.]

Just as I don't believe in a long-past "Golden Age" in which the average yeoman farmer was supremely well-informed about politics and policy, neither do I believe in a long-past "Golden Age" in which we lived up to the ideals inherent in our Constitution. The Framers could not abolish slavery. Lincoln - the paragon who restored the Union - unconstitutionally suspended habeas corpus, and oversaw the dreadful - and illegal - treatment of Confederate POWs.

We are an on-going experiment in the rule of law. I would go so far as to say that we are a unique experiment - but that would require honest research! What other invented country shares our record of success?

We will survive W.


Will the Dems find a way...

... to lose?
Consumer confidence sinks to 16-year-plus low
I continue to hope that despite themselves, Dems will win this November... if only by citing liberal-biased reality repeatedly!

How Republicans think

As everyone now knows, McCain advisor Charlie Black in an interview with Fortune, when questioned about the effect of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil, confessed his belief that, “Certainly it would be a big advantage to him [McCain].”

First: I note that Obama has already begun to frame this appropriately. He has noted that it is Republican policies that have left us vulnerable to another terrorist attack, 6.5 years after 9/11. He has further noted that it is the Republican Iraq fiasco that continues to drain resources from Afghanistan and the hunt for bin Laden.

Second: Just how do Republicans come to the conclusion that another terrorist attack on U.S. soil would be to their advantage? Wouldn't such an attack reveal their failure to protect us?

Finally: The unspoken story behind Black's gaffe is the simple truth that Republicans view the world through a political prism - what would this event mean for my Party and my Candidate... without even pretending to consider the larger ramifications. What ought any sane U.S. citizen say when asked about a terrorist attack on U.S. soil? "It would be a tragedy, and we as a country would respond with all deliberate force!" ... To reflexively respond to such a question in terms of politics - what would it mean for McCain in the election - is simply incredible!

[Okay - I lied. The previous comment was not "finally".]

When bin Laden released an audio tape prior to the 2004 elections it was hailed as a boon for W.
Doesn't bin Laden's freedom to release audio tapes whenever he chooses reveal the failure of W's policies?

Sen Obama is on the right track. Use the continuing threat of terrorism as an argument against the Republicans! If W's policies had worked, we'd not be discussing future terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

[I believe I just dug myself into a rhetorical hole: suggesting that Republicans respond to question about terrorist attack in terms of politics, and then turning around and advocating that Dems respond to similar question by citing the failure of Republican policy. What follows is my attempt to dig myself out.]
Q: How would a terrorist attack on U.S. soil influence the U.S. election?
Dem response: If there were a terrorist attack on U.S. soil between now and the election, it would be a tragedy. We, as a country, would respond by rallying around our President, and do everything in our power to effect justice.
BUT, the very fact that we are still entertaining such a question is a stunning indictment of Republican leadership: now, today, six-and-a-half years after 9/11, bin Laden is still at large, the Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan, and we still fear attack by extremists. Isn't it time to try something other than failed Republican policies?
Did that work?

[Digression: long-time readers of this blog will recall that I'm betting on a "terrorist" attack on U.S. soil on Halloween. The attack I'm betting on will have been orchestrated by Cheney and carried out by Hezbollah - under Cheney's direction. W will use the attack to declare martial law, adjourn Congress, and cancel the elections... thus attaining Rove's "permanent Republican majority" by fiat! Yes, I am delusional.]

Stop the madness!

still not as bad as Zimbabwe... BUT!

Report Sees Illegal Hiring Practices at Justice Department
Published: June 25, 2008
WASHINGTON -- Justice Department officials over the last six years illegally used “political or ideological” factors to hire new lawyers into an elite recruitment program, tapping law school graduates with conservative credentials over those with liberal-sounding resumes, a new report found Tuesday.

How to achieve the "permanent Republican majority": turn the U.S. into a banana republic! Hire your friends... and ONLY your friends. Fill every vacancy with right-thinking recruits. Make personal loyalty to The Leader and the Party the only criterion that matters. "Heckuva job, Brownie!"

Any bets how long it'll take our country to recover from W?

Stop the madness!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Three cheers for the Federal Judiciary!

In a first, court says military erred in a Guantanamo case
By Marisa Taylor | McClatchy Newspapers
23 June 2008
WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court for the first time has rejected the military's designation of a Guantanamo detainee as an enemy combatant.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned as "invalid" a military tribunal's conclusion that prisoner Huzaifa Parhat is an enemy combatant.

Cool! Our Constitution seems to be working, despite all of W's devious attacks. The Courts, over which the Executive has no direct control, continue to find for the plaintiffs!... and against W!

Close Gitmo. Today.

I've stated my position before: W's policies have undermined our credibility so completely that no conviction of a Gitmo detainee could be seen as credible by the international community. Let 'em all go. Even the "baddest of the bad". We've no other course that will come close to restoring our reputation.

For what it's worth: W would like to have the competence to declare YOU an "enemy combatant" - held incommunicado indefinitely on his say-so. Jose Padilla - a U.S. citizen - was held in just this legal limbo for years before THE COURTS finally granted him a habeas hearing. He has since been convicted.

9/11 changed everything? Only in the small minds of W and his minions.
The U.S. Constitution is still our founding document, and the Law of the Land.

Stop the madness!

"Bad" is relative!

Police raid Zimbabwe opposition headquarters
By ANGUS SHAW and JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press Writer
23 June 2008
HARARE, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe's opposition leader took refuge in the Dutch Embassy after pulling out of the presidential runoff, and the U.N. Security Council condemned the government Monday for a "campaign of violence" that has prevented a fair election.

Okay, Siegelman was prosecuted on what appear to be purely political grounds... but still, as a rule the opposition in the U.S. isn't subject to arbitrary arrest and political violence, even under W.

Yes, I believe W and his minions have done everything they could to undermine the U.S. Constitution, BUT: the U.S. is not yet Zimbabwe!

I can publish a blog called "al Qaeda in Albuquerque" without being arrested; a blog that espouses anti-Administration, anti-W views!

I can volunteer on a political campaign without worrying about a grenade being tossed in the window by the opposition.

The U.S. I know I learned in 8th-grade Civics, and I really do love it!
This U.S. is still recognizable, but has become less so with every day of W!

Stop the madness!

in memoriam

Comedian George Carlin dies in Los Angeles at 71
21 June 2008
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Comedian George Carlin, a counter-culture hero famed for his routines about drugs and dirty words, died of heart failure at a Los Angeles-area hospital on Sunday, a spokesman said. He was 71.

A voice of reason is no longer.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

a very loose association

A few nights ago, Keith Olbermann hosted an expert who bemoaned the ignorance of the American electorate.

First: I do not challenge the basic premise - yes, the American electorate is largely uniformed. [last time I checked, a very large percentage believed that Saddam was responsible for 9/11!]

Second: I DO challenge the secondary premise - that once upon a time, in some long-lost Golden Age, the American electorate was informed.

I recall (perhaps incorrectly) that students of the American Revolution cite statistics to the effect that 25% of the populace supported the Revolution, 25% opposed it, and 50% didn't care one way or the other.

Most of us, most of the time, don't give a hoot about politics or policy. We are struggling to live our lives as best we can.

I am reminded of a Tom Lehrer commentary:
Speaking of love, one problem that recurs more and more frequently these days, in books and plays and movies, is the inability of people to communicate with the people they love: husbands and wives who can't communicate, children who can't communicate with their parents, and so on. And the characters in these books and plays and so on, and in real life, I might add, spend hours bemoaning the fact that they can't communicate. I feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up!
Yes, I admit that this is a loose association.

Nevertheless - professional pundits, and those of us now immersed in politics and policy, need to recognize that most folks - our friends - are simply trying to live their lives as best they can!

Me? I believe that "living my life as best I can" at the moment requires that I pay attention to politics and policy... but I'm okay with the idea that many of my fellow citizens don't quite see things this way!

Have a nice day.

I'll take it!

A loyal reader notes,
I'm seeing more and more blogs saying "stop the madness." I think you started something.
Hey- I'll take the credit! I'm not proud! (... or tired)
[Observant readers of a certain age might recognize those last words... from Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant.]


Stop the madness!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Blast from the past: self-referencing (again!)

Okay - repeated self-referencing isn't cool... nevertheless, with oil now around $135/bbl, I just can't help myself!
A deal for Saddam: What might have been
Suppose that 5 years ago today, 19 March 2003, the Congress had voted to strike a deal with Saddam:
We'll buy all Iraq's oil for $90/bbl, starting immediately - 20 March 2003.

The going price was ~$30/bbl.
This proposal would have represented about a 200% mark-up over then-current market price.

Would Saddam have accepted the offer?
For a 200% mark-up over market, I'm betting, "yes".
We might even have been able to throw in a couple of provisions:
- Give U.N. weapons inspectors full access.
- Devote at least 1/3 of the $$ to improving infrastructure.
- Act bellicose towards Iran.

Iraq's pre-war production was about 2.5Mn bbl/day. Let's be generous and say it was 3Mn bbl/day.

To date we would have paid (20 March 2003 - 19 March 2008):

What has the war cost to date?
[as of about 10 p.m. MDT, Tues, 18 March 2008. Click link for current estimate.]
[Latest direct cost of the war - as of 21 June 2008? $530,322,349,849. If this post were updated today, 21 June 2008, the cost of the proposed deal would be $518,670,000,000... again, less than estimated direct cost of the war... and, again: we'd have the oil!]
The $90/bbl deal would have cost about $8Bn dollars less than the war so far.
(... and war costs are accelerating!)

Saddam might have given us a big bear hug in return for our largesse.

AND: we'd have the oil! - paid for with U.S. taxpayer $$.
We could have simply GIVEN IT AWAY to Exxon-Mobil, or any other of W's oil-patch buds.

They'd have had to pay for shipping & handling, but paid $0 for the crude!

What might have been.
$90/bbl vs $135/bbl. Hmmm... doesn't sound like such a bad deal in retrospect.

Stop the madness!


More congressional computers hacked from China

Clearly I haven't been paying attention.
I was unaware that Congressional computers had been previously hacked from China!

China - the largest Communist country in the world, and one of our strongest trading partners!
Human rights record? Pretty close to 0 last I checked.
Recent: Tibet.
Less-than-recent: Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Cool! China is now hacking U.S. Congressional computers!
The vast amount of information that the attacks, which occurred over the past two years, may have acquired from the computers has lawmakers concerned that the hackers may be selling it to other countries.
[; emphasis added.]
Note: what sounds like a fairly serious security breach has occurred on W's watch - he who would have you believe that his primary job is protecting our country!

Stop the madness!

Wishful thinking (my own)

What does the FISA bill say about telecom immunity?
"The compromise bill directs a federal district court to review certifications from the attorney general saying the telecommunications companies received presidential orders telling them wiretaps were needed to detect or prevent a terrorist attack. If the paperwork were deemed in order, the judge would dismiss the lawsuit."
[House passes new surveillance law]
As suggested this past Monday by dday on Hullabaloo, this sounds a lot like a paper-whipping exercise.

My wishful thinking? That the first federal district court to review an AG "certification" finds that...
The United States Constitution being the Supreme Law of the Land, the Executive has not the competence to arbitrarily abrogate any of its provisions, among which are the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures and the requirement for a warrant based on probable cause.
"Competence" is here used in the legal sense:
The quality or condition of being legally qualified to perform an act.
[The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, fourth edition, copyright 2000]
Aside: my "wishful thinking" court opinion ultimately derives from another quotation from A Man for All Seasons
Richard Rich: ... He [Thomas More] said, "Parliament had not the competence", or words to that effect.
[Rich is testifying to a conversation with More in which Rich claims to have asked, why, if Parliament has declared King Henry VIII Head of the Church, More refuses to accept this Act of Parliament.]
Any chance any federal court judge will quote this play?

Stop the madness!

They don't all cave!

Tom Udall (D-NM), who is running for Domenici's vacated Senate seat, has this to say:
Why I Voted 'No' On FISA
by Tom Udall for Senate
Fri Jun 20, 2008
The FISA bill we considered today would compromise the constitutionally guaranteed rights that make America a beacon of hope around the world.

Today's vote was not easy. I stood up to leaders of my own party and voted against this bill, because I took an oath to defend Americans and our Constitution, and it was the right thing to do.

That duty is most important when it is most difficult. We can protect our nation while upholding our values, but unfortunately, this bill falls short.
If you're so inclined, you can send his Senate campaign $$$ to encourage this behavior:ActBlue Eschaton Challenge.

I note that Udall is running for Domenici's vacated Senate seat - Domenici was NM's Republican Senator. Udall's challenger, Steve Pearce (R-NM) ran his primary campaign against Heather Wilson (R-NM) on the claim that Heather wasn't a real conservative!

Somehow, Udall isn't afraid that his vote against FISA will come back to haunt him in November.

Hooray for Tom Udall!

An object-lesson for Congressional Dems

Defying U.S., EU scraps Cuba sanctions
By Ingrid Melander and David Brunnstrom
Thu Jun 19, 2998
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union states agreed on Thursday to scrap sanctions against Cuba in a move aimed at encouraging democratic reforms on the Communist island, officials said.

The lifting, agreed despite U.S. calls for the world to remain tough on Havana, will pave the way for a new dialogue with Cuba but come with calls that it address human rights concerns and free political prisoners.

[Emphasis added]

You see - it is possible to defy the U.S. and survive! Perhaps Congressional Dems ought try something similar: defy W!... What do they fear?

The issue at hand: I've never really understood how Nixon could open relations with China, and how subsequent Administrations have strengthened our economic ties to China - the largest Communist country in the world, not known for its human rights record... but little Cuba is too much a threat to the U.S. for us to consider even tentative steps towards engagement. Is Florida - with its large expat Cuban population - the only explanation? Is it impossible to win a national election if you even suggest normalizing relations with Cuba?

Meanwhile, our fearless Dems continue to cave to W on fundamental Constitutional issues. Sigh.

Stop the madness!

Friday, June 20, 2008

W's minions: toss the Constitution!

Graham: Detainees get better treatment than Nazis
By Manu Raju
Posted: 06/12/08
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Thursday that terrorist suspects will receive better treatment than the Nazis now that the Supreme Court has ruled detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have the right to habeas corpus.
"The court gave al Qaeda members the same status as an American citizen. They said an al Qaeda member has a constitutional right to go to a federal court of their choosing and say, 'Judge, let me go,'" Graham told reporters outside the Senate chamber. "The Nazis never had that right."

Graham, a loyal ally to GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and a former military prosecutor, said he would look at legislative options to overturn the ruling, including a constitutional amendment if necessary.

[Emphasis added]

W's minions are fond of this talking point: "We're giving al Qaeda benefit of law!"

Two points ought be made:
1. The argument assumes that the detainees are members of al Qaeda. This is in fact the point of a habeas hearing: allowing detainees to challenge their detention on the basis that they're NOT al Qaeda, and that the U.S. has no evidence that they are al Qaeda! Just because W says you're al Qaeda doesn't make it so!

2. Give al Qaeda benefit of law? You bet:
William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
[Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons; emphasis added]
This in a nutshell is the argument against torture, against "extraordinary rendition", against extra-legal anti-terrorist tactics of any kind. Those laws we ignore to get the bad guys are the very laws that protect US! We ignore them at our peril.

For my own safety's sake!

Stop the madness!

"Dems cave to W"... again

House passes new surveillance law
By PAMELA HESS, Associated Press Writer
Fri Jun 20
WASHINGTON - The House on Friday easily approved a compromise bill setting new electronic surveillance rules that effectively shield telecommunications companies from lawsuits arising from the government's terrorism-era warrantless eavesdropping on phone and computer lines in this country.
[emphasis added]

We need better Democrats!

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Which word(-s) don't they understand?

W and his minions shred the Constitution. Congress passes law forgiving 'em.

Stop the madness!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Our MBA President (continued)

Audit Faults KBR's Repairs of Hurricane Damage
Report by Pentagon Inspector General Cites Substandard Work, Overpayments
By Derek Kravitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Efforts by defense contractor KBR to repair hurricane-damaged Navy facilities were deemed shoddy and substandard, and one technical adviser alleged that the federal government "certainly paid twice" for many KBR projects because of "design and workmanship deficiencies," the Pentagon's inspector general reported in an audit released yesterday.

Note: I do not blame KBR. I blame W.

As noted frequently on this blog, private enterprise is in business to make money. Publicly traded companies have basically one obligation: fiducial responsibility to their shareholders... i.e., making money.
This does NOT necessarily translate into the imagined "efficiency" W and his cronies seem to accept as axiomatic.

Yes, in an ideal free market, efficiency may be a tactic adopted to attain a competitive advantage. In the absence of this ideal free market there is really little or no incentive for a company to be efficient.

In the absence of a market, a mechanism for ensuring that you get what you pay for is writing contracts with strict, enforceable controls... and this is something W's minions seem unable to achieve.

Stop the madness!

Our shame (continued)

Documents confirm U.S. hid detainees from Red Cross
By Warren P. Strobel | McClatchy Newspapers
17 June 2008
WASHINGTON — The U.S. military hid the locations of suspected terrorist detainees and concealed harsh treatment to avoid the scrutiny of the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to documents that a Senate committee released Tuesday.

If someone could explain to me how W's policies distinguish the U.S. from your run-of-the-mill totalitarian regime, I'd appreciate it!

Hiding detainees in our custody from the Red Cross???
How low can we go?

... former Navy general counsel Alberto J. Mora, who fought a private battle within the Pentagon to maintain longstanding interrogation rules, writes that "our Nation's policy decision to use so-called 'harsh' interrogation techniques during the War on Terror was a mistake of massive proportions. . . . This interrogation policy -- which may aptly be labeled a 'policy of cruelty' -- violated our founding values, our constitutional system and the fabric of our laws, our over-arching foreign policy interests, and our national security."
And he [Mora] says the cost has been paid in American lives: "[T]here are serving U.S. flag-rank officers who maintain that the first and second identifiable causes of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq -- as judged by their effectiveness in recruiting insurgent fighters into combat -- are, respectively the symbols of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo."

[Torture's Bad Seeds, The Washington Post, 17 June 2008. Emphasis added.]
Again, what has become of my country?

Stop the madness!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Guess we didn't get rid of 'em

Taliban prep for battle outside Kandahar

I seem to recall we chased the Taliban out of Kandahar in 2001.

The article notes that
Taliban militants destroyed bridges and planted mines in several villages they control outside southern Afghanistan's largest city in apparent preparation for battle, residents and officials said Tuesday.
"Several villages they control"???

$500,000,000,000/year on Defense, and we're losing two wars to third-world guerillas!

Stop the madness!

What's the rush?

Another "Dems cave to W" headline seems to be in the works.
FISA negotiators near deal
By Manu Raju
Posted: 06/13/08
House and Senate negotiators are on the verge of striking an accord on a contentious overhaul of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), several aides said Friday.
The "contentious" issue is telecom immunity.
The proposed agreement would give federal district courts the authority to review whether civil liability protections should be afforded to those companies that received orders from the administration to wiretap phones after Sept. 11, 2001, aides said Friday.
I can't say that I understand what this means. Dday at Hullabaloo suggests it amounts to a paper-whipping exercise: if the courts determine that the Administration gave the telecom a written guarantee that all was kosher, the telecom is immune from prosecution.

Speaker Pelosi is said to be pushing to get the bill passed before the July 4 recess.

What's the rush?

Do the Dems fear an imminent terrorist attack for which they'll be blamed if the bill is NOT passed? [Note: my personal belief is that telecom immunity is a poison pill deliberately included by the Administration for just this purpose - to provide a pretext for adjourning Congress in response to a "terrorist" attack prior to the fall elections... this is my grand conspiracy theory.]

Stop the madness!

Monday, June 16, 2008

meanwhile... Iraqi government asserts itself!

Impasse in US-Iraqi forces talks
BBC News
13 June 2008
Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki has said that talks with the US on a long-term agreement allowing US forces to remain in Iraq have "reached an impasse".

I'm pretty sure SecState Rice would assert that, "no one could have foreseen" this possibility!

Me? I view it as good news, on a couple of levels. First, it suggests that the Iraqi Government takes Iraq's sovereignty somewhat seriously. Second, it thwarts W's goal of bequeathing to his successor our endless engagement in Iraq.

Go Maliki!

Stop the madness!

Will we match the Sadrist's goodwill?

Al-Sadr followers warn against arrests
By KIM GAMEL, Associated Press Writer
16 June 2008
BAGHDAD - Followers of anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr signaled Monday that they won't resist a military crackdown in one of their last southern strongholds unless government troops make arrests without warrants or commit other violations.

The article notes that Sadrist's have expressed support for "the imposing law operation."
"There is agreement among all the parties and blocs, including al-Sadr's office, on the necessity of imposing the law ... yet the rights of the citizens should be preserved while this operation is implemented," [The Sadrist governor of Maysan province, Adel] Mhodir added in a statement on the provincial government's Web site.
Now, with U.S. & Iraqi government forces act accordingly?

In the past we've taken advantage of al Sadr's compliance by targeting him and his militia. Let's hope we've learned that this is self-defeating!

Note: this being an Associated Press article, the headline naturally stresses the Sadrist's belligerence - they "warn against arrest". The headline paints a rather one-sided picture of the situation, and ignores that the real news is that Sadrists support the government's actions! This is typical of AP, which has consisently taken a pro-government view... almost always interviewing Iraqi government spokesmen when covering al Sadr & his movement; seldom bothering to seek or publicize the Sadrist view.

Meanwhile: some good news from Iraq

Iraqi violence down and gov't confidence rising
By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer
16 June 2008
BAGHDAD - Signs are emerging that Iraq has reached a turning point. Violence is down, armed extremists are in disarray, government confidence is rising and sectarian communities are gearing up for a battle at the polls rather than slaughter in the streets.

Could we truly be at a "turning point"?
Does it matter?

As the article goes on to note,
Those positive signs are attracting little attention in the United States, where the war-weary public is focused on the American presidential contest and skeptical of talk of success after so many years of unfounded optimism by the war's supporters.
[emphasis added]
And for at least one candidate, it really doesn't matter.

I believe McCain's position is something like,
- if the war's going well, we need to stay.
- if the war's going poorly, we need to stay.
No matter the situation in Iraq, we need to stay.

Maybe Congressional Dems caved to W on war-funding for fear that they'd be accused of abandoning the fight just as we were starting to "win". Why do they still fear Rove?

Me? I'm one of the skeptics - and at this point my view of "winning" is getting out Iraq and letting the chips fall.

Stop the madness!

more of the same: Dems cave to W

Democrats to back down on Iraq war conditions
By Richard Cowan
16 June 2008
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats in the Congress, who came to power last year on a call to end the combat in Iraq, will soon give President George W. Bush the last war-funding bill of his presidency without any of the conditions they sought for withdrawing U.S. troops, congressional aides said on Monday.

I am REALLY tired of these headlines!

2008: More and BETTER Democrats!!!

Stop the madness!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"Let's hear it for the Supreme Court!"

Note: title is quotation from Tom Lehrer's song, Smut.
Court says detainees have rights, bucking Bush
By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer
12 June 2008
WASHINGTON - In a stinging rebuke to President Bush's anti-terror policies, a deeply divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign detainees held for years at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba have the right to appeal to U.S. civilian courts to challenge their indefinite imprisonment without charges.
At least one analysis suggests this ruling highlights the true stakes in the upcoming Presidential election: If McCain gets to appoint next Supreme Court justice, the dissenting minority of 4 could well become the slim majority of 5.

The same AP article as cited above notes that,
In a blistering dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia said the decision "will make the war harder on us. It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed."
I'll note only that Scalia's objection has nothing to do with the law, and everything to do with politics. It is "situational justice" at its worst... just the thing conservatives claim to abhor.

Aside: Habeas corpus is a cornerstone of Western legal tradition, effectively marking the boundary between totalitarian regimes and those governed by the rule of law. It is the single greatest protection afforded the individual against arbitrary executive power. It is not called the Great Writ for nothing! Scalia would happily toss it in the name of expediency in the so-called Global War on Terror.

Stop the madness!


Fighting viruses past few days.
Still at it.
Light/no posting till issues resolved.

I stand corrected

New, improved slogan:
For which McCain are you voting?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A different tactic...

One of my correspondents suggests that my soon-to-be-patented campaign advice:
Run of W's record, and make McCain run on W's record
may not sell the undecideds.

Okay... how 'bout:
Which McCain are you voting for?
... The McCain who denounced Christian Right as purveyors of hate, or the McCain who delivered commencement address at Falwell's Liberty University?

The McCain who condemned W's tax cuts, or the McCain who promises to expand W's tax cuts?

The McCain who condemns torture, or the McCain who refuses to vote on CIA's "enhanced interrogation" techniques?

Tar McCain with the "flip-flopper" label which stuck so well to Kerry.

Have a nice day.

Our shame: Gitmo

A few weeks ago, news was that military judge who'd seemed to be fair was summarily dismissed - no reason cited. This guy had done completely outrageous things, like insist that prosecution provide defense with "evidence". I somehow managed to not comment on this at the time.

Today Think Progress reports that
Gitmo interrogators told to destroy handwritten notes
A military defense lawyer today said that U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay were instructed by the Pentagon “to destroy handwritten notes that might have exposed harsh or even illegal questioning methods.” According to Navy Lt. Commander Bill Kuebler, who is representing Canadian Omar Khadr, interrogators may have “routinely destroyed evidence” that could have been used to defend Khadr and other detainees.
I've said it before: when the Soviets conducted "trials" like this the proceedings were denounced as "show trials", universally condemned by what passed for the civilized world.

Just how are kangaroo courts going to advance our case?

Stop the madness!

[p.s. My Gitmo solution? Close it immediately & release all detainees - even the baddest of the bad... there's simply no way "trials" can be perceived as fair at this point, and I'm aware of no legal basis for continuing to detain these folks. I remind folks that one of the accused was 15 years old at the time of his capture, and a Canadian citizen. Yes - we're putting children on trial!]

Thrice chastised

My stated position regarding Sen Clinton candidacy has been severely chastised by three loyal readers.
[My stated position: "If Sen Clinton is the Dem nominee, I'll vote for convenient 3rd party."]

The criticisms:
1. "Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good."
2. "Too many in politics cut their nose off to spite their face..."
3. "When I was young and inexperienced I voted for the man and not for the party. Now that I am older I realize that you vote for the party, not for the man."

Perhaps I'll rethink my "convenient third party" alternative.

Thanks to all.

[note: again - any advice for folks unable to post comments would be appreciated. I've no idea the problem!]

Saturday, June 7, 2008

"comment" problems...

Another reader confirms problems posting comments.

Do any who are able to post comments have any brilliant advice, suggestions?

Oops! My political insight fails again...

Not long ago I suggested that the pundits who cited Sen Clinton's strong showing in W.VA, PA, KY, etc., as evidence that Sen Obama would have problems in these states in general election ignored the fact that all the primary voters were Democrats, unlikely to defect to McCain.

I've now two sources who suggest my reading of the political winds is grossly erroneous:
1. A loyal reader - a supporter of Sen Clinton - sent me email with detailed argument outlining the grievances of Sen Clinton's supporters against Sen Obama;
2. The following blog article:
Angry Clinton Supporters Start Rallying for McCain Online
My deliberate avoidance of Democratic Presidential Primary campaign blinded me to the antagonism between the two camps.

My loyal reader cited my willingness to vote for convenient third party candidate in preference to Sen Clinton as an example of just what Sen Clinton's supporters might do as well if faced with prospect of Sen Obama's candidacy. I can't mount an effective argument against this use of me as an example - except to note that I am not a Democrat & have in the past voted for convenient third party candidate without offending my conscience. My assumption was that Democratic voters might stay home, but would likely not actively support McCain... I was wrong.

[Aside: loyal reader also noted that he'd been unable to post comment on this blog. Has anyone else experienced this problem?... (I note that those experiencing this problem will be unable to respond to the question - and that any responses in comments will tautologically be from folks who have no difficulty posting!)]

This is the second time in a week that my political insight has been falsified by data. I think maybe I should stick to trashing W and commenting on non-political news!

For what it's worth: I'll likely avoid the General Election Prez campaign, too - for fear that I'll find myself loathing Sen Obama, and again feeling compelled to pull the lever for a convenient third party candidate. (FYI: I've voted Libertarian & Green in the past.)

Note: I find this situation close to intolerable, and attributable solely to W. In the past I relished Prez election years - closely following the campaigns, keeping tabs on polls, etc. The end result of this diligence was often - as noted above - that I loathed both candidates by November & voted against 'em both. With W around I've not had this luxury, and so have been forced to ignore the campaigns. Kerry almost killed me - I did in fact loathe him by the time election day rolled around, believing that he'd run one of the most incompetent campaigns imaginable. It took some doing, but I was somehow able to swallow hard & vote for the major party candidate who wasn't W.

I'm feeling a bit more confident this time around. I believe that a one-eyed, gap-toothed, baby-eating ogre with halitosis can beat McCain - just as long as the ogre has "Democrat" stamped on the forehead! I am hence less worried about the prospect of voting convenient third party come November.

There are even times I feel I ought actively support McCain. I'd not wish W's mess on my worst enemy. Why bequeath it to a Democrat for whom I have any respect or sympathy? The prospect of bequeathing W's mess to McCain isn't all that intolerable: "Yeah, John, you go ahead & fix it!"... secure in the knowledge that 2012 would then be firmly in non-Republican hands!...

... then I snap out of it (so far, at least). "Another 4 years of Republican rule? AUGGH!" (Of course, with a Democratic veto-proof majority in both houses of Congress a McCain presidency might not be all that bad... Oops! Bad thoughts! Bad thoughts!!!)

Final note: IF major party candidate who isn't McCain LOSES in November, that candidate will be anathema to the Dems forever after... much as Kerry is today.

Have a nice day.

economic news: oil & jobs

Oil settled at $138/bbl. The 'experts' are looking for $150/bbl + $5/gal gasoline by July 4. There is some suggestion that these numbers do not reflect any underlying 'fundamentals', but rather the beginning of a speculative bubble. The fundamentals cited haven't changed much: increased global demand, driven by China & India, coupled with tight supply.

Meanwhile, U.S. unemployment now stands at 5.5%, a 0.5% month-to-month increase, "the biggest in 22 years." Employment numbers also noted fifth straight month of job losses - 49,000 in May, 324,000 for the year.

W - who not long ago (19 May) pooh-poohed the need for additional economic stimulus - today "is considering new measures to help stimulate the battered economy."
"... The Bush administration on Monday also reiterated its stance that it is too soon to consider a second economic-stimulus boost.
[, 19 May 2008]
Our MBA President - always on top of the situation!

I'm thankful that Heinrich headquarters is an easy bike ride away!

Have a nice day!

Friday, June 6, 2008


Are Dems caving again?
From Crooks and Liars:
The House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat disclosed late Tuesday that he is ready to accept a Republican-brokered deal to rewrite the nation’s electronic surveillance laws, signaling that a long-running congressional impasse could soon be coming to an end.

House Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes told CongressDaily that he is “fine” with language offered by Senate Intelligence ranking member Christopher (Kit) Bond and other Republicans to overhaul the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Notably, the GOP language, which was offered a day before the recent congressional recess, would leave it up to the secret FISA court to grant retroactive legal immunity to telecommunications companies that have helped the Bush administration conduct electronic surveillance on the communications of U.S. citizens without warrants.
[emphasis added]
I sent Reyes $$$ after his spirited letter to W rejecting telecom immunity.


Which word don't they understand?
Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The U.S. Constitution used to be the law of the land.

Yes, I know, it's a quaint, historical document... but to my knowledge it is still the basis of our government. Did I miss something?

I readily, freely, joyfully confess: what I know about government I learned in 8th-grade Civics. (I hope 8th-graders are still taught this stuff!)

Can I ask for a refund from Rep. Reyes (D-TX)?

Stop the madness!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

this, that, and t'other

This: Successfully completed my first day as volunteer for Heinrich: stuffed & stamped envelopes. Part of this was in fact "skilled" labor: the letters were addressed to individuals - hence the mailing label had to match the enclosed letter!

That: one of my Opera Southwest chorus colleagues was a fellow volunteer.

More "that": I was greeted by name when I walked in the door, by a fellow I didn't recognize. He remembered me from door-to-door petition drive a few months ago. I think I ought to take lessons from Carl on remembering names!

Still more "that": most volunteers were retirees - today is, after all, a weekday - who but retirees has the time? There were two notable exceptions: a pair of 10 yr old girls, there with grandma. Both labored conscientiously, stamping & labeling. One admitted that this was a lot more fun than staying home.

now to t'other: The Grand Conspiracy Theory.
Devoted readers will recall my "grand conspiracy theory": Cheney orchestrates "terrorist" attack on U.S. on Halloween. W declares state of emergency, adjourns Congress, cancels elections.

Question: what would prevent this? If our "Commander in Chief" chose to stage a coup, what could stop him?

Have a nice day.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

my near-term future has been determined

Martin Heinrich is the apparent Dem candidate for NM1.
'tween now and November I'll be volunteering on his campaign.
(Full disclosure: I sent $$$ and brilliant advice to all the Dem candidates - hedging my bets, as well as truly having no strong preference. I sent more $$$ to Heinrich than the others, but that's mostly because he was the first to declare his candidacy.)

My political instincts aren't all that great: I would've bet fair amount of $$$ that Heather Wilson would handily defeat Steve Pearce in the Republican race for U.S. Senate (Domenici's seat). Turns out Pearce was leading in most recent polls, and has 3%-4% lead in the primary as of tonight - looks like result won't be known till morning (a few typical New Mexico counting issues have arisen!).

The Republican candidate faces Dem Tom Udall in general election. The same poll that had Pearce leading Wilson also had Udall thrashing either Wilson or Pearce in the general.

There's a chance that NM Congressional delegation will be all Dem... not much of a chance, but a chance. All three House races are open seats - Wilson, Pearce, and Udall all vacated their House seats to run for Domenici's Senate seat. Most likely outcome: Pearce's House seat (NM2) stays Republican, Udall's House seat (NM3) stays Democratic. I'd like to believe that NM1 will go Democratic for the first time ever - the District was created in 1968, and has been Republican since then! Senate? Bingaman and Udall - both Dems!

Have a nice day.

more political commentary

Following Sen Clinton's lead, the media have been quick to pick up on the "Obama can't win the white working-class vote" theme. The pundits all note that in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, etc., Obama has lost to Clinton because the white working-class core of Democratic voters have gone for Clinton.

What no one seems to have noticed, however, is that these are all Democratic voters.

Will they really defect to McCain come November if Obama is the nominee? (Or alternatively, just stay at home, not voting?)

Yeah, there were some disgruntled folks at the DNC Rules Committee meeting screaming, "McCain in 2008!"... but seriously, are Clinton Democrats going to vote for McCain? Yes, this has been a bruising primary season. Yes, what started as a love-fest among the Dem contenders has gotten rather nasty at times... but still...

I take it as a given that Obama will be the nominee. Here I'll consciously adopt a misleading and meaningless argument: I know a number of Dems who'd rather vote for pointless third-party candidate than for Sen Clinton... I'm among them! The fault with this "argument": the concrete, specific example is deceiving - it ignores the meaningful demographics - the statistics. It seems plausible, and is powerful... but it can lead one to erroneous conclusions. The specific, the concrete - these ignore the big picture. (pointless aside: Paul Wolfowitz was fond of citing person X, a known al Qaeda associate who happened to spend a couple of weeks in Baghdad, as "proof" that Saddam and bin Laden were in cahoots. Again - the concrete example is very poor evidence!)
"Information presented in vivid and concrete detail often has unwarranted impact, and people tend to disregard abstract or statistical information that may have greater evidential value."
[The Psychology of Intelligence Analysis, Chapter 10: Biases in Evaluation of Evidence, Richards J. Heuer, Jr.]
Sen Clinton has some serious fence-mending to do between now and the convention. Her anti-Obama talking points can easily be lifted by McCain to use in the general election. Her willingness to do whatever it takes has hurt the party. If she's not to be anathema she's got her work cut out for her!

Me? If by some miracle Sen Clinton is the Dem candidate, I'll be voting pointless third-party.

Stop the madness!

jumping the gun

I'd originally planned (hoped?) to avoid commenting on campaign politics till at least after results were in tonight - from both the final two Presidential primaries, and from New Mexico primary (selecting Dem & Rep House candidates, and Rep Sen candidate).

Alas, having little else to say, my resolve has evaporated.

Here goes.

I've said it before & I'll say it again: to any and all Dem candidates for any and all offices - RUN ON W's RECORD!
"My opponent wants to engage in ad hominem attacks, accusing me of having carnal knowledge of my swine. I'll let him/her. If he/she could win on the issues, he/she wouldn't resort to these attacks. If you're happy with where the country is today, and with where it is headed, please: vote Republican! Me? I think it's time to stop the madness!"
As a rule I believe that simply attacking the opposition is a very poor campaign tactic. ANYONE can point out a problem.

For the past several election cycles, NM1 Dem challengers to Rep incumbents have relied solely on, "Incumbent is bad!" messages. I've found this foolish. For one thing, it's never worked - so why do folks keep using it? For another thing - as stated above - it's really easy to point out problems. Anyone can do it. The trick is to present yourself as the SOLUTION!

That said... This time around I think it perfectly reasonable to simply note that REPUBLICAN "leadership" got us where we are today, and to invoke the popular definition of insanity:
... doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results
[note: this quotation is poorly attested - attributed to, among others, Einstein & Ben Franklin!]
In this case it's simply insane to expect the Republicans to get us out of the many holes they got us into (Iraq, economy, health care, etc... pick your favorite hole).

For that reason, for this campaign only: run on W's record! "If you like where we are today, and where we're headed, by all means - vote Republican! Me? I think it's time to stop the madness!"

Stop the madness!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Help needed

To my loyal readers:
I've gotten rather bogged down in Iraq (apparently following our military!).

The original intent of this blog was to focus on civil liberties issues.

I've lost my way.

Any suggestions for posts would be greatly appreciated. In the absence of suggestions, I'm likely to keep beating the Iraq dead horse... and even I am getting tired of flogging that corpse!

Thanks in advance!

NM primary Tues, 3 June!

If you're registered with a party affiliation, here's your chance!

The NM primary is Tues, 3 June.

The race I'm watching is NM1 - New Mexico's First Congressional District. The Dems have three viable candidates: Martin Heinrich, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Rebecca Vigil-Giron. Any one of 'em would make a fine U.S. Representative for NM1! The Republicans also have perfectly viable candidates: Darren White & Joe Carraro!

I'm registered the NM equivalent of "Independent", so I don't get to vote in Tuesday's election.

But - if you're registered with a party affiliation - YOU SHOULD!

Best of luck to all candidates.

I'm hoping for a huge turnout!

I'm back!

... anybody miss me?