Saturday, November 04, 2006

Saturday Videos

The Stranglers ("Walk On By" from 1978 - their take on the Burt Bacharach/Hal David standard; I heard this on "Highs In The 70s" on WXPN today and it brought back memories - this is a pretty trippy and ultra-primitive video)...

...and Happy Birthday to Delbert McClinton ("Givin' It Up For Your Love," on "Austin City Limits" - gotta have the cowbell).

Finally, I would like to dedicate the following ("Lies," by the Knickerbockers from that groovy year of 1966, and check out that completely silent saxophone solo...influenced by the Fab Four maybe?) to the Mike Fitzpatrick campaign (I received another unbelievable mailer from Fitzpatrick today regarding how he supposedly is a champion for stem cell research that I'll do my best to destroy before next Tuesday).

Patrick's New TV Ad

Here it is via YouTube (I have to admit, though, that I think the border "wall" in the southwest portion of this country is a stupid idea, but extra border guards isn't). More importantly, though, the ad points out Fitzpatrick's ridiculous voting record on this issue among others.

Also, here is an Inquirer analysis of another sleazy Fitzpatrick campaign ad referred to in the YouTube video (the Inquirer text appears below).

Campaign 2006: Adwatch
The advertiser: Fitzpatrick for Congress.

The race: U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.) vs. Democrat Patrick Murphy for the Eighth Congressional District seat.

The ad: "Everything."

Images and words: A still photograph of Murphy appears on the screen as an announcer says: "Patrick Murphy said he was raised in the district. The Courier Times says he wasn't. Murphy says he prosecuted New York's toughest criminals. Court records prove he never did. When asked where our kids went to school, Murphy called it 'trivial.' Patrick Murphy lied about who he is, exaggerated what he did, indifferent to who we are. He's everything that's wrong with Congress."

Analysis: Before the primary, in an April 19, 2006, editorial, Bucks County Courier Times quoted Murphy as saying, "I was raised for 20 years in this district." Murphy was raised in Northeast Philadelphia, near but not in the current Eighth District.

Murphy's campaign literature says he "prosecuted some of the toughest criminals in New York, North Carolina and even Baghdad." As an Army lawyer, he prosecuted felony cases in court-martial proceedings, a claim he backed with a letter from a superior at West Point.

He also was appointed a special assistant U.S. Attorney in New York's Southern District. His campaign provided a list of 15 case names he handled in that post, but no case file numbers. The Inquirer could confirm one misdemeanor case in federal court.

At a debate in Upper Bucks County on Oct. 12, Fitzpatrick asked Murphy if he knew how many school districts were in Bucks County. Murphy later told a reporter from the Morning Call in Allentown, "I didn't know this was a game of Trivial Pursuit."

Fitzpatrick's ad takes the word "trivial" out of context.
Fitzpatrick's entire campaign is "out of context"!

And by the way, you can access a copy of Patrick's appointment letter regarding his employment as a federal prosecutor in New York here.

To help Patrick, click here.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Gospel According To Pancake Joe

Perhaps in an effort to redeem themselves, the Philadelphia Inquirer featured Joe Pitts and Lois Herr of the PA-16 U.S. House race today in their “The Candidates Speak” segment. The topics they shared their thoughts on were Iraq (of course), taxes, and America (interesting that “taxes” would be so prominent, but as far as Bruce Toll and Brian Tierney of Philadelphia Media Holdings LLC is concerned, it’s all about priorities I suppose).

I’ll start with Pancake Joe first, because some of what he has to say is truly the stuff of cheap parody (the problem, of course, is that he’s completely serious).

IRAQ:While removing Saddam Hussein and taking the fight to the terrorists were the right things to do, mistakes have been made. Disbanding the Iraqi military and leaving hundreds of thousands of militarily trained men unemployed was perhaps the worst mistake.
Of course, it would have been nice if Pitts had bothered to point that out to President Stupid Head and the rest of Bushco at the time, but though I just checked, I have no record of him or his fellow Repugs ever doing anything than telling those unkempt liberal bloggers like me and other ne’er-do-wells who complained about Dubya’s Excellent Iraq Adventure to stop their whining, shut up and Clap Louder!

What happens next in Iraq will have a direct impact on the future of the broader Middle East. Withdrawal or defeat in Iraq would embolden the terrorists and leave Iran the dominant power in the region, with Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiite militias among its proxies. We must adapt to win. We must be willing to learn and change tactics. I believe there is nothing wrong with speaking to our enemies.
I would say that Joe is at least six months too late with this prediction.

And isn’t it funny how Joe is advocating “speaking to our enemies” after we blew Iraq to pieces while our enemy Saddam Hussein was telling us over and over that he didn’t have WMD any more; we obviously weren’t “speaking” to him at the time (not that I’d ever trust Hussein on anything, but the inconvenient fact for both Dubya and Joe is that, around March of 2003 before the war started, Hans Blix of the IAEA was saying the same thing as Saddam regarding the stockpiles).

Achieving results through personal relationships between leaders is always preferable to military engagement. We spoke with the Soviets and we should be willing to speak with Iran.
Then why did your boss just kiss off Ahmadinejad’s letter (yes, I know it was rambling propaganda of the “glass-always-half-full” variety, but since all of that is so familiar to Dubya, he should have recognized it immediately when it was spouted by another world leader…in the figurative sense only in Ahmadinejad’s case, though).

The bottom line, however, is that the War on Terror is a war we must win. Our enemy is consciously and methodically intent on the destruction of our way of life. Abandoning the fight where it is - in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere - would only result in the front line of the war returning to American cities. Whatever mistakes have been made, the War on Terror remains a war we must win.
Gosh, Joe, I was actually nostalgic to hear the inane claptrap of “We have to fight the terrorists over there so we don’t have to fight them over here.” I guess it was considered passé by all but the most primitive winger knuckle draggers such as yourself. It’s nice to know that you’re a man of convictions, regardless of how wrong they are.

TAXES:I oppose increasing taxes. Simplifying the tax code, enacting line-item rescissions, and ratifying the Balanced Budget Amendment are all important priorities that remain undone because of Democratic opposition in Congress.
If you and your fellow Repugs (and Dubya, of course) hadn’t pissed away the surplus you inherited from the Clinton Administration, there really wouldn’t be any urgency about this issue. And Clinton was a Democrat, wasn’t he, Joe?

While controlling discretionary spending is important, automatic entitlement spending is the real challenge. Without entitlement reform, we are headed toward a fiscal tsunami.
We’re pretty far along that path now because you and the Repugs have spent like a bunch of drunken sailors, blowing the budget utterly to pieces.

For a decade now, Republicans have urgently been pushing for legislation to permanently save and strengthen Social Security and Medicare.
Does cutting Medicare by $6.4 billion serve to “strengthen” it, I wonder?

We proposed guaranteeing current benefits and cost of living adjustments for all present and pending retirees, while giving younger Americans the option to let their Social Security investment earn money like other retirement savings. Not only was this a good idea, it remains the only idea that will work. Nevertheless, Democratic Party leaders in Washington are content to block any movement on this issue, preferring to use the issue to scare seniors and score political points. Inaction on this issue will eventually result in massive tax hikes and benefit cuts. Every year we do nothing costs us another $600 billion, just in Social Security.

In the absence of any serious proposal from Democratic Party leaders, it appears that they are content to let that happen.
As I’ve said many times in the past, we should have a bipartisan commission looking at both Social Security and Medicare (and I’m not big on bipartisan commissions, but we need one for these two issues). I’ve also said we should get rid of the cap of $90,000 on earnings subject to Social Security withholding.

And as far as the privatization scheme, there are probably many articles I could link to in order to debunk Pitts’ blather on this topic, but this one should suffice for now (i.e., younger workers no longer paying into the system and helping to dry up funds, the ridiculous cost of privatizing, the rewards for the financial services companies that would stand to benefit who contribute heavily to Republicans in terms of fees generated, etc.).

AMERICA:America remains the "city on the hill," shining for all to see. America remains the most prosperous, free, and egalitarian society in the world.

Americans give more to charity than any other people in the world and do more to help the poor and oppressed of other lands than any other nation. I have always been, and always will be, proud to be an American. I am concerned, though, that the traditional, nuclear family is threatened by pressures from many areas.
Wait for it…

Too many children in some demographic groups grow up in homes with no father. Too many men aren't taking responsibility for their families. The consequences of this are severe. Entertainment media, political leaders, religious institutions, and communities need to work together to reestablish the primacy of the family. The family is the fundamental building block of society. As the family weakens, America weakens. In Congress, I have been active in the Fatherhood Task Force, which works to promote responsible fatherhood.
The “Fatherhood Task Force,” huh Joe? Do you randomly invade homes in PA-16 to make sure that the mother is barefoot in the kitchen with the kids in tow while laboring over a hot skillet and Dad is sitting in his recliner in the living room with pipe and slippers wearing his jacket with patches on the elbows listening attentively to Fox News?

Sheesh (as far as I'm concerned, there is NO WAY that this is a legitimate function of any government deserving of my respect).

I have pushed for legislation to restrict the ability of courts to arbitrarily redefine the family. I have advocated for legislation to toughen enforcement of broadcast decency laws and promote marriage. I have a number of priorities on my agenda in Congress; strengthening and defending families comes first.
Funny how “strengthening and defending families” morphs so seamlessly into “hating the gay” for Republicans, doesn’t it?

Truth be told, I love the fact that Joe spends so much time on this typical boilerplate freeper nonsense. It allows great candidates like Lois Herr and Lois Murphy to concentrate on issues that matter, like providing better constituent service to the city of Reading which was divided by idiotic gerrymandering in Harrisburg.

Well, now that we’ve heard from Joe Pitts (R-T.V. Land), let’s hear from Lois Herr, who has run both an exciting and interesting campaign thus far.

IRAQ:Our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan is fueling terrorism. We must work to affect a comprehensive political solution there, redeploying our troops to the edge of the battlefield and not in the midst of civil war there.

To protect America from terror attacks, the 9/11 Commission's recommendations must be enacted. Congress again failed to do this year. Those recommendations are comprehensive and common sense. They balance security and civil liberties. The Commission issued a report card on the progress made about a year ago, and it is not encouraging.

Here is what I will work to get done in Congress:

- Redirect homeland security money to top threats.

- Pass comprehensive chemical and nuclear plant security bills that are not written by industry lobbyists.

- Fully fund police, fire and EMT needs, which Congress has again failed to do this year.

- Pass a serious bill that protects our ports and screens the 95 percent of cargo that comes into this country untouched.

- Stop adopting policies, such as condoning torture, that create more terrorists and put American soldiers at risk.

- Give law enforcement every legal tool to track and fight terror, but, without fail, protect our sacred Constitution.

TAXES:Tax cuts directed at the wealthiest, instead of middle-class families, do not increase consumer spending, which is the engine of our economy. We need to:

- Reform the tax code to flatten the rates, close loopholes, eliminate the AMT [alternative minimum tax], eliminate unnecessary IRS regulations, provide real tax relief to middle-class families, and encourage savings and investments, while keeping the mortgage deduction, child tax credits, and deductions for charitable contributions. This will reduce the deficit by about $100 billion over five years and reduce noncompliance, which costs $300 billion annually. If people see everyone paying their fair share, compliance goes up.

- Gradually eliminate the cap on the payroll tax and stop using the Social Security surplus to hide the real deficit.

- Limit farm subsidies so that the benefits go to family farms rather than huge agribusinesses.

- Stop funding weapons systems that are designed to fight the Soviet Union.

- Eliminate fraud and waste in all departments, particularly Defense, eliminate sweetheart contracts that the General Accounting Office says cost billions every year.

- Make earmarks for so-called "pork" spending completely transparent, which the Congress failed to do this year.

- Reform our health care system to decouple health insurance from employment.

AMERICA:I am happy that Americans are taking a greater interest in politics. I am also encouraged by the forgiving and generous nature of those who have suffered tragedy, as witnessed by the forgiveness extended by the Amish after the horrible events in Lancaster County recently.

I am particularly disappointed by the lack of competence demonstrated by the executive branch of our government, and I am concerned by the growing indifference and intolerance of those in the administration for the needs of the citizens of this country, not to mention the rights of all of us. Likewise, I am appalled by the failure of Congress to exercise its role of oversight over the administration in these matters.

I am also discouraged by the attempts of religious zealots to insert their moral beliefs into the legislative process and our laws. If elected, I will continue to speak up for the continued separation on church and state.

I plan to be elected, but if not, I will continue to work for health-care reform; farmland preservation; an open and responsive government; and the election of other, like-minded concerned citizens.
I have only a very minor qualm about the great things Lois had to say, and that is that I get nervous when people starting thinking of ways to try and “simplify” the Internal Revenue Service. I don’t like paying taxes either, but there is a reason why it operates the way it does (my reasons for defending it are personal). Hopefully I will never be audited, but until I am (again, hopefully not), I will continue to feel this way.

All of the campaigns are winding down, so if it’s still possible to contribute and help out Lois, please do so here (she will also need help with the “Get Out The Vote” effort, and if you live in PA-16 or the nearby vicinity, anything you can do would be GREATLY appreciated).

The Case For Patrick

I prepared an “omnibus” post of sorts a couple of weeks ago in response to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s silly endorsement of Mike Fitzpatrick in the U.S. PA-08 House congressional race, and at the time, I said I would do the same thing for Patrick Murphy at some point. I will get to it shortly.

First, though, I should note that the Bucks County Courier Times allowed Mikey to pout all over the place in his Guest Opinion today because he didn’t receive the paper’s endorsement (cue the tinny violin…”I’m just an Eagle Scout from Lower Bucks on a mission to do my good deed” – pardon me while I heave).

I’ll just share this brief excerpt with you…

The war in Iraq is far and away the most critical issue of our time, and I have laid out a clear plan for a new strategy for success that will bring our troops home quickly, safely and victorious as short-term benchmarks are achieved.
It is now official, ladies and gentlemen. Mike Fitzpatrick has lost his mind.

Given that, I would ask that you read the following letter from a member of the reality-based community.

In response to Rich Petrucco, who wrote a letter taking Democratic congressional challenger Patrick Murphy to task because nine months ago, on the cable TV program “Hardball,” Murphy said he hadn’t made up his mind whether or not he would have supported the war.

He states that he knows where Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick stands. Really?

Where does Fitzpatrick stand on the Iraq war? While Murphy has had a detailed plan for months about what he would do in Iraq, Fitzpatrick has been whacking Murphy for that plan, and then a month ago, he distances himself from Bush and his stay-the-course mantra. Of course, that is no longer in vogue.

What is Fitzpatrick’s stance? He wants to let the Iraq Study commission decide what to do. Now the neocons are coming over to the timeline theory, or should I say benchmark theory, something Murphy has been saying for months.

How disingenuous of Fitzpatrick to put out a commercial attacking Murphy when he has no position at all and we’re just a week from the election!

John Toth
Middletown Township
How indeed.

From here on out in this post, though, I want to highlight Patrick’s accomplishments and some key moments for him in this campaign, as follows:

As I noted yesterday, Patrick received the endorsement of Michael J. Fox for advocating embryonic stem cell research here (and a related post is here).

Michael Schiavo also supported Patrick as noted

This links to Patrick’s endorsement from the Bucks County Courier Times.

This notes that electing Patrick is crucial as part (hopefully) of the Dems taking over the U.S. House of Representatives next Tuesday.

This shows how the “swift boat” attack of Mike Fitzpatrick and Kevin Kelly backfired (with Patrick responding here).

Patrick meets with the parents of autistic children
here (and by the way, after this Guest Opinion was published, a Fitzpatrick supporter responded and noted that Mikey had secured $75 K in funding for autism research; a skeptic like me, though, would wonder if such a special appropriation was needed because research was under funded by this congress to begin with).

The letter from
here notes that Patrick is “someone with guts and a spine.”

Patrick appeared with Tim Roemer of the 9/11 Commission
here concerning the lack of transit safety, specifically on our rail lines, since the commission recommendations weren’t implemented by Dubya or the Repug congress.

Patrick calls on Mikey
here to return all of the campaign funding he received from the Repug congressional “leadership” responsible for covering up the Mark Foley scandal (somehow I doubt he ever did).

Patrick opposes torture

held a press conference at B.J.’s Wholesalers in Falls Township to address the Medicare Part D “donut hole” with a lady named Charlotte McClellan who, because of this legislative gimmick dreamed up by Mikey and the Repugs, could no longer afford her medication for multiple sclerosis.

As Patrick started to close the polling gap between himself and Mikey, his staunch support for Israel was noted
here (and here also).

Both Patrick and Mikey discuss Iraq in a YouTube clip

Patrick outlines “A Soldier’s Promise”
here, with the typical derisive response from Mikey.

As much as I dislike J.D. Mullane, I have to admit that he had a good idea
here to get Bill Clinton to campaign with Patrick (I was hesitant at first, but it was the right thing to do).

chides Mikey for his wasteful spending (another letter provides background on Patrick’s hard-earned accomplishments).

goes after Mikey for not having a position on Iraq and running to the Iraq Study Group for an answer instead.

Patrick defends his Catholic faith
here against the endless freeper onslaught he has faced in the pages of the Bucks County Courier Times during this campaign for his pro-choice position (mine also).

Patrick introduces his new G.I. Bill of Rights

Patrick and his entire staff signed the “honesty pledge” from the Bucks County Courier Times
here (Mikey signed also, though it’s obvious that he didn’t take it very seriously).

Patrick and “Murphy Corps” engaged in 8th-district community service projects

Patrick speaks out
here against Fitzpatrick’s “Delete Online Predators Act,” though Patrick may have recanted somewhat on that (I haven’t, though…the true goal is to absolve schools and libraries from liability in the event that something horrible happens to our kids and also to attack “social networking sites,” including blogs like this one – if Mikey were serious, he’d support hiring more police to patrol online at Patrick suggested).

John Toth (today’s letter writer, noted above)
speaks up for Patrick during last spring’s primary campaign against Andy Warren (who, despite my recent post, continues to do absolutely nothing to help Patrick, the standard bearer for the party he professes to support).

And Patrick speaks out here on a whole host of issues
here, including Medicare Part D, the rising cost of a college education, our costly, inefficient and downright STOO-PID energy policy in this country, and the horrible mismanagement of the Iraq war.
Also, please allow me to point out the following.

For anyone who believes that I support Patrick Murphy lock, stock and barrel on every little thing, please take note that Patrick supports the Patriot Act, and I most certainly do not. However, when voting, I think it’s wise to weigh what you might call “the preponderance of the evidence,” and that comes down squarely in Patrick’s favor as far as I’m concerned. I’ve never been a “single issue” voter for anyone, and I never will.

I’m not sure if it’s still possible to make a donation, but the campaign will definitely need help with the “Get Out The Vote” effort on Tuesday, so, as one of my final reminders to help out Patrick any way you possibly can, please click here.

Update: So “Saint McCain” is going to be in this area soon to campaign for Mike Fitzpatrick, according to the Bucks County Courier Times today.

Gee, I wonder if he’ll speak out about Mikey’s swift-boat smear on Patrick (next question) or even make amends for the fact that, when campaigning in Illinois for Repug State Sen. Peter Roskam – who apparently tosses around the “liberal” label as an insult when it suits him…nice guy – McCain mentioned how he visits troops at Walter Reed hospital who’ve lost limbs, somehow forgetting about the fact that Roskam’s opponent Tammy Duckworth lost both her legs when her chopper was fired on in Baghdad and hit with a rocket-propelled grenade.

(This is a YouTube link, by the way - sorry the audio is so bad.)

Let’s see if anyone asks McCain about that, OK?

Spies Like Us

I’m sure most of you know by now that our government shut down a web site they created in March that made public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war (this was reported in the New York Times). The reason why the site was shut down was because officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency and elsewhere complained that information contained on the site provided all some unscrupulous individuals would need to create a nuclear bomb.

As noted here via Atrios, Will Bunch is all over this one, quite rightly asking the wingnuts why they would want to help Iran (or anyone else) make a nuke (from what I’ve been able to determine, the wingnuts wanted this information published to show that Saddam Hussein was a threat worthy of our pre-emptive war, seeing as how people are sick of all of this and the Repugs are taking a beating in the polls over it).

So, for the sake of political expediency, the Repugs and their fellow travelers decided to endanger all life on this planet.

As I’ve said many times before, there is NO LINE these people will not cross.

And by the way, I happened to come across this column from Andrew C. McCarthy of the National Review Online (not the “Mannequin,” brat-pack ‘80s actor, but someone else altogether) in which McCarthy chastises Dana Priest of the Washington Post for supposedly publishing classified information in her columns (this was part of the right-wing diversion strategy as a result of the leaking of Valerie Plame’s identity as a spy).

McCarthy notes the following:

Federal law makes it a crime to disclose certain types of classified information such as nuclear secrets, data about intercepted information or codes, or the identities of covert case officers or agents working for the United States. The espionage statutes bar providing classified information to foreigners with intent to harm the United States.
I wish the statutes could cover everyone including all of the right-wing cheerleaders who advocate publishing Iraq’s nuclear secrets such as Glenn Reynolds, Michelle Malkin, John Hinderaker, etc., but at the very least, the statues should serve to restrict the actions of the conservatives who advocated publishing this information to begin with.

So here’s my question: when are those responsible for putting up this web site on Iraq going to be prosecuted under the statutes McCarthy notes above?

Probably at about the same time when we get an actual apology from these individuals for these actions, I would guess, which is to say never.

Admiral Joe Is Still Fighting

Sorry I'm late with this; I got all hung up on the "Kerry Non-Joke" stuff.

Dear Friend,

(It's) a fight to the end.

This morning, the NRCC placed a new attack ad against me. This is a fight to the end, and I need your final support!

Contribute Now.

There is no magic, or slogan, to what I ask of you today, before 7 PM. We are at the final stages of ensuring our victory in 6 days, but I do need your help in two ways.

Despite what you may have read recently regarding the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) pulling its support from my opponent (the sitting Vice-Chairman of the Armed Services Committee), the NRCC has not. This morning, the NRCC placed a new negative attack ad against me. This is a fight to the end!

I simply need additional funds today to "push back" and to place my ads in greater rotation through election day -- to maintain our lead in the polls! My ad buy is being placed tomorrow, thus your funds today are critical. Please contribute $25, $50, $100, $250 to ensure victory on the 7th:

Click here.

Second, Senator Kerry, who has been a tremendous supporter of my campaign, is holding a one-day contest that ends today at 7 p.m. on his website. The two House candidates with the largest number of votes will be selected to have an e-mail blast sent out on their behalf to Senator Kerry's 3 million donor base. With your vote for me on Senator Kerry's website, we have the possibility of raising additional funds to offset this latest negative attack by the RNCC and my opponent. I would be honored if you would vote for me.

Please vote.

We are almost on the verge of victory, in what has already been an incredible out-pouring of support from you. I know it is alot to ask, but if you could see your way to take action on the two steps above, I would be extremely grateful.

We will win this, on the 7th, thanks to you! Please forward this email to your friends and family!


Joe Sestak

P.S. Our television ad entitled "Veterans" -- has been getting tremendous positive feedback. You can view it here, in case you missed it last time:

Sestak Ad:
Click here.

Your contribution will allow this ad, and our new up-coming ad, to be seen by more voters in my District. Thank you.

Please contribute.
Two notes, by the way: 1) some of the information in the Sestak letter is dated by now, unfortunately, because I got it out here late, and 2) when you go to the John Kerry site, watch the video of Keith Olbermann - it's too good to miss.

Meanwhile, a grand jury has already been empanelled to review evidence the FBI seized last month from six raids of the home of Crazy Curt Weldon, his daughter, and some business associates (four in Philadelphia and two in Florida), noted here.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Thursday Videos

Happy Birthday to keyboardist par excellence Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake and Palmer (my wife hates prog rock, but that's's "Nutrocker," filmed in Belgium in 1971)...

...and I just felt like bringing back the timely update of "Lives In The Balance" by Jackson Browne.

Michael J. Fox Backs Patrick Murphy

I realize this probably isn’t an earth-shaking development since Patrick has always supported embryonic stem cell research and Mikey hasn’t, of course, but this is an important endorsement (so now, Flush Limbore can try to beat up on Patrick also – he’d better pack a lunch along with his Viagra and OxyContin).

As the Courier Times article notes…

Fitzpatrick has supported funding for adult stem cell research but opposed funding embryonic stem cell research because he said it hasn't been proven effective and requires the “creation and destruction of human life for medical research.
I realize trying to convince Fitzpatrick that the embryos would only be destroyed anyway is an exercise in futility at this point, so I won’t bother any more.

“I have supported and voted for all stem cell research currently being used to treat humans and that stem cell research has been proven effective,” Fitzpatrick said Wednesday. “Pat Murphy has intentionally confused the facts to meet his political ends.”
Oh, I don’t think so Mikey. There has been “confusion” on this all right, but not from Patrick.

Try reading this from the White House web site, particularly these excerpts…

Adult stem cells are unspecialized, can renew themselves, and can become specialized to yield all of the cell types of the tissue from which they originate.
“Of the tissue from which they originate” is typical Bushco weasel wording. What good does THAT do if adult stem cells from a fingernail are being used to help heal or grow a pancreas, for example?

To date, adult stem cell research, which is federally-funded, has resulted in the development of a variety of therapeutic treatments for diseases.
Well, I don’t know what kind of therapeutic treatments Bushco is talking about here, but I can tell you one body part that CANNOT be helped with healing or regeneration through adult stem cells, and that’s the human heart, as noted in this story.

Mikey and Bushco have already written their sorry legacy on this subject (noted here), and all that remains is for them to discover what the voters think about this and other critical issues next Tuesday.

Another Apology Candidate

Some of the freeper faithful in these parts have managed to get their last words in since the Oct.30th cutoff of responses to editorial letters and Guest Opinions submitted to the Bucks County Courier Times. Some of these people are outraged over the paper’s support of Patrick Murphy in the U.S. House contest with Mikey, and a Guest Opinion from a regular offender in that regard appeared today.

(A minor point: the author’s name is listed as “Don” Staedtler, though his rants have appeared under the name of “Richard” every other time – cue the “X-Files” theme music…).

I will spare you the usual litany of winger nonsense and instead point out this passage from Staedtler in particular.

…the late Gerry Studds of Massachusetts not only molested an underage male page verbally, but physically. Mark Foley is out of Congress. Despite being censored (sic – “censured” is the correct term, of course), Gerry Studds was continually elected until he retired in 1996. The Democratic Party supported him and even gave him a standing ovation for sticking it out.
I guess “sticking it out” is supposed to be “Don” Staedtler’s idea of a bad joke (and what class to attack someone after this person is dead, by the way).

Ironically, when the Courier Times reported his death, they only reported the glowing tribute from his husband who said he gave courage to gay people everywhere by winning re-election after publicly acknowledging his homosexuality. The Courier failed to report his molestation of a male page at the beginning of his career.
Now we turn to the reality-based community in the form of this Wikipedia article (in particular this section)…

Studds was a central figure in the 1983 Congressional page sex scandal, when he and Representative Dan Crane were censured by the House of Representatives for separate sexual relationships with minors – in Studds' case, a 1973 sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male congressional page who was of the age of legal consent. The relationship was consensual (which made it legal, in accordance with state law), although very unprofessional of a politician, presenting ethical concerns relating to working relationships with subordinates.

During the course of the House Ethics Committee's investigation, Studds publicly acknowledged his homosexuality, a disclosure that, according to a Washington Post article, "apparently was not news to many of his constituents." Studds stated in an address to the House, "It is not a simple task for any of us to meet adequately the obligations of either public or private life, let alone both, but these challenges are made substantially more complex when one is, as I am, both an elected public official and gay." He acknowledged that it had been inappropriate to engage in a relationship with a subordinate, and said his actions represented "a very serious error in judgment."
And about that standing ovation...

In addition to the censure, the Democratic leadership stripped Studds of his chairmanship of the House Merchant Marine Subcommittee. Studds was later appointed chair of the House Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries. Studds received two standing ovations from supporters in his home district at his first town meeting following his congressional censure.
So there’s grounds for another apology that won’t be forthcoming anytime soon.

A Festival Of Apologies

As long as our corporate media and the freepers continue to dump on John Kerry over his backfired joke attempt, I’d like to mention a couple of other individuals who could show some contrition also.

(That being said, though, I should add that I think Kerry was going a looong way to take a totally unnecessary shot at Bush. No, this isn’t ultimately important and it doesn’t deserve the attention and comment that it has received.

I say “unnecessary” because, at this point, two-thirds of the country, to say nothing of the world, knows George W. Bush as the total, unequivocal, abject failure that he is, and the other third will ALWAYS support him, so there’s no use trying to reach them. Aside from pure spite, I don’t know why Kerry felt that it was necessary to point that out again.)

This takes you to a Daily Kos post that notes the following exchange between House Majority Leader John Boehner (living up to his name here, as far as I’m concerned) and Wolf “The Beard” Blitzer on CNN:

House Majority Leader John Boehner: Wolf, I understand that, but let's not blame what's happening in Iraq on Rumsfeld.

Wolf Blitzer: But he's in charge of the military.

Boehner: But the fact is the generals on the ground are in charge and he works closely with them and the president.
To me, this is like Rudy Giuliani blaming our troops for not securing the cache of Iraqi munitions used to make IEDs, when the fact is that not enough troops were sent over to get that job done in the first place (which was definitely noted by Patrick Murphy, with Patrick quite rightly taking umbrage over that).

So it’s the fault of the generals then, John? How interesting (and kudos to Harry Reid for pouncing all over it).

(Speaking of Reid, I'm utterly shocked that John Solomon of the AP hasn't reported on the latest Reid scandal over his failure to tip a waitress 20 percent when he dined at Red Square in Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. You're slipping, John! YOU owe us an apology too).

The next person on the apology parade should be Dubya himself, and the text from Media Matters accessible from this link explains why.

During the 2004 presidential campaign, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) criticized Bush for relying on local Afghan militias to capture bin Laden at Tora Bora rather than using U.S. troops to do so -- which is precisely what happened, according to Ron Suskind's The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11 (Simon & Schuster, June 2006). Bush angrily denounced Kerry's "wild claim," as the Associated Press reported on October 25, 2004:

He accused Kerry of "throwing out the wild claim that he knows where Osama bin Laden was in the fall of 2001 -- and that our military had a chance to get him in Tora Bora."

That was a reference to Kerry's frequent assertion that the administration "outsourced" the job of hunting down bin Laden to Afghan warlords.

"This is an unjustified and harsh criticism of our military commanders in the field," Bush said. "This is the worst kind of Monday-morning quarterbacking."

Of course, Kerry wasn't blaming "our military commanders in the field" -- he was blaming Bush.

The Tora Bora controversy got a great deal of media attention in 2004, but now that Suskind has reported that Bush was personally warned that bin Laden would escape if Bush failed to send U.S. troops, the nation's leading news organizations apparently couldn't care less.
How typical (THEY sure as hell need to apologize also).

And I'll let Keith Olbermann have the last word on this with his stirring commentary.

Mikey’s “Flake-y” Spending

Looks like our 8th district U.S. House Rep sure didn’t “produce” any results on this one (I’ll explain the reason for the bad puns)…

When fellow Republican Congressman Jeff Flake of Ohio offered 19 amendments to cut wasteful pork barrel spending, like the $180,000 program to grow hydroponic tomatoes in Ohio, Mike Fitzpatrick voted to waste our tax dollars 18 out of 19 times.

(Source: 2006 House Roll Call Votes 190, 191, 192, 204, 205, 277, 278, 279, 280, 298, 299, 302, 304, 334, 335, 336, 337, and 338.)

Mike Fitzpatrick voted to cut Medicare and raise Medicaid co-pays for seniors, making them pay more for health care and long-term care.

(Source: HR 4241, CQ Vote 601, November 18, 2005; S 1932, CQ Vote 670, December 19, 2005; S 1932, CQ Vote 4, February 1, 2006; Washington Post, February 1, 2006.)

Patrick Murphy will cut taxes for seniors and middle-class families, not waste money on pork-barrel projects.

To change Washington, we have to change who we send to Washington (and to make that happen, click here.)

(The preceding was authorized by the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee.)
Also, speaking of Mikey, I took note of the following excerpt from J.D. Mullane’s fawning column about our House Rep today:

Fitzpatrick, running for a second term is, like most Republicans this season, in a tough race.

“The fight of my life,” Fitzpatrick said as he campaigned this week in Lower Bucks.

There are three reasons he is endangered: the war in Iraq, the war in Iraq and the war in Iraq.

This was made clear at the Levittown train station, when he introduced himself to a woman waiting for the R7.

“I'm against the war,” she said. “I can't stand Republicans and I can't stand President Bush. I know on local issues you're pretty good. But I see the big picture, and the cultural issues that we face are more important.”

“Well,” Fitzpatrick said, “vote your conscience.”

The election polls are all over. One shows him up by nine points over Democrat Patrick Murphy. Another shows a dead heat. Another shows he's behind.

If Fitzpatrick loses Nov. 7, it is because cosmopolitans like the woman at the train station outnumbered conservative Democrats. (“Reagan Democrats,” they were called in the 1980s.)
Of course you had to find a way to invoke your hero Ronnie Baby, the person who, along with Newt Gingrich, was most responsible for sending the ship of state careening out of control until we ended up stuck on the reef, so to speak, where we currently find ourselves (righted for a time under Clinton, which you’ll never admit, but run aground by Dubya and his fellow pirates).

So the woman at the train station is a “cosmopolitan”? What exactly are you trying to say, J.D.? Are you trying to malign her because she’s probably well educated and has a good job (my guess would be midtown Manhattan)? So if Mikey loses (God willing), it will be the fault of people like her?

This is the sort of provincialism I’ve come to expect from you, I have to admit. I’m sorry we’re all not “lifelong Bucks Countians” like you.

And I’d also like to add something to Mikey’s comment about this election as “the fight of his life.”

As Mullane pointed out, Fitzpatrick noted that if he loses, he’ll return to his law profession (and the same is true with Patrick Murphy, presumably with Cozen O’Connor).

So regardless of what will happen, either of these candidates should have a nice cushion for a soft landing (not saying that isn’t deserved, but merely pointing out a fact).

Let me inform Congressman Fitzpatrick of something, then.

Short of seeing actual combat, I would consider “the fight of my life” to be the everyday struggle to pay the bills, raise a family, hold down a job with reasonably good benefits including health insurance, squirrel away whatever I can into a 401(k)…that sort of thing. I definitely wouldn’t apply this to a political campaign (and one of the many ways in which Patrick Murphy is a substantially better man than you is that I don’t need to point this out to him).

And all of this has been made much, MUCH harder by our Republican “leadership” via the offshoring of jobs (which this administration doesn’t track, by the way), cutting student loans, creating the infamous Medicare Part D “doughnut hole,” making it harder to file to bankruptcy, passing off the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle class…that sort of thing. That represents the fight of MY life, Mikey (and that holds true for a good many other people, I would imagine).

And you and your foul Repug congressional leadership along with President Stupid Head are the reason why the battle gets tougher every day.

Update 10/19/12: Did you ever get a creepy feeling about someone, but you just can't put your finger on what it is that you think is wrong? That's the way I feel about Flake, and this bears me out even more.

Update 11/05/12: And this does even more (what a scumbag).

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wednesday Videos

Patrick Murphy's latest ad ("No Plan" - please contribute if you can so it can be aired)...

...and I just felt like bringing back the version of "Land of Confusion" by Disturbed.

A True Rogues Gallery

I would say that there are some captions that come quickly to mind regarding this photo, wouldn't you?

I was trying to find some other picture of Fitzpatrick aside from that stock one of him sitting at his desk that I've used here about a billion times, and I came across this earlier today from his campaign web site.

Let's see now - there's Gerlach here also along Crazy Curt, of course (at least it looks like Joe Pitts decided to do something right for a change and avoid any further incriminating evidence).

And Dubya - well, doesn't he just look SO PROUD!

My guess is that he'd just written the most perfectly formed "X" he could in lieu of his actual name over something of true importance to him, perhaps a secret order to extradite an "enemy combatant" to an overseas prison for torture, which is about par for the course with him.

And Mikey looks perfectly in character with this "how the hell did I get from being a Bucks County Commissioner to a clown in this circus" expression, doesn't he?

Oh, and I thought I should point out something to you, Mikey, concerning one of your captions.

It's spelled "Neshaminy" (look for it and you'll find it).

Time To Respond

The latest from the Patrick Murphy campaign...

Dear Friend,

We're officially less than one week away from Election Day!

With the election winding down and our campaign ramping up our opponent is getting more desperate than ever.

In the last few weeks Congressman Fitzpatrick has stopped at nothing to smear Patrick Murphy's record. First he questioned Patrick's service in Iraq. Then he lied about Patrick's service as a prosecutor. And now, in yet another shameless ploy, the National Republican Congressional Committee has put hundreds of thousands of dollars behind an ad that blatantly lies about Patrick's position on immigration.

Congressman Fitzpatrick and the Republican Party have not spent one single dollar on positive ads. We know that it's because the Congressman can't campaign on his record. Just look at it what he has to show for his time in Congress:

- He has been a rubberstamp for President Bush's failed policy in Iraq;
- He has blocked funding for the medical miracle of embryonic stem cell research;
- He has supported the President's plan to privatize Social Security;
- He has added $1 trillion dollars to our already record high debt.

Obviously, this isn't a record to be proud of. The Congressman therefore focuses every penny raised on slandering Patrick. We need your help to fight back!

Click here to sponsor a cable TV ad.

Our campaign has produced an ad to combat Fitzpatrick's dirty politics and force him to deal with the important issues that this election is really about.

Click here to view Patrick's new ad.

We have until tomorrow afternoon to raise the money we need to put this ad on the air. Please give all that you can. $100 buys one Cable TV ad. $500 buys one Network TV ad. With your help we can win in six days and begin to change the direction of our country.

Please contribute today.

Scott Fairchild
Campaign Manager
To learn more, click here.

The Inky Tries It Again on PA-08

This takes you to in-depth interviews that the Philadelphia Inquirer conducted with Patrick Murphy and Mike Fitzpatrick related to the U.S. House congressional race (“in-depth” being a stretch in Mikey’s case as far as I’m concerned).

I don’t intend to republish everything that they said, but I want to highlight Patrick’s thoughts on Medicare Part D and the men and women who have served our country.

There is a woman in Bristol Township who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a couple of years ago. After receiving treatment and medication, her disease went into remission. But now she is on Medicare Part D, and like so many Americans has hit the "doughnut hole." She therefore has to pay the next $3,000 for her prescription drugs out of her own pocket. She can't afford $3,000 on her fixed income and has not been able to take her MS medication for the last few months. Tragically, she is starting to see signs that her MS is coming back.

It makes me angry that Congressman Fitzpatrick knew the doughnut hole was coming, knew that people like this woman would be devastated when they hit it, but has done nothing to fix it.

What makes me feel good about this country is that the woman with MS, despite being bound to a wheelchair, now volunteers in my office nearly every week. She knows that we need a change of direction in our country and she believes that one person can make a difference. Every time I see her stuffing envelopes in my office it reminds me how important this election is and how together we are going to change how Washington works.

There is simply no rational basis for not allowing our government to negotiate with drug companies for the best price. The Veterans Administration is able to negotiate on behalf of their members and they can get prices that are nearly one-half the price of drugs under Medicare Part D. If our government were allowed to negotiate for drugs under Medicare Part D, we would be able to use the cost savings and completely close the doughnut hole.

What would I work on even if not elected?

A good military officer puts the interests of his troops ahead of his own. When I was an Army officer in the 82nd Airborne, this meant that the other officers and I ate only after we ensured that the men and women under our command were properly fed. It meant that I was charged with protecting their lives and well-being. And it meant that I would never let them down.

I will always continue that devotion to my brothers and sisters in uniform. The men and women of our armed services devote themselves to our great nation. That devotion compels them to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, to fight to protect it, and - for some - to lay down their lives in its name.

We dishonor the sacrifices of these great Americans when we fail to provide them with the resources they need and the opportunities they deserve. We have a responsibility to those who protect us, and it is a responsibility we must not neglect. That is why over the course of this campaign I propose a renewed commitment of resources and respect to our service members, our veterans, and their families: a new G.I. Bill of Rights, a covenant that our nation will enter into with those brave men and women who volunteer to protect it.

That is also why I was also proud to start the Bucks County Veterans Committee in 2004. This nonprofit organization has raised thousands of dollars for veterans and their families throughout Bucks County.

I will always find a way - no matter what occupation I may have - to honor the service and sacrifice of my fellow veterans.
Also, the following letter appeared today in the Bucks County Courier Times; the paper noted that the Repugs will probably outspend the Dems by about $2 million from here on out, since the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also has to allocate funds for the Sestak/Weldon (PA-07) and Gerlach/Lois Murphy (PA-06) races (both hotly contested also), and I hope they’re able to give Lois Herr over in PA-16 a taste of that as well.

I’m not surprised that Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick’s campaign would resort to an 11th-hour litany of lies about his opponent, Patrick Murphy.

And it’s no surprise that the well-funded attack advertisements from this so-called moderate Republican completely distort Murphy’s integrity, military service, and legal career.

Murphy does not deserve these deliberately misleading smear tactics. What happened to discussion of issues?

Are we supposed to be proud that tactics such as these are what get candidates elected? Dupe the public in order to score points? We’re smarter than that!

This is behavior unbefitting a congressman – and it just makes me more determined to have him sitting no longer.

Jeffry Dence
Falls Township
And this fine letter appeared in yesterday’s Inquirer…

The Inquirer's endorsement of Mike Fitzpatrick for Congress, with a slight edge over Patrick Murphy, seems a little partisan, especially since Murphy has the edge in The Inquirer's "ethics/character" category, and the two candidates have an even score for their ideas ("Mike Fitzpatrick for Congress, Oct. 23). The edge comes only from "experience," which may or may not be a plus - given the broad dissatisfaction that people have with Congress's performance lately.

Many of the voters in the Eighth House District are calling for a change in direction from the misdirected priorities of the Republican-monopolized Congress. Don't forget that the party in power has the ability to control which issues come out of committee for a vote, and which ones die.

The Republicans in charge have had a chance to push their agenda, with a Republican president and a Republican House and Senate, but there is little to show for it. There was so much time wasted on symbolic issues such as flag burning and visiting Terri Schiavo - while citizens here at home still lack affordable health care, soldiers are dying in Iraq, jobs are shipped overseas, seniors are struggling to make ends meet, stem-cell research funding is thwarted, and women's right to choose is threatened.

Murphy's qualifications bring hope, change and energy to the table, and his participation in Congress will give it the momentum it so desperately needs to move ahead.

Janine Witte
New Hope
I’m going to try and write as many posts as I can on PA-08 between now and next Tuesday, but I’ll see how successful I am. If any more goofy stuff comes up with Dubya and his cronies (such as whether or not Dick Cheney supports “water boarding” – of course he does, people! This is the “torture administration,” remember?), that will have to be put off for another time if it comes to that.

This may be the best shot at electing a Dem to the U.S. House that we’re likely to get for a good while, and I don’t want to leave anything “in the locker room,” if you know what I mean.

So with that in mind, please click here.

More Debt For Mikey

I detected the smell of rotten eggs around our house and thought Mischief Night came a bit late. When I saw that our cars and the outside of our house had not been pummeled with them, I realized almost immediately that we’d received another campaign mailer from Mike Fitzpatrick, and that was the source of the stench.

In this latest piece of propaganda, the front shows a man in his 50s in something that is supposed to approximate the garb of an auto mechanic near a vehicle with its front hood up (with the name “Walt” on the uniform, and he’s white of course, though the uniform is WAY too clean), and the wording says, “He makes $75,000 per year. But when his family inherits his business, they’ll be taxed like millionaires.”

When you flip the mailer over, it shows a pink piggy bank with a $50 bill sticking out of it next to these words:

“It’s Called The Death Tax. And Mike Fitzpatrick Wants To End It.”

And Mikey’s picture appears next to the words, of course.

Well, as many of us know (and as I made clear to the Fitzpatrick office staffer I called on this yesterday), it’s not called the “death tax.” Its proper name is the “estate tax.” And the top rate of the tax has been shrinking steadily over the last few years.

I realize the aggrieved cry of the Repugs against this has been part of their boilerplate on behalf of the investor class for some time, so let’s say that we inject some reality into this and try to “drive a stake through its heart” once and for all, OK?

This link takes you to a article that points out the following (and I’m sure “Walt” is in the same income bracket as the farmers discussed here):

Contrary to (the claim of the ad in question) that "your family" might be crippled, the vast majority of families actually are not affected by the estate tax. In fact, less than 3 percent of deceased adults in 2002 had estates subject to the tax, according to the nonpartisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and figures from the IRS.

And though the ad focuses on family farms and businesses, the truth is that very few actually pay the estate tax. The Tax Policy Center projects that roughly 440 taxable estates were primarily made up of farm and business assets in 2004.
And as noted in this article from The Nation:

Lost in this debate are the benefits to our country of maintaining an estate tax. Originally passed in 1916, the estate tax was a fundamentally American response to the excesses of the Gilded Age. Populist reformers labored for the three decades before 1916 to pass federal income and estate taxes in order to shift the tax burden, mostly in the form of nineteenth-century tariff duties and excise taxes, off of Midwestern and Southern farm states and onto the wealthy Northeastern states. But underlying the movement for an estate tax was a recognition that too much concentrated wealth and power was putting our democracy at risk. We had fought a revolution to reject hereditary political and economic power--and the dizzying inequalities of the Gilded Age violated a fundamental American ideal of equality of opportunity.

We are now in a second Gilded Age. Instead of taking steps that would strengthen our democracy, we're heading backward to the wealth inequalities of a century ago. We need to preserve the estate tax in states and at the federal level for exactly the reason it is under assault. In a democracy, we should be offended when the power of concentrated wealth brazenly attempts to shape the terms of policy debate and dictate the rules of our society.
Also, as Molly Ivins notes here…

If Bush does manage to make the tax cuts permanent, it will add more than $3 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years. The federal budget would be virtually in balance if there had been no tax cuts (including the estate tax reduction).
Also, this takes you to a wealth of information concerning “perception vs. reality” in this entire debate.

Finally, I want to leave you with this quote from editorial writer Douglas Pike of the Philadelphia Inquirer regarding Mikey (appearing from this link):

Unfortunately, embattled Republicans are more likely to show their "independence" not by echoing (Delaware U.S. House Representative Mike) Castle's calls for fiscal sanity, but by peddling greater fiscal irresponsibility. Consider Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick of Bucks County, who has voted against the party line about one-third of the time in his first term. He is an enthusiastic supporter of the GOP's deficit-financed tax cuts, but he has opposed saving money in hot-button areas such as education, Medicare and closing military bases. Apparently, he thinks that Bush isn't raising the $8.5 trillion national debt fast enough.
Good job, Doug – I hope you weren’t responsible for Mikey’s endorsement (I'd rethink some of those areas of "cost savings," though).

Call For Change

The latest from Democracy For America...

Got a phone? Then you have what you need to help win this election.

We're in a dead heat -- over 40 Congressional races are ranked as "toss-ups." But there are millions of progressive people out there in must-win districts who aren't yet planning to vote. We've gotta reach 'em!

So, Democracy for America is teaming up with our friends over at MoveOn to make sure that everyone who's hungry for change gets to the polls. They've taken voter lists from some of the most important races in the country and found the progressive-leaning individuals who are infrequent voters. MoveOn provides a simple online tool that makes it easy to call these key voters. Together, we're aiming to make over a million of these turnout calls in the next 6 days -- and with races being decided by as little as a hundred votes, your participation could make all the difference.

Can you take some time this weekend and next Tuesday to make calls to unlikely voters?

You can bring your cell phone and make calls in good company from a "calling party." Sign up

Or, you can sign up to make calls from home right now

MoveOn has identified more potential voters than they can possibly call on their own. And if we don't reach them, no one will.

Republicans are on the air waves with $40 million in personal, negative attack ads. But DFA and our progressive allies can beat them on the ground -- putting our people-powered movement up against their slime. To do it, we'll all need to pitch in. Can you join the "Call for Change" effort and help make it happen?

Click here.

With 6 days left, let's put this thing over the top.


Tom Hughes
Executive Director

P.S. These calls have a huge, measurable impact on voter turnout -- hearing from a real person like you will sway a potential voter more than anything else.
And to help the Patrick Murphy campaign (more on the 8th district later) with its "Get Out The Vote" effort, click here.

Stumbling Into The Truth

In case anyone missed it yesterday (somehow I did at first), here is the news report from our corporate media about the flap between Dubya and John Kerry about Kerry’s quote concerning Iraq and our service people (in terms of any kind of substantive, meaningful dialogue, this nonsense is the equivalent of another day-after-Halloween tradition in these parts, and that’s the splattered, bug-infested pumpkin in the middle of the road getting run over by traffic).

And from the reality-based community, here is a terrific post by Kos and also one today from Atrios linking to Andrew Sullivan, who actually nails it dead-on also for a change.

As Kos notes, what Kerry meant to say was that, in essence, if you don’t get an education, you end up making stupid decisions like declaring war in Iraq, but the way it came out, of course, is that you go to Iraq if you end up without a college education.

This made me think about the cost of a college education (an issue we face with the young one, though he has far, FAR to go until we seriously have to deal with that).

Part of the reason it costs so damn much to send a son or daughter to college is that the loans are guaranteed loans, not direct loans (this link to a Progressive Policy Institute article has more on the difference). A highly rare area of agreement between both the Bush and Clinton administrations is that hugely significant cost savings could be realized if all student loans were direct and not guaranteed loans.

And why does the student loan program provide guaranteed loans instead?

Two words: Sallie Mae.

As far as I’m concerned, Ralph Nader will always wear a black mark because of his interference in the 2000 presidential election which is a factor contributing to our current misery, though I don’t mean to absolve Al Gore completely either (I could say more about that, but this post would take a 180-degree turn into a “War and Peace” type of screed). However, it would be unfair of me not to recognize Nader’s fine work as a watchdog of our government and our tax dollars (we need much, much more of that), and Nader is “on the case” again here in this Counter Punch article.

The entire article is worth reading, but of particular note is the following (as well as the fact that Sallie Mae has the current House Majority Leader John Boehner in its hip pocket):

In December 2005, Mr. Boehner reassured a group of Sallie Mae types who wanted reassurance that their cushy deals would continue: "Know that I have all of you in my two trusted hands."
If Boehner ever said that about the U.S. taxpayer, he’d mean that he’s got both of his hands around our throat.

And what a cushy deal it is. Your federal government guarantees returns for these companies on student loans of at least 2.34 percent higher than the rates paid on commercial loans. At least. If the student borrower defaults, you the taxpayer picks up the tab for Sallie Mae and the banks.

If the student falls on very hard times after graduation and has to go bankrupt, federal law says bankruptcy does not affect collection of student loans. Even the powerful credit card industry can't get past bankruptcy to garnish what's left of the graduate's assets. The student lending industry can even get to a debtor's disability insurance payments under social security.

In February Congress did act on student loans in another way--backward. It cut $12 billion out of the student loan programs, mostly from students and parents.
This is yet another reason to vote all of these Republican bastards out of office next Tuesday (as if we needed MORE reasons).

I don’t know the exact numbers, but as college costs continue to climb under the Repugs, we may recall at some future point what Kerry both said and tried to say and realize that he had it wrong in a way no one imagined; the time may come to pass that the only way you could afford college is to join the military for a discount on your tuition before you enroll, so the whole “dumb vs. not dumb” question will be even sillier at that point. Despite that, though, I believe Kerry will be vindicated for what was merely a slip of the tongue, with the subjects of Kerry’s remarks correctly identified as the true culprits.

And this leads me into this post from Trey Ellis and HuffPo, and I’d like to dedicate this portion of it in particular to our next senator from Pa., “Sideshow Bob” Casey who, based on a news report I recently read, has declined to appear with John Kerry over this “tempest in a teapot.”

Democrats take note. The GOP have been bullies for decades. If you want to know how to deal with them in the future just study the tape (of Kerry’s remarks).
Is this how you’re going to react when things get too hot for you, Mr. Casey Jr.?

I don’t know exactly the future of this blog beyond next Tuesday, though I’ll try to keep it going for as long as I can, but I can now see myself continually having to rail against Casey in the future over his views on a woman’s right to choose and stem cell research, among other issues.

He’s going to cruise next Tuesday, but because of his cowardly backpedaling on John Kerry, he’s going to do it without my help, since I deleted my link to his campaign site a few minutes ago.

Update 1: I think Kerry's apology was a good move because he messed up his attempt at humor (which, when you think about it, was pushing things somewhat anyway, though he is substantively correct), and he admitted it. However, I think the information from ThinkProgress, in addition to showing how Kerry stumbled a bit and is trying to correct himself, also highlights the fact that Don Imus is a doddering old fossil who apparently needs someone named Charles to make up his mind for him (I STILL don't understand why people think this guy is some political guru or something).

Update 2: Yep, Kos and Stoller are spot-on (and remember, Mr. Casey Jr., that their post is directed in large part at YOU and those like you; if it weren't for the fact that your opponent is an insane, delusional Republican who has run a campaign worse than anything I could have possibly imagined,!).

Update 3: OK, OK...time for me to take it easy on Bob Casey, I'll admit.

What set me off was the following excerpt from this CNN story:

President Bush's 2004 presidential rival -- who told a radio host Wednesday he was sorry for what he called a "botched joke" -- will not appear with Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bob Casey on Wednesday in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a Democratic official said.

"I would be surprised if you see him welcomed out there anywhere," the official said, "and certainly not in a race that is meaningful."
Wow, what "thorough reporting," right? The infamous "unnamed official" sliming Kerry again with innuendo, I see.

I jumped the gun a bit and blamed Casey for that, which actually could have been a reasonable assumption except for the fact that I read the account of all of this in the hardcopy version of USA Today in which Casey made a statement supporting Kerry and blaming Bush and the Republicans for the war, which is where the blame ultimately lies anyway.

So, Bob, my apologizes for automatically assuming you were at fault here (the link to your site will return in a moment).

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tuesday Video

I couldn't find any videos that I liked, so one more time, here's our theme song for next Tuesday ("Stand Up," by Trapt).

The Inky's Halloween Trick On Patrick

This will probably be it posting-wise for today, but I had to say something about this (and that bad word is going to pop up again - I can't help it; it's the only one that fits).

As the august Philadelphia "newspaper of record" wrings its hands every year about nasty campaign ads which most newspapers trot out every election cycle, it decried them yet again today, with this caveat concerning Patrick Murphy in the U.S. PA-08 contest against Mike Fitzpatrick.

Not all "attack" ads are out of bounds. Some fairly illuminate the decisions facing voters. A tough but in-bounds version of such an ad locally takes on Democratic House challenger Patrick Murphy, the opponent of Republican Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick of Bucks County. The commercial consists of Murphy's appearance on a political talk show, in which the Iraq veteran appears hesitant and unable to say how he would have voted on the war.
Yes, I've seen the clip of Chris "Tweety" Matthews asking Patrick over and over and OVER again how he would have voted on the Iraq war, which of course is a stupid question because Patrick, when asked, didn't have all of the facts and information in front of him that he would have needed to make that kind of decision. Of course, Matthews, being more interested in his "gotcha" moment, didn't care about that.

Patrick Murphy wasn't in Congress at the time the resolution to go to war with Iraq was voted on (neither was Fitzpatrick for that matter - I wonder if Matthews ever gave Mikey that kind of treatment or would consider doing so). So the "attack" ad is totally ridiculous and serves no purpose other than to try and paint Patrick into a corner over a decision he never had to make (so, no, Inquirer, the ad is NOT "in play").

But of course this is typical for the Inquirer any more. In their joke of an endorsement of Mike Fitzpatrick about a week ago, they didn't even mention the fact that Patrick's sterling military record was slimed by Kevin Kelly in at Fitzpatrick's press conference (trying not to use the "S.B." term). How they could have ignored that is simply unfathomable to me.

And I really liked the caliber of the paper's editorials yesterday, by the way. Wow, both Charles Krauthammer and James Lileks and some palooka I'd never even heard of ("fair and balanced" indeed - actually, I may have something to say about Krauthammer's column later).

Here's the bottom line, Inquirer: your editorials on the PA-08 congressional race are bullshit because you plainly haven't invested the time to understand the candidates and the issues and thus have the slightest clue as to what you're talking about. Stick to bitching about the sports teams and beating up the Philadelphia DHS instead.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Monday Videos

Happy Birthday to Denny Laine, formerly of the Moody Blues and Wings (here's "Go Now" from the '60s, the first big Moodies hit, which actually was a cover of the song originally performed by rhythm and blues artist Bessie Banks)...

...and as Robert Drake of "Land Of The Lost" on WXPN said last Friday night, every trick-or-treater in the world will be singing this song tomorrow night ("I Want Candy" by Bow Wow Wow...typically silly, tacky '80s stuff).

More Help For Patrick

With eight days to go before Election Day (and, yes, I’ll admit that it can’t come soon enough for me also), we in the PA-08 U.S. Congressional House district are currently enduring what is the equivalent of the tortured scream of a trapped, slaughtered animal in the form of invective found in the Letters to the Editor of the Bucks County Courier Times that has ranged from hostile and combative to truly childish and insipid.

Chronic offender Joseph Ryan launched a broadside at Bill Clinton today (I swear, people will be attacking that man after he leaves this earth, which, God willing, won’t be for awhile yet), a tour de force in freeper lies, insinuations and selective memory recall that was something to behold (of course, he was REALLY attacking the Democratic Party as a whole, with the laughable title to his rant of “Vote For Democrats And Have Terrorists In Every City” – I usually don’t publicize the freeper faithful like this, but I have no objection with holding Ryan up to ridicule at this moment, and I also don’t care at this time that he once served our country; I’ve truly had it with some of these idiots.)

And by the way, these two letters appeared also.

Will Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick please tell us how much of our money he has spent to send out glossy campaign lookalike mailings using and abusing the franking privilege? Through June 30 he had already spent over $360,000, the most by any elected official in the Philadelphia area according to information presented in a Philadelphia Inquirer article (Sept. 8).

After June 30 until the Aug. 9 cutoff date, we were blitzed by what appeared to be almost daily glossy mailings, campaign documents masquerading as information documents. How much did these additional mailings cost the taxpayers? We may never know at least until the election is over.

Fitzpatrick has chosen not to make the costs known despite requests from a Bucks County Courier Times reporter, a request from myself and no doubt from many others. Why doesn’t he respond?

Since he has used the system extensively, there is no doubt he knows the amount or approximately the amount. Why not tell us? Could it be that he knows that we taxpayers who are already outraged at his spending over $360,000 of our money will go ballistic when we hear a number much closer to $1,000,000 or even over $1,000,000?

Come on Mike, show us the money!

Glenn Beasley
Newtown Township

As a Republican I am appalled by this year’s sleazy attack ads and the obscene amounts of money being spent, particularly in the 8th district congressional race. The attacks on Democrat Patrick Murphy by the NRCC and Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick have reached an all time low.

I have had several opportunities to meet with Patrick Murphy and discuss many issues facing our country as well as local issues and have found him to be honest, sincere, dedicated and intelligent.

Murphy is a veteran who served two deployments after 9/11, the first in Bosnia in 2002 and the second to Baghdad, Iraq in 2003-2004 as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division. He knows firsthand what needs to be done in Iraq and what issues our troops are facing. Yet his patriotism is being questioned?

Patrick also holds a degree from the Widener University School of Law, interned at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, was a special prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and was an instructor at West Point. Hardly the qualifications of someone who is “mindless.”

Even though I personally do not agree with many of the Democratic philosophies, I am tired of career politicians who will stop at nothing to protect their own interests. I will be voting for Patrick Murphy.

Susan Kiernan
Falls Township
When it comes to my contention that the Repugs have lost the moderate vote, by the way, I would call Ms. Kiernan's letter Exhibit A in that argument.

Oh, and here's another interesting letter that appeared in today's Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Inquirer's endorsement of Mike Fitzpatrick for the Eighth District seat was a disappointment ("Mike Fitzpatrick for Congress," Oct. 23).

Where is the so-called moderate in Fitzpatrick? He voted against potentially life-saving embryonic stem-cell research, which is supported by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and a large majority of Americans.

Fitzpatrick has also voted against family planning and he has cosponsored a bill that would not only make abortion illegal in all instances, but would not allow an exception for victims of rape and incest. This bill would even outlaw many common forms of birth control. I don't call that moderate.

I'm surprised that The Inquirer endorsed Fitzpatrick even though it recognized that Democrat Patrick Murphy is superior in "character" and "ethics," both qualities sorely missing in Washington. Murphy not only has run a more ethical campaign, but he cares about women's health and rights and supports life-saving scientific research.

I am a Republican who will be voting for Patrick Murphy.

Gail Edwardson
If you can do anything to help Patrick's campaign with the "Get Out The Vote" effort that will be so crucial a week from tomorrow, click here.

Also, there will probably be no posting tomorrow (talk amongst yourselves)...