[+/-] Today's quote: Maas
~ Timo Maas
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert has told federal officials that the lighted, decorated tree on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol -- known in recent years as the "Holiday Tree" -- should be renamed the "Capitol Christmas Tree," as it was called until the late 1990s....
The Capitol tree, traditionally overshadowed by the White House's "National Christmas Tree," was renamed a "holiday tree" several years ago, according to the Capitol Architect's offices, in an effort to acknowledge the other holidays of Kwanzaa and Hanukkah -- although no one seemed to know exactly when the name was changed or by whom.
This imaginary "War on Christmas" bullshit is starting to stick in my craw. If they want a war, so be it.
As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.
The articles, written by U.S. military "information operations" troops, are translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defense contractor, according to U.S. military officials and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists. The stories trumpet the work of U.S. and Iraqi troops, denounce insurgents, and tout U.S.-led efforts to rebuild the country.
While the articles are basically truthful, they present only one side of events and omit information that might reflect poorly on the U.S. or Iraqi governments, officials said. Records and interviews indicate that the U.S. has paid Iraqi newspapers to run dozens of such articles -- with headlines such as "Iraqis Insist on Living Despite Terrorism" -- since the effort began this year.
For the 21st-century apostles of religious correctness, the godless Constitution—how could those framers have forgotten the most important three-letter word in the dictionary?—poses a formidable problem requiring the creation of tortuous historical fictions that include both subtle prevarication and bald-faced lies.
Religious reactionaries of the 18th century, by contrast, were honest in their attacks on the secularism of the new Constitution. One North Carolina minister observed with forthright disgust, during his state's ratification debate, that the abolition of religious tests for officeholders amounted to nothing less than "an invitation for Jews and pagans of every kind to come among us." The Reverend John M. Mason, a fire-breathing New York minister, declared the absence of God in the Constitution "an omission which no pretext whatever can palliate" and warned that Americans would "have every reason to tremble, lest the Governor of the universe, who will not be treated with indignity by a people more than by individuals, overturn from its foundation the fabric we have been rearing, and crush us to atoms in the wreck."
The article is worth a full read. Check it out.
"I didn't advocate invasion," Rumsfeld told ABC television Sunday, when asked if he would have advocated an invasion of Iraq if he had known that no weapons of mass destruction would be found there.
The US Defense chief added: "I wasn't asked," when asked whether he supported the March 2003 invasion.
Rumsfeld's pants are on fire. Here's a letter he wrote to then President Clinton in support of taking out Saddam.
Dick Cheney stands at the intersection of the war in Iraq and secret meetings with oil company executives to shape energy policy. The administration’s consistent denials that the war had anything to do with oil may unravel if the oil executives are placed under oath and compelled to answer questions about the meeting with Cheney -- questions they evaded during their unsworn congressional testimony.The Senate is demanding that executives from Big Oil return to testify about a secret meeting with Cheney on energy policy that took place soon after Bush came to office. The Big Oil men denied knowledge of the gathering in earlier testimony. But that testimony was not under oath so they cannot be charged with perjury. Cheney has been vigorously trying to keep secret what happened at this meeting. It is suspected the vice president and the oil companies hammered out an aggressive energy policy, and possibly discussed the administration’s plans to go to war in Iraq, well before 9-11. Cutting up Iraqi oil and the future of OPEC would certainly have been on the table. The new administration would certainly have needed the acquiescence of the oil industry in waging war in an area where the companies are so deeply involved. Oil has always been the bottom-line issue in the Iraq war—although in public Bush eschewed any interest in the subject, arguing instead he was just pushing the spread of democracy.
President Bush's positive job rating continues to fall, touching another new low for his presidency, the latest Harris Interactive poll finds.
Bush's current job approval rating stands at 34%, compared with a positive rating of 88% soon after 9/11, 50% at this time last year, and 40% in August....
Mr. Bush's current ratings don't compare favorably with those of three of the last four two-term presidents at a comparable time in their fifth year in office. In November or October of their fifth year, Presidents Johnson (67%), Reagan (66%) and Clinton (58%) all enjoyed the support of majorities, while President Nixon (29%) was less popular than Mr. Bush is now.
Recent documents leaked to RAW STORY reveal that as of Nov. 8, coalition forces in Iraq held 13,514 in Iraqi prisons. The documents also reveal the grim landscape of Iraq’s internment system, in which just two percent of those detained been convicted. A UN report has confirmed the basic figures.
A slide created by Detainee Operations at US Central Command (CENTCOM), provided to RAW STORY, reveals that 13,514 detainees are currently held inside coalition-run internment camps throughout Iraq. The figure represents a huge spike from March 2004 – when just 5,673 were reported held, according to a source familiar with the documents.
Imagine that you live in a world where 90% of the people around you sincerely believe in something that appears to you to be downright whacky, if perhaps relatively pleasant on the surface in many respects. Say they believe in Santa Claus; beard, the big red suit, the flying reindeer, the sled loaded with a billion gifts, the North Pole Workshop, Mrs. Claus and the elves; all of it.
But in this fantasy world, they're not content merely to believe in Santa Claus, they want you to publicly agree all the time that you also believe in Santa, in their specific version of same, and they pressure everyone else in numerous ways to pretend that they're not strange or childish for believing in this. They don't just limit it at that even, they insist everyone kiss their ass about their Santa belief every damn day of their lives and if you don't humor them at the drop of hat under any circumstances, you're being disrespectful, you're out of line. No matter how much you humor them, they always demand more.
In a sign of increasing unease among Congressional Republicans over the war in Iraq, the Senate is to consider on Tuesday a Republican proposal that calls for Iraqi forces to take the lead next year in securing the nation and for the Bush administration to lay out its strategy for ending the war.
The Senate is also scheduled to vote Tuesday on a compromise, announced Monday night, that would allow terror detainees some access to federal courts. The Senate had voted last week to prohibit those being held from challenging their detentions in federal court, despite a Supreme Court ruling to the contrary....
The proposal on the Iraq war, from Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, and Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, would require the administration to provide extensive new quarterly reports to Congress on subjects like progress in bringing in other countries to help stabilize Iraq. The other appeals related to Iraq are nonbinding and express the position of the Senate.
The plan stops short of a competing Democratic proposal that moves toward establishing dates for a phased withdrawal of troops from Iraq. But it is built upon the Democratic approach and makes it clear that senators of both parties are increasingly eager for Iraqis to take control of their country in coming months and open the door to removing American troops.
[N]one of the on-the-ground glitches can begin to explain the impossible numbers surrounding the alleged defeat of Issues Two through Five. The Dispatch polling has long been a source of public pride for the powerful, conservative newspaper, which endorsed Bush in 2004.
The Dispatch was somehow dead accurate on Issue One, and then staggeringly wrong on Issues Two through Five. Sadly, this impossible inconsistency between Ohio's most prestigious polling operation and these final official referendum vote counts have drawn virtually no public scrutiny.
Though there were glitches, this year's voting lacked the massive irregularities and open manipulations that poisoned Ohio 2004. The only major difference would appear to be the new installation of touchscreen machines in those additional 41 counties.
And thus the possible explanations for the staggering defeats of Issues Two through Five boil down to two: either the Dispatch polling---dead accurate for Issue One---was wildly wrong beyond all possible statistical margin of error for Issues 2-5, or the electronic machines on which Ohio and much of the nation conduct their elections were hacked by someone wanting to change the vote count.
Today, 36 percent of Americans approve and 53 percent disapprove of the job Bush is doing as president. For comparison, two weeks ago 41 percent said they approved and 51 percent disapproved, and at the beginning of his second term 50 percent approved and 40 percent disapproved (January 25-26).
Until this week, Bush's approval rating had been at 40 percent or above — buoyed in large part by consistent strong support among Republicans; however, in mid-October approval among Republicans fell below 80 percent for the first time of his presidency and now sits at 72 percent.
In addition, Bush's approval rating is down by double digits among other demographic groups. Since the beginning of his second term, his approval is down 26 percentage points among independents, 16 points among women, 15 points among whites and 11 points among men.
Challengers unseated eight out of nine Dover Board of Education members yesterday in a tight race that centered on the issue whether the theory of intelligent design has a place in science classes.
The ninth member of the York County school board was not up for re-election.
The eight board members unseated were all are proponents of a policy -- now the subject of a federal court case -- requiring high school freshmen to hear a statement about intelligent design before biology lessons about evolution.
Meanwhile, Kansas took another step back to the dark ages: the state Board of Education, in a 6-4 vote, approved science standards for public schools Tuesday that cast doubt on the theory of evolution.
For the first time in his presidency a majority of Americans question the integrity of President Bush, and growing doubts about his leadership have left him with record negative ratings on the economy, Iraq and even the war on terrorism, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows.
On almost every key measure of presidential character and performance, the survey found that Bush has never been less popular with the American people. Currently 39 percent approve of the job he is doing as president, while 60 percent disapprove of his performance in office -- the highest level of disapproval ever recorded for Bush in Post-ABC polls.
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