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Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas To You All

Friday, December 16, 2005

In Memory of John Spencer

John Spencer died this evening. He was a long time personal friend of my wife and through the years, I, too, had the honor to call him "friend."

His dedication to his craft, his friends and his city (New York) were part of the John Spencer way of life. He shall be missed...dearly.

We are both heartsick.

Rest In Peace, dear John.

Trent Lott's Tort Reform Flip Flop

Trent demonstrating the "Flip Flop" maneuver

Courtesy of David Sirota. Trent Lott on tort reform.

What Trent said then.

"The Democrats seem to think that the answer is a lawsuit. Sue everybody."
- Sen. Trent Lott, 7/20/01

"I'm among many Mississippi citizens who believe tort reform is needed."
- Sen. Trent Lott, 5/8/02

"You know, obviously we should [enact tort reform]...Someday it will happen, and the sooner the better."
- Sen. Trent Lott, 1/24/01

" Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi today credited the agenda of tax cuts, deregulation and tort reform initiatives passed by the Congress and signed into law by President Bush with the overall upturn in the national economy."
- Sen. Trent Lott press release, 12/2/05

"If their answer to everything is more lawsuits, then yes, that's a problem, because I certainly don't support that."
- Sen. Trent Lott, 8/2/02

"It's sue, sue, sue... That's not the answer."
- Sen. Trent Lott, 8/4/01

What he's doing now.

"Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott and his wife sued State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. to force the insurer to pay for damage to their house in Pascagoula on the Gulf of Mexico, which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina."
- Wall Street Journal, 12/16/05

Spying on Americans

J. Edgar Hoover

I remember Nixon's FBI of the late 60's and early 70's (actually J. Edgar Hover's FBI) spying on Americans who were against the war, or just "different." In fact, after the FOIA Act came along, it was a cool exercise to get one's FBI file to see what kind of outlandish info they kept on you. I thought those days were over.

But not with the most paranoid and secretive administration in history, as Bill Moyers has pointed out. President Bush let loose the NSA snoop dogs himself in a 2002 secret executive order, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

J. Edgar Bush

MSNBC has the story:

NEW YORK - The National Security Agency has eavesdropped, without warrants, on as many 500 people inside the United States at any given time since 2002, The New York Times reported Friday.

That year, following the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush authorized the NSA to monitor the international phone calls and international e-mails of hundreds — perhaps thousands — of people inside the United States, the Times reported.

Before the program began, the NSA typically limited its domestic surveillance to foreign embassies and missions and obtained court orders for such investigations. Overseas, 5,000 to 7,000 people suspected of terrorist ties are monitored at one time.


But some NSA officials were so concerned about the legality of the program that they refused to participate, the Times said. Questions about the legality of the program led the administration to temporarily suspend it last year and impose new restrictions.

Condi Rice pushed back this morning on the Today show and, shock of shocks, defended the president's secret order.

"I’m not going to comment on intelligence matters,” she told NBC’s “Today” show. But Rice did say that President Bush “has always said he would do everything he can to protect the American people, but within the law, and with due regard for civil liberties because he takes seriously his responsibility.”

"The president acted lawfully in every step that he has taken,” Rice said, “to defend the American people and to defend the people within his constitutional responsibility."

The ACLU has chimed in:

Caroline Fredrickson, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the group’s initial reaction to the NSA disclosure was “shock that the administration has gone so far in violating American civil liberties to the extent where it seems to be a violation of federal law.”

Asked about the administration’s contention that the eavesdropping has disrupted terrorist attacks, Fredrickson said the ACLU couldn’t comment until it sees some evidence. “They’ve veiled these powers in secrecy so there’s no way for Congress or any independent organizations to exercise any oversight.”

This comes on the heals of last week's revelations that a Pentagon database established to organize information about threats to the military, contained personal data about American citizens who the Pentagon now admits were no threat to the military at all.

I've often wondered if this little blog is on some Bush list somewhere and is catagorized as a "threat to America." If you are reading this, FBI, this blog IS America.

Originally posted at:

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Dood Abides Classic!

Click on photo for a real Classic by Dood Abides

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Boy in the Bubble

Bush, addressing the Politburo nation: Newsweek photo

This administration releases no so little accurate information as to what it's doing and the reasons behind policy decisions, that the world is left to read tea leafs hints and signs emanating from the guarded inner circle. I remember the Soviet Union. I'm now waiting for glasnost to enter the Republican Party. It may be a long wait.

An Open Letter to Wealthy Patriots, from a Gold Star Mother

I received the following email from Celeste Zappala today:

An Open Letter to Wealthy Patriots, from a Gold Star Mother

George Bush will be speaking about the war at the World Affairs Council in Philadelphia on Monday. Tickets for the event are sold out, however, the luncheon tickets that are closest to Mr Bush were sold for $10,000.  I would like to be at a table close enough to Mr Bush so that he could meet with me.

I was one of the Gold Star Mothers who camped on the road side ditch in Crawford, Texas waiting to meet with George Bush. I watched him roll past me on his way to a local fundraiser. He never stopped to talk to the Gold Star Mothers.

On Monday he will be in Philadelphia, the City where I live and where my fallen son Sgt. Sherwood Baker grew up. I will be outside of the hotel where he is speaking hoping to ask again, "for what noble cause did my son die?"  

I would like to be inside, I would wish to be seated at the $10,000 a seat table, with other patriots. Maybe then Mr Bush would be willing to speak to me, look at my son's picture and tell me why Sherwood was killed looking for the weapons of mass destruction.

thank you for your consideration, I hope you can finda way to include me.

Celeste Zappala

Mother of Sgt Sherwood Baker, the First PA National Guardsman to die in combat since 1945 killed in Baghdad, 4/26/04 while protecting the Iraq Survey Group as they looked for the Weapons of Mass Destruciton

I first met Celeste Zappala while reporting from Camp Casey this past summer.

Her pain is real and her cause is true.

I doubt she will hear from the World Affairs Council as she is probably not considered a true "Patriot."  After all, she gave only her son to the cause and not the all important $10,000.

Perhaps dropping them a line at would be a good way to let them know what we think the true definition of "Patriot" is.

Originally posted at:

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