T-Shirts Don’t Kill, Only People Do

There was a little incident at the SOTU tonight. . .

[Cindy] Sheehan, who was invited to attend the [SOTU] speech by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., was charged with demonstrating in the Capitol building, said Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider. The charge was later changed to unlawful conduct, Schneider said. [...]

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

There was a little incident at the SOTU tonight. . .

[Cindy] Sheehan, who was invited to attend the [SOTU] speech by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., was charged with demonstrating in the Capitol building, said Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider. The charge was later changed to unlawful conduct, Schneider said. Both charges are misdemeanors.

Sheehan was taken in handcuffs from the Capitol to police headquarters a few blocks away. Her case was processed as Bush spoke.

Schneider said Sheehan had worn a T-shirt with an anti-war slogan to the speech and covered it up until she took her seat. Police warned her that such displays were not allowed, but she did not respond, the spokeswoman said.

Police handcuffed Sheehan and removed her from the gallery before Bush arrived. Sheehan was to be released on her own recognizance, Schneider said.

If T-Shirts are banned, only criminals will wear T-Shirts.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006 by Richard Blair |

When Democrats do this it’s called “perjury.”

Via WaPo:

Gonzales Is Challenged on Wiretaps

Feingold Says Attorney General Misled Senators in Hearings

Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) charged yesterday that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales misled the Senate during his confirmation hearing a year ago when he appeared to try to avoid answering a question about whether the president could authorize warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens.

In [...]

Commentary By: Gloria

Via WaPo:

Gonzales Is Challenged on Wiretaps

Feingold Says Attorney General Misled Senators in Hearings

Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) charged yesterday that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales misled the Senate during his confirmation hearing a year ago when he appeared to try to avoid answering a question about whether the president could authorize warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens.

In a letter to the attorney general yesterday, Feingold demanded to know why Gonzales dismissed the senator’™s question about warrantless eavesdropping as a ‘œhypothetical situation’ during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in January 2005. At the hearing, Feingold asked Gonzales where the president’™s authority ends and whether Gonzales believed the president could, for example, act in contravention of existing criminal laws and spy on U.S. citizens without a warrant.

Gonzales said that it was impossible to answer such a hypothetical question but that it was ‘œnot the policy or the agenda of this president’ to authorize actions that conflict with existing law. He added that he would hope to alert Congress if the president ever chose to authorize warrantless surveillance, according to a transcript of the hearing.

Here’™s a PDF of Feingold’™s letter asking what limits, if any, apply to the president citing the Authorization for the use of Military Force, up to and including ordering the assassination of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006 by Richard Blair |

Schadenfreude: better than a sharp stick in the eye

Between the death of Coretta Scott King and the confirmation of ScAlito, the only good news today is that Diebold is tanking. Couldn’™t happen to a more deserving bunch of crooks, IMHO.

Diebold earnings take big hit

Diebold Inc.’™s overhaul of its operations led to a 76 percent decline in fourth-quarter earnings, the Green, Ohio, manufacturer said. [...]

Commentary By: Gloria

Between the death of Coretta Scott King and the confirmation of ScAlito, the only good news today is that Diebold is tanking. Couldn’™t happen to a more deserving bunch of crooks, IMHO.

Diebold earnings take big hit

Diebold Inc.’™s overhaul of its operations led to a 76 percent decline in fourth-quarter earnings, the Green, Ohio, manufacturer said. It had net income of $15 million, or 21 cents a share, on sales that rose 15 percent to $818 million. One-time charges, much of them for restructuring, knocked 44 cents a share off earnings.

For the full year, net income sagged about 45 percent, to $101 million or $1.41 per share.

The company had other problems. Its CEO, Walden O’™Dell, resigned in December. Continuing controversy about its voting machine unit led investors to sue.

Between the stunning GAO report on security flaws in their voting machines and the inside scoop from Dieb Throat via Bradblog, hopefully Wally O’™Dell will be frogmarched into court one day soon. We can only hope that these developments result in the return of vote counting to its rightful guardians, we the people.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006 by Richard Blair |

Coretta Scott King

I wanted to write something today, but I couldn’™t do better than our friend Pam. But I did go in search of a picture of Coretta King, and I am struck by all that I found, even the one with Bush in it. The woman exuded a beauty in the collection of public [...]

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

I wanted to write something today, but I couldn’™t do better than our friend Pam. But I did go in search of a picture of Coretta King, and I am struck by all that I found, even the one with Bush in it. The woman exuded a beauty in the collection of public pictures I perused that I’™m sure is unmatched. Yeah, I’™d recommend you do a google search yourself.

If isn’™t a photo, but here’™s what I chose.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized

Getting Some Perspective

Feeling down and discouraged after yesterdays’™ filibuster attempt failed? Don’™t. Believe it or not progress was made. I feel a bit better after reading this from Digby:

‘œIt Is The Only Way We Can Live’

So we only got 25 Senators to vote for a filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee who, if defeated, would be replaced [...]

Commentary By: sukabi

Feeling down and discouraged after yesterdays’™ filibuster attempt failed? Don’™t. Believe it or not progress was made. I feel a bit better after reading this from Digby:

‘œIt Is The Only Way We Can Live’

So we only got 25 Senators to vote for a filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee who, if defeated, would be replaced by someone just as bad by a president in the pocket of his radical right wing. Well.

Do you know how many votes the Republicans managed to get when uber wingnut Antonin Scalia was confirmed? 98. And Democrats had a majority. We didn’™t have to even think about a filibuster. We couldn’™t defeat Clarence Thomas and we had a majority, a huge push from women’™s groups and a very dramatic set of hearings that went into the wee hours of the morning. It is very, very tough to do.

‘¦

When your’™re done finishing Digby, hop over to firedoglake for Jane’™s take. And then phone, fax or email these guys and thank them for standing up for you.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006 by Richard Blair |
Category: Civil Liberties

Bush SOTU Watching Kit

Cookie Christine has a list of important stuff to have on hand, but I’™m thinking she forgot a couple things.

Bottle of Jack Daniels.

Gag for any peace activist who happens to stop by

Truss

Blue dress, with stain (just in case)

Hmm, maybe those aren’™t all that vital to watching the President, but you definitely need the [...]

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Cookie Christine has a list of important stuff to have on hand, but I’™m thinking she forgot a couple things.

Bottle of Jack Daniels.

Gag for any peace activist who happens to stop by

Truss

Blue dress, with stain (just in case)

Hmm, maybe those aren’™t all that vital to watching the President, but you definitely need the Jack, as you’™ve got to drink each time he says ‘œTerra.’ Yes, there will be hundreds of drunks in front of their screens watching this one.

If I missed something, or if Cookie did, put them in the comments section, OK?

Edit 8:55 by SpinDentist: Will Durst might just have the best drinking game for tonight’™s SOTU.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006 by Richard Blair |
Category: Politics - U.S.

Enron Jury Selection

Looks like they are finishing it up and we’™ll have a trial of Bush’™s good friends Lay and Skilling going very soon. Note this little bit about Lay and Skilling showing up at the Courthouse. . .

As journalists began camping out in front of the courthouse as early as last night, Lay [...]

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Looks like they are finishing it up and we’™ll have a trial of Bush’™s good friends Lay and Skilling going very soon. Note this little bit about Lay and Skilling showing up at the Courthouse. . .

As journalists began camping out in front of the courthouse as early as last night, Lay and his wife held hands as they walked into the building with their defense team shortly after 8:30 a.m. this morning.

When asked from someone in the crowd, ‘œIs this a chance to clear your name?,’ Lay replied, ‘œIt certainly is.’

Lay also said he was ‘œlooking forward’ to getting his day in court. He was met by reporters and photographers before crossing Smith Street, and the press crush grew as mounted Houston police and federal marshals tried to direct traffic.

Skilling’™s arrival a short while later was met by a similar scene, except that he and his group made a wrong turn and inadvertantly walked into the media throng rather than toward the courthouse door. They turned around near where two followers of fringe Democratic activist Lyndon LaRouche had set up a banner protesting Enron and the nomination of Samuel Ailto to the U.S. Supreme Court.

If Skilling has that much trouble, perhaps he needs some help, like in the picture above?

Monday, January 30th, 2006 by Richard Blair |

These guys think Bush Should Tell All About Abramoff Contacts

Senator John Thune (R-SD), Representative Mike Pence (R-IN), Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NB). so far. There will be more names of Republicans trying to distance themselves from Abramoff by calling for candor from the White House. They will trickle in over the next few weeks.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Senator John Thune (R-SD), Representative Mike Pence (R-IN), Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NB). so far. There will be more names of Republicans trying to distance themselves from Abramoff by calling for candor from the White House. They will trickle in over the next few weeks.

Monday, January 30th, 2006 by Richard Blair |

Bush to sell Kool-Aid during SOTU

Under the guise of tax-breaks and incentives, Bush’™s plan to ‘œexpand’ medical coverage and reduce the number of uninsured Americans with the creation of tax-free savings accounts and resource pooling is a health insurers dream come true. Unfortunately, his snake-oil plan will do more damage to consumers and patients than the Clear Skies Initiative did [...]

Commentary By: Gloria

Under the guise of tax-breaks and incentives, Bush’™s plan to ‘œexpand’ medical coverage and reduce the number of uninsured Americans with the creation of tax-free savings accounts and resource pooling is a health insurers dream come true. Unfortunately, his snake-oil plan will do more damage to consumers and patients than the Clear Skies Initiative did to clean air.

The Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights explains that Associated Health Plans, AHP’™s, are just junk insurance and how Bush plans to sign into law legislation that will exempt them from accountability under current state guidelines.

Association health plans (AHPs) are sold through organizations for small employers or the self-employed. They are marketed as a way to provide large group discounts to small businesses. But the benefits aren’™t even as good as HMOs.

For instance, AHPs promise to pay 80% or 100% for most health treatments. But when policyholders get sick they discover that their plan caps the amount it will pay for hospitalization or serious illness’¦

The proposed legislation could exempt AHPs from state laws and regulations, which would allow AHPs to:

Eliminate coverage now required by the states of essential health services such as mammograms and diabetes.

Reject claims and refuse patients the right to appeal now guaranteed under state laws.

Maintain inadequate financial reserves, thereby defaulting on medical bills because they do not retain enough money to pay claims.

Drastically extend the time necessary to stop fraudulent insurance schemes because the federal government cannot shut down plans through immediate administrative action.

If we’™re lucky, the word will get out and it’™ll be DOA like the Social Security privatization scam.

Monday, January 30th, 2006 by Richard Blair |
Category: Healthcare

Unitary Executive

Had you ever heard anyone, at anytime ever talk about a ‘œUnitary Executive’ as it would apply to the President of the United States? I hadn’™t, until the past couple of months. It seemed to spring up like so many of the disasterously misinformational terms the Bush Administration loves. Here’™s a quick google search for [...]

Commentary By: sukabi

Had you ever heard anyone, at anytime ever talk about a ‘œUnitary Executive’ as it would apply to the President of the United States? I hadn’™t, until the past couple of months. It seemed to spring up like so many of the disasterously misinformational terms the Bush Administration loves. Here’™s a quick google search for unitary executive, it’™s creating quite a buzz. Here’™s a Findlaw article on signing statements and the Unitary Executive:

The Unitary Executive: Is The Doctrine Behind the Bush Presidency Consistent with a Democratic State?

When President Bush signed the new law, sponsored by Senator McCain, restricting the use of torture when interrogating detainees, he also issued a Presidential signing statement. That statement asserted that his power as Commander-in-Chief gives him the authority to bypass the very law he had just signed.

This news came fast on the heels of Bush’™s shocking admission that, since 2002, he has repeatedly authorized the National Security Agency to conduct electronic surveillance without a warrant, in flagrant violation of applicable federal law.

And before that, Bush declared he had the unilateral authority to ignore the Geneva Conventions and to indefinitely detain without due process both immigrants and citizens as enemy combatants.

All these declarations echo the refrain Bush has been asserting from the outset of his presidency. That refrain is simple: Presidential power must be unilateral, and unchecked.

But the most recent and blatant presidential intrusions on the law and Constitution supply the verse to that refrain. They not only claim unilateral executive power, but also supply the train of the President’™s thinking, the texture of his motivations, and the root of his intentions.

They make clear, for instance, that the phrase ‘œunitary executive’ is a code word for a doctrine that favors nearly unlimited executive power. Bush has used the doctrine in his signing statements to quietly expand presidential authority.

In this column, I will consider the meaning of the unitary executive doctrine within a democratic government that respects the separation of powers. I will ask: Can our government remain true to its nature, yet also embrace this doctrine? ‘¦

Article continues here.

It comes as a surprise to me ‘” and many others ‘” that John over at Americablog supports a filibuster of Alito ‘” but not by Kerry, and not the way Kerry is doing it, and besides it would take a PR campaign with a $30-$40 million dollar budget to even educate the public about what a Unitary Executive is. John opened up a can of worms and the debate got pretty heated.

I personally don’™t think a hugely funded PR campaign is necessary, and I don’™t necessarily think that even if one had been put together that the funders of the campaign would have been able to sucessfully sell their ads and get them on TV, radio or billboards in the numbers and saturation that would have had the desired effect. The first such ad rejection took place at the 2004 Superbowl, it was a MoveOn ad, anyone remember that? Probably not, Janet Jackson’™s boob took center stage. Houston stations have recently been forced to air ads that they rejected detailing Delay’™s misdeeds. Besides the ‘œrejection factor’, there is another reality about political advertising – everybody thinks the ads produced by a political party are about smearing the other guy and mudslinging, not about informing the public.

So what could have been done? A huge grassroots viral marketing campaign. And guess what, it’™s almost free. How does it work? It’™s a word of mouth/email/phone campaign – much like John has used for his boycotts of Microsoft, Ford, Verizon, ect. So what you do after you call your Senators and either thank them for supporting the filibuster, or encourage them to filibuster? You call, email, or fax the people in your contact list and explain what a Unitary Executive means as a president and why it’™s so important to keep Alito off the Supreme Court.

Monday, January 30th, 2006 by Richard Blair |
Category: Civil Liberties