Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rumsfeld Resigns (Finally!)

And there was much rejoicing....

Rumsfeld to Step Down as Defense Secretary
Bush Taps Former CIA Director Robert Gates as Successor Wednesday, November 8, 2006; 5:06 PM

President Bush today announced he is replacing Donald H. Rumsfeld as secretary of defense, saying a "fresh perspective" is needed at the Pentagon to deal with the war in Iraq.
In a White House news conference a day after midterm elections delivered the House of Representatives, and possibly the Senate, to Democratic Party control , Bush said he has chosen former CIA director Robert Gates to succeed Rumsfeld.

"Now, after a series of thoughtful conversations, Secretary Rumsfeld and I agreed that the timing is right for new leadership at the Pentagon," Bush said.

Rumsfeld, a principal architect of the increasingly unpopular war in Iraq, had become a major focus of criticism for Americans dissatisfied with the Bush administration's strategy in Iraq. Democratic leaders, and even some Republican members of Congress, had called on Bush to replace Rumsfeld, who has been criticized by many military analysts for failing to dispatch enough troops to Iraq in 2003 and 2004 to combat the insurgency. More

Pardon my french but its about damn time. In my opinion Rumsfeld should have been long ago. And while his resignation may mark a new path that leads to victory in Iraq you'll note that I'm not holding my breath.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Why I Love Baseball

About 7 years ago I was sitting in the local corner bar which happened to be owned by an Atlanta Flacon player and a patron and the manager were having a discussion about why baseball was the greatest game ever. As I had had a few I felt the need to interject. And so I responded,"You're both wrong. The beauty of baseball is its simplicity. Not every parent can skate or play football, but even a single mom in a wheelchair can play catch with her son."

The manager bought me a beer due to that response.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The DNC's Master Plan

Hmmm...It looks like the Dems may actually have a plan should they win either the house or the senate and its kind of ingenious in its simplicity; Propose poular legislation and then let the Republicans paint themselves as the bad guys by shooting it down and thereby cinching a Dem win in 08.
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From the WaPo:

In the House, the Democrats have made clear that there's a first tier of legislation they mean to bring to a vote almost immediately after the new Congress convenes. It includes raising the minimum wage, repealing the Medicare legislation that forbids the government from negotiating with drug companies for lower prices, replenishing student loan programs, funding stem cell research and implementing those recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission that have thus far languished.

All these measures command massive popular support. The reason they've not been enacted is that House Republicans have passed rules making it impossible for the Democrats to offer amendments to any significant legislation, thereby sparing themselves the indignity of having to choose, say, between the interests of their financial backers in the drug industry and their constituents.


Cognizant that they will owe their victory in part to the public's revulsion at the way Congress does (or avoids) business, the Democrats also plan to revise House rules to enable the opposition party to introduce amendments and to sit on conference committees, from which Republicans have routinely excluded them since Tom DeLay became majority leader. They also will ban members from accepting gifts and paid trips from lobbyists.

By bringing such measures to a vote in the House, and conceivably in the Senate as well, the Democrats will be in the enviable position of doing both good and well: promoting long-overdue policy shifts that the public supports and putting their Republican colleagues in a pickle. Confronted with an up-or-down vote on raising the minimum wage or making medication for seniors more affordable, many Republicans will side with the Democrats. Should the Democrats win the Senate, Republicans will have to calculate the risks of filibustering such mom-and-apple-pie measures. These bills will also pose a conundrum for conservatives such as John McCain, whose presidential aspirations have not been clouded by having to vote on these issues.



Its so crazy it just might work.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

New DCC Attack Ad

OK, I'm going to hell for this one:
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According to a political outsider the DCC plans on possibly running a new attack ad in all fifty states within the next two weeks:
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"Vote for a Democrat, we'll only try to raise your taxes, not schtup your kid."


Monday, October 16, 2006

GOP Spiraling Downward?

If you ever made paper boats and floated them down a stream when you were a kid you may recall that sometimes they'd become caught up in the swirls and eddies and begin circling and once that happened one of two things would occur they'd either build up enough speed to break free or they'd be pulled under.

It seems that the GOP's chances of maintaining a majority in the House and Senate this election year are about the same.



From the NY Times:

In Final Weeks, G.O.P. Focuses on Best Bets

Senior national Republican strategists who had been briefed on decisions made during the party’s internal deliberations discussed the overall strategic thrusts but declined to provide specific dollar figures, saying that would give too much information to the Democrats.

The decision involving Mr. DeWine offers the most compelling evidence so far that Republicans are circling their wagons around a smaller group of races, effectively conceding some Senate and House seats with the goal of retaining at least a thin margin of control when the 110th Congress is seated next January. Democrats need to win 6 seats to capture the Senate and 15 seats to win the House on Nov. 7.

Still, in interviews, Republican strategists said that the flow of bad news out of Iraq and the resignation of Representative Mark Foley after admitting he had sent sexually suggestive messages to teenage Congressional pages had soured the environment for incumbents and blunted the impact of a long-planned crush of negative advertisements Republicans had prepared to undercut Democratic challengers this month.

In one sign of the shifting political environment, as of this weekend, national Republicans were running advertisements in 29 districts; of those, 26 are held by Republicans and 3 by Democrats, though Republicans plan to begin running advertisements this week against an Illinois Democrat, Representative Melissa Bean. National Democrats are on the air in 30 districts, and defending Democrats in just 3 races.

“For a midterm election in the sixth year, based on historically the number of seats lost, you’ve got to play defense,” said Carl Forti, the communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “We have the luxury of being in the majority, so all we have to do is hold our own.”


Thursday, October 12, 2006

And Then There Was One?

Looks like Britain has at least one General that thinks Iraq is going downhill too. The difference between him and the U.S. Generals who vocally concur though is he's not retired and he's in charge of the entire British army.

From the BBC:

General seeks UK Iraq withdrawal
General Sir Richard Dannatt
General Dannatt took on his role in August
The head of the British Army has said the presence of UK armed forces in Iraq "exacerbates the security problems".

In an interview in the Daily Mail, Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff, is quoted as saying the British should "get out some time soon".

He also said: "Let's face it, the military campaign we fought in 2003, effectively kicked the door in."

There are currently more than 7,000 British soldiers in Iraq, based largely in Basra in the south of the country.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said Britain had "a clear strategy" and worked with international partners "in support of the democratically elected government of Iraq, under a clear UN mandate." More

Original Daily Mail interview


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mr Kim's Got a New Sabre

and he didn't waste any time at all in rattling it:

North Korea threatens war over sanctions

North Korea stoked regional tensions Wednesday, threatening more nuclear tests and saying additional sanctions imposed on it would be considered an act of war, as nervous neighbors raced to bolster defenses and punish Pyongyang.

South Korea said it was making sure its troops were prepared for atomic warfare, and Japan imposed new economic sanctions to hit the economic lifeline of the communist nation's 1 million-member military, the world's fifth-largest.

North Korea, in its first formal statement since Monday's claimed atomic bomb test, hailed the blast as a success and said attempts by the outside world to penalize North Korea with sanctions would be considered an act of war.

Further pressure will be countered with physical retaliation, the North's Foreign Ministry warned in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

"If the U.S. keeps pestering us and increases pressure, we will regard it as a declaration of war and will take a series of physical corresponding measures," the statement, said without specifying what those measures could be.

President Bush called for stiff sanctions on North Korea and asserted that the United States has "no intentions of attacking" the reclusive regime.

He said he remains committed to diplomacy, but also "reserves all options to defend our friends in the region."

As Bush spoke, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged Washington to hold one-on-one talks with Pyongyang, something the U.S. has refused to do.

"I have always argued that we should talk to parties whose behavior we want to change, whose behavior we want to influence, and from that point of view I believe that ... (the) U.S. and North Korea should talk," Annan said.

Annan also called on the communist nation not to escalate an "extremely difficult" situation.

more

Is he bluffing? Yes and no. Its important to keep in mind that Mr. Kim is a paranoid meglomaniac and as such isn't going to do anything that will jeopardize his way of life, his standing, or his power. However, if he thinks that he can increase any of those through military means he will not hesitate to do so. The question is how can world leaders deter him without fueling his lusts for for personal power, respect/fear, and image/fame/notoriety?

Look at it like this: He's paranoid that the U.S./World is out to get him thus he arms his country to the max and deveops nukes thereby increasing the World's wariness of him which in turn feeds his ego and his paranoia. Its a Freudian feedback loop and it will continue until he either dies, gets some meds, or implodes. He's not going to give up the global stage or stop creating problems any other way.

Anyone have a recipe for Lithium in vapor form?


Monday, October 02, 2006

An Open Letter to Donald Rumsfeld

I wrote this back in April but I never could the oversize gummy bears I was going to use to illustrate it. So if you could just imagine oversized gummi bears with gummi guts and armed with cocktail swords you'll be on par with my (and I use this term very loosely) "vision".

Dear Secretary Rumsfeld,

I recently read your article in the Washington post and I can say that I for one always had you pegged as a pragmatist rather than an eternal optimist. I am of course discounting the possibilities that you are A: a pragmatist who is completely delusional. B: actually have no clue as to what is happening in Iraq other than what certain aides, advisors, and defense contractors tell you which would make you a total tool. And I’m fairly certain you aren’t a total tool. Recently there have been numerous calls for your resignation due to what many believe to be mismanagement of the war in Iraq. I am, however, not among those.

I too believe that you have grossly mishandled the war in Iraq by:

1: Expecting 122,000 US troops to secure the entire country when your Generals said they need a force three times that size which in turn lead to the looting of Baghdad which has armed and financed Bathists and insurgents alike. This in turn led to an unimaginable increase in the amount of time, money, and lives that have been spent there.

2: Expecting the Kurds to join the US troops in liberating Iraq. After all Saddam Hussein gassed them only after an uprising we instigated but failed to support.

3: Cutting the State Dept totally out of post war reconstruction.

4: Failure to allow Iraqi police to be trained outside of Iraq in safety by non-coalition countries.

5: Your continuing failure to be honest with the American people about the situation in Iraq and the amount of time, lives, and resources that would be needed to secure a free and stable Iraq.

While others might add additional charges to that list, my list can all be directly attributed directly to your decisions alone. You have turned what was a decisive quick victory into a total clusterfuck. And whether by hubris or incompetence you have failed and then mislead, misdirected, and probably outright lied to the American people. In doing so you have dishonored your office, the American people, and the troops at your command.

Many rightfully call for your resignation and others call for you to be fired so that someone better suited to complete the mission can take charge. However, you have served your country both in the military and in public office. You have chosen to be a warrior. And so I call upon you to publicly apologize to America and then regain your honor according to the warrior’s code of Bushido. In other words, I call upon you to commit Seppuku (aka Hari Kiri).

Ordinarily I wouldn’t call for such an extreme measure however your habit of taking liberties with the truth makes it hard for me and many others to believe anything you say. And I feel that if you rammed a sharp piece of steel through your gullet and swished it around some on network TV (or even pay per view as we could use the proceeds to help offset the deficit or aid the families of fallen vertans) it would really work wonders for your credibility and add a lot of sincerity to your apology. (Also please be sure to set this up ahead of time with the networks so that your redemption is listed in TV Guide so I can set my TiVo)


“In the world of the warrior, seppuku was a deed of bravery that was admirable in a warrior who knew he was defeated, disgraced, or mortally wounded. It meant that he could end his days with his transgressions wiped away and with his reputation not merely intact but actually enhanced.” - Wikipedia


Now I realize that you’re not of Japanese descent so ritualized suicide may not exactly run in your blood. And while I am sure you loosely familiar with the concept you may be lacking specific knowledge about the actual process and so I have taken the liberty of making a set of instructions that will assist you in properly redeeming your honor by slitting your gizzard for all to see.

First you’ll need a short sword or very large knife. Traditionally seppuku was committed with a short swordy looking thing called a wazikashi. Since you’ll be wanting to dispatch yourself pretty quickly you’d have to get one from a sword master in Japan in theory. However I think that this would send the wrong message to the public and so a good “Made in America” solution would be a Bowie knife as they are approximately the same length.

Additionally you’ll need a second, meaning a pal, whose duty it will be to lop your head off so that you don’t suffer too much (traditionally called a Nogginator). I’m sure that Colin Powell would be all to happy to assist you in such an important matter. It’s your call. I’m just making suggestions here. Your second will need to be pretty handy with a sword and again because we don’t want to send the wrong message a vintage US cavalry saber would be an excellent weapon choice for your second.

First get on your knees

Then your partner gets behind you

Then you both “unsheathe your blades” (Sorry, I just couldn’t resist the quotes. I know its juvenile.)

Hold the blade of the Bowie knife with both hands and drive it into your stomach.
(Its important not to go crazy here, as you don’t want it poking out your backside)

Make a quick left to right cut followed by a quick upward one
(This will make a amazingly disgusting mess so don’t look.)

Now your compadre will mercifully begin a downward stroke with his sword which would then be followed by a muffled thud as your head hits the floor. (You’ll probably actually get to hear it. Is that like creepy cool or what?)

And presto! You’re instantly a hero to all!

Or you could just stop blowing smoke up America’s ass and do the damn job right. Whichever you prefer. Thank you for your time and attention.

Sincerely,

Dyre42


Thursday, September 28, 2006

U.S. Weighs Moves Against Sudan Over U.N. Force

The United States is considering a series of punitive steps if the Sudanese government fails to agree to a U.N. peacekeeping force to end the violence in Sudan's Darfur region, U.S. officials said yesterday. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signaled the new approach in a speech yesterday in which she demanded an immediate cease-fire and warned that Khartoum faces "a choice between cooperation and confrontation."


U.S. officials said the options under consideration include reimposing sanctions that had been eased when Sudan signed a peace agreement last year with southern rebels, as well as taking action against top Sudanese officials who have been implicated in what the United States has labeled acts of genocide in Darfur.

Another option that has received renewed consideration is establishing a "no-fly zone" over Darfur, mainly because the Sudanese military has restarted attacks. But there are practical obstacles to a no-fly zone, including the effect it may have on humanitarian missions, so officials said that decision is not imminent.

Although Rice's Washington speech to the African Society's National Summit on Africa held out the prospect of improved ties between the two countries, relations have worsened dramatically in recent weeks.

U.S. officials detained Sudan's deputy foreign minister at Dulles International Airport for several hours last week and also restricted the travel of Sudan's president, Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan al-Bashir, and his entourage when he came to address the U.N. General Assembly. Bashir was so angry that when he returned to Khartoum, he announced restrictions on the travel of U.S. diplomatic personnel and official U.S. visitors.

Full Article


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Coming Clean

Since I regularly post about politics and this being an election year I feel that it is important to declare which candidates/501c3 organizations I have donated to.

1: Pete McCloskey(R) in the Republican primary in CA 11
2: Kinky Friedman (I) running for Gov. inTexas
3: Barbara Ann Radnowsky (D) running for the Senate in Texas
4: Jerry McNerry (D) running for congressman in CA 11 (after McCloskey lost the primary)

501c3s:
Public Campaign Action Fund
The Sierra Club
The Centrist Coalition
Unity 08

Friday, September 22, 2006

Virgin Mogul Donates Three Billion to Combat Global Warming

Billionaire business mogul says 100% of future proceeds from certain divisions of Virgin Group will go towards tackling problem.

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Billionaire Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson Thursday committed an estimated $3 billion over the next 10 years, or all of the profits from his airline and rail businesses, to combating global warming.

"We are very pleased today to be making a commitment to invest 100 percent of all future proceeds to the Virgin Group from our transportation interest, both our trains and airline businesses, into tackling global warming," Branson told a news conference at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. Watch the annoucement.

"We have to wean ourselves off our dependence on coal and fossil fuels. Our generation has the knowledge, it has the financial resources and as importantly it has the will power to do so."

Most international experts say emissions of greenhouse gases, mainly from burning fossil fuels in power plants, factories and cars, are the primary cause of a 1.1 degree Fahrenheit rise in temperatures over the past century.

A dwindling group of scientists says that the dominant cause of warming is a natural variation in the climate system, or a gradual rise in the sun's energy output.

"We must not be the generation responsible for irreversibly damaging the environment. We must hand it over to our children in as near pristine condition as we were lent it from our parents," Branson said.

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Of course we all know that Branson, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet all got to where they are by listening to misinformed leftist conspiracy theorists.


What's Shaking With Chavez?

After visting his ailing dependent Fidel Castro Mr. Chavez went on to attend a summit of enemies of the U.S.A after which Mexico decided to re-evaluate its diplomatic relations with Venezuala due to Hugo's accusations of unclean presidential elections which was followed by Senor Chavez accusing George W Bush of being the devil incarnate at the annual U.N. summit.
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Ya know, I'm starting to think that if Mr. Chavez had another brain it'd be lonely.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Ann Richards in Memoriam


One of America's most interesting political figures former Texas Governor Ann Richards passed away today. Please take the time to read Maverick Views refectiona on her. She was an original and she will be missed. She became the stick by which Texas Democrats are measured and they have all been found lacking. None since have had the cajones she did.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Comment on Previous Post

I mentioned in my previous post that I am not normally prone to anger (I mean the last time I was angry was in Feb of 2001). And what has surprised me since I, for the first time ever, opted to vent my anger in a public forum received zero disagreement despite posting it at Donklephant and my post here having been mentioned at Sideways Mencken.

Unlike Mr. Olbermann I don't blame the lack of progress at ground zero on W. But we have had a general lack on the part of our elected leaders to deliver on the promises they gave us shortly after 9/11. For that we should all be angry. It is in part our fault for allowing our leaders to exploit 9/11 for political means, for permitting them and the media to paint the event in partisan terms, and for allowing our leaders to fail to keep the promises they made without consequence.

Those that died on 9/11 deserve better than that. Until we the people begin holding our leaders accountable for their failures and choose to demand they honor their promises and the memory of the victims of that day nothing will change. Until we choose to actually be The United States of America rather than red states and blue states nothing will change. There will be no meaningful victory and no tanglible memorial to the fallen.

Is this what now passes for remembering the honored dead?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

9/11 Reflection and Rage

I tried to avoid commenting today. I really really did. Because as sad as this day was 5 years ago those feelings do not exceed how angry I am now. I am not normally prone to anger. Most people would describe me as a mellow, happy go lucky, funny, thoughtful kind of guy. I have always maintained that if you can actually do something to make me angry then you have seriously fucked up.

Why am I am angry? Because 5 years later ground zero is still a hole in the ground, because our government squandered the international goodwill and national bipartisanship born on that day, because 5 years later we still haven't succeeded in Afghanistan, because 5 years later Bin Laden isn't in custody and we missed the chance to bag him and now he is quite possibly out of our reach, because America was mislead into a war against Iraq and as a result Al Qaeda in Iraq now controls FIFTY THOUSAND square miles of territory within Iraq's borders 3 years after our leader declared “Mission Accomplished”, because the wars that we have waged in the name of those that died this day five years ago have been so grossly mishandled that real victory is no where in sight.

For those that perished five years ago this day there is no real victory, no concrete memorial, and no meaningful plan to bring either into existence. And those that died on 9/11/2001 deserve far better than that.

And you can call me partisan and you can call me unpatriotic but I have always tried to “call 'em as I see 'em” and in this instance if you don't like what I see right now then either get your glasses checked or piss off.

And while I may be a small fish in a big pond there is at least one larger fish that agrees with me, Keith Olbermann, who I have watched maybe four times in as many months, but today he came as close to mirroring my anger as any talking head ever will :

Half a lifetime ago, I worked in this now-empty space. And for 40 days after the attacks, I worked here again, trying to make sense of what happened, and was yet to happen, as a reporter.

All the time, I knew that the very air I breathed contained the remains of thousands of people, including four of my friends, two in the planes and -- as I discovered from those "missing posters" seared still into my soul -- two more in the Towers.

And I knew too, that this was the pyre for hundreds of New York policemen and firemen, of whom my family can claim half a dozen or more, as our ancestors.

I belabor this to emphasize that, for me this was, and is, and always shall be, personal.

And anyone who claims that I and others like me are "soft,"or have "forgotten" the lessons of what happened here is at best a grasping, opportunistic, dilettante and at worst, an idiot whether he is a commentator, or a Vice President, or a President.

However, of all the things those of us who were here five years ago could have forecast -- of all the nightmares that unfolded before our eyes, and the others that unfolded only in our minds -- none of us could have predicted this.

Five years later this space is still empty.

Five years later there is no memorial to the dead.

Five years later there is no building rising to show with proud defiance that we would not have our America wrung from us, by cowards and criminals.

Five years later this country's wound is still open.

Five years later this country's mass grave is still unmarked.

Five years later this is still just a background for a photo-op.

It is beyond shameful.

At the dedication of the Gettysburg Memorial -- barely four months after the last soldier staggered from another Pennsylvania field -- Mr. Lincoln said, "we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Lincoln used those words to immortalize their sacrifice.

Today our leaders could use those same words to rationalize their reprehensible inaction. "We cannot dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground." So we won't.

Instead they bicker and buck pass. They thwart private efforts, and jostle to claim credit for initiatives that go nowhere. They spend the money on irrelevant wars, and elaborate self-congratulations, and buying off columnists to write how good a job they're doing instead of doing any job at all.

Five years later, Mr. Bush, we are still fighting the terrorists on these streets. And look carefully, sir, on these 16 empty acres. The terrorists are clearly, still winning.

And, in a crime against every victim here and every patriotic sentiment you mouthed but did not enact, you have done nothing about it.

And there is something worse still than this vast gaping hole in this city, and in the fabric of our nation. There is its symbolism of the promise unfulfilled, the urgent oath, reduced to lazy execution.

The only positive on 9/11 and the days and weeks that so slowly and painfully followed it was the unanimous humanity, here, and throughout the country. The government, the President in particular, was given every possible measure of support.

Those who did not belong to his party -- tabled that.

Those who doubted the mechanics of his election -- ignored that.

Those who wondered of his qualifications -- forgot that.

History teaches us that nearly unanimous support of a government cannot be taken away from that government by its critics. It can only be squandered by those who use it not to heal a nation's wounds, but to take political advantage.

Terrorists did not come and steal our newly-regained sense of being American first, and political, fiftieth. Nor did the Democrats. Nor did the media. Nor did the people.

The President -- and those around him -- did that.

They promised bi-partisanship, and then showed that to them, "bi-partisanship" meant that their party would rule and the rest would have to follow, or be branded, with ever-escalating hysteria, as morally or intellectually confused, as appeasers, as those who, in the Vice President's words yesterday, "validate the strategy of the terrorists."

They promised protection, and then showed that to them "protection" meant going to war against a despot whose hand they had once shaken, a despot who we now learn from our own Senate Intelligence Committee, hated al-Qaida as much as we did.

The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war, on the false premise that it had 'something to do' with 9/11 is "lying by implication."

The impolite phrase is "impeachable offense."

Not once in now five years has this President ever offered to assume responsibility for the failures that led to this empty space, and to this, the current, curdled, version of our beloved country.

Still, there is a last snapping flame from a final candle of respect and fairness: even his most virulent critics have never suggested he alone bears the full brunt of the blame for 9/11.

Half the time, in fact, this President has been so gently treated, that he has seemed not even to be the man most responsible for anything in his own administration.

Yet what is happening this very night?

A mini-series, created, influenced -- possibly financed by -- the most radical and cold of domestic political Machiavellis, continues to be televised into our homes.

The documented truths of the last fifteen years are replaced by bald-faced lies; the talking points of the current regime parroted; the whole sorry story blurred, by spin, to make the party out of office seem vacillating and impotent, and the party in office, seem like the only option.

How dare you, Mr. President, after taking cynical advantage of the unanimity and love, and transmuting it into fraudulent war and needless death, after monstrously transforming it into fear and suspicion and turning that fear into the campaign slogan of three elections? How dare you -- or those around you -- ever "spin" 9/11?

Just as the terrorists have succeeded -- are still succeeding -- as long as there is no memorial and no construction here at Ground Zero.

So, too, have they succeeded, and are still succeeding as long as this government uses 9/11 as a wedge to pit Americans against Americans.

This is an odd point to cite a television program, especially one from March of 1960. But as Disney's continuing sell-out of the truth (and this country) suggests, even television programs can be powerful things.

And long ago, a series called "The Twilight Zone" broadcast a riveting episode entitled "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street."

In brief: a meteor sparks rumors of an invasion by extra-terrestrials disguised as humans. The electricity goes out. A neighbor pleads for calm. Suddenly his car -- and only his car -- starts. Someone suggests he must be the alien. Then another man's lights go on. As charges and suspicion and panic overtake the street, guns are inevitably produced. An "alien" is shot -- but he turns out to be just another neighbor, returning from going for help. The camera pulls back to a near-by hill, where two extra-terrestrials are seen manipulating a small device that can jam electricity. The veteran tells his novice that there's no need to actually attack, that you just turn off a few of the human machines and then, "they pick the most dangerous enemy they can find, and it's themselves."

And then, in perhaps his finest piece of writing, Rod Serling sums it up with words of remarkable prescience, given where we find ourselves tonight: "The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men.

"For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own -- for the children, and the children yet unborn."

When those who dissent are told time and time again -- as we will be, if not tonight by the President, then tomorrow by his portable public chorus -- that he is preserving our freedom, but that if we use any of it, we are somehow un-American...When we are scolded, that if we merely question, we have "forgotten the lessons of 9/11"... look into this empty space behind me and the bi-partisanship upon which this administration also did not build, and tell me:

Who has left this hole in the ground?

We have not forgotten, Mr. President.

You have.

May this country forgive you.




Sunday, September 10, 2006

Maybe there is Hope

I watched the 1.5 hour long Town Hall meeting on Ted Koppel's The Price of Security and I must say that it gave me more hope than anything I've seen or read in a long time. Because if these people:

Zoƫ Baird, President, Markle Foundation

Bradford Berenson, former Associate White House Counsel

Lanny Davis, Member, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

Jim Dempsey, Policy Director, Center for Democracy & Technology

Viet Dinh, former Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy

Clark Kent Ervin, former Inspector General, Department of Homeland Security

Alamdar Hamdani, Civil rights attorney

David Holtzman, author, Privacy Lost

Paul McNulty, Deputy U.S. Attorney General

Alberto Mora, former General Counsel of the Department of the Navy

Nuala O’Connor Kelly, former Chief Privacy Officer, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Ted Olson, former Solicitor General and member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Adjunct Professor, Columbia University Law School

Tom Ridge, former Secretary of Homeland Security

Anthony Romero, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union

Marc Rotenberg, Executive Director, Electronic Privacy Information Center

Rep. Chris Shays, Chairman House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threat and International Relations

George Soros, Founder and Chairman, Open Society Institute and Soros Foundation

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (ret.), former Chief of Staff, Secretary of State Colin Powell

Gen. Tony Zinni (ret.), former Commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM)

Dr. James J. Zogby, founder and president, Arab American Institute

can ALL agree that there must be oversight of the executive branches surveillance powers, that partisan bickering is doing more harm than good, and that the war against terror requires a new approach both strategically and legally then things may not be as bad as I have been fearing.

One additional thing that everyone agreed on is that if we don't have the civil liberty vs national security debate before the next successful terrorist attack we never will.

(I'm planning on getting a copy of the transcript.)




Thursday, September 07, 2006

Have We Lost the War on Terror?

Donklephant has a great post on recent events regarding Pakistan's involvement in the War on Terror:

I don’t think people are getting the seriousness of this.

In a move that some say appears ‘a total capitulation’ to pro-Taliban forces, Pakistan signed a peace deal with tribal leaders in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan Tuesday, and is withdrawing military forces in exchange for promises that militant tribal groups there will not engage in terrorist activities.

To understand what this means, go back to our original purpose in invading Afghanistan. The government of Afghanistan, the Taliban, had an intimate relationship with Al Qaeda in the years leading up to 9/11. The Taliban gave Al Qaeda a safe haven in which to train and house recruits, a ‘home’ where Al Qaeda leaders could meet and plan.

If you read only one blog post today, make it this one.



The Path to 9/11: Propumentary or Docuganda?

Clinton Administration Officials Assail ABC's 'The Path to 9/11'

Top officials of the Clinton administration have launched a preemptive strike against an ABC-TV "docudrama," slated to air Sunday and Monday, that they say includes made-up scenes depicting them as undermining attempts to kill Osama bin Laden.

Former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright called one scene involving her "false and defamatory." Former national security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger said the film "flagrantly misrepresents my personal actions." And former White House aide Bruce R. Lindsey, who now heads the William J. Clinton Foundation, said: "It is unconscionable to mislead the American public about one of the most horrendous tragedies our country has ever known."

ABC's entertainment division said the six-hour movie, "The Path to 9/11," will say in a disclaimer that it is a "dramatization . . . not a documentary" and contains "fictionalized scenes." But the disclaimer also says the movie is based on the Sept. 11 commission's report, although that report contradicts several key scenes. more


Former Clinton officials claim that certain parts in the movie are blatantly false. Since I haven't seen it I can't really say too much about it but what is disturbing is that ABC had whipped up packs of educational materials to go along with the docudrama. Somehow I doubt that they are geared towards film schools. Seems like they are trying to pass it off as true by going that route. I'm smelling a huge libel/slander type suit coming once/if it airs.

What I find most disturbing is that again the lines between history/truth/entertainment are being blurred even further. And thats pretty high on my list of Last Things We Need.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pluto's Planetary Status Pink Slipped

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) -- Leading astronomers declared Thursday that Pluto is no longer a planet under historic new guidelines that downsize the solar system from nine planets to eight.

it will be reclassified in a new category of "dwarf planets," similar to what long have been termed "minor planets." The definition also lays out a third class of lesser objects that orbit the sun -- "small solar system bodies," a term that will apply to numerous asteroids, comets and other natural satellites. Full Article


Dwarf Planet? I wonder if they'll rename it Dopey, Grumpy, Bashful, or Doc?


Monday, August 21, 2006

Its the End of the World as we Know it?

ABC's blog The Blotter asks if tomorrow is the end of the world:

"While no extra safeguards are in place, U.S. law enforcement are not ignoring the possible significance of tomorrow's date, August 22, a date that marks an important historic event on the Islamic calendar.

Internet websites have been full of speculation that it could be a target date for terrorists in commemoration of the return of the 12th imam, a supposed day of reckoning for Shiites.

August 22 was rumored by intelligence experts to be a possible date that the London plotters would blow-up passenger planes headed towards the United States, though it is not known if the suspects were Shiite extremists.

This year, August 22 marks the holy day on the Islamic calendar that is the day of reckoning for Shiites. Some Shiite sects believe that August 22 could correspond to the end of the world. And just today, after much hype, Iran has announced that it will continue to develop its nuclear program. To followers of Iranian President Ahmadinejad, this is a well-timed affront to Israel, the United States and the world. The United Nations had given Iran until the end of the month to respond, but Ahmadinejad had made it clear to all Iranians and the world that he intended to respond on the eve of August 22."

While I'm not betting on tomorrow being the end of the world, I did postpone my physical until Thursday just in case. After all who wants to hear the dreaded snap of a latex glove on what could be their last day on Earth?

I had previously discussed this matter and while in all honestly I doubt that tomorrow everyone hops off this cosmic bus it is possible that Iran may try to start some major crap tomorrow. One thing I do know is that they aren't planning on giving up their nuclear program tomorrow especially after America lost its proxy war vs Iran. How did we lose? Hezbollah survived and proved on the day before the cease fire that it was just as capable of shooting rockets into Israel then as it was when the Israeli's invaded and Israel never got its two soldiers back. So Israel didn't win and Hezbollah didn't lose. If you successfully fended off a 500 pound gorilla and lived to tell the tale you'd call it a victory now wouldn't you?



Friday, August 18, 2006

Note of Disgust

I absolutely deplore the amount of media coverage the Jon Benet Ramsey case has received. Always have and always will. Understand that I would have at the time (meaning before the birth of my own child) sacrificed myself to prevent her (or any child's) death the simple fact is that had she been ugly or black the media would have totally ignored her death.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Poll: Trading Freedom for Security

(AP) Four in five Americans would give up some freedoms to gain security and four in 10 worry terrorists will harm them or their family, a new Gallup poll shows.

About one-third of those polled favor making it easier for authorities to access private e-mail and telephone conversations. More than 70 percent are in favor of requiring U.S. citizens to carry identification cards with fingerprints, and 77 percent believe all Americans should have smallpox vaccinations.

“It was amazing the percentage of people who are willing to give up freedom to get back some sense of personal security,” said Elaine Christiansen, senior research director for The Gallup Organization. “These aren't people who were necessarily near the twin towers, near the Pentagon, near the Murrah building. These are average people.”

The telephone survey, conducted in March, included 934 people across the country. Researchers also polled about 500 people in each of three cities where terrorist attacks occurred — New York City, Washington, D.C., and Oklahoma City — to compare results with the general population survey.

The poll showed 8 percent of Americans are very worried and 31 percent are somewhat worried that they or someone in their family will become victims of a terrorist attack in the United States. In New York City, the level of worry is higher — 19 percent said they are very worried and 34 percent said they are somewhat worried.

Washington, D.C, and Oklahoma City reported levels of fear close to the national average. more

........................................................................................................................................................................
Looks like the climate of fear approach to governing is working pretty well doesn't it?


None of the 41 reccomendations of the 9/11 Commission required us to give up any of our freedoms and most of them have yet to be adopted. Are Americans so blind and fearful that rather than protect the freedoms that so many have given their lives to protect that we would instead choose to dishonor their memory by surrendering those hard fought for freedoms for the illusion of security?

If so then maybe Benjamin Franklin was right and we deserve neither safety or liberty.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Iranian Leader 60 Minutes Interview

Mike Wallace recently interviewed Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I'd post the interview but its 6 pages long and just just highlighting a few answers doesn't really do it justice as too much is contained in what is not said and how questions are dodged. Its an interesting and worthwhile read and is located here

What I took away from reading is:

  1. The main isn't stupid by a long shot.
  2. He could give lessons in how to answer a question without actually answering it.
  3. His first language is a dialect of "Inference"
  4. He'd be a really good poker player.
  5. I wouldn't trust him any further than I can kick him.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Isreal/Hezbollah Cease Fire Begins

Israel Accepts U.N. Deal

Both Sides Warn Of More Fighting

By Molly Moore and Edward Cody

Washington Post Foreign Service

Jerusalem, Aug. 13 -- The Israeli cabinet voted Sunday to accept a U.N.-declared cease-fire, even as Israeli military forces and Hezbollah fighters in southern Lebanon launched some of their most intense barrages of the war in anticipation of the Monday morning deadline. The Lebanese government and Hezbollah agreed to the cease-fire Saturday.

Prospects for an immediate halt in the fighting appeared unlikely as Hezbollah's leader said his militia would keep fighting Israeli troops as long as they remained in southern Lebanon, and Israeli officials insisted they would not withdraw their soldiers until an international force and the Lebanese army took control of the border area. It is expected to take at least two or three weeks to assemble an international military force in Lebanon. more

If I had any less confidence in the effectiveness of this ceasefire I'd start a pool on how many hours it will take for it to be violated.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

U.N.: Darfur Is Becoming 'Catastrophic'

By BRADLEY S. KLAPPER

The Associated Press
Thursday, August 10, 2006; 9:12 AM

GENEVA -- The United Nations' top humanitarian official warned Thursday that the situation in Sudan's war-ravaged Darfur region was becoming dramatically more dangerous, as rapes and attacks by militias and rebel factions continue despite a 3-month-old peace deal.

The U.N. said a day earlier that the May 5 peace deal, signed between Sudan's government and Darfur's main rebel group, was "doomed to failure" unless the government provided more support

"It's going from real bad to catastrophic in Darfur," Jan Egeland told reporters at the U.N.'s European headquarters in Geneva.

Fighting has actually increased since the peace deal, "and it has been particularly terrible among (rebel) factions fighting each other," Egeland said. "That's led to tens of thousands of people being displaced, and sexual abuse and many other types of violations." More

To stay current on the crisis in Darfur please visit The Coaltion for Darfur.



Thursday, August 10, 2006

What's Shaking With Chavez?

It's once again time to see what everyone's favorite hyperactive paranoid leftist kook, Hugo Chavez, has been up to.
......................................................................................................................................................................
After receiving a medal from Iran's president, he continued to fortify Venezuala, condemned America and Israel, then withdrew his country's ambassador from Israel, while his domestic political opponents united against him.
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He's about as busy as a cat on a hot tin roof isn't he?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What's the Plan Iran?

Prof. Bernard Lewis has an intriguing article on Iran in the WSJ. Below is an excerpt from it:

In Islam, as in Judaism and Christianity, there are certain beliefs concerning the cosmic struggle at the end of time--Gog and Magog, anti-Christ, Armageddon, and for Shiite Muslims, the long awaited return of the Hidden Imam, ending in the final victory of the forces of good over evil, however these may be defined. Mr. Ahmadinejad and his followers clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has already begun and is indeed well advanced. It may even have a date, indicated by several references by the Iranian president to giving his final answer to the U.S. about nuclear development by Aug. 22. This was at first reported as "by the end of August," but Mr. Ahmadinejad's statement was more precise.

What is the significance of Aug. 22? This year, Aug. 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to "the farthest mosque," usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (c.f., Koran XVII.1). This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world. It is far from certain that Mr. Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind.

A passage from the Ayatollah Khomeini, quoted in an 11th-grade Iranian schoolbook, is revealing. "I am decisively announcing to the whole world that if the world-devourers [i.e., the infidel powers] wish to stand against our religion, we will stand against their whole world and will not cease until the annihilation of all them. Either we all become free, or we will go to the greater freedom which is martyrdom. Either we shake one another's hands in joy at the victory of Islam in the world, or all of us will turn to eternal life and martyrdom. In both cases, victory and success are ours."

In this context, mutual assured destruction, the deterrent that worked so well during the Cold War, would have no meaning. At the end of time, there will be general destruction anyway. What will matter will be the final destination of the dead--hell for the infidels, and heaven for the believers. For people with this mindset, MAD is not a constraint; it is an inducement.

How then can one confront such an enemy, with such a view of life and death? Some immediate precautions are obviously possible and necessary. In the long term, it would seem that the best, perhaps the only hope is to appeal to those Muslims, Iranians, Arabs and others who do not share these apocalyptic perceptions and aspirations, and feel as much threatened, indeed even more threatened, than we are. There must be many such, probably even a majority in the lands of Islam. Now is the time for them to save their countries, their societies and their religion from the madness of MAD.” full article

There has been a great deal of talk about the religious right's apocryphal wishes influencing U.S. agenda over the past few years. So its no stretch of the imagination to see where a country run by religious extremists might try to manufacture an apocalypse ie the ultimate jihad.

Is Iran planning something? Or are they waiting to see if the world ends in 13 days? I certainly don't know. But one way or the other we'll be finding out soon enough.

I hope they are just waiting to see because a full blown war with Iran will be unlike any war the U.S. has ever fought before. Check around the net and you'll discover that during the Iran-Iraq war Iran frequently sent unarmed martyrs-to-be into battle before their troops as cannon fodder. By the time the actual armies engaged the Iraqi's were often out of ammo. Iran sacrificed four hundred thousand lives using that strategy. Its also very possible that the Iranian government would rather irradiate the country than lose the war.

So please join me in wishing the world a boring August 22nd.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lieberman to Run as an Independent

Three-Term Senator Plans to Run in General Election as an Independent

By Dan Balz and William Branigin

Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, August 8, 2006; 11:30 PM

HARTFORD, Conn., Aug . 8 -- In a stunning repudiation, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) lost the Democratic Senate primary here Tuesday night, falling to antiwar candidate Ned Lamont in a campaign that became a referendum on the incumbent's support for the Iraq war and what opponents charged was his failure to challenge President Bush's war policies.

Lieberman conceded the race to Lamont late Tuesday, but vowed to run in the general election in November as an independent. more


What KoS is calling a major earthquake seems to be but a hiccup to me. A 3% primary win won't be enough of a margin once the independents and Republicans start casting their votes for Lieberman.

Lieberman Conceding ?

The Washington Post is reporting on its front page that Lieberman is conceding the race although the article linked to never mentions that.


10:00 PM CST Lieberman vs Lamont Gap Narrows

Daily KoS is reporting that the gap has narrowed to a mere 3.3%

Tue Aug 08, 2006 at 07:40:18 PM PDT

Man, this thing won't end! I don't know if my nerves can handle this much longer...

Precincts Reporting: 93.85%

# votes %
Lieberman
126,330 48.35
Lamont
134,942 51.65


9:35 PM CST Lieberman Down By Less than 4%

U.S. Senate Dem - Primary
625 of 748 precincts - 84 percent
Ned Lamont 120,616 - 52 percent
Joe Lieberman (i) 111,887 - 48 percent


From the WaPo:

Polls Close in Conn. Primary

Antiwar challenger Ned Lamont took a narrow early lead tonight over Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman in Connecticut's Democratic primary, a contest that has attracted national attention as a potential bellwether of opposition to the war in Iraq among Democratic voters.

With more than 80 percent of precincts reporting in the closely watched primary, Lamont was leading with nearly 52 percent of the vote. Lieberman trailed with slightly more than 48 percent. more


8:38 CST Lamont Leads Lieberman

U.S. Senate Dem - Primary
From the Conn Post:
........................................................................................................
287 of 748 precincts - 38 percent ........................................................................................................
Ned Lamont 61,449 - 54 percent
........................................................................................................
Joe Lieberman (i) 53,159 - 46 percent .......................................................................................................

From the WaPo: ........................................................................................................

Lieberman Trailing in Democratic Primary
By ROBERT TANNER ........................................................................................................
The Associated Press ........................................................................................................
Tuesday, August 8, 2006; 9:33 PM ........................................................................................................

-- Sen. Joe Lieberman struggled in his bid for a fourth term Tuesday, battling to overcome a tough primary challenge and escape payback from his own party for supporting the Iraq war.

Six years after Democrats backed him for vice president, Lieberman lagged with 47 percent, or 56,891 votes, to political novice Ned Lamont's 53 percent, or 64,383 votes, with 44 percent of precincts reporting. more

Lieberman and Lamont Primary Over

And so the counting begins.

One of the most covered, debated, anticipated, and blogged about primary races ever has just ended. What's at stake? The heart and soul of the Deomcratic party. If Lieberman loses the party pulls to the left. If Lamont loses centrist Democrats have nothing to fear in the upcoming '06 and '08 elections (other than voter disenfranchisement).

I'll post the polling results around midnight. This may actually be a close enough race that a recount may be needed as the spread between the two Dem candidates is within the margin of error.

Delay to Step Aside for Write In Candidate

DeLay to Make Way for Write-In Candidate
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By SUZANNE GAMBOA
The Associated Press
Tuesday, August 8, 2006; 2:25 PM
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WASHINGTON -- Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay intends to withdraw as a candidate for Congress, a Republican strategist said Tuesday, a step that would allow the party to field a write-in candidate in hopes of holding his seat.
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The development came one day after Texas Republicans lost a court battle in their bid to replace DeLay on the November ballot.
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There will be no Republican candidate to face Democrat Nick Lampson, a former House member.
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Texas Republicans on Monday abandoned their court fight to replace DeLay on the November ballot after being turned back at the Supreme Court.
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The decision came after Justice Antonin Scalia rejected Texas Republicans' request to block an appeals court ruling saying DeLay's name should remain on the ballot.
More
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While this will result in a victory for the Dems, it will also be a loss for Delay's former constituents who will be left without a viable Republican candidate. In a state where straight party ticket voting is the norm the odds of a write in candidate ever winning are extremely small. And while I believe that America would be better off without Delay in office I also believe that democracy would have been better served had the twenty second district been allowed a real choice of candidates.

Monday, August 07, 2006

15 States Expand Right to Shoot in Self-Defense

15 States Expand Right to Shoot in Self-Defense

In the last year, 15 states have enacted laws that expand the right of self-defense, allowing crime victims to use deadly force in situations that might formerly have subjected them to prosecution for murder.

Supporters call them “stand your ground” laws. Opponents call them “shoot first” laws.

The Florida law, which served as a model for the others, gives people the right to use deadly force against intruders entering their homes. They no longer need to prove that they feared for their safety, only that the person they killed had intruded unlawfully and forcefully. The law also extends this principle to vehicles.

In addition, the law does away with an earlier requirement that a person attacked in a public place must retreat if possible. Now, that same person, in the law’s words, “has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force.” The law also forbids the arrest, detention or prosecution of the people covered by the law, and it prohibits civil suits against them.

The central innovation in the Florida law, said Anthony J. Sebok, a professor at Brooklyn Law School, is not its elimination of the duty to retreat, which has been eroding nationally through judicial decisions, but in expanding the right to shoot intruders who pose no threat to the occupant’s safety.

“In effect,” Professor Sebok said, “the law allows citizens to kill other citizens in defense of property.” More

Texas will probably join this list of states shortly. I'm of the opinion that the overall value of this law is questionable. I've always been of the opinion that one should be able to defend ones home from intruders regardless of whether or not you're positive they are armed.

Criminal defense attorneys are going to have a field day in court with this law. Any shooting that takes place on the shooter's property will have reasonable doubt automatically built in. Odds are after 5 or so years you'll see the language of this law greatly redefined.



Sunday, August 06, 2006

Who Wants to Be a Superhero?

Ok, I know that this greatly deviates from the normal content of this blog however having said that allow me to explain:

There is a really annoying trend of shows that I like getting cancelled early. The last show that really kept my interest was Firefly which lasted for a whole season. Having realized that blogland is often used to gauge public opinion I am posting about in the hopes that doing so will help insure that there will be a second season. I do not normally watch reality shows. Having said that allow me to explain why I bother watching this one:

  1. The rules are the opposite of most reality shows meaning that speaking ill of, making fun of, or plotting agaist other players will get you kicked off the show.
  2. Missions are not always what they appear to be for example the stated first mission in episode was to change from ones civies into their costume without being seen and race to a predetermined point. The actual mission was to change into your costume and help a little girl who had "lost her mom" who was on the path to the predertermined point. 3/4 of the players ignored her.
  3. The point of the show is to test who has the charachter and virutes needed to be a superhero.
  4. Comic Book Legend Stan Lee is the host and judge of the players.
  5. Very few on the show themselves very seriously. Hence it tends to be funny in a campy way.
  6. Its the only reality show I've ever considered actually being on. (Keep in mind that this is coming from a person who has stopped at every car accident that an ambulance wasn't at that he ran across, ran up the stairs at a hotel when the fire alarm went off, pulled over repeatedy to change ladies flat tires, and has rescued more stray cats and dogs than he would care to admit.)
So if this sounds at all interesting to you please check your local listings and tune in on the SciFi network, Bravo, or USA.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Estate Tax Cut Blocked

GOP Bid On Wages, Estate Tax Is Blocked
Democrats Prevent Vote on Senate Bill

By Charles Babington
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 4, 2006; Page A01

Senate Democrats blocked a Republican bid to combine a tax cut for the wealthy with a wage increase for the working poor last night, adding a volatile economic issue to this fall's congressional campaigns.

GOP leaders fell three votes short of the 60 needed to cut off debate and bring the package to the Senate floor, where it was considered certain to pass on a simple-majority vote. Republicans said Democrats will pay a price in November, contending that most Americans support the bill's call for an increase in the minimum wage and deep cuts in the estate tax.

But Democrats said rich Americans have received enough breaks from the Bush administration and the GOP-led Congress. Voters, they said, will see the Republican-backed bill as a ploy to further enrich upper-income families while trying to usurp the Democrats' role as champions of the working poor.

Under the bill, "8,100 of the wealthy and well-off hit the jackpot, while millions of working families get $800 billion in [federal] debt," said Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), who led the opposition to the measure. more

I don't have a problem with the estate tax being cut. I do however have a problem with the estate tax being cut in a time of record deficits. By doing so now will only further increase the deficit. Once the deficit is gone, we have surpluses (Remember surpluses?), and social security is fixed then we can talk about cutting the estate tax.

E.J. Dionne Jr. surmises in the WaPo that this marks The End of the Right and Midtopia has a great post regarding his article.