Oct 312007

Though it is doubtful that he will ever be able to collect, it is good that this man won…

Jury Awards Father $11M in Funeral Case

wswed04.jpgBALTIMORE (AP) – A grieving father won a nearly $11 million verdict Wednesday against a fundamentalist Kansas church that pickets military funerals out of a belief that the war in Iraq is a punishment for the nation’s tolerance of homosexuality.

Albert Snyder of York, Pa., sued the Westboro Baptist Church for unspecified damages after members demonstrated at the March 2006 funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq.

The jury first awarded $2.9 million in compensatory damages. It returned in the afternoon with its decision to award $6 million in punitive damages for invasion of privacy and $2 million for causing emotional distress.

Snyder’s attorney, Craig Trebilcock, had urged jurors to determine an amount “that says don’t do this in Maryland again. Do not bring your circus of hate to Maryland again.”

Church members routinely picket funerals of military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, carrying signs such as “Thank God for dead soldiers” and “God hates fags.”

Bush loses another one

 Posted by at 18:16  Politics
Oct 312007

George W. Bush is losing another of his Texas buddies…

Hughes, Loyal Bush Adviser, Leaving State Dept.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 — Karen P. Hughes, one of the few remaining members of President Bush’s circle of longtime Texas advisers, said today that she will return to private life, stepping down as the head of public diplomacy at the State Department sometime in December.

Karen P. Hughes and George W. Bush in picture taken at the 2004 Republican National Convention.

Oct 302007

The Democratic presidential candidates are meeting in Philadelphia for another debate tonight. It’ll be on MSNBC at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time, hosted by Brian Williams and Tim Russert. The buildup has been that this will be the final opportunity for Obama and Edwards to distinguish themselves from front-runner Clinton. One thing for certain is that it will definitely be a lot more interesting than anything the Republicans have had to offer thus far.

Dennis Kucinich made headlines when he met with the editorial board of The Philadelphia Inquirer earlier today…

Kucinich: Time to question Bush’s mental health

kucinich.jpgRep. Dennis Kucinich (D. Ohio) suggested today that President Bush’s comment about a nuclear Iran precipitating “World War III” is a sign of mental instability.

“I seriously believe we have to start asking questions about his mental health,” Kucinich, a back-of-the-pack candidate for president, said in an interview with The Inquirer’s editorial board. “There’s something wrong. He does not seem to understand his words have real impact.”

At a news conference two weeks ago, Bush said, “I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them (Iran) from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.”

[snipped predictable Republican response]

Kucinich, who thinks Bush and Vice President Cheney should be impeached and charged with war crimes, is running sixth in most national polls. He said he doesn’t believe his comments about the president’s mental health are irresponsible.

“You cannot be a president of the United States who’s wanton in his expression of violence,” Kucinich said. “There’s a lot of people who need care. He might be one of them. If there isn’t something wrong with him, then there’s something wrong with us. This, to me, is a very serious question.”

In many countries a person could be jailed for saying what Mr. Kucinich said today. If the right wing of the Republican party were to have their way, I am sure he would have been. Thankfully they have not quite completely overtaken our government (yet).

Oct 282007

If you like George W. Bush, you’re going to love Rudy Giuliani…


Giuliani Resembles Bush on Terror War

WASHINGTON (AP) – Rudy Giuliani, to quote a Democratic rival, would be like President Bush on steroids in the way he would go about protecting the U.S. from terrorists. In reality, Giuliani doesn’t seem very different from Bush on the issue.

The former New York mayor says the government shouldn’t be shy about eavesdropping on citizens. He is prepared to use military force to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons and root out terrorists in Pakistan. And he opposes a U.S. pullout from Iraq.

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh, a Giuliani friend and adviser on homeland security issues, said in an interview: “I would say they’re very much joined at the hip on these policies, and particularly the mind-set and commitment of both the president and Mayor Giuliani to stay on offense.”

Losing the war against terrorism and starting World War III… yep, that’s what we want.

We can be thankful that Rudolph Giuliani will never be President of the United States.

Related reading: “Rudy a Lefty? Yeah, Right.

Oct 272007


Chertoff blasts FEMA’s faux press conference

The homeland security chief on Saturday tore into his own employees for staging a phony news conference at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“I think it was one of the dumbest and most inappropriate things I’ve seen since I’ve been in government,” Michael Chertoff said.

“I have made unambiguously clear, in Anglo-Saxon prose, that it is not to ever happen again and there will be appropriate disciplinary action taken against those people who exhibited what I regard as extraordinarily poor judgment,” he added.

The people at FEMA should really pay attention to Michael Chertoff. He has a lot of experience when it comes to dumb and inappropriate things and extraordinarily poor judgment…


Two Americas

 Posted by at 11:04  Politics
Oct 272007

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards often talks about the “Two Americas.” He’s right, you know. There are two Americas. There is the one “they” live in and then there is the one the rest of us live in.

How many of you believe that you could perform so miserably at your job that you end of getting fired, yet you walk away fixed for life?

There’s a fellow named E. Stanley O’Neal who is one of “them.” He took over as chief executive officer of a company, ran it into the ground, and is about to get fired. He’ll walk away with $159,000,000… fixed for life.

Merrill Lynch Weighs Ouster of Top Officer

stanoneal.jpgThe board of Merrill Lynch, its frustration mounting over the brokerage firm’s credit losses and the decision-making of its embattled chief executive, E. Stanley O’Neal, has begun to actively consider whether to replace him and with whom, according to people briefed on the board’s deliberations.

The discussions underscore Mr. O’Neal’s precarious position. Once credited with turning Merrill Lynch around, Mr. O’Neal is struggling to retain his job in the wake of a third-quarter loss of $2.3 billion and an $8.4 billion charge for failed credit and mortgage-related investments. He has also clashed with his directors over an approach he made to a rival bank, Wachovia, for a possible merger, The New York Times reported yesterday.

Here’s the fixed for life part…

The Price of Any Departure Will Be at Least $159 Million

Merrill Lynch’s directors may be weighing E. Stanley O’Neal’s future, but one thing is already guaranteed: a payday of at least $159 million if he steps down.

Mr. O’Neal, the company’s chairman and chief executive, is entitled to $30 million in retirement benefits as well as $129 million in stock and option holdings, according to an analysis by James F. Reda & Associates using yesterday’s share price of $66.09. That would be on top of the roughly $160 million he took home in his nearly five years on the job.

Still don’t believe in the Two Americas? You really are a die-hard Republican, aren’t you? Either that, or you are one of “them.”

Republican andropause

 Posted by at 20:11  Politics
Oct 262007

Today’s must-read op-ed column is from The Washington Post‘s Eugene Robinson…

Republican Hot Flashes

Has America become a mean, ungenerous, cramped and crabby nation, a deeply insecure colossus — one that just might be taking all those Viagra and Cialis commercials a bit too personally? Is the country desperate to find scapegoats for a perceived decline in, um, vigor? Or is America still a confident land of hope and promise, a place still potent with possibility?

It’s watching the Republicans in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail that makes me pose those big-picture questions. I’m just suggesting a context for assessing the actions and rhetoric of a party that seems to be in the throes of andropause.

That’s the popularly accepted term for “male menopause,” which medical dictionaries tend to describe as a “purported” syndrome rather than an actual clinical diagnosis. I’m not qualified to offer an opinion on whether dads go through a Y-chromosome version of what used to be euphemistically called the “change of life.” But I think the “Daddy party” has been presenting clear symptoms.

The latest was the Senate vote Wednesday in which Republicans, supported by a handful of red-state Democrats, narrowly scuttled the Dream Act, a bill that would have provided a path to citizenship for some young undocumented immigrants — but only those who did everything this country once found worthy and admirable in pursuit of the American dream.

Under the proposal, men and women who fulfilled several conditions — they had to be under 30, had to have been brought into the country illegally before they were 16, had to have been in the United States for at least five years and had to be graduates of U.S. high schools — would have been given conditional legal status. If they went on to complete two years of college or two years of military service, they would have been eligible for permanent residency.

Let’s see. Here was a way to encourage a bunch of kids to go to college rather than melt into the shadows as off-the-books day laborers — or maybe even gang members. And here was a way to boost enlistment in our overtaxed armed forces. Aren’t education and global competitiveness supposed to be vital issues? Aren’t we fighting open-ended wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

The vote against the Dream Act was so irrational, so counterproductive, that it seemed the product of some sort of hormonal imbalance.

The Republicans are doing all they can to focus attention on themselves and prove they are still somehow relevant in today’s world, but their efforts usually backfire. They just aren’t what they used to be.

Friday night cartoons

 Posted by at 17:49  Humor, Politics
Oct 262007

Once again we present the blogosphere’s weekly collection of the best in political cartooning. Enjoy. Click on any cartoon which you may wish to view full size…

bagley102307.jpg  combs102507.jpg

eagan102507.jpg  gorrell102307.jpg

harville102307.jpg  harville102407.jpg

hulme102507.gif  kelley102407.gif

lane102407.gif  luckovich102307.gif

matson102307.jpg  powell102507.jpg

rogers102407.gif  sack102407.jpg

sack102507.jpg  sherffius102407.jpg

morin102607.jpg  powell102607.jpg