Friday, March 28, 2008

Bush and the Debt Counselor

President Bush visits a debt counseling agency today. Hey, at least someone in government is willing to admit we have a problem.

Unfortunately, the President's trip is just to deliver a speech -- not to get any national debt counseling. His visit is part of the housing crisis photo-op of the day sort of thing. Easy for him to empathize with people losing their homes -- since he lives in public housing.


Mr Bush won't be coming away with any advice on the national debt -- which this morning stood at $9.396 trillion. (Newsday)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

All in the Family

This is going to make Thanksgiving at the Pitt-Jolie household pretty awkward.

Researchers at the New England Historic Genealogical Society have found that Sen Barack Obama (D-IL) is related to actor Brad Pitt -- and Sen Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is related to actress Angelina Jolie. (AP)

Monday, March 24, 2008

17 Signs That You Are Being Wiretapped

Feel like you're being watched? Or in this age of state sponsored fearmongering where being afraid in the name of patriotism, do you feel like you're being listened to?

The folks at VOIP-News have a list of 17 things to watch out for if you think your phone's tapped. Things like:

You hear strange noises, like clicking, popping, static and humming.

Your phone makes noise on its own.

Your radio has strange interference.

Who knows. Maybe somewhere in Washington, in a dark, musty warehouse, amid acres of crates containing everything from the space suit Neil Armstrong wore at Area 51 while faking the moonlanding to the Ark of the Covenant there is a simple cardboard box. It contains reams of paper. Each a typed transcript of every phone call I've made in the last seven years. And every one ends the same.

"We'll have that pizza there in 30 minutes or less, Mr. Turner." (VOIP-News)


Four US soldiers killed by an IED in Baghdad have raised the American death toll in the Iraq War to 4,000.

The four died Sunday as mortars pounded the Green Zone and at least 61 Iraqis died in violence around the country. (ABC)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spitzer Spurned

Elliot Spitzer political crap just ain't selling. From today's Reliable Source in the Washington Post:

"No love for Eliot Spitzer -- or his yearbook! Last week an enterprising high school classmate put the 1977 Horace Mann School yearbook, complete with Spitzer's senior picture and quotes, on eBay for $100. Yesterday's auction ended without a single bid; and no interest for another copy offered for $75." (WaPo)

You Still Waiting There?

The National Security Archive's fourth annual Rosemary Award goes to the US Treasury Department for bringing "a new meaning to the notion of subprime performance."

The award is named after Rose Mary Woods, Richard Nixon's infamous secretary blamed for accidentally erasing the 18.5 minute gap in the White House tapes.

Treasury wins for it's lack of handling Freedom of Information Act requests.

The Department responded in 2001, 2004, and 2007 to a 1997 FOI request on Mexico's actions in stopping drug traffickers. Lots of responses -- but each was simply to ask if the person filing the request was still interested.

The Archive found 74 "Are you still interested?" replies to 42 requests in the last seven years. (Al Kamen/WaPo)

The Govs Must be Horny

Hookers, three-way sex and extramarital affairs. Sounds like Cinemax. Actually just America's political beat. Three news stories of late from New York and New Jersey.

The Daily Show presents "The Govs Must be Horny."

Politics and Drinking

As some of you may have suspected, there's a connection between drinking and politics.

A CNN/Opinion Research Poll looks at the link between what people drink and who they vote for.

Beer drinkers prefer Sen John McCain (R-AZ) -- 53-46% -- over Sen Hillary Clinton (D-NY). But beer drinkers are split right down the middle between Sen McCain and Sen Barack Obama (D-IL).

Turns out 28% of Americans prefer beer to wine. But 31% prefer wine to beer.

Pollsters believe the numbers are split along gender lines -- women prefer wine and Sen Clinton. (CNN)

Michigan Revote Possible -- Or Not

Michigan's re-vote has stalled again.

Not enough time. The state legislature would have to pass the plan for a re-vote by close of business on Thursday to make it happen June 3. (PoliticalWire)

Can't Tell the Players Without a Program

Sen John McCain (R-AZ) wrongly claimed Iran was allowing al Qaeda fighters to train in Iran before they go to fight in Iraq.

Sen Joe Lieberman (I-NJ) had to set him straight.

Iran is predominately Shiite. And al Qaeda is a Sunni outfit. They don't like each other. They have different agendas for Iraq -- which are in conflict with one another.

Sen McCain didn't let the foreign affairs flub faze him. "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?" (AP)

Black and White and Shades of Gray

Sen Barack Obama (D-IL) called on Americans to break what he called "a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years."

The Senator confronted racism from both black and white perspectives during a speech in Philadelphia -- the city of brotherly love and home to the Declaration of Independence which declared "all men are created equal." Sen Obama's father is black, his mother white.

Aimed at offsetting criticism over racially charged comments from his pastor, Sen Obama expanded on the issue of racism in America. (AP)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Michigan Revote Possible

Florida's shot down a mail in re-vote in the Democratic primary, and Michigan isn't any closer either.

Michigan's 156 delegates may not be seated because the state's Democratic primary was held too early. And state party leaders are still trying to decide if they'll do a do-over.

Under the latest Michigander plan, the state party would reimburse the state government for a re-do on June 3.

Florida gave up on a do-over Monday. Florida's 211 delegates are also out in the cold for now. Their fate will be left up to national Democratic leaders. (CNN)

Hillary's Records Dump

A compelling read -- if you're a wonk.

The National Archives will release 11,000 pages of Sen Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) schedule when she was first lady. Sen Barack Obama's (D-IL) has said the records need to be made public.

From a National Archives statement quoted by CNN:

“Arranged chronologically, these records document in detail the activities of the First Lady, including meetings, trips, speaking engagements and social activities for the eight years of the Clinton administration.”
The Archives has said that other documents -- like 20,000 pages of phone logs -- won't be ready for release before the general election this fall. (CNN)

Friday, March 14, 2008

NRCC Ex-Treasurer Diverted a Cool Million?

The former treasurer for the National Republican Congressional Committee is accused of diverting as much as $1 million of the GOP's money to his own personal account.

Republican leaders say Christopher Ward had been doing it for four years. He's reportedly under an FBI investigation. GOP leaders turned him in to the feds six weeks ago. (WaPo)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


ADM William "Fox" Fallon, Commander of US Central Command, has stepped down in the wake of an Esquire magazine article saying he is the only man standing in the way of the Bush administration going to war with Iran.

From Esquire:

If, in the dying light of the Bush administration, we go to war with Iran, it'll all come down to one man. If we do not go to war with Iran, it'll come down to the same man. He is that rarest of creatures in the Bush universe: the good cop on Iran, and a man of strategic brilliance. His name is William Fallon, although all of his friends call him "Fox," which was his fighter-pilot call sign decades ago. (Esquire)

Spitzer Jokes

"Do you think it's too soon to be hitting on Mrs. Elliot Spitzer?"

"The governor may step down to spend less time with his family."

David Letterman had plenty of material for his monologue and Top Ten list. (The PoliJAM Times Blog/CBS)

UPDATE: The Huffington Post has a roundup of all the late night jabs at Gov Spitzer

Monday, March 10, 2008

Spitzer Is Linked to Prostitution Ring

A federal wiretap is reported to have linked Governor Elliot Spitzer (D-NY) to a prostitution ring.

The New York Times reports Mr. Spitzer was recorded in a telephone call confirming plans for a woman to travel from New York to Washington, DC where he'd reserved a hotel room.

“I have acted in a way that violates my obligation to my family and violates my or any sense of right or wrong. I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public to whom I promised better.” -- Gov Elliot Spitzer (D-NY) with his wife Silda beside him at his Manhattan office, March 10, 2008
The Governor held a brief news conference where he apologized for his behavior, described it as a private matter and refused to take any questions.

There is no word on whether he plans to resign at this point. (NYT)

The Cost of War

The Iraq War will cost us taxpayers $3 trillion dollars.

That's "trillion" with a "T."

That's $12 billion a month.

That's a lot of debt your grand kids will have to pay off.

Linda Blimes and Joseph Stiglitz did the math for an op-ed in Sunday's Washington Post. Their sum comes up a lot higher than the $60 billion the Bush administration promised before Baghdad fell.

The problem is with the hidden costs:

  • Money to help future veterans

  • Re-equipping a depleted military

  • Hidden costs in the Defense budget

Then there's the $500,000 each family receives when a service member is killed in combat. Close to 4,000 so far.

And there are hidden costs hitting our economy, like the massive debt we've run up borrowing money for the war and the family members who've had to leave the workforce to take care of a wounded relative. (WaPo)

Friday, March 07, 2008

63,000 Pink Slips

America lost 63,000 jobs last month -- the most in five years. So why did the unemployment rate dip to just 4.8%? Analysts say it's because hundreds of thousands of people are so discouraged about the job market they simply gave up looking. From the Associated Press:

"Job losses were widespread, with hefty cuts coming from construction, manufacturing, retailing, financial services and a variety of professional and business services. Those losses swamped gains elsewhere including education and health care, leisure and hospitality, and the government."
Analysts blame the housing and credit crisis for losses. (AP)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Clinton Suggests Joint Ticket

The Associated Press reports Sen Hillary Clinton (D-NY) may be hinting of sharing the Democratic ticket with Sen Barack Obama (D-IL).

"That may be where this is headed, but of course we have to decide who is on the top of ticket." -- Hillary Clinton, quoted by the AP
Sen Clinton won three out of four primaries Tuesday, but still trails Sen Obama by more than 100 delegates. Some political mathematicians say she'll have to pull 6% of the vote in remaining contests to win enough delegates to get the nomination. (AP via Political

Defeating the Purpose

"You really snatched defeat out of the jaws of those who were trying to defeat us in Iraq."

-- President Bush to LTG Ray Odierno (WaPo)