Friday, May 30, 2008

Another "Slam Dunk" for Our (Lack of) Intelligence Community

The SITE Intelligence Group -- a private organization that monitors terrorist propaganda -- found an image of Washington, DC as it might look after a nuclear attack (pictured right).

They billed it as the ambitions of al Qaeda. Said the picture was part of the terrorist's group's feasibility study of nuking the capital. That al Qaeda graphic artists (a key position in any terrorist organization) had concocted the scary image.


Turns out, it's a screen capture from a video game. Something called "Fallout 3."

The lesson here. Saddam hid the WMDs in his Playstation! (Telegraph)

Your Tax Rebate? Already Gone.

Every penny increase in the price of gasoline takes $1.3 billion out of the pockets of American families.

That's the math from Merrill Lynch's David Rosenberg cited in Newsweek.

Now here's some more math on those stimulus checks we're waiting on from Washington.

The package was worth $120 billion. But when it passed, gas was $3.00 a gallon. Now it's $4.00. All that stimulus is already gone before the checks arrive -- kinda like your paychecks these days! (Newsweek)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Convention Fun-draising

A good time at the political conventions this summer comes with a price. A really good time can run you a half million bucks. From the AP:

"Want a skybox perch to see John McCain speak at the Republican National Convention, passes to hot GOP parties that week, pampering from the concierge and private wheels to tool around town?

Want a chance to mingle with celebrities like Warren Beatty and Al Franken at the Democratic National Convention, and maybe even get face time with Barack Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton?"

Both national committees are collecting big bucks in exchange for VIP treatment at their big summer parties. The top package for the GOP will run you $500,000, the DNC, about $250,000. (AP)

If You Want a Friend, Get a Dog -- Heck, It'd Probably Contribute to Obama, Too!

The wife of Sen John McCain's (R-AZ) closest friend in the Senate is sending her campaign donations to Sen Barack Obama (D-IL) this election year.

Lilibet Hagel, wife of Sen Chuck Hagel (R-NE) (pictured together, left), was a big supporter of Sen McCain back in 2000. Even gave him the maximum amount of money allowed at the time -- $1,000.

FEC records show she's shelled out two donations of $250 each to the Obama campaign this year. Sen Hagel has not donated money to any campaign -- but he's also declined to endorse his friend from Arizona. The two have very different views on the Iraq War. (WaPo)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Former Aide Bashes Bush

Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan has a new book out bashing President Bush -- saying the President relied on a "political propaganda campaign" to sell the Iraq War.

Mr McClellan calls Iraq a "serious strategic blunder." (AP)

Finding the Fallen

A new program using techniques from forensic science and archeology is aiding in the recovery of MIA's from foreign wars. From the Boston Globe:

"The Pentagon launched the mission of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) on Oct. 1, 2003, to recover the remains of tens of thousands of MIAs from foreign wars. The organization, which identifies six missing servicemen each month on average, utilizes the largest forensic anthropology laboratory in the world and 15 teams that travel the globe on recovery missions. This is the story of one such recovery mission in Papua New Guinea."

The Globe has a great multimedia presentation of their multi-part series on the JPAC. (Boston Globe)

Military Foreclosures

The housing crisis is beginning to hit troops close to home.

Bloomberg reports foreclosure filings in military towns -- places within 10 miles of military bases -- are up an an average 217% from January through April.

The national average was only 59% for the same period.

On top of that, military families often buy houses when transferred with plans to sell them and turn a little profit the next time they're transferred. Now, houses are going unsold for a lot longer and falling house prices could force them to sell at a loss. (Bloomberg)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Colorado Keggers

The Colorado Governor's Mansion looks more like a frat house in pictures the Denver Post got. Governor Bill Ritter 's (D) 22 year old son, August Ritter III is shown with kegs of beer and with a woman wrapped around him.

But a spokesman says First Lady Jeannie Ritter was around to chaperone the keggers. From the Denver Post:

The invitation says there were few rules.
"Mama Ritter has two rules for parties that I have at the Mansion.
1. No throwing up
2. No sexy time"
Jenna's married off, but Barbara Bush is still single. Maybe someone should hook those two kids up for some political partying! (Denver Post)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wrong Track Mindset

Americans have our worst outlook on the direction of the country since 1992.

The latest Washington Post-ABC News Poll shows 8 in 10 of us think the country's headed in the wrong direction.

That's bad news for Republicans -- who are catching the blame for the disaffection. President Bush slipped to his worst approval numbers ever -- just 31%. And Democrats hold a 21 point lead over Republicans as the party best able to lift the country out of its latest bout of malaise and solve the nation's problems.

As far as the long, drawn out primary fight for the Democratic nomination -- 71% of Democrats think it has had no effect on or even been good for the party's prospects of regaining the White House.

The poll shows Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) leading Sen John McCain (R-AZ) 51%-44%, and Sen Hillary Clinton (D-NY) leading Sen McCain 49%-46%.

Top issues: the economy (36%) and the Iraq War (21%).

Monday, May 12, 2008

Winning in the Hillary/Obama Fight

Alan Wolfe, writing in the Washington Post, argues that the real winner of the protracted Democratic primary process has been "democracy."

He points out that Vice President Hubert Humphrey won the Democratic nod in 1968 without entering a single primary. And he points out that Sen Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Sen Barack Obama (D-IL) will each have weathered 55 primaries or caucuses by the time a nominee has been tapped this year.

He also points out that the Guam caucuses had more influence this year than the New York primary had in '68.

Mr Wolfe also points to the millions of new voters who registered to take part in the races that came to their states.

He suggests the long fight has actually been helpful to Democrats. (WaPo)

Clinton $20 Million in Debt

Sen Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) campaign team admits the candidate is $20 million in debt in her bid to win the Democratic nomination.

With time running out and virtually no way to beat the delegate math, Sen Clinton has reportedly called together fundraisers to round up money for the final few state primaries and caucuses as time runs out. (WaPo)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

In It to Spin It -- Hillary's Hopes Fade Fast

The math isn't there -- and the media's piling on. CBS airs Sen Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) political obituary as superdelegates begin their shift to Sen Barack Obama (D-IL).

Gibbons vs. Gibbons

Gov Jim Gibbons (R-NV) just won the Governor's Mansion a couple of years ago. But he's already lost it -- to his wife.

The home of the quickie divorce is witnessing their governor battle the missus over who gets to keep the digs -- paid for by taxpayers.

The Governor (pictured here clowning on a cruise with a whole bunch of women) filed for divorce last week. Wife, Dawn, has refused to move out. So, the Governor has gone to court to evict her.

The Five Mistakes Clinton Made

Karen Tumulty, writing in Time magazine, has a list of five things she says doomed Sen Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) Presidential campaign:

1. She misjudged the mood
2. She didn't master the rules
3. She underestimated the caucus states
4. She relied on old money
5. She never counted on the long haul

Republicans Rake Economy

Fewer than one in four Republicans believe the economy is doing well.

The Pew Research Center found only 23% of Republicans think the economy is "good" or "excellent."

Among all Americans -- only 11% rank the economy as good or better.

Just last year, 56% of Republicans said the economy was moving along just peachy. Throughout most of President Bush's tenure in office, there's been a sharp partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans on the state of the economy. (Pew Center)

Tour de Cure

Help me raise money to fight diabetes!

I'll be riding my first metric century (100 km/63 miles) at the Reston, Virginia "Tour de Cure" on June 8th. You can contribute by clicking on the Tour de Cure logo above. Donations to the American Diabetes Association are tax deductible and your support is appreciated.

You can learn more about where you can participate in the Tour de Cure in your area by clicking here.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Mission Accomplished -- 5 Years Later

Happy "Mission Accomplished" Day!

It was five years ago today we won the war. It's been a bed of roses ever since.

That's what the commander in chief told us from the deck of USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003:

"In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country."
A banner day for President Bush!

By the way. USS Abraham Lincoln is currently part of a brief two carrier deployment off the coast of Iran. (CBS)