Saturday, April 28, 2007

Straight Talk Express

It's OK If You Are Republican

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Gunman Kills 32 in Virginia Tech Rampage

UPDATE: Cho Seung-Hui


BLACKSBURG, Va. — A gunman massacred 32 people at Virginia Tech in the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history Monday, cutting down his victims in two attacks two hours apart before the university could grasp what was happening and warn students. The bloodbath ended with the gunman committing suicide, bringing the death toll to 33 and stamping the campus in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains with unspeakable tragedy, perhaps forever.

Investigators gave no motive for the attack. The gunman's name was not immediately released, and it was not known whether he was a student.

"Today the university was struck with a tragedy that we consider of monumental proportions," Virginia Tech President Charles Steger said. "The university is shocked and indeed horrified."

But he was also faced with difficult questions about the university's handling of the emergency and whether it did enough to warn students and protect them after the first burst of gunfire. Some students bitterly complained they got no warning from the university until an e-mail that arrived more than two hours after the first shots rang out.

Wielding two handguns and carrying multiple clips of ammunition, the killer opened fire about 7:15 a.m. on the fourth floor of West Ambler Johnston, a high-rise coed dormitory, then stormed Norris Hall, a classroom building a half-mile away on the other side of the 2,600-acre campus. Some of the doors at Norris Hall were found chained from the inside, apparently by the gunman.

Two people died in a dorm room, and 31 others were killed in Norris Hall, including the gunman, who put a bullet in his head. At least 15 people were hurt, some seriously. Students jumped from windows in panic.

Alec Calhoun, a 20-year-old junior, said he was in a 9:05 a.m. mechanics class when he and classmates heard a thunderous sound from the classroom next door _ "what sounded like an enormous hammer."

Screams followed an instant later, and the banging continued. When students realized the sounds were gunshots, Calhoun said, he started flipping over desks for hiding places. Others dashed to the windows of the second-floor classroom, kicking out the screens and jumping from the ledge of Room 204, he said.

"I must've been the eighth or ninth person who jumped, and I think I was the last," said Calhoun, of Waynesboro, Va. He landed in a bush and ran.


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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Where have all the emails gone? Long time passing...

Rove Flap Gives Dems Ammo


The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The fight over documents has gone to red alert. The White House acknowledges it cannot find four years' worth of e-mails from chief political strategist Karl Rove. The admission has thrust the Democrats' nemesis back into the center of attention and poses a fresh political challenge for President Bush.

The administration has acknowledged that some e-mails missing from Rove's Republican party account may relate to the firing of eight U.S. prosecutors last year. The Democratic-run Congress is investigating whether the firings resulted from political pressure by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the White House.

For Democrats, the missing Rove e-mails is one more chance to pound away at their favorite target, the architect of Bush's 2000 and 2004 presidential victories and all-around White House political fixer.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has compared the missing e-mails to the 18-minute gap on President Nixon's Watergate tapes. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., says the White House message to Congress is: "We are stonewalling."

The White House chalks it up to just another outbreak of Democratic Rove rage. "My experience has been that any time Karl Rove's name is mentioned, it adds to the ammunition, regardless of merit," White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said.

Only Dick Cheney raises the same kind of anger _ and there is not much they can do about the vice president, short of impeachment.

The Rove connection is sure to be raised when Gonzales testifies Tuesday before Leahy's committee. His appearance, Democratic and Republican lawmakers say, may determine whether the longtime Bush friend can hold onto his job.

Democrats plan to focus on the Justice Department's contradictory statements about the firings and Gonzales' shifting explanations of his own role.

Democrats now are seeking Rove's sworn public testimony in their investigation of dismissed U.S. attorneys. So far, the White House has agreed only to off-the-record interviews for Rove and former White House counsel Harriet Miers with committee members.

Department documents turned over to Congress suggested that Rove and Miers had an early role in planning the firings, despite initial White House statements to the contrary.

Democrats have threatened to issue subpoenas. But, due to the constitutional separation of executive and legislative powers, it is not clear they can force Rove to testify.

"He's been a pet symbol to Democrats," said Fred Greenstein, professor emeritus of politics at Princeton University. "It's clear that he is very important to Bush and that the president takes him very seriously, even if the 2008 election outcome would be totally unaffected by dropping Rove."

Despite Rove's reputation as a political grand master, there is not exactly a rush to his door among the current large field of Republican presidential hopefuls.

Democrats have had Rove in their cross hairs before; he always has slipped away.

He was implicated in the CIA leak case as someone who had passed on the identity of CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame to reporters. But he never was charged and never called to testify in the trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff. Libby was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice and is awaiting sentencing.

Rove also managed to emerge unscathed from investigations of administration and congressional ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

If Rove deliberately deleted e-mails relating to the firing of the prosecutors, Democrats suggest, he could run afoul of a 1978 law that requires the White House to keep documents that relate to presidential actions, decisions and deliberations.

Republican strategist Rich Galen says Democrats could make the same mistakes that Republicans made under House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., in going after President Clinton after winning control of the House.

"That's what got us in big trouble in 1998 (midterm elections, when Republicans lost seats) and ultimately cost Newt his job as speaker. We so solely focused on going after Bill Clinton that people said, in essence, `We hired you to solve stuff _ and not to spend all day, every day, trying to figure out how to make Bill Clinton's life miserable,'" said Galen, who worked for Gingrich when he was speaker.

Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, denies that his client deleted his own e-mails from a Republican-sponsored computer system. "His understanding, starting very, very early in the administration was that those e-mails were being archived," Luskin said.

Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University, said the controversy over the missing Rove e-mails is another sign of "the downward spiral of an old, tired administration."

It comes as public support for the war in Iraq continues to erode, Bush's approval ratings are in the mid-30s and the administration is embroiled in multiple scandals and ethics investigations.

"They've got serious combat fatigue after six years in office," said Baker. "The forces there are getting very thin."

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Who Gives a Flying F@#K about Don Imus?

So, Don Imus lost his obnoxious gig at MSNBC. Who cares? There are bigger issues that matter.

Imus called the Rutger's Women's basketball players "Nappy Headed Ho's".

So, what? He has been a scumbag for the many years he's been on the air. Some corporate entity finally decided to quit working with him. Great!

But, no one should act surprised or shocked at Don Imus saying something bad on his program. That's what he did before MSNBC picked him up. That's what he did after MSNBC picked him up. No surprise.

Some Imus tidbits:

* compared the appearance of black NBA players to apes
* called award-winning black New York Times journalist Gwen Ifill "the cleaning lady"
* referred to award-winning black New York Times journalist Bob Herbert as a "quota hire"
* referred to residents of Harlem as "molignans" (the Italian equivalent of "coons")
* referred to the black wife of former Secretary of Defense William Cohen as a "big-haired ho"
* called tennis players Venus and Serena Williams "animals"

And in a July 19, 1998 interview on "60 Minutes," Imus admitted to hiring a producer specifically "to do nigger jokes" for the show.

No one should shed a tear about Don Imus being dumped. But, the event ceased to be important about three minutes after it happened. Move on.

BTW, Jessie (Hymie Town) Jackson should stop calling the kettle black.

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"Where have all the leaders gone?"

By Lee Iacocca with Catherine Whitney

An Excerpt -

Had Enough?

Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the course."

Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I'll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out!

You might think I'm getting senile, that I've gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore. The President of the United States is given a free pass to ignore the Constitution, tap our phones, and lead us to war on a pack of lies. Congress responds to record deficits by passing a huge tax cut for the wealthy (thanks, but I don't need it). The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we're fiddling in Iraq, the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving pom-poms instead of asking hard questions. That's not the promise of America my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I've had enough. How about you?

I'll go a step further. You can't call yourself a patriot if you're not outraged. This is a fight I'm ready and willing to have.

My friends tell me to calm down. They say, "Lee, you're eighty-two years old. Leave the rage to the young people." I'd love to—as soon as I can pry them away from their iPods for five seconds and get them to pay attention. I'm going to speak up because it's my patriotic duty. I think people will listen to me. They say I have a reputation as a straight shooter. So I'll tell you how I see it, and it's not pretty, but at least it's real. I'm hoping to strike a nerve in those young folks who say they don't vote because they don't trust politicians to represent their interests. Hey, America, wake up. These guys work for us.

Who Are These Guys, Anyway?

Why are we in this mess? How did we end up with this crowd in Washington? Well, we voted for them—or at least some of us did. But I'll tell you what we didn't do. We didn't agree to suspend the Constitution. We didn't agree to stop asking questions or demanding answers. Some of us are sick and tired of people who call free speech treason. Where I come from that's a dictatorship, not a democracy.

And don't tell me it's all the fault of right-wing Republicans or liberal Democrats. That's an intellectually lazy argument, and it's part of the reason we're in this stew. We're not just a nation of factions. We're a people. We share common principles and ideals. And we rise and fall together.

Where are the voices of leaders who can inspire us to action and make us stand taller? What happened to the strong and resolute party of Lincoln? What happened to the courageous, populist party of FDR and Truman? There was a time in this country when the voices of great leaders lifted us up and made us want to do better. Where have all the leaders gone?

The Test of a Leader

I've never been Commander in Chief, but I've been a CEO. I understand a few things about leadership at the top. I've figured out nine points—not ten (I don't want people accusing me of thinking I'm Moses). I call them the "Nine Cs of Leadership." They're not fancy or complicated. Just clear, obvious qualities that every true leader should have. We should look at how the current administration stacks up. Like it or not, this crew is going to be around until January 2009. Maybe we can learn something before we go to the polls in 2008. Then let's be sure we use the leadership test to screen the candidates who say they want to run the country. It's up to us to choose wisely.


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Saturday, April 07, 2007

It's time to hide Easter Eggs!

Another religious weekend is upon us and that's not, in an of itself, a bad thing.

But, with 90% of Americans claiming a belief in some Supreme Being, and an overwhelming majority of them claiming Christianity as their belief of choice, it is difficult to listen to blowhards like Donohue or
suggest that Christians are being persecuted in America.

Donohue goes nutbar because some yahoo sculps Jesus out of chocolate while every Sunday feeding his flock rice paper wafers and grape juice telling them it's "The body of Jesus" and "The blood of Jesus".

It's getting dangerous to not believe these days. FirstFreedomFirst is promoting a "Blog Against Theocracy". Freedom "of" Religion also means Freedom "from" Religion.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Romney will fit in well with the rest of the liars, cheats, adulterers, (and miserable failures if you count Bush).

Romney calls himself a longtime hunter, even though he's gone out only 2 times


BOSTON — In boasting about his lifelong experience as a hunter, Mitt Romney may have shot himself in the foot.

The Republican presidential contender has told audiences on several occasions, most recently this week in gun-savvy _ and early voting _ New Hampshire, that he has been a longtime hunter. But it turns out he has been on only two hunting trips.

Critics said it was the latest example of a White House aspirant willing to say anything to reach the Oval Office.

"Whether he's pretending to be a hunter, misleading people about loaning his campaign millions of dollars or signing a no-new-tax pledge he once mocked to hide his tax-raising record, he'll say absolutely anything to distance himself from his real record," said Damien LaVera, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee.

The charge echoed with similarities to the criticism the Republican National Committee used to level against another Massachusetts politician running for president, Sen. John Kerry, who was his party's 2004 nominee.

In a question-and-answer session Tuesday in Keene, N.H., Romney spoke of his experience with hunting in a manner that suggested a close affiliation with the sport.

"I purchased a gun when I was a young man. I've been a hunter pretty much all my life," he told a man sporting a National Rifle Association cap.

Yet the former Massachusetts governor's hunting experience came during two trips at the bookends of his 60 years: as a 15-year-old, when he hunted rabbits with his cousins on a ranch in Idaho, and last year, when he shot quail on a fenced game preserve in Georgia.

The 2006 trip was an outing with major donors to the Republican Governors Association, which Romney headed at the time.

An aide said Wednesday that Romney was not trying to mislead anyone, although he confirmed Romney had been hunting only on those occasions in his life.

"Governor Romney's support for the Second Amendment doesn't come from the fact he knows how to handle a firearm; it comes from his appreciation of the Constitution and the rights enshrined in it, including the right to keep and bear arms," campaign spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said.

He went on to cite the pro-gun measures Romney signed into law while serving as governor from 2003 to this past January.

Romney himself made several of the same points to the Keene audience, while also trying to offer some perspective on his hunting experience.

"I support the Second Amendment," he told the man who had asked about his views on the constitutional right to bear arms. "I purchased a gun when I was a young man. I've been a hunter pretty much all my life. I've never really shot anything terribly big. I used to hunt rabbits."

Romney added: "Shooting a rabbit with a single-shot .22 is pretty hard, and after watching me try for a couple of weeks, (my cousins) said, `We'll slip you the semiautomatic. You'll do better with that.' And I sure did."

On the Georgia excursion, he said, "I knocked quite a few birds and enjoyed myself a great deal."

Expressing familiarity with and support for gun rights is key among Republican presidential contenders, who count gun owners, members of the military and the NRA itself among their potential supporters.

It helps explain why Romney joined the NRA last August, signing up not just as a supporter but a designated "Lifetime" member, and why he has softened his gun control positions.

Romney told his Keene audience, "I'm after the NRA's endorsement. I'm not sure they'll give it to me. I hope they will. I also joined because if I'm going to ask for their endorsement, they're going to ask for mine."

...more on HuffPo

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Gotta make ya feel good!

Found this on Blue Gal.

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