Thursday, January 25, 2007

Drinking game words in bold

My comments in red


Thank you very much. Tonight, I have a high privilege and distinct honor of my own — as the first President to begin the State of the Union message with these words: Madam Speaker.

In his day, the late Congressman Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr., from Baltimore, Maryland, saw Presidents Roosevelt and Truman at this rostrum. But nothing could compare with the sight of his only daughter, Nancy, presiding tonight as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Congratulations.

Two members of the House and Senate are not with us tonight — and we pray for the recovery and speedy return of Senator Tim Johnson and Congressman Charlie Norwood. (Not true, when Senator Johnson first took ill, all the Republicans could talk about was how he was going to die, or otherwise be unable to serve – if he had a stroke, he must not be fit. And they salivated at the chance to get the Senate back.)

Madam Speaker, Vice President Cheney, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

This rite of custom brings us together at a defining hour — when decisions are hard and courage is tested. We enter the year 2007 with large endeavors underway, and others that are ours to begin. In all of this, much is asked of us. We must have the will to face difficult challenges and determined enemies — and the wisdom to face them together. (Does "will" mean raising taxes to support the war effort? How about asking Americans to cut their energy consumption? How about NOT driving SUVs? No? no? ok.)

Some in this Chamber are new to the House and Senate — and I congratulate the Democratic majority. Congress has changed, but our responsibilities have not. Each of us is guided by our own convictions — and to these we must stay faithful. Yet we are all held to the same standards, and called to serve the same good purposes: To extend this Nation's prosperity … to spend the people's money wisely … to solve problems, not leave them to future generations … to guard America against all evil, and to keep faith with those we have sent forth to defend us. (Like sending them with the appropriate armor and equipment? How about not sending back soldiers who are crying out in mental anguish for help? How about fully funding the Veteran's Administration? How about giving the soldiers a pay raise? How about listening to the commanders on the ground, instead of forcing them to resign? How about getting rid of contractor in Iraq that are subject to no law?)

We are not the first to come here with government divided (I think the Congress is pretty united, and you are the only one divided, from reality.) and uncertainty in the air. Like many before us, we can work through our differences and achieve big (big? Big? Who says big? How about great thigns for a great nation, not big. Big is a word that a second-graders uses to describe something.) things for the American people. Our citizens don't much care which side of the aisle we sit on — as long as we are willing to cross that aisle when there is work to be done. Our job is to make life better for our fellow Americans, and help them to build a future of hope and opportunity — and this is the business before us tonight. (Hmmmm….make life better? Make life better? Like universal health insurance, increasing the minimum wage, universal human rights, make corporations accountable, tax cuts for the poor/middle class, fully funded No Child Left Behind, rebuilding New Orleans…and the list goes on and on. You mean that kind of making life better? That kind of hope and opportunity?)

A future of hope and opportunity begins with a growing economy — and that is what we have. We are now in the 41st month of uninterrupted job growth — in a recovery that has created 7.2 million new jobs … so far. (He fail to mention that if we include job LOSSES during his administration, the true number of new jobs created is about half, or 3.7 million. Oh and how many jobs did our man Clinton create in his first six years? Oh yeah, 17.6 million – nearly six times the number that Bush touts. HA ha HA ha ha) Unemployment is low, inflation is low, and wages are rising. (Only because the Democrats pushed through an increase in the minimum wage, the first in 10 years…) This economy is on the move — and our job is to keep it that way, not with more government but with more enterprise.

Next week, I will deliver a full report on the state of our economy. Tonight, I want to discuss three economic reforms that deserve to be priorities for this Congress.

First, we must balance the Federal budget. We can do so without raising taxes. What we need to do is impose spending discipline in Washington, D.C. (This is new?) We set a goal of cutting the deficit in half by 2009 — and met that goal 3 years ahead of schedule. (Now lets see, how did we go from having a $236 billion surplus in 2000 to having a $615 billion deficit now…oh right…your ridiculous and ill conceived misadventure in Iraq. So now that you blew $800 billion, you want us to pat you on the back for coming up with a way to pay it back. Right. Lets talk about the national debt. It stands at almost $9 trillion. Per the National Debt Clock, each American owes almost $30,000 on this debt. Owe and the national debt increases by $1.9 billion every day. Awesome) Now let us take the next step. In the coming weeks, I will submit a budget that eliminates the Federal deficit within the next 5 years. I ask you to make the same commitment. Together, we can restrain the spending appetite of the Federal Government, and balance the Federal budget. (You mean the appetite that gives the Defense Department $633 billion and non-military $350 billion –excluding medicare, Medicaid, and social security. You mean the appetite that gives the military almost twice as much in spending as EVERYTHING ELSE? THAT appetite? You mean we spend almost as much as the rest of the world COMBINED on military spending?)

Next, there is the matter of earmarks. These special interest items are often slipped into bills at the last hour — when not even C-SPAN is watching. In 2005 alone, the number of earmarks grew to over 13,000 and totaled nearly $18 billion. Even worse, over 90 percent of earmarks never make it to the floor of the House and Senate — they are dropped into Committee reports that are not even part of the bill that arrives on my desk. You did not vote them into law. I did not sign them into law. Yet they are treated as if they have the force of law. The time has come to end this practice. So let us work together to reform the budget process … expose every earmark to the light of day and to a vote in Congress … and cut the number and cost of earmarks at least in half by the end of this session. (Yeah, pretty sure the Dems put through a bill about this….you go ahead and sign it, and then you can take the credit for it…you sneaky bastard.)

Finally, to keep this economy strong we must take on the challenge of entitlements. Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are commitments of conscience — and so it is our duty to keep them permanently sound. Yet we are failing in that duty — and this failure will one day leave our children with three bad options: huge tax increases, huge deficits, or huge and immediate cuts in benefits. Everyone in this Chamber knows this to be true — yet somehow we have not found it in ourselves to act. So let us work together and do it now. With enough good sense and good will, you and I can fix Medicare and Medicaid — and save Social Security. (This does not mean that you should privatize SS and don't use the money held in trust to pay for other expenses, ok? OK.)

Spreading opportunity and hope in America also requires public schools that give children the knowledge and character they need in life. Five years ago, we rose above partisan differences to pass the No Child Left Behind Act — preserving local control, raising standards in public schools, and holding those schools accountable for results. ( I have it on good authority that teachers hate NCLB and that fully funded it might work, but now, not so much with the working) And because we acted, students are performing better in reading and math, and minority students are closing the achievement gap. (From Kos: Fourth grade reading scores since NCLB went into effect? Unchanged. Eight grade scores? Down. And that achievement gap? There was some relative gain by some minority groups, but only because white students did worse. In fact, in eighth grade every group did worse except Asian students.)

Now the task is to build on this success, without watering down standards … without taking control from local communities … and without backsliding (I'm pretty sure "backsliding" is a frat word for hooking up with an ex) and calling it reform. We can lift student achievement even higher by giving local leaders flexibility to turn around failing schools … and by giving families with children stuck in failing schools the right to choose something better. (Ahh, here it is, school vouchers.) We must increase funds for students who struggle — and make sure these children get the special help they need. And we can make sure our children are prepared for the jobs of the future, and our country is more competitive, by strengthening math and science skills. (but not at the expense of reading! Writing! History!) The No Child Left Behind Act has worked for America's children — and I ask Congress to reauthorize this good law.

A future of hope and opportunity requires that all our citizens have affordable and available health care. When it comes to health care, government has an obligation to care for the elderly, the disabled, and poor children (and all of its citizens- it's called universal healthcare and all the other civilized countries have it). We will meet those responsibilities. For all other Americans, private health insurance is the best way to meet their needs. But many Americans cannot afford a health insurance policy.

Tonight, I propose two new initiatives to help more Americans afford their own insurance. First, I propose a standard tax deduction for health insurance that will be like the standard tax deduction for dependents. Families with health insurance will pay no income or payroll taxes on $15,000 of their income. Single Americans with health insurance will pay no income or payroll taxes on $7,500 of their income. With this reform, more than 100 million men, women, and children who are now covered by employer-provided insurance will benefit from lower tax bills.

At the same time, this reform will level the playing field for those who do not get health insurance through their job. For Americans who now purchase health insurance on their own, my proposal would mean a substantial tax savings — $4,500 for a family of four making $60,000 a year. And for the millions of other Americans who have no health insurance at all, this deduction would help put a basic private health insurance plan within their reach. Changing the tax code is a vital and necessary step to making health care affordable for more Americans.

My second proposal is to help the States that are coming up with innovative ways to cover the uninsured. States that make basic private health insurance available to all their citizens should receive Federal funds to help them provide this coverage to the poor and the sick. I have asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services to work with Congress to take existing Federal funds and use them to create "Affordable Choices" grants. These grants would give our Nation's Governors more money and more flexibility to get private health insurance to those most in need. (How about just implement UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE – streamlining the system would save almost $300 billion!)

There are many other ways that Congress can help. We need to expand Health Savings Accounts … help small businesses through Association Health Plans … reduce costs and medical errors with better information technology … encourage price transparency … and protect good doctors from junk lawsuits by passing medical liability reform. (how about a patient bill of rights?) And in all we do, we must remember that the best health care decisions are made not by government and insurance companies, but by patients and their doctors. (so why do insurance companies get to dictate?)

Extending hope and opportunity in our country requires an immigration system worthy of America — with laws that are fair and borders that are secure. When laws and borders are routinely violated, this harms the interests of our country. To secure our border, we are doubling the size of the Border Patrol — and funding new infrastructure and technology. (and a fence!)

Yet even with all these steps, we cannot fully secure the border unless we take pressure off the border — and that requires a temporary worker program. We should establish a legal and orderly path for foreign workers to enter our country to work on a temporary basis. As a result, they won't have to try to sneak in — and that will leave border agents free to chase down drug smugglers, and criminals, and terrorists. We will enforce our immigration laws at the worksite, and give employers the tools to verify the legal status of their workers — so there is no excuse left for violating the law. We need to uphold the great tradition of the melting pot that welcomes and assimilates new arrivals. And we need to resolve the status of the illegal immigrants who are already in our country — without animosity and without amnesty. (good luck with that)

Convictions run deep in this Capitol when it comes to immigration. Let us have a serious, civil, and conclusive debate — so that you can pass, and I can sign, comprehensive immigration reform into law. (good luck with that)

Extending hope and opportunity depends on a stable supply of energy that keeps America's economy running and America's environment clean. For too long our Nation has been dependent on foreign oil. And this dependence leaves us more vulnerable to hostile regimes, and to terrorists — who could cause huge disruptions of oil shipments … raise the price of oil … and do great harm to our economy. (hmm, like OPEC that just decides the price of oil, and we all have to pay it because they are a MONOPOLY – how about your friends in Saudi Arabia, they fucking with the price of oil?)

It is in our vital interest to diversify America's energy supply — and the way forward is through technology. (I hear we have the technology, it's just not being funded) We must continue changing the way America generates electric power — by even greater use of clean coal technology (no such thing) … solar and wind energy … and clean, safe nuclear power (I think the idea of nuclear power is a good one, but let's not kid ourselves, there is no SAFE nuclear power). We need to press on with battery research for plug-in and hybrid vehicles (who killed the electric car?), and expand the use of clean diesel vehicles and biodiesel fuel. We must continue investing in new methods of producing ethanol — using everything from wood chips (did you just do your smirk?), to grasses, to agricultural wastes.

We have made a lot of progress, thanks to good policies in Washington and the strong response of the market. Now even more dramatic advances are within reach. Tonight, I ask Congress to join me in pursuing a great goal. Let us build on the work we have done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next 10 years — thereby cutting our total imports by the equivalent of 3/4 of all the oil we now import from the Middle East.

To reach this goal, we must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory Fuels Standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 — this is nearly 5 times the current target. At the same time, we need to reform and modernize fuel economy standards for cars the way we did for light trucks — and conserve up to 8.5 billion more gallons of gasoline by 2017. (How about require that all cars get X mpg, like 40? Why has fuel economy not changed since the Ford Model T. Let me repeat that, a car of 100 years ago got the same mileage on a gallon of gasoline that cars get now. That would be like flying this plane:, from 100 years ago, instead of this plane: - fucking oil companies, fucking politicians in their pockets)

Achieving these ambitious goals will dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but will not eliminate it. So as we continue to diversify our fuel supply, we must also step up domestic oil production in environmentally sensitive ways (you mean, like painting the oil rigs in ANWAR green/white – to blend in with their surroundings? Would that be environmentally sensitive? How about not drilling in ANWAR?). And to further protect America against severe disruptions to our oil supply, I ask Congress to double the current capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil. These technologies will help us become better stewards of the environment — and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change. (you mean GLOBAL WARMING – something you have denied and denied and ridiculed scientists about for years?)

A future of hope and opportunity requires a fair, impartial system of justice. The lives of citizens (only those not classified as "enemy combatants" – they don't' have any rights) across our Nation are affected by the outcome of cases pending in our Federal courts. And we have a shared obligation to ensure that the Federal courts have enough judges to hear those cases and deliver timely rulings. As President, I have a duty to nominate qualified men and women to vacancies on the Federal bench. And the United States Senate has a duty as well — to give those nominees a fair hearing, and a prompt up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. (So nominate judges that are acceptable to the majority of the Congress – not rightwing hacks.)

For all of us in this room, there is no higher responsibility than to protect the people of this country from danger. Five years have come and gone since we saw the scenes and felt the sorrow that terrorists can cause. (He had to bring up 9/11 – he can't give a speech and not bring it up, every fucking time.) We have had time to take stock of our situation. We have added many critical protections to guard the homeland. (and infringe on the rights of all her citizens – Patriot Act *cough* *cough* *sputter*) We know with certainty that the horrors of that September morning were just a glimpse of what the terrorists intend for us — unless we stop them.

With the distance of time, we find ourselves debating the causes of conflict and the course we have followed. (Yeah, like how Iraq wasn't involved at all and yet still you try to conflate the two.) Such debates are essential when a great democracy faces great questions. Yet one question has surely been settled — that to win the war on terror we must take the fight to the enemy. (Yes, but who is the enemy?)

From the start, America and our dwindling allies have protected our people by staying on the offense. The enemy knows that the days of comfortable sanctuary, easy movement, steady financing, and free-flowing communications are long over. For the terrorists, life since 9/11 (9/11 again, eh?) has never been the same. (Yeah, actually they've seen a surge of new recruits and funds – amazing that they can convert so many while we occupy and Arab nation – that wants us gone.)

Our success in this war is often measured by the things that did not happen. We cannot know the full extent of the attacks that we and our allies have prevented — but here is some of what we do know: We stopped an al Qaeda plot to fly a hijacked airplane into the tallest building on the West Coast. We broke up a Southeast Asian terrorist cell grooming operatives for attacks inside the United States. We uncovered an al Qaeda cell developing anthrax to be used in attacks against America. (yeah, about that, pretty sure that all of those prevented attacks hadn't gotten past a couple of people idly floating an idea) And just last August, British authorities uncovered a plot to blow up passenger planes bound for America over the Atlantic Ocean (this attack was prevented by good old fashioned, beat-walking police work, and didn't need any of your rights infringing laws…) . For each life saved, we owe a debt of gratitude to the brave public servants who devote their lives to finding the terrorists and stopping them. (like Valerie Plame – seems that Scooter Libby is giving Rove's ass, Cheney's ass and your ass up to our man Patrick Fitzgerald, even as you speak.)

Every success against the terrorists is a reminder of the shoreless ambitions of this enemy. The evil that inspired and rejoiced in 9/11 is still at work in the world. And so long as that is the case, America is still a Nation at war. (and always will be! The "war on terror" is rhetoric, it is not a real WAR. World War I was a war, WWII was a war. The "war on terror" is like the "war on drugs." In the words of Ken McDonald, director of public prosecutions in Britain "The fight against terrorism on the streets of Britain is not a war. It is the prevention of crime, the enforcement of our laws and the winning of justice for those damaged by the infringement." The prevention of crime, the enforcement of laws and the winning of justice for those damaged by the infringement. Right on. So no, the United States is not a NATION AT WAR – you give the terrorists too much credit- and if we were really at war, we would be pouring our resources into it, not just throwing money at it. I'm talking rationing, real sacrifice, the draft. If this is the "ideological struggle of our time" then we better get fucking busy.)

In the minds of the terrorists, this war began well before September 11, and will not end until their radical vision is fulfilled. And these past 5 years have given us a much clearer view of the nature of this enemy. Al Qaeda and its followers are Sunni extremists, possessed by hatred and commanded by a harsh and narrow ideology. Take almost any principle of civilization, and their goal is the opposite. They preach with threats …. instruct with bullets and bombs … and promise paradise for the murder of the innocent.

Our enemies are quite explicit about their intentions. They want to overthrow moderate governments and establish safe havens from which to plan and carry out new attacks on our country. By killing and terrorizing Americans, they want to force our country to retreat from the (occupied country) world and abandon the cause of liberty. They would then be free to impose their will and spread their totalitarian ideology. Listen to this warning from the late terrorist Zarqawi: "We will sacrifice our blood and bodies to put an end to your dreams, and what is coming is even worse." And Osama bin Laden declared: "Death is better than living on this Earth with the unbelievers among us." (Speaking of Osama bin Laden, where is he again?)

These men are not given to idle words, and they are just one camp in the Islamist radical movement. In recent times, it has also become clear that we face an escalating danger from Shia extremists who are just as hostile to America, and are also determined to dominate the Middle East. Many are known to take direction from the regime in Iran, which is funding and arming terrorists like Hezbollah — a group second only to al Qaeda in the American lives it has taken. (So yeah, lets talk about Iran – didn't the say that they would give up Hezbollah if we would come to the table? Oh yeah. And what did we say? Oh yeah. Fuck no.)

The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat (ah but do you know the difference between them? Just fyi it has to do with the succession of the Prophet Muhammad – Sunnis believe that he should have been succeeded by a leader capacble of the job, Shias believe that he should have been succeeded by someone in the family – thus the split.). But whatever slogans they chant, when they slaughter the innocent, they have the same wicked purposes. They want to kill Americans … kill democracy in the Middle East … and gain the weapons to kill on an even more horrific scale.

In the 6th year since our Nation was attacked (again with the 9/11?), I wish I could report to you that the dangers have ended. They have not. And so it remains the policy of this Government to use every lawful (ha! It's lawful because I say so) and proper (ha!) tool of intelligence, diplomacy (my ass!), law enforcement, and military action to do our duty, to find these enemies, and to protect the American people. (Wasn't it you, dear Mr. President who so spectacularly failed us before 9/11? Wasn't it you who left a crucial memo on your desk while you went on vacation? I don't trust you to make an omelet, let alone protect the American people.)

This war is more than a clash of arms — it is a decisive ideological struggle, and the security of our Nation is in the balance. (So call on Americans to make sacrafices! Reinstitute the draft! Send the troops the equipment they need! Send the generals the troops they told you they would need! 400,000 troops to occupy and subdue Iraq, 400,000!) To prevail, we must remove the conditions that inspire blind hatred, and drove 19 men to get onto airplanes and come to kill us. What every terrorist fears most is human freedom — societies where men and women make their own choices, answer to their own conscience, and live by their hopes instead of their resentments (so let women make their own choices, let gays answer to their own conscience, and let the American people live with hope and not fear!). Free people are not drawn to violent and malignant ideologies (except for those fundie Christians who want to bring on the apocalypse by provoking war in the Middle East – that's not violent or malignant at all…)— and most will choose a better way when they are given a chance. So we advance our own security interests by helping moderates, reformers, and brave voices for democracy. The great question of our day is whether America will help men and women in the Middle East to build free societies and share in the rights of all humanity (like gay rights, like human rights, who's just joined the club for extensive human rights abuses, oh that's right, we did.). And I say, for the sake of our own security … we must.

In the last 2 years, we have seen the desire for liberty in the broader Middle East — and we have been sobered by the enemy's fierce reaction. In 2005, the world watched as the citizens of Lebanon raised the banner of the Cedar Revolution … drove out the Syrian occupiers … and chose new leaders in free elections. (We'll just ignore the fact that the Palestinians in their free election elected a terrorist group to power, we didn't like that result, so in contravention of allowing countries to elect whoever they want, we cut Hamas off from the world.) In 2005, the people of Afghanistan defied the terrorists and elected a democratic legislature. (And now the Taliban is making a comeback there…) And in 2005, the Iraqi people held three national elections — choosing a transitional government … adopting the most progressive, democratic constitution in the Arab world … and then electing a government under that constitution. (And we see how well that government is going…how many death squads are operating under government banners? How many people would prefer Saddam back? Despite endless threats from the killers in their midst, nearly 12 million Iraqi citizens came out to vote in a show of hope and solidarity we should never forget. (and now they are killing each other in a CIVIL WAR and we are caught in the middle.)

A thinking enemy watched all of these scenes, adjusted their tactics, and in 2006 they struck back. In Lebanon, assassins took the life of Pierre Gemayel, a prominent participant in the Cedar Revolution. And Hezbollah terrorists, with support from Syria and Iran, sowed conflict in the region and are seeking to undermine Lebanon's legitimately elected government. In Afghanistan, Taliban and al Qaeda fighters tried (tried?!) to regain power by regrouping and engaging Afghan and NATO forces. In Iraq, al Qaeda and other Sunni extremists blew up one of the most sacred places in Shia Islam — the Golden Mosque of Samarra. This atrocity, directed at a Muslim house of prayer, was designed to provoke retaliation from Iraqi Shia — and it succeeded. Radical Shia elements, some of whom receive support from Iran, formed death squads. The result was a tragic escalation of sectarian rage (you mean, a civil war?) and reprisal that continues to this day.

This is not the fight we entered in Iraq (yeah, but we could have/did forsee it), but it is the fight we are in. (and we should get the fuck out!) Every one of us wishes that this war were over and won. (define for me, "won") Yet it would not be like us to leave our promises unkept, our friends abandoned, and our own security at risk. (Repeat after me: IRAQ WAS NEVER A THREAT TO US. Lather, rinse, repeat.) Ladies and gentlemen: On this day, at this hour, it is still within our power to shape the outcome of this battle (how?!). So let us find our resolve, and turn events toward victory. (Define victory for me?)

We are carrying out a new strategy in Iraq (actually, it's the same strategy) — a plan that demands more from Iraq's elected government, and gives our forces in Iraq the reinforcements (reinforcements eh? What happened to "surge"?) they need to complete their mission. Our goal is a democratic Iraq that upholds the rule of law (do we do this anymore?), respects the rights of its people (did we ever do this?), provides them security (unsecured cargo containers that go without inspection, anyone feel secure, no? ok then.), and is an ally in the war on terror.

In order to make progress toward this goal, the Iraqi government must stop the sectarian violence in its capital. But the Iraqis are not yet ready to do this on their own. So we are deploying reinforcements of more than 20,000 additional soldiers and Marines to Iraq. The vast majority will go to Baghdad, where they will help Iraqi forces to clear and secure neighborhoods (haven't we tried this already? I believe it was called "Clear, Hold, Build"- yeah, it didn't work…I have an idea, people are shooting at our troops, and sometimes it's a hard shot, so why don't we just send the troops door to door to that the shooters can just shoot them when they open the door?) and serve as advisers embedded in Iraqi Army units. With Iraqis in the lead, our forces will help secure the city by chasing down terrorists, insurgents, and roaming death squads. (Hey did you hear about that bunch that snuck into a base because they were wearing US uniforms and killed a bunch of our guys? Yeah that was real good.) And in Anbar province — where al Qaeda terrorists have gathered and local forces have begun showing a willingness to fight them — we are sending an additional 4,000 United States Marines, with orders to find the terrorists and clear them out. We did not drive al Qaeda out of their safe haven in Afghanistan only to let them set up a new safe haven in a free Iraq. (You're right, they were never driven out of Afghanistan and they are setting up shop in Iraq – where they weren't before!)

The people of Iraq want to live in peace, and now is the time for their government to act. Iraq's leaders know that our commitment is not open ended. (do they? It sure seems open ended…) They have promised to deploy more of their own troops to secure Baghdad — and they must do so (I think they have the same problem we do, they don't have the troops.) . They have pledged that they will confront violent radicals of any faction or political party (Including Sadr? One of the major backers of Malaki? The guy who told us to get out of Sadr city when we were looking for our kidnapped boy…and we did. That violent radica? The one with a fucking city named after him?. They need to follow through, and lift needless restrictions on Iraqi and Coalition forces, so these troops can achieve their mission of bringing security to all of the people of Baghdad. Iraq's leaders have committed themselves to a series of benchmarks to achieve reconciliation — to share oil revenues (I thought we were taking the oil revenues…) among all of Iraq's citizens … to put the wealth of Iraq into the rebuilding of Iraq … to allow more Iraq is to re-enter their nation's civic life … to hold local elections … and to take responsibility for security in every Iraqi province. But for all of this to happen, Baghdad must be secured. And our plan will help the Iraqi government take back its capital and make good on its commitments.

My fellow citizens, our military commanders and I have carefully weighed the options. We discussed every possible approach. In the end, (I ignored what they said completely.) I chose this course of action because it provides the best chance of success. Many in this Chamber understand that America must not fail in Iraq — because you understand that the consequences of failure would be grievous and far reaching. (What was our original goal again? Finding WMDs? Deposing Saddam? Holding Free elections Okay, they didn't exist, so check. Dead. Check. Elections, check. – yeah let's declare victory and go home!)

If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides. We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by
Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by al Qaeda and supporters of the old regime. A contagion of violence could spill out across the country — and in time the entire region could be drawn into the conflict. (and we will have provoked it, not prevented, provoked.)

For America, this is a nightmare scenario. For the enemy, this is the objective. Chaos is their greatest ally in this struggle. And out of chaos in Iraq would emerge an emboldened enemy with new safe havens … new recruits … new resources … and an even greater determination to harm America. To allow this to happen would be to ignore the lessons of September 11 and invite tragedy. (Lessons like "read important memos" and "don't take long vacations") And ladies and gentlemen, nothing is more important at this moment in our history than for America to succeed in the Middle East … to succeed in Iraq … and to spare the American people from this danger. (If nothing is more important, then run the war right! Equip the troops! Raise taxes! Reinstate the draft! The American people will support this effort with all they have, but you have to ask them to do more than put a sticker on their SUV.)

This is where matters stand tonight, in the here and now. I have spoken with many of you in person. I respect you and the arguments you have made. We went into this largely united — in our assumptions (yeah, except you lied.), and in our convictions. And whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure. Our country is pursuing a (the same) new strategy in Iraq — and I ask you to give it a chance to work. And I ask you to support our troops in the field — and those on their way. (as if anyone is actually suggesting that we should not support the troops, you fucking asshat)

The war on terror we fight today is a generational struggle that will continue long after you and I have turned our duties over to others (how does this jive with the "our commitment is not open ended"- you're right, it doesn't, fucker.). That is why it is important to work together so our Nation can see this great effort through. Both parties and both branches should work in close consultation. And this is why I propose to establish a special advisory council on the war on terror, made up of leaders in Congress from both political parties. We will share ideas for how to position America to meet every challenge that confronts us (and I will promptly ignore any suggestions or recommendations that they might have.). And we will show our enemies abroad that we are united in the goal of victory. (define victory for me again?)

One of the first steps we can take together is to add to the ranks of our military — so that the American Armed Forces are ready for all the challenges ahead. Tonight I ask the Congress to authorize an increase in the size of our active Army and Marine Corps by 92,000 in the next 5 years (and where do you suppose we will come up with these troops?). A second task we can take on together is to design and establish a volunteer Civilian Reserve Corps. Such a corps would function much like our military reserve. (This sounds to me like a sneaky way to get more people to sign up – wonder if there is a combat section of this so-called Civilian Reserve Corps…will they be subject to military law? It would ease the burden on the Armed Forces by allowing us to hire civilians with critical skills to serve on missions abroad when America needs them. (aren't these called contractors?) And it would give people across America who do not wear the uniform a chance to serve in the defining struggle of our time. (again with the "defining struggle of our time" – the last time this happened the entire country, the entire culture got behind the war effort and did what was necessary because it was asked of them – this president has asked us to continue shopping.)

Americans can have confidence in the outcome of this struggle — because we are not in this struggle alone. (uh, yeah we are – the Brits are leaving in the summer – who else is left?) We have a diplomatic strategy that is rallying the world to join in the fight against extremism. (no, we don't.) In Iraq, multinational forces are operating under a mandate from the United Nations — and we are working with Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Gulf States to increase support for Iraq's government. (But we won't bother with two of the biggest players, Syria and Iran) The United Nations has imposed sanctions on Iran, and made it clear that the world will not allow the regime in Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons. (and what does the world think that they are going to do about it? Furthermore, CIA intelligence says that Iran is 5-10 years away from nuclear technology, lets engage with them now, before they have the bomb?) With the other members of the Quartet — the U.N., the European Union, and Russia — we are pursuing diplomacy to help bring peace to the Holy Land, and pursuing the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel in peace and security. In Afghanistan, NATO has taken the lead in turning back the Taliban and al Qaeda offensive — the first time the Alliance has deployed forces outside the North Atlantic area (pretty sure that the Taliban is winning this. Also a new report out today says that we haven't been feeding our troops in Afghanastan enough, they are literally starving. ). Together with our partners in China, Japan, Russia , and South Korea, we are pursuing intensive diplomacy to achieve a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons. And we will continue to speak out for the cause of freedom in places like Cuba, Belarus, and Burma — and continue to awaken the conscience of the world to save the people of Darfur. (hey! I mentioned Darfur, like once. Nah, we don't need to talk about what we are going to do about the situation, or the fact that Bill Richardson, Democratic Presidential Candidate just brokered a ceasefire agreement there.)

American foreign policy is more than a matter of war and diplomacy. Our work in the world is also based on a timeless truth: To whom much is given, much is required. We hear the call to take on the challenges of hunger, poverty, and disease — and that is precisely what America is doing. We must continue to fight HIV/AIDS, especially on the continent of Africa — and because you funded our Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the number of people receiving life-saving drugs has grown from 50,000 to more than 800,000 in 3 short years. I ask you to continue funding our efforts to fight HIV/AIDS. (How about condoms? And sex education?) I ask you to provide $1.2 billion over 5 years so we can combat malaria in 15 African countries. I ask that you fund the Millennium Challenge Account, so that American aid reaches the people who need it, in nations where democracy is on the rise and corruption is in retreat. And let us continue to support the expanded trade and debt relief that are the best hope for lifting lives and eliminating poverty. (LAME. We can talk on and on about Iraq, but we can't spend more than one sentence on poverty? We can spend $92 billion on a misguided and mismanaged war in Iraq, but we can only cough up $1.2 billion to fight malaria over 5 years. Egypt gets more than that PER YEAR.)

When America serves others in this way, we show the strength and generosity of our country. (are we generous? Because though we give the most in raw dollars, we give the least in terms of percentage of Gross National Income – we clock in at .16%, nice. These deeds reflect the character of our people. The greatest strength we have is the heroic kindness, courage, and self-sacrifice of the American people. You see this spirit often if you know where to look — and tonight we need only look above to the gallery.

Dikembe Mutombo grew up in Africa, amid great poverty and disease. He came to Georgetown University on a scholarship to study medicine — but Coach John Thompson got a look at Dikembe and had a different idea. Dikembe became a star in the NBA, and a citizen of the United States. But he never forgot the land of his birth — or the duty to share his blessings with others. He has built a brand new hospital in his hometown. A friend has said of this good-hearted man: "Mutombo believes that God has given him this opportunity to do great things." And we are proud to call this son of the Congo our fellow American. (so as someone pointed out last night, you can come play basketball and be a citizen, but if you "sneak" in and do work that needs to be done, you are dirt – and do not deserve citizenship.)

After her daughter was born, Julie Aigner-Clark searched for ways to share her love of music and art with her child. So she borrowed some equipment, and began filming children's videos in her basement. The Baby Einstein Company was born — and in just 5 years her business grew to more than $20 million in sales. In November 2001, Julie sold Baby Einstein to the Walt Disney Company, and with her help Baby Einstein has grown into a $200 million business. Julie represents the great enterprising spirit of America. And she is using her success to help others — producing child safety videos with John Walsh of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Julie says of her new project: "I believe it's the most important thing that I've ever done. I believe that children have the right to live in a world that is safe." We are pleased to welcome this talented business entrepreneur and generous social entrepreneur — Julie Aigner-Clark. (I don't really get why this woman was honored…)

Three weeks ago, Wesley Autrey was waiting at a Harlem subway station with his two little girls, when he saw a man fall into the path of a train. With seconds to act, Wesley jumped onto the tracks … pulled the man into a space between the rails … and held him as the train passed right above their heads. He insists he's not a hero. Wesley says: "We got guys and girls overseas dying for us to have our freedoms. We got to show each other some love." There is something wonderful about a country that produces a brave and humble man like Wesley Autrey. (and he probably doesn't have health insurance, and most likely got nothing from your tax cuts.)

Tommy Rieman was a teenager pumping gas in Independence, Kentucky, when he enlisted in the United States Army. In December 2003, he was on a reconnaissance mission in Iraq when his team came under heavy enemy fire. From his Humvee, Sergeant Rieman returned fire — and used his body as a shield to protect his gunner. He was shot in the chest and arm, and received shrapnel wounds to his legs — yet he refused medical attention, and stayed in the fight. He helped to repel a second attack, firing grenades at the enemy's position. For his exceptional courage, Sergeant Rieman was awarded the Silver Star. And like so many other Americans who have volunteered to defend us, he has earned the respect and gratitude of our whole country. (but we won't worry about taking care of him now that he's home, or taking care of his brothers-in-arms abroad, but we will put stickers on our cars.

In such courage and compassion, ladies and gentlemen, we see the spirit and character of America — and these qualities are not in short supply. This is a decent and honorable country — and resilient, too. We have been through a lot together. We have met challenges and faced dangers, and we know that more lie ahead. Yet we can go forward with confidence — because the State of our Union is strong … our cause in the world is right … and tonight that cause goes on. (I can't believe that he made it through this paragraph with a straight face. "Our cause in the world is right"???)

Thank you. And God bless America.

I count 85 healthy drinks – and that doesn't include the "Every time the camera shows" section (which adds quite a few more.) or "the speech is under and hour" finish your beer and have another. The section that was most brutal was when the asshat was talking about Iraq (drink) and the Iraqi (drink) people, and the Iraqi (drink) elections (drink). Also, we have to secure Baghdad (drink), with our troops (drink) so that the Iraqi (drink) people could live in freedom (drink) and hold elections (drink).

Meanwhile, those are my down and dirty comments. Hope you enjoyed them.

Friday, January 19, 2007

It's sloooooowwww today. I have been here 2 hours and 42 minutes and taken only 12 calls. slow slow slow. hopefully it picks up a little, else, they may not have a job for me - and that would be very very bad.

also, it is still cold, and I do not like the cold. right now, it feels like 10 degrees. 10 degrees. though, the snow flurries last night were nice and it's not that we want for heat. The two offices downstairs stay very warm and that keeps our apartment quite warm while keeping heating costs down. i say, nice.

I went to the gym yesterday - I could not go the day before, because Jen and i were invited to dinner at one of her adult friends' houses. so no gym for me. but yesterday, i had my change of clothes, my music and my knee braces. and I was good to go right after work. go me.

Today there will be no gym, but instead, racquetball. yay! racquetball! yay! retaining my student ID so i can fake being a student and getting into the AC for free.

this is a headline I like to see: " House Republican leader admits his party is 'low on ideas'"

and this: "Republicans Halt Ethics Legislation"

meanwhile, the House Democrats are chugging away through the first 100 hours. They're only 34 hours into it, and they've passed:
1) ethics reform
2) 9/11 Commission recommendations
3) increased the minimum wage
4) expand stem cell research
5) negotiate for lower prices on prescription meds
6) cut interest rates on student loans (wahoo! but it doesn't effect me, so, poo.)

who says there's no difference between parties? At least the Dems get things done. And that last item, passed overwhelmingly. for updates go to

NOTE: If the Dems can pass one more bill (energy bill - increases funding of alternative energy) then they will have completed all of their stated objectives in less than half of the time that they allotted. That's definitely progress from the do-nothing previous congress.

Direct from our friends over at a story:

65. Contagion

Hi. My name is Henry, and I'm a werewolf. Nice to meet you. That's a strong grip you have there. You know, most people are misinformed about werewolves. For example, the full moon thing. It doesn't force us into wolf form — we can actually do that whenever we want. And our bite won't make you turn into a werewolf. We do that with a handshake.

and then there's this: "Cheap, safe cure for cancer: Big Pharma shrugs"
Long story, short: there's a drug that's been around for years to treat something else and has no patent. rats with tumors of all kinds given the drug saw their tumors, all of them shrink. healthy cells were unaffected. big pharma doesn't care because they would have to invest money to research and then not make any money of the drug because it carries no patent. that means the drug will probably not be investigated. there's a word for people like big pharma - asshats.

"I need to check the balance on my card" ok, what's the number? "the whole number?" no, you moron, just some of the digits, maybe the first and last, and I'll guess the middle digits. how about you just pick any two that strike your fancy.

"yeah, i have an error on my screen. Can you tell me what it is i'm doing wrong" well, ma'am, i can't just see what's on your screen, and since you haven't submitted anything to us - i can't tell you what you've done wrong. "so you can't just get online and see what i have on my screen?" uh, no.

and you have to refresh your screen to see changes dammit! - A lovely blog that illustrates spam headers. go there, be amused
check out "eyebrow grocery" and "fastener zoo" - i love it. - speaks for itself. go there, be enlightened.

3 hours 23 minutes 16 calls (at this rate, i will take a total of 36 calls today - fuck)

bookmarking sites. I've settled (for now) on - it doesn't do all the things that I would like it to, but I'll take what I can get (for now).

and this is just delicious: The prime minister said statements such as Rice's " give morale boosts for the terrorists and push them toward making an extra effort and making them believe they have defeated the American administration," Maliki said. (emphasis mine) Where do you think he got language like that?

oh and now it comes out (from the BBC, of course) that Iran offered to cut off their support of Hezbollah and Hamas, promised full transperancy on their nuclear program, and support stabilization in Iraq. ALL IN 2003! And what would all this have cost us? A halt in hostile American behavior, an abolition of all sanctions, and the pursuit and repatriation of members of the Mujahedeen Khalq (People's Mujahedeen MKO).
I think we could have handled that. But instead, Cheney just said, NO. oh, and apparently "This plan, say experts, "corresponds pretty closely to what Washington is demanding from Tehran now."" nice.

NOTE: I love tabbed browsing, how did we live without it?

Pomegranate chicken stew? yes please.

for something unique, go here (SFW)
It's called "The Delicious" a short 7 minute film that is absolutely bizarre and, well delicious.

what 1.2 trillion could buy

remember when bush called the Constitution a "goddamn piece of paper"?

well, today his Attorney General took a huge shit and wiped his ass with that "piece of paper." From the Senate Judiciary Hearing today, he essentially said:

""Nowhere in the constitution does it explicitly say 'The right of habeas corpus is hereby conferred' ; therefore it's not explicitly granted by the constitution." "

here's what it does say: "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."

He's insane. Insane and incompetent. and a liar. and a blasphemer.

and per a thread over at dkos ( ), this same logic means that we do not have the right to a free press, to free religion or to security from unreasonable searches - Because the first and fourth amendments only guarantee those rights will not be abridged, not that we are conferred with those rights. it's a ludicrous and untenable position.

is it so hard to reply "maybe" to an evite? really?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hmm... I said that I would not discuss the happenings of "24," but I do have some questions. Where will the show go now that they've set off nuclear weapons, - I mean you can only get so catastrophic, what do you do after that? How does Fayed think he's going to set off four more if his nuclear expert was killed? How is Jack Bauer not going to die - if you're close enough to see the mushroom cloud, you're pretty much dead from radiation...the whole civil liberties debate is sort of put by the wayside here, wouldn't the prez declare martial law? also, the prez's sister should have a secret service detail, like whoa. so where are they? (CORRECTION: ok, apparently, considering the size of the nuke: everything in a .12 mile radius would be incinerated, everything in a 1 mile radius would see some to moderate damage, everything in a .7 mile radius would experience at least 1st degree burns, and only those in a half mile radius would received a lethal dose of radiation - so jack bauer probably not with the dying - but, his cell should have been knocked out...) (UPDATE: for a map of what would happen go here:,34.05889&yd=1&z=3 zoom in! - god bless the internet. here's a fun tool to look up your latitude/longitude:

Sec Def Gates at NATO says "The Iranians clearly believe that we're tied down in Iraq; that they have the initiative, that they are in a position to press us in many ways," Gates said. "They are doing nothing to be constructive in Iraq at this point." HMMM - I'd say the difference between what the Iranians believe and what we believe is that the Iranians know the reality. We ARE tied down in Iraq. They DO have the initiative. They ARE in a position to press us in many ways. I don't know if you noticed Sec Gates, I don't know if you noticed.

*NBC Chicago says Obama will run - and will files papers this week. Oprah still has no listing for tomorrow...will obama formally announce on oprah tomorrow? we will see. UPDATE: Obama announces on his website:

Meanwhile, they continue to hang former Saddam officials. They said that the hangings after Saddam would be dignified and humane, except the next one they carried out? yeah, his head popped off. real dignified.'

ugh, speaking of hanging, it looks like one of the most brutal methods of capital punishment

Fifty active-duty officers will deliver an appeal for redress on behalf of nearly 1000 active duty soldiers to Congress - asking that they pull out of Iraq and send the troops home.

Russian Ex-PM alleges that Saddam's execution was rushed to prevent the full extent of his dealings with the US from coming out.

Algae gel to combat HIV
How is this not major news?

I 100% hate when someone calls, it's another customer service rep and they fail to tell me that they have a customer on the line. Normally they call, chat with me for a second, and then bring the caller over. That would save everyone from saying embarrassing things about the customer, not knowing that they are on the line.

Oh! I almost forgot, after four months of not going, I finally started using my gym membership, by, you guessed it, going to the gym! My legs are sore and it feels great. So take that Golds! No more taking my money and giving nothing back!

Also, it's really effing cold today. But, surprisingly the warehouse is a tolerable temperature...granted I'm wearing soccer socks and running tights, but tolerable nonetheless.

This is part of the reason that attacking Iran would be a bad idea. They're getting weapons from Russia - surface-to-air, anti-aircraft missile systems. See, Russia and Iran are friends and Russia gets lots and lots of oil from Iran, oil they can't afford to lose. oh yeah, and they're selling weapons to Iran, then again, so are we - sure, illegally, but it doesn't stop them from getting parts for their fleet of F-14s.....

oh, and saudi arabia might send troops:

oh and speaking of IRAN, now a major banking firm, a kuwaiti newspaper and a russian admiral all think that the US is planning to attack Iran in the next couple of months. hot.

oh, and iran shot down a US spy plane.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

so, about that "catastrophic ice storm"....we got rain. NO ice, just rain. I like when they hype something and advise people to stock up on food because there is going to be an "extremely dangerous storm system" and then nothing.

In other news, we went to gay trivia night on Saturday night, hosted by the HRC, PROMO and the Stonewall Democrats, we did terribly, I think that we finished sixth from last, ouch. Better luck next time, maybe they won't ask questions that were decades before our time, our table of under 25-year olds.

Speaking of the Stonewall Dems - I wasn't happy with their representative that came to our table to encourage us to join. In a moment, she berated us, implied we were lazy and admonished us for "not being involved." She was fighting in the 60's, "what did we do to help?" Ok, listen up lady. 1) really not the best way to get people interested in your organization - but a REALLY good way to turn people off. 2) you have no idea how involved we are, you have no idea -- but thank you for perpetuating the myth that young people are not involved, thanks for that. 3) you said it's because we don't know anyone [in iraq/affected], but you couldn't know if we have brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts uncles in the military or in Iraq. So thanks for making patronizing, erroneous assumptions about us. Also, we think you might have been drunk.

Also this weekend. Emily Haines (of Metric) was in Chicago. We had a fantastic trip, despite heavy traffic on Friday afternoon. We arrived in Chicago, had a nice dinner, and then went to the concert. Ms. Haines' solo stuff is very different from Metric's energetic bounce, but not less wonderful. We sat in the second row, and had an amazing view (obviously) - and the acoustics of the theater were perfectly suited to her voice and her keyboard. I did want to kill the people in the back who yelled inane comments like "I love you" and "you're hot" - it just wasn't that kind of concert, boys. And to whoever in the back got into an extended yelling session with Ms Haines, about how she needed to get up and dance "C'mon, Metric" - shut the fuck up. In cause you missed it, Emily Haines was performing, not Metric. Ms Haines' "well since i'm your fucking puppet, i'll just do whatever you want" response was perfect. Not surprisingly, unlike in Philadelphia, she did not come out to greet the audience and sign autographs. If I was her, I wouldn't either. Do check out her album though, Emily Haines "Knives don't have your back."

and i got to see carissa! and her studio is lovely.

Let's see, what else....oh yes, BUSH IS STILL A LIAR.

And let's talk about "24." Easily one of America's favorite shows, and after watching, for the first time last night, I can see why. Action-packed, with elements of MacGyver crossed with all the blood and gore of a Tarantino - it was everything it was talked up to be. And yet, I am troubled by the violence in the name of National Security. It seems to me that shows like this desensitize the American people to torture and the trampling of civil liberties.

From the NYT: "Torture, presented with gusto and almost no moral compunction, is an increasingly popular way of gathering intelligence on "24." If anything, the new season seems even more intent on hammering home the message that torture is necessary in the war against terror, and that despite what some experts claim, torture works." I like this section, but I am not pleased with the somewhat shoddy claim that "despite what some experts claim, torture works." Guess what, it's not "some experts" that think that torture doesn't work, it's most - including the military. Personally, I'm just not comfortable with the show displaying graphic torture and the idea that it is right and necessary. This is where many americans get their ideas about what is right and necessary -and that is truly frightening. More from the NYT:

"For obvious reasons, the series is a favorite of the Bush administration and many Republicans. Last season, Senator John McCain made a cameo appearance (despite his objections to torture), and in June the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research group in Washington, held a panel discussion titled, " '24' and America's Image in Fighting Terrorism: Fact, Fiction, or Does It Matter?" The guests included Ms. Rajskub, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Chertoff, the secretary of homeland security.

That kind of partisan favor is not surprising. Officials in the Clinton administration rubbed elbows with the cast of "The West Wing"; his former press secretary Dee Dee Myers worked as a consultant to the series."

And that in a nutshell is the difference between republican policy and democratic policy. Republicans think that if the throw enough firepower at a problem, if they torture enough people, the can solve it. Democrats know that a country's problems are more nuanced and require a nuanced solution.

(note: despite my qualms about what 24 does to the consciousness of teh American people, i have to admit, it won't prevent me from watching- if only to see how civil liberties continue to fair.)

Meanwhile, the Board of Directors at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists have announced that they are ready to make a change to the Doomsday Clock (should be announced Wednesday). The Doomsday Clock is a symbolic clockface which shows how close the human race is to midnight - nuclear war. Currently the clock stands at 7 minutes to midnight. The closest it has been was in 1953 when both the US and USSR tested thermonuclear devices within 9 months of each other. The clock stood at 2 minutes to midnight at that point.

I hate when people spell their easily spell-able last names, but fail to spell, or sound annoyed when i ask them to spell their difficult names. grr.

lighthearted news: Over winter break, this guy reconstructed and reenacted the Battle for Helms Deep with gummy bears and other candies. Enjoy.

A source at Hinesight says that Obama may announce as early as Wednesday on Oprah. As evidence is the fact that Oprah lists what each show will be about except weds (is has been speculated that he would announce on oprah), he recently said "I will have something to say soon" and robert novak said that he had it from a 2008 major donor that obama would announce this week. so there you have it, we will see.

oh yeah, and about that escalation of troops? Iraq doesn't want them -
so much for "we will leave when they ask us" Once again, thank you Mr. Olbermann

Olbermann had another special comment - this one came right after the Bush speech last week - gems include:

"And to Iran and Syria — and, yes, also to the insurgents in Iraq — we must look like a country, run by the equivalent of the drunken pest, who gets battered to the floor of the saloon by one punch, then staggers to his feet, and shouts at the other guy's friends, "ok, which one of you is next?""


"The lives of 21,500 more Americans endangered, to give "breathing space" to a government that just turned the first and perhaps the most sober act of any Democracy — the capitol punishment of an ousted dictator — into a vengeance lynching so barbaric, and so lacking in the solemnities necessary for credible authority, that it might have offended the Ku Klux Klan of the 19th Century."

Once again, thank you Mr. Olbermann. (full transcript here:

Sunday, January 14, 2007

++This was initially supposed to be posted on Friday, but I wasn't at work, so here it is++

Oh there's just so much to talk about.

ESCALATION IN IRAQ (my comments in RED)

Good evening. Tonight in Iraq, the armed forces of the United States are engaged in a struggle that will determine the direction of the global war on terror - and our safety here at home. The new strategy I outline tonight will change America's course in Iraq, and help us succeed in the fight against terror.

When I addressed you just over a year ago, nearly 12 million Iraqis had cast their ballots for a unified and democratic nation. The elections of 2005 were a stunning achievement. We thought that these elections would bring the Iraqis together - and that as we trained Iraqi security forces, we could accomplish our mission with fewer American troops.

But in 2006, the opposite happened. The violence in Iraq - particularly in Baghdad - overwhelmed the political gains the Iraqis had made. Al Qaeda terrorists and Sunni insurgents recognized the mortal danger that Iraq's elections posed for their cause. And they responded with outrageous thanks, Carissa acts of murder aimed at innocent Iraqis.

They blew up one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam - the Golden Mosque of Samarra - in a calculated effort to provoke Iraq's Shia population to retaliate. Their strategy worked. Radical Shia elements, some supported by Iran, formed death squads. And the result was a vicious cycle of sectarian violence that continues today. otherwise known as a Civil War

The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people - and it is unacceptable to me. Our troops in Iraq have fought bravely. They have done everything we have asked them to do. Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me. yeah, and it is certainly an impeachable offense

It is clear that we need to change our strategy in Iraq.Doh! So my national security team, military commanders, and diplomats conducted a comprehensive review. We consulted members of Congress from both parties who? - because Lieberfuck does not count, our allies abroad who?, and distinguished outside experts. We benefited from the thoughtful recommendations of the Iraq Study Group - a bipartisan panel led by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton. and then promptly disregarded their recommendations, kind of like the 9/11 commission recs, that a Democratic Congress just passed. In our discussions, we all agreed that there is no magic formula for success in Iraq. And one message came through loud and clear: Failure in Iraq would be a disaster for the United States.

The consequences of failure are clear: Radical Islamic extremists would grow in strength and gain new recruits. Because this is not already what they are doing. They would be in a better position to topple moderate governments, create chaos in the region, and use oil revenues to fund their ambitions. Sounds like you're projecting, dear President. Iran would be emboldened in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. I think the train already left the station on this one. Our enemies would have a safe haven from which to plan and launch attacks on the American people. On September the 11th, 2001, we saw what a refuge for extremists on the other side of the world could bring to the streets of our own cities. There you go, when in doubt, cry 9/11! Remember 9/11! For the safety of our people, America must succeed in Iraq. Repeat after me, "Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11."


The most urgent priority for success in Iraq is security, especially in Baghdad. Eighty percent of Iraq's sectarian violence occurs within 30 miles of the capital. oh, except for Anbar Province... This violence is splitting Baghdad into sectarian enclaves repeat after me, "Civil War", and shaking the confidence of all Iraqis. Only the Iraqis can end the sectarian violence and secure their people. we know. And their government has put forward an aggressive plan to do it. yeah, I think it involves us leaving.

Our past efforts to secure Baghdad failed for two principal reasons: There were not enough Iraqi and American troops to secure neighborhoods that had been cleared of terrorists and insurgents, and there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have. Our military commanders reviewed the new Iraqi plan to ensure that it addressed these mistakes. They report that it does. They also report that this plan can work. of course they do, I fired the ones that didn't agree.

Now, let me explain the main elements of this effort. The Iraqi government will appoint a military commander and two deputy commanders for their capital. The Iraqi government will deploy Iraqi army and national police brigades across Baghdad's nine districts. When these forces are fully deployed, there will be 18 Iraqi army and national police brigades committed to this effort, along with local police. These Iraqi forces will operate from local police stations; conducting patrols and setting up checkpoints and going door-to-door to gain the trust of Baghdad residents. this sounds like a great idea, since most experts agree that Iraqi militia and police are completely infiltrated by the sunni and shia death squads.

This is a strong commitment. But for it to succeed, our commanders say the Iraqis will need our help. So America will change our strategy to help the Iraqis carry out their campaign to put down sectarian violence and bring security to the people of Baghdad. This will require increasing American force levels. So I've committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq. Didn't the original plan call for almost twice as many? Oh yeah, the Joint Chiefs told you we didn't have that many soldiers, so instead you're proceeding half assed. Right.

The vast majority of them -- five brigades -- will be deployed to Baghdad. These troops will work alongside Iraqi units and be embedded in their formations. Our troops will have a well-defined mission: to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods, to help them protect the local population, and to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security that Baghdad needs.

Many listening tonight will ask why this effort will succeed when previous operations to secure Baghdad did not. Well, here are the differences: In earlier operations, Iraqi and American forces cleared many neighborhoods of terrorists and insurgents - but when our forces moved on to other targets, the killers returned. This time, we will have the force levels we need to hold the areas that have been cleared. In earlier operations, political and sectarian interference prevented Iraqi and American forces from going into neighborhoods that are home to those fueling the sectarian violence. This time, Iraqi and American forces will have a green light to enter these neighborhoods - and Prime Minister Maliki has pledged that political or sectarian interference will not be tolerated.

I have made it clear to the prime minister and Iraq's other leaders that America's commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people already happened...just sayin' - and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people. Now is the time to act. The prime minister understands this. Here is what he told his people just last week: "The Baghdad security plan will not provide a safe haven for any outlaws, regardless of [their] sectarian or political affiliation."

This new strategy will not yield an immediate end to suicide bombings, assassinations, or IED attacks. Our enemies in Iraq will make every effort to ensure that our television screens are filled with images of death and suffering. Yet, over time, we can expect to see Iraqi troops chasing down murderers, fewer brazen acts of terror, and growing trust and cooperation from Baghdad's residents. When this happens, daily life will improve, Iraqis will gain confidence in their leaders, and the government will have the breathing space it needs to make progress in other critical areas. Most of Iraq's Sunni and Shia want to live together in peace. And reducing the violence in Baghdad will help make reconciliation possible. also jobs, and electricity, water and education - all things that we broke.

Iraqi aid

A successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations. Ordinary Iraqi citizens must see that military operations are accompanied by visible improvements in their neighborhoods and communities. So America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced. benchmarks? benchmarks? Didn't Dems suggest this a while ago? no! surely not.

To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November. To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis. except for that part where the oil is about to opened up to foreign oil companies. To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs. To empower local leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year. And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's political life, the government will reform de-Baathification laws i believe we encouraged these laws, that and disbanding the army... oops! and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq's constitution.

America will change our approach to help the Iraqi government as it works to meet these benchmarks. In keeping with the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, we will increase the embedding of American advisers in Iraqi army units, and partner a coalition brigade with every Iraqi army division. how about engaging Iran and Syria, are we going to keep with those recommendations, how about NOT sending more troops?

We will help the Iraqis build a larger and better-equipped army we can't even build and equip our own army, and we will accelerate the training of Iraqi forces, which remains the essential U.S. security mission in Iraq. We will give our commanders and civilians greater flexibility to spend funds for economic assistance. We will double the number of Provincial Reconstruction Teams. These teams bring together military and civilian experts to help local Iraqi communities pursue reconciliation, strengthen the moderates and speed the transition to Iraqi self-reliance. And Secretary Rice will soon appoint a reconstruction coordinator in Baghdad to ensure better results for economic assistance being spent in Iraq.

As we make these changes, we will continue to pursue al Qaeda and foreign fighters. Al Qaeda is still active in Iraq. Al Qaeda wasn't in Iraq until we let them in. Its home base is Anbar Province. Al Qaeda has helped make Anbar the most violent area of Iraq outside the capital. A captured al Qaeda document describes the terrorists' plan to infiltrate and seize control of the province. This would bring al Qaeda closer to its goals of taking down Iraq's democracy, building a radical Islamic empire, and launching new attacks on the United States at home and abroad.

Our military forces in Anbar are killing and capturing al Qaeda leaders - and they are protecting the local population. Recently, local tribal leaders have begun to show their willingness to take on al Qaeda. And, as a result, our commanders believe we have an opportunity to deal a serious blow to the terrorists. So I have given orders to increase American forces in Anbar Province by 4,000 troops. These troops will work with Iraqi and tribal forces to keep up the pressure on the terrorists. America's men and women in uniform took away al Qaeda's safe haven in Afghanistan except they're getting it back, in case you didn't notice, the war in Afghanistan is going BADLY - and we will not allow them to re- establish it in Iraq. like you did in Afghanistan.

Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity - and stabilizing the region in the face of the extremist challenge. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq. <- what exactly does this mean? are you going to go to war with Iran and Syria too, because if you "seek out and destroy" that really REALLY sounds like an act of war.


We are also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American OIL interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. We will expand intelligence sharing and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies. How does this reassure our friends and allies (which friends and allies, who do we have left) - how do you use Patriot missiles against individual rebels? We will work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to help them resolve problems along their border. And we will work with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating the region.

We will use America's full diplomatic resources to rally support for Iraq from nations throughout the Middle East. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf states need to understand that an American defeat in Iraq would create a new sanctuary for extremists - and a strategic threat to their survival. These nations have a stake in a successful Iraq that is at peace with its neighbors - and they must step up their support for Iraq's unity government. We endorse the Iraqi government's call to finalize an international compact that will bring new economic assistance in exchange for greater economic reform. And on Friday, Secretary Rice will leave for the region - to build support for Iraq, and continue the urgent diplomacy required to help bring peace to the Middle East.

The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time. Oh really? And how are we rising to meet this challenge? Oh right, not sending enough troops and not sending them with the equipment they need. Not engaging regional actors, not calling for real sacrifice. Not leading a war effort - but yes, printing more and more "Support the Troops" stickers. On one side are those who believe in freedom and moderation. On the other side are extremists who kill the innocent, and have declared their intention to destroy our way of life. In the long run, the most realistic way to protect the American people is to provide a hopeful alternative to the hateful ideology of the enemy - by advancing liberty across a troubled region. It is in the interests of the United States to stand with the brave men and women who are risking their lives to claim their freedom - and to help them as they work to raise up just and hopeful societies across the Middle East. How about raising a JUST and HOPEFUL society here in the US, instead of one consumed by FEAR and HATE?

From Afghanistan to Lebanon to the Palestinian territories, millions of ordinary people are sick of the violence, and want a future of peace and opportunity for their children. And they are looking at Iraq. They want to know: Will America withdraw and yield the future of that country to the extremists - or will we stand with the Iraqis who have made the choice for freedom?

The changes I have outlined tonight are aimed at ensuring the survival of a young democracy that is fighting for its life in a part of the world of enormous importance to American OIL security. Let me be clear: The terrorists and insurgents in Iraq are without conscience, and they will make the year ahead bloody and violent. Even if our new strategy works exactly as planned, deadly acts of violence will continue - and we must expect more Iraqi and American casualties and we can help, by sending more Americans into harm's way. The question is whether our new strategy will bring us closer to success. I believe that it will.

Victory will not look like the ones our fathers and grandfathers achieved. There will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship. But victory in Iraq will bring something new in the Arab world - a functioning democracy that polices its territory, upholds the rule of law, respects fundamental human liberties, and answers to its people. Wow! I wish we could have that: upholds the rule of law, respects fundamental human liberties, answers to it's's that 26% approval of your handing of the war feeling? How about the 60% that want US troops out? How about those November A democratic Iraq will not be perfect. But it will be a country that fights terrorists instead of harboring them - and it will help bring a future of peace and security for our children and grandchildren.

This new approach comes after consultations with Congress about the different courses we could take in Iraq oh really? who in Congress?. Many are concerned that the Iraqis are becoming too dependent on the United States - and therefore, our policy should focus on protecting Iraq's borders and hunting down al Qaeda. Their solution is to scale back America's efforts in Baghdad - or announce the phased withdrawal of our combat forces.

We carefully considered these proposals. no, ya didn't. And we concluded that to step back now would force a collapse of the Iraqi government, tear the country apart, and result in mass killings on an unimaginable scale. Such a scenario would result in our troops being forced to stay in Iraq even longer, and confront an enemy that is even more lethal. If we increase our support at this crucial moment, and help the Iraqis break the current cycle of violence, we can hasten the day our troops begin coming home. lies, all LIES!

In the days ahead, my national security team will fully brief Congress on our new strategy. If members have improvements that can be made, we will make them lies all LIES! If circumstances change, we will adjust. Honorable people have different views but we'll still call them traitors, and they will voice their criticisms. It is fair to hold our views up to scrutiny. And all involved have a responsibility to explain how the path they propose would be more likely to succeed.

Acting on the good advice of Senator Joe Lieberman what?! and other key members of Congress, we will form a new, bipartisan working group that will help us come together across party lines to win the war on terror. so, Republicans and Lieberman, that's real bipartisan. This group will meet regularly with me and my administration. It will help strengthen our relationship with Congress. not likely. We can begin by working together to increase the size of the active Army and Marine Corps, so that America has the armed forces we need for the 21st century. and where do you propose we get these soldiers, of course we won't institute anything like the draft. We also need to examine ways to mobilize talented American civilians to deploy overseas - where they can help build democratic institutions in communities and nations recovering from war and tyranny.

In these dangerous times, the United States is blessed to have extraordinary and selfless men and women willing to step forward and defend us. These young Americans understand that our cause in Iraq is noble and necessary - and that the advance of freedom is the calling of our time. They serve far from their families, who make the quiet sacrifices of lonely holidays and empty chairs at the dinner table. They have watched their comrades give their lives to ensure our liberty. We mourn the loss of every fallen American - and we owe it to them to build a future worthy of their sacrifice.

Fellow citizens: The year ahead will demand more patience, sacrifice, and resolve. you have never asked the American people to sacrifice anything! It can be tempting to think that America can put aside the burdens of freedom. Yet times of testing reveal the character of a nation. And throughout our history, Americans have always defied the pessimists and seen our faith in freedom redeemed. Now America is engaged in a new struggle that will set the course for a new century. We can and we will prevail. this reminds me of v for vendetta "england prevails"

We go forward with trust that the author of liberty will guide us through these trying hours. Thank you and good night.

what? no God Bless America?

And so concludes our direct commenting on the speech. More below.

Here's what the NYTimes has to say:

"The plan, outlined by the president in stark, simple tones in a 20-minute speech from the White House library, is vintage George Bush – bull-headed, even delusional about the prospects for success in Iraq in the eyes of critics; resolute and principled in the eyes of admirers. It is the latest evidence that the president is convinced that he is right and that history will vindicate him, even if that vindication comes long after he is gone from the Oval Office."

Uh huh, great. we are all screwed. here's an aesop's fable that I am lifting directly from Dkos:

"One Thursday morning at Aesop's Place...

Here's a little story, a fable if you will.

Once upon a time, the biggest, toughest kid in the village was bitten by a mouse. Yes, a mouse. But don't think this wasn't a very bad bite! It hurt so very much, and left a scar on the tough kid. It was very bad, that bite. But the bite is not the story, the story is what happened after the bite.

See, the big kid could not admit to his friends or his family that he was bitten by a little mouse. He didn't ask them to help him put out mousetraps – even though this would have been a wise thing to do. Instead, he said that he was bitten by a monster. A very big and scary monster, one that wanted to kill him and all his family. One that wanted to take over the whole village.

Some people doubted this, which only made the kid angry. He said that one of them was helping the monsters, so he ran to his house, smashed everything, and left many people badly hurt. But there were no monsters there. Now many people doubted the child – which only made sense, because the child was a liar. But when he heard people making fun of him, the lying child only got angry. He would show them. He would claim they where helping monsters, too. And then he would smash their houses, and hurt their families, and he would get his friends to help, and he would... he would...

Oh, hell with it. Bush tried to inflate the importance of a rag tag group that never had more than 10,000 members and turned it into something that would justify his desire to start a war across the whole Middle East, and when he screwed up Iraq, his response was to line up the guns for a shot at Iran. And he's running a proxy war in Somalia, too.

And the mouse ate everyone's damn cheese, and they were all pissed off ever after."

Meanwhile, according to an AP poll this morning, fully 70% oppose the escalation in Iraq - but don't think that Bush feels accountable, he's already sent 900 more troops - so much for consulting Congress. Did I mention that 70% oppose more troops?

And in other news, the coalition of the willing is becoming more and more unwilling, news broke that Great Britain is pulling half of their troops...

House Dems have a brilliant plan to block funds for this escalation by attaching benchmarks that Bush would have to meet in order to get them. details here.

From the press conference this morning with Sec. Rice and Sec Gates, we have these nuggets:

"Syria and Iran should end their destabilizing behavior in the region," Rice warned. "The United States will defend its interests and those of our friends and allies in this vital region." this sounds like more fighting words against Iran and Syria

Asked if the new U.S . plan would include trying to arrest or kill Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric, Gates replied, "I'm not going to hang specific targets on specific people, but all law breakers are susceptible to being detained in this — or taken care of in this campaign." this guy controls something like 30 seats in parliament and has 5 ministers, i don't think that killiing him a) does any good b) sets good precedent. Oh you don't like what he has to say, just kill him. that would be like someone from canada, thinking that sen. Lieberman is a blowhard and advocate his being detained or "taken care of."

More Americablog goodness - they dug up this excerpt from a BBC comedy, "Blackadder", from 1983.

" GENERAL: Now, Field Marshal Hague has formulated a brilliant new tactical plan to ensure final victory in the field.

CAPTAIN BLACKADDER: Ah, would this brilliant plan involve us climbing out of our trenches and walking very slowly towards the enemy, sir?

CAPTAIN DARLING: How could you possibly know that Blackadder, it's classified information?

CAPTAIN BLACKADDER: It's the same plan that we used last time, and the seventeen times before that.

GENERAL: Ex... ex... ex... actly! And that is what is so brilliant about it! It will catch the watchful Hun totally off guard. Doing precisely what we've done eighteen times before is exactly the last thing they'll expect us to do this time!

There is, however, one small problem.

CAPTAIN BLACKADDER: That everyone always gets slaughtered in the first ten seconds?

GENERAL: That's right. And Field Marshal Hague is worried that this may be depressing the men a tad. So, he's looking to find a way to cheer them up.

CAPTAIN BLACKADDER: Well, his resignation and suicide would seem the obvious."

seems disturbingly relevant.

And of course, our good man Keith Olbermann had a mini special comment, but big things do come in small packages, because clocking in at just a quarter of his normal length, it is no less than scorching.

Olbermann: President Bush makes no secret of his distaste for looking backward, for assessing past results.

But in our third story on the Countdown tonight… too bad.

Any meaningful assessment of the president's next step in Iraq must consider his steps and missteps so far.

So, let's look at the record:

Before Mr. Bush was elected, he said he was no nation-builder; nation-building was wrong for America.

Now, he says it is vital for America.

He said he would never put U.S. troops under foreign control. Today, U.S. troops observe Iraqi restrictions.

He told us about WMDs. Mobile labs. Secret sources. Aluminum tubing. Yellow-cake.

He has told us the war is necessary…Because Saddam was a threat; Because of 9/11; Osama bin Laden; al Qaeda; Because of terrorism in general; To liberate Iraq; To spread freedom; To spread democracy; To keep the oil out of the hands of terrorist-controlled states; Because this was a guy who tried to kill his dad.

In pushing for and prosecuting this war, he passed on chances to get Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Muqtada al-Sadr, Osama bin Laden.

He sent in fewer troops than recommended. He disbanded the Iraqi Army, and "de-Baathified" the government. He short-changed Iraqi training.

He did not plan for widespread looting, nor the explosion of sectarian violence.

He sent in troops without life-saving equipment.

Gave jobs to foreign contractors, not the Iraqis.

Staffed U-S positions there, based on partisanship, not professionalism.

We learned that "America had prevailed", "Mission Accomplished", the resistance was in its "last throes".

He has said more troops were not necessary, and more troops are necessary, and that it's up to the generals, and removed some of the generals who said more troops would be necessary.

He told us of turning points: The fall of Baghdad, the death of Uday and Qusay, the capture of Saddam, a provisional government,the trial of Saddam, a charter, a constitution, an Iraqi government, ¤elections, purple fingers, a new government, the death of Saddam.

We would be greeted as liberators, with flowers.

As they stood up–we would stand down, we would stay the course, we were never 'stay the course',

The enemy was al Qaeda, was foreigners, terrorists, Baathists.

The war would pay for itself, it would cost 1-point-7 billion dollars, 100 billion, 400 billion, half a trillion dollars.

And after all of that, today it is his credibility versus that of generals, diplomats, allies, Republicans, Democrats, the Iraq Study Group, past presidents, voters last November, and the majority of the American people.

Meanwhile, McCain, increasingly delusional, thinks that the Iraq war was "easy" Tell that to the 3,000 brave men and women who have given their lives in Iraq.

RUSSERT: Go back, Senator, to 2002. The administration saying we would be greeted as liberators. John McCain saying you thought success would be fairly easy.

MCCAIN: It was.

RUSSERT: In all honesty…

MCCAIN: It was easy, it was easy. I said the military operation would be easy. It was easy. We were greeting as liberators. Look at the films of when we rolled into Baghdad.

Video here.


So, basically, Bush called for war with Syria and Iran, and at the same time as he was yabbering last night, the US was invading the sovereign land of another sovereign nation by raiding the Iranian embassy in Kurdish Iraq. Tell me again how this is not an act of war? UPDATE: the BBC is now reporting that the building was a consulate - and that American forces are contesting any diplomatic status assigned to the building.

Ok, Patriot air defense systems. What do we need patriot air defense systems for in Iraq? It's not like our soldiers are being killed by missiles and aircraft loaded with fighters. Our soldiers are being killed by snipers and IEDs, neither of which can be defended against by patriot air defense systems. "P atriot is a long-range, all-altitude, all-weather air defence system to counter tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft" ( Hmmm...from where could we be expecting advanced aircraft and missiles, oh yes, that Iraqi neighbor with which we just threw down the gauntlet, IRAN. Fuck.

here's a little picture, it's what i hope to God we will never see. and if you see it, you should just make peace with your world, before you leave it.

"The picture above is from an actual test of a single U.S. nuclear missile holding at least 8 dummy warheads. Each line shows the deployed warhead striking the ocean at well over 4,000 miles per hour." (compliments neatorama)

Here's other news for the day:

Mitt Romney, republican presidential hopeful is the subject of a recently dug up video of a him debating Ted Kennedy in a failed 1994 senate bid. In the video, he says "abortion should be safe and legal" and with regards to the boyscout ban of gays "all people should be allowed to participate regardless of their sexual orientation." hahahaha He has recently attempted to distance himself from his comments 13 years ago, saying "I was wrong on some issues back then"

so for the republicans, so far we have:

mitt romney - gay loving, abortion supportin' mormon

john mccain - inexorably tied to the "mccain doctrine" - troop escalation and stay the course in Iraq

rudy guiliani - gay loving, mistress keeping, divorce having liberal

I think our field looks pretty good: Clinton, Obama, Gore, Edwards, Vilsack, Clark, Richardson, Dodd etc.

Speaking of '08, Denver will host the Democratic Nation Convention.

Speaking of Democrats, recently we have passed all of the 9/11 recommendations, increased the minimum wage, and negotiated a cease-fire in Darfur. I think we're doing pretty damn good. UPDATE: Add funding for stem cell research!