America Comes Around...

Poll: Bush Ratings Hit New Low

This CBS News Poll finds an American public increasingly pessimistic about the economy, the war in Iraq, the overall direction of the country, and the president.

Americans' outlook for the economy is the worst it has been in four years.

A growing number of Americans want U.S. troops to leave Iraq as soon as possible, rather than stay the course, and the highest percentage ever thinks the United States should have stayed out of Iraq.

When given a set of options for paying for rebuilding the hurricane-racked Gulf Coast, only one — taking money from the Iraq War — gets majority support.

President Bush's overall job approval rating has reached the lowest ever measured in this poll, and evaluations of his handling of Iraq, the economy and even his signature issue, terrorism, are also at all-time lows.

More Americans than at any time since he took office think he does not share their priorities.

Sixty-nine percent of Americans say things in the United States are pretty seriously off on the wrong track — the highest number since CBS News started asking the question in 1983. Today, just 26 percent say things are going in the right direction.

Right direction 26%
Wrong track 69%

Approve 37%
Disapprove 58%

Yes 32%
No 65%

Yes 45%
No 52%

A lot 22%
Some 30%
A little/none 47%

Good 43%
Bad 55%

Better 10%
Worse 54%
Same 34%

War in Iraq 18%
Economy and jobs 16%
Gas/oil crisis 5%
President Bush 5%
Terrorism 4%

(Note - more people in America think Bush is our biggest problem than think terrorism is our biggest problem!)

Cut spending in Iraq 62%
Reduce highway spending 46%
Increase budget deficit 35%
Raise taxes 31%
Postpone Medicare drug benefits 28%

Three in four Democrats and 68 percent of Independents want to cut spending in Iraq, but only a third of Republicans do.

Stay as long as it takes 36%
Leave as soon as possible 59%

The entire poll is here:


FDR vs GWB...

Outrageous even by his own considerable standards, George W. Bush has tried to hijack Roosevelt's World War II legacy for his own, most recently at a speech in San Diego commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of V-J Day. The obvious difference between FDR's and Bush's wars is necessity. True, FDR led the nation into war by less than forthright means, but he did so because he knew that Germany and Japan were genuine and unavoidable threats to American security and prosperity. Bush chose war for reasons of ideological fanaticism, coupled with personal pique and historical ignorance rather than any verifiable threat. The Administration's repeated demonstration of dishonesty and incompetence vis-à-vis Iraq helps explain why, despite desperate propaganda efforts--and little Democratic opposition--a mere 33 percent of Americans currently voice support for his handling of the war.

Second, while superpowers fighting wars do a lot of things that most of us wish they wouldn't, FDR managed to do them while advancing the image of America as the world's protector and defender of freedom and democracy. This perception grew tarnished during the cold war, particularly at the time of the war in Vietnam, but never to the point that our allies questioned the fundamental arrangements upon which world security and economic prosperity rested. Bush's war, on the other hand, has destroyed much of the good will that America built up among our allies during two world wars and afterward. In the late 1990s the philosopher Jürgen Habermas, symbol and spokesperson for a humane, social-democratic liberal Europe, told me in unequivocal terms that America's protection of European democracy had been necessary and valuable during the last half-century. (He would not extend the argument into the Third World.) And yet under Bush, America's image has fallen so far, according to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, that totalitarian China is more admired than we are by most European nations, and we are more isolated than at any time since perhaps the end of slavery.


Tracking the Green/DeLay Money Operation


AP: DeLay, Blunt Traded Secret Donations

Tom DeLay deliberately raised more money than he needed to throw parties at the 2000 presidential convention, then diverted some of the excess funds to longtime ally Roy Blunt through a series of donations that benefited both men's causes.

When the financial carousel stopped, DeLay's private charity, the consulting firm that employed DeLay's wife and the Missouri campaign of Blunt's son all ended up with money, according to campaign documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist recently charged in an ongoing federal corruption and fraud investigation, and Jim Ellis, the DeLay fundraiser indicted with his boss last week in Texas, also came into the picture.

The complicated transactions are drawing scrutiny in legal and political circles after a grand jury indicted DeLay on charges of violating Texas law with a scheme to launder illegal corporate donations to state candidates.

"These people clearly like using middlemen for their transactions," said Lawrence Noble. "It seems to be a pattern with DeLay funneling money to different groups, at least to obscure, if not cover, the original source," said Noble, who was the Federal Election Commission's chief lawyer for 13 years, including in 2000 when the transactions occurred.

Hartley said he saw no similarity to the Texas case. The fact that DeLay's charity, Christine DeLay's consulting firm and Blunt's son were beneficiaries was a coincidence, Hartley said.

Much of the money — including one donation to Blunt from an Abramoff client accused of running a "sweatshop" garment factory in the Northern Mariana Islands — changed hands in the spring of 2000, a period of keen interest to federal prosecutors.

Both DeLay and Blunt and their aides also met with Abramoff's lobbying team several times in 2000 and 2001 on the Marianas issues, according to law firm billing records obtained by AP under an open records request. DeLay was instrumental in blocking legislation opposed by some of Abramoff's clients.

Noble said investigators should examine whether the pattern of disguising the original source of money might have been an effort to hide the leaders' simultaneous financial and legislative dealings with Abramoff and his clients.

"You see Abramoff involved and see the meetings that were held and one gets the sense Abramoff is helping this along in order to get access and push his clients' interest," he said. "And at the same time, you see Delay and Blunt trying to hide the root of their funding.

Blunt's group, a nonfederal wing of his Rely on Your Beliefs Fund, eventually registered its activities in Missouri but paid a $3,000 fine for improperly concealing its fundraising in 1999 and spring 2000, according to Missouri Ethics Commission records.

Both groups — DeLay's and Blunt's — were simultaneously paying Ellis, the longtime DeLay fundraiser who was indicted along with his boss in Texas in the alleged money laundering scheme.

DeLay's convention arm sent $50,000 on March 31, 2000. Eight days later, the Blunt group made a $10,000 donation to DeLay's private charity for children on April 7, 2000, and began the first of several payments totaling $40,000 to a northern Virginia-based political consulting firm formed by DeLay's former chief of staff, Ed Buckham.

That consulting firm at the time also employed DeLay's wife, Christine, according to DeLay's ethics disclosure report to Congress.


How is this NOT money laundering?

Key events in the exchange of donations in 2000 between Tom DeLay's political groups and a group belonging to Roy Blunt, the new House majority leader.

* March 31: DeLay's unregulated ARMPAC convention fund donates $50,000 to the Missouri arm of Blunt's ROYB Fund.
* April 7: Blunt's ROYB Fund donates $10,000 to the DeLay Foundation.
* April 7 - May 1: Blunt's ROYBPAC pays $40,000 to Alexander Strategy Group Inc., run by DeLay's former chief of staff Ed Buckham and employing DeLay's wife, Christine.
* May 9:Blunt's ROYB Fund donates $1,000 to the Cancer Research Foundation of America through Jim Ellis, a DeLay fundraiser.
* May 19: Blunt's ROYB Fund pays $968.03 to Ellis' company.
* May 24: ARMPAC convention fund contributes $100,000 more to Blunt's ROYB Fund.
* May 25-June 3: DeLay takes trip to Scotland and England arranged by Abramoff and partly funded by Abramoff's clients.
* June 15: Blunt's ROYBPAC contributes $100,000 to Missouri Republican Party.
* July 25: Missouri GOP spends $11,174 on behalf of Matt Blunt's successful secretary of state campaign in Missouri. It's the first of more than $160,000 the state GOP gives Blunt's son after his father's donation.
* Oct. 26: DeLay's ARMPAC non-federal account contributes $50,000 to Missouri Republican Party.
* Nov. 7: Matt Blunt wins election for Missouri secretary of state.
* Nov.28-Dec. 31: Missouri Republican Party contributes $50,000 back to DeLay's ARMPAC non-federal account, according to DeLay's group's tax filing.


Archibald Responds:

Original Message:-----------------
From: Archibald, John J.
Date: Fri, 07 Oct 2005 10:10:13 -0500
To: jef4wi@new.rr.com

Subject: RE: Editorial
Forget the previous email -- we're running a clarification Sunday.

The 'previous email' was a question as to whether I was submitting the note as a letter to the editor.

In a personal note - I hear a lot of people complain about the Northwestern, and there are many times that I disagree with them.

However, I have always found the editors and reporters to be reasonable and willing to explain the stands that they take. And, also willing to admit mistakes, as shown in this example.

Thank you, John and the Northwestern.

My Email to Mr. Archibald

I sent this to Mr. Archibald in response to todays editorial claiming that anti-war demonstrators were picketing Sgt. Wallace's funeral:



Your editorial today calling the Westboro Baptist Church Anti-War Protesters is off base and misleading.

this church is not anti-war, they are anti-homosexual. It is incorrect to lump them in with our cause.

Your sister publication in Fond du Lac did a story on this group detailling that they are not an anti-war group:


I am active in the anti-Iraq war community in Wisconsin, noone I know would be so inconsiderate and unfeeling as to protest the funeral of a soldier. Those of us that ar against the Iraq conflict are not against the people fighting, we are protesting the decisions and lies of those leading.

I would appreciate a retraction and apology.

Thank you for your time,


Here is the church's statement -



Funeral Industry News -


The Rich Keep Getting Richer...

As the working class struggles more and more:

After falling for two years, the share of income going to the richest slice of Americans - the top tenth of 1 percent - grew significantly in 2003 while the share going to 99 percent of Americans fell, tax data released yesterday showed.

At the same time, the effective income tax rates paid by the top tenth of 1 percent fell sharply, declining at more than 10 times the rate reduction for middle-class taxpayers, the new report, by the Internal Revenue Service, showed.

Overall incomes rose by 2.7 percent in 2003, compared with the previous year, the I.R.S. said. A quarter of this increase went to the top tenth of 1 percent, the 129,000 taxpayers with reported incomes of $1.3 million or more, an analysis of the data showed.

Prof. Edward N. Wolff, a New York University economist who studies wealth, contended that the data could be tied to stock market gains in 2003 and a sharp rise in the pay of chief executives while most workers' pay was barely keeping up with inflation.

Only for those Americans in the top 1 percent, the nearly 1.3 million taxpayers who made at least $327,000, did incomes increase significantly more in 2003 than the rate of inflation. And this increase was concentrated within the top tenth of 1 percent. The income of that group grew by 9.5 percent in 2003 over the previous year while the rest of the top 1 percent had a gain of 3.7 percent.

For the bottom 99 percent of taxpayers, income rose by slightly less than 2 percent, which was below the inflation rate of 2.3 percent.

The top 1 percent of taxpayers received almost 17.5 percent of all income and paid a third of all income taxes in 2003, the I.R.S. found. The top tenth of 1 percent received 7.57 percent of reported income and paid more than 15.3 percent of all income taxes.

The top tenth of 1 percent had more income in 2003 than the poorest third of taxpayers, a group with 330 times the number of people, analysis of the data showed. This is a sharp change from 1979, the earliest year in the I.R.S. report, when the total income of the poorest third of Americans exceeded that garnered by the top tenth of 1 percent by 2.5 to 1.

Other data show that among major world economies, the United States in recent years has had the third-greatest disparity in incomes between the very top and everyone else. Only Mexico and Russia, among major economies, have greater disparity.


A sad Oshkosh story:

We often think poverty is something that happens other places. The system can fail people here just as well.

Man found dead in the Fox River Coroner: Man was living under bridge

By Jim Collar of The Northwestern

Oshkosh police said foul play wasn’t suspected in the death of a homeless Oshkosh man recovered from the Fox River on Wednesday morning.
Police and divers responded to Riverside Park just before 10 a.m. Wednesday after an Oshkosh parks department employee noticed the body of 58-year-old Edwin H. Cook in the river just east of the Main Street Bridge. An autopsy was conducted later in the day.

Coroner Barry Busby Wednesday said results were consistent with drowning and there were no injuries or other factors found that would suggest foul play occurred. Cook had been living beneath the bridge, Busby said. He recently had addresses on Mount Vernon and Jefferson streets.

Oshkosh Police Sgt. Steve Sagmeister said police had not immediately determined how long the body was in the water before Cook was discovered. Officers are still working to determine the circumstances that led up to his death, he said.

Busby said toxicology reports won’t be available for several weeks. Cook’s death remains under investigation.

Gary Jepson knew Mr. Cook, and comments about him and the situation overall here:


He was a decent fellow and had no enemies. He carried a rectangular black briefcase everywhere he went. He volunteered quite a bit at the Salvation Army helping with preparation and serving of meals. He worked hard and complained almost as much, but still continued to help. He volunteered to help, as he put it, 'build his resume'. He was well liked and fair with people. He was doing some telemarketing work the last few months.


Three Strikes!

Texas grand jury indicts DeLay again
Former House majority leader charged with money laundering, conspiracy

AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas grand jury on Monday re-indicted Rep. Tom DeLay on charges of conspiring to launder money and money laundering after the former majority leader attacked last week’s indictment on technical grounds.

The new indictment, handed up by a grand jury seated Monday, contained two counts. The money laundering charge carries a penalty of up to life in prison. The charge of conspiracy to launder money is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Last week, DeLay was charged with conspiracy to violate campaign-finance laws, forcing him to leave his leadership position.



Here's a god idea (also from Altercation):

Name: Bob Dodds
Hometown: Kill Devil Hills

Dr. A....
More fun with numbers, I have been meaning to send this for awhile. Given the corrupting aspect of fundraising for people in public office along with the current headlines, the following fun with numbers seems appropriate now. Of the 290 million people in the U.S about 170 million of them pay income tax, about 60%. The rest are children or dependent adults. In the last election cycle about 1.7 billion was raised and spent on federal campaigns. To account for inflation, we will assume that number jumps to 2 billion the next time around in '08. When you divide 2 billion by 179 million, the cost to each taxpayer would be about $11.49 Yes eleven dollars and forty-nine cents. So the question that needs to be asked, loud and proud, is; "would you spend $11.49 to relieve YOUR representative of the burden of fundraising?" We could call this the Chump change for big change campaign.


Altercation on the latest Iraqi poll numbers

Only 32% of those surveyed for a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released last week approved of Bush's handling of Iraq, compared with 40% in August and 50% earlier this year. The survey also showed that 59% considered it a mistake to have sent U.S. forces to Iraq, up from fewer than half during the summer. And 63% said the troops should be partially or completely withdrawn, up 10 percentage points from August. Just 21% of those surveyed believed U.S. forces would win the war, while 34% said they considered the conflict unwinnable.


Kristoff on Healthcare

There are four main problems with the existing system. First, it leaves out 45 million uninsured Americans, and their number is rising. Second, it is by far the most expensive in the world, costing 15 percent of our national income, yet our outcomes are awful - U.S. life expectancy is worse than Costa Rica's. Third, our business competitiveness is undermined when, for example, medical expenses add $1,500 to the sticker of each General Motors car. Fourth, our system is catastrophically inefficient: according to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine, health administrative costs are $1,059 per capita in the U.S., and just $307 in Canada.


More Class War:

Numbers don’t lie, but they can tell different stories. America’s 4.9 percent unemployment rate in August was near historic lows, for example, but last year wages for the average American worker (adjusted for inflation) fell for the first time in a decade. Gross domestic product grew by 3.3 percent last quarter — the 15th quarterly increase in a row — but median household income remains below what it was in 1999. Corporate profits grew by 6.9 percent in the second quarter, but bankruptcy filings were also 12 percent higher than in the same period last year, when household debt reached a record high. And so on.


Chicago Schools as a Comment on Class in America:

From the NY Times:

This summer, the gap in pupil spending between the haves and the have-nots in Illinois widened substantially, with the top-spending district spending a whopping $19,361 more per student than the lowest-spending districts in the state. That's $4,000 higher than last year and the biggest reported gap in 10 years. You begin to see how education is the canary in this fiscal coal mine. If you can't afford gym, if you can't afford special ed, if you can't afford lunches or books, how will you afford such innovative items as bilingual teachers, or texts, or English as a Second Language classes, or language labs? Housing, counseling, heating oil?

The City That Works, as we like to call ourselves, does work. The American Dream, I can assure you, works. I come from a dirt street in Tijuana, after all. The eternal problem we must address, not just as a city, but as a nation, is equitable access. How do we make the dream available to as many Americans as possible?


Katrina Investigation, or Why We Need an Independent Commission:

"If they couldn't get the truth out of Rafael Palmeiro, how can they get it out of the president of the United States?" New Jersey Rep. Robert Menendez, on a House committee investigating Katrina. The committee chair also directed the congressional steroid inquiry.


Another Question of Cronyism:

MSNBC First Read asks the question:

As he did with Dick Cheney in choosing his running mate, Bush ultimately decided to tap the person charged with leading the search for his second Court nominee. Miers has no previous experience as judge and is pretty much a blank slate on issues beyond being pro-life, but she has known Bush since the 1980s and was his 1994 gubernatorial campaign lawyer, all further fuel for Democrats' charges of cronyism. NBC's Tim Russert said on NBC’s Today Show that Democrats also are raising the question of whether Bush is placing loyalty above competence.


Once Again in Fristville...

Newsweek's CW column asks a good question:

Frist: Says he sold stock in family company (at huge profit) to avoid conflict. But if trust was blind, how did he know?


Email joke I received:

Donald Rumsfeld is giving the president his daily briefing.

He concludes by saying: "Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed in an accident"

"OH NO!" the President exclaims. "That's terrible!"

His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the president sits, head in hands.

Finally, the President looks up and asks "How many is a Brazillion ?"