Still No Movement On Mine Safety...

From the Center for American Progress Email:

Two more miners died in a West Virginia accident last week, but the Do Nothing Congress still hasn't acted on new mine safety legislation introduced on Feb. 1 after the Sago mine disaster.

Poll: Bush Cannot Be Trusted, Dems Are Needed

More than half (54%) of those surveyed said they don’t trust Bush to make the right decision about whether the U.S. should go to war with Iran.

The share of Americans who say they strongly disapprove of Bush's performance (42%) remains more than twice as large as the percentage (19%) that strongly approves.

On Iraq, 37% applauded his performance, whereas 59% disapproved. On terrorism, long a Bush strong point, 43% said they approved and 53% disapproved. On the economy, 39% approved and 57% disapproved.

Although President Bush's job approval rating was essentially unchanged from his 38% showing last month, the new poll found Democrats opening double-digit leads on the key measures of voters' early preferences for the November balloting.

Here are some party number comparisons:

Q: Which party:
Best represents your values
Democrats: 45%
Republicans: 38%

Listens more to lobbyists/special interests than to their

Democrats: 26%
Republicans: 35%

Has more honesty and integrity
Democrats: 30%
Republicans: 29%

Can best handle major national problems
Democrats: 40%
Republicans: 30%

Can best deal with Social Security
Democrats: 47%
Republicans: 23%

Can best handle the budget deficit
Democrats: 47%
Republicans: 20%

Can keep U.S. prosperous in years to come
Democrats: 41%
Republicans: 32%

Can deal better with national security/war on terrorism
Democrats: 29%
Republicans: 41%

Can manage better prescription drug coverage under Medicare
Democrats: 52%
Republicans: 17%

Will be best on immigration issues
Democrats: 29%
Republicans: 26%

Can best handle taxes
Democrats: 42%
Republicans: 29%

Can better handle the situation in Iraq
Democrats: 33%
Republicans: 36%

My observation:

Voters think Republicans will do better for National Security and Iraq, yet they disapprove of what Bush (and the Republicans) are doing...

Voters think that the 'Tax & Spend' Democrats are better to be trusted with taxing and spending...

Up is down, in is out, lions are sleeping with lambs... And we will win this fall.

Iraq a Success?

Letter to Altercation makes a good point:

Name: Ace
Hometown: Riverside, CA
Anyone who believes that Iraq is considered a failure by the Bush Administration is missing the point. From an electoral perspective as of April 12, 2006, Iraq has been a smashing success -- for the GOP. Since the runup to the war started on the eve of the Congressional elections in '02, the GOP has solidified its hold on both houses of Congress, installed two right-wing ideologues on the Supreme Court, and re-elected the Doofus in Chief. George's approval ratings may be in the toilet, but he is still the President and will be until January 2009, hands on the levers of power, and they are going to remain there even if his approval rating bottoms out at 20% (i.e., in Cheneyville, where the bamboozleable remain happy with the direction the country's taking). Make no mistake -- before votes are cast in November 2006 the boys in the White House will be bombing Iran, painting their domestic opponents as traitors or terrorists, and planning on running the same game plan in 2008. We will look on in dismay and raise our voices in protest and
astonishment, but those with the power intend to use (and abuse) it. War without end, Amen.


Garvey Has An Idea For The Journal:

And while the two candidates put lots of potatoes on Journal Communications' plate, WTMJ radio, 620 on your dial, will feature 3.5 hours per day, 17 hours per week, 490 hours between now and the November election, of biased radio talk from neocon Charlie Sykes. Charlie will blast Doyle almost every day in what sure looks like a campaign contribution to Mark Green. Imagine what it would cost if Green purchased that time.

Why won't Journal Communications do anything? It will explain that it doesn't listen to Sykes and, more important, that the Fairness Doctrine is dead. The company has no obligation to give reply time to Doyle. Is that so? Suppose Journal Communications is legally correct. Is it morally correct?

Journal Communications could and should do the following if its editorial board really believes in reform.

• Give half of Sykes' time to a progressive talk show host until Election Day.
• Have a weekly one-hour discussion on TV and radio with the candidates for governor, Congress and attorney general.
• Give lots of free air time to all winners of primary races for 30-second spots.
• Assign a Journal Sentinel reporter to the campaigns like it did when the Journal competed with the Sentinel.
• Voluntarily adopt a reply time policy call it a Journal Communications Fairness Code of Conduct. If a candidate is attacked on Journal Communications' radio or TV stations, the candidate will be permitted time to respond.

Another Bush Lie - Trailers were WMD labs:

From the Washington Post:

On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile "biological laboratories." He declared, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."

The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.

A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq -- not made public until now -- had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president's statement.

While Mark Green Tries to Suppress Votes Statewide, GOP-Endorsed Candidate Suppresses Them in Oshkosh

Dan Becker, who lost his bid for re-election last Tuesday by 8 votes, is trying to suppress the votes of over 250 citizens.

Becker was endorsed by Winnebago GOP Chair Michelle Litjens in a letter to the editor in the March 27th, 2006 Oshkosh Northwestern:

He is a needed voice of reason on our school board and I encourage you to support Dan Becker for School Board.
Michelle Litjens Oshkosh

This pattern of GOP suppression is proof that they know they are in the minority. The Republicans - from local school board, to statewide Govenor to national elections realize that when people are allowed to vote, and ALL of those votes are counted, they can not win.

Thank you, Becker and Litjens, for proving it again.


Headline of the Day

Gwyneth Paltrow gives birth to baby Moses

Politics & Religion

Some quotes from a NYTimes Op-Ed:

He (Jesus) avoided those who would trap him into taking sides for or against the Roman occupation of Judea. He paid his taxes to the occupying power but said only, "Let Caesar have what belongs to him, and God have what belongs to him" (Matthew 22:21). He was the original proponent of a separation of church and state.

Those who want the state to engage in public worship, or even to have prayer in schools, are defying his injunction: "When you pray, be not like the pretenders, who prefer to pray in the synagogues and in the public square, in the sight of others. In truth I tell you, that is all the profit they will have. But you, when you pray, go into your inner chamber and, locking the door, pray there in hiding to your Father, and your Father who sees you in hiding will reward you" (Matthew 6:5-6). He shocked people by his repeated violation of the external holiness code of his time, emphasizing that his religion was an internal matter of the heart.

The Romans did not believe Jesus when he said he had no political ambitions. That is why the soldiers mocked him as a failed king, giving him a robe and scepter and bowing in fake obedience (John 19:1-3). Those who today say that they are creating or following a "Christian politics" continue the work of those soldiers, disregarding the words of Jesus that his reign is not of this order.

Some people want to display and honor the Ten Commandments as a political commitment enjoined by the religion of Jesus. That very act is a violation of the First and Second Commandments. By erecting a false religion — imposing a reign of Jesus in this order — they are worshiping a false god. They commit idolatry. They also take the Lord's name in vain.

Probation and Treatment Saves California $800 Million

From the NYTimes:

California took a leap of faith six years ago when it decided to offer nonviolent drug offenders the choice of going to jail or accepting probation and community-based drug treatment. Critics of the initiative predicted dire consequences if petty drug criminals were allowed to escape incarceration. But the data collected in California is beginning to show that nonviolent drug offenders are more effectively — and less expensively — dealt with when they are diverted into treatment.

A new study by researchers at the Integrated Substance Abuse Programs at the University of California, Los Angeles, shows that nonviolent offenders who complete drug treatment actually save the state money, even though the programs are costly. According to the study, Californians save $4 for every $1 they invest in drug treatment for people who actually complete the treatment regimen. The researchers estimate that the treatment option has saved California a huge sum — about $800 million — over the last five years.

The program is clearly worthy of emulation and worthy of greater support from the State Legislature and the localities. At the same time, however, the report makes clear that the program would benefit from more effective coordination among governmental departments and localities, as well as improved and expanded treatment regimens. Given the impressive findings so far, Californians would be wise to help the program reach its full potential.

Genisio on Angels

A Good Letter to the Editor:

Angel statue should be built on private land

My name is James Angel Genisio. Yes, Angel is my middle name. Angel was my grandfather's first name.

The School Sisters of Notre Dame taught me in grade school that I had a guardian angel.

In the seminary I spent much time trying to comprehend St. Thomas Aquinas, now as the Angelic Doctor because of his teachings of angels.

Here in Oshkosh, the largest Catholic parish is called St. Raphael. The arch-angel.

My Webster's Collegiate Dictionary gives this first definition of angel, "In theology, a supernatural, celestial being superior to man in power and intelligence."

I am also an Italian Catholic. Perhaps my ancestors were converted to Christianity by St. Peter. I believe in life after death. I am now of an age that I know more dead people than live people and know that each day could be the day that I meet my mom and dad again. This is my religious belief.

Parents who have children die suffer tremendous sorrow and grief. They deserve our sympathy and support. It is difficult, however, to say that angels and Christmas are not religious and spiritual ideas, beliefs and themes.

Religious beliefs are part of my essential being and many United States citizens'. But they are not for every citizen of the United States. As citizens we are equal.

It would seem best to me to build religious theme statues on private rather than public land.

James Genesio Oshkosh

Yesterday in History - Same Birthday Edition

This is interesting, I felt... Curly Lambeau and Paul Robeson had the exact same birthday:

Paul Robeson 4/9/1898 - 1/23/1976 American singer, actor and black activist
Curly Lambeau 4/9/1898 - 6/1/1965 American football coach and founder of the Green Bay Packers


Another Bush Lie?

The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The documents state that the U.S. campaign aims to turn Iraqis against Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian, by playing on their perceived dislike of foreigners. U.S. authorities claim some success with that effort, noting that some tribal Iraqi insurgents have attacked Zarqawi loyalists.

For the past two years, U.S. military leaders have been using Iraqi media and other outlets in Baghdad to publicize Zarqawi's role in the insurgency. The documents explicitly list the "U.S. Home Audience" as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign.

Some senior intelligence officers believe Zarqawi's role may have been overemphasized by the propaganda campaign, which has included leaflets, radio and television broadcasts, Internet postings and at least one leak to an American journalist. Although Zarqawi and other foreign insurgents in Iraq have conducted deadly bombing attacks, they remain "a very small part of the actual numbers," Col. Derek Harvey, who served as a military intelligence officer in Iraq and then was one of the top officers handling Iraq intelligence issues on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told an Army meeting at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., last summer.

In a transcript of the meeting, Harvey said, "Our own focus on Zarqawi has enlarged his caricature, if you will -- made him more important than he really is, in some ways."

"The long-term threat is not Zarqawi or religious extremists, but these former regime types and their friends," said Harvey, who did not return phone calls seeking comment on his remarks.

Read it all here.

Freedom of Speech:

The guy from the Bush Speach - Norman Rockwell's 'Freedom of Speech'?

Taylor: Okay, I don't have a question. What I wanted to say to you is that in my lifetime, I have never felt more ashamed of, nor more frightened by my leadership in Washington, including the presidency, by the Senate...And I would hope -- I feel like despite your rhetoric, that compassion and common sense have been left far behind during your administration, and I would hope from time to time that you have the humility and the grace to be ashamed of yourself inside yourself...

"Fire Rummy"

The article begins:

"Why I Think Rumsfeld Must Go"
A military insider sounds off against the war and the "zealots" who pushed it
Two senior military officers are known to have challenged Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on the planning of the Iraq war. Army General Eric Shinseki publicly dissented and found himself marginalized. Marine Lieut. General Greg Newbold, the Pentagon's top operations officer, voiced his objections internally and then retired, in part out of opposition to the war. Here, for the first time, Newbold goes public with a full-throated critique:

In 1971, the rock group The Who released the antiwar anthem Won't Get Fooled Again. To most in my generation, the song conveyed a sense of betrayal by the nation's leaders, who had led our country into a costly and unnecessary war in Vietnam. To those of us who were truly counterculture—who became career members of the military during those rough times—the song conveyed a very different message. To us, its lyrics evoked a feeling that we must never again stand by quietly while those ignorant of and casual about war lead us into another one and then mismanage the conduct of it. Never again, we thought, would our military's senior leaders remain silent as American troops were marched off to an ill-considered engagement. It's 35 years later, and the judgment is in: the Who had it wrong. We have been fooled again. From 2000 until October 2002, I was a Marine Corps lieutenant general and director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After 9/11, I was a witness and therefore a party to the actions that led us to the invasion of Iraq—an unnecessary war. Inside the military family, I made no secret of my view that the zealots' rationale for war made no sense. And I think I was outspoken enough to make those senior to me uncomfortable. But I now regret that I did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat—al-Qaeda. I retired from the military four months before the invasion, in part because of my opposition to those who had used 9/11's tragedy to hijack our security policy. Until now, I have resisted speaking out in public. I've been silent long enough.

and ends:

So what is to be done? We need fresh ideas and fresh faces. That means, as a first step, replacing Rumsfeld and many others unwilling to fundamentally change their approach. The troops in the Middle East have performed their duty. Now we need people in Washington who can construct a unified strategy worthy of them. It is time to send a signal to our nation, our forces and the world that we are uncompromising on our security but are prepared to rethink how we achieve it. It is time for senior military leaders to discard caution in expressing their views and ensure that the President hears them clearly. And that we won't be fooled again.

Read the middle here.

..Honorable Jeffrey Hall..

said the Honorable Jeffrey Hall, Turks & Caicos Minister of Communications


Appleton activist accepts sentence
Schwaller, 81, sought to call attention to human rights abuse
By Ed Lowe Post-Crescent staff writer
APPLETON — Days before the start of his prison term, 81-year-old human rights activist Delmar Schwaller isn't going quietly.
"I don't regret it one bit," said Schwaller, whose two-month sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Oxford, 60 miles north of Madison, begins Tuesday.
Schwaller, a Christian missionary, World War II veteran, former Appleton alderman and community volunteer, was convicted of a federal misdemeanor charge of trespassing after entering the U.S. Army training facility formerly known as the School of the Americas, at Fort Benning, Ga., on Nov. 20.
"The reason I did it was to call people's attention to what is happening at this school," now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute of Security Cooperation, he said.
"Eight or nine people out of 10 still do not know that our tax dollars are paying (the school) to train people from Central and South America in terrorism, torture, kidnapping and a whole array of human rights abuses at the same time we are trying to tell the world we are a great country."
Schwaller is among 40 demonstrators arrested at the most recent annual gathering of School of the Americas Watch, a nonprofit group bent on changing the school's methods or closing it down. Most of those arrested, like Schwaller, were charged with trespassing.
The prison sentence means Schwaller will forfeit "a little over $3,000" in Social Security income. It also has cost the retired engineer opportunities to travel to Central America with other members of a Fox Valley missionary group.
"I've had eight years to think this over," Schwaller said.
"I think I've learned the situation pretty well when I was in those countries.
If I can make an a little bit of an impression on the how people view this country, it will be well worth it."
School of the Americas Watch was founded in 1990 soon after the massacre of six Jesuit priests and two companions in El Salvador.
A U.S. congressional task force said the group's killers were trained at the U.S. Army school. Discoveries of the school's use of military manuals describing torture methods helped prompt its temporary closure and name-change in 2000.
A House bill seeking an independent review of the school's teaching methods has 123 cosponsors, including U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, R-Fond du Lac.
An e-mail from the military training school's public affairs officer, Lee Rials, criticized the protest group's tactics as irresponsible and slanderous.
"The truth is, not one person has ever been shown to have committed a crime using what he has learned at SOA or its successor, WHINSEC —not even one!" Rials wrote The Post-Crescent in response to a story on Schwaller's arrest.
Schwaller, seeing the school in a harshly different light, said prison cuisine will suffice.
"I'm sure it will be better than the rice and beans we get in Central America," he said.