With the Iowa caucuses only a few weeks away, comes two separate reports that Rudy Giuliani, the favorite child of certain conservative Greensboro blogs, is all but done. Giuliani who was the clear GOP front runner just months ago, is now tied with Mitt Romney at 20 percent polling. It doesn’t get any better for Rudy’s invincible sidekick, Fred Thompson, who’s campaign peaked before he announced his entry into the race.

What’s obvious in all of this is the more the public gets of Mr. 9/11, the less they like. I’m sure this comes as a shock to certain people who thought the Dems should have just transferred the Presidency directly to Rudy months ago. I for one am glad this early campaign season has cast the light of truth on someone who has stood on the backs of the brave souls lost on 9/11 to further his pathetic political career. Stick a fork in Frudy, they’re done.

Bill O’Reilly never ceases to be a source of constant amazement and pity for me. He calls himself an independent but continues to push the talking points of the Bush White House every chance he gets. He calls reporters like Helen Thomas, who have devoted their lives to reporting the facts of all administrations “anti-American”. And let’s not forget the little problem with his adulterous relationship with Andrea Mackris that he swept under the rug for millions of dollars.

It’s the holiday season again and Bill-O is back plugging his fictitious “War on Christmas” agenda that he’s been making up for the past few years. He even had the audacity to recently declare “victory” against the so-called “secular-progressives”. As if you can declare victory in a war that you yourself created out of whole cloth.

But now, even Bill-O has reached a new low. Often times, people can stomach someone with opposing views because they stick to their principals. President Bush is a great example of this phenomena. Although he tends to do things that are not in the best interest of this country, many conservatives back him because he doesn’t waver. He’s their rock as it were. So you can imagine why I literally laughed out loud when Bill O’Reilly exempted the national book selling chain, Barnes & Nobel, from his made-up war on Christmas. Despite Barnes & Nobel being one of the “worst offenders” of using the term “holiday” instead of “Christmas” in their marketing material, this is what O’Reilly told Carrie Gordon Earll of Focus on the Family on a recent broadcast:

“And I think a lot of people feel the same way, which is why we reversed the trend, but I’m not going to come down hard on Barnes & Noble. I think, you know, Dick Sporting Goods, you know, they may want to rethink this.”

Why would Bill give pinheads like Barnes & Nobel a free pass on this issue? Because they sell a ton of his books! How can he be expected to back a boycott of the store, when Barnes & Nobel helps line Bill’s pockets? I mean, ‘comon he’s gotta help recoup the cost of that Mackris settlement somehow, right?

Today I gladly add “hypocrite” to the long list of Bill’s character flaws. Happy Holidays Bill!

UPDATE: Now you can own the O’Reilly vs. Mackris lawsuit in the form of classical music! Has hard as it may be to believe, composer Igor Keller has spent 9 months creating a modern opera based on the actual text of the lawsuit. It’s a stunning and poignant piece of work. Head on over and check out some clips, and if you like it, buy it. I can think of nothing that would make Bill happier.

This little ditty put out by The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) sure is a hoot. For one thing, the performers can’t sing to save their lives, and for another they waste entire stanzas on issues next to no one has even heard of. I mean, if you’re going to resort to hijacking a beloved holiday favorite to promote bitter partisan agenda at Christmas, at least make the effort count. But “Two liberal Udalls”? and “Four bucks a gallon”? Evidently the reference to Udalls only makes sense if you live in New Mexico, and if the GOP is trying to blame high gas prices on liberals, then I’ve got some swamp land in Florida to sell you.

If I was a vindictive person, I’d suggest the left whip up their own version of The Twelve Days of Christmas containing such conservative gifts as “GOP health care cuts for kids”, “Waterboards” and “No-bid contracts”, but I’m above that sort of thing. Just to prove how much I’m watching out for you, I’ve provided the “12 liberal gifts” here, so you don’t even have suffer through the entire nauseating video. Consider it my Christmas gift to you.

The GOP’s 12 Liberal Gifts:

• 12 Senators failing (Does that include Craig, Foley, Delay and Lott?)
• Eleven percent approval (takes two to Tango, dorks!)
• Ten paychecks burning (I’d burn it too working for minimum wage)
• Ninety thousand freezing (very clever, the only good one on the list)
• No more secret ballots (as opposed to secret prisons?)
• 700 Billion in new spending (including Bush’s little war)
• Six troop funding cuts (before or after the GOP’s Walter Reed?)
• Hillary’s Woodstock Museum (cause she’s the Devil!)
• Four bucks a gallon (Halliburton anyone?)
• Al Franken ranting (way to piss off the next Senator from MN)
• Two Liberal Udalls (um…. HUH?)
• and a tax hike for every family! (Let’s just charge the war, yeah!)

News today that the government possessed an intelligence estimate stating Iran suspended nuclear weapon research back in 2003. Despite this, for the past several months the Bush administration has been drum beating about the dangers of Iran and tossing around terms like “World War III”. Today, President Bush had to face the music regarding the NIE and told reporters he “wasn’t briefed” about the information. For all intents and purposes, the leader of the free world said “My dog ate my homework.”

I don’t particularly like Joe Biden. He’s too much of an attention hound for my taste, but his perspective on this matter is none-the-less dead on:

“Are you telling me a president that’s briefed every single morning, who’s fixated on Iran, is not told back in August that the tentative conclusion of 16 intelligence agencies in the U.S. government said they had abandoned their effort for a nuclear weapon in ’03?” Biden asked in a conference call with reporters.”

If George W. Bush “wasn’t briefed” about the current state of Iran’s efforts or lack thereof to obtain nuclear weapons, who was? Isn’t it the President’s job to know which countries are really a threat and which are just paying lip service? Isn’t he the Decider in Chief?

Bush is lying. Again. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

UPDATE: Joe Scarborough agrees with me. The conclusion is really inescapable.

UPDATE II: Well what do you know? CNN now reports that Bush was informed in August that Iran had indeed suspended their nuclear program. So according to the White House’s own press release, Bush was lying. At the very least, he wasn’t being truthful when he said he “wasn’t briefed”. I am speechless.

Cry Me A River

November 29, 2007

I gotta say, I just read the funniest thing on some Greensboro, right-wing blogs. Evidently CNN’s broadcast of the Republican debate was a total farce, some might even say a “setup”, and now CNN should be boycotted. It was so funny, I almost did a spit-take. You know the kind when you’re drinking something and you hear or see something so funny that you literally spit your drink out with that “ppppfffffttt!” sound? Yeah, that.

I never get tired of hearing cries from the right about how the MSM (that’s the main stream media for you less informed out there) is liberally biased. According to those in the know, every major media outlet is slanted left these days. This CNN/YouTube thing is just the latest in a long line of hippy drenched, pot-smoking, birkenstock wearing propaganda all designed to make even more of us hate George W. Bush than the 73% of us that do now.

So ignore the over 250 newspapers published daily by right-wing media mogul Rupert Murdoch, the highest rated news network on the planet, Fox News, the most listened to neo-cons on talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Neil Boortz and just remember that CNN can’t ask legitimate questions about Giuliani, an adulterer that spent tax payer’s money to have his love trysts paid for, all the while overlooking the hole in the ground that used to be the World Trade Center. Cause that would be biased.

P.S. – CNN does it to the left too. So as Taylor says “Deal with it!”

Australians Wake Up

November 24, 2007

From Think Progress:

“Conservative Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who has been “one of President Bush’s staunchest allies,” suffered “a humiliating defeat” in national elections Saturday when the oppositional Labor Party wrested majority control of parliament away from Howard’s coalition by a 53% to 46.7% margin. Labor Party head Kevin Rudd, who is likely to replace Howard as prime minister, “has promised to immediately sign the Kyoto Protocol on global warming and withdraw Australia’s troops from Iraq.”

Looks like the nation Bush and company have been clinging to as an excuse for a number of failed policies is about to abandon him. It’s about frickin’ time. Well done Australia, well done.

My Favorite Republican

November 16, 2007

You couldn’t pay me enough to live in California. Between the fires, mudslides, earthquakes and ridiculously over-priced cost of living, I think calling the Golden State home would be more hassle than it’s worth. Sure they have the Sequoia National Forest, the Mythbusters and even Disneyland, but you gotta figure that a place that shelters the likes of Britney Spears and lures the Dodgers from Brooklyn can’t all be peaches and cream. Then again, I’m quite jealous of California’s Hollywood actor turned politician for the ages, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Besides the eternal coolness of having The Terminator as your governor, Schwarzenegger has proven he is an effective leader. Arnold has taken small, yet measured steps to turn California 180 degrees and set the tone on a number of issues. His initiatives have helped spearhead a new green economy, worked hard to bring California back from the brink of bankruptcy, provided affordable healthcare for adults and children alike and improved the state’s aging infrastructure. The part I like best about Schwarzenegger however is that he’s not afraid to do what’s best for his state, even though it may not be what his party expects.

CNN recently named him number 8 on a list of 50 people who matter most in business, and it’s easy to see why. Arnold has embraced green initiatives and found that doing what’s best for the environment and our children’s future, doesn’t necessarily mean destroying our economy. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Schwarzenegger recently launched the “Million Solar Roofs” initiative which provides tax breaks and rebates for the installation of 100,000 solar roofs per year in CA, every year for 10 consecutive years. The program will ultimately reduce energy costs for Californians while providing high-tech industry solutions to the masses. While the rest of the nation sits and debates about the merits of alternative energy, in typical action hero style, Arnold jumps in and gets the job done.

His background in body building and fitness has given him a strong commitment to universal health care that may very well become the future model for the country. While some problems persist, Arnold’s initiatives never-the-less have people re-thinking a system that fattens the insurance industry by denying patients coverage. His efforts with the Special Olympics and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports have made him a favorite of educators and health officials everywhere. In short, he is everything I’d like to see in my governor, and probably more.

When all is said and done, Arnold has proved he’s an agile politician. Although his core values sometimes gets him in trouble with his deeply blue state, he also recognizes that compromise wins the day. He is able to effectively separate politics from policy and do what’s best for the residents of CA. Local and federal leaders could learn a thing or two from this humble Austrian import. Despite the skiing accidents and bad one-liners, Arnold Schwarzenegger has helped make California a national policy leader instead of a follower. I wish the same could be said of North Carolina.

How bad can earthquakes be anyway?

“Bring ’em on!”

November 10, 2007

President Bush is presented a T-shirt from Lcpl. Isaac Gallegos during a visit to the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, November 8, 2007. REUTERS Photo by Jim Young.

We hear a great deal about the number of our brave men and women who are killed in Iraq, but almost nothing is heard about those who are wounded, either physically or mentally. A photo-expose published this week from REUTERS makes it all too clear why. Go look at these images. They may be hard to take, but it’s vitally important that you do, no matter what side of the discussion you may be on.

At some point (hopefully in the very near future) politicians, skeptics and blowhards who deny that human beings are altering the Earth’s climate will have to snap out of their right-wing fantasy lands and face facts. For Rep. Bob Inglis of South Carolina, that day finally came, thanks in part to his children:

Once a skeptic of global warming, Inglis got a hint that the political winds might be shifting when a longtime supporter warned that he might vote against Inglis if he “didn’t clean up his act on the environment.”

The warning came from Inglis’ eldest son, Robert Jr., now 22.

His daughter was no less blunt about the congressman’s refusal to embrace the view that global warming was being caused by human actions and that a serious response is needed. “I have three more kids coming up — and they seem to share the same view,” Inglis said.

Family pressure worked. Inglis traveled to Antarctica and, most recently, to Greenland to witness the effects of rising CO2 levels and temperatures. He now believes the science behind global warming. And he believes the politics are equally conclusive: Republicans will “get hammered” if they do not reckon with the issue soon.

Imagine that. A representative does a little research, takes a trip to see the effects of climate change first hand, and realizes that the bullshit climate critics have been force-feeding him for years was wrong. Perhaps there’s hope for us yet. In the meantime, Al Gore continues to fight the good fight and come to the aid of whales everywhere.

A couple of weeks ago, Brad & Britt invited callers to phone in and give their opinions on whether or not the interrogation technique known as “waterboarding” was torture and if the United States should be engaged in it. I listened to the program for about 30 minutes before heading to work and most of the callers who phoned in took the stance that it was not torture and even if it was, it was acceptable in order to save American lives.

Over on The Conservative Alternative (a local Greensboro blog) a similar discussion has broken out on the topic and I find it both fascinating and scary what some people will justify to themselves in the name of security. To them, waterboarding is acceptable because it combats the nature of the “greatest threat” our nation has ever faced – Islamofascism. As if we never faced any greater challenges than a religious mindset.

To the folks over at TCA, and all those who phoned into the Brad & Britt show that morning, I have one simple question:

“If you consider the interrogation technique known as ‘waterboarding’ to be an acceptable form of treatment for prisoners held by the United States, do you then agree that American service men and women, held by our enemies in a time of war, can be subjected to waterboarding themselves as a means to gain information?”

I tried to get several of the conservative commentators over at TCA to give their answer, but no one had the balls to actually come out and say yes or no. The reason why this is so difficult for them is simple. If you believe that waterboarding is okay when we do it, then it has to be okay when they do it to us, and that is something no one would ever agree to. No one in their right minds would try and justify applying “extreme interrogation techniques” to American service men and women held in foreign lands, nor should they. Torture is cruel, inhumane and ultimately self defeating as a means to gather information. Even those in our own government have admitted that waterboarding is torture, and yet somehow, it is considered acceptable behavior for the greatest nation on Earth.

I don’t know about you, but from where I’m standing we’ve lost the moral high-ground on issues like torture. The United States I grew up in didn’t lock people up without representation, it didn’t didn’t try to silence dissent and it sure as hell never tortured people. We’ve lost a great deal in the last six years, not the least of which is a true sense of what we’re fighting for. I have no desire for this nation to become like those who would seek to destroy us. But sadly in many ways, it appears we already have.