Verio got its backup system working for six hours yesterday, then went down until this morning. I am sorry if you missed yesterday‘s column or Monday‘s (and glad I am not a hospital or an air traffic controller). Here is today’s:

WANT TO REDUCE ABORTIONS?

I do. Click here. Plan B is NOT the same as RU-486 (the ‘abortion pill’) . . . it works BEFORE conception. If you care at all about reducing abortion, as most of us do, please add your voice to the call for over-the-counter purchase of Plan B.

(I believe RU-486 should be legal, also. But the availability of Plan B should make the need for it all the more rare. Plan B is something both sides should be able to agree on.)

PORK

Kevin Clark: ‘You’re absolutely right about the need to set priorities. But I’m not sure Democrats are any better at it than Republicans. Would you be willing to report in your column which senators voted in favor of Senator Coburn’s proposal to redirect some pork to hurricane relief? It was defeated something like 85-15. It’s a bipartisan problem and a big one.’

☞ True. But the number of pork projects has increased dramatically since the Republicans have controlled Congress and, especially, since the Republicans have controlled everything – 13,997 pork projects this year, up from fewer than 2,000 when the ‘Gingrich revolution’ swept the Republicans into Congress in 1994. (The number of Senators and Representatives, meanwhile, remains unchanged at 535. They’ve just gotten 7 times as oinky under Republican leadership.)

THOUGHTS ON OUR FOREIGN POLICY

Meanwhile, have you seen this (worth reading in its entirety) from Larry Wilkerson, former director of the Marine Corps War College and former chief of staff at the State Department?

“If you’re unilaterally declaring Kyoto dead, if you’re declaring the Geneva Conventions not operative, if you’re doing a host of things that the world doesn’t agree with you on and you’re doing it blatantly and in their face, without grace, then you’ve got to pay the consequences.”

I do not look for a bull market any time soon.

THOUGHTS ON THE NEW YORK TIMES

Thanks to Granny Bee from makethemccountable.com for drawing my attention to a piece by University of Michigan historian Juan Cole that helps explain how the New York Times went the Judy Miller route and blew it on Iraq. In key part:

Rupert Murdoch, and Richard Mellon Scaife, and other far rightwing billionaires have deeply corrupted our information environment. They are in part responsible for what happened at the NYT.

Miller attempts to excuse her shoddy reporting on Iraq’s imaginary weapons of mass destruction by saying that “everyone” got that story wrong. But the State Department Intelligence and Research Division did not get it wrong. . . . Elbaradei of the International Atomic Energy Commission was not wrong. Imad Khadduri, former Iraqi nuclear scientist, was not wrong. “Everybody” got it wrong only in the sense that “everybody” had been brainwashed by Rupert Murdoch. . . .

In essence, Murdoch, Scaife and other far rightwing super-rich propagandists succeeded in maligning the NYT and in pushing it off its liberal perch even further to the Right. In trying to defend themselves from the charge of treason, Raines and Keller fell into the trap of using Miller’s shoddy reporting as a rampart. In the end, it was revealed to be not a rampart but a Trojan Horse for the Right.

BOROWITZ SHOCKER

This just in from my pal Andy Borowitz of the Borowitz Report:

DEMOCRATS SEEKING WAYS TO SQUANDER HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY
‘We Will Manage to Screw This Up,’ Vows Dean

Given a Republican president with plummeting approval ratings and a Republican congressional leadership that is being investigated, indicted, and in at least one case fingerprinted, Democratic party leaders said today that they are “actively seeking” ways to squander their historic opportunity.

At a press conference in Washington, D.C. today, Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean reassured the party faithful that the Democrats would stick to tradition and find some way to blow this golden opportunity.

“People look at the mess the Republicans find themselves in and ask, ‘How could the Democrats possibly screw this up?'” Gov. Dean said. “I am here to say, don’t worry, we will find a way.”

The DNC chief said that the Democrats have already convened a top-level brainstorming session of strategists from the Dukakis, Mondale, and Kerry campaigns to formulate a plan for squandering the opportunity the Republicans have handed them on a silver platter.

According to those familiar with the strategy session, the Democrats have already settled on a new slogan for the 2006 midterm elections, “Read our lips – tons of new taxes,” and that most of that new tax revenue would be used to promote the legalization of crystal meth.

While it is still early to be planning how to lose the 2008 election, Gov. Dean said that most preliminary discussions have revolved around nominating the Rev. Al Sharpton for President.

“We’re only going for Sharpton because our first choice, Jacques Chirac, was unavailable,” Gov. Dean said.

☞ Actually, I am pleased to report, Democrats, with strong leadership from Governor Dean, are hard at work attempting not to squander this opportunity. Recall that it was just SIX WEEKS before the 1994 mid-term election that Newt Gingrich unveiled his ‘Contract with America’ – not 54 weeks before. And that, even now, the latest poll I saw showed voters, by a margin of 48% to 39%, wanting to return Congress to the Democrats.

If you’re beginning to think the Republican leadership does not represent your interests all that well . . . that ‘compassionate conservatism’ has somehow morphed into a culture of corruption, incompetence, and cronyism (‘U.S. FACING CRONY SHORTAGE,’ reads another Borowitz shocker: ‘Not Enough Cronies to Fill Government Positions, President Warns’) . . . that even on issues like reducing abortion they may be getting it backwards (see Plan B, above) . . . visit democrats.org and sign up. We need you.

 

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