December 2004
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Posted December 28, 2004
The Season for Giving... The Finger

Let's check in on who's giving who The Finger today!

Dino Rossi is giving The Finger toGovernor-elect Christine Gregoire. Dino and his Ratpack haven't decided what they're going to do, but it looks like the folks that brought you Don't Count All The Votes now want to Count All The Votes. The latest news in the Washingtongovernor race is that the Republicans have asked King Recounty tohand over, among other things, a list of every voter in the county,and e-mails and other correspondence to or from all county workers connected inany way to the 2004 election. Good thing it's not a fishing expedition.

The American Right is giving The Finger to countries hit by the Dec. 26 earthquake & tsunamis. It seems a certain UN-hating, Republican-sympathizing element thinks the US should limit funds we contribute to the relief effort, until such time as they get Koffi Annan's head on a platter regarding the Iraq Oil For Food program. These are the people who don't seem to care that Halliburton hasn't spent our tax dollars in Iraq the way it promised it would.

House Republicans are giving Rep. JimMcDermott (WA-7) The Finger. Our nation's capitol leaks like a big, enormousleaky thing, but the Ethics Committee has decided to investigatemy Congressman for leaking a tape of a phone call to reporters. In further Bizarro World fashion, McDermott previously lost a civil suit over the tape, in which thetapee, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), sure sounds like he is conspiring tohelp then-Speaker Newt Gingrich violate the terms of settlement in his own case before the Ethics Committee.

Maybe Donald Rumsfeld is giving DerLeader George Dubya The Finger! While visiting our troops in Baghdad, "really caring fellow" Rummy remarked that

...imagine the kind of world we would face if the people who bombed the mess hall in Mosul, or the people who did the bombing in Spain, or the people who attacked the United States in New York, shot down the plane over Pennsylvania and attacked the Pentagon... Source (@3:34)

Holy crap! "Shot down the plane over Pennsylvania"!? The one where supposedly thepasssengers rose up against the terrorists, and the plane crashed in a field?Could this be one of those slips of the tongue that is really the truth?

Dubya is giving The Finger, well, to the American People. According to the Deputy Press Secretary Trent Duffy, Der Leader is preparing himself for the second term with some deep, Gesthemane-style thought:

So he's got some very big speeches coming up, with theInauguration speech, as well as the State of the Union. And now is the time forhim to sort of think about how he wants toaddress the American people and try to bring us together to move forwardon some big challenges. White House press briefing, Dec.27

Won't you help Der Leader think? I'm sure the American people have a lot of very pointed advice to offer. So why not send him a helpful email at Remember, he works for you!

And if I don't see youagain before the weekend, let me now wish you and yours a safe, happy and prosperousNew Year!

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Posted December 24, 2004
GOP hypocrites want to recount until they win

   Hell hath no fury like a political party scorned

Hey Chris Vance and Dino Rossi:
You lost.
Sore losers.
Get over it.
The voters have spoken.
Concede graciously.

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Posted December 22, 2004
Democracy Wins in Court
Washington Democrats claim gubernatorial win

In what can only be termed a victory for democracy, the Washington State Supreme Court has ruled that disputed King County absentee ballots should be counted.

The court, siding with Democrats, King County and Secretary of State Sam Reed, said that state law gives counties the power to reconsider ballots mistakenly rejected in earlier counts if there is evidence of an error.
       Before the Supreme Court today Republicans argued that the King County Canvassing Board has already acted on the ballots and that state law prohibited the county from reconsidering those decisions.
       But the court said Republicans read the law too narrowly. The court took a broader approach, saying that because the ballots were mistakenly categorized as having mismatched signatures, they were not "fully canvassed."
       Prior court decisions show that that "is just the sort of apparent discrepancy or inconsistency that the board can correct," the court wrote.
       The court also addressed Republican concerns that the security of the questioned ballots had been compromised, saying while Republicans "suggest that there may have been some impropriety involved in this decision, or that the ballots involved might have been tampered with, but point to no facts supporting such a conclusion." Source

When King County releases its final recount results, it ought to put Democrat Christine Gregoire over the top against the R's Dino Rossi. Gregoire had carried King with about 57% of the vote.

Ironically, the Democrats may not need the extra help. Last night state party HQ announced that their own total of individual recount reports from King County Elections showed Gregoire ahead by all of 8 votes.

But every bit helps.

Buy, Sell or Hold
Christine Gregoire
HOLD. She may be the almost-certain winner, butbeware. The Republicans have smeared her in the media for more than a month,portraying the triple-recount as Gregoire's fault instead of a process providedfor in state law. The honeymoon will be short.
Dino Rossi HOLD. The would-be Republicangovernor has tried to bully his way into office, calling on Gregoire to'graciously concede' after each recount. He never passed up an opportunity topose for shutterbugs while holding his baby, whined the recount was interferingwith his transition activities, went on a celebratory ocean cruise, and evenheld a 'victory' party. Losing after such arrogant displays of entitlement willbe tough to live down, but the closeness of the result puts him in a strongposition for 2008.
Chris Vance SELL. Vance, the state Republicanchairman, has been Rossi's wingman. Claiming big-county fraud on the one hand and vilifying Gregoire and Democrats on the other, Vance tried to take a pagefrom the National GOP playbook by using the courts to prevent all the votes frombeing counted. By failing, Vance has proven he is no Katherine Harris. And notin the good way.
Larry Phillips BUY. The King County Councilchairman whose absentee ballot had been mistakenly set aside due to an error in the signature database, Phillips gained national prominence from his righteous indignation when Republicans went to court to prevent his vote and others from being counted. Phillips has had more positive exposure in just the last month than in all his prior career. Higher office is in his future if he so chooses.

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Posted December 21, 2004
U.S. Rookie Cop Shortage
'Billions in stolen lunch money at Gitmo' -Red Cross

A government official told reporters yesterday that U.S. police academies are graduating a record low number of rookie police officers.
      Lost in the din surrounding disclosures over detainee abuse at Guantanamo Bay,Cuba, the shortage has profound implications for homeland security, saidDepartment of Homeland Security Assistant Deputy Undersecretary Trainee forHuman Resources J. Thomas Spanke, who said that young male bullies are increasingly choosing military intelligence after graduating high school instead of police work.
      "Being a rookie cop in an understaffed big city police department or sleepy rural sheriff's office is seen by teenage bullies as a less attractive career than being a military intelligence interrogator," Spanke said. "Or," he added, "a private intelligence worker under a lucrative Defense Department contract."
      Military sources agreed that more teen bullies are choosing military andquasi-military intelligence. "The first thing I ask high school guys is how muchof other people's lunch money they took in this year," said Master Sgt. RoyMillstone, a Marine Corps recruiter serving at the Super Mall in Auburn, WA."When I tell them that they could be slapping guys around and throwing them inlockers after only three months of training AND get paid for it, well, thatpretty much seals the deal," Millstone said.
      Col. Anita Bryant, MD, a Pentagon psychiatrist who agreed to speak to reporterson condition of anonymity, said that military intelligence is an easier transition forthe recruits, who she termed "classic bullies," providing them with greateron-the-job autonomy and less accountability.
      "They used to go from giving wedgies in school to giving speeding tickets on thestreets," said Bryant. She said that, as cops, "their biggest reward would bebrowbeating U.S. citizens they saw as having 'attitude problems.' Militaryintelligence is more attractive to young bullies," Bryant said, "because theysee accused terrorists as having the biggest attitude problem of all. That some of them are citizens as well is just an added bonus."
      Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales said that if confirmed he would takesteps to make policing careers more attractive. "The President believes thatpolicing is hard work, but decades of big city-liberal law enforcement policiesmean good people aren't able to practice their love by wearing the badge,"Gonzales told senators Monday as they prepared for his confirmation hearing."The President intends, and I concur, that we will take action to make policework as exciting and rewarding as interrogating defenseless internees who don'teven have lawyers."
      Gonzales said that as Attorney General he would reduce the number of police corruption investigations done by the Justice Department. "I will also ask the Supreme Court to strike down the Miranda decision, and lower the standard for search and seizure of homes and vehicles," he said. "We need rookie cops," said Gonzales. "If we continue to second guess them, and handcuff them in performance of their duties, then the terrorists win."

   FBI Agents Allege Abuse of Detainees at Gitmo

Quack quack (1210 pm). A few short months ago, Dubya was chiding John Kerry for sending "mixed messages",

You cannot lead if you send mixed messages. Mixed messages send the wrong signals to our troops. Mixed messages send the wrong signals to our allies. Mixed messages send the wrong signals to the Iraqi citizens. Source

That was in the first debate. How the mindset changes when you can't run for a third term:

"There have been some cases where, when the heat got on, they left the battlefield," Bush said in a candid assessment of Iraq's soldiers. "That's unacceptable. Iraq will never secure itself if they have troops that, when the heat gets on, they leave the battlefield." Source: NY Times, Dec. 21

Talk about your wrong signals! The Iraqis are perhaps the most important participant in the coalition—so let's impugn their military. What happened to Support The Troops?

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Posted December 20, 2004

Readers outside the Northwest have been peppering me with questions about the marinade known as the Washington Gubernatorial (literally, "aquatic chocolate-covered peanut") Recount, between Christine Gregoire (D) and Dino Rossi (R-up 50 votes). "When are you guys going to have a Governor?" they want to know.
      You'll have to wait a bit longer. The latest: despite what you may have read, the 573 absentee ballots now at issue haven't been "found." State GOP chairman Chris Vance, Rossi's wingman, has been near-hysterical, alluding to fraud and raising doubts that the 573 voters are even registered. He would.
      Here's the truth: the 573 votes aren't "new," "late," or "found." They were mistakenly rejected during the original count because the voters' signatures weren't in King County's electronic database. For those, election workers were supposed to look in the older hard copy files. But they didn't get around to it. Now that the final hand count is underway, the county wants to do the right thing, verify the signatures, and count the ballots that check out.
      What's happening in Washington is a Florida-Junior. The Republicans are going to court to stop the counting of these legitimately cast ballots, one of which is the now-famous ballot of King County Council Chairman Larry Phillips. This despite Vance attacking Democrats back on December 3 for going to court on the same issue.
      In a move to block an earlier count of what was then 753 ballots, StateRepublicans went to a judge in more-conservative Pierce County and got an orderto stop the count. However, Democrats are going to the state Supreme Court thisweek for a reversal. In addition, an earlier Supreme Court ruling held thatballots can't be reconsidered if they've already been before a canvassingboard—the ballots of Phillips and the others haven't been before such a board, so they ought to be counted.

Safer For Jeb. After days and days of claiming that Bernard Kerik's Kimba Wood Syndrome was a surprise to the Administration, it's been reported by the NY Daily News that they knew all along. The obvious collateral damage in Kerikgate is Rudy Giuliani's presidential aspirations. You can bet that W will distance itself from the egg-faced G, just as Rudy is no doubt taking Kerik's number off his speed dial.
      With Giuliani overboard, the way appears cleared for Jeb Bush to pursue the 2008 nomination. Though he's currently demurring, look for a Run Jeb Run chorus to be orchestrated in the right wing media in the next 18 months.

"It's going to take hard work." Did you pick up on this Bush statement? It has to do with the fundamental purpose and function of Social Security:

[Social Security is] now in a precarious position. And the question is whether or not our society has got the will necessary to adjust from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan.
...'s going to take hard work, it's going to take hard work to convince a lot of people, some of whom would rather not deal with the issue -- why deal with the issue unless there's a crisis? Source

"From a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan." These pension-lingo terms define the battle. Will Social Security continue to pay inflation-indexed benefits to current retirees, funded by taxes on the current workforce? Or will it switch to a de facto pension system, limiting one's required investment—but therefore limiting future benefits, and with no adjustment for inflation? Which method sounds more likely to ensure senior citizens' security in society?
      Bush says we shouldn't wait until there's a crisis. Well the Social Security Administration says its trust fund won't run out until 2042 if we do nothing. That's over three decades in which to make incremental changes to preserve the system. The only emergency is the rush to force every taxpayer to pay commissions to Wall Street brokerages.

Wouldn't it be great if we still had a federal budget surplus?

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Posted December 14, 2004
In case there were any lingering doubts

Startling New Revelations Highlight
Rare Congressional Hearings on Ohio Vote

Affidavit: Programmer Built Vote Rigging Prototype
at Republican Congressman's Request

     •Claims check out

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Posted December 13, 2004
Beware politicians bearing green promises

Time once again to take my fellow Dems to task. This past May, King CountyExecutive Ron Sims stood side by side with Sen. Patty Murray at a newsconference announcing the arrival in Seattle of the world's first hybridbus:

"This hybrid bus is a first of its kind - and it's not surprising that it is showing up here first," said King County Executive Ron Sims. "We led the region on converting to ultra low-sulfur fuel, and now we are on the cutting edge for hybrid technology. Metro is known as one of the most innovative transit agencies in the nation. For the past 30 years, transit ideas that have been pioneered here in King County have become the industry standard in the rest of the world."
      The 235 hybrids have been purchased to replace aging buses now operating on routes using the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel...
      ...It will eliminate the need for overhead wires inside the tunnel, which is important since work begins next year to retrofit the tunnel to carry both buses and light rail.
      "We needed a large bus that was clean, efficient, and met some unique operating needs," said Sims. "As we explored options, we decided that hybrid technology had the best potential to meet our clean-air and operating requirements."
      ...Sims said the hybrid purchase demonstrates Metro's and Sound Transit's willingness to explore every possible alternative for cost-effective, clean-air transportation. Source: KC DOT news release 5/27/2004

Six months later, the chickens have come home to roost; or roast:

Hybrid buses' promise unfulfilled
Expensive new hybrid diesel-electric buses that were portrayed by King County Metro as "green" heroes that would use up to 40 percent less fuel... have gotten worse mileage than the often-maligned 1989 dual-mode Breda buses they are replacing. Yet the hybrid buses cost $200,000 more each than a conventional articulated diesel bus.
      In May of this year, when Metro held a public event to herald the arrival of the first of the new hybrid buses, County Executive Ron Sims said they would save 750,000 gallons of fuel a year over the Bredas.
      Metro now has the largest fleet of hybrid buses in the world.
      In July... The hybrids were not getting much better than 3.6 miles per gallon, yet they needed to average better than 4 mpg...
      When he checked recently, [Metro vehicle maintenance manager Jim] Boon was told that [old] Bredas are running at about 3.8 miles per gallon, while the conventional diesel older New Flyer articulated buses are running about four miles per gallon. Source

Goodbye cleaner air, goodbye fuel savings. For her part,back in May Murray naively enthused that

These new buses will in turn deliver cleaner air, better service and less congestion, all while saving our taxpayers money. Source: KC Metro video transcript, May 2004

The poor thing. She was probably just reading something a staffer placed in front of her. While the goal of cleaner air is laudable, hybrid buses cannot deliver better service or reduce congestion. Does being hybrid enable buses to run more frequently? Reach more places? Offer faster point-to-point travel? OF COURSE NOT.

The fact is, the biggest reason King County moved to hybrids was not cleanerair or fuel savings, but the "operation requirements" Sims referred to:Seattle's "bus subway," the Downtown Transit Tunnel, is going to be taken overby the overpriced and ineffectual light rail system, planned for completion inthe year 2140. That's a joke—the real date is supposed to be 2009, it justseems like it will take another 135 years.Anyway, there's apparently only room for one overhead wiring system in thetunnel, and it's going to be for the trains. If buses are going to continue tobe able to use the tunnel, they need electric motors that don't need overheadtrolley wires—thus the hybrids. As usual, the transit status quo must bemaintained, ineffectiveness and cost be damned.

Do I have to say it again? We need to smash the status quo, a new paradigm isneeded to deliver the product known as "transit" to "transit consumers."Something electric, cleaner, faster, and more convenient. Folks, the best answer is still Personal Rapid Transit.

Personal Rapid Transit
Get There Fast
Skyweb Express
Why trains don't relieve traffic congestion

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Posted December 7, 2004
A Show That Will Live in Infamy

Coming to Tuesday nights!

Two teams of the Saved in an hourlong series of physical challenges!!!
Squirm as blindfolded contestants take Communion... or is it maggots in pigs' blood???
Root for the teams in the 1000-cubit Moneychangers Dash From the Temple... barefoot through real brimstone!!!
Watch as female contestants, clad in the latest J. Crew fashion swimwear, hang from a cross... above a cage of crocodiles!!!
And the suspense-filled final eternal salvation-defying dare: touch the onscreen electronic ballot for John F. Kerry!!! (Live from Volusia County, Florida)

Christian Fear Factor: Coming Soon to Pax TV TUESDAYS! *9 PM/8C*

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Posted December 1, 2004 0026GMT
Right in Our Leader's Face
(or With Apologies to Spike Jones)

When Our Leader says "fair and square I won the race"
We heil (thpppt) heil (thpppt) right in Our Leader's face

When we're told disloyalty to Dubya is a disgrace
We heil (thpppt) heil (thpppt) right in Our Leader's face

Pat Robertson says the State Department with a nuke we should erase
We heil (thpppt) heil (thpppt) right in Robertson's face

Gonzales says Guantanamo is an OK torture place
We heil (thpppt) heil (thpppt) right in Gonzales' face

Aren't we all Republicans,
Mighty, white and born agains?
Yep, we are Republicans
Super ultra Chris-tian-ic
Is our platform not patriotic?
We're for everything idiotic!
To our country for Richard Stans
God, guns, and women marry mans

PNAC made it to order
Poppy Bush's New World Order
Should liberals make a face at a billboard of Our Leader's face
Then we exile them north of the border

When Ken Blackwell says "fair and square Dubya won the race"
We heil (thpppt) heil (thpppt) right in Ken Blackwell's face

When we're told disloyalty to Dubya is a disgrace
We heil (thpppt) heil (thpppt). . . right in Our Leader's face

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