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March 21, 2006

Does this make any sense?

Now, sometimes I didn't -- I like the size of the pie, sometimes I didn't particularly like the slices within the pie. And so one way to deal with the slices in the pie is to give the President the line-item veto. And I was heartened the other day when members of both parties came down in the Cabinet Room to talk about passage of a line-item veto. I was particularly pleased that my opponent in the 2004 campaign, Senator Kerry, graciously came down and lent his support to a line-item veto, and also made very constructive suggestions about how to get one out of the United States Congress.

Let's see here. They told me what to say. David.

(image thanks to holden)
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs
All good local people should rally to support Anne Dicker for Pennsylvania State House. She's running in the 175th district - Queen Village, Bella Vista, Society Hill, Old City, Northern Liberties, Fishtown, Kensington, Port Richmond. I know Anne a little bit personally, and have been aware of her activities since she comped me into a Dean fundraiser back when I was still anonymous and nobody knew who the hell Howard Dean was. Anne cofounded the local Philly for Dean organiazation which has morphed into Philly for Change (still DFA affiliated), which is still a very active organization.

She was helping Patrick Murphy with his campaign but when an open seat appeared she entered the race.

You can meet her at the campaign kick-off party tomorrow:

Wednesday, March 22
7:00 pm
New Wave Cafe
3rd & Catharine Streets
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs
Red Dawn is indeed a wonderfully awful camp movie. But it's also the basic template for how right wingers imagine themselves as they're furiously typing away for victory in their basements.
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs
Um, I thought the first 20 years of Luke Skywalker's life were really really boring?
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs
Lucky troops:

WASHINGTON - President Bush said Tuesday the decision about when to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq will fall to future presidents and Iraqi leaders, suggesting that U.S. involvement will continue at least through 2008.
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs

By Monica Davey and Eric Schmitt, New York Times

San Jose, Calif. - Patrick K. Tillman stood outside his law office here, staring intently at a yellow house across the street, just over 70 yards away. That, he recalled, is how far away his eldest son, Pat, who gave up a successful N.F.L. career to become an Army Ranger, was standing from his fellow Rangers when they shot him dead in Afghanistan almost two years ago.

Categories: Blogs


Washington - Dozens of U.S. anti-war protesters were arrested on Monday in demonstrations marking the third anniversary of the Iraq war, while others denounced President George W. Bush during an appearance in Cleveland.

Pentagon Force Protection Agency police arrested 51 people on misdemeanor charges of failure to obey a lawful order during a demonstration outside the Pentagon, Defense Department spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin said.

Categories: Blogs

By Jason Leopold, t r u t h o u t |

He is referred to as "official one" and he is the mysterious senior Bush administration official who unmasked the identity of an undercover CIA operative to Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Bob Woodward in mid-June 2003 and conservative columnist Robert Novak a month later.

The identity of this official is shrouded in secrecy. In fact, his name, government status, and the substance of his conversation with Woodward about the undercover officer are under a protective seal in US District Court for the District of Columbia.

Categories: Blogs
From Greg Sargent:

Either way, the problem is this: Those critics can't be placated. The right wouldn't stop shrieking their "media is liberal" war cry if every single major liberal columnist in America were hauled off in tumbrels and beheaded on the Mall. Right-wing media criticism isn't about achieving the "balance" they supposedly seek; it's about bullying and intimidating mainstream reporters and pundits to fear being labeled as "liberals" if they don't reproduce GOP spin, even when they know it to be false. It's also about enabling right-wing voices that are far out of the mainstream to infiltrate the media.

Take a look at Domenech's maiden voyage. He writes:

[E]ven in a climate where Republicans hold command of every branch of government, and advocate views shared by a majority of voters, the mainstream media continues to treat red state Americans as pachyderms in the mist - an alien and off-kilter group of suburbanite churchgoers about which little is known, and whose natural habitat is a discomforting place for even the most hardened reporter from the New York Times.

Domenech's MSM-bashing, of course, is belied by his own apparent hiring. And the paper's columnists include conservatives Charles Krauthammer and George Will. Indeed, one way to think about the right's "media-is-liberal" campaign is as a kind of crude protection racket. The analogy isn't perfect, but the idea is this: The right-wing criticism effectively says to the MSM, "Look, there are a lot of pretty pissed off people out there who think you're too liberal. You need to hire some of us to protect you against them and the too-liberal charge."

And Chris Bowers:

I still believe this, only now I feel it has developed to such a degree that the right-wing blogosphere itself has been all but annihilated. Most major right-wing bloggers have now been incorporated into the established news media apparatus. Glenn Reynolds is a columnist for MSNBC. Andrew Sullivan is a columnist for Time. Michelle Malkin is a frequently published columnist in a number of offline outlets. And now, RedState co-founder Ben Domenech has a regular column in the Washington Post. Despite being the latest in a long line of conservative bloggers to achieve "mainstream" status with the established news media, his first column was, predictably, an attack on the same institutions that just hired him and gave him space.
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs
From Big Pharma's site:

This idiocy should be self-refuting, but maybe I'll explain it so even dittoheads and Jeff Goldstein can understand. I'll assume his fatality numbers are roughly correct.

There are 300,000,0000 people in this coutnry. There are about 130,000 troops serving in Iraq. Think about that and why that graphic makes you the likely winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize for Excellence in Wankery.

(tip from reader s)
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs

From the Congressional Record:

Ms. LEE. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.
The Acting CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
The text of the amendment is as follows:
Amendment offered by Ms. Lee:
At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the following:
SEC. ----. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used

Categories: Blogs
The incompetence dodge is just that. But it's precisely where the foreign policy line is being drawn in the Democratic party, between those who thought all along the war was a disaster and those who imagine that if they had been in charge things could've worked out better.

I'm with those (obviously) who think it's fundamentally important not just to repudiate the execution of policy by the Bush administration, but the policies themselves and their justifications. "Like Bush only better" will not win a presidential election.
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs
From Edsall:

Tom Edsall: The hiring of Ben Domenench of RedState has provoked a firestorm, if the volume of questions this morning is any measure. One theory in the newsroom is that he was hired at the behest of Dana Milbank.
More seriously, I am told that this is part of the Post's web operation's efforts to provide diverse views. These decisions are, unfortunately, above my paygrade, much as I would love to have the power to hire and fire.

There are a couple of more questions there about it as well. In any case, for the record I'm not of the belief that the Post is required to provide balance on its editorial page or website. But Posties have expressed a desire for balance, and if hiring Domenech who has no counterpart on the left is their way of achieving that it's ridiculous.

Meanwhile, DeLong suggests that this is a clever plan by the Post to publish a frothing idiot to discredit the Right. Who knows, might explain Krauthammer too. I doubt it though, and skippy notices some wee factual errors.
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs

By Susan Oehler, Western North Carolina Peace Coalition


On March 19, 2006, the Western North Carolina Peace Coalition held a Rally for Peace. This was the third annual rally to mark the start of the Iraq war, and this followed large pre-war rallies in 2002 and 2003. Our theme for this Rally for Peace was "the wages of peace".

Categories: Blogs
Japan wins the world baseball championship of the whole wide world, so take that, Chicago. Plus: Alfonso Soriano, refusenik.
Categories: News
Where we first came in we had Andrew Sullivan claiming that he was for Bush tax cuts but that he wanted spending cuts to match them:

So let's recap: I'm in favor of Bush's tax cuts, but want spending cuts to match them; I favor balanced budgets... I want more money for defense, specifically more troops...

Now we find out that he in fact supports a bunch of big tax increases (and rolling back one of Bush's tax cuts).

Kevin Drum has challenged me to detail how I'd balance budgets while keeping Bush's tax cuts. (A small clarification: I'd keep the estate tax as it once was; and I'd add a buck to the gas tax pronto.) I'd prefer experts like Brian Riedl or Veronique de Rugy to propose detailed cuts. But my back-of-the-envelope wish-list is that I'd repeal the Medicare drug entitlement, abolish ear-marks, institute a line-item veto, pass a balanced budget amendment, means-test social security benefits, index them to prices rather than wages, extend the retirement age to 72 (and have it regularly extended as life-spans lengthen), abolish agricultural subsidies, end corporate welfare, legalize marijuana and tax it, and eliminate all tax loopholes and deductions, including the mortgage deduction, (I'd keep the charitable deduction). For good measure, I'd get rid of the NEA and the Education Department.

Let's try to separate the things which are tax increases and those which are spending cuts.

Tax increases:
Repeal estate tax cut
A dollar a gallon gas tax increase
Eliminating all tax loopholes (?) and deductions except the charitable deduction.

Spending cuts:
Repealing Medicare drug plan.
Abolish agricultural subsidies.
Eliminate NEA and Department of Education.

The rest are policies which don't do anything in and of themselves (balanced budget amendment, line item veto, earmarks), in the realm of fantasyland (taxing marijuana), too ambiguous to really address directly ("corporate welfare"), or do nothing for the health of the budget generally unless you support raiding payroll taxes (social security benefit cuts).

Let's start with the spending cuts. All these numbers are going to be ballpark. Eliminating the NEA will save about $120 million. Eliminating the Department of Education will get you $56 billion and make a lot of state and local governments very angry. Farm subsidies will get you about $25 billion and throw the Senate to which ever party opposes the cuts. Killing Medicare D will save you about $65 billion. So, total roughly $145 billion in spending cuts.

Now for the tax increases. A buck gallon gas tax increases taxes by about $100 billion. No estate tax repeal (bring it back to where it was) increases taxes by $25 billion. Ending the mortgage deduction alone increases taxes by about $75 billion. I'll not worry about the other deductions.

So, Sullivan does come close to getting rid of the federal deficit by reducing spending about $145 billion and by increasing taxes by about $200 billion, mostly with regressive taxes hitting the poor (gas taxes) and middle class (gas tax & mortgage deduction), although he also wants to increase military spending so we'll have to pay for that somehow.

My dream is that Republicans propose these things, so Democrats can rule for all eternity.

Repeating, all these numbers are ballpark and shouldn't be cited with any authority...(and if anyone notices a number that's grossly off let me know).
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs