March 13, 2006




During our recent celebrations of the Coalition's ten years in power, I have, as Prime Minister, been publicly reflecting on our Party's many great achievements, as was appropriate to do. But on this occasion, among old friends and senior colleagues, I wish to share some unsettling thoughts about the situation in Iraq.

Categories: Blogs

NEW YORK, NY: New York Senate Democratic Candidate Jonathan Tasini today released the following statement on the proposal by Sen. Russ Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, to censure President George W. Bush.

“I support Sen. Russ Feingold’s proposal that the U.S. Senate censure George Bush for his illegal wiretapping of American citizens. Feingold is right when he asserts that the Bush Administration, ‘repeatedly misled the public prior to the public disclosure of the National Security Agency surveillance program by indicating his administration was relying on court orders to wiretap suspected terrorists inside the United States.’

Categories: Blogs

By Mike Ferner

Washington, March 14 -- Last Wednesday evening, the House Appropriations Committee voted to throw another $67,000,000,000 at the murderous work in Iraq and Afghanistan. That night members of the committee, righteously indignant and nearly unanimous, gave President "Bring ‘Em On" Bush a loud slap in the face.

Whoa! You mean the most powerful committee in Congress voted 62-2 to stop funding our national war crimes orgy? Of course they did…and then we all lived happily ever after.

Categories: Blogs
Now here's a twist. Sure, I post weekly updates on where we're at with bird flu. And I'm very interested in the fact that ABC News will be presenting bird flu coverage all week (they've put together a helpful summary):
Avian flu has the potential to be a major crisis, and top government and public health officials are planning for the worst. However, almost without exception, they all say the worst-case scenario -- easy transmission from human to human -- is unlikely, but still possible.

Here are two key facts to help put the virus in context:

Right now, this is a virus that primarily affects birds. More than 200 million birds have died or been killed, while 97 humans have died worldwide. Each year in just the United States alone, 36,000 people die from seasonal flu.

In China, the disease is widespread among birds. The World Health Organization has confirmed just 15 infections and 10 deaths among humans in a population of 1.3 billion people -- a rate of one case per 86 million people and one death per 130 million.

But there's an interesting political story brewing. In order to make sense of it, let me quote two recent articles from some excellent reporters. From Nicholas Zamiska, WSJ:
Scientists around the world, racing to discover how avian influenza is spreading and whether it is evolving toward a pandemic strain, face a dilemma: Should they share their interim findings widely, show them only to a select set of peers, or keep them to themselves until they can publish papers, often critical to their careers?

Even as the World Health Organization presses China and other countries to share bird-flu data for the public good, the WHO itself runs a database limited to a select group of scientists and containing a massive trove of data - some 2,300 genetic sequences of the virus, around a third of the world's known sequences, according to two people familiar with the database's contents. Any one of those sequences could hold clues to an effective human vaccine or drugs that could kill the virus, or help scientists determine how great a threat it poses.

Now, a lone Italian researcher has cast a harsh spotlight on the WHO's system, suggesting that it places academic pride over public health - and snubbing it by posting prized bird-flu data in plain view.
Helen Branswell writes:
A leading scientist in the field of genetic sequencing is calling on publicly funded U.S. researchers and research organizations to throw open their collections of H5N1 avian flu viruses to allow others to work toward lessening the pandemic threat the virus poses.

Steven Salzberg wants the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as well as researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health to place their virus sequence data in open-access databanks on an as-processed basis. He hopes such a move would entice scientists elsewhere, as well as governments in H5N1-afflicted countries, to end a pattern of virus hoarding many believe is undermining the world's ability to battle H5N1.

"I think what ought to happen is that the U.S., starting with people funded by NIH and the CDC itself ought to start releasing all of their data and all of their samples -- and lead by example," says Salzberg, director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the University of Maryland.

"Because one complaint I've heard from other scientists in other countries is: `Hey, the CDC in the U.S. doesn't release all their data. So why should we?' And that's a very legitimate complaint."

We need your help to make sure scientists in the US and abroad working on this issue have access to all the data they need. The next effective vaccine may require sequences from Indonesia, China, or who knows where. And George W Bush's NIH and CDC may be part of the problem.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs
I can't believe Bush is going to give yet another speech on Iraq.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Attacks around Iraq on Monday claimed five lives and wounded at least 31 people, officials said.
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs
General Electric edition:

There are people I know in the hierarchy of NBC, the company, and GE, the company, who do not like to see the current presidential administration criticized at all.

The thing we need to worry about most is that companies like General Electric will skirt campaign finance laws by exploiting the internet "loophole" and putting up blogs.
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs
Al 2.0 returns to the Sunshine State.

Categories: Blogs

The leaders on "the Link" are doing great stuff. And it really shows off the strength and diversity of the DFA community.

  • Here's just a few of the actions Democracy for America groups took this past weekend:
  • In Largo, FL over 180 people showed up for the DFA Candidate Forum featuring the leading Democratic candidates for governor in the 4th largest state in the nation.
  • DFA groups marched in St. Patrick's Day parades in Rochester, NY and Morris County, NJ.
  • The 7th congressional district candidate forum in New Jersey drew over 120 activists and Congressman Frank Pallone.
  • DFA members were on the streets and at the doors for Christine Cegelis in the Illinois 6th congressional district.
  • DFAers spent the weekend training at the DFA Training Academy in Sierra Vista, AZ and at ROOT CAMP in Knoxville, TN.
  • More than 80 people came out to meet DFA Chair Jim Dean and get fired up about campaign season in Tucson.
If you or your group aren't using DFA-Link, today's the day to sign up!
Categories: Blogs
CNN's Soledad O'Brien's interview with Russ Feingold today would have made Kyra Philips proud.  In a magnificent feat of bimbotude, O'Brien goes from claiming censure is a "kind of a slap on the wrist" to "something quite serious" in one minute flat. "The jury's not back" on the program, she claimed, to which Feingold replied "the jury's been dismantled".  Feingold brilliantly called her on her ignorance, telling her the RNC intimidated her, because that's the only way someone would think there is a serious debate about the legality of the program (almost all legal scholars have declared that the program is blatantly illegal).

O'Brien's performance demonstrates what Armando touched on here, which is how the acceptance of an argument as reasonable rests largely on how many times it gets repeated.  Like I said, almost EVERY SINGLE legal scholar agrees with Feingold that the legal issue here is already resolved: the President broke the law, and  you don't need an investigation to prove that. He admitted it. Yet notice how O'Brien and other media puppets claim there is a "serious debate" about the legality of the program. Why? Because those who seek to excuse the President's crimes have dominated the discussion thus far. Their lies and disingenuous legal positions have taken hold because we haven't been shouting the truth from the rooftops: the law is clear, and the President broke it.

Add your voice to the chorus and let's drown out the lies.  Contact your Senator and ask them to sign on to Feingold's censure resolution.

Update: PDF of the censure resolution here. Senator Feingold will be addressing it at 4 PM ET on the Senate floor.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs
You have a defendant accused of planning and assisting in executing the 9-11 attacks.  You have international media scrutinizing your every move. You have argued that this monster should received the death penalty for intentionally misleading the government so as to help the attacks go forward. You're the government seeking retribution for the deaths of thousands, you have an unsympathetic defendant, an emotional jury case...and you possibly just blew it.

The federal judge presiding over the case of "20th highjacker" Zaccarias Moussaoui is deliberating right now whether to take the death penalty off the table.  Prosecutorial misconduct today possibly pulled the death penalty off the table--and jeopardized the entire case:

An angry federal judge unexpectedly recessed the death penalty trial of confessed al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui to consider whether government violations of her rules against coaching witnesses should remove the death penalty as an option.

The stunning development came at the opening of the fifth day of the trial as the government had informed the judge and the defense over the weekend that a lawyer for the Federal Aviation Administration had coached four government FAA witnesses in violation of the rule set by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema. The rule was that no witness should hear trial testimony in advance.

The judge warned the government ahead of time that the four FAA witness, central to the government's case, could not coached by being exposed to trial testimony which already was given in the trial. The purpose of this rule is clear: the testimony given should be unadulterated and not biased by hearing what other government testified to.  The federal government was well aware of the rule, yet over the weekend, it revealed it had coached four critical witnesses by exposing them to that testimony.  The rules were also violated by giving these witnesses copies of the opening statements.  Defense counsel moved for a mistrial, or, in the alternative, to exclude the FAA witness testimony.  The violation of the rules was so egregious, the judge may take the death penalty off the table, exclude the witnesses and take away half the government's case, or dismiss the death penalty case.  It's unclear when or how the judge will rule on the motion.  This isn't the first time the government has jeopardized its case; earlier this week, the judge warned the government it was on shaky legal ground in its questioning.

(diary on the news by incertus)

Update [2006-3-13 12:47:20 by georgia10]:: Thanks to the comments below for pointing out that the judge will not dismiss the entire case, but may rule on whether to take the death penalty off the table. Would've posted an update sooner but the site is soooo slow.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs

Liz Herbert is the Editorial Director of the Rapid Response Network. The Rapid Response Network offers guest commentary at Democracy for America every Monday.

I first met the Leon County, Florida Supervisor of Elections, Ion Sancho, some 25 years ago at my husband's office party. I liked him, so I voted for him when he ran for office. Supervisors of Elections are one of those things you don't much think about as long as things are working the way you'd expect them to—like the lights coming on and the water coming out of the faucet—so I hadn't much thought about Mr. Sancho in the many years since.

Until November of 2000.

In those days when butterfly ballots and hanging chads replaced almost everything else in our daily discussions, Mr. Sancho comported himself with extraordinary professionalism and dignity. Then was his first brush with the national spotlight, articulating the technical and functional aspects of the vote and the recount. While red-faced elections supervisors across the state reported substantial vote swings on the recount, Mr. Sancho was off by maybe one or two votes.

As the satellite trucks and talking heads descended on our city to cover the recount, most of us in Leon County held our heads a little higher that Sancho was on the job here at home. When the post election dialog turned to how to fix the problem, Ion was a steady sane voice to look at options outside of paperless touchscreens.

No one listened.

Mr. Sancho has never been a partisan, never. So when he took it upon himself to see with his own eyes whether his Diebold optical scan system could stand up to a hacking attempt, it was time for everyone to pay attention. When Diebold failed the test, he understandably looked elsewhere, but now neither of the other two companies certified to do business in Florida will do business with him. He has lost state funds under HAVA, is being hammered by officials and has been asked to meet with Florida Secretary of State Sue Cobb today.

Stay tuned to see what comes of the meeting. But I already know where I stand. I stand with Ion.

Liz Herbert (FL)
Speak up. Join Rapid Response.

Categories: Blogs
Five minutes is all it takes, really.  Less, if you're not that chatty. In five minutes, you can speak up for the rule of the law. In five minutes, you can put your own footprint in history, as one of the mass of millions who advocated for the censure of a President who broke the law.  Years from now, no matter what the outcome, you can look back and say you stood up when Congress stood down, you pushed your party forward no matter how much it wanted to cower back in the shadows.  Are you ready?

Today, I ask each of you to take a few minutes and contact your Senator and ask them to sign on as a co-sponsor to Senator Russ Feingold's censure resolution.  You can find your Democratic Senator's full contact info, including fax and local numbers, here.  If you don't have any Democratic Senators, please call Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid-- he's your leader too, and ask him to help hold the President accountable for his crimes.


Talking points:

  • The President admitted to conducting a domestic spying program outside the scope of FISA, despite knowing that FISA is the exclusive means of such surveillance inside the United States.  President Bush broke the law, and this is the only way this Republican Congess can hold him accountable.

  • President admitted he did not brief the full intelligence committees. This is against the law.

  • We don't have to wait for an investigation before censure.  President Bush admitted to his crimes publicly. An investigation is needed, but that should not preclude censure at this time.

  • Andrew Jackson was censured in 1834 for refusing to hand over papers to Congress and assuming power not granted by the Constitution.  With his stonewalling of the investigation and by ignoring FISA, this is exactly what President Bush has done, and he should also be censured accordingly.


Five minutes is all it takes. Now get on the phone and let's show this administration that some people still gave a damn about the Constitution.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs
So you guys are seeing the new comments in action. ct and peeder are probably in a coma after a long, long day and night yesterday. Once they revive they'll probably work on squashing bugs, so please continue posting any you may find.

So what's next on the agenda? Jotter's comment search still needs to be finished, but that's a relatively minor upgrade. Peeder will carry forth the comment editing tools (buttons for blockquote, bold, etc) over to the story/diary submit page. Again, a relatively minor upgrade.

The next big change will be to reengineer who the recent diary works. We're going to add a filtering layer between the diaries page and the diaries list on the front page. We need to improve the signal-to-noise ratio of the front-page diaries listings and I think we've got a plan to do it (however controversial it might be). Jeremy (ct) has to assist in the bug-killing duties for the new comments and then do some other minor maintenance issues. Then it's on to the Diaries Project.

What else? I still want to build the polling engine, but that's a few months down the road. It's been a lean ad month, so I've got to save my cash until we ride out this advertising lull. Then I want to AJAXify more sections of the site (including the Hotlist, Recommended Diaries, and much of the front page).

Kick ass search, kick ass message boards, and more on the way. I'm serious when I say I intend for Daily Kos to remain on the technological cutting edge.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs

From the diaries. This is a handy guide on how to use the supple new comments, from the guy who designed the ajax parts of it. -ct

The new Daily Kos comments system uses the state-of-the-art Ajax technology to make reading and contributing to Daily Kos discussions fast, easy, and fun. No longer do you have to suffer through waiting for entire pages to load just because you recommended the diary or gave a comment a rating. Virtually everything can now be done in-place right on the page you're viewing.

Read on for way more details and compatibility information!

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs

March 12, 2006

"The President must be held accountable for authorizing a program that clearly violates the law."

Categories: Blogs

New Hampshire State Representative Marcia Moody, frustrated by Senator Reid and Nancy Pelosi's interference with Governor Dean's 50-state strategy at the DNC, sent off a strongly-worded letter to the Senator and shared it with DFA. Read the text below and view the original here.

Dear Senator Reid,

I am writing to you to express my extreme displeasure at your interference with Governor Howard Dean's administration of his duties as Chairman of the DNC and his distribution of DNC funds. Governor Dean was elected by the people of the states, the voting members of the DNC. He was neither elected by nor appointed by you. You and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi can dictate and do as you wish with the DLC and the DCCC. However, you have no jurisdiction over the DNC, its administration or its administrator.

Governor Howard Dean is the most forward thinking man of our time. The reason you and Congresswoman Pelosi are Minority Leaders and not Majority Leaders is exactly the reason why the Democrats have been losing election after election. You have consistently ignored all but 18 states in the election process. You have allowed the Republican party to take over state after state that used to have a majority of voters that traditionally were members of the Democratic Party.

Only Governor Dean has had the foresight to realize that Democrats will continue to lose elections unless the Democratic Party is rebuilt from the ground up and is present in every state. Governor Dean ran for the office as Chairman based on the promise that he would invest time and money in all 50 states and the 8 U.S. territories. Unlike any other politician, either past or present, he has fulfilled every single campaign promise he has ever made either as a State Legislator, Governor or as Chairman of the DNC.

In the one short year he has been in office, Governor Dean's remarkable accomplishments as Chairman have been well noted by public and the voting members of the DNC. It is not your duty nor you [sic] business to even suggest much less attempt to coerce the Chairman of the DNC to deviate from his elected purpose and break his promise to the people of those 50 states who elected him. I find your and Congresswoman Pelosi's interference reprehensible, unprofessional and indicative of just what is wrong with politics on Capitol Hill.

State Representative Marica Moody

Categories: Blogs
At some point this evening, the new comments will be coming online finally. I'll try to minimize the downtime, but the site will be unavoidably down for a bit, and there may be some periods of time where posting comments and diaries will be disabled so I can go through and make sure everything's working right. Bear with me.

Update [2006-3-13 1:10:20 by ct]: As you can see, it's not going very smoothly at all. I had to reload the db back in, and now I'm having to put stuff bit by bit. Sigh. Oh, and I'm turning comment and diary posting off for a bit.

Update II by kos: Guys, please be patient. What you see won't be the final product until we say it's the final product. It's got a ways to go.

Update [2006-3-13 2:24:16 by ct]: Comment posting's back on. We're not all the way there yet, but it's at the point where you can post now. There'll be some ups and downs, though.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs

Events in Charlottesville, Virginia
Town Hall Forum on the War in Iraq

March 13, 7 - 10 p.m. McLeod Auditorium, University of Virginia, school of nursing.
FEATURING: Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski; Ray McGovern; Gael Murphy; David Swanson; Tia Steele; Eman Ahmad Khamas.

Film: "Occupation Dreamland"
March 15, 7 p.m. Wilson Hall 301, University of Virginia campus.

March for Peace and Impeachment

Categories: Blogs