Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Relentless Violence in Iraq and Real Patriots

This headline jumped at me:
Relentless violence kills 54 in Iraq

I thought: 'this is news?'

Then I realized that when we American taxpayers and our allies perpetrate violence against the Iraqi people it is not referred to as 'violence' but as 'war' (which I guess has a more noble ring to it); and when Iraqis and their allies commit acts of war, it is referred to as relentless violence.

War kills people, and when you invade a sovereign nation without provocation the citizens will retaliate. Their acts are acts of self-defense, not relentless violence.

Here's the Yahoo: Relentless violence kills 54 in Iraq

. . . and not speaking of the Patriot Act . . .

Here is the story of some America heroes (unlikely as they are):

Four Librarians Finally Break Silence in Records Case
Nicked from the New York Times
Four Connecticut librarians who had been barred from revealing that they had received a request for patrons' records from the federal government spoke out yesterday, expressing frustration about the sweeping powers given to law enforcement authorities by the USA Patriot Act.

The librarians took turns at the microphone at their lawyers' office and publicly identified themselves as the collective John Doe who had sued the United States attorney general after their organization received a confidential demand for patron records in a secret counterterrorism case. They had been ordered, under the threat of prosecution, not to talk about the request with anyone. The librarians, who all have leadership roles at a small consortium called Library Connection in Windsor, Conn., said they opposed allowing the government unchecked power to demand library records and were particularly incensed at having been subject to the open-ended nondisclosure order.

"I'm John Doe, and if I had told you before today that the F.B.I. was requesting library records, I could have gone to jail," said one of the four, Peter Chase, a librarian from Plainville who is on the executive committee of Library Connection's board. More . . .

Dick Mac Recommends:

Sorry, Everybody
James Zetlen

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I'm Sorry, too!

The most hilarious reaction to the Bush debacle has been the Sorry Everybody site. The site has gotten exponentially bigger. I still can't find my submission. Can you?


Dick Mac Recommends:

Our Endangered Values
Jimmy Carter

Monday, May 29, 2006

If Memory Serves Me Correctly . . .

. . . and I am the first to admit that long-term memory and I are hardly close, personal friends: it was the political right-wing of America that wanted to establish English as the national language. I remember that for years, when the GOP was the minority party, they tried to pass it often.

Now, the Democrats have been out of power for a very long time and they have switched from being the party of progressive, hard-working, thinking people, to the party of pretend-conservatism painted as blandly as possible to try to win the hearts and minds of the dull.

I have said before, and a cursory glance at her voting record will show, that Hillary Clinton is not a liberal Democrat, but a conservative Arkansas housewife. I would expect Mrs. Clinton to promote and vote for neo-conservative amendments to the laws of the land.

Sadly, Senator Kennedy (the last liberal?), from the state of Massachusetts, has joined the movement of the dull and helped pass a law declaring English " . . . the common and unifying language of the United States . . . " and preserving and enhancing " . . . the role of the English language. . . ."

Sadly, this link will show that most every Democrat voted to support this hegemonist, ridiculous law.

Sadly, this means that the law enforcement and military arms of the country will use fluency to persecute (and prosecute?) non-whites whose command of the language is that of a first-generation immigrant (like most of our relatives).

Sadly, the government will not take this opportunity to force writers, broadcasters, musicians, or educators to use correct, or proper English. No! Fox, Paramount, Times Corporation, Time-Warner, Viacom, Conde Nast, the teachers' unions, government school officials, elected representatives and almost every American born after 1972 will refuse to learn proper English; but because they are mostly white-skinned (or white-acting) middle-class people, we will continue to be assaulted by idiots that know nothing of the subjective versus the objective, past perfect versus future tenses, or split infinitives.

This ill-conceived amendment will not be used to make America a better place; it will be used to abuse the most disenfranchised of us all.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Misquoting Jesus
Bart D. Ehrman

Friday, May 26, 2006

Dear Abby:

Dear Abby,

I am a crack dealer in New Jersey who has recently been diagnosed as a carrier of the HIV virus. My parents live in a suburb of Philadelphia and one of my sisters, who lives in Bensenville, is married to a transvestite. My father and mother have recently been arrested for growing and selling marijuana and are currently dependent on my other two sisters who are prostitutes in Jersey City. I have two brothers. One is currently serving a non-parole life sentence in Attica for murder of a teenage boy in 1994. The other brother is currently being held in the Wellington Remand Center on charges of neglecting his three children.

I have recently become engaged to marry a former Thai prostitute who lives in the Bronx and, indeed, is still a part-time "working girl" in a brothel. Her time there is limited, however, as we hope to open our own brothel with her as the working manager. I am hoping my two sisters would be interested in joining our team. Although I would prefer them not to prostitute themselves, it would get them off the street, and, hopefully, the heroin.

My problem is this: I love my fiancee and look forward to bringing her into the family, and of course, I want to be totally honest with her. So here's where I need your advice. Should I tell her about my cousin who voted for Bush?

Worried About My Reputation

Dick Mac Recommends:

Our Endangered Values
Jimmy Carter

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

If I Have To . . .

Everybody, hum along!

I Am Woman
Words and Music by Helen Reddy and Ray Burton

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an' pretend
'cause I've heard it all before
And I've been down there on the floor
No one's ever gonna keep me down again

Oh yes I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman

You can bend but never break me
'cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
'cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul


I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin' arms across the land
But I'm still an embryo
With a long long way to go
Until I make my brother understand

Oh yes I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to I can face anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman
Oh, I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong

I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong
I am woman

Nicked from Lyrics Depot.

Dick Mac Recommends:

All-Time Greatest Hits
Helen Reddy

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

2:30 P.M. EST, ESPN2 - Arsenal v Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League Final

My team has made it to the finals. Arsenal could be Champions of Europe!

I have taken the day off and will sit patiently in front of the television in hopes that the Gunners can prove the pundits wrong and overcome the predicted 3-1 Barca victory.

Two of the world's greatest footballers:
Thierry Henry (Arsenal & France) below
Ronaldinho (Barcelona & Brazil) bottom

Follow the match online at the Matchcentre

Follow the match online at BBC Football

Visit the Arsenal site

Visit the Barcelona site

Vist the UEFA Champions League site

Dick Mac Recommends:

Arsenal Centurions - 100 Goals Each
Thierry Henry and Dennis Berkamp

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

More Bad News For Aussies (Oi Oi Oi)

Why is Australia becoming more like the USA everyday?

Australian Prime Minister John Howard pledged to President Bush Tuesday that his country remains committed to supporting a lengthy war on terror.

"He may not be the prettiest person on the block, but when he tells you something you can take it to the bank," Bush said of the Australian Prime Minister.

Read more . . .

Dick Mac Recommends:

House of Bush, House of Saud
Craig Unger

Monday, May 15, 2006

Democrats Seeking To Oust Incumbents

This might be the best year for the Democrats to grab a few Senate and House seats.

Sen. George Allen, R-Virginia, has been an ardent supporter of the administrations disasters. Now he has to pay to the piper and his new song is that it is the fault of the DNC. Allen, like other conservatives, fails to recognize that he is in trouble because of his own bad choices.

Va. Campaign Complicates Allen's Ambitions
By RON FOURNIER, AP Political Writer
Mon May 15, 7:21 AM ET

Republican Sen. George Allen (news, bio, voting record) had hoped for an easy slide to re-election and, from there, a launching pad to the presidency.

So far, it hasn't worked out that way.

A loyal foot solider for President Bush, the Virginia lawmaker faces a surprisingly tough re-election campaign that is keeping him pinned down in his state while other Republican presidential hopefuls traverse Iowa, New Hampshire and other important places in the 2008 nomination fight.

Just as worrisome, the Senate campaign has already dredged up a few unpleasant issues — both personal and political — that could shadow his plans for 2008.

Virginia Democrats on June 13 will choose Allen's opponent — either former Reagan administration Navy Secretary James H. Webb or businessman Harris Miller. Many national party leaders say Webb, a Republican-turned-Democrat and best-selling author, is their best hope for taking the seat.

Allen accuses unnamed Democratic forces of running a smear campaign against him.

"I have no question that national Democrats are after me," the former Virginia governor said in an interview.

Allen spoke at a picnic table at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds. A pink sky framed the Shenandoah Mountains and cast him in a soft light. He had just raised $25,000 at a campaign event — shaking hands, slapping backs, singing country music and outlining a hardline conservative agenda.

The event highlighted his strength as a politician, a good-ol'-boy likability that may wear well in places such as Iowa where retail politics still matters. It took place beneath a pavilion filled with GOP donors and the aroma of beef and manure.

"This is my kinda place!" Allen shouted. He picked thin slices of beef from the buffet tray, tilted his head back and dangled the meat above his mouth before dropping it in.

"My kinda place!"

An aide tossed him a football. The football gets tossed at every Allen event — one ritual among many that raises the question of whether his country-boy shtick is affected as it is effective.

This crowd loves it.

"Hail the next president," yelled John Root, a local farmer.

When the band asked him to join, Allen said he only sings in public when, "I've had two beers — and the audience has had four."

The joke is such a hit he repeated it a few minutes later.


Now he's spitting mad — literally.

Pinching his lower lip between two fingers, Allen yanks it down to his chin and smears a gooey dab of smokeless tobacco along his gums. He is answering questions about an article in The New Republic magazine that details his past affinity with symbols of the bygone South.

Allen used to keep a Confederate flag in his living room, a noose in his law office and a picture of Confederate troops in his governor's office.

He said he knows better now.

"I understand how ..." He paused briefly and starts again. "People over the years ..." Another pause. "I've grown."

The Confederate flag is not just a symbol of regional pride, Allen said. "For many people, it represents segregation or represents racism and I recognize that."

But for all his folksy, down-home pretense, Allen has no Dixie roots.

His father, also named George Allen, was a famed football coach who kept his family on the move. The senator was born in California, lived in the Chicago suburbs for eight years, returned to California for high school and attended college in Virginia after his father became head coach of the Washington Redskins.

In his high school yearbook photo, Allen is wearing a Confederate flag pin. He said he cannot remember why, but suspects the pin was part of a nonconformist phase. He said a pal wore one, too.

"We probably did it for some sort of — I don't know what you call it — for the fun of it," Allen said, spitting tobacco juice between his cowboy boots. "It wasn't any major statement."

In the magazine article, classmates recalled Allen driving California's streets in a red Mustang with a Confederate plate. Some spoke of a graffiti-spraying incident and said it was racially tinged. Allen said he was suspended for the prank aimed at an opposing basketball team but denied writing anything racial.

In college, he embraced his new Southern life — playing country music, wearing cowboy boots, backing Richard Nixon and once shooting a squirrel on campus. He skinned it, ate it and hung the pelt on his wall, according to The New Republic.

Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia classmate who is now a political scientist at the school, said voters outside Virginia will not appreciate the senator's Southern stylings.

"They're going to find Allen in some ways socially unacceptable, not just politically unacceptable," Sabato said.

For every example of open-mindedness Allen can cite — such as his efforts as a senator to get more money for black colleges — Democrats can cite such things as the proclamation he signed as governor to declare a Confederate History and Heritage Month.

It praised the South's "four-year struggle for independence" and made no mention of slavery.

Then there is his relationship with his sister, Jennifer Allen Richard, who wrote a book, "Fifth Quarter," about growing up the daughter of a football coach. Her eldest brother comes across as a bully who, among other things, cracked her boyfriend on the head with a pool cue.

"George hoped someday to become a dentist," she writes. "George said he saw dentistry as a perfect profession — getting paid to make people suffer."

Reached by phone in Los Angeles, Richard said the pool cue incident was a joke. Allen was simply testing her boyfriend's reflexes.

As for the dentist quote, she said the book was written from the perspective of a young girl surrounded by older brothers and a larger-than-life father. She called it "a novelization of the past."

A part-time journalist and mother of three, Richard said she has a great relationship with her brother. When she got married, Allen filled in for her deceased father and walked her down the aisle.

"He was crying more than anybody," she said.


By most accounts, Allen was a popular one-term governor. He presided over the GOP realignment of Virginia politics and easily won passage of his legislative priorities: abolishing parole, downsizing welfare and imposing education standards. He also evolved politically, entering office as a fierce partisan and leaving a more mellow pragmatist.

He has changed as a senator, too, shifting toward the right on assault weapons and gay rights, drawing charges of flip-flopping from Democrats.

Allen's voting record in the Senate tracks closely with Bush's agenda, but he does not play that up.

"People know me. They don't look at me as a Bush Republican," he said. Allen argued that the distance has nothing to do with Bush's anemic approval ratings, which have Republican candidates everywhere running for cover. And yet, Allen has no problem calling himself a Reagan Republican.

He said he is focused on the fall. But he cannot ignore the future.

"Hello, Mr. President!" shouted a supporter as he grabbed Allen's hand.

"Well," replied the slick Southern charmer, "let's win this one first."


Associated Press Writer Bob Lewis in Richmond, Va., contributed to this report.

Now, if we could only get the Democrats to oust other conservatives, like Hillary Clinton, maybe the party would stand a chance for the future!

Hllary is now blathering about how we layabouts and our children don't work hard enough. Here is a multi-millionaire conservative telling New Yorkers that we don't know how to raise our families or work hard enough. This, after she has personal responsibility for the disaster that is our current economic situation.

This woman is a mance and should be removed from office this year.
Dick Mac Recommends:

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Jimmy Carter

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Body Shop Sells Out

Dame Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop chain, sold her significant holding to L'Oreal, which is a subsidiary of Nestle, the world's most despicable corporation.

The obvious response by Baby Milk Action is to press for a boycott of The Body Shop.

I have written about Nestle boycotts here and here.

Dame Anita, caught with her knickers down, has reacted as a reactionary:
"(Boycotts) rarely work and the people you hurt are primarily the weak and the frail. And when all you do is boycott then there is no chance of getting a lever on the way the world is," she said.

Well, Dame Anita. You are wrong. Boycotts often work, and your apologetic position does not wash! You are in business with Nestle! Any way you spin it, you are in business with the world's most despicable corporation.

Boycott The Body Shop.

Published on Thursday, May 11, 2006 by the Independent / UK
Roddick Targets Nestlé after Corporate 'Sell-Out'
by Jonathan Brown

Dame Anita Roddick has admitted that she harbours concerns over the ethical record of Nestlé, a major shareholder in the French cosmetic giant L'Oréal, which bought the Body Shop for £652m.

She also suggested campaigners, determined to stage a consumer boycott, should target the Swiss multinational's leading brands such as Perrier, Kit-Kat and Nescafé, rather than the company she founded.

The entrepreneur has been repeatedly forced to defend herself over the controversial sale in March, announced amid a blaze of allegations that she had morally and financially sold out.

Pressure groups reacted with fury - not least because L'Oréal has faced persistent allegations over its record on animal testing - but also because the company is 28 per cent-owned by Nestlé. It has been the target of a long-running campaign centred on its alleged promotion of powdered milk in the developing world.

In a letter to the campaign group Baby Milk Action, which had asked Dame Anita to justify the sale, she defended the record of the Body Shop and those who sought to bring about change from inside "the black hole of the corporate world".

However, she conceded: "Yes I object to the way Nestlé behaves. I am aware of their track record on baby milk, GMOs and Ethiopia, you [would] have to [have] been living in space not to know of their reputation."

She also sought to distance herself from the company. "I'm not an investor in Nestlé myself. I'm not giving them any money. I'm not even taking money from them. I am taking money from a company where they have a small stake, and ... I will be giving this away to further the cause, just as I did last year to help Amnesty move into a new office." But she also warned that a consumer boycott could be counter-productive.

"(They) rarely work and the people you hurt are primarily the weak and the frail. And when all you do is boycott then there is no chance of getting a lever on the way the world is," she said.

"So if you have to bloody boycott - then boycott. Boycott all the products that Nestlé own 100 per cent - Perrier, Kit-Kat, Shredded Wheat, Nescafé, Carnation Milk. And boycott every pension fund that may have holdings in Nestlé for whatever reason, and everyone who benefits from them. But for goodness sake strengthen the arm of anyone who sees an opportunity of changing the black hole of the corporate world."

Mike Brady of Baby Milk Action accused Dame Anita of "backtracking" over Body Shop's long-standing support for consumer activism. The group plans to press ahead with the national protest against the company's outlets on 20 May which coincides with the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.

"We cannot ignore the fact that buying Body Shop products will put money in the coffers of Nestlé. Our supporters want to know where the money goes and 99 per cent in an online survey we conducted said they would add Body Shop to their personal boycott list and seek ethical alternatives," he said.

Last week Body Shop posted a strong set of trading figures with sales across the group up 5 per cent in the eight weeks following the announcement of the L'Oréal take over. Critics say the failure to reveal UK trading could mask the affect of a boycott.

Nestlé defended its ethical record, saying it made "continual efforts" to comply with World Health Organisation guidelines on marketing. "An annual survey of 20,000 people in 20 countries by Globescan (Toronto and London) found Nestlé to be among the top companies spontaneously named as socially responsible, particularly in the developing world," it said.

© 2006 Independent News and Media Limited

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

I Know You Think You're Awfully Square . . .

The United States government is building a database of its citizens' telephone calls.

Has any other leadership in the world been more Orwellian than the Bush administrations? Declaring War as Peace and Lies as Truth and now this . . . it's almost as though they are having a big joke in Washington to see if they can actually bring to fruition the dreaded regime of the novel 1984.

I like this contradiction in today's Reuters article:
Defending the controversial program, President Bush and his administration officials have said it aims to uncover links between international terrorists and their domestic collaborators and only targets communications between a person inside the United States and a person overseas.

Since the primary terrorists on this planet are the Saudi Royal Family, the Saudi government, and their allied families in Saudi Arabia (the binLadens included), Henry Kissinger and his partners, and the Bush family and their partners, I think the data collected should be limited to those people. One only need monitor the calls between Halliburton and the Bush family, Halliburton and Prescott, Saudi officials and White House officials, Henry Kissinger and oil importers, Houston and Riyadh, the binLaden family and Kissinger's firm to know where the problem lies.

No American family has done more to foster anti-American sentiment than the Bush family. No American family is more aligned with Saudi terrorists, their supporters and families than the Bush family.

When will Americans stand-up and demand that Bush, Kissinger and the rest of the Saudi apologists be held accountable for their complicity?

Well, never I suspect.
NSA kept domestic calls data: report

(Reuters) The agency in charge of a domestic spying program has been secretly collecting phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, including calls made within the United States, USA Today reported on Thursday.

It said the National Security Agency has been building up the database using records provided by three major phone companies -- AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. -- but that the program "does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations."

USA Today said its sources for the story were "people with direct knowledge of the arrangement," but it did not give their names or describe their affiliation.

The existence of an NSA eavesdropping program launched after the September 11 attacks was revealed in December.

Defending the controversial program, President Bush and his administration officials have said it aims to uncover links between international terrorists and their domestic collaborators and only targets communications between a person inside the United States and a person overseas.

But USA Today said that calls originating and terminating within the United States have not escaped the NSA's attention.

"It's the largest database ever assembled in the world," the paper quoted one source as saying. The agency's goal is "to create a database of every call ever made" within U.S. borders, it said the source added.

The NSA has "access to records of billions of domestic calls," USA Today said. Although customers' names and addresses are not being handed over, "the phone numbers the NSA collects can easily be cross-checked with other databases to obtain that information," it said.

Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, who headed the NSA from 1999 to 2005 and was nominated by Bush on Monday as director of the CIA, would have overseen the call-tracking program, the paper said.

Hayden, as well as NSA and White House officials, declined to discuss the program, USA Today said.

Among major U.S. telecommunications companies, only Qwest Communications International Inc. has refused to help the NSA program, the paper said.

Qwest, with 14 million customers in the Western United States, was "uneasy about the legal implications of handing over customer information to the government without warrants," USA Today said.

It said the three companies cooperating with the NSA "provide local and wireless phone service to more than 200 million customers."

Big Brother
Words and music by David Bowie

Don't talk of dust and roses
Or should we powder our noses?
Don't live for last year's capers
Give me steel, give me steel, give me pulsars unreal

He'll build a glass asylum
With just a hint of mayhem
He'll build a better whirlpool
We'll be living from sin, then we can really begin

Please savior, saviour, show us
Hear me, I'm graphically yours

Someone to claim us, someone to follow
Someone to shame us, some brave Apollo
Someone to fool us, someone like you

We want you Big Brother, Big Brother

I know you think you're awful square
But you made everyone and you've been every where
Lord, I'd take an overdose if you knew what's going down

CHORUS (3 times)

We want you Big Brother

Dick Mac Recommends:

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Craig Unger

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Neoconservative Walks Into A Drug Store . . .

A neoconservative walked into a drugstore and asked the pharmacist for some bottom deodorant.

The pharmacist, a little bemused, explained to the woman that they don't sell anything called bottom deodorant.

Unfazed, the neocon assured him that she has been buying the stuff from his store on a regular basis.

"I'm sorry," said the pharmacist patiently. "I have no idea what you are talking about."

"But I always get it here," insisted the neocon.

"Do you have the empty container?"

"Yes, I do; and I will go get it," she said.

She returned with the container and handed it to the pharmacist, who looked at it and explained, "This is just a normal stick of underarm deodorant."

The annoyed neocon snatches the container back and says, "You must be a liberal and have no grasp of reality or truth. It says right here on the container: 'To apply, push up bottom.'"

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Monday, May 08, 2006

"I've Always Been a Yankees Fan"

That is my favorite lie from the forked tongue of Hillary Clinton!

This is the book jacket for Thomas D. Kuiper's I've Always Been a Yankees Fan: Hillary Clinton in Her Own Words, one of many books about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. For someone who insists she is only thinking about her re-election campaign this year, Clinton has attracted the attention of conservative authors offering a host of new books aiming to slow her path to the White House. (AP Photo)

I am embarrassed that I share a position with neocons, but they are correct about one thing: Hillary Clinton Must Be Stopped! I don't care about her march to the White House, I want her to lose her job as the junior Senator from New York.

Clinton has done nothing for New Yorkers. She is a midwestern conservative, votes a straight republican line, and does not represent the views of even the most conservative New Yorkers.

Please help remove her from office!

Dick Mac Recommends:

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Friday, May 05, 2006

Conservatives Drive Bush's Approval Down

I have nicked this AP story off Yahoo! Why re-write this one? It's enjoyable in the form AP published it.

I pray for a Democratic congress this Autumn, and I hope a smattering of WFP and/or Green congressmen are elected, too.
Conservatives Drive Bush's Approval Down
By RON FOURNIER, AP Political Writer

Angry conservatives are driving the approval ratings of President Bush and the GOP-led Congress to dismal new lows, according to an AP-Ipsos poll that underscores why Republicans fear an Election Day massacre.

Six months out, the intensity of opposition to Bush and Congress has risen sharply, along with the percentage of Americans who believe the nation is on the wrong track.

The AP-Ipsos poll also suggests that Democratic voters are far more motivated than Republicans. Elections in the middle of a president's term traditionally favor the party whose core supporters are the most energized.

This week's survey of 1,000 adults, including 865 registered voters, found:

• Just 33 percent of the public approves of Bush's job performance, the lowest of his presidency. That compares with 36 percent approval in early April. Forty-five percent of self-described conservatives now disapprove of the president.

• Just one-fourth of the public approves of the job Congress is doing, a new low in AP-Ipsos polling and down 5 percentage points since last month. A whopping 65 percent of conservatives disapprove of Congress.

• A majority of Americans say they want Democrats rather than Republicans to control Congress (51 percent to 34 percent). That's the largest gap recorded by AP-Ipsos since Bush took office. Even 31 percent of conservatives want Republicans out of power.

• The souring of the nation's mood has accelerated the past three months, with the percentage of people describing the nation on the wrong track rising 12 points to a new high of 73 percent. Six of 10 conservatives say America is headed in the wrong direction.

Republican strategists said the party stands to lose control of Congress unless the environment changes unexpectedly.

"It's going to take some events of significance to turn this around," GOP pollster Whit Ayres said. "I don't think at this point you can talk your way back from those sorts of ratings."

He said the party needs concrete progress in Iraq and action in Congress on immigration, lobbying reform and tax cuts.

"Those things would give the country a sense that Washington has heard the people and is responding in a way that will give conservatives a sense that their concerns are being addressed," Ayres said.

Conservative voters blame the White House and Congress for runaway government spending, illegal immigration and lack of action on social issues such as a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage. Those concerns come on top of public worries about Iraq, the economy and gasoline prices.

Candice Strong, a conservative from Cincinnati, said she backed Bush in 2004, "but I don't agree with the way he's handling the war and the way he's handling the economy. I think he should have pulled our troops out of Iraq."

Hardline conservatives are not likely to vote Democratic in the fall, but it would be just as devastating to the Republicans if conservatives lose their enthusiasm and stay home on Election Day.

AP-Ipsos polling suggests that Democrats may be winning the motivation game. Fewer voters today than in 2004 call themselves Republicans or Republican-leaning. In addition, 27 percent of registered voters were strong Republicans just before the 2004 election, while only 15 percent fit that description today.

Democratic numbers are the same or better since 2004.

"This tells us we've got our work cut out for us," said Sen. Sam Brownback (news, bio, voting record), a conservative Republican from Kansas who may run for president in 2008. "The key for us is to show restraint on spending and on dealing with immigration."

Bush's strong suit continues to be his handling of foreign policy and terrorism, an area in which he modestly improved his ratings since April. Still, a majority of Americans disapprove of his performance on both fronts.

It gets worse. Only 23 percent of the public approve of the way the president is handling gasoline prices, the lowest in AP-Ipsos polling. Those who strongly disapprove outnumber those who strongly approve by an extraordinary 55 percent to 8 percent.

As for his overall job performance, history suggests that Bush's paltry 33 percent spells trouble for Republicans in the fall.

In the past six decades, only one president had a lower job approval rating six months before a midterm election — Richard Nixon in May 1974, the year in which Watergate-scarred Republicans lost 48 seats in the House and four in the Senate.

By November, Nixon was out of a job too, having resigned the presidency in August.

Nearly half of the public strongly disapproves of Bush, a huge jump from his 5 percent strong disapproval rating in 2002. The poll has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Of all Republicans, nearly 30 percent disapprove of the job Bush is doing, including 13 percent who feel strongly about it.

"Hopefully this is a wakeup call for my party to get out of its bunker and hunker mentality," said Republican strategist Greg Mueller, whose firm specializes in conservative politics.

He urged his party to start criticizing Democratic positions on the Iraq war, immigration and the economy.

"We've been like a punching bag," Mueller said.

Democrats need to gain 15 seats in the House and six in the Senate for control of Congress, no easy task in an era that favors incumbents.

"What we have to do is earn the public approval of our right to govern again," said Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean.

The Democratic strategy is to nationalize the elections around a throw-the-bums-out theme.

Republicans counter that they will do better than polls suggest when voters are forced on Election Day to choose between candidates in their particular House and Senate races.

"But," Ayres said, "we better get in gear."

Associated Press writer Will Lester, manager of news surveys Trevor Tompson, and polling director Mike Mokrzycki contributed to this story.

Dick Mac Recommends:

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Gore Vidal

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Family Values

Remember the family values campaign launched by the wrong-wing over the past two decades? I always wondered what kind of family lives these people enjoyed.

Over the past five years, as more and more of these so-called conservatives have been investigated, indicted, and/or imprisoned, I wonder about their family values?

What kind of family raises a daughter who would sell-out her constituents, the American taxpayer, and the security of her nation for personal gain? What sort of people raise that sort of daughter?

What are Representative (R-FL 13th) Katherine Harris's values? What kind of family must she come from?

Rep. Harris' Action Prompts Call for Probe
Associated Press

A political strategist who left U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris's Senate campaign last month said Harris ignored her staff's recommendation to reject a defense contractor's $10 million appropriation request, now being challenged by a congressional watchdog group.

Harris insisted the request be submitted even though it was late and hard to understand, according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel's Thursday editions. The newspaper cites Harris' former chief political strategist Ed Rollins.

"She told them she wanted it done," Rollins told the paper. "And she wanted it done now."

Harris spokesman Chris Ingram declined to comment Thursday when reached by The Associated Press. The Sentinel said Harris did not respond to its repeated inquiries.

On Monday, the congressional watchdog group Common Cause asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Harris attempted to obtain the appropriation in return for financial support from the defense contractor, Mitchell Wade.

In filing the complaint, Common Cause cited information provided by Wade as part of a plea agreement in the bribery case of convicted former Republican Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham of California.

Harris' campaign issued a statement calling the Common Cause complaint "false and outrageous." The statement said her work on behalf of Wade's company "was nothing more than an effort to secure jobs and economic opportunities" for her district.

Wade, former president of MZM Inc., has acknowledged making $32,000 in illegal contributions to Harris' 2004 campaign for the U.S. House. Harris said she did not knowingly do anything illegal and said she would donate that money to charity.

Harris, who drew national attention as Florida's secretary of state during the 2000 presidential recount, is now trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson (news, bio, voting record). Statewide polls show her trailing by double digits.

Rollins has said he left the Harris campaign because "Katherine wasn't listening to us." He previously served as President Reagan's political director and ran Ross Perot's presidential campaign in 1992.

Let's restore real family values: charity, love, generosity, peace, freedom, faith, patriotism. Let's abandon the conservative agenda -- it's a failure.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Sex Contest

Two men drove to a gas station because they heard about a contest being offered to patrons purchasing a full tank of gas.

When they went inside to pay, they asked about the contest.

"If you win, you're entitled to free sex," said the attendant.

"How do we enter?" asked the first man.

"Well, it's easy! I'm thinking of a number between 1-10, if you guess right, you win free sex."

"O.K. I guess 7," said the first man.

"Sorry, I was thinking of 8," replied the attendant. "Come back soon and try again."

The next week, the two men returned to the same station to get gas. When they went inside to pay, the second man asked the attendant if the contest was still going on.

"Sure," replied the attendant. "I'm thinking of a number between 1-10, if you guess right. You win free sex."

"2" said the second man

"Sorry, I was thinking of 3," replied the attendant. "Come back soon and try again."

As they walked back to the car, the first man said, "You know, I'm beginning to think this contest is rigged."

"No way," said the second man. "My wife won twice last week."

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

"On streets of New York, solidarity reigns"

On streets of New York, solidarity reigns
by Juan Gonzalez

All you had to do was take one look down normally bustling St. Nicholas Ave. in Washington Heights yesterday afternoon to sense an astonishing event was underway.

Around 12:30 p.m., Luis Carillo and Abimael Classen stood in front of their shuttered Chavin Hardware store near the corner of W. 178th St.

"We're closed to support the immigrant protest," Carillo said, his arms folded serenely under a brilliant sun.

Carillo came here from Peru more than 35 years ago, and has long since become a citizen. He realized his American Dream. Now, it was time to take a stand for those less fortunate, he said.

Virtually every store owner along St. Nicholas made the same decision, even if that meant turning away a few almighty dollars for one day.

The Capri Restaurant on the corner. The Los Primos Fruit Store. The big Bravo Supermarket down the street. The Happy Land Chinese Restaurant.

All were closed yesterday, some for a few hours, most for the entire day.

Over on Broadway, it was the same story.

Yasmin's Fashion Store. Torres Bakery. Casa Linda Upholstery. Columbia Pharmacy. Angel Shoes. Fort Washington Hardware. Aztek Records. Santa Ana Botanica. Quisqueya Grocery. Fernandez Check Cashing.

All closed.

By the end of the day, thousands of immigrant-owned businesses all over America had pulled off perhaps the biggest one-day boycott this country has ever seen.

Even huge corporations like Tyson Foods and Cargill's reluctantly closed their factories so their largely immigrant workers could join - of all things - a national May Day demonstration for the legalization of millions of undocumented workers.

And once again those immigrant workers, both legal and illegal, poured into the streets of downtown Manhattan and scores of other cities and towns, their children and baby carriages in tow - in numbers too breathtaking for anyone to ignore.

"No one knows the pain we feel," said Miguel Baez, who came here illegally from Mexico five years ago and works as a bartender in Manhattan.

"We need these jobs to survive," he said. "But we can't visit our families back home for years for fear we'll get caught coming back."

It is that endless agony of living in the shadows that has driven so many to join these massive protests.

They march even though they risk being fired or being detained and deported by immigration authorities.

They boycotted schools and jobs and shut down stores yesterday even though Catholic Church officials and union leaders and politicians who support their cause urged them to ignore the call for May Day protests.

They took to the streets even though the pundits and the so-called experts in Washington warned of a political backlash from middle-class America.

Some have even tried to pit black Americans against the undocumented. But key African-American leaders like the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and Transport Workers Union chief Roger Toussaint all attacked those divisive tactics at yesterday's Union Square rally.

"You can't talk about globalized capital and exporting jobs and not talk about global human and labor rights for immigrant workers," Jackson said. "Immigrants aren't sending good jobs overseas, corporations are."

Time and again this new immigrant movement has taken the politicians, the church and labor leaders by surprise with its discipline and its fury.

The experts, you see, are missing the point.

This movement is already a backlash - against decades of anti-immigrant scapegoating and hysteria in Washington. Congress ignores this cry for recognition at our country's peril.

Originally published on May 2, 2006
Juan Gonzalez is a Daily News columnist.

Reprinted without permission

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Day Without Immigrants

The anti-immigration movement in America is frightening. The notion that we will prevent immigration and criminalize efforts to become American seems so . . . un-American to me.

Illegal aliens have been coming to America for centuries. My paternal grandfather was an illegal and he and my paternal grandmother worked hard to establish a good life in the United States.

I suspect, however, that people spear-heading this anti-immigration movement would welcome my white grandfather today. It is just brown people that seem to be the targets of this witch-hunt.

Amazingly, Americans want to blame illegal immigrants for the lack of jobs. This could not be further from the truth.

We lack jobs, because the Reagan Reaction of the early 1980s established an anti-worker mentality and promoted the shipment off-shore of American jobs. Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton (especially Clinton) laid the foundation for a disappearing American workplace with NAFTA.

Also, the jobs being done by illegal immigrants are tasks that no American would ever perform.

If a handyman earned $25.00 per hour, everyone's sidewalk would be swept by white men, and the pool guys banging suburban housewives would all be circumcised!

But I am not going to sweep anything for $5.15 per hour, and neither are all these anti-immigrant Americans!

Today, many South and Central American immigrants are speaking-out against the anti-immigration movement by promoting A Day Without Immigrants.

Maybe your could support them. Maybe you get a lunch break and you, like me, can step down from the ivory tower where you earn more than minimum wage and find a group of immigrants demonstrating for equity and fairness.

Maybe you could shake a hand, say thank you, and let them know that you do not hate them.

Find a local event here.


New Yorkers can attend these events:

Location: Union Square
Date: May 1
Time Begin: 4:00 pm
Time End: 7:00 pm
Contact: Dustin Langley
Phone: 212-633-6646

New York City (Feeder March from Chinatown)

Three chances to join the Six Organizations May Day Coalition, (Million Worker March Movement, IWW, Workers In Action/Make the Road by Walking) plus "the Kingdom" of Chinatown-based Unionism (Chinese Staff Workers Union, 318, NMASS) in a historic show of force and unity amongst alternative labor organizations:

2:30 buses leave from Make the Road by Walking (301 Grove St.) in Bushwick for Chinatown

3:00 The Six converge at Grand and Chrystie by the park, Chinatown

4:30-ish The Six arrive at Union Square to join the rally in progress

New York City: HUMAN CHAIN Actions
MAY 1, 2006 12:16PM

Come out on our National Day of Labor at 12:16pm and form a HUMAN CHAIN in an
expression of solidarity for immigrant rights. New York's diverse and vibrant
immigrant commercial centers are vital to the economy of New York City and by
closing for 15 minutes we will join the nation in highlighting the many ways in
which immigrant workers and businesses contribute to and stimulate our economy.
ALL members of the community are encouraged to join in this peaceful expression
of solidarity!

Human Chain Locations and Contact info:

Bronx: NYCPP, Sussie Lozada, 212-388-2149

Brooklyn: Fifth Avenue Committee, Artemio Guerra, 718-930-9068; Council of Peoples Organization, Mohammed Razvi, 718-434-3266

Manhattan: Washington Heights: NYCPP, Laura Espinosa, 212-388-3296 and La Aurora, Rathamés Perez, 718-543-0410

Battery Park: Make the Road by Walking, 718-418-7690

Chinatown: Chinese Progressive Association, Mae Lee, 212-274-1891

Queens: NYCPP, Zahida Pirani, 212-388-2119 and LAIC, Ana Maria Archila, 718-565-8500

Staten Island: El Centro de Hospitalidad, Gonzalo Mercado, 646-772-0096 and Rev. Terry Troia, 646-523-7274

New York City (May 5th)
Sounds of Protest
Music - Politics - Celebration, Full Rights for Immigrants!
Location: Pollo Bravo in Harlem, 116th St. btwn 2nd/3rd Ave
Date: Cinco de Mayo - May 5th 2006
Time: Doors open at 8pm

Live Music & Dancing, DJs, Slam Poets, MCs and more! Great Raffle Prizes, $10 cover includes drink specials

Here's an AP story.

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