Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Ten Down, One to Go

I have to make this quick, I was up so late last night, I want to try to get a quick nap before game time.

Roy Oswalt doesn't seem so tough to me, the Sox were able to send 11 men to the plate in the fifth, scoring five runs to take the lead. Here's how it happened:

# Joe Crede: Home run to right; 4-1.
# Juan Uribe: Single to left.
# Jon Garland: Strike out swinging.
# Scott Podsednik: Single to right, first and second.
# Tadahito Iguchi: RBI single to center, scores Uribe, first and second; 4-2.
# Jermaine Dye: RBI single to center, scores Podsednik, first and second; 4-3.
# Paul Konerko: Fly out to center.
# A.J. Pierzynski: Two-run double to center, scores Iguchi and Dye; 5-4.
# Aaron Rowand: Walk.
# Crede: Hit by pitch, bases loaded.
# Uribe: Fly out to center.

For our part, I thought Jon Garland was struggling. So much so, that I was hollering for Ozzie to bring in El Duque in the 4th. After he got the lead he settled in and was effective.

Outstanding performance by the buulpen. The Astros got no hits after the eighth inning. I figured the game was lost twice, once whe Luis Vizcaino came in and again when Damaso Marte came in. I have give them both props for keeping the Astros from crossing the plate.

When Geoff Blum hit the homer that gave the Sox the lead, I was so shocked I forgot to react. It deserved the same kind of reaction I had for Konerko's and Podsednik's homers in Game 2, but I was either too surprised or too tired to give it the respect it desrved.

Heads up managing by Ozzie to have Mark Buehrle ready to go in case Marte got in trouble, which he did. Sure, he's supposed to start Game 6, but Ozzie knew that if we won last night, there likely wouldn't be a Game 6. Good move.

The game would have been over in 9 if the umpires didn't give the Astros a free homer in the fourth when Jason Lane hit a ball that should have remained in play according to the crazy ground rules at the Astros' park. Fox TV has delighted in rehashing over and over every little break the Sox have received in the playoffs, yet when this glaring error occurred, they barely mention it.

The Astros have been complaining aout MLB's ruling that they have to keep their roof open. The Astros want to close it so they can increase the crowd noise. From what I heard last night, I doubt it would have made much difference. In many critical game situations, Astros fans were virtually silent. There were also a number of times I was able to clearly hear chants of "Let's go White Sox". That's fine for a midseason midweek game, but to be able to hear cheering for the visiting team during a World Series game is unheard of. Astros fans should be ashamed.

Up next,
Freddy Garcia vs Brandon Backe
I like our chances to close it out tonight.

Go Sox!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Nine Down, Two to Go

Paul Konerko Scott Podsednik pulled the Sox' fat out of the fire tonight with a dramatic home run.

The Sox were scratching for runs after failing to capitalize on scoring opportunities all night. The Sox were trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh when the Sox managed to load the bases against Astros reliever Dan Wheeler on a controversial hit by pitch to Jermaine Dye. Paul Konerko managed to crush the first pitch from Chad Qualls into the left field stands for just the 18th Grand Slam in World Series history. I thought that was my greatest moment as a Sox fan until the Astros scored two off closer Bobby Jenks to tie the game at six. My greatest moment as a Sox fan came in the bottom of the ninth when, with one out, Scott Podsednik, who hit zero home runs during the season, hit his second of the postseason to win the game 7-6.

Some other stuff happened before that but none of it matters now.

I will say I think Astros closer Brad Lidge is done. In his last two appearances he has given up a game losing homer to Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols in the NLCS and tonight a walk off homer to Podsednik. If he gets another chance to close a game, I like our chances.

The Chicago f'ing White Sox are up two games to none in the World f'ing Series. I can't f'ing believe it.

Next up, John Garland vs Roy Oswalt on Turesday.

Go Sox!

Eight Down, Three to Go

A World Series recap post. Wow.

Joe Crede was the star of the game. Not only for his hitting, though his fourth inning homer gave the Sox the lead, but also for his defense, he made three outstanding plays at third that helped keep the Astros in check.

José Contreras wasn't at his best, he hit three batters to tie a World Series record, but he pitched well enough to win. I don't know why Ozzie brought him out to start the eighth, but he wisely pulled him after he gave up a leadoff double. Fox TV cameras made it seem as if Ozzie was still hesitant to make the change.

What bullpen rust? After giving up a single, Neil Cotts and Bobby Jenks were outstanding, recording 5 of 6 outs on strikeouts. Most memorable being Jeff Bagwell's to end the eighth. Jenks was firing 100 mph fastballs and it was obvious that Bagwell didn't have a chance.

I think we've seen the last of Roger Clemens in a Major League uniform. He left after the second inning with a hamstring injury. I can't help but think that Scott Podsednik's 13-14 pitch at bat had something to do with it. Scott fouled off pitch after pitch and was visibly upset with himself after striking out on a 3-2 pitch that was out of the zone. He made up for it with his RBI triple in the eighth that gave the Sox a needed insurance run.

I was disappointed that the Sox weren't able to break through against Wandy Rodriguez, the Astros' long reliever. It turned out not to matter.

I also want to note Carl Everett's heads up baserunning. In the second inning with Everett on third, AJ Pierzynski hit a grounder to Astros first baseman Mike Lamb. Lamb thought he had frozen Everett and tried to start a double play. Everett took off for home when Lamb released the ball and scored without a throw, while the Astros only recorded one out on the play.

I wish Fox had shown Luis Aparicio's ceremonial first pitch to Ozzie, that would have been nice to see. I also see that Frank Thomas was in uniform for the game, nice for him. No one on the Sox roster deserves this more than Frank.

Next up, Andy Pettite vs Mark Buehrle. The weather report doesn't look encouraging, I hope they can get the game in.

Go Sox!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

It's the Astros

After their epic collapse on Monday, I figured the Astros were done, but they managed to pull themselves together and eliminate the Cardinals last night. I had a slight preference for the Cardinals because it would have driven Cub fans crazy and because the ex-Cub factor was in our favor. It doesn't matter because the White Sox are in the World Series! I just saw an ad for the broadcast that featured the Sox and I couldn't help chuckling to myself.

It's going to be great!

Tom DeLay's Mugshot

From his booking today in Houston. Odd that he's smiling. I hope that Ronnie Earle will correct that soon.

This Washington Post article theorizes that he's smiling so that Democrats can't use it against him. Fair enough. We'll just have to use the footage of him being hauled away to prison instead.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Seven Down Four to Go

Now that I've calmed down and sobered up a bit, here's my thoughts on last night's game.

Joe Crede was the star of the game. His homer off Kelvim Escobar in th 7th tied the game at 3 and his 8th inning single put us ahead 4-3.

At the time I thought José Contreras was losing it,and I was screaming for Ozzie to bring in Jenks starting in the 8th. Thankfully, Francisco Rodriguez melted down and we scored two more in the top of the 9th. Contreras was able set down the Angels in order in the bottom of the 9th to clinch (I still can't believe I'm writing this) the White Sox' first trip to the World Series in 46 years.

The bottom of the 9th was an incredible experience for me. I stood up and put my hands on top of my head, shouting for each strike jumping up and down for the first two outs. Hyperventilating the whole time. When Konerko tagged first for the fianl out I started screaming and shouting for all I was worth bouncing around the room, knocking down anything in my path. I then proceeded to drink three beers in a row while watching the celebrations and interviews on TV and got very drunk (for me). I also found myself dancing involuntarily, smething I continued to do well into this afternoon. I find myself smiling and giggling a lot.

I was thinking to myself today that I was fully prepared to go the rest of my life without seeing this happen. Maybe they'd tease me every now and then with a playoff appearance, but I never thought they could actually do what they've done, advance to the World Series. If these guys can seal the deal and win it all I don't know what I'm going to do. I hope to find out.

Go Sox!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Six Down, Five to Go

This game started out as a carbon copy of last night's game and ended with the White Sox a mere 27 outs away from the World Series.

Again tonight the Sox jumped out to a 3-0 lead, this time on a three run homer by Paul Konerko, instead of last night's two run jack. The homer absolutely took the crowd out of the game, it was like a tomb out there.

It looks like Scott Podsednik may have regained his baserunning momentum, he reached base four times, stole two bases and scored two runs. Good to see that.

Freddy Garcia joined the complete game club, holding the Angels to 2 runs on 6 hits and one walk. I thought Ozzie would pull him after the score went to 8-2, but Freddy was able to close it out without much difficulty.

The Fox announcers tried to make a big deal about a missed catchers interference call and a missed call on a pickoff, but they failed to realize that something like that might make a difference in a one run game, but in a six run game it's of no consequence.

Next up, a rematch of Game 1, José Contreras vs. Paul Byrd. I look for Ozzie and the Sox to go for the jugular and (I can't believe I'm writing this) the American League pennant tomorrow night. I don't think there's any way Paul Byrd can beat us twice in a row.

Five Down, Six to Go

Tonight's game featured two things Sox fans haven't seen in a while: the White Sox offense and pitcher Jon Garland. Both were excellent.

The Sox jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Scott Podsednik scored on a Jermaine Dye double after Tadahito Iguchi sacrifced him to second. Paul Konerko followed up with a homer he crushed on a hanging breaking pitch by Angels starter John Lackey. Konerko drove in Iguchi in the fifth after he doubled with one out.

Garland showed no ill effects of a 13 day layoff. He allowed only 4 hits and one walk while striking out 7 in a complete game effort. The only blemish being a two run homer he allowed to Orlando Cabrera. They interviewed Garland's girlfriend during the game. Some guys have all the luck. Have fun tonight buddy.

My only concern is with the back to back complete games, the bullpen isn't getting enough work. Dustin Hermanson and Luis Vizcaino haven't even appeared in a postseason game yet. Though that may not be a bad thing in Vizcaino's case. Only Cotts has appeared in an LCS game. I don't think you want a reliever's first appearance to be in a game-critical situation.

I've said this before, but this postseason has just been unbelievable. It's all I can do to not think ahead. It's a good problem to have.

Next up, Freddy Garcia vs Ervin Santana. Before the LDS Garcia intimated that he would rather face the Angels because of the success he's had against them in the past. Now's your chance, Freddy.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Two of My Favorite Things

President Senator Barack Obama throws out the first pitch at last night's Game 2 of the ALCS.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Four Down, Seven to Go

I thought this was going to be a replay of Game1, with the addition of an outstanding pitching performance by Mark Buehrle. Exemplified by Aaron Rowand getting thrown out at home leading off the second on a double and an error by Vlad Guerrero.

On to what everyone will be talking about tomorrow. Bottom of the 9th, two outs, nobody on. AJ Pierzynski appeared to swing and miss at strike 3, AJ thought that the ball hit the dirt so he ran to first while the Angels were running off the field and was called safe. Pablo Ozuna ran for AJ and stole second. Joe Crede followed with a clutch double to score the winning run.

To my eye, the replay showed that Angels catcher Josh Paul, caught the ball. If there was any question, Paul should have tagged AJ or thrown to first. He did neither, so IMO the Angels have nothing to complain about.

The White Sox aren't supposed to get these kind of calls, we've been screwed by the umpires more times than I can count. Which leads me to believe we just might have something special going on here.

Is there an ex-White Sox factor? Ex-Sox Tony Graffanino cost Boston Game 2 of the LDS with an error. Tonight, ex-Sox Josh Paul costs the Angels Game 2 of the LCS with an error. Things that make you go hmmm.

Missouri to Track Cell Phone Users

The Missouri Department of Transportation is negotiating with private contractors to track cell phone users on all Missouri roads. The stated goal is to relay real time traffic information to motorists, by tracking the movement of cell phones on the roads. They claim the data will be anonymous, but I have serious doubts.

Citing "safety" concerns how long will it be before law enforcement agencies start using this information to issue traffic citations, or track the movements of political dissidents, or find out what their exes are up to, or watch where YOU go every day.

Check the calendar, it isn't 2005, it's 1984.

Still Eight to Go

An hour before game time, it's too late to do a recap of last night's game, so I'll just say I was disappointed. The game was there for the taking, but the Sox failed to execute. I didn't think they'd go undefeated, but we should've had this one. Let's forget about this one and get them tonight.

Go Sox!

Monday, October 10, 2005

It's the Angels

Despite losing Bartolo Colon to injury in the 2nd inning the Angels defeated the Yankees 5-3. The Yankees tried to make a comeback with three hits in the top of the 9th, but they fell short.

With Colon's injury and Washburn's illness, the Angels' pitching looks like it's in bad shape, but I still can't help but worry with the record we have against West Coast teams in recent years.

Jose Contreras vs Johnny Undecided tomorrow.

Go Sox!

Marte Makes LCS Roster

Despite his poor performance on Friday, Ozzie has decided to keep Damaso Marte on the roster for the LCS.

''I had a meeting with Marte before I made that decision,'' Guillen said. ''We need this kid. I talked to him, and he says he's fine. The thing is, that's the only player on my roster that I worry about.

I can see why Ozzie would want to have him on the roster, but what's the point, if he can't actually use him. Ozzie has said previously that he can't use Marte at home becuase of the reaction from the fans. After Friday's performance he should be afraid to use him at all, because he can't get anyone out. So what good is he? Better to keep Brandon McCarthy, who has had success, even out of the bullpen.

I can't claim to understand all of Ozzie's moves, but I guess I have to give him the benefit of the doubt until one of them backfires. I just hope that should it happen, it won't be too costly. One can't hope for miracles in every game.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Poll: Bush Bigger Problem than Terrorism

via Think Progress:

A new CBS poll shows that more people think that Bush is the US' most important problem, than think that terrorism is. It's only a 5% to 4% margin, but it's good to see.

Three Down, Eight to Go

I'm finding this postseason more and more difficult to believe. These things aren't supposed to happen to the White Sox. I figured that after Damaso Marte wlaked the bases loaded with nobody out in the bottom of the 6th, we were doomed. This would be the collapse, the Red Sox would take the lead, win the game, and take the next two to send us home for the winter.

El Duque had other plans, thankfully.

In an epic confrontation, Duque got Jason Varitek and Tony Graffanino to pop up, and then struck out Johnny Damon on a 3-2 checked swing. He then set down Boston's big guns 1-2-3 in the 7th. He allowed a harmless single to John Olerud in the 8th before handing the ball over to Bobby Jenks in the 9th. Jenks retired the side in order for his second save of the series. Duque earned a hold, which seeems wholly inadequate for what he did.

I've been watching baseball a long time, 23 of my 38 years. What Duque did was without a doubt the ballsiest pitching performance I've ever seen. Just one week ago, he was thisclose to being left off the roster in favor of rookie Brandon McCarthy. Now, he's earned himself a LCS start, IMO. I read somewhere yesterday that Ozzie had to fight hard to get Duque on the roster. I'm glad Ozzie won.

On to the LCS. I'd rather face the Yankees, because I think we could take them and because beating them would earn the respect the White Sox richly deserve. After this series, I'm beginning to think we could take anybody. I'll try to keep myself on an even keel, though.

Duque, if ever I meet you in a bar, the first one's on me, amigo

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Two Down, Nine to Go

This one didn't look good early, the Sox fell behind 4-0 early and it looked like the series might be tied 1-1. That all changed thanks to Tony Graffanino's error and Iguchi's 3 run blast in the 5th. Buehrle and Jenks were able to shut Boston down the rest of the way and the Sox pulled out a 5-4 victory.

Up next is Garcia vs Wakefield in Boston on Friday afternoon. The Sox have a good record vs Wakefield and Garcia likes to pitch in big games. This is certainly Garcia's biggest game in a Sox uniform so far. The experts keep pointing out how Boston has been able to come back when their backs are aagainst the wall, but this is a different team. I am cautiously optimistic.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

One Down, Ten to Go

The White Sox pounded Boston today 14-2. It was the first home playoff victory sicne 1959, the first victory since 1993, and the first one I'd seen since 1983. They also set an ALDS record with 5 home runs. I'm feeling pretty good about this team right now, but I hope Ozzie can keep them from getting overconfident. David Wells is no Matt Clement, but I wouldn't mind handing him a similar beating tomorrow. I'll take any kind of win, though.

Monday, October 03, 2005

A Prayer for White Sox Fans

O, (Deity or Deities) on the eve of the playoffs, a rare and most wondrous occurrence for us, I, a humble White Sox fan doth humbly pray for the following:

Heal our players' ailments, and protect them from injury.

Let our pitchers' fastballs move and let their breaking balls break.

Let our batters see the ball and let their bats be quick.

May our fielders' hands be soft and let their throws be true.

May our baserunners get good jumps and let their feet be swift.

May our manager's gut not lead him astray, and let his coaches' counsel be wise.

Let the umpires' vision be clear and let their hearts be unbiased.

If You in Your inifinite wisdom should see fit to grant my humble request, I will promise to sing thy praises at every 7th inning stretch.

In Joe Jackson's name I pray,

DeLay Indicted Again!

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was indicted again today on charges of money laundering.

The hits just keep on coming!

This Weekend's Movies

Went to the movies for the first time in a long time this weekend. I saw Serenity and A History of Violence.

I enjoyed Firefly when it was on Fox and I've fallen in love with it ever since I got the series on DVD, So I've been very excited to see the new movie. I was not disappointed. Joss Whedon was able to continue the story, while still leaving room for a sequel. I won't give away any of the big plot points, but there were a couple of small things that I didn't realize that added to my appreciation of the story. I didn't realize that the Firefly 'verse consisted of only a single solar system. While I later learned it was mentioned in one of the episodes I didn't realize that River was psychic. A lot of the episodes will make much more sense now. My rating (9/10)

I'd been interested in seeing A History of Violence since I first heard about it this spring. I liked it generally, with the excpetion of the ending. I didn't need a happy ending, but I did want a clearer resolution. It's still a provocative exploration on the origins of violence with some terriffic performances by its stars. My rating (8/10)

Friday, September 30, 2005

White Sox Clinch AL Central!

It was touch and go there for a while, but the Sox managed to pull it out today, with a little help from KC and Tampa Bay. I'm not especially optimistic about the playoffs, but I guess anything can happen. Go Sox!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Headline of the Day

Other headlines I would like to see soon:

Bill Frist Indicted

Tom DeLay Convicted

This one most of all:

Bush, Cheney Impeached

And on a personal note:

White Sox Win World Series

But I don't think I'll ever live long enough to see that one.

Holy crap, it's been a long time since I've posted.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

What if the GOP Held a Fundraiser and Nobody Came?

Via The Carpetbagger Report:

On April 1st, the Wisconsin GOP held a fundraiser for gubernatorial candidate Mark Green and House candidate John Gard. They had a special guest, Speaker of the House Denny Hastert. 700 invitatations were issued. 15 people showed up.

I know Hastert's a figurehead, but 15 people? How funny, er, embarrassing, OK both.

He Said It

Verbatim from Think Progress:

The people do have a right to know:

“The time has come that the American people know exactly what their representatives are doing here in Washington. Are they feeding at the public trough, taking lobbyist-paid vacations, getting wined and dined by special-interest groups? Or are they working hard to represent their constituents? The people, the American people, have a right to know. I say the best disinfectant is full disclosure.”

– Rep. Tom DeLay, delivered on the House floor, November 1995

It's time to live up to your own words, Tom.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Clueless George

Via Carpetbagger Report:
George W Bush is was unaware of the changes in travel policy that his Administration has propsed that will require citizens to have passports to travel to and from Mexico and Canada, until he read it in the newspaper.

“When I first read that in the newspaper about the need to have passports,” Bush told a meeting of editors Wednesday, “I said, ‘What’s going on here?’ “

First, I thought he didn't read the paper. Second, who's running this country if George doesn't know something like that? What's going on here indeed?

Saturday, April 16, 2005

When the Facts Don't Fit the Ideology

Then hide the facts. According to Political Wire, the Bush Administration is ceasing publication of an annual report on international terrorism because it would show that there were more attacks last year than in any year since 1985, the first year the report was issued.

Typical Republican thinking. If you can't lie, obfuscate.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld "Honored"

From Science Blog via Boing Boing:

George W Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have been "honored" by having species of slime-mold beetles named after them. According to Quentin Wheeler, the professor responsible for naming the beetles,

"We admire these leaders as fellow citizens who have the courage of their convictions and are willing to do the very difficult and unpopular work of living up to principles of freedom and democracy rather than accepting the expedient or popular,"

OK, if you say so. The choice of species seems terribly appropriate to me.

Sorry for no updates recently, will try harder.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

It's a Good Thing Steven King Isn't in School Now

Via Boing Boing:
A Lexington, KY high school student, William Poole, was arrested and jailed for writing a story about zombies. The charge is second degree terroristic threatening. In response to Poole's assertions that the story is fiction, police had this to say:

"Anytime you make any threat or possess matter involving a school or function it's a felony in the state of Kentucky," said Winchester Police detective Steven Caudill.

It's good to know that the police in Kentucky are on the job, protecting zombies from "terrorstic threats".

Sunday, February 27, 2005

I Guess Fox News Wasn't Enough

Via AlterNet
I guess Rupert Murdoch and the folks at Fox News weren't doing a good enough job, because the Department of Defense is starting its own cable channel. It's already available on some cable systems and soon Dish Network will carry it on sarellite. It seems to me that the government shouldn't be in the domestic broadcasting business. The next thing you'll see is news from "state-run" TV, the way we do from other countries now. The "free press" is practically a joke now, now it seems the government is going to eliminate the middle man and start broadcasting its propaganda itself.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Howard Dean Comes to Kansas

Howard Dean began his campaign to make the Democrats a ntional party again, with a stop in Lawrence, Kansas Friday. He spoke for about 20 minutes to an enthusiastic crowd of about a thousand who paid $5 each to see the new DNC chair.

Lawrence Journal-World report
6 News Lawrence (local TV) report (Quicktime)
KCUR (Kansas City NPR) interview

It looks like Dean is keeping his promise with this trip and a trip to Mississippi next week. He's saying the right things, I only hope they translate into strategies that can get Democrats elected at the local level.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Count Me Blue Bracelets Wristbands

I'm auctioning off my extra Count Me Blue wristbands on ebay. If you don't want to buy a pack of 10 this a chance to get one at a fair price. Auction ends 2/20/2005 at 22:12 PST.


Chicken George

Via Political Wire:
George Bush was supposed to have a town hall style meeting with average Germans during his visit there, Wednesday. When the German government declined to go along with Bush's pre-screened and scripted format, he backed out.

Is anyone actually surprised by this? If George Bush had to answer questions from a potentially hostile crowd off the cuff, his brain would implode.

I Thought That Sounded Familiar

I thought Bush's recent denails of military plans for Iran sounded familiar. Think Progress was kind enough to lay it out for me.

“This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. Having said that, all options are on the table.” - George W. Bush, 2/22/05

“Again, all options are on the table, and – but one thing I will not allow is a nation such as Iraq to threaten our very future by developing weapons of mass destruction.” - George W. Bush, 3/13/02

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Warning: This Program Contains Nudity, Violence, and Same Sex Marriage

On tonight's episode of the Simpsons, Homer becomes an ordained minister in order to perform same sex marriages. Fox thought it necessary to warn viewers of this fact before the show began. Anyboody who watches the show, shouldn't be surprised at its liberal views. But it's still a shame that same sex marriage has risen to the level of sex and violence as something viewers need to be protected from. On Fox, anyway.

Check the parody website mentioned on the show

Don't Like the Science? Change the Law

Via Think Progress:

A committee of the Indiana House voted Wednesday to send a bill to the full House that states that a human fetus is viable outside the womb at 20 weeks. Despite the fact that there's no scientific evidence to support this.

Attention all politicians! Science cannot be legislated. Leave science to the scientists. Please.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Memo to Joe Lieberman

Via Political Wire:
According to poll in the Wall Street Journal 60% of Americans want Congressional Democrats to make sure Bush and the GOP don't go too far. Only 34% want Democrats to work in a bipartisann way to pass Bush's priorities.

Someone could do the country a great service by passing out copies of this poll to those Democrats who vote for Republican bills. Like the 50 Democrats who voted today to take away Americans' right to class action lawsuits.

It's Worse Than I Thought

It's bad enough that the Army is sending one legged soldiers back to Iraq, now they want to send senior cittizens too. According to this Carpetbagger Report item, 84 year old WWII vet Floyd Baker, received letters from the Army promising generous incentives if he re-enlisted.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: there's a draft coming, and I'm not talking about the wind.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Howard, Get to Work on This

Yesterday, the mid point of February, I received from the DNC my 2005 calendar.

Howard, I know you were just elected on Saturday, but you might want to look into this, so that next year the calendatrs go out in January, or even December!

Dems Out-Mobilize GOP

Via Donkey Rising:

According to the 2004 American National Election Survey, 31% of respondents were contacted by the Democratic Party vs. 25% for the GOP. The previous high was 22% in 2000. The survey also showed that Democratic efforts were more effective. Among those who were contacted, the gap in turnout between the lowest and the highest income groups was only eight percentage points. Among those who weren't, the gap was 26 percentage points.

It's good to know that all those phone calls I made did some good.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Congratulations Howard!

Although the result was a foregone conclusion, Howard Dean was elected chairman of the DNC today. I am, admittedly, a big fan of his, but I think he was the right choice because he has a plan to build the party by expanding it at the state and local levels.Which is exactly the path we need to take if we're going to be a national party again.

Good Luck Howard!

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Did Bush Know About Steroid Use?

Sorry, no updates last week, I was very tired.

Via Political Wire:
In former Chicago White Sox (I'm a fan) slugger Jose Canseco's new book,
Juiced : Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big, he claims to have brought steroids to baseball, having introduced them to Mark McGwire, Ivan Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro and Juan Gonzalez. He even claims that, then Rangers owner, George W Bush knew players were using performance enhancing drugs, but did nothing about it. The White House declined comment.

I don't know if Canseco's telling the truth, but if he's trying to draw attention to himself, it may just work.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Recommended Online Viewing

Via Green Cine Daily:
America's Biggest Dick takes Dick Cheney's 2004 convention speech and replaces the audio with lines from Scarface. The result is both funny and scary. Check it out.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

You're Welcome

Via President Boxer:
Senator Barbara Boxer (H.O.D.) thanks Daily Kos and the blogosphere as a whole for their help durinng the Rice nomination hearings.

I know there aren't many of you seeing this, if anyone, but I still like to think I helped.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Boxer/Rice SNL Sketch

Via President Boxer:

Crooks and Liars has a very funny clip of a Saturday Night Live sketch based on last week's hearings. I'm sorry I missed it, but I haven't watched SNL regularly in a long time.

Senate Dems Show Backbone

In two seperate votes, Senate Democrats showed they do have some backbone. Condoleeza Rice was confirmed 85-13. It was the most no votes for any Secretary of State nominee since 1825. Alberto Gonzales cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee 10-8, a straight party line vote. One clue that Democrats are starting to wake up is Dianne Feinstein. She voted to approve Rice in the Foreign Relations Committee, yet she voted against Gonzales. To my view, they're both equally abhorrent, so maybe she's starting to get it.

Since I named names before, I'll do it again. These are the Democrats who voted against Rice:

Akaka (D-HI)
Bayh (D-IN)
Boxer (D-CA) (H.O.D.)
Byrd (D-WV)
Dayton (D-MN)
Durbin (D-IL)
Harkin (D-IA)
Jeffords (I-VT)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Levin (D-MI)
Reed (D-RI)

The Judiciary Committee's web site isn't up to date so I can't find an accurate list of how they voted. Will update when I find out.

Coalition of the Willing, R.I.P.

Reuters reported Friday that the administration has scrapped the list of countries known as the "coalition of the willing", Bush's term for the countries who were providing varying levels of support for the war effort. No reason was given.

I suppose it wouldn't have any thing to do with the fact that countries are leaving the coalition in droves, would it?

Cartoon of the Day

Monday's Non Sequitur. Tuesday's and Wednesday's aren't bad either. :)

Democrats DO Speak Out

I'm a regular listener to Air America, and I don't know how many times I've heard people call in and ask, "Where are the Democrats?" The Democrats don't always stand up when they should but, the biggest part of the problem is that the media doesn't report it when they do speak out.

In that spirit, since it probably wasn't covered at all by the mainstream media, I'd thought I'd share a portion of Senator Robert Byrd's speech during the debate of Condoleeza Rice's confirmation yesterday. He spoke for an hour, but you can read or listen to a good portion of it here. This was his closing:

Mr. President, Dr. Rice's record in many ways is one to be greatly admired. She is a very intelligent lady, very knowledgeable about the subject matter, very warm and congenial, but the stakes for the United States are too high. I cannot endorse higher responsibilities for those who helped to set our great country down the path of increasing isolation, enmity in the world and a war that has no end. Oh, when will our boys come home? When will our men and women be able to sit down at the table with their families and their friends in their own communities again? For these reasons, I shall cast my vote in opposition to the confirmation of Condoleezza Rice to be the next Secretary of State.

Another Pundit Paid

When the Armstrong Williams scandal broke, he let it slip that he wasn't the only one getting paid. Today he was proved right when it was reported that columnist Maggie Gallagher was paid $21,500 by the Department of Health and Human Services to promote the agency's marriage initiative.

In a weird way, I find this encouraging, because I know there can't really be that many people who actually buy the Administration's line of BS. The only reason why anyone would, because they were getting paid. It's just to bad that the accounting's probably too well hidden to show the connection between the White House and Fox News.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Dems Take Page from GOP Playbook (Gasp!)

Via The Carpetbagger Report:
Looks like Senate Democrats are copying the Contract With America by laying out their own legislative agenda known as "Keeping America's Promise". I think this is a good move, it will help to blunt GOP criticism that Democrats aren't for anything just against them. Here are the specifics:

Putting America's Security First

S.11: Standing With Our Troops. Democrats believe that putting America’s security first means standing up for our troops and their families. Democrats will work to increase our military end strength by up to 40,000 by 2007. We will create a Guard and Reserve Bill of Rights to protect and promote the interests of our dedicated citizen soldiers. Democrats will also fight for the families of those who serve our country. This includes providing income security and immediate access to affordable health care.

S. 12: Targeting the Terrorists More Effectively. Keeping America secure means stepping up the fight against the radical Islamic fundamentalism. Democrats will work to increase our Special Operations forces by 2,000 to attack the terrorists where they are and to protect our freedoms here at home. We will further enhance our efforts against enemies by targeting the institutions that spawn new terrorists. Democrats are also united to ensure that the world’s most dangerous weapons stay out of the hands of terrorists. We will expand the pace and scope of programs to eliminate and safeguard nuclear materials, enhance efforts to keep these and other deadly materials out of the hands of terrorists, and assist state and local governments in equipping and training those responsible for dealing with the effects of terrorist attacks involving weapons of mass destruction.

S. 13: Fulfilling Our Duty to America’s Veterans. A key component of keeping America secure is protecting the rights of our veterans. Since the time of Lincoln, Americans have made and kept a sacred commitment to those who served this nation in the defense of freedom. As a new generation of veterans return from Iraq and Afghanistan, Democrats are united to fulfill that promise. We will ensure that all veterans get the health care they deserve while also expanding the availability and accessibility of mental health care. We will ensure that no veteran is forced to choose between a retirement and disability check. We will also make the same commitment to the soldiers of today that was made to past veterans with a 21st Century GI Bill.

(These first three are basically Kerry campaign promises)

Expanding Opportunity To All Americans:

S. 14: Expanding Economic Opportunity. Democrats understand that the most effective means of increasing opportunity for our families is a high quality, good paying job. Democrats will fight to restore overtime protection to 6 million workers and increase the minimum wage for 7.4 million workers. We must do more to create good jobs today and in the future and the Democratic bill does so by eliminating tax incentives for companies that take jobs overseas, creating new jobs through an expansion of infrastructure programs to repair America’s backbone, and encouraging innovation in the American economy. We are also determined to pursue a trade policy that protects American workers and addresses our record trade deficit. Democrats will work to strengthen enforcement of our trade agreements while assisting those workers who have been unduly burdened by unfair trading practices of other nations.

S. 15: Quality Education for All. Democrats are committed to providing a quality education to all Americans because we recognize that education has always been the cornerstone of equal opportunity. Democrats will keep our promise to our children by increasing support for pre-school education, fully funding No Child Left Behind and improving its implementation. We are committed to providing safe and reliable transportation for our rural school children and meeting the Federal commitment to children with disabilities. Democrats will also address the shortfall of math, science and special education teachers by creating tuition incentives for college students to major in those fields. We will help expand educational opportunities for college by providing relief from skyrocketing college tuition, increasing the size and access to Pell Grants and supporting proven programs that encourage more young people to attend and succeed in college.

S. 16: Making Health Care More Affordable. Spiraling health care costs are putting the opportunity of America at risk, making it harder for families to buy health insurance and placing a difficult burden on small businesses and manufacturers. Democrats will address these concerns by making prescription drugs more affordable through the legalization of prescription drug reimportation and more safe by ensuring drugs are monitored after they are approved for use. Democrats will ensure that all children and pregnant women will have health care and protect Medicaid. We will reduce the growing cost of health care to small businesses by offering tax credits while also modernizing health care to cut costs for patients and businesses.

S. 17: Democracy Begins at Home. Equal opportunity in this country is based upon equal representation and fair voting. Democrats are determined to reforming the voting system in this country to create Federal standards for our elections. The bill adds verification, accountability and accuracy to the system. It increases access to the polls with Election Day registration, shorter lines and early voting. The bill also aims to modernize our election equipment and increase impartiality and provides the resources to our states to implement the bill.

Meeting Our Responsibility To The Future And The Past:

S. 18: Meeting Our Responsibility to Medicare Beneficiaries. Democrats will take the special interests out of the Medicare law by repealing the provision that prevents Medicare from negotiating better prices for seniors and eliminating the slush fund for HMOs. We will also improve the prescription drug benefit by phasing out the current doughnut hole where seniors pay a premium but get no benefit. We will buy down the Part B premium so premium increases are not too steep. We will address incentives that encourage employers to drop retiree benefits and we will ensure that no seniors are forced into HMOs while helping seniors in their transition to the new benefit.

S. 19: Fiscal Responsibility for a Sound Future. Democrats know that fiscal mismanagement today only leads to greater problems for our children. It is our responsibility to address the fiscal irresponsibility of the current Administration by imposing discipline today and Democrats are united to strengthen budgeting rules that require the government to live within its means.

S. 20: Putting Prevention First. Democrats are committed to reducing unintended pregnancies by increasing access to family planning services and improving contraceptive coverage. We will increase funding for family planning and empower states to enable more women to take responsibility for their health. We will also improve contraceptive coverage by assuring equity in prescription drug insurance.

Bush by the Numbers

Via The Carpetbagger Report:
Numeralist lays out the numbers on Bush's "achievements" during his first four years in office.

Poverty Rate
2000: 11.3% or 31.6 million Americans
2003: 12.5% or 35.9 million Americans

Stock market
Dow Jones Industrial Average
1/19/01: 10,587.59
1/19/05: 10,539.97

1/19/01: 2,770.38
1/19/05: 2,073.59

S&P 500
1/19/01: 1,342.54
1/19/05: 1,184.63

Value of the Dollar
1/19/01: 1 Dollar = 1.06 Euros
1/19/05: 1 Dollar = 0.77 Euros

2000 budget surplus $236.4 billion
2004 budget deficit $412.6 billion
That's a shift of $649 billion and doesn't include the cost of the Iraq war.

Cost of the war in Iraq
$150.8 billion

American Casualties in Iraq
Deaths: 1,369
Wounded: 10,252

The Debt
End of 2000: $5.7 trillion
Today: $7.6 trillion
That's a 4 year increase of 33%.

What the Networks Aren't Showing You

Democracy Now! had great coverage of Inauguration protests on their Friday and Monday shows. Actual reports from the people who carried them out. You won't see this on the networks, although I understand that C-SPAN covered the protests live on the day.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Just for Laughs

Via Boing Boing:

German police are are on the hunt for pranksters who are placing miniature American flgs in piles of dog poop in public parks. The German police are baffled:

"We have sent out extra patrols to try to catch whoever is doing this in the act," said police spokesman Reiner Kuechler.

"But frankly, we don't know what we would do if we caught them red handed."

George W Bush: Inspiring the world since 2001.

Powell Resigns

Michael Powell announced Friday that he was stepping down as chair of the FCC. The countdown now begins as to which big media corporation hires him as a reward for being so favorable to them during his term.

Naming Names

Here's how the Democrats othe Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted on Condoleeza Rice's confirmation.

Joe Biden
Paul Sarbanes
Chris Dodd
Russ Feingold
Bill Nelson
Barack Obama (I'm SO disappointed!)

Who are these guys trying to impress? It's not going to help them with the Republicans, because they aren't going to deal with the Democrats anyway. By voting in favor of Rice, all they do is piss off regular Democrats like me, who tend to remember such things, come election and fundraising time. If they really want us to believe that they're fighting for us, they can't roll over on the first chance they get.

John Kerry (It's about time he showed some backbone)
Barbara Boxer (H.O.D.)

Recommended Reading

Salon has a brilliant interview with Senator Barbara Boxer (H.O.D.) If every Democratic Senator was like she is, the country would be a lot better off. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from the interview.

The questions were asked, but at the end of the day, most of your Democratic colleagues on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee cast their votes for Rice.
Many of my colleagues have different rules when it comes to voting on Cabinet members. I set a bar that's very high because I think these positions are very powerful, and others set them lower because they think the most important thing is that the president gets who he wants. I take "advice and consent" very seriously, perhaps more seriously than others. That's their choice.

Biden lambasted Rice for "parroting" false statements from the Pentagon, but then he voted in favor of her confirmation anyway. With so many Democrats choosing that kind of path, what's the value in the confrontational approach you've taken?

America cares. They're watching, and it's an opportunity to lay out the issues, to send a message that you're going to be watching, and I think that was achieved. At the end of the day, we achieved that. Here's the thing, a lot of the people in the media -- and I'm talking about the more conventional media -- all they care about is the score. They don't care about the process. But the beauty of our country is that there is this process called democracy, and it's just as important as the end result.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Boxer Asks the Tough Questiions

Senator Barbara Boxer (H.O.D.) is quickly becoming my favorite Senator. During the confirmation hearings for Condoleeza Rice, Senator Boxer was the only one whohad the guts to ask Rice the tough questions. She confronts Rice with the contradictions in her own statements and Rice couldn't weasel out of it. Only Senator Lugar's call of recess saved her.

Here's the transcript of the exchange between Rice and Boxer via The San Francisco Chronicle

SEN. BOXER: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Dr. Rice, for agreeing to stay as long as it takes, because some of us do have a lot of questions.

And, Senator Lugar, you are a very fair chairman, and I wanted to say to the new members also welcome -- and you'll enjoy this committee, because we have such a great chairman and such a terrific ranking member, and we really do a lot of things in a bipartisan way, unlike other committees. And I think you're going to enjoy your time here.

Dr. Rice, before I get to my formal remarks, you no doubt will be confirmed -- that's at least what we think. And if you're going to become the voice of diplomacy -- this is just a helpful point -- when Senator Voinovich mentioned the issue of tsunami relief, you said -- your first words were, "The tsunami was a wonderful opportunity for us." Now, the tsunami was one of the worst tragedies of our lifetime -- one of the worst -- and it's going to have a 10-year impact on rebuilding that area. I was very disappointed in your statement. I think you blew the opportunity. You mention it as part of one sentence. And I would hope to work with you on this, because children are suffering, we're worried they're going to get in the sex trade. This thing is a disaster, a true natural disaster and a human disaster of great proportions, and I hope that the State Department will take a huge lead under your leadership in helping those folks in the long range.

Well, Mr. Chairman, again I thank you. I am -- Dr. Rice, I was glad you mentioned Martin Luther King -- it was very appropriate, given everything. And he also said, Martin Luther King, quote, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." And one of the things that matters most to my people in California and the people in America is this war in Iraq.

Now, it took you to page three of your testimony to mention the word "Iraq." You said very little really about it, and only in the questioning have we been able to get into some areas. Perhaps you agree with President Bush, who said all that's been resolved. I'm quoting today's Post: "Bush said in an interview last week with the Washington Post that the '04 election was a moment of accountability for the decisions he made in Iraq." But today's Washington Post/ABC poll found that 58 percent disapprove of his handling of the situation, to 40 percent who approve -- and only 44 percent said the war was worth fighting.

So in your statement it takes you to page three to mention the word "Iraq." Then you mention it in the context of elections -- which is fine -- but you never even mention indirectly the 1,366 American troops that have died, or the 10,372 who have been wounded -- many mentally, as a report that I read over the weekend that maybe a third will come home and need help because of what they saw -- it's been so traumatic to them. And 25 percent of those dead are from my home state. And this from a war that was based on what everyone now says, including your own administration, were falsehoods about WMDs, weapons of mass destruction. And I've had tens of thousands of people from all over the country say that they disagree -- although they respect the president -- they disagree that this administration and the people in it shouldn't be held accountable. I don't know if you saw the movie, "The Fog of War" -- war is a nightmare, you know that. Colin Powell I think was the most eloquent I've heard on it, because he's seen it himself -- he's been there and done it. And I don't want to have you in a circumstance where you're writing something years later about the fog of war. And I'm fearful if we don't see some changes here we're going to have trouble.

And I think the way we should start is by trying to set the record straight on some of the things you said going into this war. Now, since 9/11 we've been engaged in a just fight against terror. And I, like Senator Feingold and everyone here who was in the Senate at the time, voted to go after Osama bin Laden and to go after the Taliban, and to defeat al Qaeda. And you say they have left territory -- that's not true. Your own documents show that al Qaeda has expanded from 45 countries in '01 to more than 60 countries today.

Well, with you in the lead role, Dr. Rice, we went into Iraq. I want to read you a paragraph that best expresses my views, and ask my staff if they would hold this up -- and I believe the views of millions of Californians and Americans. It was written by one of the world's experts on terrorism, Peter Bergen, five months ago. He wrote: "What we have done in Iraq is what bin Laden could not have hoped for in his wildest dreams: We invaded an oil-rich Muslim nation in the heart of the Middle East, the very type of imperial adventure bin Laden has long predicted was the U.S.'s long-term goal in the region. We deposed the secular socialist Saddam, whom bin Laden has long despised, ignited Sunni and Shi'a fundamentalist fervor in Iraq, and have now provoked a defensive jihad that has galvanized jihad- minded Muslims around the world. It's hard to imagine a set of policies better designed to sabotage the war on terror." This conclusion was reiterated last Thursday by the National Intelligence Council, the CIA director's think tank, which released a report saying that Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of professionalized terrorists.

That's your own administration's CIA. NIC chairman Robert Hutchings said Iraq is, quote, "a magnet for international terrorist activity."

And this was not the case in '01. And I have great proof of it, including a State Department document that lists every country -- could you hold that up? -- in which al Qaeda operated prior to 9/11. And you can see the countries; no mention of Iraq. And this booklet was signed off on by the president of the United States, George W. Bush. It was put out by George Bush's State Department, and he signed it. There was no al Qaeda activity there -- no cells.

Now, the war was sold to the American people, as Chief of Staff to President Bush Andy Card said, like a "new product." Those were his words. Remember, he said, "You don't roll out a new product in the summer." Now, you rolled out the idea and then you had to convince the people, as you made your case with the president.

And I personally believe -- this is my personal view -- that your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell this war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth. And I don't say it lightly, and I'm going to go into the documents that show your statements and the facts at the time.

Now, I don't want the families of those 1,366 troops that were killed or the 10,372 that were wounded to believe for a minute that their lives and their bodies were given in vain, because when your commander-in-chief asks you to sacrifice yourself for your country, it is the most noble thing you can do to answer that call.

I am giving their families, as we all are here, all the support they want and need. But I also will not shrink from questioning a war that was not built on the truth.

Now, perhaps the most well-known statement you've made was the one about Saddam Hussein launching a nuclear weapon on America with the image of, quote, quoting you, "a mushroom cloud." That image had to frighten every American into believing that Saddam Hussein was on the verge of annihilating them if he was not stopped. And I will be placing into the record a number of such statements you made which have not been consistent with the facts.

As the nominee for secretary of State, you must answer to the American people, and you are doing that now through this confirmation process. And I continue to stand in awe of our founders, who understood that ultimately those of us in the highest positions of our government must be held accountable to the people we serve.

So I want to show you some statements that you made regarding the nuclear threat and the ability of Saddam to attack us. Now, September 5th -- let me get to the right package here. On July 30th, 2003, you were asked by PBS NewsHour's Gwen Ifill if you continued to stand by the claims you made about Saddam's nuclear program in the days and months leading up to the war.

In what appears to be an effort to downplay the nuclear-weapons scare tactics you used before the war, your answer was, and I quote, "It was a case that said he was trying to reconstitute. He's trying to acquire nuclear weapons. Nobody ever said that it was going to be the next year." So that's what you said to the American people on television -- "Nobody ever said it was going to be the next year."

Well, that wasn't true, because nine months before you said this to the American people, what had George Bush said, President Bush, at his speech at the Cincinnati Museum Center? "If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy or steal an amount of highly-enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year."

So the president tells the people there could be a weapon. Nine months later you said no one ever said he could have a weapon in a year, when in fact the president said it.

And here's the real kicker. On October 10th, '04, on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, three months ago, you were asked about CIA Director Tenet's remark that prior to the war he had, quote, "made it clear to the White House that he thought the nuclear-weapons program was much weaker than the program to develop other WMDs. Your response was this: "The intelligence assessment was that he was reconstituting his nuclear program; that, left unchecked, he would have a nuclear weapon by the end of the year."

So here you are, first contradicting the president and then contradicting yourself. So it's hard to even ask you a question about this, because you are on the record basically taking two sides of an issue. And this does not serve the American people.

If it served your purpose to downplay the threat of nuclear weapons, you said, "No one said he's going to have it in a year." But then later, when you thought that perhaps you were on more solid ground with the American people because at the time the war was probably popular, or more popular, you'd say, "We thought he was going to have a weapon within a year."

And this is -- the question is, this is a pattern here of what I see from you on this issue, on the issue of the aluminum tubes, on the issue of whether al Qaeda was actually involved in Iraq, which you've said many times. And in my rounds -- I don't have any questions on this round, because I'm just laying this out; I do have questions on further rounds about similar contradictions. It's very troubling.

You know, if you were rolling out a new product like a can opener, who would care about what we said? But this product is a war, and people are dead and dying, and people are now saying they're not going to go back because of what they experienced there. And it's very serious.

And as much as I want to look ahead -- and we will work together on a myriad of issues -- it's hard for me to let go of this war, because people are still dying. And you have not laid out an exit strategy. You've not set up a timetable.

And you don't seem to be willing to, A, admit a mistake, or give any indication of what you're going to do to forcefully involve others. As a matter of fact, you've said more misstatements; that the territory of the terrorists has been shrinking when your own administration says it's now expanded to 60 countries. So I am deeply troubled.

MS. RICE: Senator, may I respond?

SEN. LUGAR: Yes, let me just say that I appreciate the importance of Senator Boxer's statement. That's why we allowed the statement to continue for several more minutes of time.

SEN. BOXER: I'm sorry, I lost track of time.

SEN. LUGAR: But clearly you ought to have the right to respond. Then, at that point, we're going to have a recess. But will you please give your response?

MS. RICE: Yes. Senator, I am more than aware of the stakes that we face in Iraq, and I was more than aware of the stakes of going to war in Iraq. I mourn and honor -- I mourn the dead and honor their service, because we have asked American men and women in uniform to do the hardest thing, which is to go and defend freedom and give others an opportunity to build a free society, which will make us safer.

Senator, I have to say that I have never, ever lost respect for the truth in the service of anything. It is not my nature. It is not my character. And I would hope that we can have this conversation and discuss what happened before and what went on before and what I said without impugning my credibility or my integrity.

The fact is that we did face a very difficult intelligence challenge in trying to understand what Saddam Hussein had in terms of weapons of mass destruction. We knew something about him. We knew that he had -- we had gone to war with him twice in the past, in 1991 and in 1998.

We knew that he continued to shoot at American aircraft in the no-fly zone as we tried to enforce the resolutions of U.N. Security -- that the U.N. Security Council had passed. We knew that he continued to threaten his neighbors. We knew that he was an implacable enemy of the United States who did cavort with terrorists.

We knew that he was the world's most dangerous man in the world's most dangerous region. And we knew that in terms of weapons of mass destruction, he had sought them before, tried to build them before, that he had an undetected biological weapons program that we didn't learn of until 1995, that he was closer to a nuclear weapon in 1991 than anybody thought. And we knew, most importantly, that he had used weapons of mass destruction.

That was the context that frankly made us awfully suspicious when he refused to account for his weapons-of-mass-destruction programs despite repeated Security Council resolutions and despite the fact that he was given one last chance to comply with Resolution 1441.

Now, there were lots of data points about his weapons-of-mass- destruction progra MS. Some were right and some were not. But what was right was that there was an unbreakable link between Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction. That is something that Charlie Duelfer, in his report of the Iraq survey group, has made very clear, that Saddam Hussein intended to continue his weapons-of-mass- destruction activities, that he had laboratories that were run by his security services. I could go on and on.

But Senator Boxer, we went to war not because of aluminum tubes. We went to war because this was the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a man against whom we had gone to war before, who threatened his neighbors, who threatened our interests, who was one of the world's most brutal dictators. And it was high time to get rid of him, and I'm glad that we're rid of him.

Now, as to the statement about territory and the terrorist groups, I was referring to the fact that the al Qaeda organization of Osama bin Laden, which once trained openly in Afghanistan, which once ran with impunity in places like Pakistan, can no longer count on hospitable territory from which to carry out their activities.

In the places where they are, they're being sought and run down and arrested and pursued in ways that they never were before. So we can have a semantic discussion about what it means to take or lose territory, but I don't think it's a matter of misstatement to say that the loss of Afghanistan, the loss of the northwest frontier of Pakistan, the loss of running with impunity in places like Saudi Arabia, the fact that now intelligence networks and law enforcement networks pursue them worldwide, means that they have lost territory where they can operate with impunity.

SEN. BOXER: Mr. Chairman, I'm going to take 30 seconds, with your permission. First of all, Charles Duelfer said, and I quote -- here it is; I ask unanimous consent to place in the record Charlie Duelfer's report --

SEN. LUGAR: It will be placed in the record.

SEN. BOXER: -- in which he says, "Although Saddam clearly assigned a high value to the nuclear progress and talent that had been developed up to '91, the program ended and the intellectual capital decayed in the succeeding years."

Here's the point. You and I could sit here and go back and forth and present our arguments, and maybe somebody watching a debate would pick one or the other, depending on their own views. But I'm not interested in that. I'm interested in the facts. So when I ask you these questions, I'm going to show you your words, not my words.

And, if I might say, again you said you're aware of the stakes in Iraq; we sent our beautiful people -- and thank you, thank you so much for your comments about them -- to defend freedom. You sent them in there because of weapons of mass destruction. Later, the mission changed when there were none. I have your quotes on it. I have the president's quotes on it.

And everybody admits it but you that that was the reason for the war. And then, once we're in there, now it moves to a different mission, which is great. We all want to give democracy and freedom everywhere we can possibly do it. But let's not rewrite history. It's too soon to do that.

MS. RICE: Senator Boxer, I would refer you to the president's speech before the American Enterprise Institute in February, prior to the war, in which he talked about the fact that, yes, there was the threat of weapons of mass destruction, but he also talked to the strategic threat that Saddam Hussein was to the region.

Saddam Hussein was a threat, yes, because he was trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction. And, yes, we thought that he had stockpiles which he did not have. We had problems with the intelligence. We are all, as a collective polity of the United States, trying to deal with ways to get better intelligence.

But it wasn't just weapons of mass destruction. He was also a place -- his territory was a place where terrorists were welcomed, where he paid suicide bombers to bomb Israel, where he had used Scuds against Israel in the past.

And so we knew what his intentions were in the region; where he had attacked his neighbors before and, in fact, tried to annex Kuwait; where we had gone to war against him twice in the past. It was the total picture, Senator, not just weapons of mass destruction, that caused us to decide that, post-September 11th, it was finally time to deal with Saddam Hussein.

SEN. BOXER: Well, you should read what we voted on when we voted to support the war, which I did not, but most of my colleagues did. It was WMD, period. That was the reason and the causation for that, you know, particular vote.

But, again, I just feel you quote President Bush when it suits you but you contradicted him when he said, "Yes, Saddam could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year." You go on television nine months later and said, "Nobody ever said it was" --

MS. RICE: Senator, that was just a question of pointing out to people that there was an uncertainty. No one was saying that he would have to have a weapon within a year for it to be worth it to go to war.

SEN. BOXER: Well, if you can't admit to this mistake, I hope that you'll --

MS. RICE: Senator, we can have this discussion in any way that you would like. But I really hope that you will refrain from impugning my integrity. Thank you very much.

SEN. BOXER: I'm not. I'm just quoting what you said. You contradicted the president and you contradicted yourself.

MS. RICE: Senator, I'm happy to continue the discussion, but I really hope that you will not imply that I take the truth lightly.

SEN. LUGAR: Let me intervene at this point. Now we've had four hours of good hearing, and we thank all members for their constancy. We're going to recess, and I'm going to suggest we come back at 2:30. Is that convenient for you, Dr. Rice?

MS. RICE: Perfect.

SEN. LUGAR: Very well. We recess until 2:30

Monday, January 17, 2005

I've Been to the Mountaintop

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered this speech in support of the striking sanitation workers at Mason Temple in Memphis, TN on April 3, 1968 — the day before he was assassinated

Thank you very kindly, my friends. As I listened to Ralph Abernathy in his eloquent and generous introduction and then thought about myself, I wondered who he was talking about. It's always good to have your closest friend and associate say something good about you. And Ralph is the best friend that I have in the world.

I'm delighted to see each of you here tonight in spite of a storm warning. You reveal that you are determined to go on anyhow. Something is happening in Memphis, something is happening in our world.

As you know, if I were standing at the beginning of time, with the possibility of general and panoramic view of the whole human history up to now, and the Almighty said to me, "Martin Luther King, which age would you like to live in?" — I would take my mental flight by Egypt through, or rather across the Red Sea, through the wilderness on toward the promised land. And in spite of its magnificence, I wouldn't stop there. I would move on by Greece, and take my mind to Mount Olympus. And I would see Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Euripides and Aristophanes assembled around the Parthenon as they discussed the great and eternal issues of reality.

But I wouldn't stop there. I would go on, even to the great heyday of the Roman Empire. And I would see developments around there, through various emperors and leaders. But I wouldn't stop there. I would even come up to the day of the Renaissance, and get a quick picture of all that the Renaissance did for the cultural and esthetic life of man. But I wouldn't stop there. I would even go by the way that the man for whom I'm named had his habitat. And I would watch Martin Luther as he tacked his ninety-five theses on the door at the church in Wittenberg.

But I wouldn't stop there. I would come on up even to 1863, and watch a vacillating president by the name of Abraham Lincoln finally come to the conclusion that he had to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. But I wouldn't stop there. I would even come up to the early thirties, and see a man grappling with the problems of the bankruptcy of his nation. And come with an eloquent cry that we have nothing to fear but fear itself.

But I wouldn't stop there. Strangely enough, I would turn to the Almighty, and say, "If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the twentieth century, I will be happy." Now that's a strange statement to make, because the world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land. Confusion all around. That's a strange statement. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars. And I see God working in this period of the twentieth century in a away that men, in some strange way, are responding — something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, whether they are in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; New York City; Atlanta, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; or Memphis, Tennessee — the cry is always the same — "We want to be free."

And another reason that I'm happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to a point where we're going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demand didn't force them to do it. Survival demands that we grapple with them. Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it's nonviolence or nonexistence.

That is where we are today. And also in the human rights revolution, if something isn't done, and in a hurry, to bring the colored peoples of the world out of their long years of poverty, their long years of hurt and neglect, the whole world is doomed. Now, I'm just happy that God has allowed me to live in this period, to see what is unfolding. And I'm happy that He's allowed me to be in Memphis.

I can remember, I can remember when Negroes were just going around as Ralph has said, so often, scratching where they didn't itch, and laughing when they were not tickled. But that day is all over. We mean business now, and we are determined to gain our rightful place in God's world.

And that's all this whole thing is about. We aren't engaged in any negative protest and in any negative arguments with anybody. We are saying that we are determined to be men. We are determined to be people. We are saying that we are God's children. And that we don't have to live like we are forced to live.

Now, what does all of this mean in this great period of history? It means that we've got to stay together. We've got to stay together and maintain unity. You know, whenever Pharaoh wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite formula for doing it. What was that? He kept the salves fighting among themselves. But whenever the slaves get together, something happens in Pharaoh's court, and he cannot hold the slaves in slavery. When the slaves get together, that's the beginning of getting out of slavery. Now let us maintain unity.

Secondly, let us keep the issues where they are. The issue is injustice. The issue is the refusal of Memphis to be fair and honest in its dealings with its public servants, who happen to be sanitation workers. Now, we've got to keep attention on that. That's always the problem with a little violence. You know what happened the other day, and the press dealt only with the window-breaking. I read the articles. They very seldom got around to mentioning the fact that one thousand, three hundred sanitation workers were on strike, and that Memphis is not being fair to them, and that Mayor Loeb is in dire need of a doctor. They didn't get around to that.

Now we're going to march again, and we've got to march again, in order to put the issue where it is supposed to be. And force everybody to see that there are thirteen hundred of God's children here suffering, sometimes going hungry, going through dark and dreary nights wondering how this thing is going to come out. That's the issue. And we've got to say to the nation: we know it's coming out. For when people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory.

We aren't going to let any mace stop us. We are masters in our nonviolent movement in disarming police forces; they don't know what to do, I've seen them so often. I remember in Birmingham, Alabama, when we were in that majestic struggle there we would move out of the 16th Street Baptist Church day after day; by the hundreds we would move out. And Bull Connor would tell them to send the dogs forth and they did come; but we just went before the dogs singing, "Ain't gonna let nobody turn me round." Bull Connor next would say, "Turn the fire hoses on." And as I said to you the other night, Bull Connor didn't know history. He knew a kind of physics that somehow didn't relate to the transphysics that we knew about. And that was the fact that there was a certain kind of fire that no water could put out. And we went before the fire hoses; we had known water. If we were Baptist or some other denomination, we had been immersed. If we were Methodist, and some others, we had been sprinkled, but we knew water.

That couldn't stop us. And we just went on before the dogs and we would look at them; and we'd go on before the water hoses and we would look at it, and we'd just go on singing "Over my head I see freedom in the air." And then we would be thrown in the paddy wagons, and sometimes we were stacked in there like sardines in a can. And they would throw us in, and old Bull would say, "Take them off," and they did; and we would just go in the paddy wagon singing, "We Shall Overcome." And every now and then we'd get in the jail, and we'd see the jailers looking through the windows being moved by our prayers, and being moved by our words and our songs. And there was a power there which Bull Connor couldn't adjust to; and so we ended up transforming Bull into a steer, and we won our struggle in Birmingham.

Now we've got to go on to Memphis just like that. I call upon you to be with us Monday. Now about injunctions: We have an injunction and we're going into court tomorrow morning to fight this illegal, unconstitutional injunction. All we say to America is, "Be true to what you said on paper." If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn't committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right. And so just as I say, we aren't going to let any injunction turn us around. We are going on.

We need all of you. And you know what's beautiful tome, is to see all of these ministers of the Gospel. It's a marvelous picture. Who is it that is supposed to articulate the longings and aspirations of the people more than the preacher? Somehow the preacher must be an Amos, and say, "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." Somehow, the preacher must say with Jesus, "The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to deal with the problems of the poor."

And I want to commend the preachers, under the leadership of these noble men: James Lawson, one who has been in this struggle for many years; he's been to jail for struggling; but he's still going on, fighting for the rights of his people. Rev. Ralph Jackson, Billy Kiles; I could just go right on down the list, but time will not permit. But I want to thank them all. And I want you to thank them, because so often, preachers aren't concerned about anything but themselves. And I'm always happy to see a relevant ministry.

It's all right to talk about "long white robes over yonder," in all of its symbolism. But ultimately people want some suits and dresses and shoes to wear down here. It's all right to talk about "streets flowing with milk and honey," but God has commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here, and his children who can't eat three square meals a day. It's all right to talk about the new Jerusalem, but one day, God's preachers must talk about the New York, the new Atlanta, the new Philadelphia, the new Los Angeles, the new Memphis, Tennessee. This is what we have to do.

Now the other thing we'll have to do is this: Always anchor our external direct action with the power of economic withdrawal. Now, we are poor people, individually, we are poor when you compare us with white society in America. We are poor. Never stop and forget that collectively, that means all of us together, collectively we are richer than all the nations in the world, with the exception of nine. Did you ever think about that? After you leave the United States, Soviet Russia, Great Britain, West Germany, France, and I could name the others, the Negro collectively is richer than most nations of the world. We have an annual income of more than thirty billion dollars a year, which is more than all of the exports of the United States, and more than the national budget of Canada. Did you know that? That's power right there, if we know how to pool it.

We don't have to argue with anybody. We don't have to curse and go around acting bad with our words. We don't need any bricks and bottles, we don't need any Molotov cocktails, we just need to go around to these stores, and to these massive industries in our country, and say, "God sent us by here, to say to you that you're not treating his children right. And we've come by here to ask you to make the first item on your agenda fair treatment, where God's children are concerned. Now, if you are not prepared to do that, we do have an agenda that we must follow. And our agenda calls for withdrawing economic support from you."

And so, as a result of this, we are asking you tonight, to go out and tell your neighbors not to buy Coca-Cola in Memphis. Go by and tell them not to buy Sealtest milk. Tell them not to buy—what is the other bread?—Wonder Bread. And what is the other bread company, Jesse? Tell them not to buy Hart's bread. As Jesse Jackson has said, up to now, only the garbage men have been feeling pain; now we must kind of redistribute the pain. We are choosing these companies because they haven't been fair in their hiring policies; and we are choosing them because they can begin the process of saying, they are going to support the needs and the rights of these men who are on strike. And then they can move on downtown and tell Mayor Loeb to do what is right.

But not only that, we've got to strengthen black institutions. I call upon you to take your money out of the banks downtown and deposit your money in Tri-State Bank—we want a "bank-in" movement in Memphis. So go by the savings and loan association. I'm not asking you something we don't do ourselves at SCLC. Judge Hooks and others will tell you that we have an account here in the savings and loan association from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. We're just telling you to follow what we're doing. Put your money there. You have six or seven black insurance companies in Memphis. Take out your insurance there. We want to have an "insurance-in."

Now these are some practical things we can do. We begin the process of building a greater economic base. And at the same time, we are putting pressure where it really hurts. I ask you to follow through here.

Now, let me say as I move to my conclusion that we've got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end. Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point, in Memphis. We've got to see it through. And when we have our march, you need to be there. Be concerned about your brother. You may not be on strike. But either we go up together, or we go down together.

Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness. One day a man came to Jesus; and he wanted to raise some questions about some vital matters in life. At points, he wanted to trick Jesus, and show him that he knew a little more than Jesus knew, and through this, throw him off base. Now that question could have easily ended up in a philosophical and theological debate. But Jesus immediately pulled that question from mid-air, and placed it on a dangerous curve between Jerusalem and Jericho. And he talked about a certain man, who fell among thieves. You remember that a Levite and a priest passed by on the other side. They didn't stop to help him. And finally a man of another race came by. He got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy. But with him, administering first aid, and helped the man in need. Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the "I" into the "thou," and to be concerned about his brother. Now you know, we use our imagination a great deal to try to determine why the priest and the Levite didn't stop. At times we say they were busy going to church meetings—an ecclesiastical gathering—and they had to get on down to Jerusalem so they wouldn't be late for their meeting. At other times we would speculate that there was a religious law that "One who was engaged in religious ceremonials was not to touch a human body twenty-four hours before the ceremony." And every now and then we begin to wonder whether maybe they were not going down to Jerusalem, or down to Jericho, rather to organize a "Jericho Road Improvement Association." That's a possibility. Maybe they felt that it was better to deal with the problem from the causal root, rather than to get bogged down with an individual effort.

But I'm going to tell you what my imagination tells me. It's possible that these men were afraid. You see, the Jericho road is a dangerous road. I remember when Mrs. King and I were first in Jerusalem. We rented a car and drove from Jerusalem down to Jericho. And as soon as we got on that road, I said to my wife, "I can see why Jesus used this as a setting for his parable." It's a winding, meandering road. It's really conducive for ambushing. You start out in Jerusalem, which is about 1200 miles, or rather 1200 feet above sea level. And by the time you get down to Jericho, fifteen or twenty minutes later, you're about 2200 feet below sea level. That's a dangerous road. In the days of Jesus it came to be known as the "Bloody Pass." And you know, it's possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it's possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking. And he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt, in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure. And so the first question that the Levite asked was, "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?"

That's the question before you tonight. Not, "If I stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to all of the hours that I usually spend in my office every day and every week as a pastor?" The question is not, "If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?" "If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?" That's the question.

Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation. And I want to thank God, once more, for allowing me to be here with you.

You know, several years ago, I was in New York City autographing the first book that I had written. And while sitting there autographing books, a demented black woman came up. The only question I heard from her was, "Are you Martin Luther King?"

And I was looking down writing, and I said yes. And the next minute I felt something beating on my chest. Before I knew it I had been stabbed by this demented woman. I was rushed to Harlem Hospital. It was a dark Saturday afternoon. And that blade had gone through, and the X-rays revealed that the tip of the blade was on the edge of my aorta, the main artery. And once that's punctured, you drown in your own blood—that's the end of you.

It came out in the New York Times the next morning, that if I had sneezed, I would have died. Well, about four days later, they allowed me, after the operation, after my chest had been opened, and the blade had been taken out, to move around in the wheel chair in the hospital. They allowed me to read some of the mail that came in, and from all over the states, and the world, kind letters came in. I read a few, but one of them I will never forget. I had received one from the President and the Vice-President. I've forgotten what those telegrams said. I'd received a visit and a letter from the Governor of New York, but I've forgotten what the letter said. But there was another letter that came from a little girl, a young girl who was a student at the White Plains High School. And I looked at that letter, and I'll never forget it. It said simply, "Dear Dr. King: I am a ninth-grade student at the White Plains High School." She said, "While it should not matter, I would like to mention that I am a white girl. I read in the paper of your misfortune, and of your suffering. And I read that if you had sneezed, you would have died. And I'm simply writing you to say that I'm so happy that you didn't sneeze."

And I want to say tonight, I want to say that I am happy that I didn't sneeze. Because if I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been around here in 1960, when students all over the South started sitting-in at lunch counters. And I knew that as they were sitting in, they were really standing up for the best in the American dream. And taking the whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been around in 1962, when Negroes in Albany, Georgia, decided to straighten their backs up. And whenever men and women straighten their backs up, they are going somewhere, because a man can't ride your back unless it is bent. If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been here in 1963, when the black people of Birmingham, Alabama, aroused the conscience of this nation, and brought into being the Civil Rights Bill. If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have had a chance later that year, in August, to try to tell America about a dream that I had had. If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been down in Selma, Alabama, been in Memphis to see the community rally around those brothers and sisters who are suffering. I'm so happy that I didn't sneeze.

And they were telling me, now it doesn't matter now. It really doesn't matter what happens now. I left Atlanta this morning, and as we got started on the plane, there were six of us, the pilot said over the public address system, "We are sorry for the delay, but we have Dr. Martin Luther King on the plane. And to be sure that all of the bags were checked, and to be sure that nothing would be wrong with the plane, we had to check out everything carefully. And we've had the plane protected and guarded all night."

And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

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