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Maps and Figures

"Hitler or Coulter?" Quiz
Map1 - Teen Pregnancy
Map2 - Incarceration
Map3 - Homicide Rates
Map4 - Drop-out Rates
Map5 - Bankruptcy Rates
Map6 - Driving Distances
Map7 - Energy Use
Map8 - Gonorrhea!
Map9 - Tax Burden
Map10 - State GDP
Map11 - DHS funding
Map12 - Adult Illiteracy.
Map13 - Abortion Bans:
Map14 - ER Quality
Map15 - Hospital Quality
Map16 - Coal Burners
Map 17 - Infant Mortality
Map 18 - Toxic Waste
Map 19 - Obesity
Map 20 - Poverty
Map 21 - Occupational safety
Map 22 - Traffic deaths
Map 23 - Divorce
Figure 1 - Wages vs Right to work
Figure 2 - Unemployment vs Right to work
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Friday, February 23, 2007

Favorite Democratic Action of the Day
Now this is what I'm talking about. Time for them to show they've got the reins of this government.

Senate Democratic leaders intend to unveil a plan next week to repeal the 2002 resolution authorizing the war in Iraq in favor of narrower authority that restricts the military's role and begins withdrawals of combat troops.

...

"We gave the president that power to destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and, if necessary, to depose Saddam Hussein," Biden said of the 2002 resolution in a speech last week before the Brookings Institution. "The WMD was not there. Saddam Hussein is no longer there. The 2002 authorization is no longer relevant to the situation in Iraq."

Biden and Levin are drafting language to present to their colleagues when the Senate reconvenes on Tuesday, following a week-long recess.

The new framework would set a goal for withdrawing combat brigades by March 31, 2008, the same timetable established by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. Once the combat phase ends, troops would be restricted to assisting Iraqis with training, border security and counterterrorism.


The embarrassing thing about all this is how Murtha's perfectly reasonable idea of having troops be combat ready has been used to paint him as some kind of micromanaging traitor.

Murtha, chairman of the Appropriations defense subcommittee and a leading critic of the war, had intended to fully fund Bush's $100 billion war request for the remainder of this fiscal year. But under his plan, those funds could be spent only to deploy combat troops deemed fully rested, trained and equipped.

After nearly four years of combat, most military units would not be able to meet those standards. Although the war would be fully funded, the policy would prevent some of the 21,500 additional combat troops from being deployed, and some troops already in Iraq would have to be sent home.

...

Several Democratic aides say the Iraq funding bill, due for a vote the week of March 12, may contain some of Murtha's demands for more training and better equipment for combat troops. But the proposals that set the toughest requirements are likely to drop out, such as a demand that troops be trained on and deployed with the combat equipment they will use in Iraq.

More important, the legislation may include a waiver that the president or defense secretary could invoke to deploy troops who are not fully combat-ready, Democratic aides said. That way, the commander in chief's hands would not be tied.

But under such a bill the president would have to publicly acknowledge that he is deploying troops with less than a year's rest from combat, that he is extending combat tours of troops in Iraq, or that he is sending units into battle without full training in counterinsurgency or urban warfare, the aides said.


My only question is, how can the Republicans get away with attacking Murtha when all he's asked is that the troops be trained on their equipment, trained on their mission, fully combat ready, and given time to rest between deployments? Perhaps it's because Murtha has inadvertently pointed out that if you really do support the troops, that means more than a yellow ribbon on your SUV?

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Screw Edwards
The more I think about it, the more I agree with PZ Myers on the whole firing Amanda debacle.

Screw Edwards. You know, we need Democrats who won't bend over for the likes of Bill Donohue, a known bigot, and his right wing fundamentalist organization the Catholic League. So a bunch of right-wing smear merchants go after one of Edwards' employees, distort her statements beyond all reason, and not only does he not stick up for her, he distances her, and then accepts her resignation like she did something wrong.

The only ones who did something wrong were Donohue and Edwards. Donohue for making mountains out of molehills and swift-boating poor Amanda (here is the "offensive" post), and Edwards for not standing up to the people he needs to oppose to if he wants to lead this country away from the advocates of a new dark age.

I'm with PZ. No more cowardly Democrats. No more appeasers. No more Chamberlains. We need a Democrat who isn't scared to death of offending the bigots on the right.

Edwards is a coward.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Favorite Democratic Action of the Day
The return of habeas corpus!

My least favorite action? Amanda Marcotte has resigned from John Edwards blog, her explanation is here. And some of the letters to her from those who claim to love Jesus are here.

It's the usual hate and misogyny. I don't know what to think about this. I feel disappointed that she felt the need to back down in the face of the psychotic right-wing majority that was out to smear her. At the same time she's free to attack them back (which is her main argument).

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Where's Zap Brannigan when you need him?
"I hate these filthy neutrals Kif. With enemies you know where they stand but neutrals? Who knows?"



The Senate has decided on a nonbinding resolution that says they don't want Bush's surge, but they'll pay for it, won't criticize it, and in all ways continue to bendover in order to get the ol' Lieberman vote.

I'm wishing we had Zap Brannigan around to take care of these damn Neutrals.

He has a sexy learning disability too, what's it called Kif?

**sigh** Sexlexia.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Good feelings
Can I tell you how good it is that instead of having a Virginia senator that is a national embarrassment, we have one who wins national praise and is a beacon to other democrats?

I'm starting to really love Webb. He was a little stiff, true, and he isn't a star at reading a teleprompter, but who cares?

Our state does better and better with each election, we move further and further out of the dark ages (at least with national representatives, our state reps are a whole different nightmare of racism and anti-contraception insanity). Now all we have to do is get rid of Virgil "Fear all Muslims" Goode, and replace John Warner with someone more of Webb's stature in the next race (word is Warner will retire which I might have been sad about if he hadn't bent over for Bush on torture). Maybe we could replace him with Mark Warner? Or even Chuck Robb again.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Questionable Democratic action of the day
The LA Times has a story about how business lobbyists haven't been as devastated by Democratic actions as they anticipated. It turns out, Democrats aren't all that anti-business, despite allegations to the contrary from Republicans.

I have to ask, is this a good thing?

I would say it could be good because it's proof our candidates aren't the anti-business commies the Republicans make them out to be.

I would say it's bad, because unless we have some truly anti-business Dems repealing oil subsidies all the way, and putting the fear of god into military contractors, big agra, oil companies and other industries that have demonstrated a lack of regard for, well, human life, the corporations are not going to change their act.

Right now I feel their response has been balanced, and you can't expect them to lead some revolution like Hugo Chavez to nationalize the oil industry. But at the same time, I'd like to see them put a bit of a hurting on these corporations that have benefitted so much from Republicans at a cost to the American people.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Favorite Democratic Action of the Day
Again, a passive act. Today it's scaring Bush into making wiretaps subject to courts once again.

And did you read about the grilling that the Democrats gave Gonzalez? Greenwald has a transcript.

Feingold's first question - "do you know of any one in the country who opposed eavesdropping on terrorists?"

Gonzales: Sure - if you look at blogs today, there is a lot of concern about all types of eavesdropping, who don't want us eavesdropping at all.

Feingold: Do you know anyone in government who ever took that position?

Gonzales: No, but that is not what I said.

Feingold: It is a disgrace and disservice to your office and the President to have accused people on this Committee of opposing eavesdropping on terrorists.

Gonzales: I didn't have you in mind or anyone on the Committee when I referred to people who oppose eavesdropping on terrorists. Perish the thought.

Feingold: Oh, well it's nice that you didn't have us "in your mind" when making those accusations, but given that you and the President were running around the country accusing people of opposing eavesdropping on terrorists in the middle of an election, the fact that you didn't have Congressional Democrats in "mind" isn't significant. Your intent was to make people think that anyone who opposed the "TSP" did not want to eavesdrop on terrorists, even though that was false. No Democrats oppose eavesdropping on terrorists.

Gonzales: I wasn't referring to Democrats.


Ha! I love seeing these guys get raked over the coals.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Favorite Democratic Action of the Day
Sticking it to oil companies!

So this is what victory feels like...

A close second? A decrease in student loan rates. Increasing the ease of paying for college is a noble goal.

Now we can only hope that the Republicans don't scuttle these like they killed the ethics reform package. How stupid are these guys? Don't they know we're going to hang that vote around their necks in two years? There they go again though, doing the exact opposite of what the American people want.

**Update** Apparently they're not that stupid, lobbying reform is back in business.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Democrats already fizzling?
Some news out of the Democratic congress remains encouraging, such as the minimum wage hike, and the embarrassing veto promised by bush to prevent medicare negotiating drug prices (anti-capitalist Republicans?) My favorite part is their justification for not allowing bidding.

"Government interference impedes competition, limits access to lifesaving drugs, reduces convenience for beneficiaries and ultimately increases costs to taxpayers, beneficiaries and all American citizens alike," the administration said in a written statement.


Government interference impedes competition? You mean, when they like, ask, for competition? That's one of those sentences you read and you feel like you've gone through the looking glass.

However, there are two troubling issues. Stem cells which have sailed through the house but await a presidential veto, and critics like Krauthammer are already touting this amniotic cell breakthrough as a sign from God that Bush has always been right, and that ES cell research is fundamentally evil. You think I'm kidding? Krauthammer seems to think that ES cell research is so insidious, and so soul damning that people who study it become evil as a result.

South Korea enthusiastically embraced unrestricted stem cell research. The subsequent greatly heralded breakthroughs -- accompanied by lamentations that America was falling behind -- were eventually exposed as a swamp of deception, fraud and coercion.


Get that? Hwang Woo Suk wasn't a dishonest scientist who made up results for personal gain, he was a victim of evil ES cell research! The poor poor man. Anyway, we could go on forever in all the ways Krauthammer is an asshole, but that's besides the point.

The point is, Giving Up is really only an ideal philosophy when an election is nearby that allows Republican idiocy and incompetence to be used for gain. Now we have real power, control of the House and Senate, and it would be nice to get things done. While it still will be embarrassing for the Republicans to admit that they fought research funding that 70% of Americans support, or a minimum wage increase that 70% of Americans support, or competition for prescription drug prices which 80% of Americans support, we'd have to wait two years to really get any real benefit from these terrible, terrible political decisions by these assholes.

Between that and the confusion directed towards the response to the president's surge and I think the Democrats are already starting to lose their way. What about having 70-80% of Americans agree with your policies has made this difficult to understand? 80% of people disagree with Bush on Iraq, you've got the support of the people Dems, why aren't you kicking ass and taking names?

Revoke the Authorization, kill funding for Iraq, pass ES cell legislation and if Republicans won't join you in supporting legislation that 80% of Americans want? Kick them out of committees, make them defunct, make them what you were for 12 years.

None of this fair play crap, I want to see some action.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Favorite Democratic action of the day
Today's action was passive, the Democrats scared away 4 of Bush's nominees to various federal circuits.

These officials said that William Haynes, William Myers and Terrence Boyle had all decided to abandon their quest for confirmation. Another nominee, Michael Wallace, let it be known last month that he, too, had asked Bush to withdraw his nomination.

Haynes is the Pentagon's top lawyer, and was an architect of the Bush's now-abandoned policy toward treatment of detainees in the war on terror. He had been tapped for the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Boyle is a federal judge in North Carolina, and his appointment to the 4th Circuit provoked opposition from Democrats who cited his rulings in civil rights and disability cases, as well as his higher-than-average turnover rate by higher courts.

William G. Myers III, nominated to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, sparked opposition from environmentalist organizations and their allies among Senate Democrats.

Wallace's appointment to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals drew opposition from Democrats, civil rights groups and the American Bar Association.


Those who don't remember, Haynes drafted the administration's torture policy, Myers I believe penned an opinion that suggested that bird lovers should rejoice in the near extinction of species because that would make them more rare, and therefore more valued, and Boyle was a famous bigot. I know nothing of Wallace.

Good riddance to bad rubbish!

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Favorite Democrat action of the day
I think for the next couple of weeks we should discuss our favorite Democratic action of the day.

Today I nominate Patrick Leahy for introducing the The War Profiteering Prevention Act of 2007.

Such profiteering would be a felony under Leahy's legislation, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and fines of $1 million or twice the gross profits of the profiteering. The bill would also clarify U.S. courts' jurisdiction to handle cases of profiteering which occur overseas.

To make it a muck-fighting twofer, Leahy also joined Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) to introduce a bill aimed at strengthening public corruption investigations. The proposal would extend the statute of limitations for many offenses, allow federal investigators to use wiretaps when chasing state and local officials defrauding the federal government, and would boost the FBI's public integrity budget by $100 million over four years.


That's what I'm talking about.

Pelosi's ethics smackdown is a close second.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Leadership
I can't believe people were worried that the Democrats might wuss out when they got into power.

Today read the WaPo, just read the whole thing. The future just keeps looking brighter and brighter. In particular I like the first 100 hours piece.


If all goes according to plan, the House will get through its hundred-hour agenda in 15 days, or 360 hours, by standard definition. Today, the House will take up an ethics package. Tomorrow, new budget controls. On Tuesday, the House will enact most of the security recommendations of the bipartisan commission that examined the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. On Wednesday, the minimum wage goes up. On Thursday, it's federal funding for stem cell research, and on Friday, Democrats intend to give the government the authority to negotiate drug prices for Medicare. On Jan. 17, interest rates for student borrowers will be slashed, and on Jan. 18, tax breaks for Big Oil will go by the wayside, making room for alternative energy research.


Oh my freaking god. If this stuff doesn't get vetoed, we're looking at signs that our country is returning to us. Maybe I'm too optimistic, maybe the Democratic special interests will eventually bring these guys down. But holy crap, this should be an interesting couple of weeks. Let's just hope they ignore the whiny bitch Republicans who all of a sudden have decided to rewrite Pelosi's 2004 minority rights bill and claim it as their own.

Now, we just need to make sure after the 100 hours they investigate the president, force him to bring the troops home, then impeach him for torturing people.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Disappointment
This is a major disappointment for Democrats. Representative William "cold cash in the freezer" Jefferson has won his run-off election in Louisiana.

This creates a worry, Washington can be just as corrupting for Democrats as for Republicans, although as Bill Maher says, they just sell out to a much more benign set of special interests. But how long will it before we have a Democratic ethics scandal because of this guy? They should throw him out of the party, out of congress, and ideally into jail. I mean, no one has 90k in cash in their freezer (and FBI cash at that) for an honest reason.

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