Friday, March 31, 2006

Democrats gaining votes nationwide

In the fourth quarter of 2004, 36% of Americans identified themselves as Republicans. Now only 32% say they're (R)'s.
Gallups latest survey looks at which way independents lean and finds Democrats have a growing edge.

Democrats Gain Edge in Party Identification During Last Year
Fewer Americans identify as Republicans, more as independents

by Jeffrey M. Jones

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE - March 29, 2006

...In the most recent quarter, 49% of Americans identify as Democrats or lean to the Democratic Party, and 42% identify as Republicans or lean to the Republican Party. Democrats have held that same 49% to 42% advantage during each of the last three quarters. In the second quarter of 2005, Democrats had a slightly smaller 47% to 43% edge. At the beginning of 2005, the parties were at even strength on this measure.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Republican officials oppose equal-protection

King County Superior Court Judge Michael Spearman is right
- Police inspector Javert Attorney General Rob McKenna and Secretary of State Sam Reed are wrong.
No one should ever be prevented from voting because they owe money.

State to appeal ruling granting voting rights to felons who owe fines


OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The state will appeal a King County judge's ruling that restores voting rights to convicted felons who have served their time but owe court-imposed fines, Attorney General Rob McKenna and Secretary of State Sam Reed announced Wednesday....

...King County Superior Court Judge Michael Spearman ruled Monday that the state's requirement that ex-felons pay all court-ordered fines and fees before they can vote again violates the equal-protection clauses in the U.S. Constitution and the state constitution.

"It is well recognized that there is simply no rational relationship between the ability to pay and the exercise of constitutional rights," he wrote in a 12-page ruling. ...(full article)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Bush Homeland Incompetence

It's no wonder the Neo-Con's want to "fight them over there", because when it comes to protecting the Homeland the Bush Administration is utterly worthless. Had this been real terrorists instead of a GAO 'test', the economy of Puget Sound could have been devastated for years.
Dirty bomb material crossed into state


The Dec. 14 tests are the focus of a hearing today of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, said Suzanne Trevino, a spokeswoman for Customs and Border Protection in Washington, D.C.Trevino said two individuals in a car approached a border crossing. The radioactive material set off detectors at the border, alerting officers, she said.

At a secondary inspection, the officers found the nuclear material, Trevino said. However, the two individuals inside the car presented fake licenses and documentation from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, she said.

Because there is no method or database for customs officers to verify the licenses, they let the car go, Trevino said. However, she stressed those in the car had been stopped and that they carried only a small amount of the material.

"“Our system worked,"” Trevino said. "“Our CBP officers followed protocols."”...(full article)
The people on the frontline are doing their jobs and shouldn't be faulted. The Customs agents can only work with the tools they've been given. It's the upper levels of the Bush Administration that has completely failed us.
Naturally the Bush Administration is trying to down-play their most recent failure.
...Eliot Brenner, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said cesium was exempt from license or documentation requirements. He described the amount of cesium as negligible, saying it was the same amount of radioactive material found in home smoke detectors.

"The GAO really smuggled nothing. They were caught,"” Brenner said. "“The amount is insignificant. They couldn't contaminate the room I'm sitting in."
But it was anything but "insignificant".
The two individuals carried cesium-137, Trevino said. Typically used in gauges and in some cancer treatments, cesium-137 can also be used to create "dirty bombs" - explosives mixed with radioactive materials.

A cesium gauge attached to 10 pounds of dynamite could contaminate an area more than a mile long covering 40 city blocks, according to 2002 testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. While the resulting incidence of cancer would be one in 10,000, Henry C. Kelly of the Federation of American Scientists told the committee the area would have to be evacuated for decades if not decontaminated.
Contaminating 40 city blocks would economically devastate Bellingham (the first sizable city South of the Border crossing). Or... you pick a city along I-5.

The BBC has a facts sheet with a cesium-137 dirty bomb scenario - Dirty bomb facts

In January the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) very quietly issued guidance for responding to a terrorist detonation of a “dirty bomb.” DHS proposes permitting the public back into a contaminated area even if radiation doses are as high as 10,000 millirem per year (double what nuclear plant workers can legally receive). Over 30 years of exposure, that is the equivalent of 50,000 chest X-rays. The government’s own official risk estimates say such exposure would cause cancer in a quarter of the people exposed.
"Failure to restore important services rapidly could result in additional adverse public health and welfare impacts that could be more significant than the direct radiological impacts."
— DHS Guidelines
And there's Nuclear Power Plant incompetence too!!! NRC regulations still require reactors to have NO protection against air attack and only requires reactors to have security designed to withstand a ground attack by a fraction of the 19 terrorists involved in the 9/11 attack.
NRC says nuclear plants safe from attacks and productive

Thursday, March 09, 2006

By Bill Cahir

WASHINGTON -- Consumers should regard nuclear power plants as safe and consider them well protected from terrorist attack, according to the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission...

...Just as Diaz was praising the nuclear industry for its safety record, a watchdog group and a major union were taking the opposite stance.

Public Citizen and the Service Employees International Union held a news conference this week to claim that the NRC has erred badly by entrusting Wackenhut Services Inc., a private security company, to safeguard half of the nation's nuclear facilities...

Only their incompetence eclipses the cronyism and corruption of the Bush Administration and Congresses "Republican Majority".

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Feingold's Standing Boosted Among Voters

By FREDERIC J. FROMMER - Associated Press Writer

...A Newsweek poll taken March 16-17 found that 50 percent of those surveyed opposed censuring Bush while 42 percent supported it, but among Democrats, 60 percent favored the effort.

Feingold's resolution would censure the president for authorizing a warrantless surveillance program, which the senator contends is illegal. Co-sponsors are Democratic Sens. Tom Harkin of Iowa and Barbara Boxer of California....

Conservative Media hacks may try to make light of the call for Censure and Democratic politicians may be nervous about joining the effort, but Bush and the Republican Party are in deep deep trouble. The Newsweek poll showed Bush's job Rating at 36% while 50% Disapprove of the way he's handling terrorism and Homeland Security. What's more if the '06 election was held today, 50% would vote Democrat while only 39% would vote Republican.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bush - Clueless... Planless

"Stay the course" is a slogan not a Plan and the American People have definitely figured that out.

A large 70%-majority of Americans told a Pew March 2006 survey that President George W. Bush does not have a clear plan for bringing the Iraq conflict to a successful conclusion. Fewer than a quarter (23%) think that he has such a plan. Fully 89% of Democrats and 79% of independents believe Bush lacks a clear plan on resolving the conflict, but 40% of Republicans share this opinion. [source: Pew Research Center]

Today in his news conference, Bush admitted he and his Administration are clueless. His grand scheme for Iraq issss... (wait for it)... To run out the clock and let the next President figure out how to extricate our troops.
Bush: No plan to withdraw troops

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush says he doesn't plan to be the one to pull US troops out of Iraq. Bush says the decision about when to withdraw all of those troops Iraq will fall to future presidents and Iraqi leaders. ...(source:)

Jim McDermott rocks against Depleted Uranium

The political band Anti-Flag has given the exclusive release of the unreleased song "Depleted Uranium Is A War Crime" from Anti-Flag's upcoming release "For Blood and Empire."

Listen here: Depleted Uranium Is a War Crime. Here are the lyrics.

Anti-Flag wants you to take action while you're here and write your member of Congress while listening and learning! (The interview segments in the song are from an interview that Justin Sane of Anti-Flag did with Washington State Congressman Jim McDermott, the leader in Congress who is pushing for the study of DU!)

McDermott has introduced a bill in Congress, H.R. 2410, The Depleted Uranium Munitions Study Act, which calls for in-depth studies to be conducted on DU and its effects on the health of those exposed to it. Ask Your Congress Member to Cosponsor. / Learn more about DU. / Keep Reading for more music.

Monday, March 20, 2006

whiny kids tended to grow up conservative

Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative. ...
[Toronto Star article "How to spot a baby conservative"]

For GOP, Deeper Fissures and a Looming Power Struggle

GOP Struggles To Define Its Message for 2006 Elections

Sunday, March 19, 2006

A Kempthorne in Our Side

America the bulldozed

March 18, 2006

...Dirk Kempthorne, the Idaho governor nominated by President Bush to succeed Norton, is clear-cut from the same cloth. His one term of service in the Senate and his sympathy for the antienvironmental views of its Republican majority should guarantee him an easy confirmation. ...
Will Kempy bring dead swans to all of America?

Lead contamination kills swans, keeps children inside

SUSAN GORDON; The News Tribune
Published: March 19th, 2006 01:00 AM

COEUR D'’ALENE, IDAHO -– The long, sleek necks that give tundra swans their regal bearing also make them miserable, at least in the Coeur dÂ’Alene River basin, where hundreds die annually. Tundra swans are the most visible victims of the heavy metal contamination that taints the basin, which stretches 166 miles from Spokane across the Idaho Panhandle to Montana. ...(full article)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Ayatollah Tony Perkins (president of the Family Research Council) wants to know what Republicans have done for him lately - calls on Republicans to be more repressive!
By Jamie Coomarasamy
BBC News, Washington

Prominent leaders from the Christian right have warned Republicans they must do more to advance conservative values ahead of the US mid-term elections.

... At a news conference in Washington, some of America's most influential conservative leaders said the current perception among evangelical Christians was that the Republican majority was not doing enough for them. ...

... Exit polls suggested that more than three-quarters of white evangelical Christians voted for President Bush in 2004. But according to a recent opinion poll, the number of them who want Republicans to retain their Congressional majority is not much above 50%.
Bush advance staff impersonated reporters(WA-POST)

Bush Using Straw-Man Arguments in Speeches(AP)

Riverbend 3 years later......

fanatics destroy everything they come in contact with....they are destroying our country as they use our resources to destroy Iraq.....i am so angry and ashamed at what is being done in our name.....

Saturday, March 18, 2006
Three Years...
It has been three years since the beginning of the war that marked the end of Iraq’s independence. Three years of occupation and bloodshed....

....I read constantly analyses mostly written by foreigners or Iraqis who’ve been abroad for decades talking about how there was always a divide between Sunnis and Shia in Iraq (which, ironically, only becomes apparent when you're not actually living amongst Iraqis they claim)… but how under a dictator, nobody saw it or nobody wanted to see it. That is simply not true- if there was a divide, it was between the fanatics on both ends. The extreme Shia and extreme Sunnis. Most people simply didn’t go around making friends or socializing with neighbors based on their sect. People didn't care- you could ask that question, but everyone would look at you like you were silly and rude.
full post

Border Vigilantes

The border vigilantes will be at it again in April; lurking near the Canadian Border here in Whatcom County. They'd like to be called something official sounding. They'd like folks to think they're nothing but a neighborhood watch group. They'd like everyone to think they have some sort of official status.

I re-checked with the Whatcom County Sheriffs Office. I spoke with Chief Criminal Deputy Jeff Parks who supervises the Operations Division. He said the Minutemen are not endorsed by nor working in cooperation with the Sheriffs Department. Deputy Parks also made it clear that the Minutemen won't be getting any slack should they cross the line and try to take the law into their own hands.

The sheriffs Department won't be the only ones watch the Border vigilantes.
Volunteers will gather at border for month of April

A local group opposed to the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps will organize observers to watch those watching Whatcom County's northern border with Canada this April.

The volunteers will serve as legal observers, making sure Minuteman border watchers comply with the law, said Carl Shook, an organizer with the Coalition for Professional Law and Border Enforcement.

Shook said the point of the observers isn't just to wait for a Minuteman volunteer to break the law so "we can point a bunch of fingers." Instead, having observers could calm a situation he believes is prime for potential abuses.

"We are trying to establish beforehand enough accountability, transparency and public awareness of what is actually going on to try to key down this entire situation," Shook said. ...(full article)

- To find out more about the Coalition for Professional Law and Border Enforcement, visit

- For more information about the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, visit its national Web site at

Thursday, March 16, 2006

WA Republicans hurt Law Enforcement

The Washington State 'House Republican Caucus' is at it again: needlessly frightening citizens and sabotaging Law Enforcement... Yes! Sabotaging Law Enforcement! In their effort to scare people into voting for their fanatical Right-wing extremist candidates, the Republican Speakers Roundtable thinks nothing of wasting vital law enforcement resources. While Sheriffs departments are tied up dealing with the hysteria created by the House Republican Caucus, how many criminals are free to roam our neighborhoods?

Phone messages add to tensions over sex offender

By Jerry Cornfield
Herald Writer
Published: Thursday, March 16, 2006

OLYMPIA - Another community meeting on a convicted rapist living in Lake Stevens may be needed because fears are being stoked by a Republican group, Snohomish County Sheriff Rick Bart said Wednesday.

The group, the Olympia-based Speaker's Roundtable, phoned about 10,000 homes in the county on Monday with a taped recording that began with "A level 3 sex offender has been released into your community."

The message does not name the city or offender, but describes the crimes committed by Jeffrey Henderson, who moved to Lake Stevens after serving a 19-year prison sentence for convictions in 1984 and 1985.

Phone calls went to that city, as well as to Bothell, Everett, Marysville, Mill Creek and Snohomish. Bart received one at his home.

By Wednesday morning, 40 residents from throughout the county had called the sheriff's department asking if the unnamed offender described on the phone had moved into their neighborhood. For most of them, the answer was no, Bart said.

"They're worried. I'm trying to allay their fears," he said. "This raises the hysteria. This raises it to the level that it will cause law enforcement a problem. ...(full article)

Click here to listen to the taped message that was sent to 10,000 homes by The Speaker's Roundtable on Monday.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

'06 - Time to Clean Up

McCranium has roadside news from the Eastside -
Doc Hastings Gets His Own Billboard

If you've got a couple bucks to spare, send 'em to Richard Wright and help retire Ol' Doc.
Richard Wright - Democratic Candidate, Washington 4th Congressional District

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Global Warming - Cause and Effect

NOAA: Carbon Dioxide Rises to Record Level

... The reading was up 2.6 parts per million, according to preliminary calculations, David J. Hofmann of the Office of Atmospheric Research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday. ...

Carbon dioxide is a major greenhouse gas. Those are chemicals that have been increasing in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution, raising fears of altering the planet's climate by trapping heat from the sun. ...

Yes, it's been the warmest Canadian winter on record
  • This winter's preliminary figures show temperatures averaging 3.9 C above normal.
  • That makes it not just the warmest winter but the most overheated season – winter, spring, summer or fall – on record.
  • The weather has been even more unseasonable in some places than in others.
  • Winter temperatures have been above normal across Canada, the report says, with most of the country at least 2 C above normal and with Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories all experiencing temperatures greater than 6 C above normal. ...

    the transfer's a comin'

    this from Michael Ruppert and the good folks at From The Wilderness

    More Americans are losing their homes

    Risky borrowing is catching up with a number of homeowners across the U.S. Foreclosures rose 45% in January compared to a year ago, and experts only expect the pace to accelerate.
    By Melinda Fulmer MSN Real Estate
    Friday, March 10, 2006

    ............And there are more drawbacks and risks to buying property at auction. First of all, most buyers will need to come up with 100% of the purchase price on the day following
    the auction. Second, many times a property can’t be fully inspected, and in some states, the previous owner has the right to buy it back for what you paid within a certain period. “Like any other investment, the higher the reward, the higher the level of risk,” Sharga said. Real estate economist Tuccillo recommends that buyers educate themselves about the foreclosure process now, so they can be ready to move when they see something they like. “Start doing a lot of research and monitoring of those markets now,” Tuccillo said. With
    interest rates expected to rise 3/4 of a point to a point this year, “In six months, you will be able to do more picking and choosing.” And remember, Sharga said, sometimes these properties are in trouble for a reason, whether it’s a problem with the neighborhood, or a problem with the foundation. “They may not be the property where you would want to live,” he said.
    full article

    hmmm......who will pick up the property? maybe they wouldn't want to live there but they might not mind being slum landlords.

    Friday, March 10, 2006

    if they can do it in Burlington...

    why not here.....

    Burlington, Vermont - March 7, 2006

    Vermont's First Instant Runoff Voting Election
    Following Burlington's first-ever Vermont election conducted by Instant Runoff Voting, supporters want to take the voting system statewide. And so this election was watched closely.

    full article

    Instant Runoff Voting would do so much for us in reclaiming our more "spoilers".....more participation and debate....cheaper.....the list goes on.

    Saturday, March 04, 2006

    Whiney, Mud-slinging Republicans

    House GOP criticism isn’t ‘mud-throwing’

    Published: March 1st, 2006 02:30 AM

    House Republicans in the state Legislature are hopping mad about having their press releases censored by the chief clerk, who is chosen by the Democrats.

    ... Nafziger (House Chief Clerk) described the stricken words and phrases as "“pejorative,"” and said, "You try to maintain a civil debate in Olympia, You don'’t want it to degenerate into mud-throwing."

    So it'’s "“mud-throwing"” to call someone's actions "“disingenuous"”? "Shell game"” is a pejorative term? Nafziger - and anyone else who finds those words objectionable -– must not watch much cable TV. ...

    ...Democrats should remember that what goes around, comes around. They may find themselves in the minority one of these days, and it's unlikely that Republicans will forget how they were treated.

    They've GOT to be kidding! Just because cable TV plumbs the depths of inflammatory rhetoric doesn't mean we should abandon civil discourse in the Washington State Legislature. The House Republican Caucus isn't prevented from telling whatever outrageous lie they want, on their own dime. And as far as "what goes around, comes around"... It was the Republicans who started this legislative session with a major smear campaign!... Remember:

    House GOP should disavow predator mailings

    Published: January 27th, 2006 02:30 AM

    State House Minority Leader Richard DeBolt told newspaper reporters this week, "“It'’s important to tell the truth in politics."”

    He didn'’t really mean it. If he had, the Chehalis Republican would have condemned one of the more despicable campaign ploys to come out of Olympia in years.

    A Republican political action committee recently mailed 25,000 postcards to voters in six legislative districts accusing Democrats of being soft on sex offenders.

    The postcards "— labeled ƒÂ‚“sex offender notification"” - displayed a mug shot of a sex offender, with a black bar across his eyes in a feigned attempt to protect his privacy. Printed above the photo was the statement, "“This violent predator lives in your community."”

    That might have been helpful information -— if it were true. ...

    ...DeBolt denies he has had anything to do with the attack ads -— despite the fact that they are the handiwork of the Speaker'’s Roundtable, an arm of the House Republican caucus that DeBolt leads.

    But even if he didn'’t authorize the ads, you'’d think DeBolt would take a stand against such deceptive tactics. Nope. "“People'’s awareness has been raised. People have called in. We have moved to the positive,"” DeBolt told The Olympian.

    The ads indeed have raised awareness -— about how far some politicians are willing to go for political gain. Although some Republicans have reportedly apologized to Democrats privately, GOP leadership has refused to publicly disavow the ads.

    The campaign'’s intended beneficiaries - Republican legislative candidates -— best do better, or risk having their attempt to look tough on crime expose them as gutless.

    There's no shortage of reasonableness and good will on the part of Washington State Democrats. The House Republican caucus has become a bunch of fall-down artists, trumping up phoney "issues" and bemoaning their imaginary "victimhood". How can they sleep at night?

    Thursday, March 02, 2006

    Weaselly Republican Campaign Stunt

    The NPI blog has a post about Republican candidate Mike McGavick taking credit for Sen. Steven's halting his pollute Puget Sound bill, S.1977.

    My local paper has a story titled "Alaska senator won't pursue repeal of Magnuson amendment". That article doesn't mention the candidate from Safeco, but it does point out:
    A repeal of the Magnuson Amendment could have had consequences for Whatcom County. BP Amoco PLC's Cherry Point refinery could have skirted a recent court decision requiring a review of whether the company broke federal law when it built a new pier.

    None of the media coverage really explains that Senator Stevens has only put his bill on hold, when he could have withdrawn it. Now personally, I don't trust Ted Stevens (R)-Oilaska any farther than I could drop kick him and I suspect that he's planning to renew his attack right after the elections.

    His own press release even lies about the bill:
    ...Upon its introduction, the bill was met with press releases deliberately mischaracterizing its intent and effect. These releases claimed the bill would increase tanker traffic and the size of tankers allowed in Puget Sound. The bill did not raise either of these issues, ...
    The evidence of the lie is the bill itself:
    Title: A bill to repeal section 5 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.
    Sponsor: Sen Stevens, Ted [AK] (introduced 11/8/2005) Cosponsors (None)
    Latest Major Action: 11/8/2005 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.


    Amends the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to repeal restrictions on crude oil tanker traffic in Puget Sound.

    And this is what you get with Republican Senators!!!
    Crude oil spills from transit line at Prudhoe Bay


    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An unknown quantity of crude oil spilled Thursday from a 34-inch diameter pipeline at Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope, and dangerous fumes were preventing crews from cleanup work.

    Crude oil could be seen on the snow-covered tundra more than 200 miles east of Barrow. Alaska Department of Conservation spokeswoman Lynda Giguere said the oil was pooling on the frozen ground.

    The cause of the spill, discovered early Thursday morning by BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. operators, had not been determined. ...

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    Time to Bring The Troops Home

    Warnings insurgency would grow issued in '03 — and ignored

    By Warren P. Strobel and Jonathan S. Landay

    Knight Ridder Newspapers

    WASHINGTON — U.S. intelligence agencies repeatedly warned the White House beginning more than two years ago that the insurgency in Iraq had deep local roots, was likely to worsen and could lead to civil war, according to former senior intelligence officials who helped craft the reports. ...(more)

    Poll says troops back '06 withdrawal

    By Drew Brown

    Knight Ridder Newspapers

    WASHINGTON — Nearly three of four American troops serving in Iraq think U.S. forces should withdraw within a year, and more than one in four say the United States should leave immediately, according to a new poll published Tuesday. ...(more)

    Among troops serving in Iraq;

    89 percent of Army reservists,

    82 percent of National Guardsmen,

    70 percent of regular Army troops

    think the United States should leave Iraq within a year.

    29% of the Troops in Iraq think the U.S. should withdraw immediately!