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    30 July 2005

    Think Bush's numbers are bad now, just wait!

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    So Gallup just released the latest approve/disapprove poll for Mr. Bush, and it isn't good. Correction it is very bad.
    A new Gallup Poll finds a decline in George W. Bush's job approval rating. After standing at 49% approval in the prior two CNN/USA Today/Gallup polls conducted this month, now just 44% of Americans say they approve of Bush, a new low mark for the president. The poll also shows a drop in Bush's favorable rating to 48%, which is the first time it has dropped below 50% since Gallup began tracking this opinion in 1999. Four in 10 Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the country, which is essentially unchanged from early July.
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    The July 25-28 Gallup Poll finds 44% of Americans approving and 51% disapproving of the job Bush is doing as president. Bush's prior low approval rating was 45%, which occurred once in March and once again in June of this year.

    The MoE is +/-3.0%

    This was a surprising result,
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    while Repubs hold true to dear leader, Dems seem to be warming up to him. This is probably just a shift in how the polls were taken WRT Repub to Dem ratios. However, where this poll really hurts is the avalanche of support from the independents, lets hope they want change in 2006 and then let's hope the Dems can make it happen.

    Now, what you've been waiting for and why Bush's numbers will drop next time around...

    The White House gave its strongest signal yet on Friday that President Bush will soon bypass the Senate and appoint John Bolton to become the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

    This is the same guy who, conveniently, forgot that he was interviewed by the State Department inspector general when asked by a congressional confirmation hearing for his nomination as U.N. ambassador.

    I'd bet he'll be under 44 in the next poll that gets released.

    29 July 2005

    Repubs suing for libel? WTF?

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    So the swing state project got this from a Repub operative in OH
    I have reviewed the materials posted on your blog site that make outrageous and libelous allegations about me. I emphatically deny these allegations are true and demand that you remove them immediately from your website now that I have placed you on notice of their false nature. As you are aware, I am not a public official and you do not enjoy any type of qualified privilege to place patently untrue and malicious statements about me on your blog. I am an attorney who regularly lectures on libel and slander at a local school and am very aware of the current state of both Ohio and federal law in this area. If you will not remove these outrageous statements and retract them as unfounded I will pursue all legal avenues available, including but not limited to, an injunction in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio seeking to have them removed and holding you libel for damages associated therewith.

    Please be guided accordingly.

    I would appreciate an immediate response.


    Joe Braun

    Now why the charge? Well this guy is just another Jeff Gannon/James Guckert; ex-freak (sounds like he is still a freak), and now GOP hitman. Hey Joe, Fuck you! Your candidate is a piece of shit, your party is a piece of shit and I can honestly say that your local party is full of spoiled yuppies. I grew up, in Cincinnati, respecting these people but broke that brainwash after 2000; reality set in. They are the people that make this country the way it is today, and why I have lost faith in out country as far as leadership goes. They are corrupted, absolutely.

    Here is how the story broke annatopia. Basiclly, he is a freak. A BDSM fan. Here is his profile. That vanished (interesting), but here are some screen captures.

    Nice guy y'all got up there Larry, Dick....

    BTW, liable (adj)
    1. Legally obligated; responsible: liable for military service. See Synonyms at responsible.
    2. At risk of or subject to experiencing or suffering something unpleasant. Used with to: liable to criminal charges; liable to diabetes.
    3. Likely. Often used with reference to an unfavorable outcome: In a depression banks are liable to fail.

    Nothing there 'bout telling the truth is there Mr. Brawn? So where is the crime? Or is this a tactic?

    Boy Scouts

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    Is it just me, or are the Boy Scouts having a bad couple of days?

    First they wait out in the heat to listen to the President try to talk; several succumb to the intense heat. Then some get fried putting up a tent. Now they're getting struck by lightning.

    My thoughts go out to all affected. A true tragedy, one I couldn’t imagine experiencing as a young man.

    Now Bolton is lying

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    So, now what do you think Bolton had to do with CIA leak?
    John Bolton, President Bush's nominee for U.N. ambassador, mistakenly told Congress he had not been interviewed or testified in any investigation over the past five years, the State Department said Thursday.

    Bolton was interviewed by the State Department inspector general as part of a joint investigation with the CIA into prewar Iraqi attempts to buy nuclear materials from Niger, State Department spokesman Noel Clay said.

    li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li LIAR!

    Rove in Asia

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    Asia Times put up a good article on Rove, front paged.
    Like every important government crisis, the outing of undercover Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer Valerie Plame by the President George W Bush's chief political adviser, deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, perhaps among others, must be seen in many contexts at once. (As all the world knows, Rove's aim was to discredit Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, who had publicly disproved the administration's claim that Iraq was buying uranium yellow-cake from Niger - a key element in the administration's justifications for the Iraq War.)
    Howard Fineman of Newsweek and Sidney Blumenthal of the Salon website point to the broader story of Rove's habitual practice of defending his political clients by smearing their competitors and detractors (...) Frank Rich of the New York Times, on the other hand, suggests that the most important war to look at is the one in Iraq. He says that the injustice to the Wilsons and even to the CIA is secondary: "The real crime here remains the sending of American men and women to Iraq on fictitious grounds." In other words, what's important is not the "war" but the war.
    Surely, they are all right. It's true that the harm to the Wilsons cannot be compared to the deaths of thousands in the misbegotten conflict, but it's also true that the resolution of the scandal is likely to have a lasting impact on American politics, and even on the American system of government. Perhaps the most important political question is whether the Bush administration is to be held accountable for any of its actions, or whether it now enjoys complete impunity and a free field of action to do whatever it likes - from waging war to designing and presiding over systems of torture to breaking domestic law.
    f Rich is right that the scandal is really about the Iraq War, then we have to ask what the war was about. The administration's chief answer is weapons of mass destruction and, more particularly, nuclear weapons. The atomic signature is scrawled all over the scandal. It is present, of course, in the uranium the president falsely said Iraq was seeking from Niger. And Plame, as it turns out, worked for the CIA on proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. To defend its nuclear lies, the administration destroyed a (possible) source of nuclear truth.
    The smear campaign thus did double damage in the nuclear-weapon field: it propped up, however briefly, the erroneous justification for the war, while shutting down authentic information on the broader problem. The nuclear issue popped up again in a State Department memo former secretary of state Colin Powell brought with him on Air Force One shortly after Wilson's op-ed piece appeared. It is now famous because the memo disclosed Plame's identity as Wilson's wife. Less noticed is that the bulk of the memo was devoted to rebutting the Niger uranium allegation.

    Well written article, I'd encourage y'all to read it is full


    The Truth About Abu Ghraib

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    Here is the link but I'll make it easy for you
    FOR 15 MONTHS now the Bush administration has insisted that the horrific photographs of abuse from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were the result of freelance behavior by low-level personnel and had nothing to do with its policies. In this the White House has been enthusiastically supported by the Army brass, which has conducted investigations documenting hundreds of cases of prisoner mistreatment in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but denies that any of its senior officers are culpable.

    Any reasonable person would see this as a lie, and it looks as if the so called liberal media is catching on.
    The latest evidence has emerged from hearings at Fort Meade about two of those low-level Abu Ghraib guards who are charged with using dogs to terrorize Iraqi detainees. On Wednesday, the former warden of Abu Ghraib, Maj. David DiNenna, testified that the use of dogs for interrogation was recommended by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, the former commander of the Guantanamo Bay prison who was dispatched by the Pentagon to Abu Ghraib in August 2003...

    In statements to investigators and in sworn testimony to Congress last year, Gen. Miller denied that he recommended the use of dogs for interrogation, or that they had been used at Guantanamo. "No methods contrary to the Geneva Convention were presented at any time by the assistance team that I took to [Iraq]," he said under oath on May 19, 2004.

    ooops, Mr. Miller is g u i l t y. What's that? There's more?!
    The court evidence strongly suggests that Gen. Miller lied about his actions, and it merits further investigation by prosecutors and Congress. But the Guantanamo commander was not acting on his own: The interrogation of Mr. Qahtani, investigators found, was carried out under rules approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Dec. 2, 2002. After strong protests from military lawyers, the Rumsfeld standards -- which explicitly allowed nudity, the use of dogs and shackling -- were revised in April 2003.

    Why is it that this will go unnoticed by vast numbers on Americans, well for the most part they're ignorant, but
    The White House and Pentagon have gotten away with their stonewalling largely because of Republican control of Congress. When the Abu Ghraib scandal erupted, GOP leaders such as Sen. John W. Warner (Va.) loudly vowed to get to the bottom of the matter -- but once the bottom started to come into view late last year, Mr. Warner's demands for accountability ceased. Mr. Rumsfeld and other senior officials have never been the subject of an independent investigation. A recommendation by the latest Army probe that Gen. Miller be reprimanded for his role in the Qahtani interrogation was rejected by Gen. Bantz Craddock of Southern Command.

    The only good news in this shameful story is that a group of Republican senators, though resisting justified Democratic demands for an independent investigation, are attempting to reform the policy of abuse to which the administration still adheres. Six GOP senators led by John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) have backed an amendment to the defense operations bill that would exclude exceptional interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay and ban the use of "cruel, inhumane and degrading" treatment for all prisoners held by the United States. The administration contends that detainees held abroad may be subject to such abuse. Attempts by the White House and Mr. Warner to block or gut the legislation failed, and on Tuesday the GOP leadership pulled the defense bill from the floor rather than allow a vote. The administration probably will spend the next month trying to quell this rebellion of conscience and good sense. The nation would be better served if President Bush instead accepted, at last, the truth about Abu Ghraib.

    Great story WaPo, and thank you Sen. Graham for making SC look good (when compared to just about every other Repub owned congressional seat in the South).

    28 July 2005

    Repubs changing votes in the House?

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    Josh Marshal wrote this
    We all know what happened the last time the White House told the House GOP leadership that it had to pass a certain bill, despite significant resistance from GOP backbenchers. Lots of offers were made that couldn't be refused. And that was when out-going Rep. Nick Smith got hit with a mix of bribes and threats on the floor of the House itself.

    I've been hearing from various sources that what the GOP leadership did in the House last night on CAFTA put that earlier episode to shame. Rep. Early Pomeroy (D) of North Dakota told the local paper: "I've seen the Republican leadership break arms on close votes before, but nothing quite this ugly."

    So things are sleazy in a Repub congress, nothing new there. But would they ever change the votes?

    Josh continues later in the day with this press release from a Rep. Charles Taylor (R - NC)
    I voted NO on the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) in the vote last night. I informed the Majority Leader and the Appropriations Chairman I was voting no, as I had informed my constituents I was voting no. Rep. Howard Coble and I voted "no" together. Due to an error, my "no" vote did not record on the voting machine. The Clerk's computer logs verified that I had attempted to vote, but it did not show my "nay". I am re-inserting my "No" vote in the record. But even with my NO vote re-inserted, the bill still passed.

    So, the bill passed by a single vote, and I'm not going to comment for or against it as I know nothing about it. But, how often does this happen and is it democracy? What has gone unreported.

    War of terror is over

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    It is now a struggle...
    Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the National Press Club that if something is a war "then you think of people in uniform as being the solution."

    Myers said that while the military may be in the forefront now the long-term solution is more diplomatic, economic and political.

    Finally, now that they have accepted the fact that this isn't, and never was, a war we can win with brute force, maybe we'll get somewhere.
    Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld used the new terminology at a retirement ceremony Friday for the naval chief of operations. Rumsfeld said the country "wages the global struggle against the enemies of freedom, the enemies of civilization."

    Officials told the Times that the new language is a product of meetings of President Bush's top national security advisers.

    Juan Cole weighs in
    I take it this is because they have finally realized that if they are fighting a war on terror, the enemy is four guys in a gymn in Leeds. It isn't going to take very long for people to realize that a) you don't actually need to pay the Pentagon $400 billion a year if that is the problem and b) whoever is in charge of such a war isn't actually doing a very good job at stopping the bombs from going off.

    27 July 2005

    You learn something new everyday

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    I knew Karzi in Afghanistan is from UNOCAL (or whatever, OIL)...

    But Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari (of Iraq)is a man with a sordid past. Before he became PM of a blossoming democracy, he was a terrorist leader of the Dawa' party.
    "Jaafari is a semi-reformed, but altogether rehabilitated Dawa' terrorist leader who was in the leadership of this group when it bombed the US Embassy in Kuwait."

    A reply at Col. Lang's blog to my question about this new (to me) bit of info
    12 December, 1983. The embassy was destroyed. Several member of the Dawa Party were arrested and convicted of the crime.


    He joined the Islamic Dawa Party in 1968. Upon graduation from school in 1974 he worked actively for the party in Iraq until the Ba'athist government began a violent crackdown on the group. He left for Iran in 1980 and became involved in the anti-Saddam movement there.

    The attack on the embassy in Kuwait was planned and run out of Iran.

    I was Defense Attache at our embassy in S. Arabia at the time and very interested in this.

    At the very least (if you suppress the terror connection) this supports the view that Iran is about to receive a huge prize from our unnecessary escapade into Mesopotamia.

    Michigan businessman asks for an economy

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    by writing a prayer then publishing it....on 4 bilboards

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    Now Bush rewards treason

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    Well not treason yet, but highly unethical behavior seems to get you the money these days. Case and point (Scoop Raw)...
    The top pay for senior White House aides, including Chief of Staff Andrew Card, Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and Legislative Affairs Director Candida Wolff, mushroomed to $161,000 at the beginning of July, according to a list sent to Congress and obtained by National Journal...

    "Also compensated as assistants to Bush are I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, chief of staff to the vice president; Scott McClellan, press secretary; William McGurn, chief speechwriter; Harriet Miers, White House counsel; Jim Towey, director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives; Fran Townsend, homeland security and counter-terrorism director; and Liza Wright, the new head of presidential personnel.

    Bush's top paid advisers follow -- those making $161,000.

    The full list is at The National Journal. By law, the White House is obliged to send a list to Congress each year for the salaries of their staff. The President's salary is $400,000.

    Allen Claude A. $161,000 Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy

    Bartlett Daniel Joseph $161,000 Counselor to the President

    Card, Jr. Andrew H. $161,000 Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff

    Crouch II Jack D $161,000 Assistant to the President & Deputy National Security Advisor

    Devenish Nicolle $161,000 Assistant to the President for Communications

    Gerson Michael J $161,000 Assistant to the President for Policy and Strategic Planning

    Hadley Stephen J $161,000 Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

    Hagin Joseph $161,000 Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff

    Hubbard Allan B $161,000 Assistant to the President for Economic Policy & Dir, NEC

    Kavanaugh Brett M $161,000 Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary

    Libby I. Lewis $161,000 Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the Vice President

    McClellan Scott K. $161,000 Assistant to the President and Press Secretary

    McGurn William J. $161,000 Assistant to the President for Speechwriting

    Miers Harriet E. $161,000 Counsel to the President

    Powell Dina H $161,000 Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel

    Rove Karl C. $161,000 Assistant to the President, Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor

    Towey H. James II $161,000 Assistant to President and Director of Faith-based and Community Initiatives

    Townsend Frances Fragos $161,000 Assistant to President for Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism

    Wolff Candida P. $161,000 Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs

    26 July 2005

    A point to add

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    'b' from over at Pat Lang's new blog makes a point on how policies or something needs to slow terrorist recruitment in order to, at least, aid our war on terror. Well put 'b'.
    There are maybe 13,000 jihadists, maybe 130,000. But they swim in a sea of 13,000,000 or 130,000,000 sympathizers (only 10% of 1,300,000,000 muslim).
    Reduce that 1% support to 0,01% and the issue is won.

    OH - 2 and Paul Hackett

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    Paul Hackett (D) is running for congress against Jean Schmidt (R) and the election is a week from today (it is on 2 August 2005). I'm fom this area, and let me tell ya, It is full of wingnuts and the usual Repub 'don't tax ME' greediness. People there put money before country and similarly party before country. That said, the very conservative local paper (The Cincy post not the Cincinnati Enquirer) has endorsed Hackett. This is unusual, they supported Bush in '00 and '04 but stated Hackett "is a gust of fresh air".

    The grass roots effort has been huge, with large amounts of money coming in from across the country (from here, if you care to donate). It has been covered by Mr. Tagaris of Swing State Project here, here, and here.

    This grassroots income may mean it all in this race (as it should be) as Schmidt is on fumes while Hackett is well funded for the last week; the most important week. This coupled with the endorsement by Cincy Post may develope into a pick up for the Dems in a very red part of the state. Don't hold your breath, but don't rule it out!

    Hackett is a great man, served his country (Marines) then reenlisted to serve again in Iraq, he was in Fallujah. America needs a voice like his in Congress, and he has my support. Good luck Paul!

    Donations go here.

    Is terrorism on the rise?

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    Well it seems clear to me that it is on the rise. But unclear as to whether this rise is a last throe or better coordination, networking, et cetera... Let’s hope it is not the latter. Remember, terrorism doesn’t depend on massive public support, democracy does. So a massive anti-terrorism protest doesn’t indicate to me that the terrorist ideology is receding.

    Our actions/policies before 11 Sept. obviously contributed to the ideology of terrorism; as put forth by Michael Scheuer Imperial Hubris and mentioned here. Contributing actions or policies include

    1) U.S. support for Israel that keeps Palestinians in the Israelis’ thrall.

    2) U.S. and other Western troops on the Arabian Peninsula.

    3) U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    4) Support for Russia, India, and China against their Muslim militants.

    5) U.S. pressure on Arab energy producers to keep oil prices low.

    6) U.S. support for apostate, corrupt, and tyrannical Muslim governments.

    Not that any of this faults us and we should stop these policies, but some could be adjusted for positive gain worldwide in the fight against terrorism; particularly on the recruitment end. That's another argument.

    I do not believe we should pick up and leave (although it is chaotic there and whether we are there or not, it still will be chaotic). I do not believe we should set up a time table for the exact same reason the president stated at Fort Bragg. But, like in Afghanistan with the Soviets, we are training the next wave of terrorists in Iraq; and we won't be able to kill them fast enough. In the vacuum after the fall of Baghdad we failed to secure unknown caches of munitions that, I’d say, could have been used in Egypt, Beirut, Saudi Arabia, et cetera… (not London IMO) and are certainly being used all over Iraq these days.

    Iraq was a gift to UBL, he hated secular Saddam and our attack made previous statements by UBL (well before March 2003) true (WRT American aggression toward and imperialism into what UBL considered Islamic land). But the success against Saddam presents another problem; even if we are extremely successful in Iraq, we won’t leave it as a Greece, but as an Iranian style Islamic Republic or a Saudi Arabia and you can see a circular problem developing.

    So, anyway, when I look at things nonethnocentricly, I can see how our foreign policy and domestic thirst for oil can be viewed as a threat to Islam. IMO, the greatest threat in the current Islamic ideology of terrorism is generating resentment and thus recruitment. Therefore our actions (not just the war on Iraq), IMO, have increased the threat, but this increase is necessary if this is the way we chose to fight terrorism; which I don’t agree with nor do I have an easier answer to other than the invent of a time machine or a massive policy shift (that would never happen in a Repub or Dem government). Even then the threat would still remain.

    Iraq and terror

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    Remember how we went to war on Iraq due to an incorrect suspision that they had connections to al Qaeda and international terrorism? Sure we all do, that's why it's kind of confusing when you hear that our Secretary of Defense denies links with Iraq and the recent terror (when terror is one of the reasons why we went to war on Iraq).

    A lot of people think like this, and I agree, mostly. But the war on Iraq has

    - distracted from the real fight against international terrorism.
    - provided a real combat training-ground for terrorists.
    - provided a wealth of explosives to terrorists.
    - provided proof to claims made by UBL that the U.S. is attacking Islam; increasing recruitment.

    So sure, the terror in London and Egypt wasn't directly connected to Iraq, probably. But it is certainly all part of the same cog and it wasn't that way until after 2003.

    Dumb Dem of the Day

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    Actually this took place a few days ago, I'll let Mrs. Malkin tell you about it all (from the standpoint of the right). But basically a politician crashed a Iraq war funeral to make anti-war statements.


    25 July 2005

    McCain is acting unusual

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    David Corn notes
    Sadly, John McCain has been drawn into this dishonest campaign. McCain has tried to promote himself as the straight-talking politician. You might even think he would be a candidate to perform the specific ritual I mentioned above: the from-within-the-party blast. But scratch him from that list. On Hardball a few nights ago, McCain once again placed politics and loyalty to Bush (the guy who dragged McCain's reputation through the mud in 2000) above straight talk. He repeatedly defended Rove, saying that when Rove confirmed Valerie Wilson's CIA ID for Bob Novak and Matt Cooper he was merely countering "false information" being put out by former Joseph Wilson "concerning whether Dick Cheney sent him to Africa." McCain went on: "It's understandable why Rove would say to a reporter, 'Hey, look, the vice president did not send Wilson to Niger. It was done at the recommendation of his wife, et cetera, et cetera.'"

    When McCain is reigned in to repeat the talking points you know that there is a serious problem in the administration.

    Corn ends by noting
    During the interview, Matthews remarked to McCain, "You are known to have a higher ethical standard than most politicians." McCain responded, "I hope."

    Anyone who ties himself to Rove ought to be careful about claiming the ethical high ground.

    Agreed, McCain has lost all of my respect. It's a shame, up until 2000 he was a great politician. What's next for McCain, will he claim DeLay is Jesus?

    Gov. Mark Sanford

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    Mr. Sanford made national headlines... well his spokesman did
    A spokesman for Gov. Mark Sanford was arrested after he kicked open the door at his home and shoved his fiancee into furniture, police said.

    Will Folks, 30, turned himself in to police Saturday and was charged with criminal domestic violence. He was released on a personal recognizance bond.

    Folks' fiancee, Ashlee Smith, a lobbyist, received a slight injury to her back but did not receive medical attention, an investigative report shows.

    Smith told police that Folks kicked the door down but declined to press domestic violence charges. However, police became suspicious and investigated.

    "The allegation is very serious and it appears it is being investigated thoroughly by law enforcement," said Chris Drummond, communications director for the Republican governor.

    Folks previously announced he would resign from from Saford's office Aug. 1 to run his own political consulting business.

    He did not return phone calls seeking comment.

    Does this hurt his reelection chances? I don't know but I should start looking into how I feel about Sanford. I have mixed feelings...

    24 July 2005

    Violent few days, heck a whole month...

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    but what about Iraq?

    Here are the major stories this month surrounding international Terrorism

    -London 1
    -London 2

    These attacks have been horrific but it has to be noted that Iraq has been tame... at least in terms of US/coalition lives. One may wonder if the quiet is intentional?

    So far this month there have been 1.42 coalition kills per day, down from well over 2 in previous months. BUT, the guerilla war in Iraq may be taking a turn here. With all the talk of troop withdrawal and a new constitution due in August, the insurgents have, IMO, been focusing more on their dream of a civil war between the Shiites and the Sunnis; possibly the Kurds (Sunni). This is numerically presented in the comparison between coalition deaths and Iraqi police and guardsman.

    Month | Coalition Casualties | Iraqi Police Guard
    Jan. 05 | 4.10 dead per day | 3.52 dead per day
    Feb. 05 | 2.14 dead per day | 6.68 dead per day
    Mar. 05 | 1.29 dead per day | 6.45 dead per day
    Apr. 05 | 1.73 dead per day | 6.63 dead per day
    May. 05 | 2.84 dead per day | 8.35 dead per day
    Jun. 05 | 2.77 dead per day | 9.87 dead per day
    Jul. 05 | 1.42 dead per day | 8.79 dead per day

    Data from Iraq Coalition Casualties

    Transition? Maybe, maybe not. But senseless death, no question...


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