Oil prices drop as Saudis refuse to cut production. Now why is that? Isn't that convenient. Right before the elections the Saudis suddenly decide to help lower oil prices. Now why is that? Oh yeah, I remember:

In an interview that aired Sunday on CBS, Woodward, a Washington Post editor, said that Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, had promised President Bush that the Saudis would cut oil prices before November to ensure the U.S. economy was strong on election day. Woodward is the author of the new book "Plan of Attack" on Bush's preparations for the Iraq war.

This one reason we love separation of church and state "The vast majority of Texas Bible courses, despite their titles, don't teach about the Bible in a historical or literary context, as required under state law. Instead, the electives tend to be explicitly devotional in nature and reflect an almost exclusively Christian (usually Protestant) perspective. The Bible often is presented as being divinely inspired and biblical stories treated as literal history. Most Bible courses in Texas are taught by teachers who have no academic training in biblical, religious or theological studies and, it appears, little familiarity with separation of church-state issues. Some districts bring in local clergy to teach their Bible courses and fund them with private money." See Lisa Sandberg’s piece in the San Antonio Express-News Beyond the somewhat expected, yet nonetheless upsetting, fact that the courses are thoroughly sectarian is the disappointing notion that these classes might be the only religious education that the students are being exposed to. Perhaps even worse than the schools teaching the Bible as absolute truth, is the idea that the schools are teaching only the Bible. The real benefit of the study would be the introduction of multi-religious electives into the curriculum, yet it seems that some Texas school districts are far too concerned with the Bible to realize the educational as well as personal advantages of a comprehensive religious perspective.

The right to free speech reserved for conservatives? Pam Spaulding notes that people canvassing houses in Warrenton, Virginia in an attempt to educate citizens about the dangers of passing the proposed marriage amendment are being threatened by police. Members of local law enforcement are dragging out an ordinance meant to control door-to-door sales. There is no evidence that the ordinance is being used to threaten candidates going door-to-door--only opponents of the marriage amendment. The ACLU of Virginia has intervened.

And you thought institutional racism was a thing of the past Not only have foreclosure rates been on the rise but just this week, the National Fair Housing Alliance released a scathing report documenting racially discriminatory practices among real estate agents in New York, Georgia, and Illinois. Some details:


-In Atlanta Coldwell Banker agents required African American applicants to provide bank pre-approval letters before being allowed to view homes while no such documentation was required by whites.


-In Chicago, Coldwell Banker agents practiced “blatant” discrimination towards African American buyers looking to purchase homes on the north side, showing them an average of 7 units versus 36 units shown to white buyers.

The reports harshest words, however, were saved for the Corcoran Group in Brooklyn. African American home buyers were routinely given limited information and, in a move reminiscent of red-lining commonly practiced by real estate agents until the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, one agent drew red lines on a map around predominantly white neighborhoods, steering white clients to white neighborhoods. As the report said of this practice, “During our 16 years of existence, the National Fair Housing Alliance has never seen such a literal and blatant example of sales steering.” Doesn’t say much for progress.

ATT-BellSouth coronation delayed by FCC Don't tell me someone just might see a little issue with helping to re-create a trust that we ditched years ago! Justice rubber-stamped approval as fast as congress rubber-stamps everything from Bush but the FCC has decided to delay their vote and consider additional information. Oh dear, I hope that the FCC isn't going to do something kooky like do anything about competition, because competition in the new GOP America is bad. It only helps consumers so what good is that? Let them eat cake.

Bush: Reality is Unacceptable Jeffrey Smith in The Washington Post: "In speeches, statements and news conferences this year, the president has repeatedly declared a range of problems "unacceptable," including rising health costs, immigrants who live outside the law, North Korea's claimed nuclear test, genocide in Sudan and Iran's nuclear ambitions." Unfortunately, he doesn't actually have any plans to cope with any of these "unacceptable" problems beyond railing at the skies. And the unacceptability of the world is rapidly on the increase:

In the first nine months of this year, Bush declared more than twice as many events or outcomes "unacceptable" or "not acceptable" as he did in all of 2005, and nearly four times as many as he did in 2004. He is, in fact, at a presidential career high in denouncing events he considers intolerable. They number 37 so far this year, as opposed to five in 2003, 18 in 2002 and 14 in 2001.

Which is just to say that willpower, empty rhetoric, and idle threats won't change the world. You need to be willing to grapple with the actual world. Instead, as things get worse and worse, Bush reacts by escalating his level of self-righteousness.

Getting to know Iran In the Columbia Journalism Review, Bill Berkeley encourages us to really get to know Iran -- not through the American media, but rather through a new group of books by Persian-speaking journalists and scholars which "shed valuable light on a country that has long been prone to journalistic caricature." "Know Thine Enemy" -- a combination of personal narrative, book review, and media criticism -- makes a strong case for seeking out alternate resources for information on Iran by disproving certain well-known stereotypes with examples from the books. Although Berkeley dwells a little too long on criticizing a book covering the same topic as his own forthcoming book, his piece is powerful and should motivate us to discover these authors who can teach us more about Iran than the American media could ever hope to.

Another Republican in trouble with the law. How shocking!

The Justice Department is investigating whether Republican Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania traded his political influence for lucrative lobbying and consulting contracts for his daughter, according to sources with direct knowledge of the inquiry. The FBI, which opened an investigation in recent months, has formally referred the matter to the department's Public Integrity Section for additional scrutiny. At issue are Weldon's efforts between 2002 and 2004 to aid two Russian companies and two Serbian brothers with ties to strongman Slobodan Milosevic, a federal law enforcement official said…read on

How about we throw down a little love for Joe Sestak! Update: The federal corruption investigation of Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) first reported yesterday by McClatchy has been confirmed by the Philadelphia Inquirer and the AP.

Bush to wake up in about three weeks? GOP grumblings about the White House not being prepared for a loss in November:

"They aren't even planning for if they lose," says a GOP insider who informally counsels the West Wing. If Democrats win control of the House, as many analysts expect, Republicans predict that Bush's final two years in office will be marked by multiple congressional investigations and gridlock. "The Bush White House has had no relationship with Congress," said a Bush ally. "Beyond the Democrats, wait till they see how the Republicans–the ones that survive–treat them if they lose next month."

A Democratic victory of any kind will be a rude welcome back to the reality-based world for Bush. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Torture or sex? Rep. Chris "that ain't torture, it's sex" Shays (R-CT) has suddenly found his moral compass, blasting his own party's campaign committee for distributing a flyer claiming his opponent wants to have coffee with the Taliban. I've long said that a consistent trait among Republicans/conservatives is their apparent inability to understood the meaning of "consent" when it comes to sex. I'm not saying they're all rapists, just that they seem to fundamentally not quite understand the concept. Digby writes:

What in the hell is wrong with these people? That's not torture? That stuff is over and above the things we've all seen with the forced masturbation, simulated fellatio, smearing feces on prisoners and forcing them to wear women's underwear while chained in stress positions to their cells or beds.

Characterizing what happened at Abu Ghraib as a "sex ring" is bizarre enough but he defends his comment the next day which means it wasn't a slip of the tongue or a badly worded phrase. He's thought about this and he believes it.

He said he looked at all those pictures and saw sex. Did you? I sure didn't. But then we libertine lefties base our belief that people should be able to do whatever they like in their private lives on the bedrock principle of individual freedom, agency and rights. It's the coercion that makes all this stuff so wrong. When somebody is coerced or forced into doing "sexual" things against their will, it can most certainly be torture. (I can't believe I even have to make that argument.)

Well, and let's not forget the people who were simply beaten to death. What sort of sex is that? Bill Maher and new rules Bill rips into Bush, Bolton, Foley, Hastert, Republicans, Democrats, and… maybe, you. Video - WMP

The plot thicks yet again. Korenna Kline, spokesperson for Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), abruptly resigned yesterday. This comes just a few days after Kolbe issued a written statement about the Foley matter that contradicted in key respects comments Kline had already made about Kolbe's knowledge of Foley's problem with pages. A staffer for a retiring congressman finding new employment before the term ends is not terribly unusual, but there is more going on here than simply new employment opportunities.

Invading liberal hordes from the Bay Area making it tough on GOP Reps. Pombo and Doolittle.

Breaking the Law Colorado's Republican candidate for governor appears to be improperly using federal crime databases.

The "Have you had enough?" song/video campaign is doing fabulous. Here's the newest one for Blue America's John Hall. He's a brilliant guy and as we know a very creative man as well Video-WMP Video-QT Please donate to our Act Blue if you can. Time is running out.

In a Countdown first, Keith had only one nomination last night and it was an all-star right-wing FOX lineup; O'Reilly, Hannity, Brent Bozell, Laura Ingraham and Bob Zelnick for all insinuating that Ted Turner couldn't decide whether he supported America or al Qaeda in the "War on Terror." The smear comes after a National Press Club luncheon the other day where Turner was asked what he thought about one's patriotism being called into question when they voice disapproval of President Bush's conduct of the Iraq War. FOX took his answer out of context and completely omitted the question he was responding to. Leave it to FOX to pull something like this. Video WMP Video MOV

Quote of the Week Year

The conservative movement has been very effective attacking the media (broadcast and print) for its liberal biases. The refusal of the media to disclose and discuss the ideological leanings of reporters and editors, and the broader claim of objectivity, has made the press overly anxious, and inclined to lean over backwards not to offend critics from the right. In many respects, the campaign against the media has been more than a victory: it has turned the press into an unwilling, and often unknowing, ally of the right.

-- Building Red America author and former Washington Post reporter Thomas B. Edsall

"The Fear of Pelosi." That's the Talking Points for today. Bill O'Reilly started his show off Thursday with his usual Talking Points segment. The new FOX News poll shows us that things aren't going so well for the GOP as the election draws near so Bill needs to give his viewers some hope and direction on how they can keep the Congress. It's easy really. If you don't vote Republican you will have that evil, liberal Nancy Pelosi take charge of the House. What could be worse? The corrupt filled Republicans have nothing over Nancy because she's a secular progressive that wants nothing more than to take all your money and turn your kids gay. Video -WMP Video -QT The falafel King is being fair and balanced I tell you. How do I know? He had on Dick " where's my prostitute? " Morris to validate his take. I'm not smearing Morris, Bill. After all–he did resign in shame, but that hardly matters because even though Hastert is everything that is wrong with DC, Pelosi would be worse. The level of propaganda that they can sling to his audience in three and a half minutes is mind boggling. Hannity is just a GOP talking point robot with a big fat "Rove" tattooed on his forehead, but Bill goes about his business trying to brand himself as—don't laugh–an independent.

Big Brother goes after bloggers RawStory: "Big Brother is not watching you, but 10 members of a Virginia National Guard unit might be," according to the Army. The Manassas-based Guardsmen are on a one-year assignment to clamp down on both "official and unofficial Army Web sites for operational security violations." The team, working "under the direction of the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell" hunts for "documents, pictures and other items that may compromise security" — and then orders the parties to take the offensive content offline. (Read the rest of this story…)

What liberal media? As long as the Washington Post is talking about the beautiful Democratic faces to watch, we might as well give equal time to the GOP beautiful people. For those of you who don't keep up with these things (I don't either, but some of our fearless readers do), here's the background. Country music star Sara Evans has filed for divorce, and it has gotten pretty nasty. I'll spare our more tender readers the allegations (porn) Evans is making (adultery) about her husband (a former GOP candidate for Congress). Wait, former GOP candidate for Congress? Yep. Ran for Congress in Oregon in 2002. Funny thing is, his campaign website is still up--at least until this post it was. So you can see some of your GOP faves (President Bush) with the happy couple. There's even a photo touting the beauty of GOP women. See what that WP front page has done? Now we're all wallowing in the gutter.

Negative politics Huge amount of independent expenditures today by the NRCC: $9.3 million. Here are the biggest hits:

$424,948.80 against Democratic challenger Darcy Burner in the WA-8;

$571,073.60 against Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy in PA-8;

$657,276.80 against Democratic challenger Joe Sestak in PA-7;

$652,884.80 against Democratic challenger Lois Murphy in PA-6;

$579,187.60 against Democrat Zack Space in the race for Bob Ney's open OH-18 seat;

$521,985.88 against Democratic incumbent Rep. Melissa Bean in IL-8;

$436,881.00 against Democratic challenger Ron Klein in FL-22;

$417,933.39 against Democratic challenger Ken Lucas in KY-4;

A whopping 99% of today's expenditure was for negative advertising.

Say what? Boehner: Dems should be punished at the polls for not reporting our GOP pedophilia sooner.

And then there were two? The Justice Department is "looking into allegations" relating to a rafting trip that Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) took with two Congressional pages in 1996.

Don't talk to the liberals! I stopped off at the Barnes & Noble in Marina Del Rey to buy the new Michael Connelly book, "Echo Park." The store was quite empty and I asked a cashier where they had a copy. She walked me over to the front of the store that has new arrivals on a big dark brown table and I picked one up. On the same table, there were several copies of Bill O'Reilly's new polemic "Culture Warrior." His head had a shiny glare from the florescent lights up above.

I asked her how the book was selling and she told me that Woodward's book knocked all of them off of the B&N's charts. I told her how Billy was bad mouthing Nancy Pelosi last night because the polls were favoring the Democrats when suddenly, a man probably in his late seventies or early eighties dressed in small yellow shorts and a red cap grabbed O'Reilly's book off the table and yelled at me,

"Damn Liberal! Now I'm buying this book, you goddamn liberal," and he stormed away.

I turned to the cashier and started laughing as she was trying to restrain herself. I mean, that came out of nowhere.

"Now there's an O'Reilly fan for you, " she said.

I felt really bad because he did get quite excited.

I said, "Wow, he became unglued just because I said Billy dissed Pelosi. I'd like to talk to him for a few minutes and calm him down."

We were both kind of surprised because it seemed like he popped out of the ground right below our feet. It also seems to support the NY Times article about his age demographic, but I digress. I asked her if she liked hard-boiled detective fiction when suddenly, the man scurried past us with Billy's new book in a plastic bag tucked under his arm, head tilting to the ground and yelled at the cashier.

"Don't talk to him. He's a liberal!"

And he stormed through the doors and out into the parking lot.

I looked at her and said, "I guess a nice little chat is out of the question."

Well Bill, I think you should thank me personally for selling a copy of your book and all. It's the least you can do.

Submitted by RKing on