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Well, it appears that good progress is being made in Congress. The US Senate recently passed a bill which called for the beginning of troop withdrawal in 120 days, and when aligned with the House Bill, will force Bush to veto, once again showing his disconnect with the American public. I give kudos to the Democratic Senators (as well as Republican Senators Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Gordon Smith of Oregon) for passing this spending bill. It seems most likely that the bill will not survive a veto, but the importance of Democrats showing themselves aligned and being blocked by a stubborn President can only help.


If you believe in prayers, then I suggest you send one out to the Edwards family. As you may already know, Mrs. Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of Presidential candidate John Edwards, has had her breast cancer return, this time beyond any point where it can be stopped. With treatment, she could live for several more years, but there is no curing it.

What is most impressive though is that today they seemed unfazed, even at peace with the information. Both want to go on with the campaign, and continue it shall. I certainly have gained a very, very deep respect for the both of them for their grit, determination, and endurance. Their courage is certainly inspiring, and I wish them all the best.


Alan Simpson, former Republican Senator from Wymoming, contributed a great piece about gays in the military to today's Washington Post.

Simpson rightly points out the sheer ridiculousness of discharging patriotic gays and lesbians from our armed services when we clearly could not need them more.

Check it out...


When I first read in the Washington Post about the Walter Reed scandal involving the mistreatment of soldiers returning to Iraq, I should've been surprised. I should be shocked that our President, a man who "supports the troops", would allow such a thing to happen, but after Hurricane Katrina and Iraq, all I can do is simply shake my head and sigh.

In today's NY Times Paul Krugman wrote an article about something that was also not very shocking. To no one's surprise, the veteran's hospitals have, of course, been privatized and care has severely restricted. For those of you who do not pay to see the editorial, here are just a couple points (in my words) that Mr. Krugman makes:

- Many services to our soldiers are no longer free. Now they must pay hundreds of dollars a month just for the food.
- Any soldier who is making over $27,000 and is not facing a combat-related condition or has not been in combat recently will be denied assistance.

This is all of course on top of the neglect of soldiers who have fought virtuously in Iraq only to be repaid with the stupidity of the Bush administration, who once again thought they could contract out the work of the government. The government can be messy and inefficient, but groups like FEMA and the Dept of Veterans' Affairs and THE US MILITARY were (and at least in the military still are) not known for being cold, uncaring, and being all about the dollar. At least under Clinton all three were able to work efficiently without Halliburton (two of the CEOs of the companies given private contracts were former Halliburton employees, go figure).

What this administration doesn't get, and what Walter Reed makes clearly obvious, is that there are some things that are best not to contract out. Outside companies are always looking to fatten their own wallets, and some things are best left to a government which isn't always looking for a profit (not to mention the brain drain at FEMA and Walter Reed caused by privatization). I think it's time we stop handing money over to people who want to get rich and start using it for the people who have needed it, Iraqis, Louisianans, and our soldiers.


According to the Post, Mark Warner is considering challenging John Warner in a run for the VA Senate in 2008. The popular former governor and one-time presidential prospect is easily the Democrats’ best chance at ousting the admired 5-term incumbent. If this electoral wet dream materializes (and the 80 year old Republican decides he has one more term in him) the race would be a rematch of the 1996 campaign, when John defeated Mark by 5 points. The VA political environment has changed markedly in the past decade, however. By the end of his term as governor, Warner had an approval rating of over 80%, and was succeeded by another Democrat, Tim Kaine. The state continued its steady leftward shift in 2006 when Jim Webb beat Sen. George Allen in one of the closest races in the nation. The prospect of a Warner-Warner match-up presents the Dems with an exciting an unexpected pickup opportunity; without Mark, however, the race won’t even be competitive.