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Cross posted from Calitics

Rep. Jane Harman teamed up today with Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) to editorialize in the Wall Street Journal on why Bush isn't so bad The Limits of Intelligence.  Leaving aside the hilarious range of jokes afforded by the title, it's a nearly letter-perfect exculpation for the Bush Administration.  To hear Reps. Harman and Hoekstra tell it, the information produced from the Intelligence community is inherently flawed and suspect.  As a result, any conclusion could be right or wrong at any given point and assigning a value judgment is just silly:

Still, intelligence is in many ways an art, not an exact science. The complete reversal from the 2005 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear-weapons program to the latest NIE serves as its own caution in this regard. The information we receive from the intelligence community is but one piece of the puzzle in a rapidly changing world. It is not a substitute for policy, and the challenge for policy makers is to use good intelligence wisely to fashion good policy.

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Cross posted from Calitics

On Saturday night the San Diego State Aztecs hosted BYU to close out their regular football season.  The game was the 3rd Annual Fleet Week-sponsored game, rescheduled from October 27 because of wildfires.  The Fleet Week Foundation describes the game like this:

San Diego State University plays in this third annual Fleet Week Football Classic.  Pregame and half-time shows will feature flyovers, parachutists, the Navy Region South West and SDSU bands, and a tribute to our wounded warriors at Balboa Hospital and Camp Pendleton as well as a tribute to members of the Legion of Valor.

The festivities have a wide range of public and private sponsors and it's fun for the whole family right?  Well, for at least the second year in a row (probably all three), the halftime show included an American flag being parachuted onto the field by members of a nation parachutist team...who happen to work for Blackwater and use parachutes emblazoned with the Blackwater logo.

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Last night Dana Rohrabacher, Ted Poe and FoxNews dropped a bomb during "The Big Story With John Gibson and Heather Nauert."  Turns out, the United States is torturing prisoners.  Wrongly imprisoned ones at that.  Little did you know though, it's not at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo or any number of other U.S. military prisons.  It's not at the off-the-map CIA facilities or in nations who have accepted U.S. detainees for questioning.  All that remains fine as far as these folks are concerned.  But two border patrol agents- Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean- who shot 15 times at an unarmed man (wounding him) and then covered it up are apparently being tortured right here in American prison.  Laments Rohrabacher:

The treatment is so outrageously bad of Ramos and Compean it really does meet the international standards of torture.

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Ruben Navarrette Jr. has a commentary for CNN up today ostensibly discussing last night's Univision Presidential debate.  But here's how he starts off:

In politics, Hispanics are a bundle of contradictions.

Although most are registered Democrats, they've supported moderate Republicans -- i.e., President George W. Bush, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, Arizona Sen. John McCain and others. They tell pollsters that they care about issues besides immigration -- education, health care, Iraq, etc. -- and yet, when GOP hardliners try to score points off their backs by resorting to racism and trying to demagogue the immigration issue, they'll circle the wagons and go elephant hunting.

Anything jump out at you?  What jumped out at me and others was terming President Bush as a moderate Republican.  Thinking about it a little more, you may notice that he's saying that Hispanics are a bundle of contradictions because they claim to care about a wide range of issues but only care about immigration.  By extension, that Hispanics are naturally inclined to be Republican except for concern over immigration.

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Russ Warner is running in CA-26 to unseat the perpetually unpleasant David Dreier.  Today at 3:30 Pacific he's joining everyone at Calitics for a liveblog on S-CHIP and children's health care.  We're excited to welcome a candidate that many of us have gotten to know live at YearlyKos, at the Blue House at the Brew House event, or any number of other events.  We hope that everyone can come by and join in the discussion, which we hope will be the first of many at Calitics.

Update: Link to Liveblog

Discuss

President Bush has come out in opposition to a plan that would raise the gas tax to help fund infrastructure repair.  Just a week after the bridge collapse in Minnesota, Bush is concerned that members of the Transportation Committee might not be able to put the public's interests above their own personal priorities, saying "I would strongly urge the Congress to examine how they set priorities."  Really?  Those pesky Democrats are the ones that are struggling with spending priorities?

Since there are so many, let's go through Republicans with questionable spending habits alphabetically by state:

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Cross posted from Calitics

In response to the potential "logistical nightmare" of counting ballots by hand in February's primary election, San Diego county is starting a huge push for absentee voting.  Reported today in the Union-Tribune, San Diego County's registrar of voters will send out postcards to more than 1 million voters pushing the absentee option, hoping to offset the number of paper ballots cast on election day.  This, of course, is in response to Secretary of State Debra Bowen's ruling that only one touch screen machine per polling place would be allowed following her extensive study of potential security problems.

While San Diego has a particular love affair with Diebold which sets it apart from many other parts of the state (Diebold is, by contract, required to replace any decertified machines), it seems unlikely that it will be only San Diego that makes this sort of push for absentee voting.  So what does this mean?

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Cross posted from Calitics

BENAWU posted another of his great Congressional race tracker updates yesterday, announcing that 317 out of 435 House races have confirmed candidates (or presumed returning incumbents).  But despite this early success, in California there are only confirmed challengers for 10 out of 19 sitting Republicans.  Only Texas has more unfilled races right now, and it's friggin Texas.  As BENAWU notes, all of these districts had challengers in 2006, so some level of infrastructure exists for a challenge.  Now many of these districts are going to be tough sledding for any Democrat thanks to redistricting in 2002, but anyone who's been paying attention the last few years knows that the Republican party is potentially vulnerable almost anywhere.  The goal of filling every race proved its worth last year with surprising success in supposedly safe districts across the country.  Just ask Jerry McNerney or Nancy Boyda or Jim Webb for starters.

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Cross-posted from Calitics

Bill Richardson was in Los Angeles yesterday talking mass transit.  He was touting the success of commuter light rail in New Mexico and said light rail would be equal to highways in a Richardson administration.

"I believe light rail is for the future," he said. "The president can be a partner, working with state and city and local communities in joint funding."

This obviously is a nice compliment to recent Calitics discussions about High Speed Rail in California and the broader concerns over responsible growth management and community development.  But what strikes me most is that Bill Richardson isn't talking about Iraq.  He's free to talk about things like light rail because for him, Iraq is no longer an issue.

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Mon May 28, 2007 at 03:19 PM PDT

In Memoriam: One More Year at War

by withthelidoff

All American servicemen and servicewomen who have died since last Memorial Day.  We remember.

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Cross-posted from Calitics

In a particularly disheartening step towards making elections in San Diego a complete joke, the county has hired former Diebold sales representative Deborah Seiler as the new registrar of voters.  Diebold has "sold more than 10,000 of the machines to the county at a total cost of $31 million."  Timed rather pugnaciously with Secretary of State Debra Bowen's review of all the state's voting systems, the article informs us that Seiler is "concerned" about potential decertification of voter machines.  Well, she should know right?  She sold them.  Former Registrar Mikel Haas, who's since been promoted to a position overseeing the Registrar's office (among others), insists her Diebold experience is a plus, saying "We use that system, so it's kind of a plus."

But w- w- w- w- wait it gets worse...

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Cross-posted from Calitics

In an editorial today, The San Diego Union Tribune takes issue with John Edwards for being willing to consider an "excess-profits, excess-income tax."  The editorial complains of Edwards "hawking class warfare" and complains that a rich person has no business being concerned about class issues.  In closing, it does us all the service of "call[ing] this toxic idea by its proper name. It's a tax on performance. It's a way to punish the high-achievers in our economy in the hopes that we might be able to discourage them from trying so hard and achieving so much."

I'll refute this nonsense on the flip, but first the kicker:

The good news is that at least one of Edwards' competitors, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, had the good sense to shoot down the idea, promote himself as a taxpayer, and chide Democrats for proposing taxes as the solution to every societal problem - and non-problem.

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