Poll Stunner: 25% of Republicans Would Favor Impeachment; Invasion of Syria Imminent

A quarter of Republicans are disgruntled with the president. They say he is doing a poor job – and they would call for his impeachment if they were convinced he lied about the war.

Good thing President Bush doesn’t look at polls because the new Zogby poll would seriously harsh his mellow: “Among President Bush’s fellow Republicans, a full one-in-four (25 percent) indicate they would favor impeaching the President” if he lied about the reasons for taking the country to war in Iraq. Impeachment is favored 59 percent of Democrats.

Inside the bitter outer shell, more creamy badness:

In a … significant sign of the weakness of the President’s numbers, more “Red State” voters … now rate his job performance unfavorably, with 50 percent holding a negative impression of the President’s handling of his duties, and 48 percent holding a favorable view. The President also gets negative marks from one-in-four (25 percent) Republicans—as well as 86% of Democrats and 58 percent of independents.

Notice how the 25 percent figure shows up twice. The number of Republicans who think Bush is doing a poor job equals the number who would see him impeached. Bush has done serious damage to a quarter of the party faithful. The blowback on Republicans in Congress next year could be horrendous.

It is obvious that the president and his team did mislead the country, so additional documents and witnesses will undoubtedly come to light. As evidence against Bush mounts, the number of Republicans calling for impeachment- or at least Congressional hearings – will rise.

And that is when we will invade Syria.

Katherine Harris’ Hand Just Keeps Getting Stuck in the Money Jar

If there’s one thing that distinguishes Katherine Harris’ career, it’s the ability to play fast and loose with the rules. You might be able to believe that Harris was just looking for her missing contact lens when her hand got stuck in the MZM Inc. cookie jar, except for the pattern of such behavior her entire elected life.

Now Harris is offering to return the illegal contributions she received from the defense contractor, which is implicated in a shady deal with another Republican Representative, California’s Dean Cunningham.

Southwest Florida Herald-Tribune:

Harris, R-Longboat Key, received $50,000 in contributions from defense contracting firm MZM Inc…

Most of the money was contributed individually by employees of MZM, which has headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Recent news stories have quoted anonymous MZM workers complaining that they were pressured into giving money to the firm’s political action committee. Such coercion violates federal campaign finance laws.

Harris wants to make the whole thing go away but she’s hanging onto the cash for now.

After hearing of the reports, Harris said she sent letters offering to refund the money…

This is Florida’s former Secretary of State, the person charged with not only knowing the ins and outs of every election and campaign finance law in the land, but enforcing them and prosecuting violators.

Harris said in an interview Tuesday that she has no idea if the campaign money she received was obtained illegally.

At the time they offered the contributions, Harris said MZM officials told her that the firm planned to open a facility in Sarasota.

Harris said she saw no downside: The deal would have brought at least 40 jobs to her district, and the firm’s agents were writing checks to her campaign account.

But she said she was a little puzzled by the donation, since she wasn’t assigned to any committees that handled defense budgets or policy.

At that time, she wasn’t on the Homeland Security Committee. She has since won a seat on that panel.

Is it me, or is there open acknowledgment here of the quid-pro-quo expectations resulting from accepting MZM’s money?

This isn’t the first time Harris has been caught groping in the bottom of the money jar, or funneling illegal contributions through a company’s employees. In 1998, the St. Petersburg Times reported on Harris’ violations while she was still a state sentor.

Federal prosecutors say nearly $400,000 of Riscorp contributions to Harris and dozens of other politicians were illegal…Riscorp’s founder, Bill Griffin, was sentenced to five months in federal custody earlier this month in connection with the scheme to reimburse his employees for the illegal contributions…

Harris got $20,292 in illegal contributions from Riscorp during her 1994 state Senate campaign — more than any other legislative candidate…Harris also received $13,000 in legal corporate contributions from various Riscorp companies, more than any other candidate in any race, federal records show.

Federal prosecutors described her 1994 campaign manager as one of the “co-conspirators” or “co-schemers” in an effort to hide the true identity of campaign contributors on campaign finance reports.

And a 1994 memo shows that Riscorp advised the campaign manager on how to change the addresses on Riscorp checks to keep the media from tracing them back to Riscorp.

Harris said she thought her campaign wanted different addresses for Riscorp checks because they preferred street addresses rather than post office boxes.

Harris might be forgiven for her current troubles, if she hadn’t already been down this road, and if she wasn’t an expert on campaign finance laws, and if she could come up with an alternate explanation for her actions besides, “I am a nasty Republican skeezer and I will do anything I can get away with. Now, beat it and let me get back to figuring out who to shake down next.”

Breslin — Florida Not Big Enough for Me and Jeb

At a recent writers workshop in Fort Lauderdale, “Sun-Sentinel” sports writer Michael Mayo asked legendary columnist and rabble-rouser Jimmy Breslin, 75, whether he was ready to retire to Florida:

After his talk, I asked if he’d ever become a Floridian, like so many other New Yorkers. He let out a curse and said, “You think I could move to this place, with this idiot of a governor?”

GOP Rep. Hayes Contradicts Bush & 9/11 Commission, Says Saddam Was Connected to 9/11

Rep. Robin Hayes – a Republican from Concord, N.C. – has been caught red-handed, lying to the American people and his constituents, apparently attempting to bolster President Bush’s assertions in a speech Tuesday night that Iraqis were involved in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. connection Hayes made the untrue statements on CNN:

[Hayes said] on Wednesday that the “evidence is clear” that Iraq was involved in the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.

“Saddam Hussein and people like him were very much involved in 9/11,” Rep. Robin Hayes said.

Told no investigation had ever found evidence to link Saddam and 9/11, Hayes responded, “I’m sorry, but you must have looked in the wrong places.”

Hayes, the vice chairman of the House subcommittee on terrorism, said legislators have access to evidence others do not.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said that Saddam was a dangerous man, but when asked about Hayes’ statement, would not link the deposed Iraqi ruler to the terrorist attacks on New York, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania.

“I haven’t seen compelling evidence of that,” McCain, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told CNN.

In a speech to the nation on Tuesday night, President Bush once again tried to make an imaginary connection in the minds of the public between the attacks on 9/11/01 and the war in Iraq. He mentioned the events of 9/11 five times in his half hour speech about Iraq.

However, last year the the 9/11 commission appointed by President Bush concluded that no evidence had been found that any “contacts ever developed into a collaborative operational relationship.” And “nor have we seen evidence indicating that Iraq cooperated with al Qaeda in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States.”

President Bush said in September 2003 that “We’ve had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11 [attacks].”

Nevertheless, Hayes insisted that the connection between al Qaeda and Saddam and “folks who work for him” has been seen “time and time again.”

Poll on Bush’s Speech Is Even Worse Than It Appears

The 323 adults interviewed were 50% Republican, 23% Democratic and 27% independent.

Poll results are in on President Bush’s speech last night and they are underwhelming, at best. According to the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, an unimpressive but seemingly sturdy 46 percent said they had a “very positive” reaction to the speech.

That number starts to look a wee bit wobbly when you look at the poll’s demographics, however.

The poll was taken immediately after the speech, and the 323 adults interviewed were 50 percent Republican, 23 percent Democratic and 27 percent independent. The margin of error was plus or minus 6 percentage points.

Why are the poll’s demographics tilted so lopsidedly toward the GOP? On CNN, Bill Schneider explained that since Republicans were twice as likely to tune in to hear Dear Leader speechify than Democrats or independents, the cross section represents a true sample of the audience.

Democrats and independents voted with their feet but their “unfavorable” response was simply factored out.

If the sample included all voters, the “very positve” would shrink to half or less. That is seriously bad, especially compared with the 67 percent “very positive” reaction to the “mission accomplished” speech in May 2003.

Bush’s Speech — What Did He Say?

Here is a text analysis of President Bush’s speech delivered at Fort Bragg June 28, 2005.

  • The speech contained 1996 words, 928 of them different words.
  • The compexity factor (lexical density) was 46.3%; readability on the Gunning-Fog Index, where 6 is easy and 20 is hard, was 8.6. On another readability scale where 100 is easy and 20 is hard, and the optimal range is 60-70, the speech scored 46.
  • There were 228 sentences averaging 16.04 words; the longest sentence was 48 words: I said that America’s mission in iraq is to defeat an enemy and give strength to a friend, a free representative government that is an ally in the war on terror and a beacon of hope in a part of the world that is desperate for reform.

The top 10 words in frequency (ocurrences in parentheses):

1. our (67)
2. Iraqi (33)
3. Iraq (29)
4. Iraqis (24); terrorists (23)
5. freedom (20); forces (19)
6. fight (15)
7. military, security, you (14); troops, war, people, know, free (13)
8. them (12); world, your (11)
9. coalition, mission, men (10); defend, new, these, today (9)
10. America, country, elections, enemy, help, operations, nations, women (8); American, way, see, helping, terror, under, work, thank, progress (7)

Most frequently used three-word phrases:

1. Iraqi security forces (7)
2. men and women (5)
3. the American people (5)
4. in the past (5)
5. they failed to (5)
6. in Iraq is (5)
7. complete the mission (4)
8. to complete the (4)
9. the Iraqi people (4)
10. the terrorists and (4)

Columba Bush Livin’ Large in Japan on the Taxpayer Dole

It’s not just Halliburton living large on the taxpayer dole. Florida’s First Lady recently enjoyed the prize behind Door No. 1: an all-expense paid trip to Japan, along with her personal assistant and chef.

Tampa Tribune:

The trade and culture mission made by Bush’s wife, Columba, her executive assistant, Gail Campbell, and governor’s mansion chef Josh Butler hasn’t yielded business deals for the state thus far, but Butler says that from his perspective, the trip was a success because he returned with Japanese recipes to use at the governor’s mansion. He said he also touted attributes of Florida grapefruit.

Well, there you go. He took the time to mention Florida grapefruit. That’s got to be worth, what, $13,000? Let’s hope so, because that’s how much it cost. For starters anyway.

Three state security agents also accompanied Bush, the sister-in-law of the president.

Citing security concerns, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement declined to say how much it cost the state to provide security.

But what’s money when it comes to touring Japan? Isn’t having fun what life’s about, really?

Among other things, the Bush group visited a Buddhist temple and its rock garden, participated in a tea ceremony in a tea master’s house, ate dinner at one of Kyoto’s top restaurants, and attended a geisha performance.

But not everyone is that thrilled with this particular line item.

Ben Wilcox, executive director of Common Cause Florida, a watchdog group, said details of the trip, especially the inclusion of the chef, raise questions about whether taxpayers’ money was used wisely. “It kind of points out the fact that you can basically justify anything to go on a free trip to a far and exotic land.”

Wilcox said he also was curious why the governor’s office did not post any information about the trip on the governor’s Web site, which details minutia of his wife’s activities.

“You would hope there would be some explanation of the trip and what the state gained from it,” Wilcox said.

No doubt that explanation will be forthcoming, along with all the possible reasons for the Halliburton overcharges. In case you missed it, here are a few details from USA Today:

o $617,000 for double-billed soft drinks.

o $1 million in excessive laundry charges.

o More than $560,000 for unneeded heavy equipment, including tractors and trailers.

o $2.2 million for cargo aircraft and $7.6 million for freight costs that “appeared to be duplicate.”

o $1.4 million to pay 146 workers at a facility that had only 62.

Meanwhile, Florida Republicans are all agog over the state Democratic Party’s accounting errors, including a failure on the part of former chair Scott Maddox to pay $2,600 in property taxes. The house in question was bought from and then rented to the FDP’s soon to be former bookkeeper by Maddox’s company, Spectrum Resources. Debbie Griffin-Bruton announced her resignation after admitting she hadn’t kept up with her job duties in the months following her husband’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis and eventual placement in long-term care.

Tallahassee Democrat:

Courthouse records indicate Griffin-Bruton and her husband, John Bruton, sold their home to Spectrum Resources for $135,000 in the fall of 2002, when Maddox was mayor and she was financial director of the City Parks and Recreation Department. Knowing Bruton, a former city policeman, was suffering from Alzheimer’s, Maddox said he allowed them to stay in the home for a token rent – which he said he waived completely last year when John Bruton went into long-term care.

Maddox said the Brutons were old friends of his family and that Debbie Griffin-Bruton could continue living in the home despite the current tax penalties and fines…

He said the county sent tax bills to his previous address on Plantation Road, although he moved from that home last June and sold it in April…

“We got no notice about it [the Bruton house] being in arrears,” Maddox told the Democrat.

Although the tax amount is small and other Maddox real estate ventures are up-to-date on the tax rolls…the property-tax tardiness could be ammunition for the kind of attack advertising and negative phone banks that spring up in the late days of a campaign.

Oh I don’t know. Do ya think? I mean, if no one minds Columba jetting to Japan and Dick Cheney’s outrageous stock dividends, why would they care about something like this? But I bet they do.

Supremes to Pensito Review — Cease and Desist

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on peer-to-peer file-sharing networks earlier this week may hold unforeseen ramifications for Pensito Review. While aimed primarily at such P-to-P products as Grokster and Napster, it appears the ruling also might impact Penster, Pensito Review’s P-to-P truth-sharing network.

Penster is the backbone of Pensito Review, providing the technological means for PR’s editors and readers to “swap” truths. For eample, Trish uncovers a truth in Florida about that rascal Jeb Bush and posts it on Pensito Review. Visitors to the PR Web site can then access that truth and comment on it, thereby “swapping” their own version of the truth with their peers.

Of course, users of Penster do not pay for the truth they access, which is where Pensito Review runs afoul of the Supremes. In the current political environment created by the Bush Administration, truth has value, and that value must be tightly controlled or the truth will become devalued.

For example, the Downing Street Memo was very valuable to the administration as long as it remained a secret. Now that the cat’s out of the bag, the memo’s value has plunged precipitously, according to the administration. By allowing readers to “swap” truths using Penster, Pensito Review is contributing to the devaluation of those truths, since, according to the wingnuts in Washington, the wider truths are disseminated, the less valuable they are. Hence, the admin’s tendency to discount such truths in press briefings.

We here at Pensito Review believe that peer-to-peer truth swapping via the Penster network is protected by the First Amendment.

During the Supreme Court’s debate over the matter, constitutional expert Justice Antonin Scalia maintained that there was no express guarantee of freedom of speech in the Consitution. When Justice Sandra Day O’Connor pointed out that the First Amendment to the Constitution did guarantee freedom of speech, Scalia burst out: “Amendment? What amendment? Nobody told me there were amendments to the Consitution! Jeez!”

Poll: Nelson Ahead of Harris in Florida Senate Race

A new Quinnipiac University Polling Institute shows that incumbent Florida Senator Bill Nelson is ahead of his best known rival in the 2006 race:

Quinnipiac’s snapshot of that race some 14 months before the primary showed Nelson favored by 55 percent of those asked to 26 percent for [Republican state House Speaker Allan] Bense. [GOP state Senate President Tom] Lee, who is now out of that contest, actually fared a bit better, trailing Nelson 53-30.

Nelson was favored by 50 percent compared to 38 percent for Harris, who may get a challenge from Bense, a wealthy Panama City developer being courted by the White House and Gov. Jeb Bush to get into the race.

The poll had some good news for Katherine Harris regarding the GOP primaries: “Harris would easily defeat either GOP challenger if an election were held now, the Quinnipiac survey indicated. She was favored by 54 percent of the 477 Republicans surveyed to Lee’s 10 percent and just 6 percent for Bense.”

And there was some dowbeat news for Sen. Nelson: “After nearly five years in office, Nelson’s support is lukewarm, even among Democrats. He received a 46 percent job approval rating from those questioned and even 36 percent of the Democratic respondents said they’d rather see someone else in Nelson’s job.”

Finally, the poll showed that some of the tarnish on President George Bush has rubbed off on his Florida man in the Senate: “Florida’s newly elected U.S. Sen. Republican Mel Martinez of Orlando, received a 45 percent compared to 29 percent who disapproved. Another 26 percent said they didn’t know. Martinez was elected last year.”

‘Freedom Tower’ Design for WTC Site Unveiled


With one eye on monolithism and the other on monotheism, the powers that be will unveil the new Freedom Tower design later this morning. Gone is Daniel Libeskind’s dream, replaced with David Childs’ new favored son, an 82-story tower that sorta vaguely kinda echoes the old Twin Tower design. More fun facts about the newcomer:

1) Sits on an “almost impermeable and impregnable” 200-foot concrete and steel pedestal, clad in “ornamental metalwork”
2) Above that, 69 office floors topped with a restaurant, and two observation decks
3) Antenna brings height to—wait for it—1,776 feet!

More to come throughout the day on this, uh, towering story. Before that, more images after the jump.

New York Daily News:

Ground zero’s Freedom Tower, redesigned to address security concerns, will be set back farther from the street, rising from a base clad in shimmering metals chosen for both beauty and blast-resistance…The strengthened structure, which will exceed city fire code requirements, will include extra fireproofing, as well as biological and chemical filters in its air supply system, according to an online statement issued by the Lower Manhattan Development Committee…

While the original plan called for a parallelogram base, in the new design eight triangles rise out of a cubic base connected to an octagon in the newly reinforced middle of the tower, which supports a glass parapet. The tower will be capped with a mast incorporating an antenna, meant to suggest the torch of the Statue of Liberty.