Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Lieberman Reports- You Decide

I read Joe Lieberman's editorial that Sean provided to us. This is a positive report, and if this holds true, that is great. I will admit, I have been more open to accepting the negative news coming out of there, as opposed to the good. Part of it is my natural disdain for war- killing another man who I dont even know is just not my bag baby; part of it is because I just think the negatives far outweigh the positives. That, and this war was orchestrated by men without principle, courage, and any lack of decency or morality. These men are no Christians- Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Douglas Feith definitely are not- and there is no excuse for how inhumane and arrogant we have been- a result of poor preparation and management from the top.

Agree with the war or disagree, I dont hate anyone for their opinion. My heated arguments of the past have not gotten me or anyone else anywhere, and I realize that they are a microcosm of the division that exists in our country today. We are supposed to be fighting close-minded fascists that have adopted their own twisted version of the Muslim faith over the course of centuries of conquests and war. And I just dont trust our government that cannot deal with their problems at home, establishing their position in the middle of a region like the Middle East and Central Asia.

I am ashamed of the unprincipled, close-minded cowards like those in our administration today; all of the allegations of inhumane treatment and torture should be disturbing to everyone. I do not want us to become the enemy we are trying to defeat- that there would be no victory. The report is good to hear though, dont get me wrong. Any success in Iraq is good, I will never argue against that. I hope the Iraq people really do rise up soon and take their country back and it flourishes. Any of this success, though, would ultimately happen despite our leaders.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Winning the hearts and minds... of the enemy

There are many parallels in the handling of the wars in Chechnya and Iraq. Chechnya has just held a parliamentary election. Candidates supporting independence were banned from running and all candidates are supporters of Putin’s hard line policies. Photos of dancing and jubilation were beamed over state run television and Moscow has touted these elections as the first step towards peace. Sound familiar?

The insurgencies in both countries will not be quelled by elections that in the minds of many in the population are not truly democratic. Peace won’t come to Chechnya without the inclusion of Chechen rebels in the democratic process; it won’t come to Iraq without the inclusion of Sunni rebels. That’s a fairly radical statement that will have a lot of people on both the left and right shaking their heads, but it is clear that beyond the leadership of both these insurgencies there is a sympathetic fringe that need to be embraced for reform and ultimately peace to ensue. Attracting that support will require the negotiation of a ceasefire and ultimately the politicization of the rebel movements. Alternatively Russia and the US can continue fighting wars they can never win.

A brave man...

Zhang Zuoji, the governor of Heilongjiang province, took the first drink in Harbin.

Here It Comes...

Okay, with Thanksgiving over, the retailers are not going to let us forget that the next holiday approaches like a meteor in a scifi channel disaster flick. And riding that meteor are the Christopaths crying out in aguish that the evil liberals are forcing Americans to take Christ out of Christmas. Well, boo-effin'-hoo and cry me a river, because fundamentalist wackos don't own the winter holidays, dig it?

Let's start with the "seasons greetings" vs "merry christmas" cage match. "Seasons greetings" is better for business: it's just a cost-efficient way of saying, "merry christmas, happy hanukkah, happy kwanzaa, happy whatever else we forgot." Besides, since the right overwhelmingly places greater value on corporate revenue than on christian values, it stands to reason that they would support that phrase, doesn't it?

Besides all that, the main thing is that Christmas is PAGAN PAGAN PAGAN! That's right, members of the flock:
Thousands of years before Christianity even appeared, cultures all around the world were celebrating a similar holiday, with many of the traditions that we now associate with Christmas.

What these cultures celebrated was the Winter Solstice, or the shortest day of the year. This usually occurs on December 21. For various reasons, ancient cultures celebrated this holiday at different times in December or early January.

Why did these many cultures celebrate the Winter Solstice? Because from here on the days will get longer and warmer. It is a holiday of optimism, that the sun will win in its battle over darkness. It is also a holiday of rebirth and fertility, for the lengthening sun will eventually allow farmers to plant their crops. Light is an intrinsic part of most of these celebrations, whether it be sunlight, candles, bonfires, Yuletide logs or today's Christmas lights. Not for nothing do most cultures start their New Year about this time.

The first evidence that we have of a Solstice celebration is Mesopotamia from 4,000 years ago. Solstice celebrations have been found in every part of the ancient world, from China to Native America.

The Solstice celebration that Christianity drew on was the Roman holiday Saturnalia. During these celebrations, people suspended all work and indulged in great feasts and drinking. They decorated their homes with greenery of all sorts (for greenery was the product of sunlight, of course). This ranged from wreaths made of laurel to trees adorned with candles. Gifts were sometimes exchanged, especially with small children. But the most interesting aspect of the holiday was the reversal of social order. Wars were suspended, quarrels forgotten, debts forgiven. Slaves exchanged places with their masters, and children became head of their families. In fact, the Romans went so far as to crown a mock king "the Lord of Misrule." The holiday, needless to say, was extremely popular with the people.

In 274 A.D., the Roman Empire was still "pagan" (that is, not yet Christianized). In that year, the Emperor Aurelian proclaimed that December 25 would be the birthday of the "Invincible Sun."

In 336 A.D., Emperor Constantine Christianized this holiday, proclaiming it to be the birthday of Jesus. The date is almost certainly wrong; the Bible doesn't say when Jesus was born. However, it was most likely in spring, the only time that ancient shepherds ever watched over their flocks by night.

It is interesting to note that as Christmas spread throughout Europe, it absorbed the Winter Solstice customs of other countries. For example, when Christianity spread to Scandinavia, it found Scandinavians celebrating the Winter Solstice with Yule logs, mistletoe, holly, legends about elves, and Yule goats who carried presents from the gods.
Now, I know a lot of Christians are discouraged by this sort of narrative because their religion teaches them that they thought of everything first. Well, hey - if they feel slandered by this sort of thing, they can always call the ACLU.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

After eating enough to feed a small town in central Africa, I browsed some of my favorite conservative blogs (for liberals who overate and need relief this is an excellent alternative to sticking your fingers down your throat). The one resounding theme was God. Thanking God, praising God, praying to God for forgiveness. As an alternative let's consider thanking the native Americans that made it possible for our ancestors to colonize this country. After all, back in the day, we were only able to thank them with small pox and executions.

So I'm raising my last drink to America's first citizens. They didn't believe in a Semitic God, they didn't need to understand Christ's sacrifice to be benevolent and they didn't ask for the hell we brought them in the name of monarchs hiding behind religion. Cheers.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

My Blue Heaven...

Ha! Remember the "red maps" of the US that have been so prevalently displayed on rightist websites since the Bush/Cheney 2004 "landslide" of a less-than-2%-margin of victory?

Well, since then, it looks like we've got the blues... as in, blue = disapproval with Bush administration policies:

Incidentally, heaven is usually protrayed as blue, and hell as red. Go figure.

Monday, November 21, 2005


Have you ever played monopoly against someone with hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place? Doesn't seem to matter what you do they inevitably win the game. Even when you start writing IOUs in the end they will call the debt in and you are screwed.

Watching George Bush try to run away from the press in China and finding a locked door I was struck by two things. The first is at this point the locked door is symbolic of the 3 years he has left. Basically he's in way over his head and would like to get out. The second was the smile on the Chinese officials' faces. They know this moron is securing their future position as the new world super power, mortgaging off any hope we had of a balanced relationship for the sake of misguided policies that do nothing for the wellbeing of Americans.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Liar, Liar, Liar

Yup, three liars. Liar to the third power. Liar liar pants on fire (but not due to white phosphorus, I guess).
Bush lied -- Cheney lied -- Rumsfeld lied.
Sure, there's more, but oh well.

Where Do We Stand?

I cannot remember if this has been posted before or not, but either way, let's take it back a step. We often discuss how both political parties are failures to the people they supposedly represent. Our elected officials are nothing but self-serving elitists on both ends of the spectrum; they are spoiled and too privileged to have any concept of what affects Americans day to day. Whatever faction of the day comes along, that is who they represent, and we just hear talking points, we hear a good game being talked, but how often do we see results? So anyway, a little quiz for everyone. Now, I will admit, I think this test is somewhat angled/geared/designed to make everyone think they are a libertarian, it does come from the Libertarian Party's website after all. The sight could be improved, but what can't be these days? That is why I have posted this, I figure we could all elaborate on what we have selected, discuss the issues a little further, and help each other define what we believe and who we really are. I am guessing some have seen it before, maybe not. Let us see where each of us arrive at, and take it from there. The quiz can only accomplish so much; we need one another to truly know who we are.

Sharing the Blame

In a recent post on his blog, my friend Mike of the North offered an interesting quote from an article at Axis of Logic that says:
Of course the Democrats are now attempting to slip into the ranks of the antiwar movement, after having supported the U.S. massacres in Iraq and after having presided over the obsenities in U.S. uniforms at Abu Ghraib. The Democrats? Please! The war in Iraq had the support of both, Republicans and Democrats from the beginning.

At Axis of Logic we can promise you this: As long as we exist, we will never let the reader forget that Bill Clinton killed more people in Iraq than George W. Bush - some say a baby every 6 seconds through starvation and disease for a period of time during his 8 years of sanctions, no fly zones and weekly missile attacks... There should be no question in the mind of anyone who has borne witness to the two-party support for the war on the people of Iraq. Both political parties in the United States serve the same master ... The Profit Beast - Global Corporate Empire - and we the people must not rest until we have routed them from their whorish corporate beds. Otherwise we are as culpable as they.
The article also asks this question:
So when the Democrats win in a future election, will we continue our fight to bring down these "bipartisan" monsters who use our blood and money in the killing fields - or will we relax and ignore the hidden wars of the Democrats as in the past?
I think that is an important question. In the currently volatile political climate, elections could, possibly, result in a power shift from republican to democrat control of one or more branches of government. If that happens, we will do ourselves (as well as the party of our choice) a great disservice if we don't continue speak up about injustice or corruption whenever and wherever it appears. I liken it to doing an "intervention" to stop a friend from destroying themselves with an addiction to drink or drug. We must be ready to intervene when our political leaders become drunk with power, even if we voted for 'em.

tip 'o the hat to Jack, who frequently reminds me that two parties seems to offer twice the level of corruption!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Richard Clarke Debunks Same Intelligence Myth

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Alito and Roe v Wade

Sitting in the airport lounge in Newark (I'll be here another 4 hours if anyone wants to join me for a beer) I'm thinking about whether Alito really holds the key swing vote to overturning Row v Wade. Here's how I think the vote would go:
Roberts For
Scalia For
Stevens Against
Alito For
Thomas For
Breyer Against
Souter Against
Ginsberg Against
Kennedy Against

Thomas could go either way but I'll dump him in the "For" bucket. All in all not that much for democrats to worry about. Do I have this all wrong?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Rebuttalpalooza; or, I'm Rubber, You're Glue...

When those of us who oppose the war against Iraq point out that the Bush administration fabricated intelligence and lied about weapons of mass destruction, some, especially proponents of the war, like to offer the rebuttal that many left-wing politicos took the same position as the Bush regime. Here is an example of the quotes they use.

Where does that leave us? Well, for one thing, it's not as if we on the left are going to say, "Damn! I never though of that! The republicans must have been right all along! I mean, if Hillary and Teddy were saying the same thing..!" I say, If right-wing analyists could be mistaken, then so could those on the left. All it proves is that the "bad intelligence" was spread around, shall we say, liberally. We also know that PNAC had these plans cooking a long time ago, so false or misleading intelligence may have been released over a long period of time.

In fact, the timing of the quotes is very telling. Note the dates. Most of the quotes are from late 2002, with one in Jan of 2003. Now, check this timeline of the Iraq war. Notice that the quotes to which right-wingers refer were made before Blix's report was issued. The quotes were based on - what? Doctored data from PNAC neocons, like the Downing Street documents?

It should also be noted that we who oppose the war are not naive - too idealistic, maybe, but not naive. We do not think that Saddam Hussein didn't want to amass a horde of weapons of all kinds; after all, America was his supplier and he was our point man in the Iran-Iraq war. We turned a blind eye to some atrocities. We helped make the monster, and it stands to reason that he kept some of the stuff we supplied him with. But, a dozen years and a crapload of bombing sorties later, his inventory was, evidently, depleted.

Another thing these pro-war bloggers always add when citing these quotes is the statement, "Maybe these people should be held accountable" [add snarky/sarcastic vocal inflection]. Well, certainly, they should; however, how many of the people cited in the list of quotes used those lies/errors as justification for invasion and conquest of Iraq? I mean, really pushed for it, the way the Bush regime did? How many were aware of the lies and false data contained in their remarks, the way the Bush regime was? You see, it's the lying and manipulation that need to be held to account. Not just the rhetoric, but the inappropriate action - using disinformation to deceive people into supporting their aggresive conquest for oil.

My point is: the notion that the [wholly misguided] march to war against Iraq was a bipartisan effort does not lessen the importance of opposing an unjust war. It does not weaken our position, nor does it weaken our resolve. All it does is illustrate the complexity and enormity of the geopolitical machinery that was put in place to invade and conquer the middle east. In the end, no WMD's were found, contrary to a lot of lies from the president and his associates that they existed and had been found.

And don't get me started on all that b.s. about the connection between Iraq and 9/11 (but oh, how Bush and Cheney cling to it because it fires up their base to no end).

So, a lot of democrat politicians were wrong about the war. Many of them changed their tune when it became apparent that they had been played for saps. If they realize they were wrong and make an effort to correct the error, then that's about the best we can hope for. The ones who ignore reality and continue to insist the emperor does have clothes are a problem.

But, hey, right-wing commenters and bloggers, know this: the quotes by democrats in favor of the war are not the intellectual secret weapon you would like them to be. You'll have to do a lot better to justify this.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

In Your Name...

In your name, the CIA tortures people to death, and lies about it. That is what America stands for now in the eyes of the world, thanks to the Bush administration and those who support them both through votes and contributions. The blood is on their hands.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Flu Vaccine

With an infant in our house we tried this year to get the flu vaccine. There were clinics scheduled in our local area but a couple of weeks ago they were all cancelled. I called the state department of health and was told that they had no idea and I should try my local department of health. When I asked about getting the vaccine the woman laughed and said there was a shortage and I could try calling hospitals directly. The hospitals said without a prior patient card we couldn't receive the vaccine. If this is any indication of what's going to occur if a pandemic does start then we are all fucked. I give up.

Rational Republicans

Hats off to moderate Republicans in the south who realize short term returns from drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve are not worth the long term environmental effects. Alternative energy sources are the key to energy independence and the average American knows it. It will be interesting to see what else is dumped from the budget.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Brian Douglas Wells

Not political, but the murder of Brian Wells shocked me and periodically I think about just how bizarre this crime was. Wells is the pizza delivery man who went to a house to deliver a pizza. The next time he was seen was robbing a bank in Erie with a contraption locked around his neck. It exploded and killed him once he was surrounded by police. Happy veterans day.

Happy Veterans Day: Bush Says, F**k You, Vets!

Bush's War on Veterans
Earlier this year, Republican leaders in Congress blocked $2 billion in emergency funding for veterans' health care from the $82 billion supplemental funding bill. They felt that the money would be better spent in Iraq and Afghanistan, where we're producing more and more injured soldiers for whom we cannot afford adequate medical care.

Then the Bush administration requested a mere 2.7 percent increase in Veterans Affairs (VA) spending, even though the VA's Under Secretary testified last year that the VA health care system needs a 13 to 14 percent increase annually to maintain their current level of services.

Thousands of veterans of the first Gulf War are suffering the effects of exposure to depleted uranium (DU), or have died from that exposure, yet the U.S. government denies the effects and continues to ship DU munitions for use in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Some wounded U.S. soldiers have returned home from the current war in Iraq only to learn that they are being referred to credit agencies for "failure to pay" for lost equipment, and for charges for military housing.

And about one-fourth of all homeless Americans are veterans. According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Two percent of them are female. Most of these cases are attributed to lingering effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and substance abuse, compounded by a lack of family and social support networks.

This is how our government treats those who have so bravely fought for their country.

Veterans Lash Out at Loss of Voice on Capitol Hill
Chairman Buyer recently announced that veterans service organizations will no longer have the opportunity to present testimony before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees.

"The tradition of legislative presentations by veterans service organizations dates back to at least the 1950s. And the timing of this announcement -- just before Veterans Day -- could not have been worse," said DAV National Commander Paul W. Jackson.

War on Veterans
On Veterans Day, as our nation remains at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the President and Members of Congress will call on America to support our troops and talk about how much we owe our men and women in uniform. But instead of honoring its commitment to those whose service and sacrifice have kept us free and safe, our government has launched a devastating assault on benefits for America's veterans.

Federal funding for veterans programs over the years has not even kept pace with inflation, let alone the increased demands on the Department of Veterans Affairs for health care and other earned benefits. The administration claims to have provided record increases for veterans, yet thousands of them have been denied access to VA health care. Because of budget shortfalls, VA facilities in every region of the country have exhausted reserve funds to meet critical needs. Many have stopped hiring doctors and nurses, while still others have cut back or even eliminated medical services. It is a clear indication that the men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country are not a national priority.

But inadequate funding for medical care isn't the only thing veterans are concerned about...

Bush Honors Veterans By Slashing Veterans Affairs Budget by $1 Billion
In return for Veterans' lost lives, the sacrifices, the suffering, the dislocation, the burdens, the family disruptions and related family crises the President proposes a $1 billion cut in a $28.7 billion VA budget.

2006 Won’t Be First Year Bush Cuts Support for Veterans

Too many examples to list.

The point is, the Bush administration couldn't care less about soldiers or veterans. Happy veterans day.

By the way, don't forget to reserve as much derision as possible for the chickenhawks.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Not to be too cynical...

... but it wouldn't be surprising if "Al Qaeda in Iraq" turned out to be the CIA. Is it really possible that these guys are so organized they are now planning attacks in other countries? If so we really are in a ton of trouble.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

When stupid people make stupid decisions

The Kansas education board's decision to allow aspects of intelligent design to be taught in a science classroom is a bad decision based on faith not fact. I'm certain that none of the board, and particularly not their chairman, have any true understanding of the evidence supporting Darwin's theory.

I propose we start infusing science into religious education classes so that students are given a chance to question through scientific fact, not faith, the stories of the old and new testament. Once that happens the religious conservatives will understand the absurdity of placing the concept of intelligent design, aka creationism, next to evolution.

Monday, November 07, 2005

No easy solutions

What is happening in France should serve as a warning to every developed nation. There is no easy solution. Preferential treatment of minorities breads resentment from the majority, ignoring the minorities results in their frustration. France is in a situation it can't effectively manage because of the massive growth of the Muslim population. With more than 5 million Muslims geographically concentrated in a few areas around the country, and particularly in Paris, the French are now facing the consequences of fostering ethnic ghettos.

Last year I traveled to Paris and visited the area in which my father had lived after World War II. It is now predominately Muslim, very poor and has one of the cities highest crime rates. What struck me most was that I have seen that same area many times over in cities across the world. People are living in abject poverty and all it takes is a 20 minute metro ride for them to be surrounded by wealth and success. It is understandable why this would breed resentment.

It's irrelevant what policy a government adopts to deal with the immigrant population. The capitalistic system by it's nature puts hurdles in front of the poor. Dealing with poverty would require a massive shift in wealth distribution and that's not something any government wants to mandate. So for now, it will be interesting to see how the events unfold in France and across Europe. Who knows? One day the same thing may happen here.

Rightard 101

From a usenet newsgroup posting:
"Well Scooter Libby is having to go to court to defend his right to be Conservative, just as Delay is doing the same in defense of his right to exercise the duties of his office as Majority whip of the House."
Ha ha. Are those guys funny, or what? Oops, I forgot - they control all three branches of government of the most powerful nation on earth!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Re-restoring honor and dignity to the White House

Friday, November 04, 2005


By now, we have all heard: CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons. A global network of secret prisons where we can torture prisoners with impugnity. Is that the America we want? Does that make us better than our enemies?

The following editorial addresses it well. I'll reprint it so you don't have to register with the NY Times.
The Prison Puzzle

It's maddening. Why does the Bush administration keep forcing policies on the United States military that endanger Americans wearing the nation's uniform - policies that the military does not want, that do not work and that violate standards upheld by the civilized world for decades?

When the Bush administration rewrote the rules for dealing with prisoners after 9/11, needlessly scrapping the Geneva Conventions and American law, it ignored the objections of lawyers for the armed services. Now, heedless of the lessons of Abu Ghraib, the civilians are once again running over the people in uniform. Tim Golden and Eric Schmitt reported yesterday in The Times that the administration is blocking the Pentagon from adopting the language of the Geneva Conventions to set rules for handling prisoners in the so-called war on terror.

Senior military lawyers want these standards, as do some Defense and State Department officials outside the inner circle. They say the abuse and torture of prisoners has reduced America's standing with its allies and taken away its moral high ground with the rest of the world. They also know that it endangers any American soldiers who are captured.

The rigid ideologues blocking this reform say the Geneva Conventions banning inhumane treatment are too vague. Which part of no murder, torture, mutilation, cruelty or humiliation do they not understand? The restrictions are a problem only if you want to do such abhorrent things and pretend they are legal. That is why the Bush administration tossed out the rules after 9/11.

It's a terrifying thing when the people who devote their lives to protecting our national security feel that the civilians who oversee their operations are out of control. Dana Priest reports in The Washington Post that even the Central Intelligence Agency's clandestine operators are getting nervous about the network of secret prisons they have around the world - including, of all places, at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe.

We're not naïve enough to believe that if the C.I.A. nabs a Qaeda operative who knows where a ticking bomb is hidden, that terrorist will emerge unbruised from his interrogation. Extraordinary circumstances are different from general policies that allow foot soldiers and even innocent bystanders to be swept up in messy, uncontrolled and probably fruitless detentions. Ms. Priest reports that of the more than 100 prisoners sent by the C.I.A. to its "black site" camps, only 30 are considered major terrorism suspects, and some have presumably been kept so long that their information is out of date. The rest have limited intelligence value, according to The Post, and many of them have been subjected to the odious United States practice of shipping prisoners to countries like Egypt, Jordan and Morocco and pretending that they won't be tortured.

Like so many of the most distressing stories these days - the outing of Valerie Wilson and questions about the intelligence on Iraq also come to mind - this one circles right back to Vice President Dick Cheney's office.

Mr. Cheney, a prime mover behind the attempts to legalize torture, is now leading a back-room fight to block a measure passed by the Senate, 90 to 9, that would impose international standards and American laws on the treatment of prisoners. Mr. Cheney wants a different version, one that would make the C.I.A.'s camps legal, although still hidden, and authorize the use of torture by intelligence agents. Mr. Bush is threatening to veto the entire military budget over this issue.

When his right-hand man, Lewis Libby, resigned after being indicted on charges relating to team Cheney's counterattack against Joseph Wilson, Mr. Cheney replaced him with David Addington, who helped draft the infamous legalized-torture memo of 2002. Mr. Addington is now blocking or weakening proposed changes to the prison policies. The Times said he had berated a Pentagon aide who had briefed him and Mr. Libby recently on the draft of the new military standards for handling prisoners. (The indictment of Mr. Libby said he had done the same thing to a C.I.A. briefer in 2003 when agency officials questioned the intelligence on Iraq.)

The Times reports that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, favor changing the detention policies. So we can only conclude that President Bush has decided to expend the minimal clout remaining to his beleaguered administration in a fight to put the full faith and credit of the United States behind the concept of torture. After all, the sign on Dick Cheney's door says he is the vice president.
The actions of the Bush government make us more like the worst, most oppresive nations in recent history. Yet they have convinced their supporters that they are morally superior. It is maddening.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


The democrats are doing something that is long overdue, representing their constituency. To hear Frist and Roberts cry about Reid's impromptu performance yesterday gives an insight into just how out of touch these guys are. Why shouldn't the American people expect the senate to investigate whether or not the Iraq war was predicated on a bunch of crap? Does anyone think given the reverse that the republicans wouldn't pull the same stunt? Hats off to Harry Reid.