Reflections from the Grounded Center


"Who Cares What They Think?!"

Putin Touts Russia's Missile Capabilities

By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press Writer

MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin boasted Tuesday that Russia has missiles capable of penetrating any missile defense system, Russian news reports said.

"Russia ... has tested missile systems that no one in the world has," the ITAR-Tass, Interfax and RIA Novosti news agencies quoted him as saying at a news conference. "These missile systems don't represent a response to a missile defense system, but they are immune to that. They are hypersonic and capable of changing their flight path."

Putin said the new missiles were capable of carrying nuclear warheads. He wouldn't say whether the Russian military already had commissioned any such missiles.

He said he had shown the working principles of the missile systems to French
President Jacques Chirac during a visit to a Russian military facility.

"He knows what I'm talking about," news agencies quoted Putin as telling reporters after state-run news channels had cut their live broadcast of the news conference.

In April 2004, Chirac became the first Western leader to visit Russia's top-secret Titov space control center, which is also involved in launches of its intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Putin said that the new missiles were capable of changing both the altitude and the direction of their flight, making it impossible for an enemy to intercept them.

"A missile defense system is designed to counter missiles moving along a ballistic trajectory," Putin was quoted as saying.

Putin and other Russian officials have boasted of the new missiles in similar comments in recent years, but they haven't identified them or given any further details other than about their ability to change their flight path on approach to a target.

Most analysts viewed the earlier announcements about "hypersonic" missile systems as Moscow's response to U.S. missile defense plans.

Military analysts have said that the military had experimented with a maneuvering warhead during a missile launch several years ago, but voiced doubt about Russia's ability to deploy such weapons anytime soon.

Analysts said the new warheads, designed to zigzag on their approach to targets, could be fitted to new land-based Topol-M missiles and the prospective Bulava missiles, now under development.


OK, so maybe this is not exactly true. I am sure, considering their propensity to exaggerate and embellish, that they have not developed a super-duper weapon. But the fact that it is a priority to evade our defenses, and something about which they are holding press conferences should not only be mildly frightening to Americans, but a reassertion of the fact that we are not an island.

You can feel however you want about France - God knows I am not the biggest fan - but the fact that they are touring Russia's nuclear facilities is not only significant, but given the way the French and the rest of Europe feel about our nation it may an indicator of the future of our "alliances." I only hope that Poland, Italy and Bulgaria, our new European allies, can hook us up....oh wait, it soon to be only Bulgaria.

You can only bully for so long before the schoolyard geeks gang up and beat the crap out of you.


Moving Right Along...

Key finding from the new ABC News/Washington Post poll: Americans — by a 16-point margin, 51 to 35 percent — now say the country should go in the direction in which the Democrats want to lead, rather than follow Bush. That's a 10-point drop for the president from a year ago, and the Democrats' first head-to-head majority of his presidency.

In addition, Democrats lead Republicans by 14 points, 51 to 37 percent, "in trust to handle the nation's main problems," the first Democratic majority on this question since 1992. And the Democrats hold a 16-point lead in 2006 congressional election preferences, 54 to 38 percent among registered voters, their best since 1984.


While this is encouraging for those of us so inclined, it is far from a certainty. It would be a coup if the Democrats could pull off a major victory, but my faith in their ability to do so is understandably shaken. Then again, no more so than my faith in the current administration's ability to lead. Only the next several months will tell...especially after his Majesty releases the information on his political enemies that he gathered during a three-year long orgy of illegal, unfettered wiretapping.


Original Post:

Killing Me Softly

by digby

I'm feeling down right now. I know I shouldn't. The fact that Tom DeLay has stepped down is such a huge victory for humanity all by itself that I should be dancing a jig for the next six months. But, I'm down in the dumps, mostly because I am watching George W. Bush repeat his patented mantra for the 514,346th time. It's filled with lies, mischaracterizations and simple-minded gibberish, as always, and I'm watching it go out unfiltered, in its entirety, unchallenged by the media, no Democrats in sight, on every cable channel. I think they are personally trying to drive me crazy.

There is one new wrinkle. Regarding the illegal wiretapping, he just said, "it's amazing to me when people say I just wanted to break the law. If I wanted to break the law why would I brief congress?"

His masterful sound guy is there, compressing the sound, building the audience response to statements like that from a distant chuckle to a soft moan of appreciation, slowly ratcheting it up to a low roar until it reaches a crescendo of ecstatic, sustained hysteria. I think I even saw some rending of garments in the fourth row.

They are going to the 9/11 well again. They say that Democrats are sending talking points to Osama and giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Rove says we don't believe that the government should monitor al Qaeda's telephone calls. The next several months will be spent fending off accusations that if we don't let the president do anything he damned well pleases we are all going to die.

I don't know if it will work again. But I also don't know if I can take this campaign one more time. Five years of hearing the same thing over and over again and watching American sheeple fall for it over and over again is just too depressing. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to January 20, 2009 (and I'm of an age where rushing the future is no longer wise.) The day I no longer have to listen to one more word from this immoral, dishonest, incompetent, delusional prick will be the best day of my life.




So it begins...

It has been a while since I have added anything, but having been inspired by a particular song this morning getting ready for work, and after reading the below article, I felt compelled to again sound my "voice."

Bill seeks abortion's end in Ohio
Backers say it could help overturn Roe v. Wade

By Jon CraigEnquirer Columbus Bureau

COLUMBUS - A Cincinnati legislator's bill to ban abortion in Ohio drew widespread support here Wednesday from a dozen groups eager to trigger a review of Roe v. Wade by what they see as an increasingly conservative U.S. Supreme Court.

At a Statehouse news conference marking this week's 33rd anniversary of the landmark 1973 decision, opponents called on the Ohio General Assembly to debate a bill banning all abortions.
Introduced nine months ago by Rep. Tom Brinkman, R-Mount Lookout, House Bill 228 would make it a felony to carry out abortions or transport a woman across state lines to have one. It would allow abortions only to save the life of a mother.

Nancy Keenan, president of Naral Pro-Choice America, warned that anti-abortion advocates "are using the states as laboratories" in their efforts to overturn Roe. Indiana, too, is considering a ban on abortions, and other states are adding restrictions to when abortions are allowed.
Mark Harrington, executive director for the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform Midwest, called Brinkman's bill a test case. Anti-abortion groups say that a Supreme Court reshaped by President Bush - with new justices John Roberts and, expected soon, Samuel Alito - will be inclined to overturn Roe.

"House Bill 228 provides the necessary constitutional challenge to strike down Roe versus Wade," Harrington said. "It will immediately be challenged in the courts, and that's the strategy. House Bill 228 is a trigger law. The U.S. Supreme Court needs a law to trigger a review of Roe versus Wade."

Cincinnati attorney Alphonse A. Gerhardstein, who represents a number of abortion providers across Ohio including Cincinnati Women's Services, questioned whether the ban would pass in Columbus.

"I guess I thought that was dead," Gerhardstein said. "If they pass a law knowing full well that it's unconstitutional, sure, there'll be a test case."

Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted, a Republican, earlier this month said the House would not hold hearings on Brinkman's bill, then reversed himself. Brinkman said Husted promised "at least one hearing."

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, states would have to pass their own laws, Brinkman said. "Abortion will not end in America automatically," he said. "Each state will have their own right to decide what is the best public policy for their state."

Rep. Michelle Schneider, R-Madeira; Dr. John Wilke, president of the Life Issues Institute of College Hill; Cincinnati attorney Thomas Condit of the Pro Family Network; and spokeswomen from Cincinnati-area anti-abortion groups also expressed support for Brinkman's bill.


Why is it always fat, loud-mouthed white men with really bad (and in this case, poorly tied) neck ties that want to keep the people down (um...I don't think that diet Pepsi is going to help you there Tommy) ? Maybe it is over-compensating for something, or maybe it is just that no one will sleep with them and they want to ensure that when they finally get the chance to knock someone up, they can take advantage of their only chance to procreate. Who knows...we may never know the anatomy of the brain of such tools as Tommy B.

OK, so that was cheap...but come on...I haven't written in a while and needed to get some frusutration off my chest.

In all seriousness, there are a couple points in this article that I think deserve mention. One of my favorite parts is:

"House Bill 228 provides the necessary constitutional challenge to strike down Roe versus Wade," Harrington said. "It will immediately be challenged in the courts, and that's the strategy. House Bill 228 is a trigger law. The U.S. Supreme Court needs a law to trigger a review of Roe versus Wade."

This is clear evidence that it is not the left that intends on benching legislative judges, but rather the reactionary fascist movement that seeks to destroy our nation and our Constitutional rights through the courts. Just listen to the words, "The Supreme Court needs a law, etc., etc., etc." The way it is quoted, it is as if the new judges appointed by W are sitting around, licking their lips and gnashing their teeth, waiting for the case that will allow them to exact their agenda.

In addition, the section before that speaks to the case as a test that will test the waters. I am so glad that while 45 million Americans (and counting) go on without health care, while our high school students continue to seriously lag behind students in places like North Korea and Russia in basic skills and while our government is spying on its own people - Soviet-style - all during a war in which there seems to be no end, no reprieve, outrageous costs and no winners, we are forced to spend our tax dollars on matters that have been settled for 30 years by the courts...let's just hope that everything John R. and Sam A. said about precedent holds true.

Finally, does anyone else see the extraoridinary flip-flop in these scenarios? So abortion is murder, right? (Just go with it for a second). And murder is never acceptable in a society ruled by law that ensure its people the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So, why is it that all of these groups think that it is OK to abort a zygote when the mother's life is in trouble? So, in that situation it is OK to murder? I mean, if someone comes at me with a knife, and in the struggle for my life I end up killing him or her, it is not murder, it is self-defense. But the cluster of cells in her womb has no choice whether it is endangering the mother or not, and certainly not wielding a why is it suddenly not murder in these situations when none of the circumstances have changed? Aren't you still killing a baby?

I guess a political movement that doesn't care about it's executive powers peering into the details of their personal lives at will can hardly be expected to comprehend nuance or care about reason.