Zogby: Kerry Leading in battleground states
For those of you who are wondering if perhaps our long national nightmare might be drawing to an end, a ray of hope.
George Bush has had a warning shot from the crucial battleground states likely to decide the outcome of the presidential election where his rival John Kerry is surging ahead.
Less than six months from election day, polls suggest that Mr Kerry is leading the President in 12 of the 16 so-called swing states. In some states the lead is slight, but in places such as New Hampshire, which Mr Bush won in 2000, Mr Kerry has a lead of almost 10 per cent.
Though polls offer only a snapshot in time, pollster John Zogby, who made the latest survey, said if the present leads in these 16 states hold true - and Democrats and Republicans hold on to the states each party won easily in 2000 - Mr Kerry will win with a margin of 102 electoral college votes. In 2000, Mr Bush beat Al Gore by 271 to 267.
On the Importance of Interrogations
where in this instance, the word 'interrogation' can include activities up to and including murder. Today's NYT reports:
The questioning of hundreds of Iraqi prisoners last fall in the newly established interrogation center at Abu Ghraib prison yielded very little valuable intelligence, according to civilian and military officials.
The interrogation center was set up in September to obtain better information about an insurgency in Iraq that was killing American soldiers almost every day by last fall. The insurgency was better organized and more vigorous than the United States had expected, prompting concern among generals and Pentagon officials who were unhappy with the flow of intelligence to combat units and to higher headquarters.
But civilian and military intelligence officials, as well as top commanders with access to intelligence reports, now say they learned little about the insurgency from questioning inmates at the prison. Most of the prisoners held in the special cellblock that became the setting for the worst abuses at Abu Ghraib apparently were not linked to the insurgency, they said.
But isn't it at least nice to know that they got all the techniques worked out so well?
In case you were wondering what the Bush Adminstration thinks of domestic spending, the WashPost today reports:
The White House put government agencies on notice this month that if President Bush is reelected, his budget for 2006 may include spending cuts for virtually all agencies in charge of domestic programs, including education, homeland security and others that the president backed in this campaign year.
Administration officials had dismissed the significance of the proposed cuts when they surfaced in February as part of an internal White House budget office computer printout. At the time, officials said the cuts were based on a formula and did not accurately reflect administration policy. But a May 19 White House budget memorandum obtained by The Washington Post said that agencies should assume the spending levels in that printout when they prepare their fiscal 2006 budgets this summer.
The Women, Infants and Children nutrition program was funded at $4.7 billion for the fiscal year beginning in October, enough to serve the 7.9 million people expected to be eligible. But in 2006, the program would be cut by $122 million. Head Start, the early-childhood education program for the poor, would lose $177 million, or 2.5 percent of its budget, in fiscal 2006.
The $78 million funding increase that Bush has touted for a homeownership program in 2005 would be nearly reversed in 2006 with a $53 million cut. National Institutes of Health spending would be cut 2.1 percent in 2006, to $28 billion, after a $764 million increase for 2005 that brought the NIH budget to $28.6 billion.
Even homeland security -- a centerpiece of the Bush reelection campaign -- would be affected. Funding would slip in 2006 by $1 billion, to $29.6 billion, although that would still be considerably higher than the $26.6 billion devoted to that field in 2004, according to an analysis of the computer printout by House Budget Committee Democrats.
From the Will Wonders Ever Cease Department:
The NYT actually almost apologizes for taking its news tips directly from sources who have reasons to peddle lies (*kaff* Chalabi *snort*)
Read the quasi-mea culpa here: link
Notice that the name Judith Miller appears nowhere in the story. Alas, it sort of gives the lie to their optimistic ultimate paragraph: "We consider the story of Iraq's weapons, and of the pattern of misinformation, to be unfinished business. And we fully intend to continue aggressive reporting aimed at setting the record straight."