"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door." The Statue of Liberty (P.S. Please be so kind as to enter through the proper channels and in an orderly fashion)

Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Oh Yeah. Good Football.

We Right-Wing Washingtonians got a Reaganesque president in the White House.

We got tax-cuts. We got a deficit.

We got liberals hopping mad and screaming.

We got a global struggle for sheer survival and ultimate supremacy.

We got Joe Gibbs back at the helm of the Washington Redskins.

We still got a rival NY Giants jynx.

And we got the former-head coach of that ancient but still kicking Giants Jynx now the head coach of the arch-rival Dallas Cowboys.

The NFC East is the superlative division of the NFL.

The AFC is delivering their own champion--the Indianapolis Colts--standing head-and-shoulders above all others at 13-0.

All is well in the universe.


Chili-topped Nachos.

Neighborhood Norms and Cliffies.

Cutie-pies and hotties.

Heads or tails.

Miller Lite.

Tastes great, less filling.

(Take your pick, or fight it out).

Let's armwrestle!

Don't call me Ishmael.

Call me Beowulf.

God Bless America.

And Merry Christmas.

So there Republicus was, last Sunday afternoon, at his neighborhood football bar, a sudzy establishment with five televisions simultaneously showing five different games (with a giant-screen in the back-room bar hogged for the Redskins), with tables of different-colored factions abruptly erupting with "HURRAHS!" and high-fives one quarter, and then falling deathly-silent in the next, and there came a moment in time, good people, when Republicus realized, shocked and awed: "Oh yeah. This is good football."

The NFC East is TIGHT, my friends, very tight.

The day began with the Giants at the head of the pack at 8-4, Dallas in 2nd place at 7-5, the Redskins in 3rd at 6-6, and the 2004 NFC Champion Eagles at 5-7.

Dallas was playing the Kansas City Chiefs. The Redskins were playing the Arizona Cardinals. And the Giants and Eagles were playing each other.

It was one of those days where a team you were cursing and throwing pretzels at a week or two before were now being rooted for in all earnestness.

And then it happened: the moment in time when you realize that the next THREE MINUTES of play could dramatically change the configuration of a division:

At the 2:00 minute warning, the Redskins were leading the Cardinals 17-13, with the Cardinals being well in the game.

With 2:06 minutes left, the Giants were leading the Eagles 23-20--with the Eagles in possession and aggressively pushing towards field goal range.

With 2:40 minutes left, the Cowboys were leading the Chiefs by 28-24, with the Chiefs also being well in the game.


Do you know what that meant?

It meant that if the Redskins, the Eagles, and the Chiefs won their respective games within the next 2-3 minutes of playing time, the REDSKINS WOULD BE FIRMLY TIED FOR SECOND PLACE in the NFC East-- with the three games remaining in the season played against the rest of the NFC East (i.e. the Cowboys, Giants, and Eagles)!

Republicus was not watching the Redskins game on the giant-screen in the backroom at this point, but was in the main bar turning his head one way towards one television showing the 'Skins, then the next towards another showing the Giants and Eagles, then getting up from his stool and running down to the end of the bar to catch the Dallas-KC game playing around the corner!

Republicus comes running back to see the Eagles kick a 50 YARD FIELD GOAL AGAINST THE GIANTS WITH 1:52 LEFT ON THE CLOCK, TYING THE GAME AT 23-23.

Meanwhile, on the other television...The Redskins WIN! Woo-HOO!

Things are getting frantic as Republicus scribbles all this down on a napkin in some drunken hieroglyphic shorthand (which he is even now trying to decipher, so if there is an error here or there give or take a few seconds or a touchdown, well, that's because as soon as he would look up and around at this or that game, IT'D BE A WHOLE DIFFERENT STORY, and he'd have to scribble a sidenote and draw zig-zagging arrows on the napkin).

KANSAS CITY'S WINNING! THEY'RE GOING TO WIN, and...AW! "FFFFFFFFFFFF-FUDGE!" (only, like Ralphie, Republicus didn't say "fudge")

There's some some controversial call! And...


Okay, okay, perhaps the Eagles will bring the Giants down a peg and...AW, Shhhhhhhh-*T!

The Giants win!



So, after all that, nothing's really changed: Giants at 9-4, Dallas at 8-5, Redskins at 7-6, except that the Eagles sunk to 5-8.

The Cowboys come to Washington tomorrow.

At 8-5, they sit in the sixth and FINAL playoff spot in the NFC, while the Redskins (7-6) are ONE GAME BACK.

Bring it on, boys.

Oh yeah. Good football...

Friday, December 16, 2005

LOL! The Bush-Hater is OBSESSED!


"Alright man, your free, for a while anyway. I don't want to be responsible for a reality based meltdown on your part. :) If I don't get the chance before then,Merry Christmas..."

Jeff (a.k.a. Lee Harvey)


"This is incredibly serious. Bush did what a dictator does, not what an American president should have done...We need an immediate independent investigation, and if this story is confirmed, Bush should resign or be removed from office."

Lee Harvey (a.k.a. Jeff)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Election Day For A New Iraq-- Best Wishes


Season's Greetings

The Bush-Hater Is The Black Knight!

"Just a flesh wound!"

Lee Harvey (a.k.a. Jeff)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Who Do You Want To Help?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Former-President Clinton LIED...And People DIED!

"I knew (President Bush) was lying, a criminal act against our nation to start a false illegal war. I am against pre emptive illegal wars based on complete lies and forging and twisting of intelligence to lie to congress( a crime by the way) and the American people to support an action with no merit in truth or the reality to which you so desperately cling to."

"I think Bill Clinton was one of the best presidents we've had in the last half-century!"

Lee Harvey (a.k.a. Jeff)


Wednesday, December 16, 1998

(bold by Republicus)

President Clinton: Good evening.

Earlier today, I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq.

They are joined by British forces.

Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.

Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world.

Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons.

I want to explain why I have decided, with the unanimous recommendation of my national security team, to use force in Iraq; why we have acted now; and what we aim to accomplish.

Six weeks ago, Saddam Hussein announced that he would no longer cooperate with the United Nations weapons inspectors called UNSCOM.

They are highly professional experts from dozens of countries.

Their job is to oversee the elimination of Iraq's capability to retain, create and use weapons of mass destruction, and to verify that Iraq does not attempt to rebuild that capability.

The inspectors undertook this mission first 7.5 years ago at the end of the Gulf War when Iraq agreed to declare and destroy its arsenal as a condition of the ceasefire.

The international community had good reason to set this requirement.

Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them. Not once, but repeatedly:

Unleashing chemical weapons against Iranian troops during a decade-long war. Not only against soldiers, but against civilians, firing Scud missiles at the citizens of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran.

And not only against a foreign enemy, but even against his own people, gassing Kurdish civilians in Northern Iraq.

The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again.

The United States has patiently worked to preserve UNSCOM as Iraq has sought to avoid its obligation to cooperate with the inspectors.

On occasion, we've had to threaten military force, and Saddam has backed down.

Faced with Saddam's latest act of defiance in late October, we built intensive diplomatic pressure on Iraq backed by overwhelming military force in the region.

The UN Security Council voted 15 to zero to condemn Saddam's actions and to demand that he immediately come into compliance.

Eight Arab nations -- Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman -- warned that Iraq alone would bear responsibility for the consequences of defying the UN.

When Saddam still failed to comply, we prepared to act militarily. It was only then at the last possible moment that Iraq backed down. It pledged to the UN that it had made, and I quote, "a clear and unconditional decision to resume cooperation with the weapons inspectors."

I decided then to call off the attack with our airplanes already in the air because Saddam had given in to our demands. I concluded then that the right thing to do was to use restraint and give Saddam one last chance to prove his willingness to cooperate.

I made it very clear at that time what unconditional cooperation meant, based on existing UN resolutions and Iraq's own commitments.

And along with Prime Minister Blair of Great Britain, I made it equally clear that if Saddam failed to cooperate fully, we would be prepared to act without delay, diplomacy or warning.

Now over the past three weeks, the UN weapons inspectors have carried out their plan for testing Iraq's cooperation. The testing period ended this weekend, and last night, UNSCOM's chairman, Richard Butler, reported the results to UN Secretary-General Annan.

The conclusions are stark, sobering and profoundly disturbing.

In four out of the five categories set forth, Iraq has failed to cooperate. Indeed, it actually has placed new restrictions on the inspectors.

Here are some of the particulars:

Iraq repeatedly blocked UNSCOM from inspecting suspect sites.

For example, it shut off access to the headquarters of its ruling party and said it will deny access to the party's other offices, even though UN resolutions make no exception for them and UNSCOM has inspected them in the past.

Iraq repeatedly restricted UNSCOM's ability to obtain necessary evidence.

For example, Iraq obstructed UNSCOM's effort to photograph bombs related to its chemical weapons program.

It tried to stop an UNSCOM biological weapons team from videotaping a site and photocopying documents and prevented Iraqi personnel from answering UNSCOM's questions.

Prior to the inspection of another site, Iraq actually emptied out the building, removing not just documents but even the furniture and the equipment.

Iraq has failed to turn over virtually all the documents requested by the inspectors.

Indeed, we know that Iraq ordered the destruction of weapons-related documents in anticipation of an UNSCOM inspection.

So Iraq has abused its final chance.

As the UNSCOM reports concludes, and again I quote, "Iraq's conduct ensured that no progress was able to be made in the fields of disarmament. In light of this experience, and in the absence of full cooperation by Iraq, it must regrettably be recorded again that the commission is not able to conduct the work mandated to it by the Security Council with respect to Iraq's prohibited weapons program."

In short, the inspectors are saying that even if they could stay in Iraq, their work would be a sham.

Saddam's deception has defeated their effectiveness.

Instead of the inspectors disarming Saddam, Saddam has disarmed the inspectors.

This situation presents a clear and present danger (note by Republicus: i.e. imminent threat) to the stability of the Persian Gulf and the safety of people everywhere.

The international community gave Saddam one last chance to resume cooperation with the weapons inspectors.

Saddam has failed to seize the chance.

And so we had to act and act now.

Let me explain why.

First, without a strong inspection system, Iraq would be free to retain and begin to rebuild its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs in months, not years.

Second, if Saddam can crippled the weapons inspection system and get away with it, he would conclude that the international community -- led by the United States -- has simply lost its will.

He will surmise that he has free rein to rebuild his arsenal of destruction, and someday -- make no mistake -- he will use it again as he has in the past.

Third, in halting our air strikes in November, I gave Saddam a chance, not a license.

If we turn our backs on his defiance, the credibility of U.S. power as a check against Saddam will be destroyed.

We will not only have allowed Saddam to shatter the inspection system that controls his weapons of mass destruction program; we also will have fatally undercut the fear of force that stops Saddam from acting to gain domination in the region.

That is why, on the unanimous recommendation of my national security team -- including the vice president, the secretary of defense, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, the secretary of state and the national security adviser -- I have ordered a strong, sustained series of air strikes against Iraq.

They are designed to degrade Saddam's capacity to develop and deliver weapons of mass destruction, and to degrade his ability to threaten his neighbors.

At the same time, we are delivering a powerful message to Saddam: If you act recklessly, you will pay a heavy price.

We acted today because, in the judgment of my military advisers, a swift response would provide the most surprise and the least opportunity for Saddam to prepare.

If we had delayed for even a matter of days from Chairman Butler's report, we would have given Saddam more time to disperse his forces and protect his weapons.

Also, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins this weekend. For us to initiate military action during Ramadan would be profoundly offensive to the Muslim world and, therefore, would damage our relations with Arab countries and the progress we have made in the Middle East.

That is something we wanted very much to avoid without giving Iraq's a month's head start to prepare for potential action against it.

Finally, our allies, including Prime Minister Tony Blair of Great Britain, concurred that now is the time to strike.

I hope Saddam will come into cooperation with the inspection system now and comply with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

But we have to be prepared that he will not, and we must deal with the very real danger he poses.

So we will pursue a long-term strategy to contain Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction and work toward the day when Iraq has a government worthy of its people.

First, we must be prepared to use force again if Saddam takes threatening actions, such as trying to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction or their delivery systems, threatening his neighbors, challenging allied aircraft over Iraq or moving against his own Kurdish citizens.

The credible threat to use force, and when necessary, the actual use of force, is the surest way to contain Saddam's weapons of mass destruction program, curtail his aggression and prevent another Gulf War.

Second, so long as Iraq remains out of compliance, we will work with the international community to maintain and enforce economic sanctions.

Sanctions have cost Saddam more than $120 billion -- resources that would have been used to rebuild his military. The sanctions system allows Iraq to sell oil for food, for medicine, for other humanitarian supplies for the Iraqi people.

We have no quarrel with them. But without the sanctions, we would see the oil-for-food program become oil-for-tanks, resulting in a greater threat to Iraq's neighbors and less food for its people.

The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world.

The best way to end that threat once and for all is with a new Iraqi government-- a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people

Bringing change in Baghdad will take time and effort. We will strengthen our engagement with the full range of Iraqi opposition forces and work with them effectively and prudently.

The decision to use force is never cost-free.

Whenever American forces are placed in harm's way, we risk the loss of life.

And while our strikes are focused on Iraq's military capabilities, there will be unintended Iraqi casualties.

Indeed, in the past, Saddam has intentionally placed Iraqi civilians in harm's way in a cynical bid to sway international opinion.

We must be prepared for these realities.

At the same time, Saddam should have absolutely no doubt if he lashes out at his neighbors, we will respond forcefully.

Heavy as they are, the costs of action must be weighed against the price of inaction.

If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future.

Saddam will strike again at his neighbors. He will make war on his own people.

And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction.

He will deploy them, and he will use them.

Because we're acting today, it is less likely that we will face these dangers in the future.

Let me close by addressing one other issue:

Saddam Hussein and the other enemies of peace may have thought that the serious debate currently before the House of Representatives would distract Americans or weaken our resolve to face him down.

But once more, the United States has proven that although we are never eager to use force, when we must act in America's vital interests, we will do so.

In the century we're leaving, America has often made the difference between chaos and community, fear and hope.

Now, in the new century, we'll have a remarkable opportunity to shape a future more peaceful than the past, but only if we stand strong against the enemies of peace.

Tonight, the United States is doing just that.

May God bless and protect the brave men and women who are carrying out this vital mission and their families.

And may God bless America.

Poor Guy. :(

Friday, December 9, 2005; Posted: 8:32 p.m. EST

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- One day after federal air marshals shot and killed an unarmed airplane passenger in Miami, Florida, the White House defended the marshals' actions.

"From what we know, the team of air marshals acted in a way that is consistent with the training that they have received," White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan told reporters at Thursday's briefing.

The two air marshals said Rigoberto Alpizar had made a bomb threat.
McClellan said the agents acted Wednesday to protect other passengers.

"It appears that they followed the protocols and did what they were trained to do," he said. "Air marshals receive extensive training, some of the most extensive of any law enforcement agency, and we are very appreciative for all that our air marshals are doing to protect the American people," McClellan said.

McClellan also said that a "standard investigation" was under way and noted that investigations help officials "learn lessons and apply those to future training and protocols."
The two marshals who fired at Alpizar were placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation, the air marshal service said.

Both became federal air marshals in 2002, Adams said, and are based in Miami. One was a border patrol agent for four years, the other was a customs inspector for two. Both had unblemished records.

Alpizar had boarded American Airlines Flight 924 in Miami to fly to Orlando, Florida. The 44-year-old Maitland, Florida, resident was on his way home.

"Rigo Alpizar was a loving, gentle and caring husband, uncle, brother, son and friend," Jeanne Jentsch said said of her brother-in-law.

"He was born in Costa Rica and became a proud American citizen several years ago. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him."

Standing next to other family members Thursday, Jentsch would not take questions from the reporters outside her Maitland, home and asked the media to leave her property and respect her request for privacy.

Investigators are trying to piece together the final moments before the shooting as questions are rising about whether Alpizar made a bomb threat.

The marshals say Alpizar announced he was carrying a bomb before being killed.

However, no other witness has publicly concurred with that account. Only one passenger recalled Alpizar saying, "I've got to get off, I've got to get off," CNN's Kathleen Koch reported.
No explosives were found onboard the aircraft. It was the first time a federal air marshal fired a weapon at someone since the program was bolstered after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Dave Adams, a spokesman for the Federal Air Marshal Service, said Alpizar had run up and down the plane's aisle yelling, "I have a bomb in my bag."

Adams said Alpizar then fled the aircraft and marshals confronted him on the boarding bridge.
"They asked the gentleman, 'Drop your bag, drop your bag. Come to the ground. I'm a federal law enforcement officer. Police. Drop your bag,'" Adams told CNN.

"He failed to comply with their commands, continued approaching the air marshals claiming he had a bomb in his bag. And then they ordered him again down to the ground. He didn't."
The marshals fired two or three shots when Alpizar appeared to reach into his bag, Adams said.

"Based on their training they had to take the appropriate action to defuse the situation to prevent a danger to themselves and also passengers in the terminal," Adams said.
One law enforcement source said the backpack had drawn attention because Alpizar wore it over his chest, not his back.

Passengers say man was agitated

Alpizar's wife, Anne Buechner, tried to help her husband.

"She was just saying her husband was sick, her husband was sick," said passenger Alan Tirpak. When the woman returned, "she just kept saying the same thing over and over, and that's when we heard the shots."

Tirpak said he didn't hear Alpizar say anything.

Another passenger, Mary Gardner of Orlando, said she also overheard Buechner. "I heard her say, 'He's bipolar. He doesn't have his medicine,'" Gardner recalled. Gardner said that the couple had quarreled before the shooting.

Ellen Sutliff, who said she sat near Alpizar on the flight into Miami from Quito, Ecuador, described him as agitated even then. His wife kept coaxing him, saying, " 'We just have to get through customs. Please, please help me get through this,' " according to Sutliff. " 'We're going to be home soon, and everything will be all right,' " Sutliff quoted the wife as saying.

Passenger Mike Beshears recalled Alpizar running off the plane clutching a bag, chased by a man in a Hawaiian shirt.

That man turned out to be one of the two air marshals.

Like Tirpak, Beshears said he did not hear Alpizar say anything. "He just was in a hurry and exited the plane," he said.

After Alpizar ran off the plane, his wife pursued him part of the way down the aisle, then returned to her seat saying her husband was sick and she needed to get his bags, Beshears said.

"After she passed back toward her seat ... a number of shots rang out -- at least five, up to six, shots rang out," Beshears recalled.

Alpizar's mother-in-law told CNN affiliate WKMG that he suffered from bipolar disorder.
Symptoms for the manic-depressive illness, during its manic stage, can include increased energy, activity and restlessness; extreme irritability; poor judgment; and provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
There are often periods of normal behavior between the manic and depressive stages, and the disorder can be stabilized with medication, the NIMH said.

(personal note by Republicus: This is very touching for Republicus. Mr. Alpizar bears a striking facial resemblance to his father, who passed away fourteen years--almost to the day-- before.)

Destroy All Who Disagree

The New York Times

December 10, 2005

Lieberman's Iraq Stance Brings Widening Split With His Party


WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 - Five years after running as the vice-presidential nominee on the Democratic ticket and a year after his own presidential bid, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut has become an increasingly unwelcome figure within his party, with some Democrats seeing him more as a wayward son than a favorite son.

In the last few days, the senator has riled Democratic activists and politicians here and in his home state with his vigorous defense of President Bush's handling of the Iraq war at a time some Democrats are pressuring the administration to begin a withdrawal.

Mr. Lieberman particularly infuriated his colleagues when he pointed out at a conference here that President Bush would be commander in chief for three more years and said that "it's time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that."

"We undermine the president's credibility at our nation's peril," Mr. Lieberman said.

Much of the open criticism has been from liberal groups and House members. But his comments have also rankled Democrats in the Senate. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the minority leader, phoned Mr. Lieberman this week to express concerns with his views, Mr. Reid's aide said.

"Senator Reid has a lot of respect for Senator Lieberman," said Jim Manley, a Reid spokesman. "But he feels that Senator Lieberman's position on Iraq is at odds with many Americans."

An aide to another leading Democratic senator who insisted on anonymity said the feelings toward Mr. Lieberman could be summed up as, "The American people want to hold George Bush accountable for the failed policy in Iraq, and Senator Lieberman doesn't."

Mr. Lieberman, who remains immensely popular in his home state, is aware of the hornet's nest he has stirred.

"Some Democrats said I was being a traitor," he said in an interview on Friday, adding that he was not surprised by the reaction, "given the depth of feeling about the war."

(note by Republicus: Antiwar Democrats were pretty defensive about being called "traitors" because they opposed the war, weren't they?)

Although some Democrats are upset with Mr. Lieberman, Republicans are embracing him, with President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld singling him out, and his support for the war, for praise in speeches this week.

"He is entirely correct," Mr. Cheney said on Tuesday at Fort Drum, N.Y. "On this, both Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree. The only way the terrorists can win is if we lose our nerve and abandon our mission."

Concerns about Mr. Lieberman's coziness with the administration grew this week when he had breakfast with Mr. Rumsfeld at the Pentagon. Later, rumors spread that Mr. Bush was considering asking Mr. Lieberman to join the administration to succeed Mr. Rumsfeld next year as defense secretary.

"It's a total fantasy," Mr. Lieberman said. "There's just no truth to it."

In the interview on Friday, he said the two sides were making too much of his comments, and he argued that the overreactions reflected how politically polarized the debate over the war had become.

Mr. Lieberman noted that his positions on Iraq had not changed over the years, dating from 1991, when he supported the first Persian Gulf war. In 1998, he and Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, proposed the Iraq Liberation Act, which made the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein official American policy.

"The positive and negative reactions may have less to do with the substance of what I said than with the fact that a Democrat is saying it," Mr. Lieberman said. "It reflects the terribly divisive state of our politics."

He has always been something of a maverick in his party. He was the first prominent Democrat to chastise President Bill Clinton openly for his affair with Monica S. Lewinsky.

More recently, Mr. Lieberman, a centrist, angered Democratic activists by expressing a willingness to work with President Bush to overhaul Social Security, an effort that ultimately stalled in Congress.

Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House minority leader, said the breach was deep.

"I completely disagree with Mr. Lieberman," Ms. Pelosi said at a news conference. "I believe that we have a responsibility to speak out if we think that the course of action that our country is on is not making the American people safer."

The question in some quarters now is whether the moderate brand of politics practiced by Mr. Lieberman, who is up for re-election next year, will hurt him when the electorate is so divided, particularly over some of the president's policies.

This week, for example, former Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. criticized his continued support of the Iraq war and said that if no candidate challenged the senator on it next year, he would consider running.

In 1988, Mr. Lieberman, who was attorney general of Connecticut, narrowly defeated Mr. Weicker, a Republican senator. Two years later, Mr. Weicker ran for governor as an independent and won. He served one term before retiring in 1995.

Mr. Weicker remains something of a fixture in state politics, well known for his independent streak. In 1999, Reform Party supporters encouraged him to run for president in 2000, but he ultimately decided against that.

Mr. Lieberman faces trouble in other quarters in his home state. Although few elected Democrats would criticize him publicly, several Democratic activists promised retaliation at the polls.

James H. Dean, brother of Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, lives in Connecticut and heads Democracy for America, a group that is gathering signatures on the Internet for a letter that criticizes the senator.

An aide to James Dean said he and others from the group would deliver the letter to Mr. Lieberman's office in Hartford on Tuesday. The aide said the letter had 30,000 signatures.

Other Democratic activists warned that they might try to organize a primary challenge against Mr. Lieberman, specifically because of his position on the war.

Tom Matzzie, the Washington director for, a liberal advocacy group with 10,000 members in Connecticut, said it would consider a challenge if the right candidate came along.

"It's like a betrayal," Mr. Matzzie said of Mr. Lieberman's stand on the war. "He is cheering the Bush Iraq policy at a time when Republicans are running away from the president."

But for all the criticism that Mr. Lieberman faces, few people say they believe that he is vulnerable to a challenge.

For his part, Mr. Lieberman said he would run hard on his record.

"I'm not taking anything for granted," he said. "I know there are a lot of people in the party who disagree with me about the war."


Name-dropping alert...Name-dropping alert...Name-dropping alert...

Republicus was walking down Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown just last week when he recognized a woman walking up towards him on the same sidewalk.

"Mrs. Lieberman," Republicus smiled as the distance closed.

"Yes?" she asked.

"How are you? Nice to see you," Republicus turned and bowed in passing.

"Oh, thank you!" she smiled.

Progress And Good Signs Of Success--Amidst Difficulties

In four days, on December 15, the third and final round of elections in Iraq will take place, and vote in a four-year parliament.

Their first task will be to discuss the conditions for U.S. Troop withdrawal.

Meanwhile, Saddam is on trial and is just begging to be hauled off to the Hague.

Either way, he's finished.

His sentencing will close the book on Iraq's dark past and propel the new republic forward.

This is encouraging news:

On Friday, Sunni clerics urged kidnappers to spare the lives of four Christian activists (the deadline passed, and no word yet as to what the kidnappers have decided).

Things are changing.

These are Sunni clerics banding together as representatives of the faith and calling for clemency and the freeing of Western (an American, a Briton and two Canadians) Christians.

The silence from Islamic institutions around the world--both Shia and Sunni-- in regards to condemning terrorist activities like hostage taking (not too mention suicide bombing)-- has been deafening (when not vociferous in their support of them), so this pro-life rallying of the clerics--for the lives of Western Christians, no less-- is quite a radical development.

That's the kind of thing healthy religious institutions do.

Granted, the four aid workers had condemned the war (which certainly flavored the calls for clemency, and was used as the primary appeal to the kidnappers, in fact), and the clerics still defend the "righteousness" of the Sunni side of the insurgency.

But they are still going out of their way to save the lives of four Western Christian infidels.

Hitherto, Republicus does not remember them calling--as an organized body--for mercy on any other Western aid workers taken hostage and then murdered.

Surely they couldn't all have been "Pro-War."

Also, while defending the insurgency against the occupation, they did speak out against the killing of innocent women and children.

That, too, is quite radical.

Sunni clerics also used the last major weekly religious service before Thursday's national elections to urge a big Sunni turnout.

That, too, is radical: they boycotted the last election in January.

One Sunni preacher called the upcoming parliamentary vote "a decisive battle that will determine our future."

That is a profound shifting of mentality.

In 1991, when Saddam Hussein spoke of "The Mother Of All Battles," he wasn't referring to a political campaign, the way Clinton's strategists in the "War Room" could have.

But the Sunni preacher was thinking precisely along those political--not violent-- lines.

They are conforming.

And 3,000 Texas National Guard troops have come home after nearly a year in Iraq.

Meanwhile, however, an American soldier was killed Sunday by a roadside bomb in Baghdad-- the seventh to be killed around the capital since Thursday.

And at least 2,142 members of the U.S. military have died since the war began, according to an Associated Press count.