Saturday, April 30, 2005
tony blair had resolved to send british troops into action alongside us forces eight months before the iraq war began, despite a clear warning from the foreign office that the conflict could be illegal.
a damning minute leaked to a sunday newspaper reveals that in july 2002, a few weeks after meeting george bush at his ranch in crawford, texas, mr blair summoned his closest aides for what amounted to a council of war. the minute reveals the head of british intelligence reported that president bush had firmly made up his mind to invade iraq and overthrow saddam hussein, adding that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy". the independent
i love the smell of impeachment in the evening.
imagine two rape victims taken to the same hospital emergency room. imagine them put in adjoining examination rooms.
let's say they have identical injuries.
presume everything about them is the same except for where they are in their menstrual cycles.do they deserve access to the same medical treatment?
at most catholic hospitals in colorado, they can't get it.
the protocol of six catholic hospitals run by centura calls for rape victims to undergo an ovulation test.
if they have not ovulated, said centura corporate spokeswoman dana berry, doctors tell the victims about emergency contraception and write prescriptions for it if the patient asks.if, however, the urine test suggests that a rape victim has ovulated, berry continued, doctors at centura's catholic hospitals are not to mention emergency contraception. that means the victim can end up pregnant by her rapist. - denver post
women get raped twice...once by a human... and then by the religious system.
at present, two of the three most dangerous california volcanoes are not only in the northern part of the state, several hours' drive from san francisco, but those two -- mount shasta and lassen peak -- are like bomb factories without burglar alarms: they're inadequately monitored with seismic and other scientific instruments that could provide "24-hour, seven-day-a- week" monitoring and early warnings of disasters, the report said.
all three volcanoes -- the third is the long valley caldera, on the eastern side of the sierra nevada -- are frequent tourist destinations.
"we cannot afford to wait until a hazardous volcano begins to erupt before deploying a modern monitoring effort," usgs director chip groat said in a statement that accompanied the report. "the consequences put property and people at risk, including volcano scientists on site and pilots and passengers in the air. it forces citizens, scientists, civil and aviation authorities, and businesses into playing catch-up with a dangerous volcano, a risky game indeed." - sfgate & usgs report
good luck trying to get this administration to admit that science exists. and hey...those tax cuts really help into funding alert systems.
(note to self....must get mammoth skiing in soon....)
to good intentions.
we are not sure why, but blogger sucks again today. skippy's page is looking a bit weird. we are sorry. it's awol's fault.
peek, the alternet blog on blogs, points out a center for digital democracy report that found the gop-majority directors of the corporation of public broadcasting are deliberately hiding recent polls showing that the public is more than happy with the current formats and tones (and, presumably, mixture of political affiliations) with npr and pbs.
gee, why not write cpb and tell them they should make the result of those polls public? (mention the polls by name: the 2002 poll by the tarrance group and by lake snell perry & assoc., and the june-july 2003 poll by the same folks, which found:
finally, more than half (55 percent) said that pbs programming was “fair and balanced," with strong support for its “high quality programming” and as “a valuable cultural resource.” npr received an even higher approval rating for its programming, including perceptions that it is “fair and balanced” (79 percent of respondents). there was also strong support for government funding of public broadcasting (with only 10 percent of those surveyed believing that the annual $1.30 per capita funding was "too much").
go say hello to lanl: the real story that made the nytimes with a little news of their "rebelliousness"
a blog rebellion among scientists and engineers at los alamos, the federal government's premier nuclear weapons laboratory, is threatening to end the tenure of its director, g. peter nanos.
..several outside experts said that the director's quick departure was inevitable and that the blog's attacks were playing a significant role.
"nanos is leaving," said greg mello, director of the los alamos study group, a private organization in albuquerque that monitors weapons laboratories. "the blog changed the climate, giving people an outlet they didn't have before."
now if we could only get rid of the 1600 crew...
what would the world look like if the “reds” who claimed to be christian cared more about imprisoned christians than fetuses? wonder no more, the anwser is here.
via the raw story
fbi raids noe's condo, seizes 'some property' - investigators seek evidence of campaign-fund activity - the federal probe into whether local republican fund-raiser tom noe was illegally funneling money to the bush campaign had been ongoing for months. it reached a turning point wednesday night.
fbi agents swept into mr. noe’s maumee condo about 7:30 p.m., spending three hours scouring the home of one of the most prominent republicans in northwest ohio. they were looking for evidence of violations of federal campaign contribution laws.
the federal probe is studying mr. noe’s campaign contributions to the president, and specifically contributions made by others who may have received money from mr. noe, possibly allowing him to exceed the $2,000 spending cap.
tom delay has a buckeye buddy.
a pregnant 13-year-old girl in hlorida has been told she cannot have anand in her own words:
abortion because she lacks the maturity to make such a decision. - bbc
"why can't i make my own decision?"
"i don't know," circuit judge ronald alvarez replied, according to a recording of the closed hearing obtained friday
"you don't know?" replied the girl, who is a ward of the state. "aren't you the judge?"
"i don't think i should have the baby because i'm 13, i'm in a shelter and i can't get a job," the girl said as alvarez and her guardian ad litem, assigned to shepherd her in the legal system, questioned her.
"since you guys are supposedly here for the best interest of me, then wouldn't you all look at that fact that it'd be more dangerous for me to have the baby than to have an abortion?" she asked. alvarez called that "a good point." - sun sentinel
well...she actually sounds more mature than those emposing a forced pregnancy upon her.
A call about a possible weapon at a middle school prompted police to put armed officers on rooftops, close nearby streets and lock down the school. All over a giant burrito. - yahoo/ap
apparently they've never been to chipotle.
former doe official pleads guilty to fraud - washington -- a former deputy undersecretary for safe and drug free schools at the education department pleaded guilty to charging the government for personal travel, including trips to texas where he continued working as a visiting judge while employed in washington.leave no bureacrat behind. what we marvel at is the scope of their rapaciousness – from the retirement security of an entire generation, to one hack’s travel expenses and pension accrual points – they will steal anything that is not nailed down and then they will pass laws authorizing the purchases of cat’s paws to remove the offending nails.
eric andell pleaded guilty to one count of conflict of interest, the justice department said friday. he faces up to one year in prison and has agreed to reimburse the federal government $8,659.85. he will be sentenced july 29.
the charge stems from expenses on 14 trips from late 2002 to september 2003 that federal authorities say were motivated in part by his desire to accrue service time toward receipt of a pension from the state of texas.
lawmakers' help for drug firm tests limits - fda calls efforts for bayer illegal - the german pharmaceutical giant bayer suffered a serious setback last year when a federal administrative law judge backed a proposed ban on a drug used to fight poultry infections at factory farms. the judge cited growing scientific evidence suggesting that the practice was reducing the effectiveness of antibiotics vital to human health.we're not sure this even qualifies as a scandal anymore. once people realize that the purpose of government is to help corporations make more money, these kinds of incidents will happen less frequently.
facing defeat in a three-year legal battle, bayer sought help in a new arena -- congress. in a letter written in the office of rep. charles w. "chip" pickering jr. (r-miss.), and with the assistance of a bayer lobbyist who was a longtime pickering friend, 26 house members argued that the poultry medicine was "absolutely necessary to protecting the health of birds." it called on lester m. crawford, acting commissioner of the food and drug administration, to set aside the judge's decision regarding the class of drugs. the bayer product is known as baytril.
the baytril case provides an unusual look at an attempt by lawmakers to influence the executive branch's handling of an important public health issue involving parochial economic interests and complex science. in stepping in, the congressmen entered a murky area and overstepped legal limits on their involvement, fda officials said. while members of congress frequently write to agencies as part of regular oversight, they are not supposed to intervene in formal, trial-type proceedings.
less than a month after the july 22, 2004, letter, the fda informed the legislators in writing that their attempt to sway crawford violated federal rules intended to shield him and other decision makers in similar quasi-judicial proceedings from outside pressure. they admonished the lawmakers that they were "not allowed" to communicate with crawford because the lengthy public record of testimony and documentary evidence was closed.
string of explosions kills 50 in iraq - secondary blasts place rescuers at risk; 3 u.s. soldiers among dead - baghdad, april 29 -- after four waves of bombs, suicide attacks and mortars detonated friday in the adhamiyah neighborhood in the capital, a woman trapped in a charred, overturned van and cradling an infant in her arms screamed for help. but help was slow in coming. security forces in some areas held back ambulances for more than an hour, fearful of more explosions aimed at rescuers. [--snip--]but chalabi’s got the oil ministry. what, us worry?
it was the deadliest day in iraq since early february. many of the attacks were aimed initially at iraqi and u.s. police and soldiers on patrol or resting, with secondary bombs killing those who rushed to save them.
"so quick bright things come to confusion," shakespeare, a midsummer’s night dream
we think he’ll screw the poor as soon as he’s finished shackling the middle class. this week, for example, when the republicans had the option of asking wealthy people to take $96 billion instead of $106 billion in tax cuts – they chose to cut medicaid, a program whose purpose is to provide health care to the uninsured poor.
bush plan aids poor, squeezes the rest - washington — as the full dimensions of president bush's social security plan come into view, so too does a broader vision: improving benefits for the poorest americans while reducing the reliance of everyone else on government programs that long have seen them through economic difficulties.
"what you're going to see is an effort to scale back middle-class entitlements that many people do not need and to become more focused on the antipoverty aspects of these programs," said michael tanner, an expert on social security at the cato institute, a washington think tank that advocates small government.
but wait, pudentilla asks – if the government takes 12.5% of her paycheck every month - how is social security an entitlement – as opposed to say a very efficiently (indeed far more efficiently than the private sector could) managed retirment insurance program. we also think it is somewhat presumptuous of the cato institute to tell any americans that they “do not need” social security.”
according to estimates by the social security administration, a worker making $36,000 in current dollars would have an annual benefit reduction of about $7,600, or 28%, by 2075 — the year used in most measures of the program's solvency. for a worker making $90,000, the reduction would total almost $22,000, or 50%.well, as cookie jill noted early this morning, john kerry warned us that awol was lying and that he would try to screw us. and now awol et al. are aren't even trying to pretend otherwise.
social security officials estimate that if nothing is done to correct the program's finances, the system's reserves will be depleted in 2041. but even then, it could remain solvent by cutting benefits about 25% across the board.
john f. kerry accused president bush of having a secret, second-term plan to privatize social security starting in january, telling a church audience sunday that the idea is "a disaster for america's middle class."
kerry based this allegation on a secondhand, unattributed account of a private speech bush reportedly delivered to republican supporters in september. "i am going to come in strong after my swearing in . . . with fundamental tax reform, tort reform, privatizing of social security," bush was quoted as saying in a sunday new york times magazine article that was highly critical of the president. tt was written by ron suskind, co-author with former treasury secretary paul h. o'neill of a book condemning the bush administration.
steve schmidt, a spokesman for bush, said kerry lifted a "made-up" quote from a reporter hostile to bush "to make a false, baseless attack." schmidt said the president never used the word "privatized" because his plan would not privatize the system. - wapo
the democratic vice president's plan is aimed at keeping social security solvent through at least 2050 by continuing to balance the budget, paying down the national debt and using the interest saved from debt reduction to shore up the social security trust fund.
gore has argued that privatization plans would divert social security funds to the stock market and risk taxpayer dollars. a downturn on wall street, gore warned, could bankrupt the entitlement program, force benefit cuts, or lead lawmakers to increase the retirement age.
"to turn social security into a system of winners and losers would jeopardize social security for all americans," he said. "you shouldn't have to roll the dice for basic retirement security, and shouldn't pay for others to do so."
and white house spokesman joe lockhart also took aim at bush's plan, saying that the texas governor's tax cut proposal would not leave enough resources to fund it.
"you're talking about a plan that will likely mean deep cuts in the social security guaranteed benefits, and is based on the fact that he hopes that the stock market does well," lockhart said.
"and I think when you're talking about a guaranteed benefit program, you don't base it on hope," he said. "and in this case, if the stock market performs poorly, the result would either be cuts for america's seniors, or some sort of bail out of the program." - cnn
But don't worry, be happy, bush insisted four years ago. he could avoid those nasty options, push through a big tax cut and create private accounts because the large budget surpluses built up during bill clinton's presidency would allow us to have it all.
"there's enough money to take care of social security," bush said during the 2000 primaries. "there is enough money to meet the basic needs of our government. and there is enough money to give the american people a substantial tax cut, and that's what I intend to do."
during the third debate with al gore, bush was equally confident. "one of my promises is going to be social security reform, and you bet, we need to take a trillion dollars out of that $2.4 trillion surplus."
both mccain and gore tried to insist that free lunches don't exist. "it's fiscally irresponsible to promise a huge tax cut that is based on a surplus that we may not have," mccain told bush at the time of the 2000 primaries. - san diego union tribune
Friday, April 29, 2005
yes! there is rejoicing throughout blogtopia (and yes! we coined that phrase) because, thanks to a heads up from our blog buddy the political moose, we learned that...wait for it...today skippy was mentioned on "inside the blogs"! today dear abbi said:
we are glad that not only did abbi quote our blog, but also gave the world our url, which almost rhymes!
now we are forced to take back every single thing we ever said about abbi, jacki and judy. and, if you're as thrilled about this development in media journalism as we are, why not write the girls and thank them?
gov. schwarzenegger has, and he likes him:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who outraged some Mexican-American groups last week by calling for a closed border, praised the civilian volunteer Minuteman Project for its patrols to spot illegal immigrants.the governor, who's seen his popularity plummet to record lows in recent months, seems determined to finish the job himself. he's already had to apologize for saying that the u.s. needs to "close the borders."
"Look, they've cut down the crossing of illegal immigrants by a huge percentage," Schwarzenegger told KFI-AM's "The John & Ken Show" on Thursday.
he blamed that faux pas on his ongoing problems with the english language. guess it's not easy being an immigrant, eh, arnold?
house republicans injected new urgency friday into their drive to overhaul social security, unveiling plans to draft legislation in june and brushing aside democratic claims they intend to cut benefits for middle-class retirees
"i'm confident we're going to get something done," said president bush, struggling to build support for the centerpiece of his second-term domestic agenda. after months of little evident progress on the issue, house republicans said they intended to have legislation before the ways and means committee by june. "it won't just be a social security bill. It will be a retirement bill," said rep. bill thomas, the chairman. - yahoo/ap
brad delong tells you what bushco doesn't want you to know:
what the federal reserve is telling us is that the 20-year tip is currently providing a real yield of 1.87% per year. what bush is not telling you is that, under the bush plan, if you divert $1000 from your social security to private accounts, that amount is clawed back--charged to an account associated with your normal social security benefit, that amount is then compounded at 3% per year plus the rate of inflation, and then after you
retired deducted over time from your normal social security benefit.
if you are 45 and if bush's plan were available today...
follow george w. bush's advice, divert $1,000 into your private account, invest it in tips, and at the 1.85% per year interest rate
you will indeed by able to collect an extra amount worth $10.11 a month in today's dollars when you retire at 65...
but the clawback would reduce your normal social security benefit by $14.16 a month. you're $4.05 a month behind.
it's not a "retirement bill"....let's call their plan what it truly is.....class warfare at it most vile.
to the webfaerie.
nico pitney at think progress decides that last night awol's speech was very heavily luntz-influenced.
[ed. note: apologies to the dkos poster from whom we stole that line...we don't remember their name, please feel free to hate us for plagarism.]
the students at princeton, in protest of the proposed nucular option against the filibuster, are filibustering dr. senator frist at the bill frist campus center (the irony is not only palatable, but delectably so), are holding a filibuster of their own.
students and a few faculty members have read from biographies of the judicial nominees, poetry, the constitution, monty python, the declaration of independence, princeton's "rights rules and responsibilities" policy, the princeton university student phonebook, articles and editorials on "justice sunday," wendell berry essays, and children's books. we've also enjoyed some lighter moments of ad-libbing.
keep going, kids! we love the smell of campus protests in the morning!
thanks to armando at dkos, we see that sullivan has left the dark side:
this isn't just about gays, although we've felt the sting of the movement more acutely than most. it's about science, stem cell research, the teaching of evolution, free access to medical prescriptions, the legality of living wills, abortion rights, censorship of cable and network television, and so on. the schiavo case woke a lot of people up. i was already an insomniac on these issues. maybe i'd be more effective a blogger if i pretended that none of this was troubling, or avoided the gay issue and focused on others. but i'm genuinely troubled by all of it, and by what is happening to the conservative tradition. i'd like to think that a qualified doctor like bill frist could say on television that tears cannot transmit hiv. but he could not - because the sectarian base he needs to run for president would not allow it. i'm sorry but that's nuts. i'm glad glenn is now calling attention to all of it.
one down, 33 million to go...
let's open the ol' skippy mailbag...
joe gandelman at the moderate voice points out that dc listeners are getting tired of political talk radio;
human rights first has a movie illuminating the difference between what the administration said it would do since abu ghraib and what it actually did do (blame the grunts in the field);
the roubini global economics monitor presents a new white paper on their recent trip to china;
and joseph braude at the new republic considers nato's problem reaching out to the arab world.
to and, yes, i do take it personally.
a enlightening editorial from jack hitt
what would jesus filibuster? the question is bizarre, of course, but the fact that many prominent religious and political leaders believe that there is an answer surely marks our time as pretty strange.namaste
how quickly it has all happened — that the media, particularly television, has convinced itself that christianity is little more than a republican political action committee. when the pope died, cnn's wolf blitzer introduced former clinton aide paul begala and right-wing pundit robert novak this way: "bob is a good catholic; I'm not so sure about paul begala." at the bottom of the screen, cnn ran an informative factoid for the audience: "many catholic doctrines are conservative.
"broadcast media prefer to cast christianity in the role of "right-wing values pac" because it's so neat and tidy. they don't much like even to say the name jesus on air because then we might have to talk about his ideas. "evangelical christianity" is much simpler because you can treat it as just another special-interest group, like the teamsters or the neocons.
...curious. jesus updated the ten commandments in his most famous speech, the sermon on the mount. in it, one finds the eight beatitudes. why don't we ever hear about nailing those somewhere? here's why: it's not simply the law in the ten commandments that attracts fundamentalists. rather, it's the syntax.
the authoritarianism of so many "thou shalt nots."the syntax of jesus' eight beatitudes is not so easy (blessed are the poor in spirit…. blessed are the peacemakers). these words invite the kind of hard questions that jesus loved to tweak his followers with. how are they blessed? and why? it's just like jesus to leave us with questions instead of answers.
the jesus who speaks in the gospels is nothing like the fuming republican jesus i see on tv now. jesus was a leader who understood that ambiguity and doubt are not to be feared but are, simply, facts of life that a great teacher exploits to guide his followers on their own paths toward conviction and belief. - latimes
racial data sought for bush event - secret service says request is routine - the secret service has requested racial information on journalists and guests scheduled to attend a reception tomorrow night with president bush.if the journalists had any moral courage they’d boycott the event (– this is an example of a contrary-to-fact condition). but they’ll go and let awol rub the bald men on the head. and rove will check the “dog whistle” box next to the racist constituency line on his todo list.
white house reporters said they were offended that after furnishing the customary information -- name, date of birth and social security number -- they were also asked for the race of each person expected to attend the small reception scheduled before the white house correspondents' association's annual dinner. [--snip--]
a spokesman for the secret service, lorie lewis, said it is routine for the agency to request all five main "identifiers" used in the fbi's national crime information center database: name, birth date, social security number, sex and race. if all five were not requested before, "it may have been a mistake or an omission," she said. [--snip--]
a white house official from the clinton administration said race was not a field in the form it used to clear visitors into the executive mansion. a bush white house spokesman referred calls to the secret service.
turn your back on awol version
economy surprises experts with sudden slowdown - u.s. economic growth slowed sharply in the first three months of the year, to the weakest pace in two years, as surging energy costs caused consumers and businesses to rein in their spending.their system only works if the rich get richer while the poor get poorer.
the nation's gross domestic product, which is the value of all goods and services produced, rose at a 3.1 percent annual rate during the first quarter, down from a 3.8 percent rate in the final three months of last year, the commerce department said yesterday.
detainee questioning was faked, book says - u.s. military denies staging interviews - the u.s. military staged the interrogations of terrorism suspects for members of congress and other officials visiting the military prison in guantanamo bay, cuba, to make it appear the government was obtaining valuable intelligence, a former army translator who worked there claims in a new book scheduled for release monday.back in the day, this kind of allegation would lead, at least to a hearing or two – you know, from the congresspeople charged with oversight of the military. but we suspect that a few pithy zingers at press conference from rummy will suffice. Congresspeople of both parties wants to be duped, otherwise they would have to contemplate two rather daunting questions: why the hell are we in iraq and how the hell do we get out.
a quick schedule shift by the white house enabled president george w. bush to get considerably wider television exposure than he would have otherwise gotten for thursday's prime-time news conference.
three of the country's four biggest broadcasters gave the president a quick hook, however, by cutting away to entertainment programming before his session was finished. the white house moved the news conference from 8:30 p.m. EDT to 8 p.m. after realizing that cbs, fox and likely nbc would not air it live. abc said all along it would cover the president fully.
the white house tried to be accommodating when it realized it had left the networks in a bind on the first night of the may "sweeps," when ratings are closely watched to set local advertising rates, said white house press secretary scott mcclellan.
bush alluded to a tight television deadline before answering the night's final question. "I don't want to cut into some of these tv shows that are getting ready to air, for the sake of the economy," he said.
he was already too late. shortly before 9 p.m., both cbs and nbc shifted away from bush for analysis as the next-to-last question of the news conference was being asked. the networks ignored the last two questions and were airing survivor and the apprentice before the president finished talking. - canada.com
the bush administration put tv networks in a bind thursday by scheduling a news conference during the first night of the may "sweeps," when ratings are closely watched to set local advertising rates.
thursday is also generally the most lucrative night for advertising revenue, largely because hollywood studios are touting the weekend's new movies - ap
bush is costly to the county is so many ways in one fell swoop.
frist offers compromise on judicial posts - washington, april 28 - trying to head off a showdown in the senate over judicial confirmations, senator bill frist, republican of tennessee, the majority leader, proposed a compromise that would allow the minority party to block lower-court appointees if democrats agreed to give up the power to block nominees for appeals courts and the supreme court.a friendly reminder: have you pledged to donate your five bucks to the howard’s dnc the day the kitten killer goes nuclear?
senator harry reid, of nevada, the minority leader, promptly rejected its terms as "a big wet kiss to the far right."
congress passes budget with cuts in medicaid and in taxes - washington, april 28 - the house and senate broke a lengthy impasse over federal spending thursday night, narrowly adopting a $2.56 trillion federal budget for 2006 that aims to trim the growth of medicaid by $10 billion over five years, add $106 billion in tax cuts and clear the way for oil drilling in an alaskan wildlife refuge.you know, we really don't mean this question rhetorically. couldn’t the rich people take $96 billion in tax cuts and leave the medicaid program for poor people alone? “truly i say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” (matt 19: 23).
bush cites plan that would cut social security benefits -washington, april 28 - president bush called thursday night for cutting social security benefits for future retirees to put the system on sound financial footing, and he proposed doing so in a way that would demand the most sacrifice from higher-income people while insulating low-income workers.of course the nyt’s actual description (still vauge) of the cuts proposed, when they finally get around to offering it on page 2, is, shall we say, slightly more nuananced:
the cuts would fall most heavily on people at upper income levels. the cuts would be less, but still substantial, for middle-income workers. low- income people would suffer no benefit cut at all.isn't the problem with means testing that it would render social security a welfare rather than retirement insurance program? and wouldn't that undermine the widespread, demographic crossing, support the program has enjoyed for decades? and wouldn't that make it vulnerable to political attack and, in the end, legislative dismemberment? oh, we see. nevermind.
the president also declared the news from iraq to be positive, although insurgent attacks on u.s. forces have stepped up in recent weeks.ignore the flag draped over that coffin. awol has spoken.
"i believe we're making really good progress in iraq…. democracy is taking hold," he said.
at least 24 iraqis are killed in car bombings across baghdad - at least 24 people, including civilians and iraqi forces, were killed and up to 94 people were wounded in nine car bombs in the baghdad area and in two bombings near the southern city of basra today, a day after the first fully and freely elected government in iraq's history was approved.do the words "out of touch" leap to mind? why honey, that's so blue, that's so reality-based. it's not like his kids are fighting or anything.
gov. praises 'minuteman' campaign - schwarzenegger says group's patrols against illegal immigrants have been effective. one critic calls remarks 'nothing short of base racism.' - sacramento — calling the nation's borders dangerously porous, gov. arnold schwarzenegger on thursday praised the private "minuteman" campaign that uses armed volunteers to stop illegal immigrants from crossing into the u.s.will the kind of folks who make up the miniscule men campaign actually accept ahnuld as their fuhrer or simply exploit ahnuld’s “let’s pull up the ladder now that i’ve got my green card” rhetoric? and why does ahnuld have to try for their votes in the first place? we thought he was mr. big tent republican whom all those poor middle of the road, fiscally conservative and socially liberal republicans, who couldn't bring themselves to vote for anyone but awol but felt dirty doing it, could vote for?
Thursday, April 28, 2005
and we're going to get "pooched" if we don't do anything. hey...awol...i didn't hear anything about this during your little "chat" with the public this evening. why not?
using ocean data collected by diving floats, us climate scientists released a study thursday that they said provides the "smoking gun" that ties manmade greenhouse gas emissions to global warming.
the researchers, some of them working for nasa and the energy department, went a step further, implicitly criticizing president bush for not taking stronger action to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases.
they said the findings confirm that computer models of climate change are on target and that global temperatures will rise 1 degree fahrenheit this century, even if greenhouse gases are capped tomorrow.
if emissions instead continue to grow, as expected, things could spin “out of our control,” especially as ocean levels rise from melting greenland and antarctic ice sheets, the nasa-led scientists said. "the climate system could reach a point where large sea level change is practically impossible to avoid."
the study, published thursday in the journal science, is the latest to report growing certainty about global warming projections. - msnbc
what part of disaster can't you understand, awol?
did you hear awol this evening....whatcha think? share your thoughts....
think progress has a great rundown. a couple highlights....
president bush said he was “amazed” that a “phenomenal” amount of taxpayer money goes unpaid every year.
what a difference a year makes.
just last august, remember, president bush explained why he’s refusing to close tax loopholes or roll back tax cuts for those earning over $200,000 a year because, as he said, “the really rich people figure out how to dodge taxes anyway.”
the president suggested that we go to some of the states where american employers are given personal accounts. senator barbara boxer not only took that trip but also wrote up a report on it. its conclusion:
“by examining the actual system in place in texas, this study shows that americans are worse off with privatized accounts - not in theory, but in reality.”
here's the political joke of the day from cookie jill:
- one to deny that a light bulb needs to be changed,
- one to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs to be changed,
- one to blame clinton for burning out the light bulb,
- one to tell the nations of the world that they are either for changing the light bulb or for darkness,
- one to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to haliburton for the new light bulb,
- one to arrange a photograph of bush, dressed as a janitor, standing on a step ladder under the banner: lightbulb change accomplished,
- one administration insider to resign and write a book documenting in detail how bush was literally in the dark,
- one to viciously smear #7,
- one surrogate to campaign on tv and at rallies on how george bush has had a strong light-bulb-changing policy all along,
- and finally one to confuse americans about the difference between screwing a light bulb and screwing the country.
oh..yeah...this reeks of civility
reps. tom feeney (r-fla.) and john sweeney (r-ny) have been meeting with 30 house republicans over the past few weeks to coordinate a more aggressive strategy to defend majority leader tom delay (r-texas), according to a republican source familiar with the meetings.
starting last night, republican lawmakers had planned to speak on the house floor during special orders to defend their embattled majority leader. the lawmakers will say that democrats are just as guilty as republicans are of oversights in their record keeping and of taking trips paid for by private groups.
“the republican conference has not yet awakened to the fact that this is a full-frontal attack against republicans, leadership and against mr. delay,” said rep. pete sessions (r-texas), one of the most committed lawmakers. “what we have is a lopsided effort by the democrats to burn down the house.”
rep. patrick mchenry (r-nc), also involved in the group, said, “we’re frustrated by democratic hypocrisy,” adding that the group would fight
back in floor speeches, press releases and letters to minority leader nancy
pelosi (d-ca.) to highlight democrat’s travel violations. “we can’t simply play defense,” he continued.
another gop lawmaker said, “we’re a group of people who think we’ve been involved in a knife fight and it’s time we pick up the knife.” - the hill
have you ever noticed that the rethugs seem to always be so violent (knifing) and make references to sex.(full frontal?). after the refresher course on ethics, perhaps they need to attend some serious "couch" sessions.
cardinal compares gay marriage to nazism - gay rights groups in spain reacted with anger on wednesday after a roman catholic cardinal compared obedience to the legalization of same-sex marriage to the process that led to the creation of nazi death camps, agence france-presse reports. "if you give obedience to the law priority over obedience to your conscience, that leads to auschwitz," cardinal ricard maria carles, former archbishop of barcelona, told a spanish television station."Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana, Life of Reason, Reason in Common Sense, Scribner's, 1905, page 284
just when you thought the whole annthrax cover of time brou-ha-ha had blown over, we bring you news of dead trees duplicity.
readers of this space will remember when we made a big stink over the online version of time magazine incorrectly labeling a picture of the conservative satire group "communists for kerry" as real live lefties prostesting annthrax.
we wrote a letter (as did countless others) to time's editors, and voila, the next day there was a correction on the caption on the online gallery (and, we modestly point out, so many bloggers linked to our letter that our one day traffic total broke records).
we, like you, thought it was over. because, we, like you, are bloggers, who only deal with news in blogtopia (yes! we coined that phrase!) and in our pajamas in our basement. we hardly ever read dead trees media anymore, save in the waiting room of our dentist and the check out line at the grocery store.
which is where we open our story. yesterday we were waiting in line at ralph's, ready to buy some napkins and seltzer water (we have very boring parties).
now, usually our reading material of choice in checkout lines is tv guide, and even then, only the cheers & jeers section (and even then, only the jeers). but we saw annthrax's smiling legs looking up at us from a cover of time, and picked up the magazine.
we were curious, did the dead trees version have the picture in question, and if so, with what caption? so we perused through the issue.
it was worse than we thought. yes, the offending picture is there, half a page's worth, atop page 32. but, get this, there is no caption whatsoever. worse still, it's cropped to eliminate any information that could tell the viewer the protesters are a satirical group.
here's the original pic (caveat: skippy is an html moron. ask cookie jill how long it took us to learn how to even get a picture on our blog, let alone manipulate it. we are unable to present the picture as it appears in the dead trees version of time, so, you'll have to go out and stand in a check out line and see for yourselves):
the top of the photo is cropped just above annthrax's name on the placard, cutting out the "communistsforkerry.com," thus destroying any clues the viewer might use to google the source of the sign. and, on the sign next to it, the words "liberating iraqi children" are gone, making it impossible to discern that phrase, which is obviously ironic in nature.
the only thing left in the photo on the pages of time is the big picture of annthrax with a tape on her mouth and the word "enemy" in red, and the "neo-imperialist" crap at the bottom, both of which, when taken out of context like this, gives the viewer the impression that the protesters are...ok, kids, altogether now:
real live lefties protesting annthrax!
that's right. time magazine, while not exactly lying, commits a sin of ommission by failing to point out to its readers that the half page picture is of conservatives making fun of leftists, not actual human beings stirred to anger by annthrax and her words.
well, what's a bush kangaroo to do? of course, the only logical thing...it's time for another letter!
we take exception to your cover story on ann coulter, not because of mr. cloud’s amazingly self-serving phrase “i couldn’t find many errors” in regard to coulter’s statements, nor do we even write to question your placing such a non-newsworthy subject on your cover on the 10 year anniversary of the oklahoma city bombing (of which you had no reportage). we will let better minds than ours take you to task for that.
we had thought that after many online blogs, including skippy the bush kangaroo, had pointed out your error of labeling a photo of the conservative satire group “communists for kerry” as leftist demonstrators (in your online gallery of pictures), the matter was settled with your online correction.
imagine our chagrin to find the same picture in your newsstand version, only sans any caption at all, and cropped to eliminate all words, phrases and signage which would tell the viewer that the group of protesters was conservative and satirical, and actually supportive of ms. coulter’s point of view.
now it appears as if ms. coulter enrages the left so much that progressives go to a large amount of trouble demonstrating against her.
aside from the laughability quotient of such a premise, your cropping of the picture leads me to believe the online mistake was probably a little more purposeful than we thought. your sin of omission, taking the middle of the picture out of context with no explanation, is unacceptable for a national news organization. while not actually making up the news on the level of a stephen glass, you are deliberately misleading the public to the exact opposite conclusion about the picture than the reality thereof warrants.
it’s as if pat buchanan said “liberals think bush is a satanist” and you reported “in washington, liberals think bush is a satanist.”
you should be ashamed, and we expect a correction in your next issue.
we doubt we'll see it.
president bush made an impassioned plea for an energy plan that would wean the us from imported fuels. "our dependence on foreign energy is like a foreign tax on the american people," he declared in a speech to a gathering of small-business owners and entrepreneurs in washington.
what the country needs is "a national strategy," bush said. "and the most important component of our strategy is to recognize the transformational power of technology. by harnessing the power of technology, we're going to be able to grow our economy, protect our environment, and achieve greater energy independence."
powerful sentiments, indeed. but the words are largely hollow. sadly, the plan bush proposed would do little to increase existing supplies of oil, gas, or electricity, or decrease domestic demand for energy -- the two steps that would really make a difference. charges frank o'donnell, head of clean air watch, a washington-based environmental
group: "the new presidential energy plan seems mainly to be a public-relations stunt aimed at trying to reverse some of the latest polls, which show a growing public discontent with high gas prices -- and the president."
of course, environmentalists such as o'donnell can usually be counted on to bash gop policies. but in this case the criticism is deserved.plenty of evidence indicates that the white house's sudden interest in energy policy is driven far more by politics than substantive policymaking. - businessweek opinion by john carey
ya know...when businessweek notes the stupidity and hypocracy of awol, you know it's going to be "really hard work" tonight.
let's open it up!
left is right takes exception with the ndol analysis of repubbbs in the government;
human rights first.org wants you to oppose the "real id act" in congress;
oliver willis reports that media matters reports that nobody reported that a member of the prince abdulla delegation was denied entry into the us.
delay is likely to be found culpable - experts weigh potential defense - now that it's clear that his controversial private-paid trips abroad will be put under a microscope in congress, tom delay is in serious danger of being declared in violation of house ethics rules, legal experts say.“technical breach” is media speak for a republican’s violation of the direct letter of the law.
lawyers who specialize in ethics cases believe that the republican house majority leader from texas might be in technical breach of at least a few congressional regulations. according to published reports, a registered foreign agent paid for one of delay's overseas trips and a registered lobbyist used his credit card to pay for another foreign airfare -- actions the rules prohibit. delay may also have accepted gifts that exceeded congressional limits, taken an expense-paid trip overseas for longer than the rules allow and not disclosed all of the benefits he received.
republican alabama lawmaker gerald allen says homosexuality is an unacceptable lifestyle. as cbs news correspondent mark strassmann reports, under his bill, public school libraries could no longer buy new copies of plays or books by gay authors, or about gay characters. "i don't look at it as censorship," says state representative gerald allen. "i look at it as protecting the hearts and souls and minds of our children." - cbs newsso....who won't kids be "exposed" to?
maybe it's just me, but i think i would rather kids not be exposed to gerald allen
socrates (469-399 bc) greek philosopher
practiced educational method using analytical cross-examination, emphasizing self-knowledge and rejection of received opinion. dialogues with his pupils recorded by plato.
plato (c.427-347 bc) greek philosopher
key figure in western philosophy, founder of the academy in athens, pupil of socrates and teacher of aristotle. dialogues the symposium and phaedrus celebrated the spiritual love of youths, but tolerated backsliding. love poems to aster.
alexander the great (356-323 bc) king of macedon
conquered most of greece, persia, asia minor, india & egypt (founded the city of alexandria), transmitted hellenic values across the civilized world. mourned the death of his lover hephaestian with extravagant funeral rites.
virgil (publius vergilius maro) (70-19 bc) roman poet
chief writer of classical latin poetry. epic the aeneid glorifies the legendary founder of rome. idealized pastoral eclogues celebrate unrequited love of the shepherd corydon for the beautiful alexis
hadrian (publius aelius hadrianus) (ad 76-138) roman emperor
patron of art, innovative architect (the pantheon; his villa at tivoli), under whose enlightened reforms the empire flourished. deified his lover antinous, icon of male beauty, who mysteriously drowned in the nile.
leonardo da vinci (1452-1519) italian painter, scientist, inventor
renaissance "universal genius", studied art, anatomy, aeronautics, architecture, engineering, hydro-dynamics. mona lisa and the last supper have come to symbolize the essence of art. Imprisoned for sodomy.
michelangelo (buonarroti) (1475-1564) italian sculptor, painter, architect, poet
portrayed heroic male nudes in sculpture, esp. david, dying slave, medici tombs, and frescos the last judgment & sistine chapel ceiling. designs for st peter's, rome. wrote homoerotic love sonnets
sir francis bacon (1561-1626) british lawyer, scientist, philosopher
king's counsel and lord chancellor under james i. advocated empirical science in the advancement of learning and new atlantis. wrote pithy and penetrating essays; "of friendship" celebrates male love
william shakespeare (1564-1616) english playwright, poet
the full range of human life is encompassed by his plays, some with ambiguous plots in which a boy actor plays a girl disguised as a boy. his sonnets describe his love for his "master-mistress" as well as a "dark lady". (ooopsie...you might want to warn laura bush on this one....)
walt whitman (1819-1892) american poet
leaves of grass (1855), major influence on modern american poetry, celebrates the love of comrades, esp. homoerotic passages in the calamus section. male nurse during the civil war. the poet of democracy and a lover of working-class men.
emily dickinson (1830-1886) american poet lived a very private life, secretly writing more than a thousand poems, charcterized by lyrical intensity and paradoxes. Intimate relationship with susan gilbert dickinson, to whom she wrote many passionate love letters.
oscar wilde (1854-1900) irish playwright, poet, critic
aesthete, witty conversationalist, used subversive paradoxes in his plays (the importance of being earnest). imprisoned after losing libel case against father of his lover lord alfred douglas for calling him a sodomite.
marcel proust (1871-1922) french writer
in a la recherche du temps perdu (16 vols), considered the greatest work of 20th cent. literature, he disguised his boyfriend albert as the semi-lesbian albertine, but otherwise dealt honestly & insightfully with gay life & love
willa cather (1873-1947) american novelist
pulitzer prize winner, novels dealing with the character of women and their survival (my antonia), later works focused on the past and catholic faith. also short stories and journalism. had a "boston marriage" with edith lewis lasting 40 years.
virginia woolf (1882-1941) british novelist, essayist
archetypal bloomsbury modernist (to the lighthouse, 1927). feminist advocate (a room of one's own, 1929). androgynous heroine of orlando (1928) is modeled on her lover vita sackvile-west. motto: "women alone stir my imagination."
t(homas) e(dward) lawrence (1888-1935) british soldier, writer
"lawrence of arabia". ww1 army intelligence officer, joined arab revolt against the turks. the seven pillars of wisdom is dedicated to his boyfriend selim ahmad.
cole porter (1891-1964) american composer, songwriter
successful broadway musicals (kiss me kate 1948, can-can 1953) & popular songs ("night and day", "begin the beguine"), often full of witty innuendo ("my heart Belongs to daddy", "anything goes"). flamboyant hollywood lifestyle.
margaret mead (1901-1978) american anthropologist
bisexual cultural relativist, ethnologist & curator at american museum of natural history. popular works coming of age in samoa and growing up in new guinea argued that personality, sexuality & gender are shaped more by culture than heredity langston hughes (1902-1967) african-american poet
central figure in harlem renaissance, founding father of black american literature. popular poetry combining black folk culture, jazz, colloquial speech (weary blues 1926), also plays, short stories, journalism. guarded his privacy.
philip johnson (1906-2005) american architect
prize-winning designer of seagram building in nyc (with mies van der rohe, 1945), lincoln center, postmodernist buildings since the 1980s (at&t building). designed a proposed cathedral of hope for gay & lesbian metropolitan community church.
tennessee williams (1911-1983) american playwright
new york drama critics' circle award for the glass menagerie (1945), pulitzer prize for a streetcar named desire (1948) and cat on a hot tin roof (1955).
truman capote (1924-1984) american writer
gay southern gothic (other voices, other rooms), portrait of a playgirl (breakfast at tiffany's), invented "non-fiction novel" (in cold blood). books became successful films. became a celebrity, petted then dumped by socialites.
james baldwin (1924-1987) african-american novelist, writer
brought up in harlem, lived mainly in paris. autobiographical gay novels giovanni's room, another country. campaigned for black civil rights in usa (the fire next time). exemplifies revolutionary spirit of the 1960s.
allen ginsberg (1926-1997) american poet, activist
the beat generation, with jack kerouac & william burroughs. major notoriety with howl (1955), defiantly gay. anti-establishment speaker at universities 1960s-1970s. poet of drugs, buddhism & gay liberation. many literary awards.
eugene luther vidal, better known as gore vidal (1925 - ) is a well-known american
writer of novels, plays and essays, who would once have been called a "man of letters".
(thanks to rictor norton (compiler), "the great queers of history)
government contractor agrees to settlement of a fraud suit - ending a case that has been closely watched by companies involved in federal contracting, one of the pentagon's largest contractors has agreed to pay the government $2.5 million to settle accusations that it illegally overcharged the air force for environmental cleanup work in texas. the government said company documents showed that four months into the one-year project, the profit had risen to 29 percent. by the end of 2000, when the work was completed, the company found - and did not disclose to the air force - that its profit had jumped to 54 percent, the justice department said. [--snip--]to sum up, a company with half a billion dollars in government contracts routinely mistated its profits by 100% and had to pay chump change. funny, you’d think d.o.j., whom s.a.i.c. has ripped off to the tune of $170 million, would have liked to see a somewhat more emphatic penality. just who is s.a.i.c., you ask? pudentilla tells you here.
last december the air force, which at the time had $513 million in contracts with s.a.i.c., told contract officers to give special scrutiny to the company's cost estimates.
the good news is that the iraqis almost named a government:
iraq's new premier submits his cabinet picks - a vote today could end a three-month impasse. insurgents kill a lawmaker at her home. - baghdad — iraq's new prime minister wednesday proposed a cabinet of three dozen ministers drawn from the nation's major ethnic and religious groups, heralding the end of a three-month political impasse that had contributed to an atmosphere of instability.the not so good news is that although they’ve given the defense ministry to the sunnis, they haven’t identified who will hold the post. indeed juan cole suggests the question of sunni appointments remains more vexed than the article suggests:
but sunnis — who largely stayed away from the polls on election day — have been awarded six ministry posts, including defense, officials said. it was still unclear late wednesday who the defense minister-designate would be.indeed juan cole suggests the question of sunni appointments remains more vexed than this l.a. times article suggests:
the news of some concern is that they couldn’t come to an agreement with allawi’s people, which means no government of national unity:
the apparent exclusion of allawi's slate means the victorious coalition's stated desire to form a government of national unity — involving all major parties — will not be met. but the outgoing prime minister has said he and his allies will be happy to serve as the loyal opposition in the assembly.and the bad news is that insurgents killed their first member of the national assembly.
on wednesday, militants stormed into the baghdad house of an iraqi legislator and shot her to death.at the risk of revealing our utter innocence about the nature of security in iraq, we wonder whether folks shouldn’t be asking how come the homes of national assembly members are so poorly guarded that militants can successfully storm them.
the victim, lamia abed khadouri sakri, was the first member of the new national assembly to be slain; several others have survived assassination attempts.
technology is key to bush's long-term energy plan - president calls on congress to pass his initiatives as way to free u.s. from oil addiction. - bush acknowledged that none of his proposals, including the measures he outlined wednesday, would have much immediate effect on prices at the gas pump. but he said they would help lead the way toward a more diversified energy supply and reduced u.s. reliance on foreign crude oil. [--snip--]“no-plan plans” pitched to perplexed public. doesn't the headline assume the existence of something the article demonstrates is non-existant - i.e., an energy plan? no increase in café standards? no increase in tax-incentives for hybrids? what, do you want an energy policy or something? oh, honey, that's so blue, that's so reality based.
energy analysts said most of the president's new proposals appeared to be modest expansions of previous administration initiatives and did not represent a significant expansion of the government's role in energy production or consumption.
pot laws pain some elders - senior citizens who use medical marijuana to treat their ailments wonder why the federal government wants to just say no to them.easy answer: pharmaceutical companies aren't going to make big profits off an herb anyone can grow in their back yard and "red" politicians will exploit the puritan censoriousness of "values" voters with "just say no policies." if some ill and elderly people have to suffer, well that's just the price the "reds" are willing to pay for victory.
with the u.s. supreme court poised to soon rule on whether medical marijuana laws in california and nine other states are subject to federal prohibitions, elderly patients like hiatt are emerging as a potentially potent force in the roiling debate over health, personal choice and states' rights.
no one knows exactly how many old folks use cannabis to address their ills, but activists and physicians say they probably number in the thousands. and unlike medical marijuana's younger and more militant true believers, the elderly are difficult for doubters to castigate as stoners.
their pains are unassailable. their needs for relief are real. most never touched pot before. as parents in the counterculture '60s, many waged a generation-gap war with children getting high on the stuff.
a recent aarp poll found that 72% of people 45 and older believe adults should be allowed to use cannabis with a physician's recommendation. the poll found a similar proportion staunchly opposed to legalizing recreational pot. even conservative elders such as commentator william f. buckley and former secretary of state george p. shultz have supported marijuana as medicine.
an exhaustive 1999 study by the national academy of science's institute of medicine concluded that marijuana can help curb pain, nausea and aids-related weight loss. the study warned against the toxic effects of the smoke, but said cannabis could be given under close doctor supervision to patients who don't respond to other therapies.