Friday, February 03, 2006

Police Suspect Arson at Six Alabama Churches - New York Times

Police Suspect Arson at Six Alabama Churches - New York Times:
CENTREVILLLE, Ala. (AP) -- The FBI is investigating a string of suspected arson fires that damaged five rural Alabama churches late Thursday and early Friday.

The fires were set ''as fast as they could drive from one location to the next,'' Bibb County Chief Deputy Sheriff Kenneth Weems said of the cluster of blazes, all near U.S. 82 and Highway 139.

Most of the churches were Baptist and all were in Bibb County, about 25 miles south of Birmingham.
Wow. I think I'm in some kind of time warp. Just yesterday I found it was really 1984, and now I've somehow ended up in 1959. How long will it take to reach 1917?

CBS News | NASA Watchdog Being Watched Himself | February 3, 2006 12:34:26

CBS News | NASA Watchdog Being Watched Himself | February 3, 2006 12:34:26:
CBS/AP) NASA Inspector General Robert W. Cobb is under investigation after subordinates complained that he failed to investigate safety violations and retaliated against whistle-blowers, the agency confirmed Friday.


Cobb was appointed by President Bush in 2002, after working for a year as an ethics lawyer in the office of the White House General Counsel. Of the 11 inspectors general appointed by Mr. Bush, nine had no previous audit experience.
"...failed to investigate safety violations and retaliated against whistle-blowers?" Sounds like a solid Bush cronie to me. I bet he's been doing a heck of a job there.

Trial for Ex-Aide to Cheney Is Set for January 2007 - New York Times

Trial for Ex-Aide to Cheney Is Set for January 2007 - New York Times

How fortuitous for the Repugs that the trial doesn't even start until after the elections this year. Seems one of Libby's lawyers is "tied up" until next year. I wonder if they had to look very hard for somebody who wouldn't be available until then. Hmmmm.

Oh, and the defense fund drive is going into overdrive. Oh, well. I'm sure Fitzgerald is used to prosecuting against fancy lawyers with big-stake clients. I just hope they draw a decent (un-biased) judge so he has a level playing field.

He Has A Point

A Rational Being: Ruthless Prioritization

Judge Slams Ex-EPA Chief Over Sept. 11 - Yahoo! News

Judge Slams Ex-EPA Chief Over Sept. 11 - Yahoo! News:
The judge let the lawsuit proceed against the EPA and Whitman, permitting the plaintiffs to try to prove that the agency and its administrator endangered their health.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and reimbursement for cleanup costs and asks the court to order that a medical monitoring fund be set up to track the health of those exposed to trade center dust.

In her ruling, Batts noted that the EPA and Whitman said repeatedly — beginning just two days after the attack — that the air appeared safe to breathe. The EPA's internal watchdog later found that the agency, at the urging of White House officials, gave misleading assurances.

Quoting a ruling in an earlier case, the judge said a public official cannot be held personally liable for putting the public in harm's way unless the conduct was so egregious as 'to shock the contemporary conscience.' Given her role in protecting the health and environment for Americans, Whitman's reassurances after Sept. 11 were 'without question conscience-shocking,' Batts said.
Well, one has to have a conscience in order to have it shocked. As far as I can tell, the people who make up this administration (as well as the leadership in the House and Senate, and most likely the two latest Supremes) don't have consciences. If they did, their own shame would drive them to self-destruction. How else can they live with themselves?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Bush is at war with Americanism

Albany, N.Y.: - Print Story

Bush's Successes - Part II

Yep, he's just great at making things worse. Gotta hand it to the guy. He's definitely the best at the worst.

Bush's Success?

Oh, yeah! He's been extremely successful at growing al Qaeda and making the world less safe from terrorism. And considering the way he and his crew have stoked the fires of fear here at home, I'd say he's an excellent "terrorist" himself.

Lobbying Changes Divide House GOP

Lobbying Changes Divide House GOP:
"Just two weeks after House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) pledged to pass far-reaching changes to the rules of lobbying on Capitol Hill, House Republican members pushed back hard against those proposals yesterday, charging that their leaders are overreacting to a growing corruption scandal."

The Repugs can't even pass the watered-down versions of lobby reform. That's probably difficult when a lobbyist has his hand in your pocket. A little too close to the short hairs, so to speak.

Election Update: Do-Over on First Ballot

Election Update: Do-Over on First Ballot:
"House Republicans are taking a mulligan on the first ballot for Majority Leader. The first count showed more votes cast than Republicans present at the Conference meeting."

Man! They even cheat on their own internal elections!

Administration backs off Bush's vow to reduce Mideast oil imports

KR Washington Bureau | 02/01/2006 | Administration backs off Bush's vow to reduce Mideast oil imports:
WASHINGTON - One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally.

What the president meant, they said in a conference call with reporters, was that alternative fuels could displace an amount of oil imports equivalent to most of what America is expected to import from the Middle East in 2025.

But America still would import oil from the Middle East, because that's where the greatest oil supplies are.


He pledged to "move beyond a petroleum-based economy and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past."

Not exactly, though, it turns out.

"This was purely an example," Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said.
It's like an old SNL skit: "What the president meant to say was...." Why can't he say what he means? Because he doesn't mean anything he says, unless it has to do with waging war or screwing the poor, I mean, cutting taxes.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Political Wire: Corruption Links Doubts About Republicans

Political Wire: Corruption Links Doubts About Republicans:
'The lobbyists got their way on an energy bill that gave oil companies more subsidies while doing nothing about high gas prices and home heating; a prescription drug bill that helped the drug companies but gave seniors higher prices and confused plans; and in Iraq, no-bid contracts for Halliburton, fined millions for overcharging the military, costing billions in wasted spending. The Republicans are at the center of a lobbying scandal in Washington that has hurt average Americans.'

A new Democracy Corps poll shows the extent of the problem for Republicans:

* Democrats enjoy a very stable 8-point lead in the generic congressional battles – and a stable lead in the Senate and House contests (using incumbent names) – that has not changed since September of last year.
* Just 31 percent say the country is headed in the right direction, the lowest level for years, with 60 percent wanting a new direction.
* Just 38 percent want to continue Bush’s direction for the country – almost at the low point on that indicator.
* Feelings about the Republican Congress have fallen to their lowest level.
* Independents break overwhelmingly against the Republicans and the direction of Congress: only 16 percent want to continue the direction of Congress.
The Repugs losing one of the houses of congress to the Dems is Bush's worst nightmare. Suddenly, the rule of law will reimpose itself on the executive branch and subpoenaes will rain down on the Reps heads, followed by more indictments than even the Reagan or Nixon years saw, possibly combined! 2006 may become will be the greatest challenge point in the history of the United States.

WSJ/NBC Poll: Bush Below 40% - Public's Focus Is Health Care, Troop Cuts in Iraq:
...Asked who should take the lead in settling national policy, just 25% say Mr. Bush, while 49% prefer Congress to take charge.

The poll of 1,011 adults, conducted Jan. 26-29, has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. Mr. Bush's overall job-approval rating remains at 39%, down from 50% immediately following his 2004 re-election.

The proportion of Americans who credit the president with being 'honest and straightforward' has fallen to 38% from 50% in January 2005; the proportion that gives him high marks for 'strong leadership qualities' is 42%, down from 52%.

AlterNet: War on Iraq: The Fear That Kills

(hat tip to Shakespeare's Sister)AlterNet: War on Iraq: The Fear That Kills:
"In a startling revelation, the former commander of Abu Ghraib prison testified that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, former senior US military commander in Iraq, gave orders to cover up the cause of death for some female American soldiers serving in Iraq."

Remember the stories about the women's bathrooms in the convention center in New Orleans during the Katrina debacle? Seems that the U.S. Army exports its own version of dehumanization of women. Disgusting; and even worse for the efforts to cover it up.

Shakespeare's Sister Sums It Up

Shakespeare's Sister

Think Progress » Media Finally Reports That Gonzales Misled Congress

Think Progress » Media Finally Reports That Gonzales Misled Congress

And he did so while under oath.

Think Progress » Media Finally Reports That Gonzales Misled Congress

Think Progress » Media Finally Reports That Gonzales Misled Congress

And he did so while under oath.

Monday, January 30, 2006

"We're from the (U.S.) gov't and we're here (coming) to help you...

Top News Article |
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush will offer words of support on Tuesday in his State of the Union address to Iranians who want greater freedom as U.S. diplomats push for sanctions over the Islamic republic's nuclear program.

Independent Online Edition > World Politics

Independent Online Edition > World Politics:
At the heart of the proposal, unveiled at a gathering of world business leaders at the Swiss ski resort of Davos, is a push to get countries to account for the cost of failed policies, and use the money saved 'up front' to avert crises before they hit. Top of the list is a challenge to the United States to join an international pollution permit trading system which, the UN claims, could deliver $3.64trn of global wealth.

Inge Kaul, a special adviser at the UNDP, said: 'The way we run our economies today is vastly expensive and inefficient because we don't manage risk well and we don't prevent crises.' She downplayed concerns over up-front costs and interest payments for the new-fangled financial devices. 'The gains in terms of development would outweigh those costs. Money is wasted because we dribble aid, and the costs of not solving the problems are much, much higher than what we would have to pay for getting the financial markets to lend the money.'
So, why haven't we heard much about this here in the U.S.? Could it be because it stems from the U.N. and would therefore legitimize its charter? Or is it because:
The UNDP is determined to ensure globalisation, which has generated vast wealth for multinational companies, benefits the poorest in society.
? The ruling party is ruled by the rich, and this proposal would charge the richest for their largesse and hold them accountable for their policies. It would charge the polluters for polluting, the exploiters for exploiting. These folks are not known for their foresight and compassion. They are likely to view such proposals as threatening rather than redeeming.

Still, it's nice to know that some people somewhere are actually working on the solutions. I hope I see some results before my days are over.

Republicans urge Bush to release records on Abramoff - Yahoo! News

Republicans urge Bush to release records on Abramoff - Yahoo! News:
But the White House stood firm that the records, including photographs of Bush with Abramoff, are irrelevant, and that federal prosecutors have not even asked for them.

In making the case for disclosure, Sen. Chuck Hagel (news, bio, voting record), a Nebraska Republican, said, 'Get it out.'
Right! If you've got nothing to hide, why not let the world know about it? Kind of like our phone conversations and e-mails.

Seems Big Brother doesn't like it when somebody else looks over his shoulder. I wonder why.


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