Thursday, April 13, 2006

Post Not Backing Down On Story

UPDATE: White House Seeks Apology, 'Post' Stands By Story:
A few hours later, in an update for Thursday's Post, Warrick observed, 'Whether White House officials were alerted to the technical team's finding is unclear... In any case, senior administration and intelligence officials continued for months afterward to cite the trailers as evidence that Iraq had been producing weapons of mass destruction -- the chief claim used to justify the U.S.-led invasion.'

He also quoted leading Democrats' call that the document finally be declassified. Earlier this week, President Bush defended his instant declassifying of a document cited in 'Scooter' Libby's now-famous leak to reporters in 2003 on grounds that he felt it vital to inform the public about WMD intelligence he used as a basis to invade Iraq.
Well, well! First Hersh, now Warrick; are the reporters (the real ones who actually investigate stories) finally getting their game on again? Is there hope for this country yet?

Uh, Wha?

CBSNews.com: Print This Story:
(CBS/AP) Lawyers for Lewis "Scooter" Libby said the former White House aide does not claim he was ordered by President Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney to reveal the name of a CIA agent as part of a campaign to defend the administration's Iraq war policy.

"We emphasize that consistent with his grand jury testimony, Mr. Libby does not contend that he was instructed to make any disclosures concerning (CIA agent Valerie Plame) by President Bush, Vice President Cheney, or anyone else," the lawyers said in a court filing late Wednesday.

[...]

On Tuesday, Fitzgerald corrected a sentence from last week's filing about declassified portions of the NIE, conceding that he had made it sound like 'a key judgment' of the report was that Iraq was 'vigorously trying to procure uranium' to make a nuclear bomb.

Those exact words aren't in the 'key judgments' section of the NIE, but they appear elsewhere in the report.

Fitzgerald said he should've explained that Libby was told to talk to New York Times reporter Judith Miller about 'some of the key judgments of the NIE and that the NIE stated that Iraq was vigorously trying to procure uranium.'

Libby's defense team also wants records related to former CIA Director George Tenet's subsequent statements that allegations about Iraq and Niger in the NIE had been largely discounted before Mr. Bush included the now-controversial 16 words about Iraqi attempts to obtain uranium in Africa in his 2003 State of the Union address.

Libby's lawyers dispute Fitzgerald's contention that Libby should not be given any of the documents because he personally had not seen the records.
If he never saw them, how was he supposed to make them known to the reporters, etc.? Doesn't it seem like the defense is doing a bit of a song and dance here, like they're trying to defend their client while protecting the people who gave him the orders?

If Libby was told to make some of the key judgements public, why did he make other parts like the Niger document misinformation public? And how did he know about it if he didn't see the documents? Who told him what to say?

Oil And The Deficit

My Way Finance

Everything is connected, you know. Some things more than others.

Your (Republican, Conservative) Congress At Work

The Trojan Pension Bill - New York Times:
So far, the ploy has served only to highlight the extent to which the pension bill is already a grab bag of bad tax ideas.

The House version of pension reform, for example, would permanently increase the before-tax amounts that employees could stash each year in a 401(k). When the 2001 tax law expires as scheduled at the end of 2010, the contribution limit is supposed to revert from $15,000 this year to $10,500. That's prudent. The $15,000 limit is so lofty that no more than 5 percent of households ever contribute anywhere near that much.

If the House gets its way, however, the maximum contribution will remain $15,000, and will rise each year with inflation. This makes no sense. Study after study shows that high earners don't need more tax incentives to get them to save more. Providing additional tax shelter would not lead to new savings. It would simply reward high earners with tax breaks for something they would have done anyway, while worsening the budget deficit.

Because personal savings would not go up, but federal borrowing would, the provision would actually reduce national savings — the sum of private and public saving. A drop in national savings means that the country as a whole is worse off, even if a favored few grow richer.

To add insult to injury, the House's pension bill would also weaken the saver's credit, a tax incentive currently on the books to help low-income people save for retirement. The bill would make the credit a permanent feature of the tax code. But unlike the 401(k) provision, it would not be adjusted for inflation and so would become increasingly less valuable over time.

There is no sensible explanation for doing that. Unlike high earners, low-income people need an extra push to save. What's more, when people who otherwise would not save manage to do so, national savings go up.

Another General "Defects"

My Way News:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A recently retired two-star general who just a year ago commanded a U.S. Army division in Iraq on Wednesday joined a small but growing list of former senior officers to call on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign.

'I believe we need a fresh start in the Pentagon. We need a leader who understands teamwork, a leader who knows how to build teams, a leader that does it without intimidation,' Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who commanded the Germany-based 1st Infantry Division in Iraq, said in an interview on CNN.
So, oviously, we don't need a leader like Rummy. Actually, I don't consider him much of a leader in the first place. More of a schemer, perhaps, or maybe a co-conspirator type.

McCain Courting Iowa Conservatives

My Way News - McCain Courting Iowa Conservatives:
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican Sen. John McCain is courting conservative activists, crucial to any White House hopes, in an early test of his political strength.

He has his work cut out for him in Iowa.

'I don't want to say it's an insurmountable hurdle, but it's a big, big hill to climb,' said Steve Scheffler, who heads the Iowa Christian Alliance, formerly the Christian Coalition. 'There's no support for McCain in this constituency, and I don't see how you can make a scenario where you can bypass us.'

The Arizona senator, who skipped Iowa's leadoff caucuses in his unsuccessful bid for the GOP nomination in 2000, planned a hectic itinerary through the state Thursday, raising money for local politicians and wooing conservatives in private meetings.

Cast as the Republican front-runner in a nascent presidential campaign, McCain has reached out to the conservatives he alienated in 2000, even seeking to make amends with evangelist Jerry Falwell, whom he once labeled intolerant.

'I don't think you can win with just this constituency, but no Republican can win without the support of that constituency,' Scheffler said.
No Rep can win without the wingnut vote? Do tell! And the wingnuts don't like McCain? Wonder who they do like, that's not going to be in jail by 2008?

Analysts Say a Nuclear Iran Is Years Away - New York Times

Analysts Say a Nuclear Iran Is Years Away - New York Times:
It took Tehran 21 years of planning and 7 years of sporadic experiments, mostly in secret, to reach its current ability to link 164 spinning centrifuges in what nuclear experts call a cascade. Now, the analysts said, Tehran has to achieve not only consistent results around the clock for many months and years but even higher degrees of precision and mass production. It is as if Iran, having mastered a difficult musical instrument, now faces the challenge of making thousands of them and creating a very large orchestra that always plays in tune and in unison.

Yesterday, Mr. Saeedi, the Iranian nuclear official, said Iran was moving rapidly toward its atomic goals. 'We will expand uranium enrichment to industrial scale at Natanz,' he was quoted as saying by the ISNA student news agency in a reference to Iran's main enrichment facility. Mr. Saeedi said Iran would start operating the first of 3,000 centrifuges at Natanz by late 2006, with further expansion to 54,000 centrifuges. 'We have no problem in doing that,' he told ISNA. 'We just need to increase our production lines.'

The news from Iran, which holds 10 percent of the world's oil reserves, has made oil markets very nervous in recent days and contributed to a spike in oil prices to nearly $70 a barrel on Tuesday. Oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed at $68.62 a barrel yesterday, just $2 short of their record after Hurricane Katrina.
Yes, but since when has logical analysis held any sway over BushCo? Notice the bit about oil prices. That's what holds sway over BushCo. And higher prices are "good" in the eyes of BushCo.

And A Little Further East...

In Villages Across India, Maoist Guerrillas Widen 'People's War' - New York Times:
Today the Communist Party of India (Maoist), which exists solely as an underground armed movement with no political representation, is a rigidly hierarchical outfit with toeholds in 13 of 28 Indian states. It stretches from the tip of India through this east-central state to the northern border with Nepal, where the Maoists have set off full-scale civil war.

Estimates by Indian intelligence officials and Maoist leaders suggest that the rebel ranks in India have swelled to 20,000, though the number is impossible to verify. One senior Indian intelligence official estimated that Maoists exert varying degrees of influence over a quarter of India's 600 districts.

The top government official in one of Chhattisgarh's rural Maoist strongholds, Dantewada, acknowledged that the rebels had made some 60 percent of his 6,400-square-mile district a no man's land for civil servants.
Great, just great. And India is yet another nuclear power. It's so nice to have nuclear powers falling apart at the seams! No wonder BuchCo made a nuclear deal with India. Sounds like a great investment.

Lenient Rule Set for Rebuilding in New Orleans - New York Times

Lenient Rule Set for Rebuilding in New Orleans - New York Times:
Now, the federal government — by making rebuilding requirements less stringent than had been anticipated — appears to have concurred, though FEMA officials did not say specifically why they chose the three-foot figure. Some experts were critical of the decision. 'It's wacky,' said J. Robert Hunter, a former director of the federal flood insurance program. 'Three feet — where did that come from? Why are we building up three feet, when the water was up over the roof?

'What's that three feet going to do?' Mr. Hunter asked. 'Instead of coming up with real science, they're making it up. Which means that people are going to be at risk, they're going to die again, and taxpayers are subsidizing unwise construction with very cheap insurance.'
So what else is new? I expected this to happen. Politically, nobody wants to look like they are getting in the way of New Orleans being rebuilt. The really sad thing is, it won't get rebuilt in a way that guarantees this won't happen again. The Feds have lost the ability to learn from the past or prepare for the future. They only care about the now.

Autopsy Spurs Calls for 9/11 Health Care

My Way News - Autopsy Spurs Calls for 9/11 Health Care:
The government now funds screening and treatment programs, but lawmakers, including Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., have for years complained the programs do not get enough federal support to reach and treat all the people affected by the attacks and their aftermath.

'It is truly sad,' Maloney said in a statement, 'that four and a half years after 9/11 the federal government still does not have a comprehensive plan to treat those who are suffering.'
It IS truly sad. This Congress has got to go. November cannot come too soon.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

E-Mails Show Abramoff's Donation Leverage

My Way News - E-Mails Show Abramoff's Donation Leverage:
WASHINGTON (AP) - When Jack Abramoff's lobbying team wanted to press Republican leaders for help with a tribal client, they minced no words. The help was deserved because Abramoff's clients overwhelmingly donated to Republicans.

E-mails that have become important evidence in the Abramoff corruption probe state the lobbyist's team bluntly discussed with a Republican Party official using large political donations as a way to pressure lawmakers and the administration into securing federal money for the Saginaw Chippewa of Michigan.

Abramoff's team ultimately prevailed in securing federal school building money for the Saginaw, overcoming opposition from a single Republican congressional aide and a federal agency along the way. And the lawmakers who helped get thousands of dollars in fresh donations.

Federal bribery law prohibits public officials from taking actions because of gifts or political donations and bars lobbyists from demanding government action in exchange for donations.

[...]

A staffer for the National Republican Congressional Committee, Jonathan Poe, suggested Abramoff's team compile a list of tribal donations, comparing Republicans with Democrats, to help make the case for lawmakers to overrrule Kaplan, the e-mails state.

Poe's "suggestion for me was to have a list of money contributed by tribes broken down 'r' to 'd' so that I can make the cleanest argument that we are about to let the Senate Democrats take credit for the biggest ask of the year by the most Republican-leaning tribes," Abramoff lobbying associate Neil Volz wrote.

Abramoff's team obliged, creating a tally that showed his tribal clients overwhelmingly donated to Republicans - $225,000 compared with $79,000 for Democrats.
I think this about says it all. But just to make sure:
Abramoff's team devised a multi-pronged strategy.

Tony Rudy, an Abramoff colleague who was a former top aide to then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, reached out to his old boss' office. Rudy recently pleaded guilty in the corruption probe and is assisting prosecutors.

"I just came out of a meeting with DeLay's folks. Joel ain't budging," Rudy wrote, referring to Kaplan.

Abramoff was copied on each of the e-mail exchanges, at one point affirming the strategy. "This is brilliant," Abramoff wrote.

Abramoff's team persisted, calling the White House intergovernmental affairs office that often deals with Congress.

"Just talked to White House intergovernmental. I'm pretty sure they will weigh in. Just trying to figure out if they should call Joel or some other player in this drama," Abramoff associate Kevin Ring wrote.
Are you nauseous yet? You should be.

GOP Leaders Back Down On Immigration

My Way News - GOP Leaders to Drop Felony for Immigrants:
WASHINGTON (AP) - The two top Republicans in Congress, confronted with internal party divisions as well as large public demonstrations, said Tuesday they intend to pass immigration legislation that does not subject illegal immigrants to prosecution as felons.

A written statement by House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, did not say whether they would seek legislation subjecting illegal immigrants to misdemeanor prosecution or possibly a civil penalty such as a fine.
We won one!

You Betcha!

'Stormy' 6 Weeks Ahead For Gas Prices - CBS News:
What's fueling this year's price run-up?

'I think the price of crude oil is high because it's become the darling of the investment community and the speculative community,' Kloza said. 'You have tremendous money flow coming into crude as an investment, into crude oil futures. And as long as that happens it's very difficult for crude oil prices to move lower.

'You know, $70 is about 12 or 13 times the cost of producing it. And more typically in the past it sold for three or four or five times the cost of producing it.'

But one thing that's not contributing is the driving habits of Americans, Kloza added.

The Energy Information Administration says it expects gasoline consumption to rise as much as 1½ percent over the same time last year.

Kloza begs to differ, saying: 'They probably base that on percentage of disposable income, but never underestimate the American public's ability to sort of scorn or spite the oil companies. I think, as prices get close to $3, people will drive less just because they're so annoyed.'
No kidding?! Drive less? Buy greener rides? What is this world coming to?!

Outside Of The Box?

My Way News - La. Parish Considers Hiring Ex-FEMA Chief: "Brown's understanding of the system's red tape would speed the flow of federal recovery money, said Parish President Henry 'Junior' Rodriguez."

Pants On Fire! Pants On Fire!

My Way News:
The three-page field report and a 122-page final report three weeks later were classified and shelved, The Washington Post reported. It added that for nearly a year after that, the Bush administration continued to public assert that the trailers were biological weapons factories.

The authors of the reports -- nine U.S. and British civilian experts -- were sent to Baghdad by the Defense Intelligence Agency, or DIA, the newspaper said.

A DIA spokesman told the paper that the team's findings were neither ignored nor suppressed, but were incorporated in the work of the Iraqi Survey Group, which led the official search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

The team's work remains classified. But the newspaper said interviews revealed that the team was unequivocal in its conclusion that the trailers were not intended to manufacture biological weapons.
He lied, and people died. It's true.

More Bad News From Iraq

Speaker Says Iraq's Parliament Will Convene Next Week - New York Times:
The fatality rate this month is the highest since last October and the second-highest since January 2005, according to Iraq Coalition Casualty Count.

The sudden spike in American fatalities could signal a renewed offensive against the American military, though American military officials said today it was premature to draw any conclusions.
Sorry. It's kind of hard to be positive when it just keeps getting worse.

Autopsy Links Cop's Death To 9/11 Dust - CBS News

Autopsy Links Cop's Death To 9/11 Dust - CBS News: "(CBS/AP) The death of a 34-year-old police detective who developed respiratory disease after working at ground zero is 'directly related' to Sept. 11, 2001, a New Jersey coroner said in the first known ruling positively linking a death to recovery work at the World Trade Center site. "

But, didn't the head of the EPA say the site was safe? Hmmmmmm.

BushCo's Pants On Fire!

Did White House Push Bogus WMD Claim? - CBS News:
(CBS/AP) When two small trailers were seized in Iraq in late May 2003, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory. The administration called the trailers mobile 'biological laboratories,' and Mr. Bush declared: 'We have found the weapons of mass destruction.'

Three years later, The Washington Post is reporting that the Bush administration publicly made that claim at that time even though U.S. intelligence officials already had strong evidence the trailers were not labs for making large scale biological weapons.

[...]

The Post notes that in late June, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell declared that the "confidence level is increasing" that the trailers were intended for biowarfare. In September, Vice President Cheney pronounced the trailers to be "mobile biological facilities," and said they could have been used to produce anthrax or smallpox.

But a secret mission to Iraq, according to the Post, had already concluded the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of a Pentagon-sponsored mission, according to a report on the newspaper's web site, sent their findings to Washington in a report on May 27, 2003 - two days before the president's statement.

The newspaper says both the brief initial report, and a 122-page final report finished soon after that, were shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly claim the trailers were weapons factories.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Amen, Digby! Amen!

Hullabaloo:
A reporter needs to ask the following question:

If the president was willing to authorize leaking of national security information to reporters for political purposes, why should we believe he won't authorize warrantless wiretaps on Americans for political purposes?

"Pattern of... leaks"

Hullabaloo

Bush and Cheney Discussed Plame Prior to Leak

Jason Leopold: Bush and Cheney Discussed Plame Prior to Leak:
" In early June 2003, Vice President Dick Cheney met with President Bush and told him that CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson was the wife of Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson and that she was responsible for sending him on a fact-finding mission to Niger to check out reports about Iraq's attempt to purchase uranium from the African country, according to current and former White House officials and attorneys close to the investigation to determine who revealed Plame-Wilson's undercover status to the media.

Other White House officials who also attended the meeting with Cheney and President Bush included former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, her former deputy Stephen Hadley, and Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove."
Throwing Cheney under the bus? That could backfire (excuse the pun).

Bush Knew Niger Claims Were False When He Leaked Them

Bush Knew Niger Claims Were False When He Leaked Them:
" In an interview with The Times in 2004, a senior intelligence official involved in drafting the estimate said the uranium allegations were excluded from the key judgments because the drafters knew there were serious doubts about their accuracy.

As a result, the official said, the drafters cast the uranium allegations as a minor element in the overall assessment of Iraq's nuclear capabilities. The assertion that Iraq was 'vigorously trying to procure' uranium was mentioned on the bottom of Page 24 of the 90-page document. The drafters also noted, in an annex attached to the end of the document, that State Department intelligence officials considered the uranium allegation 'highly dubious.'"

Jason Leopold: Bush and Cheney Discussed Plame Prior to Leak

Jason Leopold: Bush and Cheney Discussed Plame Prior to Leak

Oh, what a tangled web we weave...

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

The Anonymous Liberal: "Because Libby so badly misrepresented the content of the NIE, it is very difficult for the White House to claim that the President authorized the disclosure without also implicating the President in a rather egregious bit of deception. That's why it's important that reporters press the White House on the specifics of Bush's 'declassification' order. Which portions of the NIE did the President want reporters to know about and how did he want those portions to be represented? These are important questions, not just politically but legally. Only the portions of the NIE Bush actually mentioned can even arguably be described as having been declassified.

If reporters do their jobs and press the White House for answers to these questions, they may end up driving a wedge between the White House, on one side, and Libby and Cheney on the other. Up until now, the White House has been very careful not to say anything bad about Libby or to do anything to add to his legal troubles. Their worst fear is that Libby will flip and begin cooperating with Fitzgerald, a move that would spell disaster for the Vice President. But if Libby's testimony continues to cause political headaches for the White House--and it will if reporters continue to connect the dots--we will start to see a noticeable rift develop between the White House and the Vice President's Office. Today's White House spin is the first sign of it."

Lest We Forget

In Attics and Rubble, More Bodies and Questions - New York Times:
It was not until Feb. 25 that one of Mr. Blanchard's uncles nudged the front door open with his foot and spied Ms. Blanchard's hand. Dressed in her nightgown and robe, she lay under a moldering sofa. With her was a red velvet bedspread that her daughter had given her and a huge teddy bear.

The bodies of storm victims are still being discovered in New Orleans — in March alone there were nine, along with one skull. Skeletonized or half-eaten by animals, with leathery, hardened skin or missing limbs, the bodies are lodged in piles of rubble, dangling from rafters or lying face down, arms outstretched on parlor floors. Many of them, like Ms. Blanchard, were overlooked in initial searches.
Just too sad! BushCo wants to cut more taxes. Think that will help?

It Just Keeps Getting Worse

My Way News:
KUWAIT (Reuters) - Iran is producing enriched uranium from 164 centrifuges, influential former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani told Kuwait's KUNA news agency on Tuesday.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said he would announce 'good news' about Iran's atomic program later on Tuesday. Media speculated he would announce the production of low-grade enriched uranium suitable for running atomic power stations.
Of course, they're playing right into BushCo's hand, whether they know it or not. With an election coming up, will Bush play the war card again?

Hooray for Maine

Maine Adds Fido To Protection Orders - CBS News:
"(AP) Spurred by growing evidence of a link between domestic violence and animal abuse, Maine has enacted a first-in-the-nation law that allows judges to include pets in protection orders for spouses and partners leaving abusive relationships."

With One Filing, Prosecutor Puts Bush in Spotlight - New York Times

With One Filing, Prosecutor Puts Bush in Spotlight - New York Times:
Mr. Fitzgerald's filing talks not of an effort to level with Americans but of 'a plan to discredit, punish or seek revenge against Mr. Wilson.' It concludes, 'It is hard to conceive of what evidence there could be that would disprove the existence of White House efforts to "punish Wilson."'

[...]

One effort — the July 18 declassification of the major conclusions of the intelligence estimate — was taking place in public, while another, Mr. Fitzgerald argues, was happening in secret, with only Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby involved.
Using top secret data to sell an unnecessary war and get back at a political enemy? Highly dubious and certainly unethical. If it's not illegal, it should be!

My Way News - Phone-Jamming Records Point to White House

My Way News - Phone-Jamming Records Point to White House:
The phone-jamming operation has led to three federal convictions and a pending indictment. Prosecutors have not raised questions in court about the White House conversations - but records of the calls were available to them as criminal court exhibits.

The records show that Republican campaign operative James Tobin, who recently was convicted in the case, made two dozen calls to the White House within a three-day period around Election Day 2002 - as the jamming operation was finalized, carried out and then abruptly shut down.

The national Republican Party, which paid millions in legal bills to defend Tobin, says it was 'preposterous' to suggest the calls involved phone jamming.

Democrats have filed a motion asking a federal judge to order GOP and White House officials to answer questions about the phone jamming. The filing is part of the Democrats' civil lawsuit that alleges Republican voter fraud and seeks monetary damages.
Another smoking gun? And just who was making and taking those calls?
The phone records show that most calls to the White House were from Tobin, who became President Bush's presidential campaign chairman for the New England region in 2004. Other calls from New Hampshire senatorial campaign offices to the White House could have been made by a number of people.

Virtually all the calls to the White House went to the same number, which currently rings inside the political affairs office. In 2002, White House political affairs was led by now-RNC chairman Ken Mehlman. The White House declined to say which staffer was assigned that phone number in 2002.
Ah. Well, that explains it.

Tax Cuts on Hold - New York Times

Tax Cuts on Hold - New York Times:
Contrary to the claims of tax-cut supporters, there is no meaningful evidence that the low investor tax rates spur the economy and, in so doing, pay for themselves. That is, as the president's father once put it best, 'voodoo economics.' The investor tax cuts would be paid for by government borrowing. The debt would have to be paid back later, with interest, via tax increases or cuts in government services.

The Senate plans to claim that some of the cost would be paid for by other provisions in the bill that would raise revenue. That's swill. If they can get away with it, senators intend to include measures that raise money in some years and lose money in others, resulting, over all, in a revenue loss. But they've finagled the timing of the measures so that they would bring in revenue just when the money is needed to cover the cost of investor tax cuts. In their world, that counts as paying for the windfall. Don't be fooled.
Yes, please! Don't be fooled again! The tax cuts of BushCo et al are designed to give money to the rich and take services away from the poor. Where's Robin Hood when we need him?

Monday, April 10, 2006

The "Wonderful Life" Defense

BBC NEWS | Business | I'm innocent says ex-Enron chief
As he began the questioning Mr Petrocelli noted that many of Mr Skilling's former colleagues had pleaded guilty to crimes associated with Enron's collapse, and agreed to cooperate with the prosecution.

During the trial, the defence has consistently argued that they were actually innocent and had been pushed into making guilty pleas to avoid trials or long prison sentences.ance itself.

[...]

Mr Skilling has argued that he is innocent and claimed that Enron collapsed because of a lack of market confidence and a "run on the bank" situation when creditors called in loans and the firm did not have enough money to finance itself.
Oh, c'mon! Who cops a plea when they're innocent? Only idiots and people with idiot lawyers (or people being railroaded, which is hardly the case here). The last part says it all. They were a house of cards that came tumbling down, and it was their fault.

Awwww!

My Way News - Golden Retriever Caught After 2 Years

Eeeuuwww!

My Way News - Book Apparently Bound in Human Skin Found

Why So Many Twisters This Year? - CBS News

Why So Many Twisters This Year? - CBS News:
Dan McCarthy, a warning coordination meteorologist for the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., tells The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith that tornadoes so far this year are as violent though no more violent than in the past, 'but there are more of them. We may have set a record in March. We've had 228 reports of tornadoes in March. And of course, now, with the number of reports that we've had this week, we're already looking at 450 for the year.'

Last year, the U.S. had 54 reported twisters in March, and 43 the year before. What's more, June is always the most active month, with 281 tornadoes last year alone.
Four times the number of tornadoes for the month of March from last year, and five times the number two years ago. Could this be more effects from global warming?
"I think we did not see the cold fronts we've seen the last couple of years move across the Gulf in February and March," he said. "So, I think the skin temperature of the water down in the Gulf is abnormally warm, or as normal as it could be, and that brings dew points up in the air, which helps fuel the thunderstorms."
"...abnormally warm, or as normal as it could be." Huh? Is this guy tripping over his own tongue trying to explain the unexplainable or just trying to cover his ass?
McCarthy stressed that "there's really no link" between the number of twisters and last year's unusually active and violent hurricane season.
Yah! And global warming is just a concept. Right!

What's so hard to understand about this? More heat=more water vapor; more water vapor=more numerous and more violent storms (of all kinds!). The only thing left to debate is how bad will it get how fast, and all the more recent evidence is that it's happening a lot faster than anyone anticipated. Meanwhile, we keep burning fossil fuel like it was going out of style. Oh, right, it IS!

Prosecution Sees Setback at Terror Trial in California - New York Times

Prosecution Sees Setback at Terror Trial in California - New York Times

This is the best our government can do in the "War on Terror?" Yikes!

Bush Admits He Lied To Congress

My Way News: "'I wanted people to see what some of those statements were based on. I wanted people to see the truth. I thought it made sense for people to see the truth. That's why I declassified the document,' he said."

Yeah, except he only declassified the parts that made it look like Iraq had WMD and may have been involved with the attacks of 9/11, and left out the majority of the document with analysis that indicated these statements were unsubstatiated or downright false. As far as I'm concerned, he just admitted he lied to Congress, the second time (the first being warrantless surveilance of American citizens) he's openly admitted to perpetrating an impeachable (and criminal) offense.

Sunnis and Kurds Reject Iraqi Leader's Bid - New York Times

Sunnis and Kurds Reject Iraqi Leader's Bid - New York Times:
In the southern town of Qurna, believed by some to be the site of the Garden of Eden, the mayor and his wife were shot dead in their car on Sunday morning.

In Baghdad, concealed bombs in five locations killed at least four people and wounded at least 16. The police in the capital found a total of five bodies at three other sites; the victims had been tortured and shot.

In Kirkuk, to the north, an assailant threw a grenade at an American convoy. The Americans killed him and discovered that he was an Iraqi Army officer, said Col. Yadgar Abdullah, of the Iraqi police.
But it's not a civil war. Nope, not civil at all.

Democracy in the Arab World, a U.S. Goal, Falters - New York Times

Democracy in the Arab World, a U.S. Goal, Falters - New York Times:
Analysts and officials say the political rise of Islamists, the chaos in Iraq, the newfound Shiite power in Iraq with its implication for growing Iranian influence, and the sense among some rulers that they can wait out the end of the Bush administration have put the brakes on democratization.

'It feels like everything is going back to the bad old days, as if we never went through any changes at all,' said Sulaiman al-Hattlan, editor in chief of Forbes Arabia and a prominent Saudi columnist and advocate. 'Everyone is convinced now that there was no serious or genuine belief in change from the governments. It was just a reaction to pressure by the international media and the U.S.'
This was the outcome expected by the "real" analysts, the ones Bush and Company wouldn't listen to, before the invasion of Iraq. In the end, we will have made things worse than they were before we put our foot in it in Iraq. We started this crap when we set up the Shah there. Now they have another reason to hate us and dedicate themselves to our destruction. Just wonderful.

Across the U.S., Growing Rallies for Immigration - New York Times

Across the U.S., Growing Rallies for Immigration - New York Times

Here's my solution, a little out-of-the-box if you will: annex Mexico. With minimum wage laws in effect, the need to move across the border would go away, as would the border itself. Or rather, it would move to a much narrower (and more easily defended) area on the southern end of Mexico. We'd get plenty of natural gas and more offshore drilling sites (as well as better Mexican cuisine). Everybody wins, except for those businesses who depend on slaves low-wage immigrant workers.

2 Exit Polls Show Berlusconi Losing

My Way News - 2 Exit Polls Show Berlusconi Losing:
"ROME (AP) - Exit polls indicated Monday that a coalition led by center-left economist Romano Prodi, who wants to tone down Rome's strong relationship with Washington, was set to beat flamboyant billionaire Premier Silvio Berlusconi in parliamentary elections."

Yet another reason for Bush to be nervous. Berlusconi knows too much (yellow cake), and, out of power, should be easy pickings for criminal charges for the most corrupt (next to the U.S.?) "free democratic" government in the world.

Would you buy a used car from this man?

My Way News - Bush: Iran Strike Plans 'Wild Speculation':
Several reports published over the weekend said the administration was studying options for military strikes, and an account in The New Yorker magazine raised the possibility of using nuclear bombs against Iran's underground nuclear sites.

Bush did not directly respond to that report but said, 'What you're reading is just wild speculation.'
Yeah! He also said Saddam was behind 9/11, there were WMD in Iraq, no Americans were being surveiled without a warrant, and he didn't know anything about all the leaks that were coming from the White House. Does anybody still believe a word this man says? Anyone with half a brain?

Lawyer: Bush Left Leak Details to Cheney

My Way News - Lawyer: Bush Left Leak Details to Cheney:
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush declassified sensitive intelligence in 2003 and authorized its public disclosure to rebut Iraq war critics, but he did not specifically direct that Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, be the one to disseminate the information, an attorney knowledgeable about the case said Saturday.

Bush merely instructed Cheney to 'get it out' and left the details to him, said the lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case for the White House. The vice president chose Libby and communicated the president's wishes to his then-top aide, the lawyer said.
Well, another cat is out of the bag, so to speak. How much longer is this administration going to get away with high crimes and misdemeanors (outing CIA agents, lying to Congress, spying on Americans without warrants, taking bribes,...) and abject incompetence (Katrina aftermath, intelligence failures, 9/11,...)?!!! Probably until November, but this is ridiculous!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

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