Friday, May 12, 2006

Experimental Hybrid Cars Get Up to 250 Mpg - Experimental Hybrid Cars Get Up to 250 Mpg:
University of California, Davis engineering professor Andy Frank built a plug-in hybrid from the ground up in 1972 and has since built seven others, one of which gets up to 250 mpg. They were converted from non-hybrids, including a Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Suburban.

Frank has spent $150,000 to $250,000 in research costs on each car, but believes automakers could mass-produce them by adding just $6,000 to each vehicle's price tag.

Instead, Frank said, automakers promise hydrogen-powered vehicles hailed by President Bush and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, even though hydrogen's backers acknowledge the cars won't be widely available for years and would require a vast infrastructure of new fueling stations.

They'd rather work on something that won't be in their lifetime, and that's this hydrogen economy stuff,” Frank said. “They pick this kind of target to get the public off their back, essentially.”
BushCo and Friends could never get us off of oil. That's like the pusher promising to get the junky off of heroin; not gonna happen!

Experimental Hybrid Cars Get Up to 250 Mpg - Experimental Hybrid Cars Get Up to 250 Mpg:
University of California, Davis engineering professor Andy Frank built a plug-in hybrid from the ground up in 1972 and has since built seven others, one of which gets up to 250 mpg. They were converted from non-hybrids, including a Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Suburban.

Frank has spent $150,000 to $250,000 in research costs on each car, but believes automakers could mass-produce them by adding just $6,000 to each vehicle's price tag.

Instead, Frank said, automakers promise hydrogen-powered vehicles hailed by President Bush and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, even though hydrogen's backers acknowledge the cars won't be widely available for years and would require a vast infrastructure of new fueling stations.

They'd rather work on something that won't be in their lifetime, and that's this hydrogen economy stuff,” Frank said. “They pick this kind of target to get the public off their back, essentially.”
BushCo and Friends could never get us off of oil. That's like the pusher promising to get the junky off of heroin; not gonna happen!

Tipping Point: Half of America Wants a Hybrid Car - Tipping Point: Half of America Wants a Hybrid Car:
More than half of all Americans say they would seriously consider buying or leasing a fuel-saving hybrid car, according to a new poll.

Price is the obstacle for many, however.

The CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll found 48 percent of Americans have cut back significantly on the amount they drive because of higher gas prices. The figure is 59 percent for those living in households earning less than $50,000 per year and 36 percent for those making $50,000 or more.

More than half of all Americans (54 percent) said they have reduced household spending on other items because of high gas prices.

Hybrids, meanwhile, aren't selling because of the added cost, even though 57 percent of those polled said they would seriously consider one.
And yet, American car manufacturers seem to be left out of the loop for this information. The one true hybrid currently sold by an American manufacturer, the Ford Escape/Mercury Mariner hybrid SUV, uses Toyota's technology under a licensing agreement. Just a year or two ago, two of the homeland manufacturers, GM and Chrysler, cancelled their experimental electric vehicle projects (EVO-1 and Commander, respectively). I guess Henry Ford was right: you don't need brains to run a company (especially if you're running it into the ground!).

Shakespeare's Sister Calls Out Howard Dean

Shakespeare's Sister:
I’ve got two questions for Howard Dean
| posted by Shakespeare's Sister | Thursday, May 11, 2006 | permalink |

1. Why are you misrepresenting the Democratic Party platform to pander to religious homobigots on The 700 Club?

2. Why are you even on The 700 Club?!

Egads. Is this the best idea the DNC has? Try to win totally unwinnable votes from an audience that still doesn’t consider Pat Robertson a fucking lunatic? Well, I certainly hope that the zero votes you’ll get from that maneuver make up for the votes from the LGBT community and their supporters you’ll lose over it.

Seriously, what is the fucking point of going on The 700 Club to mutter some bullshit like, “The Democratic Party platform from 2004 says that marriage is between a man and a woman. That's what it says,” which, by the way, isn’t even true?
You tell 'im, Sister! This has to be the stupidest thing for the DNC chairman to do that I've heard so far (and I usually like Dean!). Who set this one up? They should be fired immediately!

Howard: Stay away from the punch bowl; it's full of wingnut koolaid!!!!

Kinky Rocks!

Kinky turns in signatures to get on Texas ballot - Yahoo! News:
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Musician and mystery writer Kinky Friedman, brandishing his trademark cigar and spouting one-liners, turned in petitions with nearly 170,000 signatures on Thursday in his bid to run for governor of Texas as an independent candidate.

The 169,574 signatures were more than 3 1/2 times the number needed to get Friedman's name on the ballot in November but they still must be verified, state officials said.
Hooray for Kinky! I hope he runs for president someday real soon!
"Thank God for bars and dance halls," he said. "Every signature counts whether it came from a country club or homeless shelter."

Friedman is conducting an irreverent campaign that includes a lot of humorous one-liners but also appears to be a serious run for the office once held by President George W. Bush.

His positions on controversial issues cross philosophical lines to include support for school prayer but also support for gay marriage.

"Why shouldn't they be as miserable as the rest of us?" he jokes about the gay marriage issue.

Friedman's supporters waved signs on Thursday that said such things as "Down with the Status Quo" and "My Governor is a Jewish Cowboy."

Hayden Gets Defensive

My Way News - CIA Nominee Hayden Defends NSA Programs:
Meanwhile, a lawyer for former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio confirmed that the government approached that company in the fall of 2001 seeking access to the phone records of Qwest customers, with neither a warrant nor approval from a special court established to handle surveillance matters.

'Mr. Nacchio concluded that these requests violated the privacy requirements of the Telecommunications Act,' attorney Herbert J. Stern said in a written statement from his Newark, N.J., office.

Nacchio told Qwest officials to refuse the NSA requests, which kept coming until Nacchio left the company in June 2002, Stern said.

In contrast, AT&T Corp., Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and BellSouth Corp. (BLS) complied with the government's request to turn over phone records shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, USA Today reported on Thursday.
And it's not like Nacchio is any straight-shooting, law-abiding, by-the-book CEO! He's got his own ethical challenges to face. So if he didn't think it was legal, and the NSA didn't challenge that decision, well, it sure smells like a duck....

Traces of Uranium Said Found in Iran

My Way News - Traces of Uranium Said Found in Iran:
Initially, they said the density of enrichment appeared to be close to or above the level used to make nuclear warheads. But later a well-placed diplomat accredited to the International Atomic Energy Agency said it was below that, although higher than the low-enriched material used to generate power and heading toward weapons-grade level.

Still, they said, further analysis could show that the find matches others established to have come from abroad. The IAEA determined earlier traces of highly enriched uranium were imported on equipment from Pakistan that Iran bought on the black market during nearly two decades of clandestine activity discovered just over three years ago.

Uranium enriched to between 3.5 percent and 5 percent is used to make fuel for reactors to generate electricity. It becomes suitable for use in nuclear weapons when enriched to more than 90 percent.


To argue that it never enriched uranium domestically to weapons grade, it cites the IAEA's tentative conclusion last year that weapons-grade traces collected from other sites within the country with no suspected ties to that military came in on equipment from Pakistan.

The origin of the samples now under perusal created some concern in that regard.

One of the diplomats told The Associated Press that the samples came from equipment that can be used in uranium-enriching centrifuges at a former research center at Lavizan-Shian. The center is believed to have been the repository of equipment bought by the Iranian military that could be used in a nuclear weapons program.
Great! Just what we needed! At least the article expresses some cause to be skeptical, but it still fuels the fires of the fear machine at BushCo, Ltd.

CIA Official's Home, Office Searched

My Way News - CIA Official's Home, Office Searched:
The CIA's third ranking official, Kyle 'Dusty' Foggo, has been under investigation by the FBI, IRS, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the CIA's inspector general and the U.S. attorney's office in San Diego, said FBI spokeswoman April Langwell in San Diego.

Under a sealed warrant, officials searched Foggo's Virginia home and his office at the CIA's Langley, Va., campus, Langwell said. She could provide no other details.

The FBI and other agencies have been investigating whether Foggo improperly intervened in the award of contracts to a San Diego businessman and personal friend, Brent Wilkes, who has been implicated in a congressional bribery scandal.
It's about time there was some serious action in this investigation. 2000 FBI investigations and counting...

New Fears of Security Risks in Electronic Voting Systems - New York Times

New Fears of Security Risks in Electronic Voting Systems - New York Times:
It's the most severe security flaw ever discovered in a voting system," said Michael I. Shamos, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University who is an examiner of electronic voting systems for Pennsylvania, where the primary is to take place on Tuesday.


David Bear, a spokesman for Diebold Election Systems, said the potential risk existed because the company's technicians had intentionally built the machines in such a way that election officials would be able to update their systems in years ahead.

"For there to be a problem here, you're basically assuming a premise where you have some evil and nefarious election officials who would sneak in and introduce a piece of software," he said. "I don't believe these evil elections people exist."
Have you met Katherine Harris?

CIA Pick Hints At Wiretap Law Changes, Gen. Hayden Says He May Be Open To Modifying Government's Warrantless Surveillance - CBS News

CIA Pick Hints At Wiretap Law Changes, Gen. Hayden Says He May Be Open To Modifying Government's Warrantless Surveillance - CBS News:
Hayden, an Air Force four-star general and former NSA director, and other government officials have said that they did not ask Congress to change the surveillance law because the debate would reveal U.S. intelligence techniques. Gradually, the White House has moved, saying it is committed to working with Congress on legislation that would write the president's eavesdropping authority into statute.

But the White House has not specifically embraced changes to the FISA process.
He must not have received the memo. If the law needs to be changed to accomodate their actions, then their actions must be illegal. Period!

Abramoff Came To Visit WH Multiple Times

Abramoff And Bush/Cheney/Rove?:
The Secret Service said its visitor logs found that Abramoff went to the White House for about 26 minutes on March 6, 2001, and for about 47 minutes on January 20, 2004. It said not all White House visitors are logged in.

It released the logs of Abramoff after Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest group, filed a lawsuit to obtain them under the Freedom of Information Act. The logs do not indicate who Abramoff met with at the White House.

'At first glance, these documents seem incomplete when compared to other White House visitor logs obtained by Judicial Watch,' said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

'What was Jack Abramoff doing at the White House? With whom did he meet? The public deserves to know answers to these questions,' Fitton said.

[emphasis mine]
It's the cover-up, Stupid!

Can't Wait For TDC, The Movie!

The DaVinci Code Causes Uproar?:
"People seem to be looking for alternatives to organized religion at a time when fundamentalist Christianity and Islam have gained ground..."

I hope there's a special place in hell for all the fundies of any ilk that try to foist their beliefs upon others. Now that would be poetic justice, eh? In the herenow, let's rebuild the wall separating church and state before we end up like Iran. As we've seen in Afghanistan and Iraq, there is no true democracy where one particular religious group runs the government. Theocracy cannot be democracy and vise versa.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Reports Fault Intelligence for London Blasts - New York Times

Reports Fault Intelligence for London Blasts - New York Times:
Crucially, one of the reports said Britain's MI5 domestic security service had 'come across' two of the bombers — Mohamed Siddique Khan and Shazad Tanweer — 'on the peripheries of other investigations' before the attacks but there was 'no appreciation of their subsequent significance.'

But, despite those leads, domestic security personnel were diverted to ''other more pressing priorities at the time.' The two bombers were also said to have visited Pakistan where 'it is assessed as likely that they had some contact with Al Qaeda figures.' But the report discounted earlier reports that a 'mastermind' had left Britain days before the attacks.
So, like the FBI and CIA here, British intelligence had some clues about the attacks before they happened but couldn't connect the dots. Isn't that always the way of it? The dot-connectors don't get the information because they're the ones being kept out of the loop by the nearsighted bureaucrats who only think of their own asses and how to cover them.

Christian Foes of 'Da Vinci Code' Debate How to Fight It - New York Times

Christian Foes of 'Da Vinci Code' Debate How to Fight It - New York Times:
Christians have not been this worked up about a movie since Martin Scorsese's Jesus stepped down off the crucifix in 'The Last Temptation of Christ' in 1988.

In 'The Da Vinci Code,' two sleuths uncover a conspiracy by the Catholic Church to conceal that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and that the myth of his divinity was written into the Bible at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. by the Roman emperor Constantine. 'The Da Vinci Code' was marketed as fiction, but Mr. Brown said in a preface page that his descriptions of artwork, documents and rituals 'are accurate.'

To be sure, there are many Christians who do not regard the book or the movie as a threat. But the outrage is widespread, and the divisions on strategy do not run along denominational lines. Some evangelicals are calling for a boycott, while others are telling their flocks to see the film. Roman Catholic officials are not on the same page either.

The debate has been colored by the Muslim riots over Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Most American media outlets refrained from showing the cartoons, and now some Christian leaders are asking why Christians should be expected to sit by while the media promotes a movie that insults their savior.
But that's a load of crap. The book, and I assume the movie, doesn't insult "the savior," only the church and religious dogma that grew out of that council in 325 A.D. Anything that makes Christ more human is verboten in the eyes of those who use his deification as an excuse to behave badly, since no one can be "perfect" like he was. If Christ was a man and Mary Magdalene his wife, then no one who would follow in their path could take refuge in the belief that humans in general can't be held to such high standards of behaviour. If they could, why can't we? It's all a matter of perspective.

You'd think that people who seem to be so fanatically set upon the sanctity of marriage would be able to accept the idea that their savior, well, got married. Why can't the story of Christ include some happiness and peace for the man himself? And why isn't M.M. raised to the same level as, say, his mom? And would it be so terrible if Jesus had kids? Is it the idea that he might have had (*gasp*!) sex that so frightens these modern day sycophants and pharisees?

What do you think?

Housing Costs Change List of Top Areas for Poverty - New York Times

Housing Costs Change List of Top Areas for Poverty - New York Times:
SAN FRANCISCO, May 10 — A new report that adjusts the poverty line to reflect housing costs says New York, California and Washington, D.C., have the highest percentage of residents living in poverty, surpassing traditionally impoverished regions like the Deep South.

The report, to be released Thursday by the Public Policy Institute of California, took into account the high rents and utility rates in major cities like Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco and adjusted the national poverty line, about $19,000 for a family of four, accordingly. The results showed all three regions with significantly higher poverty rates than the Census Bureau reported in the fall.

Washington, ranked fifth poorest by the government, vaulted into the top spot, according to the report, with 21 percent of residents in poverty. New York, 12th by government standards, was second in the study, with 16.3 percent below the poverty line, while California went from 15th to third, at 15.7 percent.

Nationwide, 12.7 percent of Americans, or 37 million, lived below the poverty line in 2004, according to the Census Bureau.

The author of the study, Deborah Reed, said it 'changes our perception of poverty mainly affecting the Southern states to something that affects high population states,' where housing costs can consume a majority of income.
I've suspected as much for a long time now, so this article resonates with a vengeance. And until the minimum wage is brought up to at least the poverty level by region and kept there by annual adjustments, this will only keep getting worse. Poverty is behind most of the ills this society is grappling with, yet the Conservatives/Republicans keep giving more to the richest and less to the rest of us. Eventually their house of cards is going to collapse. I just hope people realize when it does that it's the Conservative/Republican agenda that made it happen.

F.B.I.'s Focus on Public Corruption Includes 2,000 Investigations - New York Times

F.B.I.'s Focus on Public Corruption Includes 2,000 Investigations - New York Times:
WASHINGTON, May 10 — A post-9/11 effort by the F.B.I. to concentrate on public corruption now includes more than 2,000 investigations under way, highlighted by the Jack Abramoff lobbying inquiry, the racketeering and fraud conviction of former Gov. George Ryan of Illinois, and the multipronged corruption probes after the guilty plea by Randy Cunningham, a former Republican House member from San Diego, bureau officials said.

As one of the Bush administration's least known anticrime efforts, the F.B.I. initiative has yielded an unexpectedly rich array of cases. The results suggest that wrongdoing by public officials at all levels of government is deeply rooted and widespread. Several of the highest profile cases in which the F.B.I. played an active role involve Republicans.

Bureau officials believe that the investment in corruption cases is easily worth the cost. In 2004 and 2005, more than 1,060 government employees were convicted of corrupt activities, including 177 federal officials, 158 state officials, 360 local officials and 365 police officers, according to F.B.I. statistics. The number of convictions rose 27 percent from 2004 to 2005.

In a telephone interview on Wednesday, the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, said the bureau was uniquely positioned to investigate corruption. Recalling his days as a prosecutor in Boston, he said: 'Having prosecuted public corruption cases, you come to realize first of all that public corruption tears the fabric of a democratic society. You lose faith in public officials, it leads to cynicism, it leads to distrust in government.'

[emphasis mine]
You can say that again! What I want to know is, when are all these investigations going to stop being investigations and start being indictments and trials?! Come on, already! Start charging these despots and make it count!

The Republican Agenda for 2006: Tax Cuts for a Favored Few - New York Times

The Republican Agenda for 2006: Tax Cuts for a Favored Few - New York Times:
A puzzling aspect of Congress's latest tax-cut package is why its overwhelmingly Republican supporters believe that its passage will be a big win for them and their party. There's nothing in it for most Americans, and yet all Americans will pay its cost: $69 billion over the near term. That price tag will be reflected in incessant budget deficits, which will further impair the government's ability to meet Americans' needs, and force the government to borrow more, mostly from abroad, to plug the budget gap.

The bill, which was passed yesterday by the House and is expected to clear the Senate as early as today, has two main provisions. The first, and dearest to the hearts of President Bush and his allies in Congress, is an extension of the temporary low tax rates on investment income. The top 10 percent of income earners will get almost all of the benefits, and everyone else will get crumbs.

To justify the giveaway, President Bush and Congressional Republicans insist that tax cuts for investors benefit everyone — and pay for themselves — by stimulating economic growth. That assertion is seriously delusional. Economic theory suggests that a fraction of the tax cuts' cost could, perhaps, be offset by higher growth, all other things being equal. But when a nation must borrow to pay for tax breaks, as is the case in the United States today, any ability of tax cuts for investors to spur growth is severely diminished.

[emphasis mine]
Snatch-and-grab, snatch-and-grab. BushCo has taken voodoo economics to a whole new level. I'd just love to see a Democratic President and Congress of the future roll back the tax-cuts for the obscenely rich and make that retroactive as well. I'll keep dreaming of justice even as it recedes further over the horizon of contemptible reality. *Sigh*.

The Republican Agenda for 2006: Tax Increases for Everyone Else - New York Times

The Republican Agenda for 2006: Tax Increases for Everyone Else - New York Times:
One way or the other, tax increases are coming. The nation's budget deficits are too big to outgrow, and the latest tax cuts — which Congress is likely to sign off on today — will dig the hole deeper. Neither Congress nor the public has the stomach to slash government programs anywhere near enough to bring spending in line with revenues. The only real question, then is this: Whose taxes will be raised in the future to pay for today's tax giveaways?

Here's a hint: If Congressional Republicans get their way, the people who benefit the most from today's tax cuts — mainly wealthy Americans with lots of investment income — will get special protection from future tax increases.

That protection is built into the pending tax cut package. House and Senate Republicans have included a provision to encourage all high earners — everyone making more than $100,000 — to shift their regular I.R.A.'s into newer, more advantageous Roth I.R.A.'s.

Current law doesn't let well-off Americans switch to Roths because it assumes — correctly — that they don't need extra help from the government to build their savings. Changing that rule will be a great deal for them. Income tax is due up front on the amounts that are shifted into Roth accounts, giving lawmakers a temporary burst of revenue to mask the true cost of their continuing tax-cutting spree.
The snatch-and-grab operation continues.

Migrating Birds Didn't Carry Flu - New York Times

Migrating Birds Didn't Carry Flu - New York Times:
ROME, May 10 — Defying the dire predictions of health officials, the flocks of migratory birds that flew south to Africa last fall, then back over Europe in recent weeks did not carry the deadly bird flu virus or spread it during their annual journey, scientists have concluded.

International health officials had feared that the disease was likely to spread to Africa during the southward migration and return to Europe with a vengeance during the reverse migration this spring. That has not happened — a significant finding for Europe, because it is far easier to monitor a virus that exists domestically on farms but not in the wild. 'It is quiet now in terms of cases, which is contrary to what many people had expected,' said Ward Hagemeijer, a bird flu specialist with Wetlands International, an environmental group based in the Netherlands that studies migratory birds.
The good news is it didn't happen as expected. The bad news is they don't know why, and this is what's disturbing about this story. It kind of feels like Freddy just disappeared in the second reel and you know the movie isn't over yet.

Big Brother Is Bigger Than We Thought Bush Sidesteps NSA Spying Controversy:
(CBS/AP) Congressional Republicans and Democrats demanded answers from the Bush administration Thursday about a government spy agency secretly collecting records of ordinary Americans' phone calls to build a database of every call made within the country.

President Bush did not confirm the work of the National Security Agency but sought to assure Americans that their privacy is being "fiercely protected."

"We are not mining or trolling through the personal lives of innocent Americans," Mr. Bush said before leaving for a commencement address at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Biloxi.

President Bush said any domestic intelligence-gathering measures he's approved are "lawful," and said "appropriate" members of Congress have been briefed.

The disclosure could complicate Mr. Bush's bid to win confirmation of former NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden as CIA director.

"It is our government, it's not one party's government. It's America's government. Those entrusted with great power have a duty to answer to Americans what they are doing," said Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Three telephone companies, AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, began turning over records of tens of millions of their customers' phone calls to the National Security Agency program shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said USA Today, citing anonymous sources it said had direct knowledge of the arrangement.


Prior to the latest report, Specter said the committee "has been unable to perform our constitutional oversight responsibilities to determine the constitutionality of the program."

Leahy sounded incredulous about the latest report and railed against what he called a lack of congressional oversight. He argued that the media was doing the job of Congress.

"Are you telling me that tens of millions of Americans are involved with al Qaeda?" Leahy asked. "These are tens of millions of Americans who are not suspected of anything. ... Where does it stop?"


The program does not involve listening to or taping the calls. Instead it documents who talks to whom in personal and business calls, and whether they are local or long distance, by tracking which numbers are called, USA Today said.

NSA is the same spy agency that conducts the controversial domestic eavesdropping program that has been acknowledged by President Bush. The president said last year that he authorized the NSA to listen, without warrants, to international phone calls involving Americans suspected of terrorist links.
So now we know what Gonzales meant when he kept referring to "the program we are addressing" and that there are other programs in play with perhaps even more questionable methods and legality. Phone records are often pulled by law enforcement to verify or disprove alibis, etc. during criminal investigations, but in such cases there is usually probable cause. Asking for the phone records of every person in the United States is a little over the top, don't you think? And what use will the NSA/CIA/Pentagon/White House/FBI/DHS make of such records? Couldn't they be mined for evidence of other activities besides terrorism?

No wonder some of the journalists have expressed concern about their contacts' confidentiality. Now we know why "Deep Throat" met with Woodward in a parking garage instead of talking on the phone. What protections do whistle blowers have if Big Brother can watch every communicational transaction that has taken place anywhere? What protections do any of us have?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Poll Gives Bush His Worst Marks Yet - New York Times

Poll Gives Bush His Worst Marks Yet - New York Times:
Americans have a bleaker view of the country's direction than at any time in more than two decades, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. Sharp disapproval of President Bush's handling of gasoline prices has combined with intensified unhappiness about Iraq to create a grim political environment for the White House and Congressional Republicans.


Americans said Democrats would do a better job dealing with Iraq, gasoline prices, immigration, taxes, prescription drug prices and civil liberties.

Fifty percent said Democrats came closer than Republicans to sharing their moral values, compared with 37 percent who said Republicans shared their values. A majority said Republican members of Congress were more likely to be financially corrupt than Democratic members of Congress, suggesting that Democrats may be making headway in their efforts to portray Republicans as having created a "culture of corruption" in Washington.
That's two major polls that show the same results. Now let's just pray the Dems can stay clean through November.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

We Notice, We Notice

Democrats & Liberals:: Enzi: A Man of (Republican) Principle:
"Maybe you haven't noticed but practically every important piece of legislation Congress has adopted recently was for the benefit of some special interest: bankruptcy bill for the credit industry, energy bill for the oil industry, Medicare drug bill for the pharmaceutical industry.......... And now Republicans are pushing the Enzi bill for the health insurance industry and the small business association. Also, the net neutrality bill for the telecom industry."

Dems Go For The Gold

My Way News - New Lawsuit Seeks White House Visit Logs:
WASHINGTON (AP) - Democrats sued the Secret Service on Monday for copies of White House logs to determine how often allies and associates of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff visited the Executive Mansion.

The Democratic National Committee filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington, saying the Secret Service has failed to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request for the logs.

The Democrats want to know about White House visits by conservative activist Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed, a GOP candidate for lieutenant governor of Georgia.
Or is it the groin? Anyway, it's good to see that they can still smell blood in the water when it's there. This may be the only way we'll see some real movement on this case before the election.


My Way News

At a time when many are pushing for increased use of nuclear fuel, the DOE decides to make new hires less likely to be the cream of the crop; if not less likely, period. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Score Another For The Good Guys

My Way News:
"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Democrats on Monday blocked the latest Republican attempts to limit damages for pain and suffering in medical malpractice lawsuits."

Is it my imagination, or did the Dems just do something for the little guy and fail to follow along with what the bigger lobby wanted? Be still my heart!

DKos Knows The Rules Of The Game

Daily Kos: Bush Nominates Hayden, Scared Republicans Rejoice:
Republicans are counting on the cowering of Democrats to boost their tough-guy image and win back their eroding base before midterms. That is why Hayden was nominated, to save the Republican majority.

Democrats have two choices. They can act like they have for the last five years, tiptoeing away from the national security debate with their tail between their legs like Feinstein and Harman. Or they can prove to America that Democrats really believe in 'Real Security' and the rule of the law.
I couldn't agree more. Feinstein and Harman need to get a clue and stop sneaking sips of the koolaid left in their refrigerators by dirty pool well-meaning Republicans. Get up, stand up! Time to join the fight, Dems.

Rupert Murdoch Loves Hillary Clinton, Conservative Media Mogul To Host Fundraiser For Liberal N.Y. Senator - CBS News

Rupert Murdoch Loves Hillary Clinton, Conservative Media Mogul To Host Fundraiser For Liberal N.Y. Senator - CBS News

Okay, that's it! If I have to vote for Hillary in '08, I'm gonna lose it. She's going too far right for my vote. I'm going to work for Feingold in the primaries. This just sinks it.

Outsourcing Torture

U.S. Defends Itself on Inmate Abuse - New York Times:
"When asked about the practice of sending prisoners for questioning to countries where they could be at risk for torture, American officials said the terms of the antitorture convention did not ban that policy."

And if it's not banned, well, heck, we do things that ARE banned, so what's the big deal?


Aid Workers Are Said to Abuse Girls - New York Times:
"LONDON, May 8 — Liberian girls as young as 8 are being sexually exploited by United Nations peacekeepers, aid workers and teachers in return for food, small favors and even rides in trucks, according to a new report from Save the Children U.K."This goes beyond the pale. I just don't know what else to say about it. I think I need to go to the bathroom and wretch. Yeeecccchhhhh!

Okay, So Not All Of Them Get It Yet

White House Begins Push for C.I.A. Pick - New York Times:

"Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democratic member of the committee, said that she was also leaning toward supporting General Hayden. 'We need a respected, competent intelligence professional who can command respect and manage this growing agency,' she said in a statement. 'Based on what I know so far, General Michael Hayden appears to fit that bill.'"

Somebody needs to tell Dianne that the guy who implemented an illegal surveillance program is probably not the person we want heading the CIA. Maybe she doesn't know, but she should.

Killings in Iraq Spawn Search for Missing Funds - New York Times

Killings in Iraq Spawn Search for Missing Funds - New York Times

Just read it. It makes me sick, so be forewarned. How do we expect Iraq (or any other country) to be anything more than a steaming mound of corruption and violence if we can't seem to be anything more than the same ourselves?!

They're Starting To Get It!

Optimistic, Democrats Debate the Party's Vision - New York Times:
The frustration with consultants — and their impact on Democratic politics — is widespread among the Internet pundits, and at the heart of several recent books, including 'Crashing the Gate,' co-written by Markos Moulitsas, founder of the blog the Daily Kos. In another, 'Politics Lost,' Joe Klein mourns the passing of a more authentic, preconsultant politics that he argues was embodied by Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 campaign.

Even the film industry recognizes the mood; 'Bobby,' an account of June 5, 1968, the day Kennedy won the California primary and was assassinated, is scheduled for release in November.

This discussion of first principles and big goals marks a psychological shift for many in the party; a frequent theme is that Democrats must stop being afraid, stop worrying that their core beliefs are out of step with the times, stop ceding so much ground to the conservatives.
Read the whole article. It's the best news I've read concerning the Dems since Clinton won in '96. They may actually be getting it; that the consultants have it wrong and the people (especially bloggers for the left) have it right. Or Left, if you prefer.

Monday, May 08, 2006 - Bush approval rating hits new low - Bush approval rating hits new low:
"WASHINGTON — President Bush's approval rating has slumped to 31% in a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, the lowest of his presidency and a warning sign for Republicans in the November elections."

As I asked earlier, can he make it into the twenties? How about the teens?! Go for it, GW, what have you got to lose?!

It Figures

TPM Muckraker May 8, 2006 11:33 AM (Printable Format)

Another One Flips

My Way News:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A former top aide to Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Ney pleaded guilty on Monday and agreed to cooperate in the corruption and influence-peddling investigation involving lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Ney's former chief of staff, Neil Volz, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and to violating the one-year ban on lobbying after leaving Ney's office in 2002 and joining Abramoff's lobbying firm.
When are all these investigations going to bear fruit in the form of actual Congress-people? Is it going to take an election to do it or are there still people in Justice with any scruples left?


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