Saturday, December 15, 2007
At night we will build a fire in the fireplace. During the day we will walk on the beach and do yoga, read, and eat.
When we go to dinner, the food will be cooked in a family kitchen. There will be one course for everyone and it will be wonderful. Our family can eat for 10$. We have to bring our beer if we want one. The restaurant on the beach is a little more expensive, but they have tortilla soup! They also make a great seviche accompanied by a Spanish guitar and a beautiful sunset.
Life will slow down. No phone, no computer, no traffic, no bills, school, or work. We might get bored, but that can be a blessing once in a while.
Sometimes we hike up a desert escarpment or take the jeep down a dirt road to the North. There is nothing out there for miles and miles. We make sure we have water and a VHF radio. Not that such things would help much. It does make me feel better.
I will keep my eyes open for a small, cheap sailboat. I know, you have never heard “cheap” and “sailboat” in the same sentence. We are right on the beach and each afternoon the sea breeze pipes up to 15 knots. It is a shame not to have a little boat.
I also want to get masks and snorkels for the kids. The water may be too cold, but you never know. My kids don’t seem to mind the cold when there is something fun to do.
I will update, if anything interesting happens. There is an internet café in the small town.
Have a great holiday,
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Here is the press conference from this morning.
I wonder if Rove will try to blame the march to war with Iran on the Democrats in Congress. You have to admit Karl has a lot of hutzspa. I can hear it now: "The President, and Vice President, did not want to go to war in Iran. They were just responding to pressure from Tom Dachel, I mean Nancy Pelosi, and Ralph Reed, I mean Harry Reid. Yeah, that was it, it was Harry Reid."
Sunday, December 2, 2007
More from McClatchy:
China has now refused entry to nine U.S. Navy vessels into Hong Kong harbor. On Friday, Navy officials said China denied permission to a U.S. Air Force C-17 flight that had been scheduled for a routine re-supply of the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong.
The sudden port denials have angered Pentagon officials, and baffled U.S. policymakers puzzling over the message China seeks to send.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Senator Lott needs to make more money, since Hurricane Katrina wiped out his home on the coast, and insurance won’t pay for much of the damage. Senators make $160,000 a year and have to maintain a home in Washington and one in their home state. 160k may sound like a lot, but it is nothing in the power circles of Washington.
2. Larry Flint, of Hustler Magazine fame, says he has received something Trent does not want us to know. Perhaps Trent hopes the pressure to expose him will die down if he is no longer in Congress.
3. Trent may be found to have uncomfortably close ties to a guy named Bill Allen. Bill Allen has given a great deal of money to Republican lawmakers to enrich his oil business in Alaska. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) is already being investigated with regard to this issue.
So what do you think? Is it money troubles, sex troubles, or bribery troubles? Here is the scary part, perhaps it is “all of the above.”
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
GOP Legislator Guilty of Soliciting Bathroom Sex
"After a short deliberation Friday, Florida state representative Bob Allen was found guilty of soliciting oral sex in a public bathroom. While he did not testify during the trial -- a decision made by his attorneys, MSNBC reports -- the fallen politico said that he is innocent of the charges and has done nothing wrong.
"My family, my God, and my constituents know that, and we're not going to stop until we get that justice," Allen said, according to MSNBC.
Moments after the verdict was announced, Florida house speaker Marco Rubio released a statement denouncing Allen and recommending that he be removed from his Merritt Island seat. "
I think Brian at Incertus said it best:
"It's possible that Allen could face jail time, which I think is ridiculous. Frankly, I think the idea of public restroom stings is stupid all the way around, as I said during our famous Naugle-blogging period, but jail time for this is beyond stupid.These laws are odious, make no mistake about it. They criminalize consensual sex between adults, and they are targeted specifically at homosexuals. The reason that I find the scandals so hilarious is because they seem to net the very people who bloviate the loudest for the laws in the first place, but if we were a sane society, these laws wouldn't be on the books, and Bob Allen and Larry Craig could cruise to their hearts' content. But for me, as long as they keep calling for the laws, I'll keep pointing and laughing when they get busted breaking them."
Here is my take on the whole sordid affair:
For years I have watched the conservative right pursue a policy of institutionalized gay bashing. I often felt “thou dust protest too much.” Too many Republicans have been confirmed as hypocrites. I am now left with the awful realization that my gay friends were victimized by other gay people. I did not know what to do with this until I realized that a society that hates people, for what they are, breeds self-hate. Too many Republicans and some religious leaders seem to fall into this trap. I just hope that time will heal this wound, and we can move on to improving the lives of fellow Americans rather than telling them they are an aberration.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Perhaps the best introduction to the Kaiser HMO and Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Plan is the summary by Mr. Edgar Kaiser that the less Kaiser does for patients the more money it makes. To get the full context one can go to the University of Virginia and review the presentation Mr. Edgar Kaiser (then Kaiser CEO) made to President Nixon through Mr. Erlichman — the less we do the more we earn. This convinced President Nixon to go forward with the HMO Act of 1973 with Kaiser as the template. The conversation is recorded below within the Nixon White House Tapes:
John D. Ehrlichman: “On the … on the health business …”
President Nixon: “Yeah.”
Ehrlichman: “… we have now narrowed down the vice president’s problems on this thing to one issue and that is whether we should include these health maintenance organizations like Edgar Kaiser’s Permanente thing. The vice president just cannot see it. We tried 15 ways from Friday to explain it to him and then help him to understand it. He finally says, ‘Well, I don’t think they’ll work, but if the President thinks it’s a good idea, I’ll support him a hundred percent.’”
President Nixon: “Well, what’s … what’s the judgment?”
Ehrlichman: “Well, everybody else’s judgment very strongly is that we go with it.”
President Nixon: “All right.”
Ehrlichman: “And, uh, uh, he’s the one holdout that we have in the whole office.”
President Nixon: “Say that I … I … I’d tell him I have doubts about it, but I think that it’s, uh, now let me ask you, now you give me your judgment. You know I’m not to keen on any of these damn medical programs.”
Ehrlichman: “This, uh, let me, let me tell you how I am …”
President Nixon: [Unclear.]
Ehrlichman: “This … this is a …”
President Nixon: “I don’t [unclear] …”
Ehrlichman: “… private enterprise one.”
President Nixon: “Well, that appeals to me.”
Ehrlichman: “Edgar Kaiser is running his Permanente deal for profit. And the reason that he can … the reason he can do it … I had Edgar Kaiser come in … talk to me about this and I went into it in some depth. All the incentives are toward less medical care, because …”
President Nixon: [Unclear.]
Ehrlichman: “… the less care they give them, the more money they make.”
President Nixon: “Fine.” [Unclear.]
Ehrlichman: [Unclear] “… and the incentives run the right way.”
President Nixon: “Not bad.”
The preceding transcription is from the University of Virginia for the clearest possible presentation (pathway discovered by Vickie Travis). Check - February 17, 1971, 5:26 pm - 5:53 pm, Oval Office Conversation 450-23. Look for: tape rmn_e450c.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Friday, November 9, 2007
"WASHINGTON -- House Democrats on Friday pushed through an $80 billion bill to block the spread of a dreaded tax on middle-income people. The White House and Republicans, protesting tax increases in the bill affecting mainly investment fund managers, maintained that it would never become law."
Here is what is happening. The Democrats want to make sure that Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) does not get assessed against the middle class. AMT was never intended to apply to the middle class, but since it was not indexed correctly, when the bill was originally passed, it is beginning to affect average Americans in large numbers.
The Democrats, seeing the profligate spending perpetuated by the Republicans over the past six years, decided to institute "pay as you go" rules when they took over Congress last year. "Pay as you go" means that if Congress cuts taxes somewhere, they must raise the revenue (tax) somewhere else.
The place the Democrats want to raise the revenue is by closing a tax loop-hole for the super rich hedge fund managers. This loop-hole allows managers of hedge funds to count their fee income as long term capital gains (LTCG). The maximum LTCG tax is 15%. The Democrats argue that this fee income is a fee for service, not a long term return on the investment warrenting capital gains tax treatment at 15%. The Democrats are correct in this assessment.
The Republicans do not want the loop-hole closed. So, they are willing to let millions of middle Americans get their taxes raised to protect the very low tax brackets for the hedge fund managers making millions in income every year.
My question is this: how do you like it when a guy, making ten or twenty million a year, pays tax at 15% while you, making less than 100,000, pay tax at 25%?
The Democrats are doing a great job here and I hope the Republicans fail to hold or defeatup this bill.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Here is the story from "The Columbian"
"State Rep. Richard Curtis, R-La Center, admitted to having sex with a man he met at an adult video store in Spokane last week, according to a police report released Tuesday afternoon.... The police report contains an account of how Curtis allegedly donned women’s clothing, red stockings and a black sequined lingerie top before engaging in a sex act at the store. He continued to wear them throughout the night under his clothing...During a brief phone interview with Columbian Editor Lou Brancaccio Monday afternoon, Curtis said he did not have sex with the man and is not gay.
According to the police report, Curtis allegedly offered to pay $1,000 to have unprotected sex with Castagna."
OK, let me get this straight (pardon the pun), you dressed up as a woman and paid a guy to have sex with you but you are not gay. Sure.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Telling us that Dumbledore is gay does, however, lead to some interesting conversations. My seven year old son heard me mention the story about Dumbledore, to my wife, and asked what it meant for Dumbledore to be gay. I could see my wife grin as I explained that Dubledore loved men romantically just like I loved mom romantically. My son then asked me which man did Dumbledore love? I said I did not know. He said he would have guessed Dumbledore loved Harry. Pause, pause, well... I explained that "romantic love is a different kind of love than the love he has for Harry. I romantically love mom while I love you just as much, but differently. Well adjusted adults love children but do not romantically love children." Oh, he said.
When my son left the room I asked my wife how I did. She thought I did quite well.
Here is more on the subject from Salon
Here is my email to Sen Rockefeller:
It only took 42k in contributions, to your campaign, to absolve the Telcoms of billions in liabilities for spying on Americans. I think you should have held out for more.
Here is the story from WaPo:
WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 — Executives at the two biggest phone companies contributed more than $42,000 in political donations to Senator John D. Rockefeller IV this year while seeking his support for legal immunity for businesses participating in National Security Agency eavesdropping.
The surge in contributions came from a Who’s Who of executives at the companies, AT&T and Verizon, starting with the chief executives and including at least 50 executives and lawyers at the two utilities, according to campaign finance reports.
The money came primarily from a fund-raiser that Verizon held for Mr. Rockefeller in March in New York and another that AT&T sponsored for him in May in San Antonio.
Mr. Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, emerged last week as the most important supporter of immunity in devising a compromise plan with Senate Republicans and the Bush administration.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
BABY MAKER...the glowing region down below.BABY MAKER
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Clap Your Hands, Live at the Varsity, 1/26/07
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WASHINGTON — Security screeners at two of the nation's busiest airports failed to find fake bombs hidden on undercover agents posing as passengers in more than 60% of tests last year, according to a classified report obtained by USA TODAY.
Screeners at Los Angeles International Airport missed about 75% of simulated explosives and bomb parts that Transportation Security Administration testers hid under their clothes or in carry-on bags at checkpoints, the TSA report shows.
I wonder if the 500 billion would have been better spent here than in Iraq? OK, I don't really wonder at all.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
International News Abortion Rates Similar in Countries That Legalize, Prohibit Procedure, Study Says
[Oct 12, 2007]
Abortion rates are similar in countries where the procedure is legal and in countries where it is not, and the number of abortions worldwide is declining due to increased access to contraception, according to a study conducted by the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization and published Friday in the Lancet, the New York Times reports. The study also found that abortions were "safe in countries where it was legal, but dangerous in countries where it was outlawed and performed clandestinely," according to the Times (Rosenthal, New York Times, 10/12).
Monday, October 15, 2007
I think James could use some anger management classes.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Five hours is all it took for the Administration to Leak our Security information to Fox News.
That's how long it took the Bush administration between the time they learned of a secret "security breach" by a private U.S. company allowing for the monitoring of some al Qaeda internet communications, and the time the administration leaked it to Fox News, thereby alerting al Qaeda to the breach and closing down "a years-long surveillance operation that the company has used to intercept and pass along secret messages, videos and advance warnings of suicide bombings from the terrorist group's communications network."
Monday, October 8, 2007
Despite my concern, I cannot help but smile when I watch this. I am reminded how much the arts are important for our well being. It also brings to mind words like community, productivity, and parhaps some joy. Everyone deserves a bit of all of these.
There are 1,500 of these people in the yard. It is quite an accomplishment if you ask me.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
If you are poor and sick you get health care because hospitals will treat you even if you cannot pay. The problem is for those almost poor people who have no insurance. Should they need medical care they must pay for it. They can lose their retirement accounts, home and any savings they have to pay the bills. Only after the "almost poor" become "poor" will the government step in.
The problem I have with this is that now we have another poor person, without a home and any resources for retirement, because they had a health care emergency. I believe we are better than that as a nation.
If we expect the poor to work hard to get out of poverty and off the public dime, then we need to give them a chance to stay there. It is inevitable that, as we get older, we all will have a health care crisis. Why would we give the mixed message to poor Americans that we want them to be productive members of society for a while. But, when they get old we want them to be poor again and not be able to help their kids by passing on any assets.
S-Chip is legislation that helps almost poor people get insurance at a cost to our nation of 33 billion. How could anyone (Kucinich) vote against it in the face of sending another 190 billion to Iraq.
More on it here.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I am a financial advisor. When I look at the facts surrounding gay "marriage" and "civil unions" I come to the undeniable conclusion that gay couples deserve the right to marry. Anything less is patently discriminatory.
I am not saying that all churches need "marry" gay couples. I leave it up to individual churches and their right to freedom of religion. But, to deny gay couples the right to marry under the Federal Laws of our land presents these couples with undue and insurmountable hardship. Seperate but equal is not the law of our land. All men and women are created equal. Telling them thay cannot marry another consenting adult defies and undermines the foundation of our Democracy.
Any objective person, when presented with the facts, must come to the same conclusion despite their religious beliefs.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Andrew Tilghman a former Stars and Stripes reporter in Iraq has the story in Washington Monthly
The essential questions are: How large is the presence of AQI, in terms of manpower and attacks instigated, and what role does the group play in catalyzing further violence? For the first question, the military has produced an estimate. In a background briefing this July in Baghdad, military officials said that during the first half of this year AQI accounted for 15 percent of attacks in Iraq. That figure was also cited in the military intelligence report during final preparations for a National Intelligence Estimate in July.
This is the number on which many military experts inside the Beltway rely. Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution who attended the Baghdad background briefing, explained that he thought the estimate derived from a comprehensive analysis by teams of local intelligence agents who examine the type and location of daily attacks, and their intended targets, and crosscheck that with reports from Iraqi informants and other data, such as intercepted phone calls. "It's a fairly detailed kind of assessment," O'Hanlon said. "Obviously you can't always know who is behind an attack, but there is a fairly systematic way of looking at the attacks where they can begin to make a pretty informed guess."
Yet those who have worked on estimates inside the system take a more circumspect view. Alex Rossmiller, who worked in Iraq as an intelligence officer for the Department of Defense, says that real uncertainties exist in assigning responsibility for attacks. "It was kind of a running joke in our office," he recalls. "We would sarcastically refer to everybody as al-Qaeda...."
How big, then, is AQI? The most persuasive estimate I've heard comes from Malcolm Nance, the author of The Terrorists of Iraq and a twenty-year intelligence veteran and Arabic speaker who has worked with military and intelligence units tracking al-Qaeda inside Iraq. He believes AQI includes about 850 full-time fighters, comprising 2 percent to 5 percent of the Sunni insurgency. "Al-Qaeda in Iraq," according to Nance, "is a microscopic terrorist organization..."
The view that AQI is neither as big nor as lethal as commonly believed is widespread among working-level analysts and troops on the ground. A majority of those interviewed for this article believe that the military's AQI estimates are overblown to varying degrees. If such misgivings are common, why haven't doubts pricked the public debate? The reason is that alternate views are running up against an echo chamber of powerful players all with an interest in hyping AQI's role.
"Saturday May 26th the VNN Vanguard Nazi/KKK group attempted to host a hate rally to try to take advantage of the brutal murder of a white couple for media and recruitment purposes. http://www.volunteertv.com/specialUnfortunately for them the 100th ARA (Anti Racist Action) clown block came and handed them their asses by making them appear like the asses they were...
“White Power!” the Nazi’s shouted, “White Flour?” the clowns yelled back running in circles throwing flour in the air and raising separate letters which spelt “White Flour”.“White Power!” the Nazi’s angrily shouted once more, “White flowers?” the clowns cheers and threw white flowers in the air and danced about merrily.“White Power!” the Nazi’s tried once again in a doomed and somewhat funny attempt to clarify their message, “ohhhhhh!” the clowns yelled “Tight Shower!” and held a solar shower in the air and all tried to crowd under to get clean as per the Klan’s directions.At this point several of the Nazi’s and Klan members began clutching their hearts as if they were about to have a heart attack. Their beady eyes bulged, and the veins in their tiny narrow foreheads beat in rage. One last time they screamed “White Power!”The clown women thought they finally understood what the Klan was trying to say. “Ohhhhh…” the women clowns said. “Now we understand…”, “WIFE POWER!” they lifted the letters up in the air, grabbed the nearest male clowns and lifted them in their arms and ran about merrily chanting “WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER!”...
After the VNNers left in their shiny SUVs to go back to Alabama and all the other states that they were from the clowns and counter demonstrators began to march out of the area chanting ‘WHOSE STREETS? OUR STREETS!” But the cops stopped the clowns and counter protestors. “Hey, do you want an escort” an African-American police officer on a motorcycle asked. “Yes” a clown replied. “We are walking to Market Square in the center of town to celebrate.” The police officers got in front of the now anti racist parade and blocked the entire road for the march through the heart of Knoxville. An event called imagination station was taking place and over 15,000 thousand students and their parents were in town that weekend. Many of them cheered as the clowns, Knoxvillians and counter protestors marched through the heart of Knoxville singing and laughing at the end of the Nazi’s first attempt at having a rally in Knoxville."
Saturday, August 18, 2007
"WASHINGTON - Top Commerce and Treasury department officials appeared with Republican candidates and doled out millions in federal money in battleground congressional districts and states after receiving White House political briefings detailing GOP election strategy.Political appointees in the Treasury Department received at least 10 political briefings from July 2001 to August 2006, officials familiar with the meetings said. Their counterparts at the Commerce Department received at least four briefings - all in the election years of 2002, 2004 and 2006."
No, no, no. Democrats do not do this and did not do it first. Throw that excuse out the window.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
I also have been disappointed by the floundering Democrats. Get a spine for goodness sake. Forget politics as usual. Our country needs real governance for the first time in perhaps 15 years, and certainly seven.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Wa Po story
"Mark J. Rozell, a professor of public policy at George Mason University who has written a book on executive-privilege issues, called the administration's stance "astonishing."
"That's a breathtakingly broad view of the president's role in this system of separation of powers," Rozell said. "What this statement is saying is the president's claim of executive privilege trumps all.""
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Here is the article by John Dean.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
By the way, this cost is not reflected in our government budget. It is "off the books." Our government is already going into debt about 2,000 per person each year, because they cut taxes when they did not have the money. When you add it up, this year my family will go into debt $10,000 just based on the government spending more than it takes in. I wonder when we will have to pay this off?
Saturday, July 7, 2007
I live in the city with my family. I am frustrated by families that move to the suburbs for "safer neighborhoods" and then come into the city to participate in crime. They come back to buy drugs or hire women for sex. The hypocrisy is amazing to me.
We have good friends that helped shut down a house of prostitution in their wealthy city neighborhood five years ago. They kept track of the license plates of the johns going in and out of the house.
When the police investigators ran the plates they found over 90% of the men lived in the suburbs. One was even a police officer, another was on the suburban city council. Most of the johns were family men that would stop by for sex on their way to or from their white collar jobs in the city. Almost all had families with children.
I often wonder how much safer the city would be if suburban men did not use our wonderful city to buy drugs and pay for sex.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
"Media still repeating false claim that Armitage role in Plame leak exonerates Libby
Following President Bush's decision to commute the prison sentence for former vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, media figures have continued to repeat the false claim that former deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage's role as columnist Robert D. Novak's original source for Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA operative proves Libby was not involved in the leak of her identity. However, as Media Matters for America has previously noted, the fact that Armitage was the original source for Novak's column revealing Plame's identity is not inconsistent with Libby's disclosure of Plame's identity -- specifically, to then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller -- before the publication of Novak's column.
On the July 3 edition of NBC's Today, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol claimed: "Scooter Libby does not deserve to go to jail. I would remind Joe Wilson that Scooter Libby did not leak Valerie Plame's name. Richard Armitage told Robert Novak, we now know, about Valerie Plame's name, so this was an investigation that should never have happened. There was no underlying crime." Kristol was referring to former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, Plame's husband, who reportedly issued a statement saying that "the president's actions send the message that leaking classified information for political purposes is acceptable" and that "Mr. Libby not only endangered Valerie and our family, but also our country's national security."
As Media Matters has previously documented, journalist Murray Waas noted in his book The United States v. I. Lewis Libby (Union Square Press, June 2007), Miller testified on January 30 that Libby had disclosed Plame's CIA employment to her at a July 8, 2003, breakfast meeting at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C., well before Novak publicly revealed it in his July 14, 2003, column. As Media Matters has also noted, it is likely of little significance whether Libby disclosed Plame's name, as opposed to the identity of Joseph Wilson's wife as a CIA employee, to a reporter.
From the edited trial transcript of Miller's January 30 testimony during Libby's trial, included in Waas' book:
Q: Did there come a time following the publication of [Ambassador Joseph] Wilson's op-ed [July 6, 2003] that you met with Mr. Libby again?
Q: When was that?
A: July 8th.
Q: Was there discussion at any time about Mr. Wilson's wife [Plame] on this occasion?
Q: Can you tell us what you recall about that?
A: Yes. Mr. Libby was discussing what he called two streams of reporting on uranium and on efforts by Iraq to acquire sensitive materials and components. He said the first stream was reports like that of Joe Wilson. Then he said the second stream, and at that point he said, once again, as an aside, that Mr. Wilson's wife worked at WINPAC.
Q: Can you tell us what WINPAC is?
A: Yes, WINPAC is, stands for Weapons Intelligence Non-Proliferation and Arms Control. It's a part of the CIA which is specifically focused on weapons of mass destruction.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
"We have the country we have -- one in which our most powerful political leaders are literally beyond the reach of the law in every sense, where we casually invade and bomb and occupy countries that have not attacked us, where our moral standing in the world has collapsed with good reason, where we are viewed on every continent in the world as a rogue, dangerous and lawless nation -- because we are ruled by a Beltway elite and political press that is sickly and cowardly and slavish at its core. "
Libby's only punishment for lying to a Grand Jury and the FBI during an investigation of the outing a CIA agent, in a time of war, is he will have to show up for his probation meetings for the next two years.
I agree with Josh Marshall:
"Many others will note this but I feel obliged to do so for the record. The real offense here is not so much or not simply that the president has spared Scooter Libby the punishment that anyone else would have gotten for this crime (for what it's worth, I actually find the commutation more outrageous than a full pardon). The deeper offense is that the president has used his pardon power to shortcircuit the investigation of a crime to which he himself was quite likely a party, and to which, his vice president, who controls him, certainly was."
By the way, if you really think that it was Armatage that outed Plame then why did Scooter lie?
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Bush is invoking such “a generalized need for confidentiality,” according to a senior administration official this morning:
“This is not a mere exercise relating to a particular event. This is an exercise in an attempt to protect the prerogatives of the president for this president and for future presidents.”"
As I read this, the current administration has so abused the concept of executive privilege that it's future use is in doubt.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
– Conservatives blocked debate ethics reforms (Rejected 51-46, Roll Call Vote #16)
– Conservatives blocked debate on funding for renewable energy (Rejected 57-36, Roll Call Vote #223)
– Conservatives blocked a vote on funding for the intelligence community (Rejected 41-40, Roll Call Vote #130)
– Conservatives delayed legislation fulfilling the 9/11 Commission recommendations (Passed 97-0, Roll Call Vote #53)
Read the story here.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Read the report here.
Thanks to this post from Think Progress.
Hurrah, hurrah for Digby. May she continue to write forever.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
If President Bush believes that Iraq and Al Qaeda are the nexus of terrorism then why does the American ambassador in Iraq say this: "Simply put, we cannot do the nation's most important work if we do not have the Department's best people," It turns out that only ten people in the American embassy even speak Arabic. You gotta be kidding me. I have more people in my neighborhood that speak Arabic than he has in the Iraqi embassy.
Here is the story.
Why is this relevant? Well, President Bush just nominated a man that endorses this kink of thing.
Oh, I know, the supremely idiotic will say, "well, they did it to us first," or "Ya do what ya gotta do when your way of life is at risk."
I say this in response:
What do you think the rest of the world thinks of us?
Is this what you call "setting a good example."
What would Jesus do?
What would Buddha do?
What would Gandhi do?
If we are in a battle of the hearts and minds of the Middle East, do you think this is working?
Sunday, June 17, 2007
From Think Progress:
"Bush promises to veto homeland security bill.
Yesterday, the House passed a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security, despite President Bush’s veto threat. The White House objects to a provision that would require DHS contractors to “pay their employees at least the local prevailing wage.” It also “funds the hiring of 3,000 new border patrol agents, rejects the cuts President Bush sought in the training and equipping of first responders, and improves aviation and port security.” June 16, 2007 6:10 pm "
Friday, June 15, 2007
"I think that when the "honest conservatives" reject Bush they're just setting up their assault on the Democratic president they expect to see elected next year. Their way of digging themselves out from under the Bush disaster (and obscuring their own massive role in that disaster) will be to swear that "Never again can an American President be allowed that kind of free hand!" This will justify their fighting the new Democratic President tooth and nail for every inch of ground.
For example, Bush's politicization of the career staff in Justice and elsewhere was a very bad thing, no? And certainly this kind of thing has to stop, no? So we will forbid the new Democratic President to interfere with career personnel, with the result that all of the political hacks Bush put in civil service positions will be untouchable. (When that happens, can we expect the media to understand what's going on? No, of course not....)"
I have known this would happen for years. The radical right pollutes the water and the Democrats have to spend all their time cleaning up the mess, and paying the bills. The Republicans then get to say "see, those Democrats just tax and spend." Yeah, cleaning up your mess and paying off the debts you accrued for eight years. Some dolts even have the gall to blame Clinton for the current mess. I know not all Republicans believe this, but the talking heads do, and all too many Americans take what they say as Gospel.
In Tony's defense. He has to lie a lot or he would be out of a job. It really is not that hard to catch him at lying either. Just listen to any press conference with even a basic understanding of his topic du jour.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
I am sorry to be glib, but what makes this crowd think they have any chance of accomplishing this stuff?
Here are some things they can't even seem to do now, much less after an attack, my comments are in parentheses:
(5) The following NEFs are the foundation for all continuity programs and capabilities and represent the overarching responsibilities of the Federal Government to lead and sustain the Nation during a crisis, and therefore sustaining the following NEFs shall be the primary focus of the Federal Government leadership during and in the aftermath of an emergency that adversely affects the performance of Government Functions:
(a) Ensuring the continued functioning of our form of government under the Constitution, including the functioning of the three separate branches of government; (try not to think about the fact that the Congress for all of six years was not a functioning branch of Government)
(b) Providing leadership visible to the Nation and the world and maintaining the trust and confidence of the American people; (Please try not to think about the abject failure of this President to keep any of his campaign promises about being a uniter, an education president, and someone who will not get involved in nation building. That is a confidence builder.)
(c) Defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and preventing or interdicting attacks against the United States or its people, property, or interests; (don't think about illegal domestic spying, Guantanamo Bay, or the fact that some guy the Government thought had a highly infectious form of TB got on a plane in Atlanta and then returned home to Atlanta by driving unchecked across our border with Canada.)
(d) Maintaining and fostering effective relationships with foreign nations; (this is just laughable.)
(e) Protecting against threats to the homeland and bringing to justice perpetrators of crimes or attacks against the United States or its people, property, or interests; (again, don't think of Guantanamo)
(f) Providing rapid and effective response to and recovery from the domestic consequences of an attack or other incident; (It might help not to think about Katrina or the fact that our National Guard has less than half the equipment it needs to be effective.)
(g) Protecting and stabilizing the Nation's economy and ensuring public confidence in its financial systems; and (It,will help to ignore the ballooning national debt, unfunded Social Security, and the lack of health care for 40 million Americans.)
h) Providing for critical Federal Government services that address the national health, safety, and welfare needs of the United States. (Again, you must be joking.)
This fraud is as transparent as it is dishonest, yet there are signs that the media is nonetheless beginning to adopt this theme that there is some sort of epic and long-standing "Bush-conservative schism." But very little effort is required to see what a fraud that storyline is."
"There is really only one thing that has changed about George W. Bush from the 2002-2004 era when conservatives hailed him as the Great Conservative Leader, and now. Whereas Bush was a wildly popular leader then, which made conservatives eager to claim him as their Standard-Bearer, he is now one of the most despised presidents in U.S. history, and conservatives are thus desperate to disassociate themselves from the President for whom they are solely responsible. It is painfully obvious there is nothing noble, substantive or principled driving this right-wing outburst; it is a pure act of self-preservation."
The rest of the post
Monday, June 4, 2007
Sunday, June 3, 2007
Digby has a great post:
"So Rove is spinning like crazy. The Christian Right is not growing and the "spiritual" non-evangelical or non-born again Christians tend to be Democrats."
My wife and I love this movie. We came home and downloaded "The Frames" last two albums from itunes. The two lead characters do all their own singing, and are magic to watch, in a very well shot, and well directed, piece of cinematic art.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
With congress on recess this week and the revelations of Monica Goodling's May 23rd testimony long since absorbed and digested by the media, it may feel to some like the U.S. Attorney scandal is just hanging in the air like so much dead weight. President Bush for one is certainly fatigued by the whole thing. “This investigation is taking a long time…” he groaned during a May 24th Rose Garden press conference, “… kind of being drug out.”
We couldn’t have said it better, Mr. President. Thanks to DOJ and White House stonewalling, perpetual story-straightening, and an interminable deluge of I-don’t-recalls (not to mention the seemingly limitless reach of the scandal itself), the investigation doesn’t appear to be wrapping up anytime soon. We give you the rundown of what’s to come in the approaching weeks in today’s episode of TPMtv.
First – there’s the internal Department of Justice investigation. Following Monica Goodling’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, the LA Times ran a story late last week explaining that the investigation would expand to address questions of whether Goodling improperly took into account political considerations in hiring employees, particularly applicants to become immigration judges.
The investigation is being conducted by the Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility. Even though it’s going on in the background, it is for the moment the only investigation that has the prospect of leading to criminal charges. If the Inspector General makes a criminal referral, that’s when a special prosecutor would be brought in. We’ll of course keep you posted on any developments.
Next up – the no-confidence vote concerning Alberto Gonzales to be held in the Senate. This is scheduled to take place once the Senate finishes its immigration bill, which means probably the second or third week of June. The resolution itself keeps it short and sweet: "Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled: It is the sense of the Senate that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales no longer holds the confidence of the Senate and the American people."
The resolution has no actual, concrete effect; it’s purely symbolic. But if it gets enough votes in the Senate it would simply put more pressure on Bush and Gonzales, potentially to the point of prompting Gonzales to resign. We’ll believe that when we see it.
Last but certainly not least – next week, June 5th, any close follower of the U.S. Attorney scandal will be eagerly anticipating the testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee of two key people. One is Bradley Schlozman, the former U.S. Attorney in Kansas City and former DOJ Civil Rights Division head who’s at the center of the Justice Department’s efforts to suppress minority voter turnout. To make it even more interesting, Schlozman will be joined by the man he replaced in Kansas City, former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves. Graves is the 9th fired U.S. Attorney, canned because he resisted some efforts to purge voter rolls in his state of Missouri.
So this will really be our first opportunity to see cross-examination of witnesses in an effort to get to this core issue in the U.S. Attorney scandal: the campaign to suppress minority voter turnout across the country, particularly in swing states, to help the Republican party win close elections.
Stay tuned for all the latest developments.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
This is it -- the reason Republicans can never govern. You have an entire party based on an ideology that says government isn't a solution.
So if you take over, and you actually govern well, you have shown that government can be a solution. In short, you have completely discredited the ideology upon which your party is based.
In this piece (the Goldberg piece in the New Yorker I referenced in my previous post), Newt is portrayed as a fiery insurgent who failed in the majority because of the challenges of governing. The sense I get is that Newt learned a lesson from his failed speakership, as opposed to DeLay, who never learned his lesson.
Republican orthodoxy is a great way to get elected when in the minority. There's always plenty of government waste, inefficiency, and corruption to campaign against, to paint government as a drain on the taxpayer's wallet. The problem is, governing like a Republican just exacerbates those problems. If Republicans don't care about government, they have even less incentive to make sure that the money is well spent and that government programs work. So they become even more inefficient, more wasteful, and more corrupt. Heck, it's almost a moral imperative that they screw up. The past two decades have borne that out. (And what better examples than appointing a horse lawyer to run FEMA, or Bush's incompetent and unqualified appointments to head the World Bank?)
Monday, May 28, 2007
The Bush administration is developing what are described as concepts for
reducing American combat forces in Iraq by as much as half next year, according
to senior administration officials in the midst of the internal debate.
is the first indication that growing political pressure is forcing the White
House to turn its attention to what happens after the current troop increase
runs its course.
For four straight years, the same set of war supporters have constantly and repetitiously given the same exact false assurances about Iraq -- virtually verbatim -- in order to protect themselves politically. It is hard to know what is more amazing about this ritual -- (a) how stupid they believe Americans are that they can make the same commitments over and over which never transpire, or (b) that the press jumps each time to proclaim the imminent troop reductions as though it never happened before
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Bureau Chief John Walcott and current and former McClatchy Pentagon correspondents say they have not been allowed on the Defense Secretary's plane for at least three years, claiming the news company is being retaliated against for its reporting.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
So when I read that some Washington Politicians were taking the "food stamp challenge" by living on food stamps for a week, I was encouraged. Here is some of their story. These guys tried to live on $21.00 a week. They found it is all but impossible.
I had to listen to a person this weekend say that many people on welfare are just lazy. Yeah right. You try to live on welfare sometime.
This brings me to the Poverty guideline for a family of four. It is just over $19,000 per year. I suggest some of these politicians try to live on that for a year. It will quickly bring into focus the plight of 18% of our population. What makes it worse is that many of these people are children.
If you live on $19,000 per year try to get health insurance for your family. That will cost you at least 7,200/yr
How about rent, another $7,200 per year.
How about transportation, $720 per year for one person.
How about electricity and phone, $900 per year.
You are now left with $248 per month for food, clothing, and entertainment. If we assume you buy no clothes, or toys, or any entertainment you will have $28 per person per week for food.
It is very clear why people in poverty do not get health insurance. There is no way they can afford to be "responsible." Should they save any money and have a health care issue, the money is gone to pay bills.
For those who say, "get a job" I say OK. A job pays at most $10 per hour at a convenience store or McDonalds etc. That is $20,000 per year. Oh, and by the way, they will cut your welfare if you get a job so now you will also have day care costs and no more income. You don't need to wonder why people are stuck in poverty.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Here is the story from TPM.
Friday, May 18, 2007
"James Comey's testimony amounts to a statement that -- even according to the administration's own loyal DOJ officials -- the President ordered still-unknown spying on Americans, and engaged in that spying for a full two-and-a-half-years, that was so blatantly and shockingly illegal that they were all ready to resign over it. And the President's Attorney General then lied to ensure that this episode remain concealed. Mere one-day calls for a Congressional investigation are woefully inadequate here."
If you have not seen Comey's testimony you can watch it here:
Thursday, May 17, 2007
No problem for the President, just put a guy, willing to break the law, in the office of Attorney General. Problem solved.
Unfortunately there is nothing that Congress can do. They cannot fire Gonzales, only the President can.
Friday, May 11, 2007
The top U.S. commander in Iraq admonished his troops regarding the results of an Army survey that found that many U.S military personnel there are willing to tolerate some torture of suspects and unwilling to report abuse by comrades.
"This fight depends on securing the population, which must understand that we -- not our enemies -- occupy the moral high ground," Army Gen. David H. Petraeus wrote in an open letter dated May 10 and posted on a military Web site.
Letter From Gen. Petraeus (pdf)
He rejected the argument that torture is sometimes needed to quickly obtain crucial information. "Beyond the basic fact that such actions are illegal, history shows that they also are frequently neither useful nor necessary," he stated.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
By the way, the money is being borrowed to fund the war, so the American people will not notice the cost until we get the bill after Bush is out of office.
Here is the problem, the Congress was not in "recess." It was not in session at all. The 109th Congress had not started yet, and the 108th had already finished. Until the 18th of January, when the new Democrats were sworn in, the Congress was still controlled by the Republicans. So what did they do. They convene the new 109th Congress for 41 seconds on January 4th. After Congress is in session, and then closed, after 41 seconds, Congress is officially in "recess" and Bush can appoint his friends and donors. What a creep.
Read more here
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Here are the specifics: The GOP is hammering Pelosi for including a provision for $25 million in waterfront improvements in San Francisco in a big water redevelopment bill passed by the House in April. The GOP is insinuating that the provision was included by Pelosi because it could boost the value of land her husband owns in the city.
The AP jumped at the GOP's accusations late yesterday, moving this story about the GOP's attack.
As the AP story noted, Pelosi's aides are defending her by pointing out that "the waterfront improvements were requested by the Port of San Francisco," not by Pelosi, and noting that the rental properties owned by Pelosi's husband are at least a mile away from the project.
If it were proven that the improvements were in fact requested by the Port of San Francisco, and not Pelosi herself, of course, it would render the story thoroughly bogus -- unfit for publication, really. The AP, however, merely attributed this line to Pelosi's people. It's unclear whether the AP made a serious effort to determine whether it was objectively true or not. This allowed the news org to run with the GOP hit as a he-said-she-said dispute.
But I've just gotten off the phone with the Port of San Francisco. Guess what? Its representatives told me in no uncertain terms that it requested the improvements, and that Pelosi only included the improvements at their request. Here's what Brad Benson, the special project manager of the Port of San Francisco, said to me:
"The port initiated these requests. They came entirely from the city and county of San Francisco. [The requests] were generated at the staff level. The port initiated our request through the city and county of San Francisco. Our requests were funneled through the mayor's office on up to Speaker Pelosi's office...If anyone is claiming that Pelosi initiated these requests in some way, that's completely false."
According to Matt Stoller, there's a possibility that the Armed Services Committee will include a restoration of habeas corpus into the Defense Department authorization bill in the committee mark up of it, which is happening tomorrow and Thursday.
Congressional Democrats now have the opportunity to undo the most egregious damage they've done to the Constitution with the Military Commissions Act. While the ACLU and other organizations are working to have the entire Act repealed, at the very least restoring habeas is a critical start.
1. Habeas corpus is a core principle of the Western legal system. Since 1215, habeas corpus has been a major mechanism in ensuring that executive power, whether exercised by a king or a president, is checked.
2. Our nation’s founders deemed the right of habeas corpus so important that they enshrined it into the Constitution.
3. Habeas corpus can be suspended by Congress only in times of rebellion or invasion, and neither is currently taking place.
4. Habeas corpus is a core democratic principle. If we are to continue to think of the United States as a free and democratic country, it is very important that we hold on to our Constitutional principles.
5. The Bush administration's "alternative procedure” – the Combatant Status Review Tribunal – is no substitute for habeas corpus. In the unfair and deeply flawed CSRT process, coerced evidence and secret evidence are allowed, and detainees cannot have an attorney represent them.
6. The detainees, many of whom are guilty of only being in the wrong place at the wrong time, have lost years of their lives due to the actions of the Bush administration. They must be given the right to challenge their detention so that these wrongs can begin to be righted.
7. People and countries around the world view the United States as lawless. We can begin to change that by restoring the right of habeas corpus to the almost 400 detainees at Guantánamo
(back to top)
Call your REP!
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Here is an article on the matter and a film that opens up the complexity of the issue.
I can just picture some "Bishie" like Monica Goodling saying, "of course we should put this clause in the contract, what could be the harm in doing that?"
Which brings me back to the Republicans. I suspect most of them also know the war is lost, but are too afraid to say so.
When you vote next time, ask yourself this, did my Republican legislator admit the debacle in Iraq and do something about it, or did they tow the party line? If they did not fall on the side of admitting the obvious, then ask yourself the next question, is my representative doing their job, or just what is personally and politically expedient? Are they representing their constituency or sucking up to the person in power, no matter how deluded he is?
We do not have the same test for Democrats at this point. I am sure we will have the opportunity to test their ability in the years to come. For now we just need to focus on what we know, we have a whole bunch of Republican sheep who do not belong in Congress.
Wally Shirra was a name I heard a lot. I took it for granted that I would hear his name any time a rocket went into space. He has not crossed my mind in years.
Wally Shirra is an American icon, a true American Hero. He did his job quietly and with a sense of humor. When he was done he continued his quiet successful life. In an age of media hounds I miss the likes of Wally. We could all learn from this fine man. It never occurred to me that I would notice his passing, much less feel sad to have lost him.
On April 2, 1959, Schirra was chosen as one of the original seven American astronauts. He entered Project Mercury and was assigned the specialty area involving life support systems.
On October 3, 1962, Schirra became the fifth American in space, piloting the Mercury 8 (Sigma 7) on a six-orbit mission lasting 9 hours, 13 minutes, and 11 seconds. The capsule attained a velocity of 17,557 miles per hour and an altitude of 175 statute miles, and landed within four miles of the main Pacific Ocean recovery ship.
March 10, 1966: Wally Schirra is presented with the Philippine Air Force Aviation Badge by Imelda Marcos as Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, watches. Schirra is also wearing the Philippines' Legion of Honor, presented in a ceremony at the Malacañang Palace in Manila.
On December 15, 1965, Schirra flew into space a second time in Gemini 6A with Tom Stafford, rendezvousing with astronauts Frank Borman and James Lovell, Jr. in Gemini 7. This was the first rendezvous of two manned spacecraft in earth orbit. The two vehicles, however, were not capable of actually docking. Gemini 6 landed in the Atlantic Ocean the next day, while Gemini 7 continued on to a record-setting 14-day mission.
On October 11, 1968, Schirra became the first man to fly in space three times on his final flight as commander of Apollo 7, the first manned flight in the Apollo program after a fatal fire during tests of Apollo 1. The three-man crew, including Donn Eisele and Walter Cunningham, spent eleven days in earth orbit, performed rendezvous exercises with the upper stage of the Saturn 1-B launch vehicle that rocketed them into space and provided the first live television pictures from inside a U.S. manned spacecraft for which he received an Emmy.