Saturday, November 26, 2005

Oh Yes...."Hygienic" Reasons....That's Why They Taped It!

Troops Who Burned Taliban Face Discipline

14 minutes ago
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Four U.S. soldiers face disciplinary action for burning the bodies of two Taliban rebels, but they will not be charged with crimes because their actions were motivated by hygienic concerns, the military said Saturday.

The military started its inquiry into the incident last month after TV footage showed U.S. soldiers using the cremation to taunt other Islamic militants — an act that sparked outrage in Afghanistan.

Islam bans cremation, and the video images were compared here to photographs of U.S. troops abusing prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.

The U.S.-led coalition's operational commander, Maj. Gen. Jason Kamiya, said two junior officers who ordered the bodies burned would be officially reprimanded for showing a lack of cultural and religious understanding, but he said the men were unaware that what they were doing was wrong.

Kamiya also said two noncommissioned officers would be reprimanded for using loudspeakers to taunt Taliban rebels believed to be lingering in a nearby village after a clash with the troops. The two men also would face nonjudicial punishments, which could include a loss of pay or demotion in rank.
If it was hygienic, if they were unaware, why were they using a bullhorn?

Je M'Appelle....

Your French name is
which means 'sad'.
You are disapointed in life and wish there was a
way to fix it. Life has no meaning to you and
you can't enjoy it. You have not quite given up
hope, however...

What is your French name?
brought to you by Quizilla

Hat tip to Lizzy at Night Bird's Fountain.

Write Your Own Caption!

Hat tip to Red Tory

Leftovers Aren't Just For Turkey. Ask The Wall St. Journal

Abramoff probe broader than thought: paper

Fri Nov 25,12:25 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department's probe of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff is broader than previously thought, examining his dealings with four lawmakers, former and current congressional aides and two former Bush administration officials, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Prosecutors in the department's public integrity and fraud divisions are looking into Abramoff's dealings with four Republicans -- former House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas, Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio, Rep. John Doolittle of California and Sen. Conrad Burns of Montana, the paper said, citing several people close to the investigation.

Abramoff is under investigation over his lobbying efforts for Indian tribes with casinos. He has also pleaded not guilty to federal charges in Florida that he defrauded lenders in a casino cruise line deal.

The prosecutors are also investigating at least 17 current and former congressional aides, about half of whom later took lobbying jobs with Abramoff, as well as an official from the Interior Department and another from the government's procurement office, the Journal said.

Justice Department spokesman Paul Bresson declined to comment on the investigation.

The newspaper said investigators were looking into whether Abramoff and his partners made illegal payoffs to the lawmakers and aides in the form of campaign contributions, sports tickets, meals, travel and job offers, in exchange for helping their clients.
Ney and DeLay have already hired lawyers, it should be pointed out.

Keep in mind that former DeLay aide Michael Scanlon plea-bargained a deal on Monday with the prosecutor, Ronnie Earle. I'm guessing there's more like a Christmas ham than a ham sandwich to indict here. Why is it Republicans always manage to get themselves indicted en masse in corruption scandals, when they lay claim to the ethical mantle?
In 1995, Republicans took over the U.S. House with a new agenda, the Contract with America. The pact would "restore the bonds of trust" between the people and their elected representatives, we were told. A new leadership would "end the cycle of scandal and disgrace."

Many of the Contract's legislative proposals were enacted into law.

But any reforming spirit left in that movement officially breathed its last this week.
In particular, one Grover Norquist, who has sought a government so small he could drown it in a bathtub.

Now we know why. He wanted to rob the family safe.

Friday, November 25, 2005

How To Handle A Crisis

Another blast, toxic spill, worries China

By Chris Buckley
HARBIN, China (Reuters) - Hundreds of villagers have been evacuated from their homes along a river in northeast China after an explosion at a petrochemical plant upstream dumped 100 tonnes of toxic chemicals in the water, local media said on Friday.

In the southwestern city of Chongqing, more than 6,000 people were evacuated after an explosion at another chemical plant killed one and injured three on Thursday, raising fears of benzene contamination there as well, the Southern Metropolis Daily said.

Going from house to house, environmental protection officials warned Chongqing residents not to use river water, the paper said, adding that two schools had suspended classes.

In a sign of how the first accident has jarred national nerves about widespread pollution, Premier Wen Jiabao has issued instructions demanding safe drinking water be ensured.
Note. The Premier. Not some half-assed flunky like Michael Brown. The Premier.

Note too that the Premier took action the day the damn explosion happened, and wasn't flying around the country in some goddamned plane like a coward in the middle of a shell game.

Who's to say this wasn't some terrorist attack? Two explosions in ten days sure sounds suspicious to me, but they didn't whisk Jiabao off to some bunker in the Chinese province of Cheyenne, WY.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

"A Democratic Agenda" Mirrored

Please continue comments for this on this thread. HaloScan limits comments threads to 3,000 characters on its basic plan.

One Watergate Era Reporter Confronts Another

All the Reporter's Men
Woodward's turn to answer questions about breaking—and not breaking—news
by Sydney H. Schanberg
November 22nd, 2005 11:06 AM

I have no stake in whether any Bush White House heavy goes to jail in the Plamegate scandal; incarceration is not required for the public to recognize a failed presidency. But I do care about what happens to Bob Woodward in this stew, because he became the success model for modern journalism. And to my mind, he has, over the years, drifted away from the principles he and Carl Bernstein represented when they broke the Watergate scandal three decades ago and exposed another dark presidency, which then imploded.

Then, Woodward was a striving beginner newspaperman. Now, still hardworking, he's a millionaire courtier of the Washington power elite. He has used those Watergate-baptism skills to gain access to the White House and get its big players to talk, mostly anonymously, thereby producing a series of successful insider books about government decision making. Most of the books come across as meticulously reported, but the problem is, the reader cannot tell what Woodward may be leaving out—to protect his sources and not lose his rare and coveted access.

He has a special arrangement with his newspaper, The Washington Post, where he carries the title of assistant managing editor, though he neither manages nor edits. The arrangement is known in the newsroom and acknowledged publicly by the paper. As follows: He writes an occasional story for the paper as he goes about reporting for his books and also occasionally passes tips to investigative reporters on the staff. In his book research, he grants confidentiality to his anonymous sources—they are not named or identified in any way in the books. He also promises all his interviewees that he will make no immediate use of what they tell him and will publish it only much later, in the book, which means perhaps too late for the electorate or Congress to act upon it before the White House makes and carries out crucial decisions—such as sending troops into combat.

Here, from page 423 of Plan of Attack, is an example of Woodward's agreement not to publish right away. It comes after a long interview with Bush in his office in the White House residence on December 10, 2003:

The president said he wanted to make sure that his acknowledgment that no weapons of mass destruction had been found so far would not be published in The Washington Post until the book was released. "In other words, I'm not going to read a headline, 'Bush Says No Weapons.' " I promised he would not . . .

To me, giving such assurances is the opposite of what journalists are taught and trained to do. The creed says you publish when the story has been properly confirmed, so that the public can make informed decisions.


A what-if question is needed here: What if Woodward had told the public—as soon as he found out—all the revealing material about how the White House pulled the nation into war, instead of holding it back for Plan of Attack, which was published in April 2004? It's not unrealistic to think this might have altered the course of events. The book, like several other of Woodward's works, was a major bestseller.
Now, the Voice, being the liberal bastion that it always has been, gives Woodward a chance to respond.


To Sid Schanberg!
But what about getting information to members of the public sooner so they can make informed decisions? "My mission," he said, "is to get information out as soon as possible that's relevant."

Well, I asked, if you weren't going to write a story for the Post about your role, why didn't you pass the information to someone else in the newsroom—while still protecting the source's identity? He said: "I did tell someone. I told Walter Pincus [a national-security reporter]." But Pincus has said he doesn't recall the conversation. "I did tell him; we have different memories," Woodward said, his voice sounding sad and hurt. Woodward has been the recipient of near constant acclaim for more than 30 years; this is the first time he has faced a serious wave of negative comment, including from his own newsroom and the paper's latest ombudsman, Deborah Howell (in a column in Sunday's Post).

Our talk was not testy or uncivil—two journalists with different career arcs and different approaches to journalism trying to explain that divergence to each other. I said I was a newspaperman who had covered third-world tragedies and wars and lots of killing of innocents, who was therefore motivated and trained to get stories confirmed and to the reader as soon as possible. To me, I said, that was the specialness of the reporting he and Carl Bernstein had done on Watergate. I said I felt he had several sometimes conflicting loyalties now, such as to his book publisher. He said that he shared my goals but that he felt his present process of "very aggressive, incremental reporting in different forms—books, articles, and going on television"—also served the public well.

"I think it's a good-faith effort," he said. "I'm comfortable with it."

Maybe presumptuously, I suggested that, to make his readers more comfortable at this time, he write a full, personal account about this saga that would make his processes more transparent. He said he started to write just that kind of piece—a 20-page account to go with the paper's story about his testimony last week. But he said his editors and the paper's lawyers convinced him it was imprudent, for reasons Woodward didn't make clear. He said he was trying to get his story out by talking to journalists outside the Post and making TV talk show appearances.

"We have lots of problems now," he said, speaking of the journalism community, "and it looks like I've added to that."
Uh, yea, Bob. All you did was tear a huge hole in the facade that journalists are independent, tough-as-nails fact-finders that you spent decades flouting as YOUR main quality!

You created this myth of integrity, and while Republicans (and to be fair, some Democrats) have worked hard to cut little bits out of it, it took you to slice it wide open.

I hope you're happy.

One Vet's Thanks Giving

An Iraq war vet comes to terms with the meaning of his service.

From OpTruth:
When I was done, we got back in the jeep and rolled down to the other camp. This one was more chaotic. Had more of a militant feel. These people were there to get a message out. I listened, but something else was calling me. The first set of white crosses we had passed. They were sitting there begging me to do something for them. All I could do was walk and say a prayer.

I started down the row heavy footed with my friend. We walked together for a bit, exchanging glances at names we thought we knew. I adjusted flowers and even righted a flag that had been placed upside down. I then began to get ahead of him. I just kept walking. I got half way through and tears began to stream down my face.

I was angry. I wanted to run up to Bush's house and kick in his door. I wanted to force him to tell me what we were fighting for. Why all of this death? What reason did he justify this with? What allowed him to sleep peacefully at night while I tossed and turned with the sound of gunfire and mortars in my head?

As I calmed down, we headed back to my Jeep. Amid the honks of cars and the screaming of protestors, the true message was there. Never forget the fallen. I took one last look around and drove on.

This simple trip made me realize that I had a duty as a soldier to get the word out. There are other soldiers out there that need to have an experience that I did. They need to start the healing process. On top of that, the American people needed to know what was really going on. People needed to see what was happening in Iraq. I have since made a pledge to myself and to the memory of the more than 2000 dead that the world will never forget them. That their names, deeds and actions will be remembered every time.
Amen, Ryan, Amen.

I'm Somewhat Conflicted About This

S.Korean stem cell scientist apologizes on ethics

By Jon Herskovitz and Lee Jin-joo
SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's pioneering stem cell scientist apologized on Thursday that two members of his team had donated their egg cells for research, saying his rush to advance science may have clouded his ethical judgment.

Hwang Woo-suk, who became a hero in South Korea after major developments in cloning research, has been caught in a swirl of allegations over his work after a U.S. collaborator left the group, saying Hwang unethically procured human eggs.

Time magazine called Hwang's team's cloning of a dog the year's most amazing invention. Snuppy was the world's first cloned dog -- dogs are considered one of the most difficult animals to clone.

"Being too focused on scientific development, I may not have seen all the ethical issues related to my research," Hwang said.

He told a packed news conference he had become aware earlier this year that the researchers provided egg cells in 2002 and 2003, even though he had turned down their offers to do so.

"At the time technology was not as advanced as today and creating one stem cell line required oocytes (eggs). It was during this time when my researchers suggested making voluntary donations. I clearly turned it down," Hwang said.

Hwang said he could understand their way of thinking and said if he were a woman, he probably would have donated eggs.

Hwang also said he was stepping down as the head of a global stem cell hub, established only last month in South Korea.

"It is my way of seeking repentance," he said.
OK, he took responsibility for the actions of others, supposedly unbeknownst to him....gee, wish politicians were as ethical..but it's the underlying reasons that conflict me.

On the one hand, human cloning is going to happen. Whether it's initially reproductive cloning or not, doesn't matter. From a moral or an ethical stance, that debate is irrelevant. If it happens under public scrutiny, mores the better than it being performed in backalley shops (yes, I'm aware that it costs enormous sums of money and the success rate is almost hit-or-miss, but eventually, the technology improves and the success rate makes it worthwhile. Just ask Snuppy.)

On the other hand, should it?

I'm not sure. History tells me that nearly every great scientific advance has its roots or its first application in the military, and that concerns me. The ultimate biological weapon would be a human being, genetically altered to spread disease (while being unaffected by it), and since that particular application almost demands a disposable person, the cloning technology required would be minimal: life support and basic rote memorization.

But all military technologies eventually work their way into the commercial and consumer marketplaces. Look at your wristwatch, for example. That was originally designed for the military, as it was hard to aim a rifle and fire while dickering about your pockets for a watch, and yet now, everyone has at least one. Even the technology to build the atom bomb has been transformed into a cheap, if suspect, source of electricity.

So maybe we need to give this more thought and more debate than a "no human cloning" ban. As I said, I'm no fan of the idea, but I think it's important to keep an open mind about this.

The other issue this story raises is whether Dr. Hwang was forcing his subordinates to donate their eggs. See, the ethical construct that forced Hwang to resign (but not abandon his research) was not using human eggs, but that a researcher should not coerce, either morally or thru overt coercion, a team member to collaborate. Is it unethical if they still donate their eggs without his knowledge?

A less vital question, to be sure, but one that will gain importance as we attack diseases thru genetic manipulation. For example, say I'm a researcher on a project about AIDS and learn I've contracted HIV. Is it unethical for me to volunteer to be part of the study to determine if the virus can be tricked into remission by juggling my DNA (admittedly a dangerous prospect)?

tags technorati :

Obligatory Holiday Post

Is there anytime this man isn't threatening harm to someone???? I mean, he's pardoning this bird, and yet he has to threaten to wring its neck!

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving, readers, and as this is officially the start of the holiday season, may I add o/~ Falalalala, lala, la....bite me! o/~

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

An Honest Conservative

Another one bites the dust

Why Are We There Again?

John at AmericaBlog posted this:
In Egypt, the final communique's attempt to define terrorism omitted any reference to attacks against U.S. or Iraqi forces. Delegates from across the political and religious spectrum said the omission was intentional. They spoke anonymously, saying they feared retribution.

"Though resistance is a legitimate right for all people, terrorism does not represent resistance. Therefore, we condemn terrorism and acts of violence, killing and kidnapping targeting Iraqi citizens and humanitarian, civil, government institutions, national resources and houses of worships," the document said.
The Iraqi leaders made it clear that while they oppose terrorism, killing US soldiers isn't terrorism. The document had a decidedly anti-US tenor to it. So, what's the US reaction? Your Secretary of State said don't believe what they wrote. She applied the Bush/Rove lens to that document. In other words, just because they said it, doesn't mean you should believe it.
Now, couple this with this post and what do you get?
"I suspect that American forces are not going to be needed in the numbers that they're there for all that much longer, because Iraqis are continuing to make progress in function, not just in numbers, but in their capabilities to do certain functions," Rice told CNN on Tuesday.
You get a failed US policy and a war of choice that has long outlasted its welcome.

Check Out This Post

Roman Wilderness may have found a way to link us all back together, and to re-form our Perfect Union.

Gee, Did Someone Just Call This "Cut and Run"?

US talking Iraq troop reductions

By JoAnne Allen
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States may not need the number of troops it has in Iraq "all that much longer," U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said amid reports the Pentagon may pull back three combat brigades.

With political pressure building on U.S. President George W. Bush to shift course in Iraq, U.S. officials are trying to reassure Americans that sufficient progress is being made in training Iraqi forces to possibly permit some U.S. troops to leave.

"I suspect that American forces are not going to be needed in the numbers that they're there for all that much longer, because Iraqis are continuing to make progress in function, not just in numbers, but in their capabilities to do certain functions," Rice told CNN on Tuesday.

She said "the number of coalition forces is clearly going to come down because Iraqis are making it possible now to do those functions themselves."

Rice's comments come after a bitter debate on Capitol Hill about Bush's Iraq policy, including a demand by one of the most hawkish members of the U.S. Congress, Democratic Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, that U.S. forces withdraw immediately.

The Washington Post said on Wednesday that barring any major surprises in Iraq, the Pentagon tentatively plans to reduce the number of U.S. forces there early next year by as many as three combat brigades, from 18 now, but to keep at least one brigade "on call" in Kuwait in case more troops are needed quickly.
So who's cutting and running now, beeyatch?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Is The Death Penalty Worth It?

TRENTON, N.J. -- In the 23 years since New Jersey reinstated the death penalty, the law has cost taxpayers about $253 million and executed no one, according to a new study.

"Money For Nothing? The Financial Cost of New Jersey's Death Penalty" was released Monday by New Jersey Policy Perspective, a research group.

The report broke down the death penalty-related costs as follows:

_County prosecutors/state Attorney General's Office: $180 million;

_State Public Defender's Office: $60 million;

_State Department of Corrections: $6.8 million;

_Court Costs: $6.5 million.

That works out to $4.2 million for each death sentence imposed in New Jersey.

In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the 40 state death penalty statutes that existed at the time, ruling that giving juries complete discretion over sentencing conflicted with the Eighth Amendment ban on "cruel and unusual punishment."

New Jersey, which first adopted capital punishment in 1796, passed a new death penalty law in 1982 that conformed to the high court's mandates.

Since then, New Jersey jurors have returned death verdicts 60 times. Ten people are now on death row at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton. Most of the others have had their death sentences overturned and replaced with life in prison.

One died of natural causes and another was killed by a fellow death row inmate.

What To Make of This.....

First the good news:
Abramoff Partner Pleads Guilty
Scanlon Admits He Conspired to Bribe Lawmaker

By James V. Grimaldi and Susan Schmidt
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, November 22, 2005; Page A01

A onetime congressional staffer who became a top partner to lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiring to bribe a congressman and other public officials and agreed to pay back more than $19 million he fraudulently charged Indian tribal clients.

The plea agreement between prosecutors and Michael Scanlon, a former press secretary to then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), provided fresh detail about the alleged bribes. The document also indicated the nature of testimony Scanlon is prepared to offer against a congressman it calls "Representative #1" -- who has been identified by attorneys in the case as Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio).

Scanlon, a 35-year-old former public relations executive, faces a maximum five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but the penalty could be reduced depending on the level of his cooperation with prosecutors. His help is expected to be crucial to the Justice Department's wide-ranging Abramoff investigation, which began early last year after the revelation that Scanlon and the lobbyist took in tens of millions of dollars from Indian tribes unaware of their secret partnership to jack up fees and split profits.

Investigators are looking at half a dozen members of Congress, current and former senior Hill aides, a former deputy secretary of the interior, and Abramoff's former lobbying colleagues, according to sources familiar with the probe who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Because of his central role in much of Abramoff's business, Scanlon could be a key witness in any trials that arise from the case.
Now, the possibly-not-good news:
DeLay Lawyers to Seek Dismissal
By APRIL CASTRO, Associated Press Writer

AUSTIN, Texas - Attorneys for Rep. Tom DeLay are hoping a judge will dismiss the conspiracy and money laundering charges against the former House majority leader so he can regain the powerful seat.

DeLay was to appear in court Tuesday before a judge who will decide whether the criminal case should continue to trial.

DeLay had to relinquish his leadership post in Congress after he was indicted in September. His attorneys are pushing for a December trial in hopes that DeLay is cleared so he can regain his title before Congress returns to session in January. Otherwise, lawmakers could elect a new majority leader.

Tuesday's hearing is DeLay's first before Senior Judge Pat Priest, who was appointed to the case after DeLay's attorneys succeeded in having the first judge removed because of his campaign contributions to Democratic candidates and causes.

DeLay is accused of funneling $190,000 in restricted corporate money from his Texas political action committee to an arm of the Republican National Committee, which then gave the same amount of money to Texas legislative candidates in 2002. The direct use of corporate money for political purposes is illegal in Texas.

DeLay's attorney, Dick DeGuerin, has filed multiple legal briefs detailing why he believes the charges against the lawmaker should be dismissed.

The defense contends, for example, that DeLay shouldn't be charged with conspiracy to violate the election code because the law wasn't on the books until 2003, a year after DeLay's alleged offenses occurred.

Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle has said state law has long defined conspiracy as an agreement to commit any felony, including a violation of the election code.

DeLay's attorneys also want to have the trial moved from liberal-leaning Austin, where they say he cannot get a fair trial, to his home county of Fort Bend. But that issue likely won't be decided until a later hearing.
Odd juxtaposition of events, wouldn't you say?

My guess is DeLay's lawyers are panicked that Abramoff will turn and that DeLay will be in double-deep-doo-doo.

In Rememberance

T.S. Eliot wants me to think that "I have measured out my life with coffee spoons," but it is moments like these that define a life, I believe, and not the dull, drab, day-to-day existence in pursuit of the mundane that we believe will make our lives incrementally better.

No, life for me is measured in the moments that crystalize and coalesce my thinking. His assassination being one, to be sure. To understand that this nation could achieve, could consecrate it's role in the world for progress and peace, and to have such dreams drain away like the life from a young man.

But here, read passages of his official biography:
His Inaugural Address offered the memorable injunction: "Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country." As President, he set out to redeem his campaign pledge to get America moving again. His economic programs launched the country on its longest sustained expansion since World War II; before his death, he laid plans for a massive assault on persisting pockets of privation and poverty.

Responding to ever more urgent demands, he took vigorous action in the cause of equal rights, calling for new civil rights legislation. His vision of America extended to the quality of the national culture and the central role of the arts in a vital society.

He wished America to resume its old mission as the first nation dedicated to the revolution of human rights. With the Alliance for Progress and the Peace Corps, he brought American idealism to the aid of developing nations. But the hard reality of the Communist challenge remained.
He was far from perfect, entangling us in Viet Nam, and nearly creating a world-wide disaster through his actions (or more correctly, inactions) at the Bay of Pigs, but the enduring legacy of the Kennedy administration was one of hope, of peace and prosperity.

Of the future.

All broken in the single slurred sixth note of Taps played at Arlington, a bugler mourned for the loss of innocence.

But the dream did not die. It lives on in me. In you. In the numberless masses of poor and disenfranchised in this nation and around the world. In people old enough to remember, and young enough to think only that JFK is a big airport they've heard of.

Remember today. Remember it forever.

"Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you."
--Carl Sandburg

(One of my favorite bloggers, Cookie Jill at Skippy, posted an excerpt of the remarks he would have delivered that day)

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Monday, November 21, 2005

A Word About Toxins

Check out this blog, The Tao of Biotechnology.

No, you won't be asked to start the Gerson diet, but it's a solid source of information about the latest in bioengineering, genetically modified food and other health-related issues. Ed in his inimitable fashion has created a one stop shop.

Going to Hell (In a Handbasket)

A 'fiscal hurricane' on the horizon

By Richard Wolf, USA TODAY
Tue Nov 15, 7:05 AM ET

The comptroller general of the United States is explaining over eggs how the nation's finances are going to hell.

"We face a demographic tsunami" that "will never recede," David Walker tells a group of reporters. He runs through a long list of fiscal challenges, led by the imminent retirement of the baby boomers, whose promised Medicare and Social Security benefits will swamp the federal budget in coming decades.

The breakfast conversation remains somber for most of an hour. Then one reporter smiles and asks, "Aren't you depressed in the morning?"

Sadly, it's no laughing matter. To hear Walker, the nation's top auditor, tell it, the United States can be likened to Rome before the fall of the empire. Its financial condition is "worse than advertised," he says. It has a "broken business model." It faces deficits in its budget, its balance of payments, its savings - and its leadership.

Walker's not the only one saying it. As Congress and the White House struggle to trim up to $50 billion from the federal budget over five years - just 3% of the $1.6 trillion in deficits projected for that period - budget experts say the nation soon could face its worst fiscal crisis since at least 1983, when Social Security bordered on bankruptcy.

Without major spending cuts, tax increases or both, the national debt will grow more than $3 trillion through 2010, to $11.2 trillion - nearly $38,000 for every man, woman and child. The interest alone would cost $561 billion in 2010, the same as the Pentagon.
Gee, US Today finally woke up and smelled the sour coffee these assholes have been peddling for five years?

I've posted my admiration for Walker several times on this blog. As a Clinton appointee, he's the only sitting administration official with the nerve (and the insulation) to tell the truth about the fiscal policy of these economic rapists. This article ought to be required reading for any Regressive Bushinista.

Hat tip to my able assistant, Katrina.

Another Dem Shows Some Spine

Charlie Rangel, whom you may remember introduced a resolution calling for a draft to supply troops for the Iraqi invasion, calls out Dick Cheney:
WASHINGTON - The feud between Vice President Cheney and Rep. Charlie Rangel reignited as the Harlem lawmaker ripped the veep as a draft dodger who found it "easy to fight [a war] with other people's children."
The decorated Korean War veteran took aim at Cheney after the White House put Vietnam War hero Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa.) in its cross hairs for recanting his support for the Iraq war and calling for the troops to return home.

"Cheney is like a chess player; he likes to move other people's pieces. In this case, it's sending other people's kids to war," Rangel told the Daily News.

Murtha had made a similar assault on Cheney's toughness, saying, "I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war."

Republicans howled, with one even suggesting Murtha, a decorated former Marine, was a coward.

But even before Murtha was attacked by the White House, Rangel was miffed over a speech in which Cheneyblasted congressional critics of the war for making "the most dishonest and reprehensible charges." Cheney has been accused of manipulating prewar intelligence that claimed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

"The President and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory or their backbone," Cheney said Wednesday.

"It was as mean a speech as I've ever heard," Rangel said.

Rangel fought for his life on a frozen mountain in North Korea with the 503rd Field Artillery Battalion. He caught shrapnel in his foot on Nov. 30, 1950, and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

Cheney got five deferments and took a pass on fighting in Vietnam.

Gee, Here's A Shock....

The Movie Of Your Life Is A Black Comedy

In your life, things are so twisted that you just have to laugh.
You may end up insane, but you'll have fun on the way to the asylum.

Your best movie matches: Being John Malkovich, The Royal Tenenbaums, American Psycho

More On Republican Family Values

Mother wants answers after paddling
Son required medical attention after school punishment

By Gene Apodaca
(11/19/05 - KTRK/CLEVELAND, TX) - A student was paddled at school, and now his mother wants answers for the school's choice of punishment.

Diane Schauer doesn't argue that her son deserved to be punished, but it was the type of punishment he got that left her fuming.

"I was very angry," she said. "I'm beyond angry."

Two weeks ago, Jacob Schauer was caught getting leaving Cleveland Middle School early. For his punishment, he was sent to the coach's office where he had to endure a series of paddles.

"I can't describe it," said Jacob. "It hurt really bad."

Schauer claims that the paddling was so hard that Jacob still aches with pain. A doctor even prescribed the teen muscle relaxers so that he can sleep.

"It hurt. It stung," said Jacob. "It was like a bunch of bees stinging at once."

What troubles Schauer the most is that she claimed to have signed a form denying teachers the right to paddle her son. When she complained to the principal, she claims her concerns were ignored.

"I said, 'Don't hit and whoop him' and he said 'We don't need your permission. That's just a courtesy,'" said Schauer. "Then why send it home if it's a courtesy?"

In a statement released by Cleveland ISD, officials deny any wrongdoing. The statement read:

"We did not violate any law, and as a courtesy to parents, we do ask them, but we don't, by state law, need their permission."

"They cannot whoop our children," said Schauer. That is a parent's job. We gave birth to those children. We created those kids. It's our job to discipline them that way, not anyone else's."

Both the coach and principal did not want to talk about the incident.

There was some confusion recently with the passing of a new state House bill. It said only parents, grandparents, step-parents or a guardian could use corporal punishment such as paddling. But recently, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued his opinion that public schools did not lose their right to spank students under this new bill, and that a professional school district employee may use corporal punishment as permitted by state law.
See, isn't it nice to know that our southern school systems are keeping up in competitions with Islamic madrassahs and Charles Dickens?

Jesus' General responds.

Came Across This Headline On The Net....

Bush Cheers Mongolia for Pushing Democracy
And realized the best news for Bush this past week was that he didn't call them "Mongoloids".

No insult intended to our great ally in the Coalition of the Paid-Off, Mongolian, and the Mongolian people. It's not your fault your name has been incorporated into a less-than-politically-correct term describing someone whose physical appearance has been affected by a genetic form of disability.

And I say that as someone who likely has Mongolian blood in my veins, given my ancestry. Speaking of which, if you can afford it, I urge you to go and grab a piece of this test, which will help you determine your deep ancestry.

All humanity began in a small basin in Africa, whether you want to believe evolution or if that was the garden of Eden, so there's no excuse for you not to participate.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Not That I'm a Big Bruce Fan

...although I did wear holes through "The Rising", but this smacks of some petty shit:
Republicans Refuse to Honor Springsteen

By DONNA DE LA CRUZ, Associated Press Writer Fri Nov 18, 8:33 PM ET
WASHINGTON - Bruce Springsteen famously was "born in the USA," but he's getting scorned in the U.S. Senate.

An effort by New Jersey's two Democratic senators to honor the veteran rocker was shot down Friday by Republicans who are apparently still miffed a year after the Boss lent his voice to the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.

The chamber's GOP leaders refused to bring up for consideration a resolution, introduced by Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Jon Corzine, that honored Springsteen's long career and the 1975 release of his iconic album, "Born to Run."

No reason was given, said Lautenberg spokesman Alex Formuzis. "Resolutions like this pass all the time in the U.S. Senate, usually by unanimous consent," he said.

Telephone calls to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's office seeking comment were not immediately returned.

Lautenberg said he couldn't understand why anyone would object to the resolution.

"Even if the Republicans don't like (Springsteen's) tunes, I would hope they appreciated his contributions to American culture," Lautenberg said.

Corzine said he, Lautenberg and other Americans appreciated Springsteen's contributions to American culture.

"We'll never surrender looking for ways to honor our local hero who made it big in this land of hopes and dreams," Corzine said.
I'm thinking they finally got around to reading the lyrics sheet of "Born In The USA," which Reagan tried to coopt as a blatantly pro-America song.
Born down in a dead man's town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up

Born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.

Got in a little hometown jam
So they put a rifle in my hand
Sent me off to a foreign land
To go and kill the yellow man


Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man says "Son if it was up to me"
Went down to see my V.A. man
He said "Son, don't you understand"

I had a brother at Khe Sahn fighting off the Viet Cong
They're still there, he's all gone

He had a woman he loved in Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms now

Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I'm ten years burning down the road
Nowhere to run ain't got nowhere to go

Born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
I'm a long gone Daddy in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
I'm a cool rocking Daddy in the U.S.A.

An Economic Bill Of Rights

Hmmm, maybe it's time the Dems trotted this out once again...sure sounds as relevant today as it did 60 years ago...
The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.
Ain't it funny how we had many of these things, and they've all slipped away from our grasp?

(Hat tip to The Erudite Redneck by way of Miss Cellania.)

As if....

Dumbest comment ever said in China:
"And I explained to them as clearly as I could that the value of the Chinese currency is very important for manufacturers and workers in the United States."
As if you can explain ANYTHING clearly, Mr. President.

As if the Chinese care.

As if they've ever demonstrated anything but contempt for your knuckledragging brutishness.

As if they've "solved" North Korea for you....they dumped it right back in your lap and we're no closer to what President Clinton had negotiated, much less what you claimed you were setting out to do.

Where does all this come from? Read this.
BEIJING (Reuters) - Washington and Beijing will cooperate toward making the yuan's exchange rate more responsive to market forces of supply and demand, visiting U.S. President George W. Bush said on Sunday.

China revalued the yuan by 2.1 percent in July and cut it loose from the dollar so it could float within tightly managed bands. But since then, to Washington's frustration, China has let its currency rise only a further 0.33 percent against the dollar.
As John at Americablog puts it, China has played this gambit brilliantly. They've also played Bush like a cheap violin.