Monday, April 30, 2007

They've been waiting a long time for this

And time is of the essence. looseheadprop at Firedoglake:
I suppose we should not blame the GOP too much: look at the example the President has been setting, treating the most important work in the world like a no show job. Which may explain why during the first quarter of 2005 the Republican dominated 109th House was in session a grand total of 164 hours over 27 days. By contrast Nancy Pelosi has kept the House members nose's to the grindstone for 407 hours over 49 days.

These folks were not just punching clock. The Pelosi-led Democratically controlled House of Representatives has already held 213 roll call votes and passed a total of 176 measures as compared to the 90 roll call votes held in the House during the first quarter of the 109th Cong. which managed to pass only 61 measures during that period. Can you say SLACKERS?

Over on the Senate side of the Capitol there are similar improvements. For example, Give 'em Hell Harry has presided over a Senate which has held a total of 230 oversight hearings in the first three months of 2007 (including appropriations and hearings devoted to the Iraq war), but the 109th Cong Senate held only 111 oversight hearings during the same period in 2005.

I hate to break it to Monica Goodling, but that notice she put on her emails?

Is fucking illegal and will earn her five years in the clink:
Let's review the timeline. On January 17, 2007, Senators Feinstein and Leahy grilled Alberto Gonzales on the recent spate of U.S. Attorney firings. On January 25, 2007, Senator Schumer announced that he was going to hold hearings on the firing of U.S. Attorneys. And on February 6, Schumer held the first set of hearings, in which Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty testified that Bud Cummins was not asked to leave for "performance-related" reasons, but rather to make way for Karl Rove protege Tim Griffin. That damaging testimony helped propel this story to the front pages.

And two days later, on February 8, 2007, Senators Durbin, Schumer, Murray, and Reid sent a follow up letter to Alberto Gonzales asking all sorts of questions arising out of McNulty's testimony, including a number of questions about the replacement of Bud Cummins with Tim Griffin.

It is in this context that Monica Goodling, four days later, sends out the above-displayed email, which attaches updated talking points re: Griffin/Cummins and various other U.S. Attorney related issues and instructs the recipients to delete prior versions of the documents.

As a litigator, I can tell you, that's a real no-no. You never instruct people to delete documents that are relevant to a pending investigation. Never. That's true even when the investigating body hasn't yet got around to requesting those documents. It smacks of obstruction. Indeed, the Obstruction of Congress statute, 18 U.S.C § 1505, specifically prohibits any attempts to obstruct "the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress." The penalty is up to 5 years in prison.

Dirt, worms, and leaves

Is what we'll be eating in just a bit. LOCALLY grown dirt, worms, and leaves:
Citing concerns over the domoic acid poisoning that has already sickened hundreds of birds, state health regulators on Friday urged people not to eat certain types of seafood — including shellfish and sardines — caught by recreational fishermen off most of the Southern California coast.

The warning also covers the organs of commercially sold lobster and crabs as well as those caught by recreational anglers.

Health officials typically issue a warning against eating mussels about May 1. Officials say they know of no one who has been sickened. But this year, regulators decided to expand the quarantine after finding high concentrations of domoic acid in some samples of other shellfish, said Lea Brooks, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Health Services.

Friday's warning comes as hundreds of sick or dead marine birds are being washed ashore up and down the coast, their conditions linked to a particularly virulent outbreak of the naturally occurring domoic acid toxin, scientists say.

The seafood warning pertains to bivalve (two-shelled) shellfish such as oysters, clams and scallops, as well as anchovies taken off the coast of Los Angeles, Orange, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

The warning applies to seafood caught from shore and boats.

The fishing season for some of the creatures covered by the warning is ending. But other species now quarantined, such as mussels and Pismo clams, are harvested throughout the year, according to state sportfishing regulations.

Melamine has been in our food supply for at least a year

And probably more. Via cookie jill at skippy the bush kangaroo, Goldy at Horsesass:

Who knows what kind of shit is adulterating our imported and domestic food supply? But whatever it is, it’s about to hit the fan.

Months after dogs and cats started dropping dead of renal failure from melamine-tainted pet food, American consumers are beginning to learn how long and how wide this contaminant has also poisoned the human food supply. Last week, as California officials revealed that at least 45 people are known to have eaten tainted pork, the USDA announced that it would pay farmers millions of dollars to destroy and dispose of thousands of hogs fed “salvaged” pet food.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Through the salvaging practice, melamine-tainted pet food has likely contaminated America’s livestock for as long as it has been killing and sickening America’s pets — as far back as August of 2006, or even earlier. And while it may seem alarmist to suggest without absolute proof that Americans have been eating melamine-tainted pork, chicken and farm-raised fish for the better part of a year, the FDA and USDA seem to be preparing to brace Americans for the worst. In an unusual, Saturday afternoon joint press release, the regulators tasked with protecting the safety of our nation’s food supply go to convoluted lengths to reassure the public that eating melamine-tainted pork is perfectly safe.

In a fit of reverse-homeopathy the press release steps us through the dilution process, tracing the path of melamine-tainted rice protein through the food system. The rice protein is a partial ingredient in pet food, we are told, which is itself only a partial ingredient in the feed given to hogs, who then “excrete” some of the melamine in their urine. And, “even if present in pork,” they reassure us, “pork is only a small part of the average American diet.”

How comforting. But the press release reaches its Orwellian best in its insistence that there is no evidence of any “human illness” due to melamine exposure:

“While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention systems would have limited ability to detect subtle problems due to melamine and melamine-related compounds, no problems have been detected to date.”

Translation: “We are unable to detect such problems, but don’t worry, no such problems have been detected.”

It is hard to read this as anything but a preemptive press release, a calculated effort to reassure the public that it is safe to eat trace quantities of melamine… just days before they inevitably reveal that Americans have in fact been consuming it unawares for months. Menu Foods, the company at the center of the controversy, has recalled product dating back to November 8, 2006. Manufacturing forty to fifty percent of America’s wet pet food, the salvaged product from their massive operations must have surely contaminated livestock feed nationwide.

The New York Times:
Here at the Shandong Mingshui Great Chemical Group factory, huge boiler vats are turning coal into melamine, which is then used to create plastics and fertilizer. But the leftover melamine scrap, golf ball-size chunks of white rock, is sometimes being sold to local agricultural entrepreneurs, who say they mix a powdered form of the scrap into animal feed to deceive those who raise animals into thinking they are buying feed that is high in protein.

“It just saves money if you add melamine scrap,” said the manager of an animal feed factory here.

Last Friday here in Zhangqiu, a fast-growing industrial city southeast of Beijing, two animal feed producers explained in great detail how they purchase low-grade wheat, corn, soybean or other proteins and then mix in small portions of nitrogen-rich melamine scrap, whose chemical properties help the feed register an inflated protein level.

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Photo by Ariana Lindquist for The New York Times

Update: Make that 16 years.

Circling the drain

The neocon agenda, their glorious thousand year reich, their wonderful and eternal war on terror, their power grab, their theocracy, their money.....

It looks like the American citizens have finally awakened from their stupor.

Vanity Press has the line up.

Oh shit.

"Feed sellers in China routinely use protein substitute" is a headline that Spocko at Spocko's Brain caught before the article was pulled.

"....The pet food case is also putting China's agricultural exports under greater scrutiny because the country's dubious food safety record and history of excessive antibiotic and pesticide use.

In recent years, for instance, China's food safety scandals have involved everything from fake baby milk formulas and soy sauce made from human hair, to instances where cuttlefish were soaked in calligraphy ink to improve their color and eels were fed contraceptive pills to make them grow long and slim.

China's government disputes any suggestion that melamine from the country could have killed pets. But Friday, regulators here banned the use of melamine in vegetable proteins made for export or for use in domestic food supplies.

Yet it is clear from visiting this region of northern China is that for years melamine has been quietly mixed into Chinese animal feed and then sold to unsuspecting farmers as protein-rich pig, poultry and fish feed.

Many animal feed operators advertise on the Internet seeking to purchase melamine scrap. And melamine scrap producers and traders said in recent interviews that they often sell to animal feed makers.

"Many companies buy melamine scrap to make animal feed, such as fish feed," says Ji Denghui, general manager of the Fujian Sanming Dinghui Chemical Company. "I don't know if there's a regulation on it. Probably not. No law or regulation says 'don't do it,' so everyone's doing it. The laws in China are like that, aren't they? If there's no accident, there won't be any regulation."
Tell me again what exactly have we been eating that has come from China?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

What's the problem, officer?

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Whenever Antonio Moreno wanted to see his girlfriend, he'd jump in a car and drive right over.

But there was a problem. The 26 cars Moreno jumped into all belonged to someone else.

Authorities arrested the 31-year-old near his suburban home on Wednesday. They said he was behind the wheel of a 1987 Toyota when they found him.

Police say that since January, Moreno had been stealing Toyotas and Nissans by using a simple device that starts Japanese cars of a certain age. Acting on a tip, members of a regional auto-theft task force took him into custody.

He was "stealing vehicles as transportation to pursue their relationship," said a police spokesman in Santa Barbara, where some of the thefts took place.

He didn't have a driver's licence or car of his own.

His girlfriend, who was not arrested, told authorities she had been trying to dump him.

Moreno faces charges of auto theft.

BFF no longer?

After all that tiptoeing through the tulips?

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WASHINGTON, April 29 Bush administration officials wonder whether the U.S. president can continue his deep reliance on a key Saudi prince, it was reported Sunday.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia is close to President George W. Bush. But recent events show that Prince Bandar may no longer serve as a beacon of Saudi intent, the New York Times reported.

In February, Bandar's uncle, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, effectively killed plans by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for a summit between Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Then, threes week ago, Bush was caught off guard, and infuriated, when King Abdullah condemned the U.S. invasion of Iraq as an "an illegal foreign occupation," the Times reported. Since then, the administration has found Prince Bandar hard to reach since, the Times said. Bandar had been pursuing policy that was "music to the ears of the Bush administration, but was not what King Abdullah had in mind at all," said Martin S. Indyk, a former United States ambassador to Israel. Gordon D. Johndroe, a White House spokesman, said none of the current issues threaten the relationship between Bush, Bandar and Abdullah.

"We may have differences on issues now and then," Johndroe said, "but we remain close allies."

Cheney's gonna be pissed

Kurds are going to try and block the Iraq oil law:

Iraq's Kurdish region has said it will try to block a draft oil law in parliament, raising the stakes in a row with the central government.

The Kurdistan autonomous region backed the draft law in February but has disputed annexes to it that would give control of oilfields to a new state-run oil company.

Ashti Hawrami, minister of natural resources in Kurdistan, said: "These annexes are unconstitutional and will not be supported by the Kurdish regional government in the federal parliament."

The Kurdistan autonomous region could be on a collision course with Baghdad over the US-backed draft.

The threat to fight the bill in Iraq's national parliament comes just days after the oil ministry in Baghdad warned regions against signing contracts until the law was passed.

But it pays one of Bush's cronies a load of money

So everything is fine. (my bold):

In the Clinton administration, Philip E. Coyle was in charge of weapons testing and evaluation. SPIEGEL spoke with the 72-year-old about Bush's planned missile defense system, why Russia feels threatened and how shooting down missiles is like playing golf.

...SPIEGEL: During Bill Clinton's presidency you were responsible for evaluating the technical feasibility of the project. Why did the President decide against it?

Coyle: He decided not to deploy the system because it could not do what it promised. One of President Clinton's criteria was to be able to shoot down an accidental launch of a nuclear missile from Russia or China rather than immediately starting World War III. In those days, we were not so worried about Iran and North Korea. The Bush Administration has not really set any criteria as to what the missile defense system actually has to be capable of doing.

SPIEGEL: But why does the US spend so much money for a system which, as you say, does not work?

Coyle: That is a good question. If you add it all up, the administration since 2002 has spent over $10 billion annually. The Pentagon has never before tried to build such a difficult system -- it is much more complex than any ship or aircraft. I support the research, but I am against deploying defense systems that do not work under realistic operational conditions.

SPIEGEL: Russia is sharply critical of the missile defense plans and feels threatened. Justifiably?

Coyle: If Russia were installing missile defense systems in Canada or Cuba, we would react pretty much the same way. We are surrounding them and getting closer to their territorial boundaries.

Putin is pissed off at the missile defense system, Merkel tells Bush to talk to allies. And to illustrate where the mindset of the Bush administration is, Condi Rice refers to the Russians as the Soviets while trying to reassure Putin of our intentions. Good job, Condi!!


Aliens? Swamp gas? Large untethered bloated gasbag talking pundits?

A commercial airline pilot has reported seeing two unidentified flying objects in the sky near Guernsey.

The bright yellow flat disc shapes, estimated to be twice the size of a Boeing 737, were spotted on Monday, 12 to 15 miles north east of the island.


"The MoD's UFO case files contain several reports from civil and military pilots, some of which were correlated by radar. This is the sort of sighting that is taken seriously and should be investigated thoroughly.

"While most UFOs can be explained as misidentifications of aircraft, weather balloons, satellites and suchlike, a small percentage are more difficult to explain. This is one of the most intriguing sightings I've heard about in recent years."

Um... Has anyone checked Wall Street

To see if they are missing a bull?

Hebron, NY (AHN) - It came as a surprise for an elderly upstate New York woman when she pulled into her driveway Wednesday afternoon and saw an angry bull raging towards her. Mabel Washburn immediately drove to a nearby relative's home in rural Washington County and called police for help on Wednesday afternoon.

However, on returning to her home near the Vermont border a few minutes later, she saw the bull was still there. It became very angry and rammed its horns into her Ford Escort a couple of times.

AP reports that the 81-year-old woman did not lose her calm and blew her horn at it, but the adamant bull chased the vehicle as she drove away. After waiting for sometime the bull went away to a swamp.

Upon investigation it was found that the bull had gotten loose from a nearby pasture and the bull's owner was later fined for allowing it to get loose.

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Update: I meant to say... I knew we were in for a rough ride on the stock and housing markets, but I didn't think the bull would just up and leave....

Before you can fix what is broken

You have to stop what's breaking it.

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (AP) -- The Army's new chief of staff says he wants to accelerate by two years a plan to increase the nation's active-duty soldiers by 65,000.

The Army has set 2012 as its target date for a force expansion to 547,000 troops, but Gen. George Casey said Saturday that he has told his staff to have the soldiers ready earlier.

"I said that's too long. Go back and tell me what it would take to get it done faster," he said in an interview with The Associated Press during a stop in Hawaii.

A woman in the group asked Casey if her husband's deployments would stop getting longer. She said they used to last for six months in the 1990s but then started lasting nine months and 12 months. Two weeks ago, she heard the Army's announcement that deployments would be extended as long as 15 months.

"Do you honestly foresee this spiral, in effect, stopping?" she asked.

Casey said the Army wants to keep deployments to 15 months, but "I cannot look at you in the eye and guarantee that it would not go beyond."

Defense Secretary Robert Gates in January said he was recommending to the president that the Army boost its active-duty soldiers by 65,000 to 547,000. Casey said about 35,000 of those additional soldiers are already in place.

Gates also recommended that the Marine Corps increase its active-duty force by 27,000 to 202,000.

When people see how this administration treats the wounded and the dead, when they see benefits being cut from the vets, when they see the endless needless war we're entangled in, why on earth would anyone sign up?

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Don't blame Bud

He just told you what was coming:

Washington, D.C. (AHN) - One of the eight fired U.S. prosecutors warned the White House of the controversy that was going to come over the firings months before they happened. In an e-mail, Bud Cummins warned the Justice Department five months before the firings about the controversy after finding out he was going to be replaced by a White House appointee.

Cummins was replaced by a protégé of Karl Rove.

Cummins e-mail was amid documents sent Friday to the House and Senate Judiciary committees.

The firings have prompted many to call for the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Cummins said he was trying to protect himself with the e-mail. He said he had nothing to do with the ensuing controversy over the handling of the firings.

Gay, gay and gay!

Eight times in an email makes it dump worthy?

Telecom New Zealand has apologised to Gay Hamilton after her e-mail was bounced because it contained the word gay eight times. The automatic reply Ms Hamilton received stated that the e-mail was not suited for "business-like communication".

Website designer and lesbian, Gay Hamilton had sent the largest public company in New Zealand an e-mail to their help desk via e-mail, asking if she was able to receive their broadband services in her Nelson suburb.

Lenska Papich, spokesperson for Telecom, has said that e-mails are usually only monitored internally, and the words are blocked to help reduce harassment cases by threatening disciplinary action. "Our systems internally detect a number of words, including both the words gay and heterosexual, that could be deemed as inappropriate for use at work." Telecom refused to list the other words that are blocked.

I didn't know New Zealand had thought police.....

Too little

Too late. Already being attacked by the neocons, Tenet also is being attacked for aiding and abetting the worst blunder by the worst administration this country has ever seen:

A half-dozen former CIA officers - including counterterrorism experts Larry Johnson and Vince Cannistraro - are urging Tenet to dedicate a significant portion of his royalties to soldiers and families of those killed or wounded in Iraq.

"We agree that the war of choice in Iraq was ill-advised and wrong headed. But your lament that you are a victim in a process you helped direct is self-serving, misleading and, as head of the intelligence community, an admission of failed leadership," they wrote.

You had a hand in this, sir. Saying,"Oops, my bad" at this point won't cut it. You are talking out of both sides of your mouth:

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Two days before they checked.

The heroic son who came home from Iraq with severe PTSD, and was lost in the system at Walter Reed. Via whig at Cannablog:

All of them were named Monica?

Madamgate blows wide open:

ABC News’ Brian Ross revealed tonight that the list of customers of an alleged Washington-based prostitution service includes White House and Pentagon officials as well as prominent attorneys.

“There are thousands of names, tens of thousands of phone numbers,” Ross said. “And there are people there at the Pentagon, lobbyists, others at the White House, prominent lawyers — a long, long list.” Ross added that the women who worked for the service, potentially as prostitutes, “include university professors, legal secretaries, scientists, military officers.”

On Friday, Ross broke the news that U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Randall Tobias had frequented the escort service. Ross added new details to that story tonight, recounting how he asked Tobias in a telephone interview “if he knew any of the young women, their names. He said he didn’t remember them at all. He said it was like ordering pizza.”

And an earlier Think Progress article:
Former U.S. AID director Randall Tobias, who resigned yesterday upon admitting that he frequented a Washington escort service, oversaw a controversial policy advocated by the religious right that required any US-based group receiving anti-AIDS funds to take an anti-prostitution “loyalty oath.”

Aid groups bitterly opposed the policy, charging that it “was so broad — and applied even to their private funds — that it would obstruct their outreach to sex workers who are at high risk of transmitting the AIDS virus.” But President Bush wouldn’t budge. He signed a 2003 National Security Presidential Directive saying prostitution “and related activities” were “inherently harmful and dehumanizing.”

Several groups and countries had their funding cut due to the policy. Brazil lost $40 million for “one of its most successful anti-AIDS strategies, persuading sex workers to use condoms or other measures to stop spreading the disease.”

During an “Ask the White House” online chat in 2004, Tobias defended the policy, saying the U.S. was “partnering with communities” to begin “fighting sex trafficking and prostitution, while still serving victims of these activities.” Tobias added that he was overseeing several “highly successful” relationship programs “aimed at men and boys to help them develop healthy relationships with women.”

A truly inspired idea, having someone who pays for “gals come over to the condo to give me a massage” run programs on developing “healthy relationships with women.”

When you run on a politcal platform that makes morality, family values, and the sexual behavior of the citizens of the United States your business, why the hell do you think you won't be held to the same 'high standard'?

Quick! There is no time to lose!

Bush must complete the total ruination of the United States before he runs off to Paraguay to avoid impeachment or a war crimes tribunal! Squeeze every dime from every national resource to go into their cronies' pockets. There is so much to be done and so little time left!
The Interior Department will announce a proposal Monday to allow oil and gas drilling in federal waters near Virginia that are currently off-limits and permit new exploration in Alaska’s Bristol Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. … The Virginia shore is dotted with barrier islands and lagoons, most of them largely unspoiled. The Virginia coast has been designated a World Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations, and a National Natural Landmark by the Interior Department.”

Bill O'Reilly can't handle the truth

and proceeds to have a fit over Bill Moyers' excellent PBS special.

Hope for the future

Phila of Bouphonia's Friday Hope blogging.

Soldiers speak out

And talk back:

A British soldier has broken ranks within days of returning from Iraq to speak publicly of the horror of his tour of duty there, painting a picture of troops under siege, "sitting ducks" to an increasingly sophisticated insurgency.

"Basra is lost, they are in control now. It's a full-scale riot and the Government are just trying to save face," said Private Paul Barton.

The 27-year-old, who returned from his second tour of Iraq this week along with other members of 1st Battalion, the Staffordshire Regiment, insisted that he remains loyal to the Army despite such public dissent. He said he had already volunteered to go to Afghanistan later this year.

But, he said, he felt strongly that somebody had to speak out: "I want people to see it as it is; not the sugar-coated version."

His public protest is a sign of the groundswell of anger among the troops, and predictions that more will come forward to break the traditional covenant of silent service. Just last month, Pte Steve Baldwin, 22, a soldier in the same regiment, spoke to The Independent about the way he had been "pushed aside" since being injured by a roadside bomb which killed three others during the Staffords' first tour of Iraq in 2005.

And then (via Bryan at Why Now?):

For the second time in a generation, the United States faces the prospect of defeat at the hands of an insurgency. In April 1975, the U.S. fled the Republic of Vietnam, abandoning our allies to their fate at the hands of North Vietnamese communists. In 2007, Iraq's grave and deteriorating condition offers diminishing hope for an American victory and portends risk of an even wider and more destructive regional war.

These debacles are not attributable to individual failures, but rather to a crisis in an entire institution: America's general officer corps. America's generals have failed to prepare our armed forces for war and advise civilian authorities on the application of force to achieve the aims of policy. The argument that follows consists of three elements. First, generals have a responsibility to society to provide policymakers with a correct estimate of strategic probabilities. Second, America's generals in Vietnam and Iraq failed to perform this responsibility. Third, remedying the crisis in American generalship requires the intervention of Congress.

Friday, April 27, 2007

You would really want one of these at a party

A 6 metre high giant fungi!

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Scientists have identified the Godzilla of fungi - a giant, prehistoric fossil that has evaded classification for more than a century.

A chemical analysis has shown that the 6-metre-tall organism with a tree-like trunk was a fungus that became extinct more than 350 million years ago.


Samples of the giant fungi have been found all over the world since its discovery a century ago. It lived between 420 million and 350 million years ago, at a time when millipedes and worms were among the first creatures to make their home on dry land. No animals with a backbone had left the oceans.

April temperatures hottest on record for Britain since 1659

What does this mean for summer?

The provisional mean temperature for the UK is 10.0C (50.0F), beating the previous historical high of 9.2C (48.6), recorded in 1943.

Forecasters say this month is on course to set new records in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The average temperature for the UK over the past 12 months is also shaping up to record a new high of 10.4C (50.7F)

Meteorologists also expect this month to be the warmest April in central England for more than 300 years.

The provisional mean figure in the region for April 2007 is 11.1C (52.0F) - that is 3.2C (5.8F) above the long-term average.

Does this cartoon make me look offensive?

Via jj at Unrepentant Old Hippie:

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jj notes:
It refers, of course, to the SCOTUS decision to uphold the ban on late-term abortion. The cartoon suggests that maybe, just maybe, the fact that the five justices who voted to uphold the ban are all catholic might have had something to do with their decision. (Ya think?!!!?) Now Catholics are going ballistic, denouncing the cartoon as "anti-Catholic bigotry".

April 28th: Impeachment Day

Write Impeach with chalk on sidewalks, put a sticker on your car, wear a pin, wave a sign, do some freeway signs.

Tomorrow, April 28th. Impeach.

This is a job for.....Indiana Jones!

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Well, it involves Nazis, gold, and a mysterious history, but it isn't the ark:
A mysterious golden pot discovered in a Bavarian lake in 2001 has been the focus of interest for archaeologists, art dealers -- and now the German and Swiss police. Its convoluted history involves Nazi cults, treasure hunters and modern-day profiteers.
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(Photo from here)

The USDA is ignoring testing for Mad Cow

Nobody is surprised by this, I hope....

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Mad Cow Disease has now been discovered in the United States. Given the fact that the USDA only tests one cow out of every 2,000, no one really knows how many of these infected animals may have already entered the human food supply.

Sign the Petition

Join tens of thousands of citizens and sign the Mad Cow USA-Stop the Madness petition, demanding that the US Government adopt and enforce the same strict standards required by the European Union and Japan:

Mandatory testing for all cattle brought to slaughter, before they enter the food chain.

Ban the feeding of blood, manure, and slaughterhouse waste to animals.

Stop harassing farmers and food processors who are interested in independently testing their own beef.

Take this washing machine

And shov...... stand in the way of progress....
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California has filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Energy for failing to allow the state to make its household washing machines more water-efficient.

In 2004, California approved rules imposing water efficiency standards for household washing machines that are higher than federal standards. The proposed new standard required washing machines sold after 2007 to use no more than 8.5 gallons of water per cubic foot of washing machine capacity. And by 2010, this figure would have to be reduced by a further 30%.

Overall, the new rules were expected to save 303 billion litres of water a year by 2019, but they could only come into effect if approved by the federal Department of Energy. However, the DOE refused to grant California a waiver from less stringent federal standards in 2004.

"For a state that faces perpetual water issues, every drop counts," says Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, chair of the California Energy Commission. "Less water use in California clothes washers will eventually save enough to supply a city the size of San Diego every year."

DOE spokesperson Julie Ruggiero says California did not meet requirements for the granting of a waiver. A waiver request has to be "economically feasible and technologically justified," she says.

Too high, too fast

"We are committed to increasing efficiency on a variety of fronts, but you have to meet the law in order to change the law," says Ruggiero. "In California, if we were to raise the standard that high, that quickly, it could have a negative impact on the producer and the consumer."

The more water-efficient machines will cost about $130 more, but according to the energy commission, savings on water and energy will save the average consumer about $242. The suit, which was filed on 20 April, also claims the state would save electricity and natural gas, and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

"California has had to sue the DOE five times over the last several years to get them on board with energy efficiency. The courts have sided with California five times," says Claudia Chandler, spokesperson for the California Energy Commission. "So, we'll see them in court."

Cleaner air

The announcement of the washing machines suit comes a day after California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger threatened to sue the federal Environmental Protection Agency if it does not act soon on the state's request to impose stricter-than-federal automobile emissions standards.

California requested in 2005 to get a federal Clean Air Act waiver that would allow it to regulate auto emissions more aggressively.

Five of the 11 states that also seek stricter auto emission standards – Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Oregon and Rhode Island – sent letters to the EPA in support of California's threat.

The EPA has now agreed to consider California's request to limit tailpipe emissions and hold a hearing on 22 May in Washington.

Gee, that's mighty big of them. Since when did they worry about the little guy not being able to afford stuff? .... OOhhhh. The PRODUCER and the consumer. That's the Bush administration I know.

Not even discussing the side benefits

Of warding off vampires and werewolves....
Pyjamas and bed linen made with silver cloth are being trialled in a hospital to help combat the MRSA superbug.

Experts at Barts and The London NHS Trust hope to prove that silver can be used to clear MRSA on the skin and thus protect vulnerable patients.


MRSA is a bacterium that can live completely harmlessly on the skin of healthy people but can lead to serious infection if it enters the blood stream.

Dr Wilson, a consultant microbiologist, said: "Silver is known to be a very efficient agent against infection and also very safe.

Scientist are just now finding out

That doggies are smart?

London, April 27 Dogs possess humanlike learning ability - they don't simply copy what they see while learning new tricks but interpret them, says a new study.

In the experiment, a well-trained Border collie bitch demonstrated to untrained dogs how to pull a lever for food using her paw. If she did this while carrying a toy ball between her teeth, the dogs in her audience would instead tug the lever with their mouths when their turn arrived.

They would have saved time if they just went to NTodd's blog.

Update: More on the testing, with pics.

It took a Democrat to take the first obvious step

To protect the United States at home:

WASHINGTON, April 27 The U.S. attorney general would have the power to bar suspected terrorists from buying guns under legislation proposed by the U.S. Justice Department.

The legislation would give the attorney general the ability to deny a gun purchase if the buyer was found "to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism," The New York Times reported Friday. U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., who sponsored similar legislation that died in the Republican-controlled Congress, introduced the current bill.

"It took years, but the administration finally realized that letting terrorists buy guns is dangerous," he said in a statement. Under current law, suspects on federal watch lists for suspected terrorists can buy guns if background checks don't turn up any of the standard prohibitions for gun buyers, such as felony convictions.

A Government Accountability Office review found that in 2005 federal law enforcement officials approved 47 of 58 gun applications from terrorism suspects in a nine-month period, the Times reported.

Update: The Republicans are truly helpless on this subject, so don't look to them to solve our gun problems. Their hands are tied.

Feel that? Huh? Huh?

Kin ya feel mah manly macho muscly might cuz Ah'm the Leaderer of the Free World! Peoples hate me fer our freedoms!

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(photo from here.)

Update: Neither leader looks that manly:

WASHINGTON - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's first Washington meeting with President Bush was supposed to be a low-key, getting-to-know-you affair designed to highlight the tight relationship between the United States and its Asian ally.

But the Bush-Abe sessions on Thursday and Friday will be a gathering of politically wounded leaders: a president severely weakened by the war in Iraq and a prime minister hurt by a series of missteps, including controversial remarks he made about "comfort women" - women forced into sexual servitude for the imperial military forces during World War II.

Ignoring options in Iraq

Because blaming Democrats is more politically advantageous than trying to end the fighting. (My bold).

WASHINGTON - The language on a timetable for US withdrawal from Iraq voted out of the House and Senate conference committee this week contains large loopholes that would apparently allow US troops to continue carrying out military operations in Iraq's Sunni heartland indefinitely.

The plan, coming from the Democratic majority in Congress, makes an exemption from a 180-day timetable for completion of "redeployment" of US troops from Iraq to allow "targeted special actions limited in duration and scope to killing or capturing members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations of global reach".

The al-Qaeda exemption, along with a second exemption allowing US forces to re-enter Iraq to protect those remaining behind to train and equip Iraqi security forces and to protect other US military forces, appears to approve the presence in Iraq of tens of thousands of US occupation troops for many years to come.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed, by 218 to 208 votes, the US$124 billion House and Senate supplemental appropriations bill that requires US troops to begin withdrawing from Iraq by October 1. President George W Bush has said he will veto it. The Senate is expected to approve identical legislation, setting the stage for the first veto fight between Bush and the majority Democrats.

The large loopholes in the Democratic withdrawal plan come against the background of the failure of the US war against the insurgency - including al-Qaeda - in al-Anbar and other Sunni provinces and the emergence of a major war within the Sunni insurgency between non-jihadist resistance groups and al-Qaeda.

The Sunni resistance organizations represent a clear alternative to an endless US occupation of hostile Sunni provinces that has driven many activists into the arms of al-Qaeda.


A five-page US Marine Corps intelligence report on Anbar last September reflected that view. It said Anbar province was a "vacuum that has been filled by the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq". Media reporting on the province largely conformed to that interpretation. The notion of a two-sided war in the Sunni heartland bolsters the Bush administration's political position that any talk of a timetable for withdrawal is defeatist.

In fact, however, it is far removed from reality. The majority of the important Sunni insurgent organizations represent a second anti-al-Qaeda force that has far greater potential for defeating al-Qaeda than the US military does.


Nevertheless, the Sunni resistance option was clearly seen last year by the US military, Khalilzad and even Bush himself as preferable to an unending US counterinsurgency war in a hostile Sunni heartland. But the administration has quietly shelved that policy option as Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have confronted Democratic demands for a withdrawal timetable.

The White House would rather be in the position of blaming the Democrats for its "defeatism" than pursuing that option more vigorously.

Democratic leaders in Congress, meanwhile, appear to believe they must support a continued US war against al-Qaeda to avoid being tagged with defeat. But the initial Democratic plan voted out of the conference committee on Monday is only the first of several congressional battles on Iraq policy to come in the next few weeks.

The massive loophole for continued US war in Iraq will be one of the issues fought over in these coming rounds.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bush's life

Set to Son Volt's Jet Pilot:

(via Winterfell)

Early Friday Cat Blogging

Getting ahead of the rush so I can relax:

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Bill Moyers

And his movie "Buying The War".
How did the mainstream press get it so wrong? How did the evidence disputing the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the link between Saddam Hussein to 9-11 continue to go largely unreported? "What the conservative media did was easy to fathom; they had been cheerleaders for the White House from the beginning and were simply continuing to rally the public behind the President — no questions asked. How mainstream journalists suspended skepticism and scrutiny remains an issue of significance that the media has not satisfactorily explored," says Moyers. "How the administration marketed the war to the American people has been well covered, but critical questions remain: How and why did the press buy it, and what does it say about the role of journalists in helping the public sort out fact from propaganda?"

The link has the movie as well.

Christy Hardin Smith of Firedoglake
has a review.

Having done graduate work in security studies and had classes through the years with people who have actually looked at these issues for a living, I can honestly tell you that certainty of the evidence on something like this is a dead giveaway that someone is selling you a load of crap.

The White House Iraq Group did an excellent sales job. And the people that should have been the most skeptical fell for it hook, line, and sinker…because it was easier that way on their immediate personal connections, on their reputations, on their corporate bottom line. And on their immediate political aspirations, in the case of far too many elected representatives.

After watching the Moyers special last night, I was infuriated. This morning, sipping my first cup of coffee and trying to make some sense of it all, I'm still angry. So I'm going to watch it again later, with a pot of tea, and see if I can glean something beyond "the truth really, really hurts…all of us."

Update: Glenn Greenwald:

For those who have been following these issues, there was no single, specific blockbuster revelation that was not previously known, although Moyers' focus on the superb (and largely ignored) pre-war work of Real Journalists at Knight-Ridder (now at McClatchy) does cast a new light on the profound malfeasance of our most influential media outlets. Most of all, the documentary very powerfully compiles some of the most incriminating facts, and it unapologetically identifies many of the guiltiest and most destructive wrongdoers in our government and in the press.

For that reason, the documentary is -- in one sense -- a very valuable historical account of the corrupt behavior by our dominant political and media institutions which deceived the country into the invasion of Iraq. But on another, more significant level, it illustrates the corruption that continues to propel our political and media culture.


Moyers' documentary is a superb piece of journalism and makes inescapably clear how profoundly corrupt our dominant political and media institutions were prior to the invasion. But most national "journalists" will simply ignore the whole program (as Digby notes, The New York Times, one of the principal culprits, did not even review it).

They will almost certainly dismiss Moyers as a liberal partisan, not a real journalist, and continue to insist that they are doing a superb and even-handed job. They will continue to revere the most guilty parties responsible for the deceit and destruction of the last six years.

And, worst of all, the sicknesses documented so potently by Moyers will continue to pervade our dominant media and political institutions. Comparing 2002 and now, however, there is a significant difference: as Moyers' documentary illustrates, as does the emergence of political blogs, more and more people are increasingly recognizing how pervasive those deficiencies are, and consequently, are developing multiple alternatives to the rancid governing Beltway system.


The major theme of the Giuliani candidacy.

Riverbend is leaving Iraq.

Riverbend at Baghdad's Burning finally posted again. She and her family have decided to join the flood of refugees leaving Iraq and find a new life elsewhere.

On the one hand, I know that leaving the country and starting a new life somewhere else- as yet unknown- is such a huge thing that it should dwarf every trivial concern. The funny thing is that it’s the trivial that seems to occupy our lives. We discuss whether to take photo albums or leave them behind. Can I bring along a stuffed animal I've had since the age of four? Is there room for E.'s guitar? What clothes do we take? Summer clothes? The winter clothes too? What about my books? What about the CDs, the baby pictures?

The problem is that we don't even know if we'll ever see this stuff again. We don't know if whatever we leave, including the house, will be available when and if we come back. There are moments when the injustice of having to leave your country, simply because an imbecile got it into his head to invade it, is overwhelming. It is unfair that in order to survive and live normally, we have to leave our home and what remains of family and friends… And to what?

It's difficult to decide which is more frightening- car bombs and militias, or having to leave everything you know and love, to some unspecified place for a future where nothing is certain.
Godspeed, Riverbend. May you and your family go safely and land in a place that welcomes you.

Update 4/30: We know it won't be the United States. Think Progress:
“Before the 2001 terrorist attacks, the United States accepted several thousand Iraqi refugees a year; since then, and amid heightened security requirements, that number dropped to several hundred. So far this year, just 68 have been resettled.” In total, “an estimated 4 million Iraqis have fled their homes during the four years of war.”

They don't want us there

And the soldiers know that. A pregnant soldier mourns her soldier husband's death in Iraq:
"I'm having the worst damn week of my whole damn life so I'm going to
write this while I'm pissed off enough to do it right.

I am SICK of all this bullshit people are writing about the Iraq war. I am abso-fucking-lutely sick to death of it. What the fuck do most of you know about it? You watch it on TV and read the commentaries in the newspaper or Newsweek or whatever god damn yuppie news rag you subscribe to and think you're all such fucking experts that you can scream at each other like five year old about whether you're right or not.

Let me tell you something: unless you've been there, you don't know a god damn thing about it. It you haven't been shot at in that fucking hell hole, SHUT THE FUCK UP!

How do I dare say this to you moronic war supporters who are "Supporting our Troops" and waving the flag and all that happy horse shit?

I'll tell you why.

I'm a Marine and I served my tour in Iraq.

My husband, also a Marine, served several. I left the service six months ago because I got pregnant while he was home on leave and three days ago I get a visit from two men in uniform who hand me a letter and tell me my husband died in that fucking festering sand-pit. He should have been home a month ago but they extended his tour and now he's coming home in a box.
They don't care about us. We're disposable. We're numbers on a page and they'd rather forget we exist so they don't have to be reminded about the families and lives they ruined while they're sipping their cocktails at another fund raiser dinner. If they were really concerned about supporting the troops, they'd bring them home so their families wouldn't have to cry at a graveside and explain to their children why mommy or daddy isn't coming home. Because you can't explain it. We're not fighting for our country, we're not fighting for the good of Iraq's people, we're fighting for Bush's personal agenda.

Patriotism my ass.

You know what? My dad served in Vietnam and NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

So I'm pissed. I'm beyond pissed.

And I'm going to go to my husband funeral and receive that flag and hang it up on the wall for my baby to see when he's older. But I'm not going to tell him that his father died for the stupidity of the American government. I'm going to tell him that his father was a hero and the best man I ever met and that he loved his country enough to die for it, because that's all true and nothing will be solved by telling my son that his father was sent to die by people who didn't care about him at all.

Fuck you, war supporters, George W. Bush, and all the god damn mother fuckers who made the war possible. I hope you burn in hell."


It was a joke.

Is it the lack of humor that makes Republicans want to bomb everything?

Religious fanatics really do believe they own the word

Compassion. But then they sure don't know how to show it. Worm dirt indeed.

Lizard brains kick in

And even training can get lost in the adrenalin rush. Bryan of Why Now? talks about what happens when you are trying to function under stress:

To understand you need to look at the physiology of the officer in a stress situation. The body changes a great deal when faced with a threat.

If you have ever watched one of those “real” cops shows you may have noticed that the cops are all screaming at people and each other. The reason they do it is that they are deaf from the adrenalin and blood pressure spike. The body reduces hearing to deal with other things.

The other “wonderful thing” that occurs for the same reason, is you lose your peripheral vision. You are in a firefight and you can only see things that are directly in front of your eyes, you have tunnel vision. That’s why neither officer noticed when the bad guys surrendered.

The stress shifts control to the “lizard brain” and all of the wonderful insights and judgments you learned in the academy are not available. Your body is ready for a massive physical battle, or to run like hell, and you are trying to aim a weapon and determine what’s going on around you.

Training is supposed to overcome these problems, and it probably helps to some extent, but in both the cases cited the officers were not given the opportunity to “ease” into combat, it was thrust upon them. All they remembered was to pull their guns and fire.

Then think about putting weapons into the hands of 30 untrained students....

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Some French are not happy with the votes

Because of the e-voting machines. Well... I guess they haven't been paying attention then:
It's not as if there haven't been enough warnings that e-voting machines have some kinks to work out, but apparently every new country that makes use of the machines figures that all the problems have been worked out. Unfortunately, one by one, they're discovering that's not the case. The latest is France. lavi d writes in to let us know that the election held over the weekend in France was the first that made use of e-voting machines, and it's being described as a "catastrophe" -- though mostly by those who didn't win. So far, there haven't been reports of the machines having errors, but apparently many of the machines malfunctioned while the ones that worked weren't at all easy to use. Of course, the nature of the problems isn't clearly explained -- suggesting that it may just an easy scapegoat for politicians or voters unhappy with the results of the election. Still, you would think that with so much attention placed on problems with e-voting machines over the last few years, election officials and e-voting companies would go out of their way to make the process as smooth as possible.

The contamination is bigger than we thought

And more dangerous. Pizza and baby formula???: (my bold)

Consumers may want to steer away from eating pork after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that hog farms in at least five states, including New York, have been quarantined amid concerns that hog feed at those farms have been contaminated with melamine. Thousands of hogs could have been affected.

One poultry farm in Missouri was also affected.

Pet food which has been salvaged from manufacturers that have issued pet food recalls because of potential melamine contamination has been traced to hog farms in California, North Carolina, South Caroline, New York, Utah and possibly Ohio. Samples of hog urine from farms in three of the states, California, North Carolina and South Carolina, have tested positive for melamine. FDA said it hadn't yet received test results from the identified hog farms in other states.

Six grain products-wheat gluten, corn gluten, corn meal, soy protein, rice bran and rice protein-which are used in foods ranging from bread to pizza to baby formula, are to be inspected by the FDA for traces of melamine, the same industrial chemical used in plastics and fertilizer that is said to have killed over 4,000 cats and dogs by kidney failure and have sickened thousands more.

Update 4/26:
Steve Bates at The Yellow Doggerel Democrat:

This speaks to a complete breakdown in the food safety protocols for foods obtained from international sources, although I doubt they are being observed much more effectively toward food from domestic sources. The Bush administration has systematically eviscerated the regulatory agencies that protect us from corporations and individuals who have strong financial incentives to do us harm either willfully (as this case appears to be) or through negligence. No other government in the civilized world sees such regulation as burdensome or unnecessary: only Bush's clients, cronies, and contributors benefit from lax regulation of the food supply.

If ever we needed an object lesson in the folly of hands-off government in the arena of public safety, this is that lesson. We can learn it well... or we can die of our ignorance.

Spocko of Spocko's Brain has the latest on the investigation on the recall of peanut butter and introduces us to Lisa Shames of the GAO.

Cheney tries to shoot McGovern in the face but instead shoots himself in the foot

Cheney reaches back into history to mock the Democrats. He accidentally activated a real Democrat: George McGovern, who proceeded to smack him about.

THE VICE PRESIDENT spoke with contempt of my '72 campaign, but he might do well to recall that I began that effort with these words: "I make one pledge above all others — to seek and speak the truth." We made some costly tactical errors after winning the nomination, but I never broke my pledge to speak the truth. That is why I have never felt like a loser since 1972. In contrast, Cheney and Bush have repeatedly lied to the American people.

It is my firm belief that the Cheney-Bush team has committed offenses that are worse than those that drove Nixon, Vice President Spiro Agnew and Atty. Gen. John Mitchell from office after 1972. Indeed, as their repeated violations of the Constitution and federal statutes, as well as their repudiation of international law, come under increased consideration, I expect to see Cheney and Bush forced to resign their offices before 2008 is over.

Aside from a growing list of impeachable offenses, the vice president has demonstrated his ignorance of foreign policy by attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for visiting Syria. Apparently he thinks it is wrong to visit important Middle East states that sometimes disagree with us. Isn't it generally agreed that Nixon's greatest achievement was talking to the Chinese Communist leaders, which opened the door to that nation? And wasn't President Reagan's greatest achievement talking with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev until the two men worked out an end to the Cold War? Does Cheney believe that it's better to go to war rather than talk with countries with which we have differences?

We, of course, already know that when Cheney endorses a war, he exempts himself from participation. On second thought, maybe it's wise to keep Cheney off the battlefield — he might end up shooting his comrades rather than the enemy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


As seen by a loving husband and father.
(Via Pharyngula).

Update 4/26: Jill Filipovic at the Huffington Post:
What most anti-choice organizations won't tell you is that the court's upholding of the ban will probably not protect even one fetus. It will, however, give pregnant women fewer options, and potentially complicate their health (the ban does not include a health exemption). It interferes with the ability of doctors to choose the best treatment for their patients, and turns them into potential criminals. It limits the grieving options of women whose wanted pregnancies went wrong. And because it does not use medical terminology, opting instead to rely on anti-choice propaganda language coined in the mid-90s, it gives doctors limited information about what is actually outlawed.

Ok. Let's get everybody's dirty laundry hanging on the line

Republicans try to entangle Democrats in the lost email scandal:


The next YouTube but better....

Outreach to Virginia Tech from those who really understand

Via the Guardian:

BAGHDAD (AP) - Students in Baghdad, where universities have been hard-hit by violence, said they were saddened by last week's massacre at Virginia Tech and hung up a banner to express their solidarity with ``our brothers in humanity and in pursuing knowledge.''

``We want to let the whole world know that we do not support terrorism anywhere,'' said Yassir Nazar, head of the student union at Baghdad Technology University, who organized the hanging of the banner near the campus gate.

It reads, ``We, the students of Technology University, denounce the attack at Virginia Tech. We extend our condolences to the families of the victims who faced a situation as bad as Iraq's universities do. The sanctity of campuses must be protected around the world.''

``We have lost many friends and professors,'' Nazar said Monday. ``But in spite of our wounds, we want to show our solidarity with the students of Virginia Tech who are our brothers in humanity and in pursuing knowledge.''

What's that you say?

More troops to Iraq? That's what Ah'm doin', Merka! More troops it is!

An' we're changin' course by stayin' until the job is done!

Starting with his girlfriend?

Think Progress:
“World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz met yesterday with senior managers to promise unspecified changes in his leadership and to appeal for their help.” “He is not going to resign,” his lawyer said. “His mood is just fine.

He feels people are trying to interfere with his job to get at world poverty.”
Umhmmm. Right.

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The most delicious words in the English language....

Karl Rove facing investigation that "could create a substantial new problem for the Bush White House"

Rats. You were right. It was too good to be true:
Scott J. Bloch, the head of the Office of Special Counsel, “who says he is investigating Karl Rove for allegations he influenced government activity for partisan purposes is himself facing allegations of similar behavior.” In April 2005, government watchdogs and others complained that “the White House appointee had allowed his office to ’sit on’ a complaint that then-White House National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice used government funds to travel in support of President Bush’s re-election bid.”

CREW adds: “The fact that OSC has been charged with handling these matters suggests the possibility that the White House is orchestrating a cover-up of its illegal and improper activities.”
Update: David Corn at The Nation:

At the OSC, Bloch is supposed to protect whistleblowers. But he's been charged with reprising against those who challenge his agency and others. Before Bloch was appointed by Bush to take over the OSC, he was a deputy director and counsel at the Justice Department's Task Force for Faith-based and Community Initiatives.

"By most measures, his tenure has been an absolute failure," says Adam Miles, legislative representative at the Government Accountability Project. "He's been under pressure to start doing something." Miles notes that GAP did not initially expect the complaint it filed against Bloch in 2005 to go anywhere. "It was referred to a federal entity called the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency," Miles recalls, "and we thought it would just rot there." But the case was handed to Pat McFarland, the inspector general for the Office of Personnel Management. McFarland is a former St. Louis detective who spent 22 years as a Secret Service agent before becoming IG at OPM in 1990.

McFarland's investigation of Bloch, Miles says, "hasn't been a totally transparent process but we're hearing it's reaching a conclusion--which could be motivation for Bloch to start this investigation into the White House. If OPM does turn up any adverse information on Bloch, it would be more difficult for the White House to get rid of him while he was actively investigating them." But this could cut the other way. If Bloch is the subject of an investigation, he might be inclined to treat the White House favorably to protect his own position. In either case, there seems to be a conflict of interest. Bloch, Miles says, "may not be the appropriate person to be conducting the investigation" of Rove and the White House.

It is a dizzying situation. The investigator investigating officials who oversee the agency that is investigating the investigator. Forget firewalls. This looks more like a basement flooded with backed-up sewage--with the water rising.

If Bill O'Reilly declares war on something

Does anyone care?

In a lengthy opening diatribe, this evening Bill O'Reilly laid out the far-left George Soros conspiracy in spades.

He had a chart and everything.

Well. If he had a chart, it must be serious...

The feminists evolutionary biologists atheists and liberal Christians will be the death of us all....

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Republicans are helpless.

The Republicans won't help prevent another school shooting. They are helpless. They shrug their shoulders and let the NRA do the talking. They cannot even talk about enforcing the laws we have already. They can't.

We will have more school shootings. More mall shootings. More innocents dying. And the Republicans will come out and assure the citizens that the Second Amendment means we must allow these things to happen. We cannot do anything about it but shrug our shoulders and go, "Oh well..." We cannot compare ourselves to other countries who have more guns but less deaths. We cannot ask questions about why we must allow assault rifles to be sold to mentally ill people, why we can't have ID checks, waiting periods, markers on bullets, safety locks, mandatory safety classes. We cannot question the Republicans.

Because they are helplessly hopelessly unable to answer.

Besmirching, bemuddling, befouling

The White House. Heckovajob, Georgie!

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First to go is liberty

Then it will be the word United....

Via George at skippy the bush kangaroo, George at Silver and Gold Proof Coins:

The new $1 Presidential Coins has two firsts:

  • First U.S. Coin with edge lettering.
  • First U.S. Coin without the word "Liberty" engraved.
I don't think they'll dare make a coin with Dubya's mug on it. People would be defacing them all over....

Reminds me of this joke:
The Bush Stamp

The Postal Service created a stamp with a picture of President Bush. The stamp was not sticking to envelopes. This enraged the President, who demanded a full investigation.

After a month of testing, a special Presidential commission presented the following findings:

1) The stamp is in perfect order.

2) There is nothing wrong with the applied adhesive.

3) People are spitting on the wrong side.

I believe they will have to place GW's gravesite somewhere really hard to find, too.

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Life when we weren't here

I love stories like these:

Researchers have uncovered a 300-million-year–old-fossilised rainforest, buried deep below ground in a coal mine in Illinois, US. It is by far the largest such forest ever found and provides an unprecedented look at the ecology of one of the world's earliest tropical forests.

Palaeobiologists from the US National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Washington DC, US, and the University of Bristol in the UK found a bizarre menagerie of extinct plants including club moss that grew a metre thick and more than 40 m high. The fossils were found nearly 100 metres underground at the Riola and Vermilion Grove mines in Vermilion County, Illinois.

The forest was buried in mud 300 million years ago when a large earthquake or other catastrophic event caused the entire region to suddenly drop below sea level. The fossilised forest lay preserved on top of a layer of coal that, when removed by miners, left the ancient forest visible on the mine ceiling.

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Poetry as a WMD

Via Bryan of Why Now? and Pugnacious Pinoy, a story of a prof recycling a box of old poetry papers.... and getting the police involved.

It illustrates how a society can become saturated in fear and can change into a fascist one in a hurry. Start with fear of others.

Soldier, thinker, progressive Democrat

Something that a wingnut cannot get his mind around. Jason Kander's last post in his journal about his deployment to Afghanistan to his return home.
Today, Afghanistan is the war in which so much of our national security is at stake, yet it is the forgotten step-child of the war on terror. The baddest of the bad guys are along the border with Pakistan, reaching out and striking us throughout Afghanistan, but also throughout the world. This spring, things will only get worse. Yet we have only about 20,000 American troops in Afghanistan - roughly the same number by which President Bush intends to escalate our committment to Iraq.

I'm a Progressive Democrat, so when I get into debates about the war with ill-informed, indoctrinated regressives who don't know me well, they generally throw Rush's talking points at me, insinuating that I love my country and support the troops just a bit less than them. Whether you've served or not, love of country isn't about blind faith. It is not about a piece of cloth that I wear on the shoulder of my uniform, but about an idea, about Americans themselves. I have little patience for those who claim to love America but clearly can't stand the majority of Americans. As a progressive, my beef with President Bush isn't that he's fighting a war, it's that he's doing it wrong. I want to win every bit as badly as he does, if not more, but I believe that means the symbol of America can't just be a soldier with an M-16.

It must also be a peace corp volunteer armed with the knowledge to improve crop yields, an American diplomat holding court on the rule of law, and a doctor curing the sick in a village clinic. It must be, for all intensive purposes, dollars. Young men with good jobs, food on the table, and subsequent honor in their homes do not become terrorists, let alone suicide bombers. It is not always necessary that we spread the American way of life so much as the American standard of living, because new economic choices beget a demand for political choices. Political choices breed open societies that are less likely to lash out at the United States. And sometimes all of that can happen without shedding blood.

Sometimes we must take the fight directly to our enemies. There are people in this world who need killing and there is no one better at meeting their needs than the US Army, but for the rest, the Army is not the best tool. The foot soldiers of the world could sometimes become productive citizens with the proper distractions, while the ringleaders simply need to be dispatched from this mortal coil.

I really believe our President fails to understand all of this and it worries me greatly. I volunteered for this deployment and now I'd like to stay home with my wife for a while, but if my country calls again, I will no doubt answer that call. I hope that we can salvage this mess just enough to ensure that my next deployment is not to Syria, Iran, or Pakistan.

Corporation donations to this last 2006 election

Tengrain of Mock Paper Scissors has a fantastic graphic.

Did you know that Barnes and Noble gave 81% of their $129,680 to the Democrats? But Curves gave 100% of $177,300 to the Republicans. Good to know who to do business with!

Wiki the crimes

We'll need them for the trial:
People For the American Way believes that a healthy democracy is an informed democracy. We set up to establish a single place for the public to acquire and share information about Executive Branch wrongdoings.

'Confronting Mr. Bush on Iraq has become a patriotic duty'. Paul Krugman

Via NTodd:

So how should Congress respond to Mr. Bush’s threats?

Everyone talks about the political risks of confrontation, recalling the backlash when Newt Gingrich shut down the federal government in 1995. But there’s a big difference between trying to force a fairly popular president to accept deep cuts in Medicare — which is what the 1995 confrontation was about — and trying to get a deeply unpopular, distrusted president to set some limits on an immensely unpopular war.

Meanwhile, there are big political risks on the other side. If Congress responds to a presidential veto by offering an even weaker bill, voters may well react with disgust, concluding that the whole debate over the war was nothing but political theater.

Anyway, never mind the political calculations. Confronting Mr. Bush on Iraq has become a patriotic duty.

The fact is that Mr. Bush’s refusal to face up to the failure of his Iraq adventure, his apparent determination to spend the rest of his term in denial, has become a clear and present danger to national security. Thanks to the demands of the Iraq war, we’re already a superpower without a strategic reserve, unable to respond to crises that might erupt elsewhere in the world. And more and more military experts warn that repeated deployments in Iraq — now extended to 15 months — are breaking the back of our volunteer military.

If nothing is done to wind down this war during the 21 months — 21 months! — Mr. Bush has left, the damage may be irreparable.

Update: Jurassicpork of Welcome to Pottersville has the funniest juxtaposed pictures for this article!

Update: Steve Bates of The Yellow Doggerel Democrat notes the baldly worded blackmail:
"Drop your legislative guns, or the soldier gets it..." yes, that's the perfect line for Bush.