Saturday, October 1, 2005


In a pretty long piece at ConsortiumNews about Bush's abuses of power and war crimes, there appeared this jewel:

In a healthy democracy, the debate might be less about imprisoning England and other "grunts" than whether Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other war architects should be "frog-marched" to the Hague for prosecution as war criminals.

The international community also has largely shied away from the issue of Bush's criminality, apparently because of the unprecedented military might of the United States.

If the leaders of a less powerful nation had invaded a country under false pretenses - touching off a war that left tens of thousands of civilians dead - there surely would be demands for war crimes prosecutions before the International Criminal Court at the Hague. But not for Bush and his War Cabinet.

If we keep at it, perhaps our "democracy" will someday be strong enough to make it happen. Gives me something to live for.

Learning Curves

Mrs. F and I were talking the other day, just after Hurricane Rita hit, wondering about how FEMA and Homeland Security might drop the ball again. The King of Zembla posted on it last night and it got me thinking again.

The Mrs. theorized that our federal response, hell the local response too, was educational to people who might actually do us harm. Thanks to the 'leadership' in this country, these two natural disasters pointed up the basic fact we are more vunlnerable than ever.

Not only are our borders less secure, but also our response to a terror attack of any magnitude will be slow and disorganized at best. Odds are, it would be inept and clumsy, assuring large collateral damage numbers.

They've learned how to cripple our economy. Screw the World Trade Center, just hit the refineries. The damage done to our energy infrastructure would long term, assuring ever higher gasoline (and home heating) prices. The impact might even trigger a decline of Great Depression-type proportions.

Yes, thanks to the Bush administration's cronyism and ineptitude, they have given 'evildoers' a road map to landing the death blow to our nation. All they had to do is watch TV.

Back to painting . . .

Friday, September 30, 2005

Ah-nold betrays his gay past...

I know most of you couldn't care less about our governor. I also know there's nothing funny about discrimination under color of law, but I'm playing this one for laughs anyway. From Direland.

Radar -- the sassy new pop culture magazine edited by Maer Roshan (right) and bankrolled by Mort Zuckerman (lower left), the real estate mogul who owns the N.Y. Daily News and U.S. News and World Report -- has published on its website a catty contrast of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto of the bill legalizing gay marriage in California with Arnold's past, which included many gay friendships that helped launch his bodybuilding career with "the gay sugar daddies of the international bodybuilding circuit." Schwarzenegger yesterday vetoed the bill, passed by the state legislature, that would have made marriage in California gender-neutral.
Under the headline "Arnold Quits the 'Fag Business," Radar mag's "Fresh Intelligence" column reports: "'Arnold has had a long association with rich gay men,' according to Wendy Leigh, author of Schwarzenegger: An Unauthorized Biography. 'When he moved to England [around the time of his first Mr. Universe title in 1967], John Dixey, a British businessman and well-known aficionado of muscle boys, was very, very kind to Arnold. You have to understand, before Arnold came on the scene, it was common currency that bodybuilders were less than macho - it was absolutely given and accepted that they supported themselves by catering to the tastes of wealthy gay men.'
Schwarzenegger's hypocrisy is outdone, of course, by that of the man who headed his transition team -- his buddy Rep. David Dreier, the closeted gay Republican who voted for the gay-bashing federal Defense of Marriage Act and a raft of other legislative attacks on full equality for gays.

Don'tcha just love this shit? The hypocritical Republican closet must be pretty crowded. Go read. Have some fun. Much dish. Many links.

On DeLay, Corruption, & Crony Capitalism

I offer a threefer from Truthout.

It isn't just Tom DeLay. The vast corrupt money machine that funded the Republican Revolution is exploding before our eyes.

We can only hope! Read and enjoy.

Katrina is Bush's Monica

This is from an interview with Cindy Sheehan by TomDispatch.

TD: And what do you actually expect? We have three and a half more years of this administration...

CS: No we don't! [She chuckles.] I think Katrina's going to be his Monica. It's not a matter of "if" any more, it's a matter of "when," because clearly... clearly, they're criminals. I mean, look at the people who got the first no-bid contracts to clean-up and rebuild New Orleans. It's Halliburton again. It's crazy. One negative effect of Camp Casey was it took a lot of heat off Karl Rove for his hand in the [Valerie] Plame case. But I hear indictments are coming down soon. So that's one way it's going to come about. George Bush is getting ready to implode. I mean have you seen him lately? He's a man who's out of control.

Hehheh. Given the choice, I think I'd rather implode from a righteous knobber!


If you can. The Chimp says the economy is doing so well. Surely somebody must be hiring.

Last throes

How many #2 guys are there in al-Qaeda anyway? John's keeping a list:

[. . .]

Below is an almost comprehensive list (I'm sure I missed a few) of Zarqawi's "top lieutenants" we've captured, killed, or acknowledged over the last two and a half years. I count 33.

[. . .]

Every time I hear 'U.S. troops kill another insurgent leader', I think of the nightly body counts on Huntley-Brinkley during Vietnam. Now, if this was actually weakening the insurgency I'd say, okay something's working, but it's not:

WASHINGTON - The top U.S. commander in Iraq backed away on Wednesday from his prediction that a substantial pullout of U.S. troops could begin by next spring, as the White House undertakes a new campaign to win public support for the war effort.

[. . .]

But President Out-of-Touch says:

[. . .]

Bush on Wednesday sent Casey and Gen. John Abizaid, the commander of U.S. Central Command, to Capitol Hill to update lawmakers on war operations. "We're on the offense," Bush said, the two generals at his side in the Rose Garden. "We have a plan to win."

[. . .]

Reminds me of the stories my mom used to tell when she was a nurse in France during the war. At some points, they could see the Americans and British on the next hill, yet the radio from Berlin said the Germans were winning the war. I'm also reminded of Baghdad Bob, as shit's blowing up around him, insisting Iraqi troops were pushing the Americans out. My only question is, when they finally tell him the truth, will the Chimp be found on the couch in the Oval Office, in a fetal position, sucking his thumb and drooling, or are they gonna have to take him out in a straightjacket, a raving lunatic? Guys like him don't stay together when their world comes apart.

Friday Cattle Dog Blogging

Shayna the Cattle Dog says that George Bush and his band of thieves are destroying the world with unchecked pollution, their disregard for the Kyoto accords, and the relaxation of environmental laws. She's also very disturbed by this news:

Sep 29, 2005 - New satellite observations show that sea ice in the Arctic is melting faster while air temperatures in the region are rising sharply, scientists say.

[. . .]

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Thursday Cattle Dog Blogging (Bonus)

Shayna here. The old man is busy painting before the old lady gets home from Jesusland so he can clean up a little. I hate it when he has to sleep in my bed.

Anyway, the old man has been muttering the whole time (it turned into yelling when the President and that guy they called the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court came on and he put his hand on that book the old man hates). He was yelling something like 'turncoat Democrats can kiss my ass'. He'll be happy to see his friend Travis has a list of those Democrats who voted against John Roberts' confirmation. He'll also be happy to see both his New York senators gave the 'thumbs-down'. Speaking of thumbs, the old man isn't as far up the evolutionary food chain as he thinks he is. I didn't need thumbs to blog!

Hi Harry, wink woof!

California will lead the way! POP!

If you're interested in the housing bubble or live in the U.S. economy, go read this article in the LATimes.

"There are some signs that the housing party is ending," said Christopher Thornberg, senior economist at the UCLA group and author of its California forecast.

Thornberg points to an almost doubling of homes on the market in the last six months, a flattening of sales activity and the increasing reliance on high-risk mortgages by buyers to acquire today's expensive homes. Property in California, he said, is now overvalued between 40% and 45%.

"The forecast for California is mediocre at best; at worst we are liable to dip into another recession," Thornberg said, putting the odds of a recession by the end of 2007 at "at least 50% if not more."

I get a joyful vision of a reverse Dust Bowl migration: Overloaded cars with California plates heading east, never to return. Adios. Take Ah-nold with you.

...and a co-crook in the closet...

By Jan Frel at Alternet.

But Dreier also represents another archetype of the dark side of the GOP: The closeted gay man. If ever there were an opportunity to expose the hypocrisy of the Grand Old Party on gay issues, it is now.
And David Dreier's record fully qualifies him for public exposure. Ireland writes:

"He opposed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would have banned discrimination against gay people in hiring; voted for the gay-bashing Defense of Marriage Act; voted for banning adoption by gay and lesbian couples in the District of Columbia (3,000 miles away from Dreier's district); voted to allow federally funded charities to discriminate against gays in employment, even where local laws prohibit such bias; and voted against the Hate Crimes Prevention Act."

Informed of Hastert's recommendation, Doug Ireland told me, "Because the corporate media, with the exception of Frank Rich of the New York Times, have consistently refused to cover the outing of a rather significant number of Republican leaders, Dreier has been able to get away with the hypocrisy of being in the closet as a gay man, while continuing to vote against legal equality for gay people.

"If Dreier is elevated to Majority leader, it simply means that the Republican Party is comfortable with the hypocrisy of its closeted gay leadership."
Just think, how can the party of Family Values explain to its only grassroots bulwark, the Christian Right, that it will punish the "homosexual agenda" when it has a gay man co-managing the third-most powerful organ (Heh, she said "organ" - G) of our federal system? We'll find out soon enough. As Rogers put it, "Thanks to Denny Hastert for looking beyond the extreme members of his party to elevate a gay man to help lead the House."

Legislation, schmegislation. We may be treated to some damn good theater by these fools.

Oy! Another crook ...

From Sirotablog.

Republicans would like you to believe that since Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) yesterday resigned his leadership post, they have cleaned up their act. But a quick look at DeLay's replacement, Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), shows the GOP has once again opted to be led by one of Congress's most corrupt figures.

Details, details.

The truth is, Blunt has so many connections to people and companies under investigation by federal law enforcement you'd think you were reading about a gangster, rather than one of America's most powerful politicians.

Yeah, sounds like another run-of-the-mill crooked Republican politician all right. Second string compared to DeLay, though. It's hard to replace a good capo di tutti capi.

Best Read Of The Day

A rousing good must-read at Common Dreams. Gleefully swiped from Shakey's Sis.

In short, George W. Bush is toast, as is the whole regressive conservative movement of which he is but the most egregious exemplar. Not even another 9/11 would be likely to help him, as the security president who fails to provide security is the nothing (but simply failed) president. The demise of the right is now likely be true even if Democrats continue hurtling down their current path toward breaking all world records for political cowardice by a major party. Indeed, the worst of the Democrats may now also be in trouble amongst the base - as well they should be - for their cozy associations with the right, enabling its destructive march to the sea these last years.

Ever so much more. Do not miss this one.

This is what I'm talking about

From the lovely and insightful Jane. Let's get rid of Joe-mentum:

[. . .]

Kos is reporting that Lowell Weicker is seriously thinking of challenging Lieberman as an independent. Considering Lieberman got the backing of GOP honchos like William Buckley to help oust Weicker for his liberal views, well -- you just let me know where to send the check, okay, Lowell?

Just a thought

While I'm putting a coat of primer on my shelves, listening to DeLay's horseshit denials yesterday it hit me. How many of you were immediately reminded of Nixon's 'I am not a crook' speech? I thought I went through a time warp.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Let the Dance of Joy Commence!

Yahoo! From MSNBC:

DeLay indicted in campaign finance probe

WASHINGTON - A Texas grand jury on Wednesday charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, forcing the House majority leader to temporarily relinquish his post.
"I have notified the speaker that I will temporarily step aside from my position as majority leader pursuant to rules of the House Republican Conference and the actions of the Travis County district attorney today," DeLay said.

"Pursuant to the rules". That's a first for him.

I am hoping the Valvoline Racing 50 can take the heat of my wild abandon! I may have to go castor-based or synthetic.

This explains a lot...

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent, in the TimesOnlineUK:

RELIGIOUS belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today.
The paper, published in the Journal of Religion and Society*, a US academic journal, reports: "Many Americans agree that their churchgoing nation is an exceptional, God-blessed, shining city on the hill that stands as an impressive example for an increasingly sceptical world.

"In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies.

"The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so."

There's much more, although the phrase "christo-fascist whackjobs" is conspicuously absent. Probably not scientific language. Go read.

*Note and Nap Alert: If you go read the study, make sure to put a pillow on your keyboard first to avoid injury or damage. Here's its title:

Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies

This just keeps getting better and better...

From Alternet:

Consultants Tied To DeLay Ally Jack Abramoff Charged With Murder...
Fort Lauderdale police said yesterday that they charged three men in the 2001 gangland-style slaying of a Florida businessman who was gunned down in his car months after selling a casino cruise line to a group that included Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis was killed on a Fort Lauderdale street on Feb. 6, 2001. Two of the three men charged had been hired as consultants by Adam Kidan, one of Abramoff's partners in the SunCruz Casinos venture.

I hope the accused are in good voice and sing like canaries.

Waxman and Pelosi Introduce Anti-Cronyism Bill

I love those two! From Truthout:

Washington, DC - Today Rep. Henry A. Waxman and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi introduced the Anti-Cronyism and Public Safety Act, which would prohibit the President from appointing unqualified individuals to critical public safety positions in the government.

"President Bush has handed out some of the country's most difficult and important jobs - leadership positions in public safety and emergency response - to politically well-connected individuals with no experience or qualifications," Rep. Waxman said. "This common sense legislation will end this practice and ensure that public safety is back in the hands of those who are trained and experienced in protecting the public."

The bill would require any presidential appointee for a public safety position to have proven, relevant credentials for that position. In addition, the legislation bars from appointment to an agency any individual who has been a lobbyist for an industry subject to the agency's authority during the preceding two years.

"As Hurricane Katrina tragically demonstrated, serious consequences result when unqualified cronies are appointed to federal public safety positions," Pelosi said. "The Bush Administration's culture of cronyism comes at the expense of public safety. It is unconscionable and must stop immediately - it is literally a matter of life and death. This legislation is critically needed, and I thank Mr. Waxman for his strong leadership in protecting the American people."

Subject to the bill are specific senior-level emergency preparedness offices at the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as any position with the primary function of responding to a direct threat to life or property or hazard to health.

I applaud them for doing this. It's a nice gesture, but I think it will end up on the cutting-room floor like most thoughtful, practical, and really useful legislation.

I think it should be extended to allow only qualified people to occupy the Office of the President of the United States as well.

Today could be DeDay...

From the Associated Press:

The Texas grand jury investigating House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's state political organization was completing its term Wednesday after demonstrating a recent interest in conspiracy charges that could bring more indictments.

Lawyers with knowledge of the case said the DeLay defense team was concerned that the Travis County grand jury might consider counts of conspiracy to violate the state election code.
Before the recent conspiracy counts, the investigation was more narrowly focused on the state election code. By expanding the charges to include conspiracy, prosecutors made it possible for the grand jury to bring charges against DeLay. Otherwise, the grand jury would have lacked jurisdiction under state laws.
Three of DeLay's political associates, the PAC itself, several corporate donors and a Texas business organization have been indicted, while DeLay has not.

"Hot Tub Tommy" is circling the drain. Whee! If he is indicted, I will do the Dance of Joy Deluxe, which includes body oil. Valvoline Racing 50 oughta do the trick!


. . . Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream...

M and T.

Banned Books Week

Seriously. From Lurch at Main and Central:

. . . I can see why the American Medical Association, the Health Insurance Industry and Big Pharma would want to protect American youth from such dangerous ideas, can't you? . . .

And the CultureGhost finds a book that shoulda made the list.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Recipie for disaster

The booming US housing market has led to a worrying decline in standards in the mortgage lending industry, Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve chairman, has warned.

[. . .]

I've been bitching about this 'creative financing' for a while. They're getting too many people into houses they can't afford.

[. . .]

Mr Greenspan voiced the widespread concern within the Fed about the rapid spread of interest-only loans, floating rate mortgages, and other "more exotic" forms of home financing including loans where borrowers do not pay the full interest cost for an initial period and it is added to the principal.

While these kinds of mortgages had their proper uses, he said, they exposed borrowers to more interest rate and housing market risk than standard 30-year mortgages and some lenders may be pushing them inappropriately.

[. . .]

Please report to the Department of Duh. In this 'fuck everybody but me' and 'regulation is Liberal' world, of course the bottom line is the driving force behind these mortgage companies.

[. . .]

"They are seen as vehicles that enable marginally qualified, highly leveraged borrowers to purchase homes at inflated prices. In the event of widespread cooling in house prices, these borrowers, and the institutions that service them, could be exposed to significant losses," Mr Greenspan said.

[. . .]

Read defaults and foreclosures. You know what that means.

[. . .]

Continued price rises will make it harder for the central banker to engineer a soft landing and avoid any abrupt swings in consumer spending. [my emphases]

[. . .]

The Bush Economy is nothing more than a pyramid scheme. Eventually the bottom's gonna fall out and these high oil prices might just be the impetus. We're already seeing it at the shop. Folks ain't got the bread to fix their cars when gas costs $3/gallon. Katrina and Rita might just be the two tough broads who knock Chimpy Inc. on its ass.

Main and Central

A fine man and former naval officer (a rare combination if you ask this old sergeant, heh), Jo Fish of Democratic Veteran is starting a new group blog comprised of ex- and current military. I'm proud he's asked me to be a part of it and I'll be contributing from time to time. He's yet to announce the whole lineup, but those 'enlisted' so far seem like a good bunch. Main and Central gets up to full speed on Monday. Please stop by and say hi.


Do you think another nation would have done this with FDR? How far we have fallen . . .

Hat tip: Maru

Lynndie England

Good. There's a lot more who should go with her.

Shocked II

Remember my post the other day when I said this?

[. . .]

I don't laugh at the acts themselves. They are heinous and horrible and those perpetrating them should be prosecuted, period. I just laugh at those who are shocked by them, shocked they occur, mostly those from our blogging community and activists. I laugh because none of them have been in combat. I laugh at all of you who have no idea what combat is all about, yet cringe in horror and scream with outrage when these stories come out.

[. . .]

More surprise, related to BL's post:

[. . .]

My first conscious reaction was "everybody should see these" (hold your horses, gentle reader, read on before you do). To paraphrase John at AmericaBlog, this is what war looks like. It's not like the movies, not some at all, to use a Louisiana expression I learned this weekend at dKos. [my em]

[. . .]

Why in Hell do all you people think I yell and scream about taking war so lightly? Yes, please, all of you, take Shystee's advice and look at what war does, how people die. I especially want all the Dems who were pro-war to see it because you are the ones who should be ashamed of yourselves for giving President Fucknuts a blank check to perpetrate this horror on the Iraqis. You are more to blame than he because you should know better.


After reading the King's post, I have a new appreciation of Jimmy Carter.

[. . .]

The president got Congress to pass the Emergency Natural Gas Act, which would authorize the national government to allocate interstate natural gas. He created a Department of Energy to regulate existing energy suppliers and fund research on new sources of energy, particularly sustainable (wind and solar power) and ecologically sound sources. His Energy Security Act created the U.S. Synthetic Fuels Corporation, which would provide $20 billion in joint ventures with private industry. Carter signed his first energy package into law on November 9, 1978. The deregulation of oil and natural gas prices that resulted would lead to a vast increase in the supply of energy in the 1980s, and consequently a lowering of prices . . . .

[. . .]

Monday, September 26, 2005

File This Under Sick Jokes That are True

CBS Katrina Blog reports the following:

"CBS News correspondent Gloria Borger reports that Michael Brown, who recently resigned as the head of the FEMA, has been rehired by the agency as a consultant to evaluate it's response following Hurricane Katrina. "

Well he hasn't been given a Medal of Honor yet.

Pushing back

HARRISBURG, Pa. Sep 26, 2005 - "Intelligent design" is a religious theory that was inserted in a school district's curriculum with no concern for whether it had scientific underpinnings, a lawyer told a federal judge Monday as a landmark trial got under way.

"They did everything you would do if you wanted to incorporate a religious point of view in science class and cared nothing about its scientific validity," said Eric Rothschild, an attorney representing eight families who are challenging the decision of the Dover Area School District.

[. . .]

You see it coming, don't you? This is gonna be the before the 'soon-to-be-confirmed' (it still torques my sphincter) Chief Justice Roberts eventually. Guess how this court is gonna rule?

Still working . . .

Still working on my bookshelves. Light blogging tonight now that fucking Blogger is finally working. In-progress pics below the fold if you're interested.

The Democratization of Frank Rich

Since Frank Rich's columns now fall under the "Times Select" feature that I'm not about to pay for, I'll post them when and where I find them. From Intransigent Vicissitudes, via Cursor.

Ours will be remembered as the Enron era. Enron itself is a distant memory -- much like all that circa 2000 talk of a smoothly efficient C.E.O. presidency led by a Harvard M.B.A. and a former chief executive of Halliburton. But even as American business has since been purged by prosecutions and reforms, the mutant Enron version of the C.E.O. culture still rules in Washington: uninhibited cronyism, cooked books, special-favors networks, the banishment of whistle-blowers and accountability. More than ideology, this ethos has sabotaged even the best of American intentions, whether in Iraq or New Orleans. Unchecked, it promises greater disasters to come.
YET it's not only the administration that is to blame, any more than it is only the executives who are at fault when a corporation rots. Culpability also belongs to the board that rubber-stamps the shenanigans -- to wit, Congress. Republicans in the Senate are led by Bill Frist, who, in the grandest Enron manner, claimed last week that it was to avoid a conflict of interest that his supposed ''blind trust'' unloaded all of his holdings in a Frist family-founded company just before its stock tanked. (Federal prosecutors and the S.E.C. are investigating.) As for the Democrats, they are nonpareil at posturing about the unstoppable nomination of John Roberts -- a conservative, to be sure, but the rare Bush nominee who seems both qualified for his job and unsullied by ethical blemishes. Yet when David Safavian was up for a job involving hundreds of billions of dollars, and much of his dubious resume was fully known, he was approved by the ranking Democrat, Joe Lieberman, and all his colleagues of both parties on the Governmental Affairs Committee.

Which is to say that the rest of us, the individual shareholders in government who have voted in our Enron-era politicians, are responsible, too.

Go read Daddy Frank. It's important to partake of something you get for free that you're supposed to pay for, as in "the cheaper the grapes, the sweeter the wine".

Worse than Abu Gharib?

I have tried to publish this more than once, Blogger is being a pain.

Go read this at Americablog:
US soldiers allegedly trading pictures of dead Iraqis & Afghanis for porn

I spent the good part of this weekend following up on a report by the East Bay Express, an alternative paper in San Francisco, alleging that US soldiers are posting gruesome pictures of dead Iraqis and Afghanis online in exchange for access to hard-core amateur porn.

What I found suggests the story is correct.

The death photos are hosted on a Web site hosted in Holland, called The site is an amateur porn site where people can post their own nude photos and browse the photos of other visitors.

Bullshit Artists

Dear Democratic Party Leadership,

Maybe the Republicans are right? Maybe you don't stand for a fucking thing? Maybe all that Peace, Love, and Vietnam did make you a bunch of hugging, cuddling softies? I've about had it with the lot of you. Ah, you talk a good game, but so does the Chimp when his serum levels are up and earpiece is working. Has one of you come right out and called the President a liar? No. Has one of you come out and said the Republican Party is the most corrupt political organization since Tammily Hall? No. So answer me this, what the fuck good are you? Or are you in the Republican pocket too?

You might be the only game in town for us, the progressive community, but that's gonna change. Mark my words. All you are is a buncha bullshit artists. Lotsa talk, very little action. Grow a spine and put the best intersts of this nation first. If you stand up to the Repubs, we'll cover your backs and keep you in office, but if you don't, I'm more than happy to see you go. As of now, not one of you deserves my vote. Get with it or get out, bitches.

The Fixer

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Rita: Epilogue

Lance Mannion:

[. . .]

Coverage of Rita I've seen this morning seems to boil down to a giant collective "Phew!" as if no matter how much damage a hurricane does, no matter how many people die, and no matter how inadequate local and Federal planning and their response were, as long as we didn't suffer another New Orleans, everything's fine.

[. . .]

They got relatively lucky, period.

Killing us slowly

WASHINGTON -- The government wants to stop forcing companies to report small releases of toxic pollutants and allow them to submit reports on their pollution less frequently.

Saying it wants to ease its regulatory burden on companies, the Environmental Protection Agency yesterday proposed adopting a ''short form" that would excuse companies from disclosing spills and other releases of toxic substances if:

They say they release fewer than 5,000 pounds of a specific chemical. The current limit is 500 pounds.

They store onsite but say they release "zero" amounts of the worst pollutants, such as mercury, DDT, and PCBs, that persist in the environment and work up the food chain. However, they must report if they have stored dioxin or dioxin-like compounds, even if none is released. [my em]

[. . .]

You gotta be fucking kidding me. One day, there is gonna be a mushroom cloud. It's gonna be some chemical plant blowing sky high. Either that or they're gonna render our lands inhabitable. Remember all those Superfund sites we paid to clean up? Seems there are more in the making.

Hat tip: Seeing the Forest

Ouch! Watch where yer stickin' that nozzle...

From the WaPo:

When the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline peaked at $3.07 recently, it was partly because the nation's refineries were getting an estimated 99 cents on each gallon sold. That was more than three times the amount they earned a year ago when regular unleaded was selling for $1.87.

The companies that pump oil from the ground swept in an additional 47 cents on each gallon, a 46 percent jump over the same period.

If motorists are the big losers in the spectacular run-up in gas prices, the companies that produce the oil and turn it into gasoline are the clear winners. By contrast, the truckers who transport gasoline, the companies that operate pipelines and the gas station owners have profited far less.
"They obviously are experiencing windfall or excess profits," Dorgan said of the big oil companies. "They are . . . profiting in an extraordinary way at the expense of the American consumer."
For a company like Exxon, producing a barrel of oil from an existing well costs about $20, according to analysts. When the selling price rises above that, the increase is almost all profit, they said. After Katrina bore down on the Gulf Coast, the price of oil set a new high, approaching $70.

Refiners processing the oil into gasoline faced lucrative market conditions. They may have had to pay the producers more for the oil, but they were able to sell their gasoline for higher prices as a result of the short supply and the spike on the mercantile exchange. In their view, the increases were justified because the market dictated that their final product -- gasoline -- had risen in value.

Refiners, particularly those with most of their facilities outside the path of Katrina, cashed in. Analysts predicted a windfall for companies such as Philadelphia-based Sunoco Inc., which continued operating normally during the hurricane.

I wonder if this greed falls under the RICO Act? Come to think about it, maybe the White House cabal does too.


I posted this the other day:

[. . .]

Although more than $30 billion in taxpayer funds have been appropriated for Iraqi reconstruction, the administration earlier this month launched an Internet-based fundraising effort that it says is aimed at giving Americans "a further stake in building a free and prosperous Iraq."

[. . .]

Got this today from the Sister:

An extraordinary appeal to Americans from the Bush administration for money to help pay for the reconstruction of Iraq has raised only $600 (£337), The Observer has learnt...


The "House 13"

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has a list. From the LATimes.

WASHINGTON - A watchdog group, naming what it calls "the 13 most corrupt members of Congress," is calling for ethics investigations of some of the most prominent leaders on Capitol Hill in a report to be released Monday.
Its report, titled "Beyond DeLay: The 13 Most Corrupt Members of Congress," is based on news articles and other documents, the watchdog group said. It made the report available to the Los Angeles Times.
The watchdog group has been outspoken in criticizing House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) for what Sloan calls his ethical lapses.

"Nonetheless, we recognize that Rep. DeLay is not the only member of Congress whose behavior merits scrutiny," the report says. "There are a significant number of other members who have engaged in similarly egregious conduct, thus the name of the report: 'Beyond DeLay.' "
Sloan said she had been unable to persuade any member of the House to file ethics complaints that the watchdog group has drawn up against Ney and Cunningham. House rules do not permit outside groups to file complaints.

"It is outrageous that outsiders can't file complaints, since Congress has demonstrated its unwillingness to police its own conduct," Sloan said.
The 13 members of Congress recommended for investigation by the watchdog group are:

Did I mention that I'm a joker and an asshole?

Thanks for your support

Just a little fact. Not one elected representative from the Democratic Party showed up at the protest yesterday. Whazzat tell ya?

Bi-coastal & Beyond Anti-War Protests

Accounts of yesterday's anti-war protests in DC, EssEff, and the UK via Truthout.

Leslie Darling, 60, came from Cleveland with four friends and said it was her first antiwar protest. She said she was moved by what happened after Hurricane Katrina.

"It made clear that while we spend all this money trying to impose our will on other countries, here at home in our own country, we can't take care of each other," she said.
Bush and Cheney were depicted on posters, T-shirts and in makeshift costumes. Several demonstrators wore masks of Bush's likeness and prison jumpsuits. They were often asked to pose for photographs.
Army 1st Sgt. Frank Cookinham, with a Special Forces patch on one shoulder, scorpion tattoos crawling across the back of his neck and "LOCO" permanently inked on his Adam's apple stands out in most crowds. He was pretty uncomfortable yesterday.

"I've never done this before, but here I am, in uniform, figuring this is the only way I can shove it to Bush," said Cookinham, of Newport, R.I., a Persian Gulf War veteran who recently returned from a second tour in Iraq. "This war makes no sense."

Marching past the Treasury Building, Steven Olsen, 57, and his wife, Brenda, 49, of Yonkers, N.Y., held signs bearing a photo of their son, an Army Reserve sergeant sent to Iraq after enrolling in medical school.

"I hear from him about once a month," said Brenda as her husband gently waved a placard that said, "Proud of my soldier: Ashamed of this war." (My bold)

That pretty much says it all.

Working . . .

New bookshelves in my office. See ya's lata.