Sunday, April 30, 2006

Oinkers of 2006 - The Worst Rip Offs of Government Funds

As you paid your taxes a few weeks ago, did you ask yourself, "Hey, I wonder just how much of my money is going to pad the coffers of friends & supporters of my Senator or representative?" Well the Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has put their Oinkers of the Year awards online here.

We're All Being Mugged. Why Hasn't Anyone Called the Cops?

Citizens Against Government Waste has released their new "2006 Congressional Pig Book Summary" - a catalog of 375 of 2005's worst earmarks (remember Alaska's bridge to nowhere?). Among this year's entries, $13,500,000 for the International Fund for Ireland, which helped finance the World Toilet Summit; $6,435,000 for wood utilization research; and $1,000,000 for the Waterfree Urinal Conservation Initiative.

How did the Year of Abramoff compare to past years? Well, according to CAGW, "Congress porked out at record dollar levels with $29 billion in pork for 2006, or 6.2 percent more than last year’s total of $27.3 billion. In fact, the total cost of pork has increased by 29 percent since fiscal 2003. Total pork identified by CAGW since 1991 adds up to $241 billion."

Teddy boy Stevens helped yet again bring an enormous amount of pork home to Alaska, but Teddy's $325 million heading to Alaska in 2005 was less than the $985 million he brought home the year before? Has Teddy seen the light? Has he reformed and decided that we need to all pitch in together to help the country as a whole? Have pigs started flying? Of Course Not! The difference can be tracked to one simple fact - Teddy boy isn't the Chairman of Senate Appropriations Committee anymore. (Watch to see the increase in appropriations funds flowing to Chairman Cochran's state of Mississippi this year.)

So where else has the money gone this last year?

Alasaka: $25,000,000 for rural and native villages; $1,300,000 for berry research; $1,099,000 for alternative salmon products; $500,000 for fruit and berry crop trials for rural villages; $443,000 for new crop opportunities; $331,000 for food preparation and marketing research; $300,000 for commercialization of native plant materials; $250,000 for ethnobotany research; $166,000 for salmon quality standards; and $75,000 for seafood waste research.

Bob Bennett's Utah: $300,000 for the Oquirrh Institute. According to the Institute’s website, "The Oquirrh Institute was founded in Salt Lake City, Utah, during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. The Institute's mission is to shine early light on public policy dilemmas and establish innovative solutions." According to USDA testimony, “The principal researchers have not yet determined a completion date on this project.” A total of $500 has been raised from corporations and foundations. Taxpayers have “contributed” $550,000 to Oquirrh since 2004.

Taking care of our burgeoning wine industry: $2,100,000 for the viticulture consortium in California, New York, and Pennsylvania. According to USDA testimony, “The original goal of this research was to maintain or enhance the competitiveness of the United States viticulture and wine industry in the global market.”

$234,000 for the National Wild Turkey Federation. According to the organization’s website, “Thanks to the work of federal, state and provincial wildlife agencies and the NWTF's many volunteers and partners, there are now close to 7 million wild turkeys and nearly 3 million turkey hunters.” None of whom, apparently, can put money towards hunting their wild turkeys.

-- $17,000,000 for the digitization of DOD manuals.
-- $2,500,000 for a small business pilot program to re-engineer the DOD vendor payment process.
-- $500,000 for the Arctic Winter Games. (Teddy & Alaska again)
-- $1,000,000 for the Gaming-Technology Software Initiative
-- $26,350,000 for a facility restoration plan at the Allegheny Ballistics Lab (Bob Byrd keeping money flowing into West Virginia for decades now)
-- $1,000,000 added by the Senate for a competency-based distance education initiative with Western Governors University in the state of Senate appropriator Robert Bennett (R-Utah). This school is a private university that only gained accreditation in 2003. A close examination of their website does not reveal any defense-related missions.
-- 13.4 percent of total Louisiana pork, or $13,500,000, was allocated to one project, the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway, even though it is only used by 4 percent of Louisiana’s commercial traffic. And, according to the Army Corps of Engineers, the waterway’s costs will not be justified until 2046.

And money going to a project in Missouri that isn't even supported by the people it's going to! $5,880,000 for the Zora and Main Street Interchange. The Zora and Main Street Interchange is Missouri’s very own bridge to nowhere. Joplin requested the funding, purportedly to maintain safety and prevent congestion in the town of 50,000 people. But many local residents are adamantly opposed to the project. They maintain that the bridge and the interchange are being constructed on back roads that lie in the middle of nowhere. One resident noted, “They claim they are building this interchange to cut down congestion. There is no congestion. This is a deserted area in a small town.”

And don't forget that giant sucking sound in the earth you hear as you walk by the Capitol any given day -- the visitor's center. According to CAGW, $5,000,000 was added last year. "Since construction began in fall 2001, Congress has continued to pour funding into this monument to excess and waste. The cost has risen from $265 million to at least $584 million and is running two years behind schedule."

Saturday, April 29, 2006

A Prescription for Better Politics?

This month's Russian Life features a retrospective on Joseph Brodsky, the brilliant St. Petersburg-born poet and essayist who became our gain when the Soviet authorities kicked him out of his native country. Brodsky wrote a lot of penetrating verse, but I like him best for his essays and meditations, one of which he delivered upon winning the Nobel Prize for literature in l987. I share it as an expression of hope for the future, not just for our own country but for everyone's:

"There is no doubt in my mind that had we been choosing our leaders on the basis of their reading experiences and not their political programs, there would be much less grief on earth. It seems to me that a potential master of our fates should be asked, first of all, not about how he imagines the course of his foreign policy, but about his attitude toward Stendahl, Dickens, Dostoevksy. If only because the lock and stock of literature is indeed human diversity and perversity, it turns out to be a reliable antidote for any attempt--whether familiar or yet to be invented--towards summary solutions to the problems of human existence. As a form of moral insurance, at least, literature is much more dependable than a system of beliefs or a philosophical doctrine."

Whom do you suppose our current leadership favors on its collective nightstand, IF it favors anyone? Machiavelli, maybe?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Evil Dictators and Tyrants We Don't Invade

Washington Post has some good pieces in today's Outlook section on some of the more unsavory dictators wielding power these days.

The Department of Moral Outrage which lists eight of the more evil folks can be found here, along with the people who nominated them.
Old States, New Threats can be found here.

Who are those evil folks we don't hear so much about? Well one of them is a fellow Bush & crew brought into DC to chat up (see article below on Obiang Mbasogo).

Obiang Mbasogo was nominated by Senator McCain (who knows a few things about torture and evil from his time as a POW). This is the guy that Rice was standing next to and smiling at when he came to visit Bush & Condi in DC. We not only let this guy into the country, we invited him into the White House! (Keep in mind one of the actors who recently played a hijacker in "United 93" was refused entry into the US when he tried to attend a premier of the film.) Actors we keep out. Cuban singers we keep out. This is the guy we let in:

President, Equatorial Guinea
Obiang came to power in 1979 in a violent coup d'état and has since brooked no opposition to his dictatorial rule. Until 1996, when oil was discovered, Equatorial Guinea was desperately poor, subsisting largely on cocoa exports and foreign aid. Since then, Obiang has been stealing most of the oil profits. A 2004 Senate report says that Obiang and his cronies siphoned off tens of millions of dollars. Oil revenues are substantial, so the country's per capita income is among the highest in Africa--yet most people remain in abject poverty.

The rest of the worst?
Islam Karimov, President, Uzbekistan
King Gyanendra, Nepal
Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister, Ethiopia
Saparmurad Niyazov, President, Turkmenistan
Isaias Afwerki, President, Eritrea
Alexander Lukashenko, President, Belarus
Joseph Kony, Leader, Lord's Resistance Army, Uganda

Read the articles, and if you're not familiar with these eight horror shows, learn about them. And one you have, do yourself and the world one more favor. Join Amnesty International and do your part to make sure the light of the world is shining on these criminals and others.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Are you a planet pig?

In keeping with Earth Day today, everyone should drop in at and take the quiz to determine how large your environmental footprint is, i.e. how much of the world's resources you are consuming(or overconsuming). The quiz is not for the faint of heart--my own footprint turned out to resemble that of a T-Rex, stratospherically gigantic--but they don't tell you to go drown yourself in the unrecycled trash. You get some great ideas on how to be a better citizen of the planet, so it only smarts for a minute or two. So get into overconsumption rehab already!

My Name is Mankind, And I'm Addicted to Oil

The Earth Day Network's 12 steps to oil recovery:

  • Step 1: Admit you are an addict. Like most addicts, you probably have no idea what harm you are actually causing. Despite the shock of having a spotlight turned on your behavior on national television, Google "climate change" or "oil addiction" and you will see the thousands of articles that have been written about your addiction over the past twenty years.

  • Step 2: Do a searching and fearless inventory of your life. Start by taking a look around. Carry out a personal energy audit of your life. Look for wasteful and/or excessive use of energy including the use of large, gas-hungry vehicles, houses that are 10 times larger than necessary and other evidence of profligate lifestyles.

  • Step 3: Turn Yourself Over to a Higher Power. Ask your main energy provider where your power comes from and if you could switch to "green power."

  • Step 4: Believe that a power greater than you can restore us to sanity. Ask yourself what your national, state, and local government representatives, including your mayor, has been doing to control this addiction. If you do not feel they are doing enough let them know and vote for leaders who have a plan of their own to help you fight this addiction. Check their campaign contributors list for evidence of insincerity.

  • Step 5: Make a decision to turn your will over to the care of someone more powerful (and less addicted). Is this really all your fault? Do you feel you need to lean on a force more powerful than yourself? 2008 is just around the corner. You can make combating oil addiction one of the major topics of debate in the 2008 Presidential elections.

  • Step 6: Make of list of people that we have harmed and be willing to make amends to all of them. Start with the Inuits, the polar bears, the residents of Greenland, Small Island Nations, New Orleans (and possibly Miami).

  • Step 7: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. There is no need to fly to these locations to make a personal apology.

  • Step 8: Realize that nothing but continuous action on the preceding steps can make a difference. Your dependence on oil will not disappear overnight. Start with mandatory caps on your consumption and demand it of all Americans.

  • Step 9: Carry the message forward. The more people fighting the addiction, the more impressive the results will be. Host an Earth Day (April 22nd) Party or attend one of thousands across the United States to let people know how widespread the addiction is and how they too can fight it.
  • Happy Earth Day 2006 . . . or is it?

    What to give the planet on its special day. Always a hard question. What do you give the planet that has everything? The one that gave us ... well ... us.

    Well, we're not giving it climate change legislation. Senator Domenici has said that such legislation isn't coming out of his committee this year because "Frankly, I don't know how to write" [a bill requiring reductions in greenhouse gas emissions..] Pete, my boy, I know it's hard for a Republican to understand how to write, but don't be afraid to ask for help.

    I have fond(?) memories of the first Earth Day, when two junior high kids tried to convince their principal to mark the event and were, well ... barking up the wrong tree. But in spite of the short sightedness of some, attention on the Earth and its needs did bring some good things. DDT and lead based paint were banned. The Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, recycling, etc.

    Unfortunately, we're way beyond recycling and banning DDT at this point. Global warming is, despite oil companies & Bush admin desparate attempts at denial, here and not going away. In a way, oil companies are giving the Earth a bit of a present, when a barrel of oil is going for $75, Americans and others start trading in their SUVs & Hummers for cars that don't kill the planet.

    But the one gift we can give the planet today? President Bush, stand up and do the right thing.


    Wednesday, April 19, 2006

    More from General Batiste, Retired

    Today's Washington Post editorial page has a good piece by Gen. Batiste regarding the absolute necessity of dumping Rumsfeld. Read it.

    It's followed in the paper by an op ed by Melvin Laird (Nixon's Secy of defense) and Robert Pursley (retired AF general) that argues the generals shouldn't speak up because "The enemy does not understand or appreciate reasoned public debate. It is perceived as a sign of weakness and a lack of resolve."

    Gee, it's a good thing our goal isn't to spread democracy to other countries, otherwise they might think we don't mean it when we call for the silencing of debate in the US.

    Bye Bye Scottie - Did I Call it, or What

    Ok, so I wasn't the only one, but remember my April 1 post "Beaming Out Scottie?" where I mentioned the news that Scott McLellan would soon be out of a job. Well the day has come. The fun part is Bush's statement to the press, without a single hint as to the help Scottie had in being shown the door. Bush: "It's going to be hard to replace Scott, but nevertheless he made the decision and I accepted it."

    The more interesting part of the announcement was this, that Rove is also leaving. No more Karl as Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy. But let's be honest, Karl was never deputy to anything or anybody. So as he leaves to spend his energies on trying to build up the Republicans for the mid-term elections in November, I'm sure Bush will take comfort in knowing that Karl will be just as big an ass and just as involved in decision making as he always has been.

    I Thought We Were Trying to Kick Dictators OUT

    Not invite them in for coffee & donuts.

    Remember Bush’s 2004 presidential proclamation that bars corrupt foreign officials from entering the US? Well neither does he. Did you have a chance to see that photograph of Condi standing next to Obiang Mbasogo, Equatorial Guinea’s utterly corrupt dictator? Why do I call him corrupt? Well, maybe it’s that the E.Quinea treasury is his play money. In 2004, the same year as that proclamation, we learned that he & his wife had $13 million stashed in a DC bank. Yup, not even a Swiss one. Obiang likes to keep his money in the US, near his good friends in the Bush administration. Oh yeah, and as for getting into power, forget that election nonsense, Obiang killed his uncle in a coup in 1979. Much more efficient and easier than messy voting.

    So why was Condi standing next to him with that smile?

    What’s $70 a barrel and rising fast.

    Yup. Oil. Equatorial Guinea is the 3rd largest oil exporter in sub-Saharan Africa. And Bush/Cheney’s favorite charity, big oil, has about $5 billion invested in the country & Obiang.

    And you'll enjoy some of his remarks -
    PRESIDENT OBIANG: (Via interpreter) I thank you so much. We have extremely good relations with the United States. Our country has had good relations with the United States for a very long time and my visit here is simply in order to consolidate and also to establish further ties of cooperation with your country. Yesterday, in fact, we signed a very important agreement with USAID, an agreement for the development of Equatorial Guinea which will be helped with financing from the United States for social programs in our country so that our people may enjoy greater prosperity and are able to combat poverty. Therefore, we are extremely pleased and hopeful that this relationship will continue to grow in friendship and cooperation, and I thank you very much.

    Anybody want to take bets on how much of that USAID money goes into Obiang's pocket and how much actually reaches the people it's meant for?

    Life for Rumsfeld?

    Matthew Rothschild has a good article in The Progressive, titled "Rumsfeld Shouldn't be Fired. He Should Be Indicted." Check it out.

    Rothschild starts out,

    It’s not Donald Rumsfeld’s colossal arrogance or his glaring misjudgments we should be focusing on. It’s his potential crimes.

    The mainstream media in the U.S. is giving enormous attention to the retired generals who are demanding Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation because of his autocratic style and his bungling in Iraq.

    But the mainstream media is barely discussing Rumsfeld’s alleged culpability in the abusive treatment of detainees, up to and including torture.

    “The question at this point is not whether Secretary Rumsfeld should resign, it’s whether he should be indicted,” says Joanne Mariner of Human Rights Watch, who directs its terrorism and counterterrorism program.

    Christian Charity, White House Style

    There were many same-sex partners and their kids lined up for Easter egg roll on the White House lawn yesterday. The group wore colorful leis to mark their presence. Which was helpful for the small collection of morons who used a megaphone to shout at kids as they passed by with their parents that homosexuality was unnatural. Hey, thanks for sharing that Christian Charity of yours.
    And in the White House itself, Laura & George were there for the first part of the pagentry, the part where children dressed in "Katrina Kids" t-shirts were led in song. What song? Well of course it could be something Easter themed, or it could be something like this:

    Our country’s stood beside us
    People have sent us aid.
    Katrina could not stop us,
    our hopes will never fade.
    Congress, Bush and FEMA
    People across our land
    Together have come to rebuild us and we join them hand-in-hand!

    Yes indeed. They made children who have endured so much at the hands of this administration and its FEMA crew sing a song of celebration to Bush BY NAME and FEMA. I'm sure there was someone, somewhere, who when putting this song together thought it would be a good idea. And I'm sure that person needs to be retired, immediately, from public relations work.

    Oh, and all those gay and lesbian parents and their kids? Well, they did get in and got to enjoy the activities, but apparently the President and 1st Lady's schedule was so demanding that they could only stay for the song of celebration to Bush and had to leave before most of the gay and lesbian parents could arrive. Fortunately, the White House workers who were there actually got the love thy neighbor concept and according to accounts were welcoming and glad to have everyone there.

    Tony Soprano endorses Sen. Santorum

    For those who aren't regular Sopranos viewers, Sunday's episode dealt with Tony's reaction to the revelation that one of his mafia captains is gay. During his visit to his shrink, Tony goes on a rant against homosexuality noting that he agreed with "that Sen. Santorium, who says if we let this stuff go too far, pretty soon we'll be f---ing dogs." The difference between Tony & the Senator is by the end of the show, the mafia man begins to put Vito's sex life aside, noting that he was one of his top producers, and let's face it, money is more important to Tony.

    And Senator Santorum? How exciting to be mentioned on a cult show! Or . . . not. The senator's communications director, Rob Traynham's response was "We're not gonna dignify that comment by commenting on it." Apparently while in the middle of a tough race, the Senator doesn't care to be reminded of his idiocy. Tough luck. The man is a punchline and an idiot and it's time for Santorum to enjoy his retirement.

    Saturday, April 15, 2006

    I Guess My Only Complaint Would Be

    That he doesn't fall on his face all the time, as he does in real life.

    Enjoy the bouncing bush.

    Thanks to Margaret.

    Mike Keefe's cartoons - the Denver Post

    If you haven't had a chance to see Keefe's cartoons, you should. They're often just right on the spot. This one, for instance, from April 9th.

    Copyright 2006 The Denver Post

    Friday, April 14, 2006

    I'll Take Six Generals Over Rummy Any Day

    Retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste -"We went to war with a flawed war plan. . . .There was 10 years of good, deliberate war planning by U.S. Central Command that was essentially ignored." Rumsfeld "didn't understand leadership, was abusive, was arrogant, and didn't build a strong team."

    Marine Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, former director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff- "We need fresh ideas and fresh faces. That means, as a first step, replacing Rumsfeld and many others unwilling to fundamentally change their approach. The troops in the Middle East have performed their duty. Now we need people in Washington who can construct a unified strategy worthy of them. It is time to send a signal to our nation, our forces and the world that we are uncompromising on our security but are prepared to rethink how we achieve it. It is time for senior military leaders to discard caution in expressing their views and ensure that the President hears them clearly. And that we won't be fooled again." (Time, 4/17/06)

    Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton, who oversaw the training of Iraqi troops - “[T]he commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions--or bury the results... a fundamentally flawed plan was executed for an invented war, while pursuing the real enemy, al-Qaeda, became a secondary effort.” (Sunday, March 19 New York Times)

    Marine Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, former head of the U.S. Central Command - "Rumsfeld Should "Absolutely" Resign. Asked if anyone should resign in the face of the crisis in Iraq, Zinni said, "Absolutely." Asked who, Zinni responded, "Secretary of Defense, to begin with." Zinni also said, "there's a series of disastrous mistakes. We just heard the secretary of state say these were tactical mistakes. These were not tactical mistakes. These were strategic mistakes, mistakes of policy made back here. Don't blame the troops. They're the ones that perform the tactics on the ground. They've been magnificent. If anything saves this, it will be them." (NBC News, Meet the Press, 4/2/06)

    Retired Army major general, Charles H. Swannack Jr. - "I really believe that we need a new secretary of defence because Secretary Rumsfeld carried way too much baggage with him," he told CNN. "Specifically, I feel he has micromanaged the generals who are leading our forces."

    Retired Army major general, John Riggs - "They only need the military advice when it satisfies their agenda. I think that's a mistake, and that's why I think he should resign." (National Public Radio).

    And don't forget a 7th general - Gen. Eric Shinseki, the former Army chief of staff, who in February 2003 said that several hundred thousand troops would be needed to occupy Iraq, an estimate that Rumsfeld publicly repudiated, saying it was "far off the mark."

    Wednesday, April 12, 2006

    Just Say No, Please

    Speaking of evil nonsense, what about the Moussaoui trial in VA? Will someone please explain to me why people are trying so hard to accommodate this man? We've listened to a week's worth of wrenching testimony from the World Trade Center, Flight 93 and the Pentagon, all intended to induce such outrage and hatred among the jurors that they will all vote to fry Mr. M., even though there's not a shred of evidence that he had a part in the 9/11 attacks. He has done his best to implicate himself in the plot, even though his fellow plotters appeared to want to keep him far away from the action, and has repeatedly proclaimed his contempt for all of us "infidels" here in America. He's clearly aiming for martyrdom, to become a sacrifice on the altar of anti-Muslim prejudice here in the US. Nothing could please him more than a date with the executioner. So WHY do people want to give him, and all the millions of sympathetic onlookers worldwide, this gift? Why not sentence him to life without parole and sit his jumpsuit-clad butt down in a jail cell, without a podium, without an audience, but with plenty of time on his hands to become a little, creaky, old terrorist? I think there's a statute of limitations on martyrdom, isn't there? Maybe ten years from the date of the alleged attack on the infidels? Mr. M. would go away for a lot longer than that. So let's not FRY, let's TRY--his patience. Severely.

    Rage Overload

    Every day I read or hear one more piece of nonsense from the fools in the White House. It's so much evil, nonsense and stupidity that I'm verbally paralized by the overload of rage against these horrible people.

    It's so much that sometimes I just have nothing more to add.

    Sunday, April 09, 2006

    Are You on The List?

    Before your next trip, you may want to stop by the "Specially Designated Nationals List" to make sure someone using your name isn't on it. It will save you a few hours being strip searched by Homeland Security on your next flight to Grandma's house.

    Even if you're not planning a trip and want to make sure you're cleared to fly, it's worth your time stopping by the site to see the people & organizations that are considered undesirable by the US government. There's the usual suspects (terrorists of various stripes, drug smugglers) and groups like the Cold Comfort Farm Trust Co-operative in Zimbabwe that is apparently controlled by government lackies. They're on the list because: "By denying the Mugabe regime access to the US financial system and US persons, we're cutting off the flow of support they could use to further destabilize Zimbabwe" according to Robert Werner the director of US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

    And some people who have been out of the news lately:
    TAYLOR, Charles MacArthur (a.k.a. SOME, Jean-Paul; a.k.a. SONE, Jean-Paul; a.k.a. TAYLOR, Charles Ghankay); DOB 1 Sep 1947; Former President of Liberia (individual) [LIBERIA]

    oh yeah, and this guy:
    BIN LADEN, Osama (a.k.a. BIN LADEN, Usama; a.k.a. BIN LADIN, Osama; a.k.a. BIN LADIN, Osama bin Muhammad bin Awad; a.k.a. BIN LADIN, Usama; a.k.a. BIN LADIN, Usama bin Muhammad bin Awad); DOB 30 Jul 57; alt. DOB 1958; POB Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; alt. POB Yemen (individual) [SDT] [SDGT]

    Saturday, April 08, 2006

    Dance Scottie, Dance!

    It's been an open secret for over a week now that Scott McClellan is on his way out of the White House. But not soon enough for him, I have a feeling. Poor Scottie has been dancing his way all around the Scooter Libby grand jury testimony that Bush & Cheney authorized the release of sensitive intelligence. And you know it's not going to get easier on him. This man has earned his upcoming dismissal!

    From the Post:
    According to Fitzgerald, Libby testified before a grand jury that President Bush and Cheney authorized the release of that information shortly before Libby's meeting with New York Times reporter Judith Miller on July 8, 2003. The information was drawn from the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate prepared by the CIA about Iraq's interest in weapons of mass destruction.

    But 10 days later, McClellan told reporters at the White House that the estimate had been "officially declassified today" -- July 18, 2003 -- making no mention of the earlier declassification that Libby described in his sworn testimony. If that statement was correct, reporters pointed out, then the material was still classified at the time Libby disclosed it.

    McClellan yesterday declined to give a detailed explanation for the contradiction, explaining that the White House never comments on pending investigations. But he also tried to clarify his 2003 remarks to reporters, stating that what he meant on July 18 of that year when he said the material had been declassified that day was that it was "officially released" that day.

    "I think that's what I was referring to at the time," he said.

    McClellan said he would not comment directly on the report that Bush declassified intelligence data to rebut a war critic, but he insisted the president has the constitutional right to do so. He also said the White House draws a distinction between leaking classified information that jeopardizes U.S. sources, methods and lives and disclosing sensitive information "when it is in the public interest."

    Friday, April 07, 2006

    It's Good to be King

    Back when the CIA agent leak issue was being traced back to the White House a couple of years back, Bush said that he wanted to know who did it and said he'd fire whoever leaked classified information.

    So now we know that Bush himself approved the leak. So will he be firing himself?

    No, of course not. He took precautions. He waved his hand over the materials and proclaimed them declassifed before he told Cheney / Scooter to leak it.

    It's good to be king.

    The 23rd Qualm--

    Passed along from a friend of the board, Margaret. It went through many hands to get here, so I don't know who to credit, but thanks to the creative brain behind this:

    The 23rd Qualm--
    (with apologies to King David)

    Bush is my shepherd, I dwell in want.
    He maketh trees to be cut down in national forests,
    He leadeth trucks into the wilderness,
    He restoreth my fears.
    He leadeth me in the paths of international disgrace for his ego's sake.
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of pollution and war, I will find no exit,
    For thou art in office.
    Thy tax cuts for the rich and thy media control, they discomfort me.
    Thou preparest an agenda of deception in the presence of thy religion.
    Thou annointest my head with foreign oil.
    My health insurance runneth out.
    Surely megalomania and false patriotism shall follow me all the days of thy term.
    And my jobless child shall dwell in my basement forever.

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    Pop Quiz - Why is DeLay Leaving Now?

    Is it because he:

    1. Wants to spend more time with his family?
    2. Wants to save the Republican Party more stress?
    3. That if he gets out now, he can use all of the money he's got left from donations to his campaign (mostly from folks who have legislation in Congress), for those pesky legal bills?

    Yes, indeed. Federal election rules will let DeLay convert ALL remaining campaign funds to personal legal expenses. So the quicker he gets out, the more money he has for legal fees. Last time this was done? Does the name "Duke" Cunningham ring any bells?

    Ding Dong, DeLay is Gone!

    One down and, oh hell, many many more to go. But The Wicked Warlock of the South is announcing today that he's leaving Congress. Nice move Tommy boy, and it's far, far, overdue. But as good news as this is (and it's pretty darn good), the even better news is that leaving Congress doesn't do a thing to hide Tom DeLay from paying the piper for his involvement in the Abramoff bribery scandal.

    Saturday, April 01, 2006

    Beaming Out Scotty?

    Looks like Scott McClellan may be looking for work in the coming weeks. Do they honestly think a new press secretary will get people to swallow their nonsense any better?

    The Poetry of Sleeze

    Thanks to the sharp eyes of contributer Buckarooskidoo for this one.

    Jack's House, by Hart Seely in the New York Times.

    These are the men
    That fleeced the tribes
    That paid the money
    That made the bribes
    That purchased the Congress that
    Jack built.

    Click here to read the rest.

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