The Liberal Patriot Blog
 The Liberal Patriot Blog is dedicated to collecting and sharing information about National and State [New Hampshire] Political Action, News, and Events.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

GOP American Dream

The evacuation away from the Texas coast has again laid bare the class divisions in America. Here’s how the exodus looked for people of different income levels –

The Rich:

Meanwhile, the governor said that among the 1.3 million evacuees are his parents — Houston resident and former President George H. W. Bush and his wife, Barbara Bush.

They’re in Washington,” Gov. Bush said. “Their house (in Houston) is all boarded up.”

The Middle Class:

The storm’s march toward land sent hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the nation’s fourth-largest city in a frustratingly slow, bumper-to-bumper exodus.

“This is the worst planning I’ve ever seen,” said Judie Anderson, who covered just 45 miles in 12 hours after setting out from her home in the Houston suburb of LaPorte. “They say we’ve learned a lot from Hurricane Katrina. Well, you couldn’t prove it by me.”

The Poor:

Houston’s public housing officials were on hurricane alert Wednesday as Rita barreled toward the Texas coast, while transplanted New Orleans officials began leaving their temporary quarters in Houston.

Local officials said public housing residents are not being evacuated.

The rich are safe and sound, the middle class is struggling, and the poor are left behind. It’s the story of the Bush presidency.

from think progress

Friday, September 23, 2005

First going down for insider trading...

I didn't realize how big this story would be so I hadn't been following it but it is gaining momentum. . Basically Frist, who faught to keep stock in his family's for-profit hospitals for years even though many said it was a conflict of interest , SOLD ALL his, his wives, and his children's stock less than a week before the price crashed because of a poor quarterly report.

Not only Frist but others at his family's company cashed in their stocks for a total of $120 million dollars. This could be the largest insider trading scandal in US history.

Sen. Frist will say anything to convince the American public that he isn’t corrupt. (Especially to convince us of the “coincidence” that he sold his shares in the family business right when the stocks were at a peak. Looks like Frist will now need to convince the SEC as well.)

Frist on his blind trusts in 2003:

Right now, I don’t know if I own HCA [stock] because it’s a qualified blind trust. [National Journal, 1/4/03]

This week, Frist admited that he knew he owned HCA. In fact, he directed his trustees to sell the shares. Office of Senator Bill Frist press statement, 9/22/05:

Senator Frist had no information about the company or its performance that was not available to the public when he directed the trustees to sell the HCA stock.

The lesson: when Frist talks about his stock holdings, you can never be completely certain he’s telling the truth.

from think progress

What's next a tax on churches? They use town services too!

Peterborough selectmen want artists retreat to pay taxes

PETERBOROUGH, N.H. --Town officials say the MacDowell Colony should be paying property taxes and plan to take the internationally known artists' retreat to court.

Selectmen voted this week to file a lawsuit in Hillsborough County Superior Court.

The MacDowell Colony, which hosts more than 250 artists each year, has been considered a charitable organization for the last 100 years, and officials there argue that should not change.

Well known writers who have stayed at the colony include James Baldwin, Willa Cather, Barbara Tuchman and Alice Walker.

Aaron Copland composed parts of "Appalachian Spring" at the Colony; Leonard Bernstein completed his "Mass" and Thornton Wilder wrote the play "Our Town."

"We're not in business," MacDowell Resident Director David Macy said. "We always have a funding deficit every year."

"They're a wonderful nonprofit," Town Administrator Pamela Brenner said, but "they do still utilize town services."


Don't Kill White People, unless you absolutely have to!!

A new Santa Clara Law Review study finds that in California murder trials, a victim’s race significantly affected the likelihood of a defendant receiving the death penalty. Specifically, those who murdered whites were four times more likely to receive a death sentence than those who killed Hispanics, and three times more likely than those who killed blacks. The study’s co-author concluded, “To put it bluntly, there’s apparently different values being placed on victims from different racial and ethnic groups.”

While the Santa Clara study dealt only with California, the problem is a national one. Studies in Ohio, Illinois and New Jersey have made similar conclusions about the role of the victim’s race in murder trials:

Ohio: “Offenders facing a death penalty charge for killing a white person were twice as likely to go to death row as if they had killed a black victim. Death sentences were handed down in 18 percent of cases in which the victims were white, compared with 8.5 percent of cases when victims were black.” [AP, 5/7/05]

Illinois: “When certain facts in aggravation, such as previous criminal history of the defendant, are controlled for, there is evidence that the race of the victim influences who is sentenced to death. In other words, defendants of any race who murder white victims were more likely to receive a death sentence than those who murdered black victims.” [Governor’s Commission on Capital Punishment, 2002]

New Jersey: “Killers are more likely to be sentenced to death in New Jersey if their victims were white rather than black, a new judicial report has found. ‘There is unsettling statistical evidence indicating that cases involving killers of white victims are more likely to progress to a [death] penalty phase than cases involving killers of African-American victims,’ the report found.” [The Bergen County, NJ Record, 8/14/01]

from thinkprogress blog

I think the death penality should only be used on journalists who bring us non-stop coverage of missing white women.

What a difference who a disaster will effect makes....

Rush Limbaugh’s website, 9/22/05:

Rush forgot to include the full, accurate photo captions:

Nearly three weeks after Hurricane Katrina raged ashore, Gov. Kathleen Blanco still wants one question answered.

Where were the buses?

Hours after the hurricane hit Aug. 29, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced a plan to send 500 commercial buses into New Orleans to rescue thousands of people left stranded on highways, overpasses and in shelters, hospitals and homes.

On the day of the storm, or perhaps the day after, FEMA turned down the state’s suggestion to use school buses because they are not air conditioned, Blanco said Friday in an interview. [Baton Rouge Advocate, 9/18/05]


Government officials eager to show they had learned their lessons from the sluggish response to Katrina sent in hundreds of buses to evacuate the poor. An Army general in Texas was told to be ready to assume control of a military task force in Rita’s wake. [AP, 9/22/05]

Rush, we agree — what a difference competent leaders make.

from thinkprogress

Chronic suspended sentecnes and lapses in good behavior

Executive Councilor Ray Burton appears to have employed one of the worst examples of our failing judicial syastem. Mark Seidensticker chronological ride is long and includes more suspended sentences and terms of good behavior than John Gotti. Most revealing, is how Mr. Burton seems to have no idea, or at least makes little or no public comment, on how this long time employee and serial diddler, Seidensticker, had a tragic track record of sexual assault on, and twisted affinity to, young boys. In part;
After extensive investigation of court records, the New Hampshire Union Leader has learned that Burton paid Mark Seidensticker, 45, for campaign work just weeks after some of the aide's convictions. The councilor has admitted that he had been aware of some of Seidensticker's criminal record while paying him.

The NH non-Union Leader puts this story together here. Time for the Dems to get their heads out of their chandlers and run someone against Mr. Burton. Mada fack, maybe I'll switch up and run myself as that ever-loving INDIE... HMMM... I'll get back to you on that thought. Read this tragic tale and think how loudly the uproar would be if it were someone on the other side of the aisle. Where are the Radical Right Christian Moral Value salesmen here??? Tragic!!!


BUSH MO CONTINUES: Former Lawyer for Chevron overseeing investigation in Gas Price gouging.

Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission announced it would investigate possible post-Katrina gas price gouging.

Early evidence suggests there’s plenty of dirt to find. A new Government Accountability Office report shows that retail gas prices have risen faster than crude oil prices, and local Exxon dealers have complained anonymously that higher prices are being “decreed from the top.”

Unfortunately, the person charged with getting to the bottom of it all is FTC Chairwoman Deborah Majoras. Her old job? Representing Chevron-Texaco and “other major oil and gas interests” (though you won’t learn that fact in her official bio).

from think progress

Destroying America, one tax cut at a time.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, President Bush and Republicans in Congress have refused to consider rolling back the $336 billion in new tax cuts that the richest 1 percent are slated to get over the next five years. They say we need to pay for reconstruction not by asking the wealthiest to sacrifice just a little bit, but by massive cuts to spending. And now we see what that means: The Navy Times today reports that those cuts "include trimming military quality-of-life programs, including health care." This, while troops are in battle.

The Republicans have put their cutting efforts in military terms, calling it "Operation Offset" - a further insult to the men and women in uniform they are now trying to screw over. The specifics are ugly. They are, for instance, asking troops to "accept reduced health care benefits for their families." Additionally, "the stateside system of elementary and secondary schools for military family members could be closed." In the past, this idea "has faced strong opposition from parents of children attending the schools because public schools [in and around bases] are seen as offering lower-quality education."

None of this, I suppose, is all that surprising. In the past, we've seen tax cuts put before making sure troops have adequate body armor heading into war - a tax/budget decision that very likely increased U.S. casualties. We've also seen Republicans vote down efforts to reduce tax cuts for the very wealthy in order to restore cuts to military family housing. And we've seen tax cuts come as the White House has refused to adequately fund a variety of other programs for troops. The truth is, the GOP has in moments of candor admitted that they care about cutting taxes for the wealthy far more than they care about the troops.

As you may recall, it was Tom DeLay who said before the Iraq invasion "Nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes." Apparently to the Republicans, nothing is more important in the face of a war AND massive destruction to the homefront than cutting taxes.

from sirota blog

More reasons why no Democrat should have voted for Robert's.

What unites centrists like NDN's Simon Rosenberg and the DNC's Howard Dean, corporatists like the DLC's Bruce Reed, institutional liberals like Ralph Neas of People for the American Way and Ellen Malcolm of EMILY'S list, and fightin' bloggers like Armando?

They all wanted Democrats to oppose Roberts.

The opposition to the Roberts nomination in Democratic circles is vocal, widespread and not confined to the party's left; Bruce Reed, the president of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, urged a no vote this week [...]

Ellen Malcolm, a leading fund-raiser who heads Emily's List, a group that backs Democratic women who support abortion rights, said Democrats at the grass roots wanted to see their senators fighting back, even if they lacked the numbers to prevail.

"I'm a realist here. They've got their 55 votes," Ms. Malcolm said of the Republicans. "But people want to see a show of strength and leadership from Democratic senators." [...]

"The only thing that Karl Rove and George W. Bush respect is power, and those who have the courage to stand up to them," said Ralph G. Neas, president of People for the American Way, the liberal advocacy group and leading opponent of the Roberts nomination.

Honestly, this was an encouraging piece. It means consensus on becoming an effective opposition party may finally be building. Even at places like the DLC. And eventually, that can't help but filter down to elected Democrats and eventually pierce their Capitol Hill bubbles.

From daily kos

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Philips Brook future

Some of you may remember the Philips Brook back country recreation area and its 24,ooo acres of very cool, back country trails, yurts, biking, hiking, X-country skiing and my fave, doggsledding, on un-motorized access. The area includes, but is not limited to, land in Stark, Odell, Erroll, and several other communities. Since Bill Altenburg and his Timberland Recreation group got the boot, the area has changed hands a few times and the new owners, along with officials from New Hampshire DRED, Bureau of Land and Trails, the Forest Legacy Project and the Protection of Forest and Lands will hold a public hearing to lay out their proposal, as well as "seek public input" on the future of the 24,000 acres. The hearing will be held on tuesday, 27Sept2005 at the Stark Town Hall at 6:00P.M. The Town Hall is 1 mile down the road from my house toward Berlin. Yes, I will be there and if you don't want your New Hampshire agencies to suport another gazillion acres of pristine trails and streams and forest to go the way of the Gallus ATV crew, get your ass to this meeting. Hear this, one major snow mobile corridor runs through there and shares a short distance on the formerly public trails. They are seeking more access and have assurances they will have such access soon. Now I have run my dogs many miles at different times through this beautiful area and there is peaceful, mutually respectful coexistance with snowmobile groups. I've never had problems with them and they always stop to chat and are respectful of my dogs safety. That being said, lets let our concerns be heard at this hearing.

One small piece, on the pond where the lodge is currently located, is an 11 acre chunk the new owners are cutting out to build on. The rest has an unclear future. At least the plans are not so public as of yet. I am hearing that several groups are interested in completing the contiguous trail system to the far North area, Coos Commish and ATV access big mouth piece, Bing Judds back yard, to link up with the 171,000 acres purchased and issued a conservation easement by the state last year (or so).

If you want input, enjoy your non-motorized, stinking exhaust free Nature, put your pen in your date book and I'll see you next week at the public hearing.


Glad we have 2 Oil Men in the White House...

Rita May Bring $5 Gasoline

Rita has already caused major disruption in refinery operations, and is headed for an area where production is densely concentrated. Gasoline could reach $5 by next week.

from Air America Homepage

Weather and energy experts say that as bad as Hurricane Katrina hit the nation's supply of gasoline, Hurricane Rita could be worse.

Katrina damage was focused on offshore oil platforms and ports. Now the greater risk is to oil-refinery capacity, especially if Rita slams into Houston, Galveston and Port Arthur, Texas.

"We could be looking at gasoline lines and $4 gas, maybe even $5 gas, if this thing does the worst it could do," said energy analyst Peter Beutel of Cameron Hanover. "This storm is in the wrong place. And it's absolutely at the wrong time," said Beutel.

from CNN Money

Same Old Shit...

Bush Has ChevronTexaco Lawyer Head Up Fed's Oil Price Gouging Probe

Good news: Democratic governors have embarrassed the federal government into acknowledging the oil price gouging issue, as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today announced a formal probe. Bad news: President Bush made sure to preempt any real investigation into price gouging by his financial backers in the oil/gas industry when last year he appointed a former ChevronTexaco lawyer, Deborah Majoras, to head the FTC.

Some would argue that any investigation - no matter how rigged - is better than no investigation. But, then, I'm not so sure, especially when we inevitably see in a few weeks an oil-industry-written FTC report that gives a government stamp of approval to oil industry profiteering. Undoubtedly, that's in the Bush administration's calculation: the White House's use of the FTC (instead of an independent commission) to be the government's one and only public face in dealing with this issue clearly has something to do with that agency being headed by an oil industry crony.

Thus, the question of the day: Will Majoras recuse herself from being involved in the probe?

frim sirota blog

GOP government is as bad as they want it to be.

I can't help but think that the whole right wing "You can't trust the government." and "The government can't do anything right." is a self fulfilling prophecy. By self fulfilling, I mean by conservatives being elected to any office.

Media outlets around the country are reporting that trucks loaded with millions of pounds of ice meant for the Gulf region are popping up nationwide. FEMA redirected the trucks away from the South after realizing they had ordered too much ice, but the agency is paying truckers up to $900 a day to sit idly in their trucks far away from the affected areas.

“The $9,000 they’re paying me to move this load should have gone to some family down there,” one disgruntled trucker said. “There is definitely millions being wasted that could go to people who need it.”

Here’s where the FEMA “Icecapades” tour has been so far:

- Boise, Idaho

- Portland, Maine

- Glouster, Massachusetts

- Joplin, Arkansas

- Memphis, Tennessee

- Fremont, Nebraska

- Upper Macungie Township, Pennsylvania

- Cumberland, Maryland

Look for it in a town near you!

from thinkprogress

The "Free Market" strikes again!

Insurance giant Allstate is refusing to pay flood claims from victims of Hurricane Katrina. Suprise, surprise.

from thinkprogress

Rita a Catagory 5 now...

Still nearly 700 miles east of its projected target on the Texas Coast, Hurricane Rita is now officially a Category 5 storm, with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour, capable of causing 'catastrophic damage'. Only 3 hurricanes in history have struck the United States as a Category 5; Andrew and Camille among them.
Katrina weakened to a Category 4 just before landfall.
The National Hurricane Center expects that Rita will go through a number of cycles, strengthening and weakening, in the 3 days before it strikes land.

from Air America Homepage

GOP infighting....

New Hampshire Republican Judd Gregg, chair of the Senate budget committee, is the first Senate Republican to put a tax increase on the table to pay for Katrina.

The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee refused to rule out increasing taxes yesterday as he and many of his GOP colleagues called for offsets to temper the effect of the next round of federal spending for disaster relief in the Gulf Coast.

"We've got two sides to the ledger," said Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.). "I'm willing to look at a revenue solution ... as part of a package."

Meanwhile, DeLay called for continued underfunding of disaster response agencies because, um, the underfunded agencies staffed by political hacks stunk it up after Katrina. (At least I think that's his argument.)

"The so-called Katrina tax hikes are not about Katrina; they're about tax hikes and will only serve to balloon the oversized, under-responsive emergency-management system that broke down three weeks ago in the wake of the hurricane," DeLay said in a House floor speech, according to prepared remarks provided by his office.

Despite the debate over funding reconstruction on our home soil (which threatens to split the GOP, interestingly enough), fact is they would rather spend hundreds of billions of dollars rebuilding Iraq than rebuilding America.

It's clear the new GOP slogan is "America Second!"

from daily kos

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Politicians like Patrick Leahy make me ashamed to be a democrat.... [small d]

Senator Leahy's announcement that he will vote yes signals a Democtratic surrender on the issue of Supreme Court nominations. Not just on Roberts. But also on the next nominee.

Why do I say this? Because they have just indicated that any nominee Bush sends up need not answer any questions, the White House can withhold critical documents and generally that the Democrats have no stomach for a fight on this. Is the threat of a Democratic filibuster in any way credible now? Remember, Bush has the votes, 55 of them for any nominee he chooses, including Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen, Michael Luttig or any one he cares to choose.

So the vote goes 55-45 at worst for such a nominee. So what? Clarence Thomas is on the Supreme Court the last I looked. He was voted in by 52-48.

Roberts will get 80 votes now. And we know nothing about his judicial philosophy. Nothing.

Let me be clear. I had no illusions that John Roberts would not be confirmed. The fight NOW was for the NEXT fight. Dems needed to show spine now so that Bush would fear what they might do on the next one.

Who in their right mind would have any fear of the Democratic Senators now? No one. Even an idiot like Bush can see that.

One line that annoys me that I hear bandied about is that somehow this shows that "Dems will approve 'reasonable' nominees." For the life of me I don't understand that comment. Roberts may well be "reasonable," but how in the hell does anybody know?

Imagine this scenario. Bush nominates a conservative appellate court judge who has only 2 years of judicial experience, a history as a Republican partisan, worked at the Reagan White House and then in the Solicitor General's office. This nominee then basically cribs his "answers" from those provided by Roberts. Then what do Dems do? Because if you think Roberts is the only one of these Stepford judges they can find, you are sadly mistaken.

Believe it or not, Dems are left really with one argument - they approved of Roberts because he was Rehnquist's replacement and therefore did not need more information and would give the President more latititude on Roberts. On the O'Connor replacement, the Dems might argue, they need to be sure the nominee is in the O'Connor mold to retain the balance of the Court.

And with that argument, they MIGHT muster 40 No votes, maybe. But threaten a filibuster? After this surrender on Roberts? Please.

Bush now has a free hand to nominate whatever wingnut he pleases. What are the Dems gonna do? Fight? Don't make me laugh.

So, so long the right to choose. So long Congress' Commerce power. So long checks on Presidential power. So long civil rights laws.

Hello 1937.

And by the way, so long to the Politics of Contrast and Fighting Dems on social issues. The DLC has won by default. We are all "values" voters now.

from daily kos

Women's is smart.

Via Amanda and Twisty, maybe men are not smarter than women:

[A] scientific study just published in American Psychologist provides strong reasons to doubt that there are many inborn differences between genders. Janet Shibley Hyde, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has shown that in most cases psychological differences are small or nonexistent. It turns out that there is no difference in how good girls and boys are at maths. Girls' self-esteem is widely believed to nosedive on entering puberty; in fact, that of boys does so as well. In most respects, the genders communicate in the same way - forget all that stuff about men interrupting more and being less self-revealing.

Only a handful of the nostrums of evolutionary psychology survive Shibley Hyde's scrutiny. It's true that women can't throw things as hard or as far; they do not masturbate nearly as much, and are not up for casual shagging to the same degree; and they physically attack others dramatically less often. Taken overall the study shows that, to a very large degree, in terms of gender difference, we do start as blank slates, and it provides one of the strongest ever scientific foundations for equal-sex social policies. But then how could we ever have doubted it?

Here are details on the study. from Daily Kos

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that woman deserve the right to vote. Unless of coarse they are known homosexuals OR unpatriotic.

The Compassionate Conservatives.

Rep. Don Young (R-AK) is a self-proclaimed “little oinker” and aspires to be the “chief porker.” Your tax dollars make his dream possible. Thanks to you, Alaskans receive $6.60 back for every $1 they pay in at-the-pump gas taxes.

Young is chairman of Congress’s Transportation and Infrastructure Commitee and has ensured that the six-year $295 billion transportation bill is “stuffed like a turkey” with $721 million in projects for Alaska. Projects include:

$223 million for a bridge larger than the Brooklyn Bridge and almost as long as the Golden Gate, to connect a town with 8,900 people to a town with 50 people.

$200 million for another “bridge to nowhere,” which will connect Anchorage to a town with one tenant and a handful of homes.

Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has raised the idea of “charitable pork” — lawmakers giving up pet projects to help Hurricane Katrina victims — and Montana is considering giving up the $4 million it received in a federal bill for a downtown parking garage.

Young’s response to his state giving up some money?

“They can kiss my ear!…That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard….I raised enough money to give back to them voluntarily and that’s it!”

from think progress

GOP run government steadily working that good ole black magic...

House Bill Would Limit U.S. Power to Protect Species

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19 - The chairman of the House committee overseeing natural resources introduced a bill Monday that would make it more difficult for the federal government to set aside land it deems crucial to the health of endangered species.

The proposed amendments to the Endangered Species Act also increase the obligation of government agencies to tell landowners quickly if the law limits their development options, and to compensate them.

From google news:

House Bill Would Limit US Power to Protect Species New York Times - Sep 19, 2005
Rewriting Endangered Species Act San Francisco Chronicle
Changes to Endangered Species Act Mulled Washington Post - The National Center for Public Policy Research - San Jose Mercury News - Stockton Record - all 166 related

Stupid hicks come to the North East.

In Northeast, Minuteman Project finding few takers
By Cara Anna, Associated Press Writer

ALBANY, N.Y. --The Minuteman Project is bringing its lawn chairs and border-watching volunteers to the Northeast starting Oct. 1, but its quest to catch illegal immigrants has a small problem.

Co-founder Chris Simcox says simply, "People on the East Coast couldn't care less."

An organizational meeting on Long Island earlier this month already drew dozens of protesters.

"We've seen some aggressive opposition in the New York area," Simcox said during a phone interview. "It's a sign that terrorism is alive and well in this country."


Let me get this straight. Since North East people actually have a brain and don’t just automatically hate anyone who isn’t, as George Bush would say, “our color” that means terrorism is “alive and well?” Go back to your third world quality public schools and teenage pregnancy you bunch of dumbass hillbillies. Don’t have ideas about national policy issues. Whether or not to watch Hee Haw at your mama’s trailer or at the bar is about the only decisions you are qualified to make. They may have trouble finding recruits but I bet you I know a couple of police officers in NH that will be there.

Democratic Traitors in the Senate

On a day that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) showed great leadership by announcing his opposition to John Roberts' confirmation to the SCOTUS, Max Baucus, Senator from Montana, demonstrated his wonderful backstabbing skills, undercutting his Leader by supporting Roberts:

Montana Senator Max Baucus announced today he will vote to confirm President Bush's pick for Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

"After reviewing Judge John Roberts' credentials and meeting with him privately, I have found that he meets my criteria for judges. And that is: only the brightest, most objective minds shall serve on the bench," said Baucus, who acknowledged the decision was not an easy one.

"I call 'em as I see them," he said. "Judge Roberts indicated to me personally that he has a healthy respect for precedent and the hard-won rights of Americans. My only yardstick or litmus test is whether or not Judge Roberts is right for Montana and America. I've determined that he is." . . . "Throughout my career, I've always tried to reach across party lines to do what's right," Baucus said. "This isn't about being a Democrat or Republican; it's about being a Montanan and American."

Well, I call em as I see them too. And I have found that Max Baucus meets my criteria for a gutless son of a bitch. Baucus demonstrates a healthy disrespect for his Leader in the Senate and for the values and principles that define the Democratic Party.

Throughout his career, Max Baucus has been kissing Republican rings and can not seem to break that habit, even with George Bush at the nadir of his Presidency.

from daily kos

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Halliburton... poisoning our troops....

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 ( -- Outrage overflowed on Capitol Hill this summer when members of Congress learned that Halliburton's dining halls in Iraq had repeatedly served spoiled food to unsuspecting troops. "This happened quite a bit," testified Rory Mayberry, a former food manager with Halliburton's KBR subsidiary.

But the outrage apparently doesn't end with spoiled food. Former KBR employees and water quality specialists, Ben Carter and Ken May, told HalliburtonWatch that KBR knowingly exposes troops and civilians to contaminated water from Iraq's Euphrates River. One internal KBR email provided to HalliburtonWatch says that, for "possibly a year," the level of contamination at one camp was two times the normal level for untreated water.

from Halliburton Watch

North County Tales of Interest....

Update on the post I made on Saturday

Ex-officer charged in boy’s kidnap try


WHITEFIELD — The man charged last week with using a chain to force a 15-year-old New Jersey boy into his vehicle is a former police officer who has served in at least three New Hampshire communities.

George Nugent, 56, is being held without bail in the Coos County House of Correction in West Stewartstown as a fugitive from justice while he awaits extradition to New Jersey, where he is charged with attempted kidnapping.

According to the state’s Police Standards and Training Council, he was a part-time Lancaster police officer from 1984 to 1996. Before that, he was a full-time officer in Northumberland and Litchfield, according to veteran North Country police officers.

Nugent was arrested last Wednesday morning at his rented home on the Jefferson Road in Whitefield, where he had lived for just a few months.

Authorities said Nugent met a boy who was riding a bike near the boy's Galloway Township home on Aug. 21 and tried to chain him to the inside of Nugent's Jeep.

The boy fought Nugent off, police said. But it took bolt cutters to remove a 4-foot chain the man had allegedly locked around the youth's neck.

from Union Leader

Republicans: Corrupt as the day is long....

What we really need is publicly funded elections so political office can't be purchased in the first place. I get tired of giving the Democratic Party and other progressive PACs money just so they can competing the aution process.

FEC Sues Pro-Republican Political Group

By SHARON THEIMER, Associated Press Writer

Federal election regulators have taken a political group to court in what could serve as a test case for how the government will address complaints over millions of dollars in big contributions poured into last year's presidential race.

The Federal Election Commission filed a lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court in Washington against the Club for Growth, the first case of its kind to arise from high-dollar fundraising during the 2004 elections. The pro-Republican group spent at least $21 million in the 2003-2004 election cycle.

from yahoo news

Older Votes by "The Toad" we shouldn't forget....

Dominican Republic-CAFTA Implementation Act - Vote Passed (217-215, 2 Not Voting)

The House gave approval to an agreement intended to strengthen economic ties between the U.S. and Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

Rep. Charles Bass voted
YES......send e-mail or see bio

HEALTH Act of 2005 - Vote Passed (230-194, 2 Present, 7 Not Voting)

This medical malpractice reform bill would limit non-economic damages, or "pain and suffering" damages, in malpractice lawsuits to $250,000.

Rep. Charles Bass voted
YES......send e-mail or see bio

oh., yeah... so vote for Paul Hodes. Paul Hodes made the top 10 in the Democracy for America vote!! Now there is an instant run off vote, he has to be number one to win. Please vote for him AGAIN!!!

Vote for Paul Hodes here:

Recent Congressional Votes

Recent Senate Votes

Mercury Resolution - Vote Rejected (47-51, 2 Not Voting)

The Senate rejected this attempt to reverse an Environmental Protection Agency rule giving power plants flexibility in how they reduce mercury emissions.

Sen. Judd Gregg voted
YES......send e-mail or see bio
Sen. John Sununu voted
YES......send e-mail or see bio

Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Act, FY2006 - Vote Passed (91-4, 5 Not Voting)

The Senate passed this $48.6 billion bill funding the Departments of Commerce and Justice for the 2006 fiscal year.

Sen. Judd Gregg voted
YES......send e-mail or see bio
Sen. John Sununu voted
YES......send e-mail or see bio

Recent House Votes

Children's Safety Act - Vote Passed (371-52, 10 Not Voting)

This House bill is intended to strengthen child sex offender monitoring.

Rep. Charles Bass voted
YES......send e-mail or see bio

Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2005 - Vote Passed (415-0, 18 Not Voting)

This $8.7 billion bill would fund the Coast Guard for the 2006 fiscal year.

Rep. Charles Bass voted
YES......send e-mail or see bio

Hurricane Katrina Investigation - Vote Passed (224-188, 21 Not Voting)

This resolution creates a select committee to investigate the response to Hurricane Katrina.

Rep. Charles Bass voted
YES......send e-mail or see bio

But these numbers don't include Haliburton's profit margin....

This morning, the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore makes an interesting point:

When President Bush announced last Thursday that the feds would take a lead role in the reconstruction of New Orleans, he in effect established a new $200 billion federal line of credit. To put that $200 billion in perspective, we could give every one of the 500,000 families displaced by Katrina a check for $400,000, and they could each build a beach front home virtually anywhere in America.

To add some more perspective, we’ve already spent $200 billion on a war of choice on Iraq. Each month, we are spending an additional $8 billion in Iraq — enough to provide each family displaced by Katrina with $16,000.

Instead, we are making them live in old shipping containers.

from think progress

Walmart wins an award!

Wal-Mart store wins Arbor Day award despite killing 83 trees and destroying a five-acre wetland to make room for a parking lot. It was the only entry.

from think progress

Compassionate Conservatism.

Rep. Don Young of Alaska hates the gulf coast:

In any case it won't die: the idea that Alaska, to help Hurricane Katrina victims, should forfeit the dough it got in the federal highway bill for the Knik and Gravina bridges.

The New York Times: "Surely Rep. Don Young, the Alaska Republican who is chairman of the transportation committee, might put off that $223 million 'bridge to nowhere' in his state's outback. It's redundant now -- Louisiana suddenly has several bridges to nowhere."

The Wall Street Journal: "That same half a billion dollars (for the two Alaska bridges) could rebuild thousands of homes for suffering New Orleans evacuees."

No doubt to make Alaskans look bad, city leaders in Bozeman, Mont., are investigating whether they can give Katrina victims the $4 million they got in the federal bill for a downtown parking garage.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., raised the charitable pork idea on the Senate floor last week, although he stopped short of endorsing it.

So, how about it, Mr. Chairman?

"They can kiss my ear!" Young boomed when Sam Bishop, Washington correspondent for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, asked him about the many pleas to redirect the bridge money.

"That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard," Young went on, noting that Louisiana did quite well in his highway bill.

And, the congressman said, he helped the seafood industry donate more than $500,000 for hurricane victims. (That was at the "Seafood Invitational," a charity golf tournament Sept. 9 in Roslyn, Wash., Bishop reported Friday.)

"I raised enough money to give back to them voluntarily," he said, "and that's it!"

It's particularly important to note just how useless those Bridges to Nowhere are.

Yet due to funds in a new transportation bill, which President Bush is scheduled to sign Wednesday, Sallee and his neighbors may soon receive a bridge nearly as long as the Golden Gate Bridge and 80 feet taller than the Brooklyn Bridge. With a $223 million check from the federal government, the bridge will connect Gravina [population less than 50] to the bustling Alaskan metropolis of Ketchikan, pop. 8,000.

"How is the bridge going to pay for itself?" asks Susan Walsh, Sallee's wife, who works as a nurse in Ketchikan. She notes that a ferry, which runs every 15 minutes in the summer, already connects Gravina to Ketchikan. "It can get us to the hospital in five minutes. How is this bridge fair to the rest of the country?" [...]

Included in the bill's special Alaska projects is $231 million for a bridge that will connect Anchorage to Port MacKenzie, a rural area that has exactly one resident, north of the town of Knik, pop. 22. The land is a network of swamps between a few hummocks of dry ground. Although it may or may not set the stage for future development, the bridge, to be named "Don Young's Way," will not save commuters into Anchorage any time, says Walt Parker, a former Alaska commissioner of highways.

from Daily Kos

Dems Kill Fake Katrina Probe

Credit definitely due.

Congressional Republicans signaled today that they have abandoned their plan to conduct a joint House-Senate probe of the government's response to Hurricane Katrina.

In announcing a joint probe this month, the Republican leadership had said it would be the most efficient way to investigate the administration's much-criticized initial response to the hurricane. But today, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) conceded that he could not overcome Democratic opposition to a joint investigation.

The Democratic leadership has refused to appoint members to a joint committee, citing the lack of equal representation of Democrats on the panel, and the lack of power to issue subpoenas that the majority opposed. Democrats also have insisted on an independent inquiry.

Democratic opposition has left Republicans little maneuvering room for mounting a credible probe. With the joint investigation apparently off the table, Republicans can only hope that Democrats will participate in each chamber's separate investigation. It was far from clear today that Democrats would do that.

from daily kos

Millions of Dollars in rations for Katrina Victims to be incinerated.

Your government at work.

US red tape is stopping it from reaching hungry evacuees.

Instead tons of the badly needed Nato ration packs, the same as those eaten by British troops in Iraq, has been condemned as unfit for human consumption.

And unless the bureaucratic mess is cleared up soon it could be sent for incineration.

One British aid worker last night called the move "sickening senselessness" and said furious colleagues were "spitting blood".

The food, which cost British taxpayers millions, is sitting idle in a huge warehouse after the Food and Drug Agency recalled it when it had already left to be distributed.

Scores of lorries headed back to a warehouse in Little Rock, Arkansas, to dump it at an FDA incineration plant.

The Ministry of Defence in London said last night that 400,000 operational ration packs had been shipped to the US.

But officials blamed the US Department of Agriculture, which impounded the shipment under regulations relating to the import and export of meat.

The aid worker, who would not be named, said: "This is the most appalling act of sickening senselessness while people starve.

from daily kos

Monday, September 19, 2005

Here comes Hurricane Rita!

Tropical Storm Rita, located a couple of hundred miles SE of Florida, is expected to become a hurricane later today. The storm is traveling WNW at 12 miles per hour, and is expected to pass the Florida strait Tuesday night and enter the Gulf of Mexico sometime Wednesday as a strong hurricane. The temperature of the Gulf waters have mostly rebounded since Hurricane Katrina and will continue to feed Rita. Most projected paths have Rita making landfall on the Texas/Louisiana coast next weekend., one of the most accurate forecasters of weather in recent years, is predicting that all the conditions for hurricane formation will be met over the Gulf of Mexico during the next week, and that Tropical Storm Rita will make landfall in the Gulf as a Category 4 Hurricane.

from AirAmericanHomepage

George's prime time speech HURT him!

3 polling days after George W. Bush's prime-time speech to the nation from Jackson Square in New Orleans, a "can't win" dynamic is unfolding for the President, according to exclusive SurveyUSA data gathered Friday 9/16, Saturday 9/17 and Sunday 9/18.

The number of Americans who now approve of the President's response to Hurricane Katrina is down: 40% today compared to 42% before he announced the Gulf Opportunity Zone. The number of Americans who disapprove of the President's response to Katrina is up: 56% today compared to 52% before the speech.
Bush went from "Minus 10" on his Response to Katrina before the speech to "Minus 16" today.

from MyDD

Election commission recommends keeping N.H., Iowa first

By Will Lester, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON --Declaring that Americans are losing confidence in elections, a commission formed to improve balloting is recommending electronic voting machines that leave a paper trail.

Former President Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker, the panel's co-leaders, cited the loss of confidence in a report they were to deliver Monday to President Bush and Congress.

Among the commission's recommendations:

--Congress should pass a law requiring voter-verifiable paper audit trails on all electronic voting machines.

--States should require voters to present photo IDs and offer free photo IDs to those who don't have drivers' licenses.

--The presidential primary system should be reorganized into four regional primaries, held after the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. A regional primary would take place each month from March to June.

--All "legitimate domestic and international election observers" should be granted unrestricted access to the election process, within the rules of the election.

--News organizations should voluntarily refrain from projecting any presidential election results in any state until all polls have closed in all states but Alaska and Hawaii.

--States should prohibit senior election officials from serving or assisting political campaigns in a partisan way.

--States should establish uniform procedures for the counting of provisional ballots, which voters can use when there are questions about their registration.

full story @

Iraq wasn't so much about going to war, as about going to War profiteering.

Where's the mainstream media on this? What happened did another white woman go missing?

One billion dollars has been plundered from Iraq's defence ministry in one of the largest thefts in history, The Independent can reveal, leaving the country's army to fight a savage insurgency with museum-piece weapons.

The money, intended to train and equip an Iraqi army capable of bringing security to a country shattered by the US-led invasion and prolonged rebellion, was instead siphoned abroad in cash and has disappeared.

"It is possibly one of the largest thefts in history," Ali Allawi, Iraq's Finance Minister, told The Independent.

"Huge amounts of money have disappeared. In return we got nothing but scraps of metal."


Most of the money was supposedly spent buying arms from Poland and Pakistan. The contracts were peculiar in four ways. According to Mr Allawi, they were awarded without bidding, and were signed with a Baghdad-based company, and not directly with the foreign supplier. The money was paid up front, and, surprisingly for Iraq, it was paid at great speed out of the ministry's account with the Central Bank. Military equipment purchased in Poland included 28-year-old Soviet-made helicopters. The manufacturers said they should have been scrapped after 25 years of service. Armoured cars purchased by Iraq turned out to be so poorly made that even a bullet from an elderly AK-47 machine-gun could penetrate their armour. A shipment of the latest MP5 American machine-guns, at a cost of $3,500 (£1,900) each, consisted in reality of Egyptian copies worth only $200 a gun. Other armoured cars leaked so much oil that they had to be abandoned. A deal was struck to buy 7.62mm machine-gun bullets for 16 cents each, although they should have cost between 4 and 6 cents.

more at Atrios

entire article here

Bad News: Corperate Media Monopoly

Is there anyone that actually believes what they hear on TV news anymore? Below Excertps from LA Times editorial:

That same day, CNN's parent company, Time Warner, announced the hiring of DeLay's chief of staff as a top Washington lobbyist. This news, and its timing, prompted Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy to tell the L.A. Weekly: "Time Warner aligning itself with the right-wing DeLay machine should send shudders [down] CNN and HBO."

At least that wily old codger Sumner Redstone, head of Viacom, parent company of CBS, has admitted what everyone already knows is true: that, while he personally may be a Democrat, "It happens that I vote for Viacom. Viacom is my life, and I do believe that a Republican administration is better for media companies than a Democratic one."

As for Immelt, he publicly wishes his MSNBC could be a clone of FNC. Not surprising, since he let his network and cable news cheerlead the run-up to the Iraqi war without ever bothering to tell viewers GE had billions in contracts pending. More than half of Iraq's power grid is GE technology.

Disney, parent company of ABC, has turned most of its extensive radio network and owned-and-operated stations into a 24/7 orgy of right-wing talk. (Sean Hannity is their poster boy.)

More at daily kos

Read entire editorial in LA weekly

Goods News from Korea

North Korea agrees to give up nukes

By Gerard Young

It's been almost three years since a crisis erupted over North Korea's nuclear ambitions but Monday Pyongyang finally agreed to give up its nuclear weapons programs and return to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The question now is whether North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il is serious or stalling for time. North Korea can be unpredictable at best, while at worst it is known for breaking commitments.

"All six parties emphasized that to realize the inspectable non-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the target of the six-party talks," a joint statement said. "The Democratic People's Republic of Korea promised to drop all nuclear weapons and current nuclear programs and to get back to the nonproliferation

treaty as soon as possible and to accept inspections from the International Atomic Energy Agency.''

more info @ asia times.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Bush kids aren't the only ones drunk and in trouble....

Gov. Lynch-Daughter Arrested

DURHAM, N.H. (AP) -- Gov. John Lynch's daughter was arrested on alcohol charges at the University of New Hampshire this week.

UNH police say Jacqueline Lynch, 19, a sophomore, was arrested shortly after midnight Thursday night and charged with unlawful possession of alcohol and having an open container of alcohol. She and another 19-year-old student were walking on campus at the time. The other student also was charged.

The governor said he is disappointed and that they will deal with it as a family.


Health Care "savings account" scam begins.....

New plans shift health costs to workers

CONCORD, N.H. --As health costs rise, more New Hampshire companies are expected to turn to health savings accounts which shift costs onto their workers.

Mark Galvin, founder of Whaleback Systems Corp., bypassed the traditional low-deductible health insurance plans he used for his three previous companies and bought a health savings account plan from Patriot Healthcare.

Gavin found he could save money for his high-tech Portsmouth company -- half the $1,300 to $1,400 monthly premium for each employee. The trade off was a $10,000 deductible for the workers.


The Independence Party Chair Anti-semitic?

Independence Party Seeks Fulani Ejection

By MARC HUMBERT, AP Political Writer

The chairman of the state's Independence Party planned to seek the removal Sunday of Lenora Fulani, accused of making anti-Semitic remarks, and her supporters from the group's executive committee.

"The state committee has overwhelmingly requested this," party Chairman Frank MacKay had said earlier this month as he announced Sunday's meeting. "She can't keep the opinions about the Jewish people to herself ... She has disturbing views on the Jewish people that are unacceptable to us."

from yahoo news

New GOP PAC "Katrina Corpses for Repeal of Estate Tax."

Federal troops aren't the only ones looking for bodies on the Gulf Coast. On Sept. 9, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions called his old law professor Harold Apolinsky, co-author of Sessions' legislation repealing the federal estate tax, which was encountering sudden resistance on the Hill. Sessions had an idea to revitalize their cause, which he left on Apolinsky's voice mail: "[Arizona Sen.] Jon Kyl and I were talking about the estate tax. If we knew anybody that owned a business that lost life in the storm, that would be something we could push back with."


Only a tiny percentage of people are affected by the estate tax--in 2001 only 534 Alabamans were subject to it. And for Hill backers of repeal, that's only part of the problem. Last year, the tax brought in $24.8 billion to the federal government. With Katrina's cost soaring, estate tax opponents need to find a way to make up the potential lost income. For now, getting repeal back on the agenda may depend on Apolinsky and his team of estate-sniffing sleuths, who are searching Internet obituaries among other places. Has he found any victims of both the hurricane and the estate tax? "Not yet," Apolinsky says. "But I'm still looking." (Emphasis added.)

from daily kos

Good News from the BlueGrass State

A whole bunch of people on Republican Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher's staff were implicated in a major hiring scandal, centered around violations of the state's merit-based employment laws. Several were even indicted.

Fletcher decided to do the upstanding thing in response: He pardoned everyone involved, declaring that the state Attorney General's investigation was "politically motivated."

Despite the pardons, the AG (Greg Stumbo) has kept up with his investigation. E-mails filed with court documents to get a search warrant for the office of Fletcher's chief-of-staff indicate that it might go as high as Fletcher himself.

With the walls closing in around him, Fletcher belatedly announced he was firing nine staffers. Fletcher also called for the head of the state Republican party, one Darrell Brock, to resign.


Today, the Kentucky Republican Party delivered a major "fuck you" to Ernie Fletcher: They refused to ask for Brock's resignation. That's pretty astounding, for a state party to utterly ignore the wishes of its governor.

Fletcher, as of July, had a 34-57 approval rating - good enough for 48th-best out of all fifty governors.

from Daily Kos

Win a vacation with Bush!!!

WIN A VACATION WITH G.W. BUSH!! form the landover baptist church!!!

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