Thursday, February 23, 2006

More Republican Shenanigans....

From American Progress:

Under the Radar:

MEDIA -- CBS REPORTER ADMITS TO KILLING IRAQ STORY AT PENTAGON REQUEST: "This week I killed a story about the battle against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) after a senior military officer told me it contained information that would be helpful to the enemy," CBS Pentagon correspondent David Martin said this week on the network's weblog Public Eye. (Recent news reports have found that red tape at the Defense Department had slowed efforts to get the top anti-IED technology to soldiers in the field.) Martin acknowledged that he "didn't find his argument about how it would help the enemy very persuasive," and admitted further, "I've done that a number of times over the years, and each time it’s turned out that going with the story wouldn’t have caused any harm." Nevertheless, some conservatives applauded his decision. The National Review's media columnist wrote, "That couldn't have been easy, but good for him."

CAFTA -- BUSINESS LOBBYISTS HAVE SWEETENED LAWMAKERS' CAMPAIGN FUNDS: In late July 2005, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) by a slim two-vote margin. Voting on the bill was held open for almost two hours as right-wing lawmakers twisted arms to pass a bill for which President Bush had lobbied strongly. At the time it appeared lawmakers were given specially-earmarked pork projects in return for a 'yes' vote. Public Citizen reports that, approximately eight months after CAFTA's passage, the handful of representatives whose votes led to its narrow passage -- the so-called CAFTA 30 -- have received a total of $2.8 million in corporate campaign cash. Among the group's findings are that "many of the CAFTA 30 were among the top recipients of contributions from the PAC headed by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay" and that "CAFTA 30 representatives have also received funds from sources connected to the GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff."

HEALTH CARE -- GENERIC DRUG APPLICATIONS REMAIN BACKLOGGED DESPITE PR PUSH: Food and Drug Administration officials held a news conference announcing the approval of a generic version of the popular allergy spray Flonase. "The heightened attention may have been intended to rebut criticism in recent weeks that the agency is falling behind in its review of generic-drug applications," the New York Times reports. Despite a backlog of 850 generic drug applications, the Bush administration has not proposed an increase in the Office of Generic Drugs's budget. Prescription drug companies are working hard to slow the approval process, as GlaxoSmithKline demonstrated in its treatment of Flonase. These companies know a generic drug "usually costs 60 to 90 percent less than the brand-name version," and they want to remain one of "the nation’s most profitable" industries.

Think Fast:

Bush administration officials say the Medicare prescription drug bill has been a wild success, claiming over 25 million people have enrolled. Actually, the number is closer to five million. Clean government group CREW has filed an ethics complaint against Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) after reports showing that a private Philadelphia bank that has contributed to Santorum's campaigns violated its own policies to approve a $500,000 home mortgage for Santorum.

South Dakota's senate has passed a bill banning virtually all abortions, becoming the "first state in 14 years to start a direct legal attack on Roe v. Wade." State Sen. Tom Dempster (R): "This bill ends up being cold, indifferent and as hostile as any great prairie blizzard that this state has ever seen."

The White House will release their Katrina “lessons learned” report today. The report will be “less scathing” than the House report that found “earlier involvement by President Bush could have spurred a faster response.”

Mr. Musharraf's Other War: Pakistan is using U.S. weaponry to violently suppress an ethnic minority separatist movement in the country's largest province. "That's no way to win the hearts and minds of anyone."

60 Minutes rejects right-wing call for "balance" on global warming story. "There is virtually no disagreement in the scientific community any longer about global warming," correspondent Scott Pelley said.

Sen. Elizabeth Dole writes that she is "deeply concerned" about Dubai Ports World managing the operations at six U.S. ports. Meanwhile, her husband, former Majority Leader Bob Dole has been hired by Dubai Ports World to shepherd the deal through.

25 million: Number of people provided food by America’s Second Harvest -- the largest charitable food distribution network -- an 8 percent increase since 2001. (Learn what you can do to help.)

Lawmakers introduced legislation to repeal a law that gives pharmaceutical companies immunity against lawsuits in a public health or bioterror emergency. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) writes that the law allows drug companies to "escape responsibility for gross negligence or even criminal acts."


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