Wednesday, February 28, 2007

When Walter Cronkite says it's's over.


Walter Cronkite: Iraq War a "Disaster"

Walter Cronkite weighs in on the situation in Iraq stating: "We should have gotten out a long time ago. This is a mistake, this entire war there, it's a disaster. And the earlier we get out, the better. It's a terrible disaster. Look at the loss of lives of our young Americans there and those who have been maimed for life, for what purpose? No purpose we can define."


Wounded soldiers told to shut their mouths...


Soldiers at Walter Reed Told Not to Speak to Media

Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center's Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m., and that they must not speak to the media.

"Some soldiers believe this is a form of punishment for the trouble soldiers caused by talking to the media," one Medical Hold Unit soldier said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.


Fury, food, and Barney Frank...

From American Progress:

Think Fast

“Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m., and that they must not speak to the media,” the Army Times reports. Soldiers said an official told them “they must follow their chain of command when asking for help with their medical evaluation paperwork, or when they spot mold, mice or other problems in their quarters.”

“In the most definitive statement in years,” Mike McConnell, the new director of national intelligence, said yesterday that “Osama bin laden is in Pakistan actively re-establishing al Qaeda training camps.” He also admitted to the Senate that the “term ‘civil war’ accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict.”

The United States yesterday agreed to “join high-level talks” at a pair of regional conferences on the future of the Iraq, at which Syria and Iran will also be present. Analyst Steve Clemons noted, “Time will tell whether this is meaningless flirtation” or “a carefully crafted ‘confidence building measure’ that could lead to more meaningful engagement.”

The Politico editor John Harris acknowledged “with pride and remorse” that he is the author of the “slow-bleed” phrase that the right wing is using to attack Rep. John Murtha’s (D-PA) Iraq plan. “As happens all the time in journalism, this was a decision — made on the fly and under deadline — that I would have taken back in the morning.”

“House Democrats and federal prosecutors have struck what seems like a historic deal to turn over congressional documents related to the Duke Cunningham investigation.”
With the House expected to vote Thursday on the pro-worker Employee Free Choice Act, “a business coalition launched a six-figure radio ad campaign late Tuesday in an attempt to convince three Democratic freshmen who represent conservative districts to defy organized labor and vote against the bill.”

Fox News doesn’t report. “While other media outlets, in their coverage of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, have addressed the longtime evangelical hostility to Romney’s Mormon faith, Fox News has largely avoided the subject and has responded to other media coverage of the issue by alleging media bias or, in the case of one guest, accusing liberals of anti-Mormon bigotry.”

A new UN Foundation study warns that there is “no more time for delay” on climate change. Without quick action, the Earth could reach a “tipping point that could lead to intolerable impacts on human well-being,” including “the spread of disease, less fresh water, more and worse droughts, more extreme storms and widespread economic damage to farming, fishing and forests.”

“The federal agency that’s been front and center in warning the public about tainted spinach and contaminated peanut butter is conducting just half the food safety inspections it did three years ago. The cuts by the Food and Drug Administration come despite a barrage of high-profile food recalls.”

And finally: Frank Against Cute or Inane Acronyms for Legislation (FACIAL)? Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) has put the House Financial Services Committee “on notice that he will no longer tolerate cute bill titles.” “The title of this bill is unfortunately an acronym,” Frank said of the National Security FIRST Act. (Short for the National Security Foreign Investment Reform and Strengthened Transparency Act of 2007). “The chair does not intend to bring forward further legislation in which the title is a word.” “I regret that you won’t allow any more acronyms,” replied the bill’s author, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). “We worked hard on this acronym.” Frank did eventually allow the acronym to stay, “mainly because he supports the bill.”


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

BushCo: Fool me once...BushCo is a fool....

From American Progress:

Think Fast

U.S. officials yesterday displayed bombmaking parts said to have been transported by Iran into Iraq. The cache "included items that appeared to cloud the issue. ... The boxes appeared to contain shipments of tubes directly from factories in the Middle East, none of them in Iran."

The National Wildlife Refuge System provides safe havens for imperiled species. But since 2003, funding has remained flat, "while salaries and other operating costs have risen." Officials expect that they will have to "trim 75 regional and headquarters office jobs and 248 more field jobs."

Prosecutors from the International Criminal Court yesterday "named the first two suspects accused of committing war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region." One of the suspects -- Ahmed Haroun -- "is currently Sudan's state humanitarian affairs minister."

Former Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle criticized key Bush aides for having failed the president. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "was in way over her head from the beginning," Perle said, and Colin Powell was a "disaster."

The Office of Women's Health "just had more than one-quarter of this year's $4 million operating budget quietly removed, insiders say." The move will "effectively halt further operations for the rest of the year." Women's health advocates believe it is "a long-anticipated payback for the trouble the office stirred during the prolonged debate over nonprescription sales of Plan B."

Governors "pressed" President Bush yesterday "to provide more money" for the Children's Health Insurance Program, "as many states expect to run out of funding for the program by September. "In response, administration officials said states should make better use of the money they already had."

Starting on Friday, several "House and Senate committees will begin oversight hearings into how Walter Reed Army Medical Center subjected wounded soldiers and Marines to bureaucratic indifference and allowed them to live in squalor."

"Basing their estimates on hotel and restaurant figures, vendor permits and crowd size," New Orleans officials "think the economic impact of the 2007 Mardi Gras celebration was strong, if not quite up to the levels reached before Hurricane Katrina."

And finally: Arnold's solution to America's red-blue divide -- a smoke-filled room. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) "decried the partisan rancor" in D.C. and described the positive effects his smoking tent has had in California: "People come in there, Democrats and Republicans, and they take off their jackets and rip off their ties, and they sit down and smoke a stogie, and they talk, and they schmooze. ... You can't catch a socially transmitted disease by sitting down with people who hold ideas that are different than yours."


Monday, February 26, 2007

Senator Boxer for airline passengers...

From Senator Barbara Boxer:

Following several incidents at airports where passengers were forced to remain on planes for as long as 11 hours, I recently joined Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) in introducing the “Airline Passenger Bill of Rights Act of 2007,” legislation to ensure that travelers can no longer be unnecessarily trapped on airplanes for excessive periods of time or deprived of food, water or adequate restrooms.

Last week I introduced a Passengers’ Bill of Rights to protect the safety and well-being of travelers. Occasional delays may be unavoidable, but no one should be held hostage on an airplane for hours without food, safe drinking water or functioning restrooms. This bill ensures passengers the right to deplane after being in a closed aircraft for three hours, and it requires airlines to attend to the basic needs of passengers.

The legislation requires airlines to offer passengers the option of safely leaving a plane they have boarded once that plane has sat on the ground three hours after the plane door has closed unless the pilot determines that doing so would endanger their safety or security. This option would be provided every three hours that the plane continues to sit on the ground. The legislation also requires airlines to provide passengers with necessary services such as food, potable water and adequate restroom facilities while a plane is delayed on the ground.

Everyone who flies regularly has faced delays, but extreme delays should not pose unnecessary risks for passengers. You can count on me to work for the passage of this legislation.


Barbara BoxerUnited States Senator


BushCo...full of it as usual...

From Information Clearing House:

U.N. Calls U.S. Data on Iran's Nuclear Aims Unreliable
By Bob Drogin and Kim Murphy

Although international concern is growing about Iran's nuclear program and its regional ambitions, diplomats here say most U.S. intelligence shared with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has proved inaccurate and none has led to significant discoveries inside Iran.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Our troops are NOT expendable! Equip/train them!!!

From David J Sirota:

GOP & Dems: Congress Must Let Troops Go to Iraq Without Training orEquipment

The Bush administration, congressional Republicans, and a faction of Democrats are very angry at Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) for his proposal on Iraq.

What is that proposal, you ask? That's a good question, because most major stories that purport to be about the proposal are actually horse-race-style stories about the political maneuvering around the proposal.

The Washington Post's crack coverage did this today, actually burying any concrete details of the proposal in the14th paragraph of its story. And if you read carefully, you will find that the people opposing Murtha's plan truly believe American troops are expendable.

To see the full post, go to:{ mode=entry&entry=FABC5F05-E0C3-F08F-9BEF83695AF0F734}


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Attack Iran? Generals/Admirals will resign...

From via Raw Story:

From The Sunday Times
February 25, 2007
US generals ‘will quit’ if Bush orders Iran attack
Michael Smith and Sarah Baxter, Washington

SOME of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly placed defence and intelligence sources.
Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.

“There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran,” a source with close ties to British intelligence said. “There is simply no stomach for it in the Pentagon, and a lot of people question whether such an attack would be effective or even possible.”

A British defence source confirmed that there were deep misgivings inside the Pentagon about a military strike. “All the generals are perfectly clear that they don’t have the military capacity to take Iran on in any meaningful fashion. Nobody wants to do it and it would be a matter of conscience for them.

“There are enough people who feel this would be an error of judgment too far for there to be resignations.”

A generals’ revolt on such a scale would be unprecedented. “American generals usually stay and fight until they get fired,” said a Pentagon source. Robert Gates, the defence secretary, has repeatedly warned against striking Iran and is believed to represent the view of his senior commanders.

The threat of a wave of resignations coincided with a warning by Vice-President Dick Cheney that all options, including military action, remained on the table. He was responding to a comment by Tony Blair that it would not “be right to take military action against Iran”.

Iran ignored a United Nations deadline to suspend its uranium enrichment programme last week. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted that his country “will not withdraw from its nuclear stances even one single step”.

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran could soon produce enough enriched uranium for two nuclear bombs a year, although Tehran claims its programme is purely for civilian energy purposes.

Nicholas Burns, the top US negotiator, is to meet British, French, German, Chinese and Russian officials in London tomorrow to discuss additional penalties against Iran. But UN diplomats cautioned that further measures would take weeks to agree and would be mild at best.

A second US navy aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS John C Stennis arrived in the Gulf last week, doubling the US presence there. Vice Admiral Patrick Walsh, the commander of the US Fifth Fleet, warned: “The US will take military action if ships are attacked or if countries in the region are targeted or US troops come under direct attack.”

But General Peter Pace, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said recently there was “zero chance” of a war with Iran. He played down claims by US intelligence that the Iranian government was responsible for supplying insurgents in Iraq, forcing Bush on the defensive.
Pace’s view was backed up by British intelligence officials who said the extent of the Iranian government’s involvement in activities inside Iraq by a small number of Revolutionary Guards was “far from clear”.

Hillary Mann, the National Security Council’s main Iran expert until 2004, said Pace’s repudiation of the administration’s claims was a sign of grave discontent at the top.
“He is a very serious and a very loyal soldier,” she said. “It is extraordinary for him to have made these comments publicly, and it suggests there are serious problems between the White House, the National Security Council and the Pentagon.”

Mann fears the administration is seeking to provoke Iran into a reaction that could be used as an excuse for an attack. A British official said the US navy was well aware of the risks of confrontation and was being “seriously careful” in the Gulf.

The US air force is regarded as being more willing to attack Iran. General Michael Moseley, the head of the air force, cited Iran as the main likely target for American aircraft at a military conference earlier this month.

According to a report in The New Yorker magazine, the Pentagon has already set up a working group to plan airstrikes on Iran. The panel initially focused on destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities and on regime change but has more recently been instructed to identify targets in Iran that may be involved in supplying or aiding militants in Iraq.

However, army chiefs fear an attack on Iran would backfire on American troops in Iraq and lead to more terrorist attacks, a rise in oil prices and the threat of a regional war.

Britain is concerned that its own troops in Iraq might be drawn into any American conflict with Iran, regardless of whether the government takes part in the attack.

One retired general who participated in the “generals’ revolt” against Donald Rumsfeld’s handling of the Iraq war said he hoped his former colleagues would resign in the event of an order to attack. “We don’t want to take another initiative unless we’ve really thought through the consequences of our strategy,” he warned.


I think AIPAC had better chill out....

From Information Clearing House:

AIPAC Demands "Action" on Iran:

"An American Strike on Iran is Essential for Our Existence"


Trashing the Iraqi press...

From Information Clearing House:

Another U.S. Military Assault on Media:

"They killed our colleagues, closed so many newspapers, arrested hundreds of us and now they are shooting at our hearts by raiding our headquarters. This is the freedom of speech we received."


Southern CA Writers' Conference*San Diego report...

From the Asian Journal newspaper:

21st Annual Southern California Writers Conference * San Diego
by Miles Beauchamp
Feb 24, 2007

San Diego’s premiere writer’s conference is now over but the afterglow remains. Every year at about this time, national and international writers and authors gather in San Diego to attend one of the nations more successful, more user- friendly, more forward-thinking conferences. The SCWC*SD is designed to help individuals become better writers, improved story tellers, and successful authors.

Held at the Red Lion Hanalei Hotel, scheduled speakers read like a who’s who of the writing profession and, among others, included:
Helen Atsma
Tom Basinski
Robert Gregory Browne
Mark Clements
Barry Eisler
Dale Fetherling
Jerry Hannah
William Hutchings
Jean Jenkins
Betty Abell Jurus
Gordon Kirkland
Ken Kuhlken
Bob Mayer
Jeffrey McGraw
Eric Olsen
Matthew J. Pallamary
Barbara Peters
Laura Preble
Frederick Ramsay
Jennifer Redmond
Judy Reeves
Alan Russell
Michele Scott
Julie Ann Shapiro
Mike Sirota
Susan Arnaut Smith
Alexandra Sokoloff
Raymond Strait
Laura Taylor
John Tefft
Amy Wallen
Maralys Wills

In addition to the workshops and speakers, there were agents and editors, readers, and more. What follows below are notes and thoughts from three attendees or presenters.

Jean Jenkins.

“Favorite entry to the 6 word writing contest: “Husband in shower. Flush toilet. Run!”
There were two winners of the Best Fiction Award this year, which is given for a body of work that is both good story and good writing and ready to go to an agent. One of the winners was George Berger, a local university professor, who received several requests from agents to read his manuscript. That was good news but apparently nothing compared to winning the Best Fiction Award after five or so years of attending to the conference. Berger strolled out of the banquet room with a big smile and eyes twinkling. One staff member looked at him and said, “So that’s what a man floating on air looks like.” And it was.

Jan Coleman
I attended this past weekend’s Southern California Writer’s Conference as an aspiring writer and first-time conferee with wide-eyed enthusiasm. Not knowing what to expect but eager to learn more about being a successful (i.e. published) writer I signed up for the conference hoping to gain insight from professionals in the business. After three days of intensive workshops I came away with more than a just a glimpse into the world of being a successful writer and no small amount of rewriting to do on my novel-in-progress. I’ve attended a number of conferences over the years and I must give kudos to Michael Steven Gregory, Wes Albers, Chrissie A. Barnett, Nancy Painter, Cricket Abbott and all the others for their extremely organized and well-run symposium. In each time-block there were several suitable choices of workshops to choose from such as “Pitching Your Book”, “Crafting Characters That Jump off the Page” and “Rewriting Your Novel”. A “Read and Critique” group was also available the entire weekend for those brave enough to read aloud an excerpt of their writing and listen (in silence!) to important feedback. I arrived at the conference hoping to gain a little knowledge and left with my brain quite full. Between the lectures, the open-ended discussions outside the classrooms and the writing guide books I bought I feel like I now know my destination, have a clear direction where I’m headed and a road map pointing the way. What a great weekend. I can’t wait for the fall conference in Palm Springs!

Betty Abell Jurus
There should be a warning on the conference brochure: “Attendees and staff will walk in, but ‘creature’ out" -exhausted. No matter. It’s worth it to hear the stories writers are working on. I love political thrillers, and had the pleasure of meeting and talking with a writer from Ohio who has the talent and background knowledge necessary to write his “real insider” novel based on the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections - a time-critical novel that needs to be out before the 2008 election. How to get that done is the question. That’s just one book. Considering that there were somewhere near 350 writers, speakers, agents, editors attending, the conference was replete with riches. They came from all over the nation and from places as diverse as Ireland, Australia, and Canada and Japan. Talk about possibilities! Talk about conversations! Talk about fascinating! Talk about fun! Talk about memories being made....”

The Southern California Writers’ Conference has facilitated over $3 million worth of first-time books and screenplays. In addition to the Southern California Writers Conference*San Diego, there are also conferences in Palm Springs and Los Angeles. More facts and reservation information can be located at: Some information for this column was obtained from the SCWC website and other SCWC publications


GOP Rep Duncan Hunter has plans....

From KUSI-TV San Diego:

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Local Congressman Duncan Hunter brought his presidential campaign to San Diego this morning. He held a breakfast fundraiser at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina.
Read more »

Click Here For Video


Crooks on all sides...PC suckers....

Oh, this is just business as usual....

Behind Antismoking Policy,

Influence of Drug Industry Government Guidelines.
Don't Push Cold Turkey; Advisers' Company Ties.
By Kevin Helliker.

Michael Fiore is in charge of revising federal guidelines on how to get smokers to quit. He also runs an academic research center funded in part by drug companies that make quit-smoking aids, and he personally has received tens of thousands of dollars in speaking and consulting fees from those companies.


Oh, to have SecState Albright back again....

From AP via :


Albright says next president must `restore goodness of American power'
The Associated Press - ATLANTA

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Thursday that through the war in Iraq the United States has lost its moral authority, and it will be up to the next president to restore the "goodness of American power."

"I think that Iraq is going to go down in history as the greatest disaster in American foreign policy," Albright said, with former President Jimmy Carter at her side in one of a series of "Conversations at the Carter Center."

"We have lost the element of goodness in American power, and we have lost our moral authority," she said. "The job of the next president will be to restore the goodness of American power."

Albright, who was part of Carter's national security team in the 1970s, long before she was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and secretary of state under President Bill Clinton, said many Americans believe that they should be loved around the world.

"We don't have to be loved," she said. "But we shouldn't be feared. We should be respected."


Friday, February 23, 2007

Killing the Officer Corps & Civil Service....

From :

[an excerpt]

...this administration’s war against not only the US Officer Corps, but also the Civil Service and professional competence, in general.”

The blueprint for Bush-era governance was laid out in a January 2001 manifesto from the Heritage Foundation, titled "Taking Charge of Federal Personnel." The manifesto's message, in brief, was that the professional civil service should be regarded as the enemy of the new administration's conservative agenda. And there's no question that Heritage's thinking reflected that of many people on the Bush team.

“How should the civil service be defeated? First and foremost, Heritage demanded that politics take precedence over know-how: the new administration "must make appointment decisions based on loyalty first and expertise second."

Second, Heritage called for a big increase in outsourcing—"contracting out as a management strategy." This would supposedly reduce costs, but it would also have the desirable effect of reducing the total number of civil servants.

“The Bush administration energetically put these recommendations into effect. Political loyalists were installed throughout the government, regardless of qualifications. And the administration outsourced many government functions previously considered too sensitive to privatize: yesterday's Times article begins with the case of CACI International, a private contractor hired, in spite of the obvious conflict of interest, to process cases of incompetence and fraud by private contractors. A few years earlier, CACI provided interrogators at Abu Ghraib.

The ostensible reason for politicizing and privatizing was to promote the conservative ideal of smaller, more efficient government. But the small government rhetoric was never sincere: from Day 1, the administration set out to create a vast new patronage machine.” Indeed, the Times reports that "fewer than half of all 'contract actions' — new contracts and payments against existing contracts — are now subject to full and open competition," down from 79 percent in 2001. And many contractors are paid far more than it would cost to do the job with government employees: those CACI workers processing claims against other contractors cost the government $104 an hour.

NOTE: David has a whole lot more to say on his blog and it's well worth reading.


Mexican trucks cross border and go!

From Voice of San Diego. org :

Mexican Trucks Headed North

Currently, the United States only allows Mexican freight haulers to travel about 20 miles away from the border when delivering cargo. But the federal government is clearing the way for Mexican trucks to be able to drive throughout the United States -- a requirement of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.A select group of Mexican trucking companies will be allowed to make the trip beyond the 20-mile zone as part of a pilot program.

According to a Bloomberg News story in today's Houston Chronicle:

The inspection program is the last of 22 safety measures the U.S.Congress ordered in 2002 before allowing Mexican trucks and drivers to operate beyond commercial zones about 25 miles from the border. Last year, trade between Mexico and the U.S. increased 14 percent to $332 billion, with 80 percent of goods transported by truck.

"To keep this trade flowing today and help it grow even more tomorrow, we must begin allowing these trucks to operate beyond border zones,"(Transportation Secretary Mary) Peters said during a visit to Transportes Olympic, a Monterrey-based transportation company, where the first inspection was made. "But prior to this becoming a reality, we must ensure that vehicles and drivers meet tough U.S. safety standards."

Peters said Mexican trucks won't be allowed to travel into the interior of the U.S. under the current program. The U.S. and Mexico are negotiating a program that would allow Mexican trucks to travel into the U.S., she said, and declined to say when the program may be announced.

Those trucks -- many of which are manufactured and driven in the United States and then handed down -- typically produce dirtier emissions than trucks here, because they're older and have degraded emission-control systems. That's just one issue facing the proposal.

The Teamsters and others are already protesting the deal, which would reduce the cargo they haul.

Friday, February 23 -- 2:20 pm


Upcoming: Films, TV, and books....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


Joe McGinniss Jr.'s first novel THE DELIVERY MAN, a portrait of today's lost generation, set in Las Vegas and involving a teenage-girl escort ring, with an unlikely love story at its heart, to Morgan Entrekin at Grove/Atlantic, for publication as an original trade paperback for Black Cat in winter 2008, by Katharine Cluverius at ICM (world).
(Recommended to the house by Bret Easton Ellis, it completes a circle that began when FATAL VISION author Joe McGinniss recommended to his former editor Entrekin the manuscript that became Ellis's Less Than Zero in 1982.)


Taylor Anderson's THE DESTROYERMEN TRILOGY, about a battered American naval destroyer swept into an alternate world, where its World War II-era technology changes the balance of power in a genocidal world war, to Ginjer Buchanan at Roc, by Russell Galen at Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency (NA). Danny Baror handles foreign


THE BOOK OF NAMES (sold in 16 countries) authors Jill Gregory and Karen Tintori's THE ILLUMINATION, a secret history thriller based on the ancient mythology, history, and mysticism of the Evil Eye, again to Nichole Argyres at St. Martin's, by Ellen Levine at Trident Media Group, and Sally Wofford-Girand at Brick


Author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist THE BRIGHT FOREVER Lee Martin's RIVER OF HEAVEN, to Sally Kim at Shaye Areheart Books, by Phyllis Wender at Rosenstone/Wender Associates.

Film rights to Roy Freirich's debut novel WINGED CREATURES, about the emotional aftershocks experienced by the survivors of a random fast-food restaurant shooting, to Bob Salerno at Unruly Films (21 Grams), for a March production, directed by Rowan Woods, with Forest Whitaker, Jackie Earle Haley, Dakota Fanning, Kate Beckinsale and Guy Pearce starring. The book is currently on submission to publishers, by Svetlana Katz at Janklow & Nesbit.

Film rights to Kurt Eichenwald's CONSPIRACY OF FOOLS, to Warner Bros., in a major deal, for seven figures, for Leonardo DiCaprio at Appian Way to produce and star, with Sheldon Turner adapting.


Author of the forthcoming SIN IN THE SECOND CITY Karen Abbott's untitled book on the life of legendary Gypsy Rose Lee and the Depression-era New York that made her a star, with a cast of characters that includes H.L. Mencken, Condé Nast, Lucky Luciano, Abbott and Costello, Fanny Brice, and Fiorello La Guardia, again to Julia Cheiffetz at Random House, by Simon Lipskar at Writers House (world).Foreign rights:


Amit Chatwani's DAMN IT FEELS GOOD TO BE A BANKER: A Fact-Based Approach to the World of Finance, a guide to the world of Wall Street in the voice of the "consummate banker caricature" that the author, labeled the "Borat of Wall Street" by BusinessWeek, popularized on his website, to Brendan Duffy at Hyperion, at auction, by Byrd Leavell at Waxman Literary Agency (NA).UK rights are with Jim Gill at


Rocky Mountain News reporter Jim Sheeler's book, building on his Pulitzer-winning story about year in the life of a Marine Major who calls on the families of soldiers who died in battle in Iraq, for a broader narrative about those who gave their lives in this war and the families who mourn them, to Jane Fleming at Penguin Press, at auction, by Simon Lipskar at Writers House.


Donovan Hohn's MOBY-DUCK: Or, the Synthetic Wilderness of Childhood, describing how a Chinese cargo ship spilled a container full of 28,800 plastic bathtub toys -- including 7,200 yellow plastic ducks -- into the Pacific Ocean, and following the toys wherever they lead, to Gillian Blake at Bloomsbury, by Heather Schroder at ICM (world).


Richard Heinzl's CAMBODIA CALLING, a coming-of-age memoir about a young doctor who travels to a remote Cambodian war-ravaged village to operate a hospital in his eye-opening first step in realizing his dream of starting the first chapter of Doctors Without Borders in North America, to Don Loney at Wiley Canada, by Sam Hiyate at The Rights Factory (world English)


Observer columnist Lucy Siegle's TO DIE FOR, about "the environmentally devastating and inhumanely shocking story behind the clothes we so casually buy and wear," to Louise Haines at Fourth Estate, at auction, for publication in February 2008, by Araminta Whitley at Lucas Alexander Whitley (UK/Commonwealth).


Some quickie news clips...

From American Progress:

Think Fast

“Iraq may be facing a deadly civil war, but the Iraqi government is initiating major, costly repairs to its diplomatic building in Washington and expanding its real estate holdings here.” The Iraqi government recently purchased a $5.8 million mansion complete with “heated floors…and spacious bathrooms, one with a Jacuzzi.”

U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair yesterday “declared himself at odds with hawks in the US Administration” over Iran. He told BBC News, “I can’t think that it would be right to take military action against Iran. … What is important is to pursue the political, diplomatic channel.”

The White House yesterday announced “plans to replace the assistant defense secretary for health affairs” — William Winkenwerder — “two days after a review was ordered into outpatient care for wounded troops.” The Pentagon claimed the announcement had “no bearing on current events whatsoever.”

Day two of jury deliberations in the Scooter Libby trial produced no verdict. Yesterday, the jury of eight women and four men “requested a large flip chart, masking tape, Post-it notes and a document with pictures of the witnesses.”

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz may appoint a new resident director for Iraq. “This is exactly what he shouldn’t be doing and what the [Bank] board was initially afraid that he would do, which is to use the financial resources of the World Bank to take some of the heat off the U.S. Treasury and U.S. policy,” said Bea Edwards of the Government Accountability Project.

“Ballot initiatives for increasing the minimum wage boosted voter motivation in five targeted states in 2006,” a new study shows. Voter motivation and reported interest in the election was “disproportionately high” among African-Americans, unmarried voters and women.

Parents have complained after ninth graders at a North Carolina school were given anti-Muslim literature in class. The handouts described Mohammed as a “criminal” and “demon possessed,” and included pamphlets with titles such as “Jesus not Muhammad” and “Do Not Marry a Muslim Man.

And finally: “The tables will turn on Justice Stephen Breyer next month, when instead of posing obscure questions at Supreme Court arguments, he’ll be answering them - with no clerks to help on research.” In an apparent first, Breyer will appear on a quiz show, as the celebrity guest on the March 17 installment of NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!


Thursday, February 22, 2007

2008 Elections...What will happen?

From Tom Dispatch:

Was 2006 a Turning-Point Election?
On the Road to 2008
By Steve Fraser

All media eyes have turned toward the presidential election of 2008. Like the headlights of an onrushing train, it mesmerizes. Every news bulletin about the latest bloodbath in Iraq, each ominous forewarning of a face-off with Iran, the endless dirge of abandonment and despair issuing from New Orleans, the daily register of those cut loose from any semblance of a social safety net, public or private, each new official confirmation that the Earth is reaching a boiling point compels us to anticipate the 2008 election with fear and trembling, and with the greatest expectations. Something momentous might happen then. Haven't we already seen the first signs of that in the extraordinary electoral outcome of November 2006?

All elections are, in some sense, turning points. They register, however murkily, shifts in popular sentiment. But this recent off-year election has excited more than the normal number of pregnant speculations and, of course, put one question in particular in boldface type: Did it signal the end -- or at least the beginning of the end -- of the conservative counter-revolution that first gained traction with Ronald Reagan's presidential victory in 1980?

A turning-point election is something special indeed. Everything about the country's political chemistry changes as its geopolitical make-up is reshuffled, as cities, towns, and whole regions start voting in a new way. Suddenly, the normal fault lines in political demography no longer apply as ethnic, racial, gender, and socio-economic groups simply stop voting the way everyone expects them to.

Turning-point elections can inaugurate new distributions of wealth and power. Social classes and elites accustomed to rule find themselves struggling to hold on to, or compelled to share power, they once felt entitled to wield unilaterally. The whole political economy becomes subject to serious reordering. With so much at stake, such elections can ultimately be the occasions for revolutions in the country's moral tone, its basic cultural and ideological orientation.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.


Stephen King loves Meg Gardiner's....books....

From Publishers Lunch:

A Boost for Gardiner from King

The UK edition of crime writer Meg Gardiner's 2002 thriller CHINA LAKE and her full Evan Delaney series is in demand here, in more ways than one, after Stephen King mentioned the books on his blog in December and then wrote about them in a February EW column.

King calls her "the next suspense superstar.... This woman is as good as Michael Connelly and far better than Janet Evanovich." (Gardiner lives in the UK now, but she is American and her books are set in Los Angeles.)

Bidding for US rights is underway now.

In current sales, Gardiner's CHINA LAKE, is No. 1 on the bestseller list, and some of her books rose to the top 100 at Amazon when the King article first appeared. IPG distributes two of her books in the US, KILL CHAIN and CROSSCUT, through their Trafalgar Square unit, on behalf of Hodder.

IPG head Mark Suchomel says they sold out their existing stock quickly, and do not expect to receive more inventory until the end of March. Hodder is reprinting the two books to fulfill US requests, so IPG is still able to accomodate orders.

Separately, Gardiner's blog reports on the develoments, and is entertaining by itself (she tried to give up snark for Lent.)

King column
Gardiner blog


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cheney: Articles of Impeachment....

From GQ via Raw Story:

'Timid' Congress drives GQ correspondent to draft six articles of impeachment for Vice President Cheney
RAW STORYPublished: Wednesday February 21, 2007
Print This Email This

In the March issue of GQ, Wil S. Hylton argues that Vice President Richard Cheney should be impeached for committing "high crimes and misdemeanors."

"Over the past six years, as the country has spiraled into military misadventure, fiscal madness, and environmental meltdown, the vice president has not merely been wrong about the issues; he has been duplicitous, deceitful, and deliberately destructive to the American democracy," Hylton writes.

"These things can no longer be denied by rational minds: That in the buildup to war in Iraq, the vice president, lacking confidence in the true casus belli, conspired to invent additional ones, misrepresenting the available intelligence, crafting new 'intelligence,' and then spreading these falsehoods to the public, perverting the democratic process that he is sworn to uphold," Hylton adds.

Hylton crafts six "articles of impeachment" because "a timid Republican Congress and a refusal to act by the new Democratic leadership" means that "the Fourth Estate" must "take the mantle of indictment unto ourselves."
Excerpts from article:
ARTICLE I In his conduct of the office of the vice president of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, contrary to his oath to faithfully execute the office of vice president of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws of this nation be upheld, has deliberately obstructed the nation’s intelligence-gathering capacity, in that:
ARTICLE II Using the powers of the office of the vice president of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, contrary to his oath to faithfully execute the office of vice president of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws of this nation be upheld, has personally deceived the American people, in that:
ARTICLE III In his conduct of the office of the vice president of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, contrary to his oath to faithfully execute the office of vice president of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws of this nation be upheld, has deliberately embraced and sheltered a known criminal, to the great detriment of American policy, in that:
ARTICLE IV In his conduct of the office of the vice president of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, contrary to his oath to faithfully execute the office of vice president of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws of this nation be upheld, has maintained an improper and unethical relationship with his former employers at Halliburton and has promoted its agenda and interests over those of the American people, in that:
ARTICLE V Using the powers of the office of the vice president of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, contrary to his oath to faithfully execute the office of vice president of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws of this nation be upheld, has granted improper and unlawful influence over national policy to an anonymous cabal of corporate lobbyists, in that:
ARTICLE VI In his conduct of the office of the vice president of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, contrary to his oath to faithfully execute the office of vice president of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws of this nation be upheld, has prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice, in that:


Barak and Claire to the vet's rescue...

From :

Obama and McCaskill Introduce Bill to Fix Walter Reed

Democrats controlling Congress demanded a thorough investigation and promised legislation after a Washington Post series exposed deteriorating conditions for hundreds of outpatients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., the premier US military hospital.

Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, said they would introduce legislation to improve the quality of care and require more frequent inspections of active-duty military hospitals.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Rove! It's always Rove...

From :

Gareth Porter
Rove Said to Have Received 2003 Iranian Proposal

Karl Rove, then White House senior political advisor for President George W. Bush, received a copy of the secret Iranian proposal for negotiations with the United States from former Republican Congressman Bob Ney in early May 2003, according to an Iranian-American scholar who was then on his Congressional staff.



From Secrecy News:


In the unprecedented prosecution of two former officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a federal court last year upheld the government's controversial claim that theEspionage Act could be used to prosecute the unauthorized receipt and transmittal of classified information by private citizens who are not engaged in espionage.

But as the case proceeds, the court continues to interpret the Espionage Act in a restrictive manner that places an increasing burden of proof on the prosecution, and that could even make the case a source of embarrassment for the government by exposing sensitive "back channel" diplomatic practices.

In a decision last week, Judge T.S. Ellis, III, denied a defense motion asking the court to compel testimony from Israeli government officials.

But along the way, the court also elaborated its demanding view of the requirements that the prosecution must meet to win a conviction under the Espionage Act, and indicated what sorts of facts might tend to exculpate the defendants.

"To prove the alleged conspiracy to disclose [national defense information, or NDI] to one not authorized to receive it, the government must prove all of the following," wrote Judge Ellis, at the beginning of a list of prosecutorial hurdles (at page 8) that reiterates and expands upon the requirements first spelled out in his August 2006 order denying a motion to dismiss the case.

Among other things, the government must prove that "defendants ossessed all the culpable mental states that would be necessary for conviction under [the Espionage Act]," which include four distinct states of knowledge or belief (at page 9). Briefly, prosecutors must show that the defendants knew the information involved was closely held and could harm the UnitedStates; that it could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation; that the recipients of the information were not authorized to receive it; and that the defendants acted with knowledge that the disclosures were illegal and could harm national security.

But if the defense can show that U.S. government officials frequently disclosed confidential information to AIPAC for transmittal to the Israeli government, the court observed, that would mean the defendants could have plausibly believed such behavior was authorized.

If "the governments of the United States and Israel routinely used AIPAC as a diplomatic 'back channel' [to convey sensitive information]" that would be "potentially exculpatory" since it could "affect defendants' perception of the propriety of any disclosures made by or to them."

The nature of the relationship between the governments of the U.S.and Israel may also have a bearing on the defendants' state of mind, the Judge wrote, in language that may foreshadow close scrutiny of U.S.-Israel relations at trial; The more specific the details of the alleged cooperation between the two governments, the more probative [i.e., legally significant] such cooperation becomes," Judge Ellis wrote. (p. 14)

In another important observation, the judge wrote that "testimony that disclosures of alleged NDI were viewed by defendants, or their contacts in the diplomatic establishment, as beneficial to the United States' interests is exculpatory." (p. 13)

Similar reasoning would imply that if a news organization published classified information in the belief that doing so was beneficial to the United States, that would take it beyond the scope of the Espionage Act's prohibitions on unauthorized disclosure of national defense information.

The trial of defendants Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman is scheduled to begin on or around June 4 in the Eastern District of Virginia. A separate ruling from Judge Ellis last week denied a defense request to suppress statements made by defendants to FBI agents on grounds that the agents used trickery or deception to elicit the statements.

The two rulings were first reported in the New York Sun on February16.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Obama moves...

From Information Clearing House:

Obama Set For Big Jewish Push :

With millions of campaign dollars at stake as well as votes in a handful of key primary states, the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is poised to dramatically increase its Jewish outreach.


Saturday, February 17, 2007

The corporation is a person....

From Information Clearing House:

The Corporation

This is an extraordinary film about the creation of the American corporation, its legal organizational model, its global economic dominance and its psychopathic tendencies, and its incredible ambition to influence every aspect of culture in its unrelenting pursuit of profit.



Friday, February 16, 2007 they're not...

From Information Clearing House:

We Palestinians Will Honor Our Word
By Afif Safieh

I know of no way to measure suffering, no mechanism to quantify pain. All I know is that we Palestinians are not children of a lesser God.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Now about these banks...

Seems to me that various banks are getting a little uppity. Heard two people complaining about two different banks in the last week. One on the radio, and one via email. Both in San Diego.

First radio one went into the Bank of America to open an account because he wanted to do direct deposits with his paychecks. Bank person got his name, address, social security number and then asked if he had a credit card. The man said, "No." He'd never had one, never used one, didn't want one. BofA guy told him he couldn't open an account then. So the guy went across the street to another bank and opened an account there.

Second person had a check needing cashing. Check was 2 weeks past six months old. Writer of the check had an account at Union Bank. So second person went to a Union Bank. First was told there'd be a $5 service charge. Second person said, "Fine." Then bank person said she'd check first with a manager. Manager said, "No." Policy rigid. Can't be changed. That Union check could not be cashed at the Union Bank.

OK. Second person will see the Union Bank check writer this weekend and get a new check written. No problem since the writer's money is still in the Union Bank.

I figure these kinds of business practices are why people REALLY prefer, and use, credit unions. They certainly are given cause to not deal with certain unfriendly, uppity banks.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Shell game, said Fitzgerald...

From AP via Sacramento Bee:

Testimony ends in CIA leak trial
By MATT APUZZO -- Associated Press Writer
Last Updated 1:36 pm PST Wednesday, February 14, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) Attorneys for former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby rested their case in the CIA leak trial Wednesday after a day of legal wrangling over classified information and whether additional witnesses could be presented.

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald called no rebuttal witnesses, ending the testimony phase of the trial. Closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday.

The final day of testimony in Libby's perjury and obstruction trial had been billed as a blockbuster. Attorneys said for months that Libby and his boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, would testify for the defense.

But Libby's attorneys reversed course Tuesday and said neither man would testify, leaving Wednesday to fight over whether NBC newsman Tim Russert could be called back to testify and how much evidence jurors would hear in Libby's absence.

The change in who would testify prompted U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton to reverse course, too. He told defense attorneys that if Libby didn't testify he would not allow some classified information to be presented to the jury as Libby's defense team had planned.

"My absolute understanding was that Mr. Libby was going to testify," Walton said, recalling why he had agreed months ago to allow some classified information into evidence. "My ruling was based on the fact that he was going to testify."

Walton's decision blocked Libby's plans to call three CIA briefers Wednesday to testify about the classified national security issues Libby faced in mid-2003, when CIA operative Valerie Plame was named in the media.

Libby wanted that testimony to bolster his claim that he never lied to investigators but rather forgot details about Plame's exposure because he was consumed by his workload as Cheney's top aide.

Instead of hearing the CIA witnesses, jurors heard a speech from defense attorney John Cline about Libby's briefings on terrorist threats, bomb scares, insurgent attacks and other issues.
Libby's defense team also wanted to call Russert, a key prosecution witness, back to the stand to explain an apparent inconsistency in his testimony. Walton turned down the request.

Russert testified last week that he never discussed Plame with Libby. Libby told investigators that Russert asked about Plame and said "all the reporters" knew she worked at the CIA.
The Libby-Russert differences in testimony lie at the heart of the case. Libby is accused of making up the Russert call to cover up other conversations he had with reporters and obstruct an investigation into who leaked Plame's identity to reporters.

No one has been charged with revealing that Plame was a CIA operative.


One film and several books...

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


David Morrell's THE SPY WHO CAME FOR CHRISTMAS, an action thriller set in Santa Fe that reinterprets the traditional Nativity story -- from a spy's perspective, to Roger Cooper at Vanguard Press, for publication in October 2008, by Jane Dystel at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (US).


Diane Whiteside's THE BLUE-EYED DEVIL, in which a man's deadly skills are needed to keep an intellectual woman safe in early 1900s Europe after she steals secret plans which could trigger a war, THE ARIZONA DEVIL, where the values of the old west collide with the greedy extravagance of Victorian Newport society during a family feud, and one other historical, to Kate Duffy at Kensington, by Elaine English of Elaine English Literary (world).


Film rights to Robert Harris's POMPEII, to Roman Polanski and Robert Benmussa, of RP Productions, along with Alain Sarde (the team that produced The Pianist), as an independent production, with Polansko directing.


Iowa Writers' Workshop graduate Alan Drew's debut novel telling the story of a family of Turkish Kurds who, stripped of everything in the wake of the 1999 Istanbul earthquake, are forced into an uneasy and potentially disastrous relationship with an American teen and his father in the tent camp they now all call home, to Arzu Tahsin at Bloomsbury, at auction, by Cathryn Summerhayes at William Morris Agency on behalf of Dorian Karchmar at William Morris.


Former Village Voice film critic and New York Times writer Dennis Lim's biography of David Lynch, an in-depth examination of his four-decade film career as a producer, writer and director, to Tom Miller at Wiley, in a nice deal, by James Fitzgerald at the James Fitzgerald Agency (world English).


Gogo Lidz's ADVENTURES IN PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY, an account of being prescribed more than fifteen different stimulants, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers between the ages of 16 and 21, to Karyn Marcus at Doubleday, by Kris Dahl at ICM (World).

David Shields' THE THING ABOUT LIFE IS THAT ONE DAY YOU'LL BE DEAD, coming face-to-face with his preternaturally vital 96-year-old father, he seeks evidence of mortality in his own nerve endings, in biological data, and in the existential statements of thinkers from Lucretius to Coetzee, and REALITY HUNGER: A Manifesto, making the case for the intellectual excitement and significance of nonfiction (in all the arts, not just writing) -- especially works that break down boundaries and risk a kind of nakedness, to Ann Close at Knopf, by Henry Dunow at Dunow, Carlson & Lerner (NA).

Christopher Campion's ESCAPE FROM BELLEVUE AND OTHER STORIES, a celebration of his life as the lead singer for the indie band Knockout Drops, and his misadventures and the alcoholism that landed him in Bellevue three times in two years before he got sober, an expansion of his one-man show which re-opens off-Broadway in 2007, to Erin Moore at Gotham, by Jane Dystel at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (world).


Myles Gregory Osborne's THE BODIES ON THE MOUNTAIN: The Story of May 2006 on Mt. Everest, about rescuing a sick climber at 28,500 feet, to Ellen Garrison at Viking, by Sydelle Kramer at the Susan Rabiner Literary Agency (world).


Novelist and true crime author Diane Fanning tackles the bizarre case of Lisa Nowak, the astronaut accused of attempting to murder a fellow astronaut's girlfriend because of her obession with her colleague, to Charles Spicer at St. Martin's, by Jane Dystel at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (NA)


BushCo ignores Iran's request to talk...

From American Progress:


The Washington Post reports today that a 2003 memo sent to U.S. officials via the Swiss ambassador confirms that "an Iranian proposal for comprehensive talks with the United States had been reviewed and approved by Iran's supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei; then-President Mohammad Khatami; and then-Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi."

The memo, provided by an unnamed source, included a "roadmap" that proposed "putting on the table" long-time demands of the Bush administration, including "such issues as an end to Iran's support for anti-Israeli militants, action against terrorist groups on Iranian soil and acceptance of Israel's right to exist."

According to the Post, their source disclosed the memo in response to feelings that former deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage had "mischaracterized" the memo's contents. According to Newsweek, Armitage said: "We couldn't determine what [in the proposal] was the Iranians' and what was the Swiss ambassador's," adding that he felt the Iranians "were trying to put too much on the table." In addition, a spokesman from the State Department called the document "a creative exercise on the part of the Swiss ambassador."

Despite such doubts, Hillary Mann, the administration's former National Security Council director for Iran and Persian Gulf Affairs compared the memo's significance to the "'two-page document' that Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger received from Beijing in 1971, indicating Mao Zedong's interest in opening China."

In response to questions about this missed opportunity, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice denied ever seeing such a proposal.


Monday, February 12, 2007

Pandagon leaves Edward's blogging team...

From AP via Breitbart News:

Targeted Blogger Quits Edwards CampaignFeb 12 8:14 PM US/Eastern
By MIKE BAKERAssociated Press Writer

One of the chief campaign bloggers for Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards quit Monday after conservative critics raised questions about her history of provocative online messages.

Amanda Marcotte posted on her personal blog, Pandagon, that the criticism "was creating a situation where I felt that every time I coughed, I was risking the Edwards campaign." Marcotte said she resigned from her position Monday, and that her resignation was accepted by the campaign.

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, demanded last week that Edwards fire Marcotte and a second blogger, Melissa McEwan, for remarks he deemed anti-Catholic. Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, called the messages personally offensive, but decided to keep Marcotte and McEwan on staff.

"No matter what you think about the campaign, I signed on to be a supporter and a tireless employee for them, and if I can't do the job I was hired to do because Bill Donohue doesn't have anything better to do with his time than harass me, then I won't do it," Marcotte wrote Monday night.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.


Just what is BushCo's reason for THIS?!!!


Bush's Budget Alarms Safety Advocates

Buried inside President Bush's 2008 budget resolution released last week is a provision that would shift control over how anti-violence programs are funded from the legislative to the executive branch.

The provision would give the Department of Justice, rather than Congress, discretion over how to spend federal dollars earmarked to combat domestic violence and sexual assault.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

No Democracy in Iraq...they don't work that way...

From McClatchy Newspapers


'Democracy..not possible in Iraq'

As a matter of fact if you want to be the speaker of any Iraqi political party you have to be either the founder of the party or his son. Maybe you will have a chance to be the speaker if your grandfather was the speaker but you have to wait for long long time. To all Iraqi political parties… You can not give what you don’t have … you can not.

Blog Iraqi journalists from McClatchy's Baghdad Bureau

Blog Fresno Bee - Capt. Jeff Leonard: Life in Iraq

Blog Anchorage Daily News' Rich Mauer


What? Race horse,Barbaro, NOT DEAD?!!!!

Scanning Walter Scott's "Personality Parade" in "Parade" magazine this afternoon, I see that in answer to a question about how Barbara is doing, Scott replies:

"...his comfort has improved, and he's stable."

Well now that's interesting. I'm wondering just where Scott gets his information from...and does he do any research at all? More, what does that say about the rest of the info he gives in his column? Plus: Where were his editors?!!!


IEDs NOT from Iran....

From Information Clearing House:

ABC And The IED's From Iran That Were Made In The UK :

It was discovered that the new, deadly IED's were using a British design that had been stupidly given to the IRA by British intelligence and then passed around various terror groups the IRA were allied with. Major egg on faces - story dropped


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Yes!!! Fitzgerald as NYT journalist...

From :

Eric Boehlert Scooter Libby and the Media Debacle

Eric Boehlert writes: "The New York Times made headlines last week when it tapped a new DC bureau chief. But if the paper of record really wanted to jump-start its Beltway news operation, maybe it should have tried to lure Patrick Fitzgerald away from the Department of Justice.

Let's face it, as special counsel in charge of investigating the Valerie Plame CIA leak, and now the lead prosecutor in DC federal court methodically laying out the damning evidence against Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, Fitzgerald has consistently shown more interest - and determination - in uncovering the facts of the Plame scandal than most Beltway journalists."


Friday, February 09, 2007

Immigrant concentration USA...

From :

William Fisher
Home-Grown Gitmo

William Fisher writes: "The Bush administration's penchant for privatizing virtually all government operations has combined with the current furor over border security to create another perfect storm - this time for suspected illegal immigrants.

These thousands of people held in detention under the aegis of the US Department of Homeland Security - increasingly in privately-owned jails - are failing to receive timely medical treatment and adequate food, being subjected to frequent sexual harassment, and having their access to lawyers, relatives and immigration authorities improperly limited."

[click link above to continue reading]


Thursday, February 08, 2007

More nukes, better nukes....

From Secrecy News:


The interagency Nuclear Weapons Council (NWC) has formally decided to endorse the proposed Reliable Replacement Warhead(RRW) concept as the basis of the future U.S. nuclear arsenal, a new report from the Congressional Research Service revealed.

In November 2006, "the NWC determined that the RRW is to be adopted as the strategy for maintaining a long term safe, secure and reliable nuclear deterrent," the CRS report stated, quoting from new Department of Energy budget documents (at page CRS-26).

It is a momentous decision on which Congress might be expected to weigh in.Not only that, but RRW development will be funded at the expense of existing nuclear weapons programs, budget documents say, "through reductions in resources required to support legacy weapons" (at page CRS-27)

Defunding work to extend the functional lifetime of existing weapons would tend to foreclose efforts to avoid new nuclear weapons development.According to a CRS calculation (and subject to future adjustments), the projected budget for the RRW program from FY2008-2012 would be $725.1 million, including NNSA and Navy funds.

The Congressional Research Service does not release its publications directly to the public. A copy of the new report was obtained by Secrecy News and posted on the Federation of American Scientists web site. See "Nuclear Weapons: The Reliable Replacement Warhead Program," updated February 8, 2007


Gonzales vs the Senate...


Senate Panel Reacts to Attorney Firings

A Senate panel advanced a bill Thursday to curb the Justice Department's power to replace federal prosecutors indefinitely, after seven forced resignations sparked accusations of political favoritism.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Witness can't testify...quick shipped to Bush...

From American Progress:


For the first time since the war began, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) is holding aggressive oversight hearings into the billions in waste, fraud, and abuse of U.S. funds in Iraq. On Jan. 10, when President Bush first made his plans for escalation public, he also announced plans to "appoint a reconstruction coordinator in Baghdad to ensure better results for economic assistance being spent in Iraq."

The next day, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice named career diplomat Timothy Carney to the position.

During yesterday's hearings, Waxman revealed that the State Department has blocked Carney from appearing at the hearing, despite the fact that Carney personally told Waxman he "was willing to come." Moreover, the Bush administration has apparently rushed him to Baghdad despite claiming that the reason he could not appear at the hearing was because he "did not yet know what he was going to do in Iraq."

Waxman added that the State Department has "now told us that they may make him available to Congress in six months."


Sen Joe Biden's been abused....

February 7, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
This One’s for You, Joe

It’s not double jeopardy exactly, but still, I’d prefer not to kill the same man twice.
And I wanted to follow William Safire’s advice on writing about gaffes and graft: Only kick people when they’re up, not when they’re down.

So I decided to do something completely radical and not pile on.

Having played a role in derailing Joe Biden’s ’88 presidential bid with stories on his overreliance on the speeches of Neil Kinnock and Bobby Kennedy, I feel compelled, now that the guy has slipped on another presidential banana peel 20 years later, to lend him a hand.

I wanted to give him a chance to wipe the slate clean and articulate his positions — without dredging up any painful memories of the words “clean” and “articulate.”

The senator called me between New York fund-raisers last night. After his rough week, he sounded a bit chastened, not at all in the mood for a columnist’s probing questions. He needn’t have feared.

“So,” I asked him sweetly, “why has everyone been so mean to you?”

[continue reading by clicking the link above]


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Singer, Frankie Laine...

...died today, Tuesday, at Scripps Hospital in San Diego.


Call 'em what they are: Concentration Camps...

From In These Times:

Families Behind Bars
U.S. immigration policy is putting kids in jail
By Kari Lydersen

Named after the co-founder of the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the T. Don Hutto Correctional Center in Taylor, Texas, opened as a medium-security prison in 1997. Today, the federal government pays CCA, the nation's largest private prison company, $95 per person per day to house the detainees, who wear jail-type uniforms and live in cells.

But they have not been charged with any crimes. In fact, nearly half of its 400 or so residents are children, including infants and toddlers.

The inmates are immigrants or children of immigrants who are in deportation proceedings. Many of them are in the process of applying for political asylum, refugees from violence-plagued and impoverished countries like Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Somalia and Palestine. (Since there are different procedures for Mexican immigrants, the facility houses no Mexicans.)
Read more >>>


Our military in tears....

From the Washington Post:

Not Ours...Please, Not Ours

Through our intelligence channels, we received news of the US Army Black Hawk helicopter crash minutes after it happened, on January 20, 2007. Not much was known about the incident except it was not ours. All Punisher (our call sign) aircraft were safely accounted for and we would be going home soon, if only we could make it out of here without any casualties.

Our missions continued at the regular fly, eat, sleep pace maintained the whole time we've been here. Many of us started to review the basics of our flight tactics, a result of the news. Our experienced pilots stood up and gave speeches about "making it to the end" and "don't let complacency come into our operations". Because the incident happened outside of the Marine Corps area of responsibility, our internet access was not turned off. This gave all of us the chance to communicate home, "We are OK. It was not a 224th aircraft."

I even wrote home. I have not done it before, but this time I felt that we were so close to going home, it would be better to let my family know we were not involved. Four or five days had passed since the accident was announced and we were all shocked to get the call from our commander. Two of our own were on the flight.

It was a sinking feeling for everybody to learn one of the 2-224th's former commanders, working for the Joint Force Headquarters - Virginia, Col Paul M. Kelly was on the flight. Also on the flight, Staff Sgt Darryl D. Booker, a member of the 2-224th's Flight Operations office, who originally stayed stateside to help run Flight Operations in Sandston, VA while the unit was gone on the deployment.

Several pilots of greater experience and tenure with the unit who knew Col. Kelly and Staff Sgt Booker were to say the least, unnerved. It had been us; we were involved in the crash on January 20, 2007. Some instantly broke out with tears. It was the quiet cry by grown men. No words, no drastic reactions, no sobbing. Just the slow trickle of tears down cheeks, one after another, eventually bringing questions. "How...?"

Within hours of the commander's call, memorial services were planned at Al Asad. The next day all but the necessary flight crews and operations staff remained in TQ, while the rest of the company went to Al Asad for the memorial service, where most of the 2-224th assembled to remember and celebrate the lives of fallen comrades.

By Bert Stover February 5, 2007; 6:25 AM ET


Cheney defies law AGAIN...

From Secrecy News:


In an extraordinary internal challenge to the unruly Office of the Vice President (OVP), the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) has formally petitioned the Attorney General to direct the OVP to comply with a requirement that executive branch organizations disclose statistics on their classification and declassification activity to ISOO.

For the last three years, Vice President Cheney's office has refused to divulge its classification statistics to ISOO, despite a seemingly explicit requirement that it do so. Prior to 2002, such information had routinely been transmitted and reported in ISOO's annual reports to the President.

The disclosure requirement appears in ISOO Directive 1 (at section 2001.80): "Each agency that creates or handles classified information shall report annually to the Director of ISOO statistics related to its security classification program." Such ISOO directives "shall be binding upon the agencies," President Bush wrote in Executive Order 13292 (section 5.1).

Significantly, an "agency" here means not only a statutorily-defined executive branch agency (which would not include the OVP), but also refers to "any other entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information" (which would include the OVP).

Last May, the Federation of American Scientists urged ISOO to press for the Vice President's compliance. (SN, 05/31/06). "Since the Office of the Vice President has publicly staked out a position that openly defies the plain language of the executive order, ISOO now has a responsibility to clarify the matter," we wrote at that time. "Otherwise, every agency will feel free to re-interpret the order in idiosyncratic and self-serving ways."

This week ISOO indicated that it was actively pursuing the matter."With respect to the question you raised, I was unsuccessful in achieving a common understanding with OVP," wrote ISOO director J. William Leonard in a February 5 email message. "Accordingly, in early January, pursuant to section 6.2(b), Executive Order 12958, as amended, I wrote the Attorney General requesting that he render an interpretation on the issue," he wrote.

(Section 6.2(b) of the executive order states that "The AttorneyGeneral, upon request by the head of an agency or the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office, shall render an interpretation of this order with respect to any question arising in the course of its administration.")

"I have not received a reply to this request as of yet," Mr. Leonard wrote. He declined to provide a copy of his January letter to the Attorney General, explaining that it is pre-decisional.

The Justice Department has been asked at least once before to resolve a dispute over implementation of the executive order on classification. In 1999, the Central Intelligence Agency refused to accept the jurisdiction of the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel over Agency classification activity. But the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel issued a ruling in October 1999 that the CIA classification decisions were indeed subject to ISCAP review. That state of affairs was modified byPresident Bush in 2003, when he effectively gave the Director of Central Intelligence a veto over ISCAP decisions.


Employers don't need unions...Workers DO...

From American Progress:


Today, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA) will introduce the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill "which would not only streamline unionizing, but also assure newly organized workers a contract and sanction lawbreakers" who deny workers their right to organize.

A 2005 survey found "53 percent of nonunion workers - that's more than 50 million people - want to join a union, if given the choice." But according to Human Rights Watch, "Legal obstacles tilt the playing field so steeply against freedom of association that the United States is in violation of international human rights standards for workers."

The Employee Free Choice Act would work to break down the barriers workers face when they unite to bargain for better wages and benefits from their employers. "Corporate executives are able to negotiate lavish pay and retirement packages for themselves," a spokesman for Miller said. "Workers ought to at least have the ability to bargain for better wages and benefits."

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has said the House will vote on the bill this session. Learn more about the legislation here.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Physicists: Don't let Bush use nukes....

From Information Clearing House:

Prominent U.S. Physicists Ask Congress Forbid Use of Nuclear Weapons Against Non-Nuclear States
By Kim McDonald

Twenty-two of the nation's most prominent physicists asked Congress today to restrict the authority of President Bush to order nuclear strikes against non-nuclear-weapon states.


Duh!!! Like we didn't know what BushCo wanted...

From :

One Big Stage Show

Those big immigration raids staged in December had nothing to do with enforcing the law while having everything to do with trying to make the Bush Assministration look tough.

The head of meatpacker Swift & Co. said federal officials wanted a high-profile example of an immigration crackdown when they staged raids at its plants in six states, including Minnesota, in an identity theft investigation late last year.

ICE arrested 1,282 workers during raids in Colorado, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Iowa and Minnesota. Of those, 246 now face state or federal identity theft charges and the rest face immigration charges.

President and CEO Sam Rovit said the government rejected the company's offer to help in the investigation months before the Dec. 12 raids.

"They were looking for a marquee to show the administration it was tough on immigration,'' he told the Greeley Tribune for a story published Friday.


What fresh Russian "snow" is this?!!!

From BBC:

Russia probes smelly orange snow

Russia has flown a team of chemical experts to a Siberian region to find out why smelly, coloured snow has been falling over several towns.

Oily yellow and orange snowflakes fell over an area of more than 1,500sq km (570sq miles) in the Omsk region on Wednesday, Russian officials said.

Chemical tests were under way to determine the cause, they said.

Residents have been advised not to use the snow for household tasks or let animals graze on it.
"So far we cannot explain the snow, which is oily to the touch and has a pronounced rotten smell," said Omsk environmental prosecutor Anton German, quoted by the Russian news agency Itar-Tass on Thursday.

"We are waiting for the results of a thorough test on samples."

But Vladimir Gurzhey, an official with the civil defence ministry in Omsk, told the Russia TV channel that the snow had four times the normal levels of iron in it.

The TV also reported that coloured snow had fallen in the neighbouring regions of Tomsk and Tyumen.

Omsk, in western Siberia, is a centre of Russia's oil industry. About 27,000 people live in the areas affected by the snow, Russian officials said.


Friday, February 02, 2007

From greenhouse gas to Wolfowitz's sox...

From American Progress:

Think Fast

A new international climate report reveals that "there can be no question that the increase in greenhouse gases are dominated by human activities." White House official Sharon Hays called the report "significant," but stopped short of saying whether it would change President Bush's policy on greenhouse gas emissions.

-1 percent: The personal savings rate for Americans, now at the "lowest level since the Great Depression." Economists "warn that the phenomenon exists at a particularly bad time with 78 million baby boomers approaching retirement age."

The Senate's vote yesterday to increase the minimum wage included $8.3 billion in tax cuts to small businesses. Since the minimum wage was last raised 10 years ago, Congress has given small businesses $36 billion in tax breaks.

"President Bush's 2008 budget will call for the largest Pell Grant increase in three decades," following proposals by the House and the Senate to raise it. The maximum Pell Grant "has remained at $4,050 a year since 2002, lagging behind tuition increases and inflation."

"The U.S. military drive to train and equip Iraq's security forces has unwittingly strengthened anti-American Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia." Sadr's militias have heavily infiltrated the Iraqi police and army units that U.S. troops have trained.

Federal Judge Reggie Walton agreed to let prosecutors show video clips of a former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan telling reporters in 2003 that former vice presidential aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby "had nothing to do" with leaking information about the wife of a Bush administration critic. See our video compilation HERE.

The Washington Post's David Ignatius on how the Libby trial reveals a "failed cover-up": "The White House was worried that the CIA would reveal that it had been pressured in 2002 and early 2003 to support administration claims about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. ... The machinations of Cheney, Libby and others were an attempt to weave an alternative narrative that blamed the CIA."

And finally: Wolfowitz gets some decent socks. "The fashion police came to the rescue of World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, who made worldwide headlines by revealing his holey socks at a mosque in Turkey last weekend." See the photographic evidence here. "A Gold Toe rep delivered 21 pairs of dress socks to his office yesterday (labeled 'rush delivery'), Turkish sock manufacturers mailed a dozen pairs, and employees also presented him with a pair."