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Peter B. Collins
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April 20, 2006
Source: The Nation's Weblogs
As Stoller writes, the only real shake up can come in November. He adds:
November is an interim step which can help improve things, but as Greg Mitchell points out we face a crisis: these idiots are in charge for 33 more months.
I know what it's like to reason with cranky 5-year olds who aren't getting what they want. For those of you who haven't been graced with this pleasurable experience, (and I mean that with as much sarcasm as I could possibly muster) President Bush has offered a good snapshot.
In light of a rash of changes occurring among White House staff members, Bush emphasized yesterday that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's job is secure, despite calls for his resignation from six retired military generals.
In a childish display of emotion, Bush told reporters:I hear the voices and I read the front page and I know the speculation. But I'm the decider and I decide what's best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense."
Bush's expression of support for Rumsfeld doesn't cancel out the fact that he's currently one of the most hated members of Bush's staff. With approval ratings as low as they are, it's bound to only be a matter of time before Joshua Bolten, Karl Rove, Joel Kaplan, or whoever else is pretending to be Bush's deputy chief of something that week, decides it's time for Rumsfeld to go.
And I can only imagine what they'll say to Bush... "no, Mr. President. I'm the decider!"
Source: Democracy for America
The New York Times calls it an "overhaul." The Washington Post declares yesterday's staff shuffle evidence of a White House "in survival mode." Yesterday, the nation was abuzz over the flurry of surprise staff announcements. This is change! This is a huge shake-up! It will re-invigorate the White House!
But this isn't change. This is musical chairs.
It's a choreographed dance where staffer X moves from point A to point B while staffer Y moves from point B to point A. Let's take Joel Kaplan (already working in the White House as deputy budget director) and give him the spanking new job of...working in the White House (this time as deputy chief of staff for policy).
Let's take Josh Bolten (who worked in the White House as policy coordinator) and use his talents....in the White House (this time as chief of staff). Let's take Rob Portman (appointed by Bush as his U.S. Trade Rep) and have him appointed now as OMB director.
It's the same old pattern. Need a new Secretary of State? Look no further than your National Security Advisor. Need a Supreme Court Justice? Look no further than your personal lawyer (until the right-wing takes her down). Need a new Health & Human Services Secretary? Just transfer over the guy you appointed as head of the EPA. As Josh Marshall opines, where are the new faces? There will never be new faces. Why?
Because Bush. Doesn't. Do. Change.
Have you ever been to the rodeo? No? Neither have I. But I suspect if I did, I'd see something that would resemble this presidency. Bush clings to his cabal of advisers like a cowboy on a bucking bull. He digs his heels in, holds on to his hat, gives it a kick, and rides the bull as it bucks left and right, up and down. There's lots of commotion, lots of dust flying in the air, but in the end, when the dust clears, you're left with a sweaty, panting cowboy sitting atop of the same bull, being cheered by the damn crowd for surviving it all.
Use whatever metaphor you want. Bull, rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic, shuffling a rigged deck of cards. The fact is that the White House "shake-up" is aimed at providing the media and the public an illusion of change. It's a convenient way to project a sense of self-reflection (not to mention a convenient way to get Rumsfeld's name out of the headlines, right?)
The morning after, Rove is still Bush's top advisor (only now with more free time to play dirty politics), Rumsfeld is still our incompetent Secretary of Defense, failed Micheal Chertoff is still head of Homeland Security, and Alberto Gonzales is still pushing the unitary executive theory over at the Department of Justice.
For Bush, the more things (appear) to change, the more they remain the same.
Here locally, the awful Jim Gerlach has repeatedly accuse candidate Lois Murphy of being a plagiarist. It's an utterly stupid charge, as it's for the kind of thing candidates and politicians do all the time. They claim ownership and endorsement, not authorship, of speeches, legislation, plans, proposals, etc. That's not to say a politician could never be guilty of actual plagiarism, but they aren't exactly held to the standards of college English class or non-Domenech journalism. Here's Gerlach's most recent press release where he makes the charge yet again. It's apparently the only thing he's got in his campaign, as he knows he's going to lose. But, hey, since he thinks this is the most important issue facing the country let's hold him to his own standard.
The Gerlach campaign has said this kind of "plagiarism" (which isn't really plagiarism, but he's setting the standard, not me), demonstrates someone "has no integrity and lacks any ethical standards" and "calls into question everything that comes out of” Murphy's mouth.
So, turnabout is in this case fair play. I give you the wanker Jim Gerlach, serial plagiarist.
First, Gerlach sends out a press release which is identical to a four month old House Education and Workforce Committee press release. A sample. Committee release:
He also published identical material as Jon Porter and Barrett Gresham on the same day.
Anyway, there are more examples. One could waste an entirely lifetime hunting for them I imagine. This is a stupid issue. But, Jim Gerlach is a serial plagiarist!
Call his campaign headquarters and ask him when he's going to stop plagiarizing.
And then donate some money to Lois Murphy to help get this idiot out of office.
by Samuel Bostaph Although much has been written and said about the casualties of war, there are few mentions of the casualties of those committed to peace and opposed to war. In demonstrations against past wars, protestors have been beaten by police, imprisoned and rendered penniless by expenditures on defense lawyers, as well as had their [...]
Source: Prog. Dems of America
From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE...
Bill Bennett doesn't think the New York Times reporters who exposed President Bush's illegal wiretapping activities should have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize because "[They] revealed the existence of the [NSA] surveillance program---so people are going to stop making calls---since they are now aware of this---they're going to adjust their behavior." In the interest of understanding the neo-con knuckledragger mind, C&J takes you back before the Times story broke in today's episode of...
Bennett World Fantasy Theatre:
Terrorist 1: Hey-lo??
Terrorist 2: Hey, it's me! I thought we'd talk about our next bombing target against the American pigdogs!
Terrorist 1: Great! I have the secret plans right here.
Terrorist 2: So...what are we going to blow up today?
Terrorist 1: I thought we would... [Click] Hey, did you hear that?
Terrorist 2: I think so.
Terrorist 1: Do you think the Americans are monitoring our calls?
Terrorist 2: Ha ha, no! You're crazy! Wouldn't we have read about such a surveillance program in a major American newspaper? We are perfectly safe on this landline. Now, about our secret attack...
[Ding Dong!] [Ding Dong!]
Terrorist 1: Hang on, someone's at the door.
Terrorist 2: Someone's at my door, too! Aeiiiiiii!!! American pigdog Michael Chertoff!! How did you know of our location?
Michael Chertoff [in white hat, chaps and spurs; pokes finger in terrorist's chest]: Because, you terrorist scum, we have a little thing called the NSA. We've been monitoring your phone lines for days. It's a...a little secret of ours. And now, I think you and your terrorist friend on the other end `o the line are gonna spend the rest of your days in...
Terrorist 1: Don't say it...!
Chertoff: The POKEY. Book `im, Danno.
Terrorist 2: Damn you, George Bush and your secret eavesdropping program that we knew nothing about until just now! Damn you!!
Join us next time for another episode of...Bennett World Fantasy Theatre!
Meanwhile Cheers and Jeers starts in There's Moreville... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
One of the best ways to cut through the propaganda about the risk of potentially dangerous activity is to look at what businesses with a financial stake in getting it right are doing. Want to see if smoking is really bad for you, despite what Tobacco Industry lobbyists say? Look at premiums and mortality/morbidity tables for smokers used by insurance companies. So what does the insurance industry think of climate change?
[Environmental Science Online] As the world's largest industry, the insurance business faces more financial risk from global warming than any other sector of the economy. To better understand how business leaders are dealing with the dilemma, ES&T spoke with Evan Mills, a staff scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Right now, the media seems to be caught in a debate over whether hurricanes are becoming stronger because of global warming. What does the insurance industry predict?
Earlier this year, the insurers' catastrophe [CAT] modelers unveiled their first attempt to incorporate the implications of climate change [...] The net result was an approximately 45% increase in previously expected insured losses due to changes in the physical characteristics of the extreme weather events alone.
Why do the insurance companies buy into the science?
I would say that insurers are better equipped to understand and evaluate the science than most other industries, and they have no particular vested interest in propping up polluting industries. [...] Insured losses from weather-related events in 2005 approached $80 billion (4 times those from 9/11) ...
Hurricane season is a little over one month away.
April 19, 2006
This may very well be the most moronic move by any organization this election cycle.
U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island is seen as one of the most vulnerable Republican senators in the country. But Wednesday, the national Sierra Club came out in support of him.
The Sierra Club is endorsing Chafee even though the group gave the senator only a 20 percent rating in its environmental scorecard in 2004.
The club said a vote for Chafee is better than a vote for a Democrat because of his position as a dissident within the majority party.
Um, guys over at the Sierra Club? Yeah, you, Carl Pope? How has Bill Frist and the Republican Congress been for your agenda? You know, the guys that Chafee enabled? And how was his 20 percent rating? That's all it takes to get an endorsement these days? Are you really that easy?
Of course, the idea would be to make Republicans the minority party. But good luck seeing your agenda continue to be demolished by the GOP leadership Chafee will continue to enable.
The newest issue of Texas Monthly features Tom DeLay, with that ridiculous, smug grin on his face, the headline alongside reading "Don't let the door hit you... How Tom DeLay self-destructed."
When I directed a friend to the article, he said "you know you're in the crapper when a magazine like Texas Monthly turns on a fellow member of the GOP!" I couldn't have said it better.
Let's face itthe man gets around. Yesterday, The Houston Chronicle reported that DeLay was possibly involved in the New Hampshire phone-jamming scandal.
Americans for a Republican Majority, DeLay's political action committee, gave $5,000 to the New Hampshire Republican State Committee in 2002, just as Republican operatives were shelling out thousands more to tie up phone lines at Democratic get-out-the-vote centers on Election Day. Two casino-fueled tribes, California's Agua Caliente Ban of Cahuilla Indians and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, also gave generously to the New Hampshire Republican State Committee at the same time.
Coincidence? Or collusion among "Friends of Jack Abramoff?"
New Hampshire Democratic chairwoman Kathy Sullivan asked "what's the sound of two scandals crashing together?" She also added that it is "very unusual for the tribes to give directly to state parties in non-gaming states, which include New Hampshire."
The Chronicle also reported that DeLay had raised nearly $500,000 for his own campaign in the six weeks before he announced his resignation. The money "can be used for legal expenses or political activities." Hmm... wonder which one it will be?
DeLay awaits a trial in Austin on campaign finance charges, and he is currently undergoing a federal investigation involving his ties to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. He has claimed innocence, but, as the evidence is clearly stacked against him, he's obviously expecting a pretty big trial. In fact, his website is still soliciting campaign contributions, even as it sports his resignation statement. However, DeLay's donors are happy to help finance his legal expenses.
"I'd assume he can convert it and pay some of his legal bills, and that is perfectly OK with me," engineering firm Jones and Carter Inc. president Bob Jones said. Jones contributed $4,200 to DeLay's campaign at the end of March.
Aww, how sweet. Remember, if you're a ridiculously corrupt Republican politician facing time in prison, you'll always have your friends in big business to bail you out.
Source: Democracy for America
Love them! They're languishing in obscurity! Let the night shift lavish attention where the day shift couldn't:
Add any favorites you found today in comments below ... and let's talk! I'm full of exclamation points tonight! Don't know why!
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