Saturday, June 30, 2007
Congress joined the Bush Administration for a nice little barbecue on the South Lawn last night. The theme was Mardi Gras, so everybody
could enjoy memories of New Orleans being destroyed by the Bush Administration and then pretty much left in that same condition years later.
And then Bush told the black musicians to clean up after the politicians.
THE PRESIDENT: Kermit Ruffins and the Barbeque Swingers, right out of New Orleans, Louisiana. (Applause.)
MR. RUFFINS: Thank you. Thanks for having us. We’re glad to be here.
THE PRESIDENT: Proud you’re here. Thanks for coming. You all enjoy
yourself. Make sure you pick up all the trash after it’s over.
South Carolina Treasurer Thomas Ravenel has been suspended from office, following his indictment by a federal grand jury for distribution of cocaine....As well, he serves as the state chairman for former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign. Late Tuesday, Giuliani's campaign announced he stepped down from that role.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Violent Muslim, Christian and Jewish extremists invoke the same rhetoric of "good" and "evil" and the best way to fight them is to tackle the problems that drive people to extremism, according to a report obtained by Reuters.
It said extremists from each of the three faiths often have tangible grievances -- social, economic or political -- but they invoke religion to recruit followers and to justify breaking the law, including killing civilians and members of their own faith.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
White House aides made extensive use of political e-mail accounts for official government business, despite rules requiring that they conduct such business through official communications channels, according to evidence disclosed Monday by congressional investigators.
From the Chicago Tribune.
Federal agencies ignored 30 percent of the laws Bush objected to in signing statements last year, according to a report released today by the Government Accountability Office. In 2006, President Bush issued signing statements for 11 out of the 12 appropriations bills passed by Congress, claiming a right to bypass a total of 160 provisions in them.
In a sample set of 19 provisions, the GAO found that “10 provisions were executed as written, 6 were not, and 3 were not triggered and so there was no agency action to examine.”
From Think Progress.
The Army two-star general who led the first investigation into detainee abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq believes that senior defense officials were involved in directing abusive interrogation policies and said that he was forced to retire early because of his pursuit of the issue, says an article to be published tomorrow in the New Yorker magazine.
From the Washington Post.
Monday, June 25, 2007
The odds of building a stable Iraqi government by September are slim, even with the addition of 30,000 U.S. troops to give lawmakers in Baghdad security, said the top U.S. general in the Middle East country.
The ``aggregate level'' of violence has not diminished since the troop increase began five months ago, General David Petraeus said in an interview on ``Fox News Sunday.'' Asked whether he thought the strategy could succeed by early September when he's due to report to Congress, Petraeus was negative.
"I do not, no. I think we have a lot of heavy lifting to do,'' he said. "This is a tough effort.''
Lawmakers in Congress, including the top Republican in the U.S. Senate, said they won't tolerate the lack of progress. "The Iraqi government has been a pretty big disappointment,'' Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican and minority leader, said on CBS's ``Face the Nation'' show. "We've given them an enormous opportunity here, over the last four years, to have a normal country. And our commitment will not be there forever.''
Iraqi politicians have failed to deliver on promises to craft laws that would share Iraq's oil revenue, hold local elections, disarm sectarian militias and settle political differences that are paralyzing government.
But then this comes along....
In an interview with The New Yorker magazine, Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who led the Pentagon's investigation into the abuses at Abu Ghraib, revealed that he believed high-level military officials, including then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, knew about the abuses at the Iraqi prison. But Taguba had been unable to write about it because his inquiry was narrowly focused on the 800th Military Police brigade stationed at the prison. "I suspected that somebody was giving them guidance, but I could not print that," Taguba told reporter Seymour Hersh. Taguba, who is just now making his first public comments about his investigation, also revealed that the Pentagon forced him to retire early because of his aggressive pursuit of the issue, and that he had been threatened over the report by the then-commander of Central Command Gen. John Abizaid, who told him that "you and your report will be investigated." Taguba said the comment made him feel like he was in the Mafia rather than the Army.
From The Progress Report, 6/18/2007
But what Mr. Bush didn't mention, and what he almost never mentions, is the National Debt. With good reason.
To hear President Bush tell it, he's on the side of the angels when it comes to federal spending. In his Saturday radio address, he blasted congressional Democrats for pursuing "tax and spend policies," while trumpeting his own commitment to keep taxes low and restrain federal spending. He said his plan will produce a balanced federal budget by 2012.
On the day he took office, the National Debt stood at this unfathomable number:
In fiscal shorthand, that's $5.7 trillion dollars. Trillion with a "T."
Six and a half years later, the Bureau of Public Debt tells us the National Debt clocks in at a staggering:
That's $8.8 trillion – an increase of $3.1 trillion dollars since January 20, 2001.
And that amounts to a jump of 54% during Mr. Bush's watch.
From CBS News.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Two people operating the Internet business Movies by Mail have been charged with one count of selling obscene material, including movies showing sexual acts with women dressed to look underage, the U.S. Department of Justice announced late Thursday.
From PC World.
"Why did God not like Cain's vegetable sacrifice but loved Abel's cooked meat?"
"Who was Cain afraid would kill him when God put him out of the Garden for killing Abel? There were mom, dad, bro and himself on the whole planet at the time."
Read more at Op Ed News.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
On the eve of the 2000 election, George W Bush clearly articulated why we should vote for him, and why he should be our president:
"Responsible leadership sets a tone of civility and bipartisanship that gets things done. I am a uniter, not a divider and, as the governor of Texas, that is how I have led. It is how I will lead in the White House."
And it's working.
Now some would think that 65% of country (as high as 71% in some polls), joined shoulder to shoulder, arms locked in solidarity disapproving of how the president is doing his job qualifies as uniting the country. While this may be close enough for some, it is not enough for this President. He understands that the remaining ~30% of his support is comprised of hard core loyalists that fully intend to stand with him through thick and thin. With only 18 months left in his presidency, he realizes he must act decisively if he is going to truly be a "uniter".
The House on Friday approved the spending of $37.4 billion next year
by the Department of Homeland Security, calling for significantly more spending than proposed by the Bush administration, including hundreds of millions in extra state and local antiterrorism grants.
President Bush has threatened to veto such a package, saying that it is too expensive and that it includes provisions, like a requirement that department contractors pay their employees more competitive wages, that he opposes. The Senate has not yet passed the legislation.
From the New York Times.
Senate Republicans have vowed to kill organized labor's top legislative priority of the year, and it looks like they'll soon get their
chance. The measure, which would make it easier for workers to form unions, cleared the House earlier this year on a party-line vote.
It's been awaiting action in the Senate since March, and Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is circulating word that he'll seek passage before lawmakers begin their July 4 vacation.
From Sign On San Diego.