Friday, December 30, 2005
According to a Yahoo news story, Jack Abramoff is close to his plea deal with federal prosecutors. Rumor has it that in exchange for a shorter prison sentence, Abramoff is naming names.
"Making a list and checking it twice,
Going to find out who is naughty and ...."
The Toledo Blade has another great article. This time they expose that Republican big contributors often get appointments on state colleges' boards of trustees. Not only are these appointments payoffs for political support but the trustees also get "perks" with their service:
Trustees appointed by the governor’s office to sit on the boards of Ohio’s public colleges have contributed more than $500,000 to fund the political ambitions of Gov. Bob Taft, a Blade investigation shows.
About 80 percent of current governor-appointed trustees and their spouses have contributed to political candidates, pouring nearly $3 million into the state’s political money machine since 1990 — contributing overwhelmingly to Republicans...
Catherine Turcer, the legislative director of the watchdog group, Ohio Citizen Action, said appointments are considered a “wonderful perk” for contributors.
“The people who give in this kind of significant way ... can be rewarded in a variety of ways,” Ms. Turcer said. “And this is one of them.”
The appointment process has allowed for the selection of high-dollar contributors, like Tom Noe. Despite being a college dropout, Mr. Noe was appointed to the Ohio Board of Regents, which oversees the state’s colleges and universities.
Mr. Noe also was appointed to the Ohio Turnpike Commission and earlier was given a trustee position at Bowling Green State University. He resigned his appointments last spring amid the controversy surrounding his management of Ohio’s defunct $50 million rare-coin investment.
Other appointees include Ann Brennan, a University of Akron trustee, who, along with her husband, has contributed more than $1 million to Ohio political candidates. The list includes Columbus State Community College Trustee William Antonoplos, a Columbus lobbyist who has contributed more than $100,000 on the state level...
**** "You are so grounded!"
An American high school student decided to do some real investigative reporting by going to Iraq to check out the war. Yahoo News Wouldn't you like to be in the room when his parents greet him? I'm sure they are relieved he is safe, but they must be very upset with his trip to a war zone.
**** Stupid, Stupid, Stupid
Britney Spears wants to have another baby with her husband, Kevin Federline. WHY? MSNBC has the story.
***** The Best is Yet to Come
Jack Abramoff will be pouring his heart out to investigators about his ties to lawmakers. Republicans Tom DeLay and Bob Ney must be feeling pretty, pretty good right now. MSNBC
****** Bitter Waitress
The next time you consider leaving a gratuity at a restaurant, think about how you'd feel if your name was listed at http://www.bitterwaitress.com/std/ as a bad tipper. There are lists of regular people, celebrities, and the cheapskates. Beware! The comments are not for the faint-hearted. There is also a search feature.
Recent stories have been attacking workers who have pensions. The transit strike in New York City had the mayor and newspapers attacking the employees for wanting to protect their pensions. Stories about the financial problems of American automakers often note that the companies have to deal with the burden of pensions. The pensions were promises made by companies and governments, and workers contributed to their pensions. White collar workers have IRA's and 401K's and others have pensions. Stop attacking the workers and their pensions!
**** Fun With Wings
Are you looking for a fun place to take the kids, family and friends? You should visit Quaker Steak and Lube. The food is terrific and the car-themed decor makes it a fun place. Look for the Lube Guy and don't forget to tip your waiter/waitress!
Thursday, December 29, 2005
The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics recently issued its monthly report for the month of November. The numbers were positive. In November alone, 215,000 new jobs were created. In the past 12 months, the economy has created nearly 2 million jobs, and over 4.4 million jobs have been created since May of 2003. What is more, the unemployment rate is at 5.0 percent, which is lower than the average of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
This means more Americans are working than ever before in our nation’s history, and America’s small business owners are operating in an environment of lower taxes and less government interference, which is further fueling their growth.However, Schmidt doesn't have a clue about the counties she represents. As a matter of fact, some of the counties have actually had an INCREASE in unemployment (Ohio Unemployment Figures).
Counties......Nov. 05 unemployment %.....Oct. 05 unemployment %
The average unemployment rate for Schmidt's district is 6.52%. That doesn't sound like growth or success. Perhaps Rep. Schmidt should concentrate on getting jobs for the people in her district instead of hiding in her locked office in the House of Representatives.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
According to the Franklin County Municipal Court Clerk website, he was ticketed for speeding on 6/19/2001. He was going 78 in a 65 mph zone. (http://www.fcclerk.com)
In Hamilton County, he was ticketed for speeding on 8/17/2000, but the charge was dismissed. Also, in Hamilton County, Brinkman had a traffic light violation on 3/9/98 for which he was convicted. On 1/8/2001 he was cited for some traffic violation, convicted by a plea, the case was filed 9/21/2001 and he paid the fine. Brinkman also had a problem with some unauthorized license plate in Jan. 2000 for which he paid a fine. Don't believe me? Go to this page http://www.courtclerk.org/crim_namesearch.asp and enter in the appropriate spaces Brinkman Thomas. (Note: check the birthdays--his is 1957. Sometimes he is Thomas E Brinkman, Jr or just Thomas Brinkman).
I want to know how this guy hasn't lost his drivers' license!!!!!
Paul Hackett, candidate for U.S. Senate for Ohio, has been an inspiration for many Iraq war vets. Hackett has inspired other vets to run for office as Democrats. Read the story here. Hackett and these other vets would bring a fresh perspective to the U.S. Senate. Check out Paul's campaign site.
According to MSNBC.com, we are to believe that President Bush has become an "avid" reader. He has two books that he intends to read over his "vacation" time in Texas--- When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt After the White House (512 pages) and Imperial Grunts: The American Military On the Ground ( 448 pages). Someone should give him a quiz on each book because I doubt that he will completely read either book. It sure looks good to carry the books.
Raw Story has information that indicates that the National Security Agency spied on members of the U.N. Security Council. Here is an excerpt:
President Bush and other top officials in his administration used the National Security Agency to secretly wiretap the home and office telephones and monitor private email accounts of members of the United Nations Security Council in early 2003 to determine how foreign delegates would vote on a U.N. resolution that paved the way for the U.S.-led war in Iraq, NSA documents show.
Two former NSA officials familiar with the agency's campaign to spy on U.N. members say then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice authorized the plan at the request of President Bush, who wanted to know how delegates were going to vote. Rice did not immediately return a call for comment.....
Doesn't that make you feel good about your government?
The warrantless wiretaps have also opened up another can or worms. The New York Times has the following:
Defense lawyers in some of the country's biggest terrorism cases say they plan to bring legal challenges to determine whether the National Security Agency used illegal wiretaps against several dozen Muslim men tied to Al Qaeda.
The lawyers said in interviews that they wanted to learn whether the men were monitored by the agency and, if so, whether the government withheld critical information or misled judges and defense lawyers about how and why the men were singled out.
The expected legal challenges, in cases from Florida, Ohio, Oregon and Virginia, add another dimension to the growing controversy over the agency's domestic surveillance program and could jeopardize some of the Bush administration's most important courtroom victories in terror cases, legal analysts say.
The question of whether the N.S.A. program was used in criminal prosecutions and whether it improperly influenced them raises "fascinating and difficult questions," said Carl W. Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond who has studied terrorism prosecutions....
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
I hope that some grape growers in Northern California come to their senses, otherwise I will stop buying their wine. The Mercury News has this story:
Some winery owners have summoned authorities to trap and shoot black bears - as well as wild pigs, deer, turkeys and mountain lions - that plundered their vineyards. The killings have sparked debate over the future of wildlife in the nation's most famous wine-growing region....
...With premium Cabernet grapes that can be produced only in mountainous regions selling for $5,000 to $7,000 a ton, vineyards have sprouted on slopes and ridgetops where animals make their homes. The state is required to issue extermination permits if property owners show evidence of damage caused by wildlife, Larson said.
Earlier this year, animal control officers caught and killed four black bears - two males and two females - at the Aetna Springs Vineyard in the rugged Pope Valley. Winery owner Paul Maroon said he had tried scaring off the bears, but resorted to getting rid of them for good because he feared they might hurt his field workers....
Grape growers in Northern California: the bears and the other animals were there first. You entered their habitat. Either build better fences, or risk losing customers if you continue to have animals killed.
When I think of Montana, I think of the beauty of nature and good people. Unfortunately, Conrad Burns doesn't fit into any of those categories. I cannot understand how the people of Montana can give their support to a man who is motivated more by money than preserving their state and helping its people.
Montana Republican Senator Conrad Burns, took big money in contributions from Abramoff and his associates. Although Burns plans to return the money, there is still the fact that money was given for the purpose of gaining influence. Recently, Burns said that the 9/11 hijackers had entered the U.S. through Canada. He was wrong. Later he said he misspoke. Really? When one makes an error in speaking, it is usually by substituting one word for another. Burns said what he meant to say, but now he got caught. Nice going, Burns! You've just pissed off an entire country with your ignorance! Shame.
NORM, NORM, NORM
Minnesota Republican, Sen. Norm Coleman, has gotten many of his constituents angry. Here is why:
Coleman, R-Minn., said the bill deserved an up-or-down vote, and that he would have voted against it if ANWR survived. But environmental groups said his vote against the filibuster amounted to a breaking of his 2002 campaign pledge to oppose ANWR drilling...
Nice try, Norm. I still can't believe that people voted for this twit. Have you ever heard him ask questions in a committee meeting? Perfectly awful.
Friday, December 23, 2005
"This has been a year of strong progress toward a freer, more peaceful world and a prosperous America. It's been a good year for the American people."
The above quote was said by President George W. Bush. I totally disagree with his comment. 2005 has been a horrible year:
1. 880 of our military have died in Iraq in 2005 and many others have been wounded.
2. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas are still recovering from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The promised help and rebuilding have yet to start.
3. We discovered that FEMA is a totally inept agency.
4. The Republican Culture of Corruption: Abramoff, Scanlon, Ney, Tom DeLay, Duke Cunningham, Bill "insider trading" Frist, Ohio's Tom "Coingate Noe, Governor Bob Taft's ethics violations, etc., etc., etc.
5. The CIA leak case involves people employed in the White House including Scooter Libby, possibly Karl Rove, and others.
6. Under Bush's administration, our national debt has increased by $2 trillion.
7. Teri Schiavo's death was used by Republicans as a publicity stunt.
8. Thousands of people continue to die in Darfur.
9. Our government is spying on us without going to court to get warrants.....
10. Continued tax cuts for the rich in a time of war are creating problems in our country.
There are many, many, many more items that could be included in this list, but it is getting late.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Did you know that White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's brother, Mark, works as the Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator? This is just another example of cronyism in this administration.
Most elected officials will make their way home during the congressional break. Where will Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, his wife, and six children spend their holidays----in the 2 bedroom house in Penn Hills, PA he calls his PERMANENT RESIDENCE, or the $600,000, mansion in Virginia? Guess. It looks like Santorum has flip-flopped on intelligent design. The Philadelphia Inquirer says:
Early this year, Sen. Rick Santorum commended the Dover Area School District for "attempting to teach the controversy of evolution."
But one day after a federal judge ruled that the district's policy on intelligent design was unconstitutional, Santorum said he was troubled by court testimony that showed some board members were motivated by religion in adopting the policy.
And, he said in an interview, he disagreed with the board for mandating the teaching of intelligent design, rather than just the controversy surrounding evolution...
...In a 2002 Washington Times op-ed, Santorum wrote: "Therefore, intelligent design is a legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in science classes..."
Flippety, floppity, flippety, floppity.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
QUESTION (Blitzer): Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said last night, "If the courts should have been involved, I want them involved. Because you are at war, it doesn't justify doing away with the process that keeps you free." Which is a statement that sort of underscores, like Senator Specter, a Republican, and others that they want to hear more justification for this because they're not yet convinced that the legal authority, as you cite in the Constitution Article II or the legislation passed right after 9/11 justify use of force in Afghanistan --
I disagree with Rice. The Supreme Court, not the Attorney General, is the highest legal authority in the country. This is basic middle school civics information.
Update on ANWR Drilling:
This afternoon we've seen real leadership by Washington Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell. Senator Cantwell said, " We are not going to drill our way to energy independence." She is correct. Until we learn how to build more energy efficient cars, build better mass transit, we cannot solve our energy problems. Cantwell showed that we will not allow ourselves to be bullied by the Republican majority.
Republican Sen. Stevens of Alaska inserted the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling into the Defense spending bill. Democrats stood against Stevens' pet project (to drill in ANWR). Stephens has been pushing this drilling in Alaska to help some of his big contributors---oil companies.
Also, I am tired of Senator "insider trading" Frist. He is such a whiner. Frist does what he can to blow his own horn. However, we will not forget that his budget cuts came because the Republican Party slashed programs for college students, the elderly, children, the disabled, and the poor. Frist keeps talking about cutting the deficit, but his leadership has granted more money for the rich and the lobbyists. It is obvious, that Frist, who is from a wealthy family, is unwilling to help those who need us most. Shame.
Drudge and the Republicans have taken some Clinton and Carter stuff out of context in an effort to support Bush's no warrant wiretapping. However, Drudge and the Republicans ARE WRONG AGAIN!!!! Think Progress has the evidence:
*What Clinton actually signed:
Section 1. Pursuant to section 302(a)(1) [50 U.S.C. 1822(a)] of the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance] Act, the Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order, to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year, if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that section.
*What Carter’s executive order actually says:
1-101. Pursuant to Section 102(a)(1) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1802(a)), the Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order, but only if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that Section.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
According to the New York Times, "Counterterrorism agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have conducted numerous surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations that involved, at least indirectly, groups active in causes as diverse as the environment, animal cruelty and poverty relief, newly disclosed agency records show..."
"...One F.B.I. document indicates that agents in Indianapolis planned to conduct surveillance as part of a "Vegan Community Project." Another document talks of the Catholic Workers group's "semi-communistic ideology." A third indicates the bureau's interest in determining the location of a protest over llama fur planned by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals."
I've never heard of dangerous vegans! Catholics? Llamas? What the heck is going on?
Monday, December 19, 2005
Forbes has this news: Vice President Richard Cheney said the September 11 attacks on the United States could have been averted, if the government had the power to monitor electronic communications inside the country.
Do you believe this? Do you remember when Condoleeza Rice read the title of that PDB (President's Daily Briefing) called "Bin Laden Determined to Strike the United States"? This was months before September 11th and this administration still did nothing with this warning. It all just seems like they are trying to justify the fact that they broke the law!!!
After last night's speech, which was just like Bush's other speeches, people are getting tired of the broken record. It doesn't matter how many times it is said, how it is said, or where it is said, Bush's war in Iraq was a bad idea. Repeating the message will not change our minds. Our young people are paying with their lives and it is time to bring them home.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
>Some guy named Hinderaker can't understand why people are still talking about Valerie Plame. Mr. Hinderaker doesn't care that she was a CIA agent, her identity was revealed, and that act is illegal. However, my statement saying Hinderaker is an idiot is not illegal.
>I am very concerned about this recent news about domestic spying being conducted without warrants. Here are some of the reactions from around the country:
*From the Detroit News: Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Friday that "there is no doubt this is inappropriate" and that he would conduct hearings to determine why Bush took the action...
*From the New York Times: Our government must follow the laws and respect the Constitution while it protects Americans' security and liberty," said Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee and the Senate's leading critic of the Patriot Act.
*From the Kansas City Star: The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution forbids “unreasonable searches” and sets out specific requirements for warrants, including “probable cause.”
From the St. Peterburg Times: President Bush apparently believes that fighting terrorism justifies any action he chooses, no matter how extralegal. But the United States is a nation of laws, and the president is constrained by them, too. That is why Bush's unilateral authorization granting the National Security Agency the power to wiretap American citizens and others in the United States without a warrant is so dangerously ill-conceived and contrary to this nation's guiding principles.
Congress needs to step in quickly to find out exactly what has happened. Lawmakers must make it clear to President Bush that, as the Supreme Court noted last year, the struggle with foreign enemies does not simply give him a blank check to do whatever he wants...
>Vice President Dick Cheney FINALLY visited Iraq. Cheney had not been to Iraq since BEFORE the war. He is really well-informed. There are entertainers who have visited our service members in Iraq more that Cheney.
>Jeff Gannon (male escort, fake news reporter) apparently doesn't like Ron Reagan, Jr. or MSNBC. Ron Reagan, Jr. and MSNBC must be too intellectual for Gannon's small brain.
>Republican Senator Bill Frist is in even more trouble. He is still being investigated because of his possible insider trading, but now there are questions about his handling of his "charity."Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's AID's charity paid nearly a half-million dollars in consulting fees to members of his political inner circle, according to tax returns providing the first financial accounting of the presidential hopeful's nonprofit.
The returns for World of Hope Inc., obtained by The Associated Press, also show the charity raised the lion's share of its $4.4 million from just 18 sources. They gave between $97,950 and $267,735 each to help fund Frist's efforts to fight AIDS.
The tax forms, filed nine months after they were first due, do not identify the 18 major donors by name...
>If you need something really interesting to read, visit http://www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_7779.shtml you must see Captitol Hill Blue's article on Bush on the Constitution.
Friday, December 16, 2005
political opponents (John Kerry?),
war protesters (Cindy Sheehan? Michael Moore?),
people who spoke out/disagreed with the White House (Kanye West? Susan Sarandon?),
members of the media (Dan Rather? Tom Browkaw?),
investigators (Patrick Fitzgerald? Ronnie Earle?)
regular people (you, me?)
Or were these people members of a particular ethnic group or religion? Who recommended people for spying? Rumsfeld? Rice? Rove? Cheney? DeLay? Gonzalez?
Apparently, the New York Times had this story for a long time but held back on it because of a request by the White House. And you wondered if we still had freedom of the press?
According to AJC.com, Ralph Reed, holier-than-thou right wing candidate for lieutenant governor in Georgia, 'said recently that his work for disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff was a mistake that — if given the chance — he wouldn't repeat.
"Had I known then what I know now, I would not have undertaken that work," Reed said, according to the text of a speech posted on his campaign Web site this week.'
"Had I known then what I know now, I would not have undertaken that work," Reed said, according to the text of a speech posted on his campaign Web site this week.'also, in the same article...
But Reed's remarks to the youth group may also be a reaction to rising Christian concerns about his connections to the Abramoff scandal.
Last month, the evangelical weekly World, with a national circulation of 140,000, published a critical piece about Reed that portrayed the former head of the Christian Coalition as a "shrewd businessman who has spent years leveraging his evangelical and conservative contacts."
For three years, Reed conducted anti-gambling campaigns in Texas, Louisiana and Alabama, on behalf of Abramoff. Two of Abramoff's tribal clients, eager to preserve their casino markets, funneled Reed more than $5 million toward his efforts...'
Ralph Reed is a Right Wing Hypocrite. Everyone makes mistakes. However, we don't get to re-do our mistakes. We tell our children to make the right choices in life because sometimes, if we make a bad choice, we pay the penalty forever.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Is our government getting anything right? The Washington Post has a TSA screw-up story:
Just two days into an experimental program that would place undercover air marshals in train, bus, ferry and other mass transit stations, the Transportation Security Administration yesterday said its test has been scaled back, owing to confusion over the rollout.
TSA officials had planned to deploy teams of air marshals, local law enforcement officers and bomb-sniffing dogs at seven locations around the nation this week to test whether the agency could deter criminals in public transportation stations and conduct surveillance of suspicious activity...
SAME SPEECH, DIFFERENT DAY, over, and over, and over again
In today's speech, President Bush repeated his claim that Senators and Congress Members saw the same intelligence he did before the war. Unfortunately, the American people aren't buying this. Bush let the elected officials see just enough information. If they had seen it all, they would not have voted to authorize the war.
The Boston Globe now is reporting that Democrats ...want to force the White House to release the daily intelligence briefings that President Bush reviewed in the months before the US invasion of Iraq -- an attempt to undercut the president's claim that lawmakers saw the same reports that he did before voting to authorize the war.
Bush has said repeatedly in recent weeks that the senators and House members who gave him the the power to depose Saddam Hussein by force did so because they'd all seen the same CIA assessments and agreed that Iraq's weapons program was a national security threat.
But congressional Democrats point out that they didn't have access to the Presidential Daily Briefs that summarize American intelligence for the president each day -- briefings that were seriously flawed, according to an independent panel. The White House won't allow lawmakers investigating breakdowns in prewar intelligence to review the daily briefs submitted to the president before the invasion...
The New York Times says that ...."President Bush said Wednesday that Americans would have to remain patient and should expect more bloodshed as Iraqis struggled toward stability and democracy."
I'm sorry but I cannot remain patient. We are losing more of our young people everyday. How can you ask a parent who has a son/daughter in Iraq to remain patient? By the way, Mom and Dad, your kid may need to go back again, and again. If the Iraqis are voting for a government tomorrow, start withdrawing some troops the next day.
READING IS FUNDAMENTAL
Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News did a big interview with President Bush. I think Williams had too many softball questions. Williams asked the President if he read news magazines (no) and newspapers. I want to highlight some of these Q & A's:
President Bush: I don'I see a lot of the news. Every morning I look at the newspaper. I can't say I've read every single article in the newspaper. But I definitely know what's in the news. Occasionally, I watch television. t want to hurt your feelings, but it's occasionally. I'm working at that point, as are you. But I'm very aware of what's in the news. I'm aware because I see clips. I see summaries. I have people on my staff that walk in every morning and say, "This is what's — this is how I see it. This is what's brewing today," on both the domestic and international side. Frankly, it is probably part of my own fault for needling people, but it's a myth to think I don't know what's going on. And it's a myth to think that I'm not aware that there is opinions that don't agree with mine. Because I'm fully aware of that.
Williams: But you, yourself, said to a reporter, I think it was Brit Hume, that you'd prefer to get the news orally from your aids?
President Bush: Well, that's one way to look at it. I mean, I read the newspaper. I mean, I can tell you what the headlines are. I must confess, if I think the story is, like, not a fair appraisal, I'll move on. But I know what the story's about.
Let me interpret this for you: HE ONLY READS THE HEADLINES OF THE NEWSPAPER. HE SEES NEWSCLIPS AND GETS SUMMARIES. He only knows what people tell him. In other words, our president is reading The Cliff's Notes on the news! This also means that he does not get an outsider's analysis of the news or events. No wonder people say he lives in a bubble.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
If we measure the cost of war in human lives, 2150 Americans have died in Iraq (http://icasualties.org/oif/ ). As a nation, we could never adequately compensate those families who have lost loved ones. We'll never know what impact those service members would have had in their families or communities. To those families we say--We send our sympathies, love, and respect to you on your loss.
What will be the financial cost of this war? We may never know exactly what money was spent and where it went. According to the AP, the Pentagon is getting ready to ask for an additional $100 BILLION for Iraq and Afghanistan. I think it is time for our elected officials to get a detailed cost estimate for that money. When you go get your car fixed, you know the cost of labor and parts. We should demand an itemized list. Besides, why should Iraq get new roads, public buildings, and schools when our own New Orleans is being allowed to die? If we refuse to fund the war, our young people will come home, and Iraq will have to stand on its own.
*News from here and there:Raw Story has news about our favorite Special Proscutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Here is part of the article:
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will present additional evidence to a grand jury Wednesday morning in the CIA leak case that could result in an indictment being handed up against White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, sources close to the investigation told RAW STORY.
Although the grand jury’s term expires in 18 months, Fitzgerald is expected to wrap up the case as it relates to Rove before the end of the year, the sources said.Fitzgerald intends to present the grand jury with the sworn testimony from Rove’s attorney Robert Luskin, and Time magazine reporter Viveca Novak. The sources close to the case said Fitzgerald is still intent on seeking an indictment against Rove on at least one count of making false statements to FBI and Justice Department investigators when he was first interviewed in early October 2003 about his role in the leak.
**Another nominee has opened his mouth and inserted his foot. According to the Washington Post:
President Bush's nominee for chief Pentagon spokesman appeared in jeopardy yesterday, with a senior Democrat leaving open the possibility of blocking the appointment.
J. Dorrance Smith, the nominee, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in a closed session about an opinion article in which he accused U.S. television networks of helping terrorists through the networks' partnerships with al-Jazeera.
The article has sparked concern among committee members and has prompted Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) to pledge to defeat Smith's nomination to be assistant secretary of defense for public affairs.
Where the heck does this administration find these big-mouthed hard-line idiots? Is there a special file or club?
WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 - Texas prosecutors in the criminal case against Representative Tom DeLay revealed in subpoenas made public Tuesday that they were investigating ties between Mr. DeLay and a lobbyist who is at the center of a bribery scandal that prompted another House Republican to resign from Congress last month.
The subpoenas sought documents from the lobbyist, Brent Wilkes, a California businessman whose lawyers have confirmed that he is one of four unnamed co-conspirators listed in the criminal charges against former Representative Randy Cunningham, the California Republican who pleaded guilty to taking at least $2.4 million in bribes.
Mr. Wilkes was close to several Republican members of Congress, including Mr. Cunningham and Mr. DeLay, Republican of Texas, who traveled as Mr. Wilkes's guest in a private jet he partly owned. There is no accusation in the subpoenas of any other tie between Mr. DeLay and Mr. Cunningham, who is facing a long prison sentence.
In the subpoenas, which were issued Monday, the Texas prosecutors sought banking and administrative records from Mr. Wilkes and several of his companies about a $15,000 contribution made by the company to a Texas-based political action committee affiliated with Mr. DeLay...
Everyday there are more developments in these scandals. How many more people are involved? I have just answered my own question! Raw Story has found some information on Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter and his ties with the defense industry.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
CONVICTED LEGISLATOR: Rep. Jeff Habay, a six-term Republican lawmaker from Allegheny County, appeared on the House floor, a day after being convicted of making his legislative staff do political campaign work on state time.
Habay, 39, could be removed from office by the state Legislature because of the felony conviction for conflict of interest. Habay also faces a second trial next year on 21 counts that allege he concocted a story about receiving a suspicious white powder in the mail and directed his staff to investigate his adversaries on state time.
Other sources for this story include CBS, and CentreDaily. I'm shocked!!!! Is the entire Republican Party corrupt???? Here in Ohio, we have our share of unethical Republican elected officials----Gov. Bob Taft, Rep. Bob Ney, Coingate-Republican Tom Noe, ....Please check the complete list at http://www.waynemadsenreport.com/gopscorecard.htm
2. Your friends hold a fundraiser for you, but you only get $35,000 and one of your hostesses doesn't show up. Republican Rep. Bob Ney, currently under investigation for ties with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, was thrown a party in Columbus, Ohio. Rep. Deborah Pryce (OH-15) was a sponsor for the event, but did not attend.
3. Under investigation for possible money laundering, Republican Tom DeLay's redistricting of Texas will be looked at by the U.S. Supreme Court.
4. Republican Rep. Katherine Harris, the hanging chad woman of Florida, has had staff turnovers and a problem with fundraising. Rumors are suggesting she may drop out of her race for the U.S. Senate.
5. You are the President of the United States, but you are portrayed as living in a bubble. Newsweek has a cover story on how President Bush is isolated from the real world.
6. You finally feel confident about flying again. New York Times: The Transportation Security Administration's plan to allow scissors and screwdrivers through airport checkpoints so it can focus on bigger threats like bombs drew criticism from the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee at a hearing on Monday.
In the News..........
The Columbus Dispatch:
..Nearly 900 students statewide who were told they failed the graduation tests they took last summer actually passed, the Ohio Department of Education said yesterday.
..The Education Department said Measurement Inc., which helps develop Ohio’s standardized tests and score them, graded the tests correctly. But the company, based in Durham, N.C., mistakenly assigned failing labels to hundreds of passing grades.
..The problem impacted only the summer tests in math, science, social studies and reading. The writing portion wasn’t affected. Some students’ results were misinterpreted in more than one test, so 925 test scores will move from the lowest level to the passing, or proficient, level.
...In a quick investigation, I've found that Measurement, Inc. has had other problems. In October 2003, there were problems in Michigan (that place up north): MEAP (Michigan Educational Assessment Program) tests that were to determine scholarships and awards were lost by Measurement Inc. Shouldn't states share these problems so that incompetent companies are banned from these state contracts.
The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC), which was involved with Tom Noe and the "Coingate" scandal, now has other problems. According to the Cincinnati Post:
In a decision that could cost the state millions of dollars, a judge said the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation did not follow state procedures when it cut payments to hospitals for treating injured workers.
The bureau announced it was cutting its rates by $50 million in August to match more closely with hospitals' actual costs.
The Ohio Hospital Association, which represents 170 hospitals and 40 health systems, said the ruling by Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Charles A. Schneider gives the group a chance to argue against the rate cut.
Schneider ruled Thursday that the bureau should have sought approval for a cut from the Joint Committee on Agency Rule and Review.
The hospital group sued the bureau, saying the cuts would force patients to wait longer for care and could eliminate some care altogether...
Finally----- The Columbus Dispatch has the following sections of their newspaper: SPORTS, METRO & STATE, LIFE. Joe Blundo is a columnist who, I hope, is on vacation. However, on the front page of the Life Section the following notice appeared:
JOE BLUNDO will return to Life on Sunday.
Monday, December 12, 2005
Frist, who is still being investigated by the SEC for possible insider trading, keeps getting upset about everything. Members of the Democratic Party have not mentioned a filibuster. Frist, a doctor who thought he could diagnose Teri Schiavo on a video tape, is now trying to be a bully. What is Frist worried about? His party is in control of the three branches of the federal government (and they're doing a great job increasing the deficit!).
If your college bound son or daughter needs a loan, they probably won't be able to get it. In order to save the tax cuts for the wealthy, Republican Rep. Deborah Pryce (OH-15) and other Republicans in the House, cut $14 billion dollars from aid for college students. Remember this when you go to vote!
The President gave another speech that tried to promote his war in Iraq. As the expression goes, it was the same old same old. Sorry, I did not buy it. It doesn't matter how many times he repeats it, I still do not believe him. My points are: 1. We had NO business invading Iraq because there were NO WMD's. 2.The Iraqis want us out. 3.Too many of our young have died and are now being shipped home as airplane freight. 4. We are not safer here for going to war in Iraq. 5. If our military and this administration had concentrated on Afghanistan instead of turning our attention to Iraq, we'd have Osama by now.
When CNN interviews military personnel in Iraq, they usually interview people with rank. Most U.S. regular military personnel see that there are no plans for this fight and no plans for our exit. Our young people are in a quagmire----a war without plans or end. http://icasualties.org/oif/
Saturday, December 10, 2005
A local family said fallen soldiers and Marines deserve better and that one would think our war heroes are being transported with dignity, care and respect. It said one would think upon arrival in their hometowns they are greeted with honor. But unfortunately, the family said that is just not the case.Dead heroes are supposed to come home with their coffins draped with the American flag -- greeted by a color guard.But in reality, many are arriving as freight on commercial airliners -- stuffed in the belly of a plane with suitcases and other cargo.
Friday, December 09, 2005
The complete article is here.
Is there something in the water or air in Kansas? These are the same people who want "creationism" (re-named "intelligent design") taught in science classes. While the principal is at it, she should also ban the following non-English words from the school: taco, burrito, pizza, spaghetti, macaroni, hamburger, falafel, moccasin, bayou, alligator, bronco, guerrilla, cargo, cafeteria, iguana, and others too numerous to mention.
Guess what Rumsfeld plans to do? Rumsfeld plans to start withdrawing troops if the elections in Iraq go well. Hm.... So does Rumsfeld agree with Rep. John Murtha?
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Speaking of juries.....
The Dallas News said Bush daughter, Barbara, got a jury summons not too long ago. However--"Someone called to reschedule her jury service, saying she would be out of the country for the next six months, the judge said." Really? Is that why she has been spotted shopping? Next time you get a jury summons, try the Barbara Bush method. Unfortunately, I do not think it will work for you. If you don't report, in some cities you can be arrested.
Tom DeLay wants his legal problems to be solved his way and fast. From CNN:
The Texas Republican is seeking a quick resolution of the charges so he can regain his post as House majority leader when Congress reconvenes in late January. House GOP rules prevent him from serving in the post as long he remains under indictment.
Are there any other reasons why DeLay wants to get his legal entanglements behind him? With so much time being spent in court, it is difficult for him to work on his campaign. A CNN story states that he has a 37% approval rating in his home district. Way to go, Tom!!!!
DON'T FORGET TO VOTE FOR THE WEBLOG AWARDS http://weblogawards.org/
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
According to Think Progress, Sen. John McCain had the following to say about Rep. John Murtha:
John Murtha is “a lovable guy,” but “he’s never been a big thinker; he’s an appropriator.”“As we get older, we get more sentimental,” McCain says. “And [Murtha] has been very, very affected by the funerals and the families. But you cannot let that affect the way you decide policy.”
Think Progress also says that Murtha has been a counselor to presidents of both parties. His expertise in the area of defense has been sought out by many elected officials, past and present. What has happened to John McCain? How could he say these horrible things about a fellow veteran? Why has McCain sold his soul to this administration? McCain's attacks are improper and cruel.
Senator Lieberman worries me even more. As a former Democratic Vice Presidential candidate, his recent support of the President's plans for Iraq are very disheartening. Lieberman has always been a liberal, but recently he has become the poster boy for the Bush administration. Has Lieberman given up his beliefs to be able to schmooze with the warmongers in the White House? Has he been drinking the conservative kool-aid? What have they done to you, Joe? Why have you let us down?
Finally, the administration lied to the American public concerning the recent deaths of the 10 Marines. They were not killed while on patrol. They were killed after leaving a ceremony in an unsecured area. When will they stop lying to us? Why are we "buying" positive stories for newspapers in Iraq? Why did a former Republican contributor get the million dollar contract to write the propaganda for these Iraqi papers? Why can't this administration tell us the truth? They've lied about the reason for war, the circumstances of the deaths of our military, and the volatile atmosphere in Iraq. Why are they afraid of telling the truth?
Monday, December 05, 2005
We need to extend our thanks to Republicans Pryce, Ney, Tiberi, Schmidt, Voinovich, Dewine, and Gillmor for doing NOTHING to help the people of Ohio. While these same Ohio Republicans continue to support Bush's unending war in Iraq, 102 of Ohio's sons and daughters have lost their lives in Iraq. We promise to remember you at your next election.
According to the Washington Post, the Democratic Party seems unable to have a clear plan for the war in Iraq. In my opinion, the Democratic Party needs to put their case in front of the American people: We will do it differently and better. With the Abramoff scandal ensaring a large number of Republicans, people are turned off by the increasing talk of who is to blame. Were bills passed that helped Abramoff's clients? Yes. Were members of Congress given gifts, trips, and special dinners as thanks for their support? Yes. What will Democrats do that will help get this country back on the right track?
Here is what I'd suggest:
1. If I had it in my power (trust me, I don't), I'd get every Democratic Senator and Member of Congress together in a large, locked conference room.
2. I would tell them that we would not leave the room until we agree on a single statement on the war in Iraq: The U.S. will bring home every single American service member within one year. Once we have this settled, then we can move on to other problems and their solution.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Check http://icasualties.org/oif/ for details.
Here is some additional information:
Ten Marines were killed and 11 wounded by a roadside bomb near Fallujah, Iraq, in one of the deadliest attacks on American troops in recent months, the Marine Corps announced on Friday.
A brief statement said the Marines were from Regimental Combat Team 8, of the 2nd Marine Division.
They were hit Thursday by a roadside bomb, which the military calls an improvised explosive device, made from several large artillery shells, the Marines said.---------
Can you believe that someone is questioning Rep. John Murtha's two Purple Hearts? I'd bet that there are a whole bunch of Marines who would view an attack on one of them as an attack on all Marines.
The Marines really stick together and their history as a fighting force has been well documented. Recently, however, some people have been attacking those who have served this country. They question if someone really deserved to receive Purple Hearts, medals, and other honors. This behavior is wrong and it must stop.
I am not a Marine, but I am an American. I am extremely upset that someone would be skeptical about someone's military service, especially by someone who has no military experience. If you are a Marine, and you are offended by this type of behavior, I have a few suggestions:
1. read the original article here titled, We Like You, We Really, Really Like You.
2. e-mail a letter to the editor of your hometown paper.
3. e-mail your Congress member/Senator and give them your two cents.
4. e-mail/call Rep. John Murtha
However, President Bush's slick repackaging of the same old message has fallen on tired ears. The 35 page document put out by the White House in pdf form, was nothing more than an outline of the same old crap. I wonder if Bush read all thirty-five pages (I doubt it). The President plans to give additional speeches covering his strategy for victory in Iraq. I look forward to changing the channel.
The basic question in all of this discussion is who has more credibility? Murtha is a highly decorated former Marine. Bush has no combat experience. When Murtha visits Iraq, he speaks the language of the men and women whose boots are on the ground. He knows how they feel and what they need. When Bush has visited Iraq, the troops are pre-selected to give the perfect photo-op. Murtha listens to the commanders and troops in Iraq. Bush doesn't want to hear about problems.
We need to call our representatives and senators and let them know that we want our sons and daughters home now. We are their constituents. If they refuse to listen, then we will vote for people who will bring our kids home.
Update: Rep. Murtha says Army is "Broken, Worn Out"