Saturday, July 16, 2005

My God, Save Izod and Eddie Bauer!

"JerseyBredFilly" over at The Daily Kos had a great post a couple of days ago about typical Repug demagoguery in the garden state. Seems that GOP wannabe guv Doug Forrester was screaming for the head of NJ AG Peter Harvey over the distribution of homeland security funds, with other Repug honchos in that state chiming in (which they will always do, as we know).

The post covered the whole situation pretty well, but I just want to add a couple of things (I don't live in NJ, but I work there and have frequent occasion to visit otherwise).

In a Courier Post story on this, Repug assemblyman Francis Bodine "said his district was denied $1.7 million in requests in 2005, including towns close to Fort Dix and McGuire Air Force Base.'I live two blocks away from Lockheed Martin,' he said. 'This is a prime target for any kind of foreign destruction.'"

Uh, excuse me, Mr. Bodine; please allow me to point something out, OK?

Lockheed Martin is a software development and support services company. They are an extremely large company in this regard with probably more money flowing from Bushco's coffers onto their ledgers than we can possibly imagine, but that is what they are, OK?

As nearly as I can understand the terrorist mentality (and I'm happy to admit that I can't, and hopefully never will), I believe that their goal is to take out as many people as possible with little effort expended on their part to do so. As proof, witness the fact that 120 people have died from three car bombs over the last four days in Iraq. I don't believe that trying to destroy a software development services and support company would help bin Laden and his fellow crazies accomplish that goal.

The biggest tactical terrorist target in Assemblyman Bodine's district is the Moorestown Mall (with Fortune Magazine having just rated Moorestown as the best place to live in the country in a survey published this week). Somehow I think the other targets referred to in JerseyBredFilly's post would rate a bit higher (though, as she points out, those targets reside in heavily Democratic districts, making them ripe for Repug attacks regardless of how many vital services installations reside in those areas).

Another quote I want to highlight came from Repug State Senator and onetime local area news anchorperson Diane Allen. "I think it’s unconscionable to play politics with something as important as homeland security," she said.

I agree. Now instead of saying that to the media, try repeating it to the cabal of faux Christian, pro-business zombies and crooks running our government, practically all of whom come from your side of the aisle, and let me know how far you get with them, OK?

(P.S. - Speaking of which, Mark Shields had a great column this week on the supposed "shared sacrifice" in this country after 9/11, and Tom DeLay's typical disgusting exploitation of same.)

Friday, July 15, 2005

Wasn't 'Eminent Domain' Enough, People?

I saw a story on CNN a few minutes ago that some leading women senators asked Sandra Day O'Connor to return as Chief Justice in the event that Rehnquist bags it (though he seems to have no intention of doing that). But apparently, the story is gone because I can't find a link. Hmmm...

With that in mind, I have this to offer. I'd apologize to the late, great Clyde McPhatter ("Lover Please") if I could for this one...

Sandy please, please come back
Don't let Bushco appoint some hack
Like J.R. Brown whose temper is spent
Declaring war on the government

Sandy please, please don't go
Though we could tolerate Alito
Luttig clerked for Scalia - oh my
And not Gonzales, the torture guy

Sandy please, you're our "pet"
Hellfire from a "moderate"
You spoke for those at Guantanamo
But installed Dubya to run the show
I could add more...but why?

Couldn't Find Bill's Member, Though

(See Atrios and The All Spin zone, by the way, to find out why ABC correspondent Ann Compton thought "Lewinsky-gate" was the most difficult story she had to cover in 30 years of reporting, including her White House stint during the Clinton Administration. I mean, I can see where it would make her squeamish, but I'd think either Iraq War I or especially II or Iran-Contra, portraying Reagan as a doddering old fool, would be harder to report.)

Reading this, I wonder if Hillary is trying to steal some thunder from the faux Christian "moral values" crowd. If so, I think it's a smart tactical move.

Doing this makes me think that, the more she says she's not running in '08 for prez, the more she really is. The problem is that's the dose of red meat that the right-wing barking head brigade tosses to its audience on a daily basis.

The Stupidity Defense

I was wondering how long it was going to take before Rove got around to this one.

Oh, so a reporter told him about Valerie Plame. Whatever (putting aside the fact that that is a preposterous argument which, if somehow true, assumes the same leaky security standards that permitted the Jeff Gannon fiasco, assuming that that wasn’t premeditated either – another highly shaky assumption).

None of this is credible. All of it warrants a special prosecutor and convening of a bipartisan congressional committee IMMEDIATELY (along with the revoking of Rove’s security clearance at the very least).

(Also, the great Paul Krugman weighed in on this recently as well.)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

True Lies

"Zis is govanah Ahh-nold. I deed not take money from ze Amerikahn Media Operashuns Cahmpany to keel zee beel tu rahgulate diet saaplements. Now take ze peecture as I kees my bulging triceps."

No, what the Governator (or Herr Gropenfuhrer...whichever you prefer) did isn't a conflict of interest. Of course not. What's wrong with you? Don't you realize you've entered the world of Bushco, where black is white and white is black (and that hideous color of blue is banned)?

Update 7/15: I guess Maria ripped him a new one on this...

Taking A Skate

It sounds like the NHL and the players association have reached a deal in principle for a new colllective bargaining agreement. That's good news, since I'm from the Philadelphia area and the Flyers are the only team around here besides the Eagles who have a remote shot at a championship (though the AHL Phantoms had a glorious season and won the Calder Cup).

For a bit of background, here is what I posted on the old site from 2/17 when last season was cancelled:

So the NHL cancelled the season yesterday, huh? As someone who has been a pretty steadfast hockey fan for a long time (mainly because it was one of the only sports in which I showed a hint of ability), I have to say that I’m a bit saddened, but based on the short-sighted, idiotic posturing on the part of both the players and the owners, I’m not one bit surprised.

First of all, let’s keep something in mind: the players didn’t go on strike – they were locked out. That makes a difference to me. Second, a month or so ago, they agreed to give back a quarter of their salaries in an effort to end this. Tell me ANYBODY else who has done or ever would do something like that (I probably wouldn’t, but who can say?). However, that being said, the players and Bob Goodenow (their union rep) continue to live in this fantasy world that dictates that their salaries shouldn’t be tied to team revenues. As people who are conservative but have business smarts have said, no business entity of any kind can exist when anywhere up to 75 percent of its earnings are used to pay salaries. Since the NHL generates zero TV revenue because of lousy ratings (it’s just not a good TV sport, though it’s awesome live…the TV problem is the key to all of this, ultimately…and despite day-glo pucks and clever animated characters supposedly teaching the game to fans, it never will be, especially with those horrible variations of the “neutral zone trap” that EVERY team uses now, making the game terminally boring to watch, especially on the tube), the players don’t have the luxury of making the salary demands of other sports, such as basketball (which is fast approaching a reckoning also I may add, and it’s about time).

That being said, though, I understand that the players don’t want to commit to the salary cap based on team revenues because they know the owners are “cooking the books”, and once they commit (like the NFL), they’re committed for good. Also, the owners’ salary cap demands, even for the pittance of money that the league generates, are beyond miserly. I read a day or so ago that the players finally agreed to a cap of $52 million when the owners said they wouldn’t tie salaries to team revenues, but the owners (led by about eight who run small market teams who, not withstanding the apocalypse, would have NO SHOT at winning the Stanley Cup anyway) said, “no, the cap has to be $40 million”. That is walking around money to Ed Snider, owner of the Flyers (more on him in a minute). What the league needs is a third party to say a) there will be ONE SET OF BOOKS FOR EVERY TEAM showing the accounting stuff that is needed (revenues, expenditures, etc.), and if any of these numbers are wrong, the owners are going to be fined at the least, with the possibility of criminal charges if they have been deliberately falsified, and b) OK, players, this is the pool of money from which your salaries will be paid. The owners are entitled to some of it for their profit, some of it for their business costs, and some of it for your salaries. So it is written – so it shall be done.

OK, now to Ed Snider. He quite rightly deserves respect and gratitude for being the person who, probably more than anyone else, is responsible for the success of professional ice hockey in the Philadelphia area to date (as well as the thrill I experienced as a teenager, watching Bobby Clarke and Bernie Parent leading the Flyers to two Stanley Cups). Now that the season is down the drain, however, his glowering countenance graces the cover of this morning’s Inquirer sports page, forcefully intoning that “we did everything we could do, and we stand behind commissioner Gary Bettman one hundred percent”. I have a question for Snider, however. Where the hell were you when it mattered? Why didn’t you tell the owners who demanded the cap (the eight I referred to above, based on the analysis of Tim Panaccio of the Inquirer) to modify their position to save the season, or revisit it after the season (like going to war, canceling a season should be absolutely the last resort)? I also have a question or two for Bettman. Why did you keep expanding the league to cities that should not have been granted franchises? I’m talking about the Columbus Blue Jackets (please) in particular. Also, how many times has the NHL tried to start franchises in Atlanta and Minneapolis and failed? With that kind of business planning, is it any wonder that the league is going down the tubes (and good luck winning back fans after this fiasco).

I wish a pox on all of your houses on this point. Thanks for taking all ice hockey fans on a one-way zamboni ride to nowhere.
I'll comment further on this when I find out more details on the agreement.

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Or, as Forrest Gump would say, “Life is like a box of chocolates, though a box of chocolates is an inanimate object incapable of rational thought or understanding of its actions, unlike the director of parks and recreation at Deerfield Beach, FL, who thinks it’s appropriate to play a tape of screaming 9/11 victims during the town’s Fourth of July celebration (here).

Even more ridiculous is his quote in the last sentence of the story where he says, ‘If it were Memorial Day, no one would have minded’. Uh, yeah…they would have minded, seeing that Memorial Day is intended to honor our service people and not civilians who were murdered by Middle Eastern cowards. It just shows that 9/11 is still an abstraction to many people who were not directly affected by it or know someone who was, and is instead an excuse for some cheap display of faux patriotism in the hope that it will never be put to the ultimate test."

"That’s all I’ve got to say about that.”

(not much of an imitation, I know...)

P.S. - Speaking of 9/11, can someone let me know when the Bushco Justice Department actually convicts somebody involved with that terrible day and decides to stop harassing reporters instead over leaked information from Karl Rove? Thanks a lot.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

In And Out

In: David Sirota, on The Huffington Post, explains the importance of unions and how they keep up our wages (on the "in" side for employment).

Out: Marie Cocco explains how Rep. John Boehner of Ohio is kow towing to his business friends and messing around with "defined benefit" plans for older workers (on the "out" side for retirement - it depresses me unutterably when I see Roman Catholic politicians join the Republican Party). In a way, Boehner is right, though. "Cash balance" plans are attractive, but only for the high-profile corporate types (God, when will people ever get wise to the fact that that is the ONLY audience the Repugs care about?).

This "Peach" Is The Pits!

Well well, look who is back in the news (courtesy of Air America)...

Remember his wild-eyed, invective-spewing, spitting performance at the Republican National Hatefest in New York City last year? In case you don't, here's a refresher.

If he had any class, decency or guts whatsoever, he would leave his party (and preferably go crawl under a rock from which he could live out his remaining days).

Watch Out For The Tide

Spent yesterday with the young one on the incredibly crowded beach at Ocean City, NJ, getting properly scalded in the midday sun despite a layer or two of SPF 45. We ventured out a bit to the water, but mainly we worked with pail and shovel to build a moat and medium-sized towers surrounding it in anticipation of building a castle (never materialized, though).

A couple of boys stopped by about 6-9 years old and assisted in the process. As they did, I noted the continual parade of three and four-packs of young, tanned, toned, bikini-clad blonde teenage girls walking by. Nice work if you can get it, I thought (for both myself and them).

As I rubbed more Aloe lotion on this morning, I thought of our sea sculptures and other shore images (including eating Shriver’s fudge – yummy! – after an hour or two of rides at Castaway Cove) while I read the following news stories:

From Today’s Philadelphia Inquirer editorial page:

The unraveling of L'Affaire Rove offers two possibilities:

Either presidential adviser Karl Rove wasn't telling the truth to President Bush about his role in revealing the identity of a CIA officer. Or Bush wasn't telling the truth to the public about Rove's involvement. Neither option is defensible.

Rove has been choosing his words carefully on this matter for two years, a parsing that could not have escaped the President's attention. He has said he did not reveal the name of CIA officer Valerie Plame, and never even knew her name.

But Rove was involved in giving away her identity; that much is clear from recent statements by Rove's lawyer and from an e-mail written by Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper about his conversation with Rove in July 2003. Rove told Cooper that the wife of former ambassador Joe Wilson, who had accused Bush of hyping Iraq's nuclear ambitions prior to the war, "apparently" was a CIA employee specializing in research on weapons of mass destruction.

That would be Plame. So technically, Rove was correct when he claimed he never revealed Plame's name as payback for Wilson's criticism of Bush. But to contend that he had no role in revealing her identity is to engage in goofy posturing worthy of the old TV spy series Get Smart.
Sorting out whose toys belonged to whom when we were finished was a bit of a chore. I eventually ended up taking my best guess and making a few different piles for each participant. Of course, the young one insisted on jumping in the moat several times, sending ocean water and muddy sand flying in every direction.

I was eventually able to divert him long enough to start expanding his castle moat when I asked him if he knew where his yellow-handled shovel was, which I’d failed to put in his pile of toys. He looked at me quizzically and said “I dunno” (we later found it).

From Chris Floyd’s latest column (regarding Bush and the Iraq War):

Bob Herbert, who has been incandescent for months now, usefully (reminded us in a recent New York Times column) of the comedy routine that Bush performed for a sycophantic audience of TV and radio "journalists" back in March 2004: the infamous "hunt for WMD" in the Oval Office. As you'll recall, this was a series of cutesy shots showing Bush peering behind the office curtains, looking under the rug while cracking wise: "No weapons of mass destruction under here! Maybe they're over here?" and so on.

I thought then - and still think - that this performance was one of the most revealing - and sickening - episodes in American political history. The cynicism of it defies belief, outstrips all comprehension. Imagine sending men and women to die - and to kill - in a war over weapons of mass destruction, then joking about the fact that no weapons were ever found. All this, while thousands continued to die, including your own soldiers.

The fact that Bush would engage so openly in such murderous cynicism was a telling revelation: it showed, or rather confirmed, that America was being led by a brutal, mocking, heedless Caligula, a spoiled, shallow, vain and selfish fool, a moral psychopath incapable of ordinary human empathy. The reaction of the "journalists" present was another soul-sinking revelation: they laughed. Oh, how they laughed. "What a kidder this Dubya is, eh? What important insiders we all are - real players, tough and savvy - sharing this special moment of "knowing" laughter with the president!" As far as I know, not a single person walked out in protest, not a single "journalist" refused to take part in this open mockery of the dead - our own, and the tens of thousands of Iraqis who had died for the WMD chimera that Bush now found so funny.

My update (from CNN today):

A suicide bomber blew up a vehicle Wednesday near a U.S. military convoy and large group of Iraqi children in Baghdad, killing 27 people, Iraqi police and hospital officials said.

Iraqi police said most of the dead were children. The attack also left 20 people wounded.

Not so funny, eh?
The young one worked alone for a little while, as some of the boys went off to play in the ocean. When two of them returned, one started working again on the castle for the moat without saying anything, apparently angry, while another said to him in a pleading way, “I wasn’t calling you a name. I was just joking. Here, I’ll say something about myself if you want.”

From Brian McGrory’s column in today’s Boston Globe:

"Today, I'd like to take a few moments to express profound thanks to Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the third-ranking Republican in the US Senate. In fact, all Bostonians should thank him for sharing his incredible wisdom and insight about this city and its depraved ways.

Specifically, here's what Santorum wrote about the church pedophile scandal on a religious website called Catholic Online. ''When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political, and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm."

So thank you, senator, for setting us straight about the problems with the clergy. Thank you for letting us know that all those pedophilic priests and the church leaders who covered up their crimes are the fault of every Bostonian.

Who knew that the president of Harvard, the people at the Museum of Science, and Mayor Thomas M. Menino were to blame for Cardinal Bernard F. Law's decision to move predatory priests from one parish to another? Here's who knew: Senator Rick Santorum.

(If Santorum were to visit,) what would he find up here, anyway? He'd find one of the most Catholic cities in the country.

He'd find academic institutions that are the intellectual engine of the nation, schools, by the way, that have churned out plenty of Republican leaders, George W. Bush among them.

And he'd find a city that is pretty much the birthplace of civil political discourse, a concept that Santorum essentially violates every time he opens his mouth."

By the way, according to the most recent polling data available from The Daily Kos, Democratic challenger Robert Casey Jr. is leading Santorum by 50 to 39 percent (however, the Senate election is over a year away).
A few yards away from us, I noticed a kid who was playing rough with another and scolded by his mother for doing so. As he got up and walked away from playing by the water, he picked up some muddy sand and threw it at the sculpture that his friend was working on, causing his mother to scold him even more.

Just stay over there and don’t bother to mess anything up over here, I thought. I don’t feel like dealing with a bully, because I have to be careful about getting in the face of other people’s kids, not that I want to anyway. I wasn’t too worried, though, because the boy’s mom had things well in hand.

In Monday’s Bucks County Courier Times, Republican State Rep. Matthew Wright justified the 16 to 34 percent pay raise the legislature authorized about a week ago, saying it took “courage” for him to vote for it. He partly used as justification the fact that he “has to be on call for his constituents on a 24/7 basis.”

Wright, however, had no comment on the fact that PA legislators receive the following perks: $129 in expense money for every day they’re in Harrisburg; up to $650 a month or $7,800 a year to lease a car; fully paid health insurance valued at $13,000 a year; and a fully paid pension.

As the Bucks County Courier Times noted, “The increasing cost of health insurance alone has wiped out the salary increases most people have seen in recent years. In all likelihood, millions of Pennsylvanians are taking home less than they were a few years ago.”
As we were finishing up, the young one decided to walk over towards the jetty and look for hermit crabs along with the other kids. I told him not to, because the sign was posted telling everyone to avoid the jagged stones and rocks upon which one could get seriously injured. “We have to obey the rules,” I reminded him.


August 27, 2003, the State of Oklahoma filed a 15-count indictment against WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers. [6] The indictment charged that he violated the state's securities laws by defrauding investors on multiple occasions between January 2001 and March 2002. [7] These charges were dropped, with the right to refile retained, on November 20, 2003. [8] An agreement to extend the statue of limitations on these charges, allowing Oklahoma prosecutors time to see the results of federal sentencing, was signed on March 30, 2005. [9]

Federal authorities indicted Ebbers with security fraud and conspiracy charges on
March 2, 2004. [10] [11] An amendment to the indictment on May 25, 2004 increased the list of charges to nine felonies: one count each of conspiracy and securities fraud, and seven counts of filing false statements with securities regulators. [12] Ebbers was found guilty of all charges on March 15, 2005.

Ebbers was sentenced today to
25 years in prison.

As I read the news and recalled the day before, I turned the radio on to the classic rock station, and I heard the following lyrics from an old Jimi Hendrix song:

“And so castles made of sand
Fall into the sea
How perfectly appropriate, I thought.

Henry Drummond Had It Right

We were initially shocked in this country when we found out that Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols blew up the Murrah building in Oklahoma City, since we first thought it was the work of Muslim crazies. It's tragic that Londoners have now learned that it could be one of their own also.

"...fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding."

Spencer Tracy in "Inherit The Wind"

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Sssh...Don't Wake The Voters

The latest CNN/Gallup/USA Today poll showed that Bush actually got a slight bump in his approval rating, believe it or not, from the London terrorist attacks. I'd really like to know how they arrived at that number. I'd also like to know where I can get something to quiet my stomach, because I suddenly feel like I want to puke.

Also, I saw somewhere in a story on The Smirking Chimp yesterday that there apparently is yet another Downing Street memo that states that Bush and Blair will start to pull troops out of Iraq in time for next year's congressional elections.

OK, so let's see now. First, chronic liar Dick Cheney says the insurgency "is in its last throes," then Rummy says the war could go on for 12 years, and now Dubya wants to start pulling troops out in a year. As Molly Ivins has asked several times, do we have any adults in this administration? Hell, I'll settle for someone who actually knows what they're doing.

Monday, July 11, 2005

At Least She Didn't "Out" A Spy

So the first-term Democratic senator from New York gave a speech yesterday and hit Bush on shortchanging our troops, underfunding scientific research and doling out unnecessary tax cuts for the rich, and managed to call Dubya "Alfred E. Newman" again in the process. Of course, our corporate media is going for the "gotcha" sound bite or headline as always, and that's just the way the game is played unfortunately.

The good thing is that it's nice to see the Democrats show a spine now and again. The bad thing is that they just about always seem to fall into the negativity trap that allows the Repugs to trot out their standard responses and ignore the substance of what the opposition party is talking about. Is it fair that what they're trying to communicate is getting choked and distorted? No, but again, it's going to happen (Tim Russert and the Washington Press Corps are going to ignore all of the Rove/Plame stuff because that's what their "handlers" want them to do).

The thing the Dems hate to admit - and believe me when I tell you I hate to admit it also - is that, in spite of the illegal war in Iraq that is spinning out of control and continuing to kill our people and innocent Iraqis, our moribund economy heralding the descent of this country into what could become a third-world gulag, our continued fouling of the environment, our utter failure to invest in science and the technologies of the future, and the rote training approach (not "learning" at all as far as I'm concerned) and underfunding of "No Child Left Behind" as well as many, MANY other spite of ALL of that, there are STILL way, WAY too many damn people in this country who actually LIKE BUSH and think he's doing a good job! As far as I'm concerned, it defies all logic and common sense, but there you are. For that reason, the public figures should lay off this clown and leave the name calling and personal attacks to the bloggers :-).

Oh, and by the way, this Edward Cox person who I believe was Nixon's son-in-law said in response that Sen. Clinton should do more to secure homeland security funding.

Perhaps he would like to read this (and note the date)...

July 8, 2005

Senator Clinton Urges Secretary Chertoff to Release Homeland Security Funds

Washington, DC -- Senator Clinton today sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff calling on him to release homeland security funding that Congress approved last year but that has not yet been sent to states. These critically needed funds would allow states to upgrade and strengthen rail and transit security and make other critical investments in homeland security. The letter was also signed by Senators Boxer, Carper, Corzine, Kennedy, Lautenberg, Lieberman, Reed and Schumer. “We ask that you instruct the Department of Homeland Security to expedite dissemination of homeland security funding that will help secure our rail and transit systems,” the Senators wrote in the letter. “In the face of these imminent threats, and with over nine billion trips taken on public transportation each year, our citizens deserve existing and additional security resources to be distributed immediately.”

The Senators underscored the need to get states the funds they are already owed right away. At the same time, they emphasized the need to continue to invest in transit security.

“It is essential that the President and Congress allocate sufficient resources to this mission. In light of these recent attacks, we believe that more funding is needed specifically for rail and transit security resources than is provided for in the President’s FY 2006 Budget to be sure we are doing all we can to prevent against future terrorist attacks in this country,” the Senators emphasized.

The text of the letter follows:

July 8, 2005 The Honorable Michael Chertoff
United States Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We write to you in the immediate wake of Thursday’s terrorist attacks in London. Initial reports indicate that dozens have been killed and hundreds more injured. We support the efforts of officials charged with responding to these attacks. These acts of terrorism only strengthen our resolve to ensure that the freedom our society enjoys shall endure. The attacks on the trains and buses in London remind us of the gruesome cowardly attacks against which we must defend ourselves. These recent attacks also remind us of the horrific acts of terrorism that Madrid suffered in March, 2004, when nearly 200 people were killed and over one thousand were injured as a result of explosives planted on trains during their morning rush hour. The similarities of these attacks are an indication that terrorist groups continue to exploit vulnerabilities that exist in our public transportation systems. We simply cannot continue to ignore these weaknesses. As you know, the Department of Homeland Security is charged with preventing terrorist attacks within the United States and reducing our vulnerabilities to such attacks. It is essential that the President and Congress allocate sufficient resources to this mission. In light of these recent attacks, we believe that more funding is needed specifically for rail and transit security resources than is provided for in the President’s FY 2006 Budget to be sure we are doing all we can to prevent against future terrorist attacks in this country. Additionally, we urge you to ensure that funds already appropriated be made available without further delay. It is estimated that there is over $7 billion in security needs for our nation’s rail and transit systems and yet there has only been approximately $300 million allocated for such public transportation security needs since the September 11, 2001, attacks. We cannot continue to merely hope that attacks such as those we witnessed in Spain and now London do not occur in our cities across the United States. We must act to ensure that our transportation systems have the resources they need immediately. According to the Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee on Appropriations, many of the homeland security grants that were appropriated by Congress in the fiscal year 2005 Homeland Security Appropriations bill have not been distributed for upgrading and improving port security, improving intercity bus security, hiring additional firefighters, and improving transit security. Further, funds for the Buffer Protection Plans were not released until just recently. We ask that you instruct the Department of Homeland Security to expedite dissemination of homeland security funding that will help secure our rail and transit systems. In the face of these imminent threats, and with over 9 billion trips taken on public transportation each year, our citizens deserve existing and additional security resources to be distributed immediately.


Assorted Musings

I meant to add, regarding the prior post, that it was the product of reviewing the sordid garbage that has been spewed lately from Faux News, and I kind of imagined something that would approximate a left-wing, progressive response (and, unfortunately, the only venue that would be granted for that purpose).

The Daily Kos has some more on the whole Cooper/Novak/Plame memo thing (interesting minutiae), and a thought occurred to me on that, and I don't think anyone else has mentioned it.

I'm going to pretend to be a real Pollyanna for a second and throw this out there. Suppose Michael Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor from Bushco's "Justice" department, really is going to go after Novak, but he hasn't yet because Cooper and Miller have played smaller roles, and he's just trying to build up a case so that, when he does go after Novak, it will be as rock solid as possible. That's typically the way you prosecute someone suspected of a crime. I mean, with Watergate, they didn't start investigating Nixon right away, did they? Of course, I'll grant you that they didn't know it would lead to Nixon at the beginning, but as I said, the committee and Judge Sirica went after the underlings first. It's just a thought.

That being said, though, I believe something like the opposite scenario will take place. I think Fitzgerald wants Cooper on the stand, even though he turned in his notes (and though I was in grudging agreement with Pearlstine, Time's publisher, on that, I'm definitely still going back and forth) because Fitzgerald wants to discredit him and Miller (who, of course, is already in the slam). I think Fitzgerald's marching orders are to hammer anyone who reported the story or had anything to do with it, and when the time comes around to look at Novak, the "journalist" will just plead that it was all some kind of mistake and he was in error. A tactic like this is Bushco to a "t", and it would definitely let Rove off the hook.

The only problem is that such a tactic is also typical of a dictatorship.

P.S. - Today's David Sirota plug...check out his blog to find out why "compassionate conservatism" is an oxymoron (it's all in the numbers, as usual).

The Return Of "Gunga Dan"

This is the HBO Evening News, Dan Rather reporting. Yes, I’m back because I couldn’t stand my new assignment at CBS any more, and that was to review and “sanitize” the scripts for the evening newscasts in accordance with the demands of new anchor and onetime colleague Bob Schieffer, whose brother has partnered with individuals close to the Bush family in Texas to run a small business. Bob refused to see a conflict of interest in this arrangement and because of that, he insisted that I change or remove any news references that the Bush family might find to be “uncomfortable.”

My working arrangement in this way was personally stipulated by the Bush family as a punishment for the negative publicity created by the National Guard story that I reported based partly on documents from longtime Bush antagonist Bill Burkett that could not be authenticated. As you recall, the story stated that George W. Bush received favorable treatment and was allowed a spot in the Texas Air National Guard to escape the draft which surely would have sent his lily livered, Ivy League, drunken butt over to the ‘Nam.

However, even though this has been reported and substantiated by news organizations around the world, including by journalists such as Greg Palast, CBS News did not appreciate the dustup among its shareholders and the negative publicity generated by the corporate media’s right wing echo chamber, resulting in my acceptance of a new assignment and the firing of three other highly skilled news professionals.

When I sought a new position, I contacted my good friend Jim Lehrer to see if I could work as a part-time anchor or correspondent for the News Hour, but Jim told me in no uncertain terms that I was considered to be poison in the news business as a result of the National Guard fiasco. Besides, since the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is now run by Kenneth Tomlinson, a conservative demagogue working on behalf of the Bush family, Jim told me that it’s all he can do to hold onto his own job, let alone trying to use whatever clout he has left to create an opportunity by someone who, to use Jim’s words, is “vilified like no other” by the conservative media juggernaut.

I will spare you the particulars of how I came to enter my current relationship with Home Box Office. Suffice to say that this news program officially begins its six-week trial run with this broadcast, and even though I hope to salvage whatever credibility I still have in this business by anchoring a program of in-depth reporting and analysis on the current issues of the day, taking a sometimes hard-hitting look in the best tradition of advocacy journalism, it is projected that the ratings for this broadcast will fall somewhere in between the broadcast of the NHL draft on ESPN and the finals in this year’s “Texas Hold ‘Em” tournament.

On tonight’s newscast, Richard Threlkeld reports on the prospects for future incidents of Mad Cow disease in the meatpacking and poultry industries due to the relaxation of FDA regulations since the Reagan Administration and the further relaxation of guidelines under the current Bush Administration, Lynn Braver reports on how many laps President Bush did in his pool today while 20 coalition force members and Iraqi civilians died in a series of IED and car bomb explosions, Richard Valeriani reports on further stonewalling in the U.S. Congress and the Ohio legislature in a response to inquiries regarding improprieties and possible illegalities in that state concerning the November 2004 presidential election from U.S. Representative John Conyers, Walter Cronkite provides a special report on the under funding of the police, fire and rescue departments in this country which would serve as “first responders” in the event of a terrorist attack in light of the recent London bombings, and Allen Pizzey reports on proposed new regulations in Congress that would ensure a steady stream of liquidity for evangelical millionaires at the expense of the growing number of Medicaid recipients in this country.

But first, this program note. Tune in for the season premiere of “The Sopranos” in which Tony and Paulie Walnuts learn how to play chess, Carmela tries to oppress her simmering lust for Father Phil, prison inmate Johnny Sack completes his initiation and officially become a member of Opus Dei, and Silvio quits the racket to play guitar for Bruce Springsteen and the “E” Street Band.