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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Sunday, April 30, 2006

    Bodman sees up to three years of fuel pain, tells lies and blames Hugo Chavez

    Industry profits defended
    Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois said the price of gasoline had almost doubled since Bush took office. “All of these things were predictable,” he said, pointing to provisions of the energy bill Bush signed last year, which did not shield producers of cleaner-fuel additives like MTBE from legal liability, thereby slowing the transition and squeezing gas supplies.

    “We’ve had a failure in our nation’s energy policy,” Durbin said.

    At the same time, U.S. oil companies are reporting record profits even as motorists struggle to deal with the rising prices. Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips Ltd. and ExxonMobil Corp. combined to earn more than $15.5 billion in the first three months of the year. But Bodman and Cavaney said they saw no problem with the profit reports.
    Who pays what
    Energy prices affect some people more than others. Here's how rising costs hit Americans as a percentage of their income:

    Income Energy Costs* Percentage of budget
    Less than $5,000 $1,460 28 percent or more
    $5,000-$9,999 $1,554 15 percent to 31 percent
    $10,000-$14,999 $1,954 13 percent to 20 percent
    $15,000-$19,999 $2,215 11 percent to 15 percent
    $20,000-$29,999 $2,556 9 percent to 13 percent
    $30,000-$39,999 $2,905 7 percent to 10 percent
    $40,000-$49,999 $3,231 6 percent to 8 percent
    $50,000-$69,999 $3,689 5 percent to 7 percent
    $70,000 or more $4,645 no more than 7 percent

    BushCo Continues to Drive the Price of oil higher so friends can obscenely profit, while claiming they can't do a dad burn thing about the prices

    The growing international crisis over Iran's nuclear programme could trigger a catastrophic oil price spike, sending crude prices over $100 a barrel, senior Wall Street analysts are warning.

    Dollar starts the big slide against major currencies

    Who benefits?

    The benefits of the falling dollar vastly outweigh the costs for the U.S. economy. The primary costs of the falling dollar are higher prices for imported goods and for American tourists traveling abroad. The primary benefit is increased price competitiveness of U.S. products, both for exports abroad as well as in the domestic market. The United States currently has an enormous trade deficit (importing more than it exports), which represents a significant drag on efforts to spur economic growth and create jobs, and has led to an accumulation of foreign debt that will have to be repaid in the future. Given this trade deficit, the benefits of greater international competitiveness prompted by the falling dollar greatly outweigh the costs.

    For the past five years, the strong dollar has hurt many U.S. companies as earnings repatriated in weaker currencies served to put a crimp in profits, not to mention sales. The boom years of the late 1990s masked that to some degree. But the subsequent weak economy made the impact of the muscular American currency increasingly apparent. After all, about 25% of U.S. corporate profits come from overseas.

    Ah, the same elite gang that benefit from Free Trade Agreements and Deregulation (a term that means a corporation does not have to answer to the public in anyway, but can do what it wants).

    Bush Regime Attempts to use Courts to thwart law on illegal spying

    The class-action suit by the group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, on behalf of AT&T customers accuses the company of unlawful collaboration with the National Security Agency in its surveillance program to intercept telephone and e-mail communications between the United States and people linked to al Qaeda and affiliated organizations.
    The Electronic Frontier Foundation said in a statement issued late on Friday that "evidence regarding AT&T's dragnet surveillance of its networks, currently filed under seal, includes a declaration by Mark Klein, a retired AT&T telecommunications technician, and several internal AT&T documents."

    The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Saturday that Klein said the NSA installed a device at AT&T's San Francisco office in 2003 capable of scanning huge amounts of data to locate specific targets.

    Kinky Boots

    Bush challenges hundreds of laws

    Bolivia, Cuba, Venezuela in Trade Talks

    HAVANA - Bolivian President Evo Morales joined
    Fidel Castro of Cuba and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela in Havana for Saturday's endorsement of a socialist trade initiative aimed at providing an alternative to U.S.-backed free trade efforts in Latin America.

    Free trade means the involved corporations are free from all responsibility for their actions. This includes labor practices and product itself.
    They can do what they want.

    No one who isn't already fabulously wealthy benefits from "Free Trade".
    The term is part of the ongoing Orwellian language assault, like the clear sky initiative that allows Bush to dump more pollutants into the air.

    Israel Changes Route of West Bank Barrier


    If Olmert really wants to protect Israelis, he'll get Israel off of land it shouldn't be on, such as the West Bank, stop conducting ethnic cleansing, stop manipulating the world to get money shut off to Palestine and recognize Hamas which is, after all, the legally elected government.

    The theory that Israel can murder, exploit and abuse international law because of what was done to Jews in Europe is tiresome and smells worse than a dirty gym bag.

    Israel says the separation barrier, which dips into the West Bank at several points, is meant to provide security by preventing suicide bombers from entering the country. Palestinians call it a land grab.

    2 insurers dominate new drug plan in REpublican Corporate Giveaway

    WASHINGTON, April 29 (UPI) -- The new market for Medicare prescription drugs is dominated by UnitedHealth Group and Humana, which hold almost half of the coverage.

    In data released by the Bush administration, the two insurers, along with WellPoint account for 52 percent of the enrollment, The New York Times reported Saturday.

    Powell Urged Sending More Troops to Iraq

    "I made the case to Gen. Franks and Secretary Rumsfeld before the president that I was not sure we had enough troops," Powell said in an interview on Britain's ITV television, according to a transcript released by the network. "The case was made, it was listened to, it was considered. ... A judgment was made by those responsible that the troop strength was adequate."

    Insurers pulling back from coasts

    Because this is an industry that insists on insuring only those who are not at risk.

    Chinese test new fighter jet

    Colbert at White House Press Correspondent Dinner Video

    Colbert does the job the corporate media has failed to do.
    The republicans don't seen too amused, but I am.

    Bush and Pickles left unsmiling.

    Saturday, April 29, 2006

    Iran says it will not halt uranium enrichment but has repeated its long-standing offer to allow checks by international inspectors

    Backed by China and Russia

    Radical Right Bush administration exploring criminal prosecution of reporters under espionage laws

    US admits Iraq is terror 'cause'

    THREE years after its invasion of Iraq the US Administration acknowledged yesterday that the war has become “a cause” for Islamic extremists worldwide and there is a risk of the country becoming a safe haven for terrorists hoping to launch fresh attacks on America.

    Feds Could ‘Gut’ Social Security Disability Rolls

    Part of the SSA’s five-step "grid" for determining disability eligibility is that applicants must be unable to return to their previous jobs because of their injuries, and other job choices must be limited due to lack of skills or education. But in the new rule proposal, the SSA states that "economic and social changes have … increased opportunities for individuals with disabilities to participate in the workforce" and that "there are many jobs that individuals, despite their age, are capable of performing and adjusting to, even though they have not done those jobs previously."

    However, according to a CBPP analysis of the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, between 1988 and 2004, the number of people with self-reported disabilities who had jobs dropped from 22 to 17 percent, in contrast to a slightly rising employment rate for all adults.

    The SSA’s proposal also neglects to examine how the rule change would affect communities of color, which generally have higher rates of disabilities, lower incomes and inferior health care. According to a CBPP analysis of the Current Population Survey, blacks make up 22 percent of 45-61 year olds who receive Social Security Insurance or Social Security disability payments, but they only account for 11 percent of all Americans in this demographic. CBPP also found that the same group of blacks with work-limiting disabilities have an employment rate that is less than two-thirds of all similarly disabled Americans.

    From traders to tankers: who makes a mint out of $70-barrel oil

    Chevron Earnings Soar 49 Percent to $4B

    Critics say Peru pipeline is an accident waiting to happen

    Reatarded Seeming, Bush Loving War Lord I saw on Bill Maher Works at The (HERBERT) HOOVER institution

    So I looked him up. No wonder Amerikkka can't read if this moron is what passes for a scholar.

    In his recent National Review Online (NRO) article, The Paranoid Style / Iraq: Where socialists and anarchists join in with racialists and paleocons, former historian Victor Davis Hanson employs bad writing and cheap smears to defend his hero, George W. Bush, and his hero's war from domestic enemies of the Left and of the Right. Hanson begins his nasty little piece thusly:

    It is becoming nearly impossible to sort the extreme rhetoric of the antiwar Left from that of the fringe paleo-Right. Both see the Iraqi war through the same lenses: the American effort is bound to fail and is a deep reflection of American pathology.

    There are opponents of the war on the Left and the Right, but they do not in any way "see the Iraqi war through the same lenses." Telling the lefties from the righties is usually easy. Someone who says, "We need to bring our troops home from Iraq and put them on our border with Mexico," is probably a right-winger. Someone who says, "We need to bring the troops home and abolish war forever by smashing capitalism," is probably on the left. The badness of Hanson's writing is significant here. When members of well-established, diverse factions of American politics draw the same conclusion, having started from vastly different perspectives, we need to pause and ask what's going on. Unfortunately, VDH can interpret the commentary of others only through his own simplistic warmonger lens.

    But it isn't for Hanson's intellectual failings that he deserves condemnation. It is for the cheap smears he directs at some of his fellow citizens. Hanson continues his article:

    An anguished Cindy Sheehan calls Bush "the world's biggest terrorist." And she goes on to blame Israel for the death of her son ("Yes, he was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel. My son joined the Army to protect America, not Israel").

    Her antiwar venom could easily come right out of the mouth of a more calculating David Duke. Perhaps that's why he lauded her anti-Semitism: "Courageously she has gone to Texas near the ranch of President Bush and braved the elements and a hostile Jewish supremacist media."

    Reckless accusations of anti-Semitism seem to come naturally to supporter's of war in Iraq. If Hanson believes Cindy Sheehan is an anti-Semite, he should offer some evidence. I share Ms. Sheehan's belief that the interests of Israel were instrumental in the decision of the Bush administration to invade Iraq. Does that make me an anti-Semite? What if David Duke agreed with me? If someone -- anyone -- manages to insert the phrase "hostile Jewish supremacist media" into a sentence in which I am also mentioned, would that make me an "anti-Semite?" I don't expect Hanson to share Sheehan's opinions about things, but calling her an anti-Semite because of what David Duke said is a contemptible cheap smear. Shame on you, VDH!

    Bush Rejects Windfall Tax on Oil Profits

    Of course. He's working for the oil companies, not the people.

    Ex-Head of F.D.A. Faces Criminal Inquiry

    Dr. Lester M. Crawford, the former commissioner of food and drugs, is under criminal investigation by a federal grand jury over accusations of financial improprieties and false statements to Congress, his lawyer said Friday.
    Dr. Crawford resigned in September, fewer than three months after the Senate confirmed him. He said then that it was time for someone else to lead the agency.

    The next month, financial disclosure forms released by the Department of Health and Human Services showed that in 2004 either Dr. Crawford or his wife, Catherine, had sold shares in companies regulated by the agency when he was its deputy commissioner and acting commissioner. He has since joined a Washington lobbying firm, Policy Directions Inc.
    Dr. Crawford received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Auburn University, his PhD in pharmacology from the University of Georgia, and his Honorary Doctorate (MDV) from Budapest University.

    A perfect snapshot of politics in Washington.

    Repulsive Republican Senator Pete Domenici Misleading on right wing deals to subsidize energy companies

    Neocon Madrassa

    I thouht about Leonhard and his experiences as I listened to this National Public Radio program which features a conversation with three students from Patrick Henry College . Patrick Henry College is a small school in Virginia where a reactionary form of Christianity is taught along with neoconservative political theory. The students have all been home-schooled by fundamentalist Christian parents, which means they have never been in a classroom with African-Americans, Muslims or gays and lesbians. At home they were taught that God has a special covenant with America, Europe is a cess-pool of atheism and relativism, and the United Nations is doing Satan's work. These students don't have to worry that they will encounter Jews or Muslims at Patrick Henry College, for in its Statement of Faith the college maintains that these non-Christians "shall be tormented in Hell for eternity." They also will never see an openly gay person, even on television, since these young adults need their parents' permission to watch popular television programs like Will and Grace that feature gay characters. Their internet access is filtered of any "un-Godly" content.
    1. The Bible is sole repository of Truth.
    2. The earth was created in six 24-hour days (must make for interesting 'science' classes.
    3. Men are the "head of their wives".
    4. Blind obediance to the "Government" is required - dissent is un-Christian
    5. It is duty to overthrow "un-Godly" governments (through whatever "legitimate" means).

    It is chilling to listen to these students; all of them are seniors who have been subjected to four years of the Patrick Henry curriculum. It would not be so bad if these young men and women were going to go on and teach Bible school at some backwater town in Alabama, but graduates of this college are highly sought-after by neo-conservative think tanks, such as the American Enterprise Institute. Or they help manage the political campaigns for Republican candidates. Ignorant of foreign cultures, trapped in a narrow and hateful ideology, these students are the architects of America's future wars.

    Take it off the Market

    The ads for the Pfizer painkiller Celebrex feature a man holding a boy's hand as they walk up a stadium staircase. "52 steps won't keep you from taking him out to the ballgame," they say.

    But a heart attack would.
    The new campaign in magazines has raised the ire of consumer groups, who say that Celebrex is so dangerous that Pfizer should stop selling it, not encourage patients to use it.

    The campaign is more evidence of the drug industry's dependence on consumer advertising to prop up sales, said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, a frequent critic of drug makers. "There's no objective evidence of any unique benefit with this drug, and there is objective evidence of a unique risk," said Dr. Wolfe, the director of health research for the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.

    Pfizer stopped advertising Celebrex in December 2004, after Merck stopped selling Vioxx, a similar drug, because of its heart dangers. Four months later, federal regulators ordered Pfizer to put a so-called black-box warning on Celebrex, detailing its risks.

    Colbert shakes up Bill Kristol over PNAC ties

    Rush Limbaugh arrested on Drug Charges

    Disgusting bastard who advocated prison for addicts, until his first arrest, now a repeat offender.

    Friday, April 28, 2006

    Here we Go Again: The Celibate Nazi Pope in Prada Loafers Running His Mouth about Marriage

    VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI said Friday that a lack of true love was behind an increase in failed marriages and a decrease in birth rates in much of the developed world.

    Benedict told members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences that children nowadays also aren't as valued as they once were, in part because of the economic, social and cultural changes in the globalized world.

    "Often, instead of feeling loved and cherished (children) appear to be merely tolerated," he said.

    The pontiff said the increase in life expectancy and decline in birth rates were "linked to a disturbing deficit of faith, hope and indeed love."
    Access to education, birth control and better lives are behind the decline in birth rate, you misogynist, hate-filled, vicious, medieval creep.

    Chinese President Finalizes Kenya Oil Deal

    Bush far too busy implementing the Project for A New American Century in Iraq and Iran to bother with Africa.

    Canadian dollar hits 28-year high vs. US dollar

    What country supplies the biggest share of US oil imports? That's right. Canada.

    400 Dead Dolphins Found Off African Coast

    But the bottleneck dolphins, which live in deep offshore waters, had empty stomachs, meaning that they could have been disoriented and were swimming for some time to reorient themselves. They did not starve to death and were not poisoned, Jidawi said.

    In the United States, experts were investigating the possibility that sonar from U.S. submarines could have been responsible for a similar incident in Marathon, Fla., where 68 deep-water dolphins stranded themselves in March 2005.

    A U.S. Navy task force patrols the East Africa coast as part of counterterrorism operations. A Navy official was not immediately available for comment, but the service rarely comments on the location of submarines at sea.

    Unanswered Questions from Flight 93

    A. The 9/11 Commission said that it was about 10 a.m. when Cheney - running the White House command center because Bush had been speaking at a Florida elementary school - was told that a hijacked plane was 80 miles away and was asked for military authority to shoot it down.

    Joshua Bolten, the aide who is now White House chief of staff, testified that he suggested that Cheney reconfirm that order with Bush, and the two top officials and other aides said such a call had been made.

    But according to a June 24, 2004, article in Newsweek, "some on the [9/11] commission staff were, in fact, highly skeptical of the vice president's account and made their views clearer in an earlier draft of their staff report. According to one knowledgeable source, some staffers 'flat out didn't believe the call ever took place.' "

    Some have even speculated this issue is why Bush and Cheney took the unusual step of testifying jointly to the 9/11 Commission.

    Storm Evacuees Ineligible for Rent Aid

    In Houston, between 8,500 and 8,900 of the 35,000 families receiving housing assistance got notices earlier this month, some saying they were ineligible because their homes in the hurricane-ravaged region were suitable for living, Michel said.

    But after receiving calls from upset evacuees disputing those FEMA claims, the mayor sent a city team to New Orleans two weeks ago. Michel said 30 of the 47 homes they inspected could not be lived in because they had extensive damage or needed minor repairs but were in an area without utilities, grocery stores and other services.

    Republicans Consorting with Prostitutes, and a link to Department of Homeland Security. TOO FUNNY!

    And at the WATERGATE!!

    Federal prosecutors are reviewing records of two Washington, D.C., hotels where Poway defense contractor Brent Wilkes rented suites as part of their investigation into whether prostitutes were involved as he tried to curry favor with lawmakers and CIA officials.
    A limousine would pick up Cunningham and a prostitute and take them to the ADCS hospitality suite, Wade reportedly told investigators. Federal agents are investigating whether other legislators had similar arrangements with Wilkes or Wade, a business associate of Wilkes who ran his own defense contracting company, MZM Inc.
    Two of Wilkes' former business associates say they were present on several occasions when Shirlington Limousine & Transportation Service of northern Virginia brought prostitutes to the suite. They say they did not see lawmakers in the suites on those occasions, though both had heard rumors of congressmen bringing women to the rooms.
    Shirlington's attorney, Bobby S. Stafford, confirmed in a letter that from the company's founding in 1990 through the early 2000s, Shirlington President Christopher Baker provided limousine services for Mr. Wilkes for whatever entertainment he had in the Watergate.

    Stafford's letter stated that Baker was never in attendance in any party where any women were being used for prostitution purposes.

    Last year, Shirlington won a $21 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security.

    Q&A: Sudan's Darfur conflict

    Refugees from Darfur say that following air raids by government aircraft, the Janjaweed ride into villages on horses and camels, slaughtering men, raping women and stealing whatever they can find.

    Many women report being abducted by the Janjaweed and held as sex slaves for more than a week before being released.

    Human rights groups, the US Congress and the former US Secretary of State Colin Powell all said that genocide was taking place - though a UN team sent to Sudan to find out instead said that war crimes had been committed, but there had been no intent to commit genocide.

    Darfur: A genocide we can Stop

    Congress Members Arrested at Sudan Protest

    "The slaughter of the people of Darfur must end," Rep. Tom Lantos (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., a Holocaust survivor who founded the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, said from the embassy steps before his arrest.

    Four other Democratic Congress members — James McGovern and John Olver of Massachusetts, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and Jim Moran of Virginia — were among 11 protesters arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly, a misdemeanor subject to a fine.

    Darfur food rations cut in half

    From May the ration will be half the minimum amount required each day. The cut comes as the UN said Darfur's malnutrition rates are rising again.

    Nearly 3m people in Darfur depend on food aid after being driven off their land in three years of conflict.

    Despite a ceasefire and on-going peace negotiations, large areas of Darfur are now affected by fighting between government forces, militias and rebels.

    More Problems with Blogger, Evaporating Posts, etc

    Home foreclosures increase 72%

    Lenders began foreclosing on 323,102 mortgages, a ratio of one in 358 U.S. households, according to a report issued Monday by RealtyTrac Inc. Banks typically start foreclosing on mortgages after payments are 90 days late.

    "When you couple the higher bills that people with adjustable loans saw with the higher-than-expected energy costs, you see a lot of homeowners stretched beyond the point where they could make their payments," said Rick Sharga, a RealtyTrac vice president.

    Homeowners who would otherwise sell their houses to pay off their loans face a weaker market, he said.

    Sales of existing homes fell to 6.71 million at an annualized rate in the first quarter from 6.94 million in the last three months of 2005, according to Fannie Mae, the nation's largest mortgage buyer.

    Illinois disciplines mortgage firms

    Earlier this year, Gov. Rod Blagojevich ordered the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to start making unannounced inspections of licensed mortgage companies. The stepped-up enforcement came in response to a Tribune series on mortgage fraud in November, a Blagojevich aide said.

    The disciplinary actions announced Thursday alleged license violations and were not charges of fraud. The recent inspections found that 19 mortgage firms employed 35 unregistered loan originators--the real estate professionals who process mortgage applications.

    Illinois mines use air pack that failed in Sago

    The air packs at the Sago mine, known as self-contained self-rescuers, were manufactured by CSE Corp, based in Monroeville, Pa. The packs contain an oxygen-producing chemical that is activated by a miner's exhalation of carbon monoxide. They are intended to provide a trapped miner with an hour's worth of oxygen, perhaps enough time to escape or find a pocket of clean air.

    Art Rice, a state mine-safety trainer in Benton, Ill., says the CSE unit is the dominant model in Illinois. But he prefers a rescuer manufactured by Ocenco Inc., of Pleasant Prairie, Wis., which contains a bottle of oxygen that can provide 90 minutes of air under strenuous conditions.

    Rice said his office lacked the staffing to inspect the devices.

    "It's up to the mines to check them, which they are required to do," Rice said.

    The Ocenco devices are used at the Viper Mine north of Springfield, Ill., a sister mine to the Sago. The Sago and Viper mines are owned by International Coal Group, based in Kentucky.

    Mississippi governor helped implicated firm

    WASHINGTON - Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a former Republican Party chairman, arranged the startup financing for a GOP telemarketing company implicated in two criminal cases involving election dirty tricks.

    Virginia corporation records show Barbour's investment company arranged a quarter-million dollar loan to GOP Marketplace in 2000 and also gave a promotional plug to the telemarketer several months later.

    Glorious republican free market dynamic in action, you know.

    Dana Priest Responds to Criticism of Secret Prisons Story

    Priest offered a brief comment to E&P last week but had not responded at length until an online chat on www.washingtonpost.com today. Asked directly about Bennett's wish to see her behind bars, she said, "Well, first, Bennett either doesn't understand the law or is purposefully distorting it. He keeps saying that it is illegal to publish secrets. It is not."

    Here are a few relevant excerpts.

    Iran to invest in Indonesian gas, oil

    Mine Tragedy ‘Not a Surprise’

    Since taking office in 2001, the Bush administration has cut funding and staff at the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the federal agency in charge of enforcing the nation’s mine safety laws. The Bush administration has eliminated 170 jobs at MSHA and proposed to cut the MSHA budget in fiscal year 2006 by some $4.9 million in real dollar terms.

    Mine Workers union leaders and other job safety advocates say the nation’s mine safety is compromised by the Bush administration’s emphasis on voluntary compliance with safety rules—in contrast with previous administrations, which have favored strong enforcement. Safety advocates also say the close coal industry ties of Bush administration appointees to MSHA leadership positions have further weakened the MSHA’s commitment to safety enforcement. Bush has appointed former senior executives from Peabody Energy, AMAX Inc., the American Mining Congress, Cyprus Minerals Co. and other such companies to high-ranking posts within MSHA.
    The Sago Mine is owned by the International Coal Group (ICG), which purchased it last year from Anker West Virginia Mining Co. In 2005, MSHA inspectors cited operators for more than 200 safety violations at the mine, including ventilation, roof support, escape-way and pre-shift safety exam violations. Yet the agency collected just $24,000 in fines or about $115 per violation.

    “The bitter truth is that this tragedy was not a surprise—both because the mine had a disturbing safety record, and because the Bush administration in Washington has been undercutting mine safety,” the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette wrote in a Jan. 5 editorial.

    Condition of Miners' Air Packs Disputed

    The revelation about malfunctioning air packs came from Sago survivor Randal McCloy Jr. in a letter delivered to his co-workers' families and obtained by The Associated Press.

    The air packs -- referred to in the letter as "rescuers" -- are intended to give each miner about an hour's worth of oxygen while they escape or find a pocket of clean air. McCloy said at least four of the devices did not function, forcing the trapped men to share as they awaited a rescue that came too late.

    "His heart-wrenching account of the last hours of his co-workers' lives should spur this Congress to act on our legislation," said Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va.

    The Season of Bad Laws, Part 3: Banning MP3 Streaming

    The Washington Post reports that Senators Feinstein (D-Cal.) and Graham (R-S.C.) have introduced S. 2644, dubbed the PERFORM Act, that is aimed at punishing satellite radio for offering its subscribers devices capable of recording off the air.

    Buried in the bill, however, is a provision that would effectively require music webcasters to use DRM-laden streaming formats, rather than the MP3 streaming format used by Live365, Shoutcast, and many smaller webcasters (like Santa Monica's KCRW and Seattle's KEXP). The streaming radio stations included in iTunes also rely on MP3 streams (since Apple isn't about to license the Real or Microsoft streaming codecs).

    Medicare drug benefit cries out for cure

    The high cost of drugs under Medicare Part D isn't just a government problem, because the government pays only part of the cost of the program. The crazy-quilt benefit design requires seniors first to pay an annual premium, then a steep deductible – and then all the costs for annual prescriptions that are more than $2,250 but less than $5,100.

    Does this sound like a drug plan written with the needs of senior citizens in mind? Of course not – because the Medicare Modernization Act, which created the program, was written by drug industry lobbyists. It was passed in 2003 in the middle of the night, with voting held open for hours as desperate GOP leaders tried to twist enough arms to deliver the votes to their corporate benefactors.

    Fiscal conservatives from both parties objected to the high cost of the plan. To quiet these objections, the Bush administration ordered Medicare's actuary, Richard Foster, not to answer questions about its true cost. If he told Congress the truth, Foster was informed, he would be fired.

    Foster was silenced by Thomas Scully, who was appointed by President George W. Bush to be chief administrator of Medicare.
    Revolving-door beneficiaries

    Scully left his government post after the prescription drug law was passed and is now employed by law and investment firms that lobby for major health care companies.

    Billy Tauzin, a former top-ranking Republican member of Congress, also switched jobs once the Medicare drug bill was pushed through Congress. As head of the Energy and Commerce Committee, he was a co-sponsor of the new drug law. Tauzin is now the top lobbyist for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, earning an estimated $2 million per year.

    1 in 5 pay more in Medicare Rx plan

    Mildred Lindley sits at her kitchen table in Jonesboro, Ark., talking about her Medicare drug benefit plan Wednesday April 26, 2006. Lindley is stuck in a hole, the doughnut hole, 'right in the middle of it,' she says, that comes with Medicare's new prescription drug benefit.
    Medicare officials acknowledge that many low-income seniors and disabled Americans are paying more. They are urging drug companies and states to continue assistance to the poor who rely on expensive medications.

    "Any extra help they need can and should be provided by those other sources," says Kathleen Harrington, director of external affairs at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

    Because the Medicare law was passed to pad the pockets of pharmaceutical overlords, not help deliver medication to elderly and disabled Americans.

    In one case, a 59-year-old Newburgh, N.Y., man died in March after he stopped taking medications he could no longer afford, according to his pharmacist and his cousin. Eddie Rosa, whose death was first reported by the Middletown, N.Y., Times Herald-Record, lived alone and suffered from heart disease, diabetes, seizures and other mental and physical conditions.

    Despite those illnesses, his pharmacist, Marty Irons, says, "I really think he'd be alive today if he had all his medicines." Adds his cousin, Dolores Reano, "When Medicare came in, it just blew him away."

    When the Medicare drug program went into effect, Steve Worrell, 53, of Black Hawk, Colo., lost the free medications he had been getting from a drug company for his disabling arthritis. Faced with a $5,400 annual bill under Medicare, he spaced out his injections. His condition worsened. "You start swelling up, and you start twisting more," he says.

    Maria Oranje of Oakley, Calif., who turned 100 on Wednesday, is luckier. She takes 26 medications, but since she was switched from Medicaid to the Medicare program in January, her co-payments have been picked up by her daughter, Greta Heartfill, 62.
    In the ongoing, Grover Norquist spawned effort to utterly destroy all social programs and channel all wealth of this nation into the fat pockets of a few dozen corporate kings, rather than invest in the people, the mighty George Bush, brush cutter and warrior in chief, and his scum sucking captains in the repiglikkkan congress have put the screws to the vulnerable, and often helpless, elderly.

    Must be all that love of Jesus the repiglikkkans are so into to, praise the lord.

    This is not necessary, this abuse of old people.

    And not only is it not necessary at this level, there is no reason Americans should pay so much more for medication than the rest of the world, except the pharmaceutical companies want it that way, the pharmaceutical companies who hide research that shows their products are unsafe then release deadly products anyway, the pharmaceutical companies that have demanded to be made legally free from liability for killing and maiming people with dangerous products, and have gotten that freedom, thanks to the republican party.

    "I have not seen a proposed change that I'm supportive of yet," Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., told a group of health care reporters in February. He accused Democrats of mounting "huge campaigns to discredit" the new law and said it should be given a chance to work.

    We are already paying for universal health care, with our most expensive healt care in the world, so why aren't we getting it?
    I'm more ashamed every day to be an American.

    Scientists identify 'intelligence gene'

    Working with researchers at the Harvard Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics in Boston, the Feinstein team from the Zucker Hillside Hospital campus examined the genetic blueprints of individuals with schizophrenia, a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by cognitive impairment, and compared them with healthy volunteers.

    They discovered the dysbindin-1 gene, which they previously demonstrated to be associated with schizophrenia, may also be linked to general cognitive ability.

    Phony Bastard and Part time Rottweiler, Dennis Hastart, 1 impeachment + 1 stroke away from the white house, caught in the act

    House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Ill., center, gets out of a Hydrogen Alternative Fueled automobile, left, as he prepares to board his SUV, which uses gasoline, after holding a new conference at a local gas station in Washington, Thursday, April 27, 2006 to discuss the recent rise in gas prices. Hastert and other members of Congress drove off in the Hydrogen-Fueled cars only to switch to their official cars to drive back the few block back to the U.S. Capitol. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

    Thursday, April 27, 2006

    professor and six students face misdemeanor charges

    HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. -- A professor and six students at Northern Kentucky University were charged with uprooting 400 crosses meant to represent fetuses in an anti-abortion display, prosecutors said.

    Islam Blasts Off!

    MediaNews and Hearst Buy Former Knight Ridder Papers

    McClatchy Sells Off Four, Including 'San Jose Mercury News'

    Kraft Rejects Opposition, Will Still Support Gay Games

    Say Cheese!

    How nice to see anyone from corporate America reject Bush sponsored, religiously reinforced hate mongering.

    I recently had to explain to someone who was complaining about gas prices, but who voted for republicans because she didn't want "liberals" to take her guns away, by god, that when you cast your vote for a single issue, you deserve to pay 8 bucks a gallon.

    If all corporations took this stance Repiglikkkans couldn't use sexual orientation as a wedge issue anymore.

    Good for Kraft.

    A Few Thomas Jefferson Quotations

    "Information is the currency of democracy."

    "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."

    "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State."

    Separated at Birth

    The Baron Vladimir Harkonnen from Dune

    Grover Norquist from the Vast Reeking Sewer known as the Republican Party

    Illinois receives $40 million less from big tobacco

    Cigarette makers R. J. Reynolds and Lorillard withheld $755 million from their April 17 payments to states under the national tobacco settlement.

    They withheld about $40 million that Illinois would have received.

    Reynolds cut its payments by almost a third, from $2.016 billion to $1.369 billion. It put the difference, $647 million, in an escrow account.

    Lorillard cut its payments by almost a sixth, from $658 million to $550 million. It put the difference, $108 million, in an escrow account.

    Industry leader Philip Morris paid in full, at $3.4 billion, but declared it would recover some of that through the same adjustment Reynolds and Lorillard invoked.

    States swiftly began suing all three. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued them in Cook County Circuit Court.

    GOP Blocks Taxing Oil Companies

    Congress takes fresh look at oil tax breaks
    Lawmakers reconsider subsidies amid high gas costs, huge company profits.
    The measure passed the Senate but was viewed as essentially dead this week because of opposition from House GOP lawmakers. The White House opposed the idea, too, when it surfaced in November and threatened to veto the entire bill because of it.

    Gas Buddy. Click for Gas prices

    Don't Forget This! From November 2005

    Oil executives testify about profits and prices -- but not under oath

    Maybe Republicans in the Senate have learned something from the perjury case against Scooter Libby after all. When oil company executives appeared today before a Senate hearing on energy prices and profits, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens refused to place them under oath.
    But as the oil companies report huge profits, Republicans in Congress might owe the country an explanation, too -- for why they pushed through an energy bill in the spring that offered billions of dollars' worth of tax breaks for energy producers, and for why they responded to the spike in gas prices after Hurricane Katrina with a bill that would have provided federal insurance for oil companies whose projects are stalled by lawsuits or regulatory delays.

    Bush Relaxes Clean-Fuel Standards

    As President Bush relaxed clean-fuel standards and ordered a temporary halt Tuesday to deposits to the nation's strategic petroleum reserve � ostensibly making more oil available for consumer needs and relieving pressure on pump prices � Democrats are blasting the administration's response to high gas prices.
    Senator Bob Menendez, D-N.J., says oil companies blamed an "act of God" for fuel shortages and price increases last year. Now he says it is "crystal clear that the current spike in gas prices is at least partly due to an act of greed." Spitzer called out oil companies for having "internalized all of the profit."
    As Mr. Bush said he would halt deposits of oil to the nation's strategic petroleum reserve until the fall, analysts said that measure would have next to no impact on crude prices and certainly would not help make gasoline any cheaper. Even the fuel-specification waivers will have a marginal impact, analysts said, given that the main force behind today's soaring pump prices is the near-record price of crude oil.
    Analysts said a floor remains underneath oil prices, which are 33 percent higher than a year ago, for a variety of reasons. First, oil traders are nervous about geopolitical tensions ranging from violence in Nigeria to the West's nuclear standoff with Iran to the move toward greater nationalization of natural resources in energy-rich Venezuela.

    Al-Jazeera Cairo Bureau Chief Detained

    House committee drops amendment banning two-tier Internet

    The network neutrality issue is part of a much larger House bill, the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006, that significantly rewrites telecommunications laws. Hot-button topics such as Internet telephone calls and the licensing of telephone companies to provide video over broadband lines would be affected.

    Projected Iraq War Costs Soar / The republican Party in action

    Defense specialist Amy Belasco, the CRS study's author, stressed that the price tag is only an estimate because the Defense Department has declined to break out the cost of Iraqi operations from the larger $435 billion cost of what the administration has labeled the global war on terrorism. That larger cost applies to military, diplomatic and foreign aid operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, enhanced security efforts begun after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and related medical costs of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    "Although DOD has a financial system that tracks funds for each operation once they are obligated -- as pay or contractual costs -- DOD has not sent Congress the semiannual reports with cumulative and current obligations for [Iraq] and [Afghanistan], or estimates for the next year, or for the next five years that are required by statute," the CRS noted.

    The report goes on to outline a series of "key war cost questions" for Congress to pursue and "major unknowns" that CRS has not been able to answer: How much has Congress appropriated for each theater of war? How much has the Pentagon obligated for each mission per month? What will future costs be? How much will it cost to repair and replace equipment? And how can Congress receive accurate information on past and future troop levels?

    Such questions are highly unusual for a congressional research agency report, congressional budget aides said yesterday, and they point to growing frustration in Congress with a Pentagon that has held war-cost information close to the vest.
    The report details how operations, maintenance and procurement costs have surged from $50 billion in 2004 to $88 billion this year, citing rising expenditures for body armor, oil and gasoline; equipment maintenance; and training and equipping Afghan and Iraqi security forces.
    Of the total war spending, the CRS analysis found $4 billion that could not be tracked. It did identify $2.5 billion diverted from other spending authorizations in 2001 and 2002 to prepare for the invasion.
    We pay and pay and pay.

    Who profits?

    It's astonishing the names of those who profit from this "spending" are never mentioned in these articles. I suppose the state controlled press assumes the public will conclude the money is buried in the Iraqi sand.

    Exxon Mobil profit rises on soaring prices

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil company, on Thursday reported quarterly profit surged, driven by rising oil prices.

    Net income in the first quarter was $8.4 billion, or $1.37 a share, up from $7.86 billion, or $1.22 a share, a year earlier.

    Revenue jumped to $88.98 billion from $82.05 billion.

    Crude oil prices have risen steadily from about $20 a barrel in 2002 to over $75 last week, handing oil and gas companies a long-running profit bonanza.

    But the fat profits have also angered U.S. drivers grappling with rising gasoline prices and provoked sharp criticism of Big Oil from lawmakers and consumer advocates.

    Wednesday, April 26, 2006


    New WH Press Sec. Showed His Softer Side In 1989 Column Called "Sex, Sex, Sex"... "Sex Is Fun Only When You Do It Right"

    Santorum Makes me Gag

    Santorum wrote: "For some parents, the purported need to provide things for their children simply provides a convenient rationalization for pursuing a gratifying career outside the home. Many women... find it easier, more 'professionally' gratifying, and certainly more socially affirming, to work outside the home... . Here, we can thank the influence of radical feminism."
    think, if all men were like Rick Santorum most women would be lesbian radical feminists.

    Bobby Rush conflict with SBC/AT&T

    WASHINGTON -- An Englewood community center founded by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), a key player on telecommunications legislation, received a $1 million grant from the charitable arm of SBC/AT&T, one of the nation's largest phone companies.
    On Wednesday, the energy and commerce panel on which Rush sits is set to vote on a controversial rewrite of telecommunications law co-sponsored by Rush and backed by major phone companies eager to compete with cable television companies.

    "It is a clear conflict of interest for Rep. Rush to weigh in on this bill," said Sheila Krumholz, the acting executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which researches money in politics. "People can disagree about where to draw the line on contributions and abstaining from votes, but $1 million is definitely over that line."

    America's rags-to-riches dream an illusion: study

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - America may still think of itself as the land of opportunity, but the chances of living a rags-to-riches life are a lot lower than elsewhere in the world, according to a new study published on Wednesday.

    The likelihood that a child born into a poor family will make it into the top five percent is just one percent, according to "Understanding Mobility in America", a study by economist Tom Hertz from American University.

    By contrast, a child born rich had a 22 percent chance of being rich as an adult, he said.

    "In other words, the chances of getting rich are about 20 times higher if you are born rich than if you are born in a low-income family," he told an audience at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think-tank sponsoring the work.

    He also found the United States had one of the lowest levels of inter-generational mobility in the wealthy world, on a par with Britain but way behind most of Europe.

    U.S. seeks to keep evidence from 9/11 families

    Maybe Bush doesn't want them to realize how he pulled the FBI off of the Bin Ladens.

    Or maybe Bushco just doesn't want more attention brought to
    Transcript of Sen. Dayton's remarks on NORAD
    Edited by William Thomas
    Congressional hearings on "The 9/11 Commission Report"

    During the hearing, Dayton told leaders of the Sept. 11 commission, that, based on the commission's report, a NORAD chronology made public a week after the attacks was grossly misleading. The chronology said the FAA notified the military's emergency air command of three of the hijackings while those jetliners were still airborne. Dayton cited commission findings that the FAA failed to inform NORAD about three of the planes until after they had crashed.

    And, he said, a squadron of NORAD fighter planes that was scrambled was sent east over the Atlantic Ocean and was 150 miles from Washington, D.C., when the third plane struck the Pentagon - "farther than they were before they took off."

    Dayton said NORAD officials "lied to the American people, they lied to Congress and they lied to your 9/11 commission to create a false impression of competence, communication and protection of the American people." He told Kean and Hamilton that if the commission's report is correct, President Bush "should fire whoever at FAA, at NORAD ... betrayed their public trust by not telling us the truth."

    It's so hard to tell what negligence, malfeasance or malarky they're covering up, but they are covering up. Count on it.

    Rogue Terrorist State of Israel Continues Ethnic Cleansing

    RAMALLAH, West Bank - The Palestinians have been caught between the rock of the Israeli separation wall with daily humiliation by trigger-happy Israeli soldiers and the hard place of a humanitarian crisis with severe shortage in food and medicine due to checkpoint closures and aid cut by the West.

    Khedr Khalil is a Palestinian worker from the West Bank city of Bethlehem lying in a critical condition at the Intensive Care Unit after sustaining serious back injuries as he attempted to climb the Israeli separation wall for a job on the other side of the territories.

    "Desperate as he was, Khalil decided to take the risk and climb the seven-meter wall on his way to Occupied East Jerusalem to find a job and cater for his seven siblings," his cousin Mohamed told IslamOnline.net Monday, April 24.

    "He fell down the wall and injured his back to be only kicked and beaten by four Israeli soldiers with rifle butts and batons."

    Khalil, 38, was later admitted to the Beit Jala hospital between life and death.

    Israel claims the 700km-long separation wall in the West Bank is meant to stop Palestinian attacks. The Palestinians, however, argue that it preempts their future state and confiscate vast swathes of their land.

    The wall has already confiscated 11,4000 dunums (2,850 acres - 1,140 hectares) of privately-owned Palestinian land and led to the destruction of 102,320 trees, according to a UN report.

    According to the report, 30 percent of the West Bank population, or some 680,000 people, will be "directly harmed" with the completion of the wall.

    Palestinian experts further say that the Israelis clearly sought to commandeer water resources by establishing the wall as Israel is monopolizing around 75 percent of Palestinian water resources in the occupied West Bank, a region where rainfall is infrequent and water a strategic asset.

    Songbirds may be able to learn grammar

    While many animals can roar, sing, grunt or otherwise make noise, linguists have contended for years that the key to distinguishing language skills goes back to our elementary school teachers and basic grammar. Sentences that contain an explanatory clause are something that humans can recognize, but not animals, researchers figured.

    Two years ago, a top research team tried to get tamarin monkeys to recognize such phrasing, but they failed. The results were seen as upholding famed linguist Noam Chomsky's theory that "recursive grammar" is uniquely human and key to the facility to acquire language.

    But after training, nine out of Gentner's 11 songbirds picked out the bird song with inserted warbling or rattling bird phrases about 90 percent of the time. Two continued to flunk grammar.

    Patrick Henry College, The Bible College That Leads to the White House

    No, it isn't from The Onion.
    The dangerous theocrats have their own dangerous theocrat school.

    what makes Patrick Henry unique is the increasingly close - critics say alarmingly close - links this recently established, right-wing Christian college has with the Bush administration and the Republican establishment as a whole. This spring, of the almost 100 interns working in the White House, seven are from Patrick Henry. Another intern works for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, while another works for President George Bush's senior political adviser, Karl Rove. Yet another works for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad. Over the past four years, 22 conservative members of Congress have employed one or more Patrick Henry interns.

    Democracy Now Program on the increasing secrecy of Bush Co and harassment of journalists and citizens by repiglikkkan Gestapo

    Multiple links on fascist diddling of the krewe in Washington
    Nat Hentoff on the Government Crackdown on Information From Whistleblowers to Journalists
    FBI Seeks to Seize Control of Files of Deceased Investigative Journalist Jack Anderson
    Pentagon Papers Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg to Government Insiders: Risk Prison to Leak Information Exposing Illegal Government Actions

    Schumer wants to bust up oil giants

    Good idea Chuck.

    While you're at it, why don't you break up BIG MEDIA and Bigger collusion between BIG MEDIA and BIG DEFENSE CORPORATIONS, which might be better called OFFENSE, AGGRESSION AND WAR MONGER corporations.

    The bigger the company the less vulnerable it is to any kind of popular movement, government intervention and competition from other companies, though the American system does everything it can to suppress competition, and the better positioned the company is to control everything about their market.

    Exxon Mobile is a fine example of a behemoth corporation that "explores" for oil, extracts, refines, distributes and prices it, and makes policy in Washington concerning everything about oil, other energy and machines that use oil.

    This company made more profit than any other company in the history of the world, all the while blaming 100% increases, or more, in the cost of gasoline at the pump on vague oil shortages, democrats, the EPA and environmental activists.

    Without the huge concentration of corporate power in a handful of demonstrably biased, right wing media companies who control over 90% of media in the US, a behemoth like Exxon, with its track record of environmental damages and social irresponsibility at every level, may never have been able to grow so large and cancerous.

    Observe what was recently called AOL Time Warner, now Time Warner, industry leader in the effort to destroy net neutrality. Not that it is the worst media company out there. It isn't. It just leaped to mind.

    This ugly company holds an enormous chunk of the media place, so even if all AOL customers dropped the service over night, and they should because the service is unreliable and the company engages in unethical and anti consumer behavior, Time Warner will be relatively unaffected and will continue to wield influence by cranking out crap in Time magazine, on CNN and HBO, in Little Brown Books and Warner Brothers, New Line Cinema and Castle Rock films, Sports Illustrated, People... and these are but a fraction of the companies controlled by Time Warner, one of only 6 media conglomerates that control the flow of almost all information in the US and are so large as to be almost invulnerable to citizen movements and government regulation..

    Is this kind of media concentration healthy for democracy Senator Schumer? A media so concentrated that only one view point, the corporate view point, is allowed on to the television news that most people turn to for information?

    Do you ever see, for example, a labor or worker point of view represented in CORPORATE MEDIA? No. How about the view point of a woman with 3 kids on welfare in a work fare program and no health insurance? No? Really? Weird, since it is such a common story.
    No, the media is as unipolar as the president desires to be unitary in his interpretation and dictatorial control of our nation.

    DO you think it is ethical, sane or democratic for a company like General Electric to own NBC and all its concerns? Do you think if the real business of NBC was reporting the news rather than padding the media place with disinformation designed to obfuscate the truth, confuse the public and create lack of resistance to polices that destroy the very people who are being brainwashed, there might be a higher likelihood that NBC would report the truth on General Electric, a "defense company", not a mere maker of useful, cheerful and increasingly energy efficient light bulbs, but a maker of nuclear missile parts, among other things.

    Senator Schumer, I have to tell you, I'm all for breaking up oil companies. I'm all for stringing up their corporate generals by their pedicured toes, but I suspect we wouldn't even have such a big, big problem with UNCHECKED POWER OF OIL COMPANIES if we didn't have what amounts to these companies

    In 2004, Bagdikian's revised and expanded book, The New Media Monopoly, shows that only 5 huge corporations -- Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch's News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) -- now control most of the media industry in the U.S. General Electric's NBC is a close sixth.

    with such control over our information.

    We need an independent press at least as much as we need to break up and regulate oil companies.

    Murray Waas, Always 6 months to a year ahead of New York Times

    On the eve of the invasion of Iraq, Sen. Pat Roberts was involved in disclosing sensitive intelligence information that, according to four former senior intelligence officers, impaired efforts to capture Saddam Hussein.

    18 rich families pay for campaign to kill estate taxes

    Washington -- Eighteen of America's wealthiest families, including the Timkens of Canton, are bankrolling efforts to permanently repeal estate taxes that would save their families a total of $71.6 billion, according to a report released Tuesday by public interest groups.
    They said families including those that founded Wal-Mart, Gallo wineries, Nordstrom's department stores, Wegman's grocery stores, the Mars candy company, Cox media chain and Campbell Soup Co. joined the Timkens in bankrolling an effort the groups' report called "one of the biggest con jobs in recent history."

    What the Chimp in Chief called the Death Tax when he was trying to sell this bad idea, this class war weapon to the television narcotized AmeriKKKan public.

    The Nuts Who Run Big Pharma

    n the memo released by the FDA during the discovery process, Dr. Curtis Rosebraugh, an agency medical officer, wrote: "As an example, she stated that we could not anticipate, or prevent extreme promiscuous behaviors such as the medication taking on an 'urban legend' status that would lead adolescents to form sex-based cults centered around the use of Plan B."

    Danube breaks through Romania flood dikes

    Waters from the swollen Danube River broke through several dikes flooding houses and forcing more villagers to flee their homes in southern Romania.

    The rains stopped, but high waters caused damage to villages and towns along the Danube, which marks the border with Bulgaria, Romanian authorities said.

    Fox News Stooge Jerk replaces McClellan as press secretary

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    Start With George!

    Laura Bush announced an initiative Monday to combat global illiteracy, saying that more than 800 million people around the world can't read.

    The Bush Regime

    Scientists Probe the Use of the Tongue

    Get your mind out of the gutter. This is for war, not that other stuff..

    In their quest to create the super warrior of the future, some military researchers aren't focusing on organs like muscles or hearts. They're looking at tongues.

    By routing signals from helmet-mounted cameras, sonar and other equipment through the tongue to the brain, they hope to give elite soldiers superhuman senses similar to owls, snakes and fish.

    Part One Amy Goodman's Interview with Stephen Kinzer Author of Overthrow

    50 Years After the CIA’s First Overthrow of a Democratically Elected Foreign Government We Take a Look at the 1953 US Backed Coup in Iran
    his month marks the 50th anniversary of America’s first overthrow of a democratically-elected government in the Middle East.

    In 1953, the CIA and British intelligence orchestrated a coup d’etat that toppled the democratically elected government of Iran. The government of Mohammad Mossadegh. The aftershocks of the coup are still being felt.

    In 1951 Prime Minister Mossadegh roused Britain's ire when he nationalized the oil industry. Mossadegh argued that Iran should begin profiting from its vast oil reserves which had been exclusively controlled by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. The company later became known as British Petroleum (BP).

    After considering military action, Britain opted for a coup d'état. President Harry Truman rejected the idea, but when Dwight Eisenhower took over the White House, he ordered the CIA to embark on one of its first covert operations against a foreign government.

    Overthrow by Stephen Kinzer

    I'm reading this book right after American Theocracy and right before The Bush Agenda.

    Brzezinski on Bush's Iran "Strategy"

    Excellent insights on the Bush plan to instigate trouble (and drive up oil prices).

    Iran: Intelligence Reports Versus Bush Co Corporate War Mongers

    U.S. Attorney general calls for 'reasonable' data retention

    Alberto Gonzales, AKA The Short Answer, calls for more big, intrusive, rights crushing, invasive repiglikkkan government.

    No it isn't to protect children. It isn't even to control the internet and suppress dissent, though that may be a happy side effect. What it really is, is to pretend the Bush administration is in touch with and cares about any social issue in America.

    If Bush, or any of his blood soaked brothers in unconsciousness and relentless, lip smacking greed, gave a damn about children they could not excuse themselves on New Orleans or laugh into their greedy fists while they jack tuition costs up in order to make more money for their friends in the lending industry or countenance the poisoned food supply or the irresponsible marketing of products to children or decimate the schools with their funding games or encourage, at every level in all their polices and public remarks, violence and exploitation of the weak by the more powerful.

    No, Short Answer's jaw flap, his Texican Drawl bubbling out of his incessantly amused pumpkin-like head, is part of the 5 point Josh Bolton plan to redeem the Chimp-in-chief in the eyes of the furious public. I don't mean to imply widespread hatred of Bush will alter policy one bit. It won't. It's all PR, perception management and other Fox Source, BushCo Disinformation and Propaganda.

    Gonzales will call a lot of attention to his love of children, to his disgust with pedophiles and pornographers, Gonzales, author of legal briefs that brought you the pornographic slide show from Abu Gharib, and Chertoff will call a lot of attention to his rousting of Illegals, Sibilant Chertoff, the overseer of FEMA and cameras on your street lights, etc., but all this is about making Amerikkka believe Bush is actually doing something on behalf of America, though I guess we'll have to wait to see the other 3 points.

    I hope one point wasn't Condi's whirlwind tour of Greece where she was detested and greeted with disgusted rage.

    What's really curious to me is WHO ARE THE 32% who still support this administration and what in hell is wrong with them?

    I imagine She-swine is one, though I haven't talked to her recently and I feel much cleaner for it.

    Republican women are a scary lot. Even the Catholic ones see themselves as part of the protestant elect. The ones I know are controlling bitches and failed femme fatales who believe they are inferior to men they have sex with, but superior to everyone else, especially the poor. Strange psychological dynamic and incredibly unpleasant to be around. Too much contact with them causes me to itch.

    The threat to a fistful of petrodollars

    Attending the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Kudrin caused his American hosts discomfort by openly questioning the dollar's pre-eminence as the world's "absolute" reserve currency.

    The greenback's recent volatility and the yawning US trade deficit, "are definitely causing concern with regard to its reserve currency status," he said. "The international community can hardly be satisfied with this instability."

    Venezuela Plans to Raise Trade Barriers Against Colombia, Peru

    Nothing new on the Illinois Legislature Move to Impeach Bush

    Illinois’ kids insurance program would be nation’s first

    Driving state repiglikkkans into an ass clinching fury, by god.

    Illinois joins states funding stem cell research

    Poor planning, equipment to push Iraq war costs to 1 trillion U.S. dollars: report

    Cheney's own Halliburton Wasting Millions on Iraqi Pipe Line Never built

    When Robert Sanders was sent by the Army to inspect the construction work an American company was doing on the banks of the Tigris River, 130 miles north of Baghdad, he expected to see workers drilling holes beneath the riverbed to restore a crucial set of large oil pipelines, which had been bombed during the invasion of Iraq.What he found instead that day in July 2004 looked like some gargantuan heart-bypass operation gone nightmarishly bad. A crew had bulldozed a 300-foot-long trench along a giant drill bit in their desperate attempt to yank it loose from the riverbed. A supervisor later told him that the project's crews knew that drilling the holes was not possible, but that they had been instructed by the company in charge of the project to continue anyway.

    A few weeks later, after the project had burned up all of the $75.7 million allocated to it, the work came to a halt.

    The project, called the Fatah pipeline crossing, had been a critical element of a $2.4 billion no-bid reconstruction contract that a Halliburton subsidiary had won from the Army in 2003.

    FEMA wants their money back from the abused and displaced of New Orleans, a city which could be rebuilt for what we spend in Iraq in a month.

    Famed Prison Journalist Sinclair Paroled

    Sinclair gained fame for his work on The Angolite, the inmate publication at Louisiana State Penitentiary. He published the magazine with Wilbert Rideau, a fellow Angola inmate who was released last year.

    Their magazine won national prizes including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award and the George Polk Award for special interest reporting.

    Radio and Television News Directors Association

    O'Reilly: The homeless "will not support themselves" because "they want to get drunk" and "high," or they're just "too lazy"

    Whereas some people, such as O'Reily, will do anything for money, including undermine democracy and democratic principles and attack innocent people day in and day out.

    Bill Gates, Loyal Amerikkkan Business Man

    Standing-room-only "seats" on Airlines

    Airbus has been quietly pitching the standing-room-only option to Asian carriers, though none have agreed to it yet. Passengers in the standing section would be propped against a padded backboard, held in place with a harness, according to experts who have seen a proposal.

    But even short of that option, carriers have been slipping another row or two of seats into coach by exploiting stronger, lighter materials developed by seat manufacturers that allow for slimmer seatbacks. The thinner seats theoretically could be used to give passengers more legroom but, in practice, the airlines have been keeping the amount of space between rows the same, to accommodate additional rows.

    The result is an additional 6 seats on a typical Boeing 737, for a total of 156, and as many as 12 new seats on a Boeing 757, for a total of 200.

    Get Your Iran War ON! Tehran insider tells of US black ops

    Rabid Right Wing Extremists Attempt to Prevent Juan Cole from getting Yale Job

    Monday, April 24, 2006

    Numerous problems with blogger Making it Difficult for me to Update my Blog for the last few Days

    Disappearing posts, doubled posts, connection resets and so on. It is like this almost daily for the last month or so...

    The Bush Base

    FEMA Wants $4.7M Back From Katrina Victims

    Supposedly Free Americans Prevented from Speaking to Press by Federal Government Mercenaries under Direction of Michael Chertoff

    I could hardly believe my eyes.

    As the reporter attempted to talk with a citizen who requested to be interviewed, a citizen interred in a FEMA trailer Park, a hired mercenary, paid out of your tax dollars, from a company called Corporate Security Solutions Inc., stopped the interview by claiming no one is allowed to speak to the press on "installation" property without a representative of FEMA present.

    I thought people in FEMA camps were there because they were displaced by the destruction of New Orleans. I had no idea such displacement entailed forgoing civil rights.

    I'd like to under stand the legal basis for such violation of American Citizen's first amendment rights. I'll let you know what I find out.

    See it with your own eyes.

    free and open Internet is under seige

    Saturday, April 22, 2006

    Bill Status of HJR0125 94th General Assembly PRESIDENT BUSH-IMPEACHMENT

    Synopsis As Introduced
    Urges the General Assembly to submit charges to the U. S. House of Representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States, George W. Bush, for willfully violating his Oath of Office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and if found guilty urges his removal from office and disqualification to hold any other office in the United States.

    Pink- Dear Mr President - Live

    I'm buying the CD Today.
    Terrific work

    New Gasoline Study Shows Profits, Not Crude Oil Prices Or Ethanol, Are Driving Pump Price Spike

    Oil Prices Settle Above $75 a Barrel

    Israel Preparing To Reoccupy Gaza?

    Brazil quietly prepares uranium enrichment center

    As Iran faces international pressure over developing the raw material for nuclear weapons, Brazil is quietly preparing to open its own uranium enrichment center, capable of producing exactly the same fuel.

    Brazil - like Iran - has signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and Brazil's constitution bans the military use of nuclear energy.

    Also like Iran, Brazil has cloaked key aspects of its nuclear technology in secrecy while insisting the program is for peaceful purposes.

    Iraq says ready to negotiate oilfield contracts

    Venezuelan president blames U.S. for high oil prices

    Chavez predicted that the cost of oil would soar far higher if the standoff over Iran's nuclear program led to a U.S. attack on the Islamic republic.
    “It could reach $100 ... It is up to the United States,” Chavez told reporters as he arrived in southern Brazil on a trade mission. He attributed the already-high price to American “bellicose statements and the American president's threats against Iran.”

    “They must abandon the option for war against Iran,” Chavez said. “Iran has the right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.”

    Jeb Bush Comes Under Fire in the Death of a 14 years old

    Protesters force Bush to move Stanford meeting

    Gasoline supply problems hit U.S. East Coast

    Ted Koppel, Receiving Award, Says News Outlets Avoiding 'Civic Responsibility'

    US intel report: Major increase in terrorist incidents

    Subliminal message (indicted) in (guilty) political TV ads

    Rice Allegedly Defense Info

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice leaked national defense information to a pro-Israel lobbyist in the same manner that landed a lower-level Pentagon official a 12-year prison sentence, the lobbyist's lawyer said Friday.

    Prosecutors disputed the claim.

    The allegations against Rice came as a federal judge granted a defense request to issue subpoenas sought by the defense for Rice and three other government officials in the trial of Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman. The two are former lobbyists with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee who are charged with receiving and disclosing national defense information.

    Friday, April 21, 2006

    Spy Speaks Out

    CBS) A CIA official who had a top role during the run-up to the Iraqi war charges the White House with ignoring intelligence that said there were no weapons of mass destruction or an active nuclear program in Iraq.

    The former highest ranking CIA officer in Europe, Tyler Drumheller, also says that while the intelligence community did give the White House some bad intelligence, it also gave the White House good intelligence — which the administration chose to ignore.


    Mothers in domestic violence shelters face losing their children

    Domestic violence shelter directors say the state is increasingly taking children away from women who have done nothing more than move to a shelter to escape a violent home.

    Drivers Turn To Pawn Shops For Gas Money

    Billion Dollar Cheney Hilarious Short film

    Nepal braces for more protests

    One only has to survey the number of murders and suicides committed by the innocent victims of SSRIs to understand the true nature of big Pharma

    Experts Defining Mental Disorders Are Linked to Drug Firms

    Every psychiatric expert involved in writing the standard diagnostic criteria for disorders such as depression and schizophrenia has had financial ties to drug companies that sell medications for those illnesses, a new analysis has found.

    Is this what you call collusion?

    Of the 170 experts in all who contributed to the manual that defines disorders from personality problems to drug addiction, more than half had such ties, including 100 percent of the experts who served on work groups on mood disorders and psychotic disorders. The analysis did not reveal the extent of their relationships with industry or whether those ties preceded or followed their work on the manual.
    The analysis comes at a time of growing debate over the rising use of medication as the primary or sole treatment for many psychiatric disorders, a trend driven in part by definitions of mental disorders in the psychiatric manual.
    The mentally ill may as well be possessed by demons for all the care and understanding they are given by AmeriKKKan society with its protestant elitist values and bible thumping to orgasm. If you dare to go crazy, or be born that way, FUCK YOU. If therapy might help you and drugs are cheaper, and they are, get drugged and be quiet or rave and suffer or drop dead.
    Just say no to Big Pharma!

    Delta asking 50,000 employees to volunteer to clean aircraft at night on their own time

    Employees will pull four- and eight-hour shifts to clean interior windows and walls, "scrape stuff from tray tables and floors . . . if there's gum on the floor," said spokesman Anthony Black. Cleaning lavatories is part of the drill, too.
    That's right. The right wing extremists have pressured the economy so much, so successfully for the last 25 years people are supposed to VOLUNTEER to work for their companies out of gratitude.

    You should be GRATEFUL YOU HAVE A JOB.
    We could "outsource it to India or Honduras where people are happy to work for a dollar a day". (Quote from the Right Wing Extremist Bible of Globalization)

    Norquist, Field Marshall of the Bush Plan

    Norquist the conservative activist

    He is one of the "Gang of Five" in Nina Easton's 2000 book by that name, giving the history of leaders of the modern conservative movement. He has been described as "a thumb-in-the-eye radical rightist" (The Nation), and "Tom Paine crossed with Lee Atwater plus just a soupcon of Madame Defarge" (P.J. O'Rourke).

    Norquist is famous for his widely quoted comment that he wants to shrink government "down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub." Norquist largely rejects relativism and is comfortable assigning the labels of "good" and "bad". The pledge of "no new taxes" that so many Republican legislators signed was his project. He holds regular meetings for conservative leaders (http://nationaljournal.com/about/njweekly/stories/2005/1001nj1.htm) in which strategy is discussed. He once commented, "We play for keeps; they play for lunch."


    WASHINGTON - The nation's spy chief disclosed for the first time Thursday that the number of U.S. intelligence personnel worldwide totals nearly 100,000.

    In a speech at the National Press Club marking his first year on the job, National Intelligence Director John Negroponte indicated his willingness to make some, normally classified information public.

    Grover Norquist will have to be quick to drown all these spooks in the bath tub before he goes to federal prison.

    Wish some feisty reporter - do we have those? - would ask Mr Death Squad, a name that is infinitely more accurate for Negroponte than the innocuous, rather cutesy "Spy Chief" which sounds like a couple of 10 year old boys hiding from each other in the back yard on a breezy, sun drenched, late summer day(COME ON TOMMY! Let's play Spy Chief), just how many of his spies are actually eavesdropping on Americans, gathering our data, screening our calls, reading our emails, violating our privacy while pretending, in that quaint way repiglikkkans have, that the Constitution affords no right to privacy or intrusion from a big government.


    Kerry considering 2008 run
    "I will make that decision toward the end of the year, but I'm thinking about it hard," Mr Kerry said in response to a question at the Latin Economic Forum at the United Nations.

    "If you can help me find 60,000 votes in Ohio ...," he joked, referring to the close race in that state on which his 2004 loss to US President George W. Bush hinged.
    I voted for Kerry because he wasn't Bush. I understood Bush was stupid, lazy, disinterested, incapable of governing and was being run by the pack of frothing, war crazed lunatics who were howling at him as advisors.

    Kerry was nothing but NOT BUSH. I didn't agree with his center right view of the invasion and occupation of Iraq or the economy.

    However, I realized he was intelligent enough not to sit reading My Pet Goat while waiting to be told what to do after an attack on the United States. I realized he may even have paid attention the presidential daily briefing and would certainly not pulled the FBI off the Bin Laden family, so possibly prevented the attacks.

    But I only voted for him as the least bad of two bad choices, or no choice as we like to stay here in the USA.
    I only voted for him as not Bush.And I'm certain I'm not the only one.

    Two voting companies & two brothers will count 80 percent of U.S. election using both scanners & touchscreens

    A little back ground on ES&S, Diebold and how to fix elections

    LATEST E-VOTE LAWSUIT: Oregon Sues ES&S for Breach of Contract!

    Amongst just some of the lawsuits and other legal proceedings now underway in light of HAVA implementation around the country...
    ALASKA: Democratic Party files suit against state to release Diebold voting data from 2004 Election.

    CALIFORNIA: Voters file suit against SoS and Election Registrars to decertify Diebold machines.

    FLORIDA: Leon County Supervisor of Elections begins legal action against Diebold for breach of contract after machines found to be hackable; Attorney General subpoenas Voting Machine companies in investigation of possible collusion.

    ILLINOIS: Republicans ask for 20% recount after Sequoia machines fail in Cook County Primary Election; Democrat says he may file suit on behalf of both Republicans and Dems across state.

    INDIANA: Sec. of State announces hearings, possible civil fines against ES&S.

    MARYLAND: Republican Governor declares "no confidence" in paperless Diebold systems; Democratic-run House votes 137 to 0 to ban them.

    NEW MEXICO: Voters file suit against state to decertify Sequoia machines; Legislation enacted outlawing paperless touch-screen systems.

    NEW YORK: U.S. Dept. of Justice threatens state with lawsuit for HAVA non-compliance.

    PENNSYLVANIA: Voters file suit against Allegheny County, PA and US Dept. of Justice in re: ES&S machines

    TEXAS: Statewide Election Contest filed by Republican Supreme Court Justice after ES&S, Hart InterCivic machines failed across state in March 7th primary.

    Grover Norquist, unelected repiglikkkan strategist with Unamerican values is a tax cheat

    Grover Norquist, president of the conservative Americans for Tax Reform lobby group, has neglected to pay his Washington, DC property taxes for the first half of this fiscal year.

    Maybe he's so nervous about the investigation into his dealings with Abramoff he forgot. Or maybe, like most republicans, he simply feels he's above the law.

    Even Cambodia rejects US request for troops in Iraq

    The Worst President in History?

    On the cover of the rollin' stone!

    No White Child Left Behind

    Thursday, April 20, 2006

    Maintaining taste amid transition

    Meat-Eaters Aiding Global Warming?

    New Research Suggests What You Eat as Important as What You Drive

    April 19, 2006 -- Your personal impact on global warming may be influenced as much by what you eat as by what you drive.

    That surprising conclusion comes from a couple of scientists who have taken an unusual look at the production of greenhouse gases from an angle that not many folks have even thought about. Gidon Eshel and Pamela Martin, assistant professors of geophysics at the University of Chicago, have found that our consumption of red meat may be as bad for the planet as it is for our bodies.

    If you want to help lower greenhouse gas emissions, they conclude in a report to be published in the journal Earth Interactions, become a vegetarian.

    I'M THE DECIDER (Koo-Koo-Ka-Choo)

    This is hilarious

    The Minutemen vigilante movement shows what a weak leader Bush is

    I'd like to see the minutemen nut boxes and the decider in chief in the same jail cell myself.

    Unforeseen Spending on Materiel Pumps Up Iraq War Bill and Profits Go to Bush Friends who own Offense Industry

    With the expected passage this spring of the largest emergency spending bill in history, annual war expenditures in Iraq will have nearly doubled since the U.S. invasion, as the military confronts the rapidly escalating cost of repairing, rebuilding and replacing equipment chewed up by three years of combat.

    The cost of the war in U.S. fatalities has declined this year, but the cost in treasure continues to rise, from $48 billion in 2003 to $59 billion in 2004 to $81 billion in 2005 to an anticipated $94 billion in 2006, according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. The U.S. government is now spending nearly $10 billion a month in Iraq and Afghanistan, up from $8.2 billion a year ago, a new Congressional Research Service report found.

    Annual war costs in Iraq are easily outpacing the $61 billion a year that the United States spent in Vietnam between 1964 and 1972, in today's dollars. The invasion's "shock and awe" of high-tech laser-guided bombs, cruise missiles and stealth aircraft has long faded, but the costs of even those early months are just coming into view as the military confronts equipment repair and rebuilding costs it has avoided and procurement costs it never expected.

    Without Delay

    The political landscape changes in an instant, and when it does, careers can come to an end. So it happened with tom delay, whose lack of self-restraint and self-awareness made him the architect of his own undoing.

    DeLay's scandals: maybe not just for Texas anymore

    Mehlman has hotly denied any knowledge of the phone-jamming program, but he has been less clear about why, if the RNC was not involved, it has paid $2.5 million in legal fees to have Tobin represented in the federal case by the venerable Washington "white collar" defense firm of Williams & Connolly.

    In a CNN interview last week, Mehlman said the decision to foot the legal bill was made before he became chairman and "based on assurances (Tobin) made. I believed it was right to honor that decision." Hmmm.

    State Democratic chief Sullivan says that given Republicans' shifting stories about what went on in 2002, she would like officials such as Mehlman questioned under oath.

    Snake Evolution. Exciting Stuff

    Similarities Don't Stop Here.

    Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    Happy Birthday to Me!

    As I blow out my candles I'll be wishing for Bush to be impeached, for Cheney to be ridden out of town on a rail, after he's tarred and feathered and for Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Meyers to be tried for war crimes right along with Bush and Cheney.

    I also wish someone would out Rove. And Falwell. And Jail Delay and Frist and Bob Ney and Rick Santorum.

    What a grand and glorious birthday it would be.

    Details Revealed About Huge Dinosaurs

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Scientists are learning more about what appears to be one of the biggest meat-eating dinosaurs known, a two-legged beast whose bones were found several years ago in the fossil-rich Patagonia region of Argentina.
    The creature, which apparently measured more than 40 feet long, is called Mapusaurus roseae.

    The discovery of Mapusaurus included bones from at least seven to nine of the beasts, suggesting the previously unknown animal may have lived and hunted in groups. That hunting strategy might have allowed it to attack even bigger beasts, huge plant-eating dinosaurs.
    I'm fascinated by the idea that these animals didn't go extinct, but evolved into birds. With human beings on their way to their own cataclysmic event, I wonder if we'll do so well in our evolution?

    The 2006 Pulitzer Prize Winners

    Floods Force 10,000 Kenyans to Flee Homes

    MALINDI, Kenya -- A river swollen by heavy rains overflowed its banks, forcing at least 10,000 people to flee their homes and destroying thatched mud huts and crops in impoverished villages, a senior official said Tuesday.

    Senate Hearings on Bush, Now

    Ruined Treasures in Babylon Await an Iraq Without Fighting

    Crumbling brick buildings, some 2,500 years old, look like smashed sand castles at the beach.

    Famous sites, like the Tower of Babel and the Hanging Gardens, are swallowed up by river reeds.

    Signs of military occupation are everywhere, including trenches, bullet casings, shiny coils of razor wire and blast walls stamped, "This side Scud protection."

    Babylon, the mud-brick city with the million-dollar name, has paid the price of war. It has been ransacked, looted, torn up, paved over, neglected and roughly occupied. Archaeologists said American soldiers even used soil thick with priceless artifacts to stuff sandbags.

    Here's another story and different perspective about the U.S. occupation forces damaging ancient Iraqi city of Babylon.

    Sixty-country survey to search for fossil fuels in pristine environment

    The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. The Arctic Ocean could be ice-free in summer by 2060, scientists warn. Photograph: Corbis

    Evangelical Christians are Morons

    Four groups representing evangelical Christians said an internal survey found that 63 percent of "values voters" - identified as evangelical Christians whose priorities include outlawing abortion and banning same-sex marriage - "feel Congress has not kept its promises to act on a pro-family agenda."

    Yeah. They value authoritarianism, lies and control over others. BushCo has served them quite well.

    E-VOTING 2006: The Approaching Train Wreck

    Roberts-Scalia Court Rubber Stamps Bush Police State

    Clement said that in the meantime, the men have had television, a stereo system, books and recreational opportunities: including soccer, volleyball and ping-pong.
    The detainees' lawyers painted a different picture, saying that hunger strikes and suicide attempts at Guantanamo Bay are becoming more common and that the men are isolated.

    "Guantanamo is at the precipice," Boston lawyer Sabin Willett wrote in the appeal. "Only prompt intervention by this court to vindicate its own mandate can prevent the rule of law itself from being drowned in this intensifying whirlpool of desperation."

    About 500 foreigners are being held at Guantanamo Bay. Lawyers for more than 300 of the men filed a brief in Monday's case, saying that Qassim and al-Hakim "are far from the only innocent non-combatants languishing at Guantanamo."

    Ex-Exxon CEO's Massive Pension Draws Fire

    His $98 million pension payout reflects 43 years of service. But he would have received nearly $17 million less had he retired just last year, according to the company's 2005 proxy statement.

    In this year's proxy statement, Exxon defended the package by saying it rewards Raymond's "outstanding leadership of the business, continued strengthening of our worldwide competitive position, and continuing progress toward achieving long-range strategic goals." Raymond had been CEO since 1993 before stepping down at the end of last year.

    Exxon added that Raymond's compensation is "appropriately positioned relative to CEOs of U.S.-based, integrated oil companies and other major U.S.-based corporations, particluarly in view of the long-term performance of the company and the substantial experience and expertise that Mr. Raymond has brought to the job."

    Last year, Chevron Corp. Chairman and CEO David O'Reilly received a $1.55 million salary, $3.5 million bonus and $3.57 million in long-term compensation. He did not exercise any options, but owns options valued at just over $34 million, including exercisable options worth $28 million, according to Chevron's proxy.

    Fugate, who specializes in executive compensation and management, said Exxon is sending a "very, very bad signal" by allowing Raymond to select the lump-sum payout.

    "They are in very, very rich times, so on one hand they say, 'we can afford it,' but on the other hand they are taking an awful lot of heat because they've made too much at the expense of consumers. I'm surprised they are not being asked to justify that."