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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Name:
    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Monday, July 30, 2007

    Typical Religion: An excuse for Violence and Misogyny

    PHOENIX - Officers responding to a report of an exorcism on a young girl found her grandfather choking her and used stun guns to subdue the man, who later died, authorities said Sunday.

    The 3-year-old girl and her mother, who was also in the room during the struggle between 49-year-old Ronald Marquez and officers, were hospitalized, police said. Their condition was unavailable.

    The relative who called police said an exorcism had also been attempted Thursday.

    "The purpose was to release demons from this very young child," said Sgt. Joel Tranter.

    Officers arrived at the house Saturday and entered when they heard screaming coming from a bedroom, Tranter said.

    A bed had been pushed up against the door; the officers pushed it open a few inches and saw Marquez choking his bloodied granddaughter, who was crying in pain and gasping, Tranter said.

    A bloody, naked 19-year-old woman who police later determined to be Marquez's daughter and the girl's mother was in the room, chanting "something that was religious in nature," Tranter said.

    [...]

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    Neoliberal Hillary Similar to Bush and Bill's Economic Policy

    BUFFALO, N.Y. — To many labor unions and high-tech workers, the Indian giant Tata Consultancy Services is a serious threat — a company that has helped move U.S. jobs to India while sending thousands of foreign workers on temporary visas to the United States.

    So when Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) came to this struggling city to announce some good news, her choice of partners was something of a surprise.

    Joining Tata Consultancy's chief executive at a downtown hotel, Clinton announced that the company would open a software development office in Buffalo and form a research partnership with a local university. Tata told a newspaper that it might hire as many as 200 people.

    The 2003 announcement had clear benefits for the senator and the company: Tata received good press, and Clinton burnished her credentials as a champion for New York's depressed upstate region.

    But less noticed was how the event signaled that Clinton, who portrays herself as a fighter for American workers, had aligned herself with Indian American business leaders and Indian companies feared by the labor movement.

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    Republican fundraiser to feature machine guns

    A planned Republican fundraiser in New Hampshire aims to promote gun ownership in the United States by letting supporters fire powerful military-style weapons -- from Uzi submachine guns to M-16 rifles.

    The Manchester Republican Committee is inviting party members and their families to a "Machine Gun Shoot" where, for $25, supporters can spend a day trying out automatic weapons, said organiser Jerry Thibodeau.
    [...]

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    Monday, July 16, 2007

    Bush has mentioned Petraeus at least 150 times this year in his speeches, interviews and news conferences

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    JEFFREY LEE is not interested in the soaring price of uranium, which could make him one of the world's richest men.

    Custodian … Jeffrey Lee at an outcrop sacred to his clan. "I can go fishing and hunting. That's all that matters to me."

    Mr Lee, the shy 36-year-old sole member of the Djok clan and the senior custodian of the Koongarra uranium deposit, has decided never to allow the ecologically sensitive land to be mined.

    "There are sacred sites, there are burial sites and there are other special places out there which are my responsibility to look after," Mr Lee told the Herald.

    "I'm not interested in white people offering me this or that … it doesn't mean a thing.

    "I'm not interested in money. I've got a job; I can buy tucker; I can go fishing and hunting. That's all that matters to me."

    Mr Lee said he thought long and hard about speaking publicly for the first time about why he wants to see the land incorporated into the World Heritage-listed national park, where, he said, "it will be protected and safe forever".

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    Global broadband prices

    Broadband users in 30 of the world's most developed countries are getting greatly differing speeds and prices, according to a report.

    In Japan net users have 100Mbps lines, 10 times higher than the OECD average.

    Japan's price for broadband per megabit per second is the lowest in the OECD at $0.22 (0.11p), said the report. The most expensive is Turkey at $81.13 (£40.56).

    In the US, the cheapest megabit per second broadband connection is $3.18 (£1.59) while in the UK it is $3.62 (£1.81).

    CHEAPEST ENTRY LEVEL BROADBAND PER MONTH*
    Sweden $10.79
    Denmark $11.11
    Switzerland $12.53
    US $15.93
    France $16.36
    Netherlands $16.85
    New Zealand $16.86
    Italy $17.63
    Ireland $18.18
    Finland $19.49
    *Source: OECD. Figures for October 2006

    Subscribers to Japan's fibre networks can also upload at the same speed they can download, which is not possible with ADSL (broadband over a telephone line) and most cable subscriptions.

    Sweden, Korea and Finland also offer 100Mbps net connections, as all four countries have switched to fibre optic networks.

    The OECD represents 30 of the leading democratic economics, from Australia to the US, France to Japan.

    "Broadband is very quickly becoming the basic medium for sevice delivery on both fixed and wireless networks," said the report.

    JupiterResearch telecoms analyst Ian Fogg said: "It's very hard to draw comparisons across 30 countries globally because there are different trends happening in each of them.

    However, he said the entry price for broadband was an incredibly important criteria to compare.

    "Because the market is very fragmented consumers care about cheap prices."

    According to the report, broadband prices for DSL connections across the 30 countries have fallen by 19% and increased in speed by 29% in the year to October 2006. Cable prices and speeds followed a similar trend.

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    Iraqi river carries grotesque cargo

    Five hundred mutilated bodies dumped into the River Tigris have been washed up in two years in the town of Suweira, 100km (62 miles) south of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. The BBC's Mona Mahmoud and Sebastian Usher have spoken to the community through an Iraqi journalist to find out how they cope.

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    Archaeologists Find Old Mask in Bulgaria

    A 2,400-year-old golden mask that once belonged to a Thracian king was unearthed in a timber-lined tomb in southeastern Bulgaria, archaeologists said Monday.

    The mask, discovered over the weekend, was found in the tomb along with a solid gold ring engraved with a Greek inscription and the portrait of a bearded man.
    [...]
    According to Kitov, the Thracian civilization was at least equal in terms of development to the ancient Greek one.

    The Thracians lived in what is now Bulgaria and parts of modern Greece, Romania, Macedonia, and Turkey between 4,000 B.C. and the 8th century A.D., when they were assimilated by the invading Slavs.

    In 2004, another 2,400-year-old golden mask was unearthed from a Thracian tomb in the same area.

    Dozens of Thracian mounds are spread throughout central Bulgaria, which archaeologists have dubbed "the Bulgarian valley of kings" in reference to the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, Egypt, home to the tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs.

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    Rare Mycenaean grave unearthed

    An undated image of a rare Mycenaean grave discovered in Greece. Roadworks in southern Greece have unearthed a rare Mycenaean grave thought to be well over 3,000 years old and containing important burial offerings including a gold chalice, the culture ministry said on Monday. (Greek Culture Ministry/Handout/Reuters)

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    Sunday, July 15, 2007

    Bush to veto children’s health insurance expansion.

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    It's About Time Someone in Congress Noticed. Thanks Keith Ellison

    Addressing a gathering of atheists in his home state of Minnesota, Keith Ellison, a Democrat, compared the 9/11 atrocities to the destruction of the Reichstag, the German parliament, in 1933. This was probably burned down by the Nazis in order to justify Hitler's later seizure of emergency powers.

    "It's almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that," Mr Ellison said. "After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it, and it put the leader [Hitler] of that country in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted."

    To applause from his audience of 300 members of Atheists for Human Rights, Mr Ellison said he would not accuse the Bush administration of planning 9/11 because "you know, that's how they put you in the nut-ball box - dismiss you".

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    Bush Administration Provokes Russia to withdraw from arms treaty

    President Vladimir Putin signed a decree suspending Russia's participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty due to "extraordinary circumstances ... which affect the security of the Russian Federation and require immediate measures," the Kremlin said in a statement.

    Putin has in the past threatened to freeze his country's compliance with the treaty, accusing the United States and its NATO partners of undermining regional stability with U.S. plans for a missile defense system in former Soviet bloc countries in Eastern Europe.

    Under the moratorium, Russia would halt inspections and verifications of its military sites by NATO countries and would no longer limit the number of its conventional weapons, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

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    Saturday, July 14, 2007

    Complete Impeachment Discussion at Moyers Website

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    Tough Talk on Impeachment

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    Decidedly Not Progressive Obama Explains Why he Opposes Impeachment in Response to a Letter I wrote

    Thank you for contacting me to voice your frustration that a number of high ranking Bush Administration officials seem to act as if they are above the law. The Scooter Libby trial is a case in point.

    Mr. Libby, Vice President Cheney's former Chief of Staff, was recently convicted on four felony counts of perjury and obstruction of justice for his involvement in the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's name, and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. I appreciate the point that Mr. Libby "did not act alone," and I expect most observers of his trial would agree. The fact that this case ended with so many unanswered questions and only this one conviction is troubling.

    The testimony of Administration officials and members of the press in the Libby trial suggest the leak of Ms. Plame's name was part of a concentrated effort to discredit an individual critical of Administration policy. The determination to settle political scores at the risk of national security considerations should not be tolerated.

    Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald - one of the nation's toughest and most independent U.S. Attorneys - maintained that he could not file additional charges in the "leak case" because of Mr. Libby's obstruction. I understand why this frustrates so many Americans. In our system of government, all parties responsible for any wrongdoing should be held accountable for their actions. President Bush's decision to commute the sentence of Scooter Libby only compounds this frustration.

    While I know many Americans share your strong feelings, I do not think that, in this closely divided Congress, options like calling for impeachment of the President or the Vice President serve our ultimate objective, which is getting the country back on the right track. The Democratic Party, by vote of the people, took back the majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives in the November elections. That result has provided Democrats in Congress with more than just subpoena powers or the Speaker's gavel. For the first time in over a decade, we have the opportunity to set the agenda and lead the policy debate, and we have a responsibility to do something constructive with that opportunity.

    I fully support the Senate Judiciary Committee's ongoing efforts to conduct intensive, bipartisan oversight of the executive branch, particularly in light of recent testimony about illegal wiretapping programs and the firing of nine U.S. attorneys. This testimony continues to raise deeply troubling questions about political undermining of the rule of law, and I commend the Judiciary Committee for demanding lawfulness and accountability.

    In this last election, we saw people from Montana to Rhode Island respond to a message of common purpose and progress. On the campaign trail last fall, I saw people respond to a shared desire to educate our kids, grow our economy, care for the vulnerable and expand a culture of tolerance and diversity. I heard a call for progress, not partisanship or political gamesmanship. Americans are ready for a more civil and responsible style of leadership than the kind we have seen on Capitol Hill in recent years. Americans expect and deserve leaders who will focus on meeting the needs of their constituents and working together to solve the most pressing problems we face as a nation.

    We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address climate change, reform our health care system, and end a war in Iraq that should not have been waged. I hope this Congress continues to make a priority of moving beyond the confrontational tactics that have stymied progress on so many important issues. Americans are ready for progress -- and they deserve nothing less.

    Thank you again for writing. Please stay in touch in the days ahead.

    Sincerely,

    Barack Obama
    United States Senator


    P.S. Our system does not allow direct response to this email. However, if you would like to contact me again, please use the form on the website: http://obama.senate.gov/contact/

    Stay up to date with Barack's work in the Senate and on issues of importance to Illinois. Subscribe to the weekly podcast here: http://obama.senate.gov/podcast/

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    China Fights Back, Goes After U.S. Meat, But Americans Expected to Consume This Poison

    [...]

    Frozen poultry products from Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN), the world's largest meat processor, were found to be contaminated with salmonella, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said on its Web site late Friday.

    Other imports barred by China included frozen chicken feet from Sanderson Farms, Inc. tainted with residue of an anti-parasite drug, as well as frozen pork ribs from Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. containing a leanness-enhancing feed additive, the AQSIQ said.

    A spokesman for Cargill denied the agency's claims, while officials at Tyson and Sanderson Farms were not immediately available to comment.

    [...]

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    Friday, July 13, 2007

    Time for Women to Take Over

    I have a theory that women, especially mothers, have several advantages over men in the small-business world.

    ¶They are better listeners.

    ¶Consequently, they pick up details and nuances men often miss.

    ¶They are more active networkers.

    ¶They are better motivators.

    ¶Having to juggle home and workplace duties, they are better multi-taskers.

    ¶They are more patient, and thus better able to stick to long-term strategies.

    ¶They are more tenacious. Men can be pretty dogged, but not a single one, to my knowledge, has had to endure childbirth.

    I searched the Internet for evidence for this thesis and found none. The book titles I came across, like “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office” by Lois P. Frankel, seemed to contradict it. It’s a familiar tune: women leaders need to drop that nurturing nonsense and kick butt the way men do.

    Perhaps it is the other way around. Perhaps men ought to imitate the opposite sex. The tide is turning in women’s favor, after all. They now account for 57 percent of college students. They are rising up the ranks in corporate America and invading formerly male sanctuaries like engineering and even construction. Most profoundly, they are changing the entrepreneurial landscape, with the number of businesses they own increasing at twice the overall rate for the last two decades, to 10.4 million today, or 40 percent of the total, according to the Center for Women’s Business Research (www.cfwbr.org/).

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    Tuesday, July 10, 2007

    Carlyle Group: A bunch of Sleazy Corporatist Fucks. That includes Bill Clinton

    If it seems like Carlyle is doing a new deal every other day, that's not far off the mark. Last month, Carlyle and two private-equity partners bought Home Depot's supply arm for $10.3 billion. That was followed a week later by the purchase of Allison Transmission from General Motors for $5.6 billion. The day after that, Carlyle bought a building in Trieste, Italy.

    On July 2, Carlyle disclosed that it was taking nursing-home chain Manor Care private for $6.3 billion. On July 5, it agreed to buy Annapolis-based ARINC, a communications company serving the military and the passenger airline industry. The next day, Carlyle announced its first real estate investment in Finland.

    Where does Carlyle get all that money?

    "It's called 300 days a year on a plane with 18 full-time fundraisers," said Daniel A. D'Aniello, a Carlyle managing director and one of the firm's three co-founders.

    Led by David Rubenstein, another managing director and co-founder, Carlyle has an investor relations team traveling the world, pitching the company to public and private pension funds, universities, endowments and wealthy individuals.

    The company has roughly $58.5 billion under management, and it anticipates the total will grow to $88 billion by the end of the year. "Under management" refers to the amount that investors, have given -- or contracted to give -- a firm to invest.

    "The money comes from corporate and public pension funds, which means teachers, firemen, union members," D'Aniello said in a telephone interview yesterday.

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    Call or Write Kathleen Blanco to Demand Justice Now

    Send a Letter
    Send written correspondence through one of the channels below:

    Write Fax E-mail
    Office of the Governor
    Attn: Constituent Services
    P.O. Box 94004
    Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9004
    Facsimile: 225-342-7099 E-mail the Governor

    Call
    866-366-1121
    225-342-0991
    225-342-7015

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    Cindy Sheehan for Congress!

    Cindy Sheehan gives the peace sign in front of the White House in 2006.

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    Monday, July 09, 2007

    Melissa Etheridge Live Earth Part 2 of 2

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    Melissa Etheridge Live Earth Part 1 of 2

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    Condyloma Rice Raises Awareness of Golf while Bodies Pile up in Persian Gulf

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    Attacks on supply convoys protected by private security companies in Iraq have more than tripled as the U.S. government depends more on mercenaries

    BAGHDAD � Attacks on supply convoys protected by private security companies in Iraq have more than tripled as the U.S. government depends more on armed civilian guards to secure reconstruction and other missions.

    There were 869 such attacks from the beginning of June 2006 to the end of May this year. For the preceding 12 months, there were 281 attacks.

    Deaths and injuries increased to 206 from 157 during that same time, according to the Army Corps of Engineers' Logistics Movement Control Center. Most of those convoys carry U.S.-funded reconstruction supplies for the Iraqi government.

    Guarding convoys is one part of the work in Iraq done by private companies, jobs that were once done by the military. Private firms also protect diplomats and staff checkpoints at U.S. military facilities.

    The Private Security Company Association of Iraq, a trade group, estimates there are about 30,000 security company employees, of which 3,000 to 5,000 are Westerners. About 15,000 are Iraqis, and the rest are other foreigners.

    "We will never go to war in the future without civilian assistance," because the active military lacks the people for the job, said Jack Holly, logistics director for the Army Corps of Engineers' Gulf Region Division.

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    8th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a discrimination verdict in favor of tribal members and validated tribal court jurisdiction.

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    Turkey has 140,000 troops on Iraq border: Iraq

    [...]

    Turkey's armed forces have urged its government to allow an incursion into neighboring, mainly Kurdish, northern Iraq to crush up to 4,000 Turkish Kurdish militants who use the region as a base to attack security and civilian targets inside Turkey.

    Rumors of a possible Turkish incursion have rattled financial markets and have drawn warnings from the United States, Ankara's NATO ally, to stay out of Iraq.

    [...]

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    NAACP chairman criticizes Bush policies as civil rights group's annual meeting opens

    DETROIT: The NAACP is needed now more than ever because the Bush administration has done little to support blacks, the civil rights organization's national chairman said as its 98th annual convention opened.

    From the administration's slow response to Hurricane Katrina to the war in Iraq and immigration issues, Bush has seen his presidency questioned, Julian Bond, board chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, told an audience of about 3,000.

    The number of Americans living in poverty has increased by more than 5 million, to 37 million, during the Bush administration, Bond said Sunday.

    "And the gap has grown between the haves and the have-nots," he said. "Almost a quarter of black Americans nationwide live below the poverty line, as compared with only 8.6 percent of whites."

    Bond called present-day inequality and racial disparities cumulative and the result of racial advantages compounded over time.

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    Judges OK warrantless monitoring of Web use

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    Senators Say They Will Call On Patrick Fitzgerald To Testify

    Specter said he wanted Fitzgerald to appear so he could press him to justify the CIA leak investigation. “Why were they pursuing the matter long after there was no underlying crime on the outing of the CIA agent?” Specter said, echoing the common right-wing talking point. “Why were they pursuing it after we knew who the leaker was?”

    Leahy, on the other hand, is apparently more interested in learning more about Fitzgerald’s interviews with President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

    As for calling Scooter Libby to testify, Leahy said it was a dead end. “It would do no good to call Scooter Libby. His silence has been bought and paid for,” he said, referring to Bush’s commutation, “and he would just take the fifth.”

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    Save The Airwaves from Corporatists!

    America's airwaves have been damaged by a series of rule changes the past two decades that have ushered in an era of bland commercial radio and television.

    The time has come for the Federal Communications Commission to use its power to work in the public's interest and improve broadcasting so communities are better served. It is important the FCC hold its final hearing regarding how well broadcasters are serving their communities. Five of six required hearings have been held, the most recent in Portland, Maine.

    At the sixth hearing, the commissioners will undoubtedly be told by the public — as they were in Maine — that local television newscasts are a distorted reflection of their communities, and that radio has turned to a homogenized formula that is cheap to run, big on return.

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    Tribal energy organization wins worldwide recognition



    BASEL, Switzerland - The Intertribal Council on Utility Policy was recognized on a world-class level for its work in the creation of a plan to offer clean, renewable energy to tribal reservations and improve economic conditions in Indian country.

    The first-ever World Clean Energy Awards were presented June 15 to nine organizations representing countries from around the world. The awards were presented at the Faktor 4-Festival in Basel. Representatives attended from Abu Dhabi, China, India, Kenya, Sweden and the Rosebud and Lower Brule Sioux reservations.

    ICOUP was given a Special Award for Courage for its work that established the first commercial wind power generation on any reservation with the 750-kilowatt turbine on Rosebud in addition to a plan that would create wind power energy for the western United States. The courage award recognized the ICOUP plan that would extend wind power to 3,000 megawatts from tribally owned power turbines on reservations across the northern Great Plains by 2015. The plan is referred to as Environmental justice Intertribal Wind Power.

    ''We are honored and humbled for selection by such a distinguished, juried panel of people who are knowledgeable in their field for sustainable development,'' said Pat Spears, president of ICOUP.

    ''It is good to be recognized for the feasibility of our project and now to be recognized that this is a viable plan,'' Spears said.

    More than 75 tribes across the country have studied or are conducting studies on wind energy for the future development of wind energy.

    ''Along with being humbled and honored with the nomination, we are pleased to see a grass-roots tribal plan for renewable energy recognized at that world stage level,'' said Bob Gough, secretary of ICOUP.

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    Bush uses privilege to deny ex-aides’ testimony and violate laws

    [...]
    House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers offered a stinging response. “Contrary what the White House may believe, it is the Congress and the courts that will decide whether an invocation of executive privilege is valid, not the White House unilaterally,” the Michigan Democrat said in a statement.

    The exchange Monday was the latest step in a slow-motion legal waltz between the White House and lawmakers toward eventual contempt-of-Congress citations. If neither side yields, the matter could land in federal court.

    [...]

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    Chritian Groups Stand Up in Defense of Hate Speech, their favorite

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    This is an Orange

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    Fox News' Bill O'Reilly offers up an 'expert' to claim that pink pistol-packing lesbian gangs are terrorizing the nation

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    George Bush Seated Next to Robert J Stevens. Billions of taxpayer dollars changing hands.

    President George W. Bush is seated next to Robert J. Stevens, president and CEO of Lockheed Martin, right, during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexico's President Vicente Fox, in a roundtable discussion with U.S., Mexican and Canadian business leaders, Friday, March 31, 2006 at the Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun Hotel. White House photo by Eric Draper

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    Lockheed Martin Corp.'s CEO Robert J. Stevens

    Lockheed Martin Corp.'s CEO Robert J. Stevens has had a lucrative career at the nation's largest defense contractor, and his pay has been outlined to shareholders for years.

    But investors didn't know how lucrative his retirement could be. The Bethesda-based company has disclosed for the first time that in addition to $5.2 million in salary and bonus, plus stock awards and perks last year, Stevens also accrued more than $2 million in three pension plans, two 401(k) plans and a tax-advantaged plan mostly used by the corporate elite.
    [...]
    Stevens, whose pay package totaled $18.6 million, ranked among the highest-paid CEOs in Maryland last year, according to a survey by Salary.com of companies with headquarters here. Others included Constellation Energy Group Inc.'s Mayo A. Shattuck III, whose compensation package was worth $20 million, and Legg Mason Inc.'s Raymond A. "Chip" Mason, whose package was valued at $13.7 million.

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    Government's Largest Contract with Private Industry

    [...]

    According to AOPA, one of the most politically influential pilot organizations, many pilots have experienced safety-compromising problems ranging from extremely long hold times to inaccurate weather information. These problems are serious and deserve the attention of AOPA, FAA Administrator Marian Blakely and the aviation subcommittees in Congress, all of whom supported the privatization of the flight service system more than three years ago. The transition from government control to the private sector is one with obvious challenges and it is difficult to understand how supporters have quickly become turncoats -- criticizing Lockheed Martin when difficulties surface and taking malicious actions when they could continue to support the company and ease the transition.

    Further complicating matters is a workforce of specialists who fought unsuccessfully to prevent the privatization of their careers with hopes of saving their government pensions. According to an age-discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of flight service specialists, 92 percent of the flight service workforce is over 40 years old. The lawsuit alleges that "... there is no reasonable factor other than the age of the workforce that is motivating this contracting-out decision." The only option for those specialists who hoped to maintain their pension was to find another federal job. The greatest challenge: Many flight service specialists (and air traffic controllers) have specialized skills, but are not formally educated beyond a high school diploma, making it difficult to transition into another government position.

    An uncomfortable workforce that faces financial uncertainty coupled with the disgruntled flying public has made it very difficult to provide pilots with a needed service. It is important for pilots to afford flight service specialists with similar patience and graciousness once offered to them by their flight instructors. We are learning a new system that was forced on us as a result of decisions largely supported by pilot organizations and politicians under the pretense of the best interests of pilots in mind.

    [...]

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    Chevron's Toxic Easte Dump in the Amazon:Pablo Fajardo

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    More Privatization of Government

    SAIC provides scientific, engineering, systems integration and technical services and products to the U.S. military, the intelligence community, the Department of Homeland Security, other civil agencies and clients in select commercial markets.
    [...]

    SAIC was criticized for its work in Iraq, where it had contracts to establish a TV news operation and advise the oil industry. The contracts were criticized by the Pentagon inspector general for lack of competitive bidding and poor results.

    [...]

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    The role of private contractors in Iraq

    [...]
    American troops are being abused with extended tours of duty, over-reliance on the National Guard and recall to duty after their original tours have been completed. And they're all being paid nominal military salaries for this abuse.

    Meanwhile, how much are U.S. taxpayers shelling out for these American and foreign contractors? What is their average salary compared to that of an American soldier?

    [...]

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    Lockheed Given another billion dollars of taxpayer money to privatize military

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    Oval Office In The Sky

    The next president will have an "Oval Office In The Sky" aboard what is described as the most technologically advanced helicopter ever built. According to a news release, the AgustaWestland/Lockheed Martin VH-71 flew for the first time on July 3 and test pilots reported the aircraft performed well on the 40-minute flight at Italy-based AgustaWestland’s facilities in Yeovil, England. The flight occurred 30 months after the controversial contract was awarded (this will be the first Marine One that isn’t designed and built by a U.S. firm) and the company says it’s on track for on-time delivery of the first aircraft in late 2009. Although it’s a European design, the presidential helicopters are being developed with Lockheed Martin and will be assembled by Bell Helicopter in Texas.

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    Saturday, July 07, 2007

    Color of Law

    [...]
    While Bush tells us to fear an "Axis of Evil," the greatest threat to America comes from within, from our government—the executive branch and the Supreme Court. The problems we are facing are not going away, they just get worse, and Thomas has a decisive role in that process.
    [...]

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    Tuesday, July 03, 2007

    Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. says Congress needs to look into Bush's "crimes agains the Constitution."

    Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.

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    Secret Document: U.S. Fears Terror 'Spectacular' Planned

    A secret U.S. law enforcement report, prepared for the Department of Homeland Security, warns that al Qaeda is planning a terror "spectacular" this summer, according to a senior official with access to the document.

    "This is reminiscent of the warnings and intelligence we were getting in the summer of 2001," the official told ABCNews.com. ( That the Bush Administration failed to act on)

    U.S. officials have kept the information secret, and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said today on ABC News' "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" that the United States did not have "have any specific credible evidence that there's an attack focused on the United States at this point."

    [...]

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    High oil prices are dampening consumer confidence.

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    Lieberman repeated his call Monday for the United States to consider a military strike against Iran

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    VIDEO: Bush I Calls Leakers “Most Insidious of Traitors”

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    Posting to...

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    Conyers expected to move swiftly to conduct hearings on the commutation

    The appellate judges' unanimous opinion upheld an identical ruling slightly more than two weeks ago by U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, the trial judge in Libby's case. After a month-long trial that forced presidential aides and prominent journalists onto the witness stand, Libby was found guilty of two counts of perjury and one count each of lying to FBI agents and obstructing a federal investigation into whether administration officials illegally disclosed the name of CIA officer Valerie Plame.

    Bush has granted far fewer pardons and commutations than any of his predecessors, dating to John F. Kennedy. He commuted three previous prison terms during his 6 1/2 years in office.

    [...]

    All but a few Republicans were conspicuously silent. House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) said: "President Bush did the right thing today in commuting the prison term for Scooter Libby. The prison sentence was overly harsh, and the punishment did not fit the crime."

    Former senator Fred D. Thompson (Tenn.), an unannounced presidential candidate who has helped lead Libby's defense fund and called for Bush to pardon Libby, said: "This will allow a good American who has done a lot for his country to resume his life."

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    George Bush Gives Libby a Get of Jail Free Card for Nation's Birthday

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