Friday, December 02, 2005

Are You An Enemy Of Bill O'Reilly?

No? Want to be? Bill "wee spinning is fun!" O'Reilly is making an enemies list and checking it twice... too bad he can only come up with 3 names. Awwww, only 3? Well Arianna Huffington wants to help him out by having folks sign up and she'll give Bill the list of folks who have opted in. Join Now! All the cool kids are doin' it...

Abramoff

People,

Rare post from me here at HPI, but an important one.

Here's an absolute must read article on Jack Abramoff from the NYT Times...re: everything we talked about last Tuesday:

Lobbyist's Role in Hiring Aides Is Investigated

Excerpts:
WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 - With a federal corruption case intensifying, prosecutors investigating Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist, are examining whether he brokered lucrative jobs for Congressional aides at powerful lobbying firms in exchange for legislative favors, people involved in the case have said.

The attention paid to how the aides obtained jobs occurs as Mr. Abramoff is under mounting pressure to cooperate with prosecutors as they consider a case against lawmakers.

*

Investigators are said to be especially interested in how Tony C. Rudy, a former deputy chief of staff to Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, and Neil G. Volz, a former chief of staff to Representative Bob Ney of Ohio, obtained lobbying positions with big firms on K Street.

The hiring pattern is "very much a part of" what prosecutors are focusing on, a person involved in the case said. Another participant confirmed that investigators were trying to determine whether aides conducted "job negotiations with Jack Abramoff" while they were in a position to help him on Capitol Hill.

*

What began as an inquiry into Mr. Scanlon and Mr. Abramoff's lobbying has widened to a corruption investigation centering mainly on Republican lawmakers who came to power as part of the conservative revolution of the 1990's.
No need to hire "liberals": They have no power.

Read the whole thing.

Peace out,
Brando

Why Does Retired Lt. Gen. William Odom Hate America?

Oh good lordy is this interview good. Odom really knows what he's talking about and his analysis on Iraq and its future is clear, logical and based on reality... unlike the folks in charge who pressured the CIA to make fact fit their pre-determined course of action. Give this interview over on NPR a listen.

Friday Flash Fun


File Under:Fearmongering

It may be a bit large, (the 'small' version is 25MBs) but please enjoy "Brother, Can you spare a job?"

Thursday, December 01, 2005

And now, meet some California Congressional Candidates...

Here's a few candidates in some key races. Start to read up on these folks, we may want to give them a hand down the line.

In the 26th district (the 210 runs straight through it), challenging that scumbag David Dreier is Russ Warner. Look -- Russ' son actually served in Iraq. A democrat whose son is in the military? What will the Republicans say?!

Down San Diego way...
As we previously discussed, Francine Busby is running for the Dukestir's open seat.
And although there's not a lot of info about her, and I have a problem with the way she spells her name, Jeeni Criscenzo is taking on Darryl Issa, who, among the many other things he's done, gave poor Tom DeLay money for his defense fund.

Fighting Dems -- not just Paul Hackett

Time to gear up for '06. I know DailyKos has been talking about this, but (thanks to Rachel for finding) the Boston Globe did a piece this week about the Iraq vets running for congress as Democrats. Here's a few of the guys mentioned, if you want to check out their websites:

Bryan Lentz (Pennsylvania)
Tim Walz (Minnesota)
Andrew Duck (Maryland)
Patrick Murphy (Pennsylvania)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A 'Street-Corner Schizophrenic' with Influence

Oh god, it really is all out war in the Republican ranks isn't it? Seems John McCain and Grover "drowning fantasy fetishist" Norquist are going at it full on because of the Abramoff scandal that threatens to blow up real good. A few choice bits:
A Norquist friend and former colleague, Jack Abramoff, is under criminal investigation for his lobbying activities, some of which involved the same Native American tribe on Norquist's client roster. The noose on Abramoff appeared to have tightened Monday when his former business partner, Michael Scanlon, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to bribe public officials and to defraud Indian tribes.

At a breakfast meeting with reporters the next morning, Norquist behaved as if this was all nuisance background noise, as he mostly held forth on the state of the ongoing war between the political left and right.

Finally, when pressed on the investigations, he was curt and unapologetic. ''We worked with the Choctaw Indians. We did a book, and I was hoping to do more outreach with Native Americans," said Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform. ''Jack, I'm sure he advised the Choctaws. But the Choctaws worked with ATR and they're happy with ATR."
Yes, keep up that line. Always works on Law & Order
Last year, a Senate committee investigating allegations that Abramoff defrauded Indian tribes obtained e-mail traffic from ATR, but Norquist says he had not been contacted by government prosecutors in the Abramoff case. Now the conservative activist is on the warpath against Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who is leading the Senate investigation.

After ATR turned over its e-mails, Norquist charged, McCain tried to ''steal our donor list."

''He subpoenaed our donor records and we said no," Norquist said. ''He took a shot at me and it didn't work and it embarrassed him."

Norquist then accused McCain and Senator Byron L. Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, of discrimination by targeting lobbyists who worked for Native American tribes. Abramoff and his partners collected $82 million in fees from Indian tribes and their casinos over four years.

''The implication is that it's money laundering to raise money from Native Americans, and spend it," Norquist said.
Hey, where there's smoke there's fire... and Abramoff was quite the little firestarter. The best part?
While McCain has been trying to smooth ruffled feathers on the right, his investigation into the Abramoff scandal, which he has called ''a complex and tangled web . . . a story alarming in its depth and breadth of potential wrongdoing," reinforces the bad blood with Norquist and his political allies. Apparently, McCain could not care less.

When we asked the senator's staff for a comment on Norquist's fusillade against McCain, his chief of staff, Mark Salter, had a lot to say. ''In Norquist's world, the truth is for suckers. And it's as pointless to respond to him as it would be to respond to some street-corner schizophrenic," Salter responded.
Sweet Zombie Jesus is that good. I'm gonna have that embroidered on a pillow.

So much Republican infighting... Someone should really sell tickets 'cuz I know I would buy one.

Is Iraq The New Viet Nam?

Not so hilarious:
Hatch refers to Iraq as Vietnam

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, flubbed Monday and referred to Iraq as Vietnam while commenting on Fox News against an immediate troop withdrawal.
"The Democratic Party seems to be taken over by the Michael Moore contingent in their attitude toward Vietnam, and they continually call for a withdrawal of troops at a time when we haven't finished the job," Hatch said on the network's morning show. Hatch's spokesman acknowledged the error, which was first reported on the American Prospect Web log.
Oy. They even think of it as Viet Nam... (not that Hatch served in Viet Nam)

And what is it with the 'Micheal Moore contingent' crap? Their whole party seems to be the Rush "hillbilly heroin addict" Limbaugh - Bill "sexual harrassment" O'Reilly party (and I could go on).

Thanks to the Huffington Post for this (its getting better, really).

2 Heads of Their Hydra

How long is it gonna take until folks realize that Bush's proposals yesterday do two things that 'Conservatives' claim to hate:
1. The worker program would, effectively, be amnesty for workers already here (beyond also bowing to the fact that we can't stop immigration)
2. The bureaucracies that would be needed to (a) document and monitor visiting workers and (b) build and staff the new 'super' borders would be ginormous and cost bazillions

Wow. Bush: soft on crime and in love with Big Government

When They'll Care

Big climate meeting up in Canda this week, are we talking about it? No. Why? Folks don't care about "climate change"... yet.

When will they? Well if the following from "Danger Zones: Ten trouble spots you aren't already worried about" in November's WIRED is on target then it could be soon:
Rupture In The Alaska Oil Pipeline
The Alaska pipeline was built to withstand everything its designers could think of. But the supports for the pipeline are anchored in permafrost, which is now melting. Up to a third of the uprights are out of alignment, and more will be at risk if the thaw continues. A pipeline break would jeopardize 1 billion barrels of oil per day - 17 percent of the nation's capacity.
But why talk about this? It's silly to think that we mere humans could have any impact on the planet... right?

Monday, November 28, 2005

You Know The Old Joke

As for George W. Bush? He doesn't need any distracting. Two new reports -- one in the New Yorker, one in the New York Daily News -- suggest that the president is living in a state of denial about the troubles facing him and the country he is supposed to lead for three more years.

In the New Yorker, Seymour Hersh tells the tale of a former senior administration official who visited Iraq after the 2004 presidential election and returned to inform Bush that the war wasn't going well. "I said to the president, 'We're not winning the war,'" the official told Hersh. "And he asked, 'Are we losing?' I said, 'Not yet.'" Bush was "displeased" with the answer, the official told Hersh. "I tried to tell him. And he couldn't hear it."

Hersh paints the picture of a president who believes that he was chosen by God to lead the United States after 9/11, a man whose faith blots out any concern over setbacks in Iraq. "The president is more determined than ever to stay the course," a former defense official tells Hersh. "Bush is a believer in the adage 'People may suffer and die, but the Church advances.'" The former official tells Hersh that Karl Rove and Dick Cheney reinforce the president's delusions by having him appear only in front of friendly audiences and keeping him "in the gray world of religious idealism, where he wants to be anyway." Bush, the former official says, has no idea that he's living in a bubble.

In the Daily News, Thomas DeFrank and Kenneth Bazinet say the state of denial extends well beyond Bush. They quote a "card-carrying member of the Washington GOP establishment with close ties to the White House" who dined recently with several senior presidential aides and left shaking his head. "There is just no introspection there at all," he said. "It is everybody else's fault -- the press, gutless Republicans on the Hill. They're still in denial." Another "close Bush confidant" says: "The staff basically still has an unyielding belief in the wisdom of what they're doing. They're talking to people who could help them, but they're not listening."

Meanwhile, the Daily News says, the president is growing paranoid about the people around him, furious over leaks about the mood inside the White House but unsure which of his aides is spreading the stories. One "knowledgeable source" says: "He's asking [friends] for opinions on who he can trust and who he can't."
Don't make me say it... don't make me... oh, alright: Denial, not just a river in Egypt anymore (though I would prefer Bush lived there).

Falling Down

Before the religious wackadoos get to it:
A basketball-sized piece of marble moulding fell from the facade over the entrance to the Supreme Court, landing on the steps near visitors waiting to enter the building.

No one was injured when the stone fell. The marble was part of the dentil moulding that serves as a frame for the frieze of statues atop the court's main entrance.

A group of visitors had just entered the building and had passed under the frieze when the stone fell at 9:30 a.m. EST.

Jonathan Fink, a government attorney waiting in line to attend arguments, said, "All of a sudden, these blocks started falling. It was like a thud, thud."
This was not, I repeat not the work of some angry god upset over gay-marriage and abortion. How do I know this? The Breakfast Club tells me so:
"...Screws fall out all the time, the worlds' an imperfect place."
Amen brother Bender, Amen.