Archive for February, 2007

Wednesday February 28, 2007 – “A conservative is a man who sits and thinks, mostly sits.” – Woodrow Wilson

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

OpenCongress

OpenCongress brings together official government information with news and blog coverage to give you the real story behind what’s happening in Congress. Small groups of political insiders and lobbyists know what’s really going on in Congress. Now, everyone can be an insider. OpenCongress is a free, open-source, non-profit, and non-partisan web resource with a mission to help make Congress more transparent and to encourage civic engagement.

Complete item at:

http://www.opencongress.org/

 

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Wash. Post parroted White House claim that Iraq war was authorized by U.N. Security Council

Disregarding its own reporting, The Washington Post uncritically reported the White House’s claim that “the United States went [into Iraq in March 2003] as a multinational force under United Nations authorization to take military action against Iraq.” In fact, days before the invasion, the Bush administration failed to obtain the votes necessary from the U.N. Security Council clearly authorizing new military action against Iraq.

Read more

http://mediamatters.org/items/dailyemail/200702260008?src=other

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I WAS ATTACKED BY RUSH LIMBAUGH

By Evan Derkacz

Cliff Schecter: The week in Fox & right wing ludicrousness…

Complete article at:

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/48519/

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Iraqi Cabinet Approves Draft Oil Law

26 Feb 2007

The Iraqi Cabinet approved draft legislation Monday to manage the country’s vast oil industry and divide its wealth among the ‘population’ [to US-UK corpora-terrorists]. The legislation now goes to parliament for approval.

Article at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6442218,00.html

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ETHICS REFORM LOOPHOLE RESULTS IN HOT PAC ACTION

http://www.prwatch.org/node/5761

“In just the last two months, lawmakers invited lobbyists to help pay for … lavish birthday parties in a lawmaker’s honor ($1,000 a lobbyist), martinis and margaritas at Washington restaurants (at least $1,000), a California wine-tasting tour (all donors welcome), hunting and fishing trips (typically $5,000), weekend golf tournaments ($2,500 and up), a Presidents’ Day weekend at Disney World ($5,000), parties in South Beach in Miami ($5,000), concerts by the Who or Bob Seger ($2,500 for two seats), and even Broadway shows like ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ (also $2,500 for two).” But don’t worry — it’s all happening under the U.S. Congress’ new ethics rules. “Instead of picking up the lawmaker’s tab” directly, explains the New York Times, “lobbyists pay a political fund-raising committee set up by the lawmaker.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who voted for ethics reform, said, “If you are not going to have publicly financed elections … I don’t see any problem with having events where private individuals who give you money can talk to you.” Such fundraising via lawmakers’ personal political action committees (PACs) “might even increase the volume of contributions flowing to Congress from K Street, where many
lobbying firms have their offices.”

SOURCE: New York Times, February 11, 2007

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SURGING RIGHT INTO BIN LADEN’S HANDS

By Adam Elkus, Foreign Policy in Focus

Lost in the “surge” debate is the unfortunate reality that escalation in Iraq, just like the invasion itself, plays into al-Qaida’s ultimate strategy to eliminate America.

Article at:

http://www.alternet.org/stories/47703/

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Tax Breaks Questioned as Health Costs Soar

http://www.stateline.org/live/details/story?contentId=173119

As health costs and the number of uninsured Americans continue to climb, policymakers are questioning whether subsidizing non-profit hospitals with billions of dollars in tax breaks is an effective way of making health care more affordable. Non-profit hospitals – 59 % of U.S. hospitals – are not subject to federal income tax, most sales taxes or property taxes. And in most states, they can sell tax-free bonds, making it cheaper to fund building projects. The exemptions cost the federal government alone $4.3 billion in 2002. The impact on state and local governments is even bigger. The estimated total benefit for non-profit hospitals could be up to $20 billion a year. The tax preferences for non-profit hospitals date back more than a century, when hospitals served chiefly poor patients while doctors visited better-off patients at home. But now critics claim many of the hospitals aren’t doing enough for their communities to justify all of the tax benefits they receive.

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Corn-based ethanol’s a flawed concept … and more

MarketWatch – USA

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Ethanol as an alternative energy source is a flawed concept — at least when corn is used to produce it.

See full story.

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/corn-based-ethanols-flawed-concept/story.aspx?guid=%7B746B84DC-4BC1-4084-A739-00C1C3B8EE00%7D

Switchgrass ethanol not so easy, say industry members

Arizona Daily Star – Tucson,AZ,USA

As nationwide demand surges for ethanol, producers of the fuel are increasingly looking beyond corn for main ingredients. But much-touted alternatives, …

http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/hourlyupdate/170307.php
Promise, pitfalls seen in use of ethanol

San Diego Union Tribune – San Diego,CA,USA

SACRAMENTO ­ Long before global warming and $3-a-gallon prices at the pump, pioneering automaker Henry Ford designed the Model T to run on ethanol as well …

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/state/20070212-9999-1n12ethanol.html

Next Enron; Ethanol Subsidies

OpEdNews – Newtown,PA,USA

The 51 cent per gallon direct subsidy for ethanol; and the secondary tax credits and benefits for ethanol give an unfair advantage to investors, …

http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_bill_bur_070225_the_next_enron_3b_etha.htm

Looking beyond corn for ethanol production

Angela Eckhardt

2/16/2007

“Where’s our cracked corn?” our ducks and geese seem to be yelling at me each time I walk through the yard.

I try to explain the importance of air quality and fuel independence and how ethanol production has driven up the price of corn. They don’t care. They honk and quack a few angry curses at ethanol, joining in a nationwide chorus of complaints.

“It’s not ethanol’s fault. The problem is making ethanol from corn,” I mutter in vain, spreading cooked wheat on the ground.

Wheat is a decent substitute for the birds, but for how long? When corn and feed go up, you can expect a ripple effect through the agricultural economy.

The point about corn being a poor source of ethanol is being felt across the country and beyond, but what’s the alternative?

Cellulosic ethanol seems to be the horse everyone’s now betting on. The only problem is, it’s not yet possible. We’re looking at large amounts of money to develop this technology, and I predict it won’t end up being viable for small-scale production.

How is it we’re left with corn or future technology as our only answers in this national debate? There’s a whole world of alcohol out there, and corn only makes up one part of it.

Last spring, the Queensland Government presentation, “Tropical Bio-Industrial Farming,” compared ethanol output for multiple crops. Alas, their climate isn’t what we’ve got, but some of the crops can be grown in the West, perhaps with more moderate yields.

Complete article at:

http://www.capitalpress.info/main.asp?SectionID=84&SubSectionID=777&ArticleID=30534&TM=19844.55

Angela Eckhardt writes about freedom and farming from her home in Lostine, Ore. She may be reached at angela@freedomsolutionsnw.org

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three to see

This Modern World: You can’t trust science!

http://www.workingforchange.com/webgraphics/WFC/TMW022807.jpg

Tom Toles: tv news

http://www.buffalonews.com/graphics/2007/02/26/0226toles.jpg

Steve Benson: woman overboard!

http://www.azcentral.com/sshow/News/Benson/4481_78421.jpg

Tuesday February 27, 2007 – I’m glad I’m not judgmental like all you smug, superficial idiots

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

February 2007 Southwest Climate Outlook

The February Southwest Climate Outlook is online. This month’s outlook provides recent drought conditions and the latest seasonal forecasts. The feature article is entitled “Everybody counts when reigning in global warming.”

This month’s cover photo was provided by Mike Crimmins, UA Cooperative Extension.

To download a printer-friendly PDF file (2.53 MB) of the February 2007 Outlook, visit:

http://www.ispe.arizona.edu/climas/end/packets/febpacket2007.pdf

As always, you can view the latest Southwest Climate Outlook in html format at:

http://www.ispe.arizona.edu/climas/forecasts/swoutlook.html

Highlights from the February 2007 Outlook

Drought – Drought conditions persist in Arizona due to below-average precipitation so far this winter while most of New Mexico remains drought-free.

Temperature – Over the past month, temperatures in the Southwest have been 3–6 degrees F cooler than average.

Precipitation – Precipitation has been below average in western Arizona but above average in most of New Mexico during the past month.

Climate Forecasts – Temperatures are expected to be warmer than average for most of the Southwest through August, while precipitation forecasts call for equal chances of below-average, average, or above-average precipitation.

El Niño – The current El Niño event is declining and a return to ENSO-neutral conditions is expected later this spring.

The Bottom Line – With the rapid decline of El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific, forecasters are no longer predicting increased chances of above-average precipitation in the Southwest.

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The Politico’s Allen touted “just-the-facts fashion” of “sophisticated” GOP smear sheets

In a February 22 Politico article, chief political correspondent Mike Allen touted the “just-the-facts fashion” of the Republican National Committee’s smear-riddled attacks on leading 2008 Democratic presidential candidates, which he called a “sophisticated new way for the party to infuse the blogosphere and airwaves with a coordinated, fact-based message.” Purporting to refute what he said were critics’ charges of “pre-fab mudslinging,” Allen wrote that “the documents are laid out in a just-the-facts fashion, with each charge linked to a citation for a news story.” But the first part of the “just-the-facts” sheet on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), for example, consists for the most part of a list of media figures calling Clinton “calculating” or using similar words, ostensibly providing the “fact[ual]” support for the RNC’s characterization of her as, in fact, “calculating.”

Read more

http://mediamatters.org/items/dailyemail/200702230001?src=other

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ONE NEWS SOURCE REJECTS UNNAMED SOURCES

http://www.prwatch.org/node/5760

One radio station in Santa Fe, New Mexico has had enough. “It is the policy of KSFR’s news department to ignore and not repeat any wire service or nationally published story about Iran, China, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia or any other foreign power that quotes an ‘unnamed’ U.S. official,” news director Bill Dupuy told his staff. “We should not dutifully parrot whatever comes out of Washington, on the wire or by whatever means, no matter how intriguing and urgent it sounds, when the source is unnamed. I am also calling on our colleagues in other local news departments — broadcast and print — to take the same professional approach.” President Bush inadvertently proved the wisdom of KSFR’s policy at a February 14 press conference. Bush contradicted an earlier briefing by “unnamed officials” in Baghdad claiming that “top Iranian leaders” were behind weapons used against U.S. troops in Iraq, reports Editor & Publisher.  “I do not know whether or not the Quds Force was ordered from the top echelons of [the Iranian] government,” Bush said.

SOURCE: Editor & Publisher, February 13, 2007

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Safety Alarms at Nuclear Weapons Factory

MARYLIA KELLEY, marylia@earthlink.net,

http://www.trivalleycares.org

Kelley is executive director of Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment) located in Livermore, California. She said today: “There are certainly widespread safety and security problems here at Lawrence Livermore [nuclear weapons laboratory] as well. Instead of concentrating on solving the existing problems and drawing down our massive stockpile of nuclear weapons, the government is focusing on  building new weapons.”

From: Institute for Public Accuracy

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PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE IS NOT THE ANSWER

By Phil Mattera, Corporate Research Project

Why are we keeping a hopeless, for-profit health insurance system alive?

Read more

http://www.alternet.org/stories/48371/

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THE LIES THEY TELL: HOW TO STOP THE FOX PROPAGANDA MACHINE

By Don Hazen, AlterNet

The “Sliming Bowl” is well under way, and Fox’s influence is too big — and too damaging — to ignore. Can the progressive Internet media and blogosphere bring them down?

Read more

http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/48286/

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US funds terror groups to sow chaos in Iran

25 Feb 2007 America is secretly funding militant ethnic separatist groups in Iran. CIA officials are understood to be helping opposition militias among the numerous ethnic minority groups clustered in Iran’s border regions. The operations are controversial because they involve dealing with movements that resort to terrorist methods.

At:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/02/25/wiran25.xml

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Friend or Foe?

Paul Marks, Senior Technology Correspondent

Emerging technologies could soon help reduce the number of friendly fire incidents on the battlefield. One simple system, called Rover, is already improving mission accuracy in Iraq and Afghanistan. The system allows the air controller on the ground to see the battlefield through the aircraft pilot’s eyes, before a bomb is released. Experts claim that if Rover had been available in 2003, the “friendly fire” death of British soldier Matty Hull might have been avoided

…MORE

http://www.newscientisttech.com/channel/tech/mg19325926.000?DCMP=NLC-nletter&nsref=mg19325926.000

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Borowitz Report – David Geffen Named G.O.P. Chairman

Grateful Republicans Tap Chatty Mogul

In a move that could alter the playing field for the 2008 presidential race, the Republican National Committee today named Hollywood mogul David Geffen as its new party chairman.

At first, the choice of a famously outspoken liberal Democrat like Mr. Geffen to run the RNC seemed an unorthodox selection.

But outgoing party chairman Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla) said that it was “the least we could do” to thank the chatty mogul for igniting the recent round of mudslinging between Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Barack Obama (D-Ill), two top contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“David Geffen somehow managed to get Hillary and Barack to start ripping into each other,” Sen. Martinez said. “Here at the RNC, we’ve been trying to make something like that happen for months.”

Sen. Martinez singled out Mr. Geffen’s recent remarks to the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd for special praise, especially his comments about Bill and Hillary Clinton’s aptitude for lying.

“If he can come up with sound-bites like that when he’s working for the Democrats, just imagine what he’ll do when he’s at the RNC!” Sen. Martinez gushed.

In his first official press conference as G.O.P. chairman, Mr. Geffen said his number one priority would be to create bad blood between two other Democratic candidates, Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC).

“Edwards may be a vacuous Ken doll, but at least he didn’t need hair plugs,” Mr. Geffen said.
Elsewhere, former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, saying that he wanted to spend more time with people who have actually heard of him.

ELSEWHERE, come see Andy in New York City tonight!

Andy returns to his smash-hit live show tonight, February 26 at Mo Pitkin’s House of Satisfaction. Lucky audience members will receive autographed copies of Andy’s new book, THE REPUBLICAN PLAYBOOK. Doors open at 8:15; show begins at 8:30. 34 Avenue A between 2nd and 3rd. Tickets only $6 at the door or at www.ticketweb.com

http://www.borowitzreport.com/

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three to see

David Horsey: declare victory and leave

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/dayart/20070225/Cartoon20070225.gif

Jack Ohman: philipmorrisusa

http://images.ucomics.com/comics/tmjoh/2007/tmjoh070222.gif

Paul Jamiol: famous fairy tales
http://home.att.net/~pjamiol.toons/jwfeb22a_07.gif

Monday February 26, 2007 – Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. – Aldous Huxley

Monday, February 26th, 2007

The latest from NASA’s Earth Observatory (20 February 2007)

In the News:

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/

* Latest Images:

Water Hyacinth Re-invades Lake Victoria
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=17560

NASA Earth Observations (NEO)
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=17559

Barcelona, Spain
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=17558

Lake Khanka in Eastern Russia and China
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=17557

Summer on the Antarctic Peninsula
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=17556

Java Mud Volcano Continues to Grow
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=17555

Andaman Islands, Bay of Bengal
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=17554

2006 Fifth-Warmest Year on Record
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=17553

* NASA News

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NasaNews/
- Joint NASA Study Reveals Leaks In Antarctic ‘Plumbing System’

* Media Alerts

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/MediaAlerts/

- From Icehouse to Hothouse: Melting Ice and Rising Carbon Dioxide Caused Climate Shift
- The Insides of Clouds May Be the Key to Climate Change
- Better Freshwater Forecasts to Aid Drought-Plagued West
- Changes in West Coast Marine Ecosystems Significant

* New Research Highlights

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/Research/

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Spinonymous sources: Wash. Post granted Bush admin. officials anonymity to denounce “cheap shots” over British troop withdrawal

In a February 22 Washington Post article analyzing the political repercussions of British Prime Minster Tony Blair’s decision to begin withdrawing British troops from Iraq, staff writers Jonathan Weisman and Peter Baker granted anonymity to a Bush administration official who denounced “domestic opponents” who, in the official’s opinion, will use news of the withdrawal to “take cheap shots.” The article stated that the official was granted anonymity to “talk candidly about political strategy”:

Read more

http://mediamatters.org/items/dailyemail/200702220007?src=other

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Northern Michigan Factory Plans to Close… and more

WPBN-TV – Traverse City,MI,USA

A automotive parts manufacturing company announced Monday that it is closing a Northern Michigan Factory. Avon Auotmotive is closing it’s Manton plant that …

http://www.tv7-4.com/Global/story.asp?S=6041588&nav=1vrj

Chrysler’s “Project X” calls for 10000 jobs cuts, two closed plants

By John Neff

In addition to radiated chimps (we’re kidding, click the link for the punchline),
Automotive News is reporting that the plan will likely involve cutting 10000 factory jobs and closing the Newark Assembly Plant that builds the Dodge …

http://feeds.autoblog.com/~r/weblogsinc/autoblog/~3/86863003/

Maytag Closing Affecting Local Business

WSIL TV – Carterville,IL,USA

HERRIN, Ill — When Whirlpool closed the Herrin Maytag plant in December nearly one-thousand employees were forced to take difficult career choices.

http://www.wsiltv.com/p/news_details.php?newsID=1747&type=top

Covalence Corporation Closing

WTOK – Meridian,MS,USA

Employees were notified Tuesday that the plant will fully cease operation by April 2007. “I haven’t processed it yet. I’m not ready to cry, but I am ready …

http://www.wtok.com/news/headlines/5599351.html

Thomaston Plant Closing Will Leave Almost 200 Without Work

Today’s MGT – Macon,GA,USA

A plant closing in Thomaston announced today will leave almost two-hundred Middle-Georgians without jobs. The company is closing two facilities in the

http://www.wmgt.com/node/1057

NEW YORK – Eastman Kodak Co. is cutting 3,000 more jobs this year as the picture-taking pioneer wraps up its wrenching transformation into a digital-imaging company focused on consumer photography and commercial printing.

By year-end, its work force will slip below 30,000, less than half what it was just three years ago.

Complete article at:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070208/ap_on_bi_ge/kodak_investors

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IT CAN HAPPEN HERE

By Joe Conason, Thomas Dunne Books

In light of the series of laws passed in Congress and precedents set by the Bush administration, people have good reason to doubt the future of democracy and the rule of law in America.

At:

http://www.alternet.org/rights/48246/

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The Big Lie about Medicare

One of the biggest lies told by politicians who oppose letting Medicare negotiate lower drug prices is that doing so will make the Part D drug benefit look like the drug coverage offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and, as a result, people with Medicare will lose access to medicines they need to stay alive and healthy.

After decrying the inadequacy of VA drug coverage, however, not one of these lawmakers takes the next logical step and proposes changes to improve the drug coverage our veterans receive.

Why is that?

Because the VA provides excellent drug coverage for our veterans. The charges against the VA are simply false and designed to scare older adults and people with disabilities, already battered by high drug prices and coverage gaps under Part D, into thinking price negotiations will make things worse.

Take for example the speech made on the Senate floor last month by Senator Charles Grassley, Republican of Iowa. Senator Grassley charged that the VA covered just one third of the drugs covered by Part D.

It’s just not true. In fact, the VA puts roughly the same number of unique chemical compounds on its formulary (list of covered drugs) as are potentially available under Part D and actually has more drugs (including different dosages and forms of the same chemical) as are potentially covered by Part D (4,778 versus 4,300). And not all Part D plans actually cover all these 4,300 drugs. Many of the drugs are either excluded from the formularies used by the private companies offering Part D or are subject to restrictions that effectively deny coverage–facts conveniently omitted by Senator Grassley.

Bush administration officials also claim that one million veterans have signed up for Part D, demonstrating the superiority of Part D over VA drug coverage. In fact, of the 2.5 million users of the VA drug benefit who are eligible for Part D, 400,000 were automatically enrolled in Part D by their employer or because they also receive Medicaid. Just 250,000–10 percent–have voluntarily signed up for a Part D plan, and there is no evidence that they have stopped getting their medicines from the VA.

The VA does use a formulary to steer patients toward, and away from, certain drugs, as do the Part D plans. When painkillers like Vioxx first came on the market, the VA evaluated their effectiveness, their risks and their costs and restricted prescriptions to those who truly needed the drugs. As a result, it protected veterans against a drug that was ultimately found to raise the risk of heart attack and was pulled off the market.

From: Your Weekly Medicare Consumer Advocacy Update
February 22, 2007 · Volume 7, Issue 8

Complete article at:

http://www.suddenlysenior.com

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SAIC: THE VERY MODEL OF THE MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

http://www.prwatch.org/node/5763

With 44,000 employees, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) “is larger than the [U.S.] departments of Labor, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development combined,” Donald Barlett and James Steele write, in an in-depth profile of the military contractor. “SAIC currently holds some 9,000 active federal contracts,” more than any other company. But “several of SAIC’s biggest projects have turned out to be colossal failures,” including “Trailblazer,” a system to manage incoming intelligence for the National Security Agency, and the “Virtual Case File,” a centralized data repository for the FBI. “SAIC executives have been involved at every stage … of the war in Iraq,” from pushing WMD claims to helping “investigate how American intelligence could have been so disastrously wrong.” Under “yet another no-bid contract,” SAIC created the Iraqi Media Network, supposedly a “free and independent indigenous media network” that quickly became “a mouthpiece for the Pentagon.” Eventually, “the network was turned over to Iraqi control. Today it is a tool of Iraq’s Shiite majority and spews out virulently anti-American messages.” Moreover, SAIC’s work on the Iraqi Media Network was criticized by the Pentagon’s Inspector General as having “widespread violations of normal contracting procedures.”

SOURCE: Vanity Fair, March 2007 issue

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Safety Alarms at Nuclear Weapons Factory

The Los Angeles Times featured a front-page piece on Wednesday headlined “Safety Alarms Raised at Nuclear Weapons Plant,” which reports: “Electrical failures have shut down the plant. The roof has leaked. Decrepit machinery dates back more than 40 years. Safety lapses led inspectors to levy fines twice within two years. And employees, under deadline pressure, complain they are often worked past the point of exhaustion. …

“If this factory were producing medical devices or refining gasoline, the conditions would be serious enough. But this is where they work on nuclear bombs. …

“Federal safety inspectors found that the flawed operation ‘increased the opportunities for dropping all or part of the explosive during handling and hence increased the potential for a violent reaction,’ a finding that ran against assurances such a detonation was virtually impossible. …

“The backdrop to problems at Pantex [in Texas] is a growing concern that the Energy Department has mismanaged the nuclear weapons program.”

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines07/0221-08.htm

ROBERT ALVAREZ, kitbob@starpower.net,

http://www.ips-dc.org/projects/nuclear/index.htm

The Los Angeles Times piece quotes Alvarez, a former deputy assistant secretary of Energy and now a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies: “You can’t run a plant on glittering platitudes and generalities and call that a safety program. … A nuclear detonation accident is a low probability, but it is not incredible.”

From: Institute for Public Accuracy

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The Iraq War: Learning from the Past, Adapting to the Present, and Planning for the Future. Authored by Dr. Thomas R. Mockaitis.

The Iraq War has been the subject of heated political debate and intense academic scrutiny. Much argument has focused on the decision to invade and the size of the force tasked with the campaign.

From

http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?pubID=754

Read:

http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB754.pdf

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Scramble for Iraq’s oil begins as troops start to pull out –

By Saeed Shah
Published: 23 February 2007

BP, Shell, Exxon and ConocoPhillips want to enter Iraq 23 Feb 2007 We are about to find out if the invasion of Iraq really was a war for oil. The country is on the verge of passing a petroleum law, which will set down rules for investing in its oil industry. That will set off a race among the foreign oil giants, scrambling for their slice of Iraq’s vast oil riches.

Complete article at:

http://news.independent.co.uk/business/analysis_and_features/article2296884.ece

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three to see

A cartoon that could end the war in Iraq…

http://bigeyedeer.files.wordpress.com/2007/02/yoko.jpg

Trouble Town (Lloyd Dangle): global warming hoax

http://troubletown.com/cartoons/cartoons/ttown.849.gif

David Horsey: stupidity reab center for celebrities

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/dayart/20070223/cartoon20070223.gif

Sunday February 25, 2007 – “It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand” -Mark Twain

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

You have everything that I lack.

You are forging the spiritual tools for the renewal of Germany. I am nothing but a drum and a master of ceremonies. Let’s cooperate!

—Adolf Hitler at the ­Juni-­Klub, spring 1922, as quoted in Jean Pierre Faye’s Langages totalitaires.

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MCCAIN COURTS “APOCALYPSE PASTOR” HAGEE

By Bruce Wilson

Bruce Wilson: John McCain’s Secret Breakfast With Armageddon Booster

At:

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/48397/

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“Listen to candidates talk about religion and they seem to be following two rules:

1) Profess that nothing is more important to you than your religion.

2) Be as vague as possible about your religion.”

- Paul Waldman, author and senior fellow at Media Matters for America, in a recent op-ed. (Source: The Boston Globe)

Article at:

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/02/22/short_on_questions_of_faith/

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COPERNICUS WAS WRONG?: THE FLAT EARTH TEMPTATION

By Bruce Wilson

Bruce Wilson: Influential Christian right leaders say the Sun revolves around the Earth

Article at:

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/48148/

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Sex-abuse victims seek more than just money from church… and more

San Jose Mercury News – San Jose,CA,USA

Church officials, reeling from an estimated $1.5 billion in settlements and other costs related to the sex abuse scandal, often are willing to oblige.

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/16774603.htm

Group targets Baptist sex abuse

By kingbing1(kingbing1)

Several child sex abuse cases in Southern Baptist churches have surfaced recently. Bellevue Baptist, a megachurch near Memphis, fired a longtime minister, the Rev. Paul Williams, last month after he acknowledged sexually abusing his son …

http://journals.aol.com/kingbing1/FortiFi/entries/2007/02/24/group-targets-baptist-sex-abuse/2913

CSA Victims Want More Than A Cheque From Church (USA)

By Sotto Voce(Sotto Voce)

Across the country, victims of sexual abuse by priests are becoming more assertive in demanding compensation other than money. Church officials, reeling from an estimated $1.5 billion in settlements and other costs related to the sex …

http://clericalwhispers.blogspot.com/2007/02/csa-victims-want-more-than-cheque-from.html

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Do you like to use the bible as an excuse to do things? Or, Why Dr. Laura Is A Complete Bigoted Fool! (Sadly, like many people)

Laura Schlessinger is a US radio personality who dispenses advice And usually scoldings to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that to an Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned in any circumstance.

The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a US resident and also posted on the internet:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to follow them.

a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.

d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

e) I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?

g) Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. How should they die?

i) I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev.24:10-16) Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging. Your devoted disciple and adoring fan.

From: http://unixgirl.com/humor/bible1.html

==========

three to see

Sandy Huffaker: not everyone’s perfect like george w.

http://editorialcartoonists.com/cartoon/display.cfm/30761/

Don Addis: gather together to shout down your doubts

http://ffrf.org/fttoday/2006/nov/images/addis-doubt-church-cartoon.jpg

“Don’t you know it’s Rude and Offensive to Question or Discount someone’s Sacredly Held Beliefs??”

http://www.atheist-community.org/images/cartoon/13h26Oi2mV1420C111474.jpg

Saturday February 24, 2007 – “Ignorance feeds on ignorance.” – Carl Sagan

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

Solid State Heat Capacity Laser (SSHCL)

“A laser developed for military use is a few steps away from hitting a power threshold thought necessary to turn it into a battlefield weapon. The Solid State Heat Capacity Laser (SSHCL) has achieved 67 kilowatts (kW) of average power in the laboratory. It could take only a further six to eight months to break the ‘magic’ 100kW mark required for the battlefield, the project’s chief scientist told the BBC. Potentially, lasers could destroy rockets, mortars or roadside bombs. For many years, solid state, electrically powered lasers like SSHCL were only able to operate at a fraction of the 100kW mark. Then, in March 2005, the system achieved 45kW. Hitting 67kW, said SSHCL programme manager Bob Yamamoto, meant 100kW was now within reach.”

Learn more at the BBC.com.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6380789.stm

                          ==========

Will media report how Giuliani is milking 9-11, “America’s Mayor” image they helped create for massive PR, financial gain?

Since 2002, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) has traveled nationwide and around the world to deliver countless speeches on the topics of “leadership” and “crisis management” at business conferences, motivational seminars, fundraisers, and universities. In these addresses — for which he charges a reported $100,000 apiece — Giuliani regularly speaks at length about his first-hand experiences during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As Media Matters for America has noted, significant questions surround Giuliani’s record on homeland security and public safety, including his performance during, before, and after the 9-11 attacks. Nonetheless, the media have routinely advanced the depiction of Giuliani as a “hero of 9/11″ and “America’s Mayor,” bolstering his image and enhancing his credibility. Now, as he explores a run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, will the media properly scrutinize how Giuliani has capitalized on this image — legitimate or not — for substantial personal profit?

Read more

http://mediamatters.org/items/dailyemail/200702220005?src=other

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SHELL AND EDELMAN “BRING THE GASOLINE EXPERIENCE HOME”

http://www.prwatch.org/node/5767

The oil company Shell is working with the PR firm Edelman “in an effort to bring the gasoline experience home to consumers in a hands-on fashion.” The wide-ranging campaign kicked off at the Daytona 500, with Shell-sponsored NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick. Other campaign activities include a video game “where players can race
cars while avoided ‘gunky desposits’”; exhibits on Shell’s history and the “Future of Energy,” including “alternative fuels”; and “an interactive game that lets people record themselves having a conversation with a virtual Harvick and then upload the videos to YouTube for an extra viral component,” according to PR Week. “Shell hopes to reach 2 million people with the tour,” which will travel to 15 cities over the next few months. Edelman is helping Shell “harvest consumers’ cell phone numbers, conduct online surveys, and gauge message uptake in the media for ongoing measurement and follow-up communications.”

SOURCE: PR Week (sub req’d), February 15, 2007

                          ==========

Leaked Iraqi Oil Law

The New York Times reported this week: “A draft version of the long-awaited law that would govern the development of Iraqi oil fields and the distribution of oil revenues has been submitted to Iraq’s cabinet, the first step toward approving the legislation, two members of a senior negotiating committee said this weekend.”

A leaked copy of the 29-page proposed oil law has just been translated by Raed Jarrar, a D.C.-based Iraqi analyst who is in close contact with Iraqi parliamentarians.

A translated copy of the proposed oil law is at: http://raedinthemiddle.blogspot.com
– his web page.

ANTONIA JUHASZ, antoniajuhasz@gmail.com,

http://www.thebushagenda.nethttp://priceofoil.org

Juhasz is a Tarbell Fellow at Oil Change International and a visiting scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies. She said today: “The proposed law does almost word for word what was laid out in the Baker-Hamilton recommendations, which, at the very basic level, is to take Iraq’s nationalized oil system — the model that 90 percent of the world’s oil is governed by — and turn it into a commercial system fully open to foreign corporate investment on terms yet to be decided.”

“Given that Iraq’s oil only costs less than a dollar per barrel to pump and oil is selling at over $50 per barrel, the Iraqis are already making a tremendous return on their oil. The danger is that under the different models of oil contract that are being put on the table, the Iraqis would lose the vast majority of that profit to the foreign oil companies.

“Iraqis have lost a fair amount of expertise, technical know-how, as technology has increased over the past 11 years and the Iraqis were shut out because of the sanctions. The answer to that is found in the models put forward by their neighbors, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and Iran, which are technical service contracts that countries sign with foreign companies to bring in that expertise, but under very limited time frames and very specific economic benefits to the companies and to the country,  not these 35-year contracts.” Juhasz’s latest book is “The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time.”

From: Institute for Public Accuracy

                          ==========

Iran: Claims and Context

STEPHEN ZUNES, zunes@usfca.edu,

http://www.stephenzunes.org

Professor of politics at the University of San Francisco, Zunes just wrote the piece “Iran in Iraq?” which states: “Faced with growing public opposition to the U.S. war in Iraq, the Bush administration has been desperately trying to divert attention to Iran. Washington has gone so far as to make a series of dubious and unfounded charges that blame the Iranian government for the difficulties facing American forces fighting the Iraqi insurgency.”

http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/3996

Zunes is author of the book “Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism” and is Middle East editor for Foreign Policy in Focus.

From: Institute for Public Accuracy

                          ==========

Bush full of ‘red-hot baloney’ on Iran

Friday, February 23, 2007

Helen Thomas: Is President Bush going to attack Iran? That question looms large around the world, as if he doesn’t have enough on his plate with Iraq. The administration’s drumbeat about Iran has an all-too familiar ring.

Complete article at:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/304795_thomas23.html

Helen Thomas is a columnist for Hearst Newspapers. E-mail: helent@hearstdc.com

                          ==========

UK pullout presages Basra showdown

ISN Security Watch
22 February 2007

Foreign troops in Basra have been an irritant and after the staged withdrawal of UK troops, unprepared Iraqi forces will step into the inevitable Shia factional power struggle.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has cast a sad figure in recent months as his political power ebbs away ahead of a widely predicted transfer of power to Chancellor Gordon Brown.

The prime minister was recently questioned for a second time by Scotland Yard with regards to an ongoing cash-for-honors scandal and was politely ignored by Israel in pushing for a renewal of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process during a September diplomatic visit to Jerusalem.

Blair has played a primary role in reconstituting Labor as a centrist movement appealing to Britain’s middle classes and has succeeded in winning an unprecedented three terms in office for his party.

However, it is the Labor leader’s decision to turn his back on Britain’s European partners in backing the US invasion of Iraq that will overshadow his domestic achievements in the eyes of many.

Blair told the House of Commons on Wednesday that 1,600 of the 7,100 British troops in Iraq would be withdrawn in coming months. A further 500 troops may return home by year’s end, he said.

“The UK military presence will continue into 2008, for as long as we are wanted and have a job to do,” he said, adding that the troop drawdown reflected the success of British forces in southern Iraq.

Blair’s speech came as Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen confirmed on Wednesday that Denmark would be withdrawing all of its ground forces from Iraq by August. Denmark currently has 470 troops stationed in the country under British command.

Complete article at:

http://www.isn.ethz.ch/news/sw/

From: ISN Security Watch

                          ==========

Fox is a mouthpiece for the Republican Party, not a legitimate news channel

The Democratic Party of Nevada just announced plans to let Fox News host a presidential primary debate. 1 But Fox isn’t a legitimate news channel. It’s a right-wing mouthpiece like Rush Limbaugh and the Drudge Report—repeating false Republican talking points to smear Democrats.

Fox has already tried to skew the ’08 race by accusing Senator Barack Obama of attending a terrorist school. CNN immediately exposed the charge as false, 2 and Obama hit back by refusing to appear on Fox—sending them scrambling. 3 Democrats can force Fox to be fair and balanced by fighting back hard.

Can you sign this petition asking the Democratic Party of Nevada to drop Fox as its partner for the presidential primary debate?

The full text of the petition is: “Fox is a mouthpiece for the Republican Party, not a legitimate news channel. The Democratic Party of Nevada should drop Fox as its partner for the presidential primary debate.”

Clicking here will add your name to the petition:

http://civic.moveon.org/foxdebate/o.pl?id=9923-5514896-nAfDNb&t=3

It’s very important to also invite our friends to sign this petition. If ever there was a battle where we could beat Fox, this is it—since Democrats will make the ultimate decision, not Fox executives. But to be convinced, Democratic leaders need to see a growing public backlash.

We’ll deliver the petition signatures to the Democratic Party of Nevada and let petition signers know what next steps they can take to make a difference.

When you click the petition link, you’ll see a great new YouTube video from filmmaker Robert Greenwald called “Fox Attacks: Obama.” It exposes Fox’s numerous attacks on Senator Obama—saying he attended a terrorist school, belittling his race, and implying that his name sounds like that of a terrorist.

Fox has also spread false smears about Hillary Clinton this year. 4

Plus, when Democrats trusted Fox to host a presidential debate in 2003, Fox undermined Democrats with on-screen headlines like “Democratic Candidates Offer Grim View of America.” 5

We can fight back. The Washington Post reported that “the Obama camp has ‘frozen out’ Fox News reporters and producers in the wake of the network’s major screw-up in running with the erroneous Obama-the-jihadist story.” “‘I’m still in the freezer,’ one Fox journalist said.” Fox News CEO Roger Ailes has personally called Obama twice to smooth relations. 3

As the 2008 cycle begins, we need to show Fox there will be serious repercussions for being part of right-wing smear jobs—and we need to show voters they cannot trust Fox for news.

Can you sign this petition asking the Democratic Party of Nevada not to partner with Fox for a presidential primary debate?

The full text of the petition is: “Fox is a mouthpiece for the Republican Party, not a legitimate news channel. The Democratic Party of Nevada should drop Fox as its partner for the presidential primary debate.”

Clicking here will add your name to the petition:

http://civic.moveon.org/foxdebate/o.pl?id=9923-5514896-nAfDNb&t=4

Thank you for all you do.
–Noah, Adam G., Marika, Wes, and the MoveOn.org Civic Action Team
Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

Sources:

1. “FNC Hosts Democratic Debate,” Mediabistro.com, February 16, 2007
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=2374&id=9923-5514896-nAfDNb&t=5

2. “CNN Debunks False Obama ‘Madrassa’ Smear,” ThinkProgress.org, January 22, 2007
http://thinkprogress.org/2007/01/22/cnn-obama-debunk/

3. “Obama’s Grudge Factor,” Washingtonpost.com, January 30, 2007
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=2375&id=9923-5514896-nAfDNb&t=6

4. “O’Reilly and Miller recycled false attack on Clinton’s attendance at 9-11 memorials,” Media Matters, February 15, 2007
http://mediamatters.org/items/200702160001

“Right-wing media figures claim Clinton behind Obama/Muslim smears,” Media Matters, January 19, 2007
http://mediamatters.org/items/200701200003

5. “Nevada Dems getting outfoxed?” Lasvegasgleaner.com, February 20, 2007
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=2376&id=9923-5514896-nAfDNb&t=7

                          ==========

Borowitz Report – Bush: I’ll Bring Troops Home on JetBlue

Andy in NYC Monday Night!

Win a Free Copy of The Republican Playbook

Andy returns to his smash-hit live show next Monday, February 26 at Mo Pitkin’s House of Satisfaction. Lucky audience members will receive autographed copies of Andy’s new book, THE REPUBLICAN PLAYBOOK. Doors open at 8:15; show begins at 8:30. 34 Avenue A between 2nd and 3rd. Tickets only $6 at the door or at www.ticketweb.com .

And now, breaking news:

Bush: I’ll Bring Troops Home on JetBlue

No Exact Timetable, President Says

Under increased pressure to announce an exit strategy from Iraq, President George W. Bush revealed plans today to bring U.S. troops home on the budget airlines JetBlue.

Mr. Bush received praise for his decision to withdraw American troops, but his choice of JetBlue to transport them raised more than a few eyebrows.

According to most official estimates, with its recent spate of scheduling problems and flight delays, JetBlue could take up to seven years to bring U.S. troops home, and possibly ten years in the event of inclement weather.

But at a press conference at the White House today, the president argued that the selection of Jet Blue was “crucial” to the success of his latest exit strategy.

“Setting an exact timetable for a withdrawal from Iraq would be playing right into the enemy’s hands,” Mr. Bush said. “By going with JetBlue, our enemy will have no idea when we’re leaving.”

To emphasizes his point, Mr. Bush added, “And neither will we.”

Across Iraq, U.S. GIs were hopeful that the news about JetBlue meant that they would be home by Christmas, or at least by Easter 2012.

At JetBlue headquarters in Forest Hills, New York, CEO David Neeleman said that it was “flattering” to be chosen to play such a critical role in President Bush’s new exit strategy, but wondered if his embattled airlines has what it takes to bring troops home from Iraq.

“We’re still having a hard time getting people home to Fort Myers,” Mr. Neeleman said.

Elsewhere, Britain and Denmark announced that they were joining “The Coalition of the Leaving.”

http://www.borowitzreport.com/

                          ==========

three to see

David Horsey: it’s inhumane

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/dayart/20070222/cartoon20070222.gif

Mr. Fish: it’s time for a new direction

http://www.harpers.org/art/cartoons/mrfish/ObamaDir_350.jpg

Jack Ohman: micromanage

http://images.ucomics.com/comics/tmjoh/2007/tmjoh070219.gif

Friday February 23, 2007 – Just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand. – Homer Simpson

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

216 Million Americans Are Scientifically Illiterate (Part I)

The good news: America’s science literacy rate is up from a pathetic 10 percent in 1988. The bad news: it’s still only 28 percent.

By David Ewing Duncan

At:

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/duncan/17535/

                          ==========

More “Freak Show”– John Harris discussed the Clintons’ sleeping arrangements on Glenn Beck

On the February 20 edition of his CNN Headline News show, Glenn Beck asked John Harris, editor-in-chief of The Politico, whether Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and former President Bill Clinton have a “king-sized bed or Lucy and Desi beds.” Harris replied, “You know, a lot of times they are not in that bed together very often.” Harris added that he had been in the Clintons’ bedroom in Chappaqua, New York, and said that “it is indeed a king-sized bed,” which Beck found “shocking.”

Read more

http://mediamatters.org/items/dailyemail/200702220001?src=other

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Indian Outsourcers Target U.S. Defense Contracts

By Paul McDougall,
Feb 20, 2007

The controversy over outsourcing U.S. technology and back-office jobs to India has been fairly heated. But that may pale in comparison with what’s surely coming, given what some major Indian service providers are now chasing.

According to Monday’s edition of the Indian daily Business Line, Tata Consultancy Services is in talks with Boeing and Lockheed Martin for pieces of the defense and aerospace contracts held by those companies. Related to that, the paper says TCS is set to increase the headcount in its aerospace engineering vertical at a clip of about 50% to 60% per year.

Meanwhile, Satyam Computer Services plans to register with India’s Defence Offset Facilitation Agency, a body that’s designed to facilitate cooperation between U.S. defense contractors and Indian tech firms, according to India’s Business Standard newspaper.

You don’t have to be psychic to predict that all this will further inflame the outsourcing debate. Accounting applications are one thing. The possibility of missile guidance systems and other key components of the U.S. arsenal being designed and coded in India is another and will no doubt provide more, uh, ammunition to those who argue that outsourcing undermines America’s security.

Complete article at:

http://informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2007/02/indian_outsourc.html

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LET’S PUT THE “OFF THE RECORD CLUB” ON THE RECORD

by Sheldon Rampton

One of the most interesting things about the perjury trial of former White House aide Scooter Libby has been the light it shines on the usually-hidden relationship between top government officials and Washington journalists.

The latest revelation came in testimony by nationally-syndicated columnist Robert Novak about his all-too-cozy relationship with Richard Hohlt — someone who epitomizes the Washington insider. You’ve probably never heard his name. (Newsweek reporter
Michael Isikoff called him a “mystery man” in his report on Novak’s testimony.) Yet Hohlt is a major Washington lobbyist, representing clients like Chevron, JPMorgan Chase and the Nuclear Energy Institute. He’s also a major fundraiser for the Republican Party, raking in more than $500,000 to support President Bush’s campaign for re-election. He gets together once a month with a group of other GOP heavy hitters in what they call the “Off the Record Club.” And, it turns out, Hohlt is also a regular source for the information that appears in Novak’s column — so regular, in fact, that it might be more accurate to simply say that Novak is Hohlt’s scribe. Hohlt served as a go-between linking Novak to White House Special Advisor Karl Rove as Novak wrote his now-infamous column outing Joseph Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA agent.

To read the rest of this item, visit:

http://www.prwatch.org/node/5776

                          ==========

Involvement in Iraq has increased terrorism threat, professor says

22 Feb 2007

An authority on terrorism [Professor Clive Williams from Macquarie University] says withdrawing troops from Iraq would reduce the risk of attacks on Australia and its interests.

Read more

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200702/s1853978.htm

                          ==========

Iran – Ready to attack, American preparations for invading Iran are complete,

by Dan Plesch

Global Research, February 19, 2007
New Statesman – 2007-02-18

American military operations for a major conventional war with Iran could be implemented any day. They extend far beyond targeting suspect WMD facilities and will enable President Bush to destroy Iran’s military, political and economic infrastructure overnight using conventional weapons.

British military sources told the New Statesman, on condition of anonymity, that “the US military switched its whole focus to Iran” as soon as Saddam Hussein was kicked out of Baghdad. It continued this strategy, even though it had American infantry bogged down in fighting the insurgency in Iraq.

The US army, navy, air force and marines have all prepared battle plans and spent four years building bases and training for “Operation Iranian Freedom”. Admiral Fallon, the new head of US Central Command, has inherited computerised plans under the name TIRANNT (Theatre Iran Near Term).

The Bush administration has made much of sending a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf. But it is a tiny part of the preparations. Post 9/11, the US navy can put six carriers into battle at a month’s notice. Two carriers in the region, the USS John C Stennis and the USS Dwight D Eisenhower, could quickly be joined by three more now at sea: USS Ronald Reagan, USS Harry S Truman and USS Theodore Roosevelt, as well as by USS Nimitz. Each carrier force includes hundreds of cruise missiles.

Then there are the marines, who are not tied down fighting in Iraq. Several marine forces are assembling, each with its own aircraft carrier. These carrier forces can each conduct a version of the D-Day landings. They come with landing craft, tanks, jump-jets, thousands of troops and, yes, hundreds more cruise missiles. Their task is to destroy Iranian forces able to attack oil tankers and to secure oilfields and installations. They have trained for this mission since the Iranian revolution of 1979.

Today, marines have the USS Boxer and USS Bataan carrier forces in the Gulf and probably also the USS Kearsarge and USS Bonhomme Richard. Three others, the USS Peleliu, USS Wasp and USS Iwo Jima, are ready to join them. Earlier this year, HQ staff to manage these forces was moved from Virginia to Bahrain.

Complete article at:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=PLE20070219&articleId=4844

From: www.GlobalResearch.ca

                          ==========

Iran: Claims and Context

STEPHEN ZUNES, zunes@usfca.edu,

http://www.stephenzunes.org

Professor of politics at the University of San Francisco, Zunes just wrote the piece “Iran in Iraq?” which states: “Faced with growing public opposition to the U.S. war in Iraq, the Bush administration has been desperately trying to divert attention to Iran. Washington has gone so far as to make a series of dubious and unfounded charges that blame the Iranian government for the difficulties facing American forces fighting the Iraqi insurgency.”

http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/3996

Zunes is author of the book “Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism” and is Middle East editor for Foreign Policy in Focus.

From: Institute for Public Accuracy

                          ==========

MAYBE WE DESERVE TO BE RIPPED OFF BY BUSH’S BILLIONAIRES

By Matt Taibbi, RollingStone.com

While America obsessed about Brittany’s shaved head, Bush offered a budget that offers $32.7 billion in tax cuts to the Wal-Mart family alone, while cutting $28 billion from
Medicaid.

Read more

http://www.alternet.org/stories/48278/

                          ==========

Borowitz Report – Bush Wish Shocker

Poll: Majority of Americans Wish Bush Was a Fictitious Character
Loses to Easter Bunny, Aquaman in Theoretical Match-ups

In perhaps the most troubling sign yet for his presidency, a poll released today shows that a majority of Americans wish that George W. Bush was a fictitious character rather than a real person.

Mr. Bush’s popularity has taken some serious hits in recent months, but the new survey marks the first time that over fifty percent of respondents indicated that they wished the president was a figment of their imagination.

When asked the question, “If you could choose whether George W. Bush was a real person or a fictitious character,” 51% said “fictitious character” while only 42% said “real person,” with the remaining 7% responding, “George W. Bush is a fictitious character.”

Even more troubling for the president is the survey’s conclusion that in theoretical match-ups with other fictitious characters, Mr. Bush would be trounced.

According to the poll, which has a margin of error of 5 percentage points, if an election were held today between Mr. Bush and the superhero Aquaman, Mr. Bush would lose to Aquaman by a margin of two-to-one.

And Mr. Bush would suffer a similar fate in hypothetical face-offs with such other fictitious characters as the Little Mermaid, the Easter Bunny, and SpongeBob SquarePants.

At the White House, spokesman Tony Snow said the poll results were, in their own way, “good news” for the president.

“The American people want the president to be fictitious,” Mr. Snow said. “Well, his reasons for invading Iraq were fictitious, so he’s really meeting them halfway.”

Elsewhere, experts say that Britney Spears’ hair could fetch as much as $1 million, while her brain could go for $300.

http://www.borowitzreport.com/

                          ==========

three to see

Jeff Danziger: Right Wing Pundits, Kristol, D’Souze, Lowry

http://danzigercartoons.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/dancart3127.jpg

Matt Wuerker: the decider

http://editorialcartoonists.com/cartoon/display.cfm/31228/

Steve Kelley: Still in the News

http://img.slate.com/media/27/070220_ed.gif