Al Franken Sets the Record Straight

Al Franken over at HuffPo sets the record straight regarding the Wellstone Memorial, especially in comparison to the King Service. A point he touches on, that the conservative pundits have failed to, regarding Carter’s comments, is that Carter knew Coretta Scott King. Recently, while watching Carter on Larry King, he remarked that he probably wouldn’t have been president had it not been for King. He said she campaigned strongly for him in ‘76. It just burns the Republicans that he’s still out there in the world, making things happen, and they’re busy putting out Abramhoff and Libby fires.

Proverbial Fox Guarding the Hen House

AP (via Yahoo) So, the old Hammer slips in shit and comes out smelling like a rose. He’s been handed a “coveted” seat on the Appropriations Committee, and get this, a seat on the sub-committee overseeing the Justice Department. Which, just so happens to be who is investigating the Abramhoff scandal. And while he’s at it, he got a seat overseeing NASA (the same NASA that was recently revealed to have a political appointee of Bush’s who’s been censoring its scientists on global warming, that doesn’t have a completed college degree and regardless of his studies, his major was journalism). Anyway, back to DeLay, go figure, he’s up for reelection, and now sits on the NASA subcommittee, and guess what, his home district just happens to be Houston, home of Johnson Space Center. So anyone with half a brain can tell you that was as politically motivated an appointment as they get, and despite what anyone says, the Republicans are going about dirty business as usual.

9 Billion Dollar a Year Video Game

Politics News Article | Reuters.com
So a week before Bush rolls out his new budget, Congress gets to “play” with the the 9 billion dollar a year Star Wars missle defense project that has yet to work. I’m guessing this is the whole reason DeLay was really trying to keep his job. Meanwhile, cuts to federal student loans, medicare, and many other needed social programs keep getting slashed to the bone. What was the budget deficit again?

Can Someone Please tell Sessions to STFU?

Watching the Alito Confirmation Hearing on CSPAN, and now the second time I’ve listened to Jeff Sessions of Alabama blubber over Alito. Who voted him head cheerleader? Is he not intelligent enough to fake the tough questions, or too stupid to lob the easy ones for Alito to hit out of the park? I mean, I’m not impressed with the some of the lines of questioning I’ve seen from the Democrats either, but this bafoon takes the bloody cake. If these 16 some odd folks are the best this country can muster, we are worse shape than I thought…

EDIT OK, now Graham is trying to compare Alito’s confirmation hearing to crooked Republicans who have taken money from Abramhoff. WTF??

Hammer on the Shelf

Chron.com

Now that he’s made more mainstream news cycles, I’ve refrained from posting much on the Hammer. But I feel this news is worthy of a shout from the cliff, as it signals to me the pressure from within the party is doing exactly what I said they would do…use him up and throw him on hte scrap heap. He will probably lose his primary in March, as I’d guess the republican machine will throw their money behind his competitor, hoping he’ll have a better chance against a democrat in the fall. From there, he can be a fall guy for the Abramhoff deal, along with Ney, probably taking a bullet or two for several other republicans. So this story is FAR from over, and the dominos have yet to get primary players, but one can only hope the truth mostly comes out.

ANWR Update

Incase you missed it, Democrats and two Republicans, Mike DeWine and Lincoln Chafee, stood their ground, and managed to keep ANWR off the defense bill. Pete Dominenici of New Mexico (?) has already vowed to add it to a filibuster proof budget bill in the spring, one I’m sure that will be full of all kinds of pork barrel projects. So warm up that keyboard and start writing your represenatives, and voice your opinion, be it on ANWR, or the President spying on fellow Americans.

Even Some GOP’s Get It

ANWR Issue Roils Senate Again

Arctic drilling on a defense bill. If you’ve read here lately, you know my stance on that. And now even some Republicans are calling Stevens and Frist out on playing politics with our national defense. And poor ol’ Dick might have to cut his trip short to cast a vote. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen, or he gets held up by a sandstorm.

The “Response”

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). I appreciate hearing from you and would like to respond to your concerns.

Finding new sources of domestic energy is critical to our national security. Today, our nation is 58 percent dependent on sources of energy from the Western Hemisphere, including 14 percent from Venezuela. Judging by recent political developments, Venezuela is not a stable or reliable source of oil for our country.

Hugo Chavez has actively been seeking new markets, such as China, for Venezuela?s oil, which would leave us struggling to replace a sizable percentage of our country?s needs with most likely very little warning. With today?s soaring oil and gasoline prices, we need to be forward thinking about world events and their effect on our oil supply.

We also need to think globally about environmental issues. Drilling in ANWR using the most advanced technology and strictest environmental regulations will keep environmental impact to a minimum. Drilling technologies such as multi-lateral drills and directional drilling are just two examples of ways we are now able to minimize environmental impact. Other countries are not necessarily following the same strict environmental standards used in the U.S., and this puts us in the position of exporting our own environmental concerns to countries with much looser environmental standards.

Drilling in ANWR – in a part of Alaska that was set aside by the Eisenhower administration in 1960 for oil and gas exploration, with overwhelming support from its population and congressional delegation, and under some of the strictest environmental standards in the world ? is a sound and balanced approach that will help alleviate our dependence on foreign sources of oil.

ANWR is a huge area encompassing over 19 million acres. The environmental footprint of oil and gas operations will be limited to 2,000 acres, which is roughly the size of Dulles International Airport in Virginia. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, ANWR is estimated to contain resources ranging from 7.7 billion to 10.9 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

As we address the need for development of domestic sources of energy, Florida?s moratorium on offshore drilling will remain firmly in place as one of my highest priorities.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. If you have any additional questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me.

And my follow up:

I appreciate your quick response, and though your explanation seems reasonable, you have not explained how your arguments to support drilling in ANWR can not be then used against you to drill off the coast of Florida. I know the military is expressing the need for the Eastern Gulf for maneuvers, however outside that reason what are your defenses for not supporting exploration and drilling off our coasts? I must also express my doubts in the “strict” regulations you defend your choice with. From my perspective, this administration has loosened regulations from the day it took office, and I have severe doubts that this would be any different. And finally, could you explain how 8-11 billion gallons of oil justifies the potential risks and damage. At what expense is a years worth of oil? And when do we draw the line? How will you argue that 4 months worth of natural gas isn’t worth rigs off our beaches?
And finally Senator Martinez, how do you justify playing politics with a budget bill aimed for the military and potentially the lives of our countrymen and women?

Can’t Wait to See How Mel Answers that Letter

So I wrote my Senators late last week voicing my concerns over the fact that the slime ball Republicans were tagging things like ANWR drilling on a defense dept budget. We’ve got fellow Americans with their lives on the line over seas, and their safety depends on the allocation of funds to the military. And so what are scum bags like Ted Stevens doing? Playing politics with those fellow countryman’s lives. Yep. Betting their constituents lives that Democrats won’t vote against a DoD bill. I’m sure Senator Nelson will be at the forefront of maneuvers to separate the two, but I’m not so sure Martinez will be. I told him in my email that not only did I think it was disgusting to play politics with soldiers lives, I also said that supporting drilling in ANWR would be to support drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. His site says all correspondence will receive a written response, so I can’t wait to hear how he justifies this one. Perhaps you may want to contact your representatives and see how they can justify their actions as well.

Could This Be Rumsfeld’s Last Stand

House Panel Subpoenas Rumsfeld on Katrina Rumors have flown for weeks, months, hell, years, that Rumsfeld was on his way out. News reports have surfaced that the Bush administration, in attempts to woo moderate Dems, was going to name the military genius and failed VP candidate Lieberman, to replace Rummy. But Rumsfeld stands by his declaration that he wasn’t going to retire any time soon. But could the White House take this opportunity of a Republican led inquiry into the Katrina response to throw Rumsfeld under the bus and use his departments handling of the things, and not the hot potato of Iraq as the “last straw” to force out Rumsfeld, and temporarily deflect attention, and at the same time, protect, the so far, under the radar Andy Card?

Family Upset Over Soldier’s Body Arriving As Freight

10News.com So our tax dollars can fly Cheney and his staff all over the country on fund raising jaunts, and stump speeches, but we can’t give the men and women who fall in the line of duty fighting his war the proper and respectful transport all the way from the battle field to their home town. Just one more disgusting fact from this administration.

80% of Military Voted or Tried To

Washington Post.com
I’d like to know a little more about the “efforts” of the DoD to connect soldiers with their citizenship. While I commend the 79% that did their civic duty, and perhaps will make it a habit after they leave the military, I doubt the sincerity of the DoD’s reasons. You had to be living in a cave in Afganhistan, (oops, no, they knew about it too) to not know about the slim margin Bush “won” by in ‘00, and the discussions of the military often voting Republican, etc, etc, etc. So Rummy made a concerted effort to “get out the vote” as soon as the war started, hoping that the patriotism and general tendacies would help him keep his job for 4 more years. Now that his job is not on the line, and the undertone of the politcal landscape is in much darker, I wonder if the DoD will make such a push for election turnout. And more so, I wonder if the Dems can pressure the DoD to maintain the “program”, and turn the knife, so to speak, on the administration.

Congress and the Bowl Championship Series

ESPN.com-Congress to look into ‘deeply flawed’ BCS system You have to be kidding me. Ah, your alma matre isn’t going to the Rose Bowl this year, so it’s time to cry fowl. Boo hoo! Try fixing the education system, or working on getting better funding for students, rather than this. Any thing, heck, I’d rather here some discussion about giving student athletes a stipend than how the BCS is flawed. Sure it is, so was the old bowl system. But this is that last place Congress needs to be sticking their nose. With record deficits, a war, corruption all over the Republican map, and this is best they’ve got. Flabergasted, that’s all I’ve got to say. I wonder if this guy Barton is one of the ones the Texas jerrymandering case got elected?

Math Can’t Hurt You

Zeroing Out the Messenger So amongst all the Iraq/memo gate/plamegate/Katrina debates, another slug of a Republican Congress man, bought by Utilities companies in Oregon, managed to have a little known, yet important center shut down. I wrote about this last May, when a judge ruled the Bush plan on the spring and fall runs of Chinook salmon was wrong, and forced new numbers to be used. Well, that little known agency shut down by Congressman Larry Craig was responsible for using scientific means of measuring the population of the salmon. Long story short, Craig convinced his fellow congressman to shut down funding for the agency, and it looks like my faith in the people of the Pacific Northwest was unfounded.

Abramhoff’s Cancer Spreads

Lawmakers Under Scrutiny in Probe of Lobbyist I first wrote about the Firm of ASG and DeLay’s wife back in April. Here it is almost December and it’s finally becoming a legitimate news. Some of my favorites, DeLay’s wife was paid over 3 grand a month to determine each Congress man’s favorite charity. One would assume that could be done by a few low level staffers in a week via email and voice calls. And it looks more and more like DeLay is going to be smack dab in the middle of this one too. While we’re at it, might someone look a little further into the Brian Darling connection as well. With Bill Nelson facing a tough election next year, this could be something to take another swipe out of the Republican machine.

Breaking! Scanlon pleads out, to testify against Abramoff

EDIT-Link
Scanlon also admitted… he, Lobbyist A, and others engaged in a pattern of bribery through which one or both of them offered and provided a stream of things of value to public officials, including trips, campaign contributions, meals and entertainment in exchange for agreements that public officials would use their official positions and influence to benefit the clients of Scanlon and Lobbyist A as well as Lobbyist A’s businesses.

So Michael Scanlon, former DeLay aide, has pleaded guilty in a deal to agree to testify against Abramhoff. Does this mean he has some dirt on DeLay as well? Only time will tell. I’m sure the Justice dept is licking its lips at this one!

Milk for Oil?

Reuters.com
OK, so Big Oil said they didn’t need the subsidy, so Congress, trying to save some money here and there figured, hey, we’ll cut the subsidy then. Smart think guys. But then this comes along. Hastert, playing politics, pushes to extend an expired subsidy for dairy farmers. Granted, an International dairy board is against the subsidy, and there’s got to be something better to do than hand money over to dairy farmers ‘cause they can’t sell their milk, but, hey, when a Republican Congressman is running for Governor of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin was a “battle ground” state, it makes perfect sense. According to this fact sheet, The MILC (get it, milk)program is about giving milk producers money if the price drops too low. Why then, can a Republican government that argues about free trade, and capitalism, support such a program. Because it’s our food supply?? Not mine, I don’t drink milk. Will they start subsidizing organic produce? I’d much rather do that, to lower the cost to me, than give a billion dollars to commercial milk farmers.

Who Hired This Guy??

Washington Post OK, sure, when ever you’ve got billions of dollars flowing around with out a check and balance system, there’s bound to be some corruption. Much has been made about the no-bid contracts, the mis-management of money by the Bremer lead provisional Authority, and finally formal charges have been levied. My question is this? Who their right mind hired this guy Stein to work their in the first place. Talk about fox in the hen house. Guy was found guilty of fraud in ‘96, spent some time in jail even. Hello!! He even paid some of his restitution from the previous crime with the kickbacks he got for this one. His wife paid taxes! 3 years late! I’d love, just love to know who he knew to get the job. And I’d like to hear how it wasn’t thought out on how to hire people to oversee REGIONS without proper background checks. This wasn’t a low level guy getting a few thousand dollars, this was a guy who got .5 million in kickbacks for fixing over 13 million in contracts, which never really were done. And the investigator says 50 more are being looked at. More examples of poor planning by the administration. Thank God though they were able to “negotiate” the deals with Haliburton months before the invasion…

Ethics Classes

Washington Post
Bush’s response has been so far to not comment, and send his entire staff, including Rove, to ethics class. A whole hour long on how to handle classified documents. That’s the best he’s got? Not quite the “heads will roll if anyone in my administration was involved” attitude his little John Wayne act tried. I’m sure though the Republican’s will applaud such a move. Next, geography lessons for the President.

Another Miss by the Hammer

Good ol’ Tom has now moved to have his judge recuse himself from the case because, among other organizations, he’s donated to Moveon.org. So what does he want, someone who’s donated to the RNC or one of his own PACs? Or simply a judge that hasn’t donated to any political affliations? To me, it’s just another desperate move by a rat backed into a corner.

Keeping Up on the Hammer

Washington Post As I’ve stated in various other online existences, life away from the laptop has changed, some for the good, some not so. Alas, the world keeps turning, and so does the clown rodeo kown as the Tomd DeLay defense. His lawyers are know trying to squash the money laundering because “wire transfers are not ‘funds’ “… if that’s not a backhanded admission of guilt, nothing is. “If the glove does not fit, you must acquit”. And to further the never give in persona of ol’ Hammer, he passed on a plea offer of a misdemeanor charge of violating Texas election laws, thus the felony charges that he currently faces. Tom, you shoulda listened closer to the Gambler, “you gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em…”

No U2 fundraising for Santorum

Yes, I haven’t blogged in a while, and yes, I’ve been busy cooking for a living again. However that doesn’t mean I don’t intend to continue blogging, nor do I completely ignore the news. That said, I was shocked when I heard on the news today that U2 was doing a fundraiser for Rick Santorum. Then I read over at Joe Trippi’s site that ol’ Santorum and the conservative news blogs got the message wrong.

Santorum . . . you may want to wipe those eggs off of your face

And was just starting to think the world was really slipping off its axis. Whew! Not just yet.

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