Saturday, June 18, 2005

Journalism: A Heartbeat

Having pronounced last rites over journalism, it is heartening to see it show signs of life:

Bush's WMD 'Joke': Is the Media Still Laughing?
A brief comment at a forum in Washington this week resurrects one of the most shameful episodes in recent media history: The night a roomful of journalists laughed along with a president making fun of the bogus threat that led to a costly war.


I was reminded of all this at the Thursday forum when former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, after cataloguing the bogus Bush case for WMDs and the Iraqi threat, looked out at the cameras and notepads, mentioned the March 24, 2004 dinner, and acted out the president looking under papers and table for those missing WMDs. “And the media was all yucking it up….hahaha,” McGovern said. “You all laughed with him, folks. But I’ll tell you who is not laughing. Cindy Sheehan is not laughing.”

This was the woman sitting next to him whose son had been killed in Iraq. “Cindy’s son,” McGovern added, “was killed 11 days after the show put on by the president…after that big joke.”

Dana Milbank, who seems to like a good laugh, did not mention this in his story the following day.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Why Did He Have to be a Lawyer?

Another for the "Incredibly Bad Boss" file. Too bad the jerk is a lawyer. Why couldn't he be an insurance adjuster, or a banker?

Ketchup Spill Sets Off Lawyer-Secretary Feud
E-Mails Over Dry-Cleaning Bill Become the Talk of London's Legal Circles

The E-Mail Exchange

"Dear Jenny, I went to the dry-cleaners at lunch and they said it would cost four pounds to remove the ketchup stains. If you could let me have the cash today that would be much appreciated."
-- Lawyer Richard Phillips

"With reference to the email, I must apologize for not getting back to you straight away but due to my mother's sudden illness, death and funeral I have had more pressing issues than your four pounds. Obviously your financial need as a senior associate is greater than mine as a mere secretary."
-- Secretary Jenny Amner

Yes, he was dunning her for his stupid puny dry cleaning bill while she was out for her mother's funeral. Selfish bastard.

What's a Few Billion Between Such Good Friends?

Deeper Cuts Had Been Sought in Tobacco Case
U.S. prosecutors had been told to slash their request for sanctions on the industry to as low as $6billion, sources say

But on the morning of June 7, the day of the government's summation, the trial team was told to cut the demand still further, to $6 billion, the sources said. After a heated lunch-hour meeting — at which lawyers told senior staff that they couldn't credibly propose $6 billion — they were cleared to ask federal Judge Gladys Kessler for a $10-billion program, the sources said.

The $10-billion proposal, made public that afternoon, sparked outrage among anti-smoking activists and Democratic lawmakers, who claimed that political appointees in the Justice Department improperly interfered to protect tobacco companies from a big hit. At the request of several lawmakers, the department's Office of Professional Responsibility has opened an investigation into the sudden reduction in the government's demand.

Senior officials, led by Associate Atty. Gen. Robert McCallum, [former R.J. Reynolds lawyer] the department's No. 3 leader, have said the change was entirely proper. They say it reflects the legal realities facing the government after a federal appeals court limited remedies they could seek under civil provisions of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO.

To government lawyers, however, it appeared that the real "object of the game was to get the number down … as low as possible" and find a legal rationale later, a person close to the trial team said.

Those R.J Reynolds lawyers are such softies.

Conyers Response to Milbank

Conyers to Milbank

John Conyers has already responded to Milbank's smear of an article. Click on the link above to see photographs of the event (which show how ridiculous Milbank's article really is).

June 17, 2005
Mr. Michael Abramowitz, National Editor
Mr. Michael Getler, Ombudsman
Mr. Dana Milbank
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20071

Dear Sirs:

I write to express my profound disappointment with Dana Milbank's June 17 report, "Democrats Play House to Rally Against the War," which purports to describe a Democratic hearing I chaired in the Capitol yesterday. In sum, the piece cherry-picks some facts, manufactures others out of whole cloth, and does a disservice to some 30 members of Congress who persevered under difficult circumstances, not of our own making, to examine a very serious subject: whether the American people were deliberately misled in the lead up to war. The fact that this was the Post's only coverage of this event makes the journalistic shortcomings in this piece even more egregious.

In an inaccurate piece of reporting that typifies the article, Milbank implies that one of the obstacles the Members in the meeting have is that "only one" member has mentioned the Downing Street Minutes on the floor of either the House or Senate. This is not only incorrect but misleading. In fact, just yesterday, the Senate Democratic Leader, Harry Reid, mentioned it on the Senate floor. Senator Boxer talked at some length about it at the recent confirmation hearing for the Ambassador to Iraq. The House Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi, recently signed on to my letter, along with 121 other Democrats asking for answers about the memo. This information is not difficult to find either. For example, the Reid speech was the subject of an AP wire service report posted on the Washington Post website with the headline "Democrats Cite Downing Street Memo in Bolton Fight". Other similar mistakes, mischaracterizations and cheap shots are littered throughout the article.

The article begins with an especially mean and nasty tone, claiming that House Democrats "pretended" a small conference was the Judiciary Committee hearing room and deriding the decor of the room. Milbank fails to share with his readers one essential fact: the reason the hearing was held in that room, an important piece of context. Despite the fact that a number of other suitable rooms were available in the Capitol and House office buildings, Republicans declined my request for each and every one of them. Milbank could have written about the perseverance of many of my colleagues in the face of such adverse circumstances, but declined to do so. Milbank also ignores the critical fact picked up by the AP, CNN and other newsletters that at the very moment the hearing was scheduled to begin, the Republican Leadership scheduled an almost unprecedented number of 11 consecutive floor votes, making it next to impossible for most Members to participate in the first hour and one half of the hearing.

In what can only be described as a deliberate effort to discredit the entire hearing, Milbank quotes one of the witnesses as making an anti-semitic assertion and further describes anti-semitic literature that was being handed out in the overflow room for the event. First, let me be clear: I consider myself to be friend and supporter of Israel and there were a number of other staunchly pro-Israel members who were in attendance at the hearing. I do not agree with, support, or condone any comments asserting Israeli control over U.S. policy, and I find any allegation that Israel is trying to dominate the world or had anything to do with the September 11 tragedy disgusting and offensive.

That said, to give such emphasis to 100 seconds of a 3 hour and five minute hearing that included the powerful and sad testimony (hardly mentioned by Milbank) of a woman who lost her son in the Iraq war and now feels lied to as a result of the Downing Street Minutes, is incredibly misleading. Many, many different pamphlets were being passed out at the overflow room, including pamphlets about getting out of the Iraq war and anti-Central American Free Trade Agreement, and it is puzzling why Milbank saw fit to only mention the one he did.

In a typically derisive and uninformed passage, Milbank makes much of other lawmakers calling me "Mr. Chairman" and says I liked it so much that I used "chairmanly phrases." Milbank may not know that I was the Chairman of the House Government Operations Committee from 1988 to 1994. By protocol and tradition in the House, once you have been a Chairman you are always referred to as such. Thus, there was nothing unusual about my being referred to as Mr. Chairman.

To administer his coup-de-grace, Milbank literally makes up another cheap shot that I "was having so much fun that [I] ignored aides' entreaties to end the session." This did not occur. None of my aides offered entreaties to end the session and I have no idea where Milbank gets that information. The hearing certainly ran longer than expected, but that was because so many Members of Congress persevered under very difficult circumstances to attend, and I thought - given that - the least I could do was allow them to say their piece. That is called courtesy, not "fun."

By the way, the "Downing Street Memo" is actually the minutes of a British cabinet meeting. In the meeting, British officials - having just met with their American counterparts - describe their discussions with such counterparts. I mention this because that basic piece of context, a simple description of the memo, is found nowhere in Milbank's article.

The fact that I and my fellow Democrats had to stuff a hearing into a room the size of a large closet to hold a hearing on an important issue shouldn't make us the object of ridicule. In my opinion, the ridicule should be placed in two places: first, at the feet of Republicans who are so afraid to discuss ideas and facts that they try to sabotage our efforts to do so; and second, on Dana Milbank and the Washington Post, who do not feel the need to give serious coverage on a serious hearing about a serious matter-whether more than 1700 Americans have died because of a deliberate lie. Milbank may disagree, but the Post certainly owed its readers some coverage of that viewpoint.


John Conyers, Jr.

Mock Journalism

Democrats Play House to Rally Against The War

In which our faux journalist Dana Milbank, for the House Organ of the White House, the Washington Post, mocks the Democrats who held a hearing yesterday in opposition to the war.

1700 American dead, 100,000+ Iraqi dead, all for lies. So very funny.

Is California About To Fall Into the Ocean?????

No Injuries in Minor Quake Near Los Angeles

YUCAIPA, Calif., June 16 - A minor earthquake rumbled southern California on Thursday, shaking the ground from its epicenter near the town of Yucaipa, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles, as far as the coastal town of Laguna Beach.

The earthquake, which had a magnitude of 4.9, was the third to shake the state since early Sunday morning, when a quake centered about 20 miles south of Palm Springs hit. The second quake, which hit Tuesday, began several miles below the ocean floor off the coast of northern California near the Oregon border; that undersea quake caused fears of a tsunami along the coast.

I lived in California, briefly, 25 years ago. My building had an earthquake preparedness meeting led by fire department officials. Scared the crap out of me. Hope it never happens.

Krugman on Coingate

What's the Matter With Ohio?

The Toledo Blade's reports on Coingate - the unfolding tale of how Ohio's Bureau of Workers' Compensation misused funds - deserve much more national attention than they have received so far. For one thing, it's an entertaining story that seems to get weirder by the week. More important, it's an object lesson in what happens when you have one-party rule untrammeled by any quaint notions of independent oversight.

In April, The Blade reported that the bureau, which provides financial support for workers injured on the job, had invested $50 million in Capital Coin, a rare-coin trading operation run by Tom Noe, an influential Republican fund-raiser.

At first, state officials angrily insisted that this unusual use of state funds was a good investment that had nothing to do with Mr. Noe's political connections. An accounting investigation revealed, however, that Mr. Noe's claims to be running a profitable business were fictitious: he had lost millions, and 121 valuable coins were missing.


Meanwhile, The Blade uncovered an even bigger story: the Bureau of Workers' Compensation invested $225 million in a hedge fund managed by MDL Capital, whose chairman had strong political connections. When this investment started to go sour, the bureau's chief financial officer told another top agency official that he had been told to "give MDL a break."

By October 2004, state officials knew that MDL had lost almost the entire investment, but they kept the loss hidden until this month.

How could such things happen? The answer, it has become clear, lies in a web of financial connections between state officials and the businessmen who got to play with state funds.

To follow the playing out of this story, go to The Toledo Blade, or Americablog

Name the Ways Iraq is Like Vietnam

The US government is lying: Downing Street Memos ("Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.")

Using napalm: US lied to Britain over use of napalm in Iraq war

Enlisted soldiers are fragging their superior officers: G.I. Is Charged in Iraq Deaths of 2 Superiors

A giant clusterfuck, courtesy of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Don Rumsfield.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I Love My Congressman

Rep. Waters Creates New “Out-of-Iraq Congressional Caucus”

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) has informed Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) that she and Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Lynn Woolsey, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. John Conyers, and Rep. John Lewis are leading a newly formed Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus, with 41 members as of today.

Rep. Waters said: "The Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus is a newly formed effort whose sole purpose is to be the main agitators in the movement to bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Our efforts will include the coordination of activities and legislation designed to achieve our goal of returning our troops home. Through floor statements, press conferences, TV and radio appearances and other actions, we will provide leadership for the American Public who has been waiting too long for our collective voices against the war."

“This announcement illustrates the changing tide in Washington around the issue of the Iraq Occupation,” says National Director of PDA Tim Carpenter. “This caucus will allow a collective dialogue within Congress on this issue, in which the tens of thousands of grassroots activists within PDA will be working to support.”

In addition, Rep. Waters will speak at today's 5 pm rally in Lafayette Square Park in support of Rep. John Conyers' (D-MI) hearings today on the Downing Street memo. Before the rally Rep. Waters will be attending the hearings. The hearings are being held from 2:30-4:30 pm in Room HC-9 of the U.S. Capitol, with overflow at the Wasserman Room at 430 S Capitol St. SE.

Current members of the caucus include:

Rep. Neil Abercrombie, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. Corrine Brown, Rep. Julia Carson, Rep. Donna Christensen, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. William Delahunt, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Rep. Sam Farr, Rep. Chaka Fattah, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Rep. Rush Holt, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Shelia Jackson-Lee, Rep. John Lewis, Rep. James McGovern, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Jim Moran, Rep. Grace Napolitano, Rep. Eleanor Holmes-Norton, Rep. John Olver, Rep. Major Owens, Rep. Donald Payne, Rep. Nick Rahall, Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Janice Schakowsky, Rep. Bobby Scott, Rep. Jose Serrano, Rep. John Tierney

Government Colludes with Big Pharma to Make Kids Sick

Read the entire article. It's chilling.

Deadly Immunity

by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

In June 2000, a group of top government scientists and health officials gathered for a meeting at the isolated Simpsonwood conference center in Norcross, Ga. Convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the meeting was held at this Methodist retreat center, nestled in wooded farmland next to the Chattahoochee River, to ensure complete secrecy. The agency had issued no public announcement of the session -- only private invitations to 52 attendees. There were high-level officials from the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, the top vaccine specialist from the World Health Organization in Geneva, and representatives of every major vaccine manufacturer, including GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Wyeth and Aventis Pasteur. All of the scientific data under discussion, CDC officials repeatedly reminded the participants, was strictly "embargoed." There would be no making photocopies of documents, no taking papers with them when they left.

The federal officials and industry representatives had assembled to discuss a disturbing new study that raised alarming questions about the safety of a host of common childhood vaccines administered to infants and young children. According to a CDC epidemiologist named Tom Verstraeten, who had analyzed the agency's massive database containing the medical records of 100,000 children, a mercury-based preservative in the vaccines -- thimerosal -- appeared to be responsible for a dramatic increase in autism and a host of other neurological disorders among children. "I was actually stunned by what I saw," Verstraeten told those assembled at Simpsonwood, citing the staggering number of earlier studies that indicate a link between thimerosal and speech delays, attention-deficit disorder, hyperactivity and autism. Since 1991, when the CDC and the FDA had recommended that three additional vaccines laced with the preservative be given to extremely young infants -- in one case, within hours of birth -- the estimated number of cases of autism had increased fifteenfold, from one in every 2,500 children to one in 166 children.

Even for scientists and doctors accustomed to confronting issues of life and death, the findings were frightening. "You can play with this all you want," Dr. Bill Weil, a consultant for the American Academy of Pediatrics, told the group. The results "are statistically significant." Dr. Richard Johnston, an immunologist and pediatrician from the University of Colorado whose grandson had been born early on the morning of the meeting's first day, was even more alarmed. "My gut feeling?" he said. "Forgive this personal comment -- I do not want my grandson to get a thimerosal-containing vaccine until we know better what is going on."

But instead of taking immediate steps to alert the public and rid the vaccine supply of thimerosal, the officials and executives at Simpsonwood spent most of the next two days discussing how to cover up the damaging data. According to transcripts obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, many at the meeting were concerned about how the damaging revelations about thimerosal would affect the vaccine industry's bottom line.


In fact, the government has proved to be far more adept at handling the damage than at protecting children's health. The CDC paid the Institute of Medicine to conduct a new study to whitewash the risks of thimerosal, ordering researchers to "rule out" the chemical's link to autism. It withheld Verstraeten's findings, even though they had been slated for immediate publication, and told other scientists that his original data had been "lost" and could not be replicated. And to thwart the Freedom of Information Act, it handed its giant database of vaccine records over to a private company, declaring it off-limits to researchers. By the time Verstraeten finally published his study in 2003, he had gone to work for GlaxoSmithKline and reworked his data to bury the link between thimerosal and autism.


The drug companies are also getting help from powerful lawmakers in Washington. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who has received $873,000 in contributions from the pharmaceutical industry, has been working to immunize vaccine makers from liability in 4,200 lawsuits that have been filed by the parents of injured children. On five separate occasions, Frist has tried to seal all of the government's vaccine-related documents -- including the Simpsonwood transcripts -- and shield Eli Lilly, the developer of thimerosal, from subpoenas. In 2002, the day after Frist quietly slipped a rider known as the "Eli Lilly Protection Act" into a homeland security bill, the company contributed $10,000 to his campaign and bought 5,000 copies of his book on bioterrorism. Congress repealed the measure in 2003 -- but earlier this year, Frist slipped another provision into an anti-terrorism bill that would deny compensation to children suffering from vaccine-related brain disorders. "The lawsuits are of such magnitude that they could put vaccine producers out of business and limit our capacity to deal with a biological attack by terrorists," says Andy Olsen, a legislative assistant to Frist.


Before 1989, American preschoolers received only three vaccinations -- for polio, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis and measles-mumps-rubella. A decade later, thanks to federal recommendations, children were receiving a total of 22 immunizations by the time they reached first grade.

As the number of vaccines increased, the rate of autism among children exploded. During the 1990s, 40 million children were injected with thimerosal-based vaccines, receiving unprecedented levels of mercury during a period critical for brain development. Despite the well-documented dangers of thimerosal, it appears that no one bothered to add up the cumulative dose of mercury that children would receive from the mandated vaccines. "What took the FDA so long to do the calculations?" Peter Patriarca, director of viral products for the agency, asked in an e-mail to the CDC in 1999. "Why didn't CDC and the advisory bodies do these calculations when they rapidly expanded the childhood immunization schedule?"

But by that time, the damage was done. Infants who received all their vaccines, plus boosters, by the age of 6 months were being injected with levels of ethylmercury 187 times greater than the EPA's limit for daily exposure to methylmercury, a related neurotoxin.

Legal Guide for Bloggers

EFF: Legal Guide for Bloggers

Hopefully you (and I) will never need this, but it's good to have the information available. Like when you have an umbrella, it doesn't rain.

Plane Cabin as a Public Phone Booth

In-flight cellphone proposal hits static

Gayle James doesn't want the Federal Communications Commission to lift its in-flight ban on cellphones in airplanes, and here's why:

"I was seated next to a very loud man who was explaining his next porn movie on his cellphone," wrote James, of Shelton, Wash. ''Everyone on that plane was subjected to his explicit blabbering. Should cell use during flight be allowed, we had all better be prepared for a whole lot of air rage going on."

James's comments echo how many people -- from passengers to pilots -- feel about the FCC's proposal to allow the use of cellphones during flights. For more than a decade, the commission and the Federal Aviation Administration have barred in-flight use of cellphones over fears about interference with cellphone towers on the ground and aircraft navigational and communications equipment.

More than 7,700 individuals, companies, and associations filed written comments with the FCC after it proposed lifting the ban last December. A Globe review of roughly 50 such comments, as well as interviews with passengers, found that the public is fervently against the measure.

Cell phones make rude people ruder.

You know those last few moments before the plane takes off? While the cell phone users are busy shouting into their phones at their partners, co-workers, assistants, secretaries, husbands, wives, children? Imagine an entire two hour flight at such a decibel level.

Why do people shout into their cell phones? It's like listening to Dr. Watson using the first phone. Do you think the voice in your ear is coming in so clearly because the other person is talking loudly? No, silly, it's the technology. You can speak in a normal voice and be heard on the other end.

And isn't it creepy to see someone coming towards you on the street, slightly hunched over, and suddenly the person speaks, as though to you? You begin looking for a cop, or the guys in the white jackets, until you realize there's a cord trailing from the bug in his ear, and he's talking to someone on the phone.

Cell phones are a fixture of modern life, though. I was listening to a book on tape the other day, a murder mystery involving lawyers. It was written in 1999. People kept getting into scrapes where they needed help, or to tell someone where they were. They would call the home phone and get no answer, or the machine. None of these characters seemed to have a cell phone. At various intense times in the narrative I would find myself shouting, "Call her on the cell phone, dummy!" A 6-year old book, already hopelessly outdated.

I hope the cell phone ban on planes stays in place, though, for my peace of mind.

News to AP

Bush's Top Aides Have Significant Wealth

I already knew this.

What next? A "news" story saying, Bush policies favor rich?


Gitmo a Gulag, 4-Ever, 4-Ever, 4-Ever

Guantanamo inmates can be held 'in perpetuity'- US

At a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Republican Chairman Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania said Congress should help to define the legal rights of the inmates at the prison, which the panel's top Democrat called "an international embarrassment."

Delaware Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden asked Deputy Associate Attorney General J. Michael Wiggins whether the Justice Department had "defined when there is the end of conflict."

"No, sir," Wiggins responded.

"If there is no definition as to when the conflict ends, that means forever, forever, forever these folks get held at Guantanamo Bay," Biden said.

"It's our position that, legally, they can be held in perpetuity," Wiggins said.

And to hell with the Constitution.

Wiggins, our Justice Department lawyer? Appointed to the position of Deputy Associate Attorney General in the Office of the Associate Attorney General (OASG) by none other than Robert D. McCallum, Jr., the Associate Attorney General/R.J. Reynolds lawyer who ordered the lawyers handling the tobacco case to reduce the penalty requested from $130 billion to $10 billion. One of Mr. Wiggin's former firm's clients: R.J. Reynolds. Doesn't it make you feel better that R.J. Reynolds, one of the most notorious corporate criminals of our time, has placed its former legal mouthpieces in the Justice Department?

Carpe diem, indeed.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Raze the Roof

GOP Senators May Make 69 Retirement Age

WASHINGTON -- Key Senate Republicans are considering gradually raising the Social Security retirement age as high as 69 over several years as they struggle to jump-start legislation that President Bush has placed atop his second-term agenda, officials said Tuesday.

Under current law, the retirement age for full Social Security benefits is 65 1/2 and is scheduled to reach 67 for those born in 1960 or later.

The possible increase to 69 over two decades or more was among the suggestions that Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, presented to fellow Republicans on the panel last week as part of an attempt to give the program greater financial solvency, the officials said.

Grassley also suggested steps to hold down benefits for upper-wage earners of the future, these officials have said previously. They spoke only on condition of anonymity, saying the discussions were confidential.

I guess John Tierney was out banging the Karl Rove drum yesterday. Raise the retirement age. That'll get the Social Security reform plan off life support. Right.

Here's the really interesting part of the article, to me:

Speaking to a convention of the Pennsylvania FFA _ formerly known as the Future Farmers of America _ Bush said he wants to "make sure the system is a better deal for younger workers" and assured older people in the audience that they would continue to get their promised benefits.

The students would get the same benefits that seniors today receive, Bush said, without mentioning that his plans involve a reduction in the benefits younger Americans have been promised in their own retirement.

Why don't they just call a spade a spade and say that Bush lied to these folks. If Bush is telling these kids they will get the same benefits under his plan, he's lying. His plan cuts benefits. WaPo: "The students would get the same benefits....Bush said....without mentioning that his plans involve a reduction in the benefits...." Um, this convoluted sentence is saying, he lied. Why not just say he lied? Is the Washington Post the house organ of the White House? Oh yeah, guess they are.

Bang the drum slowly for the corporate media. Journalism is dead.

Perhaps He Won't Even Notice He Has Changed Jobs

Ex-Bush Aide Who Edited Climate Reports to Join ExxonMobil

Philip A. Cooney, the White House staff member who repeatedly revised government scientific reports on global warming, will go to work for ExxonMobil in the fall, the oil company said today.

Mr. Cooney resigned on Friday as chief of staff to President Bush's environmental policy council, two days after documents obtained by The New York Times showed that he had edited the reports in ways that cast doubt on the link between greenhouse-gas emissions and rising temperatures.

A former lawyer and lobbyist with the American Petroleum Institute, the main lobbying group for the oil industry, Mr. Cooney has no scientific training.


"Perhaps he won't even notice he has changed jobs," said David G. Hawkins, who directs the climate center at the Natural Resources Defense Council, a private environmental group.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Ride Them 'Ol Mules 'Til They Break!

The Old and the Rested

In which our anti-hero, John Tierney, rich entitled white guy, posits that Social Security shouldn't be given to folks when they turn 62, because they're TOO YOUNG to retire.

Only a man who's always worked sitting on his tuckus could think that retirement is only for those in their 70s. Give him a job in a quarry or a garage or Wal-Mart for a year and see how he feels about it then.

Personally, I think we should create a special draft for conservative columnists & send them to Iraq. Then he wouldn't have to worry about the unwashed masses collecting their retirement benefits early!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Lively, Not Lackluster

Went to Giants Stadium Saturday to watch the Italy-Ecuador soccer friendly. We were disappointed that Italy did not bring its "A" team, or even its "B" team. Giants Stadium put on a "C" performance as well. Extremely disappointing since they charged us "A" prices despite presenting a "C" product.

There was no program, not even a one page line-up sheet, and the players were introduced verbally. No names on the scoreboard. To make things worse, the Ecuador team was only introduced in Spanish! Hey, I wanted to know who was on their team too, as they had apparently brought their "A" team. Just as my "I took Spanish for a year in college in the 70s" mind deciphered the number, the announcer was on to the next player, and I never got any of the names.

Some moronic local pol had complained that the US National Anthem wasn't played at Giants Stadium before the England - Columbia game (perhaps that was because the United States WASN'T PLAYING, doofus) so Giants Stadium capitulated and forced us to listen to all three national anthems in 90 degree heat (and the game started 20 minutes late).

With all the negatives before the game started, I was pleased that it was a good match. Italy started off gangbusters, scoring in the 6th minute, and with their significant height advantage, they looked to run Ecuador right off the field. But Italy couldn't keep it up. Ecuador played a far better match tactically. Their wide backs and midfielders effortlessly switched fields with long passes from one sideline to the other, expertly received on the other end. I never saw a one side to the other pass misplayed the entire game. They poked and probed, up and down, until they found Italy's weak spot. Italy on the other hand kept trying to move the ball straight up the field, with little success.

I was most impressed by #3, the captain of the Ecuador team; #10, a very young looking midfielder who had electric speed and nice ball skills; and the keeper, who while short was skilled & tenacious. Guess I will have to wait for the World Soccer World Cup preview issue to find out who these guys were, though.

AP and Reuters both had stringers at the game although it's hard to tell it was the same game from the write-ups:

Reuters: Lucarelli miss costs Italy victory

The late drama was a fitting end to a lively match characterized by attacking, if not always elegant, football.

AP: Italy Ends U.S. Tour With Tie Vs. Ecuador

Italy finished a two-game North American exhibition tour with a lackluster 1-1 tie against Ecuador on Saturday.

For me, it was definitely lively, not at all lackluster.