Friday, June 24, 2005

Justice Sheds Ashcroft's Blue Drape

Ashcroft Gone, Justice Statues Disrobe

WASHINGTON -- With barely a word about it, workers at the Justice Department Friday removed the blue drapes that have famously covered two scantily clad statues for the past 3 1/2 years.

Spirit of Justice, with her one breast exposed and her arms raised, and the bare-chested male Majesty of Law basked in the late afternoon light of Justice's ceremonial Great Hall.

The drapes, installed in 2002 at a cost of $8,000, allowed then-Attorney General John Ashcroft to speak in the Great Hall without fear of a breast showing up behind him in television or newspaper pictures. They also provoked jokes about and criticism of the deeply religious Ashcroft.

The 12-foot, 6-inch aluminum statues were installed shortly after the building opened in the 1930s.

I wonder if Gonzales has daily Bible Study with his Justice Department minions in his office before work as Ashcroft did?

Kristen Breitweiser's Smackdown of Karl Rove

06.23.2005 Kristen Breitweiser
Karl Rove's "Understanding of 9/11"

the concluding grafs:

Finally Karl, please “understand” that the reason we have not suffered a repeat attack on our homeland is because Bin Laden no longer needs to attack us. Those of us with a pure and comprehensive “understanding of 9/11” know that Bin Laden committed the 9/11 attacks so he could increase recruitment for al Qaeda and increase worldwide hatred of America. That didn't happen. Because after 9/11, the world united with Americans and al Qaeda's recruitment levels never increased.

It was only after your invasion of Iraq, that Bin Laden's goals were met. Because of your war in Iraq two things happened that helped Bin Laden and the terrorists: al Qaeda recruitment soared and the United States is now alienated from and hated by the rest of the world. In effect, what Bin Laden could not achieve by murdering my husband and 3,000 others on 9/11, you handed to him on a silver platter with your invasion of Iraq - a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.

Which leads me to my final questions for you Karl: What are your motives when it comes to 9/11 and are you really sure that you understand 9/11?

Rethugs Desperate, Invoking 9/11 For Base Political Purposes Again

Rove is right: there are differences

From the DNC website:

White House spokesman Scott McClellan says that Karl Rove just meant that Democrats and Republicans had "different philosophies" when it comes to their reactions following 9/11. We agree. Our philosophies couldn't be more different when it comes to fighting international terrorism. Let's compare:

Believe capturing the person primarily responsible for the attack should be a top priority.

It's been four years, and Osama bin Laden is still free, even though Bush's CIA chief says he knows where he is.

Investigate the intelligence failures that led to 9/11.

Do everything in their power to block the 9/11 Commission from doing its work.

Propose creating the Department of Homeland Security.

Push tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Believe we should have stayed the course in Afghanistan, not allowing the Taliban to resurge, the warlords to take power, and the opium trade to skyrocket.

Ignore Afghanistan as the situation worsens.

Believe that we should be honest with our troops about the reasons we go to war, give them everything they need to be safe, and make sure we go in with an exit plan.

Manipulate intelligence to trump up reasons to go to war, don't give our troops the support they need, constantly mislead the public about the direction the war is going, and fail to make an exit plan. And turn Iraq into the ultimate terrorist training ground.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Glossy Ibis Added to Life List

Tuesday I went birding with my friend L at the Parker River Refuge on Plum Island in Newburyport, Mass. We saw bobolinks, snowy egrets, great egrets, catbirds, swans, a marsh hawk, dozens of fat red wing blackbirds, a common tern, and of course many gulls. Two birds puzzled us, though.

One was a brown bird with a long straight beak. Kind of like a willet but heavier and taller. Still haven't figured out what it was.

We also saw a black bird fly overhead with a distinctive curved beak. It was large -- overhead it appeared to be about two feet long -- and completely black. We looked and looked in our bird books but weren't sure until I looked in my ancient Golden Book of Birds -- a book so old the pages are all completely detached from the binding. It said "appears completely black from a distance". Bingo -- we had seen a glossy ibis.

We decided to go home. In the marsh right next to the road we spotted 5 glossy ibises! We pulled off to check them out. Up close, you could see the rich purple/maroon color of the feathers on the upper back, and how they looked black and glossy on the lower back. The breast was a dark, dark green. L mentioned that they now make binoculars with a built-in camera and I wish we had had one that day. So I am forced to post other people's pictures, which are not quite what we saw.

Here's a great close-up shot of a glossy ibis, albeit one with rare rusty coloring. Another pic, and another.

Let These Christian Hypocrites Hear Your Voice

Woman Fired From Job For Taking Time Off To Spend With Husband On Leave From Iraq

A Jessamine County woman is looking for work after being forced to make a tough decision - take two days to spend time with her husband on leave from Iraq, or lose her job.

Shirley Blankenship thought 10 years of service at McClane Cumberland, a distribution company, was enough to get her a couple of days off to be with her husband David before he returned to Iraq.

"Ever since I worked for them they said we're for family," said Blankenship. "But they wasn't for my family."

Staff sergeant David Blankenship has spent eight years of service in the National Guard, the last six months as a member of the 213th transportation unit out of Paducah.

Shirley said she wanted to take a week off at work while her husband was home. She felt since she had worked there since around the day the company opened ten years ago she could get the time off. But she was told she had used all her allotted vacation and sick time and had to work while David was in town. Blankenship also said she was on a warning for excessive absences - time she says was used over the last few years to care for her epileptic son, Austin.

Finally, Shirley said she decided that, no matter what, she would take the last two days of her husband's visit off. "I even asked to work a double shifts," she said. "You know, came in and worked on a Friday because I don't work on Fridays. Nothing seemed to (work)."

Blankenship was fired Tuesday. She said that while she's upset, she knows in her heart she made the right decision.

"I called from the airport, so my husband knew I had lost my job," said Blankenship. "So he was really upset about it. But he said we can deal with this."

LEX 18 called McClane Cumberland Wednesday to ask them about the decision. They refused to comment, saying it was a personnel matter.

Staff sergeant Blankenship is set to return from Iraq early next year.

Let's call & email these hypocrites to make them reverse this decision.

McLane Cumberland
1040 Baker Lane
Nicholasville, KY 40356
(859) 887-8200
(859) 887-8266 Fax

President of company:

General email:

And why, do you ask, do I call them Christian hypocrites? Check out their "Beliefs and Values", from their website:

McLane Beliefs and Values
McLane Company has been through many changes since our beginning in Cameron, Texas. One aspect that has not changed, is our Beliefs and Values.

Our founder, Robert McLane, felt deeply that business should be based on Honesty, Integrity, and High Christian Principles. These Beliefs and Values are the principles that guide our relationships with:

Our Customers
Our Teammates
Our Shareholders
Over 100 years later, we continue to honor these principles in all our business relationships

Or "Our People", also from the website:

Our People
People are the cornerstone of McLane Company. We maintain a strong foundation through recruiting and development, effective communications between teammates, and human resource policies designed to meet our teammate's needs.

Additionally, as a learning organization, McLane Company provides an environment where teammate involvement in problem solving and continuous improvement is an important part of every day activities. All of these components build a McLane team with good morale, a strong work ethic, and commitment to customers.

High Christian Principles, my lapsed Catholic ass.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Can You Say Forgery? Fraud? Malfeasance?

The White House’s White-Out Problem

The Bush administration has gotten into the nasty habit of doctoring its reports whenever the facts don’t match its preconceived agenda. Here are some instances of the White House’s magic pen at work:

Cattle Grazing: “The Bush administration altered critical portions of a scientific analysis of the environmental impact of cattle grazing on public lands before announcing relaxed grazing limits on those lands, according to scientists involved in the study…conclusions that the proposed rules might adversely affect water quality and wildlife, including endangered species, were excised and replaced with language justifying less-stringent regulations favored by cattle ranchers.”

Hog Farming: Nationally respected Agriculture Department microbiologist Dr. Zahn discovered that hog farms were emitting drug-resistant airborne bacteria that “if breathed by humans, would make them harder to treat when ill. Zahn presented his findings at a scientific conference in 2000, but the Bush administration stopped him from publishing his data 11 times between September 2001 and April 2002, he said. When Danish researchers sought to learn more about his work, Zahn wasn’t allowed to share his techniques.”

Climate Change: “A White House official who once led the oil industry’s fight against limits on greenhouse gases has repeatedly edited government climate reports in ways that play down links between such emissions and global warming, according to internal documents…[The] official, Philip A. Cooney, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved. In many cases, the changes appeared in the final reports.”

Air Quality at Ground Zero: “In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center, the White House instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to give the public misleading information, telling New Yorkers it was safe to breathe when reliable information on air quality was not available. That finding is included in a report released Friday by the Office of the Inspector General of the EPA. It noted that some of the agency’s news releases in the weeks after the attack were softened before being released to the public: Reassuring information was added, while cautionary information was deleted.”

Toxicology of Mercury: “The White House and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) made changes to a report from the National Academy of Sciences on the toxicology of mercury, a powerful neurotoxin that is especially dangerous to pregnant women and young children…White House staff made editorial interventions in the report, which was commissioned by Congress to establish the science on the risks associated with mercury. The White House’s alterations downplayed the risks of mercury, replaced specific enumerations of mercury-related harms with bland, general references, and introduced additional emphasis on uncertainty.”

Effectiveness of Condoms: “The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USAID have removed or revised fact sheets on condoms, excising information about their effectiveness in disease prevention, and promoting abstinence instead.”

Effects of Oil Drilling on the Arctic Refuge: “Interior Secretary Gale Norton substantially altered biological findings from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concerning effects of oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before she transmitted them to Congress, according to documents released October 19 by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.” In one instance, Norton’s defense was that she “simply made an error in her testimony – saying ‘outside’ when she meant to say ‘inside.’”

Abortion: “The removal from a National Cancer Institute website of a scientific analysis concluding that abortions do not increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer. That move, in November 2002, contradicted the broad medical consensus, and members of Congress protested the change. In response, the NCI updated its website to include the conclusion of a panel of experts that induced abortion is not associated with an increase in breast cancer risk.”

HIV/AIDS: “During the latter half of 2002, the Administration began removing scientific information, relating to the spread of HIV, from government websites, including those of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. Much of the information that was removed contracted [sic] claims made by the administration’s abstinence-only agenda.”

Cancer: Earlier this year, “EPA’s guidelines acknowledge[d], for the first time, that children under 2 years of age are 10 times more likely to get cancer from certain chemicals than adults who are similarly exposed. But the White House Office of Management and Budget undermined that acknowledgment by inserting language in the guidelines that make it easy for industry to block EPA from following them when assessing cancer-causing chemicals.”

Stem Cell Research: “[The] Bush administration dismissed Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, a leading cell biologist, and Dr. William May, a prominent medical ethicist, from the President’s Council on Bioethics…[Blackburn] was removed from the panel soon after she objected to a Council report on stem cell research. In an essay in the April 1, 2004, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Blackburn recounted how the dissenting opinion she submitted, which she believes reflects the scientific consensus in America, was not included in the council’s reports even though she had been told the reports would represent the views of all the council’s members.”

Ground-Water: Vice President Dick Cheney’s old company Halliburton “pioneered” an oil-drilling technique that “can contaminate drinking water supplies with carcinogens and is therefore required by law to be regulated by the EPA.” Halliburton has spent years trying to get the federal government to exempt the technique from environmental regulations.” A senior Environmental Protection Agency recently revealed that “the EPA [initially concluded] that the technique can be dangerous to public health, but then [deleted] the conclusion after Cheney’s office demanded it.” Furthermore, six of the seven EPA panel members who decided that the technique was “safe” had all come from the energy industry.

Not to mention the reduction of the requested tobacco penalty from $130 to $10 billion. Talk about a red pen!

An Article You Will Not See in WaPo or NYTimes

Fatal shooting of teacher illustrates why Iraqis fear U.S. convoys

Knight-Ridder is a good source for both sides of the story on Iraq and elsewhere.

No one knows what Khinaisar saw or thought. She was shot once in the head, and she died five days later, on June 3. She spoke only once during that period, when her husband arrived at the hospital. When she heard him speak, she quietly called out his name: Mohsen.

In the car, the soldiers found only a purse and a Quran on the dashboard. They found no evidence that the 57-year-old teacher was a suicide bomber.

It's not clear how often American soldiers, strangers in a strange land where it's virtually impossible to distinguish friend from foe, mistakenly kill Iraqi civilians. U.S. officials say they keep no statistics, and since last year, the Iraqi Ministry of Health has refused to release the ones it keeps.

At the Iraqi Assistance Center, which pays families for damage caused by American forces, the head of the compensation section said the center receives 1,000 requests a month, but most of them are for property damage. The head of the center, Col. Chester Wernicki of the 353rd Civil Affairs Command from Staten Island, N.Y., said he doesn't keep information on how many claims have been filed for deaths.

Many Iraqis say they understand why U.S. forces must be here: to keep the country intact, protect its fragile new government and stop the violence.

But enough civilians have been killed in one-sided encounters with scared American troops that Baghdadis cower whenever Americans are near. Whenever American troops leave their bases, they say, everyone is vulnerable.

This is the reality in Iraq. We make enemies of those who would support us by sending a too-small, poorly trained force. Not enough troops to make the streets safe. Not enough who speak the language. No intelligence on the opposition. Car bombings kill dozens every day. To compensate, our troops become trigger-happy and shoot people because they don't know who they are or if they can trust them. When in doubt, shoot. So the Bush Administration can hide this truth, they don't keep the statistics on how many innocent Iraqis are killed in this manner.


How to Steal a Presidential Election, Part Deux.

Allegations arose before '04 election
Democrats say Noe case concealed to assist Bush

Here's the scandal:

Officials muffle concerns

The Blade first reported problems with Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation investments on April 3 [2005] in a story revealing that the agency had given $50 million since 1998 to Mr. Noe to create a rare-coin fund.

At the time, he was a Republican appointee to the Ohio Board of Regents and Ohio Turnpike Commission and a major GOP fund-raiser for not only President Bush but for Governor Taft and a host of other top Ohio Republicans.

Three weeks ago, Mr. Noe's attorneys told law enforcement authorities that $10 million to $12 million of the state's rare-coin assets were "unaccounted for."

In a 2000 review of Mr. Noe's coin investment, Keith Elliott, manager of internal audits for the bureau, wrote that the practices of the coin fund "could potentially expose both the BWC and the fund managers to adverse public scrutiny regarding the appropriate use of state funds."

In the year before the election, a number of concerns about the coin fund came to the attention of top state officials, who failed to make them public.

First, in October, 2003, two state-owned coins worth $300,000 were reported stolen in the mail, and then a 2004 audit of the venture's Colorado subsidiary showed that 119 coins worth $93,000 were reported missing.

Mr. Noe never notified Colorado authorities about the missing coins - and information was not made public about the loss until The Blade's stories began.

The allegation today is that Noe lost $215 million from the state fund intended for injured workers.

And the cover-up:

Lucas County, Ohio officials knew of charges that Republican fundraiser Tom Noe was cheating federal election contribution laws in March, 2004, yet conveniently for Bush, the allegations never made it to public view until after the November election.

The county (Republican-controlled, natch) was taking testimony before a grand jury in June of 2004 but never transmitted the information to the feds until three weeks before the election.

Never made it to public view until after the election & the certification of the results.

Neat trick, eh?

Fun with David Brooks

What Makes Bill Frist Run?

Another coup for mainstream journalism, here.

David Brooks writes a column outlining how much he likes the "real" Bill Frist, but how he has strayed from his roots.

This part made me laugh out loud.

....These days he seems not so much the leader of the Senate conservatives, but someone who is playing the role. And because he is behaving in ways that don't seem entirely authentic, he is often trying just a bit too hard, striking the notes more forcefully than they need to be struck.

That is what happened during the Terri Schiavo affair. It's not quite fair to say that Frist diagnosed Schiavo from a TV screen, but he did put himself on the wrong side of the autopsy that came out last week. He did betray his medical training, which is the core of his being, to please a key constituency group.

Of course, he DID diagnose her from a TV screen:

"I have looked at the video footage. Based on the footage provided to me, which was part of the facts of the case, she does respond."
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist
Senate Floor Remarks
March 17, 2005

Which we know definitively was bullshit (most of us knew it was bullshit at that time, but now we have a pathological diagnosis, the medical gold standard):

An exhaustive autopsy found that Terri Schiavo's brain had withered to half the normal size since her collapse in 1990 and that no treatment could have remotely improved her condition, medical examiners said on Wednesday . . . The autopsy also found that the brain deterioration had left her blind.
The New York Times
Schiavo Autopsy Says Brain, Withered, Was Untreatable

June 15, 2005

(via Billmon)

Then I read TBogg, and he had me laughing out loud about this:

Bill Frist: Cheating, two-timing man-slut
David Brooks finds honor in sleeping around on your fiancé:

Bill Frist was his high school's class president. He was a quarterback on the football team and a member of the honor society, and lived amid the upper crust of Nashville society. He dated the head cheerleader, and while he was in med school they were engaged to be married.

But while interning in Boston, he met another woman, spent a dinner and a night with her, and fell in love. Two days before his wedding, he flew back to Nashville and broke off his engagement. "Everyone listened carefully to what I said, all the lame explanations I had that were and were not the truth," Frist later wrote, "and they nodded and dealt with it and I went on my way."

I've always admired that anecdote. It took guts to break off the grand wedding that was in the works - to risk alienating everyone he had grown up with for the sake of the woman he had suddenly come to love. Furthermore here was a Bill Frist who knew his own heart.

.......and makes a man who cheats on his fiancé the Senate Majority Leader.

Bobo's World: Where your wedding is only a dinner and a blow job away from collapsing like a Papier Mâchè submarine.

Not only is Brooks column incredibly lame, it's also recycled from a column he wrote in 2003 for the Weekly Standard, his last MSM outpost. The 2003 piece contains the "Mom motored me around" story, the broken engagement story (if he were a white woman, would the Times have put "Runaway Bride" in the header?), and the same "everyone who knows him loves him" crap.

David Brooks, real (crappy) journalist.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Cindy Sheehan's Testimony on Downing Street Memo

When Dana Milbank, faux journalist, wrote his piece mocking John Conyers' hearing on the Downing Street memos, he ignored what really happened at the event. As a public service from a lowly pajama-wearing blogger, here's what he could have reported, the moving testimony of Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in George W. Bush's Gratuitous War in Iraq:

Congressman Conyers and all, it is an honor to be here to testify about the effect that the revelations of the Downing Street Memo has had on me and my family. It is an honor that I wish never had to happen. I believe that not any of us should be gathered here today for this reason: as the result of an invasion/occupation that never should have occured.

My son, Spc Casey Austin Sheehan, was KIA in Sadr City Baghdad on 04/04/04. He was in Iraq for only 2 weeks before L. Paul Bremer inflamed the Shi’ite Militia into a rebellion which resulted in the deaths of Casey and 6 other brave soldiers who were tragically killed in an ambush. Bill Mitchell, the father of Sgt. Mike Mitchell who was one of the other soldiers killed that awful day is with us here. This is a picture of Casey when he was 7 months old. It's an enlargement of a picture he carried in his wallet until the day he was killed. He loved this picture of himself. It was returned to us with his personal effects from Iraq. He always sucked on those two fingers. When he was born, he had a flat face from passing through the birth canal and we called him "Edward G" short for Edward G. Robinson. How many of you have seen your child in his/her premature coffin? It is a shocking and very painful sight. The most heartbreaking aspect of seeing Casey lying in his casket for me, was that his face was flat again because he had no muscle tone. He looked like he did when he was a baby laying in his bassinette. The most tragic irony is that if the Downing Street Memo proves to be true, Casey and thousands of people should still be alive.

I believed before our leaders invaded Iraq in March, 2003, and I am even more convinced now, that this aggression on Iraq was based on a lie of historic proportions and was blatantly unnecessary. The so-called Downing Street Memo dated 23 July, 2003 only confirms what I already suspected: the leadership of this country rushed us into an illegal invasion of another sovereign country on prefabricated and cherry picked intelligence. Iraq was no threat to the United States of America and the devastating sanctions and bombing raids against Iraq were working. As a matter of fact, in interviews in 1999 with respected journalist, and long time Bush family friend, David Herskowitz, then Governor George Bush stated: ‘One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief. My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it. If I have a chance to invade….if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency.” It looks like George Bush was ready to lead this country into an avoidable war even before he became president.

From the expose of the Downing Street Memo and the conversations with George Bush from 1999, it seems like the invasion of Iraq and the deaths of so many innocent people were preordained. It appears that my boy Casey was given a death sentence even before he joined the Army in May of 2000.

When a President lies to Congress and the American people, it is a serious offense. If the Downing Street Memo proves to be true, then it would appear that the president, vice president and many members of the cabinet deceived the world before the invasion of Iraq. As the result of this alleged lie, over 1700 brave young Americans who were only trying to do their duties have come home in flag draped coffins: images, as if they were ashamed of our children, our leaders won’t even let the American people see; thousands upon thousands of Iraqis who were guilty only of the crime of living in Iraq are dead; thousands of our young people will go through the rest of their lives missing one or more limbs, and too many will come home missing parts of their souls and humanity.

Kevin Lucey who found his Marine son, Jeffrey, who was recently home from Iraq, hanging dead from a garden hose in his basement wrote to me:

We ask daily where was the urgency; where was the necessity of rushing in. Can anyone explain to us, his mother and to his father as to why he felt that he had to die by his own hand. Why are the ones in position of power so afraid to ask people like us to discuss what happened to Jeff? Jeff can teach us so much. This war was so misguided and had so many other agendas which had nothing to do with the country.
Kevin, who cradled his son when he was his sweet baby boy, cradled Jeff's lifeless body for the last time in his arms after he cut him down from the hose. The Jeff that the Lucey's saw march off to a wreckless war was not the one who limped home. The Jeff his family knew died in Iraq, murdered by the inhumanity of gratutitous war.

The deceptions and betrayals that led to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq cost my family a price too dear to pay and almost too much to bear: the precious and young life of Casey. Casey was a good soldier who loved his family, his community, his country, and his God. He was trustworthy and trusting and the leadership of his country seemingly betrayed him. He was an indispensable part of our family. An obedient, sweet, funny, and loving son to myself and his father, Pat, and an adored big brother to his sisters, Carly and Jane, and his brother Andy. And the beloved nephew to my sister, Auntie, who is here with me today. Our family has been devastated and torn asunder by his murder.

I believe that the reasons that we citizens of the United States of America were given for the invasion of Iraq have unequivocally been proven to be false. I also believe that Casey and his buddies have been killed to line the pockets of already wealthy people and to feed the insatiable war machine that has always devoured our young. Casey died saving his buddies and I know so many of our brave young soldiers died doing the same thing: but he and his fellow members of the military should never have been sent to Iraq. I know the family of Sgt. Sherwood Baker, who was killed guarding a team that was looking for the mythic WMD's in Baghdad. The same WMD's that were the justification for invading Iraq as outlined in the Downing Street Memo. Sherwood's brother, Dante Zappala, and his dad, Al Zappala are here with us today. I believe the Downing Street Memo proves that our leaders betrayed too many innocents into an early grave. The lives of the ones left behind are shattered almost beyond repair.

I also believe an investigation into the Downing Street Memo is completely warranted and the necessary first step into righting the wrong that is Iraq and holding someone accountable for the needless, senseless, and avoidable deaths of many thousands. As far as I am concerned, it doesn’t matter if one is a Democrat or a Republican, a full investigation into the veracity of the Downing Street Memo must be initiated immediately. Casey was not asked his political affiliation before he was sent to die in Iraq. The innocent people who are having their blood shed by the bucketsful in Iraq don’t even know or care what American partisan politicking is all about. Every minute that we waste in gathering signatures on petitions, or arguing about partisan politics, more blood is being spilled in Iraq. How many more families here in America are going to get the visit from the Grim Reaper dressed in a US military uniform while we are trying to get our Congressional Leadership to do their duties to the Constitution and to the people of America? I believe that Congress expediently abrogated their Constitutional responsibility to declare war when they passed the War Power's Act, and they bear at least some responsibility for the needless heartache wrought on this world by our government. I believe that supporting a full investigation into the Downing Street Memo is a good beginning for Congress to redeem itself for abandoning the Constitution and the American people.

There are too many stories of heartache and loss to tell at a hearing like this. I have brought testimonies of other families who have been devastated by the war. Their soldiers' names are: Sgt. Sherwood Baker, KIA 04/26/04; 1st Lt. Neil Santoriello, KIA 08/13/04; Sgt Mike Mitchell, KIA 04/04/04; Spc Casey Sheehan, also KIA 04/04/04; Lt. Jeff Kaylor, KIA 04/07/03; Spc Kevin S.K. Wessell, KIA 04/19/05; Spc. Jonathan Castro, KIA 12/21/04; PFC William Prichard, KIA 02/11/04; Spc Joseph Blickenstaff, KIA 12/08/03, and 1st Lt Kenneth Ballard, KIA 05/30/04. I would like to have the testimonies put into the record and recorded for all to read the words of boundless love, bottomless loss, and deep despair.

There are a few people around the US and a couple of my fellow witnesses who were a little justifiably worried that in my anger and anguish over Casey's premeditated death, I would use some swear words, as I have been known to do on occasion when speaking about the subject. Mr. Conyers, out of my deep respect for you, the other representatives here, my fellow witnesses, and viewers of these historic proceedings, I was able to make it through an entire testimony without using any profanity. However, If anyone deserves to be angry and use profanity, it is I. What happened to Casey and humanity because of the apparent dearth of honesty in our country's leadership is so profane that it defies even my vocabulary skills. We as Americans should be offended more by the profanity of the actions of this administration then by swear words. We have all heard the old adage that actions speak louder than words and for the sake of Casey and our other precious children, please hold someone accountable for their actions and their words of deception.

Again, I would like to thank you for inviting me to testify today and giving me a chance to tell my story, which is the tragic story of too many familes here in the US and in Iraq. I hope and pray that this is the first step in exposing the lies to the light and bringing justice for the ones who can no longer speak for themselves. More importantly, I hope this is a step in bringing our other children home from the lie of historic proportions that is Iraq. Thank you.