Saturday, February 04, 2006

Empty Calories

Maybe this is why we're all so fat? We're eating more and more to get less and less satisfaction.

From the (via Common Dreams):

Mineral Levels in Meat and Milk Plummet Over 60 Years
· Study blames the decline on intensive farming
· Food industry contests comparative methods

The mineral content of milk and popular meats has fallen significantly in the past 60 years, according to a new analysis of government records of the chemical composition of everyday food.


The levels of iron recorded in the average rump steak have dropped by 55%, while magnesium fell by 7%. Looking at 15 different meat items, the analysis found that the iron content had fallen on average by 47%. The iron content of milk had dropped by more than 60%, and by more than 50% for cream and eight different cheeses. Milk appears to have lost 2% of its calcium, and 21% of its magnesium too.

Most cheeses showed a fall in magnesium and calcium levels. According to the analysis, cheddar provides 9% less calcium today, 38% less magnesium and 47% less iron, while parmesan shows the steepest drop in nutrients, with magnesium levels down by 70% and iron all gone compared with its content in the years up to 1940.


Scientists at the University of Newcastle's agriculture school have looked at differences in the fat and vitamin composition of milk produced in different farming systems. "We know that the faster grass grows the more you dilute the uptake of trace elements," Gillian Butler, a researcher, said. Another explanation might be that in traditional farming, clover, which is higher in minerals than grass, also played a greater part in feeding animals.

Medicare Part (D)isaster Creating Havoc at Social Security Administration


Internal e-mails indicate extreme unrest at Social Security

After receiving an internal e-mail indicating an extreme state of unrest at the Social Security Administration, Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) has written Speaker Hastert regarding the situation.

Currently, nearly 50 million Americans rely on Social Security.

Waxman claims that other internal documents indicate a "hemorrhaging" at Social Security call centers, and a flood of inaccurate information to seniors regarding the prescription drug plan.

Attached to Waxman's letter was, in its entirety, a message sent from Deputy Commissioner of Operations Linda McMahon to all Social Security Administration Operations employees. The document paints a very dire picture of conditions at the agency.

Farewell Feminist Pioneer Betty Friedan

Betty Friedan Dies, Was Voice of Feminism's 'Second Wave'

Betty Friedan, the writer, thinker and activist who almost single-handedly revived feminism with her 1963 book "The Feminine Mystique," died of congestive heart failure yesterday, her 85th birthday, at her home in Washington.

Her insights into what she described as the soul-draining frustrations felt by educated, stay-at-home women in the 1950s, "the problem that has no name," startled a society that expected women to be happy with marriage and children. Her book became an instant and controversial bestseller, and Friedan became the leading spokeswoman for a revitalized women's movement.

One of the most recognized names and faces of the late 20th century, Friedan pushed for equal pay, sex-neutral help-wanted ads, maternity leave, child-care centers for working parents, legal abortion and many other topics considered radical in the 1960s and 1970s.

Many still think these rights are radical!

‘Feminine Mystique’ author Betty Friedan dies
Founder of National Organization for Women urged mainstream tack

In 1964, [] Friedan began working to have the federal government enforce the Civil Rights Act as it applied to sex and not only to race, religion and national origin.

Founding NOW was a response to federal inaction. The finale of Friedan’s presidency was the national women’s strike of August 1970, which brought women out across the country on the 50th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

She also was a founder in 1968 of the National Conference for Repeal of Abortion Laws, which became the National Abortion Rights Action League, and of the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1971.

From Rox Populi, via Echidne, who got it from Trish:

For Betty

If you're female and... can vote, thank a feminist. get paid as much as men doing the same job, thank a feminist. went to college instead of being expected to quit after high school so your brothers could go because "You'll just get married anyway", thank a feminist. can apply for any job, not just "women's work", thank a feminist. can get or give birth control information without going to jail, thank a feminist.

...your doctor, lawyer, pastor judge or legislator is a woman, thank a feminist. play an organized sport, thank a feminist. can wear slacks without being excommunicated from your church or run out of town, thank a feminist.

...your boss isn't allowed to pressure you to sleep with him, thank a feminist. get raped and the trial isn't about your hemline or your previous boyfriends, thank a feminist. start a small business and can get a loan using only your name and credit history, thank a feminist are on trial and are allowed to testify in your own defense, thank a feminist. own property that is solely yours, thank a feminist. have the right to your own salary even if you are married or have a male relative, thank a feminist. get custody of your children following divorce or separation, thank a feminist. get a voice in the raising and care of your children instead of them being completely controlled by the husband/father, thank a feminist.

...your husband beats you and it is illegal and the police stop him instead of lecturing you on better wifely behavior, thank a feminist. are granted a degree after attending college instead of a certificate of completion, thank a feminist. can breastfeed your baby discreetly in a public place and not be arrested, thank a feminist. marry and your civil human rights do not disappear into your husband's rights, thank a feminist. have the right to refuse sex with a diseased husband [or just "husband"], thank a feminist. have the right to keep your medical records confidential from the men in your family, thank a feminist. have the right to read the books you want, thank a feminist. can testify in court about crimes or wrongs your husband has committed, thank a feminist. can choose to be a mother or not a mother in you own time not at the dictates of a husband or rapist, thank a feminist. can look forward to a lifespan of 80 years instead of dying in your 20s from unlimited childbirth, thank a feminist. can see yourself as a full, adult human being instead of a minor who needs to be controlled by a man, thank a feminist.

--Author unknown

Fitzmas Update

More Allegations of Libby Lies Revealed
Judge's Report Shows Cheney Aide Is Accused Of Broad Deception

The special prosecutor in the CIA leak case alleged that Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff was engaged in a broader web of deception than was previously known and repeatedly lied to conceal that he had been a key source for reporters about undercover operative Valerie Plame, according to court records released yesterday.

Fitzgerald Court Papers: Bush Was Briefed on Joe Wilson

Looks like Bush was briefed on Wilson's trip. Ah, what a tangled web we weave:

The special prosecutor in the CIA leak case, Patrick Fitzgerald, has indicated in correspondence unsealed in federal court in recent days that President Bush might have been briefed regarding former ambassador Joseph Wilson's February 2002 CIA-sponsored mission to Niger during a regular morning intelligence briefing.

The information provided to Bush occurred in the form of one of the "President's Daily Briefs," a typically 30- to 45-minute early-morning national security briefing.

New Details Revealed on C.I.A. Leak Case

Information relating to Karl Rove is still under seal, indicating that Fitzgerald's investigation of Rovevil Incarnate still alive & well:

Not all of the previously withheld material was released. Several pages, which apparently contained information about Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation of Karl Rove, the senior White House adviser, remained under seal. Mr. Rove has not been charged, but remains under investigation although his lawyer has expressed confidence that Mr. Rove will be cleared.

Credit Card Companies: Worse Than Loan Sharks

From tomorrow's Washington Post (gotta love the internet):

Credit Card Sharks

There's a new law that forces credit card issuers to increase the minimum monthly payments borrowers must make. The good news is that borrowers will pay much less in interest over time. Nevertheless, many consumers might still be better off owing a loan shark money than a credit card company. Here are seven ruthless practices that credit card issuers engage in and loan sharks don't:

1. Loan sharks don't raise your interest rate if you're late paying a bill to another creditor. []

2. Loan sharks don't solicit. []

3. Loan sharks don't change the terms whenever they want. []

4. Loan sharks don't penalize you for paying off your debt. []

5. Loan sharks don't charge you for not borrowing more money. []

6. Loan sharks don't make you sign a document that says that you can't sue them. []

7. Loan sharks don't lobby the government to make it harder for you to go bankrupt. Banks and credit card issuers spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress in favor of the 2005 bankruptcy bill.

Last time I checked, loan sharking was still illegal. The banking industry's questionable practices are fully protected under the law. If ever an industry needed to be more tightly regulated, it's credit card lending. A shark is a shark, even if it wears a suit and works in a building with marble floors.

I watched a friend's credit destroyed in a little over two years. It started off innocently enough, just took out an extra card during the winter, when cash wasn't coming in, to cover the bills. The terms? 18% interest right off the bat; $29 late fee; $29 fee if your balance exceeded $500; interest rate increased if you had more than 2 late payments in 6 months. They wouldn't let him put a stop on the card; those monthly fees just kept adding up.

After two years and a few more of these "deals", my friend had balances of over $2,000 on each card, on each of which he had charged in total about $500, and he had paid over $1000 on each besides. He ended up declaring bankruptcy.

Now, under the new bankruptcy bill promoted by Cheshire Cat Joe Biden (D-MBNA) and others, he'd just have to work for the rest of his life to pay off those fees.

There oughta be a law that protects consumers, but our legislature is bought and paid for by the credit card industry. Shame, shame.

Abramoff: The Backstory

Abramoff and gaming Indians: Just the tip of the iceberg [Updated]

A great diary on dailykos, tying the Abramoff mess to the lawsuit by the Indian tribes who were never paid by the Indian Trust Fund for leases given on Indian land by the government. In the middle of the lawsuit, Interior Secretary Gail Norton ordered the destruction of a lot of government documents which would have shown how much the Indians were actually owed. Now the Indians want audit the books of the rich entities who got the leases: oil/gas, mining, ranching, forestry and agriculture interests.

So Norton did what she could to subvert the case, but as the heat was turned up, and the Administration losing appeal after appeal, she started pushing for Congressional Republicans to take the case and force a settlement. A settlement for a fraction of the potential amount, but one which would prevent an audit of industry accounts. Who is the chief supporter of a Congressional settlement? None other than the puppet of the oil, gas and mining industry, Richard Pombo. Twice Pombo has written legislation ordering a settlement (both times with no settlement figures, of course)...


This is where Abramoff comes in. He was the slush fund operator. Indians thought they were paying Pombo and others on House Resources and Senate Indian Affairs, et al., for help with gaming issues, and Abramoff was in fact padding coffers necessary to protect the industry from auditing.

Illegal Wiretaps: It's Deja Vu All Over Again

Rumsfield and Cheney have been trying to violate the Constitutional prohibition against warrantless searches for over 3 decades. This AP article, in today's Washington Post:

Papers: Ford White House Weighed Wiretaps

WASHINGTON -- The White House was eager to protect its ability to gather foreign intelligence. Congress was eager to rein in executive power. What sounds like a new debate over the president's ability to eavesdrop without warrants occurred 30 years ago.

Documents from the Ford administration reflect a remarkably similar dispute between the White House and Congress a generation before President Bush acknowledged that he authorized wiretaps without warrants on some Americans in terrorism investigations.

"Yogi Berra was right: It's deja vu all over again," said Tom Blanton, executive director for the National Security Archive, a private group at George Washington University that compiles collections of sensitive government documents. "It's the same debate."


Lisa Graves, senior counsel for legislative strategy at the American Civil Liberties Union, said comparing the Ford-era debate to the current controversy is "misleading because no matter what Mr. Cheney or Mr. Rumsfeld may have argued back in 1976, the fact is they lost. When Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 1978, Congress decisively resolved this debate.


Notes from a 1975 meeting between then-White House chief of staff Dick Cheney, Attorney General Edward Levi and others cite the "problem" of a New York Times article by Seymour Hersh about U.S. submarines spying inside Soviet waters. Participants considered a formal FBI investigation of Hersh and the Times and searching Hersh's apartment "to go after (his) papers," the document said.

"I was surprised," Hersh said in a telephone interview Friday. "I was surprised that they didn't know I had a house and a mortgage."

One option outlined at the 1975 meeting was to "ignore the Hersh story and hope it doesn't happen again." Participants worried about "will we get hit with violating the First Amendment to the Constitution?"

The Orange-Headed WASP* Tanking in New York

Our erstwhile governor, William Weld, has re-invented himself as a trendy New Yorker (dumped the Harvard professor wife [which makes him Catholic but divorced - get a cardinal to denounce him from the pulpit, stat!], got a trophy girlfriend, works on Wall Street, still shooting innocent critters in the Adirondacks with an elephant gun). And for a lark -- just like he did here, for a lark -- he's running for governor of New York.

He's having a little trouble with the truthiness thing, though. From the New York Times, via Americablog:

Aides Re-edited News Articles on Candidate's Web Site

As William F. Weld runs for governor of New York this year, his campaign has put a new spin on the old political rule of having a positive message.

Campaign aides have significantly altered two newspaper articles on his Web site about his bid for governor, removing all negative phrases about him, like "mini-slump" and "dogged by an investigation," and passages about his political problems.

Also removed were references to a federal investigation of Decker College, a Kentucky trade school that Mr. Weld led until he left to run for governor last fall; the college collapsed into bankruptcy weeks later amid allegations of financial aid fraud. And criticism of Mr. Weld by a former New York Republican senator, Alfonse D'Amato, was removed.

The Weld campaign placed the sanitized articles, still under the reporters' bylines, on its Web site, , under the heading "news." Nothing told readers about the changes.

The Orange-Headed WASP is, of course, the nickname given Weld by our other crazy gubernatorial candidate in 1990, John Silber, former head of Boston University. Silber was generally believed to have the race in the bag until the final weekend, when he melted down on locally beloved TV anchor Natalie Jacobsen during an interview, and called Weld the orange-headed WASP. Weld beat Silber in a squeaker.

Friday, February 03, 2006

This Couldn't Be Related to That Abramoff Mess, Could It?

Saw this on Democratic Underground:

Jeb shredding state records?

A source inside the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation told Insider magazine that Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has ordered the shredding of documents and public records, a clear violation of Florida law.

The department has oversight and approval of state gaming licensees, slot machines, dog and horse tracks, and jai-alai games.

The source, who asked to remain anonymous, said the governor also has brought in personnel from Texas to replace key members of his staff in Tallahassee. The Texans are overseeing the destruction of state documents, according to the source.

A source in the FBI confirmed that public records are being destroyed on orders of Jeb Bush. The source said the governor may have taken that action in response to the continuing criminal probe of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the federal investigation of the 2001 gangland murder in Miami of Gus Boulis, owner of the Sun Cruz casino boat.

Going to the UN Was a Sham; War Was Already Decided.

From The Guardian (UK)

Blair-Bush deal before Iraq war revealed in secret memo
PM promised to be 'solidly behind' US invasion with or without UN backing

Tony Blair told President George Bush that he was "solidly" behind US plans to invade Iraq before he sought advice about the invasion's legality and despite the absence of a second UN resolution, according to a new account of the build-up to the war published today.

A memo of a two-hour meeting between the two leaders at the White House on January 31 2003 - nearly two months before the invasion - reveals that Mr Bush made it clear the US intended to invade whether or not there was a second UN resolution and even if UN inspectors found no evidence of a banned Iraqi weapons programme.

"The diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning", the president told Mr Blair. The prime minister is said to have raised no objection. He is quoted as saying he was "solidly with the president and ready to do whatever it took to disarm Saddam".

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Bush Invites Saudi Conspirator to SOTU

Jeremy Scahill on HuffPO:

A 9/11 Conspirator in King Bush's Court?

While Cindy Sheehan was being dragged from the House gallery moments before President Bush delivered his State of the Union address for wearing a t-shirt honoring her son and the other 2,244 US soldiers killed in Iraq, Turki al-Faisal was settling into his seat inside the gallery. Faisal, a Saudi, is a man who has met Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants on at least five occasions, describing the al Qaeda leader as "quite a pleasant man." He met multiple times with Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.

Yet, unlike Sheehan, al-Faisal was a welcomed guest of President Bush on Tuesday night. He is also a man that the families of more than 600 victims of the 9/11 attacks believe was connected to their loved ones' deaths.

From the Center for Cooperative Research: Profile: Turki bin Faisal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud

October 18, 2002: Saudi Acquaintance of bin Laden Given Immunity by Becoming ambassador

Saudi Arabia announces that Turki al-Faisal will be its next ambassador to Britain. Turki is a controversial figure because of his long-standing relationship to bin Laden. He has also been named in a lawsuit (see August 15, 2002) by 9/11 victims' relatives against Saudi Arabians for their support of al-Qaeda before 9/11. It is later noted that his ambassador position could give him diplomatic immunity from the lawsuit. [New York Times, 12/30/02]

He was, indeed, dismissed from the 9/11 victims suit on the grounds that he was acting in an official governmental capacity and therefore immune from suit.

How could Bush put this man in the hall for the State of the Union? He is a vile, cruel man. I mean Bush. The other guy, too.

I *Heart* Paul Krugman

OK, I'm breaking my solemn oath ("Fuck The Times", December 19, 2005) by linking to the New York Times, but I love Paul Krugman for columns like this. I'm sorry, you won't be able to read it in its entirety unless you're a TimesSelectserf, but here are the highlights*:

State of Delusion

So President Bush's plan to reduce imports of Middle East oil turns out to be no more substantial than his plan — floated two years ago, then flushed down the memory hole — to send humans to Mars.

But what did you expect? After five years in power, the Bush administration is still — perhaps more than ever — run by Mayberry Machiavellis, who don't take the business of governing seriously.

Mayberry Machiavellis! Barney Fife! Goober Pyle! Howard! Aunt Bee! I can see their faces superimposed on BushCheneyRumsfieldRice.

In other words, this administration is all politics and no policy. It knows how to attain power, but has no idea how to govern. That's why the administration was caught unaware when Katrina hit, and why it was totally unprepared for the predictable problems with its drug plan. It's why Mr. Bush announced an energy plan with no substance behind it. And it's why the state of the union — the thing itself, not the speech — is so grim.


This article contains copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This material is made available to advance understanding of democracy, economic, environmental, human rights, political, scientific, and social justice issues, among others. This constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material in this article is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

Too Bad This Isn't a Criminal Case. Christy Todd Whitman Should Be in Jail.

Judge Slams Ex-EPA Chief Over Sept. 11

NEW YORK -- A federal judge blasted former Environmental Protection Agency chief Christine Todd Whitman on Thursday for reassuring New Yorkers soon after the Sept. 11 attacks that it was safe to return to their homes and offices while toxic dust was polluting the neighborhood.

U.S. District Judge Deborah A. Batts refused to grant Whitman immunity against a class-action lawsuit brought in 2004 by residents, students and workers in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn who said they were exposed to hazardous materials from the destruction of the World Trade Center.

"No reasonable person would have thought that telling thousands of people that it was safe to return to lower Manhattan, while knowing that such return could pose long-term health risks and other dire consequences, was conduct sanctioned by our laws," the judge said.

She called Whitman's actions "conscience-shocking," saying the EPA chief knew that the collapse of the twin towers released tons of hazardous materials into the air.

During the SOTU Speech, Bush's Lips Were Moving... you know he was lying.

False Promises

Bush at the State of the Union on Tuesday:

The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly 10 billion dollars to develop cleaner, cheaper, more reliable alternative energy sources – and we are on the threshold of incredible advances. So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative – a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants; revolutionary solar and wind technologies; and clean, safe nuclear energy.

The reality -- Bush cutting the budget for the Department of Energy's alternative fuels research division by 15%, and laying off scientists working in the fields of biomass fuels, wind energy and other alternative energy source projects:

The Energy Department will begin laying off researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the next week or two because of cuts to its budget.

A veteran researcher said the staff had been told that the cuts would be concentrated among researchers in wind and biomass, which includes ethanol. Those are two of the technologies that Mr. Bush cited on Tuesday night as holding the promise to replace part of the nation's oil imports.

The budget for the laboratory, which is just west of Denver, was cut by nearly 15 percent, to $174 million from $202 million, requiring the layoff of about 40 staff members out of a total of 930, said a spokesman, George Douglas. The cut is for the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1.

I never thought for a minute that Mr. Oil Man's latter day pose as Mr. Environment had any basis in reality. He lies, and he lies, and he lies. Note that these cuts began long before he gave the lying speech.

Telegram The Message

From Alternet (via Suburban Guerilla):

Top 10 lessons learned from the Alito fight

1. There is no organization on the left side of the political spectrum. []

2. The reason they will lose every fight is because every issue is settled the minute it is framed. [] The Republican frame in Alito was that he was a well-qualified, mainstream, devoted and hard working judge who would interpret the law and not make it. The Democratic frame was ??? Nada. Zippo. No response whatsoever.

3. Once the Republican framing goes unchallenged, the media repeats it as if it is fact. []

A great teacher taught me to create a "10-word telegram" for every case. I'd spend hours brainstorming with colleagues & staff to find the most powerful words. You only got 10. It really forces you to boil your case down to its essence. My teacher's example was, "Greedy developer poisons village well; he must pay." The telegram must include the facts, and what you want the jury to do about it.

Once you had your telegram, you used it every opportunity. In every correspondence with opposing counsel, in every hearing, in every deposition. You knew you had been successful when the other side began repeating the telegram back to you.

The Alito framed by the Republicans is a good example of the 10-word telegram, though too long. It contains powerful words that speak to our communal values: well-qualified, mainstream, devoted, hard working.

Republicans have learned to telegram; Democrats are still spouting books, by different authors.

A Man, A Plan*

From today's WaPo:

Republicans Were Masters In the Race to Paint Alito
Democrats' Portrayal Failed to Sway the Public

In which the Post takes up 4 pages to tell us that Strip Search Sammy Alito is on the Supreme Court because Republicans had a plan, and the Democrats didn't.

I could have told you that.

*"A Man, a Plan, a Canal - Panama", famous palindrome.

Good Article on the Politics of Abortion

From commondreams:

Every Sperm is Sacred

The general joke about pro-lifers is that for them, "Life begins at conception and ends at birth." That's when the poor, the disenfranchised, the overworked, the overloaded and the undersupported women without access to good health insurance have to start raising these unwanted children.

In 2001, an article in Harvard's Quarterly Journal of Economics, John H, Donahue III and Steven D. Levitt concluded that: "Crime began to fall roughly 18 years after abortion legalization... Legalized abortion appears to account for as much as 50 percent of the recent drop in crime."

While this theory was immediately attacked, its ramifications are interesting. More studies could have been done on the positive effects of abortion - if the climate had not been made so emotionally charged that even suggesting there were positive benefits was seen as something akin to supporting child rape.

There's something self-righteous about pro-lifers, something sneering as well as controlling. They have the same kind of credibility with me as racist senators who are later found to have fathered illegitimate children with their African-American servants. There's a whiff of hypocrisy in the air. I would bet that some of the most fervent abortion foes have had abortions - or their wives and/or mistresses have had them. And if abortion is criminalized in this country, they will still have them. Anyone with money for an airline ticket will have access to abortions, because some states will permit them and many other countries provide them.


We're back to the domination of women, aren't we? About getting us back into the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant, so men are not challenged by our talent, our wit, our abilities and our gumption.

The Monty Python comedy troupe was making fun of this belief in their song, "Every Sperm is Sacred": "Every sperm is sacred/Every sperm is great/If a sperm is wasted/God gets quite irate."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Tom: It's Called 'Vetting'. Try It

Massachusetts, while one of the most progressive and liberal states in the country, has had Republican governors for the last 20 years. We'd really like to end that streak. Why can't we get better candidates?

Yesterday's Boston Globe:

Reilly picks St. Fleur for campaign
Running mate is seen as rising political star

This morning's Boston Globe:

Reilly's pick delinquent on taxes, loans
St. Fleur says she is repaying debts

State Representative Marie P. St. Fleur, Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly's choice to be his lieutenant governor running mate, has had three delinquent tax debts in the last four years, including an April 2005 federal tax lien of $12,711 against her and her husband, according to records examined yesterday by the Globe.

St. Fleur, in an interview last night, disclosed that she also owes $40,000 in delinquent federally backed student loans.

St. Fleur told the Globe last night that she had paid down the federal tax debt to about $8,000 by making $500 monthly payments since last spring. But later last night, Corey Welford, a Reilly campaign spokesman, corrected her, saying that she had in fact made only one $500 payment last May and that the balance is still more than $12,000.

From this afternoon:

Rep. St. Fleur withdraws as Reilly's running mate

State Representative Marie St. Fleur today pulled out as a candidate for lieutenant governor after the Boston Globe reported that she has delinquent tax debts in three of the last four years and owes $40,000 in student loans, a senior Democrat said today.

The announcement came one day after Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly announced that St. Fleur was his choice to run as his running mate. Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run separately until the party primary, and then run as a ticket for the general election.

Where do they get these people? Who thinks they can aspire to high public office while a tax delinquent? How can a career politician who's been our Attorney General for 8 years, before that Middlesex County District Attorney for 7 years, an attorney for 36 years, pick a running mate without a cursory reference check? They would have caught the delinquent loans on a routine pre-employment credit check.

As a result of this, and in what may be an opportune time for him to get this out, our other declared Democratic candidate, Deval Patrick, revealed today that he himself is also tax delinquent, though in his case it is 'former' tax delinquent. From the Boston Herald:

St. Fleur quits race; Patrick reveals tax delinquency

Deval Patrick, Reilly’s top rival for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, released a statement disclosing that he, too, had been a tax delinquent.

"More than a decade ago, Diane and I had an installment agreement with the IRS to pay, on a monthly basis, an unexpected tax liability,” Patrick said in a statement issued to The Associated Press. “We missed one or two of our installments. This triggered an IRS lien. We took immediate steps to pay off the balance and within five months discharged in full the $8,778 we owed.

I thought the Republicans had the market on incompetence cornered. This is pissing me off. We'd better beat the empty dress (Kerry Healey, Lt. Gov. to the Mittwit) in November.

We Love Lists

100 Best First Lines from Novels

Somebody Has To Make Sure Mines Are Safe

The feds aren't doing their job, so the state of West Virginia has stepped in:

Governor orders all West Virginia mines closed for safety checks

DRAWDY, W.Va. West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin has ordered all mines in his state to stop production until safety checks can be conducted. His decision follows the deaths of two people in separate mine site accidents today. The accidents bring the state's death total to 16 within a one-month period.

State officials say one miner was killed after a mine support popped loose at the Long Branch Energy underground mine in the Wharton area.

A federal mine safety spokesman says a bulldozer operator was killed during a gas fire at the Elk Run Black Castle surface mine.

via Suburban Guerilla

Add Another Count of Obstruction of Justice

via Talking Points Memo:

Leak prober got supersecret files

Fitzgerald, who is fighting Libby's request, said in a letter to Libby's lawyers that many e-mails from Cheney's office at the time of the Plame leak in 2003 have been deleted contrary to White House policy.

Has Rosemary Woods arisen from her grave? Will we see some poor Republican sap secretary demonstrating her delete key mistake?


The First Amendment was violated by Bushco and the Capitol Police at the State of the Union last night:

First Cindy Sheehan was dragged out: Police Remove Sheehan From Bush Speech

Then, the wife of Rep. Bill Young of Florida, who was wearing a shirt that said "Support the Troops": Lawmaker's wife told to leave during Bush speech

First Amendment lawyer Glenn Greenwald's take: Learning From Dear Leader

Update: Capitol police have dropped the charges against Sheehan, admitting she broke no laws. Of note, Mrs. Young was merely removed, and was not arrested and charged as Sheehan was.

Happy National Girls and Women in Sports Day!

Today, February 1, 2006, is the 20th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

NGWSD began in 1987 as a day to remember Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman for her athletic achievements and her work to assure equality for women's sports. Hyman died of Marfan's Syndrome in 1986 while competing in a volleyball tournament in Japan. Since that time, NGWSD has evolved into a day to acknowledge the past and recognize current sports achievements, the positive influence of sports participation, and the continuing struggle for equality and access for women in sports.

Sports have been very important in my life. I loved playing and am a fan. When I became a lawyer, sports helped me survive the five years I spent as the only woman lawyer in my law firm. It gave me something to talk about in attorney's meetings, and there was automatic respect because I knew more about baseball, basketball, football, hockey and soccer than anyone else in the room. And you can tell from that last sentence that I do not lack for confidence, and I attribute some of that confidence to playing sports.

One of Bushco's early failures was their attack on Title IX in 2003:

In 2003, the administration empaneled a commission to "clarify" read "lessen" Title IX's compliance standards. A minority report issued by commissioners Julie Foudy and Donna de Varona condemning the commission's recommendations for change drew bipartisan support and the backing of women's groups across the country and compelled the Department of Education to withdraw plans to modify the standards for compliance adopted in 1979.

Not that Title IX has ever been enforced with any rigor by the Justice Department of any administration. Do you know how much in fines has been leveled by the Office of Civil Rights for Title IX violations? That would be zero, zip, nada. No educational institution has ever been fined by the federal government for violating this federal law.

We've come a long way, but there's still a ways to go. Happy NGWSD!

From the Wayback Machine

I don't know how I missed this last year, the one thing Rep. Charles Rangel likes about George W. Bush:

Tennis star John McEnroe might not have much experience in news, but during the Democratic convention in Boston last week, McEnroe knew how to get a good quote for his CNBC show.

He sent his correspondents to the convention Thursday to ask Democrats to think of one thing they like about George Bush. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., said:

“He’s done more to destroy the myth of white supremacy than anyone I know.”

First Amendment? That's so 1789

U.S. Constitution, First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Cindy Sheehan was arrested, dragged out of the U.S. Capitol, and roughed up by the police prior to the Chimperor's State of the Union address last night, because she dared to assert her First Amendment rights and wore a t-shirt that read: "2245 Dead. How many more?"

What Really Happened.
by CindySheehan

Freedom is on the march. Somewhere, but not in the good ol' US of A.

Or as skippy says: they hate us for our freedoms...only we don't have them any more

Tee Hee

Received in email:

Did you hear about the agnostic dyslexic insomniac who
stayed up all night wondering if there was really a dog?

'the usual Kabuki theater'

Eugene Robinson in Tuesday's WaPo, on what the State of the Union should have been:

Into the Freying Pan

I couldn't watch, because a) I was at my friend's house babysitting and didn't want to swear in front of the kids, and b) my blood pressure can't take more than 2 minutes of the Chimperor. Especially if people applaud anything he says.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Groundhog Day

Received in email (must stop blogging and finish email....)

Subject: Groundhog Day

This year, both Groundhog Day and the State of the Union Address fall on the same day. As Air America Radio pointed out, "It is an ironic juxtaposition: one involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication, and the other involves a groundhog."

This joke would be much funnier if today were indeed Groundhog Day, but that's Thursday, February 2nd. Maybe it will work next year.

Right to Die, Considered

From today's Boston Globe, a compelling essay by Jerry Fensterman, a young man suffering from end-stage kidney cancer.

I see why others choose to die

Mine has been a long, difficult, and certain march to death. Thus, I have had ample time to reflect on my life, get my affairs in order, say everything I want to the people I love, and seek rapprochement with friends I have hurt or lost touch with. The bad news is that my pain and suffering have been drawn out, the rewarding aspects of life have inexorably shrunk, and I have watched my condition place an increasingly great physical and emotional burden on the people closest to me. While they have cared for me with great love and selflessness, I cannot abide how my illness has caused them hardship, in some cases dominating their lives and delaying their healing.

Perhaps the biggest and most profound change I have undergone is that my addiction to life has been ''cured." I've kicked the habit! I now know how a feeling, loving, rational person could choose death over life, could choose to relieve his suffering as well as that of his loved ones a few months earlier than would happen naturally.

Sandy Baby, Don't Let the Door Hit You in the Ass On the Way Out

Thankfully I am too busy to watch the 'debate' on the nomination of Strip Search Sammy today, because right now Dick Durbin is talking about how great Sandra Day O'Connor has been on the bench. From my previous post, July 1, 2005:

Just so we don't forget, "This is terrible!" were Sandra Day O'Connor's words upon hearing that the networks had called the 2000 race for Al Gore (remember him, the guy who won by 500,000 votes or more?)


So, she picked the guy who will replace her despite the fact that he didn't win the race.

That's the legacy of Sandra Day O'Connor. Like a butcher with his finger on the scale, she tilted the scale in favor of the side she favored. She was in the seat of justice, but she didn't wear the traditional blindfold.


It's a Shoo-in, Not a Shoe-In

I was reading a blog about Alito and the author said he was considered a shoe-in last week. And that's the second time I noticed that weird, incorrect spelling in a week. So I did a google blog search for 'Alito shoe-in' and got this result: 47 blogs using that spelling.

So I googled the term shoe-in and got this result: 988,000 uses of the term shoe-in.

Here's the difference between the two terms:

A race horse so fast that you can merely shoo it across the finish line rather than having to urge it on with stronger measures is a “shoo-in”: an easy winner. It is particularly unfortunate when this expression is misspelled “shoe-in” because to “shoehorn” something in is to squeeze it in with great difficulty.

I wonder if this mistake is being made so often that it will become the alternate, correct spelling by default?

I hope to write this fall that the Democratic re-taking of Congress is a shoo-in. And that Republicans' attempt to convince voters that they are not corrupt is a shoe-in.

RIP Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King Dies at 78

I'm Not the Only One

Diary from dailykos today: Bob Woodruff was set up.

I suspect that Bob Woodruff was set up by insurgent spies working within the Iraqi Army, and that the US Military was unable to protect him.


First of all, I should tell you that while in Iraq, I was stationed at an IA training base in Diyala Province. I saw the IA train everyday. What first grabbed my eye about this story was that Woodruff was riding in an armored vehicle which was supposed to belong to the IA. The problem is that the IA doesn't have any armor. They drive around in Toyota pickup trucks. They are white with brown stripes and usually have M-60's (or a Russian equivalent) mounted on the back. They have zero tactical vehicles. I can't imagine they have aquired them in the last 90 days.

So where the hell did they get the armor?

My guess is that some IA unit was selected for a crash course in "how to drive a 113" or whatever in the hope of giving ABC News the impression that the IA was indeed becoming mechanized, which is an absolutely vital step towards them becoming effective. In short, this would have been very irregular and conspicuous activity for the IA to be engaged in. Again, the IA NEVER TRAIN IN OR OPERATE ARMORED VEHICLES!!!

Second, the IA is completely compromised by the insurgency. Once insurgents within Woodruff's embedded unit saw what was going on, it would have been all too easy for them to get the word out and set up an ambush.

My post from Sunday: Set Up

News Round-Up January 31, 2006

Some news you may have missed:

Front paged all over Europe yesterday, the UK issued a report stating "the Greenland ice sheet is likely to melt, leading sea levels to rise by seven metres over 1,000 years." Stark warning over climate change

James Carroll states the obvious in an op-ed in the Boston Globe: You can't have a war when there is no enemy. Is America actually in a state of war?

State of the Union? Catastrophe, pure and simple.

The Top 25 Censored Stories of 2005.

#1 Bush Administration Moves to Eliminate Open Government

#2 Media Coverage Fails on Iraq: Fallujah and the Civilian Death

#3 Another Year of Distorted Election Coverage

#4 Surveillance Society Quietly Moves In

#5 U.S. Uses Tsunami to Military Advantage in Southeast Asia

#6 The Real Oil for Food Scam

#7 Journalists Face Unprecedented Dangers to Life and Livelihood

#8 Iraqi Farmers Threatened By Bremer’s Mandates

#9 Iran’s New Oil Trade System Challenges U.S. Currency
#10 Mountaintop Removal Threatens Ecosystem and Economy
#11 Universal Mental Screening Program Usurps Parental Rights

#12 Military in Iraq Contracts Human Rights Violators

#13 Rich Countries Fail to Live up to Global Pledges

#14 Corporations Win Big on Tort Reform, Justice Suffers

#15 Conservative Plan to Override Academic Freedom in the Classroom

#16 U.S. Plans for Hemispheric Integration Include Canada

#17 U.S. Uses South American Military Bases to Expand Control of the Region

#18 Little Known Stock Fraud Could Weaken U.S. Economy

#19 Child Wards of the State Used in AIDS Experiments

#20 American Indians Sue for Resources; Compensation Provided to Others

#21 New Immigration Plan Favors Business Over People

#22 Nanotechnology Offers Exciting Possibilities But Health Effects Need Scrutiny

#23 Plight of Palestinian Child Detainees Highlights Global Problem

#24 Ethiopian Indigenous Victims of Corporate and Government Resource Aspirations

#25 Homeland Security Was Designed to Fail

Monday, January 30, 2006

Go Vote

How Do You Grade Him?

Although his nickname is C+ Augustus, I have to go with the 'F'.

'Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!'

Animal House was on AMC tonight and this scene cheered me up:

Animal House
written by Douglas Kenney, Chris Miller, & Harold Ramis

D-Day: War's over, man. Wormer dropped the big one.

Bluto: Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!

Otter: [whispering] Germans?

Boon: Forget it, he's rolling.

Bluto: And it ain't over now. 'Cause when the goin' gets tough... [thinks hard] the tough get goin'! Who's with me? Let's go! [runs out, alone; then returns] What the fuck happened to the Delta I used to know? Where's the spirit? Where's the guts, huh? "Ooh, we're afraid to go with you Bluto, we might get in trouble." Well just kiss my ass from now on! Not me! I'm not gonna take this. Wormer, he's a dead man! Marmalard, dead! Niedermeyer -

Otter: Dead! Bluto's right. Psychotic, but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards. Now we could do it with conventional weapons that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part.

Bluto: We're just the guys to do it.

D-Day: Let's do it

Bluto: LET'S DO IT!!

[Chaos ensues--for most of the rest of the movie]

Remember the Alito

18 Senate Dems sold us out today:

Akaka (HI)
Baucus (MT)
Bingaman (NM)
Byrd (WV)
Cantwell (WA)
Carper (DE)
Dorgan (ND)
Inouye (HI)
Johnson (SD)
Kohl (WI)
Landrieu (LA)
Lieberman (CT)
Lincoln (AR)
Nelson (FL)
Nelson (NE)
Pryor (AR)
Rockefeller (WV)
Salazar (CO)

Not one penny to these traitors. That means Emily's List: I drop out. I'm not giving money to any organization that supports any of 'em. Cantwell is one of your candidates. There's a web page out there where she describes herself as 100% pro-choice. Liar.

Robert Byrd, the ol' Klucker carrying around his tattered copy of the Constitution, he may as well burn it. And Joe Lieberman? You just earned your opponent in Connecticut a campaign contributor, and a volunteer. Same for Lincoln Chafee, triangulating madly down the road in Rhode Island. He's voting against Alito, but voted to defeat the filibuster. Real slick, legacy admission boy.

My giving just became much more targeted. You can't have my cash if I don't know exactly who gets the money and how they're going to vote on the critical issues.

Remember the Alito.

Fax Every Senator Through This Link

The Dean People

Be sure to mark the button to the left for "ALL RECIPIENTS" and the mark the bullet "Fax" to the right of all recipients. Makes much more of an impact than emails.

Make sure to ask them to FILIBUSTER Alito, and if they won't do that, to ABSTAIN from the cloture vote. Frist needs 60 votes to WIN cloture, no matter how many votes against cloture there are. An abstention is as good as a no vote on cloture.

Hit It

I'm signing off to go get ready to help shut down the Senate switchboard at 9:00 a.m. this morning with voters asking their Senators to "Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way":


Use these toll-free numbers (ask for the Senators by name): 888-355-3588 or 888-818-6641.

More numbers (from Dailykos)

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy

In Germany, they called these concentration camps. From BusinessWire, via Guerilla News:

Homeland Security To Build Detention Camps In The United States

ARLINGTON, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jan. 24, 2006–KBR announced today that the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) component has awarded KBR an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contingency contract to support ICE facilities in the event of an emergency. KBR is the engineering and construction subsidiary of Halliburton (NYSE:HAL).


The contract, which is effective immediately, provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs. The contingency support contract provides for planning and, if required, initiation of specific engineering, construction and logistics support tasks to establish, operate and maintain one or more expansion facilities.

The contract may also provide migrant detention support to other U.S. Government organizations in the event of an immigration emergency, as well as the development of a plan to react to a national emergency, such as a natural disaster. In the event of a natural disaster, the contractor could be tasked with providing housing for ICE personnel performing law enforcement functions in support of relief efforts.

The christo-fascists are making more end runs to end reproductive freedom in this country. From WaPo:

Health Workers' Choice Debated
Proposals Back Right Not to Treat

More than a dozen states are considering new laws to protect health workers who do not want to provide care that conflicts with their personal beliefs, a surge of legislation that reflects the intensifying tension between asserting individual religious values and defending patients' rights.

About half of the proposals would shield pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control and "morning-after" pills because they believe the drugs cause abortions. But many are far broader measures that would shelter a doctor, nurse, aide, technician or other employee who objects to any therapy. That might include in-vitro fertilization, physician-assisted suicide, embryonic stem cells and perhaps even providing treatment to gays and lesbians.

60 Minutes ran a story last night about another incompetent Bushco crony, former Amtrak lawyer Stewart Simonson, who is Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services. From No More Apples:


To sum up: We have a drug, tested and approved by the Pentagon, that would save people from radiation exposure []. The HHS has ordered only 100,000 doses instead of the minimum 10 million recommended by the 9/11 Commission, because the guy in charge of Project Bioshield is another Bush political appointee in the mold of Michael Brown. In other words, Bush is at it again, making us "safer" by installing unqualified cretins in the most sensitive of posts. Who in their right minds trusts this guy to protect us?

And Heckuva Job Brownie and FEMA's incompetence are still news, from WaPo:

Interior Offered Extensive Katrina Aid
FEMA Ignored Proposals or Didn't Use Resources Effectively, Department Says

And in the unimportant, but interesting category: Who knew? Country singer Toby Keith is actually a Democrat. From Preemptive Karma:
Toby Keith is a registered Democrat

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Some Reasoned Dems Oppose Filibuster

I'm in the "If you don't fight, you can never win" camp and support the attempt to filibuster Strip Search Sammy Alito. I also believe that we must take principled stands. This is right. Alito is a right-wing idealogue who has no intention of changing any of his core beliefs against checks on executive power and abortion rights. I am in favor of filibuster because the Constitution is at stake.

There are some persuasive voices on the other side. I don't agree with their conclusion, but I agree with their take on the players and the strategy.

Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast: Who said the blogosphere is homogeneous?

Sam Alito, or someone like him, was a foregone conclusion when John Kerry took his $14 million of leftover campaign money and left Ohio, while his running mate was still telling supporters that the ticket would not give up until every vote was counted.


The time for hue and cry was November 2004.

John Aravosis at Americablog: Why I Oppose the Filibuster

4. So the question remains, what possible good comes from the Democrats launching THIS filibuster now? No one has been able to answer that question for me. If you are going to support a filibuster, you support it because you think it is going to, on average, help and not hurt Democrats, when all is said and done. You do not do it just because it feels good. That's political masturbation. It's not politics. It's not smart. It achieves nothing, other than an endorphin high.

I'm here to make a difference in the world, not get high, and not base my political moves on what feels good. I support filibusters, or any other in-your-face political move, when they accomplish something beneficial for our side. I don't support them simply because John Kerry wants to be president, and decides to use the Netroots in a futile, unwise, half-cocked effort that he knows is bad politics, but that he runs with anyway because he wants to win the hearts of the Netroots in order to get our support for his future run at the presidency - to hell with how much damage he does to us.

The man announced the filibuster from Switzerland, people? What, he couldn't get a camera on his windsurfer? If John Kerry were serious about this filibuster he wouldn't go off gallivanting to Swizterland in the middle of it. He'd have stayed in DC, met with the million-dollar groups, met with the blogs and the grassroots, and coordinated a REAL campaign to win this, a REAL campaign to win public support, or at the very least he'd try to lose this in a way that's still "a win."

5. You don't have to win to win, but...
And let me expand a little on that last point. It's not always necessary to win in order to win. You can win by losing. Democrats have a big problem with the public. The public thinks we stand for nothing, and even if we do believe in something, we have no backbone. So, yes, I can see why some people might think this filibuster at this time meet both needs - shows we stand for something and shows we have backbone. But I'd submit to you that neither need is being met by this particular campaign.

Tell me exactly what clear message John Kerry, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the million-dollar non-profits are telegraphing to the public about why Alito is bad? Tell me, seriously, because I haven't heard any clear message at all from any of these people. We know Alito is going to overturn Roe, but the Dems and the groups are terrified to talk about abortion - even though the majority of the public supports OUR position on abortion - so that issue is gone from the debate. So again, tell me, what's the clear anti-Alito message the Dems and the groups are channeling to the public right now - the clear standing-up-for-something position they're standing up for? I can't enunciate it, and neither can you, because they don't have one.

Massachusetts Residents: Were You Duped Into Signing the Anti-Gay-Marriage Petition?

From a local bulletin board:

If you were asked to sign a petition sometime last fall to make it legal for grocery stores to sell wine, you may have been duped in to signing a petition to ban gay marriage. Here is a site that will tell you if your name appears on the petition and what steps to take if you want your named removed.

Personally, it shouldn't matter how you feel on the subject, you should just know what it is you are signing WHEN you are signing it and not be duped in to something.

Always read what you're signing!


Local Slumlord Goes National

Landlord with Boston ties lashed for Katrina evictions

TERRYTOWN, La. -- Until the eviction notices began to arrive, Solomon Benjamin and Patti Joseph believed they had dodged the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina.

Their one-bedroom apartment in this New Orleans suburb, which suffered no flooding or widespread destruction, was unharmed in the storm. Its good condition was verified by a federal inspector who found Joseph ineligible for housing assistance because of ''insufficient damage." Their landlord took a different view, launching an aggressive three-month campaign to remove Benjamin, Joseph, and all remaining tenants from the complex of about 200 units. Former residents believe the ouster took place so the units can be renovated and rented to higher-paying tenants.

"They didn't have to put nobody out," said Benjamin, 65, a retired shipyard painter who had lived in the complex for two years. "They just wanted us out."

"They" are Leonard J. Samia, one of Boston's largest and most notorious landlords, and LES Realty Trust, a Samia partnership that owns Louisburg Square Apartments, a sprawling cluster of low-income, two-story buildings on the west bank of the Mississippi River, 6 miles from the French Quarter.

According to former residents, housing advocates, and legal aid attorneys in Louisiana, Samia took advantage of the chaos that consumed New Orleans after the hurricane -- a lawless time when police, courts, and social service agencies were overwhelmed with emergencies -- to force out tenants. The tenants were among the city's most vulnerable residents, their lawyers said, lacking the money and know-how to fight the eviction pressure they faced.

I can't believe these sleazebags the Samias are still in business. My first apartment out of college was on Glenville Ave. in Allston, rented from the Samia Companies. The place crawled with cockroaches, the ceilings were falling in, and there was no maintenance. You could call for maintenance all you wanted, but it never came. As soon as I had a little money in the bank I moved out.

I always hoped to read that some Housing Court made one of the Samias live in one of their own hellhole apartments, but apparently that never happened.

Set Up

ABC's Woodruff, Cameraman Injured in Iraq

Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt were wearing body armor and helmets, but were standing up in the hatch of the Iraqi armored vehicle when the device went off. No one else was hurt in the explosion, the network said.

The two men had been embedded with the 4th Infantry Division. The Iraqi mechanized vehicle they were riding in is considered more dangerous than U.S. vehicles. ABC said the two were traveling that way to get the perspective of the Iraqi military, and were aware the Iraqi forces are the frequent targets of insurgent attacks.

The so-called Iraqi Army is filled with spies. They were the only two hurt. They were probably set up.

New Blogs I'm Reading

Glenn Greenwald's Unclaimed Territory Smart lawyer blog.

The Gristmill Blog The Grist is an environmental magazine, and their blog is great for following environmental news.

Lawyers, Guns and Money
Besides the awesome name & tribute to Warren Zevon, smart, funny take on law & politics.

ThinkProgress: Not a new blog, but new to my daily reading. Great design, pithy take on the stories of the day.

Apartment Therapy
: Design site, scours ebay weekly for furniture and accessory bargains, good decorating ideas.

Windfall Tax in Order

Oil companies are stealing us blind. Will the government step in? This would be a great issue for Democrats to push.

Shell and Exxon to smash transatlantic profit records

OIL companies on both sides of the Atlantic will gush record profits this week, with America’s Exxon Mobil posting the world’s biggest-ever profit, and Shell setting a new record for British companies.

Exxon is tomorrow expected to unveil a profit of about $32 billion (£18 billion) for 2005, according to Thomson Financial. It will be the largest single profit in the history of corporate America.

It shatters last year’s previous record for a company of $25 billion, set by Texas-based Exxon, the world’s largest listed oil company, and easily trumps the benchmark $22.1 billion made by Ford in 1998.

On Thursday Shell will top record-setting results with an estimated profit of $23 billion for 2005. This is up nearly a third from 2004, when its profits were $17.6 billion, at the time the biggest by a British company.

BP is expected to continue the trend on February 7 by revealing full-year profits estimated at $21.7 billion. This contrasts with earnings of $16.4 billion in 2004.

Oil-company profits, driven by the surging price of oil and gas, have drawn criticism as the cost of petrol remains high and domestic-heating bills soar.

Animal Cruelty

The State of Alaska has a barbaric policy that allows hunters to shoot wolves from a plane or a helicopter. Which means that they don't really know if the animal is killed, and may be leaving it to bleed or starve to death. Really sick.

More than 400 wolves have been killed since the Alaska Board of Game resumed the practice of aerial killing, despite the fact Alaskans have twice voted to ban the practice (1996 and 2000) in statewide referenda.

You can go to this site Wolf Campaign to send an email to Secretary Gail Norton protesting the wolf kill.

Via Booman Tribune