HuffPo: Maverick Senators Cave in to The Torture President
Unclaimed Territory: America to legalize torture (this leads to a salon.com article, you have to watch an ad to get through, but it's worth it(
WaPo: THE TORTURE DEBATE
AMERICA'S most controversial footballer Clint Dempsey is destined for the Premiership after rejecting a new contract in the MLS.
The New England Revolution midfielder, a former target for West Ham and Charlton, plans to quit the States in January before his deal expires next summer.
And the Premiership is bracing itself for plenty of outrageous behaviour from the colourful star, who grew up in a Texas trailer park and was suspended in March for attacking Revolution captain Joe Franchino in training.
"England is a great country to play in and I want to leave MLS," said Dempsey, 23.
"Teams abroad are willing to pay me 10 times more money and I don't want to be here.
There is no way I am staying in the MLS."
Starting a few decades ago, Americans outsmarted Mother Nature. We switched our cows' diets from grass and hay to grain. Eating grain isn't particularly good for the cows, but together with antibiotics and hormones, we can house them in feedlots, fatten them up, and slaughter them quicker than if we had let them graze at their own speed in a pasture. Mother Nature, it would seem, is anti-business.
The new diet changed the acidity in cows' digestive tracts and the close living quarters led to a lot of cows and a lot of poop living side by side. That's when the new strain of E. coli, O157:H7, came on the scene. When cows eat grass, the acidity in their digestive tracts usually kills the bacteria, but grain fed cows' tummies do not.
So the mere fact that E. coli O157:H7 got into the water at all is a result of our need for cheap feedlot beef - and one could take it a step further in exploring the interconnectedness of the food system, because cheap feedlot beef is possible due to cheap corn, soy, oilseed, and other commodities, subsidized by government policies that encourage high production and rock bottom prices. Those policies hurt the farmers who produce the commodities (corn, soy, wheat, etc), but they provide an incentive to anyone who wants to use the commodities as cheap inputs for their products - such as feedlot beef.
So many cows in such a small space contaminated the water that presumably flooded the spinach fields. This was the 20th such epidemic linked to lettuce and spinach from Monterey County in the past decade. The outbreaks have caused over 400 sicknesses and 2 deaths. The current epidemic was also felt economically by everyone from growers to farm workers, truckers, packagers, restaurants, grocers, and more.
ABC News: Allen Campaign Hits Another Awkward Moment
“I still had a ham sandwich for lunch. And my mother made great pork chops,” Sen. George Allen (R-VA) said yesterday, explaining how news that his grandfather was Jewish is “just an interesting nuance to my background.”
Fear dictates everything we do.
I see my neighbors less and less. When I go out, I say hello and that's it. I fear someone will ask questions about my job working for Americans, which could put me in danger. Even if he had no ill will toward me, he might talk and reveal an identifying detail. We're afraid of an enemy among us. Someone we don't know. It's a cancer.
In March, assassinations started in our neighborhood. Early one evening, I was sitting in my garden with my wife when we heard several gunshots. I rushed to the gate to see what was going on, despite my wife's pleas to stay inside. My neighbors told me that gunmen had dropped three men from a car and shot them in the street before driving off. No one dared approach the victims to find out who they were.
The bodies remained there until the next morning. The police or the American military probably picked them up, but I don't know. They simply disappeared.
The sounds of shootings and explosions are now commonplace. We don't know who is shooting whom, or who has been targeted. We don't know why, and we're afraid to ask or help. We too could get shot. Bringing someone to the hospital or to the police is out of the question. Nobody trusts the police, and nobody wants to answer questions.
I feel sad, bitter and frustrated — sad because a human life is now worth nothing in this country; bitter because people no longer help each other; and frustrated because I can't help either. If I'm targeted one day, I'm sure no one will help me.
Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY)
John Sweeney is a fourth-term Congressman representing the 20th district of New York. His ethics issues stem from a ski trip to New York, the exchange of legislative assistance for campaign contributions and the hiring of his wife as a campaign fundraiser.
Misuse of public funds to pay for a trip to New York
Rep. Sweeney invited 53 people to join him from January 6-9, 2006, for a “Congressional Winter Challenge” at the Lake Placid Olympic facilities. There, Rep. Sweeney and his guests enjoyed pretending to be Olympic athletes by participating in events including skiing, bobsledding and hockey, all paid for with New York taxpayer dollars. The trip appears to violate several provisions of the House gift and travel rules, including the prohibition on recreational travel.
Relationship with National Marine Manufacturers Association
In May 2006, Rep. Sweeney introduced the Boating Safety Tax Incentive Act, legislation that the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) strongly supported and even helped draft, allowing boat manufacturers to supply new boats with free safety equipment, including up-to-date lifejackets, in exchange for a tax deduction. In apparent exchange, NMMA’s PAC has supported Rep. Sweeney and contributed to his campaign committee for the past three years. In the 2006 election cycle alone, NMMA donated $4,500 to Rep. Sweeney, making him the third highest recipient of contributions from NMMA’s PAC. Additionally, NMMA has hosted fundraisers for Rep. Sweeney on its luxurious yacht, raising a total of $12,150. If Rep. Sweeney received campaign donations in return for campaign contributions he may have violated federal bribery and honest services fraud as well as violated House rules.
Employment of Spouse Gayle Ford
Rep. Sweeney has hired his wife’s firm to fundraise for his campaign, despite the fact that she has no fundraising experience and appears to have no other clients. She receives a 10% commission on the money she brings in, the campaign paid her $42,570 during the 2004-2005 election cycle, and as of April 2006, she received $30,879 for the current election cycle. Notably, records show that Rep. Sweeney has had a fundraising consultant on monthly retainer since June of 2004, who is paid $8,583 a month. The facts suggest that Rep. Sweeney is converting campaign funds to personal use in violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act and House rules.
Son Avoids Jail
Rep. Sweeney’s son, John, brutally beat another teenager, but avoided jail for his offense. The ethics committee should investigate whether the young man received special treatment because of his father’s position in violation of House rules.
Highlights include .... New York Rep. John Sweeney (news, bio, voting record), who a few months back showed up drunk to a local frat party, threw a taxpayer funded Winter sporting weekend and hired his wife as a fundraiser even though she had no previous fundraising experience;
If you haven’t read our “rules of engagement” in a while, we’ve added a new policy:
The use of multiple identities (aka “sock puppets”) on this blog is not permitted.
We’ve also included a link to a Wikipedia item that offers a fuller explanation of these aliases.
This policy was sparked by the admitted use of multiple identities by a visitor to this blog. We discovered this rather by accident, and at a time when he happened to post a comment referring to his other identity - somewhat glowingly, no less - as if it was a different person.
That’s clearly deceptive and unethical.
Editor’s Note: The individual has been blocked from the site (to the best of our ability).
The commission’s investigation supported Browne Sanders’s contention that she had been a victim of more than one incident of harassment and that “she was subjected to a hostile work environment including, but not limited to, severe and pervasive verbal sexual harassment.”
The determination, by Spencer H. Lewis Jr., the district director of the [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission]’s New York office, said the Garden had failed to take “reasonable care to prevent or correct discrimination and harassment in the workplace.”
Lewis made his determination last Friday, and it was released yesterday. His two-page letter did not describe the scope of the commission’s investigation or name witnesses.
Lewis found that the commission’s inquiry supported Browne Sanders’s contention that the Garden had fired her in retaliation for reporting her claims to her supervisors. Lewis also wrote that there was probable cause to believe the Garden violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Garden, but not Thomas, was the subject named in the commission’s investigation.
After the fall of Saddam Hussein's government in April 2003, the opportunity to participate in the U.S.-led effort to reconstruct Iraq attracted all manner of Americans -- restless professionals, Arabic-speaking academics, development specialists and war-zone adventurers. But before they could go to Baghdad, they had to get past Jim O'Beirne's office in the Pentagon.
To pass muster with O'Beirne, a political appointee who screens prospective political appointees for Defense Department posts, applicants didn't need to be experts in the Middle East or in post-conflict reconstruction. What seemed most important was loyalty to the Bush administration.
O'Beirne's staff posed blunt questions to some candidates about domestic politics: Did you vote for George W. Bush in 2000? Do you support the way the president is fighting the war on terror? Two people who sought jobs with the U.S. occupation authority said they were even asked their views on Roe v. Wade .
Many of those chosen by O'Beirne's office to work for the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq's government from April 2003 to June 2004, lacked vital skills and experience. A 24-year-old who had never worked in finance -- but had applied for a White House job -- was sent to reopen Baghdad's stock exchange. The daughter of a prominent neoconservative commentator and a recent graduate from an evangelical university for home-schooled children were tapped to manage Iraq's $13 billion budget, even though they didn't have a background in accounting.
The decision to send the loyal and the willing instead of the best and the brightest is now regarded by many people involved in the 3 1/2 -year effort to stabilize and rebuild Iraq as one of the Bush administration's gravest errors. Many of those selected because of their political fidelity spent their time trying to impose a conservative agenda on the postwar occupation, which sidetracked more important reconstruction efforts and squandered goodwill among the Iraqi people, according to many people who participated in the reconstruction effort.
The CPA had the power to enact laws, print currency, collect taxes, deploy police and spend Iraq's oil revenue. It had more than 1,500 employees in Baghdad at its height, working under America's viceroy in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, but never released a public roster of its entire staff.
Interviews with scores of former CPA personnel over the past two years depict an organization that was dominated -- and ultimately hobbled -- by administration ideologues.
Quote of the Day
"I'm concerned that we not come across as whiners and that kind of thing, like a bunch of wimps who say mean old Karl Rove is on us again."
-- Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), quoted by the AP, about the Democratic party.
(Political Wire, via Suburban Guerrilla)
...Senator John Forbes Kerry of Massachusetts, who, having allowed an unpopular president and a bunch of psychotic liars to kick the shit out of him in 2004 and then running home with his tail between his legs before the votes were even counted in Ohio (but not before stuffing his pockets with $14 million in leftover campaign cash), is now talking tough -- when it doesn't matter:Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) doesn't believe that Hillary Clinton has the inside track on the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination and says he would vigorously defend himself against new attacks by the Swift Boat team, according to an interview with The Examiner.
"I’m prepared to kick their ass from one end of America to the other," said Kerry, in a strong hint that he intends to run for president once again.