Just read between the lines...

Red Text is the real story hiding between the lines.
Violet Text is a notable quote from a specific blogger.
Blue Text is my own personal commentary.
Gold Text is a link to the original sources.

One word of advice I would offer to everyone who reads this blog;

....Each and every day, take just a moment of your precious time to pray for Peace and Justice.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunday Morning Commentary

Hillary's sinking poll numbers
One of the best signs that John Edwards has "them" worried is the recent flap over haircuts. Both the Huffington Enquirer and Maureen Dowd have joined the "mean girls for Hillary club" to turn their usual worthwhile work into trollish tabloid journalism. If this Gallup Poll video is accurate, and there is no reason to think it isn't, it might explain why "the girls" have pulled out all the decency stops and started using Rovish tactics to protect their heiress-appointed.
I have been careful to avoid in-party jousting, and have always held Hillary in high esteem. And I would support her if she won the primaries. But for now I still support John Edwards, and this two-pronged tabloid tack wasn't just a co-incidence, it was probably promulgated by campaign staffers with Rovish aspirations, so I felt compelled to make a comment about it here, crossposted to the Iowans for Edwards blog.
Also, just a quick invitation, any musicians, comedians and entertainers who might want to perform for the Politifest at a central-Iowa farm on August 5, contact "The Grassroots Gang," just call John Ryan at (712)-660-0830, Josh Brown at (515) 962-0714, or John Patterson (me) at (620)-307-0334. We will be organizing grassroots activism for John Edwards' campaign. Everyone is welcome to attend, we will be planning some later, pre-caucus Iowa grassroots events at this day-long grassroots get-together, with music, speeches and skits to help you find your own hidden enthusiasm and pass it to others.
Looks and sounds like a wonderful event in Indianola yesterday, wish I could have been there, but things are very busy here in Kansas.

And this from one of the top pundits, Chris Cilliza of the Washington Post, apparently the Dems have learned a lesson or two from the R's.
Democrats Grab Money Advantage in 2007's First Quarter
For the first time since the passage of campaign finance reform in 2002, national Democrats have outpaced their Republican rivals in the race for campaign cash in the first three months of an election cycle. Democrats collected $47.7 million through the Democratic National Committee as well as their House and Senate campaign arms, while the Republicans' three committees brought in $47.4 million, figures provided yesterday by the organizations show. ($100 million and counting, all for advertising and Rove's salary, in too many emulative manifestations.)

P.S. Just got this link from Nancy Patterson (no relation) in California, and found the site at the other end of it was very much worth joining. Take a gander at this great idea, TEACHING PEACE! http://www.teachpeace.com/

Red text is the "real" headline buried in the article.
Blue text is my own commentary.
Violet text is the blog quote of the day.

As the report shows, any mix of approaches to waste and recycling will bring costs, whether or not a new facility is built. But the best philosophical choice is the so-called zero-waste policy, ... zero waste is a philosophy that "attempts to guide people to emulate natural cycles, where discarded materials become resources for others to use." That has practical implications for individuals, society and the environment. Old kitchen cabinets, for instance, are no longer simply waste but an item that can be sold, thus creating jobs, reducing trash collection costs and minimizing the effects of city waste on rural land, water and air.

The poll was marred by violence, when police opened fire and killed three boys during an election protest in the northern town of Daura, and by tragedy, when a plane carrying election officials with voting materials crashed, killing 14 people. (one more questionable coincidence?) With 25 presidential candidates, the balloting marks the nation's first transfer of power from one civilian administration to another, and carries the hopes of 135 million Nigerians, many yearning for improvements in democracy, more government accountability and better lives. The vote is also seen as key to democratic development on the continent given Nigeria's size, oil reserves and geopolitical clout. Since independence from Britain in 1960, Nigeria has been governed mainly by the military until elections in 1999 ushered in eight years of civilian rule.But to some, those eight years have proved a disappointment.

“They sent us away, all of us,” said Mikailu Musa, a 40-year-old farmer who had lined up at 10 a.m. to vote for an opposition candidate, but was chased away by young toughs. “There was no election here.” Less than a mile away, official election tally sheets, carted around by heavily armed police officers, told another story — just about everyone in town had voted, almost all of them for the ruling party. “Voting is finished now,” said one election official, declining to give his name. It was just 2:30 p.m., and balloting was scheduled to continue until 5. But all the ballots had already been marked, he said.

'The Lucifer Effect' by Philip Zimbardo
"DURING the Rwandan genocide, the level of participation by ordinary, normally peaceful citizens was greater than the world had ever seen. I spent time there as a reporter in the mid-1990s, just after the slaughter of 800,000 members of the Tutsi minority, largely by their Hutu neighbors. I tried to imagine how I would have acted if I had been born a Hutu in Rwanda and had grown up in a culture that put a high value on pleasing authority, demonizing Tutsis and planning their extermination. What would I have done? Maybe I would have been a killer too."

Iraq's first constitutionally elected government may rise or fall with the success of an ongoing U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown in Baghdad, Iraqi politicians and analysts said Saturday.Amid growing signs that the government of national unity is beginning to fracture, experts say Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has increasingly gambled his political survival on the ambitious, 2-month-old security campaign. After a promising start, which led to a noticeable decline in certain types of sectarian attacks, violence is once more increasing. On Wednesday, at least 172 people died in five car bombings in and around Baghdad, making it one of the deadliest days in the capital. Six days earlier, a suicide attacker infiltrated the fortified Green Zone and detonated a bomb in the Iraqi parliament cafeteria, killing a lawmaker. The daily count of victims killed execution-style is rising again, and residents are expressing outrage at some U.S. tactics, such as constructing concrete walls to separate Sunni and Shiite Muslim neighborhoods.

The Iraqi officers beamed. What the Americans did not know and what the Iraqis had not told them was that before handing over the detainees to the Americans, the Iraqi soldiers had beaten one of them in front of the other two, the Iraqis said. The stripes on the detainee’s back, which appeared to be the product of a whipping with electrical cables, (was this done on Good Friday?) were later shown briefly to a photographer, who was not allowed to take a picture. To the Iraqi soldiers, the treatment was normal and necessary. They were proud of their technique and proud to have helped the Americans. “I prepared him for the Americans and let them take his confession,” Capt. Bassim Hassan said through an interpreter. “We know how to make them talk. We know their back streets. We beat them. I don’t beat them that much, but enough so he feels the pain and it makes him desperate.”

A military investigation has found that senior Marine Corps commanders in Iraq showed a routine disregard for the lives of Iraqi civilians that contributed to a “willful” failure to investigate the killing of 24 unarmed Iraqis by marines in 2005, lawyers involved in the case said. The report, completed last summer but never made public, (too close to election time?) also found that a Marine Corps general and colonel in Iraq learned of the killings within hours that day, Nov. 19, 2005, in the town of Haditha, but failed to begin a thorough inquiry into how they occurred. The 130-page report, by Maj. Gen. Eldon A. Bargewell of the Army, did not conclude that the senior officers covered up evidence or committed a crime. (...is Gonzales in charge of this investigation?)But it said the Marine Corps command in Iraq was far too willing to tolerate civilian casualties and dismiss Iraqi claims of abuse by marines as insurgent propaganda, according to lawyers who have read it.

"Four years of war have exacted a terrible toll on Iraqis, with no end in sight. Car bombings and other violence now kill an average of 100 people a day. Two out of three Iraqis have no regular access to clean water. Children are malnourished and too many are dying from preventable diseases and the near collapse of the health care system. And an incredible total of four million people — one out of every seven Iraqis — have been forced to flee their homes. If Iraq continues this descent, the refugee tide could turn into a regional tsunami, with potentially convulsive political consequences. Yet, as with so much about this war, the Bush administration is refusing to acknowledge the human cost of its horrendous errors (which seems to be the ONE and ONLY abiding Bush policy in this mess) and pretending that the problem will be contained within Iraq’s borders. It will not."

For a while last week it looked as if the Senate was finally going to wrestle itself into the digital age (and full public view) and require members to file their campaign fund-raising reports electronically. That is until Senator Unknown, Republican of Nowhere, (would the mystery cheater please stand up!!!) put a hold on the bipartisan legislation. For years the Senate has clung to a tedious paper-intensive method of filing worthy of Bartleby. The information, which can show which senators are close to what big-money special interests, is churned twice like a cud, through paper, then separate computer versions, before being available to the public, months after the comparable money reports of House members and lobbyists.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales came under withering attack from members of his own party yesterday over the dismissals of eight U.S. attorneys, facing the first resignation demand from a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and doubts from others about his candor and his ability to lead the Justice Department. Gonzales appeared frustrated, weary and at times combative during a five-hour Senate panel hearing that was widely considered crucial to his bid to hold on to his job. He sought to present a careful defense of the firings, apologizing for the way they were handled but defending them as the "right decision."

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales testified yesterday that when he approved the firings of seven U.S. attorneys on a single day late last year he did not know why two of the prosecutors were on the list. (MANAGEMENT EXPERTISE AT IT'S FINEST!) Gonzales, summoned to Capitol Hill to clarify the murky rationale (he just muddied up the waters even more) for the dismissals, said he was not surprised by the names of five prosecutors presented to him by his then-chief of staff. He said he had already heard "concerns" about their work from White House officials, local Republicans and Justice Department aides.

Less than a week after the FBI raided the Northern Virginia home of his wife, Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.) gave up his coveted seat on the House Appropriations Committee yesterday amid concerns that he had used that post to advance the interests of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and other allies. "I understand how the most recent circumstances may lead some to question my tenure on the Appropriations Committee," (always the master of the subtleties of understatement...) the conservative nine-term congressman wrote in a letter to House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). "Therefore, I feel it may be in the best interest of the House that I take a temporary leave (how about a "permanent" leave, now that would be in the best interest of the House, and the public at large) with seniority from this Committee until this matter can be resolved."

The abrupt resignations last week of two Republican House members from their sensitive committee assignments have thrust lingering legal and ethics issues back into the limelight, potentially complicating GOP efforts to retake Congress next year. On successive days, Wednesday and Thursday, Reps. John T. Doolittle (Calif.) and Rick Renzi (Ariz.) disclosed FBI raids on their wives' businesses. The men proclaimed their innocence, but the raids exposed their legal jeopardy. The announcements were only the most recent in a series of developments that have kept the focus on the old (so how is it "old"?) ethical and legal clouds that helped chase the Republican Party from power on Capitol Hill. Two other lawmakers face possible ethics investigations amid allegations that they pressured a U.S. attorney in New Mexico to indict Democrats before last year's fall elections. (that would be Pete Domenici and Heather Wilson, whose names are curiously absent from this article) Rep. Gary G. Miller (R-Calif.), under investigation by the FBI for a series of land deals, is now facing Democratic ads alleging that he lied about a land sale that he declined to pay taxes on. Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) still faces FBI scrutiny of his work as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and this month, his campaign filings showed that he has racked up $892,951.69 in legal fees since July. And for the first time, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) reported significant legal fees -- $15,620.60 -- in his campaign filing this month, as he tries to stave off accusations that he used taxpayer-funded congressional staff and resources to do political work. "Everybody's kind of a little bit numb," said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.). "There's this, 'What else can happen now?' feeling going around here."

Which brings us to the blog quote of the day,
by DemfromCT at "The Next Hurrah."
"Republicans like to make as much noise as they can about Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, as if they're somehow out of the mainstream of American thinking. But it wasn't so long ago that rubber stamp Republicans were in charge, and under their 'leadership' Jack Abramoff flourished, political minders were placed in all US agencies to replace science with ideology, the K Street project was nurtured by the disgraced Tom DeLay, and majority party predators like Mark Foley (among other things) were allowed to function unencumbered by oversight."

For decades, Mississippi and neighboring states with large black populations and expanses of enduring poverty made steady progress in reducing infant death. But, in what health experts call an ominous portent, progress has stalled and in recent years the death rate has risen in Mississippi and several other states. (so much for the "best health care system in the world" delusions...)

Federal health officials impose only minimal penalties on nursing homes repeatedly cited for mistreatment of patients, Congressional investigators say in a new report. As a result, they said, some nursing homes cycle in and out of compliance with federal standards and pose a continued threat to the health and safety of patients. “Some of these homes repeatedly harmed residents over a six-year period (about the same time Bush has been in office!?!?) and yet remain in the Medicare and Medicaid programs,” said the report, to be issued next week by the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress. The Department of Health and Human Services “fails to hold homes with a long history of harming residents accountable for the poor care provided,” the investigators said.

In a major change to Massachusetts environmental policy, private developers will now be required to estimate the greenhouse gases their large-scale projects will produce and reduce them with measures such as energy-efficient lighting, alternative fuels, or commuter shuttles.

The Air Force's top general has ordered a wide-ranging review of the vulnerabilities of U.S. military satellites — one that could lead to the lifting of restrictions on using force against another country's space capabilities — because of continuing alarm over a successful Chinese missile test. (and soon we'll hear from Luke Skywalker)

1 comment:

DemFromCT said...

Thanks for the link!

I meant Mark Foley, of course, and that's been corrected at TNH.