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.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Springtime.. For George Bush.. and the Neocons

The last place that Ms. Suliman called home was a grass-topped hut that janjaweed militia members burned to the ground. She offers the scars on her feet as testament to how fast she ran to escape them in the summer of 2005, at the beginning of an unlikely journey that led to an apartment here. “If I talk to people from Darfur, I say come here,” said Ms. Suliman, 24, who has taken a job making utensils and cups in a plastics factory. “It’s too nice. Everybody knows New York City. But my God, all this is America, too.” As many as 300 people originally from Darfur are living in Fort Wayne, with others scattered across smaller Indiana cities like Elkhart, South Bend and Goshen. Together, they form one of the largest concentrations of Darfuri in the United States. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/02/us/02indiana.html

Turn over a scandal in Washington these days and the chances are you’ll find Karl Rove. His tracks are everywhere: whether it’s helping to purge United States attorneys, coaching bureaucrats on how to spend taxpayers’ money to promote Republican candidates, hijacking the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives for partisan politics, or helping to organize a hit on the character of one of the first people to publicly reveal the twisting of intelligence reports on Iraq. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/01/opinion/01sun1.html?em&ex=1175659200&en=bd00257b51d41d63&ei=5087%0A

But this profile in Legal Times shows that Goodling is far from just a mid-level aide who played a peripheral role in the purge. On the contrary, she's very well-connected and apparently one of the main drivers behind the process of selecting U.S. attorneys. Goodling got her start in national politics in 1999 by working in the Republican National Committee's war room for political opposition research. There, she was working directly underneath Tim Griffin, then the deputy research director of the RNC who bragged that his shop made the bullets in the war against Democrats, later the administration's pick to be the U.S. attorney for eastern Arkansas. Goodling, of course, played a key role in helping install her old boss in the spot. Among Goodling's close associates were Barbara Comstock, head of opposition research for the RNC and later the chief spokeswoman for Ashcroft; Griffin, Comstock's deputy; and Mark Corallo, who in 2003 took the helm of the Justice Department's Public Affairs Office after Comstock. http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/002933.php

Sam Zell, the Chicago real estate tycoon, took another step toward winning the auction for the Tribune Company late last night when he agreed to raise his bid at the urging of the company's board, according to people close to the talks.The board had indicated that if Mr. Zell were to make a high enough offer, it would be prepared to sell its 160-year-old media empire to him. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/02/business/media/02tribune.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=login

Relations between Apple Inc. and the EMI Group, once at odds over the trademark rights to the Apple name, the record label of the Beatles, seem to be getting better all the time. On Sunday, Steven P. Jobs, the Apple chief executive, announced a joint news conference to be held in London on Monday with Eric L. Nicoli, chief executive of EMI, the British music giant. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/02/technology/02music.html?th&emc=th

Lofton's goals for the conferences, which are held each month, are to bring parents and teachers together to find solutions to problems plaguing black youths and to expose students to black community leaders. Lofton pays for conference expenses with his own money, and the Austin Independent School District provides space for the events. The conferences include daylong workshops to teach conflict resolution skills, good study habits, and ways to improve parent and teacher relationships. "A lot of teachers don't understand African American students or their culture, and they have lower expectations for them," Lofton said. He said he wants to set higher standards for all black children. Carroll Thomas, the conference's keynote speaker and Beaumont school district superintendent, addressed about 100 students on the importance of saving money and setting short-term goals. "We need to challenge adults in their responsibility to children," Thomas said. "Not just their own kids; they're responsible to help every child." http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/04/01/1conference.html

Dirk Kempthorne must have wondered last week why he ever accepted President Bush’s offer to become secretary of the interior. Seven former directors of the National Park Service lambasted a proposal that would allow more than 700 snowmobiles a day in Yellowstone National Park. A former senior auditor provided further evidence that the Minerals Management Service, another part of Mr. Kempthorne’s empire, had for years failed to collect royalties from big oil companies. And Democrats in the House jumped all over one of his assistant secretaries in the wake of a report that the department was secretly rewriting important regulations governing the Endangered Species Act with an eye to weakening it. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/02/opinion/02mon2.html?th&emc=th

The world's most valuable wild salmon run is threatened by a plan to dig North America's largest open-pit gold and copper mine. Like any major development promising jobs, Northern Dynasty Minerals' Pebble project has supporters in Alaska, while opponents have introduced bills in the state Legislature to block the plan and protect the headwaters of Bristol Bay. More than any local action, however, conscientious enforcement of the US Clean Water Act by federal officials should deal the Pebble project the crippling blow it deserves. http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/editorials/articles/2007/04/02/protect_alaskas_wild_salmon/

blog quote of the day, (thanks to FireDogLake for this link), one blogger's plea to McCain and the rest of the historical revisionists who continue to spin this disastrous war as any kind of a success.
"How does it feel when you can't stop lying? Don't you think that a better way to support the US, the President, the Republicans, or even yourself is to tell the truth and end illegal interventions in other countries?" http://raedinthemiddle.blogspot.com/2007/04/dear-john.html

To hear some Republicans speak, you'd think that life in Baghdad has improved dramatically... President Bush gave a speech in which he talked up the checkpoints U.S. troops are setting up in Baghdad... However, a slight dip in sectarian violence aside, news reports from the city tell a different story. The day after the president gave his optimistic speech, market bombings killed at least 122 and wounded 150. And that was on new U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker's first day there. And that was just one of many bloody accounts. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/309692_baghdaded.html

IF consecutive suicide bombings aimed at the vice president of the United States and the American ambassador to Afghanistan weren’t dramatic enough illustration of the Taliban’s resurgence, President Hamid Karzai’s decision two weeks ago to swap five Taliban captives for a kidnapped Italian reporter, Daniele Mastrogiacomo, should make perfectly clear the disaster unfolding in Afghanistan. The precedent that this trade establishes is as obvious as it is staggering in its implications. Taliban insurgents, international terrorists, opium traffickers and garden-variety criminals learned years ago that attacking foreign aid workers and journalists was the easiest and least costly way to keep rural Afghanistan, in particular the southern and southeastern areas along the border with Pakistan, both ungoverned and ungovernable. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/02/opinion/02mcgowan.html?th&emc=th

Sen. John McCain strolled briefly through an open-air market in Baghdad today in an effort to prove that Americans are “not getting the full picture” of what’s going on in Iraq. NBC’s Nightly News provided further details about McCain’s one-hour guided tour. He was accompanied by “100 American soldiers, with three Blackhawk helicopters, and two Apache gunships overhead.” Still photographs provided by the military to NBC News seemed to show McCain wearing a bulletproof vest during his visit. (thanks for the link from LJ at "No Quarter") http://thinkprogress.org/2007/04/01/mccain-iraq-stroll/

In this forlorn corner of Jordan, the border drawn as an arbitrary line in the sand, the remnants of six decades of conflict in the Middle East converge in the Ruweished camp and three others strewn along Iraq's western frontier. The camps are home to more than 1,300 Palestinians, dispossessed by conflict with Israel, driven from their homes by conflict in Iraq, and forced to wait by sometimes arbitrary politics barring their entry elsewhere. Many are the offspring of refugees from a war they are too young to know; their lives are now ordered by another that shows no sign of ending. The magnitude of the Palestinians' plight in the camps along Iraq's borders with Syria and Jordan pales before the sheer scale of Iraqis' exodus from their country, where millions have been displaced or forced to flee to neighboring countries. But it is rare in the Arab world for the lives of a handful of people to so closely chart the generations of war, dictatorship, vengeance and dispossession. By the Palestinians' own admission, their lives offer a uniquely Middle Eastern lesson in the caprice of fate. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/01/AR2007040101148.html?referrer=email

THE UNITED States and NATO are about to lose the war in Afghanistan to an insurgent, revived Taliban. Deprived of sufficient firepower and soldiers, Allied forces are failing to hunt down and contain the Taliban, especially in the southern part of the country. Moreover, the crucial battle for Pashtun hearts and minds is also about to be lost. Only the rapid provision of security, roads, electricity, and educational and health services can counter the appeal of the renewed and reinvigorated Taliban. Urgently required are more troops for security and more funds for rebuilding essential services. http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/04/02/losing_the_war_in_afghanistan/

As a specialist in a military intelligence battalion, Lagouranis interrogated prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Al Asad Airfield, and other places in Iraq from January through December 2004. Coercive techniques, including the use of military dogs, waterboarding, and prolonged stress positions, were employed on the detainees, he says. The results of the hangings, shacklings, and prolonged stress positions -- sometimes for hours -- were devastating. "You take a healthy guy and you turn him into a cripple -- at least for a period of time," Lagouranis tells me. "I don't care what Alberto Gonzales says. That's torture." http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/20720

DEMOCRATS MEET RESISTANCE FROM EVER-MORE ISOLATED PRESIDENT: Bush refuses to compromise, despite overwhelming public opinion. Bush poll numbers tanking...

Even as their confrontation with President Bush over Iraq escalates, emboldened congressional Democrats are challenging the White House on a range of issues -- such as unionization of airport security workers and the loosening of presidential secrecy orders -- with even more dramatic showdowns coming soon. For his part, Bush, who also finds himself under assault for the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, the conduct of the Iraq war and alleged abuses in government surveillance by the FBI, is holding firm. Though he has vetoed only one piece of legislation since taking office, he has vowed to veto 16 bills that have passed either the House or the Senate in the three months since Democrats took control of Congress. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/01/AR2007040100766.html

In the months since the Congressional elections, President Bush has lost substantial support among members of his own party, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll. Mr. Bush’s approval rating dropped 13 percentage points since last fall among Republicans, 65 percent of whom now say they approve of the way he is handling his job as president, compared with 78 percent last October. Over all, Mr. Bush’s job approval remains at one of its lowest points, with 29 percent of all Americans saying they approve of the way he is doing his job, compared with 34 percent at the end of October. Sixty-one percent disapproved, compared with 58 percent in October, within the margin of sampling error.Twenty-three percent of those polled approved of the way Mr. Bush is dealing with the situation in Iraq. Twenty-five percent approved of his handling of foreign policy. Even the president’s campaign against terrorism, long his signature issue, is seen positively by only 40 percent of those polled, while 53 percent disapprove. Three-quarters of those polled say things are going badly for the United States in Iraq, and only 23 percent say the efforts to bring stability and order to Iraq are going well. Seventy percent, including 52 percent of Republicans, say there is not much the United States military can do to reduce the sectarian fighting in Iraq. Over all, 23 percent of the public say the country is going in the right direction and 68 percent consider it as having “gotten off on the wrong track.” http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/03/01/new-bush-iraq-poll-numbers/

SEN. Dianne Feinstein has resigned from the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee. As previously and extensively reviewed in these pages, Feinstein was chairperson and ranking member of MILCON for six years, during which time she had a conflict of interest due to her husband Richard C. Blum's ownership of two major defense contractors, who were awarded billions of dollars for military construction projects approved by Feinstein. http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/49970/

60 Minutes tells the story of how pharmaceutical industry lobbyists literally wrote the historic Medicare Prescription Drug Bill and twisted arms to get the necessary votes to have it passed in the middle of the night. Correspondent Steve Kroft documents how many of the congressmen and staffers who worked on the bill later went on to work for the drug companies their legislation helped enrich. http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/04/02/under-the-influence-how-lobbyists-wrote-and-bought-the-rx-drug-bill/

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