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.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Thursday's News

Red text is the "real" headline in these stories and articles.
Blue text is my own personal commentary.
Violet text is the blog quote of the day.

BLOG QUOTE OF THE DAY; Hypocrisy abounds in the failing Republican Party.
from Crooks and Liars;
...so now "they" want oversight limitations? How convenient.
“Effective, constructive oversight is much more a matter of due diligence and digging than depositions and sensational disclosures,” the Republicans wrote. Is that so. In the 1990s, Dan Burton & Co. handed out subpoenas like candy. He subpoenaed 141 different Clintonites. He held hearings — for 10 days — on the Clintons’ Christmas card list. In one instance, Burton was so reckless, he subpoenaed the wrong man (looking for someone with a similar name). In another instance, Burton fired a bullet into a “head-like object” — reportedly a melon — in his backyard to test the theory that former White House counsel Vincent Foster was murdered (this from the man who is now warning against “sensational disclosures”). And now Burton is worried about Dems going too far? Please."

From Greg Palast's website
The House Judiciary Committee just released two emails, dated February 5 and 7, from inside Karl Rove’s office, in which the Rove-bots gloat that no US media have picked up the investigations of “that British reporter Greg Palast” found in my book Armed Madhouse. I couldn’t make this up. They will REALLY love to hear this: On April 24, I will be releasing a whole new expanded edition of Armed Madhouse with two new chapters, one just for Mr. Rove: “The Theft of 2008″

As the TV pundits on the networks gab about the tens of millions of dollars raised by the top presidential candidates, what they don't talk about is where that money is going: to their own networks. Money is now considered the single-most important factor in our electoral process. Ideas and issues take a back seat to the bottom line. This prostitution of our electoral process has one key culprit: television advertising. The costs of running for federal office have been skyrocketing. More than $880 million was raised by the 2004 presidential campaigns. The 2008 election is predicted to cost more than $1 billion; 60 percent will be spent on advertising.

A pair of suicide bombings that killed at least 24 people here Wednesday have heightened fears of a coordinated offensive by Al Qaeda-linked groups against North Africa's governments and their Western allies, intelligence officials said.

Two people were killed -- including an Iraqi lawmaker -- and 10 others wounded on Thursday when a blast struck a cafeteria inside Iraq's parliament building in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, an Iraqi parliament member at the site of the blast told CNN. The explosion happened around 2:30 p.m. (6:30 a.m. ET) inside the cafeteria, where Iraqi parliamentarians frequently have lunch, lawmaker Mouna Zalzalah told CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/04/12/iraq.main/index.html

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) said yesterday that the Bush administration's "surge" strategy in Iraq is doomed to fail and criticized Gen. David H. Petraeus for offering what he called an overly optimistic assessment of the situation on the ground. Biden paraphrased comments made by Petraeus several years ago that "there comes a moment in an invasion where you have a brief opportunity to set things straight and then it turns into an occupation. He was right then; he's wrong now."

The Pentagon ordered 90-day extensions Wednesday for all active-duty Army troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, stretching their overseas tours from 12 to 15 months in a move that will exert new strain on a struggling military but allow the Bush administration to continue its troop buildup in Baghdad well into next year. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-troops12apr12,0,5896337.story?track=ntothtml

Some families at Fort Hood reacted with anger and frustration Wednesday to the announcement that their soldiers will be staying even longer in Iraq. "A year is so long apart you hardly know your husband. Now they're making it longer?" said Nichol Spencer, whose husband is a soldier at Fort Hood. Spencer is a former soldier who said the couple liked military life. But she said the constant rotations have soured them and put their marriage under duress. "At this point, it seems ridiculous for the United States to be in the middle of another country's civil war," she said, "but I guess the president has absolute power over this." Mindy Shanahan, whose husband, Dan, is a colonel serving in Iraq, said the sudden announcement "was disrespectful . . . we should have had at least 48 hours' notice, instead of having to see this on CNN."

An independent panel assessing dilapidated facilities and red tape for wounded Iraq war veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on Wednesday issued a sweeping indictment of leadership failures, inadequate training and staffing shortages. The panel, headed by two former secretaries of the Army, Togo D. West Jr. and John O. Marsh Jr., found that a high standard of care for troops when they were first evacuated from war zones and hospitalized fell apart when they became outpatients, with a “breakdown in health services” and “compassion fatigue” on the part of overworked staff members. http://www.nytimes.com:80/2007/04/12/washington/12medical.html?th&emc=th

In February 2006, nervous American soldiers in Tikrit killed an Iraqi fisherman on the Tigris River after he leaned over to switch off his engine. A year earlier, a civilian filling his car and an Iraqi Army officer directing traffic were shot by American soldiers in a passing convoy in Balad, for no apparent reason. The incidents are among many thousands of claims submitted to the Army by Iraqi and Afghan civilians seeking payment for noncombat killings, injuries or property damage American forces inflicted on them or their relatives http://www.nytimes.com:80/2007/04/12/world/middleeast/12abuse.html?th&emc=th

Four years ago this week, as American troops made their first, triumphant entrance into Baghdad, joyous Iraqis pulled down a giant statue of Saddam Hussein. It was powerful symbolism — a murderous dictator toppled, Baghdadis taking to the streets without fear, American soldiers hailed as liberators. After four years of occupation, untold numbers killed by death squads and suicide bombers, and searing experiences like Abu Ghraib, few Iraqis still look on American soldiers as liberators. Instead, thousands marked this week’s anniversary by burning American flags and marching through the streets of Najaf chanting, “Death to America.”

On Rush Limbaugh's radio program last week, Vice President Dick Cheney spoke about Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi and stated: "He went to Baghdad. He took up residence there before we ever launched into Iraq, organized the Al Qaeda operations inside Iraq…. This is Al Qaeda operating in Iraq and, as I say, they were present before we invaded Iraq." It is incredible that more than four years after the invasion, the vice president is still trying to convince the public that Saddam Hussein's regime was connected to Al Qaeda and that Zarqawi's presence in Iraq was evidence of a connection. While the vice president doesn't say directly that there was a tie between the two, his clear purpose is to blur the line between Al Qaeda — the perpetrator of the 9/11 attacks — and the Iraqi dictator in order to justify the war in Iraq. The problem is, that's simply not supported by the facts or by our intelligence community — and everyone except the vice president acknowledges it. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-levin12apr12,0,6767470.story?track=ntothtml

IRS agents are devoting more time to corporate audits that fail to find additional tax dollars, an analysis of federal records released yesterday shows. As a result, an increasing share of underreported taxes identified by the government comes from individuals, according to the analysis by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a nonpartisan research group at Syracuse University.

Growing hostility within the World Bank toward its president, Paul D. Wolfowitz, is raising questions about his ability to lead the big lending institution and raise money for a fund that assists the developing world. Wolfowitz's tenure, contentious from the start because of his earlier role as an architect of U.S. policy in Iraq, has been marred in recent months by a series of controversies. World Bank staffers disclosed that a woman with whom Wolfowitz is romantically involved received big pay raises from the bank. Sensitive board minutes regarding China have been leaked to the press, and blistering criticism has been leveled at Wolfowitz on internal electronic bulletin boards.

The White House acknowledged yesterday that e-mails dealing with official government business may have been lost because they were improperly sent through private accounts intended to be used for political activities. Democrats have been seeking such missives as part of an investigation into the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. Administration officials said they could offer no estimate of how many e-mails were lost but indicated that some may involve messages from White House senior adviser Karl Rove, whose role in the firings has been under scrutiny by congressional Democrats.

In his day job, Christian Adams writes legal briefs for the voting rights section of the Justice Department, a job that requires a nonpartisan approach. Off the clock, Adams belongs to the Republican National Lawyers Association, a group that trains hundreds of Republican lawyers to monitor elections and pushes for confirmation of conservative nominees for federal judgeships. Vice President Dick Cheney credited the 3,000-member association in 2005 with helping the Republicans win the previous two presidential elections. Last year, President Bush's political adviser Karl Rove shared with the group his insights on winning elections in key battleground states. http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/17062558.htm

A librarian who fended off an FBI demand for computer records on patrons said Wednesday that secret anti-terrorism investigations strip away personal freedoms."Terrorists win when the fear of them induces us to destroy the rights that make us free," said George Christian, executive director of Library Connection, a consortium of 27 libraries in the Hartford, Conn., area. 'Trust us' doesn't cut it when it comes to the government's power to obtain Americans' sensitive business records without a court order and without any suspicion that they are tied to terrorism or espionage," said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on civil rights.

Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews. Although Republican activists have repeatedly said fraud is so widespread that it has corrupted the political process and, possibly, cost the party election victories, about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year. Most of those charged have been Democrats, voting records show. Many of those charged by the Justice Department appear to have mistakenly filled out registration forms or misunderstood eligibility rules, a review of court records and interviews with prosecutors and defense lawyers show.

California has the nation's highest concentration of minorities living near hazardous waste facilities, according to a newly released study. Greater Los Angeles tops the nation with 1.2 million people living less than two miles from 17 such facilities, and 91% of them, or 1.1 million, are minorities. Statewide the figure was 81%.

For the second time in nine months, the Senate yesterday passed a bill that would loosen President Bush's restrictions on human embryonic stem cell research -- but once again fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a promised veto. Nineteen Republicans joined 44 Democrats and independents to pass, 63 to 34, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which would allow federally funded studies of stem cells isolated from embryos slated for disposal at fertility clinics.

This is the property of the Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Company, a small agricultural products business that investigators have identified as the source of contaminated wheat gluten that was shipped to a major pet food supplier in the United States. Some American regulators suspect there was deliberate mixing of substances. They are looking into the possibility that melamine, the chemical linked to the pets’ deaths, was mixed into the wheat gluten in China as a way to bolster the protein content, according to a person who was briefed on the investigation. The case is also exposing some of the enormous challenges confronting the global marketplace as China becomes a worldwide supplier of agricultural products.

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