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, May 13, 2007

Sunday Morning, Mother's Day News

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

"Greens Burg, Kansas"
Kansas Governor Sebelius calls for "Green" reconstruction of Greensburg following devastating EF5 tornado...

Our Kansas Governor, Kathleen Sebelius (D), has really started something wonderful and potentially historic by suggesting Greensburg be rebuilt as a model "Green" community.

The promise of a true, new, built from scratch environmentally friendly community in the wake of such a devastating disaster is the very best way to lift Greensburg up from it's rubble. And it may well prove to be a green model worth emulating for other communities, a great idea representing the future of Kansas energy independence.

This will also bring new-age inventors, investors and cutting edge alternative energy options to Kansas. But it will require versatility approach, utilizing more than one of the green options currently available, and developing new resources using the ingenuity the USA is known for.

Here's my $.02 worth...

1. START by building a local methane recovery plant, that taps local agricultural and community resources(manure, in particular, but all the biodegradable city waste could easily be included in this new construct).

2. Use that methane to produce biofuels, (paying local farmers ONLY for DRYLAND biomass and grains, encouraging them to get weaned off of irrigation.)

3 Use those biofuels FIRST to produce LOCAL electricity...

4. The inevitable surplus biodiesel, biobutanol and/or ethanol could be sold on the open market, with profits going into the community coffers. This would effectively provide the opportunity to lower local taxes, (sales and property taxes in particular.)

5. Add "peak-power" solar panel systems to every new structure, to augment the new local electric grid (the hotter the sunshine, the more electricity these panels would produce, effectively flattening peak hot-weather power usage curves)...

6. Put a half-dozen wind turbines nearby, with their power DEDICATED TO GREENSBURG, not sold to the highest corporate bidder...

Start from the ground up, using all these available green OPTIONS and Greensburg might actually be "green," when the new town is standing, whole once again. And all without the need for coal-fired or nuclear powered electricity, tapped from a monster grid that is dangerously vulnerable to terrorism and natural disasters.
For a pre-tornado post about this plan, go to

It has not even reached parliament, but the oil law that U.S. officials call vital to ending Iraq's civil war is in serious trouble among Iraqi lawmakers, many of whom see it as a sloppy document rushed forward to satisfy Washington's clock. Opposition ranges from vehement to measured, but two things are clear: The May deadline that the White House had been banking on is in doubt. And even if the law is passed, it fails to resolve key issues, including how to divide Iraq's oil revenue among its Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni regions, and how much foreign investment to allow. Those questions would be put off for future debates. The problems of the oil bill bode poorly for the other so-called benchmarks that the Bush administration has been pressuring Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's government to meet. Those include provincial elections, reversing a prohibition against former Baath Party members holding government and military positions and revision of Iraq's constitution. Republican leaders in Washington have warned administration officials that if the Iraqi government fails to meet those benchmarks by the end of the summer, remaining congressional support for Bush's Iraq policies could crumble. Their impatience was underscored Wednesday by Vice President Dick Cheney during a visit here. "I did make it clear that we believe it's very important to move on the issues before us in a timely fashion, and that any undue delay would be difficult to explain," Cheney told reporters. (...explain to whom, his oil industry bubbas???)

The nightmares that tormented Sgt. Walter Padilla after returning home from Iraq in 2004 prompted extensive treatment by Army doctors, an honorable discharge from the military and a cocktail of medication to dull his suffering. Still, Sergeant Padilla, 28, could not ward off memories of the people he had killed with a machine gun perched on his Bradley fighting vehicle. On April 1, according to the authorities and friends, he withdrew to the shadows of his Colorado Springs home, pressed the muzzle of his Glock pistol to his temple and squeezed the trigger. Sergeant Padilla had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder at Fort Carson Army base here, where concerns over the treatment of returning soldiers struggling with the condition, compelled members of Congress last month to ask the Government Accountability Office to reassess the military’s mental health policies. A letter signed by nine senators refers to “a number of upsetting allegations” at the base regarding a lack of treatment for soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder and the stigmatization of those with the condition.
(A mind is a terrible thing to waste... how many ticking human time-bombs are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, just waiting to go off... on themselves or others? And just how many homeless vets will this war, like Viet Nam, produce?)

A majority of Iraqi lawmakers have endorsed a bill calling for a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops and demanding a freeze on the number of foreign troops already in the country, lawmakers said Thursday. The legislation was being debated even as U.S. lawmakers were locked in a dispute with the White House over their call to start reducing the size of the U.S. force here in the coming months. The Iraqi bill, drafted by a parliamentary bloc loyal to anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, was signed by 144 members of the 275-member house, according to Nassar al-Rubaie, the leader of the Sadrist bloc. The Sadrist bloc, (NOT Al Queda) which sees the U.S.-led forces as an occupying army, (that fact is hard to argue with) has pushed similar bills before, but this was the first time it had garnered the support of a majority of lawmakers.

John Batiste has traveled a long way in the last four years, from commanding the First Infantry Division in Iraq to quitting the Army after three decades in uniform and, now, from his new life overseeing a steel factory here, to openly challenging President Bush on his management of the war. (call it what you want, but this is what I call "Defending the Constitution" and the American people from bad political managers)

...which brings us to the blog quote of the day, concerning Tenet's new book and his apparent lack of patriotic conscience leading up the Iraq war, from Larry Johnson at "No Quarter";
"But this fact remains--he (Tenet) actively participated in a scheme to mislead the American people and their elected representatives. Until he confesses and agrees to share some of the proceeds from his book deal with the troops and their families do not, I beg you, do not buy his book."

Scores of civilian deaths over the past months from heavy American and allied reliance on airstrikes to battle Taliban insurgents are threatening popular support for the Afghan government and creating severe strains within the NATO alliance. What angers Afghans are not just the bombings, but also the raids of homes, the shootings of civilians in the streets and at checkpoints, and the failure to address those issues over the five years of war. Afghan patience is wearing dangerously thin, officials warn. The civilian deaths are also exposing tensions between American commanders and commanders from other NATO countries, who have never fully agreed on the strategy to fight the war here, in a country where there are no clear battle lines between civilians and Taliban insurgents. At NATO headquarters in Brussels, military commanders and diplomats alike fear that divisions within the coalition and the loss of support among Afghans could undermine what until now was considered a successful spring, one in which NATO launched a broad offensive but the Taliban did not. (sounds like the Taliban are biding their time as the civilians get more and more disgusted with U.S. tactics)

Men armed with assault rifles battled for hours Saturday in a confrontation between pro- and anti-government forces that raged through residential neighborhoods in Karachi, the country's largest city, killing at least 28 people and injuring more than 100 others.The strife in the volatile port city of 15 million people, (there's a number worth noting) which has a long history of political violence, was the worst yet during a crisis that erupted two months ago when President Pervez Musharraf suspended the country's top judge. Backers of Musharraf appeared to be the driving force behind the violence in Karachi.

The U.S. military mounted an intensive search Saturday for three members of a U.S. patrol missing after a predawn ambush by insurgents in a rebel stronghold southwest of Baghdad dubbed the "triangle of death." Five other patrol members died in the ambush. Abductions of American troops are rare in Iraq. (lets hope and pray that trend remains constant until we can bring them safely home) In addition to the two soldiers killed last year, an Iraqi American soldier, Ahmed Qusai Taei, was kidnapped in October in Baghdad. He is still missing. Also Staff Sgt. Keith M. Maupin of Batavia, Ohio, was seized in April 2004 in Baghdad. He has not been found. Insurgents claimed to have killed him, but the Army said a video purporting to offer proof was inconclusive.

The Bush administration has withheld a series of e-mails from Congress showing that senior White House and Justice Department officials worked together to conceal the role of Karl Rove in installing Timothy Griffin, a protégé of Rove's, as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. The withheld records show that D. Kyle Sampson, who was then-chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, consulted with White House officials in drafting two letters to Congress that appear to have misrepresented the circumstances of Griffin's appointment as U.S. attorney and of Rove's role in supporting Griffin.

From People for the American Way
Because Gonzales was a chief architect of this administration's overreaching presidential powers and detainee torture policies, People For the American Way opposed Gonzales' confirmation as Attorney General in early 2005. We agonized then that "the risk that such a lack of independence poses...is simply too great to warrant his confirmation," and now our fears have come to pass. Gonzales puts the interests of this president over the people every time—the political interests and power of his president over the public interest of the people. This is about much more than fired U.S. attorneys. This is about illegal spying and illegal detention and disdain for Congressional oversight and the laws that protect every eligible American citizen's right to vote. This is about furthering an executive agenda over the rule of law and the interests of the American people. This is about an imperial presidency and an impaled right to habeas corpus. (The DOJ/Gonzales debacle is fairly well covered in this series, and while it is not as exhaustive on certain issues as TPM and Josh Marshall's ongoing coverage, it covers some other ground, concerning habeus corpus and other important DOJ related issues, don't miss it!)

A logical opinion, from the Seattle PI Editorial Board
(On the Net: A podcast of McKay and Iglesias talking to the P-I is on http://www.seattlepi.com/)
As the proud facade of justice becomes more besmirched by actions that were his responsibility, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is more ensconced than ever. It's a pity for the country Gonzales professes to serve, if not the president to whom Gonzales effectively gives his highest loyalty. Gonzales should resign over the politicization of the Department of Justice, brought to light by the firings of Seattle-based U.S. Attorney John McKay and others. The administration is trying at all costs to hang with Gonzales. In the latest dissembling, Republicans are floating explanations about keeping Gonzales because of the difficulty of having a replacement confirmed... ...The restoration of Justice can begin while Gonzales remains and it must continue after he and the Bush administration are gone. But Gonzales' resignation or even his firing would be a large step toward restoring the standing of the U.S. Justice Department damaged by the attorney general, his underlings and their personal and e-mail web of political cronies in the White House. Hearing what straight arrows the eight fired U.S. attorneys are and of the utterly bogus (political) reasons for which they were fired rattled us for several reasons. The first is the gall with which the Bush administration has politicized Justice. Communications, especially regarding pending investigations, between the White House and the DOJ, should be limited to a handful of people, thereby minimizing even the appearance of partisan influence on the Justice Department. But once the president appointed Gonzales (his general counsel while he was the governor of Texas and later, his White House counsel), the die had been cast, and the DOJ is now tainted. There are currently 417 White House staffers and officials who are in contact with dozens of DOJ folks regarding open criminal investigations. In President Clinton's time, only four White House officials were authorized to contact the deputy attorney general, the attorney general or the associate attorney general. That's it. On Thursday, it was reported that senior officials in the White House and the DOJ colluded in withholding e-mails in an attempt to hide Karl Rove's role in this scandal.

A New York Times analysis shows that the number of earmarks for religious organizations, while small compared with the overall number, have increased sharply in recent years. From 1989 to January 2007, Congress approved almost 900 earmarks for religious groups, totaling more than $318 million, with more than half of them granted in the Congressional session that included the 2004 presidential election. (which suggests that Roves "f*&^ing faith-based thing" was very effectively used to buy votes in the 2004 election scam!) By contrast, the same analysis showed fewer than 60 earmarks for faith-based groups in the Congressional session that covered 1997 and 1998. Earmarks are individual federal grants that bypass the normal appropriations and competitive-bidding procedures. They have been blamed for feeding the budget deficit and have figured in several Capitol Hill bribery scandals, prompting recent calls for reform from White House and Congressional leaders. They are distinct from the competitive, peer-reviewed grants that have traditionally been used by religious institutions and charities to obtain money for social services. As the number of faith-based earmarks grew, the period from 1998 to 2005 saw a tripling in the number of religious organizations listed as clients of Washington lobbying firms and a doubling in the amount they paid for services, according to an analysis by The Times. (I wonder which cults received the most money? Where are those numbers?)

No comments: