Saturday, March 27, 2004

You cannot make this stuff up:

Temporary hiring freeze at some Homeland Security agencies: "The Homeland Security Department said on Friday that it is putting a hold on new hires at two bureaus for a few weeks while it analyzes whether they're spending more than their budgets allow.

Dennis Murphy, Homeland Security spokesman, said budget analysts are reviewing the payroll systems of the two bureaus, Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The analysts are trying to determine the accuracy of initial projections for their spending for the whole year. "

Yahoo! News - Clarke Known As Abrasive but Efficient: "He hoped his real message got through: 'You obviously do not think that terrorism is as important as I do since you are taking months to do anything, so get somebody else to do it who can be happy working at your pace.' "

This is great stuff. Keep the heat on, Kerry!

Yahoo! News - Kerry Slams White House Attack on Clarke: "'If Condoleezza Rice can find time to do `60 Minutes' on television before the American people, she ought to find 60 minutes to speak to the commission under oath,' Kerry told reporters. 'We're talking about the security of our country.' "

It looks like Bill Frist may have cornered himself in his attempt to destroy Clarke's credibility. You know what's tough to do? Destroy the credibility of a credible person.

Richard Clarke definitely comes across as a credible and bright guy who would not go to press with such an inflamatory book without making sure it was accurate. It would be political suicide to do anything less.

Testimony Tested By Emily�Biuso: "Without mentioning specifics, Frist said on the Senate floor that Clarke 'has told two entirely different stories.' But in later interviews, Frist seemed to be the one contradicting himself: 'Frist later retreated from directly accusing Clarke of perjury, telling reporters that he personally had no knowledge that there were any discrepancies between Clarke's two appearances.' "

Friday, March 26, 2004

What did have we learned about 9-11 intelligence this week:

1. Clinton's strategy of "Swatting Flies" (Bush's terms for it), while far from perfect, interrupts more terrorist acts than planning for 7 months to create a 3-year plan to go after Osama Bin Laden.

2. If you have a terrorism expert on staff who's worked for multiple presidents, it might be worth listening to what he has to say.

3. Identify who's trying to kill you, and focus on the threats rather than fighting unjustified wars.

4. If you're going to try to assasinate the character of someone who says you screwed up, make sure the message is consistent, Don, Dick, George, Scott, and Condi.

Great analysis of the Bush White House failures:

Fatal in Difference - Bush's catastrophic allergy to Clinton. By William�Saletan: "Notice what these four statements dismiss: Law enforcement. Pinpricks. Rolling it back. Swatting flies. That was why Clarke couldn't get a hearing. His ideas were too partial, too ad hoc, too Clintonesque. Bush wanted a bigger approach: Comprehensive. Strategy. Eliminate. Different. His 'comprehensive strategy' was delivered on Sept. 4, 2001. Is the White House embarrassed that it spent those six months studying the 'many complex issues involved in the development of the comprehensive strategy' instead of swatting the 'flies' that would kill 3,000 Americans a week later? No. It's proud."

We've finally reach the end of a very bad week for Donald Rumsfeld:

Four 9/11 Moms Watch Rumsfeld And Grumble: "It is still incredible to the moms that their Secretary of Defense continued to sit in his private dining room at the Pentagon while their husbands were being incinerated in the towers of the World Trade Center. They know this from an account posted on Sept. 11 on the Web site of Christopher Cox, a Republican Congressman from Orange County who is chairman of the House Policy Committee."

Thank you to the Minnesota State Senate for doing their part to prevent a constitutional amendment to discriminate.

Senate panel defeats gay marriage amendment 5-4: "Behind velvet ropes, guards and locked doors, a Senate committee voted 5-4 along party lines Friday to reject a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage."

We can only hope that hate filled people like Republican Senator Michele Bachmann of Stillwater will eventually see the light.

Announcing the P.U.-litzer Prizes for 2002: "SELF-SLANDER PRIZE -- Ann Coulter
Coulter is a best-selling author who likes to attack the news media for supposed left-wing bias and irresponsibility. During an August interview with the New York Observer, she said: 'My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building.' "

I caught a little Sean Hannity this afternoon where he was doing everything he could to blame 9-11 on Bill Clinton because, as Ann (living on cigarettes and chardonnay) Coulter will tell you, our ex-president is basically a 4th spoke in the Axis of Evil.

The basic case he was trying to make was that Clinton could have obtained Osama bin Laden from Sudan in 1996, but didn't do so (according to Clinton) because he didn't have a legal justification to do so at the time. Sean then scraps together some bits and pieces of news to show that Clinton was completely irresponsible for not going after OBL then.

Where Sean's argument really falls apart is when look at all of the justifiable information we had to justify capturing or killing Bin Laden by the end of the 1990's, yet there is no evidence that the Bush administration took any steps to do anything about it until they finally settled on a 3 year plan to do so . . . on September 4th, 2001.

The proposals Clarke developed in the winter of 2000-01 were not given another hearing by top decision makers until late April, and then spent another four months making their laborious way through the bureaucracy before they were readied for approval by President Bush. Time Sunday, Aug. 04, 2002

Yes, it's unfortunate that Clinton wasn't able to do more about the pending terrorist threats this country faced. Maybe if he wasn't spending so much time defending himself against frivolous independent council witch hunt investigations he would have been more focused? (After seven years and better than $65 million spent on investigating every aspect of former President Bill Clinton's post-zygote existence, Independent Council and rumored Republican senatorial candidate Robert Ray announced Wednesday that his office had evidence that Clinton lied about sex.)

Maybe the FBI could have done a better job tracking the 9-11 terrorists who were living in this country if they weren't assigned to investigate dress stains? (Tripp briefed Jones's lawyers on her conversations with Monica Lewinsky, which were electronically monitored by the FBI under the direction of Starr's office.)

Sean's really in a tough position having to fill so much hot-air time defending the indefensible on both radio & TV. Good luck.

It's both depressing and motivating to read about our President joking about the lies he used to put our country's military in harm's way, leading to the death of over 500 soldiers (thousands more injured) and thousand of Iraqi civilians.

Capital Games: "So what's wrong with this picture? Bush was somber about the sacrifice being made by U.S. troops overseas. But he obviously considered it fine to make fun of the reason he cited for sending Americans to war and to death. What an act of audacious spin. "

No WMDs. Isn't that Funny?

Thursday, March 25, 2004

It's fun watching an incumbant Republican campaign from a defensive position 8 months before an election. Let's hold Bush to the same accountability standards as No Child Left Behind? Oh, you failed as a leader? Time to boot this administration and start over.

Yahoo! News - Bush Defends His Actions in War on Terror: "Bush's defense of his administration's handling of the war on terror, both before and after the 2001 attacks in New York and Washington, were an expansion of comments he made Tuesday to counter charges from former top counterterrorism aide Richard Clarke that he did not act quickly enough to battle the terrorist threat and compromised the war on terror after the attacks by turning to a focus on Iraq (news - web sites). "

The White House can't even keep their story straight when they're trying to discredit Richard Clarke. That's not the kind of performance I'd expect out of an administration that's trying to use their ability to address terrorism as a strength. Who voted for these people?

Dick Clarke Is Telling the Truth - Why he's right about Bush's negligence on terrorism. By Fred�Kaplan: "To an unusual degree, the Bush people can't get their story straight. On the one hand, Condi Rice has said that Bush did almost everything that Clarke recommended he do. On the other hand, Vice President Dick Cheney, appearing on Rush Limbaugh's show, acted as if Clarke were a lowly, eccentric clerk: 'He wasn't in the loop, frankly, on a lot of this stuff.' This is laughably absurd. Clarke wasn't just in the loop, he was the loop.
Cheney's elaboration of his dismissal is blatantly misleading. 'He was moved out of the counterterrorism business over to the cybersecurity side of things ... attacks on computer systems and, you know, sophisticated information technology,' Cheney scoffed. Limbaugh replied, 'Well, now, that explains a lot, that answer right there.'
It explains nothing. First, he wasn't 'moved out'; he transferred, at his own request, out of frustration with being cut out of the action on broad terrorism policy, to a new NSC office dealing with cyberterrorism. Second, he did so after 9/11. (He left government altogether in February 2003.)"

Richard Clarke KOs the Bushies - The ex-terrorism official dazzles at the 9/11 commission hearings. By Fred�Kaplan

Cheney found time to discuss this country's energy policies in closed meetings with oil corporations but just couldn't find the time to meet with the CounterTerrorism Task Force. Surprised? Me neither.

Misleader.org: Daily Mislead : Public Record: Bush Ignored Terrorism Before 9/11: "According to the Washington Post, President Bush and Vice President Cheney never once convened the counterterrorism task force that was established in May 20013 -- despite repeated warnings that Al Qaida could be planning to hijack airplanes and use them as missiles. This negligence came at roughly the same time that the Vice President held at least 10 meetings of his Energy Task Force4 and attended at least six meetings with Enron executives5"

New Hampshire Gazette I Chickenhawk Headquarters

Name: Paul Wolfowitz
Born: 1943
Employer: The U.S. Taxpayer
Conflict Avoided: Vietnam
Notes: Deputy Secretary for Defense - yet another Bush administration man in the Pentagon who has no idea what it's like to wear a uniform. He got a BA at Cornell in 1965. Maybe if we'd had a guy as bright as he thinks he is in Vietnam, it would have turned out differently.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Can you picture the outraged heterosexuals saying, "But we're in love!" Yeah, no kidding. By forcing everyone share the pain on this issue, maybe we, as a nation, will come to our senses a bit faster? One can hope.

Yahoo! News - Oregon County Bans All Marriages - Period: "PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) - In a new twist in the battle over same-sex marriage roiling the United States, a county in Oregon has banned all marriages -- gay and heterosexual -- until the state decides who can and who cannot wed. ...

'It may seem odd,' Benton County Commissioner Linda Modrell told Reuters in a telephone interview, but 'we need to treat everyone in our county equally.' "

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

If you're going to cut park spending, don't be such a coward about it. Stand up and state your case for doing so like a real man from Texas would.

The Salt Lake Tribune -- Department memo told park heads to spin cuts: "A retired superintendent of Utah's Dinosaur National Monument released internal National Park Service memos Wednesday that coached park bosses on ways to hide the true nature of Bush administration cutbacks in park services from the public. "

Monday, March 22, 2004

I thought Bush was going to return "honour and integrity" to the White House? Apparently it doesn't matter what you do in the White House as long as it doesn't involve an intern.

Bush's Medicare dream turning into a nightmare: "The Health and Human Services general inspector's office is investigating a claim by the government's top expert on Medicare costs that the administration concealed from Congress the true cost of the program.

The House Ethics Committee plans to investigate whether threats and bribes were used to pass the bill in the House.

The General Accounting Office (GAO) is investigating whether the Bush administration spent millions of taxpayer dollars on TV ads touting the Medicare reform law that look suspiciously like Bush campaign commercials. "

Sunday, March 21, 2004

A well thought out perspective on Bush's terrorism failures by Paul Krugman:

Op-Ed Columnist: Weak on Terror: "It's now clear that by shifting his focus to Iraq, Mr. Bush did Al Qaeda a huge favor. The terrorists and their Taliban allies were given time to regroup; the resurgent Taliban once again control almost a third of Afghanistan, and Al Qaeda has regained the ability to carry out large-scale atrocities.

But Mr. Bush's lapses in the struggle against terrorism extend beyond his decision to give Al Qaeda a breather. His administration has also run interference for Saudi Arabia � the home of most of the 9/11 hijackers, and the main financier of Islamic extremism � and Pakistan, which created the Taliban and has actively engaged in nuclear proliferation."

It's always great to see infighting within Minnesota's Republican party. While we're potentially up against a woman who's out of touch with the needs our our state's less fortunate citizens, it still looks like a step forward compared to the bigot from Corcoran, Arlon Linder. Time to go back to Texas, Arlon.

Lindner defeated in bid to run again: "Lindner, 68, conceded defeat in a speech following the vote at the district convention, held in Rogers. He said later that he would not actively support Peppin.

He acknowledged that his inflammatory comments and sponsorship of a bill to strip gays of protection under Minnesota's Human Rights law sparked a campaign to get rid of him."

A student who happens to be a racial minority on a $5000 scholarship from an organization giving scholarships based on race is complaining about racial discrimination in the process used to award scholarships?

1. He's a hypocrite.

2. Who does he think benefits from LEGACY scholarships at ivy league schools? It seems pretty safe to me to call those scholarships for rich white folks.

3. Has he given his scholarhip back yet?

Yahoo! News - Whites-Only Scholarship Stirs R.I. College: "Mattera, who is of Puerto Rican descent, said the scholarship was a parody of minority scholarships. Mattera himself was awarded a $5,000 scholarship from the Hispanic College Fund, he said. "

You'd be hard pressed to find a more naive college student than the Roger Williams University Sailing Team member, Jamie Pattison, who's take on the issue was reported as, "Nothing gets to me more than affirmative action," said Jamie Pattison, 19, a sophomore from Marblehead, Mass. "People want handouts."

That's an interesting take from someone on a SAILING TEAM. It sounds like Jamie's really struggled to make ends meet and will probably be the first person from his family to gracuate from college - NOT.

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