Thursday, November 03, 2005

ramblins of buddy don: a lil this n that fer thursdy

sum say tiz a chinese curse, sum say tiz frum the roma n one feller studied it n cum to the cunclushyun tiz frum a 1950 sci-fi novel, but wharever it cum frum, tiz a curse fittin fer our times: may ye live in innerstin times. that we do. tiz lack a nuther chinese proverb that sez tiz better to be a dog in peacefull times than a man in a chaotick age. i reckun we are livin in that chaotick age. heres sum stories that backs that up ...
  • Rove's Future Role Is Debated; White House May Seek Fresh Start In Wake of Leak:
    Top White House aides are privately discussing the future of Karl Rove, with some expressing doubt that President Bush can move beyond the damaging CIA leak case as long as his closest political strategist remains in the administration.

    If Rove stays, which colleagues say remains his intention, he may at a minimum have to issue a formal apology for misleading colleagues and the public about his role in conversations that led to the unmasking of CIA operative Valerie Plame, according to senior Republican sources familiar with White House deliberations.

    While Rove faces doubts about his White House status, there are new indications that he remains in legal jeopardy from Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's criminal investigation of the Plame leak. The prosecutor spoke this week with an attorney for Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper about his client's conversations with Rove before and after Plame's identity became publicly known because of anonymous disclosures by White House officials, according to two sources familiar with the conversation.

    Fitzgerald is considering charging Rove with making false statements in the course of the 22-month probe, and sources close to Rove -- who holds the titles of senior adviser and White House deputy chief of staff -- said they expect to know within weeks whether the most powerful aide in the White House will be accused of a crime.
  • Food Stamp Cuts Are On Table; House Plan Would Affect 300,000:
    House Republicans are pushing to cut tens of thousands of legal immigrants off food stamps, partially reversing President Bush's efforts to win Latino votes by restoring similar cuts made in the 1990s.

    The food stamp measure is just one of several provisions in an expansive congressional budget-cutting package that critics say unfairly targets the poor and disadvantaged, especially poor children.
  • South Americans' Discontent Portends a Chilly Reception for Bush:
    BUENOS AIRES -- As President Bush prepares for a visit to South America this week, thousands of people in the region have been preparing to make sure he knows exactly what they think of him.

    In Argentina, where Bush will attend a Summit of the Americas conference Friday and Saturday, small bombs have been tossed at several American bank branches and chain stores, and soccer idol Diego Maradona has urged viewers of his popular TV talk show to join him in a protest to "say no to Bush" outside the meeting, being held in the seaside town of Mar del Plata.

    In Brazil, where Bush will meet Sunday with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, thousands of protesters have stood outside the U.S. Embassy with signs labeling Bush "Public Enemy Number One."

    The chilly welcome, according to public opinion polls, reflects a general slide of the U.S. government's popularity throughout South America. While some of the criticism centers on the war in Iraq, much of it is linked to regional economic policies such as privatization and low tariffs promoted by multinational lenders and supported by both the Clinton and Bush administrations.
  • Critics See Ammunition In Alito's Rights Record:
    Eight years ago, a trio of federal appellate judges heard the case of Beryl Bray, a housekeeping manager at a Marriott hotel in Park Ridge, N.J., who alleged that she was denied a promotion because she was black. Two of the judges concluded that Bray had shown a lower court enough evidence of discrimination that she deserved a jury trial.

    But the third judge, Samuel A. Alito Jr., disagreed, writing that the hotel had merely committed "minor inconsistencies" in its rules for filling jobs and that it would be wrong to allow "disgruntled employees to impose the costs of trial on employers who, although they have not acted with the intent to discriminate, may have treated their employees unfairly."

    Alito's dissent prompted a rebuke from his normally congenial colleagues. The law that bans employment discrimination, the other two judges wrote, "would be eviscerated" if courts followed Alito's logic.
  • Secrets and Shame:
    Ultimately the whole truth will come out and historians will have their say, and Americans will look in the mirror and be ashamed.

    Abraham Lincoln spoke of the "better angels" of our nature. George W. Bush will have none of that. He's set his sights much, much lower.

    The latest story from the Dante-esque depths of this administration was front-page news in The Washington Post yesterday. The reporter, Dana Priest, gave us the best glimpse yet of the extent of the secret network of prisons in which the C.I.A. has been hiding and interrogating terror suspects. The network includes a facility at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe.

    "The hidden global internment network is a central element in the C.I.A.'s unconventional war on terrorism," wrote Ms. Priest. "It depends on the cooperation of foreign intelligence services, and on keeping even basic information about the system secret from the public, foreign officials and nearly all members of Congress charged with overseeing the C.I.A.'s covert actions."

    The individuals held in these prisons have been deprived of all rights. They don't even have the basic minimum safeguards of prisoners of war. If they are being tortured or otherwise abused, there is no way for the outside world to know about it. If some mistake has been made and they are, in fact, innocent of wrongdoing - too bad.
  • Bush's bunker strategy; A prisoner of the neocons, the president hunkers down, awaiting the outcome of the Libby indictment:
    One year after his reelection President Bush governs from a bunker. "We go forward with complete confidence," he proclaimed in his second inaugural address. He urged "our youngest citizens" to see the future "in the determined faces of our soldiers" and to choose between "evil" and "courage." But as he listened to Bush that day, Vice President Dick Cheney knew that the election had been secured by a coverup.

    "I would have wished nothing better," declared Patrick Fitzgerald in his press conference of Oct. 28, announcing the indictment on five counts of perjury and obstruction of justice of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the vice president's chief of staff, "that, when the subpoenas were issued in August 2004, witnesses testified then, and we would have been here in October 2004 instead of October 2005. No one would have went to jail."
  • Abramoff-Scanlon School of Sleaze:
    Up-and-coming Republican hacks would do well to watch closely the ongoing Senate investigations of superstar lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his former business partner Michael Scanlon. The power duo stand accused of exploiting Native American tribes to the tune of roughly $66 million, laundering that money into bank accounts they controlled and then using it to buy favors for powerful members of Congress and the executive branch.

    But they sure did know how to play the game.

    Consider one memo highlighted in a Capitol Hill hearing Wednesday that Scanlon, a former aide to Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, sent the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana to describe his strategy for protecting the tribe's gambling business. In plain terms, Scanlon confessed the source code of recent Republican electoral victories: target religious conservatives, distract everyone else, and then railroad through complex initiatives.

    "The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees," Scanlon wrote in the memo, which was read into the public record at a hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. "Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them." The brilliance of this strategy was twofold: Not only would most voters not know about an initiative to protect Coushatta gambling revenues, but religious "wackos" could be tricked into supporting gambling at the Coushatta casino even as they thought they were opposing it.
  • What Judy forgot: Your Right to Know:
    The most intriguing revelation of Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald's news conference last week was his assertion that he would have presented his indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby a year ago if not for the intransigence of reporters who refused to testify before the grand jury. He said that without that delay, "we would have been here in October 2004 instead of October 2005."

    Had that been the case, John Kerry probably would be president of the United States today.

    Surely a sufficient number of swing voters in the very tight race would have been outraged to learn weeks before the 2004 election that, according to this indictment, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff – a key member of the White House team that made the fraudulent case for invading Iraq – "did knowingly and corruptly endeavor to influence, obstruct and impede the due administration of justice."
  • Bush's Job Approval Hits New Low:
    Tempers cooled a bit in Washington Wednesday after the partisan meltdown that brought Senate business to a halt Tuesday.

    Even so, neither Congress nor the White House will find much in a new CBS News poll to put them in a better humor. President Bush's job approval has reached the lowest level yet. Only 35 percent approve of the job he's doing.

    Congress is rated even lower. Only 34 percent approve of its work.

    Vice President Cheney has never been as popular as the president, but his favorable rating is down nine points this year to just 19 percent.
innerestin, verr innerestin!

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