.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

 

Abilene Democrats clean up highway 707 - Oct. 1

 
Abilene - Taylor County Democrats, below left, held their quarterly cleanup of highway 707 north of I-20 and exit 277 near Flying J in Tye, Texas, today.

Abilene Democrats
Pictured (L-R) are Jewel & Jim Halford, a young boy who is a neighbor in the area worked, who helped us, Frank & Vivian Sayre, and Stan Treanor.  Those not pictured who also helped were Sharon Norman, Harroll Backus, Roger & Alice Spier and Dave & Becky Haigler.  This photo shows the tailgate party afterwards in the Flying J parking lot where hotdogs and cookies were enjoyed by all.
 
The project was not finished today and will be continued on Oct. 15 starting at 9 a.m.
 
Other recent DemLog articles:
 
  • NYT-Oct. 1: GAO auditors say Bush education propaganda illegal
  • Barhorst: Where The Bush Administration War Propaganda leads.
  • Slate: Possible female prospects for Supreme Court
  • AFP: Rummy says Iraqi forces getting better
  • Slate-Papers: Miller Time Served - Sept. 30
  • AFP: Former U.S. marine military spokesman says war co-opted U.S. media, joins Al-Jazeera
  • MMfA: CBS runs one-sided pro-DeLay claims
  •  
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    http://demlog.blogspot.com.
     
    Presented by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas

     

    NYT: GAO auditors say Bush education propaganda illegal

    WASHINGTON - Federal auditors said on Friday that the Bush administration violated the law by buying favorable news coverage of President Bush's education policies, by making payments to the conservative commentator Armstrong Williams, below right, and by hiring a public relations company to analyze media perceptions of the Republican Party.

    Armstrong WilliamsIn a blistering report, the investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said the administration had disseminated "covert propaganda" in the United States, in violation of a statutory ban.

    The contract with Mr. Williams and the general contours of the public relations campaign had been known for months. The report Friday provided the first definitive ruling on the legality of the activities.

    Lawyers from the accountability office, an independent nonpartisan arm of Congress, found that the administration systematically analyzed news articles to see if they carried the message, "The Bush administration/the G.O.P. is committed to education."

    The auditors declared: "We see no use for such information except for partisan political purposes. Engaging in a purely political activity such as this is not a proper use of appropriated funds."

    The report also sharply criticized the Education Department for telling Ketchum Inc., a public relations company, to pay Mr. Williams for newspaper columns and television appearances praising Mr. Bush's education initiative, the No Child Left Behind Act.

    When that arrangement became public, it set off widespread criticism. At a news conference in January, Mr. Bush said: "We will not be paying commentators to advance our agenda. Our agenda ought to be able to stand on its own two feet."

    But the Education Department has since defended its payments to Mr. Williams, saying his commentaries were "no more than the legitimate dissemination of information to the public."

    The G.A.O. said the Education Department had no money or authority to "procure favorable commentary in violation of the publicity or propaganda prohibition" in federal law.

    The ruling comes with no penalty, but under federal law the department is supposed to report the violations to the White House and Congress.

    In the course of its work, the accountability office discovered a previously undisclosed instance in which the Education Department had commissioned a newspaper article. The article, on the "declining science literacy of students," was distributed by the North American Precis Syndicate and appeared in numerous small newspapers around the country. Readers were not informed of the government's role in the writing of the article, which praised the department's role in promoting science education.

    The auditors denounced a prepackaged television story disseminated by the Education Department. The segment, a "video news release" narrated by a woman named Karen Ryan, said that President Bush's program for providing remedial instruction and tutoring to children "gets an A-plus."

    Ms. Ryan also narrated two videos praising the new Medicare drug benefit last year. In those segments, as in the education video, the narrator ended by saying, "In Washington, I'm Karen Ryan reporting."

    The television news segments on education and on Medicare did not state that they had been prepared and distributed by the government. The G.A.O. did not say how many stations carried the reports.

    The public relations efforts came to light weeks before Margaret Spellings became education secretary in January. Susan Aspey, a spokeswoman for the secretary, said on Friday that Ms. Spellings regarded the efforts as "stupid, wrong and ill-advised." She said Ms. Spellings had taken steps "to ensure these types of missteps don't happen again."

    The investigation by the accountability office was requested by Senators Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey and Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, both Democrats. Mr. Lautenberg expressed concern about a section of the report in which investigators said they could not find records to confirm that Mr. Williams had performed all the activities for which he billed the government.

    The Education Department said it had paid Ketchum $186,000 for services performed by Mr. Williams's company. But it could not provide transcripts of speeches, articles or records of other services invoiced by Mr. Williams, the report said.

    Source:  New York Times.

    Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
    Published at: http://demlog.blogspot.com

     

    Barhorst: Where The Bush Administration War Propaganda leads

    Last Marine in Unit Mourns 11 Lost Friends

    The combat was certainly not what the 21-year-old Williams had expected.

    "I didn't ever think we'd get engaged (with the enemy)," said the soft-spoken, stocky Marine from Helena, Mont. "I just had the basic view of the American public — it can't be that bad out there."

    To read the entire AP-Yahoo article, "The Last Marine," click here.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Terry's comments: I pulled these two paragraphs from the article because they really witness the damage the "everything's going great in Iraq" propaganda of the Bush administration does to our combat troops. The guerilla war in Iraq is the deadliest kind of war our troops have been involved in since Vietnam. Our tanks, air superiority and armoured fighting vehicles are useless. The fighting is on a personal level where our soldier or marine is facing the enemy over-the-bead or facing a hidden bomb.

    There will be those who say "this is what they're trained for," but even training to the finest edge can be blunted by the political language spewed by the in-power politicians. This is especially true when these very politicians are denigrating those who want the troops out because of the horribly unbalanced trade off of gain versus casualties.

    Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
    Moderator: Lone_Star_Democrats


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    Friday, September 30, 2005

     

    Slate: Possible female prospects for Supreme Court

    By Emily Bazelon - Posted Friday, Sept. 30, 2005

    The Bush administration has recently been professing its interest in nominating a woman or a minority to the Supreme Court—and to that end, floating a new list of judges as candidates. Two of the top names, Priscilla Owens and Janet Rogers Brown, are familiar from the Senate battle over the filibuster that eventually ended with their appointments to the federal courts of appeal. But along with them (and with these candidates) there are some judges on the shortlist who remain fairly obscure. In case the White House decides to surprise, here's a guide to the views the new shortlist judges have expressed in their written opinions.

    Photograph of Judge Karen J. Williams
    Judge Karen J. Williams, left

    Age: 54
    Graduated from: University of South Carolina Law Center
    She used to be: A lawyer in private practice in Orangeburg, S.C.
    She's now: a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit (appointed 1992)

    Her confirmation battle: Williams is a solid conservative without a smoking-gun abortion decision to her credit or debit. She has urged the courts to show broad deference to the president's war powers and rejected the notion that the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance means that the pledge shouldn't be recited in public school. Both stances are sure to please Bush's base. Not much here for anyone else.

    Photograph of Judge Consuela M. CallahanJudge Consuela M. Callahan, right

    Age: 55
    Graduated from: McGeorge School of Law
    She used to be: Deputy city attorney for the city of Stockton, Calif., supervisory district attorney for San Joaquin County, Calif., California Superior Court judge, California appeals court judge
    She's now: A judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit (appointed 2003)

    Her confirmation battle: As a diversity pick, Callahan is a twofer. But she hasn't been on the 9th Circuit long enough to amass much of a record there. That will make it harder for Democrats to fight her—and for Republicans to get excited.

    Full Slate story on 3 female judicial prospects for Supreme Court.


     

    AFP: Rummy says Iraqi forces getting better

    Iraqi troops
    Iraqi forces, right, march in a handover cermony south of Baghdad this week.
     
    Iraqi security forces are larger and stronger every day, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said, dismissing as 'irrelevant' that only one battalion is fully capable of operating on its own.
     
    (AFP/File/Qassem Zein)

     

    Slate-Papers: Miller Time Served - Sept. 30

    By Eric Umansky - Posted Friday at 3:12 AM CT

    Judy MillerThe NYT and Washington Post off-lead, and Los Angeles Times fronts, NYT reporter (left) Judith Miller's release from jail after she agreed to spill the beans on her chat with the vice president's deputy chief of a staff, Scooter Libby. Miller served about 12 weeks in jail and is scheduled to testify today.

    Everybody leads with the Senate confirmation of now Chief Justice John Roberts (shown below right being sworn in by Justice John Paul Stevens). The final vote was 78-22, with half of Democrats joining all Republicans to confirm. He was sworn in soon after. As the New York Times puts it, Roberts is now "the youngest chief justice since John Marshall took the oath 204 years ago."

    The papers all mention increasing chatter on the President Bush's next pick, with the Wall Street Journal citing "indications" that the president is looking for a "staunch conservative who is relatively young" and therefore wouldn't have a big paper trail for Democrats to glom onto.

    swearing inBack when the investigation of the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame was launched, Libby signed a waiver allowing all reporters to spill about their conversations with him. Miller along with other reporters considered that waiver to be bogus. The NYT's publisher said Miller agreed to testify only after she "received a direct and uncoerced waiver."

    Libby's lawyers said they told Miller's people a year ago that the old waiver meant she was free to talk. Miller wanted something more personal, so according to the NYT, "She authorized her lawyers to seek further clarification from Mr. Libby's representatives in late August." [Emphasis added.] As the LAT point out, Lewis "Scooter" LibbyLibby (left) has given just that kind of personal waiver to other reporters. That raises a question: Why didn't Miller try to get a personal waiver until late August? The NYT's Adam Liptak said on NPR over the summer—Aug. 2—that "Judy and her lawyers have declined to answer the question of whether they have done anything at all to contact the source and try to obtain a satisfactory waiver."

    The prosecutor in the CIA leak case has said Miller was the last person who needed to spill. So, indictments, or simply a closed investigation, could be coming soon.

    The LAT and NYT front a triple bombing in the mostly Shiite city of Balad, just above Baghdad. About 80 people were killed. One explosion hit an outdoor market, and the NYT says another bomb blew up as emergency workers arrived. Five American soldiers were also killed by a roadside bomb in Ramadi.

    The LAT has horrific details on the Balad bombings: "Firemen tried unsuccessfully to extinguish the flames engulfing a minibus packed with children. The firefighters eventually ran out of water as they battled several blazes." Another bombing this morning in Hilla killed seven Iraqis.

    The LAT and WP both give a bit of Page One play to top generals who headed up to Capitol Hill and acknowledged that the number of Iraqi battalions capable of operating independently dropped from three to one. The Journal adds that the commanders also said Iraq's police and army are "riddled with insurgent sympathizers." Oh, and the generals said Iraqi forces are getting better.

    The NYT has a slightly different takeaway from the generals' chat. It inexplicably skips the state of the Iraqi army and instead offers: "OFFICIALS FEAR CHAOS IF IRAQIS VOTE DOWN THE CONSTITUTION." Which is true enough; what it misses, and the story doesn't mention, is that many independent analysts—including Slate's Fred Kaplan—"fear chaos" if the constitution is approved.

    A week after a similar report in the WP, the NYT waddles in with, "HOUSING FOR STORM'S EVACUEES LAGGING FAR BEHIND U.S. GOALS." Which isn't a problem, except that buried under that headline is a bit of good news and what should be the lead: "[U]nder an alternative FEMA program to give victims cash to find their own housing, 332,000 households have been approved in just a week." Just last week, the Post said the administration was undecided about such a program.

    A front-page LAT piece says an Italian court has issued an arrest warrant for another American—a U.S. embassy official—involved in the "rendering" of an al-Qaida suspect who was snatched off the street and sent to Egypt. The offical is an apparently a female CIA agent, operating undercover. But not so deep:

    Efforts to speak to the woman at her posting in Latin America were not successful. In a brief conversation, a person answering the phone initially identified herself as the woman; when told she was speaking to a reporter, however, she immediately said she had no idea who the woman was and refused to respond further.

    Eric Umansky (www.ericumansky.com) writes "Today's Papers" for Slate. He can be reached at todayspapers@slate.com.  Source:  Slate Magazine.


    Thursday, September 29, 2005

     

    AFP: Former U.S. marine military spokesman says war co-opted U.S. media, joins Al-Jazeera

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 (AFP) - A former US military spokesman who appeared in a documentary on the Iraq war has been hired by Al-Jazeera International, the Qatar-based network confirmed.

    Former US Marine Captain Josh Rushing, seen here in a recent handout photo released by Al Jazeera International (AJI), has joined the 24-hour English-language news network.(AFP/AJI-HO/File)

    Josh Rushing, right, a former US Marine captain, will be based in the network's Washington office in a role that has yet to be determined, a statement said.

    In 2003 Rushing, now 33, was a military spokesman at a US Army media center in Doha. He was a central figure in the documentary "Control Room" about the US military's handling of the press during the war which, according to the statement, chronicled Rushing's "struggles as the United States military's lead spokesman to the Arab world during the invasion of Iraq."

    "In a time when American media has become so nationalized, I'm excited about joining an organization that truly wants to be a source of global information," Rushing was quoted as saying in the statement.

    "I witnessed during the war how the US media was co-opted by the US government's messaging," he said. "I am proud to be part of a network that believes in the power of un-spun truth."

    Full AFP-Yahoo News story.

    Presented by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas.

    Published at http://demlog.blogspot.com.


     

    MMfA: CBS runs one-sided pro-DeLay claims

    Washington - Following the indictment of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) on conspiracy charges, the nightly news broadcasts on the three major television networks ran stories on the unfolding scandal. But while all Ronnie Earlethree programs covered DeLay's accusation that Ronnie Earle, left, the Travis County, Texas, district attorney who filed the charges, is a partisan Democrat on a political vendetta, only ABC and NBC noted that during his career Earle has prosecuted substantially more Democrats than Republicans. CBS allowed DeLay's accusation to go unchallenged.

    Full story:  Media Matters for America.


     

    AAS: Roberts sworn in - Sept. 29

    Roberts with Bush & Stevens, right
    Washington - John Roberts, Jr., was sworn in by acting Chief Justice John Paul Stevens, right, with President Bush, today at the White House.

    Roberts called the Senate's 78-22 bipartisan vote for him "confirmation of what is for me a bedrock principle, that judging is different from politics." All of the Senate's 55 Republicans, independent James Jeffords of Vermont and half of the 44 Democrats supported him.

    A crowd including seven of the eight sitting justices, Roberts' parents, Rosemary and John, Sr., children John and Josephine, Senate supporters and White House well-wishers stood and applauded as Roberts kissed his wife and shook Stevens' hand. The audience also included Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and White House counsel Harriet Miers, both of whom have been mentioned as candidates for O'Connor's seat.

    The only justice not at the White House was Antonin Scalia. He had a previous engagement that could not be broken, a court spokeswoman said. According the Federalist Society Web site, he was leading a two-day seminar on the separation of powers in Avon, Colo.

    Not since John Marshall, confirmed in 1801 at 45, has there been a younger chief. Roberts is the first new Supreme Court justice since 1994.

    Full story:  Austin American-Statesman.


     

    Reuters: US trying to understand Iraq insurgency-Negroponte

    By David Morgan - 1 hour, 38 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. intelligence is still struggling to understand the nature of Iraq's insurgency more than two years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, U.S. intelligence chief John Negroponte said on Thursday.

    Click here to read entire article.

    Terry's Remarks:
    I don't understand why the Bush appointee quoted above is having a problem with the attitudes of the Iraqis. If he needs a couple experts on the situation there are still a few Japanese and Filippinos that could explain such a situation through their living experience with such an insurgency.

    The Japanese would explain that they were bringing the Philippines into the "Asian Co-prosperity Sphere," so they might benefit by being within the great family of Asians working for all Asians against their western exploiters and their puppet dictators.

    The Filippinos would explain that the Japanese had taken over a colonial occupation and replaced with another that did not respect the ambitions of the citizens of the Philippines or their Islamic and Christian religious faith. Therefore, they became insurgents. They remained so, no matter how badly or how wonderfully they were treated by the Japanese occupiers. They did not want to be occupied or colonized.

    Come to think of it, Bush, Rumsfeld and some generals and CIA types might want to listen to this history a bit, also, as well as our much vaunted intelligence agencies. The terror networks appear to have studied it closely.

    When the USA reoccupied the Philippines, they screwed things up so badly they created an atmosphere that led to a dictatorship and an insurgent army of Islamics who are still at war with the Philippine government.


    Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
    Moderator: Lone_Star_Democrats


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    Van Os: Government corruption is non-partisan

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   Contact: David Van Os
    Office (210) 225-1955;                 Cell (210) 332-7070

    David Van Os, right, with friend Dave HaiglerSan Antonio lawyer David Van Os (shown here with his friend Dave Haigler, left), who is seeking the Democratic
    nomination for Texas Attorney General in the 2006 elections, issued this statement today on the indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas:

    "It is a sad day for our great country when a public prosecutor of impeccable reputation finds cause to indict the Majority Leader of the United States House of Representatives for criminal conspiracy to corrupt the political processes by which the people govern themselves in our great democracy.  It is an even sadder day for the great state of Texas when the accused is a Congressman from Texas and the indictment charges that felonies were committed in the capital city of Texas for the purpose of corrupting Texas elections. 

    "For much too long a time, unholy connections between the financial power of corporate money and the political power of self-serving politicians have produced bucketfuls of slime whose putrid stink fouls our noble experiment in self-government. In this first and greatest of Constitutional democracies, every branch and level of government belongs exclusively to the people. The people are the government. When power-hungry politicians and money-hungry corporations join together to hijack the public instruments of government so as to promote private gain for themselves and their cronies, they betray the very essence of free government and breach every trust reposed in government by its owners, the people. 

    "The stink of special-interest government is not a partisan problem; it is a problem for all and a crisis for democracy.  Self-promoting politicians and their corporate allies who subvert democratic institutions into tools of self-serving power must be exterminated like pests wherever they infect the houses of self-government.  Government at all levels and in all branches must be restored to the people.  This is a moral imperative of our time.

    "Those who cry, 'Politics!' over today's indictment do not know Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle.  Those of us who know him know that he is a public prosecutor of peerless integrity. With Ronnie Earle, justice is scrupulously nonpartisan, unless you want to call him a partisan for the public interest. The historical record will show that the public figures he has prosecuted include many more Democrats than Republicans, such as a popular Democratic Attorney General of Texas and a powerful Democratic Speaker of the Texas House.  All Texans and Americans who love democracy should applaud the unfailing courage of Ronnie Earle in pursuing the interests of the people against the self-interests of the powerful. 

    "The relationships between Congressman DeLay and his corporate cronies did not grow in a vacuum.  For too long we the people have been far too permissive and forgiving about the evils of political and corporate cronyism.  We must all join together to cleanse the stench of self-dealing from every nook and cranny of the body politic."
     
    Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
    published at: http://demlog.blogspot.com
    and http://rushor.blogspot.com

     

    AP: Overdue Credit Card Bills Hit Record High

    By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer Thu Sep 29, 5:13 AM ET

    WASHINGTON - Charge it! That familiar refrain is producing an unwanted response for more Americans: Your bill is overdue! Surging energy prices, low personal savings and the higher cost of borrowing have combined to produce a record level of overdue credit card bills.

    The American Bankers Association reported Wednesday that the percentage of credit card accounts 30 or more days past due climbed to an all-time high of 4.81 percent in the April-to-June period. It could grow in the months ahead, experts said.

    Click here for complete article.

    Terry's Remarks:

    First we hear that the economy is just fine and then something like this comes out. Logically, it says to me, the middle and poor classes are being driven further away from the monied class. Add to this the fear they have promulgated via the new Bankruptcy laws and you have a disintegration of the financial patterns built over the last 200 years that brought the classes financially closer with a smoother curve between bottom and top.

    All I can say is "Don't buy it." Don't get taken in by credit card "rewards." Ask a merchant for a discount for cash in any purchase large enough have to use a credit card--but save the money first.

    It isn't going to get better as long as the Republicans are in power. Wages are going to stagnate while energy commodities and the stock market stay up at astronomincal levels. More jobs, with relatively less pay, are going to be created. Health care is already going with the money--expect it to get wose as long as it is a "for profit" industry rather than a public service.

    There is a fair chance that a majority of the "middle" class will become monetary credit card slaves. Forced by the self-serving rules and protocols of the credit card companies into a position where the majority of their discretionary spending money is given over to paying the interest and fines of the credit card companies.

    Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
    Moderator: Lone_Star_Democrats


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    A Letter From The EPA

    CONCERNS OVER HURRICANE COSTS MAY FURTHER SQUEEZE EPA'S FY06 FUNDS


    _______________________________________________


    Date: September 30, 2005 -

    As congressional concerns mount over federal spending to rebuild
    hurricane damage in the Gulf Coast, EPA may face additional cuts to its
    fiscal year 2006 budget, which already reduced agency spending by $200
    million from FY05 levels, Capitol Hill sources say.

    While no decisions have been made, the sources say EPA may face another
    across-the-board rescission, a mandate to redirect funds from the clean
    and drinking water state revolving loan funds (SRF) to pay for water
    system repairs in the devastated areas, and cuts to programs the
    Republican leadership and the Bush administration consider low
    priorities.

    Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (TN) and other Republican leaders
    have directed all committee chairmen to "review carefully those programs and
    policies within their jurisdiction that must be considered low priority
    and that could be included as offsets to the emergency funding
    increases we have already enacted and will enact in the coming weeks," according
    a Sept. 27 letter they sent to President Bush. The letter also says that
    if the president requests further rescissions to "previously
    appropriated" budget authority, Congress will give the request
    "expedited consideration." Relevant documents are available on
    InsideEPA.com.

    The call responds to growing concerns over how the government should
    fund the disaster relief efforts, with lawmakers seeking to cut corners
    on federal spending as the cost of reconstruction after hurricanes Rita
    and Katrina is projected to total over $200 billion.

    EPA is already facing severe budget constraints, having seen its budget
    shrink by about $200 million in the fiscal year starting Oct. 1. Of
    that cut, $190 million has come out of the clean water SRF, which is
    appropriated at $900 million this fiscal year.

    Congressional aides say EPA may now face another across-the-board cut,
    after Congress imposed an additional $80-million rescission on EPA
    programs in the agency's FY06 appropriations bill that President Bush
    signed into law in August. That mandate is forcing EPA to cut money
    from grants, interagency agreements and congressional earmarks, but one
    agency source says EPA is still finalizing how to implement the
    requirement.

    Another rescission is "very possible," one House source says. "Given
    the funding concerns, there may be a mandate for another cut if there is an
    omnibus bill or through another appropriations bill."

    Senate aides say they are still working through the details, but a
    group of House conservatives last week issued a proposal to eliminate a host
    of programs, including the clean water SRF, Energy Star program and the
    Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program. The blueprint says doing so
    would save over $25 billion in the next 10 years. While the plan
    already is meeting resistance from committee chairmen and Republican
    leadership, critics worry that some of the proposals may get attention from
    congressional appropriators looking for ways to offset the massive
    reconstruction costs.

    For the emergency response efforts thus far, EPA has been paid by the
    Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which has been granted
    about $60 billion since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in late
    August. EPA has received $138.1 million from FEMA and the U.S. Army
    Corps of Engineers, but $67.3 million is a direct pass-through to the
    Coast Guard, according to Sept. 28 testimony by EPA Inspector General
    Nikki Tinsley at a House hearing.

    Despite the funding from FEMA, EPA sources say there may be other areas
    where that money may not cover the agency's efforts. For instance,
    federal budget officers and congressional appropriators are trying to
    determine whether billions of dollars in damages to wastewater and
    drinking water systems may need to be funded through EPA's clean and
    drinking water SRF -- rather than through the emergency funds Congress
    provided to FEMA, a Senate Appropriations Committee source says.

    "There is no precedent for this," the Senate source says. "There's a
    bit of an open question of whether EPA is directly involved with funding
    the repairs of [drinking and wastewater] systems through the SRF or if it
    should be more directly dealt with through FEMA."

    Funding the replacements and repairs could significantly undermine the
    SRF program, which environmentalists and water utilities say is already
    underfunded. The SRF program is intended to provide loans to states and
    localities to repair and replace aging water infrastructure. EPA also
    has the authority to provide emergency loans to water systems under
    section 1442(b) of the Safe Drinking Water Act, but Congress has not
    appropriated that money since the agency has never invoked that
    authority.

    But House aides say the money for infrastructure upgrades will likely
    come from FEMA. One source representing water systems says FEMA is now
    telling public water systems in the region that "[FEMA] will help them
    get restored to the status quo ante."

    The American Water Works Association issued a report this week that
    said a preliminary estimate for repairing and replacing the water supply
    infrastructure would amount to $2.25 billion. The group says $1.6
    billion would be needed to fix 47 water systems that serve 10,000
    people and $650 million would repair 885 groundwater systems that serve
    smaller communities. The report says an additional $40 million per year would
    be needed to address the debt that public water systems in the region may
    face.

    Meanwhile, the Senate on Sept. 27 unanimously approved a bill sponsored
    by Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe
    (R-OK) that would make technical changes to the wastewater and drinking
    water SRFs for water systems in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. The
    bill, S. 1709, would give water systems in the region interest-free
    loans under the clean water SRF, and make other procedural changes to
    help hard-hit utilities obtain federal money. -- Manu Raju

    John L. Ward, PREP Coordinator/OPP Field Liaison U.S.EPA,OPP,FEAD,GISB
    77 W.Jackson Blvd. (D-8J)
    Chicago,Il 60604

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Posted By Terry D. Barhorst
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


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    Associated Press: U.S. Forces Raid Homes of Sunni Officials

    By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 42 minutes ago

    BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. forces raided the homes of two officials from a prominent Sunni Arab organization Thursday, arresting bodyguards and confiscating weapons, Sunni officials said.
    Adnan al-Dulaimi, secretary-general of the Conference for
    Iraq's People, said soldiers in tanks and Humvees, with two helicopters circling overhead, broke into his home in western Baghdad at 2:30 a.m., put him and his family in one room, and searched the house.

    "It was as if they were attacking a castle, not the home of a normal person who advises Iraq's interim government and has called for reconciliation and renounced sectarianism," al-Dulaimi told a news conference after the raid.

    Click for complete article

    Terry's comment:
    This kind of action parallels the descriptions of occupations by Axis forces during World War two. Is it any wonder that the religious sect "insurgents" have few problems gathering recruits. Iraq could easily morph into another Yugoslavia that crumbles into ethno-religious cleansings and civil war.



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    AP: GOP shaken up over DeLay indictment - Sept. 29

    Representative Tom Delay, R-Tex., talks to reporters on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2005, after resigning as House Majority Leader following his indictment by a Texas grand jury on conspiracy charges.  DeLay said he plans to retain is congressional seat. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook)

    By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

    2 hours, 21 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON - Shadowed by scandal, House Republicans face an uncertain new era after a day of upheaval that left Majority Leader Tom DeLay (right) under indictment and forced to surrender his powerful post.

    "What we do here is more important than who we are," Missouri Rep. Roy Blunt (news, bio, voting record) said Wednesday after the rank and file named him as DeLay's replacement, at least for the time being. "We have an agenda to move forward here."

    Democrats, 11 long years in the minority, said the GOP offered nothing of the sort.

    DeLay's indictment marks "the latest example that Republicans in Congress are plagued by a culture of corruption at the expense of the American people," said Rep. Nancy Pelosi, below left, (news, bio, voting record) of California, the Democratic leader.

    PelosiEven as DeLay professed his innocence and his lawyers said they hoped to avoid having him handcuffed, fingerprinted and photographed, potential for fresh controversy surfaced.

    Records on file with the Federal Election Commission show that new Majority Leader Roy Blunt's (below right) political action committee has paid roughly $88,000 in fees since 2003 to a consultant facing indictment in Texas in the same case as DeLay.

    Roy Blunt, at mike, with Hastert, rightKeri Ann Hayes, executive director of the Rely on Your Beliefs Fund, said officials of the organization have not discussed whether to end the relationship with the consultant, Jim Ellis, in light of his indictment.

    "We haven't had that conversation," she said, adding that so far, Ellis' indictment had no impact on his work.

    DeLay's indictment produced a public show of unity among Republicans and a scarcely concealed outbreak of power politics, at a time when polls show dwindling support for President Bush and the GOP-controlled Congress. Additionally, Senate Majority Leader Bill First, R-Tenn., faces federal investigations into the sale of stock.

    House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Blunt and other senior GOP lawmakers said they expected DeLay to be exonerated. "This temporary arrangement will allow us to continue our work until (he) can resume his duties as majority leader," said Rep. Eric Cantor (news, bio, voting record) of Virginia, the deputy whip who will assume many of Blunt's old duties in the leadership shuffle.

    Other expressions of support were more tempered.

    "It is our sincere hope that justice will remain blind to politics. As Tom DeLay clearly stated today, House Republicans will continue to focus on the business of the American people," party chairman Ken Mehlman said in a statement that did not assert the Texan's innocence.

    Some Republican lawmakers, who refused to be identified by name as a condition for disclosing their personal opinions, said they doubted DeLay would ever return to the leadership table. Others spoke of the possibility for political damage.

    "Any time you have anything that smacks of scandal, it hurts all of us," said Rep. Joel Hefley (news, bio, voting record) of Colorado, who served as chairman of the House ethics committee at a time when the panel three times admonished DeLay for his actions.

    Several officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said an aide to Hastert contacted California Rep. David Dreier, below left, (news, bio, voting record) on Monday about assuming the majority leader's David Dreierduties in the event DeLay was indicted. Several lawmakers said such a change would have made it easier for the Texan to eventually regain his post.

    But by Tuesday, as the grand jury completed its work in Austin, Texas, Blunt forcefully asserted his claim to the job in conversations with the speaker, according to several GOP officials.

    At the same time, conservative lawmakers quickly made known their unhappiness with Dreier as a potential stand-in for DeLay.

    At a private midday meeting, several conservative lawmakers argued that Dreier's voting record was too moderate. According to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, some participants in the meeting said the Californian had voted in favor of expanded federal funding for stem cell research and against a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, [and they expressed concerns about his sexual orientation]. There also was grumbling that the Californian favored a less restrictive policy on immigration than many conservatives.

    "There was a lot of discussion in that room about will ... he advance the conservative agenda?" said Rep. Jack Kingston (news, bio, voting record), R-Ga., who attended the meeting and said he personally would have been comfortable with Dreier in the post.

    Other officials said a show of hands near the end of the session showed support for a postponement in selecting a temporary majority leader if it were to be Dreier. A delegation was dispatched to inform Hastert, who in the meantime had decided to recommend Blunt instead.

    The speaker presented his recommendation not long afterward at a closed-door meeting of the rank and file, saying it was designed as a stopgap solution.

    But even then some lawmakers expressed concern about inadvertently making an open-ended commitment, and Hastert pledged that the issue could be reopened in three months' time.

    That leaves DeLay little time to clear his name and reclaim his post before a potential round of elections in which Blunt, Cantor or others face challenges, with the winners emerging with clear mandates of their own.

    DeLay flashed defiance during the day as he embarked on a round of post-indictment media interviews. Summoning reporters to his office in the Capitol — the one he would soon vacate — he Austin prosecutor Ronnie Earledenounced Texas prosecutor Ronald Earle (right) as "an unabashed partisan zealot."

    "I am innocent. Mr. Earle and his staff know it. And I will prove it," he added.

    "Our job is to prosecute abuses of power and to bring those abuses to the public," Earle responded in Texas. Rebutting charges of partisanship, he said he has investigated four times as many Democrats as Republicans.

    DeLay, 58, was indicted on a single felony count of conspiring with two political associates — Ellis and John Colyandro — to violate state election law by using corporate donations illegally. Texas law prohibits use of corporate contributions to advocate the election or defeat of candidates.

    DeLay is the highest-ranking member of Congress ever to be indicted, according to Don Ritchie, a Senate historian.

    Source:  AP-Yahoo News.


    Wednesday, September 28, 2005

     

    Bad Day For GOP

    If it isn't bad enough that Le Bug exterminator from Texas got indicted today, the SEC also launched a formal inquiry into the HCA stock dealings of Senator Bill Frist (R. Tennessee.) This means that SEC investigators now have subpoena power to interview whomever they want regarding the senator's sale of stock. Ouch! If the SEC pursues a tenacious investigation on possible insider trading, who will cover and who will spill the proverbial guts? As of today, perjury is not just another seven letter word.

    Grassroots' democrats should feel relieved that DeLay and Frist might someday take vacations at taxpayer expense. Who knows what the Beltway narcoleptics think.


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    MMfA: Bennett-aborting blacks would reduce crime

    BennettBill Bennett, left: "[Y]ou could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down"

    Source:  http://mediamatters.org/items/200509280006


     

    Congratulations to Chris Bell

    Those interested in commenting to Chris Bell on the DeLay indictment may post to his blog by clicking here: http://www.chrisbell.com/node/619#comment-813

    My comments there are as follows:
    Chris Bell, right, with Dave Haigler
    Congratulations, Chris Bell (seen right, with Dave Haigler), on your work for government ethics reform coming to recognition with the indictment of Tom DeLay today.


    It has been a long wait. Some have told you that you were crazy for taking on this powerful man.

    You have proven once again that the higher they fly the harder they fall.

    I am honored to be your friend.

    -Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
    Taylor County Democratic Chair
    Editor, http://demlog.blogspot.com
    Lawfirm webpage: http://haigler.info
    Member, Veterans for Peace, &
    Vietnam Veterans Against the War
    email: Dave@Haigler.info


     

    AAS: DeLay indicted, steps down - Sept. 28

    He could get up to two years if convicted; spokesman says charge is unfounded.

    Tom DeLay

    By Laylan Copelin

    AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

    Austin -- A Travis County grand jury today indicted U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, right, on one count of criminal conspiracy, prompting the Sugar Land Republican to give up his leadership post in Congress.

    "I have notified (House Speaker Dennis Hastert) that I will temporarily step aside from my position as majority leader pursuant to rules of the House Republican Conference and the actions of the Travis County district attorney today," DeLay said in a statement.

    The charge, a state jail felony punishable by up to two years incarceration, stems from his role with his political committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, a now-defunct organization that already had been indicted on charges of illegally using corporate money during the 2002 legislative elections.

    State law generally bars corporate money from campaign-related activity. DeLay and his associates have insisted the corporate money was legally spent on committee overhead or issue advertising and not campaign-related activity.

    The grand jury took no action against Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick, Texas Association of Business President Bill Hammond or state Reps. Dianne Delisi and Beverly Woolley, both of whom sit on the political committee's board, for their roles in the election.

    The grand jury's term ended today.

    DeLay's spokesman, Kevin Madden, said the charge had no basis in "facts or the law."

    "This is just another example of Ronnie Earle misusing his office for partisan vendettas," Madden said. "This purely political investigation has been marked by illegal grand jury leaks, a fund-raising speech by Ronnie Earle for Texas Democrats that inappropriately focused on the investigation, misuse of his office for partisan purposes, and extortion of money for Earle's pet projects from corporations in exchange for dismissing indictments he brought against them."

    Madden predicted that Earle's prosecution of DeLay would fail, just as the district attorney's indictment of U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison was dismissed in 1994. A Travis County grand jury indicted Hutchison on four felony counts, accusing her of using her state office and employees for political purposes and covering up the evidence.

    "We regret the people of Texas will once again have their taxpayer dollars wasted on Ronnie Earle's pursuit of headlines and political paybacks," Madden said.

    An indictment does not force DeLay to resign as a member of Congress, but the GOP's rules demand that he resign his post as majority leader as he fights the charges. Congressional Republicans earlier tried to drop that requirement, citing Earle's investigation as a political vendetta, but they ultimately maintained the rule after withering criticism.

    Under House Republican Conference rules, any GOP leader who is indicted for a felony that carries at least a two-year prison term must step down immediately.

    "It's assumed to be immediate," said Sean Spicer, spokesman for the Republican Conference. "If you're indicted, you're indicted."

    The rule applies to the speaker of the House, majority leader, whip, conference chair and chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Spicer said.

    Said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi: "The criminal indictment of Majority Leader Tom Delay is the latest example that Republicans in Congress are plagued by a culture of corruption at the expense of the American people."

    State law bans corporate money being spent in connection with political campaigns and Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, a Democrat, has spent almost three years investigating whether Republican groups and their business allies violated that ban. The groups helped elect a Republican majority to the state Legislature which, in turn, drew new Congressional districts that benefited Republican candidates.

    Over the past year, Travis County grand jurors have indicted three DeLay associates — John Colyandro, Jim Ellis and Warren Robold — as well as eight corporate donors, the Texas Association of Business and DeLay's Texans for a Republican Majority. Colyandro and Ellis were re-indicted this morning as part of the conspiracy indictment.

    DeLay had appeared to escape criminal scrutiny as early as last year when Travis County prosecutors concluded they did not have the jurisdiction to pursue election code violations against him. Under the law, only DeLay's local district attorney, a Republican, had jurisdiction, and he expressed no interest in the case.

    But a conspiracy charge falls under the criminal code, not the election statute that bans corporate money from being spent on a campaign. And Earle has the jurisdiction to prosecute DeLay for conspiring with others to circumvent state law.

    In recent days, the broad-based investigation has focused on one particular transaction during the 2002 campaign.

    In late September 2002, Colyandro, the executive director of Texans for a Republican Majority, sent a blank check to Ellis, who is DeLay's primary fundraiser in Washington.

    According to the money-laundering indictment returned against those two last year, Ellis was accused of having the Republican National Committee launder $190,000 of corporate donations into noncorporate money that was sent to to seven Texas House candidates, including Austinites Jack Stick and Todd Baxter.

    As late as Tuesday, Travis County prosecutors were interviewing Republican National Committee staffers about their roles in the transaction.

    Even with DeLay indicted, many Republicans will breathe a sigh of relief that Craddick and others weren't indicted.

    Theoretically, prosecutors could ask another grand jury to consider charges between now and the Nov. 2 anniversary of the 2002 election, when a three-year statute of limitations expires. But the defense lawyers expect today to be the last chance for 2002 allegations.

    "What will you know in October," said one defense lawyer, "that you didn't know the past six months?"

    Source:  Austin American-Statesman.

     

     

    AFP: Bush visits Beaumont with Gov. Perry

    Bush with Texas Gov. PerryUS President George W. Bush  speaks to the press as Texas Governor Rick Perry, left, looks on in Beaumont, TX, after a briefing on recovery efforts while touring the area recently affected by Hurricane Rita.
     
    Wrangling over the US government's disaster management has taken center stage as the death toll from two devastating hurricanes rose and President George W. Bush again toured the disaster zone along the Gulf of Mexico coast.
     
    (AFP/Jim Watson) D.H.: Notice all these photo-op leaders wear long-sleeve shirts rolled up, as if they're rolling up their sleeves for some real work.  Someone ought to tell them that real folks wear short sleeves this time of year.
     
    Other recent DemLog posts:
  • AP: Laura Bush helps relief - Sept. 27
  • AFP: Bush's energy-saving tokens
  • Haigler: "Christian" hypocrisy
  • NYT: Bush talks diversity nominee
  •  
    Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Tx
    Published at http://demlog.blogspot.com
     
     

    Tuesday, September 27, 2005

     

    AP: Laura Bush helps relief - Sept. 27

    Laura helps reliefFirst Lady
    Laura Bush
    hands out
    lunches at
    a Salvation
    Army hurricane
    relief distribution
    site Tuesday,
    Sept. 27, 2005,
    in Biloxi, Miss.
     
    (AP Photo/
    Morry Gash)
     

     

    After October 17, Send All Visa Statements to the Astrodome

    If you did not catch the NY Times September 27 article "Storm Victims May Face Curbs On Bankruptcy", follow this issue.

    Storm victims, working poor and middle class alike, are about to go from one hell (nature's reaction to ocean absorption of heat) to another, where James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R. Wisconsin) reigns. Can you imagine spending one moment in his presence, no less eternity?

    On October 17, a new bankruptcy laws take effect. This law, supported by all Republicans and some duplicitous Democrats makes it very difficult to live through bankruptcy. Fact: folks who lived in the areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina have little or no financial records left.

    Uh Oh.

    The new law requires Byzantine filings and documentation if you want relief from debts. And,forget getting in under the October 17 deadline to qualify for the old legal protections. If you lived in Louisiana, there is a small office in Baton Rouge where you can file; and if you want to file, you had better do it there. Of course, if you have been re-located to, say Utah, or the Astrodome, travel plans get complicated.

    As the Times said:

    "Among the hurdles in the new law that could most affect hurricane victims is the means test. It requires debtors to provide an estimate of their income by taking the average of their most recent six month's earnings before they can file under Chapter 7. Debtors with higher incomes are to be kept in bankruptcy status for seven years, to pay of their debts" And, " Someone who had a great job just before Katrina my have very different income today."

    Add to this the requirement that every individual filing under the new law must go through credit counseling! So if you had a great business before the storm and now face bankruptcy, Mr. Sensenbrenner will personally lecture you on managing your finances. He said, "get over it" referring to Democrats and some Republicans who want to soften the draconian law going into effect.

    Statistic from the Times: 467,333 American filed for bankruptcy from April to June, 2004 to beat the October 17 filing deadline.

    Ultimately, relief will have to come for those being crushed by burden of medical bills and job loss. But first, this government will give relief to the banks who will never be able to collect on the loses. You cannot squeeze blood from a stone and all that.

    New housing and new infrastructure can be built; but broken hearts and minds are an altogether different thing. It seems that this storm leveled most social distinctions (rich excluded, of course). The pain will keep on coming.


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    AFP: Bush's energy-saving tokens

    Marine One, saving energy by flying low
    Marine One carrying US President George W. Bush flies over an oil rig outside Cameron, Louisiana.
     
    US President George W. Bush's motorcade may get shorter and aides must remember to turn off lights, computers, and printers to save energy in the wake of Hurricane Rita, the White House said.
     
    (AFP/Jim Watson)
     
    D.H.:  They would save more energy if they turned off the engines in Marine One & Air Force One.

     

    Barhorst: Perry And Petards

    I believe Governor Perry of Texas might be hoisted on his own petard. It is my supposition that he made all his moves because he believed the state would be recompensed for all the state money he spent. Therefore, politically, he could receive all the kudos for getting the evacuees into shelters and housing. The resultant being, he ignored all those who offered to open their homes to evacuees. Now, there is no immediate recompense of the money and none in the foreseeable future.

    That’s right, there's Texas Tax money paying the bills.

    And FEMA was right there giving him advice, and warning evacuees not to leave shelters, but FEMA hasn’t got the money.

    And our Republican Governor who needed a push in the polls for the next election might have gotten a shove into oblivion.

    Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
    Moderator: Lone_Star_Democrats


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    Haigler: "Christian" hypocrisy

    Dave Haiglerby Dave Haigler, left
     
    As a bible-believing Christian myself, I cringe when I hear people claim to be Christian and quote a fragment of scripture and then make a totally-unbiblical governmental policy out of it - like persecuting gays & lesbians.  How do you think G/Ls will ever come to faith in Christ when all the so-called Christians are being so hateful to them?
     
    Or say, "I'm pro-life and therefore am a Republican."
     
    I was Republican for 24 years and I can tell you stories that would curl your ears showing the Republicans have no intention whatsoever of ever outlawing abortion again.  They just want to hold out that carrot for the religious right to keep voting republican.
     
    Or say we're bringing Christianity & capitalism to Iraq.  Excuse me while I throw up.  We're doing stuff as bad as Saddam ever did.  We send Lynndie England to jail when our Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, wrote memos justifying the same crap at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.

    Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
    lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
    political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

     

    NYT: Bush talks diversity nominee

    Washington - Dangling the prospect of a female or minority nominee to the Supreme Court, President Bush said yesterday, "I will put the person in to do the job," in an appearance at the Department of Energy. "But I am mindful that diversity is one of the strengths of the country."

    On Monday, President Bush's comments on diversity and filling a second Supreme Court slot focused new speculation on several women frequently mentioned as contenders.

    Priscilla OwenAmong them are Judge Priscilla R. Owen, a right, federal appellate judge in Austin, Tex., and a longtime friend of the president and Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff; Judge Janice Rogers Brown, a 2005 Bush appointee to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, who is African-American; Judge Consuelo M. Callahan, a federal appellate judge in Sacramento who is Hispanic; Judge Karen Williams, a federal appellate judge in Orangeburg, S.C.; and Judge Alice M. Batchelder of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

    One African-American frequently mentioned as a possibility is Larry D. Thompson, a former deputy attorney general who is the general counsel of Pepsico in Purchase, N.Y. Hispanics mentioned for the job include Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa of Federal District Court in Texas.

    Republican strategists said Mr. Bush could announce his choice as early as this week, but only after the Senate votes on the confirmation of Judge Roberts for Chief Justice.

    Mr. Bush hinted that he had not conducted a new round of interviews with finalists for his choice to succeed Justice O'Connor, as he did with five finalists in July.

    "I have interviewed people in the past, and thought about people from all walks of life," Mr. Bush told reporters.

    Full story, New York Times.


     

    Slate-Papers: Bush-Skip unnecessary trips - Sept. 27

    By Eric Umansky - Posted Tuesday at 3:26 AM CT

    The Los Angeles Times and New York Times lead with President Bush, below left, urging Americans to cut back on tooling around in their cars. "People just need to recognize that the storms have caused disruption," said the president, adding that if Americans would skip trips that are "not essential, that would Bush arriving in Colorado to watch TV of Rita recoverybe helpful." Bush in this photo was arriving in Colorado to watch TV coverage of Hurricane Rita recovery efforts with some of the military's generals (Don't they have TVs at the White House?).  USA Today's lead focuses on the massive damage from Rita on Louisiana's rural coast. "You have entire communities demolished," said Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen, the feds' main man on Katrina. Allen compared Rita's damage to what Katrina wrought on Mississippi. (It'd be nice to know how many people live in the affected parishes.) The Washington Post also leads with Rita's aftermath, playing up evacuees from Louisiana frustrated that they're not being allowed back in.

    It's a bit hard to understand why the LAT and NYT think the president's comments are lead-worthy. As the NYT itself reminds, a few days after Katrina, the president said just about the same thing: "Don't buy gas if you don't need it." And, rhetoric aside, on neither occasion did the president offer specific proposals for lowering oil consumption.

    The Wall Street Journal has a more sensible approach, focusing on that thing called policy. The president is apparently getting behind legislation that the WSJ dubs "Energy Bill II." It would consist largely of, as the Journal gently puts it, "regulatory relief for producers and refiners."

    The NYT notices above the fold that the bankruptcy bill, which is scheduled to take effect next month and will make it harder for consumers to get bankruptcy protection, could screw some Katrina survivors. The paper notes that House Republicans "fought off" a proposed amendment that would have given victims of natural disasters a bit more leeway. There have been calls to at least delay the law's start date, a line of argument that the White House said it "doesn't see a lot of merit in." 

    The LAT fronts a fine piece noting that many of the reports about rape, murder, and shootings in New Orleans were bogus, basically rumors driven by the lack of communications. It's not that there wasn't violence; there just doesn't appear to have been nearly as much as was reported. The LAT doesn't spare itself, flagging one its early overheated reports. The paper also raises the question of whether racism contributed. "If the dome and Convention Center had harbored large numbers of middle class white people," the editor of the Times-Picayune told the LAT, "it would not have been a fertile ground for this kind of rumor mongering." The Times-Picayune had a similar report yesterday.

    The WP fronts FEMA's decision to reimburse religious institutions for any emergency aid they've provided to survivors of Katrina and Rita. It's the first time the agency has crossed that line. Some Republicans as well as the Red Cross lobbied for the move.

    The LAT fronts and others go inside with a Spanish court convicting 18 al-Qaida suspects of terrorism-related changes; one of the men was found guilty of helping to plan 9/11. The most serious charges, namely murder, were dismissed, and the longest sentence was 27 years.

    The NYT fronts the violence in Iraq, where insurgents burst into a school and murdered five Shiite teachers. It's one of the first known targeting of teachers. Until now at least, schools have gone largely unprotected. Three GIs were also killed in assorted attacks as were another 11 Iraqis.

    Lynndie EnglandThe Post off-leads Lynndie England, right, of Abu Ghraib leash fame, being sentenced to up to 10 years in the brig. The NYT and LAT both skip a bit of context offered by the Post, namely that what England did was darn similar to tactics that had been approved at Gitmo. Those tactics included, for example, using leashes on detainees.

    The WP fronts and others go inside with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist defending himself against suspicions that he dabbled in insider trading when he sold his holdings in a family company right before the stock dipped 9 percent. The NYT highlights Frist's key point of defense, while the Post inexplicably buries it: Frist said he started the paperwork with lawyers to sell the stock months before the sale went through, so early in fact that it was before the company's bookkeepers even knew the company was facing trouble. Seems worth trying to confirm in a follow-up, no?

    The NYT says federal investigators are "looking into" whether three years ago the Justice Department improperly put the kibosh on an investigation of shamed lobbyist Jack Abramoff, below left. A longtime federal prosecutor, Frederick A. Black, told Abramoffsuperiors he was looking into Abramoff; three days later he was demoted and the investigation died. The LAT recently detailed the episode but doesn't have the part about the current "looking into," which actually is sourced to unnamed government buddies of the prosecutor. Missing from the piece: a comment from investigators—or at least an attempt to get one—about whether there's really an investigation. 

    The Post, sadly, stuffs word that al-Qaida–types have launched a news program via the Internet:

    The anchorman, who said the report would appear once a week, presented news about the Gaza Strip and Iraq. ... A copy of the Koran, the Muslim holy book, was placed by his right hand and a rifle affixed to a tripod was pointed at the camera.

    Then came the weather report:

    "The whole Muslim world was filled with joy" [after Katrina], the anchorman said. He went on to say that President Bush was "completely humiliated by his obvious incapacity to face the wrath of God, who battered New Orleans, city of homosexuals."

    Now will you stop nudging us? Three weeks ago, NYT TV critic Alessandra Stanley wrote that, while in New Orleans, Geraldo Rivera "nudged" an emergency worker out of the way to help a Katrina survivor. The only problem being that the tape didn't show Rivera "nudging" anybody. Faced with beaucoup criticism, the Times hunkered down and refused to publish a correction. Then the ombudsman whacked away. And now, the NYT has published, well, an "editor's note." It acknowledges that Geraldo's move was not a nudge but simply "a flamboyant intervention."

    What would we do without "U.S. officials"?  From the Post: "The Americans had underestimated the problems with Iraq's infrastructure, a U.S. official in Baghdad said on condition of anonymity."

    Eric Umansky (www.ericumansky.com) writes "Today's Papers" for Slate. He can be reached at todayspapers@slate.com.  Source:  Slate Magazine.

    Published at http://demlog.blogspot.com.

    Other recent DemLog posts:

  • Reuters: Sheehan in handcuffs
  • Bill Spier: Senator Frist -- Stick a Fork in Him, He’s Cooked?
  • AP: Sheehan arrested - Sept. 26
  • Can we do better than Neugebauer?
  • Brad's Blog: Sheehan & Jackson mobbed by protest crowd
  • UK Independent: Viges says can't wash bloody hands
  • WashPost: DC Sept. 24 protest large
  • Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas.


     

    Reuters: Sheehan in handcuffs

    Sheehan in handcuffs at White HouseAnti-war protester and mother of a son who was killed in Iraq Cindy Sheehan (center right) is arrested and led away in handcuffs in front of the White House by U.S. Park Police during a peaceful protest in Washington September 26, 2005.
     
    (Molly Riley/Reuters)
     

    Monday, September 26, 2005

     

    Bill Spier: Senator Frist -- Stick a Fork in Him, He’s Cooked?

    Outside of Nashville papers, the brain dead national press has largely given Senator Bill Frist (R. Tennessee) a pass on his insider stock dealings. Today, Jason Leopold posted a long and well-researched blog Will Frist Survive on Frist’s insider stock sale of HCA, the company founded by his father. It seems that Frist has been self-dealing from the beginning of his senatorial career. So, let’s go to the video tape to diagnose this patient:

    The video tape finds Frist’s people saying that he sold all of his HCA stock in June to avoid a conflict with senatorial duties to work on healthcare legislation. (Love that word healthcare; it’s sort of like blue skies). Given that Frist had hands-on control over his not so blind trusts, the flimsy statement by his press secretary is a an outright lie. I guess Senate blind trust requirements allow wiggle room for the shuck and jive coming from the Frist camp. Leopold says,

    “Interestingly, Frist knew of these sales, or at least had access to information that these sales took place,” reported the Nashville Scene, in an investigative story in July 2003 into Frist’s so-called blind trust. How? "The income from these sales of HCA stock was reported on Frist's annual financial disclosure statements that he filed with the Secretary of the Senate.”

    "Given the annual reporting of capital gains, it's kind of a crock for Frist to say he doesn't know what he owns because it's in a blind trust," Charlie Gofen, a portfolio manager at Gofen and Glossberg, a Chicago-based investment-counseling firm, told the paper at the time.

    HCA, which received $billions in Medicare and Medicaid payments, paid $1.7 billion to the government over a huge fraud (although criminal charges were never brought against Frist’s brother in the theft because Senator Frist was elected majority leader.) Frist was also an essential mover in the federal government’s cutting of Medicaid dollars—something that would impact on HCA’s bottom line. Before the Senator unloaded his stake in HCA in June, corporate insiders were very busy cashing out. I believe that the sale of insider stock must be reported within 90 days of the sale, so Frist had to know that there was real action on the table. Google a company and you will find the disclosures in many places.

    Leopold brings up an Enron type deal involving the daddy Frist, bro and son-in-law in the sale of an HCA asset to the son-in-law that increased in value by more than 100% in a few years. Pretty dumb divestiture, n’est pas? They lied about the amount they had to put down to buy the asset. Andrew Fastow would salivate over this one.

    It might be understandable that the media has largely ignored Frist’s violations of fair play in the securities market. What with the president acting like everyone’s weatherman, corpses floating down Market Street--not to mention the Tigris and Euphrates and the country facing bankruptcy--what’s a little corruption coming from congressional leaders? The SEC is all over this one. It's a 10(b)(5) violation sho' 'nuf.

    Looking at this video tape, I diagnose this patient as suffering from the malodorous cupidity virus. It’s epidemic in the Senator's circles.

    William Spier/NYC Sept.26.2005


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