Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New Church Window in Order* . . . .

Sometimes, a picture really is worth a thousand words . . . .

H/T Olde Goat Patrick

* No pun intended

Goose, Gander, etc., etc., etc. . . . .

Per Reuters:

China spying on Olympics hotel guests: U.S. senator
Tue Jul 29, 2008 - By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China has installed Internet-spying equipment in all the major hotel chains serving the 2008 Summer Olympics, a U.S. senator charged on Tuesday.

"The Chinese government has put in place a system to spy on and gather information about every guest at hotels where Olympic visitors are staying," said Sen. Sam Brownback.

The conservative Republican from Kansas, citing hotel documents he received, added that journalists, athletes' families and others attending the Olympics next month "will be subjected to invasive intelligence-gathering" by China's Public Security Bureau. He said the agency will be monitoring Internet communications at the hotels.


The senator called on China to reverse its policy, but said the hotels are advising guests that "your communications and Web site activity are not private" and that e-mails and Web sites being visited are accessible to local law enforcement.

Exactly how is this any different from the US government with the "new and improved" FISA legislation passed by a democratic Congress and signed by gwbush?

What a bunch of hypocrites . . . .

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tubes Time . . . .

Per McClatchy, and still breaking:

Alaska's Sen. Ted Stevens indicted by federal grand jury
Erika Bolstad | McClatchy Newspapers

last updated: July 29, 2008 01:03:49 PM

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the U.S. Senate and one of the chamber's most powerful members, was indicted Tuesday in Washington, a result of a year-long investigation into corruption in Alaska politics.

The 7-count indictment comes nearly one year after federal agents raided Stevens' home in Girdwood, a resort town about 40 miles south of Anchorage. The Justice Department has scheduled a press conference for 1:20 p.m. to announce the indcitment.

Wonder if those internet "tubes" will be flushing him down the drain soon ? ? ? ?

Update: Matt Stoller from Open Left has a great post on the Congressional cronyism surrounding this and the "club" in general. He is right on target, as usual . . . .

Update #2: Liddy Dole bails on "Tubular Ted" . . . .

Update #3: "Tubular Ted" pleads innocent . . . .

Loud Murmuring . . . .

Our friend and fellow blogger David Drucker of Loud Murmurs has an excellent post today.

It's about the decision and timing of he and his wife Pam's emigration to Canada from "down there".



Very well written and says it all . . . .

Monday, July 28, 2008

Guess It Beats "Finding Religion" for Forgiveness . . . .

Serious medical issue or convenient excuse?

From this afternoon's Toronto Star:

Robert Novak diagnosed with brain tumour - World
July 28, 2008

Conservative political commentator Robert Novak announced today he has been diagnosed with a brain tumour, less than a week after he struck a pedestrian with his Corvette and drove away.

Novak, 77, fell ill on Cape Cod this weekend while visiting his daughter and was rushed to Brigham and Women's Hospital, where he said he was diagnosed Sunday with the tumour.

"I will be suspending my journalistic work for an indefinite but, God willing, not too lengthy period," Novak, editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report, said in the statement released by his publisher, Eagle Publishing.


Novak's office refused further comment to The Associated Press, other than to confirm the comments on the newspaper website.

Hospital spokesman Kevin Myron confirmed Novak was a patient, but said Novak requested that no further information be released.

Last week, Novak was given a $50 citation after he struck a homeless man with his black Corvette in downtown Washington. Novak kept going until he was stopped by a bicyclist, who said the man was splayed on Novak's windshield.

Dr. Lynne Taylor, a neuro-oncologist at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, said residents at the hospital are taught to check for brain tumours in patients who report having a recent car accident in which they didn't realize they struck something.

"People get spatial and visual neglect of a certain part of their bodies and they don't realize they've done what they've done," said Taylor, a fellow with the American Academy of Neurology.

I guess time will tell . . . .

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Team USA's "Celebration of Light" Performance . . . .

Last evening it was Team USA's turn to "wow" the crowds with their expertise.

"drf" and I were surprised to find out that this was the first time in the 18-year history of the competition for the US to compete. (Maybe they waited 'til we got our Permanent Resident status?) Whatever the reason, they did an excellent job, and we much preferred their show to Team Canada's - not a good statement for us as "newbie" Canadians, is it?
Based on our unscientific survey, though, we are in a minority on this. Most folks preferred the Canadian show. Different strokes, I guess.

The folks from Oklahoma used a lot more blues (quite difficult to produce) and some of their displays were incredibly high in the sky. Here is a good description of what goes into making the "big bangs" if you would like more info.


China is at bat on Wednesday night, and you can bet we'll be there.

It's a 5-minute walk to all the action, why would we miss it ? ? ? ?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Team Canada's "Celebration of Light" Performance . . . .

Last night was the first of four international fireworks competitions here in our new home.

Team Canada led off this year's performances with their show entitled "Attack" based on music from the movie Godzilla.

Some pics:

Maybe we're getting "jaded", but this show was not very exciting to us.

We hope the US presentation on Saturday night, followed by China's next Wednesday will be more inspiring.

The finale is a week from Saturday when all the countries present, the winner is announced and there is a segment commemorating the British Columbia's 150th birthday . . . .

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bastards ! ! ! !

Why is this not at all surprising based on previous US actions?

Per Reuters this evening:

U.S. rejects outside probe of Canadian sent to Syria
Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:18pm EDT - By James Vicini

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey said on Wednesday he had rejected a request from lawmakers that an outside special counsel investigate the case of a Canadian taken off a plane in New York and sent to Syria, where he says he was tortured.

Mukasey said under questioning at a House of Representatives Judiciary Committee hearing that he did not believe that a special counsel was warranted "at this time."

Maher Arar, a Syrian-born software engineer, was taken into custody by U.S. officials during a 2002 stopover in New York while on his way home to Canada and then deported to Syria because of suspected links to al Qaeda.

Arar says he was imprisoned in Syria for a year and tortured. His case has become a sore spot in U.S.-Canada relations.


Rep. William Delahunt, a Democrat from Massachusetts, cited testimony last month that U.S. officials may have sent Arar to Syria, rather than Canada, because they knew of the likelihood of torture.

"If that doesn't trigger need for a special prosecutor, I can't imagine what would," he said.

Mukasey said U.S. officials received assurances from Syria that Arar would not be tortured. "Sending him to Canada could have posed a threat to our country," Mukasey said, adding that sending him to Syria was "safer."


Maria LaHood, an attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, which represents Arar in the United States, replied, "Sending Maher to Syria instead of home to Canada was certainly not safer for him, and did nothing to make the United States safer."

She said, "The tendency of the Department of Justice to cover up its crimes is exactly why an outside prosecutor is needed."

The title of this post says it all . . . .

The More Things "Change You Can Believe In . . . . "

And exactly how is a democratic administration going to make things "Change You Can Believe In" any better over there?

Per McClatchy:

Obama talks tough about Iran during visit to Israel
Margaret Talev and Dion Nissenbaum | McClatchy Newspapers

July 23, 2008

SDEROT, Israel — Tough talk on Iran dominated Barack Obama's meetings Wednesday in Israel and the West Bank, as Israeli officials amplified their enemy's threat and the Democratic presidential hopeful declared that a "nuclear Iran would be a game-changing situation."

Speaking at an afternoon news conference in Sderot, a city near the Gaza Strip that's long been a target for Palestinian rocket attacks, Obama said that "the world must prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons" and that "America must always stand up for Israel's right to defend itself against those who threaten its people."

The Illinois senator warned pointedly that no options are "off the table" in confronting a nuclear threat from Iran, though he added that Iran should be offered "big carrots" as well as "big sticks."

Obama's aggressive rhetoric on Iran followed his emphasis earlier this week on his plan to send more U.S. troops to fight terrorism in Afghanistan should he defeat Republican John McCain in November. Obama also has made clear that he remains committed to withdrawing combat troops from Iraq over 16 months, and that he still sees merit in talking to enemy nations including Iran. But his rhetoric has taken on a more militaristic tone in recent days than was typical in his primary election campaign.


Obama did, however, weigh in on another contentious issue — saying that Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel. He added that whether it should be all under Israeli control or divided with Palestinians should be settled by negotiation, and that it's not up to the United States to determine.

Obama's general election rival, Republican John McCain, who visited Israel earlier this year, also visited Sderot, but unlike Obama, McCain did not meet with the Palestinians.

While Obama leads McCain in national polls back home, polls show that he may not be able to count on as wide a majority of Jewish supporters as is typical for Democrats. Polls also indicate that Israelis favor McCain over Obama on issues of Israel's security.

No matter who gets elected in the US this fall any change in the Mideast situation will be minimal. There are way too many monied interests with major fingers in that pie. It's doubtful the major defense contractors will allow a substantial deviation in the war machine's juggernaut toward corporate profits.

Slogans are one thing, concrete results are quite another - Witness Mr. Obama's "change" on FISA legislation. His refusal to stand up for the 4th Amendment and protect The Constitution as he swore he would is a major disappointment for someone who aspires to be the leader of the US.

The difference between the repugs and the dems:

Pocket "Change You Can Believe In . . . ."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Meet Up . . . .

Jennifer Smith of Runesmith and hubby Adam were breezing through
Lotus Land so Alison of Creekside arranged a meet up yesterday.

Myself and "drf" strolled downtown to hook up with the gang and we proceeded to Steamworks Brewing Co. for talk, beer, laughs, beer, political discourse, beer, harper-bashing, beer, travel stories, beer, blog-stuff and then finished off the beer.

Great fun!

Oh - and Alison had an order of calamari . . . .

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

ACLU to the Rescue . . . .

Thank goodness the American Civil Liberties Union is watching out for civil liberties. The government certainly isn't.

Today Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and the ACLU announced:

Americans United, ACLU Ask Court To End Public Funding Of Discriminatory Kentucky Baptist Homes For Children

Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the American Civil Liberties Union today urged a federal appeals court to deny tax funding to a Baptist childcare agency that proselytizes youngsters in its care and fires gay employees.

The lawsuit, Pedreira v. Kentucky Baptist Homes For Children, Inc., asserts that Kentucky Baptist Homes has no right to accept public funding while imposing religious dogma on the children in its programs, and that the Homes’ religion-based anti-gay employment policy violates civil rights laws.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a group of Kentucky taxpayers, including Alicia Pedreira, an employee at the Louisville home who worked with troubled young people. Despite her excellent performance reviews, Pedreira was terminated in 1998 after officials at the facility learned she is a lesbian.


Ken Choe, a senior staff lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union's Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project, said, “This case illustrates the all-too-real dangers of the government funding religious organizations without adequate safeguards. The Constitution’s promise of religious freedom guarantees that the government won’t preference one form of religion over another. Yet that’s exactly what happened to Alicia Pedreira, who was fired because she didn’t conform to the religious beliefs of her government-funded employer.”


In the appellate brief filed with the 6th Circuit today, Americans United and the ACLU note numerous examples of the religious nature of the childcare agency. Its president has touted the Homes’ success in converting children, and the agency calls itself “Christ centered.”

Once again, the ACLU is standing up for, and working for what's right. In this case, taking the bigoted Baptists to task.

Makes a "card-carrying member" proud . . . .

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Un"f-ing"believable . . . .

Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars has the story, and it truly is hard to believe.

Liddy Dole Proposing Naming AIDS Bill After Jesse Helms

Go here.

Read it. Prepare to have your jaw drop.

It must be time to go and check if hell has frozen over or pigs are flying . . . .

(Ed. note: Normally there are visuals in all of my posts. In this case, I refuse to place one to commemorate the dead former life-form.)

Updates here courtesy of McClatchy.

Privatizing Torture . . . .

What great news!

bushco wants to continue hiring private contractors to interrogate suspected terrorists!


Capital idea!

Per Reuters today:

White House threatens spy bill veto over interrogation
Wed Jul 16, 2008 - By Randall Mikkelsen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House threatened to veto legislation on Wednesday that would bar CIA contractors from interrogating suspected terrorists, in the latest debate over treatment of detainees in the U.S.-declared war on terrorism.

The White House issued the threat in a notice to Congress as the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives began considering a broad measure to authorize funding of U.S. intelligence activities for the 2009 fiscal year.


The bill contains many provisions "that conflict with the conduct of intelligence activities," the White House budget office told Congress. "If (the bill) were presented to the president, the president's senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill."

The contractor provision was the first objection listed by the White House.

CIA Director Michael Hayden has acknowledged that outside contractors were used to conduct some interrogations in the agency's detention program for suspected terrorists, which has been widely condemned for harsh techniques that critics say amount to torture.

He told Congress in February he believed contractors helped conduct "waterboarding," the fiercely condemned simulated drowning technique that he acknowledged using on three al Qaeda suspects.


But the White House said prohibiting contract interrogators could deprive the program of necessary questioning skills and expertise.

"Such a provision would unduly limit the United States' ability to obtain intelligence needed to protect Americans from attack," it said.

Well, this news should make harperco ecstatic!

After all, now Omar Khadr can be questioned by the likes of Halliburton, KBR and Blackwater USA.

How great is that ? ? ? ?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"Waah, Waah, Waah . . . . "

Poor ExxonMobil.

Doesn't your heart just go out to them in their dire situation?

They're still at it, you know.

Per McClatchy this afternoon:

ExxonMobil balks at paying interest on oil-spill damages
Erika Bolstad | McClatchy Newspapers - July 15, 2008

WASHINGTON — ExxonMobil has balked at paying $488 million in interest on punitive damages that plaintiffs say it owes for its role in the 1989 Prince William Sound oil spill in Alaska, saying "there is no good reason" for the Supreme Court to assess interest.

Last week, the people who are owed money from the Exxon Valdez lawsuit asked the Supreme Court to make it clear that they should receive interest, even though the court cut the punitive damages award in June from $2.5 billion to $507 million.

On Tuesday, the oil giant disagreed. In its filing, the company says that "the court has held that $507.5 million is the legally correct amount necessary to deter Exxon and others from future oil spills," and not millions more in interest.


Also, the company adds that there's no reason to penalize it by awarding another $488 million when "the substantial delay here was not in any sense Exxon's fault," but was that of the plaintiffs, who disagreed with a lower court decision.


Lawyers for the fishermen and other plaintiffs in the case had calculated that interest would add up to about $488 million, bringing the total amount owed by Exxon from the spill to nearly $1 billion. After attorney fees, an estimated $628 million would be divided among more than 32,000 plaintiffs.


Lawyers for the plaintiffs think that they're entitled to interest, but after so many years of wrangling with Exxon, they filed a brief with the Supreme Court to clarify their position, said Brian O'Neill, a Minnesota lawyer who represents the plaintiffs. Last week, he described the brief they filed with the Supreme Court as "belt and suspenders."

They clearly were worried, and wrote in their brief that "if past is prologue, there is real risk that Exxon would exploit any lack of clarity concerning interest to prolong this litigation still further."

It just breaks your heart, doesn't it?

Perhaps a benefit is in order to help them raise $$$ for the cause?

What shall we call it?

"Oil Aid"?

"Slick Aid"?

I've got it!

How 'bout:

"Huge Corporate Profit$ v$. Dead Duck$ Aid"?

Has a nice ring to it, don't you think ? ? ? ?

How Very Sad . . . .

Disappointing, but not unexpected.

Per the CBC this morning:

Harper's office stands firm on Khadr position
Tuesday, July 15, 2008 | 9:59 AM ET

CBC News

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office has weighed in on the release of videotapes showing Toronto-born Omar Khadr being interrogated by Canadian agents at Guantanamo Bay in February 2003, saying the federal government will not change its position on the case.

"Mr. Khadr faces serious charges. There is a judicial process underway to determine Mr. Khadr's fate. This should continue," Kory Teneycke, the prime minister's director of communications, told CBC News Tuesday morning, hours after Khadr's lawyers released excerpts of the tapes.

The excerpts show Khadr, then 16, weeping as he is interviewed by agents from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. He also lifts his shirt to show them the wounds he says he incurred during a battle with American troops in Afghanistan six months before — during which the U.S. military contends the Canadian teenager threw a grenade that killed an American soldier.

"Any comments on the actual contents of the interrogation video must be directed to CSIS," Teneycke said. "The [Prime Minister's Office] will not be making any comments on content." (Ed. emphasis)


Teneycke said the government of Canada will not seek Khadr's return to Canada on humanitarian grounds, as human rights groups and opposition politicians have been demanding.

"We might also add in terms of background that the government of Canada's position is consistent with the previous government's," the spokesman said. "This is a judicial process as opposed to a political one."

Earlier Tuesday, Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae called for Khadr's return, saying the previous Liberal government's decision was in line with what was then known about the case.

Based on new revelations, Rae said, "I think the question is what do we do now?… And the answer is we bring him home."

So, the PMO will not be commenting on "content." What can we expect them to comment on?


Media spin?


Bob Rae is right.

It's time to bring Khadr home to face the Canadian justice system and not a kangaroo court in Guantanamo.

stevie is doing georgie proud, isn't he ? ? ? ?

Update 7/16: (per Reuters)

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Khadr faces serious charges and should go on trial.

"Our position has not changed and it's not going to. We're not going to blow in the wind on something as fundamental as this," Harper's chief spokesman Kory Teneycke told Reuters.

Jerk-sticks . . . .

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What the dems and repugs Hath Wrought . . . .

Chris Hedges of the LA Times has an excellent piece on AlterNet today:

FISA Bill's Real Target: What Remains of Our Open Society

The new FISA law uses terrorism as a pretext to permit wholesale spying and would seriously cripple our free press.

By Chris Hedges, LA Times. Posted July 12, 2008

If the sweeping surveillance law signed by President Bush on Thursday -- giving the U.S. government nearly unchecked authority to eavesdrop on the phone calls and e-mails of innocent Americans -- is allowed to stand, we will have eroded one of the most important bulwarks to a free press and an open society.

The new FISA Amendments Act nearly eviscerates oversight of government surveillance. It allows the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to review only general procedures for spying rather than individual warrants. The court will not be told specifics about who will be wiretapped, which means the law provides woefully inadequate safeguards to protect innocent people whose communications are caught up in the government's dragnet surveillance program.


I have joined an ACLU lawsuit challenging the new law along with other journalists, human rights organizations and defense attorneys who also rely on confidentiality to do their work. I have joined not only because this law takes aim at my work but because I believe it signals a serious erosion of safeguards that make possible our democratic state. Laws and their just application are the only protection we have as citizens. Once the law is changed to permit the impermissible, we have no recourse with which to fight back.


I know the cost of terrorism and the consequences of war. I have investigated Al Qaeda's operation in Europe and have covered numerous conflicts. The monitoring of suspected terrorists, with proper oversight, is a crucial part of our national security. But this law is not about keeping us safe, which can -- and should -- be done in a constitutional manner and with judicial oversight. It is about using terrorism as a pretext to permit wholesale spying and to silence voices that will allow us to maintain an open society.

Read some of the comments on the article here.

More than one mention of voting Green rather than for the democrats to send a message that we don't appreciate their capitulation on this one.

Your thoughts ? ? ? ?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Votes Are In . . . .

And, as expected, bush gets the FISA bill he wanted.

democratic red votes below are the "Good Ones".

democratic blue votes below are the "bush Enablers".

republican votes are in black and they all voted as expected.

U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 110
th Congress - 2nd Session

as compiled through Senate LIS by the Senate Bill Clerk under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate

Vote Summary
Question: On Passage of the Bill (H.R. 6304 )
Vote Number: 168 Vote Date: July 9, 2008, 02:47 PM
Required For Majority: 1/2 Vote Result: Bill Passed
Measure Number: H.R. 6304 (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 )
Measure Title: A bill to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to establish a procedure for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence, and for other purposes.
Vote Counts:YEAs69


Not Voting3
Vote SummaryBy Senator NameBy Vote PositionBy Home State
Alphabetical by Senator Name
Akaka (D-HI), Nay
Alexander (R-TN), Yea
Allard (R-CO), Yea
Barrasso (R-WY), Yea
Baucus (D-MT), Yea Bayh (D-IN), Yea
Bennett (R-UT), Yea
Biden (D-DE), Nay
Bingaman (D-NM), Nay
Bond (R-MO), Yea
Boxer (D-CA), Nay
Brown (D-OH), Nay
Brownback (R-KS), Yea
Bunning (R-KY), Yea
Burr (R-NC), Yea
Byrd (D-WV), Nay Cantwell (D-WA), Nay Cardin (D-MD), Nay
Carper (D-DE), Yea Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Yea
Clinton (D-NY), Nay
Coburn (R-OK), Yea
Cochran (R-MS), Yea
Coleman (R-MN), Yea
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Yea
Cornyn (R-TX), Yea
Craig (R-ID), Yea
Crapo (R-ID), Yea
DeMint (R-SC), Yea
Dodd (D-CT), Nay
Dole (R-NC), Yea
Domenici (R-NM), Yea
Dorgan (D-ND), Nay Durbin (D-IL), Nay
Ensign (R-NV), Yea
Enzi (R-WY), Yea
Feingold (D-WI), Nay
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Yea
Grassley (R-IA), Yea
Gregg (R-NH), Yea
Hagel (R-NE), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Nay
Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Hutchison (R-TX), Yea
Inhofe (R-OK), Yea
Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Yea
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kennedy (D-MA), Not Voting
Kerry (D-MA), Nay Klobuchar (D-MN), Nay
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Nay Leahy (D-VT), Nay Levin (D-MI), Nay
Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Martinez (R-FL), Yea
McCain (R-AZ), Not Voting
McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Yea
Menendez (D-NJ), Nay
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Murray (D-WA), Nay
Nelson (D-FL), Yea Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Obama (D-IL), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Nay Reid (D-NV), Nay
Roberts (R-KS), Yea
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Sanders (I-VT), Nay Schumer (D-NY), Nay
Sessions (R-AL), Not Voting
Shelby (R-AL), Yea
Smith (R-OR), Yea
Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (R-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Stevens (R-AK), Yea
Sununu (R-NH), Yea
Tester (D-MT), Nay
Thune (R-SD), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Yea
Voinovich (R-OH), Yea
Warner (R-VA), Yea
Webb (D-VA), Yea Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wicker (R-MS), Yea
Wyden (D-OR), Nay

Note especially the large blue vote. Disappointing, isn't it?

Again, remind me why the democrats should get my vote.

Somehow, I'm not clear on that . . . .

UPDATE: At least my favourite organization - the ACLU - is still on the job.

Good job!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Congressional Lying . . . .

This should come as no surprise to readers out there in Blogland.

Per McClatchy today:

White House interfered in climate testimony, ex-EPA official says

Renee Schoof | McClatchy Newspapers

July 08, 2008

WASHINGTON — Vice President Dick Cheney's office and the White House demanded that all mention of how global warming harms human health be cut from testimony to Congress last fall, a former Environmental Protection Agency official who had a key role on climate policy said Tuesday.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., charged that the new information from the former official showed that the White House and Cheney were covering up the dangers of global warming in an attempt to block the EPA from taking action.


The former EPA official, Jason Burnett, said in a letter to Boxer dated Sunday that the White House Council on Environmental Quality and Cheney's office wanted to cut any discussion of the human health consequences of climate change from testimony to Congress last October by Julie Gerberding, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


"We now know that this censorship was not haphazard. It was part of a master plan" meant to ensure that the EPA's response to a Supreme Court decision that found that greenhouse gases are air pollutants "would be as weak as possible," Boxer charged.


In his letter, Burnett said that EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson had asked the staff to draft a provisional finding that greenhouse gases do endanger public welfare. Burnett sent the report by e-mail, but the White House has refused to open it. As a result, the finding isn't available to the public.

Boxer said Johnson should release the e-mailed finding and all other documents related to the EPA's conclusions about the dangers of global warming. The agency also should indicate what rules it will impose to reduce the emissions of heat-trapping gases, she said.

"If Mr. Johnson refuses to do these things I'm asking him to do, if he doesn't have the strength to do them, he should resign," Boxer said.

Based on how well the dems are standing up to the lame-duck, unpopular, incompetent jerk occupying the Oval Office on the FISA debacle, hopes of them acting on this bit of news are nil.

One would think that with a majority in both houses of Congress they might be a little more responsive to the will of the people and the rule of law. Whatever happened to three equal branches of government?

This crowd apparently does not have the spine to do the right thing.

There aren't enough Russ Feingolds to go around . . . .

Friday, July 04, 2008

The USians are Coming . . . .

Per today's Vancouver Sun:

Number of American immigrants surging
Canwest News Service

Canada is experiencing a surge in immigrants from the United States, according to a Fourth of July analysis of demographic data that spotlights cross-border migration between the two countries — including the “provincesize” population of more than 850,000 Canadian-born residents of the U.S.

The numbers, compiled by the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies to mark the U.S. Independence Day holiday, show the inflow of Americans during the 2001-2006 census period was nearly 39,000 — well above the 24,155 during the previous five-year period and more than double the 18,770 who came to Canada between 1991 and 1996.

ACS executive director Jack Jedwab says the increase appears to stem from Canada’s stronger economic performance in recent years relative to the U.S.

“I think there may be a sense in the U.S. that Canada is offering more interesting economic opportunities,” he said. “The brains are draining both ways.”

But while Canada may be “narrowing the gap” in cross-border migrations, says Jedwab, “our net loss is still very big.”

That’s because a report earlier this year by Statistics Canada revealed that each year between 2000 and 2004, an average of about 68,900 Canadians moved south of the border.

In fact, notes the ACS study, the steady southward stream of emigrants to the U.S. has created a community of Canadian-born Americans bigger than the population of New Brunswick — an estimated 846,913 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Other U.S. census data shows three million Americans trace their ancestry to Canada.

And I thought we were special.

Perhaps george bush was good for something after all . . . .

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Money for Nuthin' . . . .

Per Reuters today:

Clear Channel in $400 million deal with Limbaugh

Thu Jul 3, 2008
(Reporting by Pratish Narayanan in Bangalore; Editing by Erica Billingham)

(Reuters) - Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh signed an eight-year contract extension worth as much as $400 million with Clear Channel Communications Inc, The New York Times said on its website on Wednesday citing an interview with Limbaugh.

Clear Channel said on Wednesday that Limbaugh renewed his contract with units Premiere Radio Networks and Clear Channel Radio, but did not disclose financial details.

Limbaugh's paycheck of $50 million a year represents a raise of about $14.4 million a year over his current contract, which was paying him $285 million over eight years and was set to expire in 2009, the newspaper's website said.

Separately, Clear Channel's Premiere is in advanced talks with another conservative talk radio host Sean Hannity to try to sign him for an eight-year contract worth about $200 million, The Wall Street Journal said, citing a person familiar with the situation.

Clear Channel was not immediately available to comment. Limbaugh and Hannity could not be immediately reached for comment.

I guess you can put a price on Stupid after all . . . .

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Disaster Down South . . . .

There are a lot of us in the "Blog Family" that will appreciate the Canadian reference . . . .

This Sucks . . . .

Fellow Canuckistanian RossK at The Gazetteer turned us on to her blog, and we've always loved Frances Bula's (fabula) writing in The Vancouver Sun.

So, this morning's news on her blog hit us like a ton of bricks.

From Frances' blog post today:

A short goodbye

Dear all of my blog-readers, This will be my last post on this Vancouver Sun blog, as I have resigned from the paper.

I wanted to tell all of you, as I go, how much I have enjoyed this new form of telling you the news and how great it has been to interact in a completely different way with a crowd of intelligent, engaged and well-informed people. I don’t want to say “readers,” because that implies you are passive and the thing I love about the blog is that you’re not – you post comments and email and phone and let me know in person about other information I should have or your critiques of what I’ve written – so it’s more like a conversation where you learn from me and I learn from you.


As for me, I will be continuing with other forms of journalism, including blogging, but, unless there’s an unforeseeable turn in my life in the next few years, I won’t be embedded in a daily-news operation any more as I have been for the last 25 years of my life.

Thank you so much for being a great audience and I’ll see you elsewhere.

We're gonna miss you, Frances.

As the post title above states:

"This sucks . . . .

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Our First . . . .

Happy Canada Day - Our first as Permanent Residents!

Plans are to celebrate with the Would Be Canadian boys at some events around Canada Place if all works out. Especially of interest to us is the new Canadian citizen's ceremony that is planned, as we plan to be there in three years.

We love this country and love being here to celebrate it's birthday . . . .