Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Great American Boycott 2006
El Gran Paro Americano 2006

On May 1, Immigrants are calling for no work, no school, no sales, and no buying, and also to have rallies around symbols of economic trade to protest the anti-immigrant movements across the country. At the heart of this boycott is the protest of H.R. 4437.

Turn Left, Cornell's Premiers Liberal Voice explains the bill and the quandry that it puts Conservatives in:
The debate, which to this point, has involved both branches of Congress, as well as President Bush, has centered around HR 4437, a bill proposed by Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) that classifies all undocumented immigrants as aggravated felons, denies such immigrants social services, permits the indefinite detention of foreigners, and criminalizes a broad list of activities aimed at helping out or working with undocumented immigrants. The bill, which also includes provisions for constructing more walls to cover one-third of the US-Mexico border, has been passed by the House of Representatives and is now being debated in the US Senate.

May 1 or May Day is know also as International Workers' Day. It is a celebration of the social and economic achievements of the international labor movement. In most countries other than the U.S. and UK, May Day is often referred to simply as "Labor Day".

International Workers' Day is the commemoration of the Haymarket Riot of 1886 in Chicago, Illinois.
On May 1, 1886 (later known as May Day), labor unions organized a strike for an eight-hour work day in Chicago. The working conditions in the city were miserable, with most workers working ten to twelve hour days, often six days a week under sometimes dangerous conditions. On May 3 striking workers met near the McCormick Harvesting Machine Co. plant. A fight broke out on the picket lines, and Chicago police intervened and attacked the strikers, killing two, wounding several others and sparking outrage in the city's working community.

Local anarchists distributed fliers calling for a rally at Haymarket Square, then a bustling commercial center (also called the Haymarket) near the corner of Randolph Street and Desplaines Street in what was later called Chicago's west Loop. These fliers alleged police had murdered the strikers on behalf of business interests and urged workers to seek justice. In response to the McCormick killings, August Spies published "Revenge! Workingmen to Arms!" This pamphlet urged workers to take action:

To arms we call you, to arms!
The Rally at Haymarket Square began as a peaceful event but ended in bloodshed.
The police ordered the rally to disperse and began marching in formation towards the speakers' wagon. A lit, fused bomb whistled over the heads of onlookers, landed near the police line and exploded, killing a policeman and 7 other policemen later died from their injuries. The police immediately opened fire on the crowd, injuring dozens. Many of the wounded were afraid to visit hospitals for fear of being arrested. A total of eleven people died.

The Red Scare periods ended May Day as a mass holiday in the United States, a phenomenon which can be seen as somewhat ironic given that May Day originated in Chicago.

To build on Dark Wraith's post on the death of Kenneth Galbraith, my memory of Ambassador Galbraith is from the Kennedy years (yes, I am way, way older than Mr. Wraith).

In the fall of 1961, unknown to the American public, John F. Kennedy was weighing a crucial decision about Vietnam not unlike that which George W. Bush faced about Iraq in early 2002--whether to go to war. It was the height of the cold war, when Communism was the "terrorist threat," and Ho Chi Minh the era's Saddam Hussein to many in Washington. But the new President was a liberal Massachusetts Democrat (and a decorated war veteran), not a conservative Sunbelt Republican who claimed God's hand guided his foreign policy. JFK's tough-minded instincts about war were thus very different. Contrary to what many have come to believe about the Vietnam War's origins, new research shows that Kennedy wanted no war in Asia and had clear criteria for conditions under which he'd send Americans abroad to fight and die for their country--criteria quite relevant today. Read Mr. Galbraith's influence HERE

And, then, there are his Letters to Kennedy
Letters to Kennedy is about as far removed from the familiar tell-all biographies or nutty assassination conspiracies as it is possible to go...The letters confirm Galbraith's skill as a writer, his abiding contempt for the State Department as an institution and Richard Nixon as a politician, and in particular, his prescient opposition to American military involvement in Vietnam, even before it had begun. You can find the reviews of his book HERE

Finally, my favorite Galbraith quote:

War remains the decisive human failure.
~John Kenneth Galbraith

A moment of silence for this gentleman is very much deserved. Rest in Peace, Ambassador Galbraith.

Economist John Kenneth Galbraith Dies

Canadian-born economist and former ambassador to India John Kenneth Galbraith died Saturday at the age of 97. Among the many accomplishments in his long career was the enormous contribution he made as a lead architect of the Great Society programs that became in their sweeping scope a monumental legacy of ambitious government action in the last half of 20th Century America. In that endeavor, Dr. Galbraith extended the reign of Keynesian economics as a foundation of fiscal policy, assuring that hundreds of millions of Americans would live in a nation whose government chose to engage a long-term, enduring fight against poverty that Classical economists and their political proponents believed was an unnecessary, inappropriate, and counter-productive role for government. The great Keynesian economists ruled the era from Franklin Delano Roosevelt on, however, and Dr. Galbraith was at the forefront of their work with Presidents and Congresses throughout the latter half of the last century. Galbraith's contribution to the Great Society was so significant that he shaped the speech that President Lyndon Johnson would make to the American people explaining this new, vigorous engagement of the U.S. government in building a modern nation where the power of the private sector was unleashed through the standing commitment of the state to its people and its businesses. Ultimately, Galbraith would break ranks with President Johnson because of the latter's prosecution of the war in Vietnam.

Although many outsiders and even a number of economists consider Galbraith the standard bearer of "liberal" economics, his was a far more complex view of the science of human action, as his contemporary Ludwig Von Mises described their shared field of endeavor. From his work in the World War II Office of Price Administration, Dr. Galbraith developed a sweeping prescription for national economic growth that advocated allowing oligopolies to form as a means of encouraging rapid technological innovation in part through economies of scale. Coupled with a benign government stance toward industrial concentration would be what he called "countervailing institutions" to act as buttresses against potential abuses by the oligopolies. Many believe that it is exactly this model that countries like Japan and others in Asia followed in the later 20th Century. In the United States, the great military/industrial complex was in large part an application of this concept of guided market concentration being allowed to play out to generate technological advancement, huge numbers of high-paying jobs, and economic dominance on the world stage.

Galbraith earned no small amount of disdain from peers for his 1958 book, The Affluent Society, in which he tore down what he called the "myth" of consumer sovereignty in the American economy. He continued to upset standard models of economics in his 1967 book, New Industrial State, in which he argued that the paradigm of "perfect competition"—long used as the basis for modeling most market structures—was wholly inadequate for describing the real world of firms. In that book, he argued that many industries are characterized by firms more like oligipolies that engage in fierce competition for market share, expanding both horizontally and vertically in a process that ultimately makes them institutions separate from even their owners. It was this approach that led to modern-day emphasis, even in principles of microeconomics classes, on a market structure now called "monopolistic competition," perhaps the most interesting of all market structures because of its topical aspects such as strategic pricing, marketing, and market contestability.

Dr. Galbraith was vitally active even into his last years, writing and making public appearances. He was, at the time of his death, professor emeritus at Harvard University.

John Kenneth Galbraith has now passed from this good Earth that he made better for his intellectual contributions; and because of those great and good contributions, he will stand forever as the powerhouse luminary of the theory and practice of economics of the last half of the 20th Century, that amazing era after the failed Classical economists of the 19th Century had been chased fully into the shadows and before their spiteful and equally failing Right-wing successors would return from the depths of deserved repudiation to diminish the world of the 21st Century.

The Dark Wraith gives a moment of silence in respect for Dr. Galbraith.

This article is cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums.

Out of Iraq -- Into Darfur

Massive "Stop Genocide" rallies are planned on the Mall and across the nation today to urge the Bush administration to take stronger action to end the violence in Sudan's Darfur region.
The rally comes as the humanitarian crisis in Darfur is worsening. In the past month, 60,000 Darfuris have been displaced, according to the United Nations. The Janjaweed continue to murder and rape women and children of different ethnicity, human rights groups say. Friday, the U.N. World Food Program said it lacked the funds to feed millions in Darfur.
Rally speakers are expected to press the Bush administration to push harder for a multinational peacekeeping force to be sent to Darfur and to take a tougher stance against Sudan. But it is appearing that Bush, who is famous for Warring around the World, just does not get it.

"I want the Sudanese government to understand the United States of America is serious about solving this problem," Bush said after meeting with Darfur activists.

"For those of you who are going out to march for justice, you represent the best of our country. We believe every life is precious, every human being is important."

Reuters is reporting that the Sudanese government on Sunday accepted a peace plan for the Darfur region that requires it to disarm Janjaweed militias before rebels lay down their weapons in what diplomats said was a major breakthrough. However the New York Times points out:

Two anti-Khartoum rebel movements have taken a "joint position" not to sign an African Union-brokered peace accord for the war-torn western Sudanese region of Darfur, their spokesmen told AFP on Sunday.

J. Allbritton at Ice Station has more on the crisis.

Jen has the link for Million Voices for Darbur

Click for more information

Update: Darfur deal hangs in the balance Mediators in Sudan's Darfur conflict are making urgent pleas for rebels to sign a peace agreement as a midnight deadline for a deal approaches.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

All we are saying, is Give Peace A Chance

Chicken Bush

Broadway with lots of people and lots of sun

Janet and me at Foley Square

The Raging Grannies Singing "Bush is Doo-Doo

Prisoner of Guantanamo

The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse

The Recycled Drummers

Bush the Oil Man

Today was the New York City Peace March sponsored by United Peace and Justice. I just got back from the march and it was really nice to be out there marching with thousands upon thousands of people. The most amazing thing about this march was there were so many issues that people have against the Bush Regime. One of the signs that struck was me "Out of Iraq -- Into Darfur."

I had the pleasure of meetings and talking with the Raging Grannies. They were singing their songs and everyone loved them.

Watertiger at Dependable Renegade was marching too, she has some good pictures worth seeing.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Rush Limbaugh was officially booked on drug charges today. This is part of a deal in which if he stays clean, then the charge will be dismissed.

Now, I personally feel sorry for people who are addicted to prescription drugs and believe that we should be looking for ways to help them get beyond their addiction, but that isn't how Rush feels about it.

Here are a few of his comments on the topic over the years:

On the late Jerry Garcia: Rush said he was just another dead drug addict

He also said a few years ago on his show: if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up.

On the topic of drug addiction being a disease, he has said that he doesn't buy into the disease part of it.... people who use drugs are making a clear personal choice to do drugs and they should be held accountable for it.

I actually don't happen to agree with most of what he has said. Addiction is a disease, and it should be treated as such.

But it's a good thing for Rush that his fate is being decided with some compassion, and won't be decided by his own words.

The Ninth Ward

New Orleans is dealing with the news of a measure that gives residents until Aug. 29 to clean out mold, tear out ruined walls and board up what remains of their homes, or risk having the city seize and demolish their houses. Mayor Nagin felt the date of August 29 was too soon because many people are not living in New Orleans or even Louisiana for that matter.
The rest are a combination of people who are spread out all over the country, particularly senior citizens. I think they need special treatment, and I think Aug. 29 is too soon. And by year's end, we should have a program in place to contact those residents and make sure they're coming back.

But the owners of some untouched houses said there are good reasons they have yet to do anything to their properties. Chief among them, they said, is the fact that thousands of homeowners are still waiting for insurance settlements or Small Business Administration loans, and waiting for the state to decide who will qualify for repair grants or buyouts as part of Gov. Kathleen Blanco's recovery program.

The community that was hardest hit than any other in New Orleans is the Ninth Ward. However, nearly eight months after the storm, there are no FEMA trailers in the Lower Ninth Ward because the area is still without gas and drinkable water.

The New York Times has a video regarding the lack of progress in the Ninth Ward.

Has The Whole World Gone Mad?

Billions spent war:

The cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has soared and may now reach $811bn (£445bn), says a report by the Congressional Research Service.

It estimates that Congress has appropriated $368bn for the global war on terror, including both conflicts.

It says that if the current spending bill is approved, US war costs will reach $439bn, and it estimates that an extra $371bn may be needed by 2016.


Darfur food rations get cut:

The cut comes as the UN said Darfur's malnutrition rates are rising again. [...]

"Haven't the people of Darfur suffered enough? We are adding insult to injury," Mr Morris said as he explained that despite appeals to donors, the WFP has received only a third of the money it needs.


Minimum requirement: 2,100 kilocalories per person
New amount: 1,050 kilocalories per person


Innocents continue to suffer:

In the makeshift hospital [...] children lie wasted, staring into space. Tiny human beings, who were born into the madness of man's inhumanity to man, into the madness of a spate of killing [...]

And now, they face starvation which is cruel and slow. Most of the children are too far gone to eat. Some have the peeling skin and lesions that come with advanced starvation - their skin is wrinkled, loose around their bones. The mothers sit by powerless. [...]

The world we have created for ourselves.

“...the madness of man's inhumanity to man...”

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Taking Lizzy's lead in the What Shall I Read Next Department, I came across this book at Democracy Now! And, given my penchant for women's rights, feminism, and equality for all, it rapidly sold me.

The Assassination of Digna Ochoa: A Look at the Life and Death of the Renowned Mexican Human Rights Lawyer

In October 2001, renowned Mexican human rights lawyer Digna Ochoa was found shot dead in her Mexico City office. Despite previous attempts on her life and other evidence pointing to foul-play, Ochoa's death was declared a suicide by Mexico City prosecutors. Democracy Now! discusses her life and death with award-winning journalist Linda Diebel, author of "Betrayed: The Assassination of Digna Ochoa" and Kerry Kennedy, founder of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights.

We take a look at the life and death of the Mexican human rights lawyer Digna Ochoa. Ochoa was a former nun who went on to represent some of Mexico"s poorest constituents against powerful government interests. She also uncovered torture and other abuses by the Mexican military and police. Ochoa worked on behalf of peasant ecologists in the state of Guerrerro, Zapatistas guerrillas in Chiapas and indigenous Indians in her home state of Verazcruz. At the time of her death, she was defending three men charged with bombing banks in Mexico City to protest against globalization.

In October 2001, Digna Ochoa was found shot dead in her Mexico City office. She was thirty-seven years old and had received many death threats. In fact, when Ochoa was twenty-four she was kidnapped and raped only days after discovering a blacklist of union organizers and political activists in the office of the state attorney general.

Later in her life, she was forced to flee to the United States for her safety. Despite these previous attempts on her life and other evidence pointing to foul-play, Ochoa's death was declared a suicide by Mexico City prosecutors. Ochoa's family and fellow human rights activists never accepted the finding and fought for years to have the case re-opened. In February of 2005, prosecutors re-opened the investigation into Ochoa's death.

A new book by award-winning journalist Linda Diebel provides an in-depth account of Ochoa's murder and the cover-up that followed. It's called "Betrayed: The Assassination of Digna Ochoa." Linda Diebel is the former Washington bureau chief for the Toronto Star. For many years she was a Latin-America correspondent based in Mexico City. She is a three-time recipient of the Amnesty International Media Award.

Kerry Kennedy is the founder and former Executive Director of the Robert F Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights. She is also author of the book "Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World" She devoted a chapter in her book to Digna Ochoa.

Watch the Video

And, of course the book is available at
Barnes and Nobel

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Celebrating the goddess Jen!!

Jenny’s site, Donkey O.D, was set up just a little over a year ago and reached 100,000 hits this afternoon.

You have our deepest gratitude and appreciation for your all hard work. You RAWK!

Drinks on the house in toasts to you!

Congratulations, dear Jenny!

I Hate Politics

I believe that politicians should put aside political parties right here and right now to dig this country out of the mess we're in. Because it's an election year this will not happen, because neither party wants to give to other party credit for a proposal or an idea that would be beneficial to "We the People."

Right now we've a proposition from NJ Sen Menendez for a "tax holiday" on gas. This is one hell of an idea, bound to cut some of the price down. What's wrong this idea? It's a damn election year and it's proposed by a DEMOCRAT. Although I haven't heard any sort of Republican response to this proposal, I am almost willing to guarantee they will put politics and party before "We the People."

Then the Republicans claim that this isn't an energy policy issue, blah, blah. Frankly I don't give two rat's asses about what's causing the high prices, I just care about a solution. I am sure the majority of Americans don't give a rat's ass either. No matter what's causing the problem, the American people are paying for it. Come on politicians when you see a problem, join forces to solve the problem, afterall you serve US, "We the People."

I am sure the arguement from the right will be "It's the enviromentalists fault, they won't let us drill in ANWAR." Well, no shit people don't want drilling in ANWAR. For starters, it's not even proven that the area has any oil, let alone enough to dent oil prices. If it were to produce oil it wouldn't produce enough to rid us of foreign oil, as evidenced by EIA estimates, even at peak production by EIA estimates we'd still be importing 66% of our oil from foreign sources, down from 70% right now. To me it isn't worth it. (EIA estimates in article) (Tax holiday)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I just finished reading Glenn Greenwald's post regarding his new book "How Would A Patriot Act?"

Glenn writes:

What I hope will be the book's principal impact is to cast a very bright light on the fact that all of these Bush administration scandals which are always discussed in isolation -- lawless detentions, secret prisons, the use of torture, illegal eavesdropping, etc. -- are merely symptoms of a profound political crisis which our country faces, brought about by the fact that this administration has adopted radical theories of power whereby the President literally and expressly claims the right to act without restraint, including those imposed by law. The powers seized by this president are exactly those powers about which the founders most urgently and explicitly warned, and which they sought, first and foremost, to prevent.

I am sure everyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I have enomorous respect for Digby . He has written a review of Glenn's book that is really worth reading in and of itself. Towards the end, Digby again in his own unsurprisingly way says:

As we go into this election season we are going to be talking a lot about what we stand for, what we believe and who we are as a party and as a country. This book is, in my view, necessary reading for everyone in the party who is working on our message. Unless we insist upon accountability for what these people have done, I fear that the country will not be able to recover. People need to see that our system of government can not only survive such assaults on its integrity, but that justice and the rule of law will reassert themselves under responsible leadership. It must be publicly demonstrated that this doctrine of unlimited presidential authority is unacceptable and Unamerican.

A distorted, authoritarian undemocratic view of American government has persisted now for more than a generation among certain conservatives. This philosophy has taken us from Watergate to Iran-Contra to Impeachment to the supreme court deciding a presidential election and the last five years of unprecedented assaults on the constitution in the name of a war that has no end. We need to drive a stake through the heart of this philosophy once and for all before it kills us. Greenwald's book is one of the first stabs at doing that and it's vital that the rest of us do our part.

If you believe as I do that this is the issue of our time, this book lays it all out in stark, clear prose. Send one to your Senator or congressman. They need to read it.

The heart and soul of the Democratic party lies in its committment to freedom and equality for all Americans. I wish I could say the same about every American but we have all seen what the dangerous government of Bush can do to a country and to the world. I look forward to reading Glenn's book and will hold close to me the idea that Dissent is Patriotic at this point in time.

Inflammatory Opinion:
One Thousand Fifteen

Robert NovakValerie PlameOn July 14, 2003, columnist Robert Novak, in his article entitled, "Mission to Niger," wrote the following words: "Valerie Plame is a [Central Intelligence] Agency operative. Two senior Administration sources told me..." In the White House press briefing of September 29, 2003, Press Secretary Scott McClellan said, "[T]hat is not the way this White House operates. The President expects everyone in his administration to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. No one would be authorized to do such a thing." Mr. McClellan later in that press briefing went on to say, "[T]here's been no information that has been brought to our attention, beyond what we've seen in the media reports, to suggest White House involvement," and he demanded of reporters questioning him, "Do you have specific information to suggest White House involvement?" None did at the time, although such evidence would ultimately surface in grand jury testimony, principally about the activities of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and more recently in court filings that note the involvement of Vice President Richard Cheney and President George W. Bush in what might have been an effort to discredit Ms. Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, whose article in The New York Times disputed Administration claims that the regime of Saddam Hussein had sought to purchase unrefined, "yellowcake" uranium from Nigeria.

Mr. Novak outed Ms. Plame 1,015 days ago.

U.S. Attorney Patrick FitzgeraldBased in part on a subsequent complaint filed by the Central Intelligence Agency, the Justice Department agreed to launch an investigation into who within the Bush Administration disclosed the name of a CIA agent. On December 30, 2003, then-Attorney General of the United States John Ashcroft announced at a news conference that he was recusing himself with respect to that investigation, and he publicly named Assistant Attorney General James Comey as Acting Attorney General to oversee the matter. Mr. Comey at that same news conference named Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, as the lead prosecutor and investigator.

That was 846 days ago.

Mr. Fitzgerald was given no independent budget, and his work was overseen by the office of Mr. Comey, a political appointee.

Irving Lewis LibbyMr. Libby, who served as an adviser to Vice President Cheney, was indicted on five counts in October of last year. Not one of those charges involved the disclosure of the name of Valerie Plame; all were instead because, as Mr. Fitzgerald said upon announcing the indictment, "[Libby] lied about it [the disclosure of Plame's name and status] afterwards, under oath and repeatedly."

To date, in the matter of the disclosure of the name of an American spy—a non-official cover (NOC) operative working through a front company tracking global trafficking in weapons of mass destruction—Mr. Libby is the only individual who has been indicted, and his indictment, again, had nothing to do with the disclosure of Ms. Plame's name and work.Judith Miller To date, the only individual to have served jail time was an employee, Judith Miller, of The New York Times, who was found in contempt of court for declining to reveal her journalistic source to a grand jury. In this latter side story, Mr. Fitzgerald's work has been to the entirely successful effect of ending the long-standing presumption among reporters that they had at least some affirmative defense against being compelled to violate confidentiality agreements with the sources for their stories, particularly with respect to government wrongdoing.

U.S. District Judge Reggie WaltonMr. Libby will not go on trial until January of next year, and when he does, that trial will be before U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, perhaps best known for dismissing the case brought by FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. Judge Walton in that case agreed with then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, representing the United States in defense against Ms. Edmonds' suit, that the need of the FBI to protect 'state secrets' superceded Ms. Edmonds' right to redress through the courts. This, of course, explains Mr. Libby's recent motions to compel discovery on literally thousands of government documents: should Judge Walton agree that a document critical to Mr. Libby's defense cannot be subpoenaed because of a government claim of state secrets privilege, the defense can immediately move for dismissal of charges.

From only months after Mr. Fitzgerald's appointment, the litany of rumors about indictments of senior Administration officials came and went. In the wake of the Libby indictment, the rumor mill began anew with fresh and fertile vigor: media outlets were speculating that Karl Rove might be soon be indicted, despite U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald's own statement that, "[T]he substantial bulk of the work of this investigation is concluded." The fact that Mr. Fitzgerald has subsequently brought matters related to this investigation before a new grand jury should not be interpreted as any indication that he plans to bring further indictments: Mr. Fitzgerald predicated his declaration that the bulk of the investigation had concluded by stating flatly, "[V]ery rarely do you bring a charge in a case that's going to be tried in which you ever end a grand jury investigation." In other words, the prosecutor was pointing out that, during a federal trial, it is standard procedure for the prosecution to have a grand jury readily available should the need arise during the course of the legal proceedings.

The speculation rages on to this very day, with major focus on Karl Rove, who was supposedly the subject as recently as last week of evidence presented by Mr. Fitzgerald to a grand jury.

The criminal justice system of the United States is motivated by three fundamental goals: certainty, severity, and celerity (swiftness). In plain English, if you break the law, you're definitely going to get punished, it's going to hurt like Hell, and you're going to get it right now. Failure in practice to achieve any one of these three goals corrodes the case under consideration and, more deeply, the confidence in and reliability of that system of criminal justice. That, at least in the United States, is why we allow prosecutors what sometimes appears to be abusive leeway (particularly in grand juries), why we legislate prison sentences that constitute significant percentages of human lives, and why we strive for speedy trials. Whether or not this is a good system is irrelevant: this is what we strive for in this country, and this is what we achieve every day of every year as we prosecute and punish thousands upon thousands of Americans.

Alleged crimes committed against the United States in the outing of Valerie Plame happened well more than a thousand days ago. Subsequently, further crimes may have been committed in covering up the principal crimes. I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby will stand trial nearly thirteen hundred days after the commission of the principal crime alleged by the CIA in its original complaint submitted to the Justice Department. Almost thirteen hundred days. This is the celerity of geological processes more so than that of an effective criminal justice system.

And yet, somehow, some mainstream media outlets and a number of bloggers still stand ready to declare with every court filing by Mr. Fitzgerald that further indictments are just days or hours away; and some of the attendant analyses have become increasingly at odds with basic reasoning. Perhaps the most stunning example of hope trumping forensic integrity in journalism was offered on April 19, 2006, by Sydney Blumenthal, writing for the Guardian Unlimited. Beginning in earnest with near-Armageddon terminology, Blumenthal launches into hopeful speculation about " that could truly shake the Bush White House to its foundation." Mr. Blumenthal moves on with that premise, starting with praise for Fitzgerald's recent conviction of former Illinois Governor George Ryan on 18 counts of corruption, a prosecution that ended the globe-threatening scourge of selling commercial driver's licenses to unqualified people. The fall of ex-Governor Ryan was attended by the return to power of the Illinois Democratic machine and its union allies, who together made systemic, massive corruption forever the world-renown landmark of Chicago. Current Governor Rod Blagojevich has already become embroiled in scandal the scale of which dwarfs that of his predecessor, as the Democrats sink their teeth ever further into one of the state's few remaining pools of money, the state's teacher retirement fund, giving every indication that they plan to suck it down to insolvency. Excellent prosecutorial work: nail a small-time corruption scandal and leave in its wake sleaze on stilts. And as an aside, little media attention ever came of the violent harassment of the lone dissenting juror in Ryan's trial, a woman who was eventually—perhaps because she wasn't going along with the Fitzgerald's pre-determined script—dismissed by the judge because she had previously had "brushes" with the law for which she was never convicted, but which she didn't note in a prospective juror questionnaire. Is that outrageous and unfair jurisprudence? Certainly not: it's Chicago jurisprudence; and the point is that a U.S. attorney can run an investigation, drag powerful politicians into a maelstrom of media lynching, and secure convictions at will when he wants to. God help anyone who ends up in the earnest gun sights of a federal prosecutor. The odds of surviving as a non-convict are truly miniscule.

That, of course, must be taken in the context of expenditures by the U.S. Attorney under consideration: in the first 15 months of Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation of the Valerie Plame scandal, he was reported to have spent $723,000. That works out to a daily burn rate on funds of about $1,600, which would cover a couple of attorneys, a handful of paralegals and other investigators, photocopying, and some meal expense vouchers at Mabel's 2Go Burger Trough. It does not work out to an Earth-shattering federal investigation of the Executive Branch of the government of the world's most powerful nation.

Karl RoveBlumenthal is undeterred by where the facts on the ground actually point: he hinges a possible impending indictment of Rove on Fitzgerald's recent filings in the Libby case, which reference Rove as a 'subject' of the on-going inquiry. Being a 'subject' in a criminal investigation is one step short of being a 'target' of investigation. Rove is not one of those unfortunate souls with the label 'target' on his forehead; and it is altogether disingenuous not to point out that prosecutors are more than willing to label anyone a 'subject' whose testimony might eventually be required. That's how law enforcers keep useful citizens compliant; but noting breathlessly that Rove is a 'subject' does not point the way to some pulsating beacon of hope for his immediate, or even eventual, indictment. It just doesn't.

More in-depth analysis by such journalistic resources as Editor & Publisher seems to indicate that Fitzgerald is building a case against Rove and perhaps others based upon grand jury testimony given by none other than I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, himself. The filings Mr. Fitzgerald has delivered to date are genuinely unclear with regard to his intentions beyond the prosecution of Libby. It is entirely reasonable to hope, however, that a seasoned federal prosecutor would not be seeking the conviction of an indictee on charges of obstruction of justice and perjury while at the very same time be planning to use that person's testimony in a case against others. Perjury is the express lane to eviscerated credibility in a court of law, and a convicted perjurer is completely and utterly destructible by opposing counsel. Fitzgerald may be gaming the media and the anti-Bush crowd, but he is most decidedly not stupid. Even so much as associating Libby with accusations against others could come back like an explosive boomerang were subsequent prosecutions to include allegations that a convicted Mr. Libby had made.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is not the salvation of America from the Bush Administration, one of the few Presidencies in U.S. history that drifts perilously close to being a criminal enterprise. Mr. Fitzgerald has secured a five-count indictment against a man whose name three years ago would have been unfamiliar to all but the most serious policy wonks. That's all Mr. Fitzgerald has measurably accomplished in 846 days; and even if Mr. Fitzgerald were tomorrow to announce indictments of far better-known officials of the Bush Administration—men such as Karl Rove and Dick Cheney—along with a far lesser known host of minor, shadowy neo-conservatives, thugs, and common liars within the White House, the history of the future would not change materially. The war in Iraq has already become a part of the American experience for years to come, and some 2,500 American soldiers will not suddenly come back to life. The federal budget surpluses of the Clinton Administration have been squandered, and the national debt, instead of being paid down as it could have been, now threatens to push against a mind-numbing ten trillion dollars. A phony "debate" about the future of the Social Security Pension Fund prevented prudent, actuarially sound adjustments that would have ensured solvency of the Trust well into the second half of the century. The federal judiciary has been filled with judges some have described as a frightful cabal of Dominionists who will ensure that, generations after the current minions of neo-conservativism and theocratic enlightenment have been hanged, their policies will still be shaping the rule of law in the land. And the Supreme Court now has a density of extremists sufficient to guarantee that the civil rights and liberties long assumed to be a progressively more expansive part of the privileges of American citizenship will vanish over the coming years.

In other words, the rule of law was in the end no vanguard against the onslaught of those with a new vision of America, that shining beacon of liberty now and after this era the pious and corrupted land of the less-than-free, a nation felled by men and women no force on Earth could stop before they had wrought their destruction.

In the gathering and permanent night of America, the Dark Wraith has spoken.

This article is cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums. Other articles by the Dark Wraith on this topic:
The Valerie Plame Scandal: Part I Part II Part III
The Color of Whitewash

Monday, April 24, 2006

Two stolen elections later and look what we see on a monthly basis. If the trend continues (with diverse polling mind you) we're looking at 28% by the end of June. It's the exact same headlines- just a different month. Why? Take an honest, objective look at the deterioration around this country and planet; look at different conditions and follow them back logically to the source. This scrambling White House "shake-up" is nothing more than a token sacrifice (Scotty McTool "resigns") followed by a reshuffling of the same old regime figures. I really don't know why it bothers. Certainly by now it must know that it is an UNTOUCHABLE.

A'hm the Commander In Chief. A'hm the war president. A'hm the decision maker.

Bush's approval rating hits new low

April 24, 2006

President George W. Bush's public approval rating has fallen to 32 percent, a new low for his presidency, a CNN poll showed on Monday.
The survey also showed that 60 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job.
Bush's poll numbers have languished below 40 percent in the last couple of months, hit by growing public opposition to the Iraq war, his support for a now-abandoned plan for a Dubai firm to take over major U.S. port operations and American anger over gas prices now topping $3 a gallon at the pump.
Continuing fallout from the Bush administration's mishandling of the initial response to Hurricane Katrina has also hurt his popularity.

Bush's approval rating as measured by CNN's poll dropped from 36 percent in March. His lowest job performance measure has been 32 percent, in a Fox News poll this month.
Bush has launched a shake-up of his White House staff in an effort to revive his popularity and stave off concerns of fellow Republicans that they could lose control of both houses of Congress in a November midterm election.
Bush's response to the gas crisis has been to warn Americans to expect a tough summer, vow that price gouging will not be tolerated and try to promote energy alternatives that will take years to get to consumers.

With all due respect to the bush lovers, WHICH IS ZERO BECAUSE I HAVE NONE, here's an interesting little serated twist in your side.

Are we going to let it happen AGAIN?

And thank you all (NBFers) for the kind words! It does feel good to put up an entry again.

Removing America's Blinders

By Howard Zinn, Posted April 24, 2006

If Americans were more aware of how often our leaders have lied in order to wage war, would anyone have believed this president's justifications for attacking Iraq? [...]

A careful reading of history might give us another safeguard against being deceived. It would make clear that there has always been, and is today, a profound conflict of interest between the government and the people of the United States. This thought startles most people, because it goes against everything we have been taught. [...]

Our present leaders are not so candid. They bombard us with phrases like "national interest," "national security," and "national defense" as if all of these concepts applied equally to all of us, colored or white, rich or poor, as if General Motors and Halliburton have the same interests as the rest of us, as if George Bush has the same interest as the young man or woman he sends to war. [...]

If we as citizens start out with an understanding that these people up there -- the President, the Congress, the Supreme Court, all those institutions pretending to be "checks and balances" -- do not have our interests at heart, we are on a course towards the truth. Not to know that is to make us helpless before determined liars. [...]

A more honest estimate of ourselves as a nation would prepare us all for the next barrage of lies that will accompany the next proposal to inflict our power on some other part of the world. It might also inspire us to create a different history for ourselves, by taking our country away from the liars and killers who govern it, and by rejecting nationalist arrogance, so that we can join the rest of the human race in the common cause of peace and justice.

Read the entire article

Hat tip to DeLLBerto

March For Peace, Justice And Democracy
Saturday, April 29, 2006
New York City

An Indiana mother recently accompanied her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend to one of Indiana's Planned Parenthood clinics, but they unwittingly walked into a so-called "crisis pregnancy center" run by an anti-abortion group, one that shared a parking lot with the real Planned Parenthood clinic and was designed expressly to lure Planned Parenthood patients and deceive them.

The group took down the girl's confidential personal information and told her to come back for her appointment, which they said would be in their "other office" (the real Planned Parenthood office nearby). When she arrived for her appointment, not only did the Planned Parenthood staff have no record of her, but the police were there. The "crisis pregnancy center" had called them, claiming that a minor was being forced to have an abortion against her will.

The "crisis pregnancy center" staff then proceeded to wage a campaign of intimidation and harassment over the following days, showing up at the girl's home and calling her father's workplace. Our clinic director reports that the girl was "scared to death to leave her house." They even went to her school and urged classmates to pressure her not to have an abortion.

The anti-choice movement is setting up these "crisis pregnancy centers" across the country. Some of them have neutral-sounding names and run ads that falsely promise the full range of reproductive health services, but they dispense anti-choice propaganda and intimidation instead. And according to a recent article in The New York Times, there are currently more of these centers in the U.S. than there are actual abortion providers. What's more, these centers have received $60 million in government grants. They're being funded by our tax dollars.

A bill has just been introduced in Congress to stop the fraudulent practices of fake clinics, but it desperately needs more support. Tell your representative to take a stand: anti-choice extremists must not get away with this any longer!


By NASSER KARIMI Associated Press Writer

April 24,2006 TEHRAN, Iran -- President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hinted Monday that Iran was considering withdrawing from the worldwide Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and said he did not think the U.N. Security Council would impose sanctions on Iran.

"Those who speak about sanctions would be damaged more" than Iran, he told a news conference. "But no particular event will happen, don't worry".

This evil anti-semitic monster is taking a page from our presidunce's book. Ever since the Neocons took over our foreign policy they have been all about trashing the Non Proliferation Treaty ... just a month ago Bush was in India tearing it to shreds and so this nasty ass in Iran is in a much stonger position in terms of precedent and world opinion to move Iran into the wonderful "learn to love the bomb club".

Every move the Bushies make weakens the hope for future generations to live in peace.

Posted for Gregg.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Guarding the Nuclear Cliff

We all saw that President George W. Bush's meeting with fellows at the Hoover Institution on Friday was stopped by the presence of more than 1,000 protestors at Stanford at White Plaza and in front of the Hoover Tower. These protestors forced Bush to change his plans. The meeting with advisers and faculty members and the President was changed and took place at the residence of former Secretary of State and Hoover Fellow George Shultz on the outskirts of the Stanford campus.

More than 100 armed law enforcement and Secret Service officers lined the streets outside of Encina Commons, as students, parents, faculty members and local residents protested Bush’s anticipated arrival on east campus. Outside the Hoover Institution, the crowd chanted, “Hey-Hey-Ho-Ho-Bush is here, he’s got to go.” Another popular slogan targeted the conflict in Iraq, as students yelled, “1-2-3-4-We don’t want your fuckin’ war-5-6-7-8-Stop the killing, Stop the hate.”

As the protest grew louder, the Sheriff’s Department attempted to clear the street to provide the president’s motorcade a safe entrance into the complex. When the students refused to obey these verbal commands, more than 50 police officers in full riot gear were called to the scene. Dressed in protective helmets, the officers used their batons to push individuals back from the Tower.

In response to the use of physical force, students directed their chants at the perceived infringement of their rights.

“Whose campus—Our campus. Whose streets—our streets,” they yelled. “Tell me what democracy looks like—this is what democracy looks like.”

I never liked using the word trend, but what is occurring in California should be done in every city and on every campus across the United States. I agree with Steve Westly, the front-running Democratic candidate in the 2006 California gubernatorial race when he states that there needs to be a new wave of student activism around the country.

Judd at Think Progress reminds us:
The Hoover Institution is a think tank that has been aggressively promoting the viability of a preemptive military strike in Iran.

What struck my attention was the comment by James Risser at Think Progress which reads:
This IS the October surprise:

At the end of September 2006, the Joint Functional Component Command for Space and Global Strike is scheduled to achieve Full Operational Capability (FOC). That event builds on Global Strike capabilities developed over many years to provide new offensive strike options to the President against proliferators of weapons of mass destruction.

I am by no means a scholar, but what James is talking about is not ludicrious. It was written just the other day, by John W. Dean in his article in Findlaw's Writ. I recommend that you read it, because we all know that the President is indeed becoming increasingly dangerous. However, I did want to point out that Dean did bring up the subject of an October Surprise:

[...] But more likely, Bush may mount a unilateral attack on Iran's nuclear facilities - hoping to rev up his popularity. (It's a risky strategy: A unilateral hit on Iran may both trigger devastating Iran-sponsored terrorist attacks in Iraq, with high death tolls, and increase international dislike of Bush for his bypass of the U.N. But as an active/negative President, Bush hardly shies away from risk.) Another rabbit-out-of-the-hat possibility: the capture of Osama bin Laden.

If there is no "October Surprise," I would be shocked. And if it is not a high-risk undertaking, it would be a first. Without such a gambit, and the public always falls for them, Bush is going to lose control of Congress. Should that happen, his presidency will have effectively ended, and he will spend the last two years of it defending all the mistakes he has made during the first six, and covering up the errors of his ways.

There is, however, the possibility of another terrorist attack, and if one occurred, Americans would again rally around the president - wrongly so, since this is a presidency that lives on fear-mongering about terror, but does little to truly address it. The possibility that we might both suffer an attack, and see a boost to Bush come from it, is truly a terrifying thought.

It worries me greatly when the President meets with Hoover fellows, but I am also encouraged when I see that students are becoming active and actually stop the meeting from occurring on their campus. It worries me even more when the President states: "I am the decider and I decide what's best." In making that statement, he is actually telling the American People that he has taken away their rights. He is telling us that he is going to be making the decisions. My husband cannot fathom Congress going along with the notion that the United States will attack Iran. I wish I had his optimism but I worry that Congress will just go along with whatever the President decides. It is time for Bush and his power mad administration to be brought to justice and impeached. Americans should not stand by and let the Bush Administration push civilization over the nuclear cliff.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Pat Tillman - November 6, 1976 - April 22, 2004

Nate Davis remembers:

I think about the horrible way the Army mismanaged the news of Tillman's death and I get angry that it didn't provide his family with what they so righteously deserved, what every serviceman's family is unquestionably entitled to: The unvarnished truth. Pat's parents, his wife, his fellow Ranger and brother, Kevin, deserved far better.

Mrs. Tillman is still speaking out about the way the military and the government handled the death of her son.

In a scalding criticism of the United States Army and the Bush Administration, the mother of Pat Tillman, a former NFL safety who died during combat in Afghanistan, spoke to Palo Alto High School students about the controversy surrounding her son's death.

The United States Army initially said Tillman was killed by enemy fire, but it was later revealed that the former Arizona Cardinals safety was killed by friendly fire. Mary Tillman alleged that the army and the Bush Administration used her son's death for political gain and covered up the fact that he was killed by U.S. soldiers.

Two things to remember, John McCain gave a moving speech at the memorial service for Pat on May 3, 2004. He spoke of how Pat walked away from 3.6 million NFL contract to join the army. He gave another speech at the University of Florida's 2004 Commencement on April 30, 2004:

I'm sure you're all aware of the inspiring story of Pat Tillman, who gave up a successful professional football career to enlist in the Army after September 11. He served one combat tour in Iraq, and then another in Afghanistan where he was killed in action. He was, by all accounts, a hell of a guy. A good son, brother, husband and friend, an excellent student, an overachieving athlete, a decent, considerate man, a solid citizen in every respect. Obviously, he had been raised to be an honorable man, and to possess the virtues that make an honorable life. He had skill and fortitude and daring in his chosen profession. But it was his unexpected choice of duty to his country over the riches and other comforts of celebrity that proved his courage.
Tillman’s death came at a sensitive time for the Bush administration — the Army’s abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq became public and sparked a huge scandal just the week prior to Pat's death. The Pentagon immediately announced that Tillman had died heroically in combat with the enemy, and President Bush hailed him as “an inspiration on and off the football field, as with all who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror. Pat was raised to be honorable, perhaps John McCain and George Bush should learn to do the same on the second anniversary of Pat's death.

Lest we forget 2000 and 2004 in our excitement over imploding Republicans.

Howard Dean on Diebold: "These machines are a problem" A Daily Kos diary by David Grossman

David Grossman: Governor, one question by way of the blog Daily Kos. How concerned are you and others at the DNC about Diebold voting machines, and...

Dean: Very.

Grossman: ...other issues of voting fraud?

Dean: Very concerned. I am actually calling Democratic public officials. I called one yesterday to try to head off the use of these machines. We spent half a million dollars after the election with a task force, headed by Donna Brazile but made up of academics that were relatively neutral and very careful, to look at these machines very carefully. We concluded that are easily hackable and cannot be verified and that they are not reliable. And we concluded the best machine you can use is an opti-scan machine because at least it has paper ballots and you still get the rapidity of the counting. There are Democratic officials who still use these because they get huge amounts of money from the federal government to buy these kinds of machines, well, not just ... the other machines, the Sequoias and Diebolds and such. I'm not an expert on these machines, although someone did actually teach me how to hack one on live TV once, which was kind of fun. It's pretty shocking -- I know so little about the intricacies of all this stuff so ... I wouldn't pretend I ... I did change the vote totals on the machines, but I don't know if it was really -- could have been a program that was elaborately programmed to fool me into thinking I was doing something I really wasn't doing.

But yes, our conclusion is that these machines are not reliable and they undermine confidence in democracy. I, as you know, keep in pretty constant touch with lots of people around the country, many of the people who supported me for President are people who are very much involved in exposing this. There have been some success stories in North Carolina, for example, the legislature wrote the bill so that essentially Diebold's unwillingness to provide source codes or any kind of reliability disqualified them from the bidding. So, we're pushing back on this hard. Republican legislators seem to think these are great things. We don't get very far in states that are controlled by Republican governors and legislatures, but we have had some success. We believe it's important to keep talking about these machines. These machines are a problem. This is not some Internet conspiracy; this is a serious problem that faces American democracy. These machines are not reliable and they shouldn't be used. We should not be using machines in this country where the results of the vote can't be verified after the fact. Period. Any machines. [emphasis added]


I am so sorry to take Lizzy's beautiful picture out of the top position on this Earth Day.

But here is another one of those mind boggling stories. A CIA agent gets fired for leaking the other day, The White House frantically trying to pretend they had nothing to do with the Plame leak, and now, Rice caught leaking secrets to AIPAC !

Alexandria, Virginia - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice leaked national defense information to a pro-Israel lobbyist in the same manner that landed a lower-level Pentagon official a 12-year prison sentence, the lobbyist's lawyer said Friday.

Happy Earth Day!

That the sky is brighter than the earth means little,
unless the earth itself is appreciated and enjoyed.-- Helen Keller

Vice President Dick Cheney claims that he was not snoozing during an official visit by China's President Hu Jintao to the White House.

Sure looks like he is to me.

Condi doesn't look overwhelmed by Hu's charisma either.

Friday, April 21, 2006

My Favorite Chuckism:
1/26/06 - Chuck said:

Lessee ...

"I know Jack Abramoff, Enron, Halliburton contracts in Iraq now top $10 BILLION, Downing Street Memo, PDB of June 6, 2001, 9-11, Iraq, bin Laden, Afghanistan and the drug trade control, Iran, Libby, Plame-Gate, unwarranted surveillance of U.S. citizens, deficit, Social Security, John Roberts, Sam Alito, Harriet Miers, Katrina, gasoline prices, energy prices, education, homeless, job losses, outsourcing, pharmaceuticals, DEPLETED URANIUM AND PLUTONIUM 238, Russia/China pact against U.S. aggression, Syria/Iran pact against U.S. aggression, QUAGMIRE, North Korea escalation, worldwide protests against the U.S., David Safavian, nationwide protests against my administration, OPERATION T.I.P.S., Bill Frist, Tom DeLay, Alberto Gonzales, defending Dick Cheney saying "F*ck yourself" on the Senate floor, criminal cabal, $59 BILLION MISSING FROM THE H.U.D. PROGRAM, signing off on all Congressional bills with a footnote stating "subject to MY interpretation", Michael "BROWNIE" Brown, gagging Sibel Edmonds, other "Whistleblower" mysterious deaths, OATH OF ALLEGIANCE, hand-picked audiences, choreographed interviews, scripted photo-ops, McCarthyism, Timothy Flanigan, A DIVIDED COUNTRY, religious fanaticism, free speech suppression, POLICE STATE - Martial Law, fear-mongering, war-mongering, Bob Ney, "PATRIOT" ACT, "intelligent" design, false terror alerts, ELECTION THEFTS, RUMSFELD and torture, cronyism, statements I've made about dictatorship, Medicare and Medicaid DEEP cuts, creeping fascism developing into blatant aggressive fascism, al-Qaeda / terrorism creation, "goddamn piece of paper", living in a bubble, inhuman atrocities, STAGED TELECONFERENCE WITH SOLDIERS, indifference to death / destruction / suffering, AWOL and my falsified military records, personal cowardice, HOMELAND SECURITY, claiming illegal agricultural exemption on my taxes, PRETZELS, SEGWAYS, BIKES, “I couldn't think of a single mistake I've ever made,” hiding in Crawford and exorbitant vacation times, fake Texan / fake cowboy, Flu Pandemic "preparations", SAILBOAT FUEL for Iraqi desert, avoiding Cindy Sheehan ("that bitch"), Bob Taft, PATHOLOGICAL LYING, not attending soldier funerals, cutting troops' pay and veterans' benefits, $8 TRILLION DEBT INCREASING BY $2 BILLION PER DAY, Wolfowitz and the World Bank, GM/FORD/CHRYSLER financially "tubing", DRUNK ON POWER, "off the wagon", Duke Cunningham, dysfunctional family, George Ryan, continual and increasing propaganda- CATAPULTING IT, BLAMING EVERYONE ELSE FOR MY FAILURES, asking the president of Brazil if they have a lot of black people in their country, Noe Coin Scandal - "COINGATE", $9 BILLION MISSING IN IRAQ WAR FUNDS ... ??????

“, I don't know anything about any of that stuff or any of those people!

"Besides, I'm the Commander-In-Chief and I DON'T HAVE TO ANSWER TO ANY OF YOU PEOPLE! (personal note! NO MORE UNSCRIPTED TOWN HALL MEETINGS!!!) And, I gotta pee.”

{{Chuck}}, I feel very fortunate to have met so many wonderful and like-minded Kicking Ass people who are united in wanting what is best for our people, our country and our planet. I have learned so much from your hard work to point out all the wrongs. You were another one who also encouraged me to step out from being just a shy lurker, and with that extra push from Lizzy and Jenny, I finally took that step and went from being "Jenny's lurker friend" and became a blogger. (Now look at what you all have started!)

Chuck, you truly are a most amazing person. I admire all you have done and your steadfast dedication. I respect your opinions, and your voice. I most certainly understand that burnt-out feeling. I will miss your site. You are a treasured friend of ours.

(Posted for Gregg)

Gas shortages hit the East Coast

Some distribution terminals see shortages while industry phases out additive.

April 20, 2006: 4:51 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Some gasoline distribution terminals from Virginia to Massachusetts are seeing shortages as the industry phases out a water-polluting additive, the U.S. Energy Department said on Thursday.

The shortages are not because refiners are not making enough gasoline, or because of a recent rupture on the key Plantation Pipeline that carries supplies from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast, industry officials said.

Rather, the oil industry is rapidly eliminating a gasoline additive called MTBE, banned in several states for polluting ground water, and replacing it with ethanol, a renewable fuel that can't be shipped by pipeline because it absorbs water.

"There's not a shortage of supply," said John Eichberger, a spokesman for the group. "It's a transitional issue."


Oil hits new trading record near $73 -- Click here.

UPDATE: $75 a barrel:

ABC News



Senators to Big Oil: Where's the money?

Considering a bill to block industry mergers, lawmakers call on executives to explain record profits, and offer ways to rein in prices. Click here.


Uncle Sam's hand in high gas prices?

Critics say ill-timed legislation is partly responsible for prices at the pump, but others say the industry should have seen what was coming. Click here

So in addition to ripping us off at the gas pump these $#&% heads can’t use their obscene profits to hire managers, consultants, scientists, whatever, who can figure out how to make their product without polluting our water in a way that doesn’t cause shortages! Way past time to nationalize this industry and start spreading those profits among our schools, our soldiers, our elderly and so on….perhaps we need to hire some advisors from Latin America?

Thank you, {{Gregg}}

Goodbye, Chuck, you quitter. Words cannot describe how devastated I am, and at some point I'll mourn you properly, but right now I am mad as hell. I can't believe you deleted your blog! But mostly, I can't believe we've lost your wit, wisdom, and intelligence. :(

Anyway, happy Friday. If folks could spend a few moments sharing some Chuckisms, that would make this silly, sentimental sap feel a smidge better.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Last Call For A Great Lakes Relic

The 61-year-old U. S. Coast Guard ice cutter Mackinaw is a floating relic. The Old Mac will be decommissioned on June 9.

Commissioned in December 1944, the Mackinaw, at 290 feet, is the Coast Guard's largest domestic ice cutter and was designed to keep shipping lanes open in the Great Lakes throughout the winter. It is being replaced by a new Mackinaw -- a smaller, more technologically advanced vessel. [...]

The World War II-era Mackinaw cost $10 million to build, $80 million less than it cost to construct the 254-foot-long new cutter, which arrived in Cheboygan last December.

The old Mackinaw, meanwhile, will become a museum and be immortalized in an hour-long documentary shot by a team of Michigan-based filmmakers. Thomas Moore, Michael Shamus and Chris Benjamin shot most of the documentary aboard the ship in March. [...]

Ahoy, and farewell.

The USCG Mackinaw at the bow of the Canadian Olympic in the Livingstone Shipping Channel. Completed in 1912, the Livingstone Channel in the lower Detroit River is a narrow deep draft shipping channel that was built using explosives to blast away the solid limestone rock. Its size, current and location can cause the channel to fill will ice, halting shipping. Normally used by down-bound traffic only, in the winter the Livingstone is open to both up and down-bound traffic and the only channel open for navigation.

This is a photo from the Canadian CG ice breaker Samuel Risley, working in tandem with the USCG ice breaker Mackinaw, to free the freighter Canadian Olympic in the Livingstone Shipping Channel.

Photo as the Risley slides back, down the port length of the 730 ft Olympic, after running up its length on the starboard side of the freighter. The Mackinaw is working at the bow of the freighter.

Photos courtesy of


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Being a Blog Moderator is Hard Work!!

Dear Tim,

We know that you have got an awful lot on your shoulders, but the load could be a bit lighter for you if those promised automated threads finally came to be; and it'd be a lot easier on some of us with better troll droppings sweepers.

((Clean-up, aisle 3!))

At any rate, we look forward to your posts about the DNC Spring Meeting in New Orleans. Please try and visit the 9th Ward, we really want to see the progress there. We want to see all that the Bush Administration is doing for the Katrina victims, and American Citizens.


Your Curious and Devoted Companions from Afar

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