Saturday, July 28, 2007

CREW report details US refusals of foreign aid after Katrina

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released the most comprehensive matrix available to date detailing all offers of assistance from around the world in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

CREW’s matrix is based on 25,000 Department of State (DOS) documents it received as a result of a lawsuit filed under the Freedom of Information Act in December 2005 for records relating to the federal government’s handling and acceptance of international offers of aid after Hurricane Katrina.

The matrix includes all international offers, whether they were rejected or accepted and the reasons why, if available. The documents reveal a number of disturbing responses to offers from 145 countries and 12 international organizations from around the world.
Another email responding to an offer from Argentina to DOS officials reads “All, The (sic) word here is that doctors of any kind are in the 'forget about it' category. Human assistance of any kind is not on our priorities list....It’s all about goods, not people, at this point.”

Sums up the bu$h Crime Family quite well.

big brother

Travelers Face Greater Use of Personal Data

The United States and the European Union have agreed to expand a security program that shares personal data about millions of U.S.-bound airline passengers a year, potentially including information about a person's race, ethnicity, religion and health


According to the deal, the information that can be used in such exceptional circumstances includes "racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership" and data about an individual's health, traveling partners and sexual orientation.

Friday, July 27, 2007

friday reads

The AP receives new documents that suggest Army Ranger Pat Tillman may have been murdered.

The dispute over the truthfulness of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales reached a new intensity today as the F.B.I. Director, Robert S. Mueller 3rd, contradicted Mr. Gonzales’s sworn testimony before a Senate committee.

Digby - on how the right view "our troops":

I hear so much from the right about how they love the troops. But they don't seem to love the actual human beings who wear the uniform, they love those little GI Joe Dolls they played with as children they could dress up in little costumes and contort into pretzels for their fun and amusement. If they loved the actual troops they wouldn't require them to be like two dimensional John Waynes, withholding their real experiences and feelings for fear that a virtual armchair lynch mob would come after them.

Thank God Joseph Heller and James Jones and Erich Maria Remarque and countless others aren't trying to write their books today. They'd be burned as heretics by a bunch of nasty boys and girls who have fetishized "the troops" into a strange form of Boy Band eroticism --- the empty, nonthreatening form of masculinity that the tweens use to bridge the scary gap between puberty and adolescence. Private Peter Pan reporting for duty.

The real men for them are the civilians on 24 torturing suspected terrorists for an hour each week, keeping the Lil'est Tough guys safe from harm with hard sadism and easy answers. That's where this wingnut war is really being fought. With popcorn.

Jon Swift - Punishing Scott Thomas Beauchamp

Thursday, July 26, 2007

quote of the day

My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total. And I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution.


If the impeachment provision in the Constitution of the United States will not reach the offenses charged here, then perhaps that 18th-century Constitution should be abandoned to a 20th-century paper shredder.

Barbara Jordan - Statement on the Articles of Impeachment delivered 25 July 1974, House Judiciary Committee

(full text and audio)

thursday morning briefs

Glenn Greenwald - What were the pre-2005 "other intelligence activities"?

Think Progress - New Document Demonstrates 'Clear Case' of Abu Gonzales Perjury on Spying Program

Jane Hamsher - I'm Proud to Be a Partisan

PC EZ-Bake Oven

Think Geek

Now the computer savvy among us can relive the fun of having your very own personal mini-oven with the PC Ez-Bake oven! It fits in a 5 1/4" drive bay and plugs right into your power supply with the included Molex connector. Also included is "PC Ez-Cook", the open-source oven controller software with hundreds of easy and creative recipes for your PC Ez-Bake oven, and even a fuzzy-logic cooking control system to precisely measure the doneness of your cake, cookie, or cheese souffle. The PC Ez-Bake oven can even be used to cook your Pop Tarts, Bagel Bites, or any tiny or flat food. YUM!

(via Boing Boing)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

wednesday reads

Heading toward a separation-of-powers showdown, House Democrats prepared contempt of Congress citations against two White House aides who have refused to comply with subpoenas for information on the abrupt firings of federal prosecutors.

Gonzales Contradicts Prior Statements, Confirms Existence Of Other Spying Programs

Juan Cole - Bush's incompetence gives al-Qaida new life

The Bush administration's strategy for pursuing al-Qaida in Pakistan's tribal region could stoke support for the Islamic militants who are protecting the terrorist network's leaders and battling Pakistan's U.S.-backed military regime, some U.S. diplomatic and defense officials and experts warn.

Jon Stewart struggles to find 'experts' in Bush administration

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The 299 million least influential Americans

Time Releases Annual List Of Least Influential Americans

Politicizing the Peace Corps

Diplomats Received Political Briefings

White House aides have conducted at least half a dozen political briefings for the Bush administration's top diplomats, including a PowerPoint presentation for ambassadors with senior adviser Karl Rove that named Democratic incumbents targeted for defeat in 2008 and a "general political briefing" at the Peace Corps headquarters after the 2002 midterm elections.

The briefings, mostly run by Rove's deputies at the White House political affairs office, began in early 2001 and included detailed analyses for senior officials of the political landscape surrounding critical congressional and gubernatorial races, according to documents obtained by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The documents show for the first time how the White House sought to ensure that even its appointees involved in foreign policy were kept attuned to the administration's election goals. Such briefings occurred semi-regularly over the past six years for staffers dealing with domestic policy, White House officials have previously acknowledged.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Iraq vets file class-action lawsuit against the VA

Injured Iraq War Veterans Sue VA Head

Frustrated by delays in health care, a coalition of injured Iraq war veterans is accusing VA Secretary Jim Nicholson of breaking the law by denying them disability pay and mental health treatment.

The class-action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, filed Monday in federal court in San Francisco, seeks broad change in the agency as it struggles to meet growing demands from veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Suing on behalf of hundreds of thousands of veterans, it charges that the VA has failed warriors on several fronts — from providing prompt disability benefits, to adding staff to reduce wait times for medical care to boosting services for post-traumatic stress disorder.

The lawsuit also accuses the VA of deliberately cheating some veterans by allegedly working with the Pentagon to misclassify PTSD claims as pre-existing personality disorders to avoid paying out benefits. The VA and Pentagon have generally denied such charges.

(via Think Progress)

monday morning briefs

"Justice" Dept. drops massive fraud case

The House Judiciary Committee will meet this Wednesday to vote on contempt citations against former White House counsel Harriet Miers and White House chief of staff Josh Bolten, the committee announced today.

Halliburton profit up, shares hit new high