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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

the most corrupt in congress?

purporting to document corruption, beyond delay has a list of the “13 most corrupt members of congress.” i don’t know the organization (citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington), but it’s interesting to see what people in congress prioritize…

posted by roj at 11:58 am  

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

dc voting rights bill gets a hearing

the dc fair and equal house voting rights act of 2006 (h.r. 5388) gets a hearing in the house judiciary subcommittee on the constitution on September 14, 2006.

just as a reminder, the residents of the district of columbia don’t have the same voting rights as other american citizens – they have only partial representation in congress. it’s important to fix that situation, and this is one step in that direction.

the members of the house judiciary subcommittee on the constitution are:

Chabot, Chairman, (R) Ohio, 1st
Nadler, Ranking Member, (D) New York, 8th

Bachus, (R) Alabama, 6th
Conyers Jr., (D) Michigan, 14th
Feeney, (R) Florida, 24th
Franks, (R) Arizona, 2nd
Green, (R) Wisconsin, 8th
Hostettler, (R) Indiana, 8th
Jenkins, (R) Tennessee, 1st
King, (R) Iowa, 5th
Scott, (D) Virginia, 3rd
Van Hollen, (D) Maryland, 8th
Watt, (D) North Carolina, 12th

particularly if you’ve got a representative on the subcommittee, i encourage you to ask them to find a way to give dc residents full representation in their federal government. even if your representative isn’t on the subcommittee, it can’t hurt to drop your rep a note…

posted by roj at 11:52 am  

Monday, February 27, 2006

let no good deed go unpunished – barton’s citgo investigation

i’m not going to pretend to know the nuances that work around this story, but the big picture is pretty sad.

Big Oil fan after little man [ny daily news, 2006.02.23]

Rep. Joe Barton, the powerful Texas Republican who is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, launched a bizarre investigation last week into possible antitrust violations by a major oil company.

You will be surprised to learn that Barton, one of the top recipients in Congress of campaign donations from the energy industry, is not probing whether ExxonMobil or Chevron or any of the other oil giants engaged in price gouging when gasoline and heating oil costs skyrocketed the past few years.

No, the good congressman has set his sights on the only oil company that actually dared to lower its prices last year – at least for the poorest Americans.

so, in a period with oil companies posting record quarterly profits, and even politicians making noise about the high price of oil products, the investigation that the united states congress decides to pursue is how one company decided to help keep poor people warm in the winter.

note to self: kick the next homeless person i see on the street; if i toss them a sandwich, it sounds like my congressperson might want to see my desk calendar.

posted by roj at 2:34 pm  

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

the republican “culture of life” shrinks

for a long time, i’ve responded to the republican party’s so-called “culture of life” with the query or assertion that this culture of life appears to apply only from the period from conception to birth and at any time after brain death. republicans are so interested in stepping up to preserve the lives of the unborn that they’ll have big rallies and wave around signs and pictures. if you’re fortunate enough to be braindead, our president will even cut short his precious vacation to keep you alive.

surely, this is a party that values life (although some iraqis might disagree…).

then again, there’s the intentional testing of chemical weapons… err. i mean, pesticides… on pregnant women.

Congress required that EPA ensure that pesticides are never tested upon pregnant women and children. But the final rule would allow manufacturers to conduct testing of pesticides upon both pregnant women and children so long as there is no “intent” at the outset of the study to submit the results to EPA. Additionally, the plan would allow pesticides to be tested upon pregnant women and children in studies intended for submission at exposure levels up to the current legal limits – even though the National Academy of Sciences found that in some cases this level of exposure could present acute risks to children.

so much for the “culture of life” as it applies to the unborn. i guess you need to pray for brain death.

posted by roj at 8:24 am  

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

when all you have is a military….

… everything looks like a war.

i guess the “avian flu” news of the week – from president bush’s press conference…

Q Mr. President, you’ve been thinking a lot about pandemic flu and the risks in the United States if that should occur. I was wondering, Secretary Leavitt has said that first responders in the states and local governments are not prepared for something like that. To what extent are you concerned about that after Katrina and Rita? And is that one of the reasons you’re interested in the idea of using defense assets to respond to something as broad and long-lasting as a flu might be?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Thank you for the question. I am concerned about avian flu. I am concerned about what an avian flu outbreak could mean for the United States and the world. I am — I have thought through the scenarios of what an avian flu outbreak could mean. I tried to get a better handle on what the decision-making process would be by reading Mr. Barry’s book on the influenza outbreak in 1918. I would recommend it.

The policy decisions for a President in dealing with an avian flu outbreak are difficult. One example: If we had an outbreak somewhere in the United States, do we not then quarantine that part of the country, and how do you then enforce a quarantine? When — it’s one thing to shut down airplanes; it’s another thing to prevent people from coming in to get exposed to the avian flu. And who best to be able to effect a quarantine? One option is the use of a military that’s able to plan and move.


it’s not entirely suprising that bush has military responses on the brain. after all, when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail, right?

military budget: $419.3 billion (up 5%) (source [pdf])

center for disease control budget: $7.7 billion (source)

by name alone, you might think that “disease control” is how you would “control” an “avian flu pandemic” – if only because “avian flu” is, i think, a disease.

this opens a huge can of worms about budgets and priorities, so i’m just going to leave the lid off… (hi lucas)

posted by roj at 5:58 am  

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

rnc and rove on defense

this is an interesting statement…

Following is a statement by Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Ken Mehlman on the partisan attack on Karl Rove:

“It’s disappointing that once again, so many Democrat leaders are taking their political cues from the far-left, Moveon wing of the party. The bottom line is Karl Rove was discouraging a reporter from writing a false story based on a false premise and the Democrats are engaging in blatant partisan political attacks.”

so the rules have changed. do i get credit for discoraging a president from engaging in a false “war on terror” [in iraq] based on a false premise?

posted by roj at 4:49 am  

Thursday, July 7, 2005

what you just bought for iraq

just so you know where your tax dollars are being put to work…

The U.S. military has signed on Halliburton (NYSE:HAL – news) to do nearly $5 billion in new work in Iraq under a giant logistics contract that has so far earned the Texas-based firm $9.1 billion, the Army said on Wednesday.

Linda Theis, a spokeswoman for U.S. Army Field Support Command in Rock Island, Illinois, said the military signed the work order with Halliburton unit Kellogg Brown and Root in May.

The new deal, worth $4.97 billion over the next year, was not made public when it was signed because the Army did not consider such an announcement necessary, she said.

it’s been a long time since i did contract work of any sort with the federal government, but once upon a time, i vaguely recall that all contracts over $25,000 (yeah, that’s 25 thousand) were required to be announced (at the time, in the commerce business daily). perhaps someone more familar with the current federal acquisition regulations can explain how a bureaucracy as large as the army field support command manages to offer up a $5 billion contract without “considering” an announcement of some kind.

and while we’ve got your attention, let’s consider what else $5 billion might be doing… (yeah, i know this isn’t entirely fair…)

$5 billion could save 6 million kids [washington post via seattle times, 2005.06.25]

For about $5.1 billion, the lives of 6 million children younger than 5 could be saved each year, provided the money were spent to extend proven methods of disease prevention and treatment in the world’s poorest countries.

“In 15 years we could have a dozen cables running full steam putting 50 tons in space every day for even less, including upper middle class individuals wanting a joyride into space. Now I just need the $5 billion, Edwards added.

The Real Cost of Hunger [un chronicle, 2001]

Beyond what the United States and other countries are now doing, it will take an estimated $5 billion a year, of which $1.2 billion would come from the United States. If this annual allocation were continued for fifteen years, until 2015, we could reduce the 800 million hungry people by half. To erase hunger for the remaining 400 million would cost about the same if it were to be accomplished in the fifteen years leading up to the year 2030.

Laser project attempts to trigger fusion [ap via jsonline, 2005.05.24]

“We never intended to spend $5 billion to $6 billion to build a laser facility for . . . civilian research,” Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), chairman of the Senate subcommittee that funds the NIF program, lectured an Energy Department scientist last year when he learned fusion ignition experiments might be postponed.

posted by roj at 7:41 am  

Friday, July 1, 2005

welcome back to the 50’s

it’s not pure 50’s… but it’s a taste of the 50’s…

The rebirth of McCarthyism [seattle times, 2005.06.30]

Respectable opinion treats Rove’s speech as just another partisan flap. It’s much more. It’s the reincarnation of a style of politics that turns political opponents into traitors or dupes who are soft on the nation’s enemies. Welcome back to the ’50s.

posted by roj at 1:15 am  

Monday, June 27, 2005

taking the fight to karl

seems that some people are a bit upset about some comments from one mr. karl rove:

“Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.”

seems that some of them are serving in iraq.

i guess it’s probably news to mr. rove that liberals are in this all-volunteer american army. no. on second thought, he’s smart enough to know better. go ahead. take it personally.

in the meantime, as much as i sympathize with liberal american soliders (and i do, and they are worth reading), it’s probably worth noting that this is a classic neo-con tactic to distract everyone with some well-timed offensive rhetoric while someone else gets stabbed in the back. i admit i wasn’t paying attention. someone tell me who got screwed while rove was running his mouth?

posted by roj at 8:38 pm  

Friday, February 25, 2005

what we need

sometimes, it’s best to recognize that someone else has said something that needed to be said, and to simply acknowledge and appreciate it, even with its flaws.

[via metafilter]

posted by roj at 2:17 am  
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