12/20/07 Get This
1. Winter storm warning! It's supposed to snow today everywhere except where you are patiently waiting with your snowboard and a handwarmer down your knickers. Sad but true: It never snows near you..
2. The ghost of Strom 'Old Fish-head' Thurmond haunts Our own Senator Gordon Smith. Smith was among The Chosen raising a toast as Trent Lott slowly sinks in the East. (Doubtless to "rise again" as a 'K' street lobbyist... ) Here's what Gordon said: 'A great injustice ' had been done to Lott when he was chastened for expressing admiration for 'Old Fish -head's racist remarks regarding Our National Interest.
3. KBOO's Edison Carder did a nice job on 'Our Backyard', his environmental program. This was a book recommendation edition and a subtle, under-the-counter word about making the right decisions.
4. Bush League: Conservationists want more than mere promises from the Bush administration when it comes down to correcting the damage caused by political interference (Thy name is Julie Macdonald) in endangered species porotection. Notably, the US Fish and Wildlife Service got slapped with a lawsuit aimed at forcing the agency to do its job and set a deadline to review decisions to cut critical habitat for any number of creatures about to face extinction.
5. The Sierra Club of Oregon has endorsed John Kroger for Attorney General. (We'll miss you, Hardy Myers.)
6. The Rio Not-So-Grande: Kulongoski has stepped into the river of immigration issues and discovered that a, You can, in fact, step into the same river more than once. And, b. The water is hot. The Guv wants to launch an immigrants' drivers license program faster than people can drive to the Mexican Consulate to get in line. Proponents love the draconian nature of the plan. Opponents want more time to do research.
7. The EPA - That's the Environmental Protection Agency - has rejected California's revolutionary gas emissions limits. (We now have an environmental agency working to further climate change. We have clean air, skies and water agencies that promote the ideals of corporate polluters (Let's make this easier: Call them 'Polluticians' and rename DC 'Capit-oil Hill'). We have an education program designed to teach children to eat and shit and we have removed every safety net we ever had for thee millions who fall through the healthcare delivery system, all in the name of keeping the pharmaceutical and insurance companies alive and well...
8. Oregon's strapped, tapped and bled dry rural counties have got up a task force to try to do something about timber payments. How about growing bonsai trees? It would be faster...
9. Cynthia McKinney is running for president as a Green Party candidate. (Now that's a party! Let the games begin! At last, a candidate I can actually vote for. How about Dennis Kucinich as a running partner? Could this really be happening?
10. In New Orleans, public housing activists stopped the bulldozers yesterday, got arrested and drew the nation's attention away from the Mall and back to the Mauled. Three people were arrested. And the City Council is meeting again today while protesters keep the pressure on Jamie 'Bork' Loughner, Elizabeth Cook and Joy Kohler were among the few, the proud, the 'detainees'.
11. The Training Stops Here: The Training Adjustment Assistance program, which for over forty years provided financial help and new tech skills to workers who got shafted thanks to 'out-sourcing', in turn got shafted by the Senate. Because? Because they wanted to get home for the holidays.
12. The Justice Department pulled the rug out yet again yesterday. The DoJ limited the number of employees who can discuss investigations with the White House. Because? There's been too much "political meddling" in "sensitive cases." From now on out, only AG Michael Mukasey and his deputy general can initiate conversations with the White House regarding civil and criminal cases. Feel better now? Not me...
13. And another thing the Department of Justice isn't going to do: The DoJ refused to send a representative to answer questions from Congress on the investigation of the rape of a Halliburton/KBR employee by 'multiple assailants' in her Baghdad quarters. In other words the Justice Department won't prosecute Halliburton contractors for a gang rape.
14. The Bush administration is still stonewalling the investigation of the destruction of the CIA's home movies. 'Torture Tapes' Mukasey is the point man on this cover-up.
15. Congress voted to jettison the dreaded Alternative Minimum Tax - without 'splainin' how it was going to make up the $50 billion dollar shortfall. (But $70 billion for a couple of far-away wars that the American public long since lost the bloodlust required to enjoy on TV... .no problemo!)
16. US military judge Keith Allred harpooned the desperate plea on the part of Salim Hamdan's lawyers that he be tried as a prisoner of war. The classification would have won Hamdan a reprieve from the Gitmo "war crimes" tribunal. So it's back to "enemy combatant" status for the man whose only crime was driving a car containing Osama bin Laden.
17. Private First Class Jason Scheuerman had told friends, shrinks, commanding officers that if he stayed in Iraq he would top himself. His commanding officers said he was talking about suicide in order to get out of serving in the lower circles of Hell. And now, alas, Jason is soldier number 153 who has not waited around for unfriendly Iraqis or friendly fire to pack him up in a box and send him home. (At least there's no waiting list... I guess... ) Hope Scheuerman's commanding officer has sweet dreams this holiday season.
18. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah made yet another appeal to the Israeli government for peace - this on the eve of one of Islam's most important holy days, Eid al-Adha - and was soundly thumped. The astonishing thing is that Palestinians are still able to extend the old olive branch after the Israelis have bulldozed all their olive groves.
19. And not only bulldozed. The government of Ehud Olmert has turned so many blind eyes to the execrable settlement expansion that it can only be surmised that his eyes are wide open and greedy to take in more of the View From The Top.
20. Turns out that most of the al-Qaeda guys in Iraq are from our old pal, Saudi Arabia, the people who brought us 9/11.
21. Burning Questions Department: Have you lain there awake at night unable to sleep, tortured (no pun there, oh, no... ) by the desire to ask al-Qaeda's Number Two Man, Ayman al-Zawahri a question? Al-Sahab, al-Qaeda's media outlet won't return your calls? There's a grey Crown Vic parked in your drive and a strange guy locked in your bathroom and he won't let you in, not even to brush your teeth? Well, I've got something for you! For a limited time only - like a sale at Macy's - al-Zawahri is inviting journalists to interview al-Qaeda. Jump on it.
22. Three detainees were released from Gitmo, flown to Britain and arrested again. So things are going better for them.
23. Does This Murder Make Me Look Fat?: An Iraqi web reporter was found dead in Baghdad. The US would like to pin this on al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, but I think it looks better on US forces...
24. FARC released three hostages - but not to Alvaro Uribe. In a grand 'Up Yours' they handed the captives over to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.