Thursday, August 30, 2007

Iraq Report, Gutless Democrats, Horny Crooked Republicans, "A" Students, Bush, New Orleans, Barbour, Larry Craig and Army Showtime.

A draft of the GAO's report on Iraq says about what you would expect if you've been paying attention.

Iraq has met three of the 18 Congressionally mandated benchmarks. These numbers, actually quite good for a George W. Bush project, should give you some idea of the mess we have on our hands in Iraq.

Our troops have already paid way too high a price for a neo-con pipe dream.

General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker are going to Congress to explain that if you hold your head just right and squint really hard, you'll be able see how much better things are in Iraq than the report suggests. And most of Congress will start squinting and seeing the good stuff.

So once again Bush will get his way and our military, and our troops will continue the slow bleed in Iraq.

Iraq has failed to meet all but three of 18 congressionally
mandated benchmarks for political and military progress, according to a draft of
a Government Accountability Office report. The document questions
whether some aspects of a more positive assessment by the White House last month adequately reflected the range of views the
GAO found within the administration.

The strikingly negative GAO draft, which will be delivered to Congress in
final form on Tuesday, comes as the White House prepares to deliver its own new
benchmark report in the second week of September, along with congressional
testimony from Army Gen. David H. Petraeusthe top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan C. CrockerThey are expected to describe
significant security improvements and offer at least some promise for political
reconciliation in Iraq.

The problem is that we don't have an opposition party
in this country. That's the role the Democrats are supposed
to play. Unfortunately, it seems that their party leaders and elected members
only have one set of testicles between them all and somebody misplaced them.

I mean they are letting the so-called "Bluedog Democrats" dictate the agenda. BTW these "Bluedog Democrats" are just the whores of Big Business, the NRA and the Religious Right. In other words, they're Republicans. And the Democrat party doesn't have the guts to do anything about them.

But conservative Democrats and some party leaders continue to worry that taking on those issues would expose them to Republican charges that they are weak on terrorism. And advocates of a strong push on the terrorism issues are increasingly skeptical that they can prevail.

Conservative Democrats, including Rep. Allen Boyd (Fla.), argued just as vociferously that Democrats dare not leave on vacation without passing the White House bill.

"The most controversial matters are the ones that people use to form their opinions on their members of Congress," said Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.), who voted for the administration's bill. "I do know within our caucus, and justifiably so, there are members who have a real distaste for some of the things the president has done. But to let that be the driving force for our actions to block the surveillance of someone and perhaps stop another attack like 9/11 would be unwise."

The administration's bill passed 227 to 183, with 41 Democrats joining all but two Republicans in favor.

Pathetic, especially when you look at what they're up against. The place to start looking would probably be public restrooms.

What's up with Republican politicos getting arrested by undercover cops for soliciting sex in public restrooms? First, Florida state representative Bob Allen, formerly John McCain's state campaign co-chair, was arrested in July after he offered a police officer $20 for the privilege of performing oral sex. And today, news broke that back in June, Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho), long the subject of gay rumors, was arrested in a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes cop investigating lewd conduct in the men's bathroom. Both men are married--to women.

Really, these guys are the horny Keystone Kops of political parties. And the Democrats in Congress just roll over for them. I know there's got to be some real Democrats out there. It's time to make the Democrat Party stand for something.

It was a bizarre spectacle, and only the latest in a string of accusations of sexual foibles and financial misdeeds that have landed Republicans in the political equivalent of purgatory, the realm of late-night comic television.

Forget Mark Foley of Florida, who quit the House last year after exchanging sexually explicit e-mail messages with under-age male pages, or Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist whose dealings with the old Republican Congress landed him in prison. They are old news, replaced by a fresh crop of scandal-plagued Republicans, men like Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, whose phone number turned up on the list of the so-called D.C. Madam, or Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska and Representative Rick Renzi of Arizona, both caught up in F.B.I. corruption investigations.

But there is good news for Democrats, college students are getting politically active again. Students at Xavier are fund raising to get liberal speakers to counter Ann Coulter's appearence there on Sep. 6.

She has every right to speak her mind (and she's paid well to do it, her $20,000+ speaking fee equals about $5 for every Xavier student). But we speak our minds, too; for values like compassion, equality, and diversity. The same values Xavier students work to uphold with groups like Xavier's Gay-Straight Alliance, Amnesty International, Habitat for Humanity, and Earthcare.

And at American University, the Secret Service has issued arrest warrants for mooning a man that's flattered by an idiot calling him "Turdblossom". I would think in this case, that mooning Karl Rove should be covered under the First Amendment.

Yesterday Wonkette reported that departing White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove was looking to get even with some students at American University who had the tenacity to show him their asses. See, back in April Rove gave a speech before the university's College Republicans, meeting with some feisty protesters as he made his way out. Those arrested were forced into 40 hours of community service, and that was that. But now arrest warrants have been issued by the Secret Service for the mooners.

Either George Bush thinks most of us are stupid or he just don't know what the hell is going on. He went to New Orleans yesterday and told them that they are not "forgotten".

"I am frustrated with President Bush, his red tape, and his apparent low regard for the struggle of New Orleans," said Shelley Midura, a member of the City Council. "He has basically handed New Orleans a modest chest of recovery gold that is sealed shut under an elaborate system of locks that help keep his administration's promise of rebuilding from becoming reality."

Just ignored, I guess.

We are coming up on the two-year mark since the Katrina debacle in Louisiana and Mississippi. I hesitate to call this date an anniversary because the word implies, in some way, a celebration, a birth. What we are scratching on the calendar is more like a notch on a raw gravestone, a count of the days and years that have passed without a reckoning for those who died, those who lost loved ones and for a city that is still in critical condition.

Fellow right-wing nut, Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi has raked in the lion's share of relief money. But in true GOP fashion, you don't get much for your money.

Today, Hancock County and the rest of coastal Mississippi are 21 months into a recovery that has garnered Gov. Haley Barbour lavish praise. Governing magazine named Barbour its 2006 Public Official of the Year largely due to his supposed post-Katrina leadership and savvy, including his skill in convincing federal lawmakers to channel billions of relief dollars to the Magnolia State. As Billy Hewes III, a Republican official from Gulfport, said: "He is to Katrina what Rudy Giuliani was to 9/11." Outsiders might be surprised to learn then, that despite the plaudits, and despite the fact that Barbour's GOP connections seem to have won him a disproportionate share of relief money from Washington, post-Katrina recovery in some of the hardest-hit areas of the Mississippi coast is moving as fast as molasses in winter.

The Republicans are starting to eat their own. No pun intended.

The intensity of the Republican leaders' assault on one of their own was stunning, if for no other reason than its unusual -- un-senatorial -- nature. Several ethics lawyers and experts could not provide an example in the past two decades of one senator calling for the ethics committee to investigate a colleague.


The Army is going to investigate $3 billion in contract fraud in Iraq. 3 billion seems like a cheap out for the contractors, considering all the of billions in contracts handed out in Iraq. The Army's going to give us a show by putting a band aid on a decapitation.

The Army will examine as many as 18,000 contracts awarded over the past four years to support U.S. forces in Iraq to determine how many are tainted by waste, fraud and abuse, service officials said yesterday.

Take a break and check out the specious report's Larry Craig's Airport Tips.

JFK (Kennedy International Airport)

For a small-town boy like me, an airport as big as Kennedy can be overwhelming. Luckily, there are lots of bathrooms where you can stop to catch your breath, wiggle your fingers, and rub your foot against a neighbor's. But in between your trips to the restroom (especially the one in Terminal 4!) there is so much to do at JFK!


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bush, Iraq, Iran, Blackwater Air Force, Karbala, Ahmadinejad, 50 Billion to Iraq, Unhappy Troops, Abu Ghraib, SAT, Big Boom, Craig's Sex and Cronyism.

It's just amazing that at the time of this photo-op, Bush and the Right thought the war was over and we had won.

It must have been true, the White House still has a transcript of the speech in which Bush declared, "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended.".

Now, after more than four years and more than 3300 American KIA since "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended.", what does the "War President" think about the situation in Iraq?

Well, according to the speech he gave the American Legion, he thinks things are just going pretty damned fine. And who can argue with the record Bush has racked up as a military genius?

RENO, Nev., Aug. 28 -- A year ago, President Bush came before the American Legion convention and assured his audience of veterans
that the early results of a plan to strengthen security in Baghdad were "encouraging." Within a few months, U.S. officials
were acknowledging that the plan had collapsed and sectarian violence in Iraq was veering out of control.

Bush came before the same group Tuesday morning here and offered another
upbeat message about the U.S. campaign to bring security to the country. "Our
new strategy is showing results in terms of security," he said. "Our forces are
in the fight all over Iraq."

"The momentum is now on our side," Bush said. "The surge is seizing the
initiative from the enemy -- and handing it to the Iraqi people."

He also bad-mouthed Iran.

"Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere, and that is why the
United States is rallying friends and allies around the world to isolate the
regime, to impose economic sanctions," Bush said. "We will confront this danger
before it is too late."

Iran's about as much of a danger to the U.S. as Iraq was. But I can't see any sane person taking Bush seriously, 'cause they know that the U.S. military kinda has it's hands full at the moment.

But owing to his love of the private sector, he just might hire a private security company to invade Iran. Why not? One has even made enough of our tax dollars to buy it's own air force. From another country, of course.

Security company Blackwater U.S.A. is buying Super Tucano light combat aircraft
from the Brazilian manufacturer Embraer. These five ton, single engine, single
seat aircraft are built for pilot training, but also perform quite well for
counter-insurgency work.... The bubble canopy provides excellent visibility.
This, coupled with its slow speed (versus jets), makes it an excellent ground
attack aircraft.

In the news from Iraq today, it looks good for Bush, mostly it's just Iraqis killing Iraqis.

BAGHDAD, Aug. 28 -- Riots broke out during a religious festival in the holy
city of Karbala on Tuesday, prompting the evacuation of hundreds of
thousands of Shiite pilgrims and leaving 28 people dead, police said.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad predicted at a televised news conference that
the authority of the U.S. military will soon collapse in Iraq. "The political power of the occupiers is being destroyed
rapidly and very soon we will be witnessing a great power vacuum in the region,"
Ahmadinejad said. "We, with the help of regional friends and the Iraqi nation,
are ready to fill this void."

Unfortunately, it looks like Ahmadinejad is giving us a pretty good assessment of the situation in Iraq. It would be best for all concerned, if we could turn Iraq over to the U.N. and let them send in a peace-keeping force from Muslim nations. I mean, just what are we getting in return for our investment?

Screwed, for one thing. We're spending over three billion a week on Bush's little adventures into the Middle East. Now Bush is wanting an extra 50 billion to try to drag this mess out so he can hand to the next guy. Since our brave Democrats in Congress care more for their image than their country, Bush will get what he wants.

President Bush plans to ask Congress next month for up to $50
billion in additional funding for the war in
Iraq, a White House official said yesterday, a move that appears to
reflect increasing administration confidence that it can fend off congressional
calls for a rapid drawdown of U.S. forces.

The request -- which would come on top of about $460 billion in the fiscal
2008 defense budget and $147 billion in a pending supplemental bill to fund the
wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq -- is expected to be announced after
congressional hearings scheduled for mid-September featuring the two top U.S.
officials in Iraq. Army
Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker will assess the state of the war and
the effect of the new strategy the
U.S. military has pursued this year.

The revised supplemental would total about $200 billion, indicating that the
cost of the war in Iraq now exceeds $3 billion a week. The bill also covers the
far smaller costs of the war in Afghanistan.
The Pentagon said recently that the cost of the Iraq war has
surpassed $330 billion, while the war in Afghanistan has cost $78 billion.

When the troops lose confidence in their Commander-in-Chief and their general officers, the jig is just about up. Following orders from people you think must be idiots is not good for morale.

A recent op-ed about the war in Iraq charged that upbeat official reports
amount to "misleading rhetoric." It said the "most important front in the
counterinsurgency [had] failed most miserably." And it warned against pursuing
"incompatible policies to absurd ends."

Five years into a controversial war, that harsh judgment in a New
York Times opinion piece might not seem surprising, except for this: The authors
were seven US soldiers, writing from Iraq at the end of a tough 15-month combat

The Vietnam and Iraq "debacles are not attributable to individual failures,
but rather to a crisis in an entire institution: America's general officer
corps," wrote the former West Point instructor and Iraq veteran who recently
took command of a battalion. "In both conflicts, the general officer corps
designed to advise policymakers, prepare forces and conduct operations failed to
perform its intended functions.... As matters stand now, a private who loses a
rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war."

Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan, who was picked to play the lead in the Army's morality play, was absolved of any torture charges. I don't know if the guy's guilty or not. What's so sad about this is that with this courts martial, the Army will sweep Abu Ghraib under the rug. Considering that this goes all the way to the top, the Army's done an excellent job of covering every body's ass.

The only Army officer to face a court-martial for the notorious detainee abuse
at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was exonerated of mistreating detainees by a military jury
yesterday, ending a series of prosecutions that stretched over more than three

Bush, the Republicans and the Democrats who abetted them should be held accountable for the absolute mess that they've caused in this country.

On the home front, Bush's education revolution "No Child Left Behind" has had a major, if not unexpected result, SAT scores have dropped.

The Class of 2007 posted the lowest SAT averages in several years, according to
scores released this morning. Scores from the second year of an expanded,
three-section college-entrance test declined by double digits in Maryland and
the District, by five points in Virginia and by seven points nationwide,
compared with the previous graduating class.

It would appear that a whole bunch of us are missing out on the big economic boom that we're supposed to be having. Not Bush's base, the top five per cent are doing very well, thank you very much.

Although median household income, adjusted for inflation, rose for the second
straight year, it has not reached the pre-recession high of 1999.

Although the poorest households had the largest percentage income gain from
2005 to last year, income inequality remains at a record high. The share of
income going to the 5 percent of households with the highest incomes has never
been greater.

Senator Larry E. Craig (R-Id) is coming out by saying, "Let me be clear: I am not gay. I never have been gay,".

We all try to play footsie with the guy in the next stall, don't we? Don't know about you, but I don't want to see no part of nobody coming into my stall.

The right-wing blogosphere don't believe him.

From NBC's Mark MurrayA quick scan of some of the more prominent conservative
blogs shows that these bloggers aren't defending Idaho Sen. Larry Craig (R),
after Roll Call reported yesterday that Craig was arrested in June for lewd
behavior in a men's bathroom. In fact, there are plenty of calls for his

Hell, his fellow Repbulicans don't even believe him. They usually believe about anything.

Senate Republican leaders called for an ethics investigation of Sen. Larry E. Craig (R-Idaho) yesterday as he dug in for a legal
and political fight to save his congressional career after acknowledging that he
had pleaded guilty to disorderly-conduct charges stemming from an incident with
an undercover police officer in an airport men's room.

Another crook that hides behind his religion, Rev. Ted Haggard, done screwed up again. He was doing his panhandling e-mail through a group has now been linked to a registered sex offender. Smirk.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Church officials supervising fallen
evangelical leader Ted Haggard plan to meet with him today in Phoenix because of
an e-mail he sent soliciting donations for himself.

Haggard told people they could send money to him or through an
organization called Families with a Mission. That group has now been linked to a
registered sex offender in Hawaii named Paul Huberty.

And to finish this with a little pure old fun, Mother Jones shows us how the White House rewards incompetence.

Ellen Sauerbreystarted as: U.S. representative to the United Nations
Commission on the Status of Women, 2002-2003

heckuva job: Sauerbrey, who had little international experience, pushed for
pro-life language in diplomatic agreements, earning boos at U.N.

soft landing: Now assistant secretary of state for population, refugees, and
migration, she runs relief operations all over the world. At her confirmation
hearings, Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) pointed out that "you don't have very
specific experience." Sauerbrey noted that she had overseen three Maryland
counties as a census administrator. Three!

Hector Barretostarted as: Administrator of the Small Business
Administration, 2001-2006

heckuva job: Under this former Bush fundraiser's watch, the sba handed out $2
billion in contracts reserved for small firms to large companies and gave
post-9/11 terrorism relief to an Oregon winery and a perfume company in the
Virgin Islands. In a 2005 survey of government employees' morale, the SBA ranked
dead last.

soft landing: In April 2006, Barreto resigned, only to emerge as head of the
Latino Coalition, a conservative Astroturf organization funded by A-list
corporations from R.J. Reynolds to Verizon.

Have a good Wednesday, 'cause the weekend getting closer.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Chertoff, Johnson III, Selling out the U.S. in Iraq, Paul A. Brinkley, Horny Senator, House Hearings and Wal-Mart.

I don't know, but Chertoff looks like he's about two seconds away from making Bush his bitch.
With the resignation of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, it would appear that we are headed another round of which sycophant's tongue can find the sweet spot.
It's looks like the winner is going to be Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. No doubt because of his stellar performance at Homeland Security. He has kept the terrorists entertained by spying on Americans while they run free, New Orleans has completely recovered under his leadership and he's stopped the flow of illegal aliens into this country. Lucky us.
Now what will "The Decider" do to replace Chertoff at DHS?
With deep pockets comes plenty of cronies to play whatever game you want. It seems that new crony Clay Johnson III, the Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget, has been picked for the job. His qualifications? The usual.

He is one of Bush’s oldest friends, having attended both
prep school and college
with the President. Johnson served as Bush’s
gubernatorial chief of staff
in Texas before heading up the Bush-Cheney
transition team.

Asked about his relationship to Bush, Johnson told the New York Times
recently that “there’s
a lot of devotion to George Bush the person
.” Johnson, who “is probably
the only person to have spanked
” the president’s dog, Barney, “keeps
a George Bush doll on his desk

Hardly surprising from a man who lied this country into a war for no reason other than to make his friends and supporters even richer. Check out this RollingStone story of Republicans making a mint in Iraq.
Operation Iraqi Freedom, it turns out, was never a war against Saddam
­Hussein's Iraq. It was an invasion of the federal budget, and no occupying
force in history has ever been this efficient. George W. Bush's war in the
Mesopotamian desert was an experiment of sorts, a crude first take at his vision
of a fully privatized American government. In Iraq the lines between essential
government services and for-profit enterprises have been blurred to the point of
One more example of Bush's Iraq policy of moving government money to the private sector is Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Paul A. Brinkley. He's under investigation for, well being stupid really. Maybe that should be really stupid.

WASHINGTON -- A Bush political appointee and former Silicon Valley
executive who has faced opposition in his bid to bail out Iraq's struggling
factories is under investigation by the Defense Department on mismanagement

Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Paul A. Brinkley, who heads an economic
task force in Baghdad, is accused of mismanaging government money and engaging
in public drunkenness and sexual harassment, a Defense Department spokesman said last week.

The allegations stem from a 12-page memo filed this month by two former
members of the task force. The charges are being investigated by the Defense
Department's Office of the Inspector General.

Bob Love, director of operations for the task force, said he was shocked by
the allegations, saying they were related to "personnel issues." He said the
former task force members were dismissed before they filed their

Really stupid Republicans seem to be making the news a lot lately. Once again a pro-family, anti-gay, married Republican has been caught doing a little meat shopping, this time in a public restroom. And it's not some obscure local Republican, it's Idaho's Senator Larry E. Craig.

The undercover officer was monitoring the restroom on June 11. A few
minutes after noon, Craig entered and sat in the stall next to him. Craig began
tapping his right foot, touched his right foot to the left foot of the officer
and brushed his hand beneath the partition between them. He was then

While he was being interviewed about the incident, Craig gave police a
business card showing that he is a U.S. senator. "What do you think about that?"
Craig asked the officer, according to the report obtained by Roll Call.

What do you think about that? Graig has resigned as Senate co-chairman for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. Video
He's also a board member of the National Rifle Association.
When it rains NRA Board Member perverts, it pours.

We posted a
commentary about the obscene, death-threatening rant of NRA Board member and troubled rock star Ted Nugent on Friday. After just a guitar lick of
time, word
comes that NRA Board Member and United States Senator Larry Craig (a Republican
from Idaho and NRA Board Member since 1983) pleaded guilty to
charges of
"lewd" behavior in a Twin Cities airport washroom.

And there's been plenty of rumors about past experience.

The House is going to hold hearings on a couple of Iraq reports. Will the hearings lead to any improvements? Probably not. There's enough Bush suck-up, Blue Dog Democrats in the House to make sure.
A completed 70-page report by the Government Accountability Office, to be delivered to Congress next Tuesday, paints a bleak picture of prospects for Iraqi political reconciliation, according to administration officials who have seen it. The second report, by an independent commission of military experts, is being drafted. But a scorecard on the Iraqi security forces released yesterday by an adviser to the group concluded that the Iraqis are years away from taking over significant
responsibility from U.S. combat forces.

And finally some good news. Here in rural Oklahoma Wal-Mart pretty much has a monopoly on getting your shopping business. The main reason is because Wal-Mart is here and nobody else is. With three dollar gasoline, you tend to go to the closest place. These little dollar stores are starting to pop up all over the place and that helps, a little.
Now we have a British company invading our shores and it's making Wal-Mart nervous. If it makes Wal-Mart nervous, as far as I'm concerned, it has to be a good thing.
Enjoy your Monday. College football starts in just a few days
Sorry about the paragraphs running together, html snafu.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Domestic Spying, Limp Dems, Rumsfeld Benighted, Iraq Death Toll, Iraqi's Rule, Senators Inhofe and Coburn/Oklahoma Dumb.

It's a shame that George Bush's intellectual curiosity extends no farther than wanting to know what the citizens of this country are up to.

If only that curiosity had been present when he was getting that Ivy League education, maybe this country wouldn't be in the mess that it's in today.

It looks like everyone is under the watchful eye of Curious George, except Osama bin Laden.

Kate Martin, executive director of the Center for National Security
Studies, said the new disclosures show that Gonzales and other administration
officials have "repeatedly misled the Congress and the American public" about
the extent of NSA surveillance efforts.

"They have repeatedly tried to give the false impression that the
surveillance was narrow and justified," Martin said. "Why did it take
accusations of perjury before the DNI disclosed that there is indeed other,
presumably broader and more questionable, surveillance?"

Thank goodness for the Democrats. Once again proudly standing up for the rights of the American people by putting their careers on the line by boldly compromising with the President.

I understand that if they go against the President on this, the Right-Wing Propaganda Machine will crucify them about being soft on terrorism, but I can't help wondering how the Democrats manage to keep their pants up with only half an ass.

Congressional Democrats, under pressure from the Bush administration, today
proposed a six-month compromise that would expand the government's authority to
conduct electronic surveillance of overseas communications in search of

The proposal, according to House and Senate Democrats, would permit a
secret court to issue a single broad order approving eavesdropping of
communications involving suspects overseas and other people, who may be in the
United States. That order "need not be individualized," according to a
Democratic aide.

We all know the story of Pat Tillman. He left a lucrative pro football career to get the guys that brought down the World Trade Center. We all know how he was KIA by friendly. We all know that the Army and Defense Department covered it up with a wild story, a la Jessica Lynch. Well, true to form...

Former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and three senior generals today
denied any attempt to cover up the circumstances of the April 2004 death by
"friendly fire" of Army Ranger Pat Tillman, and they said they did not know who
altered a fellow soldier's initial account to make it appear that the former NFL
star was killed by enemy action.

The Right will be pulling out all stops to show that the lower number of U.S. service personnel killed in July will justify something, the surge, the war or whatever.

However there is no way to justify these troops deaths, useless deaths, for the neocons and their pet idiot's pipe dream.

Does this make you think that things are improving in Iraq? If it does, you're in the wrong place, you want Fox News. As proof I offer this little tidbit.

BAGHDAD, Aug. 1 -- Iraq's largest Sunni political group partially withdrew from the
Shiite-dominated government Wednesday, the latest indication of growing Sunni
frustration with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The announcement by the Accordance Front came on an especially violent
day in Baghdad, as three car bombs killed at least 75 people in the capital.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military announced the deaths of four U.S. troops, bringing
the total number of American casualties in July to 78, the lowest monthly figure
since last November.

The Accordance Front announced that will vacate five of its six seats in
Maliki's cabinet because of what Sunni leaders called the failure of the prime
minister and other leading government officials to make progress on a list of
demands the group issued last week.

"The government is continuing with its arrogance, refusing to change
its stand and slamming shut the door to any meaningful reforms necessary to save
Iraq," said senior Accordance Front member Rafaa al-Issawi.

The Accordance Front announced that will vacate five of its six seats in
Maliki's cabinet because of what Sunni leaders called the failure of the prime
minister and other leading government officials to make progress on a list of
demands the group issued last week.

"The government is continuing with its arrogance, refusing to change its
stand and slamming shut the door to any meaningful reforms necessary to save
Iraq," said senior Accordance Front member Rafaa al-Issawi.

And to end this, I want everyone to know how lucky we are here in Oklahoma. We are blessed with two U.S. Senators who apparently live in some flag-waving, Bible-thumpin' fantasy land, where Big Business is the fount of all knowledge and science is a liberal plot to destroy the world.

I've already mentioned Sen. James Inhofe (R-Dumbass-OK), he's the guy who has described global warming as the"greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."

Now it's the other's turn, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-My Religious Beliefs Trump the Constitution-OK).

Senator Coburn has blocked a resolution to honor environmental author Rachel Carson on the 100th anniversary of her birth, saying that her warnings about environmental damage have put a stigma on potentially lifesaving pesticides, congressional staffers said yesterday.

Coburn has used bogus information from a right-wing, anti-environment web site JunkScience, titled The Malaria Clock: A Green Eco-Imperialist Legacy of Death. The right-wing blogosphere has been laying it on thick about how Rachel Carson has caused more deaths than Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot. Keep in mind that these are the same people who believe George Bush is a great president, that we're winning the war in Iraq and WMD's will be found any day now.

Here's the low down on Rachel Carson.

From Wikipdeia.

Carson and the environmental movement were—and continue to be—criticized by
some conservatives, who argue that restrictions placed on DDT have caused
needless malaria deaths.[50] For example, the conservative magazine Human Events
gave Silent Spring an honorable mention for Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th
and 20th Centuries.[51]

Carson, however, never actually called for an out-right ban on DDT, instead
arguing in Silent Spring that:

No responsible person contends that insect-borne disease should be ignored.
The question that has now urgently presented itself is whether it is either wise
or responsible to attack the problem by methods that are rapidly making it
worse. The world has heard much of the triumphant war against disease through
the control of insect vectors of infection, but it has heard little of the other
side of the story - the defeats, the short-lived triumphs that now strongly
support the alarming view that the insect enemy has been made actually stronger
by our efforts. Even worse, we may have destroyed our very means of

She noted that "Malaria programmes are threatened by resistance among
mosquitoes"[53] and emphasized the advice given by the directer of Holland's
Plant Protection Service: "Practical advice should be 'Spray as little as you
possibly can' rather than 'Spray to the limit of your capacity'…Pressure on the
pest population should always be as slight as possible."[54]

Furthermore, experts have argued that restrictions placed on the
agricultural use of DDT (something Carson actually did advocate) have increased
its effectiveness as tool for battling malaria. Pro-DDT advocate Amir Attaran
has said, "The outcome of the treaty [banning DDT's use in agriculture] is
arguably better than the status quo…For the first time, there is now an
insecticide which is restricted to vector control only, meaning that the
selection of resistant mosquitoes will be slower than before."[55] And even
Roger Bate, director of Africa Fighting Malaria, has said "A lot of people have
used Carson to push their own agendas. We just have to be a little careful when
you're talking about someone who died in 1964."[56]

Some have claimed that recent criticism of Carson was funded by the tobacco
industry, seeking to divert the attention of bodies such as the World Health
Organization from campaigns against smoking.[57][58] Documents in the Legacy
Tobacco Document Archive show that Africa Fighting Malaria—one the most vocal
critics of Carson and advocates of DDT—originally sought the support of the
tobacco industry to divert resources away from efforts by the World Health
Organization to reduce smoking.[59]. Another vocal critic, Steven Milloy,
established The Advancement of Sound Science Center with support from Philip
Morris.[60] Although funding from Philip Morris appears to have ceased, TASSC
and the associated site continue to criticise Rachel

Some environmentalists consider the recent criticism of Carson and push for
DDT to be an industry sponsored strategy to discredit the environmental
movement. Monica Moore of Pesticide Action Network has written that "Renewed
promotion of DDT and attacks on those who would limit its use isn’t about
malaria, or even DDT. It is a cynical “better living through chemistry” campaign
intended to discredit the environmental health movement, with support from the
Bush administration and others who seek nothing less than the dismantling of
health and environmental protections."


The right has revved up its claim that the environmental pioneer who
criticized DDT was responsible for the spread of malaria that killed millions.
The facts say otherwise.

Novelist Michael Crichton has a front seat on the bandwagon. He took on DDT
and climate change in his footnote-studded 2004 novel, "State of Fear." "Banning
DDT killed more people than Hitler," his protagonist alleges. "And the
environmental movement pushed hard for it."

TheCoburn/Crichton talking points have infected the mainstream press. In
his New York Times Science column this month, John Tierney thrashed Carson's
warnings about insecticides and argued that her voice still "drowns out real
science." Over at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Bill Steigerwald blamed
"environmentalists spooked by Rachel Carson" for banning a "miracle weapon" that
is "like Kryptonite to the mosquitoes."

Malaria's burden is enormous. Each year, the disease infects 350 to 500
million people and kills at least a million -- the vast majority in Africa,
mostly children under 5. As decades have passed, science has shown that Carson
was wrong about some of the dangers she associated with DDT. It's also true that
the insecticide can be a valuable tool in the arsenal against malaria. But
blaming Carson and the environmental movement for malaria's death toll is not
supported by evidence from generations of scientists and malaria researchers.

And probably the best rebuttal. Bug Girl, PhD in Entomology.

Some crazy claims have been made lately about Rachel Carson. How wacky are
the claims?Well, this wignut says Rachel Carson is on a level with Hitler,
Stalin, and Pol Pot. Here’s another one, who also adds that “massive testing has
documented that synthetic pesticides are no cancer threat to humans.”

Wow. Just…wow.Think this is a fringe issue? You can also read this stuff in
the New York Times, Washington Times, and CBS news.

I’ve been looking at this fight for a couple of weeks now; circling around
the problem, and trying to figure out where to start. One of the top pages when
you search on Google for either Malaria or DDT is Junk Science–a page that
claims to “debunk” the DDT ban, claiming it’s “A Green Eco-Imperialist Legacy of

I’m going to examine their claims, since they seem to be the ringleaders.
Their site is having intermittent server problems, so I’ll add a Fox News story
written by one of the Junk Science “experts,” since it’s more likely to remain
in a stable state.

OK, that's it for now. Have a good 'un. Be back full time as soon as the kids start school and I can have the computer again. Aug. 8