Tuesday, November 08, 2005


The political sh*tstorms are raging so heavily lately I can't keep up, so here are some links for your outragement. . .

Bills to Cut Social Programs Move Forward in Senate and House Got no link here cause it's WSJ (here's one)but it's still ongoing but the gist is that they're finding ways to gut saftey net programs to pay for a seperate $70 billion bill to extend Festus's treasured tax cuts

The Wages of Wal-Mart Another WSJ link that reports that: Hoping to make nice with detractors, Wal-Mart Chief Executive Lee Scott has called on Congress to increase the $5.15 minimum wage.
It's like shooting rats in a barrel here, WalMart can raise it's own wages without asking Congress to make them do so. What's the real motive? The answer may be that calling for an increase in the minimum wage amounts to Wal-Mart calling for a hike in the labor costs of its smaller rivals, not to mention any potential start-ups. Wal-Mart already pays its workers an average hourly wage of close to $10 and so Mr. Scott is essentially asking Congress to strengthen its competitive advantage.
Sweet. . .

Prevailing Wages to Be Paid Again On Gulf Coast The levys hadn't even been fixed before Festus found it so important that he signed a degree making sure that the wages paid to the cleanup workers would be discounted. There were no such provisions on the corporations bidding for the work and most of those bids were "cost plus" meaning it didn't matter what the wages were. Making sure the workers got screwed while the companies reaped guarenteed profits is nothing but evil.
Gulf Coast workers and businesses have complained that they are being left out of the recovery. While the federal government spends more than $60 billion on recovery, they say that out-of-state companies receive most of the contracts and that many of those firms pay workers less than the prevailing wage -- which is often the union wage.

For example, 75 unionized electricians said they lost their $22-an-hour jobs rebuilding the Belle Chasse Naval Air Station near New Orleans because a Halliburton Co. subcontractor found workers to do the job for less.
Hmmm, Halliburton, where have I heard that name before. . .

Iran's recently elected president demonstrates just what "hardline" means in Iranian politics:

Iran's new president created a sense of outrage in the west yesterday by describing Israel as a "disgraceful blot" that should be "wiped off the face of the earth".

....He said: "Anybody who recognises Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury, [while] any [Islamic leader] who recognises the Zionist regime means he is acknowledging the surrender and defeat of the Islamic world." He was addressing a conference titled The World Without Zionism.
We've come a long way as a species, haven't we. We still hate and kill people who worship differently than us.

Judge: Microsoft's music player gaffe is 'concern' A federal judge scolded Microsoft on Wednesday for devising a marketing plan that would have forced portable-music player makers to package only Windows Media Player with their products. Old habits die hard, I guess. . .

Joe Wilson speaks.
It was payback — cheap political payback by the administration for an article I had written contradicting an assertion President Bush made in his 2003 State of the Union address. Payback not just to punish me but to intimidate other critics as well.

Just for the record.

PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH: Just because our White House has let us down in the past, that doesn't mean it's going to happen in the future.

VICE PRES. DICK CHENEY: On the first hour of the first day, we will restore decency and integrity to the Oval Office.

PRES. BUSH: If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it. And we'll take the appropriate action. And this investigation is a good thing.

Another FEMA
The Bush administration has missed dozens of deadlines set by Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks for developing ways to protect airplanes, ships and railways from terrorists.

A plan to defend ships and ports from attack is six months overdue. Rules to protect air cargo from infiltration by terrorists are two months late. A study on the cost of giving anti-terrorism training to federal law enforcement officers who fly commercially was supposed to be done more than three years ago.

"The incompetence that we recently saw with FEMA's leadership appears to exist throughout the Homeland Security Department," said Rep. Bennie G. Thompson

Serious breakdowns in settlement with Wal-Mart
There were serious breakdowns in a government settlement with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. over child labor law violations in Connecticut and other states - including allowing attorneys for the world's largest retailer to write key parts of the deal, according to a Labor Department inspector general report Monday.

As a result, Wal-Mart received "significant concessions" in the $135,540 settlement made public in February, the report said. Among them: The Labor Department was required to notify the retail giant 15 days in advance of opening an audit or investigation, something that's inconsistent with guidelines for the department's Wage and Hour Division.

Wal-Mart also could avoid formal citations or penalties if it brought facilities into compliance within 10 days of being notified about a violation.
Imagine a company so large and powerful that it gets to negotiate it's own punishment when it breaks the law. . .

Senator Roberts Remarks on the WMD Commission Report

“I don’t think there should be any doubt that we have now heard it all regarding prewar intelligence. I think that it would be a monumental waste of time to replow this ground any further.
This is from March, earlier this year. I guess this attitude is why the Dems had to hijack the Senate in order to force some kind of conclusion on Part II of the WMD report that was supposed to focus on how intel was used to con the country into supporting the Iraq war.

The Report They Forgot More on the Roberts fiasco.
In February 2004, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee (SSCI) announced that it had unanimously agreed to expand its investigation of prewar Iraq intelligence from focus on intelligence community blunders and into the more controversial area of “whether intelligence was exaggerated or misused” by U.S. government officials. The committee’s ranking Democrat, Jay Rockefeller, struck the agreement with Chairman Pat Roberts -- provided, Roberts insisted, that the probe into policy-makers’ activities wait until after the presidential election.

It’s now more than a year later, and Rockefeller is still waiting -- the Phase II report has yet to appear. What happened?

In Kuwait, Gush Of Oil Wealth Dulls Economic Change Another WSJ article that basically describes Kuwait as a welfare state where no-one does any actual work and gets paid well for it.
When Ms. Jaafar got married, the government gave her and her husband $17,150 to help with expenses. The couple also received free land, a car and cash to help build a house. Their expenses were minimal: electric bills, which often go unpaid, were almost nothing. Subsidized food made basic meals close to free. On her 10th anniversary, a congratulatory check for nearly $250,000 arrived from the government. Ms. Jaafar retired after 15 years in her government job of three hours a day. But her pension still brings in 95% of her previous salary, which was $4,116 a month.

Capital Blue This is probably total BS, but still fun to contemplate.
An uncivil war rages inside the walls of the West Wing of the White House, a bitter, acrimonious war driven by a failed agenda, destroyed credibility, dwindling public support and a President who lapses into Alzheimer-like periods of incoherent babbling...
The war erupted into full-blown shout fests at Camp David this past weekend where decorum broke down in staff meetings and longtime aides threatened to quit unless Rove goes...

White House staff members say the White House is “like a wartime bunker” where shell-shocked aides hide from those who disagree with their actions and office pools speculate on how long certain senior aides will last.

Bush, whose obscenity-laced temper tantrums increase with each new setback and scandal, abruptly ended one Camp David meeting by telling everyone in the room to “go fuck yourselves” before he stalked out of the room.

Senior aides describe Bush as increasingly “edgy” or “nervous” or “unfocused.” They say the President goes from apparent coherent thought one moment to aimless rambles about political enemies and those who are “out to get me.”

“It’s worse than the days when Ronald Reagan’s Alzheimer’s began setting in,” one longtime GOP operative told me privately this week. “You don’t know if he’s going to be coherent from one moment to the next. What scares me is if he lapses into one of those fogs during a public appearance.”

Whew! That was quite a purge. More later!