Let me say this about that
Not a lot going on, and I'm still swamped with other business.
Here's an open thread for you to discuss anything that's on your mind.
Not a lot going on, and I'm still swamped with other business.
When 32 innocent young Americans, full of promise and in the bloom of youth are senselessly slaughtered, a stunned nation can only ask itself why and devote it's energies to ensuring that it stops and look for ways to prevent it ever occuring again.
Go out and vote, then come back and tell us who you voted for and why.
One of my favorite writers has died. As he'd say, "And so it goes."
I've written 2,248 posts and the old counter on the wall has recorded over 200,000 visits to The Inside Dope in its 26 months of existence. That's a lot.
Without going into my feelings on the matter. (it's complete and utter overkill) since it's dominated the news for several days, here's a spot to express your feelings about the insensitive remarks of Don Imus and the subsequent uproar and his show being cancelled on MSNBC.
The Senate narrowly passed an amendment Monday to ban red-light cameras, which two judges have already ruled were unlawfully used to issue citations in central and eastern Iowa.
The amendment, which passed 28-22, is part of a larger transportation bill that heads to the House.
"I propose using police officers rather than red-light cameras to enforce safety in this state," said the amendment's sponsor, Sen. Pat Ward, R-West Des Moines.
Ward proposed the amendment after two judges ruled that traffic cameras in Clive and Davenport are unlawful. Both cities have suspended the camera systems while appeals are processed.
Ward said the cameras are an invasion of privacy and wrongly target the owner of the offending vehicle, not the driver.
One of the most under-reported stories of the Iraq disaster is the fact that the Bush administration and the neo-con ideologues who designed it determined before the war that it should be the first "privatized" war. Plans were made to contract out a huge portion of what the military had always done itself to outside, and of course, closely connected corporations, many of which sprang into sudden existence simply to reap the billions of dollars available in no-bid, no-accountibility contracts.
Blackwater USA is a private military contractor offering "tactical training," firing range and target systems, and security consulting under the company's subdivisions: Blackwater Training Center, Blackwater Target Systems, Blackwater Security Consulting and Blackwater Canine. According to its website, Blackwater provides "a spectrum of support to military, government agencies, law enforcement and civilian entities in training, targets and range operations as a solution provider." Their slogan is: "Providing a new generation of capability, skills, and people to solve the spectrum of needs in the world of security."
Blackwater USA was co-founded by former Navy Seal Erik Prince, a "billionaire right-wing fundamentalist Christian from a powerful Michigan Republican family. A major Republican campaign contributor, he interned in the White House of President George H.W. Bush and campaigned for Pat Buchanan in 1992. He founded the mercenary firm Blackwater USA in 1997 with Gary Jackson, another former Navy SEAL."
Prince's father, Edgar Prince, and Gary Bauer started the Family Research Council, where Prince interned. Prince's sister, Betsy DeVos, is a former chair of the Michigan Republican Party.
Blackwater USA received no-bid contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and "post-Katrina New Orleans" from the current Bush administration.
Blackwater—and private military contractors in general—came under increased public scrutiny following the public killing and mutilation of four employees in Fallujah, Iraq on March 31, 2004. This increased scrutiny lead the firm to hire the Alexander Strategy Group for crisis management, public and media relations.
According to Russel Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, a few days after the Fallujah killings, "Blackwater Security Consulting engaged in full-scale battle in Najaf, with the company flying its own helicopters amidst an intense firefight to resupply its own commandos."
The stillness of tree lined Skunk Hollow Road in Jo Daviess County Illinois, twenty miles from the beautiful Palisades along the Mississippi River, will soon be shattered by gunfire. Not the gun fire of wild turkey hunters but the gunfire from a new training facility for the most powerful mercenary army in the world, Blackwater USA.
I had a view of Blackwater’s new Illinois facility that is usually reserved for the hawks circling overhead. I stood on-top their climbing/rappelling/shooting tower looking down at the bulldozers busy moving tons of earth to create more shooting ranges.
On eighty acres in this isolated corner of Illinois, one hundred miles from Chicago, Blackwater is creating another large training site. This site will eventually, according to Blackwater North’s vice deputy Eric Davis, compare to their headquarters in North Carolina. They have a full schedule of classes ready to roll beginning April 9th with a pistol shooting course that is already three over capacity. The first three weeks of courses are filled and the others are filling fast.
In a PR coup, building up the suspense for a few days and successfully ensuring that his figures would command a lot of attention, Barack Obama's campaign today revealed that their first quarter fundraising had brought in $25 million, within a million of top fund raiser of the Democratic field, Hillary Clinton.
This is old news... at least a few days... but I wanted to note it. Rep. Mike Boland's bill to ban smoking in cars in the presence of young children went down in flames, 91-18.
The U.S. military death toll in March, the first full month of the security crackdown, was nearly twice that of the Iraqi army, which American and Iraqi officials say is taking the leading role in the latest attempt to curb violence in the capital, surrounding cities and Anbar province, according to figures compiled on Saturday.Yet Lieberman and McCain are still crowing about the progress in Iraq. Lieberman, in yet another disgusting utterance, recently said that "at last" there were signs of real progress in Iraq, ignoring the fact that he's been touting how well things are going there for years. "at last"?
I just checked out the place where all comments go to live until they're moderated and to my great regret, found at least a dozen or more which had somehow slipped through the cracks (more like got lost amongst so many messages).
Illinois is considering a bill which would allow "civil unions" between same-sex couples. OK, fine. No problem there.
"This strikes me as just feel-good legislation that doesn't address the issue. If they want gay marriage, they should introduce a gay marriage bill. That would be more honest than a `civil union' bill. I would be more amenable to a gay marriage bill than this," said Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline.That's hilarious!! He lays out all this junk in which he essentially takes the Republican stance on the important issue, as he very often does, and makes a valid point that he thinks it should be more honestly labeled gay marriage, rather than civil-union. Heck, if that were the case, Sen. Jacobs says, he'd be more amenable to it.
When pressed, Sen. Jacobs said he believes marriage should only be between "a man and a woman" and said he would vote against a gay marriage bill, as well.
The Supremes hand the know-nothings a defeat, another step in dragging them kicking and screaming into confronting reality.
The Supreme Court ordered the federal government on Monday to take a fresh look at regulating carbon dioxide emissions from cars, a rebuke to Bush administration policy on global warming.
In a 5-4 decision, the court said the Clean Air Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from cars.
Greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the landmark environmental law, Justice John Paul Stevens said in his majority opinion.
The court's four conservative justices -- Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas -- dissented.
Many scientists believe greenhouse gases, flowing into the atmosphere at an unprecedented rate, are leading to a warming of the Earth, rising sea levels and other marked ecological changes.
The politics of global warming have changed dramatically since the court agreed last year to hear its first global warming case.
"In many ways, the debate has moved beyond this," said Chris Miller, director of the global warming campaign for Greenpeace, one of the environmental groups that sued the EPA. "All the front-runners in the 2008 presidential campaign, both Democrats and Republicans, even the business community, are much further along on this than the Bush administration is."
The court had three questions before it.
--Do states have the right to sue the EPA to challenge its decision?
--Does the Clean Air Act give EPA the authority to regulate tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases?
--Does EPA have the discretion not to regulate those emissions?
The court said yes to the first two questions. On the third, it ordered EPA to re-evaluate its contention it has the discretion not to regulate tailpipe emissions. The court said the agency has so far provided a "laundry list" of reasons that include foreign policy considerations.
The majority said the agency must tie its rationale more closely to the Clean Air Act.
"EPA has offered no reasoned explanation for its refusal to decide whether greenhouse gases cause or contribute to climate change," Stevens said. He was joined by his liberal colleagues, Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter, and the court's swing voter, Justice Anthony Kennedy.
The lawsuit was filed by 12 states and 13 environmental groups that had grown frustrated by the Bush administration's inaction on global warming.
It's gotten to the point where the money spend (some might argue squandered) on political campaigns could probably provide free health care for hundreds of thousands of children in America. That alone is a pretty sick symptom of our societal health.
Real estate mogul Sam Zell has succeeded in his bid to take control of newspaper publisher Tribune Co.Man.... this is sure to cause wringing of hands in Cubville. What sort of cravenly commercial fools might end up running the sainted Cubs??
Zell agreed to take Tribune private in a deal that values the company at $13 billion, or $34 a share.
Tribune also announced it would sell the Chicago Cubs baseball team after the 2007 baseball season ends in a move to relieve some of its debt.