May 30, 2007

Fresh sausage being made

The old saying, attributed to German Chancellor von Bismarck I believe, is that laws are like sausages, it's better not to see them being made.

Well, for those of you with a voyeuristic streak, an interest in the political process, or who want to get a view of the sort of people who inhabit the statehouse, there's a place to watch floor and committee "debates" live from the capitol in Springfield.

To their credit, the Illinois Legislature provides both live audio and video (with audio) streams of both the House and Senate.

At this hour (11:16 PM Wed.) the budget crunch is going strong and they're scratching and clawing and horse-trading like mad in the annual mad dash to try to pass the state budget.

Take a look. It's not always exciting, but tonight was interesting.

The House video feed is here and features video from committee meetings as well, and you can see the pols in all their fairly unvarnished splendor.

It also gives you a taste of just how grindingly boring, tedious, extremely important, but mind-numbingly dull the budget process can be. But if you watch closely, you can see the tricks and tactics being played, and it can be fascinating.

The House is still going at this hour, but the Senate doesn't have any feeds going live.

The Illinois Legislature page provides links to all this stuff. Go here and click on the Audio and Video links under the House or Senate.

The Senate video feed is here.

May 23, 2007

Bush bitch slaps Dems on war bill


There is no good way to spin this. It's an utter defeat for the Democrats.

May 9, 2007

They're everywhere

Stories about White House hopeful Barack Obama on CBS have been attracting so many racist comments that staffers were told they should no longer allow readers to post them, the online news group reported.
Mike Sims, director of news and operations for CBS, explained the reason for the new policy in a story on the Web site's Public Eye section.

"We have our rules of engagement," Sims said Friday. "They prohibit personal attacks, especially racist attacks. Stories about Obama have been problematic, and we won't tolerate it."

Sims said the news group sometimes deletes questionable individual comments, but he said this wasn't working with Obama stories because of "the volume and the persistence" of the comments.

Read about it here.

(thanks to a loyal reader for the story)

P.S. Appologies for the lack of attention to the blog lately, but I've been busier than a one-legged man in an butt-kicking contest. Hoping for a break soon, but not holding my breath.

Um... sorry about that.

...but here's a couple grand. Have fun.
WASHINGTON -- A US Army brigade commander in Afghanistan yesterday told the families of 69 civilians who were killed or wounded by members of an elite Marine Special Forces unit in March that he is "deeply, deeply ashamed" about the event , describing the series of shootings along a civilian thoroughfare as a "terrible, terrible mistake."

Colonel John Nicholson said he apologized to a group of Afghan people in the eastern Nangahar province on behalf of the US government and delivered solatia payments of approximately $2,000 to the families of 19 innocent civilians who died as a result of the March 4 attacks.


US commanders have said that the event began when a suicide bomber drove a small van filled with explosives into a Marine Corps Forces Special Operations convoy that was on its way to a base in Jalalabad.

The Marines then fired on people nearby and along several miles of their ensuing route through a crowded roadway, according to early investigative findings and an Afghan government human rights group.

Early estimates showed that about a dozen civilians were killed; Nicholson said yesterday that the death toll has been confirmed to be 19, with 50 wounded.

The event , which resulted in the largest number of civilian deaths from a single US action in the country since the war began, raised significant ire within Afghan communities in the region.

After 6 years, Republicans finally ask Bush to cut the crap

Much like Barry Goldwater going to meet with Nixon and tell him it's over, some Republicans, after aiding and abetting the rank White House campaign to lie to the American people about reality in Iraq, finally some Republicans feel the need to tell this president that the snow job won't work anymore.
In a sign of the growing fissure between the White House and its congressional allies over the war, NBC News reports tonight that 11 Republican members of Congress pleaded yesterday with President Bush and his senior aides to change course in Iraq.

The group of Republicans was led by Reps. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Charlie Dent (R-PA), and the meeting included Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Karl Rove, and Tony Snow. One member of Congress called the discussion the “most unvarnished conversation they’ve ever had with the president,” and NBC’s Tim Russert said it “may have been a defining pivotal moment” in the Iraq debate.

Russert described the conversation:

[O]ne said “My district is prepared for defeat. We need candor, we need honesty, Mr. President.” The president responded, “I don’t want to pass this off to another president. I don’t want to pass this off, particularly, to a Democratic president,” underscoring he understood how serious the situation was.

Brian, the Republican congressman then went on to say, “The word about the war and its progress cannot come from the White House or even you, Mr. President. There is no longer any credibility. It has to come from Gen. Petraeus.” The meeting lasted an hour and 15 minutes and was, in the words of one, “remarkable for the bluntness and no-holds-barred honesty in the message delivered by all these Republican congressmen.”

Watch the report here.

May 3, 2007

East Moline, hog waste capital of the midwest?

Love the Triumph Hog plant? Enjoy dumping on anyone who voices any skepticism about it?

Read this.

Word is already out that Triumph is approaching landowners in the Erie and surrounding areas about contracting them into becoming mass hog lot contractors. Factory farms, hundreds of thousands of tons of hog waste and massive pollution problems.

But those who stand to profit ram this through, short-circuiting regulatory requirements and environmental studies.

East Moline mayor Thodos should be henceforth known as "Boss Hog".