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Tuesday, February 28, 2006
They call it the "YOU DON'T KNOW DICK" action figure.
Dressed in jeans or Urban Camo pants, Shotgun, T-shirt and Retractabe kick spike shoes (haven't figured out that one yet.)
No word on whether you can use it as a CPR training dummy. (Herobuilders.com)
Tens of millions of your tax dollars -- that were supposed to rebuild Iraq -- wound up wasted instead.
California Congressman John Doolittle took campaign cash from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and used his sports box for a fundraiser. Later on, he stepped in to challenge the Bush administration on behalf of a couple Abramoff clients.
Without firing a shot -- the US Air Force may take out three power plants and cripple a state's power grid.
Don't let a little thing like a felony keep you from carrying a gun -- just head out to Montana.
Monday, February 27, 2006
You may remember, the former stripper, Guess Model, 1993 Playboy Playmate of the Year, and reality TV star married a rich old guy right before he died. The Court is deciding some arcane probate law dealing with federal vs state jusrisdicton in......
Aren't you glad I included the picture.
Anyway, I'm predicting the Court will split 36-26-38. (USAToday)
Your health care is eating up money the would likely have gone to raises.
The Government Accountability office has a new report. The title says it all: Employer Spending on Benefits Has Grown Faster Than Wages, Due Largely to Rising Costs for Health Insurance and Retirement Benefits. (GAO)
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," Rep Peter King (R-NY) pointed out UAE government leaders had close ties to the Taliban and al Qaeda even after 9/11.
Show host Tim Russert pointed out an AP report this week detailed some of those links: that financing for the 9/11 attacks was handled through UAE banks, planning for the attacks was largely done inside the UAE, and UAE government leaders once alerted Osama bin Laden to a US strike meant to kill him -- allowing bin Laden to escape. (NBC)
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Check out Donald Rumsfeld's Kung Fu moves at this site.
Marine General Peter Pace is not allowed to leave the Joint Chiefs of Staff until he can snatch a pebble from the Secretary's outstretched palm. (Poe-News, HT: TM)
Friday, February 24, 2006
"Wiseguys at the Department of Homeland Security whisper that the brass has decided to rate the performance of employees on a five-level system:
Role model, outstanding, exceeds expectations, average, and 'Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job.'"
The transfer was supposed to happen next Thursday. But Mr Rove said a delay was acceptable.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey -- which owned the World Trade Center -- announced Thursday they would sue to block the sale allowing the UAE take over of US ports.
DP World has gone from a small company operating the Port of Dubai to one of the world's ten largest port operators in less than 15 years.
The company is reportedly surprised by the uproar in the US over thier planned takeover of operations at a half dozen ports. (WashPost)
The National Guard may not be convinced President Bush will finish his term in office.
Republican Wyoming Congresswoman Barbara Cubin is opposed to selling off federal land out west.
DemocraticPennsyvania Congressman Tim Holden says he didn't break any laws by betting on the Super Bowl.
A tiny little house in Valparaiso, Indiana was suddenly worth 400-million dollars for a short time -- in the taxman's eyes.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
America's Second Harvest -- a group representing 39,000 hunger relief organizations in the US -- looked at what those people were like -- and were surprised.
They found 36% of those seeking private help came from households where at least one person had a job.
The numbers were higher in some places -- like here in Washington, DC. The Capital Area Food Bank served 383,000 people last year. They report nearly half had jobs.
Many people even own their own homes -- but with prices rising and income flat for five years -- they're having to make choices between paying the mortgage or buying food. (WashPost)
Bob Dole see's nothing dirty about "DP World." Bob Dole doesn't think it sounds like a porno website.
Bob Dole has a lot of political clout. Bob Dole was the GOP Presidential nominee in 1996. Bob Dole works for Alston & Bird -- the company DP World hired last year to get push through the sale.
Bob Dole sold America on Viagra (Bob Dole says, see the picture at right). Bob Dole can sell America on this deal too.
Bob Dole still likes talking about himself in the third person. (Bob Dole, er, The Raw Story)
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
A UAE state-owned company is poised to take charge of operations at six major US ports.
On March 24, 2004 then-Director Tenet testified to the 9/11 Commission that the CIA located bin Laden while he was visited by members of the UAE's royal family. Mr Tenet said taking out bin Laden would have killed "half the royal family."
The Raw Story dug up a nearly two-year old press account of Mr Tenent's testimony. It shows the CIA has been aware of ties between the UAE and bin Laden.
The UAE was also one of only three nations who recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan prior to their overthrow.
President Bush promises to veto any attempt to block the UAE port deal.
But politicians on both sides are lining up against him.
Gov Bob Erlich (R-MD) has called for further review. The Port of Baltimore is in his state.
Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) calls the President "politically tone-deaf." The Port of Miami would be affected.
In New York and New Jersey, party lines and state lines don't matter as politicians raise concern for their ports. Sen Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has joined Sen Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) in promising legislation to ban firms owned by foreign governments from controlling operations at US ports. Rep Vito Fossella (R-NY) announced his opposition to the deal.
Republicans represeting people thousands of miles away from the ports have also lined up to oppose the President on the deal.
Landlocked Politicians Join the Fight
Sen Norm Coleman (R-MN) promises a hearing next month regarding the deal. He held a hearing on port security last year before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He chairs the subcommittee.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) demand President Bush delay the takeover and review the security risk. (WashPost, AP, PoliticalWire.com)
CFIUS is then required to launch a 45-day investigation to address national security concerns.
No investigation -- as required by law -- was ever conducted into the port operations sale. The administration has not been able to explain why the investigation never happened. (Think Progress)
Dubai Port World is the company poised to take over operations at six major US ports.
Last month, President Bush appointed senior executive Dave Sanborn to a post where he answers directly to Transportation Secretary Daniel Mineta. (DP World via TRS)
"First of all, this is a private transaction, but it -- according to law, the government's required to make sure this transaction does not in any way jeopardize the security of the country. And so the people responsible in our government have reviewed this transaction. The transaction should go forward, in my judgment. If there was any chance that this transaction would jeopardize the security of the United States, it would not go forward." (White House via TRS)
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Ms Armstrong was tapped to tell the local paper about the shooting incident.
Back in 1976, Gerald Ford briefly considered tapping her to be his running mate -- hoping a Southerner would offset Jimmy Carter's support in the South. (NPR, HT: PoliticalWire.com)
Congressmen's votes are influenced by their daughters.
Politicians are plotting to put more spam into your in-box.
Morou Ouattara was a hot shot chef at a fancy restaurant -- now he's out of work thanks to Washington's Abramoff scandal.
Forget the Danes, the Brits have a sex toy to upset the Muslim world.
And not content to avoid controversy... we've found the missing "13th Cartoon" so vile even the Danish press has refused to acknowledge it.
Monday, February 20, 2006
The Directorate of National Intelligence -- Washington's answer to the pre-9/11 intel failures -- has a new "go to" man for local police departments in the even of a terror threat or attack.
But they don't want to tell anyone -- presumably even cops -- who he is or how to get in touch with him.
He's not a covert agent, but a public contact.
And a reporter for Congressional Quarterly had a difficult time finding out his name.
The 9/11 Commission, you may recall, cited secrecy between agencies as one of the reasons behind 9/11 intel failures. (CQ.com)
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Mr Cheney pays for hunting fees, lodging, and fines -- like the $7.00 for the misssing bird stamp from last week's hunt. But you pick up expenses for Secret Service agents, military aides, and the operating costs of Air Force Two.
In return, the Washington Post reports the Veep gets to socialize with politicians and potential campaign contributors:
"Since becoming vice president in January 2001, Cheney has continued to mix work and pleasure in these trips, at least in his choice of companions. Besides [Sen Lindsey] Graham (R-SC) and [Sen Saxby] Chambliss (R-GA), Cheney has gone hunting with a variety of other politicians, including Republican Sens. John Thune (S.D.), Trent Lott (Miss.) and Jim DeMint (S.C.), South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R), former treasury secretary Nicholas F. Brady and former senators Phil Gramm (R-Tex.) and Zell Miller (D-Ga.).
Although associates say Cheney does not use hunting trips as an explicit fundraising vehicle, he has brought along prominent business figures, including Ohio billionaire Leslie H. Wexner, whose retail empire includes such chains as Limited Stores, Express, Bath & Body Works and Victoria's Secret. Katharine Armstrong, whose family owns the Texas ranch where the shooting accident occurred, is a registered lobbyist. And of course, Cheney's most famous hunting partner before Harry Whittington was Justice Antonin Scalia, a fact that sparked controversy because the Supreme Court was ruling in a case involving Cheney and Scalia declined to recuse himself."
And remember those "secure, undisclosed locations" we often heard Mr Cheney was hiding in after 9/11? Turns out a lot of those offered up great bird hunting. (WashPost)
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Just nine days American Shani Davis (left) became the first black man to win an indivudual gold medal in the Winter Olympics -- ever.
However, this now means there are more black gold medalists in Winter Olympic history than there are black Republican Senators. Don't extinguish the controversy torch just yet.
Radio -- In Living Color
Meanwhile, radio talk jock Rush Limbaugh has his own bout of color blindness. He was critical of Democrats when party leaders leaned on Iraq War vet Paul Hackett to drop his Senate bid in favor of Rep Sherrod Brown's (D-OH) (below) candidacy.
Someone got a gray-scale card out and held it up to a picture of Rep Brown. Rush later admitted he got Rep Brown's race wrong. (CNN, Video Courtesy HBO via Media Research Center)
Friday, February 17, 2006
Bad taste? Not as bad as bouncing checks during a campaign.
Just a week after Vice President Cheney's hunting accident -- the participants may be a bit gun shy. But Mr Walker isn't so concerned about bagging any birds -- just some checks for his warchest. Running for office is expensive. (WashPost)
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Larry Flynt makes sure there's one each month in every members' mail box.
Some Congressmen have gone so far as suing to stop the deliveries. They can't. The Constitution allows anyone to redress Congress -- and that means if you can mail it legally -- your Congressman has to take it. (Salt Lake City Tribune)
"It matters when the vice president shoots another man because the character and responsiveness of our elected leaders matters. Had Cheney addressed this right away, it would have been a far more modest story."Mr Kurtz points out that instead of dealing with damage control early on, the Veep's PR people have urged spin attacking the White House Press Corps. An interesting case of blaming the messenger -- not because of their message -- but simply because they were trying to get the message in the first place. (WashPost)
Earmarking allows a Senator or Representative to order a set amount of money spent on a specific project.
The money went to clients of American Defense International -- co-founded by Michael Herson. The clients paid fees totalling $1.5 million to Mr Herson's firm since 2002.
Sen Specter signed off on 13 earmarks for Mr Herson's clients. Earmarks played a role in the conviction of former Rep Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) earlier this year. (USAToday)
Under the recreation -- around 200 pellets hit the target in the face and chest area. (Caller Times, HT: Cyberjournalist/Poynter Institute)
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
MSNBC reported that beer was served prior to the hunt, but scrubbed the quote from later reports.
Meanwhile, the District Attorney in Kleberg County, Texas -- where the shooting happened -- says if the shooting victim dies - it could require a grand jury investigation. (Raw Story)
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
The Tracy, California Press got hold of a ledger from the House Resources Committee. It shows that Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA) (pictured) loaded his family into a rented RV and spent two weeks tooling around the western US -- at a cost of nearly $6,500 to taxpayers.
Rep Pombo was reimbursed $4,935.87 for the RV rental, and ran up $1,500.51 on a government issued credit card.
Congressman Pombo has become a regular co-star here at Watching Washington. Late last year we reported on his desire to sell the Teddy Roosevelt Memorial to raise revenue. More recently we told you how his top aide -- Steve Ding -- had run up an $87,000 travel bill passed onto taxpayers. (Tracy Press)
That's nearly double the $190.5 million the Government Accountability Office estimated in a report a year ago.
The new report is from the University of California. (AP)
- "Bush-Quail '06," -- Democratic strategist Jenny Backus.
- "The CIA assured Cheney that Harry Whittington was actually a pheasant," -- Democratic speechwriter Jeff Nussbaum.
- "The worst part is, he was aiming at the special prosecutor," -- John Kerry spokesman David Wade.
- "Cheney's got a Gun" -- Democratic Staffers on Capitol Hill, song parody to Aerosmith's "Janie's Got a Gun."
- "[Dick Cheney is] somebody who is going to shoot straight with the American people." - George Bush, 2000 interview, Houston Chronicle.
"ChappaquidDICK Cheney" -- referring to the delay in going public with the shooting. Ted Kennedy waited eight hours after the fatal car wreck he was involved in. The VP's office waited around 20 hours after the shooting.
Meanwhile, the late shows sent their writers home early -- because this stuff writes itself.
Here's the Daily Show (courtesy Crooks & Liars) take on "Dead-Eye Dick."
Check out Crooks and Liars for more funnies featuring the Veep. (WashPost)
Monday, February 13, 2006
Sources in the intel community tell Raw Story that Ms Plame was engaged in covert operations to track WMD technology to and from Iran. (TRS)
TIME and the New York Times published the first photo of President Bush and disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
It's a shot of President Bush meeting with Abramoff and some of his client on White House grounds in 2001.
Abramoff is barely visible over the President's left shoulder in the shot, but it shows the lobbyist -- and Bush fundraiser -- did in fact meet with the President. (NYT)
The two were bird hunting with a group in Texas, when 78-year-old Harry Whittington walked into the Veep's line of fire and got peppered with birdshot.
The Vice President's staff kept the shooting under wraps 24 hours before issuing any statements on it.
The shooting victim is recovering in the hospital.
Vice President Cheney becomes the first Veep since Aaron Burr to shoot a man while in office. (WashPost)