Monday, July 31, 2006

USDA Now Herding Cats

Washington wants the Ernest Hemingway House in Key West to file deal with red tape over six-toed cats (left). The USDA wants the free roaming yard cats and house cats caged up.

The writer was given a six-toed cat as a gift back in 1935. There are about 50 descendents of that original cat roaming the grounds of his house these days. The house is open for tours -- that's me on the balcony back in 2003 (right).

The USDA has decided the house needs a USDA Animal Welfare License -- something usually required of only zoos and circuses. That's because Washington has decided the people who run the museum are "exhibitors" of the cats.

The cats roam freely around the estate and have always lived there. Some are 19 years old.

Mr Hemingway was a big fan of cats -- and his Key West cats cleaned up his messes when he cleaned fish at the house.

One error in this article -- it says Mr Hemingway wrote A Farewell to Arms at the Key West house. It was actually written -- for the most part -- at his then in-laws' plantation in Piggot, Arkansas.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Homeland Security & the Fish Fry

Your federal tax dollars supplied rural Vermillion County, Indiana with 11 flashing emergency signs. Homeland Security money to protect part of the state the Department of Homeland Security considers the most at-risk state to a terrorist attack.

The fine folks in Vermillion County have been using the signs to advertise fish fries and spaghetti dinners. Not like they have a lot of terrorist warnings there to use them for.

But they'll be going into cold storage until al Qaeda blows up a grain elevator or comandeers a John Deere. The state Homeland Security folks have warned the county people the signs are for official use only.

Meanwhile, the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, and Brooklyn Bridge are not considered terrorist targets so none qualify for flashing warning signs. (AP via ABC News)

Burns Burns Firefighters

Sen Conrad Burns (R-MT) opened fire on firefighters at the Billings airport. The firefighters were on their way home to Virginia after helping put out wildfires in the Senator's home state.

Sen Burns reportedly went up to the firefighters to tell them they did a "poor job" and should have listened to ranchers instead of their supervisors in how to fight the fires.

Gee, these guys make $8 to $12 dollars an hour to fight forest fires in summer heat and they have to take heat from a politician who was home to deliver a speech. (Missoulian)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Bush Bounce Bottoms Out

The President's job approval rating has hit a brick wall in the latest Gallup/USA Today poll. He's at 37% -- down three points from earlier this month.

But the President did make gains in some specific areas.

TV Screen

Click on the TV Screen to watch Gallup's video podcast on the President's numbers.

Electrifying the Road

Forget "Who Killed the Electric Car" -- upstart company Tesla has brought it back from the dead -- with monster performance. Try 0 to 60 in four seconds.

May sound like a great way to beat the high price of gas. But with a $100,000 sticker price, it probably evens out in the end. (LAT)

Heckuva Job

FEMA -- the mighty fine folks who brought you the bungling response to Hurricane Katrina -- have come up with a great way to avoid bad press: don't let anyone talk to the media.

Thousands of people are living in FEMA trailer parks all around the Gulf Coast -- from hurricanes dating back years. But FEMA has a rule that says if you live in one of their parks -- you are not allowed to talk to reporters.

A reporter and photographer were kicked out of a trailer park after a resident invited them in. Another resident was ordered back to her trailer because she was talking to a reporter through a chain link fence.

FEMA says one of their representatives has to be with the press whenever they're on the grounds -- you know -- to imake sure the residents say just the right things.

Gulf Coast Congressmen are not at all happy with FEMA's decision to reinterpret the First Amendment.

A quick lesson for the public affairs folks at FEMA: the quickest way to get bad press -- is to ban the press. That's a sign there's a story there somewhere. (The Advocate)

The Horse's Head Was Sleeping With the Fishes

An upstate New York councilwoman found a horse's head floating in her swimming pool in Wawayanda -- about 100 miles southwest of Albany.

Local cops are looking to see if it's a "Godfather" style threat. They say there have been other cases of harassment toward councilwoman Gail Soro. (AP via MSNBC)

What's in the Water in Maryland?

Completing our Maryland Senate Race trifecta, Lt Gov Michael Steele (R-MD) (right) now admits he was the unnamed Republican candidate who blasted his party and President Bush in an interview with reporters.

The Washington Post ran some of his comments:
"On the Iraq war: 'It didn't work. . . . We didn't prepare for the peace.'

On the response to Hurricane Katrina: 'A monumental failure of government.'

On the national mood: 'There's a palpable frustration right now in the country.'"

He also said he wouldn't want President Bush to campaign for him because of the President's low standing. Lt Governor Steele compared the "R" behind his name to a "scarlet letter" in this year's elections.

He suggested President Bush has lost his way and the American people are as frustrated as he is with it:
"In 2001, we were attacked and the president is on the ground, on a mound with his arm around the fireman, symbol of America. In Katrina, the president is at 30,000 feet in an airplane looking down at people dying, living on a bridge. And that disconnect, I think, sums up, for me at least, the frustration that Americans feel."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Politics is Addictive

Yet another Democrat running for Senate in Maryland has made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Josh Rales (left) was caught using patients from a drug treatment center as stand-in supporters during a debate in College Park. Some of the recovering addicts were felons -- holding up Mr Rales' signs for the cameras and making it look like he had a crowd of supporters. (WashTimes)

Candidate Charged with Assault & Rape

A Democratic Senate candidate in Maryland has been charged with assault and rape. His accuser -- the 43-year-old candidate's 19-year-old Latvian mail-order bride.

David Dickerson -- considered a longshot in a crowded field of five Democrats -- saw his odds grow even longer after wife Anna accused him of raping her over the weekend. Mr Dickerson was released on $100,000 bail. The couple have a two-year old daughter being raised in Latvia by the wife's family. Do the math. (

Lawmaker's Gun Used in Death

A 14-year-old boy was shot to death with a lawmaker's gun in Pennsylvania. Police are trying to determine if it was a suicide, accident, or something else.

The boy was caring for State Senator Bob Regola's (R-Greensburg) (right) pets while the lawmaker was away from home. (AP)

Wanna Bet It's the SECOND Bill Bush Vetoes?

Sen Arlen Specter (R-PA) is ready to take President Bush to court. He's preparing a bill that would let Congress sue the President over "signing statements."

Those are caveats the President has written upon signing more than 750 bills. In effect he says he's signing a bill -- but reserving the right to revise it, interpret it however he wants or simply ignore laws he doesn't like based on national security or constitutional grounds.

All Presidents have had signing statements on controversial bills. But President Bush has issued more of them than the Previous 42 Presidents combined. (USAToday)

Monday, July 24, 2006

So these American Refugees from Lebanon go into an Irish Pub...

Washington is haggling with a charter air service over who should pay to put up American refugees while the plane is broken and out of action in Ireland.

In the meantime, Americans being airlifted out of Lebanon have spent as much as five days without a place to stay. Secretary of State Condi Rice's plane -- on it's way to Lebanon -- needed to refuel, so it sat down in Shannon, Ireland.

That's where the State Department found out it really is a small world.

While their plane was gassing up, some of Secretary Rice's entourage made the mistake of hanging our in the bar at the same hotel where the refugees had been sleeping in the lobby waiting for rooms.

Surrounding the party crowd at around 5:00 am local time, the refugees gave diplomatic diva Karen Hughes (left) an earful. Enough so that she woke up some people back at the Harry S Truman State Department Building to get the mess straightened out. (Washington Wire)

Just Like Speeding Tickets

Take a picture of an airplane -- and you could end up on the terrorist watch list -- unable to board the plane. Federal Air Marshals say they're under pressure to meet a quota on potential terrorists. If they don't name people to the list -- no raises, no promotions.

The brass at Homeland Security say there are no quotas -- but a Denver TV station got hold of a memo from the department's Las Vegas office saying every marshal is to name one new suspect to the list every month.

As of one year ago -- at least 26,000 people were on the no-fly list.

If there really are 26,000 terrorists roaming the country trying to board a plane, seems like the memo-writers should let the marshals worry about the real threat instead of making some up.

Smoke 'Em if You can Afford 'Em

A California ballot issue would slap a 300% tax on smokes if voters approve it. It would raise the cigarette tax from 87-cents to $3.77 for each pack of cigarettes. That would make California the most expensive state in the union for cigarettes -- at $6.55 a pack.

Supporters say the idea is to cut down on smoking by making it too expensive for some people to keep the habit. (USAToday)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Gov Huckabee Clears Keith Richards' Record

Rolling Stone Keith Richards is likely getting a pardon from the State of Arkansas. Seems he was convicted of reckless driving through the "Land of Opportunity" 31 years ago. (It's the "Natural State" these days).

Gov Mike Huckabee (R-AR) submitted an application for clemency on Mr Richard's behalf earlier this year. The state Parole Board approved it on July 3. It's awaiting the Governor's signature. Gov Huckabee is often mentioned among potential Republican Presidental candidates in 2008. (Yahoo!)

Bills for Evacuees

The federal government will not be charging Americans for evacuating them from Lebanon afterall. The State Department had earlier said people would have to sign vouchers to reimburse the US for the cost of getting them out of Lebanon.

That didn't sit well with Senators who put pressure on the administration to pick up the tab.

"A nation that can provide more than $300 billion for a war in Iraq can provide the money to get its people out of Lebanon," -- House Minority
Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), in a statement

The original plan had been to charge evacuees the same price it would have cost to take a helicopter or ship out of Lebanon. You'd think Washington would wise up and realize the Americans there had already paid the "fee" -- it's called "taxes." You know, the money we pay to have the government serve us. (CNN)

Katrina's Real Crime Wave

Washington spent billions to help the people hit hard by Hurricane Katrina last year. Thousands of people are still homeless. Want to know where Washington spent your money?

Congressional investigators say more than a hundred laptops and a dozen boats the Homeland Security Department bought for disaster response are missing.

DHS spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on iPods, dog booties, and beer-making equipment. (Guess the bureaucrats had to make their own after "beer-looter-guy" (right) cleaned out the local supply).

Some of the items the
Goverment Accountability Office found government workers spending money on:
  • $2,395 renting rooms at a golf and tennis resort in Georgia to train lawyers -- instead of using the federal training center nearby
  • $1,000 for the beer brewing kit for a US Coast Guard Academy social (making the price of the beer $12 per sixpack)
  • $2,500 for 37 designer rain jackets. These were for use in a firing range -- even though the range closes whenever it rains
The missing computers are worth $170,000. The missing boats, $208,000. (MSNBC)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Cold War Nostalgia

One of America's most famous secret sites is about to re-open to tours.

The doomsday bunker at the Greenbrier in West Virginia was exposed in the mid-1990s. President Eisenhower had ordered it's construction in the early days of the Cold War as a hideout for the US government in the event of a nuclear war.

It's been undergoing a renovation and part of it will now house important documents for Uncle Sam. But the rest will open for tours August 20th.

PBS offers a virtual tour of the bunker.

I'm holding out for the Area 51 tours, or maybe hanging out with Veep Cheney at his "secure, undisclosed location." (WashPost)

If Everyone Jumped off a Bridge....

Governor Ernie Fletcher (R-KY) is using the old "well, they did it, too" defense. He's accused of breaking the Commonwealth's patronage laws by hiring political cronies for state jobs. When several of his people were caught up in an investigation last year, he ended the probe by pardoning everyone investigated.

Now, the Attorney General is going after Gov Fletcher himself. In a 96-page motion, his lawyers say it's all a case of "selective prosecution" -- that Gov Fletcher was only doing what other Governors had done for years and years before him. (Courier-Journal)

Roll out the Pork Barrel

The folks at Citizens Against Government Waste count 51 pork barrel projects (by their criteria) in the Labor/Health & Human Resources/Education Appropriations Bill now before Congress.

Among the pet projects CAGW highlight:
  • $400,000 to Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho for a master’s degree program in dental hygiene. The school is in the district of House appropriator Rep Mike Simpson (R-ID)
  • $300,000 to the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame for the "Play It Smart Program." It'll be spent in the district of House appropriator Rep Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)
  • $175,000 to the Charter School Development Foundation for the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy. It'll be spent in the district of Rep Shelly Berkely (D-NV)

All Hat, No Cattle

A two year federal program handed out $1.2 billion of your tax dollars to farmers and ranchers who were supposed to be on hard times.

The Washington Post found the Livestock Compensation Program sent $635 million of that to people who'd suffered no drought or other problems.

They found one rancher who was informed by Washington that he could apply for up to $40,000 because a piece of the space shuttle Columbia crashed ten miles from his ranch. In all, Washington spent $5 million on Texas ranchers for space shuttle damage -- most of which was unnoticible.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Plame Blame Game Suit

Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame announced their civil suit today against Vice President Cheney, White House aide Karl Rove, and former VP Chief of Staff Scooter Libby.

"I and my former CIA colleagues trusted our government to protect us as we did our jobs. That a few reckless individuals within the current administration betrayed that trust has been a grave disappointment to every patriotic American." --Valerie Plame has video from MSNBC's coverage.

What are their chances?

We know someone in the White House leaked her identity as a CIA agent.

Back in the 1990s, top members of the Clinton administration leaked to the press information about Linda Tripp's arrest at the age of 19 for shoplifting.

The goverment eventually settled out of court -- agreeing to pay Ms Tripp $595,000 for violating her privacy. (crooksandliars)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Rail Protection Derailed in the Senate

The US Senate has shot down plans to increase funding for rail security in the US. The 50-50 vote came just one day after terrorists set off bombs on rush hour trains in India, killing more than 200 people.

A short list of terrorists' recent rail targets:

7/11/2006: Terrorists kill 200+ in India train bombings
5/2006: Federal jury convicts a Pakistani immigrant of plotting to bomb a Manhattan subway station
10/2005: Police swarm over NYC subways after warnings terrorists may use baby carriages to launch a bomb attack
7/7/2005: Terrorists kill 52 people in London train/bus bombings
3/11/2005: Terrorists kill 192 people in rush hour attack on Madrid commuter trains
2002: Al Qaeda calls off plan to launch a cyanide attack on NYC subway just 45 days before it was scheduled
7/1997: Police capture two Palestinians plotting to attack the Atlanta subway system
3/20/1995: Doomsday cult kills 12 in a coordinated sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway
So, we're cutting money that may keep New York City cops from installing two-thirds of the closed circuit cameras they need in the city's subways.

But the Department of Homeland Security is listing mule parades and popcorn factories as potential terrorist targets.

It's a sure bet that a lot of the Senators who voted against the rail plan don't ride the subway or Metro. (ABC/MSNBC)

Mr Bush, Tear Down This Wall

Rep Peter King (R-IA), who earlier this year declared Iraq was safer than Washington, DC, has designed his own wall to be built along the US-Mexico border.

What's more, he did a "Show and Tell" version with his diorama of the wall -- complete with electrified barb wire entanglements -- for the House of Representatives.

"We could also electrify this wire with the kind of current that would not kill somebody, but it would be a discouragement for them to be fooling around with it. We do that with livestock all the time." -- Rep Steve King (R-IA)

Think Progress has the video. (ThinkProgress)

Israeli Forces Shoot at Fox News Reporters

A FOX News crew came under fire in the Gaza strip -- they think because they got a little too close to Isreali forces who probably didn't want any TV exposure.

That Off-Target Terrorist List

We told you yesterday about the Department of Homeland Security's confused priorities in naming potential terrorist targets.

CNN has some comparisons of the list that's suppost to determine potential terrorist targets in the US.

On the list as potential targets:

An insect zoo
A bourbon festival
A bean fest
A kangaroo conservation center (consider the picture)

Not on the list:

Times Square
Brooklyn Bridge
Statue of Liberty
Empire State Building

Lay-ing it on Thick

Former President George H.W. Bush was among the mourners at Enron founder Ken Lay's funeral in Houston. Mr Lay had been an overnight guest of the former President's at the White House.

Mr Lay died in Aspen of a massive heart attack, months after his conviction in the Enron case -- but before he was sentenced to what could have been a life term.

Rev Bill Lawson eulogized Mr Lay as a "victim of a lynching" -- and compared him to Martin Luther King, Jr, JFK, and Jesus Christ. (AP via Yahoo!)

Always Right?

Maybe he was joking. He shouldn't plan on quitting his day job -- then again, some would argue he should be fired from it.

A Deputy Attorney General testifying on military commissions suggested
the idea of "Presidential infalibility." (

Democrats Open Air War for the House

The Fix at calls it the first sign of the Democrats' efforts to win control of the House this fall.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has started reserving airtime for commercials nationwide. The Fix confirms ad buys in FL-22 and AZ-8. And it reports the RCCC hadn't planned to reserve ad time until next month. (The Fix)

FCC Takes on the Free Press

It's a move that seems custom made to chill a free press -- and hack off NASCAR fans. The FCC appears to be targeting live sports coverage in its anti-obscenity crusade.

"It looks like they want to end live broadcast TV," said one executive, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. "We already know that they aren't afraid to go after news." -- Reuters

Network execs say they've turned over around 30 tapes of live sporting events -- football games and NASCAR races -- where crowds were caught cussing. (Reuters)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Sky is Falling!

A piece of falling concrete may have damaged Gov Mitt Romney's (R-MA) Presidential aspirations. He cut short a trip to New Hampshire when part of a "Big Dig" tunnel crushed one of his constituents to death this week.

He's taken plenty of campaign money from contractors involved in the multi-billion dollar project -- including the contractors who installed the fallen concrete. The Boston Herald reports:

"Romney has accepted thousands in campaign donations from Big Dig contractors since 2002, although he returned more than $3,500 from executives of Aggregate Industries after six employees were federally indicted.

A Romney spokesman said the governor has no plans to return any other Big Dig
donations -
including those from employees of Modern Continental, the
company responsible for the ceiling work in the area of the fatal collapse

Records show Romney accepted a $150 contribution in 2002 from Modern Continental vice-president Judith Shepherd and $500 in 2003 from Jay Cashman, the contractor who took over the firm when it ran into financial trouble.

Romney accepted $2,750 from attorneys David Hatem and John Donovan, who represent Big Dig management firm Bechtel Parsons, and $200 from Bechtel executive Morris Levy, records show. "
(Boston Herald)

Target List Misses the Mark

The Department of Homeland Security has had nearly five years to come up with a list of potential targets terrorists might strike. The New York Times reports DHS can't seem to get their priorities straight -- or even sensible -- on the latest list:

"It reads like a tally of terrorist targets that a child might have written: Old
MacDonald's Petting Zoo, the Amish Country Popcorn factory, the Mule Day Parade, the Sweetwater Flea Market and an unspecified 'Beach at End of a Street.'"

And which states have the most "potential targets" under the DHS's bizarre risk formula? New York? California?

Try Indiana with 8,591 and Wisconsin with 7,146.
“Seems like someone has gone overboard” Larry Buss, Organizer, Apple and Pork Festival, Clinton, Illinois -- one of the DHS listed targets, quoted in the New York Times

New York ranks third on the list with 5,687 potential targets. California comes in 8th on the list with 3,212. That puts the most populus state in the union behind Nebraska. (NYT)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Naming Names in the Plame Game

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Bob Novak admits he named names in the Plame case. The man who's column outed CIA agent Valerie Plame says he told the grand jury looking into the leak about three sources who gave him the agent's identity.

He identifies two of the sources in Wednesday's column -- Presidential aide Karl Rove and then CIA spokesman Bill Harlow. He says these two men confirmed the identity after a third person leaked Valerie Plame's CIA role to him.

But he won't name the third person who leaked the name to him -- other than saying it was a political operative.

He says he gave all three names to special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald and the grand jury that's still investigating the leaks. (WashPost)

UPDATE: Click HERE to read Mr Novak's colum naming two of his three sources.

Fighting the Minimum Wage, With a $4,200 Raise

The White House staff is pulling out all the stops to help Congressional Republicans stop a raise in the minimum wage.

These are the same White House staffers who pocketed a $4,200 dollar raise this year.

Congress has not raised the minimum wage since 1997. When you adjust for inflation, the minimum wage is the lowest it's been in 50 years. (ThinkProgress)

What do They Call the Guy Who Graduates Last in his Medical School Class?

The Doctor accused of blowing up his upper East Side mansion this week fired off a long, rambling rant on e-mails to FOX News commentator Sean Hannity, Sen Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) shortly before the explosion.

FOX has posted the e-mail to Mr Hannity.

This is a guy who had a license to practice medicine?

You know what they call the guy who graduates dead last in his class at med school? Doctor. (FOX News)

Ten Foot Poll

President Bush's approval rating has edged up to 40% in a new Gallup Poll -- the highest they've recorded his approval since February.

The President says he doesn't pay attention to polls (and politicos really do quit their jobs to spend more time with their families).

TV Screen

Click the TV Screen to see Gallup's video podcast of a pollster's take on President Bush's attitude about polls. (Gallup)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Quote of the Day

"I'm not sure what this Congress has accomplished." -- Dick Armey, former House Republican leader quoted in the Boston Globe

Army Battles Budget Crunch

Diverting money to the Iraq War has left the Army strapped for cash at home. The New York Times reports these instances:
  • Fort Sam Houston, Texas has not paid its $1.4 million monthly utility bill since March -- workers in many of the post's administrative buildings have received automated disconnection notices
  • Fort Bragg, North Carolina says it will not buy any office supplies until the new fiscal year starts in October
  • Fort Knox, Kentucky closed one of its eight dining halls for a month and laid off 133 contract workers
All told, the Army's $530-million short on cash to pay it's bills. (NYT)

Immigrants & Oranges

The debate over immigration reform may mean you'll pay more for orange juice this year.

Citrus growers in Florida say as many as six-million boxes of Valencia oranges will rot on the trees. They don't have enough workers to pick the fruit. And they say that's because of the uncertainity over immigration laws. It's creating a shortage of fruit pickers. (St Pete Times)

States Step up Immigration Reforms

While Washington's still trying to hammer out an immigration plan, states are pushing forward with their own reforms.

USA Today reports at least 30 states have come up with new immigration laws making it harder for illegal immigrants to find work or get government services.

USA Today also has a state-by-state look at what's being done. (USAToday)

The Political Edge

Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post looks into the YouTube Revolution and how homemade political ads may play a role in the next Presidential campaign.

Mr Kurtz refers to this ad suggesting the Sen John McCain (R-AZ) is a "flip-flopper" -- but still better than Sen Hillary Clinton (D-NY) for President:

Mr Kurtz suggests the ads can take on an edge that campaigns may shy away from. They can also skirt campaign finance laws.(WashPost)

Washington Revolving Door

Washington has some pricey revolving doors. Take the case of Jeffrey Shockey. The Washington Post's Jeffery Birnbaum describes the windfall for the lobbyist turned congressional aide:
"The 40-year-old congressional staffer last year collected nearly $2 million in severance payments from his former employer, a lobbying firm that specializes in winning benefits from the committee he now serves. Many longtime Washingtonians are shaking their heads in disbelief over the payout's enormous size, its ad hoc method of calculation and the fact that Shockey received it while working as a senior congressional aide."
Passing through the revolving door between lobby firms and Congress can be the more damaging kind of "spin" as far as taxpayers go.

Mr Shockey has been back and forth between working for Congress and working for lobbying firms multiple times. (WashPost)

Well, "Slam Dunk" Tenent DID Get the Medal of Freedom

The Department of Veterans Affairs -- which recently lost the personal info of 26 million veterans in a burglary -- has been awarded an honor for the way it keeps electronic health records.

Harvard University honored the VA with its Innovations in American Government Award. (USAToday)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Scary Stuff: Nukes, Global Warming, and President Bush Sings U-2

Kim Jong Il's missiles, a terrifying message from Al Gore, and President Bush sings "Sunday, Bloody Sunday."

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Friday, July 07, 2006

Homeless in Paradise

White sands, blue water, and homeless people sleeping everywhere.

That's the scene at Hawaii's Leeward Coast. Around 4,000 homeless people are sleeping on the beach. The state's rushing to create emergency homeless shelters -- in places like empty warehouses -- to deal with the problem. (Honolulu Advertiser)

Powell's Colon Trouble

So, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former President Bill Clinton walk into a restaurant in Aspen.... no, I'm not making this up.

Anyway, the sit down to brunch and Mr Powell gets sick. Police say it was a combination of altitude sickness and something he ate.

Mr Powell was reported in good spirits after being treated and released from Aspen Valley Hospital.

It's been a bad week for Aspen. Take this line from the Powell story on the MSNBC website:

A nursing supervisor at the hospital, where former Enron CEO Kenneth Lay was rushed to and pronounced dead early Wednesday, refused to comment [on Powell's condition].


Al Gore Goes to Wal-Mart

Al Gore will be a guest speaker at a quarterly gathering of Wal-Mart executives. The former Vice President turned documentary producer will discuss global climate change at a Wal-Mart conference on sustainability. It's part of Wal-Mart's effort to corner the market on environmentally friendly big-box shopping.

The company actually has 14 internal groups working on ways to make the company's business practices more enviromentally friendly.

And besides. They have everything at Wal-Mart. Mr Gore may be able to pick up a new lock-box at everyday low prices! (WSJ/HT: Think Progress)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

President Bush does U2 with help from Rx.


Ken Lay Died Doing What he Loved

Let me get this straight.

Because Enron founder Ken Lay died after conviction and before sentencing, it wipes his conviction off the record and the money -- owed to his creditors -- could go to his heirs instead.

His lawyers now have to sue his estate to get the fees for representing him.

And it may make the judge issue a harsher sentence to Jeff Skilling.

At least Ken Lay died doing what he loved doing: Screwing people over! (WashPost)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Terrifying Message from Al Gore

Bender from Futurama helps promote Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.

I haven't seen the movie yet, but apparently the former Vice President plays a "streetwise pimp with a hybrid pimpmobile."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Fourth of July

Independence Day celebrations in Washington, DC featuring scenes from the National Archives and fireworks seen from the Iwo Jima Memorial.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Double Standards & Kinky Ads

Politicians and their double standards on leaks to the media. Fake farmers are making real money from your taxes. Kinky commercials play in Texas.

Poll Position 7/1/2006: Deja Vu & Kinky Ads

Numbers keep adding up for Democrats and Kinky commercials start running in Texas.

Farm Livin' is the Life for Me

Washington spends 50% more propping up farm subsidies than it does on welfare.

Thing is -- lots of the people getting farm money from your tax money -- are not farmers.

The Washington Post spent nine months looking into farm subsidies. Some of the things they found:

  • A suburban Texas McMansion and yard getting $1,300
  • A Houston surgeon collecting $490,000 over ten years
  • Suburban homeowners having their land assessed at $55 an acre instead of their neighbors' $3,000 an acre because they got their yards declared "for agricultural use."
These folks aren't raising a single crop. But taxpayers need to raise cain over it. (Washington Post)