Friday, September 29, 2006

Foley Turns a New Page in his Life

Rep Mark Foley (R-FL) has resigned from Congress -- just one day after ABC reported on questionable e-mails the Congressman sent to a 16 year old male page.

The sudden resignation also throws the Congressional race in Florida's 16th District into a tailspin. Former longshot Democrat Tim Mahoney could cruise to an election victory if Republicans are unable to replace Rep Foley on the ballot. (The Fix)

The Official Presidential Potrait is on Black Velvet

Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev is visiting the US this week. He unviled this statue at the embassy in DC of a young warrior riding a winged snow leopard. Bet the Presidential limo is really pimped out, too. (Reuters via Yahoo!)

Abramoff's White House Visits

The White House says disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff had no real contacts with the Bush administration. Mr Abramoff's billing records say something completely different.

They indicate the lobbyist and his associates had 485 contacts with the administration -- including ten with adviser Karl Rove. Mr Abramoff and Mr Rove even attended an NCAA basketball game together -- though Mr Rove is shown to have reimbursed the lobbyist for his ticket. (Bloomberg)

Felon on the Payroll Update

It's been two weeks since Rep Bob Ney (R-OH) pleaded guilty in a corruption case -- a decision that could land him in prison for 27 months.

He's not running for re-election, obviously, but he's also refusing to resign.

That means, since pleading guilty, Rep Ney has continued to collect his Congressional salary -- roughly $6,346.15 so far.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Rejected to be Most Glorious Invitation

Actor Sacha Baron Cohen (left)-- best known for his character Ali G -- was in character outside the White House today. He was playing fictitious reporter Borat Sagdiyev -- attempting to deliver an invitation to President Bush to his new movie: 'Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan'

The real President of Kazakhstan -- who is not amused by Mr Cohen's take on his country -- is visiting the White House this week. (Yahoo!)

Be a Candidate's Speechwriter

Slate's "George Allen Insult Generator" lets you come up with just the right insult for people of different faiths, nationalities, or hobbies. (Slate)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ground Zero is Safe -- Just Try Not to Breathe

"Competing priorities" kept workers at Ground Zero from finding out about poisons in the air. The New York Post reports the federal government knowingly sent workers into the area knowing the air was dangerous. But they wanted to get Wall Street back up and running.

It was then National Security Advisor Condi Rice who signed off on air quality around Gorund Zero -- saying it was safe even though EPA assessments showed massive amounts of toxins in the air.

Studies suggest workers have had their lives shortened by 12 years through their exposure to the toxins at Ground Zero. (NYP)

Who's To Blame?

Gallup has a Video Daily Briefing on who Americans blame more for not catching Osama bin Laden -- Bill Clinton or George W. Bush. It's the first poll in a year where Bush has higher numbers -- and that's not good for him.

Gallup: Who do You Blame for not Capturing or Killing Osama bin Laden?

George W Bush: 53%
Bill Clinton: 36%

Declassifying the NIE

President Bush has declassified only four pages of a National Intelligence Estimate suggesting that the Iraq War is a recruiting boon for terrorists:

"The Iraq conflict has become the cause celebre for jihadists, breeding resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating the global jihadist movement."

It also suggests that capturing or killing key leaders like Osama bin Laden could cause the worldwide terrorist movement to splinter -- posing less of a threat to the US. (NIE)

Memo Outlined Clinton al Qaeda Strategy

Secretary of State Condi Rice has said in television interviews that the Clinton administation had no strategy for going after Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

But, just days after President Bush was sworn in, Ms Rice, then the National Security Advisor, was handed this memo from Richard Clark outlining the Clinton strategy. (The Raw Story)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Rep Bob Ney (R-OH) will be able to draw his Congressional pension after he gets out of prison.

The Congressman agreed last week to plead guilty to corruption charges that could land him in prison for 27 months. But he still refuses to resign -- continuing to collect more than $3,000 a week in pay from the taxpayers.

He'll be eligible to start collecting his Congressional pension in 2010. (Columbus Dispatch)

The Road to Hell...

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions -- and we've got the perfect tires for driving it.

Two-million tires, dumped off the Florida coast iin 1972, were supposed to create an artificial reef and attract game fish -- which in turn would attract tourists to Broward County.

But the metal fasteners holding the 36 acres of tires together have rusted away. Now, tides and hurricanes are sweeping individual tires around -- whacking them into engangered coral and other marine life.

The Miami Herald has video of the tire reef. (Miami Herald)

Papers Please

A bill that cleared the House Wednesday could sharply curtail the number of people allowed to vote in the US. From the Washington Times:

The so-called "Voter ID" bill, aimed at stamping out voter fraud, would require voters in federal elections to provide picture identification by 2008 and provide proof of U.S. citizenship by 2010.
The big drawback -- the only photo ID that currently matches the bill's requirement is a passport. Drivers licenses and other state IDs do not constitute proof of citizenship. Only between 20-25% of Americans currently have passports -- many of those are too young to vote.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Most Corrupt in Congress

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is out with it's second annual list of the most corrupt politicians in Congress. It consists of 21 Republicans and 4 Democrats under investigation -- or who CREW suggests should be under investigation. There are links to each Representative and Senator's background that puts them on the list. (CREW)

Sen Allen Considers Surgery -- To Remove the Foot in his Mouth

Sen George Allen (R-VA) now says he has Jewish roots. The statement comes just one day after a bizarre breakdown during a debate where he refused to talk about his mother's heritage and blasted the reporter asking the question for "making aspersions about people" because of their religion.

Allen's supporters didn't help, booing at the suggestion Sen Allen might be Jewish. (See Video)

From the Washington Post:

Allen's campaign manager said the senator believed the question was hostile because it followed another one about whether Allen had learned the word "macaca" from his mother. The word, which Allen used last month to describe a [Jim] Webb volunteer, is a French slur for a dark-skinned person. Allen's mother, Henrietta "Etty" Allen, is a native of Tunisia and speaks French.
Sen Allen faces an ever tightening race against Democrat Jim Webb, since a series of gaffes starting with the famed "macaca" slur caught on videotape. (WashPost/Wonkette)

Sweet Deal

A pair of front page articles in the Memphis Commercial Appeal have explored US Senate candidate Bob Corker's windfalls as Chatanooga Mayor. Financial reports show he made more money while Mayor than in the previous 24 years -- combined.

The paper reports that as mayor, Mr Corker was supposed to protect a conservation easement the city held.

Instead, his Osborne Building Corportation developed the land and sold it to a shopping center developer for $4.7 million.

Mr Corker is the Republican nominee for US Senate in Tennessee. (Chattanoogan)

Glad to Meet You, Too, Mr President

The Washington Examiner talks to Sen Obama Barack (D-IL) about his first meeting with President Bush:

On his first meeting at the White House, he remembers shaking the hand of the president, who turned to “an aide nearby, who squirted a big dollop of hand sanitizer in the president’s hand.”

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Maybe Thong Girl will save us from Osama

President Bush scares the bejebus out of America, a creepy album cover could pop up in Congressional commercials, and Thong Girl angers Tennesseans.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Mayor and the "Thong Girl"

Voters got their panties in a knot after Gallatin, Tennessee Mayor Don Wright allowed the filming of Thong Girl 3 in his office.

Said it was for "economic development" -- had nothing to do with scantily clad actresses in his office.

The Thong Girl website describes the superheroine as someone who "polices the skies" -- in a red thong -- to keep Nashville safe. (Tennessean)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Rock the Vote

Rock star John Hall -- the lead singer and songwriter for the group "Orleans" -- won the Democratic primary for Congress in his upstate New York district.

Orleans routinely makes the list of "Worst. Album. Covers. Ever." (see picture).

He co-wrote such hits as Still the One and Dance with Me for Orleans, and Half Moon for Janis Joplin.

He faces Republican incumbent Sue Kelly in a district that includes parts of Westchester, Putnam, and Orange Counties in the Empire State. (Editor & Publisher)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Podcast: Frankenbush

More in the neverending story of the Politics of Fear: Mad scientists have given way to politicians.

MP3 File

Podcast: Go Navy!

An MP3 making the rounds among service members. It was e-mailed to me from a Petty Officer pal of mine.

MP3 File

Monday, September 11, 2006

Blue & Gray -- More Black & White than in Iraq

Is Iraq in a civil war? The CIA knows -- but it's a secret.

The guys who put the "un" in -- or actually in front of -- "intelligent," have come up with a super, double-secret definition of "civil war" and shared it with the intel committees on Capitol Hill. The CIA has worked out a definition for letting us know if or when Iraq is actually experiencing a civil war. They just don't want to share that information with the general public.

From what Newsweek has been able to piece together from their sources, the CIA considers Iraq too chaotic to be in a civil war.

In other words, a civil war would be an improvement for Iraq. (Newsweek)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Osama bin Forgotten?

Five years after 9/11, President Bush is talking about Osama bin Laden again. The Democratic National Committee has launched a campaign ad suggesting it's just a tactic in the "politics of fear." (Raw Story)

Television Ad Shows Reagan Praising Webb In 1985 Speech

A Reagan appointee turned Democratic Senate candidate is catching flack for using the "Gipper" in a television ad.

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan has fired off a letter asking Jim Webb (right) to stop airing the ad (below) immediately.

Other Republicans complain that Mr Webb is being hypocritical -- using the late President's words of praise for the then Navy Secretary, after Mr Webb resigned in a dispute with President Reagan. (WashPost/YouTube)

Video Podcast: Against that Blue Sky

A video oral history of my experiences on Capitol Hill during the 9/11 attacks.

Podcast: Against that Blue Sky

An oral history of my experiences on Capitol Hill during the 9/11 attacks

MP3 File

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The President, Intellectual Disabilities, & American Idol

One-time American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken is in line for an appointment from President Bush.

It would be as a member of the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities -- not to be confused with the Committee for People with Intelligence Disabilities. That would be the CIA's pre-war Iraq Desk. (Raw Story)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Language of Politics

"That's the lesson we learned several years ago. Not that amnesty doesn't work, but that you don't call it amnesty." -- Sen Jim Talent (R-MO), on politicking an immigration bill past voters

(The Hotline)