Monthly Archives: March 2007

House proceedings on Gulf Coast Housing Recovery Act…Taylor’s remarks ruled improper

Wow another fascinating day in the House.

Republicans introduced amendment after amendment to stymie the Gulf Coast Hurricane Housing Recovery Act of 2007. In debate on prohibiting communities from using CDBG funds for local match to receive disaster funds the following occurred.

Republican Rep. Price (GA) objected to remarks by MS Democrat Rep. Gene Taylor (yes MS is not the the land of milk and honey recovery that the Bush assministration and wingnuts would have you think) The objection held up proceedings for over an hour. Taylor’s remarks were ruled improper. This resulted in his speaking rights for the day being withdrawn. Rep. Barney Franks then won a vote to restore Taylor’s speaking rights. Then Repubs got pissy about civility

Here is video of Rep. Taylor’s excellent remarks focusing on the matching funds requirement and the Katrina fraud perpetrated by the Bush administration, Price’s objection and what ensued…


The bill passed 302-125
with motion to reconsider laid on the table.

UPDATE: A transcript of Rep. Taylor’s remarks…

Mr. Taylor: First let me tell the gentleman from Georgia I appreciate him trying to save some
money. I think his efforts though are a year late. If you want to look for Katrina fraud look for the Katrina fraud that was perpetrated by the Bush administration. In south Mississippi at one point we had 40,000 people living in FEMA trailers. We’re grateful for every one of them. But those
trailers were delivered by a friend of the president, by the name of Riley Bechtel, major contributor to the Bush administration. He
got $16,000 to haul a trailer the last 70 miles from Pergus(?) MS down to the Gulf Coast, hook it up to a garden hose, hook it up to a sewer tap
and plug it in. $16,000.So the gentleman never came to the floor once last year to talk about that fraud.

Hang Your Head Low

Makes you feel good to be an American.

The suspect in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen said he was tortured into admitting responsibility for that attack and others, according to a hearing transcript the Pentagon released Friday.

Abd al Rahim Hussein Mohammed al Nashiri, a Saudi Arabian detainee held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, denied participating in the Cole attack.

Al Nashiri said he “was tortured into confession, and once he made a confession his captors were happy and they stopped questioning him,” according to a statement read at his hearing. “Also, the detainee states that he made up stories during the torture in order to get [it] to stop.”

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the Defense Department would investigate al Nashiri’s torture allegation if the military was holding him at the time. If another agency was detaining him then, Whitman said that agency would be responsible for the investigation.

Your President Speaks!

Using the wounded victims of his Vanity War as props, at Walter Reed Hospital.

What’s Up, Doc?

Every time I come to Walter Reed, I’m also impressed by the care givers — the docs, the nurses, the people who spend many hours trying to heal those who have been wounded in service to our country… And so on behalf of a grateful nation, I do want to thank our docs and our nurses and care givers for providing extraordinary health care to the people who wear the uniform…  I welcome General Schoomaker. But I also welcome General Tucker. Tucker is not a doc.

The Family And The Solider Is Impressed

In other words, you don’t get a lot of glory for what you do. But you certainly do from the family members, who first come here and they see their loved one on a bed, wondering whether or not that person will ever walk again. And then, six months later, the body is returning and the spirit is strong, the person is up and moving around — the family and the soldier is impressed by that care.

Analysis Have Given

Independent analysis have given extremely high marks for the quality of care here.

Notice Comes In Bunches

Recently, the commission performed a surprise inspection — they didn’t give a bunch of notice, they showed up and verified the high quality of care here.

Are The Vets Catching On?

Sounds like some of our military veteransare finally sick of being used as political props.

Retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, among retired military officers who took part in a conference call about Bush’s visit, praised the president for seeing wounded soldiers. But, he added: “I’m convinced he would honor them more if he would refrain from using soldiers as props in political theater.”

“I would be very happy to see him do the Walter Reed visit more like the commander and secondarily as an inspector general, rather than as a politician,” he said.

[snip]

“Walter Reed is not a photo-op,” [Bob] Muller [president of Veterans for America] said. “Walter Reed is still broken. The DOD health care system is still broken. … Our troops need their commander in chief to start working harder for them.”

The Death Squads We Trained

This image says it all.

A skull is painted on the helmet of an Iraqi army soldier patrolling in the Sunni Muslim stronghold of Baghdad’s Haifa street.

AFP/Patrick Baz

If you need to know more, here it is.

Shia gunmen rounded up, bound and shot dead at least 45 Sunni men during a two-hour orgy of vengeance yesterday, in Tal Afar, a northern Iraqi town once held up by President Bush as a shining example of US success in quelling sectarian violence.

The rampage, which one local politician said was carried out by Shia militiamen aided by police officers, came in retaliation for a double lorry bombing in the town centre, which killed as many as 75 people — most of them Shias — and wounded 180 more. The most deadly of the twin blasts occurred when a booby-trapped lorry distributing flour exploded as people came to collect their subsidised food rations.

Furious Shia militiamen swarmed through a Sunni district in southern Tal Afar, handcuffing and blindfolding their victims — aged between 15 and 60 — before shooting them point-blank in the head inside their own homes, said Brigadier Najim al-Jebouri, the mayor of the town.

[snip]

“I wish you can come and see all the bodies. They are lying in the grounds. We don’t have enough space in the hospital,” a distraught doctor at the main hospital in Tal Afar said.

“I’ve never seen such a thing in my life.”

This Can’t Be Good

Maybe I’ll sleep in on April 9.

Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr made a scathing attack on the United States in a statement issued Friday, blaming it for Iraq’s woes and calling for a mass demonstration April 9 to mark the fourth anniversary of Baghdad’s fall.

[snip]

“I renew my call for the occupier (the United States) to leave our land,” he said in the statement, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press. “The departure of the occupier will mean stability for Iraq, victory for Islam and peace and defeat for terrorism and infidels.”

[snip]

“Four years on and Iraq is still without water, electricity, fuel, security, safety and, furthermore, it is in the middle of sedition,” he said in the statement, which is dated March 25 but was only issued Friday.

“As if this was not enough, the occupier also isolated Iraq from the Arab and Muslim worlds, so much so that all foreign nations have ceased to care about an Iraq lying in ruin,” it added.

[snip]

“You, oppressed people of Iraq, let the entire world hear your voice that you reject occupation, destruction and terrorism,” he said in calling for the April 9 demonstration.

“Fly Iraqi flags atop homes, apartment buildings and government departments to show the sovereignty and independence of Iraq, and that you reject the presence of American flags and those of other nations occupying our beloved Iraq. Keep them there until they leave our land,” he said.

Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle

Dana Peroxide Gets Helenized

MS. PERINO: Helen.

Q I have two questions on the Middle East. Has the President been in touch with King Abdullah on his critical comments that we’re wrong to be in Iraq?

MS. PERINO: Not that I’m — no. The President only spoke to President Roh this morning, of South Korea. There have been no other calls that I know of.

Let me just remind you of something I said this morning, which is the United States and Saudi Arabia cooperate on a wide number of issues. It is not accurate to say that the United States is occupying Iraq. We are there under —

Q It is not right to say we’re occupying Iraq —

MS. PERINO: That’s right.

Q — with 150,000 troops there?

MS. PERINO: Helen, we are there at the invitation of the sovereign government of Iraq that was democratically elected —

Q Did we invade that country?

MS. PERINO: We were there under the U.N. Security Council resolution, and we are there now at the — I think one of the things to point out — and I think somebody brought up the Talabani comments this morning — is that he was talking about the initial when we — initially when we went in, of establishing a coalition provisional authority, rather than an Iraqi provisional authority. And we were there —

Q Did we have a right to go in?

MS. PERINO: We were there under a U.N. mandate, yes.

Ouch! But It’s Not Over Yet, Dana — More Helen

Q I have another question then. Does the U.S. take any responsibility for the reign of terror in Tal Afar yesterday between the Sunnis and the Shiites, where the Sunnis were killed, execution style, about 70 or so?

MS. PERINO: It was a horrible and atrocious day. I think that the people —

Q Well, do we take any responsibility for that?

MS. PERINO: I think the people who committed those atrocities are the ones who are responsible. And I know that the United States forces, the coalition forces that are there, who are working alongside the Iraqi security forces, are working to bring security to the region.

This is exactly what we’re talking about —

Q We had nothing to do with their killing each other?

MS. PERINO: The people who commit atrocities are the ones who are responsible for committing atrocities.

Q But, Dana, what about the apparent situation where the revenge killings were conducted, at least in part, by Iraqi police officers? We’re talking about Iraqi police actually trained by the United States, by the coalition.

MS. PERINO: I’ve seen parts of those reports. I don’t have a full report in terms of all that happened there. Clearly, it’s very disturbing if there are police officers that people are supposed to be able to trust committing such atrocities. I did hear also a report — and I hesitate to say it because I don’t have all of the facts — but that the Iraqi army went in and tried to help secure the situation. And that’s what we need, is that the Iraqi forces there being able to take over their own security. And if there are problems with the police forces, and clearly this would be one of them — that they need to go in there and purge those individuals from those positions of authority and the positions of trust that the Iraqi citizens should be able to have, and get them out of there, and allow for the peace to take over. And that’s what General Petraeus is working on.

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Rest In Peace Teddy

Teddy has been sick for quite some time. Today she passed on.

Teddy_by_monitor_012

Many think Teddy was a ‘he’ but in fact ‘she’ was a ‘she.’ When we got Teddy…

Teddy_as_kitty

…we didn’t know what to name her. We decided to watch her for the day and see if a name was revealed to us. She was quite a spunky feisty troublemaker. That night we were watching the TV show “Sisters” and the character Teddy was being feisty and getting into trouble. We looked at one another and said…her name is Teddy.

Teddy_baby_in_pillow2_2

I wanted to spend time with Teddy last night knowing what was coming today. She never was much of a lap kitty. But she had a habit of crawling up onto my lap when I read. Actually she would crawl onto the book and spread out making reading impossible. So I devised a 2 book solution. I would lay open one big book in my lap for her to lay on and then be able to hold the second book from which I could then read.

So last night I laid in bed with a big open book in my lap while holding and reading aloud from a second…To Kill A Mockingbird. Teddy laid at my feet seeming to enjoy the reading and eventually came onto my “lap book.” I then pet her for hours and We had our goodbye.

Incredibly today Teddy was just a little bit feisty at the end. My vet said, “If she hadn’t been, she just would not have been Teddy.” So true.

I am so sad beyond my words now.
Teddy I will miss you so very much.
I love you and Thank You…you sweet being.

Teddy_on_desk_008

Chimpy Loves His War Criminals

Birds of a feather, I suppose. Via Froomkin:

Peter Baker writes in The Washington Post: “President Bush met at the White House this week with a Russian general who has been accused of overseeing some of the most notorious atrocities against civilians during the brutal second war in Chechnya.

“Bush welcomed Gen. Vladimir Shamanov to the Oval Office Monday in Shamanov’s capacity as co-chairman of a U.S.-Russian commission on missing soldiers. . . .

“Russian troops under Shamanov rampaged through the village of Alkhan-Yurt in December 1999, killing 17 civilians, according to human rights investigations. The soldiers looted homes and shot those who got in the way, including a woman over 100 years old. Shamanov threatened to shoot villagers who pleaded with him to halt the ‘cleansing operation,’ investigators found. Rather than prosecute, the Kremlin gave Shamanov a medal — a medal he appeared to wear to the Oval Office.”

The International Herald-Tribune has Dana Peroxide’s feeble excuse.

A White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, said it was “unlikely” that Bush would have met the general and posed for pictures with him if he had known about the charges.

“The president was not aware of the allegations made against him, and was seeking to sharpen the focus on the commission’s good work, and due to the information about the current Russian commission leadership, we are going to review how best to move forward with that important work, without future photo ops,” she said.

I Don’t Wanna Hold Your Ha-aa-aa-aa-and!

Froomkin reports that Chimpy has lost his hand-holding buddy.

Jim Hoagland writes in his Washington Post opinion column: “President Bush enjoys hosting formal state dinners about as much as having a root canal. Or proposing tax increases. So his decision to schedule a mid-April White House gala for Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah signified the president’s high regard for an Arab monarch who is also a Bush family friend.

“Now the White House ponders what Abdullah’s sudden and sparsely explained cancellation of the dinner signifies. Nothing good — especially for Condoleezza Rice’s most important Middle East initiatives — is the clearest available answer.”

Hoagland writes that the Saudis “see Bush swimming against a tide of scandal and stench that engulfs his most trusted aides. In the traditional Saudi worldview, this is a moment to hedge, not to indulge in the kind of leadership needed to break the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock or the deadly morass of Iraq.”

Your President Speaks!

Today in Washington, at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association meeting.

A Cattleman Can Spend Their Money

The reason I say that is there’s a fundamental debate in Washington, when you really get down to it, and the debate is who best to spend your money. And I believe a cattleman can spend their money better than the government can.

Ranch the Land?

If people are concerned about keeping land in the hands of the family rancher, the best way to do so is to get rid of the death tax for those who ranch the land, once and for all.

We Demand Increase for Equip!

I just put up a — submitted some ideas through our Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns. I want to remind you in the bill we submitted to Congress we asked for a $17-billion increase in conservation spending over a 10-year period. That’s an increase over the last farm bill. That includes money for CRP, and a 30-percent increase for equip.

I Found A Moon Rock In My Nose!

To me, that says, is that when we have opportunities that are fair, we produce the kinds of goods and services people want to buy.

When I Grow Up I’m Going To Bovine University

Every time we break down a barrier to trade, it makes it more likely somebody who’s raising a cow will have an opportunity to sell that cow into a better market.

Paging Dr. Freud

I don’t know if you realize this or not, but jobs exported by — supported by exports pay wages that are 13 to 18 percent higher than the average.

Today’s Iteresting Fact

If you manufacture a good that is sold overseas, you’re making more money that somebody who’s not exporting. Isn’t that an interesting fact?

For Fair Playing Rules

I believe competition brings out the best in everybody. So I don’t mind competition, so long as the playing rules are fair.

That Is Agreements

And there’s a vital vote getting ready to come up in front of the — up to the Congress, and that is agreements that we have cut with Peru, Colombia and Panama.

What You Got To Do

Now, you got to compete; you got to grow some product that somebody wants.

Must Never Be Forgot

See, September the 11th was not only a day we were attacked, it is a day that our country must never forget, and the lessons of that day must never be forgot, that what happens overseas matters here at home.

Enable Them To Be Able

If we were to abandon this young democracy to chaos, it would embolden these extremists. It would enable them to be able to recruit more.

The Plan To Secure The Plan

In other words, I’ve sent reinforcements into Baghdad with a new commander, with a plan to help the Iraqis secure the plan, a plan that we believe will be successful.

What It Means

Now we’ve got a strategy of clear, hold — that’s what that means — and then using money to help reconstruct Iraq.

Offer Not Valid In New Orleans

A government of and by the people should be spending the people’s money to help rebuild their country.

Again With The Forgot

The lesson of September the 11th must not be forgot.

He’s Sic Again

Some call this civil war; others call it emergency [sic] — I call it pure evil.

Happy Kyle Sampson Day!

C-SPAN 3 will begin broadcasting Kyle Sampson’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee at 10 AM ET today.

Should be fun.

Heckuva Job, Condi!

I was struck by the following passage in the New York Times’ account of Saudi King Abdullah’s condemnation of the American occupation of Iraq.

Some here said the king’s speech was a response to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s call on Monday for Arab governments to “begin reaching out to Israel.”

Many read Ms. Rice’s comments as suggesting that Washington was backing away from its support for an Arab initiative aimed at solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel wants the Arabs to make changes in the terms, most notably the call for a right of return for Palestinian refugees to what is today Israel. The Arab League is endorsing the initiative, first introduced by Saudi Arabia in 2002, without changes.

Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle

Man, the gagglers batted Dana Peroxide around the briefing room like a ping-pong ball today.

First, On The President And Majority Votes In Congress

Q On this Iraq spending bill, does the President really think that majority votes by both houses of Congress requires no give on his part?

MS. PERINO: Well, that’s — first, let’s step back and talk about that majority, which was a bare majority of 50 votes in the Senate and 218 votes in the House, which were cobbled together in order to twist arms and buy votes using domestic spending from all the different lobbies that I mentioned, plus other ones — tropical fish — I forgot to throw that one in there.

So if we start there, and say that is not, in any way, representative of large majorities in either side. Of course, the President understands that there needs to be give-and-take between Congress and the White House when we’re talking about any type of legislation. But they’ve known for three weeks what the President’s position is regarding arbitrary timetables for withdrawal, and that is what he said he would veto.

Q Dana, just to follow up on that, then, perhaps a little clarity — if a bill were to come back stripped of spinach, peanut, shrimp, tropical fish, anything else, if it came back stripped entirely of pork, but had timetables in there, would they still get a veto?

MS. PERINO: I think the President said that if there are arbitrary timetables for withdrawal that would tie the hands of our commanders on the ground, then, yes, he said he would veto it.

Iraq War Forevah!

Q So he doesn’t want to be out before 2008?

MS. PERINO: The President would like to see troops home as soon as possible —

Q We know all that business.

MS. PERINO: — but the President does not want to tie the generals’ hands on the ground. I’ll tell you, the framers of our Constitution had it right when they realized that you needed to have one Commander-in-Chief in charge of the war, not 535 generals on Capitol Hill.

Chimpy Is Responsible For Al Qaeda In Iraq

Q The President emphasized al Qaeda in Iraq, and if they don’t — we’ll fight them there. Before the war, he indicated — he not only indicated, he said that there were no ties with Saddam. Is he responsible for bringing al Qaeda into Iraq?

MS. PERINO: I don’t think the President is responsible — no, absolutely not. Al Qaeda went to Iraq —

Q Absolutely not?

MS. PERINO: You just have to go back to Zarqawi, and how he set up shop there in Iraq, and started fomenting the sectarian violence, and he was successful —

Q And he doesn’t think our moves brought them in?

MS. PERINO: — and we’re having to fight that now.

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Happy Kerry Photo: Suck It, Liars Edition

His spokeswoman has been e-mailing me his statements in a blatant attempt to get me to go out with him again. Like this one, about the withdrawal of Swift Boat Liar for Bush Sam Fox’s nomination as ambassador to Belgium:

“Sam Fox had every opportunity to disavow the politics of personal destruction and to embrace the truth. He chose not to. The White House made the right decision to withdraw the nomination. I hope this signals a new day in political discourse.”

A.

Heading Out

Scout, Mr. A and I are heading out to NOLA tomorrow, so expect posting from there by tomorrow evening or so. Check back often over the weekend and after, to see what we’ve been doing and seeing down there.

Three geeks. Two cameras. One laptop. *cue dramatic movie preview music*

A.

Think It And Speak It And Breathe It: Galactica Thread

Last one of the season, guys.

Spoilers within.

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Columnwhoring: I’m A Filthy Commie Edition

So the letters to the editor tell me, yet I go on writing anyway:

The modern Republican Party has governed since Sept. 11, 2001, based on a nonstop love affair with the military, wrapping itself in the flag to imply that anyone who was not a Republican was anti-soldier and anti-American.

There’s nothing unusual about that, by the way. Presidents have appeared with troops for political purposes all the way back to Gen. and President George Washington. What is unprecedented is the degree to which this president and his party have claimed exclusivity over that right.

The problems really begin when a president declares some form of politics appropriate for himself but inappropriate for others. What one party does in service of politics always can be turned against it by the other, something both Democrats and Republicans should know by now. That knowledge should engender more caution, more thought along the lines of, “If I do this to my opponent, someday my opponent will do this to me, and I won’t be able to speak out against it.” If there are no moral obligations to behave decently in the political arena, there at least should be practical ones.

I always find the accusations of communism charmingly old-fashioned. Catch up, guys. If you want to scare people away from me today you need to call me a terrorist.

Sheesh.

A.

Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle

Dana PeroxideLays Out The Assministration’s Iraq Policy: Leaving = Losing

Q Doesn’t this go against the will of the American people who want to pull out?

MS. PERINO: I think the President has been very clear that they don’t want to pull out if it means losing. And the President has said that —

Q How does losing — losing what?

MS. PERINO: The President has made it clear that the goal is to make sure that we can stabilize Baghdad, especially, so that the politicians in Baghdad can do the work that they need to do in order to reconcile politically and get the economic engine going, so that the security situation can not only stabilize in Baghdad, but then spread throughout the country.

Q At any price?

MS. PERINO: We understand fully the sacrifice that our men and women and the innocent Iraqis —

Q And you still think it’s worth it?

MS. PERINO: We do.

Dana Thinks It’s Unfortunate That A Member of the Assministration May Have Committed A Crime

Q I’d like to ask you about Monica Goodling. Her decision to take the Fifth contradicts the Attorney General’s promise that his staff would be forthcoming. What are your thoughts about that?

MS. PERINO: Well, I think it’s unfortunate that a public servant no longer feels that her testimony would be treated fairly before the Congress. And, yes, the Attorney General, with the support of the President, urged all the members of the Justice Department to cooperate with Congress’s request for testimony. However, we must respect the constitutional right of the individuals involved, and we are not going to question decisions that she made in private conversations with her and her attorney to protect those right.

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