From our Midwest Bureau...
...in deepest Ohio.
President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov hopes to start a baby boom by rewarding women who give birth to eight or more children a one-time bonus of $25 as well as free utilities, public transportation and dental care for life, the state media reported.[From Turkmenistan: Looking for a Baby-Boom - New York Times]
(And while you're at it, just be happy you don't have to make campaign posters for Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov.)
The recent decisions of Atty. Gen. Michael B. Mukasey to block any prosecution of Bush administration officials for contempt and to block any criminal investigation of torture led to a chorus of criticism. Many view the decisions as raw examples of political manipulation of the legal process and overt cronyism. I must confess that I was one of those crying foul until I suddenly realized that there was something profound, even beautiful, in Mukasey's action.
In his twisting of legal principles, the attorney general has succeeded in creating a perfect paradox. Under Mukasey's Paradox, lawyers cannot commit crimes when they act under the orders of a president -- and a president cannot commit a crime when he acts under advice of lawyers.[From Mukasey's Paradox - Los Angeles Times]
...via our Seattle Bureau, comes a link to the excellent blog, Stuff White People Like .
Being in graduate school satisfies many white requirements for happiness. They can believe they are helping the world, complain that the government/university doesn’t support them enough, claim they are poor, feel as though are getting smarter, act superior to other people, enjoy perpetual three day weekends, and sleep in every day of the week![From #81 Graduate School « Stuff White People Like]
Bush, addressing the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference:
The president saluted those at the conference for their "commitment to renewable energy," then joked that his travel habits aren't the best contribution. "I probably didn't help today when I rode over in a 20-car motorcade," he said.[From The Raw Story | Bush: US must get off oil]
The Bush administration says the 2002 congressional authorization to go to war in Iraq gives it the authority to conduct combat operations in Iraq and negotiate far-reaching agreements with the current Iraqi government without consulting Congress.
The assertion, jointly made Tuesday by U.S. Ambassador David Satterfield and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Mary Beth Long, drew an incredulous reaction from Democrats on a Joint House committee during a hearing on future U.S. commitments to Iraq.
“It's the view of the administration that as long as there’s trouble in Iraq that you have authorization of this Congress to continue there in perpetuity and define trouble as you desire?” asked Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y.
“We have authorization to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq,” Satterfield replied. “The situation in Iraq continues to present a threat to the United States.”[From Bush officials: Congress irrelevant on Iraq - Army News, opinions, editorials, news from Iraq, photos, reports - Army Times]
A threat to the United States? Bunky, when did that happen? What happened to all that everything-is-swell-in-Baghdad-now? Incredulous is not the word!
It's beyond clear that the entire brouhaha over FISA comes down to this: Bush wants to keep his lawbreaking secret, and shutting down the ability for courts to get to the bottom of it, sanctioned by the Congress, would do so. They don't want to save the telecoms from financial ruin, they want to stop discovery. In fact, it's very likely that the telecoms have already been indemnified. That's why their main trade group opposes blanket amnesty.[From Hullabaloo]
Or un-Republican, at least.
Lack of a clear and conspicuous fee schedule violates the 1991 Truth in Savings Act and Federal Reserve Regulation DD. But while banking regulators cited firms for ignoring fee disclosure rules 1,674 times between 2002 and 2006, the GAO found that significant consequences for violations are rare. Only twice did regulators undertake formal enforcement actions.
In other words, it's far more likely that you'll get a parking ticket for breaking parking rules outside a bank than it is the bank will be fined for disobeying federal lending laws.
Read the comments that follow this "NBC News investigation."
Judith Regan sued by her lawyers
CHICAGO TRIBUNE - United Technologies Corp. made public Sunday an unsolicited $3 billion bid for Diebold, one of the largest makers of automated teller machines and voting machines.[From UNDERNEWS: WAR CONTRACTOR MAKES BID TO TAKE OVER AMERICAN ELECTION COUNTING]
United Technologies, says the Project on Government Oversight, ranks among the top ten companies for misconduct by government contractors.
Read more at Undernews .
Update: According to this morning's New York Times:
"Top senators," writes John Byrne at Raw Story, plan to play games while the country burns.
According to an article in the paid-restricted Roll Call Monday, top senators in both parties plan to make efforts to derail the candidacy of either party by introducing "divisive" bills in an election year.[From The Raw Story | Senators plan 'embarrassing' votes in efforts to derail candidates]
Oh yeah, nothing new. The Dems would love to have a bad economy to run on; the Rs would love to have more war. You can bet on it.
Throw the rascals out, every one.
Reuters - Two U.S. missiles hit a house in southern Somalia on Monday, according to local officials, in a strike Washington said was directed at "known terrorists"....
[From U.S. launches missile strike in Somalia | The Agonist]
On Capitol Hill and in federal court, a congressional committee and two private groups are pushing for information on how the White House has handled its e-mail for the past six years and whether officials there complied with records-retention laws.
The picture emerging from testimony and court filings is one of disregard for fundamental principles that well-run private companies adhere to routinely. By one estimate, over 1,000 days of e-mail are missing from various White House offices.
"I would call this negligence," said Mark Epstein, director of technical services for Cataphora Inc., a California company that specializes in retrieval and analysis of electronic information....
Two federal laws, one carrying criminal penalties, require preservation of White House e-mail.[From The Raw Story | Expert: White House derelict with e-mail]
CNN Ballot Bowl
Saturday & Sunday, 8 & 10 p.m. ET
Learn about the candidates' plans from the contenders themselves -- raw and unscripted... Experience the political campaign from the perspective of voters in Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont! Watch "Ballot Bowl" this weekend, 8 & 10 p.m. ET....
"Watch the bowl game that really matters"[From CNN Programs - Today on CNN]
Exactly. They're treating it as a sporting event. And that, bunky, is what we've come to here.
MESA, Ariz. -- A hundred years without a World Series championship -- what's the big deal?[From And comfy, cozy is he :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Cubs]
I swear no man watches "Grey's Anatomy" unless his girlfriend forces him to. No man bakes cookies for his dog. No man feels blue and takes off work to spend the day in bed with a copy of "The Friday Night Knitting Club." No man contracts nebulous diseases whose existence is disputed by many if not all doctors, such as Morgellons (where you feel bugs crawling around under your skin). At least no man I know. Of course, not all women do these things, either...[From We Scream, We Swoon. How Dumb Can We Get? - washingtonpost.com]
We're talking truly weird here, this piece at the Washington Post by somebody named Charlotte Allen (H/T Lawyers, Guns and Money) all about how that Hillary is, you know, such a woman, OMG!
As far as I'm concerned, she has proved that she can't debate.... She has whined (via her aides) like the teacher's pet in grade school that the boys are ganging up on her when she's bested by male rivals. She has wept on the campaign trail, even though everyone knows that tears are the last refuge of losers. And she is tellingly dependent on her husband.
And she probably doesn't like science either. Of course, as we all know and as I am sure Ms Allen would agree, women are just absolute bitches when it comes to housecleaning, which is exactly what we need in Washington right now, is all I'm saying.
Iranian President Ahmadinejad is visiting Iraq, and Bush has some helpful advice to the Iraqis about what to say to him: “And the message needs to be, quit sending in sophisticated equipment that’s killing our citizens...”[From Whatever It Is, I’m Against It: Meaningful]
...but no, it's just good business.
BAGHDAD, Feb. 29 (UPI) -- The government-to-government method of selling U.S. military equipment to Iraq is maturing at an escalating pace, U.S. military officials said.[From Iraqi defense minister embraces arms sales - UPI.com]
Damned Iranian are cutting in to our profit margin, is the thing.
That's all this is about. The telecoms don't want the amnesty. The overriding goal is to shut down these lawsuits and, most important, eliminate the discovery phase so that the full extent of Administration lawbreaking is permanently hidden. This is about burying the evidence, as every single action by the White House since the Democratic takeover of Congress has been. Bush may have a soft spot in his heart for his corporate buddies, but he's really not interested in indemnifying them. He's interested in immunity for himself.[From Hullabaloo]
Well, yeah. That's been evident for a long time now, IMO. And, as dday points out later in the post, it's also about covering up all the Ds who allowed this surveillance program to keep running for a bunch of years, now, with no discernible protest.
Remember, bunky, this very law - the one he now threatens to veto if its extension does not include telco immunity - is the one that last summer was so freakin' important, so absolutely necessary, that Bush threatened to keep (or try to keep) Congress from a scheduled recess if they didn't pass the law before they went home.
Who's gonna drain this swamp?
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Dogs may have a hard time wrapping their paws around this one: Robotic competition is nipping at their heels in the man's-best-friend department. A study by Saint Louis University found that a lovable pooch named Sparky and a robotic dog, AIBO, were about equally effective at relieving the loneliness of nursing home residents and fostering attachments.[From Wired News - AP News]
No data on whether either the dog or the robot would be better than that blonde in the movie I saw last night, so I can only guess.
...given what we’ve seen of the Bush gang, it’s hard to offer the administration much in the way of benefit of the doubt.[From The odd details of the IRS’s latest church investigation - The Carpetbagger Report]