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Posts Tagged ‘Mulan’

Regarding oneiroi’s recent post about Congress stepping aside and letting Bush quietly ream our democracy: MoveOn.org has created a petition that you can read and sign here. Go on record saying, “I’m outraged that Congress capitulated to President Bush and gave him more unchecked power to wiretap Americans without a warrant. I demand Congress act swiftly to reverse this reckless act.”

Because, seriously. Why the fuck did we elect democrats if this is what they’re doing with their time?

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When the Republicans lost their iron grip on all 3 branches of government, losing to the Democrats in both in the House and the Senate, many people sat around trying to figure out why. Was it the Iraq War? The fun & exciting sex scandals? The government’s role in warantless wiretapping, “torture”, and other dubious actions?

Congress took on the mission to prove themselves worthy of the seats they sat in, and started putting pressure against the war, promised to clean up the scandals, and started inquiring about some of those questionable activities. They put Gonzales on the stand and grilled him on the legality and constitutionality of things like the warrantless wiretapping. Congress expressed concern about how the Bush administration was administering a secretive program to wiretap people phones without oversight, as established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

These concerns were not really about the existence of the wiretapping, which has always happened, just that they’re not being approved by the proper authorities. The fact that they’ve gone this far to avoid judicial oversight is troubling, because the process was a breeze anyways. The court is already held secret from the public, and there can even be surveillance without a warrant as long as its reported within 72 hours. There is no delay to worry about. Even
then, from the program’s inception in 1978 at least until 2005, there have been four rejections out of 20,806 approved warrant requests. That’s .019% of all requests that were outright rejected.

In response to this concern over the legality of the program, the Democrat controlled congress approved of Bush’s ability to conduct these wiretaps without even this small piece of oversight. And even goes so far as to make it easier to get information from telephone companies, who before had occasionally resisted!

So…good job Democrats!

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It has been a fun month for health and the current administration. Let’s just go over some of the more recent news! stem cell alternatives

A couple weeks ago, Bush rose to the defense of embryos everywhere and vetoed the second stem cell research bill from congress. But just to prove that he still likes everyone with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes and Lupus, he issued an executive order to “encourage” non-mini-baby stem cell research. He proudly gave his support for these alternative methods with a big thumbs up (while neither offering funding nor new avenues of research).

Then early last week the surgeon general also claimed that the Bush’s administration sought to “weaken or suppress important public health reports,” so research and general information on topics including secondhand smoke, global warming, AIDS, contraception, and stem cells were all altered to fall better in line with the current opinion of the Bush administration. Traditionally, positions such as the surgeon general (and attorney generals) have sought to be beyond the political fray, to better serve the public. Luckily these topics affect very few people. It’s not like public needs more scientific information on global warming, std prevention, or smoking. Who would that help? My personal favorite part of this story is the White House’s spokesman’s response: “It’s disappointing to us, if he failed to use this position to the fullest extent in advocating for policies he thought were in the best interests of the nation.” So the White House’s response to the surgeon general’s accusations of them bullying him: “Grow a pair”

Hearing from the surgeon general that the administration officials wanted to water down more negative information on secondhand smoke, comforted me with the idea that the tobacco lobby is still doing well. Before this I thought TheTruth.com won. Speaking of which, I’m sure the tobacco lobby has no influence on the White House’s disapproval the proposed $1 tax hike on cigarettes. This bill is set to support The Children’s Health Insurance Fund by adding $50 billion to the fund over 5 years, as opposed to Bush’s proposed $5 billion. In fact Bush “denounced the Democratic proposals as a step toward ‘government-run health care’ for all”. Truthfully, I’m just amazed that someone can have gumption to spend an estimated 1.2 trillion dollars on a war, while “denouncing” a $50 billion effort for children’s insurance and the idea of universal health care…while offering little alternative. Kudos to you sir!

*A fun and interesting thing to note from the second nytimes article, was that the surgeon general was discouraged from going to the Special Olympics because of politics (the Kennedy family’s involvement). I didn’t really think this was news because Bush has always had a rocky relationship with the mentally disabled.

 

 

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Remember Scooter Libby? He was the one who got convicted of perjury and obstructing justice. That whole Valerie Plame thing. Her husband was an ambassador who said that the administration was lying about Iraq buying uranium in Africa (back before we shock and awed them – remember that shit?). The administration got pissed and so they told Robert Novak, this conservative columnist to write a column “outting” Valerie Plame as the CIA agent that she so was. Turning against “their own.” Or whatever. Clearly issues exist between the exec’s and the CIA type of people, but to me they’re all government people doing sneaky stuff.

Anyway, that was a long time ago. And Scooter Libby was the chief of staff for Dick Cheney. And he was the one who took the fall for all of it. I don’t say that to mean that he wasn’t guilty, but just that he obviously wasn’t the only guilty one.

So he got sentenced to 30 months in prison and $250,000. But, I guess Bush agreed with this guy:

“This is not a man who deserves to go to jail in any sense of the word,” said Kenneth L. Adelman, a former Defense Department official and longtime friend of Mr. Libby, who stayed at his Colorado vacation home before his trial.

“Whatever he did wrong, he certainly paid,” Mr. Adelman said, referring to Mr. Libby’s resignation from his prominent position and his public humiliation. “This is a good person who served his country very well and is a decent person,” he said.

Bush commuted his sentence – meaning that he doesn’t have to serve any jail time. Huh.

Me? I aree with this guy:

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, called the commutation “disgraceful.”

“Libby’s conviction was the one faint glimmer of accountability for White House efforts to manipulate intelligence and silence critics of the Iraq War,” Mr. Reid said. “Now, even that small bit of justice has been undone.”

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From: xXGeorgieBushieXx@hotmail.com
To: KarlRove19283@yahoo.com

“OMG!1 Dude, man…Gonzo is being friggin’ ripped to shreds. They want to interview you man, but LOL I’m the pres-E-dent. LMFAO. I’ll show them !!one!1!!!11!. Hold on, I’m sending more troops to Iraq.”

That’s what I imagine the personal, secret, emails between the administration officials sounds like, since the Republican Party set up a private email server. Which sorta/kinda/mostly/does breaks a law. There’s this nice little thing called the Presidential Records Act, which is based on the idea that public/government work is public record, and that the ownership lies ultimately with the public. So it’s automatically saved. It’s part of the idea hoping for a “transparent” government. This is frightening for our current administration, because our president is scared of teh internetz and umm…accountability:

“I tend not to e-mail – not only tend not to e-mail, I don’t e-mail, uh, because of, uh, the different record requests that could happen to a president. I don’t want to receive e-mails, ’cause, you know, there’s no telling what somebody would e-mail me and it would show up as, uh, you know, part of some kind of a story that – and I wouldn’t be able to say, ‘Well, I didn’t read the e-mail’ – ‘But I sent it your address; how can you say you didn’t?’ So, in other words, I’m very cautious about e-mailing.”BUSH (youtube)

Luckily, other people in the administration use email. Rove is on the cutting edge of science. And since they were not on the government’s email system, they have to give them up (no executive privilege). Except…drats Rove accidentally deleted his emails regarding congress’ investigation into the whole GONZO thing. It’s not his fault though, the whole White House was just really confused:

“…any deletion of e-mails from the Republican accounts was sparked by confusion over a White House policy…” – CNN

Awww, poor guys. The interweb is a big scary place, especially when you throw in laws and policies in the mix. Well while they get everything straightened out, can someone buy them this book?

 

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Ethanol or Ethan Hawke? A possibly sustainable alternative fuel or a faded star with a history of sexual infidelity?

 So in order to debate the issue, we need to know a little bit about them. The type of ethanol that is the current media darling is Corn-Based Ethanol. When I first heard about this I was like, what? Seriously, the government is taking an alternative and renwable fuel source seriously? Awesome! But eeh, these guys are usually on the wrong side of things, what’s the catch? I hope there isn’t one…….

Hmm. Oh wait. Of course there’s a catch. The catch is corn. Corn is something you should know about, and be thinking about, regardless of whether or not you read The Omnivore’s Dilemma (which you might want to consider, as it is fun to read and pretty interesting).

One basic thing to know is that corn is in everything we eat. It is there to hang out and add calories. Now, I know as soon as you mention ‘calories’ you sound like a one-apple-a-day-eating-livejournaling freak (perhaps like Ethan Hawkes’ ex? interesting….) but it’s important. Adding corn syrup is food manufacturers’ way of bulking up a product, making it look and taste more like food, without actually adding any nutritional value. It’s like the Rosie O’Donnell of food (not that The View was so nutritious to begin with).

Check the back of your bread package. Chances are, unless you buy organic or some other kind of ‘specialty’ bread, corn syrup is the second ingredient. Hmmm, right. You don’t need me to tell you, that doesn’t belong.  You don’t need me to tell you, it will make you fatter and take away delicious calories you could use elsewhere, like, for this. Mmmm.

So anyway, the point is that corn makes its way into everything, corn farmers get huge subsidies from the government for growing things that make us fatter and more diabetic, and oh right, it’s also totally genetically modified and freaky (like Gattaca maybe? interesting….).

When I said “corn farmers” up there, it’s important to note that I don’t mean happy jolly feel-good farmers, I mean huge huge HUGE businesses like Archer-Daniels Midland and Monsanto. They get the vast majority of the millions of dollars the government spends on farm subsidies, and they use much of it to produce corn, much of which is for corn syrup and animal feed (cows and salmon and other such animals are trained to eat corn-based feed instead of their natural foods and it makes them fatter and, right, us who eat them fatter).

So who stands to gain from a push for corn-based ethanol? Those guys.  Those already super rich and just gonna get richer guys.

Alternative fuels are a totally good idea, much like a movie version of Fast Food Nation. However, it’s not such a good movie to watch, and corn-based ethanols are already driving up the price of food around the world. People in Mexico have been protesting in huge numbers the 60% (!!) increase in the price of corn tortillas that has already happened, and some economists are estimating rises in the US as high as 14% for milk and 21% for a dozen eggs.

“The stage is now set for direct competition for grain between the 800 million people who own automobiles, and the world’s 2 billion poorest people.”

Yikes.

So, what’s the answer? Another term you might have heard is cellulosic ethanol – it just means stuff made from plants. Any plants. Different plants take different amounts of pollution to make into fuel, and different plants’ fuels result in different amounts of pollution. Corn is not the best. Different plants do different things to the soil – some are better for it and some are worse. Corn is worse.

Just a few things to think about as we move into our debate: Ethanol vs. Ethan Hawke. Hmmm. 

The truth (duh) is that Dead Poets Society (oh god my heart!) will win out over any fuel, ever, be it cellulosic ethanol or trillium or coal.

I encourage you to continue the debate with your friends and onlookers.

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This is technically called Drowning In Republican Tears #3, but really I think this is just everyone else’s tears.

GonzyFrom the man who denies the existence of Habeas Corpus, and stood up against Defense Secretary Robert Gates for wanting to shut down Guantanamo, I bring you Alberto Gonzales! (more…)

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