Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Where's the Missing $12 Billion We Sent to Iraq???

In the early days of TV there was a show called the $64,000 question. Well, this is a $12 billion dollar puzzle. Congressman Henry Waxman has called attention to this mystery. Here's an excerpt from an article about it on

Representative Henry Waxman, kicking off hearings on government contracting, questioned former Ambassador L. Paul Bremer today on what happened to as much as $12 billion in unaccounted-for cash spent when he was in charge of rebuilding Iraq.

A report from Waxman's House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said the money represented more than half of Bremer's budget from May 2003 to June 2004. The report described contractors being told to bring big bags to collect shrink- wrapped bundles of money and one episode where a Bremer staff member was allegedly told to spend $6.75 million in a week.

``We have no way of knowing if the cash that was shipped into the green zone ended up in enemy hands,'' Waxman, a California Democrat, said at today's hearing. ``We owe it to the American people to do everything we can to find out where the $12 billion went.''

Is there a dowser in the audience?

New Congressman Introduces Bill to Apologize for Slavery

"It’s something I’ve thought about for a long time," Newly elected Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen told Memphis Online's in a telephone interview Monday night. "I thought about it as an issue to address now that I’ve come to Congress. I felt during Black History Month was just an appropriate time."

It's a fine idea for the US to issue an apology, but I like what Democratic strategist Morris Reid said on Paula Zahn's CNN show about this last night:

REID: I just think it's an empty promise. I don't want a -- I don't want a sorry. You know what I would rather the Congress did? Fund public education and make sure people had universal health care, you know, make sure we had good schools. That's the -- that's the real issue here. African-Americans feel like they have been neglected, they have always gotten a second -- been a second-class citizen. Don't give me an empty promise. Give me what I want, which is a good education, health care, and -- and safe schools and a safe community. That's more important to me than an empty promise that's going to be watered down, that's going to be politicized, and just going to cause more division.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tell FL Democrats Which Candidates You'd Like to See

Florida Democrats' website has an online survey where people can indicate which presidential candidates they'd like most to see in the state. Although most people reading this don't live in Florida, this is something that might exist in your area. If not, you could suggest it or create it.

Kucinich on Obama; Kucinich as the Man for Peace

In a recent Newsweek interview, when asked:

What about the candidates, like Barack Obama, who—granted—wasn’t in a position to vote against the war, but who spoke out against it?

Dennis Kucinich said:

"That’s fine, except for one thing. He’s voted 100 percent to fund it. If you’re opposed to something, you don’t vote to give it money. And a single speech is not hundreds of speeches. It’s not real leadership. If someone wants to talk about the war, then they better have real credentials for it. And those credentials have to include working to defeat funding for the war. There’s no other person in this race who’s done that. There’s no one else who’s taken a stand for peace that I’ve taken and I think that’s what the American people are yearning for."

I like what this person posted as a comment to the Newsweek piece:

Posted By: Corky Quakenbush (2/26/2007 at 11:25:56 PM)
Comment: This man is the only person with the guts and integrity to want to establish a Department of Peace. The National Intelligence Estimate declassified last year pointed to poverty as the root cause of terrorism. Isn't it about time that we attend to the causes of terrorism rather than by attempting to force the rest of the world to "do it our way?" Please vote for this man! Just think what good the $400 billion wasted on the war in Iraq could have done in helping people have better lives. Happy people are not suicide bombers!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Al Gore's Documentary on Global Warming Wins Oscar for Best Film

Yay! Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth won the Oscar for best documentary. If there's still anyone who thinks global warming is a myth, this honor will hopefully motivate them to take a second look.

There were rumors that Gore would announce his candidacy for president, and that was the subject of a joke Gore made on stage.

Laurie David, the wife of Curb Your Enthusiasm's Larry David, is an activist to stop global warming and the co-producer of Gore's film.

After the Oscars, a reporter interviewed Laurie, whose husband stood alongside her looking bored.

Reporter (to Larry): How many times have you seen the movie?

Larry (deadpan): I've seen it 14 times. She drags me everywhere. I can't stand that movie.

(Laurie laughed)

Reporter asked them who they're looking forward to seeing at the after-Oscar parties.

Laurie: Oh, that's an interesting question. (to Larry) Who are we looking forward to seeing?
(Laurie continued) We're looking forward to seeing our friends. Oh, Sheryl Crow. She and I are going on a bus tour together.

Reporter (to Larry): Are you going too?

Larry: She drags me everywhere.

Laurie (smiling): I'm dragging this marriage to the edge. I bring him everywhere with me.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Newsweek's Political Blog Uses Talking Heads Song's Form

This blog is purportedly about politics and tries to keep a sense of humor. Warning!: This particular post is more about style than substance, although it does refer to an article that's about politics.

Voila: Newsweek's blog posting about Tom Vilsack's decision to drop out of the presidential race (and so early!) has a first paragraph whose construction parallels that compelling old Talking Heads song Once in a Lifetime. Is there some subtext to that blog post?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Join Henry Kissinger, George Shultz and Me...

Former Republican Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz are asking George W. Bush to take the lead in a world free of nuclear weapons. Gee, this is as heartwarming and unexpected as Montana's recent announcement that they plan to do away with the death penalty.

I hope you'll join me in signing The Union of Concerned Scientists' petition to reject funding for George W. Bush's alarming plans to develop new nuclear weapons.

Here's what I wrote:

The world needs to add conflict resolution classes to all schools, K-12, so we can stop this awful, childish, animal-brained escalation of horrendous weaponry.

But until that happens (and I so pray for it) we need to do EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to stop George W. Bush from lending his support to the development and production of new nuclear weapons. This is just outrageous! Too many people in this world have gone stark raving mad.

Friday, February 23, 2007

NY Law Upholds Old Ban On Dancing in Bars, Restaurants & Even Some Clubs w/o Permits

Can this be happening in the largest city in the US (and one of the largest cities in the world)? I can't believe the court upheld an 80-year-old law prohibiting people from dancing in bars, restaurants and certain clubs that don't have specific permits to allow dancing--in New York City, the home of Broadway musicals. It was Broadway musicals (and film versions thereof) that put the idea into my head as a child (an idea I've had ever since) that life is a celebration and anyone is free to break into song and dance anywhere, any time, in a bus, a subway, a supermarket, and yes, even a bar.

Here are the details.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sheryl Crow Launches Stop Global Warming Tour

Along with activist Laurie David, Sheryl Crow today announced she'll be doing a Stop Global Warming college tour:

The multi-city tour will begin on Monday, April 9th in Dallas, Texas, where the duo plan to shine a harsh CFL light on the Dallas-based TXU Corporation, which is trying to fast-track 11 dirty coal burning power plants. Texas already dumps more CO2 into the atmosphere than any other state in the nation, and TXU's plan would more than double that.

The activist and entertainer will visit 12 cities across the Southeastern United States in a bio-diesel bus to motivate college students to become part of the movement to stop global warming and demand solutions from themselves, their schools and their country. The multi-city tour will continue on to select cities, including: College Station, TX; Baton Rouge, LA; New Orleans, LA; Birmingham, AL; Auburn, AL; Gainesville, FL; Atlanta, GA; Charlottesville, VA; Nashville, TN; Chapel Hill, NC; College Park, MD and Washington, DC.

The 90-minute presentation will include remarks by David, a short performance by Crow, clips from An Inconvenient Truth, humorous clips from top comedians, and a dialogue with students.

They've got my vote!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Go Vegan & Stop Global Warming

When a right-wing outlet like Fox News does an article linking global warming to meat-eating, it's a day to rejoice!

It's great to see this getting into mainstream media.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Fantastic Apres-War Party

In a cartoon by Drew Dernavitch in the February 19 & 26 New Yorker, military men and others in command in the government sit around a conference table. An American flag hangs in the room. The window reveals the White House in the background, and the Washington Monument. One of the men speaks:

"Wouldn't you want it to end sooner if you knew we were planning a fantastic apres-war party?"

Monday, February 19, 2007

Fashion Ads That Spotlight Global Warming

It's great when a fashion company uses the power of its ad spending to sound the alert about important global issues. I commend the clothing line Diesel for its activism in spotlighting the facts about global warming. In one of their new surrealistic ads, you see some typically gorgeous models relaxing on a Manhattan rooftop, with the surrounding city looking chill and macabre, like something's happened to remove most of its buildings. In another Diesel ad, models lounge on a beach, while in the background Mount Rushmore's presidential faces are submerged in ocean water up to their noses. When you go to Diesel's website and tool around, you eventually find a link where you can sign up for a global warming campaign. Diesel makes the following statement:

Over the years, Diesel's ad campaigns have touched on several global issues in a signature over-the-top, irreverent, often surreal way. 2007 opens with a campaign that highlights the risks awaiting our planet due to global warming. We are only a fashion company and do not think that - with just one campaign - we can save the world, but if our unconventional tone of voice and the reputation of our brand can grab and hold people's attention a little longer than a news feature can, make them think twice about the consequence of all our actions and realize our individual responsibility, then something at least will have been accomplished.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Bush's Moles

The media reports that George W. Bush has had two benign moles removed from his face. Since one of the definitions of mole is:

A spy who becomes part of and works from within the ranks of an enemy governmental staff or intelligence agency.

We're wondering: What were the moles doing on George's face? Doesn't he have security people to keep those nasty people out of his bubble?

But because the word "mole" has other meanings, perhaps this report captures the correct mole.

However, if neither of the above definitions pinpoints the correct meaning of Bush's former facial moles, there's always this swell account.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Senate's Non-Binding Send-No-More-Troops Rez Misses by 4 Votes

The Democratic Senators presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Joseph R. Biden interrupted their campaigning in other states to fly back to Washington, D.C. to vote today in a non-binding Senate resolution opposing the Bush administration's plans to send more than 20,000 more combat troops to Iraq. The vote was 56 to 34--not quite enough. The Democrats, who have only a one-vote majority in the 100-member Senate, were unable to push the measure--which needed 60 votes--through. But today's anti-Bush vote garnered the support of seven Republicans--five more than in a similar Senate vote earlier this month.

Ah, the wheels of justice move so slowly! We need Ricky Martin to spice up his performance again to try and spur a few more Republican Senators to vote with the Dems next time. (See my yesterday's post.)

Friday, February 16, 2007

GWB Too Busy to See Congress Diss His Iraq Policy

The Associated Press quotes a spokesman as saying that George W. Bush was too busy today to watch television to see how members of the House of Representatives were voting. The vote was 246-182 in a non-binding measure to reject the president's plan to deploy more troops to Iraq, where so far more than 3100 US soldiers have lost their lives. Those voting to oppose Bush's policy included 17 Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has called a test vote for Saturday on an identical measure, although:

"Republicans said in advance they would deny Democrats the 60 votes they need to advance the resolution, adding they would insist on equal treatment for a Republican-drafted alternative that opposes any reduction in funds for the troops."

Sometimes it seems like the only way to get through to Bush and his party about how insane his Iraq war is (which has wasted billions and billions of dollars that could have been used to help poor people in the US and to provide universal health care) is to do what pop star Ricky Martin did at a recent concert:

At a recent concert, the 35-year-old singer stuck up his middle finger when he sang the president's name in his song "Asignatura Pendiente," which includes the words, "a photo with Bush." The gesture last Friday prompted cheers from thousands of fans in the San Juan stadium.

On Thursday, the Puerto Rican heartthrob repeated his criticism of the Iraq war and explained his changed position on Bush.

My convictions of peace and life go beyond any government and political agenda and as long as I have a voice onstage and offstage, I will always condemn war and those who promulgate it," Martin said about his action in an e-mail statement sent to The Associated Press via a spokesman.
Martin, like other artists, has been highly critical of the war in Iraq.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Fans to Rock Against Global Warming

Al Gore has just announced a 24-hour-long series of worldwide rock concerts on July 7 called "Save Our Selves--The Campaign for a Climate in Crisis" that will focus on the threat of global warming. The concerts will feature top musicians, including Sheryl Crow, the Black Eyed Peas, Bon Jovi, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lenny Kravitz and others. Gore's documentary on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, has been nominated for an Oscar.

Will Gore announce that he's running aain for president? Stay tuned...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Comedians' Campaigns for Presidential Candidates

Dennis Miller says he supports Rudy Giuliani for president.

Is Al Franken for Hillary?

Who do Joy Behar and Jerry Seinfeld and Carrot Top support?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

FBI Is Missing Laptops and Weapons

The Washington Post says:

The FBI said that 160 laptop computers were lost or stolen in less than four years, including at least 10 that contained sensitive or classified information -- one of which held "personal identifying information on FBI personnel," according to a report released yesterday.
The bureau, which has struggled for years to improve its sloppy inventory procedures, also reported the same number of missing weapons -- 160 -- from February 2002 to September 2005. Those weapons included shotguns and submachine guns, according to the report by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine.

Oh this is just great. The agency that taxpayers fund to prevent terrorism and investigate crimes can't even keep track of its own sensitive equipment. Does FBI stand for Federal Bureau of Idiots?

Since they're so adept at losing things, let's put their expertise to good use. Let's make the FBI responsible for losing weight in all those Americans who want to lose some.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Remedy for Record Snowfall

Regarding the record amounts of snowfall in a short period in upstate New York:

It's obvious that because certain regions in the US are vulnerable to blizzards, the government should spend whatever it takes to build heated roadways to protect drivers and to keep the economy going. Why aren't we doing this? And because we haven't in this case, we should at the very least be recycling that water, shipping it to regions of the world where there are droughts and water is direly needed.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Not Ready to Make Nice Indeed

Now that the controversial song Not Ready To Make Nice (written by Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison & Dan Wilson and recorded by the Dixie Chicks on their Taking The Long Way album) has won the Song of the Year award at the 49th annual Grammy awards (just now), it's one more sign that the George W. Bush administration is going down the tubes. The song defends an anti-George W. Bush comment by one of the Dixie Chicks. You go, Chicks!

First Female President

Hallelujah! Harvard University named its first female president today. Drew Gilpin Faust, a noted scholar of the American South and dean of Harvard's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, becomes Harvard's 28th president.

This is indeed an omen that Hillary Clinton will become the first female president of the US, a great reason to rejoice!