Filtered news 4/16

New : "Since the late 1980s, the emergence of 24-hour cable news as a dominant news source and the explosive growth of the internet have led to major changes in the American public's news habits. But a new nationwide survey finds that the coaxial and digital revolutions and attendant changes in news audience behaviors have had little impact on how much Americans know about national and international affairs." The most interesting finding is that regular viewers of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart were the most knowledgeable while regular Fox News viewers knew the least.

May we bury the dead? The on shows that they have had “no impacts on rates of sexual abstinence.” has more analysis of the failures of the Bush’s administration’s failed sex ed policies.

Playing by the game cleanly Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) "campaign said late Friday that it had returned more than $50,000 in donations after learning that the contributors were federal lobbyists, which the campaign had pledged not to accept money from," reports the .

Check out this : More Americans want Congress -- not the Commander in Chief -- to dictate troop levels in Iraq.

"Luckily for McCain, he might not have to choose.'
-- Jon Stewart, on John McCain saying that he would
"rather lose a campaign" than lose a war

John Aravosis details how The Hill (and several leading cultural conservative groups) have published the work of David Cameron, who heads an organization labeled a “hate group” by the respected Southern Poverty Law Center. Some of what Cameron :

He told the 1985 Conservative Political Action Committee conference that “extermination of homosexuals” might be needed in the next three to four years. He has advocated tattooing AIDS patients in the face, and banishment to a former leper colony for any patient who resisted. He has called for gay bars to be closed and gays to be registered with the government.

Much more .

Not-so-surprising admission: From last week's document dump, an from Justice Department spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos to Bush counselor Dan Bartlett and Cheney aide Cathie Martin on 3/6/07, one day before several purged U.S. Attorneys testified before Congress:

Right now the coverage will be dominated by how qualified these folks were and their theories for their dismissals. We are trying to muddy the coverage up a bit by trying to put the focus on the process in which they were told — I suspect we are going to get to the point where DOJ has to say this anyway. First, it is true. Second, we are having morale problems with our other U.S. attorneys who understand the decision but think that these folks were not treated well in the process.

Need a shot of inspiration? Look no further than 's for ideas how you can be a participant instead of an observer in effecting political change.



This ever-widening divide is too often ignored or downplayed by its beneficiaries. A sense of entitlement has set in among elites, bordering on hubris. When I raised this issue with corporate leaders during the recent political campaign, I was met repeatedly with denials, and, from some, an overt lack of concern for those who are falling behind. A troubling arrogance is in the air among the nation's most fortunate. Some shrug off large-scale economic and social dislocations as the inevitable byproducts of the "rough road of capitalism." Others claim that it's the fault of the worker or the public education system, that the average American is simply not up to the international challenge, that our education system fails us, or that our workers have become spoiled by old notions of corporate paternalism.

Still others have gone so far as to argue that these divisions are the natural results of a competitive society. Furthermore, an unspoken insinuation seems to be inundating our national debate: Certain immigrant groups have the "right genetics" and thus are natural entrants to the "overclass," while others, as well as those who come from stock that has been here for 200 years and have not made it to the top, simply don't possess the necessary attributes.

Most Americans reject such notions. But the true challenge is for everyone to understand that the current economic divisions in society are harmful to our future. It should be the first order of business for the new Congress to begin addressing these divisions, and to work to bring true fairness back to economic life. Workers already understand this, as they see stagnant wages and disappearing jobs.



Where I come from, what matters the most isn't how much you have, it's how much you give. Work gives pride, dignity, and hope to our lives and our communities. And so the President is wrong: America is not, and never wished to be, a Wealth Society.

To be true to our values, our country must build a Working Society — an America where everyone who works hard finally has the rewards to show for it. In the Working Society, nobody who works full-time should have to raise children in poverty, or in fear that one health emergency or pink slip will drive them over the cliff.

Bend over

When the airline industry went into a deep slump after the 2001 terrorist attacks, American Airlines' pilots, flight attendants and mechanics agreed to billions of dollars in cuts in wages and benefits to keep the carrier afloat.

Now AMR Corp., American's parent, is back in the black, so much so that 874 top executives will receive more than $150 million in stock bonuses next week.

As for the 57,000 rank-and-file employees, they're seeing red. "We made huge sacrifices," said Dana Davis, an 18-year American employee and spokeswoman for the Assn. of Professional Flight Attendants. The airline's 18,000 attendants took an across-the-board 16% pay cut and gave up vacation days. "We're not getting anything back for it," Davis said.

Of course, if American's workers dare to go on strike later this year, we'll be besieged by comments from tough-minded free-market conservatives about how unions are ruining the competitiveness of a once-great American industry by making plainly irresponsible wage demands. Don't these people understand creative destruction?

And for those who like to pretend that this is all just posturing because executive compensation isn't big enough to make a serious difference when it's spread among all a company's workers, I'll do the arithmetic right here. $150 million split among 57,000 workers is....

$2,600 each. Chump change for the rock jawed captains of industry running American Airlines, I'm sure, but probably not to the flight attendants.

"This is the progress we've been hearing about? And tell me, how are more American
troops going to stop a single fanatic with explosives strapped to his chest?"
-- John Kerry, getting one right, on a parliament, Green Zone suicide bomber,

echoes and takes the administration to task for with members of Pat Robertson’s far-right Regent University. Watch the .

Webb smacks down McCain During his major Iraq speech last week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) congressional leaders who won the passage of legislation setting a timeline for withdrawal. “What were they celebrating? Defeat? Surrender? In Iraq, only our enemies were cheering.”Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), a former Marine and decorated combat veteran, responded aggressively to McCain’s comments during an interview with Bloomberg television:

I’m disappointed in John McCain. I’ve known him for many years. The day before we begin the debate on the Iraq bills, he pulled me aside on the Senate floor and said, Jim, we do not want the situation we had in the Vietnam War. We do not want one side impugning the patriotism of the other side, and John McCain has been doing this consistently since that time. I don’t believe that it is in anybody’s interest for members of the Senate to be impugning the other side’s patriotism, or by the way, to be hiding behind the troops as political justification for what we’re doing.

You go girl! On NBC’s Meet the Press, PBS anchor Gwen Ifill directly called out host Tim Russert and fellow guest David Brooks for failing to speak out against Don Imus’ offensive remarks. “There has been radio silence from a lot of people who have done this program who could have spoken up and said, I find this offensive or I didn’t know,” Ifill said. “These people didn’t speak up.” She then turned Russert and Brooks, frequest guests on Imus’s show. “Tim, we didn’t hear from you. David, we didn’t hear from you.” Ifill added, “A lot of people did know and a lot of people were listening and they just decided it was OK. They decided this culture of meanness was fine — until they got caught. My concern about Mr. Imus and a lot of people and a lot of the debate in this society is not that people are sorry that they say these things, they are sorry that someone catches them.”

The House Judiciary Committee a new set of from the Department of Justice relating to the firings of eight U.S. Attorneys. The last page of document set 3 contains an email from Monica Goodling with an attached Excel spreadsheet on “USA data (GWB).”The spreadsheet appears to assess a list of U.S. Attorneys based on a variety of different qualifications, including prosecution experience and political experience. But there is one column dedicated solely to an assessment of whether the attorneys are members of the . See below. The far right column contains a data column for “FedSoc”:

The Federalist Society has served as a kind of for judges and legal aides who strive to work inside the Bush administration, in effect promoting individuals who have dedicated themselves to enforcing a right-wing ideology rather than the law. University of Illinois Professor Jerry Landay described the group in the Washington Monthly as a “ that’s transforming American Law.” During his Supreme Court nomination hearing, Chief Justice John Roberts repeatedly sought to himself from a to the conservative legal group, unwilling to be tarred by its association.

Repugs say we're all bigots National Review’s John Derbyshire reprints an email which he describes as the ““: “Imus is an institution. Imus’ show is how normal people talk. … Imus being fired feels like a part of America has died and we’re moving closer to the modern day sanitized England.”

Kevin Drum picks the worst slime of the media It occurs to me that I owe you all an explanation of why, I chose Nancy Grace and Chris Matthews as our most loathsome media stars, with a bonus honorable mention for the collective id of the Wall Street Journal editorial page. So here it is.

Basically, I figure that although the general phenomenon of right-wing spewing has done serious damage over the past couple of decades, individual wingnut frothers like O'Reilly and Limbaugh, for all their loathsomeness, have limited influence these days. They draw most of their viewers from the ranks of true believers, so their tirades probably change very few minds. Their audience already agrees with them.

But that's not true of my three choices. Matthews' audience is probably mostly liberal and centrist liberal, and he convinces them that liberal politics is an idiotic clown show. Nancy Grace pulls in all types and turns them into slavering lynch mobs convinced that amendments 4 through 8 of the constitution are mere obsolete technicalities. And the WSJ editorial page is read mostly by business people who initially tend toward the right, but are then converted by the WSJ's patented brew of smarminess and intellectual dishonesty into full-time Hillary-hating, supply-side idolizing, worker-loathing zombie shock troops for movement conservatism.

Of these, by the way, the WSJ editorial page is by far the worst. I'm convinced it's done more real damage to the liberal cause than any other single source of the past quarter century. There's probably a good book in that story somewhere.

"It makes you realize what a helacious shithole Indiana must be."
-- The Daily Show's Aasif Mandvi, on Rep. Mike Pence comparing
the Baghdad marketplace to summertime in Indiana

Dallas paper: Kill the death penalty Somewhere over the heartland of this country, there are porcine aviators fluttering in the sky. The state that has more now thinks it might be a bad idea? Maybe Texas really is moving towards disavowing . :

Wow. The looks at some high profile death penalty cases in Texas and realizes that the system is irrevocably broken.

And that uncomfortable truth has led this editorial board to re-examine its century-old stance on the death penalty. This board has lost confidence that the state of Texas can guarantee that every inmate it executes is truly guilty of murder. We do not believe that any legal system devised by inherently flawed human beings can determine with moral certainty the guilt of every defendant convicted of murder.

That is why we believe the state of Texas should abandon the death penalty - because we cannot reconcile the fact that it is both imperfect and irreversible.[..]

Powerful stuff, especially considering the source. As you know, I am not philosophically opposed to the death penalty. I have always believed that for some crimes, and for some criminals, it's the only appropriate response. But it's also been clear for a long time that the system has many cracks in it, and that too many people have fallen through them. From prosecutorial misconduct to bad eyewitness identifications to incompetent defense attorneys to an impenetrable appeals process that is completely indifferent to questions of innocence, we have lost any right to say that the death penalty is applied in a fair and impartial manner, assuming we were ever able to say that.

Memo to the Media Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are not the only black people in America, and more than that they do not have the ability to force themselves onto your news shows. There's a pattern here:

1) Bigot eruption somewhere
2) Lots of people condemn it
3) Al Sharpton goes on every teevee program
4) The media people turn around and use Sharpton's past as a distraction/excuse for the current bigot eruption

If Al Sharpton is an imperfect spokesperson for an issue, and you keep putting him on the teevee to be the spokesperson for that issue, then the obvious conclusion is that this is a deliberate strategy.

Classic propaganda It being the primary mission of this blog to cover the intersection of comic books and foreign policy, I can't avoid linking to from the 1940s in which the Justice Society of America explains the truth about Germany to one confused young American. The full issue comes to me via the comment thread to . It's interesting that this is so much less plausible than the propaganda mounted on behalf of the Iraq War even though intervention into World War II seems eminently justifiable on grounds that don't involve this sort of craziness.

The college loan racket Ever wonder how lobbyists and bribeable congressmen managed to in the name of higher profits for private student loan vendors? Of course you wondered.

“Middle-class Americans, listen up: the I.R.S. is much more likely to audit you this year. Those caught cheating can expect to pay about $4,100 more on average in income taxes. … Audits of these middle-class taxpayers , up from about 147,000 returns in 2000.”

Why would anyone every believe any government? “Six years after declaring the U.S. killing of Korean War refugees at was “not deliberate,” the Army has acknowledged it found but did not divulge that a high-level document said the U.S. military had a policy of .”

Smearing Obama Seriously, Politico, ? The facts, as best I can tell, are this:

  • Klaus Scharioth, Germany's ambassador to the United States, is trying to meet the major presidential candidates.
  • A guy named Frank Loy who's active in US-German issues and the Obama campaign, arranged for Scharioth to attend an Obama fundraiser without contributing to his campaign.
  • Politico's Kenneth Vogel heard about this, decided he smelled smoke, and thought he'd poke around for fire.

At this point, Vogel came up with absolutely nothing. But instead of not writing the story, he wrote an exhaustive account of a dozen different things that might have been improper or politically damaging about this. None of these things, however, are actually true. But rather than admit that he has no story, Vogel chose to write it up as if he's unconvered something and then -- bam! -- his story becomes the lede item on the site further implying there's something here.

Shocked? Me neither. There are out-of-control "contractors"

On the afternoon of July 8, 2006, four private security guards rolled out of Baghdad's Green Zone in an armored SUV. The team leader, Jacob C. Washbourne, rode in the front passenger seat. He seemed in a good mood. His vacation started the next day.

"I want to kill somebody today," Washbourne said, according to the three other men in the vehicle, who later recalled it as an offhand remark. Before the day was over, however, the guards had been involved in three shooting incidents. In one, Washbourne allegedly fired into the windshield of a taxi for amusement, according to interviews and statements from the three other guards.

From the Federation of American Scientists' Secrecy News, we learn that a provision of the Defense Authorization bill passed last year that purported to finally bring mercenary "defense contractors" under the jurisdiction of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)

Contractors accompanying U.S. military forces in Iraq or elsewhere who commit crimes may be beyond the reach of law enforcement, a recent Army publication (pdf), because the Defense Department has not yet updated its regulations to conform to a Congressional mandate, resulting in a "gap" in legal jurisdiction.

"In November 2006, Congress expanded UCMJ [Uniform Code of Military Justice] authority over contractor personnel authorized to accompany the force. However, as of February 2007, DOD has provided no implementation guidance for this change in law."

See (pdf), 12 March 2007 (at page 31).

As of mid-March, there was still no such implementation guidance.

The change in the law, reported triumphantly by , among others, has "yet to be implemented." A quick perusal of the president's accompanying the bill evidences no overt reservations regarding the provision, contained in Sec. 552.

What's holding it up? Couldn't tell you for sure. But what does it mean? It means that once again, the Congress has been told to take a long walk off a short pier with regard to exercising its constitutional powers over military governance.

offers insight into the psychology behind the issues that often divide progressives from each other.

In a report, 11 former military leaders “say , as the US could be drawn into wars over water and other conflicts. … They appear to criticise President George W Bush’s refusal to join an international treaty to cut emissions.”

What liberal media? Few things in life drive me crazier than when the people in the media who are supposed to be the smart, thoughtful ones make statements in important places that do not stand up to a second's scrutiny. from the current Time cover story on Imus:

Who doesn't have a list of artists or leaders whose sins they rationalize: Elvis Costello for calling Ray Charles a "blind, ignorant nigger," Eminem for peppering his lyrics with "faggot," Jesse Jackson for "Hymietown," D.W. Griffith for lionizing the Klan or T.S. Eliot for maligning Jews?

This is really shameful. Look, bub, Elvis Costello made that statement nearly 30 years ago when he was very young and very drunk. He apologized profusely, and he sure as hell didn't mean it. Look at the man's career. Look at his last album with Allen Toussaint. How in the world is it in any way comparable with, say, Eminem or Imus, who build their careers promoting racism and misogyny? On Jesse Jackson, that statement is also more than 20 years old, maybe 25. He thought he was making it privately to another black reporter, who turned out to be more of a reporter than Jackson understood. I actually have had more than enough of Jesse Jackson -- though his replacement, Sharpton, turns out to be worse in every way. And I do think he has a problem with Jews. But to just reprint these comments giving no context whatever is journalistically irresponsible, particularly in a Time cover story, where context is what the magazine is supposed to be selling. On D.W. Griffith and the Klan and T.S. Eliot and the Jews, well, again, I don't see how these could be relevant either. Griffith's Klan love was part of his art. It's fundamental to The Birth of a Nation. But it was also the norm in his time and place. Woodrow Wilson, after all, endorsed exactly that aspect of the film as being true and necessary. Eliot, as I understand it, didn't much care for Jews, but it's not got much to do with why he was one of the great poets of all time. What's more, who today is defending Eliot's anti-Semitism or Griffith's racism? Nobody. Who was defending Imus (and who defends Eminem)? Plenty of folks. Just like plenty of folks are still defending , , , , , , and ? Come on. Get a grip.

"For those of us blacks who grew up in white neighborhoods condemning Imus is like
condemning a wife beater, a child molester. We don't stop to consider the motivation,
the level of gravity, the anything. He's just another of the countless racist pricks we've
met in our lives and may he rot in hell. Move on. Next. We've got real work to do."
-- Trey Ellis,

is the fourth and final installment in a terrific series, this one dealing with the implications of Milgram's experiment.

Corruption watch The saga of really is indicative of the US under neo-con control:is appointed to a position of critical importance on the world stage solely on the basis of his connections to ideological brothers. He then , and promotes more cronies (and ) without regard to appearances. Then when the inevitably comes tumbling down, he pleads ignorance or cries victim and . How many times have we seen this pattern–with very little variation–play out again and again in the Bush White House? There was one passage in the that I think may be a much larger issue than his promoting of his girlfriend

Both staff and management also have raised concerns over what several described as Wolfowitz's insistence that the bank accelerate its lending to Iraq and open an office there. A principal architect of the Iraq war as deputy defense secretary during President Bush's first term, Wolfowitz has pressed the issue in the bank against strong concerns about security and poor governance in Iraq. "He was pretty aggressive about it, given that he's generally a mild-mannered person. He was really quite hard," said one source with first-hand knowledge of internal bank discussions on Iraq. "I don't know how much of it was flogging for the [Bush] administration rather than his own ghosts and convictions."

President Bush has tried to justify his planned veto of Congress’ Iraq withdrawal legislation by complaining about the non-Iraq related funds included in the bill. American Progress senior fellow , who served for years as Clerk and Staff Director of the House Appropriations Committee, :

CLAIM: Bush opposes spending in the emergency supplemental that is “unrelated to the war.”

FACT: Bush’s own supplemental request to Congress contained millions in non-war related funds.

Contained in Bush’s request were funds for federal prisons, Kosovo debt relief, flood control on the Mississippi, nutrition programs in Africa, educational and cultural exchange activities around the world, disease control in South Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe, and salaries for U.S. marshals.

The request spread additional funding across seven major departments of the federal government. Such items were not only contained in the White House request for this year’s supplemental but have been part of nearly every supplemental the president has signed since the beginning of the Iraq war. One quarter of the money in last year’s $94 billion “Iraq” supplemental was directed at a variety of domestic programs.

CLAIM: The funds added by Congress were largely “pork barrel projects.”

FACT: The overwhelming majority of non-Iraq spending is for vital needs, including upgrading medical care for Iraq veterans, U.S. operations in Afghanistan, children’s health care, and emergency funds for agricultural disaster areas.

Of the $21 billion that the House of Representatives added to the president’s original request, $3 billion was subsequently requested by the administration, leaving a difference of $18 billion between what the president requested and what the House provided.

What is remarkable is that so little attention has been directed at why the president refused to request funds for the large majority of these items and why he and his allies in Congress continue to oppose their inclusion in the supplemental.

Among these items is $3.4 billion for upgrading medical care for returning Iraq war veterans. These funds would be aimed at cleaning up Walter Reed and upgrading other military and veterans medical facilities, many of which are as bad as or worse than Walter Reed. These funds would also go toward greatly expanding the capacity to diagnose and treat post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury in both military and veterans medical facilities.

The bill also includes $1 billion for enhancing U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and $1.4 billion that was not requested but is urgently need to fill a shortfall in funds needed to pay the Basic Allowance for Housing to military families through the end of the current fiscal year. In addition, the bill addressed a number of pressing domestic needs not included in the president’s proposal. These include: $1.25 billion for improving port security in line with the recommendations of numerous experts, including the Rudman-Hart Commission; $1.25 billion for better bomb-detection equipment in our airports; and $1 billion to purchase vaccines needed to protect us from a global pandemic.

Moreover, a number of federal programs are running out of money and will have to shut down or reduce services between now and October if funding is not provided in the supplemental. These include the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which will require $750 million to be able to cover expected shortfalls in 14 states, and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which needs $400 to operate through the end of the year.

Another $400 million was added to prevent the termination of a long-standing federal program that provides payments to rural school districts–in which a major portion of the land is held by the federal government and therefore not subject to property tax. More than 700 counties across 40 states would be affected by the termination.

The bill also provides $500 million for federal wildfire suppression efforts. The emergency reserve funds for this program are largely depleted because 2006 wildfire season was the most expensive on record. None of these funds can be used until or unless currently available funds are exhausted.

The Rovian noise machine has managed to deflect virtually all reporting on the supplemental away from whether Congress was correct in proposing to strengthen our military presence in Afghanistan, improve the quality of medical care to returning veterans, prepare for pandemic flu, secure our ports, or prevent impoverished elderly citizens from having their utilities shut off. Virtually all reporting on the measure has centered on a small fraction of the funds added by Congress, those provided for agriculture disaster assistance. In fact, the White House has spent most of its time attacking only a few small items within the $3.7 billion provided in the bill for farm disaster assistance.

The agriculture package in total equals about one-fifth of the increases proposed in the House version of the supplemental. Whether or not disaster assistance should be provided has been a source of heated controversy between the administration and Congress since before the Democratic takeover of both houses last November. It was in fact a major sticking point in the completion of last year’s supplemental.

These are the facts. In 2005 over 80 percent of U.S. counties were designated as agricultural disaster areas. In 2006 over 60 percent were thus designated. Extreme weather conditions have resulted in severe crop losses in many areas and funds to mediate those losses have been exhausted. Significant numbers of farmers believe that they will not be able to obtain sufficient credit to continue operations between now and the fall harvest. The $3.7 billion represents a heavily scaled-back version of the original demands of farm state members of Congress for help.

The White House has not directed attention at the bulk of the funding in this proposal, which would go to the large numbers of farmers who have suffered serious losses in producing crops such as wheat, corn, and soybeans. Instead, administration officials have derided assistance to the smaller numbers of producers of crops such as spinach, fish, and peanuts.

All of these programs combined represent a tiny portion of the farm disaster assistance and only 1 percent or 2 percent of the additions that Congress made to the supplemental. In each instance the facts are at considerable variance with the White House’s characterization of the programs.

Two examples are the $25 million for spinach producers and the $5 million for aquaculture. Contrary to what has appeared in print so far, both items are aimed at providing partial relief to producers who were damaged as a direct result of public health actions taken by the federal government. After e. coli was identified in some shipments of fresh spinach, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asked producers in three counties in California to initiate a voluntary recall of all shipments. The FDA had no authority to force a recall. Ultimately it was determined that spinach from only one producer was contaminated, but the combined losses for producers who voluntarily recalled or withheld shipments of non-contaminated spinach exceeded $100 million.

Similarly, in October of last year the U.S. Department of Agriculture became concerned that a virus affecting fish in some aquaculture operations in the Midwest might spread and affect other fish populations. The USDA moved to limit shipments, including shipments of fish that were perfectly healthy. Many producers of healthy fish were hit with heavy losses as a result of that action.

The issue in both instances is whether producers should bear the entire burden of this loss or whether the federal government should cover a portion of it.

There is also more to the $74 million peanut storage proposal than the White House has to date wanted to discuss. That provision is in fact little more than a continuation of a program to assist peanut farmers in reducing crop spoilage that was signed into law by President Bush in the 2002 farm bill and expired in 2006. When signing the bill in May of 2002, Bush said:

“Farming is the first industry of America–the industry that feeds us, the industry that clothes us, and the industry that increasingly provides more of our energy… The success of America’s farmers and ranchers is essential to the success of the American economy.”

CLAIM: The non-Iraq spending in the supplemental was added merely to buy votes in opposition to the war.

FACT: If the intention was to buy votes, it was a miserable failure.

While no one is likely to know all of the demands and assurances that are given with respect to the passage of any legislation, there are several things that are clear regarding the agricultural disaster assistance contained in this supplemental.

The first is that demands for its inclusion were made by farm-state members months before the Appropriations Committee began putting a package together. Second, the contents were almost entirely crafted by the House Agriculture Committee, which was not responsible for the passage of the supplemental; the decisions about the contents were determined before decisions on the Iraq language were finalized; and the difficulty the leadership might face in winning final approval of the language was fully recognized.

Finally, if the inclusion of these provisions was an attempt at vote-buying, the effort was a colossal failure. The peanut provision characterized as overly generous by the White House captured only three of the 12 votes cast by the Georgia delegation on the final package.

Whatever assurances may have been offered to wavering members during the final vote-counting, they appear to have focused almost entirely on concerns about the war. Certainly this was nothing like the grand “pork auction” conducted by the Bush White House during July of 2005, in which numerous members on both sides of the aisle were contacted by administration officials and offered as much as an additional $50 million in highway bill earmarks if they would change their votes and support the administration’s Central America Free Trade Agreement.

You can read Lilly’s full report on the supplemental .


April 16, 2007 - 10:21am