Filtered News 2/1

I can't tell you how this pains me The nation's mostly widely syndicated progressive columnist and a great friend of The Nation, Molly Ivins died today at age 62 after a long battle with what she referred to as a "scorching case of cancer." John Nichols' tribute to the is the first in a series of appreciations we plan to publish. As he writes, "If anyone picked a fight with the powerful, she was there, writing with passion, humor and unbridled joy." "She'll be dearly missed" seems a stupidly understated sentiment. Thank you for everything, Molly. Your words will resonate for years and years. A . What a smile. From her , published January 12, 2007:

We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we’re for them and trying to get them out of there.

Note: I'll be away for the next week. I'm not sure what Internet connections I'll have, so if you don't hear from me, just sit tight. I'll be back.

Wanker of the day . The only two options left to the US in Iraq are:


  1. Leave now, resulting in grotesque damage to the Iraqi nation, and possibly destabilizing the Middle East.


  2. Leave later, resulting in grotesque damage to the Iraqi nation, possibly destabilizing the Middle East, and costing hundreds if not thousands more American lives.


Nothing will be achieved by a newer, better, shinier withdrawal plan than the loss of more soldiers and marines, and possibly the invasion of Iran.


Democrats have no obligation to fix this problem for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Their only - their sole - obligation is to end the farce and cut the losses. They didn't lose this war: Bush did.

Go get 'em, John House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) announced Wednesday that his committee would open a formal inquiry into President Bush’s use of “presidential signing statements.” “,” said Conyers, vowing “to demand answers from the White House about its intention to ignore the ban on torture when needed and its right to open domestic mail when needed.”

Our stupid media The conservative newspaper notes that the smears against Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) background are “a sign of the growing indifference Internet ‘journalism’ presents on the question of truth. Rumor is good enough. Bibles of blogging are created .” In reality, — run by the Washington Times — started the rumors. Bloggers .

Bush and your tax dollars A new audit of U.S. reconstruction spending in Iraq shows the State Department “paid $43.8 million to contractor DynCorp International for the residential camp for police training personnel…. About $4.2 million of the money was improperly spent on 20 VIP trailers and an Olympic-size pool.” U.S. officials spent another $36.4 million on weapons and body armor that “can’t be accounted for.”

What a difference an election makes! Congressional leaders agreed yesterday to a $463 billion spending plan for the remainder of the current fiscal year. The spending bill was stripped “of all earmarks, or narrow, special-interest provisions.” “,” said Richard Kogan, a federal budget expert at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

"Iran is going to open a bank in Baghdad.
Anyone who opens a new account will
receive 72 virgins and a toaster."
-- Conan,

Too late, your goose is cooked Statement out from Biden: "I deeply regret any offense my remark in the New York Observer might have caused anyone. That was not my intent and I expressed that to Senator Obama." : “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy... I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

Shortly before that, Obama put out this statement: “I didn’t take Senator Biden’s comments personally, but obviously they were historically inaccurate. African-American presidential candidates like Jesse Jackson, Shirley Chisholm, Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton gave a voice to many important issues through their campaigns, and no one would call them inarticulate.” Yep, class all the way.

The Chicago Tribune :

Note to Biden. Well-spoken black people hate it when white people call them “articulate.” It’s the modern-day version of what white people used to say back in the day when they thought that by saying “He’s a credit to his race” they were saying something that a black person would welcome hearing.

Those dated words, like Biden’s comments, were patronizing at the very least. And they also appeared to carry some pretty negative assumptions about the majority of the race.

President Bush may need similar sensitivity training. In an interview today with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, Bush echoed Biden’s remarks when asked about Obama. “He’s an attractive guy. He’s articulate. I’ve been impressed with him when I’ve seen him in person,” Bush said.

Smoking gun? On Tuesday the prosecution in the Scooter Libby trial introduced into evidence an internal White House note that was written by Dick Cheney in September 2003 after Scott McClellan had told the media that Karl Rove hadn't been involved in leaking Valerie Plame's name. Cheney wanted McClellan to issue the same denial for Libby, who at the time was his chief of staff.

Has to happen today.

Call out to key press saying same thing about Scooter as Karl.

Not going to protect one staffer & sacrifice the guy this Pres. that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others.

So who was it that asked Libby to take the lead in talking to the press about Joe Wilson's trip to Niger? Apparently it was "this Pres," but immediately after writing this Cheney decided the passive voice was a better bet. Even in a note to McClellan, it was best not to admit that Bush had ever been involved. Plausible deniability, you see.

I live in perpetual fear of someday being on the receiving end of James Wolcott's vicious scalpel. Today's target? , eviscerated with a headline and single sentence:

Obama: He's No Funky Negro

High praise indeed from Joe Biden, whose hairplugs seem to have made hazardous inroads into his brain

Of course Bush is sending more troops -- but the ones already there don't have the equipment they need, .

The American Empire describes the effect of imperial ambitions (like 737 bases in 130 counties) on the U.S. itself.

"What with the polls and everything, the Washington Post said the other day that I was,
quote, 'at the nadir of my presidency.' The press always underestimates me. I can go lower."
-- Dubya, who thinks 3060 dead soldiers is funny,

Reagan & the Salvadoran Baby Skulls by Robert Parry Excerpt: Ronald Reagan’s many admirers may find this idea offensive, but – given a new report by the Washington Post – it might be fitting to have a display at Reagan National Airport to show how Salvadoran baby skulls were used as candle holders and good luck charms. Perhaps the presentation could contain skeletal remains of Guatemalans and Nicaraguans, too.

It might be modeled after skeletons on display in Cambodia from the slaughters by the Khmer Rouge. After all, it was President Reagan – more than any other person – who justified and facilitated the barbarity that raged through Central America in the 1980s, claiming the lives of tens of thousands of peasants, clergy and students, men, women and children.

Reagan portrayed the bloody conflicts as a necessary front in the Cold War, but the Central American violence
was always more about entrenched ruling elites determined to retain their privileges against impoverished peasants,
including descendants of the region’s Maya Indians, seeking social, political and economic reforms.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that it wants to “raise the application fee for citizenship from and the fee for becoming a legal permanent resident from $325 to $905.” In 1991, the application fee for legal permanent residents was just . NALEO notes that according to “2000 U.S. Census data, about three out offour Mexican and Central American non- citizen households (74%) have annual incomes of less than $25,000.”

The GOP just can't clean it up After months of ethics scandals, Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA) was chosen this month “as the ranking member of a panel charged with investigating financial institutions — .” The Hill reports that FBI officials have in the last two months.


February 1, 2007 - 9:07am