Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for July 12th, 2007

I’m Such a Cynic

Posted by MEC on July 12, 2007

Donald Rumsfeld has decided to spend his retirement running a foundation to attract young people to public service.

There’s no target date for launching the foundation, but Rumsfeld has decided it would not be attached to any particular university. Grants would go directly to individual scholars at the graduate and postgraduate level, Di Rita said.

“If he finds a promising young scholar developing expertise on public policy matters, he wants to see what he can do to encourage that and to give that type of scholar an opportunity to continue his studies with an eye to public service,” Di Rita said.

My immediate thought was that the foundation would be recruiting scholars from Regent University, Patrick Henry College, Hillsdale College, Pepperdine University, Bob Jones University…. the University of California at Berkeley or Antioch University, not so much.

Posted in Donald Rumsfeld, half-vast rightwing conspiracy | 4 Comments »

Another Sucker Bet

Posted by MEC on July 12, 2007

In Daily Kos, Adam B tells us about a New York Times report that John McCain violated Senate ethics rules and federal law by making a campaign phone call from Senate facilities.

About 3 p.m. Tuesday, Senator John McCain ducked off the Senate floor, entered the Republican cloakroom and took out his mobile phone. Just hours after accepting the resignation of his two top campaign aides, he was making a conference call to his top fund-raisers to urge them to keep up the fight.

The call, however, may only have exacerbated an already tough week for Mr. McCain. Senate ethics rules expressly forbid lawmakers to engage in campaign activities inside Senate facilities. If Mr. McCain solicited campaign contributions on a call from government property, that would be a violation of federal criminal law as well….

I bet $100 this story will become a rehash of the accusations that Al Gore made illegal fundraising calls out of the Vice President’s office. Any takers?

Posted in Clinton Rules, John McCain, sucker bet | 2 Comments »

For wonks only: why interest rates are what they are

Posted by Charles II on July 12, 2007

One of the most fascinating posts in economics that I’ve seen in a long time is one by James Hamilton of Econbrowser today. Basically, what drives interest rates jumping around day-to-day based on bits of economic news? Does it reflect subtle changes in Federal Reserve policy as interpreted by traders, or does it reflect changes in how the Fed (and traders) sees the economy? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in economy | 2 Comments »

Another Step in the Right Direction

Posted by MEC on July 12, 2007

That is, another step away from petroleum.

Ford to use soybean-based foam in Mustang seats

Most automakers use petroleum-based foam, with an average of 30 pounds going into each vehicle, Ford said.


The foam, which is 40 percent soy and 60 percent oil-based, now costs about the same as conventional foam that is fully oil-based, [Debbie Mielewski, technical leader for Ford’s materials research and advanced engineering department,] said.

“Currently we believe that the technology is a cost wash, but you have to remember that is because we are implementing it on one program and lower volumes,” she said, predicting that the cost would drop when used in more vehicles.

The annual worldwide market for automotive foam is 9 billion pounds, so a switch to a renewable material could have a significant environmental impact, Mielewski said.

Ford said the environmental advantages include reduced carbon dioxide emissions in manufacturing compared to petroleum-based foam, lower energy use to produce the soy foam and reduced dependence on foreign oil.

Now let’s see Ford and the other automakers use similar ingenuity to improve gas mileage. They shouldn’t need legislation to force them to do it.

Posted in energy, environment, global warming | 1 Comment »

A Republican Gets It Right (Mostly)

Posted by MEC on July 12, 2007

I have next to no use for Michigan’s Attorney General Mike Cox, but I agree with what he said about the commutation of I. Lewis Libby’s sentence:

If truth is a pillar of our system of justice, then not telling the truth dramatically damages the structural support of that same system of justice. Lying under oath deserves to be punished. And President Bush was wrong to commute Lewis Libby’s sentence.

Unfortunately, Cox tempers his criticism by repeating the lie that President Clinton’s prevarications regarding Monica Lewinsky amounted to perjury, and by claiming it’s “debatable” whether Valerie Plame was a covert agent. But he doesn’t let those Republican talking points distract him from recognizing that Bush’s special treatment of a corrupt White House aide has undermined respect for our system of laws.

Posted in Libby trial | Comments Off on A Republican Gets It Right (Mostly)

Where’s The Outcry, Indeed?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 12, 2007

Scott Liebertz asks the following question:

Where’s the Outcry Over the Closure of Mexico’s Populist Radio Station?

Here’s the scoop:

Early Sunday afternoon, a giant crowd dressed largely in yellow gathered in the largest plaza of the capital city of a Latin American country to defend freedom of expression and denounce the closing of a media outlet that has operated for decades. Another opposition march in Venezuela to protest the shut down of RCTV? No, this time the angry protestors weren’t in the heart of Caracas but in the famous Zocalo of Mexico City. Thousands of Mexicans gathered to protest the closing of Radio Monitor, home to the popular newscasts of Jose Gutierrez Vivo. But this story isn’t likely to get much traction in the mainstream US media. Unlike RCTV in Venezuela, Radio Monitor wasn’t the property of multi-millionaires that regularly denounced a controversial anti-American president. It was a populist voice critical of the political and professional elite and defender of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the leftist who was narrowly defeated by Felipe Calderon in a presidential election many still believe was fraudulent.

Radio Monitor, a station that broadcast for thirty-three years and made Jose Gutierrez Vivo a household name, stopped transmitting on June 29th. The facts surrounding its closure are still somewhat foggy. Vivo claims that he was forced to stop broadcasting due to an economic conspiracy led by a collusion of former President Vicente Fox and the media elite.[1] Part of the accusation is that its parent company, Radio Centro has deliberately withheld over 20 million dollars it owes the station as a way of starving it into oblivion. Vivo believes that Fox, a friend of the Aguirre-Gomez family which owns the company, interfered in the legal process to undermine Radio Monitor’s financial well being.[2] Current president Felipe Calderon has also been accused of meddling, though he denies any wrongdoing.[3]

I suspect that waiting for any outcry from the US press on this will be like waiting for them to raise holy hell over Pervez Musharraf’s muzzling all of Pakistan’s electronic media.

Posted in abuse of power, beat the press, big money, Chavez, GOP/Media Complex, media, Media machine, mediawhores, Mexico, Pakistan, Venezuela | 2 Comments »

Iraqi Death Estimator

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 12, 2007

Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator

 The counter uses as its basis the Johns Hopkins study from last year:

That study, published in prestigious medical journal The Lancet, estimated that over 600,000 Iraqis had been killed as a result of the invasion as of July 2006. Iraqis have continued to be killed since then. The graphic above provides a rough daily update of this number based on a rate of increase derived from the Iraq Body Count. (See the complete explanation.)

This devastating human toll demands greater recognition. It eclipses the Rwandan genocide and our leaders are directly responsible. Little wonder they do not publicly cite it. Here is simple HTML code to post the counter to your website and help spread the word.

We’re about to break a million.

Posted in Iraq war, madness of King George, Oil, our tax dollars at work, PNAC Platoon | 1 Comment »

More Like This, Please

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 12, 2007


(“I may be a fat cat, but at least I’m not Erik Prince of Blackwater.”)

Some of the biggest pigs at the Federal trough are really ticked off at Senators Clinton and Obama:

Government contractors want to avoid being caught in the crossfire during the 2008 presidential race, but candidates are already taking shots at them.

The Contract Services Association charges in a statement issued today that Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois have been inaccurate and misleading in their campaign rhetoric about government contractors.

What’s really ticking them off, of course, is the idea that the free ride they’ve had under Bush is coming to an end:

Clinton has also said contractor employees are more expensive, less competent and less accountable than federal employees. But CSA said the Office of Management and Budget found that the government saves an average of $32,000 per position reviewed when a private contractor and federal employees compete for commercial work.


The reality is that contractors, when all factors are taken into account (such as the fact that under Bush, tax dodging by contractors has cost the Treasury billions in lost revenue) , are usually more expensive and/or less effective. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, big money, Blackwater, budget, Bush, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, capitalism as cancer, corruption, Democrats with spines, government malfeasance, gravy train, Halliburton, Iraq war, madness of King George, our tax dollars at work, rightwing moral cripples | 7 Comments »

Too Little, Too Late

Posted by MEC on July 12, 2007

Dr. Richard Carmona joins the growing list of former White House officials who reveal that Bush made them lie for him.

Damning testimony of Dr Richard Carmona, the surgeon general from 2002 until last year, has revealed that the Bush administration frequently censored him and tried to mould his public statements to fit political goals. He was even ordered to mention President Bush three times on every page of his speeches.

I do not respect him for it, nor any of the others who revealed the depths of Bush’s corruption — but only after they were long out of the White House.

I’d respect him if he’d handed in his resignation the first time Bush censored him, and publicly condemned the censorship. Waiting until Bush is unpopular and losing power is just cowardice.

“Anything that doesn’t fit into the political appointees’ ideological, theological or political agenda is often ignored, marginalised or simply buried,” Dr Carmona said. “There is nothing worse than ignoring science or marginalising the voice of science for reasons driven by changing political winds.”

You say that like it was somebody else doing it, Dr. Carmona. But by keeping quiet about it, by going along with it, you also marginalised the voice of science.

Shame on you, oathbreaker.

Posted in abuse of power, hypocrites, rats deserting Bush's ship | 4 Comments »

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