Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for October 24th, 2007

One of the world’s worst politicians could soon be history

Posted by Charles II on October 24, 2007

Virginia Marsh, FT, on the Howard v. Rudd contest in Oz:

The data come as opinion polls show that the opposition Labor party, resurgent under new leader Kevin Rudd, has begun the six-week election campaign strongly. A Newspoll survey found Labor had increased its lead over the Liberal-National coalition by two points to 58 to 42 in the first week of the campaign, once votes from small parties were redistributed.

Posted in international | 2 Comments »

Justice Department Thought Police

Posted by MEC on October 24, 2007

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Reported in The Memory Hole:

The Justice Department tipped its hand in its ongoing legal war with the ACLU over the Patriot Act. Because the matter is so sensitive, the Justice Dept is allowed to black out those passages in the ACLU’s court filings that it feels should not be publicly released.

Ostensibly, they would use their powers of censorship only to remove material that truly could jeopardize US operations. But in reality, what did they do? They blacked out a quotation from a Supreme Court decision:

“The danger to political dissent is acute where the Government attempts to act under so vague a concept as the power to protect ‘domestic security.’ Given the difficulty of defining the domestic security interest, the danger of abuse in acting to protect that interest becomes apparent.”

This isn’t an absurdity. It’s an alarming indication of the mindset of the people who are supposedly protecting not just the American people, but our system of government. They see a “threat to national security” in a statement defending political dissent. They treat the highest judicial authority in our government as a threat. They treat a fundamental principle of our democracy as a threat.

And they have the arrogance to think no one will notice what they’re doing.

Posted in abuse of power, ACLU, anti-truth, BushCo malfeasance, Constitutional crisis, Department of Injustice, DoJ, First Amendment, PATRIOT Act | 5 Comments »

Iraq supplemental may contain downpayment for Iran war

Posted by Charles II on October 24, 2007

Maya Schenwar, truthout:

The Bush administration's $196.4 billion war supplemental spending request, released Monday, has Democrats reeling. ...beyond the request's mind-boggling size, its open-ended aims point to the potentially vast scope of the "war on terror" for years to come - including an undiminished presence in Iraq and the possibility of action against Iran.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, Conflict in the Middle East, Iran, Iraq war, israel, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Wednesday Afternoon News Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 24, 2007


“Supply-side economics” and “the Laffer Curve” were long ago shown to be bogus lies, but most of the mainstream press is too lazy, ignorant, bought off or cowed to dare mention this on a basis that would be frequent enough to make Republicans embarrassed to embrace these lies.

— Paul Slansky enumerates the many reasons why Pete Stark was absolutely right about George W. Bush.

Chris Dodd:  Real American.  That is all.

Glenn Beck, hating on San Diego fire victims.  Stay classy, Glenn!

Posted in 2008, ACLU, beat the press, big money, Bush, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, capitalism as cancer, Congress, Constitution, Constitutional crisis, economy | 4 Comments »

Just What We Need

Posted by MEC on October 24, 2007

From the Independent:

The sometimes gruff welcome that the United States extends to its overseas visitors nowadays, made much worse by the newly rigorous visa and security restrictions imposed since the terrorist attacks of 2001, got a make-over yesterday courtesy of it best-known ambassador of jollity and joy, Mickey Mouse.

From now on, the nerves of international passengers queuing up at passport control at airports in Washington DC and Houston will be soothed – or otherwise – by a sappy seven-minute film made by the folks at Walt Disney showcasing all that is wonderful, scenic and nice about the land of the free.

It will be shown in the international arrivals halls of all major US airports as well as in visa-processing offices around the world. Major airlines will also be encouraged to show it on aircraft shortly before landing in the US.

Ah yes, just the thing to make people feel not quite so annoyed about standing in line for upwards of an hour in order to be treated like potential terrorists: viewing the same sappy propaganda over and over and over and over and …

Just how awful can this film be?

Karen Hughes, a former adviser to President George Bush whose current job is to sell the US to a world that in recent years has become a lot less fond of it, seems delighted…

That awful.

This idiocy is typical of the Busheviks’ approach to problem-solving: Don’t fix the underlying cause of the problem. Just roll out of the propaganda to convince people it isn’t a problem, really.

Posted in wrong way to go about it | 1 Comment »

Guardian Rolls Out US Website

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 24, 2007

From, of course, The Guardian:

The Guardian today launched its US website with an exclusive interview with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.The site,, has been designed for the Guardian’s growing US audience, which now accounts for nearly a third of Guardian Unlimited’s readership.

In the latest audited ABCe figures for August, Guardian Unlimited had 15.9 million unique users, of which the company estimates 5.1 million came from the US.

A-yep. That’s both praise for the Guardian and a tremendous diss for the US media, as the reason the Guardian’s US readership is so high is that we’re disgusted with what is generally shoved down our throats here.

Guardian America has an editorial team of eight based in Washington and is edited by US journalist and author Michael Tomasky.

The site will draw on the resources of the Guardian’s UK and international journalism, tailoring the presentation of stories to a US audience.

I first heard about the Guardian during CoupGate, aka the 1990s phase of the long campaign to not just impeach, but destroy, Bill and Hillary Clinton. Being outside of the Beltway and independently funded, they managed to avoid swallowing most of the crap being generated by the right-wing noise machines.

And yes, Guardian America is going into my sidebar. :-)

Posted in Good Causes, Good Things, media | 2 Comments »

Budget Cuts Kept San Diego’s Firefighting Staff Dangerously Low

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 24, 2007

This is what “starving the beast” gets you:

As this county burned, firefighters confronted a familiar reality: too few resources and not enough personnel to effectively make a stand.

San Diego officials say fire conditions Monday would have overwhelmed even a larger, better equipped firefighting force. They point to progress made in the four years since the devastating Cedar and Paradise fires, including a better communications system, more air support and an automated evacuation call system.

But little else has changed. Just one new city fire station has been built since 2003, and many of the area’s chronically underfunded fire departments still fall short of national standards.

Once again, firefighters here found themselves outrun by fast-moving fires that hopscotched the county. And the logistical challenge of moving at least 233,000 households out of harm’s way proved daunting.

“We’re stretched about as thin as we could possibly be,” said San Diego Fire Chief Tracy Jarman.

With little chance to stem the wind-driven fires burning through rural and suburban neighborhoods, officials, still stung by the deaths of 17 people in the 2003 fires, ordered mass evacuations. Though it was orderly, the evacuees found clogged roads, overbooked hotels and ill-equipped public shelters.


A county emergency services plan completed in April optimistically called for 70,000 people to be sheltered at 670 locations. But by the end of the day Monday, the Red Cross had opened five shelters. Local governments and military authorities provided another 10.

By late afternoon, only 1,500 cots were available at the Red Cross shelters. Officials at the city of San Diego’s shelter at Qualcomm Stadium said they had some cots on hand, far short of what they needed to aid more than 500 elderly and infirm evacuees transported there — much less the 4,500 others who had converged at the stadium by Monday evening. At Del Mar racetrack, officials had taken in 2,000 people and 2,500 large animals.

“When we started this morning we had five mattresses,” said Kina Paegert, public information officer for Del Mar Fairgrounds and Racetrack. “We were prepared for animals. We weren’t prepared for this.”

By nightfall, they’d scrounged fewer than 100 mattresses, forcing many elderly and ill to lie on the floor. Some frail patients from the nearby Via Rancho Bernardo skilled nursing home came by ambulance, only to be squeezed onto thin mattresses or laid on the bare floor. Nearly all of them bore bits of white masking tape on their foreheads, marked with their names and sometimes their conditions scrawled in black magic marker. One read “Depression.”

Posted in 'starving the beast', climate change | Comments Off on Budget Cuts Kept San Diego’s Firefighting Staff Dangerously Low

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