Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for April, 2008

Another Fox Flees the Henhouse

Posted by MEC on April 30, 2008


Lurita Doan, who did her best to turn the General Services Administration into a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican National Committee, has resigned.

The agency’s inspector general criticized Doan for signing off on a $20,000 no-bid contract with a friend’s public relations agency and accused her of “a disregard for the rules” in managing the $17 billion agency.

But wait, there’s more:

The government’s Office of Special Counsel, which protects civil service employees, accused Doan of violating federal law by hosting a January 2007 briefing by a White House official on Republican targets for the 2008 elections. According to witnesses, Doan asked the political appointees present how the GSA “can help our candidates” in upcoming races.

When Henry Waxman summoned Ms. Doan to a Congressional hearing and asked her about these obvious breaches of the public trust, the Congressional Republicans accused him of racism. Strange how they only worry about that when one of their own is being held accountable for misdeeds.

Posted in BushCo malfeasance | 1 Comment »

What Is the Real Purpose of the No-Fly List?

Posted by MEC on April 30, 2008


The real purpose of the no-fly list can’t possibly be to keep air travelers safer.

The list has prevented air marshals from boarding the planes they’re assigned to protect. The marshals have been complaining about this problem “for years” (probably since the list was compiled) and nothing has been done to fix it.

Posted in BushCo malfeasance, fearmongering, TSA, wrong way to go about it, WTF? | 2 Comments »

So Call Me Cynical

Posted by MEC on April 30, 2008

What they say: Obama looks to put controversial pastor behind him.

What they’re thinking: “But we won’t let that happen.”

Note that the headline suggests Senator Obama is responsible for tangling himself up with the Jeremiah Wright faux scandal, as if the mediawhores who keep writing about it have nothing to do with making this nonstory a Big Deal.


Posted in beat the press, distractions | 1 Comment »

Group Behind North Carolina Robocalls IDed

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 30, 2008

You may have heard about the infamous “Lamont Williams” robocalls in North Carolina, calls targeted to the African-American population and containing bogus voting information apparently designed to keep them from voting.

Well, the group behind them has been identified. From Facing South via Daily Kos:

Who’s behind the mysterious “robo-calls” that have spread misleading voter information and sown confusion and frustration among North Carolina residents over the last week?

Facing South has confirmed the source of the calls, and the mastermind is Women’s Voices Women Vote, a D.C.-based nonprofit which aims to boost voting among “unmarried women voters.”

What’s more, Facing South has learned that the firestorm Women’s Voices has ignited in North Carolina isn’t the group’s first brush with controversy. Women’s Voices’ questionable tactics have spawned thousands of voter complaints in at least 11 states and brought harsh condemnation from some election officials for their secrecy, misleading nature and likely violations of election law.

How are they doing it? This way: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, voting rights, WTF? | 3 Comments »

So Much For That Bit Of Hissy Kabuki

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 30, 2008

Remember the whole manufactured scandal the tax scofflaws of the Minnesota Republican Party tried to gin up around Al Franken’s taxes?

Well, we just found out that, after careful review by an outside team of accountants, while Franken’s accountant has oopsed to the tune of about $53,000 since 2003, or a little over ten grand a year, he probably actually overpaid in both New York state and Minnesota. Considering that Franken’s 2006 tax bill for those two states alone was $917,344, one can see where a mistake of $10,000 a year, either under- or overpayment, would be easy to miss. But if you’re a Republican party org looking to distract attention from your own financial follies while trying to protect a Senate seat you won by default and are in danger of losing, well, grasping at straws just comes naturally for you.

And we’re still wondering if a similarly thorough and punitive review of Laurie and Norm Coleman’s business enterprises might be something they’d want to avoid. (“Blo-and-Go“? Seriously?)

Posted in 2008, Al Franken, hissy kabuki, hypocrites, Norm Coleman, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples | 7 Comments »

Sometimes The Jokes Just Write Themselves

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 29, 2008

It’s really funny how that group of tax scofflaws known as the Minnesota Republican Party is going after perceived boo-boos in Al Franken’s business tax filings.

It’s even funnier when you realize that Norm Coleman’s part-time wife Laurie is as vulnerable if not more so than Norm’s election opponent Franken to these sorts of allegations.

And it’s laugh-out-hilarious when you realize that a senator’s wife really is a spokesperson for a product named “Blo-and-Go”. (“Blo-and-Go”? I thought that’s what Norm’s dad got in the parking lot of the Savoy a few years back.)

UPDATE: What makes this especially sweet is how this turns a favorite trick of the GOP against them. The trick is to send a letter of complaint to some adjudicating agency — doesn’t have to be fact-based at all; in fact, the use of facts in context is death to a typical GOP complaint letter — then scream to their favorite tame media folk and/or paid stenobloggers that “a complaint has been filed” without putting too much emphasis on the fact that the Republicans were the ones that wrote the letter in the first place. Cons hate it when we turn their tools against them; it pushes their buttons and makes them gnash their teeth in impotent frustration. We can now say, just as truthfully as they can about Franken, that Laurie Coleman is ‘under investigation’ by the State of California. And just as with the complaint against Franken, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for a meaningful response with the force of law behind it.

Posted in 2008, Al Franken, Republicans acting badly, taxes, WTF? | 5 Comments »

Random Tuesday Morning Stuff Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 29, 2008

— Welcome to the inaugural edition of What John Cole Said. “Straight Talker” John McCain uses his wife’s jet and other assets to skirt the very campaign finance regs he talks up.

Pay Toilets Went Away For A Reason, indeed. And the idea that medical innovation doesn’t happen in socialized medicine is a myth that has been debunked for a while now. As I stated in the comments section:

Look at uterine artery embolization, for example: It’s been done in France for over two decades, yet didn’t make it to America until nearly the year 2000, and didn’t get widely used until the middle of this decade. Why? Because hospitals, seeking an easy way to recoup costs, chose to charge more for this relatively simple and non-invasive procedure than for a hysterectomy ($10,000 versus $6,000 in 2002, when I sought to have UAE). The insurance companies weren’t going to shell out for that, so they chose not to cover it, using the excuse that the procedure was “experimental” when it’d already been safely done on tens of thousands of French women!

Drug companies spend more on advertising than they do on research — and even then, they try to get by on the cheap, exploiting grad students at colleges for a fraction of what they’d have to pay salaried and degreed scientists. Furthermore, much if not most of the research is done not to create genuinely new or genuinely improved drugs or ways to treat illnesses, but to figure out ways to rework old ones just enough so they can be patented and sold as “new” treatments (commonly called “me-too drugs”) that aren’t any better than the old drugs that are no longer covered under patents.

— Speaking of medicine: Graham explains how working in Guatemala, a free-market “paradise”, has made him appreciate the need for regulation and single-payer health care.

— Ooooh, so the Scary Minnesota GOP is running TV ads attacking the local Democrats for overriding Smilin’ Tim’s gas-tax veto. No mention is made of the fact that a goodly number of Republicans voted for the override as they too are sick and tired of seeing our once-excellent streets turning to axle-eating pothole farms. Meanwhile, the gas tax increase is already paying off in the form of work on turning the pothole farms back into safe roads.

— Speaking of silly Republicans: I find their lack of brains… disturbing.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, 2008, Good Things, infrastructure, John McCain, poverty, regulations, science and medicine, You're On Your Own-ership Society | 6 Comments »

The Following Is Not From The Onion

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 29, 2008

Though it reads like it could be.

Yeah, I know, Zirkle’s old news. It’s still funny, in a horrifying kinda way.

Posted in Nazis, neo-Nazis, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples, wrong way to go about it, WTF? | Comments Off on The Following Is Not From The Onion

On the road again

Posted by Charles II on April 28, 2008

Carola Hoyos, FT:

Opec’s president on Monday warned oil prices could hit $200 a barrel and there would be little the cartel could do to help….

He told El Moudjahid, Algeria’s government newspaper: “I don’t think that an increase in production would help lower prices, because there is a balance between supply and demand and the stocks of gasoline in the United States have recorded a surplus and are at their highest level for five years.”

He added: “The prices are high due to the recession in the United States and the economic crisis, which has touched several countries, a situation that has an effect on the value of the dollar. Each time the dollar falls 1 per cent, the price of the barrel rises by $4 and of course vice versa.”

Posted in economy, Oil | 1 Comment »

Please, Let’s Do Talk About Taxes And The GOP

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 28, 2008

As a followup to my earlier piece on the Minnesota Republican Party looking for a mote in Al Franken’s eyes whilst their vision is somewhat impaired by the tree trunks sticking out of theirs, we have the peerless MNObserver doing what MNO does best: Observing.

But this is the Minnesota Republican Party we’re talking about. You know, the one that is under investigation by the FEC for years of financial mismanagement. The same organization who retaliated against their own Finance Director who wrote a letter to the party’s Executive Committee complaining about the party’s accounting practices, including questions about whether employee retirement money was misappropriated and whether the party was – gasp! – guilty of tax evasion. The same organization that continues to file – over and over and over again – statements that it hasn’t been able to sort through their own finances enough to figure out where all the money went. The same organization that has racked up legal fees as high as $17,000 in a single month trying to stay out of trouble. The same organization that has been the recipient of a whole series of FEC letters asking about why they can’t keep track of their money. The same organization that has some pretty suspicious looking connections with the National Republican Party’s favorite accused thief, Christopher Ward.

But once again, we’re talking about the Republican Party of Minnesota.

That we are, indeed.

Posted in (Rich) Taxpayers League, 2008, abuse of power, Al Franken, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples, taxes | 1 Comment »

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