Saturday, December 22, 2007

On Why Health Care As We Know It Must Be Thrown Away

The story of Nataline Sarkisyan is already well known and extremely sad. To be killed by a health care company at the age of 17 is truly horrific. In a nutshell, the number crunchers at Cigna realized that a liver transplant for a young girl would be bad for their bottomline over time, to the tune of $1.3 million dollars or more. So they denied her claiming that a transplant was an experimental treatment, which is complete bullshit. Then when they finally caved to public pressure, it was too late and young Nataline died. Tragically, this is only one of thousands of stories where people die needlessly because their health care provider refuses to treat them.

This is where Presidential politics counts in our national debate. We are going to need a President who will stand up to these companies and not only fight them, but ultimately crush them:

“Are you telling me that we’re gonna sit at a table and negotiate with those people?” asked a visibly angered Edwards, challenging the health care companies. “We’re gonna take their power away and we’re not gonna have this kind of problem again.”

Now that is the type of talk we need to hear, something not being mentioned by Hillary or Obama. Hillary we know is in their back pocket, Obama I am not too sure about but regardless of the money, the people they are pandering to are not the people that care about Nataline and any other young 17 year old girl that can be killed by Cigna, or Blue Cross, or United Health or any of the others out there that care about risk management over human beings.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Record Breaking Republicans

From a do-nothing Congress to an obstructionist minority, the Republicans set out to break a record....and by golly, they smashed it in less than a year, Cenk Uyugr details their Guinness book feats:

NY And Others To Sue Bush Over Auto Emission Standards

The Bush Administration obviously does not care about combating global warming in an aggressive way, but that doesn't mean we must follow his lead. Bush had his E.P.A. headed by Stephen Johnson to deny emission waivers to New York, California and others who wanted to curb auto emissions with better efficiency than the President's legislation dictated. Of course, that isn't going to stop the multitude of states that care about mandating environmental change, despite what the auto industry wants gift-wrapped by George.

From The Times-Union:

ALBANY -- New York will sue to challenge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's blocking of efforts by major states to reduce vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.

"This is not the last word on this crucial issue. We will be suing," said Judith Enck, deputy environmental secretary to Gov. Eliot Spitzer. "We need every tool we can get to combat global warming."

On Wednesday, the EPA denied a request by California, which has its own vehicle emissions standards, for a waiver under the Clean Air Act to make further cuts starting in 2009. New York and 16 other states were waiting for federal permission to follow California standards.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also said Thursday he will sue to reverse the EPA's decision, which was given two years after California's request, and only after the state sued to force action. The EPA initially argued it had no authority over greenhouse gas emissions, but the Supreme Court ruled otherwise in a Massachusetts case.

With a little over a year left in his term, Bush is limping out (despite Congress' best efforts) as the worst President ever and despised by more Americans than any other in history. Out of 43, he is in dead last. Everyone knows he'll side with a campaign-contributing industry that hurts the environment over the health and well being of the people in a heartbeat. His decision is no surprise to anyone, but that does not mean we need to take it. Thankfully there are Governors out there like Spitzer and Schwarzenegger that are willing to challenge him on this important issue.

Late Night Links

Tomorrow, or shall I say today will be a long travel day for me so I doubt if I'll get to post much this second to last Friday of the year or even much at all for the next week. Probably some light posting here and there as long as I am out of town. So as I sit and wait to head out to the airport to catch a 5:30 AM flight, here are a few things catching my eye, and probably yours.

  • Here in the city, it seems that the M.T.A. isn't only raising the fare, they'll be collecting a lot of loose change with the new 15% bonus level, leaving many MetroCards with nickels and dimes instead of whole trips that the current 20% level affords. Is this some sort of stealthy theft by Elliot Sander and his bunch?
  • The Gotham Gazette reviews the biggest New York news stories this past year. Jeez, I remember them all like it happened yesterday, where did 2007 go?
  • The case of the mysterious bench on Houston is still unsolved, but the bench is gone. Did anyone even get a chance to try and sit on this, I couldn't even find the time to make it down to see the damn thing.
  • In national politics, local blog The Albany Project graphically details Rudy's precipitous drop in the polls.
  • Meanwhile, Romney tries to emulate the former Mayor by making shit up out of thin air.

Well goodnight all, time to finish packing and head out the door soon.

Just As Good As Ever

This is the very first PoliticsTV broadcast from two years ago, yet at this time of year, it fits just snugly into our national political debate (that is, inside O'Reilly's head).

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Glenn Beck Wants To Tongue Ron Paul?

Parents, shield your children's eyes, everyone else remember to swallow the coffee before reading this or else the monitor will be splattered because when it comes to Glenn Beck, he can always catch the audience off-guard (perhaps thats what he hardly has much of an audience). The Beckster invited libertarian Republican candidate Ron Paul on the show and he really got Glenn's rocks off, semi-literally that is.

From Crooks and Liars:

video_wmv Download (577) | Play (697) video_mov Download (420) | Play (345) (h/t Bill)

Warning: Do not view this clip within one hour of eating, as it may induce severe gastrointestinal distress and/or vomiting.

Ron Paul joins Glenn Beck to further his platform of eliminating taxes and the IRS. I’ll leave aside the fact that a presidential candidate is endorsing citizens break existing laws as a “reasonable civil disobedience” and merely point out that while I think everyone can get behind not having our taxes go to wasteful projects like the black hole of the Iraq occupation or bridges to nowhere, our taxes also pay for a lot of really good things as well–like federal infrastructure, education and health care for seniors and veterans, and I can’t believe people could have spent the last seven years with the Bush Administration and not see the value of keeping those programs funded.

But piddly little details like that do not bother Glenn Beck. In fact, Beck finds himself quite aroused by Ron Paul.

GB: What is your proposal?

RP: Mine is to get rid of the IRS and not replacing it with anything by cutting a lot of spending, because we lived without an income tax before 1913, so I’m not interested in the flat tax or the…or the sales tax. Although anything would be better.

GB: Yeah. Just what you’re saying. I mean, you’re speaking, you’re speaking…you know. If we weren’t both men…you know. I’d like to french kiss you on the whole abolishing the IRS thing… You had me at hello.

I seriously do not want to hear about Glenn Beck french kissing on TV, whether its Dina Sansing, Ron Paul or anyone else. You would think Glenn could show a little respect to the candidate, even if he is for abolishing our modern way of life (at least after 1913).

President Bush Says He's Looking Forward To Going To Hell

Maybe not in so many words, but if he likes the company of men that are alumni of Time's Man of the Year, he'll be meeting a lot of people in a very hot place deep underground, with fire and brimstone to boot. President Bush was very candid (perhaps clueless as well) about the award and just might have revealed a little too much, even if the comments appear innocent on the outside.

From The Huffington Post:

President Bush gave an end of the year press conference today. Amid questions about congressional spending, the CIA tape investigation and the Iraq war, Bush was asked what he thought about TIME magazine's choice to name Russian President Vladimir Putin as its Person of the Year.

Bush responded, "You know I'm looking forward to seeing him at the alumni meeting of the men of the year...or the Persons of The Year. I don't know when it's going to be, but... " Bush was TIME's Person of The Year in 2000 and 2004.

If the dictator and/or Tsar-like Putin isn't bad enough to meet up with, he might want to remember who were some of the other winners of this wonderful award.

Jamie Leigh Jones Testifies To Congress

The Bush Justice Department never wanted to hear about her plight, so at least Congress is willing to hear her out....and hopefully do something about it, for her and for all women subjected to the abuses of KBR and Halliburton.

Tucker May Not Wear A Bowtie Anymore, But He's Still A Bastard

I love Mike Malloy's comments about Tucker. It is right on and pegs Tucker for the little scoundrel that he is. CNN was right to get rid of him and Begala for their Crossfire stupidity, and MSNBC will make the right choice when they cancel his current show. His take on Edwards' Christmas video was absolutely out of line and shows that there really isn't much to the soul of this petty little man.

From Crooks and Liars:

Download (1417) | Play (2086) video_mov Download (1582) | Play (982) h/t Jamie

On Wednesday’s Tucker, the hopefully soon to be unemployed host gets riled up because Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, had the nerve to mention homeless veterans and those less fortunate in his holiday ad. Tucker calls it the Scrooge ad, and then attacks Edwards for not being Jesusy enough, and mocks him for being wealthy. Tucker, as usual, is offensive, annoying and wrong.

Tucker, you wouldn't know "Jesusy" if it smacked you across the face. Please MSNBC, get rid of him already, he has already proven his worthlessness many times over.

Surprise, YOU Are On NSA Spy Satellite Camera!

If you do not think that having your phone tapped by the NSA without public knowledge was bad enough, then the Bush Administration has just the plan for you. Ya know those cool spy satellites from those CIA movies that can track terrorists with infrared cameras in space? Well, they actually do exist and now they are going to be used (or may already) on ordinary Americans. Just like in Will Smith's Enemy of the State, law enforcement agencies are going to be able to use high power cameras to check on people from the outer edges of the atmosphere. Welcome to the 21st century!

From RawStory:

A plan to dramatically widen US law enforcement agencies' access to data from powerful spy satellites is moving toward implementation, as Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff expects to finalize a charter for the program this week, according to a new report.

Chertoff insists the scheme to turn spy satellites -- that were originally designed for foreign surveillance -- on Americans is legal, although a House committee that would approve the program has not been updated on the program for three months.

"We still haven't seen the legal framework we requested or the standard operation procedures on how the NAO will actually be run," House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie G. Thompson tells the Wall Street Journal. Thompson was referring to the National Applications Office -- a new DHS subset that would coordinate access to spy-satellite data for non-military domestic agencies, including law enforcement.

Missing data on the framework? Congress hasn't heard about it yet? Well, they must have misplaced the documents or something, I'm sure the Bush Administration would never, ever, never ever never want to mislead them on how they are spying, or how they want to spy on their citizens.


Republican Sexscapades

Cenk Uyugr brings Cliff Schecter on the show to talk about all the sex stories going on related to the GOP.

Careful, it's a long clip.

Gene Russianoff Gives The Fare Increase A Silver Lining

Now that the fare increase is a reality, soon to hit straphangers pocketbooks early next year things are looking pretty glum. Not for the board members of the MTA of course, they get a free pass on Metrocards (if they ever even use them) and E-Z Pass tolls. Yet for the rest of us, Gene Russianoff reminds us that even though the battle was lost, the war against the transit authority is not over. Gene by the way, works for N.Y.P.I.R.G. and specifically for their Straphangers Campaign for the last twenty-five years.

From The Daily News:

  • The public holds Gov. Spitzer and Mayor Bloomberg responsible for the fare hike. Through their statements and actions, the governor and mayor made this fare hike theirs. Any myth of independence for the MTA was obliterated. Spitzer, like his predecessor George Pataki, now has a huge political deficit on transit which he will have to make up before the 2010 election season.

    Spitzer committed to give major new transit aid by 2010. The MTA's financial plan calls for the state and city to contribute an additional $600 million a year to finance operating expenses, beginning in 2010. Just before Thanksgiving Spitzer said, "We are talking about a 2010 commitment of $600 million, shared with the city. That is an enormous commitment that we have made, that I have made, and we will be good for."

  • There is a lot of support in the state Legislature for helping the MTA and its riders. Led by state Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, 61 legislators asked for a delay on the fare hike so they could consider transit needs during the regular state budget deliberations. The Assembly members wrote: "There are many strong reasons for increasing government aid to the MTA. There has been no permanent new state operating aid to MTA New York City Transit in at least a dozen years." The Senate majority and minority leaders also spoke out against the fare increase, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver stressed the possibility for new state aid.

  • The MTA called its original fare proposal a "modest" hike, but it had to be scaled back. The MTA financial proposal called for regular fare increases every two years to track inflation. But there was little political appetite for a funding strategy that targets only the riding public. As a result, 40% of the original increase evaporated.

  • The transit fare will now likely be frozen for at least three years. The MTA's financial plan calls for holding fares until 2010, two years from now. But that's an election year for governor, so a fare hike in 2010 is unlikely. If New York adopts a pilot project to test congestion charges for entering Manhattan, there's a good argument for freezing the fare for the three-year trial run.

  • There is widespread agreement that any fare increase has to be equitable. Better discounts have historically come out of past fare battles, from free bus transfers to 24-hour senior half-fares to unlimited-ride MetroCards. This year's new 14-day unlimited-ride MetroCard is a step forward. It provides a greater discount than the seven-day card, but is more within reach of a 30-day MetroCard. In addition, riders who buy the less expensive pay-per-ride discount will see the smallest increase.

    Did this year's fare fight make a difference? I can understand the skepticism of many New Yorkers, but I think so.

  • I agree, it is hard to see a bright side to paying higher fares, but like everything else in life, there is more than meets the eye, especially when it wants to focus on the bad things. Russianoff has been an expert on fighting fare hikes for a long time and if he can see some good here, then I'll choose to see it as well.

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007

    Bush Administration Denies California A Chance To Have Cleaner Air

    The Bush Administration gave a nice fat victory to automakers today in California. The state is mired in air pollution problems across the state, from Fresno to the L.A. basin and neighboring Riverside County. I remember growing up there and the air in New York City is fresh and clean compared to L.A. The smog hanging over the valleys was so disgusting....well, enough about childhood memories. California wanted to do something about the problem, but Bush's EPA denied their waiver to the new Federal laws.

    From The New York Times:

    Had the E.P.A. agreed to the waiver, California and other states would have enacted rules requiring the auto companies to achieve a 30 percent reduction of emissions by cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles by 2016. The rules were set to begin taking effect with 2009 model year vehicles, some of which go on sale as soon as next month.

    Twelve states — Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington — have adopted the California emissions standards, and the governors of Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Utah have said they planned to do so.

    The primary way for emissions to be reduced in automobiles is by improving fuel economy. Automakers must now achieve 27.5 m.p.g. for cars, and 22.2 m.p.g. for light trucks, including S.U.V.s and pickups.

    Bush's plan mandates a 35mpg standard by 2020, but California and the other states following their lead wanted to step it up a few notches. Car makers complained about having to improve fuel economy, so the E.P.A. dragged their feet at first, but finally made this terrible decision after being ordered to by the courts.

    Needless to say, environmental groups are not too pleased:

    "This decision is like pulling over the fire trucks on their way to the blaze," said Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense, which supported the waiver. "For 40 years, E.P.A. administrators have recognized the important role that California plays in innovating new standards to fight pollution."[...]

    "By blocking the California standards, the administration has stuck a thumb in the eye of 18 governors from both red and blue states who have led the way on global warming by adopting these landmark rules," said David Doniger, climate center policy director for the National Resources Defense Council.

    How anyone besides the automakers could be happy about this seems impossible. Well, perhaps the freaks inside the White House as well.

    It Truly Would Be A Wonderful Life If...

    Imagine if George Bush would never have been born. How much better would our country be now if he never took over the Presidency and destroyed our Constitution? Or wiretapped us? Or took us into a never ending war with Iraq? Oh my, the possibilities...

    Gut Powered Boat To Sail Around The World

    Trying to break the world record for navigating the circumference of the world by boat is usually considered a wasteful extravagance by the rich and eccentric. Though when you try and do it using bio-fuels, particularly that that comes from the human body. New Zealanders Pete Bethune and his wife are attempting to do just that with their "Earthrace" trimaran. It is something they spent their life savings on in an attempt to bring the world's attention to the positive impact that bio-fuels can have for the planet.

    From The Daily Mail:

    Demonstrating further commitment to the cause, Bethune underwent liposuction and donated enough to produce 100ml of biofuel, while two other, larger volunteers also had the procedure, making a total of 10 litres of human fat.[...]

    Earthrace, which cost about £1.5 million to build, can carry 3,000 gallons of fuel, and weighs 23 tonnes when fully fuelled.

    The boat is designed to cut through waves rather than sail over which enables the boat to go faster through big seas compared to conventional craft.

    Bethune believes Earthrace can help advance biodiesel as a genuinely viable alternative to petroleum diesel.

    Now that is one dedicated activist! It was also noted that this would be the first boat to break the record that used renewable fuel. Thinking about how much fat it would take to power the boat around the world is both mind-boggling and somewhat disgusting. If 10 litres of fat powers the boat for 15 kilometers and the route is about 38,500 kilometers long......damn.

    NY Times Strikes A Raw Nerve In The White House

    When the powers that be get angry at something one does, you know you are on the right path. Well the New York Times is definitely on a speedy track to finding out the Bush Administration's role in the destruction of the 'torture tapes' the CIA made as they waterboarded terrorists in their custody.

    Dana Perino blasted the newspaper for printing a story that showed the Administration was more involved in the destruction of the tapes than they let on. The White House at least wants the sub-heading changed, from "White House Role Was Wider Than It Said" to.....well, probably something that reads like "What tapes?" or "Bush saves cat from tree!"

    From Yahoo News:

    The Times cited "conflicting accounts" as to whether any of the lawyers supported destroying the tapes, but cited one former top intelligence official with direct knowledge of the matter as saying that "there had been 'vigorous sentiment' among some top White House officials to destroy the tapes."

    Other officials told the Times that no-one at the White House called for destroying the tapes -- but that no White House lawyer ordered that they be preserved or warned that destroying them might be illegal.

    White House spokeswoman Dana Perino angrily denounced the Times's sub-headline -- "White House Role Was Wider Than It Said" -- in a highly unusual written statement that demanded a formal correction.

    "The New York Times' inference that there is an effort to mislead in this matter is pernicious and troubling, and we are formally requesting that NYT correct the sub-headline of this story," she said.

    Perino said that the White House has simply refused to comment on the matter beyond saying that US President George W. Bush did not recall being aware of the videos or the decision to destroy them prior to being briefed recently.

    Well of course we are going to get a "no comment" out of them now, we wouldn't want poor Dana to perjure herself or anything. Not that anyone in the White House would commit a crime like that.

    Unfortunately for the Times and journalism as a whole, the Times submitted to their pressure and caved in, changing the heading.

    Ordinary New Yorkers Remember Giuliani

    Who else would you ask about the candidate besides his old constituents? Ordinary citizens answer the question:

    Edwards Could Gain An Unlikely Endorsement

    The Iowa caucus is now a mere fifteen days away. It is incredible, where did the last year go? From the get-go, the media portrayed the race as Obama as the underdog and Hillary as the woman to beat. Hillary led the polls and still currently does nationwide. Yet, there is something going on that the media is just starting to get their feeble grasps around. John Edwards is starting to surge in Iowa. He's got the momentum and could possibly pull a Kerry 04' in two weeks' time. Not only that, but he also has the message that could pull the perennial thorn out of the Democrats side.

    From RawStory:

    Perennial third-party presidential candidate Ralph Nader was asked by Hardball's Chris Matthews on Monday, "Is there anybody in this campaign you like the looks of that can win, so that you wouldn't have to run?"

    "I do like Kucinich. But the frontrunners -- Edwards now has the most progressive message across a broad spectrum ... of any leading candidate I've seen in years," Nader replied. "The key phrase is when he says he doesn't want to replace a corporate Republican with a corporate Democrat. ... He raises the issue of the concentration of power and wealth in a few hands that are working against the interests of the vast majority of the American people."

    Thats right, so far out of the three top candidates, only Edwards is talking about what really matters. Clinton and Obama are caught up in the horse race, partly due to the media frenzy but also of their own doing. They certainly can not make Nader go away, just like the consultant-driven candidacies of Gore and Kerry.

    Although Nader isn't much to talk about these days and never really stood a chance to win anything, he has always stood up against corporate power and fought for ordinary citizens, it has been his life's work. If Edwards can appeal to him, then the rest of the country will catch on before you know it.

    Sad To Say, The MTA Has It's Way

    I am sorry to say that despite all the hard work and protests made by the citizens of New York and the legislators that have backed them up, that the fare increase is now a reality. I guess that we knew this was coming all along though, the boardmembers of the MTA never really showed any interest in what the people thought of the increase, or even knew what it feels like to have to struggle to buy the Metrocards in the first place.

    Many of these elitists do not even live near the city or have to take public transportation. They do not know what it feels like to be crammed into a 6 train at rush hour, wait for a 2 train that is ridiculously late on a sweltering summer day or be stuck for hours because a little rain destroys every public transit commuter's workday.

    WCBS has more:

    The 8 million daily passengers who ride the subway, bus and commuter train will be forced to cough up more for transportation for the third time since 2003.

    The base subway/bus fare will stay at $2 for two more years. Monthly unlimited-ride metrocards are rising $5 to $81. The 7-day metrocards will cost $25, a $1 increase. E-Z pass tolls for cars will increase by 3.8 percent and LIRR and Metro-North fares jump up between 3.7 percent and 4.2 percent.

    Straphangers spoke out against the hike and CBS 2 gathered a wish-list for changes from concerned riders, including:

    • Faster trains
    • Polite service from ticket booth employees said Anthony Dicrescio of Brooklyn.
    • On-time buses, as described in bus schedules.
    • Cleaner trains and cleaner stations
    • Guaranteed regular service on weekends and accurate announcement boxes
    • More announcements on delays

    Ha, yeah right, like that will ever happen. The MTA claims to be fixing these problems, but they also broke ground on the 2nd Avenue line back in 1929 and there still isn't anything to show for it. Spitzer and Bloomberg also failed us, deciding to back the bad fiscal habits of the transit authority instead of thinking about ordinary people's budgets. The MTA claimed they'll be poor in two years, yet are still running surpluses for now and even they much vaunted deficit in 2009 shrunk considerably once someone started looking at their books and that does not even take into account their duplicative costs across the board.

    What a shame that this had to happen.

    George Bush Has The NIE Explained

    As if you were a two year old, this little video comes straight from the White House (or at least it certainly looks like it), giving the American people a chance to "understand" the NIE:

    Human Rights Bought Up By War Profiteer

    With a twisted sense of irony, one of the biggest war profiteer firms, the Carlyle Group, purchased one of the oldest documents that helped to bring about liberty and democracy. The Magna Carta was signed nearly 800 years ago, back in 1215 by King John at Runnymede. The edicts of the document was a backbone to the laws of England that would follow. This 710 year-old copy is one of the most widely viewed and bears the official seal of King Edward I.

    From RawStory:

    The document, which had been expected to draw bids of $30 million or higher, was bought by David Rubenstein of The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, the spokeswoman said.

    Sotheby's vice chairman David Redden called the old but durable parchment "the most important document in the world, the birth certificate of freedom."

    The document was owned by the Perot Foundation, created by Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot, since the early 1980s. It had been on exhibit at the auction house for the past 11 days.

    Of course, there was no publicly expressed reason for purchasing the document. It was on loan to the National Archives when Ross Perot owned it, allowing throngs of Washington, D.C. tourists and residents alike to see a piece of the primordial soup that formed into our democratic government of today. Now that it is owned by this "private equity fund" not so well known for its dealings in war and geopolitics, who knows what will happen to this piece of history. I would think that being who they are, they'd probably burn it in a bonfire while doing some satanic dance around it, but that would be letting the conspiracy theory side of me going too far.

    I hope it stays in a safe place, while the tenets of the document are being eroded around us.

    Obama Might Not Want To Throw Stones Through His Own Glass House

    In politics, everything you say must be assumed that it is recorded and stored for future use. Barack Obama, being a little green, might not have heard about this memo, since it came back to bite him in the ass this week. Back when he was running for Senate he called out Ted Kennedy for not showing some backbone and "getting some spine and standing up to the Republicans." He was talking about prescription drugs and health care for seniors, but political spine can apply to anything. One example would be fighting against retroactive immunity for the telecommunication companies that were willing accomplices for the Bush Administration's prerogative to spy on American citizens.

    This is what he said way back when:

    "We've got to call up not just Republicans," said the Illinois Democrat, "but we got to call up Ted Kennedy and say, Ted, you're getting a little old now, and you've been a fighter for us before I don't know what's happening now, Ted get some spine and stand up to the Republicans."

    The appearance was at an AFL-CIO forum. And Obama was obviously passionate, as many Democrats were, that the then-pending drug bill wasted billions of tax dollars in payoffs to pharmaceutical companies, denied seniors a true choice on prescription drugs, and generally did little in reducing drug costs.

    Kennedy, for his part, forged a bipartisan compromise because he believed the legislation would provide millions of seniors with drug benefits for the first time in history.

    It should be noted that while on the campaign trail Obama has frequently argued that the Democratic Party should not compromise on its main principles.

    I would think holding people accountable for their actions is one of our party's principles. That is especially true when we are trying to uphold the validity of the Constitution and the rule of law. You would think that would be something Barack cares about. So where was he on Monday when push came to shove in the Senate?

    Certainly nowhere near the Senate floor, and definitely not next to Chris Dodd and his effort to thwart retroactive immunity....something that Ted Kennedy was shouting out against at the top of his lungs on the same Senate floor.

    Tuesday, December 18, 2007

    Fantasy Politics: Barack Vs Bill

    Who would win this imaginary matchup, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama? HotLine TV takes a look:

    NY Green Police Aim To Show Your Trash To The Neighbors

    Watch out fellow New Yorkers, the Sanitation Department is out on the prowl and they are looking for people that are still not into this recycling thing. Apparently it is high-tech mumbo jumbo to separate plastics and newspapers in order to help save the environment. You know, the whole "act locally, think globally thing?" Well if you for some reason have trouble doing this, the Sanitation Department is coming for you in a not-so-pleasant way.

    From The Gothamist:

    Yesterday the NY Post warned non-recyclers that they'd have to don a "scarlet litter" if they didn't clean up their acts. We hoped this "scarlet litter" would be a hat hand-crafted by a Freegan and worn atop the heads of the environmentally-challenged, but instead it's something much more sensible: a clear bag for all of your garbage that leaves little to the imagination. New York, we don't really want to see your trash, so please try to figure out this whole recycling thing, m'kay?[...]

    Last night the sanitation police surprised two Brooklyn buildings they had their eyes on. 2330 Ocean Avenue and 2540 Ocean Avenue were both previously ordered to use the clear bags because of past violations. How did they fare? Not so well. The first stop failed to use the clear bags, and while the second did, they still failed to understand the separation process. One resident at another targeted building, 2626 Kings Highway, explains, "We never tried it here - it is very complicated." How do these people do laundry?

    For those who need a quick refresher course, NYCWasteLe$$ has a helpful guide, and the Commissioner of Sanitation has a list of ten ways to "give more and waste less this holiday season". With New Yorkers only separating out 17% of their trash for recycling, this new plan may help us get closer to our goal, which we are currently falling short of by 25%.

    So if you don't want you creepy neighbor Tony to see what you had for dinner...and dessert the night before, take two minutes (or less) out of your day and separate what can be recycled, this isn't rocket science people.

    Taser Abuse From Across The Pond

    When one hears the phrase "Mind the gap" in London, you might want to watch the distance between you and a taser gun instead of that between a platform and an Underground train. Police abuse has been on the rise here in the U.S., but what happened to Daniel Sylvester is an incident that must be concerning to any Briton.

    From The Guardian:

    "Armed police jumped out and opened my car door," he said. "I said OK, I'm coming. I asked what was going on and as soon as I stepped out of the car I felt something touch me on the back of the head and then I was on my knees. Then it happened again and I was on my face and I felt somebody pressing my head down with their foot. By the fifth time I realised officers were pinning my arms together. It was like they were trying to break my arms and I was in pain, screaming out.

    "I was shocked eight times altogether and I had urinated on the floor. It was like being tortured. It went on and on and I felt they were going to kill me."

    According to guidelines set by the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers, Tasers should be deployed "where officers are facing violence or threats of violence of such severity that they would need to use force to protect the public, themselves and/or the subject(s) of their action". Tasers have been used 47 times in London this year, with black people accounting for almost two-thirds of those stunned.

    So not only should you be aware of this police brutality, you should definitely be on guard if you are a minority. The officers claim that they were searching for guns as part of an operation, but of course nothing was found. Instead, an innocent man was dragged out of his car, tasered in the head and stomped on by police. This "non-lethal" force is starting to become extremely dangerous...and deadly.

    A Thank You From Chris Dodd

    Chris sends a personal thank you out to everyone that cares about holding the tele-communications companies accountable for wiretapping Americans' phone calls:

    Arlen Specter Is A Fool

    Senator Arlen Spector got his name in the news today, looking like the same old buffoon that he usually is. His latest outburst was to pan Congress for stalling FISA legislation and the Bush Administration for throwing up roadblocks to see what was on those CIA torture tapes.


    Spector can't possibly be this stupid can he? Well, he can certainly act like it.

    From RawStory:

    Specter is proposing a compromise that would give the telecoms immunity but make the federal government the defendant in their place. "I believe that it is very important on our checks and balances to have the courts as part of the picture," he told CNN. "Regrettably, the Congress has been very ineffective in oversight on what the executive branch does."

    The ACLU has argued that suing the government isn't an adequate substitute, because it can use the state secrets privilege, executive privilege, and even a claim of sovereign immunity to get the cases thrown out. "My bill answers all of those considerations," Specter replied, saying that it would make the government an exact stand-in for the telecoms with no special rights. However, a CNN legal expert who commented at the end of the segment said she believed the ACLU was right and Specter was wrong.

    Specter was also asked about Attorney General Mukasey's refusal to give the Judiciary Committee any information on his investigation of the destruction of the CIA interrogation tapes. "I'm very disappointed in what the Attorney General did because it runs exactly counter to the assurances he gave us at his confirmation hearings," Specter said.

    Wow. Lets start with the first paragraph, shall we? Giving the telecoms immunity would relinquish them from their responsibility for standing before a judge and jury for their crimes against the country and all the Americans that they allowed the Bush Administration to spy on. This "compromise," or "bending over and grabbing Congress' ankles for the President" would not solve one goddamn thing. And to talk about not having effective oversight on the Administration??? Where the hell have you been these last seven years Senator?

    Obviously the ACLU answers Spector in the second paragraph. As for the third, this is further proof that Spector must walk around the Senate with a giant blindfold, because he exhibits no common sense whatsoever. Anyone that could rub two braincells together knew that Mukasey was going to do whatever it takes to keep the President away from legal scrutiny.

    Apparently Arlen is down to his last working neuron.

    FBI Agent Contradicts Pro-Waterboarding Claims

    President Bush, who told us all that the United States does not torture endorsed the CIA's statement that waterboarding helped them to ascertain important information from Abu Zubaida, an Al-Qaeda operative. The only problem is that the important information and how it was gathered is in dispute. The CIA is backing up what they did, but FBI agents involved in his interrogation say that once he was subjected to torture whatever he told his handlers was "crap."

    From The Washington Post:

    In legal papers prepared for a military hearing, Abu Zubaida himself has asserted that he told his interrogators whatever they wanted to hear to make the treatment stop.

    Retired FBI agent Daniel Coleman, who led an examination of documents after Abu Zubaida's capture in early 2002 and worked on the case, said the CIA's harsh tactics cast doubt on the credibility of Abu Zubaida's information.

    "I don't have confidence in anything he says, because once you go down that road, everything you say is tainted," Coleman said, referring to the harsh measures. "He was talking before they did that to him, but they didn't believe him. The problem is they didn't realize he didn't know all that much."

    The only good information came before they started "enhanced interrogation" methods (i.e. torture) which was an accidental slip that led to Jose Padilla's arrest and Khalid Sheik Muhammad's capture.

    Coleman basically thinks that those at the CIA claiming waterboarding did any good is nuts. Torture has never provided any good information to anyone and this was certainly proved to be true in Abu Zubaida's case. Anyone at the CIA that tells you different is trying to pull gold from thin air.

    Wexler Demands Impeachment Hearings

    Congressman Wexler is putting himself on the national stage in order to bring impeachment hearings against Dick Cheney. Of course the traditional media does not want to hear it, but he still wants your support. Go to his website and sign up to demand hearings now.

    Airlines Protests Rights For Their Passengers

    Oh, the poor, poor airline industry. My heart goes out to them for wanting to protect their bottom line over passengers'....bottoms. The airlines' trade group is suing the state of New York for crafting legislation to protect passengers who are stranded on airplanes that sit on runways for more than three hours. Airlines claim that this actually, hurts....yes, hurts them so much that they are trying to get a judge to throw out the law, since they believe states have no jurisdiction over them.

    From Crain's New York:

    The suit claims that airlines are not subject to state regulations in the first place. Beyond that they complain that under these rules airlines would face additional costs to have catering services and additional lavatory equipment at all airports, and that there would be undue costs of “training their employees” to handle the “new operational and safety challenges” posed by these rules.

    They also objected to the idea that all aircraft would be forced to have prescribed supplies on board, which would increase the weight of each aircraft and affect costs.

    Consumer groups don’t buy those objections. “It’s all because they don’t want to pay the penalty,” says Kate Hanni, founder of, a coalition for the passage of the Airline Passengers Bill of Rights. “The airlines are saying, ‘you’ll put us out of business!’, well, if you’re not stranding people on planes for hours and hours, this won’t be an issue.”

    All the legislation does is mandate adequate food, water and lavatory services if passengers are stranded or else airlines face penalties. For the airlines to protest this is ridiculous. It shows their primary concern is cost, not their passengers. Whatever happened to customer service anyways? I understand that the FAA does govern airlines, but if the planes are on New York territory, then they should be governed by New York law. If not, then the Congress should take immediate action to legislate similar rules for airlines across the country.

    Jesus Endorses Huckabee, But Pharisees Wanted Him First

    In a surprise move, Jesus resurrected himself this month so he could give an additional boost to his long time friend Mike Huckabee. As you may know, Mike is an ordained Baptist Minister and has probably taken more oaths to Jesus than all of his Republican opponents. Jesus helped Huckabee's consultants design his latest ad, meant to not look like a campaign ad at all.

    "Jesus thought that we should make it all about him and not about Mike, at least in the next week or so," said an anonymous Huckabee aide yesterday. Indeed, Christmas time for all ye Republican faithful should not be a time for politics (unless it benefits your own candidate), instead you should sit back and watch other campaigns around you implode.

    So for now, Huckabee continues to surge, despite one fringe candidate's massive online support yesterday. The other Republicans are also trying to figure out what to do with Jesus' favored candidate. One group that is feeling left out in this story, the Pharisees were angry about the Holy Son's political quest. They were hoping to ride Huckabee's coattails in order to keep a place in the White House after Bush leaves office in January of 2009. Though they shouldn't be too miffed, as their advisers are placed in almost every Republican candidate's campaign.

    Ted Kennedy Backs Up Dodd

    And he does it in a big way, leading to the small victory we had over retroactive immunity yesterday.

    Monday, December 17, 2007

    The Economy Is Improving...For The Rich

    George Bush recently made statements saying how despite some storm clouds, the economy was good, or at least its underpinnings. What he failed to mention is whose economy he was talking about. If you thought he was talking about America as a whole, you thought wrong. Things couldn't be worse for America's lower class and shrinking middle class. What he was referring to was the upper class, or as he knows them, his base.

    From The New York Times:

    The increase in incomes of the top 1 percent of Americans from 2003 to 2005 exceeded the total income of the poorest 20 percent of Americans, data in a new report by the Congressional Budget Office shows.

    The poorest fifth of households had total income of $383.4 billion in 2005, while just the increase in income for the top 1 percent came to $524.8 billion, a figure 37 percent higher.

    The total income of the top 1.1 million households was $1.8 trillion, or 18.1 percent of the total income of all Americans, up from 14.3 percent of all income in 2003. The total 2005 income of the three million individual Americans at the top was roughly equal to that of the bottom 166 million Americans, analysis of the report showed.

    See, things are going superbly....for Bush's most loyal fans. If only Calvin Coolidge and Warren Harding were alive to see this, they'd be so proud of lil' Bush. Of course the pResident correctly claims that the income gap has been widening over the last 25 years (or since Reagan was in office) but the increase has never been so dramatic as it has been under this Administration.

    So for all those poor families out there with no heat and no way to buy a small Christmas gift for their children, do not worry about the economy, Bush says the underpinnings are just fine.

    New Jersey Just Became A Little More Civilized

    Three cheers to our neighbor across the Hudson! New Jersey is now the first official state to outlaw the death penalty. The punishment was restored in the U.S. thirty-one years ago, but now there is a small slice of the Eastern Seaboard where it no longer exists. Yes, I know the majority of Americans support capital punishment, but ultimately in my mind that tenets of Gandhi hold to be more persuasive than public opinion. That was one of the reasons that the Garden State passed this landmark bill.

    From The Washington Post:

    The repeal bill follows the recommendation of a state commission that reported in January that the death penalty "is inconsistent with evolving standards of decency." But equally persuasive to lawmakers was not saving lives but money -- it costs more to keep a prisoner indefinitely on death row than incarcerated for life.

    The repeal movement in New Jersey gained ground this year despite solid public support in the state for capital punishment, and over the objections of death penalty supporters who accused lawmakers of rushing the issue through a lame-duck session before a new legislature is installed next year. "It's a rush to judgment" said Robert Blecker, a New York Law School professor and prominent death penalty advocate.

    Richard C. Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, hailed the New Jersey vote as "a first" but noted that it "is coming at a time when there is a reexamination of the death penalty going on." Dieter added, "It does give other legislatures the chance to say, 'Is this working in our state?' "

    In fact, several states are considering abolishing the death penalty and others have done so by executive order or with an edict by the state's Supreme Court. New Jersey has seen this not only as promoting a civil society, but one that is fiscally prudent as well. If morals aren't enough for a politician, saving money is always something that can persuade as well. In addition, it also clears the courts of many appeals filed by death row inmates. Again, this is practical as well as morally correct.

    Congrats to the New Jersey General Assembly and Governor Corzine.

    My Hero Of The Day

    If only we had enough Senators that were as brave as him to stand up to our pResident:

    Update (9:44PM EST): And congrats to him on his victory today. The bill is now tabled, thanks to Dodd's backbone. If only all Democrats could learn from him.

    Explosion At Fox News HQ, Propaganda Overload Suspected

    An explosion occurred this morning at Fox News headquarters in midtown Manhattan. Despite CNN's glee at the building being destroyed by a terrorist attack, that does not seem to have been the case. While the rest of the media reports an accidental chemical explosion on the upper floors in an equipment room, I think many are missing the obvious.

    Recently massive amounts of propaganda have been building up all across the company, from the lowly interns to the even lower-based life forms known as pundits. With the Bush Administration in tatters (despite Democratic efforts to sustain it) Fox News has been working overtime to put a good face on neo-cons throughout the White House and across the country.

    People like Shepard Smith, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and many others have dedicated their tireless efforts in order to disinform the American public. The entire network has been dutifully parroting Bush's talking points, but lately that hasn't been enough. Since Fox has been focusing on so much sex, the computers might have just gone overboard and exploded, leading to the catastrophe we saw today.

    Unfortunately Fox does not seem to care about the cause of the explosion, so future "accidents" could become commonplace. If you walk by 1211 Avenue of the Americas on a regular basis, please beware of falling loads of bullshit at all hours of day and night.

    My apologies to the injured, I hope they recover quickly and never return the aforementioned building.

    Chris Dodd Is A True Patriot

    From the floor of the Senate, Chris Dodd:

    Mr. President:

    I rise to urge my colleagues to vote against cloture on S. 2248, the FISA Amendments Act of 2007.

    Opposing cloture is essential, because there is no unanimous consent agreement in place providing for the immediate adoption of the Judiciary Committee substitute amendment.

    As you know, Mr. President, the Judiciary substitute amendment, among other things, strikes Title II of the Intelligence Committee bill—the title which seeks to provide retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies who are alleged to have violated their customers' privacy rights by turning over information to the government without warrants.

    I am fully aware that the Majority Leader has various parliamentary options at his disposal to move this legislation forward. It is his right to attempt to invoke cloture.

    But I regret that decision, and I hope that my colleagues will join me in stopping this legislation.

    Mr. President, why do I feel so strongly about this matter?

    For the last six years, our largest telecommunications companies have been spying on their own American customers.

    Secretly and without a warrant, they delivered to the federal government the private, domestic communications records of millions of Americans—records this administration has compiled into a database of enormous scale and scope.

    That decision betrayed millions of customers' trust. It was unwarranted—literally.

    But was it illegal?

    That, Mr. President, I don't know. And if this bill passes in its current form, we will never know. The president's favored corporations will be immune.

    Their arguments will never be heard in a court of law. The details of their actions will stay hidden. The truth behind this unprecedented domestic spying will never see light. And the book on our government's actions will be closed, and sealed, and locked, and handed over to the safe-keeping of those few whom George Bush trusts to keep a secret.

    Why does Chris Dodd have to do this while we have a Democratic majority in the Senate? It is because our current Majority Leader, Harry Reid is caving and/or helping George Bush to allow retroactive immunity to the telecom companies that illegally wiretapped millions of Americans. Senator Reid could have introduced the Judiciary Bill and avoided this travesty but claims to be afraid of not reaching a super-majority of 60 votes and an eventual veto from the President.

    Reid claims retroactive immunity is inevitable, but Dodd demands to stand up to the President anyway. Dodd wants to protect the Constitution regardless of George Bush's tyranny, but Reid would rather the Senate become a permanent rubberstamp to the President, essentially destroying our democracy and the system of checks and balances that has made America that great country that it had become. Now our system is in great danger, and Reid is facilitating it.

    Now the netroots is clamoring for Dodd to become Majority Leader in the 111th Congress, it is a change that we so direly need.

    This is all happening now, live on C-SPAN 2.

    Polling New Hampshire

    Even the locals up there do not know what to make of it:

    Just When It Couldn't Get Worse For Rudy...

    The last few weeks have been tough for "America's Mayor." His campaign got shot up by charges that he had the taxpayers of New York fund NYPD escorts for his then mistress Judith Nathan and they even walked her dog. The story lingered for quite some time, even leading Fox News' pundit William Kristol to wash his hands of him.

    Despite all that, could this one story really take down the national front runner? Polls suggest he has been slipping, not only in Iowa and New Hampshire, but Florida too. He could always bounce back, right? He still has 9/11 to lean on...that is until Jim Riches has his way with him starting early next year. Firefighters do not care much for a man that used a tragedy for photo-ops, especially when he did very little to ensure the safety of the hundreds in the FDNY that died that day.

    Well so much for 9/11, he still has his time as a Federal Prosecutor, right? Didn't he turn around the Southern District of New York so that he could use the RICO Act to take out some of New York's toughest mobsters? Oh wait a second, Rudy has lied to us many times before, do you think he could have lied to us about this story as well? I think there may be someone who has something to say about that.

    From John Nathan in the NYT Op-Ed:

    ON “Meet the Press” a week ago, Rudolph W. Giuliani attempted to deflect criticism of his close relationship with his former police commissioner, Bernard Kerik, by saying that his misjudgment of Mr. Kerik had to be weighed against his other accomplishments. “How can I not have pretty good judgment about the people who work for me and not been able to turn around the United States attorney’s office?” he asked. But Mr. Giuliani’s claim to have turned around the Manhattan United States attorney’s office is not only untrue, it is an insult to the outstanding men and women who have served in that office over the last 50 years.

    When he became the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York in 1983 (I was his immediate predecessor), Mr. Giuliani did not take over a moribund prosecutor’s office; he became the head of the premier United States attorney’s office in the country, with a tradition of excellence stretching back 30 years under the leadership of such legal luminaries as Robert M. Morgenthau, the current Manhattan district attorney, and Robert B. Fiske Jr., the original Whitewater special prosecutor. Mr. Giuliani took over an office staffed by a group of the finest young lawyers in the country [...]

    Mr. Giuliani claims that he came up with the idea of prosecuting the leaders of each of the major crime families in a single case under the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. While that may be his perception, the idea was first broached by the head of the criminal section of the F.B.I.’s New York office in a meeting with me and my staff approximately a year before Mr. Giuliani took office. By the time he was sworn in, the office was laying the groundwork for that case and had in place wiretaps on three of the five organized-crime families in New York City. Among the lawyers already assigned to those cases were Louis Freeh, later the director of the F.B.I., and Barbara Jones, later the chief assistant district attorney for Manhattan and now a United States district court judge.

    Oh damn, now that has got to hurt. Too bad for Rudy though, a liar like him deserves nothing from nobody, especially the voters who could possibly make him President. Now that would be a terrible thing for a "man" such as he.

    The Waste At The MTA

    With two days to go until the MTA board officially raises our fares to commute in New York, the Daily News publishes a bombshell investigation showing the glut that can be found across the MTA. The redundant costs, multiple executives and a ridiculous amount of lawyers employed and contracted out shows how despite the board wanting more of New Yorkers' money, they fail to save in some of the easiest ways possible.

    From The Daily News:

    The records show that in the coming year the agency plans to expand the number of jobs from 69,973 to 70,469. In subsequent years the number of jobs will be reduced by a tiny amount - 138 - leaving the number of workers still above the current level.

    Consider this:

    • Instead of one president, there are eight - the MTA chief and seven agencies.
    • Instead of one chief financial officer, there are six CFOs.
    • Instead of a central staff, each agency has its own lawyers, auditors and payroll clerks.

    That is just the overview, those eight Presidents make between $178 and $340K. They're given housing deferments as part of their salaries even though they live close by to their jobs. Many more employees do the same jobs only in a different office. The duplicative nature of the MTA is a well recognized problem, so what did they do about it? They employed a director for $120K to find a solution last year and there won't even be a report issued until next year.

    Maybe it takes so long because of all the lawyers telling him or her what is legal and what is not. One hundred and twelve lawyers are spread out across the transit authorities doing god knows what. Their $12 million dollar cost was supplemented by millions more from outside law firms.

    The glut is just overwhelming. Now we're expected to pay for this? Absolutely ridiculous!

    Sunday, December 16, 2007

    Can You Have Your Cake And Eat It Too?

    Clinton, in a lengthy interview tries to justify why it is better to have someone in office with experience now (e.g. his wife) than a symbol of change (Obama) even though sixteen years ago he was more or less in Obama's shoes.

    Lieberman Makes A "Maverick" Endorsement

    Remember Joe Lieberman, the former Democratic Senator from Connecticut turned Independent sell out? Yeah, well he's still in the Senate, for another goddamn five years and is guaranteed to cause trouble throughout. He'll lose much of his umph in the Senate once the Democratic Party pads its majority next year, so he's coming out swinging this holiday season. Holy Joe has gone to the extreme of endorsing a candidate for President, and do not even think there is a "D" after their name.

    From The Politico:

    Sen. Joseph Lieberman (Conn.), who was on the national Democratic ticket in 2000, will cross the aisle to endorse Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) tomorrow, Republican sources said.

    The two will appear together on NBC's "Today" show tomorrow, then at an 8 a.m. town hall meeting in Hillsborough, N.H. They will talk with reporters after the meeting.

    The move, which will help cultivate McCain's moderate status, is an effort to draw attention to the McCain campaign, which needs a splash. Otherwise, it does not make sense for McCain because it will only remind core Republicans why they distrust him.

    Nothing about McCain's campaign makes sense, the man is a sellout to his "maverick" status and anything he has said that could be perceived as moderate was wiped out once he began smothering himself in everything George Bush and fundamental Christianity.

    As for Lieberman, his time is over. His endorsement of McCain won't amount to a hill of beans in the Republican primary. Joe went from being the VP nominee for the Democrats in 2000, he's a has-been in 2008, just sitting around bidding his time until he gets a cushy job in the private sector in January 2013.

    ABA Takes Gonzo's Award Away

    There are a lot of hard working lawyers out there. Hundreds of thousands probably, furiously writing briefs and researching legal theory on many countless sleep-deprived nights. So when they heard that Alberto Gonzales won an award called "Lawyer of the Year," heads must have rolled. Even though the journal said it was for being in the news, the outrage forced them to retract the title and replace it.

    From the ABA Journal:

    CHICAGO Dec. 14, 2007 -- The ABA Journal posted an article titled “Lawyers of the Year 2007 & 2008” on ABA, on Dec. 12, 2007. The article defined that term as the year’s biggest legal newsmaker, identifying former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as the major newsmaker of 2007. The Journal regrets that we did not make this theme clear.

    We appreciate the feedback we’ve received, and we’re acting on it. So that there can be no confusion, the term “Lawyers of the Year” has been changed in the headline and story to “Newsmakers of the Year.” The story is otherwise unchanged from its original version.

    This article, like all in the Journal, is the work of the magazine’s editorial staff. As is the magazine’s practice, it was not reviewed by the Journal’s volunteer Board of Editors, the ABA’s Board of Governors, or its officers, prior to publication. The Journal will continue to strive to provide high quality news to its readership.

    Well he certainly made a lot of news in 2007, I can't wait to see him on the defensive for all of his crimes in 2008.

    What The Hell Is Going On?

    This is what I'm sick of.....aren't you?

    Bush Turns His Back On 9/11 Workers Again

    He may not have had to do it himself, but the Department of Health and Human Services walked away from a commitment to men and women that risked their lives on September 11th. As long as its a federal agency, it is inherently a part of the Bush Administration. HHS no longer wants to pay to monitor workers who live outside the five boroughs, many who have sought drier climates due to their devastated respiratory systems.

    From ABC7:

    New York's congressional delegation and some ailing workers stood outside the World Trade Center site Saturday to protest this week's decision to not fund screening of workers outside New York City.

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services filed paperwork this week canceling plans to pay a company to medically screen those who got sick after working in the toxic rubble of the trade center.

    The government said the program could cost far more money than Congress has provided. U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., on Saturday said of the explanation: "That takes a lot of chutzpah."

    It takes more than chutzpah, it requires a callousness of the heart and soul that is unimaginable here in New York. Who in their right mind would not want to give anything to those that worked on the pile, whether they were searching for survivors or cleaning up the wreckage. Obviously Bush and his underlings are not in their right minds.