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  Wednesday, October 05, 2005

of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad if he “doesn’t help us out” with Iraq war.

(Via Think Progress.)

Steve: Who's the bigger idiot/villian, Pat Robertson or Bill O'Reilly? Pat probably makes more money, and pretends he channels an invisible friend, so I guess he's more pathological.

11:12:41 PM    comment []

“Tom DeLay deliberately raised more money than he needed to throw parties at the 2000 presidential convention, then diverted some of the excess to longtime ally Roy Blunt through a series of donations…When the financial carousel stopped, DeLay’s private charity, the consulting firm that employed DeLay’s wife and the Missouri campaign of Blunt’s son all ended up with money,” the AP reports.

(Via Think Progress.)

11:10:04 PM    comment []

Both the FBI and CIA are calling it the first case of espionage in the White House in modern history.

Officials tell ABC News the alleged spy worked undetected at the White House for almost three years. Leandro Aragoncillo, 46, was a U.S. Marine most recently assigned to the staff of Vice President Dick Cheney.

(Via The Huffington Post | Raw Feed.)

11:05:20 PM    comment []

A lot of people don't realize that "under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance during the 1950s. But it's pretty embarrassing that Karen Hughes, our illustrious Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, is telling opposition leaders in Egypt that the phrase is part of the Constitution (via It Affects You by way of Atrios):

UNDER SECRETARY HUGHES: I had one person at one lunch raise the issue of the President mentioning God in his speeches. And I asked whether he was aware that previous American presidents have also cited God, and that our Constitution cites "one nation under God." He said "well, never mind" and went on to something else. So he sort of was trying to equate that with the terrorists' (inaudible). So I explained that I didn't really think that was something you could equate. And he sort of dropped it and moved on. He was one of the opposition leaders in Egypt.

Bush administration diplomacy at work!

(Via Brendan Nyhan.)

10:48:03 PM    comment []

The Iraq occupation costs the U.S. some $200 million every day, with the total price tag reaching $200 billion. Meanwhile in Congress, 300,000 hungry Americans will stay that way as $574 million is cut from food-aid programs.

Under orders to whittle agriculture spending by $3 billion, Republicans in Congress propose to slash food programs for the poor by $574 million and subsidies and conservation programs by $1 billion each, The Associated Press has learned.

The plan by Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., would reduce farmers' payments by 2.5 percent across the board, slashing spending by $1.145 billion over five years. That's half the 5 percent the Bush administration sought earlier this year.

The $574 million cut in food stamps would come from restricting access to this benefit for certain families that receive other government assistance. The restriction would shut an estimated 300,000 people out of the program.

The conservation cuts would curb the number of acres that can be enrolled in the biggest of the programs, the Conservation Reserve Program, and limit spending on two others, the Conservation Security Program and Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

But if you're part of the vast corporate-welfare farming industry, worry not! The Bush Administration quickly abandoned a plan to cut billions in government handouts to the agriculture industry.

Poor people probably wouldn't find themselves getting screwed so often if they would get it together: A few powerful lobbyists and some members of Congress in your pocket is all you need to get all the welfare you want.

(Via Sploid.)

6:01:49 PM    comment []

Artist illustraton of a black hole consuming a neutron star. Image credit: Dana Berry/NASA. Click to enlarge.
Oct 5, 2005 - An international team of astronomers think they've solved the mystery of short gamma-ray bursts. These powerful explosions shine brighter than a billion suns for only a few milliseconds and fade away quickly. But now, thanks to NASA's Swift satellite, which can detect and analyze these blasts anywhere in the sky, astronomers were able to measure short bursts. The evidence now points to the theory that these bursts occur when a black hole consumes a neutron star, or two neutron stars collide together.

(Via Universe Today.)

5:51:48 PM    comment []

But you knew this already.

As Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes traveled through the Middle East last week seeking to burnish the U.S. image, one of her key talking points was that President Bush is the first president to call for a Palestinian state.

“The person I work for, President Bush, is the first president in the history of America to say we believe the Palestinians should have a state, living side by side in peace with Israel,” Hughes told al-Jazeera satellite television. She repeated the statement two more times in the five-minute interview.

Hughes, a former White House official, told reporters traveling with her that she remembered intense administration debates at the time “about what a significant step this would be for United States policy” if he supported a Palestinian state.

But, oddly, when Bush announced in 2001 that he supported a Palestinian state, administration officials rushed to say that he was simply following a policy articulated by his predecessor, Bill Clinton. In fact, news reports at the time said Bush was merely the first Republican president to support an independent state for the Palestinians.

This serial liar and propagandist for the Cons is our nation’s public face in the middle east. We are screwed.

(Via Oliver Willis - Like Kryptonite To Stupid.)

5:35:57 PM    comment []

Gad, I don't know why more people don't watch Arrested Development. In nearly every episode I see one or two things that give me a huge laugh. The other night Scott Baio played an attorney (he's stepping into Henry Winkler's shoes), whose name is "Bob Loblaw." They did a very funny TV spot for Bob Loblaw: "You don't need fancy talk, you need Bob Loblaw." Say it aloud; I was laughing all night, and still do when I think of it. You also have to wonder how they get away with those double entendres. With Curb Your Enthusiasm and now Extras, it's about the funniest stuff on TV.

1:09:36 PM    comment []


Republican lawmakers are drafting new legislation that will make marriage a requirement for motherhood in the state of Indiana, including specific criminal penalties for unmarried women who do become pregnant "by means other than sexual intercourse."

According to a draft of the recommended change in state law, every woman in Indiana seeking to become a mother through assisted reproduction therapy such as in vitro fertilization, sperm donation, and egg donation, must first file for a "petition for parentage" in their local county probate court.

Only women who are married will be considered for the "gestational certificate" that must be presented to any doctor who facilitates the pregnancy. Further, the "gestational certificate" will only be given to married couples that successfully complete the same screening process currently required by law of adoptive parents.

As it the draft of the new law reads now, an intended parent "who knowingly or willingly participates in an artificial reproduction procedure" without court approval, "commits unauthorized reproduction, a Class B misdemeanor." The criminal charges will be the same for physicians who commit "unauthorized practice of artificial reproduction."

The change in Indiana law to require marriage as a condition for motherhood and criminalizing "unauthorized reproduction" was introduced at a summer meeting of the Indiana General Assembly's Health Finance Commission on September 29 and a final version of the bill will come up for a vote at the next meeting at the end of this month. [...]

Sen. Miller believes the requirement of marriage for parenting is for the benefit of the children that result from infertility treatments.

"We did want to address the issue of whether or not the law should allow single people to be parents. Studies have shown that a child raised by both parents - a mother and a father - do better. So, we do want to have laws that protect the children," she explained.

When asked specifically if she believes marriage should be a requirement for motherhood, and if that is part of the bill's intention, Sen. Miller responded, "Yes. Yes, I do."

Welcome to your Republican Party.

(Via apostropher.)

8:48:26 AM    comment []

Check out Lisa's new
Songs From The Commons

(Via On Lisa Rein's Radar.)

8:46:34 AM    comment []

It's great news that NewsGator acquired NetNewsWire, and big congrats to Brent Simmons. I'm a target reason for this to happen. I'm a committed user of NNN on the Mac, and it's my preferred news reader. But I also read news from two Windows machines (well, one, since my laptop croaked last week, something I have to get used to). I hate having to wade through duplicate posts on different machines; I very much want a way to integrate them all. I haven't looked at FeedDemon in a while now, but will.

8:42:25 AM    comment []

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