Scorpio’s World

Thoughts on Politics, Race, and Middle Earth

Archive for March, 2007

“This or This”

Posted by scorpiomkm on March 29, 2007

You tell me, George: This …

    The Felicity Daily Herald
   “All the news that’s fit to print; and a whole lot more”

Senate OKs war bill with Iraq timeline

By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 7 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats ignored a veto threat and pushed through a bill Thursday requiring  President Bush to start withdrawing troops from “the civil war in  Iraq,” dealing a rare, sharp rebuke to a wartime commander in chief.

In a mostly party line 51-47 vote, the Senate signed off on a bill providing $123 billion to pay for the wars in Iraq and  Afghanistan. It also orders Bush to begin withdrawing troops within 120 days of passage while setting a nonbinding goal of ending combat operations by March 31, 2008.

The vote came shortly after Bush invited all House Republicans to the White House to appear with him in a sort of pep rally to bolster his position in the continuing war policy fight.

“We stand united in saying loud and clear that when we’ve got a troop in harm’s way, we expect that troop to be fully funded,” Bush said, surrounded by Republicans on the North Portico, “and we got commanders making tough decisions on the ground, we expect there to be no strings on our commanders.”

“We expect the Congress to be wise about how they spend the people’s money,” he said.

The Senate vote marked its boldest challenge yet to the administration’s handling of a war, now in its fifth year, that has cost the lives of more than 3,200 American troops and more than $350 billion.

                                                or THIS :

AP

Bombs kill at least 104 in Shiite areas

By SINAN SALAHEDDIN, Associated Press Writer 

March 29, 2007

BAGHDAD – Multiple suicide bombers struck in predominantly Shiite markets in Baghdad and in a town north of the capital, killing at least 104 people and wounding scores on Thursday — the day that new U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker took office.

Two of the suicide bombers struck a market in the Shaab neighborhood of northeastern Baghdad at 6 p.m., killing at least 61 people and wounding 40, police and security officials said.

About the same time, three suicide car bombers attacked a market in the town of Khalis north of Baghdad, killing at least 43 people and wounding 86, according to police and officials in the predominantly Shiite town.

The first attacker in Khalis drove his explosives-laden car into the crowded area, followed in five-minute intervals by the other two bombers, who apparently were aiming at rescue crews and onlookers gathering in the aftermath, police said.

Police said the bombers came from two separate directions.

Khalis is in volatile Diyala province, where fighting has been raging among Sunni insurgents, Shiite militiamen and U.S. and Iraqi troops.

It has been struck by bombings several times in recent months, most recently on Jan. 22 when a bomb followed by a mortar attack struck a market, killing at least 12 people and wounding 29, police said.

                                                          ****

                         Just stick to comedy, okay George.

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“Cry Baby George”

Posted by scorpiomkm on March 25, 2007

 The Felicity Daily Herald
   “All the news that’s fit to print; and a whole lot more”
story.bush.reaction.afp.gi.jpg  

Bush takes double-barreled aim at Congress  March 24, 2007

Story Highlights

• Bush blasts war bill with Iraq deadline, challenge over firing of attorneys
• Accuses legislators of provoking unnecessary confrontation
• Analysts: Tough talk on Democrats could rally support from conservatives

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — President Bush assailed the Democratic-led Congress Saturday for challenging him over funding the Iraq war and the firing of federal prosecutors, and demanded that lawmakers back down.

Bush has threatened to veto a bill passed by the House that ties a deadline for a troop withdrawal to the latest emergency bill to fund the war.

A showdown is also looming as Democrats in Congress seek testimony under oath of Bush’s close political aide, Karl Rove, and other White House advisers over the ouster last year of eight U.S. attorneys.

The White House has offered to allow the aides to answer questions in closed-door interviews but they would not be under oath and no transcripts would record the interviews. Congress is investigating whether politics motivated the dismissals of the prosecutors.

In his weekly radio address, Bush accused the lawmakers of provoking an unnecessary confrontation. (Watch as President Bush condemns his opponents in Congress)

Bush said the conditions in the $124 billion emergency bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan amounted to micromanaging the war and said it was crucial that Congress approve a bill with no strings by mid-April.

“The clock is running,” he said. “The secretary of defense has warned that if Congress does not approve the emergency funding for our troops by April 15, our men and women in uniform will face significant disruptions — and so will their families.”

Court showdown possibleIn the U.S. attorneys matter, Bush defended as “reasonable” his offer of interviews with Rove and the other officials.

If there is no compromise, the issue could end up in court and Bush may claim that executive privilege shields his aides from having to testify.

Bush’s twin blasts against the Democrats marked a striking departure from weeks of trying to foster a cooperative spirit with them to make progress on immigration law overhaul, energy initiatives and health care.

White House officials said Bush still wants progress on those issues, but felt compelled to lay down markers on principles close to his heart: the separation of powers between the White House and the legislative branch and his role as commander in chief in charge of the Iraq war.

“These issues that we’re talking about are extremely serious, and on the merits we win the argument,” said a senior administration official.

Analysts said Bush’s tough talk, coming at a time when his popularity is barely over 30 percent, could rally support from conservatives who have been disillusioned with him.

Norman Ornstein, a political expert at the American Enterprise Institute, said if Bush had not stood up to the Democrats it would “indicate a level of weakness that would really have them running roughshod over him.”

“You can say this response is an appropriate one — show him as a tough leader, and get his base energized. But you can’t ignore the larger reality that he’s got migraines all over the place,” Ornstein said.

                                                    ____________

Bush said the conditions in the $124 billion emergency bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan amounted to micromanaging the war and said it was crucial that Congress approve a bill with no strings by mid-April.

“The clock is running,” he said. “The secretary of defense has warned that if Congress does not approve the emergency funding for our troops by April 15, our men and women in uniform will face significant disruptions — and so will their families.”

Regarding Bush’s first assertion that : 1) Congress is attempting to MICROMANAGE the war; and 2) that unless Congress comes up with the money that our Men &Women in Uniform will suffer DISRUPTIONS ~ let’s clarify a few things.

For over 4 years now …. Bush has failed to sell to the Congress (and the American People) what actually constitutes victory! Don’t blame Congress, George, if you’ve constantly moved the bar as to what possibly equates to Victory from removing those elusive WMDs to Spreading Democracy. So, I don’t understand why you’re upset if Congress NOW wants to perform its Duty in ensuring the People’s Money is being spent wisely and prudently.

Micromanaging the War? I hardly think so.

Disrupting Military Personnel? Well, George: Can you say ‘Walter Reed‘, baby.

And this Gonzales matter. You get your britches in a bunch because the Congress won’t agree to YOUR TERMS, which are:

* NONE of your folk would be under Oath

* No Transcripts

* The Hearings would be behind ‘Closed Doors’

Whatthe hell is THAT, George!

Alberto has already been shown to have lied regarding his prior statements that he was not involved.

I swear. George, you’re working up on a good old fashion Impeachment yet!

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“Attention Tolkien Fans!”

Posted by scorpiomkm on March 25, 2007

Attention Tolkien Fans!!

Photo

     The Felicity Daily Herald
   “All the news that’s fit to print; and a whole lot more”

 

 

New Tolkien book to be published next month: report

Sun Mar 25, 5:44 PM ET

LONDON (AFP) – An unfinished book by “Lord of the Rings” author J.R.R. Tolkien, which was completed by his son, will go on sale on next month, a newspaper said.

“The Children of Hurin”, which Tolkien began in 1918, will be in bookshops on April 17, the Independent on Sunday added. The author’s son, Christopher, spent 30 years completing the story from the many drafts produced by his father.

Publisher HarperCollins is keeping exact details of the story under close wraps but its description as “an epic story of adventure, tragedy, fellowship and heroism” will be familiar to the legions of Tolkien fans.

Artist Alan Lee has provided 25 pencil sketches and eight paintings for the book.

Lee won an Oscar for art direction on  Peter Jackson‘s “The Return of the King”, the third blockbuster film based on the “Lord of Rings” trilogy that brought the stories to a worldwide audience.

“The Children of Hurin” is the first “new” Tolkien book since a collection of his works– “The Silmarillion” — was published posthumously in 1977, four years after the writer’s death. It was also edited by Christopher Tolkien.

The chairman of the Tolkien Society, Chris Crawshaw, was quoted by the Independent on Sunday as saying: “It (‘The Children of Hurin’) would probably make a very good movie, if anyone can secure the film rights.”

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“With all frankness …”

Posted by scorpiomkm on March 25, 2007

 The Felicity Daily Herald
   “All the news that’s fit to print; and a whole lot more”

Rice urges Egypt to reform its democracy

By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer Sun Mar 25, 9:48 AM ET

ASWAN, Egypt – Secretary of State  Condoleezza Rice said Sunday she raised U.S. criticism of Egyptian democracy efforts with President  Hosni Mubarak, but added the United States would not try to dictate how Egypt should proceed.

“I’ve made my concerns known, as well as my hopes, for continued reform here in Egypt,” Rice told a news conference in this southern city after talks with the Egyptian president and foreign minister. “The process of reform is one that is difficult — it’s going to have its ups and downs.”

Rice’s latest trip to the Middle East coincides with a political storm in Egypt over the terms and timing of a national vote on constitutional changes.

The Bush administration has expressed concern that Monday’s vote will be less than fair and democratic.

Tension over the vote shadowed Rice’s attempts to rally Arab support for a renewed peace effort with  Israel. But at a press conference she and her Egyptian counterpart tried put the best face on the dispute.

“Egypt is very special, Egypt is a leader in the Arab world,” Rice told reporters. “So it’s not surprising people are interested in what is happening internally in Egypt … It’s not a matter to try to dictate to Egypt how this will unfold.”

She added, however, that the United States would not shy away from its commitment to wider democracy in the region.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit defended the hasty timeline for the vote, which opposition groups say gives little time for rebuttal. He said the timing is largely a matter of convenience for Egyptians who want to take spring vacations.

But irritation over the external criticism and the questions it produced was obvious.

“I have to be blunt with you,” Gheit said. “With all frankness, the responsibility of security in Egypt is an Egyptian responsibility.”

The proposed constitutional changes would enshrine tough anti-terrorism laws into Egypt’s constitution — something opponents say could lead to continued police and judicial abuses. They also would outlaw political parties based on religion, effectively blunting the country’s main opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Opponents of the reforms have called a demonstration in central Cairo for later Sunday. They argue the changes would reduce the independent oversight of elections and curbs of election fraud, a chronic problem in Egypt.

___

I have to be blunt with you,” Gheit said. “With all frankness, the responsibility of security in Egypt is an Egyptian responsibility.”

Here is an example why the Questionable Election in 2000; our Preemptive ATTACK on Iraq; our refusing to adhere to the Rules of the Geneva Convention; the failed attempts by the government during Katrina; the granting of NO BID Contacts to Dick Cheney’s former company; the ‘outing’ of a CIA Agent whose husband did not play along with the Administration; and using the Attorney General Office as a Political Arm of the White House ….. why all these things makes what Rice tried to accomplish moot.

The United States has so many warts, and lives in such a huge Glass House ~ that the world turns a deft ear to us and says:

“You (United States) are in no position to dictate squat to us!”

We ~ the United States ~ are no longer the Leader of the Free World. So we need to stop pontificating to others how they need to ‘change’ their way of life and model, instead, what we do in our country; because we don’t even do it here, okay!

Condi Rice is merely going around expressing the “American Myth”, is all. A myth that unlike in the Past: doesn’t even sound or look true. I’ve stated on many occasions that World watches how we treat ‘the Least of these’ in America. And when the World sees how be behave towards our own Citizens ….that tells them more about America than all the Speeches and Declarations any President or Secretary of State can give.

Naw, Candy: save your ‘myth spreading’ to your Republican Party.

I have to be blunt with you,” Gheit said. “With all frankness, the responsibility of security in Egypt is an Egyptian responsibility.”

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“What: not Alberto!”

Posted by scorpiomkm on March 23, 2007

   The Felicity Daily Herald
   “All the news that’s fit to print; and a whole lot more”

AP

Documents show Gonzales approved firings

By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer 

WASHINGTON – Attorney General Alberto Gonzales approved plans to fire several U.S. attorneys in an hourlong meeting last fall, according to documents released Friday that indicate he was more involved in the dismissals than he has claimed.

Last week, Gonzales said he “was not involved in any discussions about what was going on” in the firings of eight prosecutors that has since led to a political firestorm and calls for his ouster.

A Nov. 27 meeting, in which the attorney general and at least five top Justice Department officials participated, focused on a five-step plan for carrying out the firings of the prosecutors, Gonzales’ aides said late Friday.

There, Gonzales signed off on the plan, which was drafted by his chief of staff, Kyle Sampson. Sampson resigned last week. Another Justice aide closely involved in the dismissals, White House liaison Monica Goodling, has also taken a leave of absence, two officials said.

The five-step plan approved by Gonzales involved notifying Republican home-state senators of the impending dismissals, preparing for potential political upheaval, naming replacements and submitting them to the Senate for confirmation.

Six of the eight prosecutors who were ultimately ordered to resign are named in the plan.

The department released more than 280 documents Friday night, including e-mails, calendar pages and memos to try to satisfy Congress’ demands for details on how the firings were handled — and whether they were politically motivated. There are no other meetings on the calendar pages released between that Nov. 27 and Dec. 7, when the attorneys were fired, to indicate Gonzales participated in other discussions on the matter, Justice spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos said.

Scolinos said it was not immediately clear whether Gonzales gave his final approval to begin the firings at that meeting. Scolinos also said Gonzales was not involved in the process of selecting which prosecutors would be asked to resign.

On March 13, in explaining the firings, Gonzales told reporters he was aware that some of the dismissals were being discussed but was not involved in them.

“I knew my chief of staff was involved in the process of determining who were the weak performers — where were the districts around the country where we could do better for the people in that district, and that’s what I knew,” Gonzales said last week. “But that is in essence what I knew about the process; was not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions about what was going on. That’s basically what I knew as the attorney general.”

Later, he added: “I accept responsibility for everything that happens here within this department. But when you have 110,000 people working in the department, obviously there are going to be decisions that I’m not aware of in real time. Many decisions are delegated.”

The documents were released Friday night, a few hours after Sampson agreed to testify at a Senate inquiry next week into the firings of eight U.S. attorneys last year.

Asked to explain the difference between Gonzales’ comments and his schedule, Justice spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the attorney general had relied on Sampson to draw up the plans on the firings.

“The attorney general has made clear that he charged Mr. Sampson with directing a plan to replace U.S. attorneys where for one reason or another the department believed that we could do better,” Roehrkasse said. “He was not, however, involved at the levels of selecting the particular U.S. attorneys who would be replaced.”

Gonzales this week directed the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility to investigate the circumstances of the firings, officials said. The department’s inspector general also will participate in that investigation.

Nonetheless Democrats pounced late Friday.

“Clearly the attorney general was not telling the whole truth, but what is he trying to hide?” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (news, bio, voting record), D-Nev.

“If the facts bear out that Attorney General Gonzales knew much more about the plan than he has previously admitted, then he can no longer serve as Attorney General,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who is heading the Senate’s investigation into the firings.

Added  House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (news, bio, voting record):

“This puts the Attorney General front and center in these matters, contrary to information that had previously been provided to the public and Congress.”

Presidential spokesman Trey Bohn referred questions to the Justice Department, saying White House officials had not seen the documents.

The developments were not what Republicans, skittish about new revelations, had hoped.

Earlier Friday, a staunch White House ally, Sen. John Cornyn (news, bio, voting record), summoned White House counsel Fred Fielding to Capitol Hill and told him he wanted “no surprises.”

“I told him, ‘Everything you can release, please release. We need to know what the facts are,'” Cornyn said.

Sampson will appear Thursday at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his attorney said. “We trust that his decision to do so will satisfy the need of the Congress to obtain information from him concerning the requested resignations of the United States attorneys,” Sampson attorney Brad Berenson wrote in a letter to the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee that oversees the Justice Department.

New e-mails released Friday indicate that some of Gonzales’ most trusted advisers were kept out of the loop in the firings. Scolinos apparently learned about the plans to dismiss attorneys on Nov. 17, 2006 — nearly two years after Sampson and the White House first began talking about replacing prosecutors.

In an e-mail to White House aide Cathie Martin, who first raised the issue of the firings with Scolinos, the Justice spokeswoman said she didn’t believe they would become a big story.

“I think most will resign quietly — they don’t get anything out of making it public they were asked to leave in terms of future job prospects,” Scolinos wrote.

Democrats question whether the eight were selected because they were not seen as, in Sampson’s words, “loyal Bushies.”

___

WoW! I’m shocked!

Gonzales LIED: Naw.   : )

How Embarrassing Gonzales must be to Hispanics, huh!

He’s nothin’ but an Hispanic ‘Clarence Thomas’, baby!

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“Many Meetings”

Posted by scorpiomkm on March 23, 2007

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Could Rivendell be tucked away at the foot of these: the Mighty Misty Mountains?

 

 

 

“Only a Ranger!” cried Gandalf. “my dear Frodo, that is just what the Rangers are: the last remnant in the North of the great people, the Men of the West. They have helped me before; and I shall need their help in the days to come; for we have reached Rivendell, but the Ring is not yet at rest.”

“I suppose not.” said Frodo. “But so far my only thought has been to get here; and I hope I shan’t have to go any further. It is very pleasant just to rest. I have had a month of exile and adventure, and I feel that has been as much as I want.”

                                 ~ Frodo and Gandalf at Rivendell

                                                                    __________

Frodo had been a MONTH away from the Shire, hasn’t he. Through the ‘Old Forest’, the Barrow Downs, Weathertop, and across varied terrain and often cold rainy nights and days ~ including the race across the ‘Ford of Bruinen’ ahead of the “Black Riders” (including suffering a wicked wound from the Witch King); and NOW having reached Rivendell Frodo is tired and stretched. He wishes to go no further.

And I can appreciate Frodo’s sentiments, can’t you?   : )

Frodo no doubt loved Adventure, but he had no idea that this trek to Rivendell would encompass such danger and uncertainty. Recall, that when Frodo left the Shire he was expecting Gandalf to lead him and Sam to Imladris (at least from Bree). And surely Frodo didn’t expect to be hounded by the “Black Riders” and suffer a terrible wound in the process. So I have no problemwith Frodo  thinking that  Rivendell was the ‘end of the line’ for him and the other hobbits.

In fact, Frodo lay in a coma for 4 days and 3 nights following his escape at the ‘Ford of Bruinen’!

The Chapter Opens with Gandalf informing Frodo of the welfare of his friends, as well as ‘filling in the blanks’ as to what had transpired during Frodo’s ‘Lost Time’. Gandalf promises Frodo ‘in good time’ he would convey his (Gandalf) whereabouts and what had caused his delay; as well Gandalf brought Frodo ‘up to speed’ re Elrond’s efforts to ‘cure’ his wound …. about the “Black Riders” …. about Strider …. and of course about “The Last Homely House east of the Sea”:

                                                     

                                                Rivendell.

It’s noted quite early on here in the Tale, that Frodo is in fact Dying from the wound suffered on Weathertop. Oh, it’s quite some time before Frodo eventually takes the BigTrip on the grey ship across the sea and “Into the West” ~ but the first of several mortal blows has been struck.

                                                     Look:

Gandalf moved his chair to the bedside, and took a good look at Frodo. The colour had come back to his face, and his eyes were clear, and fully awake and aware. He was smiling, and there seemed to be little wrong with him. But to the wizard’s eye there was a faint change, just a hint as it were of transparency, about him, and especially about the left hand that lay outside upon the coverlet.”

Still that must be expected,” said Gandalf to himself. “He is not half through yet, and to what he will come in the end not even Elrond can foretell. Not to evil, I think. He may become like a glass filled with a clear light for eyes to see that can.”

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“Lady Speaker: GREAT!”

Posted by scorpiomkm on March 23, 2007

     The Felicity Daily Herald
   “All the news that’s fit to print; and a whole lot more”

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Dems challenge Bush with Iraq timetable

By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer 13 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – A sharply divided House voted Friday to order  President Bush to bring combat troops home from  Iraq next year, a victory for Democrats in an epic war-powers struggle and Congress’ boldest challenge yet to the administration’s policy.

Just over an hour later, an angry Bush accused Democrats of staging nothing more than political theater and said that if the spending bill is not approved and signed into law by April 15, troops and their families “will face significant disruptions.”

Ignoring Bush’s promised veto, lawmakers voted 218-212, mostly along party lines, for a binding war spending bill requiring that combat operations cease before September 2008, or earlier if the Iraqi government does not meet certain requirements. Democrats said it was time to heed the mandate of their election sweep last November, which gave them control of Congress.

“The American people have lost faith in the president’s conduct of this war,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif. “The American people see the reality of the war, the president does not.”

Joined at the White House by veterans and service family members, Bush said: “A narrow majority in the House of Representatives abdicated its responsibility by passing a war spending bill that has no chance of becoming law and brings us no closer to getting the troops the resources they need to do their job.

“These Democrats believe that the longer they can delay funding for our troops, the more likely they are to force me to accept restrictions on our commanders, an artificial timetable for withdrawal and their pet spending projects. This is not going to happen.”

The House vote, echoing clashes between lawmakers and the White House over the Vietnam War four decades ago, pushed the Democratic-led Congress a step closer to a constitutional collision with the wartime commander in chief. Bush has insisted that lawmakers allow more time for his strategy of sending nearly 30,000 additional troops to Iraq to work.

The roll call also marked a triumph for Pelosi., who labored in recent days to bring together a Democratic caucus deeply divided over the war. Some of the party’s more liberal members voted against the bill because they said it would not end the war immediately, while more conservative Democrats said they were reluctant to take away flexibility from generals in the field.

Republicans were almost completely unified in their fight against the bill, which they said was tantamount to admitting failure in Iraq.

“The stakes in Iraq are too high and the sacrifices made by our military personnel and their families too great to be content with anything but success,” said Republican Whip Roy Blunt (news, bio, voting record), R-Mo.

Voting for the bill were 216 Democrats and two Republicans — Wayne Gilchrest (news, bio, voting record) of Maryland and Walter Jones (news, bio, voting record) of North Carolina. Of the 212 members who opposed the bill, 198 were Republicans and 14 were Democrats.

The bill marks the first time Congress has used its budget power to try to end the war, now in its fifth year, by attaching the withdrawal requirements to a bill providing $124 billion to finance military operations in Iraq and  Afghanistan for the rest of this year.

Excluding the funds in the House-passed bill, Congress has so far provided more than $500 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including about $350 billion for Iraq alone, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. More than 3,200 U.S. troops have died in Iraq since war began in March 2003.

Across the Capitol, the Senate planned to debate as early as Monday legislation that also calls for a troop withdrawal — and has also drawn a Bush veto threat.

That $122 billion measure would require that Bush begin bringing home an unspecified number of troops within four months with the goal of getting all combat troops out by March 31, 2008. Unlike the House bill’s 2008 date, the Senate deadline is not a firm requirement.

While Friday’s House vote represented Democrats’ latest ratcheting up of political pressure on Bush, they still face long odds of ultimately being able to force a troop withdrawal.

In the Senate, Democratic leaders will need 60 votes to prevail — a tall order because they will need about a dozen Republicans to join them.

And should lawmakers send Bush a compromise House-Senate measure, both chambers would need two-thirds majorities to override him — margins that neither seems likely to be able to muster.

In Friday’s House debate, Democrats said it was time for them to begin influencing the war’s path.

“The American public expects, the Congress of the United States, to do something,” said Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (news, bio, voting record), D-Md. “Not simply to say ‘yes’ to failed policies, but to on their behalf, speak out and try to take us in a new direction.”

“What we’re trying to do in this legislation is force the Iraqis to fight their own war,” said Rep. John Murtha (news, bio, voting record), D-Pa., who had helped write the bill.

With Democrats holding 233 seats and Republicans with 201, Democrats were able to afford only 15 “no” votes. Accordingly, Pelosi, and her leadership team spent days trying to convince members that the bill was Congress’ best chance of forcing Bush to change course — an argument that was aided when they added more than $20 billion in domestic spending in an effort to lure votes.

They got a breakthrough Thursday when four of the bill’s most consistent critics said they would not stand in its way. California Democrats Lynn Woolsey (news, bio, voting record), Diane Watson (news, bio, voting record), Barbara Lee (news, bio, voting record) and Maxine Waters (news, bio, voting record) said they would help round up support for the bill despite their intention to personally vote against it because it would not end the war immediately.

“Despite my steadfast opposition, I have told the speaker that I will work with her to obtain the needed votes to pass the supplemental, but that in the end I must vote my conscience,” said Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif.

The Iraq deadline created an unusual dynamic in the sharply partisan Congress. Bush loyalists teamed up with some anti-war liberals in opposing the measure. Conservatives said a firm deadline for the war would tie the hands of military commanders and embolden insurgents after the U.S. left Iraq, whereas many liberals said the bill would continue to bankroll an immoral war for more than a year.

“If you want peace, stop funding this war,” said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio.

“Approval of it means we vote to abandon Iraq at an arbitrary time no matter the situation, said Republican Rep. Ted Poe (news, bio, voting record). It’s also “loaded with squealing pork that has nothing to do with our troops or the war,” added Poe, R-Texas, referring to the billions of dollars added to the bill to fund domestic programs and attract votes.

But members said Pelosi was able to convince liberal members of her caucus that the legislation was their best shot at challenging Bush on the war even if it fails to become law.

                                                 __________

So there ya be! The “New Democratic Congress” has fulfilled the ‘Will’ of the People. And for all these War Mongering Republicans to proclaim that the Measure is a Bill that stamps DEFEAT on it are, well, ‘out of step’. Out of step insofar as Bush has yet to Define what VICTORY would look like in Iraq, but also disregarding the mandate of the People given last November.

Maybe the Republican Party has a Death Wish, ya think?

See. Republicans can only Rule through scare tactics and intimidation. That’s why since the American People have shaken off the ‘Doom & Gloom’ of the Bush strategy and VOTED to reclaim their government back, is why Republicans find themselves out on a thin limb and have left only the empty mantras that their ‘boy’ (Bush) had been uttering for the past 6 YEARS.

What do you people do when your car begins to ‘break down’ on a consistent basis:

keep pouring MORE money into it?

“No!” You either change cars or go broke. Yet Republicans, by constantly whining how if we ‘change course’ in Iraq …. that somehow it’s an admission that we were WRONG and a sign of Defeatism.

Well, what’s wrong with that? Just like a car that has seen its better days; a New Course needs to be adopted, and we need to get over this hubris ‘childish idea’ that we were WRONG in Iraq ….. and that we no longer find it in our National Interest to keep wasting both BLOOD & TREASURE there any longer.

If you Folks have noticed: Insurgents have begun to breach the “Green Zone” in recent days. That after Bush has dispatched 30,000 additional Troops!!

I don’t NEED to beat up on Dark Countries to feel ‘good’ about being an American, do you?

I don’t NEED to keep WASTING BLOOD & TREASURE to somehow PROVE that we were right in preemptively Invading Iraq ~ especially when I KNOW we were WRONG!

Yet there ya be: Republicans STILL runnin’ around here with their heads in the desert sands, mumbling and parroting the failed mantra of THIS ADMINISTRATION. and neocon-neonazis.

Lady Speaker Pelosi: Ya did GREAT!!

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“Go Bucks!” please?

Posted by scorpiomkm on March 23, 2007

     The Felicity Daily Herald
   “All the news that’s fit to print; and a whole lot more”

Buckeyes Need Huge Rally to Drop Tennessee

Foul Trouble Plagues Oden, Supporting Cast Delivers

By JAIME ARON

AP Sports

SAN ANTONIO (March 22) – Ohio State senior Ron Lewis knew better than to look at the scoreboard. One look at the Tennessee Volunteers  told him all he needed to know. Although the top-seeded Buckeyes trailed by 17 and freshman sensation Greg Oden  was in deep foul trouble, Lewis could tell his team had the Vols right where they wanted them. Their body language was like they already had the game won,” Lewis said.

Lewis and Mike Conley shook Tennessee out of it by tying the game midway through the half, then the energized Buckeyes outplayed the Volunteers down the stretch for an 85-84 victory Thursday night in the semifinals of the NCAA South Regional.

                                        _____________________

March Madness“, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tourney is named.

 

 

I only follow college basketball during “March Madness”. This year ~ low and behold ~ The Ohio State University Buckeyes (Ranked #1 at the end of the Regular Season, Nationally) remains STILL ALIVE after SURVIVING Death Experiences against Xavier and last night the Vols.

 

Historically and Traditionally, The Ohio State is NOT considered a basketball powerhouse. In fact, they last won the National Championship over 40 YEARS ago when Jerry Lucus & Company were Kings.

 

The Buckeyes are Traditionally known as Football Kings; so this current run by the ‘Bucks’ comes as quite a pleasant and welcomed surprise to “Buck Fans” everywhere ~ including your’s truly.

 

But despite their #1 Ranking at the end of the Regular Season, and despite their reaching the ‘Elite Eight’ in this year’s Basketball Tournament ~ unlike their run for the NCAA Football Crown this past Season …. I’m not getting too enthused about the Bucks winning it all in basketball. After all, I got all excited when the Bucks, after having a PERFECT Football Season, got WAXED by the Florida Gators in football:

 

and the Florida Gators are STILL around in the BASKETBALL Tourney yet again this year!

 

 

So. I watch with somewhat a DETACHED posture as my Buckeyes endure Death Experience after Death Experience as they struggle to reach the “Final Four’ in Atlanta.

 

But I KNOW already: that by me just Blogging about them ~ I’ve administered the “Kiss of Death” to the guys ever seeing Peachtree Street in Atlanta.   : )

                                                Go Bucks!

                                                                      please??

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“Checks & Balances”

Posted by scorpiomkm on March 22, 2007

  The Felicity Daily Herald
   “All the news that’s fit to print; and a whole lot more”

  Congress rejects White House conditions POSTED: 7:54 p.m. EDT, March 22, 2007

Story Highlights NEW: Letters to White House counsel formally reject testimony proposal
• Senate panel authorizes subpoenas, but does not issue them
• White House offers “nothing, nothing, nothing,” panel chairman says
Majority Leader Reid suggests oath needed when Karl Rove speaks

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Key congressional committee chairmen sent letters Thursday formally rejecting a White House proposal specifying the conditions under which White House aides could be interviewed by Congress about the firings of eight U.S. attorneys.

The letters to White House counsel Fred Fielding followed the Senate Judiciary Committee’s authorization of subpoenas for political adviser Karl Rove, former counsel Harriet Miers and their top aides.

Both houses of Congress authorized subpoenas this week, but have not yet issued any. The authorization does not mean subpoenas will be issued, but they could be if White House officials do not agree to testify under oath voluntarily.

President Bush has offered to allow Congress to interview the officials without oath or transcription of testimony and in private. The president said he will not allow them to testify under oath because it would damage their ability to give him their “candid advice.”

Still, the letters left room for negotiation.

“We would be pleased to discuss further proposals from you to achieve these objectives that provide us with the records and information we need to complete our investigation while respecting your needs and interests,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in his letter.

Rep. John Conyers, Leahy’s counterpart in the House, sent a nearly identical letter.

The Bush administration held its ground, however.

“Unfortunately, these letters show that they are not as interested in ascertaining the facts than a political fishing expedition,” Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino said. “We remain hopeful that they will see wisdom in our reasonable offer.”

Perino’s boss, press secretary Tony Snow, previously had said pursuing subpoenas would trigger withdrawal of the offer to let the White House advisers discuss their knowledge of the firings in private interviews. Republicans on the Senate committee argued for interviews under the White House’s conditions.

“If we don’t like what we get, we can always issue a subpoena. … Why not take what we can get in the interest of –” began ranking Republican member Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

“No!” interrupted Chairman Patrick Leahy.

“We’re told what we can get is nothing, nothing, nothing!” he exclaimed angrily, shaking his finger. “We’re told that we can have a closed-door meeting with no transcript, not under oath, limited number of people, and the White House will determine what the agenda is.

“That, to me, is nothing,” he said.

Later, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid implied there was a credibility problem with some who may testify.

“When you’re dealing with the cast of characters we have… you might consider putting people under oath,” Reid said.

“Karl Rove is an example. (He) came … this close to being indicted for involvement in the Valerie Plame case, so I certainly think people should be under oath. At least Karl Rove. We could deal with some of the others,” he said.

GOP committee member Sen. John Cornyn, who’s usually an ally of the president, said before the meeting that he’s “a little bit dubious about an interview behind closed doors. … If there is going to be information provided, it best be provided in public. ”

White House spokesman Tony Snow said Thursday the administration is trying to avoid “showmanship” that would have a “chilling effect.”

“We’re trying to avoid a show trial,” Snow said. “What this needs to be is a factual interview, not something where people are going to be sort of, ‘I’m going after Karl Rove,’ and you know that’s going to happen.”

Leahy stood firm.

“I’m not going to accept testimony that’s not under oath behind closed doors when nobody in the public knows what was said. It just will not happen,” Leahy said.

Gonzales ‘very concerned’Attending an official event in St. Louis, Missouri, Thursday, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he will “be going up to the Congress and providing further clarification about what happened here.”

Gonzales was meeting with regional groups of U.S. attorneys on Thursday, while separately, the Justice Department has begun to “engage each U.S. attorney in a district-specific dialogue on how to balance the department’s priorities with local challenges,” a Justice Department official said Wednesday.

Cornyn and three other GOP senators met with Gonzales on Wednesday. Cornyn said “his spirits were very good” although he’s “very concerned” about the matter of the fired attorneys.

“He’s trying to be cooperative, and I think he continues to be,” Cornyn said. “I offered him words of advice: To make sure we get all the information out and respond completely to Congress’ inquiry. He said he’s tried to do that and will continue to do that.”

Sampson requests more timeIn a related development, Sens. Leahy and Specter had invited former Gonzales Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson to voluntarily appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week, but in a letter Thursday, Sampson’s lawyer requested more time to review the request and to go over documents still being released in the matter.

“In addition, we would request that the committee afford Mr. Sampson 72 hours after the last set of documents is released to make a decision concerning his willingness to submit to a voluntary interview or appearance before the committee,” the letter stated. Sampson resigned on March 13 as the controversy over the firings erupted.

Since the beginning, Justice Department officials have said the dismissals of at least seven U.S. attorneys were based on performance or managerial problems. They have acknowledged that one fired attorney was pushed out to make way for a Rove protege.

Leahy also complained about the 3,000 documents the Justice Department handed over to the committees late Monday, saying redactions in the documents make them unworkable. (Watch how documents raise the question of whether Gonzales was in the loop)

In addition, e-mail correspondence on the matter released by the Justice Department includes a 16-day gap during the critical time period from November 15, 2006, to December 2, 2006. The gap has attracted the attention of congressional investigators. (Full story)

Critics of the firing of the prosecutors said the administration abused the Patriot Act in circumventing the usual confirmation procedure in naming their replacements.

                                              ________________

I was discussing this ‘mess’ with a Friend (Republican) the other day. Her concern about this was that it appears to be simply a Witch Hunt ~ similar to when the Republicans bogged down Congress during the Clinton Presidency resulting in nothing of Substance being accomplished.

I Respectfully disagree with her assessment.

In fact, she went on to say that she was highly DISAPPOINTED in the Democrats, because they had Promised so much …. and Accomplished little to date.

Again: I disagreed. And let me share with you Folks why I feel she’s wrong on this.

First of all. For the past 6 years, we’ve been operating under a One Party System of Government; whereby any and all things that Bush wanted to do WAS DONE without ANY oversight, accountability, and Checks & Balances.

 Domestically, save for the Affluent, THIS ADMINISTRATION has done little to improve the Standard of Living for MOST Americans (save the Rich). Bush has done NOTHING re Social Security, Education, the Trade Deficit, or any number of Issues that need serious tending to. And the reason why …. rests with the ‘Rubber Stamp Congress‘ that asked NOTHING, and did NOTHING, for damn near 7 long years.

Back last November, my only Request of the New Congress was to begin their Job of Overseeing what the hell was going on behind the impregnable Wall of the White House. Now, we see where a Congress ~ for the first time in 7 YEARS ~ is now demanding Answers and ACCOUNTABILITY! In fact, the New Congress hasn’t gone far enough for me. I’d like to see Congress Review and ask questions re Halliburton’s mishandling of BILLIONS of Tax Payer Dollars WASTED down the black hole known as Iraq.

Congress has the Constitutional Duty to oversee those things that run contrary to proper governess; just as Congress has the Duty to Fund Military Spending in a way that’s NOT wasteful, needless, and a detriment to the Tax Payer and the nation as a whole. Something the Democrats are working on NOW to tie Spending to a ‘Date Certain’ for pulling a significant number of Troops out of that hell hole in Iraq.

Of course we all would like see the New Congress focus on Social Security, Medicare, the Economy, Education etc., but First the Congress has to stop the BLEEDING that THIS ADMINISTRATION has caused to occur to the ‘Body Politic’.

Keep in mind, that since the Dems have controlled Congress … you’ve had the Scooter Libby Trial; you’ve had the Intelligence Community ADMIT they’ve abused their responsibilities EVEN UNDER THE ‘Patriot Act’; and now you have an Attorney General ‘bounce’ Federal Prosecutors (Republican Appointees) that went after REPUBLICANS and thus incurred the ire of Karl Rove, Cheney, and who knows who else within the Administration!!

I say “Thank God!” we have a Democratic Congress willing and able to put a STOP to this Reign of King George.

Thank God!!

Because it’s quite clear to me …. that we’re just glimpsing the tip of an iceberg insofar as what THIS ADMINISTRATION is capable of ‘pulling off’ AND has ‘pulled off’ now for nearly 7 YEARS and gotten away with.

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“Yeah, they did!”

Posted by scorpiomkm on March 22, 2007

“California Dreaming”

View Larger

The ‘Golden Gate Bridge’ and the Lamp in Narnia

 

 

 

 

Beginning in the “Fifth Age” of Middle Earth

Rethe 22, 5007

Yesterday was one of those Delicious Days in my tiny desert Kingdom of Felicity! And since the temperature ranged in the Upper 70s, I decided to visit one of my favorite Latte Shops and just Observe a little bit.

I made several Observations at that time.   : )

First of all ~ even I had to enter the ‘Age of the Cell Phone’, okay! So I’ve made my peace with Cell Phones and their many assortments; however, one gizmo about Cellography that I’ll NEVER accept …. are these ‘ear sets’ shaped like ugly ear rings and makes anybody that uses them appear as Futuristic Zombies!

                                            : )

And not only that <g> : what makes these contraptions so weird is …. that the person that is using the damn things appear to be TALKING TO THEMSELVES!   : )

Each time I come across kats using these 1984 “Big Brother” contraptions (g), my first inclination is to call the State Hospital to come grab this mentally deranged individual: but then I notice he/she is merely talking into their ear piece.

Lawd have Mercy.   : )

But anyway <g>. So I grab my Latte and take a seat outside. When soon a mother and child sit next to me. She takes from her purse all manner of ‘baby food’, baby gadgets, and baby ‘who knows what’ ~ which I found not too troubling. But then it happens:

She begins talking to her youngster using “Gaa-Gaa, Goo-Goo,” Baby Talk!  : )

Hell! I could tell even the Baby was getting sick listening to all that gibberish! C’mon, People ~ if ya have to have babies …. don’t start teaching them to talk like George Bush, OK!   : )

But I was Rewarded this day because well …. several WOMEN told me how handsome I looked ~ and that I favored Oakland’s Mayor Ron Dellums!

                        Yeah, they did!  : )

So, despite the irksome Cell ‘Head Sets’ and the Mothers that think talking to their little ‘crumb snatchers’ in a manner one would speak to a cute puppy is OK <g>; nevertheless the Day turned out quite swell ….. after I Learned that Ron Dellums actually ‘looks like’ ME!   : )

Oh! And Observing all the Pretty California Women prance around ME in their thin skirts, or tight jeans, and of course their robust ‘Cleavage’ made the Day swell for me as well!  : )

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