Thursday, March 29, 2007

Will Sampson bring down the pillars? US Atty Firing Hearings on NOW!

Re-Posted from by Michael Roston

Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont kicked off the hearing of the Judiciary Committee he chairs this morning by challenging President George W. Bush's discretion to control the system of United States Attorneys for political purposes.

"United States Attorneys may serve at the pleasure of the president, but justice does not serve at the pleasure of the president, or any president," he said.

The hearing got off to a slow and disrupted start as the Senate wrapped up a vote on Iraq.

Leahy thanked D. Kyle Sampson for testifying voluntarily, and without the need to issue subpoenas.

"The Attorney General admits mistake were made, but seems to say those mistakes were made mostly by Mr. Sampson," the Vermont Democrat explained.

He then charged the Bush administration with telling an inconsistent story about the firing of 8 U.S. Attorneys.

"Regrettably, what we have heard from the administration is a series of shifting explanations, excuses, a lack of accountability, or even acknowledgement of the seriousness of this matter," he argued.

Leahy was followed by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who assailed the Bush administration for downplaying the significance of the events.

"Just 7 weeks ago, the Department of Justice insisted we were making a big deal out of nothing," he said, and then noted the resignations of Sampson, other officials, as well as the decision by another Justice official, Monica Goodling, to plead her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

He then noted that White House aide Karl Rove and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had been directly implicated in the firing of the attorneys, and charged the Bush administration with dissembling.

"The list of contradictions, contortions, and distortions grows longer everyday," he warned.

Schumer insisted that today's hearing was not a partisan exercise.

"The purpose is not gotcha. The purpose is, as they said in Dragnet, 'just the facts ma'am.'"


100 Homes in 100 Days


100 Homes 100 Days

Contact:Tammy Agard–100 Homes
(406) 546-6159
Jeanne Ellinport-Red Cross
(202) 303-4585
Major Rob Vincent-SA
(228) 374-0698

Michael "Stetty" Stettler on HeadOn w/Bob Kincaid in 3rd hour of show updates the first day of the 100Homesin100Days...

Pascagoula, MS, March 26, 2007 – Volunteers from over a dozen organizations began construction on the first ten houses in the 100 Homes in 100 Days Affordable Housing Initiative after a ribbon cutting and kickoff ceremony today. Five organizations lead a coalition effort to renovate and rebuild 100 homes in 100 calendar days, addressing the biggest issue remaining in Katrina recovery, lack of affordable housing.

The American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Mississippi Home Again, Hope Has a Face Foundation and Jackson County Community Services Coalition have created a project process that focuses on rebuilding entire neighborhoods in a compressed timeframe, and have invited other organizations to join in. The Salvation Army and the American Red Cross Hurricane Recovery Program have each pledged to fund up to $10,000 for each qualified homeowner in material support for the project.

“This project fits right into the work the Hurricane Recovery Program is already doing in the area. We are pleased to be providing case management with other partner agencies for the clients as well as supporting material costs of their homes through our Means to Recovery program,” said Russ Paulsen, Executive Director of the Hurricane Recovery Program. “This project also represents the incredible partnerships in the nonprofit community that are happening throughout the Gulf Coast. We are pleased to be associated with the effort.”

100 Homes focuses on creating affordable housing in “buying down” mortgages. Through creating recovery plans for each homeowner, case workers are making sure the owners will be able to afford the new mortgage. This buy down program is designed to ensure a more sustainable economic outcome for participants as well as to foster increased neighborhood stability. "The Salvation Army is committed to long term recovery along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Army's goal is to continue to aid in the restoration of families and getting individuals back into their homes,” said Major Rob Vincent of the Salvation Army.

Volunteers from AmeriCorps, Youthbuild, University of Missouri and Stanford University joined those housed in local churches and fanned out to sites in a five block area of inner city Pascagoula Monday morning to begin work on renovating homes. The volunteers were joined by contractors who in addition to acting as renovation managers and supervisors, are preparing to begin construction on other parts of the project including a prototype Green Affordable Home. The home uses a state of the art design that is not only environmentally friendly but is designed to improve the quality of life for its occupants.

“To build green means to construct in a fashion that increases productivity, improves our health, conserves our Earth’s natural resources and costs less to own and maintain,” said Christopher Fossett of GreenLeaf Consulting, LLC. “This is an historic opportunity to rebuild and embrace the smart redevelopment of our communities.” Mississippi currently has fewer than a dozen green buildings, which go through the United States Green Building Council’s LEED certification process to help insure they meet rigorous standards for design, efficiency and environmental sustainability.

The 100 Homes in 100 Days project is using a combination of renovations, new modular and conventionally constructed homes to revitalize an area of Pascagoula that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. “After completion in July, the project’s template will be introduced into the public domain so that it can be implemented elsewhere to more rapidly provide a permanent and sustainable affordable housing solution for disaster recovery,” said Keith Canfield, founder of the Hope Has A Face Foundation. Additional support for the project has been received from Northrop Grumman, Greenleaf Consulting and Home Depot.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

“Human Trauma: Examining Costs of War”

The cost of war by Cerena Johnson, 3/28/2007
Veterans for Peace hosted a day of reflection and education on war trauma Tuesday in Humboldt State University’s Kate Buchanan Room.

The daylong conference, titled “Human Trauma: Examining Costs of War,” featured a film screening, panel discussions and live music. Health care professionals and veterans spoke about the health impacts of war and the different experiences both society and the individual face as a result of war.

Gordon Anderson, a member of Veterans for Peace and an organizer of the event, said the conference was not only geared toward veterans, but families and the public as well.

“A large number of people are returning from this so-called war. They are damaged in ways we cannot see. We are trying to help people become aware that this is not a small issue,” Anderson said.

The conference was largely focused on the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, a common problem for those recently in combat or for anyone who has had a life-threatening or traumatic experience.

Dr. Robert Gould, an associate pathologist at Kaiser Hospital in San Jose and president of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, traced the history of nuclear war beginning with the dropping of bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Gould said many of the health consequences of war are issues that remain with society today, including economic and environmental destruction and psychological effects.

Veterans from various wars shared their experiences, and told how loved ones were affected upon their return to the United States.

Brian Willson, a Vietnam veteran and panel speaker, recalled his time spent as a section leader in the Air Force.

“One of the things I’ve had to really process is I feel like I should not have gone to Vietnam. It just didn’t feel right,” Willson said.

Willson experienced a flashback 12 years after he returned, in which he was stepping over the bodies of civilians who had been burnt by napalm; many of them were children.

“In my mind and in my heart, we were basically murdering innocent civilians in these villages,” he said.

Bill Thompson, a founding member of Veterans for Peace in Humboldt County and a veteran, said Veterans for Peace has grown tremendously as a group and a resource for veterans.

“People need to hear the stories,” he said. “I was silent for 40 years.”

Monday, March 26, 2007

ATTN: March 17 Pentagon Protesters!

Thanks to 'Moon' for this report
ATTENTION: March 17 Pentagon Protesters!
During the protest in DC on March 17th, a group of protesters were forced off a bridge by heavily armored riot police wearing what has been described as “star wars” type armor with their badge numbers blanked out. These “peacekeepers” also were using canisters of some type of gas. At least one protester, Jeanne Koopman of Westland , Michigan has been diagnosed with chemical burns on her face and placed on steroid therapy for respiratory complications.

We are looking for witnesses and photos of the police. Anyone with such evidence is urged to contact Victor Kittila (vkittila@guygene. com) and/or Jeanne (jeannebookworm@

Jeanne's symptoms have been growing more severe since the event. She describes them "initially as a stinging sensation on the skin, then a tickle in the throat followed by incredible thirst..." If you were there and are experiencing any of these symptoms please consider getting in touch with us and seeking medical treatment.
Also, lawyers willing to work with this case are being urged to volunteer. Freedom of Information requests need to be or are already being filed with the W. Virginia police to retrieve duty rosters, duty logs, special equipment assignments, etc. For Jeanne to receive effective therapy, we need to know what the chemical agent was. Thank you.

I will try to keep up on developments and pass on any news.

PS. The huge number of pro-war protesters at the Mar 17th event were subsidized by the NRA. They received bus fare, and hotel accommodations. It’s time liberals and progressives joined the NRA. I sure would have liked a free bus ticket, and we all owe it to the constitution to be at least as well armed as the police.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Health Care Forum Wrap Up-- Whose Plan do you like?

Dems Debate Health Care Bill Scher March 24, 2007

The health care goals and plans of seven presidential candidates, all Democrats, are being laid side by side for the first time Saturday as the Center for American Progress and Service Employees International Union host the "New Leadership On Health Care" presidential forum in Las Vegas. (You can comment on the debate here.)

Former senator John Edwards kicked off the presidential forum by laying out his previously announced health care plan. He stressed that his plan "covers all Americans" through "shared responsibilities." He noted that "employers are required to either cover their employees or to pay into a fund" that will provide coverage.

And regarding our government's role, Edwards said:

Government plays an important role, [setting] up health care markets all across America. And in each of those markets, if you’re the consumer, you can go in and choose what your health care plan will be.

Some of the choices are private insurers. And then one choice is a government plan, basically a Medicare-plus plan.

The idea is to determine whether Americans actually want a private insurer, or whether they’d rather have a government-run, Medicare-plus kind of single-payer plan. And we’ll find out over time which way people go.

He also emphasized cost containment. In response to a small businessman struggling with high costs, Edwards said that through mandatory preventative care coverage and competition between private insurers and government plans that have "extraordinarily low" administrative costs, those costs would "dramatically" drop.

But he did not flinch at addressing the "transitional" costs to a new system, saying it would cost $90 to $120 billion a year, which he would pay for by rolling back President Bush's tax cuts for those making more than $200,000.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said the "cornerstone" of his plan is to allow all Americans and business to be able to purchase the same coverage that members of Congress have, while offering "help" for those will low incomes. He also argued for an expansion of Medicare to cover those 55 and older, and a "cooperative relationship" between individuals, businesses and states "catalyzed by the government."

Without naming Edwards, he argued that additional sources of revenue are not necessary, saying increased efficiency, preventative care and an exit from Iraq will provide enough revenue to expand coverage. But it wasn't clear if Richardson was pledging to achieve universal coverage.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama reiterated his pledge to achieve universal health care by the end of his first term as president, and urged voters to "judge" his performance on that pledge.

He downplayed policy details, saying "every four years someone trots out a white paper," when the question is, "Are we able to bring a majority of people together to solve the problem now?" Nonetheless, he promised "a very detailed plan on our website" after a series of roundtable discussions with experts and voters during the next couple of months.

What he did offer was basic principles for his health care vision.
"Everbody's in" the plan, "employers are going to have to play or pay"—offer coverage directly or help fund coverage—and subsidies should offered to those who struggling to afford health care.
The plan should "save money" by emphasizing prevention, chronic care management and medical technology.
There should be a "pooling of cost and risk," and money should be spent more efficiently to improve quality.

Much of that tracks what Edwards has offered, and in fact, Obama offered that Edwards' plan is "very credible."

When asked if additional tax revenue is needed, Obama did not dismiss the possibility, saying we need to "do whatever it takes" but noted there is much savings to be reaped with a more efficient system. He also said he would need to "put some money on the front end in creating a new system" and then "get those savings on the back end," emphasizing that "those savings [should] go into the pockets of families, and not just insurance companies or drug companies."

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton passionately recalled the “battle scars” from the days when she tried to launch a detailed health plan when her husband, Bill Clinton, was president, into what proved to be an unforgiving political environment. In her opening statement, unlike Edwards, she chose to stick to general principles rather than details, but in response to questions she said she would support a plan that would require employers who do not purchase private health insurance for their employees to pay into a pool for a Medicare-for-all-type plan.

Clinton was particularly critical of insurance companies, promising to introduce a bill in this session of Congress that would eliminate barriers that prevent insured people from getting the care to which they are entitled. Recalling the story of a constituent whose insurance company refused to authorize coverage for an urgently needed medical procedure, Clinton said it shouldn’t take a call from a senator’s office to get an insurance company to provide the coverage patients pay for.

Clinton spent a little more time than the other candidates on stressing the importance of getting younger, healthy people into the insurance system and on people taking better care of themselves. She said it would take her two terms to get a universal health care system in place.

Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd said his plan was based on four principles: universality (“everyone participates, everyone benefits,” prevention, extend Medicaid to more families, and improving the use of technology. He referenced his leadership in getting the Family Medical Leave Act written into the law as proof of his commitment to working families and to the health care issue. (He also mentioned his two young children and his status as perhaps the only lawmaker in Congress who “gets mail from the AARP and from diaper services.”)

As did some of the other candidates, Dodd said that all Americans should be able to get the same type of health care plan as members of Congress.

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich used the forum to continue his vigorous pitch for a single-payer health care system, arguing that the plans of the other major candidates were too dependent on insurance companies and others with a profit motive that was antithetical to the notion of universal, nondiscriminatory care. To critics who raise the fear that a totally government-run system would end up rationing care to control costs, Kucinich said that insurance companies already ration care. He also scoffed at the argument that private-sector competition would reduce costs, saying that the opposite has been the case in health care.

"Health care is a right, not a privilege. It is a right. It is a human right,” Kucinich said.

Former Alaska senator Mike Gravel proposed a single-payer system of sorts, but under his system each American would get a health care voucher that they would use to purchase their choice of five or six private insurance plans. “Everyone gets the same product. If you want more than the product you’ve got, you pay for it,” he said. Gravel said he would not expand Medicare or Medicaid unless “we don’t see the private insurance companies shape up.”

Friday, March 23, 2007

Get HealthCarePlan Answers from '08 Candidates on Saturday at Noon Pacific

h/t Blog for Our Future

The Health Care Answers We Need

The presidential candidates are feeling the pressure from voters to tackle the escalating health care crisis with bold and comprehensive solutions. So when the Center for American Progress and the Service Employees International Union invited all the candidates to Las Vegas on Saturday morning to debate health care, nearly all the Democratic candidates agreed to participate. (Alas, all the Republican candidates will be taking a pass.)

You can view the debate and join a live blog and discussion.

At the onset of the debate, former Senator John Edwards is likely to be the center of attention, and not only because of the wrenching news of his wife’s recurrent cancer. Edwards has been driving the health care debate with a very detailed plan to assure health coverage for everyone in America. Now the other candidates are determined to match him, though most have yet to offer specifics at this early stage of the race.

Of the other leading candidates, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama has rejected “tinkering and half-way measures.” He declared in January that he plans “in the next few months” to lay out a health care plan that will cover everyone “by the end of the next president’s term”—meaning his first term. And Senator Hillary Clinton, who as head of Bill Clinton’s health care task force, tried and failed to move an ambitious health care program, is somewhat more cautious, saying she won't lay out a plan until she “listens to what the people want.” As reported by Bloomberg News, on January 28, she said, “This time, we're going to build a consensus first.''

Congressman Dennis Kucinich doesn’t have the poll numbers to be treated as a leading candidate, but he will come with a clear and detailed plan for health care for all. He is a co-sponsor of H.R. 676, a “single-payer” plan covering all Americans in a public system. Kucinich can be expected to be a provocative challenger to the other candidates– especially those who feel the need to subsidize, and try to regulate, the private health insurance companies to get them to go beyond “cherry picking” —insuring only healthier Americans who bring in more profit—with more subsidies to private insurance companies.

[We at Campaign for America’s Future are promoting an important new “benchmark” health care plan written by Yale professor Jacob Hacker. The Health Care for America plan would start with choice—allowing individuals and companies to continue with their current health care arrangements if they are happy with them. All employers would be required to provide their workers private insurance of good quality, or pay five percent of payroll to have their employees covered through a Medicare-style public plan. Hacker sees this approach as essential to providing guaranteed coverage while controlling costs in the entire health care system.]

As we watch the debate on Saturday, how will we tell if the other candidates are as committed as Edwards and Kucinich to fundamentally solving the health care crisis? And how will we tell if Edwards or Kucinich has the plan and presentation that can get the job done?

What follows are some questions for every candidate, to help judge whether each is really serious about health care for all:

1. Will the candidate’s plan really cover everyone—with a decent guaranteed level of coverage—at an affordable cost?

Calling a plan “universal” is not enough. Massachusetts’ new ”universal” plan requires everyone to purchase health insurance, but the legislature has still not shown that it will devote the resources necessary (or exert the regulatory control over private insurance companies) to assure that everyone has a good health plans at an affordable premium.

2. Does the candidate offer a public plan, like Medicare, that has a predictable, guaranteed level of benefits that “cannot be taken away?”

Or, will the candidate rely on private insurance companies, using a combination of subsidies and heavy regulations to get private companies to do what their business model does not now allow them to: provide good health insurance at a decent price for all Americans. Does it include people with pre-existing conditions, the poor, older Americans not yet eligible for Medicare, and people with dangerous occupations?

Note: Edwards tries to do both, mandating regional buying pools that would heavily regulate private insurers and offering a public plan, like Medicare, that, if enough people chose it, might become the dominant health care plan for the nation.

3. Has the candidate thought through how his or her plan will be financed?

Edwards has bitten the bullet, calling for all employers to either provide health insurance to their employees or pay into a fund to finance his public plan. And he’s honest enough to know that additional progressive tax revenues will be necessary—he says forthrightly about $100 billion per year—which he would cover by rolling back the Bush tax cuts for the rich. It is true that after a successful health care reform, the whole country would end up paying less money for better and more comprehensive health care. But beware the candidate that tells you that there won’t be any up-front costs.

4. Will the candidate’s health plan control spiraling health care costs?

We pay much more per person for health care than any other developed nation—and all those other nations guarantee health care for all. A big part of the problem is the private health insurance system, which spends billions on advertising, administration and gaming the system to avoid paying claims. As a result, doctors and hospitals have to spend fortunes on paperwork to satisfy the different billing arrangements of hundreds of different reimbursement systems. By comparison, Medicare is a model of efficiency with a much better record of controlling costs than the private insurance industry, even while covering an expensive elderly population.

Jacob Hacker, and other advocates of Medicare-style plans, emphasizes a system that can share risk through broad pooling arrangements and control costs over much of the health care economy. If a candidate doesn’t go in that direction—if he or she depends entirely on the private health insurance system—we need to know how they ever expect to get a handle on rapidly growing health care costs.

5. Is the candidate’s health plan simple and clear enough that they can explain it—and get us to describe it to someone else?

Does anyone remember the 2004 John Kerry health care plan? It was a complicated system of subsidies and catastrophic insurance—best described with the boxes and arrows of complex flow charts—and completely incomprehensible to even a quite educated citizen. If a future president is going to overcome the rabid opposition of the special interests, he or she must offer a plan that is bold but simple, comprehensive yet understandable. And it had better resonate with important American values, including choice, fairness, compassion and efficiency.

We’re having a presidential debate about health care because the public demand for solutions is so strong. Leadership at the presidential level is crucial, but so is continued grassroots engagement.

The Campaign for America’s Future will be working with national organizations and grassroots groups to stimulate a public debate led by citizens demanding straight talk about health care. With grassroots pressure, we can force all the candidate—for the House, the Senate and the White House—to respond in detail to the five questions posed here, as well as to the concerns and values of the new progressive majority that is putting health care on the agenda for 2008 and beyond.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

South Mississippi's Truthsayer Congressman


Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS): In the course of the debate, I encouraged with words that were a little bit too strong, my colleague from Georgia to come visit the south of Mississippi and see the aftermath of Katrina. I used the word decency when I should have said "the courtesy," and If I offended his decency, then I apologize for that, but the offer stands.

The gentleman was good enough to admit privately that he has not visited the south of Mississippi since the storm, he has not seen town of Waveland is virtually gone, that Bay St. Louis is virtually gone, that Pass Christian. To the point of his amendment, how does a town that is gone come up with matching funds to restore itself?

I appreciate the gentleman yielding, and I hope I have made my point to the membership.

Radine!'s note: Wow! Another impressive representative and this one's from South Mississippi! Check out his comments at 4:20 in the clip and at the end where he "clarifies" but doesn't rescind the assertions! I've had trouble getting the video to embed so once here's the link to RawStory

--begin full article--

Democrat silenced on House floor for Katrina remark 03/22/2007 9:00 am Filed by Michael Roston for

After questioning a Republican congressmember's "decency" for seeking to restrict housing reconstruction funds for Hurricane Katrina and Rita victims, a Democratic Representative was barred Wednesday from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. By a vote of the House's membership, his speaking privileges were quickly restored, and the Member apologized.

But in an interview with RAW STORY, the staff of Democratic Congressman Gene Taylor of Mississippi stood by the sentiment of his remarks, and seemed eager to get in the last word.

"He apologized to [Rep. Tom] Price, and everybody lived happily ever after, except the people of southern Mississippi who are still living in travel trailers," said Rep. Taylor's spokeswoman.

Taylor was barred from speaking on the House floor around noon on Wednesday, while criticizing an amendment offered by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA).

"He wants to punish [towns affected by Katrina] for mistakes of the Bush administration," said Rep. Taylor. "Mr. Price, I wish you'd have the decency, if you're going to do that to the people of south Mississippi, that maybe you ought to come visit south Mississippi, and see what has happened, before you hold them to a standard you would never hold your own people to, and that you fail to hold the Bush administration to."

Price immediately asked that Taylor's remarks be stricken from the record, which the Chair at the time agreed to. Taylor was then barred from speaking on the House floor for the remainder of the day.

The remark came during debate on a bill granting housing assistance to low-income families affected by Hurricane Katrina. Rep. Price sponsored an amendment that would have barred states and localities from using community development block grants from the federal government as so-called "matching funds" in order to secure federal housing aid.

Price had tried to frame his amendment to the legislation in terms of fiscal responsibility.

"This amendment would ... maintain much needed local incentives to maximize federal assistance," he claimed.

He added, "This amendment would assist in providing that oversight and making sure that local and state individuals would have a greater responsibility, a greater incentive to make sure that programs and grants they receive, those monies are spent in a responsible way."

Courtney Littig, a spokeswoman for Rep. Taylor, echoed Taylor's criticisms of Price's amendment in an interview with RAW STORY.

"This is somebody with no idea what he's talking about, who hasn't visited Waveland, Mississippi," she said, referring to a town in Rep. Taylor's district. "He doesn't know that no one is living there, the City of Waveland has no tax base, they can't rely on regular police patrols, they're using volunteer firefighters, and there is no way for parts of south Mississippi to rebuild unless they're able to use community development block grants."

Littig explained that criticizing Price's "decency" on the House floor had gone too far according to the body's rules of procedure. But just as quickly as Taylor had been banned from speaking to the House for the day, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), succeeded in advancing a motion to restore Taylor's privileges, by a vote of 265-160.

Littig also repeated Taylor's apology to Price, acknowledging that he should have used the word "courtesy" instead of "decency."

Price's office did not respond to e-mailed questions about the incident on the House floor.

Rep. Taylor himself continues to live in his brother's home, as his own house was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina.

Ultimately, Price's amendment was defeated by a 98-333 vote. The Gulf Coast Hurricane Housing Recovery Act, which was originally sponsored by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), was successfully passed last night by a 302-125 vote, with 72 Republicans supporting the bill.

**A transcript of Taylor's stricken remarks, as well as his apology is available at***

Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS): First, let me tell the gentleman from Georgia that I appreciate him trying to save some money. I think his efforts though are a year late.

If you want to look for Katrina fraud, look for the Katrina fraud that was perpetrated by the Bush administration.

In south Mississippi at one point we had 40,000 people living in FEMA trailers, we're grateful for every one of them. But those trailers were delivered by a friend of the president by the name of Riley Bechtel, a major contributor to Bush administration. He got $16,000 to haul a trailer the last 70 miles from Fergus, MS down to the Gulf Coast , hook it up to a garden hose, hook it up to a sewer tap, and plug it in, $16,000. So the gentleman never came to the floor once last year to talk about that fraud.

But now little towns like Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian, that have no tax base because their stores were destroyed in the storm, a county like Hancock County, where 90% of the residents lost everything, or at least substantial damage to their home, he wants to punish Bay St. Louis, he wants to punish Waveland, he wants to punish Pass Christian for mistakes of the Bush administration.

Mr. Price, I wish you'd have the decency, if you're going to do that to the people of south Mississippi, that maybe you ought to come visit south Mississippi, and see what has happened, before you hold them to a standard you would never hold your own people to, and that you fail to hold the Bush administration to.

Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS): In the course of the debate, I encouraged with words that were a little bit too strong, my colleague from Georgia to come visit the south of Mississippi and see the aftermath of Katrina. I used the word decency when I should have said "the courtesy," and If I offended his decency, then I apologize for that, but the offer stands.

The gentleman was good enough to admit privately that he has not visited the south of Mississippi since the storm, he has not seen town of Waveland is virtually gone, that Bay St. Louis is virtually gone, that Pass Christian. To the point of his amendment, how does a town that is gone come up with matching funds to restore itself?

I appreciate the gentleman yielding, and I hope I have made my point to the membership.


Rawstory's got great video of the Snow-hole and Harry "You owe it to me" Smith

Harry Smith of CBS News got an earful from White House spokesperson Tony Snow during a testy on-air interview.

Snow, reacting to Smith's questions and comments referring to the fired U.S. attorneys scandal, blamed the CBS host for his "slant."

"Harry," a frustrated Snow said at one point, "you're sounding like a partisan rather than a reporter here."

"I have a transcript from your press briefing yesterday," Smith said to Snow. "Why don't you allow there at least to be a transcript from this conversation you're offering to give to the members of Congress?"

Snow responded, "But you're looking at this through a straw, ..

See the 2008 Candidates

CAP mail template
Center for American Progress Action Fund

Dear Friend,

Wouldn't you like to see Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, and Bill Richardson discussing the nation's most important domestic issue?

You can.

Join the Center for American Progress Action Fund and SEIU this Saturday, March 24th, at 12:15 pm EST (9:15 am PST) for the nation's first Presidential forum on health care.

Sign up for a reminder today!

During the event, you'll be able to:

The Center for American Progress Action Fund is working to ensure that every American has affordable health care coverage, and we need national leadership on this issue. This forum will be the first opportunity to hear ideas from our presidential candidates on the same stage. We hope you'll join us.

Receive an email reminder.


Faiz Shakir
Research Director,
Center for American Progress Action Fund

To support the Center for American Progress Action Fund, click here.

The Center for American Progress Action Fund transforms progressive ideas into policy through rapid response communications, legislative action, grassroots organizing and advocacy, and partnerships with other progressive leaders throughout the country and the world. The Action Fund is also the home of the Progress Report.

The Service Employees International Union is 1.8 million working people and 50,000 retirees united to improve services and our communities throughout North America. Learn more about SEIU's commitment to fix America's broken health system.

To remove yourself from mailings about this event, click here.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Soldier's OnlineChat with Aftonbladt 3/20/07

This interview is of a soldier involved and representing 'us' as he answered questions from Swedes.
Thanks to MalmoBlue of DemocracyInteractive chat for the link and translation of the article opening from 'Aftonblodet' translated as The Evening Sheet .

Rick Selvester
: Hello, you can start asking now!

johannes : how long have you been a soldier?

Rick Selvester : I've been in the US Army for 8 years.

ANT : For howe long are you in Irak?

Rick Selvester : Im here for a one year deployment. And I'm six months into it, got six months left.

Linnéa säger: What are the worst things about beeing in Iraq? Except for that you miss your family.

Rick Selvester : The loss of friends is a big one, to see them die. And the living conditions of the Iraqi people. And the poverty level.

John : What's the most dramatic thing that has happened to you in Iraq?

Rick Selvester : That's a hard one. There's a lot of options. People getting killed. We lost a really good guy, a happy guy. He was killed in December in Falluja.

Olle J : Hi Rick, I just wanna ask you if you think the US presence in Irak is making the iraki people safer, and what do you think will happen if your troops leave?

Rick Selvester : I absolutely believe we are making it safer for them. If we pull out now, there will be a civil war. I just think we should stay here until they are stronger as a people. The people need to come together as iraqis.

Filip : Aren't you afraid to die each day?

Rick Selvester : Yes. If you're not afraid to die, you're crazy. You just get used to it.

Vlado : What do u think of George Bush? Is he a good president?

Rick Selvester : He is my commander in chief, so I automatically approve of what he says.

Catrin : If you had the economic means to go to college at the age of 18 would you still have enlisted as a soldier?

Rick Selvester : No. I would have gone to college.

Erik : Now, 4 years from the invasion, do you believe invading Iraq was the right thing to do? Were there any other options at your disposal that would've been better to use?

Rick Selvester : It's a great question - and a big question. Personally, no, I don't think it was the right thing to do. But I hear the people where I'm stationed at here in Iraq are happy that we are here. And hearing that every day changes my mind a little bit. I'm glad we came.

johan : Hi Rick!
Was the military service in Iraq as you'd expected, or was something totally different?

Rick Selvester : No, I expected it. I've been to Afghanistan twice, so I knew what the deal was gonna be.

Kanga : Alot of people in the world today thinks USA is automatically putting themselfs as THE nr 1 country. What do you think gives US the right of acting as a "world police"?

Rick Selvester : I belive somebody has to do it. In the big picture. To me as a soldier, we are here because a tyrant was causing terror. But I do belive we put our fingers in others peoples business too much. We intrude in others peoples business too much, we have worries of our own in the US and should concentrate on that.

isabelle : what would you like to do when you get home - continue as a soldier?

Rick Selvester : I have a few more years on my contract, so I'm gonna be a soldier for a while. But then I'm gonna start a family with my wife. I have two children and I would like to have another one. And I'm gonna go to college.

jb : what do you know about sweden?

Rick Selvester : I knew very little about Sweden. To be polite, I went on the internet last night. And wow, you have a tough language. But I know one word now, "hej", and I know the name of your king, and I know you have only 9 million people. And I know you love your country.

Johan : I've heard that it's been complains about the equipments that you use in Iraq, do you agree with that?

Rick Selvester : I complain about my equipent a lot. But I can't talk for anyone else. But we have amazing equipment really, very advanced. One very useful thing is the body armour we have. It's heavy but it's saved a lot of lives. The only thing is it's heavy.

Danny : What are mainly the reactions you meet from the civilian population?

Rick Selvester : Appreciation. The people in my area, where I operate, really like us a lot. Especially the children.

Joakim : What weapon du you have??

Rick Selvester : I have a standard issue M4. And a pistol, US military 9 mm.

Caroline : Have you yourself killed anybody, or have you seen anybody get killed?

Rick Selvester : I skip the first one, but the second: Yes. I've had my fair share.

Pelle : Is Iraq going to be a better and safer place for its people in three months time?

Rick Selvester : No, three months is a short time. I don't belive so.

Jonky88 : For how much longer do you personally think that U.S will stay in Iraq?

Rick Selvester : The way things are going right now in the press, it looks like maybe a year. But I hope we won't be here much longer.

J-dog : Have your views on the army and war in general changed since you joined the army as an 18-year old?

Rick Selvester : No. This is a different type of war, not a conventional war. The enemy does not wear uniform, so that makes it really difficult for us. And war might be scary, but it's extremely exciting.

gontish : are you in combat everyday?

Rick Selvester : No. I've only had a few encounters since I've came. Mostly it's policework. We don't really see much insurgency on a daily basis. It comes in like squirts. It's random.

Chris : which is your favorite weapon?

Rick Selvester : Wow... ouch... The 50 caliber. It's a machine gun. And I like my 9 mm, because it's small and handy.

Christopher : Hi Rick! How is the weather down there right now? Keep up the good work!!

Rick Selvester : Thank you. And the weather is beautiful. It gorgeous here, not hot, not cold, doesn't rain a lot. I love the weather right now.

Litzooth : what do you do when you're not in combat?

Rick Selvester : I lift weights and go to the gym - and play video games. That's pretty much it. There isn't that much to do.

mike : How do you communicate with your family?

Rick Selvester : They have really great phones AT&T-phones. And I use the internet, we send e-mails.

Penny : How many girls is it in Iraq from USA?

Rick Selvester : I cant speak for any other place than where I am, and here we have only a few female soldiers. Less than a dozen.

avqto : You see the war for real, do you think it's helping the Iraks? Do you think you do the rigth thing?

Rick Selvester : I think we are giving the iraqis a chance that they never had before. We are giving them the opportunity to be free, and freedom is the greatest thing you can have. And we are giving them the chance of that.

Moderator : And that's the last question... Thank you Rick, and everybody who participated and asked questions.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Beverly "HeadON with Bob Kincaid" 3/9/07

Beverly from Mississippi's first hand accounts of FEMA Funding "Stories" on "HeadON with Bob Kincaid" 3/9/07

Monday, March 12, 2007

Monday, March 05, 2007

Wow! "Ugly Rumours--War (What Is It Good For?)" #21 on Brit Charts

Blair anti-war song hits charts
By Robert Dex, Evening Standard 05.03.07
Tony Blair has finally become a rock star - whether he likes it or not.

An anonymous group of session men have called themselves Ugly Rumours, the name of the Prime Minister's band from his student days, and entered the charts at No 21.

They have released a cover version of Edwin Starr's Seventies soul classic War, complete with the refrain: "War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing".

The song accompanies a YouTube video poking fun at the PM which has been downloaded by thousands of fans and has snowballed into an anti-war protest.

Music producer Ben Gray, 34, from Fulham, enlisted Mr Blair's sister-in-law Lauren Booth and Respect MP George Galloway to play police officers who arrest a Blair look-a-like.

Mr Gray said: "I was kicking round the idea with a friend and when we hit on War it just seemed appropriate."

Release of the song was held up so it will be in the charts on 19 March - the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Rebuke BUSH

Rebuke Bush: Still The Proper Stance from Humid City v2.3

Well, I went to the protest against Bush along with Jac and D from Defend New Orleans. We met up with still and video cameras at an intersection just off Napoleon and Freret. Dissenters, as is usual Bush policy, were kept a good two blocks from the site.

Now there is a good side and a bad side to the efforts this afternoon. The bad side was the protest itself. I have seen high school classrooms with more people in them. There were a few people from the neighborhood, a smattering of random folks, a handful of media, several Common Ground kids, and a boatload of cops. The rain couldn’t decide if it wanted to attend or not.
IMG_9744 IMG_9755
There was a megaphone going around (yes, adrastos, I took a turn, you missed out), and there were a couple of old ladies going to town with it. Unfortunately a number of the kids got ahold of it as well. For the most part they engaged in taunting the police and saying “fuck,” repeatedly at top volume and in varying permutations. All in all not a lot was accomplished there, which is hardly unusual for protests.The good side of all this is the incredible spreading of the meme. The prior posting was picked up, thanks to Scout Prime at First Draft, by an incredible array of sites throughout the blogosphere. I can hear search engines ratcheting upwards even now. “New Orleans Rebukes George Bush,” is a meme that is spreading far and wide. I am quite happy with that.

I am also happy to see the amount of discussion this has generated. From Scroeder’s eloquent and constructive approach to some of the pro Bush comments suddenly turning up in the original post’s comments (quite a dialogue going on there still, feel free to join in). I know to many this is a moot argument, polarizing at best and violently stupid at worst. I just cannot let the issue go.

There are 122 levees scattered across the US that the Corps has declared unsafe. After the past eighteen months I have come to feel that no one should have to go through what we have. No one. I don’t care if it is some bonehead who rails against us and is oblivious to the facts or not. The only way to prevent this is bring accountability back into the equation at the governmental level. The only way to do that is propogation of information and opening of dialogue.

Disclosure: I have run across a few that belive me to be the author. I am not. As far as I know I posted it first but it was a press release that was circulating through many local e-lists. Author unknown. Hat tip to Editor B. for sending it my way.

EDIT: pictures are here

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