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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Dubai Dumbness II

I feel a little less bad about the dumb puns immediately below after reading about
the idiocy of the Bush administration in circular firing squad mode. They aren't funny either but they are playing it for laughs aren't they ?

In the AP article on Coast Guard concerns about the deal

"In this case, the concerns that you're citing were addressed and resolved," Clay Lowery, the Treasury Department's assistant secretary for international affairs, told Collins.


Stewart Baker, an assistant secretary for the Homeland Security Department, told lawmakers that the report was an internal Coast Guard document that the interagency panel that reviews foreign investment deals did not see.

And Stewart Baker must be joking when he claims that the Bush administration kept the helpful parts classified and declassified the damaging bit.

"I think it's a little unfair to judge this report by one paragraph that happens not to be classified," Baker said. "This paragraph is not really representative of the entire report."

Yes I know that is not funny, but really how else can you explain such a statement other than as an attempt to lighten the mood with a few laughs.

Am I going to have to start working on "The Circular Firing Squad Of Flying Attack Monkey's II This Time It's Portual" ?
Dubai or not Dubai ? That is the question.

If the Emirs of the UAE Dubai P&0 should we be P'd Off ? Not acording to George Dubaiah Bush.

I have always been impressed and amazed by the blogosphere's ability to resist the temptation of stupid puns. A google search for Dubaiah gave no references to the President. Dubaia gave 10,500 hits the first few pages of which were seriously about Dubai. "george dubaia" gave results of interest only to Czeck saluki fans. Altogether admirable avoidance of twittyness. Sorry to ruin the blot the blogosphere's copybook.

Update: Sad to say, I am not the only offender of the God(s) of good English. (S)He [they] is [are] also angry with Mark Kleiman "Of course, that shouldn't keep us from also referring to the Beloved Leader as George Dubaiya Bush or nominating him for the Dubaious Achievement Awards."

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Comment Spam rude but possibly prophetic ?

The reader(s???) of this blog might also see the comments. When I check my blog they sometimes appear right after the posts and sometimes I have to click on "permalink and comments" to see them. Needless to say, most of the comments are comment spam and, blaming myself for not having a clue as to how to block comment spam, I generally blame myself. However, recently the comment spambots have gotten offensive.

For some reason which I would much rather not investigate, said spambots insist on offering me assistance with dealing with alcoholism, coke addiction and meth addiction. I mention this because, given the role of artificial intelligence in the illegal NSA phone tapping program, it is a matter of some interest whether computers can figure out something about people like, say, me, by analysing the text of their phone conversations, e-mails and blog posts. OK so tell me, would my posts give an AI program with actual intelligence the impression that I am regularly drunk, tweaked and blasted ?

Spambots are requested to refrain from replying.
Econgeek has a blog

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

republican Republicans dare speak their names.

OK OK they dare leak there names, but still that's something.

via Glenn Greenwald.

They are Olympia Snowe and Chuck Hagel

Snowe contacted fellow committee Republican Chuck Hagel (Neb.), who also had voiced concerns about the program. They arranged a three-way phone conversation with Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.).

Until then, Roberts apparently thought he had the votes to defeat Rockefeller's motion in the committee, which Republicans control nine to seven, the sources said. But Snowe and Hagel told the chairman that if he called up the motion, they would support it, assuring its passage, the sources said.

So "sources" claim it is possible to be a Republican who believes in the Rea Publica (latin for "rule of many" as opposed to Monarchy). "Sources" claim lots of things and I wish the alleged republican Republicans were willing to confess in public, but I must admit I am surprised and pleased.

Friday, February 10, 2006

John Solomon and Sharon Theimer of AP report that "Abramoff Team and Reid's Office Had Frequent Contact, Records Show"

The article tends to argue (sorry report) that Senate minority leader Harry Reid is involved with Jack (scandal) Abramoff. There is very little in the article. Exibit A is the letter that Reid wrote opposing the Jena Band casino

Although Abramoff never donated personally to Reid, the lobbyist did instruct one tribe, the Louisiana Coushattas, to send $5,000 to Reid's tax-exempt political group, the Searchlight Leadership Fund, in 2002. Reid was Democratic whip at the time.

Abramoff sent a list to the tribe titled "Coushatta Requests" recommending donations to campaigns or groups for 50 lawmakers. Alongside Reid's name, Abramoff wrote, "5,000 (Searchlight Leadership Fund) Senate Majority Whip."

About the same time, Reid sent a letter to the Interior Department helpful to the tribe, records show. His March 5, 2002, letter pressed the agency to reject a casino proposed by a potential rival to the Coushattas, the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians. Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) also signed the letter.

This is not news. Also, as noted in the article, it is not surprising that senators from Nevada oppose casinos outside of Nevada. Kinda like catching a senator from Kansas supporting farm price supports.

Finally the Center for Responsive Politics reports 0 (zero) donations from the Lousiana Coushatta's to Harry Reid's pac. Thus, as Mark Schmitt notes is common for the "Coushatta requests" memo, the document either does not list instructions from Abramoff or proves that the Coushattas were not mere Abramoff pawns.

All in all, I agree with Josh Marshall that it's "Pretty weak stuff" although I think "the old college try" would, at least, have involved checking actual donations as listed on the web.

I noticed reading the article that efforts to lobby Reid on applying the minimum wage to the Norther Mariana islands are listed, but Reid's position on the issue is not mentioned. I assumed this means that Reid supported the minimum wage bill and that the lobbying efforts thus failed. That is, I assumed that the unbiased reporters would have reported Reid's position if he had acted as the lobbyists asked. Josh Marshall confirms my guess.

update: Derek W explains why the money to one of Reid's two Searchlight Leadership Funds does not appear on capitaleye. Roughly it is a 527 and doesn't report to the FEC.


I'd like to try and set something straight: the Center for Responsive
Politics, as good as it is, does not have a complete list of
contributions related to federal lawmakers because some of them
operated (prior to 2003) non-federal accounts that did NOT report to
the FEC, but reported to the IRS. These were known as 527 accounts.
Harry Reid's federal PAC, the Searchlight Leadership Fund, had a
non-federal account. That is where the Coushatta donation went. The
Center for Public Integrity has the most complete database of 527
committee activity (outside the IRS itself) and you can find the
Coushatta donations here:

To suggest that this is a "missing" donation is completely and utterly
false. It is a matter of public record and easily verified. That CRP
and other folks have not done so is up to them.


Everyone else's point about the minimum wage for the Marianas Islands was correct.

I am now looking for Cushatta donations to Dashpac. A proposed (possibly crossed out) $5,000 appears in the scrap of evidence presented by the Washington Post as "Coushatta requests" (see below). No sign at the link above or here,
here or here. Dash pac is not a 527 (although it has received money from 537s). It should be covered by the FEC data.

Update 2: Derek Willis said it is ok for me to post his full name, and

Also he explains that Daschle has 2 dash pacs one of which is a 527
"Also, fyi, DASH PAC did have a 527 account."

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Free Speach for Fools too

This is outrageous. Reuters reports

French farmer Jose Bove, a prominent protester against genetically modified food and agricultural free trade, has been denied entry into the United States, officials of an event he was due to address said on Thursday.

I love genetically modified organisms and I have zero respect for Mr Bove', but I do believe in free debate. I never liked Bove' suspecting him of pretending to care about consumers' interests and the environment while actually caring about the interests of people like Jose' Bove', technophobia and anti-americanism.

I confess that I was pleased when, in my view, he revealed his true colors (the color of Euros) by arguing that people should not get too upset about mad cow disease or we would be left with a small number of huge super carefully inspected farms. That is, if the interests of small farmers conflict with the interest of consumers who do not wish to risk a slow horrible death, well the consumers will have to take their chances.

The issue today, however, is that he was denied entry to the USA. This is an offence against free debate unworthy of the country of the first amendment. Also they sent him back to De Gaulle airport after about 16 hours in an airplane, which I consider to becruel and unusual punishment.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Arwen has a blog
A Specter is haunting Gonzales

Yesterday Arlen Specter argued that it was un necessary to swear Alberto Gonzales in, because lies to congress are crimes even in the absence of an explicit oath. Today the
the Washington Post says that the nations chief law enforcement officer is a criminal.

At one point he [Gonzales] said senior Justice Department officials, whose concerns about the program contributed to a temporary halt in surveillance in 2004, did not raise objections to the program he was discussing.
Fair and Balanced Analysis by Jonathan Weisman

Jonathan Weisman reports that everyone not currently working for the Bush administration considers their latest budget proposal to be a sham. Brad DeLong take notice.

Declined to answer
, when asked if the NSA had targeted opponents of the Bush administration for phone taps. This only makes sense if the Bush administration used the NSA to spy on political opponents. Note the very clear question followed by Hayden taking an unrelated question. Hayden has dodged vaguley similar questions repeatedly, but this one is so specific that his failure to answer with a clear no makes no sense unless the true answer is the one that should lead to an impeachment.

QUESTION: Will you openly and publicly debate us -- myself -- in a forum that's open to the public, not restricted, on the NSA spying scandal and defend what has been said, and respond to the numerous reports about the NSA spying on millions of people? That is one question. And the second question is: Are you spying on or intercepting our communications, e-mails and telephone conversations of those of us who are organizing The World Can't Wait to Drive Out the Bush Regime?

GEN. HAYDEN: You know, I tried to make this as clear as I could in prepared remarks. I said this isn't a drift net, all right? I said we're not there sucking up coms and then using some of these magically alleged keyword searches -- "Did he say 'jihad'? Let's get --" I mean, that is not -- do you know how much time Americans spend on the phone in international calls alone, okay? In 2003, our citizenry was on the phone in international calls alone for 200 billion minutes, okay? I mean, beyond the ethical considerations involved here, there are some practical considerations about being a drift net. This is targeted, this is focused. This is about al Qaeda.

The other request about a public debate -- as I mentioned at the beginning of my prepared remarks, this is a somewhat uncomfortable position for someone in my profession to be in, laying out details of the program. One way of describing what you have invited me to would be, "Why don't you come out and tell the world how you're catching al Qaeda?" And I can't do that. That would be professionally irresponsible.

QUESTION: No, I asked, are you targeting us and people who politically oppose the Bush government, the Bush administration? Not a fishing net, but are you targeting specifically political opponents of the Bush administration? Because as Vice President Gore recently said, "It is much worse than people realize."

QUESTION: Good morning, General Hayden. Katie Shrader with the Associated Press.

We can only hope the deputy of the man protecting us from Al Qaeda is an idiot. The alternative is worse.

via think progress
via MyDD