Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bush On Katrina One Year Later: “It’s Amazing”…

Bush On Katrina One Year Later: “It’s Amazing”…

The New York Times | ANNE E. KORNBLUT and DAVID STOUT | Posted August 28, 2006 09:55 PM



On the eve of the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, President Bush returned to the devastated Gulf Coast today promising to continue federal assistance, and eagerly pointing out signs of progress.

“It’s amazing, isn’t?” he told a gathering under a sweltering sun. “It’s amazing what the world looked like then and what it looks like now”…

… Mr. Bush delivered his remarks at an intersection in a working-class Biloxi neighborhood against a carefully orchestrated backdrop of neatly reconstructed homes. Just a few feet out of camera range stood gutted houses with wires dangling from interior ceilings. A tattered piece of crime scene tape hung from a tree in the field where Mr. Bush spoke. A toilet seat lay on its side in the grass.

Mr. Bush praised the optimism and grit of the people of Mississippi, and he reaffirmed his belief in neighborly cooperation as well as government help. “A year ago, I committed our federal government to help you,” he said. “I said we have a duty to help the local people recover and rebuild. I meant what I said.”

Link to rest of the Article.

Holding critical of ‘first-world hypocrisy’

Former player extends support to Inzamam

Holding critical of ‘first-world hypocrisy’

Cricinfo staff

August 28, 2006

Inzamam’s disciplinary hearing is scheduled for the end of September and Michael Holding feels that stating cricket laws as absolute is pointless. Every law has room for flexibility © AFP

Michael Holding, the former West Indies fast bowler, lent his support to Inzamam-ul-Haq, saying that Darrell Hair was “insensitive” to have penalised Pakistan for ball-tampering.

“I have absolute and all sympathy with [Pakistan captain] Inzamam-ul Haq. If you label someone a cheat, please arrive with the evidence,” Holding wrote in India Today, a leading weekly news magazine. Holding felt that most umpires would have said something to the fielding captain and given the offending team a warning of some kind. “Then if the tampering continued, they would have been totally justified in taking action.

“There is a double standard at work in cricket and this episode has only highlighted it. When England used reverse-swing to beat the Australians in the 2005 Ashes, everyone said it was great skill. When Pakistan does it, the opposite happens, no one thinks it is great skill. Everyone associates it with skullduggery.

“When bombs go off in Karachi and Colombo everyone wants to go home. When bombs go off in London, no one says anything. That is first-world hypocrisy and we have to live with it.”

Holding said that seeing the cricketing law as the absolute and final truth was pointless. Every law, he wrote, has room for flexibility. “I read a prime example recently in the British press. It said that by law, you can be fined for parking within the yellow lines in England. If you do that to run into a chemist to buy emergency medicines, a sensible policeman would more than likely tell you about the law but it’s unlikely a ticket would be forthcoming.”

The executive board of the ICC is scheduled to meet on September 2 in Dubai to discuss the ball-tampering issue further. Inzamam’s disciplinary hearing for Pakistan’s actions of ball-tampering and bringing the game into disrepute in the fourth Test against England at The Oval will take place around the end of September.

© Cricinfo

Cheney Chooses Chief Propagator of False Iraq-9/11 Link To Be Official Biographer

Cheney Chooses Chief Propagator of False Iraq-9/11 Link To Be Official Biographer

Vice President Cheney — “the man running the country” — is now working on an official biography.

But don’t hold out any hope that the biography will offer any revealing insight into “Dick Cheney’s dark, secretive mind-set.” The author of the book, according to U.S. News, will be Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes:

We hear that the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes is hot on the case and plans to publish a bio titled, naturally enough, Cheney as early as next spring. “I’m not a historian,” Hayes fesses up.

No, Hayes is not a historian. What are his qualifications? He’s a journalist who has cultivated close ties within the White House and has become the go-to source for insiders seeking to peddle false claims on Iraq. Here are some highlights of Hayes’ record:

1. This January, Cheney was asked by then-Fox News radio host Tony Snow, “Were there links to — between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda?” Cheney answered, “Well, I think Steve Hayes has done an effective job in his article of laying out a lot of those connections.” Hayes wrote an article entitled “Dick Cheney Was Right” about the Vice President’s effort to connect Saddam to 9/11. But even President Bush said most recently that Iraq had “nothing” to do with 9/11.

2. In 2003, Hayes declared “case closed” in an article purporting to show the links between bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Cheney recommeneded it to the Rocky Mountain news as the premier source of information on the issue. (”[Y]ou ought to go look is an article that Stephen Hayes did in the Weekly Standard here a few weeks ago…That’s your best source of information.”) Hayes relied on a classified Defense Department memo produced by Douglas Feith. The Defense Department shot down Hayes’ article, stating the Feith memo was “not an analysis of the substantive issue of the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, and it drew no conclusions.”

Each and every one of Hayes’ attempts to link Iraq to 9/11 have been thoroughly discredited, but he continues to push the argument. It’s quite fitting that Cheney chose him to be his official biographer.


Why is a sitting Veep working on his own biography?

9/11 Attacks not on Bin Laden’s FBI Most Wanted Notice?

Bin Laden, Most Wanted For Embassy Bombings?

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is a longtime and prominent member of the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list, which notes his role as the suspected mastermind of the deadly U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa on Aug. 7, 1998.

But another more infamous date — Sept. 11, 2001 — is nowhere to be found on the same FBI notice.

The curious omission underscores the Justice Department’s decision, so far, to not seek formal criminal charges against bin Laden for approving al-Qaeda’s most notorious and successful terrorist attack. The notice says bin Laden is “a suspect in other terrorist attacks throughout the world” but does not provide details.

The absence has also provided fodder for conspiracy theorists who think the U.S. government or another power was behind the Sept. 11 hijackings. From this point of view, the lack of a Sept. 11 reference suggests that the connection to al-Qaeda is uncertain.

The Rest of the article can be found here.

Anti-pork bill held up in secret

Anti-pork bill held up in secret

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28 (UPI) — The big mystery in Washington this summer is the identity of the lawmaker who put a secret hold on a sunshine bill aimed at stemming pork-barrel spending.

Efforts to smoke out the obstructer is taking place on a Web site called, which so far has cleared about a quarter of the Senate from suspicion, the Washington Times reports.

The measure being held up would create a searchable database allowing any interested party to see the name and amount of every federal grant, contract or award of $25,000 or more.

Blogs on both sides of the political spectrum are demanding action on the bill, which is in limbo because of a hold order.

Holds are an unofficial part of Senate parliamentary tradition that allow a single senator to block a measure anonymously.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has promised to try to win passage of the measure when Congress returns from its break next month.


This database actually becoming a reality would really shock me. Not that it will matter as nobody will bother to follow up on it anyways.

Pavano has two broken ribs following car accident

Monday, August 28, 2006

Associated Press

Carl Pavano

NEW YORK — Yankees pitcher Carl Pavano has a pair of broken ribs, sustained in a mid-August car accident that the oft-injured right-hander didn’t tell the team about until last weekend. Pavano, who hasn’t played in the major leagues since June 27, 2005, due to shoulder, back, buttocks and elbow injuries, is scheduled for a medical checkup Tuesday and remains on track to make his final rehabilitation start Wednesday for Triple-A Columbus at Durham.

“Of course I’m angry. … I’ve got an army of people here that we provide to put our players in the best position possible to succeed, and I don’t want anybody to sabotage that by holding back. And clearly here, for a period of time that took place.”

— Brian Cashman

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was unusually pointed in his remarks about Pavano, who signed a $39.95 million, four-year contract with the Yankees as a free agent before the 2005 season and went 4-6 with a 4.77 ERA in 17 major league starts before going on the disabled list. “I think it’s obviously frustrating, disappointing. There’s a lot of words which would come to mind,” Cashman said. “Of course I’m angry. … I’ve got an army of people here that we provide to put our players in the best position possible to succeed, and I don’t want anybody to sabotage that by holding back. And clearly here, for a period of time that took place.” New York had hoped Pavano possibly would be able to rejoin its rotation this week, filling the spot opened when Mike Mussina “I needed a doctor’s opinion on what kind of treatment I needed,” he said. “I figured the best thing to do was come clean with it and get the right treatment.” went on the disabled list last week with a strained right groin. Pavano and Cashman both expressed hope that this latest injury wouldn’t keep Pavano from rejoining the major league team when rosters expand this week. “I still want to pitch and get through this,” said Pavano, who has been trying to come back from surgery on May 25 to remove a bone chip from his right elbow. Pavano said he was hurt early Aug. 15 in West Palm Beach, Fla., when on a rainy night his car hit a puddle, spun out of control and hit a truck that was at a stop sign. “There was no ambulance or anything. I was able to walk away from it,” Pavano said. “I had my seat belt on. I think that’s the area where maybe I got injured, is where the seat belt was.” Pavano lives in West Palm Beach and had permission to go home, Cashman said. Pavano said his lack of performance with the Yankees led to his decision not to initially inform the team. “It’s been pretty frustrating for not only the city, the team, my teammates, myself, management,” he said. “It just seems like it’s one thing after another. I’m not impervious to this because I make a lot of money and I play baseball.” After the accident, Pavano pitched four shutout innings that night for Class A Tampa at Brevard County, the first of three rehab starts. “It just seems like there’s a lot of distractions that are caused by me that go around with the team, and I figured that, at the time, it was something I could get through,” he said. “I felt all right. I knew something was wrong, I didn’t know the extent of it, but I figured that I’d pitch through it and it would get better. I just didn’t seem to get better, and that’s the only reason why I really went to the team.” Pavano pitched six innings for Columbus last Friday and told the Yankees of the accident the following day. A scan then revealed the injury. Cashman rejected the notion that Pavano told the team then because he didn’t want to pitch again at the major league level. He said Pavano threw a side session Monday. “We have had players play with this issue before,” Cashman said.

This guy just needs to wrap himself in a bubble and not leave his bed…..he can’t take two steps without hurting himself.

Gore lashes out at media consolidation

Gore lashes out at media consolidation

By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press WriterMon Aug 28, 7:03 AM ET

Former Vice President Al Gore said Sunday ever-tighter political and economic control of the media is a major threat to democracy.

Gore said the goal behind his year-old “interactive” television channel Current TV was to encourage the kind of democratic dialogue that thrives online but is increasingly rare on TV.

“Democracy is under attack,” Gore told an audience at the Edinburgh International Television Festival. “Democracy as a system for self-governance is facing more serious challenges now than it has faced for a long time.

“Democracy is a conversation, and the most important role of the media is to facilitate that conversation of democracy. Now the conversation is more controlled, it is more centralized.”

He said that in many countries, media control was being consolidated in the hands of a few businesspeople or politicians.

Gore said in Italy much of the media is owned by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. In Russia, President Vladimir Putin has stifled dissent on television, and in South Africa, Gore said, dissent “is disappearing, and free expression is under attack.”

In the United States “the only thing that matters in American politics now is having enough money to put 30-second commercials on the air often enough to convince the voters to elect you or re-elect you,” he said. “The person who has the most money to run the most ads usually wins.”

Gore lost the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush in disputed circumstances. Current TV was launched last year amid much skepticism, but anticipated the tide of user-generated content now sweeping the media world.

His long-standing warnings about the threat from global warming have reached a mass audience thanks to “An Inconvenient Truth,” a slick, stark movie that has become one of the most successful documentaries in U.S. history.

Gore’s renewed popularity, and his high-profile book and movie tours across the United States, have spurred speculation of a White House run in 2008. He denied it again Sunday.

“I don’t have any plans to be a candidate, I don’t expect to be a candidate,” he said. “I really do not expect ever to be a candidate again.”

Gore said there was a link between control of the media and a lack of political action to control climate change.

“Questions of fact that are threatening to wealth and power become questions of power,” he said. “And so the scientific evidence on global warming — an inconvenient truth for the largest polluters — becomes a question of power, and so they try to censor the information.”


Carter says Blair subservient to Bush

Carter says Blair subservient to Bush

Mon Aug 28, 7:00 AM ET

Former President Jimmy Carter accused Tony Blair on Sunday of being “subservient” to the White House, saying the British prime minister failed to constrain America on Iraq.

“I have been surprised and extremely disappointed by Tony Blair’s behavior,” Carter said in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

“I think that more than any other person in the world, the prime minister could have had a moderating influence on Washington — and he has not,” added Carter, who opposed the war in Iraq. “I really thought that Tony Blair … would be a constraint on President Bush’s policy toward Iraq.”

Blair has been Bush’s closest international ally on Iraq, and Britain has the second most troops there after America.

Carter said in many countries he has visited, people equate U.S. and British policy.

“It’s a shameful and pitiful state of affairs, and I hold your British prime minister to be substantially responsible for being so compliant and subservient,” Carter said.

Blair committed Britain to the war even though public opinion was strongly against it. He was re-elected last year — but with a sharply reduced Parliamentary majority, and the war has damaged his credibility among Britons.

Some speculated when the war began that Blair had decided to back Bush publicly in order to maintain his behind-the-scenes influence on Washington. But he has always denied suggestions that he committed to the invasion of Iraq for any reason other than that he believed it was the right thing to do.

Wrong War, Wrong Word

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Subject to debate by Katha Pollitt

Wrong War, Wrong Word

[from the September 11, 2006 issue]

If you control the language, you control the debate. As the Bush Administration’s Middle Eastern policy sinks ever deeper into bloody incoherence, the “war on terror” has been getting a quiet linguistic makeover. It’s becoming the “war on Islamic fascism.” The term has been around for a while–Nexis takes it back to 1990, when the writer and historian Malise Ruthven used “Islamo-fascism” in the London Independent to describe the authoritarian governments of the Muslim world; after 9/11 it was picked up by neocons and prowar pundits, including Stephen Schwartz in the Spectator and Christopher Hitchens in this magazine, to describe a broad swath of Muslim bad guys from Osama to the mullahs of Iran. But the term moved into the mainstream this August when Bush referred to the recently thwarted Britain-based suicide attack plot on airplanes as “a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists.” Joe Lieberman compares Iraq to “the Spanish Civil War, which was the harbinger of what was to come.” The move away from “war on terrorism” arrives not a moment too soon for language fussbudgets who had problems with the idea of making war on a tactic. To say nothing of those who wondered why, if terrorism was the problem, invading Iraq was the solution. (From the President’s August 21 press conference: Q: “But what did Iraq have to do with September 11?” A: “Nothing.” Now he tells us!)

What’s wrong with “Islamo-fascism”? For starters, it’s a terrible historical analogy. Italian Fascism, German Nazism and other European fascist movements of the 1920s and ’30s were nationalist and secular, closely allied with international capital and aimed at creating powerful, up-to-date, all-encompassing states. Some of the trappings might have been anti-modernist–Mussolini looked back to ancient Rome, the Nazis were fascinated by Nordic mythology and other Wagnerian folderol–but the basic thrust was modern, bureaucratic and rational. You wouldn’t find a fascist leader consulting the Bible to figure out how to organize the banking system or the penal code or the women’s fashion industry. Even its anti-Semitism was “scientific”: The problem was the Jews’ genetic inferiority and otherness, which countless biologists, anthropologists and medical researchers were called upon to prove–not that the Jews killed Christ and refused to accept the true faith. Call me pedantic, but if only to remind us that the worst barbarities of the modern era were committed by the most modern people, I think it is worth preserving “fascism” as a term with specific historical content.

Second, and more important, “Islamo-fascism” conflates a wide variety of disparate states, movements and organizations as if, like the fascists, they all want similar things and are working together to achieve them. Neocons have called Saddam Hussein and the Baathists of Syria Islamo-fascists, but these relatively secular nationalist tyrants have nothing in common with shadowy, stateless, fundamentalist Al Qaeda–as even Bush now acknowledges–or with the Taliban, who want to return Afghanistan to the seventh century; and the Taliban aren’t much like Iran, which is different from (and somewhat less repressive than) Saudi Arabia–whoops, our big ally in the Middle East! Who are the “Islamo-fascists” in Saudi Arabia–the current regime or its religious-fanatical opponents? It was under the actually existing US-supported government that female students were forced back into their burning school rather than be allowed to escape unveiled. Under that government people are lashed and beheaded, women can’t vote or drive, non-Muslim worship is forbidden, a religious dress code is enforced by the state through violence and Wahhabism–the “Islamo-fascist” denomination–is exported around the globe.

“Islamo-fascism” looks like an analytic term, but really it’s an emotional one, intended to get us to think less and fear more. It presents the bewildering politics of the Muslim world as a simple matter of Us versus Them, with war to the end the only answer, as with Hitler. If you doubt that every other British Muslim under the age of 30 is ready to blow himself up for Allah, or that shredding the Constitution is the way to protect ourselves from suicide bombers, if you think that Hamas might be less popular if Palestinians were less miserable, you get cast as Neville Chamberlain, while Bush plays FDR. “Islamo-fascism” rescues the neocons from harsh verdicts on the invasion of Iraq (“cakewalk…roses…sweetmeats…Chalabi”) by reframing that ongoing debacle as a minor chapter in a much larger story of evil madmen who want to fly the green flag of Islam over the capitals of the West. Suddenly it’s just a detail that Saddam wasn’t connected with 9/11, had no WMDs, was not poised to attack the United States or Israel–he hated freedom, and that was enough. It doesn’t matter, either, that Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites seem less interested in uniting the umma than in murdering one another. With luck we’ll be scared we won’t ask why anyone should listen to another word from people who were spectacularly wrong about the biggest politico-military initiative of the past thirty years, and their balding heads will continue to glow on our TV screens for many nights to come. On to Tehran!

It remains to be seen if “Islamo-fascism” will win back the socially liberal “security moms” who voted for Bush in 2004 but have recently been moving toward the Democrats. But the word is already getting a big reaction in the Muslim world. As I write the New York Times is carrying a full page “open letter” to Bush from the Al Kharafi Group, the mammoth Kuwaiti construction company, featuring photos of dead and wounded Lebanese civilians. “We think there is a misunderstanding in determining: “‘Who deserves to be accused of being a fascist’!!!!”

“Islamo-fascism” enrages to no purpose the dwindling number of Muslims who don’t already hate us. At the same time, it clouds with ideology a range of situations–Lebanon, Palestine, airplane and subway bombings, Afghanistan, Iraq–we need to see clearly and distinctly and deal with in a focused way. No wonder the people who brought us the disaster in Iraq are so fond of it.