Archive for April, 2007

Clinton and Obama Raiding Donors Who Backed Bush

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Clinton and Obama Raiding Donors Who Backed Bush - April 30, 2007 - The New York Sun

excerpt:

As senators Clinton and Obama crisscross the country seeking the Democratic presidential nomination and sharply criticizing President Bush, they have been collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars from donors who funded one or both of Mr. Bush’s campaigns for the White House.

In the first quarter of this year, more than 150 former Bush donors pitched in for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, while a similar number anted up for Mr. Obama, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission data performed for The New York Sun by the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics.

The motives of those who lend financial support to candidates with divergent views are difficult to assess. For some donors, personal ties to politicians or their top fund-raisers transcend partisan politics. Executives at businesses susceptible to government regulation regularly straddle the field, even supporting multiple candidates in the same race. Some contributors find that their politics change over time or that the politicians they formerly supported failed to follow through on their promises.

[snip]

One donor to Mr. Obama professing sincere disillusionment with Mr. Bush is an investment banker from Chicago, John Canning of Madison Dearborn Partners. “It’s not an isolated trend. It appears to be a significant wave,” he said. “I know lots of my friends in this business are disenchanted and are definitely looking for something different.”

In 2004, Mr. Canning was a Bush Pioneer, meaning he pledged to raise $100,000 for the president’s re-election. However, he told the Sun that his support for Mr. Bush was already fading at that time. “I was probably unenthusiastic, but not as strongly as I am now,” Mr. Canning said. He said he ended up not voting at all. “It wasn’t like I thought Kerry was a good deal.”

Return to New Orleans

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Return to New Orleans - washingtonpost.com

TWENTY MONTHS after Hurricane Katrina, public housing residents of New Orleans remain scattered across the country. Many want to go home. They should be able to. But returning to the same squalid and dangerous housing projects that were isolated cauldrons of dysfunction and pathology is neither just nor humane. Katrina changed everything in the Crescent City, and its public housing must change, too. That’s what the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is trying to make happen. But a lawsuit filed by the Advancement Project, a Washington-based civil rights organization, against federal, state and city officials is holding things up.

New Orleans public housing before Hurricane Katrina was gripped by drug and gang activity, making the projects among the most dangerous areas in the city. Corruption and mismanagement led the federal government to take over the Housing Authority of New Orleans in 2002. HUD was in the process of redoing some of the public housing in the mode of HOPE VI developments that favor townhouse design and mixed-income residences over brick apartment buildings that warehouse the poor. Then Katrina hit.

The Advancement Project lawsuit claims “defendants’ inaction and needless delay in repairing and reopening New Orleans’ public housing development are based on racial animus and a clear intention to prohibit the return of many low-income African-American families.” It demands a halt to HUD’s planned demolition of troubled projects and a right of return for everyone to their old apartments in public housing. Unfortunately, comments by HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson (New Orleans “is not going to be as black as it was for a long time, if ever again”), Rep. Richard H. Baker (R-La.) (”We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did”) and New Orleans City Council President Oliver Thomas (”We don’t need soap-opera watchers all day”) served to fuel the conspiracy theories underpinning the lawsuit. They also roiled long-troubled racial waters in New Orleans.

Judge Ivan Lemelle pushed aside the racial charges and denied an injunction against razing the housing projects. But a jury trial is set for Nov. 26, and Judge Lemelle has ordered the Advancement Project and HUD to try to settle before then. At stake is the transformation of four public housing projects built in the 1940s — C.J. Peete, St. Bernard, B.W. Cooper and Lafitte — from fortresses of concentrated poverty into mixed-income communities. The nonprofit developers of Lafitte, for instance, are doing just about everything the Advancement Project says it wants — and what a House bill making its way to the Senate would mandate — while at the same time following through on HUD’s vision for renewed, reconnected and revitalized public housing that no longer isolates the poor.

Enterprise Community Partners has committed to a one-for-one replacement of public housing units at Lafitte and to a right of return for former Lafitte residents. The developer has traveled to Houston and Baton Rouge to get residents’ input. By renovating some of the units at one end of the project while tearing down and building the New Orleans-style homes on the other end, Enterprise would make it possible for former Lafitte tenants to return to New Orleans now. But everything is on hold; no one can get started until the Advancement Project’s trial concludes.

The problem is compounded by a July 1 deadline for developers to spend 10 percent of a project’s total development cost using Gulf Opportunity Zone low-income tax credits or risk losing them. In that case, everyone loses. Considering that many of its objectives are being met, the Advancement Project should take yes for an answer and let demolition begin. The displaced people of New Orleans have waited long enough to go home. If they can go home to apartments better than the ones they fled, that should be applauded, not denounced in court.

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

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Officers: Ex-CIA chief Tenet a ‘failed’ leader

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

RETURN THE MEDAL OF FREEDOM, George.

Officers: Ex-CIA chief Tenet a ‘failed’ leader - CNN.com
In a letter written Saturday to former CIA Director George Tenet, six former CIA officers described their former boss as “the Alberto Gonzales of the intelligence community,” and called his book “an admission of failed leadership.”

The writers said Tenet has “a moral obligation” to return the Medal of Freedom he received from President Bush.

They also called on him to give more than half the royalties he gets from book, “At the Center of the Storm,” to U.S. soldiers wounded in Iraq and families of the dead. (Watch Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice talk about Tenet’s book)

The letter, signed by Phil Giraldi, Ray McGovern, Larry Johnson, Jim Marcinkowski, Vince Cannistraro and David MacMichael, said Tenet should have resigned in protest rather than take part in the administration’s buildup to the war. (Read the full letter)

Johnson is a former CIA intelligence official and registered Republican who voted for Bush in 2000. McGovern is a former CIA analyst.

Cannistraro is former head of the CIA’s counterterrorism division and was head of intelligence for the National Security Council in the late 1980s.

The writers said they agree that Bush administration officials took the nation to war “for flimsy reasons,” and that it has proved “ill-advised and wrong-headed.”

But, they added, “your lament that you are a victim in a process you helped direct is self-serving, misleading and, as head of the intelligence community, an admission of failed leadership.

“You were not a victim. You were a willing participant in a poorly considered policy to start an unnecessary war and you share culpability with Dick Cheney and George Bush for the debacle in Iraq.”
Tenet’s ‘lack of courage’

The writers accused Tenet of having helped send “very mixed signals” to Americans and their legislators prior to the war.

“CIA field operatives produced solid intelligence in September 2002 that stated clearly there was no stockpile of any kind of WMD in Iraq.

“This intelligence was ignored and later misused.”

The letter said CIA officers learned later that month Iraq had no contact with Osama bin Laden and that then-President Saddam Hussein considered the al Qaeda leader to be an enemy. Still, Tenet “went before Congress in February 2003 and testified that Iraq did indeed have links to al Qaeda.

“You showed a lack of leadership and courage in January of 2003 as the Bush administration pushed and cajoled analysts and managers to let them make the bogus claim that Iraq was on the verge of getting its hands on uranium.

“You signed off on Colin Powell’s presentation to the United Nations. And, at his insistence, you sat behind him and visibly squandered CIA’s most precious asset - credibility.”

The letter described Tenet as “one of the bullies.”

“You helped set the bar very low for reporting that supported favored White House positions, while raising the bar astronomically high when it came to raw intelligence that did not support the case for war being hawked by the president and vice president.

“It now turns out that you were the Alberto Gonzales of the intelligence community — a grotesque mixture of incompetence and sycophancy shielded by a genial personality.”

The letter said Tenet’s failure to resist pressures from Cheney and then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld helped build public support for a war that has cost more than 3,000 American lives and many times that among Iraqis.

“You betrayed the CIA officers who collected the intelligence that made it clear that Saddam did not pose an imminent threat. You betrayed the analysts who tried to withstand the pressure applied by Cheney and Rumsfeld.

“Most importantly and tragically, you failed to meet your obligations to the people of the United States.”

Tenet’s memoir, to be published Monday, covers his tenure as director from July 1997 to July 2004.

In an interview to air Sunday on CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” Tenet expressed outrage that senior officials including Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have used his “slam dunk” reference in discussing Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq over its weapons of mass destruction, which turned out not to exist.
“They never let it go. I mean, I became campaign talk. I was a talking point. ‘Look at the idiot who told us and we decided to go to war.’ Well, let’s not be so disingenuous … Let’s everybody just get up and tell the truth.

Tell the American people what really happened.”

In My Town: Three dead at Kansas City shopping center

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

This happened in the parking lot outside my local gym. Senseless violence. My sympathies to the victims.–Editor

Officials: Three dead at Kansas City shopping center - CNN.com

Three people died and at least two others were wounded Sunday in a shooting at a shopping mall in Kansas City, Missouri, a Fire Department official said.

/archives/date/2007/04/6443164_SS.jpgIn addition, a police officer was wounded in a nearby incident authorities believe is related, Kansas City Fire Department Battalion Chief Joe Vitale said. He added that the dead include the original shooter.

The dead and two or three others who were wounded were at Ward Parkway Shopping Center, about nine miles south of downtown Kansas City, Vitale said.

Janet Coleman said she saw “a young man with a sawed-off shotgun” in the parking lot being chased by police.

“I could just see a blunt-sized gun bigger than, like a regular .44,” she said, adding that she gained her expertise in weapons from watching “a lot of crime TV.”

Inside, clothing store manager Lissa Young said “several rounds of gunfire” were followed by two customers who ran into the store and said shots had been fired.

She said she immediately locked the doors and ordered the customers to the back of the store, where they waited until police gave them the all-clear.

Witness Queea Miller said the shootings took place in the parking lot.

“I was in my truck and the gunman was two cars over from me,” she told CNN. She said she saw the gunman shoot in the direction of a Starbuck’s coffee shop. “Then after he stopped, he re-loaded and started shooting again.”

She said that, during the shootings, she and her 18-year-old daughter “lay our seats all the way back and I got to praying. You could hear the shots going off again.”

Then police, their guns drawn, began “coming from everywhere,” she said.

Politically incorrect SUVs: Not about to go away

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

Now I used to think that I was cool
Running around on fossil fuel
Until I saw what I was doing
Was driving down the road to ruin

James Taylor, Traffic Jam
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Politically incorrect SUVs: Not about to go away | 1 | CNNMoney.com

SUV drivers, you’re not helping things. Do you really need that large of a vehicle, one that uses so much fuel, causes so much pollution and takes up so much space?

And finally, don’t you feel a little silly driving a vehicle–a mode of transportation–that costs more or close to that of small houses?

I would. I used to drive a GMC Envoy. It is priced in the upper $20 to mid-$30s with pretty lousy gas mileage. I couldn’t take the karmic damage of what I was doing to the environment, so now I drive a little 4-cylinder Chevy. Nice gas mileage–though it could be a bit better. My next car will be a hybrid.

What are you doing to help?

Experts: US vulnerable to major cyberattacks

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

Computerworld > Experts: US vulnerable to major cyberattacks
The US government needs to take action now to avoid crippling cyberattacks that could shut down major communications systems nationwide, a group of cybersecurity experts tells US lawmakers.

“We are a nation unprepared to properly defend ourselves and recover from a strategic cyberattack,” says O. Sami Saydjari, president of Professionals for Cyber Defense and CEO of Cyber Defense Agency, speaking before the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity and Science and Technology. “Inaction isn’t an option.”

Bee Gone? Soon We Bee Gone

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

The bees are dying in alarming numbers. Before you think that’s a good thing, what with no more getting stung, check this out. Looks like without the bees, there’s no we.

I Don’t Get It: Grey’s Anatomy

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

Why is Grey’s Anatomy such a big hit? I watched a couple of episodes. It’s a dreary, boring soap opera. The characters are uninteresting, the “drama” overcooked and the sexiness of the cast is over-hyped to the extreme. I also have similar issues with Desperate Housewives. Yawn. To each his own, but I think I’ll stick to House for my hospital dramas, and the excellent Jeff Goldblum show Raines for my quirky dark fun.
Grey’s Anatomy (Season 3) | A Perfect Day for Penisfish | Grey’s Anatomy | TV Watch | TV | Entertainment Weekly

Circular Firing Squad–Repubs Slice & Dice Each Other

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

Republicans go negative — on one another - CNN.com
When it comes to Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment — “Thou shalt not speak ill of thy fellow Republicans” — GOP presidential candidates seem to be losing their religion.

Republican candidates have been speaking a lot of ill — sometimes quite directly.

“Governor [Mitt] Romney, his views … have been moderate to liberal in [the] North, in the Northeast, and it’s all on videotape,” former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore said on “The Situation Room” recently. “And now he’s trying to shift to be a conservative.”

At a Republican dinner in Iowa this month, Gilmore took on his party’s front-runners collectively, saying, “Rudy McRomney is not a conservative.”

The former Massachusetts governor’s response? He said his rivals — Sen. John McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani — have changed their minds on issues, too.

And talk about speaking ill of a fellow Republican, President Bush is not off limits:

“We all know the war in Iraq has not gone well,” McCain said. “We have made mistakes, and we have paid grievously for them.”

Bush is very unpopular. Conservatives want to make the point that it’s not because he’s a conservative. Instead, they say, it’s because his administration has wandered away from conservative principles.

Republicans are supposed to be disciplined and on message. Not this time.

It has been said that when Democrats lose an election, they form a circular firing squad. Last year, Republicans lost. So it’s their turn to fire on one another.

Tenet Details Efforts to Justify Invading Iraq

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

Lies confirmed. Cowardice exposed. Tenet should return the Medal of Freedom. Cheney should be impeached. Durbin should be ashamed. 

Tenet Details Efforts to Justify Invading Iraq - washingtonpost.com
White House and Pentagon officials, and particularly Vice President Cheney, were determined to attack Iraq from the first days of the Bush administration, long before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and repeatedly stretched available intelligence to build support for the war, according to a new book by former CIA director George J. Tenet.

Although Tenet does not question the threat Saddam Hussein posed or the sincerity of administration beliefs, he recounts numerous efforts by aides to Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to insert “crap” into public justifications for the war. Tenet also describes an ongoing fear within the intelligence community of the administration’s willingness to “mischaracterize complex intelligence information.”

Rice Deputy Quits After Query Over Escort Service

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

Rice Deputy Quits After Query Over Escort Service - washingtonpost.com
Randall L. Tobias, the deputy secretary of state responsible for U.S. foreign aid, abruptly resigned yesterday after he was asked about an upscale escort service allegedly involved in prostitution, U.S. government sources said.

Tobias resigned after ABC News contacted him with questions about the escort service, the sources said. ABC News released a statement last night saying Tobias acknowledged Thursday that he had used the service to provide massages, not sex.