Guns Beat Green: The Market Has Spoken
By Naomi Klein - November 29th, 2007
Anyone tired of lousy news from the markets should talk to Douglas Lloyd,
director of Venture Business Research, a company that tracks trends in venture
capitalism. "I expect investment activity in this sector to remain buoyant," he
said recently. His bouncy mood was inspired by the money gushing into private
security and defense companies. He added, "I also see this as a more attractive
sector, as many do, than clean energy."
Got that? If you are looking for a sure bet in a new growth market, sell solar, buy surveillance; forget wind, buy weapons
.....Put simply, in the world of venture capitalism, there has been a race going on between greens on the one hand and guns and garrisons on the other--and the guns are winning.
.......Of course, there is still money to be made from going green; but there is much more green--at least in the short term--to be made from selling escape and protection. As Lloyd explains, "The failure rate of security businesses is much lower than clean-tech ones and, as important, the capital investment required to build a successful security business is also much lower." In other words, solving real problems is hard, but turning a profit from those problems is easy.
Bush wants to leave our climate crisis to the ingenuity of the market. Well, the market has spoken: it will not take us off this disastrous course. In fact, the smart money is betting that we will stay on it
Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Help her out if you can. We need to do all we can to increase the Democratic majority in Congress... and since WA-02 is already blue, helping replace Dave Reichert (R) with Darcy Burner is something local we can do. There are still way to many Republican politicians obstructing progress.
Friday, December 28, 2007
video picked up from Democratic Underground
and this bombshell...... scooby do moment...no follow-up??? holy crap!!
Thursday, December 27, 2007
freedom is on the march!
Kansas GOP Chair Brags of Voter Caging in E-Mail
by Scout Finch
Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 09:24:48 AM PST
The Chair of the Kansas GOP, Kris Kobach, sent out an end-of-the-year email to update members on all of the Kansas GOP's accomplishments during 2007. From that e-mail:
2007 has been a busy year for the Kansas Republican Party. We have taken the last 11 months to rebuild our party operations, make technology updates, build our fundraising database, and identify voters. We have also put operations in place to make the Party a more effective organization to support candidates, and better able to provide rapid campaign response in every county in the state.
Trudy Rubin - columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer
December 25, 2007
BAGHDAD - Now that the security situation has improved in Baghdad, everyone here is wondering if the dismal political situation can improve, too.
The goal of the U.S. military "surge" was to create a more secure atmosphere that would enable Iraqi political leaders to figure out how to reconcile. Indeed, a political "surge" is badly needed. It is the ticket to creating a viable Iraqi army, and to stabilizing the country. That, in turn, is the key to drawing down U.S. troops.
After two weeks in Iraq, I can report that the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is as dysfunctional as ever, the prime minister's staff a collection of incompetents from his Shiite Dawa Party who are criticized by many in his own government. ...(full article)
It's clear that once again the Bush administration has moved the goal-post closer and claimed to have scored a point.
Here's some honest information from Juan Coles most excellent blog Informed Comment
Top Ten Myths about Iraq 2007
10. Myth: The US public no longer sees Iraq as a central issue in the 2008 presidential campaign.
In a recent ABC News/ Washington Post poll, Iraq and the economy were virtually tied among voters nationally, with nearly a quarter of voters in each case saying it was their number one issue. The economy had become more important to them than in previous months (in November only 14% said it was their most pressing concern), but Iraq still rivals it as an issue!
9. Myth: There have been steps toward religious and political reconciliation in Iraq in 2007. Fact: The government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has for the moment lost the support of the Sunni Arabs in parliament. The Sunnis in his cabinet have resigned. Even some Shiite parties have abandoned the government. Sunni Arabs, who are aware that under his government Sunnis have largely been ethnically cleansed from Baghdad, see al-Maliki as a sectarian politician uninterested in the welfare of
8. Myth: The US troop surge stopped the civil war that had been raging between Sunni Arabs and Shiites in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.Fact: The civil war in Baghdad escalated during the US troop escalation. Between January, 2007, and July, 2007, Baghdad went from 65% Shiite to 75% Shiite. UN polling among Iraqi refugees in Syria suggests that 78% are from Baghdad and that nearly a million refugees relocated to Syria from Iraq in 2007 alone. This data suggests that over 700,000 residents of Baghdad have fled this city of 6 million during the US 'surge,' or more than 10 percent of the capital's population. Among the primary effects of the 'surge' has been to turn Baghdad into an overwhelmingly Shiite city and to displace hundreds of thousands of Iraqis from the capital.
7. Myth: Iran was supplying explosively formed projectiles(a deadly form of roadside bomb) to Salafi Jihadi (radical Sunni) guerrilla groups in Iraq. Fact: Iran has not been proved to have sent weapons to any Iraqi guerrillas at all. It certainly would not send weapons to those who have a raging hostility toward Shiites. (Iran may have supplied war materiel to its client, the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq (ISCI), which was then sold off from warehouses because of graft, going on the arms market and being bought by guerrillas and militiamen.
6. Myth: The US overthrow of the Baath regime and military occupation of Iraq has helped liberate Iraqi women. Fact: Iraqi women have suffered significant reversals of status, ability to circulate freely, and economic situation under the Bush administration.
5. Myth: Some progress has been made by the Iraqi government in meeting the "benchmarks" worked out with the Bush administration. Fact: in the words of Democratic Senator Carl Levin, "Those legislative benchmarks include approving a hydrocarbon law, approving a debaathification law, completing the work of a constitutional review committee, and holding provincial elections. Those commitments, made 1 1/2 years ago, which were to have been completed by January of 2007, have not yet been kept by the Iraqi political leaders despite the breathing space the surge has provided."
4. Myth: The Sunni Arab "Awakening Councils," who are on the US payroll, are reconciling with the Shiite government of PM Nuri al-Maliki even as they take on al-Qaeda remnants. Fact: In interviews with the Western press, Awakening Council tribesmen often speak of attacking the Shiites after they have polished off al-Qaeda. A major pollster working in Iraq observed,' Most of the recent survey results he has seen about political reconciliation, Warshaw said, are "more about [Iraqis] reconciling with the United States within their own particular territory, like in Anbar. . . . But it doesn't say anything about how Sunni groups feel about Shiite groups in Baghdad." Warshaw added: "In Iraq, I just don't hear statements that come from any of the Sunni, Shiite or Kurdish groups that say 'We recognize that we need to share power with the others, that we can't truly dominate.' " ''The polling shows that "the Iraqi government has still made no significant progress toward its fundamental goal of national reconciliation."
3. Myth: The Iraqi north is relatively quiet and a site of economic growth. Fact: The subterranean battle among Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs for control of the oil-rich Kirkuk province makes the Iraqi north a political mine field. Kurdistan now also hosts the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas that sneak over the border and kill Turkish troops. The north is so unstable that the Iraqi north is now undergoing regular bombing raids from Turkey.
2. Myth: Iraq has been "calm" in fall of 2007 and the Iraqi public, despite some grumbling, is not eager for the US to depart. Fact: in the past 6 weeks, there have been an average of 600 attacks a month, or 20 a day, which has held steady since the beginning of November. About 600 civilians are being killed in direct political violence per month, but that number excludes deaths of soldiers and police. Across the board, Iraqis believe that their conflicts are mainly caused by the US military presence and they are eager for it to end.
1. Myth: The reduction in violence in Iraq is mostly because of the escalation in the number of US troops, or "surge."Fact: Although violence has been reduced in Iraq, much of the reduction did not take place because of US troop activity. Guerrilla attacks in al-Anbar Province were reduced from 400 a week to 100 a week between July, 2006 and July, 2007. But there was no significant US troop escalation in al-Anbar. Likewise, attacks on British troops in Basra have declined precipitously since they were moved out to the airport away from population centers. But this change had nothing to do with US troops.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
wake up america.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Is the toy you gave safe?
By DARCY BURNER-GUEST COLUMNIST
This year a record 25 million toys have been recalled, most due to unsafe levels of lead. They included some of the most popular toys on the market, like Dora, Barbie,
and Curious George toys. My son's Thomas train set was recalled. Can you imagine
how hard it is to explain to a 5-year-old that his favorite toy is poisonous?
That these products made it onto store shelves -- and into our homes -- is bad enough. Even worse, many children's products still contain high levels of lead and cadmium. Parents have a right to expect that their children's toys are safe. Unfortunately, as toy after toy was recalled, parents -- myself included -- have grown increasingly worried this holiday season.
We should be. Joined by elected officials across the Eastside, last weekend I sponsored seven free toy testing sessions for anxious parents. The results were
disturbing, to say the least.
Of the 479 toys tested, 47 items -- 10 percent of the total -- contained lead levels beyond the 40 parts per million maximum that the American Academy of Pediatrics considers safe. Nine items tested positive for cadmium, also toxic.
A red plastic Lincoln Logs roof tested at 1,488 parts per million for lead (37 times the AAP maximum). A plastic Sesame Street Bert figure tested at 5,346 ppm (133 times the standard). A Tinkerbell pink rolling backpack tested at 533 ppm. A Winnie the Pooh place mat contained 985 ppm. A Fisher Price Flip Track crane owned by my son tested at 10,600 ppm, or 265 times the AAP standard.
The children's character place mats tested contained high levels of lead: Dora, Spiderman and Winnie the Pooh all tested positive. Cooler-style lunchboxes and soft coolers had high lead content as well.
None of these items has been recalled. It's not enough to know whether your toys were in the 77 separate recalls so far this year; parents should be suspicious of every plastic toy, painted toy, mug, plate, cooler, place mat and bag your child encounters. No one has been ensuring they are safe for our children.
Why is this happening? The answer is clear -- the Consumer Products Safety Commission has been gutted. In 1980, 978 people worked there; now the CPSC has only 400 employees to monitor 15,000 categories of products, and only one is assigned full-time to test toys. Meanwhile, the current CPSC head (a former industry lobbyist) and her predecessor took nearly 30 lavish junkets paid for by industries they oversee.
Think about it -- children are being put at risk while those tasked with keeping them safe are too busy hobnobbing in resort locales with toy industry lobbyists. This is a scandal, but it is also just business as usual in Washington, D.C., where regulatory agencies have been starved of resources and put under the control of political appointees with cozy industry ties.
Change may come, albeit too slowly. This week the House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation that will modestly expand the CPSC's resources and gradually tighten the outdated federal allowable lead limit to 100 parts per million. Even if this bill survives -- the Senate has not acted -- it too little, too late. The House standard is still more than double what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends -- and toy manufacturers will be given four years to get there.
That is not good enough. Our elected leaders in the other Washington must make a real commitment to better testing and enforcement of toy safety laws.
In the meantime, parents are stuck playing a game of toxic Russian roulette with the toys they buy their children.
Darcy Burner is the Democratic candidate for Congress in the 8th Congressional District.
Dec 24, 8:25 AM EST
Watchdog: Beijing Threatens Free Speech
By ANITA CHANG Associated Press Writer
BEIJING (AP) -- A Beijing city regulation clamping down on people who send text messages that "spread rumors" or "endanger public security" is a threat to freedom of expression, a watchdog group said Monday. ...
... Beijing police will work with government agencies and telecommunications companies to investigate and punish those using text messages to "spread rumors" or "endanger public security," the city government said in a notice posted on its Web site late last month.
Chinese authorities commonly use vague charges such as those to detain dissidents or others it views as a threat to the ruling Communist Party. ...(full article)
But don't be fooled, the Chinese Communists aren't the only authoritarians busy trying to control communication.
Labor Board Restricts Union Use of E-Mail
By STEVEN GREENHOUSE - Published: December 23, 2007
The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that employers have the right to prohibit workers from using the company’s e-mail system to send out union-related messages, a decision that could hamper communications between labor unions and their membership.
In a 3-to-2 ruling released on Friday, the board held that it was legal for employers to prohibit union-related e-mail so long as employers had a policy barring employees from sending e-mail for “non-job-related solicitations” for outside organizations.
The ruling is a significant setback to the nation’s labor unions, which argued that e-mail systems have become a modern-day gathering place where employees should be able to communicate freely with co-workers to discuss work-related matters of mutual concern. ...(full article)
And it's even a local thing
Blogs Are Changing at KGMI.COMAnd speaking of controlling communication;
By Debbie Chavez
... So, after much thought, KGMI is taking a leadership role on this issue. We will no longer allow the automatic posting of comments regarding our staff blogs. Instead, we ask that you email the individual staff blogger with your comment, and it will be up to that blogger to decide whether or not to post your comment. ...
... Some comments may be posted online at our discretion.
(KGMI blog: HERE)
Locally there's been a great deal of conversation about mean, ugly and down-right libelous blog comments. On the local newspapers website, that's a legitimate discussion. But it's utter hypocrisy coming from News/Talk Radio KGMI, which broadcasts local and syndicated right-wing talk. Ugly personal attacks, intentional misinformation and eliminationist propoganda are the stock-in-trade of right-wing talk-radio. KGMI is part of the problem, it incites it's conservative listeners to mean spirited incivility.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
The Courier, Waterloo, IA - Friday, December 21, 2007
Richardson pushes Iraq, veterans' care into center stage
By JOSH NELSON Courier Staff Writer
WATERLOO --- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said Thursday the Iraq war remains one of the nation's paramount issues and obstacles to progress, despite receiving less play from major national media and other presidential candidates.
Richardson, a Democratic presidential hopeful, said during a town hall meeting in Waterloo that the war has drained resources, including time and money, away from many of the major problems still facing the country.
"We're deeply divided. This country can't focus and give health care a chance, our schools a chance, creating jobs a chance simply because of the enormous expenditures --- close to $500 billion --- that we've spent on this war," he said. "With that money we could have had universal health care, we could have had higher teacher salaries." ...(more)
Published December 21. 2007 4:30AM
Election still about Iraq, Richardson says
By James Q. Lynch - The Gazette
CEDAR RAPIDS — Twelve months ago, Bill Richardson said the 2008 presidential election would be all about Iraq.
Twelve days out from the leadoff event in the nomination process, the New Mexico governor said the election is still all about Iraq, and he's not going to let his rivals for the Democratic nomination avoid it.
"I'm saying that this presidential race should be decided on who has the best plan to get out of Iraq because Iraq is at the center of whether America can come together again, whether we can have a health care plan, whether we can have clean energy and create jobs," Richardson said after a house party in southeast Cedar Rapids Friday. "Because of the huge expenditures we've made in Iraq we can't focus on our domestic priorities. So I'm raising it at every stop and I want every candidate to talk about precisely what they will do to get out of the war and get our troops out." ...(more)
Friday, December 21, 2007
Staff at EPA supported California's attempt to reduce car emission
Zachary Coile, Chronicle Washington Bureau
Friday,December 21, 2007
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson overruled the unanimous opinion of his legal and technical staff in blocking California's effort to cut greenhouse gases from cars and trucks - a new revelation that California officials say shows his decision was based on politics, not the law.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, launched a probe Thursday into why Johnson made his decision even though EPA staffers reportedly warned him he would lose in court if he denied California's request. ...(more)
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Record-Breaking Obstruction: How It Screwed You
By Bill Scher on
December 19, 2007 - 1:57pm.
On this historic yet soon-to-be infamous day of record-breaking conservative obstruction, our "Block and Blame" report (PDF) reminds me of Sen. Trent Lott's all-too-candid words from April, "The strategy of being obstructionist can work or fail ... and so far it's working for us." It's certainly true, if not terribly insightful, that obstructionism can either work or fail.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
For Sale: Ross Perot's Copy of the Magna Carta
Submitted by Eugmc on
September 25, 2007 - 8:48pm.
One of the most important pieces in Western Civilization history is being auctioned off in New York City in Mid December. Sotheby's Auction House will auction off the Magna Carta, a 2500 word document that was the forerunner to the United States Constitution. Experts expect the document, which Ross Perot bought for $1.5 Million in 1984, to be sold for over $30 Million dollars. The Perot foundation will use the money raised for, "medical research, improving public education and assisting wounded soldiers and their families."
Numerous copies of the Magna Carta were issued at the time and others still exists. The Australian government has a 1297 copy, the same year the one that will be sold was created. The Master Copy of the document, sealed by King John in 1215, is unable to be located but other copies exist. Only 2, the Australian copy and Perot's, are held outside of Britain. Perot's is the only one that is held by a private citizen in the world.
The Magna Carta translates from the original Latin to the "Great Paper". The Magna Carta required the English King to renoucne rights after a political disagreement between Pope Innocent III, King John and the English barons. The document most notably brought life to the right of Habeas Corpus.
and now..... imagine who bought it.....what does this possibly mean???? thanks to Rachel Maddow for dropping this one today.....
The only copy of Magna Carta in private hands sold for $21.32 million
(£10.6 million) this morning in the first auction of the “birth certificate of
freedom”. The 1297 example, described as the most important document to come
up for sale, was acquired by David Rubenstein, the founder of the Carlyle Group,
at Sotheby’s in New York. He has paid $8,528 a word.
interesting since i just heard how Obama had been schooled in one of those evil schools....course my mom does get her news from fox.
sign letter of support:
.......the bullies at FOX are at it again. This time, they are trying to get Senator Obama and Senator Edwards to buckle to their threats and accusations. The senators are standing tall, tough and strong. We must encourage them to resist the name-calling and intimidation and refuse to legitimize the propaganda network.......
The Nation - article posted December 18, 2007 (web only)I picked up this story by way of Orcinus where Dave Neiwert writes about being 'called-out' by a Redstate.com wing-nut.
A Hoax Exposed at Princeton
... For several hours on December 17, conservatives announced that their
darkest fears of persecution had been realized. A pious student had been beaten
by liberal brownshirts simply for speaking out in favor of traditional morality.
If the student were gay or black, conservatives reasoned, the entire student
body would have erupted in massive protests. Instead, the administration stood
silently to the side. Princeton graduate and conservative writer Michael Fragoso
told the Sun, "There would rightly be outrage had the student been part of some
other minority on campus."
At last, an incident surfaced that proved what movement figures
had long maintained: campus conservatives are a minority that suffers far
harsher oppression than the blacks, Latinos and gays who form the "politically
correct" vanguard of liberal identity politics.
But on the night of December 17, as the conservative firestorm
was being whipped to a frenzy, there was another development. Nava confessed to
Princeton Township Police that he had invented the entire incident. They had
suspected the veracity of his tale all along. Signs of an elaborate hoax had
been present from the beginning, from Nava's history of fabricating death
threats to his cinematic description of his latest victimization.
Nava's hoax fit neatly into an epidemic of faked hate crimes on college
campuses across America. But in their eagerness to stage-manage the unfolding
political drama, leaders of the conservative movement grazed over these
inconvenient details. ... (full article)
This conservative outrage over faked victimhood seems oddly familiar. It seems like just the other day that our local conservatives were complaining that they are an oppressed minority because they can't get their candidates elected. Oh... wait, that was just the other day!
Looks like the conservative strategy is to fake being oppressed in an attempt to get special rights.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Mike Papantonio of GoLeft TV and Air America's Ring of Fire talks about how the Bush Administration actually began wiretapping Americans before the 9/11 attacks to spy on political enemies, not unlike their idol - Richard Nixon
United Steelworkers’ Protect Our Kids – Stop Toxic Imports
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
'Hillaryland' - a Country of Limited Possibilities
Campaigning means announcing a bold political architecture and not outlining a seating chart for the coming years, her critics say. But Hillary Clinton refuses to yield. Anyone who has spent an evening with her knows that she is polite, precise, hungry for knowledge, energetic and disciplined. But she is by no means a visionary.
Her pragmatism is of the brittle variety. Unlike German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who sometimes seems similarly rigid in her daily routines, Hillary Clinton never allows even the slightest hint of subversive humor to cross her lips, not even in the smallest of groups.
For that reason she is too cautious, too mistrustful. One could almost believe that it was Clinton, not Merkel, who spent her formative years in East Germany. Her constant could haves, should haves and would haves, her mastery of the art of qualifying everything she says, and the fact that if she does walk a tightrope, it is never far from the ground and just a few inches above a political safety net -- all of this makes her a formidable opponent.
If the Americans vote Clinton into office, they will follow in the footsteps of her husband Bill and enter into a marriage of convenience with her. Hillaryland is a land of limited possibilities. [ from SPIEGEL ONLINE - WEST WING; The Depressed Superpower, By Gabor Steingart]
Saturday, December 15, 2007
The American people haven't missed the fact that Republican control of the Federal government has brought us two military conflicts that are stalemated and an economy that is on the verge of collapse.
CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll. Dec. 6-9, 2007.-
"Who do you think is currently winning the war in Afghanistan: the U.S. and its allies, the insurgents in Afghanistan, or neither side?"
U.S. and Allies 30%
Neither Side 58%
"Who do you think is currently winning the war in Iraq: the U.S. and its allies, the insurgents in Iraq, or neither side?"
U.S. and Allies 28%
Neither Side 59%
"Do you think the economy is now in a recession, or not?" N=508 adults, MoE ± 4.5 (Form B)
ABC/Washington Post Poll - 12/6-9/07
BUSH – Overall Job Rating
"Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Republicans in
Congress are doing their job?"
"Do you approve or disapprove of the way the
Democrats in Congress are doing their job?"
2008 is the year to put a progressive Democrat in the Whitehouse and increase the Democratic majority in Congress. There's an awful lot of work to be done to undo the mess Republicans have made.
Friday, December 14, 2007
The 2008 Washington State Democratic Caucus-Convention Cycle
Washington State's Democratic Precinct Caucuses will be held on Saturday,February 9th, 2008 beginning at 1:00 pm.
The caucuses are a grassroots process where Democrats come together across the state in order to voice their opinion about which candidate should represent the Democratic Party in the 2008 Presidential Election. The caucuses also provide an invaluable opportunity for building the party in preparation for our 2008 election efforts and will give attendees the chance to introduce resolutions on issues about which they are concerned.
Click on chart to enlarge
Thursday, December 13, 2007
King managed to get a theocratic propaganda piece disguised as a resolution celebrating Christmas put up for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives... and the so called news is that Jim McDermott voted NO. Never mind that Kings resolution crosses the line into promoting a religion in violation of the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution... All but 9 members of the House voted Yes, because King's resolution was a "gotcha" trick intended only to further rightwing political aims. For King and his ilk, Christianity is merely a vehicle for their authoritarian political goals.
With a huge majority of Americans being Christians of one sort or another, only a mental defective could believe that Christians are a persecuted minority and yet decrying "the War on Christmas" and other fantasies of Christian victimhood is a thriving industry.
What 'War on Christmas'?
By Ruth Marcus - Saturday, December 10, 2005; Page A21
I've been hearing about this "War on Christmas," so I headed to the Heritage Foundation the other day for a briefing from one of the defending army's generals: Fox News anchor John Gibson, author of "The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought." Gibson -- and Bill O'Reilly, his comrade in the Fox-hole -- see this as a two-front war: Assaulting Christmas from the government end, they say, are pusillanimous school principals, politically corrected city managers and their ilk, bullied by the ACLU types into extirpating any trace of Christmas from the public square. Battering the holiday from the private sector are infidel retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart, which balk at using the C-word in their advertising in favor of such secularist slogans as "Happy Holidays."
The assault, Gibson told the Heritage crowd, has reached a "shocking level this year."
After the lecture, I wandered over to Union Station to check out a retail battlefield. Inside and out, the station was festooned with giant You Know What wreaths. A huge You Know What tree, with presents wrapped in red and green underneath, stood in the main hall, near a placard announcing "Norwegian Christmas at Union Station." A high-tech player piano was playing "Go Tell It on the Mountain," proclaiming the birth of You Know Who; the next selection was You Know Who Else Is Coming to Town. The most generic element was a small sign reading "Happy Holidays," but even then the words were bracketed by reindeer -- and let's just say, they weren't eating latkes. It was beginning to look a lot like You Know What. ...(more)
Local rightwing talk radio station KGMI even got in on the faux victimhood act the other day when morning co-host Patti Brooks wrote, on the station website, a declaration of her intention to wish people a Merry Christmas. She announces that, "I never have, nor will I ever be politically correct...".
I suppose the shut-ins who listen to KGMI and read it's website will be comforted in the knowledge that Patti will be out there bravely wishing people 'Merry Christmas' in the face of no one really caring whether she says that or 'Happy Holidays' or 'Seasons Greetings' or just keeps her mouth shut.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
From NBC/NJ’s Adam Aigner-TreworgyChuck Norris's endorsement and the accompanying cutesy commercial gave Huckabee an image boost, making him seem more 'regular guy'.
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa -- Huckabee announced this morning the endorsement of Jim Gilchrist, the founder of the anti-illegal immigration and border security group the Minutemen. More to come.
The Gilchrist endorsement exposes either a racist side to Huckabee or a shortage of moral principles.
More on the topic at FDL
Monday, December 10, 2007
The Whatcom Republican Party has put out a press release, stating that they object to an action by the County Council that will send the issue of County-wide vs. District-only voting for County Council seats to the voters in 2008.
It's no surprise that the Whatcom Republican Party is unhappy. The District-only voting Charter Amendment that passed in 2005 was a Republican plot.
When County Council member Barbara Brenners proposed letting the voters revisit the subject, Whatcom Republicans sent out an email alert which said; "the Whatcom County Charter Review Commission voted 8-7 in favor of referring a Charter Amendment ... With strong support from the Whatcom County Republican Party, at heavy expense to our treasury, the voters approved passage of the Charter Amendment..."
They made it clear that they supported the amendment, but didn't bother to mention that it was Republican Party activist on the Charter Review Commission that proposed the Charter Amendment and just barely managed the majority needed to have it forwarded to the voters for consideration.
So let's get real about why District-only voting went before the voters in the first place. It was because the Republicans candidates weren't getting elected, so they worked out a scheme to change the rules.
Opinion Editor Scott Ayers pointed out in a recent post on his Bellingham Herald blog that in the 1990's the County Council had a right-leaning enviro-unfriendly majority. Whatcom County voters got rid of that majority and haven't shown any interest in going back.
So the Whatcom Republicans answer to that was to tilt the playing field by introducing district-only voting.
It's no wonder they're upset about the issue going back to the voters, this time the voters might see that the Republican Party intended to rig the game.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
once again Scott Ritter speaks truth to power. i hope the next administration will be offering him a very high level position in the defense or intelligence dept. he could help tremendously to guide our nation out of this despicable, dangerous position the current administration and to a large extent several administrations before them have taken us. if he had been Secretary of Defense the last 7 years we would not have pursued an illegal preemptive attack and occupation of Iraq. if he had been in charge of the Intelligence Dept the attacks of 911 may not have happened and if they had, the perpetraters would long ago have been brought to justice.
Antiwar Radio: Scott Horton Interviews Scott Ritter
Scott Ritter: Cheney's Iran Policy Still Stands : never mind the facts on the ground.
Audio : 12/06/07 (40 minutes streaming audio and I think very worth listening to)
Scott Ritter, former U.S. Marine and UN weapons inspector, discusses
the new Iran NIE,his admiration for Ron Paul and the need of the American
people to destroy the careers of their warmonger representatives.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
December 06, 2007
The PDC vote on Rossi non-profit raises more questions
Posted by David Postman at 04:47 PM
The Public Disclosure Commission voted 3-2 today to dismiss a complaint against Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi that alleged he had used his non-profit foundation as a way to campaign without having to disclose his donors. But that doesn't mean the commissioners were convinced it wasn't an attempt by Rossi to dodge campaign laws. PDC executive director Vicki Rippie told me that even those commissioners that voted to dismiss worry about a loophole in the law that allowed Rossi to conduct political activity with the non-profit Forward Washington Foundation."There's concern on the part of all commissioners that the statute as written does not address all of the political activity that is taking place today ... with Forward Washington. ... None of them were totally comfortable with the activity that occurred."...More
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
WHATCOM COUNTY COUNCIL ACTION TAKEN
December 4, 2007
10. Ordinance forwarding Charter Amendment 1 to the County Auditor, for inclusion on the 2008 General Election Ballot, to provide that each member of the Whatcom County Council be elected by majority vote of the registered voters of Whatcom County (AB2007-467) Adopted 6-1 Crawford Opposed, Ord.#2007-069
Jpeg and I went to the Council meeting to observe and it turned out to be well worth the trip into Bellingham.
During the public comment session, in spite of efforts by the Whatcom County Republican Party to whip up opposition, very few spoke against putting the proposed Charter Amendment on next years ballot. Those few Republicans/conservatives who did speak against it were amazingly hostile toward the Council and their arguments were just plain out-there. It seems they have a theory, based on right-wing talk radio demagoguery, that angry right-wing white-guys are an oppressed minority.
One of the angriest-guys who spoke had made the mistake of calling and emailing Barbara Brenner in advance of the meeting to expound his theory that "rural conservatives" were being discriminated against in violation of the 1965 Voter Rights Act. After his openly hostile three minute diatribe, Councilwoman Brenner responded to him. She explained that she had respected his concerns, as she does with all her constituents, and looked into it by call the Civil Right Division of the U.S. Justice Department. What she found out was that his assertions of discrimination were total malarkey... but Barbara worded it in a more diplomatic way.
I've spent some time thinking about and researching the 'conservatives' claims that (liberal) Bellingham voters unfairly dominate Whatcom County government. What I found is that they have created a mythology to explain away their lack of political success here in Whatcom County.
The actual facts are that of 102,458 registered voters in Whatcom County, only 37,652 live in the city of Bellingham. That's 37.75% of Whatcom County's voters. I don't know how many of those Bellingham voters are 'liberals', but a sizable majority consistently vote Democratic. So that would appear to make 'liberal' Bellingham voters about 25% of the County's total registered voters.
Another claim of the 'conservatives' is that the Council is dominated by peole who live in Bellingham. Again the facts say different. Only two County Council members live in Bellingham, the other five live in unincorporated (rural) Whatcom County.
If the 'conservative' theory that district-only voting would make things fairer to them held any water, then Council District #3 should be the "fairest" with only 20% of the registered voters living in Bellingham.
Again, the facts don't bare that out. In 2005 progressive Carl Weimer was elect to District 3, Position A. Although 'conservatives' and the Bellingham Herald have been claiming otherwise, Carl recieved a majority of the vote within the District 3...
Dec, 4, 2007
District voting opinion clarified
Carl Weimer won his County Council District 3 seat with a majority of votes in his district in the 2005 countywide election.
The Whatcom County Council was considering asking voters to reconsider district-only elections. The Bellingham Herald editorial board urged the council to respect voters’ previous decision and not raise the question for a public vote again. Who would have won, had there been district-only voting at the time, was incorrect and the options for the council were not clear in an editorial headlined “County should leave district voting alone” on page A7 in the Opinion section of the Dec. 4 edition of The Bellingham Herald.
We correct errors of fact promptly and courteously. If you have a correction or clarification, please call Executive Editor Julie Shirley at 715-2261.
Further... this year, the first time we had district-only voting for County Council positions, 'conservatives' didn't put forward any candidate to run against moderate independent Barbara Brenner.
In Council District 2, conservative (and BIAWC yes-man) Sam Crawford won re-election after a tough race and he wouldn't have won were it not for the heavily conservative/Republican urban voters in the City of Lynden.
The truth is, Crawford did only minusculely better with district-only voting than when we still had county-wide voting in 2003:
Whatcom County 2003 General Election
Whatcom County Council Dist 2 Pos B
Mike Kaufman (NP) 47.97%
Sam R. Crawford (NP) 52.03%
Whatcom County 2007 General Election
Whatcom County Council Dist 2 Pos B
NP - KEN MANN 47.51%
NP - SAM R. CRAWFORD 52.49%
What makes 'conservatives' unsuccessful politically isn't discrimination, it's their angry, selfish, mean-spirited, unworkable ideas.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Though we did not like the move to district-only voting, citizens of this county chose, through their ballots, to make that system part of the Whatcom County Charter. Changing that system back after one election without the consent of the citizens seems rash and presumptive.That's wrong, wrong, wrong? I talked to the Heralds Opinion Editor Scott Ayers on the phone and he said he thought some Council members had said they wanted to return to county-wide voting by passing a resolution. While we were on the phone he looked for the Herald news article he thought had said that, but couldn't find it. Scott said he would look into it further and bring it up at this afternoon's staff meeting.
I've talked with Scott Ayers more than once and I don't have the impression that he has any sort of bad intentions or a secret agenda. However, I do think publishing an editorial based on half-remembered unverified information on the day of the Council meeting is a huge disservice to the community.
The facts are that the County Council can't amend the Charter and the Council members know that. They can however, pass an Ordinance that would send a proposed Charter amendment to the voters and that is what Council members have been talking about doing.
The Ordinance that Councilwoman Brenner is putting forward tonite would send the question to the voters on next years ballot. It would ONLY put the question on the ballot and NOTHING ELSE. The Whatcom County Charter DOES NOT allow the County Council to amend the Charter. The council can only put a proposed amendment before the voter.
This is what the Whatcom County Charter says about amending the Charter:
Section 8.21 Amendments by the Charter Review Commission.
The Commission may propose amendments to the Charter by filing such proposed amendments with the County Council who shall submit the amendment to the voters at the next November general election at least ninety (90) days after the filing and registration of the amendments.
Section 8.22 Amendments by the Public.
The public may propose amendments to the Charter by registering with the Auditor an initiative petition bearing the signatures of registered voters of the county equal in number to, but not less than, twenty (20) percent of the number of votes cast in the county in the last gubernatorial election. Signatures shall be registered not more than one hundred twenty (120) days following filing of the petition with the Auditor, who shall submit the amendments to the voters. The one hundred and twenty (120) day period shall begin upon receipt of official notification to petitioner(s) by the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office either by certified mail or mes-senger. If the last day for collecting signatures falls on a weekend or legal holiday, then the one hundred and twenty (120) day period shall extend to the end of the next business day. (Amended by referendum 1986; Ord. 93-045; amended by referendum 1995; Ord. 2005-075 Exh. A)
Section 8.23 Amendments by the County Council.
The County Council may propose amendments to the Charter by enacting an ordinance to submit a proposed amendment to the voters at the next November general election occurring at least ninety (90) days after enactment. A minimum of five (5) affirmative votes shall be required to enact such an ordinance. An ordinance proposing an amendment to the Charter shall not be subject to the veto power of the County Executive. The County Council by unanimous vote of the entire Council may effect amendments to the language of the Charter where the passage of time has rendered language moot or obsolete. Such changes shall be made by ordinance, and have a public hearing. (Amended by referendum 1995)
There is no way for the County Council to change the County Charter without going to the voters... And no one on the Council was EVER trying to go around the voters.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Ordinance forwarding Charter Amendment 1 to the County Auditor, for inclusion on the 2008 General Election Ballot, to provide that each member of the Whatcom County Council be elected by majority vote of the registered voters of Whatcom County. (AB2007-467)
Passage of this Ordinance won't change the Charter, it will send the question to the voters next November.
Here are a few facts that I find interesting:
1.) In the B'ham Herald;
Councilman Sam Crawford is the only one who has publicly stated that he is against the ballot measure. Crawford said previously he believes he benefited from district-only voting in the November election against challenger Ken Mann.
2.)Republican activist Charlie Crabtree wrote the "VOTE BY DISTRICT - PRO" position in 2005.
3.) There's an email circulating, from the Whatcom County GOP, that says;
... With strong support from the Whatcom County Republican Party, at heavy expense to our treasury, the voters approved passage of the Charter Amendment...
4.) Republican activist Charlie Crabtree co-authored the "VOTERS' PAMPHLET - CON" position in 2005.
In the proposed Ordinance Councilwoman Brenner spells out her reasons for wanting the issue to be revisited. (unfortunately the proposed Ordinance is online in a graphic pdf, so I've had to transcribe part of it... feel free to check my work (here ) )
WHEREAS, each Whatcom County district ensures candidates for county council in the general election have already met district standards by residing in the district and being forwarded from the district as the top two candidates after the primary election; and
WHEREAS, there was no comprehensive debate last year regarding general election district-only voting versus general election county-wide voting for county council members who have already been forwarded by their district; and
WHEREAS, last year's election changed the Whatcom County voting process without a comprehensive debate on its merits; and
WHEREAS, there was no local voters pamphlet which would explain both sides of the issue before the measure was voted on; and
WHEREAS, Whatcom County has now implemented a comprehensive local voters pamphlet to be able to give all voters both sides of the issue; and
WHEREAS, an election cycle has passed in which Whatcom County voters had the experience of district only voting in the general election for county council members; and
WHEREAS, many Whatcom County voters were upset by their inability to vote for all council members who directly affect their lives and were in the last general election; and
WHEREAS, district-only general election voting limits individual Whatcom County voters to only being able to elect a minority of council members who make decisions that may affect their lives; and
WHEREAS, the ballot title of the measure that changed Whatcom County's voting process last year may have been confusing to some voters; and
It sure sounds like Sam Crawford and the Whatcom Republicans pulled a fast-one in 2005, slipping through District-only voting under a vague ballot title.
With the local voters pamphlet having passed in spite of their opposition, it's no wonder they're trying to cut-off revisiting the issue of District-only vs. County-wide voting by trying to pressure Council members.
Whatcom County Council member Sam Crawford posted a comment pointing out that I had incorrectly named him as the author of position statements on two of the 2005 charter amendments. I've edited this post to correct the error.
And... A day late but, Happy Birthday Sam.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
There were some scary headlines this year about tainted and toxic imported products. They made you wonder if your kids would get lead poisoning from their toys, if pet food would kill your dogs and cats or if your family was about to become a traffic statistic because of defective tires on your car.
You can visit the USW Stop Toxic Imports website to get more information on making it a safe Xmas.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Nov, 27, 2007How strange... the Editors of the Herald were so concerned about civility when the Mayors campaign got mean. But apparently wishing to see college students gunned down in the streets isn't a problem... as long as it's put in the form of a question.
Muses about anti-war protests
Concerning the rioters at the shipyard in Tacoma. Where is the the National Guard unit that guarded Kent State when we need them?
Stu Hyatt Bellingham
The idea that the B'ham Herald would publish an eliminationist letter calling for murder didn't seem quite right, so I sent an inquiry...
To:Executive Editor Julie Shirley, Opinion Editor Scott Ayers
Julie & Scott,
I'm having a great deal of trouble working out what the Herald's policy on advocating murder in 'Letters To The Editor' is.
You printed a letter from Stu Hyatt which was titled "Muses about anti-war protests ". Mr. Hyatt says: "Concerning the rioters at the shipyard in Tacoma. Where is the the National Guard unit that guarded Kent State when we need them?"
That is unambiguously calling for the protesters to be gunned down. Putting it into the form of a question doesn't alter the fact that he is advocating murder.
A recent Herald "Our View" disapproved of the protests, saying: "The Friday protest was peaceful, unlike the recent thuggery in Olympia, where protesters have been attempting to block shipments of military equipment."
So is the criteria that it's alright to advocated killing people that the Herald Editors don't like?
An Opinion Blog entry titled "Peace must be made around Northwood Casino" said: "I had held out hope that once it became obvious that the Nooksack Tribe’s Northwood Casino was going to open that citizens opposed to it would give up their sometimes nasty fight to fend it off."
Since you disapprove of the continued protests of the Casino, would you print a letter that said; "Concerning the rioters at the Northwood Casino. Where is Sitting Bull and the warriors he brought to the Little Bighorn when we need them?"?
Unfortunately I haven't received a response.
Scrubbing the Oregon GOP
Executive DirectorOregon Republican Party
Dear Mrs. Langdon,
I writing to alert you to a breach of security at your website. As you recall, yesterday, I wrote you an email asking if you've made any progress in achieving the goal set out in Plank 7.5 of the Oregon GOP platform, the one that states:7.5 Inter-jurisdictional agency cooperation shall be improved for more effective joint action against organized crime, drug cartels, terrorist networks and the Oregon Democratic Party.Or at least it stated that before I sent my email to you. It's been changed since then. Someone's removed the last part, the words "and the Oregon Democratic Party." Certainly, it wasn't you. The Oregon GOP would never edit a plank that had been approved by delegates to its state convention. That'd be anti-democratic (so to speak). ............
he goes on.....and finishes......
Heterosexually yours in a chaste, biblically appropriate, and Larry Craig kind of way,full post
Gen. JC Christian, patriot
hilarious and a great way to start the day........
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Their first action will be to confront WA-02 Congressman Rick Larsen (D) about his votes to continue funding of the war, during his "Conversation with Veterans" at a local American Legion Post.
The first comment left on Sam's Politics blog was by a local rightwing blogger, who wrote: "Does IVAW have which Codes of Federal Regulations were violated, that would clearly state that this an illegal war?I need more data..."
So in the spirit of helpfulness and civility, here's "more data..." an explanation of why the Iraq war is illegal:
In talking about congestion pricing on my show Saturday night, I couldn’t contain a brief outburst over how our local media and political elite continue to take seriously the Discovery Institute’s transportation proposals in light of its embarrassing role in promoting Creationism Intelligent Design. My frustration stems not simply from the fact that Intelligent Design is ridiculous anti-science, or that it is part of a well planned and executed multi-year campaign to undermine science education in the US at a time we face growing global economic competition… but that it has been promoted in such a shamelessly dishonest manner.
The Discovery Institute has proven again and again that it makes no distinction between scholarship and propaganda, and that there is no ethical boundary it will not cross in the interest of foisting its Christianist agenda on the American people. This blatant disregard for the most basic rigors of academia — or even fair play — was highlighted recently by a virologist/blogger who discovered that DI fellows had stolen and manipulated a Harvard University/XVIVO video for use in their own presentations, without attribution, permission or license.
Here is the original Harvard/XVIVO video, “The inner life of a cell”, with its scientifically accurate narration intact:
And here is a clip from a Discovery Institute presentation that features an excerpt of the video, now redubbed and retitled “The Cell as an Automated City.” Notice how the presenter describes the video as “state of the art computer animation,” implying that it is somehow the work of the institute:
As ERV points out in
his her post, this isn’t just a naive case of copyright infringement. The Discovery Institute has plenty of lawyers on staff and on retainer, so they sure as hell know that scrubbing the Harvard/XVIVO copyright and credits off the video is not only dishonest, but illegal.
Maybe they think it is ‘okay’ because they gave the animation a new title (’Inner life of a cell’ became ‘The cell as an automated city’) and an extraordinarily unprofessional new narration (alternate alternate title– ‘ Big Gay Al takes a tour of a cell!’). Harvard/XVIVOs narration, all of the science, is whisked away and replaced with a ’surrealistic lilliputian realm’– ‘robots’, ‘manufacturing’, ‘circuitry’, ‘nano moters’, ‘UPS labels’. Maybe they think it is ‘okay’ because they turned all of Harvards science into ‘MAGIC!’
Hmm. From my point of view, as a virologist and former teaching assistant, this isn’t just copyright infringement. This is theft and plagiarism. Taking someone else’s work without their consent, manipulating it without their consent, pretending it supports ID Creationists distorted views of reality, and presenting it as DI’s work.
ERV further points out that if the DI fellows responsible for this were at
his her university, they would be expelled for their plagiarism.
But this is just business as usual at the Discovery Institute, and it raises a question: if the Discovery Institute can’t be trusted to produce independent academic scholarship on its signature issue, Intelligent Design, how can its Cascadia Center be trusted to produce independent academic scholarship on regional transportation planning? Of course, it can’t, and the media, business and political elites who ignore the institute’s established track record of distorting scholarship and science in the single-minded pursuit of its own private agenda, are little more than willful dupes.
Our region’s transportation planning is too important to be trusted to a faux “think tank” with such a shameful and embarrassing record, and every time one of our local media outlets unskeptically cites one of its reports or recommendations, it grants the Discovery Institute credibility it simply does not deserve. Unlike a real think tank, the Discovery Institute produces “scholarship” to support its existing agenda, not the other way around, and thus it cannot and should not be considered a trusted partner in planning our region’s transportation future.
This post contains 13% of your daily recommended dose of irony -
Monday, November 26, 2007
Rachel Maddow's Campaign Asylum: Meet the STRATEGISTS!
Barring an extremely unlikely late entry by a dark horse candidate (no, Al probably isn't running), the roster of Presidential hopefuls is more or less set. Rachel looks at the "brain trusts" driving the campaigns of the major GOP contenders. The list of esteemed advisors includes a Blackwater war profiteer, an Ex-Quayle advisor, the last of the Neocons, and George "Say hello to Macaca" Allen. With friends like these...
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Instead of reality this Editorial is based on Republican talking-points. It begins: "Gov. Chris Gregoire, bowing to mounting pressure late Monday, has finally called a special legislative session... " and then goes on to say "Gregoire made the right move, but she waited too long."
And Gee-whiz doesn't that sound bad... but at least here the truth slips in for a moment when the Editorial admits it's being a stenographer for partisan rhetoric: "... as the Republicans and Dino Rossi have claimed. Rossi and the Republicans wasted no time in demanding..."
Perpetual candidate Rossi and his Republican pals can make all sorts of ridiculous claims and outlandish accusations because they don't have to face any consequences. They don't have to figure out how to keep things running and produce the services citizens demand. Nor do they have to consider whether their grand schemes would actually work, they can just make grand pronouncements and walk away.
Now, away from the Herald's Editorial and Republican talking-points, in the real world Governor Gregoire has taken the responsible course and looked into ramifications of the Court decision before calling for action. Here in her letter to the leader of the State Legislature the Governor explains: "As you know, the Washington State Supreme Court recently invalidated Initiative 747, the 1% limit on property taxes. I have spoken with the Attorney General and after thorough review, he is not moving for reconsideration. Like you, I am very concerned about the effects of the court’s decision on the property taxpayers across the state. "
We haven't heard any criticism of the Republican Attorney General for not moving for reconsideration... have we! We also don't know how long the Republican Attorney General drug his feet before telling the Governor... do we! But the Editorial says; "The nearly two-week delay makes her seem indecisive, ..."
I guess in the Heralds View, there's no place for careful consideration in the machinery of government. Apparently everything should be based on knee-jerk reaction.
The Herald also said that it was "preposterous" for the State Supreme Court to think that voters might have been confused by the wording of the initiative... Obviously the Herald's Editorial writer doesn't talk to many voters. Voters aren't stupid, (well most of them aren't) but many of them haven't researched initiatives and referendums before they vote and the wording on the ballot is often unclear. A sentence or two on the ballot can't explain the ramification of a seemingly simple change to the law.
The Herald draws conclusions that aren't supported by facts, like: "It’s disturbing that some politicians couldn’t recognize what should be painfully obvious: Voters want to limit government’s ability to raise taxes. "
There's no evidence that "some politicians" don't recognize voters desire to limit tax increases. One of the dilemma's elected officials are faced with is how to provide the services that voters expect (and that are mandate by law) and not raise taxes.
Finally the Herald says; "We’re counting on lawmakers to reinstate the 1 percent limit. It’s a no-brainer. " Hmmm, I guess it's a no-brainer if you've had your brain rotted out by listening to nothing but rightwing propaganda. It sounds to me more like expecting lawmakers to bow to an election year media campaign.
The State Supreme Court ruled "that wording on the initiative was so confusing that voters may have misunderstood how they marked their ballots", so the logical and obvious thing to do is put a clearly worded referendum on the ballot and let the Voters indicate whether or not they were confused. (a temporary 1% cap could be enacted until next November)
Instead of regurgitating Republican propaganda that separates cause from effect, the Herald should be contributing to a serious and reasoned discussion of how to maintain the government services we've all come to count on... like schools & police & roads & clean drinking water(!). Nobody enjoys paying taxes but at the same time, there really is no such thing as a free lunch.
Friday, November 23, 2007
If you're getting ready to go shopping for Xmas presents, here's something to think about as you try to figure out which toys won't poison the kids;
Industries Paid for Top Regulators' TravelYou can check ToyInfo.org for information about toy safety... it's sponsored by the Toy Industry Association and they might not being lying, at least not as much as Nancy Nord and the rest of the Bush Administration.
Two Heads of Product Safety Agency Accepted Trips From Manufacturer Groups
By Elizabeth WilliamsonWashington Post Staff Writer Friday, November 2, 2007; Page A01
The chief of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and her predecessor have taken dozens of trips at the expense of the toy, appliance and children's furniture industries and others they regulate, according to internal records obtained by The Washington Post. Some of the trips were sponsored by lobbying groups and lawyers representing the makers of products linked to consumer hazards.
The records document nearly 30 trips since 2002 by the agency's acting chairman, Nancy Nord, and the previous chairman, Hal Stratton, that were paid for in full or in part by trade associations or manufacturers of products ranging from space heaters to disinfectants. The airfares, hotels and meals totaled nearly $60,000, and the destinations included China, Spain, San Francisco, New Orleans and a golf resort on Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Notable among the trips -- commonly described by officials as "gift travel" -- was an 11-day visit to China and Hong Kong in 2004 by Stratton, then chairman. The$11,000 trip was paid for by the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory, an industry group based in an office suite in Bethesda whose only laboratories are in Asia. (more)
And now for an appropriately themed musical interlude:
H/T to Juan Cole