Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Culling the Congressional herd

Mr. Natural at Left Edge North drops a link in our comments, and it is a doozy


How corrupt is the US congress? Maybe the recent case of Randy "Duke" Cunningham is illustrative. An 8 term congressman from California, Cunningham was a major promoter of the Iraq war. He has been a longtime proponent of "lock 'em up and throw away the key" style justice for drug offenders (that is, until his own son was caught with drugs), which makes Duke's upcoming sentencing all the more ironic. A wikipedia article on Duke states the following:

In September 1996, Cunningham attacked President Clinton for appointing "soft on crime" judges. "We must get tough on drug dealers," he said. "Those who peddle destruction on our children must pay dearly." He favored stiff drug penalties and voted for the death penalty for major drug dealers. Four months later, his son Todd was arrested for helping to transport 400 pounds (181 kg) of marijuana from Massachusetts to California. At his son's sentencing hearing, Cunningham fought back tears as he begged the judge for leniency (Todd was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, in part because he tested positive for cocaine three times while on bail).

Click here for the rest of the story

(My Comments)

The biggest issue in the news yesterday was illegal immigration. I heard a caller to a radio talk show rant about the fact that some of the illegal visitors display an attitude of entitlement about being in this country. If you wonder where that attitude of entitlement comes from, simply think about Tom DeLay or any of the other corrupt Congressional politicians (and there are more than we are likely to find out) who act as if they belong in Congress regardless of their despicable behavior. Acceptance of these political assholes indicates a gaping tear in the fabric of our Democracy, and it needs to be mended.
Start by throwing corporate influence out of our election process, and finish by holding elected officials accountable by the very standards they preach for others. I, for one, would much rather have illegal neighbors than corrupt policy makers.

Monday, March 27, 2006

War for oil?.. We report, you decide

The Prize Defined

By: Sondra Hickman

(Excerpt) To read the entire article, click here

Just as Abraham Lincoln hid the issue of the Civil War under the guise of freeing slaves, instead of the true reasons of tariff collection on goods being exported directly out of the South, so it is with the war in Iraq. Bush has hidden his and the US State Department agenda under the farce of "freeing the Iraq public" after first claiming "weapons of mass destruction." What are the Iraqis being freed of? That question was answered in this quote from the address to the Institute of Petroleum held in London in 1999 by the CEO of Halliburton, Dick Cheney who said:
"By 2010 we will need on the order of an additional 50 million barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from? While many regions of the world offer great oil opportunities, the Middle East with 2/3 of the world's oil and the low cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies."

When Cheney says low cost he means it cost only about a $1 a barrel to get the oil out of the ground in Iraq, its easy to get, easy to truck or pump, and very easy to sell.

In 2001 Cheney was appointed to head the Energy Policy Development Group by George W. Bush. He went on to add this comment, "Even though companies are anxious for greater access there, (meaning the Middle East) progress continues to be slow."

So I realized what it is we will be winning with the UK by our side, the 80 some odd oil fields not already in production in Iraq will be placed into production along with the 17 that are currently in operation. The new government in Iraq and the Iraqi Oil Ministry is being hand fed the idea of PSA, which is a production sharing agreement. What is this?

Ultimately it will give the BIG oil of the west Mobil, Exxon, BP, Shell, Chevron Texaco, Conoco Phillips, a legal way to take the oil from Iraq. This PSA agreement could give the state a 60% share and the Invested Companies a 40% share of profits. This could mean a loss of as much as $194 billion to the Nation of Iraq.

A PSA agreement could secure oil for the western world for quite a long time, while Iraq loses public control of their oil holdings by placing it in private hands. Take into consideration the word secure has two meanings. One 'its safe and sound', the other means 'to take control of', so while the US/UK "secure the oil" they are also writing a huge tab for long term occupation. Are Mobil, Exxon, Chevron, Shell oil companies going to pay to keep soldiers there to protect these holdings or are we the US tax payer going to foot the bill? These giants made 35 billion in 2002.

In the PSA agreement a company's investment is not made solely in research and development it is invested in the package from ground to your gas tank...pumping and transporting the oil, so if the well runs dry so does the money. Iraq will be tied into this agreement for years and lose while foreign oil companies make billions in profits with the mostly US State Department invented idea. These agreements could control the flow of oil for up to 40 years.

The US/UK has been trying to secure the region in order to start the work of controlling the flow of oil out of Iraq. Its going to be very hard for the US to go ahead with plans to rebuild and reopen the Haifa Pipeline and pump oil directly to the Jewish nation of Israel over the land of Jordan. Israel currently buys oil from Russia. The Haifa Pipeline has not been in operation since 1948 when Iraq had the War of Independence. The cost to put this pipeline back in operation would be $400,000 per kilometer. In order to secure this entire region the US has a hard row to hoe, lets say they actually get the pipeline operating, this would mean US occupation forever to keep the oil flowing. The North occupied the South for twelve years following the end of the Civil War back in 1865.

How can Bush pull out now? He can't he has not won his prize. He has a plan to secure that oil. Big oil companies stand to make millions, even his own dynasty the Bush family stands to profit. In his book American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush, Kevin Phillips, a political and economic commentator, says:

"No other family that has fulfilled its presidential aspirations has been so involved in the ascendancy of the arms industry and of the 21st-century American imperium - often at the expense of regional and world peace and for their personal gain."

Sondra Hickman lives in NYC, and writes on various topics of interest, visit her at

Copyright © 2006, NewsBlaze, Daily News

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A Hero story that never ends

Ground Zero Still Claiming Victims

By Sondra Hickman

Today a paramedic was laid to rest; she did her job with courage and honor

On September 11, 2001 planes crashing into World Trade Center. Within minutes one tower came crashing to the ground and soon after the second tower fell. The smoke was seen for miles. I stood at a large picture window in the six-floor office building of Con-Edison, just a mile away as the crow flies, and watched the events unfold in stunned disbelief. Who would have ever thought of such a thing? The dust cloud traveled with the wind it contained more than just smoke; the cloud also contained pulverized bits of asbestos.

Since I had just become a New York State Emergency Medical Technician, I rushed to the site to help with the wounded. I was part of a volunteer force of hundreds that night. There were no survivors to administer care to; they had been removed within the first couple of hours directly after the disaster. It took me all of five hours to make my way from Brooklyn back to lower Manhattan where I lived and then on down to the WTC site.

If the news had been announced to stay away, that a deadly carcinogen had been released would I have still gone down there? Not without proper gear! And the workers I saw had no proper gear issued to them. Some had on respirators, but most didn't. I was given a pair of safety goggles and a thin paper mask. That's all.

All of lower Manhattan had a fine layer of gray dust covering everything. From the sidewalks to the window ledges twenty stories up, a complete blanket of this nasty powder covered our world, from 14th street and down. Working at the site I saw this gray powder mixed with the water the Fire Department was spraying on the smoldering pile of rubble, and it became a gooey slippery mud.

I worked in the temporary morgue trying to identify bodies that were found. We searched the pockets for identification and we cataloged the obvious. Each body brought to us was covered by this muddy gray "clay". It made it almost impossible to see a face, and even more impossible to describe the clothing in which the body was clad. We did our best and made as good a record as we could before shipping these bodies to cold storage for more identification. In some cases we found a wallet with a name, sometimes only a torso came in, sometimes it was only a lower such lower half came in with his wallet still neatly stuffed in the side pocket.

I volunteered for two days then went back to my job at Con-Edison. The EMS employees of the City of New York, FDNY EMS, worked there for many days, weeks, and even months later. One such worker was Deborah Reeve. I did not know her personally, but I'm sure we saw each other down there.

Deborah worked out of Station 20 for the EMS services as a paramedic. A 17-year veteran she worked in the morgue area also, moving corpses around, cataloging, doing whatever she was assigned to do. Today Deborah Reeve is being laid to rest at San Andres Presbyterian Church in Bronx, NY. She was 42 years old. She died after a long battle with mesothelioma; she was diagnosed in 2004, after having symptoms in 2003. Mesothelioma is a lung cancer that is directly related to exposure of asbestos. Deborah like many others, myself included, were exposed to a material that has been recognized as a carcinogen since 1960 and was subsequently banned in 30 countries around the world.

Deborah is survived by her husband, and two children ages 12 and 6. She died at Calvary Hospital in Bronx, NY a hospice care facility. The battle was long, hard, and expensive. Deborah was the first EMS worker to receive disability compensation of about $30,000 per year as a direct result of her efforts at the 9/11 disasters. She was however denied Workers Compensation by the City of New York. FDNY did not allow fellow EMS workers who wished to donate their unused sick time to her family to help pay her medical bills. The department gave $25,000 toward her burial expenses.

Deborah is not the first nor will she be the last to die as a result of this environmental catastrophe. Lawsuits are now finding their way into our courts against the EPA, and other Federal agencies for deeming it "safe" to return to downtown, when in fact a great public health risk was evident. Many clean up workers were brought in to clean with a paper mask and a rag, illegal aliens in search of a day job were hired by cleaning companies to get rid of the mess.

Asbestos is a mineral that is mined straight out of the ground. The USA has stopped mining asbestos but continues to import it as a raw material and in goods and products that contain it. Asbestos is a strong fibrous material that has strength and flexibility and is used in many products to make them stronger and heat resistant. Many types of insulation contain asbestos, and since it has been deemed a health risk, it has been removed from many buildings. Contracted companies who know how to protect themselves and the public from exposure usually do asbestos removal, an untrained immigrant with a rag and cloth mask doesn't cut it. Even Union Workers who were issued Respirator Masks are now worried, a product recall says they may not have been protected.

How many people will the attack of 9/11 take in the end? How many families will be affected? The medical world is only touching the tip of the iceberg now, with at least $90 million dollars earmarked for tracking the health of the workers at Ground Zero. This funding is only extended to 2009. It can take up to 20 after exposure, depending on the density of exposure, for someone who was exposed to become ill as a result of that exposure.

My condolences go out to Deborah and her family, and all the families who will have to deal with this in the future.
Copyright © 2006, NewsBlaze, Daily News

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Summary: In response to gay rights organization Soulforce's Equality Ride -- a bus tour aimed at confronting religious schools and military academies that ban the enrollment of GBLT students -- the American Family Association's Don Wildmon proposed his own hypothetical trip to "the homosexual bathhouses," saying, "[W]e're going to confront these people ... for what they're doing."

See what the General has to say about all this

Saturday, March 18, 2006

It has been three years today

In Memoriam
~ Rachel Corrie ~
1979 - 2003

Memorial Website

Just a friendly reminder

If you have a fishing license for Washington State, you are required to return your 2005 Catch Record Card by April 30, 2006.

The Catch Record Card is used to record any and all catches of Salmon, Sturgeon, Steelhead, Halibut, and/or Dungeness Crab.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Take a break from the hustle and bull of the political cess pool, and join a fellow MAINSTREAM LIBERAL in celebration of the green. It doesn't have to be a long break, mind you, because I don't want you to disengage from the battle at all. Simply take a moment to recognize all that is beautiful around you, and thank either an Irishman or a mainstream liberal.

By the way, did I mention that I am a Mainstream Liberal?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Get a clue Congress!

Depleted Uranium - US Lung Cancer Rates Soar

From Karl W B


On average there are 175,000 new cases of lung cancer each year in the United States. For just the months of January and February 2006 there are 172,000 confirmed, newly diagnosed cases of lung cancer. This is not just a little spike on the charts and much worse news is coming. That is already averaging this year about 6 times the normal incidence of new lung cancer cases in a year.

They tried to attribute it to second hand smoke, but second hand smoke and cigarettes are nothing compared to being exposed to Depleted Uranium ("DU") and particulates created by DU explosions. You can smoke for 30 years and not do the damage that DU can do to you in 30 days.

How long does it take to get lung cancer after being exposed to DU and nano-particulates? On average 2-5 years is the correct answer. We started bombing Afghanistan in October 2001 or four and a half years ago. We started bombing Iraq again in March 2003, or just shy of three years ago.

The effects of those bombing attacks were registered as far away as the UK according to the Aldermaston Report we and others released February 19, 2006. We do not know yet what was registered in the U.S. because the U.S. government is not saying and they definitely do not want you to know.

The link between DU exposure and lung cancer has been known for many years. The correlation between DU and lung cancer versus cigarettes and lung cancer is even stronger for DU.

They are making plans right now to bomb Iran, even knowing full well that they will be spreading more nuclear pollution.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Political slime trails


Abramoff discusses his relationship with:

President Bush, who claims not to remember having his picture taken with Abramoff. According to Abramoff, at one time, the president joked with Abramoff about his weight-lifting past: "What are you benching, buff guy?"

Tom DeLay, who once referred to Abramoff as one of his closest friends. Abramoff explains his working relationship with DeLay, saying, "I didn't spend a lot of time lobbying Tom for things, because the things I worked on were usually consistent with the conservative philosophy." Abramoff has "admired Tom DeLay and his family from the first meeting with him," he tells Margolick. "We would sit and talk about the Bible. We would sit and talk about opera. We would sit and talk about golf," Abramoff recalls. "I mean, we talked about philosophy and politics."

Ken Mehlman, who recently claimed he didn't really know Abramoff. According to documents obtained by Vanity Fair, Mehlman exchanged e-mail with Abramoff, and did him political favors (such as preventing Clinton administration alumnus Allen Stayman from keeping a State Department job), had Sabbath dinner at Abramoff's house, and offered to pick up Abramoff's tab at Signatures, Abramoff's own restaurant.

Newt Gingrich, whose spokesman Rick Tyler tells Margolick that "Before [Abramoff's] picture appeared on TV and in the newspapers, Newt wouldn't have known him if he fell across him. He hadn't seen him in 10 years." A rankled Abramoff says "I have more pictures of [Newt] than I have of my wife." Abramoff shows Margolick numerous photographs: "Here's Newt. Newt. Newt. Newt. More Newt. Newt with Grover [Norquist, the Washington conservative Republican Über-strategist and longtime Abramoff friend] this time. But Newt never met me. Ollie North. Newt. Can't be Newt … he never met me. Oh, Newt! What's he doing there? Must be a Newt look-alike.… Newt again! It's sick! I thought he never met me!"

The April issue of Vanity Fair is on sale now in New York and Los Angeles, and March 14 nationally.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


I had a piece posted about termites from New Orleans being spread across the nation in mulch this spring, but it turned out to be a false rumor acording to, so I deleted it.

I also bought a set of encyclopedias when I was newly married, so you know I can be had once in a while.

Friday, March 03, 2006

This is a hanging offense.

U.S. signs $38 million deal for depleted uranium tank shells
John ByrnePublished: March 2, 2006

The munition is highly controversial. While the Pentagon has been ambiguous about its health toll, leftover rounds from the first Gulf War are believed to have caused a significant increase in cancer and birth defects in Iraq. According to a detailed article by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2002, "Many researchers outside Iraq, and several U.S. veterans organizations, agree; they also suspect depleted uranium of playing a role in Gulf War Syndrome, the still-unexplained malady that has plagued hundreds of thousands of Gulf War veterans."

The new $38 million order was placed with Alliant Techsystems for 120-mm ammunition. Once the new pact is completed the firm will have produced 35,000 rounds for the U.S. military.

The Pentagon uses depleted uranium in its rounds because they say it is extremely effective in penetrating heavy armor.

Depleted uranium remains radioactive for 4.5 billion years. The byproduct of manufacturing nuclear weapons or reactors, the rounds contaminate water and soil. Along some highways in Iraq where the weapon was used during in the first Gulf War, radiation levels register 1,000 times normal background radiation levels. Cancer levels in Iraq are attributed to the shells.

A destroyed Iraqi tank in Basra destroyed by the U.S. weapon registered 2,500 times normal background radiation.

Read more on depleted uranium in the Guardian here, and from the Post Intelligencer here.

In a release, the firm making the weapon said, "Its state-of-the-art composite sabot, propellant, and penetrator technologies give it outstanding accuracy and lethality." UPI first reported on the deal Feb. 20.

Thanks to Left Edge North

(My Comments)

Until every member of Congress is required to outfit themselves and each of their immediate family members with a medallion made from depleted uranium, we will have to endure the ignorant statements and comments about the lack of proof that this material is hazardous to the health of our fighting men and women.


What do you think?

Broke Back Ballad

How many times did this guy gain access to the Whitehouse under the guise of being a reporter?

How many times did he gain access when there was no scheduled press briefing, and why in the world would someone want to see him outside his alleged job description?

Just who the heck is the top guy around here anyway?