Friday, May 30, 2008

Fox News Employee Gets Bedbugs

  This was to funny to pass up!

    According to the Associated Press, Fox News employee Jane Clark caught bedbugs while at work at the tower that houses both the  Fox News Channel and the New York Post. As is usual, there is a lawsuit over this horrible incident and Clark is claiming that she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and that she can't work.

The lawsuit asks unspecified damages from the building's owner, a management company and two maintenance companies. The Fox News Channel and its parent News Corp. were not named as defendants.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Roe Versus Wade: John McCain's Idea's

  Many of you know that Senator McCain would like to have the Roe vs. Wade ruling overturned by a conservative Supreme Court. But he isn't saying that out loud in public.

Emily Douglas, Posted May 29, 2008.

John McCain knows how to dog-whistle.

At Wake Forest University two weeks ago, in a speech outlining his judicial philosophy and describing the judges he would nominate for the Supreme Court, McCain decried justices who use " ‘penumbras,' ‘emanations,' and other airy poor substitutes for clear and rigorous constitutional reasoning." There wasn't a word in McCain's speech about abortion, or Roe, but there didn't need to be - he was referring, obliquely but distinctly, of course, to the "zones of privacy" found in the "penumbras and emanations" around certain amendments to the Constitution. "He's learning the secret code," Elizabeth Shipp, political director at NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in response. "The secret code is what he has to say in public when people are actually paying attention to him to appeal to independent and pro-choice Republican voters. He can't come out in a major speech and say, ‘Yeah, I want to see Roe v. Wade overturned.'"

Anti-choice activists nationwide hear the whistle and are getting ready for him - and his judicial nominees. If McCain wins his bid for presidency, has the opportunity to nominate a Supreme Court justice, and puts forth a nominee who shares his disparaging view of the foundation of the right to privacy, Roe's vulnerability is guaranteed - and the legislative landscape in states across the country will have been strategically prepared. Meanwhile, Americans are aware that federal protection of abortion is vulnerable, but 58% are not aware of the laws protective of or hostile to abortion in their own states.

A widely-noted strategy of the anti-choice right is to introduce outright, immediate bans on abortion, bans state legislatures know are unconstitutional and pass with the explicit intention to challenge Roe at the Supreme Court level - a strategy that got underway in 2004, when South Dakota introduced the first abortion ban to be considered by state legislature in over a decade. The most notorious of such bans, lacking even an exception for rape, incest or a woman's health, the South Dakota ban was passed and signed into law in 2006, but blocked from going into effect by a successful popular referendum process to overturn it. This fall, South Dakota again will consider an outright ban, this time with exceptions for rape and incest.

The Second Prong

While the outright outlawing of abortion puts a particularly urgent face on the issue of judicial nominees, there's a second, subtler prong to the strategy, one that suggests that anti-choice activists are setting their sights on a time far beyond Roe's reversal. States with anti-choice legislatures have hit upon a novel way to use the law, creating bans on abortion that are not in constitutional conflict with Roe because they go into effect, or are "triggered," only upon the overturn of Roe. So-called "bans-in-waiting" go beyond states' proclamation of their intention to outlaw abortion when they can constitutionally do so to outline what specifically would be illegal and what penalties would be incurred for illegal abortion when it constitutionally can be outlawed.

As recently as 2004, no state had a bans-in-waiting on the books. In 2005, in the wake of failure of the state's immediate abortion ban to survive popular referendum, South Dakota passed the first; in 2006, Louisiana followed, and Kentucky and Missouri considered bans-in-waiting. In 2007, Mississippi and North Dakota added bans-in-waiting to their books and Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah all considered them.

Bans-in-waiting reflect anti-choice activists' confidence that Roe will be overturned, says Katherine Grainger, vice-president of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, and demonstrate that "anti-choice activists are not waiting for Roe to fall to shape the post-Roe world." For Sondra Goldschein, state strategies attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, bans-in-waiting are "just the same" as immediate bans. "They show legislative intent to ban abortion," she says, and they "come as no surprise" to the advocates on the ground who are well-acquainted with their state legislature's hostility to women's health and well-being.

Perhaps the most insidious aspect of bans-in-waiting is that because the bans are not currently in effect, and because there is therefore no individual who has standing to challenge the law, such bans cannot be challenged in court once they are passed into law. "Courts stop laws from going into effect - there has to be some kind of immediate urgency that the court has to rectify. And the bans-in-waiting don't have that effective date," Grainger explains. Goldschein notes that it's "unprecedented" for a legislature to pass laws with an unspecified future effective date. While in some states, the state's own constitutional provisions on privacy - often far more expansive than federal constitutional protections - could conflict with the bans, reproductive rights litigators can't make any arguments in court against the bans until they effectuate.

So, in the twenty-five states without a popular referendum process, the only way bans-in-waiting can be overturned is if the legislature that passed them will repeal them. But legislatures passing bans-in-waiting are "packed with anti-choice legislators that keep getting re-elected year after year," Grainger notes, so "the possibility of that occurring is slim."

For anti-choice activists, bans-in-waiting have another advantage over outright bans - because they can't be attacked in court, unlike unconstitutional bans on abortion, bans-in-waiting cost the state nothing to defend. Grainger says that the Louisiana state legislature wanted to pass an outright ban shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit the state. When pro-choice advocates asked legislators whether they really wanted to spend millions of taxpayer dollars defending an unconstitutional ban as the state recovered from a natural disaster, legislators responded, " ‘Oh, that's going to look really bad, let's make it a ban-in-waiting,'" says Grainger. "I think that's largely how these things are thought of. ‘We don't want to pay; we don't want to look bad. We want to get re-elected, but we also want to outlaw abortion. How can we do that?'" So, 'bans-in-waiting' allow them to do so."

Though the period from 2005 to 2007 saw an increase in the number of states introducing and passing bans-in-waiting each year, 2008 has been a slow year for bans-in-waiting, says Celine Mizrahi, legislative counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights. Only Virginia proposed a ban-in-waiting and it hasn't moved. In this election year, Mizrahi sees that all the action is on ballot initiatives, including South Dakota's ban, Colorado's and Montana's personhood amendments, and California's parental notification measure.

A Lab of Our Own

South Dakota has been first out of the gate on both the immediate ban and the ban-in-waiting, turning the state into a laboratory for anti-choice legislation. The pro-choice movement needs a lab of its own, says Grainger. Galen Sherwin, director of the Reproductive Rights Project at the New York Civil Liberties Union, hopes legislation currently being considered by the New York state legislature can be one such model for other, more moderate states.

Roe's vulnerability has prompted many reproductive rights advocates to consider statutory codification of Roe in state law - analysis done by the Center for Reproductive Rights suggests that if Roe were overturned, abortion would likely become illegal in twenty-one states, remain legal in twenty, and in nine the future of legal abortion is unclear. Sherwin and other New York state reproductive health advocates started working on the state's Reproductive Health and Privacy Protection Act (RHAPP) in the wake of the federal abortion ban and as Gonzalez v. Carhart was moving through the federal court system. Concerned that New York might be vulnerable if Carhart resulted in a repeal of Roe, New York advocates learned that the state's own law on abortion had not been updated since 1970. "What we found when we looked at New York law was that in fact because New York changed its laws to legalize abortion in 1970, which was before Roe v. Wade was even decided, it's now significantly out-of-date and we've never gone back and revised it," Sherwin explains. As such, it failed to include the health exception that Carhart itself compromised.

For some pro-choice legislators, RHAPP represents the first opportunity to take a stand on affirmative pro-choice legislation, rather than battling legislation designed to curtail abortion rights. And some of those legislators haven't been as quick to sign on to RHAPP as they may have been to oppose anti-choice legislation. "New York has not had a germane abortion bill on the floor since the seventies," Grainger explains. "They've never had to think about it," says Sherwin. "They're used to responding [to choice issues] in a defensive posture. We're working to give them a sense of comfort that protecting women's health should not be an act of courage it should be the natural part of their job."

In Illinois, reproductive health advocates are pushing what the ACLU's Goldschein calls reproductive justice legislation: the Reproductive Justice and Access Act would not just codify Roe but ensure access to funding for abortion services - as well mandating comprehensive sexuality education, contraceptive access, and other reproductive health care. Goldschein credits reproductive health advocates in New York and Illinois for being "at the point of legislation" on affirmative reproductive health bills, but notes that states all across the country aren't just fighting back restrictions but that "all states have as their ultimate goal the right to access the full spectrum of reproductive health care, including abortion." Seven other states have already passed statutory protection for abortion, including California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Washington, and Nevada.

One thing is clear to advocates working on affirmative legislation: no bill could be incremental, or moderate, enough to placate anti-choice protesters. Working on the RHAPP, a bill that does little more than codify existing federal law into state statute, has still aroused the ire - and misinformation - the anti-choice right is famous for. "It's obvious that opponents are not responding to any particular provision of the bill but that they oppose the notion of women's reproductive freedom and of the freedom to decide whether or not to become pregnant or whether or not to bear a child," Sherwin observes. "Over-arching protection for liberty and dignity for women: that is what is the focus of opponents." And it will be John McCain's target too, should he get the chance.

Emily Douglas: Assistant Editor at RH Reality Check

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Top Spenders On Lobbying Groups For 2008 ( Thus Far )

  The following are the businesses which have spent the most on lobbying activity so far in 2008.

Center for Responsive Politics

US Chamber of Commerce


AT&T Inc

Verizon Communications

American Medical Assn

American Hospital Assn

General Electric

General Motors

American International Group

Lockheed Martin

Pharmaceutical Rsrch & Mfrs of America

Textron Inc

Northrop Grumman

National Cable & Telecommunications Assn

National Assn of Realtors

Exxon Mobil

Altria Group

Eli Lilly & Co

UnitedHealth Group

Southern Co


  I guess that a lot of medical companies need a lot of help from our government. We all know why ATT and Verizon are lobbying for.

  Here are a few of the top concerns for the companies and their lobbyist

Fed Budget & Appropriations
Health Issues
Energy & Nuclear Power
Medicare & Medicaid
Environment & Superfund

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

John McCain's " Reformer " Image

   It would seem that dear John is having a problem with his image as of late, what with all of those lobbyist working for his campaign coming under fire for working for foreign governments and what have you. It  appears that McCain's campaign is being run by nothing but " former " lobbyist and that even McCain's own group, The Reform Institute, is nothing but a fundraising  outfit alive only for the purpose of raising cash for John McCain.

  What is the stated purpose of The Reform Institute?

   The Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) educational organization dedicated to advancing a solutions-based reform agenda. The Institute recognizes that resolving the most intractable problems confronting our society will require fundamental reform to the core of our democratic system. Such an agenda includes promoting open and fair elections, reducing the influence of special interests in our politics, and encouraging a political discourse that rises above blatant partisanship.

But wait! There's more!

  The Reform Institute  was founded in 2001 as a unique, independent voice for campaign finance reform in support of the McCain-Feingold federal soft money ban -- now the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) -- which marked the beginning of a new era in the reform movement.

The Institute’s campaign finance reform agenda is rooted in the principles of public accountability and transparency, empowering citizens and reducing the influence of special interests, encouraging electoral competition, and guaranteeing proper enforcement of campaign laws.

  and then we have this little piece of info on this group..

  From 2003 to 2005, the Reform Institute was led by Richard of Washington's most powerful telecommunications lobbyists. The Reform Institute paid Davis some $395,000 in salary and consulting fees, even as he continued to receive hefty retainers from telecoms with interests before the Senate Commerce Committee. Which McCain chaired...after Cablevision CEO Charles Dolan appeared before McCain’s Commerce Committee to advocate for "‘a la carte" cable pricing, he and Davis met, and soon a Cablevision subsidiary contributed $l00,000 to the Institute. As reported by the Associated Press, the subsidiary kicked in another $100,000 in August 2004, three months after McCain wrote a letter to the FCC in support of Cablevision’s position. McCain took the stance even after a government study, produced at his request, concluded that Dolan’s system might lead to higher prices.  Richard Davis is, of course, one of McCain’s closest advisers and chairman of both his presidential campaigns.    Source

  Maybe the straight talker should consider reforming himself before he tries to help anyone else.


“The core image of John McCain is as a reformer in Washington — and the more dominant the story is about the lobbying teams around him, the more you put that into question,” said Terry Nelson, who was Mr. McCain’s campaign manager until he left in a shake-up last fall. “If the Obama campaign can truly change him from being seen as a reformer to just being another Washington politician, it could be very damaging over the course of the campaign.”

  This image as a " reformer " is the only thing that John McCain has going for him right now, and that image is slowly starting to unravel.

John McCain's Other Sideline Interest ( lobbyist )

  This man has more skeletons in his closet!

 Harpers Magazine

  In 2001, the year after he lost the G.O.P.  presidential nomination to George W. Bush, McCain helped found the Reform Institute... a nonprofit whose stated aim was to advance ideals of influence-free good governance. But as McCain makes a second run at the White House, his supposedly independent project functions rather obviously as a public-relations arm of his political machine. In fact, in its revolving-door policy for loyalists, its dubious fund-raising, and its improper support of its founder's aspirations, it resembles nothing so much as yet another Washington influence peddling scheme.  more here

  Mr forked-tongue not being so open as he would have the ignorant public believe.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Bush Dictatorship: Coming Soon To You?

  Where I currently live we have been having nothing but hard rain and massive lightening, which makes our Internet go nuts. I haven't been able to keep up with most things for the past few days, but, today I ran across This concerning the Bush Administration and your freedoms/civil rights. Read it very carefully and then never forget that Senator John McCain will make things even worse if his sorry ass makes it into the White House.

I like dictatorship! And so do you, if you know what's good for you!

by Kagro X Mon May 26, 2008

You do too. Trust me, you do. Just nod. You don't want to know what happens if you don't nod.

Al-Marri's capture six years ago might be the Bush administration's biggest domestic counterterrorism success story. Authorities say he was an al-Qaida sleeper agent living in middle America, researching poisonous gasses and plotting a cyberattack.

To justify holding him, the government claimed a broad interpretation of the president's wartime powers, one that goes beyond warrantless wiretapping or monitoring banking transactions. Government lawyers told federal judges that the president can send the military into any U.S. neighborhood, capture a citizen and hold him in prison without charge, indefinitely.

Yes, that's what your government's lawyers tell federal judges when push comes to shove, and they have to own up to the ultimate ramifications of what they're arguing. They really are willing to stand there and tell judges that the president can send the military to disappear anyone he wants, so long as he's willing to say that person is an enemy combatant.

The full appeals court is reviewing that decision and a ruling is expected soon. During arguments last year, government lawyers said the courts should give great deference to the president when the nation is at war.

"What you assert is the power of the military to seize a person in the United States, including an American citizen, on suspicion of being an enemy combatant?" Judge William B. Traxler asked.

"Yes, your honor," Justice Department lawyer Gregory Garre replied.

And who are you to say different, citizen?

Nobody. Exactly. I thought not. Go on about your business.

(Psst! Over here! Keep it down, though. Were you wondering where they say they derive this power from? Well, it's the AUMF.)

"The president is not a king and cannot lock people up forever in the United States based on his say-so," said Jonathan Hafetz, a lawyer who represents al-Marri and other detainees. "Today it's Mr. al-Marri. Tomorrow it could be you, a member of your family, someone you know. Once you allow the president to lock people up for years or even life without trial, there's no going back."

Glenn Sulmasy, a national security fellow at Harvard, said the issue comes down to whether the nation is at war. Soldiers would not need warrants to launch a strike against invading troops. So would they need a warrant to raid an al-Qaida safe house in a U.S. suburb?

Sulmasy says no. That's how Congress wrote the bill and "if they feel concerned about civil liberties, they can tighten up the language," he said.

So, how are we doing on "tightening up" that language?

Mmmm, not so hot. But mabye we can cave in on FISA first, and then talk about the AUMF.

What? FISA again? Yes, FISA again. Why FISA again? Because the Bush "administration" says the AUMF authorized both its illegal domestic spying program and its powers to invade your neighborhood and disappear your sorry ass on the president's say-so.

And just for fun, here's an interesting observation from a comment by entlord1 in an earlier diary: Bush claims the power to make a warrantless arrest of anyone, anywhere at any time, and argues in court that the power is derived from Congress (though John Yoo always argued the power was inherent in the presidency, which, while even crazier, is at least an internally consistent if powerfully stupid argument). Meanwhile, Congress pretends it has no independent power to enforce its own lawful subpoenas.

Gosh, that must have been some powerful piece of legislation! Better be careful with what you say it authorizes, Congress! Since you're actually contemplating giving the retroactive thumbs-up to the spying part, you might want to give a minute to what this crazy-ass "administration" is going to say that means about the warrantless military seizure and secret, indefinite detention of pretty much anyone the president says he doesn't like a whole lot.

Maybe. Sorta. If it's not too much trouble, and you don't think it will maybe make Republicans attack you in ads.

Otherwise, forget it. We'll just shop and wear our flag pins.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Some Republicans Worry About McCain's Campaign

  and they should be worried as they have put a lying, immoral piece of crap up for their Presidential runner. What with his lobbyist troubles of the past week or so, McCain's so-called " Reformer " image is taking a beating all over the Internet and even in the MSM, which is about time. The " straight talk express " is slowly but surely coming undone by its own doing, which is also about time that this happens.

International Herold Tribune

In interviews, some party leaders said they were worried about signs of disorder in his campaign and about whether the focus in the last several weeks on the prominent role of lobbyists in McCain's inner circle might undercut the heart of his general election message: that he is reformer taking on special interests in Washington.

"The core image of John McCain is as a reformer in Washington, and the more dominant the story is about the lobbying teams around him, the more you put that into question," said Terry Nelson, who was McCain's campaign manager until he was forced out last year. "If the Obama campaign can truly change him from being seen as a reformer to just being another Washington politician, it could be very damaging over the course of the campaign."

  Damaging? This issue alone should be enough to bury McCain and his credibility on any issues that will be coming up during the remainder of this campaign.

    Straight-talker indeed!