Friday, March 31, 2006

More Funnies from Mom

My mother is well-known for sending those she loves the stories that make her giggle. I've saved most of them. Many of these made the rounds of the internet, but I thought I'd share some this morning anyway.

Groundhog Day

In 2005, both Groundhog Day and the State of the Union Address fell on the same day. As Air America Radio pointed out, "It is an ironic juxtaposition: one involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication, and the other involves a groundhog."


A tourist walked into a curio shop in San Francisco. Looking around at the exotica, he noticed a very lifelike, life-sized bronze statue of a rat. It had no price tag, but it was so striking he decided he must have it. He took it to the counter.

"How much for the bronze rat?"

"Twelve dollars for the rat, one hundred dollars for the story," the owner said.

The tourist gave the shop owner twelve dollars. "I'll take the rat. You can keep the story."

As he walked down the street carrying the rat, he soon noticed that a few real rats had crawled out of the alleys and sewers and began following him. This was disconcerting, so he began walking faster. But within a couple of blocks, the herd of rats behind him had grown to hundreds, and they began squealing.

He began to trot toward the Bay, but looking back he saw that the rats now numbered in the millions, were squealing ever louder, and coming toward him faster and faster. Now scared, he broke into a run, then a full Olympic sprint to the edge of the Bay where he threw the bronze rat as far out as he could muster.

Amazingly, the millions of rats all jumped into the Bay after the bronze rat, and they all drowned.

The man walked back to the curio shop.

"Aha!" said the owner. "You have come back for the story."

"No," said the man, "I came back to see if you have a bronze Republican."

Irish Declare War On France

Jacques Chirac, the French Prime Minister, was sitting in his office wondering what kind of mischief he could perpetrate against the United States when his telephone rang.

"Hallo, Mr. Chirac!", a heavily accented voice said. "This is Paddy down at the Harp Pub in County Sligo, Ireland. I am ringing to inform you that we are officially declaring war on you!"

"Well, Paddy," Chirac replied, "This is indeed important news! How big is your army?"

"Right now," said Paddy, after a moment's calculation, "there is myself, me cousin Sean, me next door neighbor Seamus, and the entire dart team from the pub. That makes eight!"

Chirac paused. "I must tell you, Paddy, that I have one hundred thousand men in my army waiting to move on my command."

"Begorra!" said Paddy. "I'll have to ring you back!" Sure enough, the next day, Paddy called again. "Mr. Chirac, the war is still on. We have managed to get us some infantry equipment!"

"And what equipment would that be, Paddy?" Chirac asked. "Well, we have two combines, a bulldozer, and Murphy's farm tractor."

Chirac sighed, amused. "I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 6,000 tanks and 5,000 armored personnel carriers. Also, I've increased my army to one hundred fifty-thousand since we last spoke."

"Saints preserve us!" said Paddy. "I'll have to get back to you."

Sure enough, Paddy rang again the next day. "Mr. Chirac, the war is still on!" "We have managed to get ourselves airborne! We've modified Jackie McLaughlin's ultra-light with a couple of shotguns in the cockpit, and four boys from the Shamrock Pub have joined us as well!"

Chirac was silent for a minute and then cleared his throat. "I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 100 bombers and 200 fighter planes. My military complex is surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And since we last spoke, I've increased my army to two hundred thousand!"

"Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!", said Paddy, "I'll have to ring you back."

Sure enough, Paddy called again the next day. "Top o' the mornin', Mr. Chirac! I am sorry to tell you that we have had to call off the war."

"I'm sorry to hear that," said Chirac. "Why the sudden change of heart?"

"Well," said Paddy, "we've all had a long chat over a bunch of pints, and decided there's no foo-kin way we can feed two hundred thousand prisoners."

Rep. Lorene Coates Calls for Jim Black to Resign

Rep. Lorene Coates, D-Rowan has called for Jim Black to resign according to both NPR radio and the Greensboro News and Record.

"I just think he really needs to step aside at this time," said Coates, D-Rowan. "He has been a friend to me, but I think he needs to focus his time on the court case. The Legislature, we need to be taking care of the business of North Carolina."
Rep. Coates said that she prays that they find Speaker Black did nothing wrong and that she doesn't like being the first Democrat to call for his resignation. She has been pressured by her opponent and constituents to take a stand on this issue.

Coates said she had been attacked by her Republican opponent in this year's election, Susan Morris, for a $4,000 donation Black gave Coates. Morris described the money as "tainted."
Majority Leader, Joe Hackney, D-Orange has said he hasn't been in touch with other Democrats while the House is out of session and doesn't know what they are thinking. He doesn't know if the call from Coates is the beginning of things to come.

I think we all know that it is.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Thursday Action Plan - Fully Fund IDEA

Today's action plan is simple. I am going to list four people who have supported full funding of IDEA. I will give you their contact information. All four are Democrats (surprise!) and all four are running for re-election.

Today, we will thank them for their efforts on behalf of disabled children and encourage them to continue to take a stand.

Please see contact information below the fold...

Campaigns are hard. Serving in Congress can be a thankless job. Today we will let them know that their efforts have been noticed. You may call, email, write or fax. I am sending personal notes. If you can't contact all four, pick one. Just say thank you. It will stand out because so few people take the time to do what we are going to do today.

The following four stood up for IDEA over the past four years. If you know another, please put contact information in the comments and that person will be added.

Please note - these are the contact numbers for their campaign. It is more likely they will get the information this way, or that an email will go through since the House email system blocks non-constituent mail.

Honorable Darlene Hooley - Dem Oregon's 5th
Hooley for Congress
P.O. Box 2050
Salem, OR 97308
Phone: (503) 723-0100Fax: (503) 723-4282

Honorable Fortney "Pete" Stark Dem CA's 13th
Pete Stark Re-Election Committee
PO Box 8331
Fremont, CA 94537
Phone: (510) 657-8831, Fax: (510) 657-8832

Honorable Rush Holt - Dem-NJ's 12th
Rush Holt for Congress, Inc.
P.O. Box 782,
Pennington, NJ 08534

Headquarters Address: 676 Whitehead Rd,
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
Phone 609-278-0800 ~ Fax 609-278-4505

Honorable John B Larson Dem - CT 1st
District Office: 221 Main Street, 2nd Floor
Hartford, CT 06106
Phone: (860) 278-8888 Fax: (860) 278-2111

D.C. Office: 1005 Longworth HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2265 Fax: (202) 225-1031

Thank you for taking this step to recognize those who have consistently made efforts to see IDEA fully funded.

Jim Black Appeals Ruling of SBOE

The Charlotte Observer is reporting that Jim Black has appealed the ruling of the SBOE to the Wake County Superior Court. (Wake County is an assumption and the article was not specific.) They are hoping that a favorable ruling will prevent criminal charges being filed by the DA in Raleigh.

I have read the law in question and it does appear to leave some room for interpretation. I guess it depends on whether the court decides to view this based on the letter of the law - its exact wording, or the spirit of the law - what was intended by those who wrote it. Regardless of this ruling, I think the wording needs to be cleaned up to prevent misinterpretation in the future.

I have called for Jim Black to resign, or at the very least to step down from his position as Speaker. No, I don't think my voice carries any weight. I just think that we need to move forward and remove any hint of dishonesty or poor judgment from our legislature. I will update as the news is posted.

Are You Ready for the Lottery?

It arrives today here in NC. I'm not much of a lottery fan and it bothers me to think that some people might find a new addiction and waste money on lottery tickets that should go to basic living expenses.

However! You have to admit that naming a game/ticket Sweet Tea 2 is hilarious and sweet tea is very big in these parts. When my husband and I moved to Ohio, I used to get a kick out of asking for sweet tea in restaurants. Some people were used to it and would respond with, "You must be from the South." Others would look at me like I was an alien from mars.

I probably won't buy any tickets today. I may not buy any ever. I'm not big on throwing my money away and if I was going to spend a few bucks it wouldn't be on a lottery ticket. I hope those of you who do buy your tickets all hit the jackpot...or at least get your money back!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Abramoff Gets the Minimum Sentence

Over the past few months I've researched quite a bit about the Jack Abramoff scandal and have worked hard to complete a timeline that might lead some to say I have an obsession with all things Abramoff. This is far from the truth. I simply enjoy trying to figure out just how many more Republicans he might take to jail with him.

If you aren't up-to-date with Abramoff, my timeline might help catch you up. It is not complete, but is more extensive than any you will find anywhere online. (With the exception of my archive site - Americans Deserve the Truth)

It will be interesting to see what type of sentence he receives for bilking the tribes out of millions. It will also be interesting to see just who follows Jackie to the pokey. The WaPo has today's article. There weren't any new revelations. We may have to wait a little while longer for those.

My Apologies

Once again, real life takes over. Today was too beautiful to be inside and the landscaping that will help us sell this house was calling my name.

I will continue the action plans tomorrow and have a great comparison coming up of GOP and Democratic Party fundraising letters.

I hope you are all enjoying this beautiful weather as much as I am.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Rummy Couldn't Have Said This

Donald Rumsfeld via The Washington Post:
"Clearly, the United States government has not gotten to the point where we are as deft and clever and facile as the enemy that is perfectly capable of lying, having it printed all over the world, and there's no penalty for having lied," Rumsfeld said at an afternoon news conference at the Pentagon. "Indeed, there was a reward [for the enemy] because a great many people read the lie and believed it."
No way he said that with a straight face. That from a man who's part of an administration that has fed the press and the public lies for years. Amazing.

Was Andy Card the Problem?

Will Card's resignation be the cure? That remains to be seen. While much of his job was to control the relationship between Congress and the President, he probably isn't the one responsible for the loss of the President's popularity.

In today's
Newsweek article the Dubai ports debacle is laid directly at Card's feet, but the freefall in the President's popularity began long before the United Arab Emirates sought to manage several important U.S. ports through the purchase of a British company. The nosedive could have been predicted shortly after the lies that created the buildup to the war in Iraq were exposed. It seemed that one little thing after another was added to the list of reasons why George W. Bush is incompetent.

This morning's Washington Post gives this accounting of the President's remarks:

Bush made the announcement in the Oval Office at 8:30 a.m., standing at the podium with Card to his right, Bolten to his left. The president thanked Card for his "wise counsel, his calm in crisis, his ability, his integrity, and his tireless commitment to public service" and said "he will always be my friend."

Card apparently feels the same loyalty. He isn't expected to get chatty after leaving his post in April. He's held the post for 5.5 years. The office of Chief of Staff is a high burnout position with most lasting about 2 years.

The New York Times doesn't seem to think the change in staff will bring the results the President and Congressional Republicans are looking for. They desperately need something, anything to stop the bleeding in the President's popularity. From Today's NYT:

The move announced today, however, leaves in place Karl Rove, the president's top political adviser, who is a deputy chief of staff. And it does not represent an infusion of new blood, because Mr. Bolten is also a longtime adviser, and served as a deputy chief of staff from 2001 to 2003 before becoming budget director.

So even if Mr. Bolten should usher in a period of closer White House cooperation with the Congress, as many lawmakers hope, there was no immediate clue that the personnel change would bring substantive shifts in policy, let alone usher in a changed presidency.

The Times also spoke with some Democrats who were not confident that the country would benefit from this move.

Democrats responded not by focusing on Mr. Card or Mr. Bolten, but on the president's problems.

Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York called the shuffle "simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic," according to the Reuters news agency. And Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois said, "If the White House is looking to change course, they picked the wrong person to toss overboard."

My sentiments exactly! Love the snark coming from the Senator. Time will tell if this does any good. There will be some other changes in staff as Bolten promotes those he wishes to work with. With critical elections in nine months Republicans had better hope the President's new staff can hit the ground running.

Update: Froomkin does his usual excellent job with analysis of this issue. I found this observation interesting from Froomkin:
In most White Houses, the chief of staff is a godlike figure, putting his stamp
on the presidency in almost every conceivable way. But in the Bush White House,
political guru Karl Rove and Vice President Cheney loom much larger and have way
more to do with what the president says and does than Card ever did. As long as
they stay put, the rest may largely be window dressing.
Froomkin also spends some time on the President's recent interest in getting buddy-buddy with a few in the press as well as the current trial of Saddam's driver.

Tuesday Action Plan - Fully Fund IDEA

Now that we are fully informed about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) we are ready to write those emails, letters and faxes to our U.S. Senators and Representatives serving in the U.S. House. Please remind them that you are a constituent and remember to thank them for their service to our country - even if you would rather throw a pie in their faces!

If you didn't have time to read and need some help making a few points we have you covered. It's probably most effective if you use a reasonable voice, but a striking fax might read something like this:
Stop funding President Bush's tax cuts on the backs of disabled children.
Fully Fund IDEA now!
Sign you name, include your address, phone number and email address. This also makes a good phone message, short sweet email or note.

Many of us, however would rather have more substance to our missives. The following are a few statements you can use to fill out your letter.
  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act has been renewed for the past few years, but has not been fully funded. Actually, it's barely been funded at all. Shouldn't every child be guaranteed a quality public education regardless of their physical, mental or emotional abilities?
  • Why does President Bush continue to push tax cuts for the very wealthy when the most vulnerable in our society, disabled children, are being denied a public education that meets their needs because our budget lacks the funds?
  • Will you co-sign legislation to once again introduce IDEA legislation into Congress and then push for the full funding level of 40% instead of the anaemic 9-14% that has been funded in the past?

It's hard to imagine that the greatest (heh) country on earth doesn't do a better job of protecting and educating those children who are most vulnerable and most in need. This is a true Democratic ideal and we need to push that with our Reps. and Sens. - especially the Republicans. Won't it be nice to let them know that we are pushing one more area where they are weak and once it's public it won't be pretty.

You will find contact information for all North Carolina politicians in the BlueNC Take Action section. You will find a terrific article written by Robert Peterson at BlueNC if you want more information and weren't reading yesterday. If you live in a state other than North Carolina, please go to the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives web sites and find the contact information for your Congressmen and women. Please let me know if you have trouble accessing either site and I will do my best to help you.

Good luck and thank you for taking this step on behalf of so many deserving children.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Bush Needs to Stop Whining About the News in Iraq

I love to pick on the media. I enjoy picking on The Washington Post because the online reporters are especially adept at leaving themselves open to ridicule. Today, however, I will leave them alone. They're having to deal with too much crap coming from Bush, Cheney and conservative mouthpieces like Laura Ingraham. Evidently, the press isn't giving enough coverage to all the flower-strewn receptions given our troops by the Iraqis.

Ooops. You mean there aren't any? OK, then the press isn't giving enough coverage to the other good news coming out of Iraq. Let's see if we can turn the fact that they have electricity for about 8 hours out of each day into good news. ***Badda Bing*** There, now it reads: Iraqis not charged for the 16 hours of each day they do not have electricity. There's some good news.

Think about it. Does your local newspaper report all the successful trips that commuters make to work each day or do they report on the fiery crash that killed three as they tried to avoid the chickens that spilled out of a semi? How many every-day things are considered newsworthy? Not very many. Even if they are happening in Iraq. Why aren't these stories newsworthy? Maybe it isn't that they aren't worthy of coverage, but as Howard Kurtz mentions in the article linked to above, the reporters can't safely get around to report the day-to-day common successes.

It isn't that we don't want success in Iraq. As much as I think that the war has been totally mismanaged, I want to see successes. We broke it and we have to fix it. The problem I have with reporting them is that they aren't the rule. They are few and far between and as soon as we start celebrating a heartwarming story it seems that 50 more headless bodies are found or another funeral is bombed, or a wedding.

Howard Kurtz links to Paul Rieckoff at
The Huffington Post.

I believe that press coverage in Iraq is definitely too narrow. But too negative? I don't think so. If you are looking for good news stories in a war zone, you are looking for the wrong thing in the wrong place. It is like looking for virgins at the Playboy mansion--you might find a few, but they're certainly not the majority. If you want good news stories, go to Disneyland. Not Iraq

I think that just about sums it up.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Monday Morning Action Plan

This week we are going to tackle pushing full funding for the IDEA Act. Robert Peterson wrote this diary last week informing us about IDEA and the fact that the Republican Senate, House and President have been all talk and no action when it comes to funding this program, so critical to the education of disabled children.

Today's action plan includes reading as much as you can about this program so you can write thoughtful, informed emails and letters to your Representative and Senator later this week. Robert's diary is excellent and may be all you need to prepare for our email sessions.

If you would like more information here are some other links. Enjoy.

Our Spectrum


Don't miss the other action plans listed today. This is a busy week, so let's take it one step at a time.

Charlotte Observer Calls for Jim Black to Resign

I can honestly say that I don't always agree with The Charlotte Observer. When it comes to asking for Jim Black's resignation, I think it's the right thing to do. I understand that Black hasn't been indicted for a crime, but his carelessness and lack of good judgment have harmed his office and if left to fester could taint other Democrats in November's elections.

What's even more amazing is that The Charlotte Observer agrees with me on why Jim Black should step down. ( I say they agree with me because I called for Black to step down first....I'm just positive they saw that blog post!) As the Observer puts it:
The issue is leadership. Speaker Black has manipulated the political system to
remain in office. He has winked at the spirit of campaign finance laws. He has
abused power to punish adversaries and reward allies at the public's expense.
I don't think Jim Black is toxic. I don't think it's even close. I also don't think that other Democrats are harming their chances in November by standing by their leader since there is no proof that he did anything illegal. I actually like the fact that the feeding frenzy has been limited to Republicans and it is an ugly sight to behold.

News 14 has a piece out with a little more detail about what might be expected in the fall.

Republicans are pushing to regain control of the House, but they have their own problems with infighting between moderates and conservatives.

“The trouble for Republicans is they are going to spend a lot of money in these (primary) races and then come November have no money and create ill will among voters,” said David McLennan, Peace College political expert.

There was an unscientific-but revealing poll at BlueNC on whether Jim Black should resign now. I don't know if it lines up with public opinion, the opinions of Democrats or those of Republicans, but I know that many think Black should resign now. If as News 14 reports he would probably resign if indicted, I think most of us will accept that. I believe though, that we need to hear that from Jim Black, so we can move on to more important issues.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Good News for Bloggers and Online Activists

An article in The Washington Post is reporting that Friday night the Federal Election Commission agreed that bloggers and online activists will not be regulated in their political activities. The only regulation agreed on at this point is that candidates for federal office must pay for internet ads with money regulated by federal campaign law. The biggest surprise is that this was a pretty much unanimous ruling with Democrats and Republicans agreeing.

What does this mean for me and for many other NC bloggers? Pretty much, that we can speak out for or against any candidate without our support being considered a "paid" endorsement. That would have been a nightmare. While I get quite a few visitors to this blog, not that many are in North Carolina where my "endorsement" of a candidate would make any difference. (Trust me, I'm not support carries absolutely NO influence!)

If they had decided to regulate blogger speech, the problem would be trying to put a price on something that can't be measured. This could mean that a candidate - any candidate I spoke out for might have to claim an inkind donation. In other words, they would be putting a price on something that is literally worthless.....and that would be a melluvahess.

Con Men, Liars and Thieves - Abramoff Timeline

No person named in this timeline is guilty of any crime unless or until they plead guilty or are convicted.

The following is my working timeline on the events and the lies surrounding these events in the Jack Abramoff/Senate/Congress scandals. My plan is to continue to fill the timeline and to research and write on the characters. Please let me know if you see any corrections I need to make or any items that need to be added to the timeline. Dates from the Abramoff plea agreement are in blue, dates from the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearings are in green and those from the media are in red.

Note: This timeline can also be found at my other blog, Americans Deserve the Truth. I have had to temporarily suspend posting on that blog because of technical issues with my updates. I will keep that blog active to store my archives and will update the timeline there each time I update it here. Thank you.


1994 - Abramoff uses his connections with Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay to help him get hired with Preston Gates & Ellis as a lobbyist. "Abramoff developed and maintains strong ties to Speaker Newt Gingrich, Majority Leader Dick Armey, Majority Whip Tom Delay and Republican Policy Committee Chairman Chris Cox and their staffs." [Source: Preston, Gates & Ellis Press Release, 12/30/94] via David Sirota

1994 - 2001 - Abramoff worked for the D.C. lobbying office of the law firm Preston Gates & Ellis. Also at the firm were former DeLay aides Michael Scanlon and William Jarrell, David Safavian, and former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed, then a Preston Gates contractor.

1995 - Abramoff was hired by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

1999 - Political lobbyists, Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist contact Jack Abramoff separately to say they want to do business.

July 1999 - Abramoff establishes a private foundation, The Capital Athletic Foundation. He sought tax-exempt status for CAF saying it was in part providing funding for a non-profit school, Eshkol Academy. In reality, Abramoff used this fund and Kaygold, LLC (set up in 2001) to receive funds for his personal benefit, to conceal the true destination of the funds and to avoid paying income taxes.

Feb. 2000 - Boulis begins to negotiate the sale of SunCruz To Abramoff and Kidan.

Feb. 7, 2000 - Abramoff warned Reed that an initial payment for anti-lottery radio ads would be less than Reed expected because Abramoff needed to give Norquist some money.

Feb. 22, 2000 - Abramoff noted that Norquist had kept an additional 25k. Norquist later said he had permission.

2000 - Abramoff forced the Choctaws to give the Alabama Christian Coalition $1.15 million in installments. Norquist agreed to pass the money on to the Coalition and another Alabama anti-gambling group, both of which Reed was mobilizing for the fight against a proposed Alabama state lottery.

March 2000 - Bob Ney denounces owners of SunCruz (Gus Boulis) on the floor of Congress and accuses SunCruz of cheating customers.

March 2000 through 2001 - Michael Scanlon goes to work for Preston Gates and then Greenberg Traurig as a public relations specialist. Abramoff was influential in Scanlon being hired at both firms.

2000 - Ney goes on all-expense-paid trip to Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands paid for by Abramoff.

May 2000 - Golf trip #1 - Tom DeLay flew to London and Scotland. The trip was charged to Abramoff's credit card. Trip included Abramoff, DeLay and Tony Rudy.

June 9, 2000 - DeLay's office gives Boulis a flag that has flown over the Capitol.

June 15, 2000 - Abramoff, Kidan, Rudy and SunCruz executive, Joan Wagner and her husband flew to Pebble Beach for the U.S. Open. They flew from D.C. in the SunCruz corporate jet.

June wk 3, 2000 - Boulis agrees to sell SunCruz to Abramoff and Kidan for $145 million.

Sept. 18, 2000 - SunCruz principles meet in New York City to begin finalizing the sale of the cruise casinos.

Sept. 18, 2000 - Kidan and Greg Walker of Foothill Capital travel to D.C. to join Abramoff and DeLay for a DeLay event in Abramoff's luxury box during a Redskins vs. Cowboys football game.

Sept. 26, 2000 - Final terms of SunCruz sale determined.

Sept. 27, 2000 - Kidan and partner, Waldman each fax a document to lenders offering proof that a $23 million wire transfer had been executed sending the money to Boulis's bank.

Oct. 26, 2000 - Ney praises Kidan and Abramoff as new owners of SunCruz in a speech in the House.

Dec. 5, 2000 - Boulis and Kidan fight at a business meeting. Kidan refuses to pay his debt to Boulis saying that problems with SunCruz were not disclosed prior to the sale.

Dec. 13, 2000 - Kidan begins sending payments totaling $145,000 to Anthony Moscatiello and his daughter for food and beverage services. Moscatiello has ties to the Gambino crime family.

2001-2004 - Senator Charles Grassley received over $62,000 in donations from Abramoff related groups.

Jan. 2001 - Abramoff goes to work for Greenberg Traurig law firm.

2001 - Tony Rudy goes to work with Abramoff at Greenberg Traurig law firm.

Jan. 2001 - Michael Scanlon establishes Capital Campaign Strategies, LLC to perform grass roots work, public relations services and election campaign support. Scanlon also established other companies, collectively known as CCS, which mainly received money for work performed by others.

2001 - Abramoff and Scanlon agree that Abramoff will encourage his clients, four Indian tribes, to obtain grass roots and public relations assistance through company CCS. CCS charged the clients an amount that was significantly more than it cost CCS to perform this function. Abramoff and Scanlon agreed that Abramoff would receive 50% of the net profits made on these four clients.

Early 2001 - Abramoff convinces Mississippi Tribe to hire CCS without informing them that he would receive 50% of the profits.

June 2001 to 2004 - The Mississippi Tribe paid CCS $14,765,000 with Abramoff secretly receiving almost half.

Jan. 19, 2001 - Boulis seeks injunction against Kidan ordering him to pay what he owes and preventing him from operating the cruise line.

Jan. 20, 2001 - George W. Bush is sworn in as President.

Jan 20, 2001 - Kidan and Scanlon fly to D.C. and attend Inauguration Day reception in DeLay's office.

Jan 28, 2001 - SunCruz leases jet to take current and former aides to DeLay and Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), to Super Bowl in Tampa and for a night of gambling aboard SunCruz ship.

Feb. 6, 2001 - Boulis shot and killed while driving from work in Fort Lauderdale.

March 15, 2001 - At a fundraiser at MCI Center For Bob Ney $1000 contributions are made to Ney by Abramoff, Kidan and three other SunCruz executives.

March 2001 - Abramoff and Scanlon solicit Louisiana Tribe to hire them as lobbyists. After being paid for the first project, Abramoff convinced the Tribe to rehire CCS hiding the fact that he would receive 50% of the net profit.

March 2001 to May 2003 - The Louisiana Tribe paid CCS approximately $30,510,000 with Abramoff pocketing almost $11,450,000.

June 5, 2001 - Michael Scanlon contacts "Jeremy" (large PDF file, page 1) for financial advise about his company, CCS or Capitol Campaign Strategies. He states that his main source of referral business(Abramoff) is practically forcing him to participate in paying for the sky boxes at Red Skins Stadium and the MCI Center. Scanlon wants to make sure this is deductible as a business expense.

June 18, 2001 - Scanlon broaches subject of building CCS business revenues to $3 million. He tells Abramoff he has found a buyer who will pay 3x revenue. Says he will split profit with Abramoff if he helps Scanlon build his client base. Abramoff replies that it sounds like a plan.(PDF, pp 2&3)

June 22, 2001 - SunCruz files for bankruptcy.

Oct. 4 & 5, 2001 - Scanlon and Abramoff email each other about Saginaw Chippewah tribe elections. Abramoff tells Scanlon he has pitched Scanlon/CCS to the tribe. (PDF, p. 4) Abramoff says he discussed a $4-5 million program and Reed responds with, "THE PRICE HAS JUST GONE UP TP 10 MIL!!" (Reference to their Gimme Five plan.)

Oct. 30,2001 - Scanlon and Abramoff exchange emails about Scanlons plans to help their contacts at Saginaw Chippewah Tribe win in upcoming tribal elections. (PDF, p. 5)

Nov. 8, 2001 - Scanlon sends out email detailing their win in Saginaw Chippewah Tribe elections. Their guys are in control. Also mentions there is a Louisiana referendom to work on. (PDF, P.6)

Nov. 12, 2001 - Reed sent Abramoff an email asking for details so he(Reed) can let Cornyn know what they would be doing to help him.

Nov. 2001 - Abramoff establishes Kaygold, LLC, a solely owned entity. Kaygold was used along with the Capital Athletic Foundation to receive funds for his personal benefit and to hide the true destination of money received.

Dec. 17 & 18, 2001 - Abramoff and Scanlon exchange emails about whether Saginaw Chippewah Tribe will hire Scanlon and sign on to the program. Abramoff refers to the tribal leaders as troglodytes, Scanlon asks what a troglodyte is and Abramoff responds that it is a lower form of existence. (PDF pp. 7 & 8)

Jan. 2002 - Abramoff and Scanlon solicit "Michigan Tribe" (Saginaw Chippewah) to hire them to provide lobbying and grass roots services.

Jan. 4, 2002 - Abramoff sends email to Scanlon saying “[Reed] is a bad version of us! No more money for him.” In the email Abramoff was questioning whether Ralph Reed had properly accounted for funds spent on Indian gambling projects.

Jan. 7, 2002 - Reed sends an email to Abramoff telling him they need to budget for an "attaboy" for Cornyn.

Jan. 14, 2002 - Abramoff and Scanlon exchange emails about lack of business from Saginaw Chippewah Tribe. Scanlon expected business after helping get council members elected. Abramoff assures him business will come. They also discuss visit of David Otto (Sag Chip Council Member) and Chris Petras (Sag Chip Legislative Director). (PDF p. 9)

Jan. 16, 2002 - Abramoff emails Scanlon encouraging him to set up meeting with Otto as soon as possible. "We need that moolah", he says. (PDF p.10)

Jan. 29, 2002 - Abramoff sends Scanlon an email about the dinner with Otto of Saginaw Chippewah Tribe and then refers to the Choctaw Tribal Council as monkeys. (PDF p. 11)

Feb. 2002 - Abramoff and Scanlon solicit Texas Tribe as clients. The Texas Tribe gaming business had been closed by the state of Texas because the tribe did not have federal or state permission to run a gambling casino. Abramoff and Scanlon told the tribe they would work for them to reopen the casino and then expand it to a more lucrative facility. In return for doing this it was agreed that the Texas Tribe would pay $4,200,000 and they agreed to make substantial political campaign contributions at the direction of Abramoff. The two men did not disclose to the Texas tribe that they had already been paid millions by the Louisiana Tribe to work against all gaming in the Texas legislature.

Feb. 6-7, 2002 - Abramoff and Scanlon exchange emails discussing lack of payment from the Choctaws. Abramoff refers to the tribe as monkeys. (PDF - Indian Affairs Hearings)

March 5, 2002 - Scanlon and Abramoff exchange emails discussing solicitation of business with Agua Caliente Tribe. (PDF - large download)

June 2002 - Abramoff convinces Michigan Tribe, Saginaw Chippewah, to expand the services they receive from CCS. (Capital Campaign Strategies - Scanlon's company)

June 2002 - Oct. 2003 - Michigan Tribe pays CCS about $3,500,000 with Abramoff receiving about $500,000.

July 22, 2002 - Abramoff sent David Safavian an email outlining a letter to be sent by at least 2 congressmen to the General Services Administration supporting a lease for office space for some of Abramoff's clients in an old post office building downtown.

2002 - Safavian asks GSA permission to attend golf trip to Scotland with Abramoff assuring them that Abramoff had no business in front of the GSA.

Aug. 2002 - Golf trip #2 - Robert Ney, David Safavian, Ralph Reed, Neil Volz fly to Scotland with Abramoff. Trip cost more than $120,000 and was paid for mostly by a charity that had been started and was run by Abramoff, the Capital Athletic Foundation.

2002 - Abramoff was retained under a secret contract by the Guam Superior Court to lobby against a bill proposing to put Superior Court under the authority of the Guam Supreme Court. The $324,000 was paid to Abramoff through a Laguna Beach, California, lawyer by means of 36 checks of $9,000 each. If done to avoid the federal reporting requirements for payment transfers this would constitute illegal structuring under 31 USC 5324(a). The form of payment might also be illegal if it was used to evade federal contracting rules requiring an open tender for contracts over $10,000.

2002 - After Abramoff worked with Reed to close the casino of the Tigua tribe, he persuaded the tribe to hire him to lobby Congress to reopen the casino.

2002 - After persuading the Tigua to hire him Abramoff met with Robert Ney to ask him to push the legislation, the Tigua (by overnight mail) sent three checks to Ney's political committees, totaling $32,000. The apparent exchange of campaign contributions in return for Ney's support of an amendment to reopen the Tigua's casino could constitute bribery.

Nov. 18, 2002 - a grand jury issued a subpoena demanding that the administrator of the Guam Superior Court release all records relating to the contract.

Nov. 19, 2002 - U.S. Atty. Frederick A. Black, the chief prosecutor for Guam and the instigator of the indictment, was unexpectedly demoted and removed from the office he had held since 1991. The federal grand jury investigation was ended abruptly.

Nov. 2002 - U.S. Attorney in Florida begins investigating sale of SunCruz concentrating on missing $23 million.

2003 - David Safavian lies to the GSA during an investigation by its Ispector General about his relationship with Abramoff.

May 2003 - U.S. Atty. Frederick Black who had been demoted unexpectedly and thus removed from an investigation into Abramoff's involvement in the Guam courts

May 2003 - Abramoff establishes GrassRoots Interactive (GRI) saying it would provide grass roots work, public relations services and election campaign support.

2003 - Golf trip #3 Congressman Tom Feeney III,

July 2003 - Abramoff asked for $9 million from the President of Gabon, Omar Bongo, in exchange for a face to face meeting with President Bush. Bush later met with Bongo. There is no evidence Abramoff actually arranged the meeting.

Nov. 4, 2003 - David Safavian nominated by President Bush to become the administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. His confirmation ran into trouble when he was listed as one of five lobbyists working for a man with ties to terrorists.

May 26, 2004 - The President of Gabon, Omar Bongo met with President Bush. It is unknown whether this was as a result of Abramoff's influence.

April 2004 - Safavian presented a letter to the Senate Government Affairs Committee from Janus-Merritt claiming they had named the wrong person as their contact when naming Almoudi.

2004 - Abramoff resigned from Greenberg Traurig

March 17, 2005 - David Safavian lies to the Senate committee on Indian affairs about his relationship with Jack Abramoff.

2005 - Edward Miller, Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Robert Ehrlich, Jr. (R-MD)

May 26, 2005 - David Safavian lies to the FBI about his relationship to Jack Abramoff.

Aug. 11, 2005 - Jack Abramoff, a powerful Republican lobbyist, and his partner at Suncruzwas Adam Kidan were indicted on August 11, on bank fraud charges related to his purchase of the cruise line.

Aug. 12, 2005 - Abramoff released on bail of $2.25 million. He had to give up his passport and his travel was restricted to California, Florida and Maryland. He also has to continue mental health treatments.

Sept., 2005 - Three men arrested in the murder of Konstantinos Boulis. He owned Suncruz before it was purchased by Abramoff and Kidan. Anthony Moscatiello, Anthony Ferrari and James Fiorillo were arrested on murder and conspiracy charges. Moscatiello has been linked to the Gambino crime family.

Sept. 19, 2005 - David Safavian, head of federal procurement policy at the Office of management and the Budget, was arrested and charged with lying to investigators and obstructing the federal investigation into Abramoff.

Dec. 1, 2005 - three Texas public interest groups filed a complaint with Travis County Attorney David Escamilla alleging that Reed failed to register as a lobbyist in 2001 or 2002 when he was working for Abramoff.

Jan. 3, 2006 - Jack Abramoff pleads guilty to Conspiracy, Honest Services Mail Fraud and Tax Evasion.

Update 1/25/06 - I will be adding more to the timeline throughout the day. It was time to bump it and bring it back to the front page. I'm hoping investigators will be making announcements about more of the key players in this scandal soon.

Update and bump....... I will be adding the information from the Abramoff plea deal in Blue as it is the factual basis for the plea and should be distinguished from dates obtained from news sources.

Update and bump 2/12 - more links and dates added.

Update 2/15/06 - I will be adding the dates and information from the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in green. These dates are a result of sworn testimony and evidentiary documents and should be distinguised from information received from media accounts.

Update: I failed to source this. I apologize. I will give a full bibliography as soon as I can. It is quite long as I used every source on the net and in the MSM that I could find. One of my favorite and first stops on the web is Wikipedia. I also use Sourcewatch, The Washington Post and The New York Times. The exact web pages and articles will be posted later today. All sources should now be posted below.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Thursday Morning Action Plan

Today we are going to do our best to get our N.C. Senators and Representatives informed about this issue. One of the best ways to do it is to simply email or call them and ask if they are aware of this. Many should be since there have been articles in almost every daily newspaper about this issue and the Governor and both Senators in Washington are against the sale of our National Forests.

First on the list is to go ahead and thank Governor Easley if you haven't already sent him an email.
You will find that form here. The next step is to email your Representative in the NC House and in the NC Senate. You will find that contact information in the Take Action section of BlueNC.

For the latter step, you might want to include this url - While they should be able to see that it clearly says "faculty staff UNC Asheville", you might want to let them know that it is a page that compiles all of the official information about the sale of our National Forests as well as local media coverage. You also will want to let them know that you are aware that they do not have a vote in Congress, but you feel their voice would add weight to the argument against selling our National Treasures.

There, you have it. Three emails today. You can send the same email to your Rep. and Sen., so it's really only two emails. Don't fret over what to say. Simply thank the Governor and inform the others. As always, remember to thank them for the service to our state and its people. Not all of them are on the take and the pay is not commensurate with the job.

Tomorrow - LTEs.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wednesday Afternoon Action Plan

First, my apologies for being so tardy with the action plan today. I am trudging along through the slightly medicated stupor and very groggy from not being able to sleep through the pain. My lack of coherence today will be explained away by the above statement. My lack of coherence any other day defies explanation.

We have had good news from both of our Senators. Mr. Burr and Mrs. Dole have both come out against selling our National Forest lands. Since I don't trust either one of them any further than I can throw them we are going to email them today to thank them for coming out against the sale and register our position. They still need to hear from us so they know how many will work against them in the next election if they vote with the President on this one. (Yeah, like we would ever work to get them elected!)

Finished below the fold...

We also are going to email our House Representative. If you are feeling particularly spunky you can email them all. It is always best if you are a constituent, but that hasn't stopped me from filling their in boxes in the past.

Lance has made all of this very easy by providing us with a take action section
here. Please make good use of the Take Action section and send those emails.

Tomorrow we work on state level elected officials.

The News Gets Worse for Jim Black

The Charlotte Observer reports that state officials are having a hard time swallowing yesterday's testimony by some who made contributions to Jim Black's campaign.
"I've been a lawyer for 31 years. I've examined a lot of witnesses," Larry Leake told Faye Maness. "Seldom have I found one less believable."
In yesterday's proceedings several people with very modest incomes reported that they each gave Jim Black $1000 and were not reimbursed by anyone.

Maness, of Rockingham County, makes about $400 a week at Sara Lee Hosiery. But she told the N.C. State Board of Elections on Tuesday that she gathered up $1,000 she had around the house, deposited it in her bank and wrote a check to House Speaker Jim Black's campaign that passed through the hands of a video-poker operator.

Two other witnesses with similarly modest incomes told the board that they wrote $1,000 checks on the same day as Maness. They also had ties to the same video-poker operator.

I have to admit that I've been a hold out on calling for Jim Black's resignation. I am getting more and more frustrated and am tired of lecturing my friends telling them to hold off until we get him elected. I decided it was time to trudge through North Carolina's election laws and this is what I found:

§ 163-114.(Warning PDF) Filling vacancies among party nominees occurring after nomination
and before election. If any person nominated as a candidate of a political party for one of the offices listed below (either in a primary or convention or by virtue of having no opposition in a primary) dies, resigns, or for any reason becomes ineligible or disqualified before the date of the ensuing general election, the vacancy shall be filled by appointment according to the following instructions:


Member of State House of Representatives in a single-county representative district


County executive committee of political party in which vacancy occurs, provided, in the case of the State Senator or State Representative in a single-county district where not all the county is located in that district, then in voting, only those members of the county executive committee who reside within the district shall vote.

Now that I'm sure that Jim Black can be replaced at this time even without a primary opponent to receive the nomination, I will join many other Democrats in calling for Jim Black's resignation. The investigation will continue and if exonerated Mr. Black will be easily elected at a later time in his home district, where many still think very highly of him. For the good of the party and for the good of the Democratic process, Jim Black should resign effective immediately.

Governor Easley, do you already have a replacement in mind for Mr. Black? If not, you best get on it!

National News Roundup 3/22

From The Washington Post: So which Bush is telling the truth? The one who said we would have a majority of troops home by the end of the year or the one who says they will stay until after '08. Typical Bush style - leave your mess for someone else to clean up. You've been doing it your entire worthless life you whiney little (*$)(%^#$*#(%)($&#$^*^. Bushies buddies get all the cash. They are doing their damndest to rip the Constitution to bypassing the process that turns a bill into a law. Chertoff endorsing security at chemical plants, but is he going far enough?

I apologize for the venom this morning. I have a very bad migraine and I'm just not feeling very generous toward the Bush and his bots.

From The New York Times: Bush concedes his political capital has been eroded by Iraq about it has depleted it completely! Can we please help get these people home already? Enough is enough. Our government is abusing its own laws? This is news, now?

From The Chicago Tribune:
Duckworth wins the nod over Cegelis. We have a Fighting Dem! Now we will hear the excuses from the FBI about why they didn't let their agent pursue him further.

From BlueNC:
Tim Dunn, Iraq War vet, drops out of 8th District race citing financial issues.
Excellent article informing us about IDEA and why the Republicans won't fully fund programs for disabled children. Take Action and bring Jerome and Markos to North Carolina.

From Newsweek: Revisiting this because it looks like
Clift is going to be proven wrong. The longer this goes on, the more bad things happen to Bush, the more likely it is the American people will be behind censure and it won't matter what Congress says. Bush administration so incompetent, they can't even decide on a scapegoat for the Katrina debacle.

From Time: I SO want to join the
Raging Grannies, but why was the FBI investigating this peaceful group? Are kids too wired for their own good - my 12-yr-old says she isn't as she read the Time article with her Ipod in her ears. (Actually, she doesn't IM during homework)

Thanks for joining us for the news roundup. I'm searching for some local papers and local blogs to highlight every now and then. Please submit your favorites in the comments. Go
here for original content on this blog.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Simple Request

A friend has written an excellent diary at DailyKos about the Indiviuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA). If you aren't aware with the many hurdles parents must overcome to get basic services for their children with disabilities this is a great article on just one of these.

You will find it here. If you think it should receive wider attention, please recommend it. Thank you.

Tuesday Morning Action Plan to Save our National Forests

This morning we have one thing and only one thing to do. This is the day that every single one of us will email or fax the US Department of Agriculture and tell them we do NOT think that selling off 300,000 acres of our National Forests is a good idea.

I know that each of you read everything I linked to yesterday and we all have our reasons for opposing this sale ready to go. If not, I'm going to provide you with a few you can use. This is IMPORTANT! This is the MOST important step of this action plan. We will repeat it every day to make sure this email is sent! Before I provide a list, if you want to read the links from yesterday, here is Monday's Action Plan. Here are some reasons why we oppose this sale:

  • The proposal is skewed against the South, which has relatively little national forest land, a fast-growing population and increasing demand for backcountry recreation, yet would receive disproportionately fewer funds from the sell-off. For example, both North Carolina, with a total of 1.25 million acres of national forest, and Oregon, with a total of 15.55 million acres, have about 10,000 proposed for sale. Yet under the funding formula currently used, North Carolina would get just $1 million in 2006, while Oregon would get almost $163 million. (Southern Environmental Law Center)
  • ....selling off America’s natural heritage is not the way to fund government services. This move would set a dangerous precedent for years to come. It’s a reversal from the agency’s long-standing effort to add to the national forest system by acquiring important tracts that serve an ecological or recreational purpose. (SELC)
  • Selling off the land base does nothing to ensure adequate funding for rural schools in the future and does irreparable harm to our National Forests.

Copy and paste these points into an email if you haven't had time to write your own. Send your email to or your fax to (202) 205–1604. You may also mail a letter to USDA Forest Service, SRS Comments, Lands 4S, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Mailstop 1124, Washington, DC 20250–0003, however electronic submissions are preferred.

The directions from the USDA: If you submit your comments by e-mail or fax, you do not need to send a paper copy by mail. Your comments may address the entire list of parcels identified in the President’s proposal, or an individual parcel or parcels on that list. If you are commenting about a specific parcel on the list, it would be helpful to provide the parcel’s number from the list and all information specifically related to the sale of that parcel.

I would like to thank the Southern Environmental Law center, Scrutiny Hooligans and the Asheville Citizen-Times for providing excellent coverage of this issue and making my life easier by doing so.

Burr: No Oversight. No Money

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness, has said there will be less money coming to the states to prepare for bioterror attacks, because some states misused the money allotted them in the past. He then went on to say there were fewer restrictions on how the money could be used than there will be on future legislation. In other words, the committee did a poor job writing the legislation and outlining exactly what expenses could be covered.

Is now the right time to cut back on the aid to states that helps them prepare for a terrorist attack? According to the AP report in the
Charlotte Observer,
"No single state, and no community within any state, has reached a full level of preparedness," Leah Devlin, North Carolina's top public health official, told the Senate committee last week in prepared remarks. "The act has made a tremendous difference, but the safety of the American public requires us to do more."
I guess it's a little confusing that this administration that has bullied a nation into fearing the next terrorist attack via a mushroom cloud (gee, thanks, Condi and Dick) is now going to cut back on the very spending that could prepare this nation for a terrorist attack. So, is the threat not real? I think most people feel there is a threat at some level for an attack. Most people also feel that the threat was never going to come from Iraq. Maybe this confuses those small minds in Washington.

Do they think that since most Americans don't want the war in Iraq that we also don't want to be prepared for terrorist attacks? Are they cutting spending in this area because they think we don't want it or as some juvenile punishment for spending previous money on what is now deemed to be nonessentials in the war on terror?

According to the AP article, Sen. Burr is taking the latter stance.

Federal money to prepare for bioterrorism attacks won't be as readily available as it has been in the past, in part because of the poor spending choices made in some states, Sen. Richard Burr said Monday.

This doesn't make the least little bit of sense to me. How on God's green earth can Senator Burr blame a shortage of funds on the fact that some states used previous monies to buy color printers and palm pilots. We don't have the money to prepare for a bioterror attack because President Bush has spent trillions fighting an insurgency that he helped create in Iraq and because he insists on giving his billionaire friends their tax cuts.

If the money was there the Senate Subcommittee on Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness would not be playing some lame blame game by trying to make it someone else's fault. Of course, Burr is close to the Bush administration and they are second to none when it comes to fingering someone else for something that is completely and totally their responsibility.

I'm not buying it Richard Burr. I had gained a bit of respect for you during your freshman year, but have lost just about all of it with this responsibility shift maneuver. You and your fellow committee members did a poor job writing the legislation. Grow up, accept responsibility and find the states the money they need to protect the American people.

We can't Protect Everyone from Themselves

I haven't been a big proponent or opponent of the lottery in North Carolina. The few years we lived in Ohio I would pick up a ticket every now and then. More often than not I would forget to check the numbers. I've always felt if I was going to throw away money I would buy something tangible and real, but useless. I didn't even gamble when we went on a cruise a few years ago. This has simply been an issue I couldn't get excited about.

That is, until I read this
Observer article all the way through. I don't usually read the lottery stories. They just don't interest me. This one really does bother me. I haven't studied the financial ins and outs of the lottery or whether it will accomplish what it's supposed to for the state. I don't really care about that.

I do care about the people who will wind up wasting money they can ill afford to waste. I realize we can't save everyone from their vices, but it bothers me to think that this might just hurt more people than it helps and that our state is introducing this problem into some of their lives. It's an interesting read.

National News Roundup 3/21

Happy Primary Election Day in Illinois. Good luck! I just love the excitement of election day!

From The Washington Post: Even the
President's success stories about the war are failures. Old forecasts about the war have been proven completely and utterly wrong - our soldiers were greeted with IEDs, not flowers - big, BIG difference. FBI wouldn't let one of their agents get a warrant to question Moussaoui before 9/11. Maybe he shouldn't be the only one on trial. Chertoff's a smart guy, but the wrong one for the job. Isn't the cow already out of the barn on this one?

From The New York Times: You just had to know the
insurance companies would find a way into the terror business, right? Republicans pitch to firefighter's union: "We know we stink, but the Democrats are worse." Western states facing droughts and flood - those red states musta ticked God off BIG TIME.

From The Chicago Tribune:
Cook County will be testing new high tech voting machines. Taliban gone or are the fundamentalists in Afghanistan just using another name.

From USA Today: First developers surround
National Parks, then they buy them. Experts saying bird flu pandemic will reach the US this year - a pandemic for birds, not humans. Is this an attack on reproductive choice, or just an attack on women?

From Newsweek:
Sharon Stone's just a nutcase....but I know you guys love to look anyway.
NRSC is digging for dirt in Dixie. (Their headline, not mine) AIPAC: the murk clears up a wee bit.

From Time: Are the
Iraqi police the problem or the cure? The politics of fat - first our livingrooms, then our bedrooms and now the kitchen?

If anyone has any suggestions for other media sources to check periodically please leave them in the comments and I will add them to the list. I would welcome the change. Please go
here for original content. Thanks and check back tomorrow.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Monday Morning Action Plan to Protect our National Forests

With everything else that is going on in the world many people haven't noticed the attack by the Bush administration on some of our most precious treasures. The President has planned to make up for a shortfall in funds for rural schools by selling off the logging lands in our National Forests to make up the difference. Yes, that's right. He's selling off the land base making it even more difficult to meet the demands satisfied by logging sales. Only an idiot, right?

Today's action plan requires that you educate yourself on this issue. This is the hardest part if you aren't aware of what is going on. I will provide the links to the information and all you have to do is read. We will be using this information for the rest of the action plan steps this week. This is an important action plan. The public has until March 30, to submit their comments to the Department of Agriculture. We need a public outcry to keep this unprecedented sale from taking place.

Step One: Read - As you read come up with what you feel are the three most important reasons why we should not sell off our National Forests.

Department of Agriculture request for comments (includes a summary)
* US
Department of Agriculture website with more links for information.
List of lands potentially eligible for sale.
Asheville Citizen-Times article
Charlotte Observer article
Southern Environmental Law Service

From the Blogs:
* S
crutiny Hooligans1, Scrutiny Hooligans2, Scrutiny Hooligans3
Common Dreams

This should be enough for you to feel fully informed about this issue. If you want more, though, you can follow this
link to a list of resources put together by a professor at UNC Asheville.

National News Roundup 3/20

From The Washington Post: Bush remains blind, deaf and dumb when it comes to the war. Press is finally getting the right picture of a completely disorganized, inept Republican party. The Pentagon paid this man millions for useless technology thanks to the Republicans he bribed. Speaking of the they are outsourcing sensitive intelligence jobs.

From The New York Times:
Bush and Cheney are the only two people in the world who think things are going well in Iraq. Iran, like America is a country where its people and its leaders sing a different tune. There is hope. Not all Bush cronies are incompetent jerks, but we're still going to give him time.

From The Chicago Tribune: More than
7000 peacefully protest the war in downtown Chicago. Trust your gut is cutting edge psychology? Will a battle shape up over gay adoptions?

From BlueNC:
Kent Kanoy goes on the record for the 4th District. Interesting history lessons even if you aren't from North Carolina. We aren't even going to bring up basketball, but if you must know...Dook is still in it.

From San Diego Union-Tribune:
Bush speaks on anniversary of the war and doesn't mention the word war once. Doolittle should have stuck with talking to the animals.

From Newsweek: Is
Rahm Emanuel what the Democrats need to pull together? IEDs are crippling American soldiers in Iraq in more ways than one. Should the U.S. bail out Mexico's failing economy?

From Slate:
Bush IS the problem.

Thank you for joining us this morning for our news roundup. For original content please go
here and scroll.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sunday News Roundup

From The Washington Post: Lobbyists in Washington are already planning ways around new rules. Members of Congress running unopposed still spending large. French take to the streets to protest job descrimination. Haven't they heard of blogs? I just don't trust Rummy on his opinion of the war, do you?

From The New York Times:
Torture of detainees by U.S. forces more widespread than first believed. Republicans in Congress add private pension plans to their growing pile of fuck ups.
Illinois primary elections are on Tuesday. Is it liberals or women the extremists don't want on the Supreme Court?

From the San Diego Union-Tribune:
Calf of infected cow can't be located. Don't miss their excellent coverage of the Randy "Duke" Cunningham case.

From BlueNC:
Screwy Hoolie is stirring things up in Asheville. The new GOP fundraising theme for 2006 has been uncovered. Health Care reform starts at state level. Take a look at who gets served under a Democratic administration. Just another puffy sounding wingnut group is attacking the bar association.

From U.S.A. Today: All those huge
corporate fines? Nah.....just like taxes, they don't pay those either. White House holds small pox drill and as is typical Dubya didn't show. Rummy writes an opinion piece for the WaPo saying we need to stay and finish our mission, but the Pentagon wants our troops out? Can they please get their story straight!

From Newsweek: A new
Newsweek poll shows Bush at 36% approval. That high still? So now it's the Republicans who are disorganized. Eleanor Clift thinks Feingold handed this one to the Republicans. (I usually agree with her, but not on this one.)

Thank you for reading the news roundup. Please see our
original content for our take on the news of the day.