Monday edition - February 16, 2009
Crude oil is getting cheaper _ so why isn't gas?
Axelrod Gives Cheney A Verbal Bashing
Obama to set up task force on crippled US auto industry
GOP = Grand Old Pyramid
I tell you, the economy is in bad shape. In fact, airlines are now charging extra if you want peanuts without salmonella. - Jay Leno
The-World-Will-Be-A-Safer-Place-Without George W. Bush
US military deaths in Afghanistan region at 576
Iraqi police: Bomb kills 4, wounds 11 in Baghdad The Associated Press
Airstrike Kills 31 in Pakistan New York Times
Iraqi election commission acknowledges fraud
Clinton warns North Korea on nuclear programs
Clinton, in Asia, Takes Softer Tone on North Korea New York Times
US envoy Holbrooke meets Indian officials International Herald Tribune
Pakistan: Conflicting reports about kidnapped UN official CNN International
Republicans Don't Believe Obama Was Born
Several Tennessee lawmakers
have signed on to a legal action intended to force President Barack Obama to
turn over his birth certificate and other documents to prove his citizenship, an
effort rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court in an earlier case.
Tennessee Reps. Eric Swafford, Stacey Campfield, Glen Casada and Frank Niceley have all agreed to be plaintiffs in a planned legal action by a Russian immigrant in California who has challenged whether Obama meets constitutional criteria to be president.
John McCain’s in the news. This week, Sen. John McCain sent out an e-mail to his supporters announcing that he’s running for re-election in 2010. Yeah. Isn’t that incredible? John McCain knows how to use e-mail.- Conan O'Brien
Scientists: Pace of Climate Change Exceeds Estimates Washington Post
Man charged over Australian bush fires named CNN International
Vietnam cameramen recall Khmer Rouge torture horror
Afghan President Hamid
Karzai lashed out at mounting U.S. criticism on Sunday, saying he expected
"better judgment" from the Obama administration.
In the latest show of strain between the allies in a seven-year war against Islamist militants, Karzai told CNN President Barack Obama's description of the Kabul government as "very detached" from its people reflected the new U.S. government's immaturity....At the same time, U.S. criticism of Karzai has grown as the Taliban insurgency steadily gains ground more than seven years after U.S.-led forces toppled the hardline Islamist Afghan government.
Republicans Continue to Hammer White House Over Census Washington Post
know what the deal is, but all of a sudden, we have 40- and 50 mile-an-hour
gusts of wind blowing around outside. In fact, it is so windy, former Illinois
Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s hair actually moved. - David Letterman
Eric "Baby Newt" Cantor
Right Wing America To Be Heard
For those wondering why the
"liberal media" rarely show interviews of conservative voters on TV, documentary
director Alexandra Pelosi
offers up a visceral counterpoint in HBO's Right America, Feeling
Wronged: Some Voices From the Campaign Trail, a documentary premiering
tonight (8 ET/PT).
The Once-Again Vacant Job at Commerce Washington Post
Southern Methodist University is having trouble raising the $500 million needed to build the George W. Bush Presidential Library. If the library were to open today, it would be called the George W. Bush Presidential Bookmobile. - Laugh Lines
Courage Campaign in California
Ads by Google
Reviews of ‘TARP II’ may be all thumbs down
Chattanooga: Regional bankruptcies climb 25% Chattanooga Times Free Press
Troubled peanut firm has filed for bankruptcy Seattle Times
In the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated, model Brooklyn Decker is naked except for a world map painted on her. Many Americans previously clueless about geography are expressing a sudden interest in the Netherlands. - Laugh Lines
A Bada Bing - No Bada Boom
A Royal Navy
nuclear submarine and a French vessel have been damaged in a collision deep
below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.
HMS Vanguard and Le Triomphant, which were carrying nuclear missiles on routine patrols, are reported to have collided while submerged on 3 or 4 February. Between them they had about 250 sailors on board.
Berlin Sets Tough Conditions for Guantanamo Inmates Spiegel Online
Abu Ghraib curse could reach US private firms Middle East Online
birthday to Abraham Lincoln, who was born 200 years ago today. And to mark the
occasion, former Vice President Dick Cheney, earlier today, went into a theater
and shot a guy. - David Letterman
girls love living in the White House. They think it’s fantastic. There was just
one complaint that the girls had about living in the White House. They claim
that there’s a portrait of Dick Cheney on the wall, and they claim the eyes in
that portrait actually move.
— David Letterman
In case you missed it …
In its tireless effort to provide news and giggles for its readers, All Hat No Cattle offers this Monday glimpse back at the previous week with an emphasis on the weekend dump. (We mean the time preferred by government officials, politicians and titans of industry to release unsavory news in the hope it receives less media coverage – not the bathroom activity.)
Oh, by the way, Blagojevich’s
brother did ask me for money
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Raising fresh questions about his appointment to Congress, Democratic Sen. Roland Burris admitted in a document released over the weekend that former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's brother asked him for campaign fundraising help before the governor named Burris as Illinois' junior senator.
The disclosure reflects a major omission from Burris' testimony in January when an Illinois House impeachment committee specifically asked if he had ever spoken to Robert Blagojevich or other aides to the now-deposed governor about the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.
State Rep. Jim Durkin, the impeachment committee's ranking Republican, told The Associated Press that he and House Republican Leader Tom Cross will ask Sunday for an outside investigation into whether Burris perjured himself.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada also said he was reviewing the disclosure, the latest twist for Senate Democrats in Washington who only consented to seat Burris on the condition that there were no "pay to play" promises exchanged in the appointment.
Burris said he voluntarily gave the committee a Feb. 4 affidavit disclosing the contact with Robert Blagojevich because "there were several facts that I was not given the opportunity to make during my testimony to the impeachment committee."
The affidavit, released by Burris' office after it was first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, said Robert Blagojevich called him three times — once in October and twice after the November election — to seek his fundraising assistance. Robert Blagojevich's attorney said his client believes one of the conversations was recorded by the FBI.
Burris, a Democrat like the former governor, said he told Robert Blagojevich he would not raise money because it would look like he was trying to win favor from the governor for his appointment.
Just call him supreme leader-for-life
CARACAS, Venezuela – President Hugo Chavez won a referendum to eliminate term limits Sunday, enabling him to run again in 2012 and beyond in what critics fear is an attempt to become president-for-life.
Fireworks exploded in the sky and caravans of supporters celebrated in the streets, waving red flags and honking horns. Thousands of people gathered outside Miraflores Palace, where the former paratroop commander appeared on a balcony to sing the national anthem and address the crowd.
"Today we opened wide the gates of the future," proclaimed Chavez, who has governed for a decade and vowed to rule for at least a decade more. "In 2012 there will be presidential elections, and unless God decides otherwise, unless the people decide otherwise, this soldier is already a candidate."
Chavez called the victory — which allows all public officials to run for re-election as many times as they want — a mandate to speed his transformation of Venezuela into a socialist state.
"Ten years is nothing. I don't know what they're complaining about," he said before Sunday’s vote.
The current constitution, itself created by a Chavez-backed referendum in 1999, allows two six-year terms. Without the amendment approved Sunday, Chavez would have had to leave office in 2013. He lost a broader referendum in December 2007 that also sought to abolish presidential term limits, and says nothing is stopping him from trying again if he loses this time.
Investigators urged FAA action
for years before latest air crash
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. safety investigators have for years pressed regulators to take stronger and swifter action to mitigate the dangerous effects of aircraft icing, a stand prompted by crashes more than 15 years ago.
Icing quickly emerged as a leading possible cause for why a Continental Connection turboprop fell out of the sky in wintry conditions and plunged into a house near Buffalo, New York, late Thursday, killing all 49 people on the plane and one person on the ground.
While the National Transportation Safety Board investigation of the crash will take months, records showed the board has been dissatisfied with the Federal Aviation Administration's response to four of its icing-related safety recommendations, one dating to 1996.
The board issued a safety alert last December based on one of the two outstanding icing-related recommendations that it made to the FAA in 2007. That one would require crews to activate anti-icing systems or rubber "boots" designed to break up accumulated ice on the leading edge, or front, of the wings once a plane enters icy conditions, unless there is a specific instruction from the manufacturer not to do so.
Safety board investigators said that "black box" recordings showed the crew of Flight 3407 commented on ice buildup on the windshield and the leading edge of the wings of the year-old Dash 8 Q400 shortly before the crash. It was not clear what procedures were in place for the crew at Colgan Air, which was operating the flight.
Climate change expert: We’re
CHICAGO (AFP) – It seems the dire warnings about the oncoming devastation wrought by global warming were not dire enough, a top climate scientist warned Saturday.
It has been just over a year since the Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a landmark report warning of rising sea levels, expanding deserts, more intense storms and the extinction of up to 30 percent of plant and animal species.
But recent climate studies suggest that report significantly underestimates the potential severity of global warming over the next 100 years, a senior member of the panel warned.
"We now have data showing that from 2000 to 2007, greenhouse gas emissions increased far more rapidly than we expected," said Chris Field, professor of biology and of environmental Earth system science at Stanford University. He was a coordinating lead author of the report.
This is "primarily because developing countries like China and India saw a huge upsurge in electric power generation, almost all of it based on coal," Field said in a statement before a presentation to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Without decisive action to slow global warming, higher temperatures could ignite tropical forests and thaw the Arctic tundra, potentially releasing billions of tons of carbon dioxide that has been stored for thousands of years. That could raise temperatures even more and create "a vicious cycle that could spiral out of control by the end of the century."
The amount of carbon that could be released is staggering.
Since the start of
the Industrial Revolution, an estimated 350 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2)
has been released through the burning of fossil fuels.
The new estimate of the amount of carbon stored in the Arctic's permafrost soils is around 1,000 billion tons. And the Arctic is warming faster than any other part of the globe.
Congress passes huge spending bill despite huge GOP tantrum
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Congress, handing President Barack Obama a major legislative victory, on Friday approved a $787 billion stimulus bill that aims to rush emergency government spending and tax cuts to a nation in the grip of a severe recession.
The Senate cast the final vote, 60-38, hours after the House of Representatives passed an identical bill, 246-183. The action capped weeks of arguing over how Congress could best stimulate an economy suffering a rising jobless rate of 7.6 percent and a banking crisis that has nearly frozen lending.
Obama is expected to sign the bill into law soon, fulfilling a pledge to try to reverse the economic slide with a recipe that includes middle-class tax cuts, money for construction projects, help for the poor and unemployed and new investments in alternative energy.
Democrats hope to save or create 3.5 million jobs.
But the new Democratic president, failed in his efforts to win over Republicans, who are a minority in Congress. Not a single House Republican voted for one of the biggest single spending bills in the nation's history and only three Republican senators backed it.
Republicans argued unsuccessfully for less government spending and more tax cuts.
The final plan is split into 36 percent for tax cuts and 64 percent in spending and other provisions. That was close to the 40/60 split Obama had sought in his effort to jolt the economy, which he has warned could become a "catastrophe" without rapid government intervention.
Satellite crash debris threatens other spacecraft, alien tourism
MOSCOW (AP) – The crash of two satellites has generated an estimated tens of thousands of pieces of space junk that could circle Earth and threaten other satellites for the next 10,000 years, space experts said Friday.
One called the collision "a catastrophic event" that he hoped would force the new U.S. administration to address the issue of debris in space.
Russian Mission Control chief Vladimir Solovyov said Tuesday's smashup of a derelict Russian military satellite and a working U.S. Iridium commercial satellite occurred in the busiest part of near-Earth space — some 500 miles (800 kilometers) above Earth.
"800 kilometers is a very popular orbit which is used by Earth-tracking and communications satellites," Solovyov told reporters Friday. "The clouds of debris pose a serious danger to them."
Solovyov said debris from the collision could stay in orbit for up to 10,000 years and even tiny fragments threaten spacecraft because both travel at such a high orbiting speed.
James Oberg, a NASA veteran who is now space consultant, described the crash over northern Siberia as a "catastrophic event." NASA said it was the first-ever high-speed impact between two intact spacecraft, with the Iridium craft weighing 1,235 pounds and the Russian craft a ton.
Most fragments are concentrated near the collision course, but Maj.-Gen. Alexander Yakushin, chief of staff of the Russian military's Space Forces, said some debris was thrown into other orbits, ranging from 300 to 800 miles above Earth.
David Wright at the Union of Concerned Scientists' Global Security said the collision had possibly generated tens of thousands of particles larger than half an inch, any of which could significantly damage or even destroy a satellite.
Meanwhile, there's no global air traffic control system that tracks the position of all satellites.
The U.S. military tracks some 17,000 pieces of space debris larger than 2 to 4 inches, along with some 900 active satellites. But its main job is protecting the international space station and other manned spacecraft, and it lacks the resources to warn all satellite operators of every possible close call.
Enron honcho appeals conviction, cites lack of KY jelly in prison
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Former Enron Corp Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling will ask for U.S. Supreme Court review of his 2006 felony conviction stemming from the energy trading giant's collapse, his attorney said on Thursday.
"We will seek review by the Supreme Court," Skilling's attorney, Daniel Petrocelli, said in an email.
A federal appeals court ruled last month that Skilling must be resentenced because of a lower court error, but let stand his conviction.
Skilling is serving a 24-year term at a minimum security prison in Colorado. His lawyers had argued that all counts against Skilling should have been dismissed due to juror bias and because the government used a flawed legal theory to convict him.
Petrocelli said the U.S. high court must decide whether prosecutors improperly relied on the "honest services" theory, which says employees are bound to provide honest services and not put their interests ahead of a company's.
Gregg rejects Commerce
nomination after realizing he’s Republican
WASHINGTON (AP) – Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire abruptly withdrew his nomination as commerce secretary Thursday, citing "irresolvable conflicts" with President Barack Obama's handling of the economic stimulus and 2010 census. "We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy," Gregg said in a statement released by his Senate office.
Gregg, 61, is a former New Hampshire governor who previously served in the House. He has been in the Senate since 1993 and currently serves as the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, where he is known as a crusader against big spending.
The withdrawal appeared to take the White House by surprise, with members of the president's media operation learning of Gregg's decision from reporters. An administration official said Gregg dropped out without warning for a position that he had expressed interest in just a few weeks ago.
In his statement, Gregg thanked Obama for the nomination, and said, "I especially admire his willingness to reach across the aisle."
In citing the stimulus and census, he said, "Prior to accepting this post, we had discussed these and other potential differences, but unfortunately we did not adequately focus on these concerns. We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy."
In his statement, Gregg said his withdrawal had nothing to do with the vetting into his past that Cabinet officials routinely undergo.
Peanut company owner mimics Bush officials, pleads Fifth Amendment
WASHINGTON (AP) – The owner of a peanut company refused to testify to Congress on Wednesday amid the disclosure that he urged his workers to ship bacteria-tainted products, pleading with federal health officials that he should be able "turn the raw peanuts on the floor into money."
Stewart Parnell, owner of Peanut Corp. of America, repeatedly invoked his right not to incriminate himself before the House subcommittee holding a hearing on a national salmonella outbreak blamed on his company. The outbreak has sickened some 600 people, may be linked to nine deaths — the latest reported in Ohio on Wednesday — and has resulted in one of the largest product recalls of more 1,800 items.
Parnell sat stiffly, his hands folded in his lap at the witness table, as Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., held up a clear jar of his company's products wrapped in crime scene tape and asked him if he would be willing to eat the food.
"Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, on advice of my counsel, I respectively decline to answer your questions based on the protections afforded me under the U.S. Constitution," Parnell said.
After repeating the statement several times, he was dismissed from the hearing.
Shortly afterward, a lab tester testified that the company discovered salmonella at its Georgia plant as far back as 2006.
The House panel released e-mails obtained by its investigators showing Parnell ordered products identified with salmonella shipped and quoting his complaints that tests discovering the contaminated food were "costing us huge $$$$$$."
Franco still dead; Blagojevich still talking
(AHNC Independent News) – Disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich continued his “I’m Not Guilty, Just Nuts” Tour with an appearance Wednesday night on the FOX News show One on One with Sean Hannity. By show’s end, it was difficult for viewers to choose whether the guest or the host is the greater rectal cavity.
Cannibalistic GOP group threatens wavering Republican lawmakers
(FOX News) – A GOP group is putting Republican lawmakers "on notice," threatening to campaign against anyone who breaks ranks to vote for the more than $800 billion economic recovery package.
The National Republican Trust PAC put out a statement Tuesday claiming it would provide financial support for primary challengers to any stimulus-supporting Republican in the next election.
"Republican Senators are on notice," the group's director Scott Wheeler said in a statement. "If they support the stimulus package we will make sure every voter in their state knows how they tried to further bankrupt voters in an already bad economy."
The release did not name names, but was obviously directed at the three Republican senators who joined Democrats to advance the Senate version of the bill Monday.
Republicans Sens. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both from Maine, are expected to vote for the bill Tuesday. Specter is up for re-election next year and Snowe in 2012. Collins was re-elected in 2008 and won't be up again until 2014.
Senate passes economic stimulus
plan; compromise with House looms
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan has passed the Senate and is on its way to difficult House-Senate negotiations.
Just three Republicans helped pass the plan on a 61-37 vote and they're already signaling they'll play hardball to preserve more than $108 billion in spending cuts made last week in Senate dealmaking. Obama wants to restore cuts in funds for school construction jobs and help for cash-starved states.
Those cuts are among the major differences between the $819 billion House version of Obama's plan and a Senate bill costing $838 billion. Obama has warned of a deepening economic crisis if Congress fails to act. He wants a bill completed by the weekend.
The bill backed by the White House survived a key test vote in the Senate Monday despite strong Republican opposition, and Democratic leaders vowed to deliver legislation for President Barack Obama's signature within a few days.
Monday's vote was 61-36, one more than the 60 needed to advance the measure toward Senate passage on Tuesday. That in turn, will set the stage for possibly contentious negotiations with the House on a final compromise on legislation the president says is desperately needed to tackle the worst economic crisis in more than a generation.
Porn actress might run against GOP senator linked to prostitution ring
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) – Fans of porn star Stormy Daniels are drafting her to run for the U.S. Senate seat in Louisiana now held by Republican Sen. David Vitter. And it's no racy gimmick, they say.
The Draft Stormy Web site says that "2010 presents the Pelican State with the opportunity to start with a clean slate -- to elect a representative that we can be proud of, who will work tirelessly, and who will challenge the status quo. We at the Draft Stormy campaign feel that Baton Rouge native Stormy Daniels is best suited to fulfill these duties."
Vitter is famous for his link to the "D.C. Madam," the woman who ran a prostitution ring. Elected to the Senate in 2004, he admitted to "a very serious sin in my past" in July 2007 after his phone number turned up in records of an escort service run by the late Deborah Jeane Palfrey, known as the D.C. Madam.
Running for re-election, Vitter said his wife has forgiven him and is banking on the same sentiment from his constituents. Will the Draft Stormy move mean stormy weather for Vitter?
The senator's office didn't return calls by CNN.
Daniels, 29, isn't affiliated with a party but is embracing the idea of a possible candidacy.
She said she's planning a "listening tour" around Louisiana to talk about a range of matters, including the economy – which with women in business and protection of children are the three issues listed on her Web site. When told Vitter can be a tough opponent, she said she's "always up for a good fight."
"I think anyone that knows me ... is more than aware of that," Daniels said. "Politics can't be any dirtier of a job than the one I am already in."
Love your site,
contributed last year, just tried to today, but could see no way to do it
without PayPal touching it, and I prefer they come no where near anything having
to do with me. jus sayin'
would a personal check to your listed address work?
thanks for the cheers for these years.
I'll send over my hovercraft right over to pick it up. lol
gladly accepted...no PayPal fee!
I return your curtsy. Where ever there is laughter, there is hope and that it what keeps me going. Keep fighting the good fight and I will be cheering you on from the sidelines.
Love ya back, Kay
Lisa, I hope this will help. During the darkest of times over the last 8 years you made us laugh or at the least smile. Thanks
Hi Lisa ... You must be the sweetheart of ex-military medics (Navy corpsman here, 1971 - '75). I echo Greg's sentiment . You are really doing a great service and we all cheer you and AHNC! Hang in there!
"Lately, Venus has been
spectacular as our Evening Star," says astronomy professor Jimmy Westlake of
Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs, CO. "I took advantage of
moonlight on the snow and used the light from Venus, the mythological Goddess of
Love, to create this 'Venus Valentine' to the world. The 'dots' were 30-second
exposures and the 'dashes' were 3-minute exposures," he explains.
And now for the message:
Happy Valentine's Day!
Thank you all! I love the skywriting!
DONATIONS LAST WEEK: 7
Offline Donation - TO: Lisa Casey - PO Box 88 - Ashford, AL 36312
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Dad At 13: Alfie Will Get DNA Test On Baby Sky News, UK
Nuclear submarines collide in Atlantic guardian.co.uk
released by the International Polar Foundation shows Belgium's new Princess
Elisabeth base in Antarctica. Forty years after the closure of King Bauduin
base, Belgium inaugurated a revolutionary scientific research station combining
high-end technologies and respect for the environment.