Saturday, September 24, 2005

Family Values

Another Friday afternoon resignation has occurred, thus skipping the news cycle.

Dr. Lester Crawford, a veterinarian and food safety expert, resigned as head of the FDA Friday afternoon, effective immediately.

The president's spokesmodel, Christina Pearson, declined comment on the basis of the "personnel matter."

A couple of clips from the NYT article this morning:
    Before the Senate confirmed Dr. Crawford, a Senate committee looked into accusations that he was having an affair with a woman who worked in his office and that he had wasted government money by taking her on official trips when she was not needed. An anonymous letter also suggested that Dr. Crawford had helped the woman secure a promotion to a higher-paying job.
    A government official said the resignation was related to the fact that Dr. Crawford had not fully disclosed information about his finances to the Senate before his confirmation. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, citing Dr. Crawford's privacy.
But, you know, it's a personnel issue. So we shouldn't attempt to find out why the president would appoint someone with such questionable information coming up on their FBI background check.

Of course, the Senate has presidential appointments under their purview (Dick Durbin voted against this schmuck).

One would think the Speaker of the House would want the President -- the leader of his own party -- to get to the bottom of these allegations once and for all.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Hastert on Gas Prices

Check this out:
    But Hastert said the White House has failed to protect consumers.

    "If we don't have an energy policy in this country and we rely too much on foreign energy, and we let OPEC dictate what the price of oil is in this country, our consumers suffer," Hastert said. "So I would think we need to have a better and stronger energy policy in this country."

    Although U.S. gasoline prices have risen dramatically, they are still well below prices paid by drivers in most European and Asian nations.
But that was from an article published June 21... 2000. And he was blaming Bill Clinton.

If you didn't think Denny Hastert was an ugly political monster, motivated only by ideology, think again.

Don't Worry, The Adults Are Back

Rest assured that the FTC's pronouncement that they'll look into gouging at the gas pump... is yet another cruel joke by Republicans. And yet another example of a political boot licker being put on the public payroll with your money, as the King likes to say.

Hey, last time around, when Jan Schakowsky and Dick Durbin led the way by demanding a meeting with Big Oil execs, Denny Hastert took a pass.

For one thing, he assured the public at the time, it was highly doubtful that there was gouging going on. For another thing, he had an important speaking engagement with the Food Marketing Institute in Washington, D.C. that day. The topic: Conservative Values. (note: I'll update this with a link later... for now, it appears their server's not responding)

You can view all of the Speaker's archived press releases (if you really want to) here. Note that all 49 press releases listed cover 1999-2002. His expensive press operation issued only two press releases in 2000.


Even when he's "Absent on Book Tour" Joe Conason is simply superlative.

Conason's Observer column this week is a must-read for anyone who even thinks they might have an idea about the purpose of government.

For those of you who have never read it, his book, "The Hunting of the President: The 10-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton," with Gene Lyons, is another must read to get an understanding the "leaders" in our government today.

Check out Gene's column in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (via if you want to avoid subscribing) each Thursday, if you can. He's one of the best columnists you're probably not reading.

Hastert OKs Discrimination in Head Start

By an overwhelming majority, Republicans under the leadership of Denny "J. Dennis" Hastert, approved Head Start funding that allows faith-based agencies to receive Federal funding even when they discriminate based on the child or family's religion.

As is customary, the Speaker did not vote on the measure, since it was not a close vote and did not warrant his stand on the issue of State-sponsored discrimination.

Why does Denny Hastert hate non-Christians?


Unbelievable! They're pouring the content in now as I download!

I am so glad today is payday, because I'm going to get every last album as fast as I can.

Actually, I was very sad to see just now that the very vivid dream I had this morning, that I was stumbling out of bed and seeing just this scene at the computer... is not true. Alas, it was but a dream.

Operation Offset

Raw Story has a copy of the outline of "Operation Offset," a cruelly-named proposal for cutting back on spending to pay for recovery from Katrina. The official document has been taken down from the site.

The committee, made up of 86 Republican members of Congress selected by Tom DeLay and Dennis Hastert, was unusually cruel in its assessment.

Some of the recommendations include:
    Elimination of Amtrak funding (altogether);
    Level funding for the FAA (which means no increased funding for safety);
    Increases in Medicare Part B premiums (from just under 25% to 30%);
    Steep cuts for veterans and military families
    (eliminating primary and secondary education facilities for kids in military families, increasing health care costs for families and veterans);
Why does Denny Hastert hate Amtrak, airline safety, the elderly, and military families?

Gee, and all of this comes just a few weeks after Hastert's press henchmen penned a letter to the Kendall County Record's Op/Ed page excoriating the leader of a local Veterans group for suggesting Republicans were cutting benefits.

How unfortunate.

The Navy Times story.


"Mook" is the word for this week. And here's our Mook of the Week.

Who raised the federal debt ceiling to $7.4 trillion and blew through it so fast that he's got to raise it again?
    This week, Republicans are raising the federal debt limit by $800 billion. It will be the third time the Bush administration has had to request a higher debt limit since 2002.
You guessed it! Conservative Denny "J. Dennis" Hastert!

Our Mook of the Week.

That article reported the goings-on a week after last year's election. Here's part of the answer Hastert's buddies are coming up with now.

That's right. Sell off the nation's assets to the highest bidder! Capitalism at work! Free marketeering!


The answer is sending a new Congress to work in November 2006.

This mook has been a miserable failure by any measure.


His work is so refreshing. Sidney Blumenthal is a nice Chicago boy.

Why is it that Charles Krauthammer and Cal Thomas (both of whom, I believe, are certifiably insane) can be found in hundreds of newspapers across the country, but you can't find a consistently hard-hitting Liberal voice in there?

Brother Can You Spare A...

Gallon of gas?

Fill your tank today. CNN is reporting $5/gallon gas from Hurricane Rita is probably right around the corner.

If you have any 5 gallon cans lying around, fill 'em up, too.

The economic impact we're facing is widespread; we could be seeing some pretty significant inflation figures in the short term alone.

There's no telling what the outcome may be when 30% of the country's energy refining capacity is at risk of going offline for an extended time.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Bald-Faced Liars

In very general terms, this is what I'm referring to when I rail about the lack of Congressional oversight under Denny Hastert.

This is nothing short of high crimes and misdemeanors against the public trust.

An Open Letter To The Governor Of Illinois

    Note: When I was growing up, I used to occasionally read such open letters in my hometown newspaper. Fat chance that the message was going to get where it was intended, sure, but in those days, editorialists had the nerve to do it.

    Today's political and journalism communities are so intertwined that it's rare to find such gumption. I am appalled that I have not seen this sentiment on the opinion pages since Katrina's devastation became clear. I have searched every day, and it appears I am alone in this opinion. If I am, then it'll be a long battle.

    Having just spent the better part of yesterday afternoon stopping and going on Illinois Route 47, I think there are plenty of people who feel the way I do.

Governor Blagojevich,

I noted your remarks during your visit here last month with regard to the growth of the area and the proposed limited access highway now part of the Federal Transportation Bill for 2006. Now I am asking for your direct and immediate action as the Chief Executive of the State of Illinois.

I am asking that you issue an executive order disallowing the $209 million in federal dollars earmarked for the Prairie Parkway project, known in Kendall and Kane counties as the "Hastert Highway."

The disastrous situation on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi has made it clear once and for all that Washington's priorities over the past five years have begun to jeopardize our nation's future solvency.

It is becoming increasingly clear that when the final toll is taken, Washington will likely pay more than a thousand fold what it could have spent in the past three years to repair the levee system around the city of New Orleans.

If find it more than ironic that as a big blue, capital "L," Liberal, I am the first one making this suggestion in public. I could be wrong about that, but I don't think so.

Mr. Governor, we don't need to waste another $209 million to "study" the parkway site for another three years. Seventy-percent of area motorists believe the answer to our highway problems in this high-growth area lie in existing roadways. We've already told IDOT that in their own survey, and in town hall meetings.

Someone has not been listening.

The Prairie Parkway is very unpopular in the fastest growing and most populated counties where it would become reality, Kane and Kendall, and no doubt such a plan would bring construction jobs to the area. In several years.

Those jobs could be created right now with that money, with Illinois labor and machinery. But it should happen in Louisiana and Mississippi. And now the Gulf Coast of Texas is at risk.

Putting aside all the questions about Mr. Hastert's land purchase near one of the rejected corridors -- while the study was still under way -- and a larger discussion of who benefits from the "Prairie Parkway's" curious, circuitous route, and whose property is divided, what town will be decimated, I am simply asking you to put a stop to this waste.

Additionally, I am requesting your intervention in a renewed effort to expand IL Rt. 47 from I-88 in the north to I-80 in the south, the most direct route between the two interstate highways, and the most logical place for any highway work to begin now.

Illinois Route 47 has been ignored by IDOT for years (of Republican leadership in the state). Mr. Hastert is known by many to have said that Route 47 expansion would mean the elimination of quaint towns like Elburn and Yorkville (his hometown). In fact, Elburn is not involved, and as far as Yorkville is concerned there are now plans underway to improve IL 47 through the city.

Already, truckers loathe the time spent on IL 47 in the afternoon hours, and many intersections on the route have become more dangerous for local motorists now commuting this booming corridor.

This is not a Conservative vs. Liberal notion. It's not about Democrats and Republicans. This is about the future solvency of the U.S. Treasury, and helping ensure that our children and grandchildren don't have to forever pay for our lack of governance and oversight. Illinois, as one of the largest, most diverse and populous states should be out front setting an example.

Mr. Governor, issue an executive order to scuttle the Prairie Parkway plan now under study by IDOT. We don't need rain forests in Iowa. We don't need a half billion dollars worth of bridges in Alaska that only serve a few thousand people. And we sure as hell don't need the Prairie Parkway carving up some of the richest farmland on the face of the earth, and increasing the federal deficit.

At the end of the day, Mr. Blagojevich, put IDOT's nose on the pavement in Sugar Grove, looking south to Morris. Because the focus should be on IL Rt. 47 expansion and improvement, instead.

Respectfully yours,

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

And Another Thing...

Why is this Smarmy Bastard™ still on the payroll?

'Nuff said.

Absolutely No More!

We've been reading for a couple of weeks now about President Bush appointing this "Czar" or that. A "Katrina Czar," Karl Rove is the "Reconstruction Czar," (if anyone doesn't get the irony of that title, see American History: Lincoln and the Civil War; Reconstruction) we need a new "FEMA Czar."

One of the best -- yet saddest -- phrases you could quote from a Katrina victim applies here.
    Come on, now.
No more Czars. We don't need one more "Czar" appointed by the King.

We need a Congress that does its damned job, and provides the proper screening for these political toadies and lickspittles who've been handed cherry jobs at our great expense. We need a Congress that does its damned job by providing oversight of government programs and initiatives.

And we need the CBO to start doing its job and working with a Justice Department (that could also start doing its job) and start handing out some subpoenas to find out where all the damn money is going.

We need a new party at the helm of our Legislative Branch in order for any of this to happen. No second-string Republicans need apply to take over for miserable failures of the public trust like Denny Hastert.

Your 15 minutes is about up.

Shameless Politicking

If you don't "get it," this is total crap.

First of all, this is the latest "news item" on the "Speaker's" website. It's from September 9.

Second, look at the banner hanging in the background. Who paid for that banner, and why does it have to proclaim it's a "Hastert" event to legitimize it?

News item: The Red Cross has raised nearly $800M to date for Katrina victims. But all the money in the world doesn't help people face to face. They still need thousands of volunteers to help out on the Gulf Coast.

How about sending some of the idle rich Kendall County GOP Ladies down there?

I think that any relative of a government official who's important enough to be able to legally monogram the hull of a God Damned Coast Guard vessel, who doesn't work for a living is good enough to wade through the muck and help the disaster-stricken poor in our country.

What about it? If this is seen as picking on poor, old Jean Hastert, maybe Mrs. Ron Bonjean (also here) might volunteer a few weeks of her time.

How Cronyism Happens

I couldn't make this up!

The "Top News" stories, selected by Netscape (viewed by millions each day on their "mynetscape" start page):

Top News
- Women's Hands Cleaner Than Men, Study Says
- Tyra Banks Proves Breasts Are Real on TV
- Rita Plows Across Gulf; Evacuations Begin
- Hornets to Play 35 Games in Oklahoma City

There is no longer a need to ever ask the question, "How did this happen?" when we watch the news at night.

The Dow is about to close off in triple digits (below 10,400 again), by the way, so we're back below scratch for this president, who wants to scrap Social Security and open a trading account for every American. The Dow opened at 10,587 on January 22, 2001, King George's first day in office.

Not a top news story, though.


Garrison Keillor is so funny, and so right on.

Once again, if you don't subscribe to, it's worth the premium subscription just to read his latest work (subscription req.).

Dissent From A Surprising Source

The Washington Times.

I take issue with some of the smaller projects (we all know $3.2M is not bad for a paved walkway from the millions spent in Oswego a few years back). Bottom line: Send the money south.

Why I Don't Shop at Wal-Mart

It's not an "anti-retail" rail I'm on today. I've been in business all my life, and I pretty well know right from wrong. Being raised a Baptist will do that.

I could just say bad things about Wal-Mart because Denny "J. Dennis" Hastert flies home on their private corporate jets for free (well, we're not aware of any quid pro quo, anyway). But that would be guilt by association, and we know that's wrong. You can't make Wal-Mart bad because they're good to a corrupt back-room dealer like Hastert.

I could have stopped shopping Wal-Mart forever when they fired all the meat cutters who wanted to organize their own collective bargaining unit, and closed their butcher shops in favor of selling pre-packaged meats produced by less-safe regional packing houses.

I decided to draw the line, finally, when it became known that Wal-Mart was not only employing exploitive practices with undocumented workers, but was doing it on an institutional level (note: I refer to it as an institutional practice when 700 of a company's 3,000 stores do it).

When the story broke, Wal-Mart hid behind the subcontracting firms they entrusted with the scheme. What's worse, it took a two-year investigation by federal authorities, which looked back over five-years by the time the charges were filed to make Wal-Mart come clean.

See, in my book, that's bad. And don't think it didn't have something to do with skin color; not one Canadian was rounded up in the 2003 raid.

Makes you wonder: Why does Denny "J. Dennis" Hastert hate Mexicans and love Wal-Mart?

Why I Don't Shop at Menard's

Remember in 2000 when every Menard's truck pulling out of the Plano warehouse donned a "Bush-Cheney 2000" sign on the back door? I still do.

In business, we call that blatant stupidity. You don't fly your political colors on your work truck. Honestly, I haven't shopped for anything more than a roll of tape at Menard's since 2000.

With that in mind, I took another look at the Prairie Parkway plan.

Much of the land selected in IDOT's final plan for the Parkway is owned locally by farm families. You know, the kind Hastert hid behind when he railroaded the elimination of the "death tax" through Congress.

Some of the land adjacent to the final IDOT plan is owned by Menard's of Wisconsin, whose CEO, John Menard, has been a reliable Republican donor over the years.

Who would have thought they'd build a giant highway right across the road from the Menard's distibution center east of Plano? What terrific luck!

Check out Open Secrets for the details of Mr. Menard's "compassionate generosity."

But wait, IDOT is a state agency, not under the control of J. Dennis Hastert. Right?

If you think that Hastert does not have an incredible amount of influence at the state agency level in Illinois, you are probably not smart enough to breathe.

Take a breath and think again.

The Field's Card Went In The Shredder.

I am not a New Yorker. I am not even a native Chicagoan, but I have always taken great pride in Marshall Field's.

I do not shop at Macy's.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Calling All Democrats & Independents

Carpe Diem!

Anyone with eyeballs who is not a reflexive, back-slapping, sycophantic moron supporter of Hastert should look at these numbers and think things over.

If this isn't the year for Democrats across the country (while admittedly, probably not in IL CD 14), I don't think it will ever come.

Toning It Down

OK. It's out of my system. Although I can't promise not to call any of our "leaders" an asshole in the future.

I'm somewhat enamored of the word, it's true. And I'm angry.

But it's been brought to my attention that if I would at least drop the, well, "You-Know-What of the Week" term down to something a little more palatable, it might be better received. Well, alrighty.

I don't have anything concrete to offer as a replacement term this evening (wanker is taken) but I'll work on it.

And I'm sure I'll have plenty of material for another "____ of the Week" by Wednesday.

Appointment by Royal Decree

It appears that Karl Rove will be the "Reconstruction Czar" for the planning and rebuilding of New Orleans.

Does anyone find it strange that the Constitution no longer holds the power to stop appointments by Royal Decree, or governing by Executive Fiat?

Does anyone have a problem with a lifetime scumbag political operative Traitor of the Democracy taking on a gigantic task for which he has absolutely no relevant experience?

Why is there no longer any oversight whatsoever of our Executive Branch?

Why Does J. Dennis Hastert hate the U.S. Constitution?

Hastert: I Got Mine, Laddy

"The Coach" is characteristically mum regarding King George's illegal suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act, which will allow the government to pay less than the federal minimum wage -- that's been stalled at $5.15/hour for 8 years now -- to rebuild New Orleans.

It's not clear whether or not suspension of Davis-Bacon would clear the way for companies to eliminate overtime wages at the same time.

Some numbers to ponder:
Working 11 hours/day, six days each week (with no time off, no vacation days), a minimum wage worker could earn $17,675 in a year (assuming good health, survival, etc.). Minimum wage workers typically receive no pension benefit.

Heroes rebuilding NOLA will earn less.

Dennis Hastert has nine weeks of vacation each year, flies home from Washington every weekend to lounge around his 192-acre wooded estate (except this weekend, when he's in Scotland on our dime), and is paid $203,000/year. That's before you add in the folding money handed under the table by foreign nationals.

If Hastert were to retire at the end of next year (unlikely), he'll qualify for a $163,000/year pension.

Why does Dennis Hastert hate American workers?