Friday, March 19

Kerry: His Own Private Idaho 

After a grueling primary race that dates to [several months ago], Sen. John Kerry was spending six days with his wife, Teresa Heinz, at a family home in Sun Valley with no public events planned. Skiing and reading, [drinking Merlot wine], [and dining on Pate de Veau et Port avec Foie, Pouding Alsacien, Oranges Glacees and Crème Saint-Honore], were on the schedule, with the possibility that Kerry would step out to respond to criticism if warranted [but that he prefers to remain aloof]...

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Thursday, March 18

Poland Withdraws 9,300 Troops; Bush: I'm here to eat. 

President Aleksander Kwasniewski, a key Washington ally, said Thursday he may withdraw troops early from Iraq and that Poland was "misled" about the threat of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

His remarks to a small group of European reporters were his first hint of criticism about war in Iraq, where Poland currently has 2,400 troops and with the United States and Britain commands one of three sectors of the U.S.-led occupation.

"Naturally, one may protest the reasons for the war action in Iraq. I personally think that today, Iraq without Saddam Hussein is a truly better Iraq than with Saddam Hussein," Kwasniewski told the European reporters.

"But naturally I also feel uncomfortable due to the fact that we were misled with the information on weapons of mass destruction," he said, according to a transcript released by the presidential press office.


President Bush, in the chow line with troops at Fort Campbell, Ky., after delivering a speech, was asked about Kwasniewski's remarks but shook his head and said, "I'm here to eat."

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Scalia Says Country In Deep Trouble 

The NY Times quotes Scalia as telling us we are in deep trouble because he can be bought so cheap.

"'If it is reasonable to think that a Supreme Court justice can be bought so cheap, the nation is in deeper trouble than I had imagined,' Justice Scalia wrote in a 21-page memorandum bristling with defiance and offering lessons in the ways of Washington."

He is right. We are a nation in deep trouble because he can be bought so cheap. A duck hunt? A Christmas Party? Sheesh. Why not get something really good? All of Cheney's other friends are making billions.

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Uncle Bush, One Big Fart Machine 

The 72-year-old uncle of President Bush has bought a box of mail-order remote-control fart machines, which he presents as gag gifts to friends and relatives.

"Flatulation devices - that's the clinical term," says health-care executive Jonathan S. Bush. "...Ever since his brother George was in the White House, his great claim has always been that he is one joke removed from the presidency."

While Jonathan J.'s other son, "Access Hollywood" reporter Billy Bush, likes to entertain pals by setting his off in the office, a top White House source said the President ... boasts [having] a digitally stored, button-activated fart noise [on his desk].

"George was a great one for whoopee cushions... surprised if he was[n't] into that sort of thing anymore."

[from the daily news]

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Scalia Scales and All 

The AP says Scalia isa big baby and insists he must rule on his pal Cheney's case:

"Judges must disqualify themselves from cases in which their impartiality 'might reasonably be questioned.' The Sierra Club asked for Scalia's recusal in February, pointing to the 'American public's great concern about the continuing damage this affair is doing to the prestige and credibility of this court.'

In an unusual response, Scalia said he will recuse himself when 'on the basis of established principles and practices, I have said or done something which requires this course.'

He said the hunting trip to Louisiana was planned before the energy case reached the court.

Those 'established principles and practices' do not require or even permit him to step aside in the Cheney case, Scalia wrote."

See, Scalia is so committed to principles that he couldn't even consider stepping aside because of his huge and glaring conflict of interest. His conflict of interest is the size of a side of a barn. He's hanging out and playing with one of the parties in the case. Going hunting. Staying over. Discussing the case. Deciding on how Cheney would like him to rule. Seeing if there are any technicalities that can work in his favor.

The two wandered about, shooting peasants and Quayle, working out the minutia of the case. "How should I decide, Dick?" "Well, Antonin, if it were me, I'd find myself not guilty." "You have a good legal mind, Dick." "Hope no one finds out we are meeting in secret, Antonin..." "Don't worry, Dick, I get to decide if I'm impartial, and I am." "Phew"

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Wednesday, March 17

"We are not finished yet, but we are on our way" 

Connecticut Gov. John Rowland (R) who faces impeachment over a failed contract involving an Enron Corp. subsidiary was delivered another blow to his plea of no prior knowledge yesterday. Public filings show Enron's employees gave $57,750 to Rowland's 2002 re-election campaign 20 months before the company went bankrupt.

Gov. Rowland faces impeachment over two prior deals with Enron. The deals involve $426 million of taxpayer money.

The first involves FuelCell Energy - partially owned by Enron - and Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority which would have cost $206 million in state funds.

Another deal again involved the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA) and resulted in their losing $220 million on an "energy sales swap" from a trash-to-energy plant when Enron declared bankruptcy in 2001.

Gov. Rowland previously denied ever speaking to Kenneth Lay, CEO of Enron Corp., about the CRRA deals yet an email disclosed last November reveals he did speak with Lay directly about the deal.

This may all spell the end politically of John Rowland, but Kenneth Lay of Enron marches on.

The SEC approved Enron's plan to split into two companies: a pipeline firm called CrossCountry Energy and an international holding company called Prisma Energy International Inc. The plan is still subject to approval from Judge Arturo Gonzalez, but that's nothing a little email can't take care of, right?

[The following article has not yet been posted on Greenwire's web site.]

March 16, 2004 Tuesday
Connecticut: Gov. Rowland Implicated In LawsuitOver Enron Contract

The town of New Hartford, Conn., is suing Gov. John Rowland (R) over a contract between a Connecticut trash agency and an Enron Corp. subsidiary that ended up in higher dump rates when the deal collapsed.

The Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority lost $220 million from a previous buyout by a state utility on a no-bid "energy sales swap" -- a deal widely seen as a loan to Enron -- from a trash-to-energy plant when Enron declared bankruptcy in 2001. Federal regulators and a state grand jury are investigating the deal (Greenwire, Nov. 7, 2003).

Public filings show Enron employees gave $57,750 to Rowland's re-election campaign in the 20 months before the company went bankrupt.

"It's another one of a series of relationships that the governor had with major state contractors and employees that raises all kinds of very legitimate questions," said state Rep. Michael Lawlor (D), who is on the panel determining whether or not to impeach Rowland for a series of deals he made with private companies doing business with the state (Alison Leigh Cowan, New York Times, March 16).

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Tuesday, March 16

London Terror Attack Inevitable 

BBC News
Tuesday, 16 March, 2004

A terror attack on London is inevitable, Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir John Stevens has said....

[read story...]
If Czar NeoCon (pronounced Zarney-Oh-Can) implies that a vote against Bush next November is a vote for terrorism then can he please explain why since Bush's war on terrorism began terrorist acts have spread out of control all over the world, thousands upon thousands of people have died in Morocco, Turkey, Indonesia, Russia, Israel, the Phillipines, and we are no better three years later than we were three years ago, just a lot less safer?

This would imply that to be in favor of this war will guarantee that you will be the next target of terrorists. That may be allright if you live in a bullet-proof bubble in the White House, the most heavily defended strategic position in the entire Western Hemisphere, but it's suicidal if you don't.

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Spain Was A Rehearsal 

The AP tell us that terrorists might attack the US.

Even before the bombings in Madrid, White House officials were worrying that terrorists might strike the United States before the November elections.

Now, with the Socialists' surprise election victory in Spain, analysts believe the ballot box rebuke of one of President Bush's closest allies in the war in Iraq could embolden terrorists to try the same tactics in the United States to create fear and chaos.

And, if you are against George Bush, well, you are likely a terrorist:

'The implications of this are fairly staggering,' agreed political psychologist Stanley Renshon of City University of New York. 'This is the first time that a terrorist act has influenced a democratic election. This is a gigantic, loud wakeup call. There's no one they'd like to have out of office more than George W. Bush.'

So, get it straight. The terrorists would like nothing better than to defeat Bush, so if you want to defeat terrorism, you must support Bush. It's so obvious it hurts.

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Monday, March 15

Vice President Dean? 

Surprise question from Tim Russert to Gov. Howard Dean on Sunday's Meet The Press:

MR. RUSSERT: Would you be interested in running as vice president?

DR. DEAN: I think that--I've publicly said that I'm not sure he's going to want two people from adjacent states running.

MR. RUSSERT: Clinton-Gore.

DR. DEAN: Oh, well, yeah, that. You know, I haven't been asked about that either. And I'm not going to make any comments about that either.

Oh, well, yeah, that....

Incidentally, when's the last time a Northerner-Southerner Democratic Presidential ticket won?

I know Gore-Lieberman won the popular vote. But Gore lost big in the south: Tennessee (his home state), West Virginia (traditionally Democratic), Arkansas, and Florida (technically). If you're thinking Kennedy-Johnson was the last time the Democrats won on that tactic, then you're right.

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Sunday, March 14

U.S. Unloading WMD in Iraq? 

According to the Tehran Times, the US military is secretly unloading 1980s and 90s vintage weapons of Eastern European origin into Southern Iraq. Now I wonder why they'd be doing that?
 U.S. Unloading WMD in Iraq

TEHRAN (Mehr News Agency) – Over the past few days, in the wake of the bombings in Karbala and the ideological disputes that delayed the signing of Iraq’s interim constitution, there have been reports that U.S. forces have unloaded a large cargo of parts for constructing long-range missiles and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the southern ports of Iraq.

A reliable source from the Iraqi Governing Council, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Mehr News Agency that U.S. forces, with the help of British forces stationed in southern Iraq, had made extensive efforts to conceal their actions.

He added that the cargo was unloaded during the night as attention was still focused on the aftermath of the deadly bombings in Karbala and the signing of Iraq’s interim constitution.

The source said that in order to avoid suspicion, ordinary cargo ships were used to download the cargo, which consisted of weapons produced in the 1980s and 1990s.

The US says they know nothing about it, but that they hope to find such weapons in Iraq one day.

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