January 26, 2009 archive

Can you say “frog march”?

Congressman John Conyers has upped the ante, issuing a fresh, brand spankin’ new subpoena for KKKarl Rove, requiring his appearance “to testify regarding his role in the Bush Administration’s politicization of the Department of Justice, including the US Attorney firings and the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.”

Poor Karl, no friendly occupant in the White House to shelter him now. With negligible legal standing, it’s looking as though he may actually have to show up and defend himself against charges of organized politicization of hirings and firings in the Justice Department.

Four at Four

  1. The Guardian reports the Global recession claims 67,000 jobs in a day. More than 67,000 jobs were destroyed today as corporations across the U.S., Britain, and Europe announced lay offs.

    Big companies around the globe lay off tens of thousands, adds the NY Times. “The United States economy has dropped some 2.59 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007, and unemployment rose to 7.2 percent last month. Economists worry that the economy could now be losing as many as 600,000 jobs a month, and they said Monday’s layoff announcements served to underline the stricken state of the labor market.”

    And the Banking crisis topples its first government, adds The Guardian. In Iceland, Prime Minster Geir Haarde “announced the immediate resignation of his government because of the country’s severe financial crisis, which saw the collapse of the currency and banking system.”

  2. The LA Times reports Vice President Biden expects more U.S. casualties in Afghanistan.

    “We’ve inherited a real mess” in Afghanistan, Biden said. “We’re about to go in and try to essentially reclaim territory that’s been effectively lost. . . . All of this means we’re going to be engaging the enemy more now.”

Four at Four continues with an update from Iraq, China denies currency manipulation, and change in Bolivia.

FTA Is Back!!

Premiere Screenings of FTA in Los Angeles and New York

Email from Siegelman: Tell Specter to Release Hold on Holder

This diary is in the way of a community alert.  Over the fold is the body of an email being sent out by Don Siegelman about Specter’s hold on the Holder confirmation.  Let’s sound off on this.  These creeps are trying to subvert justice.

The confirmation of President Obama’s choice for U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, is being held up by Senator Arlen Specter and others.

guard home

State campaigns are active in Alaska, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Vermont, Virginia, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington D.C., Wisconsin, and new states are joining all the time.

National sponsors include AfterDowningStreet.org, Cities for Peace, CODEPINK, Courage to Resist, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Liberty Tree, Military Families Speak Out, Peace Action, Progressive Democrats of America, United for Peace and Justice, Veterans for Peace, and U.S. Labor Against the War.

Summary:        Press conference launching the national “Bring the Guard Home! It’s the Law.” campaign. Legislators in over a dozen states plan legislation

           ending the unlawful overseas deployment of their National Guard units.

           The legislation limits Guard units to service within their respective

           states, unless called into federal service following a declaration of war

           or a duly enacted federal statute.

           Guard units currently in Iraq are there under the 2002 Authorization for

           the Use of Military Force. The 2002 AUMF having expired, the legisla-                

           tion recognizes, there is no lawful basis under which state Guard units    

           may be released into national service for deployment to Iraq.

Campaign Seeks To Keep National Guard At Home


Portland, OR  January 21, 2009 1:03 p.m.

E-mailDiscuss new!listendownload

A campaign aimed at keeping the Oregon National Guard in Oregon started Wednesday with a 7000 signature petition being handed into the Governor’s office. Kristian Foden-Vencil reports.

To learn more, see the videos of the national Press Release for the campaign: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v… and



Oregon Public Broadcasting

The campaign is part of an effort in 18 states to bring National Guard troops back from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Supporters in Oregon have drafted a bill to enable Governor Ted Kulongoski to refuse a federal call up — unless there’s  a constitutionally authorized federal directive.

Leah Bolger of ‘Veterans for Peace’ says the current directive is not valid because it’s expired and troops are no longer there for the stated goal of finding weapons of mass destruction.

Leah Bolger: “The keep the guard home campaign is trying to empower governors to stand up and say I am responsible for my state’s welfare and I need the guard to stay here and I will not release them to federal authority unless there is a valid authorization.”

Kulongoski’s office sent a representative to accept the petition, but did not take a stance on the issue.

In the past, however, he has bemoaned the low availability of troops for wildfires and other local problems.  

Manufacturing Monday: An Open Letter to a New President

Greetings, Mister President, congratulations on your recent electoral victory and inauguration.  I, like many others, voted for you in the hopes that our nation would be steered in a new direction.  Normally, I try and put out a blog piece highlighting certain news and tidbits in regards to manufacturing in this country.  It’s not one of the best blogs in the world, nor one of the worst.  I’m no one of great importance either, just another blog writer among many who hope to voice an opinion or two or highlight something.  Trust me, there are much better bloggers out there.  Chances are you will never hear of this blog, or series, or entry.  Still, in the slight hope that you may hear about this or even read it, I wish to bring something up, that well to me at least, is of great importance.

Same Old Story

The Field Negro is a lawyer who lives in Philadelphia. He regularly reports on what he calls “Killadelphia,” his name for tracking the murder rate in his city (13 so far in the 26 days this year). And this weekend, he told the story of Dwayne Ramsey.

Earlier Tuesday, Dwayne had gone for his annual medical check-up, his mother said yesterday. He’d just gotten paid from his job at the McDonald’s in Plymouth Meeting.

The family returned home to watch the presidential inauguration and remained in high spirits the rest of the night, she said.

Later on, she grew hungry and Dwayne offered to treat.

He left and almost immediately Ramsey said she felt something was wrong.

‘I heard the shots and I got a sinking feeling,’ she said, her voice quivering.

She flung the blanket that was draped over her onto the floor, threw on a pair of pants, and, forgoing a coat, ran out.

On the corner, police and a crowd of curious neighbors had already congregated by the time she arrived. Ramsey tried to reach her son, who lay riddled with bullets on a small grassy area, but was held back by cops.


Transport Stimulus: Doing It Right

Adapted from an entry at Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence … links to crossposts may be found there.

OK, so, to make an egregiously long story merely excessively long, a very strange thing happened on the road to the Stimulus Package. As Rep. Oberstar told the U.S. Conference of Mayors:

That is why we set forth this $85-billion initiative from our committee. It’s been reduced in the final going. We expect that it’ll come out somewhere around $63 billion, but $30 billion for highways.

The reason for the reduction in overall funding … was the tax cut initiative that had to be paid for in some way by keeping the entire package in the range of $850 billion.

As I described in Transport Stimulus: You’re Doing It Wrong, actual effective stimulus spending was shortchanged — and in particular spending with substantial long term economic and strategic benefits — to “pay for” tax cuts.

In reality, if we want to be able to “afford” tax cuts, what we need first and foremost is growth, and economic growth requires effective government investment in the infrastructure of a New Energy Economy.

A power greater than their hoarded gold

Original article, by Adam Turl, via socialistworker.org:

IT ISN’T often that a member of the U.S. Congress acknowledges that the source of wealth in modern society is labor. But there was Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) at a rally outside the Republic Windows & Doors factory in Chicago in December, as workers inside occupied the plant.

I thought it was just me and Jon Stewart

Jon and I were in agreement that the “inaugural poem” was a pedestrian, mundane bit of instantly-forgettable fluff, suitable for lulling small children (and not a few adults) to sleep, but not good for much else. I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am that Jon and I aren’t alone.


… it was no surprise to hear Alexander begin her poem today with a cliché (“Each day we go about our business”), before going on to tell the nation “I know there’s something better down the road”; and pose the knotty question, “What if the mightiest word is ‘love’?”; and conclude with a classic instance of elegant variation: “on the brink, on the brim, on the cusp.” The poem’s argument was as hard to remember as its language; it dissolved at once into the circumambient solemnity. Alexander has reminded us of what Angelou’s, Williams’s, and even Robert Frost’s inauguration poems already proved: that the poet’s place is not on the platform but in the crowd …

Open Thread


There is no dark side of the Thread really… as a matter of fact it’s all dark.

Docudharma Times Monday January 26

Republican Stimulus: Tax Cut’s Tax Cut’s

Tax Cut’s Screw The Middle Class

Obama’s Stimulus: Fix Infrastructure Create Jobs

Help The Middle Class

Monday’s Headlines:

Fight building over judges redoing mortgages

Armed separatists and ecologists unite against fears of a paradise lost

Meltdown: Iceland on the brink

Iranian football boss in trouble over ‘battle of sexes’ claims

Donald Macintyre: An assault on the peace process

Beijing holds secret talks with banned churches as 100 million defy party rules

Filipina activist boosts overseas workers

Congo’s risky push to crush rebels

West African villagers stake their fortunes on rice

Bolivia constitution is set to pass

Economic Crisis Fuels Unrest in E. Europe

Shaky Governments Face Growing Anger

By Philip P. Pan

Washington Post Foreign Service

Monday, January 26, 2009; Page A01

RIGA, Latvia — On a frigid evening this month, more than 10,000 people gathered outside a 13th-century cathedral in this Baltic capital to protest the government’s handling of Latvia’s economic crisis and demand early elections. The demonstration was one of the largest here since the mass rallies against Soviet rule in the late 1980s, and a sign of both the public’s frustration and its faith in the political system.

But at the end of the night, as the crowd dispersed, the protest turned into a riot. Hundreds of angry young people, many drunk and recently unemployed, rampaged through the historic Old Town, smashing shop windows, throwing rocks and eggs at police, even prying cobblestones from the streets to lob at the Parliament building.

Gaza family recounts day of horror

Hours after the ground incursion began, two were killed in a swirl of mixed messages and flying bullets.

By Ashraf Khalil

January 26, 2009

Reporting from Gaza City — There were 14 of them huddled under the stairs. Israeli shells and airstrikes had long since shattered every window of the Helw family’s three-story home. But underneath the concrete staircase, they said, they felt relatively safe — until the soldiers came early in the morning on Jan. 4.

There was pounding on the courtyard door, they recalled last week, and voices in accented Arabic shouted, “Who’s in there?”

As the troops burst inside, family members said Fuad Helw, 55, jumped up with his arms in the air.

“We all put our hands up and yelled, ‘We’re women and children. We’re not the resistance,’ ” recalled Sherine Helw, Fuad’s daughter-in-law.

The soldiers opened fire on Fuad, said Sherine, and he died in front of his family.

There are no independent accounts of what happened that day, when Israeli tanks rolled into the Zeitoun neighborhood on the outskirts of Gaza City at the beginning of the land offensive. The Israeli army, which staged its offensive after years of rocket attacks against southern Israel emanating from the Gaza Strip, refuses to discuss individual charges in detail.



Obama’s Order Is Likely to Tighten Auto Standards


Published: January 25, 2009

WASHINGTON – President Obama will direct federal regulators on Monday to move swiftly on an application by California and 13 other states to set strict automobile emission and fuel efficiency standards, two administration officials said Sunday.

The directive makes good on an Obama campaign pledge and signifies a sharp reversal of Bush administration policy. Granting California and the other states the right to regulate tailpipe emissions would be one of the most emphatic actions Mr. Obama could take to quickly put his stamp on environmental policy.

Mr. Obama’s presidential memorandum will order the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider the Bush administration’s past rejection of the California application. While it stops short of flatly ordering the Bush decision reversed, the agency’s regulators are now widely expected to do so after completing a formal review process.

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