While we're waiting for the OPR to release their report, I got to wondering how a prosecutor might sound giving his or her opening statement in the case of US v Bradbury, Bybee, and Yoo.[...]
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Thousands of rental units have yet to be restored, and not a single one of 500 planned “Katrina cottages” has been completed and occupied. The Road Home program for single-family homeowners, which has cost federal taxpayers $7.9 billion, has a new contractor who is struggling to review a host of appeals, and workers who assist the homeless are finding more elderly people squatting in abandoned buildings.
Nonetheless, FEMA wants its trailers back, even though it plans to scrap or sell them for a fraction of what it paid for them. [...]
As of last week, there were two groups still in the agency’s temporary housing program: more than 3,000 in trailers and nearly 80 who have been in hotels paid for by FEMA since last May, when it shut down group trailer sites. Most are elderly, disabled or both, including double amputees, diabetes patients, the mentally ill, people prone to seizures and others dependent on oxygen tanks.
Of those in trailers, more than 2,000 are homeowners who fear that the progress they are making in rebuilding will come to a halt if their trailers are taken.
I just want mustard, no ketchup. If you've got like a spicy mustard or something like that, or a Dijon mustard, something like that.
Apparently it proves he's an elitist for not wanting ketchup.
You might think Gonzo would be a little bashful about showing up at a place that will be jam-packed full of the new guard in the Obama administration and the very Democrats in Congress who drove him from office. But no, he’ll be there all right this Saturday night. Gonzales is a confirmed guest of the Houston Chronicle, his old hometown paper.
It is old thinking to say that we have a disagreement in one area, therefore we shouldn't work in something else that is of overwhelming importance. That is just not the way we think.
We want to normalize the relationship and raise it to a new level.
Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) on the latest developments (or lack thereof) in the effort to repeal the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy. [...]
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From C-SPAN May 7, 2009. The GOP is pulling out its latest fear card with the "Keep the Terrorists Out of America Act". When asked by a reporter about the 425,000 Axis POW's America detained after WWII, Pete Hoekstra replies with this:
Hoekstra: It's night and day.... Because in WWII I don't think we expected the, you know, you didn't have the threat from home grown terrorism. You didn't have...remember these folks successfully attacked us on 9-11, 3000 Americans died. And the threat and the specter of the threat that we face today from radical Jihadists is very, very different than the threat that we faced from Germany or Japan in WWII. Putting these people in the middle of our communities puts those communities at risk and puts the people that work at those facilities at risk because they can be very, very easily identified. It is a total different threat assessment when you are in Gitmo vs when you are in a community in our homeland.
d-day has a lot more on this latest fiasco over at Hullabaloo.
Then they followed through with the main event, a bill literally called ?The Keep Terrorists Out Of America Act,? which would prohibit the transfer of any "Terrorist" from Guantanamo Bay into a prison facility in the United States, without approval from the state's Governor and legislature, and some other legislative hoop-jumping.
Taken to its extreme, Republicans would call for the immediate closure of all prisons ("criminals... in your community!"), and the dispatching of all 2.3 million prisoners to some offsite floating barge, Australia, or that island of plastic in the Pacific. To suggest that a maximum-security prison could not possibly hold a Dangerous Terrorist is an insult to the men and woman of the federal corrections system, who already hold convicted terrorists in custody who received justice through a court of law, and basically acknowledges that those facilities are completely insecure, and should be feared by local residents.
I'm sure the RNC and the Republican members of the House will pick up the costs of moving every single prisoner over to that plastic island. Because think of the children.
The Plum Line has a summary of the "Keep Terrorists Out of America Act". Be afraid, America. Be very afraid. It's all they have left.
The NY Times reports the U.S. admits civilians died in Afghan raids. Though the Pentagon still disputes the reported 100 civilian deaths were caused by their bombs. "Initial American military reports that some of the casualties might have been caused by[...]
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Remember the rumors that AIG Financial Products had "thrown in the towel," handing over massive portfolios of derivatives to the trading desks of major investment banks to unwind in a process that gave the beleaguered banking sector a profitable first quarter?
We first heard them back in March from the blog Zero Hedge. Then, sure enough, the banks began reporting first quarter earnings that for the most part beat expectations -- all thanks to record and near-record revenues for their trading operations.
Then the fixed income chief at the hedge fund BlackRock essentially confirmed the story to Bloomberg Radio in a wry interview we partially transcribed.
And now we've heard from an anonymous executive at AIG who is "familiar" with AIG FP...
Our source says it "is becoming assumed throughout the industry that AIG FP finding new ways to roll over" -- which is to say, using bailout money to offer counterparties on its trades generous terms in closing out its contracts with the massive issuer of credit default swaps and other exotic derivatives options. While he did not want to name names or go into detail about any specific transactions, he said we should watch for signs of AIG FP employees being rewarded for their generosity with jobs working for their old counterparties under eyebrow-raising terms -- "like if you have a noncompete," the source explained, "and you go to a competing firm doing something far below you for an extreme salary."
An exodus of employees at AIG Financial Products has already threatened to cost taxpayers hundreds of billions more dollars. And to think some executives might be hastening their departure from the zombie insurer by squandering billions of taxpayer dollars is...while perhaps unsurprising, still a little nuts.
"The staggering thing," our source says, "is the size of these deals."
So Nancy Pelosi has again denied that she was briefed on the fact that we had already committed waterbaording.
But now a spokesman for Pete Hoekstra, the chair of the House intelligence committee, seems to be telling Greg Sargent that as-yet-unreleased documents will prove once and for all that she was.
Hoekstra spokesperson Jamal Ware says that Hoekstra is now seeking the release of the memos and notes that comprised the basis of the documents that came out today that claimed Dems had been briefed on enhanced interrogation techniques.
"He has seen documents that would clarify exactly what the Speaker was briefed on," Ware tells me, "including whether she was briefed on all enhanced interrogation techniques that had been used."
Asked if those techniques included waterboarding, Ware replied: "Yes."
Still, it seems to us that whatever the answer to that narrow question, it misses a more important one. What did Pelosi do in response to the briefing she received? After all, whether waterboarding was discussed as having taken place or only as having been approved for future use, it seems clear that Pelosi had enough information that she should have done what she could to raise some alarms. Of course, as she's pointed out, these were classified briefings, so her ability to do much publicly was limited. But what about behind the scenes?
We're looking into what's already known on this subject, and what's not, and will let you know what we find.
This week, our nation's armed forces suffered another casualty--the loss of 1st Lt. Dan Choi, an Iraq war veteran and a member of the New York National Guard. On March 19, on the Rachel Maddow Show, Choi announced he was gay. That triggered the Army to begin the process of separating Choi from the military under the current "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
Choi is an Arabic linguist--exactly the kind of critically-skilled soldier and leader his infantry platoon needs if they deploy to a country in which Arabic is the common language. Bluntly stated, his dismissal from the military--and the dismissal of other gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) servicemembers--will put lives at risk.
Our national security is heavily dependent on translators, specialists, and interpreters within the intelligence community, the diplomatic corps, and the military. Prior to September 11, 2001 our intelligence community was at only 30 percent readiness in languages critical to national security. The government revealed after the 9/11 attacks that it had a 123,000-hour backlog of Arabic language recordings waiting to be analyzed. The last thing we should be doing is telling Arabic linguists in the military that they are not needed.
I have worked successfully in Congress to pass legislation to require the federal government to invest in the creation of a workforce possessing requisite language skills needed to combat terrorists. We need to produce more, not less, specialists like Dan Choi.
I know the President does not support the current discriminatory policy. He stated so plainly in a handwritten note to another Army officer dismissed under the current policy that he inherited --2nd Lt. Sandy Tsao. This is a situation where the President needs the help of Congress in correcting this policy. I am an original cosponsor of a bill (H.R. 1283) that would overturn Don't Ask, Don't Tell. We have 140 cosponsors on this bill at the moment, more than enough to justify moving it expeditiously through the House Committee on Armed Services and to the House floor before the July Fourth holiday.
In the meantime, the President could issue an executive order announcing a study of the current policy. During that time, there could be a moratorium on any investigations or prosecutions of LGBT soldiers.
Overturning Don't Ask, Don't Tell is not simply about providing truly equal rights to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people. It's about preventing the hemorrhage of critical military talent from an already-overstretched American military engaged in two simultaneous wars. It is about ensuring we don't lose men like Dan Choi who would help our military address a critical need.
Ending this misguided policy will strengthen, not weaken, our armed forces.
My colleague - the great Civil Rights hero John Lewis - often quotes Martin Luther King in saying that it is always the right time to do the right thing. To ensure that men like Dan Choi can help keep our country safe, now is the time to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
A senior Member of the Intelligence Committee, Congressman Holt is the Chairman of the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, which was created at the start of the 110th Congress in January 2007 by Speaker Pelosi. The panel is working to strengthen oversight of the intelligence community by ensuring that policymakers receive accurate assessments, civil liberties are safeguarded, and the intelligence community is protecting Americans.
I have been burned in the past for predicting the Democrats had a shot at winning a Senate election in Oklahoma, so I'm not going to go too far out on a limb in evaluating the rumors that the Sooner state's highly popular Democratic Governor Brad Henry[...]
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Boehlert catches this pathetic clip: The Hollywood Reporter goes big today with a long article about how entertainment execs at the nets hate pre-empting their schedules for Obama's primetime pressers. About how the nets are losing millions of dollars in[...]
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