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Chafing and irritation

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The mandatory page with links. Only stuff I read. Sufficiently critical.

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Friday, February 11, 2005

Bushist distortion of the week: scientific fact

14:16: Scientists in the U.S. Fish and wildlife service finds that at least 20% of respondents to a survey on behavior received pressured or instructions by higher-ups in the service to not answer the survey conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Of those who did answer, 44% replied that they have been instructed to withhold research findings that and "to refrain from making jeopardy or other findings that are protective of species." Twenty percent have been directed to exclude information from reports that would result in a stronger case for protection. Fifty-six percent report that they have seen commercial pressure to remove or reverse scientific findings that would lead to a case for greater protection. Forty-two replied that they don't feel they can do their job as scientists within a Federal agency without the fear of retaliation.

One more example of how this administration loves to play games with the truth. They keep on speaking about morality and values. How about some intellectual honesty?

Bushist outrage of the week - Journalistic Payola continues

09:55: This time, not quite a payola--but another one of those "oops, we didn't know, how could we" messages coming from Bushohthep II's spinners.

In a press room where Helen Thomas, White House correspondent to the stars, never gets called by the Phresident or his spinner-in-chief, (currently Scott McClellan), where real journalists rarely get to actually ask ANY questions of the administration, let alone any probing ones, we find that one Jeff Gannon, who's been given access to the Press Briefing room, and who actually got to ask a very politically charged question of the Phresident during his very rare press conference on January 26, both used a fake name to get access to the press room, is not a real reporter, and is in fact working for a faux news organization bankrolled by an activist group known as, interestingly enough, GOPUSA.

Not only then, is a person who's lying to get into the White House being given repeated access, he's also given prime-time visibility to ask a question that fabricates quotes that Harry Reid, the Senate minority leader, never made, all to lob a softball at the Phresident so that he can continue fabricating a crisis around Social Security.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Virginia is for BusyBodies

14:22: VA's current crises:
- not enough state revenues to maintain an adequate road system statewide
- air pollution in Shenandoah Valley destroying both views and habitats
- a north-heavy tax base with a relatively underdeveloped south
- air quality in northern Virginia rated as some of the worst in the country

So what is the state assembly focusing on?
- passing laws making wearing low-rider pants a misdemeanor
- making adoption by same-sex couples illegal
- putting a third law in the boox that makes same-sex marriage illegal (never mind the other two)
- redefining contraception
- adding a license plate that advocates "traditional marriage" (lest we forget that VA made interracial marriage illegal until the late 1960s)

I just wish these pseudocons would keep their hands out of our gonads, our beds and our wedding bands.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Bushist outrage of the week - the No Rally List

11:07: Seems that the fight for freedom and democracy that Bushotep II doesn't apply in the US, at least not when it comes to access to the President's public events as a servant of the people.

Here's a quote from Salon from 2/7/2005:

"When Bush traveled to Fargo, N.D., for a forum there Thursday, more than 40 area residents found themselves on a list that prohibited them from getting tickets. Suspected terrorists? In the eyes of local Republicans maybe -- the residents on the list all seem to be known, one way or another, for their liberal political views."

Their crimes:
- being a city commisioner
- being a university professor
- hosting a liberal radio talk show
- being involved in a Democratic gubernatorial campaign
- being a high school student
- being a member of Howard Dean's Democracy for America Meetup group.

The White House's response? "Overzealous volunteers"; "We knew nothing of it". How typical--next they'll blame it on "a few bad apples".

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Bushist outrage of the week - Journalistic Payola grows


So, just a day after Pharaoh Bushohthep II stood and said "well, you know, this is bad, we shouldn't be, you know, doing this--our policies should stand on their own merits" we learn that there was yet a third journalist that was paid by a federal department to serve as a shill for the government's agenda.
To date, we have:

  • Armstrong Williams, who was paid $241,000 by the Department of Education to go around the media circuit and use his own talkshows and columns to sing the praises of "No Child Left behind". [Never mind the fact that those $241 thousand could have gone to pay for not leaving some children behind in Alabama, where the failure of an referendum to raise taxes meant that teachers were being let go from the public school system because there were no funds to pay them.]
  • Maggie Galagher, self-appointed expert in marriage, who was paid $21,500 by the Department of Health and Human Services and $20,000 by the Department of Justice to go on her columns and on the radio speaking circuit singing the praises of HHS's $300 million marriage encouragement initiative--of course, the Heterosexual marriage encouragement initiative. Never mind that Bushohthep II doesn't want gays and lesbians to marry even though they want to, they're spending $300 million to encourage heterosexuals to get married when they don't seem to be doing it in large enough numbers.
  • Michael McManus, paid $10,000 to go on the speaking circuit praising the heterosexual marriage promotion plans (indirectly, might I add, through the former employer of a few friends of mine, the Lewin Group, which up until recently I held in reasonably high regard). His foundation, the Marriage Savers Foundation, received an additional $49,000 from HHS as well. Again, let us not ignore the irony of the Bushies spending more than $100,000 to pay for propaganda celebrating a program that encourages people to get married while at the same time insisting that gay people that want to get married are destroying the institution that those who can freely enter are obviously not doing in numbers large enough to satisfy them.

All in all, the Bushies spent $88 million on public-relations contracts in 2004. That's money that didn't go for AIDS patient services (Whitman Walker clinic had to shut down its housing assistance plan for HIV+ people in the DC area because of a funding shortfall that could have been covered with 1/2 of 1% of that money). That's money that didn't go for body armor for a Marine now disabled at Walter Reed hospital. That's money that didn't go for funding after school programs, No Child Left behind mandates, voting machine fixing, survivor death benefits for National Guard members killed in line of duty... I could go on.
Add to this the fact that for every 40,000 hours of right wing programming on the airwaves and television EVERY WEEK there are 3000 of liberal programming on those same airwaves, and one keeps on wondering--where exactly are these liberal media that the conservies keep on talking about? How many of the so-called "Fair and balanced" media that have been pushing a right-wing agenda over the last four years have been bought like this?

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