THE TICKER – Snow: Economy not helping most :: Government reform sought in Ohio :: Charges against DeLay’s henchmen upheld

  • Snow: Economy not helping most: Treasury Secretary John W. Snow acknowledged yesterday that the Bush economy is not helping those who most need help.”One of the things we know is that less educated people have seen their incomes and wages grow more slowly. That’s what the numbers tell us.” Countdown starts now on Snow’s “retirement.”
  • Government reform sought in Ohio: Critics of the Republican grip on Ohio politics filed petitions on Tuesday that seek a statewide vote on three constitutional amendments that would overturn the way elections are run and strip elected officials of their power to draw legislative districts.
  • Charges against DeLay’s henchmen upheld: A Texas judge on Tuesday refused to dismiss charges of money laundering and accepting illegal political contributions against two of U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s flying monkeys.Their attorneys will appeal the ruling.

Congressional Leaders Will Pursue Ball Player’s Alleged Perjury While Ignoring Bush’s Lies to Congress

After what happened in the fall of 2002 and the winter of 2003, seeing Congress rise to protect its honor from the likes of Rafael Palmeiro is side-splittingly hilarious comedy. It’s like hearing a toothless, 55-year-old Bushwick Ave. whore complain—10,000 blowjobs later—that her date didn’t bring her flowers. And they want baseball to apologize?

The recent revelation that a baseball player named Rafael Palmeiro allegedly lied during a Congressional hearing while giving testimony about his use of steroids has been one of those stories that just seems like filler to me – stuff they talk about because August is a slow news month.

I mean, really, who cares if million dollar babies in the sports world shoot up? If these jokers are your kids’ role models, then you suck as parents.

But now comes word that two wingers in the Congress – Rep. Thomas Davis, chair of the House Committee on Government Reform, and Sen. Jim Bunning, a wacko of the first order from Kentucky (both Gops, natch) want to go after this guy for giving false testimony to Congress.

As Matt Tabbi brilliantly points in New York Press, these guys are breaking audacious new ground in the annals of hypocrisy by going after a ball player while ignoring the lies that President Bush has told to Congress that have led to the deaths of tens of thousand of U.S. servicemembers and innocent people:

GOP Dream Ticket for 2008: Dick Cheney & Montgomery Burns

Cheney and Mr. Burns: Separated at Birth?

There’s an uncanny resemblance between one Dick Cheney and dreaded Simpsons power plant owner Montgomery Burns. Besides their obvious physical similarities, the two share the same philosophy, the same outlook on life. Just read these quotes from Mr. Burns and see if they don’t remind you of a certain someone:

“What good is money if it can’t inspire terror in your fellow man?”

“Smithers… we have to stop dumping our nuclear waste in the playground, all those bald children are starting to raise suspicion.”

“Smithers, this is a golden opportunity. If we get him alive, we can put him on Broadway. Dead and we can sell monkey stew to the army!”

“Just give the great unwashed a pair of oversized breasts and a happy ending, and they’ll ‘oink’ for more every time.”

“Oh, so Mother Nature needs a favor? Well, maybe she should have thought of that when she was besetting us with droughts and floods and poison monkeys. Nature started the fight for survival and she wants to quit because she’s losing? Well, I say Hard cheese!”

O.K., Mr. Burns doesn’t have the Cheney potty mouth nailed down, but there’s still a LOT of similarity. I think Dick is leading a double life.

While Judith Miller Stews, Husband Takes a Cruise

According to cruise industry news site, Jason Epstein, husband of Judith Miller, the “New York Times” reporter jailed for not revealing confidential sources, just got back from a solo Med cruise. Epstein, former editorial director at Random House and a founder of “New York Review of Books,” sailed on ultraluxury line Silversea with a handful of other luminaries.

Also on board were Julia Reed, political author and columnist, now covering politics for Vogue, and novelist Shirley Lord, a Vogue contributing editor. Lord traveled with husband Abe Rosenthal, who was long-time executive editor and op-ed columnist at “The New York Times.”

Guest lecturer for the sailing was Robert Sam Anson, the celebrated Vietnam War correspondent and author, who is working on a book about U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. Anson gave a talk about a possible presidential run by Sen. Hillary Clinton in 2008.

Potential Bioterrorism Agent Q Fever Found in Colorado

Since C. burnetii is a highly infectious agent that is rather resistant to heat and drying, it is considered relevant in bioterrorism. It can become airborne and inhaled by humans. A single C. burnetii organism may cause disease in a susceptible person. This agent could be developed for use in biological warfare and is considered a potential terrorist threat.

Q fever, an illness that is listed on bioterrorism watch lists — along with smallpox and anthrax — has been detected at an unusually high rate of incidence this summer in Colorado, according to state health officials. The likely source is diseased livestock such as sheep or goats.

The Colorado State Health Department has confirmed 13 human cases in the state in 2005, including six in Weld County. In 2004, there were three confirmed cases throughout Colorado, said John Pape, a state health department epidemiologist.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Q fever, or “query” fever is a zoonotic disease caused by Coxiella burnetii, a species of bacterium that is distributed globally. In 1999, Q fever became a notifiable disease in the United States, but reporting is not required in many other countries. Because the disease is under-reported, scientists cannot reliably assess how many cases of Q fever have actually occurred worldwide, as many human infections are inapparent.

2000 Co-Conspirator Surfaces in FSU Mascot Battle

Who went to hell and left the gate open?

Yet another demon from the 2000 Presidential election has emerged from the netherworld.

Florida State University – and Jeb Bush – declared they will fight the NCAA over the right to use Florida Seminoles as the theme for the university’s various athletic franchises. And guess who’s going to help?

St. Petersburg Times:

FSU president T.K. Wetherell has said he also will pursue all legal avenues and told the Associated Press that prominent attorney Barry Richard, who successfully represented George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential recount in Florida, has agreed to represent FSU.

What is UP with these 2000 people surfacing lately? Do they swarm, like cicadas or desert frogs? John Roberts, Adam Goodman (see earlier story), now Barry Richard. Can Florida never have any peace?

Jeb, for his part, scoffed at the idea that anyone would find using Hollywood symbols of ethnicity for licensed athletic teams, events, and merchandise offensive. And no one can scoff quite like Jeb.

“How politically correct can we get?” Bush told reporters Tuesday morning before a meeting of the state Cabinet. “To me, the folks that make these decisions need to get out more often.”

I always laugh when a Republican claims to hate being politically correct. The folks who coined “faith-based” have no right to call anyone else politically correct. Ever.

Meanwhile, I wonder how Jeb would feel if FSU picked a different symbol. His wife, Columba, is from Mexico. How about if FSU adopts “Pepe” instead of “Chief Osceola” and instead of wearing garnet and gold “war paint” and riding a horse (never seen one of THOSE in the Everglades), Pepe will wear a fringed sombrero and a striped garnet and gold serape and before every game, he’ll run out on the field barefoot with a Corona in one hand and a pistol in the other? It’s all just good, clean fun.

Too bad FSU didn’t pick a symbol that everyone can get behind, like a native reptile in colors you can’t miss, like orange and blue.

Tired of Toejam Logjams, TSA Seeks Shoe Bomb Detectors

The Transportation Safety Administration — you know, the goons at the airport — are tired of catching congressional crap for making little old ladies and U.S. soldiers take off their shoes at airport security gates. So they’ve come up with a brilliant idea: offer companies an opportunity to develop and submit a weapon-detection system that can find bombs, guns and/or knives in a pair of Air Jordans without forcing the potential perp to show us the heel holes in his tube socks.

We air travelers all have to subject ourselves to the humiliating shoe-removal process thanks to asshat Richard Reid who, in 2001, tried to blow up his feet and the airplane he was on with some matches, plastic explosive and Dr. Scholl’s foot powder.

A notice on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site describes the program in characteristically ungrammatical TSA language (or T-bonics, as I like to call it):

[TSA] invites voluntary participation to a qualification test program leading to a list of qualified sources for shoe weapon inspection [technology] that can inspect footwear for weapons without passengers having to remove or divest them from their feet.

In 2003, the Department of Homeland Security clarified its shoe-screening policy. Screeners supposedly are instructed to encourage travelers to remove their shoes before entering the metal detectors, but passengers are not required to do so. So even if they tell you to, you really don’t have to — unless you want the special cavity-check security procedure.

Having experienced the delay created by General Electric’s phone-booth-sized device that hits you with a puff of air and then tests whatever blows off for explosive residue, I can’t wait to see what the goobers at TSA come up with in the footwear weapon detection technology department.

MSNBC Loads Schedule with Wingnuts, Now Is Going after Olbermann

Regular readers of this news and opinion website know that we are big fans of Keith Olbermann, whose show “The Countdown” on MSNBC is the closest the MSM gets to offering news that is truly fair and truly balanced. In other words, it is the only news show that dares to present news that is not fully vetted by the White House message machine.

On Monday’s show, in the wake of news of the death of Peter Jennings from lung cancer, Olbermann confessed that he had a bout with smoking-related cancer and encouraged everyone who smokes to quit. But the manner in which he did this infuriated his boss, Rick Kaplan, MSNBC’s president.

Details of what Olbermann said on-air will follow but first let’s take a quick look at his boss. Here’s what USA Today wrote about Kaplan when he took the reins at MSNBC in 2004:

For the past year, Kaplan has been an ABC News senior executive, but he spent nearly 20 years there before being tapped to run CNN in 1997… Under Kaplan, CNN’s ratings dropped 23%. And his signature nightly newsmagazine, NewsStand, failed to draw audiences after a disastrous start: CNN apologized — and later retracted — after the premiere edition charged that the United States had used nerve gas during Vietnam.

In recent months, Kaplan hired the truly awful rightwing propagandist Tucker Carlson away from CNN and gave him an hourlong show that has bombed – which is not a surprise to anyone (with the possible exceptions of Kaplan and Carlson). Now he has moved Tucker to 7PM and given the 6PM show to Rita Cosby, an avowed rightwing Christian whom he hired from Fox.

Call us cynical but there’s reason to suspect that Kaplan’s wrath at Keith on Monday was over than his concern that talk of tumors might’ve turned off viewers. If Kaplan gets rid of Keith, he’ll can give the 5PM slot to some O’Reilly wannabe, and have a full evening of Fox light.


Conservatives: Roberts Is Insane for Working for Gay Rights

Supreme Court nominee John Roberts has been accused of suffering a mental breakdown by a second conservative group that is withdrawing its support for the man widely praised for his wingnut values only weeks ago. The group, Committee for Traditional American Values, has withdrawn its support of Roberts because of his pro bono work that helped defeat a Colorado referendum against gays.

This follows on the heels of a similar announcement yesterday, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, that Public Advocate of the United States was the first right-wing group to withdraw support for Roberts.

Eugene Delgaudio, the president of [Public Advocate of the United States], said in an interview that he hopes his stance will prod others.

“I know that others feel the same way. I know they believe as I do. They’re just not going to act,” the 50-year-old Northern Virginia man said. “But once I’ve done it, then they can’t claim that no one’s opposing Roberts.”

“We can’t take our limited resources and put it toward a candidate who is not a strict constructionist when we were told he is,” Delgaudio said.

The Committee for Traditional Values joined Delgaudio’s movement to start a groundswell of nonsupport for Roberts, who has been endorsed by a number of conservative organizations and condemned by as many liberal ones.