Thursday, May 05, 2005

Other stories in this morning's New York Times

Here are some other articles in this morning's New York Times that members are e-mailing about.

Ben e-mails to highlight Erik Eckholm's "U.S. Mishandled $96.6 Million in Rebuilding Iraq, Report Finds:"

American officials rushing to start small building projects in a large swath of Iraq in 2003 and 2004 did not keep required records on the spending of $89.4 million in cash and cannot account at all for another $7.2 million, a federal watchdog reported yesterday.
Most of the poorly documented spending appeared to involve incompetence or haste, but in some cases the auditors said they suspected theft. "We found indications of fraud," said the report by Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. Some cases were referred to a criminal investigations unit of the inspector general's office.
[. . .]
The report described instances in which district and field officers in the small-scale construction program did not provide adequate receipts for money they had reported as having been spent, or left Iraq without accounting for all the cash they had received. It said the chief money manager in Baghdad "did not maintain full control and accountability."

Ben: That's 89 million that didn't go to helping our schools, to helping our elderly, rebuilding our own infrastructure. I'd just like to know if the administration intends to take any responsibility for this? Wasn't this supposed to be the MBA administration? They've destroyed the economy and they can't even offer the appropriate oversight on our money that they freely hand out.

Rachel e-mails to note Edmund L. Andrews' "U.S. Warns A.F.L.-C.I.O. on Protests About Social Security:"

The Bush administration has warned the nation's biggest labor federation that union-run pension funds may be breaking the law in opposing President Bush's Social Security proposals.

Rachel: In other news, the A.F.L.-C.I.O. warned the Bully Boy administration that it may be breaking the law if it uses tax payer money to pay 'journalists' to promote the administration's proposal. Armstrong Williams had no comment.

(Rachel is using humor, please note.)

Keesha e-mails to highlight Gretchen Ruethling's "F.B.I. Will Exhume the Body of Emmett Till for an Autopsy:"

The F.B.I. said on Wednesday that it would exhume the body of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old black Chicagoan whose killing 50 years ago in the segregated South helped fuel the civil rights movement, to determine the cause of his death.
The plans come one year after federal prosecutors and the authorities in Mississippi reopened the investigation, prompted in part by two documentary films about the crime.
During the investigation, officials discovered that an autopsy had never been performed and the cause of death had never been determined, said Deborah Madden, a spokeswoman for the F.B.I. in Jackson, Miss. Officials plan to exhume the body, which is buried in Alsip, Ill., a Chicago suburb, this month. The plans were first reported on Wednesday by The Chicago Sun Times.

Billie e-mails to highlight Carl Hulse's "2 on Ethics Panel Withdraw From Any DeLay Inquiry:"

Two Republican members of the House ethics committee who contributed to the legal defense fund of Representative Tom DeLay, the majority leader, recused themselves Wednesday from any potential investigation of him as the panel took the first steps that could lead to such an inquiry.
After a two-hour meeting, Representative Doc Hastings, the chairman, announced that the two representatives, Lamar Smith of Texas and Tom Cole of Oklahoma, would not take part in any action relating to Mr. DeLay. The two lawmakers each provided $5,000 last year to a fund being used to underwrite Mr. DeLay's legal expenses as he fought accusations of misconduct in Texas and Washington.

Lloyd e-mails to note Michael Kamber's "In an Untamed Tide of Violence, the Bystanders Die:"

"The militia came at midnight," he said, as a crowd waited outside his home for the funeral procession to begin. "Three men climbed over the wall. They thought someone from the opposition was in the house, and they threatened to kill everyone. They began firing their guns." One bullet pierced the wall of the room where Marcellin was sleeping. He was killed instantly.
The violence began after Togo's electoral commission announced last week that Faure Gnassingbé, son of Gnassingbé Eyadéma, the strongman who ruled Togo for 38 years, had won the April 24 presidential election. The opposition coalition has denounced the vote as fraudulent, and its candidate has declared himself president of Togo, raising the specter of further chaos and, possibly, civil war.

Maria notes that "Operation Happy Talk" always implodes "whenever dopes attempt to push 'everything's going great, we've brought liberation to the occupation" and steers us towards a Reuter's article online at the Times' web site entitled "Attacks Kill 19 in Iraq as Surge of Violence Continues:"

A suicide bomber blew himself up at an Iraqi army recruitment center in a former airfield in western Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 11 people and wounding eight, police said.

Wally e-mails to note Ralph Blumenthal's "Judge Tosses Out Abuse Plea After the Ringleader Testifies:"

The court-martial of Pfc. Lynndie R. England, accused of abusing naked Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib prison, was declared a mistrial on Wednesday when a military judge threw out her guilty plea over testimony by the convicted ringleader of the scandal and father of her baby.
[. . .]
The judge, Col. James L. Pohl, ordered the mistrial after Pvt. Charles A. Graner Jr., testifying on behalf of Private England, his former lover, portrayed their handling of a leashed prisoner as legitimate, contradicting her sworn admission of guilt and said she had acted at his request in helping to remove an obstructive prisoner from his cell.

Rod e-mails to note Douglas Jehl's "A Setback to Democrats' Request for Papers on Bolton and Syria" and to provide his own humorous summary of the events Jehl's detailing.

Rod: Richard Luger, the Republican Senator, refused to endorse the request of Senate Democrats to look over John Bolton's papers on Syria. Luger said that he wasn't sure there was anything to be found in the papers. Luger will soon be promoting his book, Don't Look! Don't Look! Turn Your Head, Avert Your Eyes in which he explains that everything he needed to know in life, he learned as a toddler while playing peak-a-boo. Luger explained, "If I don't see it, it's not there!" To those who would question his approach, the Senator responded that far too much has been made of the need for Congress to provide "oversight." "Oversight, schmoversight," said the Senator, "I firmly support 'don't ask, don't tell' in all areas of the government."

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