Wednesday, May 11, 2005

This morning's NY Times, Congress says no money for torture, Frist itching to go nuclear, Bully Boy, Bolton, Pentagon going after the environment ...

Congress barred the government on Tuesday from using any money in a newly passed emergency spending bill to subject anyone in American custody to torture or "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" that is forbidden by the Constitution.
Proponents said the little-noticed provision, in an $82 billion bill devoted mostly to financing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, amounted to a significant strengthening of current policies and practices in the treatment of prisoners.
Drafted since the disclosure of abuses in Afghanistan and Iraq and at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, it lays out a definition of illegal treatment that human rights groups say is broader than the Bush administration's current interpretation, and links the ban directly to military spending.

The above is from Eric Lichtblau's "Congress Adopts Restriction on Treatment of Detainees."

Also from this morning's New York Times, Kitty Killer Bill Frist is itching to push the button on the Republican termed "nuclear option," Carl Hulse reports in "Democrats Reject a Compromise on Judicial Nominees:"

Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, said Tuesday that a confrontation over judicial nominations could reach a climax next week, while his Democratic counterpart dismissed a Republican offer of compromise and made clear that his party was ready for the fight.
As the Senate braced for the showdown over Republican efforts to eliminate filibusters against judicial candidates, Dr. Frist said he first wanted to pass an emergency spending measure for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and a highway bill popular with lawmakers.
"Then we need to turn to 100 United States senators and move to the issue surrounding judges," Dr. Frist told reporters on Capitol Hill.

Elite Fluff Patrol squad leader Elisabeth Bumiller is brought to our attention by Ben. Her article today is entitled "Bush Encourages Georgia With a Warning to Russia." It's an article, not a "White House Letter."

Ben feels its "embarrassing" and she needs to be "taken to task for writing it."

I don't know, I read the opening paragraph:

President Bush told tens of thousands of cheering Georgians packed into the city's Freedom Square on Tuesday that the United States would stand with Georgia, a former Soviet republic, as it built its young democracy, and then pointedly he warned President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia that the sovereignty of Georgia "must be respected by all nations."

I couldn't stop laughing. Respect the sovereignty of other nations? Stop, my sides are hurting.
I think it's a stand up piece and possibly Bumiller is much funnier than anyone's ever given her credit for being?

A fault in it, my opinion, is her not noting the inactive grenade tossed at the stage Bully Boy was speaking on. We're a peaceful community and, while we gladly wish impeach on the Bully Boy, we don't wish an explosion. Years of shunning and humiliation, of the sort visited on Richard Nixon, is my own personal wish for the Bully Boy. (With no "triangulation" from a later administration to soften his image.) But it is news, at least for now while the AP is saying it's true. (That's not to slander the AP but I wouldn't be surprised if Bumiller didn't include it because it was questionable. The only thing I can find on it currently searching the net is stories similar to the one linked to, which Anne sent in, and AP appears the only source on it. Earlier versions speak of it possibly being a grenade. AP is now saying it was a grenade but it was "inactive.")

And Rachel Maddow is noting the grenade on her show as well right now. Hold on. Okay, Rachel Maddow's noting that there were many protestors but only the AFP has bothered to report it. At her site, she's provide a link to it but I'm not seeing anything on protestors so either the story's been altered or it's the wrong link (in which case, I may be seeing the wrong link, visit her AAR site).

Wally e-mails to note Sheryl Gay Stolberg's "Bolton's Fate in the Hands of 4 Senators With Doubts:"

The future of John R. Bolton, whose nomination to be ambassador to the United Nations has been caught up in controversy, hinges on four wavering Republicans, all of whom say they will not make up their minds until Thursday, when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is to vote.
The four - Senators Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and George V. Voinovich of Ohio - are among 10 Republicans on the foreign relations panel, and a "no" vote by any one of them would doom Mr. Bolton's nomination.

Lloyd e-mails to note Michael Janofsky's "Pentagon Is Asking Congress to Loosen Environmental Laws:"

After three unsuccessful tries, the Pentagon is asking Congress again this year to loosen major environmental laws to allow military training exercises around the country to proceed unimpeded.
Military officials say the requested changes, which could be approved this week as part of the defense authorization bill for 2006, are essential [. . .]
Opponents to the waiver request say the Pentagon has not demonstrated a need to change the laws.
Genaro Lopez, a union leader from San Antonio who participated in the conference call, said health officials there had documented hundreds of cases in recent years of cancer and neuromuscular disease from groundwater contaminated by Kelly Air Force Base, which closed in 1995.
Another participant, Terry Dyer, the organizer of an environmental health group in North Carolina, said contamination from Camp Lejeune that began in the 1940's exposed residents to "a cocktail of chemicals" that have caused elevated levels of illness.
Jerry Ensminger, a 24-year Marine veteran based at Camp Lejeune, told Congress last year that his daughter, Jane, was 6 when she she received a diagnosis of leukemia in 1982. She died three years later.

Kara e-mails this Associated Press article from the Times web site entitled "Chain of Suicide Bombings Kills More Than 60 in Iraq:"

Five suicide attacks in three cities in Iraq killed more than 60 people Wednesday. In the deadliest, a man with hidden explosives set them off in a line of people outside a police and army recruitment center in northern Iraq, killing 30 and wounding 35, police said.
In Tikrit, meanwhile, a suicide car bomb exploded in a small market near a police station, killing at least 27 people and wounding 75, police said.
Three car bombs also exploded in Baghdad, killing at least four, police said.

Krista e-mails to note Warren Hoge's "U.N. Relief Director Appeals for Help in Crises Throughout Africa:"

The United Nations emergency relief coordinator, Jan Egeland, said Tuesday that relief crises in Africa were outpacing efforts to contain them and that the international community was failing to focus on the world's most pressing needs.
"The world's biggest drama is not found in Europe or the Middle East or North America - the world's biggest challenges and dramas are found in Africa," Mr. Egeland said in an interview before delivering a closed-door briefing on the subject to the Security Council.
[. . .]
While the killing and displacement of tens of thousands of people in the Darfur region in Sudan had engaged the world, he said, a crisis of similar horror was being largely neglected in northern Uganda, and new outbreaks were erupting in countries like Chad and Togo.

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