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Archive for February 4th, 2008

Was/IS Bill Allen Part Of A Sex And Drug Ring?

By- Suzie-Q @ 6:30 PM MST

Yeesh. There’s muck and then there’s Alaskan muck.
Bill Allen, the former CEO of Veco, has been the government’s star witness in a number of corruption cases against state lawmakers, and he would surely be at the heart of any case against Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and his son Ben, should the current grand jury investigation result in an indictment. So a checkered past would be sure to come up.
This would surely qualify. The Anchorage Daily News has the whole sordid tale, and I won’t recount it here. Suffice it to say that the central allegation concerns whether Allen had a sexual relationship with a crack-addicted 14 year-old named Bambi Tyree back in the mid-90s; Allen is said to have provided a stream of gifts to her and her family, ranging from a car to $5,000. The main fact witness for that allegation seems to be another drug addict who was Tyree’s boyfriend when she was 18 (he was 36). It’s not clear what Tyree herself says about it. And Allen’s lawyer denies that there was ever any such relationship.
In any case, Anchorage police began investigating anew late last year. A prior investigation was dropped in 2004 at the request of federal prosecutors, who were investigating a broader sex and drug ring. Why has it started again? “To make sure there’s nothing else out there that we’re missing,” says one police captain. Somehow I’ve gotta believe it’s more complicated than that.

Shakira And Beyonce- Beautiful Liar

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Burning Man theme for 2008 will be “American Dream”

by Geezer Power …1:10 pm

Burning Man

2008 ART THEME: AMERICAN DREAM

This year’s art theme is about nationality, identity and the nature of patriotism. One species of the patriotic <urge conflates the nation state with mass identity. Governments, as actors on a worldwide stage, become a surrogate for self, a vast projection of collective ego. And yet, there is another type of patriotic feeling that attaches us to place and people, to a home and its culture. Both these feeling states (and their attendant ironies) are relevant to this year’s theme.

In 2008, leave narrow and exclusive ideologies at home; forget the blue states and the red; let parties, factions and divisive issues fall away, and carefully consider your immediate experience. What has America achieved that you admire? What has it done or failed to do that fills you with dismay? What is laudatory? What is ludicrous? Put blame aside, let humor thrive, and dare to contemplate a larger question: What can America, this stumbling, roused, half-conscious giant, still contribute to the world?

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By- Suzie-Q @ 7:30 AM MST

McCain, Romney stumble in front of a jury of their peers

Since Sam Brownback withdrew from the presidential race nearly four months ago, John McCain has been the only sitting senator in the large Republican presidential field. Given this, it stands to reason that he’d have the support of practically the entire GOP Senate caucus. After all, he’s been on the Hill for a quarter-century, and these are the Republicans who’ve worked with him, side by side, day in and day out, for years. If anyone would have a chance to see McCain’s “greatness” close up, it would be his GOP colleagues.

Except it’s not working out that way. Out of the 49 senators in the Republican caucus, 15 (about 30%) have endorsed McCain. Seven are backing Romney, but 34 — a clear majority — have so far remained neutral.

How is it the only sitting senator in the GOP field could gain such little support from the colleagues who know him best? Perhaps it’s because McCain, after 25 years in Congress, hasn’t exactly wowed his co-workers.

In a chamber once known for cordiality if not outright gentility, McCain has battled his fellow senators for more than two decades in a fashion that has been forceful and sometimes personal. Now, with the conservative maverick on the brink of securing his party’s presidential nomination, McCain’s Republican colleagues are grappling with the idea of him at the top of their ticket.

“There would be a lot of people who would have to recalibrate their attitudes toward John,” said Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah), a supporter of Mitt Romney’s who has clashed with McCain.

Many Senate Republicans, even those who have jousted with McCain in the past, say their reassessment is underway. Sensing the increasing likelihood that he will be the nominee, GOP senators who have publicly fought with him are emphasizing his war-hero background and playing down past confrontations. […]

But others have outright rejected the idea of a McCain nomination and presidency, warning that his tirades suggest a temperament unfit for the Oval Office.

“The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine,” Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), also a senior member of the Appropriations panel, told the Boston Globe recently. “He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me.”

Oddly enough, despite his very long tenure as a Washington insider, McCain actually has fewer congressional endorsements than Mitt Romney.

Of course, there’s also a flip side — Republican lawmakers aren’t impressed with McCain, but Republican governors aren’t enamored with Romney.

Charles Mahtesian had this interesting item over the weekend.

As chairman of the Republican Governors Association in 2006, Mitt Romney crisscrossed the country to elect GOP governors and broke the group’s fundraising record by hauling in $20 million.

Yet just two of the 16 governors he worked to elect then are supporting his presidential bid.

In fact, just three of the nation’s 22 Republican governors have endorsed him.

There are plenty of reasons that might explain the former Massachusetts governor’s surprisingly weak support among his former colleagues. But one of them stands out: He appears to have inadvertently alienated a good many of his fellow governors as RGA chairman.

“Right or wrong, the general impression was that he spent way too much time on himself and building his presidential organization,” said a top Republican strategist who has worked closely with the RGA in recent years. “I don’t think anyone ever questioned Romney’s commitment to the organization or the work he put in. They questioned his goals or his motives. Was it to elect Republican governors, or to tee up his presidential campaign?”

The practical consequences of this have been evident in recent weeks. Florida’s Republican governor, Charlie Crist, backed McCain before the state’s closely-watched primary. California’s Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, recently did the same thing. Texas’s Republican governor, Rick Perry, recently made the switch from Giuliani to McCain.

So, what are we left with? The top two Republican presidential candidates include a GOP senator who hasn’t impressed other GOP senators, and a Republican governor, who hasn’t impressed other Republican governors.

Perfect.

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Bush legacy: Setting a standard in fear-mongering

Sudhan @11:30 CET

Richard A. Clarke | The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 1, 2008

Richard A. Clarke is former head of counterterrorism at the National Security Council

When I left the Bush administration in 2003, it was clear to me that its strategy for defeating terrorism was leaving our nation more vulnerable and our people in a perilous place. Not only did its policies misappropriate resources, weaken the moral standing of America, and threaten long-standing legal and constitutional provisions, but the president also employed misleading and reckless rhetoric to perpetuate his agenda.

This week’s State of the Union proved nothing has changed.

Besides overstating successes in Afghanistan, painting a rosy future for Iraq, and touting unfinished domestic objectives, he again used his favorite tactic – fear – as a tool to scare Congress and the American people. On one issue in particular – FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) – the president misconstrued the truth and manipulated the facts.

Let me be clear: Our ability to track and monitor terrorists overseas would not cease should the Protect America Act expire. If this were true, the president would not threaten to terminate any temporary extension with his veto pen. All surveillance currently occurring would continue even after legislative provisions lapsed because authorizations issued under the act are in effect up to a full year.

Simply put, it was wrong for the president to suggest that warrants issued in compliance with FISA would suddenly evaporate with congressional inaction. Instead – even though Congress extended the Protect America Act by two weeks – he is using the existence of the sunset provision to cast his political opponents in a negative light.

For this president, fear is an easier political tactic than compromise. With FISA, he is attempting to rattle Congress into hastily expanding his own executive powers at the expense of civil liberties and constitutional protections.

Continued . . .

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