George Bush: Using the Constitution to destroy the Constitution

By Martin Bosworth

In an act of absolutely unmitigated gall, George Bush is using the power granted to the Executive Branch by the Constitution (Article II, Section 3) to force Congress to stay in session, that they might pass a law legalizing his warrantless wiretap surveillance program–the same program that violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against “unreasonable searches and seizures” without sworn legal oath and verification.

The mind boggles. Continue reading

Hagel-Dodd bill to fix infrastructure a limited vision of the task

At least one candidate and one almost-was candidate for president in 2008 believe that the United States cannot afford — through federal funding — to pay for desperately needed repairs to 160,000 bridges nationwide and other just-as-critical infrastructure needs. They want to privatize much of it, although they label the effort a “partnership.”

Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) appeared on CNN’s The Situation Room Thursday to push their National Infrastructure Bank Act of 2007 proposal. The bill leans heavily on research conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, resulting in the center’s “Guiding Principles for Strengthening America’s Infrastructure.”

Sens. Dodd and Hagel told host Wolf Blitzer that the nation’s infrastructure issues are so dire that the federal government cannot financially resolve them on its own.

That isn’t necessarily true. What they propose is a political choice. The federal government, through presidential and congressional leadership, has sufficient ability to do resolve infrastructure issues if it chooses to.
Continue reading

VerseDay: Strike Straight

Rocket to the Moon (1971)In this week’s poetry thread, I’d like to acknowledge pieces written by Americans of color, including African-Americans, Latinos, native peoples, etc., specifically (shorter) works capturing some aspect of life in America as perceived from the vantage point of a minority.

Some of the many notable creators in this broad and rich genre are Maya Angelou, N. Scott Momaday, Gil Scott-Heron, Suheir Hammad, John Yau, and Denver’s own Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales.

As inspiration, and a vague point of reference, I’ve included the brilliant collage Rocket to the Moon by Romare Bearden, whom I consider a “visual poet” as much as an artist. I look at his work and I feel words. Continue reading

The deadly bridge collapse in Minneapolis: let the blame game begin

by Amaury Nora

The big story throughout the day yesterday was the Minneapolis bridge collapse and the possible causes for it. Authorities are reporting that five people are confirmed dead and eight were still missing and presumed dead inside submerged vehicles. Another 79 people are injured, five of them critically. As more information continues, we’ll be finding some ugly truths about our bridges and roads in America.

Officials have said that the eight-lane Interstate 35W bridge, a major Minneapolis artery, was in the midst of being repaired and two lanes in each direction were closed when the bridge buckled. It was reported that the center section of the bridge dropped straight down and pancaked in the middle of the river, leaving several vehicles stranded on a broken island of wreckage. As divers plumbed the waters, other rescuers searched frantically for victims amid broken, zigzagged sections of blacktop. Some of the injured were carried up the riverbanks. Continue reading

Satan’s pajama party: Ken Starr in bed with Hillary Clinton, Dubya slays the GOP

They say that politics makes for strange bedfellows. But this is ridiculous.

Kenneth Starr’s Law Firm Gives More Money to Clinton

By Lindsay Fortado

July 31 (Bloomberg) — Lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis, the law firm that’s home to Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr and Bush administration official Jay Lefkowitz, have given more to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign than to all of the top Republican candidates combined. (Story.)

Not only strange bedfellows, but bedfellows whose reasoning is on the counter-intuitive side. Check this bit. Continue reading

Major newspaper confers cold warrior status on Iran

rice.jpg

In a recent article in The Washington Post, Robin Wright quoted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calling Iran the state that presents “the single most important. . . strategic challenge to the United States.” Wright concluded: “After three decades of festering tensions the United States and Iran are now facing off in a full-fledged cold war.” [Emphasis added]

What an honor! One of the United States’s premier newspapers has elevated Iran to the position vacated by fallen superpower Russia. Oh well, we all know how much nature abhors a vacuum. China had its chance, but it has failed to act with sufficient belligerence to claim the prize.

Though Iran lacks China’s, or even Russia’s, economy, it’s leapfrogged ahead of them, if Ms. Wright’s assessment is correct, to attain most feared nation status in the eyes of the US. How does this work to the administration’s benefit? Continue reading

Scrogues Converse: Open-space, Identity and the Missing Web

Scrogues ConverseScrogues Converse is our new feature where scrogues engage in informed discussion of fringe topics fast approaching from the grey fog behind you. In our first conversation Martin Bosworth and Gavin Chait discuss the nature of Open-source vs Open-standards and the way in which Web 2.0 is not so much re-inventing the web as in repeating the past at a higher level.

Does Web 2.0 undermine net neutrality?

Gavin: I feel that net neutrality is being undermined by all the new upstarts; from Facebook to Digg to WordPress. My issue is this: closed-standards, like all the Web 2.0 platforms, seem a step backwards rather than a step forwards. Try and imagine if Google declared that henceforth Gmail subscribers could only email other Gmail subscribers? They’d go bang in a week.

Yet, that is precisely how Facebook, Digg, WordPress, etc all operate. I need new login addresses – new identities – for every single Web 2.0 ap. Yet I only need one email address to contact anyone via email anywhere in the world. Various initiatives (like Identity 2.0) aimed at reducing this complexity seem merely to reinforce it. Continue reading